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‘CHEERS’ FROM A KILLER: Interesting to note how Paul Di’Anno signs with a lower-case “a” in “Di’Anno,” yet his album credits and website alternate between lower and upper. I’m guessing lower-case makes for a quicker autograph.

By Metal Dave

Somewhere between 1990 and 1992, I was sitting beside Paul Di’Anno on a Dumpster-ready backstage couch at the Showcase Events Center in San Antonio. Paul was eagerly devouring American-brand cigarettes and graciously obliging my unscheduled interview. A few hours later, the former Iron Maiden singer would take the stage with his then-new band, Killers.

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‘IRON LADY': Maiden mascot “Eddie” casts his vote against Margaret Thatcher.

In the end, I had no media outlet available to publish the interview. It was too late for the daily newspaper and at the time I had no solid connections to national or international metal magazines (this was also before the modern age of websites, blogs and other more immediate outlets). The interview tape is also lost to the ages, which is very uncharacteristic for a hoarder like me. Don’t even ask why I didn’t bring a point-and-shoot.

Regardless, as a huge Iron Maiden fan, I was thrilled to be chatting with the guy whose voice launched one of heavy metal’s most immortal bands. After about an hour, the cigarette fog got downright toxic and Paul excused himself to tend to business. Together, we walked out the back door of the venue where my car was parked and he kindly signed an obnoxiously thick stack of records (“Iron Maiden,” “Killers,” “Maiden Japan,” the Margaret Thatcher EP) and two black-and-white photos ripped from the pages of “Iron Maiden: Running Free.” 

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EMBATTLED TOME: Di’Anno’s book will likely not win him any new fans.

About eight years later, I was on proper assignment for KNAC.com and got a second chance to interview Paul (I plan to post it in the near future). Again, it was a fun conversation full of insight regarding his tumultuous history and adventures with Iron Maiden, Killers, Battlezone and other musical endeavors.

And then along came Paul’s 2010 tell-all autobiography, “The Beast.” To say it makes him nearly impossible to like may be an understatement. His penchant for violence, drugs and other misbehavior is dangerously over-the-top and not the least bit funny (at least other tell-all, rock-n-roll books make you chuckle a bit over the band members’ self-inflicted stupidity).

It’s a shame Paul felt compelled to tarnish his vocal legacy with 350-plus pages of thuggish behavior (and nary a trace of remorse). Me? I prefer to remember his singing and the times he gifted me with his generosity. For that, I say thanks. For the rest, I hope he gets help.

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ATOMIC PUNKS: Left to right, Kickin Valentina is drummer Jimmy Berdine, guitarist Heber Pampillon, singer Joe Edwards and bassist Chris Taylor.

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By Metal Dave

If Scandinavian sleaze rock crashed into vintage Hollywood hair metal, the shattering sonic slam might sound like Kickin Valentina.

Gruff and nasty, these Atlanta-based, raunch-n-rollers are back with their second platter, “Super Atomic.”

Opening with “Sermon,” which is actually a mini-narrative about the corrupting evils of rock-n-roll, the six-song “Super Atomic” gets banging with “On My Side.” A bazooka blast of hard-drumming thunder and biker-boot stomp, there’s not a door left on the hinges when this one rattles to a halt. Holy mother of Molotov!

Next up is lead single and video, “Wrong Way.” A smoldering, mid-tempo tune that never really ignites (although it sorta, kinda grows on you after repeated listens), “Wrong Way” is hardly the most exciting song here, but likely got the nod as lead single due to its grinding, more universal dance-ability.

“When You’re Gone” finds Kickin Valentina back up and swinging on a groove that semi-recalls Motley Crue’s “Wildside” until the floating chorus and (subtle) keyboard stabs swerve it into its very own memorable identity. “Fist N Twist” follows with a frantic, punk-ish approach that  — despite the questionable title and chorus — makes for a great, Broken Teeth-style adrenaline punch. A real shouter, this one!

The title track, unfortunately, is riddled with overbaked lyrics (“designer jeans,” “spray tan,” “Daddy’s cash”), but musically and vocally, “Super Atomic” is a melodic bombshell that vibes like something from The Cult’s “Sonic Temple” or Alice Cooper’s “Trash.” Great singing and a swaggering groove make it diabolically impossible to shake.

And then? Oh, boy, here comes “Some Kind of Sex.” Again, a contagiously crushing song hobbled by lyrics so blatantly “naughty” (“condom in your hair?” “I’m doing your best friend,” “we’re all just f**kin’ whores!”) they come off like Steel Panther minus the intentional wink. Yeesh! Props, nonetheless, for mega-ton riffage.

It has to be said that singer Joe Edwards is badder than Samuel L. Jackson’s wallet. With a star-making voice that’s soulful, husky and seemingly scarred by corrosive excess, this guy’s vocals are the stuff of hard-rock wish lists. I’m talking, WOW! Dude gets my vote for best new singer.

Guitarist Heber Pampillon shreds without over-noodling, and bassist Chris Taylor (ex-Rockets to Ruin) along with drummer Jimmy Berdine bring a volcanic punch spiked with skull-knocking, double-kick fills. As players, Kickin Valentina holds all the aces.

Like the self-titled 2013 debut EP (with added roaring production), “Super Atomic” is way more blast than bomb and further proof that Kickin Valentina is a serious contender. The talent, ‘tude and vocals are all a slam-dunk if they can just raise the bar on lyrics and maybe deliver a full-length, 8- or 10-song album next time. Until then, I’m still on board and paying lots of attention. You should, too.

* Overall Grade: B-
* Favorite Tracks: “On My Side,” “Super Atomic”

* For Fans of: Hardcore Superstar, L.A. Guns, mirror shades and double-fisting at last call

For a review of Kickin Valentina’s debut EP, go here. For new single/video for “Wrong Way,” click below.

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HEAVY DUTY: The expanded reissue of Judas Priest’s “Defenders of the Faith” album includes a remastered version of the original 10-track studio recording, a bonus 21-track concert recording from the ensuing tour and retrospective liner notes.

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HELLBENT FOR PRIEST: My San Antonio concert stub.

By Metal Dave

Compared to my other youthful offenses, lying to my parents so I could attend my first Judas Priest concert is practically cute today. Seriously. Just ask my Mom.

The year was 1984. My co-conspirator was my younger sister who — despite a mighty showing by the storming Priest (and a hungry Great White) — would somehow prove immune to the seductive corruption of heavy metal concerts. Hey, I tried!

Now, some 31 years after telling Mom and Dad I was spending the night at a friend’s house, Judas Priest has re-released an expanded version of 1984’s “Defenders of the Faith” album. For obvious reasons, I always think of this album as a guilty pleasure, but not in the same sense as Bon Jovi or Apple Jacks. I also consider “Defenders” to be Judas Priest’s last truly classic album.

Studded with such soon-to-be, fan-favorites as “Freewheel Burning,” “Jawbreaker,” “The Sentinel,” “Some Heads Are Gonna Roll” and “Love Bites,” “Defenders of the Faith” proved a formidable follow-up to Priest’s now-classic 1982 breakthrough album, “Screaming for Vengeance.” For added good measure, “Defenders” also contained “Night Comes Down” (a personal favorite), the Tipper Gore panty twister, “Eat Me Alive,” and cover artwork by “Screaming” artist Doug Johnson (who also did JP’s 1986 album, “Turbo”). Now newly remastered by celebrated Priest producer Tom Allom, the reissued 10-track “Defenders” boasts added muscle and might.

Reissues, of course, almost always need to sweeten the cake and this is where “Defenders” redux delivers a goodie. Recorded live at Long Beach Arena on the 1984 “Defenders” tour, the added 21-track, two-disc concert is must-have nostalgia. I mean, how can you possibly go wrong with a Priest concert that backtracks from 1984? Exactly! You can’t.

The audio is a bit bottom-heavy in places and “Desert Plains” loses some of its vibe because it’s played too fast, but it’s impossible to numb the exhilarating rush of “Grinder,” “The Sinner,” “Victim of Changes,” “The Green Manalishi (with the Two-Pronged Crown),” “Hellbent for Leather” and “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming” mixed with then-new tracks from “Defenders.” And hey, do I even need to remind you there are few greater pleasures in all of heavy metal than hearing Rob Halford singing live at his peak? If so, please retire your black leather jacket.

As for the packaging, “Defenders” gets an embossed variation of the original artwork, period photos, liner notes from both band and my fellow/former Metal Edge magazine scribe, Bryan Reesman (whose liners have been previously blessed by the Priest) and a humorous retelling of the time when Priest fans uprooted and started tossing the seats at Madison Square Garden leading to a lifetime ban and $250,000 in damages (or upgrades if we’re telling the truth).

The reissued “Defenders” follows 2012’s beautifully reissued “Screaming for Vengeance,” which added bonus tracks and a live recording of Judas Priest’s monumental 1983 US Festival performance. Pair both alongside last year’s excellent new studio album, “Redeemer of Souls,” and the recent output of Judas Priest makes for a welcome series of high notes.

* Overall Grade: A-
* Favorite Tracks: “Night Comes Down,” “The Sentinel,” “Some Heads Are Gonna Roll”
* For Fans of: Definitive heavy metal, living after midnight, black leather

For more on Judas Priest, including tour dates and ticket info for the upcoming May 14 gig in Austin, click here.

 

 

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ACES HIGH: It’s little surprise that the return of singer Bruce Dickinson, center, and guitarist Adrian Smith, far left, re-sharpened the spikes of the mighty Iron Maiden. The returning pair joined, left-to-right, guitarist Jancik Gers, drummer Nicko McBrain, bassist Steve Harris and guitarist Dave Murray to re-establish Iron Maiden as heavy metal conquerors.

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BEAST MASTER: Not only is Steve Harris the visionary and co-founder of the almighty Iron Maiden, he also ranks as one of heavy metal’s elite bass players (arguably the very best).

The following interview with Iron Maiden bassist and founding member Steve Harris originally published Aug. 6, 1999 in the San Antonio Express-News
under my professional byline, David Glessner

The bugle sounds and the charge begins Saturday when reloaded British heavy metal troopers Iron Maiden gallop into Sunken Garden Theater.

The concert marks the much-anticipated return of vocalist Bruce “Air Raid Siren” Dickinson following a six-year solo career that saw the much-loved screamer replaced by Blaze Bayley.

“It was a mutual decision,” bassist Steve Harris said of Bayley’s departure and Dickinson’s reinstatement. “(Bayley) wanted to do a solo thing and he’ll have an album out at the end of the year. He’s happy and so are we.”

As a bonus, former Maiden guitarist Adrian Smith is also back, although not at the expense of longtime replacement Janick Gers. The duo is complemented by founding guitarist Dave Murray, bringing the total of guitar shredders to three. Veteran drummer Nicko McBrain rounds out Maiden’s galloping sound.

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HE HAS THE FIRE, HE HAS THE FORCE: Hyper-athletic frontman Bruce Dickinson reigns as one of metal’s most operatic voices

“When Bruce came back, a lot of people weren’t surprised,” Harris said, phoning from France. “Adrian coming back and keeping Janick surprised people. Having three of them actually makes things a little heavier. They spread (the guitar solos) out pretty evenly.”

Dickinson, who recorded the solo album “Tattooed Millionaire” in 1990 while still fronting Maiden, eventually left the band in 1993 for a full-time solo career that steadily gained momentum – especially when Smith turned up to play guitar in recent years. As fate would have it, both were destined to return to the band they helped turn into a globe-trotting, multimillion-selling act that is rightly praised as one of metal’s most influential.

“We had a meeting with Bruce at the end of January and we weren’t sure which way things were going to go,” Harris continued. “There’ve been big rumors about Bruce’s return for some time, but we adamantly denied them, because at the time, they weren’t true. Unbeknownst to us, the fans were right. They must’ve had a crystal ball or something.”

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ED BANGER: Maiden’s interactive, double-disc CD offers an audio and visual journey through the dark side.

Supernatural powers aside, Maiden’s latest release is a glimpse into the future as well as the past. “Ed Hunter” is a double-CD greatest-hits package with an added interactive PC game that allows players to interact with Eddie, Iron Maiden’s eternal, rotting corpse mascot.

“It’s basically a shoot ‘em up game,” Harris explained. “It has superb graphics from all the album covers. You basically travel through all these worlds that have something in common with the album covers.”

Those covers began frightening the world in 1980 when Iron Maiden’s same-titled debut was released. The cover art featured a screaming, glowing-eyed Eddie, who mutated and reappeared on subsequent albums such as “Killers,” “The Number of the Beast,” “Piece of Mind” and the double-live opus, “Live After Death.”

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YO, ADRIAN!: Along with co-guitarist Dave Murray, Adrian Smith is responsible for some of metal’s most blistering dual guitar solos

By the time Dickinson replaced original vocalist Paul Di’Aanno in time for 1982’s “The Number of the Beast” album, Maiden’s grotesque cover art, headbanger image and literate lyrics of war, mythology and history had religious zealots in a clatter. The ludicrous charges of devil worship are long gone in the age of Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie.

“We put a backward message on ‘Piece of Mind’ and people went over the top,” Harris said. “I don’t miss it at all. Someone else can take the heat.”

Maiden took some heat of its own in recent years, especially from American fans who had a difficult time accepting Bayley in place of Dickinson. The band’s last San Antonio appearance was peppered with boos as Bayley and the boys played more recent, expansive material rather than the wealth of fire and brimstone classics Maiden has at its disposal.

“It was bloody hot, I remember that,” Harris said of last July’s concert. “I thought we were brave doing a lot of stuff off the new albums. We were doing those songs all over the world and it was going great. In America, the albums didn’t (sell) as well and when people don’t know the material, they’re a bit bewildered. We thought it was the right decision. We didn’t’ want to do a best-of (set). We’re doing that now.”

SIDEBARS:
Dave’s digit:
Iron Maiden guitarist Dave Murray fractured the little finger of his left (fretting) hand in an on-stage fall during the encore July 30 in Los Angeles. Shows were cancelled in San Jose last Saturday and Las Vegas Monday, but the tour reportedly was back on track as of last night in El Paso.
Bruce’s birthday: Bruce Dickinson’s return to San Antonio will be doubly triumphant s the singer celebrates his 41st birthday Saturday. Born Paul Bruce Dickinson in 1958, the British fencer, pilot and Deep Purple fan first gained fame in the new wave of British heavy metal band Samson before he won the job as Paul Di’Anno’s replacement in Iron Maiden in 1981.
Opening Acts: Pushmonkey and Puya

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HELLBENT FOR LEATHER: For 40-plus years, Rob Halford and Judas Priest have defined the look and sound of heavy metal. The band formed in Birmingham, England in 1969 and broke big in the United States with the now-classic 1982 album, ‘Screaming for Vengeance.’

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REDEEMED WITH A VENGEANCE: The latest album from Judas Priest is a fine return to form.

By David Glessner
Special to the American-Statesman

Rob Halford has been sober since 1986, but that won’t stop him from scoring a fix when he lands in Austin this week. Worry not, however, as he won’t be breaking the law.

“I love Mexican food,” said the 63-year-old Judas Priest singer, calling from his native Great Britain. “That’s one thing I don’t get in England. When I get to Austin, I’ll be first in line for a burrito.”

Headlining the Fun, Fun, Fun Fest on Friday, Halford and Judas Priest are undisputed heavy metal legends thanks to such classic albums as “Sad Wings of Destiny,” “British Steel” and “Screaming for Vengeance.” Known for their leather-and-studs wardrobe, dueling lead guitars and Halford’s operatic wail, Judas Priest is promoting its latest album, “Redeemer of Souls.” Released earlier this year, the album has garnered critical praise as a blazing return-to-form following mixed reviews of 2008’s double-disc concept album, “Nostradamus.”

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UNCERTAIN PREDICTION: Judas Priest’s double-disc concept album earned a divisive vote among fans.

“It was time to regroup and re-emphasize all the things people love about Judas Priest,” Halford said. “Concept records are very out of the ballpark. We love ‘Nostradamus’ and a lot of fans loved it, too, but it’s the kind of record you have to commit to and invest time in to get the full idea. We had fun with it, but decided it was time to get back to what Priest has been doing for, God, 40 years now (laughs)?”

Melodically metallic and heavily armed with pummeling drums, slashing guitars and Halford’s signature vocals (which, he admits, are dialed down a notch from his piercing yelps of yore), “Redeemer of Souls” is available as a standard 13-track album or a deluxe edition featuring a five-song bonus disc (hint: buy the deluxe edition).

In other words, “Redeemer of Souls” is a triumphant case of the metal gods’ cup runneth over.

“They are great songs, aren’t they?” Halford said of the bonus tracks. “They’ve got their own feel and almost sound like the start of a whole new record. So, do you stick them in the vault? Do you hide them? Do you keep them for some other occasion? We felt it was important to put them out there so our fans are able to have all the material if they choose.”

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FAULKIN’ HELL!: New guitarist Richie Faulkner is filling massive shoes as the replacement for founding member and fan-favorite, KK Downing.

“Redeemer of Souls” also marks the recorded Priest debut of insanely capable guitarist Richie Faulkner. Paired with founding guitarist Glenn Tipton, Faulkner replaces disgruntled original co-guitarist K.K. Downing who departed in XX.

“We told Richie from the get-go, ‘You are your own man and we want you to stand on that stage and be Richie Faulkner,’” Halford said. “He did that night after night on the last tour and made an immediate connection with the fans. By the time we recorded the new album, he was already fully immersed in the Priest family and just did a stellar job.”

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WHERE’S THE PISSER?: At US Festival ’83, Judas Priest played in front of an estimated 350,000 fans.

While Fun, Fun, Fun is in Halford’s immediate future (and a solo blues or covers album is not beyond the realms of future possibility), it’s a festival of bygone decades that remains firmly cemented in Judas Priest lore. Namely, California’s massive three-day 1983 US Festival that featured a heavy metal roster of Van Halen, Scorpions, Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne, Triumph and a couple up-and-comers called Motley Crue and Quiet Riot.

“What was it, 350,000 people or something like that?” Halford said. “It still ranks as one of the biggest metal events ever held in America. It was insane. All the bands had to be flown to the stage by helicopter. The thing we always remember is flying over and seeing, literally, hundreds of thousands of abandoned vehicles and then, of course, the humanity was extraordinary. It’s great to know we were part of such a historical event.”

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JUDAS PRIEST, DUDE!: For better or worse, the cult favorite ‘Heavy Metal Parking Lot’ candidly captures heavy metal culture. It’s actually a hilarious must-see.

A lesser-known, but no less forgotten footnote in Judas Priest history is the low-budget 1986 cult-classic documentary, “Heavy Metal Parking Lot,” which captured the teenage wasteland of pre-concert Priest fans tailgating in all their mullet-sporting, half-shirt glory.

“Oh, it was great!” Halford said. “It’s a microcosm of what goes on at every metal show. If you took your iPhone out to a metal show parking lot today, you’d get the same kinds of things (happening). Just seeing such passion and dedication and enthusiasm and excitement … I watch it occasionally and it’s just really satisfying to see such honest emotion coming across from these young metal kids. It’s part of American heavy metal culture.”

While Texas has been a Judas Priest stronghold since the late 1970s, Austin is a rare tour-stop.

“We’ve not been to Austin in about 20 years,” Halford said. “We’re just thrilled for the opportunity to be coming back. The Fun, Fun, Fun Festival is a very significant event so we’re stoked and can’t wait to come screaming back.”

To hear “Redeemer of Souls” bonus track, “Snakebite,” click below (and remember to buy the deluxe edition with 5-song bonus disc. Four of the five tracks are stellar Priest that easily could have come out circa “Screaming for Vengeance” and “Defenders of the Faith.”). The “Redeemer of Souls” title track follows.

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BAD-ASS REPUTATION: The former Joan Marie Larkin comes off as one tough chick, but admits to being an approachable softie. Nonetheless, her swagger and perseverance have made her an American rock-n-roll icon.

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SIN-SATION: Jett’s 2006 album includes songwriting credits to Linda Perry and Kathleen Hanna as well as a cover of the Replacements’ “Androgynous.”

By David Glessner

On tour promoting her latest album, “Sinner,” Joan Jett is rushing through (what else?) an airport when she phones for a quick interview on the eve of her recent fortysomething birthday. “Sorry,” the Philadelphia native says after a brief interruption. “I’m checking my bags and I’m getting hassled.”

Since her teens in the late-1970s all-girl rock band the Runaways, hassles have threatened to clip Jett’s wings. Initially dismissed as a novelty act in the macho world of rock ‘n’ roll, Jett proved to be tougher than leather as she overcame the naysayers to become a legend with classic 1980s hit songs and MTV videos. Backed by her bad-boy band, the Blackhearts, Jett is an inspiration and the undisputed queen of sneering punk ‘n’ roll.

With her bags finally checked, I landed Jett before takeoff.

Tell us something about yourself that contradicts your tough image.
Wow! You’d have to hang out with me (to know). I love animals. I like to read. I think people tend to think I’m mean because of the image, but that’s the biggest misconception. I’m not unapproachable.

Your new single, “A.C.D.C.” is a re-make of an old Sweet song. Why did you choose it as the single and how did you get Carmen Electra to star in the video?
When I was 15 years old, I used to go to this disco where they played glitter music, so I was aware of the song long ago. It’s provocative and I thought it would be fun to do. I happened to meet Carmen at a gig and I heard she was a fan. She’s so unaffected by her fame. She’s perfect (for the video) because she’s beautiful and she’s edgy, so we gave it a shot.

BROKEN ARROWS: After being turned down by every record company on the planet, Jett broke big with her 1981 cover of “I Love Rock-n-Roll.” It immediately became — and remains — her signature song.

Your best-known song is another cover from a little-known band called the Arrows. How did you discover “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll”?
The Runaways were on tour in England and I heard that song. It was the B-side of an Arrows’ single. Nobody was paying attention to it, so I thought the Runaways should do it. None of the girls liked it, so I just held onto it until I had a chance to do it with the Blackhearts. It certainly wasn’t an instant hit. It took awhile because I had a lot of resistance from the industry and radio.

Were your parents supportive when you tuned into rock ‘n’ roll?
They opened their mouths and had to live by their word. They told me I could be anything I wanted in life. They were very supportive. I wanted to be an astronaut, an archeologist, an actress. Once I got to rock ‘n’ roll, I’m sure they thought it was a fad.

Sexuality is very up front in your music, yet you keep your private life fairly secretive.
It’s not secretive; it’s just nobody’s business. Everybody’s game, so why should I pin myself down? I want the girls to think I’m playing for them and I want all the boys to think I’m playing for them.

How do you stay in shape? How many sit-ups can you do?
I’ve probably reached 100 of different kinds, but it’s not everyday. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink and I’m pretty boring. I’m vegetarian. I exercise a bit, but not enough to claim that’s the only reason I look OK. My job is intense. It’s very physical.

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GERM WARFARE: Jett produced the Germs’ cult-classic 1979 “(GI)” album. Guitarist Pat Smear has since been a longtime member of the Foo Fighters.

What do you remember about producing the Germs’ 1979 debut album?
People remember the Germs and that time as being very wild and (messed) up. That certainly was the case in a lot of instances, but when it came time to do that record, we had four days to be serious and do it. I think they thought I knew what I was doing because I had been in the studio with the Runaways.

The new songs “Riddles” and “Change the World” are unusually political.
A lot of people are just oblivious to the fact we’re in a war. Until it affects the quality of their day, people just don’t give a (care). (Those songs) are more about starting a conversation. It’s dangerous when everyone is so righteous in their beliefs. At the same time, I understand because everyone is passionate about their vision for America. It’s an interesting time to be alive.

This article originally appeared in the Austin American-Statesman XL entertainment section on Thursday, Nov. 09, 2006

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HORROR BUSINESS: Iconic heavy metal vocalist Philip H. Anselmo shares his life-long passion for horror movies, including — believe it or not — the one that made him cry.

HHFBy David Glessner
Special to the American-Statesman

For a guy who rose to fame barking heavy metal threats, Philip Anselmo is a stone-mellow dude. Drawling in a groggy croak on the phone from his New Orleans home, the former Pantera and current Down singer is discussing the inspiration behind his second annual Housecore Horror Film Festival running Oct. 24-26 at Emo’s.

“I was lucky enough to grow up in an era where the whole weekend was jam-packed full of horror flicks and monster movies,” he said. “I also loved all the television stuff like ‘The Twilight Zone’ and ‘The Outer Limits.’ I’m sitting here right now staring at this wall of VHS tapes. My box copy of the original ‘Evil Dead’ is fantastic, but is it any better than my box copy of ‘The Sinful Dwarf’? I’m not sure.”

Named for Anselmo’s Housecore Records label and created in partnership with true–crime author Corey Mitchell, the horror fest combines screaming heavy metal bands with horror film actors, exhibits, zombie makeovers and other bloody treats. Along with the grinding howl of bands like Danzig, Voivod, GWAR and Evil United, a main attraction this year is appearances by cast members of the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” movies.

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HELLBENT FOR LEATHER: Leatherface from ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ ain’t lookin’ to saw no logs

“It’s very surreal for me (to have them on the bill),” Anselmo said. “‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ is a disturbing flick, man. It’s got that sick element of lunacy and it still holds up even today. To me, it’s just a classic.”

Naturally, the demonic imagery of horror films pairs wickedly well with heavy metal.

“I’ll tell anyone with ears that if it wasn’t for ‘The Exorcist’ or the ‘Living Dead’ movies, there wouldn’t be a genre of music called death metal where the singers are singing with the guttural vocals and whatnot,” Anselmo said.

Another exclusive at this year’s fest is the return of Anselmo’s Superjoint Ritual.

superjoint“From what I heard, there was a poll of some sort asking people what band of mine from the past would people like to see me reorganize and Superjoint won. (Freakin’) peer pressure, right there! We said, ‘(Screw) it. Why not?’ It’s one day, one show, no harm, no foul. Plus, it’s pretty easy to do. I mean, there’s no image or stage show involved (laughs). Hopefully some of the people will remember the words to the songs, because I most certainly won’t.”

So what horror flick first scared the bejesus out of young Anselmo?

“I won’t say it scared me, because it actually made me cry my eyes out, but ‘King Kong’ was the first movie that really touched me as a kid,” he said. “As far as scaring me and giving me the fear when I was a youngster, there was a movie called ‘How Awful About Allan’ starring Anthony Perkins of ‘Psycho’ fame. That movie scared me. And of course, there’s no denying the power of ‘The Exorcist.’”

“In grade school I saw ‘Don’t Go in the House’ at the theater,” he continued. “I saw ‘The Changeling’ at the theater — which scared the living, flying (crap) out of me! I saw ‘Silent Scream’ with Barbara Steele and that was insane.”

evil deadA few years later, a friend invited Anselmo over to watch “The Evil Dead.” He’s been scarred ever since.

“Man, I will just say it was a long walk home on these empty, desolate streets,” Anselmo said. “Oh my God, I was pretty much awake all night. It outdid ‘The Exorcist,’ because at that age you go through this gore phase where the gorier the better. That one hit a nerve, man.”

Like many of the horror fest musicians, Anselmo’s friend Glenn Danzig was heavily influenced by horror movies. From his iconic horror-punk Misfits to Samhain and Danzig, the so-called “Evil Elvis” is a horror-rock pioneer. A rare appearance by cult-favorite Samhain followed by Danzig will have him pulling double duty.

“The first time I ever met Glenn Danzig was in Los Angeles when Pantera was playing with S.O.D.,” Anselmo said. “That was a helluva show. I didn’t think he knew me from anybody ‘cause Pantera was still up and coming, but he walked right up to me, shook my hand and said hello, and it made my entire night. Ever since then, we’ve stayed in touch via email and he sends me his Verotik comics. He’s just a dynamite guy so I took a wild stab and said, ‘Big brother, would you play the Horror Fest?’ He named his price and I said let’s do it.”

Asked if he might one day organize a festival that combines his other love of boxing with heavy metal, Anselmo ponders the question and says, “Well, damn, man! I might have to give you some side-cash credit for that. I hadn’t even thought of that one. That’s pretty good, man.”

For more Housecore Horror Film Festival info, including schedules and appearances, visit housecorehorrorfilmfestival.com

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WATCHIN’ YOU: The intensity of legendary metal vocalist Phil Anselmo can be traced to a four-letter word.

By Metal Dave

Philip Anselmo is on the phone exhaling another thick drag of smoke. We’ve just finished discussing his upcoming, second annual Housecore Horror Film Festival (ticket info below) when he graciously offers to extend the interview into whatever else I’d like to ask. “Take your time, man,” he croaks with a rasp. “You’re my only job today.”

Hmmm. OK. Damn! While such an offer presents limitless temptations, I’m unfortunately on a tight lunch break from my day job (and I refuse to overbake the Pantera drama), so I toss out my always-reliable, general-interest, go-to question. Considering we’ve spent the past 30 minutes dissecting monsters and blood, Phil’s answer seems perfectly fitting.

2FAST2DIE: OK, brother … so what album made the biggest impression on you as a kid? I know for me it was KISS “Destroyer.” Is there a single album you’d call a game-changer for young, impressionable Philip Anselmo?

PHILIP ANSELMO: Well, man, you just opened up this Pandora’s Box of jumping, insane monkeys. My brain is going bananas right now. I grew up in a house full of music because I had a young mother who was in her young 20s or whatnot so she had all the hip records from the ’50s and ’60s. So I love ’50s music, I love ’60s music, I love ’70s music and I’m talking everything from prog rock to radio rock, so I’m familiar with all that stuff. Then my mother’s sister, my Aunt Pam, was a theater performer and she was a great singer and a great stage personality in the local scene in New Orleans so I grew up around all this type of shit. 

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VULGAR DISPLAY OF PUCKER: A corruptive influence on many young boys, ‘KISS Alive!’ also stole the soul of young Phil Anselmo.

But I gotta agree with you … I’d say it was the imagery of KISS that first grabbed my eyeballs and intrigued my young mind. The drug store down the street used to sell albums and I remember buying KISS “Alive!” and Ted Nugent’s “Cat Scratch Fever” on the same day and, man, it was KISS! Those first three KISS albums had such shitty production, but “Alive!” was pure energy and had such awesome versions of “100,000 Years,” “Watchin’ You” and “Parasite” and all that shit. So, definitely … KISS was a huge, huge influence on me chasing this music dream. 

But I will say this: Once I hit my teens, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden really, really, really fucking stuck out for me and grabbed me by the neck and said, “This is where you’re heading young man.” You also had those in-betweeners like Van Halen. There’s no denying the power of Van Halen. And then those first couple of Ozzy Osbourne albums with Randy Rhoads. Overall, if I had to pick just one that got me started, though, I’d have to vote KISS.

2FAST2DIE Says: Turns out I’m a year older than Phil so we grew up on the same rock influences. Obviously, there’s no way I can argue the impact and energy of KISS “Alive!” (and I’m not just saying that because I’m worried about getting punched). If KISS “Alive!” is partially to blame for giving us Pantera, Down, Superjoint Ritual and Phil’s myriad other bands, then I salute you Ace, Peter, Gene and Paul.

For more on Philip Anselmo, go here.
For more on Housecore Horror Film Festival Oct. 24-26 in Austin, go here.
To get beaten up by Down, click below …

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