"some music was meant to stay underground..."

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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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Sunday Old School: Saxon

Some bands play heavy metal. Other bands embody it. And nobody embodies heavy metal quite like Saxon have been doing for over thirty years. Whilst the band appear to be somewhat overlooked these days, to a die hard fan of metal, there's no denying that Saxon are one of the greatest bands to ever emerge from the United Kingdom. The group was founded in the Yorkshire town of Barnsley back in 1976 under the name Son Of A Bitch but wisely decided to change the name to Saxon, which represented a long-time lyrical theme of the band, namely it's fascination with British history. The band quickly built up a following, becoming one of the leading bands in the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal and gained support slots with the likes of Motorhead before releasing their self-titled debut in 1979. While the first album didn't fare too well commercially or critically, the 1980 release "Wheels Of Steel" earned the band two hit singles with the album's title track and the song, "747 (Strangers In The Night)" along with the future fan favourite, "Motorcycle Man." The album itself proved successful too as it hit the British album charts at number five. The band released a third album, "Strong Arm Of The Law" only four months after "Wheels Of Steel," which also did well critically and sales wise and featured some of the band's best known work including, "20,000 Feet," "Dallas 1PM" and the title track. After this, the band completed the third album in what is regarded as their "classic album trilogy" and released "Denim And Leather" in 1981. The album also entered the British album charts, this time at number nine and once again featured future live staples such as "Princess Of The Night," "And The Bands Played On" and the anthemic title track.

Saxon then released "Power & The Glory," which, while not being their most acclaimed album in their catalogue, is their best selling. As a result of the record's success, the band were able to embark on a headlining run of European arenas, taking a little known German band by the name of Accept along with them. Saxon continued their streak of commercial success when they released "Crusader" in 1984 and took two struggling bands on the road with them named Krokus and Motley Crue, allowing these bands to reach wider audiences. The band were to experience a backlash of sorts however, when they released "Innocence Is No Excuse" in 1985, with many European fans accusing the band of "selling out" to try and reach a more commerical audience in America, though in recent years it has earned a place in the hearts of fans. The group continued to do well throughout the rest of the decade, but found major success in America somewhat hard to find, resulting in the band being released from EMI Records after the "Destiny" album was released in 1989. They then signed to Virgin Records and released a string of albums which went largely unnoticed by the media.

A career resurgence of sorts began to happen in the late '90s however, with the band being invited to headline such festivals as Bloodstock and Wacken Open Air. Commercial success reared it's head once again in 2007 when they took part in Harvey Goldsmith's "Get Your Act Together," where Goldsmith attempted to restore the band to the popularity it had experienced in the 1980s. He did so by bringing in two new producers to oversee the band's new single, "If I Was You," from their album, "The Inner Sanctum." The single entered the top ten in countries all around the globe. Their most recent album, "Into The Labyrinth" has seen them continue to gain critical acclaim and tour with the likes of Anvil and Doro supporting them. Although "Into The Labyrinth" was only released last year, there is reportedly already plans to record a new album, along with a new documentary movie on the way entitled, "Heavy Metal Thunder." Whether you're a fan or not, no-one can dispute that Saxon have earned their place in heavy metal history by being one of the hardest working and most dedicated bands in the business, with a loyalty to their genre that is unquestionable. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Revolver Awards Diary

The past weekend VH1 Classic showcased the Revolver Golden Gods Awards show (taped from April 9th), an annual show of hard rock and heavy metal awards chosen by the readers of the rock magazine, Revolver. You can catch reruns of this event twice daily, for the next eighteen months. More...

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Pit Stories: Gettin' Some with Nashville Pussy

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Nashville Pussy guitarist Ruyter shares their own tale from the cl*t pit:

Nashville Pussy was playing the Electric Lounge in Austin, Texas. Our drummer Jeremy's awesome parents were in attendance and his father doesn't ever swear so Blaine told the audience he'd asked Jeremy's dad if he minded that we'd be cussing that night on stage and Jeremy's father responded, "you should cuss even more tonight." Everyone laughed. Especially Jeremy's parents cause Blaine just made that story up on the spot.

The place was sold out and packed solid. The stage was only about 3 feet off the floor and some drunk woman in front of me was laying half way on the stage and grabbing at my monitor. She kept clinging to it like a life preserver and kind of jerking it back and forth across the stage with the beat and driving me Nuts! I was about to boot her in the head and get her the fuck off my monitor when I noticed the guy behind her had her skirt up over her back and was f*cking her from behind. I remember looking at the happy couple then quickly scanning the crowd to find Jeremy's parents standing at the back with big smiles on their faces.

That's my best Pit story. Fun for all ages.

Nashville Pussy is currently on tour in the apparently aptly named Parental Advisory tour with Green Jelly and Psychostick. Check out a report from one stop here and an interview with Ruyter here.

Check back every Tuesday for more pit stories.

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Unearthing The Metal Underground In New Jersey

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. This week I am exploring the New Jersey extreme metal scene.

The extreme metal scene in New Jersey is hard to find, but it's there. I find that most of them like to hide under the radar and remain underground. the bands I'm featuring here aren't that kind. these are the ones looking to make their foot print in the scene by doing something a little different in their own way. There are too many bands around that do the same song over and over again with different lyrics and in a different key or tempo. More...

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Celebrity Apprentice: Bret Michaels Wins!

The live finale starts with Donald Trump entering the makeshift boardroom with a smoke machine behind him. Wasting little time, Trump announces that yes, after being back in the hospital just days ago; Bret Michaels will be appearing live. Given this news, we are in full Michaels Reality mode: a drink each time we hear the word AWESOME. More...

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Sunday Old School: Tommy Vance

After the death of heavy metal icon Ronnie James Dio was confirmed seven days ago, it made me think about the true pioneers of the genre, which Ronnie certainly was, and how we never expect them to leave us. In the United Kingdom, one of the men who helped define heavy metal and hard rock as we know it wasn't a musician, but a radio DJ and occassional television presenter by the name of Tommy Vance. Whilst it may seem strange to dedicate this weekly segment to a DJ and not a band, ask any of the older metal fans in Britain about Tommy Vance, and they'll tell you he was just as essential to the genre as Ozzy, Lemmy or Rob Halford.

Perhaps a little background information would be useful however. Tommy Vance was actually born with the name Richard Anthony Crispian Francis Prew Hope-Weston in Oxfordshire, England in 1940. He began his radio career in the United States, using the alias "Rick West" but took the "Tommy Vance" moniker from a DJ who failed to show up to a show on Seattle's KOL station. He was forced to return to the United Kingdom in 1965 as a result of immigration difficulties. When he did return, he worked with the infamous pirate radio station, Radio Caroline before eventually being signed to BBC Radio 1, where he worked with equally revered DJ John Peel on the Top Gear programme, which specialised in "progressive" music.

His crucial role in British heavy metal would be kick started in 1978 however, when he began presenting the "Friday Rock Show" (which is currently hosted by Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson.) He presented this show for fifteen years and gave headbanging Brits a place where they could not only hear their favourite bands, but also discover many new ones that wouldn't have been known otherwise. Vance was a particular champion of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal and would often feature interviews and performances from bands within the movement, as well as talking with the rock and metal stars of the day including Black Sabbath and AC/DC. He was also a regular fixture at the legendary Monsters Of Rock festival at Castle Donington, where he would DJ the event inbetween bands, as well as introduce them. However, after writing a critical report of the 1986 edition of the event, he was dropped from the next festival and banned from even attending.

In his later years, Vance appeared on several television shows including Never Mind The Buzzcocks, Dumber And Dumber, Brass Eye and The Eleven O' Clock Show (which featured a young Ricky Gervais) where he allegedly encouraged people to call TV's Handy Andy and "tell him he's a twat." He hosted a revived Friday Rock Show on VH1 which featured interviews and music videos from the biggest and best names in metal and rock and made one last big contribution to the British rock scene by co-founding the popular internet radio station TotalRock. He sadly passed away from a stroke on March 6th, 2005 and his memory and work was celebrated with a 15 hour tribute show on TotalRock as well as a tribute concert at the famous Royal Albert Hall in London, which featured the recently reunited Judas Priest, along with the Scorpions and Deep Purpler singer Ian Gillan, along with special appearances by Bruce Dickinson and The Who frontman Roger Daltrey. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: R.I.P. Dio

Gene Simmons (Kiss) continues to push a “stage challenge” to both U2 and The Rolling Stones. I find it interesting this offer has yet to be extended to AC/DC. Is it just me, or when Kiss makes their version of a Superman movie (this will happen) we will learn that AC/DC is Gene’s Kryptonite? … More...

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Pit Stories: Getting Acquainted with the Floor

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week, the members of DFW thrash band Warbeast talk about their experiences getting to know the floor well while at shows. Stay tuned after the stories to learn about the Pit Bulls of Fort Worth, Texas; moderators of the mosh.

Pit Stories: Warbeast from Emily Hingle on Vimeo.

Check back ever Tuesday for more Pit Stories.

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Unearthing the Metal Underground in Taiwan

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. This week I am offering a brief glimpse of the dynamic Taiwan metal scene.

In the past few years, the metal scene in Taiwan has exploded and now boasts an active roster of more than 50 bands. This is a significant number for the relatively small island nation of 23 million that lies less than 200 kilometers off the east coast of China—with geographical, political, and historical factors playing a key role in Taiwan’s metallic output. The repressive Chinese government currently has well over 1,000 ICBMs aimed at Taiwan, and has maintained that it will use military force if necessary to bring Taiwan back under its control. Taiwan has been governed separately from China since the KMT was defeated by the Communists in 1949 following a four-year civil war, after which the KMT leadership and soldiers fled across the Taiwan Strait. Since then, Taiwan has held de-facto independence that is only officially recognized by an ever dwindling number of African, Central and South American, Caribbean, and South Pacific states. The perpetually tense political standoff with its impossibly imposing neighbor to the west, combined with an ongoing struggle for inclusion in international organizations and increased diplomatic recognition, has made Taiwan the ideal breeding ground for the world’s angriest, loudest, and fastest form of musical expression.

Here are three such examples warranting your attention: More...

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Celebrity Apprentice: Bret Makes It to the Finale

After last week’s elimination leaving only five contestants, and two weeks left of Celebrity Apprentice, it was not surprising to see Donald shake up the boardroom. More...

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Sunday Old School: Anthrax

Given the news this week that Joey Belladonna would be returning to Anthrax, sparking off another round in the never ending war of words between Joey Belladonna fans and John Bush fans, it seemed like a good time to take a look at New Yorks most popular thrash metal band. Anthrax was formed by guitarists Scott Ian and Danny Lilker, taking the name from a biology textbook. A few members came and went before they settled on the lineup of Charlie Benante on drums, Neil Turbin on vocals and guitarist Dan Spitz, prompting Lilker to switch to bass. They recorded their debut album, "Fistful Of Metal" in 1983 and released it in January 1984, achieving some international success when the album reached the top ten in Britain. However, the band fired Lilker soon after the release, replacing him with Benantes nephew, Frank Bello. Neil Turbin would also be released from the group after a while, which led to guitarist Scott Ian handling vocal duties for a short time, though these performances mostly consisted of covers of hardcore songs.

The band would eventually find a new permanent singer in 1985 and released an EP named "Armed And Dangerous" soon after. Later that year, the band released "Spreading The Disease," followed by "Among The Living" in 1987. Both of which garnered much critical acclaim and saw a dramatic change in personality for the band, who had decided to ditch the traditional leather and studs look of such bands as Judas Priest and wear clothing they felt more comfortable such as shorts. The band also introduced a more pop culture influence into their lyrics, writing songs about the comic book Judge Dredd ("I Am The Law"), comic actor John Belushi ("Efilnikufesin") and other movies and books. They followed with another highly praised album called "State Of Euphoria" in 1988, which featured a cover of the song "Antisocial" by French band Trust, earning them a minor hit single in the United Kingdom. They also gained some more mainstream notoriety when they appeared on the hit comedy show, "Married... With Children." They released their final album with Belladonna, "Persistence Of Time" in 1990, which was also well received, before collaborating with legendary rap group Public Enemy in 1991 for the "Bring The Noise" single and tour, which also featured Primus and Ice-T. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Spring is Officially Here

Jani Lane (Warrant) has been arrested again on suspicion of DUI. Is it Spring already?...

Starring on VH1’s new special “UNDATEABLE: Top 100 things guys do that guarantee they won’t be dating or having sex” is Dee Snider (Twisted Sister) and Bret Michaels (Poison). They will also be sharing the stage with hip hop legend Sir Mix a Lot who is responsible for Reason #32: Don’t write a song about big asses… More...

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Pit Stories: A New Twist On The Wall of Death

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Shawn Milke, singer/guitarist for Alesana, shares a story from the road involving an interesting twist on the wall of death:

"The fog pouring from the stage was thicker than that of a graveyard. On stage, we felt like we had been though a war; torn clothing, bloody lips, bruised faces. Gazing out at the crowd we could see that they were broken, but not beaten. It was time. The big guns were in place and ready to be fired. But this time around, we had a challenge for the soldiers. 'I want a wall of death!' screams our fearless front man Dennis. No fear. No mercy. This is no time for children to run scared to their mommys and daddys. This is a time to bring it and bring it hard. To prove our bite is as ferocious as our bark, we send one of our own down into the crowd and to the very back of the wall of death. The challenge is simple: hit him, catch him, beat him before he reaches the stage. We dare you. On the count of three. One...two...three...the stage is set, the night explodes. One of the best pits we've ever had!"

Alesana recently wrapped up their headlining The Emptiness Tour before embarking on a European tour that they're playing now. The band will return to the US and tour as part of the Vans Warped Tour this summer.

Check back every Tuesday for more pit stories.

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