About 5 years ago, vocalist/guitaris Justin Sane from Anti Flag was playing a few solo gigs in Finland and I had the chance to interview him. Unfortunately, the recorder wasn’t on during the 60min talk I had with him, so that great interview got lost and this has haunted me over these 5 years. Cut back to November of 2015, Anti Flag comes to play in Helsinki, and I knew that this time I couldn’t fail. However, this time Justin Sane was unavailable to do an interview, but I was lucky enough to talk with drummer Pat Thetic, who alongside Justin Sane, formed Anti Flag in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the late 80’s. It was a conversation that touched upon a variety of topics, from music to politics to nostalgia to the band’s future, and luckily this time there weren’t any technical problems.
Interview by Petri da Costa
Let’s start talking about the latest record, “American Spring”, which was released early this year. The first thing I noticed was that this was a longer record than the previous one, “The General Strike”, which had a more ’direct approach’ and had less songs. So what was the band’s approach when making this new record?
Well, the interesting thing about Anti Flag’s records and the number of songs is that we usually record 20 to 22 songs, or we at least write them. Then, depending on how many we like in the end are the ones which make it to record. So there are more songs that were written that never made it to both of these records, but we just felt that the previous record was more of a aggressive and direct to the point. In this new record we were taking more a ‘bigger look at things’ and we brought in different people, so it changed the flavor of the record a little bit.
So it wasn’t a planned thing to be a longer record?
No, it wasn’t planned. It was just the songs were a little slower, which makes them a bit longer, less beats per minute. There’s a little bit more…not necessarily ‘creativity’ but more space for different things on this record than on the previous one.
I noticed as well that there’s a more melodic sound overall. Were there different influences on making this record?
What there was is that we worked with a man called Kenny Carkeet, who is an band called Awolnation, and his producing partner Jim Kaufman. They are both very talented, very melodic people. They are both well versed in Anti Flag punk rock, but they bring a different flavor to what we do. That’s why there’s more melody. The last two records before “American Spring”, we recorded in our practice room ourselves, so we weren’t looking for anybody else’s input, we were just looking to get something out. Not in the sense of just get out, but in the sense to release what was inside of us, that we needed to express this stuff. In this new one were like ‘Okay, let’s experiment a bit more, let’s be open to a little more than the last two records’.
The other change was the label. You guys signed with Spinefarm Records, which is more known for signing metal bands. So how did this partnership with Spinefarm came up?
Well, we have no loyalties to record companies. I’m not a big fan of record companies, I own a record company, and they are not what’s important to me. Some people are like ‘Oh, we wanna be on this record label because it represents something’. We’ve never been like that. We have a vision, the record company just comes along with us to express our vision. So we were just looking for someone new to help us and get the record out. Spinefarm came into the equation and had some really interesting ideas on how they wanted to release the record and spoke to a different group of people that we traditionally speak to, so we said ‘Yes, let’s give it a shot’.
Talking a bit about the lyrics, nowadays there’s this overload of information coming from all sides and different sources, everything happens quickly. A person can know what’s going on in their country or around the globe instantly, so how all this impact the band’s lyrics? Do you try to stay current when writing lyrics or do you write based on something that has influenced you guys personally or how do you approach the lyrics?
Well, being human beings we are current on what’s happening in the world just because it’s what interest us. I was just in the back reading about the Turks shooting down the Russian plane, and all that stuff is interesting to us. So we are being exposed to these ideas all the time, whether they’ll boil down to an idea that then becomes a song you never know. As most people are, we are consumers of information, political information, and it doesn’t matter whether is coming to us second by second or over time. It takes a little bit of time for those ideas to ultimately solidify into something that we wanna express through a song.
The other thing you guys have been doing for a long time now is putting the topics about the lyrics, information about what the lyrics are about, which I think it’s a great idea. So how important is that? Is this as important as the songs themselves? I mean, you guys put a lot of effort into this.
Yeah, we put a lot of effort in this. It’s all important to us. Nobody cares about the band unless they like the songs. Anti Flag has always being about creating art that talks about things from a perspective that is not necessarily a given. So that information that we put in the liner notes is very important to us because we think that there are other ideas out there that a lot of people don’t have access to, and this is a way giving people access to other ideas. When we were young, every record we got out had that type of stuff that said ‘Hey, you might wanna check these things’. But we got away from it because of the 2000’s internet revolution, we felt that people didn’t need us to tell them where to find this information. What we have learned over the last couple of years is that just because you have access to information, doesn’t mean you know where to find it. What we were trying to do is say ‘Hey, if you feel this way, these are places you might be interested in checking out and this is where you can find more information about these topics’. So yeah, it’s very important to us because we think that people are being lied to every day and we wanna give them places to find information that might be more truthful.
Let’s talk about the current tour. How’s this European tour been so far?
It’s been great. We were just actually talking about this song that we have, “Brandenburg Gate”, which talks about the Brandenburg Gate in Germany which was in sort of no man’s land between East and West Germany. So that idea of this monument that was in Berlin and then go to Moscow and play this song and have kids singing about it…you know, because that was when US and Russian were enemies, and then to sing a song about that in Moscow and have kids singing along was great. This song is about freedom and understanding beyond the national bullshit of Putin and Obama or Khrushchev and Kennedy. So to be able to break down these barriers and to play a song like that in Moscow was pretty intense for us, and very important to me. So, the question was how’s the tour going. It’s going very well. [laughs]
You also played couple of gigs in France a few days after the attacks. A lot of bands were at that time cancelling their European tours or gigs in France because they were concerned about security. Did this thought of cancelling gigs came to your mind?
Absolutely. Our question was not about security because that’s less of our concern. Our concern was more about ‘Are we offending the French people?’. We didn’t want to be seen as not understanding that this was a horrible thing and that people might not want to hear a punk rock song. But we talked to all the promoters and talked to the kids at the shows and they said ‘Thank you for coming, because we can’t stop our lives because shitty people do shitty things’. So we were very happy to go to France. Yeah, there was more security than usually at a rock show. I don’t like security in general, I think it makes people feel afraid, but sometimes you have to do that, sometimes that happens. But I’m a firm believer that people can control themselves in most situations, expect when you have extreme shitheads who wanna take guns and blow people up.
How was the mood in these gigs? Was it tense or how did you see this whole situation?
I think people at first, at each show, were afraid. We played outside of Paris, about an hour outside of Paris and kids knew a lot of people who were at that show. We played in Toulouse, and a lot of kids go to Paris for shows, so they knew these people, they have been to that club. There was a bit of heaviness. I think that as the show went on, people relaxed and realized that for that hour they could enjoy the experience.
After this European tour, Anti Flag is going again on tour next February-March. Any other gigs planned besides that, maybe for summer?
Well, that stuff is coming together now. Yeah, we’ll be back at some point next year to play more shows and more festivals. I don’t know what they are yet, but we’ll be back.
Nowadays many bands are pretty much living on the road. They are concentrating more on touring instead of making records…
Yes, there’s no money making records right now.
So, has this somehow affected you guys or not? I know that you guys are constantly touring and making records too, but how do you see this situation?
The sad realistic thing about Anti Flag is that we’ll be on tour whether is good for us or not, coz that’s what we do. [laughs] We are addicted to being in a room full of people who makes sense to us. When we go home, sometimes the people around us don’t make any sense. We are in a very lucky position that when we play shows, every night there’s hundreds to couple thousand people who have similar beliefs and believe that things can be different than what they are now. The homophobia, the bigotry is left at the door and people at the shows are there to celebrate the fact that we all found each other. All the fuck ups and weirdos have found each other here. So that’s an important thing for us, so we’ll be playing shows whether makes sense or not. Recording records is just a way for us to play live shows. [laughs]
But you rather be on the road or making new songs?
For me…I hate recording. Recording is not interesting to me, playing live is interesting to me. The other guys like the recording process much more than I do. If you actually talk to them, they’d be like ‘Yeah, I’d love to stay home and make records’. I’m like ‘Fuck that, I’m not staying home and making records’. [laughs] So yeah, it’s different. Anti Flag is at its best when we are playing live shows with people who, again, believe that homophobia and bigotry is an outdated and backwards vision of the world, and that they wanna a world where everybody is free to make choices that are in their best interest.
Talking about another current thing happening with a lot of bands nowadays is playing a certain record in its entirety. You have done that, playing the whole “The Terror State”, but is there any plans for next year when “Die for the Government” turns 20 years?
Yeah, we’ve been talking about it. Not interesting to me, but the other guys are interested in doing. [laughs] So we’ll see, I’m sure we’ll do it at some point. There are a couple of songs on “Die for the Government” that I don’t wanna play just because they are hard to play or it’s a challenge. Yeah, it’ll probably happen at some point next year.
What do you think about this, because it seems that there’s a lot of nostalgia going among bands and in music?
Yeah, absolutely…I do think that there’s a lot of bullshit nostalgia, but people wanna hear those records and it makes them happy. Again, you are asking the wrong guy in the band about it. [laughs] I’m not interested in that stuff as much as the others, I’m a bit of a dick. But if it gets the kid who 10 years ago or 20 years ago loved this record, who hasn’t been to a show in 10 years, but brings him to the show and reaffirms to him why he loved that music at that point, and reaffirms that there are people who, again, think that wars of aggression are a mess, as we are seeing it in the Middle East, and that maybe going to his job and just being a shitty person to everybody else around him is not the best way to live. So if he comes to a rock show to experience something that he hasn’t experienced for a long time, then I think it’s a good thing, I accept that. I mean, it doesn’t have to be an Anti Flag show, every band is doing something like that now. If that brings back those people back into a room full of other fuck ups and weirdos for an hour, and gives them a different perspective on where he is in life, then I think that’s a good thing. Having said that, fuck those people who do these gigs, including us. [laughs] Playing a record from top to bottom, yeah that’s not interesting to me. [laughs]
The other thing I wanted to ask, you guys had organized a couple of years your own festival. Is there a chance for that to happen again?
Yeah, we’d like to do that again. It’s just finding the right city and the right time when we can get not only us, but that bands that we’d love to put together. It’s a logistical challenge to put all that together, but yeah we’d love that. We wanna do a festival in Pittsburgh, where we grew up, at some point, but it’s just hard to do all that and to be on tour at the same time.
Anti Flag has been active for over 20 years, do you look back on old lyrics and think the situation is the same, for example, when the song Free Nation? was written? Do you feel that it still resonates with you?
Yes, absolutely. People say that song is a criticism…you know, one of our musical heroes is a man called Woody Guthrie, who’s a folk artist in US, and when I read his lyrics, he was talking about immigration issues, but the immigration issues he was talking about were between Oklahoma and California, not about US and Mexico, or Syria and Western Europe. So the ideas are the same and they need to be talked about it, the details are always going to be changing, they are gonna be slightly different here and there, but those ideas of freedom, justice and people being taken care of, are universal and they need to be heard. They just have to be in different packages, from different types of bands or artists, but these are themes should be talked about all the time because they are continuously going on. So those songs are still important.
Well, you also have in a lot of songs a message of hope. Since you have been travelling around the world with Anti Flag for so many years, visiting places and talking to different people, how do you see this change over these past years, do you see a change for better?
I see in different places different things. We are very lucky because we interact with the best people in each city, people who are making things happens, who are trying to make a change, people who are trying to be different than their backward parents or the people around them. So we always feel optimistic because we go to Moscow and meet the greatest people there. We go to Thailand and meet the best people there. We are not meeting the people who are afraid of immigrants or the people that think they need whatever ridiculous backward beliefs that each of these cultures have. We are meeting the people who are striving for change and making things better, so we are always very hopeful. Actually our bus driver was telling us the other day, and he’s an older gentleman at this point, he said ‘There’s no way that any politician is every gonna get me to grab a riffle and go after any country coz I got friends in all the places that I’ve been’. That’s our experience as well. Now, politicians are very skilled at manipulating people into fighting, killing and dying for them, but we are amazingly lucky people to be able to travel around and meet great people in many different cities.
Talking about the band’s long history, you released between 2013 and 2014 a series of re-recorded songs from the band’s back catalogue. How was the experience revisiting some of these older songs and playing them again in the studio?
It was funny because in some ways, what we were trying to do was to take a song that had something very important to us and make it able to be played live. Take out all the things that made it frustrating to us and make it into something that we could love. In some situations it worked and in some it didn’t, and there were some songs that we played acoustic. It was a weird experience to go back and play some of those songs, coz some of them are great songs with great ideas but we just didn’t like the outcome of it. We wanted to give to those songs a rebirth, not just to us but to other people who might get why these songs were important to us, but just didn’t quiet get where it needed to be.
How did you decide the songs? Did everybody had a vote or how was it?
We talked about it. It wasn’t a formal vote, we just talked about these songs, like ‘I hate the way I did this and that, let’s change that. Oh, this song has a great idea, but we didn’t get it right, maybe if we did an acoust version of it would make more sense’. It was a weird situation. [laughs]
Were there more songs that you re-recorded but just haven’t been released yet?
I don’t know about that. That was a couple of years ago, so I can’t remember that. We probably have more songs that may come into light someday.
Any plans for maybe a DVD about the band, like a documentary to celebrate also these 20 years?
We actually just gave to some kids all of our video footage for them to put together a DVD. So we’ll see what comes out of that. We haven’t seen any cuts or anything. We had boxes and boxes of VHS tapes and DV tapes and stuff, all from us over these years. If they can make something cool out of it, then we’ll definitely release it. Hopefully it’ll be interesting, I don’t know, I’m sort of looking forward to see it because you film stuff and then you just put in a box somewhere and you never look at it. So these guys’ job is to look at it and find something interesting and put it together.
So no ideas of when that’s going to come out?
No idea. It might be complete crap and never come out, yeah that’s fucking boring, that’s not worth anybody’s time. [laughs]
Any confirmed plans for the band for 2016?
We’ll just play more shows and then probably late 2016 or early 2017, we’ll start thinking about what we wanna talk about and whether we wanna release another record, are we inspired enough to express something. At this point, Anti Flag doesn’t need to record more records, but if we feel passionate about some stuff that we wanna talk about, then we’ll release a record.
Has the thought of calling it a day come up among you guys or it never has?
If it’s just the four of us, we’ll do it forever. Obviously, if there’s family preasure for all of us to do other things…coz it’s very difficult when you are in relationships with people and you are away for 6 months of the year, so that makes people at home very unhappy. So that’s always the friction, but it’s very important to us to play music and to travel around and meet people. If we can keep our home lives able to tolerate that, then we’ll continue to do it. [laughs]
Well, thanks a lot for the interview!
Thank you too, hopefully this one doesn’t get lost. [laughs]
For them regulars amongst you, it’s in the same format as 2 Minutes to Midnight: An Iron Maiden Day-by-Day and Steal Away the Night: An Ozzy Osbourne Day-by-Day, namely timeline with quotes, blow-by-blow of all the mania that is Motley.
Note – I have copies I can sell and ship now, but it’s not at my website yet. This is the same info that will be there in about ten days…
I’ve interviewed all these guys repeatedly over the years, and so most of this is fresh material never seen, along with page after sumptuous page of top-shelf photography.
Here’s an adaptation of the original proposal:
Kickstart My Heart: A Mötley Crüe Day-by-Day is a resounding addition to what has been a pronounced lack of books on Motley Crue since the band’s celebrated and best-selling autobiography The Dirt back in 2001.
Although there have been individual band member biographies since then, few have offered much in the way of substantive chronological information, tour trivia, a record of the band’s many accolades, or, indeed, much on the Crüe’s smash songs and albums themselves.
Essentially, bottom line, there’s been very little generated, other than thin volumes from long ago, written by anybody other than the band themselves. Kickstart My Heart: A Mötley Crüe Day-by-Day aims to rectify that gap in the knowledge, with celebrated metal expert (and three-time Backbeat author) Martin Popoff plotting the chaotic 30+ year run of rock’s most notorious bad boys. The drugs, the booze, the rehabs, the serial wives, the deaths and near deaths, the feuds, and ultimately a level of redemption and establishment in the hallowed book of classic rock… it’s all here in explosive color and more explosive and shocking textual revelation.
Mötley Crüe, with six platinum and multi-platinum albums, as well as a handful of golds, is perhaps the biggest and last of the “under-booked” band in all of rock. And such a phenomenon calls for action, given the millions of Crue fans who grew up with such hits as “Shout at the Devil,” Looks That Kill,” Too Young to Fall in Love,” “Home Sweet Home,” “Girls, Girls, Girls,” “Same Ol’ Situation” and namesake of this high volume volume, “Kickstart My Heart.” The band’s tours are legendary for their bombast and excess, and Vince Neil, Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars and Tommy Lee are each, to a man, pop culture icons whose lives have been loaded with headline-grabbing drama since the band hit the Strip running in 1980.
Kickstart My Heart: A Mötley Crüe Day-by-Day aims to be a momentous addition to Mötley scholarship—and the first major book on the band in 15 years. Adding to the considerable textual substance of the tome (which leaves no Crüe-related scrap of trivia unearthed) is a running oral history of the band, making use of Popoff’s extensive interview material with the band as well as some available press, augmented by an explosion of garish imagery culled from Mötley’s record sleeves, live shows, passes, tickets, ads and memorabilia. Indeed, the Crüe’s apocalyptic fashion sense and pyro-charged live shows makes for some of the most shocking visuals in the heavy metal business, a happenstance that makes each page of this book explode with lurid sleaze rock color.
I know it’s a little pricey, but they cost a lot to buy from the publisher (exchange, shipping, customs) and I am mailing from Canada and they are big heavy books. And I’m signing ‘em, obviously, if that means anything to you!
Price including shipping:
US orders: $44.00 US funds
Int’l orders (all books go air): $59.00 US funds
Canadian orders: $55.00 Cdn. funds
PayPal happily accepted. Ask me if you’d like a PayPal invoice (please indicate what country you are in), or just do yer usual and direct funds to email@example.com
Sweet postage savings to be had for multiple orders (or two of pretty much anything—long story, ask me!), especially for US orders.
Or mail payment (personal check in US funds, cash, or INTERNATIONAL money order), to:
P.O. Box 65208, 358 Danforth Ave.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4K 2Z2
The Dead Daisies are an Australian-American rock band formed by guitarist David Lowy in 2012 in Sydney, Australia. Although the band is still relatively new, they already toured the world with names such as ZZ Top, Aerosmith, KISS and Whitesnake with whom they arrived for the first time in Finland with this November. The band’s name might not be very familiar to many, but it surely helps that Lowy has put together a band of prominent and well-known musicians. The band’s current line-up consists of Marco Mendoza (Whitesnake, Blue Murder, Thin Lizzy), John Corabi (Mötley Crüe, Union, Ratt), Brian Tichy (Billy Idol, Whitesnake, Pride & Glory) and Richard Fortus and Dizzy Reed from Guns’n Roses. I met a cheerful Mendoza and Corabi in Ice Hall’s cafe just before the band’s first ever gig in Helsinki. And here is a summary of what they had to tell about the Dead Daisies’ new album REVOLUCION and much more…
Legendary band URIAH HEEP was formed in 1969 and still actively tours the world today. This release re-brands a previously released obscure re-recordings anthology as TOTALLY DRIVEN. The album features 27 re-recordings made in 2001 including the HITS Lady in Black, July Morning and Easy Livin’.
This album features the band’s longest running line-up of MICK BOX, LEE KERSLAKE, PHIL LANZON, BERNIE SHAW and the late TREVOR BOLDER. This release is the first on the band’s own URIAH HEEP RECORDS.
Of the release, Mick Box said “The ‘Totally Driven’ recordings were made while we were in preparation for the ‘Acoustically Driven’ and ‘Electrically Driven’ concerts. Previously these 2001 recordings were released under the confusing name ‘Remasters’, but that title went out of print very quickly. This re-release has had the band’s full input, including in its re-branding as ‘Totally Driven’ and will be the very first release on our own Uriah Heep Records. ‘Appy Days!”
Totally Driven is housed in a 6 panel digi-pack with new custom artwork by Igor Morski.
2. TRAVELLER IN TIME
3. BIRD OF PREY
6. COME AWAY MELINDA
7. RETURN TO FANTASY
8. LOOK AT YOURSELF
9. COME BACK TO ME
10. THE EASY ROAD
11. SWEET FREEDOM
12. WHY DID YOU GO?
13. JULY MORNING
14. EASY LIVIN’
1. BETWEEN TWO WORLDS
2. ONLY THE YOUNG
3. DIFFERENT WORLD
4. LOVE IN SILENCE
5. BLIND EYE
8. TIME OF REVELATION
9. CROSS THAT LINE
10. MORE FOOL YOU
11. UNIVERSAL WHEELS
12. THE GOLDEN PALACE
13. LADY IN BLACK
EUROPE’s brand new War of Kings Special Edition, including their “Live At Wacken 2015” DVD & BluRay, is available today via Hell & Back Recordings/UDR Music! You can order your copy via iTunes for the special edition album or Amazon for the CD + DVD/BluRay.
The set is available in three formats (2-disc Ecolbook CD+DVD, 2-disc Ecolbook CD+ BluRay, Limited Edition Deluxe Package with War of Kings CD + DVD + BluRay and Photobook), and an audio-only edition of the Wacken 2015 performance is available via digital format.
CD Track Listings:
1. WAR OF KINGS
2. HOLE IN MY POCKET
3. THE 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 IT UP
12. VASASTAN (Instrumental)
DVD & BluRay Track Listings:
1. WAR OF KINGS
2. HOLE IN MY POCKET
4. SCREAM OF ANGER
5. LAST LOOK AT EDEN
6. SECOND DAY
8. SIGN OF THE TIMES
9. PRAISE YOU
10. THE BEAST
11. READY OR NOT
12. GIRL FROM LEBANON
13. NOTHIN’ TO YA
14. LET THE GOOD TIMES ROCK
15. ROCK THE NIGHT
16. DAYS OF ROCK ‘N’ ROLL
17. THE FINAL COUNTDOWN
EUROPE recently announced their War of Kings U.S. Tour 2016! The tour begins in San Jose, CA on January 19th and hits 16 cities, coming to a close in Atlanta, GA on February 6th. See below for all current tour dates – tickets are on sale now via all major ticketing sites or www.europetheband.com.
EUROPE WAR OF KINGS U.S. TOUR DATES:
1/19/2016 – San Jose, CA @ Rockbar Theater
1/20/2016 – Anaheim, CA @ The Grove
1/22/2016 – Los Angeles, CA @ Saban Theater
1/23/2016 – Las Vegas, NV @ Hard Rock Live
1/24/2016 – San Diego, CA @ Music Box Theater
1/25/2016 – Chandler, AZ @ Wild Horse Pass Casino
1/27/2016 – Lawrence, KS @ The Granada Theater
1/28/2016 – Sioux Falls, SD @ Badlands Pawn
1/29/2016 – Shawnee, OK @ The Grand Events Ctr
1/30/2016 – Dallas, TX @ House of Blues
1/31/2016 – Houston, TX @ House of Blues
2/2/2016 – Fort Lauderdale, FL @ Revolution
2/3/2016 – St. Petersburg, FL @ The Concert Courtyard @ Ferg’s
2/4/2016 – Lake Buena Vista, FL @ House of Blues
2/5/2016 – Biloxi, MS @ Hard Rock Casino
2/6/2016 – Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
EUROPE’s place as a legendary hard 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”), 2015’s War of Kings has seen them take full advantage of the global groundwork EUROPE have keenly re-established over the last few years.
RON MAIDEN and the award-winning Japanese electronics company ONKYO Corporation are delighted to announce the launch of their unique on-ear headphones.
The ED-PH0N3S have been specially designed to provide fans of IRON MAIDEN, rock and heavy metal the ultimate way to hear their music, with the clarity and full acoustic range required by Maiden bassist, founder member and co-producer Steve Harris.
ED-PH0N3S are available exclusively through quality audio retail chain Richer Sounds in the UK, and on-line across Europe from MaidenAudio.com now.
The official Japanese launch event is taking place at the Astro Hall in Harajuku, Tokyo on December 8th, with availability in many other countries worldwide to follow in 2016.
The companion Maiden Audio smartphone App is available for download in the Apple Store and Google Play Store. This app is available for both iOS and Android and includes exclusive IRON MAIDEN custom EQ settings.
The Maiden Audio partnership was announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January. Over the following months, Steve Harris worked directly with Mark Cheffins, Artist Relations & Technical Consultant at ONKYO and their Japanese engineers. The resulting ED-PH0N3S are customised to Steve’s exacting sonic requirements delivering the ultimate audio experience when listening to IRON MAIDEN or any rock and metal music.
Steve explains how the alliance came about,
“I knew that I would need some really good headphones to use for playback of the mixes of ‘The Book Of Souls’, our new Maiden studio album. I’d actually started looking into this about eighteen months prior to when we started recording because I’d been struggling to find a design which came even remotely close to what I felt was an acceptable sonic standard for rock/metal. My main objective was for a balance that wasn’t just top and bottom heavy with hardly any mid range like a lot of headphones these days that are basically designed for dance music. I wanted a good balance across the widest bandwidth incorporating a lot more mid range frequencies, something I strongly feel is vital to appreciate the complexities of our music and rock/metal in general. A friend at ONKYO suggested I get in touch with the company to create a design that could meet my specifications. We started collaborating and have been working on them ever since, endlessly evaluating frequencies and modifying drive units, materials, cables and connectors until we achieved my ideal balance. I am now really happy with the final result!”
Mark Cheffins continues,
“We were convinced ONKYO could help Steve achieve the musical authenticity he wanted and were thrilled when he agreed to collaborate with us. It was a challenging undertaking, given Steve’s famously keen ear and ‘no compromise’ approach, but we were determined to deliver headphones that would be equal to the high standards Iron Maiden sets for its very distinctive sound. Although there are plenty of other brands marketing artist-endorsed headphones to consumers, to the best of my knowledge this is the first time the whole audio spectrum, including the all-important mid range, has been engineered to such a rigorous degree, so Iron Maiden fans can be assured the ED-PH0N3S are completely unique. These headphones have been crafted from the ground up so that Maiden fans and devotees of rock and metal music can experience the same crystal-clear sound the band prizes, right across the spectrum. With the level of detail and workmanship that’s gone into this project throughout the past year or so, I’m confident we’ve succeeded in creating a £400 plus product which can sell for considerably less.”
The suggested retail price for the ED-PH0N3S is £199/€299.
And like my recent book, Swords and Tequila: Riot’s Classic First Decade, I’m not only holding on price but lowering them a good 10% across the board. But still, remember, I am signing, packing these up and mailing from Canada.
Orders will be signed from me to you, so please specify if it’s a present for someone else. Glad to sign as Christmas present for your favourite denim and leather NWOBHM-jamming metal buddy.
One other comment, I suppose this is very close to a Who Invented the NWOBHM? because a large part of it is a celebration of the British music of the late ‘70s that caused the NWOBHM to take flight.
Ah yes, the heroic, glory-rich daze of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal!
The year was 1979, and a brash new breed of heavy metal-maker was busy shoveling dirt over the death of punk, while simultaneous mourning the waning energies—or outright demises—of hard rock’s earlier heroes, namely Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Uriah Heep.
In Wheels of Steel: The Explosive Early Years of the NWOBHM, Martin Popoff charts the long ramp-up to this detonation of headbanging mania through the late ‘70s, arriving at the penultimate first years of this flash phenomenon, namely 1979 and 1980.
Utilizing his celebrated oral history method—rich with detailed chronological entries to frame the story—Popoff blasts through all of the reasons the NWOBHM had to happen, and then drops down on all the singles, albums, live events and conceptual trends studding those remarkable two years, an era that essentially marks a coming-out party for heavy metal.
Come join Martin, along with dozens of his old school headbanging buddies, as they together tell the tale of this ersatz genre’s birth and mischievous, defiant adolescence—heavy metal would forever be transformed, and Wheels of Steel celebrates plainly and yet powerfully, all the reasons why.
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Black Flames Of Blasphemy is a myth and icon of the nihilistic and barbaric death/black metal in the catacomb of the underground. The festival has proved to be the most interesting event on the metal map already since 2009 with the most intensive and truest underground acts in line-up. The VI event has been advertised as “All Must End” meaning this will be the last Black Flames Of Blasphemy festival for the time being.
Thursday – Warm Up Day
RIDE FOR REVENGE
The three piece combo Ride For Revenge’s raw and even ritualistic sounding performance were brutal and even nihilistic. The rolling and crushing sounds were tremendous depressing. Describing the stuff of Ride For Revenge and their barbaric sounding set is definitely beyond the essential mandatory describing as it has to be experienced by yourself.
Obscure Burial’s primitive death metal fitted to the warm-up day perfectly. Even though Ride For Revenge’s savage and brutal performance turned out to be cruel therefore Obscure Burial sounded a bit soft. But Obscure Burial’s savage outcome with the murderous riff was truly how the death metal should sound and the way how a band should look with the leather and spikes.
Destroyer 666 enjoys the true loyal and cult following. That could be testified as the venue was totally packed when the the destroyers hit the stage. The frontman KK Warslut whipped the audience by offering the true evil blacked thrashing influenced stuff for the banging maniacs. The set consisted of all the so called D666 classic ones and the Motorhead cover Iron Fist dedicated to the late Phil Animal Taylor and Slayer’s Black Magic as an unexpected bonus in the end. The four piece sounded awesome tight and definitely uncompromising raw for sure.
The official two-day festival started by a relatively unknown Russian black metal trio called Blackwinged. The trio’s black metal was a combination of the blackened thrash stuff ala AuraNoir/Inferno and the grimmest Norse black metal with some epic riffs. The guys gotta spend the time on developing the unique style for the forthcoming future.
Judging by the name of the outfit it could have been expected to hear some darkened gothic influenced stuff or some eerie black metal. Instead the stuff was a hybrid mix of black meets thrash with some rocking parts. The skinny Swenssons’ blackened thrash sounded a bit odd choice amongst the other festival outfits. The way of the look of the outfit was more kind of denim and leather Obviously the singer may have found the whole event funny by clapping ala Ozzy Osbourne. Okei guys, focus on the brutality of deathrash and skip those Ozzy and rock manners.
If the Swedes offered the more blackened thrash whereas Hell Militia from France stood for the uncompromising raw death/black metal. As far as their gig is concerned well the Frenchmen truly sounded brutal and uncompromising brutal for sure. The band hammered the barbaric and nihilistic riffs with the tight grip thru the whole 45 set minute.
Xibalba enjoys one kind of cult status in the underground as already formed in the early of the 90’s. Even though the revamped Xibalba hit the stage, but following their playing and performance gave a bit of the skeptical feeling. The band sounded as if they were playing out of tune all the time. Even though Xibalba sounds sophiscated fine on outputs, for gigs the Mexican cult metallers should rehearse a bit more.
Mayhemic Truth is basically Morrigan- what the biggest difference then ? Well it is hard to say cos Beliar (used ? to) front(s) both the bands, apart from a drummer seat can be a bit changeable or windy. Well Mayhemic Truth is a rarely witness outfit on the stage, therefore the audience had gathered to have suitable places to witness Beliar. The stuff is kind of the epic Bathory era with the obvious black metal references. The sounds of the guitar were enourmous massive for sure. The band did an one hour set with the Venom cover Countess Bathory.
The Motorheadish rock stuff at the black metal festival, well.. As for Midnight, the band is such an extra ordinary outfit as they share the stage with different sort of bands. Midnight’s reckless and relentless straightforward played the rocking hard stuff caused the ballistic reaction and respond amongst the audience. The three piece’s simple and catchy motorheadish rocking riff sounded raw and a perfect way to enjoy cold drinks and bang head off. Midnight is such an interesting act with three guys whose faces are covered with black hoods because of a hybrid of the blasting rock with the certain extreme metal elements tied up.
The long time Canadian black metal horde Blasphemy was the highly expressed band in the first edition of Black Flames Of Blasphemy back in 2009. Therefore no advance announcement about the final band of the event was ever published. However it was unsurprisingy Blasphemy which had the prilivege to conclude the Friday night. The five piece’s offered the brutal and savage and above all barbaric performance. Blasphemy doesn’t show the mercy of any kind and bow to the knee down to please the audience. Black Winds’ raw growling and ripping solos by Caller Of The Storm and Deathlord are trademarked elements of the grim and sadistic bizarre sonic assault of Blasphemy.
The Polish death/black squad’s latest opus AXION turned out to be one hell of blasting brutality. The five piece Polish squad hammered the intensive grip by offering the set of the deadly metal. The guys have rehearsed in order to sound as tight as hell and truly outstanding brutal, but knowing how to slow down a bit before putting the full death metal force on. Infernal War is an extreme fine death metal squad with the brutal and technical riffs without loosing the catchiness in songs. The band proved to be a real tight playing squad on the stage, giving a perfect lesson of how death metal is supposed to sound.
Irkallian Oracle’s ritualistic show and performance with the cold dark and brutal sonic was the purest nilish at its best for sure. The whole gig and set was an utter worshipping of the darkness and the barbarism in the sounds of Irkallian Oracle. The whole occultical show was crowned by bells, incenses and all kinds of other occult related things. The sounds of Irkallian Oracle were dominating and crushing. The whole performance by Irkallian Oracle with the gloomy looking cloaks under the less lit stage looked and sounded more than obscure in a way. The band did an outstanding set to prove one of the highlights of the whole fest.
Funeral Winds from Holland presented the more traditional black metal approach. The singer entire covered in blood reminded slightly of the frontman of Impaled Nazarene and in general some similarities and mind association between two bands popped up while following their gig. However Funeral Winds’ blackish sounded quite pale after Irkallian Oracle’s sonic torment.
Goat Semen hailing from Peru was one of those bands of the fest having travelled from the farest corner of the world for the fest. Goat Semen stands for the barbaric and brutal South American black metal force. The four piece is definitely heavily influenced by the old Sarcofago and of course the legendary Blasphemy. The blasphemous and chaotic songs with the sadistic insane growling were the obvious trademarks of the South American and in this case barbaric and brutal Peruvian black metal.
Varathron was one of the first bands presenting the first wave of the true Greek black metal over 25 years ago along with Rotting Christ, Necromantia. The band has undergone several line-up changes, but the mastermind and the leader of the outfit Stephen Necroabyssions has stayed the loyal to the ancient roots of the black metal. Varathron hit the stage by, especially the older songs still sounded and breathes the ancient Greek black metal identify and it can be recognized and worshipped.
The Norwegian Mysticum had the utter privilege to conclude the last ever Black Flames Of Blasphemy festivals. The drums had been roadie away from the stage and had been replaced by a wide back screen. Several lighsystems had been placed on the stage to create the visual perspective for the show of Mysticum. The three piece unleashed the infernal maelstrom of the industrialized black metal. The visual aspects played the magnificent role creating the near epilepsy syndrome. Mysticum’s apocalyptic sonic assault was an extreme way of concluding the mighty Black Flames Of Blasphemy festival.
The last ever Black Flames Of Blasphemy is now over and obviously will never ever happen again. The whole Black Flames Of Blasphemy festival has been a tremendous success one since the first event when Blasphemy started. The whole organization behind the Black Flames Of Blasphemy festival has done a lethal job by going into the catacomb of the real underground of death/black and delivered the most barbaric, sadistic, rawest and above all the legendary names to the audience up here in Finland. It is definitely sure those guys behind the festival will bring other cult bands.
Mark Zonder joins Dragonsclaw on new album ‘Moving Target’ , Band Release first video.
Recorded over a 2 year period, Australian Metal band Dragonsclaw www.facebook.com/DragonsclawOfficial are nearing completion of their third full length release which will be titled ‘Moving Target’.
Joining the band this time around on drums is Mark Zonder (Graham Bonnet Band / ex-Fates Warning / Warlord).
Mark comments : “Having worked with Giles in Warlord , when he played me the new Dragonsclaw songs i heard a great development in their sound, and it was great to get involved on this record , these are strong powerful metal songs!”
Vocalist Giles Lavery said of the new songs , “This record finds us moving quite far away from the power metal sound of the first two releases , we wanted to make a record that was a “traditional heavy metal” record in the style of mid 80’s Judas Priest or Iron Maiden, with the raw production of something like early Twisted Sister… a focus on big memorable songs was the main priority … it has taken a long time to get this record to exactly where we want it, releasing “just another metal record” , or something that sounded like the first two Dragonsclaw records would be kinda pointless , this had to be something that took it to the next level in performance , songwriting and more … having Mark on drums was part of that plan”
Watch the first video from ‘Moving Target’ titled ‘Road Beneath Your Wheels’ here:
The final tracklisting is:
1. Road beneath Your Wheels
3. Cry Wolf
4. Don’t Break The Silence
5. (Tell Me)All Your Lies
6. Ghost Soldiers
8. Back On The Streets
9. Raise Your Fist
Friends of the fallen: We have some major news about the band and the progress of writing the next album.
First of all we must inform you that Jonathan stepped down from his vocalist duties in order to focus on family and work. We all understand and fully respect his decision and would like to thank him for his time and dedication for The Duskfall.
We decided to go to our allies in the east once more when we searched for a new vocalist. We have had a lasting friendship with Aki Hakkinen since our first shows in Finland some 10 years ago and he immediately stepped up to the plate and offered his services when he heard the news of Jonatan’s departure. Aki has years of experience from the livestages and recording music and will be a forceful output when we hit the stages in support of the upcoming release next year.
Here are his own words on the matter:
“Hello friends of the fallen (how cool to say that). I am super proud and honoured to be a part of The Duskfall – a band that i have always kept as one of the very best of swedish melodic death metal. Also I am happy to be back in the death metal scene that I was away from about the same time that The Duskfall was on a break. I have been busy with metal scene though and getting more experience in all areas of music which I hope to also give to The Duskfall and to the fans of the band. These boots are not easy to fill in…
I remember touring with The Duskfall back in around 2007 with my band at that time and it was very easy to work with the guys. We also did an interview for finnish inferno Magazine with Kai Jaakkola as they wanted to make a story of death metal singers during our tour so I’ve always had very close relations to the band. (picture attached here later) Sorry to say to the fans of Kai that he is not coming back to the band anymore even though he is a great guy and a great vocalist. I hope to bring something new to the band and I will stick around. You can expect a very active band from now on and I just love performing live. Hopefully we get to play all over the globe to the diehard fans and find new friends of the fallen! I am sure the best days for The Duskfall are yet to come!
It is super rare to find a music writer like Mikael Sandorf is. He can write a amazing complete song with lyrics and vocal lines even with drums before presenting it to the band. I can tell you guys it is a rare talent to have at this level and my job is to make it to this super high standard. I promise to give my 666% to the band and to each performance the band will make… hopefully there will be a lot of those! Enough said from me – I will let the actions and music speak more for you in the near future! I hope all you friends will be as active as we are and support The Duskfall!”
“For our “Too Late” music video we wanted to go for something simpler and get a really kick ass performance video, as we haven’t really done one yet that is purely us rocking out on a big stage. I think everyone grew up with that idea of the huge performance video from the 80’s with the huge light rigs and massive stages. Our next step after this video is obviously insane pyro and of course some sort of swing rig that allows us fly around the stage like Bon Jovi or Van Halen, but unfortunately we won’t have the budget for all that hairspray and glitter!” – Striker guitarist Tim Brown.
The band; Dan Clearly (vocals) Tim Brown (lead/rhythm guitars) William Wallace (bass) Adam Brown (drums) recorded the album themselves with the help of Randy Black (who filled in on drums while Adam was away…) and mixing genius Frederik Nordstrom (Bring Me The Horizon, In Flames, Opeth) giving them not only the time and space needed but the freedom to set up the release direct to fans worldwide.
“We’re so excited about having our music, our ideas, and our future in our own hands – ushering in a new era for the band of decisive action, dedication and forward thinking. Live life by one rule: No Limits!” – Tim Brown
STRIKER will be hitting the road with Primal Fear across Europe in February 2016.
Track Listing ‘Stand In The Fire’:
1. Phoenix Lights (3:38)
2. Out For Blood (3:51)
3. Too Late (4:52)
4. Stand In the Fire (3:39)
5. The Iron Never Lies (4:06)
6. Escape From Shred City (2:53)
7. Outlaw (4:35)
8. Locked In (3:45)
9. United (4:06)
10. Better Times (3:37)
11. One Life (4:17)
Album Length: 43:23
Anti Flag came back to Finland after 5 years since their last visit, which was the summer festival Ruisrock, and although the band has been constantly touring and releasing records, for some reason it took 5 years for them to return here. Luckily for the fans, the band decided to play a gig in Helsinki for their “American Spring” tour. Joining them in this night, and during their European tour, was The Homeless Gospel Choir.
Just a bit after 21o’clock, with people still getting inside Tavastia, Derek Vanetti, aka The Homeless Gospel Choir, got on stage. Not everybody knew what to expect for this gig, mainly because just a few people knew what kind of music or who was The Homeless Gospel Choir. I have to say that at first I thought it was a bit of an odd choice because I knew it wasn’t going to be a full band playing live and loud, just one man singing and playing accoustic guitar. Fortunately, the whole gig was a pleasant surprise. It didn’t matter the fact the crowd weren’t familiar with his songs, people seemed to enjoy this folk punk accoustic set.
It felt like a close and intimate gig between friends, which actually suited well as an opening act for Anti Flag. From his tributes to Freddie Mercury to his protest songs (and there were many according to him), Derek Vanetti definitely got a lot of fans after his 45 minute performance.
Now with Tavastia almost full, Anti Flag hit the stage and vocalist/guitarist Justin Sane screamed the first verses of “Turncoat” and from then on the whole place just went crazy. The fans during the whole gig were singing along with the band through their old catalogue: “Fuck Police Brutality”, “I’d tell you but…”, “Power to the Peaceful”, “This is the End (For You My Friend)”, and the more recent tunes like “Fabled World”, “Sky is Falling”, “All of the Poison, All of the Pain” and “Broken Bones”. As expected, during the fast paced “This Machine Kills Fascists”, there was a big circle pit that kept everybody moving.
The whole band was on fire, whether it’s a club show or a festival, Anti Flag knows how to get the whole crowd amped up even after 20 years of existence. After the more “calm” moments of “1 Trillion Dollars” and “Walk Away”, they finished the first part of the night with “The Press Corpse” and one of their most heaviest and fast songs: “Death of a Nation”.
They came back with “Hymn for the Dead”, a song that has a lot of different layers on the studio version, but live has a more stripped down vibe, and then the simple, but insane, “Fuck the Flag”, which always works well live. The band thanked the crowd and welcomed on stage Derek Vanetti to sing with them “Brandenburg Gate”, which originally has Tim Armstrong (Rancid) singing along vocalist/bassist Chris #2. This was another highlight of the gig, everybody together in arms singing with them.
To close this incredible night, they played another fan favorite: “Die for the Government”, and towards the end of the song the band stopped in order for drummer Pat to get parts of his drum set in the middle of the crowd, and Chris #2 joined him standing and singing on top of the bass drum. This is something that the band has been doing for sometime now live and many have seen before, but it didn’t diminish the impact. This very moment was the embodiment of unity, it represented perfectly the whole feeling of tonight’s gig, a sense of camaraderie among band and the everybody who came to Tavastia. On top of that, they still played another one, “Drink Drank Punk”, which closed their set.
Tonight reafirmed to those that haven’t seen Anti Flag live in many years as one of the best live bands. Just hope that they won’t take another 5 years to come back to Finland to play.
ANTI FLAG SET LIST:
Turncoat Fabled World Fuck Police Brutality I’d Tell You But… Sky is Falling Broken Bones All of the Poison, All of the Pain This is the End (For You My Friend) Power to the Peaceful This Machine Kills Fascists 1 Trillion Dollars Walk Away The Press Corpse Death of a Nation
Hymn for the Dead Fuck the Flag Brandenburg Gate Die for the Government Drink Drank Punk