On Sunday DEE SNIDER posted a video directed by Criss Angel of Dee singing the Twisted Sister classic, We're Not Gonna Take It, to raise awereness for Criss' charity CrissAngelHelp.com to raise awareness and funds for children's cancer research and treatment. You can view the video below.
Dee also posted on his Facebook page: "I'm BACK and starting a brand new adventure - recording new music on my own! 'We Are The Ones' is my brand new record which you can pre-order RIGHT NOW here: http://www.pledgemusic.com/deesnider. You can also grab exclusive signed merch and in-person experiences too! As soon as you pre-order, you'll receive an immediate download of my new acoustic version of "We're Not Gonna Take It" and there'll will be lots of behind-the-scenes content soon.
Come on this journey with me by pre-ordering the new album right now!"
9 Out Of 10 Stars
Reviewed By: Craig “Bam-Bam” Stegall
Otep Shamaya is not a name that many will be unfamiliar with in the world of Metal and Heavy Music. It’s pretty common knowledge that she holds the crown of reigning Queen Of Metal with frontwomen the world over. Along with, in my humble opinion, Angela Glasgow from former-Arch Enemy fame, Otep has almost single-handedly created a new notion that quaint femininity and a precision Metal scream can go hand-in-hand. I’m damned near certain that there would be no In This Moment or Stitched Up Heart, without this Metal Seductresses’ influence. The fact that she not only created normalcy within a vocal approach only being cornered by her at the time, is not nearly as impressive as the fact that she’s been getting heavier each year since introducting us to her sound way over 15-years ago! That’s staying power, my friend, and if you’re looking for just one reason as to how she did it...look no further than her latest, and possibly her best album to date, Generation Doom.
Equal parts creepy as hell and savagely brutal due to the running theme of child abuse and global doom, Shamaya and company lay it down so heavy on this outing that the first words out of my mouth when the teaser intro to lead-off track “Zero” kick in, were “Holy Shit!!!” Loops of creepy orchestration mixed with sound effects of babies crying, dogs whining, synthesized answering machines and inaudible speech in which only every third word is recognizable completely set the mood for the kind of excitement I usually reserve for a Marylin Manson or Nine Inch Nails album! I’ve always had a soft spot for her 2004 major label debut; House Of Secrets, but with a revolving door of label woes, I sadly kind of lost interest around 2011’s Atavist. If you found yourself in kind of the same situation, I’m gonna do you a huge favor; You simply MUST own this latest Shamaya Mind-Fuck!!!
Other than the EXACT nature of the doom that’s causing the havock in which she conceptually speaks within the lyrics on Generation Doom, this is easily the most cohesively brutal and challenging release to date and I am positive fans will rank this among her very best! No small claim, indeed, but one must hear the intensisty this go-round. Screaming defiling curses is all par for the course here. I’m not even sure I know what she’s screaming her fucking head off about, but I can tell you, her performance here and the surgically-precise double-bass typhoon created by drummer Justin Kier, all hope is gone for you to think that tunes like “Feeding Frenzy”, “Lords Of War”, “Royals”, “God Is A Gun” and the insanely abrasive, F-bomb dropping, double-bass masterclass title-track won’t leave you breathless, bleeding and physically violated! Otep gratuitously lets us come up for air with “In Cold Blood” and “On The Shore”, but that’s about it before she’s back at making us sniff her pits and face-planting us onto the beer-swilled floor of our favorite mosh pit.
Otep has always written high-grade stuff with zero bullshit barameter and this is clearly no exception, and I have to mention again; it is probably my favorite record she’s ever done. I’m NOT kidding, Metal peeps; this bitch is super-pissed and has no time to explain why! You need a little something to get that bug outta yer ass? Here it is! This one is no joke, gang! Almost a Perfect 10 Out Of 10, if not for the cookie-cutter, commercial stinker; “Lie”, but even on maybe a day that I don’t want to murder people with roadrage in traffic, this one might pass for upstanding, so take note that it’s just shy of being interstellar! Very, VERY Highly Recommended! In stores now.
State Of Mine
Devil In Disguise
8 Out Of 10 Stars
Reviewed By: Craig “Bam-Bam” Stegall
There’s nothing I love more than waking up early to a new week and penning a few reviews of the voluminous inbox full of new music releases I recieve each week and snagging an indie release that punches harder than the second cup of coffee I’ve just chugged! State Of Mine, a band hailing from Laingsburg, Michigan; totally grabbed the trophy on this overcast morning, while twisting it into an animal ballon-style sword that got buried in my eardrums for the remainder of the afternoon!
This perfectly produced slab of Aggressive Rock brilliance made up of individual, jagged edges cemented together to create Devil In Disguise, are some of the most well-rounded and meticulously written tunes to ever grace an album even as singular body shots. The fact that the band has not only managed, but also CHOSEN to wrap those into one offering is testament to the fact that these guys aren’t F’ing around with saving anything for an encore! You see, rather than overthinking the in’s-n-out’s of a fickle business like the top-heavy music industry, vocalist Steven Jodway and the other four, equally proficient players that make up this quintet concern themselves with just leaving it all on the stage; beaten, blinded, bloody, and barely breathing with no access to a cell phone to call for help. This is basically how I found myself about an hour after listening to this powerful offering, three times in succession to make sure I wasn’t allowing my A.M. allergy meds to cloud my hearing! Clearly, no amount of nasal decongestant would be strong enough to battle the onslaught of an opening track as strong as “Curtain Call”, which not-so-ironically is the first single from this barnstormer, as well. Bassist Corey Smith, aided by drummer Mike Martin lock down one helluva nasty groove that’s about as subtle as a stoned freight train pulling up to a Taco Bell drive-thru at 2am! The track is just amazing; harkening hints of the recently released Gemini Syndrome platter, Memento Mori!
For darned-near 25minutes, the album works a total of seven, well-defined tracks through the paces of curious darkness that give way to small glimmers of light...albeit mandatory pauses that fall between songs! There is NO fat here, folks. The bones have even been carved into prison shanks for you to choke on, while songs like “Waste My Time”, “Killing Me” and the perfectly titled “Undertow” are just obligitory kicks to the kidneys for the sheer fun of it! I love when band’s do “heavy” for the sake of showcasing their confidence in a song’s unapologetic dick-swinging! This is how heroes are made and legends left to build temples atop mountains! There’s no question in this scribe’s mind as to why they’ve continued to use BJ Perry and Wall Of Sound Studios to craft their work because anyone as heavily involved in music that adorns television sports entities that include the UFC, NFL, and NCAA has a mind for getting downright physical in their delivery and THAT, dear music fans, is what the Hard Rock game is ALL about!
With the powerful E.P./Album set to drop on September 15th, the band is taking pre-orders now for only $4.99 at iTunes, where you’ll not only recieve the download on that date, but you’ll snag my fave tracks, “Curtain Call” and a devistatingly METAL cover of Katy Perry’s “Rise” immediately. Be warned, the music is as addictive as a weed dispensory all-you-can-smoke buffet, so enjoy responsibly! Very, VERY Highly Recommended!
Pre-Order NOW and receive two tracks immediately & the remainder on the September 15th release date!:
STATE OF MINE’s “Curtain Call” - Official Video: https://youtu.be/1uaxGU6RV-g
10 Out Of 10 Stars
Reviewed By: Craig “Bam-Bam” Stegall
Since the first time I was sworn to secrecy about the fact that I was listening to a “pre-mastered” version of their debut album Lux in the early part of 2013 (as you can see, I suck at keeping secrets!), there’s really only one thing I liked about Gemini Syndrome... EVERYTHING! I would easily put this band’s music ABOVE the hype that was placed upon the critically-applauded and EQUALLY deserving, Nothing More. Even though I can hear snobby, self-righteous music fans around the world cursing my name right now, as they sit around the table enjoying the act of sniffing a cork rather than tasting the wine, I will stand by that statement. When I was asked by a fellow scribe in the early throes of 2014, “How would you describe Gemini Syndrome’s sound?”, I remember thinking deeply for a moment, and then launching forward with; “It’s Tool by way of A Perfect Circle with equal parts Deftones lucidity and Sevendust aggression thrown in!”. No matter how far off one feels my perception is, I am clearly an elderly statesman that still adores the Active Rock format I helped champion and support during my tenure at radio from ’98 until 2010, and I truly believe those words!!! I’ll even add that the band’s frontman, Aaron Nordstrom deserves praise for some of the most genius songwriting since The Beatles‘ Sgt. Pepper album!
So, how do you follow-up what was such an audio gangbang on your next attempt? Here’s the answer, via nerdy math, for those who need more “non-musical” reasoning: Add three generations of societal issues faced by the 1980’s “Yuppies”, the late 90’s “Gen-X’ers” and the more recent “MILLENNIALS”. Then subtract that by their misunderstood take on all things adultish! Divide that by the global use of anti-depressants and illegal drugs that our parents’ generation knew little about, and finally multiply that by the expectation of said society that we, in turn, continue to survive with more stress and expectation while trying to do it making three times LESS the amount of money. Swish that around with the normal puke thrown in by the evil polititions vying for leadership in this country, and you’ve got yourself a fucking issue that’s worthy of fodder for your next album; Memento Mori, or as defined by the English language; “a reminder that you have to die”. Shit just got real...REAL quick-like, huh?
Clocking in at 50:45 with three short, less than two minute interlude pieces and a total of fifteen tracks in which to get the job done, I am very comfortable saying that this album is every bit as brilliant as their debut and then some! Metal-minded rockers will have no issue gravitating towards “Anonymous”, “Remember We Die”, “Gravedigger” and “Inception”, while those who like to dig deeper into the ether of life will keep hitting the repeat button on “Alive Inside”, “Awaken” and “Brought To Light” while I think both classes of listener will agree that “Sorry Not Sorry” is the album’s deepest track and the one most critics will probably pick as their fave when weighed against the challenge to numberically order the album from “Great” to “Mindblowing”. I’ll add that I know this process won’t take place, however, within the first half dozen listens though! To say the record is deep and heavily drenched in manaical meloncholy would be a total understatement, but one that I imagine will cause most to experience brain-freeze and just stop trying to draw conclusions as they simply “give-in” to the undertow that is clearly the strenth of this album.
In closing, I think the easiest way to properly word the sentiment I feel surrounding how the world should view the latest Gemini Syndrome album and what it does to separate itself from the pack of other New Rock sophomore efforts that make or break an artist; is with the immortal, albeit slightly rearranged words of the very wise, Mr. Todd “LL Cool J” Smith; “Don’t call it a comeback...I’m rockin’ my peers...You can’t gain or maintain...Unless you say my name!” Altogether now; for this year’s most perfect album...
***Very, VERY Highly Recommended! In stores now***
“Remember We Die” Official Video: https://youtu.be/kUHsY6gPCys
Stitched Up Hearts are Stronger, So it Seems
Cherri Bird sits down with Mixi from the fe-metal band Stitched Up Heart
August 11, 2016 - Trees - Deep Ellum, Texas (Dallas)
So, while I'm a rocker thru and thru - I'm a convert to say the least. I didn't grow up on the whole metal thing - I know, I know - sacrilege, right? I didn't freak out about Ozzy, AC/DC, Pink Floyd or freakin' Led Zeppelin. Y'all, I was a preppy, pop princess that loved to shove a bow in my hair (the bigger the better), wear obnoxious duck shoes and bermuda shorts, curled my hair everyday and - get ready for it...totally was head over heels for John Taylor and Duran Duran. Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate...so go right ahead...ok, got that out of your system?
Let's move on...mmmkay? While I love technology - I truly love paper, pens, markers - and I'm a huge sucker for notebooks and especially planners. Ya, I'm that dork...So I'm walking into the Green Room upstairs at Trees to meet one of the most talked about girl rockers since and I walk in with my paper planner and Bam-Bam busts in while pointing at his Mac and says, "Hey Cherri, if you want to put some questions in the recorder app and timestamp it, you can. Oh, ya - I forget - you're a handwriter kinda girl." and points to my black and white boldly striped, arch ringed, completely rad planner thingie I carry with me everywhere.
Mixi glances at my book and is all, "Wow that is old fashioned, like pen and paper! Do you use a #2 pencil with an eraser?" Totally not offended by this line of questioning, I immediately fire back, "No actually, I color code everything and write with pens or markers. I have probably, and I'm not joking, probably 500 - 700 various pens and markers. I have an unhealthy obsession with pens!!" Mixi kinda glances away and says, "I like a ball point pen, with a...well, nevermind, let's..." and I interrupt her like a freaking junkie-weirdo, "Oh, NO, LET'S!! It's like my favorite thing - I love office supplies..." I'd like to say at this point, a normal person might have been embarrassed by my whole OCD and office supplies but...yeah - not me.
Y'all aren't here to read about my odd habits that have no bearing on Mixi's rise to the top of the ever popular FeMetal artists of late - and obviously, I'm not handwriting this (although that might be kinda cool...wonder if my Editor would go for that...). My time with the blonde that can scream like banshee was truly heartfelt and gut-wrenchingly honest. I hope you dig it as much as I did getting to talk to her and really hear the message she is broadcasting with her and her band's music.
Cherri: I'm not a journalist that picks questions based off your bio or just any other press that's been released, really. I want to tell part of your story - or where you are in your story right now, here in Dallas. I pulled a lot of things we’re going to talk about from your music, specifically Never Alone. I listened ad nauseum to the song "Finally Free" for like five days straight!
Mixi: Oh wow! Awesome! So we better sound like the song today, huh?
Bam-Bam: Ya, and you can repeat "Monster" 11 times from Plano to Deep Ellum, in traffic. We just proved that tonight, just watch our live feed on Facebook as we were on the way down here!! (We all laughed at that because it's totally true. I Heart that song sooo much, it's not even funny.)
Cherri: This is a typical question but I’m always interested in when artists started singing or playing, like at what age or was there a particular time you totally knew you wanted to be a singer. Your voice is kick ass - love it! When did you decide you wanted to make a career out of doing what comes so naturally?
Mixi: I just, well my uncle was just recently telling me, when I was little, I used to sing along to all the cartoons and shows. I just remember being in love with the Little Mermaid and I used to sing "look at this stuff, isn't it neat..." (one of the songs that Ariel sings about all of her human treasures) under the water in my grandma's pool as long as I could until I needed to breathe and then I'd jump out, get a breath and go back in the water and try to finish the song. I just sing along to everything. I never took lessons or anything. It wasn't until - well, I played the tuba in middle school…
Cherri: What? How did you hold that thing? You're tiny!
Mixi: Oh, well it was (the kind) that you just sit in the chair, just band. Not like in the heat in Florida for Friday night football games. I was like, nope not doing that. So I stopped playing that - and then picked up the guitar and started writing to the guitar. I kinda taught myself a lot, and had some direction. I really just started learning from ear. It wasn't until recently that I started working with vocal coaches to sing correctly.
Cherri: Ya, you scream and then go into this melodic awesomeness. I always wonder, like how do singers do that? Like how do you transition from those two areas of the vocal spectrum?
Mixi: I have no idea!!! I don't know, when I put the band together in 2010, I didn't plan to scream, I just wrote the parts in for the person but I'd rehearse and do them, and I was like, 'Wait, I can scream!' No idea that I could do it and it just became a thing. When we toured on our own for a couple of years and played about 100 shows a year, you just learn to do it I guess. Somehow your brain just goes to that automatically. Because I never took lessons or anything, I kinda just went with what I felt and instead of all the breathing and using your head voice - I don't know it just kind of happened. When we were writing the record though, some parts - the screaming parts were written separately like we would come up the chorus or pre-chorus and would put the screams in later when when we practiced. We practiced a lot before tour for three months twice a week, for like three or four hours so we drilled it into our brains! It automatically goes where it's supposed to.
Cherri: Y’all had a good run at being a pretty successful DIY band but now that you have label representation (Another Century), how is it different? What are some of the things you like/dislike about either side?
Mixi: The biggest difference, I mean when we DIY’d it, obviously booked our own tours, we were able to like figure out how to get from place to place. But we got to a certain point where we realized that we were going to stay at certain level, or we were going to have to take on a whole new team of people and that means they'd be booking the tours, that they'd be doing all the press and stuff like that. Letting someone else take the reigns, of something that you've created is kinda scary at first but it was definitely a necessity. We thought it'd be a lot easier and we thought we would have less work to do - but in fact there's much more work to do. There's so many more people and so much more for us to do. And we get a lot more accomplished towards our goals in having a team of people working behind us.
Cherri: Ya, like letting the reigns go would be difficult, I get that.
Mixi: Letting them - or listening to when it comes to making this a business. You have to listen to what they tell you to do. We are the artist and it is real as we give our creative input on things, but we genuinely trust in the people we work with. They've worked with a lot of other bands have experienced - these bands have progressed so we listen to them (record label).
Cherri: It's good direction. I have to listen to Bam-Bam a ton, and it's totally hard to do that, but he knows more than I and his experience is invaluable, so I guess I have to (lol). But something I gotta know, like as a girl - when you're on stage and rockin' out and I know it’s hot as shit up there on stage...like I'm sweating right now! I know we’re in Texas in August, but we’re in the Green Room upstairs at Trees and like my pits are tacky, my hair is falling... it's hot AF - how the HELL do you keep from looking like a wet dog when you're performing?
Mixi: A LOT of hair spray and sometimes I do look like a wet dog. I mean I'm sure I'll eventually pass out - I think some of the Gemini Syndrome guys have passed out on this tour with it being so hot in some of these venues! We give 100% to the fans and if we didn't we'd feel like we weren't doing our jobs, ya know?
Cherri: Going back to relinquishing control -
Mixi: Sometimes you just have to leave it in God's hands, you know? And believe that the Universe is the way it's supposed to be and I know that once I started listening...you don't have to be the stubborn one that has to have it your way all the time. You have to always keep learning, we have a lot that we still have to learn. We are getting really good at listening because we are trying to go in a specific direction - knowing when things are a bad decision or a good decision. I think it's going well, us and the label, I think it's working perfectly. I know that some of my friends have bad experiences (with other labels) because they seemed to be working with the wrong people. I wanted to work with the label we are on (Another Century) from the beginning, because I knew it was the perfect team and I knew the people that worked there - we're all really good friends. I saw they were doing a great job, so I always wanted to work with them. I'm really happy. Unfortunately, that doesn't happen in every situation.
Cherri: Not everyone can get along all the time, but Another Century is a killer label, they're a great house, they have great bands and there can be discord with anything - not everyone is going to play nice in the sandbox...it's human nature. I gotta say, I love the name Stitched Up Heart, I know it comes from what I've read, about you having to pull yourself up - and kind of making yourself, from a dark place to having to stitch up your heart and move on or carry on. Is that something that is directly related to an experience? Or how did you you decide that you weren't going to sink - but that you were going to swim.
Mixi: There were a few times that I thought I couldn't do it anymore. But I was the girl that packed up my car and moved from my family in Florida - all the way across the country. I didn't know anyone and lived there for a year, homeless - and found my way. I found the exact route that I was going to take and starting fresh from scratch. I was in a couple of other bands and then decided to put this together and after a year of putting this band together, I didn't pick the right members and I didn't know what I was going to do. Then Decker the drummer came in and I went home for Christmas saying I don't think I want to do this anymore. And my mom and dad want me home, right - but they're like "No, you went out there and you set your mind to it - you have to see it through and finish what you started." I didn't necessarily want to give up; we lost some members from the beginning and he came in and said, "Nope, we're going to make this happen, I believe in you and this."
Cherri: I think all music comes from something that you want or something that you had - or something that you don't even want but that you got, you know? In terms of music, I love music that speaks to something that I am passionate about or something that I truly believe in, like domestic violence - and when I say violence, I am not just talking about the horrors and pain of physical abuse, but the mental abuse that comes from people that we're supposed to love the most.
Mixi: You should listen to "Bleeding Out" on the record.
As I'm writing this, I put this song on - and literally have tears welling in my eyes. Y'all -listen. "Looking into a world that's all but clear, blind and blurry walk the line between love and fear..". Seriously, this is a powerful song. Sometimes our words, they make deeper scars that being literally stabbed. Tread carefully because once someone has been ignored, and their words become empty, eventually they'll decide that enough has happened. It's not about tiptoeing around anymore - eventually truth wins. There is a victory deep within those that have been so wounded.
Mixi: All your friends can tell you one thing and you're going to do whatever you're doing is right. There's that listening thing again. A lot of people go through this (kind of thing) and people have to figure it out for themselves and it takes time.
Cherri: Do you write to your personal experiences or do you write in terms of what you see others going through?
Mixi: Yeah, with this record particularly, anytime we'd go into write something specifically, it would change. We went straight from scratch. I wanted the songs to have meaningful lyrics that could change someone’s lives, or change their day before or after they listened to the music. I didn't really have a plan. "Now that You're Gone" was written on Memorial Day and I did want it to be in memory past people (and animals). We can hardly play that without someone breaking down and crying. "Bleeding Out" is obvious and I have gone through things where it hasn't been a very good relationship - like for three years.
Cherri: I was told to "lean into the pain" you gotta get that shit out, right? Don't hold it in or it just ends up hurting more and for much longer.
Mixi: Imagine having to relive a painful experience every time you perform a song like "Now that You're Gone". You're creating the situation in your head when we perform. We put so much into our performance and the songs we write, we hope that it touches someone and helps them through a rough spot.
All I can say is this young woman totally has a genuine spirit around her that reveals her experiences, joyous and painful are making her and have made her into the person she was intended to be. She's managed to sew her heart back together and give hope and love to those that are still broken; so that they can walk through this life with their own Stitched Up Heart.
The release from Stitched Up Heart Never Alone dropped June 17 from Another Century Records. Find it on iTunes, Amazon or wherever records are sold!
Cherri Bird is an independent and featured writer at SomeKindOfMedia.com focusing on all that entertains the brain; music, poetry, fiction & non.
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Bam-Bam’s Exclusive Interview With GEMINI SYNDROME
Frontman & Spiritual Guru; AARON NORDSTROM
Trees - Deep Ellum, Texas: Thursday, August 11th
To say that the mid-west regional branch of SomeKindOfMedia was scrambling beyond a robotic pace Thursday, August 11th 2016 is the understatement of the year! SomeKindOfMedia Senior Features Writer, Craig “Bam-Bam” Stegall and brilliant newcomer; Staff Writer/Reviewer Cherri Bird, made mad dashes from home base in McKinney, TX where they nailed down interviews from Art Of Dying frontman Jonny Hetherington and Godsmack/Apocalyptic Blues Review drummer Shannon Larkin; on to downtown Dallas/Deep Ellum to the famed Trees Concert Venue through backstage greenrooms and individual tour busses to bring you some of the most insane and telling first-hand sit downs with 9ELECTRIC, Stitched Up Heart and this little gem; an exclusive tell all and deeply spiritual sermon from one of New Rock’s most critically applauded and fanbase adored musicians in the biz: GEMINI SYNDROME frontman, Aaron Nordstrom.
Now, the reason for the opening windup was not for sake of building intensity. On the contrary; it was to cement the fact that, under these conditions, normally; the interviewer, aka - ME, would be dead-tired and you would clearly hear the drop in intensity easily as just being a dull and uninterested story for nothing more than written fodder to take up space. I think it’s clear to say that this is not even close to the case here. Take your weary, beaten body, mind and souls through this fevered pace and then choose to end it on a tour bus with such a brilliant mind as Aaron Nordstrom and I’m sure you’ll agree that you simply CANNOT end the night on a low note even if you tried! Never, in my 18-years of doing this, have I been so glued to my seat with literally NOTHING to say, but rather opening my ears even more to take in completely what was coming out of this guy’s mouth and breathing in the energy that was surrounding him as he spoke. Music fans, I kid you not when I say myself and my lovely partner-in-crime, Ms. Cherri Bird, were like two deer in the headlights on this night as we just listened and tried, with all our might...to explain the gift that Aaron shared with us; and you, right here, right now...
As you’ll notice, with every interview I’ve ever done, the leadoff I attempt here is to simply draw a line of comparison between an artist’s prior album, and the one that they are obviously here touring and doing interviews to promote. However, notice how quickly Aaron creates a clever diversion to lead ME, the normally commanding voice, right down the garden path he wants this thing to go, and then completely turns the water hose on us as we round the corner.
SKoM: “Let’s start by talking about what I’m sure everyone can’t wait to hear some information on, that being the brand new album; Remember We Die. How are fans going to be greeted after two years of living with your debut masterpiece Lux?”
Aaron: “I think it’s definitely a more mature and evolved record than Lux was. We tried to make it more intricate than what we were doing before, both technically and, even though I don’t want to say it’s ‘darker’ than what we were doing before; it is more deeper and REAL spiritually than Lux was.”
SKoM: “Well, Lux had one of my favorite tracks of that entire year on it; “Basement”, and I don’t know how you can get darker than that, man. That was a super dark track!”
Aaron: “Yeah, that was a song about some really tough times. You see ‘Lux’ means ‘Light’. It’s part of a three-part storyline that we are creating with the music. So, with ‘Lux’ or “Light’, we’re talking about a coming of age. It’s me being comfortable in my own skin at that point. Remember, everyone comes from the same place when they’re a 13, 14 or 15-year old kid. They’re wondering, or at least I know I was; ‘exactly why I am this way?’.”
(Writer’s Note: For the newbies reading, Aaron was born with Albinism and since individuals with this Albino-like quality are very sensitive to light, Aaron lived in the basement of his home to avoid the affects of being photosensitive to the light that shone in from windows as his basement was darker.)
“I was coming to terms with things that, at one time, I was very angry at God, or my higher power, for. I felt completely separated from everyone. But this record starts out and dives into being someone who has finally come to terms with what has made them feel isolated and finally becoming comfortable with what you are...and then, you come to the realization that, once you’ve accepted who you are...now you must understand that you are going to die.”
Literally, as Aaron says the word “die”. Cherri and I both look at each other as if to cue some kind of response from one another, but we simply cannot. I wanted to laugh out loud because it sounded so dark and brooding, as if it was a horrible joke about dead people, but it was being told at a funeral home where the sheer irony alone would make everyone so uncomfortable that neurotic laughter would ensue...but we could NOT muster up even a giggle ...when Aaron said that word, “die”, I felt chills go up my spine and start making my neck sweat. As if that wasn’t enough; Aaron repeated the sentiment:
Aaron: “I’m not kidding...you’re gonna DIE! Maybe not now, not tomorrow, but the fact is...even though you don’t know when...YOU (he says pointing at me), HER (now he points to Cherri Bird), and ME (pointing gently towards himself)...we’re ALL gonna DIE!”
SKoM: “(nervous laughter) I mean, dude...c’mon; when you say it like that, you know the fans reading this can’t see your face like I can, and they don’t know that you’re just sitting across from me with this normal, gentle, everyday look on your face. I mean, if they were to just HEAR this interview without any setup, like they’re going to be doing when it goes to print; I’m sure they’d think you were just being dark as hell right now.”
Aaron: “It’s not dark, though. It’s just a fact. I have to clearly base this on what I know to be true, throughout history, which is that we’re ALL going to die...but you know; what if I’m NOT supposed to die? What if? Again, I can only know what I know, which is that fact and history support that everyone who has ever lived
...DIES! That’s a fact. No one has ever cheated death. So, I’m not saying that someone won’t do it, but I have to go on what I know NOW. We’re all going to die! The point you need to make out of all that is that it is a reality. So, why not be the best you can be and do the most good you can do...while you’re here. Isn’t it funny how a murderer and a person who’s never done anything wrong in their life; BOTH are going to, eventually, experience the same fate...they’re both going to DIE! One chose to be a murderer and bring hate and harm to this world, while the other, they chose to be someone that helped others, made this world a better place. All the title of this new album is saying is, Since we’re all going to die eventually, and that is the one thing that we can pretty much count on in this lifetime...I want to challenge people to do good with their lives. Whatever good means to YOU! That’s what people should concentrate on. Remember We Die...All of us...so what are you going to do in order to make something good happen while you’re still alive? It’s not a negative or dark thought at all!”
SKoM: “Again, even though it feels as if I’m stating the obvious here, but I know the readers cannot see you sitting here in front of me and I feel I need to call attention to the fact that, if they could, everything you are saying to us right now is being said with the utmost calm and non-crazy demeanor while you sit literally two feet away from me wearing some of the most amazingly spiritual looking, symbolic jewelry and tattoos that I’d like to discuss if you’re cool with that. I mean, obviously if it was something that you were being secretive about, you wouldn’t wear it so openly on the outside of your clothing and you’d certainly cover up any of the tattoos that you didn’t want people to judge you by or look at and misconstrue. Are you cool discussing?
Aaron: “Of course! Well, this piece...(Aaron points to his gorgeous necklace that is hanging outside his button down shirt...) is a triangle with the sun, basically the eye in the pyramid, always facing both ways...both directions, which if you look closely, it creates the Star Of David...it goes back to old esoteric symbolism...”
SKoM: “Very Kabbala-based?”
Aaron: “Absolutely...as is above, so below! (Aaron and I both smile at each other, something that I will not explain here, all I’ll say is; if you know, then you’ll know what we are talking about. If you don’t, do some homework in the old Hebrew teachings that pre-date Christ and see if this man’s words don’t just resonate on a whole different level!) Macrocosm, Microcosm...the fact is that I don’t understand this reality, but there are patterns there that seem to be guiding people to understanding this reality. The energies and such.”
SKoM: “How do you incorporate that feeling of it being so readily spoken about in our circles in your music? People who study some of the things that you and I are describing, if you will...they usually risk seeming as if they are...I don’t know...outcast in believing some of the more spiritual concepts that you speak of when you write.”
Aaron: “I just say, Question everything. I absolutely believe in a God...a Higher Power, I don’t want to say like...when you say ‘God’, people always think of the bearded guy on the cloud...which is ME, by the way! (we both laugh as Aaron smiles jokingly) I’m not saying that is what God is...people always want to question what God is, and it’s really just believing in something that is bigger...bigger than yourself! That’s all. Know that there’s something out there that is bigger than yourself, and we’re just a small part of it”.
SKoM: “So how do you concentrate on the spiritual message that you are going to let run through the music on each album? You mentioned that Lux and now Memento Mori are all part of kind of a trilogy that you have planned...my point being that when the readers just “read” or “hear” audio of this interview, with no play-by-play; they’d think that you and I were just being macabre as hell, bro! What is the music going to say on this album that holds to the spiritual truth that you mean however that truth is being told within tracks with titles like “Anonymous”, “Remember We Die”, “Gravedigger” and “Say Goodnight”? I mean, Aaron, that’s some evil sounding shit right there, and I know you much better than that. You don’t mean that at face value...”
Aaron: “Noooo, of course not! We all have an existence here. This experience, from birth until death, whenever that may come, or even if death does come...like I said earlier, I have no idea for sure. I can only go on what I know NOW...and what I know now is that everyone I’ve ever known and everyone I’ve ever know about...they’ve died eventually when their time came. I don’t even know if one day I might get to take some kind of scientific immortality pill or something and then I’ll never die...I have no idea, but what this album and the songs within it mean; is that from what we know NOW; we are all going to die. And since that is what I know, it’s my job to try and be cool...you know; not be a douchebag! Now that we’ve established that; what are you going to do while you’re here and alive and able to make changes to the outcome of things that are both bad and good. I am hoping the music inspires people to want to do good things while they are alive on this planet. That’s what I plan to do. And why do I choose to do that? Because I have my Memento Mori, which is the title of the album...”
(A little English lesson for those that don’t know:::
məˈmenˌtō ˈmôrē/ - (noun) - an object serving as a warning or reminder of death, such as a skull)
SKoM: “Does it kind of go against what the music is actually saying in some ways when your audiences are, well...you know, listening very ‘aggressively’, if you will? I mean, you’re even up there bouncing around and laying into the mic hard while the other guys in the band are lunging and headbanging like almost everyone wants to when they listen to this type of music. Is that who YOU really are, positive in your mind, but angry or aggressive in body?”
Aaron: “Sometimes! You know, you bring up a good question, but I’ll answer that by simply saying that the experience that brings you up to the realization of the positive message, that experience IS hard. We all go through bullshit. We all struggle. We all can’t pay our bills sometimes...there’s all these experiences that come along and they’re all part of us becoming this conscious being ourselves, it’s fucking hard, man. That’s where the aggression comes from. But, at the same time...there’s hope there. Hope that comes out of the aggression. Somehow we’re all tied in together and somehow it matters. That’s the question you ask; Does it fucking matter? Does it matter to you? If it does, then you’ve been through the gauntlet, then it matters even more so. You, then, become someone who can help someone else who is going through that fucked up stage that you were once at. I’ve been there. I think we’ve all been there, and the positive that can be taken from the aggression is that we’re also all people who can help one another BECAUSE we’ve experienced that aggression, and because we found hope, the aggression became secondary to us and it now is used to help others to get to that same place.”
SKoM: “So, is the guy who I’m going to see onstage tonight...”
Aaron: (quickly jumping in) “That’s probably NOT the guy you’re talking to right now. (he smiles)”
SKoM: “And why not?”
Aaron: “Because, at the end of the day, the stage, or the music, or both together...it’s my therapy. It allows me to express myself. My poetry, my songs, my music...it all allows me to express myself and it means something to me...and I hope it means something to someone else. If it helps one fucking person, then I’m happy.”
SKoM: “Well, I think it’s more than one person that will find an attachment or solace in what you’re saying and doing here tonight, bro...the whole place is buzzing about you guys headlining this show tonight...”
Aaron: “I hope so! I mean, really, I hope so...I hope as many people as possible can be affected by what we do on that stage tonight. I mean, right now, in this moment, this is all we have...this is all we know. And on that stage, you really have no idea what is around that corner, what you have is what is in front of you; RIGHT NOW, or if I’m onstage, that’s what I have; RIGHT THEN. That is all I can prove, all I can rely on to be fact, what I have at that moment. I want everyone else to share that moment too. I mean, I’ve been in some really dark places, suicidal...suicidal almost most of my life. I’ve come really close to being successful at committing suicide, but now that I can look at it...who’s to say that if I had been 100% successful at that, I had any guarantee of where I would have went then? Is there some big Holiday Inn in the sky? Is there a nice pool there, or a hot tub? Who’s to say? What I have, is what’s in front of me, that I know, that I can prove...RIGHT NOW. When I go on that stage tonight, THAT is what I have. I have that for sure, right at that moment. I’m going to use that moment, when I have it, to do something that means something to ME. I can hope it means something to everyone else, but at that moment; it means something definitely to me. Sometimes the experience might totally suck! I may just get up there and have a really bad experience for whatever reason, but it’s what I have, right then, or what I have right now, that I’m trying to make a difference with that moment.”
SKoM: “Dude, my head is just spinning; I can’t tell if it’s just because you laid down some of the heaviest, most spiritual shit I’ve ever experienced in an interview or what, but I’m not kidding; I feel like I have just been to a very metaphysical and deeply spiritual place with you as my guide to show me how simple life really is and how each little moment matters....”
Aaron: “Because it DOES! That’s my point, what I said at the very beginning; we’re all going to die...we don’t even know for sure if that’s such a bad thing like we always portray it to be. It may be awesome and just be the best party we’ve ever been invited to, but right now, we do not know. So, what I try to say, through talking to journalists like you, or onstage to the fans...is to just use what you have, right now, and make a difference. Make a positive difference in everyone you come in contact with, however you decide you need to do that, just do it. And when I have finished sharing what I do and trying to make that positive thing happen...I say “Thank You” to those who allowed me to share it or to do it for them. I always say “Thank You”!
SKoM: “And we thank you, bro, for all the cool music, the awesome insight, and for keeping what you say and do in real life, very much a part of what you do for the music and performances that you do for us. Best of luck with the album, which comes out on...Friday, August 20th, I believe...and is there anything going on with you guys when this tour finishes up with your labelmates, 9ELECTRIC and Stitched Up Heart?”
Aaron: “We are going back out around the beginning of October with an, as of yet, unnamed band...well, the band has been named, but I can’t tell you just yet...”
SKoM: “Oh bullshit, dude. You can’t leave us hanging like that...”
Aaron: (laughs) “I can’t say just yet, but I can say it will be very cool and we’ve been out with them before, that’s the only hint you get. (laughs again)”
SKoM: “Okay, man; I hear you. But we’ll all be watching our tour information to see what pops up, bro. It was a pleasure hearing you speak, man. Very interesting and it was super cool to meet you finally, Aaron.”
Aaron: “You as well. Enjoy the show, guys!”
And on that note, we exited the bus, just in time for a smoke and a quick jog back to the club from the band’s bus to see them totally annihilate the stage at Trees that evening. In a time where Rockstars are a dime a dozen, and basically offer us about the same in mental return, the refreshing demeanor and mind of Aaron and his incredible band, is something to be proud of in any fan’s mind.
I’d like to thank David McDonald at Concrete/StreetSmart PR for the exclusive that evening as well as the guru of mind and metal himself; Mr. Aaron Nordstrom from Gemini Syndrome for his time and hospitality. Mad props to Clint, Whitney, Chris and Howard at Trees Concert Venue for another great, Rockin’ night in Dallas and to the other bands on the tour that evening, Mixi and Decker and the rest of Stitched Up Heart and to Ron, Micah, CJ and Mikey from 9ELECTRIC. What a night to go to the church of reason, my friends. What a night indeed!!!
Gemini Syndrome - “REMEMBER WE DIE” Official Video:
(From The New Album, Memento Mori - In Stores August 20, 2016):
Website: CLICK HERE
With October designated as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, New York born-and-bred thrash/metal icons Anthrax announce a very special concert to be held at Brooklyn's Saint Vitus Bar on Friday, September 16. "This has to be the most intimate show we've played since the early 80s which makes it so special," said vocalist Joey Belladonna about the Saint Vitus Bar, known for putting on massive underplays in their small Brooklyn bar. Jose Mangin from SiriusXM/Affliction Clothing will be on hand to host. Tickets are priced at $50 and go on-sale at NOON this Friday, August 19 at http://ticketf.ly/2bH4lrm . All proceeds will go to benefit Gilda's Club NYC, and everyone who purchases a show ticket will get a special, limited-edition t-shirt created just for cancer awareness, courtesy of Jakprints.
In addition, Anthrax has joined up with artists including The Black Keys, the Pixies, Ed Sheeran and the Red Hot Chili Peppers to take part in this year's Ten Bands One Cause promotion aimed at bringing awareness to October's Cancer Awareness Month that also benefits Gilda's Club NYC. A limited number of Anthrax's new album, For All Kings (Megaforce) will be pressed onto pink vinyl and released on September 27. Identified by a special sticker, the album will be available at all retail stores where vinyl is sold, through Amazon.com and all F.Y.E. stores. Fans will be able to get their hands on a copy of Anthrax's For All Kings pink vinyl before release date as a small quantity - all signed by the band - will be on sale at the Saint Vitus show.
The members of Anthrax have a very personal connection with cancer awareness. Bernadette "Tina" Benante, drummer Charlie Benante's mother and bassist Frank Bello's grandmother, passed away from cancer in 2012. "Cancer took away one of the most important people in my life," said Bello. "I was at the hospital wheeling my grandmother to chemo and it was just brutal. Anything that we can do to not make people go through that hell is something we want to be involved with."
The band members will tell you that Tina never missed an Anthrax show. When the band played New York, she was there. She loved baking cookies and she knew each band members' personal favorites. When they played Yankee Stadium with The Big Four, she baked everyone's favorites and brought them to the band's dressing room.
"They don't make them like that anymore," Bello added. "She was and will always be a big part of Anthrax."
The day his mom passed, Charlie wrote, "My Mom was all about letting me follow my dream, she always pushed me in that direction. She was the one who would take me to buy my records, she was the one who would sit through a matinee of all five 'Planet of the Apes' movies. She was the one who got me to be who I am. I am going to celebrate her life every day."
Gilda's Club NYC was founded in 1995 in memory of Gilda Radner, the talented comedienne and original cast member of "Saturday Night Live" who passed away in 1989 from cancer. GCNYC's mission is to support, educate and empower cancer patients and their families.
Said Anthrax's Scott Ian about Gilda's Club NYC, "No one should face cancer alone. The vital support they give to cancer patients and their families is truly a noble cause and we are honored to be able to help."
Loud & Proud Records
8 Out Of 10 Stars
Reviewed By: Craig “Bam-Bam” Stegall
Let’s just clear the air upfront before we confuse everyone on the planet with news of a new album from one of Southern Rock’s pioneering trail-blazers; Blackfoot. Part Sioux Indian, and ALL Goodwill Southern Party Ambassador, Rickey Medlocke, is still a part, albeit a lot smaller of one than what fans will desire, of what promises to be one of the band’s strongest lineups since the early 70’s when they struck pure gold with their, now classic, bit of aural history; Strikes. However, that’s as far as the old-school comparison goes. This is NOT a bad thing, please trust me, however...let me digress while the dimwitted purist naysayers have cooled their jets, then I’ll explain......
What many do not know is, in 1979, as the world was going through a slight change in guard and we were all preping for a new Reagan-era presidency, we were also about to take the hugest hit the music world has ever seen via John Lennon’s sickening murder in 1980. Just prior to that; a little band that formed in Jacksonville, Florida a few years prior, was bubbling a crazy brew of Skynyrd-esque audio moonshine from a basement tucked away in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Yup, you heard me correctly; MICHIGAN...home of Kid Rock and the entire Motown clan that spoke in less of a Southern drawl than Princess Diana. It was here that a young Rickey Medlocke, whom had already cut his teeth in ’72 playing drums (yup, you heard that right!) in the early version Lynyrd Skynyrd (where he ironically still holds a lifetime, card carrying membership; touring dates throughout the year as one of their guitarists) along with his bandmates lugging along a song written by his grandfather, “Shorty” Medlocke" (the infamous “Train-Train”), recorded what would arguably be one of the genre-defining classics in Southern Rock history. That album, the band’s third, released late in 1979, would become a “two-hit wonder” (also including Medlocke’s trestise to road life and absence from home; “Highway Song”) and go on to become certified Platinum by the time the great 80’s kicked into full hairspray-fueled mayhem. The irony here is that the album was literally recorded in that Ann Arbor basement for a fraction of what it brought in, and the band was poised to become what looked to be stahlwarts alongside Molly Hatchet, Marshall Tucker Band and the Allman Brothers, as a historical landmark in musical longevity. Why then, does history show so little followup? Your guess is as good as mine, but with an ever changing revolving door of talent that at one time included Uriah Heep’s Ken Hensley, it could have been that Rickey’s vision was much clearer than his bandmates‘ as to where the band should settle. I mean, as if Ann Arbor by way of the Sunshine State isn’t wacky enough, the mere thought of even the legendary Skynyrd trying to rebuild the set-in-stone classic lineup after losing three of its major player in a plane crash seems almost ludacris as we now pine over both lineups. Something in the water, I guess! Basically, Rickey’s influence and gift to the genre is completely overlooked due to his kindness and ability to help others get what they want.
Now, with our long-winded SomeKindOfMedia History lesson coming to a close (clearly added here to educate the younger generation who will see this Blackfoot as possibly a NEW act), it’s time to roll-out the surprisingly youth-dominated lineup. As Southern Native opens, it’s obvious that Medlocke went to great pains to ensure the young guns he’s put together would not only be able to PLAY like they’re more mature than their driver’s license digits show, but that they are able to FEEL what has become a signature sound he created before they were a glimmer in their parents‘ groin. The album opens with a welcome uptempo jab called “Open Road” which immediately sets the tone as not being a cash-grab in any way. This is really good Hard-Edged Southern Rock! Perfectly following the guitar-heavy opener is the album’s title track, and in this scribe’s opinion, the BEST song attached to the Blackfoot name since their “bitch-that-brought-them-to-the-dance” classic, the aforementioned classic “Train-Train”! I could not be more serious when I say that this track will easily be the highlight of the live show, hand’s down! Groove-laden, slicked back and laced with redneck, rebel flag flyin‘ swill. I actually looped this one for a good twenty minutes before moving on to the rest of the album. Guitarist/Vocalist Tim Rossi is a blazing barnstorm of piss & vinegar, folks. I’m hearing hints of Zakk Wylde in his fretwork rather than the proverbial Rossington/Collins drive that old-school Skynyrd folks would attribute to this style. As a matter of fact, by the time you get to track #7, “Satisfied Man”, it’s pretty obvious that Tim is a ballsy little son-of-a-bitch and has no issues stepping up and showing his skill on a six-string. Damn, this boy is good, son!
Another notable stand-out is drummer Matt Anastasi who revels in showing that he, as well, can play with Metal-style proficiency while keeping it tasteful for the southern tone being created here. His funky little polyrhythmic cowbell drive on “Whiskey Train” totally sounds like G’N’R’s Steven Adler standing on the front porch tapping out Morse Code signals to call the cattle herd in for dinner! Consider this another delightful standout track for sure! Now, with the accolades totalling more than I normally offer a band that boasts nary one original member sans a co-founding overseer, I have to comment that the only weakness that peeks through from time-to-time on the album, especially on the more slower and ballady tracks, is the vocals. Here’s the deal, folks; Medlocke LIVED what he sang. I’m venturing to guess, with absolutely no way to check my facts here, none of these guys in the band are even close to seeing their 35th Birthday; so with that said, please note that, there’s nothing “off” as far as pitch, key or hitting the notes for Mr. Rossi, he just doesn’t capture what Rickey can or would have on a track like “Everyman”. I mean no disrespect and I certainly don’t want to sound like the “park it on the front porch with a pitcher of Country Time and bitch at the kids playing in the sandbox” geezer that I am, but I’m not certain why Medlocke wouldn’t have lent that part of his history to this potentially BRILLIANT album. Still, with that being a couple points retained for knowing how perfect it COULD have been if Medlocke had sang on the three downtempo numbers just for the “feel factor”; this album is easily one of the coolest surprises of 2016 Boasting a cover of the Crosby, Stills & Nash Vietnam War-era classic, “Ohio”, theres no reason this one won’t stand shoulders above almost anything that manages to follow in regards to Heritage or Classic Acts waging comebacks.
Very Highly Recommended and available in stores or your favorite online retailer now.
Check the band out by visiting: http://www.blackfootband.com
Who’s Poppin’ Cherri
(Week Ending 8/14/2016)
Well, Hello Boo-boos…it’s time to let you all in on the new releases for the week! Y’all - there’s a ton of them. I mean you could make a pile of CD’s in your backyard, put a water hose at the top, turn it on full blast and slide down that f’er like you are at a water park - and I’m not joking. With the last push of the summer, labels are squeezing them out like the last of the toothpaste, 8 days before payday. Let’s go!
1) 9Electric - “New God” (From: The Damaged Ones - In Stores Now)
Oh sweethearts...if you aren’t familiar with this foursome - then you need to be and this is no lie. To be honest - I hadn’t heard them until I got to meet them here in Dallas last week for their show and as it turns out, Ron used to front Opiate for the Masses which is a favorite of mine from back in the day, just as an FYI. The single is “New God”. Pretties - there IS a God because this song makes you wanna jump up and down like you’re at one of those revivals with the crazies wrapping rattlesnakes around themselves like jewelry. The recording is stellar but where I became a true fan was seeing them live. Why you ask? I will tell you - the energy you feel listening to the track off the record pounds you in the face like Mohamad Ali (god rest his soul) punching the George Foreman right in the grill. Wait...did you just put 2 and 2 together because I just did - anyway, I digress...I mean seriously - totally the same energy with as jabbing yourself in the thigh with steroids without the wait. I actually love all of the tracks on the album The Damaged Ones and joined with the assault from the stage, you aren’t gonna be disappointed.
2) Hellyeah - “Scratch a Lie” (From: Undeniable - In Stores Now)
Ok, this was a toss up between the Arlington Home Base of Hellyeah and my ‘hood - Dallas Drowning Pool Camp. (Sidenote - with the anniversary of Dave’s death, I really don’t want to overshadow his early unfortunate passing or fall in line with every other journalist on the planet.) All I have to say about this tune is that it makes me wanna mosh around like an angry, scorned lesbian in the pit - although I’d be wearing heels as opposed to Doc Martin’s - punching every asshole that got in my way. Rockers you gotta listen to guitarist Tom Maxwell (remember him from DC’s Nothingface?) and his ability to screech out powerful riffs throughout this killa song. Trust me, if you get all chicken-skinned when you hear a good song, you better not have chest hair like Vinnie or you might poke the person closest to you eyes out. It’s amazing how this song draws up the angry monster in me, while taking a trip back to the days of the old club DV8 here in Dallas with the industrial undertones. CRAP!! Give me a trident and I’ll do some damage in a media street fight!!! Get down and get on IT!!
3) Thousand Foot Krutch - “A Different Kind Of Dynamite” (From: Exhale - In Stores Now)
K, you’re kicked right in the soul immediately as this song starts! I am always blown away by Trevor’s (McEvan) voice and he doesn’t disappoint. I have no idea what this song is about and who cares really because all you really wanna do is learn the lyrics so you can groove (or try to) singing in the shower slinging your soap on a rope around like a GD microphone. Y’all, it’s totally one to pick up and put in that playlist that you use when you’re about ready to throw down like a BOSS or work out like competitive weightlifter at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Put your guns up babies and get ready to learn how to fight with a different kinda dynamite. Oh, and you liberals - don’t get your feathers ruffled - the guns I’m referring to here are the ones that go up in the air when rocking out to a tried and true rock anthem! Ooh - and there’s a bonus (*jumps up and down like when Office Depot has a sale on gel pens*)!!! There’s a smooth guitar solo that will make you wanna sling your head back and make a creepy guitar face while playing that invisible leopard printed with CB in hot pink, two-necked, electric beast (at least that’s why my air guitar looks like, I dunno about y’all)...go get this album. Do it...DO IT!!!
4) Adelita’s Way: “Bad Reputation” (From: Getaway - In Stores Now)
Break out the lyrics: “I like to live a little, I like to drink a little - I like to smoke a little…” Hell yes - who doesn’t? (Disclaimer: I only drink coffee and smoke cigarettes now.) All of us like(d) to throw a few (6 packs) backs and get all crazy back in the day - or for some of you - this still holds true (getcha pull!!!). This album is totally different for Adelita’s Way, which is not a bad thing. I think the record shows some punch where there hasn’t been in the past. Lyrically though this song will strike a chord with those that have been told to go put their nose in the corner or made to go down the shame slide at the Park for FuckUps, which is why I like it. And apparently so do a shitload of other people because they swept over bands like Killswitch, Sixx A.M., Halestorm in Loudwire’s Cage Fight...so it’s a lyrical masterpiece in my book. Fo sho.
5) Adakain: “Resistance” (From: Never Coming Home - In Stores Now)
Normally, I won’t give a lot of attention to a local band, even one that has a strong regional reach...unless they are hella-good...and I mean HELLA-GOOD. So, let’s make the formal introductions shall we? Yes, let’s…”SKOM readers, I’d like to introduce you to Adakain. Adakain, please say hello to 85,831 unique readers.” Now that’s over - let’s get down to biz-nasss. Look, I can’t say I’m not a teeny-weeny biased here because these boys are from my backyard (not literally, because that’d be weird), I am - but just a little bit, like out of 100 - I’d say maybe 10% of that. Y’all go over to the iTunes and listen to the sample of it. Don’t buy it, yet - just listen to the sample. Seriously - click over there now. If you don’t get a little aroused from this song - there is something innately wrong with you. Ryan Ray isn’t a newcomer, and his band of brothers Ryan Carroll, Corey Goodwin and Anthony Morel aren’t slackers by any means. Ladies - LOOK at them. Seriously, these aren’t musicians that are still wearing cut-offs and Converse. These boys are freaking HOT behind their instruments, totes. What I love about Resistance is the rock vibe that is seemingly missing from the majority of signed (indie & major) artists. This band works freaking hard and it pays off by the strength of their independent release. Here’s a cool fact - RA’s, Sahaj Ticotin produced this little darlin’ devil of an album…Do You Call My Name? Why yes, he does and their name is Adakain.
Under The Inlfuence with Shannon Larkin
Interview by: Cherri Bird
Y'all, I can't leave well enough alone when it comes to freaking Shannon Larkin (who the hell would be, right?). My interview back in June timed out at 59:12 and we had a totally kick ass convo that touched on so many other points that I swiped some of our yammerings for the Under the Influence Facebook Page. Under the Influence is a page that started a few years ago that tells stories in the artists own words with pictures from artists from every genre of music. Under the Influence came about by a conversation that I was having with a musician from the band Low Gear (a cornerstone in the Dallas metal scene) and I after a LONG story about how he became a musician, I said, "man, that is a really cool story! And then...(no more and then's!!) I thought “why can’t local artists tell their stories to the masses too?” Well, turns out they can & that's exactly what we did! These bits and pieces define rock and the influences they've had in fueling the greatness of rock music, big and small. So as fate would have it, interest and assistance came from an artist development and long time music aficionado from Nashville. And the focus of Under the Influence has branched out and added the stories of not only local and regional talent, but those that have made it to the proverbial pot of stardom. This is the Great Effect that has rippled out and touched fans over & over.
It's my belief that the Universe does not forget things that are thrown out there; positive and negative thoughts or ideas. When it's time and the idea-makers are ready, those things come back.I've said this time and time again...but reactions happen equally and oppositely - and I didn't make this up so I can't claim it (damnit). And from these reactions, I am right here, right now. There's no other place...wait are those lyrics to a song? See, this is why I wanted to start telling stories about music & musicians: because music infiltrates us and carries us. And if you're like me, it all started with one note, one riff, or a beat - or in my case, a Lauren Hill show and a picture of my shoe...but that’s another story to tell for another day lovelies. So here’s Shannon Larkin talking about music, influences, his experiences being in Godsmack and like I said one of the greats in Rock - enjoy!
Cherri: Shannon, we've talked about The Apocalypse Blues Revue but now let's talk about you. You're experiences with being a musician, Godsmack or other bands you've played with - your experiences. So straight up, I know my local bands and of course the Godsmack fans would wanna know, like when you're out how are the fans - or do you even go out?
Shannon: I am so appreciative of the compliments I receive. The other night, I went to a club just to see a local band and Tony and I went and jammed and just got up on stage and played a couple of Godsmack songs with a local band and then afterwards, and I'm in the club standing there watching the band and you know it was like a meet and greet, everyone in the club wanted a picture or autograph or whatever and someone came up and was like "how do you take this? you're so cool - you're like taking pictures with everybody and smiling in every picture how can you do that?"
Cherri: What do you say to people that ask that? I mean, how would you tell someone that wants to be a successful artist or relay to them how it is when you're out and about in public?
Shannon: So ya, I said to him - I was like "dude, that's the reward for all my hard work". People come up and tell me that I affect them in a positive way or that I'm great or whatever. Well that's like - Godsmack could end tomorrow and you know, that's gone in a blink of an eye. I tell aspiring musicians that or dudes that are coming out because success - so never be the guy that doesn't appreciate and even enjoy - and I'm not going to be a liar to tell you it doesn't get old especially when people are overly complimentary but with that said, it's a gift being given to you by God and somebody comes up and tells me I'm great, I'm not going to let that irritate me. I'll be appreciative and say thank you so much and mean it. And be thankful that somebody's coming up and telling little ol' me that I'm great? What did I do to deserve that?
Cherri: What makes a great musician and where did you learn or get this attitude to be one of those great musicians?
Shannon: It's a humbleness and humility that the great ones had. And the rockstar dickheds that you meet, they're not really great and in their hearts they're rip off artists that took everything from someone else and they're in it for the wrong reasons like money or pussy or whatever it is, excuse my French! But the truth is the true great musician is one that realizes that a) it would have never happened for them if people didn't love them in the first place for their music and b) if you lose your humility, you're going to lose everything that you've worked so hard for.
Cherri: I'm so over when bands that have been around for a while and they get tired of playing that hit or they're like "oh fuck, I've gotta play that song again. It's 15 years old." And I'm like, "Cry me a river dude, that is what afforded you the experience of (being able) travelling around the world”.
Shannon: Ya, you're talking about the fucking band that has the hit they hate to play. Ya, like "man we have to play Dream On again tonight". Well, if you didn't have Dream On then you wouldn't be where you are Aerosmith - you know? Because these bands don't wanna play their hits. Ironically I was in a band "Ugly Kid Joe" and my singer __, went through a phase where he would not play the song "Everything About You". He's like "fuck that song" and I'm not saying I hate that song, but it was their biggest hit, what put them on the map and they sold 5 million records from that. And I said, dude you have to play that song and not only do you have to play it, but you have to emote it as if it you wrote it that day. Because without that song that you hate, you wouldn't be standing here getting paid to sing. And he did realize that later in life and now he will play that song with a smile on his face and sings the hell out of it.
Cherri: Is there a reward for this, you starting off and then building up to being a huge success - I mean it is a sacrifice and can be a very hard way of life at times.
Shannon: I am like so receptive to the sounds around me when I create music or play music. Because that's the reward, for all my fucking six or seven hours a day practicing in the garage from the age of 8 to the age of 15 and by then I was a pro and playing every night.
Cherri: What is music do you think, like for you and it being able to reach out to so many fans? How does that translate to the position you're in - ever had moments where your head's not in it?
Shannon: Ya, by the intent I think music has to be music. And when it becomes something else, you know like sex, drugs whatever you're doing it for, it never ends happy. But again, the true musician is the one that does it to make them happy. Let me tell you a story. I've been on stage before and after Godsmack has been on the road for 6 or 7 months - and we're a machine man. When we write a set list, typically it's well rehearsed and we play it the same every night. Like when we made a live record there's no overdubs, we try and play perfectly every night for our fans. And that's our deal. As I'm looking down at the set list I'm thinking 'ok on the 4th song' and I'm playing in front of like 20 thousand people in an arena, all there to see me and my guys. And in my mind, I'm thinking 'fuck I can't wait for this to be over so I can drink or party or whatever, you know? And then that's when the realization hit me as I noticed I'm counting the songs down to the end of the set. That's when I realized I'm not approaching it in the right way. I'm loosing myself to this being this thing that's a rockstar and I'm taking it for granted in other words. So I had to reevaluate my whole approach, not only to drumming but to life as a successful musician.
Cherri: Ya, like enjoy the experience and who you influence, you know? There's a trend right now in Dallas with bands from "the day" coming back doing that...what the hell is that word...
Shannon: Reunion…??!! (Shannon chuckles a bit from my complete brain gasious explosion that can't recall the word "reunion" here...)
Cherri: (omg really, Cherri?) Ya, that word - shit!!...so they're coming back - getting the band together again. Bands that when I was in my 20's I loved to see bands like Tablet, Jibe and even bands that are still playing like the self-made, awesomeness that is Rivethead and the mighty Drowning Pool. It's truly like time travelling. But I bet if you asked the members today (of the bands that aren’t around any longer), if they thought their last show was their last back then, I bet they'd say, "probably not".
Shannon: Ya and the moral of the story is enjoy every second you're blessed with on the stage. And play every note or hit every drum like it could be the last time you will do it because you know what? It could be.
Cherri: Have you ever not made a living with a band? Or has something not worked out with a band?
Shannon: We had a side project called Another Animal which was Tony, Robbie and me from Godsmack, Whit Crane from Ugly Kid Joe and a guy named Lee Richards. We put the record out. We even had a song hit #6 on Active Rock Radio all across the country. So we took it on tour and (when) The band didn't make it, we went $60,000 in debt on one tour. It was a long tour - 10 weeks but still we owed $60 grand at the end and of course since Tony, Robbie and I are in Godsmack we had to write the checks. After that we said look you know, we'll play every night 7 nights a week - but we're not going to lose money and have to pay to play because we're just as happy honestly creating music in our studio for ourselves.
Cherri: Man, you’ve been on the phone with me for a long ass time talking about music & your new gig with The Apocalypse Blues Review. So I want to thank you for spending time with me - what a fucking awesome conversation! Thank you! And when you're out on the road y'all better make a stop in Dallas with The Apocalypse Blues Revue)! Do you have dates already?
Shannon: Thank you for taking your time and talking about music, especially The Apocalypse Blues Revue. So I really appreciate you taking the time. This helps - every person that turns one person onto bands (like his new project the The Apocalypse Blues Revue), makes it possible for us to come and play your town! That's what's it's all about!
Cherri: Awesome! I know that everyone in Dallas and everywhere else that's listening to this is excited to hear you talk about music. I'm excited that you have such fire about your new project (The Apocalypse Blues Revue) and I know that my Dallas people will be anxious to hear the track (from The Apocalypse Blues Revue) because we are southern and we rock, but we do have some of that blues swagger to us...
Shannon: There's no doubt that Texas produced some of the greatest players of all time in this genre, including Gary Clark Jr lives in Texas and right now he's the fucking master! I know Eric Gales is from Texas and another just monstrous blues player and so to wrap this up I'll just say a big warm welcome and shout out to all my Dallas friends because I've got many of 'em! I've been playing in Dallas since I was 17 years young! I won’t tell you how many years that makes, but it's been a lot! I've made many friends in the Dallas area and I look so forward to coming through and playing there and saying hi to everybody!
Cherri Bird is an independent and featured writer at SomeKindOfMedia.com focusing on all that entertains the brain; music, poetry, fiction & non. Follow her on the following Social Media Outlets:
Twitter - @thecherribird
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