The Classic Rock Show’s ‘Top 10 Albums of 2015’

TCRS Top 10 2015T’is now the season for Top 10 lists of everything and we’ve been considering what we’d have in our ‘Top 10 Albums Of 2015’.

It has been quite a year as far as new music is concerned. Bands that some of us have followed for seemingly an eternity have hit a rich vein of form, capturing the essence of what made them ‘Great’. Together with cohorts of much younger bands, 2015 – to this reviewer at least – has topped the previous year for the depth in quality of album releases.

So without further ado, here’s The Classic Rock Show’s ‘Top 10 Albums of 2015’.

#10 Metal Allegiance – Metal Allegiance (Nuclear Blast Records)
10 - Metal Allegiance

Bringing together a veritable who’s-who of rock and metal, this album oozes molten riffage.

#9 Blackberry Smoke – Holding All The Roses (Earache Records)

9 - Blackberry Smoke - Holding All The RosesCharlie Starr and the boys have a little something for everyone on this album.

#8 Biters – Electric Blood (Earache Records)

8 - Biters - Electric BloodNow here’s a band that successfully brings that 70s glam ‘n’ swagger right up to date.

#7 Coal Chamber – Rivals (Metal Blade Records)

7 - Coal Chamber - RivalsMaking a welcome return, Coal Chamber kick some major butt with this one.

#6 Queensrÿche – Condition Hüman (Century Media)

6 - Queensryche - Condition HumanThis album is the very essence of what we have come to love about Queensrÿche; great songs and vocal dynamite.

#5 Five Finger Death Punch – Got Your Six (Eleven Seven Music)
5 - FFDP - Got Your Six

What every FFDP fan was hoping for…no, expecting…their best album to date.

#4 Motor Sister – Ride (Metal Blade Records)

4 - Motor Sister - RideIf you’re looking for a straight up and down, fist-pumping, rock ‘n’ roll album, then look no further.

#3  W.A.S.P. – Golgotha (Napalm Records)

3 - WASP - GolgothaIt’s like the ‘Very Best Of W.A.S.P.’, but in one newly written and recorded studio album.

#2 Skindred – Volume (Napalm Records)

2 - Skindred - VolumeA band that lacks nothing in the self-belief department, this one sits at the top of their discography.

So what sits at the top of our ‘Best Albums Of 2015’?

#1 Clutch – Psychic Warfare (Weathermaker Music)

1 - Clutch - Psychic WarfareAnd just when we all thought the album ‘Earth Rocker’ couldn’t be surpassed, they go and hit us up with this killer record. Front to back, this is the very epitome of the Clutch vibe.

None of the above bands collect a gong, just a pat on the back and a “You’ve all done very well” from us.

Raise a toast to 2015 and bring on the new year!

Cheers!

MJx

Let us know what floated your boat album-wise in 2015.

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#INTERVIEW: Coal Chamber’s Mikey and Meegs on proving themselves over again

“It’s been 13 years since Coal Chamber put out a record. We all worked so hard on this music to make sure the whole album was a stellar push forward for the band and not some nostalgia trip! If you like it heavy and unique you’ll love ‘Rivals’! This record is full of crushing huge hooks and big down tuned riffs to move ya. Support Heavy music in all its forms!” says Dez Fafara on their new album.

When we eventually come to look back on this year, 2015 will be marked down and under-scored as the year in which the reformed NuMetal band Coal Chamber made a welcome return to the world stage. Not only did they return to the stage, but they came armed with a highly anticipated and stunning new album – ‘Rivals’ – released on Napalm Records.

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If you thought that Coal Chamber were just going to go through the motions and regurgitate the sound from their previous two albums ‘Dark Days’ and ‘Chamber Music’, then think again. ‘Rivals’ is truly invigorating, helped, not least, by Mark Lewis’ (Producer) deft touch in the studio and the bands’ maturity in their songwriting, as well as how they now handle their own personal relationships. The latter had undergone such extremes, it ultimately lead to the band’s break up some 13 years ago.

We caught up with Mike ‘Mikey’ Cox (drummer) and Miguel ‘Meegs’ Rascón (guitar) at The Waterfront, Norwich, on the second date of their UK tour. We began by asking about how the album was put together and the reaction to the release of ‘Rivals’.

Mikey: Yeah, like the response has been crazy! You know, we kind of just write, we don’t plan on “Oh my God that’s right”, like we tried in the past. You try to write a certain way to try to envision what people want to hear. You write it, and you’re like “Yeah, this sounds like us”. With the new record, I think a lot of it is the fact that we’ve all matured as musicians. We just got older, wiser and me and him (Meegs) spent more time on really locking in all the individual parts, but it still sounds like us.  Our Producer, Mark Lewis (who has produced from Whitechapel and DevilDriver), helped us a lot. We wanted a live, nasty, not perfect record; we didn’t sit and make everything perfect. We did Click Track on the record like we always do, but our tempos go up and down like live, you know? We tried to do it with one tempo and it sounded horrible. It sounded boring, because we’ve always been a band that pushes and pulls. When parts get heavier, we go! All the tones on the record, all his (Meegs) wacky guitar shit, we spent four days just getting drum tones alone, which is crazy! It’s a nightmare going through the process, but in the end you know it just sounds nasty. We wanted a nasty record, that’s my best term for it, ‘nasty’.

TCRS: If I can turn to Meegs – Mike’s been talking about what’s gone down in the studio, but could you explain to us what is so different between how you put this album together and for instance ‘Dark Days’ and ‘Chamber Music’?

Meegs: Well on a personal level, the comradery and the way we treat each other is obviously like night and day. Back then, it was all wacky and fucked up and that definitely kinda like penetrates into your music, you know it definitely affects your music, whether it’s bad or good, but now it’s like you know we get along. We’re great friends and on a personal level it definitely shows in the way we write and also from ‘Dark Days’ to Rivals there’s a big gap. Musically, its progressed to the better, so yeah, so just personally and musically it’s just like night and day, definitely.

TCRS: We were catching up with Dez (Farfara – vocals) earlier, and he was recalling the time all got together and listened back to the final mix of ‘Rivals’, and it was quite an emotional moment for you all?

Mikey: Yeah, I mean when you’re writing the songs… you know, we holed up in a shitty rehearsal space and just do it old school. So me and Meegs always had the vision of how it’s going to sound recorded. Other people walk into a rehearsal space and you’re just jamming this loud, it sounds like shit and you don’t envisage how it’s going to sound polished on the record. When I got that music back, even before Dez did any vocals, I used to work for Snoop Dogg and I would travel four hours total in the day, two hours in the traffic and two hours back, and I listened to it on repeat for months and months and every day I was like I can’t believe how good it sounds and it captured everything we were trying to get and the ones Dez laid vocals and I got just the rough, I was like holy shit! To this day, I can’t believe it came out as good as it did. I’m not saying we’re not capable of it, because obviously we are, but you have a vision of where it’s going to go. Sometimes you get a record and oh shit it’s not as crazy as I thought it would be, you know This song is not as heavy as I thought it would be. With this record, I was like every song, top to bottom, I was like “Holy shit! This sounds good!”. Once we heard the final – we only changed the mixes just a little bit, perhaps three or four times with Mark (Lewis), it was very emotional, because I never in a million years thought we would be sitting here, let alone do a record ever. Mark (Lewis) really helped us and every really stepped up their game. To finally get it to happen, it was very emotional. We’re really proud of the record.

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TCRS: You’re currently on tour here in the UK. You’ve certainly got some fond memories of the UK, right?

Mikey: Yeah first time we did a signing here was at the Virgin Megastore in London. I was 19 and we were there for like five hours. Got in the cab and they were chasing us down the street in the cab! I called home and I was like “Mom I’m a Beetle, I’m famous!”. I’m so famous, I’m not rich but I’m definitely famous over here.

Meegs: Definitely not rich! [laughs]

Mikey: Yeah. It’s been really good here. We’re looking at it as starting over. We have the old songs we have to play. We love those songs, but for taking that much time off you have to reinvent yourself and you have to prove yourself all over again. You can’t expect to have the same fan base as when you broke up. 13 years is a long time and a lot of bands come back after two years and don’t do shit!

TCRS: No doubt you’ll be introducing a few more new songs to the setlist, but for the time being you’ve got ‘Rivals’ and ‘IOU’?

Mikey: Yeah. We don’t want to play songs that people over here haven’t heard through someone’s iPhone recording and then post it and people think that’s how the record sounds through someone’s phone. Once this tour is over, we’re going to add four more new songs to the set.

IMG-20150521-WA0004

Coal Chamber’s Meegs and Mikey at The Waterfront, Norwich

Meegs: The fans that we do have, obviously, they’re here to see us preform the old songs. But we want to expand the fan base and have the people really hear what we’re doing now, than what we’re doing in the 90s.

TCRS: You’ve moved on?

Mikey: I think with our area of music, with all the bands that grew up with and toured with back in the day, we all turned into crazy assholes and the bands couldn’t stay together and now I think everyone is growing up…

Meegs: We’re no longer in our 20s, so it’s like you’re kind of invincible, you know, in the head space and physically in your 30, 40s.

Mikey: I mean we pretty much lived the life of 50 people, with all the shit we’ve done and experienced in travelling, that’s more than 50 people combined do.

Meegs: Yeah, like here we just became normal and just we’ve done so much that you’ve lived like a couple lifetimes, so we’re good, we’re not going to be old people going oh we should’ve done it, like “No, we did it!”.

Mikey: Yeah, we’re still a bunch of nut cases, we got our things you know… I think every musician is a fucking nut job, all of them.

Meegs: You kind of have to be.

Mikey: We all think way differently from the rest of the world and you know stuff is not realistic and you’re living in a travelling submarine, so your grasp of reality is weighed. When I get home and I do normal stuff with my son. It takes me a second to go “Oh wow! This is normal!”, because you literally in airports and throwing around and pointing in one direction and but it’s definitely a dream come through.

Coal Chamber’s tour support comes from as. These three bands are worth the admission price alone and didn’t disappoint the Norwich faithful on Thursday night (May 21st, 2015).

Coal Chamber came, saw and conquered, rounding off a splendid evening with 13 songs, all delivered with aplomb.

Take it from us, these guys are more focused than ever before…go check ’em out on tour and pick up a copy of ‘Rivals’!

UK Tour w/ Soil, the Defiled & Dope
20.05.15 UK – Leeds / Stylus
21.05.15 UK – Norwich / The Waterfront
22.05.15 UK – Warwick / Copper Rooms
23.05.15 UK – Nottingham / Rock City
24.05.15 UK – Glasgow / O2 ABC
26.05.15 UK – Bristol / Motion
27.05.15 UK – Exeter / Lemon Grove
28.05.15 UK – Brighton / Concorde 2
29.05.15 UK – Wolverhampton / Wulfrun
30.05.15 UK – Manchester / The Ritz
31.05.15 UK – London / Koko [Sold Out]

Coal Chamber band links: Official Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Thanks for visiting this site. We hope you enjoyed reading the interview.

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NEWS: Metal Icons W.A.S.P. Sign to Napalm Records! New album coming in August!

wasp

Almost six years have passed since the world saw a new studio album from Metal Icons W.A.S.P. That is about to change as W.A.S.P. has signed a new worldwide record deal with Austria’s Napalm Records. W.A.S.P. will release their 15th studio album titled Golgotha this August.

W.A.S.P. are excited to announce they have signed an exclusive recording contract with Napalm Records.  We chose Napalm for their personal belief and professional commitment to our career.  We’re looking forward to years of great success together starting with the release of our upcoming album Golgotha“, states W.A.S.P. front man Blackie Lawless.

Vice President of Napalm Records Thomas Caser on W.A.S.P. joining Napalm Records:
“It is a true honor to announce this signing today, a dream has come true. With their impressive career and ability to create musical masterpieces W.A.S.P have always been one of the most influential Metal bands out there since the beginning of their career. We are thrilled about the upcoming album Golgotha which will be released this summer!”

W.A.S.P. came out of the Los Angeles Metal scene in 1982 gaining notoriety for their shock rock antics. With a career spanning over 3 decades, 17 world tours, and now their 15th studio album, they are a metal band that has evolved in maturity without having lost their signature sound, unlike many of their peers from their origins. Golgotha will continue down the path that 2007’s Dominator and 2009’s Babylon started on, both in production style and theme. Six years in the making, Golgotha will undoubtedly lead the listeners on the emotionally epic undertaking that W.A.S.P. has become acclaimed for!

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INTERVIEW: The Answer’s Micky Waters on their new album ‘Raise A Little Hell’

imageThe Answer’s new album ‘Raise A Little Hell’, out on Napalm Records, crashed into the UK charts with their highest chart placing ever. Making number 44 in national UK Album chart, Number 1 in the Rock Chart and Number 6 in the Indie Album chart.

the answerFeaturing larger-than-life riffs, unforgettable melodies and a return to their raw bluesy roots! ‘Raise A Little Hell’ presents a collection of hard hitting anthems that point to the spirit of AC/DC and Thin Lizzy. The album is a follow up to the critically acclaimed 2013 release New Horizon and was preceded by their first single “Red”, roundly given the thumbs-up by our listeners.

“Red” was penned by Nashville writers Neil Mason (The Cadillac Three) and Tyler Bryant and was one of two previously penned songs that The Answer very much wanted to record as part of the ‘Raise A Little Hell’ album and to give their own unique sound to. The single video was directed by Darren Lee from Maverick Renegade Productions and features uniquely designed ‘Monster’ costumes created by Belfast based Christine Boyle whose design credits include Game Of Thrones and Universal’s Your Highness.

The new album, produced by Spanish producer Guillermo ‘Will’ Maya and recorded in his Madrid studio, September 2014 was also mixed by Chris Sheldon (Foo Fighters, Biffy Clyro, Garbage) in London, October 2014. Cormac Neeson from the band commented:
“We’re delighted to announce our new album ‘Raise A Little Hell’. This is a special record that reflects a return to the hard ass blues rock ‘n’ roll we hold so dear. This album truly showcases who we are and the best of The Answer in full flow. We can’t wait for you all to hear it!”

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Following on from their single release “Red”, the Irish Rockers have now released a brand new lyric video for the track “Long Live The Renegades”. The band commented on the song:
“‘Long Live The Renegades’ is the opening track on our new album ‘Raise A Little Hell’. It’s a bit of a rocker and we tried a slightly different production technique on this track by keeping it very dry. The song is about just doing what you do best and having a bit of a bunker mentality. This is our fifth album and we’ve gone back to our earlier blues and roots style with what we think are harder rockin’ grooves. Hope you like it as much as we do!”

Earlier this month (March 2015), The Answer embarked on a 40 date headline UK and European club tour followed by a series of summer festivals and soon to be announced US tour plans!

We caught up with Bassist Micky Waters down at Chinnery’s, Southend-on-Sea, where they performed later that night to an audience who were sufficiently familiar enough with songs from the new album to sing along to them.

MJ: Raise A Little Hell. It’s number 1 in the UK album charts! Congratulations!

Micky: Thank you, we’re really proud of it, actually, this record to be honest is the first we’ve been in the studio without an agenda at all. We just really had a bunch of really fresh ideas, some cool riffs, some chorus ideas, and trusted in each other’s I guess ability to put the songs together on the spot. And that was the vibe. There were a couple of songs that were almost there but even they were kind of rewritten in the studio, just soaking up the atmosphere of the four of us being up in the mountains in the middle of Spain hanging out there. Just getting stuck into it, you know?

MJ: A different approach for this album, then?

Micky: Yeah, it really is. Honestly we really don’t care anymore. We’re just doing what we want to do. In the past we had been told, “You’re too Led Zeppelin or you don’t have a song to get on mainstream radio”. We were told all these things. We listened to all those things. This time around we’re like you know what? We’re all in our early 30s now, we don’t really care, just going to go in the studio and do exactly the kind of record we can get off on. And that’s the result of it.

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MJ: This is your fifth album. It must be very pleasing for you guys to get the album sounding in such a way that everybody throughout the band is pleased with it.

Micky: Yeah this is probably the first one that hasn’t been dented by being passed along, demo a song, then listened to it, and re-demoed with it, tweak it, tweak things, add things, take things away, this one everything that you hear is fresh. The first idea that was written that was put down, that’s exactly what it is. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, we’re proud of every record we’ve ever done. We put our heart and soul and a lot of work into every single one of them, but this one in particular is a lot freer. There’s a lot more expression on it I think.

MJ: And it’s come easier this time around?

Micky: Yeah it came so quick. Was only I would say a month, two months, we finished tour last April/May time, and basically took a month to chill out, and then stuck it in and we were finished by September.

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Micky Waters

MJ: And working with Will Mayer, you’ve known each other for quite some time now.

Micky: He’s a very old friend. Again he knows us guys as musicians and personally better. He’s just very good at getting a performance out of us. And creates an atmosphere that is funny and vibey. He’s a very funny guy. He keeps us going and laughing. You know? He’s very creative. We were making Talk Boxes and setting up a strange kind of, setting up the Ampeg flight case and putting a beater on it to get a sound. Pots and pans and everything….trying everything and recording it to see what would happen. We’ve never done that before. So lots of creative things going on all the time.

MJ: “Red” has been very popular on the show.

Micky: Going down great every night. Not that it surprised me, but it’s actually going down a lot better than I thought it would. Last night, in Liverpool, Cormac was in the front row. It was St Patrick’s Day, and he handed round some whiskey and little glasses to the front row. And we started playing that song. Had a bit of a groove going. The whole place was going off. It was really good fun!

MJ: Tell us about you’ve been evolving through this tour.

Micky: Again, this tour has been really…we just want to refresh everything. We believe we’ve got strong material now that we can replace some of the older songs and create a different show for our fans to come to and I have a chat with our fans every night and actually thanking me for replacing and refreshing the set. It’s a different vibe, you know?

10995297_10153569539371102_1033716420126972622_oMJ: You’ve been ably supported by Bad Touch and The Picturebooks on this tour.

Micky: Great bunch of lads. The Picturebooks have got a really interesting sound going on. Really interesting set up. The Bad Touch guys really have their stuff together. More than most bands that have played with us before. They’re really tight, really good musicians. Pleasure to have both of them on board, to be honest.

 

MJ: Other than rounding off this rather extensive tour, what else have The Answer got in store for us in 2015?

Micky: This is really the warm up, we finish the UK, then we go to Europe until mid-May. And then we do a couple of festivals, couple of really good ones including Hellfest, in France, which is in my opinion the best festival in Europe. Pretty awesome lineup there. Really excited about that. Airborne going right after us and we know those boys pretty well. Going to be a good laugh. We’ll all be beer drinking at dawn that day. And then we’re off to the States for six weeks to tour. Some shows with Whitesnake and a lot of shows by ourselves. So it’s, you know, that will take us up to August, then after that who knows. I kind of take it one day at a time to be honest.

MJ: Well, Mickey thanks ever so much for sitting down with us today. You’re going to be running off very shortly for a sound check. Last words for the fans out there?

Micky: Thank you very much for supporting us. If you haven’t gotten it already, go get our “Number 1 Rock album” Raise a Little Hell…stick it on. turn it on really loud and enjoy.

MJ: Doesn’t that sound good saying “Number 1 Rock album”?

Micky: (Laughs) It does, actually. Cheers!

The Answer are on Facebook, Twitter, InstagramOfficial Website.

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INTERVIEW: Huntress guitarman Blake Meahl talks to ‘The Classic Rock Show’

Huntress_NewLogo2

Huntress captured the hearts and minds of Metalheads with their ‘Starbound Beast’ album. On the back of it, the band have been regularly seen alongside top-line touring acts across the US and Europe, and have made a major impact on the festival circuit. They’re currently touring with Amon Amarth (w/ co-support act Savage Messiah), taking in the UK, France, Portugal and Spain to sold out shows. I caught up with guitarist Blake Meahl to chat about all that’s happened to them since their 2013 album release on Napalm Records, gaining some insight into how they’ve progressed as a band.

starbound-beast-51ee46bb149b9MJ: Blake, welcome to The Classic Rock Show.

BM: Right on, thanks for having me.

MJ: You’re here in Colchester tonight. A town steeped in history.

BM: I hear it’s the oldest recorded town in your whole freaking island!

MJ: Absolutely, the Romans have been here. Boudica, Queen of the Iceni tribe took them out.

BM: I heard they got their asses kicked, right? Jill went bat-shit crazy when she heard all about her! [laughs]

MJ: Starbound Beast was received so very well in 2013, you’ve a new line-up as far as band members are concerned. It’s been a busy time for you guys. You’re currently touring with Amon Amarth on their ‘Deceiver Of The Gods’ tour and what a tour it’s been thus far! And such a cool story on how it worked out.

1413563433BM:  Yeah! It’s a fitting tour for us, it’s been awesome. I mean, we’ve toured with a lot of incredible acts. We’ve just been so lucky and blessed to have so many crazy tour opportunities, but Amon Amarth has been on our list of, like, it would be so perfect. We first played with them on the Mayhem tour in the United States, which is like a month-long festival circuit. But before that we were at the Metal Hammer Awards out here because we were at Download for the first time and Amon Amarth was there also, and I run into Olavi and he’s like, “I know who you are!”. I was like, no way, what are you talking about…you’ve never heard us! And he’s like, “Oh yes I have! I have! You’ll see. I really like Huntress.” And sure enough he goes, “You’ll find out by the end of the tour. I did an interview and mentioned you”. And it turns out it was in Guitar World magazine and he’s was asked who are you looking forward to? And sure enough, he says it’s Huntress. And of course we don’t read it until after the Mayhem tour, and then we got to do a handful of one-off shows with them and here we are now! One of the things that I’d like to think we have in common is a really high priority of melody and songwriting. He was saying in that same interview, “People are always asking me like, what’s your secret? You wrote that song? Incredible. It’s not that hard! I just write songs. You know, I’m just writing melodies.” And when you see them and you see the crowd they are singing along to the guitar lines, just ‘whoa-ing’ away. And that’s all it comes down to is the fact that they’re not just trying to jerk themselves off like a little 12 year old kid trying to play as fast as he can. I’m actually going to make some music that people want to hear and remember. And that’s our goal also.

MJ: You’ve been in lots of bands prior to Huntress. Is there any difference in the way you write when you have a female vocalist as opposed to a male vocalist?

Huntress by Robert SuttonBM: Well, that’s an interesting question. In my former bands I was the vocalist, so I would probably just torture myself and put myself out of my range and try to scream my voice out and it would work out, maybe. I was trying to write stuff for myself and I was very inexperienced and I’ve never played at a professional level band like this before. It was always a hobby with my best friends. You already mentioned we’ve had some turnover in band members – our current drummer is my brother. We played together in high school and then we didn’t play together for about eight or ten years and only recently have reconnected with it, so all these bands I’ve been in have been such minor leagues. We never aspired for much, it was just we’re playing metal and we like to keep it weird and progressive and we always figured we would be in a van and just figured we would get some crappy label deal that we would be bound to for the rest of our lives and we didn’t care, that’s what we did. And as this band came together and we realized the potential of it and also our tastes and maturities changed, like a lot of the song writing has progressed not because of it being a female vocalist but because of what I realised I should have realised a long time ago, which is that the song is what’s important, not the riff. As much as I love riffs, and as important as they are, string 50 of them together as fast as you can is not a song. You know?

MJ: We just heard you play a new song, called ‘Flesh’. Yet to be recorded, I’m guessing.

BM: Basic tracks are done, but Jill has not done her vocals yet.

MJ: It sounds killer and it’s already one of my favourites of yours.

BM: Awesome, thank you. Really excited to hear that reaction. That song is one of the ones our producer is really excited about too. We’ve been playing four new ones in our set and that’s just one of them.

MJ: So tell us about the album. Has it got a name yet?

BM: Not that I’m allowed to reveal, but it’s going really well. It’s a strange process this time, because we stopped in the middle of it to come out here. And we stopped in the middle of our writing, our pre-production process to go on our last tour with Arch Enemy and Kreator in the States, so it’s been stop-start. It’s turning out really good though, and I’m very excited about it. As I said on a previous question, it’s focusing further and further on the songwriting and always knowing, Jill’s the vocalist. The vocals are what sticks with people and we can’t all be trying to compete for center stage and I feel like that’s one of the mistakes we’ve  made in the past, one of the mistakes I’ve made as a guitar player…I’m just the fucking guitar player! As much as I love these lead guitar riffs and I’m going to have my space, you can’t always be competing, putting in double kick and a fast riff over a vocal. Metal bands sometimes get away with it, because there’s a lot of growling and all that. But when there’s too much melody fighting for center stage, it doesn’t really equate to a catchy song, you know? Or something that really sticks with people, and that’s the main goal here. So we’re just getting smarter and smarter about our songwriting and hope it’s going to open a lot of doors for us and that a lot of people are going to love it, and maybe some of the fans that have been with us for our extreme riffs and stuff, maybe they’ll long for that first album to be repeated here, but I think we’re making a much, much better product now as a result, you know?

Huntress by Mike Lockheart

Photo credit: Mike Lockheart

MJ: You’re working with some incredibly experienced and talented people on this album. Where did you record the album?

BM: Well, it’s being done in Burbank with a production team, Jim Rota and Paul Fig. Jim has played in a band called Fireball Ministry and is now doing a lot of video production. He did the Sound City movie for Dave Grohl and this whole new Sonic Highways thing and is the producer of that stuff. Paul is a badass engineer. He just did the last two Alice in Chains albums, he did the new Ghost album, he works with Nick Raskulinecz all the time who does a lot of big production stuff. We’re in really good hands. It’s cool because we have this most incredible engineer who is capable of whatever we need and a guy that’s constantly making us sit back and think about the song, and remember that the big picture and what the sum of all parts is what is important, not what each individual instrument is doing.

MJ: You’re making space for all the musicians!

BM: Yeah, it’s so important, it seems like such a stupid, obvious thing but especially in the metal world it’s easily forgotten.

MJ: Well, Blake it’s been a real pleasure sitting with you talking about the tour, the new album, the music and the songwriting. We wish you well on the rest of the tour, and every success for 2015. We are really stoked to hear that we have a new Huntress album this year.

BM: Thanks man. I really enjoyed it. Thank you for supporting us over the years and playing our music. To the guys ‘n gals reading this who haven’t heard of us, go watch the Zenith video and then come back and talk to me. To our fans who come out to our shows, we so appreciate your support. Make sure you tune into to ‘The Classic Rock Show’!

So there you have it…by the sounds of it, we’ve one heck of an album to look forward to from Huntress later on this year.

Show ’em some love by checking out Huntress’ website, Like their Facebook and Follow them on Twitter @HuntressKills…but whatever you do, go see this band ‘live’ as they are killer!

Cheers!

MJx

Website: www.TheClassicRockShow.co.uk
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INTERVIEW: Monster Magnet’s Dave Wyndorf on a sonically psychedelic trip

Monster Magnet are back touring Europe and the UK in January/February, armed with a setlist that will contain many fan-faves including songs off of their critically acclaimed 2013 release ‘Last Patrol’.

Last November, however, Monster Magnet released ‘Milking The Stars: A Reimagining Of Last Patrol’ which took much of ‘Last Patrol’ on a sonically psychedelic trip. We chatted with Dave Wyndorf to ask about the album’s reinterpretation, the musicians that were especially brought in for this project, as well the up and coming European tour.

dave-wyndorfMJ: Hey Dave…it’s MJ from The Classic Rock Show.
DW: MJ! What’s happening?
MJ: I’m going good, how are you?
DW: Doing good, sitting here sitting in the pissing rain in New Jersey, probably very similar to where you are, I would imagine. Kind of gray and pissy.
MJ: It’s much the same here in England.
DW: Welcome to winter.
MJ: Indeed. Dave Wyndorf of Monster Magnet, welcome to ‘The Classic Rock Show’!
DW: Thanks, dude.
MJ: I guess we can still get away with it as we’re just into the second week of the new year…Happy New Year to you.
DW: Yeah, Happy New Year to you! And to all your listeners.
MJ: How did you go about celebrating the New Year?
DW: You know this one went by really quick. I was, like, working in the studio which is probably the best place for me to be. All the way up to the holidays and then I did like a commando jump into the holidays, like hello, family! And then slept the whole time getting ready for the tour. So sometimes the holidays are best for the short, sharp shock as they say on Pink Floyd.
MJ: Did you make any resolutions for the New Year?
DW: You know I used to do that and always disappoint myself, so now there is no resolutions anymore. Why kid around? I’ve been disappointed in the past. I always fail. My resolutions always come after a bitter defeat at something. You know? I have to be beaten down or make a horrible mistake and then when I learn the lesson from that. That’s the resolution – I’ll never get beat down from that again.
MJ: Listen, we’re going to get to talk about you coming out to tour Europe. But before we get to that, we’ve got loads to talk about, Dave. ‘Last Patrol’ was released back in 2013, widely acclaimed by Monster Magnet fans and music critics alike. In November though, you released ‘Milking the Stars: A Reimagining of Last Patrol’ via Napalm Records. As album titles go, that has all sorts of connotations to the laymen. What does that mean to Dave Wyndorf and the rest of the guys in Monster Magnet?
DW: You know, the ‘Milking the Stars’ thing, that was just me following a whim that I had at the end of the record which is just the whim that I bring to almost every record. Like, oh, I could have done this and I could have done that. Songs are really cool, music is really cool, it’s really only defined by how you present it. There’s a song, but the way it’s presented is the song as well. Not to get too musical about it, but you put in minor notes, you add a different instrument, you sing it a different way, it becomes somewhat different. Same song, different vibe. And I always walk away from records, like this one I was like well why don’t I just stick to this? I didn’t have enough time to do a whole right and record a whole new record because I was so busy touring Last Patrol. Last Patrol did really well. So we toured and toured and toured. What I thought I could do, since I records now really close to my home, my whole life is like a demo now. It’s no more running off to big cities to make records. It’s, I live in a small town, and I record this stuff two blocks from my house. And I was like why don’t I just dive in there in between tours and see what I can come up with? Just because it sounds like fun. And I’m in love with all the instruments that I really don’t play very well, like melotrons and old sixties organs and stuff and was like what would happen if, how would it sound? And I got into it and I just got carried away. And the next thing you know I did the whole thing. And then I thought maybe I should release it and see what happens. And that’s really what happened, it was just, I was just following, like a bird dog, following down the trail. What would happen here? What would happen there? What would happen if you mixed it differently? Panned it left and right like the sixties? It quickly turned into a sixties kind of thing, because I love that sound. And it’s really fun to do. Opened up a whole new world for me. It’s something that’s not over till the fat lady sings! Or the fat man in this case.
dwYeah, it’s ridiculous, yes, I agree, it’s completely like why? Why would you do this? I know. I totally get it. Well, the good thing about it for my poor band mates, they didn’t have to like suffer through this reimagination. They didn’t really have to, it’s not like I called the gang back and said all right, we’re doing it again! Because they would have killed me. What I did was I just sat down with mainly my co-producer Phil Cavano, who is also a guitar player in Monster Magnet, and we arranged drums to suit the purpose digitally. Rearranged drums, rerecorded some guitar by myself and with Phil and some bass and some vocals. And whipped it up like that. And added stuff. Mostly by me and some other, I have a couple, two different keyboard guys to come in and do it. So it’s not like everyone sat on the floor going here we go again. That would have been a disaster, that would have been an absolute disaster because who would have gotten into it? You know? I mean I was because it was my obsession. But everyone else was like, okay, do what you want to do. And I think the real reason it worked was for one, the material was there, there was a lot to work with. And two, it didn’t stop the monster magnet train dead. You know, it wasn’t like alright, we are all shutting down because we have to do the same goddamn thing we did before, which would have been a nightmare. This was like a squirrely little like missions in the middle of the night over the course of a couple of months.

MJ: You mentioned you brought in a few musicians. Tell us about them and how they bought into the project.
DW: It was awesome stuff. I mean I just needed, I mean I can play keyboards but not that well, I can’t play them without clamming. So I could sum up the part, do the part, but I couldn’t execute it. So I got a local guy named Matt Foreman, who played with a band called The Ribeye Brothers around here with Tim Cronin [ex Monster Magnet]. And he rocked it! He did sixties organ like completely spot on. Like it was 1968. So he did one. So then I needed like a B3 vibe, like a John Lord kind of early 70s distorted B3. And I found a guy in California named Kim Bullard, who had been around for forever. He actually plays with Elton John now! You know? He actually plays with Elton John. And I called him up and said hey, I have a friend of mine who says you play a mean B3, you know, like Deep Purple. And he said no one has asked me to play like Deep Purple in 35 years. And so we went to his house and he had this old B3 and that guy was unbelievable. I mean, that’s kind of a lost art, that whole thing. That playing that way through the real B3 distorted, through Marshall cabinets, all the flourishes, all that stuff, he was like a magician. And that’s how I got him, just by talking it up. It was really cool. He started to scratch the surface for real old mussos, not just punk guys like me, but like the real mussos are out there with nothing to do. I think I got to try this in the future.
MJ: One of the new tracks on the album, and I think there’s around about four tracks that you added on a couple of live tracks on the back of the track as well?
DW: Right.
MJ: The opening track, “Let the Circus Burn” what a great opening track. It really does set the tone for the rest of the album.
DW: Oh, awesome! Thanks. I had people going do you really want to start the record out like that? I was like, yeah of course! You have to know. Yeah that was, that’s one of the cool things about music, too, I just went in with absolutely no planning and the music kind of tells you what to do. I took a drum loop from the actual, from Last Patrol, the original track, just a loop, maybe a minute and a half, and looped it for six minutes and took the loop home and listened to it and sat there with a guitar and made everything up. Just with that repetitious loop. And as soon as I started playing it I said wow, this sounds like Pink Floyd on ‘Ummagumma’, it sounds like something like that. So just go that route. And then recorded a quick little droner track, and then I actually played the organ on that one, and did an organ track and spaced out the parts. Okay we’ll stop here, this is where it’ll stop and then I’ll get a cool sound, like an electron flute or something. It happened really fast. I mean, no more than a day. I think? The whole thing was almost done and it just goes to show you, using the elements of a preexisting song can be a whole new song. Without a lot of, like you said before, why bring everybody back? Unless it’s going to be something brand new. But, yeah never let it be said I’m not stubborn. Talk about milking the stars, milking the songs is more like it. But it was really fun and it came alive very, very quickly which is like a joy.
MJ: That’s the word for me, Dave, “live”. It really does sound a studio live album. Some real edge to it, there’s some grit, there’s that determination that pushes through the song. It comes over so very well.
DW: Thanks! I really appreciate it because that’s what I wanted it to sound like. In a weird kind of way with my attention was paid, well, there was a time constraint, so basically most of the effects on there were recorded onto tape or hard drive, or whatever you want to call it, a little lo fi using that ambiance to drive other parts, which kind of fuzzes the actual fidelity of the whole thing but makes it sound like it was done, you know, I played it as if people were playing it at the same time, like decisions were made with redoing the basses. And I said well, you know, the guitar kind of fucks up there, so you know why stop and fix the guitar? What would you do live? You would play the bass over that part. And just the ten minutes live, what would a live band do? They would just solider through. And so I kind of dialed back some of my more finicky tendencies and let the thing open up as the way it was going down without fixing too much. And when I listened it back I was like why don’t I make records like this all the time? It actually sounds alive! So, I learned a lot. You expect this kind of treatment more from future Monster Magnet albums for sure.

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MJ: Well this was going to come into my next question funnily enough. Does ‘Milking the Stars’ set the tone for the next Monster Magnet album?
DW: It has to somewhat, I mean, I can’t deny I love the sound of those keyboards you know? I love those scene change that they make. It’s just a whole different thing. It’s a new way to get to express a mood of the song. I used to be afraid of keyboards because number one we don’t have a keyboard player and don’t plan on getting one, it’s just one more person to play. Rock is expensive! It’s another plane ticket. And I never played keyboard that well so why set up a band you know, well why set up a band that can’t do what they do live? Can’t, why do it? But now the older I get I just think everything’s a big experiment, so if I have a way to express myself, express music through sounds that I may not necessarily always recreate out there live in every situation, it doesn’t matter. The record’s the thing. You know? The record’s the thing. Yeah, so I’ll just go. So now I’ve started to crack into this older musician thing with these guys hanging around from the old days with nothing to do. I think I’ll go out for that, that could be something too. There’s a lot of really, really cool musicians out there, talented, with the kind of talent that just isn’t made today. Just sitting around doing nothing. So I’d like to tap into that. It ain’t over, you know what I mean? The seventies, the whole seventies hard rock, late sixties psychedelic early seventies psychedelic/hard rock/whatever you want to call it, it ain’t quite done yet. You know what I mean? I’ll prove it to you. It’s not quite done, there’s more. It’s coming!
MJ: Yeah there’s another chapter to be written.
DW: I think it is! As long as these people live. And you know I mean a lot of new bands that are doing it too, you know? I mean just like jazz or blues, it’s never really over.
MJ: Well as long as there are people picking up an instrument and picking up a microphone it will be there.
DW: Yeah, exactly.
MJ: It’s been, what…25, going on 26 years now as Monster Magnet? You know, a lot of yards and inches, sweat, blood and tears has gone into the band over the past quarter of a century, Dave!
DW: Jesus, the way you put it! I’m out here in the backyard with a shovel digging a hole! *Laughs* Seriously though, I’m having too much fun. Being in Monster Magnet has been more fun for me in the last ten years than it was in the first I think 12. Because, the first 12 was a mad race in the old system and hitting a wall. You know, hitting a commercial wall and a perception wall. You know? We started off as a total psychedelic rock band. Moved into a straight on hard rock band that was still very much the same elements as we started, just a little bit more overt and in your face. And then we had a big hit, and the big hit and the big video, and that kind of confused the issue with record companies and audiences. Well, that’s what these guys are. Their modern age and brand yourself it’s kind of hard to un-brand yourself. And usually you brand yourself on your biggest success. And that was it. So after a certain time, it was hard for me to and hard for us to operate as an honest musical band that could take a left turn and a right turn without having people go oh, that’s not it. You know? It’s like well, no, that’s not it according to you but it is according to us. Fair enough. We had to build it back up. And I think I did. Cool. So now it’s really fun, I don’t have to deal with any of those kind of expectations anymore. Maybe if we go to South America and they’re like “Space Lord!” you must do it! You know? And we’ll always do “Space Lord”. But we finally started to crawl out of people’s notion, notions on what’s the band about.
MJ: Monster Magnet always get a huge response when we get them on ‘The Classic Rock Show’.
DW: That’s awesome, that’s just awesome.
MJ: You’ve got a few dates in the UK in February 2015. Are we going to see Dave Wyndorf with a little half-sized keyboard stood next to him? Running out some of these tunes from ‘Milking the Stars’?
DW: You know I was going to do it this time, just didn’t have the time to set up the whole prog-rock thing. So, this is going to be heavy on the psych, heavy on the rock, and will feature songs that we haven’t done in a really long time, plus all the hits! “You guys going to do Space Lord, right?”…I mean, yeah, it’s a very, very satisfying thing to do it this way because we haven’t done a proper, I mean the last couple of times we’ve been through the UK we’ve just done album stuff. I think the last time we came through we did, it was, Last Patrol in its entirety and a couple other songs. And then before that was ‘Spine Of God’ and before that it was ‘Dopes To Infinity’. So this one will be more well-rounded representation of the Monster Magnet repertoire.
MJ: We’re looking forward to it. Well, Dave Wyndorf of Monster Magnet, thank you so very much for your time talking to The Classic Rock Show. Listeners…go see Monster Magnet! 
DW: Right on! Thanks, dude, thank you so much it’s a pleasure. I love to talk to people about rock, dude, it’s just very, very specific thing. It’s so much different than how the whole rock thing has fallen into the metal ghetto. It’s like you know, people gotta stand up for this shit. This is not what a lot of people think it is, you know? It’s a lot classier than metal. You know what I mean? No, seriously, there’s no reason why classic rock or that thing has to be old. You know what I mean?
MJ: Well that’s how I see it too. I call it ‘The Classic Rock Show’, but play stuff that’s just been released because this is the future. You know? We got the old stuff and we got the new stuff…heck, it was new 30-40+ years ago? So let’s get it out there, let’s get people into it, buying it and going to gigs!
DW: Yeah there needs to be some representation of actual taste. It’s so weird, I’ve been pretty much, people in the states have rolled over. I know you probably have your complaints, but the UK has a lot more respect for hard rock than the states does. The states has completely rolled over, it’s like whatever you got, we’ll take. Literally they are more concerned about other things and they think music is going to be free and great forever. They don’t realize that the less attention they pay and the less, the less standards they set. They set no standards. There’s no demands, it’s like they just pick and choose. So there’s not a group of, there’s not an intelligent group of people, there’s no like fortress of criticism here. There’s nothing. It’s just, and left to their own devices the masses choose crap all the time. There’s nothing to direct it, the focus, and it’s pretty disturbing. That’s why I hardly ever play in the states anymore, it’s hardly worth it. Europe’s the place to play, all over Europe is the place for rock, very cool.
MJ: Listen man, it’s been a real pleasure. Maybe bump fists when you come to play the Electric Ballroom?
DW: Right on man. I would love to meet you. Thanks MJ. Take it easy.

Catch Monster Magnet on tour across Europe:

30.01.2015 GR – Athens / Stage Volume 1
31.01.2015 GR – Thessaloniki / Principal Club Theater
02.02.2015 CH – Lausanne / Les Docks
03.02.2015 DE – Frankfurt / Batschkapp
04.02.2015 DE – München / Backstage
06.02.2015 AT – Vienna / Szene
07.02.2015 CH – Lyss / Kufa
08.02.2015 DE – Oberhausen / Turbinenhalle
10.02.2015 NL – Deventer / Burgerweeshuis
12.02.2015 BE – Antwerp / Trix
13.02.2015 UK – Nottingham / Rock City
14.02.2015 UK – Glasgow / Garage
15.02.2015 UK – London / Electric Ballroom
17.02.2015 DE – Saarbrücken / Garage
18.02.2015 NL – Eindhoven / De Effenaar
20.02.2015 DK – Arhus / Voxhall
21.02.2015 SE – Gothenborg / Sticky Fingers
22.02.2015 NO – Oslo / Parktheatret Scene
23.02.2015 NO – Stavanger / Folken
25.02.2015 DE – Bremen / Schlachthof
26.02.2015 DE – Hannover / Capitol
27.02.2015 DE – Dresden / Reithalle
28.02.2015 NL – Rotterdam / VanNelle Fabriek

Monster Magnet are signed to Napalm Records. ‘Like’ their Facebook Page. Follow them on Twitter @monstermagnetnj

Website: www.TheClassicRockShow.co.uk
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Here’s our interview with Delain’s Charlotte Wessels ahead of their tour of North America and UK

Busily packing for Delain’s next foray into North America, Charlotte Wessels took time out to chat with The Classic Rock Show about ‘The Human Contradiction’ album, released earlier this year.

Delain are on the eve of celebrating Charlotte’s tenth year with the group – something which is not lost on Charlotte and she makes comment on in the interview – and since signing with Napalm Records they have been able to make and stand by their own decisions. The independence that they have been offered by the label has reaped rewards as ‘The Human Contradiction’ is their most rounded and polished album to date; the songwriting and musicianship is there for all to see and hear.

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Charlotte also shared her thoughts on this freedom that Delain now have over their songwriting, as well as her feelings towards the work that the Sophie Lancaster Foundation continue to do in raising awareness of prejudice and intolerance.

This, together with hearing how much Delain are looking forward to returning to North America and later to the UK in November, makes for an interesting interview with one of the most recognised voices in rock, let alone the genre of Symphonic Metal.

Listen to our interview with Charlotte Wessels:

Links: Website www.delain.nl Facebook www.facebook.com/delainmusic Twitter @delainmusic

Delain’s album ‘The Human Contradiction’ is out on Napalm Records – buy it here.

Thanks for listening.

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