• OZZY OSBOURNE Says 'The Ultimate Sin' Is His Least Favorite Solo Album
    on August 24, 2019 at 22:41

    Ozzy Osbourne says "The Ultimate Sin" is his least favorite album he has ever released as a solo artist. Although it's currently out of print physically (but available on streaming services), the 1986 LP contains one of his biggest hits, "Shot In The Dark", and has been certified double platinum. "[Producer] Ron Nevison didn't really do a great production job," Ozzy tells Rolling Stone in a new interview. "The songs weren't bad; they were just put down weird. Everything felt and sounded the fucking same. There was no imagination. If there was ever an album I'd like to remix and do better, it would be 'The Ultimate Sin'." "The Ultimate Sin" reached No. 6 on the Billboard 200 chart and was certified platinum in the United States on May 14, 1986, by the RIAA and and double platinum in October 1994. It was the follow-up to "Bark At The Moon", which was the first Ozzy album to feature Jake E. Lee on guitar following the tragic death of Randy Rhoads. The writing sessions for "The Ultimate Sin" were by disagreements over songwriting, with Lee, who claimed he had been cheated out of the credits he deserved on "Bark At The Moon", later telling Ultimate Classic Rock that he demanded a revised contract before agreeing to contribute. Bassist Bob Daisley was dismissed during the making of the LP and Phil Soussan was brought in as is his replacement. Ozzy later invited Daisley to come back to help with the lyric writing, which Bob had shouldered the bulk of since the start of the singer's solo career. In a 1986 interview with Guitar World, Lee stated about about the writing process for "The Ultimate Sin": "While Ozzy was in the Betty Ford clinic, I got a drum machine, one of those mini-studios, a bass from Charvel — a really shitty one — and I more or less wrote entire songs. I didn't write melodies or lyrics because Ozzy is bound to do a lot of changing if I was to do that; I just write the music. I write the riff and I'll come up with a chorus, verse, bridge and solo section, and I'll write the drum and bass parts I had in mind. I put about 12 songs like that down on tape, and when he got out of the Betty Ford clinic, it was, 'Here ya go. Here's what I've got so far.' And I'd say half of it ended up on the album." Daisley, who is credited with all the lyrics on "The Ultimate Sin" apart from "Shot In The Dark" (which is credited to Soussan and Osbourne), later said he was also heavily involved with the music writing on the LP. "I did write the album with Jake and then Ozzy and I had a falling out and he fired me and he was going to fire Jake as well," he explained in an interview. "I've never been a 'yes' man. So a few weeks later, he called me and he had Phil Soussan on bass but I'd already written a lot of the music with Jake, so they knew they had to credit me on the songs anyway, so I guess he thought he may as well get his money's worth and asked me to come back and write the lyrics also. I did that as sort of a paid job. I write it, you pay me and take it and go. So I spent a few weeks writing the lyrics for the whole album. Then they recorded it. In a way, I am glad I am not on that album. It's the one album I didn't really like." Earlier this week, it was announced that Ozzy will be celebrated with the first-ever definitive vinyl collection of all his original solo material. Due out November 29 on Sony Legacy, "See You On The Other Side" contains each of his studio albums on multi-color splattered, 180-gram vinyl, as well as otherwise out-of-print rarities like his "Mr. Crowley" and "Just Say Ozzy" EPs. It also features a collection of rarities, "Flippin' The B Side", a seven-inch flexi disc containing the previously unreleased "See You On The Other Side" demo, 10 posters, 12 augmented-reality experiences that allow fans to interact with the singer, and an autographed certificate. […]

  • SLIPKNOT's COREY TAYLOR Blasts Music-Streaming Payouts: 'They're Chucking Crumbs At People'
    on August 24, 2019 at 17:43

    SLIPKNOT and STONE SOUR singer Corey Taylor has once again blasted Spotify for the the paltry payments the music streaming service pays out to music rightsholders. This past January, the Copyright Royalty Board ruled the royalties songwriters receive from on-demand subscription streaming would jump 44 percent over the next five years. Spotify, Google, Pandora and Amazon — four of the major U.S. streaming services — later appealed the ruling, saying that it "harms music licensees and copyright owners." Asked by SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation" if he is conflicted about music streaming predominantly because of how "shitty the royalties are" for him, Taylor said (hear audio below): "Oh, absolutely. People get the wrong idea. I am not against streaming. I'm not that asshole. I don't care how people get the music. My whole concern is the fact that you are supporting a platform that is putting artists out of business — unless you can get millions upon millions upon millions of streams. They're chucking crumbs at people. I'm fortunate enough to be able to… I can go out on the road and earn a living. We sell merch; I can earn a living like that. But what about these bands that can't do that? How are they supposed to do that? "For me, I don't care if you stream the music," he continued. "My problem isn't with the fan. My problem is with the streaming services themselves — the fact that artists are not being compensated for the work that they busted their ass to record, to create, and then put themselves in hock to a record label that is getting paid first from streaming services, before the arist. Which is really crazy, because then the artists have to pay the money back that it took to go in and record this thing in the first place. There's so many things that are against the artist these days now. That's the problem I have. It seems like we are trying to run a marathon in quicksand. And the fans get it wrong. I don't care how you get the music — we care that people are not being compensated. That's the whole point of this." According to Corey, SLIPKNOT wasn't given an opportunity to decide whether it wanted its music to be on the major streaming platforms. "We didn't get a choice in it, basically," he said. "It's one of those things where the cards were definitely in the label's favor, so they just kind of threw us up there along with the rest of the roster." Asked if SLIPKNOT was able to use some of its leverage as one of the biggest bands on Roadrunner to negotiate a better deal for itself with regard to music-streaming payouts, Taylor said: "I think we can the next time we go to renegotiate. Unfortunately, we didn't do it this time around, because we were in a situation where we hadn't renegotiated… The last time we did it was a couple of albums ago — let's put it that way — and at the time, we didn't take that into consideration. For whatever reason, whoever was doing the negotiating, it was one of those things that at the time, it wasn't a huge concern. And now, unfortunately, we find ourselves in a different climate. So next time it happens, we have to think about that. So who knows if we're gonna be in the same position. I'm hoping we will." Taylor reiterated that he is not speaking out against streaming itself, but is voicing his concern that, with album sales in perpetual freefall, streaming services are only paying out fractions of a cent in royalties for each song played. "Once again, I'm more concerned about people who are not in my position," he said. "I'm more concerned about the fact that up-and-coming bands aren't being able to make a living. They can't take some time off the road to spend time with their families, because maybe there's some publishing coming in or royalties coming in. It's insane what's going on right now. I've seen bands who have been doing it for a while have to hang it up because they don't make anything anymore on the back end. And that's just sad, man. You bust your ass for 15 years, and you've gotta hang it up because of that? That's not right." SLIPKNOT's sixth album, "We Are Not Your Kind", was released on August 9 via Roadrunner Records. […]

  • STONE TEMPLE PILOTS Guitarist On Hiring Vocalist JEFF GUTT: 'We Knew If We Didn't Get This Right, It's Over'
    on August 24, 2019 at 16:16

    Prior to STONE TEMPLE PILOTS' performance at this year's Download festival in Castle Donington, United Kingdom, guitarist Dean DeLeo spoke with Guitar Interactive magazine. The full conversation can be seen below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). On whether the band ever considers performing a setlist that didn't include its best-known material: Dean: "We would never do that. I think that's pretty selfish. We have to compile stuff that people want to hear, and we have a pretty good inkling of that... We normally do the song 'Glide' off the 'No. 4' record, and we were doing a show in the States, and these two women were right in front of me, and I could see their mouths. I couldn't hear them, but I could plainly see what they were saying. We're doing 'Glide', and Jeff [Gutt] sings it so beautifully — really, not an easy song to sing — and I saw the one girl look [over] and say, 'What song is this?' The other girl goes, 'I don't know.' I think it would be pretty selfish to just go up there and play what we wanted to play." On hiring Gutt: Dean: "We actually courted one another for a year and spent a lot of time together. We played music; we hung out before we solidified the agreement, whatever you want to call it. We spent a year together because we knew this was the final shot. This was it. If we didn't get this right, it's over, man. Put the fork in it. We had to really be very methodical and just make sure that Jeff was indeed the right guy. It was evident early on, but we did spend a year together, and the poor guy... We give him the gig, and he still couldn't say anything. [We said,] 'You've got to keep this under your hat.' We met at our manager's office and said, 'Okay, man, we'd love to do this together. You can't tell anybody.' That's awful. [Laughs]" On why they chose Gutt to front the band: Dean: "There was a lot of factors — Jeff's ability to write, not only melodically, but lyrically. It was very evident from day one. The first day we went in the studio, we threw five songs at him, and he was hitting melody after melody." On the band's approach to making albums: Dean: "I think we are our own worst critics, and that's how it's always been with our records. We've always set out to do definitely something timeless — not using the sound [or] flavor of the month. I'm riding in my car and I hear 'Vasoline' come on the radio, and I'm like, 'Not bad.' That was a big thing with Brendan [O'Brien, producer], too, [when] making those records. We just wanted to make a timeless statement." On his influences: Dean: "We're just beggars and thieves, man. We were weaned on the best. I was born in 1961, so I was hearing [Jimi] Hendrix come out of my brother's bedroom at eight years old. Then THE DOORS. CROSBY, STILLS, NASH & YOUNG from my sister's room. Then coming up in my formidable teenage years in the '70s, I got to drink from the bottle, man." On writing music: Dean: "There's something that Robert [DeLeo, bass] and I share that is interesting, being brothers — we really have to talk about things. A lot of times, I'll have a part, he'll have a part and we'll marry them. 'Vasoline' was that — we just married the parts. I probably shouldn't say this, but I don't often play guitar. I don't play too much. I play when I feel like I have a song hitting me, and I'll grab it and [snap fingers]. In minutes, that song will be there." On when the group expects to release a new album: Dean: "We just finished one... We kind of come into it with a fair amount of songs. For me, it's like playing keep-up with my brother. Robert sets a high bar, and if I want a song on the record, I've got to raise my game. Jeff works really fast, and if a song isn't coming together in minutes, [we say,] 'Next.'" Gutt recently confirmed to "Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon" that STONE TEMPLE PILOTS has completed work on a new album. The disc, which is not expected to arrive before 2020, will be Gutt's second with STP after joining the band two years ago. His recording debut with the group was on its self-titled seventh LP, which arrived in March 2018. Gutt, a 43-year-old Michigan native who spent time in the early-2000s nu-metal act DRY CELL, among other bands, and was a contestant on "The X Factor", joined STONE TEMPLE PILOTS in 2017 after beating out roughly 15,000 hopefuls during an extended search that began more than a year earlier. STONE TEMPLE PILOTS and RIVAL SONS will co-headline a North American tour this fall. The 12-city tour will kick off in Baltimore on September 13, with stops in Philadelphia, New York City, New Orleans and more, before wrapping up in STONE TEMPLE PILOTS' former hometown of San Diego on October 9. […]

  • SABATON Bassist Says Group Isn't 'Promoting' War: 'It's Not About That; It's History'
    on August 24, 2019 at 15:42

    SABATON bassist Pär Sundström recently spoke with France's United Rock Nations. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). On premiering "Fields Of Verdun", the first single from the group's new album "The Great War", via a cover by APOCALYPTICA: Pär: "I really like their version of it. It was an idea. I went down to Madrid to meet with the guys in APOCALYPTICA, because I had the idea that perhaps we can do it, so I wanted to see them myself and I wanted to see their concert. I like their band; I like their concept of the band. I went to see them and meet the guys, and I explained the idea, and they said, 'Wow, this is pretty cool.' I said, 'We need to do it before the song is actually out, so people will be a little bit shocked,' and people got shocked." On whether the group felt any extra "pressure" to make a good album since it's currently the band's 20th anniversary: Pär: "We always have a lot of pressure when we do an album. I would say it grows with every album. 20 years anniversary or not, it would be the same anyway. The 20-years anniversary didn't really affect us that much. We thought about it, and a lot of people were, like, 'Oh, you have to do a tour where you play old songs, and you have to do reissues of all the albums,' and we didn't want to do that. Let's focus on the future of SABATON instead of the past." On the inspiration to write new album "The Great War": Pär: "What we have been doing for many years is, a lot of the stuff that we sing about are ideas sent in by fans... Some of the ideas on this album, we would have not known about if it wasn't for our fans. They do contribute. On this one, not for any research, because we had our own historians at this time, so we didn't need any historical input, but some ideas about the topics. For most of our albums lately, there's been a lot of input by the fans... Even if World War I is less known than World War II in major medias and in popular culture, we still have some topics that we knew we wanted to cover, some topics that we wanted to sing about. A lot of them came out from ourselves, and a few came from fans. 'Attack Of The Dead Man', that is purely created by a story sent in by our fans. Those that fans send in, it's just scratching the surface. We don't want to get the full picture of an event immediately. We get just a tiny bit of the idea. Then, we're like, 'What kind of mood does this topic [convey]? It's a happy mood? It's a sad mood? It's a horrible, scary mood? Whatever mood we get from the topic, we find a song for it — a musical piece that we have written — and then we match them. Then, when we're like, 'Okay, this will match,' we start reading and researching... It's a topic that engages us, so we were quite excited when doing it. It's interesting to do the research. To say that it's interesting about war, some people might say, 'Oh, you're promoting war.' It's not about that. It's history." On SABATON's lyrics: Pär: "War is not really black-and-white. War always has a very gray color, because war is conceived by different sides for whatever [reasons] they have. In all conflicts, there are a lot of losers and a lot of people who have their different inputs and think that, 'We are the good guys. They are the bad.' For SABATON, it's not about taking a stand. We write the songs from different kinds of angles all the time, but they are not our angle. We are not there to say, 'This was right. This was bad.' We are there to tell the story — to retell the story from one side. But they are not our [side]." On the origins of his interest in military history: Pär: "Partly, it comes from starting to write about it. I liked history before, and so did Joakim [Brodén, vocals], and the first songs we wrote had no connection to this whatsoever. We were, 'This is no fun to write lyrics for the songs. They don't mean anything. We need to write about something that matters — something that is real.' We started to write about military history, and as time goes, our interest becomes deeper and deeper... We wanted to write about something where everybody has emotions towards. No matter if you have been living in Sweden, who has been neutral — thankfully, we haven't seen war in Sweden for a very long time — but even if you live in Sweden or you live in a war-torn country somewhere in the world, you have a connection to war. War, unfortunately, is something that unites all people." SABATON's ninth album, "The Great War" was released on July 19 via Nuclear Blast Records. The band started recording the disc exactly 100 years after the end of the first World War (November 11, 1918) and took three months of intensive work to complete the album with longtime producer and collaborator Jonas Kjellgren at Black Lounge studios. The effort was mastered by Maor Appelbaum and the artwork was once again created by Peter Sallaí. […]

  • UGLY KID JOE Vocalist WHITFIELD CRANE To Record Solo Album After Upcoming U.K. Tour
    on August 24, 2019 at 15:20

    UGLY KID JOE vocalist Whitfield Crane recently spoke with Australia's Silver Tiger Media. The full conversation can be streamed at this location. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). On ORCHESTRA OF DOOM, his symphonic tribute to BLACK SABBATH: Crane: "A 35-piece orchestra, all analog, no Marshall stacks... it's a cross-pollination that is something to behold. It's got BLACK SABBATH, Ozzy [Osbourne] era; it's got Ozzy Osbourne solo songs off of 'Diary Of A Madman' [and] 'Blizzard Of Ozz' like 'Revelation (Mother Earth)', 'Mr. Crowley', 'Diary Of A Madman', some UGLY KID [JOE] songs in there, some of my solo stuff. We treated it like a true opera or classical music experience. It will have all of the characteristics and idiosyncratic rules of an opera — there will be an intermission. Symphonically, it's something I've never heard. It's fucking cool." On the project's origins: Crane: "I found myself in Verona, Italy. I made friends with all the orchestral players, and we hatched this scheme and manifested ORCHESTRA OF DOOM in Verona, Italy. We sold out a show in this place called the Ristori Theatre, the third-oldest opera house [there], which has such history. I never could have imagined I'd be singing with an orchestra in the first place. The fact that there's no electricity involved in the classic sense — no Marshall stack, or what have you — the sonic dimension is profound. I picked BLACK SABBATH because I love BLACK SABBATH, but I didn't know until I knew that BLACK SABBATH was perfect for this end. They are orchestral, but it's dark; it's beautiful. [Tony] Iommi's riffs are just crazy. It's a special thing; it's a different kind of animal; and it liberates everyone involved. For me, it's outside my box, and for the orchestral players, they're like, 'Wow, we can play SABBATH and Ozzy? Rad.' It's fun, to say the least. For me, it's very inspiring to be a part of it... When we played in Italy, it had a cross-section of everybody. It had orchestral fans; it had rock 'n' roll fans; it had people that were curious. It moved everybody, including me. When you think about orchestral music, it's good for all of us to branch out musically and creatively and artistically, and cross-pollinate. It's a great time to do it. There's a lot of proof of that with other projects that are similar. It's special and it's magical and it's inspiring, certainly." On performing with an orchestra behind him: Crane: "It's scary, a bit terrifying and also liberating. I feel like I'm out of my depth... There's a piece somewhere on YouTube where David Bowie's talking about, as an artist, you should always be out of your depth. That makes me feel alive. I've played lots of different rock shows in the classic sense — stadium shows, club shows or whatever with different bands — but this is so beyond that and out of that scheme that it makes me feel alive as an artist. And I'm not battling Marshall stacks or a big bass cab. It's beautiful to sit there and zen out or give into the music. It's special for me." On his other upcoming musical plans. Crane: "I'm going to make a [solo] record... I'll have October off, so I'll try to get something going on [then]. In November, UGLY KID JOE's going to go in the studio and knock out a full-length record, and then we'll have that in our back pocket. Next year, we'll [release] that... I really love working. I feel good to work. I'm really good at sleeping; I'm really good at doing nothing. If I get to the sea or the ocean or the mountains or whatever, and just kind of be, I like that a lot, but if that's coupled with all the projects I'm doing, I feel more grounded." On UGLY KID JOE's comeback: Crane: "When UGLY KID JOE blew up in '91-'92 through the end, all the old-school masters loved us. Ozzy loved us; Lemmy loved us; the DEF LEPPARD guys were cool; VAN HALEN — all our heroes liked us and loved us and took us out on tour, but we didn't have a peer group. In a very real sense, UGLY KID JOE's enigmatic in that sense... UGLY KID JOE did not make music or jam or do anything for nearly 16 years, so when we did get back together and went out in 2012, we really didn't know if people would dig in or even remember us. When we came back, we did a festival run in Europe. It was on fire. It's healing in a lot of sense for us — it's cathartic — because everybody's alive, and all the bullshit that we may or may not have gone through being in a band, it's been really fun for us to go play." On the benefits of living nomadically: Crane: "I don't live anywhere. I have a backpack; I have a credit card; I have an accountant; no felony records... When we were kids, we'd tour around the world, and we'd come back and talk to our friends, and they'd say, 'Oh my god — you went everywhere!' We didn't really go everywhere — we went and got our passports stamped and went to the club. That was it. We didn't go see anything. Now, I'm like, 'Okay, I want to go see stuff.' I'll start and end tours somewhere in my mind that's fantastic and something that's interesting. I'll sit with my booking agent and the guy I co-manage the band with, and I'll go, 'Look, I'm not fucking around. We're going to make money. Big deal. That's great, [but] that's going to come and go. Let's garner some experiences.' For instance, UGLY KID JOE just toured all over Europe, and in the last three months, I lived in Mallorca, Spain for 40 days. I lived in Prague for three weeks. I'm always making an effort to experience life through music. A troubadour, a minstrel or whatever you want to call whatever I am, it's a great currency. You can get sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll out of it, which is fine. It's been done, and will be done again. There's nothing wrong with that, but you can also figure out, 'Where's the coolest hike to go on?', or, 'Where's the best restaurant?' You can meet really cool people through music. It's like a key to a gregarious door... There's a big world outside, and I'm always looking to get inside of it... When I look at people's faces — including my own in the mirror — I want to have smile wrinkles at the end of life." In addition to frequent international tours with UGLY KID JOE and the upcoming ORCHESTRA OF DOOM performances in Australia, Crane is also currently preparing for his first-ever solo tour, which will take place in the United Kingdom in September. He also recently performed with THE WEDDING BAND, a covers supergroup also featuring METALLICA's Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo, as well as Joey Castillo (QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, ZAKK SABBATH) and Doc Coyle (BAD WOLVES, GOD FORBID). […]

  • MARTY FRIEDMAN Says It's A 'Huge Misconception' That Metal Is Big In Japan
    on August 24, 2019 at 14:22

    Guitar legend Marty Friedman (MEGADETH, CACOPHONY) recently spoke with Paul Tadday of Australia's Amnplify. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). On moving to Japan: Marty: "It [was] a crazy decision, but it was really something I just had to do. It was all about the music. I found myself listening to Japanese 100 percent, and I had lost interest in what was going on in the American music scene. I was really consumed with what was going on in Japan, and I thought the only way I can really continue to grow as an artist is to make music that I really want to make, and contribute what I can to a music scene that really appealed to me. I thought the only way to do that was to live in Japan. I was really right. Sometimes it takes a really crazy decision like that to get to the next step in your career. I was very lucky that I either had enough balls to do it, or I was stupid enough to do it, one or the other... After touring all over the place, you kind of don't really feel you're a foreigner in so many places, because you've been to so many places so many different times. You just feel like a citizen of the world, more or less, and you don't really feel that out of place whether you might be in Austria or China or Russia or Brazil. About three or four times going anywhere, you sort of feel like you know the place, and after being in Japan so many times, it really wasn't that big of a leap to actually live here." On the notion that metal is big in Japan: Marty: "That's a huge misconception. That style of music is not big in Japan. However, that influence has found itself in popular music. There's a lot of very heavy metal-oriented pop music in Japan, and there's a lot of very guitar-oriented pop music in Japan, and dance music. All kinds of music that is current will have elements of things that don't show up in the pop music of America and Europe. American pop music is pretty much based on R&B and rap and country music, and occasionally, there's a small influence of rock in there, but there's really not too much in the way of guitar being in the spotlight so much in American pop music. But some for reason, the sound of the electric guitar is still at the forefront in Japanese pop music, probably for the reason that in traditional Japanese music, there was an instrument called the shamisan, which is a three-stringed instrument kind of played like a guitar. It's been in Japanese music for centuries, so people's grandparents and great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents are used to hearing the sound of, like, kind of solos played on guitar, because the shamisan plays a lot of solo lines and melodies and slow melodies and fast melodies — things that could be compared to lead guitar. I think for some reason in the culture, they're very accustomed to hearing lead guitar, even in a pop context, even in a dance context. For me, I'm way more into pop music than into traditional, straight-ahead, old-school metal. I need to have some kind of new twist on it. I was into metal and all that stuff when I grew up and I loved it, but it has to grow. It has to do something new. It has to be more futuristic, more modern, more adventurous, and the only way to do that is to mix all kinds of different things with it. Then, I can still love the sound of metal. I think that's what is fun for me about being in Japan, because you can see the pop chart and look at the first few songs, and there's a guitar solo in one and a heavy riff in the other and some progressive-sounding things in the other, and odd time signatures and all those fun things that we all loved growing up, but have completely fallen out of the American musicscape. I couldn't analyze it that well when I decided to move here, but I think subliminally, that's the reason why I did." On how recording technology has evolved over the course of his career: Marty: "I think things have changed and made it easier for some aspects of it. Obviously, Pro Tools is a wonderful thing to have in the studio, but still at the end of the day, the person who's creating the germ of the idea — the seeds of the new songs — you still have something from inside. Just getting it from out of you on to other people's ears, technology helps that go along, but you still have to have all these ideas, and you still have to try to create new ideas. I don't think technology has really helped the creative process in my case, other than allowing me to do more things in less time. For example, back in the old days, we didn't have Pro Tools in the studio, so we had to really prepare everything before we got into the studio [to] record, but now, I can do hundreds and hundreds of takes of a single melody, and then scroll through them at my own leisure. I can get a lot more done in a lot less time, but at the end of the day, it's the same creative process — you've got to come up with something, and then you've got to perform it... I'm a huge workaholic, so anything that's going to save me time and get more work done in less time is great, but as for the creative process, using a guitar — which is an actual instrument, not a synthesizer — it's still a very human process in my case." On performing live: Marty: "I like to do real, human, raw, sweaty [shows], just exploding and going crazy and having fun, but I still also enjoy some artists that use a lot of technology in their concerts. Sometimes, they even use backing synthesizers and other things and supplement their live sound. I'm not against that at all, depending on the project that it's used in. For example, there's a three-girl singing group called PERFUME in Japan, and they don't sing anything, but in the context of their concert, it's really a non-issue, because their concert is so incredibly exciting, and the visuals that they give you and the formations that they do and the amazing, imaginative stage sets and dance performances and vocal performances that match with the actual recorded vocals, it's so exciting. It's not about a person actually performing and singing. I really kind of don't like when people get hung up on, 'Well, it's not really being sung, so I can't enjoy myself.' It's a new age right now. There's a lot of different ways to enjoy yourself. It just depends on which artist you're watching. If you watch a guy like Elton John, it's a different kind of atmosphere altogether. That guy is a human god. He sits down there – one man, one piano – and just does everything himself. It's not an atmosphere that would require supplemental things, but there are other things [where] it's not just about music — it's about the whole world that's created inside that concert hall, and music might just be a part of it. Sometimes, you have to be modern and adjust things to make the whole world inside that concert hall perfect. I'm open to anything — as long as I get entertained at the end of the thing, I'm happy. It all depends on what you enjoy. For me, my concert, it's really very, very old-school. It's just four people really playing their asses off. That's pretty much all you're going to get, and that's the way I like it for my music... the whole concept is to be entertaining without having a singer. It's not a guitar clinic — it's a concert. It's not about showing off; it's not about, 'Look at this guitar lick.' It's about entertaining people, and having people walk away from that concert energized and feeling like they received something. My favorite compliment when people say it to me is, 'I had no idea instrumental music could be this fun. I didn't miss a singer at all.'" Friedman continues to tour in support of his 14th solo record, "One Bad M.F. Live!!", which was released last October. The album was recorded in Mexico City on April 14, 2018 during the final concert of Friedman's world tour in support of his 2017 album "Wall Of Sound". Joining Friedman on "One Bad M.F. Live!!" are his bandmates Kiyoshi on bass, Jordan Ziff (RATT) on guitar and Chargeeee on drums. […]

  • JOHN PETRUCCI Believes DREAM THEATER's Focus On 'Instrumentation' Helps Band Connect With Young Audiences
    on August 24, 2019 at 13:54

    DREAM THEATER guitarist John Petrucci recently spoke with Hakos Pervanidis of Metal Hammer Greece's "TV War". The full conversation can be seen below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). On the fact that DREAM THEATER's latest album, "Distance Over Time", is its shortest since the 1989 debut, "When Dream And Day Unite": John: "[2016's double album] 'The Astonishing' was two hours and 15 [minutes long], so obviously, we weren't going to do that again. We did something really, really intense and involved and very long, so we thought this time, we'll kind of hit everybody with just, like, a nice hour-long record. We kind of had that mentality going in, and the writing process was really easy and smooth. We had a lot of fun. The music just kind of came out. We're really happy with it... It's a very collective experience as far as everybody's contributions — all the guys sort of hanging out in one room, writing. All the guys pretty much contributed lyrics. It was a very enjoyable album to make." On the studio in which the album was recorded: John: "It was a barn that was refurbished into a beautiful studio. When we moved in there, the purpose was just to write the music only, because there was no recording equipment in the barn. But after about three weeks or a month, we decided, 'You know what? We're having so much fun here.' That's when we brought a whole bunch of equipment in and actually recorded the record there." On the band's status as the reigning leaders of progressive metal: John: "You know what? We just kind of do what we do. I know that sounds very cliché, but one of the things that's really great about being in this band is that when we get together and we start to throw ideas out and we start to write music, everybody's smiling. Everybody really feels connected to the style of music we're doing, and we don't stop until everybody's happy with it. The natural tendency of us when we write music is to push it in that direction that we started with. John Myung and I and Kevin Moore, our original keyboard player, we grew up together. I've known John since I was 12 years old. If you go back to some of the music we were writing back then — some of the early demos — it's the same. For some reason, it just kind of comes out naturally in this progressive/metal style." On whether DREAM THEATER has a "comfort zone": John: "I think if anything, what 'The Astonishing' proved is that we're always going to experiment. That's kind of the nature of being in a progressive band — always trying new things, moving forward. Yes, there is a certain sound that people have identified us with, and we don't want to lose sight of that, because you don't want people to listen to your music and be like, 'Wait — is this the same band?' At the same time, there's so much to do still. There's so much new ground, and every album we do is another opportunity to try something different. That's what makes it so much fun." On the band's growth in the 30 years since "When Dream And Day Unite": John: "We are very, very fortunate to have built a career based on playing the kind of music we play. In a lot of ways, it's a very eclectic style. It's not pop; it's not mainstream; so the fact that we have been able to have the career that we have had internationally, with all the success we've had, it's like a miracle. It's amazing. There's always dark and light — there's a balance. We've had band members that have left the band; we've had legal issues; we've had record company changes, management changes, all the normal things that bands go through. But the music keeps us together and our brotherhood keeps us together." On how he feels about that album today: John: "It's okay. I'm proud of the music. We were very young and had no experience recording. I think we had, like, two weeks to record the record. They're fun songs. It definitely shows you that very early on, the kind of music that naturally came out of us when we got together was this progressive metal thing. Looking back, it was fun, because it was our first time in the studio. It was the first time we got signed. We were really excited. We're, like, 20 years old — it's like, 'Yeah! We made it!' It was fun." On whether he relates to Geddy Lee's comment that RUSH was the biggest cult band in the world: John: "I know what he means by that. It's not like we're all over the radio and part of pop culture or anything like that. Our fans are very, very loyal and dedicated to the band. They're the reason we're able to have had the career that we've had — to sell the records, to sell concert tickets and to have everybody be a part of the whole experience. We're all sharing — we make music; people enjoy it and listen it; we get to perform it. It's a great experience. We're kind of a cult band in that regard — I do agree with Geddy on that, for sure." On continuing to stay relevant to young audiences: John: "We've always had a very strong focus on the instrumentation, and our approach to our individual instruments. That's always going to attract youth, because what do kids want to do? They want to play sports, [or] they want to play music. They want to pick up a guitar, and when you see somebody doing something that you're, like, 'Oh, that's really cool,' then you're going to have that bond. I think that our focus on the instrumentation and how we approach our instruments and the craft of those instruments has brought in a young crowd. I've always said this forever — no matter how technical your music is or what your approach is, you always have to have songs, because the songs are really what's going to move somebody and have them identify with something, help them out in a hard time, make them feel happy, make them feel aggressive and like they want to go crazy. It's all good stuff. We've always focused on songwriting within the style that we do. That's really, really important." DREAM THEATER continues to tour in support of "Distance Over Time", which was released in February via InsideOut Music. The record was produced by Petrucci, mixed by Ben Grosse and mastered by Tom Baker. […]

  • OPETH Frontman Feels 'Agony' Before Going On The Road: 'Generally, It's A Terrible Thing For Me To Be Facing A Tour'
    on August 24, 2019 at 13:23

    Prior to OPETH's performance at Belgium's recent Alcatraz Metal Festival, vocalist/guitarist Mikael Åkerfeldt spoke with Lilo of Headbangers LifeStyle. The full conversation can be seen below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). On why the group will release both English- and Swedish-language editions of its upcoming album, "In Cauda Venenum": Mikael: "It was meant just to be a Swedish version first, but I got a bit insecure, I guess, because I had problems with music that was sung in not English when I was growing up. Now, it's not a problem for me anymore — I got into the whole Italian prog scene, and most of those bands sing in their native tongue. But I figured there might be people who have problems with that, so at the last minute, I decided I'd do an English version as well. But the Swedish version is the main one." On how much extra work recording two versions created: Mikael: "We kept the same settings for the English version, so the only thing I had to do — which was a lot of work — [was that] I had to translate the lyrics from Swedish to English, and then record vocals all over again. That was a bit of a daunting task, but it came out well, I think." On whether he thinks both versions capture the same "emotion": Mikael: "The English version is secondary. You can't escape the fact that it's a copy of the Swedish version. The Swedish version was done in my studio, just really relaxed, and I didn't have to think of time or money issues. While I was doing the English version, we had booked a studio, and I was in there and I needed to be done in time. It's a bit more... I wouldn't say it's a lesser version, but it's a copy. The first one, it's like painting a great painting, and then, 'Wow, I'm going to do that again exactly the same,' and you would probably look what you did before and it would be a bit more contrived. With that said, I think it depends on which version you pick up first. If you pick up the English version first, that will be your version, but I'm hoping people will check out the Swedish version, because that's the best one." On whether he'll do two versions of future OPETH releases: Mikael: "I don't know. Why not? It's a different climate now for music. It's not so boxed in. You don't have to follow the rules as much as you did in the early days. You wanted to fit in to a certain extent, and it sounds crass, but I wanted the records to sell. Now, it's a different climate. I think I don't really care as much, as long as the music is great." On whether, as an established artist, he feels more freedom to be able to take creative risks: Mikael: "Risks, for me, it's a positive word. I like taking risks, but I never see them as risks. It's just what we felt like doing at the time. We don't cater to our career — maintaining the career by putting out records that we think will sell and that everybody will like. We put out records, like, 'This is what we want to do now. Here it is. If you like it, that's great. If not, sorry.'" On "In Cauda Venenum": Mikael: "I'm really happy with it, but my taste is very eclectic, I think. I listen to so many different genres of music. People ask, 'What's your guilty pleasure?' I don't have any guilty pleasures. I can listen to whatever, and that finds its way into our own music. I think it will maybe be a bit difficult and a bit of a test to people who are just listening to metal music, maybe, but there are metal moments in there. I'd like to think we wouldn't have been able to write these type of songs if we didn't have that background, so to speak. But there's a lot of stuff going on. It's really hard for me to say, because I wrote it, but it's epic and big and overblown and pompous — stuff that I like." On how OPETH should be defined in 2019: Mikael: "Free-form. Going with the flow, and not the flow of public opinion — our own little stream." On how he feels prior to an OPETH tour: Mikael: "Agony. Sitting at home not wanting to go... Generally, it's a terrible thing for me to be facing a tour. I have a girlfriend and two daughters back home [and] two cats that I don't want to leave, but this is what I do. I love to play with the guys [and] be on stage, but you're in a fragile state of mind — or I am, at least — when you're on tour. You have, like, a little family away from home, which is the guys in the band, but the moment someone else steps in, that circle is broken, and you're insecure and you want to go home, basically. My best moments on tour is when we're on stage playing and when we're in the dressing room afterwards talking about the show. The rest I can definitely live without." On how he copes with touring: Mikael: "Back in the day, you got sedated by vodka. Drinking and listening to music, and we still do that. That's fun, but it gets very samey after how many years we've been together. I try to walk out — whatever town we're in, I wake up, check where's the record shops. 'It's 20 kilometers that way.' Can I walk that distance? Maybe, maybe not. [I] find the record shops, go for a coffee, walk around town, do that and find some records. That's my motivation apart from the show itself." On OPETH's remaining goals: Mikael: "Every record is, like, 'Wow — that was insane that we managed to do a record.' Every tour is like, 'Wow.' Every show, you walk off, you're like, 'Wow — we're alive. We made it.' That immediate future, to make it through, is on my bucket list, but I don't have dreams of doing a triple album with an orchestra... My biggest idol is Ritchie Blackmore and Joni Mitchell. If I could just sit with them, the last thing on my mind [would be], 'Let's write a song, Joni.' That's not going to happen. They're up there, and I just idolize these people too much. When I idolize someone, I get not that creative. I can write stuff on my own, but together with idols, that wouldn't work." OPETH's 13th album, "In Cauda Venenum" will be released on September 27 via Moderbolaget / Nuclear Blast Entertainment. […]

  • Watch FOZZY Perform In Uncasville As Support Act For NICKELBACK
    on August 24, 2019 at 11:59

    FOZZY played the first of two shows as the support act for NICKELBACK this past Thursday (August 22) at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. Fan-filmed video footage of the concert can be seen below. When FOZZY performed in Canada last November, several concert-goers accused frontman Chris Jericho of singing along to pre-recorded tracks. After a video of FOZZY's Toronto gig surfaced online, former SKID ROW frontman weighed in, writing from his personal Facebook account: "Wow he mimes to a tape very well" Earlier this year, Jericho defended Paul Stanley when the KISS frontman was accused of using pre-recorded vocal tracks on "End Of The Road" tour, saying that the "Star Child" "has nothing to prove to anybody." Jericho explained: "He's one of the greatest rock and roll singers of all time. I think that's something that anybody would say. I would much rather have him use the technology that's available to not sound like he's hurting himself, which then makes me not enjoy the show as much." A new FOZZY song, "Nowhere To Run", received its world premiere yesterday (Friday, August 23) on Jericho's SiriusXM show "The Rock Of Jericho". FOZZY has spent the last few months recording the follow-up to 2017's "Judas" album. Jericho recently said that FOZZY would have a new single out in time for the band's September 14 concert in Los Angeles with IRON MAIDEN and a new full-length record in January or February of 2020. FOZZY's fall tour starts on September 5 in Denver and wraps on September 28 in Atlanta. […]

  • Watch IRON MAIDEN Play Soccer Against Indianapolis's INDY ELEVEN
    on August 24, 2019 at 11:13

    Members of IRON MAIDEN and crew took on representatives for the Indianapolis soccer team Indy Eleven in a friendly game Friday afternoon (August 23) in Westfield, Indiana. MAIDEN bassist Steve Harris, an avid soccer fan, told WISH TV that he and some of his bandmates and crew members "try and play a game every six to seven days" while on tour. "We've lost a few," he said. "We won last week, but we've lost a few so far. We've been playing some really good sides." According to Harris, he doesn't "really train" for the soccer matches. "I've got a bit of an injury at the moment, so I don't want to train too much before," he said. IRON MAIDEN ended up losing to Indy Eleven. Harris said in a 2012 interview that he had given up playing soccer — for the most part. He explained at the time: "I've had so many problems with my back that I can only play the odd match here or there. Unfortunately, it's five years since I've played a full season of football and that's something that I miss a lot. But I had to make a decision. I play a lot of tennis." IRON MAIDEN kicked off the 33-city North American leg of "Legacy Of The Beast" on July 18 at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida. […]

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