Ex-SKID ROW Singer JOHNNY SOLINGER Diagnosed With Liver Failure

Former SKID ROW singer Johnny Solinger has announced that he is suffering from liver failure.

Solinger, who was a member of SKID ROW from 1999 to 2015, appearing on the “Thickskin” and “Revolutions Per Minute” albums, as well as the “United World Rebellion” and “Rise Of The Damnation Army” EPs, revealed his diagnosis in a social media update earlier today (Saturday, May 8). He wrote: “It is with a heavy heart I must let everyone know what’s going on with me and my health. I have been hospitalized for over the last month. I have been diagnosed with liver failure. And prognosis is not so good. As with most musicians I do not have health insurance and it’s very difficult to get proper care without it.

“I am currently under at least seven different medications and I need to have my abdomen drained off fluid that gets accumulated every couple of days. I have lost a lot of strength and will require physical therapy as well.

“At the moment, I am looking into putting together some sort of fundraiser to help with the medical bills and with the palliative care I will need in the coming months. I am kindly asking those of you who could help put this together to step forward. I would not be asking you all this if I didn’t really need the help, but sadly this is where I’m at.

“I appreciate and want you all to keep me in your thoughts and send me all the healing vibes you can, but I get exhausted easily so I will ask you to please not call or text unless absolutely necessary. But please, if you can help in this difficult time, I will wholeheartedly appreciate it.

“Love you all. I will post a link where you can donate very soon but I wanted to update you on my condition.”

Solinger was fired by SKID ROW in April 2015 and replaced by TNT singer Tony Harnell. Tony quit the group only eight months later, and was succeeded by the South African-born, British-based singer ZP Theart, who previously fronted DRAGONFORCE, TANK and I AM I.

SKID ROW bassist Rachel Bolan confirmed that Solinger was kicked out of the band, contradicting the singer’s claim that he “decided to leave SKID ROW to pursue [his] solo career.”

Asked what led to Solinger’s departure from SKID ROW, Rachel said: “It was evident. There were certain things going on out on the road that kind of set us thinking… Things had been going on for a little bit. And, you know, I’m not here to say anything bad about the guy.

“At certain times, you just get the feeling someone isn’t putting a hundred percent into things,” he added. “And SKID ROW is very important to the rest of us. And we wanted to carry on with quality performances and quality songs, so we decided to make a change.”

Asked if there was ever a time where they felt things were “clicking” and “100 percent right” between Solinger and the rest of the band, Rachel told “Eddie Trunk Live”: “We were clicking big time. I thought we made a lot of great music together. And even with [the ongoing trilogy of] EPs, when we were in the studio, we were making great music. Snake [guitarist Dave Sabo] and I would write, and everyone came in and really sunk in. I think it was when we were in the studio that it really became evident that we all didn’t have the same heart and soul… We weren’t all putting the same heart and soul into it. And it’s just one of those things, man. It’s rough to make a decision like this, but we did.”

Added Snake: “This has nothing to do with Johnny not being a good person; he’s a really good person, and we all got along well. There’s no animosity at all from our end. And these are terrible decisions to make, man. They’re awful. The guy’s been with us for fifteen years, and we saw a lot of miles of road together, and I feel extremely fortunate to have spent that time in a band with him. And he’s a great singer and he’s gonna be fine. He’s gonna pursue his solo stuff, I guess, and that’s what he should do.”

On the topic of how Solinger reacted to being fired from SKID ROW, Snake said: “There was no screaming and shouting. We were both very respectful to one another. And we should be. I mean, like I said, we’ve traveled a lot of miles together, and this is not something that is easy in any way, but yet it’s something that was necessary.”

Asked how parting ways with Solinger was different to the split with Sebastian Bach in 1996, Rachel said: “That was a completely different situation. There was a lot of bad blood there, and… Yeah, it was a completely different situation. This is something, like Snake said, there’s no animosity. It’s just… We all didn’t have our eyes on the same prize at this point, and it interfered. It interfered with moving forward. And that’s why we made a change.”

In late 2019, Solinger sustained injuries in a car crash and was forced to reschedule some of his solo shows.

It is with a heavy heart I must let everyone know what’s going on with me and my health. I have been hospitalized for…

Posted by Johnny Solinger on Saturday, May 8, 2021

GEORGE LYNCH Says ROBERT MASON Is 'Not Aligned' With Him And JEFF PILSON Politically: 'We Can Agree To Disagree'

In a new interview with “Pariah Burke’s Hard, Heavy & Hair” show, George Lynch was asked about the overall lyrical message of the recently released sophomore album from his THE END MACHINE project, “Phase2”. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “I have to answer that with a caveat. Jeff [Pilson; THE END MACHINE, FOREIGNER and ex-DOKKEN bassist] and I are aligned politically — we’re both very progressive in our political thinking and our little bit of activism that we try to participate in through our music. I don’t know how effective that is — probably not effective at all — but we feel compelled to try to do that because we feel it’s the right thing to do. Robert [Mason; THE END MACHINE and WARRANT singer] is not aligned with us politically in his messaging, so when we were writing the lyrics, of course, there’s a little bit of a rub there. But we all respect each other enough to at least honor the idea of deducing truth from whatever it is we’re discussing. And we can have a difference of opinion on the results of that analysis, but we don’t have a difference of opinion about how we achieve that, how we go about deciding if something is truthful or not. So we’re able to have discussions that are pretty civil and we can agree to disagree. And a lot of that is filtered down to some of the lyrics.”

George continued: “I’m not saying that the lyrics are a hundred percent a pure reflection of what I would consider to be the truth. I made some compromises, and I’m okay with that, because that’s the world we live in. But I think generally the message is the same message you would hear from any progressive activist, and it deals with massive inequality, injustice, environmental concerns and just the way we view ourselves as responsible animals and how we should behave. I think it’s very logical and common sense — it just seems to have escaped us, because common sense would dictate that we have to be responsible and do the right thing and wear a mask and not burn down our home and not poison our water and our air and treat each other respectfully. And money is not everything; it is something, but it’s not everything. So we have other metrics that we use to decide how well we’re behaving.”

Last month, Pilson also confirmed to Steve Mascord of the “White Life Fever” podcast that differences in political views exist between the members of THE END MACHINE.

“I think ultimately we all have the same goals in mind — we all want a safe, secure world and a prosperous world,” he said. “But, yeah, we have differences, and I think working them out and talking them out and finding common ground is a great thing.

“George and I actually fairly in sync thought-wise, but, yeah, it’s other guys. And that’s great. Like I say, I welcome that. The main thing is that we talk. The main thing is that we understand and respect what people say. I mean, to just throw out what the other side says, I think, is really, really a bad mistake. And I think we’ve done way too much of that.”

Asked if he has any advice on how to interact with people who have different political views from you without jeopardizing your friendship with them, Jeff said: “I think you always have to judge the situation at the moment. I don’t think there’s any one solution for everything. Some people don’t wanna talk reasonably. Some people just wanna reinforce their own beliefs. And when that’s the case, or even if I’m doing that, there’s no sense talking. But if you have a point of view that’s reasonable, why can’t you talk about it? That’s my feeling. Like I say, I think what’s really made it bad is that people have two distinct sources of what they believe is the truth. And that’s a problem — that’s a serious, serious problem. And if we don’t figure that out or something, we’re gonna be in more trouble. And I think it starts with talking. So, talk when you can. Talk when people want to talk, when they’re reasonable, when they have a desire to see what you think or when you have a desire to hear what they think. I think it’s important to talk.”

Back in 2017, Pilson — an acclaimed producer and a veteran bassist who has played with DIO, FOREIGNER, DOKKEN and T&N — said that then-President Donald Trump was “a dangerous man” whose vitriolic and divisive rhetoric could ignite another American civil war.

In September 2019, Lynch caught flak from some of his fans when he slammed Trump in an interview, calling the billionaire real estate mogul an “idiotic monster” and an “egotistical, self-aggrandizing, complete piece of shit” who “doesn’t know anything.” George was also criticized when told Australia’s “Scars And Guitars” podcast that “progressives are more compassionate people by nature — we’re wired to sort of be more empathetic and care about things outside of ourselves. We are about other people; it hurts us to see people in pain or suffer,” he explained. “So they call us ‘snowflakes.’ But people that are wired, on the right, the way their brains are wired, they don’t have that sense of empathy. I’m not saying it’s good or bad — I’m just saying it is. And these people are the ones that have the guns. And they’re willing to use them. And it’s becoming pretty frightening.”

“Phase2” was released on April 9 via Frontiers Music Srl. The album features drummer Steve Brown, younger brother of former DOKKEN drummer “Wild” Mick Brown, who played on THE END MACHINE’s self-titled 2019 debut.

DORO PESCH Says She Also Received Bullet Containing LEMMY's Ashes

German metal queen Doro Pesch has confirmed to Brazil’s “Inside With Paulo Baron” that she was one of several people who received a bullet from late MOTÖRHEAD frontman Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister as a personal gift. She said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “Two weeks ago, I got a little box from America. It came to my mom’s house. At the moment, I’m in Germany. I go back to the States in two weeks. But I was in Germany. And then my mom said, ‘Hey, do you expect something?’ And I said, ‘No.’ And then she said, ‘Shall I open it up?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, open it up.’ And she said, ‘There’s a letter in it. And there’s a little box in it. It’s jewelry or something.’ And I said, ‘Okay. I’ll wait. I’ll get it.’ And it was the bullet of Lemmy with Lemmy’s ashes in there. And I tell you, I almost dropped dead. It was, like, ‘Wow.’ And then I heard that somebody said Lemmy wrote a list and he wanted his closest friends or family to have his ashes. And I’ve got this bullet right here. I had no words for it. It’s pretty moving and touching. But in the letter, it said, ‘He liked you a lot’ or ‘he loved you a lot,’ and I thought, ‘Oh, man. That feels so good.’ That makes you feel like… Now I’m motivated for the next hundred years to do good and to rock the fans. That gave me so much love and so much energy.”

Doro’s bullet is not the only one whose existence has been publicly revealed. Two months ago, former “Headbangers Ball” host Riki Rachtman said that he was also mailed a bullet, calling it “the greatest gift I’ve ever received in my life.” He added that he was “getting it made into a necklace so I can keep it on me everywhere I go.” Last year, tennis player Pat Cash shared a photo of another Lemmy bullet, saying it had been gifted to UGLY KID JOE singer Whitfield Crane.

“#Lemmy (RIP) from #Motörhead asked that his ashes be put in some bullet and given out to his closest friends, last night one was presented to my mate #whitefieldCrane whilst we were having dinner at ‘Lemmys bar’ in ‘The Rainbow’,” Cash wrote on Instagram in February 2020.

Lemmy died in December 2015 at the age of 70 shortly after learning he had been diagnosed with cancer.

He had dealt with several health issues over the last few years of his life, including heart trouble, forcing him to cut back on his famous smoking habits.

MOTÖRHEAD had to cancel a number of shows in 2015 because of Lemmy’s poor health, although the band did manage to complete one final European tour a couple of weeks before his death.

Last June, it was announced that Lemmy will get the biopic treatment. The upcoming film, “Lemmy”, will be directed by Greg Olliver, who previously helmed the 2010 documentary of the same name, “Lemmy”.

“Lemmy” will go into production later this year, with VMI introducing the film at the Cannes virtual market. It will follow Kilmister’s life growing up in Stoke-on-Trent, becoming a roadie for Jimi Hendrix and a member of seminal psychedelic rock band HAWKWIND before forming MOTÖRHEAD.

A custom-made urn containing Lemmy’s ashes is on permanent display in a columbarium at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Hollywood, California.

Before his death #Lemmy asked for his ashes to be put in some bullets & handed out to his closest friends Today I received a bullet & was literally brought to tears Thank you @myMotorhead pic.twitter.com/gnI9aWe4iU
— Rev. Riki Rachtman (@RikiRachtman) March 22, 2021

Motorhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister’s ashes were placed into bullet casings and distributed to his closest friends. pic.twitter.com/vlsqYYCZWY
— Eric Alper ? (@ThatEricAlper) March 25, 2021

DINO CAZARES Doesn't Understand Why BURTON C. BELL Tried To 'Sabotage' FEAR FACTORY After His Exit

In a new interview with Aftershocks TV, FEAR FACTORY guitarist Dino Cazares was asked why the band’s former lead singer Burton C. Bell seemingly tried to “sabotage” Dino’s efforts to complete the 2017 album they recorded together and finally get it released. Cazares responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “That was something I didn’t understand. If you’re gonna quit, then okay, quit. Don’t try to sabotage me continuing to move forward with the band. That was something I couldn’t understand. I don’t know why he was being a vindictive ex-girlfriend; he seemed to be very vindictive. And I was, like, ‘Okay. Where is this hatred coming from?’ ‘Cause he hasn’t spoken to me in three years, so I don’t know — I really don’t know. I can’t get into his head and see what he was thinking. I can only go by what he said in the media and what he tried to do to me. I don’t know. I don’t know how to answer that question other than the fact that that was kind of fucked up what he did. It’s almost like, ‘If I can’t have it, nobody can have it.'”

Last month, FEAR FACTORY released its first new song in over five years, “Disruptor”. The track will appear on the band’s upcoming album, “Aggression Continuum”, due on June 18 via Nuclear Blast Records.

“Aggression Continuum” features Cazares and Bell alongside drummer Mike Heller. It was produced and engineered by Damien Rainaud (DRAGONFORCE, ONCE HUMAN), with keyboards by Igor Khoroshev (ex-YES), and programming on two songs from longtime collaborator Rhys Fulber (FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY). “Aggression Continuum” was mixed by A-list rock and metal producer Andy Sneap (MEGADETH, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, TRIVIUM), who also mixed FEAR FACTORY’s previous album, 2015’s “Genexus”.

Last September, Bell issued a statement officially announcing his departure from FEAR FACTORY, saying that he “cannot align” himself with someone whom he does not trust or respect.

Bell’s exit from FEAR FACTORY came more than two weeks after Cazares launched a GoFundMe campaign to assist him with the production costs associated with the release of FEAR FACTORY’s long-awaited new LP.

Bell later told Kerrang! magazine that his split with FEAR FACTORY was a long time coming. “It’s been on my mind for a while,” he said. “These lawsuits [over the rights to the FEAR FACTORY name] just drained me. The egos. The greed. Not just from bandmembers, but from the attorneys involved. I just lost my love for it.

“With FEAR FACTORY, it’s just constantly been, like, ‘What?!’ You can only take so much. I felt like 30 years was a good run. Those albums I’ve done with FEAR FACTORY will always be out there. I’ll always be part of that. I just felt like it was time to move forward.”

Pressed about whether there is any chance of a reconciliation with FEAR FACTORY down the line, Burton said: “I’m done. I haven’t spoken to Dino in three years. I haven’t spoken to Raymond [Herrera, drums] and Christian [Olde Wolbers, bass] in longer than that, and I have no intention to. I’m just moving forward with my life.”

In October, Dino issued a statement in which he said that the door for Burton to come back to FEAR FACTORY wouldn’t “stay open forever.” The guitarist also revealed that Burton “lost his legal rights” to the FEAR FACTORY name “after a long court battle” with Herrera and Olde Wolbers. “I had the opportunity to do something right, and I felt that obtaining the name in full was the right thing to do for the both of us, so after nearly four years we can continue as FEAR FACTORY, to make more records and to tour,” he said. “That is why it is sad to hear that he decided to quit and, in my opinion, for whatever issues he has it seems like it could’ve been worked out.”

In explaining his reasons for starting a fundraising campaign, Cazares said that all donations would go toward covering newly incurred production costs involved with the making of the new FEAR FACTORY LP, including re-recording the drums, guitars, bass and keyboards, as well as production by Rainaud and Cazares, and mixing and mastering by Sneap. Burton’s original lead vocals, which were recorded in full in 2017, remain on the new version of the album.

FEAR FACTORY’s fundraising campaign marked the first public activity from the band since it completed a 2016 U.S. headlining tour on which it performed its classic second album, “Demanufacture”, in its entirety.

Bell’s ASCENSION OF THE WATCHERS project released its second full-length album, “Apocrypha”, last October via Dissonance Productions.

Watch Late MEGADETH Drummer NICK MENZA Host His Final Drum Clinics Two Years Before His Death

Previously unreleased video footage of late MEGADETH drummer Nick Menza hosting his final masterclass drum clinics — on April 28, 2014 and April 29, 2014 at the Academia De Musica Fermatta campuses in Mexico City and Guadalajara — can be seen below. The one-minute clip features Menza playing along to the MEGADETH classic “Hangar 18” to intimate setting for students only.

The footage was supposed to be used for the late drummer’s first-ever instructional DVD, “Intense Mega Drumming”, that was to feature 10 re-recorded classic MEGADETH drum tracks with tons of tips and tricks from Menza’s arsenal to help teach anybody out there become a better player. The DVD, which was produced and directed by Kari Pearson and Menza’s manager, Robert Bolger, has since been shelved.

The unreleased video footage and audio from both classes will be a featured highlight in the recently announced official Menza documentary film “This Was My Life – The Story of Nick Menza”. It is described in a press release as “an unflinching exploration into the life of one of the most successful thrash-metal drummers of all time, authorized by the Menza family. From his childhood all the way through to the end of his life including a true blow-by-blow account of the repeated failed attempts of the classic ‘Rust In Peace’ lineup.”

“This Was My Life” will feature rare and never-before-seen photos and video footage from Nick’s archived VHS tape collection, personally filmed by Menza himself from 1988 through 1991. Included will be exclusive content showcasing Nick working at the studio, personal home movies, casual time and party time with his fellow bandmembers, as well as other well-known artists of the era that Nick toured with.

Bolger said: “I am very excited to be working with Screaming Butterfly Entertainment on Nick’s official documentary.

“There’s a lot of published misinformation out there about Nick that isn’t true and I am very happy to bring the truth forth.

“Nick loved his fans and always said without the fans none this would be possible. I really think Nick’s fans will enjoy this journey through his life.”

Executive producer Holly Mollohan from Screaming Butterfly Entertainment added: “As both a filmmaker, and fellow metalhead who deeply values the metal community, I am honored and excited to go on this journey alongside all of you.”

Menza’s official autobiography, “Megalife: The Autobiography Of Nick Menza” by J. Marshall Craig, was released in December 2018 via Post Hill Press.

Late in the evening on May 21, 2016, Nick collapsed after suffering a heart attack during a concert with Chris Poland and Robertino “Pag” Pagliari in their band OHM: at The Baked Potato in Studio City, California and was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital. The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner said Menza died of hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

Nick rightfully earned his place as one of heavy metal’s fiercest drummers during MEGADETH’s 10-year commercial peak. The highlight of his career, Nick said, was playing Rock In Rio before more than 100,000 people. The lowest point was being fired by MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine while he was still in a hospital bed after surgery to remove what doctors feared was a cancerous growth.

ZZ TOP's BILLY GIBBONS To Host 'America Salutes You: Guitar Legends 4' On AXS TV

AXS TV celebrates America’s brave servicemen and women with a star-studded night of music in the 2020 concert event “America Salutes You: Guitar Legends 4” on Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 15 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, as part of the network’s “Saturday Stack: Guitar Legends” lineup. This marks the fourth consecutive year that AXS TV has aired the event organized by America Salutes You, a non-profit foundation dedicated to the mental health and wellness of America’s veterans and first-responders and specializing in benefit concerts for active military, veterans, first-responders, and their families. The night’s charitable recipients include the Patriotic Service Dog Foundation, TAPS, CreatiVets and Veterans Service Foundation, among others.

“Guitar Legends 4” is once again hosted by six-string mastermind and ZZ TOP co-founder Billy Gibbons, who — along with his all-star band — anchors the proceedings from the FOO FIGHTERS’ Studio 606 in Los Angeles. Joining Gibbons virtually from locations across the country spanning from California to New York, and Nashville to Miami, is an impressive roster of seasoned pickers and performers who generously donated their time. These include beloved chart-topper Kenny Loggins; BEACH BOYS legend Mike Love; country music titans BIG & RICH; acclaimed bluesman Keb’ Mo’; family duo BROTHERS OSBORNE; celebrity siblings Michael and Kevin Bacon, better known as THE BACON BROTHERS; Latin legacy Julio Iglesias Jr.; Grammy-winning spouses Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks; country standout Ashley McBryde; Canadian sensation Lindsay Ell; and roots rock quartet LARKIN POE.

Airing immediately after “America Salutes You: Guitar Legends 4” is a special encore broadcast of “AXS TV Presents: A Conversation With Jon Bon Jovi” at 10:30 p.m. ET, an intimate interview where the BON JOVI frontman discusses his life, career, and the band’s latest album “2020”; followed by “On A Night Like This – Bon Jovi 2020” at 11 p.m. ET, which blends candid backstage footage with insightful sit-downs as it captures the band performing their 2020 album in its entirety for the first time ever during a closed set in Nashville.

Former ACCEPT Guitarist HERMAN FRANK Releases Video For 'Teutonic Order' From New Solo Album 'Two For A Lie'

Former ACCEPT guitarist Herman Frank has released an official music video for the song “Teutonic Order”. The clip, which was created by Kai Swillus, can be viewed below.

“Teutonic Order” is taken from Frank’s fifth solo album, “Two For A Lie”, which is due on May 21 via AFM Records. The disc was once again mixed by Arne Neurand at Horus Sound Studio in Hannover, Germany, while mastering duties were handled by Robin Schmidt at 24-96 Mastering in Karlsruhe, Germany.

“Two For A Lie” track listing:

01. Teutonic Order
02. Venom
03. Hate
04. Eye Of The Storm
05. Liar
06. Hail The New Kings
07. Just A Second To Lose
08. Danger
09. Stand Up And Fight
10. Open Your Mind

Frank’s band lineup is as follows:

Rick Altzi (MASTERPLAN, AT VANCE) – Vocals
Herman Frank (ex-ACCEPT, VICTORY) – Guitar
Mike Pesin (MAGISTARIUM, VICTORY) – Guitar
Michael Müller (JADED HEART) – Bass
Kevin Kott (AT VANCE, MASTERPLAN, HEAVEN’S TRAIL) – Drums

Herman joined ACCEPT in 1982 shortly before the release of the band’s “Restless And Wild” album and exited the group for the first time after the arrival of 1983’s “Balls To The Wall” LP.

When ACCEPT reunited for festival appearances in 2005, Herman handled second-guitar duties alongside founding axeman Wolf Hoffmann, with Stefan Schwarzmann sitting behind the kit.

Frank and Schwarzmann were involved in ACCEPT’s comeback with Tornillo and appeared on the reunited group’s first three studio albums: 2010’s “Blood of the Nations”, 2012’s “Stalingrad” and 2014’s “Blind Rage”.

Frank’s fourth solo album, “Fight The Fear”, was released in February 2019 via AFM.

Two years ago, Herman told All That Shreds about his decision to exit ACCEPT in December 2014: “It was just time to leave the band. Let’s put it this way: I wanted to do music the way I started to. I wanted to have my own band. I wanted my own music and just wanted to just play my own leads. Not to follow somebody’s guitar. I was getting too old for it. It’s fine to be a backup, but after a couple of years, it’s time for a different thing.”

Asked how it was different playing with current ACCEPT singer Mark Tornillo after performing with Udo Dirkschneider during the band’s early years, Herman said: “Mark is a really nice guy and really promising. It’s kind of a different voice and Mark really doubles Udo in his personal way. I prefer the style of Udo’s singing. He is original ACCEPT. There is this voice sticking in your head. On the new songs, which Mark sings for the first time in ACCEPT, it’s a different character, but it’s very good. You can’t compare them, really. They are a match for certain things, but they are quite different people. I do like them both. I couldn’t have the decision which one I would prefer. It would have been great if they would put a couple of albums with Udo and Mark together. That would be awesome.”

BLACK SABBATH Touring Drummer TOMMY CLUFETOS On Replacing BILL WARD: 'Somebody's Gotta Do It; I Wanted It to Be Me'

In a new feature by music journalist Joel Gausten, drummer Tommy Clufetos (BLACK SABBATH, OZZY OSBOURNE, ALICE COOPER, ROB ZOMBIE) discusses a variety of topics, including his just-released new album, “Beat Up By Rock ‘N’ Roll” (with his band, TOMMY’S ROCKTRIP) and his experience filling the shoes of legendary BLACK SABBATH drummer Bill Ward. An excerpt from the feature appears below.

Although he was already well established in industry circles for his percussive skills long before 2012, that was the year truly Clufetos gained international attention by being selected to replace Bill Ward in BLACK SABBATH.

“It’s the most I’ve ever had to dig into the drummer,” he recalls of his five-year stint with the group. “Bill has a very unorthodox style. In all really great bands, every musician is very important — whether it’s LED ZEPPELIN, THE BEATLES, AC/DC, AEROSMITH, BLACK SABBATH or DEEP PURPLE. Each player really matters. In SABBATH, there’s four guys, and each guy had a counterpoint to make that one sound. So, I really had to do my homework and go, ‘What makes Bill Ward him? What’s making it work or making it different?’ I really did a lot of homework and studied. I’m pretty good, but I’m not the world’s greatest drummer. I never claimed to be, but I am good about digging into what makes who I’m working for special and trying to be the best drummer they could hope for. That’s my goal; I want their musical vision to come out. I want them to feel confident in what I’m doing. When you’ve got a confident drummer back there, you’re free to go do your show and sing or play guitar and just not worry about what’s going on back there. When it’s shaky back there, it makes you shaky out front, so I want to be solid.”

In terms of playing original-era SABBATH material, being “solid” on the drums means being able to get your head around the ebbs and flows of Ward’s trademark style — an organic, feel-based explosion of soul that could never occur in the presence of a metronome. While successfully acclimating to such a technique would be daunting for some, Clufetos felt right at home.

“With Bill Ward’s thing, even though it may move, symphonies move — but they move in unison,” he says. “Fish move in unison. Great things move together. Chuck Berry may waver; Jerry Lee Lewis may waver. None of the music on my album was recorded to a click. We didn’t even wear headphones; it was all in one room. I wanted to take that approach of the old-school way. ‘Perfect’ ruins rock ‘n’ roll.”

Naturally, he sometimes faced the inevitable backlash that comes whenever someone fills the shoes of a beloved band member. In SABBATH’s case, added pressure came once various media reports indicated that Ward’s departure stemmed from (in his words) an “unsignable contract.” So, in walked Clufetos, a guy barely in his 30s at the time who suddenly found himself taking over the drum throne under a cloud of controversy and skepticism. Fortunately, a combination of focus, unquestionable talent and good old-fashioned Detroit grit enabled him to make one of the most revered drum positions in music truly his own.

“I understand the situation,” he says. “You’re coming in and substituting or filling in for an icon in a band. Somebody’s gotta do it. I wanted it to be me, and I wasn’t afraid of the challenge. I got asked to do it, and I was proud to do it. I was proud of the job I did, but I understand it from a fan’s perspective. I can handle it, and it’s a part of the gig. I don’t think many people walked out of any concert disappointed, because I was there — and we rocked people. I was part of that; I was part of the four guys up there, and I was very proud of the job I did. It was a total honor; it was my pleasure. To play with those three guys was the musical peak thus far in my career.”

The complete feature is available at JoelGausten.com.

LIGHT THE TORCH Feat. Ex-KILLSWITCH ENGAGE Singer HOWARD JONES: 'More Than Dreaming' Visualizer Available

LIGHT THE TORCH — Howard Jones (vocals), Francesco Artusato (guitar), and Ryan Wombacher (bass) — will release its second full-length album, “You Will Be The Death Of Me”, on June 25 via Nuclear Blast.

The band has dropped the official visualizer for the LP opener “More Than Dreaming”. Check it out below.

“I love starting the album with ‘More Than Dreaming’,” says Jones. “It’s got great energy and bounce to it — exactly what you want as an opener. We are looking forward to playing this live. The wait is almost over!”

The visualizer is a three-dimensional version of the album artwork. Both the visualizer and album cover were created by Artusato.

“The idea for this artwork started developing in my head right after we were done with the first session of pre-production,” Artusato explains. “I started seeing certain colors and this style in my head. To me, the music on this record in fact sounds like ‘those colors.’ The concept is pretty simple: You can see a torch in the middle and three flames coming out of it. The three flames represent the three of us. The addition of neons and fog was inspired by John Carpenter’s ’80s movies.”

He continues: “Having all the artwork created in 3-D, I was able to place it in a CG environment, start animating some of the elements, and create some sort of story. I think in this case it works well with the ‘dream-like’ vibe of these visuals. Artwork and visual creativity have been a big part of my growth as an artist for the past few years and I love to be able to combine music and visuals in one project. It made this album even more special to me.”

Last month, LIGHT THE TORCH dropped the video for the first track, “Wilting In The Light”, which was directed by Ramon Boutviseth in Los Angeles.

“‘You Will Be The Death Of Me’ has been a journey — even without the pandemic,” said Jones. “This album has been emotional and rewarding in every way, and we couldn’t be more excited to finally release it. Maybe there was a bit of desperation writing and recording these songs.”

He shared: “Going through personal turmoil and watching Francesco deal with injuries, we knew this could change things drastically for us. The album was a welcome distraction, and we dumped every emotion we had into ‘You Will Be The Death Of Me’. To watch Fran heal and become an even more complete artist in front of my eyes has been amazing to watch. Everything we went through individually and together with this album drew Fran, Ryan, and I together. I couldn’t be more proud of this album knowing I made it with my family.”

Artusato opened up about his experiences, saying: “This record is special to me in a different way. From writing the music during one of the toughest times of my life while dealing with a bad injury due to a car accident to being obsessively involved with every aspect of its production, recording, and creating the artwork. It’s hard to describe how I feel, and to finally see this record getting ready to be released.”

He continues about the redemptive power of the album, offering: “We are all very satisfied with how this record showcases the evolution of our band and our evolution as individuals. Without our brotherhood, this music could not have happened. Music is what kept us strong together during our toughest times. There’s nothing like art that expresses pure and deep emotions, and that’s what I feel when I listen to Howard’s performance on this record.”

Wombacher concurred: “I think this album shows the growth the band has experienced after years on the road together, and a friendship that has continued to thrive doing what we love together.”

The guys returned to Sparrow Sound in Glendale, California to once again work with the production team of Josh Gilbert and Joseph McQueen (BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE, AS I LAY DYING, SUICIDE SILENCE). This time around, they also welcomed WHITECHAPEL’s Alex Rudinger on drums. “He’s incredible,” said Artusato. “He was exactly what we needed.”

Upheld by head-spinning seven-string virtuosity yet anchored to skyscraping melodies, LIGHT THE TORCH crafted 12 metallic anthems, including an unexpected and awesome cover of the ’80s hit “Sign Your Name” by R&B singer Terence Trent D’Arby.

“You Will Be The Death Of Me” track listing:

01. More Than Dreaming
02. Let Me Fall Apart
03. End Of The World
04. Wilting In The Light
05. Death Of Me
06. Living With A Ghost
07. Become The Martyr
08. Something Deep Inside
09. I Hate Myself
10. Denying The Sin
11. Come Back To The Quicksand
12. Sign Your Name

The group shot out of the gate as a contender on their full-length debut, “Revival”. It bowed at No. 4 on the Billboard U.S. Independent Albums chart and at #10 on the Hard Rock Albums chart in addition to receiving acclaim from Revolver, Outburn, and many more. “Calm Before The Storm” racked up a staggering 14.5 million Spotify streams, while “The Safety of Disbelief” remains one of SiriusXM Octane’s all-time most requested songs. They also crisscrossed North America and Europe on tour with the likes of TRIVIUM, AVATAR, IN FLAMES, ICE NINE KILLS, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE and AUGUST BURNS RED, to name a few.

Actress TAWNY KITAEN, Ex-Wife Of DAVID COVERDALE, Dies At 59

Actress Julie E. “Tawny” Kitaen, who is best known in the rock world for her appearance in WHITESNAKE’s video for “Here I Go Again”, has died at the age of 59. According to Variety, the Orange County, California coroner’s office, which listed her as Tawny Finley, stated that she died at her home in Newport Beach on Friday morning (May 7), but a cause of death has not been revealed.

While WHITESNAKE was working on it 1987 self-titled album, the band’s lead singer David Coverdale started dating Kitaen, who had recently starred opposite Tom Hanks in the movie “Bachelor Party”. Kitaen soon appeared in several of WHITESNAKE’s music videos, including those for “Here I Go Again”, “Is This Love” and “Still Of The Night”. Footage of Kitaen writhing around on the hood of a Jaguar in the “Here I Go Again” clip has been called one of the most iconic — and sexiest — video moments ever filmed.

Last June, Tawny told “Ouch, You’re On My Hair” about how she ended up being featured in the WHITESNAKE videos: “Ironically, I started dating David. He was two million dollars in debt to David Geffen at that time. I was working and had more money than David at that time, so I kind of supported us a little. And when I heard the album and I was allowed to go in and help mix the album… You know how when you sing different tracks, they give you a piece of paper and you pick the word from the best track. So I was able to do that. And John Kalodner, who was the biggest A&R guy in the business, who works for David Geffen, in my ‘E! True Hollywood Story’ called me Yoko Ono — because I picked the album covers, I picked the single, I picked the photographer. I made the rule that no girls were allowed backstage, so the groupies must have hated me.

“I’ll tell you how I came to be in the video,” she continued. “Marty Callner, the director of all the WHITESNAKE videos, had it all planned out — had the girl, had everything. The night before the shoot, David said, ‘Will you come with me to Marty, the director of the video’s house? We have to go over the story boards.’ So we went over to his Bel Air mansion, and he opens up the door, and without even saying hi or hello, he pointed at me and he said, ‘You’re her.’ And I’m, like, ‘I’m who?’ And he said, ‘You’re the girl.’ And I was already an actress. I had turned down a couple of bands from not being in their video, because I was an actress. ‘I’m not gonna do a rock video. Are you kidding?’ That was the mentality. But it was my boyfriend at the time’s video, so I thought, ‘All right, I’ve already helped my boyfriend on all the RATT album covers’ — referring to her former boyfriend, late RATT guitarist Robbin Crosby — “why can’t I help my boyfriend in his videos?’ And so that’s how it happened. And this poor girl got a call that she was no longer gonna be in it, and here I was.”

In a 2019 interview with Consequence Of Sound, Coverdale confirmed that Kitaen was not the first choice for the female figure featured in the video. “Claudia Schiffer was supposed to be ‘the WHITESNAKE woman,’ when she was the Guess jeans girl,” he said. “But that fell apart near the actual shoot. And I was taking Tawny out for dinner, when Marty Callner called me, and said, ‘You have to stop by, we have problems.’ We went to his house on the way to dinner, he opened the door, his jaw hit the floor — as you know, Tawny was an absolute beauty — and he said, ‘That’s her! She’s the WHITESNAKE woman!’ And I said, ‘Marty, this is a friend of mine. She’s an actress.’ And she said, ‘No, David. I’m happy to do it!’ So, sorry Claudia — you did very well afterwards, too.”

Coverdale and Kitaen tied the knot in 1989 but the union only lasted two years. Kitaen married baseball player Chuck Finley in 1997 and divorced him in 2002, not long after she was arrested for allegedly attacking her husband in their SUV a few blocks from their home. According to the Los Angeles Times, Kitaen pleaded not guilty to the charges of domestic violence, and the case was dismissed in 2003 after she attended court-mandated counseling. When she and Finley divorced, she released a statement saying she was being treated for a dependency on prescription drugs and vowed to become “the healthiest and the best mother possible” to her two daughters.

Prior to hooking up with Coverdale, Kitaen appeared in RATT’s “Back For More” music video. She was also featured in several reality shows, including “The Surreal Life”, “Botched” and “Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew”. She had several other run-ins with the law, including a charge for cocaine possession in 2006 and driving under the influence in 2009.

One of the Jaguars from the “Here I Go Again” video was dusted off for WHITESNAKE’s clip for “Shut Up & Kiss Me”, from 2019’s “Flesh & Blood” album.

Just two months ago, Kitaen appeared on an episode of the Internet show “The Metal Summit” which can be seen below.

When I stare at you, it’s because I want to know what you’re thinking. And I want to know what you’re thinking, it’s…

Posted by Tawny Kitaen on Tuesday, May 4, 2021