HRH Mag Issue XXI - August 2023

Page 1

Nita Strauss



04 Nita Strauss

08 Viki’s Gates of Hell

- 08. Continental Lovers

- 10. Room 11

- 12. Blues Nation

- 14. Gelatin Skelatin

- 15. Gwailo

18 Black Stone Cherry

20 Ashley Sherlock

22 Erja Lyytinen

25 Hard Rock Hell Radio DJ Profile - Rachel Thomas-Rayment

26 Extreme

28 Doro

30 Dom Martin

32 Girlschool

34 Steve Lukather 36 Cannibal Corpse

40 Joe Bonamassa 42 Gov’t Mule 44 Wild Thorn

46 Glenn Hughes

48 HRH ABC II Photo Gallery

52 Live Reviews

- 52. Hollywood Vampires

- 54. Blondie

- 56. Vintage Trouble

- 58. The Hu

- 62. The Who

- 64. Iron Maiden

70 Behind The Scene at Download 20th Anniversary

- 70. Jinjer

- 71. Punk Rock Factory

- 72. The Warning

- 73. Three Days Grace

- 74. Monuments

-75. Smash Into Pieces

76 Gypsy Pistoleros

78 The Dead Daisies

80 Album Reviews

Erja Lyytinen | Wolven Man | Girlschool | Syteria | 3Teeth | Blackbriar

Aerosmith | Dom Martin | Black Stone Cherry | Gary Moore | Cannibal Corpse

Heartbreak Remedy | Conquer Divide | Ashley Sherlock | Blackbird Angels

Nita Strauss | New Generation Superstars | Paul Rodgers | Kataklysm

Robert Jon and The Wreck | Kvelertak | Kikimora | Corey Taylor

98 Dark Circle Interview - Sally-Anne Wright

Welcome to volume XXI The Team

Management Publisher - Dark Watch BVI Limited


Chief Editor - Adam Kennedy

Designer - Charlotte Hooper

Contributing Writers: Russell Peake, Viki Ridley, Adam Kennedy, Paul Davies, Charlotte Hooper, Dennis Jarman, Peter Ray Allison, Jo Crosby, Neil ‘Not’ Coggins, Simon ‘Spindles’ Potthast, Diane Davies, Victoria Llewelyn

Contributing Photographers: Adam Kennedy, Simon Dunkerley, Eric Duvet, All Others Credited.


Kelvin Williams

Subscriptions Visit or email

HRH Experiences Ltd Chairman / Founder - Jonni Davis

European Director John Ellis

Head of Marketing

Charlotte Hooper

Head of Sales

Jessica Lloyd

HRH Official Photographer

Simon Dunkerley

As always, a huge thank you to ALL the hardworking bands, photographers and writers that have contributed to this issue. It’s very much appreciated by us all.


Nita Strauss

Los Angeles-born guitar hero and musical force of nature Nita Strauss recently released her brand-new album, The Call Of The Void, via Sumerian Records.

In recent times, the in-demand guitarist has been touring in support of her latest solo release, as well as working alongside some of the biggest names in the game. Speaking about the year so far, Nita said:

“It has been so crazy in such a good way. I don’t think I’ve ever been this busy between my solo music, Alice Cooper stuff, Demi Lovato stuff, the Los Angeles Rams, the record coming out and doing the body shred fitness challenge. I’ve been spending the majority of the year out here on the road. So, it’s crazy busy, but good, crazy busy.”

With Nita’s sophomore solo record, The Call Of The Void, the gifted guitarist has switched things up somewhat. “My first record, Controlled Chaos, is all instrumental,” she says. “When we were planning for the second album, I really wanted to do something fun, fresh and interesting. I wanted to step out of my comfort zone, which is how we decided on the path of having these guest


vocalists. Not just having one singer for the whole record, but having a lot of different styles, covering a broad range of genres. And just making the whole thing interesting to listen to.”

The album title itself encapsulates sentiments that came to Nita during the project. “In coming up with the title for this album, I had several different ideas of what it could be. But this concept kept coming back to me, which I had read about called The Call of the Void, which is the sense that sometimes you’re at the top of a high building or on top of a mountain, and you’re looking down, you’re like, I wonder what would happen if I was to jump. And it’s not a suicidal ideation; it’s a passing thought. The concept is every time you don’t jump, every time you make this subconscious decision to live, to step back from the ledge, you’re reaffirming your urge to live your life and live your dreams,” explains Nita.

This concept was one that resonated with the Alice Cooper guitarist. “There were many times during the making of this record that I felt like I was standing on the top of a tall building, looking down and had that pit in my stomach, of - is this going to work? Is this going to be the thing that moves me forward as an artist? I’m just grateful that we stood the course and let it ride. I’m very proud of how it came out,” confirms Nita.

If you look at the track listing on the album, you will see that the guest vocalists featured are like a who’s who of the rock/metal world. The track ‘The Wolf You Feed’ features Alissa WhiteGluz from Arch Enemy. Speaking about their collaboration, Nita said: “Alissa is one of my absolute favourite vocalists. If you look back at any old interviews of me - I’ve been asked a lot - if you were going to collaborate with someone, who would it be? She is always one of the first names out of my mouth. I adore her as a friend, first and foremost, but really, I have such strong respect for her as an artist, as a performer, as an activist, and as a true professional at the top of her craft. So, she was one of my first calls when we decided we were going to have vocals on this record. She just sang that song like nobody else in the world could have.”

One of the first singles released from the album was Victorious featuring Dorothy. Reflecting on the song Nita said: “It’s in-

teresting now that it’s come out, it’s sort of being hailed as a girl power anthem. Because to me, it’s not really a girl thing, it’s an us thing. It’s for anybody that has doubted themselves. It’s for anybody that needs that push to say, hey, we’ve all fallen down, we’ve been victims of doubt. But you can make your own way out; you don’t have to wait for somebody to save you. You can save yourself.”

Lzzy Hale further bolsters the stellar lineup of guest vocalists featured on The Call Of The Void. “What can you say about someone like Lizzy Hale? There is not and never will be another vocalist quite like her. She’s dynamic, powerful, and sexy, and has a range that would make any other vocalists in the world jealous. On top of all these things, her performance, her technique and her style, she’s just the nicest human being on the planet. Lzzy is just the absolute nicest person that you could talk to. So, she was a joy to work with,” confirms Nita. “She delivered me an absolutely perfect usable performance. We put on the record exactly what she sent over with no changes, and she just knocked it out of the park.”

Aside from her solo album, Nita also features on the new Alice Cooper record The Road. Speaking about the new Alice Cooper record, Nita said: “I’ve been in Alice’s band for almost a decade now. And all this time, I’ve been very content with my role in the live show. I didn’t feel that I needed to be on the records. I felt like I could just be content with my spot on the stage and let that be it. But then, last year, to have the opportunity to work with Alice, not only on my upcoming album but also on his upcoming Road album. I just now feel like I’ve got the trifecta. I got to write with him. I got to perform with him. I got to have him on my song. I got to be on his songs. So, I just feel so lucky.”

With Demi Lovato recently pursuing a more rock-orientated sound, Nita Strauss recently performed alongside the pop superstar. Although for the gifted guitarist, it wasn’t such a different change of pace as one might imagine. “I think perhaps if I had gotten into Demi’s band in 2017, where she was very entrenched more in that mainstream world, it might have been really different. But when I got into Demi’s band, she wanted to make a rock album. She wanted to put on a rock show. So that’s what we did. We went out every single day, and we did a rock and

roll show. I would say the biggest difference would be the age of the audience. She’s got a very young, very passionate, very driven fan base that loves and supports her. It was beautiful to see that and be a part of this new chapter of her life and just how authentically happy she was doing it,” explains Nita.

Nita has been touring the US in support of her new album with her band. “It’s my first tour having a singer. I’ve got the incredible Kasey Karlsen out here on vocals with us. And that just makes a whole different type of show. For the first time, we have something for the non-guitar fans in the audience and more casual rock fans. So, it’s really fun. We did the first half of the set as the instrumental shred stuff. And then Kasey comes on, and it sort of switches into more of a straightforward rock show. And we close it out like that. And that makes it really fun,” says Nita.

The question on the lips of Nita’s overseas fans is will we see the artist performing with her solo band here in the UK? “I really hope so. Some of my favourite shows in my entire life have been over there with you guys in the UK. As you know better than anybody, it is so logistically difficult to get a small tour over there right now. We would have done it already if it was 2019 and pre-pandemic budgets were still a thing; it would have not even been a question; we would have been there this year. It’s just it’s so difficult right now. I really hope that things will level out in the coming months. And that bands will be able to get over there a little more easily because we can’t wait to come over and play for you guys,” explains Nita.

The remainder of the year looks very busy for the US-based guitarist. “I am not going to get a break this year until the third week of December, which is crazy. I’m going to go straight through, and I’m going to finish my tour. I’m going to put my record out, and then I’m with Alice from August through to the end of October. Then I’ll be back out with my band in November and December.”

The Call Of The Void, the new album from Nita Strauss, is out now via Sumerian Records.
Interview By: Adam Kennedy Photo Credit: Ana Massard PAGE 5




Who are you?

We are Continental Lovers! We’ve been described as a glam-punk band and even a sleaze rock band.... we like to think we play CBGB’s rock n rollthink New York Dolls, The Dead Boys, with a bit of Cheap Trick and Joan Jett in there.

Roll Call?

Joe - Lead vocals/guitars. Joe is the main songwriter and plays ‘tight and exciting’ guitar. Sometimes referred to as ‘Captain,’ and is often a bad influence on everyone else’s behaviour, although he feels that’s unfair.

Rokket - Drums/vocals ‘Rokket’ Rik, or ‘Ravishing Rik,’ as he’s also known, is our backbone. He keeps a thunderous rhythm, and his playing is very loud! He’s banned from drinking cider.

Keri - Bass/vocals. Keri brings a touch of glamour with his big hair and big wardrobe. Keri provides the low end, and usually the road sodas. His dream job would be to work on BabeStation.

Ben - Guitars/vocals. Still referred to as the ‘new boy,’ although it seems like he’s been with us FOREVER! Ben plays lead guitar, firing off trashy licks left, right and centre. You rarely see him without his sunglasses. Sometimes he wears a hat. It’s a good hat.

Hailing from?

Europe, anywhere! Originally, we said we were from London, when the band first got together cos we rehearsed down there and played our first five shows down that way, but once we settled on the line up, seeing as three of us live in Nottingham, we say we are from Nottingham. Our drummer, Rokket Rik lives somewhere in South Wales...we’re not actually sure where. He says he lives under the Severn Bridge. All we know is he spends a lot of time (when he’s not drumming,) polishing his Porsche and drinking cocktails with umbrellas in them.

Journey so far?

I (Joe,) decided to record songs for a solo project towards the end of 2020, during lockdown. I’d parted ways with

my old band and felt a bit p*ssed off with everything and went through a real creative purple patch. That’s when I wrote songs such as St. Joan, Tattered Star and Tape Deck. I started posting stuff online, seeing if anyone fancied putting a band together and loads of people, who were probably bored and angry like me got in touch and said they were keen. Rik got in touch, and he didn’t seem put off by the fact I lived 150 miles away...I think he liked the songs and possibly my sunglasses, I dunno. Anyway, he was playing in Last Great Dreamers, so that was a bit of a coup. I snapped him up straight away. The original protoLovers was completed by the wonderful Debbie Dee on bass and the slightly odd Francesco on guitar.

We played one gig with this line up and let Francesco go...creative differences or something (it’s a long, and very strange story.) Then we did loads of gigs as a three piece, playing some shows with legendary punk band

The Boys before Debbie departed on maternity leave. In came Keri! I liked him cos he looked cool and is about 7 feet tall when he’s wearing high heels. Loads more gigs as a three piece before we nabbed Ben (the Sex Instructor,) which has really fleshed out our sound. We’ve kicked on a lot as a four piece and have played some pretty huge shows. Oh, we also released a 4 track 7” EP on Spanish label SNAP!, which got stuck at customs for a month because of Brexit. That’s pretty much sold out! Those songs were recorded with Debbie and I splitting bass duties and the super talented Graham Jones from Haircut 100 provided some hot lead guitar! It’s fun to have someone who has been on the cover of Smash Hits on your record!


Joe - I’ve written everything we’ve put out so far and I’m very influenced by 70s New York punk and power pop. There’s a big Cheap Trick influence in my songwriting - lots of hooks, short, sharp solos, and bubble gum stories. I was originally a drummer and my guitar playing is weirdly influenced by that. People have said Johnny Thun -

ders, The Boys, The Buzzcocks, Hanoi Rocks, Dogs D’Amour are all in there, and I agree with that. Looks-wise, we are rock n roll people - scarves, hats, studs, shades, and stack heels...We sometimes wear lipstick, but that’s when we are back at the Travelodge.

Biggest gig/proudest moment to date?

We really enjoyed opening for The Boys at the 100 Club in London. We’ve also played festivals such as Call Of The Wild, where we went down a storm and all got sunburnt, and of course Rebellion Festival, where we were one of the closing acts on the Rebellion ‘After Dark’ stage, which is reserved for the ‘stars of tomorrow.’

Pick that one out!

Other proud moments include getting our music played all over the World, and on big radio stations and shows such as Total Rock, Sirius FM in the States, and some mad Argentinian show that’s on their national station. We fancy a trip to Argentina, actually. Having our first EP pressed on vinyl was pretty mint, too. That’s a good way to make your debut.

What does the future hold for Continental Lovers?

More gigging and recording. We have just released a single called ‘Paraffin Lips,’ which is doing well, and we’ve got another single and video out at the end of the Summer. Then we’ve got a couple of months off to work on new material and get something else out there. The new songs are taking shape and sounding hot! Next year, we are off to tour Spain in January, and we’ve got 8 dates booked as part of a tour next April/May in the UK. We’d love to get to other parts of Europe in the States as well. There’s an American label and a Swedish label who both want to put out an album for us, so we’ve got a lot of work to do!

Photo Credit: Cris Watkins


Who are you?

Chrisy: “We are a monster. Haha! We are a machine. We are here to rock your socks off! Mwah hah hah haaa. We are ROOM11.”

Chrisy then pulls his long, yellow socks up around his knees.

“In essence, we’re a power duo with some stonkin, fat riffs and a tune to stick. We are here for your entertainment and delight”. Chrisy smiles. “We love playing festivals and we love to rock a crowd. Robbie thrashes out the guitar to feed you the sound that is

ROOM11, while I, Chrisy Finn, dish up a fun and flavourable palate of catchy songs for you.

Live, we’ve a plethora of theatrics and the occasional stage guest to support the show and keep it interesting and dynamic. We, myself, and Robbo, both hit the drums from time and time and the sound includes an array of programmed sub bass and synths to keep the energy pumpin’. We like to feel the stage move!”

Robbo: “Look at this guy! Standing tall at six foot three and strung thin and

long, like a high tower, with his platform boots and great grandfather’s top hat, he [Chrisy] looks like Jack the Pumping King, in true puppeteer’s fashion”.

Chrisy: “Awwe, thanks Robbie. So sweet. You complement my look, though, with this gypsy/rasta vibe you’ve got going on. He’s got Italian roots, so I often just call him ‘Mario’; he’s sort of like a digital creation or character, anyway.

…In our music we often blur the lines between this dimension and the


digital realm - it all gets a bit trippy at ROOM11. The sound is huge and sure to rock the socks off of any festival crowd; we are anthematic, punchy and fun; we are here for the ride and here for You”. Chrisy looks down his handsized, pirate style telescope.

Roll Call?

Chrisy Finn: Vocals and song writer, sometimes hits the drums for live shows and triggers Earth-shattering, sub bass sounds.

Robbie Pinna: Fat riff guitarist and ROOM11 sound creator; often eats cake and paints in the nude.

Hailing from?

Chrisy: “I grew up in Peckham, South East London. Back then people didn’t go to Peckham, and if you found out your bus ride was to pass through, you got off! It’s become rather gentrified of late and now is hot property! I’ve tried many times to get out, but I’m still quite local - it’s like a whirlpool; it just keeps sucking you back in.

Peckham is very arty as there’s the arts college at Camberwell, and Goldsmith’s is quite prestigious for its music department. As such, it’s a bit of a hubbub for creatives and weirdo’s, like Robbie.” Chrisy digs Robbie’s side with his elbow and Robbie pulls a tai-chi move on Chrisy’s arm, turning him face-first into the sofa.

Robbie [with a smile on his face]: “You are always try’na dig me out, Chrisy boy. When is this gona stop, ey? Hahaha”.

Chrisy [With face in sofa and muffled]: “I’m sorry Robbie. I love you really, I promise!”. Robbie releases Chrisy from his tai-chi death grip.

Journey so far?

Chrisy: “We’ve played a lot, locally, together. In past times and projects of old we’ve both done a collection of great gigs! I hit the stages of Reading and Leeds Festivals as a drummer and drummed for Robbie’s old rock/drum n bass band.

ROOM11 did a couple of brilliant recordings with Dave Draper, that due to lockdown were only ready for release of late – you can hear these on all major platforms: All She Wants and We All Fall Down are two bang-

ers, for sure. Heavy, punchy, fun, and the drums were laid down by a good friend of ours, Luca Volpi. He’s a beast!”

Chrisy: “We’ve played some cool hot spots: The Hope & Anchor, 93 Feet East, Underbelly and we’ve hosted and put together our own nights, too, with a selection of bands we dig. We did this at the Ivy House in Nunhead as it’s got a beautiful, old theatrical, gold looking stage. We had a good turn out and managed to pay all the bands fairly for doing their thang. It was nice to be able to give back and support the scene that’s been having to put up with us. Ha! The scene has actually been really good to us. “


Robbie: “As a kid I grew up listening to 70’s hard rock while sneaking into my older brother’s room, going through his record collection. I was well jealous of his collection! In more recent times I still dig bands that carry that oldschool, rock approach but with a modern twist, such as Royal Blood, The Black Keys, Jack White, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes and Muse.”

Chrisy: “I fell in love with Skunk Anansie’s sound, early on. For me, it’s all about their first three albums. Selling Jesus is a phenomenal track. I also love System of a Down, Incubus and Green Day.”

Biggest gig/proudest moment to date?

Chrisy: “We’ve both our accolades from past endeavours; I shared a stage with and supported Toploader at ChidFest; I’m more like a ware-wolf these days though – dancing in the moonlight! Ha!

As mentioned, I got to play at Reading and Leeds festivals with a past project, but for ROOM11, it has to be all the amazing support from radio stations that we’ve had of late, spinning out our two singles, We All Fall Down and All She Wants. Massive thanks to BBC Radio 1, Total Rock, The Heavy Rock Show and Amazing Radio for this, to name a few.

Not gona lie, working with Dani Divine was super fun. While trying to shoot the video for All She Wants I just could not stop smiling. She has a great energy. She is a superstar!”

Robbie: “Considering ROOM11 are pretty much an unknown band, the fact that our single, All She Wants, was played on BBC1 Radio - that’s kinda cool, and also few other major radios such as Planet Rock, Total Rock, ERB Radio, etc. The biggest gig has to come yet, maybe in November we’ll get to support a well-known band at the Underworld, which I can’t name until it is confirmed though.

The biggest gig I ever played outside ROOM11, as a session player, was supporting Living Colour in Central Park, New York.”

What does the future hold for you?

Robbie: “We are very excited to hit the studio in August with Dave Draper (Nickleback, Terrorvision, Wild Hearts, etc.) behind the console to record an EP. We’ll also shoot a new video for the next single, Black Fly, that will be released in September. As for the E.P, this comes out in February 2024. We love making videos; we get creative and it’s fun!”

Chrisy: “Except when you break your arm, Robbie. While we were filming the video for We All Fall Down, available on Youtube, by the way, Robbie decides to catapult from his skateboard and landed face first on the concrete, breaking his arm. It was all in the name of love – this damsel in distress was blinded by the red smoke bomb on set, and Robbie had to manoeuvre to avoid taking her out! It was all very exciting, until Robbie appeared white as a ghost, and we had to take him to hospital. Fortunately, we got the video done and Robbie can now play guitar again. Love you really, Robbie. Mwah!”

Don’t forget to go check out our tunes on your music platform: ‘ROOM11 We All Fall Down’ and ‘ROOM11 All She Wants’. You can also see the videos on Youtube, if you want a laugh. Follow us, hit the like buttons, hit ‘subscribe’; all that jizzle. Give us a little and we’ll give you a lot. We’ll give you lot a lot. A lot of jizzle. Take that how you will.

And thank you, Hard Rock Hell, for having us. It is appreciated. We’ve had a blast! Mwah!”.

Photo Credit: Marisa Knight


Who are you?

Neil here from Blue Nation, If I had to give the readers a little snippet of us, I would say... imagine if Cream had a baby with the Beatles and the older brother was Led Zeppelin and that is us in a nutshell! Riffs, melodies, harmonies, and we even have a Ginger Baker lookalike on drums!

Roll Call?

Neil Murdoch - Lead Singer and guitar (ego had to be split over the two of course) Luke Weston, Bass and backing vocals, Oli Jefferson Drums

Journey So far?

Luke and I met about 6 years ago when I was looking for a bass player. Blue Nation has been around since

the back end of my school years and gone through many line-up changes. I have always been looking for the musicians to really take BN to the next stage and some came close, and some didn’t! Fast forward a few years and Luke and I went out for a few drinks (he says date) and talked about all things music and life! During the night a guy came up to us and said, “Are


you two in a band”. So that was pretty much it, Luke had to join BN. It was a meeting of minds though; Luke was having the same struggles with his band at the time. Not the right members or people classing it as a hobby. It’s just not what we both wanted, we wanted to be in a band full time and everyone pulling in the same direction. We recorded the Kaftan Society in Birmingham and started to really find the BM sound. It has taken us the last 6 years to nail it and be happy in our own skin and image. All of it was really important to us as it has to be authentic and genuine. Of course, we tried the leather coat look but it just didn’t work, we were trying to be something else and not really true to us. We are throwbacks to the 60’s and 70’s. We love that era and music so why not put our spin on it. We recorded the EP “Echoes” with Trevor Gibson in Birmingham and the main focus was to step up the songwriting and production of the band which I think we did. “Echoes” has taken on a life of its own to be honest and is now the fans favourite due to its message about grief and dealing with loss.

Oli joined only a year ago but was actually in BN when he was 16 many years ago! Oli is the Drummer in Robert Plant’s Saving Grace, so his time is very much with them. Oli agreed to be our drummer which we love, and it was then complete. The 3 piece was complete and all pulling in the right direction. Oli gave Luke and I a real focus to step up again which we have done with the current singles/EP we are in the middle of releasing. We are more critical with how we write and the production. 18 hour days sometimes to ensure we get the message and the vibe of the song across. Equally, scrapping something if it isn’t working. During the recording of these latest tracks, we spent 10 hours on a track just to bin it as it wasn’t good enough.


We all range so much in influence. Of course, we have the Beatles, The Who, The Kinks, Small Faces but you also have Chon, Mars Volta, Pink Floyd, Sarsippius Ark and Ravi Shankar. We don’t really close ourselves off from any music and are open to trying anything in the studio. We recorded a ticking clock on the last EP while I was wearing a poncho!! That was a weird

day. Sound wise, I think what I said earlier is probably the best way to describe us. We don’t fit into a box or genre; I think sometimes people struggle with that with us sometimes. We can go from having a riff laden track to a little acoustic number to a waltz! We just write what we feel and enjoy. No 3 min guitar solos or long intros, don’t bore them get to the chorus!

Biggest gig/Proudest moment to date

It keeps changing! The biggest gig was our EP launch or Fuse Festival in Lichfield. Fuse was the first time we headlined a festival, and the tent was packed with people and the vibe was just off the scale! The EP launch last year was crazy as everyone was singing our songs back to us. That was a real moment. Wildfire Festival this year and LoveRocks was another moment as well. We have to keep pinching ourselves as every week something new comes up for us and we think this is the moment and then another follows it! We were interviewed on CNN this year in front of 20m people! That came from a tweet from our producer Trev to the host Ika and it just snowballed. They have really supported us and the increase in streams and views is mad!

The proudest moment is probably the work we are doing with the Samaritans. Mental Health is really important to us, and we made contact with the Samaritans last year to work with them. On our merch table at every gig is a collection bucket for them. We have raised over £2k so far which has paid for 400+ calls to them. This was driven by our single “Echoes” which is about grief. At every gig we talk about the importance of talking to someone if you are struggling and that it is ok, to not be ok. Luke talks about this onstage and a scary stat that we were told was that every 30 mins a male between the age of 5 and 55 attempts suicide. We need to help each other, and we need to ensure that we all can get through the difficult times. At every single gig, someone will come up to us and say that they are struggling with the loss of a loved one to suicide. I was talking to my mom about it before a show and then someone came up to me and started telling me about their friend who was sadly no longer with us. It affects everyone and if 3 lads from

Birmingham can stand on stage and talk about the difficult subjects and someone feels better or seeks helps then it is job done. You can keep your accolade and headline slots and all the stuff that goes with being in a band, if we help one person per show then our job is done.

What does the Future hold for you?

Just released our second Single off the new EP “Every Single Time” https:// We have 2 more singles to release of this latest EP then it is back into the studio to record again. We have a momentum at the moment, and we don’t want to lose it. At a festival last month, a journalist came up to us and said there’s “a lot of buzz around you guys at the moment”. No one has ever said that to us before, so we don’t want to lose that. This is the busiest we have ever been as well. Laurence Jones is taking us to the Netherlands on tour and we are the first ever British act he has taken out there. Laurence is also taking us around the UK as well! We owe him so so much! Big show in London on the 8th of September supporting Chantel McGregor at the 100 Club! Just see much happening and going on, it is an absolute dream to be in Blue Nation.

Future wise, we will drive ourselves forward to keep producing memorable moments for our fans. We want them to come to a BN show and leave smiling their head off. Music is about a community, it is about standing next to a complete stranger and nodding your head and then when that riff drops you look at said stranger and give them the “my god that is good’ face. Music is that powerful, we want to enjoy every single moment that comes our way. We never make plans on where we should be in our career or milestones. We are enjoying this amazing beautiful journey that we are on, if any of your readers want to be part of it then come join us. What’s that saying? “Come on in the waters fine” ha ha.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Stone


Who are you?

I am Brett Kelly, singer for the modern glam metal band Gelatin Skelatin. I raise the flag high for the music I love and do so at the top of my lungs.

Roll Call?

Gelatin Skelatin is my brainchild, and I am the lead screamer. I have roped in Chris Eveland on guitar, Kevin Eamon on drums and Myles Rourke on bass guitar to join me in rocking live audiences both domestic and international. They are a great group of guys and I hope folks come out to see us live when we get to your neck of the woods. Also, Scott Primeau will be coming with us to the UK on bass guitar as Myles couldn’t make the trek.

Hailing from?

We are from the Great White North of Canada. Ottawa (and the Ottawa Valley) to be specific. It’s a government town, not known for its rock n roll, but Alanis Morrisette hails from Ottawa as well.

Journey so far?

I started the Gelatin Skelatin journey around four years ago. I used to play in glam metal bands back in the early nineties, just before the genre died out, and I never really got to experience the

things I wanted to from it, so I decided that even though I’m not in my 20s anymore, that I still wanted to rock out. I started with different guys, and it’s been a slow evolution. I played a couple of shows (doing cover tunes) to get my feet wet again. During the pandemic I put out a CD that barely got any notice, but it started the ball rolling on original material. Once the pandemic ended, I put out an EP of some really cool tunes. I started putting together a line-up of guys to play shows with. We have played a bunch of shows now and I have been targeting the UK and Europe and other countries that are more receptive to our genre of music than our native Canada. Next stop, the world!


I am influenced by basically any band that appeared in Metal Edge Magazine between 1987 and 1992. LOL. I collected that magazine religiously. Actually, I have always been into Warrant, Winger, KISS, Faster Pussycat. Bands like that.

Biggest gig/proudest moment to date?

We are super excited to be playing HRH Sleaze in August. That will be the biggest Gelatin Skelatin show to date. We also recently did a song for a Warrant tribute album that is being released by

FnA Records. I believe it will be released by the time this interview is published. We recorded “So Damn Pretty (Should be Against the Law). As a huge Warrant fan, that is a big deal to me.

What does the future hold for Gelatin Skelatin?

We are hoping to do more international festivals. I have spoken to a few and hope we can make the deals happen. I’m also looking into an Ontario tour in our native country. I have spoken to a well-known UK band about maybe having us join their 2024 tour as an opener for a few shows, but we will see. I am almost done with a new album called “Big Trouble” that will be a companion piece to a movie that we are appearing in. The movie is a “Godzilla meets Detroit Rock City” style movie called “Kaiju Glam Metal Shark Attack”. Our music will be featured, and we will also be in it onscreen. So that’s cool. The CD is being released by SRS/MVD, who is also releasing the movie. Big things ahead. I hope your readers will tell their local festivals to bring us to their town! We can’t wait to see you all.

Photo Credit: Estelle Sullivan


Who are you?

Gwailo are a five-piece band delivering our unique blend of Bad-Natured Blues.

Roll Call?

On lead vocals we have our newest member Michael Curry who joined us in July 2022. He’s got everything you want from a front man the looks, moves and the voice to go with it.

“I’ve been fascinated by singing and singers my whole life. Ever since I was young, I’ve found myself brought up and inspired to action by music. So, all I’ve ever wanted is to be able to be someone who can do that for others by creating my own music. I love a variety of genres from classical to dance to heavy metal. But rock is where my heart lies.” On drums we have Adrian Marczyk from Poland. He absolutely blew us away the first time we heard him play so now he’s rocking with us. “I’ve been drumming since I was 6 years old and it was my dad that’s inspired me with classic heavy metal like Saxon, Judas Priest and Helloween” Steve Crosby is on bass guitar holding down the rhythm section. He’s also known to serenade the crowd with a couple numbers on vocals. “Musically, I’m influenced by edgy indie/ rock and roll bands such as Oasis, early Arctic Monkeys, Libertines, and more recent bands such as the Reytons. Technique-wise I’m influenced by punk bassists like Dee Dee Ramone/Duff Mckagan with a bit of Pete Wentz thrown in. ”Kyle Dickinson is holding down rhythm guitar for a few years now. “I was a fan of the band and went from crowd to the stage. I knew it was my destiny and was born to play in Gwailo. I live for live music. My music influences was/is and always will be AC/DC and GNR.” David Henry plays lead guitar and is one of the founding members of the band. “My love of rock music started when I was very young when I first heard Appetite for Destruction. After that it was Rock N Roll or nothing for me. From that I was inspired to pick up the guitar and years later made Gwailo and fulfilling my dreams.”

Hailing from?

We are based in Newcastle upon Tyne although members are scattered through South Tyneside, Newcastle, and Peterlee.

Journey so far?

Gwailo has been around since 2016 but has gone through different line-up changes throughout the years.

We released our debut EP back in 2019 which is called A Thousand Masks. It’s a 4 track EP but has a varied selection. The first 2 songs Suicide and Cape Diem are straight up rock songs and real head bangers. It goes onto a song called Carried Away which is softer but delivers in every way and the fourth track is Maybe I’d Believe It which kicks it back up a notch with a real drum heavy rocker. We done a headline release show for that EP at the O2 Academy in Newcastle which was a phenomenal night and such an awesome reception for our first tracks. Inno cent was our next single which we released in 2021. It’s an absolute banger of a song that always gets the crowd going with its fast-paced riff and hooky chorus. We always like to close the shows to that song. Our latest single which is called ‘TryMe’ which we released in 2023. This is the first track with Michael on vocals and everyone was blown away by him, but the music is killer too if we do say so ourselves. We did a single release show for that song at Independent in Sunderland and the crowd was incredible we loved every minute of it. We’ve always been a band that loves to play live and put on a show so if we aren’t writing and recording, we are out playing shows somewhere. We’ve been playing a lot of out of town shows recently to help spread the word of Gwailo which is going great. We’ve got plans to release a new single later in the year which will be called ‘One Way Up To Heaven’. The songs been played live on a number of occasions now and it’s always a high in the shows because we get the Gibson Double neck guitar out which the crowd loves to see so we are very excited to release that song.


As a band we have a varied range of influences, but we also have core bands that we all love. Adrian said before he loves classic heavy metal and Steve loves indie/rock and punk. Having that wider range of influence as a band helps to shape the songs differently and it adds certain twists to the music. David and Kyle have always loved 70s and 80s rock music as well as more modern rock. Bands such as Guns N Roses, Aerosmith and Motley Crue to name a few are bands we are all into and our songs are shaped more towards that with the added twists from the wider genres mentioned.

Biggest gig/proudest moment to date?

Our biggest gig would be the O2 Academy Newcastle to launch our EP and with Michael on vocals our Independent gig launching ‘TryMe’. Both gigs were packed, and we had a hell of a time. Our proudest moment is a difficult one because after shows we always chat to people and it’s unbelievable when people appreciate and compliment the show and your songs. That feeling will never get old. Completing the recording for our new single ‘One Way Up To Heaven’ is also a very proud moment for all because we know everyone is going to love that song and we’ve worked very hard on it.

What does the future hold for Gwailo?

We are very excited to see what the future holds for Gwailo. We plan to keep recording and releasing singles and keep gigging around the UK. It’s always the goal to play bigger and better shows. We currently don’t have management so we will be looking into that as well to push us to the next level. Really, it’s just what we’ve been doing our fanbase is growing and the reaction from the material is awesome so spread the word so more people can hear us!

Photo Credit: Press Supplied


Interview with John Fred


Following their recent headline appearance at Steelhouse Festival, Kentucky natives Black Stone Cherry are preparing to release their eighth-studio album Screamin’ At The Sky.

Following the release of their radio-playlisted single Out of Pocket, the anticipation has been palpable for the band’s latest offering. “We’re so excited about this record,” says drummer John Fred. “We recorded the drums to this album at the Plaza Theatre in Glasgow, where Ben and Steve live. It’s just 10 miles down the road. This place is so beautiful, and the sound in there is killer. We do our hometown charity shows there every time we release an album.” He continues: “Chris and I took all our recording gear over there. And Jordan, our mixer engineer knocked it out of the park. We came back to my house and recorded all the guitars and vocals here at my home studio in two spare bedrooms, and it came out great. We’re proud of it. It’s got a lot of heartfelt lyrics on it and stuff we’ve all been through, and I guess the world’s been through in the past couple of years. It’s just one more collection of songs from the old Kentucky boys.”

Recording at the Plaza Theatre was something that the powerhouse drummer enjoyed. “The Plaza Theatre was built in the 30s and it was acoustically treated. It’s just a great-sounding room, and the drums came out sounding like they were recorded in a castle. It’s like that John Bonham kind of sound but my own.”

The rest of the album was recorded at John Fred’s home studio. “Chris and I threw all our gear in here, and Jordan brought some of his. We begged and borrowed from some of our buddies,” he says. “It just came together. I built the vocal booth out of PVC water pipe and hung some moving blankets and drapes over it, and it made it sound nice.”

Whilst working from home has become popular in all walks of life since the pandemic, the band carried that ethos into their new album at John Fred’s home studio. “It’s crazy - technology has come so far. The days of going in and spending millions of dollars on a record, those aren’t here anymore,” he says. “We’ve been doing this for a long time now. And we kind

of know what we were going for. We pick up cool knowledge and experiences along the way. Every time you record, you learn something different, and it’s a fun experience. We’re always just trying to create the best thing we can.”

Screamin’ At The Sky also features the band’s latest recruit, bass player Steve Jewell Jr. (ex-Otis). “Steve coming into the band has been such a wonderful thing. He’s such a wonderful musician and a great person. So, it’s been very cool on this record. We’re just really happy man,” confirms John Fred. “I can’t wait for everybody to be able to hear this thing when it comes out.”

Of course, Black Stone Cherry has always had a close relationship with their UK fanbase. “It’s definitely a home away from home. We love playing anywhere and everywhere. And we don’t try to think anywhere is more important than anywhere else. More importantly, our fans worldwide, we try to put them first everywhere. And it’s hard sometimes because there’s places that we want to go, that we may have been to once or twice, and we just haven’t got the opportunity to go back there again. For instance, Australia. We’ve been there a couple of times; we’re trying to get back down there. And Canada, we’re just starting to finally get back to Canada,” explains John Fred. “We’ve played the UK, and all over Western Europe and Eastern Europe now. And we’ve been just blessed.”

The group has come a long way since those early UK shows. “We started touring over there in 2007. Running around in a van and doing little 100seat clubs. And it does feel like parts of a home when you’re out there. I think more than anything, it’s the people that make it home. Our fans are incredible. The unity and the family feeling that they give us when we’re away from our own home,” he says. “They’re known as the Cherryheads, and no matter where we’re at, we’ve got just wonderful fans. So, we’re very fortunate that they’ve been sticking with us through all these years.”

One thing that Black Stone Cherry does so brilliantly is how they develop their studio tracks in their live sets. The songs constantly develop and evolve within their shows. “They

always get a life of their own,” declares John Fred. “I’ve always said you can record a song, but it’s done for a record. But it’s just the beginning for a live show. We’re playing the songs as close to how we recorded them as possible. But sometimes, you stumble upon this weird thing. Like, the other day, Chris was like, dude - we should have done that on the record. And I’ll do the same thing. I’m like, dang, why did we not play that like this on the record? And, if it works, we just start doing it live. But I think that’s cool about us, we’re not limited to going okay, this has to be this perfect picture just like the record. If you wanted to hear every single song as a blueprint copy of what was on the record, you may as well stay at home and listen to the album. But coming to a live show, I’ve always liked seeing bands that take things on different routes and even do segments of other stuff in between their originals and go back into the original. So, we do some stuff like that too. It’s just entertainment. I mean, that’s what we’re doing - entertaining, and that’s part of it.”

Black Stone Cherry are presently preparing for an intimate run of UK shows around the time of the album release. “We’re coming back in September,” proclaims John Fred. “We’re doing about eight shows that are at these really cool small places. And we’re doing signings earlier in the day at record stores. So that’s going to be at the end of September, through a little bit of October. And that’s going to be fun. So yeah, we’re doing that. And then we’ve got a couple more States tours at the end of the year. We’ll probably shut down on the first of December for Christmas and start back up next year.”

Screamin’ At The Sky, the new album from Black Stone Cherry, will be released on 29th of September via Mascot Records.

Interview By: Adam Kennedy Photo Credit: Jimmy Fontaine

Just a Name...

One name that we’ve been hearing a lot about in recent times is Manchester-based blues/rock artist Ashley Sherlock. The Northern singer, songwriter and guitarist recently released his debut album via legendary blues/ rock label Ruf Records.

Ashley’s debut album release has kept the emerging artist occupied in recent times. “We recorded our album, and it was a lot of pressure with it being the debut album,” he says. “The year has just flown because of everything that we’ve had to do for the release. Shooting the music videos, the artwork and getting everything ready.”

Although when Ashley received the call from label boss Thomas Ruf, he was taken aback. “We had a call from the record label. Thomas Ruf who’s the CEO of the label. He said I want to sign you. I thought it was someone having a laugh,” recalls Sherlock.

Ashley’s signing to Ruf Records paved the way for his debut album release. “With that came a lot of planning. It was something we were already well on our way to doing, but it gave us the kick up the backside that we needed to focus on it. We put out what we think is the best 12 songs that we have,” he says.

In Ashley Sherlock, Ruf Records found what they were looking for. “I knew of him a long time ago. We had a conversation, and Thomas said I don’t want any more blues artists. I want a rock band. But what he loved was the songs and the songwriting. It wasn’t necessarily about the guitar solos and the bluesy bits. But it was such a relief to have somebody like him, who knows what he’s talking about and has thirty years plus of success. When he said, wow, I really like this. It fills you with confidence - you believe you’re on the right path because it can be hard,” says Ashley.

Ruf Records have been incredibly supportive of the artist. “It’s just really free and easy to work with somebody like Thomas Ruf. He knows exactly what he’s looking for. He’s got no qualms about telling you it’s wrong, and he’s just a wonderful guy,” says Ashley. “For me, to be able to travel to Germany and Austria and everywhere else to sing songs that I wrote in my bedroom, thanks to him, is a wonderful experience. I’m very grateful for that.”

The album was produced alongside Ashley’s drummer Danny Rigg, formerly of the band Federal Charm. “We recorded it in Danny’s studio in Stockport, and we did it in about four days. We cut the whole thing live. Then we just did the vocals over the top and the guitar solos obviously,” he says. “We tried this new technique that Danny had been reading about. We had a big budget from Thomas, but we thought after what Thomas had told us, which was to keep it simple. We thought, let’s save that money and invest in PR because there’s no point you go into an expensive studio if no one’s going to hear it. Thomas took to the idea. He thought it was quite a smart thing to do.”

Whilst Ashley Sherlock is perhaps the new name on the block, the title of his album, Just A Name, has quite a poetic backstory. “It comes from a song, which is the last song on the album. It’s called Backstage Wall, which talks about playing in venues all over the country where you have a backstage area, and bands sign their name on the wall,” explains Ashley. “We did the Deaf Institute with Dan Patlansky. I think Blossoms’ name was in there, and the 1975 – bands from Manchester who have gone on to do great things. But then there are people that you have never heard of or bands that folded. The idea is that we always put a name there, the same as everyone else. But if nothing ever comes to this,

and I am just the name on some backstage wall somewhere in some dressing room; I had fun doing it. It’s like a love letter to music in that respect”.

In terms of the rest of the tracks on the album, Ashley said: “It’s a real mix of life experiences and things I’ve collected and worked on for years. You have forever to write the debut album.”

Of course, Manchester as a location has produced a whole raft of musical legends. Although most bands to have come out of the area are a far cry from the type of music the gifted artist endeavours to release. “Whilst it’s nice to come from a place that has such a wonderful musical heritage, what I do is slightly different. But I think the love for live music and the support that we get being a homegrown Manchester act is definitely incredible,” he says.

Album release aside, there has still been room for some live dates. The artist has recently been on tour across Europe with the Blues Caravan Tour as well as some shows at home. “We had a headline show in Manchester, which we sold out. And so, everything’s just been one thing after another. It’s been really wonderful, to be honest,” concludes Ashley.

“Just A Name”, the debut album from Ashley Sherlock, is out now via Ruf Records.

Interview By: Adam Kennedy Photo Credit: Charlotte Wellings

Internationally acclaimed guitarist and singer-songwriter Erja Lyytinen is preparing to release her fourth live album Diamonds On The Road – Live 2023.

Whilst the anticipation builds for both the artist’s new live album and her imminent UK return, the Queen of the Slide Guitar has been keeping herself busy. “I know for sure we have a hundred confirmed shows for this year. So that’s a lot of shows, and there’s still five months to go. I know there’s going to be more dates added to the touring calendar,” confirms Erja.

With such a hectic start to the year, the Finnish guitarist feels that there has been a return to some semblance of normality within the live music scene. “We did a long tour in Finland in March, and it was good to have a proper tour with an audience and without any restrictions. You can see that people are back to normal, so to speak. They are enjoying the vibe of the show together with everybody else in the audience,” she says. “We went to Canada and played some festivals there, and that was wonderful. Then we had the honour of playing on the main stage at the biggest festival here in Finland called Pori Jazz. Following me on the bill was Tom Jones. So that was great, and we enjoyed it very much. That’s the top show you can get in Finland unless you start playing arenas; that’s a different thing. So, it’s been a nice half a year.”

Canada is fast becoming an important market for the High-Flying Finn. “We’ve played there a few times now. So, people are starting to catch us. You do get some messages online asking - when are you coming back to Canada, and it was great to see you there,” explains Erja.

For those who have yet to have the pleasure of catching Erja Lyytinen in concert, the award-winning guitarist is about to release her brand-new live album. The release which is called Diamonds On The Road – Live 2023, was recorded on tour in Finland earlier this year. But what is it about the concert album format that resonates with the gifted performer? “When you have a new studio album, you start to play those songs live. They start to live a life of their own on stage. You bring something new when you play the songs repeatedly,” explains Erja.

“We recorded the live album in March 2023, and the studio album came out in October 2022. We had been playing those songs for a few months, and I thought it was just good timing to record the songs, as they would still be fresh but with a different vibe and energy.”

A few years back, Erja Lyytinen recorded a concert album under very different circumstances - that being Lockdown Live 2020. A live album that was recorded amid the pandemic, where artists performed in front of their fans via live streams. Thankfully this time around, Erja was able to record her new live album in front of an actual audience. “I could tell that people are so much more into live music again, and they’re so free and open with everything. So, I could see that it was a great time to record a live album,” says Erja. “We can freely do what we love and enjoy playing together. So, it’s like a celebration of freedom in some way.”

The first single to be released from Diamonds On The Road – Live 2023 is You Talk Dirty. “It’s a different song from all the other songs in some way. I had a Black Sabbath War Pigs vibe going on in my mind when I was arranging that song. It’s a strong song and good fun to play,” explains Erja. “Towards the end, we have this double tempo in there. It’s a rocking song, and we play that one loud each night on stage. I love it, and it seems like people always enjoy that song.”

The album features an incredible cover of Crosstown Traffic by Jimi Hendrix, where Erja puts her stamp on the timeless number. But out of all the songs in the Hendrix repertoire, what was it about that track that made Erja want to cover it for the album? “It’s a nice up-tempo track first, and there are not so many covers of that song. I’d been playing this song for a few years already. We’ve been playing it now and again. And now we’ve added this one to this year’s live set,” says Erja. “It was fascinating to play these guitar parts that are being played by Jimi Hendrix, but I’m using a slide. So, it was rearranging the song and what he’s doing there. Of course, we added our own touch to it and so on. It’s a very nice live track as well. And on the live recording, it’s our first encore.”

Speaking about the late great guitar icon, Erja adds: “It’s like Hendrix has his unique style. It’s hard to copy him. That’s why it’s easier to play the solo with a slide. So it will sound different. But I like Jimi Hendrix, and I do listen to his albums when I’m at home quite often. Yesterday I was playing at this festival, and I had a chance to jam with an old rock band. So, we played play Little Wing and Fire by Jimi Hendrix. Both great songs, and it was lovely.”

Erja Lyytinen is preparing to return to the UK in November for her first UK headline shows since the pandemic. “I am so thrilled to come back to see you guys. I’ve been waiting a long time now. I think it’s four and a half years since the last time I set foot on the British Isles. I’m missing my friends and fans there,” declares Erja.

As part of her upcoming touring plans, Erja Lyytinen will be headlining HRH Blues in 2024. This is a festival that the Finnish guitarist has played several times prior. “I loved playing at HRH Blues. I’ve played there a couple of times, and the crowd has been just amazing. There are thousands of people who love rock, blues, and progressive rock/blues. So that’s my spot. It feels great. It’s a good stage. And it’s a very good atmosphere,” she says. “I’m looking forward to coming back to Sheffield and rocking this festival as well.”

Diamonds On The Road – Live 2023, the new concert album from Erja Lyytinen, will be released via Tuohi Records on October 6th. Erja will be touring throughout the UK in November ‘2023 as well as headlining HRH Blues in Sheffield in 2024. For ticket information and further details, please visit

Interview By: Adam Kennedy
Photo Credit: Elsa Wellamo





Hi Rachel! Let’s start at the beginning… You are one of the founding members of Hard Rock Hell Radio, but we need to know about how you got to where you are today, so please introduce yourself to the HRH MAG readers.

I wouldn’t say I was one of the founding members, I’ve only been around since 2017 but I can say that for the past six years it’s been an interesting ride. I joined the station knowing nothing about the radio or how it worked, but I had a lot of support and a great mentor, who taught me a lot in the first few months. I was asked to head up the scheduling team in 2021 and in 2022 I was given the opportunity to start our sister station SFW Radio. Taking on the role of Station Manager for SFW put me in the perfect place to take over the same role at HRH Radio earlier this year. I’ve been very lucky, and I am very proud to do what I do… because I can honestly say I still love every minute of it.

Tell us about your formative years, have you always been interested in working in music and media?

I’ve grown up listening to music, but I had no interest in working in music or media – that was what other people did (if you lived in London). I remember my first radio, and my first record player, I used to listen to The Monkees and Meatloaf at far too high volume. As I grew older, I had a family and an office job, and lived in the North of England – so working with music or media was never on the cards.

What was the soundtrack to your life as a kid, what were your parents listening too when you were growing up? Oh, I talk about this a lot on my radio show… I grew up listening to two different 8 track cartridges in my dad’s van (we didn’t have a car; we had a blue Ford Escort van with seats in the back). The first was Gene Pitney, who my mother adored, and the other was The Beatles. I remember singing, a lot, when I was younger. I was too shy to sing in public, but I knew all the words to Eleanor Rigby, Yesterday (even the French bit), Silver Bracelets and Backstage. From The Kinks, to The Hollies and The Troggs and The Who; I still love music from the 1950’s and 60’s although my real music love is the 1980’s.

When did you begin working in music media, where did it start?

Accidentally! I volunteered to help record a chart show and had an absolute blast. From there it was just a matter of finding someone willing to take a chance on me. I had been


a compere at events for a while, including a couple of small music festivals, and could talk with confidence on stage, so I didn’t think it would be too much of a stretch to talk about music for an hour.

What brought you into the HRH Family, had you been to any of the events, did you know what a crazy world you were entering into? I had a friend who was already presenting a show with HRH Radio, and he suggested that I might be good for the station. I was offered three weeks as a trial, and must have fallen through the cracks somewhere.. because six years later I’m still here haha. I’d not been to the events until I spent the weekend in Birmingham at HRH Metal in 2018 or 2019. I met some great people that weekend, and actually did an hour DJ set (on a Sunday lunchtime, but who cares that there were only 5 people in there building!). I also had a go at interviewing, and it just spiralled from there. I started to interview bands for the station at events, and now I work on the merch stand at most events. I enjoy every HRH weekend that I go to, even the ones where I’m not a huge fan of the musical genre and have met some amazing people over the past few years. I am very proud to be part of the HRH family.

Your shows are music and Sci Fi related, what sparked your interest in Sci Fi and why do you think Sci Fi and Horror runs so parallel to the alt community?

I was a bit of a goth in my youth, and more recently I’ve become very interested in the steampunk aesthetic – the idea of the sky pirates, deep sea exploration, discovering new worlds, and all of it with clockwork and steam. I am far too much of a scaredy cat to watch a horror film, but I can understand the appeal of the alternate universes. The joy of escaping into a character and becoming someone or something you aren’t, even just for a few hours, is wonderful. If it can be imagined, then it can be real. In the Steampunk world, I can be a spy, or an inventor, or an alien assassin and perhaps that’s the allure, there are no real-life limits in the Sci Fi worlds.

You work for a company who’s roots are firmly in rock and metal, who are your favourite musicians, bands or artists? What really brings you joy or makes your heart pound?

That depends on the day of the week, it can vary. Meatloaf and Jim Steinman introduced me to “Rock”, but Ward XVI are, in my opinion, modern day creators of brilliance. I love The Wattingers and The Dark Design,

along with Ozzy and Skyclad. I was recently introduced to a band put together by Behemoth frontman Adam Darski, who I really like. Me and That Man bring bluesy country styles with darker undertones. I have them and The Dark Design in the car, so depending on what type of day I’m having it’s either love songs from the Victorian era or Americana blues that I’m singing along to

Have you met or worked with any of your musical or media heroes yet and if so, how did you react?

I interviewed Ed Tudor Pole at HRH Punk a couple of years ago, and he was an absolute delight. We ate biscuits and he answered more questions that he needed to, just because he was so lovely. I met Miss Von Trapp several years ago, after being a fan for a couple of years. I was just a fangirl and whilst I’d love to say that I’m professional and detached, the truth is, I’m not… If I like the music and the band, then it shows.

If you could speak to 18 year old Rachel, what advice would you give yourself? What do you think your reaction would be to hearing about your life now?

Don’t ever stop listening to music, and don’t worry… you will rediscover your love of rock music in your 40’s! Oh, and don’t give blood on the same day as the Ozzy concert, because you won’t get to see him for another 35 years if you don’t see him in 1986. Boys with big hair in 1986 will probably not still have big hair in 2023, but their music will still make you go weak at the knees. Oh, and when our Dad says “turn that down, have you got a broadcasting licence” turn it down and smile… in 40 years you will have, and he’ll be listening in each week!


Interview with Gary Cherone of Extreme STILL FUNKY

Multi-platinum hard rock icons Extreme recently released Six, their first new studio album since Saudades de Rock in 2008. The band’s return has caused quite a stir. Extreme’s recent single Banshee has received 1.9 million views since its release.

Speaking ahead of the album’s release, frontman Gary Cherone is raring to go. “There’s something special when we have new material coming out,” says Gary. “When we go on our tour, we’ll have new material. Not that we have something to prove. We’re not this heritage act; we have something new to say.”

The songs featured on Six showcases the evolution of the band’s music. This time around, they present a much more contemporary sound. Although, that was perhaps a subconscious decision more than anything. “It’s been so long since we put out a record.

I don’t think it was - okay, Extreme let’s try to fit into the modern world,” explains Gary. “I think of Nuno diving into Rihanna and some of those pop influences coming in now. Not to say we’re writing Rihanna songs, but does it seep into maybe how he’ll arrange music or incorporate certain sounds?” He adds: “I like to think that with Extreme records, there was always an evolution, and I think our audience expects us to surprise them at this point.”

Turning back the clocks to the 90s, Pornograffiti was an album that propelled the band into the stratosphere. “Going back to Pornograffiti, there is pre-More Than Words and post-More Than Words,” explains Gary. “The record came out, we were nine months into the record, and we were starting to write for our next record, Three Sides to Every Story during that tour. We were in the UK when the record

went number one in America. So, here we are playing clubs in the UK. And this is again, pre-More Than Words. We were playing 200-seat clubs. It was great, and that’s what we were doing in America. So, we were feeling good about ourselves, but we had no idea what was around the corner.”

Whilst the band were in Europe, things were developing quickly in the US. “We were calling back home. My mother is crying because we’re on MTV, and it was kind of like, what are you talking about? Our friends are saying, it’s blowing up here. I’m sick of seeing your face on MTV. That was when we were in the UK. We got back to the States, and now we couldn’t buy a tour. Now we’re jumping on the David Lee Roth tour and Cinderella tour. Then comes Bon Jovi and ZZ Top. We go back to Europe and the UK and we’re playing stadiums with Bryan Adams. We got to meet Brian May during


that period. After More Than Words, we were just hanging on - and it was a whirlwind. It was a special moment,” recollects Gary.

He adds: “By the time we went into the studio for Pornograffiti, I think that’s where the band found its identity. Whether that’s funky metal, whatever you want to call it, but the riffs, the music and the concept of that record. That was the starting point for us.”

It was during that time that the band played one of the most memorable rock shows of the 90s – the Freddie Mercury Tribute at Wembley Stadium. “We were just thrilled to be there. We were in the first half of the show, but to be on the same stage with these heavyweights. It was everybody who was everybody. But for us, we were and still are Queen fanatics. For us, it was this is Wembley Stadium, these are the videos we grew up with watching Queen conqueror Live Aid,” he says. “We were ecstatic just to be there at soundcheck or being in the green room. I met Roger Daltrey walking up the stairs. We were just in awe. But as far as the show, we were so happy. We just wanted to perform

well. Did we feel that pressure? I think maybe a little more than other shows. You always have nerves, but this was like, if you f*ck up, you’re f*cking up in front of the world. So, there was that pressure?”

Extreme will also be remembered for their appearance on the soundtrack to the classic movie Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure with the song Play With Me. “It’s funny. It was one of the moments of our trajectory. Everything was new to us at the time, getting signed, putting out a record, getting a budget for MTV. Oh, it’s going to be in a movie, and the movie is going to come out before your record. So, it was our first maybe huge event,” recalls Gary. “I remember going to the theatre, waiting for the credits, and seeing Extreme Play with Me – Gary Cherone and Nuno Bettencourt, and we were kids getting excited. But we do that, and we’ll always do that. That was maybe the introduction to Nuno in the world. It was quite a splash. To this day, people talk about that solo.”

Extreme will shortly be hitting the road in the US and the UK with their peers Living Colour, which will inevitably be an incredible touring pack-

age. “We’ve played a few shows with them over the years. We’ve always loved Living Colour. I’ve always been a big fan of Corey. Vernon and Nuno, that’s going to be a guitar fest. But I’m looking forward to doing a substantial number of gigs with these guys. And since we’ve booked the show, I’ve been digging into some of their material and some of their later records, and they are still ferocious and have still got a lot of passion. So, I think the bands have always been compatible. It’s going to be a fun night,” says Gary.

He adds: “I think we’re all looking forward to the touring. We’ve always said everything is great as far as making records. The studio, it’s a labour of love. Sometimes it’s a pain in the ass. But I think the band is at its best on stage. And I think that’s what we do best.”

Six, the new album from Extreme, is out now via earMusic.

Interview By: Adam Kennedy
Photo Credit: Jesse Lirola

Doro’s new masterpiece - Conqueress - Forever Strong and Proud - will be released worldwide on October 27th via Nuclear Blast. The metal queen’s latest release also marks her landmark 40th year in music.

Doro’s attitude encapsulates the essence of heavy metal music. “I always try to do my best,” she says. “I don’t think too much about it. I just go forward and try to do the best I can with each song, each concert, each festival, or each record. And it’s still the same.”

Of course, there is one festival that will always hold a special place in Doro’s heart and that’s Wacken. The artist recently performed one of her star-studded anniversary shows with a headline performance at the legendary event. Speaking about this year’s Wacken, Doro said: “When we played there were only great vibes. People were so happy, the people who were there. I heard there were 60,000 people there and 85,000 is the capacity. But of course, it’s heartbreaking for the people who couldn’t come in. But the 60,000 people who were there, they were on fire. It was great.”

Having performed at Wacken over twenty times, it could be said that the singer’s hard work and determination have carried her to the top of the heavy metal world. Rightly claiming the title of Metal Queen. “I never took a vacation in my life. Every day I’m either in the studio, writing songs, rehearsing or on tour,” she says.

Throughout her career, the has singer has performed over 3,500 concerts and played in more than 60 countries around the world. When asked where the legend would like to take a wellearned vacation, Doro recalled performing an impromptu show in Thailand following a run of dates in Australia.

“We flew to Koh Samui. Everybody had a little room. It was gorgeous. And the ocean, Oh my God, it was so nice. I had never been to Thailand, so it was a big surprise,” explains Doro. But what the artist didn’t expect was to be woken up by the sounds of her own music. “I went to sleep. At five o’clock in the morning suddenly you loudly heard All We Are,” she says.

The promoter of the show on the island was planning for a legendary night in the making. Doro’s anthemic number became the soundtrack to their promotion. “What they did, they rented out a truck with a big PA system, and then it

was going all over the island. Every half an hour I heard it. From five o’clock in the morning - All We Are. And then, one day later, we played, and it was packed. And it was so great,” she says. “Thailand was a surprise. We saw a lot of things even in a short amount of time. But I would say Thailand was like, wow, it was overwhelming. I totally loved it.”

Despite their German roots, the UK was always a significant destination for the artist. “England was always the most important country because that’s where it was at. Everything got decided in England. For example, the record company in England would decide if you could get a worldwide record release or if you could go on tour. So England was super important,” recalls Doro. “I was heavily influenced by all the New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands like Saxon, and we toured together many times. I love Biff and I love Saxon. So, to me Priest, Maiden and Motorhead, that was the most important thing.”

Music media was slightly ahead of the game in the UK in the early days of Doro’s career. “In Germany, when the metal scene started out, there were handwritten photocopied fanzines. In England, there were already magazines like Kerrang - back then, that was super important. We did our first TV shows in England.”

Of course, a lot has changed within the last 40 years. One of the tracks on Doro’s latest offering, Time for Justice, examines the state of the world today. “The world is so difficult. It is so wild, crazy, and chaotic,” she says. “Everybody knows in their heart what’s good, and what’s right. That’s what I feel. And metal heads have their heart in the right place. I thought, it’s time for justice, time for trust, and time to see things right again. Especially for women, that’s so important.”

Doro’s latest album also features her new single, Living After Midnight featuring Rob Halford from Judas Priest. But what was it about that Priest track that made Doro want to cover it for the album? “I always loved Breaking the Law and Living After Midnight. In the early 80s, when I was on tour with other bands, we didn’t have All We Are back then. Bands always started drinking and partying. But at the last couple of gigs we always did something together. And we said, what shall we do together? I didn’t know their songs, and they didn’t know my songs. So, we always did either Breaking the Law or Living

After Midnight. And it was a big party for everybody, especially as the last song. When we played Wacken a couple of days ago, Living After Midnight was when we took photos and bowed. It was so great, and people were having such a great time. It reminded me of All We Are, just having a great time and feeling good, which I think is so important in this day and age.”

Doro adds: “I always loved the song, and it was a big honour to do something with Rob Halford and to do two songs with him. I couldn’t be more grateful and happy. He’s such a gentleman, and I love him so much. We’ve always stayed friends.”

One of the bonus tracks on Doro’s latest record is a cover of The Four Horseman by Metallica. The track was included to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Kill Em All. “We played together many times in the early 80s. I think in 84/85, it was some of the first gigs they did in Europe. It was in the Netherlands. Then we played at the Metal Hammer Festival in Germany – it was a beautiful thing. It was on the Rhine River. We played there together. I always loved James Hetfield so much. It was always great to play together and talk a little bit.”

With a career spanning 40 years, what would Doro say have been the personal highlights of her storied career? “I would say all the collaborations and the touring we did with my favourite bands and my heroes, like working with Gene Simmons, because I was a big Kiss fan; that was unbelievable. Recording with Lemmy in the studio and touring with Motorhead. We toured a lot together, and that was great. All the touring we did with Dio, that was fantastic. The tour with Judas Priest in 86 - that feels like yesterday,” she says. “We were a little Dusseldorf band; that was where everything started. I never thought we would last that long. I never thought we would have the privilege to get to know everybody and tour together or record stuff in the studio together. All these people I just mentioned, they were the highlights of my life.”

Doro’s new album, - Conqueress - Forever Strong and Proud - will be released worldwide on October 27th via Nuclear Blast.

Interview By: Adam Kennedy Photo Credit: Jochen Rolfes



For someone whose dark backstory of walking a razor edge of crime and addiction, so determinedly that it sliced deep into the very fabric of his existence, Dom Martin appears before me as a gentle and humble soul who totally owns his past. In fact, it’s his past mid-deeds that inform his present artistic adventures as a songwriter, guitarist and vocalist making him a compelling narrator of blues music. His current and third album release, Buried In The Hail, is his best yet. He has rinsed his soul inside out producing a bare-to-the-bone and knuckle redemptive collection of stripped back songs. However, Dom would have been happy to remain a local hero as he tells me: “You know, this is the only reason I do this music, as a career choice, so that I can leave something behind for my kids. That is the only reason that I’m doing it. I would have been happy playing the pubs and clubs for the rest of my life in Belfast. Getting by and that’s it. I’m still barely doing that. I haven’t made a penny and it’s not about that if it was, I’m in it for the wrong reasons.” It’s this overwhelming passion for his craft that occupies his head and hands 24/7. It’s a calculation that he put into practice and beat by recording Buried

In The Hail in 48 hours straight as he reveals: “I wrote the whole album in two days after trying to write an album for a year and six months. I got sick on tour. I had a bad chest and I had to cancel a couple of shows. I got to stay with a friend, over in England, and I had a room there. I also had a van full of equipment. So, I got my Samsung and my guitars, while I was feeling terrible, and I sat on the floor and I went through about 500 voice memos on my phone, and I found those songs in there. I wrote them in two days. It was done like that. I didn’t have to change anything.”

It was a swift flash of inspired creative time in which to capture the proverbial lightning in a bottle as Dom continues: “It was a good reflection on the time I was living in at that moment. I got something out of myself that I needed to because I never went into this album with the intention that anybody was gonna ever listen to it. It was never made for human consumption. And the other albums weren’t made for people either’” he candidly states. “There were songs that I never wanted to play in front of anybody. Like Spain

To Italy, it’s a highly personal album. The only way that was made was because it was pushed on me by my management who I class as family.” Dom further explains: “When I played them the songs, they pushed me to want to make an album and I never wanted to do that. I was happy playing for me. You know, the covers that I love to play like the old John Prine, John Martyn, Rory Gallagher, Jimi Hendrix stuff, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan... I loved playing covers of their songs. I was happy doing that.” He continues: “When it came to my own stuff, it was just so highly personal that I couldn’t sometimes get through a full song. I wasn’t strong enough to do it, but they unlocked a potential in me that I didn’t know existed. They’ve given me so much experience in how the world works. They put me in situations that nobody wants to be in, but I’ve grown from that. I am very, very grateful to them for that.”

A s its name suggests, Buried In The Hail is an ominous album of grizzly, weathered blues delivered by a voice that sits disconcertingly between Tom Waits and John Martyn, yet has a singularity all its own across its eleven raw tracks. Dom details his working relationship with his co-producers, Chris O’Brien and Greg Murphy, on this recording: “I love those guys. They’re brilliant. They fixed the Savage Life album; that’s how I met them. It was after the second album got completely destroyed in the studio we were using in Belfast. We found them and they fixed it all. They worked with us, and it wasn’t about the money. Although we did pay them what we had, every penny, of course. It wasn’t about the money it was more about the music. I gained so much respect for them for that because they respected the music as much as I did. They wanted the songs to sound like they were supposed to sound. They’ve done so much for me. It’s been amazing just to meet them and to get to know them.”

With the two-way trust and security of a management and production team firmly in place, it’s very much a creative and business ‘family’ affair that has given Dom the confidence to venture forth and promote himself. His extrovert stage presence masks his private, insecure and introverted nature as, given the predominant-

ly auto-biographical nature of his records, his well of inspiration comes from deep within as evidenced on track four’s Belfast Blues: “All the songs that I’ve written have always been autobiographical to some degree or another. It’s all from personal experience. I can’t write a song about anything else. I purposely put myself in situations that kind of destroy me, to get something to come out. It can be extremely taxing on the soul. Like I have to cut little pieces of myself off in order to grow sometimes.” A long-time sober Dom’s addiction to the blues shows no signs of abating, thankfully. Yet, it’s his past that bleeds into his present giving his creative side the lifeblood it needs to function as he lays it on the line: “There are parts of my brain that I have to revisit, and it takes a lot to get there. It takes even more to get out of it again, to come back to normality,” he says, “I’m lucky enough to have a river of information within to go down to with a bucket and get some water from that river. It can be very taxing on the people around you, the people that love you and your family to have to witness you do that to yourself. I became very insular and very, very selective with the people that I chose to spend my time with. Not a lot of people get through anymore. I just don’t have the time for the two-second conversation and things that happen in life. At the end of the day, we all go our separate ways anyway, so it’s a complete waste of my time. I’ve learned from my past and I just don’t have time for people anymore.”

In accordance with Buried In The Hail’s intro tune, Hello In There, and its final outro passage, Laid To Rest, Dom returns to his earlier mantra: “Like I said, the only reason I do this music, as a career choice, is that I can leave something behind for my kids. That is the only reason that I’m doing it.” Amen to that.

Interview By: Paul Davies
Photo Credit: Tony Cole

British hard rock royalty Girlschool recently released their hair-raising new album WTFortyfive? The album hit the much-coveted #1 spot of the Official UK Rock and Metal Chart, proving that even after 45 years, the quartet are still going strong and showing no signs of slowing down.

As one would expect, with a new album in the bag, the group has been on the road across Europe throughout the summer. “It’s festival season, so we’ve been doing a few festivals - the Scandinavian ones,” says guitarist Jackie Chambers. “We’ve got quite a few things coming up this year. We’re looking at a couple of gigs again in Europe in October. Then in November, we’re going to America. So yeah, it’s getting busy with the album coming out. There’s lots coming in.”

Part of the Girlschool summer itinerary was a trip to HRH Road Trip in Ibiza. Speaking about the experience, Jackie said: “I loved it. It was great fun. We had a really good time. There’s always a good atmosphere at Hard Rock Hell. We

45 Years of IntervieW WITH

had a couple of days in Ibiza. So, we had some sunshine, got some time on the beach, and time to sightsee. We got to chill and enjoy hanging out with some rock fans in Ibiza.”

The band have been overjoyed with the feedback towards their new album so far. “We’ve been really pleased with the response. It’s definitely got more airplay than anything else we’ve done in a long time. All the reviews have been really positive,” confirms Jackie.

With such a successful new album under their belt, the band are faced with a nice dilemma. “We’re asking ourselves what songs are we going to play in the live set. We could put a couple of new songs in, but what do we drop out,” says Jackie. “Everybody wants to hear Race With The Devil, Demolition, Come On Let’s Go, Hit and Run, Emergency and Bomber. So, you’ve got six or seven songs that everybody expects you to play. We would love to do a whole album of new songs in a way because it’s exciting for us when we do a new song. But we still love playing the old favourites as

well. So, we will just have to incorporate a couple of new ones and drop a couple of the other ones.”

But does the band feel their new material sits alongside the classics? “Yeah, I really do,” says Jackie. “There’s no pretence or trying to sound like anybody else. We just go in and play like we play. So, it’s always going to sound like us. Because it’s always going to have Kim’s voice and Denise bashing the drums with simple guitar riffs. Rock and roll and just sing along songs. So that’s what we’re hoping for. And that’s what we’ve put down, we think. I think it fits along with every other album.”

Girlschool is presently celebrating their 45th anniversary with their latest offering. But during Jackie’s tenure with the band, what have been some of her favourite memories of life in the Girlschool camp? “Personally, I’d have to say playing with Alice Cooper. That’s got to be it for me. That was the highlight. I mean, Alice Cooper was my hero from school, and to do a few days on tour with him in Spain was just amazing. To get to meet him and watch how all the


Girlschool Jackie Chambers

equipment - the gallows and the guillotine worked. That was just the thrill,” says Jackie. “There’s been loads of great moments. It’s a privilege, isn’t it? Being able to play in a rock and roll band and travel the world. It’s just amazing. I enjoy it every time. Even when things go wrong, I still enjoy it.”

Earlier this year, Girlschool toured alongside Alcatrazz. Subsequently, the band feature on WTFortyFive? “We wanted them on our album because we were on their album,” explains Jackie. “Joe Stump wrote a guitar track because he’s obviously a great guitar player. And he sent a riff, and he said - what about this? We said - Yes, great. We love it. So we went into the studio, put that down as a song, and they put it all together. Then Kim wrote some lyrics for it, and we finished the song. Then we thought, it hasn’t got any of Alcatrazz on it really. It’s just Joe wrote the riff.”

Jackie adds: “Eventually, Kim asked Joe, would you play some guitar over the top of what we’ve already done? We put down the track and the solo and

everything and Joe just started playing over the top of it all. The twiddly widdly bits, as I call them. So, then it sounds like Joe Stump because that’s what he does. He’s like a Malmsteen type, or Schenker type of guitarist; he’s a fantastic player.”

Duff McKagan also features as a special guest on the album. “Kim knows Ray, a friend of Duff’s, and she got ahold of him, and he asked Duff would you like to play on it? He’s a big Girlschool fan apparently from years back. So, he said he’d love to do it. We said would you like to play bass on Born To Raise Hell. He said yes. We had to wait for that song. That was the last song we did because we finished the song, and Tracey put a rough bass down. And, of course, Guns N Roses were on tour in Australia or somewhere. So that’s why there was a little delay in releasing the album. We were waiting for that song. It’s brilliant to hear that. It’s something different.” Having Motorhead represented on the album was also important to Girlschool. Phil Campbell features on the record also. “We did the last tour with them

when Lemmy passed,” explains Jackie. “We thought a Motorhead song would be fitting because it’s like a full circle. And we all love that song anyway. It’s just a lively song, and Phil was totally up for it, of course.”

Girlschool are currently looking into 2024 for some possible UK tour dates. “It looks like Girlschool always comes back in January and February when it’s freezing cold and miserable, and nobody’s got any money,” jokes Jackie. “But it’s looking like the end of January, maybe February. Because we’re going to America again in March because there are two parts to the tour. We’re doing November and then again in March. So, we will probably go out in January, or February, I would have thought.”

WTFortyfive? The new and fourteenth studio album from Girlschool is out now.

Interview & Photo Credit: Adam Kennedy

Flying Solo


Rock legend Steve Lukather recently released his new studio album Bridges via The Players Club / Mascot Label Group. Featuring several members of his primary outfit; the album has been described as a bridge between his solo body of work and that of TOTO.

So far this year, there has been a lot of touring for the legendary guitarist. “We’ve been on the road with Journey. We went out on February 3rd; we did all the arenas with them playing to 10-25,000 people a night. We were just killing it. It was the best thing we could have ever done for our career. We played in front of 500,000 people,” says Steve. “They took care of us really well and paid us good. We got a great slot. In the United States, we needed them. The rest of the world always has been there for us. This was the second time we did it. Last year we toured with those guys too. And it was so successful they asked us back; they still want us to come back. But we may be doing some other stuff this time. We’re coming to Europe, and we’re going to Japan in July. There’s all sorts of crazy stuff going on.”

Several current and former members of TOTO feature on Bridges. However, perhaps there is something liberating about recording a Steve Lukather solo album without the additional pressure that comes with a band like TOTO. “The last solo album I did, which was for me to play and play everything live and see if I could do all that. That happened a month before the lockdowns,” he says. “Three years later, we decided we were going back on the road again with TOTO. We had some dates booked and the new band put together. We had a couple of months off, and I called Paitch and Joe, and I said, come on, let’s do something.”

He continues: “We still love working together. It’s just to call an album TOTO that brings a lot of pressure and a whole other thing to it. So, I called the guys, and we all got together and played, and that was all fantastic. But I didn’t go - let’s make a TOTO record and not tell anybody. That’s what it sounds like when we write songs together, and play together,” he says. “If I got together with three other guys and did it, it would sound different. Even with the same chords, everything has a different feel. We’ve done this together our whole life since we were kids. So that’s

what’s going on now.”

The old saying goes that talent doesn’t fall far from the tree. And that’s certainly the case with Steve’s son Trev Lukather, who also features on the record. But did the TOTO great ever think that Trev would follow in his father’s footsteps?

“When I first held him in my arms when he was first born 36 years ago. I thought I wonder if he’s going to be a musician.

I’ve got four kids, and he’s the only one that’s in the music business,” explains Steve. “It’s frustrating for him because the music business is a mess. It’s hard to make a lot of money playing music right now. Because of all the insanity and the competition. Anybody can put a song on YouTube or Spotify.”

Several guests feature on the record, many with ties to the TOTO camp. One of which is highly respected bass player Lee Sklar. “He’s one of my oldest friends. When I first started doing sessions at 18-19 years old, I met Lee, and we’ve been brothers ever since. We first worked together in 1977,” explains Steve. “A couple of times he’s been in the band, and he’s come and saved my ass. He’s one of the best there is. I respect him and adore him as a human being. He’s just the best. I love him.”

Keeping it in the family, so to speak, Joseph Williams produced Steve’s latest solo album. But how does it feel to work with the TOTO lead singer in a production capacity? “He’s one of the best producers I’ve ever worked with, especially vocally,” says Lukather. “He’s an expert vocal guy, and he has the patience. It was his studio in his house. He lives alone; he likes to f*ck around when nobody’s around. I like to go in three or four hours, work hard, and leave. Not like the old days when we would stay in the studio all night long. I still have young children, so I like to be around for them. I’m gone enough already as it is. Joe really took care of this. He just produced the hell out of me. I got a lot of great input from Paitch. Everybody gave me their best; it was really a positive experience.”

However, in terms of touring Bridges, that may come further down the line for the in-demand guitarist. “I can’t tour it right yet because TOTO and Ringo pretty much block booked me for the next two years. But down the line, I’ve had offers; but that requires me to put a band together and do all that. I mean,

I’d want to do it great. So, I wouldn’t want to do that half-assed. It has to be worth the while too, because I’m at the age now if I’m going to be on the road, I don’t want to go on the road and not make any money. No offence - I’ve been doing this for 47 years. I’d like to do that stuff, but maybe down the line. I’m not closed-minded to that, but it wouldn’t have to be an extraordinary situation,” explains Steve.

On the subject of Ringo Starr, Steve Lukather has been part of The Beatles drummer’s All-Star band for more than a decade. “I just love him to death. It’s such a great honour to be in the band. I’ve been in the band for 11 years. I may be the longest-serving guy that’s ever been in the band. Me and Greg Bissonette. So, I’m very flattered that he likes me that much. I love him; he’s a brother. He’s the best,” confirms Steve.

However, with so much touring on the agenda, is a UK return for TOTO on the horizon? “The UK is definitely on the list. We’ve got to be there; it was harder to get in before. Now, it’s not, and we’re going to put dates together. I don’t know what venues yet, but it’ll be summer next year,” concludes Steve.

Bridges, the new solo album from TOTO legend Steve Lukather is out now via The Players Club / Mascot Label Group.

Interview By: Adam Kennedy
Photo Credit: Alex Solca

Since 1988, Cannibal Corpse have been at the forefront of death metal. In 2021, they raised the stakes again with Violence Unimagined. This year the band mark their thirty-fifth anniversary with the equally monstrous Chaos Horrific.

With their new album in the bag, the death metal Titans have been gearing up towards their new release. “We haven’t done much in the way of any touring this year. We did a European and UK tour in March and April. We’ve been waiting for the release of the new record,” explains drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz. “The album’s coming out in September here, and we’ve got a big US and Canadian tour coming up coinciding with that. So, yeah, it should end the year on a high note.”

The band’s new album follows hot off the back of a vigorous period of creativity catalysed by the pandemic. “It’s the next chapter in the Cannibal Corpse story,” declares Paul. “A lot of people weren’t expecting us to come out with an album so quick after Violence Unimagined, but there you go.”

Cannibal Corpse began working on their latest offering almost immediately

after the conclusion of their last album. “During the pandemic, like everybody else in the world, you didn’t know what the future would hold. Especially in the touring aspects. So, we decided to utilise our time and write a new record,” says Paul. “We had downtime, and we could get ahead of the game, so to say, and that’s what we did. So, it was crazy and a little stressful when you have to go back to creating right away. We’re not used to that.”

Of course, the pandemic introduced a new paradigm to the conventional release cycle. “You’re used to the cycle of writing and recording, then being on the road for the better part of two years. Then when you get that out of the way and mentally, you’re preparing to do it again. And that’s the way we’ve done it our whole career,” he says. “So, to finish an album and then to go right back to it was a little tough, I suppose. For me anyway, I guess I can’t speak for everybody, but to have that mentality to get back into it again was a little different and a little more difficult. But you make it work. I think we got a great album. I think Chaos Horrific turned out awesome.”

Perhaps you could say that with two albums coming out in quick succession, Chaos Horrific is a continuation of Violence Unimagined. “I think the albums are very similar. They’re their own thing. I think no matter what we do, it’s its own thing. But I think these songs might be a little more similar to Violence Unimagined than Red Before Black or anything we’ve done in the past. So, I think - yes, these two albums are very closely related, I guess; but they stand on their own” explains Paul. “There were 11 songs on Violence Unimagined and 10 songs on Chaos Horrific, so we’ve got 21 different songs. What we always try to go for is something a little different than we’ve done in the past, or what you did in the last record, or you did on the last song. You try to be a little bit different, yet be death metal and be Cannibal Corpse. But yeah, I would say that they’re very similar records in a lot of ways.”

With two studio albums hitting the shelves between 2021 and 2023 you could say that Cannibal Corpse are in a very creative place right now. “I think we always have been really. When you look at it, we’ve been around for 35 years, which is a long time. We’re about


to release our 16th studio album, so that’s averaging one every two years,” says Paul. “Obviously, in the beginning, the first four albums came out quickly. And then touring happens, and you’ve got to go on the road and maybe take a little more time. But I always look at how we’ve worked. We’ve always been on a schedule. We’ve never got done with a record and said, okay, now it’s time to work on new material.” He adds: “I think creativity has never been a problem with us because we’re able to do it in that allotted timeframe to write some music. I think the guys are just firing on all cylinders.”

Guitarist Erik Rutan produced the album, which was his sixth Cannibal Corpse album as producer and their second as a full-fledged member of the band. “We’ve known him for a long time, back when he was in Morbid Angel. Then, of course, doing many tours with him with Hate Eternal before he joined the band. So, it’s your friend working with you, which is great to have,” says Paul. “I think what Erik brings particularly, is when you look at all the producers we’ve had, and all of them are great. I mean, everyone we’ve

had were amazing producers and did a great job for us and great guys. But Erik is the only one that comes from a death metal background, with him being a guitar player in a death metal band. I think that’s a big element, and that’s key to helping form the sound of the band. Just having that knowledge of a guy that has that experience of playing is big. So, I think that aspect is a big plus.”

Chaos Horrific marks the 35th anniversary of Cannibal Corpse. “It is a milestone; it’s something we think about and we’re proud of. What an achievement it is to be around as long as we have and to be still relevant and feel that we’re on top of our game. That’s important, of course, because we’re not going through the motions. We love what we do, and we work hard at everything we do as the band. So, it’s a cool achievement we can be proud of.” Paul concludes: “I always tend to say, if it ended tomorrow, we could look back at what a run we had; whatever it ends up being or how many years it is. But if you said it ends tomorrow, you can go wow, this is beyond our expectations of what we ever thought we would do

and make a career out of the band. It’s just amazing. So, it’s a cool thing we’ve done that we can be proud of.”

Death metal icons Cannibal Corpse will unleash their sixteenth studio album, Chaos Horrific, on September 22, 2023, via Metal Blade Records.

Interview By: Adam Kennedy Photo Credit: Alex Morgan

Hot off the back of his recent UK tour, superstar Joe Bonamassa is returning to his roots and taking stock of how far he and the genre have come, giving new life to the classic tracks that have brought him to the Blues.

Released 20 years ago, Blues Deluxe was the turning point for the US-based guitarist. “It was the first album that really resonated with an audience of mine,” explains Joe. “I noticed when we would play the stuff off Blues Deluxe, especially when we would open for people, we would get standing ovations and sell a lot of merch. I was like, okay, something’s working here.”

The record was his last shot after being dropped by two major labels and his booking agent. Inspired by his manager Roy Weisman, the record defined the direction of the artist’s future career from that point. “My manager and I pooled our money together, and came up with 10,000 US dollars. We made the record, it was mixed and mastered in seven days, and we put it out. We had a little distribution deal from a company in Florida. We basically sold records out of the back of our car. But something resonated with it, and to this day, it’s still one of the best-selling pieces of the catalogue that I have.”

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release, Joe toyed with the idea of remastering the record. However, some technical issues stood in the way. “The master recordings are on hard drives that don’t work anymore,” he says. “So then, I talked to my friend Josh Smith, who is playing guitar in our band, and we produce records together. I was like, man, would you want to produce a second volume of blues songs for the 20th anniversary? And he said yeah, man. So, we cut eight songs in LA in four days, and then we cut three songs in a day and a half. So, we used less time than we did in the first recording, and I think it came out pretty good.”

The album was also a personal test for Joe himself. “I think it was a question to myself going, am I better or worse? Am I losing it? Do I still have the same fire? Can I still bring it if I had to? There’s a big difference between a 25-yearold and a 45-year-old,” he proclaims. “Some could say - Joe, you play with more unabashed recklessness. I say well, that’s because when you’re 25, you don’t know any better, when you’re 45, you start knowing better.

Am I a better singer now than I was back then? I think the answer is - yes.”

In recent times Joe Bonamassa and Josh Smith have been producing blues records for the who’s who of the blues rock world. Having Smith produce Joe’s latest offering worked very well in the studio. “We work well together, and I let him take the reins. We cut all the vocals in two days, and that was it. We would cut two or three songs each day, sing them and put a few overdubs if they were needed, and then moved on.”

The first single to be released from Blues Deluxe Vol. 2 was Shout About It. “We’ve been playing Shout About It live for several months; since the beginning of the year, and it’s just a fun song. What I wanted to recreate mostly about Blues Deluxe, the first version was, it was just a fun record. It was a fun record to make; it was fun to play live. And it was kind of infectious. It doesn’t take itself too seriously,” he says. “We’re not trying to record a sound like and play it the exact way that that Guitar Slim played the song. There’s no point in doing that; you have the original version. Especially when you’re doing covers. So, you’ve just got to shake it off and go - I like the tune. I like the message. I like the way it’s laid out. How would I play it? And how would we play it as a band? That’s the only real way to approach this kind of record.”

One thing that Joe does when covering the blues greats of yore is to avoid the obvious tracks. “You’ve got to avoid the well-worn deer trails because there are so many versions of those songs. There’s no reason to cut that. It makes your job harder, but it’s also more rewarding when you find a hidden gem,” explains Joe. “Like, Well I Done Got Over It, was a song that we did by Guitar Slim. I remember my Dad playing that when I was a kid.”

One of the many highlights of Blues

Deluxe Vol. 2 is the song The Truth Hurts. A track originally recorded by Kenny Neal which showcases the trio of guitarists featured on the album –Joe Bonamassa, Josh Smith, and Kirk Fletcher. “Anybody who plays blues guitar and has been in the game as long as Josh, Kirk and myself. In the 80s, we all had the Alligator Showdown record featuring Robert Cray, Johnny Copeland, and Albert Collins,” he says.

“Kirk played on the whole record, and so did Josh. We were all talking, and I said we’d never done a track together. They came up with the Kenny Neal song. Everybody takes a vocal. Everybody takes a solo. It’s like the 2023 tip of the hat to the Showdown record. Which, for me, is one of the best records of that age. It’s a fantastic blues record all the way through.”

Aside from Blues Deluxe Vol. 2, Joe Bonamassa has been working on the new Black Country Communion album. But the question on everyone’s lips is, will the band tour with their upcoming release? “Let’s do one more big bash and get out there and play because it’s a great live band. I think absence makes the heart grow fonder,” he says. “We did one really extensive tour, and then we stopped, and then there was a big gap. But I’m game.” Perhaps, the news fans of the supergroup have been waiting for.

Joe Bonamassa recently performed at the legendary Montreux Jazz Festival. “We played with Buddy Guy, and it’s always nice to see him. He’s 40 years older than me and has more energy than I will ever have. I’m like, how the hell do you do that? But he was in great spirits. I met him 33 years ago, in 1990. He’s been an inspiration. And then to do it at Stravinsky Hall with Buddy Guy on the blues night. I think it was the second to last night of the festival. It was killer,” confirms Joe.

Moving forward touring is very much on the agenda for the blues legend. “We have a lot of touring left this year. We have already dates booked for next year and all the way through the summer. It’s nice to be back to work and the crowds are back. There are big crowds everywhere, both here in Europe and in the US. I’m just thankful and grateful that after a two-year work pause, we’re able to come back as strong, if not stronger than we ever were.”

Joe Bonamassa’s new album “Blues Deluxe Vol. 2” is released by J&R Adventures and distributed by Provogue/ Mascot Label Group on Friday, October 6th. Further info: www.jbonamassa. com

Interview & Photo Credit: Adam Kennedy


Interview with Warren Haynes

Grammy-nominated band Gov’t Mule recently released their new studio album, Peace…Like A River. The band’s 12-song rock collection features guest appearances from the likes of Billy Bob Thornton, Ivan Neville, Ruthie Foster, and Billy F Gibbons, to name but a few.

The band’s latest offering follows hot off the back of Heavy Load Blues which was released in 2021. But the truth of the matter is that the versatile ensemble recorded both Heavy Load Blues and their current offering simultaneously.

The pandemic proved to be a creatively fertile time for the band. “All the songs were written during the lockdown period. I wrote more music during that time than I’ve written in many years. Mostly because I had all this time on my hands,” explains Warren Haynes. “For the first time in so long, we couldn’t travel, we couldn’t tour. And it was my way of making the best of a bad situation, which I think a lot of people had similar experiences.”

With time on their hands, Gov’t Mule turned their attention to recording projects. “Once we got to a point that we knew we still couldn’t travel or tour, but we could be around each other, we decided that the best remedy would be to do as much recording as possible,” he says. “We had talked about making

a blues record for a long time, but it was still kind of on the horizon. So that got brought up. I mentioned that I would be very much into making a blues record. But I also wanted to make a new Gov’t Mule record of original material, because I had so much new material that I was ready to record. So, we decided to find a place where we could do both things and go into the studio for a much longer period than normal.”

Although recording two albums simultaneously may sound like a strenuous task, it was something that the band enjoyed. “It was not only enjoyable, but it was also a perfect way to end the day. We would have been recording songs for Peace Like A River all day in the big room. And then we would move over to the small room and just play blues, for our enjoyment. And it was a way to shut off our brains and not think and just respond and play blues like we were in a small club at midnight. So, it was the perfect solution to an obvious problem.”

Had the pandemic not occurred perhaps the band would have approached things differently. “I would never recommend doing that under normal circumstances, making two records at once. But at that time, it was great. It gave us the opportunity to blow off steam. When we’re playing blues,

there’s no headphones, I’m just singing through a little monitor. And we’re all set up tight close to each other. It’s all completely live in the studio; the solos, the vocals, everything. We added a couple of things like we added the horn section on the two songs. I think on one song, we added piano or organ after the fact but 99% of that record was captured completely live. It was just fun to make,” he says. “We kept the first or second take if possible. In some cases, we only played songs one time. I Asked Her For Water - the Howlin’ Wolf song which was the first song we recorded. We recorded it around midnight on the first night, and we played it once.”

Gov’t Mule’s repertoire is vast. The band aren’t afraid of pushing the boundaries of their sound. The group prefer not to be pigeonholed into one musical style or genre. “I think most bands probably prefer that. We’ve been very stubborn about it from the beginning. Maybe partially because we started out as a side project to the Allman Brothers, we weren’t thinking that we would even make a second record or a fifth record or a tenth record,” explains Haynes. “From the beginning, we just did whatever we wanted to do. In the very early days of Mule, we were trying to bring back the concept of the power trio, the improvisational rock trio. But that was meant to be for one


album, that wasn’t meant to be for the rest of our life. So, when we decided, we were going to make a second record, we’re like, well, what should we do. It should be different from the first one. And the same with our third record.”

The passing of one of the group’s original members resulted in the band having to make a conscious decision as to how they proceeded. “When Allen Woody passed away, it was a decision we had to make whether we were going to stop playing as Gov’t Mule or reinvent the band. And so, after many months of thought, we decided to become a quartet. We were able to move forward by inviting all our favourite bass players into the studio to do The Deep End, Volume One and The Deep End, Volume Two. And that bought us some time to think about becoming a band again,” explains Warren. “But we’ve always felt like with each album, we should include more and more of our influences. And once we started The Deep End project, where it was a different bass player every day, and I was writing songs with the personality of the new bass player in mind. That forced us to look at all our influences in a different way and bring them into the fold. And it was a cathartic thing. Because suddenly, I’m writing songs for Bootsy Collins or Jack Bruce or writing with Les Claypool, or writing for

Larry Graham, John Entwistle or Chris Squire. So, it made sense to widen our scope at that point, and it was just a natural change that inspired the new direction.”

One name that stands out on the latest Gov’t Mule album is that of ZZ Top legend Billy F Gibbons. “Billy and I’ve been friends for a long time. He collaborated with us on the By a Thread record. He played guitar on a song called Broke Down on the Brazos,” explains Warren. “We’ve worked together quite a bit, especially over the last four or five years. We’re good friends. And when I wrote Shake Our Way Out, it very much reminded me of ZZ Top. There’s a definite ZZ Top influence. So, I thought it would be important to bring him in to put his stamp on it. It’s also one of those songs that has a sense of humour. And so having his voice be part of it gave it even more so the sense of humour.”

There is also a special appearance from a further famous Billy, by way of Hollywood star Billy Bob Thornton. “Billy and I have been friends for quite a while. We’ve hung out a lot together. He has a great studio in his house and Los Angeles. I’ve spent a lot of time there late at night hanging out,” confirms Warren. “We wrote a song together recently. And I’m very familiar with his work as a musical artist, in

addition to obviously loving his work as an actor.”

“When I wrote The River Only Flows One Way, I thought, for the first time ever, the verses should be spoken and not sung. And we recorded a version of me doing it, but I wanted it to be somebody else’s voice. I wanted it to be like a narrator. And so, his voice came to mind, and I thought it would be great if he spoke those verses, and then I sang in the choruses because he has one of those captivating, spooky voices that just draws you into that world. And I think it’s perfect for the lyric of that tune because it’s a very bizarre song.”

With their new album in their belt, Gov’t Mule are presently looking to hit the road. “At this point, we know what we’re doing up through until the end of the year, and then we’ll take a break. They’re working on next year already. It looks like it’s going to continue to be busy, which is good,” concludes Warren.

Peace…Like A River, the new album from Gov’t Mule, is out now on Fantasy Records. It’s the band’s 12th studio album and follows their Grammy-nominated blues album, ‘Heavy Load Blues’ from 2021.

Interview By: Adam Kennedy Photo Credit: Shervin Lainez


If you were at HRH Spring Break in Great Yarmouth earlier this year, perhaps you caught the amazing set from North East rockers Wild Thorn. The quartet unveiled their eagerly anticipated new EP, “Fallout”, at the event. Following shows this year with LA-based outfit Vigil of War, the group are preparing to hit the round for a full-length UK headline tour.

Formed by Ash Robertson, the band began playing on the North East music scene in 2014 and have since played extensively around the UK. The line-up features Ash’s brother Elliott Robertson on drums, Kiko Rivers (ex-Black Rose UK) on bass and Sean J Tempest (Avenger) on rhythm and lead guitar.

Reflecting on their year so far, frontman Ash Robertson said: “I would say 2023 has been an exciting time for us. We played at Hard Rock Hell Spring Break in Great Yarmouth. It was our first time playing at Great Yarmouth, and we got an excellent response.”

The bonus for those in attendance was that they had the opportunity to get their hands on a physical copy of the band’s new EP ahead of time. “We managed to get our CD finished in time so we could have some advanced copies for sale before the official release. A select few were able to get their hands on a copy at the festival,” explains Ash. “But it also gave us a chance to play to people that haven’t seen us before because we are from the North East.” Up North, the band has been forging a path on the regional rock scene. “We’ve been around

several years now, and we’ve all played the North East extensively. We’re very keen to get out and play in other places. It was great to play in front of a new audience and new faces, and play among some big names like Reckless Love and Crash Diet and get on the road a bit. It was great fun.”

Wild Thorn’s new EP was mixed and mastered by the group’s versatile lead guitarist Sean J Tempest. “We recorded the drums at Blank Studios in Newcastle. Then everything else was pretty much added here. I mixed and mastered the whole thing,” explains Sean. “Mixing and mastering is something I do independently with other bands too. There’s a band from Scotland called Tantrum I’ve just finished mastering. You will hear more stuff coming up soon. I’ve been doing that for a while. But it’s probably more stressful mixing and mastering your own stuff. You lose all objectivity to a point where you have to take a break and then come back to it.”

The cover of the Fallout EP features a striking image of a muscle car. The piece was designed and created by Andy Pilkington of Heavy Metal Art. Andy’s previous work includes artwork for bands such as Skindred, Tygers of Pan Tang, Fury UK, and KK’s Priest, to name but a few. “Andy came up with that image, and we worked on a few different versions. We just wanted something a little bit different and eye-catching. Maybe not just something that’s a dull logo on the front of the CD. We wanted something that looked good on a t-shirt,” said Ash. Creating an impact visually was important to the

band. “In the past, we’ve maybe not done loads of artwork stuff, we’d gone a bit safe. But with Sean and Kiko recently joining the band, we wanted to try and revamp it a little bit. A slightly different Wild Thorn logo in terms of the font, some different looks, and the artwork brings it to life. We’ve used different pieces of artwork on Spotify for the singles we’ve released so far. I think it all ties in nicely,” explains drummer Elliott Robertson. “Also, one of the music videos we are going to do, we are trying to tie it in with that muscle car theme. We are trying to push us forward and be more eye-catching.”

Having listened to Glam Rock and Sleaze legends, the ethos of Wild Thorn is that they want to put on a show. “I’ve always grown up with bands like Kiss and Hanoi Rocks, and they’ve all been about putting on a show for you. It’s never been about the money. It’s always been about putting on a show and getting those people to react with you. If you can do that, you’ve won; that’s success,” says bass player Kiko Rivers.

The excitement about the band’s new EP has spread beyond their native North East. “I got a text today from my friend in Japan. He’s just received the Wild Thorn EP on CD. And he messaged me straight away. I’m like, this CD is now in Japan? Oh, my God. It absolutely blows your mind,” says Kiko. “You think somebody halfway around the world has got our CD, and they’ll be listening to it. It’s like what’s going on here? This is just a little band in the North East at the moment and it’s slowly expanding. That’s where I get



my excitement from.”

Wild Thorn’s explosive live shows have earned the band a reputation as a group to watch out for. “When I’m on stage, I will give everything 100%,” says Kiko. “You’ve got to put a show on because you never know who’s watching you. I’ve grown up with that.”

The first single from the Fallout EP, titled Hurricane Queen, was released on streaming platforms on the 27th of March, and has racked up over 60,000 streams on YouTube Music. “We started writing that song with our previous bass player. Unfortunately, he had to leave the band because of relocation, family, relationships and stuff like that,” said Ash. “But he was very keen for us to continue with the song. So, when Sean and Kiko came in, we started to bring it to life. We thought this could be an exciting, fast-paced song and maybe a really good opener.”

Ash adds: “We were blown away with the response from the number of streams that we have had from it. It’s had more streams than pretty much any of the other songs, so we are very pleased with the response. I think it’s up to 62,000 streams now.”

Regarding the title of the song Hurricane Queen, Sean adds: “It’s got a double meeting as well. It could be about a car, or it could be about a girl.” With the Fallout EP in the bag, are the band perhaps thinking about recording a full-length album as a next step? “Back in the day, all bands made albums, went out on the road and toured. But it’s a very different world we

live in now with streaming. People don’t buy albums like they used to. People don’t go to the record store and buy records as much as they used to. We are seeing a bit of a comeback, but it’s still the Tik Tok world. It’s the Instagram world, where people listen to one song, and you’ve got ten seconds to impress someone before they click next. I think between the four of us we’ve got enough material to make an album; I think that’s probably what we’ll go onto next. But I like the idea of making an EP,” says Ash.

Sean adds: “It was partly about cementing the chemistry of the band as well because it was a new line-up. We just wanted to get everyone working. The new songs that aren’t on the EP are awesome as well. So more good things to come.”

The intention with the band’s latest offering was to have a product they could take on the road. “When we did the EP initially, we were thinking we were wanting to perform these songs. We’re working towards this November tour as well. It was good to not get too bogged down on doing an album so we could stay focused on getting these shows in place and preparing for that,” explains Elliott. “I think now we’re more established together the album is probably on the horizon.” “Initially, when you release an EP and maybe a couple of singles, it’s like bringing several courses before you bring out the entire meal. But now people have had a good taste, they will think I want the full buffet. And hopefully, they will turn up for the full buffet,” jokes Ash.

Wild Thorn has established a strong relationship with the LA-based outfit Vigil of War. The band has now played together several times. Frontman Ash struck up a friendship with the group during a trip to Hollywood. On his return to the UK, the singer put the wheels in motion to try and bring the band to the UK. “I managed to get the formation of a tour for them in the UK. I got them hooked up with some promoters. We were fortunate enough to play some shows with them when they came over.”

For the remainder of the year, live shows are very much the focus of the band’s attention. Ash concludes: “For the tour, we are playing Trillians in Newcastle firstly on the 18th of August - that’s the EP launch. Then we are playing at the Spotlight Venue in Hartlepool on the 26th of August. On the 9th of November at The Vaults in York, the 10th of November at the Yorkshireman in Sheffield, the 11th of November at G 21 The Saddle in Chester, the 16th of November at Bannermans in Edinburgh, 17th of November at The Spinning Top in Stockport, 18th November at Percy’s Café in Whitechurch and the 24th of November at The Pub in Lancaster.”

The Fallout EP by Wild Thorn is streaming everywhere from 18th August. Order your copy now at

Photo Credit: Press Provided


Glenn Hughes, the former bassist, and singer of Deep Purple is getting ready to hit the road across the UK with his ‘Glenn Hughes Performs Classic Deep Purple Live - Celebrating the 50th Anni-

versary of the album Burn’ throughout October 2023.

Over the last couple of years, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee has been

fronting supergroup The Dead Daisies. However, the legendary figure has recently turned his attention back to his own projects and creative outlets. “I’ve gone back to playing with my own band


again,” he says. “I’m halfway through a Black Country Communion album. So, I’ve been very busy. And the rest of the year is going to be the same.”

Glenn Hughes recently headlined one of the nights of the inaugural Maid of Stone festival in Kent. This being a precursor to his full headline UK tour later in the year. Coming back to his homeland is something the artist relishes. “I’ve been living in LA for 50 years. But coming back to Britain is a high point for me. I’ve got a great fan base that are very enthusiastic. I mean, I’ve got young fans and older fans. It’s a huge conglomeration of love. To return to my homeland is always an honour,” confirms Glenn.

Being able to celebrate the music of Deep Purple MKIII and MKIV is something that the Voice of Rock endeavours to do in each of his live shows. But in this upcoming tour, Glenn will be focusing entirely on that period of his career. “I’ve always tried to do a couple of Purple songs in my show. I started doing the classic Deep Purple live shows in 2018. Then I joined the Dead Daisies in 2019. For me, it was an opportunity to honour those songs particularly,” he says. “Now the Burn album is 50 years old, I play arrangements from the Made in Europe era, the real dynamic arrangements that we did with Jon [Lord] and Ritchie [Blackmore]. So, it’s more of an honour to play that kind of arrangement rather than just the album tracks. It’s kind of a sacrilegious moment to honour 1974, if you will.

The recording of Deep Purple’s seminal album Burn ushered in a new era for the legendary rock group. “I joined the band in May of 73. So, let’s just say in the summer of 73. David [Coverdale] joined in early September. We found ourselves in Clearwell Castle with no songs. We went down into the crypt and wrote the Burn album together,” recollects Glenn. “Five guys in the room, all chipping in with ideas. And what you got was the Burn album. Then we went to Switzerland to record it. We were a brand-new band. When you’ve got two new guys in a band of five, it’s considered a new band. David and I bought fresh blood, as you can imagine. I thought we were firing on all cylinders back then.”

Strangely the title track of the album was the last song to be recorded for the release. “We had written about seven songs and Blackmore said, we don’t have an opening track. He thought we

didn’t have it. He said, why don’t we write a song about burns? The working title was called Burn,” he says. “We were down the pub, and we walked back to the castle. We went down into the crypt around 11.30pm and within two hours, we’d wrote Burn. It was one of those moments where it was written in the sand. I just think it was preordained for us to come back from the pub, go down into the crypt pretty drunk and write that. It just wrote itself.”

Perhaps a lot of artists will agree that their best work comes together very fast. “Some of my best work is written really quickly and very clearly. That’s the best work you can do,” says Glenn. “I’m not wanting to sit around writing a song for two or three days. I write my songs immediately as they come to me. I do write a lot on my own by the way as you know, but I write from the heart. I don’t do anything other than write from the heart.”

But how did it feel for Glenn to be stepping into the shoes of Roger Glover and Ian Gillan at that time. “I was the lead singer in Trapeze. They asked me to join Purple as a singing bass player. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have joined,” explains Hughes. “When you hear the Burn album, or Stormbringer, David and I had a really good vocal relationship. There were never any problems. So, I guess what David and I brought into the band was fresh new ideas. We weren’t trying to replace Roger and Ian. I don’t sound like Roger, and David doesn’t sound like Ian. So, I thought it was a very honourable thing to do.”

One of the first shows that Deep Purple played together with that line-up was the legendary California Jam. An event that attracted around 250,000 people. The show was memorable in more ways than one. “The thing about that show is that the festival was running ahead of schedule, so they wanted us to go on early. Ritchie was very upset about that. He was really, really angry,” recollects Glenn. “What you got was a very p*ssed off Blackmore, and you got real aggression from all of us. There’s no danger in rock and roll anymore, there’s none. But with Deep Purple and The Who, in 1973, you got a lot of danger. We all could have died that that night because we didn’t know how much petrol he shoved on the amps. It was very dangerous.”

In terms of the format of Glenn’s upcoming tour, it’s all about the music of classic Deep Purple. “We really do go for the sound of Purple. If we’re going

to do a show like this, you’ve got to have Hammond, you’ve got to have a Stratocaster, you got to have a Fender Precision. It’s got to sound like the band. That’s why I’m doing it. I can’t be putting too much of a Glenn spin to all of this. But of course, I do certain things that are Glenn-ish. But we’re honouring the mid 70s Deep Purple. So that’s why I’m honouring that sound,” he says.

Classic Deep Purple aside, Glenn Hughes has been working on the new Black Country Communion album. When the supergroup featuring Glenn’s colleagues Joe Bonamassa, Jason Bonham and Derek Sherinian come together magic happens in the studio. “I have a deep respect for all of these guys,” says Glenn. “Jason and I have known each other a long time. I was best friends with his dad. I’ve known Jason since he was in nappies. Joe and I were writing before Black Country Communion. So, I have a great relationship with these guys. When we get in the studio, Joe and I pretty much write all the songs and then we get together. Then we have really a quick run through. We do a song a day, and the song is learned in the studio. We record the song three or four times then we edit what is the best way to go about it. We made the album in about six days. I haven’t sung it yet, but I’ll be singing it in the next couple of weeks.”

For the remainder of the year Glenn Hughes will be on the road. “I start my North American tour in New Jersey on the 16th of August, and it runs to the end of September. Then I fly to Sau Paulo with Matt Sorum, Gilby Clarke, Robert DeLeo and Steve Stevens to do a Kings of Chaos show. Then I come home for two days, and I fly to the UK to start my tour in Holmfirth, Yorkshire. At the end of that tour, I think I finish in Manchester, and I have a day off, but I fly to Brazil to do my South American tour.”

Glenn Hughes will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Burn throughout the UK in October 2023. Special guests are The Damn Truth. For ticket information and further details please visit: https://

Interview By: Adam Kennedy
Photo Credit: Eric Duvet


Photo Credit: Simon Dunkerley





The term supergroup often gets bandied around. Historically supergroups tend to be short-lived. But one such band that has been making waves is the Hollywood Vampires. With now two studio albums in their repertoire, the band has already proved that they have longevity and staying power.

Of course, it doesn’t get more Hollywood than the band’s guitarist, movie star Johnny Depp. Add rock icons Alice Cooper and Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry and it’s easy to understand why there is so much interest in this talented ensemble.

The Hollywood Vampires arrival at Scarborough Open Air Theatre was the first of the group’s current UK run and a full house was present to witness the show. For those in attendance early in the evening Welsh Hard Rock group Those Damn Crows were the perfect band to warm up the Scarborough crowd. And with their high-octane anthems, they proved that just like the closing song of their set, despite what people say, Rock And Roll Ain’t Dead.

Johnny Depp’s arrival in Scarborough was not the actor’s first trip to this part of the country. Last year the Pirates of the Caribbean star was spotted in Newcastle when he made a surprise guest appearance at the Sage Gateshead whilst playing alongside the late great Jeff Beck. During the later stages of the show, a heart-warming tribute to Jeff Beck was featured in the set. Depp brought the guitar legend’s famous white Fender Stratocaster to the stage and raised the guitar aloft, to much rejoicing from the Scarborough audience. In this instance, Joe Perry played the historic axe of his now sadly missed friend.

The supergroup took its name from The Hollywood Vampires, a celebrity drinking club formed by Alice Cooper in the 1970s. And throughout the show, the group gave

a nod to friends no longer with them, including former members of this elite club. There was plenty of room in the set for covers from legends of the rock genre, such as The Doors, The Who, AC/DC and Killing Joke, to name but a few.

Hollywood Vampires’ original tracks, such as Who’s Laughing Now, The Boogieman Surprise and Dead Drunk Friends featured in the band’s twenty song setlist. Throughout the evening, Cooper, Perry, and Depp each took their moment in the spotlight to sing.

Of course, with a band full of legends, the possibilities for the set list were endless. With so much star power on stage, the audience didn’t know which direction to look. Depp’s rendition of Heroes by David Bowie struck a chord with the Scarborough Crowd. Chants of Johnny could be heard around the arena.

Staples from the Aerosmith repertoire, such as Walk This Way and Train Kept a Rollin’ we’re astounding. Aerosmith are presently on their final tour, and with no U.K. dates announced at present, this is perhaps as close as we will get to a farewell from one-half of the Toxic Twins.

Alice Cooper is the epitome of rock frontmen. The king of shock rock delivered a theatrical performance that entertained throughout. Whilst there were no signs of Cooper’s guillotine on this occasion, classics from his repertoire, such as I’m Eighteen, were a joy to behold. And with summer in the air, an incredible airing of Schools Out perfectly rounded out the show and seemed fitting for the time of the year.

In this writer’s opinion, the Hollywood Vampires’ Scarborough gig was the ultimate rock show from some of the biggest names in the game.

Words and Photo Credit: Adam Kennedy


Once again, Scarborough Open Air Theatre has programmed a stellar season of live shows for those in and around the North Yorkshire coastal town. With the likes of The Hollywood Vampires, The Cult and Britpop legends Pulp performing at the high-profile venue over the course of the summer.

But the legends don’t stop there, as Blondie recently kickstarted the venue’s summer schedule. Blondie’s eagerly anticipated show in Scarborough was a pre-cursor to their recent Glastonbury appearance. But for the capacity crowd in attendance, they got a taste of what was in store at Worthy Farm ahead of time.

Arriving on stage in a fetching green outfit, shades and leopard print thigh-high boots, Debbie Harry looked like the epitome of rock and roll chic. The artist may be in the twilight years of her career, but she prowled the stage throughout the evening like the icon that she is. Featured onstage alongside Debbie was Sex Pistols bass player Glenn Matlock and legendary Blondie drummer Clem Burke.

The show got underway to the unmistakable sounds of One Way or Another, Call Me and Hanging On A Telephone. With many bands, you would wait all evening to hear songs of that calibre, but with Blondie, the setlist was packed full of timeless anthems from the off.

Blondie delivered a show which featured songs that soundtracked our lives since the seventies. Performances of Atomic and Rapture were a testament to the strength of the Blondie songbook. Each of these crowd-pleasing

numbers still sounds as fresh today as they did upon their release.

Drummer Clem Burke sported a black CBGB’s t-shirt, giving a nod to the legendary New York venue where the band cut their teeth back in the day.

Fade Away and Radiate slowed down the proceedings momentarily, but not for long. Of course, the calypso rhythms of the Tide Is High felt perfectly apt for a summer evening on the North Yorkshire coast. The conclusion of the number allowed for a brief drum solo from Clem Burke.

With so many hits so early in the set – where could you go from here, one pondered. But with a songbook so rich, the classics continued to come in thick and fast, with both Heart of Glass and Maria featuring in the latter stages of the show.

The word legend is often overused, but in the case of Debbie Harry, it is entirely warranted. Blondie has produced more hits than a boxer’s punching bag.

As the band concluded their main set, a few bars of the Sex Pistols classic God Save The Queen closed the set. Not only was this a nod to Glen Matlock’s past with the punk rock legends, but also a fitting homage to the Queen of rock and roll herself, Debbie Harry.

It may have been Blondie’s first-ever appearance at Scarborough Open Air Theatre, but hopefully, it won’t be their last. Just like the last song of the evening, Scarborough’s Blondie fans will be Dreaming of a return visit.

Words and Photo Credit: Adam Kennedy


California-based quartet Vintage Trouble recently made a welcome return to Leeds as part of their first run of UK shows since 2019. The soulful outfit kickstarted their current tour with a high-profile appearance at Glastonbury Festival earlier this summer before touring across Europe.

Vintage Trouble are no strangers to the Leeds area, having frequented the West Yorkshire city several times prior. Vintage Trouble have had many memorable nights in the region, including a couple of dates at the sadly missed Leeds Cockpit, as well as performing alongside pop icon Paloma Faith at the First Direct Arena.

Having toured the US and Europe alongside The Who in the early days of their career, it seemed only fitting that Vintage Trouble’s return to the north would be adjacent to the very room where Roger Daltrey and company famously recorded their concert album Live at Leeds back in the 60s.

A strong crowd was in attendance as the four-piece took to the stage with a ferocious rendition of Run Like The River. The roaring guitars and fist-pumping rhythms of the opening number fired up the audience at the top of the set.

Vintage Trouble’s memorable performance on Later with Jools Holland in 2011 won the band a whole raft of fans. Early in the set, a high-octane rendition of Blues Hand Me Down, certainly struck a chord with the band’s followers, the Troublemakers.

Lead singer Ty Taylor is an entertainer through and

through. Frequently Ty ventured into the audience, whether dancing with fans, pumping up the crowd or swinging off his microphone stand. The daredevil singer showed no fear and captivated the audience throughout.

Vintage Trouble are presently touring in support of their new studio album Heavy Hymnal. Several tracks from the record featured during the course of the band’s 90-minute set including the likes of Holla!, Not The One and the rather uplifting Shinin’. The beauty of the band’s latest material is that it really comes to life in the live environment.

The band was joined onstage by Dean Fairhurst from support band Standin’ Man during a wonderful duet on The Love That Once Lingered. Whilst a poetic airing of Repeating History featured in the latter stages of the show.

A heartfelt performance of Nobody Told Me was enough to stir the emotions of many in the room. Whilst the band paid homage to Sinead O’Connor with a brief rendition of Nothing Compares To You.

One of the many highlights of the set was Vintage Trouble’s funky take on Stevie Wonder’s Higher Ground. Whilst an instrumental performance of the classic Total Strangers featuring lead guitarist Nalle Colt, bass player Rick Barrio Dill and drummer Richard Danielson certainly pleased the band’s old-school fans in attendance.

It may have taken Vintage Trouble eight years to return to Leeds, but it was certainly worth the wait.

Words and Photo Credit: Adam Kennedy


The Hu arrived in Newcastle for their first-ever show in the North East of England. The group’s recent show was a precursor to the band’s appearance at the world-famous Glastonbury Festival a few days later.

Of course, The Hu should not be confused with The Who, which also feature on the pages of this issue. The group are somewhat different. In fact, they are worlds apart, quite literally.

The Hu hail from the land of Genghis Khan. The groundbreaking outfit is a Mongolian folk metal band formed in 2016. Since their inception, the band has won over fans from around the world, including highprofile bands such as Metallica.

Taking to the stage on a balmy evening in Newcastle, frequent chants of Hu resonated around the building. The fans were so loud that they resembled a match day crowd at the nearby St James Park.

Immediately from the off, The Hu demonstrated a performance that was instilled with passion and intensity. The group took to the stage to the sounds of Hohochu Zairan.

On stage, the eight-piece group have such a unique aesthetic which is heightened by their authentic stage costumes. Grasping their visually and musically enticing instrumentation, The Hu captivated the

Geordies from the top of the show.

The Hu’s repertoire is full of melodic numbers, with big riffs and catchy hooks. Throughout the evening, the setlist full of original material ebbed and flowed. It sounds like nothing you’ve heard before. Highlights of the set include the likes of Yuve Yuve Yu, Wolf Totem and Black Thunder.

Furthermore, it’s easy to understand why the group have been such a big hit with Metallica. Their sound is not too dissimilar in places. There were tracks during the set which drew similarities to the band’s Black Album era. So much so that The Hu even rounded out their set with a sublime take on Through The Never.

Whilst there were language differences, everyone in the building understood the universal language of music. And that’s the most important thing of all.

As the band took their bows, they declared their love for Newcastle, and the feeling was certainly mutual. It may have been The Hu’s first-ever trip to Tyneside, but on the strength of this performance hopefully, it won’t be their last.

Words and Photo Credit: Adam Kennedy
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The Who turn back the clocks at the Seat Unique Riverside Stadium in Durham.

There are few bands to have a back catalogue as rich in hits as The Who. The group’s storied career is the stuff of legends. And when you speak of legends, they don’t get much bigger than Roger Daltrey or Pete Townshend.

The duo recently returned to the road to perform music from the group’s almost 60-year career. But this time around the band brought with them in a tow a full orchestra to breathe new life into their incredible compositions.

The top of the show was a celebration of the group’s seminal concept album Tommy. And from the opening moments of the Overture, Roger Daltrey was beaming almost as much as the audience as he banged away on his pair of tambourines.

The classics came thick and fast with astounding renditions of Amazing Journey and Pinball Wizard. Daltrey’s voice is in pristine shape and has aged just like a fine wine. Furthermore, the pair have lost nothing of their enthusiasm or stage presence, with Townshend windmilling away on his guitar and Roger swinging his microphone aloft throughout.

The group switched things up momentarily with Pete taking the lead vocals on Eminence Front, whilst We’re Not Gonna Take It was simply sublime. And, of course, when the band asked the crowd the immortal question – Who Are You? The fans didn’t have to be asked twice but instead sang along at the tops of their voices.

The mid-section of the show allowed the orchestra to take a well-deserved breather whilst The Who battled their way through a scintillating greatest hits segment that took the audience back to the very start of their career and beyond. The likes of The Kids Are Alright, along with a harmonious performance of You Better You Bet and the group’s second single Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere illustrated that the set was rich in classics.

Starkey’s tight beat ushered in Substitute, whilst I Can’t Explain still sounds incredible even though it was the band’s first-ever single. The timeless classics continued thick and fast with My Generation, Won’t Get Fooled Again and Beyond Blue Eyes. I guess you could say that The Who have more hits than a boxer’s punching bag.

The finale of the show was a recap of the band’s mod-inspired concept album Quadrophenia. Songs like The Real Me, 5.15, The Rock and the unmistakable Love Reigns Over Me were simply transcendent with the addition of a live orchestra. Yet the evening would not be complete without a showstopping rendition of Baba O’Riley.

To hear The Who’s greatest hits sandwiched between excerpts from two of the most iconic rock albums ever composed was nothing short of magnificent. Just like the title of the tour in question on this occasion The Who certainly Hit Back - accept no substitutes.

Words and Photo Credit: Adam Kennedy


Ed Force One recently landed in Leeds as heavy metal legends Iron Maiden arrived in West Yorkshire for the second show of the UK leg of The Future Past tour.

Many of the fans in attendance had travelled across the globe to be at the show. Those at the front proudly showed Iron Maiden flags representing their nationality. Some had come from as far afield as Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and New Zealand to be at the show.

On this tour, the metal titans have chosen to feature songs not previously performed publicly from the band’s most recent studio album, Senjutsu. Whilst also representing a healthy dose of material from 1986’s iconic Somewhere in Time record.

With a capacity crowd in attendance, the unmistakable sounds of Iron Maiden’s intro music, Doctor Doctor by UFO, ushered the six-piece to the stage. The atmosphere inside the arena at show time was like no other.

Of course, picking a setlist for an Iron Maiden show must be like choosing your favourite family members. At the same time, it’s a nice dilemma to have, to be able to drop classics like Number of the Beast, Run to the Hills, Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Aces High in favour of newer songs and deeper cuts. The setlist showcased just how strong both the material is from Senjutsu along with the Maiden catalogue as a whole.

Iron Maiden kicked off the proceedings with Caught Somewhere in Time. With its up-tempo pace and galloping Steve Harris bass line, it was the perfect set opener. The track was quickly followed by the classic Stranger in a Strange Land. With two tracks featuring from Somewhere in Time at the top of the show, it certainly set the tone for the night ahead.

Five tracks from Senjutsu featured during the evening including a Back To The Future-tinged airing of Time Machine. Dickinson explained that the data featured on the backdrop at the rear of the stage included the calculations to send a DeLorean to the future. And if you don’t believe him, ask Doc Brown.

A further highlight from Senjutsu came by way of Death of the Celts. With the stage bathed in emerald light and fog, it is a classic in the making. With Dickinson’s poetic lyricism and passionate delivery, the song’s Celtic-tinged melody proved to be a real earworm. Although, it didn’t go down so well at the band’s previous two shows in Scotland and Ireland for obvious reasons.

Iron Maiden’s trio of guitarists featuring Adrian Smith, Dave Murray and Janick Gers are a triple threat. The band’s charismatic high-flying frontman Bruce Dickinson led the charge all night long. Frequently hollering, “Scream for me Leeds” the audience obeyed his every command. Whilst the band’s legendary rhythm section featuring West Ham loving bass player Steve Harris and powerhouse drummer Nicko McBrain were the driving force behind the group.

The latter stages of the main set were nothing but back-toback crowd pleasures. Can I Play with Madness, followed by Heaven Can Wait and a rare airing of Alexander the Great, was just the tip of the iceberg. Frequently, Harris, Murray, Smith and Gers came together up front. Whilst Bruce Dickinson could often be found roaming the upper tier of the stage.

The stage production throughout was exceptional. Each song in the set was accompanied by a backdrop featuring artwork either depicting or complimenting the track being played. There was even room for an onstage battle between Dickinson and Eddie.

The instantly recognisable sounds of 90s classic Fear of the Dark had the audience singing along at the tops of their voices before the band closed out their main set with an anthemic airing of Iron Maiden itself.

A three-song encore followed. A rather fitting pyro fuelled rendition of Hell on Earth resumed the show. Whilst a crowdpleasing performance of The Trooper and fan favourite Wasted Years closed out the band’s incredible set.

In Leeds, Iron Maiden proved that the band are still going strong and showing no signs of slowing down.

Words & Photo Credit: Adam Kennedy

HRH Mag got a Behind-The-Scenes experience at this years 20th Anniversary of Download Festival at Donington Park. Here are a few highlights inclduing chats with Jinjer, Punk Rock Factory, The Warning, Three Days Grace, Monuments and Smash Into Pieces..


CHARLOTTE: Welcome to Download!

You’ve literally just come from the stage, and this is your second time here, so how’s it been so far? And is it any different to the last time you were here?


special day. I’m sorry I just cannot hold my emotions, but, I think what happened to day is way above everything we achieved before, because, a couple of minutes [before] we started the set, there was James Hetfield waiting for our set to start, and then Lars showed up and then I was playing, I think the third song of the setlist and I turned to the right and I saw Rob watching and it was something absolutely extraordinary. And then just realizing all these people, thousands of people in front of me at Download and main stage Download feels different from everything else because of the, a bit of empathy at the shape of everything around. So you can really see how many people are there and damn, it’s a special day. Incredible.

C: Of course! Download is just one of the many appearances that you’ve made this year. I know you’ve been touring quite a lot already and supporting Bul let For My Valentine and Atreyu. What have been some of the highlights for you? So obviously Download today has been a pretty big one, but from some of the previous performances this year?

E: We just came here from Rock Im Park and Rock Am Ring, and it’s another pinna cle for [any] musician who manages to get



CHARLOTTE: Welcome to Donnington, you’re back again.

RYAN: Thank you very much. Yes.

C: It was your first-time last year, right?

R: Yeah. Yeah. First time playing, but I’ve been here, coming here for years, since 2007, I think. I fucking love it. Different perspective from an artist and I’m sure every band says it with me, it’s an absolute dream come true. Honestly, it was unbelievable.

C: So you performed here yesterday, talk me through, your performance experience and how it compared to last year.

R: Last year we played the campsite, so we didn’t really feel like we played Download, but this year, we got on the Avalanche stage, we kind of felt it was more authentic So we thought we’d just go all out. We just brought in five of our friends that dressed up as Power Rangers and so when we hit the stage, they were all there in cloaks [then] whipped them off, stood there for the entire song, just didn’t move an inch. And it was was banging. It’s amazing.

C: Nice. And you even brought them backstage with you as well?

R: We did, yeah. That was the plan to walk around with him, let them be our entourage and it will look sick.

C: Why Power Rangers may I ask?

R: Well, it is one of our popular songs. We got our backdrop was the Power Ranger logos. We just thought why not go all in? You know what I mean?, there you go.

C: You recently released a little Mermaid Themed EP Poor Unfortunate Souls and you’ve got a track on there with Alissa from Arch Enemy as well. I assume that this was released to coincide with the new movie release?

R: Yeah, yeah. We knew the film was coming on the 26th of May. So we thought we’d re-record Under the Sea and Remix Poor Fortune Souls and Part of Your World, which you’d done before. And we thought we’d do Kiss the Girl as a new one as well. But then we realized we had Alissa’s phone number in our phone books and was like, well let’s tap her up, see if she wants to do part of her world. And she was like, that’s my all-time favourite song. She jumped on it and she was amazing. She didn’t just sing a track, she gave like 15 vocal stems, loads of harmonies, and loads of ideas on how the song could be better. It was amazing. She was class.

C: For anyone that is a little bit late the Party, can you summarize what Punk Rock Factory is, what your sound is and where the idea came from as well?

R: Basically in a nutshell, we’re a cover band, but beyond that scratch, a little more, we are so much more than that. The idea was, honestly, it was a Monday evening thing, a couple of friends who used to be in bands and never made it just recording covers, just for a laugh. Lockdown happened and we went on TikTok with our, I Just Can’t Wait To Be King Cover. And it went absolutely mental. We had like 600,000 views in an hour or something. And it just kept climbing and climbing. It went up to a million. It was insane. So we realized that no one did a Disney album. So we recorded a whole album and I think in lockdown there was so many bands that couldn’t release stuff cuz they couldn’t tour it cuz they couldn’t make money back. But we just did this for a laugh, didn’t expect to be a live band and it went mental. And here we are playing Download.

C: Crazy.

R: Yeah, absolutely crazy.

C: So Download is obviously just one highlight that’s quite personal to you. But what are some of the highlights that have come along with being part of Punk Rock Factory?

R: As cliche and as corny as it sounds every single day, this is our full-time job. Um, it’s an absolute dream come true. Like we’re walking past and I’m fist pumping Benji from Skindred cause he’s my mucker now I’m chilling out in the snake pit last night for Metallica because the owner of Bloodstock gave me a band. It’s like brushing shoulders with these people and we are 15-year-old kids who cannot believe what’s happening. We love every second of it.

C: And obviously like you say, you guys are a covers band. So what are some of the covers that perhaps you haven’t done that you maybe would like to try and test?

R: See, I really want to delve into the boy band world. I think there’s some, we’ve done Backstreet Boys. I think there’s so much more gold in that world. And I, I reckon and then maybe jump over in the girl bands. I reckon I’ll be banging this

C: Sounds like the next couple of albums being built….

R: That’s where my head’s at. I dunno where the other boys have to ask them, but I’m thinking be sweet to do that.

C: You’ve got a UK headline tour later on this year and you’re also gonna be performing at Hard Rock Hell in November as well. So what can we look forward to from your performance at HRH?

R: We always try up our game. So what we try and do is bring in as big of a production we can on the budget that we got. But it ’s always on a small stage. But now we’re playing bigger stages, honestly, I don’t know. But expects something crazy ,mental and awesome.

C: Possibly the Power Rangers. R: There’s been talk of it, but we don’t know yet.

C: We’ll keep that one hush. We’ve obviously got this album released, we’ve got the tour. Is there anything else we can look forward to for 2023?

R: Just playing live. I think our main focus now is we’ve got some downtime and just yeah, get these tours all locked in and sell ’em out and hopefully next year bigger tours, we’ve got a few things that are in pencil that will be banging if they come off. We’ve just had a text message from someone today that could be an idea. So a few cool things that could happen, but I can’t say anything yet.

C: So watch this space?

R: Yes, definitely. We aren’t going anywhere. We’re gonna be as busy as we always are, so if you’re sick of us then I’m sorry, delete your TikTok accounts. More’s coming. Much more.



CHARLOTTE: Welcome to Donington. I believe it’s your first time here?

TOGETHER: Yes, it is!

PAU: It’s our first time in the UK in general. This is our first festival in the UK so it’s been a blast. A bit of like a culture shock, but it’s been amazing.

C: A lot of firsts in that for sure. What have been some highlights for you visiting Donnington so far?

P: Oh the people, it’s the beginning of the festival, we played at 1 [pm], we were opening the Opus stage. We expected it to be max, 50 people.

ALEJANDRA: It was packed. It was full.

P: Like we couldn’t see where the people stopped and it was just, we were just arriving. So I’m excited to see how things get really packed up for the headlining bands. It’s just amazing to see this many people just enjoying music today.

C: Obviously with Metallica doing two sets, I can’t go without mentioning the collaboration track that you did with Alessia Cara, so can you talk me through the process of how that collaboration came about and what it was like to work with her as well?

P: Okay. So that whole thing was a dream come true. We as a band, we became viral with a cover of Enter Sandman when we were younger. So that’s what really launched our career as a band and how we started getting attention worldwide. So in 2021, being invited by Metallica to par ticipate in the 30th anniversary of the Black album was just insane for us. And when we heard that it was with Alessia Cara, it was just, that was our first collaboration ever.

A: It was insane!

P: It was really nerve-wracking cause we had 10 days to do everything we needed to write the whole version, record it, and Alessia was in Canada, we were in Mexico, and everything was still remote cause of the pandemic. It was crazy! But it was just such a big honour for us and reworking such an iconic song, we were really nervous about it, but we were able to keep Metallica’s essence, incorporate our sound in Alessia’s sound and just find this amazing middle ground for everybody. We love playing the song live. We could just enjoy it so much and I feel like it was such a full-circle moment for us. Yeah, it was beautiful.

C: You were saying that most of the process was done remotely, so you were speaking with her and recording. So how was that different to obviously your typical going-into-the-studio and sitting down and brainstorming that way?

P: Well it was very different because you don’t have that person there, you can’t read them as well. Because we reworked the whole version first and then we showed it to Alessia and we had no idea if she was liking it or not. She was just behind a screen. But she left it and she was like, no, I’m super on board.

A: She did amazing. Yeah. She recorded very quickly.

P: Very quickly. She got everything on the first takes. She’s just such a talented person, and she’s so sweet as well. So we communicated very [well], I feel like if it was with another person it could have been a bit complicated. But she was just so easy to work with.

C: That makes the experience 10 times easier. Is she someone that perhaps you would maybe consider collaborating with in the future?

P: Oh, that’d be amazing. Amazing. We have such a sweet friendship. We are able to see each other. It’s always very, very nice and we love her so much. So hopefully we get to work together again.

C: Fingers crossed! Last month you released a brand new track called More so tell me about the process of writing that and when we can look forward to some more new music as well.

P: Everything happened so quickly with this song. We wrote this song in a writing trip we had to LA in February of the beginning of this year. And then we got back and we all love this song. So in March we recorded it and then we just released it a few weeks ago I think, and we’ve been playing it on tour for like almost two months now, and it’s been amazing. The crowd has thankfully loved it and we played it as well here and people reacted really well to it.

A: It was such a big step for us. Cause when we started out writing our own music, we were very young and we were just finding our footing and what we wanted our sound to be, what we wanted to say with our music. And I feel like this is such a strong step forward for us in finding a newer sound. And we were kind of scared in releasing it, like how would our fans react? Cause it was kind of new, it is in a different direction, but it’s been amazing to see how people are liking it and enjoying this new era that we are offering with our music. And playing it live has just been so much really and people are reacting really nice to it and um, we’re just very happy with it.

C: What kind of reaction did you get the first time you played it?

A: Oh, we played for the first time Mexico, right?

P: In Mexico. It was a festival. We were headlining that stage. So it was just so many firsts and we were playing it for the first time.

A: We were really nervous.

P: Because we recorded like in March and that festival was in April. And we hadn’t like rehearsed at all. We hadn’t had time to do anything. We were just so busy. So it was just like, let’s do it, let’s see what happens. And everything was great and people reacted very nicely to it. So it was a good like first time. Yeah.

C: So you’re glad that you got to, kind of, air it in a live environment environment first?

P: Yes! Yes!

C: Awesome! And speaking of live performances, you had a very cool tour at the beginning of the year with Muse. Can you tell me maybe some highlights for that?

P: Oh, I think like everything, everything was a highlight. We got the news that we were opening for Muse very late. It was a week before the shows. So we thought there’s no way we’re opening for them, it’s too late, we don’t think it’s gonna happen anymore. And just for a little bit of context, Muse were one of our biggest inspirations [when] we were starting out, we love them and so we get the news – I was crying. We were so floored because it wasn’t like just the show at our hometown. It was four shows throughout Mexico and the day of the first show arrived and we like got invited out for drinks with them, we met them that very day and they’re the sweetest people ever. People always say don’t meet your heroes, but over here, we were so glad that we got to meet them. They’re the kindest people. And the very last show, which was in Mexico City, Matt, we were talking with him and, he just said to us, ‘Hey – do you wanna come over to the UK with us?’ we thought it was just like ‘oh yeah, sure, of course we wanna’ and he goes ‘no. Like I’m serious. Everything is said in motion’.

A: And everyone in the team was like, ‘we’ll see you and a few months’ and we were like ‘oh, this is really happening!’

P: So now we just had like the first show we ever played in the UK was in Plymouth opening for Muse. It was a stadium. We were so nervous but it was just so amazing. We still have four more shows with them this month and we’re just so honoured because one thing is opening for them in like our country and we have fans in our country, it would kind of make a little bit more sense, but this is just genuinely, they like the project and they wanted to support us so they brought us over here and we’re just so humbled and so grateful for these opportunities and we can’t wait for the next show.

C: Amazing. We’ve got this new single, we’ve obviously got a few more dates with Muse. What else can we look forward to for 2023?

A: So we’re gonna be recording new music, more music. We’re gonna be playing more shows touring in different places of the world. Hopefully, we’re gonna be opening for Guns ‘n’ Roses in the US which is gonna be amazing.

C: That was such a forgotten thought that was casually saying ‘Oh yeah, we’re opening for Guns ‘n’ Roses!‘

P: We sometimes forget what we have announced and what we haven’t because we’ve had this news for a while! We opened for Guns ‘n’ Roses in our hometown last year. But to be invited back and in the US it’s just…

A: it’s gonna be amazing. We’re really excited for that.

P: It’s gonna be really exciting. It’s fun. Hopefully. We’ll, keep touring. I think we’re gonna tour South America and our country in Mexico and new music is gonna be released soon. So just be on the lookout on our socials and we’re just is very excited for this whole year and what’s to come.



CHARLOTTE: Welcome to Download. We were just saying that it’s been a few years since you’ve been here, excited to be back?

BARRY: Yeah, absolutely. I think 2019 we were here last and yeah, I mean it’s a beautiful day. It’s sunny. I think the first time we’ve been to Download and it’s beautiful, hot and sunny and dry. So yeah, we’re happy. It’s gonna be a fun day.

C: You’ve had a long and incredible journey with Three Days Grace. Can you give me some of perhaps your biggest highlights or your favourite memory of being in the band?

B: My favourite highlights, just the fact that we’re still going and the fans are still the same, same groups of people. I still see lots of young people, which is amazing 20 years later and we’re doing these festivals and they’re still all out there singing, so I mean, we’re gonna be doing this as long as they want to sing our songs.

C: Last year you released your seventh studio album Explosions. Can you talk me through the creative process of that?

B: When we made Explosions, I mean this is the first time we’ve done a record cause 2019 we finished touring the last record and we had planned on taking most of 2020 off. So we wouldn’t be touring so we can get down to writing new stuff and take a little time for families. So, just prior to that, the other guys are from Canada, I moved to the United States, and they were up in Canada. So when the whole pandemic happened in 2020, we decided we needed to start writing, well, we couldn’t see each other. Where I lived in America, we were a lot freer and I could get around, but the guys in Canada could not, they weren’t allowed in the United States and blah blah blah. They didn’t

have the vaccination scenario going on yet, and we didn’t really want to just sit on our hands and wait for two years for, or whatever. We didn’t know what that was gonna be become. So, we just started working together and we found ways to, write a record without being in the same room as each other, which, you know, was a bit of a difficult process, a learning curve. Nonetheless, we were determined tofig ure that out. So between a lot of Zoom, we did a lot of Zoom meetings and then, some other, sort of high tech apps that allowed us to transfer music easy and hear each other’s stuff, as it’s happening kind of thing. We just did that and we just kept persisten. It was funny - we recorded most of the record [and] it wasn’t until the very end where we actually saw each other. So even in the recording process, [we] sort of did all the pre-production work and sort of assembled, the demos, which, I like to call them, they become the skeleton of the song more so nowadays you can kind of sort of build a lot of it, as you’re going along, as you’re demo. And then, I went in, I was able to travel, so I was going to LA and doing my guitar parts and those guys were up in another studio in Canada recording down their parts, sending them down so I could then track them. And then Matt was in another studio singing to Howard in LA our producer at the same time. So one point, we had like three studios running in two different countries to pull it off, and then it wasn’t till the very end where we went and finalized everything. We shot the first video, did all the photos, the end of that was in 2021. Cause it wasn’t till later in 2020 we gott to starting to write and everything was slow because of the way the circumstance was. But yeah, we figured out. So I mean, it definitely changed the creative way of making, but we were happy we were able to find a way and that’s what made it cool for us. I guess. It was exciting. It wasn’t maybe the ideal way we’d rather all be in the room, but we figured out a way that we can make music together that we liked still and figure out how to do that.

C: So the restrictions kind of made you look at it slightly differently?

B: Yeah, I mean like what was happening around us, obviously at no point were we gonna sing about being locked out or anything like that kind of obvious stuff. However, that kind of stuff does weigh on you. Everything we go through in life, we tend to write a record and when we write records. It’s really therapy for us cause we use it, we vent kind of what’s going on around us, in people’s lives and things like that. So, you’re really capturing that moment in time that you’ll never capture again. So obviously something to do with the pandemic, the way we have to write a record is it’s going to be in that record

and the feelings you have towards what’s going on and your restrictions or whatever it might be. If you can put that on a record somehow and you’re capturing a moment in time.

C: Like we said, we’re Download this afternoon. What else have you got planned for 2023?

B: We still have a few more weeks over here. We’re on tour now, doing a bunch of festivals and some headline stuff and then we wanted to take a little bit of the summer months off. We do have shows and then we have one more big tour with us and Chavelle in the fall coming up September, October. And then we planned to shut this record down and then take the time. So over the winter we’ll start working on brand new stuff in which now we can all see each other and go back to that too. So yeah, that’s our plan is, so by the winter we’ll be working on a new record.

C: So essentially next year we can look forward to a new album?

B: Hopefully, hopefully by at least the end of next year. I did enjoy this process too [of Explosions]. It was a challenge but there is something to be said for when you write and record a record, then you’re in the room together all the time, and cause a lot of times really interesting things [happen], like it might be a title of a song, interesting stuff happens when you’re not sitting down writing a song per se just being together. And that’s how we’ve always written records in the past. So we might be hanging around having a few pints by the campfire and somebody says something real clever that we like and it’s like, oh, that’s awesome, let’s write that or, so we kind of missed that a little bit on the last record, however, like I said, it, it all worked out just the same, but I can’t wait to get back to that.

C: And for your set this afternoon, what can the crowd look forward to?

B: Well, we’re playing 40 minutes, so we’re just gonna come out and get ‘em all singing and that’s what we’re gonna do. We’re just gonna play, I think we’re playing eight songs and 40 minutes, so we’ll just, we’ll make them all sing everyone.



CHARLOTTE: Welcome back to Download!

Browne: Thank you very much

C: Is it as good as you remember?

B: It’s nice to have a Download where it isn’t Download because my last experience I had to lose my shoes in five minutes.

C: You were saying that was back in 2014?

B: I think it was 2012, that one. But we played 2014. So that was a punter. Yeah, it was bad. Wellie’s everywhere, watching people fight in the mud. It was insane.

C: Mud slides.....we all remember!

B: Yeah, of course. Yeah, it was bad...

C: Well you guys have been churning out some music for quite some time now. Your last album release was back in 2022, which was In Stasis. So that’s encouraged kind of a new chapter for you. Tell me about the history of Monuments and how this new chapter has evolved.

B: Well, we started technically in 2006. It was originally a solo project of just me with the guitar player, Josh Travis who also played with Glass Cloud and Tony Danza. So we started in 2006 and went to a complete live band in 2011. We released our first album in 2012, second album in 2014, third album in 2018, and then we’re into 2022, with In Stasis. Two weeks ago we released a song called Nefarious, and that’s done very, very well for us. So yeah, that’s kind of the history of where we came from. Couple of member changes along the way, but it is what it is. What band has an original member, especially this day and age.

C: Exactly. And in what way has this album created a new chapter for you guys?

B: It’s the introduction of our new singer, Andy C and it’s definitely songier, less techy, we’re a, I hate to say this word, but gen band and I’d say it’s more that we’re focusing on the song element rather than just trying to be techy for the sake of techy. So I guess it’s going in that sort of direction, more things you can sing along to more anthemic.

C: And you’ve mentioned as well that you’ve got your new single out, which has also got a very cool video to it as well.

B: Thank you very much. Yeah.

C: So for anyone that hasn’t either heard it or watched the video yet, can you talk me through the creative process for this particular track?

B: Yes. So Andy taught Charlie vocals and Charlie approached him last year and said, ‘hey, do you want to write a song for this thing?’ and obviously it’s an anime and we were just like, yeah, definitely. I mean our music goes with anime, something I’ve always wanted to do. So we started the process for that probably around October last year and from that point till now, we’ve been working on it. So we finished it in January and then the video we filmed at the end of the last tour with lepers. So we did all of the sort of visuals of us in it in a venue in Berlin, and then all of the anime was done by Charlie and his team. So it’s kind of a mixture of two worlds, and the video turned out great. The guy called Sebastian filmed it and he’s awesome. So yeah, we’ve been working on that track for a while. It’s been finished for a long time actually, but obviously things take time over three months since we finished and handed it in. He’s definitely paid off, and we’ll be playing that one today. Yeah, hopefully, the way it’s going, if we sit to the plan then it’s, yes, it’s definitely happening.

C: And your artwork as well is always super cool. Do you pick a particular artist that designs for all of them or do you change it up?

B: We’ve had three main artists, I would say. So the first one was Paul Mackenzie and he did our first two albums and all of the merchandise from album one to the end of album two and then we had Visual Amnesia do our In Stasis album artwork. But we’ve also had Serpent Tusks who also does a lot of great artwork. So Serpent Tusks has done stuff for like Masterdon, Lamb of God I think as well, a bunch of great, great bands like that. So we kind of just look for the best way to describe the music through art. We really like art, so it’s an easy option if we find someone good, it’s like ‘can you do something in this vein?’

and then we get something back and it always rules.

C: Music and Art, they always go hand in hand.

B: Yeah, it’s like a movie, when you watch a movie, imagine if it didn’t have any music to it, it would be like, obviously Gravity that’s got no music in it, it’s just quiet. But other than that, I mean every movie is enhanced by the music, so the visuals should enhance the music that people are getting.

C: We were discussing the new single earlier, so when could we look forward to maybe some more me new music or new album?

B: We’re working on it at the moment, so yeah. Dunno how long it’ll take. We’re quite slow.

C: We’ve obviously got Download here today, what else have you got planned?

B: We have Radar Festival I believe it’s the end of July. We have a festival in Portugal called Vagos and we’ve just confirmed a tour last week that I cannot talk about yet. Okay. I’ll tell you when the mic’s turned off....

C: For everyone else, they can watch this space?

B: Yes they can. Perfect.

C: Awesome. Well, thank you very much for your time!

B: Thank you!



CHARLOTTE: Welcome to Download! You guys have joined us all the way from Sweden and you were just saying you played Sweden Rocks yesterday.

CHRIS ADAM: Yeah. Played the main stage and was super cool. First time being there, so yeah, we felt really welcome.

C: And you’ve only just arrived at Donnington as well for your set this afternoon on the Opus stage?

CA: Yeah, it’s our first time actually playing a festival in the UK so it’s, it’s kind of cool. Started at the top right away.

C: Great place to start! So, you guys are known for having quite a unique stage presence, for those who haven’t experienced it before, can you just give a bit of background about your sound and what your stage performances are like?

BENJAMIN: I mean, I would say the stage performance for me it’s more - I think they can feel the passion. We’ve done this for 15 years and for me the passion, I think has to be there when you are present in the moment, when you are on stage. I think that’s the main thing for us. And that we have done this for so long - we are not good in anything else! This is what we’re doing, and I would say the sound for smash is commercial rock, electronic rock, but with still some metal in it.

C: Are there any surprises for this afternoon’s performance? Do you see any difference between performing at a festival that you do for, um, like the arena?

CA: For me it’s not a big difference. I think personally, I love the clubs, like the smaller clubs, more like these five, 600 capacities. When you get more of a connection with the audience and you can feel the pa

system like it fills you up. When you’re standing on these kind of big stages, you don’t really hear the sound so much and everything is so distant, it’s so many people and it’s like a postcard. You kind of see it, but you can’t really connect with it somehow. But, of course it’s a cool thing to be on the big stages of that. But usually I don’t really care. I try to be as you said, like in the moment. We’re always genuine in what we do, so we’re gonna deliver a really good show. The Swedish show.

C: So you’ve got a new single out called The Tide, which is a follow up to your single Six Feet Under. So tell me about the themes and the ideas and the creation of these two singles.

B: I mean, The Tide was written like the story of Adam, so that’s more personal one, but I think the production in Six Feet Under is specific smash. I mean, you have this rock, this big chorus, but still this electro sound, and I think the tide is just following up on that one, but it’s a little darker, I think we’re always moving, if you listen to Smash, some songs are more metal heavy, darker, but still we have this more, what would you say, commercial [sound], easier to pick up.

CA: Yeah. I mean, when we write music or when we like choosing songs, we just want to choose the songs that we wanna make. We don’t really think about if it is gonna be heavy or not, if it’s a good song, it’s a good song and still I’m gonna sing on it and it’s gonna probably sound like Smash because it’s my voice and it’s songwriting so, we don’t really have in that sense, a style or something like that. This is like, we wanna make good songs, I guess.

B: I mean The Tide is about the darkness taking over, how the human mind is, how easy it is to fall for the easy path in life, like for money, for success, the ego, and the ego is like the biggest enemy we have, but in The Tide, it’s like letting go of everything he has to be with your ego, how that feels. It’s like the darkness taking over, but there is still some goodness in him. More like fighting against your ego, and I would say this is not a song from the heroes perspective, more from ghost in the Tide is more like giving in for your nature.

CA: And the Six Foot Under - it’s a song about how I felt during my worst time in life, which was a couple of years ago. So, I went through this super Bad Depression and the song is about how it feels to be there, like Six Foot Under and you don’t think there’s another way up from it. But I took the necessary steps to try to do the self-help journey, try to smash my ego into pieces and we as a band wanted to take that song to put a positive spin on it to explain that there is a way up if you are

willing to do work.

C: There’s So many people that can relate to that in so many different ways.

CA: Yeah. It’s a thing now also, like depression is a huge thing and for me to open up and express myself via Six Foot Under is a huge thing for me personally as well. But it kind of resonated with a lot of people, I guess and that’s why it’s been such a big song. It’s our biggest song yet, and it’s just two and a half months old, so it’s crazy. Yeah. So, [it is] like Twice Doubled Platinum or something. Like, that’s super, super huge for us. We took a picture with the Platinum series on stage yesterday on Sweden Rock, so it was kind of cool.

B: That was beautiful. Super cool.

CA: Yeah. But it’s a nice song and it’s kind of a breakup song for me in that sense that I broke up with my old self. So from now on it’s like a new life, everything is good. I have a bigger respect for me and my journey, and I think that if I can do it, because there’s nothing special or extraordinary thing with me. I’m like everyone else. Everyone carries things around, so I just wanted to put it out there. You can actually do the work and you can’t actually come back up.

C: That’s amazing. So for the rest of 2023, what can we expect from you guys?

B: I mean, for now we have the schedule full. We are playing, we are playing tour CA: The time of our lives

B: Touring the rest of the year. And at the same time I’m writing the next album. So we are like working in the bus or working at the airport or so we are riding and traveling and play. That’s the year.

CA: Living our teenage dreams, loving life.


Guess Who’s Back

An Interview with John Corabi of The Dead Daisies

When it comes to the Dead Daisies, the band has had more line-up changes than a fantasy football team. But that’s part of the beauty of this incredible supergroup spearheaded by David Lowy.

The band is presently celebrating their 10th anniversary. And in doing so, the esteemed rockers are marking the occasion with not only a new greatest hits album but also the return of frontman John Corabi. Having spent many years as the lead singer of the band, returning to the spot centre stage in the Daisies felt like riding a bike, as the old analogy goes. “We got together and rehearsed a couple of times, and it was like I never left,” explains Corabi. “The good thing is, we’re all friends. I didn’t leave under bad terms. I needed to tap out for a minute, and catch my breath, if you will.”

He continues: “Prior to joining the Daisies, I had a solo band with my son. And my son was in my ear - he was like, Dad, you suck. I moved to Nashville to play in your band and now you’re in the Daisies. Not only are we not playing, but I also never see you. That and the fact that I had gotten married about six months before joining the Daisies, and then I left my new wife for four years. So, it was crazy. I got off the train, and everybody understood. Then Glenn Hughes came in and did two amazing records. They went out and didn’t miss a beat.”

A meeting with the Dead Daisies founder David Lowy catalysed the frontman’s return. “David came down to Nashville, and we had dinner. We had all kept in touch throughout the whole time. He said, Okay, how do you feel? Are you rested? I said, yeah - I’m good. He said Glenn’s going back to do his Deep Purple thing. Do you want to come back? And I said, of course. So, I felt it was great to be back again. The stuff sounds

awesome that we’re doing in the set. I’m just excited to get out and bring the circus back to the UK.”

The Dead Daisies witnessed a meteoric rise at the beginning of the former Motley Crue singer’s first tenure in the group. “I joined the band, and we did that first record - Revolución. I don’t know what happened, but it took off,” he says. “The UK came to the table and Europe, and they just embraced that first record. It just started to grow and become this entity on its own. My first-time doing Download and all those famous festivals in Europe - the Woodstock Festival in Poland. So, there were a lot of high points in my career with that thing.”

He adds: “Everybody that’s been involved in the band is beyond talented. Even with the other singers, Jon Stevens and Glenn Hughes, there’s always been no shortage of talent. Even with Marco, it was all friends. So, it was this awesome band. I felt we did some great records together. And then we were friends on top of it. It’s kind of the perfect storm.”

John Corabi’s ties with his bandmates run deep. “I’ve known Doug since he was 17. I’ve known Brian Tichy for 20 years. I’ve known Michael Devin for 20 years. David Lowy - he’s a great friend now. We’ve always been friends since I met him. All the management guys, the crew guys, we’re all friends. So, it really does make it cool,” he says. “It’s like a clubhouse - your golfing buddies. So, we’re going out, we’re having fun, and we’ve got a kick-ass set. We are looking forward to it.”

Whilst the band’s momentum and trajectory perhaps were a little overwhelming, the emphasis for the group going forward is to have fun. “It was getting crazy. I think it was the Make Some Noise tour. It was either that or the live record we did, Live and Louder. But I remember being in England, and we did two festivals on the same day. So, it was growing. And it was getting

away from us a little bit. So, we just said, let’s rethink this,” explains John. “They brought me back into this thing, and David could not stress the word fun more. We hit a point during the Burn It Down tour where our heads were spinning. We were constantly writing a record, back on tour, write a record, back on tour. So, management, David, everybody, we worked it out where we’re going to go out, kick-ass, put the work in and then, okay, we’ve been out for a month, let’s go home, get some rest, and get reacquainted with our wives. Then go back out on the road and have fun again, just fun, with no burnout. So, I’m excited.”

The band’s upcoming greatest hits album is a line in the sand for the rock and roll supergroup. “When I came back into this thing, they had already made arrangements and plans to do the record. And again, it’s like a marker. Here’s ten years; this is what we’ve done so far - the best is yet to come,” he says.

As far as the future is concerned, the frontman remains open-minded. “One of the things that I love about the Daisies is we’re very much in the present. Right now, it’s just about promoting this record which comes out August 18th. So, we’re promoting the record. And quite honestly, we got into a room, and yeah, the joking and the personalities were there, but it was like, sitting having to not relearn songs, but to refresh,” he says. “Right now, we’re just focused on this tour and making this setlist as tight as possible so we can then switch our comedy hats on and go out and just have some fun. We have discussed doing some recording. But at this point, we’re in the present right now and we’re dealing with today.”

The Dead Daisies ‘Best Of’ album will be available on double CD & Vinyl on August 18th.

Interview By: Adam Kennedy Photo Credit: David Pear


‘We always got told we were like the bar band from the Titty Twister. I just thought, OK, let’s become it. So, we just went with ‘Day of the Dead’ makeup, and it suited us, it worked. People seemed to love it. Lemmy used to say it best. People want to see a star on stage; they want to see Ziggy Stardust; they don’t want to see the bloke next door’.

HRH: So, the last time I saw the Gypsy Pistoleros you had just finished a barn storming performance at HRH Spring Break. T he photos and the fan reviews speak for themselves. And the critics really took notice of you.

LMJ: We love the HRH Festivals and crowd. When I brought the Pistoleros back to life it was the HRH crowd’s reaction that made me want to really get back into the rock n roll circus. They are really receptive to new bands and stuff out of the ordinary, which is amazing. The last HRH show we went on just before Crash Diet and Reckless Love, the reaction was amazing. It was the first time we played ‘Come on Eileen’. The crowd went nuts. Some tw*t of a critic called us the Dexys Midnight Runners of rock. We decided, let’s own it. Fourth time we’d even rehearsed it. But the joke sorta backfired coz now it’s coming out as a single and will be on the new album too. An iconic song that shouldn’t ever be covered. It sounds cracking. Yep, we dare!

HRH: Gypsy Pistoleros don’t like to be labelled with your music, but for people coming to it for the first time, how do you describe it? You don’t like to be drawn into those classic rock comparisons.

LMJ: Flamenco punk? Glam rock, I suppose. All these bands jump on some little bandwagon together. It’s like, why? I

think it was the Smiths… not that they’re a massive inspiration for me …. but when they first got together again, they didn’t want to join the big party in the one room. They just went into their own little corner and did their own thing. And after a while everybody started coming in and seeing what was going on. But no … the new wave of classic rock? What does that even mean? Classic rock to me is like Boston and all those types of bands, which have nothing to do with us. We do us.

HRH: The Gypsy Pistoleros have got recordings that date back to 2005, but your story starts much earlier than that, doesn’t it? You were in several other bands and your story even took you to Spain?

LMJ: I was in a band in the UK called White Trash, we used to support Lords of the New Church, Kill City Dragons. We were part of the Soho glam punk rock n roll type stuff that was going around. Dogs D’Amour were there, the Quireboys were there. And by 1989, it was all sort of dying. My girlfriend at the time was from Spain, so I moved to Spain with her to Zaragoza, which is the equivalent of Liverpool, so it was very unglamorous. But we formed a band over there called The Last Gang and it was quite a big thing in Spain because no English bands were residing over there. We were half English, half Spanish, because I brought guitarist with me as well. We just got some amazing gigs through a promoter I knew called Robert Mills. And we toured with the Ramones, The Cramps, Nazareth, UFO, Sabbath, Dio, etc. We did Sepultura too. That was interesting. But the Ramones tour was the big one, then Motorhead in ’95 and ‘96, and that was amazing. That’s how I started the flamenco Rumba punk

stuff. We used to rehearse in the desert in these little rehearsal studios and all the bands used to go down there, hang out, and get completely wasted. When we were drunk, we used to come into each other’s rehearsal spaces and this Flamenco band kept begging us to play ‘Anarchy in the UK’.

So, we played it and they joined in flamenco style and it sounded amazing. There were these flamenco rumba tracks from the seventies that were big in Zaragoza, and so we rocked up a few of those songs as a laugh, and they sounded great. When we supported the Ramones in ‘93, I said, let’s do about two or three of those tracks … and the Spanish kids were mortified. There was just stunned silence at first, but then about 30-40 of the gypsies in the audience started double clapping to it and it was great. People used to laugh and go mad, so we got away with it.

So, that tour was when I first discovered it. I came back to England in 1999 and then we formed some sh*tty Rage Against The Machine group. I just forgot about it until 2005 and I sort of brought it back. The first Gypsy Pistoleros line up had Neil Phillips from the Yo-Yo’s on guitar. And there was Scott Garrett from B-Movie Heroes. Ian who used to be in White Trash with me, and myself and that’s how it all sort of started. That incarnation was only together for a couple of years, and we did tours with LA Guns. Faster Pussycat, Bang Tango, Bullet Boys, the Glam Slam Tour around UK/Europe. We went to the States, and we played Rocklahoma from 2007 to 2011 with every major glam band ever.

HRH: You got to live through the golden


era of glam sleaze rock. So many amazing artists. Would have been great to have seen Kill City Dragons around that time.

LMJ: I love that band. I was friends with Dave Tregunna, that’s how we got the Lords of the New Church supports earlier on. When he was doing Kill City Dragons, we did three or four supports for them. We played the Electric Ballroom in Camden with them, and they were a fantastic band. I still keep in touch with Billy G Bang (Billy Douglas). I don’t know why they weren’t massive. Well …. Andy McCoy destroyed it all, didn’t he, by stealing half the band?

HRH: What was it like supporting the Ramones in 1993. That was around the time of the ‘Mondo Bizarro’ and ‘Acid Eaters’ albums, the latter of which was basically a covers album. The band were on the last legs and falling out at that point, weren’t they?

LMJ: Well, CJ was the bass player at that point, and Joey was not really there. It was really weird. They used to have a ramp up to the stage for him and they’d have minders to make sure that he got up there on stage, but he was not there …. just a zombie on the mic. But as soon as the curtain dropped and it kicked in, he just came alive. And as soon as the encore was done, bang, that was it. Deactivated again. It was really strange. I spoke to him, and I said we supported Lords Of The New Church and he wasn’t there. He was on a pinball machine, and he went, have you got a quarter? And I went, no, dude, we’re in Spain. I put a peseta in, and he looked at me to pull the pinball hammer back and the ball just went up and straight down, and then he flicked the switches, and it was really strange. He was really on the way out then, I think.

The guitarist, Marky had all the power in that band at that time. CJ used to come and play on stage with us. We were signed to the Ramones management, Red Eye Management, and they sorted a deal through Sire Records for us but we beautifully disastrously, absolutely bollox-ed up that deal. We were playing in Madrid and the Ramones manager …. well, we thought road manager at the time …. came up to us and said, hey, you know, ‘Anarchy in the UK’? Lose it. And I’m thinking, you’re the freaking Ramones. You really threatened by us playing ‘Anarchy in the UK’. So, we said, oh all right. Anyway, next night we were playing, and we started up the first notes of Pretty Vacant. The crowd went mad, and he was on the side of the stage, and we were all flicking him V signs. But we found out that he was their manager, and it was all tied in with Sire Records, and so we were dropped from the tour. We were supposed to go to the States with them. So, that was not a great moment, but it was amazing.

Those bands like Motorhead, UFO, Ramones, Nazareth. You can understand why there were such legendary bands because

there was just something about them. A different level! The Ramones had a 22 or 23 song set list. And I knew every song, nearly every bloody word of it. Let’s forget about Bohemian Rhapsody. Let’s write three-minute songs with a hook. Simple. I wish?

HRH: What was the catalyst for you guys getting back together in 2020, albeit with a different line-up?

LMJ: In 2010, GYPSY PISTOLEROS signed to Heavy Metal Records and released a Greatest Hits album. We were promised loads of things, and none of it materialized. I’d set up a press launch and a gig at the St Moritz in London, and the rest of the band at the time were like, oh, do we really have to go? And I thought, oh, fuck this, I’m not doing this anymore. The whole thing about the promo was not right. They hadn’t got us on any support tours. They said they would, so I just walked away from my own band. But Heavy Metal Records could use the name for ten years, which they did, and that’s why you had the guitarist carry on with some tribute band line-ups. I went away and did a master’s degree in touring theatre and drama and did some really dodgy B movie films. If anybody really wants to look one up, look for ‘Jurassic Predator’, where I play a complete psycho mercenary.

HRH: The new incarnation of the band also coincided with your revitalised image of the white faces and black eyes. It’s one thing that fans now most recognise you for LMJ: We always got told we were like the bar band from the Titty Twister from ‘From Dush Till Dawn’. I just thought, like, OK, let’s become it. So, we just went with ‘Day of the Dead’ makeup and came out with sombreros, which was really a pain in the ass because you can’t walk through doors with them on. We played that for like a year and I got session musicians in; Mark, my mate from White Trash. We got Vinnie (Jan-Vincent Velazco), who was in Ghost, and Diamond Black. He’s now in Pendragon and a session drummer. And we got a double bass player. But after that album was out, I thought I want to get a real band together. So, I stole the best musicians in Worcester, essentially, and we kept the corpse paint and the eyes, and went with a Peaky Blinders sort of style for the single, and it just stuck. Kerry Pistolero White is a great bass player, Crag Pistolero Shape is a right Dave Grohl style drummer that I love and Shane Pistolero Sparkz is a diamond. A real family, a gang! People seem to love it. Lemmy used to say it best. People want to see a star on stage; they want to see Ziggy Stardust; they don’t want to see the bloke next door. That was what Grunge was.

God knows where life is going at the moment, people haven’t got much money, and if they’re going to come out, you’ve got to give them a show. Some escape! That’s why we play ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’, and ‘Come on

Eileen’ it’s called FUN, a good time. Some people are like, oh, are you a serious band? I’d rather people remember something, and have a good time, than see this posturing bullsh*t from the new wave of classic rock type thing.

HRH: How do you think your current lineup compares with the previous incarnations of the band? You’ve got some great musicians.

LMJ: They’ve all taught at one point, so they’re top-notch. Kerry and Crag play in a covers band, so they can play anything, and they know all the stuff that works by playing classic songs …. everything from The Killers to the real old rock classics. Shane is just a diamond & his guitar sound and style gave us back that real punky rock edge. So, when we wrote this new album, ‘Duende a Go Go Loco!’, which is coming out November 3rd, it all went into the melting pot. It’s sounding f**kin amazing! The legend Dave Draper has produced it. He’s playing quite a bit of guitar on it as well, so you’ll get a bit of the Wildhearts sound. Lol! It really is different level.

HRH: On the new album Duende Go-Go Loco. How does the sound compare to your previous album ‘Mescalito Vampires’ which had a slightly more commercial edge?

LMJ: About three or four tracks are very flamenco rock with a punk edge. One is an out-and-out return to retro glam. And there are a couple that are very, very punky. And there’s ‘The Ballad of Tommy Shelby’, which is like a weird folk romp punk stomp. I detest those bands that you play two songs and that’s it. Every other song is the same. So, we had just one rule, which was there are no rules. Whatever works for the song, works for the song. Obviously, we want to keep the elements of flamenco/rumba, which we can’t get rid of now. I wanted to just punk it up more. That’s where I come from. I started when I was fourteen in a punk band, and we were supporting the Damned at the age of sixteen. So that’s where I come from, and I want that cut. It’s all about being lovely and pretty, but I still want the balls. And we are a rock band, and we are playing Hard Rock Hell and Planet Rock festivals. You need to really kick ass; it needs to cut, and it needs to really rock out. Not in a new wave of classic rock style, though.

I was going over one of the new tracks called ‘Tears in the Rain’, which is obviously a Blade Runner rip off, lyric wise. But I was thinking, there’s no flamenco in it. But there is? It’s just natural to us all now. The album’s harder edged. David Draper does all the Ginger and Wildhearts stuff. He’s done Nickelback, and Kerbdog. He’s well known for the massive guitar sound that he’s got, and he’s put these guitars down on the tracks, it sounds so big; really stadium-ish, so that’s the difference. Plus, it goes out through Earache Records, so we have more of a reach with this release due


to it going out through a major channel. Plus, iit’s easier to find and buy us on the Earache Webstore.

HRH: Your video for your last single ‘What it feels like to be a girl’ in a Peter Kay / Phoenix Nights style working man’s club was hilarious.

LMJ: Thanks, I mean it suits a song about a serial killing cross dresser. It’s a complete nod to the Sweet and early Slade. It’s just a fun track, and I obviously dress up as the serial killing cross dresser in it. Dressing up as a full glam band from back in the day was fun. I love Massive Wagons and I think more bands should have fun! Terrorvision are Kez’s favourite band, they also have a laugh. Its infectious. I hope?

HRH: You’ve been announcing a lot of shows and Festivals over the last couple of weeks, and you’ve just announced a date in London at the New Cross Inn. What songs will you be playing at those shows?

LMJ: There are some cracking Festivals and shows, more to be announced, we have just signed to SD Entertainment. And Victoria Llewelyn is our new booker, who is working us crazily! On these shows we’ll probably play eight tracks off the new album, and about four or five of the classics. And ‘Come on Eileen’, which I so hope Charts! That would be a wonderful way to go, wouldn’t it? Yeah, have a hit with that cover, and be hated for it forever. That’ll be my musical heritage; my legacy.

HRH: You’ve done a University Masters in touring theatre. How much of the Gypsy Pistolero is you, and how much of that is a character?

LMJ: Well, it’s really strange. I’ve messed up so many chances in my music career because I was a complete alcoholic and speed freak. I was completely out of control on loads of occasions, and for the last three to four years, I’ve been totally clean. So, it was almost a reinvention if you like. I suppose the character is something you hide b ehind. I use it because I used to think that I needed to get p*ssed out of my face to be on stage, and I suppose now, in a way, I’m hiding behind that mask, but it works. The vibes are that we’re just having a good time and a laugh, not taking ourselves ultra-seriously, and it just works. That’s how that has developed, and obviously through the theatre, I did a one man show in Edinburgh called ‘A Rock N Roll Suicide’, where I dressed up as Ziggy Stardust with a mask. Ziggy Stardust was my alter ego, because I’ve got ADHD, and that was the alter ego about the drugs and everything. And I was telling my Lemmy stories and Axl Rose stories, days on the road, Ramones … and funnily enough, that’s where we connected to Golden Robot. This Australian girl came up to me and went, hey, my cousin’s got a record label, he’d love you. And he got in touch, and I licenced to them, and they released the Greatest Hits album. That’s how I got back into it. And then I said, sod it, I’m going to do it properly now. I don’t drink,

so let’s have a crack at it and do it properly and do these songs justice. When I think about ‘Wild beautiful, Damned’, I would love to redo it, and redo it how it should have been done.

HRH: What’s the new experience of trying to write music without stimulants like? Do you feel more exposed?

LMJ: Strangely enough, that’s the easiest part. I used to think, we’d got to get w*nkered, and we’ll write a fantastic rocking sleazy track. No, you just pass out, or talk sh*t, come up with a crap song and the next day you go like, really? Did we write that? Whereas now, I go up to Kerry’s and sort of jabber at her and she’ll try and decipher it into some sort of pattern on the bass. And then we’ll take it to Crag and put the drums down, and then the guitar goes on last, so we’ve almost got it formatted there and it’s easy. I find it so much easier now than ever before, which is strange. I wish I’d known this years ago.

It’s also wonderful because I actually remember stuff now. Somebody told me they’d seen the Gypsy Pistoleros in Budapest and I went; I’ve not been to Budapest. And they were like .... yeah, you were. And we were, we had been supporting LA Guns at the Wig Wam Club, and I don’t remember a thing about it. People also say, you look young for your age, but I think I must have lost about 15 to 20 years through not remembering. It’s all new to me in a way, so it’s almost coming back as a new person. I’m really excited, I’m like a kid with it.

HRH: You are going to be returning to Tour the U.S in 2024. How did an underground UK band play and become such a huge part of Rocklahoma, the biggest US Glam Festival in its time, how did that first happen for you?

Lee: It’s a short story! It’s Tracii Guns. We were backstage at the Underworld (Camden UK), and we’d just finished a European Tour with LA Guns after Faster Pussycat. So we were on that tour at the Underworld, we were all drunk backstage and the press were in there and they were asking Tracii about Rocklahoma, he was describing it as this big Glam Festival in the middle of nowhere (Check out Pryor Creek Oklahoma) and he turned to me and said “Hey you should try and get on, you should do it” and I thought alright then, “Are you offering?” and he said “Oh I don’t know” So I said “OK then we’ll come over and we’ll play during your set – we’ll do one song” and he said “Yeah if you can get there” so I made him shake my hand on film, as the interview was being filmed. So, I said “There you go we’re doing it!” So, I just got in touch with the promoter and said “Yeah, we’re coming over, Tracii’s invited us (laughs) and they knew nothing! So, first of all they were going to let us do one song during LA Gun’s set, they were going to invite us on. So, we paid to get over the first time and they were just so p*ssed off with us they gave us a slot! (laughs) They just said –

“Look just do your set and p*ss off!”. But for some unknown reason Rocklahoma loved us. We were the band that went round everybody’s trailer! (The campgrounds were a sea of RVs from all over the country in those early days) and at every trailer we had like a little shot of something that they’d been brewing! “Hey, we’ve got this homebrew!” I don’t know how we lived through it, let alone played! Though I must admit I don’t remember playing some of them! But there was something really interesting though, when we played the first few years at the end of our set, we used to walk off stage into the audience. And the first couple of years the security went absolutely mental! And said, “You do not do that, you do not walk into the audience off the stage” And we thought why not? But it was never ever done in America, due to things like they’ve got guns and there’s nutters around. But afterwards we noticed that all the American bands were watching us walk off that way and the crowd were going wild. And suddenly LA Guns started to copy us and go down to the barrier. There was always this taboo between – this is the band and that is the audience and you’re a million miles away. But we just used to walk right into it – they were just like us dude, just p*ss-heads together in a field! I just remember the absolute disbelief when the American bands first saw that one.

I cannot wait to return and play it with this band, with these new songs. The U.S still counts for 80% of our music sales. So, we’ll be back in 2024 and can’t wait!

HRH: So even though you’ve been away from music for a decade now you must in a way think that nothing’s really changed, they’ve all just been waiting for you to come back?

Lee: (laughs) No, though I don’t drink now which is a massive difference! I’m a better singer now. Because let’s face it I was a complete and utter alcoholic nutter back then. But the only difference is now I wear Day of the Dead make-up and am sober and I suppose we’ve gone even more flamenco punk glam, down our own little path.

I just think we’ve nailed it on this new album. It’s what we always set out to do, way back in 2005. It’s a cracking album, I’m too old to bullsh*t! I just hope people love it!

Interview: Supplied

Photo Credit: Press Supplied


REVIEWSAlbum “Two weeks after I joined, the original guitarist quit. The new name — Sabbat — came from a book on witchcraft and I do remember we liked the way the word looked in the scrawly type of writing so we went with it.” Sneap, Craske and frontman Martin Walkyier hooked up with drummer Simon Negus to create a thrash metal beast inspired by Venom, Mercyful Fate and Slayer. In six years, Sabbat went from bullish wannabes to creative scene leaders and this carefully curated box set captures the very best of the band’s febrile formative years.



Centuries down the line, when heavy metal’s most trusted historians evaluate the key figures in a storied genre, a certain Andy Sneap will be revered and respected in equal measure.

Central to more than 100 albums — as a musician, composer, and producer — the 54-year-old has immersed himself in loudness for 40 years, gaining a deserved reputation for his unflinching work ethic, implausible attention to detail and relentless drive for perfection.

Metal masters Megadeth, Judas Priest, Testament, Exodus, Accept, Saxon and many, many more have benefitted from Sneap’s myriad mastering, mixing and production talents. A technical wizard with tricks aplenty, his keen dedication to the craft is legendary. But where does Sneap’s story begin? Just how did the boy from Derbyshire rise to the peak of his profession and where did he hone those fabled metal chops? The answer is Sabbat. Or, more accurately, Hydra. Let’s allow Sneap to take up the story.

“I met Frazer [Craske, bass] at a local Hell gig in Long Eaton and it turned out Hydra were thinking of getting a second guitarist,” he told

Included here is 1988 debut History Of A Time To Come and follow-up Dreamweaver (Reflections Of Our Yesterdays) — both pressed on deluxe recycled vinyl. The former only came to fruition once Sneap turned 18 but by the summer of 1987 a record contract with Noise allowed Sabbat to realise their full, dizzying potential.

As debuts go History Of A Time To Come is ridiculously ambitious in its scope: fast-paced thrash metal combined with genuine lyrical heft made for one of the albums of the year. Fans and critics alike were stunned by the maturity of tracks like Behind The Crooked Cross (based on Gerald Huster’s Hitler And The Age Of Hours) and For Those Who Died — a controversial observation on the Catholic church’s persecution of so-called heretics during the middle ages.

It seemed Sabbat didn’t do simple. And nobody wanted them to.

Of course, expectations were sky high by the time Dreamweaver dropped just a year later but Sneap and co. didn’t disappoint. Buoyed by the addition of ex-Holosade six-stringer Simon Jones, Sabbat were able to fully realise their multi-faceted sonic blueprint and that extra axe added serious depth to the band’s overall sound.

Still very much a thrash metal record, Dreamweaver was progressive in its outlook as well as its resonance. Sneap helmed every song — Jones is credited with a co-write on The Best Of Enemies, How The Mighty Have Fallen? and Mythistory — on an album that’s

all killer and no filler.

Walkyier, whose work with Skyclad is equally wonderful, was allowed the space to breathe with four of Dreamweaver’s tracks clocking in at more than six minutes. Sneap and Jones traded licks like they were going out of fashion and it’s little wonder a record ahead of its time was lauded by Metal Hammer as ‘a seminal chapter in the evolution of British metal’. But what this box set does well is roll out the big guns before going back to the future. And the real treat here is Sabbat’s ‘lost’ BBC session. The peerless Tommy Vance launched many a metal band’s career and it was a sensational set on the Friday Rock Show that persuaded Noise to take a punt on Sneap and co.

Released for the first time on vinyl — and unavailable since its broadcast back in 1987 — a genuine treasure trove of seminal Sabbat reveals the raw aggression and lucid vision at the heart of a band on the cusp of success. Completing this impressive package are the audio and visual versions of Live In East Berlin. Enjoy a cult performance without the pictures, pressed on vinyl for the first time, or sit back, turn off the lights and wonder at the adrenaline-fuelled show that’s finally available on DVD. Either way, Sabbat never looked or sounded so good.

And then to cap it all there’s From Bad To Verse — a thrill-a-minute 32-page lyric book examining what really makes Sneap tick. To truly understand the über producer of 2023, dig deep into the words of his past and enjoy a slew of previously unseen snaps.

Mad Dogs And Englishmen might have been imagined for the Sabbat die-hard. But if you’ve ever fallen for thrash metal or marvelled at Sneap’s meteoric rise through the heavy metal ranks then this warts and all box set is essential listening.



When Tracii Guns of ‘L.A Guns’ fame decides to launch a new project, influenced by his favourite bands from a bygone era, who better to get on board than his old mates, bassist/vocalist Todd Kerns (Slash, Torque) and producer/multi-instrumentalist Adam Hamilton (Ex-L.A Guns), who takes control of the drums. Blackbird Angels is about friends making music in a relaxed manner, much like those icons of the 1970s, Bad Company and Led Zeppelin managed to achieve.

When I first heard the opener ‘Shut Up (You Know I Love You)’, I was immediately transported back in time. Those thunderous ‘Zeppelin’ like chords and crisp vocals were something that I hadn’t been confronted with for an age. It certainly is a monstrous song, one of those that can stick to your inner head for an eternity. ‘Mine (All Mine)’ is almost on the same level, having that distant echoing sound favoured so often by Messrs Plant and company. Then Tracii conjures up a magnificent solo to add spice before it descends.

A sublime power ballad ‘Worth The Wait’ gravitates like incense smoke, surrounding you with the essence of that music from the past, ‘Hawkwind’ springs to a hazy mind. After the captivating and melancholy strings of ‘On And On, Over And Over’ and the upshift of ‘Only Everything’ it’s ‘Broken In Two’ that takes up the challenge. ‘Paul Rodgers’ with a jazzy riff if you can imagine it.

’Better Than This’ is the escape track. Like standing in the breeze on a hot summer’s day. It’s superbly light and drifts aimlessly. A brilliant rumbling of skins introduces ‘Unbroken’, which dives to construct a weighty atmosphere.

‘The Last Song’ follows, where Tracii’s guitar is prominent, almost talking to us with those wellchosen chords. The actual last song is ’Scream Bloody Murder’ where the trio combine for a take on 70’s prog. Altogether an interesting listen.



Blues lovers travel hopefully scouring back catalogues for hidden gems or smart reinterpretations of classics whilst always keeping an ear out for new artists and original tunes. As this genre’s hard-earned prime mover, Joe Bonamassa does all of this and much more as his Journeyman label, production duties and guiding hand in helping artists garner exposure continually prove. He’s a modern-day blues fairy godfather; a wizard even. The blues gushes out of every pore like his creative plumbing is working overtime and can’t be contained. This twenty-year-in-the-waiting follow-up to Joe’s inaugural Blues Deluxe album sums up all of this in his chosen tunes and in the exquisite fashion that they are rendered.

The ten carefully chosen tracks are beautifully shaped into Joe’s image as he lets himself, and his crack band of players, loose as they explore the backwaters of the blues. To listen to all the musicians, swamp their skill set all over these blues immersions is a repeated joy. Take the opening track, Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland’s Twenty-FourHour Blues, Joe moulds this song into a bluesrock fusillade of licks and tricks replete with a whip-smart horn and string arrangement. It’s like an once favourite but slightly neglected jacket that’s been re-tailored into something new but with all its past features and comforts fitting just right.

Each re-casted track can be pored over with wordy garlands such as Guitar Slim’s Well, I Done Got Over It or the Albert King performed You Sure Drive A Hard Bargain. Joe’s and Tom Hambridge’s original song, Hope You Realize It, again fits tailor-made into this collection. Not falling into the obvious song choice trap, this selection of songs digs and delves deeply into the blues hinterland giving a major fanfare to the fun vibes of Pee Wee Crayton’s Win-O and Ronnie Earle & The Broadcasters I Want To Shout About It. And this is exactly what Joe & Co. do with controlled and delightful abandon.


The Los Angeles based industrial-metal band 3Teeth’s latest album EndEx is very much from the cyber-goth end of the industrial scale. Throughout their decade of performing, 3Teeth have always presented a menacing aesthetic to their music and EndEx ups the ante with an almost blistering assault on the senses.

Lead vocalist Alexis Mincolla and his 3Teeth associates have built upon their past experiences to create an absolute firestorm of an album. This is epitomised with the track ‘Merchant of the Void’, which is evocative of classic Nine Inch Nails from the nineties. 3Teeth are also unafraid to explore topical themes throughout their album. They cover such weighty subjects of the evolution of identity, the impact of rampant consumerism and how technology has become embedded throughout our society.

Although EndEx is shot through with an urgency of rage, there are wonderful moments of melodical introspection that act as a wonderful contrast and prevent the album from becoming repetitive. This is encapsulated in the track ‘Drift’, which combines fury and electronica with an almost mournful undertone.

There is also a wonderful reimagining of Tears for Fears’ classic track ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’, which is covered in 3Teeth’s own unique style.

If there is one criticism to EndEx, then it is that it is not the most accessible album to listen to. There is an almost unapologetic quality to their music. This is an album by a band that know who they are and are fully comfortable with their identity – there is no gradual introduction to their music, but rather it dives in headfirst and keeps going.

EndEx epitomises 3TEETH’s approach to industrial metal, unleashing a salvo of fantastic tracks that will be a constant presence on many playlists.




Proving the album name, Slow Burn, to be somewhat of a misnomer from the outset, album opener Atonement bursts out of the gates swinging and sets the tone for this second studio album from international metalcore five-piece Conquer Divide. With a screaming intro proclaiming, “We are not the same”, the crunching riffs kick in and the melodic vocals of Kiarely Taylor take over with a slightly more laid back orchestration. What follows is a back and forth of Taylor’s melodies and screams from Janel Duarte sometimes battling, sometimes supporting each other before coming full circle to the opening lyric.

Slow Burn is an undeniably personal album inspired by the differing experiences of the band members, including the emotional and anthemic Paralyzed, based on guitarist Kristen Sturgis’ experiences as a nurse during the pandemic. Other themes are explored throughout the album, including environmental destruction in the blistering welcome2paradise; Social unrest in the brutal, hook heavy system_ failure; and the biblical references of ‘N E W H E A V E N’. Other tracks include the upbeat ‘Over It.’ and the disjointed rhythms and crescendos of Afterthought.wav which serve to highlight the versatility of a band who are very much at the top of their game.

This is an incredibly self-assured album that solidifies Conquer Divide as a force to be reckoned with as they seamlessly weave driving riffs and screaming vocals with melodic, thoughtful arrangements and meaningful lyrics. It’s rare to find an album with so many instantly memorable tracks and where every track is a must-listen. With the album available from the 8th of September, I look forward to catching them on tour at some point soon.


Although Danko Jones have been in existence since 1996, my first encounter was at the Steelhouse festival in 2019, capturing my attention with their ‘no sh*t’ rock and roll. When Danko shouted at the photographers, (who were leaving after the permitted three songs), ‘Where you f**king going, I haven’t got started yet,’ they all promptly returned. It was then that I realised, this is one man you don’t mess with! Summed up on the opening lyrics for this eleventh album, ‘Guess who’s back? Me, motherf**ker! Take your best shot, ‘cause I don’t give a damn’.

The title track is non-stop compass spinning, heavy drums messed up with Danko’s pressurised vocals result in a massively weighted number and then ‘Get High’ swings in with a more laid-back vibe. The hook on ‘Stiff Competition’ is stupendous. Simple chords and an uncomplicated riff make it so appealing. The uncontrollable ‘She’s My Baby’ sees a guest appearance from Tyler Stewart (Bare Naked Ladies); it’s another with a racing spirit, and ‘Eye For An Eye’ is a perfect follower to retain the theme. It evens out during ‘Let’s Make Out’, which is a smoother runner before ‘What Goes Around’, which takes the album by the horns. Ending on ‘Shake Your City’, which they continue to do while on tour, ensures they go out punching the air.

Electric Sounds is composed of eleven songs, and the overall pace is more rapid than on previous albums. After getting underway with the aforementioned ‘Guess Who’s Back’, it soon gathers momentum, and like a storm on the horizon, it develops into an unstoppable force. With an unrivalled style of solid punk/rock, Danko Jones has hit all the nails on the head yet again.



Heartbreak Remedy are a 3 piece hard rock band hailing from Cumbria. Known as the nicest guys in the business, they are each time served musicians as well as somewhat of a supergroup and, it shows. Let The Good Times Roll is their third album release in the 10 years since their conception, when bass player and singer Matty Penn declared to his musical comrades that he needed a remedy for his broken heart.

Kicking off with an undulating riff from Luke Blair, 21 Kings is a belting, raunchy tale of drinking, dancing, good times and great friends. This is only track one and as Just A Disease, White Line Suicide and Rock Me follow, there is no let up of hooks and riffs and down home, bar room rock n roll.

That is, until acoustic guitar and stomping drums from Mr Stephen Jackson, introduce us to stand out track Working Man Blues. Showing the power and range of Penn’s vocals, this gravel toned, blue collar ballad perfectly encompasses the eclectic sound that Heartbreak Remedy are so easily able to deliver. Hurricanes and Hand Grenades and Drowning are each a slice of brilliance. Producer John JJ Watt has captured the essence of what this band can do live, gritty, raw, dirty, perfect.

If you are a lover of a heavy rock sound, plenty of bluesy groove, a splash of punk n roll and a dash of southern rock, Let The Good Times Roll is the release for you.



Having mostly concentrated on touring the Free and Bad Company songbooks, Paul Rodgers has finally broken his decades of new material silence by releasing eight original compositions on his first solo album since last century’s Electric - released in 1999. Produced by the legendary Bob Rock, and Rodgers’ wife Cynthia, Midnight Rose sweetly opens with a glam-rock era

drum beat on Coming Home. Thankfully, it reveals Rodgers’ iconic vocal cords fully intact on a rocker from the locker tune that immediately re-asserts his high status as one of rock music’s all-time great singers. The snappy second song, Photo Shooter, continues this on form release, its twangy guitar riff, flashy slide fills and exquisite double-tracked guitar motifs has a muscle-memory country-rock feel of Desolation Angels period Bad Company. In fact, it’s the Bad Company vibes that seem to influence and inform most of this rewarding and satisfying album.

Lightening the heavier load, the atmospheric acoustic guitar intro to the tender title track finds Rodgers reigning in his personal soulful kingdom. The album’s only co-write - with bassist Todd Ronning and drummer Rick Fedyk - on Living It Up is an autobiographical reflection on how American music influenced Rodgers including his current relocation to Canada. Corny lyrics aside, it rocks hard. As a master of light and shade musical contrast, Dance In The Sun exudes a fresh country-folk feel right through this mid-album track. Similarly, follow-up song Take Love slightly ups the pace with its rolling acoustic

brought down and wasted asunder with the ensuing lifestyle success and the nefarious demands it created. Firstly, Joe Perry then fellow guitarist Brad Whitford’s exit led to a very worthy guitar replacement in Jimmy Crespo – there’s nothing included from the decent Rock In A Hard Place albumwho more than helped to hold together the faltering voyage of a band nosediving into oblivion.

foundation. Finely constructed layers of organ and wiry threads of electric guitar build up this track as wailing female background vocals envelop Rodgers’s soulful rock delivery.

Clocking in at five minutes and five seconds, this recording’s longest track, Highway Robber, finds Rodgers once again on familiar lyrical ground relating a Wild West tale of derring-do. It’s a haunting mid-paced composition that harks back to his rock roots and the outsider themes that birthed Bad Company’s earlier songs. Ending with the bluesy acoustic trilling and picky electric guitar on Melting, that suddenly blasts out heavy portentous chords, this and Rodgers’ inimitable howling also wouldn’t be out of place on Bad Company’s debut release. In many ways, the musical nostalgia snaking its way through this album is a testament to Rodgers’ current headspace as he shapeshifts a soundscape in which he played a major role creating. Consisting of only eight tracks, nevertheless, Midnight Rose is probably his best solo album to date.


This Greatest Hits package ransacks the celebrated back catalogue of Aerosmith’s 50-year career arc. In doing so, it begins by showcasing, to full effect, the delinquent, sleazy rock’n’roll addicts who knocked out a classic run of early yearly albums. Their self-titled debut album heralded in Get Your Wings, Toys In The Attic, Rocks and Draw The Line. The two-year wait for 79’s Night In The Ruts broke this regular release pattern as they continued to set the dirty-glam American rock bar high. Maybe too high as band members were

It was the eventual return of the Perry/ Whitford axis that pivoted Aerosmith into stonewall hit-makers of anthemic pop-metal tunes. 1987’s Permanent Vacation particularly consolidated this new musical blueprint, and this judicially selected Greatest Hits set of songs covers these bases and quite a bit more. As the original Walk This Way invites the long in the tooth and those still cutting them- the Run DMC collaboration version is also includedfans to travel back in time and retrace their early memories as debut album live stalwart Mama Kin revs up into Dream On then Lord Of The Thighs. From this auspicious start, things swiftly move up a few gears before hitting overdrive across these multiple-format releases.

There’s something for every pocket from a single CD and LP primer to a Three CD/Four LP, and Super Deluxe Edition presented in book-style sleeves containing many visual treasures, immersion into Aerosmith’s rock craft and career trajectory. From initial recordings to a rapid Stateside rise on the rock’n’roll rollercoaster to spectacularly crashing back down to earth in an early to mid-career mess, this carefully abridged collection details Aerosmith’s unlikely resurrection. It’s the unlikely tale of the return of a cleaned-up band as Joe Perry and Steve Tyler led these American rockers to break into foreign territories; something they largely eschewed in their first decade together. From following their idols to becoming a cornerstone of the rock establishment, selling over 150 million albums, these releases chronicle the survivalist nature of, arguably, the greatest of extant American rock’n’roll institutions.



Wolfgang Van Halen has been in the world of rock music since birth. However, he didn’t realise his father Eddie was a famous musician until seeing his face on CD’s. From learning the drums at 9 years old, being influenced by Uncle Alex, Wolfgang has now progressed to be a multi-talented musician and vocalist. Still in his early thirties and previously longstanding member in his father’s band, as well as Tremonti, Wolfgang is now an award-winning solo artist. He certainly has a head full of ideas and knows exactly what he wants from his band ‘Mammoth’.

Opening track ‘Right’ as Wolfgang states is ‘aggressive and heavy but doesn’t sacrifice the melody’ and that is very much the style he strives for on this second album. The tracks are soldered together, never migrating far from the solid riffs and demolishing finishes. Listen to ‘Take A Bow’ it’s nearly 7 minutes long and covers the widest of spectrums, from anthem led vocals to lowly bass and distorted guitar at its finest. ‘Optimist’ up next, is mind blowing, the repetitive bars spinning with centrifugal force.

Even the more classic themed ‘I’m Alright’ with sensational ‘Wah Wah’ is an explosion of energy, bursting at the seams with sublimity. ‘Waiting’ balances on more contemporary sounds, smooth and velvety, WVH sure has a voice. The finale ‘Better Than You’ is a crashing of magnificent waves and is the icing on the ‘Mammoth II’ cake. Awesome album, another multi-award winner for sure.

‘WVH’ plays all the parts while recording, having a regular band when on the road. This sophomore was recorded at the end of 2022 at the 5150 studios by Michael “Elvis” Baskette. Wolfgang isn’t the first offspring to attempt carving a path in the rock world, he’s just the most successful to date and it’s still early days.


Meaning ‘Stranglehold’ in Norwegian, Kvelertak are the saviours of Nordic Hardcore/Punk. The songs are written like the Scandinavian sagas of their ancestors, bringing folklore, myths and legends into the 21st Century. Forget what you’ve learned watching Viking dramas, these guys are the true bloodline descendants of Ivar and Ragnar. They worship their heroes and will eventually enter Valhalla as Rock Gods themselves. Even ‘James Hetfield’ is a fan after watching them perform live.

The album ‘Endling’ shudders into being with ‘Krøterveg Te Helvete’. ‘A celebration of the intolerable levels of hardships of being in a popular rock band in 2023’, their description, not mine! It’s nearly eight minutes long, most being the intro, but what an introduction to this band. I Love it from the start, building tension and gathering up all in its path. It’s more than a song, it’s a full-blown adventure. Oh, that guitar riff, it grates and twists into your flesh, the scars will never fade. As the tracks play, you quickly get the vibe, punk, heavy doses of chord shifting and tormenting vocals.

’Døgeniktens Kvad’ and the title song ‘Endling’ are off the scale, this is getting truly serious now. ’Skoggangr’, the second single, is about ‘Helmut Von Botnlaus’ who fought to conserve the wildness of Norway’s remote forests, where he lived a secluded life. ’Paranoia 297’ throws all to the wind like a brandishing of swords and axes, while ’Svart September’ tricks you, after the demure intro it plunges into the darkness. Right up to the final song, ‘Morild’, which is another that rides for over seven minutes, this album won’t loosen its grip on your senses. It’s a remarkable album.

Guitarist Vidar sums it up “On Endling, we tell the stories of the extinct and dying men and women of Norway. Old and new myths, culture and rituals come to life”.

Words by Diane Davies


This Metalcore band may have eluded you, but they have over 120 thousand followers on Facebook and all their previous work has been nominated for awards in their native Australia. Forming back in 2012, they recently faced the biggest decision a band has to confront, when their guitarist Ryan Siew passed away at the end of June. Do they continue or call it a day? After consulting Ryan’s family they decided to carry on and have also released the final videos he made with them. Obviously, this tragic event has had some bearing on the planned tour, but this third studio album ‘Fatalism’ which contains the last songs Ryan wrote with Polaris, is to be released in honour of his memory. Ryan joined the band at the age of 15 in 2013.

Eerie and sinister beginnings on first track ‘Harbinger’ a portent forewarning indeed, as this is Alternative Metal in its most refined form. Varied levels of clean and unclean screams mark how deep this band descend. ‘Nightmare’ subjects you to more lashings of pure emotional vehemence, while ‘Parasite’ crawls with abundant evil and pummelling chords. ‘Overflow’ offers little respite, despite the more melodic start. As the album reaches the first single ‘Inhumane’ there’s a sample of meticulous bass playing before the harshness steps in. ‘The Crossfire’ marks a turn with its slower attitude, a punching riff breaks it up stupendously.

The second half of ‘Fatalism’ with ‘Dissipate’, ‘Aftertouch’ and ‘Fault Line’ activates a switch leading into even darker areas. Absolutely love the latter with its absorbing rhythm and dynamic hits. Last offering ‘All In Vain’ has some intricate guitar and swirls into being with a lengthy introduction. As the drums enter the scene the build-up is enthralling, eventually completed by intense vocals. Definitely an album worth grabbing if you’re a fan of harsher Nu Metal.


orchestration comes into play and the soaring first track, An Unwelcome Guest takes shape. What follows is an album that truly makes the most of the band’s affinity for musical storytelling.

Far Distant Land, with its layered vocals, melodic whistles and fiddle playing evokes vivid imagery of a nautical voyage. Spirit of Forgetfulness comprises thoughtful melodies and a strong motif that is used throughout the track on both vocals and instruments.


The opening to Dutch symphonic metallers Blackbriar’s second studio album is somewhat deceptive in that it starts out with a quiet plucked string arrangement with vocalist Zora Cock’s Ethereal melodies. However, it is not long before the full


The eighth studio album from Black Stone Cherry, ‘Screamin’ At The Sky’, features two pre released and highly acclaimed singles – ‘Out Of Pocket’ and ‘Nervous’. The album is self-produced, all twelve songs collaboratively written, and is heavy on the emotion and soul bearing from start to finish. A darker, more intense theme runs throughout the record and there are autobiographical tones, a sense of overcoming challenges and moments of catharsis. The line up features original members Chris Robertson (vocals, guitar) Ben Wells (guitar, vocals) John

Bloody Footprints in the Snow opens with a driving rhythm overlaid with piano which gives way to an anthemic chorus. The track seamlessly switches between the two styles, each time adding further layers to the composition. The Evergreen and the Weeping Tree is a true showcase of Zora’s vocal talents as melodic piano and solo vocals later gain string accompaniment and harmonies before crescendoing with the full band.

Cicada almost feels like listening to

Fred Young (drums) and newcomer and long-time friend of the band Steve Jewell Jr on bass and backing vocals.

There’s no shortage of chemistry between the four; and the album is chock full of familiar BSC heavy riffs, Robertson’s signature rough, gritty vocal is as strong as ever, drums roll with smooth attitude and the basslines raise everything up a level with their chunky tones. Interestingly, the album was recorded in a hired vintage theatre - The Plaza Theater in Glasgow, Kentucky, purely for the insane acoustics, the band hauled all their equipment and tech over there to track the album just to see what it would sound like. Using the stage as John’s live drum room they recorded his renowned groove driven drums to a degree of richness that really comes through on listening to the album, you can feel the difference.

The track that really stands out for me is ‘When The Pain Comes’, this is what the album is really about, heart and soul. It is determination, survival and strength, an anthem for anyone going through some tough times. ‘Smile, World’ takes us a bit more upbeat with its positive message and bouncy riffs, veering towards a light at the end of the tunnel perhaps. Followed up by ‘The Mess You Made’ which features some clever techy

a flowing river as each phrase leads seamlessly into the next. My Soul’s Demise starts out slow with melodic strings, vocals and echoey piano. It eases gently into a slow track that builds up to an epic solo and ending that intertwines earlier phrases and arrangements.

We Make Mist has playful, bright vocals and moves into an epic arrangement before a somewhat abrupt ending. Thumbelina proved to be a much more grandiose affair than I was expecting. Solid riffs and arpeggios give way to stripped down bells and vocals before picking up the pace once more.

Forever and a Day is an introspective track with lilting vocals and a strong arrangement and some notably excellent guitar solo work. Album closer Crimson Faces is a darkly melodic affair that builds towards a satisfying conclusion to the album although in the end, still leaving you wanting more.

drums and complex basslines, this is another track that stands out musically and also has a killer guitar solo.

The big finish comes with the rousing ‘You Can Have It All’, the high note at the end of a deep and soul-searching journey. This feels a very honest album, the band unafraid to express so much of themselves, delivering statements that need to be heard. For any BSC fan this album is a monster, and for those listening for the first time it tells you everything you need to know about BSC – raucous, authentic generators of glorious rock music in its very essence.

Words by Victoria Llewelyn




Starbenders are a 4-piece gang of glam, punk, rock n roll libertines, shot straight from the arrow of Orion’s Belt onto the streets of Atlanta, Georgia.

Poised for release in September 23, Take Back

The Night is a dark and delicious bite of gritty, glam, punk, everything we need for the future of rock n roll is here in all its grime and glory. Single release, The Game highlights Kimi Shelter vocalising the pain of being a puppet on a string in a world in which we lack control. Aaron Lecesne provides a heartbeat bassline that combines with Shelter’s screaming vocal to take back the night, and although deep and convoluted, The Game is a journey from darkness to light and the glimmer of which brings a sense of hope.

Aural pleasure comes in the lust-fuelled Body Talk. A shimmering, glam rock, hedonistic hunt for a nameless conquest, steeped in hip shaking drums and rolling riffs from Emily Mood and Kriss Tokaji respectively, punctuating the need to feel a spark of humanity, only to dispose of it when life force is replenished.

Blood Moon is a blistering rollercoaster of a track that drags us into the depths of addiction. Too Fast For Love era Crue meets lyrics snatched from the mouth of Dr Timothy Leary, and a middle break that makes the heart race so fast you’ll feel like you’re in withdrawal.

An unexpected cover of the now iconic Alice Cooper, Desmond Child, John McCurry composition, Poison, is a definite moment of greatness for Starbenders. Sugar coated harmonies layered upon vocals full of angst, Kimi Shelter easily captures that sense of futility, the overwhelming desire for the one thing that is so bad yet tastes so mouth wateringly good. Poised for release in September 23, Take Back The Night is a dark and delicious bite of gritty, glam, punk, everything we need for the future of rock n roll is here in all its grime and glory.

You can see Starbenders live in the UK throughout October.


“The Call Of The Void” is the second solo effort from Nita Strauss. The sophomore release features fourteen tracks to feast your ears upon. An additional eight instrumentals are included on the digital version.

“The Call Of The Void” kicks off with the dramatic opus “Summer Storm”, followed by “The Wolf You Feed”, with Alissa White-Gluz taking the vocals for that Death Metal touch.

“Through The Noise” features Lzzy Hale lending vocals on this little stomper. The Hale collaboration has a commercial edge over most on the album.

“Consume The Fire’’ is an instrumental blast of guitar melody containing several mood changes to highlight Strauss’ virtuoso talent. David Draiman guests on “Dead Inside” which blasts just as you might expect with a dash of Disturbed in the flavouring dept. “Victorious” is an anthemic number featuring Dorothy on vocals. A favourite on this sophomore release.

“Scorched” is a slow tempo instrumental, before we tilt to “Momentum”. The latter is an instrumental with hints of inspiration from the classics Jason Becker, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Tony MacAlpine. The collaborative numbers continue with “The Golden Trail” featuring Anders Fridén on vocals followed by “Winner Takes All” with special guest Alice Cooper. The latter is another anthemic blast into the metal zone.

“Monster” comes next featuring Lilith Czar on vocals. The song is a dramatic metal stomper bound for commercial success for sure. Whilst “Kintsugi” is another instrumental, showing a gentler side to Nita’s musicality. The last song on the physical release “Surfacing” features Marty Friedman. It’s a classic instrumental with heavy riffing and guitar virtuosity all over it. If you get a chance to hear the full digital release you get the guest vocalist songs as well as instrumental tracks.

“The Call Of The Void” is a delight from start to finish. The album features a well-crafted set of tunes illustrating Nita’s musical prowess.


The old adage ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ can be applied to many things - if you just happen to be the world’s best-selling death metal band unleashing your sixteenth full length album upon the world then the adage ‘if it ain’t broke, make it better’ seems more apt.

‘Chaos Horrific’ is yet another bludgeoning effort from Corpsegrinder & Co and shows no signs of slowing down within the CC camp. The second album to feature Hate Eternal’s six-stringer extraordinaire Erik Rutan (who also produces, a handy chap to have in your ranks) sees a slight shift towards a more, shall we say, groovy feel. Tracks like ‘Blood Blind’ and the ridiculously heavy ‘Vengeful Invasion’ sees the band employ slower parts in-between the frenzied drums of Paul Mazurkiewicz (defying his years with another awesome performance) alongside chug-tastic offerings like ‘Pestilential Rictus’.

The brutal Corpse tracks that we all know, and love are also in plentiful supply, like the opener ‘Overlords Of Violence’ and the horrifically chaotic title track itself. The lead work, provided by Mr Rutan of course, also gives the material more scope and atmosphere than earlier CC works (told ya he’s a handy chap to have around).

So where to place ‘Chaos Horrific’ in their extensive back catalogue? Even upon first listen it’s evident that this album has tons of replay value as there’s so many meaty riffs to stick your teeth into. It may not be as revered as Butchered At Birth but for a band 35 years into their career the fact that they’re still able to churn out such quality surely should be revered. No bullshit, no gimmicks, no messing about - this is pure old school death metal the way it should be.

Words by Neil Not Neil presents Full Metal Racket every Sunday at 7pm on Hard Rock Hell Radio!



The queen of Nordic-noir blues rock returns and at her sonically forceful best with this volcanic hot live recording. It’s her fourth live album and, this one being recorded at Rytmikorjaamo, Seinäjoki, in the Western part of Finland, it’s a scorcher. It captures Erja, and her devilishly good band, in full lava flow during their ten-date Spring 2023 tour.

Showcasing choice cuts from her most recent and acclaimed studio album, Waiting For The Daylight, and favourite older songs, the high energy expended by Erja, and backed up to the hilt by her band, sounds like it put the front of house soundboard needles emphatically into the red zone.

The surprise ingredient to this new album promoting tracklist is her ode to Finnish artist Pekka Halonen’s painting ‘Väinämöinen Tuonelassa’. It’s based on the Finnish epic saga, Kalevala, in which a shaman called Väinämöinen goes into the Underworld. On this folk-metal hybrid, Erja also sings in her native Finnish tongue to awesome effect. But it’s the adrenalized stunner, Diamonds On The Road, that opens a sparkling and muscular set of songs in which one can hear the shock and awe of the audience’s reaction. This album’s single, You Talk Dirty, is a set to stun musical medusa of a song: one listen and you’re trapped then partially released by follow up tune, Lover’s Novels. As a live

artist, Lyytinen never fails to lay her intentions on the line as she rocks the rafters of this Finnish outpost. These thirteen well-chosen tracks, including a frantic fret burn-up on Hendrix’s Crosstown Traffic, fully represents her live experience. Not forgetting her astonishing vocal delivery that could sink an iceberg. This is a hot and cool album in equal parts from an artist who still shines tough as a diamond.


Kanadians Kataklysm have evolved from a full-on death metal band formed 32 years ago, to a more streamlined modern sounding death metal outfit. It’s obviously something they feel they’re quite good at as ‘Goliath’ is the quartet’s 15th studio album. Not only that but consistency has been an element in their genetics and this album is yet another grand exercise in how to execute savage, abrasive yet foot-tappingly excellent death metal.

Let’s be quite clear here - if you’re familiar with the band then you kinda know what to expect. But it’s in their manner of delivery that will have you coming back for more each time. Opener ‘Dark Wings Of Deception’ flies out of the trap like a bat out of hell but the faster stuff still sits very comfortably amongst the slower stompers like ‘Combustion’ and ‘Bringer Of Vengeance’. There are also windmill-inducing blastathons such as ‘The Redeemer’ to sink your pearly whites into, featuring a maelstrom of double-bass drumming from James Payne. In fact, the musicianship on offer is of a high standard that you’d expect from a band so deep into their career. Jean-François Dagenais’ riffs are brutal enough to satisfy the thirst of any serious metal-head yet still somehow peels off the occasional catchy passage to spice things up a bit. Any slight criticism may be aimed at Maurizio Iacono’s sometimes one-dimensional vocal delivery - but hey, this is death metal, whaddaya expect?

So, another solid addition to Kataklysm’s arsenal - ‘Goliath’ won’t set the world on fire but there’s enough quality to produce some serious carnage in festival moshpits the world over. No doubt this will be a highlight of the year for many a true headbanger out there.


Robert Jon And The Wreck are on something of a prolific roll. Ride Into The Light is their eighth album release (discounting contemporaneous associated EPs) since their debut long player, Fire Started. In fact, one could mistake the last two words of their name being their ongoing mental and physical state with this febrile output. However, listening to the good-time vibes permeating each song creates a huge musical statement. And given the roll call of elite-level producers engaged on these songs, it’s patently clear that ‘The Wreck’ is moving on up to starrier climes.

Talking about feel-good vibes, it was the single West Coast Eyes that alerted fans to what they were in store for across the thirty-two minutes of this game-raising record. It’s a throwback anthem that breezes in with a welcoming warm fuzzy feeling delightfully parcelled up by Joe Bonamassa and Josh Smith’s production smarts. As a bonus, they repeat this on the downright groovy Don’t Look Down. As a song title, it’s wise words for a band scaling further heights beyond their recent plateau. It’s also an album in which guitarist Henry Schneekluth excels as he impressively bends strings across the frets. Robert Jon Burrison’s vocals also seem richer, especially on the Don Was helmed tracks Who Can You Love and Come At Me. The Kevin Shirley directed title track further mixes these ingredients to delicious effect.

As a final course, as much is true for the country-rock blues Dave Cobb produced tunes Pain No More and One Of A Kind. This veteran band and the producers involved, makes thirtytwo minutes seem twice as enjoyably long. It’s one hell of a Ride Into The Light.

Words by Paul Davies


Far from the hard rock, duelling guitars of his former success with Bigfoot, The Sass Bandits sound is firmly rooted in AOR, 70’s and 80’s rock, synth pop and a little Yacht Rock. As expected from one of the best guitarists on the UK scene, the riffs are still huge, but this is not metal, this, is cheese.

Kicking off with The Killing Floor, a collaboration of vocal harmonies, saxophone, and lyrics so catchy you find yourself singing along instantaneously, all while underpinned by stunning guitar. More Cheese Please is already hard to resist, even for the lactose intolerant. The Sass Bandits have already had success with the singles released from this album to date. Chardonnay, When The Summer Ends, The Killing Floor each have their own charm, but there are some true greats to be discovered here. Standout track, Dancing On My Own, has a Hall and Oats meets Angus Young circa 1976 brand of aural delight.

As a prolific songwriter and producer, Millar has the ability to formulate lyrics that emanate his tongue in cheek wit. Showbiz is Sam in full sarcasm mode, comedic taunts with clever wordplay, a riff that Justin Hawkins of the Darkness would envy, shimmering keys and glam rock energy each combine to birth this cheeky masterpiece.

More Cheese Please is a perfect soundtrack to summer days. There is a feelgood factor, a serotonin boost, without being sickly sweet. Each of the things that are adored by fans of The Eagles, ELO, Abba, Don Henley, and AC/DC are present here.

Yes, it’s cheesy, but this is the rich, expensive, well-crafted kind, with layers of flavour, so tasty that you simply can’t stop yourself from wanting more.

by Viki



Following 2020’s sublime debut EP, ‘If You’re Listening’, fans of Ashley Sherlock Band have been eagerly awaiting this album from the Manchester trio, known for their pure, unembellished approach to their craft, as cool and refreshing as a sweet iced tea on a sweltering day. Enlisting Charlie Rachel Kay on bass and Danny Rigg on drums, Ashley made the transition from performing as a solo artist to being part of a threepiece blues rock ensemble, and never were there three musicians whose


New Generation Superstars have long been reigning as kings of the European and UK rock scenes. To date, they have gathered fans from across the globe, with their Orange County, meets New York punk sound. Not forgetting some glam, glitter and grime, Michael

chemistry matched so well. Danny’s stoic, anchoring drums and Charlie’s perfectly matched basslines are the precise compliment to Ashley’s ringing vocal tones and polished guitar work.

The album is in every way a team effort, with all three sharing writing, production and mixing duties, and whilst their first EP was highly acclaimed, the album takes them to another level. It’s Ashley’s impressive octave range and adept versatility on both lead and rhythm guitars that allow him to shine as very much the frontman of this trio however, his musical talent is unique, and the album is packed with highlights to showcase this.

Opening track ‘Trouble’ with its pained ambience, demonstrates some crashing, dramatic riffs and drums and gives us a taste of those falsetto vocals Ashley is renowned for. It also carries a beautiful, searing guitar solo and is the perfect way to guide the listener into what’s to come. Thoughtful and pensive, ‘I Think That She Knows’ follows, with added tremolo giving it a nostalgic feel. In direct contrast, ‘Realise’ and ‘Empty Street’ are what I’d describe as subliminal rock and roll – there’s a

definite 90s aura and the guitars are slightly grungier – whereas ‘Time’ is different again with a bouncy backbeat and almost folky in its general tone.

A varied collection for sure, but the recognisable thread of the band runs directly through every song. The tougher, bluesier numbers are my personal preference – I love ‘Goodbye To You’ – but what always makes an album great is diversity and the simple sweetness of ‘Dear Elizabeth’ illustrates this beautifully, as does the boulder ‘Something’s Got To Give’ with its colourful solo guitar. Finishing up the album are ‘Last Call’ and ‘What If I Said To You’; both gentle and sweetly melodic, and finally ‘Backstage Wall’, soul bearing with a drop of angst and regret, very much a thought provoker and delivering a poignant message that life as a musician is undoubtedly a bag of mixed emotions.

A perfect debut album to introduce us to Ashley, Charlie, and Danny’s superb musical style and talent.

Monroe, Gene and Paul, Johnny Thunders, and plenty of rock n roll, NGS’s brand spanking, new release Agree to Disagree, has got it all. I remember the day I found rock n’roll are the first words uttered by NGS and introducing us to track 1, Too Loud.

An anthemic, hooky, punk rock bop, supported by a lyric that utters those immortal words, if its too loud, you’re too old!

Already a favourite with live audiences, the celebratory Raise A Toast is up next. Filled to the brim with bonhomie, tales of the glory days, of great times on the road, interjected with attention grabbing Oi Oi Oi’s, pulsing drums, and bass, leave the listener with an overwhelming desire to get up and find the party. Never ones to shy away from the heady days of glam rock, the filthy and gorgeous, Devil in Disguise takes a little Bowie, a little Rolling Stones, dusts off the glitter and replaces it with lust.

Gotta Have Her is next up and is NGS at their roaring best, rock n roll with a ska break makes for an amicable, irresistible

jaunt, that is sure to please a baying live audience.

Freefall brings the album to an emotional, epic, yet elegant, close. A love letter to the mother of singer Aaron James, the lyrics are heartfelt and heart breaking, but delivered in a track that rocks so hard it could rival GNR’s November Rain in its splendour.

NGS’S 6th album, Agree To Disagree sees the band remain steadfast and true to form throughout this unrelenting, onslaught of 14 highly infectious, simply brilliant, aurally stimulating tracks.



Welsh doom-stoner wonders Woven Man have unleashed their new album with Off Yer Rocka Recordings, the highly anticipated Sardonic Waters.

We are immediately lured in with a soundscape of crashing waves, giving a glimpse of what the experience of the album aims to explore; with waves and ripples big and small as you listen to each track. Going in strong with hard-hitting opener ‘Break The Sea’ which displays a broad mix of rock influences from hard rock to heavy doom, even dabbling in a few grunge elements.

We are introduced to a palate cleanser track as we hear the opening to ‘Led By Cold Water’ which hosts a delicate guitar melody giving the listener a calm-before-the-storm feel, as if it was a perfectly calculated break within the album.

‘The Mutiny’ for me was a highlight track with high-energy grunge components peeping through in the vocals and gritty-guitar-chugs. This style is also carried into ‘Reckoning’ during different segments of the track also displaying influences and characteristics of a hard-rock 90s vibe.

Finishing the album is the ballsy ‘Equilibrium’ which solidifies the overall intention of this album release. With stoner grooves, chunky melodic riffs and a wide range of vocals throughout, the theme of the calm with the chaos is clear as a main exploration of Sardonic Waters. It sounds as though the waves from the introduction track are mimicked with a different intention behind each song, making this album a smooth listen.

Sardonic Waters is now available on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Deezer and Anghami – check out their socials for direct links. For any fans of sludge, stoner and doom inspired heavy rock.


Welcome back Syteria as they unleash their third album Syteria World on August 11th, 2023, via Cargo.

The Yorkshire based quartet were formed by Jackie ‘Jax’ Chambers of UK rockers Girlschool. She handles guitar/vocals in Syteria, along with Steph Dawson on bass guitar/vocals, Argentine brother and sister Pablo Calvo on drums/vocals and Julia Calvo on lead vocals.

Fourteen songs of the highest order drive the album along, proven by opening track ‘Chasing Dreams’. It’s prime power pop fuelled by a raging main riff and sugar sweet vocals that deliver a powerful message. ‘Breaking Through’ is a drum driven headbanger to fill up any rock disco dancefloor, living up to its title by breaking through the sound barrier courtesy of an ear mauling riff.

It’s not very often I turn the volume down but the knockout blows in ‘It Hit Me’ are a force of nature that you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley! A fiery midsection gives way for a bombastic, ballsy outro. Wiry intro riffs for ‘Monsters’ muscle up for the monsters to get monstrous around a frail vocal in the verses but push harder in the heavy choruses. A bass heavy midsection heralds a welcome return to the stratospheric choruses, serene guitar solo and an acapella like outro.

‘Remember Me’ sees them go down the gears for a beautiful piece of heartstring tugging balladry. It swoops and soars over dense rhythms, but the spotlight is stolen by a compelling lead vocal. ‘Raise Your Glass’ seems very apt as this Motorhead like speaker rattler could be dedicated to the great man on the Rickenbacker bass guitar. It’s another full on headbanger to test the resilience of your neck muscles! Two bonus tracks close the album. First up is ‘Talk Too Much’ with a main riff of wrecking ball power for this party starting and finishing metal monster!

They give the album an over the top send off with a fuzzed up frantic two-minute blast cover of ‘Rockaway Beach’. Job done!


The third EP by the boys from the North East, ‘Fallout’ has five tracks that show how diverse and adept Wild Thorn have become since forming backing 2014. Ash Robertson put the band together, and the vocalist is joined by his brother Elliott on drums, bassist Kiko Rivers and Sean J Tempest on guitars. Listing influences such as Van Halen, Queen, Motörhead and the Foo Fighters, the guys have played all around the UK, including HRH Sleaze 2022 and HRH Spring Break in Great Yarmouth.

‘Hurricane Queen’ was released as a single, back in March this year. Raunchy and guitarswinging, it’s pure sleaze and has a chorus to haunt you through the night. ‘Living In A Nightmare’ sulks along with ‘The Almighty’ in its veins. Having an unmoving stance, it’s quite a powerful number, and again the guitar screams to enhance the ride. ‘Lonely Again (Symphonic Version)’ has been re-recorded, and the ballad given more depth. It’s certainly full of atmosphere and feeling. We experience some cheesy rock and roll on ‘4 Minute Warning’ as Wild Thorn step into the platform boots of KISS and Wrathchild. Naturally, it’s the most ear-catching song on the EP. The last track ‘Out There’ has whiskey-drenched Southern vibes, not quite ‘Sweet Home Alabama’, it’s more County Durham but charming and captivating, nonetheless. Altogether Fallout is massively adhering, so I will be adding their back catalogue to my collection and hope to see them on the road soon.

Fallout was recorded at Blank Studios Newcastle and Horn-Tech in Durham. It was mixed and mastered by the band’s guitarist Sean. The artwork is by Andy Pilkington (Skindred, KK’s Priest, Fury UK).

There will be a full UK tour in November. Check the band’s social pages or Website for the full details.


The pathos imbued in Martin’s doleful vocals adds a deeply mined blues gravitas normally found in the Delta blues men; not those coming from inner city Belfast. That he instils such thoughts in the listener is the charm of Martin’s genuine love for the blues. Then again, also being a consummate guitarist and artist with a dangerous backstory of addiction leading to redemption, he has the life experience as he reveals in the grizzly and brooding Belfast Blues. As an album of acute lightness and deep, dark contrasts, it’s preceded by Government in which Martin channels John Martyn’s Sunday’s Child period mix of trance inducing acoustic compositions and gruff singing.


The sprite acoustic tones of the short opening tune, Hello In There, softly ushers in Dom Martin’s fourth studio album release. It deceptively sets up Daylight I Will Find that slides in with a banging blues stomp.


For a five-year period, resulting in the release of these four albums, Gary Moore recorded for the Sanctuary label; a label that mainly provided veteran artists a refuge for releasing music. Acquiring Castle Music in 2000 gave Sanctuary control over an extensive catalogue of recordings including Moore’s 1999 A Different Beat album, recently released on vinyl by BMG,

Comparisons to Tom Waits are also not unfounded as Martin’s voice on the sorrowful ballad Crazy proves. It’s a song that bleeds out from the heart with the sort of smouldering guitar solo that Dom’s major influence, Rory Gallagher, would no doubt salute. Unhinged’s grinding riff has the kind of rusty sonics as catchy as, well, a

and it’s the first CD compiled in this time-travel box set. Also contained is a poster, stickers, memorabilia, 5.1 mixes of Back To The Blues (edited version) and select interviews on Blu-Ray. Three bonus tracks: Picture Of the Moon (single edit); Cold Black Night; Stormy Monday; both recorded live at a VH1 session, are the only added music extras. This aside, it is a compelling box set for Moore afficionados.

A Different Beat details a modernising of Moore’s sound. He experimented with and assimilated the then contemporary beats as he pushed his musical boundaries into a new territory. Hopping back to familiar musical ground, 2001’s Back To The Blues is just that. It’s a tour-de-force of blues-soaked tunes, co-produced by himself and the legendary Chris Tsangarides, six Moore originals intermingle with four covers of which T-Bone Walker’s perennial classic, Stormy Monday, and Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson’s Looking Back stand out. Primal Scream’s drummer, Darrin Mooney, delivers power and precision which he further demonstrates on the short-lived Moore helmed Scars project with Skunk Anansie’s Cass Lewis on bass duties. The heavy blues power created by this trio which, at the time, was likened as a powerful mix of Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan stands tall casting a long shadow today since its 2002 release. Moore’s screaming wah-wah on When

heavy dose of the blues. The Hendrix and Rory guitar motifs add, and not detract, from this soon to be live favourite. Overall, Buried In The Hail is a smartly paced album of blues stylings that doesn’t repeat itself. Further proof of which is the haunting guitar and vocal intro to The Fall. It sets up this impressive record’s longest song that’s enveloped in a dramatic spooky vibe.

The jaunty blues guitar picking, shuffling drums and pounding bass on Howlin’ precedes the opening of personal baggage on the title track that’s amplified by heavy coruscating guitar passages. Tailing off this career best album is Lefty Two Guns. It’s an electric guitar master class with overtones of Robin Trower at his slow burning best. All good things must come to an end and the chilly guitar passage on the brief Laid To Rest finally closes the lid on a mesmeric album of top-class blues music that’s Dom’s best to date.

The Sun Goes Down is worth this spin alone. My Baby and Just Can’t Let You Go are nailed-on blues rockers revealing this power-trio’s musical strengths.

The final CD in this Sanctuary time portal is 2004’s Moore/Tsangarides produced Power Of The Blues. Former Rainbow and Ozzy bassist Bob Daisley joined Mooney and keyboardist, Jim Watson, plays on three tracks. Most of the songs were recorded in one take and this live feel is evident in the force of musical chemistry between all players. The title track, and a cover of Willie Dixon’s I Can’t Quit You Baby, plus original compositions by Moore raises the blues bar and is one of his finest releases. With the Back To The Blues 5.1 mix, the Blu-Ray has audio only interviews with Moore recalling the Different Beat and Back To The Blues periods. This box set is one for Gary Moore completists.



Forty-Five years and counting. Girlschool set the world alight with album number fourteen WTFfortyfive? Indeed, where does the time go? What we have here is twelve songs full of melody and hooks galore. A definite addition to all who love their music and



Corey Taylor, the man who knows no fear when it comes to making music, comes right back at us, all guns blazing, with his second solo album featuring bandmates Christian Martucci (guitar, backing vocals), Dustin Robert (drums, backing vocals), Zach Throne (guitar, backing vocals) and new boy Eliot Lornago (bass, backing vocals). With the compliment of this tribe of outstanding musicians it’s no surprise that Corey himself describes this album as ‘the best rock album of this year and next’.

Following up 2020’s CMFT, this

no-nonsense Rock and Roll.

The album kicks off with “It Is What It Is”. Thundering bass, full of attitude, with every word sung from the heart. Next up is “Cold Dark Heart”, a classic with a haunting touch to the chorus. It’s one of my favourite songs on the album.

“Bump In The Night” is a rock-solid number, and I guarantee you’re going to tap away through this tune. Moving onto “Barmy Army” takes me back to an earlier feel of these rock royals with a party mood. It’s full of melody and another chorus to sing along and blast on repeat several times.

“Invisible Killer” follows with a classic rock feel and a superb hook. It’s another favourite that I’d like to hear live. Halfway through the album, we have “Believing in You” - an anthem for all things Rock n Roll if I ever heard one. It’s solid throughout. Classic rock with a

chanting chorus. “It’s a Mess” is another notable favourite on the album. It’s one for a Sunday drive to the coast. Next up is “Into the Night” another classic, that is well-structured with a commercial vibe. Followed by the hard rocking “Are You Ready?” The first single from the album, as you’d expect a blistering rip of rock and roll featuring Joe Stump.

“Up To No Good” blasts out next with a fast-pace and a punky edge reminiscent of early Girlschool. The penultimate tune “Party” reminded me a little of the Beastie Boys’ “Fight For Your Right” but with more Rock and Roll turned up to 11 of course. We finish on a classic cover “Born To Raise Hell” featuring none other than Biff Byford (Saxon), Phil Campbell (Motörhead), and Duff McKagan (Guns N’ Roses). What else do you need for a good time? A perfect album for a good sing-along any day of the year.

by Russell Peake

sound is indicative of Corey’s entire music career, not just the CMFT incarnation. There are elements of Stone Sour, flavours of Slipknot, a lot of Corey himself and some pure experimentation.

Corey’s mandolin playing fashions opening track ‘The Box’, with its tagline of ‘enjoy the show’; inviting us to experience what’s beyond and introducing a sense of the unexpected. A cacophonous intro to ‘Post Traumatic Blues’ is more familiar sounding; there’s some awesome complex drumming and Corey’s aggressive vocal growl makes its first appearance. Darker things are to come and this angry, impassioned piece with a tasty guitar solo included leaves us in no doubt. ‘Talk Sick’ is a finely constructed rock anthem, ballsy, demonic and in your face, before ‘Breath Of Fresh Smoke’ calms everything down with acoustic guitars, a slower pace and a hint of the semiautobiographical. This will strike a chord with anyone who knows the angst of growing up in a small town with limited options.

‘Beyond’ is a rock stomper with an epic guitar solo, ideal for the first single release. ‘We Are The Rest’ is a favourite for me, with its inflamed pace and irate

chorus designed for being shouted along to by a ferocious crowd of fans; punk edged and with the rabble rousing feel of a call to arms. The album swings round again by following up with expressive ‘Midnight’ featuring cellist Mariko Murnanka adding an eerie atmosphere of sorrowful grace. Heavy basslines bring us in to ‘Starmate’, another ode to Mrs Corey Taylor, stripped back ‘Sorry Me’ has another semi-autobiographical feel, full of regret, sadness, and melancholic contrition, just vocals and acoustic guitar enhancing the air of isolation the song portrays.

‘Punchline’, another kicking hard rock song is then followed by gentler ‘Someday I’ll Change Your Mind’, and then a galloping surge of splenetic nu-metal groove with ‘All I Want Is Hate’, as venomous as the title suggests. The album finishes with ‘Dead Flies’, a riff heavy anthem to round off the package.

I despair to find fault with this album, it has everything, is expertly put together with it’s ‘mix and match’ content, enough familiarity to excitedly acknowledge and enough surprises to delight.



Hi! Please introduce yourself to the HRH MAG readers. What’s your name and where do you come from?

I’m Sally-Anne Wright, although quite a few will know me as Sally Hetty on Facebook. I’m from Dunstable in Bedfordshire, where I share a home with my partner Rob (some might know him from Yesterday’s Gone and Sons of Liberty) and my gang of rescue cats. Do you need to know other stuff about me? I work in Marketing but I’m also and author and illustrator, so far, I’ve got the Floki and Friends series of children’s books published, also do voluntary work for a local animal charity, as well as the rescue cats I’ve got a one eyed rescue pony.

The DC is full of people with alt loves and lifestyles, as our Viking queen, can you tell us how this became your tribe of choice?

I’ve always been fascinated with Viking culture, so much so one of my nicknames at school was Sally the Viking. I’ve always been interested in local history too, effectively where I live was under Danelaw in the height of Viking times, but It’s also the crossroads of two main roman roads, and there’s a bronze age settlement at the top of my road. I love how Vikings have been popularised recently though with the TV series’ Vikings and Last Kingdom (although it’s not overly authentic…), and the emergence of Viking metal. I guess the downside is the look is quite popular now, so you see people about and think they’re into the same thing and they aren’t, it’s just because its currently in trend!

You’ve recently attended Castlefest in Holland, what do you love about being with others that share your passion for Viking history and folklore.

Castlefest is my most attended festival, it’s literally magical. It’s set around a castle ground in Keukenhof and attracts a wide group of ages and different interests, but you’re most likely to see Vikings, Pirates and Steampunk. I started going in 2013 when it was much smaller, the attendance now is about 30,000. This Saturday I got to see Skald performing, but it was also the venue for the first ever Heilung performance, and Einar Selvik from Wardruna has also performed in the past. It’s where I discovered my favourite music genre of Swedish Pirate bands and my alltime favourite band Ye Banished Privateers

(I’ll add a pic of them when they performed at Fantasy Forest in July, you can just about see my face in the crowd!). This weekend I got to see another Swedish Pirate band “Pat Razket” who are now a very close second.

And, of course you get to dress accordingly too?

Totally! You’ll mostly see me as a Viking, and it’s not unusual to see friends with warpaint on their faces after they’ve bumped into me at a festival as I carry my paint stick around with me often – but I also do pirate if I’m going to see one of my fav pirate bands or Alestorm, or an elf as I’m a bit of a Lord of the Rings nerd too.

Growing up, when did you first fall in love with music, who were the faces in the posters on your walls! This might be a weird one to explain! In my younger days I was in to 1950’s music mostly… I started off very young playing my mum and dads old records, then by the time I was 15 I was off out on the London rockabilly scene which was a massive subculture in the 1980’s and 1990’s – so faces on posters were Eddie Cochran, Johnny Cash and Billy Fury. I always loved rock and metal too, but it was limited to mainstream as that’s all I was aware of at the time. I discovered Castlefest and other fantasy festivals over ten years ago and started going to those with my ex-husband, it’s only been since my divorce 6 years ago that I started going out to rock and metal gigs and festivals. I didn’t have any friends into the music at the time, but I decided that wasn’t going to hold me back anymore, I was going to go out and enjoy the music I wanted to hear regardless! My first HRH was the first Vikings – a Facebook friend I’d never actually met in person told me about it, so I booked my ticket and headed along and had the absolute best time, and have been coming to HRH ever since (the only ones I don’t do are the punk and goth ones) and have built strong friendships along the way

Have you always been a fan of rock music, or was it one band that drew you into the genre?

I kind of went in to that one above without reading this question first – I tend to waffle on… so yes, I’ve always enjoyed it, but came into it by rather an unusual route

Sally, can you remember your first gig, your first festival? When did you start attending the HRH Events?

My first ever gig was The Alarm when I was 15, I was obsessed with them at school! My first HRH was the first Vikings (my fav HRH!) but since then have frequented Vikings, HRH Metal, Hammerfest, Doom vs Stoner, NWOCR, ABC, Hard Rock Hell, and Spring Break (by Hard Rock Hell I’ll have done 6 this year).

Which of the HRH events is your favourite in the Calendar and why?

Vikings!!! I’m absolutely gutted there won’t be one this year although I do understand why. I also love Hammerfest and Hard Rock Hell. I tend to steer more towards the metal side, I absolutely love folk metal, black metal, and death metal.

And what has been your most memorable event to date and why? Was it the line-up, a particular set, or maybe a very wild and wonderful caravan party? Bear in mind names will not be withheld to protect the innocent!

Vikings in 2019 as Finntroll headlined the Saturday and I absolutely love Finntroll! I got to see them again this year at Birmingham Asylum, was ace to see them again. I guess Vikings 2018 too as the line-up was excellent and it was my first intro to HRH which had me hooked, I loved the atmosphere and the people, it was incredibly welcoming

You are new to the DC Sally; how does it feel to be part of the family? You get to see the work behind the scenes and get to hear about future plans and events, it’s not all free pizza and shots is it!

I love it! I felt very privileged to be asked to join. It’s great to catch up with everyone at the meets, it really is a family. It’s also good to hear about the future plans and everything that’s going on. The loyalty amongst the group is very special

What is it about HRH Events that keeps you coming back for more?

I’d say it’s both the music and the people. Most of my friends are up north whereas I’m down south so it’s brilliant to meet up with everyone and enjoy the atmosphere and music together


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