Gus G- On Ozzy, going Solo, and More…

Posted in Metal Music Interviews and News with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2015 by coletteclaire

Posted on January 28, 2015

Gus G pic 2-13-14 crop may be well know for his work with Ozzy Osbourne, but he has more than a few other tricks up his sleeve. He has been playing with his successful power metal band Firewind since 1998. He also made guest appearances on countless albums for other artists including Old Man’s Child, Sigh, and In This Moment among others. G recently decided it wasn’t enough to be part of all of these kick ass projects, and began working on a solo album.

When we spoke with he was currently on tour in support of his first solo debut, I Am The Fire.  I Am The Fire features guest appearances by many well-known metal musicians including David Ellefson, Billy Sheehan, Mats Leven, Michael Starr and Jeff Scott Soto. When asked how the tour has been going he replied, “It’s been great! I did a bunch of dates in my home country Greece and last spring I toured Europe together with Marty Friedman. I did four special shows in the U.S., mainly on the West Coast.” G will also be over in Europe in February and March 2015, which will include a special London show supporting Kamelot.

Since Gus has played on albums for so many other artists, one may wonder what inspired him to bring together all of these excellent musicians for his project: “I’ve been doing guest solos on other people’s records for years,” G explained, “It’s mainly been friends I have in the business, and they call me up whenever they needed a kick ass solo haha! For my album, I wrote a bunch of tracks with Mats Leven originally, and then did a song with Jeff Scott Soto. That gave me the idea to collaborate and co-write with different artists.” So how did he deiced which role each musician would fill? “I just tried it out and saw if it worked. For some songs, I knew that Mats’ voice would fit best, but there were some collaborations that were just tryouts. A good example is the title track with Devour The Day. My A&R guy at Century Media suggested that I work with them on it, and I’m glad the result came out so great!” When asked how his fellow shredders reacted when he asked for their help he replied, “Everybody seemed excited to be a part of it. It was fairly easy to get everybody on this, I thought it’d be harder. Jay Ruston who mixed my album, also introduced me to lots of musicians that ended up playing on it. For example he brought Jeff Friedl (drums, A Perfect Circle) on board and introduced me to great guys like Marty O’ Brien (bass, Lita Ford) and Jacob Bunton (vocals, Adler, Lynam). Jay also suggested Billy Sheehan and David Ellefson as well so he played a key role on this project.”

Gus G - I Am The FireSo one may wonder, why did decide to do a solo album and not another Firewind project?  G has this to say on the subject: “Because with Firewind we’ve released seven studio albums in ten years plus two live albums! When our singer quit back in 2012, we still toured with a session guy, but I felt that I needed a break from this. Don’t get me wrong – I’m very proud of what we achieved with the band, but it’s always been a struggle and we never seem to have found the right singer for the band. So, it was a good time to take a break after ten years of nonstop recording and touring. This solo album made me excited again, it was something fresh and new for me.” So what is different this time around? “The cool thing with my solo shows is that I get to play whatever I want, “ G elaborates, “So, I don’t only play songs from my solo album, but I still keep Firewind music alive and play a few tracks, as well as covers that I always wanted to do, and I also throw in an Ozzy or a Sabbath tune in there. It’s a good mix.” Since he plays music with many different styles and influences, it is interesting how he decided what style works for the songs on I Am The Fire. G explains: “It was mainly a collection of ideas that I felt didn’t belong in a Firewind record. I had a lot of stuff written on acoustic guitar, some more classic rock style songs. I thought this would be a good chance for me to finally do a solo album.”

Gus G picG has worked with varying types of bands, but manages to maintain his own style all the same. He describes this as always playing, “…the way I play in every project. I don’t change my sound or style. I am just being myself and try to play the right things for each project or song.” When it comes to being compared to the great guitar virtuosos like Yngwie Malmsteen Gus G says he’s honored by these types of statements. “I’ve always looked up to Yngwie since I was a kid, and many other guitar players of course. So, to be compared to them…I take it as a compliment.”

As for what is coming up next for G as far as his solo stuff, Firewind, and work other artists he says this: “Next year I’ll be doing some more solo shows and going back in the studio to record a new solo album. There’s no plans for Firewind at the moment, might be another 2-3 years till our next album. Ozzy & Sharon are putting together the Ozzfiesta in Mexico in May 2015. More info at It’ll be an awesome event, can’t wait for that one! I’m hoping there will be some more shows before he goes back to Black Sabbath, we’ll have to wait and see.”


Conjuring Evil: Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies and Exodus at the LA Forum November 2014

Posted in Metal Music Interviews and News with tags , , , , , , , on January 29, 2015 by coletteclaire

Helicopters were circling overhead, police lights flashed, the red and blue beams bouncing back and forth, people shouted obscenities, a beer bottle flew past crashing to the ground. No this is not a description of the L.A. Riots, it is the description of the parking lot of the Los Angeles Forum in Inglewood on November 14th 2014 as people pulled into to park for the , and  show. This was ’s first performance at the famous venue that used to be home to the Los Angeles Lakers, surprising considering they consider Los Angeles their home town. It may seem a little strange to be attending a show so soon after founding member Jeff Hanneman’s death in May 2013. However, the band has actually been playing with guitarist Gary Holt taking Hanneman’s place since early 2011 when Hanneman contracted a rare infection after being bit by a spider.

Doors opened at what some would consider to be the ridiculously early hour of 6:30pm as many concerts are doing these days, at least in Los Angeles, presumably so the venue can get the fans in and out as fast as possible. went on promptly at 7:30pm as scheduled and played a short 30 minute set. The set was probably so short because Guitarist Gary Holy would be pulling double duty that night also playing with Slayer. recently reunited with vocalist Steve “Zetro” Souza who was a member from 1986 to 1993, and again from 2002 to 2004. The band definitely had a palpable energy as they blasted through Black 13, Blood In Blood Out, Blacklist, Bonded by Blood, and The Toxic Waltz. Then Strike of the Beast for the encore.

Suicidal Tendencies

went on a little after 8:00pm with an energetic version of You Can’t Bring Me Down. The band is now essentially Mike Muir and a group of newbies who joined the band in the past two years. Bassist Michael Morgan has only been in the band a few months as he is the replacement for bassist Tim Williams who passed away last August. It is actually really amazing the band is back out playing so quickly after such a big loss.  Morgan did a very solid job, however, adding a level of funk to the mix reminiscent of Infectious Grooves. Mike Muir did not look old among his younger counterparts, keeping up a comparable level of energy as he ran around in front of the giant backdrop featuring the cover of the bands latest album 13. Other songs in the set included mainly old favorites such as Freedumb, War Inside My Head and I Saw Your Mommy. They also did an extended and especially excellent version of Subliminal with the audience chanting many times in unison “Fucking with me subliminally!” The rest of the set included Possessed to Skate, Cyco Vision, How Will I Laugh Tomorrow, and Pledge Your Allegiance.


After a brief pause for all the metalheads to pee, smoke and buy beer, the lights dimmed and AC/DC’s Thunderstruck began to play, but was interrupted about half way through by Slayer launching into a fast paced version of World Painted Blood, the title track from their most recent album released in 2009. They followed that up with most of the song Postmortem, a rather odd choice because they cut off the ending that usually transitions into Raining Bloodingand instead played Hate Worldwide another track from World Painted Blood. Slayer seemed to not be too concerned about the continuity of the set list as Altar of Sacrifice and Jesus Saves were the only two songs they played that also followed each other in sequence on the studio album. Overall, they play an assortment of songs that eventually please even the angriest fans. Purists enjoyed a particularly heavy version of Chemical Warfare off of the three song EP Haunting the Chapel, one of Slayers first releases back in 1984. They did also eventually play Raining Blood. Paul Bostaph brought the heaviness with his thundering drums, as he has done for many years now with Slayer. With his presence in the band, Dave Lombardo and his contract issues are a distant memory.


Holt taking Hanneman’s place is another story however. He is a great guitarist and he is always on-point playing the songs, but he also has his own style and his own sound that just isn’t entirely the same. It makes Slayer a slightly different animal in both good and bad ways. It was particularly obvious in the song Dead Skin Mask. Holt has a more clean, crunchy sound akin to Kerry King’s sound, so the contrast with the more dirty sound of Hanneman was missing from the mix. The band didn’t deny the lack of Hanneman’s presence and did a tribute to him during Seasons in the Abyss by displaying his signature logo that reads “Hanneman” instead of Heineken on a Heineken beer label. Disciple was one song that really meshed with Holt’s sound and got heads banging and the mosh pit going with the crowd chanting “God hates us all!” The band played a particularly long set of over 20 song ending with an encore of the staples South of Heaven and Angel of Death.

The future of Slayer with Gary Holt is uncertain at the moment. They are slated to release an album in 2015 on Nuclear Blast records and the band has stated that Holt will be playing on the album, but not involved in the writing. Some songs were already written before Hanneman’s passing and Kerry King will be in charge of the rest. With all of the controversy surrounding the band and its lineup, that album could very well be their last release. Though it remains to be seen what the future holds, there is no denying the epicenes of seeing the legends that are Slayer, and to headbang in Hanneman’s memory.

CLICK HERE to see more photos of SLAYER


CLICK HERE to see more photos of EXODUS

Combichrist’s Andy LaPlegua Doesn’t Give a Crap

Posted in Metal Music Interviews and News with tags , , on January 29, 2015 by coletteclaire

’s Andy LaPlegua was not dressed as one might expect. Backstage at the Avalon in Hollywood, California on April 27th 2014 where was about to play a show, LaPlegua was looking sharp in a grey suit jacket. If it weren’t for the tattoo on his neck and the large gauges in his ears, one might have not recognized him as being in the band. Ultimately, this is just typical . One should never try to pigeonhole them as they are always going to blow away expectations. Take their most recent album We Love You, for example. Released March 24th 2014 by well-known electronic/industrial label Metropolis Records, We Love You is a blend of rock n’ roll, industrial and dance music that constantly leaves the listener with no idea as to what will happen next. A song like Maggots at the Party, one of the first singles from the album, is an upbeat rock industrial drinking anthem, while a song like Fuck Unicorns sounds more like rave music than biker bar music.

combichrist-we love youLaPlegua is not one for labels though. When asked his opinion on genre labels he responded, “I really don’t have any opinion at all. I don’t care about genres at all. I don’t care about industrial as a genre, I don’t care about metal as a genre, and I don’t care about EBM as a genre. I don’t care about any of those things really. I make music and that’s it. If people care more about what scene they belong to then they probably shouldn’t care about the music. They should go care about their aviator glasses and their spiky hair. If you’re at a show it’s not because you feel like you belong to a specific scene.” Since “scenes” are such a major factor in band promotion these days, one might wonder if LaPlegua is biting the hand that feeds him, but he goes on to specify that he has a love for the electronic/industrial scene, it just doesn’t belong in the recording studio. “I go to bars all the time, I don’t really go to club nights much, but I go to bars to have a good time, not necessarily just to listen to the music. I go to bars to hang out with friends and enjoy myself and I think that’s what a lot of the club nights are about. Just because they like to dance, doesn’t mean they necessarily have to be fans and I respect that. But I also respect that some come to see us live because they like to see us live and they don’t go to clubs. So that’s where I’m at when it comes to ‘the scene.’ I love the scene because I just like to go out there and have a good time with my friends, but I’m not going to follow any certain format from that scene for my music because it’s a completely different thing.”

Part of the reason this line of conversation has started is because some fans say has taken a more rock or metal approach lately and not all of the electronic/industrial kids appreciate this. LaPlegua’s response regarding a purposeful move away from the more danceable side of things is this: “If anything we have a couple of songs that are a little bit more guitar heavy on this album. In general though, I think this album is one of the more elctro ones we’ve done for a long time. There’s a lot of electronic stuff in it and it just happened to get that way. I just wrote an album that I am willing to say I stand for 100% no matter what. What’s important to me is that I make the songs sound the way I imagine them to be. If that includes that I use live instruments then that’s what I’m going to do. If the song sounds exactly like how I want it without any live instruments then I’ll leave it like that because that’s how I want it.”

combichrist_2014On the other side of the same coin, LaPlegua is not opposed to the response he has gotten from more rock and metal fans in more recent years, in a large part because of their spot opening for Rammstein on a big stadium tour in 2011. “It definitely helped us reach out to more people. I think scene-wise it brought a lot of people’s attention who were just rock n’ roll people and metal people to the stuff that’s happening in the electronic/industrial scene. A lot of the fans that come out now are like ‘oh we saw you the first time with Rammstein and it got us going to all the club nights and everything.’ So it’s definitely benefited us and I think it somewhat hopefully benefitted the scene too.” Overall, LaPlegua described the experience with Rammstein in glowing terms: “We became a really close family. It was a really unique experience obviously to play for 20,000-30,000 people every day. We were really surprised because we had no idea what was going to happen. I remember the first show we played with them it was like 30,000 people. You just walk up and you’re like, ‘alright either it’s going to be crickets for our entire show or it’s going to suck if there’s 30,000 people booing.’ But we walked up and from the first beat it was like mayhem. We had a really good reception from their fans and you never know what to expect. It was like a punch in the face, but in a good way. Plus Rammstein treated us so well.  We weren’t treated like openers, it was like we were one big band it was great.”

Rammstein was a perfect pairing for Combichrist because they walk the same line between industrial and metal, with other random and unique elements added, that Combichrist does. LaPlegua describes it as the “don’t give a shit about what people think” area of music. Also, word of mouth is a powerful thing these days, especially with more and more people turning to the internet rather than radio and television for their entertainment, so the exposure was invaluable. When asked about word of mouth band promotion he responded, “It’s all about proving yourself. We’ve done it, Rammstein has definitely done it. It’s all about a lot of hard work and a lot of touring and reaching out to people.  I mean there’s enough people out there that do have radio play and they go up on stage and they have nothing to show because they’re nothing.”

As the mastermind behind Combichrist and all its music it’s amazing to think that LaPlegua has time for anything else. However, some maybe familiar with his other work in both Icon of Coil and Panzer AG. Icon of Coil has been on the back burner for a while, so it is interesting to learn that they will in fact be releasing new material. LaPlegua had this to say about it: “We’re still working on a new album, but it’s just that I have to do things in a specific order. I have to do Combichrist first. This is my main priority right now. I mean I could’ve just throw together an album in a week and called it a day, but I’ve never done that and I will never do that. We have to be happy with it before we release it and its going to take a while. It will be around though. If there’s more touring to be done, that I don’t know, but the album will be coming out.”

As LaPlegua readied for work that evening, he took off the suit jacket and replaced it with an all-black ninja type outfit with a red, glowing mask. This is what he wore for the first few songs of the set. Don’t we all wish we had a job like that?

Combichrist will be touring the world through August, check their website for details.

Rob Zombies Great American Nightmare: Not meant for your Grandmother

Posted in Metal Music Interviews and News with tags , , on January 29, 2015 by coletteclaire

Rob Zombies Great American Nightmare was a haunted house/concert experience held at the Pomona Fairplex, a large venue about 20 miles east of Los Angeles. Lasting through the month of October the event featured three haunted house attractions, musical performances, and tons of food and merchandise vendors. After working with Universal Studios Hollywood for the last several years designing haunted houses for their Halloween Horror Nights event, it seems that Zombie got inspired to forge ahead on his own.  A creative collaboration between Zombie and Steve Kopelman, a well-known haunted house producer and owner of Haunt Holdings LLC, the team had the full creative control that corporate America could not provide. The music selection was extremely eclectic with Zombie, Kevin Lyman from the Warped Tour and John Reese from Mayhem Fest working together to choose bands. Each Thursday night featured rock alternative music, Fridays EDM, Saturdays hard rock/metal, and most Sundays were Latin-focused.  From goth rockers like 45 Grave to DJ’s spinning dance music like DJ Bl3nd there was literally something for everyone. Friday November 1st, 2013 closing weekend of the event, featured Zombie himself performing a set. He had originally planned to just close out the event on Saturday November 2 but demand was too high and he added the performance on Friday after the event was well underway in mid-October, with some of the EDM acts still playing afterward.

small John 5 - Rob Zombie 06Photography Credits  - Steve TragerThe performance was held inside the Fairplex concert hall and surrounding it outside the venue was the twisted carnival that was the rest of the event. Decorated in true fashion, the outdoor part of the event felt like Universal’s Horror Nights on steroids. People dressed as ghouls immediately began harassing guests upon entry into the Fairplex, or “FEARplex” as it was dubbed for the event. The music played on speakers as patrons walked around, which was much better than Universal, featuring rock and metal music instead of the snore worthy classical music from old horror movies that Universal plays. The vendors were all local artists that really needed the exposure, such as Black Craft Cult t-shirts instead of the typical corporate giants one might expect. Even the bar area featured an up and coming whiskey company offering discounted shots. In fact, the alcohol served was another unique aspect of the event as they actually served real mixed drinks and not the wine coolers flavored as mixed drinks that one is lucky to find at the amusement parks. This event was obviously not meant for children and patrons seemed aware of that as everyone in attendance was pretty much an adult. It is rare to find a Halloween haunted house event that is not toned down for children and this was one of the best things about great American nightmare.

small Rob Zombie 24Photography Credits  - Steve TragerZombie performed at 9:30pm, going on a bit later than expected, and his set lasted about an hour and a half. Peppered with covers such Schools Out by Alice Cooper and American Band by Grand Funk Railroad, Zombie basically did his greatest hits with a fair amount of White Zombie songs, which is always a good thing. It was a full-scale Zombie show with the big flashing screens on each side and full stage decoration. Guitarist John 5 was especially on his game busting out blistering solos. Zombie and 5 have a great chemistry on stage and given all the different acts 5 has played with over the years such as Marilyn Manson and Rob Halford, Zombie seems like 5′s best fit so far. His signature style adds an additional flavor to Zombie’s macabre mix. Scum of the Earth and I Zombie were especially good; before I ZombieZombie announced that he hadn’t played the song in fifteen years. Pussy Liquor, from the House of 1000 Corpses soundtrack, was an interesting addition Zombie doesn’t often add to his set. Being that the live version is much heavier than the recorded version, he should definitely play it more often. With its bluesy, funky bass line it definitely got the goth girls hips swaying. Thunder Kiss ’65 is always a crowd favorite that definitely delivered its usual weighty groove that gets people head banging. A creepy, very well done mid set jam session showed the crowd that, though the band may be billed as “,” they definitely function as a unified force live. They closed the show with an energetic version Dragula and then came back out for a slightly underwhelming encore, but overall it was a decent show.

small Rob Zombie 19Photography Credits  - Steve TragerMid-set, Zombie had announced on stage that apparently a little old woman had gone through one of the mazes and said it was “disgusting.” She called the police and the police came and told Zombie to tone it down in regards to the pyrotechnics. Why these people decided to bring grandma along to ’s Nightmare will forever remain a mystery. The mazes, Lords Of Salem Total Black Out, The Haunted World Of El Superbeasto 3D, and Haunt Of 1,000 Corpses, definitely were genuinely scary and had a lot more theatrics than the average amusement park maze, even without the “fire and explosions” as Zombie referred to them. Overall one of the best things about the event was being able to explore everything there was to offer after the performance ended. Usually the post-concert adrenaline rush is met with the anti-climax of angry staff encouraging people to leave as soon as possible so they can start cleaning up and go home. In this case, there was plenty more to do and one didn’t have to just pack up and go home right after seeing an awesome band. Overall, Great American Nightmare had plenty to offer for its actually modest ticket price of just under $50, especially considering one got an amusement park ticket and a concert ticket all in one package. Let’s hope it is back to deliver more scares and more metal next year!

Ministry’s Al Jorgensen from Rock Star to Author

Posted in Metal Music Interviews and News with tags , , on January 29, 2015 by coletteclaire

Lately, Al Jorgensen has been a busy man. With the latest and last album From Beer to Eternity just released, as well as his autobiography The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen, his schedule has been packed. This really being the last album, due to the sudden, tragic death of long time guitarist Mike Scaccia, one does have to wonder what he plans to do next. Obviously he will be promoting the album for a while. From Beer to Eternity is an assault on the senses that culminates into one of the best albums ever made. As bands age their sound tends to get softer, and more introspective. They start singing about coming out of rehab and how much they love their kids. Not. This album is just as crazy, angry, sarcastic, and alcohol fueled as any previous record.  Though Jorgensen claims he’s got no upcoming plans for any musical projects he still has plenty to keep him busy. He has more books coming out as well as a Spoken Word gig coming up in Los Angeles. He still has plenty to say and plenty of people who want to listen.

Al Jourgensen, Ministry - 2013As far as the new album goes, Jourgensen’s intention was to distill the best parts of Ministry’s sound. Nothing experimental, just doing what they are best at. “Greatest riff’s not greats hits,” as he puts it.  All the songs written for the new album were written when Scaccia suddenly died of a heart attack on December 22 2012 while playing on stage with Rigor Mortis in Texas. The process of putting the pieces together and getting the album finished was extremely difficult for Jourgensen. Luckily he had second guitarist Sin Quirin to help him out: “If I ever do a show again or tour or whatever, Mikey was on the right side of the stage.” Jourgensen told us. “He was my right hand man. Now that he’s gone Sin has elevated himself. So who ever I get to play guitar will be my left hand man and Sin is my new right hand man.” Formerly of Society 1, Sin has been with Ministry since 2007. When asked how Sin came to be in the band Jourgensen had this to say: “He knew all god damn songs better than we did. That kind of helped.  I actually don’t remember meeting him the first time. I just know I heard him play and I was like fuck you write the stuff I’m tired.”

MI_FBTE-C_smallUnfortunately, there are no plans for a tour in the works at this time, but Jourgensen had this to say about it. “No I’m just doing some spoken word stuff for the next year or two or three. I don’t know, we’ll see what happens. My crystal ball is kind of fuzzy today I can’t really give you an answer.” As vague and cryptic as that answer is it does give fans some hope that they might at least do a few shows. It would honestly be a shame if fans never got to hear the From Beer to Eternity material live.  Although, with Scaccia gone essentially no one will ever get to hear the material live exactly as it was meant to be heard, but it would still be awesome to get to hear it in some form. It’s hard to imagine a man as musically prolific as Jourgensen never playing another show for the rest of his life. One might be surprised to hear that Jourgensen is moving to Los Angeles soon. Most of his fans know him as being very adamantly from Texas. His wife, however, is apparently not such a huge fan of it. Since Quirin lives in Los Angeles as well which makes the possibility of them playing a show together greater. For now though, we will have to be sated by the videos being released for the album,  the first of which is for the track “Permawar.” The video was produced by Jourgensen’s wife, Angelina, and directed by filmmaker and animator Zach Passero, who also directed other Ministry videos in the past.
Al Jourgensen, Ministry - 2013As for the autobiography that was just released July 9th of this year, One might wonder if it was hard for Jourgensen to talk about his past in such detail, especially given that a lot of it isn’t such a pretty picture. Turns out though that it comes naturally to him. “The book was Wiederhorn and my crazy ass wife Angie’s idea,” Jourgensen told us. “We’d go out to some social event like the symphony or a dinner party or something and by the end of the night I’m all drunk and telling like tour stories to all these old folks. They’re just freaking out and Angie’s like, ‘you know you just hijacked the party. Why don’t you just come into a party and hand out a fucking pamphlet and go sit in the corner by yourself and drink vodka until your blind. So that’s how this book came about. I just got drunk and talked into a microphone to some author for a while. The author went back and checked me out for like 4 weeks to make sure I’m not full of shit by making phone calls to people and doing his due diligence. Then it went to the publisher which has like a six person legal team that made more phone calls and made sure I’m not full of shit. All I did was like get drunk for two weeks and tell tales. “Known for being in multiple bands at once, surprisingly Jorgensen claims has no upcoming plans for any other musical projects either. This does not mean he’s going to sit around collecting dust, however. Apparently, he’s taken a liking to being an author and has more books coming out. He had this to say about it: “Right now for the next two years I’m just working on literature. I have another book coming out, it’s a fiction book about a serial killer and I also have a 13 part comic series coming out about my life. I have super powers. I’ve been talking about it for years and putting it on the back burner and stuff and finally it was just like I need to do this shit and shut the fuck up. It’s interesting because this new book coming out is about our judicial system and our constitution in a weird way in the sense that it’s about a serial killer but he doesn’t actually kill anyone he just talks people into killing themselves and there’s a spike in suicides. He gets into their head and makes them think like, ‘man I am a worthless piece of shit.’ I’ve been dabbling on it on and off for 28 years now and I finally got the ending this last couple months so I’m finishing it up by Christmas and it should be out next year. It was originally called Mind Fuck but I’ve obviously been talked out of that and it’s going to be called Persuasion, a nice little 50 Shades of Grey type of name”

Amazingly, Jorgensen was able to recount his drug fueled past with so much detail there are not only outtakes from the book that was published, there is enough for several more books.  When asked how he managed to remember so much he responded: “It was the two years I spent with doctor Timothy Leary he was just having me inject DMT into my veins every day and I think it like caught up with my DNA and my brain cells and I just happen to remember a lot of stuff.”

Al Jourgensen, Ministry - 2013So what are they going to do with all the additional material they have from Jourgensen’s autobiography? Well unfortunately a lot of it can’t be released. Wiederhorn has some videos of outtakes posted on-line but much of it is tied up with legal issues: “The publisher is just wishing I would die in a plane crash because I have two other books worth of material and those books, while I’m alive, I would totally be liable for. I would be sued like crazy.” Jourgensen told us, followed by an evil laugh. “They’re holding onto all these other excerpts and stuff like that and they’re just hoping that I’ll just go away and then they can release them. This book is the PG version. It’s total Disney. They need for me to die so they can release the rest of this stuff. I hope that doesn’t deter people from buying my book but frankly I don’t fucking care.” It’s hard to imagine anything AL Jourgensen has done being equated with Disney. Fans of the band are familiar with his very public twenty year battle with heroin addiction. After reading just a few parts of the book it becomes plain that there is absolutely nothing Disney about it. It makes one wonder just how much worse all the stuff is they didn’t print.

With Scaccia gone Ministry truly is no more. From Beer to Eternity is a hell of a way to go out however, and we will definitely be hearing more from the notorious Mr.jourgensen. He is just not the type of person who can keep silent for long.

Photo Credit:  Allan Amato

For More info Visit:

Opeth, Mastodon and Ghost Heritage Hunter Tour Live at Gibson Amphitheatre 4/26/12

Posted in Metal Music Interviews and News with tags , , , , on August 4, 2012 by coletteclaire

April 30th 2012
Swedish band Ghost, the opener for this tour, has been generating a lot of buzz in the metal community, so much so that the venue was almost completely full when they played. Not only is this rare for an opening band, but the venue’s doors opened right before they hit the stage. So at a time when people are usually trickling in and getting situated, the crowd was already seated and watching with rapt attention. It’s no wonder since Ghost has so much mystery surrounding them and they write damn good songs. They practically came out of nowhere with a 3 track demo in 2010 and their first full length album, Opus Eponymous, in 2011.

The true identity of the members remains unknown with the singer calling himself “Papa Emeritus” and the rest of the members simply “nameless ghouls.” With the stage bathed in eerie red light and decorated like a Satanic Catholic church, Papa Emeritus came out in his staple evil pope outfit and skull mask introducing songs in a heavy Romanian Dracula-like accent. The rest of the band wore plain black robes with hoods that covered the entire face. The whole performance gave the feeling that you were witnessing some kind of Satanic ritual ceremony that you weren’t sure you would make it out of. They played their heavily Mercyful Fate influenced music (songs like “Satan Prayer” and “Ritual”) with brilliant skill and moxie that left you wanting more after their short set.

The co-headliners, Mastodon, were up next on this particular evening. Although Opeth and Mastodon have been alternating who closes out each show throughout the tour (an innovative idea considering both bands are on equal footing popularity-wise),  it would seem tough to decide who plays before whom. Mastodon closed out the show the night before in Las Vegas, yet still played with the energy of a headliner, grabbing everyone’s attention even with their much more subdued stage show in comparison to Ghost.

Mastodon focused mainly on playing material from their latest album ,The Hunter, which earned them a Grammy nomination for the song “Curl of the Burl” and was very well received by fans and critics. In fact, they played almost the entire album with only 5 songs out of their 17-song set being from previous records; almost as if any previous material played was simply obligatory. Both the fans’ and the band’s enthusiasm for the new material was clearly reflected in the performance of songs like “Black Tongue”, which was the first of the night and also the first song on the album.  A spirited version of “Crack the Sky” served more as an interlude before launching back into more Hunter material with “All the Heavy Lifting”, “Specetrelight” ,“Curl of the Burl” and “Bedazzled Fingernails.” One wonders why they didn’t just play the album in its entirety since they only left off 3 songs from it and the sequence of the songs as they are on the album actually flows better than the order in which they were played during this set. Still a fantastic performance, to say the least, with Mastodon’s well known musical prowess in full force backed by an infectious energy and enthusiasm.

Opeth’s latest album, Heritage, shares some similarities with The Hunter since it was released in September 2011 on Roadrunner Records and was also a critical and commercial success. Opeth, like Mastodon, seemed to focus mainly on playing material from this newest album and, given that this is the ‘Heritage Hunter’ tour, it seemed an appropriate theme for the evening. Opeth is all about the blending of hard and soft, of dark and light (hence the yin and yang symbol within their logo), and this set was no exception. Opening up with “The Devils Orchard” (one of the more upbeat songs on the new record) followed by “I Feel the Dark” which is one of the slower, more psychedelic songs on it. These two songs follow one another on the record as well and flowed seamlessly together. The slower, jazzy quality of the Heritage material translated a little heavier and crunchier live, surely pleasing many of Opeth’s fans that prefer the bands more death metal qualities.

For being as quiet and reserved as Opeth front man Mikael Åkerfeldt seems, he certainly has a sense of humor. The song “Slither”, a Heritage song which was dedicated to the late Ronnie James Dio, was introduced with the warning “It will be like Dio, only shitter. Please at least nod your head to the beat.”. He also introduced “The Lines In My Hand”, another new one, by saying “This one reminds me of when we used to play Misfits and Dead Kennedys songs because it was fucking fun!”.  Although “The Lines In My Hand” is hardly a punk song, it definitely has a stripped down quality. “Demon of the Fall” from one of the bands early albums (My Arms, Your Hearsewas a treat for long time fans of the band, especially because of the antidote that the preceded the song where Åkerfeldt reminisced on recording the album in “Gothenburg, the anus of Sweden” and recalled their drummer at the time sleeping in the bathroom at the studio with a pile of pornographic magazines as a pillow. Other older songs like “Windowpane” from Damnation Sounded Fantastic seemed to have an even dreamier, more eerie quality than normal, perhaps due to some influence from the new material. The closer “The Grand Conjuration” from Ghost Reveries was the perfect ending as it wholly encompassed both the light and dark of the band and left the listener desperately wanting more.

By Colette ClairePosted in FeaturesReviewsShow Reviews

Reid Paley: Deep Sensitive Songwriter

Posted in Metal Music Interviews and News with tags , , , , on August 4, 2012 by coletteclaire


October 18th, 2011

Black Francis, or Frank Black, or whatever you’d like to call the former Pixies front man, has been friends with singer/songwriter Reid Paley for a long time. Ever since the Pixies opened up for his band The Five back in the ’80s. After many years of touring together and the occasional songwriting collaboration, the two have finally decided to make an entire record together, simply titled Paley & Francis. With these two legendary songwriters playing guitar and swapping vocal duties, it would be hard to believe this album could disappoint. Reid Paley was cool enough to take sometime out of his day to tell us a bit about it.

Paley and francis

Mxdwn: So you and Francis have worked together in various forms but what made you decide to do an entire record together?

Paley: Well we’ve written songs together before that he’s recorded on his albums. He covered one of my songs years ago. We’ve written songs together for awhile, since like 2003. We’ve known each other for a long time; we’ve done a bunch of tours with me as his support act.

Mxdwn: But what made you guys decide that now is the time to do an entire album? Did you guys finally compile enough songs or what?

Paley: Well songs are never a problem for me. There’s never a shortage of songs. It just happened. He’s kind of a busy guy and he was in town here [New York City] for like three days at Joe’s Pub, doing a simple thing with himself and the mighty, legendary Eric Drew Feldman [on keyboards/bass] and Todd Demma on a cocktail [drum] kit. But anyway it was during the day. We just hung out in my apartment and wrote songs. We normally kind of just write songs, but this time we were just kind of banging out the music first, and lo and behold, at the end of the day we had about ten songs and decided to just split them in half. He took half to finish off with lyrics and tweek. He went off to meet the Pixies to tour and we met up in Nashville a couple weeks later. We had short days in the studio because he had the shows in the evenings so we went in there and he played acoustic guitar on most of them and I played electric guitar on all of them and we each sang lead on the songs that we did the lyrics for and we sung back ups for each other. We even had a couple of really great old Muscle Shoals guys on there. Fucking brilliant. Spooner Oldham on piano and David Hood on bass. You know that song “Mustang Sally?” Those are the guys playing on that song. It’s like ‘have you ever heard of Aretha Franklin?’ They’re legendary motherfuckers. They’re really good. And it came out and we were surprised that we got all the songs done in that time and rough mixes. It was kind of amazing. We worked really fast, we did the first take, you know, just kind of getting it done and we had an album.

Mxdwn: So did you guys always plan on doing an album together or was it just kind of a timing thing then?

Paley: Well it was kind of always in the air and yeah it was a timing thing. Its opportunity, scheduling. We enjoy working together its fun [laughing].

Mxdwn: How do you write lyrics, is it kind of a stream on consciousness thing or what?

Paley: How do you write lyrics? I don’t fucking know. I just do it. I don’t think that much about it. In terms of me writing songs, sometimes a song happens in my head while I’m on the subway, or sometimes I’m in the shower, or I’m sitting around messing with my guitar. Writing lyrics is pretty much writing lyrics. To me, its pretty much just not getting in your own way.

Mxdwn: You guys both dabble in a lot of different styles what musical direction is this album in?

Paley: I wouldn’t say we dabbled because were not dabblers. I would say eclectic. Both of us, for what its worth, in various ways, basically this is what our life is about. So were not fucking dabbling at all, dabbling sort of implies that your kind of faking it, and obviously I’m not into faking it. But we do have kind of an eclectic taste. The thing is that we both have our set of roles that we work in and when we work together it becomes yet a different thing but it’s formed by what he does and what I do. You know rock, bluesy, jazzy, I’ve always kind of liked country songs because the construction is really interesting to me, the way they work. There’s only 12 notes, it’s a 12 note scale in rock and country and blues. It’s all kinds of haiku. It’s all a very simple thing, and with some slight changes, they become unique. There are a billion songs with the same chords but they all sound different, that is if you write them well. The album is influenced by how we did it. We don’t have drum kits on the album its just percussion, fan brushes and tambourines and stuff like that. When we go out on this mini tour, we’re going out as a four piece without the piano this time; just he and I on guitars and vocals with my bass player, who normally plays upright in my band, playing his Fender. Also a drummer I’ve done a bunch of work with will be playing on a minimal drum kit.

Mxdwn: How many shows do you have planned so far ?

Paley: Right now, were just doing a couple. We have the one in Albany on September 7th. We’re doing Buffalo on September 8th and then the Super Crawl Festival in Hamilton, Ontario on the 10th.

Mxdwn: Are you going to do a full tour as Paley and Francis?

Paley: We’ll probably do stuff. He’s going to be busy with what he likes to call “the old band” till the end of the year after this, so probably February/March we’ll start doing little runs here and there.

Mxdwn: How would you say the music is different from what you guys do solo?

Paley: It sounds like what he and I do. It’s obviously going to be formed by what he does and it’s been formed by what I do. When we work together, we pull each other towards each other’s things. He pulls me a little more toward his thing and I pull him a little more towards my thing. So some of the songs have a little more of his imprint on them and some songs have a little more of my imprint on them. It might feel a little more like his stuff or a little more like my stuff depending on the song.

Mxdwn: How did you guys originally meet?

Paley: We met a long, long time ago. Pixies were opening up for my old band and we met then.

Mxdwn: Damn I was hoping for some long, epic story [laughing]

Paley: [laughing] Sorry it’s not a long epic story. We met, we got along, we had mutual friends, we became friends. We were both playing the Boston club scene and could play well and the rest is history.

Mxdwn: Are you working on a solo record now?

Paley: Well I’ve got 3 albums out, and the Sub Pop single and various compilation tracks and stuff like that. Yeah sure, I’ve been working on a new album. I’ve got a bunch of stuff recorded for the next Reid Paley Trio album. I’m very easy to find just go to I’m appallingly easy to find, disturbingly easy to find. It makes me a little bit nervous but still.

Mxdwn: You’ve been influential to a lot of people. What are your musical influences?

Paley: At a very early age, I liked a lot of old jazz like Charlie Parker and Coltrane and stuff like that. At home I tend to listen to Miles Davis, old blues and R&B stuff like Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and Etta James. I listen to a lot of my friends’ bands people that I like. Peg Simone is a great guitar player.

Mxdwn: Anything else burning on your mind you want to share?

There’s alot on mind I don’t know if you want to go there [laughing]. There’s plenty on my mind. I’m a deep, sensitive song writer, you know. I’m very fuckin sensitive. I have alot on my mind all the time.

Mxdwn: People should think all the time.

Paley: Yeah they should but as a species we tend not to. But yeah I really ont have anything to add really just go to and

Mxdwn: Well thanks for the interview I’m really looking forward to listening to the record.

By Colette ClairePosted in Features