XXXXXX: adk ad;vkndfj a

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.

XXXXX adj ndfjibfnbipr hvuerv

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.

XXX advnrpvnipr vnuirbuirv

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.”

XXXX afjnripbn urbr

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.”

XXXX favj ndfpvnribnrqr

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.”

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

HELLBENT FOR LEATHER: ad ajnvvomo[irjgirmo efi afmvbeurgrg

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.’

AFADFADADF D: adf adoi adnv auid aj vva fipdebnva nd

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.”

XXXXXX: a fvnan vfnviofiofrbiofb

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.”

XXXXXXX XXXXX: ad na idn via fnvnf aig

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.”

XXXX XXX XXX: aav nafv fn u fninrioiorgrg

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.”

HM lot vhs

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.

XXXXX XXXXXx: adfad a vd hvuno paniuer

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.

XXXXX XXXX: adfa fvad vadf nrvbergr

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.

XXX XXX: fv fb fuibnruibrb fgsfb

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

XXXXXXX: ald vdf piafv[or98ade vrugrhrh

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.

XXXXX: av afv frrbrb

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

XXXXXX XXXXX: adf av afnv i fnvjnfvn ernu  v nerov n9p vr oerbrb

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. 

XXXXX XXX: adf avjninir adv nafv  auvhaa

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

XXXXXXX: ;vnkaf ioqfnvifrnvyufnjiwtbiu3rgntrvb

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.

XXXX: akdvndfip vniprbrg

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.

XXXX: afdvninrbrgqrh

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 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: