Tag Archive | "metal"

Burn Halo Rock The Midwest

Burn Halo Rock The Midwest

Piere’s Entertainment Center
Fort Wayne, Indiana
May 26, 2009

By Jen X

In mid-May rockers Burn Halo were performing in front of thousands at the Rock on the Range Music Festival, on May 27,2009 they found themselves in front of an audience of 1400 at sold-out Piere’s Entertainment Complex in Fort Wayne, IN opening for hard rock legends KORN.The delirious fans packed into Piere’s had to know they were in the presence of a band who have the capability to stride the world’s largest venues in their own right in the upcoming years.

BurnHalo-01-big

Burn Halo

Founder and frontman James Hart, former lead singer of Eighteen Visions, formed Burn Halo in 2007. Helping in the creative department he had an experienced crew of proven winners in the music arena: Zac Maloy, formerly of The Nixons worked extensively with Hart in the writing department, laying down the tracks were Nickelback drummer Daniel Adair, former Jane’s Addiction bassist Chris Chaney, guitarist Neil Tiemann (who now tours with “American Idol” winner David Cook), and Avenged Sevenfold’s Synyster Gates (who appears on the “Dirty Little Girl” and “Anejo”). In 2008 Burn Halo’s first album was ready to hit press when Island Records elected not to release the venture. Enter Rawkhead Rekords, founded by Burn Halo’s manager, Bret Bair. Bair started his own label and Warner Music Group stepped in for distribution. From there on out they have had a hit single, “Dirty Little Girl”, and their song “Save Me” was featured in the video game WWE SmackDown vs Raw 2009.

Those hits as well as half of their current self-titled cd was performed in a tight set that was heavy yet catchy. I’d describe their music as very radio friendly modern hard rock. Fans squeezed in for front row access and to snag a glimpse of the group, which aside from Hart as lead man, includes Joey Cunha and Allen Wheeler in guitars, Aaron Boheler on bass, and Timmy Russell, drums.

Modern melodic hard rock has shown itself to be not only popular with the fans, but radio stations are eating it up. Following suit promoters are loving bands such as Burn Halo because they fill clubs and work their way up to filling stadiums. Burn Halo has what it takes to mark a long lasting mark on the music scene and with the committment of frontman Hart, should quickly rise to the top.

Posted in Blog, Movies, TV and More!Comments (1)

The Metamorphosis of Papa Roach: An Interview with Jerry Horton

The Metamorphosis of Papa Roach: An Interview with Jerry Horton

feature-papa_roach

 

At the begining of the decade, “nu metal” ruled the Earth. Grunge had finally come to an end and music fans were hungry for something with an edgier feel. It was the pivotal time in the music scene where “hard rock” and “metal” were starting to become more mainstream. Limp Bizkit, Incubus, Korn, Linkin Park and dozens of other bands looking to make their mark on the landscape pumped from stereos coast-to-coast. It was during this time when, seemingly out of nowhere, Papa Roach exploded onto the scene with their debut album ‘Infest’. The album introduced the band’s powerful vocals, hard hitting riffs and an “in your face” attitude, it didn’t take long for fans to take notice of the four-piece from Vacaville, California and make them a household name. ‘Infest’ would go on to spawn two hit singles, while going platinum three times over. 

Almost a decade and three hit laden albums later, Papa Roach has outlasted most of their nu-metal peers and continue to rock crowds worldwide. Ever-fearless, the boys in Papa Roach stand ready to unleash their 5th studio album, ‘Metamorphosis’, on March 24th, 2009. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently sat down with guitarist Jerry Horton about his past, his thoughts on band’s longevity and the arrival of the highly anticipated new album.
 

Icon Vs. Icon: How did music first come into your life?

Jerry Horton: Oh! Starting out with a heavy hitter there! I have always been around music. When I was a baby my parents would put me in front of a speaker and I would hang out or go to sleep in front of it. So, my whole life I grew up with it and it became an important part of my life. Music was a part of my parents life, so I think that helped steer me that way.

What drove you to make music your career?

When I originally joined the band, it was just for fun. As time went on, we started taking it more seriously. I loved doing it and I felt like I would be stupid not to chase it a little bit. I wanted to see if I could make a career out of something that I love doing as opposed to getting up everyday and going to a job I really didn’t like.

paparoach2

Well it looks like it is working out for you so far!

Yeah! [laughs]

Who and what were some of the influences that have helped shape you, the musician, that we know today?

Kinda the same as a lot of guitar players, I started playing because of Metallica. When I was 14 or 15, I was kinda of a “metal head.” As I got in the band (Papa Roach), the other guys introduced me to a lot of other stuff. They were really into the Red Hot Chili Peppers and more punk rock stuff. That kind of broadened my whole spectrum. I think that really started me on the path of just listening, exploring and always being open to something new.

Papa Roach has been around for more than a decade and has seen great success. To what do you attribute the longevity of the band?

I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that if you keep writing good songs, that people are going to listen to them but aside from the obvious, we have really tried not to pigeon hole ourselves as musicians. We have continued to change it up and to take risks. We never put limitations on ourselves as far as our style of music. I think that has a lot to do with how broad our fan base is. There is something for everyone on any one of our records.

How do you think you have evolved as an artist since starting out?

Apart from all the normal stuff, I feel like I know what I like to hear and play. I suppose I play with a little more feel than technicality. We have been together as a band for 16 years and I would say we are all still learning and continuing to grow.

You are releasing “Metamorphosis” on March 25, 2009. What can you tell us about the new album?

I think that the new album is our rock record of the decade. It covers the spectrum with a lot of different flavor. There are a lot of different styles on the record. I think that is what separates this record from the previous ones in that the songs on this one fit together really well and it makes for a really cohesive record.

On this album you again worked with producer Jay Baumgardner, who you had worked with on Infest. What was it like working with him years later?

Oddly enough, the process was very similar. Even though we have grown and he has done a lot of things since then. We had to feel it out but it was very similar. It was more of a co-producing thing where we pulled a lot from ourselves and tried to step it up and do a lot by ourselves and then consult him for ideas. It was a good experience for us because eventually we want to produce our own stuff. This kinda lead us to being able to do that.

papa_roach_cover

What was the biggest challenge in making the record?

I think that time was the biggest challenge. We had to finish the album on the road because we went out on Cruefest. We didn’t really record much in the way of music on the road but there were a few songs that needed some tightening up on the lyrics and vocals. So that was basically it, we had a major block of it done and the ideas were done and recorded but we ran into a situation where we needed to go out and tour. We decided to finish it on the road and it worked! It worked for Jacoby (Shaddix) especially because he got a chance to work with James Michael of SIXX A.M. James did the recording on the road and helped him with a few lyrics here and there and kinda sped the process along. I think we came out with something really great.

The band recently tapped Christopher Sims to direct the video for the first single, “Lifeline,” when can fans expect to see the video?

We just got the first cut the other day and I think it will probably be done within a week and a half. Turn around times are a lot quicker these days because there is not so much involved with it. I think the concept is pretty simple but it gets the point across. It’s going to be cool and I really like it.

You are currently out on tour with Avenged Sevenfold, Buckcherry and Saving Abel and the reviews of your shows have been very positive. What has this tour been like for you?

It’s been great! We have been on tour for about nine months already. We have never toured with Avenged Sevenfold, so that has been a great opportunity for us. Their fans have been very receptive and there have been great shows every night.

What do you hope that people come away with after listening to your music or seeing your live performance?

A lot of it for us is the energy exchange between us and the audience. We want them to be involved and the more into they get, the more into it . We get so we really go back and forth with them. That is really what we want people to walk away with is a different kind of experience than just going to see a band play.

paparoach1

Ever had a Spinal Tap moment on stage (where something totally unexpected happened)?

Yeah! It happens more than people think. I think Jacoby might have said the wrong name of the city once or twice. [laughs]

Well as much as you guys tour, I can see how that could happen.

Yeah, a lot of times people don’t understand how that could happen but it is really easy. When we are on tour, we usually don’t know what day it so or where we are. [laughs] It’s kinda funny but we have to write it down everyday. That movie is pretty dead on in how it portrays the life of a band.

Is their something that jumps out at you in your mind as the defining moment of your career, so far?

Wow, there have been a lot of experiences where I have just had to pinch myself. I think one of the big ones was playing Rock in Rio. That was in 2001. We flew in from the hotel to the venue in a helicopter and we were able to overlook the whole place which was about 270,000 people. We had been doing big shows for about a year but that is one where my knees went week for a minute just because I couldn’t see the end of the crowd from the stage. It was the craziest thing! 

Has the digital revolution of music (downloading, filesharing, etc.) been positive or negative for someone like yourself?

It depends on your outlook. It is probably better for the underground, the emerging artists as a promotional tool. People will just have to adjust the way they do things. A lot of what we do now revolves around touring and getting people to come see us play. I think that is where we really shine. We have fun doing both recording and touring, but touring is where we really get to connect with people. We just have to make the best record we can so people want to listen to the whole record, not just a few songs. We want to make the album very cohesive and listen from front to back. We try to project as much live energy into it, so that people want to come see us play. 

What does a lifelong musician like yourself think of the Guitar Hero and Rock Band video game craze we are currently having?

I think it is cool that it is getting people into music and listening to what the music is as opposed to just having it on in the background. It makes people think of the mechanics of it and I think that has played a hand in getting some people to play guitar. Not only is it a great way to introduce your music to people and but also a great way to get people to want to play music. I think it is a really good thing. 

paparoach42It looks like 2009 is shaping up to be quite a big year for you. You will be headed out for a European tour next month, after that, what can we expect from Papa Roach?

After Europe, we are doing a two week run in Canada. Then in June we go back to Europe for the festival season. Then we are talking about doing a U.S. headlining tour this fall… late summer and into the fall. We want to try and re-cultivate our audiences outside of the United States and go to new places that we haven’t been. We have played Europe and have been to Australia and Japan but there are so many more places that we want to go. We’re getting demand from people in other countries for us to go, so I think now is definitely the time to do it. It’s time to take it worldwide again!

Is there anything else you want to add or let your fans know?

Yeah! Check out the record! We have been working on it for a long time and have been putting a lot of energy into it! We have a new drummer, his name is Tony Palermo. He was in Unwritten Law and before that he was in a band called Ten Foot Pole. He has injected new life into the band. I think that Metamorphosis shows how we have grown as a band and it takes us a step further. I think that there is something for everyone on this record. There is hard stuff, there is mellow stuff and I think that the lyrics get to people on a different level than our records in the past. It is a kick ass rock record, so check it out!

Thanks for your time, Jerry! We wish you guys all the best out there on the road and are looking forward to the new record!

Thanks, man! Peace!

Posted in Blog, Featured Stories, Interviews, MusicComments (0)

Metal Mike Chlasciak: Dispatch From Planet Shred

Metal Mike Chlasciak: Dispatch From Planet Shred

Metal Mike Chlasciak lays down some tasty riffs!

Metal Mike Chlasciak lays down some tasty riffs!

 

Shortly after arriving in the United States in 1984, discovered a whole new world, a world in which he would set his sights on rock n’ roll glory. It didn’t take Metal Mike long to set the wheels in motion, carving out his own “Heavy Metal Cinderella Story.” Along the way, Chlasciak not only became a graduate of Berklee College of Music but became a accomplished solo artist, sharing bills with the likes of Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Morse, Ronnie Montrose and Savatage. He has released three acclaimed solo instrumental records, two instructional books, and even helped Rob Halford reclaim his heavy metal throne. Even after accomplishing these amazing feats, he assures us that he has no intentions of slowing down and that the best is yet to come! Metal Mike is truly a man on a mission and one that is living his heavy metal dreams. Jason Price of Live-Metal.Net recently sat down with Metal Mike to discuss his metal roots, his past work alongside rock greats Rob Halford and Sebastian Bach, as well as the other projects he will be unleashing on the masses in the coming year. For those with true metal hearts, our journey starts here – Welcome to Planet Shred!

Live-Metal.Net: How did music first come into your life?

Metal Mike Chlasciak: When I was a little kid, my grandfather liked to play violin and the more drunk he was, the more of a virtuoso he thought he was! [laughs] We would go to weddings and my grandfather would play the violin and play a crazy song. I always got a kick out of it. That is when I realized how people love to see musicians and how they embraced them. I was little at that point, probably about eight or nine years old. It really wasn’t until I moved to the United States in December of 1984 that I was listening to a radio station in New Jersey, WSOU, that I heard Iron Maiden on my Walkman. I fell in love with that kind of sound. I couldn’t really make out how that sound was made but I was really interested in it! I would say that it was somewhere early in 1985 that I really became fascinated with music in general.

What drove you to make music your career?

It just felt like a natural thing. I was interested in soccer. Anybody who grows up in Europe is into soccer, ya know? [laughs] Everybody in the neighborhood plays soccer, but I never felt like I was going to become a soccer player. I was looking for something that I really wanted to do and I couldn’t find it. My Mom said “You should go into computers because there are a lot of jobs there.” I said, “Well if that is what everyone else is doing, then I am definitely not going to do that!” [laughs] I said, “I am going to be a guitar player. Not only a guitar player but a heavy metal guitar player!” From day one, my Mom got me a hundred dollar B.C. Rich copy guitar and from there it became an absolute, instant obsession or practicing up to 8 to 10 hours a day. Really disciplined. I just know that this is what I was going to do! I have never built a backup bridge, so I have to make it happen.

Who and what were some of the influences that have helped shape you, the musician, that we know today?

The first two cassettes that I bought when I was 15 were Motley Crue’s “Theater of Pain” and Twisted Sister’s “Come Out and Play.” [laughs] You are talking about the most obvious, 80’s heavy metal revolution. That was me. I was absolutely engulfed in the whole Jackson Flying Vs, Marshall Stacks, hair bands, smoke and women running around in videos! [laughs] That was me, man! I was into Motely Crue and I had bought enough Motley Crue T-Shirts to wear in school everyday! Then I heard Metallica’s “Ride The Lightning” album and at the same time, I heard Megadeth’s “Peace Sells” album and Overkill’s “Taking Over.” I said, “Now, this is what I am REALLY into!” I got out of the Sunset Strip Metal and got into the other stuff because it was a little more musician based and I was really into guitar playing.

As far as guitar players go, it is definitely Yngwie Malmsteen foremost. Steve Vai, Paul Gilbert from Racer X, Randy Rhoads. Those were the guitar heroes that had the most influence on me. Riff-wise it would be Metallica, Dave Mustaine, Chuck Schuldiner from Death. I loved the Death records that he did. I was always a person who had a really wide range of metal tastes. For example, I would go to school wearing a Metallica “Master of Puppets” t-shirt and come home and listen to Vinnie Vincent Invasion’s first record at night. I was really open to all these styles of metal. I think that really helped me and that it shows in my playing as it is not just one dimensional.

How do you think you have evolved as an artist since starting out?

I guess that I have gotten smarter and a little more mature with things. I guess this is a little bit cliche but I have gotten more interested in substance. I really pay attention to what kind of music I release. I want to make sure that not only the quality of it is good but that it talks about things that I feel strongly about. In other words, I wouldn’t necessarily write an album about Satan because I don’t happen to subscribe to an idea about something like that. I wouldn’t do it just to be crazy and mean. The music has to be more of an extension of my thoughts. It isn’t about how fast you can play on the guitar or how much smoke you can put on stage! [laughs] There is still plenty of that! I want it to be worthwhile and a piece of art.

What is the typical songwriting process like for you?

It varies on the artist that I work with. For myself, it is simple. I come up with all the riffs and I have a drum machine where I program all the drums. It doesn’t involve the most complicated drum patterns but I want to convey my message. For example, when Bobby Jarzombek, who is a drummer that I have been playing with for years, hears a part, he will know what I want. I program drums that would give him the skeleton of the riffs and I will demo everything. By the time a singer, drummer or bass player would hear the stuff, they almost have a mini-album in front of them. It is a very one-man process for me. Working in the basement and creating riffs and completing a demonstration album to make it happen for real.

Are you always working on material?

I am always working but I am working in different ways. There could be a time where I concentrate on getting a web store going. I figure, this might take four days that I have to get together with a graphic designer and a guy who’s going to hookup a PayPal thing for me. It might take four days just ironing that issue. If I hear from Rob Halford or his camp saying that they need a bonus track for something, they might need it in three weeks and I say “Ok, that is what I am going to work on.” It is difficult for me to do to many things at the same time because then I just feel like I am just running around or patching things up.

How did you originally become involved with HALFORD?

It was one of those guitar player Cinderella stories. I did my first solo project with a band called Isolation Chamber. In 1996, when everyone was releasing Joe Satriani-esque albums, I did a really heavy album. It wasn’t a kind of “Look at me, I can play guitar” type album, ya know? It was heavy riffs, there were industrial parts in it, samples and a decent amount of guitar playing but it wasn’t about me putting together chord progressions that I could play arpeggios over. I made this album back in 1996 and back then it was still $3,500 to print out 1000 CDs. [laughs] I put it on my parents credit card and asked my Mom if I could pay her 100 bucks a month while I gave lessons. It was time, no more demos, I needed to put out an album.

So, a year later I put together a band, just a three piece with myself, a bass player and a drummer. Whenever a guitar hero would play the East Coast, a promoter would call me to open up for them. I would open up for Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Morse or Ronnie Montrose. Anytime that a great guitar player would be in town, I would open up for them. I would do things like “pay to play.” I would sell tickets to all my students and family and I would show up with 130 tickets sold and give the promoter $1,800 in cash and get paid like $160 bucks! [laughs] Lesson number one about the music industry, right?!!

I would videotape all this stuff. I remember that I played the Birch Hill in New Jersey. Yngwie had like eight Marshall Stacks all lit up and you couldn’t even see my stack. So, it’s me playing in front of 900 people with no singer, in front of eight Marshall Stacks and that is the video that I sent to Rob (Halford). I heard that Rob was looking for a touring guitarist. He had just come out of the Two project. I wasn’t sure what he was looking for someone to play industrial music and if so, I wasn’t the guy. However, if he wanted to do heavy metal, I felt that I was definitely the guy for him. As luck would have it, Rob wants to go and reclaim his “Throne of the Metal God” and my video comes in with me playing in front of 900 people with 8 Marshall Stacks! [laughs] So, Rob said “Well, if he can do that in New Jersey, he can do that anywhere. Get him out here!” And that’s the story!

Any idea on when we might some activity on a new release from HALFORD?

Rob’s band, the musicians are quite prolific, and probably some of the most professional guys that I have ever been on stage with. There is so much material that has been accumulated over the past few years. It is just a matter of wrapping it all up and cutting out the songs that are not as good as the others, mixing it and then releasing it.

Well it sounds like we definitely have something to look forward to at least!

Yes, certainly. As you can imagine, we have to be very respectful to Rob’s commitment to Judas Priest because we all know what that band means to him. We would all like to have one more stab at going out and playing some new music. We all feel, and this is including Rob, that the HALFORD band was a little more than just a solo artist hiring a bunch of dudes to play cover songs. We really have something to say as a band. It was just a little unfortunate, in my eyes, to release an album like Crucible and not have a fair shot at promoting it. That’s alright and it’s all cool and we have all been busy but when the day comes that we all get together and play as a unit, it is going to be really fun! Not only for us, but hopefully for the fans as well! It seems like there are a lot of them out there.

You also worked on Sebastian Bach’s latest offering Angel Down. How did you first get hooked up with him and what was that experience like for you?

Sebastian lives about an hour and fifteen minutes away from me. He has been a big fan of my work with Rob. Steve Digiorgio, who I met when he was playing with Testament when they toured with Halford in 2003, we ended up becoming good friends. He played on the PainmuseuM Metal For Life album and he ended up playing with Sebastian. Steve called me and said “Sebastian is putting together this metal album, do you want to write a couple of songs?” I am always up for writing metal songs so I told Steve that I would write a song or two for the record. In the next thirty seconds, I got a call from Sebastian saying “I want you to join my band, man!” I couldn’t because I was doing, in 2004, a short run with Testament.

So he called me again and said “I am playing Sweden Rock and Bang Your Head in 2005.” I have such a soft spot for these festivals overseas because they are a lot of fun. I said “Alright! I will go out and play these few shows.” Before you know it, it is 150 shows later and we are on a World Tour with Guns N’ Roses and then Poison and the record is out! It has been fun! It is a pure rock n’ roll experience with Sebastian. Really, what you see is what you get.

Sebastian Bach is currently dabbling in the country scene. Have you checked out any of that yet and is there any chance we might see Metal Mike cross over to “The Dark Side” (Country Music)?

The answer to you is double no. [laughs] I haven’t heard any of it. Well, I heard something he was playing, “Battle with The Bottle”, on the bus. I didn’t even know it was Sebastian.

It definitely has a different sound for sure.

Yeah, it sounded pretty good. At this stage, everyone has a blessing to do whatever they want to do. If he wants to do a country record, then more power to him. I mean, it is a big world and you only live once. I am not interested at all in playing country. One, I don’t really like it and Two, I don’t really know how to play it.

Yeah, you would look a little funny up on stage with an acoustic guitar in front of all those Marshall Stacks.

Yeah, playing “I Remember You” is already a stretch for me! [laughs] But, it is a great song, people love it and it is a wonderful thing to be a part of too. If Sebastian is having a good time doing country that is a beautiful thing for him to do and I would rather go on and make a metal record in the meantime.

What is the current status of your band PainmuseuM?

Well, it was interesting because I really felt that we put out a unique album in the metal world. It wasn’t easily categorized and it was a kick ass metal record. Anytime we got some shows, to be very honest, I got sidetracked. I got sidetracked into going to California to work on some Halford music. I got sidetracked by going on tour with Sebastian. I got sidetracked by going on tour with Testament and just living life. I don’t regret any of those things because they were all really nice things to be involved with but that is what happened. The record has been out and it has become too old to really go out and tour on. That is what happened with PainmuseuM. I was really, really relieved because even though the music industry didn’t know what to make of it, the fans really embraced it. It was a critically acclaimed album which I thought was a really nice for a band’s first album.

To cut to the chase, I already have a whole album done and demoed in the fashion that I mentioned earlier. There are 12 songs, some awesome music in there. I am just not sure whether I am going to make it a PainmuseueM type of release or if it will be my own solo album with half of it being instrumental and half having a singer on it.

Any idea when we can look forward to a release of that material?

I am hoping to for it to see the light around the later part of 2009. While I am working on that I will also be working on my first heavy metal instructional DVD.

You do a lot of clinics and have even put out two books, Monster Coordination – Guitar Boot Camp and Ridiculous Riffs For The Terrifying Guitarist and now you are working on an instructional DVD. Was the transition from guitarist to teacher something that came naturally for you?

When I was teaching music, before I ended up doing music full-time, the thing I recognized about myself as a teacher was that I am patient with my students. I could listen to them and really talk to them. I could gauge their progress and so I could explain at their ability. So that helped me to be a good teacher but now it has been become more of showing the approach and technique of heavy metal. I don’t have a daily student roster anymore. The response to the first two books has been really strong. I felt I had something that people really responded too. I started putting together the idea of “Metal Day.” I grab a rehearsal studio and send out a quick mailer to my mailing list about it and I will take ten people into an open session. We will all talk together and guitar players can meet other guitar players and get in contact later. Every time I have done these things, we have always had a full house. I know there are so many people that want to learn and I really like doing it. The next step is making a guitar DVD that people can take home and put in their DVD player and learn to play.

What do you think about the state of metal music today?

I think there are a lot of positives. I think for one, the scene has become really strong and two, you know the stereotypes and segregation of metal styles that we saw in the 80’s and 90’s is almost gone. You know, now you can have a death metal singer and a clean singer in the same band. You could break into a Sunset Strip riff and then into a Slayer riff and no one is going to tell you that you are kinda doing it wrong. I love that because who wants to be held up in the box. Remember in the late 80’s, it got as bad as “If you liked Iron Maiden, you can’t like Judas Priest.” [laughs] That is so ridiculous, that is how you kill something, by segregating it into small little underground pockets. I love that metal is strong right now. There are always going to be bands that are going to be more commercially accepted or commercially minded with the material that they put out. If that makes them happy, good for them but I really love bands who take the later route. One of my favorite bands of all-time is Death. I thought that Chuck Schuldiner was doing such productive and great things. I really respect that. I think it is important to stand out from the pack because it is all about being individual and doing your own thing. That is really the idea behind heavy metal.

What does a lifelong musician like yourself think of the Guitar Hero and Rock Band video game craze we are currently having?

You know, to be honest it must be bigger than even I know about. I know the game and I have seen it and only played it for a few minutes. I felt like “Man, I should be playing my own guitar and not trying to press buttons!” [laughs] I was really bad at it! I thought it was so wild when the packaging (on Guitar Hero) had these metal looking guys and I don’t know if anyone picked up on it, but you basically have Abbath from Immortal on the cover. That is who the guy is. It just blew me away, because now the dude from Immortal is in every K-Mart! I think it is great, ya know! I think that Guitar Hero and Rock Band are great for rock music in general because rock is huge and what is metal? Metal is just a “dark child” of rock music.

One of the biggest stories in music this year is the release of Chinese Democracy by Guns N’ Roses. Have you had a chance to check out any of the music yet?

Well, I hate to brag, but! [laughs] I heard the album two years ago when Axl (Rose) played it for me on his laptop. I heard it and it was a lot to take in and then I heard those songs live when we were on tour with them. First of all, I think that it is absolutely incredible that the record is coming out. It still blows me away, how much of an anticipated album it is. Rightfully so. I heard the first single, “Chinese Democracy,” and I thought it was a great song. It shows you that someone like Axl, like we were talking about earlier, is a true artist and he refuses to bow down. He is the Elvis of today. I think it is beautiful and I think it is a really important album for hard rock and heavy metal. I’m going to get it and I think Axl deserves all of his success!

Is there anything else you want to add or let your fans know?

Most importantly, I want to thank everyone for following all of the crazy paths that I have taken. I get email and good wishes from people often and I really appreciate that. I really appreciate people caring and lending an ear to what I am doing. The last thing is to remind them that there is a whole lot of music that is going to come out from me. I feel that everything up until today has been just a really good warm up. I really have my stuff together and it is going to get really creative, really soon with my record, dvd and potential stuff from Rob. I’m ready and I have stuff cooking! Go over to MetalMike.Net visit me there and check out all the stuff!

Thanks, Mike!

Posted in Featured Stories, Interviews, MusicComments (0)

Alice Cooper – ‘Along Came A Spider’ –  CD Review

Alice Cooper – ‘Along Came A Spider’ – CD Review

?

Alice Cooper - Along Came A Spider

Alice Cooper - Along Came A Spider

By STEVE JOHNSON

?

Alice Cooper is a living legend of rock who’s career has spanned an amazing five decades.?His career has managed to shape modern heavy metal and introduce shock rock into the mainstream.?Most modern metal bands owe a huge thanks to Alice for helping usher in metal’s relevance in the music industry.?Alice has released 25 studio albums as part of a band and as a solo artist, with Billion Dollar Babies being the pinnacle of those recordings.?While Alice has not been able to top the success of Billion Dollar Babies, he has continued to turn out albums that have been both entertaining and diverse in style.

Alice’s long-delayed Along Came?a Spider is an album that weaves an intricate story throughout each of its tracks.?It revolves around a serial killer named Spider and his lust for hunting down victims.?Alice takes on the persona of the killer and delivers a haunting and at times sinister portrait of a man driven by a lust for taking lives.?The darker tone of the album is a welcome return to Alice’s roots and is reminiscent of his earlier works, such as Welcome to My Nightmare.

Along Came a Spider features a great lineup of musicians, most of which will be touring in support of the album with Alice.?Keri Kelly, Jason Hook and producer Danny Saber supply the guitars and do a fantastic job.?Chuck Garric returns as bassist on his third album with Alice, while drums are handled by Eric Singer of KISS fame.?Alice’s vocals and storytelling take center stage, but there is no denying the talent of these musicians and what they have brought to the album. ?

Along Came?a Spider also features two guests who need no introduction and stand as icons in the world of metal and hard rock.? ?Vengeance Is Mine,? one of the best tracks, features Slash, who delivers a blistering performance?on lead guitar.?Ozzy Osbourne also appears as co-writer of ?Wake the Dead? and as the harmonica player on the track.??Wake the Dead? is not the strongest song on the album, but it is interesting to hear the result of two powerhouses of rock getting together creatively.

Although tracks such as ?Vengeance Is Mine,? ?(In Touch wth) Your Feminine Side? and ?Catch Me If You Can? are rockers, it is the ballad ?Killed by Love? that is the album’s finest moment.? Not your typical ballad, ?Killed by Love? is a beautifully haunting and dark love song that only Alice Cooper can deliver.?His vocals are exceptional and represent some of his best work in years.

Along Came?a Spider is a good album that delivers a great story and is highly recommended for any hardcore Alice Cooper fan out there.? New listeners of Alice’s work may want to check out a few of his earlier albums before giving this one a listen.

THE VERDICT: 4.5/5

Posted in Music, ReviewsComments (0)

Round and Round with The Donnas: An Interview with Allison Robertson

Round and Round with The Donnas: An Interview with Allison Robertson

donnas1For more than 15 years, The Donnas have brought their unique brand of balls-out rock n’ roll to the masses. These lovely, yet hard-rocking ladies are currently on tour supporting their seventh studio album, Bitchin’, on the latest leg of their “Feather the Nation Tour.” Jason Price of Live-Metal.Net recently caught up with guitarist Allison Robertson when the band stopped in New York City. She tells us all about how the band has managed to remain such a tight unit for so long, what it is like to perform alongside one of there biggest idols (Stephen Pearcy of RATT) and clues us in on the future of the band. Allison pulls no punches and quickly proves The Donnas are more than just a bunch of pretty faces.

Live-Metal.net: For those not familiar with The Donnas, who did the whole thing come about?

Allison Robertson: We started when we were in middle school, at about 13 years old. We pretty much just formed because there were a bunch of other bands playing at our school and we just started playing guitar. I asked Brett [Anderson] if she would be interested in singing and Tori [Castellano] if she wanted to play drums. We just pretty much formed just for one show. We ended up having a great time. It wasn’t really about getting signed or being a professional band at that point. It was more of a pastime, a kind of afterschool thing.

What inspired you to get into music and to go this route?

I really don’t know. I have always liked music and my dad is a musician and my mom is very musical. My mom worked at record labels and did album art. I was born in L.A., so my parents dragged me to a lot of rock shows. So I always kinda wanted to do something, but I was painfully shy as a kid. So I always had dreams of being in a band, but I never really thought that I would try to learn an instrument or have the balls to get up on stage up until the age that we actually started our band. I think that forming the band gave me the courage to do it because it is like a gang and it’s not just me up there by myself.

The band has been together for more than 15 years. To what to you attribute the band’s longevity?

I guess because since we formed at such a young age and such an awkward age. We really didn’t know many people and we all came from different cities and ended up in this small town. I think because we were so awkward that is how we bonded. That is why we formed the band. It was a way of having something to do and not feel like total outcasts. I think that is what has been our foundation, still today, even though it has been so long and we have changed a lot and we are different. In a way, we are kinda still the same that we always were. We appreciate each other. It’s like, I know what they were like when they were 13. It’s good to be around people that remember you that way. You can’t be fake or be assholes to each other because the others will call you out because they know you so well.

What is the biggest misconception about The Donnas?

I would say that it is that we are Valley Girls or that we are stupid. I think that some of the songs, the content, it’s obviously not the most serious music in the world. We obviously aren’t throwing a million vocab words in there and I think a lot of people just assume that we are really stupid or that we have done so many drugs or drank so much that we are really screwed up. I think people are pretty surprised when they meet us that we are easy to talk to and friendly and not total dumbasses! So that is probably the biggest misconception! [laughs]

donnas4The tour that you’re out on now just started about a week ago. How is it going so far?

The tour is going very well. I think that this is one of the best tours that I have ever been on. It’s kind of hard to imagine it ending. The Hives are amazing to tour with. It’s very much like being on tour with our brothers, not to mention that they are one of my favorite bands. So we get to party with them and have fun backstage and every night get to see one of our favorite bands on stage, right on the side of the stage. They really sound awesome. It’s the perfect tour to be on. You can make friends with other bands when touring but not necessarily like their music or like their music but they turn out to be assholes. So this is pretty much the best tour I have ever been on. We might be doing some more touring with them soon, so we are hoping for that!

Who and what were some of your influences that have helped shaped The Donnas we know today?

All the years of touring have made us hardened in certain ways. We definitely used to get stressed out and worry about what people thought of us. We kinda got that out of our system and I think that has really helped our character. We used to be very self-conscious or had people heckling that it got to us and we would mess up on stage. Every year since we started there was something we learned about ourselves, either on stage or in interviews. I feel like now we have been through it all and just don’t care about it anymore. We want people to like it, we want people to have fun, we want to have people like our music and to keep our fans happy, but besides that we don’t care if we look cool or if people think we can’t play. We feel pretty confident in almost everything we do now. I don’t think we have ever thought that we were perfect and there is always room to get a lot better, but at the same time it isn’t like we are “Oh my God! If we screw up, it is going to be a career breaker!” or “Someone’s going to laugh at you,” ya know? We just have fun and it makes it much more enjoyable that way. That way we can just kick back and party, which is what we always should have been doing.

The Donnas music has evolved since the first few albums. Where do you see the band going musically from here?


Every album we try to change it up a lot, but the goal is always to make something bigger and louder than the last one. I feel that with the songwriting, it always depends on what has happened since the last album. We really base our songs on what has been going on in our lives. Since Bitchin’ came out, we have had a lot of fun touring and a lot of crazy stuff has already happened, so we already have a lot of ideas. I feel that the general direction of the future is just to outdo ourselves and create an even harder, louder album than the one before. I don’t think any of us don’t think we can’t be a little bit better than we were before every time on our instruments. On guitar, I am always looking for new ideas and trying to do things that I thought I couldn’t do. So hopefully, on every album after this one it will be something like that coming from all of us. Outdoing ourselves is always going to be our goal.


What is the songwriting process like for you?

I usually come up with riffs and just gather up ideas. Maya [Ford] and Brett write a lot of lyrics. The last album we all collaborated a lot more on the lyrics than we had in the past. They definitely both come up with a lot of things that are prolific and have notebooks full of concepts and titles. I usually keep a notebook. I am usually better with titles and choruses. I have never been so great at lyrics. So we just kinda get together and get a running theme or maybe someone has a song idea that fits with someone else’s song idea and go from there. Then I pull out some riffs and we start thinking of titles or different concepts and work with that to come up with the melodies once we have a chorus idea. I usual just create a sort of backbone of the song with guitar and go to rehearsal and figure it all out. This time we came up with a lot of the melodies for the vocals before the lyrics were finished. I think that helped because then we already knew what we where writing the lyrics to and I think the phrasing came out a lot better then it had before.

How have the fans, in your opinion, been reacting to the new album?

Oh, well our fans are always really, really supportive. I think that most of them are really excited about this album. We always try to give them what they really want and on this album I really think we tried to leave no stone unturned. We tried to go over it with a fine toothed comb and think about “Do we love it?” and “Will our fans love it?” Even though we always do that, we tried to remember all the things that they loved about past albums, even the packaging. I feel like our older albums had a lot of pictures and we tried to make sure that we included that even though not a lot of people are buying the physical album anymore. We still have fans that do that and we even have a lot of fans who buy the vinyl, so they were pretty psyched that we did that like we always would. Everyone seems to like different songs, which to me is a compliment because it isn’t like there is just one song on there. If all the fans are kinda strewn over the whole album, it’s even better because it means that we reach different people.

How long do you plan to stay out in support of this album?


I guess until it feels like we are sick of playing the songs or it seems that nothing much is going on. But, I think so far, especially with The Hives tour that we are on now, it is kinda like the album just came out. The album came out in the fall, which is always kinda bad time for new releases. It’s almost cursed, ya know? If you put an album out around the end of the year, it is pretty much going to go missing until the next year with Christmas music all over the radio and people just go for the blockbusters during the holiday shopping, so it gets kinda lost in the shuffle and excitement of the holidays. I feel like now that we are on The Hives tour, it is a rebirth for the album, so I feel we have quite a while. We are definitely going to tour through the end of the year for it!


Are you working on any new material while you are out on the road?


Well, some bands write on the bus or do a lot of demoing while on tour, but we don’t usually do that. We usually just try to concentrate on what is at hand. I think everyone really just collects ideas. I know Brett keeps notebooks and I usually jot down ideas whenever I get a melody or a riff. A lot of times, I know this sounds stupid, but I wake up from having a dream and I think of the melody and I just record it on my phone. You just never know. So I feel like we just start the gathering on tour and once we are done and on a break, that is when we will actually start working on the next songs.

You recently worked with Stephen Peary of RATT on a remake of “Round and Round.” How did that collaboration come about?


Well actually, I think he just had heard that we were doing a cover. It was just for fun. We were doing it basically because it sounded like a challenge. We loved the song and we were looking for a new cover to do on the tour. We don’t always play covers, but I think our fans like it and it is a nice break from the album. We were doing it on this last tour in the fall and we got a call from him. He contacted us and said that he had been working on a remake and was just kicking it around for fun and thought it would be a really good idea for us to come in and play on it. He already had some of the track finished, but he let me do some of the guitars and a mini solo. Brett sings on it, as well. It was just really fun and easy. We invited him to come sing with us inL.A. at a show a few weeks ago. That was really cool because we idolize him and he is the nicest, coolest guy. It was a match made in heaven and I hope that we do more stuff with him because he rules!

Where will we see the single end up?

It is all his thing. I think he is going to release it when he is done. I am not sure if he is actually putting it on a CD or if he is going to release a single or something on the Internet, but it is definitely his track.

Doing covers to me is a great way off saying, “Hey we like other bands, too!” I always like showing the appreciation for our favorite bands through covers because it’s not all about you. It’s about who you’re inspired by.

Ever had a Spinal Tap moment on stage?

Definitely, all the time. It’s everyone’s favorite movie and we know it like the backs of our hands. Almost everything that happens feels like a Spinal Tap moment. On stage we have had many times that we couldn’t find the stage door. That kinda thing always happens. We don’t have a lot of stage production, but we have had that smoke that covers the entire stage, so you can’t even see across the stage. It’s kinda ridiculous, it kinda looks like a school dance! [laughs] It seems to me anytime you try and take a chance you can end up with a Spinal Tap moment. You have to take a risk every time you do something weird. There have been times when I tried to do something cool and have tripped, so those are like mini Spinal Tap moments, but I would rather get out there and do something stupid than not do anything at all by standing there trying to look cool.

Do you think music today and rock n’ roll in particular has lost it’s flair from the past?

I think it is weird because you could say that everyone is really styled now, but look at the ’80s and see how everyone was so obsessed with image, whether it was metal or new wave. I also feel like that there was something about back then that was a little more original. Now people are really styled and a lot of rock bands to have some type of schtick. It is really hard to find something that is original. I feel like in the ’80s, there were a lot of things that were really different and more bands and people with crazy images and stage shows, but they actually backed it up with good songs and good performances. Like Poison, for instance. People make fun of it and some people love it, but they always made sure that they had really good moves. If you look at some of those videos they are doing dances and knee slides, but now when you go to a show you don’t see people taking chances like that. I feel like things are a little bit stale these days. I think people are afraid of losing there cred for doing something more fun and are obsessed with looking cool.

Any plans in the works for more releases on Purple Feather Records?

There aren’t yet, but we definitely want to get to that point and put out our friends’ bands or bands that were in the position that we were, where you just don’t fit in. There are plenty of bands out there that just might not fit in at a major label that just want to get their music out there. That is how we have always been.

So you have a show, “Fun in the Dungeon with Allison Robertson” on Women Rock Radio. What has that experience been like for you?

Great! I have always wanted to do something like that, but I was too shy or too awkward to have done it, even a few years ago. Now it’s very low key and it’s for the Internet, so I don’t get paid and it is for fun, so I can stop and start again whenever I want. I love the people who run it because they are so amazing. That is why I did it in the first place. They interviewed me and I just loved the vibe. I also liked the message because I don’t believe in separating women and men in music, but I do feel like it is cool to have a station that only concentrates on females in rock. It is a great way to celebrate some unsung heroes. I have had the opportunity to play bands like Girlschool, Rock Goddess and, of course, everyone loves The Runaways. I try to find more rare tracks by some of those bands and put on stuff that maybe people have never heard, like really weird, rare bands. I don’t mind also playing pop or dance or rap and mixing it up because I feel like concentrating on females rocking no matter want the genre.

And finally, when do you think Chinese Democracy will be released?

Hmmmmm, I’m gonna guess in the year 3000! [laughs] I don’t think it is ever coming out. Just a side note, we saw Guns N’ Roses play in Belgium a few years ago and they did a bunch of Chinese Democracy tracks. I waded to my knees in mud just to see those songs and just to see the vibe! So I was one of the lucky couple thousand at that festival who got to see that. It wasn’t bad, it wasn’t bad! But I just get the feeling that it is never coming out! [laughs]


That’s all the questions I have for you. Is there anything else you want to add?

I just want to say thank you to everyone who does come out to support us and bands in general. I think a lot of people aren’t even going to shows anymore, probably because they’re thinking, “Why go to a show when you can just watch it on YouTube?”, which I can kinda relate to, but it is cool when people still feel a connection to us and want to come out and see us live. I feel it is really different to be there at a show. It is such a great feeling and I hope that doesn’t die with the Internet as so many other things have. Go out, support those bands, have a beer, listen to some live music and don’t forget about it!

Related Links:
www.thedonnas.com
www.myspace.com/thedonnas
youtube.com/thedonnastv
www.womenrockradio.com

Allison Robertson Fun Fact: Her father, musician Baxter Robertson, wrote the track “Feel The Night” on the Karate Kid Soundtrack.

Posted in Interviews, MusicComments (1)

Sebastian Bach: “Back in the Saddle” with Angel Down

Sebastian Bach: “Back in the Saddle” with Angel Down

bach-int3Sebastian Bach is a man who needs no introduction. With more than two decades in the limelight, no one embodies the spirit of rock n’ roll quite like him. This jack-of-all-trades has run the gamut from rock frontman, to Broadway actor to reality TV star and back again. Bach is now ready to return to his metal roots and unleash his latest project. Jason Price of Live-Metal.net recently sat down with Bach to talk about what lies in store for fans on ‘Angel Down,’  the evolution of the album, the re-emergence of W. Axl Rose and the burdens of being an unofficial mouthpiece for Gun N’ Roses.

Live-Metal.net: It has been eight years since your last solo release. How does it make you feel that this record is about to see the light of day?

Sebastian Bach: Well, it feels amazing! I gotta mention that I did put a record out in the year 2005 called Frameshift 2: The Absence of Empathy, which is a progressive metal album. So if you like Angel Down and Slave to the Grind, I think you would definitely dig a lot of the music on that record. The singer on Frameshift 1 was James LaBrie of Dream Theater. I sang on the whole record and co-wrote a lot of the music on it, so check that out. Angel Down is more of what you would expect from me and what I expect of myself, which is ass kickin’ rock n’ roll! I am really happy with the songs, the playing, the production, the artwork and, oh yeah, I have a guest star on the album, too! [laughs

Yeah, I think I might have heard a little something about that!

Yeah, I have Mr. Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses singing three songs on the record with me, so it is a very historic album. All of us have been waiting for some new Axl and new Baz, and we have them both on the same record!

How long has this record been in the works?

I spent seven years writing the record. The first song was written in the year 2000, right after I was done with Jekyll & Hyde on Broadway. I wrote “Falling Into You,” which is the last song on the record, with Desmond Child. Then I went through many, many different band members over the course of the years. I had many different guitar players and musicians in my solo band, so each one of them had something to offer and it basically took me seven years to assemble 14 songs that I feel is an album. That is why it took that long.

What was the biggest challenge in making the record?

Getting the record deal that I got. I got signed by EMI to my own label, through their subsidiary MRV. Jason Flom is the guy that I sent the CD to, that ended up getting the deal, he is the president of EMI. I have known him for 20 years. He signed me in Skid Row back in 1987. He didn’t just automatically sign me because I am Sebastian Bach. I had to believe in myself up to the point that I ended up paying for the record out of my own pocket when the previous record company went out of business. So he didn’t just sign me because of my hairdo or because of what I did in 1989, it’s not about that. I dumped a CD on his desk in 2007 that blew his mind, and that is the record that you are hearing today. He was like, “OK, dude, now you’re ready,” ya know. He came through. That’s how it happened.

How did you pick the guys that you would go into the studio with to record this release?

I played a show called the Bang Your Head Festival in Balingen, Germany, in 2004 and the opening band was Testament. Then I opened up for Iced Earth. In Testament was “Metal” Mike Chlasciak and Steve DiGiorgio, and in Iced Earth was Ralph Santolla and Bobby Jarzombek, so there is a lot of my band right there! After the show, we all got drunk and the drunker we got, the more these dudes were whispering into my ear, “Hey dude, who are these guys your playin’ with!” [laughs] It was a “Here is my number, if you ever want a real fuckin’ band!” kinda thing! [laughs] So they kinda schooled me, all these metal guys. One of my favorite albums of the ’90s is Halford’s Resurrection, so when Halford went back to Judas Priest, Bobby Jarzombek and “Metal” Mike were free, so that how I got them. I called them up. “Metal” Mike is from New Jersey, which is where I am from, so that is really cool.

And Bobby, well, no offense to any drummer that I have ever played with, but Bobby Jarzombek is by far the best drummer that I have ever played with, without a doubt. There is no comparison to how amazingly this fucking guy plays drums. Listen to the song “Stabbing Daggers.” He just goes insane in this song! [laughs] He deserves to be up there with Neil Peart, Tommy Lee and fucking John Bonham! I am serious! He really is THAT good!

In your opinion, where does Angel Down stack up in comparison to your previous work?

Well, one thing that really surprises me about Angel Down is how young my voice sounds on certain songs. There is a song called “You Don’t Understand” on which I really concentrated on singing really clean and pure. I have been beating the shit out of myself and my voice for 20 years, and there is no way that my voice should sound the way that it sounds on some of these songs, which is just surprising to me. I can only attribute it to theater and all the theater that I have done. That taught me a lot about singing. I can hear the theatrical influence in certain parts of the record.

You used artwork from your father, David Bierk, as the cover for Angel Down. The painting is titled “David Watching.” How did you decide on this particular piece for the album cover?

Well, my dad was extremely prolific. There are thousands of images that he painted during his lifetime. So there is really a wealth of paintings that I could choose from. When I did Jesus Christ Superstar in 2002, that image really haunted me because it looked like it was him in heaven, made of rock, lifeless, looking down at Jesus in the painting, and I was playing the role of Jesus at the time. So to me it was like an image from beyond the grave. And then we have the song “Angel Down.” I had already been thinking of using that as the title track because I always want the title track to be super fucking ballsy and heavy. And on that song, that is the heaviest riff I have heard in years. So when I thought of the title Angel Down, with the painting, it was meant to be. It totally fit together. Then, a lot of the lyrics on the record have a lot to do with the war, and I am sure any parent or family member or friend that has lost a soldier in this war knows what an “Angel Down” means. It is like saying “man overboard.” It has a very military feel to it, which again is what a lot of the lyrics have to do with.

You had the painting tattooed on your arm by the legendary Kat Von D, what was that experience like for you?

That was great, man! Because a lot of my tattoos are really super old and Kat Von D has such a new style with the way she does tats. It is so fucking detailed and she has her own style that is very, very happening and cool. So that was really great to do that show. I loved how they played “Love is a Bitchslap” on LA Ink. A lot of the fans were like, “Dude, your fucking song sounds KILLER on the show!” I loved hearing it on the show. It was the first time that I had heard one of my new songs on a TV show and I freaked out. I was like, “Oh my God, I really do have a new record!” [laughs]

Do you have any plans for creating videos for any of the singles off of the new album?

Yes, absolutely! I was talking to my manager about this the other day. The problem with that right now is that we cannot decide what song to do. If I only had one choice, I would have to pick “By Your Side.” My manager said that I am going to have more than one choice. So we will definitely do two videos at the least. So that was good news! Basically, radio right now is really reacting to “Back in the Saddle” a lot. So we can’t decide whether to do that or “Love is a Bitchslap,” which people are also freakin’ out about. But then again there is “Stuck Inside” which is CRAZY! [laughs] So I don’t know. We are still choosing right now, that is all I can say.

Can we expect to see you tour in the near future in support of Angel Down?

Yes! We are putting together tour plans as we speak. I don’t have any concrete plans yet, but we are trying to put together a package with some other big bands! So we will be out there soon!

One of the biggest stories about this album is the re-emergence of W. Axl Rose. How did the collaboration come about?

I spent the better part of a year opening for Guns N’ Roses all over the world. I know it sounds crazy and I keep trying to find new ways to tell this, but what happened is that I just asked him and he did it! [laughs

That is all you really need!

Yeah! I texted him and he said, “Yeah.” So he drove to the studio and sang all night. Then he came back two nights later to listen and get a CD of it. He is a human being and it is hard to realize that, even for me who is around him all the time, what a mythological icon of our times he has become to many people. I feel like my life has been blessed. To do a solo record and have him come and sing on it is any musician’s dream. I can’t even believe it and I can’t thank him enough.

In many ways, especially in the “rock media,” you have become a sort of “unofficial mouthpiece” for Guns N’ Roses in the past few years. 

Yeah.

Does this ever put you in a bad spot or become a bit of a burden?

Uh, yeah, actually it does. Actually, just yesterday. I do talk about him a lot and I don’t know what to do. What, am I not supposed to talk about the best singer in the world who just happens to be my buddy? [laughs] It is kinda hard NOT to talk about it! I did an interview with a magazine last week where I went into detail about our collaboration and they condensed it into about three sentences, which wasn’t cool. So, he [Axl] was asking me about it and I said, “I never said this.” So maybe sometimes I should talk a little less about him, but it is hard. Number one, I am a fan and mumber two, he is a friend, and number three, he is on my record. So I just have to trust the writers not to twist my words and I don’t have a bad word to say about him. It is not in my being. So I do have to be careful.

You have been in the public eye for a very long time and have a very well documented career. What do you think is the biggest misconception about Sebastian Bach?

There are a lot of misconceptions. You know, I don’t like the word “80s” because it always makes me cringe. Or “hair band,” I hate that word. I don’t like being lumped in with a bunch of other bands that I have never even met, have never even played with and have nothing to do with, but somehow we are all in one big band together. That drives me nuts. The real fans know the difference between Skid Row and a lot of the bands that Skid Row gets billed with. The Skid Row of 2007 doesn’t help matters at all by what they are doing. They are wrecking the name worse than can ever be wrecked. So they make my job harder when I am trying to do something cool and new, and they are just touring the world two out of five original members, playing with all the bands that we would never have toured with me in the band. So they make it hard. So I have to fight “80s hair band” all the time and I guess I don’t make it any easier on myself when I have long blonde hair down to my asshole, but that’s just too bad! [laughs] TOO BAD!

Being the jack-of-all-trades that you are, you have without a doubt lived quite an interesting life. Any plans to document your life and times in a book?

100 percent. That will definitely be coming. But ya know, it will take a long time because it will be good. It will be worth the wait! 

I am sure it will be!

I want to put out more CDs, dude, before you see a book from me. Now that I have my own record label, I am gonna use it! That’s my first passion. So I am gonna release albums before anything else. 

Will you be doing anything special to celebrate the release of Angel Down on November 20, when it is released?

I do plan on going to my area stores and just making sure that it is there! [laughs] Hopefully, I don’t have to yell at anybody on the phone at the end of the day! Really, at this point, I have worked so hard on it and listened to it so many times and I have approved it. It’s amazing. But I still haven’t seen the finished product yet! Hopefully, they didn’t spell something wrong or fucking leave a song off or something! As long as it is like we approved it, it is amazing and it is everything that I want it to be. So really, all I can do then is just hope for the best! It’s like I put a stamp on an envelope and put it in the mail, it’s gone! It’s out of my control! Once I say it’s done, it’s yours as much as it is mine. So I hope you like it!

The other thing I would like to say is, that if people really want to support rock n’ roll, please go to the store and buy the CD. CD stores are going out of business to the point where it is getting really fucking scary to be a musician. You can download it, but you are gonna miss out on the full sound of the CD, which is way better than MP3 sound. You’re gonna miss out on the artwork and the double-sided poster which is included in the packaging. And we all put a lot of work into making a package that you are not even going to know about if you just download an MP3. If anyone is thinking about the CD, please, go to the store and support rock n’ roll, support record stores, support the CD industry, support my kids! [laughs] And BUY THE FUCKING CD! [laughs]

We all have to do that. When I want a new CD, I go to the store and buy it. That is the only way rock n’ roll is gonna survive and every rock n’ roller better know that! People talk about global warming, let’s talk about “rock n’ roll colding!” [laughs] I don’t like seeing Tower Records going out of business and Best Buy and Wal-Mart cut down their CD space. Every rocker, go out and buy the CD to show the world that we want to rock!
 

Related Links:
www.sebastianbach.com
www.myspace.com/sebastianblog
www.merovingianmusic.com

Posted in Interviews, MusicComments (0)

POWERMAN 5000: The Spirit of Rock

POWERMAN 5000: The Spirit of Rock

The spacesuits are long gone, but as a band, Powerman 5000 is as strong as ever, touring the country in support of its latest album, the punk-rock-fueled Destroy What You Enjoy. When the band hit the Recher Theatre in Towson, Maryland, frontman Spider sat down with Jason Price and Jeff Maki of Live-Metal.net to discuss the new CD, the surprise success of the 1999 breakthrough Tonight the Stars Revolt! and more.

How did you first get into music?

Like any kid, I always listened to music. Whatever was on the radio, I would listen to it. I’d say that around 13 or 14 years old I started discovering all the great punk rock bands like The Clash, the Ramones and the Sex Pistols. I grew up in a small town on the East Coast where there was nothing to do and when I started to find all these bands, it was just so fucking exciting. I couldn’t believe that there were people in the world like that. So that is when I bought a bass for $15 and tried to start a band in high school. I just had the worst band in the world and decided that it was more fun to jump around and sing and went from there. It was really those initial bands that opened up this whole world for me.

Who and what were some of your influences that have helped shaped the Spider we know today?

There are twos types of people that start playing music. There are the ones that strive to be the most proficient musician and want to be able to be able to play every solo Eddie Van Halen plays. Then there are other people like me that just love the spirit of rock and the energy, knowing that you can make a great song with just two chords and you don’t have to be the greatest singer in the world, the whole punk rock thing and all the hardcore bands like Black Flag and Minor Threat. Then I even got into hip-hop for a while. To me, that was the same kind of thing. I was like, “Fuck! You don’t even have to know how to sing! [laughs]. You don’t even have to know how to play an instrument, all you need is a drum machine!  [laughs] I was kinda into that whole idea, not having to be a great musician, but you can still make great music.

So for people not familiar with the band, how did Powerman 5000 come about?

It’s tough to say because it has been through so many changes. But I think that we probably played our first show or did our first recordings in the early ’90s, ’91 or ’92. So it has actually been a long, long time! [laughs] I can’t believe it. Sometimes it feels like yesterday and sometimes it’s like “Fuck! I have been in this band for 15 years? Where does the time go? 

How do you think your sound has changed in that time?

It changes all the time. It changes from record to record. The new record is much more stripped-down and raw. It is much more real rock n’ roll. We sorta lost what we are known for, which is the electronic aspect of it. On the new record, there is really none of that. We kinda work backwards. A lot of bands start out really simple and they add more and more. We started out with all the shit and started taking it away. So I think that is pretty much the biggest change.

The official site quotes you as saying that Destroy What You Enjoy is the best PM5K record yet. Why?

I think it is because we made a real rock record. We didn’t rely on a bunch of tricks. I think it is some of the best hooks and most memorable songs out of the whole catalog that will stand the test of time. There are certain things about a good melody or a good guitar hook that just last forever.

How have the fans, in your opinion, been reacting to it?

Completely mixed, like usual. With every record that we put out, it is usually split right down the middle. We get this new crop of kids who love it and you get the old school fans that hate it because you have changed. It happens to us every time. On our last album, Transform, the kids who were old school fans were just freaking out, hating it. Like, “What did you do?” or “This is not Powerman!” And now those same kids refer to it as our “classic album.” [laughs] So it is funny. You get people who want you to stay the same and want you to do the same thing over and over, but I know that if I did that, those same people would be bored. But live, the new songs go over great. So that is kind of the ultimate test.

You have had a lot of lineup changes since the band’s formation and in recent years. How has that affected you and PM5K?

It’s good and bad. It is bad in the sense that it makes things a lot more difficult. You are continually feeling like you have to re-energize the band and almost start from the ground up. On the other hand, it definitely keeps things interesting. It definitely helps in that effort to always keep things new and keep the sound fresh. I would have loved the band to have been the same members forever and have that sorta U2 kinda thing where it’s those guys forever but, hey, ya know? [shrugs]

Do you have any contact with the former members of the band?

Yeah, on different levels. Different relationships with different people. With some, I have a good relationship with, but with others it is a little strained. But what are ya going to do?

What would you say is the biggest misconception about yourself or the band?

Good question. I think that there is an idea that when we blew up and had our big record, which was Tonight the Stars Revolt!, that we were some sort of overnight, record label contrived band. The reality was that I had been in this band for eight years playing every shitty little club there was on the East Coast before any record label even looked at us. I think that we are actually beating that rap now. It’s funny because we have been around so long and been through so many ups and downs, labels and member changes, that we have finally turned the corner where there is a certain amount of respect for this band. It’s like, “Wow, man, they are still fuckin’ doing it!” A lot of bands, the second there is trouble, they are gone. The second that the label or success gives, they are gone. For me, it is either you do it or you don’t. You can’t judge yourself on what label you are signed to or how many records that you are selling that particular month or whatever. You are in a band.

You mentioned the success of Tonight the Starts Revolt! Was that something that you expected?

No, it was so weird, man. The funny thing about that record was that the record before that was a small, underground hit, Mega!! Kung Fu Radio, and we were just doing our thing. Then I was like, “Let’s do this weird sci-fi record and wear these fuckin’ spacesuits.” The label was like, “This is the worst idea that we have ever heard!” I remember record label people showing up at our photo shoots and just shaking there heads and they thought we were crazy. I remember our A&R guy sitting us down in his office and saying, “Watch this, just watch this.” And he puts on these videos like Deftones and say’s “See, they have like baggy pants and chain wallets and they are skateboarding. That is what you should be doing! What is this spacesuit shit?” And it’s funny because ultimately a lot of kids thought that the whole sci-fi thing was a label idea and that they made us do it. The fact is that they [the label] hated it. I honestly didn’t expect it to do anything. It just seemed so ridiculous that I thought only a small amount of people would even get it. Then all of a sudden it was like, “Boom!” and we were on MTV and going on tour with every show sold out. We would roll into town and listen to the radio and listen to their top five countdown and we would be number one above Nine Inch Nails and bands like that. I couldn’t believe it. It was so fuckin’ weird. We made this weird record about fucking robots and shit that I didn’t think anyone would get except for some nerdy comic book kids. But that is how it works though. That is why you can never try to have a hit. You can never try to make a record for anyone but yourself because you never know what is going to work.

Does Destroy What You Enjoy mark a new direction for the band?

I think so for now. Who knows where my head will be at next year. It feels right now. It feels like the most fun. The cool thing is that we can set up on a big stage with a bunch of production or we could set up outside on a street corner and the show would still be as cool because it is about rocking out and not costumes or lights. That is sorta what I wanted to get back to, the feeling of just being a really good band and not having to worry about the other stuff quite as much.

How has the “digital revolution” affected the band with the advent of the iPod, downloading and MySpace?

It’s interesting. All of that is going to play out big time in X amount of years. We talked about MySpace and how you can have 30,000 friends, but I don’t know that translates to actual record sales. I do think that it is all coming together were eventually that will be the music business, where everything is digital and there will be no record stores, or record stores like we know them. Time will tell.

You have some local bands opening up for you tonight. Is that the case with the whole tour?

Yeah! We have toured the last year and a half or so with local bands opening. It just sorta makes sense and it is kinda cool because it is different everyday. There is an aspect of it that I like because those bands are totally into it and appreciate it. You don’t have the drama of taking some band out that thinks that they are rock stars. So it is cool to have local bands open. Sometimes you get goods ones and sometimes you get ones like you can’t believe man! [laughs] It is definitely entertaining!

It has been more good than bad?

There aren’t a lot of good bands out there. It is amazing. You would think that with all these bands and having three or four open, that there has got to be the next big thing.

They all sound the same.

Yeah, that is the thing. Everyone is a follower. It is very rare that you see bands that stick out and try to do their own thing. But it is fun.

Being in the music industry as long as you have, are there still surprises?

I feel like I have seen it all, ya know what I mean? It is just surprising how much more difficult it has become to sell records and draw crowds. It is just a tougher game now. Radio stations are going away. There is something surprising: New York City doesn’t have a rock station. That is something where you think, “How is that even possible?” The biggest city in America with no place to get your song on the radio. There is a station called MTV that doesn’t play music videos. Where else do you go other than tour? If you aren’t a good touring band, it is really hard to survive.

For those how haven’t seen Powerman 5000 live, how would you describe it?

Now it is more about a real stripped-down, raw, rock n’ roll show. I think it is about the crowd as much it is about the band now. It used to be, “Here is the spectacle, look at us!” and now it is about being on equal footing. It is about the crowd interaction and they determine where the show goes for me. I used to sorta do my thing and put on my show and it wouldn’t really matter, but now it if the crowd is up with me, I will let them know! [laughs]

As we all know, your family is no stranger to multi-processing. Do you have anything in the works outside the realm of music?

Yeah, I do actually. I always do, but I am also not one to talk about anything until it’s happening. But, yeah, I am definitely in that mindset of “What’s next? What else can I get my hands involved with?” And I definitely have some projects in the works over the next year. Maybe the next time that we talk I can tell you a little more about those.

Any plans in the works for more releases on Megatronic Records?

I don’t know. Running a label is not very much fun at all. Every once in a while, I get that urge of having my own label and I re-energize Megatronic and then the reality of it sets in. There is a reason that there are record company people and I am in a band! [laughs] Never say never, but no plans right now.

Do you think we will ever see a Powerman/Rob Zombie tour?

Maybe! That is up to him really. I think it would be great. We have done a couple of shows together, like radio shows, but we have never done a real tour together. I don’t know though. He just finished up this latest tour and you never know with him if he is ever going to do it again. He goes through such phases where it’s like, “I’m done!” And then he makes another record. Then he is like, “I made a record, I am gonna tour forever!” So we will see what happens.

And finally, when do you think Chinese Democracy will be released?

[laughs] Yeah, that is a good question! I hear that it is supposed to come out this year, but then he has been saying that for years. I think that he should have released that thing about 10 years ago. He seems to be popping up more and more recently, so maybe he is gearing up for it. [laughs] That guy is a nut!

Posted in Interviews, MusicComments (0)

‘Back 2 base X’ with (hed)p.e. – An Interview with M.C.U.D.

pic_hed(hed)p.e., who have flirted with mainstream success on more than one occasion in the past, have been powered by the underground scene for more than a decade. With a retooled lineup, the band has found new life on their new label and is back on the scene with a new album, Back 2 Base X. Jason Price of Live-Metal.Net recently caught up with frontman Jared Gomes (a.k.a. M.C.U.D.) on the Koast II Koast tour, supporting the Kottonmouth Kings. Jared discusses the band?s longevity and future, their new raw sound, the struggles with their former label and moving on to the much ?greener pastures? of Suburban Noize Records.

Live-Metal: (hed)p.e. formed back in 1994. The lineup has changed a bit in that time, but to what do you attribute the band?s longevity??

Jared Gomes: You know what it is, it is just because the band (hed)p.e. is more than who is in the band. It is a way or life and a frame of mind. Those of us who have stuck it out have stuck it out because the music means more to us. We aren?t into this for fame or nothing, it is just in our blood. The reason we stay around for one thing is because we never hit it big. We have been trudging along working as hard as we can and I think we have earned some respect for that.?

What is the biggest misconception about (hed)p.e.??

That we are a rap-rock band. [laughs] Or that people want to dismiss us as rap-rock band. It is hard because people wanna describe music with words and that in itself is a difficult task. I think that it is a misconception that we were part of some trend or whatever. We don?t look at ourselves like that. Bob Marley had 12 albums and Zeppelin. We just consider ourselves musicians, artists. We don’t consider ourselves ?rap-rockers? or whatever.?

In your opinion, what?s the biggest milestone for the band since you started out??

The biggest milestone of the band? Hummmm, interesting question. I don?t know if I am in a position to answer that question. I think that we are just continually creating milestones every time we get on stage. Every time we sell a T-shirt it’s another stone, ya know? Part of the trick of us staying in it is that we aren?t in it for short-term rewards or whatever. Playing big shows and opening up for bands or playing for big festivals or whatever?it is all great for us. So that is why we take it all in stride. Once you start creating milestones and then you are like, ?Oh man, why aren’t we doing that again?” So for us it is just a way of life thing, so I don?t really have one that sticks out. Maybe me buying a laptop and starting to do all producing myself. Maybe when I bought all the recording equipment and decided to do this all myself. It took the power out of the hands of the people with all the money. It took power out of money and just gave it back to our band in terms of creativity.?

Do you have a typical songwriting process for (hed)p.e.??

If it?s not me just picking up a guitar and recording a song and then showing it to the band, then my guitar player will record a song and send me tapes or email me a bunch of his tracks. Or my bass player will give me some tracks and I will pick through the one that really moves me or one were I feel like the lyrics are already written for this. So it is nothing that is written in stone. It could be words first or it could be music first.?

The latest album is Back 2 Base X. You recorded this album live as a band in the studio. How did you come to that decision??

I think that technology can be your best friend, but you can use it too much to your advantage. For us, we are a live band and we want capture that liveness like they used to do. You know, Ray Charles, Rick James, The Clash, the Sex Pistols. Some of those old-school bands that used to record all at once or just with a couple mics in the room. We wanted to get that raw feeling again, where some of the old (hed)p.e. albums, even the more popular ones were done with a lot of looping and stuff and computer tricks. We just wanted to get away from that.?

Can we expect this approach on future releases??

Definitely.?

What was the biggest challenge in making the record??

No challenges. Everything just went so smoothly on this record. [laughs] Everything just went so good on this record and it was a great experience.?

The new album, Back 2 Base X, is has a lot of messages and underlying themes. What was the inspiration for it??

A lot of artists just write about themselves and their lifestyle, which is cool because I do that a lot, too. On this album, though, it was more about writing about topics. I was really into the alternative media and reading about secret world governments, Freemasons, Kabbalah and Illuminati shit and putting that all into my rhymes and my music.?

Is there an overall message you?re trying to get across with your music??

Maybe the message is just that you can go check things out and be curious and that there are two sides to every story and more than what you may see on the news. Get online and check out other avenues of information besides the three networks and CNN or whatever.?

You have left your last label for greener pastures, so to speak.?

Yeah! [laughs]?

How has your experience with Suburban Noize been??

Suburban Noize is different because when you are at a record label, you have an outside manager that fights with your label to supposedly help you out in the end. At Suburban Noize, the management is the label. So it is kinda just a cool symbiotic thing where they just help each other out. It?s a family over there of normal guys who are sincerely concerned with their artists? careers, where at the other labels it is more just cutthroat and people are just trying to make that quick buck off of you.?

You released Back 2 Base X on 6.6.06, the same day your former label, Jive released The Best of (hed) Planet Earth.?

Huh! [laughs]?

Did you guys have any input whatsoever on that release??

Absolutely none.?

How do you feel about that??

It is absolutely infuriating. Well, I don?t want to say infuriating, but it just shows the level of how much they are like vampires. It?s just this whole business where it supposedly has to do with art but all these suits are trying to do at Jive is make a penny anywhere. I think it is so fucking lame when someone can just put out your music without even talking to you.?

I didn’t even know it had come out.?

Good! GOOD! There is no ?greatest hits? from (hed)! We never had a hit!?

You had ?Bartender? and a song on Madden.?

But ?Bartender? wasn?t a hit. It got played a lot because the record company paid a lot for it to get played through indie radio promo. If it was a hit, that album would have went gold and it didn?t, ya know what I mean? So they tried and they gave up. Ya know, whatever!?

You have already released a video for ?Get Ready.? Any plans to do another video at the moment??

Well, first we are gonna go to Europe. Then the management has a couple tracks in mind, like the track ?N.O.C.? (Novus Ordos Clitorus) as the second track and do a video for that.?

You are currently on the Koast II Koast Tour with The Kottonmouth Kings. How is the tour going so far??

This is the best tour that we have ever been on. It is just ridiculous. You know, Kottonmouth is like a phenomena. There is only a hand full of bands that can draw these types of numbers and sell these types of units without being on MTV and radio on the constant. It is a statement against the status quo. Being part of it is the greatest thing.?

So you enjoying being back out on the road??

Oh yeah, being back out on the road is great, period. But doing this tour with Suburban Noize family is just a dream come true.?

For those how haven?t seen (hed)p.e. live, how would you describe it??

I would say that we always satisfy if you are inclined to be into it. You can?t please everyone, some people are just not gonna like what you are doing. If you are inclined to be into live bands, we bring it at a high level. It?s intense and we are not faking it.?

When you?re out on tour with all these bands, do you get inspired by the other musicians??

Without a doubt. I am one of these people who is constantly soaking up whatever another artist is doing. Everybody from Big B to D-Loc or Richter (www.kottonmouthkings.com), any of those fools, anybody at anytime can just make me go, ?”Huhhhhhhhh?!? and get inspired.?

How do keep touring from becoming a grind??

I just think that touring is like sex. How do you keep sex from getting boring? It just doesn’t get boring?because your fucking! That is what music is. It doesn’t get boring. It is always inherently exciting and fun, as long as your head is in the right place. Which mine is because I have been doing it for such a long time. So a lot of the ego is just out the window.?

After this tour, what?s next for (hed)p.e.??

We’re going to Europe with OPM and then we are doing a tour with Slightly Stoopid and Pepper for J?germeister. We?ve got a lot of radio shows coming up, not a lot but a few and that is about it in the near future.?

You have contemplated some solo work in the past. Is that still in the cards??

No. Well, I would like to but I just have to find the time to do it. I would like to do more of the hip-hop thing, but I just need to get my discipline down and use my time more wisely then watching South Park for eight hours straight.?

In your opinion, has the digital revolution, i.e. downloading, iPods, file trading and web streaming, affected you??

Well, I think that it effects us more than bigger bands because we are poor, so every unit really counts. The bigger bands are already rich and making money from valid record sales.?

That?s all the questions I have for you. Is there anything else you want to add??

Just check us out on MySpace at myspace.com/hedpe or www.hedshop.com, www.suburbannoizerecords.com. Help us out. Buy a T-Shirt and buy the new album and just support underground music that is not so corporate and thanks!

Posted in Interviews, MusicComments (0)

Ville Valo: Larger Than Life

Ville Valo: Larger Than Life

pic_valobigYears of hard work have launched Finland?s HIM from a band with a modest cult following in the United States into the mainstream. With some help perhaps from their ?Heartagram? logo, HIM has become a household name among hard rock and metal fans. At the band?s stop at the 2006 HFStival in Columbia, Md., frontman Ville Valo spoke to Jason Price of Live-Metal.net about the band’s song writing process, the status of the band’s next album, the struggles of touring in the United States and more. In the end, Valo squashes the solo career rumors and discovers that all roads lead to Black Sabbath.

Live-Metal: What is the biggest misconception about HIM??

Ville Valo: That we are miserable bastards. A lot of people think that we play really melancholy music, people think that we are really miserable. Actually, you know, I think that it is a very cathartic thing. You get your shit into the music and you can be a happy person outside of it, and eat ice cream and listen to the birds sing! [laughs] And watch Jim Carrey movies.

Are you a big fan of Jim Carrey?

No, I hate him. No, I hate comedies. [laughs]

How do you feel that you have evolved as a band through the years??

It is hard to say how we have evolved because I have known the bass player and the guitar player since I was nine years old. So we have grown up together and we were playing in different bands. When we started out we were kids and now we are getting into our mid-life, our mid-life crisis type of thing happening [laughs]. You know the more you do, the better you get, hopefully!

How did the ?Heartagram? logo, so heavily associated with the band, come to be??

Let’s see. I am turning 30, so it was like, about nine years and seven months ago when I turned twenty. I always draw things, so I was drawing and waiting for the rest of the guys to come to my apartment with kegs of beer and getting ready to start celebrating me turning into a man, so closer to one, and I just drew it down. I have always loved Led Zeppelin, their four symbols on their fourth album and Rob Zombie and White Zombie’s visuals and stuff like that. I always wanted to make a symbol for our band, and then we got it.

You have had a slow build in the United States. As you have toured the U.S. for the past few years, how has touring changed you?

Well to be brutally frank, touring in the States is a pain in the ass every now and then because the travel is really, really heavy, especially on this tour. We just flew in from Seattle, tomorrow we are flying to New Orleans, so it is like zig zag, zig zag, zig zag. The distances are so long compared to Europe. Europe is a lot easier. It is like maybe 200 miles a night. You have a bit more time to hang out and sleep better and stuff like that. This is heavy duty traveling all the time. With Dark Light being the first album properly released here, we have been doing some press for it and it’s being played on the radio now, thank God. Of course it has changed the vibe. A lot more people know who we are.

What was the biggest challenge in making Dark Light??

In making an album, there are always a lot of little tiny challenges. On Dark Light, I think that the biggest challenge was to try and sing the background vocals while they were shooting a Playboy video at the same spot where we were recording. It was pretty hard because all we could see was naked ladies running about so it was really hard to concentrate.

Understandably! How long did it take to write the album??

I write constantly, so it may take two months to record and a month to mix it. I write all the time, so maybe four years. I usually write a lot of stuff that is not necessarily ready and we start working on it later on. We are not one of those bands that would go into a pre-production stage and write everything there. A lot of American bands, for example, do it.

What is the typical song-writing process for HIM??

I have a hangover and sit down on my bed, I have an acoustic guitar and start strumming and pretending that I am Neil Young. Then we put on the distortion pedals and we rape the song. That’s what we do!

How many songs will you normally write in preparation for an album??

Only the good ones. I hate songwriters that write 100 songs for an album and pick up the 10 best, because it is a fucking waste of time. We try and write the stuff that feels really good and we are sure that we want to record it. So if there are 12 tracks on an album, maybe 14 all together.

After listening to HIM, what do you want people to walk away with??

Walk away with the understanding that all roads lead to Black Sabbath in the realm of rock n’ roll.

For those how haven’t seen HIM live, how would you describe it??

Umm … We are like a very miserable version of the Backstreet Boys.

You used to do a cover of the Backstreet Boys.?

Back in the day we did, yeah. Actually we played “Larger Than Life” at a couple of festivals. We wanted to piss off some goth fans. It was pretty funny to see guys like that know the chorus and be singing and dancing along to it.

What are some of your favorite songs to play live??

Well that is the good thing about being in this band. It differs from day to day because at some places people prefer some songs and when you are playing live it is supposed to be an interaction thing happening between the crowd and the band. So it keeps on changing everyday. That is the only reason to do it or it would be boring.?

Do you get a different energy from playing a small club versus a bigger venue??

Well you know, thank God, we use so many strobe lights and heavy lights that I can’t see shit nowadays anyway, so it doesn’t really matter. I just see the three first rows.

Your music translates very well acoustically. Any plans for a possible future acoustic release??

No, well, no. Umm. Fucking hell, no. I think that there are so many good acts doing great acoustic stuff now and our forte is doing what we do, so not necessarily. Maybe we will incorporate a bit more of acoustic sections in our music in the future, but no, it would be boring. I hated the “Unplugged” series.?

Have you started working on your next album??

Yeah. We have about eight songs that I am working on at the particular moment.

So you have been writing while on the road??

Yeah, I carry my guitar with me, so I try to read and write and do everything as much as possible.

What does the future hold for HIM as a band? I have heard that you have contemplated some solo work in the future.

Well, no, no no. I have a few more Pink Floyd-ish things that I have been writing in the past, but we will probably incorporate that into HIM’s music, as well. Because at the end of the day when I start writing a song, it always ends up being on our album.

What do you think about the state of rock music today??

I think that the state of rock music is really good. I think there are a lot of good bands that we have had the pleasure of touring with, like a band from Seattle called Aiden on this tour and they’re great. Kill Hannah’s new album is really good. The Strokes new album is really good, the latest one. I think that there is a lot of good happening, but people think that rock is dead. But it has never went away.

You guys have been on the road for a while now, and toured relentlessly. How has life on the road affected you and your music?

The more you tour, the more liberating it becomes. You don’t think about the technical aspect of it anymore. You just have fun. It is a bit more loose, and the hangovers are worse. That is what it does to you! [laughs]

Any stories from your life on the road that you might want to share??

Plenty, but most of it is very X-rated. [laughs] You know, the normal stuff, just watch Spinal Tap and it has all happened to everybody who has played in a rock band and been touring.

Have you ever had any “Spinal Tap” moments onstage??

We, you know, I am always losing myself. I never do soundchecks, so I never know where the stage is, so I always keep on fucking that up. I always walk in the wrong direction. We’ve had most of it. We never had the cocoons where our bass player couldn’t get out and we never had Stonehenge. The rest is very close. [laughs]

What was the first album that you bought??

The year was ’84 or ’85 it was Animalize by KISS. I still have the vinyl.

What about the last album you bought??

The She Wants Revenge album.

Aside from that, what else are you listening to??

I am listening to Killing Joke and Kill Hannah and everything that starts with a “Kill.” I don’t listen to a lot of music. I think that nowadays the best music is books. So I am reading a lot of Chuck Palahniuk. I think that is more inspiring than listening to a lot of rock bands or pop bands or whatever. And Damian Marley.

And finally, when do you think Chinese Democracy will be released??

You know, hopefully never. I haven’t heard the songs that leaked onto the Internet, but somebody told me that they were shit. I think that they should either do a reunion or you should call it a day.

Is there anything else you?d like to add?

Ummm … No! [laughs]

?

Posted in Interviews, MusicComments (0)