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Archive: Columns

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Books NOT Coming Soon

With the onslaught of eighties rock autobiographies and even more biographies set to be released over the next several months; a look at some of the books that didn’t make the cut.

“Mark F’n Slaughter”
The Mark Slaughter story. An entire chapter focuses on (with proof) that he was in fact born with the name: Mark Slaughter. Even at page ten it begins to feel like a long read.

“Growing Old Gracefully, The Sebastian Bach Story”
Bach walks us through a child hood not full of rock star dreams, but dreams of reality television, specifically weight loss television shows. “I remember when I was five, I remember thinking, man I can’t weight to put on a few extra pounds and then show the world I can lose half the extra weight I gained.” If I had to describe the book in one word, it would have to be DEEP… More...

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Pit Stories: Ain't Got Time To Bleed, Part 2

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week The Red Chord drummer Mike Justian shares one from their recent tour of Japan:

March 24, 2010. Tokyo, Japan. The Red Chord was performing the last show of a mini tour with Between The Buried And Me. Anticipation was high as the curtains opened to reveal an excited TRC for a zealous Japanese crowd. The heat was hot and my biorhythm wasn't cooperating with my under-nourished appendages, but the show was nevertheless happening and the crowd's enthusiasm was undeniable. During our third song, a large Caucasian mook of a man appears on the stage, meandering around as though he was looking for his beer. When, from out of nowhere, he runs from behind Greg (Weeks), pushes his bass into his head and dives off of the stage. I thought nothing of it until I saw that Greg was stumbling and bleeding profusely from his eye.

Obviously I was concerned so I gave him my towel and shortly after he exited the stage for a number of minutes. Unsure about whether he would be able to continue, Mike and I jammed for a bit, hoping for his return. Eventually he did come back but had to play most of the set lying down and half blind. It was at this point that my respect for Greg reached an even higher plateau than I thought possible, for his willingness to recognize that the show must go on even if your eye explodes.

The Red Chord hits the road in July with The Summer Slaughter Tour 2010 with Decapitated, The Faceless, All Shall Perish, and more.

Check back every Tuesday for more pit stories.

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Unearthing the Metal Underground in Nashville, TN

Each week in "Unearthing the Metal Underground," we shine a light on promising bands coming out of the darkness of the underground. Nashville TN is the music business center of the United States, and isn’t without its fair share of shadows where bands outside of the mainstream get their start.

Nashville is home to top-charting hit-makers like Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, Ke$ha, and others, but has a dark underside where metal bands thrive. Psychedelic doom metal act Clorange, progressive metal act Invicta, and symphonic black metal band Cernunnos! are the subjects of this Unearthing.

The Nashville scene revolves around several known venues – The End, The Muse, Rocketown, and Exit/In – with nightly local shows. A fair share of bands that have become national touring acts have gotten their start here in Nashville and the surrounding towns of Murfreesboro and Knoxville, such as Whitechapel, Enfold Darkness and Destroy Destroy Destroy. Nashville is also home to the music studio of famed Soilwork guitarist/producer Peter Wichers. With no shortage of studios and talent in this town, bands are able to find each other, play lots of shows, and record very easily, releasing albums just the way they want. More...

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Sunday Old School: Stuck Mojo

Rap metal is a genre that has long been the subject of much criticism within the heavy metal community. Most fans when thinking of the term, tend to be reminded of the late '90s/early Century nu-metal genre and bands like Limp Bizkit. However, before the nu metal phase came into effect, there were a handful of bands that dared to mix heavy metal music with hip-hop frontmen, following the example set by Anthrax and Public Enemy.

One of the earliest of these bands was the Atlanta based Stuck Mojo, who could shred with the best and featured influences as wide as Black Sabbath to Run D.M.C. The group was formed in 1989 by guitarist Rich Ward and continued for a further six years before they were able to release their first full length album, "Snappin' Necks" in 1995 through Century Media Records. The band wasn't well received at first, with some critics labelling the band as Rage Against The Machine clones and even facing prejudice as a result of their African-American frontman Bonz. However, they were better received in Europe, where they won the MTV Europe Award for Best Live Act. The band released a second album the next year entitled, "Pigwalk" which, while not receiving many more favourable reviews, helped to expand their fan base across the globe. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Ozzy vs. Jesus

Slash (ex-Guns N Roses, Velvet Revolver) will be getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. A compliment to his body of work, but backhanded at best given he is part of a list that includes Ed O’Neil (Al Bundy) and Neil Patrick-Harris (Doogie Howser)… More...

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Pit Stories: Taking A Header Into The Floor

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Jimmy Bower of Eyehategod talks about the lengths an enthusiastic female fan went to to capture their attention. More...

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Unearthing the Cello Metal Underground, Part 2

Each week in "Unearthing the Metal Underground," we'll be putting a few quality underground bands in the spotlight in an attempt to get the word out about them. The first time I featured cello and violin metal, I put the genre in context with an introduction about Apocalyptica's influence, and featured three fantastic cello and violin metal bands, Judgement Day, Heavin, and Grayceon. Those bands tend to use both violins and cellos, but today I'm going to focus on some more bands that have followed more closely in Apocalyptica's footsteps and are largely classical cello ensembles who cover or play heavy metal.

Primitivity

Primitivity is a cello and percussion ensemble from the Washington, DC area that blends elements of classical and heavy metal music. Cellist Loren Westbrook-Fritts composes the music and provides the leads, while cellists David Teie of the National Symphony, Kristin Ostling of the Baltimore Symphony, and Mauricio Betanzo of the Maryland Symphony all shred out intense riffs and harmonies. Percussionist Robby Burns from the University of Maryland completes the band with rumbling drum hits. Specializing in the music of Megadeth, Apocalyptica, and Metallica, Primitivity has also written some of their own original compositions. The band released "Plays Megadeth For Cello" earlier this year.

Check out one of the band's original compositions, "Convergence" below.

For one of their heavier original songs, also check out "Sacrifice" on their MySpace player, as well as numerous metal covers. More...

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Sunday Old School: Onslaught

When one thinks of thrash metal, the two countries that come to mine are the United States and Germany. However thrash had it's scenes all over the world. From Canada to Australia to Brazil and beyond, there was no country that thrash didn't touch and of course, Great Britain was no exception. Although the British thrash scene is largely overlooked, those who bother to explore it will find some of the best thrash of it's time and most were in agreement, that the best of these was Onslaught. Onslaught was founded as a punk band in the vein of Discharge and The Exploited by Nige Rockett in Bristol, England in 1983, being quickly joined by drummer Steve Grice. The band released a demo later that year before releasing an EP entitled, "What Lies Ahead" in the same year, which featured new members Jase Pope and Paul Hill.

Hill was soon to be replaced by Jase Stallard and the group took on a more metal orientated approach to songwriting and signed to Children Of The Revolution Records, under whom they released their debut album, "Power From Hell" in 1985. The album contained lyrics which were satanic in nature and also featured a song entitled, "Death Metal," leading to some metal fans crediting the band with coining the term, along with Possessed. That same year, vocalist Paul Mahoney moved to the position of second guitarist, when the band hired vocalist Sy Keeler. This lineup travelled to London to record their second album, "The Force" in 1986, which is now regarded as one of the genre's true classic albums, containing such thrash anthems as "Let There Be Death" and "Flame Of The Antichrist." After the release of "The Force," the band signed to major label London Records for their next album, though things did not go as well as they had hoped. Under pressure from the label, the band let Keeler go and hired Grim Reaper vocalist Steve Grimmett, in an attempt to help the band reach a more mainstream fan base. The subsequent album, "In Search Of Sanity" was released in 1989 but proved to be a disappointment for hardcore fans, oweing to the change in vocals and more polished production. Grimmett left the band soon after and the band was dropped from their label, before deciding to call it a day in 1991.

Key members Steve Grice and Nige Rockett remained good friends throughout the inactivity of Onslaught, and upon finding out that a record label had been selling Onslaught albums without permission, the two decided to reform the band. They contacted Sy Keeler who soon agreed to rejoin the band, along with bassist Jim Hinder, who had performed with the group during the "In Search Of Sanity" era. The band performed some low key gigs, along with supporting slots to the likes of Venom, before releasing a new studio album entitled, "Killing Peace" in 2007. The album was regarded as a natural follow up to "The Force" and was extremely well received from fans and critics alike. Since the release of the album, Onslaught have been touring relentlessly to take their rightful place as one thrash metal's true greats, performing all over the world and releasing a live album entitled, "Live Damnation" in the process. The band are currently working on their fifth studio album, which is expected to be released later this year. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Heroic Bad Ass Moments

Last week Slash (Velvet Revolver, ex-Guns N Roses) was attacked on stage by a man attempting to tackle him from behind. The guitarist literally brushed off the offender and continued to play (on a broken guitar that would be replaced). In honor of this move this week we look at some of the heroic and/or bad ass (rating of 10) and not so heroic/or not so bad ass (rating of 1) moments from the world of videos. More...

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Pit Stories: A New Level of Stage Diving

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Johnny Fatts of Brooklyn heavy rock/metal band Black Water Rising shares one of his thousand pit stories for your entertainment, taking stage diving to a whole new level.

So it was 1992 or 1993 at the Roseland Ballroom in NYC and Pantera was in town on the Vulgar Display tour. They did 2 nights if I remember correctly and me being a metal fanatic, I had to go both nights like I normally do when one of my favorite bands plays multiple nights. Me being the nutjob that I am, I naturally HAVE to be up in the front and make myself be the most noticed idiot in the room so the band knew I was there and was the craziest fucker in the crowd. Night #1 they opened with "Fucking Hostile" and the place goes ape shit, kids climbing to the middle of the PA system which in height was about stage level maybe a little lower and diving off. So I jump the barrier and do a dive or 2 off the PA. It was fun but it just didn't cut the mustard for me and since everyone was doing it, it wasn't very memorable so I had to outdo myself and everybody else. The show carries on and there were the circle pits and crowd surfers, etc.etc but I still wasn't pleased with my pit performance yet HAHAHA!!!!

Night #2 they open with "A New Level" and that being my favorite at the time I lose my shit completely. I already knew what I was going to do before I got to the show but didn't expect that song as the opener and it made it that much better. So the lights go out and I jump the barrier to the PA again, this time the middle wasn't good enough so I climbed my crazy ass to the very top of it without anyone seeing me. Now this is about 6-8 ft above stage level so I'm pretty high up there, the lights go on and here I am standing on top of the PA above Pantera in front of about 4,000 maniacs all yelling jump. Security now see me and start to try and climb the PA to get me, now the band sees me and all I hear is Phil Anselmo yell "JUMP", so I dive off of this fuckin' thing and freefall directly on top of my friends and smashed my nuts right on one of their heads. YES IT HURT A LOT!!!!! That by far is one of my best pit stories and to this day I am still pissed that it never made it to the Pantera home videos, would've loved to see what it looked like from a different set of eyes HAHAHAHA!!!!!!

Black Water Rising just added some more summer dates. In the meantime, check out some of their music on the band's MySpace player.

Check back every Tuesday for more pit stories.

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Unearthing the Metal Underground in Taiwan, Part 2

Each week in "Unearthing the Metal Underground," we'll be putting a few quality underground bands in the spotlight in an attempt to get the word out about them. A while back, I wrote about some of the heaviest bands to come out of Taiwan in recent years. This week I am showcasing a few more great bands from the burgeoning Formosa metal scene. More...

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Sunday Old School: Les Légions Noires

The LLN. The Les Légions Noires. The Black Legions. By whatever name, they were an infamous group of underground black metal artists/bands that emerged from France in the early 90s in response to the newly born Norwegian second wave of black metal (bands like Mayhem, Burzum and Emperor). With a penchant for prolific demo output, next to no full lengths, rough and raw material, barely audible/listenable recordings, obscure naming conventions, true satanic piety and rabid anti-commercialism - the LLN made a name for themselves by intensifying almost every black metal stereotype known to the metal community. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Dr. Ozzy

Recent news of Ratt canceling their European tour due to Stephen Pearcy needing a hernia operation confirms what the lead singer has been hinting at for years, he really is doing the heavy lifting for this band…

SpikeTV aired their annual Guys Choice Awards this past week, awarding Ozzy Osbourne with the Literary Achievement award for his autobiography. In other rumored news, Ozzy will receive be receiving an honorary Medical Degree in Pharmaceuticals for his consistent stoned performance on The Osbournes… More...

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Pit Stories: III Stories of Unfortunate Events

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Jessie Freeland, vocalist for The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza who's readying their new album "Danza III: The Series of Unfortunate Events," shares three "unfortunate events" from the pit.

Honestly there have been sooooooooo many tales from the pit we have seen over the years. Hmmmmmmm! I guess I can give you three that come to mind immediately. I don't remember the places, dates, or venues, but I do remember the events and they were all unfortunate.

First show that comes to mind we were probably only 45 seconds into the first song and the crowd was def already getting stupid. These are always the most fun shows to play but shit can get ridiculous sometimes and it didn't take to long for that to happen. Stage dives turned into crowd surfing and this one dude in particular reached up and tried to use the stage lights as his own personal jungle gym. Sparks, ceiling tile, and electrical currents went everywhere. The next time I saw him it looked like his head was still smoking...

Another time was after a show in the parking lot. I didn't see exactly what happend to this dude "in the pit," but his face was most definitely fucked up! He walked up to me and handed me what used to be his prescription glasses and told me thanks for the best show of his life. WTF do you say to something like that!?!?! I could only nod my head and tell him to go to the hospital ASAP!

The last one happened very recently on the Road To Metalfest tour. There was this little girl, maybe like 15, in the front row. At one point this dude three times her size jumps off the stage and CRUSHED her and her friends. I swear to god, I thought it killed her. I stopped playing to check on her and make sure she wasn't broken in half. I was seriously relieved to see her stand back up in one piece and I made it a point to find her after the show and hook her up with a free Danza t-shirt.

Danza's new album, "Danza III: The Series of Unfortunate Events," hits stores July 6 on Black Market Activities. You can check out the cover art and a preview of the album here.

Check back every Tuesday for more pit stories.

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Unearthing The Metal Underground In Perth, Part 2

Each week in "Unearthing the Metal Underground," we'll be putting a few quality underground bands in the spotlight in an attempt to get the word out about them. I’ve already put the spotlight on some Perth death metal bands - this week I am checking out some Perth bands that don’t quite fit in with any other group. More...

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Sunday Old School: Rose Tattoo

When thinking about Australia's contribution to hard rock and heavy metal, 99% of people will instantly think of AC/DC, which is fair enough, but many of these same people tend to overlook another of the country's best exports, Rose Tattoo. Rose Tattoo were undeniably one of the hardest rocking bands to ever plug into an amp and they proved it by not just writing some fantastic songs, but by taking the stage with a ferocious attitude that bands like Guns 'N Roses would later be known for. The band was formed in 1976 in the city of Sydney by guitarist Peter Wells, who was formerly a member of the heavy metal band Buffalo. The original lineup also featured vocalist Tony Lake, guitarist Leigh Johnston, drummer Michael Vandersluys and bass player Ian Rilen, who taught himself the instrument while he was in prison. Johnston was soon to be replaced by Mick Cocks however, and shortly afterwards, more lineup changes occured, most notably the new addition of notorious frontman Gary "Angry" Anderson. The band released a single on Albert Productions named "Bad Boy For Love" after being recommended to the label by AC/DC. This would mark the only recording with Gilen, who left soon afterwards to form the punk rock band X.

Rose Tattoo followed the single by releasing a self-titled album in 1978, which entered the Australian Top 40 and began to become involved in social issues when they released a single supporting the legalisation of marijuana entitled, "Legalise Realise." A short while later, the band began to achieve success in foreign markets when their debut album, (re-released under the name Rock And Roll Outlaw) entered the British charts at number 60, the German charts at number five and the French charts at number two. They released a second album in 1981 named, "Assault And Battery" which entered the Australian Top 30 and topped the British heavy metal charts, just like the band's previous release. After gaining a following in Europe and the United Kingdom, the band recorded a third album, "Scarred For Life" and set their sights on the United States, supporting the likes of ZZ Top and Aerosmith. While the tours didn't prove to be the groundbreaking introduction they needed, they left a resounding impression on some audiences, particularly in Los Angeles, with many bands from the area later citing Rose Tattoo as an influence. Several lineup changes occured soon after they got back from the States and Anderson recorded what was intended to be a solo album named, "Beats From A Single Drum," however due to contractual issues, it was released under the Rose Tattoo moniker. The band split soon after and Anderson earned himself a hit single with the song "Suddenly" after it was used in the popular soap opera, "Neighbours."

A brief reunion happened in 1993 when Guns 'N Roses asked them to support the group on their Australian tour. Although the reformation didn't last as long as fans hoped, a second reunion occured in 1998, eventually resulting with the album, "Pain" in 2002, their first studio album in sixteen years, along with a live album entitled, "25 To Life." Although the band would suffer a set back when guitarist Peter Wells passed away in 2006, they soldiered on and released a new album, "Blood Brothers" in 2007. Sadly the band has been mainly inactive in recent months, owing to the death of guitarist Mick Cocks in December 2009. Though not as largely known by fans of heavy metal and hard rock audiences of today as they arguably should be, Rose Tattoo have undoubtedly carved a place in music history as one of the most aggressive, though simultaniously fun bands to ever emerge from Australia. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: The Ozzy Factor

Jon Bon Jovi has reportedly quit cigarettes due to the high cost of smoking. Other areas Jon is rumored to be more frugal are: wearing Dockers instead of designer jeans, cutting his hair shorter to save on inflating shampoo costs, and switch from Aqua-Net to Walgreens brand hairspray…

Spirit of The Wild, Ted Nugent’s television show that takes you into the life of hunting with Ted, will return in HD to the Outdoor Channel. It will be nice to have a clear picture during sweeps week when Nugent takes out an entire herd of buffalo, with one bullet… More...

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Pit Stories: Midgets Love Slayer

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Sick Of It All vocalist Lou Koller shares a tale of midgets moshing in the pit:

We were on tour with Slayer, and it was Slayer, us, and Meshuggah in 1999. I believe it was in New Mexico. For some reason there was a real odd number we saw, a lot of Mexican midgets at the Slayer show. And they weren’t together. We were hanging out at the merch booth waiting to go on and we counted seven different Mexican midgets. When the show started, in the middle of the set, the Slayer fans in New Mexico were taking their shirts off, lighting them on fire, and then running around with them in the pit. That was one of the craziest things we’ve ever seen. So apparently midgets in New Mexico love Slayer.

Sick Of It All recently released their four years in the making album "Based On A True Story." You can check out an interview with Lou discussing the new album here.

Check back every Tuesday for more pit stories.

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Bret Michaels: Life As I Know It

During a recovery period that includes several appearances, a return to the stage, and only one week after Michaels took home the reality show title of Celebrity Apprentice, VH1 gives us Bret Michaels new show: Life As I Know It. The show, originally started production in April and was halted shortly after due to Bret’s appendectomy, then followed by his near fatal brain hemorrhage. One show (Monday’s) was completed. Production will continue in June and the show will continue in the Fall of 2010. More...

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Unearthing The Solo Metal Underground Part 2

Each week in "Unearthing the Metal Underground," we spotlight a few quality unsigned bands in an attempt to spread the word and expose acts that make the underground great. This week we’re returning again to the realm of solo extreme metal to uncover three more one-man bands.

Unlike our last foray into the world of solo musicians, these three groups aren’t restricted entirely to the black metal style. Instead we’ll be covering a wide range of musical projects that showcase how creativity and professional musicianship can flourish in the unlimited freedom of a solo band. More...

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