As exclusively reported here yesterday, HELLOWEEN have now officially confirmed the departures of lead guitarist Roland Grapow and drummer Uli Kusch from the group's ranks. In a posting on the message board of HELLOWEEN's official web site last night, webmaster Tony offered the following statement on the matter: “Well…not much to tell you other than I just got off of the phone with Weiki [HELLOWEEN guitarist Michael Weikath] and we had about a 2 hour conversation. Roland and Uli are not in the band anymore. HELLOWEEN is not breaking up. The band will announce replacements sometime down the road. I will have an official statement from Sanctuary Management sometime in the next couple days. So for right now I am not revealing any more details other than the fact Uli and Roland are not in the band. I am also not updating the News section officially until I receive the official statement. A few things are certain:
'1. HELLOWEEN is not breaking up
'2. I will stay in touch with Roland Grapow (he still is a good friend of mine) and I will try to keep up with Uli from time to time but I don't know him as well. Uli is the one guy in the band I never really got to know as well as the others.
'More to follow shortly......and more info will surely come when I interview some band members on the HELLOWEEN Marathon, or a former member (Roland), whom I have not heard from in 3 weeks, if he decided he still wants to be on.
'Kai Hansen is by NO MEANS replacing Roland Grapow and there is not going to be a reunion. Any of you who think this will happen are dreaming and living in a different reality. Its just not going to happen. The band has several replacements in mind......Kai is NOT one of them. And NO, Michael Kiske is NOT joining the band either. There is not going to be any sort of reunion, so anyone who thinks its going to happen can dream on.
'That's all I have to say for now. More to follow......-Tony”
As first reported here yesterday, Grapow and Kusch will continue to pursue their band project with SYMPHONY X vocalist Russell Allen on a full-time basis, and plan on adding an as-yet-unnamed bassist and keyboard player to the group's line-up in the near future. Grapow and Allen are currently spending time in Los Angeles working on songs with Roy Z (BRUCE DICKINSON, HALFORD, etc.) whom Grapow had met during last year's sessions for HELLOWEEN's The Dark Ride. The album will be recorded and mixed at producer Andy Sneap's (NEVERMORE, MACHINE HEAD, etc.) Backstage Studio from September 24th through November 11th, with additional mixing scheduled to take place at Roland Grapow's home studio in Hamburg.
In related news, the upcoming SYMPHONY X live CD, tentatively entitled Symphony X — Live in Europe, will reportedly be a double-CD set, with roughly 105 minutes of music on it. Mixing sessions for the effort are presently scheduled to take place at an undisclosed studio in Staten Island, New York on August 20th, 21st and 22nd, with the release date through Inside Out Music Records still penciled in for sometime in October.
FLOTSAM & JETSAM appear likely to recruit HELSTAR/DESTINY'S END frontman James Rivera to complete the already scheduled live dates on the group's forthcoming US tour following vocalist Eric A.K.'s announcement that he was retiring from the music business. Here is the latest update on this matter by F&J drummer Craig Nielsen: “I was just called by James Rivera who you all may or may not know from the band HELSTAR, an incredible band that was there to help usher in the prog/thrash scene along with FLOTSAM, and all the others back in the day, also they have recently reformed and just was one of the Milwaukee Metalfest headliners a couple weeks ago along with a whole American tour. In addition to this, James fronted the Metal Blade band DESTINY'S END, who has 2 records out and also played shows with FLOTSAM and I thought was also a killer speed metal band. On top of this he has a BLACK SABBATH tribute band that is one of the consistently very top draws in the major Texas markets (he is from Houston). James Rivera would make a very good choice because of his incredible vocal range, tons of stage experience, and is one of the truest hardcore FLOTSAM fans of all time. It is an added bonus that he happens to be one of the coolest, easy to get along with people I've ever met, which goes a long way on a bus tour, not to mention fan interaction. He is over the top with interest to do the very best job possible for our tour, and we will be looking very closely at him in the coming days and I have a feeling he will nail it. For those with interest, go to your favorite search engine and check out his work and I'm sure you will all agree he is a bad mother####er.”
Roadrunner Records will reportedly be shipping 1.2 million copies of SLIPKNOT's Iowa CD in the US on its release date of Tuesday, August 28th, virtually ensuring it platinum status as soon as it sees the light of day. Although hopes are still high that the band will secure the #1 slot on the Billboard Pop Album chart when the SoundScan charts for the week are compiled on September 5th, those prospects seem less likely with the announcement that R&B diva MARY J. BLIGE's long-awaited new set, No More Drama, will be arriving in the stores on the same day. Despite this, it is expected that SLIPKNOT will shift a minimum of 200,000-300,000 copies during the first week of Iowa's release, making it possibly the top-selling extreme metal album of all time. In other news, a SYSTEM OF A DOWN spokesperson has confirmed earlier reports that SLIPKNOT will in fact be appearing alongside SOAD at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey on October 31st, and that a rumored Hammerstein Ballroom performance in New York City on the same night is not in the cards for either band (contrary to what we reported here yesterday).
TESTAMENT vocalist Chuck Billy, guitarist Eric Peterson and bassist Steve DiGiorgio are due to arrive at producer Andy Sneap's Backstage Productions studio in the UK this Sunday, August 26th to begin mixing First Strike Is Deadly, a collection of re-workings of early original compositions, which was just recorded under the watchful eye of Doug Hall (Hall has worked with IRON MAIDEN as the band's live sound engineer and had previously collaborated with TESTAMENT on their 1997 Demonic CD). Here is the tentative track listing for First Strike Is Deadly:
01. Over The Wall
02. Into The Pit
03. The Haunting
04. Reign Of Terror
05. Burnt Offerings
06. First Strike Is Deadly
07. Alone In The Dark
09. Disciples Of The Watch
10. Eerie Inhabitants
11. New Order
12. The Preacher
13. Trial By Fire
OZZY OSBOURNE, STAIND, GODSMACK, SALIVA, NONPOINT, CLUTCH, REVEILLE and SOIL are going to be taking part in the KIOZ-Rock 105.3, When Bands Attack Trilogy radio show live performance at the Coors Amphitheater in San Diego on September 28th. Festivities are scheduled to begin at 2:00 PM. Tickets for the show go on-sale at 3:00 PM on Friday, August 24th at Ticketmaster. For more information, go to: www.rock1053.com.
In related news, Chicago's SOIL, who feature in their ranks former BROKEN HOPE/SINDROME bassist Shaun Glass on guitar, have lined up a host of live performances prior to the September 11th release of the group's J Records debut, S C A R S. The dates are as follows:
Aug. 24 - Bossier City, LA @ Taylortown Store
Aug. 25 - San Antonio, TX @ Savages
Aug. 26 - Lubbock, TX @ West Texas Canyon Amphitheater
Aug. 28 - Dallas, TX @ Trees
Aug. 29 - Tulsa, OK @ Otherside
Aug. 30 - Springfield, MO @ Juke Joint
Aug. 31 - Des Moines, IA @ Toad Holler
Sept. 11 - Chicago, IL @ The Metro
Swedish axe-hero YNGWIE MALMSTEEN has assembled a 100% new band for his upcoming South American tour, which is scheduled to take place between September 12th and September 30th. According to official sources, if the chemistry of this team gels, this line-up may also appear on the guitarist's next studio album, which is not due to emerge until sometime in 2002. The line-up for the South American tour is as follows:
Doogie White (RAINBOW) – vocals
Yngwie J. Malmsteen - guitars
Derek Sherinian (DREAM THEATER, KISS, ALICE COOPER) - keyboards
Mick Cervino (BLACKMORE' S NIGHT) - bass
Patrik Johansson (STORMWIND) – drums
ALIEN ANT FARM, currently riding high in the US sharts with their cover of Michael Jackson's 'Smooth Criminal”, were added to the list of performers for MTV's 18th Annual Video Music Awards at the Metropolitan Opera House in N.Y.C. on September 6th. Also scheduled to appear at the event are Jennifer Lopez & Ja Rule, Alicia Keys, Britney Spears, U2, STAIND and Missy Elliott.
ADEMA, who feature in their ranks Mark Chavez, the half-brother of KORN singer Jonathan Davis, celebrated the release of their self-titled Arista Records debut on Tuesday, August 21st in Los Angeles, with an in-store signing and a private show. All five members of KORN were reportedly present at The Roxy in West Hollywood, where ADEMA played a full set for fans who attended the band's in-store signing at Tower Records.
DOPE's upcoming sophomore Flip/Epic Records CD, entitled Life, is set for an October 30th release. Co-produced by frontman Edsel Dope and Josh Abraham (i.e. STAIND, ORGY, TheSTART), the album's first single, 'Now Or Never', will officially impact radio on September 18th. Here is the full track listing for Life:
01. Take Your Best Shot
02. Now or Never
03. Nothing (Why)
05. Thanks for Nothing
06. Die MF Die
07. What About…
08. Move It
09. Jenny's Cryin'
10. With or Without You
12. Slipping Away
13. March of Hope
14. You're Full of Sh.t (“hidden” track)
60-second clips of two tracks from the forthcoming Best Of… release from IRON MAIDEN vocalist Bruce Dickinson (due through Sanctuary Records on September 25th) can be heard in streaming Real Audio from the following locations:
“Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter”
“Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter”
MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine has posted the following message on the Message Board at METALLICA's official web site at www.metallica.com:
“Metallibangers was what you were called back when I was in this band. I remember someone saying 'bang the head that doesn't bang' and this was our motto.
“Somehow we have all gotten away from this simple rebel cry.
“I am here now, not to try to dissuade you from being a METALLICA fan. To the contrary, I am here to say thank you for being a METALLICA fan.
“I am here to say that I don't condone people coming up to me and saying something negative about my former bandmates either. Sure there was a time when both camps were in a cold war, but those 'times' have been over for a long time. And even though the tension is still slight, I wish only the best for METALLICA.
“My heartfelt best wishes go out to James. I know what he is feeling right now, and I know what people are saying. The people said it about me.
“Friends, I would love to do this fantasy METALLICA/MEGADETH tour, but only after knowing that James is OK.
“I would love to play together with James and Lars again, and have said so in interviews. Me and David Ellefson, James and Lars, doing half MEGA/half META, James singing my songs and me singing his. That would be a riot. It could suck, it could be great, but I know that it would be fun for us all to get back to the day when metal was a 'way of life' and people looked to us all as their leaders.
“I won't take up anymore of your time here. In closing I assure that if we catch people over at megadeth.com slagging METALLICA, we try to stop it.
“But as you are aware, there are assholes everywhere on the Internet. I am sure there are people that come here that aren't even METALLICA fans, just to post shit about them.
“I am a fan. And although I was really hurt by getting fired, I have always been a fan. Dave Mustaine”
Norwegian black metal band SATYRICON have signed a deal with EMI Norway for Scandinavian territories, according to a news item posted at Digitalmetal. 'SATYRICON play dark and somber music of an extreme caliber. They are the best in the world at that,' said EMI head Nils Heldal on www.dagbladet.no. 'Therefore we are very proud of having SATYRICON on our label. Black metal is an exciting genre, constantly progressing, and we wish to bring this music to a wider audience.'
'This is the first time, in Norway and internationally, that a major label signs a contract with a pure black metal band,' said an EMI press release in what appears to be an unintentional slight against the UK's CRADLE OF FILTH (who recently inked a deal with Sony Records).
SATYRICON's forthcoming studio album, which is currently being recorded at Denmark's PUK Studios, is expected to be issued through Nuclear Blast Records in all non-Scandinavian territories.
Contrary to a previously posted item, HALFORD's video clip for the track “Made In Hell” will debut on VH-1's Rock Show on Friday, August 24th (it was NOT shown on the 17th, as we stated here a few days ago).
A recording of DARK TRANQUILLITY's Popstad gig in Gothenburg, Sweden, taped last spring, will be broadcasted again on the Swedish radio station P3 on September 13th.
Former CRIMSON GLORY vocalist Midnight will issue his debut solo EP, entitled Songs From The Attic, on October 1st (contrary to a posting here yesterday that indicated that the recording was already available).
Sweden's BACKYARD BABIES will release their new single, “The Clash”, taken from the group's critically-acclaimed CD Making Enemies Is Good, on September 10th. The group recently shot a video for the track in London with director Nick Wood.
FOO FIGHTERS have canceled the remaining dates of their European tour after drummer Taylor Hawkins was admitted to a hospital Monday morning following the band's performance at the V2001 Festival in Chelmsford, U.K. Hawkins 'apparently overindulged' during a party following the two-day festival, held August 18 and 19 in Staffordshire and Chelmsford, according to a spokesperson for the band's European label, BMG International.
Swedish pop-punkers MILLENCOLIN will start recording their brand new album on September 15th in Stockholm, Sweden with American producer Lou Giordano (i.e. SAMIAM, HUSKER DU, LEMONHEADS, SSD, LIVE, GOO GOO DOLLS, etc.). The album is scheduled for release through Burning Heart Records in Sweden and Epitaph Records in all other territories (except the Far East) in March 2002.
Florida's DIABOLIC have signed a deal with Olympic Records and have already completed work on their debut for the label, entitled Vengeance Ascending. Produced by Jaun 'Punchy' Gonzalez and Steve Wright, the album will feature cover art by J. Patagno. Look for DIABOLIC's Vengeance Ascending in stores on October 30th.
Californian hard rockers TAKARA have signed a deal with Metal Mayhem Music for the release of their forthcoming studio album, entitled Perception Of Reality—the group's first with new vocalist Michael James. No release date has been announced as yet.
Former CRIMSON GLORY/SECTOR 9 guitarist Ben Jackson has firmed up the line-up for his solo project, which has just completed work on its debut CD for an as-yet-unspecified label. According to Jackson's message to the www.rockreunion.de web site, “The line-up for the BEN JACKSON GROUP is: Ben Jackson - Vocals/ Guitar, Mark Borgmeyer - Guitar, Danny Binz - Bass and Rich Tabor - Drums. These guys are all Florida musicians I found locally and the band is coming along great, very dangerous! All the songs for the first CD are recorded and I am nearing final production with the artwork and such. The CD, titled Here I Come, will be available soon. The second CD is in the works with songs taking a heavier direction and my vocals getting stronger and tougher. Any record labels interested in licensing my CDs should contact me at my E-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org. I will also be putting together my own web site where this music can be sampled and purchased. Cheers everyone! Keep awaiting the BEN JACKSON GROUP.'
French melodic power metal band ALKEMYST have finished the recording sessions for their first album, entitled Meeting In The Mist, at the NSR Studio, with the mixing process set to take place during September. Due to be mastered at Finland's Finnvox Studios, the album is the group's first with new vocalist Roberto Messina (ex-SECRET SPHERE). ALKEMYST is currently searching for a label to distribute/release the album worldwide.
UNION, the band featuring Bruce Kulick (ex-KISS) and John Corabi (ex-MOTLEY CRUE), is scheduled to perform a one-off show at El Teatro in Buenos Aires on October 19th. This is UNION's second appearance in Argentina, following the group's two triumphant shows there back in December 1999.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
TED NUGENT ROCKS FORD EMPLOYEES
New York, NY – When Detroit rocker TED NUGENT learned that the Ford Motor Company was laying off several thousand Michigan employees, he wanted to soften the blow. NUGENT has offered the laid off employees complimentary tickets to his Detroit performance August 21st at the DTE Energy Music Theatre.
'The workin' hard, playin' hard Michiganiacs have assisted me immensely in this gravity defying career of mine — forever — and I really appreciate it. During hard times, we BloodBrothers gotta stick together' stated the Motor City Madman.