AMORIELLO Release Lyric Video for Debut Single, “Battle Song (feat. Vinny Appice),” Off of Upcoming, Self-Titled Album

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Neo-Classical Hard Rock Project AMORIELLO–launched by renown guitarist, educator, and author Tom Amoriello and featuring former members of Black Sabbath, Dio, Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake, Quiet Riot, TNT, Loudness, Dokken, Impellitteri, and Cacophony–has released a lyric video for “Battle Song (feat. Vinny Appice),” the debut single off of their upcoming self-titled LP. A tribute to metal legand Ronnie James Dio, “Battle Song (feat. Vinny Appice)” includes a thunderous drum solo for 16 bars by the former Sabbath/Dio drummer with an emotional vocal delivery from Nick Z Marino from the current Malmsteen lineup. Impelliterri bassist James Amelio Pulli and ex-Yngwie keysman Michael Troy also contribute their substantial talents to the track.

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“The entire AMORIELLO album is emotional, and ‘Battle Song (feat. Vinny Appice)’ is one that takes on the unending conflict between two sides: aggression versus calm, combativeness versus compromise. The music is taut and stormy, then somber and solemn.

The whole album is a testament to the metal legends who inspired me, written with world class musicianship from those same icons. I dedicated this track to Ronnie James Dio (I attended his last concert in Atlantic City, NJ) and wanted someone who had been a part of his sound, hence Vinny Apice. In the course of of recording, showcasing his unique style, he let loose for 16 bars in that incredible solo, and all of the ambitions were met.”

▪ Thomas Amoriello Guitarist & Lyricist

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Members:
Guitar – Thomas Amoriello
Vocals – Nick Z Marino (Yngwie Malmsteen), Mark Boals (Ex Yngwie Malmsteen), Mike Vescera (Ex-Yngwie Malmsteen)
Bass – James Amelio Pulli (Impellitteri), Neil Murray (Ex Whitesnake), Phil Soussan (Ex-Ozzy Osbourne), Bjorn Englen (Ex Quiet Riot)
Drums – Vinny Appice (Ex-Dio), Kenny Stavropoulos (Ex-Le Mans), Shane Gaalaas (Ex-MSG), John Macaluso (Yngwie Malmsteen), Atma Anur (Ex-Cacophony)
Keys – Michael Troy (Ex Yngwie Malmsteen)

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Concert Review: Clutch, Zakk Sabbath, Kyng, and School of Rock at Stage AE Pittsburgh

A triple threat triple bill of crunchy goodness, that’s what last Saturday night was in Pittsburgh at Stage AE.  The almighty Clutch, Black label Society’s crusher Zakk Wylde playing Sabbath tunes as Zakk Sabbath, and the up and coming contenders Kyng out of Los Angeles.  There was not much to top this line up except the surprise openers, The School of Rock kids of Pittsburgh who are under the artist in residence, Nick Cantanese, former Black Label Society axeman.  It was an incredible night of fast and loud guitars, three expert drummers, and a cornucopia of musicians who put on arguably the best show of the year.

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Setlist 10/1/2016

It is hard to say anything about Clutch that has not already been said.  The blue collar based hard working band from Maryland has been at it since ’91.  They have graced Pittsburgh’s presence more times than we can count and consistently jam pack Stage AE.  Neil Fallon is just so much fun to watch as he has that signature style of moving around that on anyone else might look geeky, but he makes cool.  The rest of the band stays tight in the pocket and stationary, but the crowd certainly did the moving for them.  A giant mosh pit formed, which is sort of unusual at a Clutch show, and the rest of the audience found it impossible not to bob and sway to the groove that Clutch puts out.  Getting to watch JP play the drums is a lesson in and of itself.  He serves the song and bashes with the best, but his technique is unparalleled.  Highlights include X Ray Visions, new song Quick Death in Texas, Electric Worry, and Sucker.

How could anyone miss Zakk Wylde along with Joey Castillo and Blasco playing Black Sabbath songs?  The anticipation before the show was brutal and in the words of Willy WOnka, “I hope it lasts”.  Opening with “Children of the Grave” Zakk ripped into some serious shredding of strings.  Rob Blasco was all business and set into his bass groove early, hair flying with wild abandon.  And Joey Castillo…wow, what an amazing force behind the kit.  Having seen Joey play with Queens of the Stone Age there was a certain amount of expectation and he far exceeded any to be had.  The band also played “Snowblind”, “Lord of This World”, “War Pigs” with Zakk playing an extended solo out in the crowd, “Into The Void” and “Fairies Wear Boots“.  This was a once in a lifetime (but hopefully not) thing to witness and maybe just maybe Zakk will put together more shows with these guys. Check out a snippet of “War Pigs” and Zakk getting Wylde in the crowd…

Kyng is poised to release their third record this Friday (Oct 7), entitled Breathe in the Water”.  This band is so underrated and it will be really fun to watch them breakout to bigger and better things, and they will.  Watching Eddie Veliz play a mean guitar while having a throat of gold, along with Pepe Clarke who is an absolute demigod on drums, as well as Tony Castaneda play bass and pull off killer back up vocals is like watching an Ocean’s Eleven film…perfect teamwork.  All three of these guys manage to put out a huge sound as well as craft tunes that are metal enough and vintage enough to create a hybrid that will rock your socks off.  The new tune “Pristine Warning” is killer and just as killer to witness live.  But don’t come expecting to hear “Electric Halo”…more on that in our  interview with Eddie.  Kyng is one of those bands that resonates with people who can appreciate great hard rock from the 70’s but also like the heavier drive of a good metal tune.  They are not commercial, not watered down, and not over produced.  They are however raw, blue collar ethic, down to earth guys who are putting out some of the best music out there today.

 

The special treat of the night was watching The School of Rock kids from the Castle Shannon/Pittsburgh school run by artist in residence Nick Cantanese, formerly of Black Label Society.  The kids range from middle school to high school ages and rocked Stage AE to the core, the audience absolutely eating up their renditions of four songs.  Playing some Sabbath and Maiden did not hurt in warming up the crowd either.  The fact that Neil Fallon of Clutch came out to sing with the kids had to be a highlight of their lives and increased the crowd’s fervor. These kids have chops and whatever they are learning at School of Rock is worth every penny.  It’s great to see the next generation of metal take up the torch, for some of these kids may one day grow up to be the next Zakk Wylde.

All photos © 2016 AWelding photo

Clutch

Zakk Sabbath

Kyng

School of Rock Pittsburgh

 

 

Zakk Sabbath (Zakk Wylde side project) coming with Clutch and Kyng Oct 1 to Stage AE

zsb_zg_reaperfront_01_2_ZAKK SABBATH is a side project featuring guitarist/vocalist Wylde, bassist Blasko (OZZY OSBOURNE, ROB ZOMBIE) and drummer Joey Castillo (DANZIG, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE) performing only BLACK SABBATH SONGS.  If that does not get your metal blood rolling then, you are probably dead inside.  With a new  guitar/amp company dubbed Wylde Audio, his worldwide merch and coffee business, and the release of and tour behind Book of Shadows II, where does the man find time?ZW10

Add to this the unbelievable KYNG and legendary CLUTCH, well this could be the show of the year.

Details:
See you there!!!

INTERVIEW: JEAN PAUL GASTER OF CLUTCH (CLUTCH @STAGEAE OCT 1)

Every time that Clutch rolls into Pittsburgh a few things are guaranteed: 1.  The show will be packed  2.  There will be mass quantities of beer consumed at said show and 3. drummer for Clutch, Jean Paul Gaster will put on a drum clinic just by playing with the band.

No matter how many times I have had the opportunity to speak with JP, there always comes across a sincerity and thoughtfulness that you do not get from every “rockstar”.  The Clutch guys are different; they are blue collar Maryland men with amazing work ethics.  JP is no exception.  In fact, when I first called him he was unable to answer because he was practicing drums.  First off, one does not hear that often from a seasoned pro and secondly, he called me back right away and apologized.  Trust me this is an anomaly when it comes to interviews.

Clutch plays Pittsburgh’s Stage AE October 1 with guests Zakk Sabbath and Kyng.  Before one of the most killer line ups of the year comes here I had the pleasure of chatting with JP.

You have a tremendous work ethic and constantly work on your craft.

I spend a lot of time practicing.  I very much enjoy it.  It’s the kind of thing that the more I do it the more I’m working at it.  Its kind of a process.

Do you still take lessons from people?

I have not taken lessons for roughly year or so.  The last time was when I got together with Johnny Vidacovich we spoke in great detail about brushes and that was pretty eye opening for me.  I’m always checking stuff out paying attention to stuff, maybe even getting on YouTube.  You can pick up a lot of stuff and I try to take advantage of it.

Your style is very much “less is more”, serve the song.  Is that the type of playing that you are attracted to looking at those videos?

Very much.  When I was younger I may have tried some pyrotechnics, but I was never really drawn to that style of drumming.

now-availablePsychic Warfare has been out for around a year and Clutch played Pittsburgh just before the album was released.  You have just returned from Europe and have been on the road for a long time.  Does it get tedious at this point?

Well, there is an element of that but I don’t think tedious is the right word.  It gets draining, it can be difficult.  In fact this last tour was physically tough.  There were a lot of fly-in dates, going to the airport, get a couple hours of sleep, do a gig and then go right back out to the airport.  You know if you do that several times in a row that will kick your ass.  There is a lot of downtime too in between shows, that;s tough being away from home on a tour bus with a ton of other guys, but more often than not its a blast.  You know give me a break, you get to play music for a living, you get to go all around the world, that’s an amazing experience.  It’s the best job in the world and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Psychic Warfare is your 11th record, how have you evolved with this album?

Well, each record is a different snapshot of where the band is at any given moment.  What I mean by that is musically, personally, business wise too.  So each one has its own identity, we make a point not to repeat ourselves, challenge ourselves, experiment with sounds, sometimes you get way way far out there because that’s where the creativity is.  But then again having said that, we are the same four guys playing the same four instruments, there is going to be that element that at some point it’s going to sound like Clutch.  We might be writing something and I’ll say well it sounds like this or this sounds like another song from a particular record.  But at the end of the day it’s all four making music, I think we got those fucking terms down and you just accept who you are.

You guys just put out a video for A Quick Death In Texas.  A pretty fun video, but did you have fun making it?

Well, yeah.  It’s the closest thing to acting that any of us have ever done and we had great costumes and got a little “pissed” at the office, that helped us get into character.  It was a good experience, it was fun, its something we hadn’t done before.  We tried to make it tongue in cheek and we got to play cowboys, kind of ridiculous!

Classic Rock Magazine has Psychic Warfare as a nominee for album of the year.  How does it feel to get industry awards like that?

There are two sides to that, it’s a bit demonstrative. We struggled for many years and it maybe has not been until the last three records that people have really taken notice of the band, but we have also had a lot of loyal fans since the beginning and for that we are grateful. The fact that we can attract that kind of attention and release on our own label is sweeter, for so many years we had to be on other labels.  We are able to have our own label and for the fans to perceive Psychic Warfare as well as (they have), that’s incredible for us as a band.

What do you think the biggest mistake Clutch has made in their career?

I remember clearly having gotten the Pantera tour in like 1998.   We were all fans of Pantera at the time.  We really compared ourselves at that time to more of a heavy jam band.  Rather than get up there and play our heavier songs and try to make the best of it crowd, we found ourselves jamming and probably we should have played a more straight up kind of a set.  The fans were spending a lot of time trying to accept us and we spent a lot of time trying to be like The Band of Gypsies. And as much as I love that style of playing I think it kind of got lost on some of the fans, maybe we could have done a better job.

Kyng and Zakk Sabbath are coming out with you for this tour.

Kyng are friends of ours, great band out of California, very talented guys who just made a record with Machine who is our producer that we have worked with several times.  I’m anxious to hear their new album.  And Zakk Sabbath, give me a break!  Zakk Wylde is one of the premier guitarists of our generation and him playing those songs (Black Sabbath) is going to be so great to see, he’s an incredible player and his band…Joey Castillo is playing drums and he is one of my favorite drummers from the Sugartooth days and Blasko (Rob Nicholson) is playing bass and we have been friends with him back to his band Drown, I think we toured with them back in ’98.  We’ve known Blasko for a long time and I think it’s going to be a great tour with a great line-up.

What is going on with your side projects?

Yeah, I’m always trying to stay involved in different things.  I just did a blues gig in Maryland.  Next week I’ll be working with Mark Morton (Lamb of God), Yanni Papadopoulos (Stinking Lizaveta) and Chris Brooks (Lionize) on new material (for Mark Morton’s solo album).  If things come up I try to do them because for me, it’s my passion.

You are known for your love of vintage gear.  Is there a “great white whale” out there that you seek?

Well, I love the 1920’s era Ludwig Black Beauty. And they can be found but they are just very expensive.  I need to stay off of Ebay.  A couple beers and Ebay pretty much guarantees I am going to buy a new snare drum.

Really looking forward to the tour coming Oct 1 in Pittsburgh.

We’ve been playing Pittsburgh for many, many years.  I’m thinking the first time we played there was in 1994 with Sepultura.  Pittsburgh has been good to us.  There is some great halls there and some great food.  It’s kind of hard to beat.

  • Clutch – Psychic Warfare World Tour 2016

    STAGE AE — PITTSBURGH, PA

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Artist Link

http://www.pro-rock.com/

More Info

General Admission – All Ages

This show is indoors

Presented by PromoWest North Shore and Opus One

– See more at: http://promowestlive.com/events/1687#sthash.dJpZScCY.dpuf

 

 

Mac Sabbath: Pittsburgh’s Lovin’ It

I must admit, I was skeptical.  I mean, “Drive Thru Metal?”  What about this would work.  A Black Sabbath parody band, appropriately titled Mac Sabbath, almost seemed like an insult to the original band.  I realized, though, that I had nothing to base my opinion on.  Maybe they would be the greatest group to ever enter the Rex Theater.  Parodies are incredible, and this parody group was fully themed down to the paper cup and straw that was their mic stand.  That being said, I loaded my camera, and I enter the Rex Thursday night with an open mind.

I entered the room.  It was poorly lit.  I saw a few dozen balloons scattered across the floor, the small amount of light coming from the stage glistening off of the shiny, inflated rubber balls.  I waited around and readied myself for the first band, Super Fun Time Awesome Party Band, was a bit disappointing.  While they had a stage presence that could captivate an audience, and their light show was great for an opening act.  The quality of the sound they produced was sub-par. Their show was lively, but I was hoping the next band would raise my expectations for the night.

Opener number 2, Only Flesh, was very attention-grabbing.  Classifying themselves, according to their Facebook page, as Glam, Rock, metal, Punk, and Industrial music.  Their set included some theatrics such as sparking bracelets and hooks through necks (yes, you read that right).  Overall, I was satisfied with the performance.  They had a sound that fit them, and the set left me feeling excited for what was next.  Although what was next had me a little nervous.

The following act went by the name Clownvis.  He was in the spotlight a few years back for some inappropriate insults thrown at the judges of America’s Got Talent.  I was concerned, after watching that video on YouTube, that a not-so-nice personality was about to shine through on stage.  Clownvis was actually one of the funniest clowns I have seen to date.  He sang along to classics, such as the Cheers theme song and America the Beautiful, as well as some originals like Barrack-O’s Taco’s.  He even did magic!  He left the stage with a large round of applause, and all that was left was the headliner, Mac Sabbath.

I stood there, waiting patiently as a tarp went up in front of the stage.  The only hints of life behind it were the sound check echoing from the speakers and an ominous shadow with crazy hair occasionally sliding back and forth.  Half an hour went by, and fans were getting restless – and drunk, very, very drunk.  Finally, the music began.  The tarp fell, revealing a cat man, a burger with horns, and drunk, high, and slightly demented form of McDonald’s former icon, Grimace.   As the music played, a clown appeared in a yellow straight jacket.  He wrestled around, breaking free and cackling as if Ozzy Osbourne himself had entered his body.  They began playing songs such as More Ribs, Chicken for the Slaves, Organic Funeral, and Frying Pan.  Throughout the show, theatrics were present.  Confetti flew out of a vomit bucket, water hit the crowd from a ketchup bottle, and lead singer Ronal Osbourne danced around the stage with a straw.  The show ended with the Iron Man parody, Frying Pan followed by a “Mac Flag” song, Pair-a-buns.

Overall, the show, full of great music, gore, theatrics, and maniacal laughter, left me satisfied and glad I came.  I will definitely be looking into more parody bands like Mac Sabbath.

Review and pix: Stephanie Connell © 2016

 

Anthrax: Innovative Stop Motion Video for “Monster At The End”

Check it out at Fangoria
The original concept was to have four still photographers placed strategically on a Florida set while the five members of Anthrax performed their new song “Monster At The End” live.  Each photographer would hold down his camera’s shutter button continuously for the near-four minute-long song, capturing a steady stream of hundreds of still images.
“Hey, it might have been a great idea,” laughed video director Jack Bennett, “but holding down the shutter button on a still camera for that long a time?  All we would have ended up with were four jammed cameras!”
Shooting the entire video with Super Sharp HD video still cameras, Bennett wanted an animated, staccato-feel to the flow of the individual images.  “Video shutter speeds are faster and more reliable than anything we could have done manually, and we wanted as big a pool of still images to choose from as we could get.”
In post-production, Bennett went through the footage frame by frame and hand-picked the still images he wanted to animate – hundreds of them.  Rather than print the video at 24 frames per second, he animated movement of the band members using the still images, creating a jagged, crude motion.  “We didn’t want fluidity, we wanted the video to have more of a comic book feel to it, like flipbook animation.”
This also allowed Bennett to hang on the band members’ individual movements to accentuate the power of their playing, such as the strength in Charlie Benante‘s drum hits, or Scott Ian‘s strumming or Frank Bello‘s rhythm.
And then the real fun began.
Bennett and his crew went one step further, taking a cue from the legendary Walt Disney animators of the 1920s and 1930s, who used the technique of rotoscoping, the art of painstakingly hand-painting individual cels to embellish a primary image.
Employing the fundamentals of rotoscope, Bennett has peppered the video with monsters, tattoos that come alive, explosions, popping eyeballs, speech bubbles, morphed images, and nods to the influence of ‘Creepshow.’  There’s even a frame or two of The Skull King, the evil character from Anthrax’s “Blood Eagle Wings” music video that Bennett also directed.  Actor Justin Michael Terry, who played The Skull King, is The Runner in “Monster At The End.”
“We used a lot of stop-motion effects as well as other special and visual effects in the same way as was done in the original ‘Exorcist’ film,” Bennett added.  “We even added a little bit of grain, some dust and some scratches just to give it that analog feel.”
As the music video unfolds, the frame rate increases, giving the band members more and more fluid movements until the final chorus when the video is full-on 24-frames per second.  “You could watch this video one frame at a time,” Bennett added, “and probably not find everything we did.”
“The ‘Monster at the End’ video takes us back to our love of comics and horror,” said Anthrax’s Charlie Benante.  “We’ve always loved the ‘Creepshow’ movies and wanted something like that for this video.  Jack is easy to work with, all we did was perform the song, he did the real work with the editing and achieving the look that we wanted.”
Bennett wraps the video with one more surprise, an unexpected ending that goes to show that in the end, there’s a little bit of the monster in all of us.
ABOUT ANTHRAX:
Since the September, 2011 release of Worship Music, six-time Grammy-nominated Anthrax has experienced a tremendous comeback.  “Classic era” vocalist Joey Belladonna rejoined the lineup in the Spring of 2010, fronting for the band on The Big Four shows across Europe – Anthrax, along with Metalllica, Slayer and Megadeth – the four bands that defined the speed/thrash metal genre.
Worship Music, the band’s first studio album in eight years and the first with Belladonna since 1990, was released the day after Anthrax played a home-town concert at New York’s Yankee Stadium with The Big Four.  Press and VIPs called it “the metal album of the year.”  In 2012, Anthrax became the first metal band to have its music played on Mars when its “Got The Time” was chosen by NASA to wake up the Mars Rover.  The band is in the final stages of recording the follow up to Worship Music that is expected out in early 2016.  According to Benante, the new songs are “aggressive and thrashy.  Anyone who liked ‘Worship Music’ should love the new album.”

MAC SABBATH @REXTHEATER SEPT 1

*Mixing raucous comedy with borderline-horrific theatrics, the only thing more petrifying than impending health problems resulting from years of overeating is a MAC SABBATH show. Set wise, this ain’t no value meal – innocent bystanders can enjoy 10 fantastically alarming Black Sabbath-turned-junk food themed tunes on this tour: More Ribs; Chicken For The Slaves; Sweet Beef; Brand of Doom; N.I.B.B.L.E.; Lord of the Swirled; Zippin Up the Uniform; Frying Pan; Cherries Are Fruits; Pair-A-Buns.
*Show attendees should be prepared to partake in the fun – MAC SABBATH puts on a theatrical, multimedia stage show – complete with a smoking grill, laser-eyed clowns, bouncing burgers and many more magical surprises… basically anything and everything an unwary show-goer could ever want in their wildest dreams.

MAC SABBATH BIOGRAPHY

 

It was the Year of Our Lord 2013, and I was devouring a cheeseburger in a Chatsworth, California, franchise of a certain multinational fast food conglomerate, which shall remain nameless. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a crazed looking clown walking in my direction. Wearing a costume of bright yellow and red, and giant shiny shoes, he seemingly fit into the surroundings, but it didn’t take long to see that something wasn’t quite right. His costume was trailed by long, tattered, hippie fringe that was dirty from scraping the floor (and most likely the alley behind the restaurant), and more alarmingly his face was caked in ghostly make up that looked like it had been smeared on with a putty knife. My first thought was that he looked like Skeletor as a member of Uriah Heap. Taking a seat in my booth, he informed me that his name was Ronald Osborne, and he that he was familiar with my oddity rock band Rosemary’s Billygoat. He was a fan of the band, and said he had a concept I might appreciate, something he termed “drive-thru metal.” Some of the delinquent kids who worked for the franchise had been allowing him and a cast of characters named Slayer Mac Cheeze, Grimalice, and the Cat Burglar, to perform secret rock shows in the bunker-like basements of the local restaurants. But the time had come, he said, to bring drive-thru metal up from the “underground,” and he asked if I would consider becoming the manager of his band. I asked him what the act was called, and proclaimed with pride, “MAC SABBATH!” I barely had time to gather up what was left of my faux food before the restaurant’s manager, apparently annoyed both by the disheveled clown and the content of our conversation, came over and forcefully assisted us out onto the street. As we hit the sidewalk, I looked over at Ronald, watched him brush the dust of cold fries, sodium chloride and GMO remnants of my UN happy meal from his grease-smeared clown suit, and couldn’t help but think there was something special, perhaps even great, about the man.

 

He invited me to one of these secret shows, and two nights later I was sitting in the basement of a fast food restaurant in the San Fernando Valley, my eyes and taste buds tingling to a new sensation. Drive-thru metal was real, and talk about a feast for the senses! Black Sabbath’s music, hilarious fast food lyrics, smoldering clown heads with laser eyes, a giant purple gumdrop bass player, and Tony Iommi with a giant cheeseburger head. I was confused, amazed, and dare I say it, can’t ever remember feeling so………happy! I told Ronald that yes; I would love to manage his band. It wasn’t going to be easy—nothing ever is with a disturbed clown and a band of Monsanto mutants who refuse to reveal their identities because they think they came here from a wormhole in time direct from 1970. But whoever they are and however they got here, they’re here now and they’re ready, so pull up to the window and check your order, because I am proud to present the world’s newest concept in entertainment, the culinary disgrace that is MAC SABBATH!

Zakk Wylde’s Book of Shadows II Tour packs a powerful punch in Pittsburgh

July 18, 2016 Millvale, PA-  In the sleepy quaint town of Millvale  just five minutes from downtown Pittsburgh there is a sacred rock n’ roll institution known as Mr. Smalls Funhouse.  A former church and now one of Pittsburgh’s finest establishments to see a great show, as well as grab excellent beers and grub, Mr. Smalls this night hosted rock royalty in the name of Zakk Wylde.  Former guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne, leader of Black Label Society, and all around badass, Wylde brought a slew of guitar gunslingers to blow our minds and brighten our hearts last Monday.

Opening acts Jared James Nichols and Tyler Bryant and The Shakedown were frighteningly good.  Nichols brand of guitar playing is very much in line with Wylde’s solo work, bluesy Allman Brothers type rock n’ roll.  He absolutely blazes and has great emotion behind every string played.  His band’s work is really blood pumping, fist pounding classic style rock that made them a surprise favorite for many.  Even the cover of Nugent’s “Stranglehold” brought chills and made your hair on your arms stand on end for it’s beautiful and true interpretation.  This three piece (Erik Sandin, Dennis Holm) out of Wisconsin must be on your radar if you love a great bluesman who truly has the touch.  Check them out…www.youtube.com/jjnicholsmusic
www.reverbnation.com/jaredjamesnichols.

Tyler Bryant and his bandmates The Shakedown have been tearing up the road and this is by no means their first stop in Pittsburgh.  Bryant has been recognized as a child prodigy guitar player by many, including God himself, Eric Clapton.  Bryant has the soul of an old blues master and his style shows it.  Staking his rep by moving to Nashville at 17, Bryant has put together a tight and impressive band to match.  Shakedown  members Caleb Crosby, Graham Whitford (Brad Whitford of Aerosmith’s son), and Noah Denney complement Bryant’s guitar like icing on cake.  If you have not discovered these guys yet, you owe it to yourself to witness one of the best blues players around…www.tylerbryantandtheshakedown.com.

You know you are confident in your playing when you let two young guitar blazers open for you.  Zakk Wylde is no stranger to the spotlight but prefers to do his talking through pickups, strings, and wood.  Touring his Book of Shadows II effort, Wylde is accompanied for the most part by his regular band, Black Label Society.  But don’t expect to hear Ozzy or Sabbath covers (although a bit of “The Wizard” on mouth harp was pretty awesome) or a bunch of BLS tunes.  This is the other side of Zakk, the side that has been influenced by blues and southern rock.

The ten-minute opener of “Sold My Soul” was enough to make anyone’s jaw drop as he soared up and down his fretboard with wild abandon.  The crowd was absolutely wowed and entertained from the first note.  Wylde does not spend a bunch of time on stage banter, instead, he keeps the rock rolling as he went into, “Autumn Changes”, “Tears of December”, and “Lay Me Down”.  Wylde and his band just kept pouring out their souls tune after tune, playing like they were in front of 50,000 instead of hundreds.  The well packed Mr. Smalls ate up each moment, sang along and played air guitar.  “Road Back Home”, “Yesteday’s Tears”, “Heaven and Hell” (with the aforementioned “The Wizard” as an intro.), and “Darkest Hour” rounded out the first half of the show (see the entire guest list in pictures below).

To have a fairly intimate setting with Wylde playing his solo material was an amazing treat that does not come around often.  It was fun to see him play piano as well as his trusted axe and sing a bit differently than the more metal oriented BLS.  Zakk will return in October with his new fun project Zakk Sabbath when they open for Clutch at Stage AE Oct. 1.  And the hits just keep on coming…

All photos 2016 AWELDINGPHOTO

 

GUS G. releases ‘I AM THE FIRE’ EPK; SiriusXM Octane adds title track to rotation

Guitar virtuoso GUS G., well known in rock and metal circles for his work as OZZY OSBOURNE’s guitarist and as leader of his own band FIREWIND, has released an EPK offering an inside look at his debut solo album ‘I AM THE FIRE’. The album will hit storesMarch 18, 2014 in North America (March 17 in Europe) and will be released worldwide by Century Media Records. You can watch the EPK here:
“I Am The Fire (featuring Devour The Day)” is the first radio single from the album and has been added into active rotation at SiriusXM Octane. The track goes for adds at terrestrial radio February 18, and the single will go on-sale digitally February 25 via iTunes (single artwork pictured above).

A first song from the album can be heard via a video for the album’s opening track “My Will Be Done (featuring Mats Levén)” – click here to watch the video.

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‘I AM THE FIRE’ TRACK LISTING:

  1. My Will Be Done (feat. Mats Levén)
  2. Blame It On Me (feat. Mats Levén)
  3. I Am The Fire (feat. Devour The Day)
  4. Vengeance (feat. David Ellefson)
  5. Long Way Down (feat. Alexia Rodriguez)
  6. Just Can’t Let Go (feat. Jacob Bunton)
  7. Terrified (feat. Billy Sheehan)
  8. Eyes Wide Open (feat. Mats Levén)
  9. Redemption (feat. Michael Starr)
  10. Summer Days (feat. Jeff Scott Soto)
  11. Dreamkeeper (feat. Tom S. Englund)
  12. End Of The Line (feat. Mats Levén)

 

Gus handles all guitar, bass and keyboards on ‘I AM THE FIRE’, and is joined by a roster of friends and guests that help bring his vision to fruition: drummers JEFF FRIEDL [A Perfect Circle, Puscifer, Devo] and DANIEL ERLANDSSON [Arch Enemy], bassists DAVID ELLEFSON [Megadeth], BILLY SHEEHAN [Mr. Big, David Lee Roth] and MARTY O’BRIEN [Tommy Lee, We Are The Fallen], and vocalists MATS LEVEN [Clandesmass, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen/Therion], BLAKE ALLISON [Devour The Day], MICHAEL STARR [Steel Panther], ALEXIA RODRIGUEZ [Eyes Set To Kill], TOM S. ENGLUND [Evergrey], JACOB BUNTON [Adler] and JEFF SCOTT SOTO [Trans-Siberian Orchestra, ex-Journey].

 

‘I AM THE FIRE’ (album cover below) was mixed by Jay Ruston [Anthrax, Stone Sour, Steel Panther] and was recorded between Los Angeles and Gus’ home country of Greece through the latter half of 2013. A few of the album’s tracks include “Eyes Wide Open,” “Redemption,” “End Of The Line” and “Blame It On Me.” The album showcases a well-balanced mix of active rock, classic hard rock, traditional metal and guitar-driven instrumentals, taking listeners on a diverse journey and opening doors to GUS G.’s soulful playing.

 

 Gus G I Am The Fire album cover
GUS G. has had an amazing rise within the worldwide rock and metal scenes and has amassed an impressive body of work, both in studio and touring. He emerged as an up-and-coming talent with the groups DREAM EVIL [Sweden], MYSTIC PROPHECY [German] and NIGHTRAGE [Greece], but it is his work with his own band FIREWIND (who have released seven studio albums and two live releases) and as a member of OZZY OSBOURNE’s band that have helped him emerge as one of the world’s top metal and rock guitarists. His work on OZZY’s ‘Scream’ album led to a Grammy nomination in 2010, and his list of accolades includes Guitar Player Magazine’s Best Metal Guitarist, the Dimebag Darrell Shredder award at the Metal Hammer UK Golden Gods Awards, and Metal Hammer Greece Best Guitarist on four separate occasions.

Lita Ford At The Rex Theater In Pittsburgh On April 26

Onward Promotions will be presenting rock legend Lita Ford at the Rex Theater In Pittsburgh PA on April 26, 2014.  11After, an all-female rock band based in Akron OH, will be the opener for the Lita Ford concert.  Ticket information will be available at RexTheater.com.
A British born rocker who grew up on the streets of L.A., Lita Ford is considered one of the most important female representatives of the rock genre. Being a founding member of the Runaways, one of the first girl groups who unexpectedly broke down barriers in the punk era as well as the male-dominated world of rock music, causing a stir with their six rebellious releases.

Following the demise of the Runaways, Lita Ford concentrated on her own career and now looks back on many memorable hits including: the chart topping duet with Ozzy Osbourne ́Close Your Eyes Forever`, ́What Do You Know About Love`, ́Shot Of Poison`, ́Larger Than Life` and ́Kiss Me Deadly’. With the release of Living Like a Runaway, expect many more songs to be added to the list of hits.

To Lita Ford, the title of her newest solo album, Living Like A Runaway, has two deep and distinct meanings: The first refers to her first band The Runaways, which she was a member of between 1975 and 1980, achieving her international breakthrough. The second reason is of a much more personal nature: “There have been days in my life when I ran away, when I was unhappy and had to get out of my previous life,” Lita confesses. “It‘s like walking through fire and being able to come through the other side unscathed.” She continues, “I wanted to write an album which gives people courage, inspires them and gives them new power, in other words the power of music. As it has done for me on difficult days, I want this music to help people to get through tough times, while remembering their happy times as well. It’s happened to me plenty of times: fans come up to me and tell me how my songs have helped them in difficult situations, in a way it is almost like a soundtrack to their lives.”

Living Like A Runaway was released in June of 2012. The album is available in five different formats: as a limited edition digipak featuring two bonus tracks and a poster, as a gatefold double LP, a jewel case version, an exclusive iTunes version including a bonus track, and for download.

Lita Ford teamed up with producer Gary Hoey and lyricist Michael Dan Ehmig to work on Living Like a Runaway. Together the team invested a lot of time and effort into this kick ass project: “We worked on the lyrics intensively to really give the songs a lot of meaning and that special emotional depth. I think that these are some of the best lyrics ever, period. Ford is referring to numbers such as ‘Devil In My Head,’ ‘Hate’, and ‘The Asylum’ which see her bare her soul in a way which she has never done before.

In addition to lead vocals, Lita and Hoey have arranged beautiful and melodic guitar harmonies rather than just rattling off a bunch of notes. Also contributing to the album is Nikki Sixx who wrote ́A Song to Slit Your Wrist By` which was taken by Lita and completely transformed into a nasty industrial style track with a real F You! attitude. On the track ́Bad Neighborhood` guitarist Doug Aldrich provided the riff, which Lita says, “is a high energy guitar riff that carries the song.” Elton John also gave his blessing to Lita to do a cover of his classic ́The Bitch is Back`, featuring special guests The Uptown Horns.

Unlike many albums today, Living Like a Runaway is an album that truly must be heard in its entirety from start to finish. “Listeners shouldn’t pick out individual tracks but listen to the full album,” says Ford. “It’s a fascinating musical journey, inspired by Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. I had seen a documentary about Dark Side of the Moon and it really motivated me to focus on Living Like a Runawayas a whole journey rather just an individual song.

Opening for Lita Ford in Pittsburgh will be the all-female rock band, 11After, Akron’s very own “Bad Girls of Rock n’ Roll”.  The band has three independently produced CDs and two videos under their studded belts.  The four-female-force of dynamic talents are well known for their tightly woven and loosely flowing sound throughout their diverse array of original music recordings and popular live shows.

D Cruise, lead singer/songwriter, is the driving force behind this exciting act and draws on her unique life experiences for both her lyrics and her incredible performing presence. Her raspy growl and stage antics combine for the ultimate ‘rock chick’ experience.

11After has toured extensively across the U.S. and have seasoned their sound at places like Cleveland’s House of Blues, Akron’s biggest summer party ‘Live at Lock 3’, and many other venues, dive bars, and clubs too numerous to mention. In 2012 they opened for Skid Row twice and were on the bill with Warrant, Firehouse, & Trixter for a festival in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

Originally opened as a vaudeville theater in 1905, the Rex Theater has been a fixture on Pittsburgh’s Southside for over a century. Over the last decade, the Rex has found a place as a concert venue with full service bar.

Onward Promotions has promoted concerts for 6 years now in over 30 states and in over 30 different venues ranging from 60 capacity up to 2540 capacity.  They promote local, regional, and national acts and several different genres.  Some of the artists they have promoted include Brian McKnight, Rick Springfield, Skid Row, The Motels, and A Flock Of Seagulls.

GUS G. sets March 18 release of ‘I AM THE FIRE’; Releases “My Will Be Done” video

Lead Single “I Am The Fire (featuring DEVOUR THE DAY)”

To Be Released Digitally February 25 

 NAMM Signings And Performance Announced

Guitar virtuoso GUS G., well known in rock and metal circles for his work as OZZY OSBOURNE’s guitarist and as leader of his own band FIREWIND, is proud to announce the March 18, 2014 release of his debut solo album ‘I AM THE FIRE’ in North America. The album will be released internationally on Century Media Records, and will come out March 17 in Europe.

A first song from the album can now be heard via the video for the album’s opening track “My Will Be Done (featuring Mats Levén)”, which was produced by Patric Ullaeus /revolver.se [Within Temptation, In Flames, Lacuna Coil]. You can watch the video here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPqtMMGJAO4&feature=youtu.be.

Says GUS G. of the song and album: “I hope you all enjoy the first taste of things to come. ‘My Will Be Done’ is a cool rock track with a modern edge to it… Looking back, I can’t believe all the great musicians that got on board for this album. Everybody brought in their unmistakable style and talent and they really lifted the songs! Check it out and enjoy the music!”

 

GUS G. will be attending the 2014 NAMM convention, which runs January 23 – 26, 2014, in Anaheim, CA. In addition to signing sessions at ESP Guitars [January 24, 2pm] and Blackstar Amps [January 25, 1pm], Gus will also appear as guest at the RANDY RHOADS REMEMBERED tribute concert at The Observatory in Santa Ana, January 25. Other guests include Nuno Bettencourt [Extreme / Rihanna], Phil Demmel [Machine Head], Marty Friedmann, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal [Guns N’ Roses] and more.

 

Gus handles all guitar, bass and keyboards on ‘I AM THE FIRE’, and is joined by a roster of friends and guests that help bring his vision to fruition: drummers JEFF FRIEDL [A Perfect Circle, Puscifer, Devo] and DANIEL ERLANDSSON [Arch Enemy], bassists DAVID ELLEFSON [Megadeth], BILLY SHEEHAN [Mr. Big, David Lee Roth] and MARTY O’BRIEN [Tommy Lee, We Are The Fallen], and vocalists MATS LEVEN [Clandesmass, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen/Therion], BLAKE ALLISON [Devour The Day], MICHAEL STARR [Steel Panther], ALEXIA RODRIGUEZ [Eyes Set To Kill], TOM S. ENGLUND [Evergrey], JACOB BUNTON [Adler] and JEFF SCOTT SOTO [Trans-Siberian Orchestra, ex-Journey].

 

‘I AM THE FIRE’ was mixed by Jay Ruston [Anthrax, Stone Sour, Steel Panther] and was recorded between Los Angeles and Gus’ home country of Greece through the latter half of 2013. A few of the album’s tracks include “Eyes Wide Open,” “Redemption,” “End Of The Line” and “Blame It On Me.” The album showcases a well-balanced mix of active rock, classic hard rock, traditional metal and guitar-driven instrumentals, taking listeners on a diverse journey and opening doors to GUS G.’s soulful playing.

The album’s first commercial single – title track “I Am The Fire (featuring DEVOUR THE DAY)” – will be released digitally February 25 in North America.

 

GUS G. has had an amazing rise within the worldwide rock and metal scenes and has amassed an impressive body of work, both in studio and touring. He emerged as an up-and-coming talent with the groups DREAM EVIL [Sweden], MYSTIC PROPHECY [German] and NIGHTRAGE [Greece], but it is his work with his own band FIREWIND (who have released seven studio albums and two live releases) and as a member of OZZY OSBOURNE’s band that have helped him emerge as one of the world’s top metal and rock guitarists. His work on OZZY’s ‘Scream’ album led to a Grammy nomination in 2010, and his list of accolades includes Guitar Player Magazine’s Best Metal Guitarist, the Dimebag Darrell Shredder award at the Metal Hammer UK Golden Gods Awards, and Metal Hammer Greece Best Guitarist on four separate occasions.

Sharon Osbourne’s Letter to Her Brother…Don’t Piss this Woman Off

As reported on Loudwire.com

It’s no secret that both Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne have had some issues with Sharon’s side of the family. Sharon’s father Don Arden, who managed Black Sabbath early in the band’s career, was apparently involved in shady business practices for many years. That, along with personal problems, led to an estrangement between Don and Sharon which lasted two decades. The family drama hasn’t stopped there, however, as evidenced in personal Facebook posts from Ozzy and Sharon directed at Sharon’s brother David Levy.

Within just a few hours of each other, Ozzy and Sharon both posted open letters to David Levy on their respective Facebook pages. Ozzy Osbourne’s public note to Levy is much shorter than Sharon’s. The ‘Prince of Darkness’ quickly asks his brother-in-law to leave the family alone while shedding light on Levy’s past of “selling false stories” to the press.

Yesterday (Dec. 3), which happened to be Ozzy’s birthday, the Black Sabbath singer wrote:

David Levy, brother-in-law in name only, leave my family alone. Stop selling false stories on my family. Get a job and be a man. Thank God you can choose your friends but you are stuck with your family even though David Levy has never been and never will be family. When we took him off payroll all he’s done is tried to make money selling false stories. Stop saying you love me, you don’t know what the word is. I wish you no harm but you don’t know my family. Leave us alone. PS – you call me a saint for living with your sister, the word is called love and adore not saint, but whoops I forgot you don’t know what love is do you?

 

Sharon Osbourne’s letter to Levy is much longer and is scathing in detail. While siding with her husband on his claim, Sharon added a menagerie of sketchy details to her brother’s past, pointing out Levy’s gambling habits, a violent assault on his father, homelessness, a 2004 cocaine bust and much more.

Sharon posts:

To David Levy/Arden/Fredo,

Since 2007 you have decided to make money off our dysfunctional relationship. You sold a two-part story to The News of the World and another story the Sun. Now, you appear again, having sold a two-part story to the Daily Mirror, claiming you want to help Jack with his MS. That’s as low as it gets, making money off my son’s MS. Jack was diagnosed in 2012, where have been the last 18 months? You know how to reach me. You know how to reach the Osbournes.

With all the lies and disrespect in all of your stories, you’ve failed to mention anything about yourself. I, unlike you, do not need to fabricate stories. So here we go. Growing up, you and I were never close. I left for America in 1976 to work for our father. You chose to stay in the UK. Our childhood memories are very different. That’s not unusual in families. However, our father didn’t use you as a financial shield. You weren’t taken to Switzerland and Singapore to open bank accounts. You weren’t the director of all his companies/record companies, you didn’t sign contracts with artists, and you didn’t have mortgages and bank loans in your name. All of the above were in my name. So when the bills, mortgages, and artists weren’t paid, they all came after me. I was foolish and egotistical at the time, I signed whatever our father put in front of me. I spent years paying off his bills because they were in my name. Did you pay two million dollars to the IRS in America for our father? I did. Did you have Jeff Lynne saying to you, your father has taken all my money and owes me royalties, plus Roy Wood.

Yes, I spent a lot of our father’s money. So did you, you spent it on race-horses, gambling, women, sports cars, and a house. At least I admit to my part of it. And I worked my ass off for him.

You and I ceased speaking. Not only as children, but as grown ups, we never got on. We’re very different people. I always felt sorry for you because of your weak character. Example, you married your first wife Jane, you were married for two years, and still lived at home with your mummy and daddy, but didn’t tell them because you were scared to upset them. Whoops! I think it was me that told them.

As our father’s fortune dwindled, so did yours. Because you were still living at home with mummy and daddy and working for daddy. And let’s not forget that the daddy who you say you loved so much, you put him into hospital when you beat him with a lump of wood around the head. And he was well into his 70’s at the time. I think, in fact, he nearly lost an eye. It was then and only then that your mummy and daddy threw you, your wife, and your daughter out of the house, making you homeless. And who did you call but you long lost sister, who you couldn’t stand. And what did I do? Paid for accommodation. You were associated with some sleazy club off German St. called the Gaslight at the time, and I paid you seven thousand pounds a week, every week, for six months to keep it open. Eventually, you closed the doors on your club. I gave you 80,000 pounds to get a house, I paid for your daughter’s school, her braces, and for her horse to be stabled. Plus, I paid your overhead for at least 5 years. I also gave you money to buy a car, as you were trying to become a mini-cab driver but had no car.

I forgot to mention the two times you got busted for drunk driving in Wimbledon and the two years you served in jail for kidnapping and battery. How could I have forgotten that? After 2001, it was because of you that I got back in touch with our father, and I thank you for that. He was penniless, riddled with Alzheimer’s, and had a bad heart. Remember? I paid for him to have a pacemaker fitted privately, all his medical bills until the day he died, and I moved him into an apartment on Park Lane. All while I was giving you thousands of pounds every week.

In 2002, I moved our father back to America. After you had no success as a mini-cab driver, you then ventured into selling insurance to the elderly. That didn’t go too well, did it? So I then moved you to America. Remember, I paid for the apartment, paid for furniture, paid for a whole new wardrobe of clothes for you, and in 2003, gave you a job on my talk show. By the way, the $250,000 that you received came out of my wages. I also paid for your work permit and so many trans-Atlantic flights that I’ve lost count. I didn’t have to do those things. I did them because in some way I felt sorry for you. I wanted you to have something to be proud of, to have something for yourself. But even when it was handed to you, you still couldn’t get it together. If you would like to see all the money I gave you, Newman & Co., chartered accountants, have all the files.

In 2004, you got arrested at Burbank airport in California for carrying cocaine. Remember, you called me from jail, and I sent my assistant with $10,000 to bail you out, and paid for your lawyer.

In 2006, you left Los Angeles. Our father was in a nursing home, which I paid for, along with a one on one private nurse to be with him all the time. You returned to the UK, you were still asking me for handouts.

Towards our father’s last days, you couldn’t be there for him because after your drug bust, you couldn’t get back into the USA. The last two days of our father’s life, a rabbi sat with him and prayed for him. And here comes the point where the only thing that you’ve ever accused me of is true – I did have our father buried in Manchester, next to his mother, and not next to his wife in Surrey. Our father had lived on and off with his mistress for 25 years, all of which our mother knew. Our father was a Jew. He had to be buried in a Jewish cemetery. I told you at the time, it’s what his sister wanted, and it was what I wanted. I am repeating myself, but I told you they may be buried in different places, they take different roads to their God, but they will end up together. And what did you did Fredo? You sold a story about me to the press, saying how wicked I was, and told hideous lies about my family and friends.

There was no point in suing you, because you’ve got nothing. And here you are again, how many years later? Six years later, selling stories again. Saying that you want to help Jack with his MS. Jack is a married man with a daughter and a loving family. You were only in his life for a handful of years, he, doesn’t know you.

Yes, you have made mistakes, so have I. I have made many of them. The difference is that I try to learn from them and better myself as a human being, you don’t. You don’t know me, or my family, or any of my friends.

On closing, I really do wish you and your family well. I’ve realized that after all these years that I cannot buy your respect or your love. And remember Warner Brothers? I do.

-Mrs. Osbourne

P.S. I am giving a copy of this to my lawyer. If any harm were to come to myself or my family in the foreseeable future, you will automatically be a suspect because of your criminal past.

OZZY OSBOURNE’s guitarist GUS G. signs worldwide solo deal with CENTURY MEDIA RECORDS

Guitar virtuoso GUS G. has signed a worldwide solo deal with Century Media Records. Well known in rock and metal circles for his work as OZZY OSBOURNE’s guitarist and as leader of his own band FIREWIND, GUS G. will make his solo debut with the release of ‘I AM THE FIRE’ in spring 2014.
Says GUS G. of the signing: “Loyalty is a very important thing in the music business, and for me it just felt natural to trust my first solo effort to the hands of the record company that has been loyal, supportive, and has helped build my career for more than 11 years now – a label that I truly feel as a family. Thank you Robert Kampf, Leif Jensen, Antje Lange, Don Robertson, Steve Joh, Jens Prueter, Nasrin Vahdani, Paul Gargano and the rest of the Century family! I truly feel blessed to be a part of CM history and look forward to exploring new territories with this new album!”
Century Media founder and owner Robert Kampf adds: “‘I AM THE FIRE’ is going to be another display of the amazing talent GUS G. possesses. We at Century Media are proud to work with a player and songwriter of his class and status, as well as the fantastic new album that Gus has crafted. Horns up!”
‘I AM THE FIRE’ was mixed by Jay Ruston [ANTHRAX, STONE SOUR, STEEL PANTHER] and was recorded between Los Angeles and Gus’ home country of Greece through the latter half of 2013. A few of the album’s tracks include “Eyes Wide Open,” “Redemption,” “End Of The Line” and “Blame It On Me.” The album showcases a well-balanced mix of active rock, classic hard rock, traditional metal and guitar-driven instrumentals, taking listeners on a diverse journey and opening doors to GUS G.’s soulful playing. Guest musicians and vocalists will be revealed in the coming weeks.
GUS G. has had an amazing rise within the worldwide rock and metal scenes and has amassed an impressive body of work, both in studio and touring. He emerged as an up-and-coming talent with the groups DREAM EVIL [Sweden], MYSTIC PROPHECY [German] and NIGHTRAGE [Greece], but it is his work with his own band FIREWIND (who have released seven studio albums and two live releases) and as a member of OZZY OSBOURNE’s band that have helped him emerge as one of the world’s top metal and rock guitarists. His work on OZZY’s ‘Scream’ album led to a Grammy nomination in 2010, and his list of accolades includes Guitar Player Magazine’s Best Metal Guitarist, the Dimebag Darrell Shredder award at the Metal Hammer UK Golden Gods Awards, and Metal Hammer Greece Best Guitarist on three separate occasions.

LOUDER THAN HELL THE DEFINITIVE ORAL HISTORY OF METAL IS KILLER

Got mycopy of Louder Than Hell in the mail yesterday…wow.  Really, no B.S. No filler, all killer.  I read a ton of rock bios and rock related books every month; actually I read a ridiculous amount.  Half of those books are decent, a quarter complete garbage, the other quarter is split between excellent and “how the fuck did this get published?”.  Louder Than Hell falls in the category of “I will now devour this, keep your grubby hands off of it, no you can’t borrow it, and yes it’s a bit beat up ‘cuz I keep going back to it again and again”.  Yep, it’s that cool.  There really is nothing like getting the story straight from the people in the middle of the shit, deep and dirty in the trenches.  And that is what this book gives you.  If you are a fan of rock, metal, music in general, you owe it to yourself. Get this book!

Alan Welding (Editor and COO of PMM)

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Based on Hundreds of Original Interviews with the Metal Elite — Including Lemmy/Motorhead, Members Of Black Sabbath, Megadeth, Korn, Pantera, Limp Bizkit, Metallica, Marilyn Manson, Van Halen, and many more.

“…no one’s gone quite as deep into the genre’s recesses as this 736-page oral history…”

– ROLLING STONE (4 star review!)

“It’s an aficionado’s delight.”

– NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

 

“…an amazing account of the four-decades-old genre…”

– LA WEEKLY

“If you want some debauchery and demonology to go with your gentle summer breezes,Louder Than Hell is the tome for you.” – YAHOO SUMMER MUSIC GUIDE, “ROCK’S BEST BEACH READS”

“Essential.” REVOLVER (4/4 stars review!)

“An indispensable oral history of an often misunderstood musical genre.”

KIRKUS REVIEWS (a starred review!)

“I’m not saying this just because I’m in the book, but . . . if you love metal, great stories, and music history told by the people who made it, then Louder than Hell is a must-read.”

—ALICE COOPER

 

“…the authors’ inclusiveness give this examination a weight that is just as heavy as the music.”

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

LOUDER THAN HELL: The Definitive Oral History of Metal is in stores TODAY! Compiled from over 400 interviews conducted by respected music journalists Jon Wiederhorn and Katherine Turman, LOUDER THAN HELL: The Definitive Oral History of Metal (It Books; May 14, 2013; Hardcover; $32.50) is a chronological history of heavy metal, told through the words of the men and women who created it, played it, re-invented it, and continue to rock it.

Last night (May 13), co-authors Jon Wiederhorn and Katherine Turman threw a hugely successful public party and signing at Powerhouse Arena in Brooklyn, NY. An in-depth Q&A was moderated by That Metal Show’s Don Jamieson and renowned music photographer Stephanie Cabral (her gorgeous, full-color photos can be seen in the book) also joined the session. The event was such a huge success that the venue actually ran out of beer and the authors ran out of books to sign! Press and photographers came out in droves. See below for some photos from last night, taken by well-known New York photographer Greg Cristman.

On a related note, Jon and Katherine visited the Rock N’ Roll Heaven and Old Bridge Metal Militia Reunion Concert and Fundraiser in Freehold, NJ this weekend to witness the stellar line-up and sell signed books for charity. Again, all books were sold out before the end of the show and the authors were able to raise over $400 in proceeds to donate to victims of Superstorm Sandy.

The amount of positive reaction that LOUDER THAN HELL has received so far is staggering, as the quotes above can attest to. Not surprisingly, LOUDER THAN HELL was already being used as an official source even before the book release.  This book is being recognized as a credible, definitive guide to the history of heavy metal.  As published in the New York Times on May 3, the paper of Record referred to the new book LOUDER THAN HELL: The Definitive Oral History of Metal” to gain further insight into their story.

Revolver senior editor Wiederhorn and Nights with Alice Cooper producer Turman dug deep into their extensive list of contacts to uncover never-before-heard stories, eye-opening admissions and the truth behind metal’s most explosive legends. Candid and confessional commentary comes straight from icons of the genre, including: Ronnie James Dio, Ozzy Osbourne, Bruce Dickinson, Eddie Van Halen, Vince Neil, Tommy Lee, Lita Ford, Lars Ulrich, James Hetfield, Axl Rose, Slash, Corey Taylor, Dave Mustaine, Chuck Schuldiner, Lemmy Kilmister, King Diamond, Dave Grohl, Trent Reznor, Slayer’s Kerry King, Phil Anselmo, Rob Zombie and more. With an introduction by Scott Ian of Anthrax and an afterword by Rob Halford of Judas Priest, and with two 16-page photo inserts, with some never-before seen candid shots by celebrated rock photographers Stephanie Cabral and Robert Matheu, this is the book metal fans have been waiting for.

The many musicians interviewed by these veteran journalists offer their take on their influences, touring, the music business, and songwriting, as well as their often-traumatic upbringings, battles with substance abuse, and bizarre sexual exploits. Industry insiders (including managers, record label executives, family members, friends, scenesters, groupies, journalists, and porn stars) provide additional insight.
From the creation of Black Sabbath in the late 1960s, to Judas Priest’s development of the leather-and-studs look, to Metallica introducing the world to thrash, to the inception of Ozzfest, to Faith No More accidentally creating the first hybrid of rap and metal, to the provocative exploits of the Sunset Strip scene, to the death and destruction surrounding Norwegian black metal, LOUDER THAN HELL gets to the meat of the metal matter:

  • Rob Halford of Judas Priest reveals how he kicked cocaine and alcohol in 1986 after tragically witnessing his boyfriend’s suicide and sought solace in spirituality, which has helped the Metal God stay clean to this day.
  • Guns N’ Roses’ Axl Rose talks about the early days of Guns N’ Roses, the making of the 36-million-copy-selling debut Appetite for Destruction, and how Robert Willams’ graphic cover art was censored.
  • Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi explains how he lost parts of his fingers while working a day job in a factory – and created homemade prosthetics so he could play guitar, which changed the tonality of the instrument and the sound of heavy metal forever.
  • Megadeth bassist Dave Ellefson shares how he dug through his own vomit in search of the balloon of heroin he’d swallowed to avoid being arrested by the police, and then used that heroin to celebrate his victory over not getting busted.
  • Members of Metallica and Anthrax detail the horrifying events of 1986 when Metallica’s tour bus crashed and tipped over, crushing bassist Cliff Burton beneath it while the rest of the members escaped relatively unscathed.
  • Alice Cooper reveals how it was really wheelchair-bound members of his AUDIENCE who tore the live chicken apart during his fateful concert in Toronto, while Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne give first-person accounts of Ozzy biting the head off a dove while wasted during a high-level record company meeting, and decapitating a bat onstage during his Diary of a Madman tour.
  • Hellhammer, drummer of Norway’s pioneering black metal band Mayhem, talks about ex-vocalist Dead committing suicide and how guitarist Euronymous used a chunk of Dead’s brain to make a Mexican stew.
  • Biohazard guitarist Billy Graziadei details how gang bangers stabbed a member of the group’s posse with a hunting knife while shouting, “Payback, Motherfucker!” and how the band vowed to retaliate. Vocalist Evan Seinfeld also recounts his graphic sexual liaisons while on tour, and how they led to his career in porn.
  • Slipknot bassist Paul Gray (who died of an overdose at age 38 during the writing of LOUDER THAN HELL) discusses the evolution of the lineup; physical fights between band members, and his own struggles with addiction.

LOUDER THAN HELL explores the transformation of metal culture, with stories and anecdotes straight from the mouths of the most infamous and successful bands. Filled with hundreds of revealing interviews representing every type and era of heavy metal—from metal progenitors such as Blue Cheer, Led Zeppelin, and the MC5 to current day innovators including Slipknot, Mastodon, and Lamb of God—LOUDER THAN HELL is the ultimate look behind the curtain at one of our most dynamic, controversial and enduring musical genres.

To learn more about LOUDER THAN HELL, please visit these official locations:

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LouderThanHellTheBook

Tumblr: http://www.tumblr.com/blog/louderthanhellbook

Twitter: https://twitter.com/louderthanhell

Buy your copy of LOUDER THAN HELL on Amazon.com now at this location.

About the Authors:

Jon Wiederhorn is a senior writer for Revolver who also writes for Guitar World, Yahoo.com,eMusic.com and Noisey.Vice.com. His second book, the authorized biography of Ministry’s Al Jourgensen, Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen, is scheduled for release in August. His work has also appeared in Rolling StoneSPIN, Entertainment Weekly, TV Guide, Loudwire.com, AOL Noisecreep, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, RIP, Alternative Press and Cosmopolitan. Jon currently lives in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, down the street from legendary ‘80s/’90s metal club L’Amour. His greatest accomplishment is teaching his two pre-teens to flash the devil horns long before they discovered Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber.

Katherine Turman is the producer for Alice Cooper’s nightly syndicated radio show, Nights with Alice Cooper. A former editor of RIP magazine and producer at TV’s The Sharon Osbourne Show as well as radio’s Rockline, her writing has been in major publications including Los Angeles Times, Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, SPIN, Billboard, Marie Claire, Guitar World, Metal Hammer, Village Voice and Daily Variety. A Los Angeles native, she now lives in Brooklyn.

Advance Praise for LOUDER THAN HELL:

“This is the best oral history I’ve read since Please Kill Me. Louder than Hell is the first book that really delivers the brutal truth from the mouths of the artists and key players themselves!

I couldn’t put it down.” —Matt Pinfield

Louder Than Hell comes straight from the twisted minds of rock icons and flows seamlessly through various eras of heavy metal. You hear from the guys that were there on the stage, in the pit, puking in the gutter. It brought back memories, and I even learned a few things I never knew. I really dig this book.”  —Riki Rachtman, DJ, VJ

“Books on the history of even something as cool as metal can be a bit antiseptic and boring—not this one. It’s the story straight from the horse’s mouth. Even better is when the horses have experimented with drugs and black out occasionally. . .” —Brendon Small, creator of Dethklok and Metalocalypse

“Who likes rock n roll here?? Well if you do, this is the book for you! Every rock has been overturned, every band has been analyzed, quoted, and lionized and every page offers a new fact or figure that you probably didn’t know. This is the definitive chronicle of all that is heavy metal and I’ve read them all!”  —Chris Jericho, Fozzy

“Katherine Turman and Jon Wiederhorn know metal. Louder than Hell is an amazing gathering of different breeds of heavy metal rockers telling the tales metal fans want to hear.”

—Tom Morello, Rage Against the Machine

“This is the book every metal fan should own. A fascinating high-octane chronicle of metal mayhem that takes readers on a wild ride, from metal’s earliest days to the head-banging present. I’m not saying this just because I’m in the book, but . . . if you love metal, great stories, and music history told by the people who made it, then Louder than Hell is a must-read.”

—Alice Cooper

Louder than Hell is a love letter to the misunderstood genre of heavy metal music, written by trusted companions who had a front row seat on the devil’s rollercoaster. The definitive chronological testimony by the people who were there, including some who are no longer with us.” —Mark McGrath, Sugar Ray and co-host Extra

“An amazingly comprehensive book on all eras and genres of hard rock and heavy metal. The stories and attention to detail make it an instant must for anyone who ever was or is a fan.”

—Eddie Trunk, DJ and host of “That Metal Show” on VH1 Classic

 

authors louder

Ugly Kid Joe Reunite With One Hell of an EP

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Ugly Kid Joe debuted at an odd time. It was a transitional period between the dirty metal world of Guns N’ Roses and the rise of alternative music pioneered by Nirvana, R.E.M., and Jane’s Addiction. Even odder was the band’s commitment to keeping classic metal and hair metal alive, even when flannel shirts outclassed leather vests. Ugly Kid Joe proved successful in their love of hard rock and metal, catapulting the band from California startups to radio heavyweights. The band’s legacy is easily one of the most underrated of its time, so it’s all the more exciting that the band has reunited after over 15 years of silence. While Stairway to Hell isn’t going to make any new fans for Ugly Kid Joe, the fact that the band can still make their music sound so potent and full of soul is something that any band, new or old, can definitely learn from.

Lead vocalist Whitfield Crane is a talented singer, one whose snarl harkens back to that of Ozzy Osbourne’s during the early Black Sabbath years. To complement Crane’s vocals is some excellent guitar lines from axemen Klaus Eichstadt and Dave Fortman. Opening track “Devil’s Paradise” will ravenously rip and tear through your speakers with razor-sharp precision. The opener doesn’t sound dated in the least, only showing that Ugly Kid Joe still possess the chops to put many of today’s rock newcomers in their place. Conversely, the more subdued “No One Survives” is a haunting track that mixes in just as much Metallica composition as it does Black Sabbath. It’s creepy and very atmospheric, standing out amongst the in-your-face anthems of the rest of the album.

Interestingly enough, songs like “I’m Alright” and “You Make Me Sick” are recordings that detail a very different vibe in Ugly Kid Joe’s sound. The band’s reverence for the works of 70’s Black Sabbath is clear, but there’s always a dirty filthiness in the band’s sound, not unlike recordings by Mötley Crüe or Guns N’ Roses. Ugly Kid Joe were never afraid to mix their grinding loves of Sabbath with the faster and more energized rock of California 80’s metal. Stairway to Hell retains that reverence at every opportunity; it’s like they never left at all.

However, Ugly Kid Joe’s weakness lies in the songwriting itself, which drags its feet more than it should. “Love Ain’t True” possesses a trumpet line during the chorus, which feels out of place among the sheer metal that permeates the rest of the album (it might work in the world of ska rock, but it doesn’t work here). The acoustic tracks like “Another Beer” fare better, but are brief interludes between Ugly Kid Joe’s ferocious and grubby heavy metal. While many of the songs themselves are fine and keep their sounds alive, there aren’t many surprises on Stairway to Hell. The inclusion of an acoustic rendition of their hit cover of Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle” is a fond throwback to their most commercially successful single, but the album thrives in the fact that Ugly Kid Joe can still perform their music with such precision and resolve. It’s just a shame that Stairway to Hell doesn’t make any left turns throughout its tracklist.

Ugly Kid Joe’s first recording with new material in over 15 years holds true to its promise. Stairway to Hell demonstrates a resolute control of their many, many influences. The traces of sludgy Black Sabbath rhythm sections, the dirty 80’s heavy metal guitar solos, Whitfield Crane’s slithery wail: they’re all there and they all sound great. The songs themselves, however, don’t possess the refinement that the band’s musicianship does; the compositions just don’t reach out far enough to be surprising. Stairway to Hell doesn’t break new ground for the band, but the fact that they still sound so strong and intense even after 15 years is remarkable. Expectations be damned: Ugly Kid Joe are back.

 

 

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BLACK SABBATH UNVEIL RELEASE DATE OF UPCOMING ALBUM ’13′ + NEW STUDIO FOOTAGE

by Graham ‘Gruhamed’ Hartmann March 13, 2013 12:33 PM  At Loudwire.com

Black Sabbath‘s upcoming album ’13′ has finally been given a solid release date! The highly anticipated record will be unleashed on June 11. Sabbath have also launched a pre-order campaign for ’13,’ offering everything from a simple CD to a ‘Super Deluxe Box Set.’

’13′ was originally meant to feature the classic lineup of Black Sabbath (Ozzy OsbourneTony Iommi,Geezer Butler and Bill Ward), but due to a contract squabble involving Ward, the iconic drummer dropped outof the Sabbath reunion. In his place, Rage Against the Machine stickman Brad Wilk manned the skins on the forthcoming album.

Guitarist Tony Iommi’s cancer diagnosis also threw a wrench in the works for Black Sabbath’s 2012 world tour plans, but the master of the riff heroically pressed on, constantly writing and recording new material throughout his ongoing recovery process. Thankfully, any doubts harbored by Sabbath fans have been squashed now that ’13′ has an official release date of June 11.

As a Black Sabbath fanatic down to your bones, you may have trouble deciding which pre-order offer to dedicate your money towards, but fear not, here’s a breakdown of the goodies Sabbath have made available. If just pre-ordering a CD isn’t enough for your Sabbath fix, the band is also offering a double CD in a deluxe soft pack, which contains an extra album of exclusive bonus audio. ’13′ will also be printed on 12″ heavyweight (180g) vinyl in a gatefold sleeve.

Finally, for the hardcore fans, there’s the Super Deluxe Box Set containing the double CD and vinyl pressings of ’13,’ along with an exclusive DVD of the documentary ‘Black Sabbath – The Re-union,’ plus five behind-the-scenes videos, a download card containing exclusive track-by-track interviews with the band, 13 exclusive photographic prints and hand-written album lyrics by members of the band.

Black Sabbath have also unveiled a new three-minute video of producer Rick Rubin in the studio with Sabbath. In the clip, Rubin directs Black Sabbath through recording their new material, which is showcased in bits and pieces throughout the video. Although we only get a few seconds to peek into what has become ’13,’ the sound presented is quintessentially Black Sabbath.

Check out Black Sabbath’s new studio footage in the player below, and to pre-order ’13,’ head on over to Sabbath’s official website.

 

OZZY OSBOURNE IN HOUSE FIRE

According to Loudwire.com there was a freak fire in Ozzy Osbourne’s home this morning (1.17.13). The accident has left the Oz “with singed hair, no eyebrows, minor burns to his face and a setback to an existing hand injury”.

“Firefighters were called to the Osbournes’ Beverly Hills home at around 4:45 AM this morning to extinguish a fire caused by a candle which had not been blown out before the husband and wife retired to bed. The candle was housed in a glass vase that reportedly exploded, causing a small fire in the Osbourne’s living room. Sharon and Ozzy, who had undergone hand surgery the day before, attempted to put out the flames, but their efforts resulted in minor injuries to the Black Sabbath vocalist.

Ozzy attempted to put out the fire with his hand still in the cast from his surgery as Sharon got some water and unintentionally caused the oily fire to spread as she splashed the flames. The resulting blast of fire burned Ozzy’s long hair up to his ears, seared off his eyebrows and left his cheeks skinned. Luckily, Sharon and the Osbourne’s many pets suffered no injuries.

Sharon described the incident with intricate detail on her show ‘The Talk’ today [via Contact Music]:

At five o’ clock (in the morning), I heard a noise like metal had fallen. I thought it was my housekeeper coming in and she had dropped her keys on the tiles, that’s what it sounded like, so I didn’t pay any attention. A few minutes later, my eyes are stinging and my throat’s closing up, (I thought), ‘Something’s weird smelling in here’.

Then my dog started to bark. I go downstairs and the whole living room (was on fire). The candle had burst and the cracking sound was the glass and the candle exploding…

My husband had an operation on his hand yesterday so he’s in a complete cast… He comes down and goes, ‘Oh, the fire, the fire!’ (and tries to put it out) with his hand in the cast. Then he opens the French doors and I go into the kitchen and throw water on it and it erupted…

Ozzy’s front of his hair from (his ear down is), gone! His eyebrows (are gone)… he’s got like, skinned cheeks. We are, like, two idiots, it was like The Three Stooges… Everything you are not meant to do – go to bed with candles alight, open the doors and put water on – we did it all.

They (the firemen) come up, they give us a lecture, and Ozzy’s like, ‘She’s been doing this to me for 32 years! You tell her, you tell her, no more candles!’

I apologize to my husband because he put himself out. He made his hand worse, it started to bleed, the whole nine yards, and I’m sorry and I love you and I will never light a candle again…

I want to thank the firemen from Beverly Hills Fire Station because you are magnificent there and I want to say to everyone out there, please, please check your candles before you go to bed.

We hear at PMM wish Ozzy a quick and speedy recovery!!!

Lordi Announces New Album:To Beast Or Not To Beast Out March 19th

“To Beast Or Not To Beast” was recorded earlier this fall at WireWorld Studio in Nashville, TN with renowned producer Michael Wagener (METALLICA, OZZY OSBOURNE, SKID ROW, DOKKEN, RAVEN, MEGADETH). The CD will mark the recording debut of LORDI’s new members, keyboardist Hella (replacing Awa) and drummer Mana (replacing Otus).

“The road to this album has truly been paved by hardships,” Mr. Lordi says. “However, the new line-up of the band has given us new and fresh touch and an energetic edge to the recording process, and to the album itself.”

“The album cover painting is actually a part of a larger picture. The original artwork had this vintage- styled lady holding a horned skull, which, however, was not the main point of the art piece. 
There was something not quite right with the setting, so I made experiments with various versions and framings. Album title was Upgradead at that point in time, and the painting was done with that title in mind.”


“But now, with a changed concept of the artwork, the title did not seem to fit anymore. We did not consider it an A-class name either. Our guitarist Amen came up with the final title, which we felt suitable and perfect both for the cover artwork and the album.”

– Mr. Lordi

Click Here To Pre-order ‘To Beast Or Not To Beast’

Black Sabbath Tracking Guitars…Good News for Iommi

Check out Black Sabbath’s FaceBook today…all indications are that Tony Iommi is on the mend and the meat and potatoes of the new ‘Sab is off and running. With Rick Rubin as producer, PMM expects the new stuff to be reminiscent of classic Black Sabbath, as Rubin has quite the knack for getting the best sounds out of the bands that he works with.

Pop Market: ‘Groupon Style’ for Music Lovers and Collectors

I am a huge music fan and an avid collector of off the wall CD’s, DVD’s, memorabilia, etc. from my faves. I have been receiving emails from Pop Market for some time now and have purchased quite a few good deals from these guys. I’ve gotten Stones, Pearl Jam, Aerosmith, Clash, Ozzy…all kinds of goodies at fair prices and free shipping.

Kings of Leon Special

That’s why I want to pass on this site to all our readers. We had to make sure the deals were legit and the service outstanding. We have no endorsements, advertising, or kick backs from Pop Market. We just wanted to send along something you might love as much as we do. Here is a link for today’s deal on a Megadeth CD/DVD pack.
Sign up for their emails and you will be able to keep up with their daily specials and then check out their weekly specials and regular surprises as well. Happy shopping!

Black Sabbath Teams Up with Bravado for New Merch


One of the most iconic rock bands of all time, Black Sabbath, has signed with world’s leading music merchandising company, Bravado, a division of Universal Music Group. The announcement was made by Tom Bennett, CEO, Bravado.
Black Sabbath, consisting of the legendary Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi, are one of the most influential bands of all time. Their albums, including the quadruple platinum Paranoid, released in 1970, helped define the genre of hard rock. Frequently cited as one of the greatest hard rock and metal bands of all time, Black Sabbath has sold 70 million albums worldwide. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.
Bravado will commemorate the launch of the Black Sabbath collection with contests held in the USA, UK and Germany for fans and budding t-shirt designers to create their own Black Sabbath inspired merchandise. In the USA, Hot Topic will sponsor a “Design your own Black Sabbath T-shirt” and in the UK, HMV will sponsor the same, with one lucky winner having his/her creation sold exclusively at that store. The winning designer will also receive a lithograph signed by the members of Black Sabbath. In Germany, the leading mail order company EMP, with sponsor the contest, with the winning design sold exclusively in their catalog and online.
“Bravado is dedicated to working with the most talented and most popular artists of our time,” stated Mr. Bennett. “To many, Black Sabbath transcend their music. They not only created a genre, but they then elevated it to have a place in pop culture. I can’t wait to see what kind of products they will create with us.”
In June, 2012 Black Sabbath will co-headline the Download Music Festival, a three day rock music festival held annually at Donnington Park, England and then perform in August at the Lollapalooza Festival in the Chicago, Illinois area.

Black Sabbath- Bill Ward=Major Disappointment


Bill Ward, original drummer from Black Sabbath, recently posted a letter on his website discussing his regrets with what will now be a record and tour without his presence. Having seen Sabbath with and without Ward, I would have to say this is a major disappointment- enough so that purchasing a ticket or the CD will only be done with trepidation. Ward is a drummer with a very personal style and a key element to Black Sabbath’s best recordings. Check out this video of Sabbath in Paris 1970. I think this proves my point.
Here is Bill’s letter from his website:
“Dear Sabbath Fans and Fellow Musicians,

“I sincerely regret to inform you that after a final effort to participate in the upcoming Sabbath shows a failure to agree has continued. At this time I have to inform you that I won’t be playing with Black Sabbath at the Birmingham gig dated May 19th, 2012, nor will I be playing at Download on June 10th, 2012. Further, I will not be playing at Lollapalooza on August 3, 2012.

“It is with a very sad heart that I bring you this news. I am sincerely passionate in my desire to play with the band, and I’m very, very sorry that it’s fallen to this. This statement is even more painstaking to write, as I was particularly excited to play alongside Tony Iommi after the recent treatments he underwent. I wanted that to become a reality.

“To express my thoughts about you, the Sabbath fans, I’m going to speak to you all through an experience my brother James had recently. My brother Jimmy lives in the U.K. When speaking with him a couple of days ago, he told me that an acquaintance had stopped him on the street and confronted him, ‘is your brother playing Birmingham? What’s going on? I waited in line with my son and paid x amount for the concert tickets.’

“The man’s son is a young drummer. He’s going to see Sabbath, and he wants to see Bill Ward play drums. Upon hearing this news, I felt horrible. I couldn’t help feeling some resentment towards the failure to reach an agreement, the failure to remember where we came from, the failure to be as brothers, as we once were. To be clear, I’m not blaming the other guys or finding any faults with them. I would think it can’t be easy for them either, but this situation is just really sad. It’s sad that it’s come to this. ‘This’” will surely leave a mark and be unwelcome to the memory. Hopefully ‘this’ will heal and pass in time.

“My heart sank when Jimmy told me about this young boy. I know this boy is going to be disappointed, and I don’t know how to amend it, other than to put my arms around the boy and tell him I love him. Sabbath fans have a voice and a face, to me you’re human, you have families and despair. You have ferocity and emotions and graciousness, and at this moment as far as I’m concerned you are also that young boy in England. I don’t know how to amend my part in these failings other than to put my arms around you and say I love you and let you know I’m very, very sorry.

“Throughout this process, which began over a year ago, I have had to stand up for myself time and time again. I have had to stand up for myself and in doing so realize my actions indirectly, although unintentionally, are upsetting and hurting a lot of you. I know in my heart I couldn’t have done these concerts by agreeing the terms suggested. I made a solemn vow after the last European and Ozzfest concerts that I would never again enter into what was, in my opinion, a totally unsatisfactory contract. I have to stand for something, and as painful as it is, I’m doing it.

“Earlier in April 2012, I’d been asked to participate ‘minimally’ in the Download festival. I believe I’d been offered no more than three songs to play while another drummer presumably played the rest of the show with Black Sabbath. I was not willing to participate in that offer. I was not prepared to watch another drummer play a Sabbath set, while I was to play only three songs.

“I found out about the Birmingham gig on Monday, April 30 through the Internet ad. I was taken aback somewhat by the date, and the fact it was Birmingham. Knowing the “signable” contract negotiations were at best in shreds, I was upset by the idea that the band was going to play Birmingham and play it assumedly without me. I had no prior knowledge of the date and location, and I felt totally excluded. We contacted the representative for Black Sabbath to see if something could be worked out. In the meantime my drum crew and I, along with our US endorsers, finished all the necessary planning for a swift departure to the UK. There wasn’t a whole lot to complete; we’d all been on standby more or less since mid-January 2012. The remaining work in the UK was confirmed done by our European and UK endorsers and we were good to go by Friday, May 4 2012. There were two stress points: firstly, getting an agreement in place, and secondly, getting to England in a timely manner. Jetlag time was taken into account as well as drum practice, a drum practice room in the heart of Birmingham, accommodation, and travel arrangements were all in place to meet with any band rehearsals that may have transpired before the Birmingham show. So far everything that had been arranged was on my dime, but we didn’t move ahead without a realistic confirmation.

“Communications between the representative and my lawyer continued through the weekend of May 5 finalizing on Wednesday, May 9. The offer we received on May 9 was, ‘come to the UK, play for free and see how the first show goes.’ I was tempted. Playing for free would not have been a problem for me, but “seeing how the first show goes” left an element of risk which could have affected Download. My ideal thought was to play in full the Birmingham show, in full Download, and in full Lollapalooza.

“I had notified the representative that May 10 was my cutoff day in order to have good lead-in time for England. On the night of May 9 I asked for a brief letter to be sent to the representative asking to find out if we were at an end. On the morning of Thursday, May 10, I received a reply in the affirmative. After consulting with my advisors and crew a decision was made to let go and stop.

“I can’t prioritize the Sabbath fans making one show more important than the other. I can’t do that. All of you are important. It’s all the gigs or none at all. I can’t come to Birmingham and ‘see what happens’ knowing there is a risk of not being able to play Download or Lollapalooza. Again, for me, it’s all or nothing. I had to say “no” to Birmingham on the principle of wanting to play all the shows. Saying no to Birmingham is very difficult for me. My family grew up in Birmingham. Black Sabbath grew up in Birmingham. It’s still my hometown and I resent having to arrive at such a difficult choice.

“Although the statement was made that, “the door is always open” for me, as explained above, walking through that door is not always as easy as it sounds. There are many complicated issues and unseen and unspoken agendas on hand. I can assure you, my criteria for a ‘signable’ contract is based in mindful principles, respectability, and acknowledgement of my history within the band.

“I hold no malice or resentment towards the other band members. I love them; I’m tolerant of them; I’m frustrated with them, as they may be with me. My fight has never been with them. I’ll love them forever. In my opinion, nobody wins this time; the band doesn’t win; the fans for an original lineup don’t win. Nobody wins, nobody. Even the ones who thought they did.

“I didn’t want to make this decision, but I have to be honest and transparent. This is the statement I didn’t want to write; it’s the last thing I wanted to do. But, I have written it, and now it can go into the universe.

“Since Spring of 2011, I’ve waited patiently and hopefully for a signable contract, you know the rest. I stand for the boy in the U.K., for the coming drum student, for all the drummers, who write their parts out and get stiffed on the publishing, I stand with the Sabbath fans chanting ‘Bill Ward’ and asking ‘why?’ and I stand with Tony and Geezer and Ozzy.

“On a final note, even though I’m at an end with the upcoming announced concerts, I will remain with an open mind and a position of willingness to negotiate ‘signable’ terms with Sabbath’s representatives in the future.

“Stay strong.
Stay safe.
With all my heart and strength, I love you,
Bill Ward”

Merchandising Madness: What’s Cool and What’s Tool

Recently, an article from Metal Insider regarding strange merchandise from legendary band Slayer, piqued interest.  Some of the choices were depicted as bizarre and others possibly just intriguing.  It begs the question, “When is the band just pocketing money and when is it actually providing for the fans?”.  Much of this would depend on the individual, thus making for an opinionated debate.

The ultimate gods of merchandising of course are KISS.  It is well known that Simmons and Stanley typically put their names on anything, from coffins to potato heads.  One of our favorites, actually here in the office, just happens to be the Gruntz Dressed to Kill KISS collectibles (shown below).  Still, what makes these collectible over a potato head, or the ultimate collectible, a coffin?

KISS Gruntz Dressed to Kill figures in the PMM office

A plethora of wines have been produced lately with mainly classic rock groups as the benefactor.  The Rolling Stones, The Grateful Dead, even AC/DC have signed on to wine their wares.  Vince Neil is no stranger to lending his name to liquor, having a tequila brand and wine label.  Of course, Sammy Hagar made a small mint when selling off his Cabo Wabo Tequila and Maynard from Tool has a very legit wine orchard in Arizona (enough to have a whole documentary about it).

Other oddities include: Durex  marketing their condoms using bands from JLS to Slayer. Rammstein apparently has their own lines of sex toys.  Having seen them in concert numerous times, this actually makes a lot of sense.  Bill Wyman of the Stones endorses a metal detector.  Mastadon have a “horn” to drink from and Motorhead has a beach ball (We must confess this is in the office also- when we think Lemmy we think beach!).

Perfumes, pasta sauces, sodas, energy drinks, if the money is there the bands will come.  The line of action figure type replicas are very collectible and can increase in value rather quickly.  Motley Crue, Lemmy, Slash, Iggy Pop, Ozzy, Hendrix, Morrison, and Metallica are just a few who have been immortalized in plastic.  The bobblehead industry is booming too.  Just “head” on over to Amazon or any number of websites to check out the various bands that are represented.

Jerry Only-Misfits bobblehead in the PMM office

The bottom line is that consumers want these products.  If they did not no one would be putting the money into manufacturing the trinkets and toys and who knows what.  Let the consumer beware and judge.  If someone loves KISS so much they want to be buried in a KISS coffin, so be it.  As rock n’ roll collectors ourselves, the variety beyond the usual tees and posters is exciting and also an opportunity to laugh.  With the market for song distribution so confusing these days let the bands make the money where and when they can.  And let us put the debate to bed.  Hey, where are my Misfits slippers anyhow?