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As anyone with an internet connection or a TV knows by now, Aerosmith frontman and American Idol judge Steven Tyler sang the national anthem at the Patriots/Ravens AFC championship yesterday. His performance has been pretty widely panned by the media, with blogs calling it “off (Francis Scott) key,” “an emergency brake of a voice,” and “especially difficult to listen to,” among other criticisms. To our ears, while it didn’t necessarily sound Amazing (see what we did there?) it wasn’t terrible, either. In short, it was Tyler singing like Tyler. We decided to turn this space over to resident Aerosmith lover and occasional MI contributor Melissa Meyers to get her opinion. Take it away Melissa:
I don’t watch football and I missed Steven Tyler belt out the Star Spangled banner the first time around. But watching the clip online, it starts off a little harsh on the ears. Of course he puts his “Demon of Screamin” spin on it, but that’s what we expect him to do. If we wanted something bland and normal, then we would get someone else to do it. Steven Tyler has a distinctive voice and for better or for worse we got a distinctive rendition of the song. I don’t think it’s completely fair to overly criticize his performance when you have talentless singers on shows that have musical performances like Saturday Night Live. (Looking at you Lana Del Rey). Look, the dude that looks like a lady is getting up there in age, agreed. But fuck man, he’s still singing. When you get to be his age, you’ll be sitting on your couch drinking flat beers and watching the football game. I give him major props for continuing to rock.
Ramming Speed are in the home stretch of a Winter tour that has them playing across the country for an entire month. Along the way, Ramming Speed’s drummer Jonah will be sharing highlights and pictures of all the craziness that’s been happening while on the road in his 2011 Ramming Speed Winter Tour Diary.
I’m currently sitting shotgun in the van and it occurs to me that while our tour has around a week left, it really is about time for another Metal Insider tour journal. I’d like to whip out three of these in total and time seems to be slipping by. We’ll start things off by quickly touching on the main difference between the first and second legs of the run. While the Saviours dates gave us a chance to dip our toes into the “pro gear/pro ‘tude” world of for-profit venues, now that we’re on our own it’s back into the garages and living rooms of America.
It can be a great experience hearing your band go from a tiny practice space to a big stage, complete with huge sub woofers, racks and racks of power amps, and, occasionally, a phenomenal sound guy. That said I definitely found myself missing the BYOB chaos of the DIY world during the first week of club shows. Playing the Swamp House in Oakland with Witchaven and Ex-Mortus (curated by the wildly handsome Scotty Tankcrimes) was every bit an unhinged, awesome mess, and ended up being the gateway to a run of brutally fun house shows from Cali all the way through Texas. The Killer Clam (garage) in Bakersfield, Casa De Sam Snead (garage) in El Paso, and Slamalot (living room with the criminally heavy Hatred Surge and Chest Pain) in Austin, all put us face to face with the sweaty, drunken youth of America. Our gear was knocked around, covered in sticky shitty beer every night and at many times the crowds were out of control to the point where it was difficult to finish songs. So basically it totally ruled.
However, load ins haven’t only been to houses. We’ve also played the basement of a pizza place (J&J’s) in Denton with Wild//Tribe (think Poison Idea, Motorhead, Paintbox etc…fucking awesome..) and Vegas, ah yes, Vegas had us in Yayo Taco. That movie The Hangover fucking sucked, but after waking up as the little spoon to a large naked viking of a man with very few memories of the night before, my first instinct was to check the digital camera. The little bastard had little to offer besides a photo of the viking and I peeing into a large Christmas tree and a second picture of us giving the “Sign of the Hammer” in front of early-morning neon. Read more »
It’s always an experience to see a band play in front of the fans that made them famous. That’s amplified even more when it’s in a different country. Metal Insider contributor and huge Rammstein fan Melissa Meyers fan planned a Germany vacation around being able to see the band play in Berlin. Here’s her account.
Without a doubt bands play better in front of a hometown crowd. Rammstein was no exception to this rule. I was fortunate enough to see the fury of the six play in front of a rabid crowd at two sold-out shows in Berlin at the O2 World Arena this past weekend. With the release of their first-ever greatest hits album, Made In Germany, on the horizon (it’s out in the States on 12/13), and an impending U.S. tour in the Spring, the band gave a preview of the new stage show that Americans can look forward to next year.
The band, known for taking an idea and pushing it to the extreme, did just that on their “Made In Germany” tour. As reported earlier, the album has six different covers, with one death mask for each band member. Before their first show, they had a four black horse drawn carriage pull up to the venue and a “funeral” procession to commemorate a lifelike bust and placing them each on a candlelit altar. Almost as if this was putting the past to rest with their greatest hits album. And as the video shows, even the band’s merch booth had pyro!
As has been noted elsewhere, those lucky enough to have seen the band play in America in the past year can look forward to an entirely new stage show next year. At the start of the show, the band marched imperially through the crowd with torches and flags up to their center stage and continuing on to the main stage by a bridge descending from the rafters. This epic entrance kicked off two hours of a non-stop fiery set. In the middle of their set, they crossed back over the bridge, on leashes, (“Mein Teil” style) to play several songs that they would not otherwise be able to play in America. These songs included “Mann gegen Mann” and the infamous “Buck Dish.” If you ever wondered what Till was spewing into the crowd during Warped Tour 98’, it was a whole lot of Jager.
The energy between the crowd and the band was far more intense than I have ever seen it at any Rammstein show. It was a show I will never forget.
Set list and more pictures after the jump Read more »
Matthew Kuritz is a contributor to Metal Delirium. Earler this week, Sumerian Records responded to him via Twitter regarding criticism over pulling out of Spotify. Following Sumerian’s response, Kuritz was kind enough to further share his thoughts on the issue regarding Spotify with Metal Insider.
“@MDBlitz @prostheticrcds @metalblade@centurymediaeu we rather be able to send our bands around the world on tour, make music videos and continue to support their careers and livelihood. Go to YouTube if you want to hear all our music. We are all about exposure but only major labels have equity in Spotify. All us metal labels will join forces and make our own so that our artists can still eat.”
@MDBlitz our music is on Spotify, just not every single song. You don’t need to hear 12+ songs to decide if you’re interested in a band.
@MDBlitz you can hear every album song on our YouTube channel. And we have specific songs from all albums on Spotify too. Party on”
These were the responses that Sumerian Records sent to me in reply to my arguments regarding Spotify. But what were my comments? What were my arguments? The entire basis of sending these record companies, not just Sumerian, is that I paid my subscription for Spotify on the basis that I thought I was going to be able to listen to music by bands. Not just bands that I already knew but bands that I perhaps wanted to look into in the past and had forgotten about. Bands from the record labels’ back catalogues that might not have been heard from in years. Spotify at its very core is about music discovery and sharing that with your friends. Why else does it have Facebook integration? Why can my friends see what music I am listening to in my news feed? Which, by the way, a few of my friends actually discovered new music based off of that function, but I guess they don’t see that. You can also share tracks via Twitter and Email. Oh but I guess that is just wrong? I guess nobody wants to discover new music.
Look, it’s public knowledge that the bigger record companies own stock in Spotify and they are the ones making money. My point is that their artists are the ones getting paid the same as the artists on any other label. They all get paid the same amount of royalties per play. But the smaller companies don’t make enough money. NEWS FLASH: they are making the same amount. Their music just is not as popular as others. All we hear is “Don’t pirate music” and now “Don’t stream music.” What are we supposed to do other than buy albums? Apparently listen to music on YOUTUBE. I suppose that is the greatest way to find new and exciting music, because everybody has heard of every band on YouTube and knows what to search for. We have to sit through advertisements and wait for music videos (which are also a dying format) to load. If you really wanted to get optimistic about this you could go and DOWNLOAD the videos off YouTube and convert them to MP3 and have them for free. Shame isn’t it? Read more »
Beavis and Butt-head love GWAR. In fact, not only did they watch several of their videos on the show’s original run, the band even played a major part in the B&B video game. So who better to judge (no pun intended) the return of Beavis and Butt-head to MTV than Oderus Urungus himself?
FUCK! I broke like ten lap-tops trying to watch this thing online…and STILL had to suffer through the commercials, which at times would maddeningly replay themselves over and over. THAT is usually when I would break the laptops. But I am pleased to report that despite the continuing deficiencies of web TV the new “Beavis and Butt-head” was every bit worth the effort it took to throw ten lap tops against a wall until I finally got through the first episode.
But to say it is “new” is not quite right- it’s like it never stopped happening. The show is presented in exactly the same manner as it always was, and Stewart still wears a Winger T-shirt. The only thing different is the new generation of pop-culture targets that creator Mike Judge goes after, and as usual they are spot-on. The first episode has two separate 15-minute segments, inter-cut with the usual purple couch commentary that looks every bit as crude as the old stuff. The real treat is the new actual stories, the first involving our heroes trying to become undead to “score” and the second involving Butt-head allegedly catching Beavis crying (he was not). Both made me at times laugh out loud and the second one had an amazing ending…the animation in these segments was WAY more sophisticated than the old stuff was, and in this I guess there was the only substantive change from the old show, and certainly one for the better.
Mike Judge has never disappointed me and this won’t disappoint you. It’s like an old buddy showed up or something. Beavis and Butt-head are back – FUCK YEAH! Hopefully Mike won’t wait too long to have their favorite band on!
Last week, many in the metal community had strong reactions towards Dr. Katrina McFerran’s recent study. At first glance of the University Of Melbourne’s posting, and other articles about the study, it appeared that Dr. McFerran was implying that youth at risk of depression are more likely to listen to heavy metal music. However, as many readers pointed out, there was more to the study than what the abstract had implied. With that in mind, we decided to let Dr. McFerran better explain what her study was actually trying to find. Dr. McFerran, a senior lecturer in music therapy and editor of the Australian Journal of Music Therapy, was kind enough to share the following:
Music is important, but it’s not magic. It can’t control your mind, although I think it can make a difference in your life. So why did so many people think that my study was saying ‘Metal music CAUSES mental illness’? It totally doesn’t. Music is not that powerful. And nor do all people who like metal music suffer from depression; although some do. In fact, studies bigger than mine show that the link between psychological distress and liking metal music is stronger than for any other type of music. Why is it so?
Well, it seems mind-blowingly obvious that if life feels intensely bad right now, there is little solace to be found in pop music. Metal music contains both emotion and power, sometimes wrapped up with some pretty awesome musical displays, so it isn’t rocket science to understand why people might turn to it. In my study of Australian teenagers, most people expressed a preference for metal, rock and hip-hop when they were feeling angry – it matched their mood. But what was most interesting was that metal-heads were significantly more loyal to their style – across all moods – whereas others were more eclectic in listening to different sounds to match different emotional states. That’s all good. Read more »
Metal Insider’s Top 5 is a column where we count down the top five of…well basically anything.
Anyone that knows anything about Charred Walls of the Damned drummer/Howard Stern contributor Richard Christy knows that October is his favorite month. Not only does it end with Halloween – the most metal of all holidays – but it also allows him to indulge in two of his favorite pasttimes: drinking pumpkin beer and watching horror movies. While he already gave us a rundown of his top pumpkin beers (we agree – Southern Tier Imperial Pumking is hands down the best), we thought we’d get his list of top five cheesy Halloween movies that didn’t involve Michael Myers (or stupid masks). You now have one week to get caught up on these classics (?), but while you’re at it, why not pick up the new Charred Walls of the Damned album, Cold Winds on Timeless Days, as well? Read more »
It’s hard enough for a metal band to break out in their home country. So imagine how difficult it is to break big internationally, let alone for bands hailing from Third World countries. And that’s exactly what Archaios have been trying to do since forming in 1994. They’ve created a name for themselves as the Dominican Republic’s premiere melodic death/extreme metal band. However, Archaios have experienced their fair share of struggles leading up to the release of their sophomore album The Distant, which is also the first Dominican metal recording to be released internationally by a North American label (Dark Canvas Records).
Rather than hearing about it from us, though, we thought we’d let Archaios’ founder/guitarist Eric Cruz himself share with you his experience thus far. In addition, we’re proud to premiere the opening track off of The Distant (which hits stores on November 11 via Dark Canvas Records) called “Nightshade.” Give the song a listen in the stream below, then after that read Cruz’s revealing insight into the difficulties metal bands from third world nations are constantly faced with.
Metal bands from underground scenes in Third World nations of Latin America usually find it harder to break in the international scene, especially in US and Europe. Most of the bands coming from these scenes are perceived as “musical oddities” by the rest of the Metal community and usually don’t receive too much credit for its work.
Archaios is the perfect example of this. We are a Thrash/Death Metal outfit from the Dominican Republic, a small island in the middle of the Caribbean with a long tradition of socio-political chaos, religious dominance and a ridiculous level of conservatism. Even playing in local live events has brought us problems with the authorities and even worse, with the local media. Also, we live in a country dominated by Latin music, where local and international promoters and labels have zero interest for Rock or Metal and religious and political leaders consider this music a threat to society.
We’ve been active since 1994. However, due to our lack of economic resources, we haven’t been able to record more than two albums and only recently, after signing a deal with an American label and being on the verge to release our second album, titled “The Distant”, is our music finally starting to be taken seriously internationally.
Our local scene is small but very united. However, nobody related with the scene really understands the music business. When it comes to work to reach the international arena, nobody knows exactly what to do. Everything has become trial and error. That’s why many talented Dominican bands have come and go, getting to the very top of the scene and once they’re there, they are unable to make a connection between the Dominican Republic and the rest of the Metal world.
From the very beginning, Archaios has been in what we call a “survival mode.” We’re always trying to come up with ingenious ways for funding concerts, gear, instruments and even for rehearsal and recording. For example, to record our first album Out of the Shadows, we had to save money for 3 years to give an initial amount upfront. Then, we began to record little by little as the rest of the money became available. Thanks to this kind of approach, we’ve been able to endure almost two decades of local recognition while being unknown internationally. Read more »
Last month, Philadelphia rock radio institution WYSP signed off for the last time, flipping to a simulcast of AM sports station WIP. And while it was still a commercial rock station, their metal show, Rockers, helped foster Philly’s reputation as a metal town. Countless guests had stopped by the show, and Job For A Cowboy even featured the station in their video for “Unfurling a Darkened Gospel.” Onetime Rockers host “Spike” Eskin had been at the station for years, most recently serving as Assistant Program Director and Music Director while hosting middays. The end of another rock station, this one in a top ten market, is indicative of the times. While radio has long been a means of discovery for new music, the consolidation of radio companies and other ways to find music (satellite, Internet, smart phones, etc.) have made it harder for terrestrial stations to survive. We gave Eskin a chance to talk about the end of the station.
I remember the moment I realized that music radio wasn’t exactly what I thought it was. I was on the phone with John Lenac, and I had just been on the phone with Dave Downey. At the time, those guys worked for trade magazines. I’m pretty sure Lenac was at HITS and Downey was at All Access (sorry guys if I’m wrong about either). Up until this time, I thought trades were the coolest things in the world. I mean, all of these guys just writing and talking about new songs that may or may not end up on the radio. When I was in college at Syracuse, I read these things like they were the bible. You know how the sports section is for sports fans? That’s what trades were like for me.
So here I was, a 25 or 26 year old Music Director at the mighty 94WYSP, and I got to talk to these guys every single week. These two guys were always fun to talk to. Here we were, just talking about radio and new rock songs. This is my job. Something struck me about the way Lenac was asking me about the songs though. Like he had to ask me. Or not so much like he had to ask me, but he wanted me to like some of them. It seemed like an unusually long discussion about a song that I didn’t think was any good.
That was always kind of my thing with these guys, or record labels, or anyone. If I loved something, I was totally honest. If I thought it sucked, I was totally honest. Some people always appreciated the fact that I was honest, even if it meant a lot of the time I thought their songs sucked. When I really believed in something, I wouldn’t stop until I made it happen. So anyway, it was at that point that I realized what Lenac was doing, and what the trades REALLY were. It was like that moment in The Truman Show when Jim Carrey puts all the pieces together and realizes the world is fake.
Trades weren’t really magazines about the music. No, not at all. Those things that looked like articles were just advertisements for the songs. It took me six years to realize I’d never read one article about a song not being any good. And these guys, these two really good guys (and to this day, still really excellent guys) who I enjoyed talking to, were being paid to get my opinion on songs, and maybe even try to convince me to play them. It was like my parents paying other kids to be my friends.
“WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?!”
It was this fork in the road that I hit, when I realized I could take one of three paths. I could become like every other programmer, and bullshit everyone I talked to. I could just bail when I realized the radio world wasn’t what I thought it was. Or, I could do what I ended up doing, and try to blow up the death star the only way anyone could, from the inside. I realized that even though music radio wasn’t exactly what I thought it was, I could still do some things I wanted to, I could reach more people with my personal message and the songs I thought were great from inside the machine rather than outside of it.
And I did it. I didn’t do as much as I would have liked, but I did all that was possible. When I thought something sucked, like The Darkness, let’s say (sorry Danny Buch), I used every bit of my effort to make sure I wasn’t responsible for playing that song. When I thought something was awesome, like Slipknot or local band Octane or Jack’s Mannequin and Hanson in Chicago, I found tooth and nail to make sure the world knew about it. 94WYSP gave me the chance to live out my dream of sharing music, and talking about life. Every song I’ve ever loved reminds me of a time and a place. I got to help people make those memories, and share my own. It’s as close to magic as I can imagine.
As the years went on, it became harder and harder to do what I wanted to do in music radio. I understand why it happened, and I don’t think anyone is to blame, it just kind of “is.” Big, corporate, music radio just wasn’t what it used to be. So as I mourn the loss of 94WYSP as a radio station and as a name, as part of my history, I realize that 94WYSP disappeared at the right time. WYSP was always about being a little edgier, a little tougher, and had a little more fight than everyone else. So when radio became a place where being edgy, having fight, and being tough was no longer important, then WYSP became less important.
Imagine a party. There’s usually one point in the party where it’s at its peak. There’s the right amount of people there, and they’re the right people. The music is just right. It’s just noisy enough and you’re just drunk enough. Then a bunch of assholes show up, turn the music up too loud, make it too crowded, and ruin the party. Rock radio is that party, and WYSP left the minute the assholes showed up.
It’s hard to believe that VH1 Classic’s That Metal Show has been on the air for eight seasons now. Yet since 2008, hosts Eddie Trunk, Jim Florentine, and Don Jamieson have talked to some of the biggest names in hard rock and metal (mostly classic rockers, but a few from today’s scene have graced their stage as well). They’ve also made us laugh with segments like “Stump The Trunk,” “TMS Top 5” and “The Throwdown.” And this Saturday, August 20, That Metal Show returns to the air with another new season. To celebrate its return, co-host Don Jamieson was kind enough to give us a recap of each episode airing this season.
Tony Iommi – What better way to start off the new season of TMS than with the Godfather of Heavy Metal? We gave him the entire hour and covered everything Sabbath including a “Throwdown” over who was the best Sabbath replacement singer – Ray Gillan, Glenn Hughes or Tony Martin. Tony was a great sport and other than him not wearing the fringe jacket, it was an amazing appearance! Phil Collen from Def Leppard ripped on guitar.
Stephen Pearcy / Tim “Ripper” Owens – The head Ratt came back for more in his second appearance and talked about his Metal In America tour, his new solo disc and the ever-dysfunctional Ratt family. Tim “Ripper” Owens also stopped by and talked Yngwie, Priest and being a stunt double in Boogie Nights! Billy Sheehan returned from last season to beat the shit out of his bass.
Read more »