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  • WOLFGANG VAN HALEN Pays Tribute To Original VAN HALEN Bassist MARK STONE: 'He Was A Wonderful Man'
    Wolfgang Van Halen has paid tribute to VAN HALEN's original bass player, Mark Stone, who died on Saturday (September 26) after a battle with cancer. According to Van Halen News Desk, Stone had been under hospice care recently. Earlier today, Wolfgang tweeted: "Heartbreaking news to hear of Mark's passing. Met him a few times and he was a wonderful man. My heart goes out to his family". After one of Wolfgang's Twitter followers suggested that Mark "hadn't talked" to Eddie Van Halen or Alex Van Halen "for decades," the current VAN HALEN bassist, who is also Eddie's son, shot back: "Really odd to lie about something you know nothing about. What do you get out of this? "They absolutely still talked. How else would I have met him numerous times over the years if they 'hadn't spoken in decades'?" Mark was the bass guitar player in the pre-VAN HALEN band MAMMOTH from 1972 until 1974. Along with Stone, MAMMOTH featured Eddie Van Halen (lead vocals and guitar) and Alex Van Halen (drums). In early 1974, vocalist David Lee Roth joined the group, which shortly thereafter changed its name to VAN HALEN. By around mid-1974, Stone's VAN HALEN bandmates felt that his commitment to school outweighed his interests in pursuing music professionally, and decided to look for another bass player. Michael Anthony, from the Pasadena-area band SNAKE, was chosen as Stone's replacement. Stone remained on good terms with his former bandmates, and attended Eddie Van Halen's marriage to Valerie Bertinelli in 1981. Stone was featured in the "Van Halen Story - The Early Years" DVD, which was released in 2003. In 2015 and 2016, Stone made guest appearances with FAN HALEN, a band paying tribute to the Roth-era lineup of VAN HALEN. Regarding his departure from VAN HALEN, Stone told "Van Halen Story - The Early Years": "I was a straight A student, and doing the band, and I was split between those two things, and basically I couldn't keep up. We met one day, and they actually asked me to leave. For a long time, it was really tough. It was really tough leaving that band because I knew they were destined for greatness. They say, 'Don't leave before the miracle happens,' and I did."

    Heartbreaking news to hear of Mark’s passing. Met him a few times and he was a wonderful man. My heart goes out to his family ? https://t.co/gfGlf4P7WG

    — wolfy van halenson ??? (@WolfVanHalen) September 27, 2020

    Really odd to lie about something you know nothing about. What do you get out of this?

    They absolutely still talked. How else would I have met him numerous times over the years if they “hadn’t spoken in decades”? — wolfy van halenson ??? (@WolfVanHalen) September 27, 2020
  • LARS ULRICH: The METALLICA Song I Never Want To Hear Again
    In a new interview with Vulture.com, Lars Ulrich was asked to name the METALLICA song he never wants to hear again. He responded: "There's a song called 'Eye Of The Beholder' on the '…[And] Justice [For All]' album. Wherever I hear that song, it sounds kind of like — I guess we don't want to be super-disrespectful to it — but it sounds really forced. It sounds like you put a square peg in a round hole. It sounds like it's got two different tempos. There's kind of a 4/4 feel in the intro and on the verses, and then I think the choruses are more like in a waltz tempo. It literally sounds like two different worlds rubbing up against each other. It sounds very awkward to me. I'm not a huge fan of that song. "I guess the asterisk is that, to me, we did the best we could each moment. So of course, sometimes you sit down and go 'Huh?' or 'That could have been better' or 'That was a little awkward' or 'That feels a little silly or easy' or 'That feels over-thought-out' or whatever. It goes back to that whole thing about the past is the past, and I don't spend a long time back there. And there's not really much I can do about it [laughs] and honestly, I don't listen to them. I don't listen to a lot of METALLICA music. Part of it is because I'm sort of overly analytical [about the details]. It's basically almost impossible for me to listen to a METALLICA song without going, 'Okay, how are the sonics, how's the mix, how does the guitar sound? The vocals are too loud, the bass is too boomy.' It becomes this exercise in analytics. When you hear your favorite band — like if I listened to RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE or something, I just fucking let myself go. But when METALLICA comes on it's like, 'Huh?'" "…And Justice For All" was originally released on September 7, 1988 on Elektra Records. While "...And Justice For All" is considered one of METALLICA's classics, it has been criticized almost since the day it was released in 1988 for the lack of any bass guitar on the record. Jason Newsted's playing is virtually buried in the mix — and many fans feel that Ulrich, who had very specific ideas for how he wanted his drums to sound, is to blame. "...And Justice For All" was Newsted's first full-length album with METALLICA after he replaced late bassist Cliff Burton in 1986. The album was the first by the band to sell more than a million copies and featured their first radio hit, "One", which was also the basis of the group's first music video. The record was nominated for the first-ever Grammy for "Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance", but infamously lost to JETHRO TULL's "Crest Of A Knave".
  • METALLICA's KIRK HAMMETT Pays Tribute To CLIFF BURTON On 34th Anniversary Of Bassist's Death
    METALLICA's Kirk Hammett has paid tribute to the band's late bassist Cliff Burton on the 34th anniversary of his death. Earlier today, Hammett shared a classic concert photo of him and Burton, and he included the following photo: "Cliff was one of my closest friends. He was really smart and funny too. We shared a love for horror, HP Lovecraft, and THE VELVET UNDERGROUND. He constantly pushed me to be a better person and musician. One of his favorite quotes he would say to me often was 'There is power in truth, never back down.' "It was so unexpected when he left us. The sadness remains. I will always remember him. "I am not sure who took this photo — but it's a great one. @metallica #metallicafamily" Burton was asked to join METALLICA in 1982 after the band saw him perform with his group at the time, TRAUMA. The bassist was not willing to move to Los Angeles, where METALLICA was based at the time, so they decided to move to the San Francisco area so that he would join. Burton played on METALLICA's first three studio albums — "Kill 'Em All", "Ride The Lightning" and "Master Of Puppets" — and co-wrote classic songs like "Ride The Lightning", "For Whom The Bell Tolls", "Fade To Black", "Creeping Death" and "Master Of Puppets". His life was tragically cut short at the age of 24 in a tour bus crash on September 27, 1986 in Sweden. Burton's initial replacement in the group was Jason Newsted, who stayed in the lineup until 2001. Robert Trujillo joined in 2003 and remains in the band to this day. February 10, 2018 was proclaimed "Cliff Burton Day" by Alameda County supervisors. The late METALLICA bassist would have turned 56 years old on that date had he lived.
  • METAL CHURCH's KURDT VANDERHOOF To Release 'Brainchild' Solo Album In Early 2021
    METAL CHURCH's Kurdt Vanderhoof will release his new solo album, "Brainchild", in early 2021. In a new interview with Pete Pardo of Sea Of Tranquility, the guitarist described the LP, which was completed two years ago, as "a personal challenge — just something I wanted to do. It's just '70s old-school guitar riff rock. "One of the best albums in the world was MONTROSE's first record, so I was, like, 'I just wanna see if I can do this.' So I did everything — drums, everything, vocals, everything," he explained. "Not 'cause I think I can, but just 'cause I wanted to do it — I wanted to try it. And it came out okay. I can listen to it, and I don't have to hit 'eject' right away. Musically, it's fine, but the whole vocal thing was just something I wanted to try to do. I spent years and years and years and years telling singers how to do it, like, 'Okay, that was flat. That was sharp. Do it again.' [I was] doing that [while] producing a record. So I'm, like, 'Well, why don't you just do it yourself?' It was a lot of fun." During the same chat, Vanderhoof, who recently relocated from his longtime home of Aberdeen, Washington to Palm Springs, California, also revealed that he is "finishing up" the new solo album from RIOT V singer Todd Michael Hall, which should also arrive in 2021. METAL CHURCH is currently working on material for a new studio album. The follow-up to 2018's "Damned If You Do" will likely arrive in 2021 via Rat Pak Records. METAL CHURCH's latest release was "From The Vault", which arrived in April via Rat Pak Records. The compilation album featured 14 previously unreleased songs from the Mike Howe era, including four newly recorded studio tracks including a redux of the band's fan favorite classic "Conductor". The remaining tracks are compiled from various recordings in the band's history and include five tracks from 2018's "Damned If You Do" recording sessions, three cover songs and two live tracks, "Agent Green" and "Anthem To The Estranged", which was recorded at the famous Club Citta, Kawasaki, Japan on the "Damned If You Do" world tour. Howe, who fronted METAL CHURCH from 1988 until 1994, officially rejoined the band in April 2015.
  • BAD RELIGION's GREG GRAFFIN: 'There's Something Hopeful And Uplifting About Our Music'
    Greg Graffin of BAD RELIGION spoke to "The Five Count" radio show about what keeps him inspired to make new music four decades into the veteran punk band's career. "That's the thing that's unique about BAD RELIGION, is our long catalog, our extensive catalog of songs and albums," he said (hear audio below). "Even though a lot of bands are 40 years old, most of them are playing songs or hits from 30 years ago, because they don't put out new music. "When BAD RELIGION decides to put out new music, it's not just because the world is in turmoil; I don't think that's very inspiring as a songwriter," he explained. "We write music that we hope speaks to some kind of a sentiment of optimism, even though our music is rather pessimistic. [Laughs]" He added: "It's funny, 'cause a lot of fans say, 'Your music is about such serious stuff. A lot of it is tragic stuff about the human condition. But it always makes me feel so good.' [Laughs] And these are not dark people — they're not negative, nihilistic people. "There's something hopeful and uplifting about our music, and that's something that I do feel a great sense of artistic satisfaction about." Earlier this month, BAD RELIGION released a demo version of "Lose Your Head", a fan favorite from the band's critically acclaimed 2019 album "Age Of Unreason". Co-songwriters Brett Gurewitz and Graffin developed this version of the song at Gurewitz's home studio in Pasadena, California. When producer Carlos de la Garza was brought on board, he suggested trying a slower version. The band liked both versions equally so, when they entered Sunset Sound to record "Age Of Unreason", they decided to work on basic tracks for both and choose later. It was a close call but ultimately the band chose the slow version which is the one they completed. Last month, BAD RELIGION released its autobiography, "Do What You Want: The Story Of Bad Religion", written with the group's full cooperation and support. It reveals the ups and downs of the band's 40-year career, from their beginnings as teenagers experimenting in a San Fernando Valley garage dubbed "The Hell Hole" to headlining major music festivals around the world. The book predominantly features the four principal voices of BAD RELIGION in a hybrid oral history/narrative format: Graffin, Gurewitz, Jay Bentley and Brian Baker. It also includes rare photos and never-before-seen material from their archives.