A trailer for “We Are Twisted F*cking Sister!”, the forthcoming movie about TWISTED SISTER‘s club days by German filmmaker Andrew Horn, can be seen below.
Horn took to the crowdfunding site Indiegogo last year to help raise the $150,000 he has projected it will take for the film to receive a full release.
In a videotaped message posted at Horn’s YouTube channel, TWISTED SISTER frontman Dee Snider said Horn got at the heart of the band’s “‘Rocky’-esque story of a band of brothers from the New York area who toughed it out for nearly a decade before finding fame and fortune.” The singer went on to describe the end result as “for people who are original fans, hardcore fans, true fans — or want to know more about this band.”
He added: “This is independently done, which is the way a documentary of this kind should be [and not like other rock documentaries where the] band puts together … a piece of propaganda to make [themselves] look good.”
TWISTED SISTER guitarist Jay Jay French previously stated about the upcoming film: “Andy has been working on this documentary for the last [five] years. The idea came to him after an interview with me concerning another artist named Klaus Nomi who opened for us at the Soap Factory around 1981. At that time, Andy really knew very little about us and became fascinated by the story of our long and winding road to a record deal.
“While most of the world thinks that TWISTED SISTER started in 1984, there are those who know a much different story.
“The band’s die-hard fans in the U.K. thought the story began a couple of years earlier when Secret Records signed us in England.
“There does exist, however, a subset of fans who know the real story. Those fans are from the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Those fans spent years supporting us.
“Because of the sheer number of super-sized night clubs that started operating in the tri-state area around 1976, there exists a fan base that only knew us with me, Dee [Snider, vocals], Eddie [Ojeda, guitar] and for a short time bassist Ken Neill (with an assortment of changing drummers).
“However, before that, TWISTED SISTER played hundreds of shows at places like the Mad Hatter in East Quouge, Mr. T’s & Maxis in Wantagh, in Long Island, The Satellite Lounge, The Wreck Room, Dodd’s, The Colony III, The Joker II, The Searchlite, Spruce Goose, The Capricorn and the George Inn in NJ and the Sahara located in Adams, Massachusetts.
“This version, when you look at the photo history of the band, contained me and four people most of you don’t know: vocalist Michael Valentine, guitarist Billy Diamond, bassist Kenny Neill and drummer Mell Starr.
“Except for Kenny, these former members were either fired or left under very bad circumstances. What happened as a result of the experiences that I had with these ex members formed the basis of my management skills and taught me what to look for in future hiring. In fact, the first break up of the band in December of 1974 led to a personal crisis at the age of 22, that forever changed my life and taught me how to cope in the face of total failure both professionally and emotionally.
“In short, the lessons learned over those first two years formed the basis of the future of TWISTED SISTER. without having gone through it, the band, as it exists in the hearts of millions of fans around the world, would never had existed.
“To be clear, this in no way implies that Dee, Mark [Mendoza, bass], Eddie and AJ [Pero, drums] would not have found fame in their own right. These are all immensely talented musicians. I can also state that I can’t see where I would have succeeded without these guys.
“It was clear to me early on that the first version of the band was never going to make it. None of the members, except Kenny, had what it takes.
“The lack of focus, professionalism and raw talent of the first version became obvious and the proof is that of all the original five members, only me and Kenny survived that circus.
“I will say this however about the very early days of TWISTED SISTER: Our agent worked us to death, playing 5-6 nights a week 4-5 shows per night. Some shows ended as late as 6 a.m.!
“In those days, you played in one club for 3-6 night in a row. In the case of the Mad Hatter in East Quouge, we played 78 nights between May and September.”
“Dream Deceivers”, the 1992 documentary about the infamous trial in which JUDAS PRIEST was accused of inserting subliminal messages into its music, was finally released on DVD and digital on August 5.
Film synopsis: “Just before Christmas, 1985, 19-year-old James Vance watched his best friend Ray Belknap shoot himself to death with a .12 gauge shotgun in a churchyard outside Reno, Nevada. Then Vance pulled the trigger on himself. He survived but was severely disfigured. Vance later claimed his actions had been influenced by the heavy metal music of JUDAS PRIEST, prompting his family to sue the band. The drama of the ensuing trial provides the framework for David Van Taylor‘s disturbing look at teenagers today.”
According to Center For Media & Social Impact, the reason it took so long for the documentary to be officially released on home video is “the fair use revolution.” Specifically, because the music and lyrics of JUDAS PRIEST was heavily featured in “Dream Deceivers”, the documentary maker David Van Taylor was unable to get clearance from Sony to release the film on DVD. However, since the creation of the Documentary Filmmakers Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use in 2005, there has been an increased acceptance of the law’s limited right to employ copyrighted material without licensing, when repurposing and using appropriate amounts.
“So much of what I cleared back in 1992 was absurd to clear,” Van Taylor told Center For Media & Social Impact, “and now the film seems like such a slam dunk for fair use. We have no qualms.”
According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, at the heart of the lawsuit was the claim that JUDAS PRIEST‘s “Stained Class” album’s songs contained messages that, when played backwards, said “try suicide” and “let’s be dead.” Lawyers said it was the song “Better By You, Better Than Me” with its subliminal command of “do it, do it, do it” that pushed the two men over the line to end their troubled lives.
Vance told attorneys that he and Belknap were listening to JUDAS PRIEST when “all of a sudden we got a suicide message, and we got tired of life.” In a letter to Belknap‘s mother, he later wrote, “I believe that alcohol and heavy-metal music such as JUDAS PRIEST led us to be mesmerized.”
“JUDAS PRIEST and CBS pander this stuff to alienated teenagers,” the Belknaps‘ attorney argued. “The members of the chess club, the math and science majors don’t listen to this stuff. It’s the dropouts, the drug and alcohol abusers. So our argument is you have a duty to be more cautious when you’re dealing with a population susceptible to this stuff.”
JUDAS PRIEST‘s manager, Bill Curbishley, stated before the trial began: “I don’t know what subliminals are, but I do know there’s nothing like that in this music. If we were going to do that, I’d be saying, ‘Buy seven copies,’ not telling a couple of screwed-up kids to kill themselves.”
“It’s a fact that if you play speech backwards, some of it will seem to make sense,” JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Glenn Tipton said. “So I asked permission to go into a studio and find some perfectly innocent phonetic flukes. The lawyers didn’t want to do it, but I insisted. We bought a copy of the ‘Stained Class’ album in a local record shop, went into the studio, recorded it to tape, turned it over and played it backwards. Right away we found, ‘Hey ma, my chair’s broken’ and ‘Give me a peppermint’ and ‘Help me keep a job.'”
Speaking about the case in a 2007 interview, JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford said: “The American reaction was phenomenal — the support we had from the fans every day, to and from the courthouse. But it was very difficult to sit there and listen to the attorney basically saying: ‘These guys over there killed these kids.’ [We thought] ‘What are you talking about?’ It was surreal, but we knew we had to stand up for what we believed in: We had absolutely no association with their death. We kept them alive for a good period of their lives. We were a lifeline (from) the shit life that they were living.”
Halford went a step further in a 2008 interview with RockBand.com, telling the site: “We flatly refute any accusation or allegations that music of any thought or style can have the power to take someone’s life. At the end of the day, that’s the individual’s choice, and if you’re messed up on booze or drugs — or you have some kind of mental instability — that’s got to be addressed. But music in and of itself can’t kill you and never will.”
“It tore us up emotionally hearing someone say to the judge and the cameras that this is a band that creates music that kills young people,” Halford later admitted. “We accept that some people don’t like heavy metal, but we can’t let them convince us that it’s negative and destructive. Heavy metal is a friend that gives people great pleasure and enjoyment and helps them through hard times.”
Other lawsuits at that time sought damages because of violent lyrics in music, but the JUDAS PRIEST case was one of the first to claim that subliminal messages hidden behind those lyrics caused the deaths of young men.
“It was the first time there had been a judicial determination of whether subliminal messages were or were not protected speech under the First Amendment,” former Washoe District Judge Jerry Whitehead told the Reno Gazette-Journal in 2005.
Whitehead, who heard the case after the lawyers agreed not to have the civil suit decided by a jury, ruled it was not.
“Because speech is basically the expression of thoughts and ideas that a person can reflect upon and accept or reject, but a subliminal message is a surreptitious attempt to influence the subconscious and, therefore, is not something you could reflect upon and accept or reject,” he said.
His final decision: There was no conclusive evidence of subliminal messages, Whitehead dismissed the case against JUDAS PRIEST and its record company, CBS, in 1990.
(Thanks: Carl Alvarez)
Soundcrave Magazine conducted an interview with drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz of Florida death metal veterans CANNIBAL CORPSE on August 1 at the Camden, New Jersey stop of the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. You can now watch the chat below.
CANNIBAL CORPSE will release its new album, “A Skeletal Domain”, on September 16 via Metal Blade Records.
The CANNIBAL CORPSE collective — vocalist George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher, bassist Alex Webster, guitarists Pat O’Brien and Rob Barrett and drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz — approaches each recording session with a honed and precise vision of a band in their third decade of existence. With this new entry to their extensive catalog, they’ve switched gears, opting to work with producer Mark Lewis (THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER, DEVILDRIVER) at Audiohammer Studios in Sanford, Florida, after having tracked their previous three outings (“Kill”, “Evisceration Plague”, “Torture”) with Erik Rutan. Boasting twelve-ominous tracks in forty-four spine-fraying minutes, the result is a massive, belligerent, and deliberate aural attack that finds the band at their peak of their notoriously hyper-kinetic, meticulously executed brutality.
Preparation for “A Skeletal Domain” did not vary significantly from previous efforts. “At the end of the day, we’re still making a death metal record, no matter where it’s being recorded,” relays Webster. Mark Lewis offered a slightly different, modern recording approach, but the band stressed that they could not be more pleased with their previous albums with Rutan, and the door is most definitely open to work with him again in the future. Changing producers is something the band has historically done after every few albums, if only to not get too comfortable. CANNIBAL CORPSE also tried to step outside of their comfort zone when it came to songwriting and their musical performances.
“Consistency is often confused with repetition. We are established with what we do as a band, and we could relax and not push ourselves, but we try to push the envelope. That’s what makes this exciting,” Webster adds. “Anyone who really listens to this album with an open mind will hear that it’s not same-old same-old.” Mark Lewis would concur with Webster’s analysis and even goes a step further by claiming that “there are moments on this record that have never happened in musical history.”
“A Skeletal Domain” track listing for the CD is as follows:
01. High Velocity Impact Spatter
02. Sadistic Embodiment
03. Kill Or Become
04. A Skeletal Domain
05. Headlong Into Carnage
06. The Murderer’s Pact
07. Funeral Cremation
08. Icepick Lobotomy
09. Vector Of Cruelty
10. Bloodstained Cement
11. Asphyxiate To Resuscitate
12. Hollowed Bodies
The song “Sadistic Embodiment” can be streamed below.
Regarding the musical direction of the new CANNIBAL CORPSE material, Webster told Metal Wani: “I think it’s… a dark-sounding album. Which, you know, it’s a death metal album, so, of course, it should be kind of dark and eerie sounding anyway, but I think this one a little more than normal. That was kind of the direction the songwriting went in. Pat [O’Brien, guitar] actually wrote a lot on this album. This will be the first album where Pat wrote more songs than anyone else. He’s really been super motivated, and he’s been writing some great, great material that we’re all really excited about. And some of it, it’s very evil-sounding stuff. So I think our fans will be very happy. There’s nothing on here that’s even a million miles close to being a sellout, you know what I mean?! It’s definitely full-on evil death metal. I think everyone will enjoy it.”
The docu-series “4th And Loud“, which follows the inaugural season of the LA KISS Arena Football League team, premiered on Tuesday, August 5 at 10/9c. The 10-episode (60-minute) series follows team owners Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, of KISS fame, along with additional owners, longtime KISS manager, Doc McGhee, managing partner/owner, Brett Bouchy and president/owner, Schuyler Hoversten, as they and the dedicated players and coaches work to turn L.A.’s first professional football team in years into a winning franchise.
A newly released clip from the show, which premiered by The Wall Street Journal, shows Simmons and Stanley explaining to the Arena Football League team owners why KISS invested in and named a team the LA KISS. Check it out below.
“The AFL is so misunderstood and, in some places, it’s practically unknown,” Stanley tells the team owners. “That being said, we shouldn’t be feared. We shouldn’t be looked at as people who are trying to come in and ruin things. We’re here to shake things up and take this whole league to another level, which shamefully it hasn’t been to.”
“We want you to know that we’re not doing this as a hobby, but we are here to stay,” Simmons adds. “We want you to know that we are committed to it and not only raising the profile of our own team but everybody in this room.”
“You will only get the respect you demand,” Simmons says in the clip. “You’ve got to be able to pee on the ground like an animal claiming its territory and say, ‘We are the kings of the jungle.’ That’s what we’re doing with our team.”
“4th And Loud” is produced by Thinkfactory Media (“Gene Simmons Family Jewels“, “Hatfields & McCoys”), with Adam Freeman, Adam Reed, Chris Gillen, Erin Kelly and Leslie Greif serving as executive producers.
“We look forward to capturing all the trials and tribulations of launching a sports franchise in a great sports city like Los Angeles,” said Eliot Goldberg, AMC‘s senior vice president of unscripted programming. “These are incredibly dedicated athletes, coaches and management who want to win, and the fact that the team has rock and roll royalty in the owners’ box just adds another great dimension to the series.”
“We are thrilled to partner with AMC in bringing our show to the viewing public,” Paul Stanley said. “Anyone who knows Gene and I know we have never played by the rules. This opportunity to see the making of our team of rebels, the LA KISS, from behind the scenes will once again show everyone that we play to win.”
SKID ROW — Johnny Solinger (vocals), Scotti Hill (guitar), Rachel Bolan (bass), Dave “Snake” Sabo (guitar) and Rob Hammersmith (drums) — has just released a new seven-song EP, “Rise Of The Damnation Army – United World Rebellion: Chapter Two”, via Megaforce Records. The CD contains covers of QUEEN and AEROSMITH classics as bonus tracks.
“Rise Of The Damnation Army – United World Rebellion: Chapter Two” EP track listing:
01. We Are The Damned
02. Give It The Gun
03. Catch Your Fall
04. Damnation Army
05. Zero Day
06. Sheer Heart Attack (QUEEN cover)
07. Rats In The Cellar (AEROSMITH cover)
The official lyric video for the song “We Are The Damned” can be seen below.
In a recent interview with Finland’s Kaaos TV, SKID ROW guitarist Dave “The Snake” Sabo stated about “Rise Of The Damnation Army – United World Rebellion: Chapter Two”: “[This was] the most fun that I’ve personally had making a SKID ROW record in our history of the band… for a number of reasons.
“We’re afforded a freedom that not many artists get to enjoy. So we do everything on our own schedule. And the writing process was so stripped down and fun.
“[SKID ROW bassist] Rachel [Bolan] and I have been friends and started the band together 28 years ago, and so, after all that amount of time, 28 years later, to be able to sit in a room with this guy, and he with me, and actually have fun creating music, there’s something special to be said about that. And so, that, combined with the fact that we just always seemed like we were on the same page throughout the whole process. [We had] a couple of little disagreements there, but nothing that was detrimental in any way; it was helpful. And every day, we would listen to the music and we’d have the same thoughts: ‘It’s close, but it’s not there yet.’ ‘it’s close, but it’s not there.’ ‘OK, we’re right there. We’re at the door.’ ‘OK, it’s done.’ Everything was just right on the same page. That’s the first time that’s ever happened. And we just had a great experience the whole way through. Everybody really came to the table and loved the music and brought their ‘A’ game. I mean, we were in and done in a couple of weeks, which is amazing. And it wasn’t like we were cutting corners or anything like that. Everyone just practiced the crap out of the music and the songs — we rehearsed really hard — and everyone loved the music so much that they made it their own, and thus, they performed that way. And it is. It’s all of ours’. It’s five guys.”
Asked about the main differences are between last year’s “United World Rebellion: Chapter One” EP and “Rise Of The Damnation Army – United World Rebellion: Chapter Two”, Bolan told Finland’s Kaaos TV: “Well, there’s not many differences except in the recording process. We recorded in a few different places with the first EP, where we recorded the whole thing in the same studio with the second. But we took the same approach to writing and recording. The writing for the first one, I’d say, we labored a little more, because we were trying to go back to our roots, and I know that’s a cliché saying for bands to say, but it was true. And after 25 years, it’s really hard — harder than you would think — to retrace your steps to where you were when you were that 22-year-old kid jamming in front of a mirror and playing your first big gigs or whatever. So we really had to find our roots and rediscover what got us off in the first place, the guys that wrote the first two records, and I think we succeeded in it. That was the biggest difference — I think it was a little harder to write the songs [for the first EP] — but I think what we came out with, the final product, was well worth it.”
AVENGED SEVENFOLD‘s headlining concert at the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival last night (Thursday, August 7) at OKC Downtown Airpark in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma was reportedly delayed mid-performance by a few minutes after a fan climbed to the top of the side wing of stage, creating a safety hazard. Video footage of the incident can be seen below.
AVENGED SEVENFOLD‘s latest album, “Hail To The King”, was certified gold on July 16 by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association Of America) for shipments in excess of 500,000 copies. Released last year, it was the band’s second straight CD to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard chart, following 2010’s “Nightmare”.
The latest effort was recorded after the AVENGED SEVENFOLD bandmembers immersed themselves in the music of two classic LPs: METALLICA‘s Black Album and GUNS N’ ROSES‘ “Appetite For Destruction”.
“The BLACK SABBATH, AC/DC, ZEPPELIN Influence comes through,” AVENGED SEVENFOLD lead guitarist Synyster Gates told TimesLeader.com about “Hail To The King”. “We wanted to create space rather than just fill up every song with four bridges and three choruses and vocal harmonies everywhere, with guitar duels going on. The goal was to focus on the songwriting and the arrangements.”
“Hail To The King” marked AVENGED SEVENFOLD‘s full-length debut with new drummer Arin llejay, whom Gates described to TimesLeader.com as “one of the most tasteful drummers I’ve heard in my life… He’s got that caveman, barbaric huge groove philosophy that we were trying to go for on this record. He’s really got it in his heart and soul. We took the approach of wanting a hungry young kid who could suddenly come out of nowhere and play in front of 50,000 people. He really stepped up.”
AVENGED SEVENFOLD guitarist Zacky Vengeance told Billboard.com that the band will take “a real quick trip to Japan” after Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival ends on August 10 and then plans to come off the road in order to start working on a follow-up to “Hail To The King”.
“I think once we get home, the ideas are going to start brewing,” Vengeance says. “I know Syn‘s been writing a ton purely for fun, trying different styles, recording backstage, keeping himself busy. I’ve been thinking of all sorts of ideas, listening to tons of different music to get inspiration — as have all of us. And being on tour, I’m so inspired. Seeing bands like BODY COUNT with Ice-T out there, they’re so old-school and riff-based and over the top and slightly offensive and it’s fuckin’ awesome. So there’s tons of inspiration that I know we’ll be drawing from.”
AVENGED SEVENFOLD and KORN are co-headlining this year’s Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, which kicked off its annual run on July 5 in Devore, California.
Other acts on the bill include ASKING ALEXANDRIA, SUICIDE SILENCE, TRIVIUM, MISS MAY I and more.
AVENGED SEVENFOLD will reissue its breakthrough second album, “Waking The Fallen”, in a new special edition on August 26. “Waking The Fallen: Resurrected” will include a total of 23 tracks, including 11 never-before-heard songs, new artwork, the original first cut of the music video for “Unholy Confessions” and a 30-minute film featuring the present-day band.