Tuesday, 24 November 2009

A few minutes with Jaret Reddick.

I recently emailed some questions for hilarious pop-punk veterans Bowling for Soup to answer. After a successful string of shows across the UK dubbed 'The Party in Your Pants Tour' the Texas natives ventured back to the States to promote their latest album Sorry For Partyin', here frontman Jaret Reddick shares his random thoughts on touring the UK, loving the fans and hating L.A...

  • So, did you enjoy touring the UK once again?

The tour was incredible as always! We had a blast

  • The Party in Your Pants Tour seemed to be UK exclusive at present time, is this intentional or do you plan on touring other areas under the same name?

No...It was JUST a UK thing...You guys are special!

  • Why do you always bring the same supports over? Is it because you have found the PERFECT support formula?

We don't really...But we have had the same bands on multiple tours...But yeah, we like to bring our friends!

  • What does it feel like being able to sell out VIP tickets and venues all over England?

It is the best thing ever...Our fans are so loyal and they support us year to year...We are very blessed

  • How do you prepare before going on stage, are there any pre-show rituals you like to do?

No...We just drink a lot of booze!

  • How do you feel the UK crowd differentiates from the rest of the world?

They are intense man! there is such an energy from UK audiences...

  • The new album Sorry For Partyinwent top 10 on iTunes, how did you guys celebrate?

Our entire life is a celebration!

  • Tell me about the recording of the new abum. Were you distracted at any point? And how fun was it to record?

It was great...The only hiccups were a few late nights that made the next days long...But we held it together....We always have fun in the studio!

  • Are there any particular highlights on the album? As in, what are your favourite songs and why?

I love them all...But I think "I Gotchoo" is a good one...And "A Really Cool Dance Song"...Great stuff!

  • Like in the song No Hablo Ingles, have you ever done or said something comical to get out of a tight situation?

Of course...Making folks laugh gets me out of everything!

  • Tell me about the songs A Really Cool Dance Song and I Gotchoo, theyre quite a departure from your other songs, emphasising on elements of dance music etc, were there any inspirations?

"A Really Cool Dance Song" is sort of a play on the movement of dance songs in the US right now..."I Gotchoo" - Was written on the beach...I think it sounds like the beach!

  • In light of the song, do you actually possess any hatred for LA? If so, why?

Not the city...I hate the attitude...People in LA don't think their shit stinks...But shit stinks!

  • You commented on your Twitter that there was enough material for a double album. Could a double album be a possibility in the near future? and will the left over material be released at some point?

All of the songs will get out there one way or another!

  • When you’re not touring what do you guys like to do in your spare time?

I spend a lot of time with my kids. But I keep really busy with my label, and doing writing, voice and production for film and TV...

  • If you had the choice what other musical instrument would you like to include on a regular basis?

I'd love to have someone play keyboards and guitar on a tour sometime.....It would add a cool element!

  • I understand that you never play to a setlist at any show, has this at any point in your career not gone according to plan i.e fuck ups etc?

Ha...Yes...One of the first REALLY big shows we played, I started a song we had already played...The beauty of being in BFS is we can turn anything into a joke

  • You received an overwhelming response to your hilarious performance at the Download Festival in 2007, what was it like to hear 70 thousand people in unison shout Im Gay and do you plan on returning next year?

It was amazing...Always cool to play with heavy bands and win their fans over! and yes, we will be back this year!

  • Youre known for covering songs by the Ramones and Black Sabbath, are there any other songs you have considered covering live and would like to play?

We actually did Katy Perry "Hot and Cold" on the UK tour....It went over great!

  • Is there any news on the forthcoming documentary My Home Town?

It is on the backburner for now...We will do it soon!

Bowling For Soup 'Sorry for Partyin' is out now on Amazon

You can follow Jaret and the rest of the band on Twitter at:





Sunday, 22 November 2009

My album of 2009

When you think of the term 'progressive metal' what comes to mind? unconventional guitar signatures? To many Tool have long been considered to be at the top of the mountain of prog metal but now, 4 albums later and 10 years in the making, one band has well and firmly laid its claim to the crown. And that band is Atlanta's Mastodon.

Mastodon first came to prominence in 2002 with their debut 'Remission', an aggressive release that contained enough sludgy riffs to keep the head-banging crowd happy as well as aspiring technical musicians. But that was just the groundwork.

After crashing onto the rock radar with 2004's sophomore release Leviathan, a concept album based on the novel 'Moby Dick' a tidlewave of 'album of the year' awards were thrusted upon it, beating out stiff competition from several major releases that same year. When 2006's Blood Mountain was unleashed, their second straight concept album, the praise continued (Including a Grammy nomination for 'Colony of Birchmen'). Ironically this is a band that progress musically with each release, avoiding repetition at all costs.

And so comes their third straight concept album (their fourth studio album overall). When news broke that Mastodon would be working with producer Brendan O'Brien accusations of selling out were thrown their way by their shocked fan base. Luckily for the fans Mastodon has never sounded this far from the mainstream ever before. Unconventional is possibly the only word that can be used to describe Crack The Skye, as the only phrase I can find to describe it is f*****g brilliant. The bar has never been raised this high as Mastodon have indeed taken an even big risk then ever before.

Consisting of just seven songs Crack The Skye spans an impressive 50 minutes. So it is with no surprise that 2 of these songs exceed the 10 minute mark. The whole concept in general is made up from various dreams that the band have had (as well as a few visions involving certain hallucinogens if rumour is believed) as well as drawing from Stephen Hawking's wormhole theories and an alternative Tsarist Russia. With this record a much cleaner sound has been produced when compared to the heaviness of past songs 'March of the Fire Ants' and 'Blood and Thunder' drawing from 1970's progressive rock as a whole rather than focusing more on metal.

Opening track Oblivion begins the story of a paraplegic who experiments with astra travel by going into space, with only a golden umbilical cord keeping him from straying. Such an unusual concept wouldn't transcend so well if it wasn't backed up by the most beautiful musicianship ever heard. Brent Hinds' guitar solo's are as epic as ever, almost putting you in the perspective of their paraplegic as he floats through space. 'Oblivion' also showcases the impressive debut vocals of drummer Brann Dailor, who named the album after his sister who tragicly committed suicide when he was 14.

Other odd inclusions are the use of a Deliverance-lite banjo riff at the beginning of 'Divinations' which kicks into a frenzy of hard hitting riffs. If it was released on Rock Band there'd be a lot of broken plastic guitars out there. The defining moment of Crack the Skye has to be the 11 minute opus 'The Czar'. Layer upon layer of keyboards and guitars demonstrate Mastodon's determination for their craft. Split into four parts ("Usurper", "Escape", "Martyr" and "Spiral") it continues the story of the paraplegic now in the body of the Russian priest Rasputin. It is important not to take this as historically accurate but as mere fantasy (in the way Tarantino portrayed Nazi Germany in Inglourious Basterds).

Ending on a high note with 'The Last Baron', the longest song on the album at 13 minutes, the influences can be heard furiously (listen for the cheeky Rush inspired homage halfway through) no other album has been as important in 2009 as Crack The Skye. It is an album you can not only lose yourself listening to but it is one that deserves to be embraced. If this is only a taster of what we can expect from Mastodon in the near future then I can't wait to hear what they have left in their arsenal.

Best songs: Oblivion, Divinations, Quintessence, The Czar

Crack The Skye is available from Amazon

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Shinedown Interview Snippet and Another Review!

Here's a couple of minutes from my interview with the platinum selling SHINEDOWN. They are just genuinely nice guys just doing what they love to do and from what I could tell from them they do genuinely care about their fans as well as each other. They didn't shy away from several jokes which I haven't included as I swear and make enough poor taste jokes as it is. I've also done a review for their latest album 'The Sound of Madness' which came out over here in the summer yet came out in America last year. Boy these record labels are strange.

Now THIS is how you make an impact. A year after its release in their native US, the Jacksonville rock quartet unleash their third album in the UK. Little has been said about Shinedown until they made their UK debut late 2008 supporting Disturbed. Since then upgraded venues, sell out shows and a festival appearance have gained them a huge following this side of the water. Their previous albums, 2003’s Leave a Whisper and 2005’s Us and Them, demonstrated their hard driven determination in hits such as ‘Fly From The Inside’ ‘Save Me’ and the controversial ‘45’. Various line-up changes haven’t phased Shinedown one bit, as they step up their game and have released an album worn truly on their sleeve. It gets off to a fast paced start with the hard hitting ‘Devour’, a song displaying impressive fast paced (if now sadly dated) lyrics aimed at the Bush regime, backed up by Earth shattering drumming from Barry Kerch . Human emotion has never been so well expressed in an album such as The Sound of Madness. ‘If You Only Knew’ which frontman Brent Smith has confessed to being the only love song he has ever written, passes by with elegance all the while avoiding the schmaltz of a typical love song. ‘Call Me’ marks the first time the band stray from using traditional instruments in favour of a sole piano ballad, showing that they aren’t afraid to stray from their heavy roots and displaying why Brent Smith is one of the best rock singers of today. The anthems keep coming in the form of ‘Second Chance’ the most personal sounding song on The Sound of Madness. Leaving your family behind can be an emotional experience but the story Brent tells in his own words leaves you with a sense of optimism, as well as a reason to believe why Shinedown are one of the ‘new’ exciting bands to look out for.

Best Songs: Devour, Sound of Madness, Second Chance, Call Me, Sin With a Grin

You can buy the album on iTunes and Amazon now

More reviews and such and such...

Thought I'd bung another interview up whilst I get this Shinedown interview up onto Quark, might end up having to be a 3 page spread considering the interview banged on for about 30 minutes more than what I told their tour manager it was going to be. Mind you I think the guy was too stoned to actually care just as long as they made it on stage. Anyway thought I'd give my insight into Breaking Benjamin's new album, its a belter! Seriously more bands like these need to be coming over to the UK to rid us of these crappy deathcore and emo movements. Shinedown did it recently after remaining alienated from the UK since their inception 8 years ago and I'm still holding out for Godsmack to get their arses over here. I've said it before and I'll say it again a bell tower will be climbed with a rifle strapped to my back if they continue to snub our little island for another album cycle...

Breaking Benjamin – Dear Agony

U.S Alternative metallers Breaking Benjamin are relatively unknown here in the UK but are a smash hit in their homeland. Platinum and Gold selling releases Saturate, We Are Not Alone and Phobia show that they are a band that grows from strength to strength with each record, adding more depth and e motion along the way.

Their 4th album Dear Agony thankfully continues this trend. Building on the success Phobia brought the band, frontman Ben Burnley adds further maturity into his lyrical delivery, exploring territories anybody will find relatable in their own way. Opener Fade Away deals with the breakdown of some sort of relationship. Although it is a subject done infinite times before it’s the journey not the direction Ben’s lyrics take that make it stand out among other subjective songs. Darker themes are explored in angst ridden Hopeless, a song about the fear of dying and the haunting Anthem of the Angels (written about Ben’s Grandfather who died before the album was recorded). The hard edged lead single I Will Not Bow, which was used in Bruce Willis’ ‘Surrogates’ takes a swipe at several subjects such as alcoholism and selfishness. Driven by a passionate guitar riff and a chorus that will stick in your head for a period of time it is no surprise it topped the charts in the US. A step in the right direction for Breaking Benjamin and taking a darker turn it’s hard to fault, now if only Ben can overcome his fear of flying and bring the band to the UK…

Top tracks: I Will Not Bow, Dear Agony, Into The Nothing, Crawl

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Reviewing like a mofo

Writing a tonne of reviews atm, so far got through Slayer's new album, Breaking Benjamin's and getting through SOiL's new alb. Thought they were quite good at the Shinedown gig. The singer AJ stood on my shoulder and sang Halo which was quite funny. Anyway here's a rough draft of my Slayer review, still a working progress so if it's crap it's crap! (much like my thoughts on the alb hehe)
Slayer - World Painted Blood

When Slayer released ‘Christ Illusion’ in 2006 all hell broke loose. Banned in India and containing lyrical content that would make any terroris

t weak at the knees it propelled Slayer back into the forefront of thrash metal. Sadly on this, their 11th album it appears the cracks are showing. Guitarist Kerry King said of the album "I think this one has a little bit of everything more so than anything we've done since Seasons. So I would imagine people are gonna compare it to that one." In a way he is right, but for the wrong reasons. What is strange about World Painted Blood is that all the great elements of a Slayer record are there, but it just doesn’t feel as though the blueprint is good enough. Riffs reminiscent of the ‘classic’ Slayer era (Reign In Blood, South of Heaven, Seasons in the Abyss) fail to hit the mark, combined with the familiar lyrics dealing with serial kil

lers and sexual deviance. Slayer are beginning to sound like a band trying so hard to recapture their glory days and failing. That being said there are at the very least one or two solid songs on here to please the fans. The title track continues the noticeable tradition with Slayer albums that each title track (or in some cases, the song that references the album title) is without a doubt one of the better songs. The thundering ‘Hate Worldwide’ is the standout moment. Although it is Slayer-by-numbers, the rage-driven guitar riff matched with Dave Lombardo’s devastating drumming makes it is destined to become a live favourite. Somewhat frantic yet at the same time uninspiring, rumours of Slayer calling it a day may well and truly come to be if World Painted Blood is anything to go by.

Top tracks: World Painted Blood, Hate Worldwide, Psycapothy Red

Friday, 6 November 2009

Looky looky...

Just What I Wanted!
Shinedown interview done and dusted! transcribing it right now and then going to crack on with some gig reviews! Big thanks to my mate Ste who I got into the gig for free to take the huge amount of photos for me to use!

Also gotta thank Brent Smith for coming up with a name for my magazine! It is now called...
The Metal Institute (yes its a play on a mental asylum hehehe)

Can't believe we got Access All Areas passes and even got to see Shinedown soundcheck 3 of their songs (All of them some of my favourites, added bonus!) Even caught a drumstick and got my album signed as a further bonus. Isn't life just great :D

Going to post a snippet of the interview on here as it ended up running on for 40 minutes.