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Issue 9

15/5/06

3:23 am

Page 06

Cool From The Wire Delivering only the news that will fit on the page!

Come Out & Play!! These days, the future lies in the hands of those who are ready, willing and able to getup and do things for themselves. Enter Acey Slade and his uncompromising band of brothers in Trashlight Vision. Those of you with a memory slightly better than that of a goldfish will know already that TLV rise from the ashes of Murderdolls and if you’ve had the foresight to check out the track we have available for download at www.burnmag.co.uk, you’ll know the band mean business. In support of said business, Acey and co recently shot a video on the streets of New York. Embracing a true New York Groove, the band recruited a ‘bunch of chicks’ and delivered an apocalyptic vision along the lines of the Warriors movie - in other words, they rocked the city down and came up with a real deal rock n roll video that will put a smile on your face. The bands debut album Alibis & Ammunition is out now through Undergroove, Check out www.trashlightvision.com for more information. Alibis & Ammunition is reviewed on page 74 watch out for a full on interview with the guys next month. Meanwhile, get off your ass, get in the car and go to one or two of these: MAY 06 24 Hiroshima Turin Italy 25 New Age Treviso Italy 26 Rainbow Milan Italy 27 Palace Kalmar Sweden 28 Somer Casino Basel Switzerland 30 Salz Haus Winterthur Switzerland 31 Flex Vienna Austria JUNE 06 01 Postbahnhof Berlin Germany 02 Kliene Elsterhalle Munich Germany 04 Centralstation Darmstadt Germany 05 Schlachthof Dresdon Germany 06 La Boule Noir Paris France 08 Underworld London UK 11 Cathouse Glasgow UK 13 Nottingham Rock City w/ B*Movie Heroes 14 Wrexham, Central station 15 Southampton, Joiners 16 Sheffield, Corporation 17 Edinburgh, Studio 24 18 Dundee, Doghouse

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w w w. b u r n m a g . c o . u k | B U R N M A G A Z I N E


by Roger Lotring

������� ��������� Tracii Guns knows music—not just playing it, but how to really enjoy listening to it. Throughout the course of a nearly two hour conversation the guitarist tapped an immense musical vocabulary, eagerly discussing music as diverse as the Misfits and Led Zeppelin, everyone from Avenged Sevenfold to Motörhead, Slipknot and the Rolling Stones. And, of course, his own band, Brides Of Destruction.

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hat endless range of appreciation is what connects the dots that are the thirteen tracks making up Runaway Brides. But the founding Guns N’ Roses guitarist is likeably unpretentious about the latitude of the new album, admitting that some reviewers already that it takes more than listening just once or twice to fully recognize the artistic growth from Here Come The Brides. That 2003 was largely a collection of demos, and the overall feel of this second album is noticeably different in terms of songwriting, performance, and running order of the tracks. “There’s some things that will hit you over the head right away,” Guns allows, but for the most part he thinks it’s the direct opposite of what the band did before, especially the extensive creativity that really began almost two years ago. “We took forever writing and recording, getting to the bottom of our musicality as a band.” Collaborating with London LeGrand, admittedly more of a developing songwriter than the more seasoned Guns, proved to be a different process, he says. “All these songs started as four or five pages of lyrics,” he chuckles, calling the younger singer a crazy encyclopedia writer. Rather than simple choruses and verses, Tracii would burn different musical ideas to disc and ask him to write accompanying stories—like “Porcelain Queen,” the original story being an involved tale of a medieval actress trapped in time, reborn in an era of Hollywood glamour. Suggesting that he’s either got great imagination or too much time, Guns jokes without missing a beat, “it’s both.” Bassist Nikki Sixx is credited as co-writing several tracks, and also Ginger from the Wildhearts, someone Tracii didn’t know until meeting him in Japan. “He was the nicest guy in the world, and I had never heard any horror stories about him—until after he joined the band,” he laughs, calling him one of the most talented people he’s ever known. “But he has something that comes over him, which is obviously a drug-related problem, where he turns into a different person.” Not willing to recreate the tension of similar situations from the past, the short-lived second guitarist was dismissed. “I didn’t start this new band to be involved with people like that. But we were lucky enough to have him involved in some of the songwriting, and that was a very good experience.” Having formed the band with Tracii before reactivating Mötley Crüe late last year, the name Nikki Sixx naturally comes up many more times during the interview, as well as any possible return to the Brides. “Honestly, I don’t see Nikki wanting to do this,” Guns admits, saying the heated words spoken publicly back and forth really comes down to heartfelt friendship between them. “He’s still constantly in touch with the other guys—not so

much me—because we’re his friends, and that’s why we put this band together.” New bassist Scott Sorry would ultimately become a second guitarist, in the unlikely event that Sixx ever rejoins the band. “That is the only reason I could see Nikki wanting to do this, to be with his friends.” Six months to fully rehearse and record might as well have been forever to Tracii, a timeframe to which he says he had become unaccustomed over the last several years. “The last records I’ve done, those were rehearsed in a month, recorded in a month.” And the writing process actually started before the last album was even released. Tracks like “Brother,” “Criminal” and “This Time Around” were the first songs written, going back as far as December 2003. That tradition will continue, according to Guns, who says material has already been written for the next album, following a creative tangent that will potentially take the band in an entirely different direction. Tracii says all four of the Brides have brand new acoustic guitars, and have also been experimenting with four-part vocal harmonies, things the guitarist admits he never really pursued before. “We just finished a song called ‘Long Cool Joe,’ which is real blues-based, not metal, not punk. This is a big deal for the band, that we have absolutely not one rule, musically,” meaning the third record might take more of an acoustic tone like Led Zeppelin III did decades earlier. Or even the Stones, whose new disc, A Bigger Bang, he calls their best in twenty years. It makes sense, then, that this second album should represent the band taking a step toward greater musical maturity, something the guitarist jokes is because of his mother. “I made a promise to her when I was a teenager, that I would stop writing heavy metal when I was forty,” explains the thirtysomething Guns, who seems to be striving with age toward what he considers greater musical dignity. “You’re supposed to have an air of a gentleman, and there comes a point in a man’s life where he should garner respect by respecting himself.” Having been defined by playing such a specific style of music for so long, he says he’s ready to start presenting himself in more of a classic way. “I just hope that people who really loved me for the heavy stuff don’t go away,” he chuckles nervously, fully aware that most people tend to compare his new music to Cocked And Loaded, the most remembered album from his years with L.A. Guns.


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Welcome to t tth he Future We really should have seen it coming. The age of advancement is well upon us and you only have to look at the amount of floor space given over to DVD in the stores to figure out what most of us want out of a purchase these days. More. Bigger, better, faster and more…

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ll hail the revolutionary DualDisc format. On one side, it’s a CD, on the other a DVD. It’s so damn simple that a small child could have thought of it, and if anyone sat back for long enough and thought about it, you have to wonder what the hell took so long. Initially developed about two years ago by four of the major labels and 5.1/Silverline Entertainment, some albums come out on no other format in the US. One of the first out of the blocks was the Springsteen album Devils and Dust and by May of this year, most albums released were as DualDisc. John Trickett, MD of 5.1/Silverline has a good handle on the situation; “The CD format is 20 years old now, and when you see how the DVD format delivers more value for money, it’s not surprising that people will download and pirate music. What we’ve done with the format is to make it a true multi media experience. When you buy the disc, you can play the CD as normal, or you can flip it over and watch the DVD content, but what we can also do is hook it into the internet and constantly update the content, so the disc you’ve just bought has the potential to have material added to it on an indefinite

basis – but you have to have an original disc in the first place.” “We had a ‘soft launch’ of the product back in October 2004 and the real ‘hard launch’ came shortly after early this year. To date we’ve moved over 5 million units, probably closer to 6 and it could even be more.” Intrigued? You should be! I have before me here, a set of 6 DualDiscs from the Warped tour. Each does exactly what it promises. There is no difference in CD sound quality, in fact it’s even better. The DVD side of the discs are also so simple, it defies logic. There’s nothing else to tell except that I see in my head that the possibilities are endless. The new Ian Gillan album, due for release early next year will be on DualDisc. John tells us that amongst other things, you get to choose, for example, whether or not you want Joe

Satriani playing the solo on Smoke on the Water or somebody else – in fact there’s a choice of 4 guitarists! This is just the tip of the iceberg. As the media progresses and artists see the creative potential, the world as we know it is about to tip on its head – and with the price of the discs being kept to no more than what we already pay for a regular CD, you’re just going to love it to death.

“YOU GET TO CHOOSE E, E, FOR EXAMPLE, E E, WHETHER OR NOT YO YOU WANT JOE SATRIANI PLAYING THE SOLO ON SMOKE ON THE WATER WATER OR SOMEBODY BODY ELSE E  IN FACT THERE’S A CHOI HOICE OF 4 GUITARISTS!”

DualDisc-a-go-go So, here’s the story. Our nice people know their nice people. Their nice people gave us 5 sets of 6 DualDiscs to give away from the above mentioned Beyond Warped series. If you want a set, simply send your name and address in to the usual address, and on the front write “DualDisc/ Warped”. Snip. Entries in by Oct 30th 2005.

The titles up for grabs are: Black Fire, Side Sixty Seven, Pulley, The Phenomenauts, Duane Peters & the Hunns and The Skulls.


ISSUE 11

11/8/06

8:50 pm

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20 INCREDIBLY DUMB QUESTIONS

Many moons ago, I got a letter from this guy... it said something like “Hey - put your money where your mouth is and listen to our album”. So I did.. and I was ever after saved from mediocre rock n roll by the stomping beast that became my friend. Ladies and Gentlemen - I give you Big Cock...

6. Were you worried about your cocks during the bird flu epidemic? We are prepared for any crises and always remember to bring our raincoats. You know those kinds that are ìribbed for her pleasureî. We wear them inside out for ours. 7. There was this show on TV the other day about a guy who injected growth hormones into his cock until it was the size of a small pig. Would you consider doing that onstage to any member of your band? Or even offstage for more personal gain... Personal gain – no. Monetary gain – well, that’s another story! 8. I think that’s enough cock questions now... Actually, fuck it, just one more! Gene used to breathe fire on stage - once you get the cash, what are you gonna do to show off? We are going to get the whole world to admit that they love Big Cock. 9. Do you care if they’re natural or jacked to the max with silicone? Love both, of course, but I’m more concerned with the area from the belly button on down.

1. Whose bright idea was it to call the band Big Cock and put a chicken on the front of your first album? Well, The Rolling Stones was taken and this was our second choice. Little Cock just wasn’t appropriate. 2. Have you ever shown girls your chicken while on stage? Jim Morrison got sued for that y’know! We only pull out the chickens after the show. As a matter of fact, the girls end up doing the pulling of the chickens. They seem to really enjoy it. 3. Sorry. It’s a cock isn’t it - I was just winding you up. Have you ever been to a cock fight? No, but I’ve been cock-blocked. Damn singers are always trying to cut into my action. 4. How about a dog fight? There was once a fight between two rather homely-looking girls backstage... 5. In a fight, who would win between a dog and a chicken... or a cock - you choose! The cock always triumphs! It’s all about the colorful plumage.

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10. 20 Questions is quite hard to do y’know. Make up your own and we’ll answer it! Do you consider your manhood in question having admitted that you love big Cock? No, not at all. I might have a bit of problem with having “I love Big Cock” tattooed across my chest, but I don’t mind standing on the nearest rooftop and shouting “I love Big Cock”. I think that would go down well.. particularly whilst wielding a chainsaw. Hang on... that was Jackyl wasn’t it... 11. See, not so easy is it? What do you usually make of us journalists anyways? They get nervous and jumpy when the tables are turned.

16. Favourite Kiss album... and why! Hard question! For me, it’s Dressed to Kill – short songs, stripped down, yet tight production. A great pop record overall and the fact that it has Rock and Roll All Nite on it doesn’t hurt either. I wore that record down to the grooves (back when records were records). 17. Which band from years gone by would you most like to see back together? See question 13. The first Van Halen concert I saw is still the best show I’ve ever been to. 18. Superman or Batman... and there is a right answer! I never liked Superman. He’s got too much power. And nobody recognizes him as Clark Kent because he’s not wearing the glasses? C’mon! Batman is the Dark Knight – moody, troubled and brooding. He’s a complex character - not some rube that grew up on a farm. (Batman is of course the correct answer here... full marks!) 19. Only two questions from the end - how does it feel to be this close? Sometimes, when it gets this close, I find it hard to hold back 20. er... you got any merch? I’m really fancying a t-shirt with Big Cock across the front! If you’re a Big Cock fan, I assume you need size XXXL? I‘ll give you one for free, but you’ll have to say how much you love Big Cock. Fuck... here we go again... I love Big Cock, I love Big Cock, I love Big Cock, I love Big Cock, I love Big Cock, I love Big Cock, I love Big Cock, I love Big Cock.... is that enough? (Maybe I should have got Sharon or Lou to do this. At least I could have had a few laughs as well..)

12. Any of you guys ever been to a life coach? No, but a coach once told me to get a life. 13. Seriously, what do you reckon the odds are on Van Halen getting back together? I think they will surprise us all and do it within the next 2 years. 14. I’ve heard your album and it rocks the house down... are you winning the war out there? As we state in one of our songs on the new record, we’re ‘kicking ass and taking names’. 15. Have you ever moonlighted as a telephone psychic? No, but I worked as a telemarketer for about two weeks when I first moved to L.A. I didn’t need to be a psychic to know I wasn’t going to make much money. w w w. b u r n m a g . c o . u k | B U R N M A G A Z I N E


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PART TWO

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obby cracked open the Jack and pulled off the top of one of the foul purple brews. “Drink the beer straight down, it will make you want to be sick but just fight it” I ordered unwrapping a couple of rocks of crack cocaine and placing them in a pipe. “Do you smoke?” I asked, lighting up the pipe and after taking a monster hit giving it to the boy. “Erm?” He said trying to figure out how to operate the crack pipe. Cobalt helped him, encouraging him to pull deeply on the highly addictive freebase cocaine. “This is called crack. Big tough rocker men smoke it to enable them to drink more alcohol, come on quickly lad, inhale then drink the beer. You’ll like it” Bobbie toked deep, the colour drained from his face and his eyes rolled back in his head. Rob smiled affectionately, remembering his first suck on the pipe. The lad struggled bravely with the can of Nine percent tramp juice, managing to

gamely swallow most of it before heaving it back up. “Im sss sorry sir..” he spluttered, I just came over all funny, I couldn’t help it,” he heaved again, throwing a huge arc of watery vomit over his pants. “Never mind lad, it just takes a little practice, here have another hit on the pipe and try the whisky this time, I’ve put a little coca cola in it to make it taste nice.” Little Bobby trembled as he pulled on the radioactive smoke, he knocked back the whiskey and smiled weakly “Ooh, sir, that feels quite nice” he started shaking uncontrollably and smiled feebly. “Good, good, now while that’s happening were going to show you a few films before showing you how to use heroin” I informed him. Cobalt selected a few movies. Anal Holocaust jumped in first, a snowy image of some young girl screaming in agony as two men dressed in SS uniforms perform a horrific pile driving double anal upon her. Cobalt

laughs as the young Bobby chucks up his Jack and coke. The kindly guitarist wipes the vomit from the lads new swastika t-shirt and helps him with the crack pipe. Robbie pours him another drink. “I know these films might seem a little odd to you young man” I said in a concerned manner “I remember when I was first forced to watch them, some of the copro stuff, the shit eating and what have you, I couldn’t sleep for days, but well young fellow there is a point to all this, that’s right inhale deeply.” I waited while the crack took effect and the lad settled

“YOU SEE YOUNG BOBBIE, IF YOU WANT TO BE IN A BIG TOUGH ROCKING BAND OF MEN YOU HAVE TO DEVELOP AN ABSOLUTE, FEAR, LOATHING, HATRED AND UTTER CONTEMPT FOR THE OPPOSITE SEX.”


“WELL, LITTLE FELLAH AND WHAT DO YOU THINK OF WOMEN NOW, AFTER WATCHING ALL THEM EDUCATIONAL FILMS THAT IS?” comedown jacks in on him give him a small dragon of smack and then hit him with the porno, its important we build up his tolerance” I ordered “We’ll lock him in here and come back in four hours and check on his progress”

down, his eyes glazed, watching blankly as the Nazis started setting fire to the womans breasts after dousing them in lighter fuel “You see young Bobbie, if you want to be in a big tough rocking band of men you have to develop an absolute, fear, loathing, hatred and utter contempt for the opposite sex. That’s what these films are for. They are mainly produced at the big tough rocking mens academy and are played to rookies like yourself to help you develop the correct attitude towards groupies” Cobalt put on another video. Before the first black turd squittered out of the Nazis arse and splattered all over the young girls face little Bobbie had chucked his cookies once again. “Maybe we should start him off with something a little less strong boss, a little bondage and some SM or something, before we get onto the copro and snuff?” said Robbie sympathetically. He was probably right.Young Bobbie Sockett was starting to show signs of mental derangement and sexual insanity already. He had removed his penis from his leathers and was masturbating weakly in his own sick, he had also, I noticed, shat his pants. “You’re right I know, but the gigs in less than a week and we have to get him match sick. He has to be a completely, debauched, cross-addicted, alcoholic and a completely sexually insane pervert in just under a week. Do you think he’s going to make it?” I said, concerned. “Look, give him another rock and leave him for a half hour, when the jittering depression of the

Bobby seemed to be doing fine. He was gouched out in front of the video, most of the smack was gone, the rocks had all disappeared and there was maybe half an inch of jack left. “How you feeling son?” said Cobalt to the glassy eyed new recruit. Bobby twitched his head and tried to focus in Cobalts direction, his mouth moved slightly, a croaky sound emanated from the back of his throat and a long string of drool slowly made its way from his chin to his chest. “Good answer” added Cobalt. “Well, he looks like he’s checking out just fine, hit him up with the methedrine Robbie, lets check out his sexual orientation, these videos should have knocked any nonsense about sex being wonderful and all that crap out of him” I said, rolling up the lads sleeve and tapping up a nice fat vein. Robbie flicked the bubbles out of the Methedrine solution and stabbed the spike into young Bobbies vein. The lad twitched violently and pissed himself. “It’s OK son, calm down, just a little pick me up, here drink this” I said, handing him the last swig of Jack Daniels “It’ll straighten you out. ” Bobbie sucked down the Kentucky farmer killer greedily and then wiped his mouth on the back of his hand. “You’re nearly there young fellah, just a few minor re alignments in your personality and you’ll be as big a big tough rocking man as the rest of us. Just a few little questions spunker” I said, handing him another pipe of crack “Well, little fellah and what do you think of women now, after watching all them educational films that is?” I quizzed him matter of factly, the answer was a foregone conclusion, any prolonged exposure to hardcore pornography on that level of depravity can only ever have one result. A desensitization that borders on the pathological. “All women are whores sir, merely three holes that need plugging, whether they like it or not” he answered like a robot.

“Excellent, you’ve learnt well young Bobby. I doubt any groupie will ever trick you into marriage ” One of the biggest dangers for neophyte rock stars is the predatory groupie/potential wife syndrome. This was the real reason we were showing young Bobby the porno. To put him off women of a fiscal attitude. Those bendy cash slags that fuck naive young rockers into thinking that they are in love with them. The polluted sea that is rock and roll teams with these bottom feeders. At least young Bobby was safe from them, after watching Anal Apocalypse and shit eating slags do India twenty times over each I doubt if the young Bobster would ever be able to look a woman in the cunt ever again. “Now Bobby, swearing. Do you know any swear words?” I asked him, attitude is everything in big tough rock and roll men rock, the lad had to know how to f and blind with the best of them. Swearing is extremely important in rock. “Oh yes sir, all of us in Blured are great at swearing, Bloody, bum, bugger, bastard” swore the cheerful fellow. “Cobalt” I said seriously “Take him down the West End, get him fucked up, teach him how to swear and get kicked out of nightclubs” “Yes boss” said the Great Stargazie, smiling. Young Bobby was beside himself with excitement the next day. “I haven’t even been to bed yet! It was fantastic! We got kicked out of Grouchos for cracking walnuts between our arse cheeks, Cobalt showed me how to do it, it was hilarious!” Blurted the enthusiastic young lad. His jaw was going like a paper shredder and his breath stunk like Lemmy’s bell end. The Stargazer smiled parentally and rubbed young Bobbys neck “Sorry Cobalt” said Bobby, bobbing his shoulders and then taking a deep breath “I haven’t fucking, fucking been to fucking bed yet” He said, pausing briefly then continuing carefully “It was fanfuckingtastic, we got kicked the fuck out of that fucking nonce fucking fucking hole fucking Grouchos for cracking fucking wallfuckingnuts between our fucking fucking arse fucking cheeks, Cobalt fucking showed me how to fucking do it, it was bastard hilarious!” He shouted, eyes flickering around the room, anxiously waiting for approval “Well done lad” I obliged him “The final bastard in that sentence was particularly venomous. Excellent swearing and by all accounts some excellent anti social behaviour. Well done indeed. Welcome to the Love reaction. Needless to say, young Bobby died soon after.


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THE CROW

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Interview: Sion Smith. Pics: Courtesy Titan Books

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STILL NOT BLACK ENOUGH

Before the Matrix, there was once a movie of far, far superior cool. Now, steeped in movie legend and myth, it rears its head once more to claim its heritage as the forerunner of all things dark. The tenth anniversary of The Crow is upon us. Author Bridget Baiss has spent the last few years toiling away at the background of the movie... It’s true, there was life before the Matrix. There was Batman and there was Dark City but towing above them all, stands The Crow. I know, it’s hard to see in the shadows but it’s there. Always has been. Born of pain from the mind of James O’Barr and so emotionally brought to life by Brandon Lee, the Crow was so far ahead of its time, the studios that commissioned it, didn’t know what to do with it. During the final stages of filming in 1993, Lee, who was insistent on performing the majority of his own stunts, was tragically killed in a freak accident. Ironically, it should have been as safe a take as he could have been involved in compared to what he had been putting himself through. The movie still found a release despite its setbacks and became a cult global hit and yet for years after, nobody had ever really spoken of the facts behind the media circus that was to follow. Cut to present day... well, as present day as it gets in the publishing world. It’s 1998 and Bridget Baiss, out on a regular lunch date is drawn into the world of Eric Draven... Would you agree with me that the Crow was the Matrix of the 90’s – it was certainly a landmark movie in underground circles. Very true. The look of the film stylistically and the subject matter really captured the music of the time. There’s that goth/rock thing going on and also the comic that it came from. Even the way they made it was dark. There were attempts at copying the style but copying… well, it never works. To my mind, Batman was close, but still not on the mark as far as production values go. Batman came out first, and there was also Dick Tracy, so there were successes with taking comic books and adapting them for the big screen, but everybody knew this was not Batman. A quote that they told me was ‘we decided we were not going to be Batman, we wanted nothing to do with Batman.’ In fact the artistic director for Batman was maybe up for doing it, and they specifically didn’t choose him, and other members of the batman crew who also applied, they just said no. The reason was that Batman was catering for a wider

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audience and they wanted the Crow to retain its underground quality. In their minds, Batman was dark, but the Crow was truly dark. I don’t think there are any daylight sets in the movie are there? No. they wanted to create an atmosphere that was real. They decided for a couple of reasons that they would shoot it all at night to keep the mood. They created the world of the Crow and they wanted to stay in it. The crew who normally went home to their families – not the creative guys – they were saying “we can create night inside” and the artistic division said no, everybody should stay in this mindset. That caused a lot of friction. In order to get that low level of light, they were shooting at the very edge of exposure. In 1993, cameras were largely the same as they are now, but at that point they really were on the edge. The film company were saying, we’ll never be able to use it! All of the colour palette in the film to create that dark world, were red, black and grey. There were no blues, yellows or reds to raise the tone at all. So where do you come in? I had seen the Crow, I went with a friend as I wasn’t really that keen on seeing it in the first place – when you live in LA, you get a bit jaded over hype, but Brandon had been killed on set, so everybody had heard of the movie and stylistically, it sounded pretty good. I certainly wasn’t a fanatic fan. Years went by and then one day I was having dinner with a friend and we got onto the subject and during the conversation, he said; you know, nobody’s ever written a book about it. If you think it’s a great story, I’ll publish the book. I looked into it and I had a friend who I had gone to theatre school with when I was a child in San Francisco, who was actually the costume designer on the set. So I figured I should start calling around and see who is interested. That was when I found out that nobody had ever really spoken to anyone on the set and asked about it. There was also a lot of suspicion around it too. The more I thought about it, the more I found that it was a life changing event in these peoples lives – because of the kind of film they were working on, the accident, there were a lot of coincidences… the whole package.

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STILL NOT BLACK ENOUGH But if you take a story like Jim Morrison or Elvis, there is a logical conclusion, there always will be, but people will always choose to believe what they want to believe. At the end of the day, you can interpret the facts that are presented in the book however you want even though I obviously tried to make sense of them. People were working at night, they were tired, they were over budget, over schedule – there was a lot of pressure to get the job done and the worst possible accident happened. Despite Brandon Lee’s death, the franchise was set and the idea was milked – and is still being milked today. With the fourth movie in production as we speak, there is obviously plenty of life left in the idea, but none of them have ever come close to the original movies premise. Today, it still remains in the hearts of millions across the world as being the definitive ‘gothic’ movie masterpiece. The Movies:

When I would speak to people, I realised I was the first person to ask them anything about this. Right after Brandon’s death, the tabloids went to town on the movie even though these people were in shock and it had been a while, but now all the legal, criminal and civil cases had been closed, nobody was under any kind of restraining order. The only people who gave any information out during the event where like the lower level people who said that they had the story, but really didn’t. So I come along so many years later and at first there was a lot of resistance, but then they would call me back and say, you know, the true story has to come out. It took me quite a while and great effort to gain peoples trust. Is there one truth about the accident? I think so. I think I’ve found a pretty good through line that would indicate it’s the truth corroborated by a lot of different people. I didn’t know Brandon at all, but I thought of it as my chance to tell a story. I did as much research as I possibly could and I realised there were so many similarities between the story of the making of the movie, the story of the accident combined with whatever legal documents I could get hold of.. I began to realise that people were telling me the truth. Everybody told me in some way, the same story… ..and it reaches a logical conclusion in the book? Yes. I don’t know if that makes it better or worse, but what’s interesting is that it’s hard not to see the incredible facts. There were a series of unrelated, incompetent mistakes that individuals made not knowing anyone else made them – all these circumstances came together to put the bullets in the gun that nobody checked but nobody could have premeditated it as a plan. I guess it wouldn’t have been so odd, or eventful is maybe a better phrase, if Bruce Lee hadn’t gone in a similar way. Well, Bruce’s death is largely myth, but there was a lot of mystery surrounding Brandon when he was alive because of it. Bruce didn’t die on a movie set and he wasn’t killed by something on a movie set. He actually died with his girlfriend, in Hong Kong. On that day, he maybe had a couple of injuries and was on a lot of painkillers – like you would be if you’re Bruce Lee who did all his own stunts. Then he probably smoked some pot or something, they found traces of cannabis – and somehow he had a brain aneurism. It was a bad combination that created a blood clot. It was a complete fluke. But all these different reports came out that the Triads had him killed because he was giving away martial arts secrets to the west. A lot of people I spoke to still believe this to be the truth.. Well, Hollywood is good at creating its own myths. Take a look at the Dragon movie where he was killed by some mysterious force from within himself. And that’s even more weird. That movie was actually written and was in production when Brandon was killed. I’m sure they put a few twists on it after Brandon died but, it’s still strange.

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Issue 9

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backyard babies www.backyardbabies.com Words: Mr Smith

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ROAD DOGS

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There’s something I really love about Backyard Babies and I can put my finger on it right away. They’re real in every sense of the word. What you see is exactly what you’re going to get - usually whether you like it or not! They’re the consummate road band. The first time I ever saw the band was so long ago, it’s probably embarrassing. It was just after the release of Diesel & Power in something like 1996 in the Buckley Tivoli - a pretty small club in Wales. If memory serves me correctly, the t-shirts had “6666 - Extra Evil” printed on them and it was far from a packed house. We did a spectacularly drunken interview in the toilet for some reason during which we talked about Ace Frehley, where the band was going and their homeland. To be honest, by the time I catch up with Nicke again, not that much has changed. A few more albums under the belt, a few thousand more miles on the tour bus and a few too many at the aftershow parties - and that’s the way it should be. Sometimes, that’s all you need - after the demise of the deal with BMG, which could have really pushed the envelope for them, they found themselves at Century Media, not a label particularly well known for it’s rock n roll base, but they’ve certainly found a good home there - at least they know what to do with them. Did you ever think it would be so much easier just to put out your own material? “It’s funny you should say that because the subject came up again a few days ago”, Nicke tells me in his far better English than most English people have a mastery of. “It’s a subject that comes up every now and then and we always come up with the same answer! Yes it would B U R N M A G A Z I N E | w w w. b u r n m a g . c o . u k

be great to have control of your own destiny, but the sacrifice is too great. None of us wants to spend our days figuring out the accounts or dealing with the distribution companies - that would defeat the object. There would be no time to write any songs or sleep even. We always come back to the fact that so long as the record company is behind us and putting the product out, that’s good enough for us.” “With this new album, the distribution is good, it’s going to get to a lot of places. With the last album (Tinnitus), it was more of a taster, a kind of compilation for the American market where we have never really had any proper product out before. “In fact. America is absolutely the worst country in the world for us! To make some decent money and really be able to start things moving, you have to master America! “That’s an important place to be right now. Our fanbase in Europe is pretty solid, but if we could master the American market, we could use it to move on in a big way, so hopefully, Tinnitus did its job and the new album will start moving us in the right direction over there.” Ah, the new album: People Like People Like People Like Us. A step in the right direction? Well, for long term fans who were more than familiar with most of the material on Tinnitus, it’s certainly more than welcome and it’s a shot in the arm too. A man can get too far away from his roots if he’s not careful, and nothing reminds this man more of that fact than listening to this. Essentially, it’s a collection of great songs - which is all you should ever ask for anyway. What you have to love about the Babies is that they’re never going to change and they’re one of the few bands in the world who can actually get away with that. So long as the production is good and the band are coming to a place near you soon, the job is done. The Wildhearts tried it and imploded somewhat, the Darkness tried it and overkilled it, what’s the secret to Backyard Babies still being here? “Who knows! Ha, if we stopped to ask ourselves that question, maybe it would end! It’s kind of like... well, if we stopped playing, I really don’t know what I would do with my life, it would be over! I think the other guys feel the same too - I know they do. This is what we do and we’ve reached a level now where we’ve been doing it so long, all we want now is to start playing to more people. We know they’re out there!” Presumably back home, (Sweden), things are pretty hot for you. “Yes, things have always been good back home, but you know I think 043


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backyard babies www.backyardbabies.com

people, especially the media puts far too much emphasis on where a band comes from. Take a look at that Seattle scene that happened. There were three or four bands that were great and a lot of other acts got signed on the coat tails. Which is sad because if they had looked around they would have found the same number of great bands anywhere in the world. There are some in Stockholm, there are some in Sydney, New York and London, but people should look past the geography of a band and look instead at what’s going on inside the band. That way we’d end up with a healthier scene all round.” Nicke could well be right there, but then that’s probably the A&R equivalent of taking away all the little black plastic tabs from the racks in HMV. (How would you find anything I hear you ask. Well, when I was in fucking school, there was this thing called an alphabet - but now isn’t the time or place for that). What can we look forward to now then... more road dogging in support of the album? “Yes, I think we come back to the UK in May.” It’s about time you hooked up with a big band to get you in front of more people again isn’t it. That would surely be good for the reputation? I just remembered something! It wasn’t that long ago that you went out with AC/DC was it? “Yes, again, it’s something we’ve talked about. We thought it might have happened when we were with BMG but we weren’t there long enough for that to happen. Now we are just starting out again with Century, I think it will happen eventually, until then we are quite happy doing our own thing. The important thing is to just keep going though still being able to play. “Looking back the AC/DC shows were great for us. We’re very similar bands even though we’re miles apart. Malcolm once said to me that ‘it’s a two guitar, three chord rock band’. That sums us up completely there’s not much more to say than that - if you like that sort of thing, it’s the music that moves you. It’s pretty cool that Malcolm actually asked to us to go out on that tour too, we didn’t have to chase it down too much. That comes under the heading of ‘career highlight’! “We were actually supposed to go out with Kiss as well but Buckcherry beat us to it that time - I still think the AC/DC tour was a better one to

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end up on though.” Seems to me that there’s plenty of life left in you guys yet even though you’ve been around the block a few times. Like, and I hate to use this comparison on you, you could kind of see when Hanoi were on their way out - and I use them because they were the only other band in a similar vain rather than because they’re Scandinavian. Everyone points at Two Steps as being a great album, but it was nowhere near as close to brilliant as Mystery City.. There doesn’t seem to have been a point where you’ve started to run out of ideas and the new album is great. Far better than Tinnitus even if you take it as a new album. It’s really compact and whole. “Thanks - we’re pleased with it. It’s a good indication of where we’re at right now and it’s a lot of fun. It’s a pure rock n roll album, but like you said yourself, that’s what we do. Here are delivering it! “You know, the other good thing at the moment is that while we’re out on the road, we’re moving some good quantities of merchandise and CDs - sometimes I think that’s the way it should be done all the time!” When it comes to dealing a full on rock n roll album, you can’t go far wrong with Backyard Babies.

People Like People Like People Like Us is out now... go get ‘em!

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I think the main problem is that the US is so huge. You can go on tour for two years and sell 50,000 copies. I don’t say that we are short on time but I don’t want to have my break through when I’m 90, you know. B U R N M A G A Z I N E | w w w. b u r n m a g . c o . u k

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ISSUE 11

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renaissance

FILM NOIR Deep, French and colour-free, but don’t run away just yet, because Christian Volckman’s Renaissance might just be the best film you see all year… just don’t mention Sin City... When Burn talks to Christian Volckman, the first thing the Frenchman does is yawn. What could we have done to offend him so quickly into the interview? Maybe wearing that Nickelback tee was a bad idea… Fortunately for us, the poor guy’s just exhausted from producing the most visually exciting film of the year, Renaissance. “The film was finished at the beginning of 2006, and since then we have been screening and going to festivals and promoting,” says the director. “Altogether, including getting the money together, it’s taken six years.” Set in Paris 2054, Renaissance focuses on Ilona, and young and brilliant researcher who is violently kidnapped. Avalon, her employer, and a giant multinational corporation want her found at any cost, so it is decreed that controversial cop and hostage retrieval specialist Bartholomew Karas be in charge of the case. What could have been just a formulaic actionthriller is turned on its head by the inventive stylings that Volckman has employed. It’s

animation in theory, but is like nothing that you’ve ever seen before. What did he do to achieve this unique look? “I used motion capture, which is where you get real actors to act, but you only film markers on their body,” he explains. “So the only thing you get from the actors is their movements, like a wire frame, and once you get the movement, you can apply it to anything you want – and we applied it to a 3D character. “It’s exactly the same technique as Gollum and King Kong, and it’s very, very expensive.” It’s also been time consuming. Has the time been well spent? “The reception so far has been pretty good,” says the director. “I don’t think it’s an easy film to go and watch. Once you’re in the cinema it’s okay – but the problem is that it’s a black and white science-fiction film. Most people normally go to see comedy, or action films, not things like this, so it will mean a change. It’s a difficult thing to get people into the cinemas in the first place.” While watching Renaissance, it’s clear that the film has a modern sheen to it, yet at the same time there is a griminess that permeates every shot. If you had to describe it to friends, Sin City would be one of the first things that come to mind, and there

are going to be a lot of parallels drawn between this and Frank Miller’s monochrome bloodbath. Unimpressed, Volckman disagrees: “Actually it’s completely different. I mean they used real actors against a green screen, while ours is an animated film.” Maybe so, but the general moviegoer will just see black and white. Renaissance could be compared to worse things though. “I didn’t like Sin City,” the director retorts. “I liked the comic books, but not the movie. I thought the film was not as strong as the comic book, graphically, and I don’t think that one film is long enough to tell the story of sex and violence that was there. After 20 minutes you’re like ‘so what?’ “For me it’s not so much a movie as an experiment with well known actors and plenty of


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money behind it. I don’t understand why they did the film like that.” One thing both films do have in common, however, is the feeling of a classic noir. “It has, and we wanted to be radical and go all the way to the roots of cinema noir, and then try to bring it along a little further in terms of technology – taking the graphic look to its extreme and do something completely different to what people are used to.” Would Volckman agree that the film has been imbued with a real comic-like spirit? “There were a lot of comic-book artists who were very influential,” he admits. “For example an Argentinean artist called Alberto Breccia who produced some really great stuff, and also, of course, Frank Miller.” Even though the film is set 50 years in the future, many of the ideas examined are relevant to today, for example drug abuse and genetic engineering. The director agrees: “It could be

happening now. It was important that it was set in a Parisian metropole, in a world filled with French architecture, because I wanted to play with that architecture. Also setting it 50 years in the future meant that we could play and incorporate things that aren’t too far fetched, but that don’t exist now. It meant that we had more freedom.” Unfortunately, in Britain and America, most people aren’t that free with their own tastes, and can be very blinkered when it comes to film (obviously not you, dear reader). Upon hearing that something is not in English, decide they’re not interested, and they miss out on a lot of great stuff. Recognising this, Volckman was wise enough to make some concessions, for example hiring a stellar voice-cast, including Bond to-be Daniel Craig. “The film is more of an American or English film than French. For example we recorded it in English and the lip-synching was in English. If you make a French film, it’s only going to be

released in France or small art cinemas, which is frustrating if you have spent a lot of time on it – you want it to go everywhere. We made a choice so it would have a wider audience, and I think it’s the right move.” So once Renaissance has taken over the planet what’s next? “I’m not sure what I’ll do next,” says Volckman. “Once I’ve done a film like this, it seems like I’ve gone to the limit of my obsessions on a graphic level - and because it’s so radical what I’ve done. “I’m really inspired by painting and older movies like those by Fritz Lang, so now I need to find a new desire to do films. It’s hard. Everything is either entertainment or a social film, and I need to find a way to do something original. I’m just asking myself questions now.” Renaissance will be released on July 28, and is reviewed on page 86.


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The Cherry

Bomb

Buckcherry - what the fuck is there not to love about them? They look like a real band, they play like a real band - man they even kick your ass like a real band. Odds on self destruction? Coming off the back of their debut you would have thought those odds were quite high as the press dubbed them the new GnR and they hit the road - but you would have lost your money because they managed to squeeze out a second album before the time honoured tradition of self imploding was taken care of. It’s not as bad a story as it could have been, but it sure ain’t nice either: When the self titled

debut hit the racks it was met with a frown from most of the world. Buckcherry had mastered the art of impeccably bad timing. It arrived in an era where grunge was just turning into whatever they call what came after. Whatever that was, it certainly wasn't into an environment where real deal rock n roll was widely accepted, and yet, it was a very successful album for the band. Most of us got left behind when Seattle took over the world and Buckcherry were the first band out of the blocks who really didn’t care. Todd picks up the thread: “It was a weird time. We were aware of what was going on in the world, but fuck, if you pay any attention to that shit, you’d never do anything never mind anything that you actually wanted to do! “We were just doing what we always wanted to do and that was being in a great rock n roll band. We were following a tradition. “I’m really proud of that first album. There were a whole lot of great songs on it - the playing was good too, but by the time we came to record Timebomb (the bands second album), we were all feeling a little bit jaded with the scene. There were so many things that contributed

Words: Sion Smith Live Pics: Wayne Herrschaft to that, the business, the road - it’s your typical rock n roll band story. It’s probably no different to anybody else's but it’s our story” Todd is in good spirits and rightly so. With their new album Fifteen, they’ve successfully navigated a (50%) reunion and come back with an album that sounds like it was recorded a week after the first! “I love the new album. I hear what you’re saying about it being in the same ballpark as the debut but it feels very different to me. “We did a lot of things differently this time around and to be honest with you, there were a lot of songs that had some time to bed in. We made absolutely the best album we could. “There’s a few more ballads on there than previously, but fuck they’re great ballads and lyrically, they’re a little bit away from the norm. We wanted to have as much airplay as possible off the back of this album which is part of the reason for that, but also, they’re great songs that couldn’t be left off! “We drafted in some extra help to get them going to the right place, so what we have there is some big Aerosmith type songs that really do the business.” No lie there - just check out the huge blues riffs that go to make up Sorry. Mr Perry couldn’t have done it better himself - there’s more than just the self destruction parallel to be made between the two bands - particularly when you catch wind of the first single off the album. Crazy Bitch is infectious as hell - talking of which, that’s one pretty raunchy video. “Well, we didn’t have all the money in the world as we’ve financed this ourselves so we hired this club and invited anybody that wanted to be in the video down while we performed the song over and over. “We didn’t ask any of the girls to do the things they did - it’s all voluntary. Kick ass, but voluntary all the same! It came out really well, then we just cut it with the bits of us performing in the bathroom. That’s one of the things that’s really made people sit and take notice of us this time around - not that it will get played anywhere on the TV! Thank fuck for the internet. “That damn thing kept us alive and once it started to snowball, it picked up speed at one hell of a pace. Things sound pretty good right now don’t they!” Bro - you forgot something there - I hate it to mention it but those two words Velvet and w w w. b u r n m a g . c o . u k | B U R N M A G A Z I N E


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buckcherry www.buckcherry.com

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buckcherry www.buckcherry.com Revolver must have helped keep your name in the spotlight over the last few years. For what it’s worth, it sounded like the best thing ever to me! “That too,” he laughs. “You know it was what it was. I thought we were pretty damn good too. I guess for the other guys, the chemistry just wasn’t there, or it wasn’t what they wanted What are the odds on you getting your sorry asses over here then? “Man, you know, it’s one of those things we’d love to do every day of the year but the logistics of it are frightening. Gotta say though, it looks more likely now than it ever has. The feedback from Europe is real positive - so let’s see what happens.” That’s all there is folks. With a band like Buckcherry, you can guarantee there’s rowdiness going on behind the scenes adnd in the spaces in between, real rock n roll songs are being written and killer sets are being performed. 2006 ain’t a bad place to be at all.

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hardware

Guitars for Girls? Damn Right! Hang on a second. Pink guitars for girls? What am I doing with this, again? Oh well, a classic Les Paul body shape with the contours of a PRS, two Seymour-Duncan designed humbuckers and a push-pull coil-tap tone control. Sounds like enough to make this worth anyone’s while to me. Daisy Rock make serious guitars, and give them a “fab” girly look and finish. Clever marketing, really. No one else is aiming their products at a specific market like that. Even companies like BC Rich, who you’d think would be aimed mostly at metal players, given their rather unique spikey body shapes, don’t often claim to make metal “axes”. But Daisy Rock make the out-and-out claim to manufacture guitars just for girls. The contoured and cut-away (heavily so at the back) body shape makes the guitar lighter than its solid mahogany body would otherwise be, while leaving the thickest wood in the centre below the pick-ups and the bridge, ideal for eternal sustain. The bolt-on maple neck, with rosewood fingerboard, is very slender, making fast runs and those most difficult barre chords that much easier. Of course, the dot inlays couldn’t be anything other than stars, could they? Aside from the standard master volume control the Rock Candy series also boasts a coil-tap tone control. This is a push-pull style control that “taps” into one of the humbuckers at a time, turning it into a single coil, allowing an incredible range of tones. But are pink guitars really just for girls? Who plays pink guitars? Eddie Ojeda, for one. But he plays in Twisted Sister, who wear more make-up than your average chav, so that’s no great indicator. The dude from Tigertailz. Same deal. If Paul Stanley hasn’t played one, he should. Again, same deal as the previous two. I think Steve Vai may have played one at one time, that’s about it. So yeah, it seems they are just for girls. These aren’t novelty guitars, however. They’re seriously playable, beefy rock guitars for serious musicians, and are capable of everything from heavy riffery to warm, round and altogether more sensual tones. Though with finishes such as “Atomic Pink”, “Rainbow Sparkle”, “Power Pink” and “Champagne Sparkle”, these might be guitars that only appeal to adolescent girls or Paris Hilton, possibly offending your average female rocker. Of course, in this World of Equality one has to ask, why do girls need their own special guitars anyway? I thought women wanted to be treated the same as men. Seems not. Unless it suits them, perhaps?

TECH SPEC: CONSTRUCTION: Bolt-On BODY: Mahogany w/Glitter Contour Top NECK: Rock Maple FINGERBOARD: Rosewood FRET: 22 Medium SCALE: 24 3/4" INLAY: Stars BRIDGE: Tune-O-Matic w/Stopbar TUNERS: Grover BINDING: Black, White, White & Pink (as shown) HARDWARE: Chrome PICKUPS: Duncan Designed Humbuckers ELECTRONICS: Master Volume, Master Tone-Tap, 3-Way Selector STRINGS: D’Addario EXL 110 FINISH: Atomic Pink, Champagne Sparkle, Power Pink, Rainbow Sparkle. (Despite these descriptive finishes on the Daisy Rock sounding like the names of some of the characters in My Little Pony, rest assured, the finish is rock hard and will take a thorough pounding any day of the week! www.daisyrock.com

WANT ONE? So here’s the deal.. we picked up one of the Daisy Rock axes and were royally impressed. Not that we play like girls here, but you can give the beast a damn good pounding and it took every inch of it and then asked for more. So we gave that one back because we dropped it during a mammoth “look at me” session and got the lovely people out there to send a replacement.. which we haven’t even taken out of the box. Want it? In this piece of pie giveaway simply drop us an email to comps@burnmag.co.uk with the subject line Daisy Rock and tell us what you’re going to do with it. She goes to the most healthy looking cause! Entries in by the August 31 please. If you happen to form a band or something off the back of it, drop us a line... it’s always nice to know what happens to the stuff we give away. Mostly because, if you’re going to waste a bloody competition prize, next time we’ll keep the damn thing or auction it off for a girls band charity or something. You people are so ungrateful! Go... go and be famous!

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JESSE JANE www.digitalplayground.com

Jesse Ja They say girls are made of sugar, spice and everything nice and when it comes to Jesse Jane they couldn’t be more right. Born in Texas, USA 23 years ago Jesse is blonde, bubbly, beautiful and has breasts to die for and is fast becoming the hottest piece of property in the world of adult entertainment. 056

A P R I L / M AY 2 0 0 4 BURN


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Jane

BURN A P R I L / M AY 2 0 0 4

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JESSE JANE www.digitalplayground.com

With the barriers between porn and the mainstream getting closer and closer, it might just be Jesse Jane that brings them crashing down once and for all. Burn had the pleasure of talking to Jesse recently when she called at 3:30am in the morning and hey, being woken by Jesse Jane at 3:30am in the morning isn’t such a bad thing after all... So how did you start working in the industry? I’ve always wanted to be a sex symbol. I used to do bikini modeling but it just wasn’t enough for me. I happened to be in a competition for Hawaiian Tropics and I read an article in Front magazine about Tera Patrick and I saw she worked for Digital Playground. So I just called them on a whim, sent them some pictures and they flew me out and I signed a contract immeadiatly. When was that? It was the end of December 2002 What has been you biggest achievement so far? At the recent awards show in Tampa Florida, I won best new starlet which was cool and I also won best chest. Also if you go to www.rockconfidential.com - I am voted number one porn star out of the top 69 porn stars which is really cool. Do you personally enjoy watching porn? Yeah, I watch porn all the time. I must admit I’m addicted. I just can’t help it. Which do you prefer, women or men? I’m happy with both, I go both ways. It just depends on the other person and if there is chemistry. I have chemistry with certain girls and I have chemistry with certain guys. I don’t necessarily have a preference. I like them both. What kind of music are you into? I’m a rock girl, definitely. I love Metallica, Guns N Roses, System Of A Down, all that stuff. Has your job helped you to meet bands? I’ve always been into meeting bands, actually before I even did porn I was a Kid Rock dancer, one of the girls that danced on the stage. But I do get to meet lots of bands. Since doing porn I’ve done a Robbie Williams video. I can’t remember the name of the song but in the video there’s a party scene and I’m the girl he takes home. I’m in bed with him and we make out and at the end of the video everyone is passed out by the pool. It’s a weird video. Was Robbie cool? Yeah he’s a great guy. Great performer and he’s really sweet. I was in a dress for the party scene but when I was in bed my outfit was tassels and see through panties. We totally had to make out and he had to rip off my panties. He was really cool. Is music video’s something you want to do more of? I would love to be in a rock video so bad. What about TV? I’ve done a little TV as well. I was in Baywatch the Movie, you get to see me twice in that and I also did Family Business. Any cool music stories? I went to the MTV icon’s show when they were featuring Metallica. All these bands came out and sang Metallica songs and then the band comes out and does a few songs as well. This is funny as you need a pass to get in. I didn’t have anything and I end up walking right backstage. I got to sit there and talk to Limp Bizkit, Korn, Puddle Of Mudd, Avril Lavigne and the guys in Metallica and also got to go to the after party. It was really cool that I could just wander in. Also when Korn came to Oklahoma when I was living there, they grabed a few girls and took then to sit behind David on the drums. I was one of the girls and David kissed me on stage while he was playing his drums for the finale.


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JESSE JANE www.xxx.com

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infinite crisis

DON’T PANIC!

It’s not the first time that the world has nearly come to an end, but it’s sure as hell the first time anybody has made a great story out of it! Owen Williams gets jettisoned: Infinite Crisis is the third example of what appears to be becoming a decennial tradition in the world of DC comics. Following 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths, and 1995’s Zero Hour, Infinite Crisis is DC’s latest shot at a company-wide crossover project, featuring most – if not all – of the characters on its colossal roster; tidying up the continuity problems caused by its fifty year history and its odd policy of juggling multiple versions of characters; and killing off the odd hero or villain here and there for genuine drama, but also, one suspects, to create some controversy and shift a few more issues. A limited series of merely seven issues, Infinite Crisis is the centre of a much wider saga encompassing four further sixissue series, and immediately stemming from the apparent death of Teen Titans founder member Donna Troy (aka Wonder Girl) in 2003, and Brad Meltzer’s Identity Crisis limited series of 2004. Its real roots reach back at least twenty years however, and arguably to the very origins of DC itself. Fifty years on from its founding in the 1930s, DC’s character histories were so convoluted and muddled as to be almost impenetrable to newcomers. Partly as a result of the acquisition of smaller comics companies whose characters did not “fit” within the DC universe, and partly due to multiple authors continually rewriting the origins of various characters (or “retconning”), DC instigated the concept of the Multiverse, where multiple fictional worlds and universes could co-exist side-by-side. Characters from the late 50s to the 70s – the “Silver Age” of comics, where Barry Allen was The Flash, Hal Jordan was Green Lantern, and Hawkman was Katar Hol from the planet Thanagar – resided on Earth-One, whilst characters from the 30s to the 50s – the “Golden Age”, where Jay Garrick was The Flash, Alan Scott was Green Lantern, and Hawkman was a human archaeologist called Carter Hall – inhabited Earth-Two. There was also an Earth-Three where time ran backwards, and a comedic Earth-Twelve where the parodies lived. 072

Marv Wolfman’s Crisis on Infinite Earths, published across twelve issues in 1985, was an attempt to slice through these continuity knots by collapsing the multiple universes and killing off any characters who would subsequently prove narratively inconvenient. Wolfman had spent his life in comics, writing countless serials including a long run on the classic Tomb of Dracula for Marvel, and even spending some time in the 70s as Marvel’s editor-in-chief. Defecting to DC in 1980 he was instrumental in reviving the company’s flagging fortunes, initially with the revived Teen Titans, and then with Crisis itself, for which he invented the nearomnipotent, universe-devouring Anti-Monitor as principle villain, desirous of – what else? - the destruction of the entire Multiverse. One eradefining epic later - Crisis belongs in the comic hall of fame somewhere alongside Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns and Alan Moore’s Watchmen as part of that 80s canon of “credible” comics - the Anti-Monitor was finally defeated by The Spectre, in a time-and-space fracturing battle that ultimately resulted in the creation of one single narrative universe. As a slate-cleaning exercise, Crisis on Infinite Earths was largely successful, but the post-Crisis DC universe was still not without its problems, largely because the effects of Crisis were not consistently implemented. Batman’s mythos was left largely untouched. Superman found himself with a revised origin that made him somehow both younger and more recent than Green Lantern and Aquaman, even as the traditional DC idea that he was the first hero of the Silver Age somehow continued. Wonder Woman was initially both a completely new arrival and a founding member of the Justice League.

Jump forward ten years, and ultra-hack Dan Jurgens’ Zero Hour muddied the waters even further. If Jurgens is the Ed Wood of comics, then Zero Hour is unquestionably his Plan 9 From Outer Space, satisfying neither fans nor DC editors. His two major events were the killing of Oliver Queen as Green Arrow and the transformation of Hal Jordan into The Spectre, both of which have since been reversed; in Kevin Smith’s reboot Green Arrow: Quiver and Geoff John’s miniseries Green Lantern: Rebirth. Hawkman remained a catastrophe to the extent that DC roped him off for a number of years, refusing even comics wunderkind Grant Morrison permission to use the name (the obvious Hawkman character in Morrison’s Justice League run had to be renamed Zauriel). 2005’s Infinite Crisis then, shortly to be published as a hardback collected edition, still had its work cut out if its outcome was to be a streamlined and cohesive DC universe. Spread across dozens of peripheral issues in multiple ongoing series, some of which contain only a passing reference to the unfolding drama taking place elsewhere, the intention this time was to reinvent everything at once: restoring the Multiverse and kick-starting everything with a plot that both advances and retells at the same time. Multiple authors were strictly marshaled and coordinated by editors Grant Morrison, Geoff Johns and Mark Waid, and perhaps the most impressive innovation was the post-Crisis leap ahead to One Year Later in all of DC’s regular titles, and the publication of the weekly series 52 to fill in that missing twelve months – a crucial lag intended to catch any continuity problems that may have slipped through the editorial net. w w w. b u r n m a g . c o . u k | B U R N M A G A Z I N E


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infinite crisis

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infinite crisis The five principle stories in the Countdown to Infinite Crisis arc were the aforementioned Identity Crisis; Greg Rucka’s The OMAC Project (which detours around Superman: Sacrifice half way through); Bill Willingham’s Day of Vengeance; Gail Simone’s Villains United; and Dave Gibbons’ Rann-Thanagar War. Identity Crisis, as well as being a decent murder mystery, sows seeds of discord in the Justice League of America, as they argue over the ethics of wiping rapist super-villain Dr Light’s memory (surprisingly sophisticated and adult territory this). Batman’s discovery that he himself has had ten minutes mind-wiped leads to his creation of the supercomputer Brother I to keep tabs on his JLA colleagues (shades of the ultimate Batman-is-paranoid JLA story Tower of Babel

here), leading to the events of The OMAC Project, where said-supercomputer is hijacked by Maxwell Lord, who is consequently able to access all sorts of inconvenient information… Controversially, The OMAC Project both killed the third-division hero Blue Beetle and retconned Max Lord (sometimes aka Lord Havoc) as purely evil: a founder of the Justice League International, his incarnation as a compromised anti-hero in a political and corporate world was one of the more interesting innovations of the 1980s. Superman is briefly brainwashed and controlled by Lord, in a portentous section that suggests this to be a big deal, when regular readers will be aware Superman gets possessed by somebody or other at least once a week (it happens again in the next book, and even Poison Ivy managed it in Hush). Dramatically speaking though, it’s all good stuff, as is Wonder Woman’s killing of a character at the story’s climax, the repercussions of which are vast.

Infinite Crisis: The Babe Factor...

The Rann-Thanagar War is an unremarkable intergalactic battle featuring the Kyle Rayner Green Lantern and Hawkman (look – he’s Thanagarian again!), whilst Day of Vengeance largely leaves the superhero crowd behind to deal with the creation of an alliance of DC’s “magical” characters (i.e. characters whose powers are supernatural, rather than traditionally “super”), and reintroduces odd, forgotten characters like Ragman and Detective Chimp. The latter really shouldn’t work but is actually very funny, having spent the last fifty years drunk at the Oblivion Bar after being written off as ridiculous: meta-textual postmodernism, kids – don’tcha love it? Plot-wise, the story presents the fallout from Hal Jordan’s separation from The Spectre - now a vengeful angel, devoid of its grounding human aspect - and the formation of the Shadowpact (aka The Oblivion Bar’s AllStar Discount Hero Squad), which closely mirrors that of the feebly-named Secret Six, a

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Infinite Crisis and its five prequels are still not the half of the entire saga. Dozens of DC comics series tied in to a greater or lesser extent with one or other of IC’s many plot strands. Some would have major consequences, while others boasted little more than fleeting glimpses of the OMAC robots. Crisis of Conscience was largely an unnecessary hammering home of issues that were already clear from Identity Crisis and The OMAC Project, but two further series were of greater significance, and happily, they were both about the babes… POWER GIRL Power Girl’s was one of those complicated histories that the Crisis stories were designed to unravel. Originally the Earth-Two Supergirl and cousin of Superman, she was retconned in Crisis on Infinite Earths as the daughter of a sorcerer from Atlantis, before being restored to her Earth-Two origins during Infinite Crisis: the question of her background moving from curiosity to vital information as she was manoeuvred into position in the middle of the

splinter group of supervillains who refuse to sign up for Lex Luthor’s “Society” in Villains United. Villains United itself is the weakest of the Countdown stories. Whilst it’s believable that half the superhero roster would be the types to volunteer for health-and-safety courses run by Superman, the idea of villains being willing to join forces under one leader seems highly dubious, and resembles nothing so much as Bill Hicks’ “People Who Hate People” routine: -People who hate people – come together! -No! But it’s all necessary groundwork for the main event, creating the climate into which characters banished to a sealed-off “pocket universe” at the end of the original Crisis – the Earth-Two Superman and Lois lane, the Earth-Three Alexander Luthor, and the crazy Superboy-Prime – break free and begin the Infinite Crisis that has been gathering momentum for so long. DC’s discontinuity of the last twenty years is explained as being caused by Superboy-Prime’s pounding against the walls of his prison reality (each hole he punches creating a causalityripple): the age-old fanboy question of who would win in a face-off between Superman and the Green Lantern Corps is finally answered: and a whole new cliché established with the loss of Wally West – every new Crisis “kills” a Flash. In 1985, DC and Marv Wolfman wanted rid of the Multiverse concept. In 2005, Infinite Crisis restored it… for a time. Arguably, it was a solution to a problem that didn’t really need solving, and its long-term repercussions remain to be seen (some decisions have already been reversed). Parts of it were far stronger than others; it was unwieldy, and occasionally repetitive. Ultimately though, consequences aside, it was a blast.

unfolding events. She played a significant role in the fight against Superboy-Prime, and in the One Year Later stories is a prominent member of the Justice Society, while simultaneously moonlighting as a new Nightwing. Thankfully, in her Power Girl guise, she remains all about the cleavage. DONNA TROY Similarly convoluted, Donna Troy’s history has encompassed her being orphaned in a fire (saved by either Wonder Woman or The Titans of Myth, depending which version you believe) and created as a magical Amazonian clone of Wonder Woman. Her discovery that, post-Crisis on Infinite Earths, she is a repository of all these different facets simultaneously, precipitates the current Infinite Crisis, as uniquely, she retains the memories of each version of herself, and can recall a time when the Multiverse still existed. Dying in the threepart Graduation Day, she is resurrected in The Return of Donna Troy as a living key to the entire Multiverse…

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COOL FROM THE WIRE

WWE Hall of Fame Unmissable TV! Having now been available on DVD for the last three years, the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony is fast becoming the promotion’s must-see event of the year. In previous ceremonies, such luminaries as Bobby Heenan, Harley Race, Hulk Hogan and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper have been inducted, enthralling the crowd as they did in their heyday. Brian Elliott surveys it in the aftermath! The 2006 event, held the day before Wrestlemania in Rosemont, Illinois, certainly lived up to the high standard of its predecessors. This time around, such wrestling greats as The Blackjacks (Mulligan & Lanza), Tony Atlas, (celebrity inductee) William “The Refrigerator” Perry, Verne Gagne, and “Mean” Gene Okerlund were rewarded for their service to the sport. But three others were also inducted, and it was they who truly took centre stage: “Sensational” Sherri, Eddie Guerrero, and Bret Hart. “Sensational” Sherri Martel - who won the WWF Women’s Title from The Fabulous Moolah in her WWF debut match – took to the stage like she had never been away, the vivacity that categorised her television character still in evidence nearly ten years after her departure from WCW. “On a daily basis, each and every one of us in the wrestling business does

everything we can to entertain,” she said in a rare, serious moment. “We all love this business so much.” Although Sherri’s words were oft-repeated throughout the three-hour event, they were none more heartfelt than when spoken by Vickie Guerrero, accepting the induction on behalf of her late husband Eddie. Flanked by daughters Shaul and Sherilyn, as well as Chris Benoit, Rey Mysterio, and Chavo Guerrero, a tearful Vickie first told a rousing story of the delight Eddie took from spending an entire afternoon playing with the neighbourhood children, each of whom he’d bought a waterpistol. She then added, “Eddie had a heart of gold. He lived through all of your energy. He appreciated each and every one of you.” After the sadness associated with Guerrero’s induction, the chance to send everyone home happy was left in the capable hands of Bret Hart. “The Hitman” did not disappoint, and had the crowd hanging on his every word, despite speaking for forty minutes. “I had a life filled with all kinds of great characters, stories, and memories,” he said. “The Hart Foundation days with Brian Pillman, Jim Neidhart, The British Bulldog, OwenÖthose were the happiest days of my life, and I look back on those days with a great fondness.” Despite the fact that many perceive him as self-centred, Hart shied away from talking solely about his own career. Instead, he chose to tell

Hogan introduces Gene Okerlund...

of japes involving his brother Owen, his father Stu, as well as other personalities such as the late John “Earthquake” Tenta and Arn Anderson. He even told the hilarious story of the time that The Legion of Doom put Vince McMahon in the Doomsday Device, while drinking in a strip-bar. Yes, you read that correctly. The 2006 Hall of Fame ceremony was yet another night to remember for the company. If you are a behind-the-scenes enthusiast, you must make it required viewing.

Benoit, Guerrero and Mysterio pay tribute to Eddie... sad times.

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Men Of Armor For Sleep: Don’t let the smiles fool you....

Vision

It came to a head when I noticed that I was consistently getting a string of great sounding releases. Over a period of a few weeks, I also noticed that while I was checking the bands out online, that I kept ending up in the same place. That place was Equal Vision records - home of a truckload of great bands. More importantly, home to a truckload of bands who love being there. It was only right that we get off the sofa and check out exactly what’s going on there. Are they really... Man, for a label I’d never heard of about six months ago, Equal Vision seem to have become a huge part of my life. It all started with Circa Survive. This job brings with it many hours of randomly throwing into a machine, disc after disc in the hope of finding something great. My personal take on this is that I strip all the albums out of their sleeves so that I’m not influenced by big labels or favourite bands in some vague attempt to get everything on a level playing field. Obviously, when you drop something like Bon Jovi in the deck, you can tell who it is immediately, but by doing things this way I found that music has become different, it remains exciting day after day when it has the

absolute potential to become a bit of a chore. I digress. At the end of the month, I had a pile of discs to drop in the rack on the wall and a far bigger pile to throw in the ‘cupboard under the stairs’ - amongst that pile that would be relistened to relentlessly were - in no order of preference: Circa Survive, Armor for Sleep, The Hope Conspiracy, Fear Before the March of Flames - and later I also noticed that Coheed & Cambria are signed with them, (but more on that later). Since then, I’ve also come to investigate The Fall of Troy, Bear vs Shark, Chiodos and Versus the Mirror. No shit... each and every one of these albums stands out as being a law unto itself - and it’s that ethos that keeps Equal Vision at the cutting edge of new music. Sadly,

Bear vs Shark decided to call it a day recently only 6 months after their latest album was released -don’t let that stop you rummaging about for it though. There’s more bands too - and that’s just on the surface. Who knows what they’re looking at for the rest of the year, but I’d stake what little reputation I have left on the fact that it will be pretty damn hot. What’s a poor boy to do... play in a rock n roll band of course, but if they won’t have you, you get on the phone to the guy in charge of all things A&R at Equal Vision and drain his brain of all information available. Dan Sandshaw is a... what’s the phrase people always use? Unassuming guy? It’s


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Bane: frighteningly intelligent rock. Honest!

almost as if it never occurs to him the level of talent he’s putting on the table, but I guess it’s not everyday people are interested in the company behind a string of independent releases. A simple question such as “just what in hell are you guys doing out there to attract such talent”, prompts an answer that a million other record companies could heed well; “The talent pool comes from all manner of different places. We get sent a lot of demo material, some of which is great immediately, but some of it you become aware of as being ‘with potential’. There’s the bands we see as part of us being proactive in going out to gigs too. Then, there’s also word of mouth from the bands already with us. “I think what we have at the moment though is an ability to spot bands with a lot of potential and give them a platform from which to develop themselves without too much pressure to reach the pinnacle of their ability within the first five minutes of their signing. That’s a bit of an exaggeration but..” We hear what you’re saying - and it’s more than true. Whilst putting together the cover story for next month on Coheed & Cambria, the subject of Equal Vision came up out of the blue. Mike Todd was more than complementary about them and how they had very much left the band to their own creative devices whilst also encouraging them to grow under their own speed. Of course, the problem with growing and growing is that you attract the attention of others and their new deal sees Equal Vision taking rather a backseat in the deal, but as Dan was swift to point out, that’s certainly no bad thing: “On one level, probably the personal one, it always hurts a bit when you have to let a band move on because you’ve put so much time and effort into it. Sometimes you even become friends too - but on another level, you can’t help but be pleased that the band are jumping up that ladder towards bigger success. After all, that’s why a lot of people are here at all - to succeed as musicians and get their music out to as many people as possible. Where Coheed are concerned, the money put behind them is obviously working as their profile is becoming a lot bigger.”

“...it always hurts a bit when you have to let a band move on because you’ve put so much time and effort into it.” Fall of Troy: a pattern emerges! More normal looking guys with the ability to lay waste...

The words he speaks are true... and there’s the not so small subject of Circa Survive. I think their trip to the top of the mountain is going to take a while though. I really didn’t get the album at first. It was obvious that it wasn’t shit, but I just didn’t get it. Sometimes that’s the way it goes. Time goes by though and Juturna is deeply entrenched in my psyche. It hosts a hatful of great songs... it’s a bit like that somebody that you work with that you don’t realise is attractive until you get to know them a little better - get used to their nuances... and then, well, this time you get the picture. Juturna is a great example of what Equal Vision do best: give a storming band a platform from which to work. Sometimes though, a band seems to come out of the stable and just take on the world on it’s own terms. Such seems to be the story with Fall of Troy. One minute, silence. Then the next, cacophony reigns supreme. Their recent trip to the UK had most of the national radio stations sitting up and taking notice immediately. Further investigating into B U R N M A G A Z I N E | w w w. b u r n m a g . c o . u k

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Four Equal Vision releases you shouldn’t be without: Circa Survive: Juturna Juturna is an album without challenge. It takes no notice of anything that’s going on around it. The vocals seem to whine at first, but stay long enough to hear the message and you too will learn that there is so much more to this band than a cool album sleeve. Standout tracks: Holding Someone’s Hair Back, Act Appalled, We’re All Thieves and The Glorious Nosebleed. Buy it for yourself and sit at home being very smug that they might be the worlds best kept secret. Chiodos: Don’t worry, despite the sticking plaster, they sound nothing like Nelly.

the said phenomena proved fatal for us here in the office. Sunk! Another great band dealt by the hands of EV Records, but a similar story was written - it wasn’t a case of ‘Hey another band on EV, let’s check them out!’ - it can be days or weeks even before somebody notices what label something is on... although I have to admit that lately, I’ve started to look a lot more often! As I said before though, these are the bands that are currently cutting themselves a profile over here in the UK. Still to come are the bombastic Versus the Mirror - you can check them out right now (as you can with all the EV bands) at www.purevolume.com/versusthemirror In the vein of Bullet for My Valentine, they bring something new to the table with their searing vocal ‘unharmonies’. Chiodos, being a far more commercial act, bring with them some real old school styling and a penchant for excellent song titles such as ‘One Day Women Will All Become Monsters’ and ‘Baby You Wouldn’t Last a Minute on the Creek’, this is the band that I’m most looking forward to breaking through next. Finally, from my pick of the fruit bowl for you too investigate would be Bane. Thoroughly equipped to attack the youth market from the offset if you’re after a comparison, well, Henry

Versus the Mirror: Waiting to go into church to confess their sins...

Rollins wouldn’t be too upset if they moved in across the street. The beauty of EV though is that they have something for everyone. Some of my favourite Equal Vision acts have called it a day or moved on to pastures new. Fivespeed have since moved on to Virgin, but they wouldn't have grown into such a solid band without their time at EV. Check out their huge melodies and chugging guitars. On the new release front, you can expect a DVD from Armor for Sleep, some nice reissues from Coheed and Boysetsfire - a new album from Boysetsfire called The Misery Index which we’re all really looking forward to here and some new talent coming in from Jonah Matranga - haven’t heard anything at all from him yet, but that’s part of the excitement factor for us. You never know what’s around the corner at Equal Vision, but the one thing you can be sure of is that it will be diverse and have its heart in the right place. You can’t really ask for much more than that.

You can check out all of the Equal Vision bands, past and present at www.equalvision.com - they also run some streaming tracks (and a few downloads) at www.purevolume.com

Armor For Sleep: What To Do When You Are Dead ...Dead is an album of contradictions. It wants to take you to places you’re familiar with but just can’t help itself taking the long and scenic route. It’s melodic, it’s exciting and heartfelt. Is there anything else you need from an album which also has excellent artwork? Standout tracks: The Truth About Heaven, Awkward Last Words, The More You Talk The Less I Hear and Car Underwater. For extra things to do when listening, try recreating the album artwork on the back of your leather jacket. The Fall of Troy: Doppelganger Scared? You should be. The noise meisters will be round at a town near you very soon brandishing their tunes of mass destruction - scratching their fretboards in your face and raising the spirits of those devoid of new talent for so long. Standout tracks: Act One Scene One, You Got A Death Wish Johnny Truant?, Laces Out Dan! and We Better Learn to Hotwire a Uterus. Splendid band for people who love to carve up the train with their ipod running at full tilt. Coheed & Cambria: In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 Assuming you have already been to the altar of Good Apollo, this is the next stage in your therapy. We challenge you to resist the story - sit back and watch a previous chapter unfold before your very eyes. Standout tracks: Blood Red Summer, The Crowing, A Favor House Atlantic and In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3. Sit down and take it like a man...


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XS NOISE POLLUTION Pics: Chiaki Nozu

ALICE IN CHAINS ASTORIA, LONDON 4 JULY 2006

Following the dismal opening band The Hedrons, and overcoming early sound problems, the return of Alice In Chains to London one last time was a thoroughly triumphant event. New vocalist William DuVall, standing in for the deceased Layne Staley is spot-on for AIC material, B U R N M A G A Z I N E | w w w. b u r n m a g . c o . u k

sounding absolutely perfect. Perhaps because this was the last night of the European tour, perhaps because this really was the end of an era, or perhaps because the packed Astoria was just so energetic, the band really wanted it tonight. They played every track with tangible passion and enthusiasm. Jerry Cantrell’s little temper tantrum, seemingly caused by

mistakes in the printed setlists, and resulting in him hurling his guitar off stage after No Excuses and kicking a speaker over after Down In A Hole, aside, the band seemed almost as ecstatic to be there as the 2000odd fans that had waited so long to hear those songs again. Even Jerry cheered up towards the end, getting into the “last night of the tour” spirit and joining bassist Mike Inez and drummer Sean Kinney in showing their appreciation of DuVall by coming out for the encore wearing afro wigs. The set was mostly culled from the huge hit album Dirt, but every track was a bona fide classic, with Dam That River, We Die Young and a simply amazing Down In A Hole being the best on the night. The various members have hinted that they will go on and make new music together, and hopefully this will include DuVall, but it will be under a new name. When the US part of the 2006 tour is over, Alice In Chains will be no more. We may have witnessed the end of an era this night, but it was a hell of a way to go. AL 015


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Never ones to pass up on something visually eloquent, the cover of the Louis XIV album The Best Little Secrets Are Kept keeps coming back to haunt us! It’s a weird album if you’ve not heard it yet. It’s so rock n roll that it almost falls out of the genre. The grapevine suggests that they’re going to deal crushing blows to the world over the next year - so we suggest that you’d best familiarise yourselves immediately. Coming from a musically inspired background of T. Rex and the Stones, Louis XIV have now signed to Atlantic - and as luck would have it, we also find them on tour in the coming weeks.

The album is best discussed by playing it though, so you’re going to have fix that for yourselves. Meanwhile, this tender little section is about the photo shoot that went towards the design of the sleeve - which we think is one of the best album sleeves to come along for a while. Shot by Phil Mucci - who has also filmed the bands videos for God Killed the Queen and Finding Out True Love is Blind - and coolly modelled by Karen Miller, they strike up the bohemian originality of the band more than words ever could. The story behind the shoot and the album design (which comes from John Hofstetter) is as good as industry stories go but we’re saving up all of those people for a future feature. For now, sit back, light up and enjoy...

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The final album sleeve. All hail seventies design in a small plastic box!


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stone live sour www.friendsoflive.com “They called us a dead generation, they told us that we wouldn’t survive, they left us alone in the maelstrom, as you can see we’re all clearly alive!” sings Corey Taylor on Stone Sour’s recent single 30-30/150... The song is the first single off of Come What(ever) May, the band’s follow-up album to their 2002 self-titled debut - and it fucking rocks. 30-30/150, much like the entire album, adheres to the single most important identifier of good music: it grabs you by the short and curlies, and keeps you cemented to the edge of your seat, right from the second it kicks in up until the moment the speakers finally fall silent. When Stone Sour released their platinumselling eponymous album in August 2002, the focus was not on the quality of the songwriting or the unique sound the band had created, but on the members; singer Corey Taylor and guitarist Jim Root were best known for their work with metal pioneers Slipknot, and many ignored the fact that Stone Sour had in fact existed since 1992 and was very much the main project for Corey up until he was asked to join Slipknot in 1997 (ironically after Slipknot beat Stone Sour in a local Battle Of The Bands competition), “I was already a fan of the band,” Corey Taylor recalls. Corey and Stone Sour are currently on their tour bus, racing down a motorway through France towards their next show, and the cellular phone reception is weak so Corey’s voice is coming down the phone-line intermittent and distorted. “I’d seen them live and I remember just wanting to be the singer of that fuckin’ band!” He laughs. “When they asked me try out, I thought I’d check it out. I was completely into it, and was totally different from anything I’d done. Leaving Stone Sour was the hardest decision I have ever made.” When Slipknot first crawled out of Des Moines, Iowa in late 1997, the world took a deep breath - and has been holding it since. Here was a band of 9 musicians, identifying themselves with the numbers 0 through 8,

that Stone Sour is more than just a side band. “Even when we were doing Slipknot, me and the guys would get together and record shit,” Corey reveals. “When it came to the point after the Iowa recording and tour cycle, I needed to do something completely different - and Stone Sour was right there.” The runaway global success of Slipknot must have played a part in the release of the Stone Sour album? “In a lot of ways, I think it actually hindered Stone Sour,” Corey muses. His voice is wearily contemplative and has a clear air of intelligence. “Think about Slipknot. Think about what people know about Slipknot. Here comes this band with Jim and Corey, and already on that, there are preconceptions forming about whether people will either instantly embrace or deny it, just through judging us on Slipknot. It was an uphill battle: we toured incessantly, we did every radio show, every interview we could just to get the name ‘Stone Sour’ out there, and try to get people to realise it was completely different. Making people see that they couldn’t go by their expectations was a lot of work, and now that hard work is starting to pay off. Of course, we have a lot of Slipknot fans that don’t care about Stone Sour, and a lot of Stone Sour fans that don’t care about Slipknot - and that’s a great place to be.” Three singles were released off of their first album, each one fostering more success for the band; Bother (which featured on the Spiderman OST) reached Number 2 in the US Mainstream Rock Charts, and rocketed the band into their own realm of fame. “Fame is just like the natural gas after you’ve mined all the oil,” Corey reasons. “It’s just an after-thought. It is what it is. I don’t let fame affect the way I write songs, because if you do, you end up turning into a band that’s quite crap.” And rightly so - there have been far too many bands in recent years writing songs almost directly targeting them at the mainstream. “Well, that’s the credo of the band: if we write it and we feel it,” Corey continues, “then let’s put it out there. Why hold back just

“FAME IS JUST LIKE THE NATURAL GAS

AFTER YOU’VE MINED ALL THE OIL,” COREY REASONS.

“IT’S JUST AN...ITAFTER-THOUGHT . IS WHAT IT IS. sporting gruesome masks and uniformlycoloured boiler-suits, and playing a notoriously intense form of heavy metal - people either loved them or hated them. Over the better part of the last decade, Slipknot has become almost a brand-name in metal; eleventeen-year old ‘mini-moshers’ can be seen in any town or city garbed in over-sized Slipknot hoodies, congregating in and around record stores. With the momentum and popularity of a multiplatinum selling metal band behind them, Slipknot’s #8 (Corey Taylor) and #4 (guitarist Jim Root) unmasked and announced the release of Stone Sour’s first album in 2002 - for the most part, people believed that Stone Sour was more of a one-off side project than a band to be taken seriously. The release of critically acclaimed Come What(ever) May has signalled 068

because you’re worried that people might think it’s too different? Fuck that! Band’s never used to be like that - they used to be like, ‘Okay, we wrote this, let’s see if there’s a couple of ears out there that dig it.’ With Stone Sour, we’ve always tried to cover the middle ground that so many bands have left open.” And, following that dogma, Stone Sour have gone above and beyond with the songs on Come What(ever) May - the songs range from all-out mosh anthems such as 30-30/150 and Socio to acoustic, soulful ballads such as Through Glass and ZZYXZ Rd. The band had toyed with similar musical fusion on their debut, but the degree to which they suceed on Come What(ever) May is phenomenal. “Putting Through Glass next to 30-30/150 is like putting Bother next to Get Inside - they may w w w. b u r n m a g . c o . u k | B U R N M A G A Z I N E


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STONE COLD

KILLERS Words: Seb Willett

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stone sour sound completely different, but that’s us, and they work together,” Corey says, “and that’s what matters. We started the musical diversity with the first album, but it was almost like we were being too tentative. We didn’t even know if anybody would pay any attention to us! When we found out that we had an audience, we were like, ‘Fuckin A!’” Corey laughs. “With this album, we were like, ‘Okay, let’s take what we started, and just fuckin’ build on it.’ We never want to be so genre-specific that people will know what to expect - we always wanted to be one of those bands that if we feel something, we’ll put it out there no matter what people think. I’m so proud of this album - and it’s not very often I can actually say that! We really wanted to strengthen the line that separates the two bands [Stone Sour and Slipknot]. We wanted to show off our strengths: our songwriting, our diversity, and our very human approach to it all.” Above anything else, it’s becoming clear that Corey is very determined about isolating “the two bands” from each other; the heaviness of the first album seemed to draw unnecessary comparisons to Slipknot, but, as Corey says, the second album completely blows any comparisons out of the water. Even Corey himself found his expectations being entirely upended. “We went above and beyond every expectation I had for this album!” He laughs. “I wanted the songs to sound strong and the production to sound clean - and the songs ended up sounding so much better than I thought they were going to. It’s almost chilling!” Considering how much time Corey and Jim appeared to be devoting to keeping the cogs turning of Slipknot, it’s hard to imagine how they found time to write for Stone Sour, “We would always get together in the off-time at home,” he discloses, “and we would just write and write. By the time we had finished touring Slipknot... Fuck man! We had about 37 ideas for songs, so the biggest problem was whittling it down from a box-set to a proper fuckin’ album, because we had so many great ideas!” He pauses. “We wanted to make sure that whatever we came out with felt the best and sounded the best. So we just picked the songs and really concentrated on them, and voila, we have a sweet fuckin’ album!” As we continue to discuss the dynamic that exists between him, Stone Sour and Slipknot, there’s a screeching of tyres down the phone, and Corey screams: “What the FUCK?” There’s silence for several seconds, and distant talking on the bus. “Hold on a second, we’re about to have a 070

fuckin’ problem with some fuckin’ ass-hole...” More silence. “Okay, this guy was just being a fuckin’ asshole... Pull him over, and we’ll fuck him up!” Corey laughs. “Sorry about that, dude... We’re on a bus, so you never know whose ass you’re going to have to kick next! What was I saying?”

Being in both bands.... “Oh yeah. I do one, then I do the other - I bounce back and forth. I’m more hands on with Stone Sour than with Slipknot - even though I write the lyrics in Slipknot, it’s very much their [Shawn ‘Clown’ Crahan, Joey Jordison and Paul Gray] band - I came in late. Those guys have always had a vision of what the band is. I try to contribute to that, and I’ve written a little music, but it generally seems to take care of itself.” A cough. “With Stone Sour, I was one of the founders back in ‘92, so it’s definitely much more hands-on for me; I try to get into the artistic and musical side of it, and help guide it. Stone Sour has always been one-for-all and allfor-one, and hopefully we’ll continue with that.” There seems to be no discord between Corey and his bands - but what if the day ever came that he had to choose between them? “I wouldn’t! I’d just let a fuckin’ bomb go off,” he laughs, “if somebody tried to make me choose. I’d say, ‘Fuck you, you’re not going to push me into something like that.’ I’m really lucky: I’ve got two bands that allow me to make

any kinda music I want, and two bands I’m really proud to be. Not a lot of people can say that - and not a lot of people do it for the right reasons anyways. Hopefully I’m doing it for the right reasons...” Right reasons? “Just total freedom - the freedom to do whatever I want. Music on tap!” Corey chuckles. “If I get an idea, I know there’s at least one band I can do it with. It’s just total expression, and total creativity.” Total expression and creativity is an important thing for a band to maintain throughout their career, regardless of how illustrious or successful they become and something that a lot of people strive for in their own lives. But, with the level of anonymity and ‘freedom’ of speech offered by the Internet, it seems that too many people are satisfied to settle for pseudo-articulation of opinions (usually targeting a band like Slipknot with abuse and criticism) and hiding behind the lifeless glow of a computer screen, “I think that people who hide behind screen-names and whatever are juts complete fuckin’ pussies,” Corey declares bitterly. “When I say something on the Internet, trust me, people know it’s me. If you don’t have the balls to say that shit with your real name, then you shouldn’t fuckin’ say it to begin with. It’s given a lot of pussies a place to say their shit,” he trails off. “But, if you spend all your time worrying about the people that hate you, you start ignoring the people that love you. So, I’m over it - you can talk all the shit about me you want, I don’t care! Will I lose my mind over it, or stop making music? No! Sit in your mom’s basement, enjoy the chicken casserole she makes you every Sunday night, and shut the fuck up!” He laughs. “Those people don’t get to me now, and they’re never going to. I’m not gonna waste my breath trying to sort them out. All I have to say to them is, ‘Fuck you, eat a bag of shit, you suck!’ That’s really all they deserve.” One of the most prevalent Internet phenomenons in recent times is multi-million user profile-site Myspace.com. The website networks millions of people around the world, allowing bands and their fans an open forum to express themselves - and to a huge audience. “Oh yeah,” Corey says matter-of-factly, “I have a Myspace. I got on there to talk shit!” He laughs. “I was a late-comer, though. I saw that everbody was getting on there, and I was like, ‘Fuck that!’ But then the more dudes I met in other bands and the more friends I made on the road, I realised that they were all on Myspace. w w w. b u r n m a g . c o . u k | B U R N M A G A Z I N E


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stone sour There’s no better way of keeping in touch with them all. I got on there and started writing all kinds of blogs and changing things up as much as I could - but it’s got to the point now where I’m just writing stuff to make people laugh. I’ve only got one picture up, and no music, because I think it’s just a waste of fuckin’ bullshit...” He trails off slightly. “I try and make fun of as many of those stupid quizzes as I can - especially the ‘Which member of Slipknot are you?’ ones!” He laughs. “They’re fuckin’ stupid! They’ve got mine completely wrong: apparently I love numetal and consider myself a leader... What the fuck does that mean though? I don’t love fuckin’ nu-metal, and I certainly don’t look at myself as a leader!” For somebody who doesn’t consider themselves a leader, Corey Taylor certainly does a good job of fronting bands: Slipknot have become a household name and Stone Sour are on their way to enjoying similar success - and as much as he’d like to convince us that it’s all down to the songwriting of the band, the

charisma and energy that he exudes both on and off stage is incomparable. Slipknot live shows have always had a reputation for being intense from beginning to end (reportedly Shawn Crahan would take a dead crow onstage in a jar, and at opportune moments during the set, inhale deeply from it and vomit into the crowd), and although Stone Sour shows are far less controversial, none of the intensity seems to be lost. “Touring with the two bands is quite different actually,” Corey imparts. “Sometimes, I really don’t enjoy myself when I’m touring with Slipknot - but when I tour with Stone Sour, I laugh my ass off every day!” He laughs to himself, no doubt at the momentary recollection of past experiences. He pauses, then continues, this time his voice more solemn, “Slipknot brings it’s own darkness around with it. There’s always tension.” This tension hasn’t escaped the public eye either: the last few years have been filled with rumours concerning the break-up of Slipknot

“WHY HOLD BACK JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE WORRIED THAT PEOPLE MIGHT THINK IT’S TOO DIFFERENT?

FUCK THAT! BAND’S NEVER USED TO BE LIKE THAT THEY USED TO BE LIKE, ‘OKAY, WE WROTE THIS,

LET’S SEE IF THERE’S A COUPLE OF EARS OUT THERE THAT DIG IT.’

and conflicts between band members. But, it seems at least for the moment, through the cathartic nature of numerous side projects, that the future of Slipknot is secure, “We plan to tour with Stone Sour for the next 2 years,” Corey promises, “so the future is wide open. Even if people just go, ‘Fuck that album!’ we know we made a good album, so I can live with that. I know a lot of people say that, but, a lot of people are fuckin’ stupid too! But whatever, I’ll always be doing music of some kind. Writing, some production here and there, and apparently getting into this record label I accidentally started!” He laughs. As well as starting Maggot Recordings several years ago, apparently Corey is now involved in a new label: “GBM Records. Brand new. I basically started it so I could release the Facecage album I produced. But, other than all that, I don’t try to look that far forward. My vision of the future is just in tour cycles now...” And, with 2 years of tours planned and an album that could strip the enamel off of your teeth at 30 paces, Stone Sour are finally picking up the momentum that they’ve been building towards for the past 14 years. Slipknot or not, one thing is clear about Stone Sour: they’ve worked hard and fought harder to get where they are - and they wholly deserve it.


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Mirrormask Reflections & Fables

Reflections &

Fables

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nder normal circumstances, despite all the years they have worked together, Dave McKean normally lives in the shadow of Neil Gaiman – it’s nothing personal but it’s just the way things have turned out. Their work together on the Sandman books is legendary, their work on titles such as The Wolves in the Walls and The Day I Swapped My Dad for a Goldfish is critically acclaimed and all over the world, somewhere, people are lapping this stuff up. But now comes Mirrormask – a movie of such magnificent proportions it has gone beyond the norm. As this feature continues, this will all become apparent. It’s not a movie for the dumb. It’s a movie for lovers of McKean and Gaiman’s style, it’s a movie for children and it’s a movie for those who have been longing for something just a little bit out of the norm. I put it to Dave that Mirrormask in the main, is his soul embodied on the screen. Some have lazily used Labyrinth as a comparison, but it’s not even in the same ball park. Hell, it’s not even the same game:

Words: Sion Smith Pictures: Dave McKean

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“Possibly. It’s hard to know and it’s especially hard to know while you’re making it because it’s seventeen months before you get to string all the shots in a line. Before that, it’s lots of actors wandering around in a big blue space with no sound or music to get a feel for what it is.” Mirrormask has a predominant feel to it all the way through, one in which you feel like you’re watching something groundbreaking. For anyone who has ever been to see a 3D movie at the IMAX, you’ll know what I’m talking about. There’s also interesting little sub stories of inconsequential characters roaming around in the background, (and quite often in the foreground), that you catch from the corner of your eye – a huge multilayered piece of moving Photoshop art if you will, but how do you give birth to a monster these days? “Initially, the seed was with Lisa Henson and the tiny budget they had for the project, pushed them a certain way – a way in which they weren’t able to use muppets and puppets any more. She had seen my short films and knew Neil so that’s really how it started. They started talking about sequels to Labyrinth but nobody really wanted to do that, so we ended up sitting down around

“Well, maybe it’s because it’s got the Henson name on it and a girl in it, but I haven’t been reading the reviews – I don’t think it’s healthy to do that but, obviously initially you get a feel for what’s going on. They’re completely different. Different people seem to have been watching a different film from the one that I know! Some hate everything about it and some love everything about it, but there’s also some people in the middle that feel the story is pretty lame and a lot of people have said nice things about the way it looks and about Stephanie as an actress. It’s a real mixture.” It’s not really about the story though is it. The story seems to be used more as a tool to hold the imagery together. “Yes – the interesting thing for me was that the character regresses to a simple state who brings with her all the simple trappings of a simple fairy tales, the good and bad stories and then as it goes through, it gets a bit greyer which is what real life is like – and I don’t think I would do that again next time.” I don’t think it could handle that sort of heavy story anyway because there’s so much going on visually. 045


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Mirrormask Reflections & Fables

“what happens is, because you don’t have an expression to lock onto, you’re forced to pay attention to slight body language, slight changes of angles and you become heightened to them.” Dave McKean the kitchen table at her house with a big pile of notes and pictures and books and CD’s – lots of stuff – and we just went and saw where it could go. Then the circus came into it and so did the masks. I’ve always loved masks and all my short films have masks in them. The reason I love them – and I didn’t know why I loved them so much before this – but I made a short film called The Week Before in which there were just two actors. One played God and the other played the Devil and I gave them very simple masks and their expressions seemed to change as they were walking round. They seemed to get angry, sleepy and bemused – obviously they didn’t but they seemed to, and I think what happens is, because you don’t have an expression to lock onto, you’re forced to pay attention to slight body language, slight changes of angles and you become heightened to them. Often they’re things the actor is unaware of doing as well. Rather than acting as masks, they reveal more about a person and I think that’s why they’re a big part of Japanese and African culture, primal cultures understand that. There’s a great book called Secrecy that you

should hunt down if you’re into masks. I didn’t have to go shopping for mask books though. I have a fair few of them already.” So, is Mirrormask just a shock to the system for Westerners? Does it have roots nailed firmly in Eastern Europe where street theatre, dark alleyways and papier-mache are far more commonplace in movies then sprawling CGI landscapes? “I think it has it’s roots in Europe yes, not England – although England does have its strain of surreal aspects in art and humour, it’s always rather stifled. In Germany and Spain, it’s slightly more lavish and expressionistic, but, by the time you get to the middle of Europe, in Prague and Warsaw, it’s really extraordinary and there’s a really strong theatre tradition. The posters that they make and wallpaper the streets with to advertise their shows are full of amazing images and people just live alongside this other version of the world in their daily lives.” We miss so much over here don’t we. “Yes, we do! I spent New Year in Vienna and this stuff is going on all the time. They have statues and things going on in windows - it’s

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just part of life. The membrane between the two is very thin. Everything that happened to you this morning is a fantasy and exists now only as a memory and the future is also a dream, so all you really have is this small locus of nowness and a huge ball of stuff that doesn’t exist at all that is still very real to you.” Looking out of the window of the glass offices that Tartan Films now occupy, it’s hard to believe that as little as twenty years ago, these Soho streets were that kind of a world. Triple X cinemas were every other building, you could pretty much buy anything you wanted – and now look at it. The very pinnacle of respectability with its thriving restaurants and businesses that have moved in. Whether your opinion of that sort of thing is good or bad, at least it wasn’t a sanitised and characterless version of the world - you could at least make a movie about something that went on there. Now, we’re just not exposed to anything that has much artistic merit on our streets with which to play with. Mirrormask is essentially what I like to term as a “real corner of your eye movie”. Not quite with the harshness of Company of Wolves maybe, but there’s something un-nerving about the line that it treads between fantasy and

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reality. If we’re really looking for a comparison to try and find somewhere for it to fit (and believe me, I’m as happy as McKean is for it to stand alone, but we’re investigating right…), then the movie Paperhouse (1987, you can still get it on VHS if you hunt hard), is as close as you will ever get. “Ah. Interesting. I knew nothing about that movie and we finished writing and we had also done a rewrite and Neil asked me if I had ever seen it. So I got a hold of an old VHS copy to see what it was all about and I couldn’t believe it. He also suggested I get a copy of The Talisman (Stephen King and Peter Straub’s excellent duet in horror fantasy from 1985 – pick it up in a million places but don’t be fooled by the crummy sequel that followed a few years back called Black House). I still haven’t read it but I read the précis – these stories; there are only a certain number of things you can put these people through to provoke them into the adventure or whatever you want to call it, so they do come up. It’s frustrating when people think you copied something though.” Assuring Dave that I wasn’t even for a moment suggesting that Mirrormask copied anything, I reiterate that it’s always hard to describe truly original things to people and you end up clutching at straws. What proves my point exactly is that people bandy around this Labyrinth connection on the basis of who is involved rather than what is actually going on. For all intents and purposes, Paperhouse suits my needs. You really do have to hunt hard to buff Mirrormask up against anything. McKean nods and continues: “The director of Paperhouse was at Sundance and liked Mirrormask – and I think he liked the fact that we had seen his film and could actually talk about it. Mirrormask has been out for a while now though and it has it’s own life. I have no control anymore! There comes a time to let go and inevitably people will compare it with their own points of reference.” Did you have control all the way through? I’m guessing that the studio probably panicked at some point when they saw it in its rough state! “I think I can honestly say we did have control. No demands where made but then I didn’t have control because of my lack of experience. Sometimes I thought I had, but I’d not thought things through correctly. The beginning of the film, the scene with the mother and Helena in the caravan, I planned meticulously with a storyboard but it just didn’t work because of so many reasons, so I had to go away and rethink it.” But after a certain point, quite early on I would have thought, you must have held all the cards because there’s no way they could replace you - ever! “That became my insurance policy. when we started I was convinced that I would be replaced. I thought that they were just using me to get Neil to write a screenplay for nothing! So I wanted to make sure that we wrote something together that would be hard for


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Mirrormask Reflections & Fables anybody else to realise. After a while we had terrabytes of files flying all over the place, I knew nobody else would come in and make anything out of it.” Y’know - you don’t really see any Dave McKean copyists out there. “No, that’s true. I still have my own territory but I do see plenty of good work out there. In all fields too, illustrators, painters, movie makers. It’s sad that art school is overflowing with students and most of them aren’t going to make it, but some will come through. Illustration is in a real lull at the moment because most art directors think they can do it themselves in Photoshop - but they can’t!” I don’t think Mirrormask is a ‘see it once’ film. There are too many things going on to soak it up wholly. The first time around it’s Dave McKean just doing his thing, but second time around it’s a film, but maybe that’s because I’m so familiar with your work. “No, I think that’s fair. It’s the experience that’s

the thing sometimes, not the story. I can live with that.” So far, we’ve managed to keep to Mirrormask, but you really can’t sit with Dave McKean and talk about one thing - there are so many other strings to his bow, it would be a major writing crime not to delve a little bit. McKean is probably best known outside of this movie for his work with Neil Gaiman on various ‘comic books’. They met while Gaiman was hustling himself as a writer. Neil had written some stories for a magazine that never happened and Dave was illustrating for it. Gaiman had written a story called Violent Cases and McKean took it away to work on it. Gaiman hustled it around to show the work and the rest as they say is history. “The dominos just fell after that. Alan Moore had gotten in a year before us and also Brian Bolland from that first gang and they had so much success that DC came over to see what other talent was around. At the time there was myself and Neil, Grant Morrison...

I spot a gateway to another level... can’t resist opening it. Grant Morrison, well known proponent of chaos majick. Do you believe? “I tend not to be a believer in anything but I’m always fascinated in how people think. - and what construct of the world they choose to put their trust in. I’m not religious at all but I’m absolutely fascinated by it - where these things come from and why they’re there. I did some book covers for Jonathan Carroll (big time chaos majick author) and funnily enough I saw him in Vienna and he’s written a story called Voice of our Shadow that he wants to make as a comic. He’s written movie scripts but I think he’s been generally frustrated by the process. He really wants to do it so long as it’s not going to be continually watered down for Hollywood purposes. Then, my time apparently, is up. I choose to fill in the remaining minutes with some random questions - because nothing warms my heart more than keeping somebody from a major broadsheet waiting.

“We spent 10 days hammering it out around a table in the henson house and occasionally Dave would get fed up of trying to explain things to me and just start drawing.” Neil Gaiman

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Do you find that as an artist, you can’t say much more than your work already has for you? “No, not at all, I’m really happy to talk about it. The difficult thing is doing the same thing over and over. There’s this junket mentality where there are five obligatory questions, there’s no depth. That person is out and the next person is in. There’s a convention mentality as well where someone asks you to draw a sketch for them to take home but so little thought goes into that that I might as well rubber stamp these things. If I were able to take something home and work on it, that would be different. So it’s the same with an interview and I’m happy to answer them, but it’s normally ‘what was it like doing this’, ‘what was that person like to work with’. Do you still read and keep up with the comic world? There are some people that I love - especially when it makes it into the mainstream - it always bothered me that it was published by comic publishers and sold in comic shops for comic fans. It’s so insular. I always loved it when somebody broke out - Raymond Briggs for instance. I think the books that we did achieved that. Mr Punch did and Sandman too. I also think it’s a little sad, but maybe inevitable, that comics are viewed as a place to develop movies. That attitude is a shame. They’re a different medium. American Splendour was great because it didn’t take anything away from the comic. Ghost World is a superb comic. But these things are cyclical. It’s a good time to be getting into the medium because back them I would imagine hours in front of a photocopier, but now you can knock up something of a pretty high standard once you find your way around a dtp programme. That’s always been the great thing about comics, you just need the will to do it. Both Neil and I started that way. There’s always an audience, you just have to find a way to build the bridge...


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Claudio’s world famous impression of Sideshow Bob gets the band an extra encore... 050

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The

Portrait of Claudio Sanchez

Words: Sion Smith All pictures: Chiaki Nozu

Seemingly from out of nowhere, Coheed & Cambria are on the brink of taking over the world. No doubt they will soon be hailed as overnight successes by those outside of the circle but it’s been a long journey. Some have watched it from its inception, others have chosen to join the crazy train along the way but it has to be said that it’s probably only a matter of time before the rest of the world follows. Sitting down with Claudio on the eve of their UK tour, and at various points in between, it’s hard to imagine this extremely likeable guy can be so intense on stage. Others may have done big stories on them before us, but damn it... I was here first and now I want my pound of flesh...

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Coheed & Cambria The Portrait of Claudio Sanchez It’s probably not natural to have heroes at my age but in this instance, it can’t be helped. There’s something about Coheed & Cambria that raises the game on the competition well, if there was any they would. Right now though, I have worse things to worry about than looking dumb because I have a new hero. My mini disc player appears to have drop-outs all over the place throughout our recorded interview. Maybe it’s the magnetic field that surrounds Claudio? Maybe some joker at the hotel has got some heavyweight toys from ACME. Whatever the cause I’m not happy because this was a long story. You see in my book, C&C are the most original band to come out of anywhere in a very long time - it’s a good job most of it is still on the disc otherwise we’d just be looking at a stack of great pictures instead! Claudio and I find a quiet corner of the hotel lobby to chat, and for somebody who rips up the boards every night with all the passion of a man possessed with the desire to go home spent, he’s a pretty amenable and friendly guy and perhaps, a little shy too. The purpose of this squirreling away is that I was curious as hell to find out what made such a man tick, so I guess the first question should be, has Coheed and Cambria rescued you from a life of normality? What did the future hold if this hadn’t happened?

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“Ha. I worked in a pet store for a time before the band took off properly. It wasn’t a shitty job at all. Not really. They were really good to me, letting me have time off and everything - when you’re trying to make a band work, you still have to pay the bills and the pet store was OK, because it was mindless enough to let your mind wander. “When my mind wanders it gets creative,so good things came of it! I think I probably thought up a hell of a lot of song ideas while moving sacks of dog food around!” See.. not your normal start to an interview is it? Strikes me that there may be other gems lurking under the surface, so I probe a little into Claudio’s childhood - after all, the story of Coheed and Cambria has to be at least semiautobiographical... isn’t it? “I guess it is on some level, it has to be, but everything is dressed up to the extreme. I can’t sit here and say that I had an unhappy childhood, because I didn’t really. Knowing what I know now about other peoples family lives as well, it was probably pretty normal.” Was it a religious environment? There’s obviously a lot of searching going on in the overall theme of the concept. “Well, I don’t believe in God as such. To be honest, I don’t know what I believe in, if anything, at the moment, but the ideas behind religion and spirituality are fascinating. I think what I do, is take these questioning ideas and then dress them up with science fiction.

You know, I like the way that you guys aren’t afraid to take it away from the power socket you play acoustic sets really quite often don’t you. “Well, that’s how the songs are written. I have the germ of an idea and I’ll take it to the band and maybe Travis will have some ideas that he will add to it or Mic will take it and roll somewhere. “It’s a very organic process for us but you know what amazes me most about the process. The way the collective consciousness works. Just after I had written IRO-Bots for instance, I saw there was a film in production called I-Robot. “Coincidences like that happen a lot, but it’s not until you sit down and think about how many there really are that it ever becomes strange. “Sorry, you asked me about the acoustic shows. Yeah, we do lots. I really like doing them because the songs shine through in a different dimension and it’s always good when people can take home something a little bit extra when they’ve come to see you.” Later in the day, we all whip across to the venue to check out what’s going on. It’s a bizarre set up when you see things in the cold light of day. There’s the guillotine standing like it could never in a million years fit into the show with any panache at all! What is getting me excited though is the new light strobes they have set up - they look really cool!

w w w. b u r n m a g . c o . u k | B U R N M A G A Z I N E


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What The Hell Is Going On, Apollo? Part 1

The Coheed And Cambria albums are entirely open to interpretation. Which apparently is exactly what the band wanted. Here’s my attempt at the upshot of it all. There’s no way it’s completely correct, because no one’s version of events is, so no one is allowed to reprimand me for getting any or all of it wrong. Understood? Apparently it all starts with God (don’t all good stories?), who created The Fence (a ring of star-transformers called The Stars of Sirius) and The Keywork (seventy-eight planets divided into twelve sectors). There are three races throughout the Keywork. Man is one, and the others are the Mage, who rule over Man, and the Prise who protect the Keywork. Each sector has a head Mage. With me so far? The Mage get corrupted by power and start having wars and manipulating Man, the Prise try to intervene, and the Mage all join forces and defeat them. Ultimately, one Mage, Wilhelm Ryan, takes control of the entire Keywork and becomes The Supreme TriMage. God, who buggered off after creating everything, left a prophecy saying he would return. The Prise decide the return of God is their only hope of defeating the Mage, so they set about trying prepare for his arrival. Man are told to keep an eye on the Mage. To do this they create a super-human species called Interceptive Recon Operative Bots. IRO Bots. Get it?

B U R N M A G A Z I N E | w w w. b u r n m a g . c o . u k

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“Do you have names for all of your household objects?” Claudio cracks under the pressure of the line of questioning...

What The Hell Is Going On, Apollo? Part 1 (continued)

The first three of these IRO Bots are Coheed (The Beast), Cambria (The Knowledge) and Jesse (The Inferno). To keep their true purpose from the Mage, the IRO Bots are passed off as an anti-terrorist squad. In secret their inventor also created the Monstar virus, carried by Coheed, which is capable of destroying the Stars of Sirius. A Mage called Mariah, who is nice to Man, starts to challenge Ryan’s reign. The Mage find out about the Monstar, so Coheed and Cambria have their memories erased and are mingled into society, while Jesse goes into hiding to continue the plan. Coheed and Cambria have four children, called Claudio, Josephine, Matthew and Maria. An android called Mayo, who is a general in Ryan’s army, finds Coheed and tells him about the Monstar he carries, and that it’s curable, but the mutated strain his children carry, called the Sinstar, is not. He says Coheed must kill his children or someone else will see to it. Cambria, being The Knowledge, “overhears” this. They poison Maria and Matthew and Coheed whacks Josephine over the head with a hammer. Nice. Claudio survives, while Coheed and Cambria are sedated and delivered to a space station, where the virus is activated in Coheed and Earth is separated from the Keywork. Coheed and Cambria are killed towards the end of the first album. Someone (possibly Claudio) falls asleep at the end of the album, and dreams the first few songs of the second album. Claudio becomes a Messiah called The Crowing and, together with a young female robot called Chase (created by Jesse), he sets about trying to save Earth. A Prise called Ambellina is sent to help Claudio. There’s also a psycho-killer called Al involved, but it’s unclear where he fits in. It all goes a bit weird from here on. At the start of Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume 1, there’s some guy called The Writer, Claudio is having dreams of the souls trapped in the Keywork begging for freedom and of his parents dying (he doesn’t know what happened). There’s a talking bicycle called Ten Speed living in the mind of The Writer, there’s a girl called Erica who may well be Ambellina, Jesse gets killed by Mayo, The Writer kills Ambellina, and Apollo is a dog. See? Weird. The graphic novel version of Good Apollo… may well help to shed some light on the events of the third album, then again, maybe not.


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Coheed & Cambria The Portrait of Claudio Sanchez Presumably, when you get some money behind you, you’ll kick the shit out of this stage show thing and really go to town on it? “I would love to! When I first saw Floyds Division Bell tour, I just knew that doing something on such a scale - and to be able to do it well - was utterly possible. So much larger than life and that appeals to me massively you know, to be able to combine that sort of things with these vast Dune type landscapes that go on in my head would be a dream come true! “I know I’ve said it to you before, but I really miss that sort of thing - to have the power to take people completely out of their environment for a couple of hours is a great gift. Recently Claudio has started to nurture a rather fetching double neck guitar. It reminds me of Page at the peak of Led Zeps fame - if you’ve never seen the band live, you should be ashamed because you should marvel that it’s just not right for a man to be able to play like that and sing at the same time. Claudio started playing guitar around twelve or thirteen. His father, a blues guitarist, taught him his trade. And he always sung with his mom. I ask if he has to push his voice into a falsetto.

The band members all have family musical pedigrees. In fact drummer Josh Eppert’s father has played off and on with The Band. No, I don’t mean Coheed. For the uninitiated, The Band is a group from Woodstock days led by Robbie Robertson. (I think they still hold the record for the largest concert ever, at Watkins Glen in New York, with Allman Brothers and the Dead sharing the bill). Is Page the icon to follow? “No. Hendrix. It has to be Hendrix I think. He was the man.” And when you step back, you can see it in the performance. A riot of colour seemingly drips from his hands as the band go into overdrive that night. The crowd is lapping it up. Never again will you see Coheed and Cambria on a stage as small as this. I wouldn’t be surprised if he were to start setting it on fire soon. We wrapped up the interview with some spicy hot questions, that was originally going to be part of our Shooting Shit column, but due to the timing we never got round to doing all them, so for you delight and delectation, here are the edited highlights:

“Nope, this is just what comes out.” Who cuts your hair? “Nobody”

schizophrenic chrysanthemums, then two Macintoshes auctioned off the progressive televisions, and one subway cleverly tickled five irascible Klingons, because wart hogs easily sacrificed umpteen trailers. Two obese wart hogs grew up, but the bureau noisily auctioned off one purple Jabberwocky, because five chrysanthemums untangles Jupiter, but sheep easily kisses two quite quixotic dwarves. Bureaux gossips. One aardvark tickled the Macintoshes, however

If Apollo is a dog and Ten Speed is a bicycle, do you have names for all your other household objects? “Er... no!” Martial arts or Martial law? “Shit. Martial law sounds quite heavy so I’m going to with Martial arts!” So there you have it. What was going to be a huge monster of a story, turned out to be just a few scraps in the end. Serves me right for not typing it out as soon as I got home! At the end of the day though, it’s not about what comes out of his mouth in a hotel lobby while we’re drinking coffee that anybody cares about. It’s mostly about this huge album called Good Apollo that has won the hearts and minds of anybody who cared to listen for long enough, and Claudio can reel it off week after week in mag after mag and interview after interview but it will never measure up to his soundscapes. If I was their manager, I’d stop them doing any more interviews... now if ever there was a band that could actually pull that off, well... they just left the country. Stars. Each and every one of them.

schizophrenic chrysanthemums, then two Macintoshes auctioned off the progressive televisions, and one subway cleverly tickled five irascible Klingons, because wart hogs easily sacrificed umpteen trailers. Two obese wart hogs grew up, but the bureau noisily auctioned off one purple Jabberwocky, because five chrysanthemums untangles Jupiter, but sheep easily kisses two quite quixotic dwarves. Bureaux gossips. One aardvark tickled the Macintoshes, however Coheed & Cambria are well reknowned for performing acoustic shows in record stores. In some places, these intimate little gatherings are more widely anticipated than the show itself. Tonight at the Virgin Megastore in London’s Tottenham Court Road, they proved once again that it’s not just their albums that make people move and neither is their show. The bottom line is great songs and it’s obviously a treat for everybody as the joint throngs with mouths hitting the floor every step of the way. These exclusive pictures show a very different Claudio than we’re used to - a man who is more than proud to deliver his songs in this fashion. If you ever, ever, get the chance to check the band out in this way, jsut be there okay. Trust me. This is one of those events that people will be claiming they were at even when they weren’t.

B U R N M A G A Z I N E | w w w. b u r n m a g . c o . u k


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