Archive for June, 2011
Live At The Greek Theatre
10 out of 10
For the DOOBIE BROTHERS last show on their Farewell Tour, the band performed at their hometown of Oakland, California’s Greek Theatre in 1982.
The over two hour show tracks every era of the DOOBIE BROTHERS, from classics like Listen To The Music, Minute By Minute, Jesus Is Just Alright, I Keep Forgettin’, What A Fool Believes, Takin’ It To The Streets, to Sweet Maxine, You Belong To Me, Out On The Streets,Long Train Runnin’ Black Water, Take Me In Your Arms, and China Grove.
The DVD also restores five songs not released on the original film, Little Darling, One Step Closer, Dependin’ On You, Real Love, and No Stoppin’ Us Now. And if two hours of live DOOBIE BROTHERS aren’t enough for you there are interviews with the band to round out this great tribute to a band that you still hear in heavy rotation on classic rock stations, but forget exactly how many hits they had until they’re all together in one package.
1982 was still pre-MTV days as is very evident in this concert film. From sweat bands and short shorts, to fedora’s and skinny neck ties, suits on stage, and Michael McDonald’s helmet hair. The DOOBIE BROTHERS were one of the many many 70s bands that would never have survived in the post MTV music era, because they were a rock band, not an image band. And that is very self evident in this monster of a concert film.
The band rolls through 15 minutes of hits before stopping to take a break and address the crowd. Acknowledging the special night, their last show, and many surprises to be had that evening. The band is tight, the sound is phenomenal, and the reproduction on the DVD is flawless. On the Michael McDonald lead songs, it sounds as if it could be pulled right off a CD; where the rockier songs, the faster paced and lively songs led by Pat Simmons definitely have that ‘live’ feel to them. This doesn’t take away from the songs at all, in fact, as all live music should do; it adds energy to the songs.
The fans know it’s the last show and they pretty much stay standing throughout the entire event. The band knows it’s their last show, and they are playing like it is. A very special night indeed, and a great show was captured for us all to witness and share in the magic that was made that night in 1982.
There are times where I find it very difficult to explain what watching or listening to a band does to me. I sometimes struggle with the words to express how impressive a song, album, or a show is. This is one of those times. I cannot overstate how amazing this massive concert film is. I was never a big DOOBIE BROTHERS fan, mainly I because I was too young, and because you ALWAYS hear them to this day on the radio. Their massive legacy still stands as a testament to their musicianship. And this concert is a beautiful monument to the sound, the band, and the members of the DOOBIE BROTHERS: Pat Simmons, Michael McDonald, Keith Knudson, John McFee, Chet McCracken, Cornelius Bumpus, Willie Weeks, Bob LaKind, and original members Tom Johnston, John Hartman, Tiran Porter, and Michael Hossack.
Sure, you THINK you know the DOOBIE BROTHERS, but until you’ve SEEN the DOOBIE BROTHERS perform live, you simply do not know. So go ahead, pick up Live At The Greek Theatre, you’ll thank me later.
You can purchase DOOBIE BROTHERS Live at the Greek Theatre right here.
Undisputed masters of the crossover genre, Richmond, Virginia’s MUNICIPAL WASTE are proud to announce their new worldwide deal with Nuclear Blast Records.
From MUNICIPAL WASTE:
“It took a real long time to decide what we were going to do for our next record,” states WASTE frontman Tony Foresta. “We wanted to work with a label that were not only fans of the band and our music, but were willing to get behind any ridiculous idea that we could think of. Once we realized this, Nuclear Blast was the obvious choice. The Blast has been friends with the band long before doing a record was even a possibility. I feel like we’re starting off with a clean slate and decade of experience to start back up on the right track. Expect some great things in the near future from the WASTE. This is only the beginning!”
“Nuclear Blast has shown their love for the WASTE for years,” drummer Dave Witte continues. “And when it came time for a new deal, it was a no brainer in my eyes. NB all the way. We are thrilled to be included among a roster of great bands and hard working people that love them. I can’t wait to get into that studio!”
Gerardo Martínez, long-time MUNICIPAL WASTE fan and Label Manager of Nuclear Blast USA, comments on the newest members of the Nuclear Blast Family:
“We’ve known the WASTE guys for some time and when the moment was right to bring them on board, we did not hesitate one second. They are the best and most relevant band at what they do, and a pleasure to be around… not to mention they are some of the funniest and down-to-earth people we’ve met. The excitement level for a new MUNICIPAL WASTE record is at its highest and we are ready to deliver this to the masses!”
The WASTE will be entering the studio this summer to record their fifth full-length album and Nuclear Blast debut in their hell-bent quests for infectious riffs and never-ending headbanging sessions. A 2012 release is expected.
For more MUNICIPAL WASTE click here.
Sweden’s war metal sextet SABATON continue their World War Tour and are set to return to the U.S. and Canada this fall with fellow countrymen Evergrey. The trek kicks off on September 20th at The Gramercy Theater in New York City.
Confirmed World War Tour tour dates are:
Sep. 20 – New York, NY @ The Gramercy Theater
Sep. 21 – Montreal, QC, CANADA @ Foufounes Electriques
Sep. 22 – Toronto, ON, CANADA @ The Opera House
Sep. 23 – Cleveland, OH @ Peabody’s
Sep. 24 – Detroit, MI @ Blondie’s
Sep. 26 – Chicago, IL @ Reggie’s Rock Club
Sep. 27 – St. Paul, MN @ Station 4
Sep. 28 – Winnipeg, MB, CANADA @ The Osbourne Village Inn
Sep. 29 – Regina, SK, CANADA @ Exchange
Sep. 30 – Edmonton, AB, CANADA @ Starlite Room
Oct. 02 – Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
Oct. 03 – Vancouver, B.C., CANADA @ The Venue
Oct. 05 – San Francisco, CA @ The Grand Ballroom at the Regency Center
Oct. 06 – Hollywood, CA @ The Key Club
Oct. 07 – Tempe, AZ @ The Clubhouse
Oct. 08 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
Oct. 09 – Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater
Oct. 11 – Houston, TX @ Numbers
Oct. 12 – Dallas, TX @ Trees
Oct. 13 – Austin, TX @ Emo´s Alternative Lounging * No Evergrey
Oct. 14 – San Antonio, CA @ Backstage Live * No Evergrey
Oct. 16 – Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade * No Evergrey
Oct. 17 – West Springfield, VA @ Jaxx * No Evergrey
SABATON will release their first live album, World War Live: Battle Of The Baltic Sea, in North America on August 9th.
Poland’s extreme metal band VADER have just announced the track listing for their upcoming album Welcome To The Morbid Reich, due out in North America on September 13th:
01. Ultima Thule
02. Return To The Morbid Reich
03. The Black Eye
04. Come And See My Sacrifice
05. Only Hell Knows
06. I Am Who Feasts Upon Your Soul
07. Don’t Rip The Beast’s Heart Out
08. I Had A Dream…
09. Lord Of Thorns
10. Decapitated Saints
11. They Are Coming
12. Black Velvet And Skulls Of Steel
BONUS TRACKS on the deluxe digipak:
13. Raping The Earth
14. Troops Of Tomorrow
Welcome To The Morbid Reich features cover artwork by Zbigniew Bielak (Deströyer 666, Watain).
For more Vader click here.
ANTHRAX have set a September 13th release date for their first new studio album in nine years entitled Worship Music. This is ANTHRAX’s first studio album with reunited frontman Joey Belladonna since 1990′s Persistence Of Time.
You can now download the track Fight ‘Em Til You Can’t below for free!
8 out of 10
A good band can withstand a change in guitarist or drummer, a great band can withstand several membership changes, a select few bands can withstand a lead singer change (ok, I can think of two, Genesis and Van Halen), but only one band can have several different lineups and change the personnel of the entire band over and over and over again and still be amazing, relevant, put out quality albums over and over, and most importantly be accepted as that very band with no backlash for the changes.
I’m of course talking about Deep Purple. The band has had so many lineup changes over the year, had so many people in and out of the band that they are actually known by their versions, Mark I, II, III, etc. The band has had 14 different members over the years, they’ve changed every position but one. Ian Paice has been the drummer from day one, and in every incarnation of the band he has been there.
He has kept time for the likes of Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Gillan, David Coverdale, Glen Hughes, Jon Lord, Joe Satriani, Tommy Bolin, Joe Lynn Turner, Rod Evans, Steve Morse, Roger Glover, Don Airey, and Nick Simper. Some amazing talent has performed under the DEEP PURPLE moniker.
Fans to this day still debate the best and their best Marks (or versions) of the band. My personal will always be Mark I. The original. Not to take away anything from the Coverdale/Hughes days, but I was turned on to DP in 1984 when they reunited the DP Mark I and put out Perfect Strangers. It was from that point I went backwards and found one of my all time favorite bands.
The last maybe 10 years the band, or their labels have been putting out some great videos. They’ve taken all their old concert videos, unreleased concerts, and putting together some great packages for the fans.
The latest is Phoenix Rising. And it features Mark IV of DEEP PURPLE. With an unknown (at the time) David Coverdale sharing lead vocal duties with bassist Glenn Hughes, Tommy Bolin on guitar, Jon Lord on keys, and as always Ian Paice on drums, this short lived version never had the chance to record as Tommy Bolin died in 76 of a heroin overdose. But this never before seen concert Rises Over Japan recorded in 1975 at the Budokahn in Tokyo sees the band crank out the classics Burn, Love Child, Highway Star, Stormbringer, Smoke On The Water, Getting Tighter, and Lazy.
Two things jump out at you watching this (especially during Highway Star, and Burn), David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes played off each other insanely well vocally. It was a true stroke of great fortune that the band got both of them at the same time. Because it is also evident during Highway Star that what Ian Gillan did alone vocally required Hughes/Coverdale together to do. David Coverdale hitting the lower, gruffer, bluesier parts, and Hughes hitting the higher notes. What we don’t get to see, but I would love to have is to see Coverdale/Hughes do Child In Time. Again it would absolutely take the talents of both of them to pull off what Gillan did by himself, but it would still be amazing to see them do it together.
The concert is remastered in 5.1 on this Blu Ray disc. And it sounds, well, as great as you’d expect a DEEP PURPLE show to sound. Martin Birch did a great job catching the band tearing through a wild set. The band may not have been the tightest at the time, at least not that night from the looks of things, but the energy, playing, and vibe was there. And of course the great songs. Sadly it is only 30 minutes, but it is a great 30 minutes of a seldom seen version of DEEP PURPLE. And in that, this show is enough to purchase this disc. To see Bolin/Hughes/Coverdale rock out to these great DP songs is more than enough reason to pick up the blu ray. But Rises Over Japan is only 30 minutes of Phoenix Rising. The rest is a never before seen documentary Gettin’ Together. It is culled from years of research, with live shots, backstage footage, interviews, and never before told stories. It tells the best and the worst of the Purple. The highs and lows of a tumultuous time in DP history.
The blu ray will only set you back $20, but you can pick up a regular DVD version for only $15 and a great DVD/CD combo for $20 also. If you are a Deep Purple fan you simply cannot pass this up. If you are lover of 70s rock, this is right up your alley, and if you want to see where David Coverdale cut his teeth before Whitesnake then this is for you too.
DEEP PURPLE – Phoenix Rising is out today. You can pick your copy up here, you’ll thank me later.
POP EVIL have recently signed a world wide record deal with eOne Music. Their new long awaited album “War Of Angels” will be released on July 5, 2011. Grammy Award nominated producer/engineer Johnny K is producing.The band has enjoyed early success with their hit single “Last Man Standing” which peaked at #5 on the active rock charts. That single can be heard HERE. War Of Angels will be the follow up to Lipstick on the Mirror which was released in 2008. The band will continue their co-headline run with CROSSFADE. Click HERE for tour dates!
The band even went as far as to tear up their old record contract on stage during their performance at Rock On The Range festival last month before announcing their new home. Watch the video of front man Leigh Kakaty doing so HERE.
SPIN.com hailed it one of the “10 Best Moments of Rock on the Range.”
POP EVIL is Leigh Kakaty (lead vocals) Dylan Allison (drums) Davey Grahs (guitar) Tony Greve (guitar) and Matt DiRito (bass).
6/24 – Toldeo, OH – Headliners
6/25 – Jackson, MI – County Fairgrounds
7/1 – Muskegon, MI – Heritage Landing
7/2 – Detroit, MI – Hockeytown Cafe
7/3 – Great Lakes, IL – Great Lakes Naval Station
7/7 – Milwaukee, WI – Summerfest
7/8 – Aberdeen, SD – Aberdeen Music Festival
7/9 – Rochester, MN – Wicked Moose
7/12 – Chesaning, MI – Chesaning Showboat
7/15 – Illiopolis, IL – Bunkers Bar 7/16 – Rock Island, IL – Rock The District
7/18 – Knoxville, TN – Valarium
7/20 – Greenville, DC – The Handlebar
7/21 – Atlanta, GA – The Loft
7/22 – Jackson, MS – Fire
7/23 – Mountain Home, AR – Vada Sheild PAC
7/25 – Huntsville, AL – Crossroads Cafe
7/26 – Birmingham, AL – Zydeco
7/27 – Pensacola, FL – Vinyl Music Hall
7/29 – Neenah, WI – Mo’s Ridgeway
7/30 – Madison, WI – WJJO Band Camp
8/2 – East St Louis, IL – Pops Nightclub
8/4 – Duluth, MN – Clyde Iron Works
8/6 – Sturgis, SD – Buffalo Chip Campground
8/7 – Moorehead, MN – Bluestem
8/9 – Casper,WY – The Venue
8/12 – Kenosha, WI – The Brat Shop
8/13 – Birch Run, MI – Birch Run Expo Center
8/27 – Waterloo, IA – Rockstock Festival
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Rams Head Live – Baltimore, MD
Review by Marcy Royce
Photos by Marcy Royce
I was so pumped to know that on this day I would be able to do two things; attend the pre show private party where POP EVIL would do an acoustic bit (arranged by local radio station 98Rock in Baltimore) AND photograph and review POP EVIL’s main show later in the evening at Rams Head Live. Double good, just like double mint gum. Most of you do remember Double Mint gum, right? Ha ha!
The pre show party was held at Angels Rock Bar, just outside the Rams Head Live venue. My husband and I arrived 30 minutes prior to the arrival of the band. Everyone in line was psyched to know they would be hearing acoustic stuff from POP EVIL and also getting to meet & greet with the band, have things signed, and be able to be one on one with them. The band arrived to the applause of 40-50 fans. After settling in and getting all plugged and ready, POP EVIL performed Monster You Made from their forthcoming July 5th release of War Of Angels. Lead singer, Leigh KaKaty announced that the band finally had the physical copy of the it in their hands as he waved the coveted cd in the air. The fans were excited. It’s been a long road to this point. Now that the band has a new and supportive label, eOne, the cd is no longer on hiatus. Five months past the original release date of this February has made the fans hungry for it. I’ve already preordered my copy and I’m so ready to hear every song in it’s entireity since the teaser video on YouTube is no longer quenching my thirst. Or the fans around me. WE ARE SO READY! After the acoustic performance every member of the band hung out with us. I got some great one on one time with Tony Greve and Matt DiRito, whom I interviewed last month in Pennsylvania. We reminisced about that night and had a few laughs. These guys, and all the guys in the band, are so great to speak with. True gentlemen, genuine, fun and always appreciate each and every fan. And ya know, that will take them far in this sometimes fickle business. Staying connected to the fans with will carry them to the future very well.
Next it was off to Rams Head Live for POP EVIL’s main show!
I first discovered POP EVIL in August of 2009 when they were a support band for the Judas Priest’s Bristish Steel 30th Anniversary Tour, and I was quite impressed. I purchased their Lipstick On The Mirror cd and I keep it in my ipod’s shuffle rotation. There are some great songs on there and quite a few of them were in the set this night. And by listening to their freshman release over and over again, I have known for quite some time these guys are destined for greatness. There is so much good groundwork in those songs and I know there is more great music to come on their upcoming release on July 5th, which is just over a week away. THANK GOD!
Tonight is a very special night I came to find out. POP EVIL’s management team and their new label where in attendance. So awesome. I could tell by their performance they were on the very top of their game, more than ever. But wait, I’m jumping ahead of myself. Let’s go back to the beginning of their set.
I positioned myself in the press & photo pit and I chose my spot knowingly right in front of Tony. He’s always got great riffs I love to catch and experience up close. The ;ights dimmed, the crowd readied themselves as we all knew what POP EVIL was about to do. The boys attacked that stage like a angry lion catching it’s prey for dinner. HOLY SHIT! That energy about knocked me on my arse. Reinforcing to me once again that they mean business when they are gonna rock their fans to the floor. They kicked off the set with Breathe from Lipstick On The Mirror. Those first chords sent the crowd wild. The boys’ energy was unparalleled. They were like puppies let loose; bouncing, running, pumping, jumping and the crowd just couldn’t help getting caught up in all of it. I love to watch how each member performs and communicates with the crowd. Capturing those emotions with my camera is one of the greatest highs for me. POP EVIL certainly is not one of those bands who stays in one spot for very long while they perform on a big stage such as Rams Head. And as a photographer, I love that! Motion and emotion make the shot. And these guys deliver it to me each time.
The next song was Broken And Betrayed from War Of Angels. One of my favorites from the upcoming cd. As I continued to photograph I couldn’t help but pull away from my view finder to really watch them. I had not been close to any stage for this song yet. I began to rock my body with the beat that Matt and Jake, fill in drummer for Dylan Allison, created. Bass and drum are the heart and soul of any song. One of the reasons why I always gravitate to those two instruments. Man, did those two give me exactly what I wanted, what I needed, what I always yearn for. That song is awesome! I really soaked in each word that Leigh was belting out. He is so purposeful with his delivery and projection. And the connection he had with the crowd was like pure lighting. I gazed down the barrier and smiled as I saw all the hands in the air and just how many of the fans were singing along. Chills, I tell you, chills. Then Tony and Dave caught my attention. The licks and riffs I wanted to really see and examine. Those two are just like peanut butter and jelly, they go so well together, and their styles compliment wonderfully. Then, all of a sudden, the song ended. And I was kicking myself for getting so caught up in the emotion of it all that I realized I didn’t capture as many photos that I would have liked. Ah well, plenty more time I told myself.
The third song of the set was none other than Somebody Like You from Lipstick On The Mirror. Yes! POP EVIL had really begun to own the Rams Head stage and the crowd was almost starting to froth at the mouth like a rabid dog. More, more, more! The pounding drums and guitar melody just brought every one in closer to the stage. The front row just behind the barrier was getting a little tighter. As I began to sing along, Tony caught me photographing him. I pulled back from my camera, took a few more shots of him as he pointed at me and posed, then gave him the thumbs up. We smiled, knowing the other was doing exactly what we love. Tony uses several different Dean Flying V guitars. I love the best the yellow and green one he was playing when we found each other at this moment. Be sure to check out my photos of this special moment in the PHOTOS section of our sight.
I vacated the pit and headed for front of house to change lenses. As I walked on my way Monster You Made was starting. Another one from War Of Angels. I then headed down into the thick of the crowd to capture more magical moments from POP EVIL. The crowd was electric and intense. I couldn’t help but get swept up in it all. The songs that followed were: Daisy Chain (War Of Angels), Shinedown (Lipstick On The Mirror), Save The World (Official POP EVIL Facebook Page Download), Boss’s Daughter (War Of Angels), 100 In A 55 (Lipstick On The Mirror), Last Man Standing (War Of Angels), and Hero (Lipstick On The Mirror).
The set progressed with wailing solos, intricate melodic guitars, pound your chest drums & bass, and purposeful lyrics. All things, that when woven together properly, will make a band shine. Pepper in raw emotion, unbridled spirit, unending energy and you have all the makings of a truly talented band that will break the chains and move up the genre ladder. With this new label eOne working with the band and the management, I sure hope everything marries well. Because I predict it will and POP EVIL will explode and take this country, and other countries, by Evil Storm. In a relatively short time they should be headlining every show they perform.
And that, my friends, will make this photographer and fan, extremely happy!
For more information and all that is happening with POP EVIL including tour dates, and to find out where to purchase music and merchandise visit http://www.popevil.com/
Also check these sites:
And for really cool stuff: www.evil-nation.com
YouTube videos you should check out:
For War Of Angels Last Man Standing: http://youtu.be/4YB6H5q_gyU
Teaser Video for War Of Angels: http://youtu.be/2Ptq4jMH5OM
For Lipstick On The Mirror 100 in a 55: http://youtu.be/DcfmwfY2GOE
Special thanks to George Cappellini, Sr., at G & G Entertainment, and Chris Iteen, Tour Manager, for helping to make it happen. I would also like to thank George Cappellini, Jr. for the great and informative conversation after the meet and great. It was a great pleasure gentlemen, as always.
JUNE 23, 2011 — The video for “White Rabbit,” the first single from EGYPT CENTRAL’s critically acclaimed album of the same name, will make its TV premiere on MTV2 today. The Mason Dixon-directed clip was shot in Nashville and can be seen here.
WHITE RABBIT was released May 31 on Fat Lady Music/ILG and debuted on SoundScan’s “Current Hard Music Albums” chart at #5 and at #78 on Billboard’s “Top 200 Albums” chart.
The song is quickly rising up the Active Rock Radio chart, where it currently sits at #18. It’s being spinned on over 60 stations nationwide, including SiriusXM’s “Octane,” WXTB (Tampa), KUPD (Phoenix) and WWBN (Flint).
Hot off the heels of the Top 25 success of their debut single “Cocaine Chest Pain”, Religion Records artists Kopek are riding that wave of success with the recent release of “Love is Dead”. As if that wasn’t enough, the trio from Ireland are now offering us an aural entree of acoustic goodness. The band today released two videos, filmed in an authentic Irish pub setting, featuring acoustic performances of “Subhuman” and “Floridian” off their debut album “White Collar Lies”. The videos can be viewed below.
For everything Kopek including tour dates and to purchase music click here
Not too many bands take the path that Crossfade has taken and still manage to find success. The South Carolina natives exploded onto the scene back in 2004, with their hit single “Cold”. They then further established themselves on the rock radar with the follow up singles “So Far Away” and “Colors”, propelling their self-titled debut to Platinum status. Two years later the band’s sophomore effort “Falling Away” was released to mixed reviews and mediocre sales. From there, Crossfade virtually disappeared, it was rumored that the band had been dropped by their label Columbia Records in a disappointing end to a promising career. Here we are five years later and Ed Sloan and Co. are back with a new label, a new album, and a new lease on life. I recently had a chance to catch up with Ed to get the skinny on the aptly named forthcoming album, so sit back and join me as a rejuvenated rockstar reminds us that “We All Bleed”.
AWAY-TEAM: I’d like to first congratulate you on the new album “We All Bleed”, which is being released on June 21st. The album is a little bit of a departure from your signature sound, and the Crossfade that we’re used to. I noticed that Les had alot more songwriting duties this time around, do you feel like that contributed to your new sound? What ultimately led you in the direction that you took on this album?
ED SLOAN: Well, I think you definitely hit the nail on the head right there with Les. Ya know, he really writes alot of dark music, orchestral music, and that definitely added to the darkness of the record. Plus I think the lyrics are a little bit darker than our typical albums, coming out of a three year touring haze I think made the lyrics come out a bit darker. But definitely alot of Les in there makes the album much darker than usual.
AWAY-TEAM: It’s been quite a while since you’ve toured full-scale, I actually had the pleasure of seeing you play a free show outside the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa back on April 1st. I remember thinking to myself, ‘Is this an April Fool’s joke?’ I mean, there was about two dozen people in attendance, and about a dozen full sets of teeth… (laughs)
ED SLOAN: (laughs) Yeah, you’re right.
AWAY-TEAM: …it was definitely a rough crowd! Anyways, aside from that debacle, which to your credit you guys rocked the shit out of as if it were 30,000 people, then of course you just played Rock on the Range, how has the reception been after being gone for so long?
ED SLOAN: Actually it surprised us all, I mean we’ve seen fans from four years ago when we were last on the road. I’ve seen hundreds of fans that I remember from back then, and a large amount of new fans. It’s been great, all the shows have been great, and everybody’s just super pumped to hear the old stuff, but also with the new stuff it’s almost like they’ve stolen the record already or something. (laughs) It’s been received very well from what we’ve seen so far. After every show we do a signing of course, and there’s been a line out the door for that. It’s almost like we never left!
AWAY-TEAM: That’s gotta make you feel pretty good.
ED SLOAN: Yeah, no doubt it does.
AWAY-TEAM: Your debut album went platinum, your sophomore effort only sold about 200,000 copies, and then not long after that you were dropped from Columbia Records. When you first got the news that you were being dropped, what was your initial reaction? Was it kind of a sense of defeat? Or was it more like ‘Ya know what? Fuck You. I’m gonna take my shit and go kick ass somewhere else’?
ED SLOAN: It was actually our decision to leave Columbia. Everybody thinks we got dropped, but they just gave us some stipulations that we wouldn’t deal with. So we said ‘Screw you!’ and we got out of our contract. It was definitely a ‘Fuck You’ to them because they were just, at that time the industry was going to shit, and their whole staff was going to shit, and we didn’t want to have to deal with it anymore so we were just elated to get out of our contract with them. They wouldn’t do shit for us, all they were doing was working to pimp like Beyonce or whatever the big act was they were working with at the time. That was all they could focus on, they didn’t have the money anymore, or the manpower, so we were glad to get the fuck out of there.
AWAY-TEAM: You were quoted as saying “Music has always been my escape, a friend, but then music became my enemy.” Elaborate on that for me.
ED SLOAN: Well that was after three years of touring, on two records, and being on that record label, and then us leaving them, or them dropping us, however it’s looked at. Coming home it was kind of a shocker, after three years you gotta piece your life back together. You gotta find a new place to live, and you realize it’s gonna be another two or three years to write another album, and find a new label to put it out…knowing that I didn’t wanna stop. It just seemed kinda daunting knowing that what lied ahead of me was two years of writing another record, and finding another label, and all that kind of stuff. So music just kinda became… for a while there music became something that I didn’t enjoy. I couldn’t get to my happy spot when I write music, but that only lasted a year or so and then I snapped out of it. That’s kinda why the album took a little while to get out, but we all got through it together.
AWAY-TEAM: Addiction and personal demons kinda seem to be a common theme on the album, obviously spearheaded by “Dear Cocaine”. I may be a little bold in my assumption, but we all know “art imitates life”, so what was your “rock bottom” moment? What prompted you to break from the doldrums of depression and drugs, and whatever else was bothering you at the time?
ED SLOAN: I think it was, I was just not focusing on music at all. I was just laying around depressed, and not doing much meaningful. You know, I really don’t know how to answer that because “rock bottom” comes the same for everybody, once you hit it it’s, ya know… well I guess it’s not the same for everybody but for me it turned out to be that I just wouldn’t do shit, just laid around and did anything to keep music off my mind, or my future off of my mind, so…
AWAY-TEAM: When did you realize it was time to get up and get back to work?
ED SLOAN: I think as soon as the other guys got in gear. Ya know, they were all taking time off for other reasons; family, getting their lives back together. I think as soon as… I lived at our studio where we recorded all of these albums, and I think it was Les started coming in every day and working his ass of ’til like 6:00, putting in like 18 hour days. Slowly I started hearing some of the stuff he was writing, and it just started to infuse into my soul, and started to wake me up. Finally I said “This is enough. I’m enjoying what I’m hearing.” so I joined in and started writing songs. So I think it was just my bandmates kinda kicking me in the ass, ya know.
AWAY-TEAM: Well we’re glad they did it! So now you’re on Eleven Seven Music, a label which Nikki Sixx presides over. How long did it take you to land a deal with them? And how did it happen? Was it through an A & R guy? Or was it Nikki, being ever the opportunist, realizing there was a band of your caliber out there without a label?
ED SLOAN: Well, actually it was Allen Kovac, who is the CEO and Founder of that label. Literally within like two weeks of everybody knowing that we weren’t with Columbia anymore, he called our manager at the time and said “Hey, I’m interested in signing the boys…” At that time, we were like “We’re not even gonna have a record ready for like a year.” ,which wound up being three years. But Allen Kovac called at least like 6 times a year to find out how the progress was going, and he was very persistent. Then when it was finally done, obviously he heard the whole record and still wanted to sign us, so it was definitely his persistence that made us realize that they were gonna fight for us and it was gonna be a good home for us. So his persistence paid off, for them and for us.
AWAY-TEAM: I know you’ve always produced your own albums, on this album you had a GRAMMY-winning super producer in Ben Grosse doing the mixing duties. Did you guys pick his brain at all, from a kind of student-mentor standpoint?
ED SLOAN: Oh yeah! (laughs) Yeah, he’s a great guy. We were only supposed to be there for like two weeks, and he actually gave us two months. We’d slowly start to ask him… we recorded the album ourselves, so anytime you get to see a master doing his work, we kinda try to suck the brains dry! He was very forthcoming with alot of his tricks and gadgetry that makes his records what they are. So we definitely learned alot from him technically as far as recording.
AWAY-TEAM: Will Hunt was brought on in 2009, many thought he’d end up being your permanent drummer, what happened there? Was he supposed to just be a session drummer? Or was the intention for him to become a permanent fixture? What’s the story behind that?
ED SLOAN: I think in the beginning, all throughout the writing of the album, you know we wrote the album with digital drums, and then we were like “Okay, at some point we’re gonna go into the studio, and at some point we’re gonna go on tour. We have to get a full time drummer.” And that drummer was gonna be in the band, and Will was down with it, but he’d always have side projects. Ya know between Evanescence, Black Label Society, Dark New Day, just all these different bands he plays with so the timing wasn’t right. So he was able to come in and record the album, but because it was shelved for 6-8 months I think Will had to make a decision. Ya know, “I’ve gotta go out and make money. I gotta do what’s right for my family, so we’ll see what happens when the record comes out.” During that time, we started auditioning new drummers knowing that Will probably wasn’t gonna be able to do it, and we found Mark Castillo from Boston who’s in the band now and plays live with us. But it was completely amicable, it was just because the record was taking so long to come out that he had to go do his thing, ya know.
AWAY-TEAM: Right. Mark was brought into the fold last year, and I understand there’s a bit of a funny story as to how he was welcomed into the band. Tell me about that.
ED SLOAN: (laughs) Well he drove 18 hours down from Boston, or 12 hours, whatever it is, and we hung out with him for a couple of days, and played 3 or 4 songs with him, jammed with him as far as auditioning him. And we had him film himself coming down here, and we were like “Look man, if this works out we’d like to have some footage of the trip down.” And when he left, he filmed himself the whole way back. So when we’re in the editing room making the webisode, we’ve got Mark coming down and him playing, then we’ve got Mark driving 18 hours back up to Boston, and then he pulls into his driveway saying “Thank God, I’m finally home!” and then at the end it shows “Welcome to Crossfade Mark Castillo. If you ever try to leave us, we will kill you!” And I believe we said “Hey man, there’s a new webisode out. You may wanna go to your computer and check it out.” Right when he got home he found out he was a member of the band that way, and I think he got kind of a shocker out of that instead of us just calling him to tell him he was in the band. (Scroll down to see the webisode)
AWAY-TEAM: (Laughs) That’s great, I love it! You in particular have listed James Hetfield and Metallica as one of your greatest influences. So based on content, compare your albums with their closest related Metallica album.
ED SLOAN: Our first record, to me anyway, I think is alot like The Black Album, because the messages were real dark, and it’s also got alot of heartfelt songs and lyrics on it. And I think this new album is a little bit more like Master of Puppets, it’s darker and heavier, and still the same type messages that Metallica and Hetfield have always had. But you know how Master of Puppets was a little more layered, a little tighter, a little more musicianship going on. I think this one is comparable to that. I mean I would never compare our stuff to Metallica’s integrity wise, I mean I would but… (laughs)
AWAY-TEAM: Well don’t take offense to this, hear me out on this one. I think this one is closer to a St. Anger, and it’s not just, ya know, I think it’s a shitty album. I think that you can draw some parallels to James just overcoming some of his personal demons, and the change in the signature sound, it just seems to have that parallel.
ED SLOAN: I got ya. I can feel you on that. You know that was definitely a 180 for them, ya know. I don’t think we’ve quite done a 180 on this one, but I do feel you on the similarities of that change. I guess, sonically their change was so crazy, such a 180, that’s the only thing I would differ with on that statement.
AWAY-TEAM: On that same tangent, I think you may have answered this already, but do you worry about rejection from your die hard fans?
ED SLOAN: Not at all actually. Because I don’t think that it’s changed dramatically, I think it’s just been elevated. It’s still Crossfade, it’s still the things that I think attracted people in the first place, I think are on this album. It just may be a little heavier, although we do think that the messages, and the feeling, and the soulfulness and the darkness is still what people associate with Crossfade, at least that’s what I think. Songs that are backdrops to their lives, songs that you can ride around in the car and be pissed the fuck off, and I think that’s the same with this album. Ya know every album you lose fans, you gain fans, but I think we’re gonna have a winner here, so.
AWAY-TEAM: You landed your first deal through an online A&R firm called TAXI, you had actually gotten to the point where you were actually submitted country music on there in the hopes of getting signed. Were those some of the songs that we now know as Crossfade? Or do you have some hidden gems, and a future as a country songwriter?
ED SLOAN: (laughs) Yeah, actually I’ve got 40 or 50 songs that I’ve written that would never be qualified as Crossfade songs. (laughs) I’ve written almost an entire country album, I wouldn’t call it country, it’s more some of it’s pop… well ya know, it’s pop, it’s country, I mean I’ve written everything. During those years I was actually sort of a musical slut, I’d write anything I could just to get the attention of somebody, anybody. So I’ve definitely got a catalog of all kinds of strange music, including country. (laughs)
AWAY-TEAM: Well there’s another case where the persistence paid off huh?
ED SLOAN: Absolutely.
AWAY-TEAM: Well Ed, it’s been an extreme pleasure. Thank you so much for giving me your time. Best of luck with the album. It’s great to see you guys back out there doing what you do best. I look forward to seeing you next time you make your way back through my neck of the woods.
ED SLOAN: Thank You! I appreciate you including us in your thang!
AWAY-TEAM: Well thanks again. Hope to see you soon. Take care.
ED SLOAN: Sounds good. Bye.
Crossfade will be part of the Rock Allegiance Tour with Buckcherry, Papa Roach, P.O.D., Puddle of Mudd, Red, and Drive A which kicks off this August. For all things Crossfade including tour dates and to purchase music click here.
Special thanks to Ed Sloan for so graciously giving me his time, and to Tim Tatulli at ‘Stache Media for making it all happen.
Executive Music Group artists 12 Stones are holding a contest which will allow fans to submit footage to be included in their next music video. The band is asking fans that are into extreme sports to send in video to be included in the official lyric video for “Bulletproof” , the first single off of the band’s forthcoming Skidd Mills produced album, Only Human. Due to hit stores September 6th, Only Human is the fifth studio album from the quintet fronted by Paul McCoy, best known for his GRAMMY winning performance on Evanescence’s “Bring Me To Life”. The aforementioned single “Bulletproof” is available on iTunes starting July 12th. Interested fans can submit footage by heading to the band’s website or clicking here.
DIAMOND HEAD have announced the dates for their first-ever US tour, set to launch on August 15th in Seattle, and wrap up on September 1st in New York City.
DIAMOND HEAD tour dates:
15 – Seattle, WA – El Corazon
16 – Portland, OR – Aladdin Theatre
17 – San Francisco, CA – Elbo Room
18 – Santa, Ana, CA – The Galaxy Theater
19 – Tempe, AZ – The Club House
20 – Ramona, CA – Ramona’s Main Stage
21 – Las Vegas, NV – The Bunkhouse
23 – Kansas City, MO – Knuckleheads
24 – St. Paul, MN – Station 4
25 – Wisconsin Rapids, WI – The Pour House
26 – Detroit, MI – Blondies
27 – Chicago, IL – Tailgaters
28 – Milwaukee, WI – Shank Hall
29 – Dayton, OH – McGuffy’s House of Rock
30 – Pittsburg, PA – Club Diesel
31 – Baltimore, MD – The Otto Bar
1 – New York, NY – BB King Blues Bar & Grill
For more DIAMOND HEAD click here.