MEGADETH Is 'In The Final Hours' Of Recording New Album

MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson spoke to Thomas S. Orwat, Jr. of Rock Music Star about the progress of the recording sessions for the band’s follow-up to 2016’s “Dystopia” album. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “I was actually just down there [at the recording studio] last week. I went to Nashville to just put a couple of little, tiny finishing touches on some stuff. We’re literally in the final hours of getting everything done. Obviously, COVID slowed things down. Kiko [Loureiro, guitar] lives over in Finland now, and there were some delays last year, just with travel and with everything shutting down. But me and Dirk [Verbeuren, drums] got down there pretty quickly — by May and June [of last year], we were in there cutting tracks. It’s been good, though.

“One of the things, on the onset of it, Dave [Mustaine, MEGADETH guitarist/vocalist] had said to me, he goes, ‘I really wanna just take the time to listen to this record,'” he continued. “We had been in this grind, this touring thing, where you make a record, you go right out on tour, you come off of an 18-month tour and you go right into the studio and make a record. And there’s an energy about [that approach that] I like sometimes, and I think MEGADETH has made some great records when our backs are against the wall and there’s a not a lot of time. I think with this one, especially following up ‘Dystopia’, off of such a big record like that, this is one where we have the luxury of time to sit back and we don’t just have to hurry up [and finish it].

“In the early days of your career, every minute counts, so you’re always working against the clock to jump on to bigger tours and these things,” Ellefson added. “So, ironically, with COVID and everything that’s happened, it’s sort of slowed the whole pulse and the whole tempo of, obviously, the world, but certainly our industry — things have slowed down to a different pace. And so there’s a lot more — maybe a bit more reflecting. Obviously, as we go forward, as things get scheduled from 2020 to 2021, now 2022, there’s gonna be a lot of rescheduled things, there’s gonna be new things, obviously, coming down, with new records and stuff. So it’s [nice] to be able to be a bit reflective on this one and not just have to bang another record out.”

This past February, Mustaine said during an episode of his Gimme Radio program “The Dave Mustaine Show” that he had just received “a really cool lyric” from Ellefson that he was planning to turn into a song. In addition, he revealed that the album will include an as-yet-undisclosed cover track.

In January, Ellefson told the “Rock ‘N’ Roll Icons With Bode James” podcast the previously announced working title for MEGADETH’s upcoming album, “The Sick, The Dying And The Dead”, will likely end up getting changed before the LP is released.

The early sessions for the album took place in 2019 with co-producer Chris Rakestraw, who previously worked on “Dystopia”.

“Dystopia”, whose title track was honored in the “Best Metal Performance” category at the 2017 Grammy Awards, marked Loureiro’s recording debut with MEGADETH.

The 46-year-old Belgian-born-and-now-Los-Angeles-based Verbeuren had played with SOILWORK for more than a decade before joining MEGADETH.

JASON BECKER Returns Home After Undergoing Treatment For Bacterial Infection

Legendary guitarist and composer Jason Becker, who has been living with ALS for over 30 years, has returned 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 (Sunday, April 11), Jason’s father Gary Becker issued the following update on his condition: “Jason is at home, sitting on his back deck with his cats!”

Jason’s mother, 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.

Hi Everyone! Here is an update from Gary Becker:
“Jason is at home, sitting on his back deck with his cats!” ?

Thanks to everyone for their continued love and support! ?

Team Becker#jasonbecker #TriumphantHearts #HoldOnToLove #ThankYou pic.twitter.com/UE2DXHNraH

— Jason Becker (@jasonelibecker) April 11, 2021

THE WHO And HEINZ BEANZ Reunite After 50 Years For Limited-Edition Charity Cans

The year is 1967. Heinz Beanz launches its famous “Beanz Meanz Heinz” advertising slogan, since voted the U.K.’s favorite of all time. This same year, THE WHO release their third album, “The Who Sell Out”, with the now-iconic sleeve featuring Roger Daltrey sitting in a bath full of Heinz Beanz and featuring “Heinz Baked Beans” as the second track. What a year 1967 was. But we’re not trying to cause a big sensation, we’re just talkin’ ’bout our g-g-generation.

Fast forward to 2021 and the two icons are reuniting after more than 50 years to celebrate THE WHO releasing the expanded edition of “The Who Sell Out” (due on April 23) — this time with no bean-filled baths involved.

Instead, Heinz and THE WHO are launching limited-edition “Beanz Meanz The Who” cans, and this is no sellout; the cans sold in the U.S will raise funds for Teen Cancer America, and the U.K. cans will raise funds for child hunger charity Magic Breakfast and cancer support charity Teenage Cancer Trust, Heinz and THE WHO’s respective charity partners.

A giant, hand-signed (empty) 57.5cm (H) x 42cm (D) version of the limited-edition can is also being auctioned off for the charities via givergy.uk/HeinzTheWho from Thursday, April 15 to Sunday, April 25.

The net proceeds will not only help Magic Breakfast continue their work towards ending child morning hunger as a barrier to education in the U.K. and allow them to continue providing healthy breakfasts to pupils in over 1,000 schools in disadvantaged areas each school day but will also help fund Teen Cancer America and Teenage Cancer Trust’s vital work supporting young people aged 13-24 through cancer treatment.

There is a total of 500 limited-edition cans available to buy today from the official artist store in the U.S. for just $8.00 (USD).

The album artwork featuring Roger Daltrey holding a giant can of Heinz Beanz while sitting in a bath full of the Beanz “was the best visual of the whole album cover,” according to Roger, making the subsequent bout of illness that Daltrey endured to make it possible all worth it.

Reminiscing about the 1967 photoshoot, Roger said: “[Afterwards] I ended up with a week in bed with either the flu or probably the worst cold that I’ve had in my lifetime and I put it down to the baked beans because they’d just come out of the fridge; they were freezing cold! I sat in them for twenty minutes until they had the great idea of putting electric fire round the back of the bathtub I was sitting in, which worked for a while. It started to heat them up, but then they started to cook. So my arse was roasting while my front was freezing and within 24 hours, I was in bed with the sniffles. I don’t blame the beans; I blame the electric fire!”

Despite that experience, THE WHO frontman’s love for Heinz Beanz has not waned. Roger said: “I don’t know anybody who doesn’t like Heinz Beanz, they’re great. They’re so simple; you put your eggs on, you put your toast on, you click your toaster, you time your eggs, and you put the beans in a pan, and it all comes together all in one lump. It’s great. For someone who can’t cook like me, it’s the most magical breakfast you can have: poached eggs and beans on toast.”

Lucy Cooke, brand manager, Heinz Beanz said: “We are very excited to be working with THE WHO, celebrating the iconicity of both our brands, as they release the expanded edition of the 1967 album ‘The Who Sell Out’. 1967 was obviously a great time for creativity, as our famous advertising slogan ‘Beanz Meanz Heinz’ launched that very same year and went on to be voted the U.K.’s favorite of all time.

“We’ve had lots of fun working on this collaboration, and to be able to raise funds for our brilliant charity partners with our limited-edition “Beanz Meanz The Who” cans is just wonderful.”

Jane Ashton, head of entertainment, Teenage Cancer Trust, said: “We’re thrilled that THE WHO and Heinz have teamed up to fundraise for teenagers and young people with cancer.

“The money raised for Teenage Cancer Trust will fund our specialist nurses and support teams who work tirelessly to get young people with cancer through the hardest times of their lives.”

Emily Wilkie, head of fundraising, Magic Breakfast: “We’re very excited that Heinz and THE WHO are using this brilliant initiative to raise vital funds for children and young people via Magic Breakfast and Teenage Cancer Trust. The funds Magic Breakfast receive will help us work towards ending child morning hunger in the U.K. and allow us to continue providing healthy breakfasts each school day to pupils in over 1,000 schools in disadvantaged areas each school day. A huge thank you to both Heinz and THE WHO!”

Bruce Resnikoff, president and CEO, UMe, said: “THE WHO are not only groundbreaking musicians, but they were the first to establish specialized Teen Cancer centers in the U.S. and U.K. We are proud to help them raise funds for their charities in a way, only THE WHO can do.”

LARS ULRICH Is 'The RINGO STARR Of Heavy Metal,' Says CHRIS JERICHO

FOZZY’s Chris Jericho has defended Lars Ulrich, saying the METALLICA co-founder is a “great” drummer because “he plays what’s right for the tune.”

Despite the fact that it’s become fashionable to dump on the METALLICA drummer’s skills, Jericho says that he has always had a tremendous amount of respect for Ulrich.

“People bag on Lars — it’s a funny thing to do — just the same way that people bag on Ringo [Starr, THE BEATLES drummer]; it’s funny to bag on Ringo,” Chris said during an appearance on the METALLICA-centric podcast “…And Podcast For All!” (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

“Lars is now the Ringo of heavy metal. And what I mean by that is that Ringo plays what’s best for the song — not what the most flashy part is, not what is gonna get him on the cover of Modern Drummer [magazine]. He plays what’s right for the tune. And that’s why Lars is great.”

Jericho continued: “Lars was very influential back in [the early] days [of METALLICA]. But then, after ‘…And Justice For All’, [he said], ‘What am I gonna do? I’m not Charlie Benante [ANTHRAX]. I’m not Dave Lombardo [SLAYER].’ These are the guys that [he was] kind of in a competition with. ‘I’ve gotta go the other way and do the Phil Rudd [AC/DC]…’ And he also loves Clive Burr of IRON MAIDEN, which is why most of his fills are just on the snare. I said, ‘Why do you do that?’ He said, ‘Clive Burr.’ And I’m, like, ‘Ahhh.’ Clive Burr rarely uses toms too.

“I’m a big fan of Lars’s playing. Listen, is he always completely in time? Does he speed up and slow down live? Well, he does, but guess what? That’s fucking live rock and roll, man. And a lot of people hate it, and I get it.

“Listen, if you’re going to [see] METALLICA and you’re worried because the tempo increases or decreases sometimes, you’re probably not there for the same reason that I am,” Chris concluded.

Last year, Ulrich said that he was no longer bothered by people’s criticism of his drumming abilities, telling METALLICA’s So What! fan-club magazine: “I’m so over — I’m literally immune to it. We just did a bunch of interviews, and sometimes, if I am being interviewed by a journalist who is also a fan, they’ll say, ‘When people say Lars Ulrich is a shitty drummer, I defend you.’ Which is cool, but I’ve got to tell you, 20 years later, 30 years later, it just doesn’t register anymore. I am so comfortable with who I am, I’m so comfortable with who METALLICA is, I’m so comfortable with our place in all of it. I’ve got an incredible wife, three great kids, my dad and [his partner] Molly, incredible friends, and lots of cool acquaintances. It’s all good. I’ve got nothing left to prove, so it just doesn’t register anymore.”

Back in 2016, Ulrich, who has gotten a lot of flak over the years from people who accused him of being a poor drummer, told the “Talk Is Jericho” podcast that he went through a period in the mid-1980s “that probably culminated in the ‘Justice’ album where I felt sort of compelled to try to show ability.” According to Lars, part of the reason for him feeling insecure about his abilities was the increased competition from some of his peers.

“Listen, when you’ve got Dave Lombardo and Charlie Benante breathing down your back, it was, like, ‘Okay, I’ve gotta…’ I tried to step it up a little bit and tried to do my own thing and do all this crazy shit,” he said. “I was trying really hard to push the drums kind of into the foreground. And then, after like a year or two of that, I was, like, ‘Okay. Seriously? Just do your thing. Chill out. Support the riffs. Do what’s best for the song.’ So since around I guess the late ’80s — so I guess it’s been, like, 25 years now — the only thing that’s really interested me is just doing the best thing for the song.”

Asked in a 2008 interview with U.K.’s Rhythm magazine if he was troubled by the fact that he’s gotten a lot of flak over the years from people who accused him of being a poor drummer, Lars said: “It used to, back in the day — and I spent a lot of time overcompensating for that on the early records. But then you wake up one day and you’re like, whatever. It hasn’t bothered me for [many] years. I’m no Joey Jordison, I’m no Mike Portnoy, and I have nothing but love and respect and admiration for all those guys. When I hear some of the young dudes, they blow my mind with what they can do with their feet and stuff — but it’s not something that makes me go, ‘I need to feel better about myself so I’m gonna learn how to do what they do with my feet.’ I’m not a particularly accomplished drummer but I am very, very, very good at understanding the role of the drums next to James Hetfield’s rhythm guitar. I guarantee you I’m the best guy in the world for that, and that’s enough for me!”

Ulrich stated about his playing ability in a 2012 interview with DRUM! magazine: “I usually feel like I’ve regressed. [Laughs] I’m like, ‘Why can’t I do that anymore?'” He continued: “I can’t say that I necessarily sit down to practice, like, ‘I’m going to play and practice so I can get better.’ What happens is that I just sit down and kind of play to just more stay in shape.”

Ulrich added: “You know, METALLICA was up to two or three months off [in 2011], and I would sit down, I have an iPod next to my drums so I can play along to all kind of crazy stuff, and try to see if I can land in the same zip code of some of that stuff occasionally. But I can’t say that I sit down to necessarily practice to sort of get better. For most of my stuff, it’s about listening and about interpreting stuff that I’m listening to. So all the kind of sitting down and, you know, ‘Now I’m going to do thirty-second-note paradiddles standing on my head — you know what I mean? I don’t do that kind of stuff so much. For me it’s more about the regimen of staying in shape, running every day, eating healthy, you know, being on top of that side of it.”

TESTAMENT's ALEX SKOLNICK Backs Vaccine Passports For Concerts And Festivals

TESTAMENT guitarist Alex Skolnick says that he is in favor of some kind of a coronavirus vaccine passport program whereby concert venues can ask patrons to show proof of testing or vaccination before attending certain events.

A vaccine passport is a physical or digital document that displays whether someone is fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Critics say that such passports are a violation of privacy and an example of government overreach. Meanwhile, supporters point out that federal immigration law already requires that immigrants provide proof of vaccination status for several diseases.

Skolnick addressed the hot-button issue in a brand new interview with André Cholmondeley of Make Weird Music. Asked what he thinks about clubs and promoters around the country announcing that they will begin staging events for only those guests who show proof of full vaccination, Alex said: “Yeah, I think that’s what we need to do. And it’s also gonna be limited capacity as well.”

He continued: “To go to certain countries, we need to get a yellow fever shot, and we carry this card that’s put out by the World Health Organization that is proof of vaccination. What’s the difference? We’ve been doing this for years. We wouldn’t think otherwise. We don’t wanna risk getting somebody else sick. So why would there be an issue here? And then, when people complain about the vaccine — ‘I don’t know what’s in it. I’m suspicious…’ Well, are you suspicious of the polio vaccine? ‘Cause I think everybody gets that. I don’t think you leave the hospital without getting certain vaccines.”

Alex added: “I’m just amazed how people aren’t aware of this. There’s measles, mumps, polio… There’s vaccines that we’ve been getting for years, and that’s why we’re not getting measles or mumps, or why we’re not being forced to not be able to walk because of polio — because we get these vaccines. And the same medical and scientific communities that are behind those vaccines are behind these vaccines.

“My patience is running thin for these types,” Skolnick concluded.

Over 100 million Americans — more than 30% — have received at least one dose of the three vaccines, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A recent NPR/Marist poll found that one in four Americans said they would refuse a coronavirus vaccine if offered. Another 5% are “undecided” about whether they would get the shot. 49% of Republican men said they would not take the vaccine when it’s available to them.

Although the COVID-19 vaccine was produced quickly because of the urgency of the health crisis and the number of clinical trial volunteers, scientists say the vaccine was not rushed, and it relies on years of research.

The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has estimated that about 70-85% of Americans would need to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity.

America’s two main vaccines have shown 95% efficacy against the coronavirus.

Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, which became available in the United States last month after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave it emergency use authorization, was tested with new variants of COVID-19, and has shown to be effective against them; Pfizer and Moderna were tested prior to the emergence of these variants.

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ROSS THE BOSS: 'If People Are Not Paying For Music, The Artists Are Just Gonna Give Up'

Former MANOWAR guitarist Ross “The Boss” Friedman has urged music fans to support their favorite bands by purchasing their product.

Friedman, a founding member of MANOWAR and THE DICTATORS whose influence in heavy metal and punk is noticeable to this day, addressed musicians’ struggle to survive in a new interview with Rocking With Jam Man.

He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “If people continually are not paying for music, the artists are just gonna give up and not make any more music, ’cause we have to make livelihoods, we have to pay our bills, we have to be able to tour, we have to be able to go around. So if you continue to steal, we’re not gonna make music anymore; it’s just not gonna be worth it. I know a lot of people feel that way. So, buy the bands’ stuff. I’m telling you — otherwise you’re gonna wake up one day and there’s not gonna be any music… It’s not that much money — so if it’s 20 dollars for a CD, or something like that, or a T-shirt, it helps. Every bit helps.”

Speaking specifically about the additional hardship the pandemic has caused musicians around the world, Ross said: “Fans, folks, we love you. We wanna tell you, we wanna be there for you and play for you, but the way to help us is by buying our stuff. That’s the only way to do [it]. And then, of course, when we start playing again, buying tickets. And then we’ll see you. And then you’ll see our happy faces again.”

Ross was one of the pioneers of both punk rock and heavy metal. First crashing on the scene with THE DICTATORS and with such classic albums as 1975’s “Go Girl Crazy!”, 1977’s “Manifest Destiny” and 1978’s “Bloodbrothers”, Ross helped trailblaze punk rock (just to put it all in perspective, “Go Girl Crazy!” arrived a full year before the RAMONES’ debut, and two years before THE CLASH’s and SEX PISTOLS’ debuts). After exiting the band, Ross then co-formed one of heavy metal’s all-time great bands, MANOWAR, which showcased exceptional six-string work on such classic albums as 1982’s “Battle Hymns”, 1983’s “Into Glory Ride” and 1984’s “Hail To England”, among countless other titles.

By the end of the ’80s, Ross had reconnected with his DICTATORS bandmates in MANITOBA’S WILD KINGDOM, which served as a bridge between his love of punk and metal, as heard on the group’s popular 1990 debut, “…And You?” Throughout the remainder of the decade, Ross also played with such groups as THE HELLACOPTERS and THE SPINATRAS, before THE DICTATORS reunited, which resulted in several new releases starting from the late ’90s all the way through the early 21st century. Also around this time, Ross joined forces with former of BLUE ÖYSTER CULT drummer Albert Bouchard in the band BRAIN SURGEONS.

With Ross’s main focus turning to metal music at this time, two additional projects were launched — DEATH DEALER and his solo outfit, ROSS THE BOSS.

Organizer Of PAUL DI'ANNO Crowdfunding Campaign Doesn't Know Why IRON MAIDEN Hasn't Contributed To Fundraising Efforts

Kastro Pergjoni, operations director of the Cart & Horses pub in Stratford, London, England where IRON MAIDEN made its live debut in 1976, recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to help raise £20,000 (approximately $27,000) so former MAIDEN vocalist Paul Di’Anno can undergo his long-delayed knee surgery. So far, Pergjoni has raised only £8,600, or about 43 precent of the goal, from approximately 340 supporters.

Pergjoni, who has been behind Cart & Horses since 2016, leasing the pub from the building’s owners who are converting the beer garden and car park into flats, discussed his fundraising efforts during a new appearance on the “Uncle Steve’s Iron Maiden Zone” podcast.

Asked if he has approached the members of IRON MAIDEN themselves to contribute in some way to the Di’Anno campaign, Kastro said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “Myself, no, I haven’t, to be honest, because I don’t wanna put things… What’s the best way to say it now? It’s not up to me to go to them, because I have no connections with IRON MAIDEN themselves. Even when I [need to approach] Steve [Harris, IRON MAIDEN bassist and founder], I go through his friends or his sister sometimes or close friends that he’s got to get stuff from him. But to go to MAIDEN for something that is related to MAIDEN, I don’t think that it is me personally, or Cart & Horses, the ones to contact them. I’d love if they come forward and just cover whatever is left or say whatever, but I don’t think it’s down to me to go to MAIDEN. Because [Paul’s] got friends and he’s got connections with MAIDEN more than I have, so if MAIDEN wanted to, or if somebody else wanted to, they would have done it. But so far, nothing, unfortunately, no.”

Noting that Cart & Horses is currently undergoing renovations after closing in June 2019, Pergjoni continued: “I do ask them sometimes, or I’ve asked now, especially with the renovation, for a few things to be donated to the Cart & Horses, and I’m hoping they will. But for me now to go and ask them about something else now, which is not related to Cart & Horses, I think it’s not really the right thing to do… And also [Paul] himself is related to MAIDEN — it’s not me related to MAIDEN. It’s like going to somebody else’s family asking for their family. But if anybody wants, and if anybody listens and has to connections to MAIDEN or to anybody there, why not?”

Di’Anno recorded two classic albums with IRON MAIDEN — a self-titled effort in 1980 and “Killers” in 1981 — before being fired and replaced by Bruce Dickinson. He went on to front a number of other bands, including KILLERS and BATTLEZONE, and released several solo records.

More than a decade and a half ago, Di’Anno told The Jersulam Post that leaving the MAIDEN juggernaut behind was the best thing that ever happened to him, and that he had no bitter feelings toward his former bandmates.

“I absolutely have no regrets about leaving MAIDEN — I wasn’t right in the head at that time to be in the middle of all that,” he said. “I was fed up and disillusioned; it would have been cheating the fans and myself if I had stayed. It was easy to walk away from, and I’m very happy the band got bigger and bigger.”

Several years ago, Di’Anno told Metal Thunder Radio that he wasn’t as involved with MAIDEN’s songwriting as he would have liked. “Steve had most of the words and the lyrics [to the band’s first album] all written. That was some of the bones of contention that we had in the band — that I didn’t get to write as much as I wanted to. ‘Cause I am actually quite a prolific writer, but a lot of my songs were not accepted. ‘Cause it’s Steve’s band, obviously.”

He continued: “That first album was a revelation, I’ve gotta tell you. It was amazing. And the second album, for me, not so much. That’s when I started to lose interest a little bit. But [we] still [had] great times — really great times.”

At times, Paul has also publicly displayed his anger toward his former bandmates, most notably during a 2009 press conference in Argentina where he was asked about the rumors that his drug use had something to do with his split with MAIDEN. “Where the fuck do you people get this from?” he asked. “I left IRON MAIDEN because they were going too heavy metal, and IRON MAIDEN is a money-making machine, and I don’t give a fuck about it. It was not about drugs; it was nothing like that. Me and Steve… I [wrote] the song ‘Killers’. Steve had [what he thought] were better songs. I thought his songs were shit. Nothing to do with drugs; nothing whatsoever. Check your facts or otherwise this interview is over… I hate that! I fucking hate that! Because people… You say something but you don’t know. Well, I’m telling you. IRON MAIDEN is Steve Harris’s band. It doesn’t matter about anybody else — whether it’s Dave Murray, Clive [Burr], me… it’s Steve Harris’s band and all it is is money, money, money, money — nobody else counts. And I wrote fuckin’ 20-times better songs than his, but I only got one song on the ‘Killers’ album because it’s Steve’s — he must have this. Fuckin’ Adolf Hitler. I’m not interested. So there you go. But you need to take drugs when you’re with IRON MAIDEN because they’re so fucking boring. And the only drugs were aspirin, because Steve [making hand gesture as if someone is speaking into his ear]… Fuckin’ headache.”

Posted by Uncle Steve’s Iron Maiden Zone on Thursday, December 24, 2020

JUDAS PRIEST's ROB HALFORD Urges Heavy Metal Fans To 'Do The Right Thing' By Getting COVID-19 Vaccine

JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford has urged all heavy metal fans to get the COVID-19 vaccine, saying that getting inoculated will accelerate a return to normalcy.

On Saturday (April 10), the 69-year-old musician, who got the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on March 22, shared a video message to his Instagram in which he said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “Hi everyone. This is your metal god, Rob Halford of JUDAS PRIEST, sending you a massive shoutout of thanks to our metal community for doing the right thing by getting the life-saving vaccine that will eventually eradicate COVID-19 around the world.

“One thing we’re proud about in metal is that we not only stand together united for our music but also for each other.

“You know, common sense states that by having the jab, we’re opening up one of the most important areas that we have so desperately missed, which is being side by side, horns way up at clubs, theaters, arenas and festivals where who we are and what we live for is tangible and real with the bands we love. So let’s get those amazing vibes and feelings back faster.

“I urge those of us who have not yet been vaccinated to please step up.

“JUDAS PRIEST and all bands everywhere are made complete by playing live for our fans.

“You can learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines at MadeToSave.org.

“See you soon, metal maniacs.”

Over 100 million Americans — more than 30% — have received at least one dose of the three vaccines, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A recent NPR/Marist poll found that one in four Americans said they would refuse a coronavirus vaccine if offered. Another 5% are “undecided” about whether they would get the shot. 49% of Republican men said they would not take the vaccine when it’s available to them.

Although the COVID-19 vaccine was produced quickly because of the urgency of the health crisis and the number of clinical trial volunteers, scientists say the vaccine was not rushed, and it relies on years of research.

The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has estimated that about 70-85% of Americans would need to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity.

America’s two main vaccines have shown 95% efficacy against the coronavirus.

A CDC study found that risk of coronavirus infection dropped by 90% two weeks after receiving a second and final dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, and by 80% two weeks following a single dose among nearly 4,000 health care workers, first responders and other essential workers across six states.

Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, which became available in the United States last month after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave it emergency use authorization, was tested with new variants of COVID-19, and has shown to be effective against them; Pfizer and Moderna were tested prior to the emergence of these variants.

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JASON BECKER Set To Go Home After Undergoing Treatment For Bacterial Infection

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.