#INTERVIEW Chris Jericho is super excited to be back touring the UK w/ Fozzy

12249991_10153564533056195_6823627561173379878_nAmerican rock band Fozzy are back in the UK, beginning a string of dates tonight (24th November) at the Sub89 in Reading. The band continue to enjoy increasing success following the release of their sixth album ‘Do You Wanna Start A War’ in 2014 on Century Media Records. A good number of tracks from that album have become fan-favourites, being included in their ‘live’ set. You just have to see this band perform on stage to ‘get’ what they do. Chris Jericho, their lead vocalist, is no stranger to taking center stage of course, yet he forms just one part of the whole Fozzy experience. With the anticipation and excitement of hitting the studios in early ’16, now is as good a time as any to catch a Fozzy show and witness what this band can throw down on stage.

I caught up with Chris Jericho and began by asking about the reception Fozzy’s last album got.

TCRS: The last time we spoke was back in April 2013, when you were on a co-headline tour with Drowning Pool. Since then of course, we saw the release of “Do You Wanna Start A War” in July last year. Do you still get goose bumps over well that record went down with the fans?

11221799_10153313536736195_4112683198520037471_oChris Jericho: Yeah, I mean it’s pretty cool. Obviously, it’s been over a year now, but when you spend a lot of time on a new record especially when, well I’m not going to say there was a different style of music on the records, but it was very diverse. There were a couple of opportunities that were taken and you know we wanted to really expand on what the Fozzy sound is, and basically just kind of go on the Queen route, where it doesn’t matter if a song is a rock song or a metal song or a pop song or whatever it may be. Either it’s a good song or it’s a bad song and that’s something I always loved to go dance like Queen or Led Zeppelin or the Beatles, or even Guns N Roses! There’s a lot of diversity in that sound, but it’s still and always was those bands. But there was no kind of box that they had to put themselves into. So the fact that there was a song that I like to go out on it was just almost like, you know, that old dance club tone and have it become the biggest hit of our career was very goose bump inducing shall we say. And the fact that I think we do 7 of those songs ‘live’, it makes up a lions share of our set and every song people love and every song people are into. It does show that you know this experiment, this chance that we took really paid off. So it was really really cool boost in momentum, definitely the biggest selling record of our career, the most currently acclaimed and the most popular. So it’s a great place to be as we start writing materials for our next record and kind of finish off this tour cycle over in UK and in Europe in November, December.

TCRS: We’ll come to your plans for the new record in a moment. But, since the album was released, Fozzy has been on numerous tours as well as the festival circuit which you seem to have all enjoyed. Tell us about some of the highlights.

Chris Jericho: Well, I mean you know, obviously Download is always a highlight. We kind of kicked off the tour right before the record came out at Download, it was the first time we ever played the mainstage. So that was the highlight for us. I think we did a lot of touring whether it was the Theory of a Dead Man or Texas Hippie Coalition and that was a lot of fun. I think that those were my two favourite tours and one of them as hasn’t happened yet, but it’s about to. But I love the short run we did with Slash back in May, that was a real great mix of two killer Rock and Roll bands. We got along really well as people and as peers. I would love to be more with that band in the future, because it was a great mix and it was a really good tour for us. It was a lot of fun, you know you have Slash watching our show ever night and kind of commenting positively about the band. You know, it’s always cool to get that from people touring with us. But obviously when you’re touring with a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and it’s your icon like Slash it was just…I don’t know, I’m not going to say it’s a moral boost, but it’s just really cool to know that other people feel the same way about the way we do about the band, that are in such high high lofty positions.

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TCRS: And you went on the Kiss Kruise just recently?

Chris Jericho: Well yeah, yeah! You know my hero is Paul Stanley. Not only were we there with Kiss, we were hanging out with one of my best friends that I’ve made over the last year or so and it was a blast. I mean what more do you want right? Playing rock and roll with one of the biggest bands of all time on a f*****g cruise ship. I mean if that doesn’t tell you that you’ve made it then nothing else does!?

TCRS: Fozzy begins a 12-date tour of the UK on 24th November, starting at Reading’s Sub89, how does it feel to be coming back to the UK?

Chris Jericho: Oh man, we’re super-stoked to be coming back! You know, the UK has always been so good to us. The energy that the British crowd brings is unlike any other. We really can’t wait to play for you.

TCRS: You’re bringing along two bands with you, Nonpoint for whom it’ll be their first time in the UK, and Sumo Cyco.

Chris Jericho: Nonpoint and Sumo Cyco…they’re both the perfect type of bands for us to bring over, because we want to expand that audience. You have to put together the best package possible and not just for the people who buy tickets to see those bands, but also people who come and don’t care who the opening bands are . We still want to give them the best show possible so that when they leave they maybe have some appreciation for a new band as well. So we love Nonpoint, we think that they are a great band. And as you said, they’ve never really been to the UK, it’s a perfect time for them to come out with us on this tour.

WINTER ROCKS 2015 e flyer-2TCRS: Two of the 12 dates are Festival appearances, the Winter Rocks Festival at The Corporation in Sheffield, where I’ll be seeing you, and at Planet Rockstock in Wales.

Chris Jericho: Yeah! So we’re ending off with two great shows, we are the show, it’s just about high energy entertaining rock and roll show so I’m looking forward to that and like you said it’s a great way to end off the two cool festivals.

TCRS: Before we finish up Chris, just tell us about what you’ve got planned for the new album scheduled for 2016?

Chris Jericho: Yeah that’s kind of the plan you know, we want to have the album ready for summer 2016. I was just talking to Rich (Ward) the other day and he was just finishing up a new Stuck Mojo record. He’s got lots of Fozzy ideas, continuing in the same vein, let’s just be Fozzy and not worry about it. Is it too heavy, is it too poppy, would you dance it, would you rock and roll, just make a bunch of great songs and see what happens because, like it says, doing something like ‘Lights Go Out’, ‘Do You Wanna Start A War’ that have generally been really huge for us, we’re going to continue to go down that route. What kind of songs do we want to write and try and see some different things? I’m actually writing a song right now, I’m not going to say with who, but if it turns out good, it’s going to be a mind blower. It is not somebody you would expect Fozzy to write a song with, and vice versa, on his end and if it turns out great, it could be kind of starting another new type of genre, like ‘Lights Go Out’ was a dance club metal song. I think this song, if it works out, could be something completely different again, kind of mashing two genre’s together and why not?! You know, what I mean that is one thing I loved about, like you say, I mentioned The Beatles before, everyone says that they are the greatest rock and roll band of all time and never made the same album twice, it’s always something different, always something pushing the boundaries and outside the box. That’s kind of the direction we’re going in, because it’s the only chance we have to continue to build the band. We can’t be like anybody else, we aren’t like everybody else, we never have been, we never will be, so let’s just be ourselves and just see what happens. I think that’s one thing that our fans appreciate about us, and I think it’s one thing that makes the band very exciting right now in a world where there’s a lot of copy cats, you know, I’m not saying that in a bad way but that’s kind of the way that the music business goes. If something is hot, there’s a 100 bands trying to copy it and I don’t want to copy anybody, I just want to be ourselves and what does that mean, we sell one record, we sell 1 million records as long as we can be ourselves, I know that the band will continue to grow.

TCRS: Well you pretty much answered my next question, Chris, because I was going to say how did you sort of continue as you hopped on consistently as a band, continue to turn heads and turn people on to follow you is an amazing effort.

Chris Jericho: Well, like you said, I mean, the one thing that, at this point in time, there is very few people that are still hung up on the fact that I have another job. I figured this point, Fozzy is a great band, but there is always still people that we have to work twice as hard to get respect from. I mean, we still have never done shows in Japan or South America or places like that, that I know we do huge business in, but I takes a while for people to accept the band because I’m in it. And that’s okay, I mean we don’t care, we’ve been coming to the UK for 10 years now. People know what’s up when they see Fozzy on the bill and the only way to continue to expand that and kind of open those doors is just to continue to be ourselves, whether it’s word of mouth or whatever it is we’re not in any rush. We’ll just continue to do what we do and it’s been working for us so far, so we expect that to continue to grow for us.

TCRS: I’m certainly looking forward to seeing you guys on stage again in the UK, along with a lot of our listeners.

Chris Jericho: Well I can say we’re looking forward to it and we always consider the UK to be our second home. We always have great shows and great tours and we’re super excited and looking forward to coming back. See you all down the front!

  • 24.11.15 (UK) Reading – Sub89

  • 25.11.15 (UK) Tunbridge Wells – The Forum

  • 26.11.15 (UK) London – Islington Academy

  • 27.11.15 (UK) Manchester – Sound Control

  • 28.11.15 (UK) Chester – The Live Rooms

  • 29.11.15 (UK) Southampton – Engine Rooms

  • 01.12.15 (UK) Birmingham – The Rainbow

  • 02.12.15 (UK) Cambridge – Junction

  • 03.12.15 (UK) Newcastle – Riverside

  • 04.12.15 (UK) Nottingham – Rescue Rooms

  • 05.12.15 (UK) Sheffield – Winter Rocks Festival, The Corporation, Sheffield

  • 06.12.15 (UK) Trecco Bay – Planet Rockstock

For ticket info, head over to the Fozzy website:

FOZZY online:
http://fozzyrock.com/
http://www.facebook.com/FozzyRock
http://twitter.com/FozzyRock

Century Media Records online:
http://www.centurymedia.com
http://www.youtube.com/centurymedia
http://www.twitter.com/centurymediaeu
http://www.facebook.com/centurymedia
http://www.instagram.com/centurymediaeu

 

Website: www.TheClassicRockShow.co.uk
Twitter: @ClassicRockShow
Facebook Group:www.facebook.com/groups/theclassicrockshow

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#INTERVIEW New Years Day’s Ashley Costello talks Malevolence, songwriting, recording, touring and board games!

Band Logo - New Years Day2015 has already been a monstrously significant year for the band New Years Day. It saw them play this year’s Van Warped Tour, as well as frontwoman Ash Costello hosting the Alternative Press Music Awards Red Carpet and taking an active role as a spokesperson for PETA.

Malevolence is the title of their forthcoming album, produced by Erik Ron (Escape The Fate, The Word Alive, Motionless In White, Set It Off) and is the band’s first release on Another Century Records. New Years Day will be heading over to the UK as tour support for Motionless In White, beginning November 23rd in Belfast.

So impressed were we with the single ‘Kill Or Be Killed’ when we played the track on ‘The Classic Rock Show’ the other week, we got in touch with Ash Costello and had a chat about all things New Years Day.

TCRS: New Year’s Day, formed ten years ago?

Ash: Well, if you think about just ten years. Yeah, that sounds like a long time, but then again you have to also realize that all the Wikipedia…How do I say this(?), it looks at our high school years and counts that. You know, I feel like the first five years don’t really count because we were children. I mean we were a band, but we were kids and we didn’t know what we were doing at all. So I don’t really count that. But New Year’s Day as an adult got serious and became a real band I’d say was about five years ago…2010.

TCRS: This year has seen the band play on the Vans Warped Tour. How’s that gone?Band Photo - New Years Day (3)

Ash: Well, I mean that couldn’t gone any better we weren’t originally put on Main Stage, we were put on the stage below that. But, we got put on Main Stage all the time. And you know we got put on Main Stage more than any other band that was moved around and it just went so well. You know our crowds were bigger we expected. It was just a really good place to be this summer. You know, we really felt like we’re actually making a difference here.  You know we’re doing the things we set out to do and it feels like for the first time we’re seeing them happen in front of our eyes.

TCRS: What were the highlights for you?

Ash: Every time we got moved up to Main Stage was a highlight for sure.

TCRS: How did you entertain yourself in between shows?

Ash: We play a lot of drinking games [Laughs]. Yeah, we’ve done Warped Tour before so we kinda knew what to bring, what to expect! Like, okay, we need to be the band that brings the table with the chairs and the tent so we can all hang out and invite other bands. We have board games and ping-pong tournaments and so we brought all kinds of board games and drinking games and tables and chairs and coolers. And we’d set up behind our trailer. and just invite other bands. We’d always have something to do to Escape the Fate or Memphis May Fire or Pvris; we’d just play games all day!

TCRS: So that experience from the previous tour was put to good use this time round?

Ash: Yeah. I learned, you need a tent to sit under, you need chairs to sit on and you need a table and the rest just kind of brings itself. We didn’t think of it last time, so we were all just burning in the sun, sitting on the ground.

New Years Day - Malevolence - CoverTCRS: You’ve got a new album coming out entitled “Malevolence” which will hit the streets October 2nd. It’s New Year’s Day’s third full length album and first with Another Century record label.

Ash: Yeah, we were actually signed to a subsidiary of Century Media before called Hollywood Waste Records. When they abolished that they really didn’t take any bands that were on it. Ss we had one record that we put out that was on your own, but then I guess what had happened was the owner heard the record and was like “Oh my gosh! This is so good. What do we do with this?” And we had to tell him, “Oh you guys dropped us” and he was like “What?”. They re-signed us basically and that’s pretty much what happened there. I’m really glad that we did because we were having offers come in from other labels.  I’m just glad we went back to Century because they honestly they feel like family. They really do.

TCRS: What made you all decide to go back into the studio?

Ash: It was about that time. It had been about two years since our last full length. So it’s just about that time and we were about to head on warped tour and generally before you leave for a big tour like that you want to have an album before you embark on that busy schedule. Otherwise you just get sucked into the schedule and pretty soon there’s no time. We were still recording when we started Warped Tour and I had to fly home to fly home on the days of to finish the album. So it was a pretty hectic time and it was the only time we had to do it.

TCRS: And this time your back working with Eric Ron who produced your previous album Victim To Villain. He’s been such a positive influence on the band, right?

Ash: Oh yeah. I mean he’s a genius you know. That’s why everyone wants to work with him. He’s a goddamn genius that guy! He took a liking to New Year’s Day, he also manages us and we’re the only band that he manages. And he’s like a brother to me now and has influenced me in a way or he’s made me better. He’s made me a better front-person, he made me a better vocalist, a better songwriter, better marketing, just better at everything. He has had a very positive influence and it’s really hard to find people because even though we have Eric Ron, we still branch out and work with songwriters. We are so different and so unique; I have such a specific vision that it’s very hard to find people that understand that. Eric Ron has always understood it from the get go, so that’s why we tend to stick with the people we love, that we call family and we’re very rarely branch out from that.

Band Photo - New Years Day (5)TCRS: What’s your approach to songwriting?

Ash: Oh god. I hate songwriting. I’ll just be honest I hate it. It’s the worst for me because it’s, you know, you have to go back and find the perfect way to say some sort of hellish way to say some sort of hellish pain you went through so that other people can understand it and relate to it. It’s generally not a very fun process for me. That’s why it takes me a long time to write a song, but in a way that’s a good thing because I truly care about what I’m saying. I truly think about how the person will relate and I really think about how I’m saying what I’m saying. You know, I put a lot of thought into it and with Malevolence the songs are the most honestly, purely from the heart lyrics I’ve ever done and that’s what makes me the most proud of this album. I think people are really going to relate to it.

TCRS: We played Kill Or Be Killed on the show just the other week. It sounds tremendous. Tell us about that song.

Ash: Kill Or Be Killed is about how I was pushed around a lot in the beginning and still am sometimes in the music industry, because I’m a girl. I think that doesn’t help any and I tend to get knocked around. I hit a point a year ago and it was like I’m gonna push back from now on and I don’t care who doesn’t like me. And I don’t care who gets mad or who says bad thing about my back. Like “Oh, she’s a Diva. Or she’s a this, that and the other”, I just know what I want and I’m gonna fight for that and so that’s where the saying, you know, Kill Or Be Killed…backs against the wall, bloods gonna spill…! While I was recording some of the songs, I would get emotional and cry. And I know it sounds like so cheesy and cliche, but I think if you’re not feeling what you’re writing to that degree, I would sit back and go, well, I didn’t try hard enough. I didn’t push myself hard enough. I didn’t dig down deep enough and I need to go back and revisit it and try harder. ‘Cause I know that everyone is different. I know that for me, that’s the standard I have for myself.

TCRS: What’s different about this album compared with your previous releases?

Ash: I think with the previous releases, I had a vision of what I wanted to sound like. You know, who is to say that you’re gonna achieve that the first attempt out the gate? And I feel like Victim to Villian was a great record and it came very close, but it still wasn’t enough for me. So with this album, although I don’t think I’ll ever be satisfied, this is a lot closer to the way I envisioned New Year’s Day sounding; it’s much heavier, much more emotional, a lot darker. So I feel like this is New Year’s Day growing up in a way. You’re always learning and I don’t feel like on Victim To Villain I was as honest as I am in Malevolence. So I kind of go there a little bit more, emotionally, you know?

Band Photo - New Years Day (4)TCRS: Is there a theme running through the album?

Ash: Yeah, yeah. Personally, I’d had a really hard year. I mean New Year’s Day was starting to take off and I really, for the first time, had never dealt with negativity in my life. For the first time, I was starting to see what losing a friend to drugs was like. Or losing a friend to money. Like disagreeing on money and losing a friend. Or, you know, watching people get greedy because they see what you have. You know people using you. People using you then stabbing you in the back. Being cheated by someone that I’ve been dating for a very long time. I mean just pretty much all the nastiest things you can of happened this year and I had to become stronger than all of it. And so the album, the reason it’s called Malevolence, is because I really identify with the character Maleficent. You know she started out as a pure person, but kind of the wrongdoings of the world turned her into this evil, vengeful, powerful being. And I just felt I related to that and so that’s pretty much what the album is about.

TCRS: What’s been the reaction to the new songs out on the road?

Ash: I’ve never had such a good reaction to new songs, in my life! Normally, there’s at least someone who’s like “Ah, I liked your old stuff better” or “I don’t get it”. You know there’s always someone, but even YouTube, where it’s like the worst of the worst comments ever, I’ve not found anything negative. You know people are just really loving it and so I was a little worried at first but now I’m like “Fuck! Okay. Let’s roll with this. This is great!”

TCRS: You’re heading over to the U.K. to tour with Motionless In White.

Ash: Yeah! I’m so excited. We’re going to share a bus. It’s going to be all nothing but board games [laughs]. I’m so excited.

TCRS: Do you have any particular favorite board games?

Ash: Yes! Yeah, there’s two  that we play. No, there’s three that we play constantly and one is called Geek Out, which actually gets us into serious fights because what you do is you pick up a card and it’ll say “Name six planets from Star Wars”. Or “Name seven comic book super villains”, and you’ll get into arguments with your friend and legitimately get pissed off. So we play that a lot. Like I’m talking hours! And then we play Pictionary and we play…oh what’s the other one? Oh, Scategories is our big one. Yeah. We get pretty serious. And then Scene It because we’re all really into movies. We play Scene It a lot. it’s like a movie trivia game.

TCRS: It won’t be your first time over in the U.K. What are you looking forward to most on this tour?

Ash: Yeah, last time out was with Escape the Fate which was our first time, they’re also our best friends. So I mean talk about the funnest time of my life. I mean honestly like I get butterflies when I think about how much fun it was. And then we came back for a week to do the Metal Hammer Awards thing. So this will be our second real tour but the third time we’ve been over. As for waht we’re looking forward to most, oh, the sightseeing! We get super into sightseeing!

TCRS: What message do you have for your fans out there for coming to see you this time?

Ash: Y’all better bring the pain. We demand a lot of audience participation. So there’s no free rides in our shows. You have to crowd surf. You have to circle pit. You have to do these things or you’re just going to get a shoe in your face. Just prepare yourself.

TCRS: And as for your album?

Ash: I would just like everyone to have an open mind and to let out the little angry monster we keep inside all of us. And usually quiet up and kind of shut down. I would like people to listen to it and kind of release that monster for a little bit.

New Years Day supporting ‘MOTIONLESS IN WHITE’ UK Tour:

23 NOV Belfast (IRL) Mandela Hall
24 NOV Dublin (IRL) Academy
26 NOV Manchester – Club Academy
27 NOV Leeds – Stylus
28 NOV Glasgow (SCO) – Garage
29 NOV Nottingham – Rescue Rooms
01 DEC Birmingham – Asylum
02 DEC Bristol – The Fleece
03 DEC Southampton – 1865
04 DEC London – Underworld
06 DEC London – Underworld

New Years Day online: www.facebook.com/nydrock | http://www.twitter.com/NYDrock

The new album from New Years Day ‘Malevolence’ is out on Another Century October 2nd. We dig ’em and we think you will too.

Cheers!

www.TheClassicRockShow.co.uk | @ClassicRockShow | www.facebook.com/groups/theclassicrockshow

#INTERVIEW Extensive interview with Michael Wilton of Queensryche

queensryche logoAgainst the formidable obstacles of an ever-changing cultural landscape, the rise and fall of various musical trends, and the near collapse of the record industry itself, Queensrÿche secured a triumphant legacy as one of hard rock’s most respected and celebrated acts, selling 30 million albums around the world across a 30-plus-year career.

The much-anticipated new offering, ‘Condition Hüman’, sees LaTorre deliver the performance of a lifetime on what is now his sophomore recording effort with the band. Produced by Zeuss (Rob Zombie, Hatebreed, Sanctuary) in the band’s native Washington, Condition Hüman is a new mountain towering over many of the peaks and valleys of the hard rock landscape.

The band’s name is uttered in the same breath as many of the groups they looked to as influences and others who arose as peers. Queensrÿche built a dedicated legion of fans traveling the globe on tour with fellow rock giants like Iron Maiden, Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, Judas Priest, and Def Leppard. In recent years, they’ve consistently delivered high-octane live shows combining the hungry fire of a new band with the tempered experience of master showmen. Even with eleven gold and platinum plaques and a several Top 10 hard rock anthems woven into the very fiber of the genre, Queensrÿche won’t relent. In fact, they’re in the throes of a jaw-dropping creative resurgence.

Michael WiltonThe band is currently touring across North America with the Scorpions (Sept 10th to Oct 9th). We caught up with founding member and lead guitarist, Michael Wilton, soon after their Wacken Festival debut.

TCRS: You’re on a break now, following your recent tour of the UK and Europe?

Michael: Yes we just finished 21 shows in 23 days. Blitzed through Europe and the UK, and now I’m just in Germany then I’m heading back to the States before we start the next tour.

TCRS: You took in a few festivals including Wacken Festival. I believe that’s a first for the band, if I’m not mistaken. How was it?

Michael: Yeah! It’s really amazing that we never played that festival and Wacken is such a huge event. It’s just, it’s mind blowing you know. How that little town just turns into this metal Mecca you know and just the crowds. I mean that was one of the biggest crowds I’ve performed in a very long time and it’s well organized and wow!, you know? And I met the owner, he’s just so down to earth and such a cool guy. And you know hopefully we’ll be able to attend and play that one again sometime.

TCRS: Before we get into the big stuff about the band and the new album, may I just take you back to 1984, when I believe it was the first that you came to the UK, as tour support for Dio on the ‘Last in Line Tour’. Am I right with that?

Dio Last In Line tourMichael: That’s right! Wow!

TCRS: I saw you at the Hammersmith Odeon [now Hammersmith Apollo]. I recall drinking with friends in the bar, as you do, anyway we heard you guys light up and we’re looking at each other and we’re like “Hey, this sound is something we’ve not heard before!”, and we all trailed into the auditorium and were all just blown away by you guys. What are your memories of that time?

Michael: Oh well, thank you. I mean that was, what ’84? A long time ago…and for us that was such a monumental tour. We were so grateful you know to be on tour and you know Ronnie was the consummate gentleman. He kinda of showed us the ropes in a lot of areas and just such a great person and all the guys in the band were great. And so accommodating to us because we were just getting our legs for touring the world. I’ve got an interesting thing: I had never had Indian food before. Ronnie had a chef out there and he invited us to eat Indian food. That was the first time I ever had Indian food.

TCRS: Was it the last?

Michael: No! I kinda like it. You know, as long as my stomach can handle it.

TCRS: Perhaps not something you recommend on tour maybe, certainly not on a tour bus anyway.

Michael: Yeah exactly! [laughs]

Queensryche line upTCRS: Jumping back to the present day, how is the band finding its way around on stage since singer Todd Le Torre joined?

Michael: It really going excellent. You know we’ve been touring on the previous recording of 2013 you know for two years now Todd is comfortable with singing a song. His voice is getting stronger and he’s just more comfortable being on stage and singing these songs. These are not easy songs for anybody to sing. So, he’s really done a great job and he’s definitely acclimated to the road life and being out here. So, everything is kind of settled in a way so we’re doing quite well.

TCRS: And I guess he brings another amount of experience to the party as well.

Michael: Well he does especially over here in Europe. You know he’s got a reputation with Crimson Glory and now he’s with Queensrÿche, he brings a whole new dimension to the live performance. He is so energetic and so passionate about the music. There’s a new energy on stage with the band and everybody is just really just having a great time and having fun again.

TCRS: The audience are certainly feeding of that energy and that gives you something to feed off.

Michael: Oh yeah. It definitely does. Especially like you know when you’re playing in front of 65,000 people, it’s just unbelievable the energy. The support we’re getting from the crowd…well, it’s just kinda like the old days.

queensryche condition human album art

TCRS: The new album, Condition Hüman, is out on Century Media October 2nd. Produced by Chris “Zeuss” Harris, who’s known for recording with Hatebreed, Soulfly, Whitechapel and has been working on the new Rob Zombie album, how did that arrangement come about with Zeuss?

Michael: We already had a few songs, but didn’t want a repeat of the last album. We wanted to evolve from it and I think this was a very important record that we needed to establish, you know, that we are the roots Queensrÿche as well as a current band. Zeuss was introduced to us by the A&R guy at Century Media. I had looked at his portfolio and it’s like, wow, you’ve done some heavy bands! When I first talked to him, he goes “Let me just tell you, I’m not about changing Queensrÿche, I’m about bringing that band magic that happened on those early records, and finding that and bringing that back out in your performances to record. I’m gonna mix this so it’s current…you’re a current band!. You know, that’s kind of how we started and we met and then it was just the whole thing of scheduling and finding somebody that was flexible. He was flexible. He had just finished the Rob Zombie album and he had a certain amount of time allotted that he could do with us. So, basically he had I believe six weeks to record 15 songs, Queensrÿche songs that is. It was a lot of hours and he is a workhorse. He got so much accomplished and it was just 16 hour days for the guy. He actually even traveled on the road. We had a couple weekend shows that we had to do and he actually traveled with us and set up in a hotel room and we recorded the guitars in that kind of a setting just to keep on schedule. So we basically finished with all the music in six weeks. We then needed a couple more weeks for Todd to finish up vocals, so he had to talk to Rob Zombie and see if we could you know borrow a couple of his weeks. Rob Zombie was very cool and let us finish the album – I just want to say that. Then it was just off to the mixing and the mastering. We’ve been just very, very busy, you know; touring, recording and like I said things have been a little more settled. There’s not too many distractions anymore and we’re just on our mark for fertile grounds of creativity. There’s going to be no stifling of that.

unnamed (2)TCRS: Sounds like you guys really do have a game plan now.

Michael: Exactly! Like I said, things are settled. We have our management. We have a proper booking agent in the Europe and the UK now. We’ve got proper booking agents in the US. We’ve got PR people in the US. PR in Europe and the UK. And Century Media  is totally behind us. They exercised their second option on the recording contract, which I might add that hasn’t happened since EMI!

TCRS: Congratulations! Just going back to Zeuss, if I may, what was he able to bring out of each of you in the recording studio?

Michael: I think he got us out of that way of thinking that everything had to be kind of structured and a pop song format arrangement. He got us out of that traditional way of thinking and you know we kind of brought the spirit of Rage for Order, The Warning, MindCrime and just let’s do things a little bit different. Let’s do some tempo changes, some key changes, some fake endings, some extended endings, some segues that come out of nowhere. He was like “Let’s just have some fun with these, so that they’re more unique and they sound more in the spirit of how you guys are”. And he really brought that out in everybody. I mean most notably Ed Jackson (bass). I mean the bass used to be so prevalent in our old recordings and Zeuss was adamant at making sure  that Eddie’s bass was featured and you could hear it on every song. And you know more of just playing with the Kick drums playing. Let’s get the old Ed Jackson back into this. And you know so  and that’s just one example. I mean he did that with everybody. He got just amazing performances out of everybody.

TCRS: You never stop learning in this business do you?

Michael: Me, personally, no. I’m constantly learning and relearning and relearning what I’ve relearned. You know it’s a never ending process and that’s what makes it so fun. You know it’s just I have such a burning desire to do what I do that I just, I can’t stop it. I’m just insane about it so it’s just I love what I do and I love the fact that I can keep learning from it definitely and I think I can say that for everybody else in the band as well. That we’re just a bunch of guys that can co-habit together.

TCRS: That’s great to hear, Michael. We played the lead single ‘Arrow Of Time’ on the show the other week and it went down a storm with Queensrÿche fans and, let me tell you, now you’ve won some new fans over as well.

Michael: Thanks for playing it! We’re really proud of that song, and that’s what it’s about, you know, we’re also a current band. The audiences are so varied and different and if we can influence  new listeners to check out what we’re doing, that’s just great! We’ve played that song every night as an added bonus, so the fans got to hear a live version of a song that’s not even out yet.

TCRS: When are fans likely to hear more of the new album in your live sets?

Michael: Well, hopefully, you know the release is October 2nd and I know we’ve got another single [Guardian] and we have some videos coming through the pipelines, so yeah we’ll be able to bring those into the set. I don’t know if we’ll do that on the Scorpion’s run, but we’ll be able to do that maybe on our own shows in between those Scorpion shows.

TCRS: What are you looking forward to most touring with the Scorpions?

Michael: Well, you know I’m a big Scorpions fan, so obviously the music is something I’m looking forward to, but it’s just the opportunity to finally properly play with the Scorpions and play the United States and Canada with it all. They’re playing in some pretty big places that we haven’t played in a long time. So I’m really looking forward to that and I just think it’s going to be awesome. I love these guys and I have all their albums, so it’s kind of a double dream come true.

TCRS: What rig are you taking around these days?

Michael: Well, what I take around with me is called a Kemper Profiler and it’s kind of a self contained amp that I can just plug into a rented speaker cabinet and all my sounds are in that along with a wireless system and my trusty ESP Signature guitars. Oh, and a foot pedal, that’s about it.

TCRS: The ESPs loaded with Seymour Duncan’s, I guess?

Michael: Oh Yeah. Love the Seymour Duncan’s! One of my guitars is a Custom ESP that they made for me and the other one a Signature ESP and that’s what I travel with.

TCRS: Have you ever done a rig rundown on YouTube, I don’t think I have seen one?

Michael: No, I never have. I think it would probably disappoint a lot of people as it’s all in this little box. All stored on a thumb drive, a little 1GB thumb drive! [laughs]

TCRS: I don’t think it will disappoint anybody. Okay, Michael, so what is the future looking like now for Queensrÿche?

Michael: We’ve got a plan that we’ve been sticking to and we’re just going to continue on with that plan. We’re gonna tour, of course, and after the Scorpions tour we go into November and December doing a few gigs in the US. In January, we start up again and we go all the way through March. We’re booking more shows and I think another summer tour over in Europe is on the cards.

TCRS: Good luck with the new album. If ‘Arrow of Time’ [and Guardian] is anything to go by, Queensrÿche have another belter of an album in ‘Condition Hüman’.

Michael: I think any Queensrÿche fan is gonna just love this recording. And if you’re not a fan, well, check it out anyway. It’s a very cool, eclectic, semi-progressive, semi-metal, semi-hard rock album. Queensrÿche is back with a vengeance!

‘Condition Hüman’ will be released 2nd October via Century Media Records. ‘Arrow Of Time’, ‘Guardian’, ‘Hellfire’ and ‘Bulletproof’ are destined to take their place among Queensrÿche’s most beloved songs. Produced by Zeuss (Rob Zombie, Hatebreed, Sanctuary), ‘Condition Hüman’ is a new mountain towering over many of the peaks and valleys of the hard rock landscape.

Queensrÿche is: Todd La Torre – Vocals | Michael Wilton – Guitar | Eddie Jackson – Bass | Scott Rockenfield – Drums | Parker Lundgren – Guitar

Queensrÿche: www.queensrycheofficial.com | www.facebook.com/QueensrycheOfficial | www.twitter.com/queensryche

Thanks for taking the time to read this interview. Make sure you check out the new album…it’s killer!

Website: www.TheClassicRockShow.co.uk
Twitter: @ClassicRockShow
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#NEWS British rock ‘n’ rollers The Temperance Movement announce their brand new studio album ‘White Bear’

British rock ‘n’ rollers THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT are proud to announce their brand new studio album, ‘White Bear‘.

Due to be released on January 15th, 2016, the eagerly-anticipated follow-up to their 2013 self-titled debut was recorded with producer Sam Miller in London, Northamptonshire and Monmouth and features 10 stomping new blues-rock anthems.  The band will support ‘White Bear‘ with a UK tour which kicks off the day after the album’s release.

ttm_2015THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT comment:

Guitarist, Paul Sayer confides, “White Bear is a real step on for us sonically and artistically.  Playing so many shows together over the last 3 years allowed us to develop a really clear idea of where we wanted to go with our next record.  When it came to making this album we had a bit more time and space to let our creativity go, and I’m incredibly proud of what we achieved.”

Whilst on the album title, ‘White Bear‘, singer Phil Campbell notes, “Nick called me with the title which inspired the lyric to the song.  It refers to a study by Daniel Wenger on mindfulness and the controlling of unwanted thoughts, testing a quote from Dostoevsky’s ‘Winter Notes on Summer Impressions’: ‘Try to pose for yourself this task: not to think of a polar bear, and you will see that the cursed thing will come to mind every minute.'”

ttm_whitebearWhite Bear‘ track listing:

1. Three Bulleits
2. Get Yourself Free
3. A Pleasant Peace I Feel
4. Modern Massacre
5. Battle Lines
6. White Bear
7. Oh Lorraine
8. Magnify
9. The Sun and Moon Roll Around Too Soon
10. I Hope I’m Not Losing My Mind

White Bear‘ is available to pre-order now on CD, signed CD, vinyl and limited edition signed white vinyl, and is also available in a number of t-shirt bundles.  Reserve your copy now at http://www.earache.com/ttm

The album is also available to pre-order now on iTunes, including an exclusive bonus track, at http://bit.ly/whitebear-itunes

Don’t miss THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT on tour in the UK in support of ‘White Bear‘:

Jan. 16 – Portsmouth, UK – Pyramid Centre
Jan. 17 – Norwich, UK – UEA
Jan. 19 – Aberdeen, UK – Beach Ballroom
Jan. 20 – Glasgow, UK – Barrowland
Jan. 21 – Newcastle, UK – University
Jan. 22 – Leeds, UK – Becket University
Jan. 24 – Manchester, UK – Academy 2
Jan. 25 – Birmingham, UK – Institute
Jan. 26 – Cardiff, UK – Y Plas
Jan. 27 – London, UK – Shepherd’s Bush Empire

All tickets and bundles are available at http://thetemperancemovement.com/whitebear

Get more news and info from THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT:

Official site – http://www.thetemperancemovement.com
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/TheTemperanceMovement
Twitter – http://twitter.com/ttm_tweets

Website: www.TheClassicRockShow.co.uk
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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.

coal-chamber-rivals

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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INTERVIEW: James May (Black Tusk) on Athon, BLS tour and new album ‘Pillars Of Ash’

810466_logoFor the current Black label Society European Tour (2015) , Zakk Wylde has brought along with him two bands with uniquely different sounds – Black Tusk and Crobot.

869ab2221cFor Black Tusk, this tour comes hard on the heels of a tragic loss. Their bassist, Jonathan Athon, died in November last year as a consequence of injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident in their hometown of Savannah, Georgia.

The swamp metal trio had not long finished recording a new album (‘Pillars Of Ash’ is set for release mid-2015 through Relapse Records). Corey Barhorst (ex-Kylesa) has the unenviable task of picking up the reins left by Athon’s passing. A formidably powerful bass player in his own right, Barhorst’s long-standing friendship with the remaining members will hopefully serve him well.

I caught up with drummer/singer and founding member of Black Tusk, James May at their recent appearance at Norwich UEA (18/2/2015). It’s never easy to talk with someone on the subject of lost a friend or brother, but I was struck by James’ outlook and positivity, whilst still coming to terms with Athon’s loss.

BLS_Black_Tusk_tourMJ: Welcome to the Classic Rock Show, James.

JM: Thank you.

MJ: Black Tusk on tour with Black Label Society and Crobot along as well. How’s the tour been going so far?

JM: It’s been good. We started off in Budapest and we played five shows before we got on this tour. And then, since we got on this tour, Black Label kind of has a different crowd than what we’re used to. At first you’re a little “How’s it going to be taken?”, but it’s been taken very well. So the tour has ended up being great for us. The crew is really nice to us, everyone one is cool with it, so there’s no problems at all. We like it, man.

MJ: Sorry to bring this up, but it’s been a difficult time for you of late. I guess there’s no such thing as great timing in any of these events. Especially on the eve of a tour such as this one. You lost a very dear beloved band member.

JM: A brother, more than anything.

MJ: Tell us about how you’ve been coping with it.

James May - Black TuskJM: Your own ways you get through it. Like I said, it wasn’t like a band member. Black Tusk was like a three-headed monster. You know what I mean? It’s been just us since the beginning. We’ve all known each other since we’ve been younger and when the band started. So it’s not even three guys that hooked up three years ago. It was before that. I’ve known Athon, knew him more than I had not known him at that point. You know what I mean? So, it was horrible. But we had to do what was good for the band. Me and Andrew both said, like, if it was me, I would want you guys to keep going. You know? Just things happen. There’s nothing you can do about it. And the band, to stop because of it, no, I mean we did think about it of course. We were thinking how could we even replace him? It’s always been us. And it would have always been us. But, on a lighter note, we’ve got Cory now. He’s great. Thankfully for him, he can come tour with us and he was interested in doing it and looking like he is going to end up working out for the full time for the future. But we have known him a long time, as well. Like since before, since before the band started, when he was coming to see our older bands play. So he’s always been around. It was a lot easier to have someone we already knew and that was around, than have someone come in that was just going to try out for Black Tusk. You know what I mean? You know, no one ever wants something like that to happen. We dealt with it the best way we could.

MJ: It’s got to be different.

JM: It’s different. We’re still getting used to it. The first night was really weird. The first, in Budapest, it was the first time we had ever played together in front of a live crowd as this new setup of Black Tusk. But, at least the crowd was so good to us that they made it really easy for us. They were going nuts and everything. They made it really easy for us to have our first show. So shout out to them for that.

MJ: You’ve a few more dates in the UK, then you head over for an extensive tour of mainland Europe. That’s a lot of contact with a lot of fans out there, different crowd as well for you and the boys in Black Tusk to perform in front of. What is it you look forward to most on tours like these?

JM: The reason to take a tour like this is so you don’t keep playing to the same niche of people. Your band is never going to grow when, you know when we first started, it’s safe to play in front of like metal punks. Because you know they’re going to like it. And after a while, you hit a ceiling, it’s only going to get so big, you’ve got to go on tour with another band that has a different crowd and win them over and that’s what we’ve done the past six years is just go on tour with bigger bands and try to get some of their crowd, too, because that’s how you build this thing to get bigger and bigger. The first four years you spend around in shitholes playing to people that you know. I don’t have any problem with them. They make sense. As long as the people are cool that are on the tour, the actual bands and crew and everything that makes it so much easier.

BlackTusk-1

MJ: Music wise for Black Tusk, it goes without saying that it’s been a challenge rehearsal-wise and prepping a setlist?

JM: We were kind of freaking out a little bit in getting this stuff together before this tour. And also, you know, no one wanted to go to that space. We didn’t want to play. But we had to. We had to get the stuff together for the tour. But me and Andrew were like dreading going to the practice space again. It didn’t feel right, without Athon there, so, but we pulled through it. We got it done.

MJ: Where is the main body of music coming on? Off of your last album? Tell us about that.

JM: It’s pretty much, we’re starting the set with some Taste The Sin stuff, then we have this new 7″ out, Vulture’s Eye, that would be new to anyone over here. It’s a few months old. And we do those two songs from that. Because our band is the type of band where we always do an album and then something in the middle, a seven-inch or an EP until we get another album. We just have always done that. So, we do that, then we go into Set The Dial stuff, and then we go into Tend No Wounds stuff, and then there are a couple of new songs thrown into that that are going to be on the new album coming out in the end of summer.

MJ: You’ve recorded a new album with Joel Grind (from Toxic Holocaust) at the controls. The album’s completed?

JM: Man, that album is done. Mastered, everything. And I am so glad that Athon got through that album with us. I mean it’s all him on there, no one had to come in and finish it for him. That is the old Black Tusk on that album. And we are stoked about it. If you like Black Tusk, you will like this album. It’s not like the last EP. The last EP was experimental. We kind of did some different stuff on that, that’s why we didn’t make it an album. We just wanted to do some other stuff that we usually don’t do. We weren’t going to make that the official album. This is the new album. You know what I mean? It sounds great. We did it with Joel and Brad Boatright (from Ashes Rise) mixed it. It sounds really big and it’s called Pillars Of Ash. That’s the name of the album.

MJ: Some serious EQ then?.

JM: Yeah, it’s ‘Boom! Boom! Boom!’ you know? John Baizley’s going to do the artwork cause it’s, you know, whenever it is a full length release he does the artwork. I got to use the Paul Burdette’s (from Tragedy) drum set for it, so the drums are amazing and we’re excited about it. The only thing about it is by the time it comes out we’ll have had it for eight months. So those are the old songs to us by the time they start getting played.

1307467MJ: So, John Baizley’s back to do your album art? He’s been doing that now for some time, right?

JM: Yeah, and he’s going to, he’s taking his time with it because this album is also going to be a tribute album. You know what I mean? So we’re making sure that this is going to be done right. He wants all the layout to look really impressive and really good, so that’s why we’re just waiting to put it out. We’re not going to push it. It would be nice to have it for this tour, but it can wait as long as it gets done right. You know? We’re going to be playing a bunch of festivals over here so we’ll have it with us when we come back.

MJ: Well, James, Black Tusk, thank you for affording ‘The Classic Rock Show’ your time. Best of luck with the rest of this tour and we hope to see you again soon.

JM: Thanks man. It’s been a pleasure.

This was arguably one of the most difficult interviews I’ve ever done. Not, I hasten to add, because of the artist…far from it…James is a really straight up guy, but because of the subject we spoke of first; the tragic death of their band mate Athon. I hope that the deep sense of loss for a ‘Brother’ transcribes fully onto the page. The band is still grieving, yet they have somehow managed not to let that get in the way when playing ‘live’. Judging by the Norwich UEA set they played, Black Tusk are well worth checking out if you haven’t seen them before. I can’t wait to get my hands on the new album.

MJx

Go get some Black Tusk: Black Tusk Official Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Website: www.TheClassicRockShow.co.uk
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INTERVIEW: Huntress guitarman Blake Meahl talks to ‘The Classic Rock Show’

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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

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