TRIVIUM frontman Matt Heafy spoke to The New York Times about the overwhelming success of his Twitch channel, which boasts a follower count of 220,000.
Matt, who streams everything from video games, guitar clinics to TRIVIUM and acoustic song covers, all while he’s off the road and awaiting the next TRIVIUM album-tour cycle, said that the Twitch channel generated just under $10,000 a month in 2019 and 2020. By contrast, TRIVIUM — in which Matt is joined by three other members — collected an average of $11,000 a month from on-demand services like Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube.
The 35-year-old Heafy is described in The New York Times article as “one of the most dedicated musicians on Twitch” who has been streaming nearly every weekday at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. since January 2018 from an unoccupied bedroom in his home in Orlando, Florida, which he shares with his wife and their twin 2-year-olds.
“Even if I don’t feel like practicing, I know people are going to be there who want to hear a couple hours of their favorite TRIVIUM songs,” Heafy, who may well over 10,000 people may be watching him at any moment, said. “So I make sure I’m there to make their day good.”
As more artists, including TRIVIUM, return to the road for their first post-pandemic live performances, Heafy said he will continue to engage with fans via Twitch from the band’s tours. “I’m going to keep it to the same exact thing — 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday,” he said. “Every show, every soundcheck, every vocal warm-up; every day off, me playing games in the hotel room.”
“I look at it as part of my life now,” he added. “And I want to keep doing this for as long as I can.”
According to Influencer MarketingHub, Twitch streamers can make money through a combination of affiliate links, selling customized merchandise, donations, sponsorship and tournament winnings. Twitch affiliates and partners can earn a portion of the money people pay to subscribe to their channels. Viewers can opt for one of three subscription levels — $4.99, $9.99, or $24.99. The streamer and Twitch share the subscription income, initially with a 50:50 split.
In a March 2020 interview with Forbes, Heafy spoke explained what exactly led him to pursue this avenue with streaming video games and music-related content on Twitch.
“Well, I’ve always been into video games,” he said. “I remember beating ‘Mario’ before I was really speaking English — my mom is Japanese and she kind of raised me for a little while on her own while my dad was in the marines. So video games were something I was playing before I started playing guitar. I started with the originals like ‘Mario’ and ‘Donkey Kong’, kind of building my way up and then I was heavily into RPGs as a preteen to my teenage years with ‘Final Fantasy’. ‘Final Fantasy IV’, ‘VI’, ‘VII’ and ‘IX’ were my favorites, and then I started getting into first person shooters like ‘Call Of Duty’, but I got into those through ‘GoldenEye’. I started watching some streamers and decided I wanted to do it, but I did it kind of half-assed at first, and not that I was being lazy about it, I just didn’t really know the right way to do it.
“I later befriended two Twitch associates, John Howell and Brandon Kaupert, and they invited me to the Twitch headquarters one day when TRIVIUM was playing San Francisco,” he continued. “So I went down and they gave me a tour of the place and they lent me one of the Gunrun backpacks, which I was using to stream the shows with. So I started streaming some shows and it started going pretty good, and then I visited San Francisco and met up with Brandon and John again, and I told them, ‘Man, I love Twitch so much I wish I could do it more, but here’s why I can’t.’ And the reason I couldn’t is because I have to practice between one to three to five hours a day to keep myself in shape. And Brandon looks at me and says, ‘Why don’t you just stream that?’ I had an ‘aha’ moment and I was, like, ‘Nobody wants to watch that, dude.’ And he said, ‘Trust me. Just try that.’
“So, lo and behold, I’ve only had one job ever — it’s been TRIVIUM; first band, first job — but for the last three years, I’m happy to say Twitch has become a second job. When I’m at home, I make significantly more from Twitch streaming than I do with TRIVIUM, and then when I’m out on tour with TRIVIUM, then obviously TRIVIUM becomes more and Twitch becomes less. But the fact that I’m able to make money doing what I should be doing off tour, staying conditioned, practicing, and being ready for a tour at any given moment, it’s amazing and we really have a supportive community.”
The Rock Experience With Mike Brunn has uploaded a new video interview with KISS conducted on June 11 at the 2021 Tribeca Festival in New York City. For the first time ever, the band played at the festival directly following the screening of part one of its new A&E documentary “Biography: KISStory”. The two-part documentary event was part of the festival’s 2021 TV lineup.
Speaking about the documentary, bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “‘KISStory’ is a warts-and-all story of four knuckleheads off the streets of New York who decided to go on the yellow brick road off to Detroit rock city. We’re here because we believed in a dream when nobody believed in it. Now we rule. Now get out.”
Asked why now is the right time to tell the KISS story, Stanley said: “Now’s the best time to tell the story because things are at least winding down in terms of playing live. This is the KISS ‘End Of The Road’ tour. So, to document and to look back upon four and a half decades, a hundred million albums, countless sold-out tours, why not now? This is the time for us to take the victory lap.”
Directed by D.J. Viola, “Biography: KISStory” chronicles the band’s five decades in the business as founders Stanley and Simmons reflect on their historic career. Current members Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer as well as guests Dave Grohl (NIRVANA, FOO FIGHTERS), Tom Morello (RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE), manager Doc McGhee, music producer Bob Ezrin (ALICE COOPER, PINK FLOYD) and more tell the wild story of the most successful and influential band in the world.
“Biography: KISStory” is a Leslie Greif production, produced for A&E Network by Critical Content and Big Dreams Entertainment with Leslie Greif and Jenny Daly serving as executive producers and D.J. Viola serving as director. Elaine Frontain Bryant and Brad Abramson serve as executive producers for A&E Network. A+E Networks holds worldwide distribution rights for “Biography: KISStory”.
KISS last played a full show this past New Year’s Eve in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The event broke Guinness world records for highest flame projection in a music concert and for most flame projections launched simultaneously in a music concert.
According to Stephen Pearcy, RATT will only play a “handful” of shows this summer. So far, the following dates have been announced, as per the singer’s official web site:
Jun. 24 – Brainerd, MN – Lakes Jam
Jul. 16 – Red River Valley Fair – West Fargo, ND
Jul. 23 – Waukesha County Fair – Pewaukee, WI
Aug. 21 – The Great New York State Fair – Syracuse, NY
Pearcy and bassist Juan Croucier are the sole remaining original members in RATT’s current lineup, which made its live debut in July 2018 in Mulvane, Kansas. Joining them in the band are drummer Pete Holmes (BLACK ‘N BLUE, RATT’S JUAN CROUCIER) and guitarist Jordan Ziff (RAZER).
Guitarist Chris Sanders left RATT in early 2020 but has not yet been officially replaced. He joined RATT in 2018 after the departure of original axeman Warren DeMartini. Sanders spent almost two years playing sporadic shows with the band’s most recent lineup before quitting the group, saying in a statement that he was retiring from the music industry.
According to Ziff, RATT was planning to play several gigs early last year as a four-piece following Sanders’s exit from the group, “but we only did one show where I was the only guitar player in the band,” he said during an appearance on a video podcast hosted by Todd Kerns. “And it was in February. And then that was it. And then COVID [hit].”
RATT hasn’t released any new music since 2010’s “Infestation” album.
RATT — featuring Pearcy, Croucier and DeMartini — played a number of shows in 2017 after reforming a year earlier in the midst of a highly publicized legal battle with drummer Bobby Blotzer over the rights to the RATT name. They were joined at the gigs by ex-QUIET RIOT guitarist Carlos Cavazo, who played on “Infestation”, and drummer Jimmy DeGrasso, who previously played with Y&T, WHITE LION and MEGADETH, among others.
In recent months, Pearcy and Blotzer have mended their differences, as was apparent during the RATT singer’s livestream concert on April 2 from the world-famous Whisky A Go Go on the Sunset Strip where Bobby made a special guest appearance on several songs. Asked in an interview with “The Hook Rocks!” podcast how the reunion came about, Pearcy said: “I just put it out there, ‘Hey, what’s up?’ We dabble in conversation. And all of us [from the classic RATT lineup] still have business together. It doesn’t matter — it’ll go on forever, just because the band did what it did. There’s always business to do. Like, there’s another best-of [collection] coming out, and everybody has to be… we’re part of it. And if there’s new music on the release, we’re gonna do that. So I just asked him, and he said, ‘Sure.’ And then we talked about a bunch of things. Me and him are just like brothers — fighting brothers. We love to hate each other. But why not? So he said, ‘Yeah.’ And that’s how it came about.”
Pearcy also once again floated the possibility of the surviving members of the classic RATT lineup reuniting to make a new studio album. “Look, anything is possible with us,” he said. “Like I said over and over, we’re not the most dysfunctional band in the world. I hope it happens. I put the feelers out. That’s all I can do. Or release stuff that we have [that] nobody’s heard. And that’s about it. But I will not do another record [unless it’s with the original guys]. It doesn’t make sense. [2010’s] ‘Infestation’ [album] was great, but it didn’t have [bassist] Juan [Croucier]. If we were gonna do it again, which we’ve had offers to do records, I’d say no — unless it’s the original guys, I won’t do it.’
He continued: “The music I write for [my] solo [albums] is music [that is intended] for RATT first. Like the last song I wrote and put out there, that was written for RATT. But I sat on it for a year and I finally said, ‘I’m gonna put it on my solo record.’ And that’s it. A lot of the songs going on the sixth solo record, which I’m gonna go in the studio to start doing, so I can release it this year, [it was] considered for RATT first. And that’s just the way it is. So until we write and do a record, hell will freeze over. We’ll see… All you can do is say, ‘Hey, it could be cool. It would be great if we can pull it all together.’ And just think positive. And if it doesn’t [happen], It’s all right. I’m proud of our legacy. It’s no big deal.”
Only a handful of RATT shows 2021! Be there https://t.co/fD9MOgWf58 pic.twitter.com/VYTNkKJ2L6
— STEPHEN E PEARCY (@StephenEPearcy) June 18, 2021
Next! With no plans for a new @theRATTpack record near future, the RATT founder frontman Stephen PEARCY to release his next (sixth) solo record will be a double shot, a double album. TBA on Top Fuel Records, Inc 2022. @ErikFerentinos @mtstudiox #newrecord #concert #rattbastards pic.twitter.com/GBtDNVl2ZJ
— STEPHEN E PEARCY (@StephenEPearcy) June 18, 2021
Our cooped up correspondent finds his feathers surprisingly pecks on the latest from from power metal legends, post-nu-metal survivors and blackened, uh… whatevs!
The post For Those About Squawk: Waldo Pecks on Fear Factory, Withered and Helloween appeared first on Decibel Magazine.
KINGS OF CHAOS performed last night (Thursday, June 17) at the Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort and Casino in Mescalero, New Mexico. The supergroup’s lineup for the show included three lead vocalists: Robin Zander (CHEAP TRICK), Dee Snider (TWISTED SISTER) and Jack Blades (NIGHT RANGER). They were joined by guitarists Gilby Clarke (GUNS N’ ROSES) and Warren DeMartini (RATT), bassist James LoMenzo (BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, MEGADETH) and drummer Kenny Aronoff (John Mellencamp, Willie Nelson, John Fogerty).
Originally formed in 2012 as ROCK ‘N’ ROLL ALL STARS, KINGS OF CHAOS features a core lineup of members as well as a rotating cast of guest musicians.
KINGS OF CHAOS has recorded just one song so far: a cover of DEEP PURPLE’s “Never Before” for the 2012 tribute album “Re-Machined: A Tribute To Deep Purple’s ‘Machine Head'”.
During an appearance on the “2 Hours With Matt Pinfield” podcast, drummer Matt Sorum (GUNS N’ ROSES, THE CULT, VELVET REVOLVER), who founded KINGS OF CHAOS, talked about the project’s formation. He said: “The music business is more difficult to navigate than ever, especially for a guy that’s been around a while,” he said. “I’ve had an illustrious career, but it’s always been, like, super-high, super-low, like riding the wildest roller coaster ever known to man. [Laughs] Emotionally, it’s been challenging. When VELVET REVOLVER broke up, for me, it was like, ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe I pulled off another band.’ So it kind of knocked the wind out of me, and I didn’t really want to jump back into doing another band or project right away.
“When I started doing KINGS OF CHAOS, it became strictly about fun,” he continued. “I decided, ‘I’m going to pull a bucket list, [and] I’m going to call guys that I never had the balls to call, and have no fear. There’s one or two answers that you can get — yes or no. And you’ve got to be able to accept no. Don’t take it personal. I called Keith Richards. I called Jimmy Page. I called [Robert] Plant. I didn’t care. I was just, like, finding them and calling them. And some of them said yes — not Robert Plant, dammit [laughs] — but Steven Tyler, Robin Zander, Billy Gibbons, Joe Elliott, Slash, the DeLeo brothers. I go and play with my friends, and it’s a blast.”
NIKKI SIXX On How MÖTLEY CRÜE Has Managed To Stay Together 40 Years: 'I Think The Camaraderie Is A Big Part Of It'
MÖTLEY CRÜE bassist Nikki Sixx spoke to Kerrang! Radio’s Loz Guest about the secret behind the band’s 40 years together, what he’s been up to in the last year, and what his future plans are. Nikki also accepted the Kerrang! Radio Hall Of Fame award on behalf of the band.
Speaking about the fact that MÖTLEY CRÜE has been together four decades, Nikki said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “I don’t think any of us ever really looked… I don’t think anybody looks that far into the future. But then you start seeing some of the bands that you grew up with hitting their 30th birthday, and you’re, like, ‘Woah. These guys have been around 30 years. That’s amazing.’ And now [they hit] 40 years. And now bands that meant so much to me growing up, like AEROSMITH, I think they just hit 50 years. In my head, I’m, like, ‘Are they even 50 years old?’ ‘Cause I still see the album cover to ‘Toys In The Attic’. So it’s cool. It used to be a young man’s game, and now it’s a quality game.
“I really admire DEF LEPPARD in so many ways,” he continued, referencing the iconic British rockers whom MÖTLEY CRÜE is supposed to be touring U.S. stadiums with in 2022. “They have such a great body of music, and their work ethic is amazing, and how they interact with each other. And many bands like that. But just using DEF LEPPARD as an example, they’re able to give generations, generations, generations of people great music, whether it’s nostalgic or something new, but they go out and they do these tours. And you get to a place where going to a MÖTLEY CRÜE concert, an AEROSMITH concert [or] a METALLICA concert — the list goes on — you know you’re gonna get, pretty much from the first song to the last song, you know every single song. And that’s a cool place to be for us. It doesn’t matter — you can just look at our catalog and put your finger on it and go, ‘That’s the opening song tonight.’ And you know that the majority of people are gonna have enjoyed it, and it’s been part of their lives. So that’s a fun thing to do, and I think fun for bands and for fans as well.”
He added: “Yeah, 40 years. Woah. I’m not gonna make 50.”
Nikki also talked about the fact that MÖTLEY CRÜE’s original lineup is still intact, which is a claim that less than a handful of other iconic rock bands can boast.
“I think the camaraderie is a big part of it,” he said. “And also you’ve gotta realize that anybody you knew 40 years ago, you go from being kids to young adults to [being] married, [having] kids, buy houses. I mean, we were all kind of pretty much living together, and then, at some point, we were going to each other’s houses to visit each other and hang out. And you just realize we’re all experiencing the same really super-cool things. But no matter what happened in the band or didn’t happen in the band, it all boils down to rehearsal. You’re in rehearsal, there’s a bunch of open pizza boxes, there’s shit scattered everywhere, Tommy’s [Lee, drums] over there [pounding the drums]. ‘Dude, shut up. I’m trying to tune my bass.’ Mick’s [Mars, guitar] over there [playing his guitar] — just all this noise and energy. And then, all of a sudden, it’s, like, ‘Hey, you guys, you wanna run one?’ And then you run it, and it’s, like, bam. Magic. It’s there again. So whatever happens, not even the stage, it goes back to rehearsal — that moment. ‘Cause that’s when there’s nobody there. There’s no press. There’s no photographers. There’s no management. There’s nothing. It’s just the same four guys.”
A year and a half ago, Sixx said that MÖTLEY CRÜE’s 2019 biopic “The Dirt” sparked a renewed interest from younger fans who wanted to see the band live, contributing to the group’s decision to renege on its infamous “cessation of touring” contract.
After vowing in 2015 never to play together again, CRÜE announced in December 2019 that they would be touring with fellow hard rock veterans DEF LEPPARD and POISON.
“The Stadium Tour” was originally scheduled to take place last summer but ended up being pushed back to 2021, and then to 2022, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Sixx’s new memoir, “The First 21: How I Became Nikki Sixx”, will be released on October 19 via Hachette Books.
ANTHRAX is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year with a number of special activities and events. Each week, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, ANTHRAX’s social media accounts are offering a series of video testimonials sent in by former bandmembers, fellow musicians, colleagues, and industry veterans sharing behind-the-scenes stories of working with the band and what ANTHRAX’s legacy has meant all these years on. These videos honor each album in chronological order, beginning with the debut LP, “Fistful Of Metal”
In the latest “40th Anniversary Episode’, focusing on ANTHRAX’s 1993 album “Sound Of White Noise”, current and former members of the band reflect on the original departure of singer Joey Belladonna and addition of John Bush as his replacement.
Belladonna, whose most recent return to ANTHRAX was officially announced in May 2010, was originally the lead singer of ANTHRAX from 1984 to 1992, and was considered part of the band’s classic lineup (alongside Dan Spitz, Scott Ian, Frank Bello and Charlie Benante), which reunited and toured during 2005 and 2006. His voice was featured on over ten albums, which reportedly sold eight million copies worldwide.
Regarding the decision to part ways with Belladonna, Ian said: “By the time we finished the year-and-a-half touring cycle — 20, 21 months of touring cycle, and then ‘[Attack Of The] Killer B’s’ comes out. I think the last thing we did together as a band with Joey was [our appearance] on [the] ‘Married With Children’ [TV show]. And then it wasn’t long after that when we made the change. But it wasn’t a quick decision. We were very much a united front, the four of us. Because otherwise it wouldn’t have happened.
“There’s never an easy way to talk about this stuff,” he continued. “Certainly when you’re in the thick of it, when it’s happening, it’s horrible when you’re having to make a decision like this. But it just really came down to, creatively, we all just felt like there was just no way for the band to move forward. We had just hit a wall. It was the heaviest decision in the history of the band, certainly. And even that I feel like doesn’t give it the weight that it needs. And there was never anything personal with Joey — it was never personal with him. It just really came down to the creative ability for the band, honestly, to move forward. And I hate that it’s something that happened.
“Obviously, things are meant to be,” Scott added. “I am somewhat of a spiritual person. I’ve seen and done enough in my life to know that sometimes shit doesn’t just happen randomly. The way everything worked out in the end, with Joey coming back in 2010, and the band, for the last 11 years, being creatively better than we’ve ever been and in a better place than we’ve ever been, I have to say that I really believe that it all worked out for some reason. That doesn’t make it any easier on Joey certainly; there’s nothing I can say that ever would.”
Bello said about Belladonna’s exit from the group: “It’s so strange for me to even talk about this now, because Joey’s back in the band now, and it’s like he’s never been gone.
“It was a hard thing when Joey was out,” he admitted. “It was a change, but I think it was best for the band ’cause of where we were going. It was a hard decision. I think we were going in a different way musically, and you could hear it.”
Added Benante: “The 1991 me was more arrogant than I am now. Because the problem is I love Joey so much, and at the time we were different people doing it, and we felt this was the only thing for us to take us into the next level or the next chapter of the band. Yeah, it was tough.”
Ian previously opened up about the decision to fire Belladonna nearly three decades ago during a 2016 appearance on the “WTF With Marc Maron” podcast. He stated at the time: “I just truly didn’t have the patience anymore. I think my biggest problem was I was writing the words, and I couldn’t deal with the fact anymore that someone else was singing my lyrics, but I couldn’t sing; there was no way I could be the singer of ANTHRAX. I think it really, really did come down to that — that I couldn’t stand it anymore. These are my words, these are my feelings, it’s my emotions, and you’re not me. And even learning the songs and hearing them back, that’s not how I hear it in my head. ‘No, no. Like this. Like this. Like this. Like this.'”
He continued: “My solution at the time was turning around to the rest of the band and saying, ‘It’s either [Joey] or me.’ I pulled the same shit Neil Turbin [former ANTHRAX singer] pulled years before that. I said, ‘I can’t do this again. We need to make a change.’ And it wasn’t just me holding the gun. Everyone was on the same page. Everyone felt like what we had done as ANTHRAX in the ’80s into the early ’90s, we had already moved past that. The sound was changing.
“If you listen to ‘Persistence Of Time’ , musically, that record has more to do with ‘Sound Of White Noise’, the first John Bush record, than it has to do with ‘State Of Euphoria’ , the previous ANTHRAX album. Musically, we were already going somewhere else, but Joey, for us, I guess at the time, felt like, ‘He’s not representing us anymore.'”
Ian went on to say that he has since come to see Joey’s unique vocal contributions in a different light than he did more than twenty years ago. “Of course, I spent a year of my life writing a book [‘I’m The Man: The Story Of That Guy From Anthrax’] and looking back on that time and really kind of getting back into those shoes, and… we should have given the guy a shot,” he said. “Why we didn’t give him the shot, I really don’t know why we weren’t able to… Because I even remember, I remember Jonny Z, our manager, he was, ‘Are you sure? Are you sure this is the decision you wanna make?’ ‘Yes, yes, yes.'”
The guitarist added that at least part of the reason ANTHRAX made a singer change was to take the sound in a heavier direction, something that they didn’t think was possible with Belladonna at the helm.
“I wanted it to be harder,” Ian said. “I couldn’t do it, but I wanted someone who could almost… I wanted it to be harder. I didn’t want Lemmy — I didn’t want it to sound like that — I just wanted it to be harder. And John [Bush] brought it, for sure.”
Belladonna had been critical of ANTHRAX’s decision to fire him at the height of the band’s success, telling MikeJamesrRockShow.com five years ago: “Personally, it sucks just to think all those years went by that I didn’t really have a chance to do anything. ‘Cause I could have sang on any of those records [that were made during the John Bush era]. Not to say that what they did was… whatever reason and whatever style and all that stuff. I could have easily sang that regardless, no bones. It would have been easy to sing. It’s just I think they were chasing some other idea. I always say that, whether they disagree. I don’t think there was any reason to move. But you know what? We’re here now.”
Bush told Metal Talk about the task of replacing Joey Belladonna in ANTHRAX back in 1992: “I respect Joey Belladonna; he did great for ANTHRAX in his heyday and in the years that he made records and they were popular. You know, I think I just went out and did it from my heart and just said, ‘Hey, I’m gonna go out and kick ass and sing to the best of my ability.’ And I think we made some great records. I just think they were different records than what ANTHRAX did in the ’80s.”
He continued: “The funny thing is, sometimes there was this, ‘Oh, we’re the same band. Oh, we’re the same band,’ and looking back, well, we kind of were a little different band. I think we were. But at that time, we kept trying to convince people, ‘Oh, it’s the same band. It’s the same band.’ But when you make a singer change, the sound will change a little bit, which, that was what the intention was at the time.”
ANTHRAX’s latest album, “For All Kings”, which features Belladonna, came out in February 2016 via Nuclear Blast.
This week’s slate of new releases includes bangers from Blazon Rite, The Day of the Beast, Eye of Purgatory and more!
The post Five For Friday: June 18, 2021 appeared first on Decibel Magazine.
In a new interview with Rolling Live Studios, Ronnie James Dio’s former wife and longtime manager Wendy Dio spoke about how he popularized the the so-called “devil’s horns” hand gesture. She said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “A lot of people claim that it was theirs, and it’s okay. It wasn’t Ronnie’s. It’s an old Italian sign called malocchio [the evil eye], to ward off evil. His grandma, when he was about five, used to walk down to town to give his granpa lunch at the steel mill, and he’d see his grandma [doing] the sign — it was, like, warding off evil — and he didn’t think about it; it was just part of his heritage. And then when he joined [BLACK] SABBATH, of course, Ozzy [Osbourne, original SABBATH singer] was doing the peace sign. And he didn’t wanna do that. And then one day he just did it, and it just took off. And it was just something that Ronnie became popular for.”
The late BLACK SABBATH and RAINBOW singer is frequently recognized for making the hand gesture mainstream — a staple at rock concerts for decades. However, this past March, SABBATH bassist Geezer Butler said that he was using the so-called “devil horns” years before Dio adopted it as his own.
“I’ve been doing that sign since — I’ve got pictures of me doing it since 1971,” Butler said during an appearance on SiriusXM’s “Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk”. “And I always used to do it in the breakdown in the song ‘Black Sabbath’ — just before it goes into the fast part at the end, I’d do that sign to the audience. And on the first couple of ‘Heaven And Hell’ tour shows, Ronnie was saying, ‘When I’m going on stage, everybody is doing the peace sign to me, and that’s an Ozzy thing. I feel like I should be doing something back to them.’ He says, ‘What’s that sign that you do in ‘Black Sabbath’?’ And I showed him the devil horns sign. And he started doing it from there and made it famous.”
Asked why he had never publicly revealed before that he was responsible for showing Dio the devil horns, Butler said: “I didn’t really think much of it. As I say, I’ve got pictures of me doing it in 1971. And it was just an alternative to Ozzy’s peace signs, I was doing it. And if you look at the ‘Yellow Submarine’ album cover [from THE BEATLES], John Lennon’s cartoon character is doing it, in 1966 or whatever it was. So it’s an old sign. I was just doing it ’cause [English occultist] Aleister Crowley used to do it.”
According to Geezer, the devil horns isn’t the only thing that Ronnie took credit for that he didn’t come up with on his own. “There’s a lot of things that he nicked off me that he claimed that he was the originator,” Butler said. “But he made it famous, so I didn’t care. The [DIO] album title ‘Sacred Heart’; that’s where I used to go to school. And he called one of his songs ‘One Foot In The Grave’. I jokingly said, ‘We should call the album ‘One Foot In The Grave’.’ And then when he left [SABBATH], he called one of his songs that. He was very naughty about things like that. And when I did an autograph, I’d write ‘Magic’. So Ronnie started writing ‘Magic’ as well. In fact, he called his [DIO] album ‘Magica’. He was very naughty about things like that.”
Asked if he ever confronted Ronnie about it, Geezer said: “Nah. Only about the devil horn sign.”
Ronnie wasn’t the only high-profile rocker to take credit for the devil horns. Back in June 2017, KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a trademark on the hand signal fans and rockers alike hold up during shows, in which the index and pinkie fingers are extended, the middle and ring finger are curled into the palm, and the thumb either sticks out from the hand like an errant branch from a tree or is also curled into the palm. Gene claimed the gesture was first used in commerce on November 14, 1974, which corresponds to KISS’s “Hotter Than Hell” tour. He wrote in his signed declaration that he believes “no other person, firm, corporation or association has the right to use said mark in commerce, either in the identical form or in such near resemblance.” Less than two weeks later, Simmons withdrew the application.
Most music fans slammed Simmons for the trademark request, saying the symbol has become ubiquitous and means different things to different people.
During an appearance on the “Talk Is Jericho” podcast, Simmons said that his version of the hand gesture is actually “I love you” in American Sign Language, with the thumb extended, rather than the thumb holding two middle fingers close to the palm as popularized by Ronnie James Dio and used by everyone from rock stars to chefs as a salute of musical inclusiveness and triumph since the ’70s.
“When [KISS] first started doing photos in 1973, in the last century, I was doing an homage,” he explained. “I didn’t know what to do with my hands… ’cause I had wings [as part of my costume] and I wanted to show the wings. So you spread your arms, kind of like a Christ-like pose, but I didn’t know what to do with my fingers. So I did what an artist named Steve Ditko did with Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, both of whom did the hand signal. So when Spider-Man shot the webbing, he would do the two middle fingers. And the eternal Vishanti doing the hoary hosts of Hoggoth, that’s Doctor Strange. So I was just giving an homage to Steve Ditko, and it caught on. And so when we were playing live, I wanted to wave back at the fans who were just, like, ‘Wow, you guys are kind of hot shit,’ but I’m holding the pick in my hand. So I’m trying to hold up both my fingers. And so they all started to do that. To this day, whether you’re going to a soccer match in Ukraine or in Africa, or wherever, the fans may not even think about Gene Simmons, but they’ll do a version of those outstretched fingers and stick their tongue out without knowing why. It’s become the thing. I don’t care if you’re Rihanna or Chubby Checker, everybody does that stuff, although they may not realize it started with the powerful and attractive Gene Simmons.”
Asked why he eventually decided to withdraw his application to trademark the gesture, Simmons told “Talk Is Jericho”: “The uneducated, the uninformed and the otherwise passionate got so hot under the collar that I just didn’t think it was worth it.
He continued: “People from the peanut gallery, and I love ’em… But the idea that everybody’s opinion is worth the same as everybody else is… I don’t wanna say ‘bullshit,’ but it’s uninformed. You know, your car breaks down and some guy walks up and says, ‘Here’s what’s wrong with it.’ That’s one opinion. The other guy that walks over is a mechanic who works on cars all the time. Both those opinions are not equal. One is more important because it’s based on resume and qualification, and the other one is based on popcorn farts — he knows nothing. Well, your opinion is worth nothing, ’cause it’s based on nothing and no experience. Mostly people that have opinions express them just because they have no qualification or resume.
“So, it just wasn’t important enough for me to go do that, ’cause everybody’s doing my hand gesture anyway — whether it’s the Dalai Lama or the Pope. I win.”
Simmons added: “But, truly, when somebody criticizes you or whatever, take a moment to think about, ‘Gee, I wonder what they’ve done.’ In other words, it’s not what somebody says — who’s saying it? If I get criticized as a bad person, as an example, by somebody standing next to me, that’s not the same as the Pope or my rabbi or somebody in a ethical position of power. I might still object, but that’s a qualified opinion.”
Copyright lawyer Ronald Abrams told Forbes that it’s unlikely Simmons would have succeeded in his attempt to trademark the “devil’s horns” symbol, explaining that such hand gestures can’t be trademarked unless they are part of a logo. Trademark attorney Michael Cohen with Cohen IP Law Group in Beverly Hills, who deals with trademark, patent and copyright infringement cases, concurred, telling the Los Angeles Times that it would have been very difficult for Simmons’s application to be approved because the gesture has become “genericized.”
Gene’s KISS bandmate Paul Stanley said that he had no idea why Simmons attempted to trademark the hand gesture, telling the Loudwire Podcast: “Well, you know, Gene elicits some very strong reactions from people. And what he does he does for the reasons that only he knows. So I can’t really say that I have really any thought about it. It was really something that he wanted to pursue, and the reaction was how people felt about it. So I don’t know why he pulled it, and I don’t know why he started it. I really have no… I haven’t asked him.”
During an episode of her show “The Talk”, Sharon Osbourne slammed Simmons for the trademark request, accusing the rocker of “trying to make money from posters and t-shirts.” She said: “He’s crazy. He’s trying to get money from the merch where you see this [gesture] on merch, but actually this [symbol], in Italian, which has been going for hundreds of years, means ‘the devil.’ That’s what it means. And so kids at concerts have been doing it for years and years and years. And in ’74? Where were you in the ’60s when they were doing it, kid, because they’ve been doing it forever.”
Wendy also criticized Simmons for attempting to trademark the hand sign. She told TheWrap: “To try to make money off of something like this is disgusting. It belongs to everyone — it doesn’t belong to anyone. It’s a public domain, it shouldn’t be trademarked.”
Ronnie himself has poked fun at Gene for attempting to to take credit for the devil horns. “Gene Simmons will tell you that he invented it,” Dio once said. “But then again, Gene invented breathing and shoes and everything else.”
As previously reported, the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund, founded in memory of the late heavy metal icon, will join forces with virtual event producers Rolling Live Studios to celebrate Ronnie’s birthday on Saturday, July 10. The global livestream fundraising event will bring together celebrities and fans all over the world to honor Dio’s undeniable impact both on and off the stage. The frontman for ELF, RAINBOW, BLACK SABBATH and DIO, Ronnie lost his battle with gastric cancer in 2010.
FOO FIGHTERS have announced that they will dedicate their June 20 concert at the Madison Square Garden in New York City to the memory of the band’s longtime stage manager, Andy Pollard.
Pollard passed away the morning of June 18. He served as FOO FIGHTERS’ stage manager for 12 years.
The band commented: “We are shocked and devastated by this loss. We can’t imagine being onstage without Andy there by our side. He was not only a key member of our team but a dear friend and wonderful father. Our hearts go out to his partner Sophie Peacock, their children Arlo and Ren, and his family and loved ones.”
As a warm-up gig for the Madison Square Garden show, FOO FIGHTERS performed this past Tuesday (June 15) at the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills, California.
FOO FIGHTERS first headlined a sold-out Garden in February 2008 on their “Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace” tour, returning to rock the venue for another sell-out show in November 2011 on the “Wasting Light” tour. Most recently, the band sold-out two nights at The World’s Most Famous Arena in July 2018, on their “Concrete And Gold” tour.
— Foo Fighters (@foofighters) June 18, 2021