• NEAL MORSE Explains Decision To Scrap Initial Version Of New Conceptual Double Album 'The Great Adventure'
    on January 20, 2019 at 14:39

    Neal Morse (TRANSATLANTIC, FLYING COLORS, ex-SPOCK'S BEARD) recently spoke with Jonathon Rose of Metal Wani about "The Great Adventure", the new album by THE NEAL MORSE BAND. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). On how the group came to record a sequel to its 2016 concept album "The Similitude Of A Dream": Neal: "Sometimes things just want to happen, and you can't seem to get away from it. It was interesting, if you think of it as like a mosaic, maybe. Early on, I had written a couple pieces — I think 'Vanity Fair' was one — and a couple other things that we wound up not using that were obviously pointing toward 'Similitude II', a follow-up. But it didn't seem like the band wanted to go there, and it didn't seem like I had enough ideas. I worked on it a little bit on my own... but I couldn't figure out what the story would be. I didn't really want to just continue where we were. The band wasn't into it — they didn't really want to do a follow-up anyway — and so I kind of gave it up. "Then we did these sessions last January, and normally, we finish the writing in about six or seven days, and then Mike [Portnoy] does his drums. We spent almost the whole time writing and working on what was a single-disc version of what would become this album. We completed a whole not-concept version of this album, with some different songs and different choruses, but a lot of the same stuff, a lot of the same music... I think Mike tweeted about it when he left the session saying that we had made an album kind of like a [TRANSATLANTIC] 'Bridge Across Forever' album. I kind of sat with that for a while, and then I think it was at the end of January/February, I just began to feel like what it really wanted to be was this follow-up to 'Similitude', which would be called 'The Great Adventure'. I remember Mike had said if we ever do one, it needs to be called 'The Great Adventure', because we say 'Let the great adventure now begin' at the end of the first album. I thought that was a great idea, but I don't know — I didn't have it. I couldn't push it through because I wasn't receiving the whole thing. It was difficult — it was really difficult. "Around March, I said, 'Hey guys, we need to have a Skype call.' Mike was wanting to just come and finish his drums on the single-disc version, and that would be our new record. I had to kind of drop the bomb that I wasn't really feeling like it was good enough, like it wasn't really what it was supposed to be. I didn't really push this 'Similitude II' thing, because I knew it was going to meet with a lot of resistance. What I did was, on my breaks from 'The Life And Times' touring I was doing, I was coming home and listening to what we'd done in January, and I was taking it and cutting and pasting and slicing and dicing and writing new bits and using some bits that I had written before, and just making this new picture. I wrote a two-and-a-half-hour version of 'The Great Adventure' using a lot of stuff that we'd written together... I presented that to the guys in the spring, and praise the Lord, they all liked it. Mike loved it, and he was not opposed, which I thought was a real miracle because he had been pretty adamant about wanting to do the single-disc version. It was so great — once I sent everybody this new version and they had a chance to digest it, he just said, 'You know, another two-disc concept album, it's a bold move. Let's do it.' He completely turned around. Then, of course, we had to cut it down. It was too long, and everybody didn't like all of everything that I had done, which was fine. Then we had to figure out when we could get back together to do the final version, and that was just this last August." On deciding how to present the album to the public: Neal: "I told the guys in July, 'The thing to do would be, if we were really bold, we would say we're going to release this in January and debut it on Cruise To The Edge, even though it's not finished yet. So that's what we did. We put it out there that we were going to do it, but we didn't really know if we were going to make it." On his approach to songwriting: Neal: "When I'm writing, I try to just write and not think about anything I've done before... To be honest, I don't listen to my own music that much after I've done it. I listen to it a lot when I'm working on it, and of course, when it's being mixed, I have to listen to it a lot, but I try to just forget about the past and get into as pure of a creating space as I can, and just do what I think sounds cool, what I'm hearing, try to really realize what I'm hearing in my mind, try to connect the dots. With a concept album, it's not just about having a bunch of good parts. We had a bunch of good parts in January, but somehow, it just wasn't all that it needed to be... The thing about concept albums is that for me — and I don't think anybody else cares about this — I have to kind of know the story, and the story brings about the music. It was the same way with [SPOCK'S BEARD's] 'Snow'. I remember saying to SPOCK'S, 'I feel like this wants to be a concept album, so we need to sort out the story, and then the story will give us the rest of the music.'" On the status of the new FLYING COLORS album: Neal: "It's great. Mike did his drums; Dave [LaRue] is doing bass; and I'm going to start on keys [soon]. Don't hold me to it, but [we're] hoping for a late summer release." On whether to expect any TRANSATLANTIC activity in the near future: Neal: "I would love to do something with those guys, but we don't have any plans at the moment." "The Great Adventure" will be released on January 25 via Radiant Records. THE NEAL MORSE BAND will kick off a five-week North American tour eight days later in Morse's Nashville hometown, followed soon after by a performance on the YES-headlined Cruise To The Edge. The group will then The group will then begin a European tour in London on March 24. […]

  • OZZY OSBOURNE Celebrates 37th Anniversary Of Bat-Biting Incident With Commemorative Plush Bat Toy
    on January 20, 2019 at 12:54

    Ozzy Osbourne has released a plush toy to mark the anniversary of his infamous bat-biting incident. On January 20, 1982, Ozzy bit the head off a live bat during a concert at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Des Moines, Iowa. He later claimed he thought it was a toy thrown to him by an audience member. "Today marks the 37th Anniversary since I bit a head off a f*cking bat," the BLACK SABBATH singer tweeted earlier today. "Celebrate with this commemorative plush with detachable head." The 12-inch-tall web-exclusive item can be purchased for $40. A description reads: "Bring the legendary moment in rock history to life with this soft toy plush bat, featuring the Ozzy Osbourne logo and a velcro detachable head." Osbourne in 2008 gave a definitive account of the bat-biting experience to Classic Rock magazine. "It must have been stunned by the lights or something because it just froze and I thought it was a toy," he said. "I just put it in my mouth. Then its wings started flapping and I got such a shock. I tried to pull it out too quickly and its head came off." The verdict? "It tasted all crunchy and warm . . . like a Ronald McDonald's." After the show, Osbourne reportedly went to Mercy Hospital Medical Center, and was referred to Broadlawns Medical Center because rabies vaccine was available there. He was given a tetanus shot and a rabies shot and took enough rabies vaccine with him to complete the series, according to the Des Moines Register. Des Moines's then-mayor Pete Crivaro said he wanted to find out if Ozzy "violated an agreement on the use of animals in his act. We had been assured he wasn't going to, and I want to find out who is lying," Crivaro said. Dave Palmitier, the manager of the auditorium, told the Des Moines Register that Osbourne "did let some doves loose, which he wasn't supposed to do. We found one dead that apparently had been killed in the audience," he said. Des Moines's then-police lieutenant Derald Leaming said he had warned Osbourne's manager before the show that if an animal was harmed, he and Osbourne "were going to jail because it's against Iowa law. "We had heard about Osbourne sticking birds in his mouth and warned them he would be arrested on the spot if he bit them," he said. Ozzy's bat-biting incident was the focus of an episode of "Myths And Legends", a TV Land original television series in which celebrity and expert panelists discuss popular myths surrounding American television, music, and motion pictures, promise answers to these and other great and not-so-great Hollywood stories. Nearly four decades later, the story of Osbourne's historic chomp still has teeth. "Ozzy biting the head off a bat in Des Moines is pretty much a badge of honor," Corey Taylor, the Des Moines rock/metal singer who fronts the bands SLIPKNOT and STONE SOUR, told the Des Moines Register. "It's still, to me, my favorite [rock incident]." Today marks the 37th Anniversary since I bit a head off a f*cking bat! Celebrate with this commemorative plush with detachable head.— Ozzy Osbourne (@OzzyOsbourne) January 20, 2019 […]

  • DEF LEPPARD's VIVIAN CAMPBELL: 'From Year To Year, From Tour To Tour, We Get Stronger At What We Do'
    on January 20, 2019 at 12:23

    DEF LEPPARD and LAST IN LINE guitarist Vivian Campbell recently spoke with Jake Taylor of the Edmonton, Alberta classic rock radio station K-97. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). On DEF LEPPARD's upcoming induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame: Vivian: "Who would have thought? That puts a cherry on top of what was a great 2018 for DEF LEPPARD. We had a really, really busy year — a bunch of sold-out shows; a bunch of kids coming to see us old men; and now we get that as a Christmas present. It was great. We're very flattered." On the success of the band's 2018 tour: Vivian: "We did a million tickets in North America with our co-headliners JOURNEY. We even played a bunch of the iconic baseball stadiums like [Chicago's] Wrigley Field and [Boston's] Fenway [Park] and sold them out. It was great. We've noticed for years, but especially last year, a large, large percentage of the audience now are young enough to be our children, so we're not just playing to our own generation anymore, and with that youthful influx comes more energy from the audience. We really feed off of that, so in turn, we give more, and our show goes up, our energy level. It's a good thing." On the group's upcoming Canadian tour: Vivian: "We've always enjoyed playing in Canada. Historically, it's been a great country for us to play in, and in fact, going back to the '80s, when people actually bought a lot of records, Canada has always been DEF LEPPARD's strongest market per capita when it comes to record sales. We always make a point to get there whenever possible. We frequently play Toronto and Vancouver, and Montreal on occasion, but it's nice to actually get to do a more comprehensive tour and get to places like Edmonton and Calgary and Winnipeg – just get out there and spread a little love." On tour openers TESLA: Vivian: "There's a lot of history with DEF LEPPARD and TESLA... They're lovely guys, and they're really easy to work with, and very talented people. We like to go on tour with people that we can relate to. TESLA are one of those bands that we count amongst our friends." On his belief that DEF LEPPARD is getting better with age: Vivian: "We always try to make it bigger and better every time we do it. DEF LEPPARD's always trying to reinvent the wheel. We always put back into our show and think, 'How can we make it more spectacular than it was last time?' The music itself is very high-energy, so the show has to reflect that. We throw all the bells and whistles in — everything but the kitchen sink. We have a big staging, the biggest, most high-definition video wall you can imagine... and mostly just our performance. We actually get better as a band. Phil [Collen, guitar] and I, we talk about this constantly. We come off stage and we compare notes. Maybe we're crazy, and maybe it's just us that notice it, because it's a subtle change, but from year to year, from tour to tour, we get stronger at what we do. That's one of the great things about being a musician as opposed to, say, an athlete. [If] you're an athlete, you have this finite window of time when you're on top of your gig. As a musician, you get to get better. We get better as singers, as players. I feel much, much more confident and more comfortable as a guitar player than I've ever felt. I think I'm absolutely playing better than I've ever done in my life, and I think the band is playing better than we've ever done. We're just buoyed by this resurgence that's been around the band in recent years — the million tickets sold in 2018 and getting the Hall Of Fame nomination. It's just been spectacular." On the band's professionalism: Vivian: "I've had the pleasure to play with a lot of different artists and a lot of different bands over my career, and the one thing that immediately struck me 27 years ago when I joined DEF LEPPARD was the level of effort that goes into every single aspect of what this band does. The work ethic is off the charts. It doesn't matter if it's songwriting or recording or rehearsing for the show or delivering the goods live — every aspect is just so, so meticulously attended to. It's as good as it can be. We don't settle for average. We take a lot of pride in our work." On LAST IN LINE: Vivian: "When I'm not working with DEF LEPPARD, I'm working with LAST IN LINE. It eats up all of my time, but it makes me so happy. It's like a different muscle that I get to exercise from DEF LEPPARD. [It's] two very, very different musical experiences on two very different levels, obviously. It's hard, hard work, but it's cathartic to me. It validates me as a musician and makes me feel alive. It's a wonderful thing." DEF LEPPARD's 11-date Canadian tour with TESLA will kick off July 12 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. LAST IN LINE's sophomore album, "II", will be released February 22 via Frontiers Music Srl. […]

  • TOM MORELLO Hopes His New Solo Album Will Create 'A New Genre Of Rock 'N' Roll'
    on January 20, 2019 at 12:09

    Politically minded guitarist Tom Morello (RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, PROPHETS OF RAGE, AUDIOSLAVE) was interviewed by Full Metal Jackie on the January 13 edition of her "Whiplash" program on Los Angeles's 95.5 KLOS radio station. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). On whether PROPHETS OF RAGE was inspired by the results of America's 2018 midterm elections: Tom: "I don't know that our recording schedule is on the electoral cycle. [Laughs] The issues that PROPHETS OF RAGE deals with pre-dated, in some ways, the Trump presidency, and will post-date it as well. The overall arc of the universe and fighting for justice ebbs and flows, but we're in the midst of making a PROPHETS record, which is very exciting... [We're] probably about halfway done right now, so there will definitely be new PROPHETS music in 2019." On his new solo record, "The Atlas Underground": Tom: "I think in some ways, it speaks more broadly to underlying human issues. The thematic thread that runs through the 'Atlas Underground' record is social justice ghost stories, where basically, we're telling — with this ensemble cast that I made the record with — stories of the heroes and martyrs of the past to inform the struggles of the present, and hopefully shine some sort of bonfire to light a way toward a more just and humane future. I know it's ambitious for rock 'n' roll, but that's what I've been dealing with for my entire career." On whether he feels his music has made an impact: Tom: "I can't go to the grocery store without running into someone who has been in some way influenced by — whether it's RAGE, AUDIOSLAVE, THE NIGHTWATCHMAN, Axis Of Justice — that has led them to maybe become a public defender, or a brick-throwing anarchist, or someone who's just thought about the world in a different way, [or] addressing bullying at their school. that sort of daily payoff of seeing the way that [my] music has made its way into the world. But I look at it like I'm nowhere near done. With this 'Atlas Underground' record, I think you can challenge the way people look at the world not just with lyrics or carrying a picket sign, but with the music you make as well. This 'Atlas Underground' record has artists of diverse genres, ethnicities, ages and genders, and in thee divisive times, that in and of itself is quite a statement." On PROPHETS OF RAGE's camaraderie: Tom: "One of the reasons why we, after the 'Make America Rage Again' tour in 2016, continued to work together is a band [was] because we had such a great time on tour. All of us are veterans of different bands that have had various levels of drama throughout their histories, and it was great to be in a band where the focus was the music. That's something that I, at this point in my career, really insist on. I've got a lot of music to make, a lot of guitar shredding to do, a lot of things to say, and I want that to be the exclusive focus." On shifting gears from working with a band to making a solo album: Tom: "When you have a rock band and it's good, it's because of chemistry, and you create something together that you couldn't create alone. When you make a solo album, you have a purity of vision, and on this 'Atlas Underground' record, I think I have the best of both worlds, because I'm the curator of this very diverse cast that I had to wrangle to make this album with a purity of vision, but on the individual tracks, you get the chemistry of working with a diverse cast to create something that's very unique on each song... I really wanted to make a record that was a sonic conspiracy, that brought together these diverse artists with a bold ambition of creating a new genre of rock 'n' roll — a genre that combines my Marshall stack riff-rock, shredding, R2-D2, crazy guitar noise-making analog power with huge bass drops and some of the electronic wizardry of 2018. Basically, if my guitar-playing is the Ansel Adams clear black-and-white photograph, I wanted to create the smashed Picasso version of that — something that was very recognizable as my riffs and my sound, but you hear it in an entirely different way." On his forthcoming tour in support of "The Atlas Underground": Tom: "I had to really look at the glass as being half-full, rather than half-empty — like, 'How do we create an experience in a room that's going to be musically impactful even if RISE AGAINST and WU-TANG CLAN don't show up for every single show?' I've been working with Sean Evans, who's the artistic director for Roger Waters for both 'The Wall' tour and the current 'Us + Them' tour that Roger's on. We've got 20 to 30 ideas that you've never seen in a rock 'n' roll show before in order to make this music come to life in a way that's going to be very exciting, rocking and challenging for the audience." "The Atlas Underground", Morello's fourth solo album (and first released under his own name), was made available in October by Mom + Pop Music. […]

  • WATAIN's ERIK DANIELSSON: 'I Don't Mind Any Type Of Reaction, As Long As It's A Strong One'
    on January 20, 2019 at 11:34

    WATAIN vocalist/guitarist Erik Danielsson recently spoke with Australia's "Scars And Guitars" podcast. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). On the group's latest album, "Trident Wolf Eclipse": Erik: "It feels like a well-received album. You're always a bit biased, because what I see is the face of the crowd in the front, and they're usually not yawning. It's been a very good album to tour with, and one of the albums that feels very uncomplicated. It's a straightforward album — that was the whole point — and compared to the 'The Wild Hunt', which was of a different nature, this one was very empowering, and good to tour with." On whether he felt "proud" when "The Wild Hunt" entered the Swedish album charts at No. 1 in 2013: Erik: "Yeah, I suppose. It means that you're doing something that has an impact, and I think for me as an artist, that's the accomplishment. I don't mind any type of reaction as long as it's a strong one, and as long as it can be felt. I suppose these chart positions and so forth, they played a role in determining that as well of course, but I'd be lying if I say that that's my main point of focus when I think about achievement. But, of course, it has its merits, absolutely." On the group's forthcoming tour of Australia and New Zealand: Erik: "One of the things we've been struggling with, and one of the things we're always struggling with when we're going that far and traveling by plane is that we can't bring the truckload of hell machinery that we do when we are touring in Europe and the States. There's of course going to be traditional WATAIN show elements, but it's definitely going to be more intimate settings. It's going to be a compressed type of show, which I personally look forward to immensely, because I'm getting a bit weary of always relying on a huge stage production. I kind of miss doing things a little bit more simple — or at least, it's nice to have both of those things... [It's going to be] WATAIN in a much more primal, primitive setting. I really look forward to that." On whether the group would ever consider working with a "big-name" producer: Erik: "It's definitely on our manager's radar. [Laughs] For me, by the time we decide who we're going to work with, I always need to be at the point where the album is completely done, and we all have a pretty clear vision of what it is we want to do. So far, those visions and those ideas, they have all corresponded really well to how [longtime producer] Tore [Stjerna] works. One of the things that happens when you work with the same producer for each album is that you buy yourself quite a lot of time, but also you don't have to go through the whole turbulence and mind-boggling business of trying a new creative person into your world. With a band like WATAIN, we tried a few times working with other people, but we like to stick to our own circle of people, and we like to keep things within our realm. I'm completely open for other collaborations as well, and I would definitely be interested in seeing what would happen if you would take the WATAIN spirit and put it to a different kind of machinery. We haven't done that yet, [but] we'll see what happens." On touring the United States: Erik: "The tours in the States are wild. They're super-unpredictable. You get from one place to another, and they're totally different. You can play at a small club one day and a huge theater [another] day. It's vast, and it opens up for a lot of mischief and a lot of turbulence." "Trident Wolf Eclipse", WATAIN's sixth full-length album, was released in January 2018 via Century Media. Danielsson recently told Heavy magazine that the group is already plotting its next album. "We're definitely hungry to write more material," he said. "'Trident Wolf Eclipse' was, to a certain extent I would say, a lot about getting a lot of shit out of the system – a lot of ideas that had been lying around [and] a lot of things that we just wanted to get out there and then. Once that was done, my fingers, at least, immediately started itching for writing new stuff. That's definitely in the crystal ball." WATAIN is currently touring Latin America. The group's tour of Australia and New Zealand kicks off February 22 in Melbourne. Photo courtesy of The Jimmy Cabbs 5150 Interview Series […]

  • GRETA VAN FLEET Performs On 'Saturday Night Live' (Video)
    on January 20, 2019 at 10:57

    Michigan rockers GRETA VAN FLEET performed their Grammy-nominated hit "Black Smoke Rising" and new single "You're The One" on the January 19 episode of "Saturday Night Live". Check out video footage below. GRETA VAN FLEET bassist Sam Kiszka told Vulture about the band's appearance on the long-running NBC variety sketch series: "This is just another one of those things that has come full circle for us. We used to sit around the TV… This is getting so weird to say, 'We used to.' We used to watch the Grammys as a family and watch 'SNL' as a family. We would watch the late-night television shows when we couldn't sleep. It's a re-circling of something very relevant in family and life. This is one of those milestones." Sam was also asked about the October 2018 Pitchfork review of GRETA VAN FLEET's debut album, "Anthem Of The Peaceful Army", which ripped the record as "stiff, hackneyed, overly precious retro-fetishism" and called the Michigan quartet "more of an algorithmic fever dream than an actual rock band." "I don't know the intent behind the piece," he said. "I haven't read it. I'm not sure if it's a publication trying to get attention or if it's somebody who genuinely doesn't like us and what we're doing. I really don't think we get worked up about that, because here's one person who's complaining about it. If you can't do it, then you just write about it. I feel like this man has had a troubled past. Prayers up for him. But it actually feels really good, because some of our favorite bands have had some pretty aggressive criticism. I think it's cool. [Laughs]" Sam went on to say that the LED ZEPPELIN comparisons have gotten tiresome over the years. But, he reasoned, "It's an innate human instinct, to compare and contrast and make things more relatable. That's something that will always be a human instinct. I really feel like it's died down though, over the past three or six months. Which is nice, because I'm getting kind of tired of answering those questions." After the Pitchfork review was published, fans mobilized to defend the band's honor online and "Anthem Of The Peaceful Army" ended up debuting at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart, earning 87,000 album-equivalent units. GRETA VAN FLEET also topped the Billboard Artist 100 chart, which comprises album sales, streaming, radio airplay and social media buzz surrounding an artist. Last month, GRETA VAN FLEET scored four Grammy Award nominations, one for each major rock category — "Best Rock Album", "Best Rock Song", "Best Rock Performance" — and a "Best New Artist" nod. Photo credit: Travis Shinn […]

  • JACOBY SHADDIX Says He Feels 'Overwhelming Anxiety' Prior To The Release Of PAPA ROACH's Albums
    on January 20, 2019 at 10:22

    In advance of this past Friday's (January 18) release of the group's new album, "Who Do You Trust?", PAPA ROACH vocalist Jacoby Shaddix spoke with Andy Hall of the Des Moines, Iowa radio station Lazer 103.3. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). On his excitement leading up to the release of "Who Do You Trust?" : Jacoby: "I get overwhelming anxiety at times. It comes in waves, and I'm, like, 'Calm down, dude — it's all good.' I'm just, 'Hurry up and get this thing out so we can go out and play shows.' I can't wait for the fans to hear it. It's definitely stressful for me. I don't know why I put so much weight upon it, but it's such a labor of love, [and] we want the fans to love these things. I can't wait for this one to get out so I can stop being so damn anxious." On the importance of trying new things: Jacoby: "I think that's key to our survival as a band — the evolution, and pushing things in new directions. I think that's why we've never had an interest in starting side projects. We can explore everything that we want to do within the confines of P-ROACH. Sometimes we miss the mark, and then sometimes we just absolutely nail it. I guess the not knowing is part of the fun and part of the anxiety." On whether he's influenced by modern musical trends: Jacoby: "I definitely think that it has an influence and an impact. On one hand, it does, but then on the other hand, when you get into a creative space and you're making music, sometimes you don't have control of what's coming out of you or what's coming out of the band. I don't want to sound all new agey and stuff, but you've got to get out of the way and just let it come through you. There's moments that are full-on, like, stream of consciousness that work like that and the songs come out great. Then there's other songs that are way more challenging that we have to re-write and try different ways. There's no real super-formula to this thing we're doing, but definitely it takes a lot of hard work and conviction and passion, and there's no shortage of that in this band." On the music video for the album's title track: Jacoby: "We had a blast doing that. That's the beauty of being a musician and being in a band — we just have this ability to almost stay forever young in our minds and just have a hoedown throwdown. This life is to be celebrated. As difficult as it can be sometimes, music is such a relief and a release for us. I think adding a little bit of the comedic edge and humor to the video at points is important for us." On the group's upcoming three-night stand at The Roxy, the famed Hollywood nightclub located along the Sunset Strip: Jacoby: "It's going to be a blast. [We're] taking it back to the real small intimate clubs. [The] Roxy was one of the those places that we got our start down here in Hollywood. It's just good to be able to go back to the roots and rip it. We're working up some deep cuts that we haven't played in years for these shows, and really just challenging ourselves to create set lists that are unique and get the fans going. It's a trip to reflect back, because this is our tenth studio record that we're about to drop, so there's a wealth of material sitting in there in that catalog for us to relearn and perform. That's been fun." On his guest appearance on LAMB OF GOD guitarist Mark Morton's new solo album: Jacoby: "'Sworn Apart', what a great track. Mark sent me the song and I was just like, 'It would be an honor to come and sing this one.' I'm a big LAMB OF GOD fan — been a fan for years — and through the years, I've actually become good friends with those guys. To be on the record is definitely an honor. He's one of the world's great metal guitar players, but the hooks on this record are huge. They just dropped the track that they did with Chester [Bennington], which I think is off the chain. It's good to hear that track. Like I said a million times, it's an honor to be on his record." Morton's solo debut, "Anesthetic", will be released March 1. Shaddix also appears on "The Reckoning", the first single from WITHIN TEMPTATION's recently released album "Resist". "Who Do You Trust?" was released via Eleven Seven. PAPA ROACH will join SHINEDOWN for the 2019 North American leg of that band's "Attention! Attention!" world tour, which also features ASKING ALEXANDRIA. […]

  • SOILWORK Vocalist On What Makes A Good Singer: 'You Need To Enunciate Every Word'
    on January 20, 2019 at 10:04

    SOILWORK frontman Björn "Speed" Strid recently spoke with The Metal Tris. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). On the title of the group's new album, "Verkligheten", which means "reality" in Swedish: Björn: "This title came up a couple of years ago. It was David [Andersson, guitars] who [brought] the idea in. At the time, it just seemed weird... and then we sort of forgot about it. I guess it was marinating at the back of our minds a little bit and came up again for this album, which sounds extremely Scandinavian, especially melody-wise. I think lyrically, it's showcasing suburban Swedish anxiety as well. It just seemed like the perfect title. With age, you sort of need to face reality, but you also have to find new ways to escape it somehow. There's that sort of contrast in there... This might be a cliché, but I think for somebody who's never listened to SOILWORK, this is actually a really good introduction. There's elements from the two first albums that we put out — sort of the heavy metal basics mixed with thrash, but also the later stuff that we had with '[The] Living Infinite' and '[The] Ride Majestic' — sort of dreamy and super-extreme at times. I think it's all in there. I'm really proud of the album." On the album's cover art: Björn: "That snake sort of symbolizes escaping reality. It wasn't planned that way. We basically gave the artist Valnoir some key points here and there, and then we got this cover, and it's like, 'Whoa — we didn't expect that,' especially not the colors. But we all loved it, because we've had so much troubles in the past deciding on a cover, and now, bam." On the album's writing process: Björn: "It came to us, and it was kind of easy in the end. I think we did so much touring for 'The Ride Majestic' — three North American tours, two European tours, all the festivals in Europe, South America, Australia, Japan — so that left us kind of drained, to be honest, in the end. I think we just needed some time off. I sort of waited things out, and then it came to me. We just finished up mixing THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA album and then just restrung the guitar, tuned down to B and I was sort of nervous — 'Is this going to happen now?' It just came to me. It's really interesting how easy that switch was." On whether THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA is now influencing SOILWORK's direction: Björn: "I don't know. You have a certain sense of melody that comes with you wherever you go, so it's only natural in the end that certain things would cross over, but at the same time, me and David wrote the whole new SOILWORK album, which wasn't planned — it just became us two in the end — and for us, it's two very separate things. We like to keep it separate. It's like our yin and yang sort of situation." On what makes a good singer: Björn: "When it comes to screams, I think it's always been important to me that no matter if you're growling or whatever, you need to enunciate every word. Sort of like [SLAYER's] Tom Araya always has done — you can hear every word he's screaming, and he's screaming his lungs out. That has always been very inspiring to me. Jon Nödtveidt from DISSECTION was one of my faves as well — still is. I think that makes a good metal singer — the presence in the voice, too, which is so hard to define exactly what that is. You just feel it. Clean vocals, it's been taking some time, and I think this is going to sound weird, but I've been working a lot on my falsetto, and I think that's really the key to all kinds of singing. If you build up a really strong falsetto, you will definitely have the stamina to pull off the rest... I think you can hear that with singers if they have a strong falsetto, because it gives a different tone to the voice as well." On keeping things fresh after 11 albums: Björn: "We've had quite a few lineup changes, and that was actually something good for us. When David and Sylvain [Coudret] came in, I think they brought something really interesting, [and] fresh new blood. It also inspired me to pick up the guitar. I was a guitarist from the beginning, and I started writing a lot of songs. It's been interesting for me to build a song from scratch rather than just getting a demo and then adding the lyrics and the vocals. 'The Living Infinite' was really a crucial album for us, to sort of go through that as an experiment. Thankfully, it turned out really good, but it also could have turned [out] really bad. I think we regained strength through that album." "Verkligheten" — SOILWORK's 11th album, and first with new drummer Bastian Thusgaard — was released on January 11 via Nuclear Blast. The first-edition digipak, as well as the vinyl versions, also contain the exclusive "Underworld" EP containing four more songs. The digipak version also features special artwork with lavish foil print. SOILWORK recently embarked on an extensive European co-headlining run with labelmates AMORPHIS. Support on the trek is coming from NAILED TO OBSCURITY and JINJER. […]

  • RUSH Guitarist ALEX LIFESON Says 'There's A Real Great Future For' GRETA VAN FLEET
    on January 20, 2019 at 04:23

    During a question-and-answer session between RUSH members Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee at the January 19 Rush Fan Day event at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in Cleveland, Lifeson named GRETA VAN FLEET as a contemporary band that he has been listening to lately. "At first, I thought — you know, obviously, the influence of LED ZEPPELIN," he said (see video below). "But it's a new time for them, so many decades later, so they're developing their own audience. But what really struck me about them is their musicianship, their desire to become better players, their arrangements — all of those things. As young players — I think they're all in their early 20s — there's a real great future for them as they develop their own style. Much like we did. I mean, we were a bar band, really. We had our influences, and certainly ZEPPELIN was a big influence for us. But once we got out and we got a chance to play and develop our own stuff and start writing our own material … well, you know, that's history. And I see that with them too. They're young enough that they can carry that banner for a rock band into the future." A video replay of the entire question-and-session is available below. Last year, GRETA VAN FLEET guitarist Jake Kiszka told FaceCulture that LED ZEPPELIN was not a major influence on the group despite close similarities between the two bands' styles. He explained: "I think that we've become more conscious of it, because I don't think before we ever really realized, in a lot of senses, the similarities or the commonalities that we share with that group." He added: "I think it's one of the greatest compliments that could ever be given to a young band like ourselves. They're arguably one of the greatest rock bands of all time, so that is humbling and inspiring and honorable, in that sense... Even if it exactly wasn't an overwhelming influence of ours, it still was influential and we can certainly see it. But overall, it doesn't really affect the writing of our music." Jake told The Pulse Of Radio about GRETA VAN FLEET's main influences: "Blues is that glue that bonds us, you know. I'm a guitarist, so I have to have influences from people like Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and [Jimi] Hendrix — he's another good one — yeah, like, a lot of the British blues players and even the American blues players like Elmore James. And yeah, so, a lot of blues for me — well, for all of us." GRETA VAN FLEET's first album, "Anthem Of The Peaceful Army", debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart in July despite earning a lukewarm 53/100 score on review curation site Metacritic. Last month, GRETA VAN FLEET scored four Grammy Award nominations, one for each major rock category — "Best Rock Album", "Best Rock Song", "Best Rock Performance" — and a "Best New Artist" nod. Hall of Fame Interview with Alex Lifeson & Geddy Lee of RushWe sit down with Rush members Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee at the museum for a live interview with fans. Submit your questions for the fan Q&A below.Posted by Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on Saturday, January 19, 2019 […]

  • UDO DIRKSCHNEIDER Ignores Doctors' Advice, Will Tour With U.D.O. Despite 'Serious Health' Issue
    on January 19, 2019 at 20:19

    Udo Dirkschneider is dealing with a "serious health" issue and and will be "a bit handicapped on stage" during U.D.O.'s upcoming tour. The former ACCEPT frontman, who turned 66 last April, has ignored doctors' advice when deciding whether to return to the road and will join his bandmates as they kick off a European run of headlining shows on January 20 in Madrid, Spain. Earlier today, the following message was posted on the U.D.O. Facebook page: "Dear U.D.O. fans, "Unfortunately, we have to tell you that Udo has a serious health problem since early January. He has pain in his left knee and couldn't walk at all for a longer period. He has been to different specialists in Russia, Ibiza and Germany and now he is on a good way to recover. But he is still handicaped and can't move that much without having pain. "Against all advises of the doctors, he has decided to play the tour and not postponing it since he hates to let his fans down. But this means that he is a bit handicapped on stage and can't move that much. We are very sorry for this, but we still have the opinion that this is better than postponing the complete tour. "Thanks and see you all on tour!" In a 2018 interview with Minnesota's "The Five Count" radio show, Dirkschneider said that he had no thoughts of slowing down. "I like to be on tour," he said. "I like to make new albums and, you know, it's like I always say, as long as I have fun and my voice is working and people come to the shows, I don't know, maybe I can do this for another 10 years or whatever. I don't know. At the moment, there is no thinking of retiring or stuff like that." Although it has been reported that Dirkschneider suffered a heart attack nearly 30 years ago, he told Metallian that the reality was a bit different. "Around 1990, I had — what is the word — a body breakdown and not a heart attack. I was overworked, singing, recording, writing songs, producing and even being a manager. I was working on other albums. It was too much. It was not a a heart attack. I remember the reports. I don't know where the report on a heart attack came from. In a way, I am lucky. I have never had a problem with my voice. I have managed to stay healthy. I also stopped smoking [in 2003]. Especially, while on tour, you have to do your best to stay healthy. I always say that I am lucky, I am very lucky. Of course, we get drunk sometimes, but I never party or take drugs or something like that. I have always been a healthy man." U.D.O.'s current lineup includes Udo's son and drummer Sven Dirkschneider, bassist Tilen Hudrap and guitarists Andrey Smirnov and Dee Dammers. Bassist Fitty Wienhold, who joined U.D.O. in 1996, announced his departure from the band in September, saying in a statement that he "decided to take a new way" in his life. U.D.O.'s latest album, "Steelfactory", was released in August via AFM. […]

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