Former TESTAMENT/DEATH/OBITUARY guitarist James Murphy is presently recovering at his parents' home in Lakeland, Florida after undergoing surgery on September 17th to remove a pituitary tumor the size of two golf balls from his head, with which he was diagnosed in early September. In a lengthy telephone conversation with BLABBERMOUTH.NET, Murphy revealed that approximately 70% of the so-called “benign” tumor (which James said was anything but) has thus far been removed, while the rest is going to be treated through various medications, which have a good chance of succeeding over a potentially year-long recovery process. At the moment, James is waiting to have a second MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) performed (currently scheduled for mid-November), after which he will have a better idea of the exact road ahead of him, which is virtually certain to be a long and difficult one.
The last downward-spiraling months of James' life in the San Francisco Bay Area as a Shrapnel Records recording artist and TESTAMENT guitarist were the first signs of the condition which lead to his eventual diagnosis: a neurologically effecting pituitary macro-adenoma — a growth which caused pressure on his brain, causing him to
develop poor judgment, memory, and vision, among several other symptoms (and which has apparently resulted in Murphy losing his recording studio and gear, in addition to him having become estranged from his own family prior to having been diagnosed). Following the aforementioned surgery (which included having his face literally cut open so that the doctors could access and remove the tumor), Murphy's memory of recent events and good senses are now finally returning to him and he would very much like to hear from anyone who wishes to send their regards. James can be contacted via e-mail at the following addresses:
IdleSouls@aol.com (brother Stephen)
firstname.lastname@example.org (dad Charles)
According to Murphy, he has already thus far incurred over $60,000 in medical expenses, and he will have to rely, in part, on the generosity of others to help him get through this latest ordeal, the cost of treatment for which is certain to rise substantially in the coming months. Already two benefit concerts have been scheduled to take place in Nothern California on November 16th and 17th, featuring such artists as SKINLAB, DRAGONLORD and TECHNOCRACY, with tentative plans to schedule more in the weeks ahead.
We urge all fans of James' work with the aforementioned bands and as a solo artist to drop him a line of support, for he needs as much of it as he can get during this extremely difficult period. Above all, we wish James a speedy and problem-free recovery, and we look forward to hearing more music from the man in the years to come.
Murphy has forwarded to us a “pre-” and “post-surgery” photograph that, according to James, “my dad made of me before my surgery with these things on my head for the MRI imaging that they used during the surgery, and after the surgery while in the recovery room”. To view the photo, click here. However, we warn you: It ain't pretty.
Former SOULFLY drummer Joe Nunez has spoken out publicly for the first time about the circumstances surrounding his departure from the group, which was exclusively reported here on October 2nd. In an interview posted at www.brakeout.net with Nunez's current band, the Chicago-based STRIPPING THE POSTOL, the drummer dismisses the rumors of an acrimonious split by stating that “the two years I've worked with SOULFLY were awesome! Playing and contributing with [guitarist/vocalist] Max [Cavalera], [guitarist] Mikey [Doling], and [bassist] Marcello [D. Rapp] ruled and we became close. However, I must say I'm extremely disappointed with the way some of these Internet sites [caused] unnecessary friction between us. I hold SOULFLY very close to my heart still and want the distasteful rumors and gossip to stop. I was surprised to find these Internet sites discussing my personal [life] and making it seem as if there was some kind of war between us. I love Max and everybody in SOULFLY still, and know we will sift through this bullsh.t soon!” When asked to reaffirm that no tension exists between him and the remaining members of SOULFLY, or manager Gloria Cavalera, Nunez responded by saying, “Not that I'm aware of. The Internet gossip came without anyone knowing and again, I want to clarify that there are no hard feelings on my end.” As for the reports of financial disagreements being at the core of his dispute with SOULFLY, Joe offered simply that “It was time for me to move on”.
As previously reported, SOULFLY is about to head back into the studio to begin recording their as-yet-untitled third full-length effort, which is scheduled to be produced by mainman Max Cavalera and engineered by Otto 'Rusty' D'Agnolo at Phoenix's (Brill Street) Chaton Studios for a mid-2002 release through Roadrunner Records. Although he has personally dismissed as “false” the reports of his imminent return to the band (as exclusively reported here on October 9th), MEDICATION skinsman Roy Mayorga continues to be the number one candidate to fill the currently vacant drummer slot, a prospect that gained fervor following Roadrunner's announcement last week that such a pairing was a distinct possibility.
San Francisco Bay Area thrash legends EXODUS performed a headlining set at 'Frisco's The Pound on Friday, October 12th, and by all accounts put to shame their appearance at August's Thrash Of The Titans benefit concert for TESTAMENT vocalist Chuck Billy, the EXODUS portion of which was widely deemed to have been disappointing and sloppy. Here is the reported set list for EXODUS' performance at the Pound (in no particular order):
01. Last Act Of Defiance
02. Bonded By Blood
03. No Love
04. Deliver Us To Evil
05. Strike Of The Beast
06. And Then There Were None
07. A Lesson In Violence
09. Pleasures Of The Flesh
10. Brain Dead
11. Till Death Do Us Part
12. Last Act Of Defiance
14. Only Death Decides
JUDAS PRIEST have announced the schedule for the Australian leg of their Demolition tour. The dates are as follows:
Nov. 30 - Metropolis, Perth, AUST
Dec. 02 - Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide, AUST
Dec. 03 - The Palace, Melbourne, AUST
Dec. 05 - Enmore Theatre, Sydney, AUST
Dec. 07 - The Arena, Brisbane, AUST
SYSTEM OF A DOWN have officially cancelled their European tour dates, citing “political unrest” as the basis for their decision. All shows will reportedly be rescheduled for early next year.
San Francisco Bay Area's MANMADEGOD, featuring former FORBIDDEN guitarist Craig Locicero and drummer Steve Jacobs, have completed the recording process for their as-yet-untitled debut CD for American Recordings at Los Angeles' Ocean Studios and are about to enter the Sol 7 facility to begin mixing the effort, which is tentatively due in late March/early April. Produced by Brian Dobbs (i.e. ECHOBRAIN) and executive-produced by Rick Rubin (i.e. RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, SYSTEM OF A DOWN, SLAYER), the album will feature approximately 12 tracks out of the 20 that were tracked during the sessions. Among the titles that are set to appear on the album are the following:
01. Bottom Feeder
03. Search For Greater Things
04. Safe Passage
05. Swallow The Sun
07. Swamp Water
08. Bad Creation
09. Meet My Maker
10. Million Dollar Gun
11. Lizard Bones
12. Poison Eye
13. The Ladder
15. The Past
MANMADEGOD are currently seeking management and are tentatively scheduled to hit the road in late January as the opening act for FU MANCHU on the latter band's two-month US headlining tour in support of their soon-to-be-issued California Crossing CD.
Swedish axe hero YNGWIE MALMSTEEN recently commented on the near-riot that took place at the conclusion of YNGWIE MALMSTEEN's headlining show in Porto Alegre, Brazil on Tuesday, October 2nd, after the guitarist performed a version of the “Star Spangled Banner” to a less than enthusiastic reception from the audience. Here are YNGWIE's comments in their entirety (as posted on the guitarist's official web site): “First, I want to emphasize that this was a single, isolated incident near the end of an otherwise very successful, enjoyable three-week tour of Mexico and South America. To put it plainly, here's how I felt. I've been touring for so many years now and I'm sure I have done some nights better than others, but for the last several years I have kept what I believe are very high standards for the concerts. I'm at the top of my game right now, and I'm playing as well as I possibly can. In all these years—and I'm talking now, thousands of shows—I have never been booed onstage, ever. Not for any reason.
“Let me point out first and foremost—I'm not a politician, I'm a musician. I'm not going to debate politics and government because that's just not my thing. I don't do that. But we all know what happened on Sept. 11 in New York City and Washington, and even though I've been playing the 'Star Spangled Banner' onstage for 20 years or more, to me it was even more important now. Over the years I've played all kinds of anthems in that solo, Swedish, Japanese, British, wherever… and that night I just felt like playing the U.S. anthem out of respect for all those people who were killed on Sept. 11. Although people from 28 different countries were killed in that attack, it happened on American soil, so I played the U.S. anthem. At the time, with all the adrenaline pumping, when I heard the jeering and booing I got really angry. But I didn't do or say anything at that moment, I just finished the song. Then a few more times, I just put it in anyway, 4 or 5 more times [chuckling]. Because I couldn't let that kind of thing go unanswered. You don't spit in my face and expect me to ignore it, okay? I'm not talking politics here or larger issues of imperialist whatever—I'm talking about that one moment right there onstage. I was really pissed off, and maybe I shouldn't have showed it, but I did.
“I have nothing against the Brazilian people -- I've played numerous shows there in the past and have loved every minute of it. I've never been to Porto Alegre before, but I'm not saying that it's a bad town or anything, although that was the only place this kind of thing happened. And so obviously some fans in that town have a different view, but as I said, I'm not a politician. I did not intend to go there and start a political confrontation—nothing was further from my mind when I started playing my solo. But there were a couple of elements in the situation onstage there that made me feel more strongly about the audience's reaction: (1) I've lived in the U.S. virtually half my life, so I feel as American as I do Swedish (2) my son was born here, he's an American citizen (3) my band's keyboardist is an American citizen and (4) most important, the innocent people who died on Sept. 11 deserve respect.
“So to put it plainly, the people who booed me and yelled Bin Laden's name in some misguided attempt to show their hostility to me, I have no respect for them—what I said over the microphone at the end of the show is directed to those specific people in the audience. But that wasn't all of the audience, I know that. That wasn't Brazil, that wasn't Porto Alegre… it was a bunch of bad apples in the audience. There was a long break between the end of the show and the encore because we were debating backstage over what to do… whether to go back on and play more songs or to just leave. I finally decided to go back on by myself and give a parting shot, so to speak, because I was still so angry. But this was one isolated incident, and it doesn't mean that I have any bad feelings for my Brazilian fans at all. I love playing there, and I will definitely go back there again in the future. Peace, Yngwie Malmsteen”
Reformed San Francisco Bay Area thrashers MERCENARY are reportedly talking about recording their upcoming reunion show at the C.W. Saloon in San Francisco on Tuesday, November 13th for a possible European release through an-yet-undetermined label. As previously reported, the MERCENARY 2001 line-up will consist of founding members Sven Soderlund (vocals/guitar) and Slade Anderson (drums) alongside former MY VICTIM/ULYSSES SIREN bassist JR Clegg and former HEATHEN/current VICIOUS RUMORS axeman Ira Black.
AYREON mastermind Arjen Lucassen (ex-BODINE, VENGEANCE) is reportedly working on an as-yet-unnamed metal project that will feature the services of four different vocalists. According to Lucassen, “I've almost finished the lyrics [for the album]. They are based on several great space movies that have influenced me over the years. The album will be a journey through my mind, so to speak, to experience those movies with me.
“There will be 4 singers who will sing on all of the songs like on Actual Fantasy. Now I've heard many new rock operas lately, and although the quality is very high, I noticed that on several of them the vocalists sound very similar throughout. So I decided to use a wide variety of singers: a low voice: Dan Swanö (EDGE OF SANITY/NIGHTINGALE), a clear voice: Damian Wilson (AYREON/THRESHOLD), a powerful tenor voice: Russell Allen (SYMPHONY X/AYREON) and a high female voice: Floor Jansen (AFTER FOREVER/AYREON). Ed Warby (GOREFEST/AYREON) will drum, and the keyboard solos will be played by Jens Johansson (MALMSTEEN/DIO/STRATOVARIUS) and Erik Norlander (LANA LANE/AYREON). Other musicians may still be added. I will play all the other instruments.
“I want to finish the album this year, so it could be released as early as the beginning of next year.
“This album will focus on the heavy side of AYREON, so the familiar AYREON sound will still be there. I will start writing the next actual AYREON album next year, and after this heavy album, the next AYREON album will consequently probably become more 'proggy'.”
With regards to the guitarist's now-aborted project with IRON MAIDEN vocalist Bruce Dickinson, which was recently shelved under somewhat acrimonious circumstances following Dickinson's decision to pull out of the planned collaboration between the pair, Lucassen had the following to say: “As some of you may have heard, there was a possibility that Bruce Dickinson would be the singer of my upcoming metal album. This won't be the case. A lot has already been said about this in the press, also by Bruce himself. So let me clarify things and give you my personal view on this unfortunate matter:
“Right after the release of the last AYREON album, Universal Migrator, Bruce surprised me by coming to meet me during a radio interview I did in Brussels. It was really a great gesture of him. He even joined in and spoke highly of my work on the air. He asked me if I would be interested in writing a concept album with him. Bruce told me that he and his manager really liked my work. At that time, though, I unfortunately could not commit to it because I was already recording the AMBEON album.
“About a year later we got in touch again, and I told him that I was writing a metal album. I asked Bruce if he would be interested in singing on it. I was excited to hear that he was interested, and he suggested that it could possibly become a Bruce Dickinson solo album. I finished the album instrumentally over the next couple of months and sent it to him. Bruce really liked it. He told me he would start writing lyrics for the first 4 songs.
“I have no secrets with my fans, and I keep them updated about everything I do. Bruce never asked me to keep this project a secret. So I told my fans on the AYREON e-mail list that I was working on an album that Bruce might sing on and that Bruce was starting to write lyrics for it (as Bruce himself told me on the phone). This news was copied by an enthusiastic fan and ended up in several places on the Internet. Bruce emailed me and asked me if I had put this news on my website. I called Bruce up and told him that I wouldn't do that, so Bruce told me not to worry about it. However, Bruce also told me (to my surprise!) that he failed to inform his managers about our possible collaboration. Bruce's managers apparently read about our collaboration on the Internet and became quite angry. I soon received an email from one of these managers telling me that despite the fact that Bruce really liked my music, he will not have time to be involved in any outside musical projects with myself or indeed anybody else. They went on to tell me that they thought it was very unprofessional of me to talk about the project (that I had been working on for half a year) to others.
“Now I am not too bothered about the fact that Bruce won't sing on my album as I always make albums for the music and not for the musicians. I'm really enjoying making this album and have a good feeling about it with or without Bruce. However, I would have greatly preferred that Bruce call me personally instead of receiving a somewhat distanced e-mail from his manager. And I could have lived with the fact that the reason for Bruce's cancellation was that he didn't like my music, but personally I think this reason is rather trivial.”
What was originally posted here as a rumor has turned into reality: LIMP BIZKIT guitarist Wes Borland has quit the band and a press release was issued the very day that we suggested it might. All credit to our wonderful sources for once again coming through for us. In the aforementioned press release, LIMP BIZKIT simply state that “LIMP BIZKIT and Wes Borland have amicably decided to part ways. Both LIMP BIZKIT and Borland will continue to pursue their respective musical careers. Both wish each other the best of luck in all future endeavors.” According to reports, the guitarist's departure won't affect the release of the LIMP BIZKIT remix LP, entitled New Old Songs, which is due in December, or DJ Lethal's solo album, which is set to be issued early next year. As for Borland, a personal e-mail the guitarist sent to www.limpbizkitfan.com indicates that he will be joining forces with his BIG DUMB FACE bandmates Scott Borland (guitar), Kyle Weeks (guitar), and Greg Isabelle (drums) in a new band that is likely to turn into Wes' full-time priority while BUG DUMB FACE will remain merely a side project, as it has been thus far. According to Borland, “'All I'm going to say is this: If you liked what I did in LIMP BIZKIT and you think you can see where I wanted to go with the music, then I think you will be happy with my new band. [Producer] Ross Robinson is on board for the record and it's going to be great. The new band is me, my brother Scott Borland, Kyle Weeks, and Greg Isabelle. I didn't abandon you guys, I am making a record for myself and for you that is true, and feels good. It is not going to be like BIG DUMB FACE. BDF was a joke, and a side project. Everyone took it too seriously. Well, we're about to give you a serious record, so look out for it, I hope we will have it out by the middle of next year, and we will be on tour for a long time after that, getting back into the small clubs, so that we can be close and hang out again. I hope that many of you will be able to open your hearts to something new. —Wes'
In related news, LIMP BIZKIT frontman Fred Durst has posted a message revealing his feelings after receiving a letter from the officials at the World Trade Center in New York the day before the September 11th terrorist attacks. According to Durst, the correspondence contained a message of thanks for using the building in their video for their single, “Rollin'”. “We received a letter the day before the attack from the World Trade Center thanking us for letting them be a part of a video that just won an award - the 2001 VMA for Best Rock Video. I had it framed. I found it very ironic, very bizarre that I received that letter on Monday, and [then on the] Tuesday the attacks occurred.
“For me to have gotten to go to the top of such a great, powerful structure ... to have those people embrace me and let LIMP BIZKIT spend 22 hours on top of the World Trade Center doing what we do ... And for it to be taken down? The structure itself means nothing to me. I don't believe in that structure being a symbol of power, of pride, of America. What means something to me is the people that were killed around and in that building innocently, for no reason except hatred. It overwhelms me. I thank God the night we were on the World Trade Center wasn't the day they decided to do that.”