Editorials

editors and contributors views and rants on whatever it is that may be on their mind.

In the name of that adored Facebook reminder of how great things were any other time than the present:  Here’s an old, January 2005 interview with DEF LEPPARD drummer, Rick Allen.

The Thunder God Speaks

RickAllen head shotDEF LEPPARD’s Rick Allen
The Thunder God Speaks!!!
By Editor: Craig ‘Bam-Bam’ Stegall
Photos Courtesy Of Universal Records

It was the summer of 1979 and my buddy Johnny and I had conned our parents into letting us take the bus to Charlotte, North Carolina to visit my aunt and go see screaming Ted Nugent and the Scorpions in concert. We were only thirteen years old and we thought we had really struck it big with this move. My aunt picked us up at the bus station, took us out for pizza, and then dropped us off at the Charlotte Coliseum at around 6:30pm. While standing in line to get in, we were introduced to seemingly nice folks who were kind enough to ask us if we were “looking”. We really didn’t know what to say, but the torpedo cigarettes that were shoved up under our noses were some of the strangest we’d ever seen. Yeah, we were rocking with the big dogs now and we knew that Uncle Ted was gonna bust our cherry from concert virginity like nothing we’d ever experienced before. Little did we know, it would be the opening band that night which would have us scrambling to the mall the next day in search of their new album. Amidst all the noise and what I’m sure was a full-on contact buzz from all the funny smelling smoke in that arena, it sounded like the announcer said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, all the way from the U.K., give it up for the Deadly Weapons!” I would later find out on my visit to the mall the following day that the record store clerk was at the same show and he confirmed for me that their name was, in fact, NOT the Deadly Weapons….but Def Leppard. I quickly snatched the copy of On Through The Night that he was holding for me in his hands, and raced to my aunt’s car so that we could get back to her apartment and listen to the tune “Answer To The Master”. That was the killer song with the awesome drum solo that I had seen the night before. I scanned the album credits so I could see who the drummer was…and there, right in front of me, was a picture of a kid who couldn’t have been any older than me at the time! “Rick Allen” was the name, and it was one that would forever be engraved in my young mind.

Later that year, when I started playing drums myself, “Answer To The Master” was one of the songs I would always listen to and dream about being good enough to play. On Through The Night was one of those albums that I held in high regard along with my Kiss Alive record and the first Mother’s Finest album. It was Rick’s drumming on that record and his performance at that show twenty-six years ago that made me a life-long fan of Def Leppard and everything Rick would lend his name to. I studied his drum set up, I noted that he played barefoot, I knew every cymbal size and weight that he used…I was obsessed with his playing. I cried when he had the car accident that cost him his left arm, and I marveled when he came back and continued to play for the band regardless of the fact that he was one appendage short of his counterparts. To say that Rick Allen has always been one of my heroes is an understatement.

Follow along now as Away-Team takes you on an exclusive interview with Rick to talk about the band, his Raven Drum Foundation, and ask a few questions from some of our readers.

Def Lep Old School

 

BAM2: It’s an honor and a pleasure, Rick, I’ve been a fan for many years dating back to when you guys opened for Ted Nugent and the Scorpions in 1979. I was only thirteen then and I remember that show like it was yesterday. You did a killer drum solo out of “Answer To The Master” that had me hooked.
RICK: Oh yeah, I did used to do a solo in that one. I must not be that much older than you then, if you were thirteen at that show. I’m forty-one now.

BAM2: Yup, you’re only a couple of years older. That’s one of the things I connected with back then is that you were already what I considered famous at the time and yet you were not much older than me. (laughs) I figured I might actually have a chance at fame. (laughs) Needless to say, I never got very far. (laughter) Let’s talk about the band. You’ve got a greatest hits compilation out now called Rock Of Ages and you’ve also got an album of cover tunes coming out on September 20th that is called Yeah!, plus a tour with Bryan Adams…what else is going on?
RICK: Well, I think we’re going to probably end up elongating this tour through December because the interest has been incredible. Also, we’ve been working on some new music. We have this room that we set up at the gigs…we call it “The Sparkle Lounge”. There’s a couple of guitars, some guitar amps, and a small drum kit there and it gives us the opportunity to work out some ideas that people are coming up with. [Band members] will present ideas to each other and we’ll do some rough recordings and hopefully some of those will make their way to the studio when we are ready to record another album. It really makes sense for us to do that because the last thing we want to do is get off the road and go, ‘Oh Shit, now we’ve got to come up with a new record!’. Things are really great right now. People are really behind us, the record company are really into everything that we’re doing…it’s almost like the perception of the band has changed, you know, with all the younger people now that are coming to the shows.

BAM2: You’ve got songs that you could say stand the test of time, though. I have a fifteen year old daughter who still loves to hear “Pour Some Sugar On Me” and knows all the words. I don’t know what has connected the genres the way that it seems you guys have been able to do, but it’s amazing just how relevant you guys are today. The music is timeless, bro.
RICK: That is very true and we’re starting to realize that. You know our last tour, with the X album…you know the powers that be didn’t want that record to succeed. Now, I know a lot of personnel have changed at the record company over the years, so that may be part of why this is happening too, but it just seems that a lot of people are really into the band again.

(Writers Note: At this point I tell Rick the story about seeing him play with Ted Nugent and the Scorpions and how I thought the band’s name was The Deadly Weapons.)

RICK: (laughs) Oh, now that’s funny.

BAM2: Now, over the years, especially with some of the things you have to do with the electronics that allow you to play your snare with your foot, etc.., I’ve always noticed that you have an incredible bass foot. Your right foot in “Answer To The Master” bounces to the tune of what a lot of drummers have to use two bass drums to accomplish. I’ve always been curious, especially since your heroes, Bryan Downey, Ian Paice, and Keith Moon were all double-kick players…why did you never play double bass drums?
RICK: Well, it’s true and Ginger Baker is another one. He played two bass drums. You know, I developed this technique with my right foot which is like a heel-toe technique. Basically what you’re doing is you’re going down with your heel for a downbeat and back on your toe for an upbeat. So, you’re getting this ‘dah-do-dah-do-dah-do, dahdo-dah-dahdo-dah’…

BAM2: Which is almost like a ruff (Writer’s Note: This is a drum rudiment that most drummers will be familiar with, but for those who aren’t…just listen to Rick’s right foot in “Answer To The Master” and pay attention to the drum roll sound he makes on the bass drum to get an idea of what we’re referring to).
RICK: Yeah, exactly. It’s almost like you rock the pedal. You’re just jabbing the pedal to the point where the pedal starts doing all the work for you.

RickAllen drum kitBAM2: Let’s talk about the Raven Drum Foundation. It’s a non-profit organization that you started with your wife that travels around and helps people. Fans of the band are familiar with this organization, but for those who don’t know what it is, let’s give them the skinny.
RICK: Well, let me start by saying why [I started ] the Raven Drum Foundation. I felt as though when I went through my accident, even though it was in England…I felt as though I was really taken care of well by the whole medical profession. I was so well taken care of, and many years later I realized how well I was taken care of and how I could have just died then. So, I’m really grateful for what they did for me, it was just incredible. When I met up with my wife, Lauren, about six years ago, she had this idea. She had been in health care and sort of alternative health care, and she suggested that there was a way we could go into the community and kind of use music and the arts to really empower people. To me it was really a way of giving back to the community and allowing people the experience that I was allowed. I was able to develop and I came back even stronger. To me, the human spirit is the strongest thing I know.

BAM2: And you’ve proven that by just doing what you’ve done. You’ve influenced so many people just by continuing to do what you do, both physically and mentally. I remember everything about that day when they announced your accident. It was my senior year of high school and I remember it like it was yesterday. Just the fact that you kept on going was a huge inspiration to me. I don’t think you ever even thought for a minute that it was going to affect you playing drums with the band. I mean you never gave up, bro.
RICK: Well, that’s cool and that’s what I want to pass onto people. Really, with the human spirit, if you tap into that part of yourself that we really don’t visit very often, then you can pretty much do anything. What [Raven Drum Foundation] is doing now is that we’re going into these special needs groups, women’s shelters, teenage penitentiaries, you name it and we’ve got all these things on the go, and it’s really helping people. We use drum circles to really empower people and give them a sense of self. The drum circle itself is a metaphor for community, and it’s great because it makes you feel as if you’re not alone.

BAM2: Do you ever visit these events?
RICK: Yeah! I get involved. I like going up to these teenage penitentiaries. A lot of [them] are gang related, but when we interview the kids afterwards or even some that have left the penitentiary, what they say is that it really brought the gang members together. They would actually play games together back in their dorms….
BAM2: Whereas normally they’d be trying to kill each other.
RICK: Exactly. One of the kids said that. He said, ‘you know if I saw one of these other gang’s kids [out on the street] now, we’d be less likely to be hostile to one another because of the kinship that we felt in the drum circles’.

BAM2: I have a question here about the foundation that was submitted by Marcy Sorbo of York, Pennsylvania. She writes, With the mission of Raven Drum, what new programs for children and adults would you like to develop that you haven’t already, and what programs would you like to expand upon?
RICK: I think the work that we’re doing with autistic kids and the mentally challenged kids is something that we’re going to develop more and more as we move on. The music therapists that we work with are just incredible, they have so much dedication and such a lot of patience. The beautiful thing about music is that it’s beyond words. If you’re wired differently [than] the rest of us, you don’t necessarily have to express yourself with words. You can express yourself musically, which is so powerful. It’s like trying to describe chocolate. Try describing love. It’s virtually impossible to do. But, if you just do it…if you play, and you play with intention, the group is so powerful that it becomes this wonderful entity that carries the whole group. I think it’s difficult to grasp that concept unless you just do it. It’s really, I mean drumming in general, is such an ancient form or our DNA. If you go back far enough, we’re all tribal. You cannot deny that part of ourselves. It all started with gutteral sounds, body slaps, hand claps…wood on wood, and really to me that was the beginning of dance and ritual, which developed into a form of spirituality.

BAM2: Can someone like myself get involved in the foundation?
RICK: Absolutely, it’s like, we all know we all have so many layers to ourselves, that with these drum circles it’s like pulling back these individual layers of yourself. You don’t have to be a stereotypical “different” kind of person to be a part of what we’re doing. You can be a two-armed or three-armed person and we don’t care. We feel as if it’s beneficial to everyone because it’s such an ancient form.

BAM2: How does one find out more about the Raven Drum Foundation?
RICK: The best way is to go to the website, WWW.RAVENDRUM.COM, and kind of read up on the mission statement and what we’re doing for the year, what our involvement is with the Def Leppard tour as far as the Ebay auctions, meet-n-greet passes, that kind of thing. It will at least let people know what we’re doing and lead to an interview of possibly getting involved at a later date.Def Lep Group

BAM2: That’s great stuff, man. Thanks for sharing that with us. Marcy also wanted to know, what’s your favorite Def Leppard song to perform live, and which one poses the most challenge for you?
RICK: That’s a good question! “Rocket” is always a little tricky, but very satisfying to get it right. Some of the older songs as well, the two arm songs, they can get a bit tricky. Like for instance, the other day we were practicing “Rock Brigade”, and it’s the first time I’ve played that song since I lost my arm, it’s all a bit new even though they’re old songs. As far as favorite songs, I love playing “…Sugar” and….I love playing songs that involve the crowd. You know that anthemic vibe. It’s one thing playing it at a soundcheck, but it’s totally another when you play it live. It’s like a different experience every time.

BAM2: This next one comes from Jason in Green Bay; Jason wants to know is there any chance that you guys will be playing “in the round” again someday?
RICK: Oh, we would love that. I mean, if this tour continues the way that it is and it continues to become as successful as it has been so far, we would love to do that again. We were really in our element [for those shows], that was one of the best things that ever happened.

(Writer’s Note: At this point, Rick’s P/R people pop on the line to tell us that we’ve only got a few more minutes, so I try to wrap up quickly and slip one more question in…)

BAM2: Okay, let’s see if I can slide one more in, Rick, before they cut us off, bro…Chandra from St. Petersburg, Florida wants to know why did you change or back down from what you had on the video screen during the song “Gods Of War” during the Tampa show?
RICK: Basically, we felt as though the footage that was being shown left people confused as to whether we are for the war, or against war. What we [have since done] is that we have thrown EVERYONE in there. Everyone who has ever been a part of making war…is in there now. That doesn’t mean to say that they are right or wrong. We’re just pointing out…the lyrics to the song are “We’re fighting for the Gods Of War, What the hell are we fighting for. The Gods Of War, and we don’t wanna fight no more”. That, to me, is advocating peace!
BAM2: Well Rick, they’re gonna cut us off here, buddy, I just want to say thanks for your time and thanks for the years of great music, man. I could talk to you for days
RICK: Well, thank you and I look forward to meeting up with you soon.

Many thanks to Shannon Herber at Universal Records and Wendy Weisburg at Hello Wendy Promotions for setting this up for us. Also, a big thanks to the folks at WWW.DEFLEPPARD.COM and to Gina Hart and her killer Def Leppard site WWW.DEFLEPPARDUNITED.COM for letting us use some of their photos for the interview. Make sure to check them both out for all the updated news on the band and for some great history as well. Most of all, I’d like to thank Rick Allen for his years of inspiration he’s had on me and for what he continues to do to this day to help make his mark on the world of music and humanity. He is truly the Thunder God!!!

So, what do you aMorgan Soloska guy whose heard every question there is to ask? This is literally the 25th time I have interviewed not just Sevendust…but more specifically, drummer Morgan Rose!

Since 1998 this guy has been dealing with my poignant, sometimes witty, and most of the time; just drunken after-concert idiotic questions! He really had no choice. Given that choice, I’m sure he would have pawned my overbearing, idolizing-like-a-stupid-school-girl fan of his drumming since the ’96 debut, talkative self off on Clint or Lajon, but he didn’t. Nope! He showed up to every interview; whether on the phone, in the radio studio of whatever call-letters would have me at the time, or every dressing room he was set up in…in every town I’ve ever lived since the beginning; eight different ones to be exact!

What keeps a guy like this going? What allows him to continue to look at punks like me every freakin’ year and still be polished, fresh and relevant to what’s going on in this ever-changing music industry? I have only one explanation….he truly has something to say; and this time, my friends, after 16-years and 25 sessions of meeting me at the mic, he’s here to proclaim the existence of pure, demonic evil in the music industry.

“It’s the fucking devil”, Morgan explains. It’s the last words he said as I shook his hand and said “Goodbye” until “the next time”. It was Sunday, June 15th 2014…Father’s Day….and before I asked my only question during this interview, the stage was becoming increasingly more exciting as I awaited Morgan’s arrival…. Sevendust’s Video Tech/Director: “Do you mind if we film this for possible inclusion on the upcoming DVD?” Away-Team: “Sure, let’s let the fans see the real side of washed-up music journalists! (Busts into contagious laughter!) As I wait for tour manager, Yoshi, to bring Morgan to the dressing room, I reminisce with the very late 20′s video guy that Morgan is one of the reasons that a lot of popular drummers today are even in the business. You know; the music business. “Yeah”, he says, “I got some great footage of him in Michigan last night”. I think to myself, “Dude, you have no idea how many years this guy has been busting his ass to perfect that. You have no…fucking….idea!” I let my misplaced anger split as the door flies open and in walks our “hero dejour”. “What’s up, brother?” I say. He answers with a laugh…

“You Again?”

Morgan drum Away-Team: “Unfortunately, yes! (laughter all around)  How you doing, man?  Happy Father’s Day, bro!” Morgan Rose: “Thanks man, good to see you again, seriously.” Away-Team: “Okay, man….1998, WRCQ in Faytetteville, N.C., the very first time we had a chance to sit down and talk finally.  I’ve literally, for 16-years since then, asked you every question known to man about drums, the band, your family, the birds, the bees….and after 24 times at bat, I’m trying to figure out what the fuck to ask Morgan Rose that no one, including myself, has ever asked him before!” Morgan Rose: (Recovering from massive belly laugh), “Oh man, I dunno!  What?  WHAT? ” (Laughter) Away-Team: “I think I figured it out though….I have never asked you about your definition of “work ethic”.  Never!  You and I talked about two years ago on the phone during the whole writing process and recording of “Black Out The Sun” and you told me, in so many words, “we’re gonna take a breather after this tour and Clint is gonna do some stuff, I’m gonna do some stuff…yadda-yadda-yadda….”  What the fuck, man?  You didn’t do any of that.  You just took the normal time off that a 70′s band would between albums, like 6-months, and then were at it again with a press release about a Crowd-Funding campaign for the new “acoustic” record!!!!  Seriously?  Time off????” Morgan Rose: (Laughing) “Okay, Okay, Okay….damnit!  We didn’t take any time off! (laughing)  We didn’t!  We just starting doing what we do, you know….” Away-Team: “Fine, let’s skip ahead, seriously…you guys tour Black Out…, then I see this Crowd-Funding thing come out on Facebook that says you’re asking your fans to donate to pay the cost of recording a new album, which eventually becomes, “Time Travelers And Bonfires”.  Let’s talk about this trendy, new process.” Morgan Rose: “I think this is pretty much where everything is going.  I mean, the fans commit money, they get the commitment of a new record for their commitment in believing there will be one….this is totally re-writing the music industry. And by the way, there’s a lot that wasn’t publicized about that campaign.  We hit our goal in like three days, man.  They [the Crowd-Funding affiliates] kept wanting us to set this small goal so that we would be sure to hit it and the truth is, we knew it wouldn’t take any time at all to hit that goal.  We know our fans!  The problem is, they kept upping the goal as we met all the other goals that they set too low to begin with and it just looked like a big sham on their part.  I think this is totally a great idea and probably the next “thing”, but those guys need to listen to the bands, man!  You know?” Away-Team: “Well look, brother, this was set as a quick 15-minute, in and out, but I want you to know something, bro…after all these years, and everything you guys have been through, I’m proud to say I got to live through it while it was happening because what you do, as Morgan Rose the drummer, and as Morgan Rose of Sevendust is friggin’ inspiring to even old fucks like me, and I’m so glad that I’ve been able to know you and follow you through all this, man!” Morgan Rose: (Stands up for the bro hug) “Thanks so much, man.  I know I’ll see you again, Craig.  Take care!” Sevendust Band Promo 2014

Until we meet again, my friend.  Until we meet again.

Exodus has released an official announcement welcoming Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza back into the Thrash Titan’s fold for the third time in the bands history and giving Rob Dukes who has sang on the last three Exodus albums the boot.

steve souza exodusIn a statement, Exodus guitarist Gary Holt says, “As a band, we all had to make a very difficult choice to part ways with Rob Dukes. We have nothing but love and admiration for him and the deepest gratitude for the hard work he has put in and the great work on some killer records. But at this time, Tom, Lee, Jack and myself thought a change was necessary and the unanimous choice going forward was to welcome back Steve Souza to the fold!

Souza adds, “I spent a great part of my life with Exodus, that blood flows through me, even not being in the band for the past 10 years, you can’t erase that chemistry. I’m very excited!

————–
EDITOR’S NOTE:
We at Away Team have nothing but love for Rob Dukes and his contribution to Exodus‘ legacy with 3 great albums, Shovel Headed Kill Machine, Atrocities Exhibit A and B. And we wish him all the best with his band Generation Kill and his future endeavours.

We’d also like to welcome back the voice of Exodus (all due respect to the Mad Russian Paul Baloff R.I.P.!!!!) Mr. Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza who recorded arguably the greatest Exodus album of all time Tempo of the Damned. We look forward to another brutal legendary master-thrash-piece from one of the most underrated Bay Area Thrash veterans EXODUS.

Stay tuned for more details because you know we’ll be all over this like the flies on your Granny’s fungus soaked twat.








Hello Ladies and Gents, it is that time again for everyone’s ‘Best Of..’ list and I’m not going to be left out. It’s been a great year for all kinds of music. You just had to go and look for some of it. Some of the selections on my list are predictable but I think there are a few on here that may surprise many of you too. So let’s kick off Slim Jim’s Top 13.5 (I’ll explain that later) Best Albums of 2013.



13 – King 810Midwest Monsters EP
king810Wish Korn would go back to being Korn and still putting out music as powerful and brutally painful as their debut self titled album? Don’t we all?
King 810 isn’t Korn, they might be the poor man’s Korn, or they may just be brutal and murderous without having the mommy and daddy issues of Jonathan Davis (or maybe more issues than Davis??). They aren’t quite as strong musically as Korn either. Every song sounds similar to the one before it. The only thing that seems to change is the breakdown of each song and the vocals/lyrics.
I swear this is a Best Of.. list, and King 810 are part of it despite how it sounds so far…
Instead of screaming and crying about mommy/daddy/molestation/etc ala Korn they are more about murder/death/mayhem it seems. I’ve seen them labeled ThugCore (that’s a new one to me), and the lyrics support the label. They paint a bleak portrait of life in the bowels of a hellish American City (the band hails from Flint, Mi) and the attitudes, antics, and dealings done to simply survive (or not survive as the theme of some of the songs go. 
With titles like Murder Murder Murder, The Death Posture, KIA, and Dragging Knives (see the common theme?) this isn’t feel good metal at all. But the cathartic nature of it, after 25 minutes of crawling through the dregs of humanity portrayed in this EP you can’t help but feel reborn, renewed, and whatever bullshit you carried with you before you put the disc on all fades away against the abrasive, concussive, sludge of inner city hell portrayed by KING 810.
Song of Note: K.I.A.




12 – QueensrycheQueensryche
queensryche - queensrycheQueensryche for many years was pretty much my second to third favorite band (1. Metallica 2. Stevie Nicks/Fleetwood Mac). But over the years I had a hard time supporting them as each new album came out. Their EP, The Warning, Rage For Order, Operation: Mindcrime, Empire, and Promised Land were all exceptional albums but from there on it was all down hill. American Soldier was decent, and Operation: Mindcrime II was a valiant effort but it wasn’t enough to really be a good album. I won’t even go into the covers album.
And then the shit show started. The very public, very dirty, very scandalous breakup began. And so now you have two versions of the once mighty Queensryche touring and recording. Just to fuck with the public some more. Regardless what side of the fence you fall on this one, you must admit that of the two Queensryche albums that were released this year, only one sounds like the real Queensryche. If left simply to public opinion and album sales (which is a direct reflection of public opinion if you ask me) there is no mistaking that the Geoff Tate-less Queensryche, the Queensryche with new singer Todd La Torre is by far the reigning version of Queensryche.
The self titled album featuring the new singer is the bands best effort in recent years. The sound falls somewhere between Empire and Promised Land. They say it harkens back to the original Ryche sound of the first 4 albums, and while it is close, there is a little missing from it to be truly from The Warning ‘era’.
Todd’s voice is remarkably Geoff Tateish. Think Judas Priest with Ripper Owens, and had the band been able to go on after firing Geoff and just be ‘the’ Queensryche then there is a real chance that they’d be on their way back up the charts, and back into the arenas again. His voice is that strong and that ‘Tateish’ that if you just put the album on, and didn’t know the line up change, you’d never know that Tate wasn’t singing.
The album is solid, and because it is a step in the right direction and is completely listenable on it’s own even if it isn’t missing it’s ballsiness somewhere along the way, it limps its way into my top 10 list of 2013.
Again, this is more Empire than Rage for Order or The Warning, and while there isn’t anything wrong with that, I don’t think it is enough of a departure from the last few Ryche albums to really be a great album. I’ll take Empire era Queensryche over Hear in the Now Frontier era, but if I had my druthers, you can give me Rage era Ryche any and every day thank you very much.
This being the first album without Geoff wrangling the writing or pawning the writing off on third parties (depends on whose story you believe), it shows enough promise to give us long time Ryche fans hope that the forthcoming music from the band will continue down the path they’ve begun to go.
Song of Note: Open Road




11 – Deep PurpleNow What?!
deep purple - now whatWithout going on a tirade against the R&R Hall of Fame here… It is a travesty that Deep Purple has once again been overlooked by them. While I’m glad that they didn’t get in based solely on the fact that this year marked the death of the greatest keyboard player ever, Jon Lord, It pains me to see pop artists get into the Hall before one of the most influential bands ever (and arguably the first band to create the ‘heavy metal’ genre just a couple of years before Sabbath).
That aside, Deep Purple has had a rough couple of years in the quality of the recordings they’ve been putting out. They’ve admitted as much themselves in recent interviews.
And while they can never return to the strength and might that they were with Jon Lord, the current line up with Don Airey at keyboards has finally captured the sound and vibe that is at the core of any great DP recording. 
Now What?! bears a striking resemblance to Perfect Strangers which in my opinion is the last good album they’ve put out as well as possibly their greatest album ever.
It sees the band in grand form and Ian Gillan while somewhat restrained here vocally still delivers a great performance.
If you’re looking for a good strong Deep Purple album that harkens back to their better songwriting days and performances, this is the one for you.
Song of Note: Vincent Price




10 – TriviumVengeance Falls
trivium - vengeance fallsI had to put Trivium on this list. I’ve tried liking their previous albums. I enjoy them to a certain extent but they just seemed to be missing something. Then I saw them live, and I understood what Trivium was all about. It’s been said a million times, and I’ll say it here because still holds true… There are live bands and there are studio bands. Some bands shine on a stage and their albums are just so so, others make killer albums but they just don’t come across right on stage. Trivium for me is the former. Until the release of Vengeance Falls. I don’t know if their writing has improved, if changing producers and having David Draiman helped, I don’t know if it just sonically sounds better than the other albums, or it is just lighting in a bottle, but the band has finally released an album that represents their sound onstage properly.
The band took a lot of heat for having Disturbed’s David Draiman produce the album from the ‘all knowing’ sheeple out there. But having a new set of ears listen and help pull out the best possible performance out of the band seems to have worked. This is the first album from Trivium I can listen to front to back. And because of that, because it is such a strong album, because it is the hardest and heaviest album to come out this year, because the band is such a great live band, they deserve to be in my top 10 list this year.
Song of Note: At the End of this War




9 – Five Finger Death PunchThe Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol 1
FFDP - the wrong side of heavenWhen this album came out I wanted to dislike it just like I did their first three albums.
Look, their sound is ok, the songwriting is ok, and while the band seems to have a lot of fun on stage performing, the lead singer Ivan Moody seems to posture just a little bit too much for my taste. Their breakout song (a cover of Bad Company’s ‘Bad Company’) was a cover that ranks up there with Shinedown’s Simple Man as the top covers that never should have happened.
The fact that the general public ate up both of those shitty versions of great songs irritated the fuck out of me and so I take it out on the bands and refuse to like/listen to them.
So FFDP comes out with the first of two albums dropping this year and damned if the first one isn’t chock full of killer guest vocalists. We’re talking Rob Halford, Maria Brink, Max Calavera, and Jamey Jasta here. That’s enough to make me give the disc a good solid listen. At least one good listen.
I’ll be damned if the album isn’t really fucking good. Again, a total surprise here and even more so that this band ended up on my top 10 list!
The title track is a stellar song that, had they released it 5 years ago it would have been a weak muddling milquetoast abortion of a song. But they have clearly matured in their songwriting and it shows here.
The disc kicks off with the infectious Lift Me Up featuring Rob Halford and it is this song that kept me intrigued enough to keep listening.
Moving through the various tracks they all have their high points and keep the album moving along nicely. Until you get to what may end up being my third grossest mistaken cover song ever. FFDP and Tech N9ne cover LL Cool J’s Mama Said Knock You Out. At face value it could be a really strong cover. The original song was done by LL Cool J with a full band supporting him on it. So it isn’t too far of a stretch to see a metal band cover it. But the execution is less favorable than chowing down on a three month old abortion. It should have never been done.
the first half of Diary of a Deadman continues to push the suck factor here. Think Metallica’s To Live is to Die but in reverse. Had the instrumental been ALL of the song it would have been a solid song. But if you skip both of those songs the rest of the album is a great solid metal album.
Look, no one is more surprised than I am that this album is in my top 10 list. I almost feel the need to apologize for it. But the majority of the disc is so strong and so surprising to me that I feel it is worthy to be here.
The second album (Volume 2) is really more of the same. It isn’t bad, it isn’t better, it is missing the guest vocalists, and it carries it’s own shitty cover version of House of the Rising Sun.
Maybe FFDP should stick to having guest vocalists and not doing ANY covers (because they all come out shitty). To be fair House of the Rising Sun is a lot less shitty than Mama Said Knock You Out. So they’ve got THAT going for them.
Song of Note: Wrong Side of Heaven




8 – NewstedHeavy Metal Music
Newsted - heavy metal musicAfter leaving Metallica Jason Newsted has been in a lot of projects to keep himself busy as he properly recovered from the neck/back injury that forced him out of the worlds biggest metal band (well, that and the all the inner turmoil bullshit going on at the time. See: Some Kind Of Monster). From performing with Ozzy, Voivod, Echobrain, etc, etc. to finally starting his own band Newsted it’s been a long journey.
Jason plays bass and sings/growls vocals and does an admirable job singing. It’s a bit one dimensional but it does work. And even after listening to the whole album it doesn’t grate on me. I usually prefer a little more depth in the vocals but this works and works well.
I think because the music behind it is so Motorheadishly groovetastic that the vocals lends itself to the grittiness of the sound.
And that is the biggest compliment you can pay this album. For that is what it is to the T. It is Motorheadishly groovetastic. Think Lemmy and Co. thrashing it out instead of Punking or Rockabillying it out. And that is where Neswsted sits. Motorhead with thick as fuck Thrash riffs and chops.
The biggest surprise here isn’t Jason singing… it has to be Staind’s Mike Mushock’s performance on the disc.
This isn’t Staind’s emo metal whiney baby bullshit, this is Mike unleashing heavy metal mayhem riffs all over the album. Kudos to Mike for finally showing the world his metal chops. They are a true treat and joy to behold.
Song of Note: King of the Underdogs




7 – VolbeatOutlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies
volbeat - outlaw gentlemen and shady ladiesLuckily I was turned on to Volbeat a few years ago by a good friend. And have been a fan ever since. I mean what’s not to like here? You like Hard Rock? You like Rockabilly? You like Danzig? You like Elvis? Well, let me introduce Volbeat to you.
They are all the above and a little bits of all the above. The bastard son of Elvis and Glenn Danzig singing 50’s era Rockabilly with a 2000 twist mixed with great hooks and enough swagger and hair gel to put the sleaziest greaser to shame; add in exceptional songwriting and you have Volbeat.
The most notable difference between Outlaw and the albums before it is the addition of Robb Caggiano. I think that is what sets this album apart and above its predecessors. With Robb in role of producer the album is more straightforward Hard Rock(abilly) than a mish mash of Metal(abilly) and so the sound is more coherent and fluid.
If I had a complaint it is that there is a certain sameness to each and every song they do. If the songs weren’t so good it would be a little off putting and dull. I think it lies in the vocals of Michael Poulsen. While they are unique and undeniably good, they don’t have much range, so each song sounds like the last. The exception being Room 24 which features King Diamond and has the older thrashy Volbeat sound to it. Past that, the album kind of comes off as a 45 minute song with different passages throughout it. Not sure how you change that, as it is really the main part of their signature sound.
The Hangman’s Body Count has a great riff running throughout it chugging along like a juggernaut and the soloing is top notch.
Lonesome Rider has the rockin’ist Rockabilly/Country/Metal vibe of them all. It doesn’t hurt that Sarah Blackwood is singing in the worlds thickest twang on it and what a trippy song it is. You have to hear it to understand all the elements at play in this song.
Song of Note: Doc Holiday




6 – Monster MagnetLast Patrol
monster magnet - last patrolMonster Magnet is a band that should be much bigger than it is. But because they don’t write radio friendly hard rock or are perceived to be something they aren’t they don’t get the respect they deserve.
They’re mostly known for their one hit Space Lord and their great video for it. But take a listen to the rest of that album or any track on this album and you’ll find that they have so much more substance than that one song.
Ask me what Last Patrol sounds like and I’d be hard pressed to tell you. It’s epic. That’s the one word that comes to mind. Fucking EPIC. It is truly a journey of an album. It takes you for a ride and you end up in places you’d never think you’d go from a band like Monster Magnet.
Let’s just give them their own genre and call it Space Rock shall we? Because that’s what this is. It’s the closest I can come to ‘naming’ the sound. There’s acoustic shit in there, spacey jams, middle eastern tinges mixed in, and it isn’t until you get to Hallelujah almost halfway through the disc that you get to what you’d call a straightforward rocker. 
And that is what is so great about this album. That is all part of this journey. The music is heavy as hell. And not in the traditional sense of heavy metal, think Muse but a lot more restrained and laid back.
This is a groove heavy album. Maybe that’s what I missed. The album grooves deeply. It doesn’t go so deep as to be sludge, but heavy on the groove factor here. Every song whether slow, low, or jukin’ and jivin’ all have their own fat groove to them. EPIC GROOVE SPACE ROCK.
There you go.
Now, go get it. You’ll thank me later.
Song of Note: Paradise




5 – Nick Cave & The Bad SeedsPush The Sky Away
nick cave - push the sky awayHas Nick Cave ever released a bad album?
Fuck no.
Has he released albums that fail to live up to the Nick Cave standard? Yes, but then a Nick Cave album is a lot like fucking. Even if it’s bad fucking it is still fucking.
Nick Cave has gone back and forth over the last few years releasing albums with and without the Bad Seeds and has even done some ‘side projects’ (how you do a side project from yourself I have no idea), and it is my opinion that the best Nick Cave is the Nick Cave that is backed by The Bad Seeds.
The opening cut We No Who U R sets the mood for the disc with a ethereal and bleak sound. This isn’t the aggressive Nick Cave set to a cacophonous wall of noise. Think more Leonard Cohen and less The Birthday Party.
Wide Lovely Eyes continues the stark ethereal sound while Water’s Edge still keeps the minimalist theme going musically but steps the tempo up. You feel the song building, restrained, strained, pulsing, waiting to tear loose, only to be tamped down suppressed and leaving you edgy and wanting more.
It’s only when Jubilee Street starts that you get a full band sound, or traditional band sound. The electric, eclectic, ethereal sound gone but the morose lyrical vibe maintains its hold. The irony being the title of the song comparative to the overall feel of the song.
This is Nick Cave’s best work in a long time. I’ve followed the man for a long time, and this may rank right up there as his 3rd best album behind Let Love In and The Murder Ballads. That’s enough to ensure his place in my top ten of 2013.
Song of Note: Water’s Edge




4 – GhostInfestissumam
Ghost - album coverHail Satan!
Hail Satanic Metal!
Hail Satanic Circus Music!
Hail Satanic Psychobilly!
Hail GHOST!
The second album by the enigmatic Ghost may not be as straight forward in the metal vein as their first album Opus Eponymous but it is still a great album that has so many subtle layers to it. And I think that’s why so many people seem to like the first album more.
But what Ghost brings to the Satanic Metal genre is something that one would never have though possible… FUN!
Yes Satan can be fun. Who knew?!?!?!??!
Give Infestissumam one listen and you’ll agree. Worshipping Satan and glorifying the great evil one can be fun.
The track Per Aspera ad Inferi sounds like some kind of psychedelic 70’s hard rock groove song until you catch the lyrics… ‘Oh Satan Devour us all Hear our desperate call’.
I’ve always wanted to start a band that plays music in the vein of Barry Manilow but has lyrics so dark and fucked up that people upon first listen give you the puzzled dog head cocked to the side expression.. ‘HUH?
This isn’t quite Barry Manilow music but is is close in idealism.
This isn’t Black Metal. This isn’t Satanic Metal. This isn’t King Diamond or Slayer by a long shot. But it is good solid hard rock/heavy metal that is a trip to listen to.
So put your sullen and brooding Black/Death/Satan Metal away, put on your clown pants and rock the fuck out to Good Friendly Fun Satanism!
Song of Note: Year Zero




3 – Micheal MonroeHorns and Halos
michael monroe - horns and halosHanoi Rocks was poised to be the biggest band in the world. The year was 1984, they had just released their best album to date, Two Steps From the Move, they had taken Bowie’s and the New York Dolls’ and MC5’s drag/androgynous look and glommed the fuck right out of it and had invented what became Glam Rock. Motley Crue, Ratt, hell ALL of the Sunset Strip bands of the 80’s stole or adopted the look from the originators. And Guns & Roses would have never been the Guns & Roses we knew if it weren’t for Hanoi Rocks. G&R even rereleased all of Hanoi Rocks albums on their own label as a tribute to them to show the world what they may have missed.
That all changed when Vince Neil got behind the wheel of his Pantera one night highly intoxicated and took Hanoi Rocks’ drummer Razzle on a liquor run. He ended up running head first into a Volkswagen Bug seriously injuring the occupants of that car and killing Razzle instantly. The death of Razzle effectively put an end to Hanoi Rocks.
And the world was a much worse place for it.
Michael Monroe went on to a successful solo career but never reached the heights that Hanoi SHOULD have.
Hanoi Rocks reformed a few years ago and put out a couple of really good albums but things ran its course and Michael once again has gone out on his own.
His latest disc is Horns and Halos and it is the strongest album he or Hanoi has released in 20 years.
This guy is 51, his voice is stronger on this album than in the last 20-25 years easy. The songs are well written and more tight and cohesive than in previous recent efforts. The playing is mush stronger and well written also.
This may be the best Michael Monroe album he has ever put out.
The albums starts off with the bombastic TNT Diet that sets a solid rollicking pace for an album that doesn’t let up once. There are 13 cuts on this album and everyone of them shines in its own way.
Ballad of the Lower East Side is probably the truest Hanoi Rocks style song on the album. The swagger and sleaze running off this song harkens back to the early 80’s not to mention the lyrics are singing of the glories of the Lower East Side of NYC in the 80’s with its pushers, pimps, and whores.
Horns and Halos is a straight out cock rock song that may be the jewel of the disc. 
The more I listen to the album the more I hear Social D or TSOL vibe running through it more than Monroe’s normal glam rock sheen.
And this may be why the album works so well. It may be the most mature album he’s ever written. Throwing nods in it to his roots, as well as his influences, but the new ‘sound’ lies less in the glam rock we’ve come to love and expect and more in just great Rock & Roll songwriting.
Nobody writes a better hook than Michael Monroe, and every song on this album has a great hook that instantly sinks into you and pulls you right to the end of the song and deposits you squarely on the other side wishing the song wasn’t over. That is until the next song sets in, drops it’s hook in your face leaving a big mushroom stamp on your head and dragging through it’s glory and deposits you once again on the far end wishing your could hit replay and dig the song over an over again.
That to me is the sign of a great song. As soon as it ends you want to go back and listen to it again. When every song on an album does that to you… you have a great album!
And this friends and foes, is a great fucking album.
Song of Note: Ballad of the Lower East Side




2 – Scorpion ChildScorpion Child
scorpion childHoly Fuck. I hate kicking myself for missing something. We get tons of Press Releases that cross our desk every day for a million bands you’ve never heard of and probably never will, let alone the ones you wish you never did. Scorpion Child PRs were coming at me fast and furious this past spring/early summer and I read a couple and just moved on. And THAT is what I thought of Scorpion Child. Read and dumped the PR without a second thought. I have to thank Sirius/XM for actually opening my ears and eyes to the wonder that is Scorpion Child and showing me what I was missing.
Think Robert Plant meets Rainbow who goes in a back alley and has a 17way with David Coverdale, Deep Purple, and Fastway is standing there circle jerking all over the place. THAT is what Scorpion Child is. Yet they are so much more.
I always tread lightly when I say a band has a sound from the 70s/80s/particular band name here because I don’t want you to think they’re some kind of rip off or retro sounding band for a goof (think Steel Panther). The above mentioned bands are nothing more than influences on what Scorpion Child bring. They take those influences and churn out something old and familiar feeling but with a new twist and spark of life that should propel them into the stratosphere.
There are a million ‘new’ bands out there vying for your attention, but this one right here stands head and shoulders above them all.
Their sound may not be as diverse as Led Zeppelin‘s were from album to album, but there is enough diversity here from song to song while still holding the primary Scorpion Child sound to entertain and enthrall one and all alike.
Song of Note: Polygon of Eyes




1 – ClutchEarth Rocker
Clutch - earth rockerA few years ago Clutch released what many consider to be their best album ever, Blast Tyrant.
Well the Maryland band have not only matched the excellence that is Blast Tyrant, but they may have even surpassed it with their latest opus.
Earth Rocker does just what the title suggests… It rocks.
Out of all the great music that has been released this year, this is the album that has received the most listens in my iPod.
This is just a ridiculously good album. Sonically, musically, lyrically, and vocally. The sonic part makes sense because Machine produced the album, the same genius producer behind Blast Tyrant.
Clutch has experimented the last couple of albums and have had mostly missed in my opinion since Blast Tyrant, but Earth Rocker takes off right out of the gate and only slows down for the Gone Cold haunting ‘ballad’ only to rev right back up and shake the foundations with ‘The Face’ and the band doesn’t look back.
There isn’t a bad song on this disc. There isn’t a bad moment on this disc. There isn’t a bad note on this disc. The only complaint would be that they could have added 5 more songs or so as it seems to end way too quickly for me.
The tracking of Earth Rocker is to be lauded also. Starting with the title track, and accelerating with Crucial Velocity, right into Mr. Freedom, and without blinking you’re thrown into D.C. Sound Attack. Each song building on the tempo of the previous, each song propelling your forward until it explodes with Unto The Breach. 
The aforementioned Gone Cold cools us off long enough to catch our breath and begin the crazy ascent again with The Face, Book Saddle & Go, all they way through to the finale The Wolfman Kindly Requests… .
This is the only album I’ve given a 10 out of 10 on in a very long time. I don’t think last year’s number one album In This Moment’s Blood received 10 out of 10 from me (yeah I’m too lazy to look it up, it MAY have…) But that means out of all the albums released since THAT album dropped (we’re talking hundreds of albums people [ok thousands, but for all intents and purposes hundreds that would/could be worthy of being in my top 10]) only Earth Rocker has again received a perfect score. Hence the top spot this year.
Song of Note: Unto The Breach (but it is really hard with this album to pick just one song from)




So that’s my top 10… er… 13.
Almost. I decided to go to 13 this year because there were so many good albums I couldn’t stop at 10. I have one more I’d like to add, as an Honorable Mention. It was originally in my ‘long list’ of top 10 albums of the year. But once I finished compiling all the great albums released this year, it just wasn’t as strong as the rest of them. But after writing up my Best Of… list I couldn’t just let it go to waste. The material is that strong in my opinion. So here is the 13.5 Best Album of 2013.



Natalie MainesMother
natalie maines - motherSo I purchased Mother by Natalie Maines because, well, as a person and artist I respect who she is and what she has done (former Dixie Chicks), and I heard her perform the Pink Floyd cover on Howard Stern one day and loved it. She does a great job on the song keeping most of the original arrangement together in her version retaining the feel of debilitating maternal oppression while changing it up just enough with a glorious Hammond B organ to put her own mark on it.
I was excited to hear the rest of the album after about 5 spins of Mother alone. And came away pleasantly surprised. Between Mother, and her take on Jeff Buckley’s Lover You Should Have Come Over (back to back those two songs will push any mortal person so far into a melancholy stupor that you need to make sure there are no sharp objects near with which to slit ones wrist with) along with her original songs Free Life, Vein in Vain, and Take it on Faith one comes away from the album with the impression that Ms Maines is the perfect woman to compliment Morrissey. The two of them could crush the world with their combined melancholy and infinite sadness.
There are a couple of decent rockers on the album that harken to Bonnie Raitt just a little less bluesy.
Overall this is a great album. Skip past the opening track, and enjoy the hell out of an album that should have come packaged with it’s own razor blade to open your veins as the disc ends.
Song of Note: Mother (Duh)




Ok, as a chid raised on Thrash Metal in San Francisco I’d be ashamed if I didn’t address two great Thrash bands that released albums this year. Metal Church reformed this year and released Generation Nothing and Death Angel released The Dream Calls for Blood. I’d love to have included them in my list this year, but sadly, they just weren’t up to snuff for me. I really wanted Metal Church to come back strong and hard, and unforutnately Generation Nothing did just that for me… nothing.
Death Angel‘s release was a little better but the weakest album they’ve released in since they reunited a few years ago. Both albums are ‘by the numbers’ Thrash and that just isn’t good enough with all the great music out there today.
So kudos to Metal Church for reuniting and let’s hope they put out better stuff soon. And the same goes to Death Angel. I want to root for you guys, I want you to be huge, I want to be blown away by your stuff again. So please… let’s just do that in 2014 shall we?



Godsmack-06Grammy Nominated rock act Godsmack has had their share of surprises in their careers, but being accused of Satanism? Well that’s definitely a first!  The St. Mary’s Parish (aka Westboro Baptist 2.0) led by Rev. Timothy Nelson [insert Father Nelson joke here] in Jackson County, MI has asked that Godsmack’s performance at the Jackson County Fair be cancelled citing that the band’s lyrics degrade women, children, and the weak, and wait for it… they promote Satanism!

Yeah, that’s right, the same band that has donated to Children’s Charities, and played for the troops that protect the very freedoms these morons use to spread their fear-mongering.  I’ve personally seen the band nearly 30 times so I guess that makes me a regular Aleister Crowley!  If these folks are so concerned about family values, where was the uproar when the famous homewrecker LeAnn Rimes took the stage at last year’s fair?  It’s mind-blowing to see what lemmings people can become when their church leaders paint the picture of a fantasy world in which they think we live.  Read for yourself and make your own judgement on their sanity…

via MLive.com

JACKSON, MI – The metal band Godsmack promotes evil and Satan — that’s what the Rev. Timothy Nelson from St. Mary’s Parish and a group of residents believe.

The group was hoping the Jackson County fair board would cancel the Aug. 5 show  at the 2013 Jackson County Fair, but fair organizers say that won’t be happening.

Denise Owens, the Jackson County Fair operations director, said tickets are selling really fast and there is no chance it will be canceled.

Nelson distributed a flier to parishioners Sunday, July 21 urging them to contact the county fair board members to express their disgust with the band’s presence at the county fair. In that flier he states that the lyrics of the band are “evil, strewn with obscenities and violent.”

“If you look at the name Godsmack, what does that mean? Do you smack God?” Nelson said. “The name is irreverent and when you look at the lyrics it’s less than edifying.”

He also has issues with the band Pop Evil opening for Godsmack.

“It leaves the suggestion that evil is not that bad. Evil is very bad,” Nelson said.

Jackson resident Billie Buda attended the Tuesday, July 23 fair board meeting with her husband. About 35 to 40 residents who are against the band playing attended the meeting and about 15 spoke during public comment.

Buda has grandchildren who will be attending the fair — but not on the day Godsmack plays.

“I don’t want them to be at the fair when this concert is going on and they are not going to the concert, I know that,” Buda said.

Her oldest grandchild is 15.

“Their (fair board) mission statement says it is a family-oriented venue. This goes against their own mission statement,” she said. “There are a lot of bands that are good and some that are into witchcraft and the devil.”

Nelson tied the issue into his Sunday, July 21 sermon where he told parishioners they should be “prudent” about who they let in their home.

“You need to be hospitable and kind to people ,but you also have to be prudent about who you let into your home,” Nelson said. “ I just think that the Jackson community deserves better.”

He is hoping the fair board will reconsider the type of bands that play in the future at the county fair.

Owens said a county survey was conducted in the past five years and residents asked for bands other than the traditional classic rock bands that were popular 30 years ago.

“We had a lot of input on the different types of music they wanted to hear,” she said adding that ticket sales for Godsmack have been “really good.”

Nelson said he will pray for Godsmack, Pop Evil and the members of the county fair board.

“I’ll keep them in my prayers,” he said.

Here’s hoping Sully and the boys play the show of their lives and rain down a plague of rock ‘n roll locusts unto Nelson and his lemmings!

For those that haven’t heard, Carolina Rebellion‘s Sunday show was cancelled after only 6 bands played due to weather issues. While the Tickets said Rain or Shine, the event organizers obviously hadn’t figured on any rain whatsoever because there were no screens around the stages to protect against any weather. After a late start, and several bands not taking the stage, Buckcherry was the last band to take the stage. Three hours later the event was finally officially cancelled. The crowd was less than pleased.

Mainly due to the complete lack of information coming from the event organizers. They had a Twitter Feed and a Facebook page that was being updated all day telling everyone to come out that the show was still on. And then once it got too bad for the bands to play (or the bands simply refused to play in those conditions), they stopped updating the feeds.

Put 30,000 people in a mud pit, in the cold and rain, and then don’t give them anything to do for 3 hours. Promise them a show Rain or Shine and then leave them to their own devices for three hours with no communication. They’re lucky the crowd of predominantly drunk rednecks didn’t tear down the stages for them directly on top of them.

This after 3 years of questionable decisions on what they are trying to create as a world renown festival. The first year the organizers didn’t expect more than 10-15,000 attendees. 30,000 people showed up. There simply were not enough facilities or concessions to handle double the expected occupancy.

Year two had them move the location of the festival to the middle of nowhere in Rockingham, NC. It was a giant dustbowl with brutal heat and sun and absolutely no where to go to get out of it.

Year three saw them move the event for the third time. A much better location as far as having parking and hotels around it to stay at. It is now housed outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, and overall it seemed like a good location. However the stages were so far apart and the bands started on one stage as the last note was still ringing out on the other so that you missed the first couple of songs of each band. There was simply no way to get from one stage to the other while wadding through 29,999 other people in a timely fashion.

And then there was the weather this year canceling the first two day event in the history of Carolina Rebellion.

The organizers, AEG LIVE and THIRD ARM Entertainment have released the following statement on their website announcing their plan to partially reimburse concert goers or offer them a free 2nd day ticket to next year’s event.

You can read it all below.

From Carolina Rebellion‘s website:

Dear Rebels:

Please forgive the length of this letter. But we feel we have some explaining to do.

carolina rebellionFirst, we want to thank each and every one of you for enduring the rain and coming out to show the country just how hardcore the Rebels really are. We also want to thank you for sticking with us and for taking the time to voice your comments, praise and criticism.

We’ve had some bumps in making Carolina Rebellion into the massive, world-recognized festival we believe it can be. We produce many successful events around the country, including Rock on the Range, Welcome to Rockville, and Rocklahoma, and we see great things for Rebellion. But before we can grow it, we have to earn your trust. Therefore we want to let you know where we think we’ve gone wrong and what we’re doing to fix it.

A successful festival must have a predictable experience. And to be predictable, we have to be in the same venue each year. For three years we have tried different locations and are happy to say that we feel that Rock City Campground at Charlotte Motor Speedway is the right venue, and we hope to make it our long term home. By staying in the same place, we can focus on improving the overall festival experience. For instance, we are looking at how to better position the stages and the time between bands. You have also asked about the extent of the weather protection for the stages themselves. We are addressing this with the staging company and will consider bringing in different pieces of equipment next year that provide more protection from the elements. Please keep sharing your thoughts and ideas. We want you to know that we are listening, and we will keep listening.

Regarding the late cancellation due to inclement weather, many of you have pointed out that the tickets say “Rain or Shine.” That is true, unless and until safety becomes an issue. This is no different than any large sporting event or other outdoor event. We were monitoring the weather in real-time from the National Weather Service and coordinating with the bands and local law enforcement every step of the way. In hindsight, we regret not giving you more information on how, if, and when the show might continue. Our lack of information was not meant to be deceitful. The weather pattern was constantly changing on Sunday, making it difficult to give you a concrete message, and we all were really hoping the weather would clear and the show could continue. By 7:15pm, it was decided by all parties that conditions were not going to improve and that it was unsafe to keep going.

We absolutely did have a cancellation plan in place with local law enforcement. That plan required that before making a cancellation announcement, we had to forewarn our staff and security to ensure a safe and orderly exit. It takes a bit of time to make sure that message has been communicated to all. Once we had everyone in place to manage a safe exit, the public announcement was made. As unpleasant as the rain was for all of us, it was imperative to only release information in an organized and safe fashion.

Your safety is not our only responsibility. We are also responsible for your experience. We want a long term relationship with you. And while we appreciate that many of you have pointed out that we cannot control the weather, we don’t feel that we did all that we could under the circumstances to maximize your experience. Many of you have asked about a make-up date. We would love to do that but it takes many months to plan an event of this magnitude, and there are many variables involved, most importantly artist availability. We just cannot give you a guarantee today of when and how we would put on that event or what bands would play or where it could be held.

So, we’ve decided to do the next best thing by giving you a ticket to next year’s Sunday show day absolutely FREE. That’s right, you will receive the financial equivalent of a Rebellion general admission ticket for Sunday and it won’t cost you anything. We also understand that some of you may not be able to or want to attend Carolina Rebellion next year. Rather than just say we are sorry, we want to make sure everyone is offered something. So, if you are not interested in a free ticket to next year’s Sunday show, you can instead opt for a 20% refund of the face value of your 2013 ticket purchase.

Here is how this process will work:
1. Click on this link anytime now through Tuesday, May 14th at 11:59pm ET to “Register A Claim” with Rebellion. You will be asked to fill out a form that will include your 2013 Ticket Confirmation Number, name on credit card, address, phone, email, etc. The form will also ask you if you would like to opt for the free Sunday show ticket in 2014 or the partial refund of your 2013 purchase. Note that we will not be extending this deadline, so please make sure to register your claim by the cutoff date and time.

2. After we have received all of the registered claims, we will verify your 2013 purchase information within our system to make sure everything matches, and we will begin processing the claims. Note that this will take some time, so please be patient, but we will get to all claims.

3. If you request a partial refund, we will initiate a credit with your credit card company or issue you a check. If you request a free Sunday show ticket to the 2014 festival, we will send you a unique code via email when we announce the 2014 festival info, and you will have a specified period of time to use the code to make your purchase at that time, which will include the free Sunday ticket. The unique code will deduct an amount equivalent to the base general admission ticket price for one day from your purchase.

We truly do value each and every one of you, because without you, there will be no Carolina Rebellion. Because it is impossible to customize a remedy for each individual, we are trying to do what the majority of you are asking for. We look forward to 2014, a bigger and better experience for you, and hopefully for much better weather.

If you have further questions, please feel free to email us at rebellioninfo@aeglive.com or leave a voice mail message on our hotline,
314-726-8020. We will get back to you as quickly as we can.

Sincerely,

The Carolina Rebellion Team



I know what you’re thinking. Christmas songs are hard to listen to for most of us. What’s worse than that is bad covers of Christmas songs. There are thousands of them. Here is a collection of hard rock and metal songs that do not completely suck.

It’s time to gather the family around the laptop and listen to some Christmas classics. Feel free to tweet your favorites to us @awayteam

RUN, RUN RUDOLPH by LEMMY True to Lemmy’s roots, this rocker was tailor made for the Motorhead frontman’s swagger.

CHRISTMAS WITH THE DEVIL by SPINAL TAP It’s Christmas…. with the Devil. Enough said.

MERRY CHRISTMAS by THE RAMONES The perfect song for punk rock pioneers.

FUCK CHRISTMAS by TANKARD A German thrasher with an attitude.

MISTRESS FOR CHRISTMAS by AC/DC It sounds like AC/DC so it raimains true to the bands style.

NO PRESENTS FOR CHRISTMAS by KING DIAMOND The best Christmas metal song. Ever.

OH HOLY NIGHT by HALFORD A much as I was ready to write off Halford’s CHristmas EP, this song is tastefully executed. Cheers!

Hi, my name is Jim Keller, and I like metal music. I like all kinds of metal music. I like fast stuff like Slayer, I like slow stuff like Candlemass. I like Metallica (hell I even like St. Anger!), and I like Disturbed.

I have had the pleasure of seeing approximately 1,000 live shows, as a ticket buyer, as a guest, as a Promoter, as a Tour Manager, as a Merch Bitch, as a Caterer, as a Production Manger, etc, etc, etc. All kinds of shows. All kinds of genres.

I have recently, reluctantly followed the on going soap opera that is/was LA Guns and Great White. For those that may not know both ‘bands’ currently have two bands touring and recording with the same name. Although a few weeks ago Tracii Guns finally shut down his crappy version of LA Guns. So now there is just one LA Guns. But not before Tracci Guns’ LA Guns came through Raleigh, NC and I had to do some reserch to figure out which version was in town because I really had no desire to see Tracii‘s version.

And if you read our website at all, you’ll see that I have been following the Queensryche saga closely. Sadly, it appears that there will be two versions of Queensryche now too. One with Geoff Tate, and one with the actual band.

This brings up a good question though, who ‘deserves‘ the band’s name? Who do you recognize more as the rightful band? The voice? Or the ‘sound‘? But that is best answered in another editorial.

For now we’ll focus on what is currently going on with Overlorde and Overlorde SR.

From Overlorde SR:
The New Jersey based heavy metal band Overlorde is claiming trademark infringement against the band Overlorde SR from North Carolina and record label Heaven and Hell Records; threatening legal action and lawsuits. These claims seem not only to be a misdirected attack on a record label but a simple case of bullying. The two names, Overlorde and Overlorde SR, are as clearly as different as their logos are. This issue is not only foolish it is also pointless. Metal fans should see this situation for what it truly is… and that there is no reason that both bands cannot coexist.

Details:
In 1979 a band formed in Fayetteville North Carolina by the name Rheagan. The following year this band would change the moniker to Overlorde and become North Carolina’s first heavy metal band and the world’s first known Overlorde. They then immediately began to play shows locally, writing material and soon gained press and radio support. In 1984 they enter CMC Studios to record what would become their first release ‘Medieval Metal’ In 1985, the release came out and would go on to move an amazing 10,000 units worldwide.

In 1985 a New Jersey band formed under the same name “Overlorde”.

In 1986, the North Carolina band received a contract from Metal Blade Records to appear on the labels legendary compilation series Metal Massacre; the song ‘Keeper of the Flame’ was included on Metal Massacre VIII and was released the next year in 1987 and would sell 40,000 copies worldwide.

Also in 1987 the New Jersey Overlorde would release an EP on Strike Zone Records (what appears to be a self release).

By the end of the 1980s both bands were no longer active and had split up.

In 2000 the New Jersey Overlorde had reformed and recorded a demo leading to inking a deal with Greek label Sonic Age Records. In 2004 ‘Return of the Snow Giant’ was released on Sonic Age Records. The band follows up with an appearance at the famous German festival Keep It True. Not much is heard from the band after, leading most to think they were inactive.

2011 U.S. indie label Heaven and Hell Records announces a release of the reunited North Carolina band Overlorde SR (who had altered their name to avoid any possible confusion with the New Jersey band). The release ‘Medieval Metal Too’ (a compilation of the bands infamous 1985 release and other 80s recordings) was released in March of 2012.

After the announcement of the release of Overlorde SRMedieval Metal Too’ the band and the Heaven and Hell Records began to receive emails claiming trademark infringement from members of New Jersey’s Overlorde who suggested that the two names Overlorde and Overlorde SR and the marks (logos) would be confusing to the metal community. The label would soon receive a cease and desist letter from an attorney representing Overlorde in this issue. Heaven and Hell Records were asked to discontinue any sales of Overlorde SRMedieval Metal Too’ until the matter was concluded.

Heaven and Hell Records would agree to halt any further sells of Overlorde SRMedieval Metal Too’ and released a press release stating this. Even after Heaven and Hell Records compiled to this ridiculous demand members of Overlorde are continuing to pressure the band and label.

Ok…. That was wordy, but not as wordy as what Overlorde released yesterday….

From Overlorde:
Recently a matter has made its way into the press that needs addressing. A matter that should have been handled privately by the parties involved but was not. And now entities unfamiliar with the situation are adding to the confusion, and actually hurting the very people they are trying to help.

Earlier this year, Heaven & Hell Records issued a press release stating that they were issuing old recordings by a band in North Carolina named OVERLORDE SR under the title Medieval Metal Too. This band had previously been known as Overlorde. Heaven & Hell also stated they would be releasing new recordings from the band.

We felt that the North Carolina band Overlorde SR was infringing on our trademark, an opinion confirmed by various legal counsel. This since the addition of the “SR” is not enough to avoid confusion, and confusion is the test for trademark infringement. Indeed, we have documented multiple instances of confusion that have already occurred.

Given the likelihood of confusion, we were thus legally required to act. Trademark law basically states that to maintain trademark protection, you must actively work to defend the trademark, no matter how big or small the entities involved may be. If we did not police our trademark, all such protections of the registration, and the registration itself, would be nullified. The money we had paid over the years to register and maintain the trademark, and it is a substantial amount, would in effect become wasted money.

This is not the first time we defended the trademark against the North Carolina band, either.

Around 1985, both bands released demos under the name Overlorde. In 1987, we both had our first formal releases. We, the New Jersey band, released our five-song vinyl EP on Strike Zone Records, and the North Carolina band had one song on the Metal Blade Metal Massacre VIII compilation.

Being well before the internet age, and being that our two bands were not in the same region and thus not advertising in the same local music newspapers, we were unaware of the North Carolina band until we saw a review of the Metal Blade release in a magazine. At that point, our trademark was already in place. We immediately issued a Cease And Desist letter to Metal Blade. While we never heard back from Metal Blade, Metal Blade did not release anything further from the North Carolina band and the North Carolina band made no attempt to challenge our trademark or make their own trademark registration.

The ’90’s went by with both bands either in hibernation or disbanded. In 2000, we, the New Jersey band, reunited after being made aware of a cult status that our 1987 EP had gained. Our EP was regarded as one of the premier U.S. Power metal releases of the ’80’s. It was clear that the fans wanted more. We reunited in late 2000, and the Trademark Registration was re-activated soon after.

Our resulting full length CD titled Return Of The Snow Giant was recorded in 2004. It was released and promoted by Sonic Age Records, and was reviewed by 500 heavy metal magazines, websites and radio stations worldwide. It was one of the top ranked releases of 2005 (late 2004 in Europe, early 2005 in North America and elsewhere). Critics universally hailed it as a metal masterpiece We were flown over to Germany and performed at Keep It True IV metalfest in April 2005. A DVD compilation containing four Overlorde songs from that show was issued on Steel Pride Records.

We have maintained and expanded our web presence and the CD continues to be sold by Sonic Age Records. We are working towards issuing a follow up release.

So this brings us to February 2012, shortly after Heaven and Hell Records announced the signing of the North Carolina band which had decided to now go by the moniker Overlorde SR (SR standing for Still Rockin, but the words are not part of the official name).

We initially contacted both the label and the band to bring their attention to the infringement, and attempt to work out some sort of arrangement prior to the release of Medieval Metal Too. We contacted various band members, including main member and booking agent George Koerber using multiple email addresses for him. Facebook, his official contact email, etc.

None of the band members chose to reply to us officially. Only Jeremy Golden at Heaven & Hell replied, and he refused to discuss the matter, stating that no infringement was present and the release would go on as planned.

When the release did occur, that forced us to seek legal counsel, which we did. Cease And Desist letters were issued to both the band (as the actual entity infringing our trademark) and the label (since they were selling product infringing on our trademark).

But once again, only Jeremy Golden chose to respond with legal counsel. As a result of our exchanges, Heaven & Hell Records ceased sales of Medieval Metal Too on their website, and plans to release a new CD by the North Carolina band were put on hold until the bands could reach an agreement. But instead of Heaven and Hell alerting us directly, we had to find out about this development when Heaven & Hell issued a Press Release. A press release that served to misrepresent the facts of this case and present us, the New Jersey band, in a poor light.

Meanwhile, it came to our attention that an application had been recently submitted to the US Patent and Trademark Office to trademark Overlorde SR. The application was made by a Sherry Koerber. Attempts to reach Sherry are ongoing, but she has also refused to reply thus far. While it would have been far better for George Koerber to make contact with our attorney, even while making the application, it was their prerogative to take this approach. But the application will be reviewed by the Trademark Office, and should be rejected for multiple reasons. The main reason being our long time ownership of the registered trademark over the past 25 years.

So anyone who suggests that the New Jersey band is bullying anyone, or being unreasonable, is misrepresenting the situation. It is unfortunate that Heaven & Hell has become involved in this, when it is the North Carolina band that is the source of the infringement. It is George Koerber’s continuing silence for 6 months that has resulted in undue time, effort, and expense on both our part and the part of Heaven & Hell. Had George replied to us in February, this likely would have been settled amicably by now.

If George and Sherry, who legally is now the trademark applicant, decide to maintain their silence pending the outcome of the review of the new application, then all they do is cause further harm to themselves and Heaven & Hell. Once the Trademark Office rejects the application, they will then be far more exposed to legal action. Not just George, but also Sherry and all the individual band members both current and on Medieval Metal Too.

In closing, Overlorde regrets that this case has taken the turns it has. We are and have been looking to settle this reasonably and professionally, taking additional steps only in response to actions or inactions by Jeremy Golden and George Koerber. We call upon Heaven & Hell Records to resume contact with us directly instead of debating this in the press. We call on George and Sherry Koerber to have their attorney contact us immediately so we can settle this case. And we call on George and Sherry Koerber to stop placing undue stress on Jeremy Golden of Heaven & Hell Records, which the Koerber’s have done by refusing to contact us and thus placing the burden of defending the trademark on Heaven & Hell.”

————–
EDITOR’s NOTE:

Double wordy wowzers. These guys like to talk!

My point is short and sweet (shocking I know, as I am never short and sweet. I have been called worse than ‘wordy‘ many times), if LA Guns and LA Guns, and Great White and Great White can record and tour why can’t Overlorde and Overlorde SR do it?

I mean I get Copyrights and Trademarks, I do. You hate to see someone else make any money off your blood sweat and tears. However, if the ‘general public‘ can differentiate between LA Guns and LA Guns then I’m sure they can figure out that Overlorde SR and Overlorde are NOT the same band. Is there or will there be some ‘confusion‘? Sure, I am willing to say there will be. But we aren’t talking about Metallica and Metallica SR! We aren’t talking about 4 million albums being sold here over the next 4 years, we’re talking about two rather small bands with a cult following.

C’mon man, isn’t there enough room in the world for a little SR?

Or more importantly? Who really cares?

Why can’t Overlorde SR become Underlorde (formerly Overlorde SR). Again, we’re talking a niche band with a small cult following at best. How many ‘fans‘ do you think you are going to lose by changing your name now?



Ok, so Dave Mustaine has gone and completely joined the Church of Rock & Roll Lunacy founded by everyone’s favorite loony Uncle, Ted Nugent.

On August 7th in Singapore Megadeth performed and Dave took a moment in the middle of the set to address someone who threw a shoe at the band. During this interaction he decided he needed to get the following off of his chest…

Back in my country, my president is trying to pass a gun ban, so he’s staging all of these murders. Like the ‘Fast And Furious’ thing down at the border and Aurora, Colorado, all the people that were killed there and now the beautiful people at the Sikh temple.”

Watch the video for yourself, at the 2:38 mark is when the brain trust that is Dave Mustaine begins to go completely left field on everyone.









Sadly, this isn’t the first time Dave has said something that makes an educated person scratch their head in disbelief. Yes, he is a musician, but really, does that mean he can go around spouting off his crazy theories with impunity? “Oh, he’s a ‘rock star’ so he can say what he wants, and doesn’t have to be held accountable for his actions…

I call bullshit. Remember the Dixie Chicks and their rant against President Bush and the war? The backlash against them was incredible. And they were right!!!! At least their opinion was based in reality, and in time was proven to be accurate.

I find it hard to believe Dave has any evidence proving Obama had the theater and Sikh shootings staged for his policy to benefit.

But wait, let’s take a trip down memory lane and read some more of Dave’s ramblings…

The thing that really is blowing me away is this molecular scanner, this [Picosecond Programmable Laser], whatever they’re talking about, and it’s not only here, the Russians have one too, so it’s something that’s very real. And I read up on that and it says it’s about gun powder and explosives and that’s what the primary purpose of it is, but it also says that it can read inside your system and say what kind of medication you’re on. So I imagine that what they’re gonna do is they’re gonna have a database to cross-reference whether the person that shows up that’s got narcotics in their system is under doctor’s care or not. For example, for me, when we’re on tour, we’re around people who do pyro, and pyro is gun powder and explosives for the fireworks. So if I shake hands with my pyrotechnician, I’m gonna get arrested for being a terrorist because I’ve got trace elements of gun powder and explosives on me, because there’s fireworks going on. On top of the fact that because of the cocaine use and people using dollar bills rolled up, there’s traces of cocaine on all money, so anybody touching currency is gonna have remnants of cocaine on their hands, that’s gonna show up, and it’s just madness. To think that it’s getting to this point. I mean, I can handle us having security, but not like this.

Damn Dave, paranoid much?

What I think about the president or the job he’s doing, does it really matter? If I say how I really feel, I’m gonna get blackballed — people are gonna talk bad about me and my career’s gonna suffer. And that in itself is a shame because since when in America can’t you talk freely about things that you like or don’t like? And why should I have my business taken away from me because I don’t like somebody? And that’s one of the fears I have — if I say how I really feel about stuff that people are not gonna wanna come see us in concert or not gonna wanna buy our records. But it’s like, man, I’ve been talking about how I feel about government since I first had my first record. I don’t like government. I think that… Much like our founding fathers in the beginning who knew that you needed government but that the people were in control… The government works for us, and I think people have forgotten that.

No Dave, what is going to hurt you career is YOU. And YOUR mouth. It isn’t the government; they aren’t going to wage a private war against you if you don’t like them. But your fans and the people who listen to your music will walk away in droves because you are a lunatic. There are many out there that don’t care what you say or do off stage and out of the studio. They just want to hear Hanger 18 for the 1,000th time. But people who pay attention to what is going on, and hear you ranting and raving like a madman will lose all respect for you, and will no longer support you. So, yes, if you tell people all your insane little theories, it WILL hurt your career. But you have no one to blame but yourself.

I have a lot of questions about [Obama], but certainly not where he was born. I know he was born somewhere else than America. . . I’m not calling a question to it, I just… How come he was invisible until he became whatever he was in Illinois?”

Whatever he was in Illinois? Really Dave? You are going to bash someone and not even have all the details? By your logic I wasn’t born in the US either because I am invisible to you.

Dave was asked if he supported gay marriage, “Well, since I’m not gay, the answer to that would be no.Dave was then questioned if he would support legislation to make marriage between a man and another man legal. He replied, “I’m Christian. The answer to that would be no.

What Dave is trying to say here is if he is not gay then he cannot be FOR the gays. So if Dave is not a NASCAR driver, then Dave must not support NASCAR. And if Dave is right handed, then he cannot support left handed people.

I watch some of these shows from over in Africa, and you’ve got starving women with six kids. Well, how about, you know, put a plug in it? It’s like; you shouldn’t be having children if you can’t feed them.

That right Dave, let’s just go to all the third world countries, round up the fertile womenfolk, and shove plugs in their vaginas. That’ll solve the over population and starvation problem. Fuck the fact that their human beings. Just jam plugs in their pussies.

How about you just shut the fuck up and play music asshole? I’m all for freedom of speech. But damnit. I like Killing is My Business…And Business is Good, Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying?, and a couple other Megadeth albums. And I want to keep listening to them. But I can’t if this fucktard keeps talking out of his ass.

According to the Czech news site iDNES.cz, a Prague Municipal Court dismissed on Monday (July 16) the Prague State Attorney’s Office complaint against LAMB OF GOD singer Randy Blythe‘s release on bail. However, the court increased Blythe‘s bail from $200,000 — which has already been paid — to $400,000.

Here is the original article translated from Czech to English:
American singer of the group Lamb of God Randy Blythe may be released from custody. The Prague Municipal Court dismissed the complaint because the prosecutor, who disagreed with the singer’s release on bail. Municipal court bail but increased to twice, ie $ 400,000. He confirmed the singer’s lawyer.

Senate under the leadership of Judge Lubos Vrba decided the fate of the singer on Monday afternoon in closed session. Resolution of the District Court confirmed, but bail increased to double, nearly eight million.

Although pay all Blythe has won. “Will depend on when the municipal court will send a reasoned decision to Circuit Court. Only then can take the money , “said the singer’s attorney Tuesday afternoon. According to court spokeswoman Martina Lhotáková this should happen in the coming days.

Against the eventual release will allow him to plaintiff within three days before another complaint. The whole thing would once again went to municipal court and the release could be postponed until next week.

District Court for Prague 8 singer sent metal band Lamb of God into custody for fear that he could fly back to the United States. He provided $ 200,000 bail, is about 4 million.

Although there Blythe paid, but because the prosecutor appealed against the order of the District Court complaint, the matter went to court and the city singer so stay behind bars extended.

————–
EDITOR’S NOTE:

So the court denied the complaint, but is afraid that Randy will flee the country, so they have doubled his original bond amount. Does that mean that the court can be bought for $400,000? Do they think that doubling his bond will ensure he stays for trial? Or are they looking to make a score financially, and let him run knowing they will never try this matter in court?



From JonLord.org:
It is with deep sadness we announce the passing of Jon Lord, who suffered a fatal pulmonary embolism today, Monday 16th July at the London Clinic, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Jon was surrounded by his loving family.

Jon Lord, the legendary keyboard player with Deep Purple co-wrote many of the bands legendary songs including Smoke On The Water and played with many bands and musicians throughout his career.

Best known for his Orchestral work Concerto for Group & Orchestra first performed at Royal Albert Hall with Deep Purple and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1969 and conducted by the renowned Malcolm Arnold, a feat repeated in 1999 when it was again performed at the Royal Albert Hall by the London Symphony Orchestra and Deep Purple.

Jon’s solo work was universally acclaimed when he eventually retired from Deep Purple in 2002.

Jon passes from Darkness to Light.

Jon Lord 9 June 1941 – 16 July 2012.





























EDITOR’s NOTE:
R.I.P. Good Sir. Thank you for so many years of magic. For me you were always the soul of Deep Purple, and while the albums after your departure were good, they were never the same with out your touch.



Blabbermouth.net has posted a story where they say they have obtained the court documents of the response to the injunction that Geoff Tate filed against the band. It is a long read, but it is quite the interesting read…

“Plaintiff Geoff Tate, along with his wife, have brought suit against his former bandmates, Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and Michael Wilton, and the corporations they do business against, claiming that he is being oppressed. He now comes before this Court asking for a preliminary injunction stopping a majority of the band and shareholders from operating as the band they have been known as for 30 years. Not only is there no oppression, and all decisions were done for legitimate business reasons, but the facts will show that the only person engaging in oppression is Mr. Tate.

“Plaintiff Geoff Tate has systematically, in concert with his wife whom he installed as manager, taken more power unto himself within the band and its companies, shutting out the majority with a policy of ultimatums and brinksmanship, while engaging in naked self dealing. When his bandmates, Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and Michael Wilton finally said enough is enough and tried to move on to outside management, Mr. Tate reacted with a violent physical assault, leaving them no choice but to obtain a new singer. Mr. Tate has now followed with a combined legal and public relations assault in breach of his duties to the very corporations he claims his bandmates are harming. As such, the only oppressor here is Mr. Tate, and his ultimate claims, along with this motion for preliminary relief, fail.

“During this period of the late 1990s into the early 2000s, Susan Tate, Geoff Tate‘s wife, began her ascent to the ultimate management of the band. Susan Tate first began running the fan club and merchandising portions of the QUEENSRŸCHE operation. She then was instrumental in the firing of then current manager, Ray Daniels, and having him replaced with Lars Sorenson, to whom she then served as assistant. Then, in 2005, she took over management duties completely and Lars Sorenson was let go. This is quite an accomplishment since Susan Tate‘s only prior management experience was managing her previous husband’s unsigned local band.

“Once Susan Tate was installed as manager, the Tates proceeded to take full control of the band. Geoff Tate began working with outside writers and regularly rejecting music offered by the band. Geoff and Susan Tate asserted full control over the budgeting and production process, not only cutting Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and Michael Wilton out of the creative process, but eliminating songwriting royalties and manipulating all advances so as to coerce their cooperation. This was combined with constant threats from Geoff Tate to leave the band if his bandmates did not go along with his dictates. In an attempt to maintain what was left of the original membership and get what advance and other monies were available, Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and Michael Wilton went along with Geoff and Susan Tate‘s creative and business control of QUEENSRŸCHE. This is ironic as Geoff Tate has stated publicly on several occasions about his bandmates’ integral role in the sound and overall makeup of QUEENSRŸCHE.

“The results of the Tates‘ stewardship of QUEENSRŸCHE have been disastrous. Under Tate leadership, QUEENSRŸCHE has produced three albums to wildly declining sales. ‘Operation: Mindcrime II‘ has sold only 150,000 copies to date, compared to 500,000 for the original ‘Operation: Mindcrime‘ in the first year alone, moving on to over a million a few years later. It also received only mediocre reviews. The next album, ‘American Soldier‘, sold only 60,000 copies, less than half again. And last year’s ‘Dedicated To Chaos‘, sold an abysmal 20,000 copies. In addition, Geoff Tate has shown an almost messianic dedication to these ill-received songs and musical direction. He openly loathes the metal sound that made the band famous, even saying so to the press. Geoff Tate even refuses to perform the bulk of the songs from the first five, and most popular, albums, considering them ‘stupid,’ his refusal coming in the face of overwhelming fan demand.

“Although QUEENSRŸCHE has continued as a viable entity, the decline of recent years is evident in album sales and overall revenue. As a result, Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and Michael Wilton, who own 75% of the stock in the QUEENSRŸCHE entities and are three of four directors, decided in 2012 to take a more active role in the direction of the band entities.

“First, they looked into using outside professionals to run the fan club and merchandise as opposed to an in-house operation run by Susan Tate and Geoff‘s stepdaughter Miranda Tate. This was met with fierce resistance and even abuse of the outside firm being considered by Geoff and Susan Tate. Next the issue of outside professional management was suggested by Michael Wilton. This was met with even stronger resistance, with Geoff Tate dismissing the idea out of hand.

“During this time, the other bandmembers learned through Scott Rockenfield that Geoff Tate had negotiated a development deal for a movie based on QUEENSRŸCHE‘s popularconcept album, ‘Operation: Mindcrime‘. Scott Rockenfield received an e-mail from a mutual acquaintance who was part of the deal who explained how Geoff Tate was about to engage in a lucrative agreement. When Scott Rockenfield informed Eddie Jackson and Michael Wilton of this, they investigated with the QUEENSRŸCHE corporate attorney and confirmed that a six-figure advance was indeed being held by him until execution of documents by Geoff Tate, at which time the money would be paid to Geoff Tate alone. This is despite ownership of ‘Operation: Mindcrime‘ and associated intellectual property by the QUEENSRŸCHE entities and former member Chris DeGarmo.

“Due to this litigation, the other bandmates (Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and Michael Wilton) have now come into possession of the agreement executed by Geoff Tate for this movie option. Amazingly, and with no grant of authority from the band, Geoff Tate claimed full ownership in the ‘Operation: Mindcrime‘ ‘story,’ procuring for himself a $150,000 fee, 20% of all royalties, and $10,000 upfront for an option, all payable to him alone, and with 20% for soundtrack and merchandise revenue to be split amongst him and the band.

Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and Michael Wilton were not to be deterred and set a directors meeting to discuss changes. Not only did Geoff Tate refuse to attend, he responded through legal counsel, demanding that Susan Tate and his attorney be present, that the meeting be rescheduled, and claiming that meeting notice via e-mail was inadequate. This was surprising to the other bandmates as all meetings had been set by e-mail or text for years, and even more shocking that Geoff Tate was speaking through an attorney about a meeting of their band of 30+ years. Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and Michael Wilton had their properly called meeting anyway, and being a quorum and a majority, voted to remove Susan Tate as manager, move on to a professional outside merchandise company, and other related business. The next day, all band members flew to Sao Paulo, Brazil, for a previously scheduled performance. Several hours before the concert, Geoff Tate called for a meeting wherein he asked for confirmation of actions taken at the April 12, 2012 meeting. Geoff Tate also raised the issue of the ‘Operation: Mindcrime‘ movie project advance, complaining bitterly that the other band members were holding up ‘his money.’ Following the meeting, the other bandmembers did not see Geoff Tate until on stage just before the beginning of their performance. Geoff Tate then viciously engaged in an unprovoked attack on Scott Rockenfield and Michael Wilton, and was only kept from Eddie Jackson due to the intervention of crew and security. These attacks were totally unprovoked and unjustified. This delayed the start of the performance over 20 minutes, and Geoff Tate continued to spit at, curse, and taunt his bandmates throughout the performance. The other bandmembers left immediately after the performance, avoiding Geoff Tate, who was flown home on a hastily booked separate flight. Following the Sao Paulo incident, Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and Michael Wilton knew of two contracted performances. The decision was made to attempt to be professional and carry out these obligations, and see if it was still possible for them to work with Geoff Tate. Unfortunately, Geoff Tate never apologized for his actions, continued to make threats, and engaged in erratic and bizarre behavior, even telling the audience they ‘sucked‘ at the last performance. As a result, Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and Michael Wilton decided they had no choice but to move on. Although as a clear majority and quorum they had the ability to make this difficult decision for the good of the band on their own, they attempted to reach out and negotiate a settlement. This was flatly rejected by Geoff Tate. Thus, in a duly noticed meeting on June 2, 2012, Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and Michael Wilton voted to replace Geoff Tate with a new lead singer, and to expel and/or otherwise negotiate just compensation for his ownership interest. Negotiations failed, leading to the suit at bar.

“Following Geoff Tate‘s removal as lead singer, QUEENSRŸCHE performed under the moniker ‘RISING WEST‘ for two sold-out shows and rave critical and fan reviews. On the strength of those shows, the new QUEENSRŸCHE has been signed by Frontline/AGPS Management, the largest and most powerful music management company in the world and a subsidiary of Live Nation. Within the first week, the new management was able to obtain three bookings at equal or better compensation than the old QUEENSRŸCHE. With the new QUEENSRŸCHE‘s dedication to the original five gold- and platinum-selling albums, and new material in the same vein, the demand has been tremendous. Conservatively, the new QUEENSRŸCHE could book over $4 million in gross tour revenue alone between now and the trial date in this matter, with commensurate surges in merchandise and back catalog sales.

Geoff Tate, on the other hand, has taken to the press to denigrate his bandmates and their abilities, as well as tar them with labels of ineptitude and greed. Further, although Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield, and Michael Wilton are the rightful current controllers of the QUEENSRŸCHE entities and their assets, Geoff, Susan and Miranda Tate have locked them out of the official QUEENSRŸCHE Facebook account and band website, causing harm not only to the reputation of the band, but blocking revenue through sales on the QUEENRYCHE website.

Geoff Tate‘s Motion for Preliminary Injunction is based on the presumption that he will ultimately be awarded the name ‘QUEENSRŸCHE.’ The only way this can occur is if the court grants a judicial dissolution of the QUEENSRŸCHE companies.

“For the reasons discussed below, Geoff Tate cannot reach this high and extraordinary burden. Not only were Eddie Jackson‘s, Scott Rockenfield‘s and Michael Wilton‘s actions nonoppressive, justified, and legitimate business actions, but the extreme remedy of dissolution is not warranted. The only purpose of dissolution would be to make the name ‘QUEENSRŸCHE‘ able to be awarded to Geoff Tate, effectively giving a minority member and only 25% owner full and total control of the corporation’s most valuable asset, with no precedent for such an action.

Geoff Tate claims he had a reasonable expectation to remain in QUEENSRŸCHE forever, and, thus, is being oppressed by his bandmates’ actions. However, such a belief is belied by the entity documents themselves. First, there is the Partnership Agreement, which is the only document that contemplates band membership and predates the creation of all the QUEENSRŸCHE entities. Far from this document being designed around an idea of permanent membership, it expressly has an expulsion clause allowing 75% of the partners to expel a member, and buyout procedures following such an expulsion. Even if this partnership agreement were deemed to have no legal effect, it still is illustrative of the reasonable expectations the members of the band had.

Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and Michael Wilton readily admit that Geoff Tate has shares in the QUEENSRŸCHE entities and is entitled to compensation. They even admit that if that amount of compensation cannot be negotiated, it may be for the Court to decide the proper amount. Thus any ‘oppression’ claimed by Geoff Tate results not from the disposition of his shares (since he is also asking the Court to establish a value for the shares so everyone is fairly compensated), it only comes from his removal as lead singer, which is in effect a termination of employment, an activity squarely within the authority of the directors to control.

“There are an abundance of legitimate reasons for the decision to replace Geoff Tate. The musical direction he has taken the band has led to a precipitous drop in album sales. Geoff Tate refuses to perform the bulk of the songs which made the band popular, nor produce music in that style. He surreptitiously attempted to obtain vast monies for an ‘Operation: Mindcrime‘ movie for himself alone in an act of self dealing. Geoff Tate refused to take on new and professional management and operation of the merchandise and fan club, preferring his family serve in those roles and draw the salary from it. And, most important of all, when Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and Michael Wilton tried to assert control and begin to reverse some of these bad business decisions, Geoff Tate engaged in a vicious, unprovoked physical assault for which he has shown no remorse until this proceeding. Geoff Tate then engaged in increasingly erratic behavior, threatening his bandmates and even lashing out at the audience. Not only was his removal a result of legitimate business concerns, but of outright business necessity!

“As discussed above, the only way Geoff Tate can be awarded the name QUEENSRŸCHE is through the harsh and extreme remedy of judicial dissolution of the QUEENSRŸCHE entities. Employment of such a drastic remedy is not only unwarranted due to the lack of oppression and legitimate business considerations discussed above, but it would not be fair and equitable, as such a remedy lies in equity.

Geoff Tate‘s central claim for why he should get the name QUEENSRŸCHE is that it is the only ‘equitable outcome‘ because ‘he is the band.‘ As set forth in the declarations from Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and Michael Wilton, QUEENSRŸCHE has always been a collaborative effort amongst its members, especially during its extremely successful first period. This has only changed during the last few unsuccessful albums, and due only to Geoff Tate‘s authoritarian ways. Moreover, Geoff Tate‘s odd reliance on songwriting royalties fails to recognize several other considerations. In fact, under Geoff Tate‘s logic, George Harrison and Ringo Starr were not really THE BEATLES, as the vast majority of the songs were written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Geoff Tate is not even a founding member of the band, having come in after all the EP material that launched QUEENSRŸCHE was written. He has only ever written lyrics and no music, and not even all the lyrics at that. In addition, over the last three albums, Geoff Tate, in concert with wife and manager Susan, has conspired to lock out Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and Michael Wilton from the creative process. Thus, any recent uptick in songwriting credits has been a result of the last three albums, which were marked by rapidly declining sales and fan response. And, the bulk of the band entities’ revenue has come from touring and the ancillary merchandise and back catalog sales in recent years. Additionally, Geoff Tate, through his physical assault, outrageous, naked self-dealing on the ‘Operation: Mindcrime‘ movie, and other activities detrimental to the corporation and brand, has unclean hands and cannot ask for equitable relief. Plus, his defaming of his fellow bandmates and denigrating of the band in RollingStone.com, and wrongful lockout of Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield, and Michael Wilton from the QUEENSRŸCHE Facebook account and band websites, is in direct breach of his duties to the corporations themselves.

“On the other hand, the remaining members have a strong claim to the QUEENSRŸCHE name. As the original founding members of the band and a clear majority, they have the strongest claim. Moreover, Geoff Tate himself has acknowledged publicly the importance of QUEENSRŸCHE‘s popularity coming from its ‘sound,’ and how that sound originates with the musicians Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and Michael Wilton. As Geoff Tate has never written any music for any QUEENSRŸCHE songs, this stands to reason. And . . . it is this sound, coupled by a willingness to return to it as it was in the first five albums, both in new and old material, which will let QUEENSRŸCHE succeed well beyond its current performance, something that cannot happen with Geoff Tate‘s refusal to embrace QUEENSRŸCHE‘s past.

“No preliminary injunction should be issued. Geoff Tate is not likely to succeed on the merits. He has not been oppressed, because his expectation to remain as QUEENSRŸCHE‘s lead singer forever is not reasonable. Geoff Tate‘s removal as lead singer was due to legitimate business considerations, including his takeover of the creative process to bad results, rejection of the popular parts of the music catalog, and his physical assault of his bandmates and subsequent erratic behavior. Judicial dissolution is an extreme remedy only undertaken in rare circumstances, and without judicial dissolution, Geoff Tate cannot be awarded the name QUEENSRŸCHE. And award of the name must be done through equity, and doing so would be the opposite. An injunction would not properly balance the harms among the band members, third parties, or the public. And, the bond for any injunction must be in the millions to adequately protect the potential loss.

Geoff Tate needs to be compensated for his shares in the QUEENSRŸCHE entities, no one denies this. He also has a right to ask the Court to determine a fair amount if that cannot be done through negotiation. But, he does not have a right to take QUEENSRŸCHE‘s name for himself, nor to harm the brand, band and corporations for months by denying its use while this case is fully adjudicated on the merits. Therefore, Plaintiff’s motion should be DENIED.”

————
EDITOR’S NOTE:
So we finally have the band’s account of what has been transpiring. And in a legal document no less. What does that mean? Well, to me it means this is the closest thing to the ‘truth‘ as we are going to see. How is it the ‘truth‘? It is a legal document that has been filed in response to the injunction Geoff laid against the band to stop them from using the name QUEENSRŸCHE and giving it to him. Less the band be slapped with perjury and contempt charges for lying in the response, this has to be an accurate account of what has happened.

Geoff fighting back against the firing of is wife and daughter is understandable, but to do it in a physical manner? doesn’t make sense.

Geoff developing a movie deal off Operation: Mindcrime is insane, he had to know they’d come after him for that. Even if the ink was dry on the contracts the band is still owed their due share and they’d take it out of his side of the deal.

Geoff said in Rolling Stone that the band didn’t put any effort into the last three albums, he wrote them all, they have been lazy and not willing to work on new material, or shows. Yet this document shows that they didn’t want to do the new material, that they were locked out of the writing sessions, that he brought in his own writers, etc. If I wasn’t happy with the direction my band was going, I wouldn’t help to write the new shit that I didn’t want to play either. Unfortunately the band apparently allowed him to install his wife and daughter making the band a family business (let’s not forget Parker being installed as guitarist when he married Miranda). Thus giving them less power to control the band. Yes according to them everyone has a 25% stake and voice in the band, but when band management is the singer’s wife, and their merch is run by the singer’s daughter, obviously it is going to be harder to control the direction of the band at that point.

So we now have the bands somewhat abbreviated version of what happened in Brazil too. No mention of a knife though, so it will be some time before we get the full details there (if ever).

As I’ve said already… this is going to get ugly. And now the band has spoken and given their sides… Let the full blown mud slinging begin.



Geoff Tate‘s stepdaughter Miranda Tate stepped up and addressed a few ‘issues‘ that have been swirling around in the news regarding her step father’s band (she is the daughter of Susan Tate, Geoff‘s wife and the band’s manager). She took to Facebook and posted the following on Thursday June 7th.

“It’s about time to get some truth on the table.

“1. No one…not Geoff or anyone else in QUEENSRŸCHE has posted on the Queensryche.com in months. Posting by all members was stopped at the same time. This was not Geoff‘s doing.

“2. Geoff and the other members of QUEENSRŸCHE can post any sort of event on the QUEENSRŸCHE Facebook just in the same fashion as they always have.

“3. Geoff is on the defensive and all the truth as to how hostile he has been treated will be known soon.

“4. Look back at who wrote the songs for QUEENSRŸCHE since Chris left. The heavy majority of the songs has been Geoff with an outside writer. This is due to very little to no material being submitted by the other members of the band.

“5. Geoff originally wanted to go in a different direction for the last QUEENSRŸCHE album… heavier. But for the first time in years the other guys were submitting songs. So Geoff used their material and ‘Dedicated To Chaos’ is what they together came up with. Don’t believe me… check the credits.

“6. Geoff does the majority of the writing, the majority of the interviews, is there every day for the mix, produces with every producer while the other members are hardly ever in the room. I have watched this with my own eyes since I can remember. Geoff never complains and splits album sales royalties equally.

“7. Susan, as the band’s manager, negotiated with outside writers (pissing them off) to give part of their publishing royalties to the other non-writing members of QUEENSRŸCHE.

“8. My family worked tirelessly and happily to keep QUEENSRŸCHE working.

“9. I e-mailed endlessly to get photos and words or anything to post (on the app or Facebook) for the fans from all the members in QUEENSRŸCHE and got little to nothing from any of them except Geoff.

“10. When our business attorney wrote an e-mail to the band stating how some of our employees did a fantastic job and thanking them… one of the other members of QUEENSRŸCHE (not Geoff) wrote back saying that he didn’t want our employees thanked since they were being paid.

“11. No one has checked the fan club email or taken care of giving away one meet-and-greet pass since the Tates were stopped by the other members of the band from doing it. However, Geoff has honored the QUEENSRŸCHE fan club and given away meet-and-greet passes to his solo shows.

“12. Every fan club event was planned by my family for the last several years and Geoff happily attended all while other members complained.

“13. Every concept for every tour was voted on by the band (including the cabaret). All members of QUEENSRŸCHE happily split equally, all the money made from each tours although some (not Geoff) complained later when some of the tour concepts were received with less-than-open arms. Geoff stood by the creative decision and took the good with the bad.

“So before you think the man that worked the hardest by a long way for years and years is a tyrant then think again. You don’t know the facts.”

——-
EDITOR’S NOTE:

So according to Miranda (who was formerly married to band guitarist Parker Lundgren) Geoff has been working with the band as much as possible, Geoff has done no wrong, Geoff has worked to take money from the actual song writers and given to the band… etc. etc. etc.

There does seem to be a bit of validity to this. If you go back to the Queensryche saga part II we mentioned that producer Jason Slater made some comments regarding the fact that writing credit was given to band members that didn’t actually write anything and taken from him…

Let’s keep a few things in mind about Ed, I’ve given him a percentage of my publishing on every song I’ve written for them, not because I had to but because after touring and merch stop it’s the only income and I don’t go on the road to advertise those songs so they have value. Most songwriters don’t do this

So both Miranda and Jason say this has happened. No one in the band has yet to deny it.

The band saying they have no access to their website or facebook page could be legit or it could be more muckracking to strengthen their cause. That is one thing we’ll never be able to know for sure.

Her fifth point is very interesting. Geoff wanted to go a heavier direction for their last album, but the rest of the band were actually submitted material and DTC was the outcome. If this is true, doesn’t it seem odd that the band is out as Rising West performing all the old ‘heavier‘ material now?

The band cancelled their appearance the other night opening for the Scorpions (Hate to say I told you so…) but Geoff and his solo band did the show themselves.

Scott Rockenfield‘s wife wrote in response (rather short and sweet I might add) to Miranda’ post. “This is all a flat-out lie.” To which Miranda came back with the following:

“The Facebook has always been run by an [administrator], NO member has ever had ‘direct’ access to the Facebook page. I used to update the QUEENSRŸCHE app. I sent countless emails to ALL members of the band asking for content and received little to nothing from everyone except [Geoff Tate]. This is the same with the Facebook page. Not one e-mail, text, phone call etc. has been made from any member of RISING WEST asking to promote their shows. Instead they came out with they are blocked from the site. Geoff Tate, on the other hand, sends his info to the admin to update with his events.

“The reasons that comments are banned is because too many people were writing profane things so instead of someone having to monitor posts 24/7 posts were banned for the time being.

“By Misty stating that ‘this is ALL a flat-out lie’ is untrue she is saying that the members don’t vote, that passes are still being issued, etc. Many of the things I stated in my original post can be proven true by looking at CD credits, the fan club etc.

“Also most of ‘Operation: Mindcrime 2′ was recorded in my basement — I was there every day so I saw first-hand who really shows up and did work everyday and that was Slater, Mike Stone and Geoff. The other members were not very involved and this was true for many recent endeavors as well. That being said, Misty‘s comment doesn’t hold up.

“Also I know Geoff Tate is doing some interviews this week that will also give his point of view.”

So where are these interviews? Why has Geoff been so quiet about this, nobody on either side of this is looking good right now, and if Miranda is correct (incident in Brazil aside) why wouldn’t Geoff be standing on the tallest soap box ‘speaking the word‘ and telling it like it is?

Hell, Geoff had the best pulpit the other night to state his case when he opened for The Scorpions by himself to tell everyone why he was the only one there, and what lead up to it!

The band’s website still has 4 dates booked through August 10th, and a new date of December 7th. Why new dates are being added is a mystery. Wishful thinking maybe? But why go through all this and book dates just to cancel them?

Stay tuned… I am sure the QUEENSRŸCHE saga (Part VI) is right around the corner.



From ClasicRockMagazine.com:
“…Speaking to 99.9 KISW they (Scott Rockenfield, Eddie Jackson, Michael Wilton, and Parker Lundgren) avoided in-depth discussion about rumoured fall-outs with Tate, and didn’t even elaborate on their statement they’d been banned from Queensryche’s website and Facebook page.

Guitarist Wilton said: “We still very much are Queensryche, and Queensryche will be continuing on. We want to just have some fun, play some old ‘Ryche, bring back some memories and just kick it.”

Tate’s outburst (at Rocklahoma) followed rumours of a violent altercation between bandmates in Brazil. The drummer (Scott Rockenfield) suggested legal advice had been taken on the subject, saying: “At this point in time the ‘guy with the tie’ told me what happens in Brazil stays in Brazil.”

And he hinted Rising West was connected to the future of the band that formed in Washington in 1981: “There’s some great stuff coming down for us with Queensryche. Until we’re ready to explain what we’re doing, it’s kind of a day-to-day thing. Rising West is a way to go out, get to know Todd, do some music together with no strings attached and see what happens after the weekend.

“It’s a major work in progress.”

He added: “You never know if Rising West will ever do another show – it might be something else that we do. You never know.”

A Queensryche spokesman told Classic Rock: “I have no further comments at this time. As for Rising West, I will not be making any comments on their behalf in the foreseeable future. All I can suggest is listening to their radio interviews.”

You can read the rest of the article right here.




————————
EDITOR’S NOTES:

Alright boys and girls, who wants to play, ‘Let’s Read Between The Lines‘?

Michael says they are still very much Queensryche and that Queensryche will go on. Yes, but with Geoff Tate? I mean once their current commitments are done, are they going to go out as Queensryche with the current line up in tact?

Scott actually addressed the Brazil incident. Sort of. What is important to read here is that the band as a whole did not DENY that ‘something‘ happened in Brazil. He referenced a guy in a tie, so someone has sought legal counsel over whatever it is that did happen. Obviously there has to be something there or why would legal counsel have been sought?

As for Rising WestScott‘s comments on that are very telling. “You never know if Rising West will ever do another show – it might be something else that we do. You never know.” So they ‘test out Todd‘ doing two shows of old material this weekend, finish their last contracted date or dates with Geoff, and bring Todd into the Queensryche camp, thus eliminating the Rising West moniker. That’s how I read it. I’ve been wrong before, but if you read over the band’s quotes from last nights radio show, it is pretty self evident I think.

As I’ve said on the last three editorials… Ok, so they’ve finally updated the Queensryche website with the two Scorpions dates, and a couple of fair dates. So I’ll push it out now… August 10th will be the last Queensryche show we see with the existing line up.

From classicrock.com:
The prog metal giants’ fan network is loaded with reference to singer Geoff Tate’s solo tour and wine business – but carries no mention of Rising West’s upcoming live debut.

Four fifths of Queensryche Michael Wilton, Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and Parker Lundgren – last week announced their new outfit, fronted by Crimson Glory singer Todd La Torre, and said they’d focus on performing material from their first five albums.

Asked about rumours of internal tension, a spokesman insisted: “Geoff Tate is concentrating on his acoustic solo performances this summer, while the other members of the band have formed Rising West. Everyone wants to stay busy, try new things and do what they do best: rock in front of the masses. Queensryche are slated to perform select dates throughout the year.”

But the new outfit have now released their own statement, saying: “We are being denied access to our own Facebook page and website (meaning Queensryche) so please spread the word for about Rising West. Rising West will be on KISW 99.9 this Thursday around 4:30. Thank you for your support and we hope to see you at our shows!”

Last night fans reported their comments about Rising West were being deleted from the Queensryche Facebook page. One said: “Banning, censoring, what else? All we wanted to do was ask why we could not hear or see anything on the upcoming Rising West project. This is getting pretty darn sad.”

Another added: “Whoever is running this page is clearly being petty and desperate. Rising West is about to derail the Tates’s gravy train.”

Rising West will play at the Hard Rock Cafe in Seattle on Friday and Saturday.

The above ‘band statement’ was posted on Michael Wilton‘s Facebook page.

——————
EDITOR’S NOTE:

Ok, so being a fan of Queensryche I subscribe to their Facebook page, their Twitter feed, etc. And for months I have seen posts for upcoming Queensryche dates, Geoff Tate solo dates, and his wine tastings. I haven’t seen one word about Rising West on anything Queensryche related. Not. One. Word.

It is sad and stupid really. I mean this is becoming embarrassing for the band, for the Tates, and for the fans. Who ever thought that Queensryche would end up this way, let alone end this way?

Funny, Mr. Tate can push all of his ‘non’ Queensryche projects all he wants now, but none of the other members can.

And I am still tickled that his Son In Law Parker (guitarist for Queensryche) has apparently chosen his side, and it is with the rest of the band, not his Father In Law. Must make for fun family get togethers no?

So many great bands feed off their inner turmoil, unfortunately the majority just implode. Look at the recent Guns & Roses circus surrounding the R&R Hall of Fame. Hell, reports are now coming out that Axl is banning anyone in the audience from wearing a Slash shirt! Are you kidding me?

What first appeared to be sour grapes between the members of Queensryche is turning into an all out mudslinging war.

I still hold that June 11th will be Queensryche‘s last show with the 5 current members.

If you haven’t read about the reports of Geoff pulling a knife on drummer Scott Rockenfield and assaulting Michael Wilton in Brazil you can read it on our site here.

You can also read about the Rising West original announcement and Queensryche‘s press agent response to it on our site here.

Taken from examiner.com:

QUEENSRŸCHE publicist Jeff Albright downplayed rumors of strife in the group. “In regards to the current state of Queensryche, the fact of the matter is that Geoff Tate is concentrating on his acoustic solo performances this summer while the other members of the band have formed a new outfit called Rising West with Todd La Torre of Crimson Glory,” he said in an email to Examiner.com Wednesday morning.

Everyone wants to stay busy, try new things and do what they do best . . . and, of course, that’s rock in front of the masses.

“As you’re probably aware, Queensryche are slated to perform select dates throughout the year.”

From collectorsroom.se: (yes this is a blog, yes it is in Portugeuese, yes it not a news source… but there are two other references to this below… so it bears reading, even if it is in very broken English)
Something very strange happened in the recent passage of Queensrÿche for our country. The band played in Sao Paulo, HSBC Brazil, last April 14. Before the show, Geoff Tate, lead singer of the group, caught other members plotting his removal on the set.

By the time Tate retired and was silent, but during the soundcheck, he violently assaulted guitarist Michael Wilton, knocking down the musician. Then Tate armed with a knife broke up drummer Scott Rockenfield, but was restrained by security guards of the house, who, along with the crew and some Brazilians who watched the soundcheck, witnessed the whole shack.

Dissatisfied with what happened, Wilton locked himself in the dressing room saying he would no longer play, but was convinced by the production of the event to do the show.

EDITOR’S NOTE:
Ok, so we have a ‘report’ that Geoff Tate attacks Michael Wilton, then pulls a knife on Scott Rockenfield? Holy shit! Is it really that bad? Hard to say, as nothing official other than what you have read above by their publicist has been put out at this time.

This report, and a report from metalsludge.tv about Geoff telling the Rocklahoma crowd last weekend that they ‘suck‘ appear to show that Geoff is the one losing it here.

However I came across this interesting post from producer/song writer Jason Slater who worked with QUEENSRŸCHE on Mindcrime II, American Soldier, Take Cover, and part of Dedicated to Chaos:

From rockpages.gr:
The biggest problem with that band is they won’t get off their ass but somehow manage not to be able to get outta their own way.
MCII was a good start at a comeback in retrospect. It was largely made in a basement by 3 guys that previously didn’t know each other and it was hard work. Some members didn’t want to work that way and one refused to participate in the record. During the entire making of that record QR‘s co manager was trying to get me fired because I thought he should have no musical input. I was getting calls from producer friends of mine while I was working on the record asking me if I was in Seattle working with QR and I’d say “yes” then they’d tell me how Lars, QR‘s manager had called them asking if they were interested in working on the record. As it turned out without talking to Susan he and two members that weren’t working on the record were trying to replace me even though the record was half done and those 2 members have written the least amount of music in the QR catalogue. Think about what would have happened if they were successful. Who woulda written the songs? Not them. Dumb move. Lars was let go shortly thereafter.
Then we move on to Take Cover and the return of KG, IT WAS A F’n DISASTER! He was trying to throw me under the bus from the first second, I’ll post instrumentals on my blog that were my arrangements, nobody from QR is playing on it yet, but they KILL the record. They kept my arrangements and creative ideas but cut me out of the rest of the project. The guy was so threatened by me he made up problems and did all kinds of childish shit.
Then we come to AS. I didn’t know hoW this record was going to be made, so I wrote and recorded the entire thing at my studio. You could have just put Geoff’s vocal on it and it would have been done. Kelly just wants to finish the records as fast as he can and get paid, so when I found out they were bringing him back I was very unhappy, but I knew he’d take the easy way out and just copy my recordings so he could finish and get paid. A lot of the art was missing, but the record was still a step in the right direction.
Enter DTC. I didn’t want to work on it, period. I told them I wouldn’t work with Kelly and didn’t want to work on the record. I thought about it for a few weeks and thought about all the hard work it took to get us this far and that if we could make a creative metal record we will have finally given the fans the record they’ve wanted and stay true to QR always progressing. I was assured that my word would over ride KG‘s. I got out there and was just plain shut out of the process on all levels. KG was just slamming out crap so fast I’m surprised the guitars are in tune…..if they are. When all you care about is finishing so you can get paid you end up with DTC.
We were building, call it Tateryche if you want, but if you find me a band that’s a true democracy I’ll show you some liars. If Geoff doesn’t take a project and make it move forward most of the other guys will sit on their ass and gather dust. Prime example of screwing yourself : Ed Jackson. I’ve never been anything but cool to that guy. At the end of DTC he starts blowing all this “f*ck Jason`, we’re never working with him again blah blah blah” out of his pie hole. Let’s keep a few things in mind about Ed, I’ve given him a percentage of my publishing on every song I’ve written for them, not because I had to but because after touring and merch stop it’s the only income and I don’t go on the road to advertise those songs so they have value. Most songwriters don’t do this. This is the same guy that overplayed so much on MCII that I ended up playing the majority of the bass on that record and didn’t say a word until now.
When KG forgot to record the bass on the live DVD (ed note: Live Evolution), I sat there staring at the footage of Ed making sure my finger movement matched his so nobody could tell I played it. It was a shit ton of work that I wasn’t hired to do, I could have just mixed it and there would have been a low rumble from the bleed of the drum mic’s. On AS he has the same amount of publishing I have! Ed I’m sure you’ve bought an iPhone with some of that money I’ve given you, go to the “Notes” app and paste this in it and read it everyday
”!

So according to Jason, Geoff is the only one moving the band forward… To which Michael Wilson replied recently…

Tell him the singer is not Queensryche. The band is Queensryche”!

Very telling indeed is it not? Let’s go back to the formation of the band. It was Scott and Michael who started together, bringing on Chris DeGarmo and Eddie. Then they asked Geoff to join, but he kept putting them off.

For those that don’t know Geoff‘s wife currently manages the band, and his son in law Parker Lundgren plays guitar for the band.

Lots of shit out there being smeared around… I have a feeling that we may be seeing the last QUEENSRŸCHE show come June 11th. I could be wrong… But I doubt it.

Below you will find some interesting clips that were mentioned above.









In this video shot by our own Marcy Royce, you can see Geoff leave the stage before the song is over and never comes back out, the band finsihes, then takes a bow without Geoff at this month’s M3 Festival.





From Bravewords.com:
On Friday, June 8th and Saturday, June 9th, the core members of QUEENSRŸCHE will debut their new band, RISING WEST, at the Hard Rock Café in Seattle WA.

Rising West features Michael Wilton, Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield, and Parker Lundgren of Queensrÿche, with powerhouse vocalist Todd La Torre of CRIMSON GLORY. The band will be performing rare and classic hits from the first five Queensrÿche albums and plan on hitting the studio sometime early summer to begin recording their first release.

EDITOR’S NOTE:
So there has been some speculation online that Queensrÿche is mired in band member turmoil. Geoff is off doing his own solo tour, in between the bad and him are doing festival appearances, and a smattering of summer dates. Geoff is scheduled to do the Shiprocked 2012 cruise, and the last announced Queensrÿche date is June 11th.

So it appears the band (without Geoff) have gotten together with Todd who is a dead ringer for the young Geoff Tate vocals (see video below), and may be moving forward with the old ‘classic Queensrÿche sound. I’m interested to hear what Rising West will sound like, will it be the hard progressive rock of early Queensrÿche or will it be something new and different?

Listening to Todd do Queen of the Reich and seeing that the two shows he is doing with the band is all ‘classicQueensrÿche from the first five albums, leads me to believe that the band wants to return to the harder Queensrÿche sound. And judging from Geoff Tate‘s solo album and his current solo tour, he is the one driving the new, Adult Radio Rock sound the band is currently shilling out.

I’m torn on the news. On the one hand, Geoff stll sounds great, and the band as a whole should continue to do what it is Queensrÿche does. However, if it is Geoff that has been pushing them in the current direction, then maybe a side project with Todd (let’s all hope it isn’t the end of Queensrÿche) will give us older fans what we want also.








Two beers based on heavy bands to surface from craft brewers.

Sweden’s Amon Amarth and Maryland’s Clutch are each the subject of heavy beers from craft beer brewers Three Floyd’s and New Belgium respectively.

If Heavy Metal beer collaborations is a trend I do like the way these are going. Using a band’s attitude & lyrical imagery as the basis for label art and beer recipes opens up a wide range of possibilities for creative brewers and gives bands another outlet to reach out to their audience and possibly.

The Amon Amarth label looks like an 1980′s album cover depicting an epic Viking battle. The Clutch label will be silk screened on 22 ounce bottles using the band logo from their self titled second album.

Label art form the Amon Amarth brew can be seen below and at BEERNEWS.ORG

Detailed images can be found on the artists website: timlehi.blogspot.com

Clutch craft beer with New Belgium

Beer description: Pure rock fury meets Belgian-style brewed folly in this collaboration with Maryland hard-rockers, Clutch. A pronounced bass line of dark chocolate, coffee and black malts bridge the sourness of our dark wood ale for a fluid riff.

This article has been cross post to CRAFT BEER COLLECTIVE

FREE THE WEST MEMPHIS THREE







What exactly does that mean to me? Why have I tried my best to raise awareness of the West Memphis Three? Why have I spent the last 12 years raising money for their legal funds? Why is today, Friday August 19, 2011 so important to me? Let’s start at the beginning…

In 1996 I was living in Portland Oregon and saw a commercial on HBO for a documentary they were going to be airing. What caught my attention was the music being played, it was Metallica. Up to that point Metallica had never leant their music rights to any movie or TV show. As stupid as it may sound to you, that was enough to get me interested in seeing Paradise Lost: The Murders at Robin Hood Hills. A documentary about a trial of three teenage boys for the murder, rape, and mutilation of three 8 year old boys in West Memphis Arkansas.

I watched the documentary the night it was first aired. And three things hit me and changed my life forever…
#1. These teens are fucked up? How can three teenage boys do something so heinous and vile?
#2. Wait a minute… I don’t think they did it!!!
#3. There but for the grace of the gods go I…

You see, these three teenagers were arrested, tried, and convicted of a despicable crime with no evidence, the coerced confession of one of the defendants who was a minor with no attorney or parent present and a deficient mental capacity, the fact that they wore black clothes, listened to heavy metal, read Stephen King, and dabbled in Wicca and the Occult. They were convicted due to ‘satanic panic’.

There but for the grace of the gods go I. In high school I wore black, listened to metal, read Stephen King, was somewhat of an outcast from everyone else, and studied various religions at the time. You read my high school year book inscriptions and it has sayings in there about drinking virgin blood and sacrificing small animals over the summer. Sure it was a joke my ‘friends’ posted in my year books. But, what if what happened in West Memphis actually happened in Ferndale, Ca.

Ferndale, Ca population 1,800 humans, 1,000,000 heads of cattle in 1987. You sneeze on one end of main street and on the other end reports of your death are circulating. If this horrible crime had happened in Ferndale I would have been suspect #1. No doubt in my mind. Am I being melodramatic? How about this? One day a bunch of us went to a friend’s house to party during lunch. I provided a bottle of vodka; only one person drank that day, a preacher’s son. We returned to school, and preacher’s son puked in front of the principal’s office. After hours of interrogating everyone that preacher’s son named was there, I was put before the chief of police who told me in front of witnesses that he believed I was the one to blame for all the drug trafficking running through Ferndale.

Preposterous. If you know anything about Marijuana, you know that Humboldt County California used to be the pot capital of the United States, and some of the best pot came from the mountains above Ferndale and down the coast. One of only two ways to get it off the mountain was to run it through Ferndale. We’re talking BILLIONS of dollars of pot running through main street Ferndale, and me, a lowly senior in high school was the mastermind behind all that? Really? All because I got a preacher’s kid drunk? I was suspended, charged, and convicted of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. I myself being a minor. Here’s the beauty part, to contribute to the delinquency of a minor, you have to have a minor also. He was never charged, he wasn’t suspended, NOTHING happened to him. I had to go to AA meetings because I gave this kid a bottle of vodka that he approached me and asked me for.

So, extrapolate that 1,000,000 times, and picture Ferndale Ca when 3 eight year olds have been viciously murdered, raped, and mutilated. Who gets the finger pointed at first? The weird kid who just moved there. That’s who.

There but for the grace of the gods go I.

So after watching Paradise Lost, I was mortified at the miscarriage of justice I had just seen. The internet was just struggling to become what you see and have today, so connecting with others who knew about the West Memphis Three was slow going. It wasn’t until 1999 that I found a website dedicated to the WM3 as they would become known by. And started reading more about the appeals and various legal wrangling the defense teams were doing.

It was 2000 when I started hosting charity events with the FREE THE WEST MEMPHIS THREE Defense Fund as the main if not sole charity receiving all proceeds. I cannot name how many events I held, or help hold, how many thousands of dollars I took part in raising, or how much of my own money over the years I have put into it. But it was never enough.

People ask me why this case over the other thousands or tens of thousands of cases of injustice out there, and I simply tell them there but for the grace of the gods go I.

Today in a surprise move the West Memphis Three, Damien Echols, Jessie MissKelly, & Jason Baldwin were released from prison. Echols was on death row and had been in solitary confinement for the last 10 years. Jessie and Jason were sentenced to life in prison.

The DA had offered up a plea deal 18 years after the murders, 17 years after their convictions that would allow them to walk out of the court room ‘free’ men. All they had to do was plead guilty to the crimes, but maintain their innocence in what is known as the Alford Plea, and they would walk out the door.

They are still on record as convicted of the crimes, and the court still sees them as the defendants of the crimes, but they are allowed to maintain their innocence.

I cried as the DA read his press statement that the West Memphis Three were ‘freed’. It has been a long 15 years of raising awareness of a travesty of justice. I have purchased The Devil’s Knot by Mara Leveritt over 30 something times (maybe more) and given them away as gifts for Christmas, birthdays, etc. I have pushed hard when working with others to include the WM3 as part of the charities we work for, and I have spent countless hours talking to anyone who will listen about them. I have worn a bracelet with their names and incarceration date on it for 8 years or more. Today I can have their release date etched into it finally, August 19, 2011.

While I am happy for the men that they finally get to go home after 18 years of being locked up, and I don’t pretend to know what they have gone through in that time, I am saddened by the fact that the state, the police, and the judicial system of Arkansas will not be held accountable for their misdeeds.

I am saddened that now we may never know who truly did it, and I am heartbroken for the victim’s families that they may never get the closure they deserve.

Part of the sadness comes from the fact that the West Memphis Three, as part of their plea deal, cannot sue the state for what they have gone through for the MAJORITY of their lives, nor can they make any money off books/tv/movies made about them later on.

So there is no compensation for them after being behind bars longer than two of them had been alive at the time of incarceration.

Plus, in the courts eyes, they are still guilty.

All this after the DA said in his press conference that while he believes they did it, he didn’t think after 18 years, the new DNA evidence, the jury misconduct evidence (both to be presented to the state supreme court in December to add to the move for new trials for all three men), the fact that two of the victims mothers (third mother died already…) now support the freeing of the WM3, and the fact that some evidence has ‘gone missing’ over the years, that he could get a conviction if in fact they had to have a new trial.

So… to keep his conviction, to keep his record intact, to keep the conviction of his highest profile case as he moves into an election year, he offered the men a rarely used plea bargain that lets them out with time served but let’s them maintain their innocence.

Are Damien, Jessie, and Jason home today? Yes. Are they ‘free’ men right now? Yes. Are they innocent? I believe Yes. Is this behind them now? No. sadly, it is not.

But today… as Natalie Maines put it best… The WEST MEMPHIS THREE SHALL NOW BE KNOWN AS THE WEST MEMPHIS FREE.

For more on the WM3 click here.
For more on Mara Leveritt click here.
To purchase Paradise Lost 1 and 2 click here.
For more information on Paradise Lost 3 click here.
To purchase Devil’s Knot click here.

There but for the grace of the gods go I.

In my inscriptions of the Devil’s Knot that I would give to people I always wrote this: Rage against the dying of the light. – Dylan Thomas

Today… that light burns just a little bit brighter.