Screamer Magazine was founded in Los Angeles, California in 1987 by David F. Castagno, Publisher/Editor. It covers all Metal and Rock Bands big or small. It now features interviews, reviews and news on bands from today and yesterday.
The discussion over whether rock n’ roll is dead has been debated endlessly. Do a Google search on the subject, and you will find numerous articles and online forum discussions where people state their case quite passionately.
Rather than add tons of verbiage to the debate, Stevie D and Corey Glover have decided to let the music answer that question with a blistering 5 minute, 19 second effort:
Stevie D feat. Corey Glover - Final Resting Place (Official Music Video) - YouTube
Stevie D (full name Stephen DeAcutis) is a musician/producer/engineer with a long, distinguished bio. Credits include working with Andy Wallace (Rage Against The Machine, Nirvana), Kevin Shirley (Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith) and Max Norman (Ozzy Osbourne). After many years and many projects for other recording artists, DeAcutis has decided to release an album of his own work, Torn From The Pages, due to drop September 6. For the project, he teamed up with Corey Glover, best known for his work as the lead vocalist with the band Living Colour.
Stevie D & Corey Glover
DeAcutis wrote all 13 tracks on the album, and although he is a stellar guitarist and does play multiple instruments, he says “For this project I played several instruments, but I also brought in quite a few other musicians. I treated this endeavor almost like I’m gonna bring in who I consider to be the top cats at certain instruments on this record. So when I needed something done, I thought, ‘Who do I want? If I could get anybody, who would I hire to do this?’ And that’s basically the approach I took on it.” Some of those top cats include drummer Richie Monica (who’s played with Uli Roth and Popa Chubby), Jack Daley (bass player for Lenny Kravitz), and Benny Harrison (keyboardist on songs by Joe Bonamassa and Joe Lynn Turner). As a side note of interest, the bass player in the video, Kenny Aaronson, did not play on the record but has worked with Billy Idol, Rick Derringer, Joan Jett and many others.
Arguably the most distinctive part of any song are the vocals. The human voice is like the fingerprints of a song…unique and immediately identifiable. Asked if he had Corey Glover specifically in mind when he was writing, he replies “I did not. When these songs were coming together, the initial vocal demos were me. I basically put up a mic in the studio and sometimes I’d actually document the vocal as I’m writing the lyrics. So I’d probably demoed every track vocally, but then I hired a friend of mine, his name is Doug Henthorn. Doug and I were signed to a label in a group called Pod, not to be confused with the successful band P.O.D.” he laughs. “My band Pod was signed to Sony in ’95. John Kalodner was our A&R gentleman. I basically got him on the whole record except for maybe two songs. And one of the songs that he didn’t sing, one day I just thought, ‘I wonder if Corey would be interested?’ I was probably sitting in my backyard having a coffee just thinking and it came to mind. So I reached out to Corey, I said, ‘Dude, would you be willing to sing a track on my record?’ And he was like, ‘Yeah, man, no problem.’ So couple of weeks later, I got him in the studio and he started singing the song, started tracking him, and two verses in, I was like geez, I’m gonna have to ask him to sing the whole record.”
So Corey Glover is in, and Doug Henthorn is out. How did he break the news to his old friend? “Well, you know, that kind of thing is never…it’s always a difficult thought when anything like that comes into play in this business, especially when we become friends with just about everybody we work with. I don’t remember exactly how it went down but what I do remember is Doug was a complete gentleman about it and professional. We’ve remained high-level friends ever since and he is still on the record; his backing vocals are still on the record. But yeah, it was tough.”
Although DeAcutis’ resume of production and engineering credits reads like a who’s who of the recording industry, it’s a whole different ballgame releasing an album with your name on it. While only audiophiles and fans of the band might dig deep to see who produced and mixed a record, when your own name is front and center in large font it takes the emotional investment to a much higher level. “Excellent point,” says DeAcutis. “I have the opportunity here to tweak eternally, to make adjustments eternally. So it is a wonderful opportunity to be in that position where I have the say when this thing is done. But that being said, I did work on the record for quite some time. And the tricky part is when you make your living doing sessions and working with other artists and producing and mixing and such, if you’re working for the most part full-time you only have so many hours in the week and so much energy to devote to your own record. So that’s another challenge: How do I work this into the schedule and realistically get this thing done? That was tricky.”
“I pretty much mixed the record twice. Maybe five, six years ago I had what I might have considered to be a finished record. But then I put it away for quite some time and went back to it and I was able to upgrade the record immensely, not having listened to it for a while and not having dealt with it for a while. And I was able to go in and dig into some of these tracks and almost look at them as if I never heard them before and as if they weren’t my songs, so I was really objectively able to make some decisions that I feel brought the record to another level. At that point, it was time to get it done because there were no other levels to go from there except the other way, if you know what I mean.”
So this fine album, which has taken years to be fully realized, will finally see the light of day in September. Now what? For many studio projects this is both the beginning and the end. As opposed to a band that will almost always tour in support of a new album, studio projects are normally a loose coalition that gathers for the project, then quickly goes their separate ways upon completion.
However, DeAcutis has different ideas. “Been working in the studio quite a bit, but I’m rehearsing the band as we speak. I’m rehearsing the band to take this record out. I’ve definitely played live a lot more than I have the last couple years, and I do miss it. I’m looking forward to getting back on stage and playing more. Probably about four, six months ago, I did a fill-in for a guitar player with Vinnie & Carmine Appice. They do an act called ‘Drum Wars’ where they both play together and do different material from each of their bands that they’ve been with, and I had the opportunity to do a couple of shows there, so that was a lot of fun.”
Anticipating the next question, DeAcutis says “And yes, Corey will be singing with us. We don’t have the dates solid for September. Originally it was August 2nd but we’re going move it to September because the record is actually coming out in September, so I’m trying to nail that down. At that point, the reality of what we can do live will actually hit.”
In the “good old days” of major labels with major budgets, bands could count on financial tour support. Today only the biggest acts have that advantage. Most smaller groups are entirely self-financed which places strict limits on where they can go and what they can do. “My buddy actually, yeah…I have a friend here in Jersey, excellent guitar player and he literally just bought a tour bus,” says DeAcutis. “Bought a big old tour bus. I think he named it Edna, and he drives it, he books the shows. I asked him, ‘Matt, what are the odds of renting your tour bus every now and again when you’re not using it?’ He said, ‘Yeah, man, but I gotta drive it.’ So, that’s OK with me,” DeAcutis laughs.
Being based in New Jersey, the logical and logistical place to go on the road would be the East Coast, but DeAcutis says “Well, that would be the easiest scenario for the moment, but I’ll go anywhere. Wherever I can pull it off, I’ll take it, you know? This is a carte blanche traveling situation for me and a great gigging situation, so that’s not even a question. If there’s an opportunity to do a festival overseas–or wherever and I can pull it off, I’m all for it.”
So if one has a yearning for real, honest rock n’ roll that most definitely ain’t dead yet, download or pick up (yes, it will be released in old-school, CD format) Torn From The Pages. And look for Stevie D and friends on the road this fall. “I’ll take this act, this music, this record, I’ll take it anywhere live. I’m proud of what we’ve done, and wherever I can pull it off I’ll take it.”
Two days before what is probably the most uniquely American holiday, Independence Day, The Wiltern played host to a trio of international acts. Most prominent among the three was The Struts. The British-formed headliners brought their Young & Dangerous tour to Los Angeles along with Canadians The Glorious Sons and New Zealander Kelsy Karter and her band. On what was an unseasonably cool early July evening, the interior of the historic theater became increasingly hot as the night marched on.
First to take the stage is Karter, accompanied by the guys with long hair–her four piece backing band. Karter and company power through an eight song grouping of punk-pop inspired rock. Karter prances back and forth across the stage and stops to point and gesture before resuming her pacing. The band provides a solid musical foundation on which Karter can stand and sing. They deliver a stirring rendition of Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling In Love.
Next to the stage is the quintet The Glorious Sons. They run through a nine song list of original numbers. The Sons are fronted by lead vocalist Brett Evans. Evans, roams about the stage, delivering his vocals, barefoot, wearing red plaid pants. Their music is pretty straight forward rock, with a twin guitar lineup of Jay Emmons and Chris Koster. Handling drums and bass are Adam Paquette and Chris Huot respectively.
The Glorious Sons
On stage they are actually a quintet with Josh Hewson playing keyboards and occasional guitar. The Glorious Sons deliver a proficient performance and have a nice polished sound.
The Struts, the evening’s main attraction arrive on a darkened stage. Through strobe lights, vocalist Luke Spiller joins his band mates as he runs on to the stage, waving to the audience. The beginning to the introductory number sounds like a mid 70’s era David Bowie song, when it hits full stride the three members not behind the drum kit are jumping in unison as Spiller implores the gallery to follow suit. This elevated energy level continues throughout the set. Spiller provides the bulk of the energy to the show. A consummate performer, Spiller resembles what would result if Mick Jagger, the aforementioned Bowie, Freddie Mercury and Marc Bolan were all placed in a blender and came out as a sequined and fringed smoothie. He has Jagger’s moves, Bowie’s sense of the theatrical, Mercury’s ability to connect with an audience and Bolan’s glamor. Add to that a voice with range and you get someone born to be on a stage.
The majority of the production is framed by four-minute pop-infused rockers. Creating the sonic parade ground on which Spiller can sashay about is a solid three person backing ensemble. Led by guitarist Adam Slack, the Struts tunes are marked by catchy riffs and hooky choruses. When the music calls for a less bombastic contribution from Slack, he demonstrates his playing abilities during solos, and the guy has serious chops. Gethin Davies puts punch in the sound behind the drums. Bassist Jed Elliott creates the bottom and together the three instrumentalists create a tight and robust sound. Although they may not be as active or as demonstrative on stage as their leader, each provides the right level of balance to the extreme activity of Spiller.
One of the high points of the show is when they perform their newest single, as Spiller announces the song was just released. It’s not often that you get to see a group do a cover of a cover, but they pull it off when they play a Van Halenesque version of Martha and The Vandellas’ Dancing In The Streets. The high energy is broken only when Spiller sits at the piano for a few numbers. During the first song of their encore, Spiller sits alone on the stage at the piano to serenade the audience with Somebody New. He shares a moment with the crowd as they return the favor and sing one of the choruses right back to him.
They complete the night with the anthem Could Have Been Me, to which the audience echoes the chorus and throws red balloons around near the stage. The show concludes and there is a fact that is undeniable, every person in attendance got their money’s worth. That is a documented aim for the band, to give a stellar performance each and every night as they feel that is what their fans deserve. Mission accomplished on this night for certain. Some things do not always translate to scale, but witnessing The Struts delight a room of 1,200, it is easy to imagine and almost impossible to believe that they won’t soon be playing to 20,000 as headliners in the near future. Those who were able to catch them in this intimate venue, have most assuredly stolen an experience.
Hide your women, children and your pets!!! California’s greatest export and medical marvels Steel Panther are heading out on a national headline tour of the United States. The tour, called the Heavy Metal Rules Tour, kicks off in early October and runs through mid-December. The tour will be in support of the band’s recently announced 5th studio album Heavy Metal Rules. The 27-date trek will make stops in markets such as Orlando, FL; Boston, MA; New York, NY; Detroit, MI; and Chicago, IL to name a few. Steel Panther live is always the ultimate party and has developed them a loyal fanbase around the globe. Public on sale for all shows is July 19th and more information on all shows can be found at: https://www.steelpantherrocks.com/pages/tour.
The new album Heavy Metal Rules is scheduled for release on September 27th. The Viagra loving, hard-partying foursome comprised of Michael Starr on vocals, Satchel on guitars, Lexxi Foxx on bass and Stix Zadinia have created the heavy metal version of a self-help manual and ultimate party album combined. The new album is available for pre-order in various bundle configuration here: https://lnk.to/HeavyMetalRules. The video for the first single “All I Wanna Do Is Fuck (Myself Tonight)” was shot in Las Vegas and features cameos from numerous celebrities from music, comedy, YouTube and more. The video can be seen here:
Steel Panther - All I Wanna Do Is Fuck (Myself Tonight) - YouTube
The track listing for Heavy Metal Rules is:
All I Wanna Do Is Fuck (Myself Tonight)
Let’s Get High Tonight
Always Gonna Be A Ho
I’m Not Your Bitch
Heavy Metal Rules
Sneaky Little Bitch
Gods Of Pussy
I Ain’t Buying What You’re Selling
L to R: Stix Zadinia, Michael Starr, Lexxi Foxx, Satchel (Photo by: David Jackson)
ABOUT STEEL PANTHER:
For the uninitiated, Steel Panther was formed in 2000 and is comprised of Michael Starr (lead singer), Satchel (guitarist), Lexxi Foxx (bass) and Stix Zadinia (drums). Hailing from Los Angeles, the epicenter for rock n’ roll in all its debauchery and glamour, Steel Panther has established themselves as the world’s premier party band, melding hard rock virtuosity with parody and criminally good looks. Steel Panther is a global phenomenon with four full-length albums, touring across the world, platinum-level You Tube status and high-profile television appearances such as Jimmy Kimmel Live, Larry King Now, and FOX NFL Sunday.
Rolling Stone avowed, “There’s a reason Steel Panther have transcended their origins as a cover band playing the Sunset Strip,” while Metal Sucks declared, Steel Panther’s concept is genius…their songwriting is…preposterously snappy – and relatable.”
‘Open up, drink it in, don’t ask too many questions’ – a fitting beginning to ‘The Violence’, the brand new track from British rock outfit, Asking Alexandria released today along with an accompanying 7 minute short film written and directed by Jensen Noen and presented by Scissor Films and Sumerian Films.
The band have been warning fans about the arrival of ‘The Violence’ on social media this week with calls to dial a mysterious phone number that is answered by an automated message stating that ‘The time has come, they have the answers, the cure for the cancer that we’ve become’. The more people that signed up, the more teaser content was revealed until today when it all becomes clear.
With an excellent reversal of standard horror troupes, the Tarantino-esque landscape created in short film ‘The Violence’ sees humans as the infected and zombies their prey. We follow the plight of everyday zombies: Cocaine Shane (Danny Worsnop), Peter (Ben Bruce), Disco Luke (Cameron Liddell), Phat Noah (James Cassells) and Waterboy Eric (Sam Bettley) as they are forced to battle the onslaught of the bloodthirsty humans relentlessly hunting them down. Will they survive ‘The Violence’? You’ll have to watch to find out.
ASKING ALEXANDRIA - The Violence (Official Music Video) - YouTube
The track itself is another in a long line of huge, hard-hitting, arena-filling rock anthems from Asking Alexandria. Thunderous drum claps open the song, proceeded by a massive, bounding riff. Worsnop’s vocals, soft at first, burst into his signature roar as the chorus hits and he bellows ‘All they wanted was violence’. Lyrically the track is a biting statement on the toxic state of humanity.
Speaking on the new track and accompanying a short film, guitarist Ben Bruce says “We are back bigger, better, louder and more insane than ever before. This single encompasses everything we have been working towards. Huge guitars, anthemic drums and some of the catchiest, most technically accomplished vocals that Danny has ever delivered, and this is only just the beginning.”
Continuing from this, singer Danny Worsnop adds “The Violence was an incredibly rewarding song to create. Ben and I both got to go way outside anything we’d done before and created something fresh and engaging. Thematically the song is about the way mainstream media and politicians manipulate and spread mistruth amongst the people to encourage and create anger, fear, division, and conflict in their quest to control and acquire power. As the history books have shown, this only goes so far before the people stand up and say enough is enough. I hope everyone enjoys what we’ve created here, we had a great time making it, and even more fun shooting the video!”
Asking Alexandria will debut the new track live when they hit the road July 27th for the ‘Who Do You Trust’ US Summer Tour with Papa Roach and Bad Wolves, starting in Dallas on July 27th and ending in Las Vegas on September 1st.
Full dates, ticket info and VIP Packages for the ‘Who Can You Trust?’ Tour can be found below.
PAPA ROACH ‘WHO DO YOU TRUST? TOUR’ DATES:
July 27, 2019 – Dallas, TX – Southside Ballroom*
July 28, 2019 – Houston, TX – Smart Financial Center*^
July 30, 2019 – San Antonio, TX –Sunken Gardens Amphitheater*^
Aug 2, 2019 – Atlanta, GA – The Roxy*^
Aug 4, 2019 – Charlotte, NC – Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheater*^
Aug 7, 2019 – Philadelphia, PA – Metropolitan Opera House*
Aug 9, 2019 – Asbury Park, NJ – Stone Pony Summer Stage*^
Aug 13, 2019 – Bethlehem, PA – Sands Bethlehem Events Center*^
Aug 16, 2019 – Detroit, MI – Freedom Hill Amphitheater*^
Aug 18, 2019 – Cleveland, OH – Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica*^
Aug 20, 2019 – Grand Rapids, MI – 20 Monroe Live*^
Aug 21, 2019 – Indianapolis, IN – Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park*^
Aug 23, 2019 – Chicago, IL – Aragon Ballroom*^
Aug 27, 2019 – Denver CO – The Fillmore*^
Aug 28, 2019 – Salt Lake City, UT –Union Event Center*
Aug 30, 2019 – Phoenix, AZ – Comerica Theatre*^
Aug 31, 2019 – Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Palladium*^
The Red Rocker takes the stage for a worthy cause as Sammy Hagar rolls into Los Angeles to deliver an unforgettable performance at America Salutes You: Guitar Legends II—a special benefit concert dedicated to the mental health and wellness of America’s veterans and first-responders—in an all-new episode of Rock & Roll Road Trip airing this Sunday, July 14 at 8pE.
In this exclusive first look, Sammy puts his trademark spin on The Doors’ classic “Roadhouse Blues,” joined by Doors icon Robby Krieger and Blues standout Joe Bonamassa. Sitting down with Krieger, Sammy discusses The Doors’ politically charged music that forever shaped the ‘60s. Shedding insight into the band’s songwriting and how they tackled the topics of the day, Krieger explains, “Jim used to say… to be a mirror of society. Don’t try to preach what you think it should be, but just be a mirror.” Then, Six Degrees Of Separation comes full circle when Sammy meets Joe Bonamassa for the first time, after the six-string mastermind played in a band with Sammy’s son when they were teenagers. Check it out here.
Rock & Roll Road Trip With Sammy Hagar airs every Sunday at 8pE/5pP, only on AXS TV.
Canadian singer/songwriter Devin Townsend has been on the metal scene for quite some time, and while he might not be one of the most well-known artists around, he is certainly one of the most talented and versatile. After having disbanded The Devin Townsend Project and releasing his album titled Empath through InsideOut Records, Townsend is redefining the realm of just how both unpredictable and limitless music can be through a transfusion of metal, EDM, opera, classical, new age and even calypso. The result is an absolute masterpiece resonating through what Townsend referred to on the five-part series of documentaries found on YouTube as a process that took him down psychological and technical avenues of good and evil existing together.
We sat down with Townsend to discuss his acoustic tour with Avatar, his upcoming headlining tours, the new record, the end of an era with The Devin Townsend Project and the beginning of a new journey in his career. “The tour with Avatar was such a great opportunity for me to be able to start promoting the new album at a much slower pace than I would have done in the past,” Townsend confesses. “It was such an incredible undertaking to get this thing done exactly the way I wanted it, and so when they came to me and said I needed to go back on tour my first thought was ‘Oh, God!’ “But by doing an acoustic set, it has allowed me to make it a lot more low key, and it has been a lot less pressure than my regular shows. Since this one in North America has been with Avatar and their friends, basically, I have gotten to hitchhike with them and share their bus and crew. It has helped me to ease my way back into this and some nights have been absolutely brilliant, but some nights have also been what you would imagine an acoustic set to be like when it’s done between two metal bands” Townsend laughs. “I mean, it’s not the traditional acoustic show where it’s super mellow but it still has the elements of what I usually do only with an acoustic guitar.”
Townsend’s recent album Empath was inspired by the idea of good versus evil existing together in juxtaposition with what is going on in the world today. Not in its entirety but in the sense of how social media has created this extreme frenzy between people and their opinions and their stances. The evolution of opinions has streamlined its way into the entertainment industry, and music is no different as current events continue to gain focus through artistry. Townsend didn’t confirm whether or not this album was solely influenced by the external thoughts of others more so than his creative tendencies but he did shed some light on what his mindset was. “Sometimes I wish I could determine where the ideas came from and I don’t like to provoke myself to be about one certain thing, at least not all the time. It would be convenient to base it all on the obvious, but that is not always what happens with me” Townsend says. “I will do one thing, and then if I don’t really dig the idea, I just get bored and want to do the opposite. I try to keep this tendency at bay, especially recently. I think everyone is perpetually dissatisfied and that is part of the problem. I think it influences me just because it’s omnipresent. My work over the years has always just been a direct reflection of what I’m thinking about, I guess. And as you pointed out, the world is increasingly more polarized, and we can’t avoid that. It’s like every time you turn on the TV or open their browser or what have you, it’s just us against them, and this person vs. that person and I can’t imagine this all doesn’t play into it to a degree. I think there’s the whole point of impasse and so I was to trying to find a way to view it from a different perspective. Helping people to see they’re not as stuck in the this and that type of thinking, the black and white thinking. So yeah, I’m certain that it played into it and I’m sure whatever I write next will be influenced by whatever’s going on around me then too.” This is a record that will surely stand out and challenges the expectations within a genre of music through a wonderful rainbow of different elements going on. When you truly think about the DNA of metal alongside opera, EDM, classical, pop, country and amongst a few, they all collide uncomfortably but unexpectedly harmonious. Townsend goes on to tell us “I didn’t do it to be provocative or anything I don’t take a lot of pride in the sort of thinking of myself as a genre mashup type of guy or anything. I just think that life, in general, includes so many dynamics just on a day-to-day basis. You may wake up in the morning and may be feeling one way, and then you may get some shitty email that makes you feel another way and then you may have an interaction with somebody that’s really great or an altercation with somebody that’s really negative. You may feel sad after lunch and then see something funny. I mean these are all kinds of ups and downs of life, and it was extremely important for me to try and represent what life is actually like on this record as opposed to an idealistic version of life where we want it to be controlled. We want it to be one thing and then a happy ending and this and that. Life is random and chaotic, and so all those different styles on this record are more of a representative of that. The music tells a story in addition to what you’re saying in the songs in some ways. It’s not a linear trajectory with the story, but, everything I do has a story to some degree, and I think the reason why it’s been that way, is it just gives me some spaces to color in and I enjoy that. And if I can kind of establish some sort of storyline within the context of an album, it allows me to do things on a real practical level. Like, okay, well this song should now come here, and now it needs to get dark and now needs to get light and now it needs to have some sort of release. And, so everything I’ve done for as long as I can remember has had some sort of story, but it’s not necessarily an overt-one, like in musical theater” Townsend concludes.
DEVIN TOWNSEND - Spirits Will Collide (OFFICIAL VIDEO) - YouTube
If you have been a longstanding fan of Townsend, you have also experienced his outside the box thinking that is transparent in not only his music but the videos he creates to help tell the story of each song. But which comes first? The music or the video? And what provokes the adventures he creates visually. “I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the concepts,” Townsend says. “I just have a lot of creative ideas. I always have, and the biggest problem is trying to fund it. I’ve been fortunate enough to find that my experiences led me to this company that was willing to go further than the budget allowed. For instance, I had a pretty specific idea in mind for the Genesis video, I basically told them to just put me in front of a green screen and let me listen to the song and then I’ll just give you a list of what my mind’s eyes sort of think of in each section of the song. And then if you just use your imagination to articulate it in a way that can be done in the timeline that we’ve gotten to accomplish this, then great. But, there’s not a lot of deep thinking that goes into these. It’s more just like, wouldn’t it be cool, you know?”
After the Devin Townsend Project separated in 2017, Townsend’s career underwent numerous changes. Townsend describes the circumstances to us, mainly citing that the project had run its course. “It was time. There are certain parameters that a rock band imposes on someone’s creativity, specifically, if someone isn’t sharing the same beliefs that I do. I have more of a vision-based writing style and for years, I did my best to fit that into a boxed way of thinking for the band’s sake but after a certain amount of time, I just felt the need to pursue my ideas for what I really wanted to do like Empath and with everything else coming up, it was all just bigger than for what a rock band was built for. Not to mention, costs a lot to run a band and it became tiresome, to be honest. They were all good people, but people change and I know I have changed. It was just time for a change.” Townsend has continued his ongoing relationship with InsideOut Music for licensing and distribution of his music which was recorded through his own label HevyDevy Records. Century Media who is now owned by Sony has been instrumental in Townsend’s career giving light to Townsend’s visions and bringing them to life. “I know that I would not have had the career I do if it wouldn’t have been for Century Media and Inside Out. I think it’s a bit of an anomaly in the industry because they allowed me the creative freedom to do what I wanted to do. I don’t take anything for granted and am very, very proud that the pieces of the puzzle still work in the capacity they are allowed to at this stage.”
Townsend credits everything to his loyal fanbase who always goes along for the ride and is receptive to his new music with open arms. Oddly enough, the fans or even the non-fans or soon-to-be fans have no impact on the music that he writes and they surely do not act as his motivation to do the kind of music he does. “On some level, I am an entertainer and I do love it when I look out and see masses of people at my shows, but, in a weird way, what drives me is being on the road and seeing the fans out there in the audience and performing for them; but I write my songs for me not for the money, but out of pure creativity” Townsend explains. “I think I follow the creativity to where it leads and if I feel absolutely compelled to do something that requires more outlandish creativity than so be it. But I’m also prepared for it to require less than that, and if that’s the case then so be it. But, money has never been the motivation for me and I purely write based on what is going on around me and that fluctuates. I figure as long as I can take my family on vacation and my bills are paid then that is all I can ask for.”
The music industry is an endless learning experience and it is so detrimental to an artist that they not only continue to educate themselves on how things evolve but to also learn from other, more established artists. Townsend’s longevity and uniqueness have not gone without trial and error. He admits the industry itself hasn’t changed him and he hasn’t really had one defining moment that inspired him within his music career but he did start somewhere and has stated that at a young age he just fell into it. “I enjoyed playing guitar and put out demos as everyone does and then I got signed and moved to Los Angeles. There was never really a question of what I wanted to do with my life but when I was introduced to Steve Vai and sang on his Sex and Religion album, I was only 19 and I was headstrong and it was difficult but I learned from it and knew I just needed to do more and do my own music” Townsend concludes. “Would I have done anything differently if given the chance, perhaps. But those things and experiences also led me to where I am now.”
Being that he began at such a young age, we asked Townsend what kind of advice he would give to some of the newer bands and artists to inspire them. Townsend says “You have to learn how to deal with failure. I think that this extends not only to just a singular project that doesn’t succeed or a show that doesn’t go well but, also on a social level. There are days when you are in a weird mood and you may say something that is offensive to someone, or you may say something that comes out wrong and is misinterpreted. And a lot of people, myself included have to go through things like that. There are times you feel mortified or embarrassed or humiliated but getting over that and getting past that point of a knee jerk reaction to things is a huge benefit, especially if you are just starting out” Townsend says. “If your natural reaction is to shut down and avoid taking risks or trying again and forgetting that taking risks is the cornerstone of improvisation, the key is learning to get over yourself and past your failures and set aside your ego. The main thing is to keep going and not dwell because there will be plenty of instances of success to come out of those disappointments.” The creative process can be a daunting one but all in all, you have to trust yourself and your artistic instincts. Townsend tries to keep a level of discipline and meditation in his daily life and lives with the notion that sometimes it’s ok not to have anything to say. “It’s ok if you have one day where you are feeling on top of the world and it’s ok if you have a day where you don’t feel ok. In some ways, this is part of being creative and embracing those feelings whether they are up or down and taking in what the world has to offer around you and applying it to your music” Townsend reveals.
As our interview draws to its end, Townsend extends his gratitude not only to Screamer Magazine for our time, but also to his fans. “I wouldn’t be allowed to do what I do if it wasn’t for the ongoing support from my fans and the media and I hope to continue to do this in the future at an even bigger level. One I can only dream of at this point.” It is safe to say that Townsend will achieve that and more and to anyone who has heard Empath, they can agree it is an affirmation of the great things to come. Fans can also look forward to news of the 4th part of Townsend’s career-spanning vinyl box-set series. ERAS Part 4 is set for release on August 23rd 2019, and features Ziltoid The Omniscient & Z² – Dark Matters, plus the vinyl debut of Ziltoid Live At The Royal Albert Hall & The Retinal Circus– across 9 pieces of 180g vinyl inside a sturdy 2-piece box set with an LP-booklet filled with liner notes and comments by Townsend himself.
In advance of their upcoming live appearances in the United Kingdom, the Israeli symphonic/progressive metal band SCARDUST has unveiled a live composite video for “Dials,” a track from their recently reissued debut album “Sands of Time.” The clip – which was compiled by the group’s vocalist, Noa Gruman – can be seen at this here:
Scardust - Dials (Official Music Video) - YouTube
“Ever since we first played ‘Dials’ live in 2015, our fans have been asking us to make a video for it. Being the longest and most complex piece of Sands of Time, we wracked our brains, time and time again about how to do that,” explains vocalist Noa Gruman. “The truth is – the answer was there all along. As the Dials forever turn for all of us, Scardust is also moving forward, and shaping every day, as we experience our ups and downs, our changing paths and scorching scars. The re-release of this piece gave us the perfect opportunity to present a compilation of Scardust’s life up to this point, with scenes taken from the beginning of the road right up to our most recent concerts.”
Next week, SCARDUST will travel from the Middle East to the UK to play three shows, including a performance at the annual Ramblin’ Man Fair, where the band will appear on the Prog In The Park Stage alongside Riverside, Pain of Salvation and Anathema. From there, the group will head to Slovenia’s Metaldays, where they will perform on the festival’s Newforces Stage.
Originally self-released in Israel in 2017, “Sands Of Time” – mastered by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Devin Townsend, BTBAM) and featuring cover art by Drake Mefestta (Cradle of Filth, Michael Romeo, Devilment) – is now available worldwide on gatefold double LP, digital and compact disc. The new CD reissue features a bonus acoustic piano demo of the previously unreleased song “Mist,” while the limited-edition debut vinyl pressing includes the group’s 2015 debut EP “Shadow” in its entirety on Side D – the first time that release has been offered on vinyl as well.
The critical response to “Sands of Time,” which includes guest appearances by Jake E (Cyhra, ex-Amaranthe) and Kobi Farhi (Orphaned Land), has been overwhelmingly positive. In its 10/10 review, The Metal Observer called the album “a progressive metal epic that expands on the legacy of the biggest names in the genre,” while Prog Magazine called the record “extraordinary,” praising Gruman’s “vocal gymnastics as she flips between elegant soprano and guttural demon in a split-second.”
SCARDUST have previously played alongside the likes of Symphony X, Therion and Epica and recently made their live debut in China, where they performed at the country’s Midi Festival.
18 July Hitchin, UK – Club 85 w/ Serpentyne & Patty Gurdy
20 July Kent, UK – Ramblin’ Man Fair Prog Stage w/ Anathema, Riverside, Pain of Salvation
21 July London, UK – The Lexington w/ Pythia & Patty Gurdy