Friday, February 25, 2011

Book Review : Enter Night - The Metallica Biography by Mick Wall

The last time I checked, and I check often enough, there are some 600 choices for books on Metallica at  Sure not all of these are biographical or even remotely based on the story of the band, but my point is there are a fucking ton of books on them!  This review is intended to reach those who have or more importantly, will purchase a Metallica bio book…as well as those who are thinking of writing one.

At one point, the story and history of Metallica was a wide open highway.  Its mile markers were there, all that needed to be done was for someone to lay the miles and miles of blackened asphalt.  The story, as we all know is one of legend and its interpretation has been attempted many times with a variety of results.  Those who have put pen to paper in the name of the band have always seemingly done so from the “outside.”  This is not a coincidence. Metallica may have started as “the people’s band” but make no mistake, that band is a multi-multi million (billion?) dollar corporation with very few loose lips within its ranks.   

With the release of the highly anticipated Mick Wall penned ‘Enter Night’ the Metalli-book market just got a lot fucking smaller. We’re talking narrowing your choices from say 30-40 to less than a handful. It doesn’t take long for ‘Enter Night’ to go from being just “another Metallica book” to being “THE Metallica book.” I’m not saying Mick discovers a lost treasure trove of information or reinvents the wheel, I mean let’s face it, we all know the basic story. 

Lars’ 1973’s Deep Purple show, James’ Christian Scientist upbringing, Dave Mustaine, moving to San Francisco, Jonny Z, head to New Jersey, Megaforce, Sweet Silence Studios, Q-Prime, Elektra, Ozzy tour, Ljungby, Sweden, Jason Newsted blah, blah, blah.  All of that is in here, of course but it’s the reading between the lines and the delivery that makes this one different.   

Mick Wall is no stranger to the world of Metallica and has definitely done his research with both his personal as well as professional experiences with them. One of the key things to making ‘Enter Night’ so successful are the people and sources who have gone on record to enhance the already mind-boggling origin and meteoric rise of the band.  The supporting cast of the Metallica story has always played a big part in its history.  Names like Brian Slagel, Jon “Jonny Z” Zazula, Xavier Russell, Hugh Grant, Ron Quintana, Harald Oimoen, Malcolm Dome, Geoff Barton and many others have almost become as much a part of the ‘Tallica story as those of the band members themselves.  There’s a reason for that, this we all know.  You don’t become one of the biggest selling bands in the history of music all by yourself, do you? 

So these people (some of whom) in and around Metallica since their inception are interviewed for the book and let me tell you, each and every one of the hit home runs!  Don’t get me wrong, just about all of them have been interviewed for various books, documentaries etc. over the years, but there’s no doubt in my mind they’ve all dug a bit deeper for Mr. Mick Wall.  I lost count at fifteen or twenty things that just blew my mind while reading and suspect it will do the same for you.   Things that have never been shared or remembered or brought forth in such a way really does wonders for a story you might have heard before…or even fifty times before.  

Wall begins ‘Enter Night’ by dissecting the individual members to a certain degree, shedding light on the personalities of the individuals who would go on to change Heavy Metal history.  Each member is looked at rather honestly and because of his history with the band, some of this honesty can be taken or left.  I personally enjoyed what was written and think you will too.  Throughout the book Wall speaks very highly of Cliff Burton on a number of levels, those being the obvious as well as the not so obvious.  In fact the entire book is rather Cliff heavy and the association doesn’t end in 1986 either. More on this later though.   
Interview wise, there’s both historic, current (2009) and archival words from the band itself as well as those who were there at various stages. Jon and Marsha Zazula really go above and beyond in their recollection of the Metallica/Zazula/CraZed Management years. For the first time IMO, ever, you don’t just read about Metallica arriving and their time spent in the Zazula household in the spring of 1983, you’re practically there. Marsha’s memories add much color to the early days. The ‘Rock N Roll Heaven’ stories and what she picked up on from various members, especially Lars, is very telling and almost prophetic of what was yet to come.

Martin Hooker and Gem Howard, former honchos at UK label Music For Nations go to bat with what it was like to work with Metallica and Megaforce in the beginning.  Later, Dave Thorne of Phonogram comes in takes you onto the next level, all of them providing a wealth of information rarely/seldom spoken of. ‘Ride/Master/Justice’ Producer Flemming Rasmussen adds valuable weight to the technical side of the band and how the members evolved from year to year (84-88) both musically as well as personally. How they functioned as a unit creating one of the mightiest trilogy’s in HM history. 

The contributions from former tour manager Bobby Schneider, who started as a drum tech for Lars, are some of the best in the entire book. Where I previously mention interviewees hitting home runs?  Well without even trying, Schneider hits Grand Slam after Grand Slam.  His joining the Metallica world in 1985 and working with them until (I believe) the end of the “Damaged Justice” era is some of the most fascinating stuff in here. From inner workings, relationships and closed door happenings, Schneider matter-of-factly details his time while bringing the reader into their world during the, to some, most exciting years (85-89/90).  I don’t want to give away too much here, I’d much rather you take my word for it.  His words and recollections are just essential to the Metallica story. 

Undocumented tales of how the pairing of Metallica and Q-Prime came to, and continue to, rule the world from meager beginnings is also given some hefty ink.  If you’re a Metallica fan or just a fan of the business of music, this is some of the most interesting stuff in the book. The dynamics between managers Cliff Burnstein and Peter Mensch and the band especially that of Lars Ulrich are the tales and situations you couldn’t dream up.  Mick having spent considerable time with both parties, again, brings the truth in an uncompromising way.  

Their evolution from point A to point B is nothing short of revolutionary.  True, there’s a lot of luck that gets a band so successful and influential enough that it makes its way into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame (yeah it’s a sham, but Metallica are dare I say bigger than this farce of an institution).  However, behind that luck is also a shared belief and the drive to stop at nothing attitude that transcends and obliterates four leaf clovers.  

Because of the personal interactions with the band over the years Mick Wall comes with some rather deep and often insightful words/memories/experiences I don’t think I’ve ever read in another Metallica book. His memories of the Cliff Burton era are crisp and vibrant and help explain just what the young man’s existence meant to not only the music and attitude of the group, but how they carried themselves for the short 36 months of his tenure. 

The Metallica-Jason Newsted marriage of some 15 years is examined fairly thoroughly and at times rather harshly.  Brutal in his views on the pairing from the start Mick point blank summarizes a relationship that (from the inside) seemed doomed from the start.  It’s a shame really as Newsted was a great foot soldier and did the best with what and whom he had to work with, but the dissatisfaction of it all rears its ugly head time and again here.  Mick’s summary of the “Newkid” years on pages 379-380, especially the way he leaves things at the end are so hauntingly true…it’s just not right. 
Are you still with me?  Cool, I’m trying to wrap things up here so bear with me.

Because Metallica was guarded by their (management controlled) public image and never a typical “Sunset Strip” proper type of band, their excesses were usually tied to (harmless?) alcohol consumption and perhaps a “dabbling here and there” of substances.  I, as a fan never gave it much thought, and those I’ve spoken to on the subject felt the same.  Plenty of us believed the press when the band would say “it was all about the music, not about girls and drugs, all the cliché stuff” that surrounded Heavy Metal in the mid to late 80’s.  Thinking now, guys in their early 20’s only living for the music seems absurd, but that’s the way their image was protected and it worked.  ‘Enter Night’ definitely shines a new light on some of what fueled the band and the effects of such choices at various times in their career.  Ah, to be young and naïve again!   

As the story progresses, much like the music itself of the late 1990’s there’s not too much you can really do with the story.  All of what happens, ‘Load,’ ‘Reload,’ Napster, image, inter-band turmoil etc. runs it’s course and no matter who it is writing about it, its an era some fans don’t really want to remember or look back on with any such fondness.  So while it’s all put together well, it’s not as gripping or mind blowing as the earlier chapters, again, much like the music. 

There’s a ton of great of great interviews here, a wealth of information and all of it very well written.  One gets the feeling Wall was never overly smitten or impressed with Metallica or the massive machine behind the band.  You have to remember this was a guy who was writing and hanging with bands such as Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath, UFO and Motörhead when Metallica was still a dream for Lars Ulrich and Co. 

Because of his “lackadaisical” approach to the band, his style is loose, honest and just commanding.  However due to this stance there’s a few errors here and there that are easily looked over, not because they weren’t researched, but it’s seemingly because the big picture is more important to Wall than some of the minute details. 

So in closing, this is a book I loved. It’s broken down several barriers of hearsay and folklore and really humanizes Metallica in a way that simply hasn’t been done before. I’ll have to go on record as saying until an official book hits the shelves, this is about as “it” as it gets.  However now that I think about it, even if something official comes out down the line, chances are this will be the book they try to top. 

***Other than the cover, none of the above images appear in this book.  

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Motörhead: February 19, 2011 Congress Theater-Chicago

Touring in support of album number 20 (!) 'The World Is Yours,' Motörhead did what they've been doing since 1975, which is kick your ass.  Seriously a killer set by Lemmy, Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee and done so in front of one of the biggest audiences since the halcyon days of playing at the Aragon Ballroom in the 80's!

Yes, the Congress Theater was packed, over 4,000 people and seemingly one guy dispensing beer!  

Venue oddities aside, this was a very memorable shows for many a reason and if you couldn't be there you missed a loud one.  It's been a long time since I've been to the Congress and I didn't remember it sounding that good, so kudos to the road crew for delivering the decibels! 

Set List:
•  We Are Motörhead
•  Stay Clean
•  Get Back In Line 
•  Metropolis
•  One Night Stand
•  Over the Top
•  Rock Out
•  Guitar Solo - Phil Cambell
•  The Thousand Names of God
•  I Got Mine
•  I Know How to Die 
•  The Chase Is Better Than the Catch
•  In the Name of Tragedy
•  Drum Solo -Mikkey Dee
•  Just 'Cos You Got the Power
•  Going to Brazil
•  Killed by Death
•  Ace of Spades
•  Encore:
•  Overkill

Both Clutch and Valient Thorr opened and put on energetic and entertaining sets, but it was all about the headliner for me.

Xtra Special Thanks to Alan, for everything! 
Above and beyond my friend.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Movie Review - Lemmy: 49% Motherfucker, 51% Son Of A Bitch

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again, I LOVE what’s going on in Rock/Metal Media these days.  Books, Documentaries, DVD’s whether they’re home releases, VH1 exclusives, Palladia HD runs or works cool enough to screen in a movie theater…this is where it’s at. 

Last night was the one and only Chicago showing at The Music Box and despite it being a work night and a 9:45 start as well as a 45 minute one way ride into the big city, I had to be there.  True motivation was hard to come by after a full day and yet all it took were the words from a Old-Metal friend to get me on my merry way. 

For those of you living under or crushed by the rock, ‘Lemmy: 49% Motherfucker, 51% Son Of A Bitch’ is a film over four years in the making, profiling one Ian Fraser “Lemmy” Kilmister the iconic leader of Motörhead.  The band he founded in Chelsea, London back in 1975, and the same band he still fronts today.  

The directors of the film were granted all access to Lemmy’s world which by all accounts has never happened before.  It’s really fascinating to see this man, a figurehead of the entire loud music (Punk, Rock, Metal) generation ebb and flow his way through this thing we call life.  Obviously, his life is probably more exciting than yours and that’s a given, in fact I’ll guess it’s a shitload more exciting than yours so what we see on screen is pretty much his existence in a nutshell.  

We see Lemmy at his regular haunts, those being the Rainbow Bar and Grill, in the studio – either recording new Motörhead music or various sessions, one featured in the film shows Lemmy and Dave Grohl recording for the ‘We wish you a metal X-Mas…’ album, to backstage and on-stage.  The cream of the crop?  An in-depth visit to the Los Angeles apartment he’s lived in since moving to America some 20 years or so ago. 

It’s not what one would think it is. I really don’t think anything can prepare you for what this is like.  So I won’t spoil it for you, but it’s of interest.  

The movie is a homage to the man.  From his earliest musical exploits in The Rocking Vickers to the legend that breathes among us, if it’s important, it’s in here.  With some great archival footage interspersed with cameos -  each with their own take on what Lemmy as a musician or as a man has meant to them.  The film is Metallica heavy with all four current members given ample interview screen time as well as a full performance of "Damage Case" with Lem guesting with Metallica.  A rare Jason Newsted appearance is also in the film. 

As with any cameo heavy film there’s certain people, no matter what they say you just want to throw something at the screen. Those people are in here, but for whatever reason it’s somewhat tolerable. 

Some great time is spent with Lemmy's son, Paul. A level headed guy, super calm and enjoying the time with his father.  There's a true bond there, it's a strong point of the film.  But yes, Paul's participation is pretty vital to getting a slight insight to the interior of the hardened shell of a man one fan loudly claims "will survive a nuclear bomb...along with cockroaches!" 

The last thing I’ll say is I wondered how the film was going to portray the man.  With a few of the recent Metal Docs, despite what you thought of the featured band going in, you definitely thought more of them on the way out.  The Anvil movie for instance, how could you not root for that?  Even the Rush movie had people gushing about the trio’s off-stage demeanor, again it had people gravitating towards them.  Ending up in their corner.  

I’m proud to say the movie is as cut and dry as the film’s subject.  The filmmakers do not try to paint a pretty picture, it seems pretty accurate.  He’s no saint, neither are we, but for a multitude of reasons he comes across as even cooler than before. While not exactly a laugh-a-minute the deeper side of Lemmy is given a slight peek, it's not always pretty, but again, just pure.  

By now the free world has seen this on cable, so I’m done babbling.  The movie is kick ass.  The DVD comes out this coming Tuesday, Feb 15th.  The BluRay is supposed to have some 4 hours of extras. '49% Motherfucker, 51% Son Of A Bitch' is a unapologetic, unflinching look into the life of a true original. Cheers to the filmmakers and to the first to pour a drink and always the last man standing, Lemmy.   

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

An Interview With Sean Yseult

One of the coolest things about this writing stuff is if you’re moved by someone’s art, be it music or writing or whatever, there’s a (sometimes, extremely) small chance you’ll be able to speak with the creator about it.  It almost adds a new personal dimension to the work you’ve already been moved by, it’s tough to explain.

After I finished ‘I’m In the Band’ by Former White Zombie and current Star & Dagger Bassist Sean Yseult it was like I had to speak with her.  I think the book is killer and you get a feeling she’s got a great story to tell and she does.  If you haven’t yet checked it out, go to her official site and check out book previews, music, photos, art and more.
After a successful weekend at the 2011 Namm Convention where she unveiled her Schecter Coffin Bass Sean was back to business and also promoting, which is where we start.      

None But My Own: I made mention in my review that since the sales of CD’s and what not are totally on the decline, I hope more people do these kinds of projects.  Be it movies or books, things the kids can’t readily steal. But I was blown away by ‘I’m In The Band.’

Sean Yseult: Cool, thank you so much.  

When you were working on ‘I’m In the Band,’ what type of response did you think you would get?  Did you think it would be just the White Zombie fans?  I think it’s deserving of a broader scope because there’s so much in here.   

Well I definitely knew the White Zombie fans would gravitate to it. Over the years I’ve definitely seen my share of internet chatter and received emails regarding everything from “why there wasn’t more information in the box set” to just about anything else related to the band. I just really wanted to get the story of the band out there because it’s never really been told. So I knew the fans would be into it and I also thought it would appeal to a wider female audience as well.  So outside of that I wasn’t too sure who it would speak to. 

I’m not sure why, but I wasn’t expecting some of the “Rock N’ Roll” aspects of the book.  White Zombie, from afar didn't seem like an "out of control" kind of band.  In my review I wrote something like, “yeah the band ended with a thud, but you [Sean] had some FUN!” 

(Laughing) Well, I made damn sure I was having a good time!

I mean you really lived it and while things could seem bad at times I don’t think you could document things the way you did if you really didn’t love what you were doing.

Well we weren’t like Motley Crue with the strippers and drugs, but yeah, I made sure to have fun with it!  Having all the photos and tour diary’s to back up my memories helps (laughs)! 

When you started as a Rock Musician, were you a bass player first then a song writer or vice versa?   
Definitely a songwriter first.  My classical music training goes back to when I was five or six, so I was trained to read, write, compose and improvise music…it was some hardcore training.  By the time I was eight I was writing five page pieces on piano, some pretty intricate shit too (laughs)!  Bass came later, it wasn’t until high school and getting into hardcore bands like The Cramps, Black Flag and Dead Kennedys and so on.  That’s when I knew I wanted to be in a band.

As soon I got to New York I met some hardcore kids at a Bad Brains show and they we like “we’re gonna start a band and we need a Bass player!” so I got a bass for fifty dollars, a Global was the brand and it was horrible but it was all I could afford.  But I don’t think we ever practiced, we just sat around and talked about having this “band”!  So as soon as I started playing bass I was writing riffs, I practiced to build my strength but always was writing stuff.  

I can’t profess to being the biggest White Zombie fan, but from my point of view WZ always seemed to be Rob and then the band.  All important in the public eye, but definitely an emphasis on him, especially, seemingly more when the band “broke.”  I liked reading just how important each of you were to the absolute foundation of the band. 

That was definitely something Rob and I wanted from the start.  It wasn’t like the members of the band fighting for quality, he (Rob) was really into that. He was like “I only like bands where every member’s important.” So we really tried to stress that from the beginning on all our early records too.  All members were prominently featured equally, that was important to us.  

I liked how (former WZombie drummer) Ivan DePrume was given the spotlight.  I really never knew how vital he was both as a drummer and as a band mate.

Oh Ivan was incredibly important to White Zombie! I don’t think we would have gone the direction we went without Ivan.  Ivan played on six of the eight White Zombie records, only the first 7” and the last album, but he was there for most of the ride. 

Knowing how much he meant to WZ and thinking of his departure, which you don’t go into in the book, but he left just before things blew up, didn’t he?

Yeah…it was real upsetting.  I don’t know if it was just a misunderstanding between him and Rob or whatever, but they kind of got into a fight on stage.  Ivan felt he wasn’t going to put up with whatever and said he quit and Rob said “Good” and it was just a bad scene.   The next thing you know Rob’s holding him to it and got him a bus ticket home…

No shit, he got Mustained?!…



Yeah, so we were in the middle of a tour, I think we were supporting Testament and all of a sudden this kid from Wisconsin shows up and he knows our tour manager.  His name is Phil…I can’t remember his last name.  But he shows up the very next day and our tour manager say’s “well this guy can fill in” and we’re needing someone, right?  So we start playing with this guy and he knows all the songs!?  

So I didn’t know if this was planned or what but at the time it was just uncanny.  He was in and we just carried on, there may have been a day off in there but I don’t think we missed a show.  But you know, it was never the same after Ivan.  We were like family, he was like my little brother and it was upsetting.  So it was like we have this new guy in the band that we’re not friends with and…but that’s why I didn’t really go into it.  Too unpleasant.  

Still though, his contributions are great moments in the book.  The stories of you guys rehearsing in his basement are fucking hilarious! 

(laughing) Oh god, I don’t even go into half of it, man!  Ivan grew up in Park Slope, New York.  Park Slope now is all nice and expensive now, totally yuppied out, right? But back then his family had this building and there were like hookers on his block and it wasn’t all that great.  His Mother was Russian and she’d yell at Rob and I all the time, like “what is wrong with your hair?” because we had dreadlocks and she just thought we were freaks.  

At one time there was a raccoon loose and it was living in the drop ceiling, but then we found out the raccoon was the pet of a Vietnam vet who lived upstairs and it was like every single person in that house was, a real character (laughing) and I guess we fit in there too, in a weird way. But all in all his mother put up with us making all that noise in the basement for years.

Ivan’s influence by way of Metallica’s ‘Ride the Lightning’ plays a role in the story of White Zombie.  Both Metallica and Cliff Burton were sort of name checked in the book around the time the “Metal-morphesis” of WZ was taking place.  Ivan mentions he took a lot of heat for liking Metallica and Slayer in 85/86.

Oh well, Ivan was always with the boots, the bullet belt, I mean he was a serious Brooklyn Metal head, he was sixteen when we first met him; still in high school!  But yeah, he got made fun of quite a bit.  All those drives we’d take to play The Rat in Boston or Toad’s Place in Connecticut, well Ivan would have all his cassettes and he’d be blasting Slayer and Metallica and the three of us would be like “oh god, what is this?”  But the more we heard it, the more it sunk in and the more we liked it and it definitely rubbed off on us! 

Was Cliff Burton an influence?  Both Bassists - your classical background, his classical background.. 

Definitely an influence, huge influence, his style, and headbanging, total original, just one of a kind.

Your description of the two scenes in which WZ in existed early on was pretty fucking funny.  From “art student drop-outs with vintage guitars, dressed in sixties garage style trying to play it cool vs. high school drop outs in leather and mullets, ready to fight, fuck or get fucked up.” 

Which was the difference between say CBGB’s and other NYC gigs and L’amour’s in Brooklyn.  The Metal kids took to you fast; they embraced you, how awesome was that?

Exactly! We were just so happy to have an audience that liked us.  Because at CBGB’s or anywhere in the East Village, you know only a smattering of people would even come and bother to see you.  If they did they were also in a band so they’d be feeling competitive so they’d come out but for like all the wrong reasons.  Not to support, but to check out the “competition” or they wouldn’t even pay attention, it was very strange.

So we get out to L’amour’s in Brooklyn and people were moshing and going ape-shit, it was like “Wow! This scene is alive, alive and kicking!” (laughs) and they embraced us.  I don’t know if I mention this in the book but we definitely owe a lot to Biohazard and the Cro-Mags for inviting us to open for them because that was kind of our entrance to that whole Metal scene. 

After that show we go to open up for Pantera at L’Amour’s on their ‘Cowboys from Hell’ tour, Slayer invited us to open a couple of shows.  That was incredible and we didn’t get booed off stage!  We actually had a pit by our second song, and this was back in 89 when we were still pretty noisy!  I think we were still chaotic enough for them to like it.            

Continuing on the subject of New York, the way you describe the East Village back then, the horror/porn theaters and just the sleaze/danger element…it reminded me of the book ‘The Evolution of a Cro-Magnon' by John 'Bloodclot' Joseph.  The way he described New York growing up, the streets, the vibe, the whole culture of a neighborhood come to life was. 

But he also said the New York City he grew up in is dead to him.  From the changes and the way it’s all cleaned up, he just sounded disheartened.  Is it the same to you when you go to New York now?

You know, I’m not really bitter about it, but mostly because I didn’t grow up there like those kids, I know a lot of New Yorkers who are really hateful about how cleaned up it is.  I see it but you know?  It is a shame how everything got bought out and it’s almost like a big shopping mall. 

I remember when the first McDonalds came into the East Village, people were like ”whoa” and when they built a Gap on St. Marks Street…people threw rocks at it and kept breaking their windows.  Nothing like that was accepted, but now you walk around Soho or the Village and it’s all corporate.  Back when everything was Mom and Pop stores and independent and places you’d only find in New York. 

So that part is a bummer.  But I have to say, I don’t mind that it’s cleaner and safer!  I’m not going to lie, as a female if I’m walking alone I like that I don’t have to feel like I’m going to get knifed or mugged.  Back then I definitely found myself in some dicey situations, but it also seems these days some of the grit may be coming back…

Some of the what?

The grit.  Since the economic downturn a few years ago I’ve heard a few things about the area.  You hear and see some people and things, some places going under and things like that.  I’m not saying it will ever get as bad as it was in the early 80’s, but it’s definitely there.

Part of it’s original charm was it was nurturing to artists.  These days there’s just no way someone could live there and try to start a band or be a painter or photographer.  Back then you’d see all sorts of freaks in the street, not anymore.

Speaking of freaks, how funny is it the photos you took with Kyuss on the Danzig tour (1992) and Glen’s bodyguard was Jesse James…the West Coast Choppers guy?  He’s like a tabloid freak now.

Yeah! That was mind-blowing!  I mean, first I kept hearing about him from different media things and I’m thinking, “no way that’s the same guy.”  But then again, how many guys are named Jesse James (laughs)?  But he was a really nice guy.  Funny guy, we hung out a lot with him on that tour.  In the pictures he’s got a broken arm, he broke it in Detroit at Harpo’s on the last night of the tour! 

But yeah, I hadn’t seen Jesse since touring days and that was very strange. When I saw he had a TV show I was like , “Oh, cool for him.”  The he married Sandra Bulloch and I was like “Wow, great for him…”

Great for his bank account as well.  

(laughs) But strange to see someone you know, or knew totally swept up in the Hollywood world! 

Not to bring up a bummer, but there’s quite a few Pantera tour mementos in the book.  There are words and some great photos of two bands that seemed to really enjoy each others company.  After the events of December 8, 2004 the tributes and memories were massive.   Did you ever get a chance to release a statement, either something personal or on the part of White Zombie? 

I went to his funeral, and Rita had asked me to go up and tell a story or something…(long pause) but I didn’t have the heart to.  It was really, really upsetting…I don’t know, just so senseless and so terrible.  You know some people, when I think back about them like Kurt Cobain and others; I can’t even listen to the music. 

But when I hear Pantera it makes me happy, you know?  Darryl was such a good soul [and a] great person with such good energy it feels like he’s still here, not to sound corny.  It’s hard to put into words because it’s not like he took his own life or OD’d or something, but it was sudden and I only think of good things when I think of Darryl.

(Talk about Lead Singer’s Disease, one totally doesn’t wanna be there and the other totally doesn’t even know he’s there.)

How’s the book tour going?

Great!  It’s been keeping me really busy and they keep selling out of books, so that’s been telling me it’s going good! 

What type of reactions have you been receiving?  Me, personally I can see people gravitating to a few different things with it, of course the visual stuff is fantastic.  But I also really enjoyed the writing too. 

It’s funny; there are some people who thought it was going to be all writing and not all that visual, not a coffee table styled book.  Then there’s the other half who thought it was going to be all visual and were surprised at all the stories, so (laughing) it’s this hybrid kind of book, but yeah the response has been great. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

HELL AWAITS: Tiger O'Stylies, Berwyn, IL. 02.05.2011

I can't remember the last time I saw a tribute band.  I've never been a huge fan of going to bars and can't think of may other places where one would run into a band that solely exists on playing the music of others.  Now this isn't always true, some tribute bands are just another paying gig for the working musician, however to devote yourself and your talents to the works of others, you damn well better enjoy the music.  When one mentions "tribute" or "cover" most people just roll their eyes or try to change the subject.  We've all seen them and they usually suck.  But what is it about the small percentage of tribute bands that truly "get it"?      

Chicago's HELL AWAITS is a Slayer tribute band that gets it.  They perform album tracks from 1983's 'Show No Mercy' through 1990's 'Seasons In The Abyss' and do it for the drunken brotherhood of it.  Consisting of current and former members of CorpseVomit, Yakuza, Cumchrist, NachtmystiumKommandant and more, their obvious Metal pedigree is there as is the natural vibe of jamming together as a band.  Having ALL four or five guys firing on all cylinders is of the utmost importance. 


This vibe is what's going to make or break any band, one playing 100% originals or an average everyday cover band.  If the band doesn't gel on stage, it's going to be a very long evening.  Because HELL AWAITS has been such a formidable unit over the years, the feeling is there.  When they play the Slayer material they feel it, they believe in it and they conquer it.  Because of that, this gig was like like having a live Slayer "Greatest Hits" album with only the best cuts present.   

My entire review of the show can be summed up with - I had a fucking blast!  I can't believe I'm writing about a tribute band, but this was so fucking good I'd feel guilty if I didn't. The thing I wrote about all members firing at once?  It was obvious these dudes connect on stage, they played these songs with an absolute urgency, when was the last time you heard Slayer play "Fight Til Death" and not only nail it, but give it 100% and BELIEVE IT? 

Setlist was:       

"Hell Awaits"
"Kill Again"
"At Dawn They Sleep"
"Altar of Sacrifice"
"Die By The Sword"
"Silent Scream" 
"The Antichrist"
"Captor Of Sin"
"Chemical Warfare"
"Ghosts of War"
"Piece By Piece"
"Fight Till Death"
"Live Undead"
"Angel Of Death"
"War Ensemble"
"Jesus Saves"
"South Of Heaven"
and more.

Talk about money well spent, $5 cover and a two hour set of album quality live Slayer on an ice titan like Saturday night in Berwyn

Wednesday, February 2, 2011