Interview: Rockabilia Co-Owner Discusses Merch Trends, Covid-19 and Craziest Stories

Rockabilia co-owner shines a light on the company’s daily operations, plus shares his craziest stories.
The post Interview: Rockabilia Co-Owner Discusses Merch Trends, Covid-19 and Craziest Stories appeared first on Decibel Magazine.

Steve Vai – For the Love of God (2021 Upscaled Version)

SAMMY HAGAR 'Knew' EDDIE VAN HALEN's Health Was Declining In Weeks Prior To His Death: 'It Was Heartbreaking'

Sammy Hagar stopped by the KLOS virtual series “New & Approved” to speak with Matt Pinfield about his extensive career and how he mended his relationship with the late Eddie Van Halen.

Prior to the guitarist’s October 2020 passing, Sammy said that the two were fortunately able to reconnect thanks to the great comedian George Lopez.

“It was just so awesome,” Hagar recalled (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUT.NET). “‘Cause I had reached out to Eddie on his birthday for a couple of years. New Year’s Day I would reach out to Eddie and Al [VAN HALEN drummer Alex Van Halen] both, and I’d say, ‘Hey, Happy New Year, guys. I hope you’re happy, and I hope this year’s good for you.’ I was really trying to be friends. I wasn’t looking to join the band. I wasn’t trying to put all that back together. Everyone probably took it that way. ‘Oh, yeah, he just wants to get back in the band.’ I did not wanna get back in the band. As much as I love that band… If you said to me today, [‘You can play] one last show with Eddie, Alex and Michael [Anthony],’ one last show, [I would say], ‘Absolutely.’ That ain’t gonna happen. But at the time, I wasn’t looking to join the band. I like what I’m doing; I’m happy.

“I think it was about two years in a row I did that,” Sammy continued. “And then once finally Eddie reached out and said “Thanks, man’ back on my Instagram. ‘Hey, thanks. Doing great,’ or whatever. ‘And a Happy New Year to you.’ And I went, ‘Oh. That was cool.’ But then I reached out to Alex. I heard [Eddie] was sick, and I knew he was sick. But I started hearing bad things. So I reached out to Alex. He did not get back [to me]. I reached out to Matt, his right-hand man. No. I reached out even to [VAN HALEN’s manager] Irving Azoff, and [he said], ‘Give Al a call.’ So I said, ‘I don’t wanna bug Eddie. I don’t wanna call Eddie and have him tell me, ‘Fuck you, you asshole.” I’d go, ‘Oh, no. Not this again.’ So I wanted to talk with someone else first and see how he was doing and if he would be cool with me calling. Nobody’s calling me. Nobody’s calling me back. Nobody’s responded to my e-mails, no response to my texts. So, George Lopez calls me, and he’s a dear friend too. And he goes, ‘Sam, you’ve gotta call Eddie,’ and blah blah blah. I said, ‘I tried to reach him.’ [He says], ‘Here’s his number. I just talked to him. He loves you, man. He loves you.’ And I said, ‘Wow. Okay.’ I call him, and he’s going, ‘What took you so long?’ I’m going, ‘Well, I called Al. I called this guy. I called that [guy].’ And he goes, ‘Well, you didn’t call me.’ And I said, ‘Well, I’m calling you now.’ And we just burst out laughing. And we just had a real nice relationship for probably four or five months, and then, all of a sudden, he wasn’t returning the texts and he wasn’t returning my calls and I wasn’t getting no response for about a month. It was heartbreaking, ’cause I knew. And then one time I said, ‘Hey, dude. What the fuck? You didn’t give me no love.’ And he goes, ‘Man, I’ve been in the hospital.’ And I’m, like, ‘Oh, fuck.’ And then that was the last I heard [from] him.”

Hagar replaced David Lee Roth in VAN HALEN in 1985 and recorded four studio albums with the band — “5150”, “OU812”, “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge” and “Balance” — all of which topped the U.S. chart.

Sammy, Eddie, Alex and Michael last teamed up in 2004 for a U.S. summer tour. In exchange for taking part in the tour, Anthony reportedly had to agree to take a pay cut and sign away his rights to the band name and logo.

In his autobiography, “Red: My Uncensored Life In Rock”, Hagar slammed Eddie, saying the guitarist was unkempt, hunched over, frighteningly skinny, drinking wine straight out of a bottle, missing part of his tongue (after a cancer scare) and several teeth. He told an interviewer in 2012: “What happened on that reunion tour in ’04 was some of the most miserable, back-stabbing dark crap I’ve ever been involved with my whole life.”

In a 2015 interview with Rolling Stone, Eddie questioned an “embellished” portion of “Red: My Uncensored Life In Rock” that painted the guitarist as a “very angry drunk” during the group’s 2004 reunion tour.

Last November, Eddie’s son Wolfgang revealed that his father had contemplated a “kitchen-sink tour” that would have included Anthony, as well as vocal turns from both Hagar and Roth. There was even talk about bringing back Gary Cherone, who sang with VAN HALEN on one poorly received album, 1998’s “Van Halen III”.

Eddie died at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, California. The iconic VAN HALEN axeman passed away from complications due to cancer, his son confirmed.

(Still) No Longer At Ease: The Story of Highly Influential NYHC Legends Beyond Finally Told

A revelatory new documentary on metal-tinged progressive hardcore outfit Beyond lives up to the band’s moniker.
The post (Still) No Longer At Ease: The Story of Highly Influential NYHC Legends Beyond Finally Told appeared first on Decibel Magazine.

WILLOW SMITH Reunites JADA PINKETT SMITH's Metal Band WICKED WISDOM For 'Red Table Talk' Performance

Jada Pinkett Smith’s daughter Willow surprised her mom for the May 5 episode of Facebook Watch’s “Red Table Talk” by reuniting the actress’s old metal band WICKED WISDOM for a special performance.

“Hey ma, you might be a little suspicious recently because I’ve been cooking up something on the side for this beautiful day,” the 20-year-old singer revealed in a video she played for Jada near the end of the episode.

“When I was, I wanna say about 3 or 4, I went on tour with my mom and her band WICKED WISDOM. WICKED WIDSOM was lit,” Willow continued. “This is the music that I grew up around. My mother was superwoman, she was a rock star, warrior and nurturer all in one. So unapologetically badass… I was my mom’s biggest fan. Every night, I wanted to ride on the security guard’s shoulders and watch her perform. She was a rock star, and I was living for WICKED WISDOM. I felt like it was only right for me to pay homage to a time in her life because she showed me what womaning up really is about.”

WICKED WISDOM members Pocket Honore and Taylor Graves greeted Pinkett Smith from a stage, and then Willow grabbed a guitar.

“This has been in the works for a couple months. Pocket flew in; we’ve been rehearsing all week,” Willow said before launching into one of the band’s songs, “Bleed All Over Me”, while sporting a MASTODON t-shirt.

Pinkett Smith was the singer of WICKED WISDOM, which she formed in 2002 alongside Honore, Graves, Rio Lawrence and former FISHBONE member Philip Fisher. The group opened for Britney Spears in 2004 and 2005, and landed a spot at Ozzfest after Sharon Osbourne saw them perform. WICKED WISDOM also recorded two studio albums between 2004 and 2006.

Photo credit: Lucy Snow / “Red Table Talk”

Willow’s Mother’s Day Surprise

Willow pulls off a top secret Mother’s Day gift for Jada when the Red Table salutes amazing moms! Witness incredible surprises, emotional reunions and meet seven children who survived the horrific car crash that killed their parents. Plus a special performance by The Queen of Gospel Music, Shirley Caesar. Grab your tissues for our annual RTT Mother’s Day special!

Posted by Red Table Talk on Tuesday, May 4, 2021


Thrash heads know the score. You never could fuck with ARTILLERY as members of the serrated-edge riff elite, from the Danish band’s early classics “Terror Squad” and “By Inheritance” right through to more recent works by the reconvened and consistently convincing incarnation of guitarist Michael Stützer’s enduring ensemble. Their last album, “The Face Of Fear”, was one of 2018’s most criminally overlooked gems, and while ARTILLERY have often been airbrushed from received wisdom about thrash’s glory days, everything they do on “X” hammers home the superiority of their subtly progressive but always brutal take on the genre.

Stützer found the perfect replacement for talismanic frontman Flemming Rönsdoff when he recruited Michael Bastholm Dahl nearly a decade ago. The singer’s power and presence are splattered all over these songs, sustaining ARTILLERY’s refined melodic sensibilities with flashy aplomb and spewing fiery grit when it counts. The result is a pulverizing stream of thunderous, life-affirming heavy metal songs, with feet planted firmly in both traditional notions of heaviness and in that forward-thinking sweet spot that the Danes occupied with such force the first time around. It’s an intoxicating formula; wherein something as knowingly goofy and straightforward as “In Thrash We Trust” — an instant, crowd-pleasing singalong if ever we heard one — is executed with neck-snapping authority and enough sonic muscle to shatter your ribcage.

Thanks to Dahl’s soaring tones, ARTILLERY can deliver a powerhouse, hard rock thumper without missing a beat: “Turn Up the Rage” wears its AOR instincts with pride, while still packing a fearsome, crunching wallop. Similarly, “Silver Cross” comes across as a titanium-plated upgrade for Tony Martin-era SABBATH, a big melody to the forefront, but delivered with runaway bulldozer momentum. “Varg I Veum” repeats the trick at a dark-hued mid pace, and with another fists-in-the-air chorus to kill for.

“X” is topped and tailed by its two finest moments. Opener “The Devils Symphony” is almost comically belligerent and masterfully fine-tunes ARTILLERY’s 21st-century sound via a thrilling torrent of prime Stützer riffing. Closer “Beggars in Black Suits” is even better: the album’s most overtly thrash-honoring blowout, it’s both a stunning showcase for Dahl’s octave-shredding talents and an unabashed show of musical strength, with enough great riffs to give GARY HOLT a boner.

There was a time when ARTILLERY were loosely associated with the more overtly experimental likes of VOIVOD and CORONER, but the real genius of Stützer’s vision is that his band have disregarded the rulebook while simultaneously writing massive tunes. Nearly 40 years after their story began, this band are still a unique and exhilarating proposition.

MÖTLEY CRÜE's TOMMY LEE Buys 'Japanese-Inspired Modern Sanctuary' In Brentwood For $4.15 Million

According to TMZ, Tommy Lee has purchased a new house in Brentwood, California. The MÖTLEY CRÜE drummer spent $4.15 million on “a Japanese-inspired modern sanctuary” which has four bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms and it features “Zen-like indoor-outdoor living space.”

The 4,266-square-foot house is situated in a “picturesque canyon” with spacious open floorplan living with dining, a kitchen that opens to; a pool with waterfalls, dining deck, fire pit, barbecue island, and enclosed greenhouse-style garden room. The kitchen features antique Japanese tansu custom cabinetry, Brazilian mahogany countertops, and pantry. Master retreat has double-height ceilings, clearstory lighting, heated floors, window wall with built-in cabinetry, garden courtyard, dual baths, and custom closets. In addition, there is a bedroom-office with a spiral staircase that leads to a huge yoga-media and/or art-room. Two more bedrooms occupy a separate wing. Wide balconies overlook cascading gardens of trees, unique plants, ferns, bamboo, Koi pond, herb garden, waterfalls, extensive stonework, magical pathways, and an authentic Japanese teahouse.

Last May, Lee relisted his home in Calabasas, California. He put the house on the market in April 2016 for $5,995,000, but that price came down in July 2016 by three hundred thousand to $5,699,000, in November 2016 by another two hundred thousand to $5,495,000 and in May 2017 by half a million to $4,995,000. Five months later, Tommy dropped the asking price to $4,650,000 before removing the house from the market in February 2018. Three months later, he put the home up for sale again at $4,650,000 before removing it in May 2019. The house is currently on the market for $4,599,000.

The drummer purchased the home in 2007 for $5.85 million, according to property records.

Lee sold another house, in nearby Malibu, in late 2004 for $2,475,000, according to public records. Lee had paid $800,000 in 1995 for that 7,462-square-foot house on 2.49 acres. The house had made the news back in 2001 when a four-year-old boy died after accidentally drowning in the house’s swimming pool during a birthday party.

Tommy Lee Drops $4.15M for Japanese-Inspired Pad in Brentwood
— TMZ (@TMZ) May 5, 2021

TUOMAS HOLOPAINEN Thought There Was 'No Coming Back' For NIGHTWISH After MARCO HIETALA's Departure

NIGHTWISH keyboardist and main songwriter Tuomas Holopainen says that Marco Hietala’s decision to leave the band “came as a bit of a surprise.”

The bassist/vocalist announced his departure from NIGHTWISH in January, explaining in a statement that he hadn’t “been able to feel validated by this life for a quite a few years now.”

Holopainen spoke about Hietala’s exit from NIGHTWISH in a new interview with Finland’s Kaaos TV. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “Marco informed us in December last year [that he was leaving the band]. And even though he has been very open about his state and problems during the past years, it still came as a bit of a surprise for us. So it was a really tough pill to swallow. And for a few days, I was actually quite confident that there’s no coming back, that this is it. I remember talking to Emppu [Vuorinen], the guitar player, and we were, like, ‘You think this is it?’ ‘Yeah, I think this is it.’ I mean, enough is enough. So much has happened in the past. Something that broke the camel’s back, as they say. Then, after some time had passed — a few days — we started to think that it’s been such a ride of 25 years, with so many ups also, that this is not the way to end it.”

Tuomas elaborated on NIGHTWISH’s reasons for carrying on, saying: “I think we still have something to give, and that’s the main point. The music is still there. We felt that there’s still so much music that needs to come out from this band that, ‘Okay, let’s give it one more shot.’ And then finding the new bass player was really easy.”

He added: “It’s not like we do this just because we need to do it and there’s nothing else to do. On a personal level, I feel that there’s still so many stories and melodies that I want to share with the world with one lineup or another, so that’s why you want to continue and keep on going.

“I’ve said this a million times, that a lineup change is the ultimate energy vampire, and that’s how it really felt and still feels.”

Holopainen also confirmed that NIGHTWISH’s future setlists will likely also be affected by Hietala’s absence from the group. “There are some songs that are so profilic [sic] to Marco that we cannot do them, I think, ever again,” he said. “I’m not absolutely certain, but, for example, ‘The Islander’, ‘While Your Lips Are Still Red’ and definitely ‘Endlessness’ from the new album is something that cannot be performed without Marco. But then, after spending five days in the rehearsal room, there are some songs that actually work surprisingly well without Marco, that Floor [Jansen] or Troy [Donockley] is doing [Marco’s] parts. And I was a bit suspicious about that, but then when I heard the new arrangement for those parts, I was, like, ‘Yeah, I think this actually might work.'”

Last month, Holopainen said that the name of Hietala’s replacement will not be revealed until “a few hours” before the first of the band’s two interactive “An Evening with Nightwish In a Virtual World” concert experiences that will kick off the “Human. :II: Nature.” world tour.

NIGHTWISH will perform in a tavern called “The Islanders Arms” built in a virtual world for two nights — Friday, May 28 and Saturday, May 29, 2021. On both nights, the fans will experience an unforgettable one-and-a-half-hour performance, hearing songs live off the latest album, “Human. :II: Nature.”, for the first time ever. These two nights will have their own, slightly different setlists.

In December, Hietala was crowned the winner of the fall 2020 season of “Masked Singer Suomi” — the Finnish edition of the popular masked singing contest. He was disguised as Tohtori — the Doctor.

“Human. :II: Nature.” was released in April 2020. The follow-up to 2015’s “Endless Forms Most Beautiful”, “Human. :II: Nature.” is a double album containing nine tracks on the main CD and one long track, divided into eight chapters, on CD 2.

K.K. DOWNING: 'I Feel Very Confident That The True PRIEST Is Within Me'

Founding JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing spoke to Clovis Roman of Brazil’s Acesso Music about his autobiography “Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest”, which was released in September 2018 via Da Capo Press. Addressing his reasons for telling his life story in book form, Downing said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “With the book, I wanted people to get to know me a little bit better. I wanted to try and answer some of their questions — unanswered questions maybe — and I just thought it would be good for me to leave my recollections and memoirs for future people. When they see the videos long after I’m gone, and they hear the songs, they might be interested to know how heavy metal began. Because I was definitely there at the very, very beginning, and I feel very proud and honored to have been a part of the whole thing. And I feel very fortunate to have had the success, but even now still, I feel as though that success is still there and I’m still able to write incredible music and to play really, really well. So I’m really looking forward to everyone experiencing [my new] band [KK’S PRIEST] and giving the fans exactly what the fans want and what the fans deserve, and that is a full-on metal PRIEST. And that’s what I am. I was there in the very beginning, and it’s unfortunate the way things have turned out. But it’s tough to be in a relationship of 40 years or more, but I feel very confident that the true PRIEST is within me.”

Downing left PRIEST in 2011 amid claims of band conflict, shoddy management and declining quality of performance. He was replaced by Richie Faulkner, nearly three decades his junior.

The 69-year-old Downing recently said that he had “a change of mind” about leaving the band before his exit was officially announced a decade ago.

In recent years, Downing has made it very clear that he wanted to return to JUDAS PRIEST, particularly in early 2018 when guitarist Glenn Tipton announced his decision to retire from touring.

Tipton was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease seven years ago — after being stricken by the condition at least half a decade earlier — but announced in February 2018 he was going to sit out touring activities in support of PRIEST’s latest album, “Firepower”. He was replaced by “Firepower” album producer Andy Sneap, who is also known for his work in NWOBHM revivalists HELL and cult thrash outfit SABBAT. Tipton occasionally joins PRIEST onstage for its encores, performing “Metal Gods”, “Breaking The Law” and “Living After Midnight”.

Last year, Downing announced the formation of KK’S PRIEST, in which he is joined by fellow former PRIEST members Les Binks (drums) and Tim “Ripper” Owens (vocals). The band, which pays homage to Downing’s past, is rounded out by guitarist A.J. Mills (HOSTILE) and bassist Tony Newton (VOODOO SIX).

In 2019, singer Rob Halford didn’t rule out Downing’s reunion with PRIEST, saying “what will happen will happen.” But bassist Ian Hill has said that there are no plans for PRIEST to invite Downing to return to the band. “Richie took over from Ken,” Hill told Riff Magazine. “He’s done an absolutely tremendous job, he really has. And he’s made Ken’s parts his own now. He’s got his own angle on the lead breaks. Ken’s part’s been taken, and there’s no plans to have Ken back, really. Hey, listen, never say never. But at the moment, we’re going along quite well without Ken, so it could stay like that, I think, at least for the foreseeable future.”

Photo courtesy of K.K. Downing’s Steel Mill

ANTHRAX Members Discuss Genesis Of 'Fistful Of Metal' Album In Second 40th-Anniversary-Celebration Video

One of the “Big Four” turns the Big 4-0 this year and is celebrating with a number of special activities and events to honor the landmark anniversary. Formed by guitarist Scott Ian and bassist Dan Lilker in Queens, New York on July 18, 1981, ANTHRAX was one of the first thrash metal bands to emerge from the East Coast and quickly became regarded as a leader in the genre alongside METALLICA, SLAYER and MEGADETH.

Active over the past five decades, ANTHRAX has released 11 studio albums, been awarded multiple gold and platinum certifications, received six Grammy nominations, toured the world since 1984 playing thousands of shows, including headlining Madison Square Garden and playing Yankee Stadium with the “Big Four”. The band has built a strong reputation with fans as well as the record industry. With the lineup including Ian, bassist Frank Bello, drummer Charlie Benante, singer Joey Belladonna and guitarist Jon Donais, the band is being feted on their 40th anniversary by a wide range of friends and music contemporaries.

Each week beginning today (Monday, May 3), on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and wrapping on the band’s official founding anniversary of July 18, ANTHRAX’s social media accounts will offer a series of video testimonials sent in by former bandmembers, fellow musicians, colleagues, and industry veterans sharing behind-the-scenes stories of working with the band and what ANTHRAX’s legacy has meant all these years on. These videos will honor each album in chronological order beginning with the original release, “Fistful Of Metal”. Check out the second clip below.

The 11-week series will include video contributions from Chuck D, Corey Taylor, Dave Grohl, Dave Mustaine, Gary Holt, Gene Simmons, Henry Rollins, John Carpenter, Kerry King, Mike Patton, Nergal, Norman Reedus, Michael Poulsen, Rob Zombie, Robert Trujillo, Roger Miret, Darryl McDaniels (RUN DMC), Slash, Tom Morello and more. There will also be video clips from former ANTHRAX bandmembers Dan Lilker, Dan Spitz, John Bush, Neil Turbin and Rob Caggiano.

The finale will come as a very special livestream performance from ANTHRAX on Friday, July 16, featuring a deep cuts set that will pull from the band’s entire career-spanning catalog. All details including ticketing information will be announced shortly.

Fans will also be able to get their hands on a special 40th anniversary-edition bottle of ANTHRAX bourbon to enjoy during the livestream and keep as a commemorative keepsake. More details will be coming soon.

May 03 – “Fistful Of Metal”
May 10 – “Spreading The Disease”
May 17 – “Among The Living”
May 24 – “State Of Euphoria”
May 31 – “Persistence Of Time”
June 07 – “Sound Of White Noise”
June 14 – “Stomp 442”
June 21 – “Volume 8”
June 28 – “We’ve Come For You All”
July 05 – “Worship Music”
July 12 – “For All Kings”