Pretty sure the usual custom is that the birthday boy or girl gets the presents, and yet for its tenth edition Hellfest has basically done up 2015 with a massive bow. Returning to the picturesque surroundings of Clisson in France, the fantastically diverse European beast is celebrating entering double figures with another mammoth line-up.
At this point we probably should point out that the 2015 edition is completely sold out – weekend passes, day tickets… it’s all gone man. The three-day tickets went in less than a month in fact. So if you’ve got a ticket… rejoice! If not, well why not check out what you could have won…
Judas Priest, Alice Cooper, Slipknot, Lamb of God, Venom, Motorhead, Scorpions, Korn, Faith No More, Arch Enemy, Shining, Meshuggah, Mastodon, ZZ Top, Slash… and no, those aren’t all headliners. Read the rest of this entry »
Zero Down are a classic heavy metal band from Seattle, and we at Metal Rules have been big supporters of theirs since reviewing their demo way back in 2004. 2014 saw the release of the band’s fourth album, the thunderously awesome NO LIMIT TO THE EVIL, so now’s a great time for a chat with the band’s co-lead guitarist and song writer, Lenny Burnett.
DOOM OVER LONDON has just announced the latest additions to their stellar line up for 2015. Death Penalty and Witchsorrow will join the bill for the event due to take place at The Dome, Tufnell Park on Saturday 4th April.
Now in its fifth year, DOOM OVER LONDON brings together both up and coming new bands, as well as long standing favourites – all tied together by a common thread of doom. For the first time, the event will take place in its new home at legendary north London venue, The Dome.
Thanks to Emil Westerdahl at Ulterium Records for setting up the interview and Ulterium Records for the promo pictures of the band
Live photos taken by: Julie Lesage & Frank HSJ.com
Black Fate is a Greek melodic/power metal act that released their great fourth album at the end of last year. The title of their newest album is BETWEEN VISIONS AND LIES and ought to appeal to every fan of this style of metal. Black Fate’s only remaining original member is drummer Nikos Tsintzilonis and he has kept the band rolling since 2000. After a few absent years, it was time to bring the band back to life with BETWEEN VISIONS AND LIES as their first album since 2009. With new members and a record label, it’s now time for Black Fate to conquer the world. I hooked up with the very young and talented guitar virtuoso Gus Drax in order to hear how they would manage to take over the world with their music. I’m sure this band has a great future ahead of them.Read the rest of this entry »
Deadline Music will be releasing a space-tacular salute to legendary KISS axeman Ace Frehley performed by the legions of rockstars he inspired on February 3, 2015! ‘Spacewalk – A Salute To Ace Freheley’ features performances by metal giants Dimebag Darrell, Jeff Watson (ex-Night Ranger) plus members of Megadeth, Anthrax, L.A. Guns, Skid Row and more!
Ace Freheley is best known as the former lead guitarist and founding member of Kiss. He took on the persona of the “Spaceman” or “Space Ace”, and played with the group from its inception in 1973 until his departure in 1982. After leaving Kiss, Frehley embarked on a solo career, which was put on hold when he rejoined Kiss in 1996 for a successful reunion tour. His second round with Kiss lasted until 2002. His most recent solo album ‘Space Invader, was released on August 19, 2014. Guitar World magazine ranked him “14th Greatest Metal Guitarist of All Time”.
Packaged in a digipak, ‘Spacewalk – A Salute To Ace Freheley’ includes blistering versions of songs from Frehley’s platinum-selling debut solo album including “New York Groove” and “Snowblind” plus Frehley-penned KISS classics “Shock Me,” “Cold Gin” and more!
1. Deuce – Marty Friedman
2. Shock Me – Gilby Clarke
3. Rip It Out – Scott Ian
4. Hard Luck Woman – Ron Young & Jeff Watson
5. Snowblind – Snake Sabo
6. Rock Bottom – Sebastian Bach
7. Parasite – Tracii Guns
8. Cold Gin – John Norum
9. New York Groove – Bruce Bouillet
10. Fractured Mirror – Dimebag Darrell
Originating from Birmingham, England, QUARTZ date back to 1974, and were considered to be at the forefront of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. On January 31, 2015, Skol Records released “Too Hot To Handle” CD, which can be considered as a complete unreleased album from back in the day, as it’s a collection of 16 previously unreleased songs recorded between 1981 and 1982. Some of those tracks were re-recorded in different versions for the “Against All Odd’s” album (1983), and some of them see the light of the day for the first time ever.
Official promo clip “Tell Me Why” :
QUARTZ released their first same titled album, which was produced by Tony Iommi of BLACK SABBATH, on Jet Records in 1977. The band toured heavily during this time, playing the Reading Festival three times (1976, 1977 and 1980) and touring with of some of the larger Heavy Metal bands of the time, incl. IRON MAIDEN, SAXON, UFO and RUSH. Late 1979 saw Geoff Nicholls leave the band to join the legendary BLACK SABBATH, providing keyboards and songwriting for them for the next 24 years. Incidently in 1980 Malcolm Cope was approached by OZZY OSBOURNE to join his solo band, but declined stating QUARTZ was his band, and they had just signed a deal with MCA to record “Stand Up And Fight”. 1983 brought the release of “Against All Odd’s” which had been partly written with vocalist David Garner, and the departing Derek Arnold had been replaced by Steven McLoughlin. Prior to the final recording of the opus, David Garner was replaced by Geoff Bate, whose vocals appear on the album. During this period Malcolm Cope also joined the roll call of QUARTZ members being called up to BLACK SABBATH, working on pre-production demos for the “Born Again” album.
QUARTZ reformed in 2011, and the current line up consist of: Geoff Nicholls on guitars and keyboards, Mick Hopkins on guitars, Derek Arnold on bass, Malcolm Cope on drums, and vocalist David Garner.
Globally acclaimed hard rock icons and vinyl aficionados, Mastodon, have announced they will reissue all of their Reprise Records titles on vinyl in the coming months. The first album in the series will be 2006’s Blood Mountain, which will be issued on a mix of solid yellow and transparent green vinyl on March 3rd. Upon its release, Guitar World called Blood Mountain “pulverizing” with an “utter restlessness that grips you tighter with each cut.” It also placed at No. 9 on Rolling Stone’s Top 50 Albums of 2007.
On June 2nd, 2009’s Crack the Skye will be released on baby blue vinyl. Earning Mastodon unanimous critical praise, the album led to Rolling Stone calling them “the greatest metal band of their generation – no one else comes close,” while Revolver praised Crack the Skye as the work of “a band at the peak of its musical and conceptual powers.”
On August 4th, 2011’s The Hunter will be released on a mix of solid white and solid red vinyl. The band’s first Top 10 album, The Hunter was also met with united critical acclaim and spawned the singles “Black Tongue,” the Grammy-nominated “Curl of the Burl,” and “Dry Bone Valley.”
On October 5th, Mastodon’s current album, 2014’s Once More ‘Round the Sun, will be released on a mix of transparent green and solid white vinyl. The band’s highest charting album, with a No. 6 debut on Billboard’s Top 200, the album was praised by Spin thusly: “The band’s prog-metal potential stuns, with Dailor sounding like a young Ozzy over shredding guitars and enough drum dominance to blow out your speak system. Head-band on.” The album’s single “High Road” has been nominated for a 2015 Grammy Award for “Best Metal Performance.”
On December 8th, Mastodon will release a limited-edition box set featuring all of the band’s Reprise titles on vinyl. Only 500 will be made available. More details to come.
As an added bonus for fans, Mastodon will release a Limited Edition 12″ vinyl picture disc in celebration of Record Store Day on April 18th. The disc is comprised of a new song titled “Atlanta,” featuring guest vocals from Gibby Haynes from Butthole Surfers, originally only digitally available as part of the Adult Swim Singles Series. The ‘B-Side” is an unreleased instrumental version of “Atlanta,” and is exclusive to this very limited RSD pressing.
As previously announced, Mastodon will hit the road co-headlining with their friends Clutch for
THE MISSING LINK TOUR, which kicks off on April 16th in St. Paul, MN, with support provided by Big Business. Sweden’s Graveyard will then take over the main support slot starting in Los Angeles on April 29th for the remaining dates, closing out the tour in Columbus, OH on May 24th.
Confirmed dates for THE MISSING LINK TOUR are as follows:
*Mastodon closes the evening. **Clutch closes the evening.
Apr 16 *St. Paul, MN Myth
Apr 17 * Winnipeg, MB The Burton Cummings Theatre
Apr 18 *Saskatoon, SK O’Brian’s Events Center
Apr 19 * Edmonton, AB Expo Centre
Apr 21 * Calgary, AB MacEwan Hall
Apr 23 * Vancouver, BC Commodore Ballroom
Apr 24 **Vancouver, BC Commodore Ballroom
Apr 25 *Portland, OR Roseland
Apr 26 *Seattle, WA Showbox SODO
Apr 28 *Oakland, CA Fox Theater
Apr 29 *Los Angeles, CA Palladium
Apr 30 *Tempe, AZ Marquee Theater
May 01 *Las Vegas, NV House of Blues
May 02 *Salt Lake City, UT The Complex
May 03 *Denver, CO Red Rock’s Amphitheatre
May 05 *San Antonio, TX Kapone’s Ballroom
May 06 *Oklahoma City, OK Diamond Ballroom
May 08 Atlanta, GA Shaky Knees Festival
May 09 *Raleigh, NC Lincoln Theatre Street Stage
May 10 **Pittsburgh, PA Stage AE
May 12 *Clive, IA (Des Moines) 7 Flags
May 13 *Milwaukee, WI Eagles Ballroom Club Stage
May 15 **Bethlehem, PA Sands Event Center
May 16 **Baltimore, MD Pier Six Pavilion
May 17 *Boston, MA House of Blues
May 19 *New York, NY Central Park Summerstage
May 20 *Niagara Falls, NY Rapids Theatre
May 21 *London, ON London Music Hall
May 24 **Columbus, OH LC Pavilion
In December 2011, JACK RUSSELL’S GREAT WHITE first bared its teeth. Since its inception, the front man welcomed back longtime bassist and friend Tony Montana-this time as a guitar player and keyboardist-lead guitarist Robby Lochner, bassist Chris Tristam and drummer Dicki Fliszar. Rather than look backwards and merely attempt to relive the multi-platinum hard rock entity’s storied origins, JACK RUSSELL set his sights on the future.
Today the band releases a new song in the style of the bluesy hard rock stomp that made RUSSELL a rock icon in the first place. The song “Hard Habit” is taken from the band’s forthcoming studio album The Gauntlet that is scheduled for release later this year. Today the band has released a lyric video for “Hard Habit,” it is available for viewing HERE. The song is also available for purchase as a digital single on iTunes and the song can be streamed via Spotify HERE.
JACK RUSSELL on the new song, and the bands plans:
“With the ever-changing climate of the music industry, we’ve decided that we will be releasing several digital singles throughout 2015. ‘Hard Habit’ is the first in a series of singles the band will put out this year. Be on the lookout for our next single in the coming months! We are really proud of this song and we plan on playing it live as well as some other new tunes and of course all the classic JACK RUSSELL’S GREAT WHITE songs you know and love. See you on the road!”
In support of the album the band will be on the road non-stop in 2015. The first announced dates are listed below. More dates are being added daily, so be sure to keep up with http://www.jackrussellsgreatwhite.com as dates are added.
JACK RUSSELL’S GREAT WHITE Live:
2/7: Corona, CA @ M15 Concert Bar and Grill
2/19: Turtle Lake, WI @ St Croix Casino
2/27: West Hollywood, CA @ Whisky A Go-Go
2/28: Casa Grande, AZ @ Paul Mason Sports Complex
4/4: Bolingbrook, IL @ Tailgater’s
4/9: Cheektowaga, NY @ Macaroon’s Night Club
4/10: Jordan, NY @ Kegs Canalside
4/11: Halethorpe, MD @ Fish Head Cantina
4/12: Leesburg, VA @ Tallyho Theater
8/28: Mahomet, IL @ Downtown Mahomet
Swedish rock legends EUROPE will release their 10th studio album, War of Kings, on March 10, 2015 in the United States via Hell & Back Recordings. Recorded at the brand new PanGaia Studios in Stockholm, Sweden, produced by Dave Cobb (Rival Sons) and engineered by John Netti, War of Kings sees the quintet confidently creating 11 monstrously melodic, yet hard-hitting classic rock’n’roll standouts for their fervent global audience.
War of Kings will be available in multiple formats, as a CD digipak, a CD jewel case, a vinyl LP and in digital download format.
Joey Tempest states, “War Of Kings is the album we always wanted to make, ever since we were kids listening to bands like Zeppelin, Purple and Sabbath. And after hearing Dave Cobb amazing production for Rival Sons we simply had to work with him. Our adventure is still ON!”
War of Kings tracklisting:
1) War Of Kings
2) Hole In My Pocket
3) Second Day
4) Praise You
5) Nothin’ To Ya
6) California 405
7) Days Of Rock n Roll
8) Children Of The Mind
9) Rainbow Bridge
10) Angels (With Broken Hearts)
11) Light Me Up
Bonus: Vasastan (Instrumental)
EUROPE’s place as a legendary classic rock band was platinum-stamped early in their career, having enjoyed an explosive period of worldwide success in the ‘80s, under-pinned by their hit album and single The Final Countdown, before going on hiatus between 1992 and 2003. They reunited and quickly settled into a period of re-establishment which has seen them re-enforce their reputation worldwide as one of the premier purveyors of blues-tinged classic rock with an edge and some kick. Their last album, 2012’s Bag of Bones, saw EUROPE hit the UK top 40 rock album charts and debut at #2 on the Swedish national charts.
War of Kings is set to take full advantage of the global groundwork EUROPE have put in over the last few years.
Tempest adds, “Hey! We took the long road! But we wanted to re-establish EUROPE the proper way. It’s taken 10 years and countless tours since the re-union, but we’re finally getting there and we’ve done it our way!”
Joey Tempest – lead vocals, acoustic & rhythm guitar, keyboards
John Norum – lead & rhythm guitars, backing vocals
John Leven – bass, backing vocals
Mic Michaeli – keyboards, piano, backing vocals, rhythm guitar
Ian Haugland – drums, percussion, backing vocals
Legendary British classic rockers UFO are set to release their latest studio album A Conspiracy of Stars March 3rd in North America on SPV/Steamhammer. Today UFO has partnered up with GuitarWorld.com the online home of Guitar World Magazine for an exclusive song premiere. Check out a stream of the song “Run Boy Run” HERE.
A Conspiracy of Stars will be available in jewel case, vinyl blue colored double LP and download through SPV/Steamhammer. It is available for pre-order on Amazon and iTunes.
Last week, the band released a new teaser for the upcoming album. The trailer is available for viewing HERE.
Of course you don’t need to attach more importance to this piece of news than it necessarily has, but it certainly deserves to be mentioned: for the first time in more than 20 years, one of the most British rock bands in music history has recorded a studio album in their native country. Their latest offering is entitled A Conspiracy Of Stars, was cut by rock legend UFO and breathes that typically British easy-going confidence for which this band has been known for over 45 years. A strong release consisting of eleven songs which combine everything that the group surrounding frontman Phil Mogg stands for: meaty riffs, distinctive hooks, diverse songwriting, intelligent lyrics and that generally laid-back attitude which we have associated with UFO from the start. The fact that A Conspiracy Of Stars was produced and mixed by Chris Tsangarides (Judas Priest, Thin Lizzy, Gary Moore, among others) may be considered another successful element in a thoroughly consistent release. To cut a long story short: their 22nd studio recording to date sees UFO prove that past and present can be blended in a homogeneous whole.
TOUR DATES 2015:
Fri 20 Germany, Barby – Rautenkranz
Sat 21 Germany, Berlin – K17
Sun 22 Germany, Hagen/Osnabrück – Saal Stock
Mon 23 Germany, Hamburg – Downtown Blues Club
Wed 25 Germany, Mannheim – Alte Seilerei
Thu 26 Germany, Bochum – Zeche
Fri 27 Germany, Siegburg – Kubana
Sat 28 Germany, Affalter – Zur Linde
Mon 02 Germany, Rostock – Mau Club
Wed 04 Poland, Warsaw – Stodola
Thu 05 Lithuania, Vilnius – Forum Palace
Fri 06 Poland, Krakow – Kwadrat
Sat 07 Czech Rep., Zlin – Masters of Rock Café
Mon 09 Germany, Burgrieden/Ulm – Riffelhof
Tue 10 Germany, Osterode – Dorster Festhalle
Wed 11 Germany, Freiburg – Jazzhaus
Thu 12 Switzerland, Zug – Choller Halle
Thu 16 England, Norwich – Waterfront
Fri 17 England, Cambridge – Junction
Sat 18 England, Wolverhampton – Wulfrun Hall
Sun 19 England, Manchester – Ritz
Tue 21 Ireland, Dublin – The Academy
Wed 22 N. Ireland, Belfast – The Limelight
Fri 24 England, Glasgow – O2 ABC
Sat 25 England, Newcastle – O2 Academy
Sun 26 England, Leeds – O2 Academy
Tue 28 England, Nottingham – Rock City
Thu 30 England, Bristol – O2 Academy
Fri 01 England, Falmouth – Pavilion
Sat 02 England, Exeter – Phoenix
Sun 03 England, Salisbury – City Hall
Tue 05 England, Brighton – Concorde 2
Wed 06 England, Oxford – O2 Academy
Thu 07 England, London – HMV Forum
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Paul about his new book UNDERGROUND SURVIVOR. Check out my review and see the bottom of this interview for information on how to order your copy today!
They say first impressions are very important. In the case of your book, the first impression is very powerful and convincing. It’s rude, but I have to ask, so without giving away exact numbers, how much did it cost to create such massive and gorgeous hard-cover, coffee-table book? The embossed sliver, snakeskin (alligator skin?) style cover must have been a budget intensive decision! Was there any time where you felt you might have to compromise on the high quality to cut costs?
This is a question for the publisher as I had nothing to do with the costs of this enterprise really. Verlag-Weisses-Licht.eu came up with the idea for the cover and paid for all aspects of this enterprise. Enni from Skullcrusher and Mr: Steinlein also from Dresden came up with this idea for a pictorial book and I was pleasantly surprised with the idea of course. The book should have been released on my 50th birthday but both of these gentleman became gravely ill during the process of creating the layout. Thankfully both gentleman survived and the book was finally released this past year on December 18th, 2014.
Why did you feel the time was right to tell your story?
The Speckmann story has been a long time coming. I have been writing and creating music since 1980 and agreed with the publisher that it was time to share this pictorial with the masses and tell some stories that made me the man I am today. The book takes us through a big part of the journey through your eyes.
Why did you decide to go with a pictorial history rather than a text based / conventional autobiography?
The idea was from Enni and I thought this was unique way to tell the story. Eventually another book of text will appear.
In my experience (you may or may not agree) many young metal bands who have access to instant technology and relatively inexpensive (compared to the 80’s) recording technology have a sense of perhaps entitlement and when the going gets tough, they quit and break up. Many bands expect to put a video on Youtube and get recognized right away, they don’t understand or appreciate the hard work and discipline involved with the traditional ways of jamming, writing, demos, recording gigging and eventually touring. There was quote that stayed with me from your book. You said, (p. 23) “My father and mother raised us with an iron fist and this is the reason I still exist and prosper successfully today. In todays so-called modern world, they would call it abuse. In the world I grew up in, it was called discipline!” Is it this lack of discipline in the modern world that inhibits many bands from reaching the levels of success that you have had or can we place the blame on the usual suspects, the recording industry, the media, downloading etc…
It’s combination of all these aspects. I suppose that yes you are correct in the fact that many bands make it much too quickly and the desire to succeed is there but the depth of commitment isn’t there. The internet makes stars that haven’t had the experience needed to grasp the situation and they rise and fall rather quickly.To remain active and somewhat successful in this business you have to learn moderation in many aspects of your life. When you reach a certain age in Metal for example, you realize that the party and circus must be controlled. Many of my heroes died because of lack of control!
Was it fun, painful, or a combination to go back and take stock on your life? You seem like a man with few regrets but I’m sure there must have been some more introspective, reflective moments looking through your archives. Were there any of those “I wish I could have…” moments?
Not really, photos bring back memories, but most of the memories in this book are enjoyable. Of course you think back and wonder what has become of many of the people, but in the end, most have survived and moved on with their lives. Obviously many of the more famous musicians in the photos in the book are still prospering enormously! As for regrets of course everyone has these and some of the faces that disappeared from my life in the early years are missed. You leave people for a reason and move on, but some of the people I miss of course. Some musicians I worked with in the early days were talented individuals but just couldn’t grasp the commitment aspects of being in a band. The party and or the girls were always more important than the music and the journey, but this is nothing new in the business.
Did you shop the title around to many publishers?
No the idea came directly from Enni and the company, but I have been shopping for a publisher for the proper autobiography and found it hard to convince anyone to publish the truth. Everyone prefers to be lied to unfortunately, no one wants to hear the truth about many of the musicians I have come across in my arduous journey.
What was the biggest challenge creating this book? Layout? Design? Proofreading?
Proofreading was a nightmare for me as the small changes that were made over and over took quite a bit of time. The main man Enni left the project early on and so difficulties came my way. As I had sent numerous photos to him and suddenly they were no longer available to the company. So in the end I found myself resending photos several times and many photos actually never made the book as I rediscovered some of them after the book was already sent to press.
How long did the entire process take?
Almost 2 years.
Looking back did you find any errors or omissions or things you might go back and change?
I would have added a few more famous photos I suppose.
I know it is early but how has initial reception by the public been?
The book is selling, but as I said to the company more promotion is needed and that Facebook is not the only source of media these days.
I feel that some people might be shocked to learn of your ‘back-to basics’ lifestyle in the Czech Republic. I don’t want to get too political but how much more free and fulfilled are you in a country that is not traditionally associated with the type of freedoms that are often associated with your former homeland of America?
Obviously the media shows people what they want people to see. The Russians no longer control the so-called Eastern Block and freedom has been embraced here in Eastern Europe. The World Police don’t reside here and control ever step you take. I have never been more free at this moment. I mean realistically speaking, growing up in the seventies was a great thing in the USA but toward the nineties the controlling aspects of society took over. For example you don’t find people shooting each other over disagreements in the neighborhood, only hunters own guns here and they don’t kill their wives very often, they get a divorce instead! Living in America I was happy to have guns readily available in our house in Phoenix! Drugs ran rampant in the neighborhood and gun shots were often heard in the late evenings and it wasn’t uncommon for a helicopter to be hovering above our house there at any time of the day. This is not freedom. In Czech I am left alone to my own devices and the last time I experienced the police was when they came buy to all the neighbors to ask about any suspicious activity at night as someone had been stealing yard tools from people’s homes!
I often end my interviews with authors with this question. What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Reach for your dreams, and fight for what you want. Honestly I am still trying to get the written word published but the pictorial was also a nice surprise. I personally read books nearly every day and I am sure many others do also. Knowledge is power so keep reading and writing books people.
HOW TO ORDER YOUR COPY. GET THIS RARE, LIMITED EDITION TREASURE BEFORE IT IS SOLD OUT!
Let’s assume that some readers are not aware what you have been doing in the past several years. Can you bring us up to speed on your activities?
Anacrusis reunited back in 2009 for a couple of shows in 2010. We played a St. Louis show followed by the Keep It True festival a few days later with the original lineup of Kevin Heidbreder (gtr), John Emery (bass), Mike Owen (dr) and myself. During the many months of rehearsals we also re-recorded our first two albums from scratch which we released as a double CD called “HINDSIGHT: Suffering Hour & Reason Revisited”.
After those original reunion shows our guitarist went his own way and we played a couple more festivals and local gigs with an old friend filling in on guitar. After the 70,000 Tons of Metal Cruise in 2013 we once again retired the band and went forward with recoding what ended up being my first solo album “Dancing With the Past”.
Was your experience on 70,000 Tons an inspiration to start writing and recording again?
No, just the opposite actually. Playing the cruise was a great honor for us, but it was also apparent by that time that we were all pretty burned out on Anacrusis. This trip was actually when I decided that we would probably never finish this “new” album we had begun working on and that I would go ahead and finish it myself. I had already written the bulk of the material by that point.
Was there any point that your new album was intended to be an Anacrusis album?
Yes, it definitely was supposed to be a new Anacrusis album, at least with three original members. I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of doing an album without our founding member Kevin Heidbreder, but it was clear that he was not on the same page as the rest of the band seemed to be on. It was better that it worked out this way since I would honestly rather leave Anacrusis in the past. Whatever musical legacy we managed to leave is better off left alone, I think. Ultimately releasing the album under my own name allowed me to make the album I had wanted to make all along and I don’t think the other guys were fully on board with everything I wanted to do anyway.
Based on an assumption of the title of your new solo album, how much of it was old material in the vaults and how much of it was new?
There are a handful of songs that go back several years, but the vast majority of the material is post-reunion. There are two songs that go all the way back to just after Anacrusis broke up, I think three from around 2007 and the Cruel April song “A Little Light”. I also re-recorded “This Killer in My House” which was a song John and I co-wrote during the reunion and which I included on the “Silver” CD in 2001. However, considering there are 28 tracks that still leaves a lot of new stuff.
When writing songs what comes first the title? The main riffs or even just a feeling or an idea?
It has changed over the years. In Anacrusis I would usually write riffs or take riffs from John or Kevin and piece things together before I would try to add melodic stuff and vocal lines. The lyrics usually came last even if they were written by one of the other guys before I had music together which required me to squeeze things in. For songs I wrote entirely myself, the lyrics would always come last as I would usually have the exact melodies and vocal arrangements and would then “fill in the words” which usually allowed those songs to flow better.
For Cruel April it was 100% writing a full song on an acoustic guitar along with the melodies and then finishing with just the right lyrics that I felt fit the song.
For DwtP it was a little of both. I never have lyrics lying around at all. They are the hardest for me and I don’t like to waste anything, so I would write the music and melodies and maybe a line or two or at least have a theme in mind before filling things in with the lyrics.
Why did you decide to do a double album instead of release an album in 2014 and one again in 2015?
I really wanted to do something different or special. I did not ever hear this material as two different albums. To me it all fit together and I had had way too many things to “say” musically to do it in 10 or 12 songs. I wanted enough room for the “Anacrusis” style stuff that I knew most people would be looking for, but also enough space for all of the other things I wanted to include. I still have a lot more music that I didn’t use on the album, so I wasn’t just throwing in every single idea I’ve had for the last 20 years. Doing a new album after so long is a very strange position to be in. There is a lot to prove if that is the right word. I didn’t want a half-hearted bunch of songs with me or the band trying to sound like 1993. It is impossible to go back in time that way anyhow, so why bother? I really wanted something more than just a new album. I didn’t know at the time (or even now) if I will record any more music ever, so I wanted to get all of this music finished for those fans who want something to occupy them for a while.
I noticed the cover art is quite dark and I’ve noticed a slight similarity to the cover art for the Mekong Delta album, THE MUSIC OF ERIC ZANN. Coincidentally, that is not the Mekong Delta album that Eliran Kantor did the art for. Why did you choose it and how did it come about?
Well, it wasn’t really “chosen” since Eliran created just for this project. Eliran is an old fan of the band and a friend. He is a very talented and well-respected artists and we got to know each other while working on Hindsight which he did all of the artwork for. The original title for the album was going to be Parallax Error which was a title I had since 1991 and which I would probably have used for the “fifth” never-recorded Anacrusis album. He and I both struggled over the months to come up with anything that visually fit well and after I decided to change the title I gave him my ideas of what I thought it should look like. Eilran used those themes and created an entirely different idea that he felt went with the title.
Kenn Nardi’s Dancing With The Past. Cover art by Eliran Kantor
Maybe I’m crazy but I thought they look a little similar.
More of Eliran’s great work.
Were there select people that you shared your ideas with to get input or feedback or was it just strictly, all you and what you wanted to do?
Well, there are a very small number of people, whether they are family or friends or even fans that I would share things with just to get their reactions. However, I never ever go with anyone opinion over my own when it comes to my music. Maybe that is good or maybe that is bad, but in the end I have to live with it, not them so I trust my own gut when it comes to these things.
What is the greatest challenge of being a total solo artists and conversely what is the greatest advantage, besides not having to compromise for your art?
Well, from a creative standpoint I certainly do enjoy working alone. I just hate compromise. It only means that no one gets what they want. Many things in our band fell flat or ended up completely awful due to compromise. Not necessarily the music itself, but many other things. On the other hand, it is nice to mix things up sometimes when it comes to fresh ideas though and sometimes other people definitely help with that. I have no problem collaborating with other people on their ideas if they ask me to, but I’d rather work on my own stuff alone.
I know some older fans still leave a negative perception about pre-programmed drums. Did you ever get any feedback, negative or positive about choosing to do the drums yourself?
Yeah, of course and it is very disappointing. People are very set in their ways. You would think it was 1985 by some of the reactions. I can tell you that had Mike played the drums you’d barely tell a difference. Everything is to a click and the samples I used were all right from his kit and the ones I would have used for the drums had he played. This was done to be practical, not because I don’t like drums. I love drums and I love Mike’s ideas too. Things were just dragging along for months and months and I couldn’t imagine us ever finishing things any other way. There was just too much music and Mike didn’t have the time to devote to learning the other songs or coming up with stuff for some of the older material.
People would be shocked at how many albums have sequenced drums on them that they don’t know are sequenced. I put an unimaginable amount of time into my programming and am 100% happy with the drums on the album. I never made it a secret and guarantee the vast majority of listeners would not have known the difference had I not been open about it. If I told you now that Mike was actually on one or two songs, no one would know which ones those were. I have a couple songs with Mike playing on them and I have to listen very hard to tell the difference. Now, maybe even with Mike paying they wouldn’t have sounded like some people expected that they should sound, but I can tell you the drum sound on DwtP is exactly the sound I wanted for the album.
All the preliminary feedback I’ve been seeing about the album is largely positive. I know this question may be premature, but can we expect to see more material in the future?
Maybe. I have a lot of stuff I didn’t use and my head is always full of ideas for music. If I can find the time I may record something else. Nothing as big as this album, but maybe a dozen songs or something like that. Releasing albums is a waste of time these days really; especially if you have no band and do not tour or whatever. I do enjoy the creative outlet though and I know from the reaction to this album that there are still a few people who enjoy my writing, playing and singing, so who knows? Do you ever feel pressure from media or fans to talk about ‘the good old days’ and your former band? You must get sick of questions about reunions and reformations and so on.
No, not at all. I am very proud of what the guys and I accomplished back in the ‘80s and ‘90s. The fact that people even know the band ever existed at all blows my mind. To be invited overseas to play our music after 20 years is an incredible feeling and I never take that stuff for granted. We were just these high school kids stuck in the Midwest just trying to stay in tune and with zero chance at making “the big time’ so I think we actually did OK in the long run. And without Anacrusis and my past there would be absolutely no interest in music that I make now. I would just be stuck driving my poor wife crazy in the car with all of this noise forever, haha.
Will the Japanese version have lots of bonus tracks? I know at least one of your die-hard fans thought that an album that was only 2.5 hours long was too short. Just kidding, but on a more serious note, will the album be licensed to various territories and what is the best way for fans to buy it? How important is it in this day and age to still have a physical product on the market?
I might have to release another 2 ½ hour album just to really annoy everyone. As for physical albums, I still like them; at least for something like this release. Few people buy albums any more though, it seems. Everyone who wants the CD can order it right from Divebomb records. They ship worldwide and have distributors overseas who already carry copies as well.
As a songwriter, what is your proudest accomplishment of the whole process of releasing this album?
Well, I think the sheer volume of songs and ideas and the fact that each is its own little symphony. I didn’t pad the songs with long solos or intros or any of that stuff. There really are 2 ½ hours of songs on the album (and that’s all that would fit).
This process was definitely bitter-sweet and did not exactly end up being what I thought it would be at the beginning, but I think it is very nuch the album I have always wanted to make. Most of all, I am happy that the fans seem to appreciate not only the hard work I put into it, but the material itself. This album is for them and for me, so that’s all I could ever have hoped for.
Who is Dave Hofer and how did you get the honour of writing Dan Lilker’s biography?
I am a resident of Chicago who is married with three cats. I work as a new-product buyer for Reckless Records. I was able to write Danny’s bio because I met Kevin Sharp (Brutal Truth), who worked around the corner from me. I ended up going on tour a couple of times when BT reformed, and that’s when inspiration struck. I pitched the idea to Danny and he was on board.
In your book you said you spent a weekend with Dan just interviewing him, it must have been a lot of fun just reminiscing together. Are there any highlights from that weekend aside from the raw material for the book?
I actually spent three weekends in Rochester, NY, where Danny lives with his wife (and two cats). We also did a little bit of interviews over the phone and in Chicago when he was here with BT a few summers ago. It was a lot of fun! We would get up, have some breakfast, smoke a little weed and then we’d usually sit in this gazebo that’s near the entrance to their apartment for the interviews.
After we’d done several hours of interviews (and lunch), we’d stop for the day, get dinner and then go out somewhere. Usually, we’d hit a bar, meet up with some of Danny and Heather’s friends and hang out. One of those weekends we went and saw whatever was the most recent Terminator movie. It was cool hanging out and not interviewing him. We share an anything-goes sense of humor, so it was really fun just hanging out and bullshitting as friends rather than (at that point) Potential Author and Subject.
What is your one favourite Lilker story or anecdote?
This is only related to my book in that if I hadn’t written this book, this would have never happened. When Danny was filling in for Shane Embury for Lock Up, they played in Chicago but were arriving a few hours before they could get into the club. I had the day off, so I picked up Danny, Nick Barker and Tomas Lindberg from the venue and took them to my apartment so they could shower. Tomas and Danny took turns showering while Nick and I realized our mutual love of NWA. Having those three men in my apartment was fucking surreal.
How did you decide on that cover art?
We wanted to use a current photo of Danny, so a friend of his in Rochester took some photos and we decided on the one that’s on the cover. Jon Krohn (the book’s designer) laid it out and there you have it. The book is basically a giant zine, so we wanted to make sure you knew it was about one person when you looked at the cover.
Tell us, what does the title PERPETUAL CONVERSION mean to Dan and to you?
I can’t speak for Danny, but I chose the name because it’s not only the title of a Brutal Truth EP, but it summarizes Danny and his career perfectly: always changing, ever-evolving, never settling.
Photo courtesy of Scott C. Kinkade
Did you shop the title around to publishers or did you always want to work with Handshake?
I had one publisher that was interested in releasing the book, but despite showing initial interest and getting the ball rolling, design-wise, they didn’t seem to enthusiastic about it. I pitched it to Handshake after seeing Jason Netherton’s excellent book, Extremity Retained, and here we are.
Is this your first book and what was your writing routine like?
This is my first book. My writing routine was . . . stop-and-start. The process would gain steam once I got in touch with an interview subject (or subjects), was able to conduct an interview and then had to transcribe, edit and integrate it into the narrative. I don’t have a lot of experience with writing features, so I stuck with what I knew for this project. So, most of the writing routine was transcribing interviews and arranging the text so it told Danny’s story accurately.
What was the biggest challenge creating this book? Layout? Design? Proofreading?
Publishing. I was going to self-publish as a last resort, but I wanted the presentation of Perpetual Conversion to be more than what I could cobble together with zero design skills. Books are not cheap to print! The design was handled by Jon Krohn, an old friend who also happens to design books. I supplied him with the text, images and concept and he took it from there. I did all of the proofreading and editing.
How long did the entire process take?
I pitched the idea to Danny in February of 2008 and I saw the book for the first time in October of 2014.
What was Dan first impression when he finally saw it completed?
Well, he actually saw it before I did by a few hours, so I’m not sure. I know he thinks it’s cool!
Looking back did you find any errors or omissions or things you might go back and change?
No. There are certain people who I would have loved to include, but couldn’t for one reason or another, but I don’t think the book suffers because of it.
I know it is early but how has initial reception by the public been?
It’s hard to say. Most people that have read it are friends of mine, so it’s been universally praised thus far. If someone hated it, I would love to hear why!
Now that you live in a mansion from all your publishing royalties, are you going to retire or have you got another book project in mind?
I’ve had a few other ideas but nothing is in the works.
I often end my interviews with authors with this question. What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
I would say to stick with what you know, subject and skills-wise. For example. I was most comfortable with a Q&A type of interview format and editing for clarity, spelling and grammar from my experience as a reviews editor.
I also was already very familiar with SOD, Brutal Truth and Hemlock. but didn’t know a lot about Danny’s time with Anthrax or Nuclear Assault, which enabled me to ask honest questions that Danny might have not even heard in the millions of interviews he’d given in the past.
At the same time, I knew that I should NOT be responsible for the presentation as I have zero understanding of book layout, printing, paper type, etc.
In the end, I think the book is a smooth read with no spelling mistakes and looks awesome!
Chris Holmes, born 1958 in Glendale, California, is a heavy metal guitarist who started his musical career in the Pasadena, California area in the late 1970s. Holmes is best known as the lead guitarist and one of the founding members of heavy-metal band W.A.S.P. Holmes was a member of W.A.S.P. first from 1982 to 1990 and during that period the band released their most successful albums: W.A.S.P, THE LAST COMMAND. INSIDE THE ELECTRIC CIRCUS and HEADLESS CHILDREN. Holmes left the band in 1990 but was asked to rejoin in 1996. The band released its cult classic album KILL FUCK DIE, followed by a live album and HELLDORADO (1999). Holmes and W.A.S.P disbanded again in 2001 and that Holmes has been a part of many different projects including his former bandmate Randy Piper’s Animal and Where Angels Suffer. On 2012, Holmes released his first album solo NOTHIN TO LOSE which is produced, managed and distributed by himself along with his wife Sarah. At the beginning of 2014, Holmes left behind his life in California and moved to Europe with Sarah. Currently he’s living in France and he’s putting the final touches on his upcoming sophomore album titled SHITTING BRICKS. I met “the Mean Man” on last May in Finland and then we went through Holmes’s life, career and his opinions about a variety of topics such as his former band mates.Read on!Read the rest of this entry »
Former Metal Maniacs editor Katherine Ludwig died yesterday (Friday, January 30) a little after 1:00 p.m. at Cayuga Medical Center in Ithaca, New York. She passed very quickly and peacefully, surrounded by family and friends.
CORROSION OF CONFORMITY’s Reed Mullin had this to say about Katherine Ludwig: “I’m not sure folks today know just how instrumental [Katherine] was in introducing and exposing your typical ‘metal maniac’ of the early ’90s to so many badass bands. A lot of which, like C.O.C., had never been given an audience like that before. We had been in fanzines with circulations of maybe a couple hundred, but Metal Maniacs was thousands and thousands! A great advocate for little known underground metal, as well as hardcore/punk bands, she promoted the ‘Blind’ album to the point where by the end of the year it was on virtually everyone’s top ten metal albums of 1991.”
He continued: “I can’t overstate how important she was to C.O.C.’s success. Without her, ‘Blind’ wouldn’t have sold what it did. And after that, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say there probably would never have been a ‘Deliverance’ album.”