WOLFGANG VAN HALEN On Response To His ‘Distance’ Single: ‘It’s An Outpouring Of Love Like I’ve Never Seen Before’

Wolfgang Van Halen told Marci Wiser of the 95.5 KLOS radio station that a lot of other artists have reached out to him to offer their words of support in the days following the release of “Distance”, the first single from his solo band MAMMOTH WVH. “To the point where I can’t even keep up with it,” he said (hear audio below). “I’ve never had this — with just texts and social media. I used to be able to read everything, and now I can’t. So much falls to the wayside that I might not even be aware who’s reaching out to me. It’s an outpouring of love like I’ve never seen before. It’s incredible.” He added: “I’ve never been able to go on my phone before and see an overwhelming amount of positive things said about me, which is pretty crazy.”

Wolfgang also talked about how he deals with being at the receiving end of online criticism, explaining that it’s always best to laugh it off.

“It’s funny, ’cause you’ve gotta think about where those people are in their lives to be able to be so comfortable saying such horrible things that it’s, like, ‘Man, you know what? They’re probably going through a lot right now. It’s best to just let it roll off my back,'” he said.

Wolfgang had been preparing to release music from his solo band MAMMOTH WVH for some time. That plan was altered when his father and guitar icon Eddie Van Halen called him and told him his cancer had returned. Wolfgang decided to put everything on hold to be with his father through his battle. During that time, Wolfgang was writing material for his upcoming solo album, for which the first single “Distance” would be born.

Writing the song and performing all of the instrumentation and vocals for MAMMOTH WVH, “Distance” is an open letter to his father — one Wolfgang was fortunate to play for his dad and would become a favorite of Eddie’s — declaring “no matter what the distance is, I will be with you.” The video for the song is created from a collection of family home movies through the years and offers an inside look in to one of music’s most notable personalities. Chronicling the family through the years, the video ends with a touching voicemail left from Eddie to his son.

Last week, “Distance” topped Billboard’s Hot Hard Rock Songs chart. The track also entered the Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart at No. 9 and the Hard Rock Digital Song Sales and Rock Digital Song Sales charts at Nos. 1 and 2, respectively.

MAMMOTH WVH’s debut album is scheduled for release in 2021 via Explorer1 Music Group/EX1 Records.

Photo credit: Travis Shinn

Watch DREAM THEATER’s JAMES LABRIE Sing A Cappella Version Of ‘Pull Me Under’

Video of DREAM THEATER singer James LaBrie belting out an a cappella version of “Pull Me Under”, the first single from the band’s breakthrough album “Images And Words”, can be seen below.

LaBrie sang a couple of lines from the track while filming a new video message on Cameo, which lets users hire celebrities to record brief, personalized video messages about virtually any topic.

Cameo reportedly features more than 20,000 celebrities — from musicians and actors to drag queens and from YouTubers to Olympic gold medallists — who, for fees from $1 to $2,500, will offer video messages that mention another person by name. Happy birthday messages are common, as are baby announcements, but some celebrities have also recorded messages for Cameo users looking to quit their jobs or ask a potential date to a prom. The price for a video is determined by the celebrity.

LaBrie charges $55 for each of his Cameo videos.

Upon its release in 1992, “Pull Me Under” and its accompanying video received airtime on radio and MTV and expanded DREAM THEATER’s audience.

“‘Pull Me Under’ was a surprise to everyone, ’cause ‘Pull Me Under’ is… it’s over eight minutes long, never meant to be a single,” DREAM THEATER guitarist John Petrucci told Gitarre & Bass in 2017. “The songs being played on the radio were nothing like DREAM THEATER, but, for some reason, it must have stuck out to where people were calling the radio stations: ‘What is that band? Oh my God! I wanna hear that song again.’ And that kind of snowballed and grew, and ‘Pull Me Under’ became a rock radio hit. And I remember at the time I was living in New Jersey, on the East Coast of the U.S., and I’d turn on the radio and I’d hear it all the time. It was a cool feeling.”

Asked if “Pull Me Under” is the most important song of DREAM THEATER’s career, John said: “Yeah. Probably. Yeah. If you think about what it did for us as far as the future is concerned, it really put up on the map. It enabled us to go from local guys driving around in a van, playing to a few people in clubs to an international touring band with this whole long and very busy and productive career. And who knows? Without that kind of initial spark, we may never have been able to be as successful as we have. I mean, who knows? Maybe we would have. I don’t know. But it certainly, certainly helped. Big time.”

Earlier this month, Petrucci confirmed that DREAM THEATER is using the coronavirus downtime to commence the songwriting sessions for the follow-up to last year’s “Distance Over Time” album.

“Distance Over Time” marked DREAM THEATER’s first album for for Sony Music’s progressive imprint InsideOut Music. The group spent the past 25 years recording under various labels in the Warner Music Group system, most recently Roadrunner Records, which released five albums by the band between 2007 and 2016.

DREAM THEATER has just released its ninth career live album, “Distant Memories – Live In London”. Recorded at DREAM THEATER’s sold-out show at the Apollo Theatre in London, the live release documents the band’s popular world tour in support of “Distance Over Time” and the 20th anniversary of their seminal concept album “Metropolis Part 2 – Scenes From A Memory”.

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PAUL STANLEY Blasts Republicans Not Speaking Against TRUMP: ‘Not Sharing Their Opinion Is A Coward’s Way Out’

Paul Stanley has blasted Republican senators for not speaking out against Donald Trump as Trump claimed that President-elect Joe Biden must prove that the votes he received in the presidential election were not “illegally obtained” in order to enter the White House.

The KISS frontman criticized GOP senators for not publicly recognizing Biden’s win and for not countering the promotion by Trump and his campaign of unfounded claims that voter fraud disrupted the presidential election.

“Republican politicians who now cower before this president are the same ones that ridiculed & dismissed him in the 2016 primaries,” Stanley tweeted. “Their silence IS a choice & not sharing their opinion IS a coward’s way out. It feeds the mistrust that eats at the core of this country I love.”

Trump tweeted that Biden can only enter the White House as president if he can prove that his “ridiculous 80,000,000 votes were not fraudulently or illegally obtained. When you see what happened in Detroit, Atlanta, Philadelphia & Milwaukee, massive voter fraud, he’s got a big unsolvable problem!” The tweet was flagged by Twitter with a warning label that reads, “This claim about election fraud is disputed.”

Trump’s tweet came after Biden crossed the 80-million vote threshold, with final ballots still being counted. Biden became the first presidential candidate in U.S. history to surpass 80 million votes.

Trump received the second-most votes of all time with over 73 million votes.

There is no requirement for Biden to “prove” his votes were legally obtained for him to take office.

Trump’s lawyers have not presented any evidence of voter fraud and have repeatedly admitted in court cases that they are not even alleging voter fraud.

At least 40 lawsuits have been filed by Trump or other Republicans related to the election results. The majority have been dismissed, denied, settled or withdrawn.

On Sunday morning, Trump baselessly claimed in an interview on Fox News that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice may be involved in a conspiracy to steal the election from him.

“This is total fraud, and how the FBI and Department of Justice — I don’t know maybe they’re involved. But how people are allowed to get away with this stuff is unbelievable,” the president told Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo.

Republican politicians who now cower before this president are the same ones that ridiculed & dismissed him in the 2016 primaries. Their silence IS a choice & not sharing their opinion IS a coward’s way out. It feeds the mistrust that eats at the core of this country I love. https://t.co/lKfSU5hhcX
— Paul Stanley (@PaulStanleyLive) November 27, 2020

PHILIP ANSELMO’s SCOUR Releases Music Video For ‘Flames’

SCOUR, the extreme metal supergroup featuring Philip H. Anselmo (PANTERA, DOWN, EN MINOR), John Jarvis (AGORAPHOBIC NOSEBLEED), Derek Engemann (PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS), Mark Kloeppel (MISERY INDEX) and Adam Jarvis (PIG DESTROYER, LOCK UP) has just released its long-anticipated record “The Black EP”. The official music video for the EP’s latest single, “Flames”, can be seen below.

Forged in 2015, SCOUR made its debut with the ferocious single “Dispatched”. “The Grey EP”, released via Anselmo’s Housecore label, dropped in 2016, followed by “The Red EP” in 2017. Faster and tighter than ever, this year’s “The Black EP” serves as the final release of the EP trilogy and is inarguably the band’s most ferocious effort to date. Mixed and mastered by Ryan Vincent at Apollo Audio Alternative with vocals and drums engineered by Stephen “Big Fella” Berrigan (DOWN, PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS, EYEHATEGOD), “The Black EP” includes guest appearances from Erik Rutan of HATE ETERNAL, Pat O’Brien of CANNIBAL CORPSE, and actor Jason Momoa (“Dune”, “Game Of Thrones”, “Aquaman”).

“The latest SCOUR is the best SCOUR,” proclaims Anselmo. Engemann adds: “This is our most fierce and ripping album to date. Completing the EP trilogy, ‘The Black EP’ brings a more mature musical approach without compromising the utter relentless brutality. We’ve got a few special gems as well that I’m stoked for people to hear.”

“The Black EP” was released via CD, LP and digital formats via Housecore Records (North America) and Nuclear Blast (internationally).

“The Black EP” track listing:

01. Doom
02. Nail
03. Propaganda
04. Flames
05. Microbes
06. Subprime

The sound of SCOUR can best be described as a modern reimagining of what primarily became known as black metal mixed with elements of grindcore and bits of punk and thrash. Without getting too caught up in genre classification, the result is a brand of ominously-hued, punishing minimalism that pays proper homage the the originators, without the trappings of being a “throwback,” reimagining the lineage from primitive punk darkness into modernity. This nuanced approach was, perhaps, made crystal clear with the 2019 release of their cover of BATHORY’s “Massacre”.

In its short existence, the band has graced the stages of many of the major players in both the mainstream and metal-oriented music festival circuits including Roskilde, Hellfest, Tecate Metal Festival, Maryland Deathfest, and more. As the lineage of its membership suggests, SCOUR continues to be a proverbial force with which to be reckoned both on the stage and in the studio.

SCOUR is:

Philip H. Anselmo – vocals
Derek Engemann – guitar, backing vocals
John Jarvis – bass, backing vocals
Mark Kloeppel – guitar, backing vocals
Adam Jarvis – drums

IVAN MOODY Reacts To News That JEREMY SPENCER And JASON HOOK Have Collaborated On New EP: ‘Challenge Accepted’

FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH singer Ivan Moody has reacted to the news that two of his former bandmates, Jeremy Spencer and Jason Hook, worked together on the new EP from Spencer’s theatrical rock band PSYCHOSEXUAL.

On Friday, PSYCHOSEXUAL surprise-released a covers EP, “Songs To Stalk You By”, featuring a guest appearance by Hook on two songs: the KISS classic “Watchin’ You” and QUEENSRŸCHE’s “Gonna Get Close To You”. The recordings mark the first time Spencer and Hook have collaborated since they parted ways with FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH.

Moody, who is active on Instagram, took to the social media platform on Saturday to share a two-minute video message in which “congratulated” Spencer and Hook for reuniting on the PSYCHOSEXUAL EP while also “accepting” a non-existent “challenge” from his onetime bandmates to make a great new album.

Moody said (see video below): “As I’m driving home, my phone kept blowing up. I was like, ‘Fuck.’ So I pulled over to check it. And I got, like, a hundred different news feeds. And they all read something… I thought it was a joke at first, but it’s very real. And it read: ‘Jason Hook joins forces with Jeremy Spencer.'”

Ivan went on to say that he was “excited” to see Hook and Spencer play together again. “I’m not patronizing — I’m not,” he insisted. “This comes from my heart.

“Jason and Jeremy, congratulations. I know you two have waited to do something together for years, and now you have the platform to do it, man. So let’s see what you got,” he said.

“Now, I could take this one of two ways. I could take this as a spit in the face, saying that you’re going to do bigger and better. And the quote I heard was — and forgive me if I’m wrong on this — was that someone said the sex appeal has left FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH. Sound familiar?

“I didn’t know we were out for Calvin Klein ads,” Ivan added. “But if you’re gonna be out there, then reach for the top, man — Drakkar Noir, Playgirl. Fuck it, right?

“I hope the two of you write the greatest fucking album you can muster. Challenge accepted. I’ll be your huckleberry. Because as of today, I am personally gonna make sure that this new DEATH PUNCH album is like nothing you’ve ever fucking heard before.”

Moody concluded the video by saying: “To all of our fans, thank you for sticking with us through all these years. Keep your ear to the ground. It’s about to get real fucking interesting.”

It should be noted that there is no indication that Hook has joined PSYCHOSEXUAL or that he and Spencer will collaborate on any new original music.

Jeremy, who co-founded FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH with guitarist Zoltan Bathory, left the band so that he could undergo back surgery in the fall of 2018 that required a significant recovery period.

Spencer’s replacement in FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH is Charlie “The Engine” Engen. Engen made his recording debut with the band on the “F8” album, which came out in February.

Hook exited FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH in February 2020 during the band’s sold-out European arena tour. He later said that it was “time to pass the baton and move on to new challenges.”

Jason was replaced by renowned British virtuoso Andy James, who is also featured on “Broken World”, one of the five previously unreleased tracks on FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH’s latest greatest-hits compilation “Decade Of Destruction, Volume 2”.

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SEVENDUST’s MORGAN ROSE Explains How He Ended Up Making Solo EP

SEVENDUST drummer Morgan Rose released his debut solo EP, “Controlled Chaos”, on November 27 via Rise Records. Morgan co-wrote the EP with SEVENDUST bandmate Clint Lowery. With Clint on guitar and Jason Christopher (COREY TAYLOR, PRONG) on bass, Morgan tracked six songs in less than ten days at The Lair in Culver City, California.

Rose discussed how the idea for the EP came about during a recent interview with Alicia Atout. He said (see video below): “I came to California in the very beginning of March, and I was supposed to be here for, like, two or three days. I had just started dating a girl, and she lived out here. So I was, like, ‘Okay, cool. We’ll take that step and we’ll spend some time in somebody’s house.’ So I was supposed to be here three days and go into New York on the 9th [of March] to do interviews and get ready for the SEVENDUST world. So then this [pandemic] hit. And all my interviews were, like, ‘Well, maybe you should hold on for a few days and let’s see what’s going on, ’cause something’s getting ready to happen here.’ So that two or three days turned into two months. So I basically just moved into my girlfriend’s house. It’s, like, ‘Oh, we just started dating. Oh, we live together.’ It was wild.”

He continued: “The funny thing is that she’s an engineer that works on records, so she had access to this studio, and I was, like, I wanna do something. So I called Clint, and he said, ‘I’m gonna send you some guitar riffs, and [you] play drums and sing on it, and see what happens.’ So I ended up doing a solo record, like it was a joke. I was just, like, ‘I’ll just go in and record a little bit. I’m not a singer; I’m a screamer.’ So I ended up doing this solo record, and Rise picked it up. And I was, like, ‘Oh my God. I have a record deal as a solo artist now all of a sudden.’ It was a trip.”

Fans of Morgan’s main gig will be pleasantly surprised at the different shades presented on “Controlled Chaos”, as the EP presents a varied musical blueprint on the legendary drummer. Morgan sounds equally at home singing with a keyboard and orchestral accompaniment as he does belting out his trademark primal screams in a full band setting. The EP’s first single, “The Answer”, which can be heard below, is a bombastic introduction to the EP, taking a page from SEVENDUST’s penchant for thick guitars, up-tempo rhythms, and gritty yet melodious vocals.

“Controlled Chaos” track listing:

01. Intro
02. The Answer
03. Faster Man
04. Clarity
05. Come Alive
06. Exhale

Rose began his career over 25 years ago as a founding member of the Atlanta-based metal band SEVENDUST. Morgan’s stickwork with the band has been nationally recognized, being named the number one metal drummer by Modern Drummer magazine, as well as one of the top 100 drummers of all time by Drum magazine, Hit Parader and Drummerworld. Rose, in addition to his work with SEVENDUST, is known for his contributions to projects CALL ME NO ONE with Clint Lowery of SEVENDUST and METHODS OF MAYHEM with Tommy Lee of MÖTLEY CRÜE. With an impressive three million albums sold, Rose has proved a powerhouse alongside SEVENDUST, helping the band earn four RIAA gold-certified albums.

SEVENDUST’s 13th studio album, “Blood & Stone”, was released on October 23 via Rise Records. The follow-up to 2018’s “All I See Is War” was once again tracked at Studio Barbarosa in Gotha, Florida with producer Michael “Elvis” Baskette, who has previously worked with ALTER BRIDGE and SLASH, among others.

Photo credit: Travis Shinn

How JUDAS PRIEST Debunked Existence Of Hidden Messages In Its Songs

JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford says that he still doesn’t know why he and his bandmates were subjected to a subliminal-message trial in Reno, Nevada more than three decades ago.

In August 1990, a judge ruled that JUDAS PRIEST was not liable for the deaths of two young men who cited the band’s music as the reason they killed themselves.

Just before Christmas, 1985, 19-year-old James Vance watched his best friend Ray Belknap shoot himself to death with a .12 gauge shotgun in a churchyard outside Reno, Nevada. Then Vance pulled the trigger on himself. He survived but was severely disfigured. Vance later claimed his actions had been influenced by the heavy metal music of JUDAS PRIEST, prompting his family to sue the band.

At the heart of the lawsuit was the claim that JUDAS PRIEST’s “Stained Class” album’s songs contained messages that, when played backwards, said “try suicide” and “let’s be dead.” Lawyers said it was the song “Better By You, Better Than Me” with its subliminal command of “do it, do it, do it” that pushed the two men over the line to end their troubled lives.

Vance told attorneys that he and Belknap were listening to JUDAS PRIEST when “all of a sudden we got a suicide message, and we got tired of life.” In a letter to Belknap’s mother, he later wrote, “I believe that alcohol and heavy-metal music such as JUDAS PRIEST led us to be mesmerized.”

“JUDAS PRIEST and CBS pander this stuff to alienated teenagers,” the Belknaps’ attorney argued. “The members of the chess club, the math and science majors don’t listen to this stuff. It’s the dropouts, the drug and alcohol abusers. So our argument is you have a duty to be more cautious when you’re dealing with a population susceptible to this stuff.”

Halford looked back on the Reno trial while promoting his recently released autobiography, “Confess”, in an interview with U.K.’s Metro.

Asked why JUDAS PRIEST was accused of brainwashing its fans to kill themselves, Rob replied: “I still don’t know to this day. We were targeted. Two boys had committed suicide in Reno and a group of people, backed by people who were against heavy metal music, said we were writing songs that if listened to in a certain way made you kill yourself. It was insane. Ozzy Osbourne went through it with his song ‘Suicide Solution’ and then it was our turn. We went to court in America and dealt with it.”

Asked how he and his bandmates debunked the existence of hidden messages in their songs, Rob said: “The prosecution said if you played heavy metal albums backwards you’d get devil-worshipping messages. I said to the guys, ‘Let’s prove them wrong.’ We got some Frank Sinatra albums, played them backwards in the hotel, and these unusual messages started appearing. One was, ‘I gave her a peppermint.’ It was ludicrous. I played them to the judge, who was a very conservative Mormon, and when he listened, he physically moved — he was surprised. It was a remarkable episode.”

Other lawsuits at that time sought damages because of violent lyrics in music, but the JUDAS PRIEST case was one of the first to claim that subliminal messages hidden behind those lyrics caused the deaths of young men.

Former TROUBLE Singer ERIC WAGNER Is Preparing To Record Debut Solo Album

In a new interview with Heavy Culture, former TROUBLE singer Eric Wagner revealed that he has been working on his debut solo album for the last few years. “[It’s completely] written [and I’m] just getting ready to record it,” he said (see video below). “I always wanted to do something like that. Friends that I grew up with [will] play on it, and [I will get some] guest guitar players to do the solos, [people] that I respect and consider friends for all these years. So it should be fun. And I’ve been looking forward to doing this. Like I said, that one’s written, and I’m just kind of waiting to record it. It’s [something] I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. It’s just me — it’s just me.”

Wagner went on to say that he is “getting real close” to beginning the recording process for the solo LP. “Whether it happens still this year or not, I’m not positive,” he said. “But that one will be out next year sometime… But I’ve been working on it for a few years. It’s finally finished. The thing’s done — the cover, all of it. It’s just sitting there waiting to get recorded. So I’m working out the contract stuff, so I should start recording pretty soon.”

During the same chat, Eric said that his band THE SKULL has written about five songs for its next studio LP. He is joined in the group by another former member of TROUBLE — bassist Ron Holzner — along with guitarist Lothar Keller (SACRED DAWN).

TROUBLE formed in 1979 and released several classic albums like “Trouble”, “Manic Frustration” and “Plastic Green Head”.

Wagner left TROUBLE in April 2008, citing his disdain for the touring life as the main reason for his departure.

In a 2016 interview with Oldschool Metal Maniac, Eric stated about his split with TROUBLE: “I was tired of everything. Tired of touring, playing same songs every night. I wanted to do more things, and I didn’t see us doing anything new. I had a bunch of new songs, that I’ve been working on, which appeared on BLACKFINGER records and THE SKULL records.”

Eric was one of the guest singers on Dave Grohl’s (NIRVANA, FOO FIGHTERS) heavy metal side project PROBOT, whose 2004 album featured heavy metal vocalists from the ’80s and ’90s.

Earlier this year, TROUBLE partnered with Hammerheart Records to re-release the legendary doom legends’ entire musical catalog, in addition to their upcoming album. This partnership that will see the distribution of the band’s entire library of music that spans over three decades.

BILLY SHEEHAN Says New TALAS Studio Album Is Shaping Up To Be ‘Really Cool’

Billy Sheehan spoke to the “Music Matters” podcast about the progress of the recording sessions for the new studio album from TALAS, the 1970s upstate New York band which initially earned its name while performing gigs in the Buffalo and Rochester scenes. Although TALAS started out by playing covers, it eventually introduced originals to its setlist.

“We’re just about to finish [the] new TALAS record,” Sheehan told “Music Matters” host Darrell Craig Harris (see video below). “That’s the version of TALAS that I left in ’85 to go join Dave [Lee Roth’s solo band]. And instead of rewriting the songs better and smarter, because I know a lot more now than I did then, [we wanted] to do it like we did it when we did it. And so we’re doing exactly a little snapshot of what we did back in 1985 — from the heart and for real. And it’s really cool, it’s shaping up to be. The drummer, Mark Miller, is as good as ever, and he was just one of the greatest drummers.

“We’re doing all songs that we never really recorded in the studio,” he continued. “Some we did on the ‘Live Speed On Ice’ record, but they were never recorded for real in the studio. All those songs are all the songs from our live set, which we never recorded. It’s kind of just a snapshot of the way we left it back when we did.”

TALAS’s new album will be released through Metal Blade Records.

Kings of the Buffalo bar circuit, TALAS slogged it out through the 1970s and 1980s, hoping for the breakthrough that never quite came. When David Lee Roth left VAN HALEN, Sheehan immediately joined Roth’s band, putting an effective end to TALAS.

In 2017, Sheehan rerformed TALAS with a lineup featuring Phil Naro and Mark Miller, along with new member Kire Najdovski, to play at the “Bands At Barnard” charity event in Greece. The group has played sporadic shows since then.

Last month, Naro revealed that he is battling tongue cancer. The 62-year-old musician told iHeartRadio.ca that his cancer returned in the fall of 2019, six years after he had a tumor removed from his neck.

Sheehan’s penchant for innovation has revolutionized the way the bass guitar is played. He formed MR. BIG in 1989, achieving a Billboard No. 1 single in the USA and 14 other countries with “To Be With You” from the band’s second Atlantic Records album release, “Lean Into It”. While developing his trademark style of playing, he performed over 4,000 live gigs on every continent except Africa and Antarctica.