Highwire Daze Issue #144

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Megadeth..............................................................14 Skid Row...............................................................18 Mad Max...............................................................22 Onward..................................................................26 Stitched Up Heart..................................................28 Heaven 17.............................................................36 Beasties: A Sci-Fi Rock Opera..............................40 Decoy.....................................................................44 LastWorld..............................................................46 Jeff Duncan............................................................48 LA Burning Fest III Preview.................................50

Editor Ken Morton Managing Editor Danny S. Pasley Senior Photographer Jack Lue East Coast Editor Jupiter Lee Contributors Ken Morton Jack Lue Jupiter Lee Vivian Ortega Linda Emord Joe Schaeffer


Cover Art by Yannick d’Assignes of Smart Works Intl Cover Photos by Jack Lue HIGHWIRE DAZE 827 N. Hollywood Way PMB419 Burbank, CA 91505-2814 www.highwiredaze.com email: ken@highwiredaze.com Copyright 2022 Highwire Daze Magazine Opinions expressed within this publication do not neccessarily reflect those of the publisher. All rights reserved. Nothing may be produced in whole or in part without the express and written permission of the publisher.

Supporting Noise Pollution Since 1990!

CONCERT REVIEWS Joker’s Hand, Monty Xon, TemperMental, The Toxhards.........................................................54 Suzy and the Substitutes........................................55 L.A. Guns, The Guitar & Whiskey Club...............56 Mercyful Fate, Emperor.........................................58 Hvnted, Against The Sun, Chasing Desolation Havoc Faction........................................................59 Superblood.............................................................60 Ozzy Osbourne at Fingerprints Music..................61 ALBUMS REVIEWS Mitchell’s Kiss Of The Gypsy, Solitary Friends...62 SKETCHES BY THE EDITOR................................................... 8 IN MUSICAL ORBIT BY JUPITER Terra Atlantica review............................................12

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Classic Rock, Hair Metal, Black Metal, Metalcore, Heavy Metal, Pop Punk, Punk Rock HIGHWIRE DAZE


September/October 2022


Sketches By The Editor Here we are at Highwire Daze #144, the second to last issue of the year. How fast 2022 seems to be going. I remember back in High School, time went by so slowly. Now you blink, and another year has spun to it’s conclusion. Highlights of the last few months included heading out to Psycho Las Vegas and seeing legendary bands such as Mercyful Fate and Emperor. I also interviewed Mixi of Stitched Up Heart at a Jack Lue photo session, which is in this very edition of Highwire Daze as well. And of course it was an honor to speak with members of iconic bands such as Megadeth and Skid Row.


Down In Wuhan New original 12 song Hollywood Hard-Rock album Down In Wuhan released world-wide on 8/28/21! Produced by: Tone Raven Available Now. Everywhere. World-Wide on all major platforms. iTunes, Spotify, Amazon and CD. youtube.com/toneraventunes


It is an honor to be asked to join The Los Angeles Rock Collective and help promote their shows and bands. With a mission statement consisting of networking and support within our local Los Angeles music scene, LA Rock Collective has a bold vision of what I’ve been hoping would happen within our vast music community. In this very issue, Highwire Daze has covered two of the LA Rock Collective shows at the amazing Black Rose LA venue on Vermont in East Hollywood. Recent bands and solo artists who have played include Hvnted, Against The Sun, Joker’s Hand, Monty Xon, Anson, Carry The Day, TemperMental and more. And it is so wonderful to see musicians who are not performing coming out to support all of the bands who play these shows - there is even a mixer right before each show where everyone can meet each other. They also have guest speakers, including an A&R rep from Fearless Records! And staying for an entire night seeing ALL the bands - what a concept! Check out our coverage of the LA Rock Collective shows in this issue and look for future coverage of the local bands they represent and their shows! You too can join The La Rock Collective by visiting their website here:


Thanks for reading and supporting Highwire Daze. Our next issue is The 32nd Annivesary Edition. 32 is such a weird and wonderful number. See you all at a show soon! September/October 2022


In Musical Orbit by Jupiter Jupiter at Highwire Daze Online Crew

East Coast Editor Hey everyone! It’s Jupiter Lee - East Coast Editor. Check out my record reviews here and be sure to add me on Facebook! Link is at the end of my column...

Beyond The Borders Terra Atlantica Pride & Joy Music Continuing their quest for yet another milestone in the genre of progressive power metal comes BEYOND THE BORDERS. Amazing, big musical swatches of classical and metal music put together. Opening with track 01, Overture is all keyboards and will make you think you’re getting ready to watch a full-length movie. Equipped with some of the most


virtuosic musicians around, including vocalist / guitarist TRISTAN HARDERS, drummer NICO HAUSCHILDT, guitarist DAWID WIECZOREK and bassist JULIAN PRUFER. Supersonic speed and complex guitar and computer generated keyboard arrangements, track 02 The Scarlet Banners never seems to run out of riffs. Slowing down the pace is track 03 Far From Alive and has a galloping sing-a-long melody. The title track # 04, Beyond The Borders will thrill you with one of the fastest pieces on here. It possesses the best of metal and classical music elements! Their harmonies and styles of music is like no other. Track 08 Hellfire is evident of this. Truly awesome wailing electric guitar, double bass drum beats, high vocals all consistently TERRA ATLANTICA. Now, a cool breeze coming about on track #10, The Great Escape, an 08:00 minute colossal piece of music. BEYOND THE BORDERS contains 11 tracks. Guest performances by ANDERS SKOLD, ALEX HUNZINGER, and JOAN PABONE. Sound production is unmatched and was mastered by JACOB HANSEN (VOLBEAT, PRETTY MAIDS). Hopeful and excited TERRA ATLANTICA will tour the USA.

https://www.facebook.com/terraatlantica JUPITER on Facebook www.facebook.com/Jupiter-Lee-173082899386911 :

September/October 2022


A Chat with Dirk Verbeuren of


Interview by Ken Morton - Photo by Joe Schaeffer Megadeth has returned with The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead!, their 16th thrash metal magnum opus now available worldwide via UMe! Currently on the road with Five Finger Death Punch, the Megadeth legacy rages on with an all-out vengeance! Prior to the launch of their touring and right before the unveiling of The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead!, Highwire Daze interviewed drummer Dirk Verbeuren to discuss the devastating new album, life on the road in a post-pandemic age, time spent within the ranks of Soilwork, and more... The new single Solider On that was just released is amazing! What does that song mean to you? Dave says it’s about walking away from a toxic relationship. 14

Yeah, that’s definitely the lyrical subject. But obviously, as is the case with lyrics, it’s also a kind of read between the lines thing. I think Dave has been proven to be a brilliant lyricist over the years, and I don’t think Solider On is an exception when it comes to that. As far as musically speaking, I think it’s a very driving song. It’s intense and there’s a lot of interesting parts happening. I think there’s some really killer guitar work – the chorus is amazing. And I love what I get to do on drums on that one as well. How does The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead! compare to the classic Megadeth albums? That’s a great question! You know, it’s a different time and place – but I do think The Sick The Dying… And The Dead! has the legacy of Megadeth embedded in it. Kind of by default of course, because I think anything September/October 2022


Dave is gonna do is going to have that to some extent. But I do think that – and I’ll speak for myself – that having grown up with records like Peace Sells and Rust In Peace, So Far So Good... So What, Countdown – I think that’s kind of in my DNA. So working together on this album, I did want to bring some of that out – as far as my interpretation of it. Not just being in the band but also having grown up to be a fan of the band. The album has a whole is pretty intense. There’s quite a few heavy songs, but there’s also as usual a lot of melody – which is a key thing for Megadeth – always has been – always will be. It’s kind of a wide range of things put together than somehow makes sense – and I think that people from any era of the band will find things in there that they like. So, it’s hard to compare it to any specific album or any specific timeline. I think some of the vibes go all the way back to Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good! all the way up to Dystopia and everything in between. How much influence do you think Dave Mustaine’s cancer scare had on the album lyrically and tone wise? That’s hard to say. Dave got his diagnosis and treatment as we were in the middle of writing the record together as a band. We were actually all in Nashville where Dave lives. We spent basically 24/7 in this house together as a band. We shared a house next to Dave’s house where we spent our time working on the music and working on the new material – and that’s when Dave’s treatment started – kind of in the middle of that. Being that guy that he is, that still didn’t stop him from showing up and working with us almost every single day. There were a few days out of the month we were there where he was too tired to do much, but for the most part, cancer didn’t stop him – which was incredible! Nor did his treatment. He was pretty determined from the beginning to not let it stop him and affect him. So, I think in that sense, it didn’t negatively affect the album. I’m sure it changed his outlook on his life a little bit, because I think it would for anyone. To what extent, you would have to ask him, but I do think when you go through something like that, you tend to look at life maybe through slightly different lenses – and maybe that’s the way he wrote some of the lyrics and some of the music – possibly. People see Dave Mustaine as a legend – an icon! How do you see Dave Mustaine as working with him? He definitely is a legend and an icon – there’s no doubt about that. There’s quite a few reasons for that, but I think one of the main reasons is that he is somebody HIGHWIRE DAZE

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who does not give up on his vision. Persistence in any domain is a very important thing if you want to succeed – and Dave had his vision early on and stuck to it – and still sticks to it to the day – and is still extremely passionate about the band. He’s not some jaded man – not at all – he’s quite the opposite of that. I think he’s very driven still and extremely motivated by his band and his music. It’s basically such a big part of his life and everything revolves around that – except for maybe when it comes to family. That’s very important for him as it is for all of us. But yeah, he’s a great band leader. He takes on his responsibilities in a way where things get done, but people feel respected and treated well in the process. And I think that’s why he’s still here and the band has so many fans and why people love Dave. Megadeth was basically one of the first bands out of the gate when touring was allowed again after the pandemic. What was it like touring during that particular time? We took all the necessary precautions, so I don’t think it was particularly scary – but a little bit weird because there was less spending time around other people. Basically, every band we were on tour with stayed in their own bubble – there wasn’t much hanging out going on. It was just kind of a different vibe – a bit more insolated. You would have a bit less of the brotherly thing that you would have with the other bands being on the road and with fans and friends. So that’s the precautions that we all had to take in order for it to happen. As far as the shows went, they were fantastic! It was a great 15

lineup together with Lamb Of God, Trivium and Hatebreed. And I think people were just hungry for live shows at that point. This was Summer of 2021 and there weren’t that many bands on the road. I think people were just stoked to see a killer metal show. What are you looking forward to the most to the tour with Five Finger Death Punch? I’m looking forward to playing some new songs. Being on the road is always great, but with this new album coming out, there’s an extra level of excitement. And it comes out while we’re on this tour with Five Finger Death Punch, so it’s really going to be an exciting time. I’m really excited to be bringing this material to the stage, because we have been sitting on it for a bit. We’re very excited to have people hear it and to play these songs onstage.

“’Furyous’ is a mass of pure sonic devastation!” - Highwire Daze Magazine

“’Death’ puts you in front of the gates of a unique experimental black metal journey”- Rock Era Magazine

And more! The entire time you were in Soilwork for over Be sure to check out our store for t-shirts and more at: a decade, did you ever encounter Megadeth or dream that you would be in such a legendary Become a Deathcryptopian and stay updated on all band? Deathcryptopia News. Subscribe to The Deathcryptopian Times by emailing us at deathcryptopia@gmail.com I think we shared festival stages a couple of times NEW ALBUM COMING SOON! and I had met some of the guys individually, but never Dave though. And for the other part of your ‘Daemonium Bellum’ question, I don’t think it’s something I ever dreamt of because I don’t think you dream that’s even possible. During my time in Soilwork, I was very fowas the legendary old school lineup with Nick Menza cused on that. I was very active in that band. I just tried and Marty Friedman. It was an amazing show. I think to give that band my all because I was really involved it was only the third live show I ever saw. I went toin it and was motivated by it – they’re a great bunch of gether with a school friend who I’m still in touch with – people and great musicians. I think Soilwork is a very who was also a metal fan. So yeah, it’s pretty amazing underrated band – and so I was doing my best the whole to be back at that. We actually played that same venue time to push that band as hard as I could with the means a couple of years ago where I saw the band as a kid. we had. So, I really wasn’t sitting there thinking about So being on the stage with Megadeth was extremely being in another band. But that being said, when I got special to me. the call, it was an amazing thing because I grew up listening to Megadeth like a lot of us – and again, it’s not Do you have any messages for Megadeth fans who are something you see coming. You don’t sit around and reading this right now? go, “Yeah, it would be cool if I played in that band one Check out The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead! I’m day.” It just kind of happened and I had to adjust to the sure you’ve heard the singles. Be prepared for an excelidea – but it was just an amazing experience really. lent album – and come see us live! We look forward to seeing you all! It’s been a strange couple of years with Do you remember the first time you saw Megadeth the pandemic, but it seems like things are slowly getlive? ting back to how we were used to them before. We’re Yes! I think I was 15- 16 years old at the time. I know looking forward to meeting you all and sharing our new it was in late 1990 during the Clash Of The Titans tour music with all of you. in Europe. I saw then in France where I was at the time https://megadeth.com/ in Paris. So that was for the Rust In Peace album – it



September/October 2022


Introducing Erik Grönwall of


Interview by Ken Morton Skid Row has been touring across the country with new lead vocalist Erik Grönwall, playing all the classics and premiering a few songs from their upcoming The Gang’s All Here endeavor. And for fans who have seen these live shows, they’ve witnessed a solid performance from Erik Grönwall, who delivers the hard rocking goods with a great amount of passion and conviction. Highwire Daze recently had the opportunity to interview Erik Grönwall to discuss his membership within the legendary Skid Row, their upcoming album The Gang’s All Here, his tenure in the almighty H.E.A.T., his side project New Horizon on Frontiers Music Srl, and more... I want to go way back when you were on Swedish Idol when you covered 18 & Life by Skid Row on the show. You went on to win the competition. What was that experience like for you? There’s so many answers to that question. Before Idol I 18

was in a band, and I started writing my own music – and my dream was to become a singer in a rock band. I was trying to find my way forward; I was working as a Karaoke host at the time and was just trying to make it in the music industry basically. And I saw Idol as an opportunity for me to do that. I auditioned with 18 & Life because that was one of the bands I was really inspired by. I did the whole television show thing, and it was great for my career. When I look back at it now, it was great. But at the time, after a show like Idol, that’s when you start building your career. A television show is a television show, and I noticed people liked me because I was the guy famous from television – not because I was a good artist or had my music out there. You have a platform – you have a name – but you still have to put in the work. The whole hard work for me started after Idol, but I would do it all again. And of course, you actually wound up in Skid Row. How did you wind up being the new vocalist for Skid Row? There’s a few different components here. First of all, my September/October 2022


band H.E.A.T. opened for Skid Row in the UK – it was either 2018 or 2019 – just before the pandemic. So, we opened a few shows for Skid Row, and I know that Rachel watched a few shows. And he told me a couple of weeks ago that his plan was to contact me for a side project in the future. By then I had YouTube channel, and I did a revisited cover of 18 & Life. And Rachel contacted me and asked me if I was available for a Zoom call – and he basically asked me in that call if I could fill in for a couple of days which their former singer ZP couldn’t do. So that was the first question I got, Last year I was very sick with leukemia, and I had to ask my doctors, because I had to make sure my blood values are good enough for me to be out touring. And they said well it’s fine starting in March, because my blood values had recovered by then – but I told them yeah, I could start March. But two weeks after, they sent me a demo of a song called The Gang’s All Here – and they asked me if I could track some vocals to it and give it a try. And I did that right here in this room. This is where I recorded 80 percent of the album. And I told them “Fine, I could definitely record myself.” But the thing is, I had never recorded myself before – I just lied! (Much laughter). So, I told them, that’s fine, I’ll figure it out. And I told them when I met them the first time, I had no idea how to record myself. The first time I’ve ever tracked my own vocals was for this album. And he was like, “I’m so fucking glad you didn’t tell me that.” He would have freaked out. And then when I sent my version of The Gang’s All Here, I had a call with Snake and Rachel – and they pretty much asked me in that Zoom call if I wanted to join the band. Describe that very first live show you did with Skid Row, and what was going through your mind. A lot of different things. I think it’s one of my blessings and a curse for me – because I get kind of ignorant when I have big performances. I’m kind of like an introvert, so I focus on myself and on the job at hand. Somewhere I knew that a lot of people were watching, and it was going to be a big thing – but I was just so focused on me. But also because of my health history from last year – I was in Vegas with Skid Row and performed six months after my bone marrow transplantation that I did. So, six months after, and it was the first time I was onstage in two years. Just being onstage again even without the leukemia would have been hard and it would have been challenging. And I went up there with my health history with Skid Row – new singer with Scorpions in Vegas – it was just too much to take in. So, I decided to take it in incrementally and process everything slowly. And I’m still processing it! But I think with every show we’ve done; we’re gotten to get to know each other on and off stage – and I feel more confident onstage. I connect with the songs onstage and I know how I want to HIGHWIRE DAZE

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perform them. It’s been one hell of a journey and it’s been happening very fast. I met the guys for the first time one week before the show in Vegas – we did two rehearsals and then we’ve been playing like 40-50 shows – we recorded an album – we released a music video – we started working on a new album. It’s been very intense. It’s not the year I thought I would have. I’ve heard the new album The Gang’s All Here and it’s awesome! For people who haven’t heard it, how do you think this new album compares to the classic Skid Row releases? I would say when I first heard the songs – and you know, I’m a fan of the band – I have a fan perspective – I’m here in my Skid Row tee shirt by the way - I’m allowed to wear my own band’s merch as a fan. (Much laughter). When I first heard the songs, I just thought that it sounded like old school Skid Row – but with a modern touch. There’s one foot in the old school Skid Row, and there’s one foot in the new Skid Row. All the songs were written before I joined the band, but I think they just did an amazing job with Nick Raskulinecz as the producer. They really found that balance in my opinion. Have you ever met or encountered any of the past Skid Row singers? No, I haven’t. I have a lot of respect for all of the singers. I know Tony Harnell said some good things about me in an interview recently – which I’m thankful for. And Sebastian was one of the vocalists I listened to a lot when I had my own rock band in high school. I think Slave To The Grind is one hell of a vocal performance – probably 19

top ten in rock and roll history – in my opinion. And I like the John era as well. I think all the singers have contributed to keeping Skid Row alive – which also makes it possible for me to step in and do a good job now. When you look back on your time spent with H.E.A.T., what do you think of it now in retrospect? It was a great place for me to grow. I joined H.E.A.T. a year after Idol. At first, I was focused on my solo career, but I realized that H.E.A.T. was aligned with my vision. I wanted to become a rock singer in a rock band and be a front man. And they had a singer before me, so that was also big shoes to fill – he’s a great singer. I think that gave me the right mindset – it was a place for me to grow as a front man and a singer. I just reached a point after being ten years in the band where I wanted to try new things in life. And also, I felt like I had given it my best. I stopped growing after a while, so I needed new challenges. I’m one of those guys – I need challenges. So, I decided I wanted to leave the band and try new things. And half a year after that I got leukemia. And all I ever wanted when I was in the hospital was to be back onstage, so that gave me a lot of perspective. H.E.A.T. just released a new album. Have you heard it and what are your thoughts on it? I’ve listened to it – I think it’s great! Jona Tee is my buddy, and we still keep in touch. Basically, every time they’re out touring, they face time with me – and when I’m out touring with Skid Row, I facetime them. We’re great friends. No hard feeling whatsoever. Jona sent me the masters, and it sounds like they have managed to do what Skid Row has done now – they have the old school H.E.A.T. sounds but they have a new touch to it as well. A little bit edgier – more hard rock. This is the perfect balance for H.E.A.T., because I felt that the last album I did, that we found the right balance between the melodic – the AOR if you will – and the more hard rock vibe to it. Around the time you were announced for Skid Row, you had the New Horizon album come out. Tell me about the New Horizon album, and what was it like working with the H.E.A.T. members Jona and Dave again? So, Jona is one of my best friends. He’s a genius! I love working with Jona – it’s so easy! He started New Horizon, and the idea was to have multiple singers on the album as a side project, because he’s always loved power metal. So, he wanted to do that as a side project, and I was only supposed to sing two songs on the album. And when I got to the studio and I tracked some vocals, we basically said, “Hey, I should do all the songs!” (Laughs) Because we had so much fun! Why should we get other singers? I’m here! Let’s do all the songs! We’re great friends. And 20

we started to record the album and we told Frontiers about it, and they liked the idea. I was ready to go all in with New Horizon. We still have songs we want to release. But the timing – it has to be better – now that I’m on Skid Row, because it’s taking pretty much all of my time and I need to focus 100 percent on Skid Row – and I want to focus 100 percent on Skid Row. So, I’m not sure when we’re going to release more music with New Horizon. But Jona and I – our vision was to have fun and release good metal music. It would be cool if New Horizon did a few live shows sometime. We actually had a few shows booked – but they were never announced, so I just had to go to the promoter and tell them, “Hey, this happened. Skid Row happened! I’m sorry, but there’s no chance we could do this.” And of course, they understood. So, we had a couple of shows booked and we were ready to go, but Skid Row happened! Do you have any messages for Skid Row fans in the Los Angeles area who are reading this now? First of all, I’ve read the comments and I’ve seen the love you’ve given me, and I really appreciate the support as being the new lead singer of Skid Row. In my career before Skid Row, I hadn’t really played a lot in the Los Angeles area – but I love it there and I would love to play more. Thank you for the support and please listen to the new album. I hope you like it!

https://www.skidrow.com/ September/October 2022





Interview by Ken Morton - Photo by Steffi Kruse Mad Max has returned, presenting Wings Of Time – certainly their finest album to date. Celebrating 40 glorious years as a band, there have been changes in world of Mad Max as of late. This would include the arrival of a new vocalist Julian Rolinger, who spent some time within the ranks of 21 Octayne. With this version of Mad Max, guitarist and founding member Jürgen Breforth presents his vision of the band, and the resulting Wings Of Time is sure to enrapture music fans all over the world. Now available via Rock Of Angels Records – Wings Of Time presents a refreshing new start for a band ready to rock your world for another 40 epic years if not for the rest of eternity! Highwire Daze recently interviewed Jürgen Breforth to discuss this magical new chapter of the Mad Max legacy, the Jimi Jamison/Bon Jovi connection of their single The Best Part Of Me, his thoughts on former vocalist Michael Voss, and a whole lot more! First of all, your new vocalist Julian Rolinger – how did Julian become involved with Mad Max? First the fact that you already met him in 2018 – this is magic. 22

Yes, I met Julian at The NAMM Show in 2018. The guitar player from Pink Cream 69 – he’s a friend of ours – and he actually recommended Julian. When I was looking for a singer for my new Mad Max – I had a vision in my mind how I wanted the album to sound like. My vision was the new Mad Max album should be my kind of Def Leppard Pyromania. This was the vision I had in my mind, and I was looking for a singer who could match this vision. And then the guitar player from Pink Cream 69 – his name is Marco – he recommended Julian – and right away I gave him a call, and we got along really, really great. And just from the very first moment, he got my vision. When I told him, “Hey Julian, this is my Mad Max now. And my definition is let’s make a Def Leppard Pyromania album!” – which means for me an album where each and every song you could pick as a single. I wanted no fillers. I wanted a whole album where each song could be a single. Julian got this vision right away, and I’m really, really happy I found him because he’s the right guy. He’s a vocal teacher and he’s really young – like 26 years old – but he already has a lot of experience – and he could really do vocal-wise what I wanted him to do on the album. And that’s how Julian and I got together. September/October 2022


Axel Kruse, who is also in Phantom 5 – he’s been in Mad Max for a while. What makes you and Axel work so well together after all of this time? Axel is more or less the original Mad Max drummer – for now over 30 years. The only album that he was not playing on was the first album. When I founded the band in 1982, we started with different musicians. But when we signed our first record contact with Roadrunner Records from the Netherlands, Axel came in just during the recordings. He’s not on the cover of the very first Mad Max album Rolling Thunder. But that was the time – like ’84 when came into the band. So actually, together with me, he’s more or less like an original member. Axel and I, maybe we’re kind of like these typical 80’s guys – we have the same musical tastes. Just like our favorite band is Dokken – and the Dokken album Under Lock and Key is always our favorite album of our lifetime. When we were younger in the 80s and 90s, together we went to Los Angeles a couple of times – like the golden age of our music – the 80’s (laughs). We had some good friends in Los Angeles in the music scene – and they brought us together with all these bands – with Dokken, with Y&T, with Phantom Blue – because they were all living and recording at that time in Redondo Beach. Don Dokken lived in Redondo Beach- and we had a cheap motel right around the corner from the famous recording studio with Michael Wagener – this German producer from the 80’s who produced more or less the hit albums from Ratt, Dokken, Great White. And all these guys were hanging around in Redondo Beach. And this is the key that Axel and me carry over 30 years together. It’s good to have one of the original members still in the band, but as I told you earlier, this Mad Max is just like my vision of Mad Max. And I’m glad that everybody followed me. I had this vision and I said “Okay guys, now I have to do this, and you can decide – you can join me, you can leave the band, whatever.” And I’m so happy that the four guys trusted me so much and followed me. And I’m really happy that everybody loves the album and the songs so much. But before, you never know. The new album is called Wings Of Time. Is there any overall story or concept behind that title? I would not call it a concept, but it’s been 40 years! Wow! It’s been 40 years since I founded the band, and the Wings are a little bit like a symbol. Just wings carrying you over 40 years being in the rock and roll circuit with lots of ups and downs. Of course, I still have the band together after 40 years and this is what’s behind the title Wings Of Time. We don’t call the album an anniversary album, but at least HIGHWIRE DAZE

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for me, it’s 40 years since I founded the band, so it’s kind of an anniversary. So, in all the interviews and with fans from all over the world, everybody knows I founded the band in 1982, and they are talking about those 40 years! The title, for me, it’s perfect! I’m really happy with the title and it fits the album perfectly. What is The Best Part Of Me and the Jimi Jamison connection on that song? This is a very emotional story. I wrote this song together with my buddy Fred Zahl – he’s one of Germany’s best guitar players. And in 2013-24, he worked together with Jimi Jamison for two years, and they did an album together. One Man’s Trash was the name of the band if you want to look it up. In these two years, they did a lot of shows together – and sadly enough in 2014 Jimi Jamison passed away. But in these two years when Fred and Jimi worked together, Jimi made all the connections for my buddy Fred – and they met everybody from Bon Jovi to Robin Beck and all the great musicians from America. Because Jimi Jamison really was a superstar here. And there was a little piece – an idea – left from the songwriting that Fred did with Jimi Jamison. Just a few seconds – and when I listened to like the 10 seconds, I said to Fred, “Okay, let’s take this vibe. Let’s take this inspiration and all the stories he told me about Jimi Jamison.” And I came up with the lyrics first – the first two or three lines of the song and created an atmosphere – and we were absolutely in the spirit of the songs Jimi Jamison did with Survivor and stuff like that. So, we ended up writing this The Best Part Of Me song. (Please turn the page...) 23

And what was really magic – Fred played this song for the bass player of Bon Jovi – to Hugh McDonald. And Hugh gave us the honor to play the bass on this song. He did not get paid for it – it was just because he’s good friends with my buddy Fred and he loved the song so much. He said “If there’s a chance you get over to America or if Bon Jovi is coming over here when he might be in Europe” – he will join us. And wherever we play, he’s going to join us and play the song with us. And imagine – I’m this funny guy from Germany making music for so long, and you write a song, and you get Hugh McDonald from Bon Jovi to listen to it – and he says “Okay, this is an absolutely great song!” This is really one of those stories – if someone would tell me this story, I hardly would believe it. But it’s a true story and that’s why we put Jimi Jamison in the credits – because without his influence, his vibe, and all the stories around him, we never would have written this song. It’s one of those things that rarely happen in your musical life – especially if you’re from Germany and you get to work with guys like Hugh from Bon Jovi. It’s like a dream come true. What are you looking forward to the most about your upcoming tour with Axel Rudi Pell? To be honest, for us getting the chance to play all around Europe with Axel Rudi Pell – it’s just a dream. It’s one of the best tours you can get. All the venues will be sold out and we get the chance to go all over Europe for three weeks. For us, it’s perfect. And you have to keep in mind that it’s not only that we have to present the new album and a couple of the new songs – also the fans and the media – they are eager to hear how Julian is singing the classic Mad Max songs. And everybody is waiting for it. We will play a few of the classics of course and some new ones, but also – which is a really a challenge for us – we will play a couple of the old Mad Max songs that we have never played before onstage ever. That is something very special for the fans. The old songs sound really different – really fresh with Julian’s vocals – and just like I had written it in the last month. For me, it’s really a pleasure hearing the old songs sounding that fresh – because that shows me that the classics, we wrote in the 80s are still working in 2022. Do you still keep in touch with Michael Voss or any of the other former members of Mad Max? That’s a very good question and a lot of people ask me that. There is absolutely no contact between me and Voss. I guess it’s over. I mean, the whole Mad Max thing between Voss and me was based on a whole friendship thing. I let him do this job – I let him be the front man – but just from the beginning in ’82, it was my band. He joined the band 24

when he was 17 years old. But the thing is, the friendship broke up – it is what it is – it’s a sad story at least. I guess he’s not happy with it. I’m not happy with it – how it ended. It’s like a divorce (laughs). It’s like a divorce in some way, but it ended that way and there’s been no talk in the last two years. I guess he will have a look at what we are doing, and I keep an eye on what he’s doing. But this is my version of Mad Max. It has nothing to do with the past. Okay, there are some hints to the past in songs like Days Of Passion or Stormchild Rising. But I’m doing this for the fans. But at least this is my version, and there’s no contact with Voss. I must be honest – I’m not the guy that’s living in the past. I carry on with my version of Mad Max and I play the old classics for the fans. But I am in the now, and that’s what I can tell you concerning Voss. Do you think Mad Max will ever play here in the States and do you have any messages for your fans here? We get a lot of requests and messages from our American fans. And that’s what I told my record company – I told the guys before I delivered the master tapes – before they got the songs – I said, “Okay guys, this album WILL bring us to the States!” Because this is the right music at the right time. I don’t know if you feel the same, but I have a feeling the new Mad Max album – there’s no other band from Germany doing this kind of music. A couple of radio DJ’s from the States – I have to tell you that they really haven’t heard of us before – they kind of missed the last 40 years. (Laughs) But what they said was we have the impression that this band could be kind of the new Scorpions. So, I think there is room enough. I love the Scorpions. But I’m sure when it comes to touring and playing in the States, there is room enough for one more German band – and this is Mad Max! And I have the feeling that this album is the right album to bring us over. It would be like a dream of mine to see Mad Max play at the Whisky on the Sunset Strip! Okay! Deal! This is my dream as well, so let’s make this dream a reality!

MAD MAX is: Jürgen Breforth - guitars, vocals Axel Kruse - drums Fabian Ranft - bass, vocals Julian Rolinger - lead vocals Dethy Borchardt - guitars www.facebook.com/ madmax.germany.rocks September/October 2022


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Resurrecting The Mighty


Interview by Ken Morton

Founded by guitar virtuoso Toby Knapp and celebrated vocalist Michael Grant in 2000, Onward unveiled their classic albums Evermoving (2001) and Reawaken (2002), both released on the renowned Century Media. In 2007’s, their next The Neverending Sun manifesto would see the light of day. After the passing of Michael Grant, a fourth and presumed final album New Fathoms Down was issued as a tribute to their fallen singer. And now founding member Toby Knapp has resurrected the mighty Onward, now featuring Robert Van War, best known for his tenure with US Power / Heavy Metal act Attika on lead vocals. Of Epoch and Inferno is the name of Onward’s fifth glorious power/thrash metal magnum opus - available wordwide via the legendary undergroud Moribund Records label! Highwire Daze caught up with Toby Knapp to find out more about this absolutely explosive comeback masterwork! Read on... What made you decide to resurrect Onward after all this time? I felt like this new music fit best under the Onward banner. I said I wouldn’t operate under the name again but when I heard the music start to really take shape I decided “This is Onward”. This album will introduce Onward to new listeners, some of those people will seek out the early albums. That’s a good thing. Is there any overall story or concept behinds the album title Of Epoch and Inferno? It means a few things. It can refer to a resurgence or comeback of something. The other meaning is a bit darker. You can’t look at the world and not see that our collective days may be wrapping up relatively soon. The final period of time to be washed away by an Inferno. How did Robert Van War of Attika become involved with 26

Onward? He’s seems to be getting back on the scene with last year’s Metal Lands album. I was working on this music and word got to Robert that I needed a vocalist. He had never heard of Onward, but knew I was a Shrapnel Records artist. I listened to Attika’s new album and liked his vocals and thought “Onward Mk. 2, a reinvention!” There are singers who have taken things from Michael Grant. Ultimately, I didn’t want a clone. What made you decide to release Epoch on the legendary underground label Moribund Records this time around as opposed to Century Media? I’ve been with Moribund Records almost exclusively for a decade. The Onward album will be the ninth record I’ve done for them! I’m happy how things are. I have recorded September/October 2022


lots of music and when I did have to shop for a record deal, Century Media never came to mind. I had some good experiences with CM and am thankful for that. Who did the cover art for Epoch and how much influence did you have on it? An Indonesian artist named Wayhu Phitoe. It was artwork he had for sale and we bought it when the album was already well underway. This thing with blazing eyes rising from hell is the opposite of the mystical figure on early Onward albums. The logo looked great on it too. The album title lined right up with it as well. Would you like to tour or do a few live shows with this Onward lineup? I’d really like to do some shows with Onward. I’m not really interested in touring at this time. It sounds like a real struggle these days. Tours getting canceled because bands can’t find buses and things like that - and we would be starting at the bottom again and that means touring in a van, if you’re even that lucky. The first two Onward albums Evermoving and Reawaken were released 20 years ago. When you look back on those albums now, what do you think of them in retrospect? I hate to say it, but as of now, they make me sad. Michael Grant and Chris Payette are gone and I fucking hate it. I don’t listen to the albums. I want to get others the chance to hear them though. They need to be in print. What did you think of Michael Grant’s work in Crescent Shield and where were you when you heard about his passing? I liked what he was doing in CS and felt it suited him better anyway. Plus, his bandmates lived close and were his best friends whereas Onward were getting nasty towards each other at the end because of third party instigators. I actually was putting together a new Onward in New York when I learned of his passing and abandoned the idea immediately. I always thought we’d have our second time around so I was going to do a few Onward albums with a different vocalist. That actually turned into Where Evil Follows a few years later on Moribund Records. Another Onward member Chris Payette also passed away but more recently in 2020. Did you keep in touch with Chris after Onward began to wind down? I never lost contact with Chris. I was friends with him a decade before Onward and all the years after Onward. I talked to him a week before he passed away and he was fine. One thing I didn’t know is that Chris and Mike remained friends after Onward up until Mike passed away. If I’d had known Mike was grieving or sick I would have HIGHWIRE DAZE

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set our petty disputes aside and reached out. You had a solo album entitled From The Aether released on the mighty Moribund Records earlier in the year. How did this album compare to Onward and what was it like playing every single instrument on the album? I started recording the new Onward album as soon as I finished the solo album, within weeks. Now I’m getting ready to do another solo album. I’ve been making tons of records completely on my own since Onward split in 2003. I enjoy it and explore lots of sounds I wouldn’t integrate into Onward. What was it like playing with Darkane in 2009 and how did that come about? A mutual friend at Nuclear Blast Records got me on their Canadian tour dates. In hindsight, it was cool. They tuned so low and used such heavy gauge strings (compared to me) it fucked my Stratocaster up. I made a few bucks and got to tour Canada. There were Onward fans at a few of those shows just to see me play and I was humbled by that. Are you currently involved with any other bands or solo projects? Always working on something whether it’s solo stuff or my Black Metal project, Waxen. Onward signed a 2 album deal with Moribund Records as well! Any final words of wisdom? Thanks for visiting with me and supporting this music!

http://www.moribundcult.com/ 27

Stitched Up Heart: Of Werewolves, Vampires, and Cute Furry Kittens

Interview by Ken Morton - Photos by Jack Lue On Labor Day weekend, Mixi of Stitched Up Heart made her way into the heart of Los Angeles accompianed by four adorable kittens. The occasion was for a Highwire Daze cover interview complete with Jack Lue photo shoot! After the pictures were taken within the realm of a very gothic apartment space, Highwire Daze sat down with Mixi to discuss the upcoming Stitched Up Heart album, touring with Butcher Babies and RA, her work with ARE Animal Rescue, cute furry kittens, and more! What was it like shooting with photographer Jack Lue at this interesting location? I didn’t realize you could get so many pictures done in so little time with so many different spots and poses. It was probably the most pictures taken in any photo shoot we’ve ever done. It was awesome! How has the recording of the new Stitched Up Heart album been going, and who are you working with? I finally just finished my end – all of the vocals are completely done for this next record. So right now, it’s with Mitchell Marlow – he’s producing the record. And Kevin Thrasher’s doing a few songs. So, it’s just in the mixing stages right now – and then we turn it into the label – get the thumbs up – and then start the marketing process and the plan for it. I’m really, really excited. It’s a lot heavier – I scream a little more than the last one – so it’s a lot of fun! How much did the pandemic and the social unrest in the world influence the writing of the record – if at all? The first year of writing this album was in the pandemic, so there was a lot of influence. We did a lot of writing in 2021 towards the end as well. There’s some influence from like the aftermath – and how we feel. Our emotions have changed so much during the time we were in it – unsure of what was going to happen. Everybody’s living in fear, and nobody really knows the answers and knows what to do – but they think they do. So, I think there was a lot of uncertainty in some of the songs – and there’s a lot of getting through it. It’s a very aggressive record – like 28

“I just want out of this cage” kind of thing. Are there any particular subject matters or a title for the album that you can share at this time? The album has a very dark, almost horror movie kind of theme to it. There’s some references of werewolves and vampires. We had a lot of fun with the visual aesthetic. I can’t give you the title yet, but it is along those lines. How did your recent tour with the Butcher Babies go, and what was it like to tour with a bunch of girls instead of a bunch of guys? Well, we’ve done a lot of tours with women – I think it September/October 2022


works really best that way. But Butcher Babies – I’ve known them before we were even a band – like I’ve asked to be in their band before – and they were just like “NO!” (Laughter) “I’ll pay keyboards – whatever you need!” They already had two guitar players I think at the time. I’ve known them a long time, so it was definitely a long time coming to make that tour happen. And it was probably the smoothest tour we’ve ever done! It was everybody supporting each other and having each other’s backs. We did it in the pandemic – and we made it through without anybody testing positive – which was awesome! Just really good energies – and that’s what it should be like – everybody should always have each other’s backs. And I feel like I only want to go out with bands that support each other from now on. You also recently went out on tour with a band called RA. How did that tour go and what were some of the highlights? We did two weeks with them actually. Sahaj Ticotin, who is the singer of RA, was co-producer on our album Never Alone that Mitchell Marlow produced as well. They both co-produced it, so it was really cool. They had September Mourning out as well, which is another band that he produced. So, it was all Sahaj’s little babies that he had come out. We were just basically routing some shows out to Welcome To Rockville – one of the Danny Wimmer festivals in Florida – and back to California. And their tour just happened to line up with the dates that we needed. We kind of crashed the party and jumped on some shows with them. Choose To Live – Suicide Prevention. How did you become involved with that show and cause? I’ve known Lacey Sturm for quite a while now. We did a tour back in 2016, and her social media guy connected me. He does a lot of those causes and their whole network of people too. They just asked if I was interested. Anything that has to do with those kind of ideas – anything that you can do to help say something or be there for people when they need it the most and they don’t feel like that anyone cares. That’s really near and dear to my heart, and so I try and do almost anything anyone asks me to help give back. We could get up here and play music and be a rock star, but what does that do really – aside from heal people through music. But it’s what you actually do – the actions that you do, and not just saying it in the songs, but really being there for people. I was immediately like, “I’m in! Let’s do this!” And so, it was really cool to get together and talk about this stuff and hope that we’ve at least touched one person. It’s such an important topic and cause… HIGHWIRE DAZE

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It really is. There’s a lot of people suffering – and most people are too scared to even talk about it. A lot of time you don’t even really know. There’s been times I’ve been at my darkest hour and I’m not going to tell people. I want to isolate and avoid human beings when I’m not in my best space. But it was a good outlet – it was actually a good conversation – and really getting to know each other and what each other has been through as well. Lacey’s been through a lot. I read The Reason – one of her books – and cried in tears at the airport. So that’s part of the interview we did. But she’s been through so much. It was really awesome to be a part of that and help in some way. And you are also part of an organization dealing with animals. I see we have four kitty mascots here for the photoshoot. Yes, I brought my bottle baby kittens to the photoshoot because they have to eat every 2-3 hours. I couldn’t leave them at home. So, they are hopefully going to make the cut in some of the pictures. (Laughs) But yeah, they’re 29

mewing in the background if you want to put in parathesis their little input on this conversation. (Laughter) But the rescue I’ve been fostering with, I’ve fostered 78 – if you don’t count the ones I’ve watched for a day. And it’s one of those things that again – it kind of feeds my soul. It gives me a purpose – it gives me a reason. I have to help these little kittens – and that’s why I’m here – for things like that. It gives me meaning in life. Is there a name of a rescue that you can recommend? Yes! ARE Animal Rescue is the one I’ve been working with – it’s where we moved to. They need so much help out in Riverside County, California. Arerescue.org is the website – and you can donate – you can foster – anything you can do to help. They have over 900 animals in their care right now. They’re trying to expand because they just need it so badly out there. There’s an overwhelming amount of feral animals and stray dogs. So, I try to do whatever I can to help as a bottle feeder.

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During the pandemic, Stitched Out Heart celebrated their 10-year anniversary. What was it like celebrating something like that in your home? (Laughs) I don’t know if we even got to celebrate. We didn’t celebrate anything in 2020! But yeah, we started in 2010. I didn’t even think about that. I don’t celebrate birthdays, so I pretend like I never get older. Yeah – wow it’s crazy! It’s now 12 years – fast forward, because I guess that year really didn’t count – so then we’re a year younger actually. But yeah, we didn’t get to celebrate, but it’s kind of crazy to think that it’s been that long that we’ve been working on this. I mean 10 years ago – think about what you were doing. I was still doing this band. (Laughs) Clearly me and the boys have some dedication issues where we just can’t stop. Maybe it’s a little masochistic to be in the music industry this long. There’s a lot of rollercoasters in it. You don’t get what you sign up for, but you work really, really hard. And you battle all of the things you have to struggle to get through to prove ourselves over and over and over again. And we’re still here! And I think it shows that we just can’t stop. Actually, a long time ago, I tried to give up – our drummer wouldn’t let me. He just kept me going. And I’m glad he did, because there’s so many magical moments 30

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MetalBabeMayhem.com that we’ve had that I wouldn’t have been able to experience. I wouldn’t have been on tour in the arenas with Godsmack and Halestorm and In This Moment. And I wouldn’t have been able to experience some of these festivals in Europe with my band. There were experiences I would not have been able to experience like I didn’t keep going – and keep trying – and keep working my butt off for it. So, I’m really happy I’m still here after 12 years – it’s crazy! Do you have any messages for Stitched Up Heart fans who are reading this right now? Yeah, I would say find your purpose – follow your heart – because anything you do, you’re going to go through challenges. There’s going to be struggles with whatever it is. So why do something that you don’t want to do? Why waste your time? If this is the only life that you have – it may not be – who knows. Who really knows? But if it is, do what you love! Follow your heart. Again, there’s going to be challenges anywhere. So that’s all I could tell anybody. Just don’t stop – no matter what. http://www.stitchedupheart.org/ September/October 2022




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Heaven 17 Announce North American Tour

An Interview with Glenn Gregory

Interview by Ken Morton - Band Photo by Chris Youd Music Tastes Good Photo by Jack Lue 1980s new wave/synth-pop masters Heaven 17 will be coming to North America for their first-ever headlining transatlantic tour celebrating their storied 40-year career. The acclaimed British duo of Martyn Ware and Glenn Gregory will perform their much-loved greatest hits, including Temptation, Let Me Go and Hands Up To Heaven and more!. The 15-date We Don’t Need This Fascist Groove Thang outing launches September 16th at Daryl’s House in Pawling, NY and will include a stop at The Belasco Theater in Downtown Los Angeles on September 29th. Right at press time, Highwire Daze interviewed vocalist Glenn Gregory to discuss the upcoming tour and highlights from an absolutely epic career in music... What are you looking forward to the most about your upcoming Heaven 17 North American Tour – your first tour 36

here in the States – believe it or not. Yeah, it’s weird to be in the fourth decade of being in a band and never have toured America. It’s going to be really exciting for us to be honest. We’ve got a lot of American fans, and we’re always being contacted saying, “Oh, why don’t you come over?” In fact, quite a lot of them have come over here to see us. But we’re finally making it. The very first time we played live in America was at Studio 54 in New York – it was amazing – and then that was it for about 40 years. We’ve got some catching up to do. We absolutely do! Now one of the last times you played out here in Southern California was at the Music Tastes Good Festival in 2017. I was at that performance. How did that particular show go and what were some of the highlights about playing out here? Firstly, just the beauty of that place. It was an amazing gig! It was fantastic! We had a great time. I toured America a couple of time with Holy Holy doing the David Bowie September/October 2022


songs with Tony Visconti and Woody Woodmansey. So, I had done that tour, but Martyn hadn’t played in America before that gig for probably 38-39 years. So, it was very exciting for us to do. Unfortunately, Martyn – the funniest thing if you’ll allow me to explain – Martyn had gone out the night before with Rachel – one of our singers – and wound up finding this cocktail bar and ended up drinking these cocktails which knocked him off his feet and he was really drunk. So, we got up the next day to do the gig, and I saw him, and I asked, “How are you feeling?” And he said, “Yeah, I’m feeling really bad, but I’ll be fine. Don’t worry about it.” So, we got to the gig – and the backstage area is really beautiful there – the Winnebago’s were really comfortable and nice. But Martyn really wasn’t feeling right. And Rachel said “I’ve got some Alka Seltzer” which is like kind of aspirin for hangovers. And Martyn was so hungover, he said, “Oh yeah, that would be great! I’ll definitely have some.” So, he took them forgetting he’s allergic to aspirin. So, 1 ½ hours later and approximately an hour before we went onstage, his eyes were the size of tennis balls! So, he waited 38 years to play in America, and he had to go onstage wearing sunglasses. And they were actually pushed off his face, because his eyes were so swollen! So, for me, that gig was mainly laughing at Martyn onstage with these big googly eyes! (Laughs) That’s cruel. But the gig itself was really good – slightly chaotic, but those kind of outdoor gigs are – but very exciting. I’m really looking forward to playing The Belasco actually – that looks like an amazing place. Yes, it is. A historic venue right in the heart of Downtown LA. That should be awesome! Now when you look back on your very first single, (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang, did you have any idea that you released this iconic song that would still stand the test of time today? I think we knew it was important – and it was important to us at the time that we did it as well – because the UK was going through some – and unfortunately, we’re probably in the same place now. Margaret Thatcher was kind of destroying the Northern part of Great Britain and setting aflame to miners and knocking down the steelworks – so that was all going on politically. The whole thing about nuclear war was really prevalent and scary. And in England at the time, fascism was really kind of happening – and we wanted to stand up and say something about it and to be vocal and seen to be trying to do something about it. Unfortunately, as you just said, it has stood the test of time – and indeed, it probably is just as relevant today. If we released it this week, it would have been the same – the names would have changed – but the feeling and what it’s talking about is the same. So yes, we did kind of understand what we wrote was important, but we hoped that it would have gone away by now. HIGHWIRE DAZE

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Do you have any hope for the new British Prime Minister? No hope whatsoever. I think it’s an absolute disaster. She was voted in by only members of the Conservative membership – so maybe 5000 people or something. But no, I have no great hope for her really. I think England needs a much bigger, bigger change than that. Let Me Go was another massive hit from Heaven 17. I remember hearing that song played on KROQ out here back in the early 80’s. What is the story behind that song lyrically and musically? Actually, that’s my favorite – and I know it’s Martin’s favorite as well. I remember back in the day when we were writing the demos for The Luxury Gap – we were doing it at my flat in Ladbroke Grove in London – a very kind of trendy area. It was quite run down and the flat was a basement flat – it was really quite disgusting – like one toilet for six flats – it was horrible! But anyway, that was London in those days in the early 80’s. But I remember when we started writing that and the melody of it – I remember being in love with that melody. And you know sometimes when you’re writing songs at that early stage, that don’t often bare that much 37

resemblance to what comes out at the end by the time you’ve produced it. But for some reason – that track – it kind of maintained its credibility and originality throughout all the process of production and record producing. The melody stayed and it’s just a really, really beautiful song. I also really love to sing it – the key is just bang on for me, and it’s just a really, really lovely song to sing. Sometimes, oddly enough, I can get so into it when I’m singing, I sometimes forget the words. I start listening to it and then I’m thinking, “Shit, where am I? What bit am I on?” But yes, it’s a really lovely song to sing. Well, the audience will be singing along, and they’ll bring you back for sure… Yeah, and that often happens with me. Of course, Martin came from The Human League. You actually did a band with the members of Wang Chung way back in the day called 57 Men. Tell me about 57 Men, and do you still keep in touch with the members of Wang Chung? Wang Chung were 57 Men when I joined them. I don’t remember how we met, but I just knew that these guys were forming a band and looking for a singer – and I went and auditioned. Someone had suggested me – I had sung in bands before and so l kind of went along – and we got on really well. They were fantastic songs – Jack and Nick were really good songwriters – actually so were Leigh Gorman and Darren Costin - the drummer and bass guitarist. We played a lot live around the South of England and in London – and then we started to go North and play live. But it didn’t quite take off as you feel it would and there wasn’t a record deal offer. And at that point, I was also working as a photographer taking pictures of bands for magazines. And I went up to Sheffield to take pictures of Joe Jackson for The NME, which is a music paper here. And by sheer coincidence, it was the same day that Martyn and The Human League had split. They had their meeting and decided that they were going to go their separate ways – not in the nicest of ways. I just phoned Martyn and said, “I’m in Sheffield, do you want to meet for a drink?” And he said, “Yeah, definitely. I’ve got something to tell you.” So, we met at the pub, and he was telling me about what happened in the meeting, and he was really pissed off. And he was really angry, and said, “I’m not entirely sure, but I think Ian is going to come with me as well.” He said, “How would you feel about packing up from London for a bit and moving back to Sheffield and forming another band with myself and Ian?” And it just felt right, and the synchronicity on me happening to be in Sheffield on that day – and I had been in London doing that doing photography and 57 Men for a couple of years. So, I just suddenly said, “Okay,” and that was it. So that was kind of the end of 57 Men and the start of Heaven 17. And then 38

of course 57 Men slimmed down and became Wang Chung and became an amazing hit. I still do see Nick occasionally – I haven’t seen Jack in quite a few years. I bumped into Darren Costin at a gig – same thing with Leigh Gorman. I was supposed to go back – Wang Chung were doing a gig in London, and they thought it would be funny if I went on and we did a couple of 57 Men songs. And I agreed. But my diary keeping is so atrocious that I double booked – there was actually a Heaven 17 gig that night. I was devastated and I think Nick was angry with me as well. I said, “I’m sorry, I can’t cancel it.” It was in Manchester and the Wang Chung gig was in London. And there was no way I could get to do the two. It would have been a gas to go and do something like that. Well maybe 57 Men will want to try and do a reunion again soon – if they’re not still too mad at you… (laughs) Yeah, well it’s been a couple of years now. Maybe they won’t be mad at me. Unfortunately, I’m not much better at diary keeping. I’m always fucking up with things like that. (Much laughter) Is there any new Heaven 17 music on the horizon? There are a couple of tracks that Martin and I have been passing backwards and forwards to each other. It goes up and down whether we think we are going to release something or not. We get to the point where we go “What’s the point? Why are we doing this? Why would that be of interest to anyone? Where would we play it? Would we go out and play it live? Would our audience want to see new stuff?” And I think the answer to all of those things to be honest is, “Yes, they would be interested.” And it’s more us slightly reluctant to do it. At the moment, because we’re going to be playing in America and since we’ve been playing in the UK for a while – and it keeps getting bigger and bigger – Martyn and I were taking about it on the train the other day. I think we are going to be releasing something soon – and certainly get back together and do some writing and see where we go. But I think the answer is probably more yes than it is no. Do you have any messages for Heaven 17 fans here in the States and in the Los Angeles area? Yes, please come along. It’s been 40 years and God only knows when it will be when we come again – so don’t miss it! You’ve only got yourself to blame… (Much laughter.)

Heaven 17 will be at The Belasco Theater in Downtown LA on September 29th! September/October 2022


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Gary Sohmers presents

Beasties: A Sci-Fi Rock Opera Interview by Ken Morton Gary Sohmers is best known for his 13 Seasons spent within the ranks of the PBS hit series Antiques Roadshow. Maestro Sohmers has also been rocking the world with his various auditory journeys, his latest and most ambitious being Beasties: A Sci-Fi Rock Opera. In addition to Gary Sohmer’s work on the expansive venture, the project also features the participation of David Bickler from Survivor and the legendary Chris Farlowe, portraying character roles within the realm of Beasties: A Sci-Fi Rock Opera.

Gary Sohmers, Bill Holloman, Chris Farlowe

Highwire Daze recently spoke to Gary Sohmers to discuss the creation of Beasties: A Sci-Fi Rock Opera, his Antiques Roadshow legacy, a passion for being an avid collector, his love for The Simpsons, and a whole lot more! Read on!!! Is there any overall story or concept behind Beasties: A Sci-Fi Rock Opera? “Beasties: A Sci-Fi Rock Opera” is a story about a rock band that finally has a hit record after years of touring, performing a free concert in Central Park that attracts a huge crowd. But, without telling the band, the promoter sold a sponsorship to a corrupt politician, Dick T.Raitor, who interrupts the concert in an attempt to hijack the audience’s attention. The hero, Grā (pronounced: Gray), currently a stagehand and a retired singer, is affected by an alien intervention from an otherworldly impulse—which infuses within him a schizophrenic identity with special powers—to make humanity aware of their inner Beasties. Two intertwined rock and roll love stories, one between humans and one between the universe and the sci-fi rock known as earth, to save the 40

planet from climate destruction by corporate corruption. Of course, you are best known for Antiques Roadshow on PBS. What made you decide to take an adventure through music and who are some of your inspirations? I have been a musician and songwriter for 50 years, but as many people know its not easy to make a living being a rock star until you are a rock star. I was always multitasking as a roadie, promoter, booking agent and stage hand, while doing occasional gigs. But what kept me alive was buying and selling records, cassettes, posters, toys and comics thru my store Madcity Music in Madison WI in the 1970s and then Wex Rex in Hudson MA in the 1980s. I was producing large collectibles shows starting in 1985 that incorporated celebrity guests, such as the 1990 Lost In Space cast reunion. I learned the value of 100,000 useless objects, ephemeral to most but nostalgic to an aging generation. When Antiques Roadshow began, they needed someone who knew the values of items I specialized in, so I spent the first 13 seasons helping people learn about pop culture collectibles. How did David Bickler from Survivor become involved with Beasties? September/October 2022


As Bill Holloman and I were completing the orchestration for the songs, we started reaching out thru friends to find the right singers to make these songs special. I was introduced to Dave Bickler by my long time friend Pete Strand, bassist for Yipes! Dave embraced the message and music and delivered stellar vocal performances capturing the excite and passion the songs deserve. Paired with soul shouter Barrence Whitfield, the harmonies and blending were beautiful and powerful. Chris Farlowe plays the villain Dick Traitor in Beasties. How did Chris become involved with the project? I met vocal legend Chris Farlowe in my capacity as a collectibles dealer while set up at the world famous Brimfield Antiques Fair back in the 1980s. I recognized him and we began a 35 year friendship. Chris at 81 years young, he is currently touring a reunion of his progressive rock band Colosseum. Who are some of the other musicians who make Beasties come to life? The songs were orchestrated by Bill Holloman, an incredible keyboardist and master of brass, who created all of the sounds in his basement studio, bringing in guitarist Tom Majesky to deliver the power chords and fine finessed fingering. Vocalists involved in the project include Bill himself, his son Bill Holloman Jr on backup vocals, newcomer with a powerful voice Liz Proteau as the female lead, Broadway veteran vocalist Lavon Wilson-Fisher and myself each singing a character in the show. Has Beasties: A Sci-Fi Rock Opera ever been performed live or are there any plans to do so? Beasties will be an immersive stage show, a concert that will include projections and visual storytelling. We are hopeful that the current principals will all be available to appear in the show. What is currently going on with Antique Roadshow? I left Antiques Roadshow in 2010 after 13 seasons and over 80 appearances. Back when I did the show, we HIGHWIRE DAZE

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would sometimes have 20,000+ people show up for appraisals and most people didn’t look everything up on the internet prior to attending. Things have changed. What made you decide to pursue your passion as a collector – I understand it all started with your father’s collection of campaign buttons? My Dad showed me how he could buy something for a dollar and sell it for $100 … I translated that into records, toys, comics and other things I enjoyed to make a living. I still buy and sell campaign buttons when I can. I mostly help people with their accumulations these days dealling in the 3 Ds … downsizing, divorce or death. Are you currently still working with Mindjammer and if so, what is currently going on with that project? Windjammer was my 1970s band in Madison, and it evolved to Mindjammer in the 1990s as a band name I use for experimental and progressive music. Star Wars or Star Trek and why? Star Wars A New Hope and Star Trek The Next Generation equally for their over arching messaging of hope and progress in a universe controlled by power hungry greed and narcissism that can lead to change that benefits humans and other species. Beasties shares that hope. Favorite Simpsons episode and most prized Simpsons 41

collectible you have or would like to own… Too many great episodes to pick one … the most recent End of the Middle Class was pretty great. I have been collecting Simpsons since the Tracey Ullman Show interstitials. I have a huge collection … tough to pick a favorite … but: 1991 Blackboard. What’s up next for you? Getting Beasties released, build the stage show and tour, then land on Broadway for an eternity run is the long term path. In a parallel time frame, I will be producing my Collectibles Extravaganza, my HighLifeStyle Show with The Wailers and my annual NorthEast ComicCon. Any final words of wisdom? Persistence of vision is the secret of the universe.

https://beastiesrockopera.com/ https://collectiblesextravaganza.com/ https://necomiccons.com/

Barrence Whitfield recording Beasties: A Sci-Fi Rock Opera at Q-Division Studios

Promoting the all new full length album “Down In Wuhan” out August 28, 2021 Worldwide on all major platforms DOWN IN WUHAN TOUR 2022 Saturday November.12,2022 7 PM with Circus Of Power and Little Caesar


September/October 2022


Torben Enevoldsen presents the Glorious Return of DECOY

Interview by Ken Morton

Without Warning is the second album by Decoy, a Danish/Swedish collaboration between songwriter and guitarist Torben Enevoldsen (Fate, Acacia Avenue) and singer Peter Sundell (C.O.P., Ex-Grand Illusion). This new album features Pete Steincke (Fate) on bass and Dennis Hansen (Acacia Avenue, Section A) on drums, and the style is very melodic hard rock, but with a touch of classic rock and metal. The first meeting of the minds of Decoy since their debut Call Of The Wild endeavor in 2007, Without Warning is now available from Perris Records. Highwire Daze recently spoke with music mastermind Torben Enevoldsen to find out more about the new Decoy album as well as discuss his recently issued solo instrumental magnum opus. Read on... Is there any overall story or concept behind the album title Without Warning? No, not at all. We just thought that it would be a good title for the album. What made you decide to do a new Decoy album after all of this time? Sundell and I were working together on some songs not specific to any project, and as the amount of songs increased, we decided to do a full album. We had several ideas for a name, but finally ended up with Decoy as that to us made the most sense. Select two songs found within Without Warning and what inspired the lyrics? Most of the songs on this album are about love in one way or another, and this certainly goes for both Fire’s Gone and How Was I To Know. Fire’s Gone is about losing the passion for something (or someone) and the struggle that goes along with coming to terms with something like that. How Was I To Know is a basic love song about a love that you knew wasn’t really meant to be. Fire’s Gone is darker, whereas How Was I To Know 44

Torben Enevoldsen comes from a place of acceptance. Had you kept up with vocalist Peter Sundell throughout the years, and what was it like collaborating with him again? Yes, Sundell and I have been in contact several times over the years and also worked together on a few occasions. It’s always a joy to work with Peter as he is very dedicated and serious about his singing. What has it been like to have your Fate band mate Pete Steincke on Without Warning and when did you first meet Pete? As with Sundell, it’s a true pleasure working with Pete. He too is a very dedicated and serious musician with great chops and a lot of experience. I first met Pete some time back in the 80’s. Apart from being in Fate, he was also a DJ at a very popular club here in Copenhagen that I used to hang out in on the weekends. Dennis Hansen has played on quite a few of your varSeptember/October 2022


Peter Sundell ious projects Section A, Fatal Force, Acacia Avenue, and now Decoy. What makes you and Dennis work so well together and when did you first meet up? Dennis is one of my best friends and we have played together on and off for ages. He is very easy to work with and knows exactly what type of drumming I’m looking for, and always manages to deliver that extra something. He and I first met back in 1987. We met through this singer who was looking to start a band and Dennis and I immediately hit it off. The singer however was sacked shortly after and never heard of again, but Dennis and I remain close friends to this very day. When you look back on the 2007 Decoy album entitled Call Of The Wild, what do you think of it now in retrospect? I think that there’s some very good songs on the album, but this was one of the very first albums that I mixed myself, so I am not all that happy with the mix. I would actually love to redo that at some point. You also have a new solo album for 2022 entitled Transition. Is there any overall story or concept behind that title? I believe Pete and Dennis also worked on that album? Well, the story behind the title is a very personal one. It’s about where I am in my life at this point in time and about my future plans. I won’t reveal too much as nothing is written in stone, and I do like to stay open to alternative options, but if nothing unforeseen comes up, this title will fit my personal plans for now very nicely. And yes, Dennis and Pete are both playing on this album as well. In the year 2020, you worked on the Rob Moratti and HIGHWIRE DAZE

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Pinnacle Point albums. What was it like to be working on and releasing albums in that pandemic year? It didn’t actually feel all that different, as both of these projects are done over the internet. As you probably know, Rob is in Toronto and Jerome is in Florida, so we simply send ideas and files back and forth. I do all my work in my own studio here in Copenhagen and then send whatever files are needed to whomever, and that’s pretty much how we’ve always done it. Anything coming up with Acacia Avenue or any of your other bands? Yes, I am halfway done with the 5th Acacia Avenue album, and the same goes for yet another new all instrumental album. I am also involved in a few other projects, but it’s too early to give out any details just yet, sorry. Would Decoy like to tour and play some shows in support of Without Warning? That would be great for sure and hopefully this will happen. A lot of practical stuff needs to get sorted of course, but we would definitely like to do live gigs. Any final words of wisdom? I’m not so sure about the wisdom part, but I hope that everyone who reads this interview will check out my work, both past and present. So much more to come, so please stay tuned at: www.torbenenevoldsen.com 45

LastWorld: Your Auditory Escape

Interview by Ken Morton LASTWORLD returns with Escape The Eclipse, their 4th album in under 4 years! The dynamic duo of songwriter Jim Shepard (all instruments) and David Cagle (all vocals) present their own take on melodic rock, and it’s once again the recording is mastered by the one and only JK Northrup. With consistently amazing work on each and every album, their latest Escape The Eclipse endeavor finds LastWorld at the very height of their creative energies. Fans of acts such as Journey and Survivor will definitely want to traverse the universe to encounter the sweeping melodic reveries of LastWorld. Highwire Daze now presents an interview with LastWorld founding member and commander of the ship Jim Shepard to find out more about Escape The Eclipse, now available worldwide via Perris Records! Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in LastWorld, and how long the band has been together. Hello my name is Jim Shepard I write the songs and play all the instruments. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? I’m based just outside Chicago and Mr. Cagle is in Alabama , In Chicago the tribute bands seem to rule the clubs as do cover bands too. Is there any overall story or concept behind the album title Escape The Eclipse? The album title came about joking with a friend about “How bands use the same titles for songs like “Talk To Me” there are a ton of songs with that title.... so I joked I just steal album titles and the next album will be Escape The Eclipse. Well, it stuck with me as it’s a great title for us, LastWorld, and we’re paying homage to two great albums from one great band, Journey! Select two other songs from Escape The Eclipse and what inspired the lyrics. Take Me Away is about not being satisfied in your life 46

Jim SHepard even though you’re doing well. You just kinda search for something new. The Sanity is Lost is about keyboard warriors hiding behind the screen while they tell everyone how bad, wrong or horrible they are, all the while never seeing how miserable THEY are. The LastWorld album art always looks so cool. Who did the album art for Escape The Eclipse, and how much influence did you have on it? The artwork was done by Nello Dell ‘Omo and he came up with the idea on how own this time. What made you decide to work with David Cagle initially and what do think makes you both work so well together. September/October 2022


JK has been a pleasure to work with, and to add I have been a fan of his throughout my life, so when his name came up to master my solo album I was like, uuuuhhhmmmm WELL YEAH!!!!, lol

David Cagle When I did my solo album JADED which wasn’t supposed to be a solo album but I ended up using 3 singers and the label I was originally on was asking to use one singer. I want going to just cut out my friends with the work they did so I said if it does well enough we could move forward with one singer. I knew Cagle’s work with JK Northrup and was thinking about contacting him when the label also suggested him, so with both of us thinking, that I knew he had the new guy. Has LastWorld ever played live, or do you plan to do so in future days? No live shows as of yet but I’m open to them if the right opportunities arise. For the most part at this point in my life, I’m enjoying just writing and recording. Are there any plans for another Jim Shepard solo release? No plans but you never know.... What has it been like working with JK Northrup and how did you initially meet? HIGHWIRE DAZE

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Are you still working with Taxi and how does/did Taxi differ from the music of LastWorld? Taxi never really broke up but it’s been quite awhile since we’ve done anything... With that said the song GO on Escape The Eclipse is a song I had written for Taxi that we demoed but never released and She Wants More is a reworked Taxi song called Because Of You. Are you involved with any other current bands of projects outside of the ones we’ve already discussed? I have been writing some heavier riffs and have completed one song for another project I’m thinking about doing but nothing is finalized as of yet. What’s up next for LastWorld? I have no plans of ending LW anytime soon... we’ve done 4 albums now in just under 4 years, and I’ve done 9 slbums in under 7 years, so I think I’m taking a short break before our next album. Any final words of wisdom? Don’t drink, drive and txt.... 47

Catching Up with Jeff Duncan at NAMM 2022 Written by Alison “MetalBabe” Cohen of Metal Babe Mayhem - Photo by Jimmie Romero Viper Guitars was the place to be during the return of NAMM 2022. Not only was Jeff Duncan (Armored Saint/DC4) at the booth with his two brand new signature strats, Ronny North, Michael Felder, and others were nearby. I took this opportunity to step aside with Jeff to discuss his new guitars, solo project, and upcoming Armored Saint tour. Alison “MetalBabe” Cohen: Jeff, this is really big, exciting news. For the first time in your life you have your own custom guitars, and not just one, but two, from Viper Guitars! Tell me about your guitars. Jeff Duncan: Yeah, it has been close to 40 years in the making, well not including the dream time… When I was 15 I dreamed of something like this. I first met Jeff Heitmann at the Dallas Guitar Show. Ronny North introduced me to him. Jeff was very interested in doing something with me. We talked and it all happened really fast. I basically wanted him to do a replica of my main guitar, which I call “Duncanstein.” He did… He replicated it. And then we did another two-humbucker version. A different model. They are both super strats. I couldn’t be happier. Jeff did such an excellent job on them. Alison: Wow, that is super cool! Both of us are a fan of stars. That’s kind of why we connected in the first place so many years ago. I think it was a star necklace, or tattoo. Jeff: Yeah, yeah, we’re fans of stars. (Jeff shows Alison his star jewelry and tattoos.) Alison: So tell me about the stars on the guitars. Jeff: The one that has the white star on it, I put that on 48

there myself. The one model is the JD-66, that’s the one-humbucker version. And then I wanted him to do star inlays for the fret markers for the double-humbucker version. (JD-66+) But I wanted them to be subtle. I didn’t want it to be too carnival like, just small enough that if you get up close you can tell, but from a distance they look like dots. Jeff said “Yeah, I can do that.” And when I got it, it was just perfect. It was exactly what I wanted. What I have to say about Jeff Heitmann over at Viper is that he got down perfectly everything that I specifically wanted for both models. There were not any discrepancies. They were just great when they showed up. I’m happy about that. Really happy. He’s a great guy to work with, super nice. September/October 2022


Alison: That’s great. I love them and am very happy for you. Jeff: Thank you, thank you. Alison: You’re welcome. Tell me about your future plans. I know you have a side project in the works, an upcoming Armored Saint tour… What does the rest of 2022 hold for you? Jeff: I have a new project that I’m starting up with a singer called Mark Weitz. My brothers Matt and Shawn will be involved in it. I’m just writing and doing demos now. I’m really excited to be doing something fresh and new. DC4 is not broken up, but just on hiatus right now. We’ll see what the future holds for DC4, but right now we’re working on this new project. Armored Saint goes out on the road at the end of October for about seven weeks, with WASP. It’s a U.S. tour. I’m really looking forward to that ‘cause Armored

Saint hasn’t been out for a little while. It will be nice to go out. It will be a good tour. There’s a good number of the shows that are already sold out, which is great… So far in advance. We’re really excited for the tour. It will be great to see the Armored Saint boys again. It’s been a few years since I’ve even seen them. They’re family, so I do miss them. It will be great to see them again and play some Armored Saint music. Alison: Definitely. Very cool Jeff, thank you for your time. Have an amazing tour! Jeff: Thanks Alison, always good to see ya! Please see below for more information on Jeff Duncan, Armored Saint, and Viper Guitars: https://www.armoredsaint.com/ https://www.artistecard.com/DC4 http://www.viperguitar.com/

Liquid Music Group LLC

Booking now


September/October 2022



Armagelion, Niviane, The Three Tremors Interviews by Ken Morton LA BURNING FEST III has announced the full line-up for the festival’s upcoming edition, which is scheduled to take place on Friday, November 18, 2022 at Brick’s Rock Bar in Los Angeles, California. LA BURNING FEST III line-up includes Riot V (Co-Headliner), Ross The Boss (Co-Headliner), Tim “Ripper” Owens (Solo set), The Three Tremors (featuring “Ripper” Owens, Sean Peck and Harry Conklin), Bitch, Heretic, Resistance, Niviane (featuring vocalist Norman Skinner *Ex-Imagika), Armagelion (Debut Show), and Jessikill Ross The Boss replaced Grim Reaper due to Steve Grimmett’s recent death (RIP). Highwire Daze recently interviewed three of the bands performing at LA Burning Fest III to find out what to expect from their sets in what shall be an amazing night of METAL!!!!


Armagelion Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in your band, where you are based out of, and how long the band has been together. I am ARMAGELION from Los Angeles, California. Currently based out of Dallas, Texas. I’ve been around for two years. ARMAGELION was conceived as a project that mixed theatricality and hard rock. A larger than life character, a heavy metal hero. What is the name of your current or upcoming album or EP and what inspired the title? My upcoming EP is self titled ARMAGELION. I think it’s appropriate that the first EP is self-titled because it’s a first approach to what ARMAGELION is. If I named it any other way or as one of the singles then it wouldn’t be giving the message that I want, which is: this is ARMAGELION, welcome to my universe. What are you looking forward to the most about playing LA Burning Fest III? I’m very excited! It’s not only my debut show, but the 50

first time people will see what ARMAGELION is like live. Also, going back to the city where it all started is something very special. I think there could be no better scenario than this. The lineup is packed featuring sets by Riot V, Ross the Boss, and Tim “Ripper” Owens. How have these bands and artists influenced you and have you ever seen them live before? Of course they have been an inspiration and that makes sharing the stage with them even more special. I’ve never seen them live before, but I think there’s no better way to see them than being part of the same lineup. Select two songs you might be playing at LA Burning Fest III and what inspired the lyrics. I’m preparing some surprises, but I will definitely play Welcome to the Show and Lie to Me, two of my three singles released so far. When I wrote Welcome to the Show I wanted it to be a call, a statement, an invitation to the ritual of ARMAGELION. A hymn to all the children of metal. On the other hand, Lie to Me is a heartbreaking and powerful song. Pain, holding on to a love that no longer exists... It’s something we’ve all been through. September/October 2022


What could one expect from your live show at LA Burning Fest III? Theatricality, a lot of energy and a lot of rock n roll. ARMAGELION will rock the house... Steve Grimmett of Grim Reaper was scheduled to play but unfortunately passed away. What are your memories of the legendary Grim Reaper and Steve Grimmett? I was so excited to share the stage with Grim Reaper and the great Steve Grimmett in my debut show. His passing was sudden. I remember watching his videos as a kid and loving his sound. It was very sad news, but his legacy will live forever. What’s up next for your band after LA Burning Fest III? There are plans for future shows. After the first EP is released, a second EP will follow it; so that both EPs combined will form my debut album called “ARMAGELION” There is much more to come, stay tuned. https://www.facebook.com/ArmagelionOficial

Niviane Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in your band, where you are based out of, and how long the band has been together. My name is Norman Skinner and I am the vocalist for the US power metal band Niviane. We are based out of Sacramento, CA and were formed in 2015. What is the name of your current or upcoming album or EP and what inspired the title? Our latest album released in 2020 is titled The Ruthless Divine. We are currently finishing tracking for our 3rd as yet untitled album to be released in 2023. What are you looking forward to the most about playing LA Burning Fest III? We are most excited to perform for all of our fans in and around the Southern California area, as well as sharing the stage with some metal legends. The lineup is packed featuring sets by Riot V, Ross the Boss, and Tim Ripper Owens. How have these bands and artists influenced you and have you ever seen HIGHWIRE DAZE

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Niviane them live before? I have been lucky enough to have seen all 3 artists mentioned live previously and am a fan of each. Riot V & Ross The Boss are standards in my rotation and being a metal vocalist, I of course have followed Tim “Ripper” Owens career closely from his many various projects... Judas Priest, Beyond Fear, Iced Earth, Yngwie, etc. etc. Select two songs you might be playing at LA Burning Fest III and what inspired the lyrics. I will most likely leave the set list up to the guitarists but would believe Psychomanteum & Fires In The Sky could potentially be performed as they are our last 2 singles & videos. I am a big fan of the paranormal and ghost hunting and learned about the term “Psychomanteum”. I decided to take the concept of it and create a paranormal love story. Fires in The Sky is a sci-fi themed song based loosely on Ancient Alien Theory and the asks the question why they no longer share knowledge with the human race anymore. What could one expect from your live show at LA Burning Fest III? We are very high energy and all about a powerful performance. Dueling lead guitars with lots of harmonies and vocals that run the gambit from death growls to high falsetto screaming. We pride ourselves on being a fantastic live band. Steve Grimmett of Grim Reaper was scheduled to play but unfortunately passed away. What are your memories of the legendary Grim Reaper and Steve Grimmett? I was lucky enough to see him live a few years ago. I 51

What are you looking forward to the most about playing LA Burning Fest III? Looking forward to a good gathering of metal heads and a hell of a lot of metal. That is a cool venue and we are stoked Ken threw this together!

Sean Peck had never met him personally but heard he was a really nice guy. His music will of course live on! What’s up next for your band after LA Burning Fest III? We recently signed with new management and plan to release our 3rd album next year followed by another big tour as well as some festival appearances. https://www.facebook.com/nivianemetal

Sean Peck of The Three Tremors Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in your band, where you are based out of, and how long the band has been together. I am Sean Peck from San Diego California. I currently sing in the bands Cage, Death Dealer, The Three Tremors, Warrior and sang for the inactive band Denner Shermann featuring the original Mercyful Fate guitar team of Michael Denner and Hank Shermann, as well as legendary drummer Snowy Shaw. Cage has been in operation since 1992. What is the name of your current or upcoming album or EP and what inspired the title? I have a new 9th Cage album coming out and a new 4th Death Dealer album coming out as well. Both of which are unnamed. I just released the new and 1st Death Dealer EP Fuel Injected Suicide Machine” It is a beast. 52

The lineup is packed featuring sets by Riot V, Ross the Boss, and Tim Ripper Owens. How have these bands and artists influenced you and have you ever seen them live before? Yes, I am in a band with Ross (Death Dealer), played with Riot before, and am in a band with Tim (The Three Tremors). Select two songs you might be playing at LA Burning Fest III and what inspired the lyrics. Bone Breaker because we like breaking bones and Heaven and Hell in honor of Ronnie James Dio. What could one expect from your live show at LA Burning Fest III? Hellfire unleashed from the bowels of a demon. We will spew forth the afterbirth of a diseased virgin. Steve Grimmett of Grim Reaper was scheduled to play but unfortunately passed away. What are your memories of the legendary Grim Reaper and Steve Grimmett? Well, Steve Grimmett filled in for Harry “The Tyrant” Conklin (Jag Panzer) as a replacement 4th Tremor on a The Three Tremors European tour at the last minute and we got some serious quality time with him. We had a ton of laughs and we treasure that time we spent with him. He was a great dude and great singer. We presented him with a The Three Tremors vest of his own when we did another tour of England and it was a very special moment we will never forget. What’s up next for your band after LA Burning Fest III? Playing the Dragon Rojo Metal Fest in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico with Riot V, Tim “Ripper” Owens solo band. The Three Tremors and Cage on November 20, the weekend immediately after the LA Burning Fest III. https://www.facebook.com/thethreetremors

https://www.facebook.com/cageofficial September/October 2022



Joker’s Hand, Monty Xon, The Toxhards, TemperMental The Black Rose LA, July 24, 2022

Joker’s Hand

Monty Xon


Review by Ken Morton Photos by Vivian Ortega of So Finch Photography The LA Rock Collective presented their July show at The Black Rose LA, featuring a diverse group of massively talented performers. The Toxhards is a superbly imaginative, genre defying band who really know how to put on an epic show! Progressive in every sense of the word, the musicianship in this band is outstanding! And the live presentation of their just released single Ængus, The Prize-Winning Hog is not be missed! True performance art! TemperMental is an all-girl band who combine the styles of punk and metal, bringing a thunderous live show to the proceedings. With songs so thoroughly memorable played with a ton of passion and conviction, TemperMental is sure to leave a definitive impact on our local music scene. Joker’s Hand has been receiving a good amount of recognition performing at The Toxhards the Beachlife Festival in Redondo Beach as well as achieving consistent airplay on the KROQ Locals Only show. Their live performance is intense and impassioned, with set highlights being the wickedly infectious Goth Girlfriend and their brilliant cover of the Nirvana classic Territorial Pissings. Monty Xon is a solo artist on the rise, whose pop punk anthems display a good deal of promise. This performer has a ton of charisma, and delivers his heart and soul on the stage, Backed by members of the band HVNTED for this particular show, Monty Xon exuded a massive amount of star appeal. Expect to hear a lot more from Monty Xon in the months ahead! 54

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SUZY AND THE SUBSTITUTES The 19th Annual CrueFest Hollywood

The Whisky, West Hollywood, CA., July 30, 2022

Review by Ken Morton Photo by Jack Lue

The 19th Annual CrueFest Hollywood event took place at the world famous Whisky A Go Go on the Sunset Strip, headlined by a very special performance from Steel Dragon featuring Miljenko Matijevic from Steelheart on lead vocals. Other bands who played to raise money for Letty’s Angels of Hope Foundation in memory of Skylar Neil included Black Valentine, Glamerca, JJ Savage, LA Story, Motley 2, Next Halen, Rag Dolls, and Suzy and the Substitutes. CrueFest Hollywood is always a very memorable night of music, and this year’s event was one of their very best! Opening the show at the rock and roll breakfast hour of 6PM was Suzy and the Substitutes, featuring one of the CrueFest organizers Suzy Wilson. Playing very early on because Suzy basically runs the entire show, Suzy and the Substitutes rocked out all of the early arrivals with a killer set of very solid tunes. This reviewer had been humming Suzy’s song Lies all the way to the venue, and what a pleasure it was to hear this standout tune not only at soundcheck but again raging at the beginning of their absolutely kickass set! The band’s new single The Best Revenge Revisted was absolutely captivating live. Suzy would also debut two brand new songs Ordinary Me and Survivor both vibrantly inspiring and instantly memorable. In addition to the passionate vocal work of Suzy Wilson, the Substitutes lineup was thoroughly topnotch, featuring Paul Gervasi from LA’s own Trouble In Heaven on lead guitar as well as bassist Ian Ross and drummer Alejandro Mercado from John 5 infamy. Suzy may be based out of Texas and her band LA locals, but they brought it all together delivering a powerhouse performance! HIGHWIRE DAZE

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The set ended way too with the arrival of the dazzling Tomorrow, leaving the audience wanting to experience a whole lot more. Suzy has grown tremendously as an artist since her days when she started pursuiing her dream at Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp, where she was mentored by the like of Paul Stanley of KISS and Rob Halford of Judas Priest. And with the unveiling of Suzy and the Substitutes, Ms. Wilson has truly arrived and is ready to rock out your entire world! Here’s hoping we see Suzy and the Substitutes back at the Whisky soon! 55

L.A. Guns, The Guitar & Whiskey Club The Canyon Santa Clarita, Valencia, CA., August 13, 2022

Review by Ken Morton - Photos by Linda Emord of Eye Shutter 4U Even in the suburbia known as Valencia, you can find the rock and roll party extravaganza on a Saturday night - thanks to The Canyon Santa Clarita who was presenting the legendary L.A. Guns along with local favorites The Guitar & Whiskey Club opening the show. L.A. Guns raged supreme, presenting all their classics with a fully loaded amount of energy and expertise. L.A. Guns vets Phil Lewis, Tracii Guns and Johnny Martin rocked into the stratosphere! And how terrific it was to see newest members Ace Von Johnson and Shawn Duncan bringing their own fire and vision to the proceedings. 56

Opening the show was The Guitar & Whiskey Club, warming up the early arrivals with their own dynamic brand of timeless rock and roll. With influences ranging from Michael Schenker, Lynch Mob and beyond, The Guitar & Whiskey Club made the very most of their extended set, and easily gained a bunch of new fans in the process. Their songs Does You Dog Bite and Sleazy sound like hard rock radio hits, and were amazing live! Especially intriguing was the brilliant guitar work unleashed by founding member Jeff Donavan. Mark Prudeaux is the perfect frontman, delivering the goods with a thrilling amount of star appeal. Bassist Frankie Yanno lends his superbly expert playing into the Club. And newest member David Carbajal drives it all home with skill and ferocity! The time to join The Guitar & Whiskey Club is now because these guys are headed into the rock and roll big leagues! Expect to see headlining shows from The Guitar & Whiskey Club in the very near future! September/October 2022


Mercyful Fate and Emperor Psycho Las Vegas Resorts World, Las Vegas, Nevada, August 19-21, 2022

Mercyful Fate Review by Ken Morton - Photos by Jack Lue Psycho Las Vegas 2022 was definitely an event for the ages, taking place at multiple clubs and stages throughout the opulent Resorts World Casino. Highlights of the festival included the only North American appearances of the iconic Mercyful Fate and the legendary Norwegian black metal band Emperor. Among the other standout performances at the festival included sets from Mayhem, Samael, Paradise Lost, Suicidal Tendencies, At The Gates, Katatonia, Nuclear Assault, Carcass, Cirith Ungol, The Juliana Theory, New Candys, Moonlily, and more! Emperor headlined Night One of Psycho Las Vegas, performing their first stateside date in many years! Opening with In A Wordless Chamber, their mesmerzing set included 58

Emperor classics such as With Strength I Burn, Curse You All Men!, The Majesty Of The Night Sky, and I Am The Black Wizards! A stunning conclusion for the opening day! Headlining a very stacked third day was the grand return of Mercyful Fate, featuring the one and only King Diamond on lead vocals. Focusing mostly on their early albums as well as unleashing a brand new song entitled The Jackal Of Salzburg, Mercyful Fate delived the show of a lifetime and the crowd reaction was rapturous. Even King Diamond seemed genuinely moved by the tremendous audience response. Joining King Diamond on the Mercyful Fate adventure were Hank Shermann and Mike Wead on guitars, Bjarne T. Holm on drums and Joey Vera on bass. A North American Tour has just been announced with Kreator in support and it’s not be missed! September/October 2022



HVNTED, Havoc Faction, Chasing Desolation, Against The Sun

The Black Rose LA, August 28, 2022


Against The Sun

Chasing Desolation

Review by Ken Morton Photos by Vivian Ortega of So Finch Photography The LA Rock Collective presented their August show at The Black Rose LA, packed with absolutely amazing bands from the Los Angeles area and beyond. Against The Sun was up first, delivering a tremendously solid set of alterntaive rock and roll! This band is really beginning to make quite a name for themselves - they’ve even played Knotfest! At The Black Rose, Against The Sun performed with a massive amount of passion, captivating the early arrivals with standouts such as their should-be hit single Chelsea Said and their imaginative cover of the Oingo Boingo classic Dead Man’s Party. Always a pleasure to see Against The Sun live! HVNTED is quite frankly ready to be signed, sealed, and delivered to a record label! Their recently issued Self-Titled EP was produced by Keith Nelson, former lead guitarist of the one and only Buckcherry, and the recording is destined to garner the band a good deal of attention. And within a live setting, HVNTED really know how to deliver a supremely remarkable performance. William Swanson on vocals and rhythm guitar is a dynamic front man with a ton of star appeal. Lead guitarist Christopher Marshall delivers the auditory goods tenfold while bassist Jack Cotter and drummer Seamus Neal drive it all home with a vengeance!

Havoc Faction

Chasing Desolation present their own thrilling brand of hard rock. Their recent album The Moth Collection is powerful and absorbing - and within a live setting, Chasing Desolation convey the darkness and intrigue of their music in nothing short of an epic way! Such a stunning presentation to be sure! Hope to see more of Chasing Desolation in the future. And then there was Havoc Faction, presenting their own supremely imaginative version of sci-fi rock and roll. An ambitious, striking live performance to be sure! Spawned by intense inspiration and a spiraling sense of perseverance within a plague filled world, the Havoc Faction visual and auditory saga is a compelling one well worth seeking out! 59

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The Whisky, West Hollywood, CA., September 1, 2022 Review by Ken Morton Photo by Linda Emord of Eye Shutter 4U Superblood is the solo project of Cameron Rostami, an LA transplant originally from the wilds of North Texas. Highwire Daze first caught the tail end of a Superblood set at The Whisky just right before We Are The Black Things would eventually tear it up onstage. Deciding Superblood might be worth a revisit just based on their closing cover the Busted/Jonas Brothers song Year 3000, it was back to the Whisky with photographer Linda Emord to check out an entire performance. This time, the place was packed, ready to see a local artist perform his heart and soul out. Opening with the brilliant one-two punch of Bloodshot and Happy OD, Superblood presented a solid genre-defying set. Shades of pop punk, alternative rock, emo, and even EDM were embellished tenfold by Cameron’s superbly charismatic performance. Superblood’s standout single Inheritance was delivered, and many in the audience were already familiar with the song and singing along. A brand new track SELFSLAYER ft. Smrtdeath was just hours away from it’s worldwide release on ITunes and Spotify, and Cameron presented an exhilarating live rendition of the song for all the Whisky attendees. Towards the end of the set, the wickedly wonderful Nuked Kids On The Block was detonated, followed by Superblood’s absolutely captivating rendition of Year 3000, concluding with the ripping grand finale of Bruises. Superblood is definitely a band on the rise, and it will be excited to see where Cameron Rostami takes this project in the days and months ahead. Kudos must also go out to Ted Kelliher, filling 60

in at the last minute for Sam DiazGranados and doing an absolutely amazing job in the process. You can bet Highwire Daze will be covering Cameron Rostami’s Superblood again in the future. Be sure to catch Superblood the next time they play out here in the City Of Angels! https://www.superbloodmusic.com/ https://www.instagram.com/superblood_cam/ September/October 2022




Text by Ken Morton - Photo by Jack Lue The legendary OZZY OSBOURNE arrived at Fingerprints Music in Long Beach on September 10th to sign copies of his brand new album PATIENT NUMBER 9. The line to meet Ozzy went around for blocks, with fans in the front arriving as early as 2AM to meet the iconic performer. Highwire Daze photographer Jack Lue was in attendance and shot some pix of the iconic Ozzy right before the epic signing commenced.

PRESS RELEASE ON PATIENT NUMBER 9 OZZY OSBOURNE’s PATIENT NUMBER 9 album (out September 9 on Epic) marks OZZY’s first release since his critically acclaimed worldwide chart-topping album ORDINARY MAN in 2020. Produced by Andrew Watt (who handled the same duties on ORDINARY MAN), the new album marks OZZY’s 13th solo studio album. It’s heavy, it’s HIGHWIRE DAZE

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hard-hitting, it’s historic--it’s everything you’d want from an OZZY record and maybe more. Working with producer Watt for the second time, OZZY welcomed a dynamic A-list featured guests. For the first time ever, Black Sabbath co-founder, guitarist, and riff-master Tony Iommi appears on an OZZY solo album. The record also boasts guitarists Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, and longstanding righthand man and six-string beast Zakk Wylde who plays on the majority of the tracks. For the bulk of the album, Chad Smith of Red Hot Chili Peppers held down drums, while the late Taylor Hawkins of Foo Fighters appears on three songs. Old friend and one-time OZZY band member Robert Trujillo of Metallica plays bass on most of the album’s tracks, with Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses and Chris Chaney of Jane’s Addiction supplying bass on a few songs.

https://www.ozzy.com/ 61

ALBUM REVIEWS Unfinished Business Mitchell’s Kiss Of The Gypsy MR Records

Review by Ken Morton Kiss Of The Gypsy is celebrating the 30th Anniversary release of their Self-Titled major label debut on Atlantic Records by surprising melodic rock fans with a brand new album! 10 dynamic songs are presented, each and every one sounding like the next great chapter of this epically underrated band. While Tony Mitchell is now in the midst of a highly successful solo career, there was certainly Unfinshed Business at hand with Kiss Of The Gypsy, and songs such as Eye Of The Hurricane, Duty To Party and Runways sound like massive radio hits that fans of the first album will be over the moon for. Sin City is another solid rocker of glorious proportions while Time To Heal has a vibrant spiritual quality that is wondrous to behold. The concluding Wild Horses song is another standout with it’s thrilling “running wild, running free” lyrics rocking the listener into the stratosphere! Hope we hear a lot more from Mitchell’s Kiss Of The Gypsy! https://www.mrrecords.com.au/


Sum Of More Solitary Friends Deviant Genus

Review by Ken Morton Sum Of More by Solitary Friends is such a sweet and awesome surprise! Los Angeles has some of the most innovative bands on the planet, and Solitary Friends contributes to the auditory landscape with their absolutely brilliant brand of psycyhedelic indie rock. You know you’re in for a real treat when the glorious reveries of opening song Breathe Deep bursts playfully through your speakers. Tracks such as I Said Enough, My Friends, and Big Bang seal the deal with their thoroughly sweeping and memorable passages. Imagine the punk rock aesthetic of early Blondie mashed up with the sugary melodies of the Beach Boys, and you are only beginning to envision the rapturous refrains presented by Solitary Friends. And stay tuned until the end of Sum Of More for their kickass rendition of the Blondie classic X-Offender. Solitary Friends consists of Ken LaMere on guitar, bass, vocals, and keyboards, Michelle McGregor on vocals and keyboards, and Nick Liberatore on drums and vocals. Can’t wait to hear more from this amazing local band! https://www.facebook.com/SolitaryFriends/

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