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  • Ex-UFO Drummer SIMON WRIGHT On Passing Of PAUL RAYMOND: 'That Was A Shock'
    Former UFO drummer Simon Wright says that he was very sad to hear about the passing of the band's guitarist/keyboard player Paul Raymond this past April. "That was a shock," he told "The Blairing Out With Eric Blair Show" (see video below). "That really was. I was actually gonna meet up with Paul. They [UFO] were taking a break and then coming to America, and I was gonna meet up with him in L.A. And I just looked at [the report of his passing], and I went, 'Oh my God! You're kidding me.' That was a great loss. He was such a talented multi-instrumentalist. When I was in UFO, me and him used to hang around a lot, and we became good friends. It's such a shame." Speaking about UFO singer Phil Mogg's decision to call it quits after completing the band's 50th-anniversary tour, Wright said: "I respect that. He's made his own decision — it's his decision and stuff — and he's doing this last tour. And he's laid everything on the table, so to speak. So I respect that. He's a real gentleman about things and his way and stuff. I always found him a really cool guy; he always was. He was always forthright. And I hope he has a nice retirement; I really do. I think he's deserved it." Wright joined UFO in 1995 as the replacement for Andy Parker, who decided to leave the band to help run his family business rather than tour. Simon played with UFO, on and off, until 1999. Simon, currently of DIO DISCIPLES and also known for his work in DIO and RHINO BUCKET, lasted in AC/DC for six years. Wright, a then-unknown drummer whose first credits included Manchester, England metal outfit A II Z, joined AC/DC in time for the touring cycle for "Flick Of The Switch" and played with the Australian rockers throughout the '80s before leaving to hook up with DIO in 1989.
  • IVAN MOODY 'Would Love To' Release New FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH Album In Early 2020
    Ivan Moody has said in a new interview that FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH's eighth studio album will likely arrive in early 2020. The band is recording its new disc with its regular producer, Kevin Churko, in FIVE FINGER's hometown of Las Vegas. Asked by Lou Brutus of HardDrive Radio what fans can expect to hear on the follow-up to 2018's "And Justice For None", Moody said (see video below): "Let's be honest: you have a core fan base; everybody knows that. It's like when METALLICA cut their hair, or they made the 'One' video. All of a sudden, half the tree just kind of falls over, and the other half starts sprouting out. So we're of the understanding that we have our core fan base, and we're definitely gonna keep it old school, the way we've always done it. And we love metal — those are our grass roots. But at the end of the day, as artists we really have to experiment. I'm a lover of music, so be it not me to just stamp the black-and-white thing and not take the chance to really do something creative. And I'm happy at the fact that my guys are in the same headspace." Pressed about a possible release date for FIVE FINGER's new album, the singer said: "It's absolutely open-ended… I don't want any fucking endgame on it. There's no end line to it, man. I really want this to be ready when it's ready. I'd love to have it out by the beginning of 2020. That's my goal, personally, for multiple reasons, obviously. But I think the more time that we take on this and the more heart that we [put] into it instead of just trying to be on some fucking deadline…" Ivan went on to say that part of the reason FIVE FINGER is taking its time in the studio this time around is the fact that he is "really sick and tired of safe music. I am," he said. "There's this structured way that everybody has to write their fucking music, and it's gotta be verse-chorus-verse-chorus-breakdown — out. And it's so fucking monotonous to me. That's why I loved PANTERA and METALLICAKORN — that's one thing I've always loved about those guys, and I will die saying that that is one of my favorite bands of all time; top five, for sure. Not just because of that, but because they always experiment, they're always pushing boundaries, and their live show never loses momentum. Oh my God — if you wanna look up to somebody in this industry, start with KORN. That's my opinion. Everybody's gonna say, 'What about METALLICA?' And, of course, I love bands like that — fucking PANTERA is my favorite metal band — but KORN set the bar on so many levels that I feel like if I fall short of that, then I have no right or reason to be here anymore." FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH guitarist Zoltan Bathory recently said that the group's upcoming album will be a musical "roller coaster." The drums on the disc were laid down by Charlie "The Engine" Engen, who made his live debut with the group during its fall 2018 tour with BREAKING BENJAMIN. He stepped in for original drummer Jeremy Spencer, who left the band in December due to a back injury.
  • GEOFF TATE To Perform QUEENSRŸCHE's Entire 'Rage For Order' And 'Empire' Albums On 2020 Tour
    Geoff Tate will perform the QUEENSRŸCHE albums "Rage For Order" and "Empire" in their entirety on the "Empire 30th Anniversary Tour" in 2020. 1986's "Rage For Order" introduced a much more polished look and sound for QUEENSRŸCHE. The album featured keyboards as prominently as guitars, and the group adopted an image more closely associated with glam rock or glam metal than with heavy metal (of which glam metal was a subgenre). A video was filmed for the song "Gonna Get Close to You", originally recorded in 1984 by DALBELLO. Released in 1990, "Empire" included the hit ballad "Silent Lucidity", which reached No. 9 on the Billboard singles chart, helped propel "Empire" to No. 7 on the album chart and earned two Grammy Award nominations. Confirmed "Empire 30th Anniversary Tour" 2020 dates so far are as follows: Feb. 21 - Jergels - Warrendale, Pennsylvania Feb. 22 - Mount Ponoco - Mount Poncho, Pennsylvania Feb. 23 - Town Ballroom - Buffalo, New York Feb. 26 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Feb. 27 - The Warehouse FTC - Fairfield, Connecticut Feb. 28 - Stereo Garden LI - Patchogue, New York Mar. 01 - Tupelo Music Hall - Derry, New Hampshire Mar. 04 - The Haunt - Ithaca, New York Mar. 05 - The Beachland Ballroom and Tavern - Cleveland, Ohio Mar. 06 - The Token Lounge - Westland, Michigan Mar. 07 - Arcada Theater - St. Charles, Illinois Tate recently told MisplacedStraws.com that he will take the "Empire 30th Anniversary Tour" to "as many countries as I can and playing the album in its entirety, which I've never done before. So that'll be real fun. In fact, I think there's some songs on that album that I've never, ever played live before, so it'll be a treat — for me, as well, I think, for the audience too," the former QUEENSRŸCHE singer said. "I'm really looking forward to that." Last November, Tate said that QUEENSRŸCHE was working on a 30th-anniversary edition of "Empire", telling Eonmusic: "There's a box set thing coming out for that. I'm kind of in the process of working with them on it right now. I can say from my perspective looking it, it's going to be a phenomenal box set, and I'm really looking forward to it. I'm contributing all kinds of stuff, from interviews to comments to liner notes — yeah, you name it." When pressed about the musical content, however, the singer remained tight-lipped. "I know exactly what it's going to be, but I can't tell you exactly right now — it's too early," he said. Tate told Eonmusic that one song from "Empire" that was rarely performed live is "Anybody Listening?" "When QUEENSRŸCHE was together, we never really put that song in our set. We just had a hard time playing it, for some reason; it just never jelled or felt right. And I'd really like to play that song again, and play it right." In April 2014, Tate and QUEENSRŸCHE announced that a settlement had been reached after a nearly two-year legal battle where the singer sued over the rights to the QUEENSRŸCHE name after being fired in 2012. Original QUEENSRŸCHE members Michael Wilton (guitar), Scott Rockenfield (drums) and Eddie Jackson (bass) responded with a countersuit. The settlement included an agreement that Wilton, Rockenfield and Jackson would continue as QUEENSRŸCHE, while Tate would have the sole right to perform the albums "Operation: Mindcrime" and "Operation: Mindcrime II" in their entirety live. Tate has been replaced in QUEENSRŸCHE by former CRIMSON GLORY singer Todd La Torre. Geoff recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of "Operation: Mindcrime" on European and U.S. tours. Tate's post-QUEENSRŸCHE band OPERATION: MINDCRIME released three albums over three years as part of a trilogy: "The Key" (September 2015), "Resurrection" (September 2016) and "The New Reality" (December 2017).
  • HELLYEAH's CHRISTIAN BRADY On'Welcome Home' Album: 'We Definitely Had To Finish It' For VINNIE PAUL
    The third in a series of webisodes featuring behind-the-scenes footage from the making of HELLYEAH's sixth studio album, "Welcome Home", can be seen below. Due on September 27 via Eleven Seven Music, the disc will mark the group's final effort with drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott, who passed away in June 2018. Speaking about the final sessions for the LP, HELLYEAH guitarist Christian Brady said: "We knew we had to get it done. [We were] fortunate enough that Vinnie's drums were done, so we definitely had to finish it for him. It was the last part of his legacy. We were all terrified to go in and finish it after we lost Vinnie, but we finally got around to getting in and finishing it together. It was a therapy or us too; it definitely helped us with the grieving process a little bit. "I'm really proud of everybody for getting through and finishing this record," he continued. "Fuck, Vinnie killed it on this record, man. There's some great stuff. And I'm excited for people to hear it." Like the last two records, 2016's "Unden!able" and 2014's "Blood For Blood", "Welcome Home" was recorded at The Hideout Recording Studio in Las Vegas, Nevada with producer Kevin Churko. Vinnie Paul died in June 2018 at the age of 54 in his sleep at his home in Las Vegas. The official cause of death was dilated cardiomyopathy, an enlarged heart, as well as severe coronary artery disease. HELLYEAH's May 11 concert in Las Vegas marked the first time the band has taken the stage since Vinnie's passing and the debut of STONE SOUR member Roy Mayorga as Vinnie's replacement. HELLYEAH's 18-city headlining summer outing will kick off on Tuesday, July 23 in Atlanta, and will culminate in a special celebration on Saturday, August 17 in Dallas, Texas.
  • GODSMACK Side Project THE APOCALYPSE BLUES REVIVAL Releases First Song, 'Can't Win For Losing'
    THE APOCALYPSE BLUES REVIVAL, the side project of GODSMACK drummer Shannon Larkin and guitarist Tony Rombola, has released its fist song, titled "Can't Win For Losing". THE APOCALYPSE BLUES REVIVAL was formed out of the ashes of THE APOCALYPSE BLUES REVUE, which released its second album, "The Shape Of Blues To Come", in July 2018 via Provogue/Mascot Label Group. THE APOCALYPSE BLUES REVUE evolved its mostly traditional sound from the debut album to the second release, and after writing a batch of six new songs, Shannon, Tony and bassist Brian Carpenter realized they had a unique and different vibe which called for a voice that would stand out stylistically and be more suited to the fresh sound they had discovered in the new writing sessions. So, they put THE REVUE on hold and tried out a new singer, Shane Hall (who sang for another project that Shannon and Tony were doing on the side for fun), and the four of them realized that the chemistry was there, with Shane's voice fitting new incarnation of THE APOCALYPSE BLUES perfectly. THE APOCALYPSE BLUES REVIVAL stated about "Can't Win For Losing": "We had five songs that we demoed with Shane, and of the five, this one had the most 'APOCALYPTIC' sound (Tone's RIFF!) that we felt was in the pocket and aligned us with the earlier work yet showed a grittier, more blues rock sound with a couple spots for Shane to really show his personality. It's a pretty obvious blues lyric with the underlying story being of heartache stemming from a relationship that is crumbling, the confusion, paranoia, and self blame that one feels when having to decide what is more important — music or love — and the feeling of going insane when forced to choose. The dilemma is never solved in the song... and so 'I'll keep on playin' this sweet old song to set me free...'" The news of THE APOCALYPSE BLUES REVUE's dissolution was broken by singer Ray "Rafer John" Cerbone, who blamed the group's breakup on scheduling conflicts. Hall has been Larkin's drum tech for the better part of 20 years and previously played with him and Rombola in a funk band. Larkin remarked: "We did it for fun for many years, recording over 30 songs together (never released one song or did one show!)... [Hall] loves and grew up on all the same music as me, and has a style and flair that is undeniable."