För någon vecka sedan hade jag åter igen nöjet att snacka med Jeff. Det blev bl a en hel del prat om hans nya soloplatta "Damage control", som faktiskt visade sig vara just vad titeln säger, men även snack om studioarbete, framtida arbete med Dave Meniketti, W.E.T. och ny musik.
Jeff Scott Soto: Hi, Jeff Scott Soto calling.
Hey Jeff, how are you?
JSS: I´m great! How are you?
I´m good too! Sitting here drinking a glass of wine and listening to your album.
JSS: Awesome! Sounds like a good Friday night already.
It sure does. First off. It sounds amazing. I think it´s some of the best work you´ve ever done.
JSS: I can´t thank you enough for that. That´s what I was going for for this one. I was going for to just let people know I´ve still got it. (laughs) Awesome!
There´s your classic AOR stuff and more melodic hard rock and that mix works really well and your voice sounds stronger than ever.
JSS: Thank you, man! Well honestly, and a lot of people don´t know yet and I´ve been pushing it in all the interviews I´ve been doing, that there´s a deluxe edition coming out. What you´ve got there is the 11 songs standard edition and the three songs that are missing on there, two of them are even heavier than the stuff that is considered heavy on the album. As far as I´m concerned, those three songs kinda round off the whole thing and it´s kinda like a director´s cut of the album, but it´s also the complete version of how I foresaw the entire album when I was actually putting it together. Unfortunately Frontiers had their ideas that they only wanted an eleven song edition as a standard one and they were doing me a favor by letting me do all 14 songs, but I also told them that I´m not gonna be pushing the standard edition when I talk about it. I really want people to listen to the other songs, which I think are very important. Especially one of the songs that got cut from the standard edition is a song called “Afraid to die”, which I wrote about Marcel Jacobs. Very important song and this one Is one of the heaviest things I´ve done in a while too. When they hear it or you hear it, you just go “Jesus, this should´ve been on the regular album!”.
Writing a song like that, about a friends who´s passed away, does it come easy or is it hard?
JSS: Well, it´s not so much about him. It´s more of an anti suicide song. It´s my whole perspective on when somebody gets to that level, gets to that extreme in life, that they feel that it isn´t worth it anymore and if it even save one person and changes their perspective if they´ve gotten that low… everybody gets that low in their life at some point. You´ve lost a relationship or lost your job or your health, everybody gets that moment where they feel “I wish I could die right now!”, but obviously there are others that get to the point where it actually becomes a reality for them, that they wanna take their lives and if this song can give any perspective that life is worth it, even for one person, than I´ve done my job. So it kinda deals with that side of… it´s not a preaching thing like “Don´t give up, it´s worth it!”, it´s more of kinda what I went through the first few hours when I found out that Marcel took his life and there are even some emotions in there that I put on there, because as I´m singing it and as I´m thinking of it, I really relived that memory of the day I heard about losing him.
Right. The title then, “Damage control”, what´s the story behind that? Did that come early on or did it get changed around?
JSS: It actually came midway recording the album. When I heard the song itself, “Damage control”, it kinda had a Talisman kinda vibe to it when we were working on it and when I put the lyrics together for it and just when I said the line “This is damage control”, It was almost like I was exclaiming that not only what it was about, but when I said the actual line “This is damage control.”, I thought “That sounds more like I´m presenting the album. It sounds like I´m saying this album is damage control.”. The original name of the album was something else and when I exclaimed that line in the song I said “I have to change the title of the album because this is damage control.”. The song title and a lot of the songs on the album have a lot to do with things in life where you have to perform damage control and you actually have to step up and fix something that you made wrong. It can be anything from the state of the world we´re in today which “Never ending war” is about. It´s about we´re the world is… everything from the US to Europe and all the crazies from war to famine and everything that we´re dealing with in today´s day and age compared to 20 years ago. In every aspect of life we´re performing some kinda damage control to something that we´ve caused or something that we´ve actually damaged. And in a tongue in cheek kinda way it´s also a way to state that I´m performing damage control on my own career based on the last album I released, which was “Beautiful mess” and “Beautiful mess”, no pun intended, ended up being a mess as far as sales and as far as kinda putting a little damper on my career, my solo career. I guess in a tongue in cheek way, even though damage control meant something else, this album as a rock album, is kinda performing damage control to the beautiful mess I left behind, is kind of a strange way to put it. I´m very proud of that album, but unfortunately my fans didn´t really see it as an album they wanted to hear as a Jeff Scott Soto album. This album is basically the damage control to fixing that little mess that I left behind.
I never thought of you as out of action and you´re certainly in action now with this album. The album cover with a picture of you making a fist, was that something that came up during the photo session or was it planned?
JSS: No, we were doing the regular photo session and I had just put on that t-shirt and he (photographer) was saying “ I need to check the lighting.” And everything we did was outdoors and I was facing a particular direction and the wind was blowing the wrong way and he goes “Nah, I´m not getting it here.”, so I switched position so the wind was blowing the right way and he goes “Just give me a few poses! I need to make sure the light is ok.”. I didn´t just want to stand there and put my hand in my pockets, so I just did the fist thing and the picture came out so strong and so cool and it wasn´t calculated at all. It was just one of those things where I was goofing around and of course when I sent all the photos to the guy that does all my artwork, he was trying to come up with a concept that was strong enough to actually portray the title “Damage control” and he said “Man, there´s one sticking to me. Every time I´m working on something else, I keep going back to this one. What do you think?” and that was the one that… it stuck in my mind the first day I saw 20 different proofs, that´s the one I went back to, so it was unanimous.
Cool! What was it like working with Dave Meniketti? I love his voice and the stuff he´s done in Y&T. How did you hook up?
JSS: Well, I´ve known Dave for quite a few years now and he´s become a very good friend through the years and it was actually just by chance. We were actually mixing the album and it was probably more than three quarters done and that particular track “Bonafide” was one of the last ones being done, because I actually programmed the drums on it and it was one of the songs I wanted to play everything on. It´s kinda a self indulgent track because it´s a ballad and it didn´t have any extreme musical parts or anything too challenging so I decided I was gonna play everything including the guitar solo and in the end I wasn´t too crazy about the way my guitar playing sounded, but also I happened to see Y&T in London while I was mixing the album and Mike Vanderhule, the drummer of Y&T came to me and said “Man, I so wish I could´ve played on this album.” And I said “Well bro, I have so many people in line that I wanted to work with and they´re already sending me stuff and I would´ve loved to have you on it. It´s actually one track that I did the program drums on. It´s a ballad and if you want, I can actually change it and put real drums on it?” and he said “Dude, I really wanna play!” and as soon as he heard it, he really wanted to play it. I said “You have to do it quickly!” and he was literally leaving from this tour going home and he dove right into the studio and sent me the drum tracks for it back in San Francisco, because I was still in Europe and when he sent it to me he goes “Dude, you know who would sound great doing the solo on this song? You should have Dave to do the solo!” and I go “You think he would do it?” and Mike goes “Well, I know he´s ill and he´s probably tired and he´ll give you every excuse in the book, but I´m sure if you´ll ask him, he´ll do it.” And as soon as I asked him it was like “When do you need it?”. I knew he was ill and tired and jetlagged and all the excuses, but he said “I´ll do it as soon as possible, when do you need it by?” and I said “Well, I needed it last week.”. (laughs) He gave it to me the next day and it was exactly what the doctor ordered. It´s one of those things you know, when you grow up having posters and magazines and albums of your favorite people and then 27 years later, they´re in your phone book, they´re in your contacts as your friend and it´s still a strange thing to grasp that you were once just this 12 year old kid who was just a fan of these people and now all of a sudden they´re playing on your album and you´re hanging out with them and jamming with them live. That´s what´s so cool about music and about the rock world, that it can turn around like that as you get older and as you actually pursue this dream. It´s a dream for me to have Dave Meniketti on my album finally and actually say that we worked together.
You should do something more! You two would work well together.
JSS: (laughs) I think we are gonna take it to the next step next time around and we´re probably gonna write something together, maybe even duet. I would love to actually go to the next step further with him.
Excellent! He´s gotta be one of the good guys in the business? I´ve met him a few times and he seems like a really down to earth and cool guy.
JSS: And everything you saw is exactly what I see. The way artists treat the general public or the media, they have different ways of treating different people and especially their peers. It might be like “Oh, I gotta be nice to this guy because he´s a big rock star.”. Meniketti is exactly the same to the mailman as he is to the Pope, you know. Everybody in his eyes are equal and that´s what I love about this guy.
As you mentioned about your album “Beautiful mess”, how do you look upon releasing albums these days? It is a difficult business and a difficult industry when it comes to sales and so on. I recently read about a new collection with Anthrax and it sold 64 copies in its first week. You do all this work and put your soul and heart into it and then you really don´t know what´s gonna happen to it.
JSS: And that´s the whole thing. I´m not gonna stop recording and I´m not gonna stop creating the music that I personally love that I wanna share with the world, just because I´m worried that nobody´s gonna buy it or appreciate it. All I can do is keep doing what I do and always have done and at this point… it´s kinda a running joke when somebody says “Oh, you´re so old school!”. At this stage I´m not old school, I´m just old. (laughs) I´ve been doing this for almost 30 years and it´s kinda hardto change my perception in why I got into the industry and why I do what I do and just because the industry evolves and change or whatever, I still do what I do because I love it and I know there are people that do enjoy it too and I can´t worry about all the bullshit in between. I can be thrilled that I´m still here 27 years later, doing what I always dreamed of doing and I still have a label supporting me that´s giving me money to go create new things and I still have an outlet to go out and play live. Basically, this is the second half of my career, this is phase two as I see it. The first phase was all the education and learning and all the stages of getting your feet wet and people knowing who you are and I passed all that. I might not be a household name and selling out arenas on my own, but I have a respect from my peers and my fans and even the media out there, that I can actually now enjoy everything that comes with all the hard work that I´ve done through the years. That´s how I see it. I gotta put a positive into any negatives out there, because if I live off negatives I´ll just live in a cave.
Are you an avid record buyer yourself?
JSS: Not so much anymore. Maybe partially because I´m not so excited about what´s out there musically these days, but I think part of that too is that I´m a bit sheltered musically because I´m always working on something new right after I´m finishing something. I mean, I literally just hot off the press mixing my album and I´m doing interviews for it and we already started working on a new W.E.T. album, so for me to be listening to other things and new bands and new music, is distracting for me when I´m trying to actually write and create. I don´t wanna listen to other things and accidentally borrow or steal from them. I wanna actually just concentrate on what I´m working on and then when I´m done with that, I´m on to a tour and doing something where I have to learn songs and concentrate on remembering songs. (laughs) I´ve got such a catalog of songs that when I´m doing things live it´s impossible to go “Oh my god, I can´t remember lyrics I wrote a few months ago, much less six years ago. I´m always having to think and put my thoughts and my concentration on other things, that I don´t really get the chance to go out there and dig out and seek out new music and really enjoy what´s going on out there. The few things I have, I really love, like Black Country Communion and Chickenfoot. I love the new Van Halen album! There´s a few exceptions, but for the most part I´m not really looking at and digging out new music, which is kinda answering the other thing you´re talking about where Anthrax sold a small amount of albums, I guess I´m kinda one of those that´s not really helping the cause so to speak, but I´m contributing to the cause and I´m out there putting more music out there. I´m trying to find the balance but it´s difficult. I´m a working man! (laughs)
Speaking of Van Halen, have you heard the new album?
JSS: Absolutely and I think it´s great! I know already because they dug into the archives of old material and they realized “We don´t think and write the way we used to and we used to write some great shit, so why not take some of the great shit nobody´s ever heard of and resurrect it?”. I think it´s a brilliant idea and I think today, if Marcel Jacob was still alive, we´d probably be digging into some old Talisman stuff so people can go “Wow, that sounds like the old stuff!”.
You didn´t get to go to the dress rehearsals at the Forum?
JSS: Unfortunately no, I´m here in London.
You mentioned W.E.T. Have you started working on another album? That was another great album.
JSS: We are six songs deep and we´ve got another six or seven we´re working on. The new album will definitely be done and mixed and turned in before the summer and Frontiers will probably release it later this year or the beginning of next year, so I get a chance to promote my thing. They definitely wanna give “Damage control” a chance and they´re stepping on their own legs if they´re putting things out with me on them. They´re gonna space out accordingly but because I´m so busy and I´ve got so many things going on, they wanna be able to have it in the can, so we´re working on it now and it sounds amazing!
Nice! What else have you got going on? Any other projects happening in 2012 that you can tell me about?
JSS: When is this interview coming up?
It should be up within 2-3 weeks.
JSS: Then I should be able to talk about this news. I´m not supposed to discuss it yet until it comes from the official stages, but Roger Taylor from Queen has got this new show in the US called “The Queen Extravaganza”, that he´s sponsoring and it´s an all new band with three singers and it´s a huge production with video screens of the band in their heyday and the new band is basically playing the Queen songs mixed with these videos. Stunning visuals, lights and productions and lasers and it´s an amazing show that´s being put together and I´m one of the three singers. It´s one of the reasons why we´re doing the W.E.T. album now, because I have to be in the US for about four or five weeks of rehearsals in April and the thing launches in June, I believe, but I can´t really talk much about it because Roger wants to make the proper presentation of it, but I think that announcement is gonna come out in the next week and a half or so, so it should be alright by the time this thing comes up.
JSS: That´s gonna keep me busy through the summer and in the fall I´m gonna gear up with my band and do my own solo tour for “Damage control” and depending on if I get that done on time or not, I might be doing another Trans Siberian Orchestra winter tour, so I´m pretty much booked all the way in till January next year.
Man, that sounds good!
JSS: That´s the reason why we gotta get this W.E.T. album done, because otherwise we wouldn´t be able to start this until January next year.
In between all things, do you do a lot of studio work for other musicians on their albums? Do you get asked a lot?
JSS: Here and there, but I mean, a lot of that stuff, especially with the internet and home studios, a lot of that stuff takes literally a couple of hours. It´s not like the old days where you had to learn the song, you had to rehearse it, you had to go into the studio and spend hours blah, blah, blah. Everything´s so immediate. If I get offered a session, they basically send me the mp3, I say it sounds great, they send me the track and within 20-25 minutes I´ve knocked it out in my own home studio and send them the tracks by internet. It´s so easy now, but I´m trying to cut down on that kinda stuff because it starts lessening the value of my name. A lot of people I´m sure will hire me thinking “Well, if I get Jeff on this, we´re gonna sell a few thousand more than we normally would if we didn´t have him.”, but that´s gonna start making a few thousand less of my fans going “Well, I´ve got too much of him.” and these people have spent too much money to get me on their thing blah, blah, blah, so I´d rather there be more of a quality thing instead of a quantity thing going on.
Of course. What about Sweden then? Any plans at all?
JSS: You know what, thankfully I´ve got somebody working the angles out there and getting me press in Sweden for this new album, which I´m hoping, especially with the exposure I´m getting from W.E.T., hopefully people will now listen to this album knowing it´s a hard rock album and knowing there´s another W.E.T. album and I´ve got this kinda refueled excitement of coming back to Sweden, because I would absolutely love to come back and tour the mother country like I used to back in the day. Sweden´s always been a second home for me because of Yngwie and Talisman and it´s a pity because every time I do a solo tour it´s one of the places I have to bypass because it´s so expensive to get everybody over and it´s usually maybe two or three places that are interested, but it´s not enough money to cover the expenses so I´m really hoping that there´s a little more anticipation this time and I can get the band to do a few shows in Sweden and make it worth our while financially.
I´m looking forward to it! Again, a really good album and it´s always a pleasure talking to you Jeff. Last time I talked to you was in November 2010 and you were in Boise, Idaho.
JSS: Oh, I was getting ready for TSO.
Exactly and we talked about the Bee Gees.
JSS: Right, right, that´s right. I do remember that. (laughs) Cool man. Good talking to you again!
Good talking to you and good luck with everything Jeff!
Vill du dessuom läsa det senaste från galenpannan Dave Mustaine klickar du HÄR och får ta del av hans tips till fattiga afrikanska kvinnor. Jag säger som the late great Christopher Hitchens: "Religion poisons everything!"
Galenpannan Dave Mustaine lägger sin röst på übergalenpannan Rick Santorum och säger självfallet nej till homoäktenskap. Greg Puciato i Dillinger Escape Plan ger sin syn på saken:
"If we ever do a show that I feel is gonna have an overtly high level of homophobes in the audience, I promise to wear a shirt that has a picture of a dude sucking a cock on the front of it or something. Funny how the same people who would act violently offended by that would probably cheer if there were two girls making out or going down on one another onstage. Like I said, fucking insecure babies trapped in man bodies. Masculinity insecurity issues. Hopefully they’ll all have gay kids."
Jag är gammal. Så gammal att jag fortfarande införskaffar 99% av min musik genom att köpa skivor. Pensionen står alltså i hallen och väntar otåligt. Idag hittade jag äntligen en download av Autographs King Biscuit Flower Hour från Baltimore 1986 och brände mig en CD. Lyckan är total då detta är den ena av endast två livespelningar jag vet med mig finns där ute i cyberrymden. Det finns alltså en del positiva spekter av allt nedladdande, trots allt.
Davy Vaim med sitt entourage kommer tillbaka för nya spelningar i slutet av mars. Sist de var här missade jag giget i Stockholm, men gjorde en telefonintervju med Davy någon månad tidigare. Intervjun hittar ni HÄR
Idag skulle Kurt ha fyllt 45. Jag var personligen inget stort Nirvanafan, men visst gillade jag "Nevermind". Dock är det åtskilliga år sedan jag lyssnade på den plattan, vilket troligtvis visar hur lite bandet eller plattan betytt för mig. Dagen då han hittades låg jag i sängen på mitt studentrum på Bemidji University i Minnesota. En liten håla med ca 13000 invånare mitt ute i skogen. Jag befann mig där under några månader för att plugga lite extra under mina lärarstudier i Växjö. Ett välkommet avbrott och definitivt en vistelse som bjöd på mycket. Nåväl, jag låg där i sängen och zappade runt på kanalerna och hamnade till slut på CNN som berättade en "breaking story" om att Cobain hittats död. Självfallet en tragedi och självfallet berördes jag. Någon vecka senare inhandlade jag Rolling Stone, People och tidningen ovan då de alla hade Kurt på omslaget. Omslagen till SPIN och People sitter numera inramade i mitt rock and rollrum i huset och Rolling Stone lyckades ena brorsan sno till sig i ett svagt ögonblick. Jag vet egentligen inte varför jag ramade in dem. På något sätt fungerar de väl som en påminnelse om hur tragiskt ett människoliv kan vara. Att inte kunna se någon annan utväg än att avsluta sitt liv är det mest tragiska som finns. Några veckor senare åkte jag faktiskt till Seattle för att besöka vänner och blev på studs förälskad i denna regninga stad långt där uppe i nordvästra USA. Jag minns att jag åkte förbi legendariska Crocodile Café, men det var allt. Det blev inga konserter och känslan av grunge infann sig inte mer än att jag själv gick omkring i en flanellskjorta vid tillfället. Däremot lyckades jag ta mig ut till Jimi Hendrix grav och ta ett foto.
I all min hysteri över Van Halen idag har jag helt glömt bort att gratta Tony Iommi som fyller 64. Hoppas även att han tar sig igenom cancerskiten. Dessutom skänker vi Bon Scott en tanke idag då han gick bort för 32 år sedan. Sist men inte minst går även en tanke åt MC5´s Michael Davis som gick bort i fredags 68 år ung. Han har säkert redan börjat jamma med Bon.
Igår drog då deras USA-turné igång i Louisville, Kentucky och herrejävlar så tight det låter! Det hade varit helt fantastiskt om Michael Anthony hade fått vara en del av detta spektakel, men Wolfgang gör verkligen bra ifrån sig med sin unga strupe. David Lee Roth fortsätter att inte använda en vanlig mikrofon, vilket får honom att se något vilsen ut på scen och han rör sig, vågar man säga det, en aning fjolligt och Vegasaktigt. But what the heck, Diamond Dave är kung och hans röst låter förvånansvärt fräsch. Nu får vi bara hoppas att bandet styr kosan mot Europa och Sverige inom en snar framtid.
Sam Dunn har verkligen gjort sig ett namn som dokumentärmakare i hårdrocksvärlden med sevärda och omtyckta filmer om Rush och Iron Maiden och är just nu högst aktuell i tv-serien "Metal Evolution" som sänds på tisdagar i SVT. Jag lyckades styra upp en telefonare med denna upptagna kanadick och fick ett samtal om bl a hans filmer, jobbet kring dem och vad han pysslar med just nu.
Sam Dunn: Hey Niclas, it´s Sam. How are you?
I´m good. How are you?
SD: Pretty good, man. Thanks.
How long did it take to put “Metal Evolution” together? How much research did you have to do?
SD: Too long and too much! (laughs) We started the writing and the research in October 2009 and the show premiered in November of 2011, so basically two years from the very beginning to the very end. It was a pretty long and painstaking process because each episode is really a documentary unto its own. Each episode is its own unique story and we interviewed the people that are part of each story and when you do it the right way it always takes longer. (laughs) We could´ve just put 20 people in a room and asked them all questions about all the episodes, but we wanted to create stories and actually talk to the people who were there.
Coming up with stuff like Dick Dale and stuff like that, was that stuff you read about or people telling you about it?
SD: We had a great writing and research team. Our primary writer was Ralph Chapman and one of our researchers was Martin Popoff, who´s a well known metal writer…
SD: Between them… we just wanted to go into greater depths than anything that had ever been done before about heavy metal and I think… we always want to take people back one step further in time and what they would expect, so instead of starting the story of American metal with like KISS, we went back to surf music, because the sound of the surf guitar was really the birth of that very fast kinda picking style that of course is a huge part of heavy metal. We wanted to give people a broader perspective on where heavy metal comes from.
Was there a lot of stuff that you learned yourself that you didn´t really know about?
SD: I think I underestimated the degree to which a lot of the early metal musicians were influenced by jazz music. For me, jazz and metal seem like the furthest thing from each other, in so many ways. I do like jazz music and I love metal music, but they´re very separate to me and yet when I talk to people like Bill Ward of Black Sabbath or Dave Lombardo of Slayer and many other musicians, they talk about how especially the drummers like Buddy Rich was so influential on them, the freedom with which they played. Just to take one example, that connection between jazz and metal surprised me.
Yeah, Buddy Rich is a name that comes up a lot, especially when you read about some metal drummers. I recently spoke to Mike Mangini of Dream Theater and he said the same thing, that there was something special about Buddy Rich and his style and just being wild.
SD: Well he was the first drummer that was like a rock star and he was actually like the focal point of the band instead of the guitar player or the singer. He was the first guy to put the drums at the center of the music and because metal is so rhythmic and so rhythmically demanding, that a lot of metal musicians are inspired of what Buddy did.
Looking back on when you did “Metal – A headbanger´s journey” up till now with “Metal Evolution”, what´s been different when it comes to putting it together? What have you learned when it comes to making films and TV-series?
SD: Ha… you know, for us it was a real challenge to make the transition from making a two hour film to do an 11 hour TV-series. I think… we wanted to bring the same level of quality to all the episodes that we would to a single movie and we realized that it nearly killed us. (laughs) We barely survived because the work involved and getting all the key people and taking the time in the editing process to get the story right, was so demanding. I´ve learned that there´s a reason why TV-shows have formulas (laughs) and we weren´t smart enough to find one. (laughs)
It´s airing today here in Sweden. One thing I was wondering about and I understand that you can´t include everything and everyone, but the episode about Detroit and Iggy and Alice Cooper, there was no mentioning of Grand Funk Railroad. Is that because they were not part of pushing stuff forward? They were huge in the States.
SD: I mean, because there were so many bands to consider in making this series, that we really had to zero in on the bands that were making important musical contributions in moving the music forward and Grand Funk Railroad is obviously a really important band with a huge fan base and was known for playing big arena shows in the 70´s, but when we started to zeroing in on the music we didn´t feel they were sort of pushing things forward as much as say the Detroit bands, or the performance forward. Alice Cooper and KISS, they totally revolutionized the stage show in rock music, so we kinda had to keep reminding us that the show was called “Metal Evolution” and it´s not just a list of bands that were popular. It was bands that played a key role in helping the music evolve.
The same goes for AC/DC I guess?
SD: Well, AC/DC… they´re fucking from Australia and really hard to figure out. (laughs) They were really challenging to get in, but we´re actually in discussions with VH1 right now about potentially doing four more episodes and the final episode would be what we´re calling the outsiders of metal and really all those bands that are nearly impossible to categorize and that we feel have been left out and certainly AC/DC is right at the top of the list.
Cool! Working with Iron Maiden and working with Rush, did they approach you or did you approach them and did you get total freedom to do whatever you wanted or was it restricted in any way?
SD: Right. We met both of those bands back when we did “Metal – A headbanger´s journey” and we interviewed Bruce Dickinson and Geddy Lee in that film and Rod Smallwood, Iron Maiden´s manager was someone who really supported us from the very early days of making that film and was hugely pivotal in getting access to important artists like Tony Iommi, Slipknot, Slayer and these bands, because no one knew us back then. But when it came to making “666”, we approached the band about doing something about their tour on Ed Force One and eventually they agreed to do it although they were a bit hesitant at first about having cameras around for the whole tour and with Rush it was similar. We approached them and went down to Texas and met them backstage before a show and Geddy knew us but we had never met Alex and Neil before. Geddy really liked our first film, so that really helped. I don´t think we would´ve been able to hang out with them in the dressing room if Geddy hadn´t liked what we´d done. (laughs) We just had a conversation and told them that we think they´re one of the great rock bands and certainly one of the greatest Canadian bands of all time and that we just felt that they deserved a film, so lucky for us the film did well and won a bunch of awards and Rush is having ongoing success and still one of the most popular rock bands out there.
I really like that movie and the way it was put together, but then you did the live DVD as well, right?
SD: Yeah, “Time machine”.
What´s it like making a live DVD? You gotta end up with tons of footage to choose from?
SD: Yeah, well I mean, with “Time machine” wanted to do something in Cleveland because that was the city that broke them in the US. WMMX, the radio station playing “Working man” back in 1974 and it was one of the most important moments in the band´s history, so they really wanted to give thanks back to that city and they had never done a DVD in America before. It was something they really wanted to do and our approach to filming live concerts have always been to capture the personality of the band. I think there´s a tendency with rock and metal concerts that it´s all about presenting a band as being as big and heavy and intense as possible and of course that´s important, but we also wanna show what´s going on like behind the solo, you know? The glances between the band members and the communication that goes on stage and try and get a bit more of their personality to the show. That´s really what we wanted to bring and obviously Rush has an amazing live show and animations with Howard Ungerleider, their director who´s been with them since the 1970´s, so working with him is a real pleasure because he makes us look good because the lighting is always right for the moment. (laughs) It was a great project to work on and we´re really proud of the way it turned out.
Now that you´ve worked with all these big bands, do you get approached by other bands about making documentaries or live DVD´s?
SD: Yeah, now some people are starting to approach us about doing different things, but I can´t really name names because nothing´s really in the works. We´ve kinda gotten to that point where people are starting to approach us which is great. As I always like to say, it´s a great problem to have. (laughs) There´s worse problems to have in life. For us it´s just about making sure that we can maintain the quality of what we do. We´re not gonna jump out and do any cocaine shows anytime soon, but we are looking for ways to kinda expand what we do but keep the quality up and keep the “Banger style” going.
Are you working on anything with Slayer?
SD: No, but we did have some discussions with Slayer a few years back, but unfortunately it kinda just faded away. What we´re working on now is that we´re doing a documentary on Alice Cooper´s life from his early days as a child to the 80´s when he made his big comeback. We´ve started to do the interviews and collecting the archival material and the other film we have on the go right now is that we´re doing a modern history of the devil.
Yeah, I read about that.
SD: Yeah, it´s obvious the devil is related to what we´ve done because the devil´s a pretty popular guy, but we´re trying to do something broader and we´re looking on the influence of the devil in film and literature and music and pop culture from the 1960´s to the present day. It´s exciting for us because it´s a chance to do something new and kinda expand our horizons but still something that´s clearly to our past.
So that means you´re gonna spend a lot of time in the Norwegian woods then?
SD: (laughs) I´m not sure about that. (laughs) I´m not sure they´ll let us back. If we get the go ahead to do these extra four episodes of “Metal Evolution” one of the other ones will be on extreme metal, so obviously we´re gonna wanna cover the black metal scene in Norway. We love Scandinavia so we´re always looking for an excuse to come back. (laughs)
The Alice Cooper film, is that something that he approached you about?
SD: We approached him. Alice, again, is another artist that we interviewed back when we did “Metal – A headbanger´s journey”. I did two interviews with him for “Metal Evolution” and he´s a big part of two of the episodes in the series and again it´s one of those artists that´s been around for almost 40 years now and never really had a film made about his life. Again, like with Iron Maiden and Rush, so many people are surprised that these artists are still around and are still making records and are still really making an impact and gaining new fans, so we just felt that Alice is such a fascinating guy and he´s got a really amazing life story and we think it´s gonna make a great film.
Nice. You´ve done tons of interviews and met all the major bands and artists. Is there anyone that you still haven´t talked to that you would like to interview or have you been turned down by someone?
SD: There´s two musicians that we´ve tried time and time again to interview and they have not participated and that´s Jimmy Page and Richie Blackmore. Obviously two of the most important guitarists of all time in rock and metal, but both of them are just resistant to being involved in anything that´s related to rock and metal and unfortunately it doesn´t seem like there´s much we can do about it. We keep pestering them for every project so hopefully one day they might sit down and talk to us.
I think I read last year that Blackmore had actually done some interviews about metal and hard rock and not just the medieval music.
SD: Oh really! They´re lucky. I´d like to know what those guys ´magic formula is.
Right. How do you finance these movies and series? It´s gotta cost a lot of money?
SD: It´s a combination through distribution deals we make for DVD and broadcast deals with TV networks in various countries and then in Canada we have systems of tax credits and some government funding which support TV and film production, because we live so close to the US and Hollywood and they´re such a huge force in entertainment. In Canada we have some funds set up that supports Canadians to produce our own films and TV shows, so it´s really a combination of those things. That´s how we pull it together. We used to have to beg our parents to loan us money and thankfully we don´t have to do that anymore. (laughs)
Finally, are you still playing in a band?
SD: Sadly now. With all the work at Banger and I have a four month old son, so there´s not a lot of time to be cranking up the bass and working on new riffs unfortunately. Maybe one day I can get back into it. I´d love to.
Rex Brown, främst känd som medlem i Pantera och Down, återfinns numera i ett nytt band tillsammans med bl a Vinnie Appice. Jag ringde upp Rex i Texas och efter diverse telefonstrul kunde vi sätta igång och snacka. Det blev bl a prat om nya bandet, hans kommande bok och varför han blev basist.
Rex Brown: Right on the money Sonny!
Alright! First of all, the name Kill Devil Hill, as far as I can tell that´s where the Wright brothers flew their first plane? Is that something that has to do with the name?
RB: Yeah, that has a lot to do with it! Mike Zavon actually has a pilot license and that was always a cool name to him and the whole bit. Then we found out later that Kill Devil Hills was a place where all the pirates used to stash all their rum and they said that the rum was so strong it could kill the devil. That´s how the Kill Devil Hills were named. It´s got like two connotations to it so it´s kinda cool. We did the home work on it and it just kinda came up in a band discussion and there it was.
Ok. I also found out that there´s a song by Bruce Dickinson where he mentions Kill Devil Hills.
RB: Right, I need to google that song. It´s not where we took it off of by the way. There´s also a band out of Australia that´s named Kill Devil Hills, that we didn´t know about either, so when we came up with this thing it was just lucky passing. Fuck it. Basically what it does, it´s it brands our music. It brands the name with the music. What does Pantera mean? It´s Spanish for panther. What does it really fucking mean? Nothing! It´s just a name that kinda sticks with it. What does Metallica really mean, you know? It just kinda brands the name with the music that you´re actually listening to.
You all played in kinda different bands. Appice in Sabbath and Dio and you´ve been in Pantera and Down and Zavon with Stephen Pearcy and Ratt. It´s quite different kinda music when it comes to metal. How did you all meet?
RB: Shit, I´ve known Vinnie for some 20 odd years and played festivals with him and getting high with him and Ronnie James Dio. I think Philip (Anselmo) and I first met him in ´92 or something like that. Long story straight, they were looking for a bass player for this project they had and we met Mark Zavon and he did a couple of demos with Dewey Bragg and Vinnie really liked what he heard and they heard that I was looking for a gig, which I at that point kinda was. Philip and I have worked together for so long and we don´t talk about each other’s music now. We´ve made a pact that we´re not gonna make a big deal of it, because it´s just nonsense. The more you give to the people that wanna put shit out there, the more you´re susceptible to it. Phil and I get along fine, everything´s cool with Down. I just wanted to play something new. I had another project in between. Down had basically come off the road after two and a half, almost three years and I wanted to do something different and this kinda landed in my lap. They sent me these tracks and my next door neighbor has a full blown studio in his house in this real nice neighborhood. Opened up there and just played bass and put my own thing on it. Once I did that, I got back to them and they were getting calls and moving forward and when the tracks were done it was like “Are you into it? What´s going on?” and in fact he (Vinnie) came down for a week and hung out. Anyway, there´s a big convention every year in LA for the music merchants and about 20000-30000 people…
RB: NAMM, which is huge and I had to go there and do stuff for my endorsements and I hadn´t been there for a couple of years, so I brought a bass with me and went to rehearsal and it´s so cliché to say, but once we started playing these songs it just clicked, man. There´s something about it that just really worked. We had to work at it and I would go fly down every three weeks, four weeks or something like that and stay with Mark and got to know him real well. They´re just great people and it works really well for us. We´re a young band but it seems like we´ve been together for a long time and that´s important. To have that musicianship and the whole bit together, it really makes it special. We took this thing on the road just to see what the crowd reaction was gonna be, after we recorded the record, and the fuckin´ fans were crazy for it! So if that´s any indication on what´s to come in the fall and year, shit I´ll take it! It´s like going back to your past. You got it in front of you every day and then make the best of it. Every night it just got stronger and stronger to the point that it´s kinda scary how killing this band is gonna be.
How did you decide on working with Warren Riker?
RB: You know, Warren and I lived together for about a year in LA. A separation with the wife situation. Anyway, we lived together and I´ve known Warren and we´ve done plenty of records together and everything. He´s the one I called for the job to put this thing out and he knew what time period he had to do it in and he basically… you know, we had to remix this thing like three times and he fell very short of what he said he could do and he was a really good friend, but… he thinks he´s done no wrong… fuck him, he´s out of the picture!
Ok. Who are the main songwriters in the band?
RB: Actually Vinnie started this project and he did a bunch of drum tracks over at his buddy´s and my buddy´s house, Jeff Pilson and he´s got a cool little studio and a drum track room. Vinnie was kinda coming up with all these different beats and he just wanted to jam and he wanted to put his own band together and the whole bit. Pretty much him and Mark wrote a lot of this stuff and then Dewey came into the picture and put his stamp on the vocals and the whole bit with different melodies and I came in and kinda rearranged everything. They pretty much stand true to the demos, but there´s a lot of changes that have come around. The way that we play them deeper and the whole bit from being in the rehearsal studio to pre production to recording them and we still play them different every fuckin´ night! (laughs)
I saw that there´s a bonus track for the vinyl version and for the ITunes version. How much was recorded? Is there more stuff laying around that didn´t make the album?
RB: Well, we got the drums tracked in like three and a half days. Vinnie just fuckin´ killed! Then we had the guitars and bass done in no more than a week later. Getting the vocals down was probably the hardest part, but we have another six songs in the can that we didn´t record, they´re demos, so we almost got half a record as a starting point for the next one, but our focus right now is just on this one and getting this going and trying to hit every possible place we can play, within a comfort level.
The album cover? Is there some symbolism going on there with the book, the chair, the crucifix, the skull? What´s the thought behind it?
RB: I have no idea! I couldn´t tell you the slightest. I think it looks great. I think it looks fuckin´ awesome! On the backside it´s gonna be reversed so you´re gonna have it like black and white and the white version is what I wanted on the front of it. There are so many bands that put black covers out, but anyway, the record company wanted it all black and I don´t know, it just looks super fuckin´ cool! There´s no real meaning behind it or anything like that. It´s kinda like lyrics, it´s up for anybody´s interpretation. We´re not trying to be a political band or a death metal band or anything else. When we see something that looks cool, we dig it like everybody else and that´s basically what it is.
Cool. This book of yours, is it all done?
RB: Oh no. It´s about 75% done. It just needs some work on it. Dude, I´ve just been working nonstop since… you know, we started this book about a year and a half ago and I´ve got about 60 or 70 hours worth of tape. I rented this little beach house. This cozy little place that I got for like 300 bucks a week and all we did was to sit and talk. We got it all on tape, everything that we needed and so we´re writing chapters now and editing the whole bit and all that goes into writing a book. It should be out by the fall and it tells the story of Pantera, from my eyes. Just my interpretation of it, nobody else’s. You know, I never really got in the press and talked about anything. Music for me is my main goal, that´s my journey. That´s it for me, but I never talked about it and I was approached by someone and I thought that it´s probably not a bad time to do it, so let´s do it now.
Was the plan from the get go to just focus on Pantera?
RB: I think it has to do with the way I grew up and all that stuff that kinda comes into play with a success story. It´s gonna have its good times and bad times, but it´s not gonna be anything that´s gonna be overwhelming to anybody. Like I said, it´s just my personal interpretation and my story of what went down during those times. There´s a lot of good stories and a lot of funny jokes in it and the whole bit. I don´t wanna make it too serious. That´s all I do, is read all these autobiographies by all these cats that are coming out. It´s not a very easy lifestyle and like I said, I´m just telling my side of the story and maybe it needs to be heard.
There´s a lot of autobiographies out there now, is there anyone that stands out and that you really like? Have you read the Glenn Hughes book?
RB: In fact yes I have and I liked that one. Glenn is a good personal friend of mine, so I can´t say anything about the way it was written and in fact I know the writer that wrote it.
Yeah, Joel, I interviewed him just a few weeks ago.
RB: Yeah and I like it! I think the time period is kinda fucked up in the way it goes back and forth, but the one that really stuck out to me in the last year was Keith Richards´”Life”. That is just… Jesus Christ! The years it took to put that fuckin´ thing together, you know! Much less get the old man to remember half of that shit, but it´s an unbelievable read! I would like to… not that I´m Keith Richards or anything, but I would love to have mine read like his does.
I discussed this with Joel McIver, when it comes to you memory, do you really have to work hard remembering stuff?
RB: You know, I´ve got an I-Pad and when certain stuff pops up in my mind, I´ve got it in my backpack, I´ll put down these little things that I can tell my writer and say “Yeah ok, I remember this. Let´s put this in the book and it´ll make a cool chapter for this!” or whatever. I´ve got pages and pages of that and he takes it and puts it into his words. It just takes a lot of time. I want this to be a book that reads like I´m talking instead of some journalist going “Well, he went down to the pub.”, so it takes a lot of work, but he´s starting to get a hold of my lingo, language and the whole bit so it´s going well.
Way back pre Pantera when you went by the name Rexx Rocker, were you in a lot of bands before Pantera?
RB: Well, yeah. I started playing when I was 13 or 14 and I did all kinds of stuff. I was just a kid at that point. All my friends in school called me Rocker. You had Sammy Hagar and he was the Red Rocker and everybody just put together Rexx Rocker. It was more of a nickname than anything. I started in Pantera when I was 17.
How come you ended up playing bass?
RB: Because there were too many fuckin´ guitar players out there! I play guitar, but I´m a bass player. I was playing guitar in like jazz bands when I was probably 12. I got my first guitar when I was nine and I´ve been playing it for a long time, but in jazz bands or lap dance here in the States, you had to change the chords every beat and it just seemed like… “This is the craziest fuckin´ shit ever!”. I knew the bass very well because I played the tuba and you can read this in the book. There´s a definitive clarity to the reason why I took that on. I joined the high school band that was one of the best in the nation. As far as jazz band, I just happened to be lucky to be living in the same school district as this teacher and in my 11th grade year I think I didn´t pass that because I was too busy getting high and throwing a Frisbee in a fuckin´ park. Rock and roll changed my life with Led Zeppelin and all that. I just took a chance with these other brothers and you can read all about that in the book too!
Do you still listen to jazz?
RB: Dude, I like all kinds of shit. I can go from Sinatra to whatever! Sinatra and put Slayer on behind him, you know.
Final thing, your health Rex? Are you A ok these days?
RB: Ah yeah, man! The whole thing with the health deal was just that I had a bad pancreas after so many years. I couldn´t figure it out. I had these polyps inside my pancreas and I´d go to the doctor and say “Doc, I´m in extreme pain and I have no idea what´s going on!” and we went through cat scans and the whole bit and he goes “Rex, you gotta quit drinking!” and anyway, after about five years of this bullshit, I found some doctors here in Dallas who are cutting edge and they removed all the polyps. They actually cut your pancreas in half and dude I´m telling you, I haven´t felt better in five years. I´m happy as can be. I´ve got a brand new band, I´m recently divorced, I´ve got my kids and every day is just looking up better and better. I don´t think my personal problems has anything to do with the music. I´m just not one of those guys. My personal problems are stuff that I have to deal with. That´s just the way I am. I appreciate everybody´s thoughts and prayers. I didn´t wanna do anything until I had it behind me and show the fact that yes, Rex is back!
Good to hear. Any touring plans what so ever? Any plans for Europe?
RB: We´re gonna tour every god damned place as much as we can! There are a lot of places in the world where you can go and play gigs now. I wanna play every place I´ve never gotten to play and then some. We like playing about four or five weeks and then take a little break and have fun with this thing. Instead of bands that just go out and fuckin´ tour 200 days straight and they basically break up at the end of the fuckin´ thing. Going to places that we´ve never seen before. It´s amazing. Down did some of that, like going to places like… Tel Aviv. Phil was so scared about going to Tel Aviv we had to cancel the first time and then they offered it to us a second time and we went over and dude, it was the coolest fuckin´ place I think I´ve ever been to! I wanna go to Dubai, I wanna go to Taiwan and Hong Kong. I wanna go see some places.
You gotta come to Stockholm!
RB: We´ll definitely hit Stockholm and every place where we possibly can get a gig, which I don´t think is gonna be too hard after this record comes out. What do you think of it by the way?
It sounds really good and there´s this song called “Gates of hell” and the first thought that came to mind was that there´s a bit of Alice In Chains in there and then I read your bio where it says it´s a mix of Led Zeppelin and Alice In Chains and some other stuff. It´s a really cool song!
RB: It came to the obvious. Look, we´ve got heavy shit on the bottom and then we have this incredible melody and hooks on top. Why not incorporated, man? Nobody´s doing that. Let´s have somebody sing on the record and not fuckin´ spit and gargle shit up. Phil did that in the 90´s and he was really, really good at it. He was a pioneer in that department and he´s got so many people wanna be like him. It´s flattering and at the same time kinda disgusting, you know. (laughs)
Well, I really hope I get to see you guys live somewhere.
RB: Dude, you gotta see us live because it´s a powerhouse. We´re doing three part harmonies and the whole fuckin´ bit, but we´re stying focused on the heavy parts of it. Me and Vinnie playing together… I mean, I´ve been blessed with great drummers and how many times do people get that opportunity, so that´s where I´m at. I´m just as happy as can fuckin´ be… to be playing, a new love life. It´s a great thing.
Excellent talking to you Rex and good luck with everything!
"Death Meditations" är nummer tre i ordningen av det svenska Death/Black Metal-bandet Torchbearer, senaste plattan "Warnaments" kom ut 2006, så det var minst sagt på tiden. Torchbearer har skruvat upp energin en nivå i och med "Death Meditations" och när det är som aggressivast så är det riktigt bra och gitarrmelodierna sitter som ett smäck, keyboardmattorna likaså, de sistnämnda för tankarna lite till Dark Tranquillity's mörkaste stunder. Tycker man om melodiös Death Metal, då tycker man om Torchbearer, så mycket mer finns inte att säga.
Att inte nämna ordet 'legend' när man ska recensera Symfonia's debutplatta "In Paradisum" är enligt min mening en omöjlighet. Symfonia är nämligen Timo Tolkki's nya skötebarn och ingen kan väl ha undgått att höra talas om gitarrvirtuosen från tusen sjöars land, Stratovarius' förra överhuvud. Men det stoppar inte där, Tolkki har nämligen stärkt sitt band med ännu en före detta Stratovarius-medlem i Jari Kainulainen på bas medan Uli Kusch (ex- Gamma Ray, Helloween och Masterplan) sköter trummorna och den högt ärade Andre Matos (ex- Angra, Viper) på sång. Keyboards sköts av Mikko Härkin som jobbat med bland annat Sonata Arctica. När första spåret "Fields of Avalon" rullar igång så kan jag inte låta bli att dra på smilbanden. Det är precis så fantastiskt bra som bandets line up säger att det ska vara och det är underbart att höra geniet Timo Tolkki skapa riktigt bra Power Metal igen, inte ens i slutet av Stratovarius-eran lyckades han med detta. Fan vet om det inte är det bästa han har åstadkommit sedan "Episode" släpptes 1996. Det trampar vidare i samma rasande tempo som det ska i Power Metal med "Come by the Hills" och "Santiago" bryter ännu mer mark och leendet har fortfarande inte avtagit. Sedan slinker en ballad in i "Alayna", även den håller mästarklass. "In Paradisum" fortsätter i samma spår och när titelspåret vankas så är det ett högklassigt metal-epos som strömmar ut ur högtalarna. Inte ens skivans svagaste spår, "Rhapsody in Black", får mig på dåligt humör, den följs upp av "I Walk In Neon" och avslutande balladen "Don't Let Me Go" som snabbt rycker upp skivan till samma nivå igen. Soundmässigt skulle jag vilja beskriva det som ganska typiskt Tolkki, med många glada keyboardtoner, fräscha gitarrer, lite nedstämdhet i balladerna... Ibland förs tankarna till gamla Edguy, men det är nog mest för att Matos och Sammet stundtals låter fruktansvärt lika, ingen nackdel direkt. Det som gör mig ledsen är att i för mig skrivande och er läsande stund så finns inte Symfonia längre, de splittrades inte långt efter skivsläppet på grund av att det var svårt att få till turnéer som passade med övriga medlemmars projekt, samt vikande skivförsäljning. Tolkki meddelade samtidigt att han drar sig tillbaks från musiken för gott, låt oss för guds skull hoppas att han ändrar sig. Som vi tidigare fått höra har han ju ganska mycket mentala problem, något som brukar vara förenligt med genialitet, och skulle det vara så att han för gott är borta från metalscenen så har han åtminstone lämnat efter sig en odödlig låtskatt.
Sorcerer bildades redan 1989 i Stockholm och de flesta dyrkarna av 80-tals-doom är säkert väl bekanta med dem, trots att allt som släpptes då var två demos (1989 och 1992). 1992 lämnade dock Johnny Hagel bandet för Tiamat och Sorcerer verkade gå i graven med detta. Deras demos hade dock emottagit fina recensioner världen över, så de släpptes på nytt 1995 och en tredje gång 2010, tillsammans med några tidigare outgivna spår. Detta fick folk att börja få upp ögonen för dem igen och de spelade några låtar på Hammer of Doom Festival i Tyskland 2010 och på ännu en festival i Aten året därpå. Efter detta bestämde de sig för att ge ut en riktig fullängdare, kanske dags när man funnits i 22 år! Resultatet är nu här och med tanke på att det är Doom Metal så förstår de flesta kanske hur det låter. Precis som det ska låta. Begreppet Doom Metal började användas i mitten av 80-talet, men enligt min och mångas mening fanns den långt innan dess, närmare bestämt sedan 1970 då Black Sabbath äntrade scenen. Jag tvivlar starkt på att det finns ett enda Doom Metal-band som inte har hämtat inspiration från Black Sabbath och deras ljudbild. Till Sorcerers debutplatta då. Faktiskt så blir jag uttråkad redan innan skivan snurrat igång, då jag ser att den klockar in på 78 minuter, nästintill outhärdligt i allmänhet vad det gäller musik, outhärdligt i synnerhet vad det gäller en sådan seg och tung genre som Doom Metal. De kunde gott och väl delat skivan i hälften och gjort två släpp, för det här blir mer än man mäktar med, man ska inte behöva ta en paus i lyssnandet för en bensträckare/öronvilare. Men om du som läser detta tycker om för 80-talet tidstypisk Doom Metal och riktigt långa låtar så har du här ett fulländat album ute på marknaden. Jag blir bara trött.
Den delen av genrevärlden där Minora befinner sig är jag själv inte särskilt bevandrad, men för mig låter det ungefär som att Katatonia och Opeth har tagit på sig mjukismyskläderna en söndagsmorgon och satt sig ner och skapat. Det kanske faller sig naturligt, då "Imago" är mixad av David Castillo som tidigare arbetat med bland annat de banden. Det är en härligt svävande känsla rakt igenom hela plattan, och personligen kan jag inte se att någon inte skulle kunna tycka om det här. "Imago" är Minora's debutalbum och det är faktiskt riktigt svårt att förstå, de låter fullkomligt genommogna. Att sätta fingret på en speciell låt som sticker ut är svårt, jag tycker att hela "Imago" håller en jämn nivå rakt igenom, och det är ingen låg nivå. Inledningsspåret "Mountain" säger det mesta, med det namnet sätter de direkt nivån även om vi kanske inte befinner oss på toppen av Mount Everest än, men de är på god väg dit!
Finska Los Bastardos Finlandeses är för mig en helt ny bekantskap, trots att detta är bandets fjärde skiva på 5 år, något som måste ses som imponerande i dagens musikindustri. För de, liksom jag, inte har hört dem tidigare så kan det väl närmast beskrivas som röjvänlig party-rock n roll med en riktigt väl whiskeymarinerad sångare, vilket verkligen faller mig i smaken och får mig att vilja dra på mig skinnpaltorna och öppna JD-flaskan igen. Men jag är nog för gammal nu, jag sitter kvar i mysbyxorna i soffan och drömmer om fornstora dagar istället. "Saved By Rock n Roll" brakar loss med titelspåret, som handlar om gitarristen och tillika låtskrivarens hemska olycka och otroliga come back efter en olycka. I april 2010 är Olli "Don Osmo" Kyykkänen med i en bilolycka och bryter nacken, men mot alla odds återhämtar han sig snabbt och är redo för sommarens festivalspelningar. Det är banne mig riktig rock n roll det! Tempot trappas aldrig ner, utan "Saved By Rock n Roll" kan med fördel tryckas i CD-spelaren och rulla från början till slut på vilken fest som helst, så länge man gillar rock n roll. De spår som sticker ut mest och sätter en extra prägel i mina öron är "Acapulco" och "My Baby's Yours To Ride", annars så ligger den på en relativt jämn nivå rakt igenom.
Det som är svårast att recensera är inte det som suger så hårt att öronen krullar sig, eller det som är så bra att det ginstrar om allt omkring en. Sågningar och tokhyllningar är lättare att få ur sig än 'Lätt & Lagom', det blir alltid lite skrivkramp när det man lyssnar på inte på något sätt är dåligt, men heller inte tilltalar en speciellt. Hate Gallery's andra platta "Viva La Resistance" är ett typexempel på detta. Slätstruket, men ändå inte tråkigt. Catchigt, men inte så att jag vill dansa eller korka upp ölen. Attityd, men inte nog för att engagera mig. Det hela blir istället som ett glas lättmjölk, makaroner utan ketchup, Bingolotto utan Loket... Det går an, men det saknas någonting.
Youtube används som bekant inte bara till att spela upp musikvideor för lyssnarens skull, det har också blivit ett mycket framgångsrikt verktyg för att vaska fram talanger som publicerat hemmavideos i hopp om just upptäckt. Journey hittade ju till exempel underbarnet Arnel Pineda via Youtube och inte minst så har ju den fantastiska Justin Bieber upptäckts via detta medium! Hrrm.... Nåja, så är läget även i den fransk-svenska konstellationen Coexistence, där gitarristen Grégory Giraudo fann svenske Carl Lindquist's videor där han sjunger mer eller mindre kända låtar. Det ena ledde till det andra och Coexistence släppte in juni 2009 en 4-låtars demo som fick ta emot fin kritik i diverse hårdrocks-medier världen över. 2010 gick man så in i en studio i södra Frankrike och påbörjade inspelningen av sin första fullängdare "Flow" och med den hoppas man slå på riktigt och bli signade av ett bolag. Som deras influenser nämns bland andra Symphony X, Dream Theater och Evergrey och då har det väl kopplat för de flesta av det är progressivt och åter progressivt. Mig faller det inte alls i smaken, men det kan bero på att jag hyser mer eller mindre allergi mot musik ju mer invecklat och progressivt det blir, vilket kanske kan bero på att jag inte ens kan ta en korrekt ton på en lerduva. Däremot tror jag att det faller fans av tidigare nämnda influenser i smaken, så jag tror absolut att Coexistence har en framtid på den progressiva metal-scenen, för de är både kunniga musiker och duktiga låtskrivare och Carl Lindquist är utan tvekan en mycket talangfull sångare.
När bröderna Joel och Niklas Ek först strålade samman med Joan Vieru och Andreas Westerlund kallade de sig The Sh!t, men snart märkte man att deras musik kanske verkligen kunde komma nånstans så man valde ett mer seriöst bandnamn och Cheerleader var fött. Musikaliskt sett befinner de sig någonstans i gränslandet mellan 90-talets amerikanska glam-scen och den mer renodlade hårdrocken och det fungerar väl ganska så bra måste sägas. De tillför väl inte direkt någon ny energi, men samtidigt skadar det inte med ytterligare en partyvänlig platta att slänga i stereon. Allsångslåten "The Pirate Song" tåls att spelas flera gånger, en skön pubdänga som det säkerligen kommer skålas till mer än en gång. Utöver den sticker inget spår ut speciellt, utan lägg i den i spelaren, sätt volymen på samtalsnivå och ladda för en behaglig kväll med polarna.
Det var aldrig meningen att det klassiska Death Metal-bandet, bildat 1987, skulle återförenas efter sin splittring och albumet "Shitfun" 1995. 13 år hann passera och förnekelsen fortsatte, men så samlades de i studion för att spela in två nya låtar för 20-årsjubliéet av deras debutplatta "Severed Survival" (1990). De var själva nöjda med hur det lät och de kände att de hade mer att ge metal-scenen, så de gav några spelningar på festivaler och 2010 började man skriva nytt material och resultatet kan ni läsa om här då "Macabre Eternal" är deras första fullängdare sedan 1995! Sånär som på basisten Joe Trevisano som är ny i sättningen så är bandet intakt sedan 1988 och Chris Reifert låter värre än nånsin när han gapar i mikrofonen. Stundtals låter han som om han får en kniv omvriden i ryggslutet, stundtals låter det som att han är den som vrider om kniven. Brutalt ska det vara och brutalt är det! Det stämmer verkligen att Autopsy har mer att ge och det finns nog många tusen old school-fans där ute som jublar nu när de är tillbaka med ett oerhört starkt släpp!
80-talet regerar! Är helt till mig i trasorna över dessa ungdomar som överdoserat på Def Leppard och i synnerhet mästerverken "Pyromania" och "Hysteria". Just nu sitter jag bara med ett stort leende på läpparna och inser att det fortfarande görs mycket bra musik, även om det i det här fallet, nästintill kan räknas som plagiat.
Jag har nästan slutat att skriva skivrecensioner då jag inte längre anser mig ha tid att lyssna igenom en massa plattor jag egentligen inte bryr mig om, men när nu mitt älskade Van Halen äntligen gjort slag i saken och släppt ett nytt album, kan jag inte låta bli. Det stod tidigt klart att bandet hämtade mängder av idéer och inspiration från gamla 70-talsdemos. Inget nytt grepp, då bandet tidigare grävt i sina gömmor och plockat fram saker som skrevs innan de nått toppen. Ett gammalt exempel är ju "House of pain" från mästerliga "1984", som från början är en demo inspelad långt innan första plattan gavs ut. Jag hade givetvis en del förhoppningar om att bandet, nu med Diamond Dave i förarsätet igen, skulle kunna spela in något som upphetsade mig betydligt mer än de plattor de släppte med Hagar och Cherone, men samtidigt var jag också nervös för att det skulle bli ett rejält magplask. När jag nu skriver detta har jag spelat igenom plattan åtskilliga gånger sedan den damp ner i brevlådan i torsdags och jag är knockad. "A different kind of truth" är faktiskt mycket mer än vad jag hoppats på. Det svänger rejält om de flesta låtarna och till och med förstasingeln "Tattoo", som inledningsvis kändes något svag, har hittat hem till mitt musikhjärta och jag ser redan nu hur jag bränner asfalt i sommar med "tattoo" på högsta volym, när familjen beger sig till Öland i solskenet. Här finns en uppsjö låtar som påminner om fornstora dagar, som exempelvis den ljuvliga "Stay frosty" med sitt intro a´la "Ice cream man", partylåten "Blood and fire" och superba "Big river". Alla bitar har nästan fallit på plats och bandet låter hungrigt, trots sin ålder. Gubbarna kan än, tro det eller ej och Wolfgang bidrar även han med en hel del. Kanske är det hans unga ålder som fått äldremännen att ta i från tårna och verkligen leverera högklassisk "big rock". Call me crazy, men jag anser redan nu att detta är en av årets plattor. ´Nuff said!
I tisdags hade jag nöjet att för fjärde gången uppleva Henry Rollins spoken word. Scenen var åter igen Rival och Henry bjöd på ganska exakt tre timmars snack om allt från Nordkorea och stegar till kontaktsökande unga flickor och republikanska presidentkadidater. Rollins är alltid otroligt underhållande och jag rekommenderar alla att pröjsa för en biljett och bänka er framför honom nästa gånga han drar igenom vårt land. Visserligen var detta senaste uppträdandet inte fullt lika bra som de senaste gångerna, men ändå oerhört intressant och inspirerande. Henry Rollins är och förblir en av mina få hjältar och inspirationskällor. I sin senaste krönika pratar han europeisk historia och värdet av att upptäcka ny musik.
Rick Santorum är bara ett av alla spån som nu vill bli president i USA. Konservatismen flödar och dumheten hänger på. Nu förklarar han krig mot heavy metal.
Santorum: “If you listen to the radio today, many of these brand new, so-called heavy metal music bands like Black Sabbath, Venom, The WASP and Iron Maiden use satanic imagery to corrupt the minds of young people,”