Ghost Cult caught up with rock royalty Chip Z’Nuff of Enuf Z’Nuff to discuss their2018 album Diamond Boy (Frontiers SRL). Chip who become the frontman of the band discussed the writing approach to the new album, performing lead vocals live, all the partying he did in the 1980s and 1990s, working with other artists like Kanye West, and much more. You can purchase or stream the Diamond Boy album here: http://radi.al/DiamondBoy, and check out our pod. Continue reading
Episode 49 of the Dumb and Dumbest Podcast is streaming right now, hosted by music executive Matt Bacon (Dropout Media, Ripple Music, Prophecy Productions) and Publicist Curtis Dewar (Dewar PR). Today’s episode is all about the value of writing short songs, and how they help a band get further than writing long epics. Ghost Cult is proud to partner with Dumb and Dumbest Podcast to host and promote these insightful daily shows! Continue reading
Cattle Decapitation will be wrapping up their U.S. headlining tour with Revocation, Full of Hell and Artificial Brain this weekend, and as you’ve seen from the footage we’ve shared, this has been one of the sickest tours of 2017. Before their recent set in New York City, I got to talk with Cattle Decapitation‘s Josh Elmore about the current trek, as well as get an update on their plans for 2018. Continue reading
King Parrot released Ugly Produce to the world last month, and as Hanz Lopez wrote in his 9/10 review, “it’s brutality, technique, and catchiness all in a 27-minute package.” Ever since its release, the band has been bringing that new material along with them on the road in support of Housecore label mates Superjoint (dates). Before their set here in New York City, I got to catch up with vocalist Matt Young to talk about their current tour, Ugly Produce, video ideas, and much more. Continue reading
The almighty Crowbar will be releasing The Serpent Only Lies on October 28th via Entertainment One (eOne). As you’ve heard from the ‘Falling While Rising’ and ‘Plasmic and Pure’ singles, the NOLA legends are as heavy as ever, and Kirk Windstein continues to write riffs that truly shake the world. I recently had the honor of sitting down with the riff lord to discuss the writing of their new album, the return of Tommy Buckley, and much more. Continue reading
In addition to being a long-time member of Alice Cooper’s band, Chuck Garric has his own project that he is the frontman of, Beasto Blanco. Chuck has big plans in the works for Beasto Blanco, including a forthcoming new album, major tours, and events throughout the next few years. We got an inside look at Chuck’s musical vision and what it takes to launch a band under your own banner in this day and age.
Although Beasto Blanco has been around for a few years, we first asked Chuck about his musical process for writing and how that becomes music for himself:
Chuck: As a songwriter and as a performer, we all have things inside of us that say maybe basically what we’re about for another artist. I did writing for so many years, and maybe I’ve written songs that aren’t necessarily Alice Cooper songs, or a song that wasn’t for the artist, and I thought the song was great and I really enjoyed writing them and would love to have them as part of who I am. It just inspired me to put together a band where I could come through this other person inside of me, and go out there and perform my own original music, and that’s what Beasto Blanco is. I’m in a band of real high energy, rock n roll stuff that just kicks you right in the face. You walk into a club and see a band kind of similar to like a Motörhead or Clutch, Ramones, Ted Nugent and any of those type of bands. With my history with Alice Cooper, I felt that it was important that I added some theatricality to it. It was just the way I was naturally progressing as an artist, and as a writer. It’s a good little clique we have with Beasto Blanco is that it’s high energy rock and roll with a big show feel.
We next asked Chuck about the genesis of the name and what it represents to him..
Yeah. The name basically comes from, we wanted to give our music a name. We wanted to have our sound have a name. It was something that we were faced with when we started, Being able to basically get up every morning and give it a go, work hard, and to use fear as a motivation, and use criticism as a motivation, all of those things. What better way than to just say “Hey, the music is animalistic.” It’s a beast, and Beasto Blanco just sort of came out as something that somebody had mentioned to say “Hey, this may work out.” Beasto Blanco just has a name in itself. When you’re a person like myself who works organically and I practice meditation and those types of things, it just came out as … it just felt right. The music has finally got its own personality. Once it had that, everything was just flowing naturally, and we knew exactly which direction to head with the sound, the look, the vibe, the attitude, everything. It just fell into place.
The way I think of Blanco is most anybody who has the desire to do something, or a dream, is that we all face those inner demons and that fear. We have to somehow summon the courage to move forward and conquer those things that we have. That’s exactly what Beasto Blanco is about is getting out there, and doing it right, doing it well, and not being afraid of failure, and at the same time, going out and just changing people’s lives feasibly, not trying to change anybody’s life politically or anything like that. Just giving you a chance to go out, listen to some rock and roll, forget about all the bullshit that is going on in your life if there is any, and just enjoy it just like the rest of us.
We hit upon a common ground, where we agreed that music is free therapy, whether you play it, listen to it, or rock out to it:
It really is. It’s turned out to be a job for me, but I find so much joy and therapy, and I use it daily. That exact thing is that music is my medicine.
Then we asked for a time line of the history of the band, and the new Beasto Blanco album will arrive:
We released our first music in 2012, In 2013 we released the first album, Live Fast, Die Loud. We’re about ready to release the second album which should be in October, early October.
In the run up to this album release, and with the busy tour schedule Alice Cooper keeps, we wondered what touring plans the band has:
We’re working on tour dates as we speak. Right now, we’re looking at as of late January. We’ve got the Monsters of Rock Cruise coming up in January of 2017 as well, so we’re working on dates to follow-up the release, and we’ll be touring both the United States and Europe.
INTERVIEW BY KEITH CHACHKES
LIVE PHOTOS BY EVIL ROBB PHOTOGRAPHY
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Alice Cooper remains one of the most consistent and viable bands in rock and roll history. Not only has he had a great career, but he continues to make strong new albums, and of course put on a legendary show every night. Chuck Garric has played bass and been one of the leaders of Alice’s band for more than a decade. A fine musician and a noted hell-razor, Chuck has become a fixture with his fiery performances, and contributions with past music, and writing a new Alice Cooper album, hopefully out for 2017. He had a lot of insights into the twisted world that is touring with Alice to share with Ghost Cult.
We checked in with Chuck at the start of a new Alice Cooper tour, and talked about what the process is for him.
Chuck: Everything is going great. It’s always a lot to look forward to when you’re touring with Alice Cooper. One of the things I enjoy the most, working with him through the years is when we co-develop a new show and get into rehearsals and start digging into his catalog, and start figuring out what songs we can play and that we haven’t played in a while. Putting together the whole theatrical side of it, it’s always just a lot to look forward to.
Casual fans may not know this fact, but that every time the band tours, it’s a brand new show every time, and it’s a new set list, except for the hits.
Yeah, you have to remember that there is a reason why you hear this certain number of songs that, for the majority of the people, they want to hear. Now, for your deeper cuts, and longer fans that listen to everything, there are some songs that they would like to hear that maybe aren’t as recognizable to some of the fair weather fans, as you will. There are just some people that aren’t deep cut fans. You want to please everybody; but at the same time you’ve got to put in the set what flows. There’s a certain way a set flows, and certain songs work better with others. Some songs are amazing live. Some songs are better left to listen to on the record. We always try to keep that mind when we’re developing the set.
Do you personally get surprised at certain songs that get pulled out, or surprised certain songs don’t get performed often?
No. I’ve been involved now for over thirteen years, so I … The set list gets passed off by table as well. I have toured in suggesting songs, so it’s a fun process to go through. Sometimes, you’ll push for a certain tune, and you’ll hope that it flows. We’ve got a great band, so everybody just does their part, learns it, and you just hope for the best. At times, yeah, you get a little surprised, maybe something was flowing. We were really digging it and the band was jamming, but maybe at the same time, it just didn’t have enough for the show. It didn’t really add to the whole theatrical side or the show die if it, so it may get pulled. That’s just the way it goes. You learn the songs, and you know that they’ve got an idea that is really going to understand what they want to show the beat.
Many times for Alice Cooper shows, it’s often amphitheaters and theaters, and mid to big clubs, in my opinion, venues, right? Are there challenges because you have a stage set up and there’s a lot of stuff coming and going, costume changes, props?
I don’t see it … Alice is so, pretty much fits in any stage. It’s such a visual show, and sonically, it’s real pleasing as well. I think with the interaction between the band members, and the way the set is designed, they can throw it up there on any size stage. Yeah, there are times where you can’t build a set for bigger size stages and arenas, where we will be playing mostly smaller venues, or theaters. We just, we try to keep in mind what the tour is going to be like, what size stages there are, and just try to compensate for those particular venues where it happens. Just like the Mötley Crüe tour, we did where it was all big arenas. I thought that our show and our set, and the whole thing just fit perfectly into the size of those big arenas. Like I said before, just a high energy band and a song, it works great.
As much as any band ever in rock history, Alice’s music is meant for the night. In a festival atmosphere, some stuff works theatrically in the daylight, and some doesn’t. Do you ever find that challenging to play a festival, to a festival crowd outdoors?
It doesn’t really change what we do. I think if anything, it just gives the lighting guy a little time off. It doesn’t change. At night, obviously, it can get a little bit moodier, and you get the full effect of the show, but there is an element too, I don’t want to sound cliché or so optimistic, but an element of playing in the day time. You can really see who it is you’re playing in front of, especially if it’s a bigger site for us or something. I personally don’t really mind, but I think everybody would say you’ve got a show put together like an Alice Cooper show, you’ll always say it’s going to be better at night.
As the most veteran guy of the Alice band, for thirteen plus years now, I know musically, Alice has a couple of projects in the works. I know you had some credits on Welcome To My Nightmare 2 in 2012. Do you have any update on the new Alice music?
I think everybody is going to be contributing. We are all writing. We are all preparing for the time when songs are being pushed across the table, and everybody’s given the chance and an ear for what’s going on. We’re all going to collaborate, and just do our part, deal with that basically.
Is there some time-table for that album’s’ release?
I really don’t know. There’s not been a timetable discussed with me as of yet. I know that it’s just up for grabs to continue to write and submit songs when I have them, and that’s what I’ve been doing.
INTERVIEW BY KEITH CHACHKES
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Matt Halpern, drummer of progressive metallers Periphery is the latest guest on The Jasta Show Podcast, hosted by Jamey Jasta (Hatebreed, Kingdom Of Sorrow, Jasta). They discussed pornography, teaching drum lessons on tour, songwriting, YouTube, Candlebox, Collective Soul, 90s Grunge bands, Sevendust drummer Morgan Rose, Bring Me The Horizon, Halpern, touring in general and music streaming services. Will be part of a second episode in the near future as well.
At first glance, the idea of combining melodic punk with speed metal seems like a notion dreamed up after eating too much cheese, but the more you think about it, the more it starts to make sense given that both styles of music rely on catchy and powerful melodies to drive forward their songs. That’s exactly what Swedish quintet Atlas Losing Grip realised and has spent the past few years attempting to perfect. And they just may have managed it on third full length Currents (Cargo Records).
Opening track ‘Sinking Ship’ merges crunchy, compressed riffing with a widescreen, emotive chorus that immediately lodges in your frontal lobe. The band’s shining light is undoubtedly new vocalist Niklas Olsson who has stepped fearlessly into the shoes left by the recently departed Rodrigo Alfaro. Olsson’s clear, commanding tones give the likes of the anthemic ‘The Curse’ a truly epic quality that instantly raises the spirits, helped along by some perfectly executed guitar lines and harmonies. The band have an obvious appreciation for So-Cal punk which is demonstrated on the Bad Religion worshipping ‘Cynosure’ which manages to cram in the perfect amount of soaring vocal lines and gritty riffs in under three minutes, while the no holds barred speed metal of ‘Nemesis’ is like Annihilator and A Day to Remember fucking on the deck of the Jolly Roger.
While many bands have used nautical themes before, its use on Currents feels appropriate for while the band are by no means lost at sea, the choppy and unpredictable nature of their music may at first put off newbies. But for those brave enough to take the plunge, there is so much to discover, such as the mature and sombre ballad ‘Closure’ and the classic songwriting of ‘Kings and Fools’ which if penned by Dave Grohl would be a Top Ten hit, no questions asked.
With far much more going on than your average punk or metal album that feels content to just go through the motions, Currents is a joy from start to finish, an album chock full of life-affirming hooks and meticulously written riffs and melodies that, unless you’re a militant punk douche or elitist metalhead tool, is simply impossible to dislike.
There are few voices in metal, either lyrically or sonically as unique as Mike IX Williams. Best known for EyeHateGod, Mike has been a music lifer and pioneer for the sound of several sub-genres of metal for thirty years now. Although he is a performer that leaves his mark on all those who see him, it is his gift for words that really sets him apart from all others. If metal had a Poet Laureate, it would undoubtedly be Mike, although he might not accept the title, because he’s not in this for awards. Rather, it is about creating a body of work, whether it be on stage with EHG or other past projects such as Arson Anthem or more recently, the explosive super-group, Corrections House. We chatted with Mike, calling in from his home in Louisiana, on the eve of the release of the first new EyeHateGod album from in 14 long, hard-fought years.
The new self-titled album has been a long time in the making. Now that it is done we asked Mike for his perspective on the process and the finished product:
“I think this is the best record we’ve done. I love all of our records. I love everything we’ve ever done, but this one is just special to us. It’s got a different kind of sound on it. Some of the best songwriting I think we’ve done too. We’re all very proud of it. It’s awesome. We had tons of titles we could have called the record. Lot’s of those “Take As Needed for Pain” type of titles, you know. We don’t like to be predictable. Throwing this type of thing in there confuses people and I love to confuse people. Besides that we had talked about ,these lists and lists of titles we had. We all sat around and discussed them. This is before even Joey died. Then it was kind of a no-brainier. I don’t even think we had a real discussion about it; just “Let’s self-title it”. We just called it EyeHateGod. It seemed like a logical thing. His drums are on the record, but it’s also like a new beginning. There is a new start with a new drummer. This album is definitely a tribute to him, so it seemed like the smart thing to do.”
Obviously the loss of Joey LaCaze looms over this album and his playing was immense. We wondered if it was painful to hear these songs, and perform them under the circumstances: “Of course we miss him. We’re not going to bum out about it. He wouldn’t want us too. Joey would not want us to be like that. We’re not gonna dwell on him being gone. We’re gonna keep moving forward because that is what we do. We’re not gonna drone on and be sad. There was never a thought of not doing this anymore. Our first thought was “ok, who are we gonna get to play drums”. Joey wanted it that way. He told us he wanted it that way.”
In addition to the album releasing on Housecore records, Phil Anselmo was apparently a big part of making the album: “We proud to be working with him as well. As far as signing to the label, there was a question that was up in the air. What we were weary about was just how would it be to work with our friend, because he is such a good friend, and such an old friend. And we are just weary of working with a friend, because it could end up badly. Sometimes it does. Phil helped out with the vocals here at Nosferatu’s Lair, where I am speaking to you right now from, because I live upstairs. I live right upstairs from the studio so it was easy for me to walk down the stairs and take a left at the bottom of the stairs, and I’m sitting in in the studio. And we’d wait every day until it got dark and then he’d say, ‘do you want a drink’ and we’d get out the wine and start recording. It’s rock n roll time! He helped me a lot with the vocals, giving me ideas and coaching. Of course, it’s all my lyrics and I wouldn’t change that ever. He always gives me some tips and pointers coaching on the vocals, maybe how to put the parts together. Of course he is one of the most successful metal vocalists ever, so I would be a fool to not work with him. I would never pass up the chance to work with the guy. We had worked together before on Arson Anthem, which was the same thing, just me and Phil putting everything together for that record. We worked with him before, but this was really special because it was for EyeHateGod.”
After originally starting the sessions with Billy Anderson, but ultimately to Stephen Berrigan took over the controls and finished the album:
“It was basically made at three separate studios. We started with Billy and it just fell apart due to some personal things. There was a documentary crew their making a film about Billy and they were really in the way. And that was a mess. We felt really rushed and we were unhappy. So we scrapped everything from those sessions, except Joey’s drums. And I know Billy is really proud to have recorded Joey’s last drum session. After that we went up to our rehearsal room, to a place called the “Riff Room” and that is where we worked out the rest of the music. Then we came here (Nosferatu’s Lair) to do the vocals with Steve and Phil. Steve, man, he’s a good engineer. He hasn’t been doing it as long as Billy, but he is really good with what he has done. He’s done a bunch of the Housecore stuff man. He’s worked on the HAARP record and Warbeast album; just a ton of stuff and we all grew up with him, so that’s cool.”
“The whole Billy thing was just too rushed. We should have waited and planned it out better. We were really excited to do it with him and it didn’t work out. It just wasn’t the right time, but at least we got Joey’s drums out of it.”
We asked Mike if he felt relieved to finally have the album done and behind him:
“Yeah of course. It’s definitely a relief. We’ve been wanting to have a record out, since the last record. Drug problems, personal problems, record label problems, Hurricane Katrina. You name it, it seems like something went on. Something was keeping us from doing a new record. We had some of the songs for a long time, and some were written more recently. Hopefully people really dig it, and we get more recognition from it, so we can tour places we never have before.”
Since Mike’s lyrics are always so abstract we asked if he wondered what the listeners think of his lyrics and how they are interpreted. “This album for sure, you can tell all of what I’m saying more than other albums. Where as in the past some of the vocals were incomprehensible and you could not understand me. I like confusing people, man. That’s why we are ‘The Masters of Organized Confusion’, EyeHateGod (laughs), which is a song off of Dopesick. And my lyrics are really abstract and cryptic at times. And sometimes people do bring in different meanings and different kings of things. It think its cool when people do find their own meanings in the song. I think it’s cool when people find different meanings in my songs Sometimes people will say “I think it means this”, which is very cool to me. It’s more of a free-flowing, cryptic, abstract, stream of consciousness kind of thing.”
It’s been almost 10 years since Hurricane Katrina. As a resident and a person who had his life forever changed from the storm, we asked Mike to share his thoughts on that turbulent time:
“What happened….everyone has their own story. Every single person that went through it has their own story. And a lot of people left and evacuated, and I stayed. Which looking back on it was kind of stupid, because I got into a lot of trouble and I got arrested and had a lot of problems from it. It definitely changed my life. It was something out of a movie.”
“I have Post-Traumatic Stress from it, not that I didn’t already have it probably. It messes you up when you see dead bodies lying in the street. The hurricane caused a lot of destruction obviously and people lost their homes, lost everything, but what happened with people and their behavior was worse. It’s like you watch The Walking Dead. Sometimes I will watch the show and I will get a flashback and think “That is just like Katrina”. People just became like animals. Fights breaking out and people hurting each other and stealing from each other. It was terrible.”
WORDS KEITH CHACHKES