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Metallica, Black Crowes, Megadeth, Rock USA Festival, Sammy Hagar, Ratt, Queensryche, Geoff Tate's Queensryche, Scott Weiland, Black Star Riders, Duf MCKagan's Loaded, Jon Oliva, Avantasia, Andi Deris, Leatherwolf, Slayer, and tons more hard rock and heavy metal news.

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    Channel V conducted an interview with METALLICA frontman James Hetfield on February 24 at the Sydney, Australia stop of this year s Soundwave festival. You can
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 4, 2013
      Channel V conducted an interview with METALLICA frontman James Hetfield on February 24 at the Sydney, Australia stop of this year's Soundwave festival. You can now watch the chat below.

      The Soundwave festival kicked off on February 23, with headliners METALLICA performing an 18-song set spanning the band's entire 30-year recording career.

      METALLICA opened the show with "Hit The Lights" and "Master Of Puppets" and finished with "Enter Sandman" before returning for a massive encore featuring "Creeping Death", "Battery" and "Seek & Destroy".

      It was previously reported that METALLICA would play a two-hour set at this year's Soundwave, complete with the "Snakepit" rig.

      The last time this rig was used was during METALLICA's 2012 European tour where the band's self-titled 1991 album was played backwards, starting with closing number "The Struggle Within" and ending with "Enter Sandman".

      The San Francisco Giants recently announced that METALLICA will throw out the first pitch and perform the National Anthem at the world champion baseball team's May 3 home game at AT&T Park, which will be dubbed Metallica Night. The Giants will be playing against the Los Angeles Dodgers that night. METALLICA was originally formed in L.A. in 1981 but moved to San Francisco the following year to recruit bassist Cliff Burton and be part of that city's heavier underground metal scene.

      METALLICA has a busy year ahead. The night before the Giants game, on May 2, the band will receive the Ronnie James Dio Lifetime Achievement Award and perform at the fifth annual Revolver Golden Gods Awards at Club Nokia in downtown Los Angeles. The band is also staging the second edition of its Orion Music + More festival on June 8-9 in Detroit, and will release a 3D film called "Metallica Through The Never" on August 9.
      THE BLACK CROWES will release the "Wiser For The Time" live album (Silver Arrow/Megaforce Records) on vinyl on March 19. Its mammoth eight sides on four vinyl albums will contain 26 songs — 15 acoustic and 11 electric — from the band’s five-night, sold-out New York City performances in the fall of 2010. These never-released-before versions will also be available as a double album digital download.

      THE BLACK CROWES' cover of the BOB DYLAN classic "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You", which appears on "Wiser For The Time", can be streamed at RollingStone.com.

      The first leg of THE BLACK CROWES' "Lay Down With Number 13" tour begins March 24 in Manchester in the U.K. and will run through May 4 in New Orleans. Highlights of the itinerary include two-night stands in London (The Forum); Port Chester, New York (at the recently reopened historic venue the Capitol Theatre); New York City (Terminal 5); Chicago (The Vic); Washington, D.C. (9:30 Club); and Nashville (Ryman Auditorium); and a special late-night performance at The Historic Mahalia Jackson Theatre in the French Quarter following the Jazz Fest.

      In a July 2010 interview with Billboard, THE BLACK CROWES frontman Chris Robinson said the band's decision to take a break wasn't the result of any internal strife, like was the case when they split in 2002.

      "The real story is it's been five solid years of touring and three records and DVDs, and it's more about having a little bit of space and taking a breath away from the thing," he said.

      "I think everyone's in a good space, and our hiatus is for nothing but health reasons, mental and physical, and to have the freedom to do some projects with other people, raise the kids and stuff like that."

      When Rolling Stone asked Robinson how long the band will be away, he replied, "Two years, five years, 10 years — you never know when you jump into the void."

      He added: "This cycle we've been on has been incredible. Since the summer of '07, when we made 'Warpaint', it's been the three most fulfilling years I've ever had with this band. But if we kept going, we might be playing with fate too much. It would be nice to have a 30th anniversary. But we should walk away from this while everyone's in a good mood."

      "Plus, we all have babies," added his guitarist brother Rich. "I'm expecting one any day now. It seemed like a good time. To me, 'hiatus' means there is no plan. We haven't said, 'Let's get back together in 2012.' And we haven't said, 'Let's not.'"
      The eighth in a series of video clips featuring behind-the-scenes footage from the recording sessions for the new MEGADETH album, "Super Collider", can be seen below.

      "Super Collider" is scheduled for release in June via MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine's new label, Tradecraft, which is distributed by Universal Music Enterprises(UMe).

      "It was a real thrill for us to learn there was an opportunity to join Universal," said Mustaine. "It seems like every time you see a great band or music video, it comes from a Universal label.

      "Being with Universal is by far the most exciting and prestigious home for MEGADETH ever! We are electrified with what the future holds and the possibilities such a powerhouse like Universal will bring for us all.

      "We have worked with some great people over the years, and it is amazing to see so many of them on the Universal team for our new record, 'Super Collider'.

      "If MEGADETH being here isn't satiating enough, having Tradecraft as my own label is going to be really amazing for metal bands around the world."

      "Super Collider" is being recorded at Mustaine's Vic's Garage studio in San Marcos, California and is MEGADETH's first release its recent split with Roadrunner Records.

      "Shawn [Drover, drums], Chris [Broderick, guitar] and David [Ellefson, bass] have all been feverishly contributing some great music and I believe we are doing our best work ever together in the studio right now," Mustaine said.

      Speaking to Full Metal Jackie at the NAMM (National Association Of Music Merchants) show in Anaheim, California, Mustaine stated about the direction of the band's new material: "[MEGADETH bassist] David Ellefson is one of those guys that's kind of the barometer of the band. You ask me, you never really know what you're gonna get, but when you ask David Ellefson, it's kind of like reading the ingredients on the back of something, 'cause he's such a straight shooter. He told some people the other day that this is music that's really similar to [MEGADETH's 1985 debut album] 'Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!', some of the stuff — really dark, really heavy and fast stuff. I mean, I don't thnk it's really as fast and heavy as 'Killing' is, to me, but Junior is a great, like I said, barometer — bad word, but he knows what's going on."
      David Ellefson and Chris Broderick of MEGADETH will embark on a two-date Japanese guitar-clinic tour in April. The trek will be sponsored by Kanda Shokai Corporation (Jackson Guitar distributor in Japan).

      The schedule is as follows:

      April 10 - Tokyo, JPN @ Omotesando Grand
      April 12 - Osaka, JPN @ Club Jungle

      MEGADETH's new album, "Super Collider", is scheduled for release in June via mainman Dave Mustaine's new label, Tradecraft, which is distributed by Universal Music Enterprises(UMe). The CD was recorded at Mustaine's Vic's Garage studio in San Marcos, California and is MEGADETH's first release its recent split with Roadrunner Records.
      VAN HALEN will headline the final night of the Rock USA festival, set to take place July 17-20 at Ford Festival Park in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

      The festival billing is shaping up as follows:

      Wednesday, July 17


      + two more acts to be announced

      Thursday, July 18


      + one more act to be announced

      Friday, July 19


      + two more acts to be announced

      Saturday, July 20


      + one more act to be announced

      Singer David Lee Roth recently gave a lengthly interview to Rolling Stone and says he wants co-founding bassist Michael Anthony back in VAN HALEN — among other things. Apart from the Sydney appearance and a trio of Japanese shows in June, the band remains in a state of limbo. Last summer, VAN HALEN backed out of 31 North American dates, citing exhaustion, and then Eddie Van Halen was sidelined for four-to-six months after undergoing surgery for the inflammatory intestinal affliction diverticulitis.

      Roth was pretty candid in the interview about the state of the band, especially on the prospect of coming up with some new songs, explaining, "I would certainly look forward to working with Ed on some new material, but we have yet to do that. Almost all of the music that you hear on our most recent album was written and demoed before the first album. . . I'm not sure what's in Ed's mind at this point. I'm gonna guess that his plans are to write with his son, and I'm not sure where that actually leads. But truth be told, Edward and I haven't written a new song in 20 years."
      Sammy Hagar has posted a photo of himself with fellow original MONTROSE bandmembers Bill Church (bass) and Denny Carmassi (drums) along with caption "Denny and Bill in town. We recorded some new music last week. It was amazing. We still have that MONTROSE chemistry. Keep ya all posted."

      Legendary MONTROSE guitarist Ronnie Montrose was found dead at his home in Brisbane, California on March 3, 2012 from a self-inflected gunshot wound. The autopsy also revealed his blood-alcohol level was at 0.31-percent when he died — nearly four times the legal limit in California. Montrose had been battling prostate cancer for five years.

      At the time of Montrose's death, Hagar told Rolling Stone: "We were planning a MONTROSE reunion for my birthday in Cabo. Montrose, the whole band, has not been there. Denny's been there, Bill's been there, Ronnie's been there — but (the whole band together) has never been there. I said to Ronnie, 'Come on, man. We're all getting old. Let's do this again while we can.' And he was in, we were all in. It's fucked up that those songs will never be played by those four members again. That's so weird to me. It's like the end of an era. Songs can go forever, but we can't. It's trippy. Ronnie Montrose gave me my first break as a songwriter, as a front man, as a recording artist, as a touring artist, and for that I will always be grateful."
      RATT's first five albums — 1984's "Out of the Cellar", 1985's "Invasion of Your Privacy", 1986's "Dancing "Undercover", 1988's "Reach For the Sky" and 1990's "Detonator" — have just been reissued in the U,K, through Warner Bros. under the "Original Album Series."

      A description reads: "The five-CD box set contains a quintet of albums packaged in cardboard mini LP sleeves and housed in a slipcase. This collection of RATT's first five albums covers the years from 1984 to 1990 that saw them have significant commercial success. Tracks such as 'Round And Round', 'Wanted Man' and 'Lay It Down' helped define the glam metal genre, while their later output such as 'Way Cool Jr.' and 'I Want a Woman' featured heavily on MTV. Originally hailing from San Diego California, RATT were a key figure in the formation of the '80s Los Angeles hard rock and glam metal scene."

      RATT has tapped Brian Howes, who has previously worked with HINDER, DAUGHTRY and PUDDLE OF MUDD, helm its new album, tentatively due before the end of the year via Roadrunner Records. RATT drummer Bobby Blotzer recently stated about Howes: "Brian is a great guy, great producer, and he's top notch, dude. He's a current A-lister, and we're very excited."

      Regarding the songwriting process for the new RATT album, Blotzer said: " Everybody's been writing and everybody has a backlog of material. So we'll just get in like we did with the last record, and there's, like, boom, 35 songs, and then we'll let the producer go, 'OK, let's work these up.' He's got the final say on that. I mean, the last record we worked up in two weeks."

      He continued: "I don't think [the new RATT CD is] gonna be super overproduced. I think we're trying to do something new, and really, on all levels of RATT — have everything come out and be a new RATT. [We'll still have] classic-sounding songs, but it's gonna be, obviously, a twist in the production with the way that [Brian] produces."

      Original RATT bassist Juan Croucier rejoined the Californian rockers for their show at the M3 Rock Festival on May 12, 2012 at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland.

      RATT's first studio record in 11 years, "Infestation", sold around 14,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 30 on The Billboard 200 chart. The CD was issued on April 20, 2010 via Loud & Proud.

      "Infestation" has sold more than 50,000 copies in the U.S. so far, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
      The Todd La Torre-fronted version of QUEENSRŸCHE has inked a deal with Century Media Records for the release of the band's new studio album. Due on June 11, the CD marks the debut release from the lineup comprised of La Torre (vocals; ex-CRIMSON GLORY), Michael Wilton (guitar), Parker Lundgren (guitar), Eddie Jackson (bass) and Scott Rockenfield (drums). The drums for the album were recorded at London Bridge Studios in Seattle, Washington with producer James "Jimbo" Barton — the man who engineered and mixed the band's classic 1988 LP, "Operation: Mindcrime", and its 1990 follow-up, "Empire", and co-produced 1994's "Promised Land". The rest of the music and vocals were laid down at several different facilities on the West Coast.

      "QUEENSRŸCHE is excited to begin writing this next chapter of our career with Century Media. Their passion and love for music has been apparent since early discussions and we are pleased to call them partners on this journey," states Jackson. "We are also thankful for all of the fans who have supported us from day one and helped us get to where we are today. Todd, Scott, Parker, Michael and I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for each and every one of you."

      QUEENSRŸCHE frummer Scott Rockenfield tells Billboard.com: "Century Media has been extremely enthusiastic ever since they came into the equation with us, and for what it's worth it's hard to find enthusiasm like that. After 35 years I guess I'm gracious and honored that we have people that are that enthusiastic about the band, so we're really happy about moving forward with them."

      Century Media president of North America Don Robertson wrote in an email to Billboard.com about the label's interest in the band: "Many of us at the label have been longtime fans of QUEENSRŸCHE as a band. When we heard they were recording a new record, we were all definitely interested."

      "Recording is finished. It's that final stage where we mix and we master . . . It's been quite crazy so we're winding down so we can focus on the final section of the record, which is the artwork and the name and everything else," Rockenfield says.

      QUEENSRŸCHE will head out on the "Return To History" world tour this March and April. The trek kicks off on March 5 in Dubuque, Iowa and makes stops in nine different countries, wrapping up on April 26 in the Netherlands. The band will also take to the high seas on this year's Monsters Of Rock cruise and Sweden Rock Cruise. The 23-date tour will make stops in New York, Tennessee and Florida as well as in Canada, United Kingdom and Germany, among others.

      A 90-second audio sample of a new song called "Redemption" from the the Todd La Torre-fronted version of QUEENSRŸCHE was premiered on the February 22 edition of Eddie Trunk's "Friday Night Rocks" radio show on New York's Q104.3 FM and can now be streamed in the YouTube clip below.

      In a recent interview with Metal Assault, drummer Scott Rockenfield stated about QUEENSRŸCHE's renewed collaboration with Barton: "It's a great thing — we're really excited about it, he's really excited about it. We've wanted to work with him for a while, but for whatever reason, we just hadn't gone there yet. This is a great time for us to do that, though. We all discussed who we wanted to do the record with, and he was one of the first names that came up. It was easy for us to pick up the phone and call him. It was like our relationship picked up right where it left off, so it's gonna be a lot of fun. He's a very creative guy that did some great records with us in the past. I think that's one of the most important things when it comes to why we want to work with him."

      Asked if fans will see a return to the progressive metal sound QUEENSRŸCHE had in the '80s, Scott said: "What we're trying to do, and what has been really interesting since Todd has jumped into the band, we're trying to revisit the old QUEENSRŸCHE catalog — stuff off of the EP and "The Warning". That's always been a part of what we are, so yeah, definitely! I think in my opinion, we're really revisiting that vibe of why that music was special back then for us. There will be a modern flair to it, though, just because we're in the modern age. The fun thing about Jimbo being a part of it is that he can help tie together the two sides. He does come from our past and some of the great records and some of the great sounds that we're known for, but he's also living in the modern age and doing some interesting things as well. I think it's going to be a really great QUEENSRŸCHE record. People are going to go, 'Wow, that's QUEENSRŸCHE! That sounds just like what we've known them to be, and what we would expect them to now be.' That's what I think peple will get out of it."
      John Parks of Legendary Rock Interviews recently conducted an interview with QUEENSRŸCHE singer Geoff Tate. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

      Legendary Rock Interviews: This whole situation and court battle over QUEENSRŸCHE is something most of us could never have forseen back in the '90s, but yet here we are talking about it, sadly enough. Is there ever a day where the whole drama just doesn't even enter your head?

      Geoff Tate: Oh yeah, quite often. [laughs] Yeah, yeah….You know, initially, the first few months that this all started happening was a very difficult time but I've kind of gotten past that now and am in a much better place now where things seem a lot more brighter. I had my new solo album, "Kings & Thieves" and the tour supporting that and that helped, just playing shows and supporting that. I never even think about the former lineup at this point. Of course, they launched a lawsuit against me that I won, basically, and from then on, I really haven't thought about it too much. Our court date isn't until November 2013, so I basically have until then until all of that is officially decided, which is quite aways from now. A lot of water is going to go under the bridge before then, definitely.

      Legendary Rock Interviews: You surprised more than a few fans in recent months with your statements that you wouldn't be opposed to sitting down in a room and just trying to talk rationally with those guys. On an obviously much less important note I have noticed that those guys are often not that accessible from a publicity end. We have reached out numerous times to both Michael Wilton and were actually scheduled to talk to Scott Rockenfield, but both times have come up empty-handed. Have you also found a series of unending emails or found them pretty difficult to reach directly? [laughs]

      Geoff: [laughs] Yeah, that's pretty much been my experience over the years. That doesn't surprise me. You, John, you've probably recognized the fact that I have probably done 99 percent of the interviews over the course of QUEENSRŸCHE's career. There's a reason for that, there was a reason for that when I talked to you for the last album and there's been a reason for that our entire career; I've been incredibly careful and diligent about presenting our image in a certain way. I'm recognized, pretty universally, as the spokesperson for the band and there's a reason for that. [laughs] I can reliably do my interviews and put a sentence together and I think I have a very good handle on what it is that I am trying to do within the band as the band leader. I have always thought that we were collectively on the same page about this over the years, so when they fired me, it came as a complete shock. It was like a kick upside the head that I wasn't expecting at all, especially at this point in our career where we've been a successful band for 30-plus years and have a very respected name around the world. Why in the world would any sane people launch this whole shakeup and fire everybody who is your support system and everyone who's involved with you, cancel all your income for the year and cut your head off by firing the face and voice of your band. They have basically sliced their own throat and rubbed the name of the band in the dirt in this quest of theirs and have no sane reason why such madness was necessary. It doesn't make any sense. I'm still trying to wrap my head around what their whole plan is, what is their plan after the court date, it just doesn't make any sense.

      Legendary Rock Interviews: I have heard you say that you think the whole lawsuit really has a lot to do with money and they have mentioned it was also creative differences. Your wife and daughter worked for the organization and were also fired. Did they just get the feeling there were too many Tates in the kitchen?

      Geoff: You know, when you have a group of people, you need a leadership in place and set up efficiently. Somebody has to do it.

      Legendary Rock Interviews: So they were comfortable with it for a number of years and then at some point it just started messing with them?

      Geoff: Yeah, yeah, I think so. Again, some of that verbiage from them is just down to "created perceptions" or the picture they want to present. The fact is that they wanted to fire me and then split up my shares of the corporation, and typically, true to form for them, they went about it totally half-cocked, unprepared and shortsighted. You can't just do that so easily, you can't just fire a corporate member of your company — it's illegal to do that — but, of course, true to fashion, they didn't research any of that or look into it or talk about it with us they just did it. The fallout of all of that is that we have a lawsuit. It's not like a bunch of guys got together and formed a band and play a bit on the weekends. It's a business, it's a very successful business, and it involves corporate and legal procedures. There's a way you have to conduct yourself business-wise and you have to follow the rules and the law is very explicit in that. That's why we have a court date and a lawsuit. They can't just fire me; it doesn't work that way in corporations or in the business world.
      The Geoff Tate-fronted version of QUEENSRŸCHE has set "Frequency Unknown" as the title of its new album, due on April 23 via the Los Angeles-based independent label Cleopatra Records. The CD was produced by Jason Slater at a studio in Nortern California.

      Although a lineup for Tate's QUEENSRŸCHE was originally announced in the fall of 2012, things have changed. The band will now feature Tate along with bassist Rudy Sarzo (OZZY OSBOURNE, DIO, WHITESNAKE, QUIET RIOT), guitarist Kelly Gray (QUEENSRŸCHE 1998-2001), keyboardist Randy Gane and new additions, guitarist Robert Sarzo (QUIET RIOT, HURRICANE) and drummer Simon Wright (AC/DC, DIO, RHINO BUCKET). Guest musicians on the CD include K.K. Downing (JUDAS PRIEST), Chris Poland (MEGADETH), Ty Tabor (KING'S X), Paul Bostaph (SLAYER, TESTAMENT, EXODUS), Lita Ford, Brad Gillis (NIGHT RANGER), Dave Meniketti (Y&T) and Craig Locicero (FORBIDDEN)

      "Frequency Unknown" is packaged with bonus tracks — four QUEENSRŸCHE classics, newly recorded, including the smash hit single "Silent Lucidity".

      "Frequency Unknown" track listing:

      01. When Lightning Strikes
      02. Running Backwards
      03. Fallen
      04. Life Without You
      05. In The Hands Of God
      06. Cold
      07. The Weight Of The World
      08. Slave
      09. Dare
      10. Everything

      Bonus tracks: (2013 versions)

      11. Silent Lucidity
      12. Empire
      13. Jet City Woman
      14. I Don t Believe In Love

      Beginning in early April, Tate's QUEENSRŸCHE will be hitting the road to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the band's epic 1988 release, "Operation: Mindcrime", performing all fifteen songs from the album along with other well-known hits and rarities from the catalog they've compiled over the past 30 years.

      "I try to surround myself with the best players available and feel our longtime fans deserve nothing less," says Tate. "I expect the forthcoming effort to be one of our best yet."

      Tate, who was fired from QUEENSRŸCHE in June 2012 after fronting the group for three decades, last year sought to prevent his former bandmates from touring and operating under the QUEENSRŸCHE name without him. While ruling against Tate, the presiding judge determined that there was no legal hurdle in Tate also using the name with an all-new lineup of musicians. "I don't see any reason that Mr. Tate can't have the benefit, if he gets other members, of whatever name he uses of using the brand," Superior Court Judge Carol A. Schapira said during the July 13, 2012 court hearing. "I think [doing that would be] inherently confusing, although I'm sure the market can get these things sorted out," she added.

      Last November, Tate released his first solo CD in over a decade titled "Kings & Thieves" (InsideOut Music) and toured with his solo band in support of the CD, which included dates with the legendary ALICE COOPER.
      Former STONE TEMPLE PILOTS and VELVET REVOLVER frontman Scott Weiland kicked off his solo tour this past Friday, March 1 at The Machine Shop in Flint, Michigan. Fan-filmed video footage of the concert can be seen below.

      "I'm really looking forward to it," Weiland recently said about the 20-city run of dates during which he is performing songs from the first two STONE TEMPLE PILOTS albums, 1992's "Core" and 1994's "Purple". "It's going to be really exciting — something completely new."

      Regarding how the concept for the tour came about, Weiland said: "Well, originally, it was an idea I came up with for STP for the anniversary of 'Core' to do the 'Core' album in its entirety. The rest of the guys didn't want to do it. So, it was still something that there was a lot of public interest in. Having that said, the idea was brought up to me through management. I talked to the guys in my solo band, THE WILDABOUTS, and they were totally into it, as were the promoters. It worked out."

      He added: "We're still going to do some of our space jams and have them correlate into some of our STP songs and a couple STP songs into a couple of the covers that we've done during our solo band stuff."

      As for the upcoming studio CD, Weiland described it as "more of a rock 'n' roll album, as opposed to more of the sort of outside-the-box artistic sonic adventures that we've gone on in the past.

      "The record that we're making, hopefully will attract more of the STP and VELVET REVOLVER fans. I think it will also help that we're doing this tour this way."

      Weiland and THE WILDABOUTS have not yet secured a label deal for the upcoming album, which they are producing themselves. He says of the process: "[it] isn't hard, unless you have a group of guys like STP where every single person in the band is a producer. It's not as difficult in this situation. We're writing together. It's actually a lot easier. We're allowing everyone to put in their input and it's coming across much more as a rock 'n' roll record, but it's much more organic sounding."

      THE WILDABOUTS consist of multi-instrumentalist Doug Grean, bassist Tommy Black, drummer Dan Thompson and guitarist Jeremy Brown.
      A 24-minute collection of video reports featuring behind-the-scenes footage from the making of the debut album from BLACK STAR RIDERS — the new band formed by THIN LIZZY alumni Ricky Warwick (vocals), Scott Gorham (guitar), Damon Johnson (guitar), Marco Mendoza (bass) with new addition Jimmy DeGrasso (ALICE COOPER, MEGADETH, DAVID LEE ROTH, SUICIDAL TENDENCIES) on drums — can be seen below. The CD is currently being mixed by producer Kevin Shirley (LED ZEPPELIN, IRON MAIDEN, AEROSMITH, RUSH) at his The Cave studios in Malibu, California for a late May release via Nuclear Blast. Songtitles set to appear on the effort include "All Hell Breaks Loose", "Someday Salvation", "Bound For Glory", "Kingdom Of The Lost" and "Hoodoo Voodoo". Mastering duties will be handled by Bob Ludwig (JIMI HENDRIX, RUSH, KISS, LED ZEPPELIN) at Gateway Mastering Studios in Portland, Maine.

      At the end of March, there will be the first single release that will have an exclusive airing via certain media outlets prior to public release. Around the same time, more tour dates for the fall will be announced.

      In October 2012, THIN LIZZY announced that they would not be recording new material under the THIN LIZZY monicker. The last incarnation of the band — Gorham, Brian Downey, Wharton, Warwick, Johnson and Mendoza — would be looking to form a new project.

      According to a press release, Brian Downey decided to not become involved with BLACK STAR RIDERS because he didn't want to commit to the touring cycle a new album would entail and Darren Wharton wanted to concentrate on DARE and other music and film projects.

      "Brian and Darren just don't want to be on the road 150 days a year. anti that's completely understandable," Warwick tells Classic Rock magazine. "But we do. We work very well together, and there's no better man than Jimmy to gel it together. This is a kick-ass band."

      The BLACK STAR RIDERS album will feature material the band wrote while touring as THIN LIZZY and the sound retains that classic feel but is very much its own as well. The BLACK STAR RIDERS record is the next step in the evolution of the THIN LIZZY story.

      "There's no way it could sound like THIN LIZZY with [late THIN LIZZY frontman] Phil [Lynott]," Gorham tells Classic Rock. But Johnson disagreees. "I think Scott is too dose to it," he says. "Ricky or I would bring in a song idea, and as soon as Scott starts playing on it, it sounds like THIN LIZZY, whether Scott realizes it or not. Everybody who's heard the new music says it has that dassic THIN LIZZY vibe. No, it can't sound like the original band. But that classic LIZZY vibe is absolutely there."

      "I'm not gonna pull any punches here," says Warwick. "It sounds like classic THIN LIZZY brought up to date. l've been singing Phil's songs every night for two years, and although it sounds a bit crass because the man's not here, I feel like I've had these lessons from getting so deep into his work. Phil's songwriting, his lyrics, his phrasing, his pitching, his delivery — it's genius. And that's really helped me as a writer."

      It was Warwick who named the new band BLACK STAR RIDERS, after an outlaw gang in the 1993 western movie "Tombstone". As Johnson tells Classic Rock: "Scott said from the very beginning that we did not want a name that was specifically related to THIN LIZZY, because this band has to stand on its own."
      Tone Deaf conducted an interview with DUFF MCKAGAN'S LOADED — the band led by VELVET REVOLVER/ex-GUNS N' ROSES bassist Duff McKagan — during this year's Soundwave festival in Australia. You can now watch the chat below.

      "The Taking", the series starring DUFF MCKAGAN'S LOADED, was recently posted on YouTube. The 11 vignettes tell a tale of totally bizarre adventures, imprisoned band members, and kids-size ice cream cones. Helmed by Seattle filmmaker and documentarian Jamie Burton Chamberlin, the series explores the lyrical content of LOADED's studio album of the same title.

      "The Taking" features cameos by Jerry Cantrell (ALICE IN CHAINS), Sean Kinney (ALICE IN CHAINS), Gilby Clarke (GUNS N' ROSES), Steve Jones (SEX PISTOLS) and Lemmy Kilmister (MOTÖRHEAD), among others.
      JON OLIVA'S PAIN and SAVATAGE mastermind Jon Oliva has completed recording his first-ever solo album, to be released later this year via AFM Records. The 11-song CD, which contains ideas collected over the course of the last four or five years, was tracked earlier this winter at Morrisound Studios in Tampa, Florida with producer Tom Morris, with Jon handling laying down nearly all the instrument tracks and vocals himself as well as playing drums on three songs.

      Commented JON OLIVA'S PAIN drummer/producer Christopher Kinder: "Oliva will be the first to admit that it took one hell of a challenge writing, performing 90% of all the tracks himself and vocals... he is exhausted, for sure."

      He added: "It's a very interesting and powerful offering. Diverse, emotional, and varying styles of writing and music everywhere. A truly great accomplishment for the mountain king, indeed."

      Oliva previously stated about his decision to record a solo album: "I've got some weird ideas that I wanna try and I've got some time to do it. I don't want do just 'another' JON OLIVA'S PAIN record. I've done four of those already. I wanna do something different. I have some material that I've wanted to put out for a while, that I'll talk with the record company about, maybe putting something out quickly, like in the next four or five months, to give me more time to do this JON OLIVA'S PAIN record. I want the next JON OLIVA'S PAIN CD to be very special. I've got some great friends from other bands that are going to be a significant part of the next JON OLIVA'S PAIN release. We are going to do a killer JON OLIVA'S PAIN record and then an additional bonus CD with guest stars... kind of like the AVANTASIA thing, but not in a story line. [EDGUY and AVANTASIA mastermind] Tobias Sammet does a magnificent job with it, but I don't have that much time to write a whole story, so I'll just have some powerhouse friends from various bands come in and take it over the top."

      Last summer, JON OLIVA'S PAIN toured Europe where it celebrated the 25th anniversary of one of heavy metal's most iconic records, "Hall Of The Mountain King" by SAVATAGE. The band performed the entire album as a special one-time-only treat for the still massive amount of loyal fans, along with songs from the DOCTOR BUTCHER album (by Jon Oliva and Chris Caffery, released in 1995), SAVATAGE and JON OLIVA'S PAIN.
      An 11-minute compilation of the studio video reports for "The Mystery Of Time", the new album from EDGUY frontman Tobias Sammet's AVANTASIA project, can be seen below. Due on March 30, the effort will be made available as a regular CD, limited-edition vinyl and limited-edition hardcover book with a 28-page booklet containing ten regular songs and two bonus tracks ("The Cross And You", "Death Is Just A Feeling"). The cover artwork was hand-painted by world acclaimed British fantasy artist Rodney Matthews. Among Rodney's most famous artworks are not only album covers for rock legends such as MAGNUM, THIN LIZZY, ASIA and NAZARETH, he has also designed the characters for the TV series "Lavender Castle" and created the covers for novels by British fantasy author Michael Moorcock and many more.

      Comments Tobias: "It is a great honor for me to have Rodney create the artwork of 'The Mystery Of Time'.

      "Since the new album is a conceptual album and its story has a magical and enchanting atmosphere, there was no other painter I could think of to create the artwork.

      "I've had several creative conversations with Rodney during the process and I had the feeling that the concept was inspiring to him right from the start.

      "I put a lot of energy into producing a very detailed and fascinating album, and Rodney had that same enthusiasm to create an artwork just as detailed and fascinating.

      "This is a new chapter in AVANTASIA's history and I think it didn't deserve less than a magical painting by my favorite painter and childhood hero: The one and only Rodney Matthews!"

      "The Mystery Of Time" will feature guest appearances by Joe Lynn Turner (RAINBOW, DEEP PURPLE, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN), Michael Kiske (UNISONIC, HELLOWEEN), SAXON frontman Biff Byford, former KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick, drummer Russell Gilbrook of URIAH HEEP, AYREON mastermind Arjen Lucassen (also ex-BODINE, VENGEANCE), Ronnie Atkins of Danish hard rock veterans PRETTY MAIDS and MR. BIG frontman Eric Martin.

      The new AVANTASIA CD was recorded in part at VOX Klangstudio in Bendestorf, Germany with producer Sascha Paeth (KAMELOT, EDGUY, EPICA, RHAPSODY).

      "The Mystery Of Time" track listing:

      01. Spectres
      02. The Watchmakers' Dream
      03. Black Orchid
      04. Where Clock Hands Freeze
      05. Sleepwalking
      06. Savior In The Clockwork
      07. Invoke The Machine
      08. What's Left Of Me
      09. Dweller In A Dream
      10. The Great Mystery

      Immediately after the release of "The Mystery Of Time", a metal opera based on a story written by Sammet, the band will embark on a full-fledged indoor tour, during which the band and special guests will bring the epic undertaking to the stage.

      Since the performances will embrace all the different eras and history of AVANTASIA, these shows will feature an extended playing time and the entire evening will be dedicated to AVANTASIA with no support acts.

      Tobias originally wanted to put AVANTASIA to rest after the release of the "The Flying Opera - Around The World In 20 Days" concert DVD in April 2011, but he has since had a change of heart. He explains, "Even though I love to record and tour with EDGUY, I didn't foresee how much I need AVANTASIA when I decided to finish this chapter of my life in 2011. I didn't know if there would be another AVANTASIA album one day, but I didn‘t feel like doing it. After the worldwide success of the latest studio releases, an arena world tour that was sold out pretty much everywhere, collaborations with childhood heroes like Alice Cooper, Klaus Meine, Rudolf Schenker, Eric Singer of KISS, etc. I 'knew' that I had said everything I could possibly say in the name of AVANTASIA. But that's not what AVANTASIA is all about. I wanna create more great music, I wanna create more fantasy worlds, the bigger and the more epic, the better. And listening to the material that I have created for this forthcoming chapter in the history of AVANTASIA, I know there is no way I am not going to do it! I have got the feeling and the certainty that this is absolutely meant to happen and to be!"
      Anthony Morgan of Metal Forces recently conducted an interview with vocalist Andi Deris of German power metallers HELLOWEEN. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

      On the musical style of the latest HELLOWEEN album, "Straight Out Of Hell":

      Andi: "This time we actually tried to do a more positive but even more aggressive album, because we thought that after surviving 2012 we should go into the whole thing with a bit more of a positive point of view. [laughs] '7 Sinners' [2010] is a more doomy record. It goes into more of a… I wouldn't say negative, but more of a doomy direction. It sounds more gothic and darker. It's not a 'Dark Ride' [2000] album, but it definitely wasn't as positive from a melodic point of view. It had less catchy melodies, but there are probably much more catchy melodies on the new album."

      On lead single "Nabatea":

      Andi: "I just accidentally learnt about Nabatea because of the Indiana Jones movie. In 'Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade' [1989], you see this big cathedral carved into a red mountain. I saw this, and the picture looked so real that I thought 'This can't be Hollywood. This can't have been artificially done for the movie only — it looks so real.' When I looked on the Internet and realized these scenes were shot in front of the real Nabatea, then I learnt about Nabatea, that this was possibly the first democracy 3,000 years ago and these people managed to live without slaves. I learnt that they managed to live without soldiers, and still they lived wealthy and prosperous. They never brought a war to another land, and they seemed to be the first democracy that we know of. I thought 'Wow, what a great story.' For thousands of years Nabatea was viewed more or less as a legend, like a dream. Like Atlantis, for example. Then the beginning of the 19th century, an area called Petra was accidentally discovered. When Petra was discovered, they knew that Nabatea wasn't a legend but definitely reality. I thought that this was a great story, because they already had what even us in the 21st century struggle hard to get, like no wars, democracy, wealth. That sounded too good to be true."

      On preferring to play guitar:

      Andi: "I started out as a guitarist. Because I was the only guy who was able to sing my own song ideas though, my friends in my first band told me that I should put the guitar away and concentrate on singing because there are lots of guitarists out there, but only a few singers. That was the misery I went through. I actually wanted to be a guitarist but I ended up as a singer, but it's okay. [laughs] That started with my first school band, and I went through my first three to four bands like that. There was always a singer when I joined the band, but all of them weren't good enough to sing the song ideas that I brought in. I was probably the bad guy, because I would consciously or purposely ask or demand it. I would join the band as a guitarist, and then sooner or later the singer would be kicked out and I would have to sing. [laughs]"

      On his early guitar idols:

      Andi: "I definitely looked up to Ace Frehley [ex-KISS] and Paul Stanley [KISS], which was probably a very good thing to do. Their guitar playing is so easy rock 'n' roll, and not difficult at all to learn and copy. I very quickly had some good results with my guitar playing, because the stuff that they played was so easy. I had a good time, actually, learning guitar with KISS, because it was easy. Then there were certainly much more complicated things that I actually tried to play along with, like DEEP PURPLE, JUDAS PRIEST. Then came VAN HALEN, and then it became a bit more difficult for me to actually play all that great stuff from Eddie Van Halen. I have to admit that I was never able to play them as good as Eddie Van Halen, and I probably never will. [laughs]"

      On bands his 21-year-old son has exposed him to:

      Andi: "The most popular would probably be KORN, DEFTONES, or THE WHITE STRIPES, stuff like that. For example, THE WHITE STRIPES is a great example of a band showing everybody out there that you don't actually need to be super-complicated all the time. For a band like HELLOWEEN, which normally plays complex twin solos and stuff like that, it's good to see there is a way to calm down the song and maybe even put in some dynamics. Maybe we can just play with one guitar for a few minutes, and then you have all of the brutality of two guitars back for the next part which probably demands it. You just open your ears. It's stuff that you know, but seem to have forgotten sometimes. Bands like THE WHITE STRIPES, for example, show you that you're definitely able to make great music with only two or three instruments — guitar, vocals, and drums. You don't necessarily need five or six instruments, so this is something you learn again, so to speak."

      On his forthcoming solo album, provisionally titled "Million-Dollar Haircuts On Ten-Cent Heads":

      Andi: "I hope to be ready somewhere in May or June, and take it from there. I will probably release it through JVC in Asia, and probably through Edel Music in the rest of the world. We just finished the drums. They sound great, but drums don't make a record. I know that the ideas are very good. It's much harder than you would expect from an Andi Deris solo album, but it's not SLIPKNOT or something like that. It's somewhere in between. [laughs] I would describe it as hard rock meets metal or metal meets hard rock, any way you can turn and twist it. [laughs] The truth is somewhere in the middle. It's modern hard rock with metal influences.

      "We're still in the recording process, and there are probably lots of spices we will add or maybe some things that we'll take away again. I would rather describe it as modern sounding but evergreen hard rock/metal, though, so there are lots of catchy refrains and stuff like that, and lots of things to sing along to definitely. There's no speed metal stuff on it, but it's rather heavy."

      On the album's provisional title:

      Andi: "As the name suggests, it's all about those idiots who actually just work without moral ethics and are just corrupt. They just work for their own pockets, and don't ask about people down there who are actually suffering, and take away money, which is obviously lacking down there. That's probably the reason why we have more poorer people, and more richer people. There's a lot of bitching and a lot of aggression that I've built up during the last few years concerning politics and systems, but it's all in great stories I think, and I think everybody will nod. There's a lot of filthy mouth stuff on it which makes it fun to sing along to, but it's very aggressive lyrically."
      California "triple axe attack" metal masters LEATHERWOLF are hitting the road in support of their forthcoming live album, "Unchained". Fans will experience an evening of intense metal music spanning the LEATHERWOLF catalog, including MTV video classics "The Calling" and "Hideaway" and fan favorites such as "Street Ready", "Gypsies & Thieves" and "Dr. Wicked (Rx O.D.)".

      The rejuvenated lineup consists of original members vocalist/guitarist Michael Olivieri and drummer Dean Roberts, longtime friend and bassist Patrick Guyton, and the guitar duo of Rob Math and Greg Erba.

      "We are all excited about this new constellation and the possibilities it holds," enthuses Olivieri. "More than anything, we’re looking forward to getting out there and really kicking some ass on stage. I think live is where it’s always been at for us and this group of guys can definitely deliver the goods!"

      "Unchained" was mixed by producer extraordinaire, Roy Z, whose resume includes JUDAS PRIEST, SEPULTURA, HALFORD, BRUCE DICKINSON and many others. Though the release date is yet to be announced, fans can download a free MP3 single of "Spiter" from "Unchained" by liking the only official LEATHERWOLF Facebook page.

      The band also launched a new official web site at LeatherwolfMetal.com where their classic releases are available for purchase as MP3 (320Kbp) downloads . Fans can watch videos, stay informed with the latest news, find tour dates and sign up for the LEATHERWOLF newsletter.

      Confirmed tour dates:

      Apr. 06 - Mirror Image Studios - Anaheim, CA
      Apr. 20 - Jammin Joes - Arvada, CO
      Jun. 13 - Bobby McGee's - Chicago Ridge, IL
      Jun. 14 - Penny Pub Road - Barrington, IL
      Jun. 20 - The Dead Horse Cantina & Music Hall - McKees Rocks, PA
      Jun. 21 - House Of Rock - White Marsh, MD
      Nov. 09 - Rock Harvest II at House of Rock - White Marsh, MD
      SLAYER drummer Dave Lombardo is sitting out the band's current Australian tour due to a contract dispute with the other members of the group, while guitarist Jeff Hanneman is still recovering from necrotising fasciitis, a flesh-eating disease which he is believed to have gotten from a spider bite. Filling in for them are Jon Dette (TESTAMENT, ANTHRAX) and Gary Holt (EXODUS), respectively.

      In a new posting on his Facebook page, Lombardo writes: "I have always known that my fans were awesome! But never has it been more clear to me than in the past two weeks how passionate, supportive and sincere you really are. Thank you for all your kind responses and I hope to see you all very soon."

      In an interview with Soundwave TV, SLAYER guitarist Kerry King stated about Lombardo's current status with SLAYER: "This just happened a week ago… ten days ago… so I mean, I don't know… It's unfortunate that Dave couldn't be with us; I planned on him being here up until the Monday before I left. And then I saw trouble in paradise, and since I am the mastermind on making decisions like this, I was, like, 'Alright, I've got a backup plan. Just in case.' 'Cause I would have hated to have just Australia blown out. Can you imagine how shitty that would have been? So I did what I thought was best, and we pulled it off."

      Asked if he saw the dispute with Dave coming, Kerry said: "Tom [Araya, SLAYER bassist/vocalist] did. Tom's been on the fence about Dave for awhile and I was pretty much the one that said, 'Nah, I'm not comfortable moving on [without Dave].' And then it got thrust in our face and I took action immediately and I got a very lucky culmination of things that happened."

      Prior to joining SLAYER, Dette appeared on TESTAMENT's "Live At The Fillmore" album, which came out in 1995.

      Dette is currently also playing with ANTHRAX as a temporary replacement for the band's longtime drummer Charlie Benante, who "is dealing with personal issues right now and can't leave" the U.S., according to ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian.
      On March 23, Dutch female-fronted symphonic metallers EPICA will celebrate their 10th anniversary with a special performance titled "Retrospect". Joining them on stage will be a 70-piece symphonic orchestra and choir, making it the band's most ambitious project ever.

      It would be nearly impossible to take such a massive lineup on the road. To allow fans across the globe take part in the extraordinary event, EPICA has partnered with LiveMusicStage who will broadcast the concert live online in HD quality. The high-quality live stream provides an exclusive, social concert experience with a front-row view.

      "I am looking forward to this show very much," says EPICA guitarist Mark Jansen. "Everything we have done and achieved in these last 10 years will come together on the 23rd of March. With a big orchestra, our music comes to life exactly the way it's meant to be. Very rarely can we realize all of it and that makes it so special."

      Tickets to watch the live stream at www.livemusicstage.com/epica cost 5 euro until March 7, after which the pay-per-view will be 7 euro. The concert takes physically place in Eindhoven in the Netherlands. It is expected to sell out soon, so for most of the fans the live stream will be the only way to go. People from over 45 countries are already coming to the show but organizers expect to double this figure with the live stream.

      LiveMusicStage is an online venue where the audience can often interact with the bands while participating in high-quality live streams. For venues, festivals and other event organizers, it's a platform for broadcasting their gigs and concerts.
      Swedish hard rockers THE QUILL will release their new album, "Tiger Blood", on May 24 via Metalville Records. The effort will be released on CD, vinyl and digitally.

      "Tiger Blood" consists of 10 tracks, with one additional song on the iTunes release.

      As with THE QUILL's 2011 album, "Full Circle", the band worked with producer Petter Diamant at Jakaranda Studio in Gävle and the 491 Studio in Oskarshamn. The CD was then mixed by Patrik Frisk (CRASHDIET, CORRODED, TAKIDA) at Sidelake/Ninetone Studios in Sundsvall.

      Comments the band: "The goal for this our seventh release was to make an album that was straight to the point without any excess luggage.

      "Early on in the writing process, we all agreed on trying to make an album with a lot of variation giving the listener a broader picture of what THE QUILL is all about. With the album now finished, we can honestly say we managed to achive what we aimed for."

      "Full Circle" was released on June 24, 2011 in Europe and July 26, 2011 in North America via Metalville Records.
      RichardThinks.Org conducted an interview with vocalist Brian Fair of Massachusetts metallers SHADOWS FALL on February 14 at Empire in Springfield, Virginia. You can now watch the chat below.

      SHADOWS FALL tapped Willis Mathiasen of 2CENTS to sit behind the drums for some of their shows at the end of 2012 while the band's regular drummer, Jason Bittner, received treatment for acute pancreatitis. Bittner rejoined his bandmates on stage on December 19, 2012 at Pearl St. in Northampton, Massachusetts.

      SHADOWS FALL is touring in support of its new album, "Fire From The Sky", which sold around 10,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 38 on The Billboard 200 chart. The CD was released on May 15, 2012 via Razor & Tie.

      Recorded at Zing Studios in late 2011, "Fire From The Sky" reunites SHADOWS FALL with longtime
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