Saturday, January 30, 2010

Exodus - Chicago 01.29.2010

Saw the wine-like Exodus last night at the Chicago House of Rules! These guys are getting better with age, serious chops left right and center makes Exodus a dangerous live machine. Was ultra impressed with Drummer Tom Hunting's destruction of his Yamaha kit. He seriously bashed the hell out of it and nailed everything. I was smoked.

No photos but I did sit down with Rob Dukes after the show so I'll have that up later this week. Exodus 2010 is simply brutal! They have this re-energized vibe to them that goes against the laws of nature. They're probably as strong as they've ever been, any line-up, any year. They were vicious last night. They're touring in support of the 'Shovel Headed Tour Machine' 2xDVD that is excellent. More on that and the interview later this week. Thanks Loana for making it happen!

Extra loud Thanks to Scott Davidson, Rick and Madman Mike!

Since I'm in an Exodus mood, here's an bonus Old Metal Mag Moment with the band from 86

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fuck Yeah!

Just wanted to drop a line to each and everyone of you. Thank you! Above and beyond is all I can say. The amount of readers here is absolutely killer!! In all my days of doing a print zine, I could only dream of the amount of people stopping by here.

If you're a fan of my writing, well fuck yeah! because there's some truly amazing things happening right now. Things that I will share with you when the time is right, but I have to say it's unbelievable some of the opportunities coming my way. I've been doing this stuff for a long time but if some would've told me 2010 would be one of the best years to come my way, musically? Well I would've laughed.

So I'll be posting some stuff real soon, a lot of media updates, books, DVD's and of course more and more 'Old Metal Mag Moments.'

Thank You ALL, again.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Old Metal Mag Moment: Trouble

Part of the reason I like doing this blog and sharing some of this stuff is because I feel, like the music these interviews are snap shots in time. Where the bands were at, what they were feeling and dealing with both the past as well as the now, heading towards the unknown.

Chicago's Trouble really need no introduction. They are the cornerstone of
Doom, the torch bearers of the mighty Black Sabbath and have held this lofty title since their formation in the late 1970's. If you want to follow in their musical footsteps, more power to you. Their riffs and lyrical vibe can make up some of the heaviest Metal known to man. If you want to follow in their business tactics, I say run for the hills. They've made as many mistakes as they have songs, but they're not alone, are they?

Here's a cool
Def American era interview with (former, god it still sucks to write that!) Vocalist Eric Wagner. What got me on a Trouble kick? Well my boy Mikey has wanted an OMMM with Trouble since I began and I've been digging the hell out of Ron Holzner's new band Earthen Grave. Check them out and enjoy the flashback.

Oh yeah, a good MetalliTid-bit in here too, Metallica after a blistering set by Trouble at the Stone in SF, checking out the settings on Trouble's amps to "see how they play so heavy!"

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Metal, Movies and Miracles: Anvil in Chicago - January 10, 2010

Let’s get right to it. The movie rules, the book’s even better and live, they’re really doing what they do best, rockin’! Recently I was invited to tag along on an Anvil interview with my friend, a local writer named Tony Kuzminski (who's great work can be found here and here). I jumped at the chance to talk to the guys about Metal, movies and miracles which sums up Anvil 2010.

For the band a hectic day of travel, soundchecks, press and radio interviews, pre-show meet-n-greets and most importantly trying to grab a bite to eat cut into our scheduled interview time. After their dinner we sat down with a very laid back, very enjoying the moment Anvil. The day I described above, they're loving every minute of it.

I spent the majority of my “tape time” with Guitarist/Vocalist Lips while my pre-interview bullshitting was talking to Drummer Robb Reiner. Here’s what I got from the formal/informal conversation.

What would be one highlight from the last two years?

Playing Giants Stadium with AC/DC was a tremendous highlight.

Lips: Conan O’Brien…in ten minutes we were seen by more people than in 30 years!
Robb: Five million people saw us in about three minutes; it was a big day for Anvil and a big day for Metal.

That was a huge day for Metal!

Yeah, the underground got a chance to come above ground.

Where is Anvil musically in 2010? ‘This Is Thirteen’ is out, what’s next?

Well we have about 20 songs written, we just need to find the time to record them! We’re touring from now until the end of September (smiling).

An important part of the documentary was your working with Chris, will you be working with him again in the future?

Robb: Chris is definitely still on the table but at this very moment we just don’t know what’s going to happen. But the important thing is the music is written, I’d like to do it right now, I really would. I mean we wanted to record it last year but…

So with the songs that are written, you’re not going back and re-writing them and tinkering with them are you? Meaning you’re going to over think them, are you?

Lips: No. If anything if we change something that usually happens once we’re recording, finding this or that to change.

How are you approaching album #14, ‘Juggernaut of Justice’, everyone’s main goal is to better the album before it and I think you’ll have your work cut out for you as ‘This Is Thirteen’ has seemed to resonate with people.

Lips: Well the difference between the feeling in and around the band in just in the writing, you simply cannot compare it. ‘This Is Thirteen’ was written in a much more time of duress, it was…

Sorry to cut you off, but it has to feel like it was written by a different band.

Lips: Yeah, way different, it was hard. But when you’ve got a bright looking future, the music just poured out of us like nothing. It was completely different and there was a sense of ‘writing because we knew we’re going to get a chance to record again’ versus years before of writing and hoping everything would come together so we get a chance to record everything, does that make sense?

Yeah, totally, I’m sure it’s a huge weight off your shoulders.

Lips: It’s a completely different outlook and in turn feeling when you’re approaching it. So with the next album, it’s like we’re going to have to top these 20 songs already written that will be ‘Juggernaut of Justice.’ Because those songs were written in such a great time. The true test will be the next batch of songs.

By that time we’ll have been used to all of what’s happened, there won’t be that extreme level of excitement and anticipation we had while writing these. Those writing sessions had all this extra stuff built in. But man, the upside to any and all of this? It’s the 14th record!

I think that coming from you that really resonates especially as I always think the scene during the movie where you’re recapping a tour that didn’t go as smooth as it could have, and you aid “at least there was a tour for things to go wrong on.” That’s not just a quote; it’s more of a mission statement.

Lips: Well 99% of life is being there isn’t it? That’s how I look at it, if you’re there then you’re participating and its taking place, life is happening! If you’re sitting home on the couch, it’s not happening there.

Early in my career we had a soundman and we’d be playing these gigs, we’re talking really early on, right? So some of the bands that we’re our “competition” would show up to the gig and one time, one of these guys said, “oh, you’re playing this dump.” Our soundman turned around and said “You came to see us, where are you playing tonight?”

For any movie to succeed, the audience has got to either totally identify with the main subjects or “characters.” Or at least “root” for. A huge part of the movie is that people can relate to you and Robb.

I think people that - love Anvil, hate Anvil or never even heard of Anvil will walk away wanting good things for you because, well because you’re not assholes. I think if you were assholes you probably would’ve simply blown Sacha off some 30 years ago.

Lips: That’s karma. I mean some people have said to me that “Oh, it must be so easy, to make your band happen all you have to do is show how hurting you are.” It’s not quite that simple.

There are a lot of elements, one being you have had to have made some sort of impact, a lasting impact that major rock stars will give testimonials telling the world your worth.
There’s no way you’re going to get that kind of support. You’re a fan of Metal I take it you like the DVD’s that come out and most if not all of them come out with the intention of making the band being featured look great! They set up a shoot in a club, pack em in for free get them free drinks and how long until the people see it’s all fake? It’s all just a show and not reality.

The Anvil movie shows the reality and to such a great degree that the biggest rock stars in the world sit down to watch it and they weep! Because they’ve all lived it!

I often think of this, imagine there was a documentary on Vincent Van Gogh. Instead of reading stories about his life after he’s dead and gone, there’s a camera following him around in the cornfield before he shoots himself in the head. You get to watch it in real time, the struggle and all that. Not a retrospective, but an in the now moment.

How does it feel for a band that’s always been about the music, over 30 years worth, but how does it feel to be accepted by such a different realm?

Lips: Oh it’s completely different set of circumstances, a movie and the silver screen is a much, much more enthralling and bombastic thing. You can’t compare it to putting a record out, no matter who you are. No matter who you are, what band you’re in or the style of music you play you’ll never get to the level of putting out a movie. But then again it’s not just the question of a movie, it’s a good movie!

So in your heart of hearts is there a difference between being noticed by some guy who knows you from VH1 and not from ‘Metal On Metal’ or the ‘Mad Dog’ video or something?

It makes absolutely no difference, it’s like you can call me anything you want, just so long as you call me. Does it matter why I’m “famous” or how I got “famous” or what reasons or whatever…I’m famous (laughing)! I mean it’s a miracle; the whole thing’s a miracle!

Anybody making it in music is a miracle, it’s a miracle Metallica made it, it just always is, and that’s nothing at all against any band I’m just saying it’s a miraculous thing when it happens. It’s not necessarily because of the competition; just all your stars have to align to make it all work.

I totally agree, there’s a lot of planets and stars out there, for all of them to line up for you doesn’t happen everyday.

Lips: Even in our eyes, throughout the years it wasn’t about the amount of records we sold, it was the fact that we were making records.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Anthrax week continues...

You know what, they know they suck. I'm ranting here for no reason, enjoy the interview.

The following RIP Magazine scan from March 1994 found the band earning fan voted accolades by being voted "best Thrash band."

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Anthrax weak continues!

MEdge: You Praised ‘Vol. 8’ and ‘Among The Living’ earlier- What do you think is the worst you guys have done?
Axl Fonzarelli:State of Euphoria’ Terrible record, it’s got a couple of good songs on it, and one of them’s a cover. I’ve always said it, I always felt like it was an unfinished record, we rushed it.

Now this is pretty funny. In a Metal Mania special released in 1989* each band member spoke of how much time was spent on ‘State.’ From the writing to the recording to working with Belladonna on his vocals, they all spoke highly of the process. Maybe because it was one of the gayest Hard Rock albums ever released Fonzie changed his tune? They sure finished with enough time to get new shorts and Charlie got himself a spiffy new "poodle cut."

Go to your record collection and play the following albums from 1988:

Slayer: South of Heaven
Metallica: …And Justice For All
: So Far, So Good, So What
Anthrax: State of Euphoria

Big 4,my ass.

Speaking of Slayer, the Fonz does hit the nail on the head why Slayer has a career that, for the most part, has never faltered. Slayer were more interested in building a fanbase and keeping them happy than trying to get a “Gold” album or doing arena support tours. Slayer never gave a shit about trying to keep up with Metallica and 27 years on, they can roll into any city in the WORLD and draw 4/5/6,000 people on their own. Anthrax are a club band, nothing more-nothing less.

Fonzie also talks about “loyalty”!!! This is gold man, pure gold. What does this guy know about loyalty? When Metal was “out of style” in the mid-90’s he was wearing bowling shirts and taking out the Deftones, yeah that’s loyalty for ya.

*If you want that stuff up, email me and I’d be happy to oblige.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Anthrax weak continues...

Here's a Kerrang! piece from 1993 when Steffan Chirazi joined the band on an early promo tour for their first John Bush album, 'Sound Of White Noise.' I was going to do something more chronological, but this interview is memorable due to the fact that the band was so optimistic about everything. New record, new record deal, new singer, new sound, same rock star assholes* (well, Fonzarelli and Coffee Boy). So enjoy!

*don't worry, they know they're assholes!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Anthrax weak continues...

Here's some more 'Spreading the Disease' era press. Some good things in here, biography like things but still entertaining.

(Click image to enlarge)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Until The Light Takes Us, Chicago

'Until The Light Takes Us', the long awaited film documenting the rise of the second wave of Norwegian Black Metal in the early....blah.....blah....blah.....go see the movie. Chicago. January 8-14 - one week only at the Gene Siskel Film Center. 164 North State Street Chicago, Illinois

01.11.2010 Update-
Saw the Saturday night showing of ‘Until The Light Takes Us’, gotta say it was very well done and very much worth the wait. The film is based around the music and events surrounding the second wave of Norwegian Black Metal that emerged in the early 1990’s. Its main, interviewed subjects are members of Mayhem, Darkthrone and Burzum whose contributions to this scene are both legendary and extraordinary.

The filmmakers took the path less traveled when it comes to the presentation of the movie. These days there’s so much Metal media, the Sam Dunn films and the continuous flow of Heavy Metal literature that the template for this kind of film seems to be set in stone. I think the difference in the ‘UTLTU’ approach is similar to the music scene they documented, it’s about as far against the grain as it gets.

I’m not saying the film is that abstract, bleak or grim I’m just saying it’s non conventional vibe and visual aesthetic is what gives ‘UTLTU’ an edge over some of the more contemporary music/metal documentaries currently out and about. There are several things about this film that allows it to stand head and shoulders above the others but it’s almost “intriguing” to see them unfold.

The main interviews are for lack of better words, worth the price of admission. With all the ‘Lords Of Chaos’ hoopla surrounding that scene for the last decade, it is more than pleasing to hear the words straight from the mouths of those that were there. Interviews with Fenriz, Varg, Hellhammer and Demonaz and Abbath of Immortal for the most part are point blank statements of fact surrounding the formation of the bands, the mindset of these players at such a crucial time in extreme music then later to church burnings, murders and the “satanic panic” that swept through Norway. Satyricon’s low key Drummer Frost also leaves a very memorable stain of mind if you will.

Let’s face it, this is intriguing stuff here. If I had to sit through a movie about fucking Hair Metal, ooops I already did! But what I’m getting at is this is the kind of stuff that does indeed make the hairs on the back of your neck stand!

Disagree? Watch it and tell me different. There’s something so visually exciting as well as deeply disturbing about watching a 8 or 900 year old historic church just burn. The times in which these events took place now seems like it was 100 years ago, so much has changed since then it’s almost hard to connect, musically 1990-1994 to the current happenings, but I’m thankful there’s an intelligent film made about this subject.

So, definitely a worth while documentation, some amazing footage and photographs help tell a story so out there, it’s hard to believe it was all so real. I suppose it's because it was.

Other releated 'Until The Light Takes Us' N.B.M.O. posts, here and here

Friday, January 8, 2010

Anthrax Week!

Welcome to Anthrax week! I've unearthed some great Anthrax interviews from the archives including one from 1999 that ran in the now defunct, Metal Edge where Scott Ian gives his greatest 'view describing where it all went wrong. This is an important piece of Thrax history, especially seeing that they made zero changes to salvage their career when in hindsight things were a LOT better for the band in 1999 than 2009.

So delving into the Anthrax catalog in conjunction with reviewing the 'Among The Living' deluxe edition was definitely an experience. It's been quite some time since I was both treated and musically tortured by the same band who were able to reach the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. However ask any of their remaining die hard fans and I'm sure the word torture wouldn't even begin to cover their disgust in what Anthrax has put them through since the release of 1993's brilliant 'Sound of White Noise.'

It's funny in a way, that was their first album with John Bush and in a way it was also their "last." As most of you know 'SOWN' was the last album to really make an impact in the World of Metal. I think it was the last highly anticipated (on a World Wide level) Anthrax record and it was their last LP that was treated as a priority throughout it's cycle (writing, recording, touring). And in my opinion it was definitely the last album before their career hit that giant iceberg called failure.

Since the close of the 1993-94 "White Noise" tour, when in America they were being downsized to smaller venues than they'd previously played earlier in the tour, the once unsinkable Anthrax began a 16 year descent that CONTINUES TO THIS VERY DAY! From multiple line up changes, failed reunions, record companies, management firms and forgetful contractual releases ('Greater of Two Evils', 'Music of Mass Destruction', 'Return of the Killer A's') the staggering consistency of disappointments is second to none.

If you think some "Big 4" Sonisphere gigs can resurrect this waterlogged catastrophe you're either in the band itself or gave birth to one of it's members, because it's not going to happen. Metallica (Kirk) feeling sorry for them and throwing them a "Big 4" bone is a band aid on a severed head. Stop the bleeding already guys, quit!

Here's an interview from Metal Mania from the 'Spreading The Disease' days when the band was on the rise and people were actually interested in their next move. These days, uh, not too much.

(Click to Enlarge)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happy New Year!

Been both busy as hell and unmotivated as ever! Deadly combination, huh? The response to the Anthrax "coverage" has been surprising to say the least! I've unearthed some classic 'Thrax press that I'll get up very soon.

Enough of the past, this just came across the wire and all I can say is 2010 is going to be all right!

February 23