BLACK VEIL BRIDES Announce 'Unplugged' Livestream Event

Los Angeles rockers BLACK VEIL BRIDES have announced their next global virtual experience, “Unplugged” — the band’s final streaming event of 2021. This announcement comes as BLACK VEIL BRIDES were just No. 1 on the BandsInTown X Billboard Top Livestream artists for the week of April 3. Recorded live in Los Angeles at the Den Studios, “Unplugged” will offer an in-depth look at the stories behind the songs from every part of BLACK VEIL BRIDES’ catalog. Radio hits and fan favorites comprise the setlist for and even the song “Vale (This Is Where It Ends)” from the band’s fifth studio album — which has never been performed live — makes an appearance at the acoustic event. The global virtual acoustic experience is scheduled for April 30 at 4:00 p.m. PDT (Los Angeles) / 7:00 p.m. EDT (New York City) / 12:00 a.m. BST (London).

“Growing up, I loved getting the opportunity to watch my favorite bands sit down and go into detail about their entire back catalog of material. Whether it was KISS on MTV’s ‘Unplugged’ or Billy Idol on ‘VH1 Storytellers’ this format has always appealed to me,” explains singer Andy Biersack. “We are so excited to give fans of the band a set list that spans our entire career and the stories behind the making of these records and songs.”

BLACK VEIL BRIDES’ new album, “The Phantom Tomorrow”, is due on June 4 via Sumerian Records.

The cover artwork for “The Phantom Tomorrow” was created by Eliran Kantor, known for his work with TESTAMENT, HATEBREED, HAVOK and Andy Black, to name a few. “The Phantom Tomorrow” was produced by Erik Ron (GODSMACK, DANCE GAVIN DANCE, BUSH) and co-produced by guitarist Jake Pitts.

Biersack told “Cutter’s Rockcast” about the lyrical themes covered on “The Phantom Tomorrow”: “It’s a concept record. There is a comic book happening as well. I actually just got off the phone this morning with the publishing company for the comic book. We’re developing all the artwork and everything for that. The story is essentially the idea… In our society, especially now, we have this love of building up heroes and obsessing over other people who often don’t give a shit about you or anybody else, and we kind of have these false idols and heroes. And so the story is kind of about taking this mythological character and the people putting all of this power on to them, and then ultimately turning their back on the character because nobody can fulfill the dreams and ideas that you put on somebody else. So it’s an alternate version of our own timeline where our obsession with heroes and the iconography of somebody that’s aspirational kind of gets out of control and becomes our whole society.”

Regarding how he came up with “The Phantom Tomorrow” concept, Andy said: “In January of last year, I just kind of sat down and started writing this story. I do a lot of drawing when I’m writing as well. I’m not great, but I like to be able to represent my ideas in that way. So I wrote out this whole story and drew character designs, and then, about a week and a half later, we were set to enter the studio, and it just kind of coincidental that this whole rush of this idea came to me. And so I went to the studio with everybody and said, ‘Look, this is what I think we should do,’ and laid out the story and the plot and the ideas. ‘Cause we’ve done concept records before. The kind of method that we’ve found is best is I give the concept and the ideas, as far as the narrative perspective, to the band, and then that is how we write as a band together, to get tone and how we are gonna get through this journey. I will take those songs and then go basically write the lyrics to serve the story and plotlines along the journey from song one to the last song.

“There are unfortunate kind of shackles that are put on it — meaning that you’ve gotta write within the context of what you’re writing,” he continued. “But I tried to keep this one more open-ended where it’s applicable… ‘Cause I didn’t wanna write about stuff I don’t know; I wanted it to be about my experience. And there’s really nothing about our story that doesn’t mimic the current situation, whether it’s on a personal level with people that I’ve known, or on a sociopolitical level, with the craziness of the world right now. The ideas are universal, and so that made it a little bit easier to kind of get through the journey. But as far as the comic book goes, it’s kind of the same thing — I come up with the story and the artwork ideas, and then work with people who are much more talented than I am to make that a reality.”

BLACK VEIL BRIDES celebrated the 10th anniversary of their debut, “We Stitch These Wounds”, with a brand new, reimagined, re-recorded 2020 edition of the album titled “Re-Stitch These Wounds”, released last July via Sumerian Records.

In November 2019, BLACK VEIL BRIDES announced the addition of bassist Lonny Eagleton to the group’s ranks. He joined the band as the replacement for Ashley Purdy, who exited the group earlier that month.

Eagleton previously played with Biersack (a.k.a. Andy Black) on his solo tour.

Biersack’s memoir, “They Don’t Need To Understand: Stories Of Hope, Fear, Family, Life, And Never Giving In”, arrived in December via Rare Bird Books.

Photo credit: Joshua Shultz

MAX CAVALERA's GO AHEAD AND DIE Releases Animated Music Video For Second Single, 'Toxic Freedom'

The official Costin Chioreanu-crated animated music video for “Toxic Freedom”, the second single from Arizona’s GO AHEAD AND DIE, can be seen below. The song is taken from the band’s self-titled debut album, which will be released on June 11 via Nuclear Blast.

GO AHEAD AND DIE features vocalist and guitarist Max Cavalera (SOULFLY, CAVALERA CONSPIRACY, SEPULTURA) along with his son, singer, guitar and bass player Igor Amadeus Cavalera, as well as Zach Coleman on drums. GO AHEAD AND DIE’s sound mixes elements of death and thrash metal, with early CELTIC FROST influences and a punk attitude.

Max comments: “‘Toxic Freedom’ is about police corruption, police brutality, and police racism. It can be seen and felt all around the world. It is about authority killing minorities.”

Igor states: “Our leaders abuse their power while thousands are imprisoned and more are murdered every day. ‘Toxic Freedom’ is a protest for those that have suffered at the hands of wrongful police brutality.”

GO AHEAD AND DIE’s tempos are wild, with a contempt for modern social ills palpable, its riffs monstrous and captivating. They make angry, spiteful, utterly engaging, spirited extreme music for increasingly extreme times.

The self-titled debut sees Max and Igor splitting guitar and vocal duties, with utter madman style drumming from Coleman of the blistering BLACK CURSE and critically acclaimed KHEMMIS. It sounds like a relic from the glory days of thrash, proto-death metal, and filthy rotten punk, the kind of band that would inspire a teenaged thrasher in 1987 to carve the GO AHEAD AND DIE logo into a school desk.

Vocals weren’t tracked over and over in the pursuit of some kind of “perfect” takes. Coleman didn’t play to a click-track. The heart and soul of GO AHEAD AND DIE is all about just going for it, the traditional way. Engineer Charles Elliott captured the sessions with the help of Platinum Underground Studio owner John Aquilino. The album was mixed by Arthur Rizk, whose credits include POWER TRIP, CRO-MAGS, and CAVALERA CONSPIRACY. The artwork for the album was created by Stewart Easton while the Circle logo was created by Jeff Walker (CARCASS).

Max describes GO AHEAD AND DIE as a “one-of-a-kind father/son collaboration bringing the old school with a new attitude! Sick riffs and abrasive lyrics from Igor and brutal drumming from Zach Coleman (BLACK CURSE, KHEMMIS) inspired me,” he says. “Extreme times call for extreme music!”

Igor states: “We are beyond excited to sign with Nuclear Blast. They are definitely the right choice for this colossally heavy record. G.A.A.D. will deliver fast-paced, hate-fueled energy that hasn’t been heard in years.”

Zach Coleman adds: “I could not be more excited to be a part of G.A.A.D. and to have the album come out on Nuclear Blast! I feel like we were able to capture (extreme) aggression with the record. It’s a mix of old school (think ’89-era metal/punk) style and newer sounds that reflect what’s going on around us. Protest and survive!”

Nuclear Blast comments. “For such a heavy, brutal and pissed-off record, GO AHEAD AND DIE will leave any metal fan with a smile on their face. With riffs the size of boulders and a genuine ‘fuck off’ attitude that speaks about today’s horrors, this album will without a doubt leave a mark in metal and we are happy to be part of the journey.”

“Go Ahead And Die” track listing:

01. Truckload Full Of Bodies
02. Toxic Freedom
03. I.C.E. Cage
04. Isolated/Desolated
05. Prophet’s Prey
06. Punisher
07. El Cuco
08. G.A.A.D.
09. Worth Less Than Piss
10. (In The) Slaughterline
11. Roadkill

GO AHEAD AND DIE is:

Max Cavalera – Guitar, Vocals
Igor Amadeus Cavalera – Bass, Guitar, Vocals
Zach Coleman – Drums

Photo credit: Jim Louvau

SERJ TANKIAN Drops Lyric Video For 'Your Mom'

Serj Tankian has unveiled a lyric video for the song “Your Mom”. The clip was directed by artist and animator David Bradford, who has worked with Tankian on solo projects as well as projects with SYSTEM OF A DOWN.

Bradford explains his concept for the “Your Mom” clip: “As I listened to the beginning of the song, with the more mellow acoustic guitar, I envisioned a brave bird flying over a countryside, unaware of the danger waiting in the ashen, war-torn lands ahead. This didn’t stop the bird from gliding into danger and took the form of ‘Your Mom’. As the fighters continue their campaign of destroying the Earth with their bombs and chaos, the mom summons the strength from her connection to Mother Earth and becomes the personification of justice against the fighters. She kicks their asses and returns to the form of a bird, perched on the carcasses of the destroyers and restores the Earth’s balance.”

“Your Mom” is the third song from Tankian’s five-track EP “Elasticity” to receive a visual accompaniment, with the Los Angeles- and New Zealand-based musician previously releasing both the Vlad Kaptur-directed video for “Elasticity” and the politically charged “Electric Yerevan” video.

“Elasticity” is available now digitally and on CD, with the galaxy-colored vinyl version of the album arriving on April 30. A collection of autographed, and limited-edition “Elasticity”-themed merchandise can also be found on the Tankian webstore.

Regarding how the idea for “Elasticity” came about, Serj said: “When I conceived possibly doing another record with the guys from SYSTEM OF A DOWN a few years back, I started working on a set of songs that I arranged in rock format for that purpose. As we weren’t able to see eye to eye on the vision going forward with an SOAD album, I decided to release these songs under my moniker.” With his trademark eclecticism and one-of-a-kind vocal style, Serj delivers a collection that runs the gamut from hard-driving, electronically enhanced anthems like the title track, a rallying cry for his beloved Armenia (“Electric Yerevan”), the piano-laden “How Many Times?” and “Rumi”, a song that Serj wrote both about his son Rumi and Rumi the poet.

SYSTEM OF A DOWN hasn’t released a full-length album since the “Mezmerize” and “Hypnotize” LPs, which came out in 2005.

In 2018, guitarist Daron Malakian publicly accused Tankian of not wanting to record, with Tankian responding that creative and financial issues with Malakian led to the stalemate. In a message on Facebook, Tankian wrote that Malakian wanted to control SYSTEM’s creative process, take more of the publishing money and be the only band member to speak to the press.

A singer, poet, songwriter, visual artist, film producer, activist, and composer, Tankian has always created music as an outlet to express his thoughts and feelings with a level of passion and consciousness that few in today’s world of music can rival. An Armenian born in Lebanon and re-rooted in Los Angeles, Tankian was introduced to the melding of cultures, ideas, and ideals from a very young age. The principles learned from this integration and adaptation have led to his understanding of the oneness of all things and have since maneuvered and transfigured into the music and art that he lives to create. As the lead singer and songwriter for SYSTEM OF A DOWN, Serj has released five studio albums, winning a Grammy Award in 2006 for “B.Y.O.B.” and selling over 40 million albums worldwide. Despite this success, Serj has never grown complacent with his art, always striving to open up new channels of sound and arrangement to articulate his artistic expressions. He has released five albums of solo material, beginning with 2007’s chart-topping hard rock album “Elect The Dead”. His sophomore solo album, “Imperfect Harmonies”, was released in 2010, followed by “Harakiri” in 2012. 2013 saw two distinct releases from Serj, the first being the critically acclaimed “Orca Symphony No. 1”, released in June of that year, followed up with the very unique “Jazz-Iz Christ” one month later.

Over the past few years, his time spent in the recording studio has been focused on creating musical scores and compositions for film and video game projects. Serj recently lent his vocals to a modern-day cover of BLUE ÖYSTER CULT’s rock classic “Godzilla” for the blockbuster Michael Dougherty film “Godzilla: King Of The Monsters”. He also recorded a modern version of the Armenian folk song “Sari Siroun Yar” along with the Authentic Light Orchestra for the film “The Promise”, directed by Terry George and starring Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac. Serj was also brought on by Survival Pictures, the producers of the film, to serve as an executive music consultant.

Most recently, Tankian composed the full musical score for award-winning documentary “I Am Not Alone” directed by Garin Hovannisian and the upcoming Live Nation Productions film “Truth To Power”, which chronicles Serj’s own journey through the crossroads of music and activism. In 2017, Serj composed music for Emmy-nominated “Intent To Destroy”, a gripping film directed by award winning documentarian Joe Berlinger. That same year he created an intense score for the epic Russian action film “Furious – The Legend of Kolovrat”, followed by his 2018 musical score for award-winning film “Spitak”, directed by Alexander Kott. Additionally, Tankian composed the full musical score for independent films “1915” and “The Last Inhabitant”, an original composition for Ilya Naishuller’s “Hardcore Henry” and video game musical scores for “Midnight Star” and its sequel, “Renegade”, which were created by one of the chief architects of the famed “Halo” game franchise.

Serj’s resume also includes the formation of a record label, Serjical Strike Records (established in 2001), which has released albums from many critically acclaimed artists, including FAIR TO MIDLAND, Buckethead and DEATH BY STEREO.

Along with fellow musician Tom Morello (RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, AUDIOSLAVE), Serj co-founded the non-profit organization Axis Of Justice in 2002, which strives to bring together musicians, music fans and grassroots political organizations to fight for social justice. He has also dabbled in the world of broadcasting as co-host of the Axis Of Justice Radio Network, which can be heard via SiriusXM and KPFK in Los Angeles. With a mission of spreading diversity and understanding through music, poetry and activism, Serj will continue to surprise and enlighten those who listen to his music and hear his words.

In recent years, Tankian has split his time between holding a mic and a paintbrush, having feverishly created over 60 pieces of art since 2013. His journey into the world of fine art began with his “Disarming Time Musical Paintings”, which were exhibited at Project Gallery in Los Angeles. Since then, he has had multiple exhibitions at galleries in both the United States and New Zealand. In 2015, his artwork was exhibited at the grand opening of New Museum Los Gatos in Northern California as part of a group exhibit that ran from May through September of that year. Most recently, Serj’s artwork was exhibited at two notable galleries in New Zealand during February and March of 2019.

Photo credit: Travis Shinn

At the Gates Grace the Cover of Decibel’s Landmark 200th Issue!

We have a limited number of advance copies of Decibel’s 200th issue, featuring our an exclusive new picture flexi disc single from the legendary Converge.
The post At the Gates Grace the Cover of Decibel’s Landmark 200th Issue! appeared first on Decibel Magazine.

Go Behind Scenes Of MANOWAR's Concert In Svalbard, Norway

On April 16, 2019, MANOWAR was the first internationally renowned rock/metal band to perform in Longyearbyen on the archipelago of Svalbard, Norway.

Longyearbyen is the northernmost year-round settlement in the world, near the Arctic Circle. The spectacular landscape, the overwhelming kindness of the locals and loyal fans traveling from around the globe, including South Africa, Brazil, Russia, Germany, Italy and many other countries made this an extraordinary event that the band and crew will never forget.

The video below is an excerpt taken from MANOWAR’s upcoming Blu-ray/DVD/digital release, “Hell On Earth VI”, that celebrates the band’s “Final Battle” world tour 2019/2020.

MANOWAR released a new EP, “The Final Battle I”, in March 2019. Parts II and III of the trilogy will arrive at a later date, inspired by MANOWAR’s adventures on the remainder of “The Final Battle”.

In 2019, MANOWAR recruited Anders Johansson as the band’s new drummer.

The Swedish musician made his live debut with MANOWAR in March 2019 in Brno, Czech Republic.

Johansson can be heard on “The Final Battle I”, which was initially made available in an exclusive pre-sale at the merchandise booth of the band’s “The Final Battle” world tour.

Former MANOWAR guitarist Karl Logan was arrested in August 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina and charged with six counts of third-degree exploitation of a minor. He was jailed after pleading guilty to two child-pornography counts.

A few days after Karl’s arrest was made public, MANOWAR issued a statement saying that he would no longer perform with the group. He has since been replaced by E.V. Martel, who previously played in a MANOWAR tribute band.

ICED EARTH's JON SCHAFFER Pleads Guilty To Two Charges For His Role In Capitol Riot

ICED EARTH guitarist Jon Schaffer has agreed to plead guilty for his role in the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. As part of the plea deal, he is expected to enter into a cooperation agreement with the government.

Although Schaffer was initially charged with six crimes, including engaging in an act of physical violence and targeting police with bear spray, he has agreed to plead guilty to only two charges: obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress; and trespassing on restricted grounds of the Capitol while armed with a deadly or dangerous weapon. The first charge is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, while the second carries up to a 10-year prison term.

According to CNN, prosecutors and Schaffer’s attorneys agreed to recommend that he get between three and a half and four and a half years in prison, based on how fruitful his cooperation is with the government.

During today’s hearing, a federal judge asked Schaffer if he understood he was “giving up” his “right to be presumed innocent,” according to WUSA9. Schaffer said he understood and agreed.

“Are you pleading guilty, Mr. Schaffer, because you are in fact guilty, sir?” U.S. District Court Judge Amit P. Mehta asked.

“Yes, sir,” Schaffer said.

The government said it was agreeing not to oppose Schaffer’s release during the sentencing phase.

Schaffer’s attorney has asked the judge for his client to be released with no travel restrictions, saying that while he lives in Indiana, he has family he cares for in Florida and his legal team is in Arizona. He also noted that Schaffer is an “internationally known musician and recording artist.”

After pleading guilty, Schaffer will be released on the following conditions:

* Schaffer must submit to court supervision in the Northem Dlstrict of Indiana.

* Schaffer will surrender his passport and any other international travel documents.

* Must stay outside of D.C. except for court hearings and meetings with attorneys.

* Will be permitted to travel within the continental United States with notice to pretrial services.

* Schaffer cannot possess any firearms or explosive devices, including legally owned firearms. Any firearms must be removed from bus home.

“On this 100th day since the horrific January 6 assault on the United States Capitol, Oath Keepers member Jon Schaffer has pleaded guilty to multiple felonies, including for breaching the Capitol while wearing a tactical vest and armed with bear spray, with the intent to interfere with Congress’s certification of the Electoral College results,” said acting deputy attorney general John P. Carlin. “The FBI has made an average of more than four arrests a day, seven days a week since January 6th. I commend the hundreds of special agents, prosecutors and support staff that have worked tirelessly for the last hundred days to bring those who committed criminal acts to justice.”

“The defendant in this case admits forcing his way into the U.S. Capitol on January 6 for the express purpose of stopping or delaying congressional proceedings essential to our democratic process. These actions are disgraceful and unacceptable” said FBI deputy director Paul M. Abbate. “The FBI and our partners will continue to utilize all available authorities to aggressively investigate, pursue and hold accountable those who committed acts of violence or otherwise violated the rule of law that day.”

In his plea agreement, Schaffer acknowledged he is a founding lifetime member of the Oath Keepers, a large but loosely organized collection of individuals, some of whom are associated with militias.

In his plea agreement, Schaffer also acknowledged that on January 6, 2021 he was in Washington to attend the “Stop The Steal” rally at the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. to protest the results of the presidential election, which he believed were fraudulent. Schaffer wore a tactical vest and carried bear spray, a dangerous weapon and chemical irritant used to ward off bears. When the rally finished, Schaffer joined a large crowd that marched from the Ellipse to the Capitol, where a joint session of Congress, presided over by Vice President Michael Pence, was in session to certify the electoral college vote results. Shortly after 2:00 p.m., members of the mob forced entry into the Capitol building, disrupting the joint session and causing members of Congress and the Vice President to be evacuated from the House and Senate chambers.

In his plea agreement, Schaffer admitted that after arriving on Capitol grounds, he walked past barriers intended to restrict access to the public and to a set of locked doors on the Capitol’s west side. At approximately 2:40 p.m., Schaffer positioned himself at the front of a crowd that broke open a set of doors being guarded by four U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) officers wearing riot gear. Schaffer admitted to being among the first individuals to push past the damaged doors and into the Capitol building, forcing officers to retreat. Schaffer and others advanced toward five or six backpedaling USCP officers while members of the mob swelled inside of the Capitol and overwhelmed the officers. The officers ultimately deployed a chemical irritant to disperse the mob. Schaffer was among the people who were sprayed in the face, after which exited while holding his own bear spray in his hands.

Schaffer pleaded guilty to a criminal information charging him with obstruction of an official proceeding and entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon. Combined, he faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted. The Honorable Amit P. Mehta accepted Schaffer’s guilty plea.

The 53-year-old musician is the first Capitol riot defendant to reach a plea deal.

As part of the plea deal, Schaffer agreed to cooperate with investigators and potentially testify in related criminal cases, according to CNN. In return for Schaffer’s assistance, the Justice Department might later urge the judge to show leniency during his sentencing.

Just hours after the insurrection, ICED EARTH fans recognized Schaffer in a photo released by federal investigators.

In January, German daily newspaper Die Welt uploaded a video interview it conducted with Schaffer last November at a Washington, D.C. demonstration supporting Donald Trump and protesting the 2020 presidential election results. In the chat, the guitarist said that “a group of thugs and criminals hijacked this country a long time ago” and warned that “they’re messing with the wrong people here. Because now we see you, and you’re going down. Mark my words.”

Schaffer also seemingly threw his support behind Trump, saying “he’s not your typical Republican” and claiming that America’s 45th president was “dealing with a criminal mafia that has been in the shadows running the world, frankly, for a very long time. They wanna destroy all of our sovereignty and bring about global government,” he added. “We’re not having it… It will not happen. There will be a lot of blood shed, if it comes down to that — trust me. The American people will not go for that bullshit — once they understand what’s actually happening. So, that’s where we’re at. Nobody wants this, but they’re pushing us to a point where we have no choice.”

This is a developing story. Please refresh here for updates.

Listen To NANCY WILSON's EDDIE VAN HALEN Tribute, '4 Edward'

“4 Edward”, a new solo song from HEART’s Nancy Wilson, can be streamed below. The track, which is a tribute to late VAN HALEN guitarist Eddie Van Halen, is taken from Nancy’s debut solo album, which will be released on May 7 via Carry On Music. The LP was recorded primarily in Wilson’s California home studio, working with band members and special guests remotely.

“Being off the road last year from touring with HEART, and at home with my good guitars and amps out, I felt like I was once again able to reconnect with my pre-HEART self, my college-girl self, creating poetic, intimate and romantic songs, which pretty much is what I first brought in to HEART,” she said.

Most of the tracks are originals, but Wilson decided to include a handful of covers by a few of her favorites, including a female perspective of PEARL JAM’s “Daughter”, a stirring turn of SIMON & GARFUNKEL’s “The Boxer” featuring Sammy Hagar, and an ethereal cover of THE CRANBERRIES’ “Dreams”, featuring Liv Warfield (Prince) from Nancy’s previous band ROADCASE ROYALE. The first single from the album was Bruce Springsteen’s “The Rising”, which dropped last fall. “During this horrific time in the world, with all this enduring loss, it seemed like the right time for an aspirational song about hope and perseverance,” Wilson says.

The other eight tracks are originals, mostly acoustic ballads, but there are also some rousing rockers like “Party At The Angel Ballroom” which features a superstar backing band, including Duff McKagan of GUNS N’ ROSES and Taylor Hawkins of the FOO FIGHTERS. The album ends with “4 Edward”, a song that captures the full spectrum of loss, love and redemption in one instrumental coda.

Asked if she ever got to meet Eddie or tour with VAN HALEN, Nancy told Australian Musician: “Oh, yeah. We played with VAN HALEN a few times in the earlier ’80s mainly — at festivals and just gigs that we were opening for them. Those brothers, they were out of control — they were always out of control. They were the ones who we would end up in some bar in a hotel with. And they were, like, ‘Try this kamikaze.’ They were a really bad influence on us. Then they would just get into a yelling match, they were so out of it. And then, a couple of minutes later, they’d be hugging: ‘I’m sorry, man. I love you, man.’ They were just really out of the realm of normal. But same on stage — [they were] just absolutely an incredible rock band, especially with what Eddie invented.

“One time Eddie said to me — and I love to tell this story — ‘I love the way you play that acoustic guitar,'” she continued. “And I go, ‘Well, thanks. Coming from you, that’s everything. Why don’t you ever play acoustic guitar?’ And he said, ‘Well, I don’t really have an acoustic guitar.’ And I was, like, ‘Well, you sure do now, because I’m giving you one right now.’ So then, cut to the crack of dawn the next morning, and my phone in my hotel room rings, and it’s Eddie. And he goes, ‘You’ve gotta listen to this. Listen to this. Listen, listen, listen, listen.’ So I was, like, ‘Okay.’ I was not even awake. But he played to me over the phone this really beautiful piece of acoustic music — an instrumental — that had elements of classical and then some really rock stuff in the middle, and then another beautiful melodic flourish at the end.

“So I got to be the one who gave Eddie his first acoustic. And somewhere there’s gotta be that song [that he played for me] somewhere recorded; it’ll probably turn up.

“So what I did is, for him, I wanted to return the favor of something that was so unforgettable, just over a hotel phone, that he played for me. So [my song is] like about a minute and a half, and it starts out very sort of classically oriented, and it goes into a rock thing. So the shape is very similar to what I vaguely recall, what he [played] for me. And I’m really proud of it, and I’m proud of the whole thing.”

The title track “You And Me”, as with several of the songs on the album, reunites Wilson with longtime collaborator Sue Ennis, who co-wrote many of HEART’s classics with Nancy and sister Ann.

“I’ve known Sue since I was 12,” Nancy says. “Back then she was a high school friend of Ann’s. We’ve always worked well together.”

With her band HEART, Nancy Wilson has recorded 16 albums, sold over 35 million albums worldwide and has four Grammy nominations. She had previously released one other album with just her name on it, “Live At McCabe’s Guitar Shop”, which captured her playing a set of covers and new songs in 1999. But considers this her first true solo album, a positive creative move amid a surreal year of loss; life during lock down.

“I don’t know why it took me so long to do this,” she laughs. “Maybe I was stuck in traffic, maybe I was stuck in the HEART vortex of it all.” But in a year with “no traffic,” Wilson finally found a place for the music she’s been writing in her head for decades.

“You And Me” track listing:

01. You And Me
02. The Rising
03. I’ll Find You
04. Daughter
05. Party At The Angel Ballroom (feat. Duff McKagan & Taylor Hawkins)
06. The Boxer (feat. Sammy Hagar)
07. Walk Away
08. The Inbetween
09. Dreams (feat. Liv Warfield)
10. The Dragon
11. We Meet Again
12. 4 Edward

LACUNA COIL To Release 'Live From The Apocalypse' Concert Album In June

Italian metallers LACUNA COIL will release a new live album, “Live From The Apocalypse”, on June 25 via Century Media.

“Live From The Apocalypse” is the fruit of an unprecedented time. Unlike previous live efforts the Italians, under the yoke of the pandemic, cleverly devised a way for their devoted fan base to hear and see them on stage by organizing a special livestream event performing their latest album, “Black Anima”, in its entirety, in September 2020. This very special show will now be released on vinyl and CD as well as a digital album. The physical album formats come with a bonus DVD featuring the footage of the original live stream.

With “Bad Things”, LACUNA COIL releases a very special single, as the original studio version has only been available as an Amazon exclusive track. As of now, the live version is available on all digital platforms. You can watch the video to “Bad Things” taken from the bonus DVD below.

“Live From The Apocalypse” will be available in the following formats:

* CD+DVD digipak
* Gatefold 2LP+DVD and LP booklet
* Digital album

The vinyl version will be available in the following colors and limitations:

* Black vinyl, unlimited
* Neon yellow, limited to 300 copies worldwide, available at CMDistro EU
* Red vinyl, limited to 200 copies worldwide, only available at EMP
* White vinyl, limited to 300 copies worldwide, only available at the band’s official store
* Silver vinyl, limited to 300 copies worldwide, only available at Century Media U.S.
* Orange vinyl, limited to 300 copies worldwide, only available at Revolver

“Live From The Apocalypse” track listing:

01. Anima Nera
02. Sword Of Anger
03. Save Me
04. Now Or Never
05. Reckless
06. Through The Flames
07. Apocalypse
08. Black Feathers
09. Under The Surface
10. The End Is All I Can See
11. Veneficium
12. Black Dried Up Heart
13. Bad Things
14. Layers Of Time
15. Black Anima
16. Save Me (Apocalypse Version)

By all accounts, this was no ordinary gig. Even though LACUNA COIL was in its hometown of Milan — at the famed Alcatraz Club — there were no fans to greet them. No roar of anticipation; no claps of adulation; no interaction with the people who had become deeply involved in and had a profound love for LACUNA COIL’s music and live shows over two-plus decades. The livestream energy was different. It had to be. With hearts on their sleeves, cameras rolling, and the world tuning in online, LACUNA COIL brought “Black Anima: Live From The Apocalypse” to life.

“On one hand, it felt awkward to play for a huge empty room,” says vocalist Andrea Ferro. ” But on the other hand, it felt great to finally reconnect with our fans at home and with the people working behind the scenes. A lot of people enjoyed the show — it was definitely a one-off event loaded with a lot of emotions and feelings. ‘Live From The Apocalypse’ is an opportunity to offer a new release to our fans while the COVID-19 crisis is still a real thing, affecting them and us. The live album represents a unique moment in our career (and life) that will be forever remembered as that one time when we literally ‘rose from the Apocalypse.'”

Last month, LACUNA COIL singer Cristina Scabbia told The Pit’s podcast “Last Words” that she and her bandmates have not used the coronavirus downtime to work on new music. “To be honest, no, because we didn’t want any of our music to be connected with this period, because it wasn’t something that we wanted to talk about,” she explained. “Of course, unconsciously, it will be inspiring us for the next record, because everything everything you live translates into music and lyrics unconsciously.

“The thing is that when you write a new record, it’s because you’re inspired by something,” she continued. “But if you don’t travel, if you don’t live experiences, if you don’t meet new people and [see] new cultures, I find it hard to find inspiration only through movies and — I don’t know — series on TV. I need to live to be inspired, and the same for the guys [in the band].”

Cristina went on to say that she and the rest of LACUNA COIL have previously used negative personal experiences as fuel for their songwriting. “I feel really inspired when something bad is happening, but at least something is happening, and I’m living it,” she said. “But this [pandemic] situation is really static.”

In February, 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.

ZZ TOP's BILLY GIBBONS Releases New Solo Single, 'Desert High'

“Hardware”, the third solo album from ZZ TOP frontman Billy Gibbons, has wrapped recording and post-production and is set for release June 4 by Concord Records. The album was recorded at Escape Studio in California’s high desert, near Palm Springs, and was produced by Gibbons along with Matt Sorum and Mike Fiorentino, with engineer Chad Shlosser providing additional production. The album’s release is preceded by the release of the second single, “Desert High”.

Sorum, veteran of GUNS ‘N’ ROSES, VELVET REVOLVER and THE CULT, also serves as “Hardware”‘s drummer and was joined in the album’s core band by guitarist Austin Hanks. The same Gibbons-Sorum-Hanks aggregation recorded “The Big Bad Blues”, Gibbons’s earlier solo effort for Concord and winner of the Blues Foundation’s Blues Music Award.

In contrast to “The Big Bad Blues” and “Perfectamundo”, Gibbons’s debut solo album, almost all of the “Hardware” repertoire is original and rock-oriented with eleven of the album’s twelve songs written by Gibbons, Sorum, Fiorentino and Shlosser. The sole exception is “Hey Baby, Que Paso”, originally recorded by the TEXAS TORNADOS. The album’s title is a tribute to legendary recording engineer the late Joe Hardy who worked with Gibbons and ZZ TOP dating back to the mid-1980s. Sonically, the album was influenced by the high desert circumstance of its recording. Says Gibbons: “The desert settings, replete with shifting sands, cacti and rattlesnakes makes for the kind of backdrop that lends an element of intrigue reflected in the sounds created out there.”

“Stackin’ Bones”, one of the album’s standouts, features a guest appearance by LARKIN POE, with whom Gibbons has been familiar and friendly for quite a while. He initially met them through the good offices of Tyler Bryant, husband of LARKIN POE’s Megan Lovell; he had toured extensively with ZZ TOP in the past. LARKIN POE also shared a bill with Billy at New York’s “Love Rocks NYC” benefit in 2019 and the “Hardware” collaboration grew from there.

While a truly broad spectrum of approaches is notable on the album’s hard driving tracks there is, to be sure, no mistaking the remarkable tone and growling vocals that are hallmarks of Billy Gibbons’s artistry. Elements of traditional hard rock, neo-metal, country rock, new wave, blues and even surf music make “Hardware” difficult to categorize and it would be a fool’s game to do so. In fact, “Desert High”, the album’s last track, is a spoken-word piece accompanied by a sinewy guitar that evokes the legend Graham Parsons, whose death 48 years ago took place very close to where “Hardware” was recorded.

Billy sums up the album’s ecumenical construct: “We holed up in the desert for a few weeks in the heat of the summer and that in itself was pretty intense. To let off steam we just ‘let it rock’ and that’s what Hardware is really all about. For the most part, it’s a raging rocker but always mindful of the desert’s implicit mystery.”

“Hardware” track listing:

01. My Lucky Card
02. She’s On Fire
03. More-More-More
04. Shuffle, Step & Slide
05. Vagabond Man
06. Spanish Fly
07. West Coast Junkie
08. Stackin’ Bones (featuring LARKIN POE)
09. I Was A Highway
10. S-G-L-M-B-B-R
11. Hey Baby, Que Paso
12. Desert High

Photo credit: Blain Clausen

PETE TOWNSHEND: 'I Don't Know Whether There Will Be Another WHO Album'

In a new interview with Rolling Stone, THE WHO guitarist Pete Townshend was asked about recent reports that he was working on material for the band’s next album. He responded: “I’m not working on the next WHO record. I think what happened is that when I did an interview for Uncut about ‘The Who Sell Out’, I was asked whether or not I was preparing any material or writing anything. I said, at the time, which is where I was since I did this interview before Christmas, that I had an idea for a series of songs. I’d written a series of essays and I was working on it. And subsequently, I had a conversation with Roger [Daltrey, vocals] and flew the idea past him, and he half-liked it, and said it would be interesting to hear when the music comes. And then I started to read things that he was saying in the press, which were very much at odds with the conversation that we had face-to-face. I think we really need to have another proper conversation. Until we have that conversation, I don’t think there’s any real prospect of a Who album developing because it’s all in my hands and I tend to do it, and then Roger comes along and sings the songs.

“I need to know that I’m … what’s the word? I don’t want to use the word ‘servicing.’ But I need to know that I’m facilitating Roger’s needs as a singer,” the 75-year-old continued. “There’s only two of us now. And these days, he insists on having music to sing, which he believes in, completely and utterly, that he can get inside. Unless he can inhabit the story of the song, he can’t do a good job. And so it means that I have to, in a sense, work as as tailor. I’m not really that free to write whatever comes off the end of my tape machine.

“And so that’s where I am at the moment. I do a have a number of ideas. For the last year, I’ve been working on a variety of things. I did some work with some other artists. I’ve been working on my own piece for ‘The Age Of Anxiety’ based on the novel. I don’t know whether there will be another WHO album. It needs Roger to be on it. And I think he was even complaining that he didn’t make any money out of it. I was, like, ‘Who does make money out of fuckin’ records anymore?’ I don’t know who does. Maybe two or three people, but not many.”

Last October, THE WHO released a new version of the 2019 album “Who” featuring an updated version of “Beads On One String” newly remixed by Pete Townshend and acoustic tracks from the band’s only live shows of 2020.

The songs on the deluxe version of “Who” were recorded in Kingston on Valentine’s Day this year exactly 50 years to the day since THE WHO’s seminal show at Leeds which became the infamous live album “Live At Leeds”.

In December 2019, “Who” entered the U.K. chart at position No. 3, becoming the band’s highest-charting U.K. LP in 38 years.

“Who” was THE WHO’s first set of new material since 2006’s “Endless Wire”, which debuted at No. 9 in November of that year.