KAI HANSEN, earMUSIC, and WACKEN Foundation are happy to announce the release of XXX, the first “solo project” album by Kai Hansen, one of the most influential guitarists and singers to emerge from Germany during the first part of the ’80s. First with ground-breaking band HELLOWEEN (of which Hansen is one of the founding members) and later with GAMMA RAY, one of the bands that contributed to defining the genre power metal, bringing it to a generation of devoted fans worldwide since its first album.
XXX is, in pure Hansen tongue-in-cheek style, a reference to over 30 years of involvement in the world of heavy rock, as explained with the album’s sub-title: Three Decades In Metal.
The album will be released in August 2016 on earMUSIC with further news to be shared soon.
XXX is a magical journey. It is the story of how powerful dreams can be.
Dreams and passions big enough to bring a teenager from Hamburg who is in love with rock music, glam rock and the first heavy metal sounds from the practicing space in his bedroom and rehearsal rooms to the biggest stages in the world practicing, and ending up influencing and sharing the stage with the very same bands he admired in the first place.
Not strictly autobiographical, XXX is without doubt the story of Kai Hansen but it could very well represent the story of anybody who is not afraid to believe in dreams, with passion and dedication. It is the story of the ups and downs that everybody faces at some point during the journey of life: the lost and found-again friends, the glory, the tragedies and the joys.
After the achievements enjoyed by Hansen lately with Unisonic and especially Gamma Ray’s recent work Empire of the Undead, Kai Hansen has started working on the album with no precise commercial masterplan — just playing music with the same spirit as in the very beginning.
This certainly was the reason for Hansen to communicate to his label the intention of donating the first advance payment he will receive for XXX —which in the meantime was shaping into a proper album— to the Wacken Foundation.
The Foundation helps and supports young hard rock and heavy metal bands for over seven years now: Musicians full of hopes and dreams, exactly as Hansen had in the beginning of the 30 years story told on this album… in the hope that one day, somebody could tell another 30 years long magic story, also thanks to this album.
Together with Hansen, a stellar band of musicians gravitating around the Chameleon Studio in Hamburg has formed spontaneously.
There’s Alex Dietz (guitar player of Heaven Shall Burn) on bass, Eike Freese (who already worked as engineer and co-producer with Hansen on the last Gamma Ray album) on guitar, and phenomenal drummer Daniel Wilding (Carcass). The four will be joined by various guests, ranging from friends to followers to heroes — some having played a significant part in Kai’s career, some who have expressed the wish to join the project with the same spirit that is leading Kai, Alex, Eike, and Daniel to create loud music with joy, freedom and determination.
Kai and friends will do an exclusive one-time performance at this year’s Wacken Open Air Festival, introducing the songs from the album to the audience for the first and only time.
Watch the video of Kai Hansen and Eike Freese discussing XXX below:
Talking about XXX (while in the studio, recording guitars), Hansen has declared, “30 years in metal, that’s a damn long time. Over the course of all these years, I never recorded a solo album. It is quite nice and a hell lot of fun to create something without any boundaries and to get a fresh view on music. I am celebrating 30 years of being able to do what I like best…
“On XXX, I am reflecting on my roots, where I come from, how it all started for me. I believe you need a certain drive, passion and of course a bit of luck and coincidence to make it in the music world – and of course some financial support. This is where the Wacken Foundation came to my mind. They are helping people, musicians just like me, who want to make it. And I remember having had help myself, from my family, the families from the other band members – and by doing a paper round. So hopefully, with my donation, young musicians are given the same chance that I was given a long time ago, too. And who knows, maybe we all will be playing together at Wacken in 20 years…”
Wacken Foundation’s Thomas Jensen adds, “This is really generous donation to the Wacken Foundation. Heavy metal is a way of life – and with this this amazing gesture Kai showed what it stands for: selflessness, thoughtfulness and most of all the passion and love for music. The goal of the foundation is to keep this kind of spirit going. With Kai is doing we are one step closer to this goal.”
ABOUT WACKEN FOUNDATION:
The Wacken Foundation was founded in 2009 and is a non-profit foundation which dedicates itself to the support of hard rock and heavy metal music. Basically every artist and every band from the heavy metal scene can be supported by the Wacken Foundation. More information about which requirements have to be fulfilled can be found here. If the name Wacken Foundation is a bit misleading, the promoters of the Wacken Open Air do not receive a single cent of the donations. The entire assets of the foundation are solely used to support artists from the metal scene.
Hot on the heels of The Dead Daisies’ announcement of full details of their superlative new studio album, ‘Make Some Noise’, releasing on Spitfire Records / SPV on August 5th, the band have now slotted several more milestone events into their already packed high profile touring schedule.
On September 15th, The Dead Daisies will play their first ever headline show in America when they bring their full stunning live set to legendary Los Angeles venue Whisky a Go Go.
Support act will be Steve Rodgers, (son of Free vocalist, Paul Rodgers). Tickets are priced at $20 and are available via www.whiskyagogo.com/home
Having wowed the crowds as special guests at last year’s Planet Rockstock Festival, The Dead Daisies have now been confirmed to headline this essential event on Friday December 2nd 2016 at Trecco Bay in Wales. The band state that “Last year was just a warmup. This year, we’re gonna blow Planet Rockstock apart!!”
Planet Rock Radio organizer Jon Norman raves “We have had some amazing bands perform at Planet Rockstock over the years, and the Dead Daisies are right up there with the best of them. They rocked the house last year, so we’re excited to have them back again, but this time to headline the main stage.” Check out more details at www.planetrock.com/rockstock
Expect more major announcements in the coming months as The Dead Daisies’ rapidly rising star goes stratospheric in the run-up to the release of ‘Make Some Noise’, the group’s soon-to-be-acclaimed legendary classic third album.
The 17th solo album by acclaimed guitar maestro PAUL GILBERT (Mr. Big), I CAN DESTROY, is out now via The Orchard on iTunes, Amazon, and major retail outlets. A video for the album’s first single, “Everybody Use Your Goddamn Turn Signal,” can be seen on PAUL’s official YouTube page.
A full album stream premiered yesterday on AllMusic.com, while various interview video clips with PAUL GILBERT have premiered throughout the past week on GuitarWorld.com, GuitarPlayer.com, GuitarAficionado.com, UltimateClassicRock.com, ModernDrummer.com, and MusicRadar.com.
“My guitar playing was born from playing in my teenage heavy rock bands,” GILBERT explains. “After playing for 40 years, I’ve been able to evolve the way that I see the fretboard, and how I hear the guitar in my head. This opens up my soloing, and also my writing. I couldn’t have written this music when I was a kid. I couldn’t have written these lyrics either. I needed time to live…to experience joy, and anger, and love, and frustration at people who don’t use their turn signals.”
It’s no accident that I CAN DESTROY cuts a wide swath of styles and textures, from the full-frontal assault of “Everybody Use Your Goddamn Turn Signal” to the jazz-blues lament of “One Woman Too Many” (which also features GILBERT’s patented four-pick Makita drill-bit riffery) to the radio-friendly balladeering of “Love We Had” to the smoking-hot gut/heart punch of “I Am Not the One (Who Wants To Be With You),” the latter track’s title a playful reference to the ubiquitous #1 hit GILBERT enjoyed as part of his gig as lead guitarist for the still-going-strong Mr. Big.
GILBERT knew that I CAN DESTROY producer Kevin Shirley (Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, Rush, Joe Bonamassa), whom he previously collaborated with on Mr. Big’s 2011 release WHAT IF, would push him to do his best from the get-go. “One thing I knew about working with Kevin as a solo artist is that there weren’t going to be that many overdubs on the record — not that many takes, and not many fixes,” he reports. “As a musician, that puts the fear into you. It’s a good fear, and it made me want to prepare in a pretty healthy way.”
With Shirley onboard to get behind the board, GILBERT next had to cull together some top-drawer musicians to bring into the studio. “On drums, we’ve got Thomas Lang, who’s somewhat of a drumming legend, and on bass is Kevin Chown,” details Gilbert. “He was the only guy I’d never worked with before, and he was great. He played all the right stuff. He’s played with everybody from Chuck Berry and Little Richard to Sebastian Bach.”
I CAN DESTROY is already racking up rave reviews. Guitar World proclaimed, “Gilbert’s dazzling guitar work is at the center of a group of songs that vary stylistically from the Iron Maiden/Judas Priest vibe of the title track, to the Thin Lizzy/Boston-like ‘Knocking on a Locked Door’ and ‘One Woman Too Many,’ to the Steely Dan-flavored strains of ‘I Will Be Remembered.’” While in a separate story, GuitarWorld.com declared, “…Gilbert cuts a wide swath of styles and textures. There’s the full-frontal assault of ‘Everybody Use Your Goddamn Turn Signal,’ the jazz-blues lament of ‘One Woman Too Many’ (which also features Gilbert’s patented Makita drill-bit riffery) and the gut/heart punch of ‘I Am Not the One (Who Wants to Be with You).’”
In further news, PAUL GILBERT is gearing up for this summer’s Great Guitar Escape 3.0, which is being held July 25-29 at the Cambria Pines Lodge in Cambria, CA. Packages are available at the event’s official site, www.GREATGUITARESCAPE.com.
For the camp’s third year, the legendary shredder went all out and invited a few iconic friends to join him as guest instructors. These include Megadeth’s Kiko Loureiro and Dave Ellefson as well as former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Art of Anarchy), Andy Timmons (Danger Danger), and master jazz guitarist Mimi Fox. This all-star lineup will be hosting workshops, reflecting their signature sounds and styles and offering an immersive experience for 75 campers. Moreover, they’ll be jamming, performing, and hanging with you 24/7. About the Great Guitar Escape 3.0, GILBERT comments, “I really feel like we got the best lineup possible for version 3.0. Each instructor brings something extremely unique to the table. You’re going to learn, feel inspired, and most of all have a great time. This is four days of complete and total guitar immersion. We can’t wait. Get ready!”
Norwegian black metal tornado 1349 will once again whirl a massive cauldron of chaos at Brutal Assault fest! Also returning after his successful performance last year is French master of retro futuristic synth dark wave PERTURBATOR with his new album The Uncanny Valley. Two bands of different spectre of death metal will join us, namely French BDM savagery KRONOS and long running Italian progressive band SADIST. One of the most interesting bands in the current Polish black metal scene THAW will also play BA 2016 alongside legendary Czech thrashers DEBUSTROL and a new Frantisek Štorm (of Master’s Hammer fame) project MORTAL CABINET. The Mortal Cabinet show will include some Master’s Hammer songs! For more info about tickets please continue here and for purchase please navigate to our e-shop!
The titans of German metal, Iron Savior, are back with their 9th CD, Titancraft, due out on May 20th. It’s the follow-up to their biggest charting CD, Rise Of The Hero from 2014.
Mastermind Piet Sielck and his band mates have come up with a brand new collection of well-crafted metal tunes that don’t fall short in comparison to the band’s already impressive catalogue. As expected, you’ll find all of their typical trademarks, in a well-balanced mixture of fast-paced and stomping tracks.
I caught up with guitarist/vocalist Piet Sielck to discuss creating their latest masterpiece and what it would take to get the band in front of their US fans.
The SXSW festival merges music, film, art and interactive showcases from around the world and is held every year around the second week of March in Austin, Texas. For one week there are thousands of bands performing at any number of venues in downtown Austin. The streets are jam packed with thrill seekers, industry folks, journalists, tourists and pedicabs. In year’s past we have witnessed monolithic mega-star acts like Metallica, Motorhead and Voivod; not to mention up and coming acts like 1349, Sabaton, Steel Panther, Bison B.C. and Crashdiet who would all go on to establish themselves as forces to be reckoned with. The past two or three years have been sparse in terms of metal. By that I mean legitimate “metal” and not some new-age, dreadlocked, crustified gutter rock or faux-pas hipster rock. We were able to check out some showcases from Khemmis, In Aeona, The Oklahomos, Natchet Taylor-Wolfpack and IGNITOR. Until next year, enjoy the video clips below!
The Gods And Kings Tour was a groundbreaking moment in our career. The stage, sound, video and you, our fans, were magnificent!
Coming off such an amazing tour it was clear that the next time we must go even bigger and beyond anything we have ever done; something that will fulfill every Manowarrior’s dreams. Then that will be the ultimate moment to say Thank You and farewell!
The Final Battle will begin in Germany and take us all over the world to say goodbye to all of you.
If you know Metal
you know MANOWAR.
If you know MANOWAR
you know Metal!
Those who join this tour will be left with an eternal memory; having witnessed the band that has dedicated their blood, hearts, souls and every moment of their career to True Heavy Metal.
We are calling all Manowarriors to prepare yourselves now and to join us for The Final Battle!”
Graham Bonnet an English rock vocalist and songwriter. Bonnet’s musician career started already in the late 60’s with a band called The Marbles. Later on he has recorded and performed as a solo artist and as a member of several bands including Alcatrazz, Impellitteri, Blackthorne, Michael Schenker Group and Rainbow. Currently, Bonnet sings in his new band called The Graham Bonnet Band. The band arrived Finland in April and then I sat down with Graham in Helsinki. We discussed various topics including the new band, upcoming album releases, and re-connecting with Michael Schenker. Also a few obligatory Rainbow questions were asked as well including Bonnet’s opinion about the new Rainbow line-up. Read on!
The 2017 MONSTERS OF ROCK CRUISE, the 7th edition of the ultimate hard rock/heavy metal experience at sea, will set sail February 2-7, 2017 aboard a new ship and has expanded to six days, visiting two additional ports in the Caribbean for the first time.
Appropriately titled Gathering of Titans, this year’s five-night/six-day exclusive full ship charter cruise will set sail out of Tampa, FL aboard Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance Of The Seas, visiting Georgetown, Grand Cayman andCozumel, Mexico and feature 15+ artist performances, including headliners Vince Neil “The Voice Of Mötley Crüe,” Cinderella’s Tom Keifer, Queensrÿche, Night Ranger, Saxon and Stryper. As in past years, the cruise will also feature an optional Pre-Cruise Party in Tampa on the evening of Wednesday, February 1st (details TBA).
The cruise goes on sale now with cabins starting at $1,099 per person (double occupancy), plus government fees, taxes, and gratuities. For booking and more info, visit monstersofrockcruise.com and connect on Facebookand Twitter.
Bloodstock, the UK’s biggest and best heavy metal festival is back again this year at Catton Park, Derbyshire, with as monstrous a line-up as ever.
The four day event, also featuring four stages, will be presenting headliners Twisted Sister, Slayer and Mastodon alongside thrash gods Anthrax, black metal innovators Venom, and American progressive metallers Symphony X.
Sadly, we’ve lost yet another metal legend. Former Megadeth drummer Nick Menza was performing last night at the nightclub called “The Baked Potato” with his band called OHM. Reports are that he collapsed on stage, possibly due to a heart attack.
An official announcement, available below, in part reads:
“I have been asked by his family to be their public representative though this tragic and difficult time, so will be fielding all press inquiries. His mother Rose and father Don ask for privacy and prayers for them, and Nick’s two young boys. News of a service, remembrance and celebration of Nick’s life and music will be announced in the days to come.”