Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Band In DC (Bad Brains documentary) coming soon


In the 1950s, whites stole rock music from blacks.

Two decades later, The Bad Brains stole it back.

Monday, February 27, 2012

"Never Mind Of Bollocks"? REALLY?


Andrew Jacobs here,

While perusing this morning's either most recent or most popular (or both) stories on Twitter, I came across this "Sex Pistols Sign New Record Deal" story on some site called Gigwise. In the story, the writer referred to the Pistols' landmark 1977 album Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols as "Never Mind Of Bollocks".

Now, at this point, I must confess to being just a little bit biased with regard to this mistake. You see, The Sex Pistols have the distinction of being the very first band that I ever fell head over heels in love with as a 15 (almost 16) year old in the summer of 1986. And because Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols is their one and only actual album (though I'd argue that 1979's The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle movie soundtrack is equally as relevant), it holds an extremely special place in my heart to say the very least.

I haven't contacted the writer (nor am I going to), so I have no idea why she made such a glaring mistake. My first guess is that she typed up the article on her iPad and the autocorrect changed "The" to "Of" (that's possible, right?). Regardless, when in doubt, GOOGLE IT, folks.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Owen Oakeshott (star and co-producer of The Elder movie) interview

What is the current status of your friend Seb Hunter's upcoming film The Elder, which is based on the 1981 KISS concept album Music From The Elder?

We're currently "in development", with Seb busy scribbling away at the script and me occasionally blundering in like an idiot and giving generally unhelpful advice. And the occasional blog update to keep people keen. The idea is to film a "short" over this summer - a few scenes from the script - to break us in and give people an idea of where we're heading with this thing. Hopefully, this will help drum up further interest as we go forward.

Are you and Seb going to wait to obtain permission from Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley before you begin any actual work on The Elder? Why or why not?

We have already begun work in the sense that Seb has started on the script, there's an active internet campaign and we're boring our respective partners about it every evening over tea. To that extent, we will make the film whether we get official sanction or not. Obviously, we would love to have the KISS imprimatur for the project and it would help us immeasurably in it's general profile. However, the worst case scenario is that they say no and we have to tweak things a little to keep us out of the shade of copyright infringement. Which, due to the "universal myth" nature of the story-line and our take on it, wouldn't actually be that difficult. But we want Gene in it. He IS Mr. Blackwell. I'm trying to convince Seb to add a scene specifically for the Simmons tongue. Come on, Gene, you know you want this!

What exactly does your role as co-producer of The Elder entail?

At this stage:

  • organising a schedule for the "short" in the summer
  • dreaming of cocktails on a sun-lounger in Cannes

I understand that you are also going to be one of the actors in The Elder. What character(s) will you be playing?

Morpheus. Sort of Obi-Wan Kenobi with a drink problem. And a dog-collar.

As an actor, who are some of your influences and why?

Richard Burton (I was weirdly obsessed with him when I was a little boy; altogether now: "Broadsword calling Danny Boy..."), Tom Baker (the ultimate Doctor Who) and Kevin Spacey. In acting terms, they all have the same thing in common that totally presses my buttons: speed, fluidity and vocal deftness of touch. I was in a play in London with Spacey many years ago and he was utterly mind-blowing. He took the cast go-kart racing after the show once. I beat him. No, I really did.

What were your initial thoughts when you first heard the Music From The Elder album and what are your thoughts on it now?

I hated it. It's grown on me since though. But not much. Like slight acne. I think KISS and Bob Ezrin should have another go at it in 2012 - they could improve on it immeasurably.

I personally never had a problem with the band doing something so portentous and detached from their canon as it turned out to be. I just don't think that they, or Ezrin, were up to the job at that particular moment in their respective careers. What the concept required musically was the bombast and eclecticism of Queen's A Night at the Opera or the musical Jesus Christ Superstar, with the melodrama of Pink Floyd's The Wall and the light and shade of Tommy by The Who. What we actually got was something much flatter and uninspired. In essence, I find the writing too weak and one-dimensional for such an ambitious idea.

But hey, don't tell Seb. Please. We've had enough arguments for one month.

What are your thoughts on KISS in general?

They've become part of the international rock'n'roll furniture, haven't they? Gaudy, fake blood spattered, black & white furniture that shoots flames from it's cushions at regular intervals. But still, an undeniably enjoyable leisure experience.

To a young 'un in the late 1970s, however, they were completely visceral and overwhelming: the Mardi Gras of heavy rock. Or did I just nick that quote from Pete Townshend? Certainly, when we're at an impressionable age, repeated exposure to high impact images and sounds marks you for life. The front cover of Alive II still does funny things to my lower intestine even now.

I consider their first album to be one of their finest. It matures considerably with age, which you can't say about all of them. You can hear their Beatles influences shining through and it's glorious. Destroyer is the dogs bollocks, of course. I love listening to Unmasked (mainly 'cos I'm a pop bitch). And I adore Creatures of the Night, principally 'cos of that amazing two second jet-fighter sound effect Vinnie Vincent provides for the middle section of the title track. Oh, and for "Rock And Roll Hell". Which I always wanted to cover. It's IMMENSE.

Finally, I remember standing in front of a mirror naked at the age of 11 and singing along to "God Of Thunder" with my mum walking in during the middle eight. We've all been there, surely.

What are some of your favorite bands/artists and why?

  • Dylan: 'cos he's Dylan - you could spend your whole life with him on your headphones in a locked room and never get bored.
  • Springsteen: I became obsessed in the '80s along with the world and his dog and he's never really left me. I keep going back to Devils & Dust. It's a thing of beauty.
  • Abba: the soundtrack to my youth. I still cry when I listen to Arrival. The Visitors is the finest swansong any band gave to the world. "The Day Before You Came" is the saddest, strangest & scariest pop song ever written and "Dancing Queen" is the greatest ever. Like all truly great pop songs, it FLOATS.
  • Iron Maiden: they slam out the same damned thing every song they do but if that same damned thing is "The Number of the Beast", frankly, who cares? Their recent stuff is much underrated. It's got orchestras in it now. Oh yes!
  • Motorhead: Seb and I shook Lemmy's hand in the Rainbow Bar & Grill on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, CA a few years ago. He was at a fruit machine. THE WHOLE NIGHT! Almost as if he was secretly taking the piss out of himself merely for our benefit. Genius. Overkill is my favourite rock album bar none. I would take the title track as my Desert Island Disc (a silly radio program for middle-aged British people). It's like an alarm clock stuck on the front of a juggernaut - every time you think it's stopped, it starts up again. Would certainly get me out of my hammock of a morning.

What are some of your favorite concept albums and why?

  • Delirium Corda by Fantomas: turn out the lights, turn up the volume, shit your pants. Desperately try and find your way to the off-switch. You can't - the lights are off. Too late. Progress quickly to fear-induced heart attack. Quite brilliant. And utterly terrifying.
  • Nostrodamus by Judas Priest: silly, silly, SILLY. And orchestras again. Oh yes!
  • The Pros & Cons of Hitch-Hiking by Roger Waters: pisses all over The Wall. Man having a nightmare about a female German backpacker. It's strangely gorgeous and unsettling. If you can put up with Eric Clapton.
  • Operation Mindcrime by Queensryche: the greatest concept album ever. I'm a recent convert. Although I saw them live for the first time supporting Priest in London last year and I was sorely disappointed. I was told to like them by Seb. Out of respect. Couldn't do it. Sorry. Geoff thingummy, live, was just too bald, shouty and sweaty for my tastes. But then Rob Halford is a metal god! Where's the consistency, I hear you ask? (In the Midlands.)
I once wrote a concept album myself. It was never released. It was called Sleepers Hill. It was about an old people's home that Seb and I lived in back in 1989. It had the Hampshire Youth Orchestra playing on it. Oh yes!

Are there any concept albums that have not yet been made into films that you think would translate well onto film? If so, please discuss. If not, why not?

Frances the Mute by The Mars Volta. I have no idea what it's about. And neither does anyone else, it would appear. Perfect for a movie. No need for a coherent narrative through-line. Which is a bastard to get right, let me tell you.

Feel free to discuss any of your other endeavors (musical or otherwise) here.

I leave the music now to my betters. I might be acting in a show soon in Wales. Or in Liverpool. I'm not sure. Check with my agent - http://www.scottmarshall.co.uk/

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Episode 22 - Under Covers


We have a jam packed episode filled with tons of music you may have never heard as well as a couple of tracks that you certainly won't want to hear again!

Aaron and Chris take you through a journey of some of their all-time favorite hard rock and metal cover songs in this special edition of the Radio Sucks Radio Show - Under Covers.

In this episode, you will get lots of great cover songs performed by artists such as Sebastian Bach, Metallica, Ace Frehley, Ugly Kid Joe, and Tuff among many others.

We also introduce a new segment to the show this week with 'Defend Your iPod'. In this new feature, Aaron and Chris put each other on trial over a song that is found on each others iPod. We think you will find the choices and revelations in this segment riveting, revolting, and downright weird. The only clue we'll give you is one song is angelic while the other explains how a redneck outing can be just what the doctor ordered when you lose an appendage.

There's lots of music-y goodness for your head holes in this one. Hope you dig it!

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André Cholmondeley (Frank Zappa tribute band PROJECT/OBJECT) interview


How old were you when you first got into music and how exactly did you get into music?

Very young, 4 or 5 years old. I remember loving all the '60s pop songs that I heard when I lived in Chicago from 1965-1970. The radio was on all the time. My parents loved music of all types.

Who were some of the first bands/artists that you really liked and why?

My Dad's record collection was it - so all at once, lots of varied stuff including Miles Davis' Bitches Brew (I was fascinated by the album cover art), The Shadows (early '60s seminal instrumental/guitar British group), Simon & Garfunkel, Isaac Hayes, Bobby Goldsboro, John Coltrane, Marvin Gaye's What's Going On (that album cover was simple but also epic to me), etc. A strange mix of music, some might say, but it was what a college student in Chicago in the late '60s would have been collecting. This was while I was growing up in Guyana, from about 5 through 11 years old.

The local radio was also great. I heard a ton of Indian vocal music, calypso, early reggae, blues, '50s music, etc. I can remember Bob Marley's first hit singles as they were introduced on radio.

I remember my Dad taking me to see a movie about the 1950s. It was incredible. That really, really had an effect on me. I was very young and can't remember details of who was in it, but you can imagine, it was Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, etc.

What was the first musical instrument that you learned how to play and why?

Guitar. And a little piano. I started late. I was 17 and living with my Dad, Grandmom & Aunt in Kingston, Jamaica. My aunt had a piano and a beat up classical/nylon string guitar. I plunked around on those all summer and figured out the very basics, with the help of some of her music books. Nothing like having TONS of time on your hands as a kid.

As far as why, I just always loved music and I loved the guitar as well. One of my cousins had taught me "Electric Funeral" by Black Sabbath a few years earlier. I just loved the sound of guitar. From that first Shadows album as a kid, I just loved the twang and sustain and sound of... a guitar through an amp.

Are you a schooled musician? And do you feel that aspiring musicians should have some sort of formal musical education or training? Why or why not?

Sadly, no. Definitely a regret I have, along with not going further with early French and Spanish classes. So, so important to know multiple languages in the 21st century.

But as far as music - yeah, I minored in music for a while in college and took a bunch of theory and history courses, so that is the extent of my formal training. Probably a year of theory and a couple years of deep history, courses on Music of Antiquity, a semester of a Beethoven only class and some 20th century music & tape studio classes.

As far as aspiring musicians having some sort of formal musical education or training - indeed. But I think it works both ways. You have Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck and many of the creative forces of modern electric music, none of whom had formal training.

Then again, you have someone like Pat Metheny or Al Di Meola, who have done decades of study and deep musical theoretical knowledge and who keep applying it to real life performance and composing, and pushing the envelope as well. So, it's tough to say. I think just "being creative" is the hardest part. I mean, what's more creative - a cool XTC song that I still love after 32 years or a difficult Dream Theater tune, where they all are reading some impossible chart? Is AC/DC's "Back in Black" less awesome than something from the Mahavishnu Orchestra or Genesis?

Having said that, I say YES, try to get as much theory knowledge as you can, and keep doing so. Knowing how to communicate quickly with other musicians is paramount and having a theoretical idea of what you're playing takes things to a completely other level. It's a fantastic time for self-teaching as well. Countless websites and DVDs that can get anyone's theory knowledge supercharged in a couple of months. Having said that, let's always remember that some of the greatest songs ever were written with no thought to theory.

I was also fortunate enough in the '80s to study world music with Philip Corner and electronic/tape music with Dan Goode, each of them well known "downtown NYC" composers who led many groups, including the groundbreaking "Gamelan Son Of Lion". That whole period (1983-87 or so) was massive for me, learning about all kinds of African and Indian music, various forms of Indonesian & Balinese gamelan, Brazilian music, Burundi, Chinese, Japanese, Cuban, Tuvan, Irish, Moroccan, Javanese, eastern European, Persian, ancient Egyptian and Greek music and on and on.

At the same time, I was a huge fan of WNYC radio's "New Sounds" with John Schaeffer. From that program, I heard people that were then selling relatively huge amounts of records. People like Laurie Anderson, Steve Reich and Philip Glass, to the more obscure (at that point in their careers) like Scott Johnson, Vernon Reid, John Zorn, Bill Frisell, Sonny Sharrock and all the stuff that was at the Knitting Factory.

As a musician and as a songwriter, who are some of your influences and why?

Ha, an impossible list. I mean, all the stuff already mentioned and all the classic rock stuff. I loved rock radio and never apologize for all that stuff - The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Cars, Aerosmith, Queen, Ted Nugent, Boston, Alice Cooper, AC/DC, all that stuff. Then the funk/disco side of stuff - Earth Wind & Fire, Funkadelic, all the top 40 disco hits - loved 'em!

Then onto guitarists like Jimi Hendrix, Pete Townshend, Jeff Beck, David Gilmour, Sonny Sharrock, Pat Metheny, Vernon Reid, Bill Frisell, Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai, Prince, David Torn, Robert Fripp, Andy Summers... Michael Hedges - love that guy. We saw his last show ever. That was heavy as hell when we heard a few days later that he had died. We hung out and rapped with him after the show. I'll never forget it. HUGE influence on my acoustic playing and just in attitude, such a very cool guy, on multiple levels.

So many influences, it's ridiculous to list. Jazz? Huge part of my diet. Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Eric Dolphy, Tony Williams, etc. All the fusion greats like RTF, Weather Report, Mahavishnu, etc. 20th century greats like Xenakis, Varese, Penderecki, Bartok, etc.

All the '80s new wave stuff - The Police are like my Beatles! XTC, Joe Jackson - HUGE. The Clash - that band is a serious soundtrack to my life. Bad Brains, Black Flag, Sex Pistols, Santana, Devo, Rush, etc.

The whole '90s revolution like Fishbone, fIREHOSE, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Soundgarden, Nirvana, etc.

'60s songwriter stuff like Burt Bacharach - he's a genius! I'm recently digging the Dionne Warwick stuff with him and Hal David. It's the roots of so much modern pop. Brilliant.

Tons of metal. I grew up on Thin Lizzy, The Scorpions, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, then to Voivod, Sepultura and all the way through to modern metal like Animals as Leaders, Mastodon, Iced Earth, Lamb Of God, Kylesa, Baroness, etc.

Visionary people like Kate Bush, Bjork, Peter Gabriel, David Torn, Robert Fripp, Vernon Reid and P.J. Harvey are way, way high on the list. Just true creative genius to me. Todd Rundgren and, of course, Frank Zappa - major influences.

I listen to a lot of electronic stuff and hip hop - Nine Inch Nails & Trent Reznor, Squarepusher, Kanye West, M.I.A., Skrillex, Autechre, Aphex Twin, Tricky, and old school stuff like Public Enemy, Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Os Mutantes, Can, Gong, etc.

Everything except modern country music!

What were the circumstances that led to the formation of your Frank Zappa tribute band, PROJECT/OBJECT?

I had heard a couple of Zappa singles and I thought he was a really funny guy. But then in 1981, a buddy of mine (fellow freshman engineer destined to fail out) played me Zoot Allures. I instantly became a huge fan, voraciously collecting everything I could.

Around 1989, I started holding a "Zappa Birthday Party" every year on Dec 21st. I noticed right away that people were fascinated reading all the articles and interviews that I would set out and they took notes on favorite tracks and albums. By the third year, I decided to have my band at that time, Zen Pajamas, play a couple of Zappa songs at the party. It was a blast and people wanted more right away. So the next year, we learned 15 or 20 songs, had a bigger blast and realized that we had to do this EVERY year.

The band expanded and by the 3rd or 4th year, we were doing the parties at a local club in New Brunswick, NJ. It became the scene there. At some point then I decided to call it PROJECT/OBJECT and I think we started doing it a couple times a year.

Then, the guys who are our managers still, Howie Schnee & Mike Maietta, booked us into the Lions Den in NYC. That was the beginning of doing gigs all around the northeast. Then out from that.

What are some of your favorite Zappa songs to perform and why?

So, so many. But a handful would be "Packard Goose", "Duke Of Prunes (Orchestral)", "Inca Roads", "five-five-FIVE", "Sy Borg", "Florentine Pogen", "Cruising For Burgers", "Echidna's Arf/Don't You Ever Wash That Thing", "The Idiot Bastard Son", "Big Swifty", "City Of Tiny Lights". Those all stand out.

Why? Various reasons - nostalgia, difficult & challenging, great well written song and/or a song with a chance to improvise.

What are some of your favorite Zappa albums and/or songs and why?

Again, so difficult - Roxy & Elsewhere, You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 5, Bongo Fury, Them Or Us, Weasels Ripped My Flesh, Jazz From Hell, Tinseltown Rebellion, Sheik Yerbouti, Läther, Waka/Jawaka and big faves are the first two that I ever heard, Zoot Allures and Zappa In New York.

My favorite Zappa songs are the same as listed for favorite to perform, plus maybe stuff like "Cucumonga", "Debra Kadabra", "Strictly Genteel", "Yo Mama", "The Black Page", "Läther", "Doreen", "Mother People"... gawd, so many. Impossible list!

What Zappa alumni have performed with PROJECT/OBJECT?

Ike Willis, Ray White, Napoleon Murphy Brock, Denny Walley, Don Preston, Robert Martin, Ed Mann, Mike Keneally, Bunk Gardner, Bob Harris, Thana Harris, Jimmy Carl Black, Arthur Barrow, and Roy Estrada. Bruce Bickford has done a few onstage improvs with us. He's not a musician but, of course, he's a claymation genius, well known for his work in Zappa's "Baby Snakes" etc . Al Malkin also came onstage once to share some vocals.

We've also had Zappa related people perform with us a few times as well, like Frank's sister Candy, Geronimo Black (son of Jimmy Carl), and Jerry Cuccurullo (brother of Warren), who knew Frank and jammed with him a couple times and also played on Dweezil's early material & singles and toured with L. Shankar for years.

What we try to do is just celebrate this crazy circus of people that Frank unleashed on the art world. It's really remarkable, since there are so many offshoots from the amazing musical universe that he created.

Were there any kinds of challenges in order to get Zappa alumni to perform with PROJECT/OBJECT? If so, please discuss.

Not really. It has happened rather organically, starting with meeting Ike Willis in August of 1984, then again in 1988, and becoming friends on that tour where I saw almost ten shows. After that, Ike and I stayed in touch through the '90s.

Then, in 1995, I went to see Ike with Banned From Utopia (in my opinion, the all time BEST Zappa tribute band) with Tommy Mars, Arthur Barrow, Ed Mann, Bruce Fowler and others. I gave Ike a cassette (!) of my band at that point. After getting home and hearing it, he called me (on a land line!) and said, "well, I need to come out there and whip you guys into shape, but sure, let's do some shows!".

From there, we did a big festival in 2000 where we met a number of the Zappa alumni that soon toured and sat in with us. Through the years, I have reached other people through the internet, etc. They've always been gracious and quite touched that the fans respond to them so intensely, even many years after their time with Frank.

What is your current relationship with Dweezil & Gail Zappa and the Zappa Family Trust?

Well, at this point, I'm happy that it's at a detente, a quiet place. Let's just say that there's been a lot of water under the bridge and at the end of the day, we have always worked within the law in terms of copyright and performance & publishing laws, etc. The only time any of this went to court, it was US taking ASCAP to court for illegally hassling us. The NYC courts threw it out and said ASCAP had no case. So that has been the focus of the Zappa Family for over a decade - lawsuit threats and hassling the clubs along the way. None of it makes much sense to us since, again, we've always done stuff by the book.

The family continued for years to speak about "permission". With all due respect though, no one needs "permission" to perform published works. If that were true, the bar economy would collapse. Every band doing U2, The Doors, Pink Floyd, Zeppelin and Hendrix would stop tomorrow. So, yeah, guess what -- performing covers in the USA (and most of the rest of the planet) is totally legal, in the correctly certified, dues-paying venue. It's also 100% legal, without "permission" to record and then sell cover versions of someone's published works (CDs or DVDs). You would simply owe an easily calculated amount of dues (mechanicals) to the owner of the copyright.

So, it's been peaceful really. And in general, the family (well, Gail and Dweezil) continues to speak out against "unauthorized performances" all around the world. I don't worry about it too much. I am celebrating Frank Zappa's music, as well as the contribution and role of the many amazing people who performed with him.

And also, I feel that we are honoring his last wish, as communicated by Moon Zappa herself just after Frank died. She said, on their official Zappa answering machine, that Frank's message to his fans was: "Just play his music, if you're a musician, and otherwise play his music anyway - that will be enough for him!".

Discuss the other bands that you're currently in and that you have been in.

Currently, I'm in a psychedelic/heavy power trio called DELICIOUS. We're based here in Asheville, NC. It's a really cool band. Lots of very long pieces of music that evolve. Since there are no vocals, we really try to work with texture and I use some looping and unique effects.

I'm also in a new trio doing the music of The Police and another aggressive-ambient/trip hop/spacey duo that is recording a CD.

I've been in and out of so many cool bands. Played bass in a couple bands and on a great punk rock album called Infernal Doll by False Virgins from 1990.

I had a great experimental duo with my partner and soulmate of over twenty years, Cheri Jiosne. We did electronic and percussion/sample based performances and we did several tours as a trio with Don Preston, touring all around the northeast as well as Ireland, England, Germany, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands. Some amazing tours, CDs, films and radio broadcasts were done by that band, including live on the BBC in London. Sadly, Cheri lost her battle with breast cancer in August of 2010. That's a major important end of a chapter of both my personal life and my musical life. That is difficult to deal with on a daily basis. Click here to watch a YouTube video of Cheri, Don Preston and me performing at Zappanale 18 in Germany.

Discuss your work as a guitar tech, particularly what bands/artists you work for and have worked for.

I started in road crew work with other artists after Cheri and I closed down our natural foods store. We owned/ran a store in Red Bank, NJ from 1995 to 2005.

From 2006 to 2007, I toured with Al Di Meola, teching and tour managing for him, with tours all around the USA, Canada, Chile, Israel and all around Europe.

Later, in 2007, I began working for Adrian Belew, also touring all around USA, Canada, Australia, criss-crossing Europe and even playing in Russia and Turkey. I toured full time with Adrian for about three years and we've talked about possible stuff in the future. It's all about having your schedule open when an artist has a tour!

During a break in Adrian's tours, I did a month tour-managing for Derek Trucks. Then, a few little tours with Eddie Jobson (violin/keys player for Curved Air), Roxy Music, King Crimson, UK, Zappa and Jethro Tull.

In 2010, I did the Keith Emerson/Greg Lake duo tour and the lone ELP reunion gig, working for Greg in the bass/guitar tech area.

In 2011, I teched for John Wetton (of King Crimson & Asia) on another Eddie Jobson tour in the US and Japan, then for Steve Howe (also of Asia) on the YES/STYX summer tour. Coming up for 2012 is Greg Lake's first solo tour. I'll be on that teching and stage crew.

The work - long hours! Not glamorous at all. Away from loved ones for ages. Often compromised sleep. A handful of almonds for dinner sometimes. BUT you go to all kinds of amazing places. Now granted, you don't always get to see much more than the drive from the airport to the hotel and the 3 blocks around the club but it's incredible fun at the same time and a supreme learning experience.

For all of these artists, there are some goals in common - find out quickly how THEY like stuff to be done and how their backstage needs to be so they are as stress free as possible. The stage setup needs to be so they can walk out and get into a creative space. Learn all of their gear inside out and know what can go wrong and how to fix it. In general a big part of your job is to remove, deflect and negate ANYTHING, any person, any vibe that will detract from playing the music.

It's important to really know a lot about the music and the gear that they need. It's also key to get an idea of what their vision is so that you can suggest new things for them to check out. You'll find that sometimes, very creative people get shut off from the chances to try new stuff. That is not to say that there is always a way to IMPROVE on the ideas of a legend but if they ask me to seek out new items or new inspiration, I need to know how to do that. So I spend a lot of time checking out new technology and improvements in sound creating equipment. Some of the work that I'm proudest of has been bringing new gear, new technology and/or programming to people like Adrian Belew, Keith Emerson and Greg Lake, who all influenced me so greatly as a teenager to fall in love with the original experimental gear.

Discuss your work as a tour manager and a booking agent.

Tour managers do a lot of babysitting as well as major logistics. It's like juggling spinning plates while riding a unicycle offroad!

It's great if you can get into a real high energy state and focus that. It's about keeping a ton of constantly moving details in your head. And today, using all the available technology in a smart way so that each day is well planned far in advance.

You have to know everything about the needs and wants of anywhere from 2 to 20 people (or more!) and knowing everything you can about each town, city, country, neighborhood, the weather, the food, etc. long before you get there. Hugely important, of course, is THE MONEY - collecting it every night if necessary, paying bills along the way (gas, per diems, hotels, etc.) and making sure that the tour is not wasting money on the road.

Booking is another type of juggling (more static though since you do that at a desk most of the time) but the same kind of knowledge base about the band and where & when their music will work in a given market. You really have to get into the headspace of the band on the road. In other words, you don't give them a 13 hour ride into busy NYC on a Friday or book a metal band in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. It's always interesting dealing with the various club personalities, as well. Booking is also less fun than it sounds but becomes easier if you can establish new connections on the road.

Feel free to mention any of your other endeavors (musical or otherwise) here.

My solo music - that will certainly be a focus this year. I'm re-releasing my two CDS (maybe for download only). But certainly a whole raft of new music, a lot of ambient and acoustic based music. I will release a lot of it via my Facebook -http://www.facebook.com/andre.cholmondeley

When I'm not doing all the music work, I also substitute teach here in NC. I have done that on and off for over twenty years and also have taught some county college stuff. Really, I'm just trying to re-focus my life after massive losses (my mom and my partner). That's an everyday struggle and musical therapy is really a massive thing. Music - truly the ultimate creative force as far as I'm concerned. Thank you for the opportunity to tell part of my story.

Brent Muscat (Faster Pussycat, L.A. Guns, The Sin City Sinners) needs your help!


Andrew Jacobs here,

Over the years, like many of you, I've lost quite a few loved ones to cancer. Most painful of all for me was when my mother lost her 8 and a half year battle with leukemia in July of 2007.

Upon learning about cancer survivor Brent Muscat (guitarist for Faster Pussycat, L.A. Guns and The Sin City Sinners, among many others) and his teaming up with The St. Baldrick's Foundation to raise money to help fight childhood cancers, I immediately began typing up this post. In addition to raising money, Mr. Muscat will also be having his head shaved to stand in solidarity with kids fighting cancer.

Please click the link below for more information and to make a donation. Thank you very much in advance.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Seb Hunter (The Elder movie) interview

What is the current status of The Elder, your upcoming film that is based on the 1981 KISS concept album Music From The Elder?

The current status is that I am right in the middle of writing the screenplay. In the meantime, we are all working hard to build the profile of the project. It's going pretty well so far. We continue to receive offers of support and technical expertise from all over the world. Our cast and crew list is growing all the time. Just today, we got a professional Hollywood storyboard artist on board. And all of these wonderful people are giving us their time and their expertise for free, out of love and enthusiasm for the project.

The whole thing has been a revelation to me. I never imagined that we'd receive as much support as we have. It's been truly humbling. The project genuinely feels airborne now. It is now our duty not to abuse or exploit all this goodwill. We are going to do this properly. Otherwise, what's the point?

Have you had any luck yet in obtaining Gene Simmons' and/or Paul Stanley's blessing for you to make the film?

Not yet. They know about us but have yet to make a move. They don't need to yet, really. This is all just a big folly until we have a decent script. When we have that, we have cinematic currency. It's as simple as that. Only then will their hand be forced. As soon as we have a script, we'll go over and hopefully meet them and pitch the whole project in person.

Ideally, Gene Simmons will play Blackwell, our baddie, in the movie. Obviously, the worst case scenario for us would be a big NO from KISS and threats of lawsuits, etc. Were that to happen, we'd be forced into making an entirely unauthorized movie, which would be a shame as I hope KISS will be able to see the potential in this for everybody concerned. But we're making this film, either authorized or otherwise. It's happening.

I became a KISS diehard in October of 1993, purchased Music From The Elder a few months later, fell in love with it after my first listen and have loved it ever since. What was your reaction when you first listened to it?

I thought it was disjointed and lacked any clear narrative thread. Even though I eventually grew to love it, I still believe this to be the case. Doesn't everybody?

When did you decide to make a film based on Music From The Elder and why?

I first had the idea two years ago, in the middle of writing an email to Julian Cope's wife Dorian. I think at first, the idea was a joke. However, when Dorian's reply email arrived suggesting that this was, in fact, an idea worthy of true genius, I began to think about it seriously. And then after a few years' musing upon how I might go about attempting to do it, I started to actually do it.

As for why, well, because it wasn't done 30 years ago and nobody has thought to do it since. Of course somebody should do it. It just happens to have been me who had the idea, I guess. Now I've just got to fulfill my destiny, etc. And win an Oscar and so on.

When did you officially begin working on the film?

Well, our website went live in November of 2011, following a few months' technical planning and content writing. I started to write the script in earnest in December.

As a filmmaker, who are some of your influences and why?

This is about the tenth interview that I've done on this project and believe it or not, you're the first person to ask me this question! I thought everyone would ask it but people seem more interested in asking about how scared I am of Gene Simmons. My primary cinematic influences are Herzog, Tarkovsky, Jodorovsky and the Coens' No Country for Old Men, whose tone I plan to attempt to lift wholesale.

Besides Music From The Elder, what are some of your favorite KISS albums/songs and why?

My favourite KISS albums are:

UNMASKED because it's so poptastic, has a great album cover and loads of Ace songs.

ALIVE! because it's the first one that I ever heard and still their definitive moment on record for me.

HOT IN THE SHADE because I consider it their best non-makeup LP (and because I'm weird).

ACE's '78 SOLO LP simply because of the chorus of "What's On Your Mind".

DESTROYER because of its songwriting and 3D sonics.

As for individual songs, like most people, my all time favourite has to be Gene's seminal interpretation of the Prodigy's "Firestarter" from his wonderful Asshole LP.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Joe Siegler's Black Sabbath website


Because I mentioned it in my post below, I figured that I'd do a separate post for Joe Siegler's excellent (and extremely comprehensive) Black Sabbath website. Mr. Siegler has also taken the liberty of typing up and posting a very detailed account of the status of the Tony Martin era Sabbath album reissues, which can be found here. As these albums have been out of print for a very long time now, this may be of interest to more than a few of you.

Tony Martin era Black Sabbath video documentary


Andrew Jacobs here,

As I've previously mentioned in one or two of my interviews with the ladies of the excellent Black Sabbath tribute band Black Sabbitch, Sabbath is by far my #1 favorite metal band of all time. And like the majority of Sabbath fans, my favorite era is the Ozzy era of the 1970s.

Having said that though, the Tony Martin era of Sabbath from 1987-1991 and 1993-1996 is so unbelievably underrated, it borders on criminal. To that end, here is a video documentary of that era that I found on the Black Sabbath message board. I hope to have an interview with the great Mr. Martin soon as well, so stay tuned for that.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Episode 21 - Eddie Trunk


We’re very excited to bring you this week’s episode. Today, we give you our recent conversation with Eddie Trunk. Mostly known from That Metal Show on VH1 Classic, Eddie has a rich rock and metal history that we delve into in this hour-plus in-depth discussion.

From High School Student to Record Executive

We venture back to Eddie’s teen years when he was introduced to the radio industry via a college station that taught radio basics to high school students. That led to his employment at a record store located across the street from a local rock and roll radio station in New Jersey. After a run of turning the radio station employees on to a number of rock and metal bands that they were ignoring, Trunk decided to take matters into his own hands and produced a deejay demo tape through a friends pirate radio station. The tape was good enough to earn him an internship at WDHA and later, his own show.

While earning his stripes in rock radio, Trunk met Jon Zazula, then a local record shop owner. Zazula was starting up his own record label and implored Trunk to give his struggling bands some exposure. With that, Eddie Trunk became one of the first major market deejays to spin tracks by bands such as Anthrax and Metallica. Trunk soon took on a job with Zazula, now known as Jonny Z, at Megaforce Records where he ascended to Vice President at the age of 25.

Meeting the Ace and Moving On

While at Megaforce, Trunk helped kickstart the careers of such bands as Kings X, Overkill, and Manowar. But it was a dream come true as a KISS fan to help get Ace Frehley back into the music world with the formation of Frehley’s Comet. Trunk quickly bonded with the guitar legend and their friendship remains strong to this day. In this discussion you’ll hear Eddie’s memories of that time working with Ace and his thoughts on Ace’s recent sobriety.

After a few years at Megaforce, Trunk had a brief stint in music management and continued to build his radio resume in the New York area; working at some of the bigger rock stations as well as being picked up for syndication in other markets.

TV on the Radio & Metal for a Cause

In 2001, Eddie began his long-term relationship with VH1 Classic; becoming the featured male host for special programming as well as interviewing many rock legends on the ‘Hanging With’ series.

Also in 2001, Trunk organized the New York Steel Concert; benefiting the victim’s families of 9/11 with a huge set by Ace Frehley, Overkill, Anthrax, Sebastian Bach, and a reunited Twisted Sister. The event raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and is considered by Trunk to be his most proud accomplishment in music.

That Metal Show & The Book Club

Eddie Trunk is currently the host of VH1 Classic’s That Metal Show; considered to be the leading talk show for all things hard rock and heavy metal. The new season will begin taping in March 2012.

Trunk also recently released his book ‘Eddie Trunk’s Essential Hard Rock and Heavy Metal’ and has appeared at book signings recently. The book is available wherever books are sold and personally signed copies are available at www.EddieTrunk.com.

Updates from Eddie Trunk are also available via his twitter page @EddieTrunk.

We want to thank Eddie again for coming on our show and hope that you enjoy listening to us discuss his history in the hard rock and heavy metal universe. Rock on!
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