CVSW October 2013
OCTOBER Issue FREE THE Custom Lifestyle Magazine for Car, Motorcycle, and Music Enthusiasts Jordan Allena CV NW spends time with this talented Nashville beauty on her musical journey and being a solo artist in the Music City. Page 32 Fusing the sounds of the metal scenes like Gothenburg and Scandinavia with progressive melodic metal bands from the U.S like Symphony X, Nevermore, SICOCIS has become what music magazines say is "Original" & "Big, Epic Metal". In any event, they are different from anything else you’ve heard. Page 4 News You Can Use, Car Edition...Why Tire Blowouts Happen An Intimate Evening in Hell...Motley Crue comes to Vegas ‘67 Chevelle SS: October’s SW Car of the Month Gear the Pros Use...featuring drummer Saul Ashley Gear the Pros Use...featuring Mischa Kianne of WITCHBURN News You Can Use, Motorcycle Edition...How to Drive in City Traffic Tattoo Gallery...readers send in pics of favorite tattoos Sherry Keith brings you the hottest import from the Great White North since the MacKenzie brothers and Molson beer...Kobra & the Lotus! Jeffrey Easton, doing some of his best work yet, spends time with the authors of his “hand down choice” for album of the year...the Winery Dogs. 12 14 31 40 41 42 44 Kevin Lastovica keeps you abreast of the latest happenings in Sin City, including the Zito CD Release, Sylvester’s Birthday, Cyanide, and Mr. Scary. 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Playing with national headlining acts like Devin Townsend, Warrel Dane (Nevermore) Blackguard,Cage, In this Moment, Scar Symmetry,Skeleton Witch,Melovant Creations, The Absence and many more. With fusing the sounds of the metal scenes like Gothenburg, Scandinavia , with progressive melodic metal bands from the U.S like Symphony X, Nevermore,, SICOCIS has become what magazines like Metal Storm Monthly & Vegas Rocks say "Original" & "Big, Epic metal". <CV SW> We do this all the time, let’s talk group? Tell us about the journey of findabout the construction of the band…Who is ing the right mix, the history of the lineup in the band, and what is their role? from the start until right now. Ernie Rodrigues - Lead Vox/Guitars Mike Wild - Bass/ Growls Rafael Ortega - Guitars Dennis "Ace" – Percussion <Ace> Well let's see, we have Raf on the lead guitar, he writes most of the music and provides those epic strings and backing sounds you hear live and throughout our album. Than we have Ernie, he also rocks the guitar as well as being a songwriter himself. He is the one responsible for the grungy lead vocals. Mike is on the bass, and is definitely my rock during the set. He also does those super brutal growls; his hair is magnificent too. HaHa. I am Ace, I play drums. <Rafael> The Original band dates way back in 2004 or so when I moved to Vegas from the Bay Area. A few friends and I started out just doing covers without vocals because we couldn't find a vocalist. Back then we would play shows at peoples’ houses up in North Las Vegas and just drink beer and play loud music until the cops show up to shut us down, I remember back then we would just pack up and move to another friend’s house and continue our set list of covers with no vocals. Eventually we wrote a few originals and recorded a demo (there are only a few in this town that have the original Sicocis demo!). After the original band fell <CV SW> Is this the original lineup? How apart our old drummer Rob at the has the lineup changed over time to THIS time and I decided to reform it again but have more of a metal sound because back then the band was more of a Progressive Rock "Dream Theater" style and instead we wanted to do more of a metal band with European influences that isn't really known in the states let alone in Las Vegas. We had Ernie join in and eventually we found Mike at a metal concert and he joined in shortly after. After our old drummer left we were looking for drummers and eventually founded Ace. <Mike> I met Raf and Ernie at a Dark Tranquility show, and after talking to them for a bit they told me they were having a band practice the next day and asked me if I wanted to come down. So the only real answer was, f**k yeah! When I pulled up to the practice space I could hear them already playin’ away and when I got to the door I that carries the music. We are more like a team, we balance each other out and carry our load. <Rafael> I believe this band works so well because we all understand and acknowledge each other’s roles in the band while at the same time not have an ego; if one has an idea for say a song or something to do for our live shows. <Ernie> Less members = more room on stage! HaHa. No, having four guys in the band makes it seem more like a brotherhood. I don't consider these guys band members I consider them brothers. We have tried involving more people in the band, but in the long run, we always keep coming back to this lineup. We mix well as a quartet, and I don't told myself, “This is f**kin it!!!” The really see it any other way. journey has been great. <CV SW> Did you guys have any other <CV SW> When you formed in 2008, what interests before music? When did you was the original plan? Have you reset this come to the conclusion that you wanted to or altered it as you’ve matured and grown pursue a musical career? up to this point? <Ernie> I personally came to that <Ernie> We wanted to bring the type of music we liked to Vegas. No one else was playing the music we wanted to see and hear, so we set off on our journey to make that happen. We have grown musically, and mentally as well. We know what works, and what each member brings to the table. That helps us progress as a band. <Rafael> When we reformed in 2008 we wanted to bring out influences from bands that are more popular in Europe and try to create a style that is fused with American Metal, the best of both worlds if you will. Today we still push for that sound but with a lot more maturity behind our music and with a lot more experience in our writing than, say, back when we started. realization when I played my first Battle of the Bands. For years I stared at album covers, and watched my heroes play live, and I knew then that there is nothing, nothing, that makes me happier than music. <Rafael> I knew I always wanted to do something in the Arts and Media like film or so but at the end of the day music always won. It wasn't until I got to see Black Sabbath as my first concert when I was a kid I just knew I wanted to take the stage and play music forever. <Ace> I did and still do have an interest in Chemistry, the world of science fascinates me. However, I am not sure when the exact moment was when I decided to pursue a musical career; ever since I could remember performing on stage dur<CV SW> What is it about this quartet that ing recitals as a youngster always you think works so well? left me with a feeling of satisfaction, <Ace> - I love the way a 4 man and I always remember thinking group feels, everybody has a purthat if I could make a living off of pose and provides a driving force what I love to do than why not give it a shot? HaHa <CV SW> Any cool story behind the choice of your name? Cool idea, btw, presenting is as a palindrome… <Rafael> The name was around way back in 2006 or so when we were recording a really old demo and didn't know what to call ourselves, our drummer Rob was the one who came up with the idea SICOCIS from the word Psychosis as we love playing in so many genres of metal and we couldn't decide on what particular genre we would stick to. He was really good at the photoshop stuff back then and came up with the name and logo, all the credit goes to him. <CV SW> Tell us about the EP “Revelations End” in 2012 – how did that process go? <Mike> A long, hard process, learned a lot of lessons the hard way. Re-recording, after rerecording, after re-recording, we thought it would never end. <Ace> It most definitely was a long and tedious one. it was a constant battle of writing more songs, finding time to record, and overcoming a fear, for me personally, that once I <Ace> That's awesome. <CV SW> What are your musical influences? Growing up, what else were you interested in besides music? laid the drums on this EP that that was it. No taksies backsies. however when the drums were finally laid and finalized the process went along much quicker. And we heard for the first time what we sounded like. <Ernie> It was definitely a learning process for us. It was our first recordings as a band, and we wanted to make the best of it. There were many bumps in the road, but we learned from it. We are hoping to make these new recordings happen a lot smoother and faster! <Rafael> To me that was an exciting time, but also a stressful time. We were all new to the recording process and even though we all had previous experiences in our past bands in demo recordings, creating “Revelations End” was a huge eye opener for us on what works and what does not when comes to writing, playing and recording tracks. We first tried to record it ourselves but back then we had no knowledge of Pro Tools we just learned as we went along. Eventually we had a friend help us from behind the board and he really burned our asses to get the songs down tight because he believed in the sound of the band as much as we did. <CV SW> When it’s all done, you’re holding the EP in your hands, how satisfying is that? <Ace> It was a grand moment for me, when you hold that CD in your hands it's not what you normally feel putting in your favorite Soilwork album. To me it was all memories, all the good times, and the tough times compacted onto a disc a few inches in diameter; no CD will ever feel as weighted as that one. <Rafael> We popped the CD in our car for the first time and was really proud of it because it felt like we were listening to a professional sounding album from a real band. Even though for me I will always be my own worst critic and say we could have done better on any of the songs, in the end it was a great experience to learn from. <Ernie> After the endless months of work, and busting our asses to finish the EP, there was nothing like holding the final product in our hands. We were very proud of ourselves! <Mike> It was a 3 year adventure that finally ended, it was awesome!!!! It’s pretty cool to see it on a store shelf. <CV SW> “Revelations End” got some excellent reviews, <Rafael> Thank you <Rafael> For me growing up while most kids were listening to Nu Metal and pop bands I was interested more into a lot of music from Film and Television, scores that were written for Action Films, and Sci-Fi films and such. For guitar my very first influence was Carlos Santana and David Gilmour growing up until I was introduced to Tony Iommi, Randy Roads, Yngwie Malmsteen. For Music influences for me my top 5 favorite artists that to me influence my playing will always be Ayreon, Evergrey, Symphony X, Pink Floyd, and Hans Zimmer. <Ernie> We are motivated by a lot of bands that you don't see come to the states. In Flames, Evergrey, Ayreon, Amon Amarth, & Symphony X just to name a few. You don't see a lot of bands from the states playing the type of music we play, and we want to show them that we, a band from Vegas, can prevail! I loved, and still love, professional wrestling! I used to go to many events as a kid, and one night, KISS played after one of the shows. It changed my life forever! <Ace> My musical influences are pretty vast. Learning to drum, my teacher John Freixas kept me well rounded by teaching styles from rock, to latin, to jazz, and ultimately ended up on Fusion and Progressive rock. I have always been inspired by Dennis Chambers, Neil Peart, and cliche' enough, John Bonham. Of course there are too many influences to list. I appreciate the art and try to take away something new from everything I listen to. As mentioned earlier science and mechanics have always been an interest to composer and sharing a stage with me. him was a highlight of my career, not to mention he is such a down to <CV SW> Any memorable shows? Why earth mellow dude! were they memorable? <Mike> Good shows Bad shows <Rafael> As far as attending goes, they are all memorable. Top few the show I saw with Firewind and would be the Diablos was the best Dark Tranquility here in Las Vegas 30 mins ever, Devin Townsend back in 2007, that was the show we show got to share a stage with a bafounded Mike and was also the dass, Warral Dane I got to talk about night we decided we wanted to re- cats with him. form the band and bring the sound of those two amazing bands togeth- <CV SW> Bloodstock Open Air – you guys er and make something epic. As for have a major jones to play it – what is it us playing a show I would say play- about BOA that drives you to want to pering at the House of Blues at the form there? Mandalay Bay Hotel for the very <Ace> Honestly I want to play on first time. We were one of the first local bands to have that great opportunity to play an amazing stage that we used to see our favorite bands play on when they stopped by in town. Was a surreal experience to hear yourself on a grand stage like that. <Ernie> Our first shows at the House of Blues were a really big deal for us as a band. We never expected to be a play that venue, and when they told us, we were stoked! Just walking onto the stage for the first time gave me chills. <Ace> My most memorable show definitely has to be when we opened for the great almighty Devin Townsend. He is by far my favorite that giant stage! I believe our music should be listened and magnified at a volume of that sort. <Rafael> Really it's any stage like BOA that drives us to perform on, we will always enjoy the intimate small clubs but for us we feel the sound and look of this band should have that "grand scale" of a design which is why all the shows we play here we try to recreate that image of a "Massive" show you only see in those kind of Metal Festivals overseas. When we were giving green light from the promoters of BOA to be part of the contest to play for BOA we were excited because the contest was really opened for Local UK metal bands and not many US bands were allowed to register. <CV SW> Let’s travel back to 2011…Diablos Rock the Roof battle of the bands…Sicocis wins it all, $10K…sure the money is important, but tell us about that win, what does that say in terms of your blood, sweat, and tears? <Rafael> That story to me is a funny one because originally we were asked as a favor to be part of that Battle of the Bands only because the promoter needed one more band to just fill in a slot so I guess they let us skip the fee to participate in it (HaHa). Each round we did we were always last and figured "oh this is where it ends for us, oh well" then round after round we make it to the finals and we were the first band to go on and that's when we thought we were screwed because they were judging off of crowed cheers so we figured the last band would get the advantage for their fans to have the most hype but when they said our name we all had that wide eye look like "wow, we actually did it!" For us it really proves that even a metal band like us, with the influences we love that is not known here in the States let alone in Las every show, they would bring more and more. And when it was our time they made it the show of shows. THANK YOU ALL! <Ernie> We treated every round of that competition like it was our biggest show. We took no expense in putting on the best performances that we have ever put on. We played our hearts out, and showed Vegas that a metal band could prevail, and rise above all. Those shows are very special to us. <Ace> Those nights were super fun. and when I first heard that people in France and England were listening to our stuff that was pretty damn cool. <Rafael> To me the whole Social Media is a double edge sword. It's a great tool to get out there and share your music to the whole world and interact with people from around the world but at the same time you are now in competition with the whole world as a music scene and not just your hometown. It seems everyone and their grandmas have a band with a social page which can overwhelm anyone looking for new music, which now it seems you need to have more "likes" on your page than have actual music for people to notice you which is a shame because some of the best bands were found out of nowhere. <CV SW> You tend to have a limited concert schedule, maybe 1 show a month or so, is that be Vegas, can succeed! <Mike> That show was powerful push for us, 3 rounds of “holy s**t I can’t believe it!” It forced us to really put our heads together and make s**t happen, keep going and not stop. We worked harder, we wanted to do better, look at how we do shows, just have fun and rock out. But it would not have even mattered if it was not for everybody that came out in support. My dad, who has helped us by far the most, who I feel is definitely the fifth member of this band. My wife blasted the shit out of the internet with posts flyers and forever support. All of our friends who brought an army. It amazing how many there were, I believe that winning the Diablos Rock the Roof battle was the turning point for the band where we actually saw a glimmer of hope for our music. Every night one of us said, "nah there is no way we are gonna win this thing, our music is too weird," and then every night our name was announced and there was this super wide eyed look on all of our faces. <CV SW> You guys are active on Social Media, but not overly – tell us your views on FB and the social media scene. <Ace> I believe social media is a pretty good way to generate interest and energy for the band, the speed of communication baffles me, design? <Rafael> I believe so; back when we started we played as many shows as we could with whoever we could, but after a while that can burn out any band on a local scale if you are only getting the same results every time. In this town with pre-sale tickets we try to separate our shows apart so when we have a show it means something and not just "another show" but instead focus all our time and energy to that one show so it could have a more successful turnout. <Ace> Having limited shows keeps the scene interested, it also generates a larger crowd pull, instead of tons of little crowds due to an abun- dance of shows. It also allows us to focus on writing and recording. bands almost on a weekly basis playing the grand stage. <Ace> Yes, much harder, though it is expected having to compete the casinos and club scene. <Ernie> We definitely know now that opportunities are not going to be handed to us, and that we have to work our asses off to see any results. It’s no walk in the park for sure, but I think that once a band is established it must work just as hard as it did when it started. <CV SW> Tell us what “progressive/ symphonic metal” means to the band. <Rafael> I've always been interested in what people think our music would fit in as a genre because as a name like ours we constantly switch around in ideas and influences in our music. There's even a Russian metal site that called us "progressive thrash" that I always thought was interesting. For me I figured it's easier to just say we are a symphonic metal band with progressive elements because it would just intrigue people then just saying we’re a Metal band, in our songs. In the end I like to picture us as a Metal band with epic dynamic themes like film; that way our music can change to the ever growing story we want to tell. <Ace> It means different. Fusion. I appreciate that a lot of our songs aren't written to standard mainstream format, it adds excitement, and tells a story. Even the track Revelations End…that song is a beast to learn because after the vocals stop about 2 minutes into the song, it’s just a long progressing instrumental, full of twists and turns and never really the same idea twice. You won’t hear that on the radio! HaHa. <CV SW> Tell us what you think about the Vegas music scene. Is it harder than you expected? <Mike> It is, but I guess it’s hard anywhere. It is the entertainment capital of the world and unfortunately metal really is not a really popular form here. Cover bands just take over. <Rafael> For us it is a tough scene, but only because it really is a young and small one. This is a town of entertainment for tourists so if you're not a cover or tribute band on the strip then there is no room for you <CV SW> I see you guys promoting shows of other bands, do you feel there is enough camaraderie here among bands? at all as a band with original music, especially for metal music, and especially for the metal music we like to play; but I do like to believe it is growing thanks to the ever growing support from the great promoters who believe in the scene and in the local bands. A few years back you would never see a local band touch the House of Blues at the Mandalay Bay hotel because well, it is a Hotel, but promoters like Josh Figg changed that and now you can see <Rafael> I think that's what's awesome about this scene is because it is very small, no band is the same so everyone tries to help each other out and promote each other shows…in a town of entertainment there is always a show somewhere and it can be hard to have it advertised for people to go so we always try to help each other out and spread the word out for people looking for show to go to, we try to encourage people to go to more local shows and ignore what's going on the strip you know? <Ernie> I think that with the bands that we have played with, there is a big friendship, especially with the bands that recorded at the same studio. I also think that more bands should help each other out as well. Not only to better themselves, but to better the scene in general. <Mike> We have had a chance to record some of the bands in town, we are all friends, we like to see each other succeed and help each other out and keep shit happening, and bring a better music scene. <CV SW> What’s the biggest challenge to a band trying to make a name for themselves in Vegas? <Rafael> So many people tell me "if you want to make it from Vegas STOP PLAYING HERE" because Las Vegas is known only by the Las Ve- gas Strip and the world renown artists that take residency on the strip like Elton John and Motley Crue. People don't come here to see local bands so it really is a challenge to try to get both the local people and people from out of town to come to the shows when you have the Strip to compete against. <Ace> Pushing, we have seen a lot of bands come and go, but I think what we hold onto is the constant drive and idea that all of this will pay off. The feeling of preforming the music also plays a big role, it’s so satisfying walking off a stage you just tore up, sweaty and ears ringing. <CV SW> VRMA’s, nominated as “Best Metal Band” – not a bad thing, considering the talent here. Tell us about the experience, about the validation you guys felt. <Rafael> That was again an eye opener for us to win the nomination as "Best Metal Band" this year, we do feel it will help the exposure for us and again proves that with the music we play can be successful <CV SW> What is the status with the new CD…I saw some information earlier this year, but can’t find updates… <Rafael> The new CD is coming along, last time when we did the EP "Revelations End" we had all the time to record, this time around when we started writing and recording we were offered show after show and was getting harder to get our minds to focus on recording. The shows were big opportunities too so they weren't something we could just pass up. After a while we just said no more shows and just lock ourselves away, we are now finishing up with guitars and will be finishing this month with vocals and all the other layers like orchestration, synths and effects then on to the final mixing. Once that is all done we will releasing all the information on the CD as it is sort of a double concept album with releasing the first CD around fall this year and hopefully spring/summer next year. With a massive story we want to tell we don't want to rush anything. <Ernie> We have been recording furiously…we are still laying down tracks, but due to crazy schedules, it might take longer than expected. We will post updates soon though! <CV SW> There is some talent in Vegas, how do you guys try to separate yourselves from the other bands? <Ernie> We let the music speak for itself. We try to write music from the influences we know. We treat every show like it’s our biggest one yet, and we try to put on a great performance ever time. <Rafael> We just go out there and try to put the best show we ever could for the audience, we try to capture the same essence as the bands we love seeing into our shows and music, everything from having orchestrated intros/outros in our sets, creating an image with what we look like as a band and having a distinctive sound that nobody does in this city. We want to bring that "larger than life" sound you get in like a film score but back that up with just epic metal on a stage. <CV SW> Let’s be honest, it’s a hard life, being in a band – what keeps you going, how do you keep the fire & motivation? <Rafael> It really is a hard life to be in a metal band, to be a musician in general, but what keeps me going is that when people tell me a metal band like Sicocis could never win a Battle of the Bands on the Strip for $10,000, we did. When people tell me a local band like Sicocis can't play big stages like the House of Blues and it is only for the bigger bands, we did. For people telling me Sicocis is not meant for award shows like world and share our music with people of every country! That’s what keeps me going. <CV SW> What do you think has been your biggest accomplishment so far? the VRMA's and we wouldn't fit in to that kind of crowd, we did. And lately people telling me that a band like Sicocis could never make it from a city like Las Vegas or get a recording contract or be on a label and should just give up after all these years. <Ace> - Seeing the crowds’ faces after each performance always seems like the biggest accomplishment to me. It’s cool to know that other people dig what you dig, ya dig? <Ernie> In my opinion, I take the fact that we have been together as a band for this long as an accomplishment. We have seen so many fellow bands call it quits here in our hometown, and to be a part of something this special with my brothers is big to me. <Rafael> Yeah, still together and still determined as strong as day 1 but with more knowledge <Mike> That we have not given up. We faced a lot s**t and said, f**k all that, we are gonna come back hard- <CV SW> I saw that you guys posted a proud moment of 16,000 views of your video “Prelude to Insanity”. 16,000?! Holy popular video batman. Are those the types of events that inspire you guys to keep going, to keep playing? What is your motivation to just keep doing what you’re doing? <Rafael> We're amazed to see the video shared that many times online, we had a lot of emails of fans all round like the UK, Germany, even from Russia saying they love the band and shared it all over metal forum sites in their home countries, because of them it makes us more determined to keep on going. <CV SW> We’re coming down to the end of 2013, what’s in store for Sicocis now and into 2014? <Ernie> Being in this band for as long as I personally have, I must admit, it has grown on me. I would hate to see something this great end, I would hate to see this fire burn out. I want to see us play for thousands at Bloodstock & Wacken Open Air! I want to see us travel the <Rafael> Finishing the first CD for a Fall release and just in time for a show we are hoping to set up at the LVCS on Freemont Street in November with one of our favorite bands that inspire us Blackguard, it's gonna be one epic night. Then finish the 2nd CD for a Spring/Summer release in time for us to have enough material to start playing out of town shows and possible shop for a label or so. <Ernie> Look out for our new CD, and many epic shows heading your way! After that, its back into writing mode, to bring you more awesome er at it. There was a couple road tunes! trips we did where it was just a f**king disaster and reach all new next level s**t, step back take a breathe and enjoy it. Worse things Friend them @ could happen. Make it back home https://www.facebook.com/sicocislv have a pow-wow at crown, and conListen to them @ tinue the next move. http://www.reverbnation.com/sicocis Why Blowouts Happen—and How to Avoid Them (Reprinted from PopularMechanics.com) In the heat of summer vacation season, tires are more prone to fail. We explain the main factors that lead to a blowout. (Coming soon: Part Two, what to do when a blowout happens to you.) Did you enjoy tire-blowout season? That's a rhetorical question, kind of like the infuriating, "Hot enough for ya?" But those who have suffered a tire failure since the mid-May start of the season will likely answer, "No, I did not have fun." Even if you've avoided tire problems, you probably have noticed road gators—the treads of failed tires—lining the shoulders of interstate highways. Tire-blowout season runs from roughly the middle of May through early October. (Tire companies closely track such information but guard it carefully.) The reason more tires fail from late spring to early fall is simple: That's when the outside temperature is the hottest, and when motorists are driving farther, and faster, in more heavily loaded vehicles. The combination can push a neglected or injured tire beyond its breaking point. However, tire failures can happen any time of year, especially in the warmest parts of the United States. Besides heat and over weighted cars, other major bad guys for tires include lack of proper air pressure and, of course, impacts with obstacles. Underinflation Underinflation is the easiest way to kill a tire. After all, air is what allows a tire to carry the weight of a vehicle and its cargo. Without proper air pressure, the internal components of the tire— fabric, steel, rubber, and composites—flex beyond their designed limits. What happens is much like bending a length of wire: manipulate the metal long and far enough and it will overheat and snap. Try it with an old-style wire clothes hanger. (Warning: The failure point will be skin-burning hot.) Without proper air pressure, the tire's internal pieces will overflex, weaken, and, eventually, fail. Proper pressure for tires on recently produced cars can be found on the driver's side door jamb. It's true that the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) has been mandatory on all cars, pickups, and sport-utility vehicles since 2007, but that system does not issue an alert until a tire is significantly underinflated. A responsible driver still has to check tire pressure by hand or have someone such as a tire dealer do it for him. If you drive any distance with a radically underinflated tire, have a professional demount the tire from the wheel and inspect its inside for any damage the low pressure might have caused. The definition of "radically underinflated" for your tire and vehicle combination can be found on your tiremaker's website: if the pressure drops much below 20 psi, the extra-cautious will want to have their tire inspected by a pro. Overloading Overloading a vehicle can also fatally damage a tire. Just because your pickup's bed will accept a full load of free mulch from the recycling center doesn't mean your tires can carry the weight, especially if they're underinflated. When pulling a heavy-laden trailer with your SUV, your 350-pound brother-in-law might have to find another ride. To be sure about all this, you'll have to find your vehicle's Gross Vehicular Weight Rating (it's on the same placard as the recommended tire pressure) and do the math. Those who haul extraheavy loads can increase a tire's weight-carrying capacity by raising pressure to the "maximum load," indicated by the "maximum pressure" number found on a tire sidewall. The number molded into the tire tells the maximum weight the tire can carry if the tire is inflated to that maximum pressure. Potholes Another way to fatally injure a tire, especially with today's ultralow-profile rubber, is to slam into pothole, driveway lip, or other road hazard. The impact pinches the tire's internals between wheel and obstacle. If the hit is hard enough, it can cut or fray the internals. Sometimes the pothole will cut all the way through fabric and rubber, and the tire will die right there. Other times the dam- age won't show up for months. Which brings us to: The Slow Death Commonly a tire suffers the damage that will cause its death long before it fails. Sometime people forget to check their tire pressureâ€”maybe the minivan was hovering just above the TPMS warning threshold when the high school football team's offensive linemen hopped in. Perhaps a driver doesn't realize he or she has a slow leak (or procrastinates about it) and motors 20 miles before getting a repair. Every now and then, a teen driver forgets to mention that encounter with the pothole. Any of these can accelerate a tire's death. Perhaps months later, when the vehicle is loaded with the entire family and rolling toward a vacation destination, the combination of the heavy load, ambient temperatures in the 90s F, and highway speed limits stresses the tire beyond its limits. The previously damaged tire can take no more and fails. To many, there are few more frightening thoughts than a tire failure at highway speeds. In a followup piece, we'll explain how to handle this situation safely. Until then, be careful out there. Mötley Crüe Invites You to an Intimate Evening in Hell Mötley Crüe, pioneers of the Las Vegas hard rock residency, once again took the city by storm and transformed The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino into a fiery abyss with the debut of their second residency on Wednesday, Sept. 18. Mötley Crüe, comprised of vocalist Vince Neil, bassist Nikki Sixx, drummer Tommy Lee and guitarist Mick Mars, stayed true to their word by pushing their own envelope once again with an exclusive, all-new, never-seen-before production that can only be seen now through Sunday, Oct. 6. The notorious band kicked off the first night of their 12 show residency in front of a sold out house. In true Las Vegas and Mötley Crüe fashion and following last year‟s sold out three week run, the band creates the ultimate rock „n‟ roll experience with an elaborate stage design, flashy costumes and adrenaline-pumping surprises. The residency showcases one of the biggest lighting and sound presentations ever hosted in the award-winning concert venue, massive LED screens placed above and around the stage as well as the band‟s signature over-the-top pyrotechnics. From hell-themed costumes, which includes Neil‟s elaborate black and red, floorlength, leather coat and the venue‟s ushers, bartenders and box office staff clad as the gatekeepers of the underworld, to devil-inspired magicians and stilt walkers at the entrance to the venue, no detail has been forgotten. During one of the highest-energy moments of the night, Sixx shoots fireballs from his bass that rise more than 30 feet above the stage while Neil belts out vocals for “Shout at the Devil.” In addition to the extravagant theatrics, Mötley Crüe delivers a setlist full of hits including high-octane numbers such as “Wild Side,” “Kickstart My Heart,” “Saints Of Los Angeles,” “Dr. Feelgood,” “Girls, Girls, Girls” and their signature ballad “Home Sweet Home,” featuring Lee playing a flaming piano. Celebrities and rock stars alike were in attendance on opening night to get a glimpse of the band‟s famous antics. Brian May of legend- Mötley Crüe Hailing from Los Angeles, the quartet - Vince Neil (vocals), Mick Mars (guitars), Nikki Sixx (bass) and Tommy Lee (drums) - has commandeered the rock pantheon for over 30 years. The Crüe‟s bragging rights comprise worldwide album sales exceeding 80 million, seven platinum or multi-platinum albums, 22 Top 40 mainstream rock hits, six Top 20 pop singles, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, three Grammy nominations for “Best Hard Rock” performance, a New York Times bestselling memoir and countless sold out gigs across the globe, playing to millions of fans. Photo by Erik Kabik / Erik Kabik Photography ary rock band Queen and Academy Award-winning actor Nicolas Cage were spotted in the crowd, amongst others. After three decades of decadence, Mötley Crüe maintains its iron will, capturing new fans and influencing musicians across multiple generations. The group invaded Las Vegas in 2012 with the city‟s first ever hard rock residency, “Mötley Crüe in Sin City” which sold out and left the loud impression that what happens in Vegas can be heard around the world. ROCK-tober 14th! No Remorse Records announces the world release of the NeW Electro-NomicoN album “Unleashing The Shadows” Available through PLASTIC HEAD Distribution (UK) Century Media DISTRO (US) We are MUSIC We are CHANGE We ARE... that, it's always bittersweet. I think it is very important to really know how much you want to do Cleber (vocal) something. It's the first time I've been away from my Thiago (guitar) family and friends for so long. But at the same time, Marko (bass) they are very present in my life. Everyday I Skype or Leandro (drums) message them, so I don't really feel that I have left <CV WW> You are a guitar player from Brazil, what them behind. TOKSIX is... brought you to the USA, and how has your experience <CV WW> Why did you choose Vegas? living abroad been? <Thiago Straioto> Hi Chris, first off, thank you so <Thiago> I've always preferred the West coast. I like much for the opportunity to be in this great magazine. the vibe here, and the presence of rock and roll is strong. It's perfect for me right now. And thankfully <CV WW> The pleasure and honor is all ours my Vegas doesn't have the kind of traffic L.A. does friend. (laughs). <Thiago> The U.S. has the greatest musicians, bands and music genres that have directly influenced me <CV WW> Tell us about the Rock/Metal scene in Curisince I was a little kid. Living here in the U.S. is a tiba, Brazil. new challenge in my career. It's been exactly one year <Thiago> Curitiba used to be the Brazilian â€œCity of since I moved here from Brazil. I spent last winter in Rockâ€? back in the day. Nowadays, unfortunately, fans Chicago, and had the opportunity to perform at some would rather pay a hundred bucks to watch an intergreat blues bars, such as Buddy Guy's Legends and national concert instead of paying 15 and supporting Kingston Mines, so for me it was very special, and local bands. And that pretty much includes the entire also because it was the first time I had ever seen snow Brazilian metal scene as well. Local bands have been in my life! (laughs) Most of my lead guitar is influ- getting minimal exposure. That also explains why so enced by the blues, so it was an incredible experience. many musicians from these bands are playing cover For someone like me, who always saw these venues music now. I have nothing against cover bands, but if as very far away, it's amazing to now be called and you stop supporting the original music, there's no way hear, "Hey Thi, we have couple of gigs booked in to develop events with quality and structure. Hollywood this month at The House of Blues and The <CV WW> How's the music writing process been with Roxy'', you know? Toksix since you moved to the US? Are you planning <CV WW> How did you feel, moving to the US, leaving to record a new album? <Thiago> I don't know if it's a coincidence, but we others behind? <Thiago> When you make an important decision like always record during even numbered years. We rec- played? <Thiago> The biggest crowd I ever played for was with Toksix and AOK, it was around 5,000 indoor, 10,000 open-air. The little shows have a great vibe too. In general, those were always our favorite ones. We had a great concert in Vienna. We played for, like, seven or eight people in this bar. Let me tell you something, Chris, it was one of the coolest shows ever. <CV WW> So many people dream about being a musician and do this for a living, what would you say about the difficulties that people find in this tough orded our very first EP, New Tomorrow, in 2010, and industry? the second, Hell is Blue, in 2012. In 2014, we are planning to release the third EP, which is currently untitled. We will bring all the equipment into the jungle and try to get the harmony from nature into our music, but it won't be meditation music or some kind of mantra stuff, trust me. It will be heavier than ever. From the moment we started Toksix, we decided to do everything without pressure. We are very close friends that like to play instruments, during breaks we barbecue and have some beers. <CV WW> Barbecue & Beer sounds GREAT to us! <Thiago> It's very relaxed, that's why we are still together, the rules are that you can do whatever you want. They are the best musicians I've ever played with in my life. When I told them that I was moving to U.S., they supported me and respected my decision. These guys are great dudes. <CV WW> Do you have a favorite concert that you played? When and where was this show? Why was this show so special? <Thiago> I've been on the road many times over the years, and there is always something new and each concert is special. I really loved the tour in Europe with AOK. In 2006, we spent twenty-four out of thirty days performing after we recorded the album Samurai. It was crazy man. The very first one was in a bar in Amsterdam called The Cave. That was a great show. With Toksix, we had an awesome concert for 10,000 people in the middle of the forest last year. It was raining and people were jumping in the mud. It was a 24-hour party with free beer, you know what I'm saying? (laughs) <CV WW> What are some of the big shows youâ€™ve <Thiago> Playing guitar should not be something that's tiring, it's an eternal quest for what we do not know is yet to be. Many musicians seek out something that is upfront and end up wasting precious time that music can bring you in the present moment. <CV WW> Although you are primarily a hard rock and metal guitarist, you also mentioned a strong influences in the blues. How do you define yourself musically and how has the blues influenced you? <Thiago> Well, with the exception of classical musicians, everyone has been influenced by the blues, even if you don't listen to the genre. My very first influence was back in the day watching this blues guitar player Nuno Mindelis. I still remember it as if it happened today. He just started his solo, and then left the stage, walked through the audience, and left the bar with the band performing on stage. I was like, what? So I asked my friend, did you see that? Then he crossed the street, and continued playing his solo nonstop. He sat at a bus stop across the street with the entire band still on stage and was there for like 7 minutes. For me, that was a big moment in my life. Then I thought, is that what it means to be a musician? You can do what you want but also have a lot licks but do not forget to try to find strong melodies that please. <CV WW> Besides being on stage, you have done some work in recording studios. Tell me more about these new projects. <Thiago> Yes, my big passion is writing guitar lines and composing new stuff. There's a lot of recording going on now, I'm recording at Steak House Studio North Hollywood for an L.A. band. I'm also composing for Zombie Shaker Box's second album in Vegas. of discipline to play like that? Awesome! I define my- I'm also starting to do some writing and recordings self as a non-stop guitar player, my wife calls me a with Systemec guitar player True Lamaun. This guy mad scientist sometimes. is great, it's been a long time since I played with a great guitarist like that. I am releasing an instrumental <CV WW> It HAS been said that there is a fine line single, so make sure you go check out my webbetween genius and madness. site! www.thiagostraioto.com <Thiago> Yes, that is true. <CV WW> What do you think is the best part about <CV WW> What tip would you give to guitarists who this line up, why does this work so well? want to become virtuosos and shred their guitars? <Thiago> In music less is more too. As in a fight to punch the air does not earn points. In a guitar solo, it is the same thing; it is more valid to have the precision of movement associated with the moment, with a blow from a combination of kicks and punches to the wind. It is important to have great technique. It's also like painting. You need techniques, but are you using any ''colors'' in this painting? It's all in your ears and in your heart more than in your fingers. Interpretation is what really matters in improvisation, at least that's how it works for me. <Thiago> We are experienced musicians with similar influences but we are friends more than everything else and our music just reflects in our friendship. <CV WW> Who are your musical influences? <Marko Leo> All kinds of good music. Specially heavy music...I listen funk music, jazz, metal...and bands like Suicidal Tendencies, Metallica, Sevendust were my school...I try to put this together in my own style! <CV WW> When did you finally feel that music was <CV WW> Do you have any system of study for prac- what you were going to do with your life? What led to that decision? ticing guitar? How does it work? <Thiago> Besides writing my own guitar lines, I like to write sentences to read myself, I have ideas and thoughts of my musical vision, it helps me understand what I can do to improve and get the sound I'm looking for. Understand the accent of each style, learn the <Marko> Since the day I started with my first band ever...I knew music would be forever! <Thiago> Since I was 6 years old holding a broom and pretending I was playing guitar while my uncle was listening to the bad ass guitar riff Money for Nothing from Dire Straits and Satisfaction from the Rolling Stones What a great place to start, eh? <CV WW> You say “Toksix is music, but above all, believes in change”; what does that mean? What type of “change” do you believe in? <Thiago> The changes that only originates from ourselves. The best way to change the world is everybody tries to change their own world; more respect, more love. are any differences between fans on the different continents (North America, South America, & Europe)? <CV WW> In your press bio, you talk about your “characteristic sound” – how would you describe that? <Thiago> We always try to put the bass lines with drums in a solid groove. That gives me a lot of options to work with my guitar riffs and melodies. That's our formula, there's no secret, and it's very natural to us to figure out how we would put our ideas together. <CV WW> Also, you say “each era of the band directly influenced in the compositions” – talk about the “eras of the band”, tell us about that. <Marko> We had two drummers...the first one has his own style, and the second one was completely different. So, this influenced us directly, especially through their personalities. <Thiago> Yes, that's what makes the tours really interesting to me. For example, when we played in Berlin, most of the guys came to the concerts with their dogs, and they weren't little puppies, they were big Dobermans! When we played in Amsterdam, our bus driver had a few too many beers, so couldn't travel that night. We had to find a place to stay and our fans were so friendly and receptive. They invited us to stay at their house and the next day they made us a great breakfast. That was really cool. Brazil is really friendly too. For example, if I play in some cities like Sao Paulo, we don't stay in a hotel. The concert managers would be disappointed if we didn't hang out and stay at their house. I remember being at this manager's house while touring with a German band in Brazil...there were 14 of us and we all were in this guy's house sleeping there for days! (laughs) It's really hospitable down there. But my favorite place to play guitar is in the U.S., especially in the West, the vibe of the area is just amazing, and the shows are the best. People here know very well that Rock n Roll is more than a genre of music, it's a way of life. <CV WW> What do you think your greatest accom<CV WW> What inspires you when you write a song? plishment is so far? Where do the lyrics come from? <Thiago> Still being able to listen to this kid that I <Thiago> The way to learn how to develop your was 20 years ago, and let this child follow his dreams. style, I believe is similar to preparing a food. Mixing different ingredients combined with your personal <CV WW> How does the band use Social Media like FB taste can bring you a unique way of playing music. Everything around you is energy and changes how do you feel, what you write about, and how you play. <CV WW> Any interesting story about the name “Toksix”? How did you choose that name? <Thiago> Making music with Toksix is the way we found to breath a fresh air in this toxic world, we recycle the pollution of the world with our music. <CV WW> Having played in Europe, do you find there Blue” Explain that to us. <Thiago> In a world full of nuclear threats coming from several directions, what should we expect? Peace, divine intervention to world leaders...regardless of who hit the red button first, it will be incomparably the greatest mistake made by mankind throughout its existence. There is a small problem when the word nuclear is contained in the same sentence. No nation will prevail. In the third world war we will all lose. We may be the last generation that precedes it, have you ever stopped to think about or ReverbNation? Are you active? Do you think it’s it? changed the music industry? <Thiago> We don't have this idea about being all the time entertainment with tweets and posts on Facebook. We still prefer to be focused on the music, we always updated everything that is going on with the band. Internet helps you to reach people from all over the world so why don't use these tools! But we’re not dominated by it. <CV WW> How do you expect to make your mark, to set yourself apart from other bands? <Thiago> There is no way to go if you define your band as a hard rock or nu metal band, or grunge or heavy metal. But if you are all these styles in the same time then maybe you can take a step to the next level. <CV WW> Your last statement on your FB bio says “turn a blind eye and you are cattle” – is the band trying to put out a political message? <Thiago> I think the world in general is in a control freak era, not only in politics, but in life, in the music industry, you know…there's always some kind of manipulation that affects the art of music or any other industry you are in. <CV WW> You chose to name your EP “Hell is <CV WW> Can you tell us the big plans for Toksix for the rest of 2013 and into 2014? <Thiago> Recording session for one week in the Brazilian forest called Serra Da Graciosa to finish our third EP, to have some beers around the bonfire and see what happens from there. We all know that things we never expected can happen and some other things that we expected so much never happen. We give our best to the music and try to be honest with our art. Everything else is consequence. Of course would be great to have an American tour in 2014! If you are reading this magazine and want to bring Toksix to USA, don't hesitate contact us. "PREPARING YOU FOR GREATNESS" Systemec turning on the Modern Rock Metal Industrialized Blender Since 2009! HAILING FROM Canada and fronted by powerhouse vocalist KOBRA PAIGE, also the bandâ€™s founding force, the defining factor here is a commitment to engage, entertain & excite, spear-headed by a live show that is crying out to be heard through larger amps in bigger venuesâ€Ś Another month in the Nightlife of Sin City took me from one end of the valley to the other, following the bands in and out of new clubs, old bars, DiveBar's, lounges and casinos. It's a tough life but someone's got to do it. First Class Trash took the stage of the new Fremont Country Club with newly-signed and now nationally-touring local boys, Otherwise. I remember just 2 short years ago, hanging out and shooting a small gathering at the now closed Black Door with Adrian and the boys of Otherwise, doing an acoustic performance, sharing plenty of J채ger with all of us. The John Zito Band had their Official CD Release party, at Vamp'd of course, along side local rockers Whiskey Breath. Not surprisingly, the house was packed to support Zito, a favorite among the local scene. If you haven't seen the John Zito Band, you are missing out on one of the top rocking & blues bands around. Better yet, pick up one of their CD's, I guarantee you will not be disappointed. The recently re-opened/moved/revamped DiveBar, formerly well known as the Sin City Sinner's home, stepped things up a notch and brought in locals' favorite Outta the Black to test the sound threshold that their new neighbors would put up with. The OTB boys brought a whole new set list, including multiple Originals as well as new versions of previously covered songs and some of the newest hits that they exclusively cover. The boys were joined by Guitar Virtuoso, Darren Hurst for a crazy night of ear-splitting rock! Acoustic Asylum's alter ego, Threedom Rock took to the Fiesta Henderson Casino again for some off the wall antics down in Hendertucky. A nice change from the norm and another venue bringing local bands down into the southeast part of the valley. Could the Fiesta be thinking about competing in the game? Local classic rock cover band 'Nuff Said', playing Jack's Pub inside Palace Station Casino, landed a new gig at the newly revamped PlaSpeaking of Vinyl at Hard Rock, the boys za casino downtown on Friday from Systemec joined First Class Trash and the nights. Be sure to check out Sean Dreaming to light up the club 'DJ Yo Mama' and the crew. This with a menagerie of rockers band is one of the biggest parties in spanning the rock spectrum. Vegas, every weekend. This trio of bands drew in There is a new project on the passers-by going to and from horizon and it is a long time coming the casino, with their hard to Sin City. I hinted around it last hitting sound. Then a few weeks later, Systemec rocked the roof at Vamp'd month and finally I have a couple of to a full house. With Paul's chest-pounding vocals the photos I shot of the newest Triband Chuck's wild flying stage presence, these ute to hit Sin City. Keep reading for more info on this scary project.. guys always leave the crowd amazed. After lighting up a packed house at Vamp'd for Guitarist Brian Sylvester's Birthday Bash with OTB and JetBlackLab (their first appearance at Vamp'd), Smashing Alice took their hangovers to The Strip and lit up Wicked Vicky's Lounge in the Riviera. Don’t know if the Riviera is going to make another run at trying to get locals in, but bringing in these crazy rockers is a good way to get it started. Adding another casino to their resume, Smashing Alice rocks Vinyl at the Hard Rock Hotel on a regular basis and recently played the After-Party for Shinedown and the Carnival of Madness tour stop, getting some mad praise from some Shinedown members that stopped in after the concert. 'Animal' and the boys from Cyanide took the Vamp'd stage with Dio Tribute “Last In Line”, for a unique and hard rocking show full of gallons of Jim Beam and unlimited debauchery that always seems to follow Animal. Cyanide always takes things to the next level, and that includes the levels on all the amps. Mr Scary What comes to mind when you see skulls and snakes wrapped together? Or the unforgettable image of that famous J. Frog 3D Skull 'n Bones guitar, owned by the infamous George Lynch? Or when you hear any of the slew of hits written by Dokken, played on radio and satellite stations across the world? Well, that rush of emotion hailing memories of great songs with incredible guitar work and passionate lyrics, hooks and vocal melodies, is what caused the creation of the newest Tribute - Mr. Scary. Hailing from the new center of the music world, Las Vegas, Mr. Scary is Drew Calvert (Don), gSilver (George), Corey Sorrenti (Jeff), and Danny Robert (Wild Mick), alongside 2 amazing backing vocalists (Miranda Trenholm and Amy Malinda) - covering the span of early 1982 Dokeen classics and deep tracks, thru the Lynch Mob years as well. Shows all around the Southwest USA are being booked now as this band captures and delivers the essence of Dokken/Lynch Mob passion and can be found online at: https://www.facebook.com/MrScaryDokkenTribute With the Winery Dogs, the music fans had no idea what they were getting but when it dropped it was discovered to be a dark bluesy masterstroke. This is what hard rock is supposed to be like and these three guys do it so well. Richie Kotzen, the purveyor of all things guitar, took the time out of the crazy schedule to give his fans insights into what made this record work. An interview with Richie Kotzen By Jeffrey Easton Metal Exiles: The three guys that make up The Winery Dogs is an amazing musician in his own right. How did you make room in the songs for each one of you to stretch out? Richie Kotzen: That is the interesting thing with this record is that nobody lost their identity. It could have been really easy to get into the studio and everybody starts fighting for space and there is a few reasons why it worked out the way it did. One, it is a three piece and I am comfortable in a three piece, its all I ever do when I play with my band. I think Mike wanted to try something new so let the cards fall where they may so to speak. He is being Mike Portnoy but he realizes that it’s a three piece so he is listening and understands we are playing off of each other and playing on a smaller kit as well. Billy and I have played with each other for years so we knew how to play together. Also I think it had a lot to do with the way the material was written. We have songs on there that were written out of jams, just sitting in a room together and all of the parts just locked together. There were a few songs that I had written previously that I thought would be good for the Winery Dogs but even on those songs it was pretty well mapped out what was going to happen. The third thing that tied it together is that we have been musicians for so long that you learn how to work with other people. gree on but then there are those that we can connect on like Cream, Led Zep, The Who and the list goes on. So with me being the guitarist, singer and primary song writer, in the end I am going to push us in that direction. Metal Exiles: As musicians you have had very diverse careers from each other. How did you make all of this diversity come together in the writing process? Richie: For the blues based thing you have to find a common ground and for anybody that knows me knows I am not a blues guy by any stretch but my influences, even though they were rooted in rock, were heavily blues influenced. For me this record was not a stretch stylistically, but when you compare the other guys and their influences, they all have the same influences, they are just getting it from another place. We can sit down and talk about 20 bands and their might be 10 that we completely disa- Metal Exiles: Desire is one of the best tracks on the record. Richie: Desire is a song I had never demoed but I had demoed the rest and the other songs were written together as a band. I ended a solo cycle of releasing a record and touring and I was approached by Eddie Trunk about doing this record so I put the Winery Dogs record in front of what would have been my next solo album so I decided to not do that record and I am glad I saw this through. So far we have gotten a great response and the other guys contributed so much to the outcome of the record. Metal Exiles: So you’re steering the ship in the direction that you want but with their help? Richie: More or less but we do have common ground. I am not trying to take credit, it’s not that but when you’re the singer in this kind of music, this music is built around the vocal. When you compound it with the fact that you are playing the main instrument, the guitar, your painting with a wide brush so that is why the record leans in the direction it does. Metal Exiles: I have a lot of your solo records so to me the Winery Dogs record sounds like one of your records but on the steroids that are Sheehan and Portnoy. Was some of this material destined for one of your solo records? Richie: The stuff that would have ended up on a solo record would have been Elevate, Regret, Damaged; I’m No Angel and We Are One. Those were songs that I brought in and Desire as well. Metal Exiles: I know you have worked with Billy many times in the past but this was your first time with Mike Portnoy. Were there any growing pains in the studio while doing this record? Richie: It went surprisingly smooth and I honestly thought there would have been some hiccups here and there but there weren’t. There were a few times where one of the guys was excited and trying to convey an idea and one of the other guys was trying to get his idea through but that shit is normal in that environment. There were no problems, everybody gave the right amount of space. Those guys trust that I am the singer and guitar player and although the door is open for ideas eventually you have to let someone do their job. If I write a song I am going to suggest a certain drumbeat because a song is written around a drumbeat but it’s your job and I am not going to tell you how to do your job. I dont want to do that, I don’t want to tell you how to play because I do not want someone to dictate how I play. way it was written about. Its comical to me because if I was a screen writer and I wrote a movie about a serial killer it does not necessarily mean I am a serial killer. That is a serious kind of silly. The reality is is that you do write from personal experiences but you also write from other people’s experiences. Metal Exiles: What did you go into the studio with to record the album? Richie: I took mostly Fender amps in, three different ones as well as a few Marshall amps. Sometimes I would tie them together. I also have this Marshall head that’s 20 Watts with two knobs and when you turn it all the way up you get a great tone. I was plugging my signature Artist Series Fender Model into them. It is now available to the world market after only previously being available in Japan. It’s a brown telecaster with a tobacco sunburst Metal Exiles: It seems as if your lyrics, especially on this record, finish. It has custom Dimarzio pickups and the wood choices are are so dark and personal. Where do you go mentally to come up very specific. It’s a great instrument and if someone goes to the with this material? store they are buying my guitar, not some substitute instrument. Richie: There are multiple formulas, and I hate the word formula We did not make entry level guitars for this line. because its ridiculous and I Metal Exiles: You put together a always talk against formulas, massive tone together for Debut for lack of a better word, sire. the best writing is the writing Richie: For Desire it is interestthat happens naturally so there ing because we start out with is no real formula. You can sit one guitar and one amp for the down at a piano, hear the muintro but as the song builds the sic or the lyric and within 15 guitar layers build. By the time minutes you have a song. That the chorus hits there are multihas happened to me a few ple amps and it just makes it times and some of my favorite sound bigger. songs are the ones that wrote themselves because I sit down Metal Exiles: The album is out at the piano and suddenly I and it did really well the first have a song. Damaged was week. Do you think it did well written that way but then you because of the names on the have songs that require more work, like I’m No Angel. I wrote album or the music itself or a combo? that before this project existed but that song did not have a cho- Richie: I think it was combinations of that but remember they rus. The chorus that lived there now resides in Elevate. I realized had plenty of time to hear the music because the record was out that the song went from half time to double time and it sounded a month and a half in advance in Japan. People have followed ridiculous to me so I abandoned it but a few months later I came the band on YouTube because we have three videos out and then up with the chorus so then I had the Elevate chorus looming so you have the elements of the names because they know who we Portnoy suggested I take that chorus and merge it with another are and they are curious. They want to know what we are going verse I had and suddenly you had another song. So you see to do, are we going to make a record where I can listen to the there are a few different ways to write a song. To address the songs or is it going to be chaos. Let’s be honest, people were lyrics they sometimes come at the same time like the song Dam- wondering what it was going to be like. In the end, when you aged or you have a riff that has such an energy to it that it will hear the record you say “cool, these guys made a musical record dictate the kind of lyrics you write. If you listen to the song One where you can hear some crazy playing but then you have songs More Time, its happy and bouncy so I did not want to write some you can listen to and remember. creepy End Of Days kind of lyrics so I took the “trying getting back together” approach to it. Metal Exiles: Billy Sheehan is all over the place but he is not doing anything to destroy the track, its all within the context of the Metal Exiles: Do you ever put yourself through any of this or is it song. All of you guys were phenomenal on the record but again something you pull out of thin air? in the context of the structured song. Richie: It’s both but it’s funny because if someone writes about Richie: Somehow it worked and it was cool with what we were something sometimes somebody will think it happened just the doing. I personally have nothing to prove anymore like I did when I was 18. It’s not that I am great or special, it’s more of an attitude of this is how I play, I hope you like it. With that relaxed mentality, we are able to play in a more musical way. Like you said, Billy is playing like a madman and I have my insane solos but we are not stepping on each other. People have responded well to the record and where as I thought the record was cool I did not expect it to get the attention that it has so I am pleasantly surprised. Metal Exiles: You guys are going out on tour in some fairly small places. Did you not expect the record to do well? Richie: When we planned the tour we were being conservative. In certain markets we knew we would do well like New York and then in places like Lancaster, PA we thought we would do ok but the place was packed. We have done well all over the world and we thought it had to end sometime but it hasn’t. I will tell you this about small places, I have done every scenario with touring from arenas to farmhouses and the smaller places are usually the better gigs. Rock Album of the year? The Winery Dogs, hands down. You will not find a more passionate rock release out right now. Official Winery Dogs Site BUY THE WINERY DOGS! Ron McGillâ€™s 1967 Chevelle SS The car was built by my father in law, Robert Coyle, from the ground up in his garage. He finished building his 67 Camaro and wanted something for his wife Susan. He started the project in 1998 with a rusted black 67 Chevelle SS with a 396. He tore it down and blasted it clean down to the sheet metal. Paying extreme attention to detail, he reworked the sheet metal, not using any bondo, only on little things. He used the original 396 motor with upgrades, hooker headers, Edelbrock manifold, Edelbrock carburetor, Muncie auto transmission, positrack rear end with high gears. 3" ceramic coated flow master exhaust. He stuck with the original look mostly, for some exceptions, like frenched antenna, upgraded sound system (500 watt cassette player) with an amp pushing to the speakers. It pushes close to 400 horse power from the original motor with the bigger Summit racing cams and lifters. Jordan Allena was born in Memphis, TN and realized her identity as a singer and dancer at the young age of three. Moving from Memphis to the entertainment mecca of Las Vegas, cutting her teeth in the extremely fast-paced performance world of Vegas, she began reinforcing her desire to be on stage through technical training. Moving from Vegas to LA put her in the thick of show biz and offered her top notch opportunities to hone her craft. She finally decided to head to Nashville to realize her dream of stardom, and sheâ€™s a runaway freight train of success there. CV WorldWide slowed her down just long enough to talk about her journey, both past & future... <CV WW> Growing up, did you al- the cars as they would drive by during afternoon rush hour. I was ways want to play music? G rowing up, I'm not sure I knew immediately that I wanted to be a "musician" per se, but I know I always HAD to be "front and center." Mom says I was "dancing in the womb" and Dad had me on a set of drums at age two learning musicality. My brother, however, had me on his dirt bike...lol. I was always dressing in tutu's, ballet shoes, heels and costumes and at 3, we were still living in MS at the time, I would sit up in the lifted fishing seat of our family's bass/ski boat, hold my Fisher Price Mr. Microphone and sing to giving my own concerts at 3 :) When we moved to Las Vegas (I had just turned 5), I would go door to door, dressed as Josie (of the Pussycats) dragging my best friend Alicen around (she was the pussycat, of course) and give front door concerts....OMG, I was crazy. In elementary school, I would do whatever it took to be able to sing the National Anthem at events or get the "featured role" in plays, etc. <CV WW> Did anything else catch your fancy beforehand? I think at age seven, I was hooked...my Mom worked at a major strip casino and was involved in such a way that she could "allow" me access to some events taking place for the casinos. I found myself onstage with Earl Turner this way and eventually did an off-site event with Clint Holmes as well. I heard Mom talking about this particular event, asked if I could be in it, and she said she would ask. Her official reply was: "They said "yes", but I don't have time to help you put something together." So, I did it myself. I found the song that matched the event, I found my cos- tume, I asked my brother to put my song on cd, and I rehearsed it myself. I performed it and got a standing ovation. Like I said...I was hooked! This is also when I was drawn to dance, as well. I enrolled with a local hip-hop team, known as the Starletts, and also made captain of a young local cheer team. I loved both, but dance had me hooked. You know my family are ALL musicians and love ALL genres, so I naturally fell in love with all types of dance and the music associated with it. I just immersed myself in training. I was at the studio every day of the week and in 11 competition numbers in one year. I couldn't get enough and I loved being able to express myself through the art of dance and through music. The excellent training I received and tough schedule prepared me in a lot of ways for what I am doing now in my music career. <CV WW> It’s been quite a physical road for you…talk about that moment when you said “yeah, I wanna rock, I wanna be up on stage”… and talk about your journey…born in Memphis, spent your elementary school years in Vegas, jumped into the LA scene, then made a decision to relocate to Nashville. That’s quite a road to travel… and now, you’re actually based on Nashville, but still fly to Vegas & LA to perform. How do you get any “me time” in all that? Well during the seven years of intense dance training, I added voice training to my schedule. My brother was playing in a gigging band and I think that lit my singing fire again. Then I auditioned for Las Vegas Performing Arts Academy and joined the dance program and took choir. I was introduced to learning harmonies and really started moving back into my love of singing. It was during my first year there (I was fourteen), I asked my parents to move me to LA and let me take acting, more vocal training, and see about getting me an agent. It was that year that EVERYTHING changed! My Dad and brother moved my Mom and me to LA into an apartment and I joined an Entertainment Training Complex. This particular studio's student roster was filled with "working industry talent"...every kid there was working in Hollywood and staying "booked." It was there that I learned to perform or entertain to the audience and camera versus within myself. I was booked in a Miley commercial within two weeks of moving there. While there, I was part of a pop girl group and a booking agent from Memphis/Nashville area saw me. After meeting with her, I was convinced that I needed to be in Nashville pursuing my singing career. I just had to convince my Mom and Dad. Within 5 months, my Dad drove Mom and me to Memphis and we eventually moved on to Nashville, where I am now. My parents deserve the Parents Sacrificial Award for the amount of support they've shown me. Because I have the building blocks of Vegas & LA entertainment scene in my soul, it bleeds into my performance style and the music I currently gravitate towards; I like things edgy and full-out :) I now travel between the West Coast and Memphis/North MS/Nashville area because that's the hub of my fan base and I enjoy being with and around them, and I have to be honest - this is when I'm happy...when I'm busy performing and growing. It's a challenge to fit "me" time in, but it just means a little less "sleep" time and very careful planning...thanks go to good management again. <CV WW> You are a solo artist, did you ever thing of playing in a band? Do you think it’s easier for a solo artist in country as opposed to rock music? You know I tried the "group" thing, but I like the feeling of being the "front man"...it's where I thrive and am comfortable. But I don't think it is easier for a "solo" artist in any genre. I think it is hard - no matter the genre and even harder for a female. I read an article a few days ago where the author feels that Nashville are greater supporters of male artists and might still be considered a "good old boys club". I'm not sure I agree with that completely, but I do know that statistics prove that male artists usually have an easier go of it because the females tend to be better at supporting their favorite artists. A solo artist also has to promote solely versus having the camaraderie of a group of folks Motley Crue because they were straight up bad-assess! Reba McEntire because she is the perfect example of how to manage your career to last. Trey Bruce, my producer, because of his amazing songwriting skill and his keen ear; he's a wordsmith! Dallas of Dirty Pairadice because of his amazing voice and showmanship. Robert Contreras, my dance instructor, because of the life lessons he taught through the art of dance. And certainly my grandparents because of their faith in me and support of my dreams. <CV WW> What is the state of music in Nashville â€“ how hard is it for a young artist to make it big? promoting themselves; it often makes a difference. Statistics or opinion, I'm know I'm doing what I am destined for; entertaining. <CV WW> You have musicians behind you, what did you look for in picking them? On the other hand, for an aspiring artist, how did you convince them to play with/for you? Nashville is a bit of a different animal when it comes to musicians, session musicians, or players for hire. Many play for lots of different artists continuously. Over the last two years, I have had quite a few different players, some by choice and some not. First, our personalities have to be compatible so there is shared respect, trust, and goals. It's important that my players enjoy my style and appreciate my music so they will give to the show what I give. Good music is VERY important in Nashville because the area is saturated with amazing talent and songwriters. I'm blessed that the artists that are currently a part of my show all want to be with me on my music journey and bring 100% to the table all the time. But, excellency can be a double-edged sword in Nashville; it's understood that a great player may be hired at any time to work with touring artists making greater pay. It's a point of unwritten respect to wish them the best and look for a replacement asap. It makes me a better artist because I have to adjust "on the fly". I also have a strong manager who can see immediately if the fit isn't good and is focused enough to move on if it isn't working. Kudos to her. Nashville is a powerful quotient in the music industry right now; it's like the flood gates have been opened for artists, producers, musicians, songwriters, etc. and as the entire music industry is changing in many ways, Nashville is feeling the changes. But I will say, that moving to Nashville and immersing yourself in it can teach a "small fish" how to "swim" very quickly. Wow - loaded question...This is a HUGE list because of all of the different styles of music and artists I have been exposed to. I have to first say Elvis Presley because of the way he commanded a stage and the way he was able to deliver his music and hold his audience. Guns n Roses, Van Halen & definition of oneself and I separate myself by bringing a full package to the table; I sing, I dance, I play guitar, I write songs, I act, I model, I choreograph, and I have been in several music videos, television & film series. So I bring all my talents/skills to the table and package myself that way. <CV WW> I donâ€™t mean to sound bad, but there are a lot of young beautiful women in music, what do you think separates you from other singers? How do you sepa<CV WW> Who are your musical rate yourself from the crowd? influences (or influences in genYou have to be extremely eral)? confident in your artistry and in the <CV WW> For an aspiring singer, early in your career, how hard is it to make ends meet until you start to earn a solid living? Being an independent artist is one of the most costly careers there is because it definitely costs you everything and requires you to have to give up a tremendous amount: energy, talents, relationships, dollars, habits/hobbies - the list goes on. You have to be committed to your craft and your dream regardless of the time it takes to accomplish it or even come close...time will pass anyway...I choose the entertainment field because I love it; it's part of my being... it's critical; my management team keeps 8-10 sites updated daily/weekly. It's a huge challenge but yes - a necessary evil...I think it will grow even more important. <CV WW> When you write a song, where do you get ideas for the lyrics? What inspires you? I get inspiration from life experiences - you know - good or bad - you gotta walk it out through your music and put it in your lyrics and melodies. I do a lot of co-writes every week and draw inspiration from working with other talented writers. I love writing. fell onto the stage, knocking over equipment including my guitarist's microphone stand, sending the mic straight into his mouth, busting his <CV WW> What do you think are lip and bruising him. I also had a your biggest challenges right now? fan leave roses with a nice "you are My biggest challenge is supawesome" note once...that was reporting my career as an independally nice, a little touch like that ent; it requires a tremendous makes a big difference. amount of money to continue to <CV WW> What are you thinking when you are on stage, and the move forward. fans are screaming and cheering, <CV WW> What about your music <CV WW> Talk about social media do you ever get caught up in the do you think appeals to people? I think my music is a driv– how critical do you think it is moment, get distracted? ing blend of aggressive country today as a marketing tool? Or do When I'm on stage, I'm solyou think it is a “necessary evil”? id. That's kind of the way I've al- and rock and it brings out the "rowdiness" in folks. People like to be able to let loose and my <CV WW> Tell us about one of your shows are definitely far from "stuffy" :) most memorable shows. I would have to say the first show I did at the PBR Rock <CV WW> Where do you think you Bar in Vegas...because it was fall in the evolution of Jordan Allethe first full band show my na, the stage of growth as an artfriends & family saw and the ist? In my own mind, I stay first time my brother had seen me perform at all since I moved "behind" because I know that for every goal I meet, I have 5 others to Nashville. that I haven't. I like the feeling of <CV WW> What’s the craziest "the push" to get to the next thing one of your fans has done evolvement of Jordan Allena. Social media is a vital part ways been described; solid... of any business; as an independent during a show? I had a fan approach our <CV WW> Have you ever stood on low platform stage to give up a stage and said to yourself “yeah, high five when he tripped and I’ve made it”, do you have that feeling yet? I want my music and talent to afford me a life-long career and to afford others a "YES" moment when they listen, watch or share in it some way. Every time I perform, I come away from the experience with the need to re-live it under my own criticisms and those of the people I trust. So, truthfully...I don't get the "I've made it" feel- <CV WW> I see you’ve done cheering. I do get a satisfied feeling leading, but “dirt bike stunts”?! when I know I gave 110 percent. You’ve got to explain that… I wanted to also be a moto-x racer when I was younger because my brother was such a powerful force in the moto-x world; so I was on a "PW50" as soon as I could be, racing at the speedway, bound and determined to copy my brother. One day, I was racing a boy in the neighborhood on a bet and was winning when we came around a corner at a high rate of speed, I slid out in the gravel, nailed a curb and was seriously "road rash wounded" and injured in a few other ways...while I was on all of those competitive dance teams; I was forced to pick one or the other...so I quit riding as much. Dance is and will always be a part of my music career. I take class still, teach class and choreography, attend as many dance auditions I can possible make and sometimes have choreographed dance/dancers in my shows. I was in a duo once for a short bit and they asked me to give up dance and focus solely on the duo; I quickly let them know...I have for YEARS multi-tasked my time well and to date, I've been able to fit it all in. <CV WW> Having done competitive dance, tell us about the Platinum/ Diamond/First Place/Technical Skill/Dancer of the Year Finalist Awards (2003-2010). Those are all awards that I am super proud of; some of them were solo numbers, some were team wins but all were won with hours upon hours of hard work, determination and excellent instruction. Dance taught me more than how to move; it taught me discipline, camaraderie, excellence, de< C V W W > S e r i o u s l y … H u l a termination, and gracious winning/ Hoop? Really? losing. Oh yeah, I can hula hoop...I've got the rhythm in me. <CV WW> You’ve done work with <CV WW> The song “Tomboy”, is that a personal anthem? You are young, blond, beautiful, and can sing lights out, but also tough, do Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift, Blake you look in the mirror when you <CV WW> I’m a computer gamer think of that song? Tomboy is a representation too, so I’m particularly interested of me in some ways; I am a girlie in your experience hosting the Xgirl and love my heels but I also box Halo Tournament, tell us about love to ride dirt bikes, hunt, and that. fish - you know, I'm very comfortable hangin’ with the boys; I spent a lot of time hangin’ with my Dad and brother as a kid and doing crazy guy things and I do see myself as a strong, tough girl. My best friend's husband is huge gamer and enters the major tournaments often, so because of the connection, I was asked to host a tournament in Knoxville. I followed the script and met a lot of really nice people. <CV WW> What do you hope to accomplish with your music, how do <CV WW> You’re also a dancer… you want people to react to your how much do you focus on dancing as a career option? music? Shelton and other country stars on their videos, did you have any chance to interact with them about music? What did they tell you if you did? Tim McGraw and Taylor Swift were not at all willing to hang out with the cast but Blake Shelton, he's dope. He was so much fun and was just easy to be around during all the shooting. As far as music advice, I've gotten that from other sources :) <CV WW> You have been on TV & in the movies too…what were those experiences like? What do you take away from being in something like “Scary Movie 5” that might help you in your singing career? The most important thing I learned is the MANY hours that actors and the cast work to get things perfect. Plus I learned a lot about the back of the scenes process; so much happens on a set behind the filming. And learning a script is not easy and learning it last minute, is even harder. The roles I land are just good for my career as a whole, not specifically oriented towards furthering my singing career. I'm signed with an agency that actually sends me on auditions, but if I hear of something among my peers that I might be interested in, you can bet I'm going after it. took them with me to Nashville and the south. It's my way of incorporating my dancer & rocker side into my edgy country style. I'm also a HUGE supporter of our military and I wear them out <CV WW> You’ve even done thea- of respect. tre! How different is theatre from singing, to you? Are there different <CV WW> What are the big plans for the rest of 2013 and beyond for things you need to focus on? I tried theatre, and I had Jordan Allena? "fun" with it, but truthfully...I just I have opened for some fair- <CV WW> Tell us about the “So You never could get into the plays and ly big names within the last year, Wanna be a Star” pilot…you were the music that went along with and I have a couple of really big lead there? them. But I have huge respect for shows coming up. I'm opening for That pilot was oriented towards young people who were all working towards the goal of becoming a star; several of the kids have actually pushed pretty far in their careers - once completed, the pilot was presented to several networks but it never attached to one. I liked having the camera follow me around though...lol the artists that are happy with that Josh Thompson at the GA State Fair and I've also been added to the style of performing. line-up of artists that get to play at <CV WW> I noticed something else the Delta Country Jam, which inas I was looking through your pro- clude Tim McGraw, Brantley Gilmo pics & youtube vids…are those bert & Kellie Pickler. My second biker/combat boots? The black EP should be out this fall along ones? Definitely not “Nashville”, with a video to support my song, are they? Tomboy, off the first one. I may So - I get asked about my even have a big show in Vegas this combat boots a lot. While I was in fall. <wink> <CV WW> Do you seek out video LA, I picked up a few industry eleopportunities? ments to the way I dressed, and I <CV WW> Let’s show our support, tell us who has got your back onstage, letâ€™s give props to the band too! My guitarist & background vocalist is Mark Thomas from Texas but moved here after a 13 year stint in LA; he was an instructor at Musicians Institute. His wife is Charissa and she's also a backup vocalist; she also attended MI for vocal production. She's most recently been on tour with Englebert Humperdinck, which is super impressive considering his stature in the industry. My other guitarist, Alex, also just moved here from LA, also an MI student and can wear it out. My drummer, Dylan, is from Johnson City, TN but attended MI too. I think I got the cream of MI to be with me on stage. My bass player and back ground vocalist is from Florida and he and his wife have a newborn that is precious. He's trained in many music related fields also and my fiddle player is a former Martina McBride tour player. All of my players are producers, engineers, etc; they are all AMAZING and I am super grateful to share the stage with them. <CV WW> Any final thoughts to our readers? I'm in this for the long haul so I hope my family, friends, and fans hang in there with me and I am really very grateful for everyone who supports me! And - thank you - for the interview and letting me share with y'all. Monoprice specializes in a wide variety of electronic cables, home theater equipment, networking and IT gear, mobile accessories, and other computer components and tech equipment. Customers can easily navigate their website and choose from among more than 4,300 Monoprice branded and nonbranded products offered at very affordable prices on its website. Making a good pair of sticks begins by selecting the best wood possible. 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I generally perform with my DWCustom drum kit, maple/mahogany. The Collector's Series is the original American made custom drum set. I've had this one since 2000 and I love the sound of it. My approach to drumming definitely vaires depending on the style of music that I"m playing. I couldn't express enough how important it is to record yourself every time you play, especially when you're playing with other musicians. A lot of times what you end up hearing while you're playing ends up sounding different on the playback. If you're a drummer just starting out, you can find music recorded wihtout the drums so you can play with it...this is very helpful because it gets you listening to all the instruments involved and gives you a better understanding of what to accent and when. Plus, they usually have the option of listening to the original drums recorded with the music and/or a metronome. I'll go with the basic setup for most straight ahead rock music. For different styles like funk or latin, I'll usually just have my 8" & 10" rack toms up front Playing different styles of music... and put my 12" on the lift of my hi-hats, One-dimensional or multiwhich is also accompanied by percussion instruments (cowbells, concert Toms, dimensional playing - it's your choice. I think the multichimes, etc). dimensional players tend to stand Rack Toms - 8" x 8", 10" x 8", 12" x 10" out and go further in their careers. Try to play with as many Floor Toms - 14", 16" musicians as you can. Your learning Bass Drum - 22" x 16" curve will go up exponentially as you broaden your horizons and by having many guitarists, bassists, singers, or whatever in your life. DON'T listen too much to high praise, or the harshest of criticism. Listening to too much of either can be quite detrimental to your psyche. If you know you're good, be the last to proclaim it with words, express it with ability...if you let your talents do the talking, they will speak volumes in your favor. Gear the Pros Use! I started playing around with guitars when I was about 10 years old, but didn't have one of my own. So, after asking my older brother to show me a thing or two on his guitar, only to have him tell me that there was no way I'd be able to learn it, I would regularly sneak into his room and play his guitar. I was absolutely in love with the heavy guitar tones I heard on records from Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, then in awe of the tones I later heard from Randy Rhoads and Jake E. Lee on Ozzy records, as well as from and Slash and Billy Duffy of GN'R and The Cult, then... Pantera happened. I was absolutely floored by the heaviness of Dime's guitar sound. At that point, I became obsessed with heavy guitar tones. So began my quest to incorporate the elements of the guitar tones that I had loved since the first time I heard electric guitars with the heaviest guitar sounds I'd ever heard. Mischa Guitars: A 2006 Gibson Les Paul Standard with a 50's neck and BurstBucker 3 pickups. All black with white binding. It was a gift from a dear friend who used to work at Gibson and is not around anymore, it's a very special guitar, the one I play most. It has such a smooth, heavy, creamy tone... I love it. It's very much the perfect guitar for the deep, dark, heavy tones I'm going for with the riffs I write in Witchburn. A Gibson Les Paul BFG P90 pickup in the neck, and a "Zebra" Burstbucker 3 at the bridge with a raw wood snakeskin looking finish. This is usually my back up guitar that I reach for if I break a string in the middle of a song. I also like to use it more when I'm playing stuff that's not quite as heavy as Witchburn, like the dirtier, more punk-rock roots type stuff and faster, gritty rock n' roll... like what I'll be doing with my new all-female project. Effects: I use a BOSS MegaDistortion pedal, a Morley switchless wah, a BOSS noise gate and a BOSS DD-3 delay pedal. The dis- tortion pedal is always on unless I switch to a clean tone, which is an extreme rarity. The noise gate is only used when the feedback is an issue at whatever venue I'm playing, I like to turn it off for solos for maximum sustain. I use the delay pedal mainly for melodic lead parts and solos as well, just to add a little ambience, sweetness and sustain. The wah pedal is something I often use almost more for a flange type of sound, nice and slow with the foot, and also generally on melodic lead stuff. Amps: I run a 150 Watt Mesa/Boogie Mark III with the "red stripe" revision mark. It has the graphic EQ, reverb, and the very rare "Coliseum" option, (six power tubes for higher output) to two Marshall 4X12" cabinets and a Marshall JCM 2000 to two 1X18" Peavey sub-woofer cabinets. I had been experimenting with different heads and cabs while Witchburn was on a month long tour with Prong and Crowbar. My Marshall head died at a show in Louisville with about a week left to go on the tour. After that, I tried different combinations of cabinets and heads from the rigs Tommy Victor (Prong), Kirk Windstein and Matt Brunson (Crowbar) had on the road with them...when we got home, my goal was to put together a rig that sounded bigger and heavier than both of Crowbar's guitar rigs put together. I think I at least got close with this. Strings: I use Ernie Ball Skinny Top Heavy Bottom, they seem the best for the downtuning Witchburn does. Picks: I use Dunlop Max-Gripâ„˘ Nylon Standard, black, 1mm thick picks. Cables: I use Monster and Mogami cables Taking on the rush-hour traffic in some of the busiest cities in the world is quite a challenge, with a lot to watch out for and even after doing it for years people are still learning but here are some things to be aware of when you are navigating the concrete jungle. It would be impossible to calculate the number of cars youâ€™ve passed and minutes you've saved by commuting to work. Sure it's more risky than taking public transport but despite what people may say, commuting on two wheels is a safe way to travel, but there are risks and - like with all riding you have to minimize them. If you've bought a motorcycle or scooter to cut down your commuting time, just passed your test or are riding in cities and town centres for the first time, this article is aimed at you. We hope it helps you out. STAY OUT OF THE GUTTER Whatever the situation, don't be tempted to head for the gutter. It might look like a good place to nip up the inside of a car when the traffic's at a standstill but it's a bad habit to get into. In London, for example, most of the roads are marked up with cycle lanes, so heading to the gutter means you'll encounter cyclists who are a prickly bunch at best but even if there aren't cycle lanes, it's still a bad habit. You'll also be where drivers aren't expecting you, so if another motorcycle comes along to the right of a car you're on the left of, the car might mover over and squeeze you out. And finally, if you're right by the curb, you'll more likely to tangle up with a pedestrian who steps out into the road without looking. RED LIGHT JUMPERS DON'T VALUE THEIR LIVES If your name's Valentino Rossi, it's crucial to be first away when the red light goes out but in the real world if you fire off from the lights with Rossi-beating pace, you could get tangled up with a red light jumper, be they an arrogant cyclist or a moron in a car. A red light jumper clearly doesn't value their own life, so what regard have they got for yours? Always check for traffic coming across your path when you pull away from the lights and don't be too hasty, there are no trophies to be won. CAR DOORS PROBABLY HURT There's no knowing when a car door is going to open or when a car's going to do a U-turn in front of you, so make sure you create a good gap between you and the cars you're passing. If you ever see a police motorcyclist riding past a line of solid traffic with nothing coming the other way, you'll see they're halfway into the oncoming traffic's lane. Give a decent look to the front right tire of the cars you're passing. If it's pointing left, there's a higher chance it's about to shoot out into your path. The more space you give yourself, the more chance you have to avoid an accident. DON'T PUSH IT PAST STATIONARY TRAFFIC If the traffic's at a standstill, it might seem like a good idea to wind open the throttle and push on or get to the front of a queue but think carefully: people crossing the road tend to use queuing cars as a cove and don't expect bikes or bicycles to appear in the gaps. If they spring out what are you going to do? Anchor on the brakes? Swerve? Be careful to not carry too much speed through town. As a rule try not to go more than 20 mph faster than the traffic, that way youâ€™re not going past traffic much faster than you can ride a push bike and therefore you give myself the best chance of seeing a hazard or avoiding it if you really don't see it. WHEN INDICATORS PUT YOU IN DANGER You always see so many motorcycles and scooters rolling around with their indicator flashing away. You might have a nervous tick in your thumb that makes it reach for the indicator switch to cancel it, even if it's not on or even if you haven't indicated for ages. If you're cruising along with your indicator flashing and you're happen to not be paying 100% attention then you're inviting an eager car driver to pull out in front of you. NEVER GET BETWEEN A VEHICLE AND A TURNING This is obvious and one of the first things you're taught when learning to ride, but in town it's easy to get blasĂŠ as there are so many turnings. There are also so many cars that sporadically use indicators. When you're filtering past traffic as it's moving, keep an eye out for any junctions ahead and when the traffic's at a standstill, it's not unusual for a car to jut out if the oncoming lane is clear, so they can shoot down the road and get to their turning. Larger vehicles tend to make turns without much regard to other traffic and often with less visibility. Never try and nip up the inside of a longer vehicle, especially when there's a left-hand turning ahead. RELAX These days you should be much more relaxed in town, try and let gaps open up in front rather than try and force them open. Don't put yourself into tight spots and if you get blocked in, well, just wait for things to get moving again. Almost every day you'll come across a commuter on a scooter, buzzing like an angry wasp, trying to wedge themselves in everywhere and for the majority of the time, they end up boxing themselves in because they're not relaxing and taking in everything that's going on around them. Remember, there is art to commuting; knowing when to press on and when to take a step back.