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Archive: Columns

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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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Tales From The Pit: The Extended Crowd Surf

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Special Ops guitarist Akbar shares a fun crowd surfing story with us:

"Mosh story, Crazy out door show, I think it was Vans Warped Tour or something, I forget the band that was playing, I was a bit too inebriated. lol. Been in the pit all day and by now the batteries are starting to run a bit low after 4 hrs.

"Last band goes on, and all I feel is the waist band of my pants being pulled up along with my feet being grabbed, next thing I know I'm lying down on top of the crowd staring at the sky with the band rocking out, then all of a sudden they sit me up. Here I am sitting on people's hands like it was my lazy boy watching the show, so I start asking them to move me around and they did, turned me around and I saw a sea of heads! All I could think of was man I need to play that stage, and we eventually did :)) and who, next thing I now I'm being turned over on my belly, and being shoved towards the front - still kinda cool in the mental state I was in, but then, a pair of strong ass hands grab my shoulders and the rest keep pushing but the shoulders are staying put, seconds later I'm in an inverted cross position facing the crowd, thinking HOLY SHIIIIIT DON'T DROP ME! while smiling of course. lol

"Anyhow, it turned out to be a good friend, and he threw me on my back again and into the crowd, only this time I didn't end up standing on my head, they started tossing me up and down, and then they gave a big throw, tossing me a good 3 feet in the air, and they cleared, leaving me to fall a good 8-10 feet flat on my back. Very very dangerous and stupid move on their end, I could have been paralyzed if I wasn't smart enough to grab someones shirt to get me to hit the floor ass first which hurt, but not as bad as if I had landed flat on my back.

"That was the longest surf I had done ever, and probably the most fun. to anyone out there thinking of dropping people on their backs, you can really hurt someone while doing that. \m/\m/"

Special Ops just recently signed to Thorny Bleeder Records for the release of their third album, "Through The Heart of The Infidel" (reviewed here), which will see an official release soon. You can download an MP3 of the song "Pressure" off of "Through the Heart Of The Infidel."

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

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Celebrity Apprentice: Bret is Project Manager

This year’s Celebrity Apprentice Reality television show gives us a couple of rock n’ roll “celebrities” as well as comedy gold in Bret Michaels and Sharon Osbourne.

As with the Rock of Love show, the Bret Michaels drinking game will be in play, with a twist, instead of the word AWESOME, we will be using ROCK. I prefer Patron tequila, but for those playing along while reading the column I suggest something from the schnapps family, and for those reading this in the morning, maybe a stiff Bloody Mary, or an ice cold Stella. More...

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Unearthing The Metal Underground In Los Angeles

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 Los Angeles metal scene.

If you live in Los Angeles, or have been to a metal show, whether it be death metal, thrash metal, or just metal, you may have become accustomed to watching several unsigned bands perform before an advertised lineup start their sets. As soon as you're inside the venue, the bands set up, and they finally play. Sometimes, these bands make your want to run into a brick wall, head first, because they are an awful, yet convoluted noise somehow crushed on top of fingernails scratching across a chalk board. But, on rare occasions, you finally notice a band that would be, in your eyes, considered an artist in the making. Here are three unsigned metal bands from Los Angeles and surrounding areas that definitely need to be heard and given a chance in the world of heavy metal. More...

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Sunday Old School: Body Count

The relationship between rap music and the world of hard rock and heavy metal has long been an interesting one. In many ways, both genres are very different and many members of each community look at the other with contempt. Whether it it be that metal fans think that rap is all about "bitches and money" or that rap fans think metal fans look stupid and every band is just screaming. However there are many others in both genres who at least respect the other, at times colloborating such as Public Enemy and Anthrax. One such member of the rap world who had a respect, admiration and love for hard rock and metal music was the legendary Ice-T. Ice-T decided to form his own rock band, Body Count with musicians he knew from school to help expand his musical palette in 1990 and debuted the band at the 1991 Lollapalooza tour, which many stated was the highlight of the tour. From there the band appeared on Ice-T's acclaimed album, "O.G. Original Gangster" and opened for Guns N' Roses before releasing their self-titled debut album in March 1992.

The band was highly controversial, not least due to the song, "Cop Killer," a song inspired by the Talking Heads track "Psycho Killer" and intended to criticise corrupt police officers in the United States. The band was boycotted by police groups as well as parents and the religious right and were even denounced by then U.S. President George H. W. Bush. "Cop Killer" wasn't the only song on the album to receive a negative reaction either. "KKK Bitch"and "Evil Dick" also gained the band notoriety for what people saw as obscene lyrics, to the point where noted actor Charlton Heston entered a Time Warner shareholders meeting and read the lyrics out, confident with a sense of unwarranted self-importance that by doing this the band would be fired from the label. Ice-T himself decided to remove the song "Cop Killer" from the album because he felt that the band should be more known for their music than controversy. The band does, however, continue to perform the song live.

Since then the band has released three more albums, 1994's "Born Dead," 1997's "Violent Demise: The Last Days" and 2006's "Murder 4 Hire." Sadly, of the original lineup, only Ice-T and lead guitarist Ernie C are still alive, with drummer Beastmaster V passing away in 1996 after a battle with leukemia, bass player Mooseman being killed in a shooting while working for Iggy Pop in 2001 and guitarist D-Roc succumbing to lymphoma in 2004. The band has been inactive for a while but recently made an apperance at the Vans Warped Tour anniversary party in Los Angeles. No word has been given on whether they will record a new album again at some point, but Body Count still holds a large cult following across the globe, particularly in Europe, and the very thought of a new tour or album is something that generates a lot of excitement... and probably some controversy for good measure. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: The GNR Video Trilogy II

In week four of Celebrity Fit Club we finally get to see Sebastian Bach (Skid Row) in true form, that is to say, the anger finally appears. The best comparison I see is looking at Skid Row’s self titled debut album versus the follow-up, Slave to The Grind, going from “I Remember You” to “The Threat,” a sweet ballad to destruction. In this episode Bach goes from 0 to 100 in a matter of minutes, hitting cameras, getting in the face of female teammates, and dropping fifty F-bombs in less than five minutes. Nice to have you back Sebastian… More...

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Tales From The Pit: Escaping Devildriver's Pit

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Devildriver frontman Dez Fafara points us to one of the largest pits witnessed:

"The Tale I have can be viewed online! DevilDriver in the tent at Download, almost 15,000 people and a huge pit takes place. Everyone is cool, taking care of each other and suddenly, from the stage, I see some dude scrambling up a pole in the middle of the pit to get up and away from the mayhem! He stayed till the song was finished and we caught it all on tape. Other stories include random broken legs, arms, noses, teeth knocked out, pitters passing out and the always fun ‘I’ve fallen and can't get back up!'"

We'll see if we can get Dez to elaborate on some of his other stories, but check out the video of this massive pit at Download 2007 that he's talking about:

Devildriver recently wrapped up a tour with Suffocation and Goatwhore where they were doing a little work on some new material as well. The band will be heading overseas to take part in Hammerfest from March 11th - 13th, 2010 in North Wales.

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

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Unearthing the Violin and Cello Metal Underground

In 1996, Apocalyptica released their debut studio album, "Plays Metallica by Four Cellos," and the metal world would never again view cellos the same way. Apocalptica was no one-trick pony, however. They upped the ante and quality massively on "Inquisition Symphony" and branched out to cover other metal bands plus three original compositions. By their third album, the band was producing primarily original material, still heavy and still on four cellos.

While Apocalyptica has since broken out of the underground, it took them years to do so even while piggybacking on the success of metal gods like Metallica, finally securing a decent North American record deal and touring the U.S. after they had four albums under their belt. Yet, their success has opened doors to more classically trained musicians to explore the heavier side of their instruments and contribute to the heavy metal community in their own ways. If Apocalyptica did not start by covering Metallica, one might wonder how heavy a band of celloists could possibly sound. Not only do they pull it off in the studio, but they put on a live performance that rivals that of their idols.

Today I will introduce you to three underground bands that employ extensive use of bowed instruments, primarily the cello and violin. Not only does the inclusion of these instruments give the music a unique feel, but the musicians themselves being more classically trained has its own impact on the compositions as well. Let's get started: More...

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Sunday Old School: Tank

The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal was responsible for some of the most popular metal bands the world has ever known. Making household names out of Iron Maiden and Def Leppard and granting Saxon the position of legends. However, for many bands in the movement, success was to be very short lived, if even found at all. Many N.W.O.B.H.M. bands were able to enter the British album charts with their debut, only to lose their popularity and fame shortly afterwards. Tank is one of these bands.

The group was formed in 1980 by bass player and vocalist Algy Ward, who had just left British punk rock legends The Damned. Tank gained favourable comparisons to Motorhead for their high energy heavy metal played with a punk edge and their entertaining lyrics. They released their first album, "Filth Hounds Of Hades" in 1982, which entered the British album charts at number 33 and is now regarded as one of the best albums from the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal movement. This would be the only taste of chart success Tank received unfortunately, as their next albums sold less than the band's debut. They decided to call it a day in 1989.

However, much like a number of other bands from the scene, Tank reunited in the late 1990s and performed a number of concerts in Japan and Europe before releasing a comeback album in 2002 entitled, "Still At War." The group has struggled since then however, with an album named "Sturmpanzer" sitting on the shelf since 2006. Founder Algy Ward is also no longer a member of the band and vocal duties are now handled by former Rainbow and Praying Mantis frontman Doogie White. The band is expected to finally release a new studio album this year through Soundhouse Records. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: A Potential Axl Memoir?

Duff McKagan (Guns N Roses, Velvet Revolver, and Loaded) has stated that he is developing a memoir of his life. With McKagan’s entry into the world of autobiographies, this makes three members (Duff, Slash, and Steven Adler) from the original GN’R lineup to venture into the memoir business. Given Izzy Stradlin’s need to stick to his independent roots, no one is holding their breath over IZZY, which would have to be the title, right? That leaves us with W. Axl Rose.

The Axl memoir is interesting to many because of three factors. First, at times, Rose has maintained a semi-reclusive life, vanishing from a spotlight he once dominated. Second, few have had as many “what were they thinking?” moments as Axl. This is a perfect output for his side of the story. Finally, there is the good versus evil, love versus insanity, caring versus destructive natures (often in the same breath) through both his music and performances. Would all the answers be revealed in a “tell all” book? Of course not, it would probably confuse fans more, but in good natured fun, let’s look at some potential titles for this book that will never see the light of day. More...

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Tales From The Pit: Mutiny of the Vans

We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week AJ Jacobs of Mutiny Within tells a story that many of us can relate to, either because it happened to you or because you remember it happening to someone at a show.

"I was about 15 years old, went to see Children Of Bodom live, my favorite band at the time. So I was crowd surfing, screaming along with the lyrics, etc. Then I got into the pit, and oh man, I got my ass kicked. Not just that, but my sneaker came loose and I lost it. I had those big VANS sneakers, so it's no wonder it fell off.

"Anyway, so I only have 1 sneaker on at this point and I'm getting pushed further and further back in the venue. Then I saw an object getting thrown all the way to the ceiling several times. And of course, it was my shoe, people were just throwing it around.

"By the end of the show, I made it up to the barricade. When the last song ended and people started clearing out, I saw a bunch of random sneakers near the security guard. I said "Give me a left shoe!", so they did. It wasn't mine, but I wore it for the next week until I bought some new shoes. Needless to say, I steered away from VANS ever since."

Mutiny Within is currently touring North America with Sonata Arctica in support of their self-titled debut album, which was released on February 23rd. The band also had a track featured on the brand new "God of War III" EP. Finally, the band is only a few episodes into a 12-part documentary that can be seen at mutinywithin.com. New webisodes in the series are posted every Wednesday.

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

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