NOV | DEC 2019 29 TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE
Rob De Luca of
Coverage of Festival with Halestorm and more...
Lexii Lynn FrazierÂ Poster by Jack Lue
ALL INDIA RADIO, BAUHAUS, BOWL FOR RONNIE, DARK STATION, DESERT DAZE, DIANE & THE DEDUCTIBLES, ERIC RAGNO DISCUSSES TONY MILLS, THE HARD WAY, HELL'S GUARDIAN, KILL THE BLONDE, SCARLETT O'HARA, SUM 41, SUZY, TOOTHGRINDER, WILDSTREET AND MORE...
TABLE OF CONTENTS
THE SANDGAARD FOUNDATION
Publisher Highwire Daze Magazine A General Partnership Editor-in-Chief Kenneth Morton Managing Editor Danny S. Pasley Senior Photographer Jack Lue Contributors Kenneth Morton Bret Miller Talia Farber Tammy Greene Joe Schaeffer Erica Vincent Cover Art by Yannick d’Assignies of Smart Works INTL. Cover Photos By Jack Lue Graphic Design Tyler Heath
HIGHWIRE DAZE 827 N. Hollywood Way PMB 419 Burbank, CA 91505-2814 www.highwiredaze.com e-mail: email@example.com
INTERVIEWS WITH . . . ROB DE LUCA OF UFO AND SPREAD EAGLE ...................................... 10 SCARLETT O’HARA ............................................................................... 14 WILDSTREET .......................................................................................... 16 TOOTHGRINDER ..................................................................................... 18 ALL INDIA RADIO .................................................................................. 20 ERIC RAGNO ........................................................................................... 22 HELL’S GUARDIAN ................................................................................ 24 KILL THE BLONDE .................................................................................. 26 LEXII LYNN FRAZIER ............................................................................. 30
LEXII LYNN FRAZIER POSTER ......................................................................... 28 ALBUM REVIEWS ............................................................................................... 44 CONCERT REVIEWS .......................................................................................... 32 SKETCHES BY THE EDITOR ................................................................................ 6 BRET’S RAMBLINGS ............................................................................................ 8
Opinions expressed within this publication do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher. All rights reserved. Nothing may be reproduced in whole or in part without the express and written consent of the publisher.
Sketches By The Editor THE DAZE IS 29 YEARS AND COUNTING
What you have in your hands right now is the Highwire Daze 29th Anniversary Issue - and what a strange and awkward number 29 is! This issue also marks the one year anniversary of our return to print. Thank you everyone for supporting this magazine - our readers, bands, publicists, and advertisers. Even more strange and epic adventures are ahead...
HIGHWIRE DAZE WILL BE AT THE NAMM SHOW Highwire Daze Sponsored by The Sandgaard Foundation will have our own booth at The NAMM Show this year! Information on signings, magazine availability and other activities soon. Many thanks to The Sandgaard Foundation for their very kind support of our magazine. Thomas Sandgaard, founder of The Sandgaard Foundation will be at our booth to discuss how we all MUST BAND TOGETHER to fight and bring an end to the opioid epidemic. For more information, visit The Sangaard Foundation Online at: www.sandgaardfoundation.org/!
THE BOWL FOR RONNIE CELEBRITY BOWLING
Editor Ken with Wendy Dio at Ride For Ronnie - May 2019
I recently attended The 5th Annual Bowl For Ronnie Celebrity Bowling, and was able to interview so many supporters of The \Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund, including the very inspirtaional Wendy Dio. Check out our coverage on Page 38. We were all discussing our Dio memories so I thought I would share my own. I had the opportunity to interview the legendary Ronnie James Dio twice on the phone. This was one of the very few times I was genuinely nervous before an interview. But on that very first phone call, Ronnie quickly put me at ease, and by the end of conversatation, I felt like I had made a lifelong friend. February 2020 will mark the 10 year anniversary of Dioâ€™s passing - and at Bowl For Ronnie, Wendy Dio said she was planning an event to celebrate the life of RJD, a man whose legacy will live on for the metal ages ahead All this and Ride For Ronnie 2020 too! Stay tuned...
Rambling On Into A New Decade
On Tuesday afternoon I brought my computer to get fixed. Something had created a temporary account and locked me out of my programs and files. Then I couldn’t save any downloaded programs or files I’d created. So I finally get my computer back on Saturday night and have been working on getting it back to normal. This made me realize how much I need a computer, to buy music and to create my weekly music show. Also, it is often easier to use when interacting with people online. Sure, I could stare at my little phone but a big screen and keyboard is infinitely easier. I’ve met so many wonderful people thanks to the internet and the music that I love. I wouldn’t have become friends in real life or via satellite and wifi if it wasn’t for having a computer. This might not seem like such a big deal to you. You might ask why don’t I just go out and socialize? I do go out but I usually go out to work, movies, concerts and to the book store. I prefer not to have to be stuck in traffic and deal with too many things in my day. Work is enough interaction with the world to wipe me out. So if I go out, it is to enjoy myself with the few friends I’m willing to deal with on a regular basis. Online, I’ve met and interacted with Jason Lamoreaux of Somewherecold Records and blog, he did a show on Highwire Daze Radio on Live 365 for a while. I’ve met Alexander Donat of Blackjack Illuminist Records and his bands and musical projects and the other bands he releases. Same with Nicolas Pierre Wardell, a man originally from France, now living in Brighton Beach, England and head of Shore Dive Records and who also releases his own various projects. Nico does his monthly show Beatastic Transmissions on the first Saturday of the month at Highwire Daze Radio. He’s got great taste and is always fun to listen to and to find new bands. Australian native Darren Barnes of Trillion and Overdriver also does a show called Southern Skies Radio and I love his choices for bands from his country over the years. So many bands to learn about that never got heard on US radio or even toured here. Another thing that happened this past week is seeing Swervedriver at the Teragram Ballroom with fellow fan 8
Keith. Grinding Eyes and Milly opened and both were fantastic and Swervedriver put on a great performance. Never Lose That Feeling was especially loud and raw. We got there very early, ate at the bar and had a few beers. A fellow fan Mark was also there. We talked outside the venue between bands and I mentioned I saw Bauhaus on the previous Sunday night. Mark gets all serious and tells us of how a recently passed friend had introduced him to Bauhaus and now the band and his friend are forever linked. He also asked why I think it is that certain bands touch us the way they do. I answered that certain bands in their lyrics, in their songs reach a part of our soul that we feel is important. It got deep, man. And as I type this I think that music brings people together and it seems natural that I and others would be more comfortable meeting fans of the same bands. As an introvert and highly sensitive, I do tend to enjoy the meaninful interaction with fans of the same bands or even musicians (often, they’re both). Music is that constant and I haven’t met too many people that are diametrically opposed to my worldview or are jerks. And if you’ve seen DKFM head honcho Greg Wilson with a shirt that says “Introvert but willing to talk about Shoegaze” and knowingly laugh, you get were I’m coming from. So whatever it is I’m saying, keep interacting with people online and in person, keep finding music that reaches your soul and keep your computer running! We’ll ramble again in the next decade...
https://www.facebook.com/bretrmiller Nov/Dec 2019
Rob De Luca of UFO and Spread Eagle Photo by Jack Lue
ROB DE LUCA AND
A SUBWAY TO THE STARS A CHAT WITH THE BASSIST OF UFO AND SPREAD EAGLE
Interview by Ken Morton - Photo by Jack Lue
2019 has been a banner year for bassist Rob De Luca. Not only has the omnipresent Mr. De Luca been finishing up the final dates of the Last Orders 50th Anniversary Tour with the legendary UFO, but he’s also been hitting the highways of America as a member of the Sebastian Bach band. All this. and Rob’s main project Spread Eagle has just unleashed Subway To The Stars, their first album in years via Frontiers Music SRL! Highwire Daze caught up with Rob De Luca while on the road with UFO to find out a whole lot more about his participation within this trio of amazing bands! Read on... How has the current UFO tour been going and what have been some of the highlights for you for these particular shows? Well, it’s going great, Neil Carter is doing a great job of coming in after the untimely passing of Paul Raymond and he’s really a great musician. The tour is going really fantastic and every day has been good, I mean, Gas Monkey Live! in Dallas was really incredible and I think the best show is probably San Antonio though but every gig has been great. I think the crowd was the best in San Antonio. Do you think this is really going to be the end for UFO? I don’t know, they just announce a festival show this summer in Barcelona, but it’s definitely slowing down, yes. How did you all approach the passing of Paul Raymond? Well, I played with him for 12 years. We were just so shocked because we had just seen him, we’d just finished our last London show with him eight days before and he was in perfect health it seemed. So, yes it was shocking, it was definitely shocking and sad. The final UFO album presumably is The Salentino Cuts. How fun was it to do a covers album and have you heard back from any of the artist who thought, “Wow, these are pretty good!” I heard through the grapevine that Mike McCready liked the cover we did of the Mad Season song and that’s the only thing I’ve heard about. But it was definitely fun. It HIGHWIRE DAZE
was harder than you would think though. You would think something like that would be just a simple kind of way to bond and have a good time, but we struggled with the running order of the song list endlessly. So, eventually we came up with the song list but it was a lot of work. We would write a song list and every morning it would be ripped up and we’d start over, but it was good fun. You’ve also been touring with Sebastian Bach. So many different people think of Sebastian Bach in so many different ways - good, bad and otherwise. How do you know Sebastian Bach as? I would say he’s a consummate performer and he’s one of the best front men out there. Those are the predominant ways I think of him, no matter how he feels he gets up there and he just kills it. The last time I interviewed you we talked about Spread Eagle and you were giving hints about bringing the band back. A few months later you were signed to Frontiers Records. What made you decide to bring Spread Eagle back to do all new material after such a very long hiatus? Well, we always flirted with the idea and we actually even wrote some songs. Not many, but a couple with other guitar players and it was always good ,but it was never quite Spread Eagle until we got the combination we have now of Ray West, myself, Ziv Shalev and Rik De Luca. So when we had the right combination, then we started having fun with shows, and then we toured in Europe and we were just riding high and feeling good. The camaraderie was great, the momentum was there, and Frontiers asked us to do a record. We talked about it and we knew that we could deliver and we were ready to just dig in. So, I’m glad we did. It’s called Subway To The Stars and I’m really proud of it. So, yes, the time was right. How difficult is it to have Ray West in another band called Weapons of Anew, I mean, you’re in three different bands (at least), so, not unusual [laughter]... Yes, I mean it’s pretty much the norm these days. I’ll try to work and Ray, that’s his main job, singing, so I’m all for it and I’m glad he’s out there . And also,you get to perfect and develop your craft. So the more times you get in front 11
of people performing and playing the better you get, so I’m all for it. Is there any overall story or concept behind Subway To The Stars, behind the title? Yes, it’s a concept album about getting on a train and putting on your earbuds and listening. It’s basically a concept of a trip on a New York City subway train. For fans of the first two albums what could they expect from Subway To The Stars? I think it would probably make more sense if Subway To The Stars was our second album instead of the third. The second album was a big departure from the first, and it was a bit abrupt in my opinion. The first album was so nasty and just full of piss and vinegar, and this album definitely has a bunch of that, but it has some songwriting maturity also. So, I think it would make more logical sense that this was the second album and Open To The Public was the third. However the next album will be just as nasty as Subway To The Stars or maybe even a little nastier. Could we expect any touring or live shows from Spread Eagle? Especially now that UFO may or may not be coming to an end? Yes, we’re going to start in I think May. We have something in March 2020 and then we’re going to do May through June. In the USA and that’s just what we have so far. We haven’t announced yet because we’re still being routed but we’re looking for additional tours that’s with us like headlining in clubs. We’re looking for support slots and we’re looking to get out of the country. So yes, absolutely we’re going to tour quite a bit, and we’re going to promote this record hard. We’re not going to make another one until we’ve promoted this one thoroughly. And are you currently involved with any other projects outside of UFO? Sebastian Bach or Spread Eagle? And if so, how do have time? [laughter] I have a band called OF EARTH that’s on the back burner with Rik De Luca and so, I’ll get to it someday but as you said, there’s just not enough time,. I’m not going to do something if I can’t do it really well. And so, as life changes and time opens up I’ll get to other things but yes, these three bands are all I can I do well, I give 300% at this point. One of your credits according to Wikipedia, is that you worked with Joan Jett. what was that experience like? Oh, she was incredible. I was just like filling in for a little while, but it was really great. At the time she wasn’t as popular as she is now, but it was a great experience. She’s 12
in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, she’s incredible, and she’s got a lot of guts. When you look back at the old Spread Eagle videos what do you think of them now? I think I really like them. I mean, I don’t think there’s anything that makes me kind of cringe or feel like that was cheesy. I think that’s why our fans have stuck with us. We were a cool band and we still are,and we didn’t ruin our legacy by putting out bad albums or coming up with weird lineups or anything like that. But the two (early) videos, I think they’re really great, I like all three of our videos quite a bit.
http://www.ufo-music.info/ https://spreadeagle.us/ http://www.sebastianbach.com/ Nov/Dec 2019
Scarlett O’Hara Bring
The Brodeo To The West Coast Interview by Ken Morton
Scarlett O’Hara has returned, ready to bring their epic brand of metalcore to the West Coast! Touring in support of their Welcome Back To The Brodeo manifesto on South Texas Metalcore Records, Scarlett O’ Hara will be raising hell locally at Malone’s in Santa Ana on November 29th and Los Globos in Los Angeles on November 30th. Prior to the tour kickoff, Highwire Daze caught up with lead guitarist Logan Burns to catch up on all the latest happenings of Scarlett O’Hara at the Brodeo! Read on... What are you looking forward to the most about this upcoming West Coast tour? As you know, just in general, the routing and everything, it’s going to be a nice change from where we’ve been used to this past year. We’ve hit the East Coast twice already and so this time, hitting the West Coast is going to be our first run in about 10 years over there. We’re really excited to just make our way back over to that area and be able to play for everybody. It’d been eight years since the last Scarlett O’Hara album, how frustrating or strange was it to be eight years to record something new? Yeah, it was just one of those deals, We’d been slowly working our way towards getting back to it, starting back in 2014 we released a couple of track back then. One of them was Fuckin’ Pissed, our little tribute to Pantera and another song called Lit. We did actually do some releases but it really wasn’t in the true comeback status just as we are doing it now. We just wanted to release some music. While we are all kind of figuring out what we are going to be doing for the future, our time was pretty pre-occupied and split between going to college and working, writing, recording. We have a lot on our plate but thankfully we’re able to come back strong and the reception has been amazing so far. We’re just so thankful that to be able to be back in and do this once more. It’s was really exciting. On the new album Welcome Back To The Brodeo, where did you get the inspiration for some of the lyrical content? We kind of touch on it during those eight years when we didn’t release anything, I mean that was really almost a decade. So a lot of things happened in life, and a lot of our lyrics were just 14
based out of things that we were experiencing going from being 19 year olds in the last CD to being adults who were 26-27. So a lot of things definitely changed. We wanted to kind of incorporate that into the lyrics and everything. There’s Locked From Within that talks about stress and the real kind of mental toll that life can play on you sometimes. Until Next Time touches on how it is really important to have perseverance in a way. Life isn’t always going to be easy and there is lot of inherent sufferings, so you have to keep going on. A lot of our lyrics are blatantly explaining that and kind of going through a process of how we felt experiencing that and working through that. When you look back on Lost in Existence and give it a good listen, what do you think of it now? We were so surprised and proud of how it actually turned out. At the time when it released, we were so already accustomed to hearing it and playing it and everything. After taking a long break from it and not really going over that material, - and then rediscovering it and re-going over it again for our live show, it was kind of like “Wow!” We did do a lot of stuff that was kind of unexpected for us as musicians that managed to come out in that CD. So we’re really definitely happy with it and so thankful for the reception it has had all these years later. Do you’ve any messages for Scarlett O’Hara fans who are looking forward to seeing you out here on the west coast. Yeah, just make it out. It’s going to be a hell of a show! We got Sleep Walker and Somewhere to Call Home, two awesome bands. They’re bringing the real, real heavy -- and we’re bringing that metalcore. Our show is really intense - it’s a lot of fun. It’s not something you’re going to want to miss. So like Don’t Be That Guy, that’s why we say it in our song!.Show up to the show! It’s going to be cool. You all need to see what the Brodeo’s all about. It’s its own experience, it’s something that only South Texas metalcore can bring. We will bring that groove, that Brodeo feel to it. We‘re trying to pay homage to our metal forefathers Pantera, all the groovy guys - Brujeria! We’re ready for it, so come on out! It’s going to be a really fun show.
https://scarlettoharaband.com/ Nov/Dec 2019
The Time Of Your Life
Interview by Ken Morton Photo by Max Bello
Wildstreet is a hard rocking band from New York City ready to give you the time of your life with their infectiously raging tunes! They’ve opened for the likes of Avenged Sevenfold and Black Veil Brides, and have even made their way west for a memorable show at the iconic Whisky A Go Go on the Sunset Strip. Highwire Daze caught up with Wildstreet’s charismatic front man Eric Jayk to find out more about this dynamic collective ready to rock your world in an epic way! Read on... What is the New York City music scene like when it comes to rock and roll? And how does Wildstreet fit into the scheme of things in New York City? Yeah, it is New York City. It is one of the biggest cities in the world. There are a ton of bands and a ton of music. I say that how Wildstreet has been standing apart - we are like a subculture - the type of rock music that we play - and we have a whole crowd that follows us. We just rock. Let’s talk about Tennessee Cocaine, the new single. What inspired the lyrics for that? Well, okay. So yeah, Tennessee Cocaine it is really just about having the best night of your life and living your life to the fullest. Live for today and be the biggest rock star, and the best party-- because you got one life, really. And enjoy every minute of it. Select any other current Wildstreet song and what inspired the lyrics for you? Our fan favorite is Poison Kiss. And that song is a story song about a vampire giving his love interest one last chance before he can make her into a vampire to get out of being a vampire. Getting one last chance just to stay as a human and not being a vampire. How close is Wildstreet to recording a brand new EP or full length? Well we have finished Wildstreet III which took us -- honestly, it took us 10 years. So it is a full length record and we are 16
releasing it one single at a time. And then at the end, we will put it all together and release the whole thing. I guess it is like being the new way that people are doing it and it seems to make sense because that way we can keep attention on the band through the next year. And in the meantime, we’ll on tour and really build our fan base back to where it was before hiatus. What could one expect from a live Wildstreet show? The best show they have ever seen. If you come to a live show, you will undoubtedly get rocked.
How did your show at the Whisky A Go-Go go and what were some of the highlights? The Whisky A Go-Go was an awesome show. And this time we got to play with this band Salems Lott from Los Angeles as well, which was really cool because they are a cool band. And everybody should check them out, too. It was a good time. And we have not played there since our first tour. It was way overdue that we went back there. So basically, it was a great thing and I cannot wait until we play there again. If there was any more chances of shows here in Southern California? We are planning on coming back in January. And I will definitely keep you posted. There are going to be a lot of shows and a lot of touring for us over the next year. So just keep checking our social networks and stuff and our pages, and you will find out where we are when we are. Wildstreet is: Eric Jayk - Vocals, Guitar Jimmie Marlowe - Guitar, Vocals Jonny D - Bass, Vocals Dom - Lead Guitar, Vocals Lock - Drums, Vocals
www.facebook.com/wildstreetnyc/ www.instagram.com/Wildstreetofficial/ Nov/Dec 2019
I AM TOOTHGRINDER
being yourself and being a nice person and you do not want to be too pushy. I am insanely grateful for the opportunity to get to play those drums. I did not expect an endorsement. It was like an honor to get one.
Interview by Ken Morton Photo by Jack Lue
Toothgrinder made their way into the City Of Angeles, on tour in support of All That Remains and Lacuna Coil at The Regent Theater. Unleashing a dynamic set of inspiring tunes including selections from their recently issued I Am... magnum opus, there is no doubt that Toothgrinder made a whole lot of new fans and friends within the wilds of Downtown L.A. Just right after their set, Highwire Daze caught up with drummer Wills Weller to find out a whole lot more about the exhilarating Toothgrinder experience. Read on... How is this tour with Lacuna Coil and All That Remains been going and have been some of the highlights for you? It has been phenomenal. This is our second time actually touring with All That Remains, first time with Lacuna Coil, Bad Omen, and Uncured. The bands first off are amazing. It is so much fun to play with all the bands. I think my favorite show was probably just the New York show, because we were home. It was the first show of tour. It was just really exciting, but tonight in Los Angeles, that was pretty incredible. We had our management out. We had a couple of guys from Tama here. I play Tama drums. Our management 5B was here and it was just really fun. It’s cool to be on the west coast and feel like you are at home with like family. It’s just incredible. It was a really great night. How did you wind up getting an endorsement deal with Tama? So a couple of my friends are endorsed by Tama, my friend Anoop and my friend Rudy. I mean they are both incredible drummers. Rudy is actually filling in for Whitechapel at the moment and Anoop was playing with a couple of other bands I went on tour with too and they had Tama drums. And I remember hearing them live and just being like, “Oh my God, those are just beautiful!” Played them a couple times and then like, “Can you please introduce me to them?” Like, “Please, please” and they are like, “Of course, of course”, and Sam, the Tama rep was just like, “Dude, I got you.” So literally, the drum kit got sent to a venue. I remember it was 2015, we played a show at Baltimore Soundstage. I will never forget it. The drum kit was there, ready to go. I unboxed it. I set it up and I never looked back ever. What advice would you give a drummer seeking an endorsement deal? You have to be yourself. The YouTube thing is great. The Instagram thing is great, but anyone can kind of play in their bedroom or their basement. It is kind of an important thing to play live and to be in a band and to create music and to really find your own voice. I think that really helps to get people to notice you. Just 18
Let us talk about the new album I Am... So our new album is entitled I Am.... And I’m just excited! Our singer Justin has a lot of really great messages. It is very positive. It is very uplifting. It is very “We’re all in this together.” If you ever need help, if you ever need anything, you can always reach out to us - because we as people have been through some things and we’d just like to let everyone know that we are here for everybody, no matter what is going on in your life, everyone is here for each other. It is interesting. Sometimes in the metal community, that is not really talked about, but we kind of want to change things up, and then let people know that this is a group thing. This is a big old family and we need to treat it like that. We need to respect one another. And so a lot of the messages on I Am... are very much in that vein, which is really exciting. What is I Am...? What does that mean to you in particular? It is a mantra. It is a mantra that you can say and think about. There is a dotted line after I Am.... You can put anything there. I am proud. I am afraid. I am sad. I am happy. I mean gosh, I could go on all day. I think someone has to find what it means to them, and they need to relate however they need to relate. It is an open ended kind of thing. And it is just a mantra that you can practice and repeat and really build confidence for yourself hopefully. What can we expect from a live Toothgrinder show if they missed it today? Just intense fun. Loud, craziness, just excitement. A lot of intensity. I feel like we try and bring that as much as possible and I think the band name kind of says it all. And if the music of Toothgrinder was a donut, what kind would it be and why? I think it would probably be like a Boston cream, but it would have some sort of sprinkles or like crunchies on top, because you would be like, “Oh cool, what kind of donut is that? That looks good.” You bite into it, there would be some other stuff going on. There is piece of crazy like different textures and there be different layers to it, and it would just be a really exciting donut and hopefully it would sell out before like 12 o’clock, if the donut shop opened early.
www.toothgrinder.com/ www.tama.com/usa/ Nov/Dec 2019
All India Radio’s
Soundtrack to a Hopeful Future
Interview by Bret Miller Photo by Martin Kennedy
Martin Kennedy is All India Radio. From his studio in Hobart, Tasmania, off the Southeast corner of Australia, he crafts music that delights and inspires, and has collaborated with The Church’s Steve Kilbey for many years. Kennedy’s music gives hope to a positive future, his sounds are like a big hug of Trip-hop drums, spoken word samples, spacey textures and guitar. From the bands I’ve enjoyed through the years, All India Radio ventures right into territory I’m familiar with, blending up a unique mixture of much that I love in music. I’m listening to your music and picking up a few qeues in Pink Floyd and Portishead along with some light loungey stuff but also early 70’s soul music. Who are some key players in the development of the All India Radio sound? What parts of you do they reach in their sound and artistry as musicians/bands? I guess it has to start with Pink Floyd as they were my musical ‘first love’. I’d hear my older brothers playing Dark Side of the Moon in the mid seventies and I was entranced by this strange and intense music. Later as I grew up I dipped my toes into UK underground like Joy Division, New Order, Echo & The Bunnymen, Cocteau Twins and ambient music by Brian Eno, Harold Budd, Michael Brook, and finally into the 1990s and 2000s where my musical tastes became far less focused but also where I got most of the direct inspiration for All India Radio. Artists like KLF, DJ Shadow, Bill Laswell’s less dubby excursions, Portishead, Flying Saucer Attack… I could go on. Is there a concept behind The Eternal or an overarching theme or sound in the songs? I’ve played The Shining Darkness on my show and I just love the rhythm section and keyboards. Very bluesy and soulful. There’s no formal theme to the album, but it was deliberately recorded quickly and I made a conscious effort to try new things - different guitar and keyboard sounds, and I opened it up to collaborations, more than I have in the past. For exam20
ple the drums on The Shining Darkness (and also The Edge of Infinity) are by New York based @g.lampa, a 30 year veteran of b-boy NYC sample-based hip hop, and someone not afraid to mix it up with disparate styles. What instruments do you play on your albums and how do you think you’ve improved over your career? What is your favorite instrument to play and why? What is the make, pedals, etc? My main instrument is guitar, although there’s actually not a lot of it on this album. I play most of the keyboards, synths and ambient sounds. Apart from @g.lampa on drums, contributors include Josh Roydhouse on piano, and a beautiful santoor part by UK based Cyrus Ashrafi. I guess guitar is my favourite instrument to play, as it’s the only one I know how to (semi-properly!). I’m not technically minded but my guitar at the moment is a Squire Telecaster slimline thingy (told you I’m not technical) and my amp is a small German made Stark valve amplifier. My pedal lineup changes ridiculously Nov/Dex 2019
often. Along with my trusty Boss Tremelo pedal, my longest surviving pedal, I used a GFI System Specular Reverb, a Sky 5000 reverb by Alexander and not much else. What are some of the key points in your career? I’m guessing you weren’t always All India Radio. Maybe you played keytar for a mid-80’s proggy pop band? Ha! I have my eye on a keytar at the moment. But it would be purely for looks! My first band was with school friends in the early 80s. Slightly more serious was Pray TV which started out in the late 80s as a Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr influenced thing. We had five seconds of fame when we were caught up in the post-Nirvana Nevermind major label signing spree. It didn’t work out of course. Out of that came All India Radio which was a kind of reaction against the previous ten years in an indie rock band with labels and managers telling us we should be like Nirvana or whoever else was hot at the time. Your music is also very soundtrack-y. Were there movies or their soundtracks that influenced your sound? What are some perfect matches of video and audio from movies that you like? I can hear Vangelis’ synthesizers as a police car rises into the smog of a future Los Angeles, Simple Minds at the end of Breakfast Club as Judd Nelson raises his fist or dissonant vocals and weird orchestral sounds accompany the stranger moments of 2001, all of John Carpenter’s scores. Yes, all of the above. Bladerunner is a great example of soundtrack working perfectly with the visuals. Jerry Goldsmith’s score for Alien is also another. It’s discordant, brooding and dark and not at all bombastic like so many scifi soundtracks. Your music has appeared on a few TV shows and movies? What are some of them and how do you think the song and show/scene worked together? Which was your favorite? The first big one was One Tree Hill in 2004. The song Evening Star was used during the final scene of the season finale, a relationship breakup scene and although I would never had imagined it working on paper, it worked surprisingly well. A few years later CSI: Miami used our track Four Three in roller derby scene. It was a weird scene, and a weird choice of music but it worked! In general my music has been used in scenes of high emotion or trauma. In Aussie series Bondi Rescue they kept using the music in death scenes! My favourite is indie movie The Rare Earth. They mostly used my existing music plus some I composed specifically for it. All credit to the director who placed the music perfectly. The movie is actually mostly music and visuals, with very little dialogue. You’ve worked with some great vocalists. Can you tell us about a few of them and the songs they sang on? I’ve mostly worked with Leona Gray and Selena Cross. Both are amazing singers. Leona joined the band for a HIGHWIRE DAZE
number of years while we went through our vocals phase. We released the album Fall on Minty Fresh records in 2008, and an EP a few years ago. Selena sang on our song Four Three which is as close to a hit as we’ll ever get. Selena also was a hugely significant part of my album with Steve Kilbey Glow and Fade. You’ve collaborated with Steve Kilbey several times. Talk about a great vocalist and artist. What is the dynamic like with Kilbey and why do you think you’ve worked together so often? How is the Kilbey/Kennedy thing different or the same as your solo work and what part of your personality does it satisfy? It’s really easy working with Steve. At least it is for me. It was never a set rule, but we each have a role and we don’t butt heads about it. He writes the lyrics and sings, I write the music. That’s it. Seems to work as it has sustained us over ten years and eight albums. I really enjoy the project with Steve as it allows me to dip back into my indie rock roots. It’s a project that can go anywhere stylistically and still seems to work. You’ve done a few covers. What is your favorite and why and who else would you like to cover and how would you make it yours? I have an uncomfortable relationship with covers, mainly because I have to sing and I hate the sound of my own voice. That said, the latest one - a cover of Pink Floyd’s Julia Dream isn’t too bad! I’d like to do more, but I’m bursting with original material I need to get out first. You’re in Tasmania, an island I know nothing about except for the two animals with Tasmania in their names. I found out it is the deepest seaport in the South Pacific. What are the ports like near Hobart and what is the historical importance of the area for Australia and nearby islands and countries? What else is Tasmania known for besides your music and a cartoon character and extinct animals? Ah yes the famous Warner Brothers Tasmanian Devil. I love that character. They are noisey little things it’s true. At the port here in Hobart you can find little row boats, 100+ year old tall ships and working fishing boats all berthed alongside ocean liners, billionaire yachts and world class racing yachts. There’s a lot of colonial and convict history here, the remains of which are top tourist attractions, but look deeper under the surface and you will find a rich 40,000+ year old Aboriginal culture the colonials did their best to eradicate (but never quite did thankfully). There’s also a lot of distilling and beer brewing here. Let’s not forgot that important fact ;-)
Keyboardist Eric Ragno Shares His Memories of
Tony Mills from SHY and TNT
Interview by Ken Morton
Legendary vocalist Tony Mills passed away from cancer on September 18th at the age of 57. Best known for his participation in the iconic rock bands SHY and TNT, Tony Mills also had an illustrious solo career, his final album Beyond The Law being released earlier this year. Working with Tony Mills on his solo project was keyboardist Eric Ragno (London, Graham Bonnet, The Babys, The Gary Moon Band, Wheel In The Sky - A Tribute To Journey), debuting with their own epically underrated collaboration of China Blue in 2008. In this exclusive interview with Highwire Daze, Eric Ragno discusses his memories of Tony Mills and the amazing sonic art they would create together over the last ten years. How did you initially meet Tony Mills and what were your first impressions of him? Wow, this takes me back….Tony came to us through Andrew McNiece of Melodicrock.com. I had an album’s worth of demos, and needed someone to give voice to my story. Tony was always looking to work with new artists, and liked my work. I’m ashamed to say I wasn’t familiar with Tony, so I picked up the albums he had done with SHY. I LOVED Skydiving. His mastery of melody and harmony really moved me. It was so obvious that he was the guy. His performances raised the bar on the album, and gave us instant credibility. When you look back on your work on the China Blue album in 2008, what do you think of it now? Half of the songs were written growing up in Jersey with my pal Tom Gasbarro. Tony had different ideas regarding the lyrics and some vocal melodies, but the musical ideas remained. China Blue was my first attempt at putting together my own album, warts and all. I love the album, although I wish it had today’s production. After leaving Takara (with Jeff Scott Soto), I needed to make my own statement. Tony gave voice to it, and I will forever cherish him for that. Vital Designs arrived the same year as China Blue. What was the difference between the two albums and the dynamic of doing a Tony Mills album and a China Blue album? I put together the music for the China Blue album, and presented it to Tony to do as he saw fit. Tony did the same with me for Vital Designs. Our mutual trust allowed us to let the other run wild on each other’s albums! I contributed a dark ballad, God Called My Name. He forgot to include my songwriting credit, which became a recurring theme in our partnership. But I loved the guy so much, I didn’t really care. Vital Designs was actually the name of Tony’s favorite tattoo shop. Tony name-checked his favorite tattoo artist in the title track, who then did all of his tattoos for free. 22
In between the solo albums, Tony Mills did two albums for TNT, Atlantis and A Farewell To Arms and there were a few SHY recordings as well. Were you involved with those albums and what do you think of them in retrospect? Actually, he recorded The New Territory first – there were three albums with TNT. We were very excited for him, but it delayed China Blue dramatically. I was not involved with the TNT albums; although Tony mentioned a few times that he wished I was! Tony lamented that the first two albums weren’t more melodic – (guitarist) Ronni Le Tekrø had his own vision. A Farewell to Arms came closest to that vintage TNT sound, but by then everyone had enough. Tony hated the Norwegian winters, and being away from his young daughter in England. It’s ironic that after leaving TNT, he would move there! But the situation allowed him to provide for his family. In 2015, you returned to work with Tony Mills on Over My Dead Body. What was the reunion like and what do you remember the most about that album? It was a concept album. In 2010, Tony had a serious heart attack in Oslo airport on his way home from a TNT show. He would have died if 200 airport video monitors hadn’t captured it, and if there wasn’t top medical personnel on the scene. If he boarded the plane ten minutes later, that would have been it. I was terrified for my friend, and we didn’t know if he would pull through. Over My Dead Body reflects his experiences of the event. It’s wild. Tony was lucky to be alive, and he knew he was living on borrowed time. He reached out as soon as he came home from the hospital, and we got to work. The album was mixed by the legendary Neil Kernon. Nov/Dec 2019
Streets Of Chance came out in 2017 and also featured Joel Hoekstra from Whitesnake on the album. What are you memories of doing that particular album with Tony? At this point, Tony was relying heavily on outside producers to write and assemble his albums. This process put some distance between us, which was disappointing. But he asked me to pitch in, so I played keys and wrote two songs for the album including the lead track, Battleground, with Paul Sabu. The album did really well. Tony Mills final solo album was Beyond The Law in 2019. Were you involved with this album at all or have you heard it? You’ve been super busy with your many other projects during 2018-2019... I didn’t hear about the album until it was near completion. He assumed I was too busy – I do work a lot – but our chemistry wasn’t the same. If we could have worked like we used to, I would have gladly done it. I really missed hashing out ideas with him in person or on Skype. Were you involved with any other projects with Tony Mills? Tony would often ask me to punch up the songwriting for certain projects on the side. I was always happy to help out. God, the man could sing. He had me work on a song for the annual Eurovision songwriting contest. I would love to see it get released. Josh Ramos reached out to me when news arrived that Tony was sick. Josh & I were both travelling, and didn’t connect until after Tony’s passing. Tony finished a song on Josh’s new solo album, which comes out in May. I worked on two additional tracks, but sadly not the one with Tony. At least we appear on one last album together. Had you talked to Tony while he was battling cancer? We chatted a bit. One of our China Blue bandmates had reached out to him, and Tony had a lot of negative things to say about it. It was an uncomfortable conversation. I thought about addressing it with him, but you shouldn’t argue with someone in pain – especially someone struggling for their life. Tony told me he had a car accident last Christmas that agitated a hidden tumor in his body. The doctors blew off his symptoms until he was finally diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It broke my heart, and all I could do was listen. I knew right then that it would be our last conversation. For those of us who have never met him, what was Tony Mills like and what a cool memory you could share of him? Tony made me laugh! I loved that about him. He had a real fire for life. During my first trip to England, I stayed at his house for a few days. The China Blue album was nearly complete, and we were mapping the plan for Vital Designs. He made me sit and watch Black Adder, a British sitcom – he laughed so hard! I just didn’t get it. I remember him waking up early to prepare breakfast for his daughter before school. HIGHWIRE DAZE
She sat with her cereal, while he drank a glass of beer. I figured this must be how it’s done in England! Then he took me to a local pub in Birmingham - it’s a working class town that gave us Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Robert Plant. The pub reminded me a lot of the local Jersey bars I grew up around – this wasn’t some upscale TGI Fridays! Even with all his accomplishments, he was most comfortable in those same working class environments I grew up in. We would always have that in common. You have worked with so many artists over the years. What do you think has made your work with Tony Mills so memorable and lasting for so many years over so many albums? We had a deep respect for one another, both musically and professionally. We had the same ear for melody and harmony, and complimented each others’ styles. We drifted apart as our careers got busier. That’s a sad part of life that I’m trying hard to address. There’s a magic when you sit with someone and come up with a hook or a chorus. There’s a level of trust, and an excitement that the listener can hear. That’s what the best collaborations are made of. That’s what I loved about Tony.
www.facebook.com/Tony.Mills.Official/ www.facebook.com/eric.ragno/ 23
The Rapturous Visions of
Interview by Ken Morton
Hell’s Guardian from Italy present epic melodic death metal at its most visionary and profound. They’ve shared the stage with the likes of Trivium, Children Of Bodom, and Amorphis, and are more than ready to enrapture the metal masses of the entire world. As Above So Below is the name of the latest magnum opus from Hell’s Guardian, a thrilling masterwork that genre fans will want to revisit time and again. Highwire Daze recently caught up with guitarist and composer Freddie Formis to find out a whole lot more about the rapturous visions of Hell’s Guardian. Read on… Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Hell’s Guardian, and how long the band has been together. Hi Ken, I’m Freddie, I’m guitarist and composer in Hell’s Guardian. Our band is formed in 2009.
Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? We are all from Berzo Demo, a small town in mountains near Brescia in Italy. In Italy, big metal bands are well followed. For underground bands the prospectives are not so good, it is difficult to catch the interest even though there is potential. Is there any overall story or concept behind the album title As Above So Below. Yes, we are inspired by real facts about the emotional and psychological sphere, focused on those invisible but concrete worlds that are created within the mind in each of us. A continuous above and below between reality and unreality. Select two songs from As Above So Below and what inspired the lyrics. I choose the two songs that moved up the release of album. Blood Must Have Blood talks about a dark entity that live inside of us and it influences us to do evil. Crystal Door talks about a girl with mental illness, she is looked in a room so she made a fantasy world in her mind, and she doesn’t know more what is reality and what is fantasy. What could one expect from a live Hell’s Guardian show? We don’t think twice about using all our energy on stage and we have fun keeping the show exciting and entertaining the audience as much as possible. What was the experience like opening for Amorphis and Children Of Bodom, and did you get to meet or hang out with them at all? These experiences were amazing. They have helped the band to 24
grow up on stage. We only talked to Amorphis and to Children of Bodom briefly and took some photos, no more. We didn’t want bother them because we know they wanted their privacy and they wanted to stay focused on their job. How did your recent show with Trivium and While She Sleeps go and what were some of the highlights? The concert with Trivium and While She Sleeps in Live Club in Milan was an amazing experience. We loved seeing people enjoy our music and have fun with us. Unfortunately we didn’t meet Trivium, we have only talked with Corey. What’s up next for Hell’s Guardian? For now, we are trying to promote As Above So Below as much as possible on various social networks and on stage, obviously we prefer the stage. We think it is an album that deserves to be heard and we are very proud of it. Any final words of wisdom? We are guy with normal jobs, we started with nothing, we didn’t know anyone in music business, we went in pub playing our demo in search of live dates. Now we are glad to say that we have reach some goals and dreams that we had. Often people say to us that all money invested for music, all time spent in concerts and all passion that we put in band are worthless. Maybe we’ll never reach the success we want but we don’t care and we just do what we love and we try to do it well. Hell’s Guardian is: Cesare – Growl vocal and guitar, Freddie – Guitar, Claudio – Choirs and bass, Dylan – Drums
https://www.hellsguardian.com/ Nov/Dec 2019
The Explosive Post Hardcore Reveries of
Kill The Blonde Interview by Ken Morton Photo by Payton Manente
Meet Kill The Blonde, an massively talented trio ready to take on the nation with their explosive post hardcore reveries. With a dynamic new Self-Titled EP just unveiled, Kill The Blonde is destined to leave a lasting impression. The band appeared at Horror On The Hudson at The Chance Theater in Poughkeepsie, New York on October 27th, opening for the likes of Slaves, Oceana, and Everyone Dies In Utah. Highwire Daze recently caught up with Kill The Blonde’s charismatic vocalist Keanu Marcus to find out a whole lot more about this impassioned collective destined for the big leagues. Read on… Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Kill The Blonde, and how long the band has been together. My name is Keanu and I sing in Kill The Blonde. We have been a band for about a year now, if you want to get technical we’ve been a band for 2 years. We went under a different name known as “Faults Within” but within many complications, I felt it was best to re-brand as a whole new band and now here we are, stronger than ever! Where is the band based out of and what is your local music scene like there? We are based out a little town called Briarcliff Manor, NY. The scene here is pretty much non existent. Luckily I’ve had the pleasure of making friends around the Tri-State area to really expand my relationships with the scene. Is there any overall story or concept behind the lyrics to the single Want Me Dead? Want Me Dead is about the feeling of being trapped and finding no way out. The straightjacket is a symbol of being tied down and feeling stuck. “The more I think about the past, the more it starts to haunt me” sums up the song pretty well as it explains how someone’s past can literally haunt them and cause them anxiety. Select any other Kill The Blonde song from the EP and what inspired the lyrics. Well, we do have this one song entitled Victim In Disguise. The song is about becoming a victim without even knowing you are one. “Behind these eyes lies a victim in disguise.” 26
This song is heavy, dark, angry and so catchy. I cannot wait for everyone to hear it, it’s my personal favorite off the entire record! What could one expect from a live Kill The Blonde show? We like to have a lot of crowd interactions at our shows. Funny you say that, we are actually going to experiment with some really cool uniforms and make up. It sounds very cheesy, but I feel like this band has always had a dark image from the start and we all feel it’s time to invest our time in the looks we want to become. If your music was a donut, what kind would it be and why? Boston cream all day, everyday. It’s dark on the outside but on the inside it’s so soft and delicious.
What would you want someone to remember after hearing the music of Kill The Blonde for the very first time? I want as many people walking away from our shows like an experience. From the music, to the look, to the lyrics. We wanna write music for everyone and not be trapped in a “one genre” bubble. Any awkward meetings with people who come to your show who happen to be blonde? Actually funny you say that, a lot of our fans and family who come see us live always ask me if I have something against them. Haha, I love going along with it and having a connection with them from that chat. Any final words of wisdom? If you ever wanna do something in life whether it’s start a band or business, go for it. Kill The Blonde started with only me and one song, now it turned into something that I don’t regret forming no matter how hard it was. Kill The Blonde is: Keanu Marcus – Vocals/guitars LJ Potter – guitar Joel Sophia – Bass/ vocals
www.facebook.com/KillTheBlonde/ Nov/Dec 2019
L E XI IL YNNF RAZ I E R J ACKL UEPHOT OGRAPHY PRE SE NT E DBY
HI GHWI REDAZ EMAGAZ I NE
The Further Adventures of
Lexii Lynn Frazier
Interview by Ken Morton Photo by Jack Lue
Lexii Lynn Frazier is a very much in demand guitarist who continues to enrapture fans all around the world with her exhilarating performances. Now on tour with the one and only Pink Sweat$, Highwire Daze caught up with Ms. Frazier while on a radio tour halfway across the world in the Nordic countries. And here we have further adventures of Ms. Lexii Lynn Frazier, from Pink Sweat$, The NAMM Show, The Simon Cowell Connection, an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel, and beyond… In our last email, you stated you are touring the Nordic countries. What band are you touring with and how have the show been going? Yes! I was with Pink Sweat$ in Finland, Norway and Denmark for radio promo. It was so incredible. I always have the best time with the pink gang. The Nordic Countries are famous for being COLD!!! What are your impressions of this area of the world and is this your first time there? This was my first time being there and you’re definitely right. It was VERY cold, but I absolutely loved it. I was born in Lake Tahoe, CA, so I’m a total snow bunny. I couldn’t get enough of it. The cities were so clean I swore they sparkled and everyone felt so happy. Not to mention, literally every single person there is BEAUTIFUL...it actually wasn’t fair. Ha!! How did you become involved with Pink Sweat$? We had known mutual people in the industry and had worked around some of the same circles. I believe I was recommend30
ed by a couple of people we had both knew. What was the experience like performing with Pink Sweat$ on Jimmy Kimmel? Performing with Pink Sweat$ on Jimmy Kimmel was so much fun, just like any time we perform. I love doing live TV performances, though. The stage and our outfits were all coordinated. I had a blast. It turned out pretty cool. What does the Pink Sweat$ song Honesty mean to you and how much are you inspired by R&B? Pink’s song “Honesty”, to me, symbolizes breaking barriers. Whether it’s letting go and allowing yourself to fall in love with someone or literally breaking genre barriers within the music industry - the song is a guitar and vocal. No beats or crazy production - just a heartfelt conversation with a friend turned into a soulful melody meant to proudly be sang aloud. Personally, R&B is one of my all-time favorite genres of music and I listen to it daily. Some of my favorite artists include Al Green, Minnie Ripperton, Donnie Hathaway, Nov/Dec 2019
Sarah Vaughan and so many more I could go on forever. I think an important thing to remember is that some label the song, “Honesty” as R&B, but Pink Sweat$ is definitely more than just an R&B singer/writer and it’s very apparent by his discography. He is an incredible force and I’m so excited for what’s to come for him. The NAMM Show is upon is now. What are your favorite memories of The NAMM Show? My favorite memories of NAMM have been seeing my favorite companies and friends all in one room. By the end of the weekend, you’re so exhausted but it’s so fun. Who are your guitar endorsements and what do you like the most about this equipment? I am currently playing PRS Guitars. I have been a fan of them since I first started playing. Their guitars are so versatile and reliable, allowing any musician of any style to perform anywhere knowing they are getting the best of the best. What advice would you give a young guitar player seeking an endorsement deal? Make sure you are actually playing the equipment you are seeking support from and really believe in the company that is producing it. It’s important to be a team and show that you are behind them 100% whenever possible.
began focusing on myself because that was the only way I was going to survive it. I knew I wasn’t ready to go anywhere yet and needed to get better so that I could get back to playing music because that’s where my whole being truly lies. Although I did, I have not been cured 100% and still deal with symptoms of SAA from time to time. I have to be very conscious of my health and of those I surround myself with. In the end, I wouldn’t change a thing about what I have gone through because it has made me the person I am today and I’m proud of her. Any chance of a solo album? I 100% plan on putting out my own music someday in the future. What’s up in the New Year for Lexii Lynn Frazier? Much that you’ll have to wait and see about, but I can definitely say that I’m very excited! ;)
METAL BABE MAYHEM "Where Music And Fashion Meet"
What is the Simon Cowell connection with Lexii Lynn Frazier and did you get to meet him at all? Simon Cowell and Louis Tomlinson of One Direction had both signed me to my first record deal when I was 16 years old. I got to meet him and perform for him several times while I was on their label. He’s a cool dude! What other current projects are you involved with outside of Pink Sweat$? Alongside Pink Sweat$, I have been performing with Chloe x Halle, I Am King (The Michael Jackson Experience), The Game Awards and a few more. I have also been writing songs and learning to produce on my own in between. You had a health scare a few years ago and approached it absolutely heroically. When you look back on that time of your life, what was your mindset in overcoming Severe Aplastic Anemia? Thank you so much for the kind words!! At that particular time, my entire life had changed completely. My whole outlook on life had been flipped upside down. Suddenly different superficial and unimportant things didn’t matter so much to me anymore. I stopped sweating the small things and HIGHWIRE DAZE
LZZY HALE of HALESTORM at AFTERSHOCK 2019 Photo by Jack Lue
Aftershock 2019 Wraps Sold-Out Weekend With
97,500 In Attendance At Sacramento’s Discovery Park
Slipknot at Aftershock 2019 Photo by Jack Lue Aftershock wrapped the biggest weekend in the history of the California rock festival with 97,500 in attendance during the sold-out event, which expanded to three days for the first time, October 11-13 at Sacramento’s Discovery Park. The lineup featured some of the biggest noisemakers in music in 2019, including Tool, who performed their first show since releasing their chart-topping new album, Fear Inoculum, in August. Their Aftershock set included live debuts of the title track and Pneuma. Slipknot, also debuting atop the Billboard 200 album chart in recent weeks with We Are Not Your Kind, delivered their final show of 2019, while blink-182--touring in support of their new album Nine--made their Danny Wimmer Presents festival debut. Staind continued their reunion tour (which began at Louder Than Life last month) with a fan-favorite set, and Korn, Rob Zombie, Bring Me The Horizon, A Day To Remember, Marilyn Manson, Lamb of God, Halestorm, Dropkick Murphys, and BABYMETAL were among more than 50 bands that made Aftershock an unforgettable concert experience. In addition to the headliners, several buzzworthy up-and-coming bands across the rock spectrum were present during the weekend, with highlights including rousing sets from Mongolian folk metal troupe The Hu and Los Angeles based alterna-rockers Badflower. HIGHWIRE DAZE
Tickets are already on sale for Aftershock 2020, with Metallica headlining two nights at the ninth annual festival. Danny Wimmer Presents announced during a special press conference that the music icons will exclusively headline all five of the independent producer’s rock festivals in 2020 in a unique collaboration unprecedented for any American festival promoter or band, ending with Aftershock during the weekend of October 9-11. Metallica will deliver a unique set list for each performance. Danny Wimmer also announced that the company is donating $25,000 to Metallica’s All Within My Hands Foundation, as well as contributing 25 cents from every 2020 ticket sold through November 19th to the charitable organization. Aftershock is produced by Los Angeles-based Danny Wimmer Presents, one of the largest independent producers of destination music festivals in America. Additional DWP events include Bourbon & Beyond, Epicenter, Hometown Rising, Louder Than Life, Sonic Temple Art + Music Festival, and Welcome To Rockville.
For more information on Aftershock please visit: www.AftershockFestival.com For more Jack Lue pix from Aftershock visit Highwire Daze Online at highwiredaze.com 33
Marilyn Manson at Aftershock 2019 Photo by Jack Lue
EP Available NOW! “A five song testament to hard raging rock and the sounds of perseverance, SUZY is ready to captivate the masses with her melodic metal anthems for the ages. SUZY is a thrilling, expressive vocalist, bringing you into the pulsating metal heart of the matter.” - Ken Morton, Highwire Daze
For more info, check out: suzymusicofﬁcial.com
Desert Daze 2019 Lake Perris State Recreation Area - October 10-13, 2019
THE BEST SET EVER Review and Photo by Chris Vinan
When their set began, it was obvious that DEVO had begun in 1973. Their presence and presentation was so refined that it was impossible to not feel every nuanced thought they had in store for us. Having chiseled down their act into just gems gave us only the most valuable of experiences. The moment might have been rehearsed, but only serendipity and chance could create what came next. Working with their audience, DEVO created the best of the Desert Daze performances I had the privilege of experiencing. To ease us into their show, DEVO played a video titled, Something for Everybody. A video that, in another context, might be considered “too long.” The humor within it, however, haha’d us into an upheaval of anxious excitement. Galvanized and good-to-go, the crowd and red sun smiled as the band stepped onto the stage. Saturday night at Desert Daze began with Don’t Shoot (I’m A Man). The crowd stood stunned and stained by their various satirical visuals. Every thought had been blueprinted to leave an imprint. Impressed by the curation of their setlist, I stood back stunned and unable to photograph. It was as if I had lost my position at Highwire Daze and with it all of my civility. DEVO truly did devolve us all by the end of their encore. I turned back to see a sea of thousands of eyes glaring and staring at this sonic oasis in the desert. There was nothing else but this for us. Every song tethered us to one another. Together we regressed to our pure selves. No layers of civility or complex thought to remove us from the moment. That night, DEVO proved that they are more than their music. They are legendary living legacies we are lucky enough to have experienced as a culture. They know how to let humans be humans. To explain how epic their hour was I will use this one sentence: Whip It wasn’t what people remembered that night. It was their seventh song out of 15 and people popped repeatedly after.
year old woman. Never have I seen so many differences fall beneath an act and into the dust. The mosh pit was so intense that the cloud of desert dust rose into the rosy sky screaming for recognition. Wild yells turned unintelligible as pupils dilated in madness. From human to mongoloid at the whim of DEVO’s whip.
Their costume change left people afraid that they might not return, but they did and harder than they began. Ironically, they returned to a very satiated crowd with their hit, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction. I watched tears melt into puddles of smiles when Uncontrollable Urge turned into Mongoloid and when all present humans turned into beasts. Beasts guided by beats and pure power to react to all innate intrinsic impulses. Shining in silver, Mark Mothersbaugh rocked his head to the insanity of the crowd, whose brains banged warmly against their domes. By the time they played Mongoloid, centuries of civilization were swept away by the strumming of strings. I have never seen such a wild and diverse crowd. I watched a 59 year old man push a 19 year old kid into a 30
The difference from the on-stage to the in-the-dust became far too brutal. I left the sand storm for some water, but only because I had to continue living for the rest of DEVO’s set. I watched Josh Hager, the incredibly talented replacement for the incredibly talented Bob Casale, step back surprised at the present insanity. After the eruption, the soil settled for new growth. Once again, DEVO began to bring us into yet another climax. This time for Freedom of Choice and then again for their encore, which included the famous Booji Boy singing It’s A Beautiful World. And because of bands like DEVO, it truly is. Despite being in the desert, this was the Swiss Alps of sets. From peak to higher peak, I had no air left to yell for another encore. I regret not having a third lung.
Flying Lotus: Future of Performance Review and Photo by Chris Vinan
The swarm swamped in sweat despite the cold air that caressed their chests. I felt my body fall into the folds of my fatigue. After Dntel, Ween, The Temples, Parquet Courts, and DEVO, I was exhausted, but the night continued further into itself. There was no time for being tired because it was 11:20pm and five minutes away from Flying Lotus’ set on the main Moon Stage. The LA-Based artist had been the most anticipated performance all weekend. Every eavesdropped conversation included his name. Like flies, thousands flocked to his brilliant explosion of light. The night shone through a flashing sun that burned brighter than day. Stumped but stimulated, we reveled behind the red of our 3-D glasses. Never before have I stood before such immaculate innovation. Lotus’ set was definitely the explosion all attendees were looking for. Guiding us through complex compositions like Zodiac Shit and Never Catch Me became the night’s crescendo, his set ended with what seems like a new chapter in human expression. Flying Lotus looks past what we want to look at. “Mr. Lotus, may I have a minute?” I asked to ensue an amazing conversation with a visionary. After experiencing his set, I was fascinated and shocked at the way he stacked upon our regular layers of reality. Flying Lotus is an amplification of human perception. He and his team organized our attention to create an entirely immersive experience. If we think of art as the transfer of thought from creator to receiver, then Flying Lotus’ set might be the closest thing I’ve ever seen to purely perceiving an artist’s vision. By appealing to our eyes and ears, Flying Lotus signals the future of creativity. For decades, musicians have used visuals to compliment their music. Flying Lotus is the perfect example of how symbiotic synesthetic expression is evolving past the DJ/VJ setup. When I asked what inspired him to mediate music through visuals, he told me that there was never one moment of realization or inspiration that motivated him to channel music optically. “I’ve always thought of music visually. I’m a filmmaker first.” His words wrapped around me to squeeze out an “A-HA” moment. I now understood what music could evolve into. Through the incredible technological advancements of the past few decades, creatives can now communicate more in the present moment. Filmmaking used to be the most immersive medium by attending to two of our senses. Now, technologies, like the ones that Mr. Lotus lugs around in large trucks, are immediately delivering what film takes millions of dollars and dozens of days to develop. Mr. Lotus is certainly not the first to cater to so many senses so seamlessly. He does, however, seem to be pushing that fusion forward into the future. A genius behind a gentle smile, he told me that technology has to be frequently developed to execute his thoughts. “We are constantly working to develop more. There’s a lot of great stuff to come.” I, along with thousands, eagerly await the future. Mr. Lotus refused to elaborate on what was to come. The potential of influence at this man’s disposal is rightfully earned. Having been a starting force of Los Angeles’ Low-End Theory, Flying Lotus’ growth shares roots with innovators like Tyler the Creator, Gaslamp Killah, and DNTEL. They all belong to a group that is influencing all facets of contemporary art. These HIGHWIRE DAZE
influencers are young and if they are changing this much at this age, the maturation of their artistic journey will surely bring a new epoch in music. From cave paintings to floating three-dimensional visuals moving to the melody, we are in a new stage of immediate expression. Music is the most immediate medium and Flying Lotus is extending the boundaries of what can be done in the here and now. Musicians have to now think visually to exist in such a heavily mediated world. Artists like Crumb, have risen to fame from the fusion of great sound and solid visuals. Their most-watched video on YouTube, Locket, can be credited for their fame. It is therefore not surprising that Lila Ramani and Jonathan Gilad, two members of Crumb came to greet Flying Lotus post-set. (See photo above). After snapping a photo of the three, Flying Lotus said, “We have to talk later,” as if signaling a collaboration and continuing an extant correspondence. Seeing so many visionaries together should truly excite us about how experiencing music may change in the near future. Live performance is now an artist’s main source of revenue, so expect more attention and money to funnel into the here-and-now-experience. Who knows? Maybe bands like Crumb might bring astounding visuals outside of the EDM category to create an industry standard. Now, we expect to have our expectations blown. And they surely will be.
Additional coverage from DESERT DAZE by Chris Vinan now at Highwire Daze Online: http://www.highwiredaze.com 37
5th Annual BOWL FOR RONNIE Celebrity Bowling PINZ Bowling Center, Studio City, CA., November 7, 2019 Red Carpet Interviews by Ken Morton Wendy Dio, Chas West, Chuck Wright and Steven Adler Photos by Jack Lue Richie Kotzen and Ronny Munroe Photos by Tammy Greene of The Greene Room Susan Olsen Photo by William Greenberg of Will To Rock
The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund, founded in memory of the world-renowned voice of Black Sabbath and Heaven & Hell and Dio, hosted its 5th Annual BOWL FOR RONNIE Celebrity Bowling Party to raise awareness and funds for its mission of cancer prevention, early detection, research, and education. Here are a few. of the interviews Editor Ken conducted on the Red Carpet...
WENDY DIO Where did you come up with this wonderful idea to have Bowl For Ronnie? And did Ronnie bowl? Yes, in fact that’s why we came up with the idea. Because in the 80’s, T.J. Martel, which is a wonderful cause which we still support – they had a bowling tournament and Ronnie won. We have an award for that. So we figured that it was something we could continue on with. So how was Ronnie’s bowling game compared to your bowling game? Oh, I can’t bowl. (Laughs) No, no, no – I organize – I don’t bowl. How does it make you feel that all these people showed up to participate in Bowl For Ronnie? All the lanes are sold out and there’s people everywhere! Amazing! Just overwhelmed! Overwhelmed by how much support we get from the music business. These people come and give us their time and talent – like Dave Grohl, Geezer Butler, Steven Adler – all these people are so amazing and giving of their time. And what’s up next for you? Ride For Ronnie will be coming up next year… Ride For Ronnie, and then we’ll have a gala for his 10th Anniversary passing in February as well. Thank you Wendy for all that you do in the fight against cancer. Thank you for your support!
Info: www.diocancerfund.org/ 38
SUSAN OLSEN of
THE BRADY BUNCH Hey Susan! What are you doing here at the Bowl For Ronnie Festival? I don’t know. I got asked, because the PR people for John 5 who is a friend of mine – we became friends in a strange little way. His PR person and I just clicked, and she said “Hey, you wanna come to this?” And I said “Sure!” A year ago I lost my manager to cancer, and I’ve lost my dad – there’s been a lot of people. Everybody’s been touched by it. Are you a secret heavy metal fan? You know – okay, I have heavy metal friends – and the thing that they hate about me that I have to be quiet about, is that I am a grunge girl. But you know, they cross over here and there. I like my music pretty hard. Do you have a favorite Ronnie James Dio memory? Well, I would just like to know what a Holy Diver is. And I would like to paint it. And what’s up next for you? I’m probably writing a book – a memoir. And my son (Mike Skelly) is becoming a rock star as we speak! He’s in two bands and he just did a music video today. He plays bass. I’m very proud. What kind of music does he play? He really crosses genres. He started out in a thrash metal band. He plays in a pretty hardcore band and then he’s also in a pop band – a backing band for an artist named Scooter Page. So now you’re metal mom? I’m band mom! I gave up on my dreams to be Jimmy Page, and now I want to Patricia Page. Because Jimmy’s mom used to make tea for the boys…
of WEST BOUND and RESURRECTION KINGS
What are you looking forward to the most about Bowl For Ronnie tonight and how’s your bowling game? My bowling’s not that great. That’s not my forte. But I loved Ronnie – he was a mentor to me and gave me a lot of advice when I toured with Bonham and we were out with Dio back in the late 90’s. He made a lasting impression on me and it’s something Nov/Dec 2019
I’ll never forget. He meant a lot to me. He was not only an amazing artist – he was an incredible human being. What is your favorite Ronnie James Dio memory? The first time I met him was in South America, and we were the opening band. It was the Jason Bonham Band, Dio, Bruce Dickinson and Scorpions. As a matter of fact, my producer and co-writer Roy Z (of West Bound) was playing with Bruce Dickinson at the time – so that’s how we met. So (Ronnie) found out that I lived in LA and I knew some of the band members – I knew Vinnie and Jeff Pilson. And the tour manager said “Hey man, Ronnie wants to meet you” and I said “Really?” He goes “so are you going to hang out for the show?” and I go “Of course!” So after the show, we went back and had a bottle of vodka and tonic water. We sat down and he spent the next two hours with me. And he gave me advice – he told me what to do – he complimented me and said “that’s the reason you’re here is because I heard you and I was like who’s that kid singing with Bonzo’s kid?” And they were like “some guy named Chas – he lives in LA.” And he goes “He lives in LA? I want to meet him!” And that’s what happened. And it meant a lot to me – as an unknown kid it was my first time out and I was like a kid in a candy store. What’s going on with West Bound? We did two East Coast tours this summer and we’re going back out again in March. We’re going to do The Viper Room on November 24th and then we’re going to do Vegas at the beginning of December.
RONNY MUNROE of ONE MACHINE and BETWEEN WORLDS
For vocal ID purposes, introduce yourself and tell me what bands you are in. My name is Ronny Munroe – formerly of Metal Church and TSO – I’m now with One Machine and Between Worlds. What are you looking forward to the most tonight about Bowl For Ronnie? To help try to find a cure for cancer. My wife unfortunately recently passed away of ovarian cancer, so when they asked me to be here, I was honored. Anything I could do to help find a cure. I’m proud and happy to be here. And so is she. What is your favorite Ronnie James Dio memory? I met Ronnie twice, and he was just a genuine humble guy - being my idol. I was a drummer first. I heard Man On A Silver Mountain and that’s what spurred me on to want to be a vocalist. I met him in Europe the first time and I told him that – he hugged me and told me I was great too. He was just a nice man – and one of the greatest voices – if not the greatest voice in rock and roll history in my opinion. And what’s up next for you? I just joined up with One Machine. And I’ve got a solo band HIGHWIRE DAZE
which is called Between Worlds, so I’ve been working on material for that. I’ve been out of the scene for a while cuz I was taking care of my wife. So now I’m back – and back with a vengeance – and ready to get back out there and do what I love to do best. And one Metal Church question. Your final album with the band was called Generation Nothing. What does that term mean to you? There’s actually quite a bit of negative connatations on that record. We were trying to say something about the upcoming generation and the generation now – and Kurdt really had his own message. And I just went out there and tried to sing the best I could and convey that message for the band.
CHUCK WRIGHT of
QUIET RIOT What are you looking forward to the most about Bowl For Ronnie and how’s your bowling game? I used to bowl since I was 11 and I’ve been on leagues, I carried a 186 average and my high game is 275 and I rolled that right here at these lanes with the late Pat Torpey – Mr Big drummer. We were just out and excited about bowling. 275 here – nine strikes with a house ball. I love bowling – it’s the only sport that comes with a waitress. And I’m here to support the cause. Obviously I’m dealing with a personal situation with Frankie (Banali) having cancer and fighting it in my band Quiet Riot. What was it like having Frankie back for that special show at The Whisky? It was amazing and he’s stronger than ever. We did two shows a few months ago right when he was into it and started chemo and all that. He’s trying different treatments and he’s getting stronger. He played great and he’s going to do the next two shows with us. We’ve been playing together since 1981, so we have a connection that’s – I can’t even explain… Jizzy Pearl is back in the band. What’s that been like? It’s awesome! We did a huge show – unrehearsed – and he just walked up there and it was like no time had passed at all. It was awesome! And you have a new album coming out with Quiet Riot. Yes it was just released today. Hollywood Cowboys! We have a new video out too and that’s why I have hair on my face now – cuz I grew it for the video – it’s a spaghetti Western – and everybody tells me I die really good in it! So everybody go watch the video – it’s called In The Blood. And what’s up next for you? I’m doing Ultimate Jam Night every Tuesday at the Whisky A Go Go – we’re going on our fifth year. And I’ve got my local thing Acoustic Saints that I love doing too. And we’ve got more Quiet Riot shows. That’s it – keeps me busy… 39
RICHIE KOTZEN What are you looking forward to the most tonight about Bowl For Ronnie and how is your bowling game? My bowling game is pretty bad. And last year, our team came in second place – we would have been first place had I not ruined it. So I’m going to be a much better, more efficient bowler tonight. Mark my words! I’m so ready! What is your favorite Ronnie James Dio memory? My favorite Ronnie James Dio song is Rainbow In The Dark first of all. And one of my memories has to do with the singer of my first band who sadly died of cancer at 50 years old. She was an amazing singer. Her name was Alissa Anderson and she could do Aretha Franklin and then turn around and do Ronnie James Dio. In my cover band when I was a teenager, we used to do Rainbow In The Dark and Last In Line, and she nailed Dio like you thought it was Dio singing it. That’s always in my head when I think of Ronnie Dio.
So what’s up next for you? I just finished recording a new record. I have a new Richie Kotzen record releasing February 3rd, 2020 – which is my 50th birthday coincidentally. And the record is called 50 For 50. It’s 50 new songs that no one has ever heard – they’re not B-sides – it’s not re-records or covers – it’s 50 original songs. It’s a three-disc set that I’m releasing on my 50th birthday. And it’s finished! I did it!
STEVEN ADLER What are you looking forward to the most about Bowl For Ronnie and how is your bowling game? Dude, I’m looking forward to bowling with Dave Grohl! That’s awesome. (And my bowling game) is in the early 100’s. (Laughs) What’s your favorite memory of Ronnie James Dio? Stand Up And Shout mutha fukkas! Everything! And what’s going on with your band? We just got off the KISS Cruise – had a great time – and that’s really it. Just playing around and having a good time. The real Steven Adler on Instagram! And that’s it…
ALBUM REVIEWS The Wolves making you want to raise your fist and beer glass high in the air and howl out as loud as you can! Then it’s time for some truly Sinister Thoughts, courtesy of Germany’s own Dawn Ahead – and what a thrashing death metal assault to the cranium this combustible gem is! Nachtmahr is splendidly unveiled by the symphonic black metal brigade known as Wolves Den – fans of Dimmu Borgir and Old Man’s Child absolutely must check into this wickedly sensational pack whose artistic madness is wondrously devastating. Diethanasia by USA’s own Aftermath channels thrash metal giants such as Megadeth and Anthrax, while placing their own vibrantly diabolical spin on the proceedings. Then it back to the European continent for the darkly intensive death metal refrains of Onborg, who relentlessly take the listener Within The Depths Of Oblivion – and what an exhilarating sonic journey this one is! Hollowed from Frankfurt, Germany slash and burn with the anthem-like death metal reverberations of Sick Society – you will be singing along to the chorus “How will I survive in a Sick Society” with fiendish glee long after this track spins to an it’s frenzied end.
VII - RESPECT THE STEEL Various Metal (METALMESSAGE) Review by Ken Morton METALMESSAGE is a publicity company based out of Germany ran by the master publicist Markus Eck, a gentleman whose passion and conviction for heavy metal is world renowned. It is always exciting the find out which bands the omnipresent Eck is working with. In addition to his promotional endeavors, Eck and METALMESSAGE has unleashed compilation albums every now and then – and the latest Chapter entitled VII - Respect The Steel features some of the finest discoveries for all around the world. VII – Respect The Steel kicks off with the stunning Pagan Metal refrains of Down The White Waters by Ash Of Ashes from Germany – a truly mystical commencement that will absolutely mesmerize the senses. Hell’s Guardian from Italy is an explosive melodic death metal collective, whose contribution Blood Must Have Blood will capture the imagination – this band is headed straight into the big leagues, and this one song will make you want to check into their thrilling As Above So Below full length. Invictus from Germany is kickass power metal with their song Burst The Curse showing just how diverse and magnetic their thunderous battle cries are. Reverend Hound from Germany then arrive to preach the gospel of heavy metal right in your freaking face, with War Of HIGHWIRE DAZE
Misanthropia triumphantly burst onto the Respect The Steel compilation with Mirror, a pulsating reverie that makes you want to take on the world at large. Atrium Noctis present Leviathan, weaving their own imaginative musicianship into their symphonic black metal magnum opus supreme – complete with chilling growls and a female operatic co-vocal rendering this one a compilation standout. The mighty Hangatyr from Germany contribute Blick aus Eis to the proceedings, once again demonstrating why they are truly one of the most epically underrated black metal bands on this planet! And then closing out the Respect The Steel heavy metal experience is The Death Of A Warrior by Forge of Switzerland, an absolutely epic grand finale, whose grim and wondrous reprieves will leave a lingering impressions on all heavy metal aficionados! VII – Respect The Steel from METALMESSAGE is a truly adventurous collection of metal artistry whose curator’s passion for the genre is nothing short of legendary. Cover artistry is brilliantly rendered by the one and only Serbian illustrator Dusan Markovic! Congrats to Markus Eck on this very amazing compilation, which you too may download for FREE at Bandcamp! And remember as Master Eck always says: METAL IS THE MESSAGE… AND THE MESSAGE IS LOUD!!!
Spiritual Instinct Alcest Nuclear Blast Records Review by Bret Miller The French duo moved away from their Metal roots over a decade ago, dropping most of the metalisms in favor of an uplifting, lighter sound. Over several albums they’ve added a bit of that metal element into a few songs. On their latest album Spiritual Instinct, Neige and Winterhalter lay more into the aggressive sounds of distorted guitars and harder hitting percussion. Neige has said that the sounds of Black Metal are better suited to express the darkness he feels inside. Catharsis is experienced over the course of Spiritual Instinct’s six tracks. First track Les Jardins De Minuit begins with portenteous bass and toms, squealing guitars enter the mix and the duo presents a Black Metal masterpiece. Neige both sings and screams and plays a short but memorable guitar melody. Yes even the bleakest sounds can be uplifting. Protection isn’t as harsh yet is still full of energy. While Alcest aren’t flashy, they do have much to express within their songs and Protection should be a fan favorite. Sapphire is the most straightforward rocker on the album. L’Ile Des Morts showcases Winterhalter’s skill with different tempos and styles and Neige’s guitars have some nice tension and treatments. The title track closes the album and is like if gospel mixed with metal, Neiges’s airy vocals combined with the epic metal arrangements provide much inspiration and joy. While I don’t understand the French lyrics, I do feel the passion and beauty in the voice. You likely won’t be head-banging to the slower pace, but the song does have that fist-in-the air epic vibe, especially during the second half. Alcest’s Spiritual Instinct is a rare album: hard and heavy yet balanced by tenderness and beauty. It may be too metal for the shoegazers and too light for the metalheads, yet if you’re into both, you’ll love what the duo has created. Info: www.alcest-music.com/
Angel City Rockers Angel City Rockers Self-released Review by Ken Morton After making a name for themselves as 10 To Midnite within the wilds of the Sunset Strip, front man Tommy Delaney has returned with the almighty Angel City Rockers. One of the most underrated hard rock vocalists proven time and again at live shows, Tommy Delaney is ready to breakthrough with the Angel City Rockers and take it all into the stratosphere! Their Self-Titled debut features eight raging tracks that will surely reverberate throughout your senses and leave you craving a whole lot more hard rocking goodness. Angel City Rockers kick off the party with a killer rendition of the Motorhead classic Ace Of Spades – with Tommy Delaney and company paying a glorious tribute to the one and only Lemmy Kilmister. The freewheeling party rock continues full steam ahead with the superbly infectious refrains of Live It Up Or Give It Up. Do Or Die then grinds through your speakers with a dynamic sense of rip roaring urgency. Then it’s time for a pulsating journey into the realm of Crazy Nights. 44
The second half of the Angel City Rockers experience kicks off with the wickedly rambunctious Dirty Movie. Everytime demonstrates just how tremendously effective Angel City Rockers is with an acoustic based power ballad. Bang Bang Baby is an absolute highlight, with a wild and sleazy chorus that will remain in your head long after the disc spins to its conclusion. And then closing out the eight song debut is the over the top reverberations of Lie To Me with the band concluding with their mission statement of “We Are Angel City Rockers and this is what we call Rock And Roll.” And with an album this solid and memorable, you can bet that we’ll be hearing a lot more from Tommy Delaney and the Angel City Rockers in 2020 and well beyond. Stay tuned… Info: https://www.facebook.com/angelcityrockers/
Down In The Dark Dark Station Self-released Review by Ken Morton Dark Station is a superbly imaginative modern rock band from Southern California who is ready to traverse the world by storm – especially if their stunning new album Down In The Dark is indicative of greater glories ahead. Featuring ex- members of Behind The Fallen, Dark Station unleashes auditory manifestos that are absolutely gripping, unveiled by musicians who have placed their blistering hearts and massive talents into the project. Down In The Dark opens up the explosive reverberations of Ryse, with its reflective “you’re walking around like a victim, it’s so easy to blame what isn’t there” lyrical content bringing the song to its raging and magnetic denouement. Heroes is an anthem for the ages, Dark Station’s first single that will ring relentlessly in your feverish head long after the disc spins to its conclusion. After all, “What is there to hope for when your Heroes are dead?” New Age then slams into your senses with its pulsating beats and powerhouse lyrics conveying a testament of a starkly grim reality in this modern day. Villain is up next, inspired by the movie Venom and the character Eddie Brock – with its “you’ll always be the Villain in me” refrains chilling the listener to the very core. No Life then deals with the subject of addiction and the anguish involved, attempting to maintain control amidst all of the chaos contained within. Obvious navigates through a toxic relationship with scorching results. Hollow is haunting and devastating, with each and every member of Dark Station delivering absolutely exhilarating performances. Misery then slams upon the listener, complete with a glorious guitar solo that sends this one into the stratosphere. A confrontation with Ghost then ensues, followed by the sweeping metallic reveries of Locked On. And the grand finale of Visions closes out the Down In The Dark experience with the cautious “be careful what you wish for cuz that ain’t me” message leaving quite an indelible impression. The Dark Station lineup presents their visions with a good deal of inspiration and intrigue. Charismatic vocalist Nathan Spades delivers the lyrics with a staggering amount of ardor and conviction. The vibrant dueling guitar assaults are presented courtesy of Kyle Ort and David Bruno. Bassist Eric Sinful and drummer Dylan Roy make for a tremendous tight and intensive rhythm section. Expect to hear a whole lot more from this Dark Station in the New Year and beyond, as Down In The Dark strikes into the heart and soul of the matter, and these spellbinding compositions are not to be missed. Info: www.darkstationband.com/ Nov/Dec 2019 HIGHWIRE DAZE
Time Flies Griffin Tucker (Self-released single) Review by Ken Morton Griffin Tucker is a singer from Texas who has been making an impact on all who give a good listen. Impressesing even the likes of Lionel Richie and Katy Perry on American Idol, Griffin has been releasing a series of inspiring singles garnering a good deal of attention along the way. Griffin Tucker and The Real Rock Revolution rages on with the unveiling of a band new single entitled Time Flies and it’s a banging track to be sure! Now 18 years of age, Griffin Tucker is more than ready to break on through to the big leagues. And with the passion and conviction found within the vibrant Time Flies, Griffin presents his most persuasive song to date. If the dynamic vocals don’t take your breath away, the jangly guitars and infectious melodies will surely hook you in. Expect even greater glories ahead from this massive talent. In the meantime, show Griffin your pop rocking support and check into Time Flies and the other terrific tunes released by this young artist on the rise. Info: www.griffintuckermusic.rocks/
SUZY EP SUZY Self-released Review by Ken Morton “62 Years Old And Metal As Fuck!” blazes the announcement about the one and only SUZY and her Self-Titled EP. A five song testament to hard raging rock and the sounds of perseverance, SUZY is ready to captivate the masses with her melodic metal anthems for the ages. The singer has performed with the likes of Rob Halford and Paul Stanley, and with the arrival of this magnificent debut, SUZY is ready to rock your world on her own glorious terms. With her songwriting partner Norman Matthew of Murder FM infamy, the unveiling of SUZY is sure inspire and enrapture all who give a good, rock solid listen. Opening with the raging refrains of Tomorrow, the wild and restless kickoff track instantly hooks the listener with superbly impassioned vocals and an auditory soundscape in overdrive. Time To Go is a tale of freedom and liberation, where searing guitars and exhilarating lyrical content slam this one into the stratosphere. Road To Nowhere is a stunning acoustic selection, about your mind wandering the endless highways of this strange and unpredictable journey we call life. “I’m not sure where I’m going or where I’ve been, ” SUZY muses, then adds with optimism “But I know that I’ll get there someday” and at the denouement expressing “But no matter what, I’ll be okay.” The rock is then back in supersonic action as SUZY and company explode into the dazzling reverberations of Life Is A Song. And then closing out the SUZY EP on a grand and triumphant note is the previously released LIES, a tune that will make you want to passionately sing along as you break away with the toxic relationships of the past and traverse into the throes of a brand new tomorrow. SUZY is a thrilling, expressive vocalist, bringing you into the pulsating metal heart of the matter. And what a supreme HIGHWIRE DAZE
collection of musicians SUZY has with her as she pursues her hard rock visions. The aforementioned Norman Matthew shines on guitar and bass, the perfect partner in crime for SUZY’s heavy metal entreaties. The omnipresent Matt Starr, who has worked with everyone from Ace Frehley, Joe Lynn Turner, and Mr. Big, lends his massive percussive artistry to the proceedings. On the Road To Nowhere acoustic piece, SUZY collaborates with the legendary Joe Vitale (Joe Walsh, Ted Nugent) on bass, drums and keyboards. An exciting introduction to be sure, SUZY’s Self-Titled EP is destined to garner its creator a good deal of respect and admiration. It will be exciting to see what the future has in store for the dynamic SUZY and her outstanding metal reveries. Info: www.facebook.com/SuzyMusicOfficial/
Hereafter Vamachara Closed Casket Activities Review by Ken Morton Vamachara is a supremely heavy hardcore collective based out of the Los Angeles area, and their latest EP will send extreme music fans into the stratosphere. Hereafter is the name of their manifesto of sheer intensity, seething with a brutal sense of unbridled urgency. Expect to encounter hardcore pits of sweat and agony when these entreaties are unleashed within a live setting. Their debut for the almighty Closed Casket Activities compound, Vamachara is sure to leave an indelible impression within the pummeling confines of these six volatile selections. The call to arms of Introit reveal at once what the listener is in for – sludgy, relentless and punishing to its very core. A barrage of feedback and searing guitars launches our flight into the depths of Deliverance, an infinite hardcore anthem for the ages. Beyond Reach churns and grinds into your psyche, raw yet thoroughly impassioned. V.O.L. commences with a blistering guitar assault and then devastates the senses with its unearthly sonic immensity. Then Void arrives just in time, an ominous reprieve that haunts and captivates with its deceptively serene soundscapes, channeling a startling unease as the track unfolds. Closing out our dynamic adventure into the Hereafter is the explosive Anticipated Demise, a fatal grand finale that will leave your heart pumping into overdrive and your ears blissfully bleeding profusely. Fans of genre stalwarts such as All Out War and At The Gates will want to check into the brutal reveries Vamachara has to offer the world at large. They’ve toured with the likes of The Acacia Strain and Twitching Tongues, and breathe new life into a genre that has been festering within the minds of hardcore fanatics since the 90’s. Expect to hear a while lot more from the raging gospel of Vamachara; as judging by the chaos and fury contained within their Hereafter EP, these guys are ready to slam into the big leagues in nothing short of an epic way! Info: www.facebook.com/vamacharahc/
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Bauhaus, The Hollywood Palladium, Hollywood, CA., November 4, 2019 Review and Photo by Erica Vincent As soon as it was announced, I knew this show was a must! Bauhaus, playing together for the first time in 13 years to celebrate the band’s debut single Bela Lugosi’s Dead. The Los Angeles shows were announced only three months after Peter Murphy suffered a heart attack before a New York performance, with the original lineup of Peter Murphy, Daniel Ash, Kevin Haskins, and David J! Within minutes the first two announced shows were sold out. Bauhaus announced a third show on Dec 1st. If you can, GO! Give yourself an early Christmas gift and go! Thousands of Bauhaus fans dressed in black and to the nines were lined up around the block, waiting for doors to open. The excitement was ever more apparent as they all filled the Hollywood Palladium, shoulder to shoulder. But no one needed to be told just how amazing the night was going to be. After almost every person grabbed merch, they filed into the main hall to witness a show that most thought would never happen again. Starting off the night was the L.A. trio, featuring Kevin Haskin’s daughter Lola on drums, Automatic. Comprised of Izzy Glaudini (synths/vocals), Lola Dompé (drums/vocals), and Halle Saxon (bass/vocals), really blew me away. The band I would best describe as post-punk, but there is nothing new about this. What sets Automatic apart is the addition of groove, as well as something reminiscent of Blondie or even The Go-Go’s (which is where they get their name from). Automatic is a need for your radar. The main hall of The Palladium was now fully packed of people who usually don’t like being touched, but for this, it was fully allowed and didn’t mind that their personal space was non-existent. The skin tingling and hair raising moment loomed upon the crowd as the lights dimmed and the feedback rang out as Bauhaus took the stage with their opening song, a cover of John Cale’s Rosegarden Funeral of Sores. Swoon! Murphy was the last on stage wearing my favorite glittering blazer and a fedora with his walking staff that he pointed over the audience. He is still energetic and engaging, pacing from one side of the stage to the other to see all of his fans, and posing in massive beams of stage lights. Almost every person had their phone out to capture Murphy as he came close to them. Before I knew it, my three songs in the photo pit were done, but now came my favorite part and least favorite part. There was a hard no camera rule from here on out, so it hurt me to not be able to capture soo many beautiful moments, but at the HIGHWIRE DAZE
same time, I was able to enjoy the remainder of the show as a fan. Part of me wishes there was a no cellphone policy for this show, I saw far too many people watching the show through their cellphones, and blocking the view for other people. I urge you to limit yourself to one or two songs and enjoy the rest of the show with your own eyes because this really isn’t a show to miss. The crowd’s energy really picked up as soon as She’s In Parties started, and I was right there with them! And next up was none other than the crowd favorite, Bela Lugosi’s Dead. Murphy stood at the front of the stage and turned the mic toward the crowd to sing for the verse “Bela’s Undead/Oh Bela” and the classic rose petals were tossed into the air. The rest of the night was filled with classics that will have you dancing the night away while being put under the spell that is Bauhaus and Murphy’s movements on stage. The encore wraps up the show with covers from Iggy Pop, T. Rex, and David Bowie, along with The Three Shadows, Part II. Again, if you missed the first two performances, grab tickets for Dec 1st to see Bauhaus Live. The set goes by quick. Not only because the set is beautiful, powerful, and engaging, but Bauhaus jumps from one song into the next, no breaks to speak to the audience until the very end. Murphy had one brief statement before the show wrapped up… “Thank you for welcoming us back.“
THE SANDGAARD FOUNDATION NEWS: Jam Session: Opioid Crisis from the Inside
Sometimes when people circle up and open up, it rocks. While we often think of a jam session as a ritual for musicians, it turns out the format has much to offer corporate leaders, professionals from other industries and concerned citizens, who are all seeking to understand and make a difference in the opioid crisis gripping our communities and our nation. The Sandgaard Foundation is a charitable foundation that seeks to address the opioid epidemic by helping fund initiatives that save lives from opioid overdose, helps people escape the cycle of relapse and supports victims and their families. Thomas Sandgaard, a musician and CEO of a medical device company that is an alternative to opioids, started the foundation in 2018 because he wanted to help shake up the establishment and to help industry leaders “band together” to find new, bold solutions. In the past year, the foundation has conducted and released research findings and funded a few pilot programs. And now, Sandgaard is leading the way on another part of the mission: creating non-traditional coalitions and changing the conversation around pain and the shame and isolation that bring people to opioids and keeps them there. In October, the Foundation hosted its first jam session of industry leaders--a panel called “Inside the Opioid Crisis with Ryan Hampton.” There, in a tavern outside of Denver, the participants expressed themselves and nodded along as they felt the grooves of raw realities and honesty not often spoken in public settings. Hampton, a renowned author and national recovery expert, was the featured guest who recounted the harrowing story of his journey from the White House to the streets and back. Then the conversation expanded to examine America’s opioid crisis with a panel of industry experts and business leaders, including Hampton, Sandgaard and Dr. Don Stader, an emergency physician at the Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, Colorado. HIGHWIRE DAZE
Left to right: Suzanne Hammer, the moderator, Dr. Don Stader, Ryan Hampton and Thomas Sandgaard explore the many nuances of the opioid crisis.
Among the many poignant exchanges, Hampton mused about addiction in America: “There will never be a supply problem in this country, but there’s a demand problem that we have to deal with,” he said. “We have to get these people the help they need.” Then, in a pivotal moment of the afternoon, Dr. Stader explained his realization that he and his colleagues had been unwittingly prescribing opioids too hastily for those coming into the emergency room with acute pain. He turned to Hampton and offered a heartfelt apology. “How do we get out of the opioid epidemic?” Dr. Stader then asked the assembled participants. “There’s a oneword answer: together.” Other notable industry leaders who attended and shared their stories included Andrew Burki, chief public policy officer of The Hanley Foundation; José Esquibel, associate director of the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention; Christy Hartsell, vice president of the Truth Initiative; Carrie Radant, office of advancement for the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus; and Justin Riley, executive director of Young People in Recovery. Look for more of these jam sessions as well as stories of musicians who are helping us lift the shame and blame of addiction through the power of song. More information at:
www.sandgaardfoundation.org and @sandgaardfnd. 49
Angel and The Hard Way The Whisky, October 4th, 2019
Review by Ken Morton - Photos by Joe Schaeffer
Angel was back with a vengeance at the world famous Whisky A Go Go on the Sunset Strip – this time with both original members Punky Meadows and Frank DiMino – and what a grand and powerhouse night this was! Celebrating the unveiling of their just released Rising magnum opus – their first album of new music since 1979 – Angel presented a set of tunes culled from a vast and glorious career. From the opening refrains of On The Rocks, Mirrors and beyond, Angel was absolutely on fire, unleashing a rock and roll performance of a lifetime. Frank DiMino remains a powerful front man, whose passionate voice and rockstar stage presence is absolutely inspirational. And then there’s the thrilling guitar work of Punky Meadows, weaving his sheer magic and intrigue throughout the proceedings. Supplying direct support to the Angel extravaganza was L.A.’s own The Hard Way, and what a stunning live show this band presents. The Hard Way has opened for many a famous rock and roll act, and are well known for their blistering live shows and wickedly infectious songs. Featuring the dynamic lead vocals of Eric Jeffreys as well as the return of Tim Luce from the almighty Alcatrazz on thunderous bass, The Hard Way absolutely captivated the early arrivals. Mention must also be made about the vibrantly gorgeous Hard Way dancers – April Showers and Corina Cline – who added sex and sass appeal to The Hard Way rock and roll experience. Songs such as Diabolical Bitch, That Ain’t Love and I Can’t Go Home are Sunset Strip anthems showing why The Hard Way are local legends of our Hollywood music scene. Be sure to catch The Hard Way opening for the legendary KIX at The Whisky on December 8th. 50
Trapt and Dizzylilacs
The Whisky, October 25, 2019
Review by Ken Morton - Dizzylilacs Photos by Erica Vincent Trapt made a triumphant return at The Whisky on the Sunset Strip, presenting a set list of fan favorites that sent the room into sonic overdrive. Fortunately low on the political statements and sky high on the rock and roll tapestries, Trapt delivered the goods tenfold. Opening the show was Dizzylilacs from Los Angeles, unleashing a tremendously fragrant collection of songs. Their third time opening for Trapt at The Whisky, Dizzylilacs launched into hydrasonic orbit with exhilarating songs such as the should-be hit single And Security, the devastating Mr. Serious Guy, and the rocking Hazel. The powerhouse trio featured spirited performances from Mark V. Hoagland on lead vocals and bass, Paul P. Hoagland on drums and Mike Wendland on lead guitar. Dizzylilacs has opened for the likes of ABC, Berlin, and Missing Persons - and judging by their thrilling Whisky performance, it won’t be long until they are headlining clubs throughout the City Of Angels and beyond.
In other Dizzylilacs news, the band was recently featured on The Gerg Show at Indie Scene Radio, where they were not only interviewed by the affable Gerg Anidem, but many of the songs were played on the air as well. You can listen to the show by going to https://lyvcaster.com/WISR/ and finding Dizzylilacs in Gerg’s extensive library of interviews. Thanks goes out to Gerg for his tremendous support of Dizzylilacs and the many other indie bands he plays on his kickass radio show! Nov/Dec 2019
The Motels and Diane & The Deductibles The Canyon Agoura Hills/The Canyon Montclair October 18-19, 2019
Review by Ken Morton - Photos by Erica Vincent
The Motels and Diane & The Deductibles had a mini-tour of The Canyon Clubs, providing a rock solid night of entertainment at both the Agoura Hills and brand new Montclair locations. The Motels performed a headlining set featuring songs from their various albums including the recently issued The Last Few Beautiful Days. Martha Davis is a torch singer for the ages, possessing a voice that is both vibrantly inspirational and infinitely heartbreaking. Selections such as Suddenly Last Summer and Only The Lonely remain as poignant as ever. Deep cuts such as Celia and the devastating Total Control cement a glorious legacy in music and are thrilling when experienced live. And what a superb show closer when Martha Davis and The Motels launched into the exhilarating The Last Few Beautiful Days title track, where wistful sentiment and sonic artistry mesmerized the fans and fully enveloped the venues as the final song of the night. Diane & The Deductibles from Huntington Beach was the perfect opening band for The Motels. Although more on the classic rock side of the spectrum, Diane & The Deductibles also possess a powerful lead vocalist and a whole collection of songs that set the heart and the imagination in flight. Opening with the lushly romantic reflections of Light Of The Moon from their TWO album, Diane & The Deductibles captured the audience’s attention at once and received a warm crowd reaction throughout their entire set. What A Feeling was up next, an anthem of celebration that rocked the house – especially when the one and only Robert Sarzo unleashing one of his trademark guitar solos. In My Next Breath had each and every member of the Diane brigade delivering the rocking goods tenfold. At the two Canyon shows, Diane & The Deductibles premiered a new song entitled I’ll Never Say Goodbye, a heartfelt tribute to the passing of friends performed with dignity and grace. And then Diane & The Deductibles closed out their show with their super infectious Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say – a song that should be all over the radio airwaves. In addition to the superb performances of Diane Adams and Robert Sarzo, the fascinating musicians of Diane & The Deductibles includes Cliff Rehrig on bass, Keith Lynch on guitar, and Robert Ciago on drums. 52
Just announced at press time Diane & The Deductibles opening for Missing Persons: December 13th – The Canyon Montclair December 14th – The Canyon Club Agoura Hills January 4th – Gallagher’s Pub in Huntington Beach
www.DianeandTheDeductibles.com Nov/Dec 2019
Sum 41, The Hollywood Palladium, Hollywood, CA., October 17, 2019 Review and Photo by Talia Farber Sum 41 at The Hollywood Palladium were nothing short of fantastic, in fact this was my first time seeing them headline. The only other time I’ve been able to see these guys was at Warped Tour in 2017, I don’t know how I waited so long to see them. They came out on stage with Turning Away, but they definitely started to rile up the crowd with The Hell Song. Even I started singing along and banging my head when they started playing it! As a band that started back in 1996, when I was just merely (maybe) 1 year old, and seeing them do their thing 23 years later is just wild. Their stage presence is so awesome, they’re all so in sync with each other and the music just flows perfectly. Deryck is so fun and was acknowledging the crowd multiple times. I definitely love how there’s 3 guitarists to really solidify the sound while Deryck focuses on his vocals and actions. Frank Zummo is an absolute MONSTER behind the drums, and his style definitely reminds me of Travis Barker. The thing that surprised me the most was they played With Me and definitely got the crowd to start singing and swaying around. It was definitely a beautiful moment when Deryck started playing on an acoustic guitar. The lights dimmed and set the mood for the song, but quickly after the crowd went wild and started moshing to No Reason, definitely a 0 to 100 moment! The coolest part about their stage set up was the blow out devil during Welcome to Hell, that was so cool, definitely haven’t seen something like that before on a stage! I also loved how they had multiple confetti cannons throughout the night, that’s always so fun when bands have those! They really hit that off when they started playing the riffs of what Deryck called, “the Canadian national anthem”, aka Fat Lip! He told everyone to jump and BAM smoke and confetti cannons to put the cherry on top of hearing that song. Sum 41 definitely have an incredible live sound and performance and everyone should see them perform their own headlining show at least once in their life. They had so much 54
energy for an older punk band, and it seems like they’re keeping in good health, especially Deryck with being sober and he’s probably feeling better than ever. It’s amazing to see this band’s success and following them since the old MTV days, I’m so glad I finally got to see them. Setlist: Turning Away The Hell Song Motivation The Bitter End Over My Head (Better Off Dead) We’re All to Blame Some Say Out for Blood Walking Disaster With Me No Reason Underclass Hero Pieces Welcome to Hell In Too Deep We Will Rock You (Queen cover) Never There Still Waiting 88 Encore: Goddamn I’m Dead Again Fat Lip Pain for Pleasure
Info: www.sum41.com/ Nov/Dec 2019
Highwire Daze Issue 127 November/December 2019 29th Anniversary Issue Featuring: Coverage of Aftershock with Halestorm and more, Rob De Luc...
Published on Dec 2, 2019
Highwire Daze Issue 127 November/December 2019 29th Anniversary Issue Featuring: Coverage of Aftershock with Halestorm and more, Rob De Luc...