Vans Warped Tour 2017: Phoenix, Arizona

Hawthone Heights, by Originate Designs Photography

The Vans Warped Tour. Twenty-Three years of a traveling road show that showcases a plethora of bands. Some people thumb their nose up as it being full of emo wannabes or full of bands no one has heard before. But those people ignore the fact that this is an institution. Twenty-three successive years of promoting hundreds of bands on a full summer tour. It’s pretty much the longest most successful American festival; it rivals the festivals in Europe. Continue reading

2017 Vans Warped Tour Lineup Announced, Tickets On Sale

The 2017 Vans Warped Tour was announced at their annual event at Full Sail University in Florida. CKY, Hatebreed, Hawthorne Heights, I Prevail, Beartooth, Sick Of It All, Candiria, Anti Flag, GWAR, Memphis May Fire and more will perform. Tickets are on sale now for all dates with the full confirmed line-up and other info below.
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John Reese Talks His Role Within Knotfest

John Reese of Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival co-coordinator

John Reese of Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival co-coordinator

Knotfest has concluded its second Southern California edition this past October (and third year overall) with successful results, giving the heavy music scene an outlet for rising bands to be heard on a larger scale. Plus with one of the genre’s biggest acts to have an event of this size designed around them and hand selecting many of the acts on there, it opens up new opportunities for others.

For hardcore Slipknot fans, having their own festival event became a given for them to put on such an event. Veteran prodocer and event coordinator of the festival, John Reese, plays a huge role is making sure the show goes on smoothly.


He gave his thoughts on what makes them such a likely candidate to hold such an event and becoming successful at throwing a two day event with multiple stages of heavy rock and metal bands, a museum of band related items and even a roller coaster.

Because I think Slipknot’s so visual. They’re so visual in what they do and it has that crazy side show kind of element that made itself defensible more than most other acts. So they wear masks, it’s dark and it’s visual and their videos are very intense. From the standpoint of creating this giant apocalyptic carnival, which is what I like to refer it to, there’s really no better band on the planet to create something around.

Photo Credit: Evil Robb Photography

Photo Credit: Evil Robb Photography

Working alongside the band, Reese played a key role in making the event runs smoothly. Best known for also producing the summer annual Rockstar Mayhem Festival, his experience producing events such as these helped put together such an event.

It’s not that different. The differences are the substantial amount of curation and involvement with Slipknot. They’re involved in every single decision and I would want it that way because it represents their brand.

They’re involved with the curation of the talent. They’re involved in everything that basically puts this thing on. I run all of the attractions by them. I do the leg work. They’re intimately involved in the curation of the event with Cory Brennan, the manager and the band,” he said, explaining his role alongside the Slipknot band members.


Being involved in the production of Knotfest, Reese himself admitted he did get some say on the selection process of the talent. “Of course – I work on it and send them a submission list. If I feel there’s somebody worth fighting for, I’ll fight for that act. So I’m intimately involved in everything, trying to make sure we pull off the right show all the way down the line.

2015 was the third edition of the Knotfest (and second in Southern California), he explained how they made changes and fine tuning things to ensure it to run better and giving attendees a better experience.

We basically really wanted to deliver a similar kind of thing to what we did last year because we felt that it worked. We lost a couple of attractions. We lost the zipline and two lane Monster Trucks. We’ve done a lot of different things to make sure that the fans wanted to see and do we did. We felt last year the show was an hour and a half. The show was too long so we reduced the show by one hour.

We added acts to the extreme stage. That was an important part. We added a couple of more stages up in the top of the lawn at the Thunderdome with the fire. We added two more stages up there. We tried to adapt and engage and do stuff that we felt like created a good slow loop in the festival and gave people a lot of different things to see.

knotfest megaloop

When it came to selecting the talent, they took on the challenge of finding acts they felt would best round out such an event, while balancing availabilities and not repeating names from the previous year.

We have to try to find which artists are available. We didn’t repeat a single act from the year before. Everybody that played this year was entirely new with the exception of Slipknot. That was important and we threw in the hip hop element in there with Mobb Deep and Ghostface Killah. In my business that’s always finding out when bands are available, how much they want to get paid and all of those things necessary to be able to book one of these things.

Mobb Deep, by Melina D Photography

Mobb Deep, by Melina D Photography

Reese shared who he was personally excited to see during the Knotfest weekend. Being that he was involved in the selection process in booking talent, he himself talked about who he was excited to see performing on his event.

I loved seeing Judas Priest. There’s this new band Khaotika that I wanted to see….Belphagor…there’s probably 15 or 20 that I wanted to see. I’ve seen most of them through playing on the Mayhem Festival or other stuff that I do.



 Judas Priest, by Melina D Photography

Judas Priest, by Melina D Photography

Photo Credit: Hillarie Jason

Photo Credit: Hillarie Jason

I hadn’t seen Judas Priest since the early 80s so I was really stoked to see them. I always love seeing Korn. I loved the hip hop collaboration between Mobb Deep and Ghostface Killah. I loved that. It was great seeing Clutch. I hadn’t seen them in forever. Suicidal Tendencies – I’ve never had them on any of my festivals so it was great to see them. Love Cannibal Corpse. I could keep talking but…

Korn, by Melina D Photography

Korn, by Melina D Photography

Clutch. Photo Credit: Evil Robb Photography

Clutch. Photo Credit: Evil Robb Photography

Cannbal Corpse, by Melina D Photography

Cannbal Corpse, by Melina D Photography

Overall, he was happy with the results with Knotfest and the hard work put in by the members of Slipknot. “I’m just so proud of Slipknot. I actually went and signed them with Ross Robinson back in 1998 and watched them become arguably one of the biggest heavy bands in the world. They stick to their guns and they never compromised. They took a big risk and a big shot with putting Knotfest out there and I think what they’re doing for heavy music should be commended.

As for a 2016 edition, Reese would not give a definite answer at this time, but was positive about its future.

Well we’d love it to be an annual thing so we’ll see. We’re going to have a debrief and we’ll sit down and decide what we’re going to do next year if anything. Obviously I hope it comes back. The plan is for it to be an annual event in San Bernadino. That’s the plan but stranger things have happened. So that’s our plan and we’ll see what happens.

As for Rockstar Mayhem Festival or any other hard music related festival tour in the near future, he did not have anything definite at the time and said “I’m working on some stuff. Who knows? Once again, never say never. I don’t know yet. Nothing’s in stone yet. We’re still working on some things. We’ll see what happens.

By Rei Nishimoto

Take Your Shot- Adam Grayer of Coldcock Whiskey

coldcock whiskey logo

Within its short period of existence, Coldcock Whiskey has become a well recognized liquor item within the music world. Its brand has been recognized for sponsoring various music events such as the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival and NAMM, as well as its logo plastered across the chests of countless musicians as well as fans alike at concerts across North America.


Adam Grayer of Coldcock Whiskey

Adam Grayer of Coldcock Whiskey

John Reese of Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival co-coordinator
John Reese of Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival co-coordinator

The Coldcock Whiskey story began after grooming another well recognized liquor brand for years. Brand marketing representative Adam Grayer explains how it all began.

We are about to finish up our second year,” he said. “We ran the music marketing for Jagermeister – sponsorships, tours, festivals. When Rick and Sarah Zeiler brought the idea to create the brand, the first thing that they did was to reach out to all of our friends – band members, managers, booking agents, and festival owners – showing them what we’re doing, told them about our idea to market the brand.

Coldcock Whiskey event

Coldcock Whiskey event

They all loved the idea and came in and invested. John Reese [Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival co-founder] is an investor in our brand. Kerry King’s [Slayer] an investor in our brand. David Draiman from Disturbed, Miles Doughty from Slighty Stoopid, Avenged Sevenfold’s booking agent, and Linkin Park’s booking agent. So it’s really humbling that all of these people have come in and invested their money, and on top of that, they’ve helped us promote and build the brand. John Reese has us out of the tour and Kerry King’s at our booth every day doing meet and greets. Everyone does a little something more than just putting in a bit of money. They actually believe in what we’re trying to do, which is help us build a brand.”

Aysha and Kerry King representing Coldcock Whiskey.

Aysha and Kerry King representing Coldcock Whiskey.

Coldcock Whiskey’s flavor has a different taste than most liquors on the market, which has immediately sparked the interest of those who have tried the product. Grayer explains how the texture differs from some of the other products available.

The flavor is a three year aged Kentucky bourbon, so it’s true bourbon whiskey, and we infused it with natural herbs like green tea, hibiscus, ginseng, gingko, eucalyptus, and those herbs give it a natural sweetness that kills the burn. It has the whiskey taste but not the whiskey burn. It’s more of a lighter, sweeter after taste. It’s not harsh going down but it still is a whiskey.

coldcock whiskey banner

After building up a well established liquor brand like Jagermeister, starting over from the beginning can be quite daunting towards anyone who has to build up a name from scratch. This group behind this brand was up for the challenge and Grayer explains how building up the name is a long term project and without huge expectations immediately.

The beauty behind a brand like Jagermeister, and I don’t want to talk too much about them – that is what they call a 30 year over night success. It really did take a very long time to build. Their music program didn’t actually start until the brand was established.

What we realized is that at that brand, the bands gave that brand its soul. What we wanted to do on the outside was to get those bands that love us and have tried our brand and love this brand Coldcock to talk about the brand. We know it’s not going to take five weeks. We know it might take five years, but we want to do this in a cool, unique way. We want to build it out there with a cool core following, and as this following grows everyone that starts drinking this brand becomes a loyal fan,” he said.

Eyes Set To Kill with Carla Harvey Coates and Heidi Shepherd of The Butcher Babies.

Eyes Set To Kill with Carla Harvey Coates and Heidi Shepherd of The Butcher Babies.

He goes in deeper about the difference between their product and the competition’s, and how their ingredient base has a slightly different taste and reaction from those who have tested it out.

What we’ve seen over the years is that a lot of brands have popped up that are these flavored whiskeys and flavored vodkas that are easier to drink and expensive, but they’re loaded with sugar and some of them are loaded with chemicals. So we wanted to create a brand that was very easy for people to drink, inexpensive and flavored naturally so there’s very little sugar in it. It’s whiskey with no burn but also not a lot of sugar in it. It’s not as harsh, and as a result word will spread because people will go ‘humm…you haven’t tried Coldcock? You don’t know what you’re missing…’ If you’ve been drinking other brands that are loaded with sugars, after shots of those brands and you’re not feeling so good, you’ll want to try something different. We’re that different.

When you have all of these bands that we’re working with talking about on social media or on stage, you’re hearing about it in a unique way that’s never been done before to this level. We feel that the consumers will react to that and I think they will become more loyal as a result. They see Kerry King and David Draiman supporting this drink, and their favorite local band supporting this drink, they’re going to wonder…what is this drink? I’ve gotta try it. Then they come out to an event like the Rockstar Mayhem Festival, see our booth set up, go to the first bar they see, order a shot of Coldcock, get to meet Kerry King and then it all falls into place of they haven’t just created a brand – they created an experience. That is what we wanted. We didn’t want to create another brand on the market. The world is filled with liquor brands. We wanted something new – a true experience for a fan.

We sponsor a lot of events, tours, and bands so that our goal is whenever you go out to something music related, you should be able to see something Coldcock related. Know that when you’re done working a long hard day and you go out to see a concert at night, you’ll get to share a shot of Coldcock with your favorite band.

Ashley Purdy of Black Veil Brides with Adam Grayer of Coldcock Whiskey.

Ashley Purdy of Black Veil Brides with Adam Grayer of Coldcock Whiskey.

While the public may have seen the Coldcock Whiskey logo on various rock and metal music events so far, Grayer said the brand has been working with a variety of musical acts and will continue to expand.

We actually work with cover bands, DJs, country artists…we just did a four month sponsored tour with another one of our brand owners Datsik, and we’re going to be sponsoring a lot of John Reese’s music fests…The Safe N Sound Festival. We work with a lot of country artists. We’ve expanded but what we’ve noticed in rock and metal is that the bands and the fans are core and very loyal. So it’s been a very great honor for us to be able to come in here and not feel artificial to the fans. They see us and they see their favorite bands supporting it and they immediately became loyal to the brand.


As for venturing overseas, Grayer said it is in the works and would not say when exactly Coldcock Whiskey will seek out distribution in more territories. He said, “Eventually we will. We want to build our brand in America, tackle all 50 States and then as we do that we will expand into other countries without a doubt.

By Rei Nishimoto

Mayhem Festival Founder John Reese Posts Farewell, No Future Tours

rockstar mayhem fest 2015


In a post to Facebook last night Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival co-founder and organizer John Reese bid farewell to Mayhem Festival permanently, while hinting at a possible future event geared to take Mayhem’s place. Social networks for Mayhem festival also had farewell messages posted after last nights’ final show in Dallas, TX.


Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival 2015 comes to an end. After spending 8 calendar years of passion and one full year of my life on the road with the festival, tonight is a very emotional night. All I know is we have all tried our damned hardest to make Mayhem a home for artists, a platform for bands to increase their fan base and a place where people feel welcomed.

There are so many people to thank but most of all I want to thank my family who complete me and I owe everything to. I love you with every fiber of my being Elenie Hovartos Reese Kelsey Reese Kylie Reese and Nicolette Reese

A very very special thank you goes to Jason May Nick Allen Chelsea Coffeyand Mike Kelso without you it never would of happened.

The Mayhem lifers Ray Picard Keri Lee Joey Perez Andy Lee Benjamin Layden Mike Terrazas Strati Hovartos and Perry Johnson

Thank you to every single band who have performed and the amazing mayhem crew people who have ever been out with us thank you thank you thank you.

To Perry LaVoisne You are my brother and I cherish our friendship and the fact that we have fought together so many fucking times.

KL and DE ….blood sweat and tears.


john reese



You can see Ghost Cult’s Mayhem fest coverage from this year at this link:



Mayhem Festival Co-Founder John Reese Calls For Metal Fans To Unite

rockstar mayhem fest 2015

As the acrimony caused of the apparent disappointing returns of this summer’s Mayhem Festival spills into public forums such as online music websites, Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival co-founder John Reese has waded in to the fray. Offering an olive branch to fans and the bands, Reese’s plea comes after his partner Kevin Lyman aired his grievances about the fest and metal fans, which has led to speculation the fest is in jeopardy of not coming back next year, if ever again. Then followed by Slayer’s Kerry King making a spirited rebuttal in the media. Other bands playing Mayhem Festival were then prompted to comment, as well as many other noted artists in the rock and metal community. Reese’s comments can be read below:



Dear Fans of Heavy Music and Metal Bands Everywhere,

WE ARE ONE COMMUNITY. IT IS VITALLY IMPORTANT TO OUR COMMUNITY THAT WE ALL UNITE NOT DIVIDE! Without each others support the only thing that suffers is Metal as a genre!

In the midst of our most challenging year in 8 years of producing the festival, my partner Kevin Lyman made some comments that he has subsequently apologized for. Kevin is an honorable man and has given everything he has to the presentation of music and expanding the profile of countless artists! I am proud of our partnership and our results throughout the years! We have always tried to deliver a platform for artists to expand their fan base and the genre as a whole!

In saying this, various people involved with the 2015 Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival and some from the metal community have understandably made some divisive comments regarding the event. The event has suffered as a result of these many comments. What’s done is done but I am here to say that heavy metal music is alive and well! I shouldn’t have to remind everyone that we as a culture have faced ostracism from the mainstream for decades and we should not let over-sensationalized media hype separate us!

I think we are ALL tired of all of the bullshit. I KNOW I AM!

Let’s move the conversation forward supporting each other not dividing.

Thank you to Slayer, King Diamond, Hellyeah, TDWP and every single one of the incredibly talented bands that have performed this year on Mayhem!


I would also just like to add a few other choice things for any media conspiracy headlines:

Can’t we all just get along!” – Rodney King 1994

Marilyn Manson did NOT cause Columbine!

Obama is not the Antichrist!! And he ain’t taking our guns!

Justin Bieber….. uhhhh… no comment!

Heavy metal does not cure cancer, but it is good to fuck to.

Hopefully I will see many of you at Knotfest 2015!

John Reese

Slayer, photo©Kevin Estrada /

Slayer, photo©Kevin Estrada /


Grieving Is Over – Ernie C of Body Count




It has been quite some time since the world has last heard from Ice T and Body Count. Aside from Ice T’s thriving acting career on Law & Order: SVU as Odafin ‘Fin’ Tutuola for the past 14 years, the band has been relatively quiet until now.


Manslaughter is the band’s first new release since 2006’s Murder 4 Hire, and the band is coming back swinging. Band guitarist Ernie C [Ernie Cunnigan] explained the reasons behind their extended hiatus.


Last summer, we were at the point where we could really do a record. Last one we did [was] eight years ago. It wasn’t really a record. Ice was in New York. I was in LA. I’d send him tracks and if he wanted to make a change, he’d send it back. It would take two weeks to make a simple change that it would take a second if you’re sitting together.”


From last summer, we rented a house in Vegas. We put the band in there and stayed there for six weeks and wrote a record. When he heard something he didn’t like, he’d change it right then, go to sleep and wake up in the morning and say ‘let’s change that.’ So that’s why the record sounds the way it sounds.”




Ice T and Ernie C are the sole original members in Body Count, and the two have experienced many ups and downs throughout the years. They lost three original members [original drummer Victor Ray “Beatmaster V” Wilson in 1996 from leukemia; bassist Lloyd “Mooseman” Roberts from a drive by shooting in 2001; and guitarist Dennis “D-Roc” Miles from lymphoma in 2004], as well as shuffling various lineups throughout the years.


First of all, we lost three members over the years. Now the band has to grieve. I’ve been doing different combinations of people but the band has to grieve. So we’re at a point where we’ve grieved.”


Remember we’re one removed from the original member. Vince is my second bass player. Will [Ill Will ie Dorsey] is my second drummer. Juan [Juan of the Dead – Garcia] is my second guitarist and he came from Evildead, which everyone knows him. Vince [Vincent Price – Dennis] is been with me for the past ten years. Will is new but he works out just fine in the band. The thing of it is it just works well. Everyone works well together. The band sounds best as it sounds in the last ten years.”


Once they resumed the band, they began working on new material over an extended period of time and slowly worked its way back into business.

The topics on here are really good. The first record is still relevant. ‘Cop Killer’ is still a relevant song. Nothing’s really changed. I’m going back to the first record with songs about racism like ‘Momma’s Gotta Die’ and ‘KKK Bitch’ which is still relevant today, with Donald Sterling proved that everything is still relevant. That record is still a current record. We had to write a record that’s contemporary. So we started writing songs and we wrote a lot of music without Ice’s lyrics. It takes more time to think about the lyrics than me writing the riffs.”



He talked about some of the songs on Manslaughter.

Like a song called ‘Back To Rehab’ – I went to a rehab. I quit drinking about five years ago. Not like back, back, back to rehab…but it’s relevant. We have a song as a tribute to our soldiers – ‘I Will Always Love You’. Ice is an airborne ranger. That’s relevant. We wrote songs like ‘Talk Shit, Get Shot’, which is a rule of life. Every song is a single by itself. That record, you know it or not, plays from beginning to end…it’s sequenced. We wrote a record that’s sequenced like our first record, where you put on and play. People are used to buying on iTunes one song at a time. They don’t know you can buy a record and play it from beginning to end and take it to a whole new experience.”



Ice T and Body Count nearly coined the phrase ‘Fuck the Police’ from ‘Cop Killer’, where the line repeatedly comes up throughout the song. The song came out at a time when racial tension in Los Angeles arose during the infamous Rodney King police beatings and the LA Riots in 1992.

But 20 years plus has passed since those days, and the phrase often gets overused. How does the band feel about it looking at it now?


It’s a slogan and nobody acts on anything. Now it’s just cheering – I’m just mad…can’t do nothing about it. Over the past two weeks, we’ve done a lot of national television. We’re one of the first heavy metal band to play on The Tonight Show. People were still uptight about it. We haven’t changed. We’re still the same band. But now America changed around us to accept us into their living rooms. That’s Middle America”.


It’s ok to say “Fuck the Police”. That’s what that says. That makes it more so it’s a chanting slogan. That’s not really a cause. They put us on TV…”we didn’t say fuck the police”. But 20 years ago when we were saying it, it was like shut it down.


Another interesting point in the battle of metal versus rap, is whether metalheads were closet rap fans and if that stemmed into the problems. “I really don’t know. The metal fans listen to everything. I hang around musicians. I don’t talk to them about anything outside of…some metal fans just listen to metal. They discriminate before they know what it is.”



But despite all of the controversy, Body Count found itself on the annual Rockstar Mayhem Fest alongside bands such as Avenged Sevenfold, Korn, Trivium, Asking Alexandria, Cannibal Corpse, Suicide Silence and others.


The relation goes back years and Ice T had previous done select shows for tour co-organizer Kevin Lyman on the Vans Warped Tour.


We’ve only play select shows on Warped Tour. We’ve never done an entire Warped Tour. Kevin [Lyman] and John Reese are partners. I’ve known John Reese forever from Guns N Roses. So I’m out here like old times. We haven’t hung out with him in 24 years on tour. It’s like friends.”

He was [under] Ice T [on Warped Tour]. He was out there with Eminem. Eminem wasn’t out there as Eminem. He was 187. He was out there with those guys. Ice was out there doing his thing.”


So what should the crowd expect this summer from them? “Our set is an hour and a half. Our set here is 25 minutes. Our normal set Ice talks for 25 minutes. So I said ‘you can talk for 30 minutes.’ We’re gonna play some old songs. We’re playing three new songs. We’ll play ‘There Goes The Neighborhood’, ‘Cop Killer’ and mix it up. We can only play so much. There’s enough for people to know there’s a new record and see if they like it.”


As far as future touring, Cunnigan would not commit to exact schedules due to Ice T’s acting schedule. “After this, Ice is going back to Law & Order. This is his summer vacation like high school. Coco is coming out with the dogs. Everybody’s watching the shows. The dogs are on tour. It’s a party. It’s a lot of fun.”



Body Count on Facebook

Ice T on Facebook