UFO Premieres New Song

February 3rd, 2015
by Celtic Bob

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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:

FEBRUARY
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

MARCH
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

APRIL
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

MAY
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

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Interview with Paul Speckmann

February 1st, 2015
by J P

Interview with Paul Speckmann

by JP

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!

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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.
Master (5).
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.
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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!
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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.
Thank you! 
HOW TO ORDER YOUR COPY. GET THIS RARE, LIMITED EDITION TREASURE BEFORE IT IS SOLD OUT! 
1.)  E-mail Paul at speckmannpaul@hotmail.com

Posted in 2015, Heavy Metal, Interviews | Comments (0)

Interview with Kenn Nardi

February 1st, 2015
by J P

Interview with Kenn Nardi

by JP

KennNardi-logo

KNC

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”.

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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”.

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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.

 KNL1

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.

KNRH1

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.

 KNRH2

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.

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Kenn Nardi’s Dancing With The Past. Cover art by Eliran Kantor

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Maybe I’m crazy but I thought they look a little similar.

 

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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.

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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.

 KNL2

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.

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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.

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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.

KNL4

 

Thank you!

 

VISIT https://www.facebook.com/kenn.nardi.official for more information

Posted in 2015, Interviews | Comments (0)

Interview with Dave Hofer, author of Dan Lilker’s biography, Perpetual Conversion

February 1st, 2015
by J P

Interview with Dave Hofer

by JP

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.
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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.
Danny in Europe supporting Exodus.
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.
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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.
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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!
hanging with irish or scottish fans
 
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!
Thanks man! Talk to ya soon!
FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO ORDER PERPETUAL CONVERSION VISIT WWW.HANDSHAKEINC.COM

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CHRIS HOLMES – Solo artist, ex-W.A.S.P. – Part 2

January 31st, 2015
by Marko Syrjala

Chris Holmes

CHRIS HOLMES

INTERVIEW AND PICTURES BY MARKO SYRJALA

(Read part 1 here)

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 »

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Metal Maniacs co-founder Katherine Ludwig passes away

January 31st, 2015
by EvilG
Metal Maniacs co-founder Katherine Ludwig

Metal Maniacs co-founder Katherine Ludwig

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.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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CHRIS HOLMES – Solo artist, ex-W.A.S.P. – Part 1

January 31st, 2015
by Marko Syrjala

Chris Holmes

CHRIS HOLMES

INTERVIEW AND PICTURES BY MARKO SYRJALA

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. 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 since then Holmes has been a part of many different projects including his former bandmate Randy Piper’s Animal and Where Angels Suffer. In 2012, Holmes released his first solo  album NOTHIN TO LOSE which is produced, managed and distributed by Chris along with his wife Sarah. At the beginning of 2014, Holmes left behind his life in California and moved to Europe with Sarah. Currently they are living in France and he’s putting the final touches on his upcoming sophomore album titled SHITTING BRICKS. I met “the Mean Man” in 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 »

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Rigor Mortis – Casey Orr, Bruce Corbitt & Mike Taylor

January 30th, 2015
by Robert Williams

RIGOR-MORTIS-CD-COVER-e1411784177821

Interview with Casey Orr, Bruce Corbitt & Mike Taylor

Video editing courtesy of Sandra Torres

Veteran Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas based thrash assassins Rigor Mortis recently released “Slaves To The Grave” their third and final full-length album this past October through the band’s own Rigor Mortis Records. The blazing, frenetic shredding of guitarist Mike Scaccia (R.I.P.) assaults the listener’s ears posthumously on tracks like “Poltergeist” “Flesh For Flies” & “Fragrance Of Corpse”. Shortly after the album’s release the surviving members of Rigor Mortis performed at the Housecore Horror Film Festival in Austin, Texas under the Wizards of Gore moniker with their immensely talented friend Mike Taylor lending a helping hand on guitar. We caught up with bassist and founding member Casey Orr, original vocalist Bruce Corbitt and the aforementioned live guitarist Mike Taylor shortly after their performance at Housecore Horror Film Festival to talk metal and horror and are pleased to present you with this exclusive feature interview with one of the all-time greats of thrash metal.

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UFO Releases Album Teaser for A Conspiracy Of Stars

January 30th, 2015
by Celtic Bob

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British Hard Rock legends UFO release a new teaser for the upcoming studio album “A Conspiracy Of Stars”.  The trailer is available for viewing HERE.

The album will be released March 3rd in jewel case, vinyl blue colored double LP and download through SPV/Steamhammer.  It is available for pre-order on Amazon and iTunes.

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:

FEBRUARY
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

MARCH
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

APRIL
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

MAY
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

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HIRAX Releases New Video For “Hellion Rising”

January 30th, 2015
by Celtic Bob

Legendary Thrash Metal Act HIRAX have released a new video for the song “Hellion Rising” from their latest album Immortal Legacy.  The video can be viewed HERE.

HIRAX vocalist Katon W. De Pena comments on the making of their new music video for “Hellion Rising” from the album Immortal Legacy:

“The new HIRAX video “Hellion Rising” is a visual thrash metal experience. We filmed on location in the historic Battery Bunkers built in 1942 hidden in the hills of San Pedro, California.  This is our second video directed and produced by Donovan Vim Crony. The scenery is the perfect backdrop for HIRAX’s brand of intense thrash metal.  No green scenes, fake production or props were used in the making of this high definition video / film. The release will coincide with the announcement of our upcoming European tour / concert dates 2015.  We are very excited to hit the road again and play our music for all the die hard, European, thrash metal maniacs!”

HIRAX European Tour Dates 2015

13.03. UK-Gwynedd – Hammerfest Festival
14.03. UK-Glasgow – Ivory Blacks
15.03. UK-Birmingham – Asylum 2
16.03. UK-Manchester – Sound Control
17.03. UK-Winchester – Railway Inn
18.03. UK-London – Black Heart Camden
19.03. B-Deinze – Elpee
20.03. NL-Tilburg – Little Devil
21.03. NL-Katwijk – Scum
24.03. E-Zaragoza – Sala Utopia
26.03. E-Madrid – Sala Lemon
27.03. E-Palencia – At Mosh Phera Zero
28.03. E-Granada – La Petite
30.03. F-Toulouse – Les Pavillions Sauvages
03.04. I-Milan – Blue Rose Saloon
04.04. SVK-Bratislava – Randal Club
05.04. D-Hamburg – Bambi Galore

09.07. CZ-Trutnov – Obscene Extreme Festival
10.07. PL-Zori – Ozi Pub
11.07. PL-Gdynia – Atlantic Club
12.07. PL-Szczecin – Slowianin Club
13.07. PL-Warsaw – Progressja
14.07. D-Berlin – SO36
16.07. SVK-Kosice – Colliseum Club
17.07. CZ-Pohori – Agressive Fest
18.07. D-Balingen – Bang Your Head Festival
19.07. D-Egelsee – Schwarzer Adler
20.07. CH-Olton – Coq d`Or
21.07. SLO-Tolmin – Metal Days Festival
22.07. A-Dornbirn – Conrad Sohm
23.07. D-Kassel – K19
24.07. D-Brande/Hörnerkirchen – Headbangers Open Air
25.07. NL-Steenwijk – Stonehenge Festival
26.07. B-Ostend – JH Ohk

The latest studio album “Immortal Legacy” is out now worldwide SPV/Steamhammer.  The album is available for purchase from Amazon and iTunes.

For More Info Visit:
http://www.hirax.org
https://www.facebook.com/hiraxthrashmetal
https://www.facebook.com/steamhammerofficial

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BLACKWELDER Announce Album Title And Release Date

January 30th, 2015
by Celtic Bob

BlackwelderBand2015-600x409

International power prog metal band BLACKWELDER have announced “Survival Of The Fittest” as the title of their upcoming debut album, due to be released on April 24, 2015 via German label GoldenCore Records/ZYX Music.

Hailing from the four corners of the world, BLACKWELDER is a brand new metal experience featuring some of the top names in Power Prog Metal today. Arguably the best singer in all of metal, Ralf Scheepers (PRIMAL FEAR, ex-GAMMA RAY) fronts this extraordinary outfit at the top of his game, alongside guitar virtuoso Andrew Szus (SEVEN SERAPHIM). Bjorn Englen (DIO DISCIPLES, ex-YNGWIE MALMSTEEN) and Aquiles Priester (PRIMAL FEAR, ex-ANGRA) round out this unstoppable team of what quite possibly could be one of the greatest lineups metal has ever seen.

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Drum Legends Carmine & Vinny Appice Release New ‘Drum Wars Live’ Video – “Stand Up And Shout!”

January 30th, 2015
by Celtic Bob

Drum Wars med res

Drummers and music fans worldwide are buzzing with excitement about the new live CD track and music video by drum legends, brothers, Carmine & Vinny Appice, titled “Stand Up And Shout!” Drumming demi-gods Carmine & Vinny Appice have both had extraordinary careers behind the drum kit, beginning with Carmine’s tenure in such legendary classic rock bands as Vanilla Fudge and Cactus as well as supporting stints with Rod Stewart and Ozzy Osbourne. Meanwhile, younger brother Vinny made his name as a metal drummer for monster acts such as Dio, Black Sabbath and Heaven & Hell.

Check out the new video here: http://youtu.be/pVzzh4MDeok

Recently, these two drum virtuosos have been wowing audiences with their own rock show called “Drum Wars”, featuring not only the hits of their associated bands but also a thrilling series of solos that pit them against each other like the Gene Krupa/Buddy Rich drum battles of yore. Fortunately for us mere mortals, this unique concert experience was recorded in June 2014 at the Iridium in New York and is now available on CD courtesy of Deadline Music and Rocker Records. Along with Carmine and Vinny, the ‘Drum Wars Live’ CD features Jim Crean, Ethan Brosh and James Caputo!

“After a bunch of friends and fans gave us a bunch of footage and photos from our ‘Drum Wars’ shows we decided to put together a video from our live CD. The ‘Stand Up And Shout’ video is a good representation of what ‘Drum Wars’ is – a kick-ass show!” – Carmine Appice

Here’s what’s being said about the new video:

“A full force drum battle complete with showmanship, sight gags, musicianship, power and sibling rivalry, captured on video.” – Radio Chick. Talk show host NYC

“STAND UP AND SHOUT. Powerful and relentlessly appealing! A Metal Anthem with overtones of DIO and Cactus from two of the most powerful drummers in the world.” – Allan Handelman, Show and Syndicated Show “Rock Talk”. www.ifitrocks.com

“Stand for Vinnie… Shout for Carmine… Drum Wars thunders with double the power and double the punch! Drum Wars battles through the legendary drumming brothers’ catalog and rocks you with shock and awe!” – A.J. Fritz Host of Fritzrocks WLVR FM

“This percussive pair will pulverize you with their paradiddles during Drum Wars on stage and on CD. Experience it while you can!”  –  On The Air & In The Wind, Fingers

“Drum Wars is a quick, fun listen that freshens riffs and energizes lyrics while keeping the songs relevant and fast paced. It’s an easy beginning to end listen.”  – Orlando Mornings 943 The Shark,  Brian Orlando, Morning Show Host 943 The Shark

For those unsure of their ability to withstand the aural assault that the Appice brothers bring, a free downloadable track from the album has been made available on the Rocker Records website. Visit here: http://rockerrecords.bandcamp.com/

“When me and Vinny play together we push each other to our limits. Either while drum battling or playing great songs from our history on this CD, while backed up with a great band behind us!” – Carmine Appice

“A CD of great music and drums that punch with power and energy.” – Vinny Appice

More ‘Drum Wars Live’ tour dates are currently in the works for March and beyond. Also, coinciding with the ‘Drum Wars Live’ CD release was a series of European shows featuring both Carmine & Vinny performing alongside a jaw-dropping list of metal vocalists and musicians. Dubbed the Metal All-Stars, this year’s crop includes Geoff Tate formerly of Queensrÿche, Dave Ellefson of Megadeth, James LaBrie of Dream Theater, and lots more!! For details, visit:
http://www.metalallstars.com/

This January, Vinny Appice will be embarking on the Extreme Guitar 2015 North American Tour featuring Uli Jon Roth, Vinnie Moore, Craig Goldy, Elliott Rubinson, Vinny Appice, Mark Boals!

Extreme Guitar 2015 North American Tour Dates
Jan 21 Ramona, CA
Jan 22 Anaheim, CA
Jan 23 Hollywood, CA
Jan 24 Las Vegas, NV
Jan 25 San Jose, CA
Jan 26 Portland, OR
Jan 27 Seattle, WA
Jan 29 Moorehead, MN
Jan 30 Spring Lake Park, MN
Jan 31 St Charles, IL
Feb 01 Chicago, IL
Feb 02 Detroit, MI
Feb 03 Toronto, ON
Feb 04 Cleveland, OH
Feb 05 Hartford, CT
Feb 06 Londonderry, NH
Feb 07 Pougkeepsie, NY
Feb 08 New York, NY
Feb 09 Springfield, VA

For more information:
www.vinnyappice.com
www.drumwars.com

www.carmineappice.com
www.drumwars.com
www.cactusrocks.net
www.therodexperience.com

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ROB ZOMBIE Added To Loudwire Music Festival

January 30th, 2015
by Celtic Bob

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LOUDWIRE MUSIC FESTIVAL continues to grow the line-up for the inaugural three day, multi-stage rock festival with the addition of seven-time GRAMMY® Award-nominated rock legend, visionary filmmaker, and author Rob Zombie and alt-rock heroes Weezer as festival headliners.

The two bands join previously announced headliner, GRAMMY® Award-winning and multi-platinum band, Linkin Park on the bill for the Friday, June 26, Saturday, June 27 and Sunday, June 28 festival at Jam Ranch in Grand Junction, CO. In addition, A Day To Remember, Halestorm, and Hinder have been added to the festival bill, with the full lineup to be announced in the coming weeks.

Zombie will take a break from producing his next feature film 31 to bring his raw live show, which will feature an arsenal of incendiary, infectious classics like “Dragula,” as well as the Top 10 Active Rock single “Dead City Radio and The New Gods of Super Town” off his most recent solo album release, Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor. Arena-filling megastars, Weezer–Rivers Cuomo (vocals/guitar), Patrick Wilson (drums), Brian Bell (guitar), and Scott Shriner (bass)–will perform tracks from their recently released ninth studio album, Everything Will Be Alright in the End, and a collection of hits from their 20-year catalog to the festival.

In addition, A Day To Remember, the Ocala, Florida band who’ve grown into a worldwide phenomenon since their formation in 2003 will join GRAMMY®-winning band Halestorm, who will be releasing their massively anticipated new album INTO THE WILD LIFE on April 7, and multi-platinum Oklahoma City, hard rockers Hinder, on the festival bill.

Says Lzzy Hale, lead vocalist and guitarist of Halestorm, “The boys and I are so stoked to be coming to Colorado for Loudwire Music Festival! This is one of the events we are looking forward to the most this summer! Prepare yourself for some crazy new tunes and your faces to be melted into your shoes!”

Produced by Townsquare Media, Inc., owners of Loudwire.com, one of the leading websites in the rock world, the inaugural LOUDWIRE MUSIC FESTIVAL will feature some of the world’s greatest rock bands from all genres of rock–hard, classic, alternative, metal and indie–performing across three stages with the goal to create the most dynamic, interesting and fun rock music festival in the West.

A variety of ticketing and camping options are on sale for festival-goers. Camping scenarios include a fully immersive weekend with the festival’s on-site camping selections ranging from standard (within walking distance to the festival grounds) starting at $95 to premier (the closest camping to the festival grounds) and VIP (campgrounds for VIP ticket holders only, close to festival grounds) starting at $180.

Weekend ticketing options include General Admission passes for $79, Reserved Seating starts at $225 and the VIP Seating & Experience packages begin at $400. Additional festival information, including all ticketing and camping options, can be found here. Stay connected with up-to-date information on the LOUDWIRE MUSIC FESTIVAL by following on Facebook or @LoudwireFest on Twitter. Cheat Tweets: @LoudwireFest announces addition of @RobZombie, @Weezer & more #LoudwireFest

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SABATON w. Delain, Battle Beast Aura and Roadkill Soda – Jan 27th, 2015 Bucharest, Romania

January 29th, 2015
by Metal Rules

Sabaton, Delain, Battle Beast, Aura, RoadKill Soda

Bucharest, Romania
27.01.2015

Reporter: Anamaria Carla Ionita

(Please note: There were some last minute issues with access to the photo pit. )

Sabaton: Bucharest, Romania; 27.01.2015

Sabaton: Bucharest, Romania; 27.01.2015

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Interview with Justin, guitarist of Zephaniah

January 28th, 2015
by J P

Interview with Justin, guitarist of Zephaniah

by JP

ZEPHANIAH logo 600 x 600

Tell us a bit about the formation of the first incarnation of the band 10 years ago.
Well we were a bunch of teenagers that wanted to play music. Eventually through our influences and lineup changes we ended up a power thrash band. Our early years, most of our songs sounded like Manowar meets Iron Maiden rip-offs. Songs like “Deep Breath” and “Fight For Love” came from the first year. In 2004, I formed the band with none of the members we have now haha, We actually started as a 4 piece (Singer, drummer, guitarist, bass). After we recorded a rough demo, we required a second guitarist. After a year of lineup changes and losing our vocalist, Logan joined the band on vocals and Ian on Bass. And then a year after that, our drummer and second guitarist quit the band right before we had enough material to record an album. Ian moved to drums and we got Tyler Sumwalt on bass and Tyson Miller on guitar. And that was our most solid lineup and the lineup we had on “Stories from the Book of Metal”.
What does Zephaniah mean exactly?
Zephaniah has a latin meaning of “Spirit of the Wind”. We learned that after we chose the name, haha.
What was your motivation to reform the band? 
We had several promoters asking us to do some reunion shows. We tried to pull the original group together but due to some personal differences that still lingered, we were unable to do that. We got two new members that were motivated and we all had jammed with before. We knew they could handle the technical aspects of the music as well as bring an awesome show to the fans. That inspired us to completely reform and go into the studio to record our upcoming second album.
ZEPHANIAH band pic 600 x 600
The band took a hiatus and had some line-up changes.  How has this strengthened and re-invigorated the band?
We have the best lineup we have ever had. No bad personalities and extremely talented musicians.
Is the title of your debut album STORIES FROM THE BOOK OF METAL  a nod or tribute to the Dream Evil album, THE BOOK OF HEAVY METAL, or just coincidence?
Pure coincidence. When we put the album out, None have us had ever heard that album until after we released ours haha.
ZEPHANIAH - SFTBOM cd cover 600 x 600
 
Do you feel there has been an evolution in the bands sound or style?
Yes there has been. We have always been a power thrash band, but we have gotten a bit more progressive and definitely a bit faster. The catchiness and classical elements are still there but we are not afraid to try new things. Not the “lets make a pop hit” type new things and not try it. We always try to make our songs more exciting and push our listeners ear to the next level as well as keep that melody left in your head after you hear the song.
Do you plan to reissue the debut album or is it still available for fans?  Where can they get it?
We have reissued it once already and we are almost sold out of them, so we will definitely reissue them again. They can get it from our online merch store (http://www.zephaniah.bigcartel.com/) and at any of our upcoming shows.
What can you tell us about the upcoming album?  Title?  Some song titles?  A theme perhaps?
“Reforged” is the name of the album. It will be our follow-up to our first album. It will be twice as good and faster than our first album. Expect some technical awesomeness! I will explain some of the songs to you, song by song: The title track “Reforged” is a power thrash metal anthem basically explaining our reformation in a classic Dungeons and dragons way. “Quest for the Royal Crown” is a song, written by Tyler Sumwalt, our old bassist and myself. It has some of our old writing styles as well as some raw technical aspects we were getting into. It is a 10 minute epic of pure metal! We have a trilogy of thrash metal songs that we wrote together. They are called “Mad Max”, “Road Warrior” and “Thunderdome”. I think you get the idea of what those songs are about. Those are probably my favorite songs on the album so far.
ZEPHANIAH - Reforged cd cover 600 x 600
Do you plan to shop the album around for a label deal or remain independent? 
Yes we plan to shop the album around.
For our gear heads out there what kind of set up do you guys use.  A recording studio?  A home studio?    Any special pieces of gear that you rely on to capture your sound?
We have been recording with a pro-tools setup at our good friend and fellow musician Ron Daniel (From the band Viking). Honestly, it has been super great for us to record in a very relaxed environment. Unfortunately all I know is that we use computer magic to make us sound amazing haha
Besides the classic bands we all know and love, what exciting new bands are you drawing inspiration from these days or are excited to watch out for? I listen to a lot of bands so it is hard for me to choose some great new ones that are appearing out there. DragonForce’s new album is kickass, New Carcass, New Overkill, they all kick ass. Their are so many new albums coming out from new and old bands that kick ass!
ZEPHANIAH live - Justin Zych
To wrap up, what is the timeline for new material and when can we expect to see you guys shooting a video, or touring?
We will have an album out this year for sure. We hope to shoot a video, and we will be touring around the USA. So pay attention to our website www.zephaniahband.com for the upcoming shows.

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