Whether it is due to the day-job of Fozzy frontman Chris Jericho, or their weird roots and route, stumbling into being a “proper band” by evolving from a high-profile covers act formed by former Stuck Mojo six-stringer Rich Ward, rightly or wrongly (and the answer is wrongly, by the way), it took 2017’s breakout anthem ‘Judas’ (from the album of the same name), a bona-fide fists-in-the-air voices-to-the-sky classic anthem, to put a stamp of credibility on the twenty-year labour of musical love of Ward and Jericho and push them headfirst through the glass ceiling and into the next level of mainstream consciousness.
Estonian folk metallers Metsatoll have been added to the upcoming 70000 Tons Of Metal Cruise, setting sail in less than a months time. As of now 46 of the 60 bands have been announced for the cruise, which is sold out but has a wait list that makes it possible to get a last-minute ticket. Continue reading
Stuck Mojo leader Rich Ward commented on the Pledge Music campaign launched to support their new album, Here Come The Infidels:
“Pledge Music is a perfect fit for us. This time we’re not just putting out a record like bands have done since the dawn of the record industry, we’re offering it directly to YOU. Pledge Music has become our virtual merch booth, where you can buy a CD, a limited-edition LP in red vinyl and a t-shirt directly from us, just like you would at one of our shows. And unlike traditional retail chain stores, Pledge Music also allows us to offer signed CDs, LPs and posters, in addition to all kinds of one of a kind items, right from our Pledge store.”
Produced by Andy Sneap (Megadeth, Exodus, Testament, Killswitch Engage, Accept), Ward also commented on that relationship:
“Let me get this out of the way: I love Andy Sneap. He is arguably the best metal producer in the world, and his leadership in the making of this record has elevated it to a standard that few albums achieve. Plus, we had a great time seeing how loud we could turn up a guitar amplifier for an extended period of time.”
The band ha been relaunched with another new lineup with Rapper Robby J. and bassist Len Sonnier. On Robby J., Ward opined:
“Robby J is a fucking ninja, the total package vocalist/frontman. Mark my words, this guy is going to set a new standard for what a band with a rapper looks like.”
Stuck Mojo new lineup:
Rich Ward – Guitars/vocals
Robyy J – Vocals
Len Sonnier – Bass
Frank “Bud” Fontsere – Drums
Here Come The Infidels will release on June 24th. Here is a link to the full Pledge campaign, complete with tons of free extras for even lowest levels of support. The band describes the album as “an album for this moment in history, as it escalates Stuck Mojos rich history of desecrating the remains of Che’ Guevara and causing your Prius to emit plumes of black smoke. Its overwhelming lyrical rebuke against leftist, authoritarian, fascist dogma makes ‘Here Come The Infidels’ a 41-minute-and-18-second pushback against the social justice movement.”
[amazon asin=B00004WY3X&template=iframe image1]
Neurotic November claim to be “Hood Metal”, which if their latest effort, second album Fighting Words (Victory), is anything to go by appears to be fairly straight (Metalcore flavoured) djent lightly seasoned here and there with some low-rent rap sections. I genuinely struggle to see why these guys have gotten such a bad press. I’ve certainly had a lot worse presented to me as genius. While they’re never going to set the world on fire, they at least have their own sound and no-one should in good faith paint them as The Worst Band In The World whilst brokeNCYDE is still a thing…
Fighting Words is a solid improvement on the last album – 2013’s Anunnaki (Victory) – featuring a fatter, tighter sound and more lavish production (from Joey Sturgis, the man behind the deck for Asking Alexandria and The Devil Wears Prada) . The song-writing is a lot better too with some nice guitar hooks, and half-decent vocal flows that wouldn’t sound out of place on an early Stuck Mojo album.
‘The Truth About You’ is a synth-heavy start to the proceedings that is certainly decent enough to get the head nodding. ‘So Hollow’ is a Slipknot-inspired thrasher which leads us into ‘Everglades’ which features guest roars from King Conquer‘s James Mislow. ‘On The Come Up’ is the standout track on the album with the afore-mentioned Stuck Mojo similarities. ‘Rockstar’ bounces along quite nicely in an adequately average djent stylee through ‘2004 – present’ (more of the same) until we arrive at the quirky ‘Wasabi Anguish Pt. II’ which I have to admit I have a soft spot for; it’s basically a mashup of After The Burial and Eminem with some Die Antwoord influences.
So whilst Fighting Words isn’t great, it’s certainly not shit either. If non-mainstream rap metal’s your bag, it’s worth a look.
Super groups, as we have discussed in this space many times are a) sprouting up everywhere, and b) are a risky proposition for the bands and fans. Saint Asonia has all the makings of a “big deal” new band in an age of shrinking headline acts. With Adam Gontier, formerly of Three Days Grace and Mike Mushok of Staind, the collective radio hits and platinum records sold between just the two of them, that is impressive for any era, but especially this one. Added to the mix are Rich Beddoe (ex-Finger Eleven) and bassist Corey Lowery (Eye Empire, Stuck Mojo, Stereomud), and you have enough talent and power to create an impressive beast of a band. On Saint Asonia (RCA) the band has certainly made a good first impression. Let’s see if they answered the hype bell, or not.
First single ‘Better Place’ has been everywhere this summer and rightfully so, since it rocks. It’s great to hear Gontier’s voice wailing again. Especially with the full use of his dynamic vocal range, his thoughtful lyrics hit you hard. The song also features a terrific shreddy and soulful guitar solo from Mushok, which is cool, since he did almost none of that with Staind. Best of all this track is heavy and catchy, which is definitely the secret sauce for this band. Second track ‘Blow Me Wide Open’ is a strong, sensual track that is rough enough to please. These two songs are indicative of confident modern album rock writing at its finest. Third track ‘Let Me Live My Life’ might be the best track on the entire album. With an ear-worm for a chorus so hummable, the marketing boys ought to hashtag that title!
Where Saint Asonia has all of the members former bands’ beat is in the heavy rock department, some of the ballads prove to be a possible Achilles heel. ‘Even Though I Say’ is fairly solid, but it’s not special. ‘Fairytale’ roars back in next, wakes you up and cements the fact that this groups’ best musical moments are when they just scream out and let it fly.
The second half of the album has more arena-ready ragers such as ‘King of Nothing’ and ‘Happy Tragedy’. Rich Beddoe’s drumming stands out a lot on these songs, providing some fierce beats when needed to match the riffage. ‘Dying Slowly’, ‘Trying to Catch Up’ and the folksy ‘Leaving Minnesota’ have might some legs at radio, but also could be stronger. It’s hard not to imagine the many hits Mushok has had a hand in crafting and Gontier’s ability to deliver a penetrating impassioned verse, you wish there was a little bit more of that on here. Still, credit goes to both for not regurgitating old sounds either. The potential is definitely all there in this band to be enormous.
Despite their lineage, Saint Asonia has much more in common with Alice In Chains and Sevendust in terms of melody, grooves, and bringing the feels. Get used to seeing them at a lot of festivals in the coming years.
When the news dropped in May 2015 about “25 Top Ten Rock Singles” were shared between each member of the newly formed rock outfit Saint Asonia, 17 of which are number ones, and teasing the band’s first single “Better Place,” along with their band logo, word and interest spread amongst the mainstream rock community about who exactly this band would be.
It was later unveiled that Saint Asonia features vocalist Adam Gontier (ex-Three Days Grace), guitarist Mike Mushok (Staind, Newsted), drummer Rich Beddoe (ex-Finger Eleven) and bassist Corey Lowery (Eye Empire, Stuck Mojo, Stereomud).
Their début self titled full length drops on July 31, 2015 (via RCA) and they made their live début at this past Rock On The Range Festival in Columbus, OH as the surprise main stage act.
“It wasn’t really planned. For a long time, it was one of those things that came up. We got offered a slot to be a special guest as the first band on the main stage on Saturday. It is such a great festival and so many great bands. It is one of the biggest festivals and we’re in the perfect spot. Things went down and it was great. Being the first band on we weren’t too sure how many people were going to be there. It ended up being 10 to 15,000 people were there. It was really great,” said Gontier, about their live début.
Gontier explained how Mushok reached out to him about writing songs, following his own departure from Three Days Grace, and which later morphed into what is now known today as Saint Asonia.
“It was about a year and a half ago when Mike and I started working together. He was the one that reached out to me after I left Three Days Grace. He had some music and he wanted to know if I wanted to help him out with it. We got down to writing and the process went really well and now here we are. We wrote ten songs and it sounded pretty cool to us so we decided to go into the studio and make a record.”
Saint Asonia was produced by veteran producer Johnny K (Disturbed, Sevendust) in Chicago, IL and both Gontier and Mushok wrote the bulk of the material together.
“With the writing process, it was me and Mike. He had a lot of riffs and parts, so we wrote melodies over what he had. The recording process when we were in the studio, Rich Beddoe, our drummer has been a friend of mine forever so he was always a part of things. He came in and played drums on the record. My uncle Tom Duffy played bass on those songs on the record. We all recorded on the record for sure. We got Corey Lowery after the recording of the album was done.”
Gontier talked about the creative process behind this band and how not having expectations helped relieve the tensions of writing this entire record. Plus he shared how writing in this band differed from how he worked in his previous band.
“There’s a big difference but the main difference is everyone in Three Days Grace, when we’re writing a record, everybody definitely wanted to be part of the writing, which is fine but for me, it came to the point where there were too many people and it became kind of a circus. We had to go down to Nashville to co-write songs with country songwriters. For me, that’s not why I got into music.”
“This time around, there’s no real filter so I didn’t have to run my lyrics by anyone and have them tweaked and dissected. That’s still the biggest difference. Then what ended up happening was a real raw heart filled record from front to back.”
Aside from Gontier’s lyrics, Mushok got to shine as a guitarist as a different side of his playing came through on this record. While his playing is somewhat conservative on Staind albums, he got to play around with heavier tones and occasional soloing on a couple songs, which even surprised Gontier during the writing process.
“I was almost surprised by almost everything that he brought in. He’s a monster. I think we both on this project had a lot of creative freedom on there. If he wanted to lay down a solo in certain songs, then he would do it if the song called for it. Mike never ceases to amaze me or anybody for that matter, like when he does a solo like he does or anything that he does. I think he did a lot of things that wasn’t doing with Staind and brought it to this project. I did things I wasn’t doing in Three Days Grace that I brought into this project. That itself lent itself into a very unique sounding record. It’s definitely something different. It definitely stands out over other records out there.”
He shared his lyrical inspirations behind this album, where many may speculate was a reflection of his life from the past few years off from the music life. But he had compiled lyrics over time and incorporated them into Saint Asonia songs.
“Half of the songs were songs that I had already written. Most of the lyrics were already done. The other half were written in the studio while we were doing the recording. We went through a pre-production phase, which we went through for a couple of weeks working on lyrics and melodies and trying to tweak everything. We jumped right into the studio and recording the music. I went into the vocal booth and wrote some songs on the fly and wrote what came to me at the time. Like I said, that was a different process for me. It was nice having that creative freedom.”
In terms of how specifically his lyrics tie into real life experiences, he was somewhat vague about what they were about, but he did admit they were reflections of moments he experienced at some point in his life. “I can’t try to write about something I didn’t experience. That’s what the majority of the record is about – the past few years of my life and the few things I’ve gone through and my whole in the old day sort of thing. No song is specifically directed towards one certain kind of scenario or thing. It’s all about the past few years for sure.”
Where did the band name come from? “Me and Mike were looking at different names. I know the word asonia sound cool. The definition basically means tone deaf. The word asonia has been around for a long time, and it kind of made sense to put [the word] saint in front of it,” he explained.
“For me it’s basically over the past few years I’ve had a lot of bad influences from people, trying to tell me what direction to go to and what direction to not go to. To me, one of the things Saint Asonia is here as a reminder to go with my own way and not committing to downsizing so much.”
The word supergroup gets thrown around the band name a lot, and Gontier shared his thoughts on having that tag thrown upon them. “It’s nerving (sic) to be called a super group because it was never planned. The timing was good for everyone in the group. None of us have ever used the term super group. We never considered ourselves that. We don’t wear caps when we play live or anything. We’re planning on being around for more than that. It’s a weird thing how it happened. None of it was planned. Nobody searches out for who you’ll get together with. It’s our band and it’s also a new band. We’re not taking it for granted that’s for sure.”
Lastly, Staind has been on a hiatus recently but in terms of his status with them would ever affect Saint Asonia if they were to become active again. Gontier reiterated that Saint Asonia is a long term band and that would not affect things. “I think if there is a point that it came to that and get back together to do a record, I’m pretty sure Mike would be able to able to double up. This is definitely a band where we’re not here to do one record and go our separate ways. That’s what happens to a lot of ‘super groups’. That’s not what we’re doing at all. We’re in this for the long haul, that’s for sure.”
A teaser video has been posted for Saint Asonia, a new group featuring guitarist Mike Mushok (Staind, Newsted, etc), vocalist Adam Gontier (ex-Three Days Grace), bassist Corey Lowery (Stereomud, Stuck Mojo) and drummer Rich Beddoe (Finger Eleven). More information is expected on May 16, 2015.
BONZ, the new band featuring original Stuck Mojo singer Bonz and former Primer 55 guitarist/bassist Curt Taylor are streaming a lyric video for the title track of their debut album Broken Silence, out now via Eternal Sounds Records. Watch it below.
The track’s lyrics include many Stuck Mojo songtitles from Bonz’s first tenure in the band which are cleverly crafted into a response to his initial firing from the group, an event that he had never publicly addressed before. He was dismissed from the band in 2006 over alleged substance abuse issues.
The CD features guest appearances by several musicians, including original Primer 55 vocalist Jason “J-Sin” Luttrell and guitar virtuoso Mike Martin (ex-Stuck Mojo, Fozzy).
Broken Silence track listing:
01: Sinister Grin
02: Comes Over Me
04: Broken Silence
05: 30 Seconds to Swat
06: Take it Personal
07: Sour Diesel
09: Bad News
10: Bad Love
Last week at Atlanta’s storied Masquerade Theater, the classic 90s lineup of Stuck Mojo reunited for one night. Consisting of Rich “The Duke” Ward on guitar, Bonz on vocals, Corey Lowery on bass and Frank Fontsere on drums, Stuck Mojo was an innovative and ground breaking band that was a peer to acts such as Korn, Deftones and Rage Against The Machine, but also had elements of thrash, grooves and guitar solos that allowed them to tour with Pantera, Machine Head, and local brethren Sevendust.
For the first time since 1998 Rich, Bonz, Corey and Frank were on been on stage together, laying down thunderous grooves, lyrics rife with political dissent, and playing all of their hits from albums like Snapping Necks, Pigwalk and Rising (all for Century Media), with Rising going on to sell an almost unheard of 3 million copies in the mid-nineties. Hopefully the interest for these standard bearers for power-groove and Nu-Metal will rise as well, and we will see more shows in the future.
Check out these fan filmed videos of the show:
Stuck Mojo on Facebook