ELECTRIC GYPSY Phil Lewis pulls the trigger in Austin, TX. (photo by Jerry Milton)

ELECTRIC GYPSY Phil Lewis lets it rip in Austin, TX. (photo by Jerry Milton)

By Metal Dave

Ripping into Austin, Texas last night, L.A. Guns was a whirlwind of jet-black hair, smudgy black eyes and high-voltage rock-n-roll. Yeah, they’ve seen more drama than General Hospital, but singer Phil Lewis and drummer Steve Riley still keep the band electric.

Joined by bassist Scotty Griffin and guitarist Michael Grant, L.A. Guns tore through the sleaze-rock party starters “Sex Action,” “I Wanna Be Your Man,” “Never Enough” and “Rip and Tear.” Unlike many of his 1980′s peers, Lewis is still in amazing voice. And for the record, Grant was no slouch.

A cover of Black Sabbath’s “Fairies Wear Boots” was an odd surprise, but damn if they didn’t nail every drum fill, bass run, guitar solo and vocal wail. Well done, lads.

Ah, yes. “The Ballad of Jayne.” A rightful hit in 1989, this gem is unjustly eclipsed by the likes of Motley Crue’s “Home Sweet Home” and Poison’s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” but without a doubt ranks among the very best power ballads of the glam-metal genre. The sing-along audience surely agreed.

And lest anyone think L.A. Guns is purely a 1980′s nostalgia act, the band hurled a few latter-day Molotovs, including “Revolution” and “You Better Not Love Me,” proving they still pack enough ammo to match their out-for-blood, sleaze-groove legacy. By the way, if you stopped buying L.A. Guns albums after 1991′s “Hollywood Vampires,” you owe it to yourself to get 2002′s “Waking the Dead” and 2012′s “Hollywood Forever.” Both beat the living tar out of Motley Crue’s last few albums.

As much as fans  (me included) wish for a reunion with departed guitar hero Tracii Guns, L.A. Guns has been impressively consistent under the leadership of Lewis and Riley. It’s safe to say last night in Austin was another victorious howl at the moon.

For more L.A. Guns info, including tour dates and ticket info, go here.

BELOW: Something old and something new from L.A. Guns

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HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES: The L.A. Guns lineup has changed more times than Elton John, but singer Phil Lewis (middle) and drummer Steve Riley (top) remain as core members of the band that gave us such 1980s hits as “Ballad of Jayne,” “Rip and Tear” and “Never Enough.” Unlike many of their peers, L.A. Guns’ post-heyday albums are also well worth a listen. Check out “Man in the Moon,” “Waking the Dead,” “Tales from the Strip” and “Hollywood Forever.”

By Metal Dave

Well, shit! Now I feel like an ass! After learning L.A. Guns was aiming for Austin on Wednesday (ticket info below), I reached out to my pal Adam Hamilton, who happens to be the band’s former bass player, and asked him to put me in touch with singer Phil Lewis. For three days, Phil and I played tag until I was ready to call it quits.

Then my phone buzzed. It was a text from Phil. He earlier agreed to a full-blown interview, but with a deadline spilling salt in my wound, I suggested the Plan B that follows below. Phil was game and I was happy. Cool.

But wait. The story gets better. Phil’s reason for not getting back to me is the mother of all rock-n-roll “excuses.” Was he in jail? Was he passed out in a Dumpster after a three-night bender of snot-slinging debauchery? Oh, hell no! It’s much more shocking than that.

Believe it or not, Mr. “Sex Action” volunteers at his local humane society where phones are not allowed while on duty. In more than two decades of interviewing rock stars, this, for me, is truly a first. How can I possibly be frustrated with an iconic sleaze-rock vampire who spends his free time helping neglected animals? Well, I can’t! And I won’t. Bravo, Phil.

2FAST2DIE: Nice to catch up, Phil. Thanks for being in touch. So, what album can we credit for turning you into a hit-making, rock-n-roll outlaw?

T Rex Electric WarriorPHIL LEWIS: The early ’70s were my introduction to the world of music, and I couldn’t have been luckier. I once saw Sly and the Family Stone, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple on the same bill. So much amazing music to choose. I was well aware of the political and philosophical power of rock-n-roll music from bands like the Who and Rolling Stones, but at that time, I was just a kid. And while I’d love to be tragically “Prog” and say something cool like Yes, Genesis, ELP or even Led Zeppelin — all fine bands and hugely popular at the time — I proudly admit my first legitimately acquired LP vinyl record was T. Rex, “Electric Warrior.” I still have it. It crackles a bit, but so do I.

The simple black and gold cover silhouette of Marc Bolan pulling the greatest guitar pose ­ leaning into his Les Paul with a big, black Marshall stack right behind ­ was totally iconic art for me and my G­-G-Generation. As David Bowie observed in “All The Young Dudes,” “Who needs TV when I got T. Rex?” After buying this record, the only time I watched TV was to see T. Rex! Fortunately, back in 1971 London town, that was quite often.

I remember tearing off the plastic wrapper and beholding the big, double-gatefold cover with a huge black-and-white photo of my Metal Guru, looking every inch the Merlin I knew him to be. I remember carefully removing and gently lowering the heavy, black, virgin vinyl as if it was Ophelia herself on my unworthy Garrard 72 B turntable, and expertly laying the stylus in the grooves of the first track. Turn up the amp and Bang! Literally Bang! “Bang a Gong” — arguably one of the greatest opening rock-and-roll riffs of all time. A big sound from a huge, short-lived, almost mythical character — truly a warrior poet.

Every song on the record was original and cleverly crafted — the soundtrack to my life. It got me pumped, it got me thinking and it got me laid. Back then (in Phil’s native Britain), you had two choices: ­ take her majesty’s shilling and get shipped off to Belfast, or become a soccer hooligan. Music, art and culture, to me, were just background noise for the rich when I was 17-years-old, but this record changed everything. I got to appreciate the avenues “Electric Warrior” opened to me, and the quality of my life improved drastically. Very powerful stuff …

2FAST2DIE SAYS: Phil’s passionate recollection of this album is either Shakespearean or semi-pornographic. Actually, it’s  a bit of both. And hey, who can blame him? T. Rex frontman Marc Bolan did indeed write the book on sexually-charged, riff-gasm, glam-banging. Well done, Phil. Thanks for playing along and thanks for that one-of-a-kind tidbit about the humane society. Who says sleaze-metal rockers are all wasted, heartless derelicts?

For more L.A. Guns info, including tour dates and ticket info for the Austin concert featuring special guests Cosmic Wolf and High-Watt Crucifixers, go here.

BELOW: Something old and something new from L.A. Guns

crue live

RED HOT: Motley Crue bids farewell in true-to-form, fiery fashion. (photo from Google images).

NICE GUY: Alice Cooper welcomes you to his nightmare (photo by David Castillo)

NICE GUY: Alice Cooper welcomes you to his nightmare (photo by David Castillo)

By Metal Dave

Curse words are hardly shocking when spit forth by Motley Crue, but when the F-word in question is a sworn farewell, there is suddenly cause for alarm (or celebration if you’re so inclined).

Stopping last night at the Cedar Park Center for what’s being billed as the “All Bad Things Must Come to an End” tour, the notorious hair-metal glam band swears this is the final bow. If so, it was a rowdy party made even better by melodic mop-tops the Raskins and special guest Alice Cooper. Give the Crue credit for having the guts to invite such a formidable legend.

Taking the stage in black-smudged eyes, Alice tightened his set into a no-time-to-waste lesson in momentum. Efficient and dripping with rabies, his backing band was a leather-and-studs vampire squad that delivered “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” “I’m Eighteen,” and “Under My Wheels” with assassin-like precision. As for Alice himself, his gorgeously wretched voice and corpse-skinny frame still packed the same venomous snarl and menace that scared the bejesus out of Mom and Dad back in 1973.

In a word, Alice and his band were killer – especially when his guillotine, ghouls and boa constrictor  lent their shock and awe to “The Ballad of Dwight Fry,” “Welcome to My Nightmare,” “Billion Dollar Babies” and a set-closing “School’s Out” — which perfectly oozed into Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall.” It was an eye-popping display of choreographed, yet somehow, spontaneous theatrics (including Cooper’s electrocuted transformation into a 12-foot zombie during “Feed My Frankenstein”). The crowd just loved it to death. You had to be there.

With marching orders from Uncle Alice, Motley Crue hit the stage with a big bang of pyro, lava-hot go-go girls and let’s party bravado. Nothing new there, but hey, if it ain’t broke … To his credit (for those keeping score), singer Vince Neil sang more than wheezed. He got plenty of high-pitched help from his near-naked back-up gals, but did the job better than years past as he powered his Crue through “Wild Side,” “Primal Scream,” “Looks that Kill” and “On With the Show.”

Had they scrapped the non-Eddie Van Halen guitar solo and bassist Nikki Sixx’s long-winded recap of the Crue’s history, L.A.’s baddest bad boys could have dug deeper into debut album “Too Fast For Love” and obscurities like “Toast of the Town” and “Stick to Your Guns.” If this is goodbye, why not blast some rarities instead of Sex Pistols and Brownsville Station covers?

Guitarist Mick Mars muffed the intro to “Shout at the Devil” and Neil had to ask if the crowd was still with him after the whine-and-cheese ballad, “Without You,” but overall, Motley Crue gave the fans what they wanted, namely scream-and-grind rock-n-roll, including drummer Tommy Lee’s hang-from-the-rafters drum solo (which oddly enough featured a vocal sample from John Corabi who replaced Vince Neil for a couple years).

The finish-line sprint of “Livewire,” “Too Young to Fall in Love,” “Girls, Girls, Girls” and a fist-bumping escort through the crowd that landed the band on a mini-stage for “Home Sweet Home” was indeed pretty sweet. Goodbye or good riddance, Motley Crue left a decent bruise.

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ALL THE YOUNG DUDES: Mick Mars, Vince Neil, Tommy Lee and Nikki Sixx circa 1981. Big-time fame and bigger trouble were right around the corner.

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PARTING SHOT: Nikki, Tommy, Vince and Mick in 2014.

Text originally published in
the Austin American-Statesman
July 10, 2014

By David Glessner
Special to the American-Statesman

When they started the band in 1981, all they needed was a laugh. Who knew aiming so low would get Mötley Crüe so high?

World-famous for more than three decades, the notorious sleaze-metal glam rockers have sold more than 80 million albums while turning bad behavior into sex tapes, jail time and overdoses. So much for a future in politics. Then again, why not?

Now a bit (ahem) tamer, Mötley Crüe struts into the Cedar Park Center on Tuesday for the “All Bad Things Must Come to an End” farewell tour. Shock-rock granddaddy Alice Cooper is special guest along with the Raskins. Expect a few choice words and skintight fashion as the Crüe lines up “Looks That Kill,” “Home Sweet Home” and “Wild Side” alongside the Coop’s “School’s Out,” “I’m Eighteen” and “No More Mr. Nice Guy.”

DEVIL MUSIC: Motley Crue's second album and a support tour with Ozzy Osbourne garnered international notoriety.

DEVIL MUSIC: Motley Crue’s second album and a support tour with Ozzy Osbourne garnered international notoriety.

Born in Los Angeles under the influence of Aerosmith, Cheap Trick and Slade, Mötley Crüe’s mix of glam-rock theatrics and punk-rock sneer became an X-rated version of Kiss (also in town this week, playing Saturday at the Austin360 Amphitheater; read our preview, published earlier this week, at austin360.comand mystatesman.com). A succession of albums — “Too Fast for Love,” “Shout at the Devil,” “Theatre of Pain,” “Girls, Girls, Girls” and “Dr. Feelgood” — produced a string of radio and MTV hits that pushed the poster boys for big hair, tattoos and strip-club shenanigans into Mom and Dad’s living room.

Being Mötley Crüe, of course, the victories were laced with peril. In 1984, drunken singer Vince Neil slammed his sports car into an oncoming vehicle, killing his passenger and injuring two others. By his own admission, Neil wrote a check for $2.5 million and spent 30 days in jail sneaking beers and at least one groupie.

DIRTY: Motley Crue's best-selling autobiography is a near-lethal lesson in sex, drugs and rock-n-roll.

DIRTY: Motley Crue’s best-selling autobiography is a near-lethal lesson in sex, drugs and rock-n-roll.

In 1987, bassist Nikki Sixx overdosed on heroin and died before the medics kick-started his heart with adrenaline shots. He was back on the needle the very next day.

In 1989, drummer Tommy Lee served six months behind bars for spousal abuse against Playboy/“Baywatch” bombshell Pamela Anderson. Meanwhile, demonic guitarist Mick Mars quietly struggled with his own addictions while battling a crippling spine disease that haunts him to this day.

All of the above and more threatens to be captured in a pending movie version of Mötley Crüe’s 2001 New York Times best-selling autobiography, “The Dirt.”

If this truly is goodbye for Mötley Crüe, there will be plenty who bid good riddance. As for Nikki, Vince, Tommy and Mick, they’d have it no other way.

SNAKE CHARMER: Alice Cooper has welcomed generations to his nightmare

SNAKE CHARMER: Alice Cooper has welcomed generations to his nightmare

Opening act: Alice Cooper

For all the depravity Mötley Crüe added to rock’s recipe for rebellion, it was a man named Alice who first handed it down. Predating Mötley Crüe by a decade, the former Vincent Furnier named himself after a 17th century witch following a Ouija board session and became the corpse-faced king of horror-show, shock-rock. Backed by an androgynous band of cadaverous misfits, Alice’s prop-filled concerts were a hideous wonderland of live boa constrictors, simulated beheadings, hypodermic needles and subservient ghouls.

Every parent’s nightmare during the early 1970s — and a notorious drunk who hid a cocaine habit until the recent release of his DVD documentary, “Super Duper Alice Cooper” — Alice’s wicked persona and songs like “Under My Wheels,” “Be My Lover” and “Billion Dollar Babies,” influenced every band from Kiss and the Sex Pistols to Guns N’ Roses, Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson. Today, at age 66, Alice is a sober golf enthusiast who could charm the cookies off June Cleaver.

Mötley Crüe — When: 7 p.m. Tuesday; Where: Cedar Park Center, 2100 Avenue of the Stars, Cedar Park; Cost: $65 to $145; Information: www.cedarparkcenter.com.

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GUN NUT FEVER: As an arena-rocker in the 1970s, Ted Nugent was an undisputed badass. In 2014, more often than not, he comes across as a Neanderthal jackass.

Ted Nugent

MOTOR CITY MARKSMAN: Nugent with his other weapon of choice

By Metal Dave

Of all the weapons at Ted Nugent’s disposal (his high-powered mouth, blazing guns and goofy redneck arrogance, etc.), I wish he’d just shut the hell up and pull the trigger on that Byrdland guitar.

Yeah, I absolutely loathe the Nuge’s suffocating politics, but I could never deny the slicing guitar and wild-eyed testosterone that fueled “Cat Scratch Fever,” “Wango Tango” and my personal favorite, “Great White Buffalo.”

The following was published in the San Antonio Express-News on Aug. 20, 1999. Like him or not, Ted is an over-the-top, all-American rock-n-roll icon. I just wish he’d lock down his overworked bear trap and let the music do the talking.

JUST WHAT THE NRA ORDERED: Nugent makes another point.

JUST WHAT THE NRA ORDERED: Cooter makes another point.

By David Glessner
Special to the Express-News

He’s known the world over as the “Motor City Madman,” “Terrible Ted” and even “Sweaty Teddy,” but to his publicist, the gonzo guitarist who penned “love” songs such as “Cat Scratch Fever” and “Wango Tango” is referred to as Mr. Nugent.

“Yeah, I’m blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful people,” Nugent said, prior to a gig in New Orleans. “I move at a high rate of speed and those people make it happen.”

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NUDE GENT: Ted in his semi-naked yesteryear

Talking is something else Nugent, who turns 51 in December, does at a high rate of speed. Like a campaigning politician, he is articulate, opinionated, confident and personable to the point of interjecting his interviewer’s first name whenever possible.

“I’m a prioritizer first and foremost,” he said, explaining how he balances rock ‘n’ roll, his outdoor adventure empire and his role as spokesperson for the right to bear arms. “I maintain a balance of the sonic bombast of my middle finger rock ‘n’ roll maneuvers with the ultra peaceful outdoor life.”

The outdoor life will be anything but peaceful at Sunken Garden Theater on Wednesday, when Mr. Nugent headlines the “Rock Never Stops” tour featuring Quiet Riot, Slaughter and Night Ranger. Nugent is joined by journeyman drummer Tommy Aldridge and bassist Jon Gunnell. (NOTE: Tix = $25-35)

“Without question, this is the most exciting period of my musical career,” Nugent said. “Together we’ve got more throb per mile, more grunt factor, a certain swagger. I want to raise maximum hell.”

Raising hell has been a Nugent specialty since he formed the Amboy Dukes back in 1965 and gained airplay with “Baby Please Don’t Go” and “Journey to the Center of the Mind.”

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ARENA WARRIOR: At one point in the 1970s, Nugent filled the nation’s biggest stadiums

A decade later, as a loincloth-wearing solo artist, he became notorious for his caveman-like stage persona and hyper-speed stage banter. Albums like “Free For All,” “Cat Scratch Fever,” “Double Live Gonzo” (partially recorded in San Antonio) and “Weekend Warriors” earned Nugent the title of world’s top-grossing concert act in 1977-1979. Through it all, he staunchly opposed the drugs and alcohol that seem to go hand-in-hand with rock ‘n’ roll.

“I’m absolutely militant against that nonsense,” he said. “I have never, ever been willing to compromise my level of awareness, and that can be traced back to my hunting. Jerry Garcia despised me and I couldn’t be more proud.”

Nugent’s calendar is divided equally between music and hunting.

SHOOT TO GRILLNugent takes aim at dinner and leftovers.

SHOOT TO GRILL: Nugent takes aim at dinner and leftovers.

“I’ve never missed a hunting season since 1949 when I was 1 year-old and hanging on my dad’s back,” he said.

Since then, he’s been honored by countless law-enforcement agencies and the National Rifle Association, where he serves on the Board of Directors. A bow hunter as well as rifleman who eats his kills, Nugent blames the media for the hysteria surrounding the gun debate.

“More than 100 million law-abiding gun owners went to bed last night without any incident of death, misuse or negligence,” he piped. “The media is quick to report about the idiot in Atlanta who shot up an office building, but where the good guys have firepower, lives are saved. Dan Rather doesn’t tell you that.”

Ask him if musical acts such as Insane Clown Posse or Eminem influence the deadly actions of some of today’s youth, and Nugent goes on a tear.

“There’s always been stupid music,” he said. “Some people say ‘Wango Tango’ is stupid, but it’s fun. These rap guys … not a day goes by when I don’t pick up a paper and read about one who’s busted for drugs or illegal weapons or stealing. I (urinate) on their graves. In the absence of good parents, decent guidance and nurturing, those guys become meaningful.”

Back to the music, Nugent said he recently covered “Rag Doll” for an upcoming Aerosmith tribute album and expects to have new solo and Damn Yankees albums out early next year. In the meantime, he’s got his sights set on Texas.

“The hospitality of the people in Texas is incredible,” he said. “I go hunting in Kerrville every December, head out to Junction, rock San Antonio, Dallas, Houston. Those people are my blood brothers. I consider myself an official Texan.”

BELOW: One of my favorite Nugent hits. The audio/video synch is pretty horrible, but DAMN that rhythm guitarist MEANS it at the :39-second mark (and if you miss it, they repeat the exact same clip at 1:21). Rock, dude!

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DOWN CAST: These perky fellas are, left to right, drummer Jimmy Bower, guitarist Bobby Landgraf, singer Philip Anselmo, bassist Pat Bruders and guitarist Pepper Keenan. Don’t make them come looking for you.

THE RIPPER: Bobby Rock channels his inner Glenn Tipton

THE RIPPER: Bobby Rock channels his inner Glenn Tipton. Earlier this year, Bobby replaced Kirk Windstein. who left Down to focus on his other band, Crowbar.

By Metal Dave

It’s always cool when one of your own slugs his way into the rock-roll Big Leagues. It’s even cooler when the gig is awarded after years of proven loyalty and tested behind-the-scenes service.

Ladies and gents, please give a hearty hoot-n-howdy to Down guitarist Bobby “Rock” Landgraf, a veteran of the Austin music scene (Honky, Gahdzilla Motor Company, Nosebleed, Continental Club sound man, etc.) who recently was promoted to stage duty after seven years of working as the band’s guitar tech and stage manager.

Returning to Austin on Saturday to play Emo’s (ticket info here), Bobby was kind enough to corral a few of his Down mates for a round of 2Fast2Die’s “Ask…” Be sure to get your copy of Bobby’s recorded Down debut “Down IV Pt II,” get your concert tickets, ice the beer and help give our boy a proper Down-home, Austin homecoming this Saturday.

2FAST2DIE: What’s up, Honky? Congrats again on being named an official member of Down. Well deserved! And what the hell? I’ll just go right ahead and speak for all of Austin when I say we couldn’t be prouder. So, what album from your youth helped put you where you are today?

JP sharpBOBBY LANDGRAF: Metal Dave, my man! When you asked me to name the record that stole my soul I thought about Judas Priest “Unleashed in the East.” My jam box was never without that cassette. I had already started playing guitar, but that record helped focus where I was going as a guitar player. Song after song of relentless guitar chops. I learned every damn song on it. It was the most jammed-in-my-room record EVER. I convinced myself that I could tell the difference between Glenn Tipton and KK Downing’s chops. Then, I finally saw them live on the “British Steel” tour w/Iron Maiden’s first album tour. It’s then that I saw them both getting it. I then realized who played what and decided that Glenn Tipton was my hero. Nothin’ against KK at all. He is a Daddy-O as well. I even had the blue half-sleeved “Live in Japan” Priest shirt. Even though they Live in England. Oh well … It’s funny to me that after all I’ve done and played all these years, it’s come full circle. Although in Honky I have a Billy Gibbons type thing going, now that I play guitar in Down I can embrace my inner Glenn Tipton.

zappaPAT BRUDERS: Out of all the records I would dig out of my parents records, I always kept putting on Frank Zappa’s “Over-Nite Sensation.” In this one album you have everything you needed to hear in a rock album, and way ahead of its time covering many styles of music including heavier styles that were not yet achieved for its time in 1973. I know a lot of people who wouldn’t get it as I grew up trying to turn them on to this record, but no one had to explain it to me, and it opened me up to a whole new world growing up as a music listener first, and then later as a musician. Zappa to me is one person who could roll all styles of music into one with genius precision, and was truly a Mozart of his time and for all time. He was also an ambassador for social issues no one else  wanted to take on. Listen to this record, or any of his records, with an extremely open mind and you’ll see what I mean. If not, keep listening to the same boring shit.

GPTJIMMY BOWER: If I had to define one album that changed my life, it would have to be The Melvins’ “Gluey Porch Treatments”! Why you ask?
1. This album totally defined the band I heard in my head.
2. This album changed my outlook on drums and inspired me to pick up the guitar.
3. Dale Crover’s drumming style to me was unorthodox and fresh. The heaviest drumming I had ever heard.
4. Same thing with Buzz Osborne’s guitar sound and use of feedback truly inspired me.
5. The songs on this record are truly unpredictable at a first listen and follow no formula.


2FAST2DIE SAYS: According to Bobby, Pepper Keenan cited Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” in passing, but never did elaborate. Phil Anselmo was unavailable for comment. Overall, I’d say Down’s bag of influences has more variety than a Cheech & Chong sampler. Careful, son. This ain’t for lightweights!

For more Down info including tour, tickets and merch, go here. To see and hear new track, “We Knew Him Well,” click below.

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C’MERE LARS!: Before being kicked out of Metallica, Dave Mustaine left his songwriting prints all over that band’s classic first two albums.

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ANGRY AGAIN: Mustaine unleashes another pained snarl

By Metal Dave

I‘ve interviewed Dave Mustaine a handful of times, but never has he hijacked our conversation so quickly (or incoherently) as the one that follows. Published in the San Antonio Express-News in 2009, I never got past “Hello.” Brace yourself for the loopty-loop …

By David Glessner
Special to the Express-News

Dave Mustaine doesn’t do interviews so much as he takes them hostage. Calling from California to discuss his latest album, “Endgame,” one has to wonder if even a root canal could interrupt the Megadeth mouthpiece.

“I’m pretty well ready to do my job,” says the iconic heavy metal vocalist and guitarist regarding last-minute tour preparations. “I just make sure I have my workout gear and my personal stuff together, and make sure I have what I need on stage. It’s a matter of, ‘How dedicated am I?’ Is this a joke? Is this a hobby? When it’s time to go, I’m ready.”

Ready and apparently then some, Mustaine brings Megadeth to Sunken Gardens Theater on Tuesday for a snarling display of speed-metal supremacy. Machine Head, Suicide Silence and Arcanium open the show.

Touring in support of “Endgame,” Megadeth is back with an excellent twelfth album full of head-rattling riffs, shred-tastic guitar noodling and the venomous vocals that have made Mustaine one of the most polarizing and politically outspoken personalities in heavy metal.

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FAIR GAME: Despite a lack of promotional push, Megadeth’s 12th album was a ferociously good effort.

“When you have a record like (‘Endgame’) and you look at the sales and they just aren’t there, you start to take that personally,” Mustaine says, hinting at a lack of promotional push from his record label, Roadrunner Records. “I gotta tell you, it’s been so frustrating for us the last few years with the way things are going in the music industry. I remember back when people would say something and then keep their word. I remember back when people that worked at radio actually knew what working at radio meant. The reviews are great, but the other side of it is really frustrating and you start to second guess yourself.”

As one of heavy metal’s most accomplished architects, there is no second guessing Mustaine and his contributions. An original member of Metallica and the mastermind behind such classic Megadeth albums as “Killing is my Business …and Business is Good,” “Peace Sells … But Who’s Buying?” “Rust in Peace,” “Countdown to Extinction” and “Youthanasia,” the always outspoken and opinionated Mustaine is credited alongside Slayer, Anthrax and Metallica with creating and perfecting thrash metal.

“Am I satisfied? No,” Mustaine asks and answers. “Am I content? Yeah. Is there a difference? Sure there is. Content, for me, is being placated and active versus being satisfied, which means you’re in a place where you don’t want anything else. Would I rather have a belly full of beans or would I rather have a very nice dinner of sushi?

DRINKING IS MY BUSINESS ...  Mustaine and Hetfield in the early daze of Metallica.

DRINKING IS MY BUSINESS … Mustaine and Hetfield displaying great fashion sense during the early daze of Alcohollica.

“I look at my career and I know what I’ve accomplished,” Mustaine continues. “Between my career with Megadeth and the songs I’ve written and sold with Metallica, I’ve sold more than 60 million records around the world. I’m currently rated as a top guitar player, I’m really inspired and this is one of the greatest periods of my life.”

“Endgame” got a shot of fresh blood from new guitarist Chris Broderick, formerly of Jag Panzer, who joins journeyman bassist James Lomenzo and drummer Shaun Drover.

“The relationship with Chris is really unique because he’s such an incredible talent and, fortunately for me, he’s either really humble or he’s either really unaware of how great he really is,” Mustaine says.

Besides leading his band, Mustaine recently began programming music and telling stories on the Internet radio station Megadeth Radio, available at www.iheartradio.com.

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WHITE SHREDDING: Somewhere along the way, Mustaine traded his Venom T-shirt for a wedding-ready, button-down number. Can someone please get him back in black?

“I’m currently going through the playlist which is about 2,000 to 3,000 songs, and I’m adding stuff as we go along,” he says. “I want the world to know that it’s bull(crap) what everybody keeps saying about me having a problem with Metallica. There is no problem, and to prove this, I put them on my radio show. So, we’ll see how much longer this nonsense keeps going. It’ll go on forever, I imagine, but hopefully there will be a new wave of young metal fans that go, ‘You know what? You guys that believe that (crap), you go ahead and believe it, but we’re smarter than that.”

As a parting shot, Mustaine lightens up and takes it all in stride.

“You’ve got to take it when you can get it, because the music industry is so fickle,” he says with a laugh. “I remember in ’92, I had the No. 2 record in the nation and the reason I didn’t have No. 1? Billy Ray Cyrus and his ‘Achy Breaky Heart’ song! If we didn’t have a nation of obese housewives that sit around ironing all day listening to Billy Ray Cyrus, we would have had a No. 1. But, you know, that chick’s gotta rock, too.”

To see and hear “Endgame” lead single, “Head Crusher,” click below and crack your neck

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TORN FROM JIMMY’S PAGE: Les Paul and all, Stevie D admits to borrowing heavily from Led Zeppelin’s legendary guitar hero. As co-guitarist in Buckcherry, Stevie has also made a nice little dent for himself while sharing stages with KISS, AC/DC, Aerosmith and Motley Crue. Sure beats swinging a hammer on a rooftop in July.

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BLACK (UNDER)DOG: Led Zeppelin’s 1976 concert movie soundtrack, ‘The Song Remains the Same,’ is often overshadowed by the band’s towering discography.

By Metal Dave

I first met “Stevie D” in an alley off the Sunset Strip (and no, it wasn’t for the purpose of some illicit exchange).

The year was 2004 (or was it ’05?) and I’d flown to Los Angeles to meet the Crank County Daredevils as they pillaged their way to the West Coast following a “debaucherfest” at my home in Austin, TX.

Having made friends years prior with Buckcherry singer Josh Todd and guitarist Keith Nelson, I talked them into meeting us on their home turf. They agreed and somewhere during the hugs and handshakes, I was told Buckcherry was quietly reforming after a brief hiatus and Stevie would be “the new guy.” A year or so later, Buckcherry was re-lit and exploding bigger than ever with the album “15″ and the monster hits, “Crazy Bitch” and “Sorry.”

Today, Buckcherry is touring in support of “Confessions,” a sixth album that swings like a wrecking ball at a time when the band could be coasting. The tour stops in Texas later this week, including San Antonio on Friday, April 18 (ticket info below), so I asked Stevie what album made him want to rock.

2FAST2DIE: Hey, Stevie, thanks for the great work on “Confessions.” It’s a knockout album and it’s been in heavy rotation at 2Fast2Die since its release. I love it. Speaking of great albums, which one stole your soul as a kid and got you hooked on rock-n-roll?

STEVIE DACANAY: That’s a tough one! I could easily say “Back In Black,” “Axis: Bold as Love,” “Strangers In The Night…” All influential in my early years, and all still in rotation today. Probably the most influential for me was Led Zeppelin’s “The Song Remains The Same.” It was the soundtrack for my life with or without a guitar in high school. It’s funny, even now when I’m in the bus and the movie is re-running in the front lounge, I’ll hear Jimmy Page play something and I’ll laugh to myself and think … “Ya, I totally ripped that off ;)”

2FAST2DIE SAYS: In Led Zeppelin’s holiest of houses, “The Song Remains the Same” is basically wallpaper. Not necessarily because it’s a bad album, of course, but because it’s surrounded by the Stonehenge of hard-rock records. That said, an all-time favorite album is ALL about personal memories and everlasting resonance — not historical hindsight and mainstream significance — which is why it’s so cool that Stevie chose something a whole lotta less than obvious. Thanks for playing, brother!

For more on Buckcherry, including tour dates and ticket info, go here.

FUTURE FOUND: Reunited cult-punk favorites The Streetwalkin' Cheetahs are, left to right, Bruce Duff, Frank Meyer, Dino Everett and Mike Sessa. A fierce live band that first formed in 1995 (with Myer's actor-brother Breckin Meyer on drums), the Cheetahs are back on tour and writing new songs. Consider yourself warned.

FUTURE FOUND: Reunited cult-punk favorites The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs are, left to right, Bruce Duff, Frank Meyer, Dino Everett and Mike Sessa. A fierce live band that first formed in 1995 (with Myer’s actor-brother Breckin Meyer on drums), the Cheetahs are back on tour and writing new songs. Consider yourself warned.

Cheetahs tour poster

TWO-HEADED MONSTER: The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs join Cheetah Chrome for a tour beginning April 3. Dates and ticket info are linked below.

By Metal Dave

The Stretwalkin’ Cheetahs didn’t enter my life with a warm smile and friendly handshake. No sir, they brick-bashed my ears and chainsawed my face in an ambush of chaos and decibels. Of course, I’m eternally grateful.

As best I can recall, the year was 1999 and I somehow dragged my quivering corpse to yet another SXSW gig, because I just HAD to see the Backyard Babies and the Dragons who were sharing a bill with the Cheetahs and local heroes/villains, The Bulemics. I had no idea who the Cheetahs were, but after Bulemics singer Gerry Atric was dragged off stage in handcuffs for showering the crowd with broken glass, I was fairly certain I’d survived the night’s most belligerent assault. Boy, was I ever wrong.

The Cheetahs didn’t just take the stage, they stormed it like a do-or-die jailbreak.  The sweat exploded, the energy was ballistic and the whole self-inflicted, punk-rock whiplash had me convinced the band would leave in an ambulance. It was devastating in the best possible way and still stands as one of the Top 5 gigs I’ve ever witnessed and survived.

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NO SLEEP ‘TIL AUSTIN: When the Cheetahs returned to SXSW in 2001, they slept on my apartment floor. The specifics are as foggy as this photo of Frank and I, but I do recall turning them on to Broken Teeth and landing a steady gig writing for Frank who, at the time, was serving as managing editor of KNAC.com. We’ve been friends for life ever since.

Needless to say, I was fairly bummed when the band called it quits in 2002. Fortunately, not all good things must come to an end. Sometimes they just need a break before they kill themselves (or worse) in a fit of music-biz burn-out and murderous frustration.

Not only are the Cheetahs reunited and roaring back with killer new material — including the feel good song of the summer (below) — they’re also revving up to tour with their longtime pal and legendary Dead Boys guitarist, Cheetah Chrome, beginning next week (dates below).

But enough from me, here’s frontman “Streetwalkin’” Frank Meyer to give you the good, the better and the completely insane …

So what prompted the Cheetahs reunion?
Last May, Ruyter from Nashville Pussy and I went to go see Turbonegro and saw some kids in Streetwalkin’ Cheetah’s T-shirts. When she introduced me to a few people and they all had stories of seeing the Cheetahs around various parts of the world, it dawned on me that there was still awareness of the band in some circles. So I called up Dino and Mike Sessa, and we agreed to get together and rehearse to see how it sounded. Art Jackson has retired from music so he passed, and we got our old pal Bruce Duff from ADZ on second guitar. It sounded like the old days right away and we quickly wrote a bunch of new material. So now we are hitting the road with Cheetah Chrome to support a new single on Little T&A Records.

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CHOKING THE CHEETAH: Frank Meyer unleashing his inner raw power just like he did the night I first saw him during a sweat-soaked assault on SXSW.

Is this a long-term reunion? Are you back to stay?
Yes, we are back for good. The “Escape From New York City”/”Fuck The Future” single (Little T&A Records) is our first new release in well over a decade. We have tons of new songs, so the plan is to record and release a new single every 3-4 months for the next year, and then collect that and some other new tunes into a new album for next year. We will be hitting the road throughout the year to support all this activity. The Cheetah Chrome tour in April is simply the first of many tours to come. Little T&A has agreed to release this first single, and likely more…though we haven’t made a commitment for the full album with anyone quite yet. But we’re really happy with them. Got awesome new music videos for both new tracks coming very soon too, including a John Carpenter-themed “Escape From New York” tribute video directed by horror movie director Joe Lynch.

You and new Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs guitarist Bruce Duff (ADZ. 45 Grave, Jesters of Destiny) played with Cheetah Chrome in 2004. Any stories from that era?
I first met Cheetah in 2003 when Ramones tour manager Monte Melnick and I interviewed him for our book “On the Road with the Ramones.” But Bruce already knew him from when they both played if Jeff Dahl’s band in the ‘80s. Our post-Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs band Sweet Justice — which featured Bruce — opened for Rocket From the Tombs in LA in 2004, where Cheetah and I discussed doing some shows together. So a few months later, Sweet Justice and Cheetah did a west coast tour where we backed him up each night playing Dead Boys, RFTT and solo stuff from his repertoire. We ended going to Spain for some festivals, and that’s when things got really crazy.

Go on …
So, one time we played in this small beach town that happened to be the port for all the cocaine that comes into Europe, so there were piles upon piles of cocaine EVERYWHERE. The first night of the festival, our buddies, the Lords of Altamont, played and while they were on, some kid ran up on stage and darted behind the curtain for the backstage catering. He grabbed the entire roasted pig and hurled it into the crowd. Suddenly, thousands of punk-rock kids are ripping this huge pig apart and throwing the meat around like a giant food fight. It was raining pig meat and blood. Then they tossed all the meat onto the stage and covered the band in it. It was disgusting … and hilarious! Cheetah and I laughed for days. A few months later when the Lords played LA, me and Bruce went to the store and bought a bunch of ham. When the band hit the stage, we tossed some ham on their feet so they’d remember our trip to Spain. They were only slightly amused.

For Two-Headed Cheetah tour dates beginning April 3, go here. For the Cheetahs on Facebook, go here.
For the Cheetah’s brand-new, feel-good song, “Fuck the Future,” click below and free free to sing along.