CHIMAIRA will be heading out on the road for a round of dates with UNEARTH this fall on “THE JÄGERMEISTER PRESENTS TOUR“. The Jägermeister Presents Tour featuring Chimaira will begin October 10th in Kent, Ohio. The band will be touring in support of their latest record “The Age of Hell” and will be embarking on an Australian and European tour in 2012, followed by more US touring.
“We are extremely excited to hit the road with our old friends in Unearth,” says Mark Hunter. “Crazy to think that our bands have been playing shows for over 10 years but never headlined together in the states. A lot of fans have been waiting for this line-up and now the wait is over. This is going to be a blast! Our friends at Jägermeister will be supplying the fun, we’ll be blasting the tunes, and you guys bring the ruckus! I guarantee you don’t want to miss this!”
Tickets will be on sale to the general public starting September 23 through each venue’s ticketing outlet. Please check local listings or Chimaira’s official website for more details.
Skeletonwitch and Molotov Solution will also be joining these bands on the road.
The Jagermeister Presents Tour:
11/13 – Toronto, ON – Opera House
11/14 – Montreal, QC – Club Soda
11/16 – Hartford, CT – Webster Theatre
11/17 – Poughkeepsie, NY – The Chance
11/18 – Sayreville, NJ – Starland Ballroom
11/19 – Hampton Beach, NH – Wally’s Pub
11/20 – Springfield, VA – JAXX
11/21 – Asheville, NC – The Orange Peel
11/22 – Raleigh, NC – Lincoln Theater
11/23 – Myrtle Beach, SC – House Of Blues
11/25 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Revolution
11/26 – St. Petersburg, FL – State Theatre
11/27 – Jacksonville, FL – Freebird Live
11/29 – Austin, TX – Emo’s
11/30 – Oklahoma City, OK – Diamond Ballroom
12/01 – Albuquerque, NM – Sunshine Theater*
12/02 – Grand Junction, CO – Mesa Theater
12/03 – Colorado Springs, CO – Black Sheep*
12/04 – Farmington, NM – Top Deck
12/05 – Tempe, AZ – The Marquee Theatre*
12/07 – Pomona, CA – Glass House*
12/08 – Reno, NV – Knitting Factory
12/09 – Boise, ID – Knitting Factory
12/10 – Spokane, WA – Knitting Factory*
12/11 – Calgary, AB – Republik
12/12 – Edmonton, AB – The Starlite Room
12/14 – Winnipeg, MB – Pyramid Cabaret
12/16 – Cedar Falls, IA – Wheelhouse
12/17 – Madison, WI – The Barrymore Theater
12/18 – Grand Rapids, MI – The Intersection
* Skeletonwitch not appearing on these dates
For more CHIMAIRA click here.
Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival
Time Warner Cable Amphitheatre at Walnut Creek
Mayhem (noun A state of violent disorder or riotous confusion; havoc.)
The Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival hit Raleigh, North Carolina for the second straight year on August 3rd. This year’s event boasted a stronger main stage than last year with Disturbed and Godsmack co-headlining the biggest rock festival in the US. With the inclusion of Machine Head and Megadeth you couldn’t ask for a better main stage group of bands.
Where the ‘mayhem’ failed to really occur was the side stages. Last year it seemed that bands like Shadows Fall, In This Moment, Chimaira, 3 Inches of Blood, Atreyu and more really took hold of the early crowd and amped them up and primed them for the headliners, Rob Zombie and Korn. But this year, outside of Suicide Silence, which put on a blistering set, and really had the biggest pit and most crowd participation it seemed to me, nobody really whipped the crowd into a frenzy and kept them there. I will say that I did miss Red Fang, All Shall Perish, and Straight Line Stitch due to being in the press tent doing interviews (which you will read later here at away-team.com), so I can’t say how the crowd responded to them.
Mayhem (noun Infliction of violent injury on a person or thing; wanton destruction)
Raleigh, North Carolina is in the middle of one of the hottest summers on record. We are caught in an oppressive heat wave, and they day of Mayhem was no exception. 103 was the high temp of the day, and the side stages were actually in the gravel parking lot. With no shade, and no relief from the blistering sun and boiling temperature, it wasn’t the bands that we causing the mayhem on this day, it was Mother Nature, and boy was she pissed. The ridiculous heat and the unrelenting sun were causing many to fall out long before the main stage even opened. And once it did we found reprieve from the sun, but not the heat, and any breeze that may have acted as a cooling agent was blocked by the building itself which turned the pit and the front part of the audience into a pressure cooker. The temperature at the front of the pit was hotter than it was out in the parking lot under direct sunlight. Again, the heat may have been the biggest cause of mayhem all day.
As I have already said, I missed Red Fang, All Shall Perish, and Straight Line Stitch due to being in interviews so I can’t say anything about their sets other than I was really disappointed in missing SLS after having interviewed Alexis and Seth right before they were to go on stage. And In Flames did not perform because they had just dropped off the tour due to an illness in the family. So the following are my notes of the bands I did get to catch, and I am adding in my tweets as it is the best indicator of what I thought as it was happening (you can follow Away Team on twitter and read our live streams from the various shows we’re attending at www.twitter.com/awayteam ).
Kingdom Of Sorrow: Jamey Jasta & Kurt Windstein’s side project is pretty good. It more up tempo than Crowbar, and a little more straight forward metal than Hatebreed, but it just sounds like Hatebreed with a little more metal riffage to me. This isn’t a problem really, but if you are going to do a side project or different band, then the sound should really be different, otherwise, what is the point of having another band?
Suicide Silence: Had a huge pit. Probably had the greatest pit interaction of the crowd all day. I expected Unearth to take that title, but Suicide Silence took no prisoners and the crowd gave back everything they could under ridiculous conditions.
Unearth: Unearth performed four years ago in Raleigh at a small theater, and it was the bloodiest pit the venue ever had. There were more broken bones and noses during that show than at any other show in the history of the venue. And at the end of the night when it came time to mop the floor, the normal beer and sweat covering it was pink with all the blood that had been spilled. I really thought that given the conditions that day and the size of the crowd that it was going to be an insane pit. However the heat must have really gotten to them by the time Unearth took the stage, because while they were raucous they were no were close to the frenetic pit that was the previous Raleigh Unearth show. The band, sounded good, even though they weren’t on the Revolver stage (bigger PA, better sound), but they went balls out for 40 minutes and got the crowd jumping. Unearth always put on a spirited performance, and Raleigh’s Mayhem was no exception. I realize that these festivals are really the first time that most people have heard or seen these bands on the side stage, so it’s great for the 10 bands or so that share the stages to get that exposure. But I’d really rather have maybe 7 bands total, and let them all play longer. I’d really have liked to see Unearth have a few more songs to pummel the crowd with. Of course in that insane heat, we may have lost the bands as well as a portion of the crowd. So maybe considering the environment it was a good thing that all the bands played shorter sets.
Trivium: Another first for me was getting to see Trivium. However, as much as I tried, I just could not connect with their performance. I am sure it was me, it was late in the day, I was starving but didn’t want to leave the parking lot and miss the bands, so I waited it out for the transition from side stages to main house before I ate. The heat may have finally started to take its toll on me. But try as I might, I could not get into their set. It sounded great. The Revolver stage boasts itself as the loudest stage and it may well be, but even as loud and as good at it sounded, something for me was missing and Trivium’s set left me disappointed.
Machine Head: Being from the Bay Area of California I am no stranger to Machine Head, however, in their 20 years of being together, I have never had the opportunity to see them. They were really the last big metal band out of San Francisco that I haven’t seen at some point. So I was really looking forward to their set, and I was not to be disappointed. Machine Head are a very underrated band, they have never really gotten their fair due here in the states, and I’ve never understood why. While the European press and fans have all embraced them wholeheartedly it seems to me the US press and fans continue to pass them by. They had what I consider to be the best album of 2007 (The Blackening) and live they simply laid the crowd to waste. Robb Flynn makes for an interesting frontman. Having never seen them, I had in my mind what they must be like live. And while the performance lived up to or surpassed my expectations, Robb himself changed my expectations of him. He seemed genuinely happy to be there, and while the music may be aggressive, dark and mean, he certainly did not come across that way when he spoke. He came across as sincere and really appreciative of the crowd and the opportunity to perform for them. A stark contrast to the music and vocals, he was almost cheery on stage, throwing a party instead of churning out riff after monster riff. And while the crowd seeped into the main stage area, the band cranked out one massive neck shredding song after another. By the end of their set, they had most of the sun weary crowd on their feet cheering for them.
Megadeth: After watching The Big 4 DVD from Sophia Bulgaria, and watching the show simulcast to theaters all over the world, I was hoping Dave Mustaine’s voice would be better than it was for that memorable show. When Dave goes for the high notes, his voice sounds like he is inhaling while trying to sing. Do it, right now, I’ll wait… It sounds like you’re singing in a vacuum. It sounds plain wrong. But over the years most vocalists can’t maintain the range they had when they were young. Dave unfortunately is one of those that can’t hit the notes he used to back in the day. And instead of dropping down a note or two to compensate, he still attempts to hit it, and misses. It isn’t screechy thankfully, but as I said it sounds like it he is singing while inhaling deeply. And it is very off putting. That aside, the man and the band put on a hell of a show. They are unbelievably tight. And the solos continue to shred and show up the younger bands out there today. From the father of speed metal to his newest guitarist Chris Broderick, they continue to show up and teach the younger bands out there how to properly shred. No real surprises from the set musically, a mix of the old and new, with a couple of songs from the upcoming release TH1RT3EN. A great set by a great band, so glad to see Dave Ellefson back in the fold and I think Megadeth may have the strongest guitarist next to Dave that they ever have in Chris Broderick. I look forward to seeing what new elements he brings to the Megadeth arsenal both in recordings and live.
Godsmack: Having seen Godsmack about 5 times in the past, and on consecutive nights no less, I think I’ve seen the best and worst that they can do. I will say that I like a lot of their songs, I think if you combine all the albums they have done and taken the best songs off them then you will have one kick ass album. Live though, I think the music and band are a little boring. I am sure I am going to get a ton of shit for saying this, and the leader of the shit brigade will be our very own Bam Bam who swears Shannon Larkin is an amazing drummer and the second coming (for clarification Shannon is a great drummer, I think his talents are lost on Godsmack however), and beats me up (verbally) whenever I say a bad word about them. Those of you following Away Team on twitter will remember I said that this show was more energetic than the ones I’d previously seen, and I was actually enjoying the set until ‘IT’ happened… I have for years railed against guitar solos and drum solos, by anyone. Even Eddie Van Halen. I know you can shred, I know you can play; I get it, that’s why I am at your show. Quit jacking off and play a song! The only thing worse than a guitar solo or drum solo by a headlining band (fine give your bandmates a break while you jack off on the crowd, I get why they do it, but really, if you can’t play a 90 minute set then get your lazy ass in shape!) is a solo by a support band. We have even less time to see you and you are going waste our time stroking yourself off in front of us? What could be worse than a guitar or drum solo by a supporting band? I’m so glad you asked, how about TWO DRUM SOLOS?!??!?! That’s right, in the middle of Godsmack’s set a second drum kit is wheeled out onto the stage and Sully and Shannon have a ‘drum off’. We get it, you used to be a drummer, but now you play guitar, and sing. So… play guitar and sing! Let your drummer drum. That’s his job. Otherwise put the guitar down and get behind the kit. This isn’t the Sully Erna show… This is Godsmack, so let Godsmack… ALL of Godsmack… play. If that weren’t enough they broke into songs snippets from AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, and Black Sabbath. What’s worse than doing a medley of your own tunes? How about a medley of someone else’s tunes! Ok, so the ‘drum off’ finally ended. A couple more songs, and then an encore. And what do they do for an encore, let Sully yell at the crowd for 10 minutes to ‘get ready to get crazy’. Fuck you. Stand out in the heat with us all day and see how ‘crazy’ you get 8 hours into the show. And fuck your sing along too. I paid to see you sing. Not to hear 15,000 of my closest friends sing. So put the drums away, stow the sing along bullshit, and perform songs. Thank you… please drive thru.
Disturbed: Having seen Disturbed three or four times the past 2 years I went into this show expecting this to be the last time I saw Disturbed live (not because of their just announced indefinite hiatus, but because of David’s trouble singing as of late). The more time goes on the worse David sounds live. Unless you catch the band within the first two or three weeks of a tour starting (with a ton of downtime before the tour), you get a screechy David Draiman. And it seems to get worse as time goes on. However, I was pleasantly surprised Wednesday night when Disturbed came out and David sound the strongest I’d heard him sound the last 7 or 8 shows I’d seen. The band as always is very tight, and while I felt a little melancholy that this would in fact be the last Disturbed show for some time, I was happy that for me at least they went out on a high note and David sounded so good. My only complaint, ok two… is that #1 we got 65 minutes of a headlining set, and #2 we got the same set we’ve gotten for the last three tour cycles. I understand you are still touring in support of Asylum, but that doesn’t mean that for two years straight you give the fans the same show without changing it up. You have 5 great albums and a lot of material to choose from, yet it seems the last 4 shows I’ve seen are the exact same shows front to back. It isn’t like there is a ton of pyro they have to contend with, or special lighting, it’s just plain laziness it seems. If you are hitting the same market 4 times in 2 years, why not give them a new show at least 50% of the time?
All in all it was a great day for music, but was it Mayhem inducing? Did it stand up to last year’s Mayhem Fest? You’ll have to be the judge of that yourself. It had its highs and lows, as did last years, but all in all a good time was certainly had by myself and those around me.
Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival
Raleigh, North Carolina
ROCKSTAR ENERGY DRINK MAYHEM FESTIVAL, the heralded hard rock and metal event of the summer, is swiftly becoming the heavy music fans’ summertime rite of passage. Today, the 4th annual summertime juggernaut announces the 2011 line-up with DISTURBED, GODSMACK and MEGADETH, joined by MACHINE HEAD, IN FLAMES, TRIVIUM, and many more of today’s most electrifying artists. The tour will make a 26 date trek across the country beginning on July 9th at the San Manuel Amphitheater in San Bernardino, California. Tune in to www.rockstarmayhemfest.com and www.livenation.com for up-to-date ticketing information.
This summer’s mainstage artists, DISTURBED, GODSMACK, and MEGADETH, will be joined by a ferocious mix of the best hard rock and metal artists of today. For the first time in festival history, through their success, IN FLAMES, MACHINE HEAD and TRIVIUM have grown through the ranks to now perform on the mainstage in rotating slots throughout the tour.
ROCKSTAR ENERGY DRINK MAYHEM FESTIVAL is thrilled to see the return of festival veterans DISTURBED, MACHINE HEAD, TRIVIUM, and SUICIDE SILENCE.
The JAGERMEISTER stage will feature UNEARTH, KINGDOM OF SORROW, RED FANG, and the winners of JAGERMEISTER Battle of the Bands. The Extreme Stage will spotlight SUICIDE SILENCE, ALL SHALL PERISH and STRAIGHT LINE STITCH.
The 4th annual ROCKSTAR ENERGY DRINK MAYHEM FESTIVAL will also feature ROCKSTAR METAL MULISHA JUMP TEAM, the World’s Greatest Freestyle Motocross team.
“Strap yourself in and hold on tight, cuz this ride goes reeeeeal fassst this summer,” exclaims GODSMACK vocalist Sully Erna. “Godsmack/Disturbed, Mayhem Festival!! Can’t Fu@?kin’ wait!!!”
Mainstage guitarist Dan Donnegan of DISTURBED emotes, “DISTURBED is looking forward to being part of the biggest summer tour in the U.S. this year. It’s been years since we shared the stage with GODSMACK and we’ve been wanting to team up with them and join forces for a longtime. MEGADETH has been a big inspiration to us and we are looking forward to the other bands rounding out what seems to be a solid bill.”
Also, mainstage performer MEGADETH’s lead guitarist and frontman Dave Mustaine adds, “This is going to be a helluva hot summer, and you can get ready for true Mayhem this year.”
“MACHINE HEAD are thrilled to once again be a part of what has become the undisputed king of metal and rock festivals in the U.S., MAYHEM,” states MACHINE HEAD frontman and guitarist Robb Flynn. “Our run headlining the JAGERMEISTER stage in 2008 was one of the wildest and most inspiring tours we have ever been a part of. We became friends with so many great bands and Mulisha dudes. We all partied, and rode what would become an incredible wave of momentum for MACHINE HEAD. The vibe on the tour was filled with an impressive amount of goodwill due to the attention to detail and hard work of John Reese and Kevin Lyman. MACHINE HEAD will do everything in our power to make this f*ing huge!! Bring on the summer!”
ROCKSTAR ENERGY DRINK MAYHEM FESTIVAL attendees can enjoy a plethora of festival activities, including perusing vendors, attending autograph signing sessions and a slew of other interactive activities that enhance the concert experience. It’s a 10 hour trip to heavy nirvana.
Complete information on the 2011 ROCKSTAR ENERGY DRINK MAYHEM FESTIVAL line-up is available at www.rockstarmayhemfest.com. There fans can also check out exclusive video clips of official ROCKSTAR ENERGY DRINK MAYHEM FESTIVAL correspondent, radio personality, author and scene icon, Full Metal Jackie introducing this year’s tour, plus a special appearance by one of this year’s mainstage performers!
ROCKSTAR ENERGY DRINK MAYHEM FESTIVAL TOUR DATES:
7/9 – San Manuel Amphitheater – San Bernardino, CA (Los Angeles, CA)
7/10 – Shoreline Amphitheatre – Mountain View, CA (San Francisco, CA)
7/12 – White River Amphitheatre – Auburn, WA (Seattle, WA)
7/13 – Idaho Center Amphitheater – Nampa, ID (Boise, ID)
7/15 – Desert Sky Pavilion – Phoenix, AZ
7/16 – Hard Rock Casino Albuquerque Presents The Pavilion – Albuquerque, NM
7/17 – Comfort Dental Amphitheater – Englewood, CO (Denver, CO)
7/19 – Verizon Wireless Amphitheater – Maryland Heights, MO (St. Louis, MO)
7/20 – Riverbend Music Center – Cincinnati, OH
7/22 – Comcast Center – Mansfield, MA (Boston, MA)
7/23 – Parc Jean-Drapeau – (Heavy MTL) – Montreal, QC /www.heavymtl.com
7/24 – Comcast Theater – Hartford, CT
7/27 – PNC Bank Arts Center – Holmdel, NJ
7/29 – First Niagara Pavilion – Burgettstown, PA (Pittsburgh, PA)
7/30 – Jiffy Lube Live – Bristow, VA (Washington DC)
7/31 – Susquehanna Bank Center – Camden, NJ
8/2 – Virginia Beach Amphitheater – Virginia Beach, VA
8/3 – Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion at Walnut Creek – Raleigh, NC
8/5 – First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre – Tinley Park, IL (Chicago IL)
8/6 – DTE Energy Music Theatre – Clarkston, MI (Detroit, MI)
8/7 – Verizon Wireless Music Center – Noblesville, IN (Indianapolis, IN)
8/9 – Zoo Amphitheatre – Oklahoma City, OK
8/10 – Gexa Energy Pavilion – Dallas, TX
8/12 – Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood – Atlanta, GA
8/13 – 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre – Tampa, FL
8/14 – Cruzan Amphitheatre – West Palm Beach, FL
For more ROCKSTAR ENERGY DRINK MAYHEM FESTIVAL click here.
DISTURBED and GODSMACK are rumored to be topping the bill on this summer’s Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival tour, which will kick off in early July. Also scheduled to appear are MEGADETH, MACHINE HEAD, IN FLAMES, TRIVIUM, SUICIDE SILENCE and UNEARTH, among others.
[Rotating Opening Slot On Main Stage:]
STRAIGHT LINE STITCH
ALL SHALL PERISH
KINGDOM OF SORROW
A total of 13 acts are expected to appear on the bill.
The full details of this year’s tour will be made available on Monday, January 31 (postponed from the previously announced January 26).
Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival 2011 tour dates (official):
Jul. 09 – San Bernardino, CA @ San Manuel Amphitheatre
Jul. 10 – San Francisco, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre
Jul. 12 – Seattle, WA @ White River Amphitheater
Jul. 13 – Boise, ID @ Idaho Center Amphitheatre
Jul. 15 – Phoenix, AZ @ Cricket Wireless Pavilion
Jul. 16 – Albuquerque, NM @ Hard Rock Casino Presents: The Pavilion
Jul. 17 – Denver, CO @ Comfort Dental Amphitheatre
Jul. 19 – St. Louis, MO @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
Jul. 20 – Cincinnati, OH @ Riverbend Music Center
Jul. 22 – Boston, MA @ Comcast Center
Jul. 23 – Montreal, QUE @ Parc Jean Drapeau
Jul. 24 – Hartford, CT @ The Comcast Theatre
Jul. 27 – Holmdel, NJ @ P.N.C. Bank Arts Center
Jul. 29 – Pittsburgh, PA @ First Niagara Pavilion
Jul. 30 – Washington, DC @ Jiffy Lube Live
Jul. 31 – Camden, NJ @ Susquehanna Bank Center
Aug. 02 – Virginia Beach, VA @ Verizon Wireless V. Beach Amphitheater
Aug. 03 – Raleigh, NC @ Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion at Walnut Creek
Aug. 05 – Chicago, IL @ First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
Aug. 06 – Detroit, MI @ DTE Energy Music Theatre
Aug. 07 – Indianapolis, IN @ Verizon Wireless Music Center
Aug. 09 – Oklahoma City, OK @ Zoo Amphitheatre
Aug. 10 – Dallas, TX @ Superpages.com Center
Aug. 12 – Atlanta, GA @ Lakewood Amphitheatre
Aug. 13 – Tampa, FL @ 1-800-Ask-Gary-Amphitheatre
Aug. 14 – West Palm Beach, FL @ Cruzan Amphitheater
For more ROCKSTAR ENERGY DRINK MAYHEM FESTIVAL 2011 click here.
UNEARTH have tapped KILLSWITCH ENGAGE guitarist and renowned producer Adam Dutkiewicz to helm their next studio album, tentatively due in early 2011 via Metal Blade Records. The pre-production phase of the process officially started last week.
As previously reported, UNEARTH has recruited drummer Branden Morgan of MISERY SIGNALS to sit behind the kit for the band’s upcoming European dates as part of the Persistence Tour. The group says, “Branden is a great drummer and has been nailing all the tunes in rehearsal. Everyone headed to the Persistence Tour can expect UNEARTH to be as solid as ever during this run.”
The Persistence Tour — which also features SICK OF IT ALL, D.R.I., BLOOD FOR BLOOD, EVERGREEN TERRACE, CRUEL HAND, CASEY JONES and VERA CRUZ — will kick off on December 3 in Deinze, Belgium.
For more UNEARTH click here.
“Hold On“, the new video from ALL THAT REMAINS, has been released. The clip, helmed by Ramon Boutviseth (TRIVIUM, DREAM THEATER, INCUBUS), features a narrative involving a variety of characters dealing with internal struggles and their inability to change their fate as their world crumbles down around them, both figuratively and literally. The force behind the destruction is the manifestation of their dark emotions, which ALL THAT REMAINS embodies as they unleash an epic performance in a post-apocalyptic urban wasteland.
“Hold On” is the first single from ALL THAT REMAINS‘ new album, “For We Are Many“, which is scheduled for release on October 12 via Prosthetic Records / Razor & Tie. The CD hits the same day the band heads out on a month-long U.S. headlining tour with support from ASKING ALEXANDRIA, UNEARTH, BORN OF OSIRIS and AND SHE WHISPERED.
All That Remains | MySpace Music Videos
ALL THAT REMAINS dates:
Vogue Theatre, Vancouver, BC Thu,October7
El Corazon, Seattle, wa Fri, October 8
ROSELAND THEATRE, Portland, OR Sun, October 10
The Regency Ballroom, san francisco, ca Tue, October 12
Knitting Factory, Reno, NV Wed, October 13
Soma, San Diego, CA Fri, October 15
House of Blues – Sunset Strip, West Hollywood, CA Sat, October 16
Fremont East District, Las Vegas, NV Sun, October 17
The Summit Music Hall, Denver, Colorado Wed, October 20
Sunshine Theater, Albuquerque, New Mexico Fri, October 22
Phoenix Event Complex, Phoenix, AZ Sat, October 23
Emo’s (Outdoor), Austin, TX Mon, October 25
Warehouse Live, Houston, Texas Tue, October 26
The Palladium Showroom, Dallas, TX Wed, October 27
The Masquerade, Atlanta, GA Fri, October 29
The Club at Firestone, Orlando, Florida Sat, October 30
Amos’ Southend, Charlotte, NC Sun, October 31
Lincoln Theatre, Raleigh, NC Mon, November 01
Norva, Norfolk, VA Wed, November 03
Rams Head Live, Baltimore, Maryland Thu, November 04
For more ALL THAT REMAINS click here.
ALL THAT REMAINS have announced a month-long headlining tour throughout the US. Supporting All That Remains will be ASKING ALEXANDRIA, and AND SHE WHISPERED, with UNEARTH and BORN OF OSIRIS on select dates.
October (+ Unearth)
12 – San Francisco, CA – The Regency Ballroom
15 – San Diego, CA – Soma
16 – West Hollywood, CA – House of Blues
17 – Las Vegas, NV – Fremont East District
October (+ Born Of Osiris)
20 – Denver, CO – The Summit Music Hall
22 – Albuquerque, NM – Sunshine Theater
23 – Phoenix, AZ – Phoenix Event Complex
25 – Austin, TX – Emo’s Alternative Lounging
26 – Houston, TX – Warehouse Live
27 – Dallas, TX – The Palladium Showroom
29 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade
30 – Orlando, FL – The Club at Firestone
31 – Charlotte, NC – Amos’ Southend
November (+ Born Of Osiris)
6 – Hartford, CT – Webster Theater
11 – New York, NY – Best Buy Theater
For more ALL THAT REMAINS click here.
An as of yet untitled project featuring Matt Bachand and Jon Donais on guitars (Shadows Fall), Derek Kerswill on drums (Unearth/Seemless), and Jeff Fultz on bass (Seemless), has begun to take shape. The band has recorded a five song demo thus far, and are actively seeking a vocalist.
“We are looking for one crazy bastard with the energy, the drive, and the determination to take this thing to the next level,” says Matt Bachand. Jon Donais adds, “The vocalist we seek should be influenced by a variety of melodically based bands anywhere from Alice In Chains, Shinedown, and Aerosmith, to Skid Row and Pantera.” You must be serious about the position, and must be able to tour extensively. Demo submissions are currently being accepted. Submissions should include a bio and list of past experience, photo, audio and/or video performance, and any other information you would like the band to know.
Interested singers should send demo submissions and contact info to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This interview was conducted on May 29th, 2009 in Raleigh, NC.
When you think of Bay Area Thrash, you think of four bands; Metallica, Exodus, Testament, and Death Angel. Sure there were others of that time, and many that came later. But those four bands defined Thrash Metal and the ‘Bay Area’ sound. Naturally there were none bigger than Metallica, but close on their heels has to be Testament. After 24 years, numerous lineup changes, a throat cancer scare, and a nine year period of inactivity, Testament is back with a new album Formation of Damnation featuring Chuck Billy on vocals, Eric Peterson on guitar, Alex Skolnick on guitar, Greg Christian on bass, and Paul Bostaph on drums. A new tour that is taking the bands to markets they haven’t played in 15 years or more (I caught the show in Raleigh, NC, and there was much debate as to whether Testament had actually ever played Raleigh before). And a new focus and determination to take the band higher and farther than it has ever been before. I met with Alex Skolnick right before their set at the Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh, and talked about Testament, Trans Siberian Orchestra, the Alex Skolnick Trio and life before and after Testament. Here we go….
Away-Team: This is Jim Keller with Alex Skolnick from Testament. Once again I want to thank you for sitting down and doing this interview with us, much appreciated.
Away-Team: What I’d like to do basically is start at the beginning of the band.
Away-Team: Testament was originally started as The Legacy..
Away-Team: By Eric (Peterson) and his cousin. They had Steve Souza in the band as a vocalist who left to join Exodus before you recorded your first album. It was reported that he actually suggested Chuck (Billy) as his replacement. Why did Steve leave?
Alex: Well it was funny ‘cause he was the guy that gave us all serious talking toos about how everybody in this band has to be serious. You know when I joined the band he’s like you’re either serious, you either take this seriously or you take it somewhere else. We don’t want guys that are just in here that are just gonna leave and join some other band. Sure enough *laughs* he’s the guy that ends up leaving. But you know he left because I think he felt Exodus was going farther, faster.
Away-Team: At that time when you joined, you were a student of Joe Satriani’s Correct?
Away-Team: And after you joined the band did you continue practicing with him, learning from him?
Alex: I studied with him for about two years. I was with him, basically for the first six months I was in the band and then he started getting really busy. He did his first solo recordings. He definitely uh got me to learn a lot more on my own than I would have otherwise.
Away-Team: So, is it kind of a prerequisite that if you’re going to be in one of the better thrash bands out of San Francisco a la Testament, Metallica; you had to learn from Joe?
Alex: Apparently!! Everybody studied with him, yeah!
Alex: It was a hotel band…
Away-Team: A hotel band had copyrighted the name The Legacy?
Alex: Yeah. A hotel R&B band in New Orleans.
Away-Team: So the story I had heard was that the reason you changed it to Testament was because the CD artwork – everything was already done and the label didn’t want to re-do everything, so you had named the album originally Testament…
Alex: That’s not true
Away-Team: That’s not true, okay, so how did you come up with Testament, then?
Alex: Billy Milano, the singer for SOD came up with the name. Ya know he was on Megaforce Records. So basically an all points bulletin went out, to find a name for the band that Megaforce had just signed. So yeah, I think the guys from Anthrax were suggesting names. Everybody at the record label suggested. We were trying to come up with names and it was Billy Milano that came up with the name Testament.
Away-Team: Did he know you guys or was it just kind of, this is a cool name they should use something like this?
Alex: We had met him, once. But I think he had come up… I feel like I had met him, like maybe when we were recording the first album, and we just, we knew we had to have a name, before the album was released, obviously and it was just one of many suggestions and it was the one, we kind of lived with it for a while and it felt the best.
Away-Team: Your current album, Formation of Damnation, to me is far and away the strongest album you guys have recorded since Practice What You Preach. It’s probably a more straightforward thrash sounding album than some of the last few albums. Was this a culmination of various writing from the last nine years or did you all sit down and write the album together as a whole band?
Alex: No, it was a combination. I think the previous album the guys did when I wasn’t with the band, The Gathering, that was the first one I felt, a lot of people felt, where Chuck and Eric sort of found a formula that works for them. So I didn’t want to really, get in the way of that formula and try to make it 1989 again. But I made a lot of suggestions with the music they were doing and I did bring in some music of my own. Some of that got used; the song F.E.A.R. is something I wrote. But it was more a combination of ideas that Chuck and Eric had had, playing around with some new stuff.
Away-Team: And Eric being the predominant songwriter, music writer for the band, now with this you’re current lineup which is the semi-reunited lineup or the original lineup with addition of Paul Bostaph is it a more of a collaborative thing now or at least going forward to looking at the next album is going to be more collaborative?
Alex: We’ll see, just kind of going to let it happen as it happens.
Away-Team: And will there be a new album?
Alex: There will eventually be, yes.
Away-Team: We mentioned the many lineup changes you guys have done over the years. You being one of them. You guys all got together in 2001 as The Legacy for the Chuck Billy cancer benefit. That show saw the best of the Bay Area thrash scene reuniting for a great cause. Bands like Exodus, Death Angel, Sadus, Vio-lence and of course you. In the last eight years or so, Exodus, Death Angel, you guys now with the Formation of Damnation, have released what many consider to be the best music of your individual and collective careers. Some amazing stuff has come out of the original Bay Area thrash scene in the last couple years. It seems that it’s alive and well again. What do you attribute the current popularity or resurrection of the Bay Area trash scene to?
Alex: Well I think part of it is it’s not as isolated as it used to be. It used to be this very isolated area of music. Pretty much limited to the Bay Area with the exception of ya know Megadeth from LA and Anthrax form New York. I think it’s now like one of many genres of very heavy metal. Ya know you have black metal, you have death metal from Florida and it all relates to thrash metal. There are all these relatives in metal. And now you’ve got some newer bands that have formed in the last ten, fifteen years that in some cases are seeing a lot of success and that’s brought a lot more awareness to the original Bay Area thrash scene. So when we first did the reunion shows it was unclear what kind of type of fan we would have. Was it just going to be Old School fans? But there are actually a lot of young fans that are keeping it alive and well.
Away-Team: Well, if you go in the venue right now; I was very surprised. ‘Cause that was one of the things I looked at as they were lining up out here. Is that they are all going to be my age or our age like a bunch of older guys standing out here but the entire crowd in there tonight has gotta be 25 or younger!
Alex: And if we depended on guys our age, the audience wouldn’t be that big. Let’s face it.
Away-Team: Yeah. Absolutely.
Alex: People get to be our age and they have jobs, families; most don’t go out to shows like they did when they were in their twenties. So it’s nice to have a combination. It’s not that we have, we haven’t lost the original fans. But we do have this big young following now. I think a lot of other bands are seeing that as well, like Exodus.
Away-Team: You had mentioned what I call, like the second wave of thrash.. 10 to 15 year old bands. Today you’ve got bands like the band on stage right now, Lazarus AD. Very, very similar to the old Bay Area thrash style. Warbringer, Municipal Waste a lot of very young bands, that seeing a lot of good response, that can be harkened right back to you guys. It’s like the third generation now. Twenty years later there’s still bands coming out and they’re not Retro, they’re not recreating the sound, but they are continuing it if nothing else and that’s got to really, for you guys to be their inspiration, it’s really got to be something.
Alex: It’s great. It’s also great because for so long we were told our music’s not going to last. It’s passing. It’s in left field. It was this outcast music that nobody predicted a future for. So there’s the answer right there. Great, new young bands that are doing it today.
Away-Team: And twenty four years later, you guys are still out here kicking ass, so it’s very cool. Going back to the formation of not damnation, but of Testament. Can you name one of your favorite memories of the mid to late eighties in the Bay Area Thrash music scene? Some of the shows from The Stone or Ruthie’s Inn or Mabuhay Gardens?
Alex: Yeah, I will say I remember one time Metallica playing at Ruthie’s unannounced, just to do a warm-up. That was great. They did a lot of, they did some punk covers. It was just a fun gig. Uh, there was also this project called Spastik Children, with Cliff Burton, James Hetfield on drums and it was like comedy like sort of South Park before South Park. Completely politically incorrect, funny, bad, badly played on purpose music.
Away-Team: God, I forgot all about Spastik Children…
Alex: Yeah, some of those shows are pretty memorable.
Away-Team: With Metallica coming from L.A., basically because the L.A. scene just couldn’t handle them. The crowds didn’t get what they were trying to do, with you guys, Vio-lence, Exodus, Death Angel, were you kind of a close knit community? Was it kind of you against everybody else? Was there a lot of camaraderie there, or..?
Alex: I’d say there was camaraderie and competition simultaneously. Everybody wanted to be the best band they could and even though a lot of us we didn’t really sound alike. You always had to keep an eye out for the other bands. It’s like different football teams that are all in the same league. You want, as a whole you want to do well, but you still want to come out on top, above everybody else.
Away-Team: I understand. Your current tour, in support of the Formation of Damnation, is unique in that you guys are allowing the fans to vote, via your MySpace page, for the set list they want to hear in their given town. You have three options, The Legacy, plus hits, The New Order plus hits, or a chronicle set list, basically from start to finish of your catalogue. How did you guys come about the idea? How has it been received? And any regrets on having to keep rotating a roughly thirty song playlist on tour?
Alex: It’s worked out very easily, because overwhelmingly everybody’s voted for the Chronicle stuff, so that’s pretty much what we’ve done. And I’m not sure who came up with the idea, but it’s definitely been a very good idea and it’s just been fun to hear from the fans. And in the process they’ve not only voted on the songs, a lot of them have made suggestions a long the way. “We want to hear a chronicle, but we really want to hear this song. Why don’t you play this song?”
Away-Team: And you guys are actually listening and paying attention to what they’re…
Alex: Oh absolutely.
Away-Team: Beside the main lineup changes, you guys have several label changes over the years; mainly due to simple bad luck and the labels folding on you. Did I read though that somehow you guys ended up on a gospel label prior to signing with Nuclear Blast?
Alex: Well I think what happened was we were signed to Spitfire which got bought by another label, which was a gospel label.
Away-Team: OK. And they had no interest in releasing the new Testament CD? Laughs
Alex: Oh, Exactly. I’m sure at first they thought, oh this is perfect.
Away-Team: A “New Testament” band awesome!
Alex: And then they found out what it was and then they let the band go, no problem.
Away-Team: So did Spitfire have some religious bands on their roster?
Alex: I don’t think so. I’m not sure.
Away-Team: Laughs. Alright, you are currently on Nuclear Blast and they are treating you well…
Alex: Treating us great. It’s a great partnership absolutely.
Away-Team: Good, good. When the current tour with Unearth and Lazarus AD, at least the North American leg of it is over, what are you guys’ plans? Where are you going next?
Alex: We’re off for a couple weeks, then we’re going to be in Europe for July and part of August to do a lot of festivals.
Away-Team: Do you have any plans for a follow up album and will we have to wait another nine years for it?
Alex: No, it’ll be recorded next year, most likely released, late, by late next year
Away-Team: Great! With all the side projects, from your various members, Dragonlord, you in Trans Siberian Orchestra, Chuck’s Dublin Death Patrol and your jazz trio, how do you guys find time to get together, to record and tour? And how does that affect, I mean is Testament now the priority or is it ‘we can fit in Testament around these various projects’? TSO’s a big deal, it’s a big show and you have to…
Alex: Yeah, it’s a unique situation, because I was already, I’d already been playing with TSO for several years by the time the Testament reunion happened. So it’s been pretty understood that during the months of the Winter TSO tour I’m not available. I do my best, as far as my trio and I have couple other projects I’m involved with as well, some as a producer which I can’t talk about yet. They’re…They’re gonna be
Away-Team: Then I won’t ask that question…
Alex: Pretty exciting times and projects… We’re doing an album cycle right now. So, since last year we’ve been doing an album cycle, so this, Testament has been the priority. Soon as we’re done with this album cycle I think there’s going to be a slight shift in priorities. The way this record got created was a lot of the basics were worked on while I was with TSO, I would write ideas, which I think is going to happen this next tour as well, and then I think next year, Before the album cycle, before the Testament album cycle starts, that’s going to be a good chance for me to do a lot more stuff with the Alex Skolnick Trio. But then, of course, once the Testament album cycle starts then that’s going to be the priority. It really depends on where we are in terms of the album cycle..
Away-Team: So everybody’s working together though, with all their side projects, everything kind of fits in OK and there’s no real conflict going on with it?
Alex: Yeah, I mean it’s a different thing with me, because with TSO it’s a very set tour. With Dragonlord, Eric decides, when that tours. With my Trio there are people that decide it with me, so we work to make sure that we capitalize on any available time I have to tour with them.
Away-Team: I have heard that some of your solos for Formation of Damnation were recorded while on tour with TSO and done in someone’s bathroom in New York. Is that correct?
Alex: That’s not true. I mean the part about the bathroom is not true. What basically happened was some of the solos were recorded in Albany, when TSO had some days off in 2007. The first studio that we found was a guy’s basement…
Away-Team: It was his basement, OK
Alex: Yeah. And it just, it was an awful situation. We had like 48 hours, we had two days and the goal was to do all of the solos and basically a whole day was wasted. We were getting all of this radio signal out of the amps and the guy had no idea what to do about it. So then we found a really good studio the one that we should’ve been at all along and I did half of the songs, and I did the other half as soon I was done with the TSO tour.
Away-Team: Now did you already have the solos worked out or a rough idea what you were going to do with them…
Alex: I had a couple rough ideas, but some of them I came up with on the spot….
Away-Team: ‘Cause they’re some outstanding solos.
Alex: Thank you!
Away-Team: Across the board the musicianship and the work on Formation of Damnation is actually very stellar…
Alex: I appreciate that.
Away-Team: Paul Bostaph is currently drumming for you. This his second stint in the band now. He’s played with some other great bands besides Testament. He started out with Forbidden… Slayer, Exodus and another not as well known Bay Area band, but that I’m very familiar with, Systematic. He’s kind of become known as the ‘go to’ metal drummer, almost like a journeyman. Is he now a permanent member of Testament?
Alex: It certainly feels that way. That remains to be seen. Yeah, it definitely feels that way. I know on our end there’s no thought of working with anybody else…
Away-Team: OK, so Louie’s not going to come knocking on the bus one day? Where is Louie?
Alex: Louie comes… Louie makes appearances. He’s always… He always visits us when we play. He was just on tour with us for three days…
Away-Team: Oh, really?
Alex: He doesn’t really play any more. He just likes to hang out. We like having him around. It works out well. We get him away from his job. He’s like a, a relative…
Away-Team: Is there anything you haven’t done yet, goal-wise or music-wise that you still want to? And what is it?
Alex: Yeah there’s a lot of things. Definitely, I’m close, I mean I feel like with my instrumental albums I’m able to do the music that’s in my head. Which is great! For me it’s just getting my instrumental stuff to a wider audience. And I’d like to see Testament reach a wider audience as well. The truth is, what I would really like to see is the trio playing venues like Testament’s playing; those size crowds. I’d like to see Testament playing to crowds more like TSO’s.
Alex: I get this experience of every year playing in front of a packed arena. Sometimes twice a day! And this band has never experienced that. That kind of production, that kind of audience. We’ve had some great support slots in arenas. But I think this could be a great arena band.
Away-Team: You guys have never actually headlined arenas?
Away-Team: Really. Wow, I did not realize that.
Away-Team: There’s many bands out there today that are citing Testament as an influence, as a musician it’s got to be an ultimate compliment. How do you react to something like that? I mean, how does that make you feel?
Alex: Great! It feels great. It’s a great compliment. It’s not something you think about while you’re doing it, while you’re in the studio or playing live; about having an influence on somebody else, you just do what you do. But when you hear that, it’s amazing, ‘cause having had many influences myself, just to think that I was able to be what I saw in my favorite guitars players, other people are seeing in me, which is really, really cool.
Away-Team: Who are some of your influences?
Alex: Well, it started out with Randy Rhodes and Eddie Van Halen, Michael Shanker. I studied their influences, Jeff Beck, Clapton, Hendrix and then the classic Blues players. And then once I got into Jazz, Wes Montgomery, Pat Metheny…
Away-Team: What made you pick up a guitar to begin with?
Alex: Yep. I discovered KISS and wanted to play KISS songs.
Away-Team: And it was the guitar always?
Alex: It was piano, very briefly in third grade. And then I had a bad music teacher and I, I quit piano. Now I bought a piano. I still like to play, but I have no plans to play professionally.
Away-Team: We’re not going to see you in a hotel lounge somewhere tickling the ivories…
Alex: Not anytime soon!
Away-Team: Well Alex, that pretty much wraps up my questions. I do appreciate your time… I wish you much luck with the rest of the tour…
Alex: Thank you!
Away-Team: The festivals this summer, of course TSO in the winter and then at some point next year we’ll hear a little bit from the trio again.
Alex: Yeah, yeah, going to try to squeeze out a new trio album. Or at least an EP this year.
Away-Team: Great! Alright, well I appreciate it Alex, thank you very much again for your time!
Alex: No problem Jim, good to see you again.
There you have it. We got some shout outs to Cliff Burton, James Hetfield and Spastik Children, Billy Milano of MOD and SOD, and KISS! My thanks to Brian at Adrenaline PR for setting up the interview, Mark for ensuring it actually happened, Alex for jumping in last minute and rescuing the interview, and Bam Bam as always for getting me in the interviews to begin with!
If you haven’t heard Formation Of Damnation go pick it up NOW!!!! And check out Testament on the road. The show that night was nothing short of amazing. The guys played with a furiousness that belied their age, and a sense of fun and having a good time. The music and vocals were spot on, and I did not hear one person walk away from that show with a bad word.
Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh, NC
Photos by Dave Rogers
New Wave of American Thrash Metal meets it’s master!! Testament with Unearth and Lazarus AD opening up!