Wednesday, May 24, 2017

10 metal facts you may not know

Hey guys. Here are 10 metal facts you may not know.

1.) Did you know that Dave Mustaine was in a band before Metallica? Well, he was. Before joining Metallica, Dave was in a band called Panic.

2.) The tattoo of the name Ozzy, that Ozzy Osbourne has on his knuckles, was done in pencil. He did it as a teen when he was serving time for petty theft.

3.) Corey Taylor isn't the original singer of the band Slipknot. He replaced the former singer Anders Colsefini in 1997.

4.) There are secret messages on the cover of "Powerslave" by Iron Maiden. Some of the secrets include Mickey Mouse. and phrases like "bollocks" and "Indiana Jones was here".

5.) Megadeth's song 'Countdown to Extinction' won the Human Society's Genesis award back in 1993, because it helped raise awareness about animal rights.

6.) There is a metal band called Hatebeak, whose lead singer is a grey parrot. This is no joke.
Here's a link to one of their songs:

7.) Slash (Guns n Roses) tried to audition for the band Poison, but decided not to join when he was asked about wearing makeup.

8.) The U.S military played Metallica's 'Enter Sandman' for hours to aid in the interrogation and torture of prisoners.

9.) Ronnie James Dio is the one that made the iconic devil horns famous.

10.) Black Sabbath wrote their famous song 'Paranoid' in 20 minutes to fill up the remaining 3 minutes they had left on their album.

Well there you go. 10 metal facts you may not know. I might do another one of these, because there are so many metal facts that I would love to share. So look forward to that. I hope you guys enjoyed this.
Thanks for reading. Be forever metal.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Why the WWE brand split is a bad idea.

Hey guys.
This post is for WWE fans who are aware of the brand split.

Now the brand split was done to give superstars a chance to be on TV weekly, by dividing the roster. Now this has honestly done more harm than good. We're still seeing the same stars every week. while their are some we haven't seen in awhile and have forgotten about. Then, they said it would allow new match ups. Yet, we are still seeing the same matches every week. They seriously did not think this through. Like, this isn't a bad idea if done right.
Another thing is the fact that they did to make Raw and Smackdown watchable. But, all they've really done is made Smackdown watchable. Like they put all the good superstars like Shinsuke Nakamura on Smackdown, and left people like Roman Reigns on Raw. Now I'm not saying that Raw has no talented people, cause they do. But, when they did the superstar shakeup, Raw lost some of their talent in exchange for no talent.

I'm not a fan of how this all turned out. If they had put more thought into it, and maybe moved some different people over, then it wouldn't be so bad.
One thing that really ticked me off was when they said there would be new rivalries after the shakeup. Which there have been, but some superstars are still in the same rivalry they were before. Like for example, Dean Ambrose is still feuding with The Miz, despite them both being moved over to Raw.

This whole thing is just stupid and ridiculous, and I'm sure most of you who know what I'm talking about would agree.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my little opinion piece. I know I enjoyed sharing it.
Thanks for reading.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Top 10 Metal bands

  Hey guys.
So this list is Top 10 Metal bands. As you are reading, please keep in mind that this list is not in any specific order. So like greatest to least, or vice versa. It's just in the order I listed the names. So here we go.

1.) Megadeth
Megadeth is a band that resulted from Dave Mustaine's anger after being fired from Metallica. They have done so much for metal, and continue to. They are a perfect example of what good metal should sound like. Honestly, they are my favorite metal band. But they deserve the number one spot because they are well respected, and legendary. They are also immortal because their music never gets old.

2.) Iron Maiden
What metal fan doesn't up the irons?! Yes, the almighty Iron Maiden is at number 2. I just love air guitaring to classics such as "Number of the Beast" and "Fear of the Dark". Iron Maiden is definitely another perfect example of what a metal band should sound like.

3.) Metallica
Another band from the big 4, we have Metallica. One of the most well known metal bands, even among non metal fans. Metallica has done quite a bit for metal too, though some would disagree. But they've had great albums such as "The Black album"(or Metallica) and "And Justice for All..."

4.) Pantera
Though I am not a fan of Pantera, I am putting them on the list because they are another great metal band. Plus, this is top 10 metal bands. Not, my personal top 10. Anyway, the guitar work of DimeBag Darrel is unlike any other. There will never be another. It just blows my mind how great he is.

5.) Stuck Mojo
A band that is not very well known, but is a great rap/metal band. Stuck Mojo is known as the band that founded rap/metal, and paved the way for other rap/metal bands. I'm not a fan of rap, but I love this band. They put more aspect on the metal, and their music is great. So if you are looking for something new, then check this band out.

6.) Black Sabbath
Ah, a classic band with some really great songs. Black Sabbath. Nuff said.

7.) Judas Priest
Another influential metal band. One that is very loved by most of the metal community. They are well respected.

8.) Motley Crue
Another personal favorite of mine. Was sad that their reign of awesomeness had to end, but at least their music and legacy will live on. If you haven't checked them out, then do yourself a favor. Trust me. They're good.

9.) Anthrax
One of the big 4 of metal alongside Slayer. Megadeth and Metallica. Anthrax is another rap/metal band.

10.) Slayer
The last of the big 4. I'm personally not a fan because I don't like christian metal, but they are part of the big 4. So, nuff said.

I hope you guys enjoyed this list. I enjoyed sharing it with you guys.
Thanks for reading. Be forever metal.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Recommendation: Fozzy

 Hey guys.

So my recommendation today is a band that is taking the world by storm. The band is Fozzy. Fozzy was formed by Stuck Mojo lead guitarist Rich Ward and WWE superstar Chris Jericho. They were a band that know one took seriously, mostly because people thought that Jericho couldn't sing because he's a wrestler. Plus they had gimmicks. Like Jericho was known as Moongoose McQueen and Rich was Duke LaRue. By their third album, they ditched the gimmick of being a cover band and started taking things seriously. They have released some really good albums including "Sin and Bones" and "Do You Wanna Start A War". They also just recently released a music video for the single Judas off of their new album which should be coming out sometime in the fall.
You can watch the video here:

Judas will definitely get stuck in your head, and make you want more. So I recommend checking out Fozzy's last two albums that I mentioned. "Sin and Bones" and "Do You Wanna Start A War". I would also recommend checking out the rest of their discography to hype up for their new album. Their others albums are "Fozzy", "Happenstance", "All That Remains", and Chasing The Grail."

Well, I hope you guys enjoy this recommendation. Fozzy is a great band and one of my favorites. Which is why I want to share their music with you.
Thanks for reading. Be forever metal.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Top 10 Metal Frontmen

Hey guys. So my next list is top 10 metal front men. Now keep in mind, this list is not in any specific order like least to greatest, or vice versa. It's just in the order I wrote the names down. So here you go.

1.) Chris Jericho
WWE superstar Chris Jericho has taken the world by storm with his band Fozzy. More so as of late with the release of their new single Judas. Judas has been number 1 on the rock and metal charts in the US, Canada, the UK, and more. They are also currently on their Judas Rising tour. Now, I've never been to a Fozzy show, but I have looked up performances on a YouTube. The one thing I took from it is the fact that Jericho is good at working a crowd. Though he does have experience from being a wrestler, he knows how to get the crowd into the show. He's definitely one of the best.

2.) Robby J Fonts
Though he hasn't been in the music business very long; Robby J is a good front man. He is currently the front man for Stuck Mojo, and was originally in a band called Hasta La Muerte. But I've seen him perform on YouTube too, and he is so energetic. He's hand banging and bouncing around on stage, which gets the crowd into the show. I feel like you better connect with your audience if you do what they do, which includes hand banging and dancing.

3.) Dave Mustaine
Though Dave has never danced, or done anything super energetic cause he plays guitar, I still call him a great front man. The reason being, he still knows how to keep the audience interested. You have to grab their attention, otherwise they'll get bored and boo. But honestly, his guitar playing is enough to get your attention. The dude can thrash like no other.

4.) Ronnie James Dio
First of all, RIP to the legendary Ronnie James Dio who passed away 7 years ago today. He is not on the list for this reason. He is on the list because he is one of the most legendary front men in metal history. Doing vocal work for both Dio and Black Sabbath, Ronnie stole the hearts of many. He will forever remain in the hearts of metal fans out there.

5.) Bruce Dickenson
Up the ironsssssss!!!!!!! We have the legendary front man Bruce Dickenson of Iron Maiden. Though he wasn't the original front man for Iron Maiden, he is still loved by many and has done well in Iron Maiden.

6.) Ozzy Osbourne
All aboard the crazy train! We have Ozzy Osbourne. The other front man for Black Sabbath, Ozzy has made a huge impact on the metal community. The guy may not be easy to understand when he talks, but man can he sing, I'll never forget hearing Crazy Train for the first time. Go check it out if you haven't.

7.) Lemmy Kilmister
Another RIP to Motorhead front man Lemmy Kilmister. Another man who made an impact with his music in Motorhead. I'll never forget Ace of Spades, and also his performance at Wrestlemania for WWE superstar Triple H.

8.) David Lee Roth
Might as well jump. David Lee Roth of the might Van Halen. Definitely deserves a spot on this list. He controlled the crowd like no other, He is definitely one of the best in the history. Nuff said.

9.) Brian Johnson
Though not the original front man for AC/DC, Brian Johnson has done much for the band and has become a favorite among the metal fans. When original front man Bon Scott died, Brian took his place. Over the years, AC/DC released classics such as Back in Black, Thunderstruck and You Shook Me All Night Long.

10.) Dee Snider
We're not going to take it...if Dee Snider isn't on this list. Ok, here he is. Dee Snider of the mighty band Twisted Sister. Definitely another favorite when it came to getting the attention of the fans, whether it was on stage, or releasing songs like We're Not Gonna Take It.

Well, I hope you guys enjoyed this list.
Thanks for reading. Be forever metal.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Top 10 Metal guitarists

Hey guys. So I decided I want to try something new. I am going to start doing top 10 lists. I'm going to be doing top 10 greatest metal albums, top 10 metal front men, etc. So today I'm doing top 10 metal guitarists. Now, this list is just opinion based. I'm also not ranking it from greatest to worst or vice versa. The names are in the order that pop in my head. Hope you enjoy.

1.) Dave Mustaine
When I think of metal, I think of Megadeth. They have done so much for the metal community over the years, and continue to keep metal alive. But a big part of Megadeth's music is the guitar solos by self taught guitarist, Dave Mustaine. His speed along with the spider chord, are in my opinion, the glue that keeps the instrumental together in every Megadeth song. Their music wouldn't be the same without it.

2.) James Hetfield
When I think of metal, I also think of Metallica. Both them and Megadeth make half of the big four of metal. Now Metallica has also done a great service to metal, and is a big name among the metal community. Their lead guitarist and front man, James Hetfield, is very talented. I mean, singing and playing guitar is no easy task. But he does it so flawlessly, that he's definitely inspiration for anyone wanting to do it for themselves. Like Dave Mustaine, who said in an interview that he used James as an example on how to play guitar and sing.

3.) Rich Ward
A personal favorite guitar player of mine, but not very well known. Rich is the lead guitarist for the bands Stuck Mojo and Fozzy(led by WWE superstar Chris Jericho). Though Rich isn't very well known, he is very talented and respected among his fan and peers. He has also played on more than just his bands, and finding those projects are like cool Easter eggs. If you want to hear his guitar playing, then go check out Fozzy and Stuck Mojo. He does some singing in both bands also, and even has a solo album called "My Kung Fu is Good". So you can check that out too.

4.) Zakk Wylde
Black Label Society, Ozzy Osbourne. Two big names, and Zakk was a part of both. This is another guitarist who can sing and play the guitar flawlessly. He not only plays the electric guitar well, but he also plays acoustic.

5.) Kiko Loureiro
A name that wasn't very well known, until being brought into Megadeth in 2015. This guy is very talented. His solos will melt your face off. Don't believe me? Then go check out "Dystopia", and enjoy what Kiko can do.

6.) Marty Friedman
Another Megadeth member, though belonging in the alumni section after leaving January of 2000. Marty was the lead and rhythm guitarist for Megadeth in the 90's. Talk about another guy with amazing solos. My favorite solo of his is in Tornado of Souls. He also did a cool solo on Fozzy's album "All that Remains". The song for that is Born of Anger.

7.) Dimebag Darrell
This next guitarist isn't a favorite of mine because I don't like Pantera, but he is still good nonetheless. From what I heard on Pantera's "Vulgar Display of Power", Dimebag definitely had a talent and deserves to be on this list.

8.) Tony Iommi
Black Sabbath.There's a big well known name among the metal community. Tony Iommi was their bassist, and in my opinion is one of the best and most well respected bassists in metal.

9.) Slash
Another personal favorite. Slash plays for Guns n Roses. He is also very talented when it comes to playing. You can hear it in his playing. An example is in one of my favorite Guns n Roses songs, Sweet Child o' Mine. The opening instrumental is just beautiful to me.

10.) Eddie Van Halen
They say save the best for last. So we end our list with the very talented and legendary Eddie Van Halen. The guitarist for the mighty band Van Halen.

Well, I hope you guys enjoyed this list.  I hope some of your favorites made it. If not, then let me know. You can hit me up on Twitter @MJWesney.
Thanks for reading guys. Be forever metal.

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Dreaded Marco (Feat. Mike Martin)

Hey guys. So my recommendation today is a band called The Dreaded Marco. This is the band that was discussed in my interview with Mike Martin. If you haven't checked that out, then go check it out after you read this, to see what he's working on.

Anyway, this band is really cool. I'm starting to really dig their music. So I want to share it with you all.
So the first album I checked out was "Safe Word". Now in a way, they kind of remind me of a old school band. Which to me makes sense, considering Mike's inspiration. Including his idol, Frank Zappa. (Again, check interview. Simply titled: Mike Martin interview)

If you're looking for a rock band with shades of old school rock, then definitely check out this band. Everything from the vocals to the instrumental just fits smoothly. Honestly, I have nothing more to say. Let's just say the music speaks for itself.

I hope you guys enjoy this recommendation.
Be forever metal.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Fozzy Judas music video review

Hey guys.
So I want to talk about the music video for Judas by Fozzy. This video and song are simply amazing.
If you haven't checked it out, here's the link:

I want to talk about the song first, because it is seriously amazing. It has the groovy, catchy chorus made famous in the album "Do You Wanna Start A War." It also has the heavy theme from "Chasing the Grail". Which is a beautiful combination. The song is so heavy and catchy, that you will be banging your head all day, cause it will get stuck in your head. The chorus is so catchy, which is what makes it memorable. I seriously love this song more than Sandpaper, and that's saying something. Cause Sandpaper used to be my favorite Fozzy song. But after it was released, I always dared Fozzy to make a song that was better. Judas is this song.

Now about the video. It currently has 205,899 views. By the time you read this, it will be higher. Trust me. The video is entertaining, and a little strange. By strange I mean different from most videos I see. But I can't stop watching it. I've seen it so many times that it plays in my head when I just listen to the song. With all the views it has, I guess I'm not the only one. Which is amazing because it was just put on YouTube yesterday. This really goes to show how hard Fozzy has worked to get where they are at. I have so much respect for this band, and am proud to see how far they've come.

I hope you guys enjoyed this review and the music video. I know I enjoyed watching it countless times and sharing it with you guys.
Be forever metal.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Robby J (interview/conversation)

Hey guys. I had a great conversation/interview with Stuck Mojo frontman Robby J. Hope you enjoy it.

So one of the things I wanted to discuss is something I've heard older musicians talking about. It's about young musicians complaining about touring, saying it's too much work and they don't want to do it. So being a young musician yourself, I wanted to get your opinion. Does this mean they're not dedicated?

"I think the thing with young musicians is they're pretty disillusioned to how things actually are. They're expecting getting into the music industry to be one way, when it's actually pretty different. It's a lot of work, especially now for younger artists. Music's gotten to a point where you've kind of, if you're starting from zero, you kind of can't expect to do this as a full time gig. It kind of has to be something you're extremely passionate about, and something that you're willing to invest a lot of your own personal money into. It's kind of more as a hobby, so there's a lot of work to do.
Starting up your own band; and I think another problem is it's very difficult finding band mates who are on the same exact page as you. Cause you all kind of have to have the same mindset going into this moving forward, cause if there's one person in the band who has a different view, there's always going to be this butting of heads going on, and it's going to be very hard to get out there. Because of that clash. So I don't think it's a matter of musicians not being passionate, I think it's just a matter of these younger musicians getting a little disappointed and realizing; oh wow, this is a lot of work. I've got to try to be my own booking agent, i have to figure out how to sell the merch for my band. I have to create music, I have to in a lot of cases, fund my own album. So it's a lot of work and I think now musicians have to do more than simply being musicians.
They have to do everything, they're their own PR people. They have to go out and get their own shows. Find other bands to tour with. So it's just a lot of work. I think that's the main issue. It's probably an overwhelming lot of work. Especially for younger people who aren't used to this because music industry is very similar to; running a band is like running a business. At the end of the day, a lot of people realize that, and that's what I say about that matter."

So what was your mindset, like when you first started the music business? Were you like disappointed, were you ready, did you know what to expect? Like, what was going through your head at that time?

"When I first started, I actually realized very quickly that you need to smarten up. You need to be very serious about these things. It's not something that's going to be handed to you. So right off the beginning, like just for some context; When I was growing up and I was very young and going into college, I was a very actually liberal minded person, and you know I was kind of like living childishly, recklessly for a long time. Up until I stopped going to college, and I started doing my own music stuff and I realized, wow there's a lot of funding that needs to go into this; and I didn't want to have to rely on, ya know there's these government artist funds that give out to new musicians. But how it's set up is, if you take those funds, you actually aren't allowed to work a certain amount of hours.
 You're very limited on the amount you're personally allowed to work, because the government is giving you money just for your art. So I thought that was pretty stupid, and was like, why would any musician want to do this? So I've realized that the best way to go about things, especially if you want to pursue music, is just, I say to: have a job, have a full time job outside of music, save up as much money as possible, that's what I was doing at the time. As soon as I finished school, I had a part time job at the time, while i was still in college, and I just decided to pursue it full time. I saved up a ton of money, I worked all the hours I could, and then every penny that I saved up, it ended up, a lot of it, ended up going into my band Hasta. I told the guys: I was like, hey listen. I know you guys might not have money, but I want to do this so, right now let's agree to for me to front everything in the band, and then you guys just owe me that at a later time when you guys can accumulate your share of the payments we have to make.
 So I feel like as soon as I started taking music seriously, I understood that it's like, it was a lot of work. My guitarist Dave and I, we decided to start finding contacts in the industry. So what we did was, we found a list of a bunch of different journalists, that we could reach out to, so that they could possibly write about us, or get some interest in us at least, and show us to other people in the industry. That's what we did, we made a bunch of lists, stayed up countless hours, sent out a bunch of emails to people, and then luckily for us; Carl, the guy from BraveWords, he actually took interest in us, and then he compared us to Stuck Mojo, and I ended up getting to join Stuck Mojo because of it."

Speaking of Stuck Mojo, I want to ask; when did you first meet Rich Ward? Did you ever meet him before joining Stuck Mojo? Or was it when he brought you in?

"When I first met Rich, it was after. I hadn't met Rich prior to doing anything in the music industry. I don't know if a lot of people know this but, my video with Hasta La Muerte Pour Anotha Shot, that was my first debut of original music ever. Like, I hadn't put out anything before that so that was my real debut to the local scene here in Montreal, and to just the music world in general, cause we got thrown into the spotlight pretty quickly shortly after that. So what happened was, we put out our video around May 5, 2015; and then it was the very next day we put out, my guitarist Dave had just reached out to Rich Ward on Twitter and was like, Hey check us out. We got compared to Stuck Mojo.
This journalist said we sound like Stuck Mojo and then for whatever reason, Rich actually checked that video out and he was like blown away. That very day he's like; Hey Robby, he reached out to me on Twitter; and he was like, here's my number, call me later, and then that very night, I did. I spoke to him for about an hour, and we were just talking about things. I guess he was getting a feel for what kind of person I was, and then about less than a month later, he flew me down to Georgia to start working on some songs for what would end up becoming"Here Come The Infidels"album. So the first time I met him was in person in Georgia, like around, it was June, or the end of May; and yeah it was cool, I met him and it was like, woah it's Rich Ward. At first, the person that picked me up at the airport was our manager Mark Willis's assistant Lee.
She comes out on the road with us, she does a lot of our merch, and she tour manages us when we're doing shows in the U.S., and then shortly after I met Lee, I met my manager Mark Willis; and he was cool, he showed me around the amphitheater  in Atlanta. He actually runs the whole place. He was like the head guy in charge, and he just took me on this tour of one of the main stages in the amphitheater, and he told me; "This is what you want to play on someday. So stay focused on this." He was like, you're going to be playing on this one day; and I was like, blown away and then and bout an hour later, we finally met up with Rich and we had lunch and we all sat down together. It was very cool, we were just , it wasn't just straight to business or anything, we were just talking things through and just getting to know each other, really."

That is pretty cool. I love hearing stories about that because it really proves how much hard work and a little stroke of luck can really get you somewhere. Switching into something a little different, talking about metal, and I know you kind of discussed this on The RANTidote a little; but I wanted to talk about if it's alive or dead. Do you think it's rebellious as it used to be? Like are metal musicians still trying to not be one of the so called "cool kids", trying to stand out? Or do you think they've kind of got sucked into some of the other genres through like politics or whatever?

"I think up to probably up to the last big artists that mattered came from 90's, and I'm talking about artists like Marilyn Manson, bands like Slipknot, the people in Linkin Park or Fred Durst from Limp Bizkit. I think the reason that those people were relevant is because they were counterculture, they were different from what was going on at the time. It was shocking to see. You know, guys in masks like Slipknot, talking about the lyrical content they did and that stuff was becoming mainstream at the time. You were hearing that type of heavy music on the radio, which stuff like Marilyn Manson, it was just constantly thrown out there; and I think the problem with metal today is we don't really have any of these figures who are clashing with the mainstream culture. Cause in the 90's, it was still different to be against that stuff and display those values as like, this is what we're all about, and it was shocking people.
But now, things have gotten to a point where that stuff isn't shocking to people. There are average people out there who live this freakishly and deprived lives to the point where it's like, none of that shocks people. What shocks people now is, just being like hey you know what? I actually don't care about your depressing values like, doing drugs isn't cool. Getting wasted is not cool. You know what's cool is starting a family and taking care of the people around you.
 It's being sober. That's what's being cool cause that's what's being intelligent, and that's what gets people places. That's what makes the world go round, and saying those things, like people seem to get offended. It's like, what are you talking about? We worked all these years to destroy all that mindset and take it all down, and now you're trying to bring that back. So it's like, I feel a lot of these younger artists; they're either too politically correct or afraid to just say these things, or they're actually disillusioned and they think that that's not the way to go about things.
So they think a life of partying is what's cool. I think that's why the only people who I say are kind of like have that rick star image, that are in the industry from younger bands like the past 10 years or so; are maybe the guys in the bands, there are this warped tour bands like Asking Alexandria or The Black Veil Brides. I would say guys like Andy Black and Danny Worsnop are like at the forefront of this rock star image thing. But I find this point, what they're doing is kind of like passe. Because all they're trying to be is like a recreation of guys like Sebastion Bach from Skid Row, and it's like; it's not even cool to get wasted all the time. Act like an idiot on stage, you've got plenty of videos that I'm sure Danny is embarrassed about right now, of him just like freaking out with Asking Alexandria, because he was so wasted he couldn't so his job properly. It's kind of embarrassing to see , it's like, I'm not trying to tear the guy down, though it's pretty much what I'm doing right now.
 But it's kind of sad. But I think a lot of these guys learn from their mistakes and they're getting better, and still putting out great music. But I think that whole, we need to party till we drop, that needs to go. Because it's like, you can see all these countless legends; like guys from Jim Morrison to Jimi Hendrix, to Bon Scott from AC/DC. All they did was party till they couldn't and it's like, man, we're human beings. We are not machines. The human body is not meant or built to withstand all these drugs and alcohol abuse.
Ya know, and it's like, you think after all these instances of famous rock stars dying, that people would get the message. but a lot of these people still don't, and I think that's still a problem with a lot of these younger bands. It's about the partying and ya know, about the fame, hooking up with girls and doing a lot of drugs, and it's really not. Especially now, you need to really smarten up if you want to make it, and you've just got to work really hard. Just be nice to people, really."

So how do you feel about bands that were still around in the 90's, like big metal bands, like Megadeth or Metallica? Those two always come to mind. Do you think they still have that rebellious, metal music that they used to? Or do you think they've kind of like, strayed away from it? 

"I think they'll always have that different edge to them, ya know, they're the forefathers of what came. So I think they're still, ya know anything; the old school bands are the only ones who I feel are putting out quality records still. They're the ones that are passionate about making records and putting out the best they can possibly put out. I think ya know. Megadeth's last album "Dystopia" and Metallica's "Hardwired", was probably some of the best records those two bands have put out in years. So I definitely think that, yeah they still have that rebellious edge to them. Ya know there are guys like James Hetfield who, he might not outwardly speak about what he believes in, but ya know I think he kind of upholds the constitution; and Dave Mustaine from what I know, I think he's pretty much a guy who's not afraid to speak out against like the mainstream of what's going on. So I definitely  and admire and respect both of those guys for that."

How do you feel about metal having so called "acts of satanism"?

"Well as far as satanism goes, I think the only bands that really push that stuff, I think it's a big part of their ethos, like the black metal bands. I think there's like a saying in the black community, it's like you're not even a true black metal band if you don't uphold the thoughts of satanism. I don't know too much about, you know that cult or religion, whatever you want to call it. But from what I understand, I don't think it's a violent thing. I think from what people tell me, it's more of a peaceful mindset. Going on, I think people if they use any satanic imagery in their albums, like especially more of the mainstream artists, like Slayer or Marilyn Manson. I think they were only using that imagery just for shock value, or just to speak up against it.
Like, at a certain point in their lives, I think guys like Tom Morello were speaking out against christian churches because of what was going on with all the scandals and what not. So I think it was used more as like a political statement, more so than the musicians and artists actually believing in satanism. I think it was more just to make a statement, shock people with grotesque imagery than anything else."

Do you have any advice for up and coming young musicians who might be struggling?

"I would say what any new artist should do is: they should have a job, whatever it is, outside of music, or however they make money. Save up as much as possible because you never know when you're going to need an extra wad of cash to get yourself somewhere else. As far as, you know, starting a new band, a brand new band from scratch; I think that is extremely difficult. I think it should only be done with people who are exactly on the same mindset, so that means either people who are already in the industry coming together and making new music. But brand new musicians coming out of the woodwork, I think it's very tough for a brand new band to succeed. So suggestion is like, because really, I'll go back to this.
 It's like, you're band is only as good as the weakest member in it. So whoever the least talented guy or the least motivated guy in your band is, that's as far as your band is going to go. So you really need to be at a high level, and there's like less than probably 1% of all musicians in the world, actually play all these big festivals like Download in the UK, or Bloodstock, or The Brutal Assault. So it's really tough. I said like, if you are serious and you're a young musician, and you want to get yourself out there; you will do whatever it takes, and that means even if you have your own original project; if you get an opportunity to join another band, you have to take it. You have to put yourself out there. You have to take any gigs that put you out there. That means if you need to go out on the road, and some band needs a fill in guitarist, you take it.
 You practice constantly, that's what you have to do. You have to be better than everybody else, and you have to want to be. So I'd say like, put yourself out there. One of my mentors in the industry is actually one of my good buddies. His name is Max Georgia, and I just take after his work ethic. I follow whatever he does. It's like, be like Max Georgia; and what that means is like he's a guitarist but he's willing to play bass for bands.
 He's currently the fill in bassist for the band Escape the Fate, and he just works his ass off. I see this guy, he's constantly playing guitar. he's constantly putting up guitar videos. You can see him in a bunch of videos on YouTube. He's just always putting out work, and he does different styles of music as well. You've got to be open to that. You got to be willing to play rock. You got to be willing to play pop, you know classical music, jazz, heavy metal, whatever.
 He's got the look for it too. He understands that if you want to make it in a certain aspect of the music industry, like a certain genre, you have to look a certain way too. So if you're in heavy metal, you should try to be growing out your hair. You should be trying to get tattoos. It's not to fit in, well, it is and it isn't. Like it's, like working at an office.
 You kind of have to come in and wear a suit and tie, if you're working at one of these higher  office buildings. So it's like the same thing in metal. If you want to be a metal musician or like specifically in like the hardcore scene, or like the death metal scene; you kind of have to have to look a certain way. It's just part of the gig. So just put yourself out there. Try to get whatever opportunities you can, and you can't afraid to let go of being in a band with your friends, just for the sake that they're your friends. You got to understand that, you just have to look after yourself and not everybody has the same mindset as you. So I say it's a lot of hard work, but it's definitely do able. You know, I think the only things stopping people is the idea that they can't do it, and that's a bunch of bullshit. If you want to do anything in life, just got to go out there and do it. Pretty much."

Big thanks to Robby J for answering my questions and giving his opinions. Hope you guys enjoyed this.
Be forever metal.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Mike Martin Interview

Hey guys. So I had the pleasure of interviewing Ex-Fozzy and Stuck Mojo guitarist, Mike Martin. Hope you enjoy.

So the first question I have is: When did you realize you wanted to play guitar?

"I think I must have been about 7 or 8 years old. I had started playing violin when I was just about 4 and was always singing in church. Took piano lessons for a time as well but I loved the sound of the guitar I heard on the radio. My parents had taken me and my brother and sister t visit some of their friends and they had an acoustic guitar and I couldn't take my eyes off of it. I knew then I had to play it one day!"

That's really cool. Is there something about playing guitar that you really enjoy? Like maybe experimenting with riffs. 

"Guitar, for me, in every iteration, electric, hollow-body, acoustic, classical, all just speak to me. I feel most expressive with it. Whether I am writing, recording or playing tunes or improvising. Something about it just feels like my voice more than anything else. Like a real extension of myself, ya know? The best is standing in front of my speaker cabinets and feeling the notes moving the air around me. I am absolutely addicted to that feeling!"

I can relate to that. I'm addicted to the sound of a guitar when it's being played right. So I'm aware that you were in Fozzy and Stuck Mojo, so I want to know how you met Rich Ward? Did he discover you? Or did you contact him somehow?

"I actually met Rich way back in 1992 when I had first moved to Atlanta. Stuck Mojo was already one of the best bands to see in town at that point and that was still a few years before they signed with Century Media and put out "Snappin' Necks." There was a point back then when we were all hustling for work and a mutual friend of ours got us jobs doing landscaping with the same company. 

We didn't really know each other back then, I was aware of him because of being a fan of Mojo and I had a band I was trying to break into the scene at the time. Years later, around 2004, that same friend, Sean Delson, was playing bass for Fozzy and Ryan Mallam had just left the band and when Rich asked Sean about guys to audition he recommended me. We met up and I did an audition with the guys and the rest, as they say, is history!"

So did you enjoy your time in Fozzy? Or was there any tension between you and guys? I've never really heard anything about it.

"I loved it! Every tour was a blast. I can honestly say that touring and working with them was more like being around your best friends. Never any drama or stuff like that. Things always go sideways in the music business and Rich and Chris and the guys always have great attitudes about how to best deal with things as they happen. Proof that cooler heads always prevail fore sure. I earned a tremendous education getting the opportunity to work with them for those years that I will always look back fondly on.

My leaving the band after "Chasing The Grail" really had more to do with issues I was having in my personal life that were creeping into my professional life. I felt the need to control my work on the music I had written for the album to a fault as I did not feel I had control of much else in my life at the time and I was definitely over-compensating. I ended up alienating myself at a time when I needed those relationships more than I could estimate. Both professionally and personally. I am proud of the work, though. It came from a real emotional place for me. Definitely a high note for me and I am so glad to see the continued growth and success of the band. I love those guys as people and brothers very much."

I'm sorry you went through that. But I'm glad you enjoyed your time with Fozzy. So now, are you currently working on any music?

"Yes I have a few things I am working on at the moment. My band The Dreaded Marco have just about finished up our follow-up album to "Safe Word". We plan to get to work on full recording production for it later this year.

I have been working for a while now on my next solo instrumental album. It's called "Drive" and it is shaping up to be a double album of about 2 hours of music. Pre-production is still ongoing as it's a bigger project than I had initially anticipated but I plan to start full production and a pre-order / funding campaign this summer. I'm both crazy excited and terrified of this project. It is my most ambitious and emotional work to date. I think I am taxing and challenging just about every facet of myself on this one as a composer, guitarist, producer, recordist and mix engineer.

I also have some singles floating around that I am intending to work in collaboration with some other artists. Some of those may end up coming out before "Drive" and help me fund and promote this new full album."

So what can your fans expect from you in the future? I know in a way you technically answered this, but I was wondering if you have more to add. Like maybe something you want to work on in the future.

"There are several things I am working on and plan to roll out over the coming years including more content on my youtube channel, live stuff, live chats, gear demonstrations and reviews, lesson stuff, etc. I'm also working very hard to be able to tour with my new music and I want to bring that to as many places and countries as I can. Looking into not just traditional venues but home concerts and the like. This industry is in constant flux and I want to be able to perform and tour in a way that makes the most sense both artistically and financially. Live streaming shows is another avenue I am looking into as well. There are lots of ways to do it but I want to makes sure the quality and economics of it make the most sense. Using a platform like Patreon to fund it could be the most simple and direct too.

I plan to spend much more time on my classical composing too. It has been several years since I have premiered any new work and it's long overdue! I have a couple of other projects I am working up as well that will involve me transcribing music for the electric guitar that was originally composed for traditionally orchestral instruments as well as a presenting some of my favorite rock albums in concert as modern literature. Treat the rock band more like a modern ensemble, if you will. I think there is a lot of fun to be had exploring music this way without trying to be a "cover" or "tribute" band."

So when I asked about what Guitarist you would like to jam with, you said Frank Zappa. Was he a idol of yours? And did he influence your guitar work?

"Frank Zappa is my hero! Not only is his guitar playing hugely influential to me, but his style as a composer is out of this world. I have always said that if I had any hope of anyone listening to my guitar playing I would need to write a piece of music that they would have to care about. Then they would have to suffer through my playing! lol

Because I admired Frank so much in this way I majored in Music Theory and Composition in college rather than the guitar. I was fortunate to get to speak with Steve Vai about this and how big of an impact he, Frank and all of the guitarists and musicians that worked with Frank throughout his career have had on me. All of this stuff and Frank was an incredible producer, engineer, recordist and mixer. He was really doing some amazing things and working in a very independent way. I think Frank Zappa is someone that every musician and artist should learn about and consider studying. And not just for his creative processes and work, but his professional ideas and work ethic. Absolutely amazing to think about all of the work he managed to do!"

Final question: Do you have any advice for young up and coming guitarists?

"My advice to any guitarist or musician up and coming is to be open to everything and enjoy the process of discovery. The work we do never really stops. There is always more to learn, see, hear and do. Follow all of the paths that interest you and share your passion for ideas with others. We all need to remember to always be students as well as teachers. Some of my greatest experiences and influences are not necessarily with guitarists or guitar related music either. Music is not just about notes, theory and genres. It's all about life so make sure you go out there and live it!"

Thanks again to Mike Martin for taking the time to do this interview. Hope you guys enjoyed it.
Be forever metal.