KIX Guitarist Wanted To Keep Band’s Spirit Alive On ‘Rock Your Face Off’

Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently conducted an interview with KIX guitarist Brian “Damage” Forsythe. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Icon Vs. Icon: KIX came out of the Baltimore music scene and had a lot of success locally as a bar band before branching out nationally. Was that transition from local scene band to national band a big transition?

Forsythe: Not really. We used to do one-off shows a lot, even in the early days, around the Baltimore/D.C. area. Occasionally, we would get thrown on to a show. I don’t even think our record was out yet in 1981 and we got thrown onto the JUDAS PRIEST/IRON MAIDEN show at the Baltimore Civic Center. We always had these opportunities to do bigger shows like that but our very first official tour was with TRIUMPH. That was different because it wasn’t our crowd. Around Baltimore, everyone knew who we were, so it was easy. We jumped on the TRIUMPH tour and our first show was in Seattle. Nobody knew who we were and it was a total mismatch. We shouldn’t have been opening for TRIUMPH. [laughs] We came out there and their crowd had no idea what to think. Of course, we went straight from the bars to that. Steve [Whiteman] is up there doing his whole “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!” thing and trying to do the whole club act. We actually ended up getting booed off the stage. That was a little rough. [laughs]

Icon Vs. Icon: Obviously, KIX has been at it for a long time with great success along the way. There was a point where you had a hiatus. What brought the band back together and lit the fire on bringing some new material to life?

Forsythe: That is a good question. It was kind of a long process. When we initially got back together, it was kind of funny. You see, I live out here in Los Angeles now, and those guys are still on the East Coast. Ronnie had his band and Steve had his band. They would do shows together and at the end of the night Ronnie would get up with Steve and Jimmy and they would play a few KIX songs. It would go over really well. At one point, Steve called me and said, “Would you be interested in making a surprise appearance and jumping up on stage with us?” I remember the initial plan for the one show we were going to do didn’t work out for some reason but it got us talking. We said, “Maybe we should just put the band back together, play a few shows and see how it goes.” That is exactly what happened in 2003. Of course, it worked and it was like jumping back on the bicycle. It felt like we had never left. From there, we were just going to do the local thing to make a little bit of money and have some fun. It just kept growing! We thought it would just fizzle out after a few shows but it didn’t. A few years into it I started looking around at booking agents. We found this guy, Sullivan Bigg, at Bigg Time Entertainment. He happened to be a huge KIX fan. When I called him, he was so excited and said, “I would love to book you guys.” We let him do it. That was even slower because Steve was a little hesitant. He was a little worried about his voice and wasn’t sure if he could do it. Once we got going and tested the waters outside the Baltimore area, we found out there were people still interested and everything took off from there! People kept asking us about doing a new record and at first we didn’t think we were going to do one. We were just going to play the old stuff and have fun with it. The longer it went, we started thinking more about it. [laughs] What really got it happening was the fact we did the live DVD. Frontiers Records put that out and as part of the contract they asked us to do a new studio record. That is what got us working on it.

Icon Vs. Icon: What were your expectations or goals when it came to creating [the new KIX album] “Rock Your Face Off”?

Forsythe: It was interesting, because when we first thought about doing the record, everyone really threw in all their ideas. We had a big pile of songs. It started out with just Mark Schenker and me together weeding through all of the songs. We didn’t want to come out with something that sounded completely different from the way we used to sound. We wanted to keep it KIX-like, so we weeded through all the songs and found the ones that were closest or those we could tweak to make them sound KIX-like. That was really how it started. I think I was more concerned than anybody, so I was trying to keep everybody on direction. There is a lot of stuff that happened, musical changes, between the time we broke up and got back together. So much happened in the 1990s and early 2000s and there we a lot of new influences there. I was worried because I didn’t want to come out sounding like one of these new bands because that is not KIX. That was really the goal, keeping the spirit of KIX alive.

Icon Vs. Icon: Where do you see KIX heading in the future? Is “Rock Your Face Off” more than just a one-off?

Forsythe: That is a good question. I don’t know. I was thinking about that this morning, as a matter of fact. The way the music industry is, I don’t even know how it works anymore, as far as radio or any of that. I am sort of just in a place where I am excited to just wait and see what happens. I don’t know. Maybe we will get a tour or one of the songs might take off but do things like that even happen anymore? [laughs] I am just going to keep an open mind and whatever comes, I am open to it.

Icon Vs. Icon: Is there still musical ground you’re interested in exploring as an artist?

Forsythe: I don’t know. [laughs] It’s weird. I love country music, which is kind of weird seeing as where I come from! I have always been a big southern rock fan, as well as a country fan. The older I get, the more I appreciate it, especially the guitar players. There are some great country players. As far as being a guitar player, I would love to get more into that just to do it. It amazes me how some of these guys play. When it comes to playing, I have to admit, I am a little lazy. [laughs] Sometimes I won’t even play my guitar unless I absolutely have to, which is really bad. [laughs] It would be nice to get into something and become obsessed with it like I did when I was younger. Maybe it is the country thing! It would be a lot of fun to learn to play like that! I can sort of fake it a little here and there but it would really be nice to get into another style and pursue it.

Read the entire interview at Icon Vs. Icon.

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ACE FREHLEY To Release Collection Of Covers And Remixes; SLASH, MIKE MCCREADY And LITA FORD To Guest

Original KISS guitarist Ace Frehley has yet to officially unleash his latest solo album, “Space Invader”, but he is already thinking ahead to his next effort — a collection of covers and remixes. He tells Arena.com: “That will be out next year. I get suggestions, I come up with ideas, and I ask friends and associates about which songs to do. The songs are already written, so it is faster and easier for me to make that record. I will get guest stars like Lita Ford, Mike McCready from PEARL JAM, Slash. It is an easier record to make since I don’t have much to do. The big stress is coming up with new guitar solos and vocals lines and melodies on new songs.”

“Space Invader”, the first new solo album from Frehley in five years, will be released in North America on August 19 via Entertainment One Music (eOne Music). The CD, which will be made available in Europe on August 18 (three days earlier in Germany and Scandinavia) through SPV/Steamhammer, will include 11 brand new original songs as well as a cover of Steve Miller‘s “The Joker”.

“[‘Space Invader’] is heavier than [2009’s ‘Anomaly’],” Ace tells Arena.com. “I did it by design. My fans said that my last album could have been heavier and could have had more guitar work, so I kept that in mind when I made the record.

“I think there are a couple of songs like ‘Toys’ and ‘Inside The Vortex’ that are heavier than anything on ‘Anomaly’, my last record. The title track is heavy, too. Hopefully, people will love it. The biggest surprise was the title track. That was instrumental until we were mixing it.

“We were mixing it in L.A. but I went to my hotel and wrote lyrics and melody and threw it together in one day. I threw on a guitar solo and it came together.

“When I cut tracks, I cut guitar and drums, then throw a bass on, and I build onto that. I start out very elementary. Some songs were in the running to be instrumental, since one of my trademarks is having an instrumental song on my albums. I wasn’t sure which would be the instrumental. It ended up being ‘Starship’. But ‘Past The Milky Way’ and the title track were instrumental up until the last few weeks. I work good under pressure.”

Asked what keeps him doing this, Ace says: “Playing live is still a big rush. Producing my own records is a great rush, especially when they turn out good. There are things on the horizon. I am up for a few movie scores, and been in touch with producers. No deals are signed yet, but there are discussions. I want to produce bands, and to share the wealth of information that I have learned. I would like to put a score to animation. I work with animation. There are lot of things I want to do.”

DEF LEPPARD’s JOE ELLIOTT Defends Current KISS Lineup: ‘The Songs Have Never Sounded As Good Live’

DEF LEPPARD singer Joe Elliott was recently interviewed by the 100.7 WZXL radio station in Atlantic City, New Jersey. You can now listen to the chat using the SoundCloud widget below. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On introducing KISS with the legendary battle cry of “You wanted the best, you got the best. The hottest band in the world… KISS!!!” prior to their July 26 performance in Holmdel, New Jersey:

Elliott: “I’d been threatening to do it for the whole tour. And we got to the last night before a five-day break. And I thought, if this is one of the things that are gonna rip my throat out, I’ll wait until I’ve got five days to recover.

“I was so aware of what ‘Kiss Alive II’ was.

“[I went up to KISS and told them] ‘I’m gonna introduce you guys, tonight.’ So I went over there knowing one of their techs was there. And he just gave me the mic.

“I heard that somebody yesterday, apparently, downloaded it off some station. They played my intro and then they played ‘Detroit Rock City’ straight afterwards. [laughs]”

“As you can see [in the video that was posted online], I punched the air after I did it.”

On DEF LEPPARD guitarist Vivian Campbell‘s ongoing battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma:

Elliott: “Well, you know, it’s an ongoing situation. I won’t say every single day of his life he’s comfortable, but what’s making him mentally comfortable is being out on the road with the band doing this rather than sitting at home twiddling his thumbs, going, ‘I’ve got cancer. I’ve got cancer.’ He’s out there working. It’s as mental as it is physical for Vivian. He was having treatment yesterday. But I spoke to his wife this morning and she said he’s feeling a lot better today. We don’t do a gig ’till tomorrow night, so he should be in good shape. He’s only had one really bad night here, and that was in L.A. following an enormous bout of chemo. And it was really hard for him, but he still got up on stage and did his job. And most nights, he’s been amazing, and he gets stronger and stronger each time. And he’s working his way through this specific treatment that he’s got, which was all thumbs up from his doctor, so he could do this tour. So then in September, he goes in for a stem-cell surgery, which hopefully will put this thing to bed once and for all.”

On whether DEF LEPPARD‘s current tourmates KISS have paid much attention to the online controversy surrounding their induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame:

Elliott: “I don’t think they take any notice of it. I mean, look, the Internet is just a forum for negativity. People very rarely spend hours and hours writing little comments underneath an article that’s positive. It’s all, like, ‘Oh, these guys suck,’ or ‘Blah blah blah,’ because they’re anonymous, so they can say stuff. And you tend to just ignore it, which is what I’m sure KISS are doing.

“I was asked all the questions before the tour started about my opinion on KISS and the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, and I said, ‘Look, I don’t have an opinion. I’m not in KISS. It’s not my business.’ But the fact that a band as ‘mom’s apple pie’ as LYNYRD SKYNYRD was seven nominations before they were accepted, I find the whole Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame thing absolutely a waste of space. And I hope they never ask us to be in it, ’cause I wouldn’t wanna go anyway.

“But when it comes to backstage at the KISS thing, they’re all loving this, because [current KISS guitarist] Tommy Thayer is a phenomenal guitar player, and [current KISS drummer] Eric Singer is a great drummer. And the songs have never sounded as good live, as far as I’m concerned. With all due respect to [original KISS members] Peter Criss and Ace Frehley, it seems to be a happier camp [now].

“I’ve seen some people say that [Tommy and Eric] don’t deserve to be able to wear the [‘Spaceman’ and ‘Catman’] makeup. Well, KISS is a franchise as much as a band, or a brand and a band, and if that’s what it takes to sell the band, that they wear the same makeup…

“Sometimes when in Vegas, in Cirque Du Soleil, if a certain character wears a certain mask and he gets sick, one of the chorus line comes in and takes over wearing the same makeup.

“[KISS fans who continue to complain about the current KISS lineup should] move on. If you like the songs, and you’ve got Gene [Simmons] and Paul [Stanley], which were always, in fairness, the two most out-front members of KISS anyway, I think it still works.”

KORN’s SHAFFER, LUZIER Speak To Boise State University Pulse Radio Station (Video)

Ryan Hoffman of the Boise State University Pulse student radio station conducted an interview with KORN guitarist James “Munky” Shaffer and drummer Ray Luzier at the July 9 stop of the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival in Boise, Idaho. You can now watch the chat below.

The deluxe reissue of KORN‘s 2013 album, “The Paradigm Shift: World Tour Edition” (Prospect Park) was made available at Best Buy stores in North America starting July 15.

For the “World Tour Edition”, the Bakersfield quintet lock and load last year’s critically acclaimed “The Paradigm Shift”, with three brand new songs including their just-released single “Hater”, plus “The Game Is Over” and “So Unfair”. In addition, it’s been beefed up with a bevy of live tracks recorded all over the globe and expanded artwork. It’s the ultimate way to experience “The Paradigm Shift”. Among the other unreleased material, Davis opens up about his young son Zeppelin‘s battle with diabetes on the powerful “So Unfair”, while “The Game Is Over” slams with the intense catharsis fans worldwide expect from these legends.

KORN frontman Jonathan Davis told The Pulse Of Radio that “Hater” is a direct rebuttal to the kind of person described in the title of the song. “Everybody has a hater,” he said. “Everybody has someone that hates on you because you have something they want. And it’s really, like, the first empowering song I’ve ever wrote where it’s just blatantly telling you — I mean, the lyrics are: ‘You can’t bring me down/I’ve already had my life turned upside down/I ride a downward spiral round and round/But I keep flying, I keep fighting/You’ll never bring me down.’ That’s like the most positive shit I’ve ever wrote. And it’s so different. Everyone that’s heard it loves it.”

TRIVIUM’s PAOLO GREGOLETTO Speaks To SOUNDCRAVE MAGAZINE (Video)

Soundcrave Magazine conducted an interview with Paolo Gregoletto of Florida metallers TRIVIUM on August 1 at the Camden, New Jersey stop of the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. You can now watch the chat below.

TRIVIUM in May parted ways with drummer Nick Augusto due to personal differences. Stepping in for him on TRIVIUM‘s current dates is the band’s drum tech, Mat Madiro.

“It just wasn’t working out and we just felt it was best to go our separate ways instead of trying to keep going on and then something happening and having an effect on shows or anything like that,” TRIVIUM guitarist Corey Beaulieu told the Impact metal channel. “[The split] was very calm and chill, but it just needed to happen. Sometimes, after awhile, things just aren’t going the way you kind of hope for and you’ve gotta make a switch. It’s a pain in the ass to switch members and get someone up to speed. But Mat‘s been doing great. He came into the role and he’s been doing a great job playing the songs and playing the shows. It was pretty smooth considering the circumstances — being in the middle of a tour and having to get a new drummer up to speed in 24 hours. But it was just something we had to do just to make sure that, moving forward, everything was tip top, 100 percent ready to roll.”

Asked whether Mat is a permanent replacement for Nick, Corey said: “He’s drumming for us for the foreseeable future, for the rest of the album cycle, which goes up ’till about December. And then we’re just gonna see where we’re at. We’re not gonna make any quick decisions; we’re just gonna let him get comfortable. He’s only played about 20 shows with us, and before playing with us, he never really had played in front of people before. So we’re just gonna let him ease into it, get comfortable playing the songs and knowing them, get comfortable playing shows, and then we’re gonna see what happens. He’s still… he plays a show and he’s still part of the crew, ’cause he was the drum tech and he’s teching himself, so he’s going between both sides. Everything’s been going great, the shows have been awesome, he’s been playing great, so we’re gonna leave it like that until we finish up all the shows we have booked and we’re gonna see where it goes from there. We’re gonna record a new record, and we’ll see if he’s the guy. It could possibly be him; you never know. [That decision will be made] months and months away from now. We’re just taking it easy and not making any quick decisions and [taking chances on it] not being 100 percent down the road. That is the right thing to do. So we’re keeping it fair for everybody and not leading anyone on. Playing shows and having fun is pretty much what we’re just having it be for now.”

Regarding TRIVIUM‘s plans for after this summer’s Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, Corey said: “We’ll take a break for a while, have a couple of months off. Then we’ve got Knotfest in Japan. And then, hopefully, we’re working on finishing the album [cycle] off with a tour in Australia. And then after that, we’re pretty much not touring for awhile; we’re just gonna working on a new album. I guess after this year, not many people are gonna see us play for over a year or so… We’ve been on tour pretty much non-stop since February. So once we get back in August, we’re gonna [have some] vacation time and just be at home and decompress from [the road life]. We’re actually gonna enjoy being at home, since we haven’t… We’ve been home for about, like, a week since February. So it’s just down time to relax and just kind of recharge. And then usually when we’re home and we have that break, everyone just picks up a guitar and starts working on [new music]. We have a lot of stuff written, so we’re gonna be working away at that during our free time. But that’s just time away from the band mostly, since it’s been such a busy year.”

ROB ZOMBIE Narrates Puppy Rescue Mission PSA

Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival is havily involved in U.S. military and veteran communities — avidly promoting programs like Metal Of Honor, in conjunction with The Pathway Home (PTSD rehabilitation facility) and Hope For The Warriors (military family assistance, veteran transition assistance, employment preparedness). In addition to these programs, the festival actively supports another great cause in conjunction with our troops: The Puppy Rescue Mission.

The Puppy Rescue Mission is the brainchild of president and founding member Anna Cannan. Anna‘s idea for TPRM began when her fiancé, Chris, was deployed to and stationed in Afghanistan.

TPRM‘s primary mission is to help bring home the companions to our soldiers serving in a war zone. These companions already have homes waiting for them — they just need help getting there. TPRM believes that these beloved companions have at times not only physically saved our soldiers from harm but have also filled an emotional need for a sense of home and normalcy in a hostile and dangerous environment.

With the help of the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, TPRM continues to make loving connections between rescue dogs and their companions! Recently, Los-Angeles based photographer and Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival documenter Strati Hovartos directed a heartfelt public service announcement, starring a cast of active duty and veteran warriors and narrated by Mayhem alumnus and world-renowned rocker Rob Zombie.

Last summer, Rob Zombie donated his incredible truck featured on History‘s “Counting Cars” to TPRM. At the time, Rob Zombie stated, “Soldiers in Afghanistan would find these dogs and bond with them and sneak them on the bases, even though they weren’t supposed to have them. It was probably the only moment of sanity for these guys, when they spent time with them…. But they weren’t allowed to take them home, and if they could, it was so expensive. That was a cause I could really understand and get behind.”

Saiga, the dog featured in the PSA, is an actual rescue animal from the Afghanistan war zone adopted by festival producer John Reese and his family through TPRM. As a puppy of a dog befriended by a soldier serving in the Middle East, Saiga was brought to the U.S. from Kabul, Afghanistan at four-and-a-half months old.

Reese states: “The sacrifices made by our men and women serving overseas are numerous. Having to leave a dog behind that one may become attached to is just another sacrifice that most of us aren’t aware of. The work The Puppy Rescue Mission does is so important.”

“A sincere thank you goes out to the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival for their support and dedication in making these reunions possible,” states Cannan. “The bond between a soldier and his dog is truly unbreakable. Thousands of miles away from home, it is sometimes the one thing in the world that can bring a smile to their face.”

For more information on, visit www.puppyrescuemission.com.

CARCASS’ JEFF WALKER: ‘We’re Still Stuck In The Mindset Of When We Were Teenagers’

ARTE Concert conducted an interview with bassist/vocalist Jeff Walker of reactivated British extreme metal pioneers CARCASS at this year’s Wacken Open Air festival, which was held July 31 – August 2 in Wacken, Germany. You can now watch the chat below.

Asked about where CARCASS gets its lyrical and musical ideas from, Walker said: “Where do we get our ideas? I don’t know. It used to be books and movies when we were younger, but now it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, I guess.

CARCASS has its own little world that it exists in.

“We could never write love songs or do metalcore breakdowns; that’s not what we do.

“It’s hard t explain. We have our parameters that we work in, and we just stick to that. We’re like AC/DC — we know what we can and can’t do. We’re consistent.

“We’re like Peter Pan, me and Bill [Steer, CARCASS guitarist]. We’ve never grown up. I mean, we’re in our forties now, but we’re still stuck in the mindset of when we were teenagers.

“I’ve never married and never had children, so I’m stil trying to live the teenage dream.

“I think we just look to the past and what influenced us when we were younger, and we can tap into that thing. Whereas people our age have moved on, matured. They’re too busy paying the mortgage, wiping kids’ asses. We don’t have those problems.

“I think the problem is with people who live those lifestyles, they’re too busy trying to dictate to other people what they should and should not do. And that’s the problem with the world — there’s too many people trying to tell other people what they should or should not do. You’re gonna have more influence or impact on people by not trying to tell people, or dictate to people, what they should or should not eat.

“I don’t eat meat, but I don’t go around telling people not to eat meat. It doesn’t work.”

CARCASS‘ latest album, “Surgical Steel”, sold around 8,500 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 41 on The Billboard 200 chart. The CD was released on September 16, 2013 in the U.K., September 13, 2013 in the rest of Europe and September 17, 2013 in North America via Nuclear Blast Records. The effort was produced by Colin Richardson (FEAR FACTORY, MACHINE HEAD, NAPALM DEATH, SLIPKNOT, BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE) and mixed by Andy Sneap (MEGADETH, ACCEPT, EXODUS, ARCH ENEMY).

Joining Steer and Walker in CARCASS‘ current incarnation are drummer Daniel Wilding (ABORTED, TRIGGER THE BLOODSHED) and guitarist Ben Ash (PIG IRON, DESOLATION, LIQUEFIED SKELETON).

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Early METALLICA Producer FLEMMING RASMUSSEN Talks About Making Of ‘Ride The Lightning’

Grammy Award-winning Danish producer Flemming Rasmussen — who helmed METALLICA‘s “Ride The Lightning” (1984), “Master Of Puppets” (1986) and “…And Justice For All” (1988) albums — spoke to RockHall.com on the 30th anniversary of “Ride The Lightning”. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

RockHall.com: How did you first start working with METALLICA?

Flemming Rasmussen: I think what happened was that METALLICA was, they recorded “Kill ‘Em All” in New York on a small independent label. They were looking for a studio in Europe because the dollar was very strong there, and they found out that they could get twice the amount of studio time in Europe compared to what it costs in the States. So what they did was, they listened to a lot of albums because they wanted a studio with a good in-house engineer, and they wanted to hear what different studios sounded like. So they would listen to a lot of different albums. They picked up on the albums I’d done with Ritchie Blackmore — probably mainly “Difficult To Cure” with Ritchie Blackmore‘s RAINBOW — and actually they contacted me. I hadn’t heard about the band before that ever. I didn’t know they existed. And since Lars [Ulrich, METALLICA drummer] was from Denmark, it was a good opportunity for him to come back and say “hi” to some of his friends and family. So that’s how that came about.

RockHall.com: Tell us about recording “For Whom The Bell Tolls” from “Ride The Lightning”

Flemming Rasmussen: That’s probably a bit special because that was one of the only songs that wasn’t written when they came to Copenhagen to do “Ride The Lightning”. We worked at night doing “Ride The Lightning”, in the winter, [and] it was cold. Lars was in a big warehouse building-like room to get the huge ambient sound. So we heated that with gas heaters, but I think they actually wrote that in the studio. I’m not totally sure, but in my recollection, they wrote that in the studio. And that’s the first song ever with METALLICA that’s recorded to a click track, because I wanted it to be that tight.

RockHall.com: Do you have a favorite METALLICA recording, one you’re most proud of?

Flemming Rasmussen: I would say “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” on “Master Of Puppets” is probably one of them. That’s the one with the mono-stereo — and I’m a sucker for that kind of shit, you know, when you sit with headphones and you go, “What the hell was that?” … There’s a lot of those, I think theres a lot of songs on all three albums that I’m really proud of. I think “Creeping Death” on the first one was probably where we really nailed the METALLICA sound. That whole epic kind of thing. It’s also a very, very good song — that, of course, has something to do with it. We all had this feeling where what we were doing, we were going to go a long way. We were going to change music history. And I think that was the project from the beginning. Also, you know, we think about it and they had their own thing going, and they had this tremendous energy, that, kind of, is a trademark for the band. They don’t want to rely on MTV to play their videos, so they didn’t make any videos, because they didn’t care because that wasn’t important to them. It’s been like that with METALLICA always.

Read the entire interview at RockHall.com.

OVERKILL’s BOBBY ‘BLITZ’ ELLSWORTH Discusses His Health Issues: ‘I Think Of Myself As Bulletproof’

Niclas Müller-Hansen of RockSverige.se recently conducted an interview with vocalist Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth of New Jersey thrash metal veterans OVERKILL. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

RockSverige.se: The song “Another Day To Die” [on OVERKILL‘s new album, “White Devil Armory”] made me instantly think of your health scares.

Bobby: I’ve had a few issues come up. I canceled a show in Hamburg and ended up in the hospital with borderline pneumonia and all this shit. I remember sitting in the German hospital, trying to recover from this and this guy came in and told me I had six months! I sat up all night and remember going through my computer, “Who do I owe money to?, Who owes me?” My wife was on vacation and I didn’t wanna ruin her vacation with it, but it was a fucking awful 12 hours. I wasn’t really expecting that and I never expected it to come as news to me in broken English. In any case, the next day the woman who was in charge came in and said, “What are you talking about? No, you have to change your habits or in six months you’ll be in another hospital again.” And I was, like, “Fuck!” and I had already scratched down “Another Day To Die”. [laughs] So I suppose I got my wish. [laughs] But what are you gonna do? Right at that moment, I stopped smoking tobacco. Actually that night, I didn’t care. I went out on the balcony and I was smoking and wondered if there was a liquor store so I could get a few beers up here too. [laughs]

RockSverige.se: It really makes you think, right?

Bobby: Bulletproof. I think is one of the characteristics that you need to be in a band. I’ve had some health issues in the past. If this had happened at home, I never would’ve told anyone, but it happened on the road. I still thought I lived a healthy lifestyle, and to some degree, I am. To be able to do this at my age, I just turned 55, and I don’t think of myself as someone who is unhealthy. I think of myself as bulletproof still to this day. I live by the philosophy, a person told me this, “It’s not about my problems, it’s about getting through my problems!” I think that’s pretty simple, because if you can see through the problems, I think they always have that brighter spring day on the other side of it.

RockSverige.se: You always look so fit. How do you stay in shape?

Bobby: I do more of the cardio thing now. I’m really into hiking, and there’s small mountains all around looking out my window. I climb these mountains twice a week with my 7-year-old German shepherd. We go hunting and we go looking for bear and animals in the forest every week. It just becomes what my body needs. If you hear the record, you don’t hear the clouds or the shadows of age, but you hear more so the youthful exuberance we had in 1985 or ’86. Whatever I’m doing, it seems to always work for me.

RockSverige.se: What would you say has been a high point of your career and a low point of your career?

Bobby: The low point is obviously the health issues. I remember back in ’99 when I was going through cancer screening all that crap, and you have to wait. You didn’t go in and they say, “Oh, you have cancer! We’re gonna fix you and you’ll go home at 4 o’clock and be better.” That’s just not the way it is; you have to wait. It’s a cross to bear. My first thought wasn’t about death, it was more about, “Shit, I won’t be able to do OVERKILL anymore!” But at the same time, it was something in there that said, “If that’s what I’m thinking and it’s worth so much to me…” So I remember, I called D.D. [Verni, OVERKILL bassist] and he said, “What do you need? Do you want me to come up?” and I said, “Do you know what I need? I need a song! You’ve got anything laying around? I’d really like to work on some stuff if you have it, instead of just sitting around here waiting.” About three days later, I got some really rough demos and I wrote the song “Necroshine”. I think somewhere in there it became the lowest point and the highest point simultaneously. It became a vehicle to walk through the problems and to actually understand that it wasn’t about me anymore, it was about not being the most important and it was out of my hands and I had to accept it.

Read the entire interview at RockSverige.se.

Video Premiere: MEMPHIS MAY FIRE’s ‘Beneath The Skin’

“Beneath The Skin”, the new video from the Texas metalcore band MEMPHIS MAY FIRE, can be seen below. The song is taken from the group’s “Unconditional”, which sold 27,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 4 on The Billboard 200 chart. The CD arrived in stores on March 25 via Rise Records.

Of the follow-up to 2012’s “Challenger”, which debuted at position No. 16 on The Billboard 200 chart, MEMPHIS MAY FIRE frontman Matty Mullins says: “We are so proud of ‘Unconditional’. I couldn’t have been more honest in these songs and I can’t wait to see the impact they have. This record is exactly what it’s supposed to be.”

“Unconditional” was recorded at Chango Studios and Compass Audio with producers Cameron Mizell (SLEEPING WITH SIRENS, WOE IS ME, THE WORD ALIVE) and Kellen McGregor (MEMPHIS MAY FIRE guitarist/songwriter), who previously worked to create “Challenger”.

MEMPHIS MAY FIRE earlier in the year completed a full U.S. headline tour which featured support from THE WORD ALIVE, A SKYLIT DRIVE, HANDS LIKE HOUSES and BEARTOOTH.

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WITHIN TEMPTATION’s RUUD JOLIE Talks About Five Albums That Changed His Life (Video)

In the eight-minute clip below, WITHIN TEMPTATION guitarist Ruud Jolie talks about the five albums that changed his life. The footage was filmed on January 27 at Vintage Vinyl in Fords, New Jersey.

WITHIN TEMPTATION‘s new album, “Hydra”, sold around 15,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 16 on The Billboard 200 chart.

The band’s previous CD, “Unforgiving”, opened with 12,000 units back in March 2011 to land at No. 50.

“Hydra” was released in North America on February 4 via Nuclear Blast Entertainment, the new U.S. partnership between Nuclear Blast owner Markus Staiger and former Roadrunner Records A&R chief Monte Conner. The album was made available in several luxury formats. The cover artwork was created by Romano Molenaar (“X-Men”, “Batman”, “The Unforgiving”).

The digital premium album, complete with digi-booklet, was made available on iTunes and includes 18 audio tracks and a music video. The digital premium album features bonus “Evolution Versions” of four new songs, which contain audio commentary from guitarist Robert Westerholt and singer Sharon Den Adel and give you unique access to the development of the songs, their lyrical inspiration and the sound of the initial demos and vocals.

In a recent interview with Ultimate-Guitar.com, WITHIN TEMPTATION vocalist Sharon Den Adel stated about the songwriting process for “Hydra”“: “A lot of bands were inspired by the ’80s at the time we were writing ‘The Unforgiving’ album. There was a lot of music based on the ’80s coming out and it had a lot of ’80s flavors. With this new album, even though we’re only a few years further up the road, you can feel that music has changed again. Music is not inspired on the ’80s, but more like there are different influences in the music again. Music’s always organic, and you feel things are changing comfortably.”

She added: “When people asked us after ‘The Unforgiving’, ‘Are you gonna make another ‘Unforgiving’ album?” we said, ‘Of course.’ Because we were really full of it in a positive way. We really like the album a lot and still do like it a lot but we really feel there’s an ’80s feel to the songs. When we started writing this album, again we felt like we were already knowing we were gonna go a different direction also.”

THE AGONIST: Fourth ‘Eye Of Providence’ Studio Video

Montreal, Quebec, Canada-based melodic death metallers THE AGONIST will release their new album, “Eye Of Providence”, on November 11 in North America (one day earlier internationally) via Century Media. The band’s first CD with new vocalist Vicky Psarakis was recorded at The Grid studio in their hometown with producer Chris Donaldson (CRYPTOPSY). Vicky joined THE AGONIST as the replacement for Alissa White-Gluz, who left the band to focus on her new gig as the frontwoman of ARCH ENEMY.

The fourth in a series of video updates from the studio can be seen below.

THE AGONIST released a two-song digital single on April 29 via Century Media. These tracks were the first to feature Psarakis.

01. Disconnect Me
02. Perpetual Notion

Commented THE AGONIST guitarist Danny Marino: “Creating this album has been an amazing experience so far.

Vicky has breathed new life into the songwriting process and we are so excited to share these first two tracks with the world!

“The songs on this album represent a culmination of the past 10 years, as well as a new beginning for THE AGONIST. We’re also thrilled to be back in the studio with our old friend and longtime engineer Chris Donaldson.

“We can’t thank our fans enough for their ongoing support in this new and exciting chapter of THE AGONIST!”

The official lyric video for “Disconnect Me” can be seen below.

THE AGONIST‘s third album, “Prisoners”, debuted at No. 19 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 AGONIST 2014 is:

Vicky Psarakis – Vocals
Danny Marino – Guitar
Chris Kells – Bass
Simon McKay – Drums
Pascal “Paco” Jobin – Guitar

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