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ALL I SEE IS WAR: Sevendust’s Lajon Witherspoon On Making Their New Album!

ALL I SEE IS WAR: Sevendust’s Lajon Witherspoon On Making Their New Album!

In 1994, Sevendust first forged a familial tie amongst each other that translated into one of the most diehard audiences in the game. To this day, the connection between fans and the GRAMMY® Award-nominated, gold-certified hard rock outfit only grows stronger. A trifecta of now-classic gold albums—’Sevendust’ [1997], ‘Home’ [1999], and ‘Animosity’ [2001]— ignited their journey. Known as an equally intense and unforgettable live force, they’ve consistently packed houses around the world and decimated stages everywhere from Rock on the Range and Woodstock to OZZfest and Shiprocked! 2015’s ‘Kill The Flaw’ represented a high watermark. Bowing at #13 on the Billboard Top 200, it scored their highest debut on the respective chart since 2010 and marked their fifth consecutive Top 10 on the Top Rock Albums Chart and third straight Top 3 on the Hard Rock Albums Chart. Most impressively, the lead single “Thank You” garnered a nomination in the category of “Best Metal Performance” at the 2016 GRAMMY® Awards, a career first.

In 2018, the band stands ready to unveil the latest chapter in their already rich history — ‘All I See Is War.’ For their twelfth full-length and first release for Rise Records, the quintet—Lajon Witherspoon [lead vocals], Clint Lowery [lead guitar, backing vocals], John Connolly [rhythm guitar, backing vocals], Vince Hornsby [bass], and Morgan Rose [drums]—did the best thing they could possibly do to combat all of the division in the streets and on social media — they simply made a Sevendust record. The journey to the new album started a year before, when the boys began to discuss what would become their next offering. Instead of diving right in, they took advantage of an eight-month writing process, which proved to be a breath of fresh air. After sessions in their native Atlanta and at Lowery’s spot in St. Louis, the group headed down to Orlando in order to record at Studio Barbarosa with Michael “Elvis” Baskette [Alter Bridge, Trivium, Slash]. Over the years, they maintained a friendship with the producer amplified by the praises of longtime comrades Alter Bridge and Connolly whose Projected utilized his mixing talents on their debut. It was a match made in rock ‘n’ roll heaven as the band and producer immediately began to gel and vibe with each other on a highly creative level. ‘All I See Is War’ is proof-positive that, even with 20 years together as a band, Sevendust is showing no signs of slowing down. The new album is as powerful and captivating as the albums that introduced them to the world at the start of their career and, by all accounts, they’re just getting warmed up!

Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Lajon Witherspoon as Sevendust prepares to embark on a headline tour in support of ‘All I See Is War.’ The charismatic frontman offers up a look inside the making of their 12th studio album, the challenges they faced along the way and what the future might hold for them in the years to come!

You’ve come a long way from your humble beginnings to a true rock star. I wanted to go back to the earlier years to start. What went into finding your creative voice as a young man?

Ya know, I think what really started it was church. Growing up, I was in the church choir and I would get that same feeling of nervous energy that I still get before we go on stage today. I guess it’s a thing you need but also that you crave. So, I started with the choir and when I was in high school, I continued on. I almost did show choir, but I was like, “Wait, we have to dance too? That’s a little too much!” [laughs] I think that it what started to mold me. I also grew up seeing my father playing music and being a singer. I think that is what really focused me. It helped mold me. It made me want to do a lot of singing and not be afraid to show my voice. I didn’t have the best voice, but it helped me realize that you don’t have to have the best voice if you have conviction and meaning. If you have that, people are going to get it, understand it and feel it! That’s what you want; you want people to feel it!

By all accounts, you’re known as one of the best frontmen in rock. You have the rare ability to truly command a crowd and bring the live show to the next level. When do you feel you came into your own in that role?

I don’t know, thank you for saying that, but I think there is still so much room to grow! That’s a good question though. I think the energy from the beautiful friends and family out there is what I truly feed off of. They command me to make sure that I command the stage. Too many voices out there can’t do it, so I guess one has too! [laughs]

You’re a guy who never slows down. What fuels your creative fire these days?

Wow! Ya know what? What fuels it today is continuing to be relevant in this industry. We were recently able to sign a new record deal with Rise Records! Thank the Lord for them coming along to be in our lives. I think that put a spark under the band. That goes for me and the rest of the guys in the band. This is something that we had promised that we were going to continue. I’m praying that with Rise, we go down a different avenue that we haven’t been down in a long time. We are really excited about the adventure with these guys!

The new record is ‘All I See is War.’ What does the title mean to you and the band?

We didn’t realize it until the end of this album, but we said “war” a lot though the course of it. We say, “All I see is war…” within the song “Dirty.” Funny enough, in this world today, war is a big part of what is going on. I think about the times when I was a kid and how you really only read about old wars. Growing up today, war is going on and it’s been going on for a while. At the same time, I feel it’s a play on words. I don’t want to get too political with it but, with the album art, you see the kids playing and still trying to have fun but behind them is fire. For me personally, I feel like that’s what’s going on. I think people can take it and go with it however they would like.

What can you tell us about the headspace the band was in going into the creative process for this record? Was there anything you were excited to accomplish this time around?

Yeah! Working with Elvis! [aka producer Michael “Elvis” Baskette] I couldn’t wait, man! Personally, we had been talking about it for years! I was so excited, and I really didn’t know what to expect or what it would be like! The first night, when I flew into Orlando, I went to his home and it was really exciting. We were the first band to ever be invited to live with him at the studio, where the house is at. Immediately, there was an incredible vibe! Working with him every day was great. I never felt like, “Oh man, I don’t feel like I want to go into the studio today.” It was an experience to watch him work! It was a true pleasure! Creatively, Elvis is good all around. He’s a guitar player, singer and a writer. He’s a really cool dude and the kind of guy you’d like to hang out with in addition to working with. For me, Elvis was easy. Working with him was never hard. We feed off of each other really well. The ideas flowed back and forth very easily. You know how it is, sometimes you just click with somebody and have a good workflow. I’m not saying that other producer’s we’ve worked with didn’t have it, but this was something different! With that said, I’d love to work with him again. It was an easy process and we fed off each other! Everyone was in a great headspace. I mean, it was great to be able to go to sleep in this big, beautiful home and wake up and go right to the studio! We were there a little over 30 days and we broke trail maybe once or twice. I remember one night we went out. Our big night out was to Taco Bell and McDonald’s! [laughs] We were so excited. It was like, “It’s Friday Night!!!” [laughs] My point is that we go to work, man! This album was really important to us. Every album is important to us but it’s an important time for us and we really had a good time doing it.

What do you consider the biggest challenges you faced during the creation of this album?

Honestly, it was figuring out what songs to pick! Going into it, I think there were over 50 songs that we had to whittle down to an album’s worth of material. That was hard, but fun! Getting down to the wire, at the very end of the process, it was a difficult thing to figure out what songs weren’t going to make the album. The last days of being in the studio were tough. There were moments of “What should we do here?” or “Should we change this?” or “Is it too late to change that?” Other than that, it was a great experience from start to finish! I mean, come on, there was a pool and a hot tub at the house, it was in Florida, the weather was beautiful every day! Even when it was cold, it wasn’t cold! Are you kidding me! [laughs] How could it have not been great! [laughs] When we get together, it’s the best. When you have so many writers, everyone plays a really cool part. Everyone in the band can sing and everyone can write, so it tends to make things a little easier. For me, it’s cool because if I’m having problem with something, someone else in the band can say, “Oh, try this out here…” or “What do you think about this?” There is always something there and something to dig! I think we kind of push each other. It’s always a creative process. You have good days and you have bad days, but we always find a way to come together musically, if that makes sense!

What made “Dirty” the right choice for a lead single for the new album?

Wow! Let’s see, inquiring minds want to know! [laughs] I think “Dirty” is a great lead-off song, and the whole team behind us now felt the song was the one that best representations of what’s going on right now. With that said, there are so many other songs that I can’t wait for everyone to hear! It’s funny because “Dirty” was one of the first songs that we wrote in Atlanta, Georgia. We went down there and put it together. That was one of the first! That makes me feel good because first impressions mean a lot! That’s what was going on and that’s what we were feeling! I’m glad that other people got that too!

That’s very cool to here. That’s one of the things I love about your band. It’s more than a band, it’s a brotherhood!

Yeah, man. I appreciate that. It’s crazy. Now, we have families and our own lives. Sevendust is a part of it, of course. I remember, years and years ago, saying “Wouldn’t it be crazy if we had kids and wives and they came out on the road and were at our shows?” Sure enough, that’s happening! [laughs] What a beautiful dream come true! I think that this is something we were destined to do and are very blessed to be a part of. I could never take it for granted! Like you said, we are brothers but, more importantly, we are family!

You will be kicking off a new tour in support of “All I See Is War” very shortly. What goes into putting your tours together these days?

That’s a good question, man. I’m trying to get in that headspace right now! It’s funny because we are trying to pick the set list right now and a lighting show is getting put together, which is exciting. We will rehearse here in a couple of weeks and get it all together! We have been off the road for a while and only done a few shows here and there, but I think once you get back out there, that’s when it gets real! I mean, it’s getting REAL right now! [laughs] Once you leave the house and get on the bus, it’s real! The first show is April 20th with us and Five Finger Death Punch and some other bands. That’s when it really hits you and you start hitting it! [laughs] It’s exciting and I can’t wait to get out there, share new music, get back in the faces and start rocking again. We have all these big festivals, along with 18 headlining shows for this new album. It’s a blessing!

One of the other cool things about your shows is the mix of people from all walks of life and all ages. There are die-hards who’ve been there from day one and new faces as well. There are plenty of people just now discovering your back catalog of work and that leads to my next question. What’s a good spot for them to jump in? Any particular songs, maybe lesser known, that they might start exploring?

Oh my God! What a crazy question, man! There’s like a thousand songs! Let’s see! Ya know, the album “Seasons” is absolutely one of my favorite albums. That was with Butch Walker. That’s a good one to ease you into it! We were doing some crazy stuff, but it was awesome! “Time Travelers and Bonfires” was fun. That was an acoustic version of what we were doing. There are so many things out there. It’s funny, I go to my favorite little restaurant that my family and I hang out and they have a jukebox thing in there. There are over 100 and some Sevendust songs on that thing! [laughs] I’m like, “Holy cow, we need to calm down a little bit!” [laughs] But yeah, definitely check out “Seasons.” We were young, and the songs are still powerful!

We’ve talked a lot about the past and present today, but where do you see Sevendust headed in the future?

I don’t know, man! Hopefully with a couple of Grammys! [laughs] Definitely touring and hopefully getting bigger. I think there is still so much room to grow. I see us building more overseas, for sure. With this new label in place, we can explore some different avenues and that’s one of the ones I’m really excited about. I can’t wait to get back overseas and build. I also can’t wait to get back in the studio again! Like I said, I’d love to work with Elvis again. I’m already excited about doing other stuff, even though “All I See Is War” isn’t even out yet! I can’t wait to tour this! I think there is so much more left in us as a band. In a lot of ways, it feels like the beginning again in a sense.

You released a solo single last year titled, “Love Song.” What was that experience like for you and does this mean we are inching ever closer to a Lajon Witherspoon solo album?

Yeah, man. That’s funny you ask that. It was fun to do that and cool to see the feedback. Everyone was excited about it. Actually, that is still in the making right now. I’m talking with a very well-known artist and writer that I think a lot of people would be excited that I’ll be working with. When everything slows down again with Sevendust, I will wrap my head around that again. I’m excited about that, so, yeah, that’s still in the making!

Do you have a particular vision for what this solo album might be?

I want to go Jimi Hendrix, bell bottoms, afro… [laughs] No, I’m just kidding! [laughs] Ya know, I’d like to keep it in the rock genre but maybe not as heavy but still heavy at times. That’s what I do! It’s just a different side of it. It’s just like the song I put out there, “Love Song.” It’s kind of what I do, but just a different blend of it!

Fair enough! Getting back to Sevendust and everything you have created, what’s the best lesson we can take from your journey?

Woo! I’ll tell you what, young men and young women out there, as an artist, stay true to your art. All that is great but also be a businessman or businesswoman. Try to be at least. Try to keep your hands and eyes on all of that. It took us a long time to learn that. I think we are still learning but I would hope I have a better grasp on it these days! [laughs] That’s something that you have to do, man. You have to watch out for what’s going on because if you don’t, no one else really will. That’s some advice! Again, stay true to your art and be passionate! It’s so funny, I’m thinking back on when we got a record deal, 20 something years ago. We said, “Yeah, we made it!” When I think about it now, I’m like, “Oh my God, it was before the beginning and we thought we had made it!” What a dream come true to sign a record deal and tour the world. After all these years, like I was saying earlier, to sign a record deal again and have that feeling all over again. It’s the feeling of “Wow, there is someone who wants to be behind this and help us to continue this journey that we’ve been on and maybe take it to the next level. It’s a good thing, man!

That’s so awesome to hear! Well, you guys keep pushing forward and we will always be out here waving the flag for you!

Thank you, brother! I appreciate that! It’s great to talk to you again! Talk to you soon!

For all the latest news and tour dates for Sevendust, visit their official website at www.sevendust.comAll I See Is War, scheduled for release on May 11th via Rise Records.

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Iron Maiden Celebrate Release of ‘The Book Of Souls: Live Chapter’ With Free Online Screening Event!

Iron Maiden Celebrate Release of ‘The Book Of Souls: Live Chapter’ With Free Online Screening Event!

BMG will release IRON MAIDEN’s The Book Of Souls: Live Chapter on November 17th in the U.S. [through Warner Music rest of world] This live recording comprises 15 songs captured during The Book Of Souls World Tour, which covered 39 countries across six continents during 2016 and 2017, and was seen by over two million fans. The Book Of Souls: Live Chapter will be released physically in CD, deluxe CD & vinyl audio formats, with the concert film available to stream free online or as a digital download full details below.

The Book Of Souls: Live Chapter will premiere on YouTube on Saturday, November 11 @ 7pm GMT- as a thank you to all our loyal fans around the world we’re streaming the entire concert film for free. Grab some beers, hook up your best speakers and enjoy The Book Of Souls tour from the comfort of your own sofa.

Go to www.youtube.com/ironmaiden to experience this awesome show!

Produced by Tony Newton and Iron Maiden founder member and bass player Steve Harris, the album is based on this year’s set list and is a faithful record of the epic show, including six songs from The Book Of Souls, the band’s most recent studio album, along with many other classics and fan favorites.

Steve comments, “We spent a huge amount of time working on this as I wanted to get it as close to the Maiden live experience as I possibly could and to represent our fans from different parts of the world. This meant listening to literally hours upon hours of tapes from every show, to select material and construct a sound that would run consistently across the whole album and capture the excitement of a new country like El Salvador alongside such regular favorites as Donington or Wacken.”

Maiden manager Rod Smallwood adds, “The Book Of Souls World Tour was a huge undertaking, not least for Bruce who started the tour singing in public for the very first time since recovering from throat cancer. He also piloted Ed-Force One, upgraded last year from a Boeing 757 to a 747 so we could go further and faster to visit some fantastic cities and fans all round the world. This year continued that excitement bringing us our most successful North American and U.K. tours ever. It was a very special tour in a great many ways so we felt we wanted to document it for both ourselves and for our fans. Steve has done an incredible job putting together this set from cities around the world and we’ve made sure the deluxe CD will be available in a matching book format to The Book of Souls release.

“On top of all that the release will be celebrated by an event that is a Maiden first: a free live streaming premiere of the concert film, as a thank you to our loyal fans around the world. We hope that the global Maiden community will all enjoy coming together to watch this special event online. Many of you will be in it as there is footage from a whole host of the places we played on this momentous tour. ”

The full tracklisting and the cities they were recorded in, is as follows:

If Eternity Should Fail – Sydney, Australia
Speed of Light – Cape Town, South Africa
Wrathchild – Dublin, Ireland
Children of the Damned – Montreal, Canada
Death or Glory – Wroclaw, Poland
The Red and the Black – Tokyo, Japan
The Trooper – San Salvador, El Salvador
Powerslave – Trieste, Italy
The Great Unknown – Newcastle, UK
The Book of Souls – Donington, UK
Fear of the Dark – Fortaleza, Brazil
Iron Maiden – Buenos Aires, Argentina
Number of the Beast – Wacken, Germany
Blood Brothers – Donington, UK
Wasted Years – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The album will replicate The Book Of Souls original formats and be issued as a limited edition deluxe 2CD hardcase Book, a regular 2CD album, a triple black vinyl LP, and digital download in high resolution audio (48khz/24 bit) including Mastered for iTunes (MFiT) version. A digital download of the concert film will also be available to purchase following its free online premiere.

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Iron Maiden To Release ‘The Book Of Souls: Live Chapter’ On November 17th!

Iron Maiden To Release ‘The Book Of Souls: Live Chapter’ On November 17th!

BMG has announced the release of IRON MAIDEN’s The Book Of Souls: Live Chapter on November 17th in the U.S. [through Warner Music rest of world] This live recording comprises 15 songs captured during The Book Of Souls World Tour, which covered 39 countries across six continents during 2016 and 2017, and was seen by over two million fans.The Book Of Souls: Live Chapter will be released physically in CD, deluxe CD & vinyl audio formats, with the concert film available to stream free online or as a digital download – full details below.

Produced by Tony Newton and Iron Maiden founder member and bass player Steve Harris, the album is based on this year’s set list and is a faithful record of the epic show, including six songs from The Book Of Souls, the band’s most recent studio album, along with many other classics and fan favorites.

Steve comments, “We spent a huge amount of time working on this as I wanted to get it as close to the Maiden live experience as I possibly could and to represent our fans from different parts of the world. This meant listening to literally hours upon hours of tapes from every show, to select material and construct a sound that would run consistently across the whole album and capture the excitement of a new country like El Salvador alongside such regular favorites as Donington or Wacken.”

Maiden manager Rod Smallwood adds, “The Book Of Souls World Tour was a huge undertaking, not least for Bruce who started the tour singing in public for the very first time since recovering from throat cancer. He also piloted Ed-Force One, upgraded last year from a Boeing 757 to a 747 so we could go further and faster to visit some fantastic cities and fans all round the world. This year continued that excitement bringing us our most successful North American and U.K. tours ever. It was a very special tour in a great many ways so we felt we wanted to document it for both ourselves and for our fans. Steve has done an incredible job putting together this set from cities around the world and we’ve made sure the deluxe CD will be available in a matching book format to The Book of Souls release.

“On top of all that the release will be celebrated by an event that is a Maiden first: a free live streaming premiere of the concert film, as a thank you to our loyal fans around the world. We hope that the global Maiden community will all enjoy coming together to watch this special event online. Many of you will be in it as there is footage from a whole host of the places we played on this momentous tour. ”

More details on how to take part in this one-off event will be published on IronMaiden.com
shortly.

The full tracklisting and the cities they were recorded in, is as follows:

If Eternity Should Fail – Sydney, Australia
Speed of Light – Cape Town, South Africa
Wrathchild – Dublin, Ireland
Children of the Damned – Montreal, Canada
Death or Glory – Wroclaw, Poland
The Red and the Black – Tokyo, Japan
The Trooper – San Salvador, El Salvador
Powerslave – Trieste, Italy
The Great Unknown – Newcastle, UK
The Book of Souls – Donington, UK
Fear of the Dark – Fortaleza, Brazil
Iron Maiden – Buenos Aires, Argentina
Number of the Beast – Wacken, Germany
Blood Brothers – Donington, UK
Wasted Years – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The album will replicate The Book Of Souls original formats and be issued as a limited edition deluxe 2CD hardcase Book, a regular 2CD album, a triple black vinyl LP, and digital download in high resolution audio (48khz/24 bit) including Mastered for iTunes (MFiT) version. A digital download of the concert film will also be available to purchase following its free online premiere.

 

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Iron Maiden Returns To North America With “The Book Of Souls” Tour In 2017!

Iron Maiden Returns To North America With “The Book Of Souls” Tour In 2017!

IRON MAIDEN’s hugely successful The Book Of Souls World Tour will return to North America for an extensive series of arena and amphitheater shows in summer 2017. The mammoth tour opened in Florida last February playing fourteen sold-out shows in the U.S.A and Canada along with a further 58 concerts in 34 other countries around the globe.

First night reviews from Ft Lauderdale called it “…a full-throttle, devil-may-care performance that thrilled a sold-out BB&T Center” (Sun Sentinel) with Revolver magazine reporting how the band’s legendary mascot Eddie dominated the Maya-themed stage: “From a walking zombie towering over band members during the set, to being featured on a host of back-drops and huge blow-up figures – the quintessential symbol was omnipresent for the entire show” including Eddie having his heart literally ripped out of his chest and hurled into the crowd by singer Bruce Dickinson!

The full list of dates:

JUN 03 – BRISTOW, VA – JIFFY LUBE LIVE

JUN 04 – PHILADELPHIA, PA – WELLS FARGO CENTER

JUN 07 – NEWARK, NJ – PRUDENTIAL CENTER

JUN 09 – CHARLOTTE, NC – PNC MUSIC PAVILION

JUN 11 – TAMPA, FL – AMALIE ARENA

JUN 13 – NASHVILLE, TN – BRIDGESTONE ARENA

JUN 15 – CHICAGO, IL – HOLLYWOOD CASINO AMPHITHEATER

JUN 16 – MINNEAPOLIS, MN – XCEL ENERGY CENTER

JUN 19 – OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – CHESAPEAKE ARENA

JUN 21 – HOUSTON, TX – TOYOTA CENTER

JUN 23 – DALLAS, TX – AMERICAN AIRLINES CENTER

JUN 24 – SAN ANTONIO, TX – AT&T CENTER

JUN 27 – ALBUQUERQUE, NM – ISLETA AMPHITHEATER

JUN 28 – PHOENIX, AZ – TALKING STICK RESORT ARENA

JUL 01 – SAN BERNARDINO, CA – SAN MANUEL AMPHITHEATER*

JUL 03 – LAS VEGAS, NV – T-MOBILE ARENA

JUL 05 – OAKLAND, CA – ORACLE ARENA

JUL 07 – SALT LAKE CITY, UT – USANA AMPHITHEATER

JUL 09 – LINCOLN, NE – PINNACLE BANK ARENA

JUL 11 – KANSAS CITY, MO – SPRINT CENTER

JUL 12 – ST LOUIS, MO – HOLLYWOOD CASINO AMPHITHEATER

JUL 15 – TORONTO, CANADA – BUDWEISER STAGE

JUL 16 – QUEBEC CITY, CANADA – VIDEOTRON CENTRE

JUL 19 – MANSFIELD, MA – XFINITY CENTER

JUL 21 – BROOKLYN, NY – BARCLAYS CENTER

Steve Harris commented; “We are really looking forward to returning to North America for a full tour. We had always planned to go back there and to the UK as last year, due to the global nature of the tour and the period it took, we just didn’t have time to cover them properly and we do still like to get to fans in as many places as possible!

So this year we’re able to reach many more cities in America, including a return to places Maiden haven’t played for many, many years like Lincoln Nebraska, Minneapolis, Oklahoma City and Oakland California. We also welcome playing in Brooklyn for the first time.

We will, of course, be bringing the full production with us including all the Eddies and the Maya-themed stage sets. There’s been a great reaction from everyone to this tour’s theme, people really seem to love it. We’re still deciding on the final set-list and we’ll work that out once we get into rehearsals. Most of our North American fans haven’t seen the show yet so as we want to give them the same Book Of Souls live experience that we took around the world, it’s unlikely we’ll change much. And of course we know our fans appreciate us playing a lot of the older songs too, so we will continue to do that!”

Tickets start going on-sale Friday, January 27 check www.ironmaiden.com for market specific info. As usual, there will be an exclusive pre-sale for IRON MAIDEN Fan Club members, details of which can also be found on www.ironmaiden.com along with information on how Fan Club members can participate in the draw to be “First To The Barrier”.

IRON MAIDEN are delighted to welcome Ghost http://ghost-official.com/ as their Special Guests for the North American leg of The Book Of Souls World Tour.

*There will also be some further bands added to the show at San Bernardino.

After great feedback to last year’s North American trial of the concept, Maiden fans will again be able to enjoy a TROOPER VIP Upgrade package that will allow them early access to the venue, a pile of TROOPER goodies and MAIDEN swag, TROOPER beers, food and a designated area to meet with other fans, plus the opportunity to win some great prizes. The upgrade packages are available at US$199 from www.troopervip.com. The concert ticket must be purchased separately.

For the 2017 shows Maiden will once again, in conjunction with the Promoters, be implementing a partial paperless ticketing system in as many venues as possible, which they have been successfully doing since 2010 and has worked well in lessening the ticketing scalping and drain of the prime tickets into the Secondary Ticketing sites.

The Book Of Souls is Maiden’s first ever double studio album and their most successful chart-wise to date, debuting at the No. 1 spot in over 40 countries around the world and No. 4 in the U.S.A.

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Daniel Lioneye To Release ‘VOL III’ On August 19th Via The End Records

Daniel Lioneye To Release ‘VOL III’ On August 19th Via The End Records

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The End Records is pleased to announce the upcoming studio album from Daniel Lioneye, set for release August 19. Featuring members of HIM, Daniel Lioneye (“The King Of Rock ‘n’ Roll”) returns after eight years to deliver VOL III, which boasts a seamless blend between rock, psych metal and black metal. The first single “Ravensong” just premiered with Revolver and is available now for download and streamingCLICK HERE to listen on Revolver!

Says guitarist and vocalist Linde, “VOL III is heavier, with more fuzzy guitars, more singing, and less growling. The drumming is very ‘metal.’” He jokes, “You can actually hear the vocals on this album.”

Vol. III Tracklisting:
1. Messier 0
2. Blood On The Floor
3. Break It Or Heal It
4. License To Defile
5. Ravensong
6. Alright
7. Baba Satanas
8. Aetherside
9. Dancing With The Dead
10. Oh God In Your Great Mercy
11. Mathematics Of The Storm
12. Neolithic Way (2016)

Pre-Order Today!

 

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About Daniel Lioneye:
When formed in 2001, Daniel Lioneye originally consisted of Ville Valo (HIM) on drums, Mige (HIM) on bass and Linde (HIM) on guitar and vocals. That year, they released The King Of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Finland and Germany, a ‘tongue in cheek’ psychedelic stoner rock album. Performing festival shows in Finland under the name ‘Daniel Lioneye And The Joint Rollers,’ their music soon reached international audiences when the title track of the album was selected as the theme song for Bam Margera’s MTV show, Viva La Bam. In 2006, “The King Of Rock ‘n’ Roll” was the most played Finnish song in the world (right after Sibelius, of course).

In 2008, Linde wanted to do a Daniel Lioneye album completely different than the last. The follow-up album, simply titled VOL II (The End Records), was an extreme rock n’ roll album much heavier than their first, quite noticeably influenced by black metal. The album represented everyday life- divorce, dealing with difficult situations and people, cannabis psychosis, extreme nightmares, self-realization, sex, moving on, standing up for yourself, anger management and the universe.

Now, Daniel Lioneye has teamed up yet again with The End Records (US) to release VOL III, an album that is, in many ways, a combination of their previous two. Basking in magnetic glow of the northern lights, this album deals with an existential crisis- depression, disappointment, being lost, meaninglessness.

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Like A Storm “Break Free” with Fourth Single From Latest Release ‘Awaken the Fire’

Like A Storm “Break Free” with Fourth Single From Latest Release ‘Awaken the Fire’

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New Zealand rockers, Like A Storm, have once again set a new career milestone for themselves. Their latest single “Break Free” has moved in to the Top 30 at Active Rock radio. This is the fourth single in a row from their critically acclaimed album, Awaken the Fire, to reach the Rock Top 30. The song landed at #28 this week with a bullet. A music video for “Break Free” will be released in the near future.

“’Break Free’ is a song born from a pretty dark chapter of our lives, when we had to really dig deep both personally and as a band. So it is incredibly symbolic to have it now getting played on the radio all over the U.S.,” explains Matt Brooks.

Like A Storm are no strangers to the charts – their track “Love the Way You Hate Me” became number one of the biggest rock station in North America for five weeks, making them the highest-charting New Zealand rock act in US radio history. They also made waves on the Active Rock charts with previous singles “Wish You Hell” and “Become The Enemy.”

Like A Storm are currently on tour with Hinder through the beginning of July before performing a string of headline dates through the western US.  Tour dates can be seen on their website:http://www.likeastorm.com/#!tour/cjg9

Like A Storm is regarded as one of the most prolific new acts on the rock circuit. The Auckland-bred brothers— Chris Brooks [lead vocals, guitar, didgeridoo, keys/programming], Matt Brooks [vocals, lead guitar, keys/programming], and Kent Brooks [bass, vocals, keys/programming] — came to the United States knowing no one, and have built a devoted fan-base through their tireless tour schedule. The addition of L.A-based Zach Wood on drums rounds out the line-up. Like A Storm write, perform, record and produce all of their own albums.

Website: www.likeastorm.com

Twitter: @likeastorm

Facebook: facebook.com/likeastorm

Instagram: @likeastorm

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/officiallikeastorm

2016 Summer Tour Dates for Like A Storm:

DATE CITY VENUE
June 7th Binghamton, NY Magic City Music Hall*
June 8th Boston, MA Royale*
June 10th Marletta, OH Adelphia Music Hall*
June 13th Cincinnati, OH 20th Century Theatre*
June 14th Flint, MI The Machine Shop*
June 16th Madison, WI Majestic Theatre*
June 17th Sioux Falls, SD The District*
June 18th Springfield, IL Boondocks Pub*
June 20th Colorado Springs, CO The Black Sheep*
June 21st Boulder, CO Fox Theatre*
June 22nd Grand Junction, CO Independence Ballroom*
June 24th Jerome, ID Diamondz Event Center
June 25th Reno, NV Cargo*
June 26th Pasadena, CA The Rose (Pasadena)*
June 28th Modesto, CA Fat Cat Music House & Lounge*
June 29th San Diego, CA House of Blues*
July 1st Agoura Hills, CA The Canyon*
July 2nd San Juan Capistrano, CA The Coach House*
July 3rd Phoenix, AZ MIM Music Theater
July 14th Cadott, WI Rock Fest
July 16th Casper, WY Casper Events Center
July 19th Billings, MT Pub Station
July 20th Butte, MT Butte Depot
July 22nd Boise, ID Knitting Factory – Boise
July 23rd Spokane, WA Knitting Factory – Spokane

*= with Hinder

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Metal Church Announce First Tour Since The Return Of Mike Howe

Metal Church Announce First Tour Since The Return Of Mike Howe

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Hard rock titans Metal Church are hitting the road in the United States and Europe in support of their latest Rat Pak Records release XI. The band will be playing two warm-up shows in the state of Washington before heading out on the Monsters Of Rock cruise this month. The first leg of the United States tour kicks off on March 24th in Portland, ME and runs through April 9th wrapping up in Rochester, NY at the Montage Music Hall. The record release party for XI will be the show on March 25th in Manchester, NH at the Jewel Nightclub. Admission to that show is free and is on a first come first served basis. Metal Church will be heading over to Europe in May and then return back to Europe for more dates in July and August. More tour dates to be announced in the near future. For more information on all upcoming tour dates, go to http://metalchurchofficial.com.

XI, the band’s 11th studio album available worldwide on March 25th, marks the return of legendary vocalist and front man Mike Howe. The album has been getting critical and fan praise alike with Decibel Magazine recently stating in a review: “On XI, Howe croon-roars like a man possessed, delivering a varied, vital, almost unbelievably pitch-perfect performance. As for the riffs, Vanderhoof remains a master crafter of speed-metal mayhem – a faithful keeper of the once-bustling aural bridge connecting NWOBHM and thrash metal proper.”

Metal Church just released a new video trailer for XI that features a sample of the album opener “Reset.” The trailer can be seen here: https://youtu.be/QfG0vw19RJMThe new album is available for pre-order in various exclusive bundles via http://www.ratpakrecordsamerica.com/metal-church. A limited number of the Deluxe International Version are available on the website and features a bonus disc of 8 extra songs. Other bundles include guitar picks, stickers, a special edition behind the scenes photo book, t-shirts and even a limited number of personal phone calls from Mike Howe himself. The album is also available for pre-order on Amazon, Google Play and via iTunes at http://smarturl.it/MCXIiTunes and fans that order the digital version will receive an instant download of “Killing Your Time” from the new album. XI was produced by Kurdt Vanderhoof and co-produced by Chris “The Wizard” Collier.

From the first guitar riff of album opener “Reset” through the driving outro of album closer “Suffer Fools,” it is clear Metal Church is back and better than ever. “Needle and Suture” and “Soul Eating Machine” showcase the songwriting that made the early Mike Howe albums The Human Factor, Blessing In Disguise and Hanging In The Balance such fan favorites. Musical opuses “Signal Path” and “Sky Falls In” clock in at over 7-minutes each and put the musicianship that Metal Church was known for on full display in 2016.

Metal Church recently released an official music video for the debut single from XI, “No Tomorrow.” The video can be seen at: https://youtu.be/ary17dRnC3o and was filmed in the Satsop Nuclear Facility, an abandoned nuclear power plant in Elma, Washington. The video was directed by Jamie Chamberlin of Black Dahlia Films and features a unique visual that ties in to the location. A behind-the-scenes video on the making of the video for “No Tomorrow” was also recently released and can be seen here: https://youtu.be/Rr0bHRjfhmU.

Metal Church Official Website: http://metalchurchofficial.com

Metal Church Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OfficialMetalChurch

Metal Church on Twitter https://twitter.com/metalchurchis1

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Sevendust Announce U.S. Headlining Tour In Support of ‘Kill The Flaw’

Sevendust Announce U.S. Headlining Tour In Support of ‘Kill The Flaw’

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SEVENDUST announced their first U.S. headline tour in support of their latest album Kill The Flaw this morning live on Sirius/XM’s The Opie & Jimmy Show on Opie Radio. The tour kicks off on April 26th in Baton Rouge, LA and wraps up on May 28th at the Rocklahoma festival in Pryor, OK. The headline dates will also feature special guests Trivium and Like A Storm as show openers. The tour will make stops in Atlanta, GA; New York, NY; Baltimore, MD; and Reading, PA to name a few. SEVENDUST will also be making stops at multiple festivals while out on the road including Fort Rock, Welcome To Rockville, Carolina Rebellion, Northern Invasion, Rock On The Range and Rock Derby. SEVENDUST has been known for their amazing live shows as radio personality Lou Brutus recently stated: “The next time you see SEVENDUST perform at a festival, don’t watch them, watch the side of the stage, because you can bet every other band on the bill will be there taking notes & wondering how they got so fucking good.” Tickets for all of the headline shows go on sale on Friday, January 29th. Fans can go to www.sevendust.com for more info and to purchase tickets.

“We can’t wait to embark on our first Kill The Flaw headline tour of the States! Looking forward to jamming with our brothers in Trivium and Like A Storm for the first time as well. Can’t wait to see you all on the road!” exclaims Sevendust vocalist Lajon Witherspoon.

SEVENDUST recently received their first-ever GRAMMY® nomination after two decades together as a band. “Thank You,” the debut single from Kill The Flaw, received a nomination for Best Metal Performance. The band is nominated alongside August Burns Red, Ghost, Lamb Of God and Slipknot in the category. The band will find out if they won on February 15, 2016, the date of the 58th annual GRAMMY® Awards.

Sevendust's 'Kill The Flaw'

Sevendust’s ‘Kill The Flaw’

SEVENDUST formed in 1996 and have forged one of hard rock’s most diehard audiences. 2014’s acoustic offering Time Traveler’s & Bonfires saw an overwhelming response from that community, being quickly funded through a highly successful PledgeMusic campaign. Just a year prior, Black Out The Sun entered Billboard’s Top Hard Music Albums chart at #1 and landed at #18 on the Top 200. They kicked off their illustrious career with an untouchable string of three gold albums, beginning with their self-titled 1997 debut and continuing with Home in 1999 and Animosity in 2001. Along the way, they’ve sold out shows everywhere and given unforgettable performances at the likes of Rock On The RangeWoodstockOZZfest, and Shiprocked!. However, the era of Kill The Flaw continues to break new ground for the band.

SEVENDUST is comprised of iconic vocalist Lajon Witherspoon, the dual-guitar attack of John Connolly and Clint Lowery, and the driving rhythm section of Vince Hornsby on bass and Morgan Rose on drums.

iTunes Album Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/kill-the-flaw/id1022058361

Website: www.sevendust.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/sevendustofficial

Twitter: @SEVENDUST

The dates are as follows:

Apr. 26 – Baton Rouge, LA @ The Varsity Theatre
Apr. 27 – Birmingham, AL @ Iron City
Apr. 29 – Atlanta, GA @ Center Stage
Apr. 30 – Fort Myers, FL @ Fort Rock
May 01 – Jacksonville, FL @ Welcome To Rockville
May 03 – New York, NY @ Playstation Theater
May 05 – Hartford, CT @ Webster Theater
May 07 – Charlotte, NC @ Carolina Rebellion
May 08 – Baltimore, MD @ Rams Head
May 13 – Clear Lake, IA @ Surf Ballroom
May 15 – Somerset, WI @ Northern Invasion
May 17 – Sioux Falls, SD @ The District
May 18 – Arlington Heights, IL @ Home Bar
May 20 – Columbus, OH @ Rock On The Range
May 21 – Reading, PA @ Reverb
May 22 – Albany, NY @ Rock Derby
May 24 – Flint, MI @ Machine Shop
May 25 – Louisville, KY @ Mercury Ballroom
May 27 – Shreveport, LA @ Riverside Warehouse
May 28 – Pryor, OK @ Rocklahoma

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I AM THOR: The Legendary Jon Mikl Thor Talks Life, Music and New Documentary!

I AM THOR: The Legendary Jon Mikl Thor Talks Life, Music and New Documentary!

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When it comes to rock ‘n’ roll, there are those who live the lifestyle and an even more elite group who find it coursing through their veins. It is a fire that burns deep and cannot be easily extinguished. Jon Mikl Thor is one of those elite warriors of rock and his life story is one of the most epic tales you will ever encounter. A series of mind-blowing twists and turns would take this blond-haired, fresh-faced Canadian bodybuilder to the edge and sometimes past. His passion for music would make him and his band theatrical band, THOR, shining stars in the ‘70s and ’80s; hitting the scene alongside Metallica and KISS. He would go on to share the stage with such top acts as Motorhead, Anvil, Thin Lizzy, W.A.S.P. and Manowar, but he and his band never achieved gold record status. After a brief but memorable film career in cult classics “Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare,” “Recruits” and “Zombie Nightmare,” this cult icon all but disappeared from entertainment. However, Jon Mikl Thor will be the first to tell you he isn’t one to go quietly into the night. 10 years into retirement, he found himself doing some soul searching. Incapable of living like a mere mortal, Thor mounts a comeback in the hopes of capturing the success that eluded him throughout his entire career. What results is a wild ride that nearly kills him in the process.

Now, with the help of filmmaker Ryan Wise, metal legend Jon Mikl Thor gets the cinematic tribute he deserves in the triumphant, full-throttle “I AM THOR,” which was unleashed via Digital Download and Dark Sky Films Blu-ray and DVD on January 19th, 2016. The critically acclaimed documentary traces the rise, fall and rebirth of a determined performer over the course of a career that saw more than its fair share of highs and lows. The film, which won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Fantasia International Film Festival, paints a fascinating and sometimes unbelievable portrait of this larger-than-life icon. It is a remarkable look behind the curtain of one of rock’s greatest showmen.

Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Jon Mikl Thor to discuss his amazing journey in the music business, the making of “I Am Thor” and unmistakable impact the film has had on him, both personally and professionally. Most importantly, the duo discusses what the future holds for one of the rock’s most unstoppable forces! All Hail, Thor!

I want to start by giving anyone just discovering you as an artist a little background. Music has played a pivotal role in your life. What was it about music that inspired you early on?

Jon Mikl Thor: An Unstoppable Force!

Jon Mikl Thor: An Unstoppable Force!

When I was growing up back in the ‘50s, rock ‘n’ roll was really happening with Elvis Presley and so many other amazing performers. I had an older sister who was a real teeny-bopper and she listened to Elvis and had all the posters of the stars at the time on her wall. I thought it was all pretty neat! My first instrument, because my parents were European, was an accordion. They wanted me to learn to play for polkas and when the relatives came over for parties, I could play for them. It wasn’t my favorite instrument. At the same time, I was watching The Ed Sullivan Show, like so many people did on that particular day in 1964 when I saw The Beatles. That is when I started playing guitar! As I got into guitar, I really got into The Ventures and instrumental bands like The Tornados and stuff like that.

As you know, during that era was the British Invasion, so there was The Yardbirds, The Rolling Stones and Herman’s Hermits. Everybody was coming over and that evolved my interest even more. I formed bands like The Ticks or The Cougars that had that kind of pop sound. Then I got into heavier music as the ‘60s wore on like The Doors, Led Zeppelin. As I got into heavier music, I formed heavier bands like Iron Vulcan and stuff like that. Everything just kept evolving as time went on. In the late ‘60s, more theatrics were coming in and the music got heavier. What was the first real heavy metal song? Some people say it was “Helter Skelter” or “Day Tripper” by The Beatles or “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” by Iron Butterfly. Grand Funk Railroad looked at themselves as a heavy metal band, which by todays standards isn’t so heavy metal and the term heavy metal came from the heavy metal thunder line that was in Steppenwolf’s “Born To Be Wide.”

Then there were bands that had amazing frontman. Mick Jagger was a frontman for the Rolling Stones, even early on. Then Alice Cooper came out in the late-’60s and he was a magnificent frontman. There was Alice Cooper the man and Alice Cooper the band. I was also enthralled with Ziggy Stardust. That character that David Bowie developed, to me, was phenomenal. The whole concept was mind-blowing. I have a top 10 of greatest albums ever which includes “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “The Green Album” by Weezer and “The White Album” by The Beatles. Then “Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars,” in the early ‘70s, was one of the greatest albums of all time!

The new documentary “I Am Thor” documents your life in an amazing way. How did this project get started originally?

The Story of A True Legend!

The Story of A True Legend!

Several people tried to do documentaries on me and failed. Many times, it starts off and it gets to be so crazy they give up! [laughs] That is kind of the story of my life! There was a point where I got out of the business in 1987. After a long time in the business as a young kid and going through my teens, 20s and into my early 30s, I decided to give it all up. I wanted to do something completely different and didn’t want anything to do with show business. I took a hiatus from show business and I had other businesses going outside of that world. After about 10 years, I decided I wanted to come back to it because I was starting to write songs, was starting to become creative again and I had formed my own label. I had left New York City and went down to live in Charlotte, North Carolina. I had built a house down there but my wife at the time didn’t like the idea of me going back into show business. We had a lot of conflict and it came to the point where we had to break apart. We split the assets we had and I found myself pursuing my dream again. I went out to the West Coast, back to my roots because I am a West Coast guy. I grew up in Vancouver. I went to go live in Seattle for awhile and I put out another album called “Dogs II.” I met these two guys in Seattle, where I was going to do a show. I said to them, “Would you like to come and see this show I am doing tonight?” We had a mutual friend, we were both into film and I was also trying to get back into movies again. These guys were fresh out of film school and they said, “OK, we will come see the show!” That was Alan Higbee and Ryan Wise. They came to the show and were completely blown away by it with the theatrics and everything else that was going on. They said, “We have to do a documentary!” It all went from there and that was about 15 years ago.

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It was interesting how they incorporated some of your personally shot footage into the film. It gave it even more of a human element to a larger than life story.

Yeah. It was kind of a documentary within a documentary. At the time, I was filming “The Diary of a Sad Man.” [laughs] I was very depressed. I was documenting what it was like to go through a breakup when you really trusted and cared for someone who was your friend in life and they all of a sudden don’t want to do what you do anymore and they have different interests. She wanted to run off with a doctor and things were a mess. I wanted to film all of that and it was part of my documentary about how the split was happening, we were selling the house, I was packing up and heading West. That was a piece of the footage in the “I Am Thor” documentary. I am glad some of the footage I shot was able to be seen.

You lived much of your life in the spotlight. When they started doing this documentary about you, did you have reservations about putting yourself out there for the world to see?

You start the documentary wanting some things to be seen. However, I guess you don’t always want your dirty laundry to be seen. I did have some reservations about that because there are some things in the movie that I didn’t want to talk about or to be known. Maybe I saw the documentary in one way, more heroic and with less of the downs and more of the ups. However, I decided, eventually, to let the producers and director do what they wanted to do through their lens. I didn’t have anything to do with editing or anything. I just carried on with my day to day stuff while they were filming. Actually, there are hundreds and hundreds of hours of footage on the cutting room floor because, to end up with an hour and 24 minutes, you can’t put it all in there. Would I do something differently? Yes but that is my perspective as an artist and you have to respect the vision of the director and producer. I decided eventually to give in and do that. If I had my way, I would have put in more things to make me look more heroic. Ya know, you see some of these documentaries where the band has their say in things and everything is wonderful! All the way through everything is wonderful and focuses on how they sold platinum records or did this or that. Ultimately, that is a boring movie! People want to see what really happens behind the scenes, the ugly parts, your drive and ability to overcome obstacles. Rock ‘n’ roll is that kind of business. Even if you are the biggest artist in the world and sold a billion records, there are always ugly parts going on behind the scenes. It is just the nature of the beast!

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The film has been applauded by critics and embraced by fans. How has its success impacted you personally and professionally?

We are hitting a whole new audience. I did a major city tour last November and all of the places were packed! I was surprised how many young fans there were. You don’t know this until you get out there and see the young fans and they are singing along with all of your songs. They weren’t even born when I put those songs out! Some of these songs are from 35 years ago like “Keep The Dogs Away” and “Sleeping Giants.” They know all the words and are going wild and having a great time! Are we hitting another level? Absolutely! Is it changing my life? Absolutely! There are a lot of incredible things going on. There have been a lot of offers. We have a big production we are going to be doing in New York. We are going to be showing the film and doing a rock odyssey. It is going to be at the Gramercy Theater in New York. It is a place where many heroes and legends have played! We are going to have a huge rock opera along with the movie and I am really excited about that! I am definitely going to be touring and I have been getting offers to go to places like Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Europe. We are going to start the ball rolling here in Canada on March 11th, 2016. We are going to do a few shows here and zig-zag across the globe!

There are so many great scenes in the film. One of my favorites is at the end when you decide to continue to carry the torch for rock and not call it a career.

Ya know, at that time, I had found everything was becoming arduous. I found I was doing everything. I was having to manage every aspect. I had to book that tour as an agent. I have to tell you, the guys in the band are good guys but they want to be rock stars. They don’t want to help me and I was doing all of the work. I was getting really tired and I got to a point where I said, “I can’t do this anymore. I can’t wear all of these hats and be this performer. I am getting tired.” I saw a documentary on Don Rickles and he has had guys there for 20 years working behind the scenes and he is the guy who is being pampered all the time. Those guys do everything for him and he is able to come on stage and focus on his show. As I was watching it I was thinking, “That is how it is supposed to be and not the other way around where I am pampering the band. I am the manager, a performer and everything else.” As I watched the movie, I saw I was exhausting myself and overworking. That is something I will be changing this year. I have people who will be running management instead of myself. There will be road managers and everything else because we will have more of a budget to do that!

That is great to hear and it gives you more time to focus on the product. What do you have in store for us in the months to come?

Jon Mikl Thor

Jon Mikl Thor

The material is coming out of me quick! The great thing about being signed to Cleopatra Records is that they wanted to introduce my past albums like “Unchained” and “Only The Strong” to a new generation. That has been going really well. Then they put out “Metal Avenger” where I sang with numerous artists like Henry Rollins, Fast Eddie Clarke from Motörhead and Jay Jay French from Twisted Sister, Betsy Bitch from Bitch and so on. It was produced by Frank Meyer and Bruce Duff. We recorded in Los Angeles, California and it did really well. To coincide with the release of the “I Am Thor” DVD and Blu-Ray, we have the original soundtrack coming out in a few days! It has some cool songs on there that are in the movie but have never been released before! We have some of the stuff from The Tick’s, Body Rock and even some of the punk stuff from Thor and The Ass Boys like “Shit The Pants.” I was listening to “Shit The Pants” recently and we live in such a crazy world right now. I think the lyrics to the song are very apropo. I can also sing a song like “Crunch Crunch Yum Yum,” which is more of a children’s song but also do a punk song or a metal song. I love all types of music and I feel like I can be really creative in any genre. I don’t want to be restricted and have someone say, “You can only sing heavy metal songs.” I want to be able to sing, write and play all kinds of songs. I want to continue to diversify as an artist.

That leads me to my next question. Having lived through so many changes in the music industry and experienced so many highs and lows, how have you most evolved as an artist?

All Hail, Thor — The Rock Warrior!

All Hail, Thor — The Rock Warrior!

I think I have definitely evolved and not just in shape and size! [laughs] I think I have grown to be more mature. I see things differently now. I am still very excited like a young man but I am in my 60s now. I was going on the road in my late teens touring with Body Rock and before that I was playing in The Ticks and The Cougars. The excitement I had back then is no different than the excitement I have now. Technology has changed greatly over the years but it allows us to edit music much more easily. The technology and digital downloads are something I am all for! Technology has changed everything. My vision when I was a young man was that I was going to be bigger than The Beatles and things were actually going that way! Maybe not bigger than The Beatles but I am saying we had a chance at one time, when “Keep The Dogs Away” came out, to do something very special. If you look at “Hit Parader,” “US Magazine” or “Rolling Stone” from back then, we were going to go on a major tour for “Keep The Dogs” away. It was going to be 5,000 to 10,000 seaters. It wasn’t like it was happening out of nowhere because I had been working very hard to get to that point and be with those major labels at the time. Just before I was set to go on the tour in 1978, that was well advertised, some things happened. You will have to see the movie to see what happened and I explain why it didn’t happen. That could have changed my career. Many times I think back on what could have happened if that tour went off like it was supposed to with all the lasers, monsters and hundreds of thousands of dollars behind the tour. I could have given up then. In 1978, I could have called it a day and never have been Thor again but I ended up almost starting over again. I became more of an underground star but my main plan originally was to become this over the top, mainstream artist, not unlike Ziggy Stardust or Alice Cooper. I felt I had some good songs. It is so interesting that the young kids keep talking about “Keep The Dogs Away.” When I am on tour, I am always hearing, “I love that album! We listen to it all the time!” They will show me tapes of them skateboarding to “Keep The Dogs Away,” “Sleeping Giants” or “I’m So Proud.” It really blows me away! It’s almost like Van Gogh where no one cared about his art until after he was gone! I am lucky to be alive! Seeing the documentary come out, being able to tour and meet up with the younger generation, to have them say, “I love your music,” really means alot to me. In the early days, I would get critiqued a lot because I had muscles and was portraying a superhero character. That didn’t bode well with many of the critics! Even if the music was good, they would criticize me anyway, so the fact that the music is being recognized today makes me feel good because I always felt I was a good performer and songwriter.

“I Am Thor” captures the spirit of your journey. However, as you said, there’s more to be said. Do you plan to tell your story in autobiographical form at some point?

Oh yeah! I have already started a book with a fellow named Ian James from New York. We have been working on a book for about three years now and it is almost complete. That will be coming out at some point but we are currently trying to secure a publisher on it and there are bids coming in. I think there is going to be a part two to “I Am Thor” with the hundreds of hours of footage on the cutting room floor. That is planned. Even in New York, when we do the big show, we might do a special cut for the showing at The Gramercy Theater before the Rock odyssey performance.

Your journey is very inspiring, Jon. What is the best lesson we can take away from your journey as an artist?

Jon Mikl Thor is still living out his heavy metal dreams!

Jon Mikl Thor is still living out his heavy metal dreams!

Interestingly enough, on tour, I had all kinds of people come up to me and tell me how I inspired them. For example, there was a photographer who came up crying and said she was inspired and now she wasn’t going to give up her dream of being an even better photographer. I had a singer tell me this movie inspired him to keep at it. I am hoping this movie can inspire people to not give up. Life is full of obstacles, no matter what walk of life you are from. There are times you are going to want to give up but you can never give up. I don’t say go to the extremes that I did where I almost killed myself … [laughs] but never give up! Stay positive! Continue the journey! Move forward and try to knock down those walls which hold you back! There are always going to be people out there criticizing you. There will be times even your family will criticize you or show apathy even though other people are cheering you on. You just have to understand that you will have your critics in life and the people who cheer you on. If you believe in your dream, don’t let anything hold you back from making it a reality.

Well said! Thank you so much for your time today, Jon! I can’t wait to see where the next chapter in the story of Thor takes us!

Thank you, Jason! I really appreciate it!

‘I Am Thor’ is available now on Blu-ray and DVD. Visit the official website of the film at www.iamthormovie.com. Visit Thor’s official website at www.thorcentral.net. Connect with the Rock Warrior on social media via Facebook and Twitter!

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Metal Church Reveal Tracklisting and Cover Art for Upcoming Album ‘XI’

Metal Church Reveal Tracklisting and Cover Art for Upcoming Album ‘XI’

metal-church-2016-1

Hard rock titans Metal Church have announced the track listing and unveiled the cover for their latest album XI, slated for release on March 25th via Rat Pak Records. The band’s 11th studio release also marks the return of legendary vocalist and front man Mike Howe. The new album is available for pre-order in various exclusive bundles via http://www.ratpakrecordsamerica.com/metal-church. A limited number of the Deluxe International Version are available on the website and features a bonus disc of 8 extra songs. Other bundles include guitar picks, stickers, a special edition behind the scenes photo book, t-shirts and even a limited number of personal phone calls from Mike Howe himself. The album is also available for pre-order on Amazon, Google Play and via iTunes at http://smarturl.it/MCXIiTunes and fans that order the digital version will receive an instant download of “Killing Your Time” from the new album. XI was produced by Kurdt Vanderhoof and co-produced by Chris “The Wizard” Collier.

From the first guitar riff of album opener “Reset” through the driving outro of album closer “Suffer Fools,” it is clear Metal Church is back and better than ever. “Needle and Suture” and “Soul Eating Machine” showcase the songwriting that made the early Mike Howe albums The Human Factor, Blessing In Disguise and Hanging In The Balance such fan favorites. Musical opuses “Signal Path” and “Sky Falls In” clock in at over 7-minutes each and put the musicianship that Metal Church was known for on full display in 2016.

Metal Church recently released an official music video for the debut single from XI, “No Tomorrow.” The video can be seen at: https://youtu.be/ary17dRnC3o and was filmed in the Satsop Nuclear Facility, an abandoned nuclear power plant in Elma, Washington. The video was directed by Jamie Chamberlin of Black Dahlia Films and features a unique visual that ties in to the location. A behind-the-scenes video on the making of the video for “No Tomorrow” was also recently released and can be seen here: https://youtu.be/Rr0bHRjfhmU.

Metal Church_XI_COVER

The track listing for XI is:        

1)     Reset

2)     Killing Your Time

3)     No Tomorrow

4)     Signal Path

5)     Sky Falls In

6)     Needle & Suture

7)     Shadow

8)     Blow Your Mind

9)     Soul Eating Machine

10)   It Waits

11)   Suffer Fools

Metal Church Official Website: http://metalchurchofficial.com

Metal Church Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OfficialMetalChurch

Metal Church on Twitter: https://twitter.com/metalchurchis1

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