Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

Fozzy

After taking 2016 off, Fozzy is back this week in a big way, with the release of a new single, “Judas,” from its forthcoming new album and the kickoff of its “Judas Rising” headlining tour. The band that started with its tongue planted firmly in its cheek has become a force in rock music, sharing stages with some of the biggest acts in the world and enduring now for 18 years and counting. Just before the big week, vocalist–and WWE legend–Chris Jericho called in to Live Metal’s Greg Maki to discuss “Judas,” the tour, the American festival scene and more. (more…)

Invidia

Former Skinlab guitarist Brian Jackson wasn’t thinking much about a full-fledged band when he and In This Moment bassist Travis Johnson started exchanging song ideas via email. But they quickly realized they were on to something, and Invidia was born, with Johnson on vocals, Jackson on lead guitar, Matt Snell (Five Finger Death Punch) on bass, Marcos Medina (Skinlab) on rhythm guitar and Darren Badorine on drums. The band came together quickly, but it’s been a longer road to its first album, which wrapped recording more than a year ago. The wait will come to an end Friday, March 31, when As the Sun Sleeps (pre-order here), one of the more anticipated debuts of 2017, is set for release. Jackson recently called in to Live Metal’s Greg Maki to discuss the band’s origins, the album and more. (more…)

Body Count

These days, most know Ice-T from the hit TV show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, but between his days as a world-famous rapper and the show, he and his pal, Ernie Cunnigan (better known as Ernie C.), who he met while they both attended Crenshaw High School in Compton, California, started a punk-metal band called Body Count. I was in high school when the band released its debut album in 1992, featuring the controversial song “Cop Killer.” 

What many deemed a side project at the time now has lasted 25 years. It’s been a long ride but not an easy one. Three band members have passed, but Ice and Ernie C. have remained. Despite never really going away during Ice’s 16 years playing detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola on SVU, Body Count had somewhat of a resurgence in 2014, with the release of its album, Manslaughter (featuring “Talk Shit, Get Shot”), and touring on the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. But was this just a novelty act reliving the glory days? We probably wouldn’t hear from back the band for a while after this, right? Wrong.

With the current unrest and political state of the world, Body Count once again has a lot to get off its chest and its back with what is sure to be another controversial new album called Bloodlust, due March 31, 2017 (pre-order the album here). Now a “full-on” metal band (as Ernie C. told  me), the new release features guest spots from Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine, Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe and Sepultura/Soulfly legend Max Cavalera, along with a Slayer cover medley. And there’s already been some feathers ruffled with the first single, “No Lives Matter.” Yeah, Body Count never has been a band to shy away from the cold, hard truth and tell things from its perspective.

Prior to the album’s release, Ernie C. called in to Live Metal’s Jeff Maki to discuss Body Count’s career, the prejudice the band faced in its early days and the new album. (more…)

Eddie Hermida of Suicide Silence

When I interviewed Suicide Silence vocalist, Eddie Hermida in October 2015 (read here), he had a strong statement for fans about the direction of the band’s new album:

We’re looking to burn bridges, man. We’re looking for kids to either sink or swim with us. If you’re at all hesitant about our band, if you don’t get our motives and if you don’t get our position in the world and you don’t get where our music comes from, then you’re gonna be one of those fans that gets left behind. It’s one of those things where this next future, this next road for us is gonna be something that is really gonna put us to the test for ourselves more than anybody else. It’s almost one of those things where it might even completely bomb, and we don’t care. It’s one of those things where we’re literally at a point that we’re not allowed to not take chances anymore. We’re not allowed to play the safe road anymore.

With the release of the new self-titled Suicide Silence record (Feb. 24, 2017,  Nuclear Blast) (read review), Eddie and the band kept their word. Actually, two words: clean vocals. And that’s just the start. Yes, the new album is not safe at all. It all but abandons the band’s deathcore sound and has turned into one of the more controversial metal releases in recent memory. In fact, it’s facing St. Anger/Risk/Illud Divinum Insanus-levels of fan backlash. Acclaimed nu-metal producer Ross Robinson, who was integral in the beginning for bands like Korn, Fear Factory, Limp Bizkit and Slipknot in finding their signature styles, takes Suicide Silence and transforms it into a different band. 

As Suicide Silence is about to hit the road supporting the new album, Eddie called into Live Metal’s Jeff Maki to discuss the stylistic changes of the band, fan reaction to the album and his recent online feud with Australian deathcore band Thy Art is Murder. (more…)

The Wild! (photo by Joel Jaszczyszak)

Early every year, there seems to come a rock record that sets a tone, that raises the bar for the releases due in the following months. In 2017, that record appears to be Wild at Heart (review), the debut full-length from Canadian rockers The Wild! To quote vocalist/lead guitarist Dylan Villain from the band’s official bio, “The Wild! is a mixture of what the blues feels like, rock ‘n’ roll sounds like and punk rock smells like.” That’s a dead-on assessment, and it just might add up to the best pure rock album since Airbourne stormed onto the scene nearly a decade ago with Runnin’ Wild. Judging by the reviews pouring in from around the world, The Wild! Appears to be on the verge of a major breakthrough, and it’s the result of a lot of hard work and complete dedication to the music. Live Metal’s Greg Maki recently caught up with Dylan to discuss the album, his rock ‘n’ roll upbringing and more. (more…)

Motograter

Motograter has quite the history for an act with only one full-length album to its name. After forming in 1995, the nu-metal band known for its members’ tribal body paint and its namesake instrument (made with industrial cable and guitar parts, delivering a deep bass sound) released its self-titled album in 2003. After a number of tours, including a stint on the Ozzfest second stage that same year, the band went on an indefinite hiatus.

For a while, it seemed Motograter would be best known as the former band of vocalist Ivan Moody, who went on to join Five Finger Death Punch in 2006. Various incarnations of Motograter reared their heads over the years—the band’s Wikipedia page lists nearly 30 past and present members—but it wasn’t until recently that the lineup solidified to the point where album number two appeared on the horizon.

Signed to David Ellefson’s EMP Label Group, the band now features guitarist Matt “Nuke” Nunes (the only current member who appeared on the first album), bassist Mylon Guy, drummer Noah “Shark” Robertson, vocalist James Anthony Legion, guitarist Jesse Stamper and Dustin “Skunk” Anderson on the Motograter. The new album, Desolation, is due this year, and a lot of touring is planned for 2017.

When the band recently came to the Fish Head Cantina in Halethorpe, Maryland, while supporting Hed PE, Live Metal’s Greg Maki caught up with Legion and Robertson to get the latest on all things Motograter. (more…)

Lacey Sturm

After leaving Flyleaf in 2012 to focus on her family, Lacey Sturm stormed back onto the music scene in 2016 with Life Screams, her solo debut. It became the first solo female release to top the Billboard Hard Rock Albums chart, but her work didn’t end there. Last year also saw the release of her second book, The Mystery, following 2014’s The Reason. Even with her career taking off again, her family remains a priority; husband Josh Sturm plays guitar in her band (and is her primary songwriting partner), and their two young sons are on the road with them. When her headlining tour recently came to the Chameleon Club in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Live Metal’s Greg Maki got the latest from Lacey. (more…)

Stitched Up Heart

Stitched Up Heart, formed in 2010 in Los Angeles, is coming off the biggest year of its career. 2016 saw the release of Never Alone, its first full-length album (via Century Media Records); two singles (“Finally Free” and “Monster”) charting at active rock radio; and months of touring, including stops at major U.S. festivals such as Carolina Rebellion and Rock on the Range. The band is riding that success into 2017, with a new single and video (“Catch Me When I Fall”); tours with Lacey Sturm and Letters from the Fire;, a break from the road to work on new material on the horizon; and then more live shows–”Living the dream,” as vocalist Alecia “Mixi” Demner said. Before a recent show at the Chameleon Club in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Mixi and guitarist Merritt Goodwin sat down with Live Metal’s Greg Maki to talk about touring, Never Alone and more. (more…)

Battlebeast—how can that name not bring a smile to a metalhead’s face? The Finnish band combines power metal and traditional ’80s metal into something special: anthemic songs with big hooks and choruses to bring out that inner headbanger in us all. Formed in 2008 and originally featuring vocalist Nitte Valo, the band was left in a compromising position in 2012 when she had to leave the band prior to a coveted opening slot on a tour with Sonata Arctica. In stepped the wild-haired, big voice of a frontwoman, Noora Louhimo, who up until this point had never performed in a heavy metal band. Well, Noora (or as she had me pronounce it, New-rrr-a, with an emphasis on the tongue roll) now has become the heart and soul of Battlebeast, as the band prepares to release its third album with her as vocalist, Bringer of Pain (Feb. 17, 2017, Nuclear Blast Records). The band—rounded out by bassist/vocalist Eero Sipilä, drummer Pyry Vikki, guitarist Juuso Soinio, keyboardist Janne Björkroth and his brother, guitarist Joona Björkroth—will serve as openers, along with Leave’s Eyes, for Sabaton on a U.S. tour this spring. Live Metal’s Jeff Maki talked with Noora about Bringer of Pain, the interesting story of how she joined the band, it’s ’80s metal style and much more. (more…)

Overkill

From the first time I heard the thrash metal anthem “Hello from the Gutter,” off of the 1988 album Under the Influence, I was hooked on Overkill. Then came “Elimination” and “Time to Kill” and “Horrorscope,” and you get the idea. The New Jersey band formed at the same time as other bands in the United States, from coast to coast, and around the world, were creating the new, chaotic subgenre devoid of rules and against the grain of what was considered heavy metal at the time. It would come to be known as thrash metal. With a notable winged-skull mascot named “Chaly,” and releases like The Years of Decay (1989), Horrorscope (1991) and I Hear Black (1993), the band was a regular on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball, toured and became known all over the world. There’s even a strong sentiment among fans and metal purists that the “Big Four” should be expanded to include the likes of Overkill, Testament, Exodus, and others. Yes, Overkill is that important, and, in other words, they can be considered living legends. Throughout the turbulent metal scene in the ’90s, the band continued to crank out albums, and kept going strong in the 2000s.

That leads us to the present, when Overkill is about to release its 18th album. The Grinding Wheel is as heavy as it is diverse and dangerously fun. Members have come and gone, but the instantly recognizable voice of the band, Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth, remains. Blitz recently called in to say hello from the gutter, talk about the new album and Overkill’s three decades of thrash metal with Live Metal’s Jeff Maki.  (more…)

Alter Bridge

Since forming in 2004, Alter Bridge has seen its stock steadily rise in the hard rock realm, its prominence emphasized by a full-fledged arena tour of Europe to close out 2016. On Jan. 20, the band–vocalist/guitarist Myles Kennedy, guitarist Mark Tremonti, bassist Brian Marshall and drummer Scott Phillips–will kick off its first North American headlining tour in support of its latest album (see dates below), the superb 2016 release The Last Hero. Though the album is Alter Bridge’s first since 2013, the band members haven’t taken much time off. Kennedy fronts Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash’s solo band and has been working on his own solo material; Tremonti leads his eponymous, speed metal-influenced band; and Phillips hits the skins for Projected, featuring members of Sevendust and Tremonti’s band. Live Metal’s Greg Maki recently caught up with Kennedy to discuss the new album, tour and more. (more…)

Airbourne

Airbourne

Few bands today embody the pure rock ‘n’ roll spirit as fully as Airbourne. As drummer Ryan O’Keeffe told us, there was no alternative career path, no plan B. In late September, frontman Joel O’Keeffe injured his ankle in a fall from the stage, but there was no quitting. He finished the song, the show and the tour. Rock ‘n’ roll is in these Australians’ blood, and there’s no turning back for them. The band’s fourth album, Breakin’ Outta Hell, released Sept. 23, is filled with the same kind of loud, brazen, bluesy party anthems found on its first three efforts. Some things are better left unchanged. Airbourne wrapped up its U.S. headlining tour in October in Baltimore, and Live Metal’s Greg Maki sat down on the band’s bus with Ryan O’Keeffe to discuss the new record and more. (more…)