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Archive: Columns

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Video Marathon

Thoughts while watching a video marathon and wondering whether Rob Halford decided to put tattoos on his skull before or after he shaved his head…

Production meeting prior to making the Dio video “Holy Diver”: Okay, so we need an abandoned church, an active steel mill, and a very large sword. Behind the Music: The Dio video props department…

In Guns N Roses “Welcome to the Jungle” Axl is getting off a bus with a very large suitcase. In Whitesnake’s “Is This Love” video Tawny Kitaen packs four pieces of lingerie into a large suitcase. Anyone interested to know the contents (or what for fictional purposes is supposed to be contained in their luggage)? I’m going to go with Hit Parader and Circus magazines for Axl and a pair of Bret Michaels (Poison) jeans for Kitaen. This mystery is right there with what is inside the briefcase from Pulp Fiction...While on the subject of “Jungle”, is Duff ever going to bring back the Bill Walton seventies style headband? I believe I speak for many when I say: I hope so… More...

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Pit Stories: Tom Hunting's Nasty Sock Story

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Tom Hunting of Exodus recounts the grossest thing he's seen someone do in the audience:

Exodus recently announced two record release shows in June. The band's new album, "Exhibit B: The Human Condition" will be released in North America on May 18th.

Check back every Tuesday for more mosh pit stories.

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Unearthing The Metal Underground In New York

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 progressive metal in New York.

The progressive metal bands in New York are rarely a typical prog act, so the focus is more on bands that incorporate progressive elements in their music. More...

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Celebrity Apprentice: Trump Wants Bret's Bandana

The sixth episode starts with the end of the last challenge. Bret Michaels is in a positive mood, deciding to go out drinking. “We’re going to ROCK!”

The next morning Sharon Osbourne is still not with the group, Donald Trump begins hinting he may have to make a move here, possibly removing her from the show. Sharon’s strategy to win may be taking a hit, let’s see how this plays out.

For the next challenge the teams must promote an up and coming country star. There are two. Given their non-descript looks and aura of boredom we will refer to them as Country Riser #1 and Country Riser #2. The details are given out at the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame Annex in New York. Trump says he expects both Cyndi Lauper and Michaels to be there one day. Interesting side note: The Annex actually closed just two months after this taping. I don’t have proof it had to do with The Donald’s lobbying for Bret Michaels induction, but it is safe to say this contributed. For the women, Cyndi Lauper quickly takes on the role of Project Manager, for the men, ex-wrestler, Bill Goldberg, assumes the position. More...

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Sunday Old School: Remembering Peter Steele

Given the tragic news posted earlier this week, it seemed not just fitting, but mandatory that this week we dedicate Sunday Old School to the memory of Petrus T. Ratajczyk, better known as Peter Steele, who passed away last Wednesday. Steele was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and was the founder of the infamous crossover thrash band Carnivore, before going to achieve massive success with Type O Negative. Before that however, he was in a band named Fallout which also featured Agnostic Front drummer Louie Beateaux and future Type O Negative keyboardist Josh Silver. Fallout only lasted three years and in such time only released one record, a single named "Rock Hard" which was limited to 500 copies.

Beateaux would go with Steele after the demise of Fallout to form the band Carnivore in 1982, with a self-titled debut album being released in January 1986. The album was exceptionally well received and praised for its unrelenting speed and tongue in cheek humour, along with spawning such great songs as "World Wars III & IV," "Male Supremacy" and the title track. A second album named "Retaliation" would be released the following year through Roadrunner Records, which was once again critically praised. "Retaliation" would prove to be the bands last album however, as they split up soon after.

From here, Steele formed the band he is perhaps best known for, Type O Negative, which although labelled as a gothic metal outfit, mixed in many aspects of doom and thrash metal. The group released their first album, "Slow, Deep and Hard" in 1991, using alot of material which was originally meant for Carnivore. The album received mixed reviews, though music historian Piero Scaruffi would go on to call it "the greatest heavy metal album of all time." Type O Negative followed this release with "The Origin Of The Feces" which was designed to sound like a live album, dubbing in audience noises, banter and even stopping a song because the "venue" had a bomb threat called in. The album was less well received than "Slow, Deep and Hard" but the band would achieve massive success with their next album, "Bloody Kisses," which eventually reached Platinum status, becoming the first album from Roadrunner Records to do so. The album featured the popular singles "Black No. 1" and "Christian Woman" along with the controversial "Kill All The White People" and "We Hate Everyone." The band released two more acclaimed albums in the form of "October Rust" in 1996 and "World Coming Down" in 1999 before releasing a compilation album entitled, "The Least Worst Of." The group released their last album for Roadrunner, "Life Is Killing Me" which featured much shorter songs than previous albums, with the exception of the 7 and a half minute, "How Could She?" which is essentially a list of female television characters. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: The Drinking Play List

Sammy Hagar (Van Halen, Chickenfoot) is set to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his Cabo Wabo Cantina. All are invited and asked to reply to ensure a reservation. The comprehensive list includes: Michael Anthony and… More...

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Celebrity Apprentice: Bret’s Many Moods

Here we are, week five and Bret Michaels is still around, in honor of this achievement let’s go old school this week which means any time you hear the word AWESOME it’s bottoms up.

This week’s episode begins with Bret outside of the boardroom showing his dance moves to the women’s team. When the guys show up Bret is happy he wasn’t in the boardroom, and able to sit outside and drink. Bret is feeling ecstatic. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Vote Slash for Office

Slash (Guns N Roses, Velvet Revolver) released his new solo album this week that includes a song sung by Ozzy Osbourne, “Crucify The Dead” containing the lyrics: "A loaded gun jammed by a rose/the thorns are not around your head/your ego cut you til you bled". Slash is adamant that the song is not about ex-band mate Axl Rose saying, “Yes, there were some key lines in there that were very suggestive of my experience. No, this is just an overall picture of the issues.” Prediction: We are two years from Slash running for a political office… More...

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Celebrity Apprentice: Rock Solid in Trouble

With team Rock Solid losing two challenges in a row, week four would be critical for both the team and Bret Michaels, a team member no one expected to still be around.

The challenge is to create a 3D promotion for the new Harry Potter amusement park in Orlando, FL. Ex-Governor, Rod Blagojevich, is Project Manager for Rock Solid. When watching his inability to use a laptop or cell phone the word inept comes to mind, and then you realize this is not a strong enough word. More...

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Sunday Old School: Motorhead

The term "legend" is thrown around all too often these days, almost to the point where being an older band instantly gives you the title, but how many bands can not only honestly claim the title of "legend," but also "icons?" Only a handful. And within this handful, we find one of the best and loudest bands to ever tread the Earth - the one and only Motorhead. Motorhead is as important to heavy metal as Miles Davis is to Jazz. Every fan of metal, punk, hardcore and rock will be able to tell you who Motorhead is, and if you find one who can't, beat them with the heaviest object you can find, just so they get an idea for how heavy Motorhead is.

The band was formed by Ian Fraser Kilmister (aka Lemmy) in London in 1975, after he was released from the band Hawkwind for (of all reasons) excessive drug use. The band was originally going to be called "Bastard" until it was pointed out that shows like Top Of The Pops might have a tiny problem with such a tag, so the moniker was switched to Motorhead instead. The name came from the last song Lemmy wrote for Hawkwind and at the time was American slang for someone who often took Speed. Lemmy assembled guitarist Larry Wallis and drummer Lucas Fox and after only ten shows, they secured a slot opening for Blue Oyster Cult at the famous Hammersmith Odeon. They then recorded an album for United Artists but it wasn't to be released until the band gained popularity a few years later, as the label were unhappy with the material. Shortly after this, Wallis and Fox were no longer members of the band and "Fast" Eddie Clarke and Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor came in as replacements, forming one of the heaviest trios in the history of music. This lineup recorded a string of albums which are now regarded as classics by rock and metal fans, such as "Overkill," "Bomber" and of course, "Ace Of Spades," as well as topping the British albums chart with their live album, "No Sleep 'til Hammersmith." Following their next album, "Iron Fist" Eddie Clarke would leave the band, being replaced by former Thin Lizzy guitarist Brian Robertson. This lineup of the group would only record one album, 1983's "Another Perfect Day" which earned the band some backlash from fans at the time, though it has gained a cult following over the years.Subsequently, both Robertson and Taylor left the band, leaving Lemmy to form an entirely new lineup, which he did with former Saxon drummer Pete Gill, ex-Persian Risk guitar player Phil Campbell and unknown guitarist Michael "Wurzel" Burston.

This lineup would only last for one compilation record and one studio album before Taylor returned to the band. Motorhead would release the albums, "1916" and "March Or Die" before Taylor was once again no longer a member, this time being replaced by King Diamond drummer Mikkey Dee. This lineup would release the album "Bastards" in 1993 and the band released a single the next year entitled, "Born To Raise Hell" which featured Ugly Kid Joe frontman Whitfield Crane and rap legend Ice-T, for the movie "Airheads." This lineup would again be a short lived one, as Wurzel was to leave the band following the "Sacrifice" album in 1995. Since then, Motorhead has continued as a three-piece and have released a further seven albums, with another one planned for this year. Many have also claimed that the group was rejuvinated by the beginning of the 21st century, as since 2004's "Inferno" they have received constant acclaim for their newer material, with plenty of fans and critics alike agreeing the band have been producing their best albums since the early 1980's. As was said at the beginning of this article, Motorhead aren't just legends, nor will people stop at calling them icons. They are are gods. They changed the face of rock music, proved it was alright for fans of metal and punk to like the same band, influenced thrash metal to no end and are still going strong thirty five years later, continually setting the standards for all bands out there. Long may they continue to show everyone how rock and roll is done! More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Tattoos, Tequila, and Ratt

During the next couple months eighties glam artists Ratt and Vince Neil, and less glam, but very eighties, Slash and Ozzy Osbourne, will be releasing new albums. What year is it again? Anyway, this is a good time to not only start looking at the music, but the videos as well. This week: Vince Neil’s “Tattoos & Tequila” vs. Ratt’s “Best of Me”. More...

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Tales From The Pit: Trashing The Art Museum

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week we have an unusual story from Goes Cube about playing in an art museum:

Our first national tour (which was in 2007) featured a show at a small art museum in Nashville, TN. The opening act was this guy who played real old style blues. He even looked the part with the fedora and the pinstripe suit. Well I mean, ALMOST. His clothes looked the part. Otherwise, he was a white kid in his early 20s who kind of looked like the only blues he'd ever seen were his aqua-colored Izods at home next to his boat shoes. But anyways, this kid played a set. Then, according to witness, started snorting massive amounts of cocaine and drinking a lot of Jack Daniels.

So we're playing, and there's a few people there. Not many. But it's a fun show. All of a sudden, here comes the chemically-fueled blues singer. He starts pushing people around, trying to get a mosh pit going. A few people complied. Then he starts pulling paintings and sculptures off the wall and smashing them. He's slamming down sculptures and then stomping on them. He gets a painting at one point and actually smashes it across our drummer's back, which resulted in a nice gash. We ended our set.

Bad luck for him, the museum manager was in attendance. He's, understandably, very upset. He says to the culprit, "Pay for it all right now, or I call the police." The culprit responds by telling the guy to fuck off or some such thing. Then he runs out the back, steals a skateboard out of a car, and gets about a block away before---as I heard it---literally passing out on the street. The cops are on their way at this point, of course. They arrive, interview everyone, and then find the perp. He's thrown in the back of a black-and-white, and he starts hysterically crying. We saw him mouth the word "help" before being hauled off to jail.

The booker of the show called us later that year to tell his he'd been convicted of a handful of crimes including criminal destruction, theft, resisting arrest and would actually be doing some time.

Goes Cube is wrapping up their tour with East of the Wall . The band is supporting their limited edition single "Property," also featuring the b-side "The Ban Has Been Lifted."

Check back every Tuesday for more tales from the mosh pit.

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Celebrity Apprentice: No One Listens to Bret

Episode three begins with Bret on the defensive. Believing he is being shut out, he voices his concern to all that will listen. No one is listening. More...

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Unearthing The Metal Underground In Northern NJ

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 northern New Jersey death metal scene.

New Jersey has tons of tiny local death metal/hardcore bands. Sadly, most of them are hardly worth a listen. Most of them also have sub-par recordings. But today I will focus on a few bands that caught my attention lately and will tear your face off. More...

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Sunday Old School: Sepultura

Thrash metal is best known for making metal stars out of bands from America and Germany, but every now and then, it would present a hero from somewhere no-one expected. In this case, it made metal legends out of a Brazilian band named Sepultura. The group was formed in the city of Belo Horizonte by brothers Max and Igor Cavalera, along with bass player Paulo Xisto and vocalist Wagner Lamounier. Lamounier left the band the next year and Max took over the spot behind the microphone, so the band recruited guitarist Jairo Guedes to be the band's lead player. This lineup would record the EP "Bestial Devastation" and the full length album "Morbid Visions" before Guedes left, to be replaced by Max Cavalera's former guitar technician Andreas Kisser. This is perhaps the best known lineup of the band, recording five studio albums together and breaking into the metal mainstream, becoming one of the genres leading young bands alongside Pantera.

The group began to receive commercial success in 1993 with the release of their album, "Chaos A.D." which features the singles, "Refuse/Resist," "Slave New World" and "Territory," three of the band's most well known songs. The group gained further success three years later when they released "Roots," an ambitious album that saw them embrace their Brazilian heritage, even recording a song with the Xavantes tribe. However the good times were not to last as Max Cavalera left the band on bad terms when the other members informed him they did not wish to renew the contract of their manager, who was also Max's wife. The band replaced their old singer with American, Derrick Green, who had previously released an album with the band Outface. This lineup released the record "Against" in 1998 but the album did not do as well as they had hoped. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: The Kiss Coffeehouse

This past week Kiss announced a Kiss themed coffeehouse to be built in Melbourne, Australia. Given the graduation from action figures, iPod applications, and coffins this seems like a good time to propose other ventures for some of our other eighties rockers. More...

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Tales From The Pit: Standing Up For The Ladies

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Johnny K from Vancouver's Omega Crom shares a pair of stories from shows he's attended:

Cannibal Corpse at Studebakers, some dude grabbed my friend Angel's tits, she was getting pissed off so me and my friend Ryan were moshing around and came down the stairs from the bar with our arms locked together and clothes lined this dude and bent him backward over the edge of the stage, needless to say he didn't bother her again. Later on I was headbanging forward as the guy in front of me was headbanging backward and I bashed the bridge of my nose off the back of his head, ouch.

Megadeth at Studebakers the first show they played without Marty I was in front row and center. This nice girl comes up before the show and says you look strong you should protect me. So I put her between my arms. When Megadeth came out the crowd pushed forward so hard I couldn't hold the weight and I was being crushed against the rail and this girl was getting crushed by me. After Holy Wars ( the first song) the bouncers clued in and pulled her outta there, never saw her again. I stayed there the entire show and my ribs were broken afterwards, it was worth it.

Omega Crom is currently touring Canada and will unleash their debut album "Blood, Steel & Fire" on April 5th via Reversed Records. You can download a free MP3 of the song "Battlefield" off the new album here.

Check back every Tuesday for more tales from the mosh pit.

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Celebrity Apprentice: Bret is Late, Again

Celebrity Apprentice kicks off with an intro showing Bret Michaels proclaiming “If you’re going to have a freak out, have a ROCK star freak out”. This leads into episode two with Bret and two fellow diabetics sitting outside the boardroom. Along with a 100K check for a diabetes charity, Bret sends them along with his mantra, “You can have a full life, you can ROCK!” For those playing along, that’s two shots in less than five minutes! More...

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Sunday Old School: Two

A few months ago we took a look at Judas Priest, one of the most important and many would say greatest bands in the history of heavy metal. However in the early 1990s, the groups lead vocalist Rob Halford decided to quit the band and pursue other musical interests. The most controversial of these, was Two (sometimes written as 2wo), an industrial metal band he formed alongside guitarist John Lowery.

The band was formed by Halford and Lowery in 1997 after Halford decided not to continue his previous band, Fight. They quickly found themselves signed to Nothing Records, which was founded by Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and released their Reznor produced debut album, "Voyeurs" the following year. It was around this time that Halford first openly stated that he was homosexual and the band worked with gay porn director Chi Chi Laurue for their music video "I Am A Pig." The band received a harsh backlash from long time fans of Rob Halford, who wanted to hear more of a traditional heavy metal style and concert attendence was generally poor, coupled with the problem of audience members shouting for the band to perform Judas Priest songs. A music video and single release was planned for the song "Stutter Kiss" as it had featured on the soundtracks for a few movies, however this idea was scrapped due to the albums poor commercial performance.

Although there was talk of the band recording a second studio album for a different label, it was not meant to be. Halford disbanded Two in 1998 and formed a new band, simply named Halford which was more in the vein of the traditional heavy metal sound for which he was known. John Lowery went on to become the guitarist for Marilyn Manson and later Rob Zombie. Since the bands demise, the "Voyeurs" albums has gained a cult following among fans of industrial metal and Rob Halford, with Halford saying he would like to release the demos the band did for the album as they were apparantly heavier and more metal sounding, claiming Trent Reznor had too much control over the production for "Voyeurs." Reznor himself has disowned the album and when questioned about it, has been very critical of the record. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Kiss Steel Cage Challenge

Forget Atkins, Low-Fat, or the South Beach diet: Try the new Sebastian Bach (Skid Row) Red Wine Only diet. Week six of Celebrity Fit Club displayed Bach easily beating ex-R&B star Bobby Brown in a long-distance running challenge up a hill. I guess I should point out Brown’s chronic chain smoking and potato chip addiction, but those are just details. Try the Red Wine Only diet today!... More...

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