We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Special Ops drummer Clarence shares a story of show in an airplane hangar on a sketchy stage:
It happened in Beloeil in the spring time of 2009. We played at a party for a friend of a friend of a friend. The show was held in a huge hanger used for storing air planes. When we arrived, we realized that the stage was home made and poorly setup. We looked at each other and laughed without saying a word. It was bad. It was wobbling like crazy, the floor boards were made of different thicknesses and types of wood that had been sitting outside all winter. The stage was barely big enough to fit the four of us along with all the gear. Nails and screws were sticking out from everywhere.
When the time came for us to play, Clarence, in his normal excitement, ran up to the stage and jumped on. His foot went right through the floor board. Thankfully, he didn't hurt himself too badly. Just a minor scrape. Abe helped him back up and and the show began.
Knowing that the stage wasn't very solid, the Ops crew tried not to move around too much but the stage was doomed from the start. By the end of the set, the stage looked like a mine field. There were holes everywhere. So bad that someone had to patch some of the holes with smaller pieces of wood between some of the songs. It was a night they would all remember as "The night the stage wanted to eat us" Fun times were had by all that night. Clarence didn't sue because he was too wasted and didn't realize he had been injured until the following day.
Special Ops has a few local shows planned while bassist Waldo Thornhill is in rehabilitation from surgery from his second bout with cancer. Visit the band's MySpace page for more details.
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 metal scene in Red Deer, Canada, situated about halfway between Alberta's provincial capital to the north, Edmonton, and the city of Calgary to the south. Surrounded by farming communities and cattle ranches, a small but tight-knit collection of metal bands have been heavying things up in the prairie city of 90,000, setting the stage for Red Deer to finally find it's way onto the metal map. More...
For many people, when they think of hardcore, the first place they think of is New York. And with good reason too, the N.Y.H.C. scene is perhaps one of the most well known in the world of heavy music, right up there with the Bay Area thrash scene. New York has produced dozens of hardcore bands that have gone on to become legends in the field and the now sadly defunct CBGBs club hosted more hardcore shows than a Red Light district in Amsterdam. One of the absolute top dogs from the New York scene, is a band that has been around longer than most and arguably played CBGBs more than anyone, Agnostic Front.
Agnostic Front was formed by guitarist Vinnie Stigma, formerly of The Eliminators in 1980 and went through a few singers before settling on Roger Miret, himself the former bassist of The Psychos. Before long, the band recruited bass player Adam Moochie and drummer Ray Barbieri (aka Raybeez) on drums and released their debut EP, "United Blood" in 1983. The EP was well received by fans and the group recorded their first full length, "Victim In Pain" soon after, releasing it in 1984. The album pushed them to the top of the New York hardcore scene and earned them a tour with Scotish hardcore act, The Exploited. More...
Steven Tyler (Aerosmith) announced this week that if a judge on American Idol he would be honest. Speaking of honesty, Joe Perry spoke this week about the secret of Tyler becoming a judge, saying he was not happy with the situation and hurt Steven didn’t let the band know. So, if I understand correctly, it is okay to lie to your band mates regarding drug use, just not over reality television? Actually, I’m not even sure what side I’m on anymore, nor does it matter because we all know the true losers in this scenario are: Bret Michaels and Gene Simmons (he had to try and get this, right?) for losing out to Steven Tyler… More...
This week’s Growing Up Twisted begins with Cody telling a story of a chef that puts an eel up his drunk friends ass. At this point there really needs to be one show dedicated to Cody’s sexuality. Actually, one episode may not be enough, we are talking miniseries.
Dee receives an offer to do a show in Atlantic City so he uses this opportunity to take the family on a road trip to A.C. After a stop at the recording studio where Jesse is playing his new song, “Rock and Roll Aint Dead”, Dee decides he wants to sing the song with his son at his upcoming show. Meanwhile, back at the house Lita Ford (who is apparently opening for Dee) is calling to invite Cheyenne to sing her song “Cherry Bomb” live at the show. Of course Cheyenne, Dee’s little drama queen, has a sore throat and is unsure she will be able to perform the song. More...
We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week vocalist Brett Hoffman and guitarist Phil Fasciana of the legendary death metal band Malevolent Creation talk about an incident at one of their first shows involving an unbelievable oral amputation.
This footage is taken from their upcoming interview. Malevolent Creation's latest album, "Invidious Dominion," will be out August 24th. They're currently on a headlining tour before meeting up with Exodus for the March of Brutality Tour. For more Malevolent Creation, check out their MySpace page.
Often in the Sunday Old School articles, we tend to focus on the sub-genres of heavy metal such as thrash, death and black metal, amongst others. This week we take a look at a great example of traditional heavy metal in the form of California's Armored Saint. Armored Saint was formed in 1982 by brothers Phil and Gonzo Sandoval, who played guitar and drums respectively,along with friend Dave Prichard who also played guitar, whilst students at South Pasadena High School. Soon after their formation the band recruited bass player Joey Vera and lead singer John Bush. The name of the band was suggested by Gonzo while the band were watching the movie Excalibur and a five song demo was recorded not long afterwards, that included the song, "Lesson Well Learned," which was featured on the Metal Massacre II compilation. After releasing a self-titled EP through Metal Blade Records in 1983, the band signed to Chrysalis Records the next year. Their debut album, "March Of The Saint" was released that year and earned the band a minor hit with the song, "Can U Deliver?," as well as critical praise. A second album entitled, "Delirious Nomad" was released in 1985 and, like the first album, earned the band critical acclaim.
Soon after the release of "Delirious Nomad," Phil Sandoval decided to quit the band, leaving Armored Saint has a four-piece. The quartet began work on their next studio album, which resulted in 1987's "Raising Fear." The album did not sit as well with critics as the past two albums had and many believed that Phil Sandoval's exit had shaken the band's confidence. The album did however garner the band another minor hit with the song, "Isolation." After "Raising Fear" was released, a live album named, "Saints Will Conquer" hit the shelves the next year but sadly these would be the final albums to feature guitarist Dave Prichard. Although Prichard participated in the writing and demoing of their next album, he unfortunately passed away from leukemia during the sessions. The resulting album, "Symbol Of Salvation" was released in 1991 and used the guitar solo Prichard recorded for the song, "Tainted Past." The album also featured the return of Phil Sandoval, as well as new guitarist Jeff Duncan. The record was seen as a return to form and perhaps their best yet by critics and fans alike but ultimately the band were unsure of a future without Prichard. During this period of uncertainty, John Bush was asked by Anthrax if he would be interested in becoming their new vocalist, replacing the recently departed Joey Belladonna. Bush's decision to accept the job proved to be the final straw for Armored Saint and they decided to call it a day. During the band's inactivity, other members kept themselves busy with various musical proects. Bassist Joey Vera found success as a producer, whilst also performing in bands such as Fates Warning and Lizzy Borden and the Sandoval brothers formed a new band together entitled Life After Death, which was more inspired by the likes of Thin Lizzy than the heavy metal influences of Armored Saint. More...
Rockers from the eighties continue to bring in the viewers for reality TV. With Dee Snider, Gene Simmons, and Bret Michaels regulars on the TV circuit it doesn’t appear this trend will be disappearing anytime soon. Here is a look at some of the other reality shows currently being considered by the networks. More...
The third episode begins with Cheyenne looking or hiding socks and not wanting to participate in her older brother Shane’s sketch comedy act. Apparently Shane needs the whole family involved or else it just won’t be funny. It is unclear whether the socks are going to be part of the act. Cheyenne takes a nap and wakes up in tears, eventually she goes with her Mom (Suzette) to a magic shop because they need to buy a beard. When she inquires about a beard that hobby magician confirms that they have a wizard beard and that it looks real. Duh, don’t all wizard beards look real? Where it gets interesting is when the hobby guy magician asks Suzette if her breasts are real. This immediately angers her so she calls Dee and the boys to let them know that someone else is talking about her breasts. Being the twisted family they are it’s actually the boys that are more offended. Within minutes Dee and the boys are in the hobby shop threatening this teenage magician who is holding back his laughter. More...
The thrash metal movement in the eighties saw bands all over the world adopt the new approach to heavy metal, and the United States were arguably the champions of the genre. Although it was California and New York that were credited with some of the biggest and best names in thrash, other states produced some of the heaviest hitters of the bunch. A great example of this, would be the state of Arizona, which produced the politically minded Sacred Reich. The band formed in 1985 by vocalist and bass player Phil Rind and signed to Metal Blade Records, one of the biggest labels for thrash metal at the time, soon after. They released their first album, "Ignorance" in 1987 and was extremely well received by thrash fans all across the globe. An EP entitled, "Surf Nicaragua" followed the next year and featured a cover of the Black Sabbath classic, "War Pigs," as well as a passage from the song "Wipe Out" in the EP's title track.
After another EP, this one recorded live at the Dynamo festival in the Netherlands, Sacred Reich released a second album named, "The American Way" in 1990. The album saw a departure somewhat from their thrash metal sound, without discarding it completely and once again, was loved by fans and critics alike. Their next album, "Independent" did not find as much favour as their first two releases, but contained some stellar material, such as the title track. This album would also introduce drummer Dave McClain, who later went on to join Machine Head. Three years later, Sacred Reich released their fourth, and to date final studio album, "Heal," which regained the critical praise that "Independent" did not receive. After an absence of six years, the band's original drummer Greg Hall rejoined the group and they subsequently released a live record entitled, "Still Ignorant" in 1997. Sadly, this would prove to be the final release from Sacred Reich, as they decided to call it a day in 2000.
In 2007, the band decided to reform with the lineup of Phil Rind, Greg Hall and guitarists Wiley Arnett and Jason Rainey, peforming live around the world, most noticably at European festivals such as Wacken Open Air and Graspop Metal Meeting. Although the band has showed no sign in ending these performances any time soon, Rind has repeatedly stated that the band will not record another studio album. More...
People.com reports that Bret Michaels (Poison) vows to start Groupie Love, the first retirement home for groupies. Two days later Michaels tour bus was pulled over, Marijuana was found on board. This is no coincidence. Question: Is medicinal Marijuana a treatment for brain hemorrhage recovery? More...
Dee Snider is no stranger to reality TV appearances, but this week A&E launched Dee’s very own Osbourne type show where we follow the Twisted Sister front man’s family in Long Island, NY where they bond together and well, cry a lot. The family is made up of Dee’s sons Jesse, Shane, Cody, daughter Cheyenne, and many tears. More...
We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week The Binary Code guitarist Jesse Zuretti sends in a short-story length submission that he even titled "Don’t Do This To El Guapo."
A wise man by the name of Bas Rutten once said, “He tried to kill me, now I gotta return the favor."
Back in May we did a quick, week-long jog of dates with a gaggle of maniacs called Gloominous Doom. What seemed sure to be a super smooth run of shows turned quickly into a giant rager by the time we hit our first night. The second date had us doing an on-air performance and interview for UMass Lowell‘s Stress Factory Radio Station before our much anticipated basement show with the_Network and Hivesmasher. The show was going down in the concrete slab beneath the house where the Hivesmasher cubs keep all of their honey. This makes only for a dangerous, loud, and uncontrollable night from what we learned very quickly. Brett, our faithful live Bass-Master 3000 (also of East of the Wall/Biclops/Day Without Dawn/Postman Syndrome/Yoko Ono/Rolling Stones/Chumbawamba notoriety) managed to score a nice boo-boo from good old Aaron Heinold of Hivesmasher, incurring the aftermath of a Hivesmasher stunt induced by a severe amount of alcohol consumption. Read with caution, in case you ever plan on going to one of these basement shows with the level of rage emanating from the bands on the bill.
We’re nearing the end of our set, which was nothing more than a pain in the ass for me, as I broke a string nearly every note I played (thanks to Joseph Spiller of System Divide/Aborted & Kevin from the_Network, I was able to switch over to his guitar, and break his strings). The rage in the air is starting to feel real heavy. Not a frustrated rage, but a rage created in cooperation by the bands and the show-goers. The made-for-pain-and-violence setup of the basement made it ever so easy for the rage-aholics to spread their wings of anger, and throw bottles and karate dance in the 10x30 space we rocked in. As we’re moving our crap out of the way for the_Network, we can feel the kids there with like-minded angst toward humanity getting pumped for the misanthropic gaggle of drunken outdoorsmen to start playing their ferocious set. Even without a bassist, these guys managed to make the concrete crumble and shake by the end of their set.
As soon as Hivesmasher pummels their way into their first song, the maniacs comprising the entire audience start raging a level higher. Broken glass covers the floor where Converse sneakers and Sauconys patter to the beat of the grind. A large man dressed in a bright orange windbreaker suit (head to toe, this guy was the sweetest deal of the night) flails his arms and legs, kicking and air chopping, sort of like a graceful asylum patient with a jar of centipedes dumped into his now pried-open straightjacket. Nevertheless, the pot's about to boil, and we're in the eye of the shit-storm.
At a show we play, 9 times out of 10, you can find Brett up front, dead center, head banging in all of his 110lb glory for every single band on the bill. As per usual, there was no deviation from the norm on this particular night - especially since Hivesmasher are long-time amigos of Brett and the East of the Wall crew. This could go both ways: it could be a “bro-down” set, where a band acknowledges the sweetness of bros getting together and being idiots, or Hivesmasher could simply acknowledge Brett’s presence by smashing a microphone into his eye socket.
I'm sitting next to our merch table in the back of the room, watching the kids near the band go ape shit, when all of a sudden Little Man Brett comes trudging over to me, half bent over, holding his hands over his right eye. When he moves his hands away from his eyes, I do the typical “Ooooo, sheeeit that looks bad” in response to the wound. The microphone Aaron decided to use to penetrate Brett’s skull with apparently managed to snag the outer right brow and cheek causing it to bleed quite a bit. Essentially, the mic did not fit into Brett’s skull through his eye socket. Now, Brett might be a tiny guy, but he proved to be anything but a pussy. He simply takes a shirt, holds it up to his face to keep the blood out of his eye, and walks right back up to the front of the “stage” area, head-banging as if nothing happened. And this was only one song in!
Aaron and the Hivesmasher dudes really made us feel like we were a part of some kind of smashing brotherhood by the end of the night. Brett opted out of getting stitches at any point during the tour (and did not get stitches any time after the tour).
The Binary Code's new EP, "Priest," will be out August 10th. They've also announced a release show for August 2nd in New York and have recently posted a new single online. For more The Binary Code music, check out their MySpace page.
Check back every Tuesday for more pit stories.
Each week with "Unearthing the Metal Underground," we’ll be spotlighting a few quality lesser known bands in an attempt to spread the word and expose acts that make the underground great. This week we head into a genre that combines two seemingly irreconcilable styles – traditional folk music and heavy metal. Despite what might appear like water and oil, folk music mixes exceedingly well with both traditional metal and extreme styles such as death or black metal. Folk metal is currently dominated by big names like Korpiklaani, Finntroll, and Eluveitie. Anyone who digs a little deeper will find a host of unknowns bands just as capable of making metal heads want to raise a tankard or march off to Mordor.
There’s a joke in the metal world about all bands being inspired by Satan, Lovecraft, or Tolkien. It turns out it’s not just the Europeans who can’t get enough of the epic “The Lord of the Rings” series, though. You can now throw Argentina on that list, with Tengwar drawing their name from the language created by Tolkien.
Tengwar starts with a base of traditional instruments, and then adds the guitars in to augment the music, showing off a huge Celtic influence that is more “folk” than “metal.” The range of instruments found in Tengwar’s music is staggering, covering the gamut of what folk can provide. Galician bagpipes, recorders, flutes, mandolins, tin whistles, and fiddles all make appearances throughout the music.
The clean vocals are done in an epic rock and roll style, keeping up the sweeping and grand ideals of the source material. In some parts the music speeds up and almost approaches a Korpiklaani-esque happy drinking atmosphere. Tengwar is currently working on a full-length album titled “The Halfling’s Rise,” and songs from the “Tengwesta Quendion” EP are available for streaming via the band’s MySpace page.
Footage of the band performing a self-titled track and the song “Bear Skin” (poor sound on this clip) can be seen below.
Very few bands are able to amass a cult following having never released a proper album. Fewer still can be credited with being a key influence in not one, but two genres. No ordinary metal band could achieve such praise, but then Hellhammer were not an ordinary band. The band formed under the name Hammerhead in the Swiss capital of Zurich by guitarist and vocalist Tom G. Fischer (aka Tom Warrior) and bassist Urs Sprenger (aka Steve Warrior,) along with drummer Pete Stratton and took influence from many British bands such as Black Sabbath, Venom, Angel Witch and Raven. Before long, Stratton had left the band, to be replaced by drummer Jörg Neubart (a.k.a. "Bruce Day") and the group changed their name to Hellhammer. This lineup of the band recorded two demos, "Death Fiend" and "Triumph Of Death," but only released the latter initially, sending it to record labels and magazines, finding little to no positive feedback at first.
After the recording of the first two demos, bassist Urs Sprenger left the group to be replaced by former Schizo bass player Martin Eric Ain. Ain and Fischer began working together to break away from the confines that they felt Hellhammer imposed on them, taking the band in a more radical direction and recording one more demo entitled, "Satanic Rites," before their first commercial release, the "Apocalyptic Raids" EP. The release was not very successful initially, but ultimately proved to be a huge influence on many metal bands, especially in the black and death metal genres. The band decided to call it a day three months after this release, with Fischer and Ain resurfacing in Celtic Frost, another hugely influential band.
Although Hellhammer was widely slated in their time, they have since been regarded as one of the most important bands in the history of extreme metal. Many bands have covered Hellhammer in the past, including such big names as Sepultura and Napalm Death, as well as Tom Fischer himself during his time with Apollyon Sun, the band he formed after the first Celtic Frost breakup and in 2008, a compilation album was released entitled, "Demon Entrails" which featured all three demos. More...
This week I give you my top albums from the eighties hair bands. Essentially a top twenty-five list, with a twist; imagine all of the albums from the eighties disappeared and you could no longer listen to this genre ever again, similar to 1992, but permanent. Unable to own the music, hear the music on the radio, or even listen to a song at a bar…what would you do to change this? Allow me to present the razor blade test. How many times will you cut yourself to bring a particular album back to your life? More...
We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Gazelle Amber Valentine of sludge metal duo Jucifer shares a few stories, mostly about what happens when the first guitar note blasts out:
Every pit has some joy, some blood... and usually a fight or two. But when you're playing guitar through upwards of a dozen cabs, some of the most entertaining pit incidents happen before the pit has even had time to get started.
Most of my favorite crowd reaction stories happened when I hit the very first chord. Because except for those occasions when something goes wrong or there's a noise ordinance, the first chord is always waaay louder than people think it's gonna be. And this leads to great moments. Like when our touring sound man watched this guy with a full pint glass trying to chat up a lady beside the sound board. And when I started to play, the dude jumped and dropped his beer. Which bounced, shattered, and splashed all over the girl. Who was not impressed with dude's game.
A house sound man from a club we've played since the mid nineties told me that he always watches to see what happens. And his favorite reaction to recount was this: a guy flat out fell over when I struck the first chord. Fell on the floor. Epic.
But if you want blood, the best Jucifer pit was probably the one which was throwing pint glasses around. Some of which ended up on the front of the stage, where they were crushed into a perfect carpet of glass shards for the most enthusiastic moshers to roll around in. I can still picture one guy perfectly. He was so covered in blood, he looked like an extra from a slasher movie. Shit did not even look real. And he kept coming back for more. Best part: we talked to him after the show, and he was sober. Now that's commitment!
Check back every Tuesday for more pit stories!
The relationship between punk rock and heavy metal has been one containing as much respect as it does rivalry. While many fans of both genres have criticised the other for varying reasons, there's no doubt that without punk, the variation that we enjoy in today's metal music wouldn't exist. After the first wave of punk in the seventies, a harsher, angrier form of the music would begin in both the United States, and the United Kingdom. Of all the bands in the U.K., Scotland's The Exploited were regarded as one of the best and their influence can be heard as much today in metal, as it can in punk.
The band was formed in 1979 in the Scotish capital of Edinburgh and began gaining more of a following when vocalist Terry Buchan was removed from the band, being replaced by his older brother Walter aka Wattie, who had just returned home after serving in the British army. The band quickly formed their own label and released their debut EP, "Army Life" soon after, which spent more than 18 months in the top 20 of the British independent charts. They gained more independent success afterwards with such singles as "Barmy Army" and "Dogs Of War," which have since gone on to become staples of the band's live shows. The Exploited then proved that they were not just a singles band in 1981, when they released their first album, "Punk's Not Dead." With it's iconic title and vicious attitude, The Exploited captured the minds of frustrated British youths and spat in the face of journalists who had dismissed punk as a flash in the pan. Another outstanding album followed the next year in the form of "Troops Of Tomorrow," which featured the song, "UK82." The song was featured in the Tim Roth movie "Made In Britain," as well as being so important, that the British hardcore punk scene of the time, featuring such other bands as Discharge and G.B.H. was named after it.
After two more albums, "Let's Start A War (Said Maggie One Day)" and "Horror Epics," the band changed musical styles somewhat with their fifth album, "Death Before Dishonour," which featured a sound much more in the vein of crossover thrash. The album cover itself seemed to capture the band's crossover appeal brilliantly, as it featured British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher holding hands with the Grim Reaper, blending the 80s heavy metal imagery with their continued punk beliefs. Ever since then, the group has carried on this musical style, reaching the ears of both punks and metal fans with their aggressive message of anarchy and anti-authoritarianism that's as true today as it was thirty years ago. The Exploited are currently writing material for a brand new album, which will be their first since 2003's, "Fuck The System." More...
Ever since Led Zeppelin released Stairway To Heaven, hard rock bands have showcased their sensitive spot through the power ballad. No genre exploited this format more than the eighties hair bands. A formula that started early: Release a heavy song, maybe two, and then release a ballad was a staple for the glam and spandex bands. This week we pay tribute to these songs. Despite a self imposed limit of one song per band, whittling down the list was a challenging. Let’s face it, no two top ten lists of this nature are ever the same. To assist, a sealed scorecard using lyrics, video presence, and longevity was used to determine the top ten power ballads. More...
We've been talking to bands and fans everywhere to get their favorite mosh pit stories. This week Rod Usher of German metallic horrorpunk band The Other shares a story of a fan that was a little too out of control and gets what he deserves:
Some years ago we played a festival in the Netherlands. We played the second stage as the last band of the night and a lot of people in attendance had already spent the whole day drinking and doing all kinds of substances, since Holland is a very liberal country. One guy in the audience was clearly under the influence of something else besides alcohol and grass, because he was very aggressive, hitting people while slamdancing and generally causing trouble. Of course I told him to calm down, but that only seemed to make things worse. At one point that guy jumped on stage and dragged me down into the audience. While I’m happy to have stagedivers come up and jump in to the crowd, I don’t want to be attacked by some weirdo. Especially since I had no idea what he was on and what his intentions were. So instead of waiting for what was going to happen, I hit the guy right in the face. He lost parts of his front teeth, his buddies didn’t really appreciate my hitting their friend, but the rest of the audience cheered, cause he was a nuisance. We continued the show while the guy and his friends were escorted from the festival-grounds by the security. I’m not proud I hit a guy and I surely didn’t mean to hurt him like that and I actually sent an email to the festival organization and apologized for the whole mess, but in the end I believe that it was the only thing that I could have done… If you go to a show, party, drink, and let loose. But if you become aggressive, it might come right back to you!
The Other is preparing to release their latest album, "New Blood," on August 31st. Rod Usher commented: "We are very proud, that our new album is being released in North America on SPV / E1 Entertainment. Our previous records were only available as imports and now finally all of the US- and Canadian Fiends have a chance to get 'New Blood' without any problems."
Check back every Tuesday for more pit stories!