More information has surfaced regarding the behind-the-scenes events leading up to the announced STUCK MOJO reunion show, which is scheduled to take place on New Year's Eve at an as-yet-undisclosed venue in Atlanta, Georgia. According to informed sources, STUCK MOJO will be joined by new bassist/vocalist Keith Watson (formerly of Charlotte, North Carolina's OBEY BIZAR) at the upcoming gig, following the departure of MOJO bassist Dan Dryden from the ranks of SICK SPEED, the post-MOJO outfit that also included STUCK MOJO mainman Rich Ward (guitars) and Bud Fontsere (drums). Watson has also been tapped as the likely replacement for Dryden in SICK SPEED and FOZZY, the latter of which is fronted by WWF wrestler Chris Jericho and is tentatively due to record its sophomore CD in early 2002. SICK SPEED have also parted ways with guitarist/vocalist Mike 'Happy' Schneider on guitar/vocals due to “philosophical differences and a lack of unity concerning direction of music and band business”, according to postings by Ward and SICK SPEED webmaster Xack at the group's official site at www.sickspeed.net, and have replaced him with former METHOD 51 guitarist/vocalist Billy Grey. Subsequent messages posted by Dan at the message board of the aforementioned site have indicated a less-than-amicable split in the ranks, causing Ward to fire back with the following missive, as posted at www.sickspeed.net:
“Where do I start? When I left MOJO, I did so because I had a vision of a new project. I had been part of a partnership with [STUCK MOJO vocalist] Bonz for 10 years. For three of that 10 years, I lived in my rehearsal space (4 walls, guitars, drums and roaches), which had no bathroom. I sh.t by a tree and I showered outside using a garden hose thrown over a fence. I ate once a day at a place called Studabaker's, which was a bar that had a free buffet. When we toured for the first few years, we each made seventy dollars a week. If there was any money left we used it to pay our rehearsal space rent. I gladly did all these things because I knew that music was all-or-nothing for me. I spent all day practicing and writing, then at night we would have band practice and afterwards we would go out flyering to promote an upcoming show. This type of sacrifice is not uncommon, and many musicians, actors/actresses, writers and even politicians have made sacrifices like these. I share some of my history, not to try to impress, but as point of reference for my love of what I do. It made me hungry and I felt like I was earning my place in the music industry.
“Flash forward to today. I'm not still living in the rehearsal space, but I would, if that's what it took. Everyone who is in SICK SPEED was very clear about the concept of this band, and that if you joined the band it would be with the understanding that things were going to be done my way. If you wanted to do things your way, start your own band. The requirements to be in the band were only to commit to rehearse (usually 4 two-hour practices a week) and a few weekend gigs. That being said, everyone knew that I would do all of the business, take care of all the 'bullsh.t' that most band members hate, and I would also carry all financial burdens. In two years, I have invested over $20,000 in SICK SPEED. This accounts for all of the money I had saved from MOJO and now we are using my wife's savings (which she gladly does because she believes in the music). When we do gigs, I pick up and pay for the van. I pick up and pay for the trailer. I load the trailer (usually without Dan or Mike). At the end of the night I unload the trailer, clean the van and return it. I pay the road crew, pay the bi-monthly $1,000 pyro bill and any other expenses that we incur. I pay the band members $50 a gig (which is less than they are worth) even when we play for free. On average, I lose between $50-$200 a show. Once the band starts to make a profit, we will split the money and that has happened a few times. Whatever money I lost in the past, I consider an investment in my band. When the band reaches a decent level of success, I know that I will eventually make the bulk of my money on songwriting royalties. I constantly encourage the members of SICK SPEED to help me with songwriting, but after 2 and a half years Dan has only presented 3 words ('years go on', from 'Autumn Brings') and after 1 year Mike has not presented anything. I have called Dan many times to ask him to come over and work on songs and I have also given him cassette copies of 'new song' material that I would like his help with. They have both indicated a desire to take a more active role in the songwriting, but have put in no effort.
“Dan and Mike have been frustrated by how long it has taken to get the band a major deal and honestly, I thought that it would have happened by now. Life goes on. I called Dan two weeks ago to tell him about a bunch of new gigs that we got and he said that he didn't want to rehearse anymore and that he did not want to do any more gigs unless they were showcases. He felt that he had put enough time into the band and that we should be able to get a deal with the CD and video that we had. He also was not happy with my leadership and my business decisions. We had a good talk and I told him that I understood his frustration and that I wanted to try to make him happy. I called and cancelled three shows, which was not pleasant. I had pissed off club owners a pissed off manager and some pissed off e-mails from fans asking why we cancelled. I waited for a few days to see if he was just venting and needed to get some stuff off his chest or if he really meant all that we had discussed. A week later, he approached me at rehearsal (which he had already agreed to attend) and confirmed that he was serious. He told me that he was ready to quit if I wanted to keep the same type of schedule. He even mentioned that he would help the new bass player learn the parts and Dan went as far as to offer his bass cabinet to anyone who auditioned. These were the words of a man who was done. At this point, we had already cut back from 5 days a week to only rehearsing 2-3 times a week, which I was unhappy about, but I was outvoted a few months earlier. I told Dan I needed to think about what I was going to do. Basically, he was forcing me to fire him or to agree to a schedule that was unacceptable. Remember that everyone agreed and verbally acknowledged when they joined this band, that this is Rich's band and that if you're not happy, than lets shake hands and go our separate ways. If you're frustrated and disagree with the way things are handled, start your own band. THAT'S WHAT I DID! I talked to [drummer] Bud [Fontsere] and he said, 'I love this band, I don't want to slow down, I want to WORK'. I started calling bass players that I knew would be perfect for SICK SPEED and would bring a sense of enthusiasm to the group. I wanted to play with some guys to see how it felt before I officially ended our working relationship with Dan. We had some shows that I could not cancel and if a replacement could not be found on short notice, we would work with Dan until we found someone. Dan has accused me of not being honest with him about his replacement. I didn't want to replace him, it's him that doesn't want to be in the band anymore. He has vented to the band's manager, Mark Willis about some bizarre theories that he has about me and apparently thinks that everything I do is motivated by a SECRET agenda. He accuses me of not being a good friend and yet he has no problem bashing me to other members of SICK SPEED, management and then challenges me to some juvenile message board duel. Ironically, you can't find one person that can say that I have ever said a negative word about Dan. Dan is a great bass player and a great singer and he will be missed, but Dan's musical success was built on the back of others. When Dwayne (MOJO's first bassist) left, everyone said 'You'll never replace him'. When Corey (Lowery MOJO's second bassist, now in STEREOMUD) left, same response and yet we just got better. In reality, everyone is replaceable. This business is about heart and those who have it will thrive. SICK SPEED won't be the same without Dan, just like MOJO wasn't the same without Corey. It's my job is to make sure that we improve with a new bassist and my track record is OK so far. Dan is currently in Minneapolis and I wanted to have a discussion with him face to face, as I thought parting ways over the phone was disrespectful. His posts on the board have made this letter necessary and I am disappointed that it came down to this. Based on his post, Dan is obviously interested in the drama of it all, which I have no interest in. This is not some kind of popularity contest, it's my band. Those of you, who have met me at gigs or keep in touch through e-mail, know what I'm about. This letter will serve as my only response, as I have a band to get ready and a life to live.
“I am proud of this band and it's music and that's what drives me forward. For me, if all I wanted was the 'DEAL', I would have stayed in MOJO. I'm not chasing the carrot, I'm playing the music I love and will continue to follow the path that I am on. As always I remain……. Respectfully, Rich”
LIMP BIZKIT frontman Fred Durst will perform LED ZEPPELIN's 'Thank You' with PUDDLE OF MUDD singer/guitarist Wes Scantlin at MTV's European Video Music Awards on Thursday, November 8th at Festhalle in Frankfurt, Germany. LIMP BIZKIT is up for four awards at the event.
AMEN have parted ways with guitarist Paul Fig. According to an official statement from the group, the split was “amicable”, and AMEN, who are currently in the studio recording their third album with producer Ross Robinson, will be looking for a replacement. Interested parties should send tapes/CDs (marked AMEN) to:
82 Romulus Court
SPINESHANK have spent the bulk of the last two months locked away in their rehearsal studio writing and demoing new material for their upcoming third full-length CD, which is tentatively scheduled to be recorded in the spring for a late 2002 release through Roadrunner Records. According to a statement posted at the Roadrunner web site, the group have thus far completed the music for 4-5 songs and are currently “throwing around harmony ideas for those tracks”. 'They are so into the music right now. I've never seen them so dedicated. It's amazing,' stated SPINESHANK's Roadrunner A&R rep Kevin Estrada.
KITTIE will appear on the syndicated radio show Rockline on Monday, November 12th at 8:30 PM PST/11:30 PM EST. The toll-free number for people to call in is (800) 344-ROCK.
INCANTATION will be entering the studio on Monday, November 12th, to complete work on their much-anticipated fifth full-length album, the group's first for Necropolis Records, which is tentatively due to be released in early 2002.
UNION UNDERGROUND have begun pre-production for their sophomore effort, which is tentatively due to be recorded early next year for a late 2002 release. Among the tracks set to be included on the CD is the song entitled 'All Of Us And Everyone', which was aired during the group's live performances this past summer. In other news, the group are preparing to release a home video on DVD and VHS. As-yet-untitled, the video documents the Rebellion tour in its entirety, from July 2000 through the MARILYN MANSON trek, the band's Ozzfest appearance and club touring. According to an official statement from the group, the DVD “not only shows the 'behind the scenes' no one else is brave enough (or crazy enough) to show, it also contains the videos for 'Deadman', 'Revolution Man', a live [version of] 'South Texas Deathride' and a TON more stuff”.
Britain's BLAZE, led by former IRON MAIDEN/WOLFSBANE vocalist Blaze Bayley, have had to postpone their gig in Portugal this weekend after drummer Jeff Singer hurt his back, thus preventing him from performing for at least next several days. According to an official statement from the band, “this is a recurring injury, which became a problem during rehearsals earlier today [November 6th] and he will be undergoing treatment during the next few days. We know that our Portuguese fans will be as disappointed as we are. This date will be re-scheduled and we will inform you as to when. We are hopeful that Jeff will be well enough for both Dudley [on November 16th] and [the] Motala [Metal Fest in Motala, Sweden on Saturday, November 17th].”
Los Angeles' DIESEL MACHINE, who feature in their ranks HALFORD guitarist Patrick Lachman, have postponed their scheduled appearance at the Troubadour in Hollywood, California, which was originally due to take place on Wednesday, November 14th. The new date will be announced shortly.
French “death doomsters” DESPOND are currently in the studio recording their debut album, entitled Supreme Funeral Oration, which is tentatively scheduled for release during February. The album will include seven tracks with a total running time of 67 minutes, and according to the band, will contain “funeral doom death metal”. The full track listing for the effort is as follows:
02. Once In The Hole
03. Serenity In Darkness
04. In The Dying Light
05. Stellar Ways To The Everliving
07. Moonlight Suicide
ANNIHILATOR's upcoming studio CD, now apparently re-titled Waking the Fury, will be issued at the end of March in Europe and Japan.
According to Elektra France, the release date for DREAM THEATER's latest studio effort, entitled Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, has been set for Tuesday, January 22nd, 2002.
Germany's GUANO APES are hard at work on the material for their forthcoming third full-length album, which they hope to issue at the end of 2002. Meanwhile, the group have issued the following statement regarding the recent terrorist attacks in the US: “We do believe in different opinions of people, but at the point it turns into fanaticism and people lose the respect for life and other human beings. this has nothing to do with any kind of humanity. It's the problem with every fanaticism and we all had to witness where that leads to. Things happen over and over again under the flags of religion or politics that absolutely disrespect any human way of life. We'd like to state that every member of our GUANO APES community lives in deep respect for everybody else on this planet.”
German power metallers PRIMAL FEAR are continuing work on the material for their forthcoming studio album, tentatively titled Black Sun, which will be recorded at House Of Music Studio in Winterbach, Germany in early 2002. So far the following tracks have been completed for the album:
01. Veiled Control
02. Magic Eye
03. We Go Down
04. Lightyears From Home
In other news, the German premiere league handball team of Göppingen have chosen the PRIMAL FEAR tune 'Under Your Spell' as their entrance theme. According to the group's official web site, the team even invited the band for their important match against Flensburg, where the metal act will be on hand to witness the match from the first row.
New York's H20 will be warming up for their headlining shows with a couple of dates with SUM 41, after which they will kick off the Home For The Holidays tour, starting with a hometown gig on December 6th. Support at all headlining gigs will come from THE MOVIE LIFE, RIVER CITY HIGH and AUTO PILOT OFF. The dates are as follows:
Dec. 04 – Ferrum, VA @ TBA (w/SUM 41)
Dec. 05 – Raleigh, NC @ TBA (w/SUM 41)
Dec. 06 – New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
Dec. 07 - TBA
Dec. 08 – Philadelphia, PA @ Trocadero
Dec. 09 – Boston, MA @ Axis
Dec. 10 – Providence, RI @ Lupos
TECHNOCRACY, featuring VIO-LENCE guitarist Phil Demmel, will be performing at Bourbon St. in Concord, California this Saturday, November 10th with 40 GRIT, LUXT and KAOS.
According to informed sources, London/Sire Records are on the verge of closing their doors, with the staff having recently been told to “go look for other jobs”. It is not presently clear what this latest development will mean for the future of bands like 40 BELOW SUMMER (who recently issued their Invitation To The Dance debut through the label) and DOWNTHESUN, who were previously due to release their self-titled Maggot Corps./London/Sire debut in early 2002.
Switzerland's “melodic-orchestral gothic-metal” act SUCCUBUS entered Lakeside Studio on November 4th to record a track entitled 'Totenbuch' for an upcoming DivusModus sampler. The producer for the sessions is none other than former KREATOR/CORONER guitarist Tommy Vetterli.
Germany's DEW-SCENTED will put on a “CD presentation show” for their upcoming album, entitled Inwards, on February 23rd, 2002 in Salzgitter / Forellenhof. Also on the bill will be NIGHT IN GALES and two other, as-yet-undisclosed acts. Inwards is scheduled to be released on January 14th through Nuclear Blast Records in Europe. A US release will follow shortly thereafter.
Swedish stoner rockers TERRA FIRMA, featuring UNLEASHED guitarist Freddie Eugene, will be embarking on a European tour with ATOMIC BITCHWAX and HIGH ON FIRE at the end of November. The dates are as follows:
Nov. 27 – Hamburg, GER @ Logo
Nov. 28 – GER @ TBA
Nov. 29 – NETH @ TBA
Nov. 30 – Arnstadt, GER @ Jungversprung
Dec. 01 – Hasselt, BEL @ Musicodrome
Dec. 02 – Tilburg, NETH @ 013
Dec. 03 – Stuttgart, GER @ Röhre
Dec. 04 – Nancy, FRA @ Austrachiq
Dec. 05 – Düsseldorf, GER @ Stahlwerk
Dec. 06 – Dresden, GER @ Scheune
Dec. 07 – Kobenhavn, DEN @ Loppen
German brutal death metallers IMPURE will enter KS-Studio in Bottrop, Germany on December 3rd to record their sophomore album, entitled In Disrespect To Mankind, which is due to be released in early 2002 through an as-yet-undisclosed label. In Disrespect To Mankind is the follow-up to the group's 1999 self-financed release Something Evil.
Japan's SIGH will be contributing their version of the John Coltrane track “Spirutual” to an upcoming John Coltrane tribute album.
Swedish thrashers CONSTRUCDEAD have signed with the Helsingborg, Sweden-based label Cold Records and are currently at Studio Underground recording their debut album, entitled Repent, which is due to be released in early 2002. THE HAUNTED frontman Marco Aro and SOILWORK's Peter Vildoer and Bjorn 'Speed' Strid are expected to make guest appearances on the record.
Jonas Hansson, the guitarist for the legendary Swedish neo-classical metal outfit SILVER MOUNTAIN, is currently working on a short film entitled Husband & Wife, which he hopes to complete before the end of the year. Meanwhile, SILVER MOUNTAIN's latest CD, entitled Breakin' Chains, has been officially released in Japan through Marquee Inc. Featuring the classic line-up of Jonas Hansson, Anders Johansson (HAMMERFALL/ex-YNGWIE drums), Per Stadin and Jens Johansson (STRATOVARIUS/ex-DIO/YNGWIE), the album has been issued as an enhanced CD, featuring videos for SILVER MOUNTAIN's “Prophet of Doom” and Jonas Hansson's “Classica”, and is currently available for licensing and distribution in the rest of the world. If you are a record company and/or distributor and are interested in this product, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
UK prog-metallers THRESHOLD are busy writing material for their next studio album, which they plan to record at Thin Ice Studios in early 2002 for a summer release. Among the titles that are set to appear on the upcoming effort are:
01. Do Unto Them
02. Stay Lucky
03. Falling Away