Legendary guitarist and composer Jason Becker, who has been living with ALS for over 30 years, will soon go home after undergoing treatment for a bacterial infection at a hospital in Northern California.
Becker was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday (April 7) after experiencing “shortness of breath and a rapid heart rate,” according to his mother.
Earlier today (Saturday, April 10), Jason’s sister-in-law Amy issued the following update on his condition: “Just spoke with [Jason’s mother] Pat.
“Jason’s infection is beginning to clear up. He will need time to heal, but he should be going home tomorrow!
“Our family is so thankful for your thoughts and prayers.”
Pat Becker first revealed that Jason had been experiencing shortness of breath and a rapid heart rate on Monday. At the time, she said that she and the rest of Jason’s immediate family were “in constant contact with his doctors.”
Becker’s story is one of brilliance, talent, determination, adversity, and, ultimately, triumph. A child prodigy on guitar, Jason rose to prominence as a teenager when he was one half of the technical guitar duo CACOPHONY, with his great friend Marty Friedman. In 1989, at only 19 years old and after wowing audiences all over the world, the young virtuoso became the guitarist for David Lee Roth, following in the huge footsteps of Eddie Van Halen and Steve Vai. He wrote and recorded on Roth’s third solo album, “A Little Ain’t Enough”, and was poised for superstardom when a nagging pain in his leg was diagnosed as Motor Neurone Disease (MND), also known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, the same condition Stephen Hawking lived with for over five decades. It is a fatal condition with a life expectancy of maybe five years. Maybe.
That was more than 30 years ago. He lost the ability to play guitar, walk, talk, and breathe on his own. But never lost his will to live or his desire to create music. Communicating through a series of eye movements with a system developed by his father, Jason spells out words as well as musical notes and chords. He imparts his musical vision to his team who then can input the notes into a computer, edit the parts to his exacting standards, and then generate charts for session musicians. His inspiring music and life story have been the subject of countless news articles and magazine cover stories.
Becker’s latest album, “Triumphant Hearts”, was released in December 2018 via Music Theories Recordings/Mascot Label Group. The disc features guest appearances by a who’s who of six-string gods, including Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Neal Schon, Steve Morse, Paul Gilbert and Joe Bonamassa.
Throughout March and April, some of the world’s greatest guitarists are coming together to raise money and celebrate Jason’s music.
For more information on the virtual event, hosted in part by DRAGONFORCE guitarist Herman Li, visit Jasonbecker.com or twitch.tv/hermanli.
Update from Amy Becker:
“Just spoke with Pat.
Jason’s infection is beginning to clear up. He will need time to heal, but he should be going home tomorrow!
Our family is so thankful for your thoughts and prayers.”#JasonBecker #TriumphantHearts #ThankYou pic.twitter.com/kZy27K2065
— Jason Becker (@jasonelibecker) April 10, 2021
NITA STRAUSS's Second Solo Album Will Feature Guest Appearance By One Of Her Favorite Female Singers
Nita Strauss, the Los Angeles-based guitar shredder for the ALICE COOPER band, spoke to Wrestling Inc. managing editor Nick Hausman about her upcoming second solo album, tentatively due before the end of the year. Asked what fans can expect from the effort, Nita said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “I am so excited about it. And the big departure is I’m actually gonna have some guest vocalists on this one. That’s something I didn’t do previously. I just wanted to sort of make a stand as an instrumental guitar player. And this time around, I kind of wanna show what I can do as a songwriter as well. So there’s gonna be a couple of songs that are more traditional hard rock songs that have guest vocalists on it that I’m really excited about.”
Pressed about the identities of some of the guest singers on her new LP, Nita said: “I cannot say just yet. But I will say that one that I have confirmed is one of my favorite female singers out there on the scene right now, and I’m very, very excited to finally get to collaborate with her on something.”
Strauss also broached the subject of Cooper himself possibly appearing on her new album saying: “That’s something that I’ve been kind of throwing around the idea. Of course everybody asks it. Everybody asked about the last one too, and we didn’t do it, so maybe it’s time. I don’t know.”
Strauss’s new disc will be the follow-up to her first solo LP, “Controlled Chaos”, released in 2018 via Sumerian Records.
Last year, Nita told Heavy New York that her second solo album will still be “an instrumental shred record. I put a lot of different facets of my personality — of which there are many — on ‘Controlled Chaos’, so you’ll see the more aggressive side still, you’ll see the lighter side and the happier side, the more peaceful side,” she said. “I just finished one of the ballads for this record, and I’m immensely proud of how it came out. So there will definitely be a wide spectrum of different emotions going on. And the biggest change, I guess, would be I am gonna have a guest singer or two on a couple of songs on this one. So that would be the main difference between the two records.”
In April 2020, Nita launched “Rock Guitar Fundamentals” — a three-module online guitar teaching program suitable for learners of all levels. The course is available at www.iwanttoplayguitar.com.
Nita’s live show is mostly instrumental in nature, combining originals with covers.
Strauss has been playing with Alice Cooper since 2014 when she replaced Australian musician and former Michael Jackson player Orianthi. She joined Alice in time for a mammoth MÖTLEY CRÜE tour. She was recommended to Cooper by the legendary rocker’s former bass player and WINGER frontman Kip Winger.
In a new interview with NewsNation’s “Banfield”, TWISTED SISTER frontman Dee Snider, who was famously called to testify before the U.S. Senate against the proposition to have warning labels be placed on albums deemed “offensive” to listeners, once again spoke about the rise of political correctness in the social media era. Asked for his opinion of cancel culture, which is the idea that someone, usually a celebrity or a public figure, whose ideas or comments are considered offensive should be boycotted, Dee said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “It’s censorship. And censorship has changed quite a bit. I mean, you go to when I was in Washington testifying. By the way, it was a bipartisan effort — it was the Democrats and Republicans who were joined together in putting a leash on rock and roll. But it was definitely a conservative attitude — it was a more conservative attitude, wanting to censor music. Now censorship still exists, but it’s gone from the right more to the left. We’re in this P.C. [politically correct] world where we have to be careful about what we say and who we offend, and it’s a very odd thing.”
He continued: “I’ve been working on lyrics for my new album, ‘Leave A Scar’, which comes out in July, and I found myself questioning the metaphors I was using — metaphors. I mean, where is art without metaphor? Where is lyrics and writing without metaphor? Yet I was going, ‘Can I say this? Can I say this?’ I have a song called ‘In For The Kill’, and it has all these metaphorical [lines], ‘Fire at will, I’m in for the kill.’ And I was talking about going for it — just going for it — yet here I was censoring myself lyrically because of the current state of things.
“What is censorship? What’s not censorship?” Dee added. “Boy, I would say, as long as you’re not screaming ‘fire’ in a crowded movie theater, you’re cool.”
Last year, Dee told Canada’s The Metal Voice that a movie like “Blazing Saddles”, the 1974 American satirical Western black comedy film directed by Mel Brooks “could not be made today — it literally could not be made, because it would offend too many people.
“I remember seeing that movie the first time in a theater full of African-Americans in a black neighborhood in a black theater; me and my brother were the only two white people,” he continued. “And I was laughing my ass off. And my friend said, ‘Stop laughing. We’re gonna get our asses kicked.’ And I looked around the theater, and everybody was laughing. I said, ‘Everybody’s laughing.’ It’s funny. Funny is funny.
“It’s odd, because conservatism was ultra-right back in the ’80s. Now it’s shifted toward the left, where you’ve got the liberals saying, ‘Oh, you can’t say that, and you can’t say that, and you can’t say that.’
“So, yeah, [censorship] still around, it’s still an issue. But we’ve just gotta continue to push back and fight.”
In 1985, the Parents’ Music Resource Center (PMRC), led by Tipper Gore, was trying to introduce a parental warning system that would label all albums containing “offensive material.” The system was to include letters identifying the type of objectionable content to be found in each album (e.g. O for occult themes, S for sex, D for drugs, V for violence, etc.), which resulted in the “Parental Advisory” sticker now found on new album releases with “questionable content.” The incongruous trio of Snider, Frank Zappa and John Denver were called before Congress to testify in defense of music.
In 2015, Snider wrote an Op-Ed story for HuffingtonPost.com about his experience, saying: “Thirty years later, everything and nothing has changed. The ultra-conservatives still want to dictate to the masses what they deem acceptable for the general public to see and hear. The record industry is a mere shadow of its former self (apt punishment for its cowardice), and CDs and vinyl albums have almost become ‘novelties’ in a world driven by downloads. Yet, the warning labels still adorn individual track listings and albums online.
“While initially my appearance at those Senate hearings was damaging to my career and reputation, long term it was beneficial, showing people for the first time that I was much more than a screaming ‘Raggedy Ann on acid’ and a fairly intelligent, sentient human being. Fortunately, I have gone on to better things.”
TWISTED SISTER called it quits in 2016 after completing a farewell 40th-anniversary tour.
UDO DIRKSCHNEIDER Admits He Was 'Maybe Too Quick To Say' He Wouldn't Play ACCEPT Songs With U.D.O. Anymore
Five years after announcing that he would embark on a special tour during which he would perform ACCEPT songs one last time under the DIRKSCHNEIDER banner before closing that chapter for good, former ACCEPT frontman Udo Dirkschneider is continuing to play ACCEPT material at select shows, including at the September 18, 2020 U.D.O. concert in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, which was released on DVD and Blu-ray last month.
Asked in a new interview with Made In Metal if he still gets asked about ACCEPT by various journalists around the world, Udo said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “Not [by] that many anymore. I think this is now over. Sometimes they ask me, ‘Do you listen to what they are doing?’ I say, ‘Yes.’ I mean, of course, [on] YouTube, you see [clips of the current ACCEPT band], and, of course, I hear that. But this is, in a way, far away for me. Of course, it’s my history — I was doing ACCEPT; I was creating ACCEPT. I think this is over.
“[People ask me] maybe [there can be] a reunion or something like that. No — there will be no reunion,” he continued. “For what? It makes no sense. So if I really have the feeling to say, ‘I wanna just do another evening with only ACCEPT songs,’ I can do that. And the good thing is I can do it not under U.D.O., I can do it with DIRKSCHNEIDER. And the people know if I’m coming [to their town] with DIRKSCHNEIDER, [the set] will be [only] ACCEPT songs. I don’t know — maybe in two years, or whatever, maybe I’ll say, ‘Okay, let’s maybe do another tour with only ACCEPT songs.’ Everything is open for me, and that’s a good thing. I have the [collaboration with the] orchestra, I have U.D.O., and sometimes I’m working on some side projects. I can do what I want, and that’s good.”
Dirkschneider also left the door open for U.D.O. to perform select ACCEPT songs in the future, just as it did at the aforementioned Bulgarian concert. “Maybe it can happen,” he said. “Maybe I was too quick to say, after three years of playing ACCEPT songs with DIRKSCHNEIDER — it was nearly three years — maybe I was, in a way, a little bit tired. That was also not planned. Normally, it was planned just to say, [let’s] make, like, 10 or 15 special shows. After this, maybe I was a little bit too quick to say I’d never play any ACCEPT songs with U.D.O. anymore. Maybe it can happen, the last three songs [of the U.D.O. set] — not in the main set, but maybe two or three songs [at the end], we [can say], ‘Okay, [let’s] make people happy and say, thank you very much and bye-bye.’
“When Ronnie James Dio was alive, one night he was talking also about all these old songs — the classic stuff. In a way, he said, ‘Yeah, sometimes I’m really tired to do this’ — all this ‘Holy Diver’ and also BLACK SABBATH stuff — but he said, ‘In the end, the people are coming to a show and they paid for this; they wanna hear this. You are the voice of these songs. You are the voice of ACCEPT, and the people wanna hear the original one.’ It’s nothing against the other singer — maybe he’s doing a good job — but the people, they wanna hear also this classic stuff. He said also, ‘Can you imagine DEEP PURPLE without ‘Smoke On The Water’? No. Not possible.’ In the end, he said, give the people what they want. But for me, it’s, like, I can do both. If I really wanna do only ACCEPT songs, I [can do it with] DIRKSCHNEIDER. And in U.D.O., it’s maybe then a surprise, [playing] some ACCEPT stuff in the end [of the set]. I mean, of course, U.D.O. has a huge fanbase after 30 years. And they say, ‘You don’t need to play any ACCEPT songs anymore.’ ACCEPT, they’re still around — only one [original] guy left. They say, ‘Okay, the people hear the songs there. It’s maybe not the original voice, but they’re doing a good job.’ But for me, it’s also, I can [choose to] do it or not. And that’s it.”
Last month, Udo confirmed to Canada’s The Metal Voice that U.D.O. will “definitely” play some ACCEPT songs if the band’s North American tour materializes in 2021 or 2022.
When he first announced the DIRKSCHNEIDER tour half a decade ago, Udo said that had “to make a clear break for myself — close the book and this is it. And I have the problem that people come to me and ask me to play more ACCEPT songs,” he explained. “Other people ask me why I play ACCEPT songs at all, because there are [more than] fifteen U.D.O. records. I want to avoid such things and avoid the repeating questions concerning ACCEPT. I just can’t stand that anymore. There is nothing more to be said. U.D.O. exists longer than ACCEPT. We have more records than ACCEPT.”
While acknowledging that some ACCEPT fans want to hear the band’s classic songs performed by the group’s original singer, Dirkschneider explained at the time that “you always have these comparisons [between how these songs are played by ACCEPT and U.D.O.]. I don’t want this anymore either. [The current lineup of ACCEPT] also play ‘Metal Heart’, they play ‘Balls To The Wall’ and ‘Princess Of The Dawn’. And then some people tell me, ‘Oh, [current ACCEPT singer Mark Tornillo] is doing it better than you.’ And I go, ‘That’s fine. Enjoy yourself.’ But I don’t want this anymore. And to avoid all of this in the future, I said, ‘We are doing this one more time.'”
Dirkschneider said in 2016 that his vow to never play ACCEPT material again came with one caveat. “If the band ACCEPT dissolves one day in the near future and I am still around with U.D.O., then there is a chance that I put ACCEPT songs back in the setlist,” he said. “But currently there is ACCEPT, so go see them [if you want to see those songs performed live]. They are playing these songs.”
Udo previously said the original plan was for DIRKSCHNEIDER to only “a few shows,” and “then [the tour] got bigger and bigger [due to demand].” But, he added, “I don’t want to complain about that.”
Back in 2018, ACCEPT guitarist Wolf Hoffmann declined to comment on Dirkschneider’s decision to embark on one final tour during which the singer would perform nothing but ACCEPT songs. “I have lots of thoughts about that, but I’m not gonna share ’em with you,” he told SiriusXM’s “Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk”. “I’d rather not comment on that, because that seems so much ‘back and forth,’ and I think I should stay away from it… You can draw your own conclusions all day long, but I’m not gonna get into it; it’s just not worth it.
“I get asked [about Udo] so many times, and, man, it’s been so many years — it’s such an old story by now,” Wolf continued. “We’ve moved on way past that, and we’ve had 10 brilliant years [with Mark Tornillo], we’re making cool albums; I think we’re doing fine. So I don’t spend any time thinking about it.
“I’m very proud of the history we have together and all that, but I’m just not gonna get into the current ‘he said, she said’ whatever — it’s not worth it,” Hoffmann concluded.
GEORGE LYNCH Says He Was Up For Guitarist Position In OZZY OSBOURNE's Band 'On Three Different Occasions'
In a new interview with Canada’s The Metal Voice, former DOKKEN guitarist George Lynch was asked if he had any kind of contact with legendary Ozzy Osbourne axeman Randy Rhoads when they were both coming up through the ranks in the Los Angeles rock scene in the late 1970s. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “We played shows together frequently. We rehearsed at the same rehearsal facility and shared the same rooms, so we had a lot of opportunities to hang out and share licks and talk occasionally. We weren’t friends or anything, but we were in the same business and we ran in the same circles and ran into each other all the time. I’d known that he appreciated my playing and liked my playing, and he would bring people to see me frequently, including his mom.”
He continued: “We were both for Ozzy a number of times, and I was up for it on three different occasions, and one of them was the time that Randy got it over me. And then the understanding was that between whichever one of us got it, the other one would teach at Musonia [School Of Music, which was founded more than 70 years ago by Randy’s mother, Delores Rhoads]. Well, I got the consolation prize. He told his mom that if anything ever happened with him that he would want me to maybe fill in if possible, if I’d be willing to, so I did.”
George reportedly tried out for the position of Ozzy’s lead guitarist in 1979 — losing to Rhoads — and another time in 1982, when Osbourne was looking for someone to replace Brad Gillis. According to Lynch, he was preparing to step into the role before Ozzy changed his mind and decided to go with Jake E. Lee instead.
George went into more detail about his Ozzy auditions during a 2019 interview with Ultimate Guitar. At the time, he said: “I never played a show [with Ozzy]. I played soundchecks. [Laughs] So I would travel with the band to kind of see how everything worked, and they would get to know me, and that kind of thing. But I never went on stage during a show. But I would be in the wings at soundcheck, and Brad Gillis, who was the guitar player at the time, would come over and hand me his guitar and I would play a song or two. And then we went into rehearsals. I rehearsed with them. I brought in a bass player, Don Costa, who was Ozzy’s bass player for a little while. We rehearsed in Texas for a while.
“The touring was in Scotland and England and Ireland,” he continued. “And then we moved everything over to Los Angeles, and that’s where I was told that they wouldn’t be needing my services in the 11th hour after I’d been working with them for a couple of months.”
Lynch remembered that he was “very devastated” when Osbourne offered the gig to Lee over him. “My wife was with me,” he said. “I had quit my job. We had two little kids. We had an apartment. We really didn’t have much money, so it was a great opportunity for me. I was a delivery driver for a liquor company, and I would kind of deliver booze into the not-so-good areas; nobody else wanted to drive into those areas so I took that job. It was a good union job, so I made enough money to support us. And I had to quit that job to go do the Ozzy thing. And when they fired me like that… And they didn’t pay me, and they didn’t give me any compensation. They didn’t ask me if I was okay or anything. They just didn’t care. They just said… It was literally, like… It took, like, a minute. Ozzy just said, ‘Hey, it’s not gonna be working out. Thanks a lot for your time. And see ya later. Bye.’ [Laughs] Yeah, my jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe it. My heart just dropped and… Yeah, I think I cried on the way home. [Laughs] It was very devastating.”
According to Lynch, there were other factors that ultimately contributed to Ozzy choosing Jake as his new guitar player.
“I remember [Ozzy] was bald at the time,” George told Ultimate Guitar. “He kept coming into my room and asking me why I cut my hair. Because I had short hair for my job. I told him that he was bald. [Laughs] So I thought, ‘Well, maybe I could just go bald like you, and then we could be a couple of cue balls up there. Or I can wear a wig until my hair grows out.’ He had a problem with that.
“That was one of the reasons, I think, I didn’t get [the Ozzy gig] — was my image,” Lynch added. “Jake E. had a great image — hair down his ass, [and he] showed up all leathered. He looked great. He admittedly didn’t play that great [at the audition], but he looked fantastic. And I think Sharon [Ozzy’s wife and manager] was really calling the shots, and Sharon wanted somebody that looked right. And she felt that Jake E. was the look they were going for. I don’t think she cared too much about the playing. Not that Jake E. wasn’t capable — Jake E. is great, obviously — he didn’t have a great audition. But he plays fantastic.”
DEF LEPPARD drummer Rick Allen will host three exhibitions of the art from his “Legends” series at Wentworth Galleries in South Florida next month. Allen will be there in person to meet and mingle with fans.
The details are as follows:
Thursday, May 20 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Wentworth Gallery Las Olas
819 E Las Olas Blvd
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Friday, May 21 from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Wentworth Gallery Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Hollywood, FL
5804 Seminole Way
Saturday, May 22 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Wentworth Gallery Boca Raton – Town Center Mall
6000 Glades Road
Boca Raton, FL
This past February, Allen, who has been expressing himself in recent years through his artwork, said that he was working on a painting of late VAN HALEN guitarist Eddie Van Halen.
The Van Halen piece is part of Allen’s “Legends” series, which consists of lifelike-yet-impressionistic portraits of musicians who have influenced him, from Jimi Hendrix to Freddie Mercury to John Lennon.
In a 2018 interview with The Hype Magazine, Allen, who started painting at an early age before he ever picked up the drums, stated about his use of light or some sort of bright object in his art: “Reality is very difficult to do, but it’s my attempt to painting the object or whatever it is. It’s a study of how the light bounces off of the object. Some of the more recent pieces — there was one that I did of [late DEF LEPPARD guitarist] Steve Clark; then there was one I did of John Lennon; I did one of Jimi Hendrix, the ‘Legends’ pieces — that, to me, was a study at how you’re really not painting the person’s face, you’re painting how the light bounces off of the person. If you look closely at some of the pieces, they make no sense when you look at them up close. When you stand back and you start to view it from a distance, it’s almost like your mind fills in the blanks and it creates the illusion of reality.”
Two years ago, Rick told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution about his artistic process with his paintings: “I take a photograph I really like of the person, and I’ll poster-ize it and sketch the poster-ization onto the canvas, and that’s when I can come up with my whites, blacks and grays. After I do the under painting, I’ll start to choose colors. When I do the ‘Legends’, I normally listen to the music of the artist I’m painting.”
In a 2019 interview with Atlantic City Weekly, Allen stated about his “Legends” series: “I started out with Steve Clark who, was my best friend obviously really inspiring to me, given the music that he left us all with. So I did a painting of Steve and that went over really well. People really liked it. And then I moved on to John Lennon. He has always been a huge inspiration ever since I was a kid. And then I did a Jimi Hendrix which is so cool — I love it. And all of these pieces, when I finally finish making them, I wish I never had to give them up to the gallery. I really wanted to keep them for myself, but, unfortunately, I couldn’t.”
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LACUNA COIL’s Cristina Scabbia has decried all the negative things about social media, saying that far too many people find themselves engulfed in their smartphones, thereby creating a surge of depression and anxiety.
The Italian singer, who will celebrate her 49th birthday in June, addressed the topic during an April 9 Twitch chat with her followers. She said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “I really feel that socials, if they’re not used the proper way, are extremely dangerous, because creating the illusion that everything’s perfect can create problems for a lot of people that are not feeling that they fit or that they will ever be as good as these people. So always remember that usually on social media, you’re always trying to stretch everything to kind of look good. And I get it. I do the same thing myself. If I take 10 selfies, of course I will pick up the best one. I’m not gonna pick up the worst one… And you guys know that you do the same. ‘Cause you’re trying to look nice. I’m not gonna say that you’re doing it for getting approval, but it is human, ’cause we all like to be liked. But it is okay to be liked and to want to be liked, but it is not okay when you’re not feeling that you’re not good enough, that you’re not worthy, because you’re comparing yourself to others. And trust me, it happened to me as well. How many times I thought that I wasn’t tall enough or skinny enough or maybe not good enough in singing or in drawing or, like, ‘Oh, my God. I’m gonna stream video games [on Twitch], and what if I die. What people will think of me — that I’m not a good player.’ I had moments like this. And moments like this happen, I just sit down and tell myself that there’s no one — no one; that means no one else in the world — that is just like me. And just this thought should make me feel amazing, because I am unique. I am something extremely precious and special. And the same [goes] for each one of you guys. You guys have something special that no one else in the world has. Whether it’s your talent, your intelligence, you’re funnier than other people, you can be talented in something that other people can’t do. But each one of us has something great to offer. But way too many times we forget this, because we just stay to the surface and we never go deeper. Because this is the moment where everybody just to show the surface.’
She continued: “Just keep that in mind that on Instagram, good pictures are good pictures to look at. But let’s just remember that this is not reality. Let’s remember that behind the beautiful picture of a beautiful model that everybody thinks is absolutely hot, maybe a few seconds after taking this picture, maybe this girl is crying her heart out because she’s feeling ugly, or maybe she broke up with a boyfriend but she will never tell you. Every time you see amazing abs and beautiful bodies of guys that are just, like, ‘Oh, my God. I wish I was him,’ just remember that maybe this guy is absolutely insecure. Maybe this guy can’t even talk to another person or enter in a relationship because he’s just feeling so insecure. Or maybe he’s just a person that is not nice to talk to. So keep in mind that it is not reality. Just that. Try to look at it, but with the eyes of, like, ‘Oh, this is a beautiful picture. Oh, this is a beautiful video. But this is not reality because I am not in this person’s shoes. I don’t know what they do. I don’t know what they did. I don’t know where they live. I don’t know if they like their life or not.’ So let’s try to focus on our life, because if we waste too much time looking at other people’s lives, we are missing something in ours. We are missing the chance to build something that will be good for ourselves. We are missing the time to connect with other people that will enrich our existence.”
Two months ago, LACUNA COIL took part in an initiative dubbed “L’Ultimo Concerto?” (Last Concert) to highlight the increasingly uncertain future of music venues. Instead of delivering live performances as part of a scheduled free virtual stream on February 27, each of around 130 Italian artists was filmed taking the stage at a different venue and then standing there in silence as a way of commemorating the one-year mark since the first Italian venues closed.
Organized by KeepOn Live, Arci, Assomusica and Live DMA, the “L’Ultimo Concerto?” campaign was announced in January when the venues shared images on social media of their year of foundation and the year 2021 with a question mark, suggesting that their closures due to the coronavirus pandemic could be permanent.
In September, LACUNA COIL took part in “Black Anima: Live From The Apocalypse”, an exclusive streaming show featuring a full performance of the band’s latest album, “Black Anima”, for the very first time, including songs never performed live, plus special backstage/off-camera moments and more. The Italian heavy rockers played the concert from the Alcatraz Club in Milan. “Black Anima: Live From The Apocalypse” was hosted on A-Live.
In the latest episode of her “Fan Friday” YouTube series, NIGHTWISH singer Floor Jansen was asked if she enjoys touring the United States. She responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “Yes, of course I do. It’s a magnificent big country, and it’s fantastic to just see all the different states and meet so many different people. My favorite state must be Texas. I love the boots and the culture and food. Yeah, it’s something special.
“We’re all considered Western society — Europe and the U.S. — but there are as many differences as things we have in common, and I always find it fascinating to see that and to put my finger on what we have the same and what’s different,” she added.
Jansen made her live debut as the frontwoman of NIGHTWISH on October 1, 2012 at Showbox Sodo in Seattle, Washington following the abrupt departure of the band’s lead singer of five years, Anette Olzon.
Jansen officially joined NIGHTWISH in 2013 and made her recording debut with the group on 2015’s “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” album.
NIGHTWISH’s ninth studio album, “Human. :II: Nature.” , was released in April 2020 via Nuclear Blast. The effort is a double album containing nine tracks on the main CD and one long track, divided into eight chapters on CD 2.
Last November, Jansen released her cover version of the song “Let It Go” from the Disney movie “Frozen”. She revealed that she got the inspiration to record the track through her four-year-old daughter Freja, who had been listening to it and singing it “for months.”
NIGHTWISH’s interactive “An Evening with Nightwish In a Virtual World” concert experiences that will kick off the “Human. :II: Nature.” world tour have been rescheduled from March to May due to changes in the band’s touring schedule. The new dates are Friday, May 28 and Saturday, May 29, 2021.
In January, NIGHTWISH’s longtime bassist/vocalist Marko “Marco” Hietala announced his departure from the band.
Hietala issued a statement in which he said he hadn’t “been able to feel validated by this life for a quite a few years now.”
ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian spoke to Terry “Beez” Bezer of Knotfest.com’s “Mosh Talks With Beez” about Ian’s show “Never Meet Your Heroes”, which airs on Volume, SiriusXM’s 24/7 talk radio channel dedicated to music.
“Never Meet Your Heroes” sees Ian interviewing his celebrity idols and musical influences about what inspires them. The program launched in late 2016 and featured Corey Taylor of SLIPKNOT as Scott’s first guest.
“When they pitched it to me a couple of years ago, instantly I said, ‘Yeah,'” Ian said about “Never Meet Your Heroes” (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). “I love it. I never wanted it to turn into a thing where I just interview everybody. I’m very picky with… I mean, it’s ironically called ‘Never Meet Your Heroes’ because everyone I have on is someone who I have huge respect and love for whatever it is they do, whether it’s music or authors or actors — whatever it is — pop culture; just someone that I really wanna just talk to for an hour. And I’ve done about 40 of them, I guess, over the last couple of years, and I love it. I love it, because it’s a lot of people I already know. Some people I know them better than others. Some people are just my friends. So, of course, that makes it way easier. Corey Taylor and I could do literally — I could do a 100-part series with him, just the two of us talking shit for 24 hours and then cut it up into a whole bunch of episodes. But I really do enjoy it. I totally get nervous still.”
Ian also reflected on the latest “Never Meet Your Heroes” episode, which saw him interviewing KISS frontman Paul Stanley for the first time.
“I can’t tell you how nervous I was to talk to Paul,” Scott said. “I’ve known Paul since 1987 — not as well as I know Gene [Simmons]. I’ve hung out with Gene a lot over the years — a different relationship. I haven’t hung out with Paul nearly as much over time. It’s, ‘Hi. How are you?’ He’s always very polite and nice. And those guys have gone above and beyond for ANTHRAX over the years. But I was so nervous, knowing that, like, in four days I’m talking to Paul, and getting my thoughts together. And it wasn’t even in person — it was on Zoom. I usually do it in person at Sirius’s studio; obviously, we can’t these days. But I told him. I said, ‘I was so nervous to come on and do this with you.’ And he was, like, ‘Why? We’ve known each other…’ And I said, ‘I don’t know. I think it’s just, with KISS, I turn into a 13-year old.’ It really goes back to that. ‘And I just have such respect for you as an artist and what you’ve done and what you’ve done with your band.’ It’s mindblowing. And we got into that too. And he’s a guy from Queens, New York — just like me. We grew up in the same area. ‘And if it’s not for what you did, I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you.'”
Ian added: “It’s a huge, huge fucking mindfuck for me when I talk to dudes that have everything to do with why I even wanted to be in a band, because without them, it never would have happened. And that’s what I love about being on the other side of the mic.”
Listeners can find “Never Meet Your Heroes” on Volume (channel 106), as well as anytime on the SiriusXM app. Streaming access is included for most subscribers. Go to www.siriusxm.com/ways-to-listen to learn more.
SiriusXM’s Volume channel is home to a variety of programs dedicated to the conversations about music. Programs include “WHOOOSH!” hosted by Simon Le Bon, “The Jimmy Jam Show”, “Lefsetz Live” hosted by Bob Lefsetz, “Feedback” with Nik Carter and Lori Majewski, “Debatable” hosted by Mark Goodman and Alan Light, “Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk” and more.
Don’t miss an all-new episode of Never Meet Your Heroes w/@Scott_Ian where he sits down w/rock icon @PaulStanleyLive to discuss his decades w/@kiss and his new Paul Stanley’s Soul Station album “Now And Then.” Tune in tonight at 9pm ET or listen anytime on the @SIRIUSXM app! pic.twitter.com/7FzdIfD4s4
— SiriusXM VOLUME (@siriusxmvolume) April 1, 2021
MERCURY CIRCLE Feat. SWALLOW THE SUN, Ex-CHILDREN OF BODOM Members: 'You Open Up The Earth' Music Video
MERCURY CIRCLE, the new band featuring former CHILDREN OF BODOM drummer Jaska Raatikainen and SWALLOW THE SUN’s Jaani Peuhu, has released a music video for a song called “You Open Up The Earth”.
Labeled as “a band you need to watch out for in 2021” by Metal Hammer U.K., MERCURY CIRCLE is creating a diverse offering of atmospheric and dark music where the songs differ wildly in expression and sonic aesthetics. Dark metal infused soundscapes with powerful synth and electro waves are the breeding ground for a unique journey filled with painful departures to new beginnings, a spectacle in which hope and promises echoing loss and regret.
Following their latest, critically acclaimed EP “The Dawn Of Vitriol”, MERCURY CIRCLE is getting ready for the release of its highly anticipated debut studio album, due out in September via powerhouse label Noble Demon. To shorten your wait for MERCURY CIRCLE’s first full- length, the band has just released a first and enthralling album single, one that will most likely leave you with a hunger for more.
“This song is a reflection of how things take seat in our lives uninvitedly and change our fate forever,” the band explains and continues: “Especially during these times of incredible adversity, we hope to give a voice to the feelings those situations elicit while they oftentimes leave us speechless.”
With a versatile arrangement of sounds, and a message that couldn’t have been more fitting in these days, it almost seems as if it’s no surprise that this track has become the first harbinger to the album, as founder and mastermind Jaani Peuhu reveals.
“At a pretty early stage in the writing process, I started feeling that ‘You Open Up The Earth’ had to be the opening single of the album,” he said. “Not only made the message of the song sense considering the state the world has been in for more than a year now, but it also seemed like a good introduction to the record: combining heavy, dark and melodic elements with a little piece of our unearthly atmosphere and a big chorus. We had more than 20 songs to choose from for the album and most of the tracks were about to be dropped from the record at some point, but this one felt like an important piece of our debut the whole time since I wrote it.”
He continues: “There was a funny situation during the recordings of ‘You Open Up The Earth’ when I was working on the string arrangements and realized that we need violins to compliment Teemu Mastovaara’s super-cool cellos. I mentioned it in our band chat, and then our guitar player Jussi casually answered that he could play them… Although he hadn’t played in years, he recorded the most beautiful violin tracks for this special song. My bandmates keep on surprising me with their talent. We have this mentality that everybody can do everything and there are no bad ideas. We try out every idea, and even if it doesn’t work, it might lead us to something that actually does and sounds amazing. We don’t want to play safe. Been there, done that. Never again. Not with this band.”
Having spent 26 years recording and touring the world with CHILDREN OF BODOM, it was hard for Jaska to make any concrete plans regarding his future since quitting the band in 2019, but all of this changed when he heard the demos by Peuhu.
“After hearing the demo tracks from the upcoming debut album, I thought it would be stupid not to join this band,” Jaska said. “The music was something I hadn’t heard for a long time. Dark, emotional, epic elements and big choruses.
“I am truly excited for the opportunity to be part of this. I know it is a long way to the top, but with these guys I feel honored and ready to do it again.”
MERCURY CIRCLE is:
* Jaani Peuhu (ICONCRASH, SWALLOW THE SUN, HALLATAR) – Vocals, Guitars, Synths
* Jussi Hämäläinen (Hanging Garden, The Chant) – Guitars, Synths, Backing vocals
* Juppe Sutela (TO/DIE/FOR) – Guitars
* Ande Kiiski (SLEEP OF MONSTERS, RYTMIHÄIRIÖ) – Bass
* Jaska Raatikainen (CHILDREN OF BODOM) – Drums
Photo by Krogography