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FREHLEY To STANLEY And SIMMONS: If You Keep Bad-Mouthing Me, No One's Gonna Show Up At Your Tour This Summer

During a brand new interview with Guitar World magazine, original KISS guitarist Ace Frehley was asked why he thinks his former bandmates Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley are always so quick to disparage him publicly. "I don't know," he replied. "I think they're just cranky. "For years, when I was fucked up, Gene used to say that I was a drunk and a drug addict and that I was unemployable. Kick a guy when he's down, right? But they can't do that anymore, so it's like they're scratching their heads trying to come up with new ways to insult me. The most recent thing was that I'm anti-Semitic, that I'm a fucking Nazi. That's just below the belt. Next I'll be a member of the Ku Klux Klan. And my fiancée is Jewish! My whole life I've worked with Jewish people in all different capacities — my accountants, my attorneys, people on the road. Jesus Christ, I can't believe the stuff that comes out of their mouths. But the truth is that I don't want to be negative. I just want to keep everything light and be happy. "Paul has been so goddamn cranky lately. I mean, what's wrong, Paul, aren't you happy? I know they must be frustrated because people are always writing about how Ace was the real guy or Ace was the real deal. It's gotta rub them the wrong way. They would like nothing more than for me to start drinking again, start taking drugs again and end up as a bum on skid row. But that's not gonna happen. "Anybody who says anything bad about me is foolish, because a lot of people like me. You're gonna make enemies when you put down Ace Frehley. And that's because I'm a straight shooter — I tell it like it is. Gene is that way too. He'll sit across from you in a room and say this or that and tell it like it is. Whether you like it or not, he lays it out, right to your face. Paul will tell you one thing, then walk out the door and stab you in the fucking back. That's Paul Stanley. And now he's trying to take credit for the fucking KISS logo? Unbelievable. I designed the logo — all he did was draw straighter lines. "And you know, I told Paul to wear the star on his eye. Do you know what his makeup was before he put the star on his eye? It was a round circle. He looked like the dog from the 'Little Rascals' [Pete The Pup, a.k.a. Petey]. It told him it looked kinda silly and that he should put one star on his eye. But do I go around taking credit for that? No. I let him say he designed it. Who cares, you know? Let's not be petty. "You would think that if Gene and Paul had half a brain, they would realize what's going on and start saying good things about Ace. I mean, keep bad-mouthing me. No one's gonna show up at your fucking tour this summer." After weeks of bad-mouthing each other in the press, the four original members of KISS were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in April by RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE guitarist Tom Morello, with all four — Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss — delivering warm, nostalgic and even sweet-natured speeches that put aside the simmering tensions for at least 12 minutes. KISS did not perform — the Hall Of Fame wanted the original quartet only to play, while Simmons and Paul Stanley insisted on the current lineup — which also includes guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer — performing as well. In the end nobody won that battle.

VINNIE PAUL: 'If You Live In The Past, You Don't Have Any Future'

Former PANTERA and current HELLYEAH drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott recently spoke to U.K's Metal Hammer magazine about the 20th-anniversary reissues of PANTERA's early major-label releases, including "Far Beyond Driven", which came out this past spring. You can now watch the clip below. Asked about the persistent talk of a hypothetical PANTERA reunion featuring Zakk Wylde (BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, OZZY OSBOURNE) filling in for the late "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott on guitar, Vinnie told Brazil's "Wikimetal": "The bottom is they call it a reunion, and that means to bring the original members back, and we can't bring Dime back, and he was such a huge part of PANTERA. I don't wanna damage or tarnish the legacy of him or the band. We had 14 amazing years together and it's time for everybody to move on. And I have definitely moved on in my life. I don't live in the past. I like to live for today and what's coming up tomorrow, and I love what we're doing with HELLYEAH. And that's my focus and that's my goal, man." Regarding the PANTERA reissues, Vinnie said: "The bottom line is [the label is] gonna do it, whether we participate or not. And so, we all put our best effort in to finding the best stuff that we can to put in there to make it a very special package for the fans, 'cause we did have the greatest fans in the world." He continued: "Like I said, I don't live in the past, so I don't sit around and listen to those records or think about them. I was part of the remastering, and that was probably the first time I'd heard 'Far Beyond Driven' in 20 years; I mean, honestly, since we finished making it. And it blew me away. It still sounds just as fresh today as it did back then to me, and I think it was definitely ahead of its time, and [PANTERA was] definitely an earth-shaking band that really touched so many people and inspired a lot of other bands." Dimebag's longtime girlfriend Rita Haney in 2011 called on Vinnie and former PANTERA singer Philip Anselmo to settle their differences in honor of Dimebag, who was shot and killed by a crazed gunman while performing with DAMAGEPLAN at a Columbus, Ohio rock club in December 2004. Vinnie, who is Dimebag's brother, and Anselmo have not spoken since PANTERA split in 2003. But the relationship got even more acrimonious when Vinnie indirectly blamed Philip for Dimebag's death, suggesting that some remarks the vocalist had made about Dimebag in print just weeks earlier might have incited Dimebag's killer. Haney told the producers of "Behind The Music Remastered: Pantera" that she forgave the singer after they found themselves unexpectedly face to face at a concert in California.

SKID ROW's DAVE 'SNAKE' SABO: 'We're The Closest We've Been As A Band For A Long Time'

The Rockpit recently conducted an interview with SKID ROW guitarist Dave "Snake" Sabo. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below. The Rockpit: It certainly seems like you are a happy band these days. Everyone seems to be getting on so well, and to see you guys playing out there, live, so much, it really rubs off on the audiences and the crowds. Snake: Yeah, and it's genuine. You can't fake that stuff; it's impossible! I think we're the closest we've been as a band for a long time. I think one of the thing that has really come to the forefront of our consciousness is that everyone really appreciates the fact that, and we are humbled by the fact that, we are able to do this for a living, and able to make music for a living and that does not get lost on us any way whatsoever. I get up every day, and to be honest with you, it's very much part of my consciousness, no matter if it's a shitty day or whatever, I still get to go up on stage and make music for a living. It's a pretty incredible thing, I think a lot of people don't recognize that in us, and certainly with us it is an amazing gift. What we do is not a birthright, it's a privilege, and we treat it with that respect. To know that people are making a conscious effort to go out and buy a ticket to come and see the band is pretty awesome, and that's our mindset when we go out on stage, that we have a responsibility to that audience to perform to the best of our abilities. I kid you not, it is really humbling. The Rockpit: [The new SKID ROW EP, "Rise Of The Damnation Army - United World Rebellion: Chapter Two"], there is some wonderful songs on there. The overwhelming vibe that we get from it, is that it has that classic SKID ROW sound, it's the sound of the first two albums, songs like "We Are The Damned", and "Give It The Gun" has a slightly more AEROSMITH feel to it. Snake: Oh, I love that you said that!! Thank you, that's a great compliment!! When we started working on the record, Rachel [Bolan, bass] and I always get together and have a conversation about life. We've known each other for twenty eight years now, and we probably know each other better than we know anybody else in our lives, and that's including family members. We talk every day and hang out every day. So we sat down to write this, and just started talking about things that were important to us and one of the first things we said was, "Why do we do this? What propelled us in the first place to do this?" And it forced us in to going back to being that 15- or 16-year-old kid, standing in front of the mirror, pretending to be Ace Frehley, Gene Simmons or Joe Perry or whoever, and that was our form of expression. We were socially awkward, we didn't fit into a certain group of people and we didn't know how to express ourselves, and all of a sudden music came along, and we found our voice, and we found the release valve, and the lightswitch went on. So, we got back to that, and you realize that, and while things that you may experience at a young age, or in your teens, they may seem mundane now, being an adult, but the impact of them is still the same. At 16, some of those problems mean the world, they can be potentially soul-crushing, and earth-shattering, even though you may look back and go, "Oh, my god," but at that point in your life they are, they're impactful, so music was the way to express ourselves and release our inner emotions, and realize that it's the same thing today. I mean, the problems may be different, but the impact is still the same. You peel back the layers of life and you get back to that bare essence again. It's like a lightswitch went on and the gates opened, and we kept that same space throughout the writing and the recording of the EP, and I think that's carried in to the whole touring process. We have a really , really good grasp of how fortunate we are to be able to do this. The Rockpit: So, hence, the cover versions that are appearing on there as bonus tracks as well? Presumably they are the bands that really meant that much to you guys when you were growing up, like QUEEN, AEROSMITH, JUDAS PRIEST on the previous EP, is that fair to say? Snake: Yeah, absolutely! That was the hardest part of doing the EP, finding those couple of songs to cover, because we didn't really argue over the songs that we were writing, but the whole back and forth was a bit frustrating for everybody because we just couldn't figure out which two songs we were going to do! Everybody has their favorite song, so it's difficult sometimes, but after trial and error, we finally got there, and I love both of them. Not that I don't love the two on the first EP, they're a reflection of who we are and what influences us, and what has influenced us, and I know we did them with tremendous respect, and I hope that comes across. Read the entire interview at The Rockpit.

MAX CAVALERA Talks To ROCK HARD LIVE In Sacramento (Video)

Rock Hard Live conducted an interview with Max Cavalera (SOULFLY, CAVALERA CONSPIRACY, KILLER BE KILLED, SEPULTURA) on July 27 in Sacramento, California. You can now watch the chat below. CAVALERA CONSPIRACY, the band led by brothers and founding SEPULTURA members Max (also of SOULFLY) and Igor Cavalera, has set "Pandemonium" as the title of its third album, due in October via Napalm Records. The CD was produced by John Gray, who has previously worked with SOULFLY. Max's autobiography, "My Bloody Roots: From Sepultura To Soulfly And Beyond", was co-written by Max Cavalera and Joel McIver, author of 25 books on music. The foreword was written by Dave Grohl (FOO FIGHTERS, NIRVANA). It is available for pre-order at various online outlets and will appear in bookstores shortly. SOULFY's ninth album, "Savages", was released on October 1, 2013 via SOULFLY's new label home, Nuclear Blast Entertainment. The CD was produced by Terry Date, who is known for his work with such acts as PANTERA, DEFTONES and SOUNDGARDEN, among many others. Guest vocal appearances on "Savages" include SOULFLY bass player Tony Campos, CLUTCH's Neil Fallon, NAPALM DEATH's Mitch Harris, Jamie Hanks of I DECLARE WAR and SOULFLY mainman Max Cavalera's son Igor Cavalera (of LODY KONG). The self-titled debut album from KILLER BE KILLED, the new band comprised of Max Cavalera, Greg Puciato (THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN), Troy Sanders (MASTODON) and Dave Elitch (ex-THE MARS VOLTA), sold around 5,500 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 58 on The Billboard 200 chart. "Killer Be Killed" was released on May 13 (one day earlier internationally) via Nuclear Blast Entertainment. The CD was produced and mixed by Josh Wilbur, whose credits include work with GOJIRA, LAMB OF GOD, HATEBREED, AVENGED SEVENFOLD, ESCAPE THE FATE, P!NK and STEVE EARLE. Cover art and packaging was executed by Ryan Clark of Invisible Creature Design, the Grammy-nominated design firm whose clients include ALICE IN CHAINS, FOO FIGHTERS, CHRIS CORNELL, DEVILDRIVER, MONSTER MAGNET, WOLFMOTHER and DEMON HUNTER.

ACCEPT: Second 'Blind Rage' Trailer Available

The second of three trailers for "Blind Rage", the new album from German/American metallers ACCEPT, can be seen below. The CD will be released on August 15 (postponed from the previously announced July 18) via Nuclear Blast. Like its two predecessors, 2010's "Blood Of The Nations" and 2012's "Stalingrad", the new effort was helmed by British producer Andy Sneap, who has previously worked with MEGADETH, EXODUS, TESTAMENT, ARCH ENEMY and KILLSWITCH ENGAGE. The cover artwork was created by Daniel Goldsworthy. "Blind Rage" standard version track listing: 01. Stampede 02. Dying Breed 03. Dark Side Of My Heart 04. Fall Of The Empire 05. Trail Of Tears 06. Wanna Be Free 07. 200 Years 08. Bloodbath Mastermind 09. From The Ashes We Rise 10. The Curse 11. Final Journey The limited-edition digipak will include either a bonus DVD or Blu-ray disc. It features ACCEPT's complete April 12, 2013 concert at Teatro Caupolicán in Santiago, Chile during the "Stalingrad" tour. Bonus DVD / Blu-ray disc track listing: 01. Intro 02. Hung, Drawn & Quartered 03. Hellfire 04. Restless & Wild 05. Losers & Winners 06. Stalingrad 07. Breaker 08. Bucket Full Of Hate 09. Monsterman 10. Shadow Soldier 11. Amamos La Vida 12. Guitar Solo Wolf 13. Neon Nights 14. Bulletproof 15. Aiming High 16. Princess Of The Dawn 17. Up To The Limit 18. No Shelter 19. Pandemic 20. Fast As A Shark 21. Metal Heart 22. Teutonic Terror 23. Balls To The Wall A single, "Stampede", preceded the full-length album on July 11, available digitally and as a limited vinyl edition. The "Stampede" video can be seen below. The clip was filmed on location in the high desert of California at the Devil's Punchbowl (a rock formation that looks like it's from another world) with director Greg Aronowitz ("Batman & Robin", "A.I. Artificial Intelligence", "The Lost World: Jurassic Park"). You can pre-order "Blind Rage" from the Nuclear Blast webshop. ACCEPT will promote "Blind Rage" with a European headlining tour which will kick off on September 19 in Copenhagen, Denmark. In a recent interview with Metal Assault, ACCEPT guitarist Wolf Hoffmann stated about the musical direction of "Blind Rage": "I think what we have here is really a collection of totally typical ACCEPT songs with the classic feel, and, of course, as always, there's an overriding theme of aggression and rage in all our music. I mean, otherwise it wouldn't be metal. "People call our music at this point 'classic metal,' I believe, and we just fell in love with the title 'Blind Rage' and the artwork. Interestingly enough, we don't even have a song called 'Blind Rage'. We just have a collection of songs that to me all feel totally 100 percent classic ACCEPT." Regarding the songwriting and recording process for "Blind Rage", Wolf said: "Andy is such a good partner now, we couldn't even imagine working without him on this album. He's such a natural fit and he did a great job on the last two albums. The only thing that we did way different this time from 'Stalingrad' is, we really took our time. 'Stalingrad' was really made almost in a rush, to be honest, because we had so many commitments right before we went to the studio to do the album and right after. Basically, by the time we started working on that album, we already knew when it had to be finished and what gigs we had booked. So that put us under enormous pressure, but this time, we really made sure it's right before it's ever released. We didn't work excessively long, we just took a little more time to make sure that we were in a little more comfortable place. These last few weeks we've just refined and tweaked little things that we normally wouldn't have the time to do." Speaking to Metal Wani ACCEPT singer Mark Tornillo stated about what fans can expect to hear on "Blind Rage": "You can expect more of the same, but you can also expect, on this album, a little more diversity, I think. And the way I see it, some of the songs sound more classic than the stuff that we've done. I mean, there are songs, I think, when I hear the opening riff, I go, 'Wow! That could be on 'Balls To The Wall'.' So you're gonna get a few different… I mean, we're not searching for a direction at this point. We're writing to please ourselves and to please our fans… We're not changing horses in the middle of a stream. I mean, if something works for us, we're gonna stick with it. We're certainly not gonna change direction, but I think we're not afraid to step out a little bit. We're also not afraid to go back and be what the band was in the '80s, which is what we've really strived for." On the topic of the vibe in ACCEPT during the songwriting process for "Blind Rage", compared to how it was for its two predecessors, 2010's "Blood Of The Nations" and 2012's "Stalingrad", Tornillo said: "The vibe is good. We're, I think, more relaxed at this point. 'Blood Of The Nations' was… We really had no idea where we were going at that point; we didn't even have a record deal when we wrote that record. We had no idea what was gonna happen and where it was gonna go, and we had a lot of time to do it. And then the response came, and we set the bar pretty darn high with that record. And then when we went back to do 'Stalingrad', we didn't have that luxury of time; they gave us a deadline, that they wanted the record by such and such a time, and it was a little more hectic. There was a lot more pressure than [there was on 'Blood Of The Nations']. Plus we had 'Blood Of The Nations' out there, and we had to try to top it, if possible, or at least try to get to where that record was. This one, we've had a little more time. This past year, all we did was festivals, which was nice, which gave us time to write on the road. And when we were done touring, we had a good three or four months to complete everything, which is a nice time frame."

acceptblindragecoverbig_638 (Thanks: NJthrasher)

Video: TOM KEIFER Performs 'The Flower Song' At WDHA's Studio D

Tom Keifer, best known as the singer/songwriter/guitarist of the Philadelphia-based blues-rock band CINDERELLA, stopped by the WDHA 105.5 FM radio station in New Jersey and performed "The Flower Song" live in Studio D. Check out video footage below. "The Flower Song" is taken from Keifer's debut solo album, "The Way Life Goes", which sold 5,400 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 78 on The Billboard 200 chart. The CD was released on April 30, 2013 via Merovee Records (through Warner Music Group's Independent Label Group). "The Way Life Goes" is a raw, introspective look at the roller coaster ride that has been Keifer's life for the past 15 years. From being told that he would never sing again as a result of a partially paralyzed left vocal cord, to the emotional and personal battles that followed, his solo debut is a story of perseverance, a testament to the power of passion and will, when combined with a true love of music. "It's pretty scary," Keifer said of his vocal paralysis. "I've had six surgeries to deal with the collateral damage. Performing… has been difficult for me because of the vocal issues I've had. I work several hours every day on that. That's a difficult thing for me every day." The collection of 14 new songs ranges from intimate, organic, acoustic tracks to driving hard rock. It embraces the blues, rock and country roots that have always been present in his unique sound that has generated the sale of over 15 million records worldwide for CINDERELLA. Rolling Stone praised Keifer as "a gritty, bluesy (rocker) with enough genuine swagger to draw comparisons to Mick Jagger." "This record was a labor of love," Keifer told TriCities.com. "When I started this record, CINDERELLA was in the middle of a lawsuit with Sony Records. This record is not in any way to be taken as me stepping away from CINDERELLA." "I took a lot of time making this record," he continued. "I made it over 10 years. I wanted to make something I loved. My wife, Savannah (Snow), co-wrote a lot of the songs with me. It was a blessing to me. "Each song has something to do with life. It's just life, love, love lost, being crazy, going crazy, being lost. The record, there's no change, really, in style. It has the peaks and valleys. "I've always approached music, played music that I like. I've never chased trends through CINDERELLA and with this album. It reflects what's in me."


DEF LEPPARD Singer JOE ELLIOTT's DOWN 'N' OUTZ: 'One Of The Boys' Video Premiere

"One Of The Boys", the new video from DOWN 'N' OUTZ, can be seen below. The song is taken from the band's latest album "The Further Adventures Of…", which is the third instalment of the project fronted by DEF LEPPARD's lead singer Joe Elliott, and features tracks connected to MOTT THE HOOPLE. The project was born in 2009 when MOTT THE HOOPLE reformed and asked longtime friend and fan Elliott to get involved. Joe formed the DOWN 'N' OUTZ with THE QUIREBOYS' Paul Guerin (guitar), Guy Griffin (guitar) and Keith Weir (keyboards), plus Phil Martin (drums). Together they looked to bring songs by MOTT THE HOOPLE and spin-off projects of MOTT, IAN HUNTER and BRITISH LIONS to a wider audience. In 2009 DOWN 'N' OUTZ supported MOTT THE HOOPLE at one of the band's five Hammersmith Apollo shows, which garnered much interest with fans. The fan demand eventually led to the bandlooking to create an album. 2011 saw the release of the critically acclaimed debut "My Re-Generation" through Bludgeon Riffola via Mailboat Records (Joe Perry, Walter Becker, Chris Isaak, Jeff Bridges). "My Re-Generation" included the singles "England Rocks" and "Overnight Angels" that reached No. 4 and No. 1, respectively, on the U.S. Mediabase rock chart — keeping Eric Clapton's new single off the top of the chart for two weeks. The band then released a live DVD taken from those initial shows called "Live At Hammersmith Apollo". DOWN 'N' OUTZ' new album, "The Further Adventures Of…", picks up where the live DVD left off and features the driving groove of album opener — and first single — "Rock And Roll Queen". The collection also includes the good time of rock 'n' roll tune "One Of The Boys", and ballad "The Journey", plus the drum-heavy song "Violence". The album was produced by Joe Elliott with co-production by Ronan McHugh. It was recorded at Joe Elliott's own studio Joe's Garage. Elliott says: These songs make up a huge portion of who I am and I feel incredibly privileged to have been able to record them and hopefully give them a new lease of life, which, quite frankly, is long overdue." Morgan Fisher (keyboardist MOTT THE HOOPLE 1973/1974 and also MOTT and BRITISH LIONS) expresses: "It's like Joe and the boys have taken some vintage films and slapped them onto a big, bright Technicolor screen. A great, in-your-face new way to experience some of MOTT's finest songs!" Ian Hunter says: "I'm blown away by these recordings. The solo by Paul Guerin on 'The Journey' is one of the best I've heard. These songs really suit Joe's voice also. It's a whole different side to him and the project gets my approval!" After supporting MOTT THE HOOPLE in 2009, DOWN 'N' OUTZ played the main stage of inaugural High Voltage festival at Victoria Park, London during the summer of 2010. Following this memorable performance, they toured the U.K. as main support to Paul Rodgers in 2011. The band is currently working on live dates for 2014/2015. "The Further Adventures Of…" track listing: 01. Rock And Roll Queen 02. Stiff Upper Lip 03. Marionette 04. One Of The Boys 05. Whizz Kid 06. Violence 07. The Journey 08. Drivin' Sister 09. The Original Mixed-Up Kid 10. Crash Street Kidds 11. Broadside Outcasts 12. The Revenge Of The Shipwrecked Hedgehog 13. Sea Diver (iTunes bonus track) 14. One Of The Boys (radio edit; iTunes bonus track)


Tampa Woman Accused Of Stalking SOUNDGARDEN Singer CHRIS CORNELL

According to the Tampa Bay Times, a Tampa, Florida woman was charged with stalking after allegedly penning a number of hostile posts and tweets directed at SOUNDGARDEN singer Chris Cornell and his wife, Vicky Karayiannis. Jessica Leigh Robbins, 32, was arrested Friday in Tampa and was barred from going within 1,000 feet of the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater at the Florida State Fairgrounds, where SOUNDGARDEN is scheduled to perform August 11, or from having contact with the family or the band. She was released on $50,000 bail but ordered to wear an ankle monitor and stay off the Internet. Robbins , who has bipolar disorder, may have tried to enter Cornell and Karayiannis' other home in Miami last fall, an FBI agent inferred from an Internet post obtained during the investigation. Some of the posts in question were traced to an Internet address registered to Robbins' mother, with whom Robbins lives. In one of the messages, the author of the post wrote that she drove seven hours to talk to the musician "but was unable to enter the elevator in his residence because she did not have an elevator key," FBI Special Agent Bradford Price wrote in a complaint. Robbins had previously approached Cornell at a fan event, asking if a manuscript she had sent had been helpful. Robbins later posted videos of herself discussing the encounter and alleging that the singer had plagiarized her writings. The investigation also uncovered that she claimed to be the mother of one of Cornell's children and that Robbins' phone had been used to report Cornell's wife for child abuse. This is not the first time Cornell has had to deal with a stalker. A Seattle woman was charged in February for allegedly tweeting death threats to the musician. The woman reportedly sent over 100 messages to Cornell from a total of nine different Twitter accounts. The postings also alluded to a rape of Cornell's 13-year-old daughter. Back in 2006, Cornell and his wife received death threats in which a man described how he planned to kill Vicky and her children, Christopher, and Toni. The private investigators Cornell hired to look into who was sending the letters said the stalker was British.

FLYING COLORS To Release 'Second Nature' In September

FLYING COLORS — the band featuring Mike Portnoy (drums, vocals), Dave LaRue (bass), Neal Morse (keyboards, vocals), Casey McPherson (vocals, guitars) and Steve Morse (guitar) — will release its second album, "Second Nature", in Europe on September 29 via Mascot Label Group's Music Theories label. The music press acknowledged the eponymously titled debut album from FLYING COLORS among the most compelling releases of 2012. Executive producer Bill Evans assembled a team of virtuoso players, a pop singer/songwriter, and the right producer to create sophisticated music that was accessible. Over 100 singer/songwriters were considered for the role. Portnoy pitched the idea of approaching McPherson, a member of the group ALPHA REV, whose 2010 album called "New Morning" dominated the Billboard Top Ten for 17 weeks. After an hour-long phone call with Evans, the band found their man. As Mike had quite rightly hoped, McPherson went on to prove the "X Factor" that elevated FLYING COLORS above the norm. "The idea of having an actual singer as opposed to a musician that also sang, really opened up a whole other world," Portnoy told Prog magazine. Classic Rock magazine hailed the band's debut as "fearless", praising its "JOURNEY-sized choruses" and referencing artists as diverse as THE BEATLES, RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, THE DOORS, MUSE, and even Frank Sinatra. In late 2012, the band toured America and Europe, dazzling fans with FLYING COLORS originals and selections from the catalogues of the five members. Schedules allowing, the protagonists had always viewed FLYING COLORS as a genuine band as opposed to a side project, hence they began writing a second studio album. From the first writing session to final delivery of the masters in July 2014, the process took almost a year and half, in four distinct stages: writing sessions via Skype in January/February 2013, another burst of writing and recording at Neal Morse's house in Nashville, a trip to Portnoy's home that spawned five additional songs, and finally individual recording/arrangement over the Internet throughout the spring of 2014. This time the band opted to self-produce, with Evans, the man responsible for the concept of FLYING COLORS, reprising his role as executive producer and co-engineer. Besides offering a finely tuned set of ears, Evans would remix a track each time an amendment was made, before sending it onto each band member, allowing closer collaboration by the band. "There was no repudiation of producer Peter Collins," clarifies Evans, "but the guys had become a family and they wanted to try something different." Sporting stunning artwork from the legendary designer Hugh Syme (RUSH, AEROSMITH, DEF LEPPARD, WHITESNAKE) and bookended by two tracks of truly epic stature — "Open Up Your Eyes" and the multiple-part "Cosmic Symphony" — the album is every bit as breathtaking as the debut. Portnoy stresses that the music’s proggier path was "not conscious at all." "Direction was never even discussed," continues Portnoy. "We just did what we do. I think perhaps not having a producer to ‘trim the fat’ possibly led to the songs breathing and expanding a bit more." "This is an album full of many layers," concludes guitarist Steve Morse. "The more you listen, the more you can hear. It’s an album to keep listening to." "Second Nature" showcases a compelling and thought-provoking collection of songs written and performed by musicians at the top of their game. "Second Nature" track listing: 01. Open Up Your Eyes 02. Mask Machine 03. Bombs Away 04. The Fury Of My Love 05. A Place In Your World 06. Lost Without You 07. One Lost Forever 08. Peaceful Harbor 09. Cosmic Symphony I. Still Life Of The World II. Searching For The Air III. Pound For Pound Photo credit: Jim Arbogast


LED ZEPPELIN Reissue Program Continues With Deluxe Editions Of 'Led Zeppelin IV' And 'Houses Of The Holy'

The LED ZEPPELIN reissue campaign got off to a remarkable start in June as deluxe editions of "Led Zeppelin", "Led Zeppelin II" and "Led Zeppelin III" debuted in the top 10 of The Billboard 200 chart. The albums achieved similar international success with debuts near the top of the charts in more than a dozen territories, including Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom. The band has now prepared the reissues of "Led Zeppelin IV" (the third best-selling album in U.S. history) and "Houses Of The Holy". As with the previous deluxe editions, both albums have been newly remastered by guitarist and producer Jimmy Page and are accompanied by a second disc of companion audio comprised entirely of unreleased music related to that album. "Led Zeppelin IV" and "Houses Of The Holy" will each be available October 28 from Atlantic/Swan Song in the following formats: * Single CD - Remastered album packaged in a gatefold card wallet. * Deluxe Edition (2CD) - Remastered album, plus a second disc of unreleased companion audio. * Single LP - Remastered album on 180-gram vinyl, packaged in a sleeve that replicates the LP's first pressing in exacting detail. * Deluxe Edition Vinyl (2LP) - Remastered album and unreleased companion audio on 180-gram vinyl. * Digital Download - Remastered album and companion audio will both be available. * Super Deluxe Boxed Set - This collection includes: - Remastered album on CD in vinyl replica sleeve. - Companion audio on CD in card wallet featuring new alternate cover art. - Remastered album on 180-gram vinyl in a sleeve replicating first pressing. - Companion audio on 180-gram vinyl in a sleeve with new alternate cover art. - High-def audio download card of all content at 96kHz/24 bit. - Hard bound, 80 page book filled with rare and previously unseen photos and memorabilia. - High-quality print of the original album cover, the first 30,000 of which will be individually numbered. The second round of reissues begins with one of the most artistically influential and commercially successful albums in the history of music, "Led Zeppelin IV". Released in November 1971, the album — which is officially untitled — defined the sound of rock music for a generation with ubiquitous anthems such as "Stairway To Heaven", "Rock And Roll", "Black Dog" and "When The Levee Breaks". The album was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999, has been certified 23x platinum by the RIAA. The "Led Zeppelin IV" deluxe edition includes unreleased versions of every song heard on the original album including alternate mixes of "Misty Mountain Hop" and "Four Sticks", mixes of "The Battle Of Evermore" and "Going To California" heavy with guitar and mandolin, and the fabled, alternate version "Stairway To Heaven", mixed at the Sunset Sound Studio in Los Angeles which lets fans hear one of the most revered songs of all time as they have never heard it before. LED ZEPPELIN topped the charts again in 1973 with "Houses Of The Holy", which features legendary tracks such as "The Song Remains The Same" and "No Quarter" while also showcasing the continuing evolution of the band's signature sound with the reggae-tinged "D'yer Mak'er" and the funk jam "The Crunge". The album has been certified diamond by the RIAA for sales of over 11 million copies. The seven unreleased tracks on the companion audio disc include rough and working mixes for "The Ocean" and "Dancing Days" that reveal a deeper look inside the recording sessions of these classic songs. Other standout recordings include the guitar mix backing track for "Over The Hills And Far Away" and a version of "The Rain Song" without piano. In 1968, John Bonham, John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant formed LED ZEPPELIN, one of the most influential, innovative and successful groups in modern music, having sold more than 300 million albums worldwide. The band rose from the ashes of THE YARDBIRDS, when Page brought in Plant, Bonham and Jones to tour as THE NEW YARDBIRDS. In 1969, LED ZEPPELIN released its self-titled debut. It marked the beginning of a 12-year reign, during which the group was widely considered to be the biggest and most innovative rock band in the world. LED ZEPPELIN continues to be honored for its pivotal role in music history. The band was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1995, received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005, and a year later was awarded with the Polar Music Prize in Stockholm. Founding members Jones, Page and Plant — along with Jason Bonham, the son of John Bonham — took the stage at London's O2 Arena in 2007 to headline a tribute concert for Ahmet Ertegun, a dear friend and Atlantic Records' founder. The band was honored for its lifetime contribution to American culture at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2012. In January of 2014, the band won their first-ever Grammy Award as "Celebration Day", which captured their live performance at the Ertegun tribute concert, was named Best Rock Album. "Led Zeppelin IV" track listing 01. Black Dog 02. Rock And Roll 03. The Battle of Evermore 04. Stairway To Heaven 05. Misty Mountain Hop 06. Four Sticks 07. Going To California 08. When The Levee Breaks Companion Audio Disc 01. Black Dog - Basic Track With Guitar Overdubs 02. Rock And Roll - Alternate Mix 03. The Battle Of Evermore - Mandolin/Guitar Mix From Headley Grange 04. Stairway To Heaven - Sunset Sound Mix 05. Misty Mountain Hop - Alternate Mix 06. Four Sticks - Alternate Mix 07. Going To California - Mandolin/Guitar Mix 08. When The Levee Breaks - Alternate UK Mix "Houses of the Holy" track listing: 01. The Song Remains The Same 02. The Rain Song 03. Over The Hills And Far Away 04. The Crunge 05. Dancing Days 06. D'yer Mak'er 07. No Quarter 08. The Ocean Companion Audio Disc 01. The Song Remains The Same - Guitar Overdub Reference Mix 02. The Rain Song - Mix Minus Piano 03. Over The Hills And Far Away - Guitar Mix Backing Track 04. The Crunge - Rough Mix - Keys Up 05. Dancing Days - Rough Mix With Vocal 06. No Quarter - Rough Mix With JPJ Keyboard Overdubs - No Vocal 07. The Ocean - Working Mix ledzeppelinivdeluxe ledzeppelinhousesdeluxe

OBITUARY's Backdrop Stolen At Holland's STONEHENGE Festival

Florida death metallers OBITUARY have posted the following message on their Facebook page: "This is a post that we hoped would never have to happen but we need to let our fans know the situation and hope that one of you can help us. "[On] Saturday [July 26], at Stonehenge festival in Steenwijk, Holand somebody stole our backdrop. It happened right after our performance while we were packing up our equipment. Here is a photo of it so if you know who has it or think you might know anything about this, please helps us get it back! Can't describe how important it is to us and it really sucks for the band and the fans these remaining shows to see OBITUARY without it hanging! Real bummer!! "We are offering a reward to the person who helps us get it back. Please, let us know if you have any information about this. "Email us at: fans@obituary.cc" As previously reported, OBITUARY has set "Inked In Blood" as the title of its ninth studio album, tentatively due at the end of October via the band's new partnership with Relapse Records. OBITUARY's first full-length CD in over five years was recorded by the band this past April at its own RedNeck Studio in Gibsonton, Florida. The album recording was funded by an extremely successful Kickstarter campaign in late 2013. Now the band has partnered with Relapse worldwide to maximize the release and impact of what is surely their heaviest and most cohesive record in 20 years. OBITUARY is: John Tardy - Vocals Trevor Peres - Guitar Donald Tardy - Drums Terry Butler - Bass Kenny Andrews - Guitar obituarybackdrop

SCAR SYMMETRY: 'The Singularity (Phase 1 - Neohumanity)' Cover Artwork Unveiled

Swedish melodic death metallers SCAR SYMMETRY will release their new album, "The Singularity (Phase 1 - Neohumanity)", on October 14 in North America and October 3 in Europe via Nuclear Blast. The follow-up to 2011s' "The Unseen Empire" is the first part of a trilogy. The cover artwork for "The Singularity (Phase 1 - Neohumanity)" was created by Mircea Gabriel Eftemie, who will be handling the artwork for the entire trilogy. Guitarist Jonas Kjellgren left SCAR SYMMETRY in August 2013 "due to scheduling conflicts with his studio work and his other bands — RAUBTIER and BOURBON BOYS." SCAR SYMMETRY was forced to cancel its fall 2012 North American headlining tour due to visa issues. The band's's latest album, "The Unseen Empire", sold around 1,500 copies in the United States in its first week of release. The CD landed at position No. 11 on the Top New Artist Albums (Heatseekers) chart, which lists the best-selling albums by new and developing artists, defined as those who have never appeared in the Top 100 of The Billboard 200. "The Unseen Empire" was released on April 15, 2011 in Europe and May 17, 2011 in North America via Nuclear Blast Records. scarsymmetrysingularcd

GEOFF TATE Is Not Interested In, Or Comfortable With, What The QUEENSRŸCHE Name Means Now

In episode 33 of "One On One With Mitch Lafon", rock journalist Mitch Lafon talks to former QUEENSRŸCHE singer Geoff Tate. You can now listen to the chat using the Spreaker widget below. A few excerpts from the interview follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). On whether his QUEENSRŸCHE "farewell" tour means that Geoff Tate as an artist is done with: Tate: "No, not at all. It's actually just a farewell to the [QUEENSRŸCHE] name, and kind of an end of the story. And [I'm] very happy about that, very glad that we finally reached a settlement and I can move on with my life now." On whether he will continue to perform the QUEENSRŸCHE songs after he is done with the QUEENSRŸCHE 'farewell" tour: Tate: "I'm gonna continue playing the songs I've written on all the albums. This is just, really, saying goodbye to the name and ending that chapter." On how he is feeling about no longer using the QUEENSRŸCHE name: Tate: "I haven't really got an answer for that at the moment. I don't have a definitive answer. I can say there's a lot of mixed emotions regarding it with me. I'm glad to be moving on, I can say that — very glad to be moving on. I wish that I was moving on in a different. I wish things would have been different… I wish that it all would have… I can't even really say it yet. Honestly, I can't quite put it into words yet… I just wish it wouldn't have gone to the level that it went to, with the lawsuits and all that stuff, and all the horrible negative stuff that's been said. That never was what I thought QUEENSRŸCHE was about. When I wrote 'Operaton: Mindcrime', people started saying, 'This is a thinking man's metal band' or 'rock band,' and I was very pleased with that moniker; that's what QUEENSRŸCHE really meant to me — was that it's thinking music. It's music that challenges you and you can lose yourself in it and get transported to a different place and it kind of opens up your mind to infinite possibilities. And I was very comfortable with that; that's what I always thought music should be. And I definitely felt proud of that. And now the name means something different; it means this awful lawsuit, this fight, these terrible, negative things, and that's not my idea of what QUEENSRŸCHE is. So I think it's a good time to put an end to that and put a period on it and move on and continue the vision that I had, continue progressing and exploring music." On what is next for Geoff Tate after the QUEENSRŸCHE "farewell" tour: Tate: "After this tour is done in September, I plan on launching into a new record at that time. I've been writing and coming up with new material and working on a new vision of where I wanna go musically. And I'm very excited about that." On how it feels to be able to explore different musical styles without being restricted by people's expectations because of the QUEENSRŸCHE band name: Tate: "I think I'm in a position that… It's actually a very wonderful position to be in. I can do a lot more of what I want to do, musically, without the confines of the QUEENSRŸCHE name. So that's a very good feeling. I can't get away from hard rock. I mean, I love hard rock and that's what I've always done. My version of it, or my vision of it, may differ from other people's, but that kind of goes with the territory, I think. I don't think, as a writer, you can expect everybody to love everything you do, because you're in a different place than the other guy; we're all moving in different circles, we're all living different lives. When you can line up with what a large amount of people are thinking or experiencing, I think that's a wonderful thing, but it doesn't always happen. So I think you have to like what you do and be into what you do and have a passion for what you do. And that's what it's all about for me, at least. And I think that passion that one has for what they do is contagious and it spreads out and people pick up on it." On whether he plans to put on any more "Rock And Vaudeville" performances: Tate: "I hope so. It's a really fun show. From an audience standpoint, it's very entertaining. There's drama, there's comedy, there's a lot of great rock music, starting from the '50s all the way to the present time, that we do. And it's a very, very entertaining show. And from my standpoint, it's incredibly challenging and fun to perform, because I get to sing all these incredible songs from rock history — all the way back from the '50s and the Chuck Berry stuff to KORN. And I love that; I love singing different material and I love the performance aspect of it too." On whether he can still hit those high notes like he used to in the early QUEENSRŸCHE days: Tate: "Oh, yeah. I'm not in a wheelchair yet. [laughs] I don't know how to explain it. You sing what you write and you write what you feel and you give the song what it needs, at least your vision of it. I think that singing high or singing low for a reason of, 'This is what I can do,' kind of a showoff kind of thing, is not what I'm interested in. I tend to lean more towards, 'What is the song conveying?' 'What's the sentiment behind the lyric?' 'What's the music doing?' First and foremost, in writing, I try to come up with a melody that's pleasing to me, that I feel conveys the emotion of the song, and then build on it from there. But just to sing high or sing low or… I guess it's more like… I don't look at music as a sporting event; it's not a competition to me. It's an emotional thing; it's an emotional presentation, really." On how he plans to bill himself when he goes out on tour next year: Tate: "I'm gonna be announcing some information later in the summer regarding that. It's a little too early to talk about it at the moment. I'm pretty much saying I'm writing a new record right now, and after the tour we'll begin recording." On the negative connotations surrounding the QUEENSRŸCHE name following the legal drama and public war of words between Tate and his former bandmates: Tate: "[The legal stuff] has been in the news for so long, and it's what people think about now when they hear the name QUEENSRŸCHE, and that's not at all what I'm interested in thinking about or talking about. An analogy for you: my wife and I used to go to this wonderful Italian restaurant near where we live. It was operated by this family who came from Italy — a man and his wife and their three daughters — and they made just exquisite food. It was just so original and different and unique and they had a very romantic environment in which to serve it in, And they had it for… oh, I don't know… 15 years, something like that. And then they retired. And some other people bought the restaurant, bought the name and continued on with the restaurant. But the whole thing changed. The food was mediocre at best, and what they did was they compensated by creating gigantic portions [laughs] — gigantic portions of mediocrity. The name is the same, but everything else is different. And that's kind of what QUEENSRŸCHE is to me. It's not the same anymore, it's not what I envisioned it to be and what I was striving for years to make with it. It's just a name now that means something different, and what it means I'm not interested in, I'm not comfortable with, and I wanna do something different."

SLASH: The First Time I'd Ever Been On Stage Sober

During a recent interview with BBC Radio 6 Music's Shaun Keaveny, legendary guitarist Slash (GUNS N' ROSES, VELVET REVOLVER) spoke about the first time he ever performed sober after years of substance abuse, Tom Zutaut, former Geffen Records A&R executive who was responsible for signing GUNS N' ROSES to the label, was quoted as saying that at the height of the band's success he was worried that he would one day turn on the radio and find out that Slash had died of an overdose. Asked how he finally managed to clean himself up, Slash told BBC Radio 6 Music (hear audio below): "Well, I wouldn't die. I mean, there's some truth to [what Zutaut supposedly said], where it was, like, I finally got to a point where it was, like, 'OK, I'm not going anywhere, so I'm gonna have to sort this out.' It wasn't that I had any kind of a death wish, per se, but I really took everything to the extreme and didn't care." He continued: "I think the only time I got a little nervous was when I was in rehab, there was a point when VELVET went out and did a real quick tour around California. And so I left rehab and went out and did this tour, and it was the first time I'd been on stage sober — ever. [laughs] That was a trip and it was a little shaky, but you get past that pretty quickly. 'Cause you're in the moment; you can't just sit there and go, 'Oh my God, I can't do this.' You have to do it. So I got over that pretty quickly." Slash, who has been sober since 2006, and has two young sons with his wife, Perla, whom he's been married to since 2001, told CNN about his last rehab stint: "It was good. It was very cathartic. "I think the main reason — I mean, I'd established in my mind that I was finished with all that stuff. And the main reason, really — my thinking, at least, at the time, for going to rehab was just to get away from everybody and just have a month where I could get my head straight. And that's exactly what rehab did for me. And it gave me some insight into a lot of other things. You know, because I went in not fighting it — sort of surrendered to it, as the saying goes. And sort of just went in and open-mindedly looking at what it had to offer. And it was good. It was a healthy, whatever it was, 30 days, or something. And I did — I got a firm grasp on what I needed to be doing. And that I was really done sort of, you know, with that sort of merry-go-round of drugs and alcohol — that sort of roller coaster." Slash's third album, "World On Fire", will be released on September 15. Slash and MYLES KENNEDY & THE CONSPIRATORS recorded 17 songs for the follow-up to 2012's "Apocalyptic Love". Among the tracks on the record are "30 Years To Life", "Shadow Life", "Automatic Overdrive", "Wicked Stone", "Bent To Fly", "Battleground" and the title track, which also serves as the set's first single.

Video: SLIPKNOT's COREY TAYLOR Plays Solo Set As Part Of 'Summer Concert Series'

Fan-filmed video footage of Corey Taylor (SLIPKNOT, STONE SOUR) performing a solo set on July 25 at the Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln, California as part of the "Summer Concert Series 2014" can be seen below. In a career now spanning 15 years, Corey Taylor has enjoyed chart-topping success, both with his face masked for Grammy-winning metal powerhousesSLIPKNOT and his soul bared for multiple Grammy nominees STONE SOUR. Taylor has authored a pair of best-selling books ("Seven Deadly Sins" and "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Heaven"), and makes his acting debut later this year alongside horror icon Robert Englund in Anchor Bay's "Fear Clinic". SLIPKNOT has finished recording its fifth studio album and first since 2008's "All Hope Is Gone". The disc is also the band's first without late bassist Paul Gray, who died in 2010, and drummer Joey Jordison, who was dismissed in late 2013. STONE SOUR has released one last lyric video from its conceptual double album "House Of Gold And Bones". The clip is for the title track, which appeared on the second of the two discs, and goes heavy on artwork from the comic books based on the album, which were issued last year by the Dark Horse Comics publishing company. STONE SOUR completed most of the touring cycle for the "Gold And Bones" albums earlier this year, while also announcing the departure of guitarist Jim Root from the band lineup.


Ex-MEGADETH Drummer NICK MENZA Says That He Doesn't Want To Bash His Former Bandmates

Ex-MEGADETH drummer Nick Menza says that he had a "great" time with his former bandmates but insists that he will "chart [his] own way" during the coming months "and not rely on any shining reunion." Menza joined MEGADETH for the 1989 recording "Rust In Peace" and for the next nine years became associated with the band's "classic" and most profitable era. Following the reissue of the entire MEGADETH catalog, Menza was invited to reunite with the band in 2004. Days after a reunion was announced, Menza was fired after rehearsals and replaced with Shawn Drover. MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine said that this was because Nick "just wasn't prepared." In a recent interview with Loaded Radio, Mustaine was asked whether he still gets pressure to get Menza and guitarist Marty Friedman back in MEGADETH. He replied: "Yeah, but that makes as much sense as somebody saying, 'Put a rotten tooth back in your mouth.' Don't get me wrong, but I've seen stuff that Menza's been saying [in interviews and online postings], and it's unfortunate. And I know that Marty's happy doing what he's doing. And frankly, if I wanted to get them back in the band, I would have worked it out, but I don't want 'em in the band. I think that Shawn [Drover, current MEGADETH drummer] is, all around, if you add all the parts up, is way more what I want in my life and my band, and the same thing with Chris [Broderick, current MEGADETH guitarist]." Responding to Mustaine's comments, Menza said: "I had my time with Dave and it was great. "I don't make it a point to bash my former bandmembers and diminish the memories of our great times together. "I have great plans in my future. "I will chart my own way and not rely on any shining reunion. "A chance to celebrate the great moments of the past together with our fans doesn't appear to be in the cards." Menza has been writing, recording and producing constantly but only releasing sporadic singles for years. That will all change when he opens the floodgates with the upcoming release of his memoir, "Menzalife" (formerly "Megalife"), by acclaimed writer J. Marshall Craig. Menza is currently negotiating a publishing deal for the book, which will feature rare and never-before-seen photos of Menza with every band he's ever been in, including, of course, MEGADETH. Menza and former MEGADETH bassist James Lomenzo earlier in the month announced a working musical relationship that will lead into a full working, writing, recording and touring band at some point.

SEETHER Frontman Says Ego Drove Out Past Guitarists

According to The Pulse Of Radio, SEETHER frontman Shaun Morgan has opened up in a new interview with Music Radar why the band has not been able to hold onto a lead guitar player, with Johan Greyling, Patrick Callahan and Troy McLawhorn all joining and leaving the lineup since 1999. Morgan explained, "What drummers were to SPINAL TAP, lead guitarists are to SEETHER… The problem is that a lot of these guys have ego problems, plain and simple. We've seen guys become rock stars overnight, which becomes a problem because that's not how we operate." After spending a few years as a trio, the band enlisted lead guitarist Bryan Wickmann earlier this year for live work. Morgan told The Pulse Of Radio that ever since joining the band's crew as a guitar tech three years ago, Wickmann has gotten more involved with the band. "We were looking for somebody to augment the live sound again, so we asked him to do it, and in fact he's been involved on pretty much the past three album covers and artwork. He actually painted the painting that's on the cover of the new one. He's been highly behind the scenes but highly active in the SEETHER camp for a while, so we figured we'd put him onstage for a change." Morgan played all the guitar parts on SEETHER's new album, "Isolate & Medicate". "Isolate & Medicate", SEETHER's sixth album, sold 37,000 copies in the U.S. in its first week of release to debut at No. 4 on the Billboard album chart earlier this month. The album's first single, "Words As Weapons", is currently the No. 1 track on rock radio, where it has been perched for several weeks. SEETHER will head out with GODSMACK and others on the Rockstar Energy Uproar Festival, starting August 15 in Clarkston, Michigan.

GHOST's Nameless Ghoul Talks Split Petition, PAPA Photo 'Leak' And Swedish Metal

One of the Nameless Ghouls from Swedish occult rockers GHOST was recently interviewed on Chile's Radio Futuro. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). On why there are so many quality bands coming out of Sweden: "I get asked this every now and then, and I think that most Swedish bands do… I mean, there's no theory that originates from the idea of us having a lot of… Just because we have a very good social security system [in Sweden], which means that if you're an unemployed person, that doesn't mean that you automatically are thrown out in the street; you can still have an apartment, you can still have somewhat of a normal life, even though you don't have a job. That means that there are a lot of people that are young and might not have a job, and there's a lot of time to invest in being in a band. It's not a rich environment, but it still gives you the freedom of investing in your talent. But that is just one theory. I think that the other theory, which I also think goes hand in hand with that, is that ever since ABBA became big, and then in the '80s when we had both EUROPE and ROXETTE and bands like that, I think that there's a general… Even though not everybody is inspired to become those bands, I think that that opened up a lot of doors for a lot of people. And that is probably why it's so hard sometimes for bands from other countries to break out, because you normally don't hear from a lot of bands from this or that country. But if you have one band, there might as well be a second. And if you have two, there might as well be four. Because you open up the door out. So I think that a lot of it has to do with the bands of the past. But, from an underground point of view, [there were] very important bands from the '80s [coming out of Sweden], when we talk about metal, [which] are, obviously, BATHORY, CANDLEMASS, and when ENTOMBED created their first record with their sound, that obviously opened up a lot of doors for Swedish death metal bands, because all of a sudden, Swedish death metal was something that everybody thought of as qualitative. When you have that tag, being a metal band from a country where everybody expects everything from the country to be qualitative, obviously that means that you have a little advantage every time." On the recent launch of a Change.org petition to get GHOST to break up: "These petitions, I could not care less. It's completely, completely, just stupid. For us, it doesn't make a difference. There is no petition in the world that can make us change. I mean, why would we? For me, I didn't even know that you can petitions like that before this. So I was just laughing [when I first heard about it]. And then we went on to the next page of our lives. It's just laughable, because these people, don't they realize that the more you talk about us, the more we're gaining? And if they don't understand that, you cannot do anything but laugh at the whole thing." On whether he has any comment on the recent release of a photo that appeared to show GHOST frontman Papa Emeritus II (believed to be Swedish musician Tobias Forge of MAGNA CARTA CARTEL, REPUGNANT and SUBVISION) without his trademark makeup posing backstage at a Dutch festival with BEHEMOTH's Adam "Nergal" Darski: "Not really. I mean, for us, it didn't make a difference, because it's just an assumption anyway. We are friends with Adam and the [rest of BEHEMOTH], so we don't really have a comment."

SCOTT WEILAND Says His Days Of 'Dope Use' Are 'Long' Behind Him

Ex-STONE TEMPLE PILOTS singer Scott Weiland, who was accused by his former bandmates last year of battling drug addiction and chronic tardiness, says that his days of "dope use" are long behind him. STP fired Weiland in February 2013 after reuniting with him in 2010 for a series of tours and one self-titled album. The band had previously been on hiatus since 2002, primarily due to the singer's struggles with drugs and alcohol. STONE TEMPLE PILOTS has since recruited a new singer, Chester Bennington of LINKIN PARK, and has released one critically acclaimed EP, "High Rise". Speaking to Canadian reporter Rudy Blair earlier this month, Weiland denied that his "demons" were still a factor as he continues to record and tour with his new band THE WILDABOUTS. "Past demons are past demons; that's stuff that I dealt with 14 years ago," he said. "I mean, I guess Keith Richards [of THE ROLLING STONES] gets asked about [his past drug use], so why shouldn't I? But it's not something that I think about, ever. Those days of my dope abuse, and use, are long since by me." Weiland's recent tour with THE WILDABOUTS featured him playing STP classics and select VELVET REVOLVER cuts alongside two songs from THE WILDABOUTS' forthcoming album, tentatively due in November. So far, seven songs have been recorded, with five more to come. It will be Scott's third solo studio LP and first since 2008's "Happy In Galoshes". Weiland has stated in recent interviews that the new album will be more of a full-band effort. Last year, Weiland embarked on the "Purple At The Core" tour, where he and THE WILDABOUTS delivered selections from STONE TEMPLE PILOTS' first two albums, 1992's "Core" and 1994's "Purple".

METALLICA's 'Ride The Lightning' Turns 30: CLIFF BURTON Photographer Recalls Jacket Shot

July 27 marks the 30th anniversary of METALLICA's "Ride The Lightning". Along with original shots from the SLAYER "Hell Awaits" album and the EXODUS landmark "Bonded By Blood", not to mention POSSESSED's "Seven Churches", the Bazillion Points photo book "Murder In The Front Row: Shots From The Bay Area Thrash Metal Epicenter", by Harald Oimoen and Brian Lew, includes Cliff Burton's portrait from the back of METALLICA's stunning second album. Every photo in "Murder In The Front Row" has a pretty good story, and the background behind this particular Cliff pic is a pretty good one. Harald, who has played bass himself for almost 20 years with crossover legends D.R.I., tells the tale: "First of all, the shots almost didn't exist. Cameras weren't allowed at this show, so about halfway through I got mine taken away by security. They were just about to expose the film, but luckily I was able to roll it back into the canister before they were able to ruin it! I got the film confiscated, but lucky for me a buddy of mine was able to get it back. That roll had the classic Cliff shot from 'Ride The Lightning' on it. I never received a penny for the shot, but the credit was priceless." For a longer excerpt from the book, tales of thick smoke with Cliff Burton, and further 1983 photos of METALLICA live, visit the Bazillion Points blog.