Category Archives: Blog Of Thunder

Since the SEO stuff always says that I need a blog, here’s a blog about Metal and stuff.

Hmm…

Something struck me last night.  Something that surprised me.

I’m not really sure I want to go to Bloodstock anymore.  Certainly not on my own as a paying guest.

Between 2009 and 2015, I was there as media.  That meant access to the media area and VIP.  It also meant I was there working.  I saw what bands I could around interview schedules.  Those years left me with some excellent memories and some people I can count as friends.  For most of those years, I’ve had company, since Sarah (and later, David) came along and worked alongside me doing interviews, taking photos and so on.

2010 (when I was there on my own) was still OK thanks to some awesome people.  Dan, Rod, Kev, Red, Emma… you’re all a big part of the reason for the fond memories of that year, despite me missing Sarah and David.

Then came 2014, when AC Promotions tightened their grip on the radio side of media.  Media outlets were limited to two people per team.  Some of the most active promoters of Bloodstock were denied space.  The atmosphere in the press area was muted.  It wasn’t as much fun anymore.  Things got worse in 2015.  Not only were media outlets limited to two people each, they also severely limited access to the media area, which meant people like me, who weren’t on “proper” radio stations (even though we had demonstrably bigger audiences than said radio stations) were kicked out into the VIP area only.

In 2016, despite me telling AC, in no uncertain terms, that not being allowed media access in 2015 had severely damaged the coverage I was able to provide to Bloodstock and offering some possible solutions that would keep everyone happy if implemented, I was only offered VIP again at very short notice.  I turned them down saying I couldn’t do the festival justice with such short notice (most of the interview slots would have been taken by the time they got round to telling me – I’ve wondered ever since if that was done on purpose as punishment because I complained), and since I didn’t have media access, the quality of the material I would generate would suffer, which meant Bloodstock wouldn’t benefit as much.

For 2017, despite mental illness problems at the beginning of the year that really screwed up my ability to get the Rock Show done, and keep up to date with music and so on, I applied again for media access at Bloodstock.  Again, I stated that media access was important, since it would allow me to do more interviews and keep the sound quality etc up.  I also suggested that I would be liveblogging and filming.  I repeated and reinforced my assertion that denying me media access (and an enclosed space) would mean that the quality of the interviews I would be conducting would suffer.

A few weeks later, they emailed to say I’d been turned down.

When I emailed back to ask why, they basically repeated my reasons for needing media tent access back at me as reasons I wasn’t going to be getting media access and why NO ONE was going to be interviewing in VIP.

So they used the rational I had set out to petition for full media area access (word for word, mind) as a reason to not only deny me media access, but to chop VIP media.  I also found out that Red wouldn’t be there and stalwarts of the press room like Hayley Leggs weren’t going to be there either.  I’d been told that in 2016, the media area was virtually empty, and it was looking like it was going to be even quieter in 2017.

Obviously I was both appalled and fucking furious.  Not just for myself, but for the other people who do what I do, working from the grass roots, just because we love it and the bands who now wouldn’t be getting any sort of media exposure at all.  Let’s face it, Metal Hammer, Kerrang! and the Radio One Rock Show aren’t going to be interested in some band who played in the M2TM tent in the middle of Saturday afternoon when they’d been talking to the band that had been headlining the RJD Stage the night before.

I emailed the Gregorys and the response I got shocked and horrified me.  Apparently they were happy with the way AC were running the media area.  They were happy that a PR company was excluding the majority of the media outlets who would have given most coverage to the bands they were proudest about bringing in: the competitors and winners of the Metal 2 The Masses competition.

So… yeah… a little disillusioned.  In a flash of righteous indignation, I blustered about getting a VIP ticket and setting up a rebel press area in the Serpent’s Lair… but despite the announcements of Judas Priest and Nightwish… that’s £300 that could go elsewhere.  The experience of applying for the last couple of years has really tarnished Bloodstock for me.  I love the festival.  The atmosphere is similar to the likes of SOS, despite being many times the size… but is it just the anxiety and depression whispering in my ear, or am I really not welcome, which was how AC made me feel?  If I get a VIP or standard ticket, I’ll be there on my own.  That’ll probably mean (from bitter experience), that’s how I’ll stay, which means I’ll be totally miserable, and will spend most of the weekend wishing I hadn’t bothered.

This really is where the social anxiety thing I’ve got really fucks me over.  I don’t really have many friends because I’ve just not been able to make any on my own.  Maybe I really should just stay at home…

Sarah had offered to get me a standard ticket for Christmas, and I’d sort out a VIP upgrade myself, but… well… do I go?  Or do I take up the other suggestion of a limited edition Stormbender?

Answers on a postcard…?

All Aboard The Rock Train!

The Wyrd Ways Rock Show welcomes Kev and Tosh’s Rock Train to The Web Of Wyrd

Following another rather successful SOS Festival (their 10th, believe it or not!), I had a chat with Kev from Rock Train.  He’s agreed to joining the Web Of Wyrd, which is a group of podcasts I’m giving pages to on The Wyrd Ways Rock Show website.  So far, that means we’ve got the Bloodstock podcast, Kev and Tosh’s Rock Train and James’ Metal Ashes alongside Dani’s Powerzone! show.

I’ll be talking to a couple of other people to see who else fancies joining in.  All it really needs is a Mixcloud account with a player I can embed on a page on this site.  If you click on the Outer Limits dropdown menu at the top of the page, you’ll see all those mentioned.

If you’re a podcaster and you fancy becoming another strand in The Web Of Wyrd, get in touch by clicking HERE

AC Promotions Join WWRS Shitlist

So it’s Bloodstock next weekend.  And thanks to those fucking twats at AC Promotions, I won’t be there for the second year running.  Going by their “reasons”, there’s no point me bothering applying next year, since I’m apparently not big enough for the festival I’ve been covering very positively and working my arse off at since 2009.

So much for loyalty.

Making no bones about it, Bloodstock is my absolute favourite outdoor festival.  It’s actually the only outdoor festival in the UK I’d even think about going to.  Up until three years ago, the atmosphere in the media area was very jovial, with musicians, journos and togs interviewing, writing and chatting.  Three years ago, that changed.  For one thing, it became difficult to get contact details for bands and managers.  It was, so I understand, difficult for managers and bands to get contact details for potential interviewers.

That year, the atmosphere in the media area wasn’t as friendly.  It wasn’t as much of a fun place to be.  The next year, despite it being almost empty, I was told it was full and I would just be allowed access to VIP.  Pretty much everyone I encountered (who were all either videoing interviews or had shows on FM radio, unlike me, who was “just” a podcaster) was asking me why I was outside media.

I was offered the same thing last year, despite me reminding AC Promotions that the media area was (according to several people I trust and call friends) virtually empty for most of the three days, and stressing that the quality of interview I was able to get thanks to the conditions THEY set had decreased.

I turned them down, stating that I would be unable to give Bloodstock the coverage it deserved (to a larger audience than several of the media outlets that DID get access, by virtue of them being on a radio station of some kind, despite them being highly local community stations) if I was not able to access the media area.

This year, I applied and was turned down.

So my message to Oli Walkers and Austin Collins is this: fuck you and the horse you rode in on.  I fervently hope that the Gregorys notice the decrease in Bloodstock coverage across the audio media (because from what I understand, Cosa Nostra PR are doing a pretty damned good job with the print media) and realize it’s because you’re alienating many of us because you can’t be arsed doing the job you’ve been employed to do – spread the word about the best Metal festival in the UK.

This, by the way, is a PR agency who don’t even answer their phone.  There’s a message on their answering machine telling any callers to ring Oli on his mobile.  Yes, you did read that correctly.  It’s a wonder they’ve got ANY clients at all, since the person who’s supposed to be running things is doing it in absentia.

Next year, I’m seriously considering getting myself a VIP ticket and setting up my own media area for podcasters and small press.  I may even message Adam Gregory on Facebook to ask about setting up my gazebo in VIP so I can do interviews under some kind of cover.

So yes… I’m angry, I’m disappointed and I’m not going to take their shit anymore.  Any bands left on their roster, I’ll be contacting through their record company or through Cosa Nostra, who seem to share many of them.

AC Promotions?  Fuck off and die.

Possible new treatment for prostate cancer

New blood test results reveal potential of liquid biopsies to deliver precision medicine for prostate cancer.

Researchers at the Institute of Cancer Research have created a powerful new three-in-one blood test, which could help doctors monitor whether a treatment is working and how a man’s cancer is responding. We examine the results and find out why it’s another step in the creation of targeted treatments for prostate cancer.

A new blood test has revealed the potential for liquid biopsies to help select patients for treatment and monitor their response for early signs of treatment resistance.

Professor Johann de Bono [pictured above] and his team at the Institute of Cancer Research have unveiled the results of blood sample analysis from men with hormone resistant prostate cancer, who were taking part in a clinical trial of a drug called olaparibThis work, published today in the journal Cancer Discovery and funded in part by Prostate Cancer UK, revealed that changes in the amount of cancer DNA circulating freely in the men’s blood was closely linked to how well the treatment was working for them.

After eight weeks, the total concentration of cancer DNA in the blood had dropped by nearly 50 per cent in men for whom the treatment worked, while it increased by around two per cent in men who did not respond to treatment. This in turn corresponded to the men’s survival time. Those whose levels of circulating tumour DNA dropped after eight weeks survived an average of seven months longer than the men whose levels didn’t fall.

A potentially powerful three-in-one test

What this all suggests is that a blood test – or liquid biopsy – could routinely be used in the future to tell how well a man is responding to treatment much earlier than is currently possible, so he can make a timely switch to a treatment that might work better.

“Our study identifies, for the first time, genetic changes that allow prostate cancer cells to become resistant to the precision medicine olaparib,” says Professor Johann de Bono, who led the research. “From these findings, we were able to develop a powerful, three-in-one test that could, in future, be used to help doctors select treatment, check whether it is working and monitor the cancer in the longer term.

“We think it could be used to make clinical decisions about whether such PARP-inhibitor drugs, like olaparib, are working within as little as four to eight weeks of starting therapy. Not only could the test have a major impact on treatment of prostate cancer, but it could also be adapted to open up the possibility of precision medicine to patients with other types of cancer as well.”

Creating targeted treatments to save more men’s lives

The researchers also did a more detailed analysis of the DNA to look at what had changed at the point that the men’s cancer progressed. They found a number of new genetic changes, including mutations in some cases that directly cancelled out the effect of the drug. This sort of in-depth analysis could not only help tell researchers when the disease stops responding to treatment, but more importantly why it is no longer responding. In turn, the identification of new gene alterations could suggest new treatments that might work better.

“To greatly improve the survival chances of the 47,000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, it’s clear that we need to move away from the current one-size-fits-all approach to much more targeted treatment methods,” says Dr Matthew Hobbs, Deputy Director of Research at Prostate Cancer UK. “The results from this study and others like it are crucial, as they give an important understanding of the factors that drive certain prostate cancers or make them vulnerable to specific treatments.

“However, there is still much more to understand before the potentially huge benefits of widespread precision treatment for prostate cancer will reach men in clinics across the UK. That is why Prostate Cancer UK is investing so heavily in this area, including supporting this research released today. We can only do this, and continue to fund the next steps of research like this, through the hard work and generosity of our supporters.”

Wyrd Ways Rock Show 5th July 2017


You have to admit this is better.

Hasn’t been a month this time!

Anyway… this week’s Wyrd Ways Rock Show is a packed show yet again. Then again, isn’t it always? Rammed to the gunwhales with brand new music, including stuff from Alestorm, Iced Earth, Venom Inc, Helstar and Rex Brown.

Yes, THAT Rex Brown!

Not only that, but there’s also THREE tracks from the brand new album by the Italian Metal maestros, Arthemis.

Primordial Radio needs YOU

Put your hand up if you used to listen to Team Rock Radio.

OK. That’s a few of you.

What about RealXS and Manchester Rock Radio?

Do you remember Dewsbury, Moose, Miss Rach and Sweens?

What about Pete Bailey?

Well, since Team Rock collapsed under it’s own management’s incompetence, Moose, Dewsbury and Pete have been working to get their own internet radio station, Primordial Radio, up and running.   Currently, they’re producing a weekly podcast (with help from broadcasting legend, Mike Sweeney, teaming up with his old colleague and mate, Dewsbury) and there’s a live stream here.

Thing is, to make this sustainable, they need to get some investment. Many of us have already put some of our own money in. The sad thing is that many so-called fans aren’t willing to put their money where their mouths are.

Don’t be one of those people.

For less than the price of a round, you can invest in the station. Not only will you be helping get us our own radio station, you’ll also be able to claim back the tax on it.  You’ll also get a 50% discount on the first two year’s membership and a 15% discount in the Primordial Radio shop (which features some rather natty threads).

These guys, who let’s face it, are our friends and brothers in Metal, need your help. If you want a proper professional Rock and Metal station in the UK, run by fans for fans, with no corporate agendas, sign up and invest.

Get your hand in your pocket. Pay day was only a few days ago. Don’t tell me you’ve spent up already.  Click on the banner below and put your money where your mouth is.

Primordial Radio: Put your money where your mouth is

As some of you will know, when Team Rock Radio collapsed under it’s management’s own ineptitude, Moose, Dewsbury, JRock, Miss Rach, DigiTom and many others such as Pete Bailey, Sophie K and Big Boy Bloater lost their jobs.  We, the audience, also lost the only radio station that paid us any real attention.

Not content to let this stand, Moose, Dewsbury and Pete Bailey set to work on their long-held dream: a radio station by Rock and Metal fans FOR Rock and Metal fans.  They saw it was possible to set up a station using only technology currently available and resources and talents from people already in the Rock and Metal community.

This is where Primordial Radio began it’s evolution.

Primordial Radio serves the UK Rock and Metal community, combining the intimacy and personality of radio with the freedom, control, and choice of digital streaming. Users will control the music surrounding the emotion, opinion, and personality of the station, giving a simultaneous unique and shared experience. Our community is fiercely independent but don’t want to be alone.

It started after years of fruitless effort, at the likes of Manchester-based Rock Radio, RealXS and Team Rock, trying to fit the square peg of Rock and Metal into the round hole of the traditional radio model.  A model where broadcasting infrastructure and centralised advertising agencies presented challenges to costs and revenues, and regulatory bodies restricted the ability to represent the true tone of a Rock and Metal atmosphere.  Aligned with these challenges is the difficulty finding agreement within the Rock and Metal community itself on what ‘rock’ is as everyone’s interpretation is entirely unique.

The core team is built of members of the target audience who have faced the challenges of sustaining a Rock and Metal radio service within the traditional media model and recognise the digital opportunity to unite an under-served audience with the music, personalities, content, and freedom they crave.

Primordial Radio is owned and built by its target audience and community with a clear and experienced executive creating the output reflective of a democratised process.

The premise is to unite this scattered, disenfranchised, and fragmented audience by providing a service for which we have asked for years.

Primordial Radio’s model instantly renders moot these challenges by almost entirely eliminating infrastructure costs with a studio-less environment, delivered via the web, free from regulatory bodies, resulting in a service truly reflective of the Rock and Metal environment to which our community responds. Plus, the audience chooses our own ‘Rock’ so can only argue with ourselves.

To our knowledge, no such service presently exists.

The question is, is this the kind of thing you want?  Or do you want to be fed the same old “classic” focus-group-lead drivel by the likes of Planet Rock and Absolute Radio?  Do you want to be told what to like by faceless, gutless corporate suits who have no understanding or regard for what you want to hear?

No?

By clicking on this link, you’ll be making the first step.  For about £16 per share (which is less than the price of a single night at the pub with a takeaway afterwards), you can help fund OUR radio station by buying a piece of it.  You will, legitimately, be able to tell Dewsbury to stop dicking about on Facebook and get some work done because you WILL be paying his wages!

Remember: for less than £16, you can have a piece of this.  It’s up to you.  Some of us are already involved.  Will you join up?  Click here.

I’m Gonna Make Ya an Offer…

OK then, ladies and gents, I need to have a bit of a word with you.

No, it’s fine, you’re not in trouble.  No, I’m not going to be quitting and I’m also not directly after any of your money (although it would be nice – webhosting isn’t free!).  What I am after is your skills and aptitudes and a little bit of your time.

If you want to give me some money, I’m not going to stop you or turn you down.  You’ve got the option to subscribe, for which you get the podcast emailed straight to your Inbox (well, a link to it, anyway) at a much higher bitrate than anyone else.  You’ll also get it 24 hours before anyone else, at least.  You’ll also be able to directly influence the show and the website.  Just send me an email with your suggestions and I’ll seriously consider them.

Do any of you reading this own a business?  Do you want some advertising to a largely untapped audience of people you might not normally reach?  I’m talking to small businesses, really.  People like you who can’t normally afford an advertising budget.  I’m open to banner exchanges and I’ll also read out your advertising copy on the show.  We can hammer out the details if that interests you.  You could also sponsor a segment in the show or a page on the website.  Let’s help each other out.  We’re all members of the same community, right?

If you don’t own a business and can’t afford to become a sponsor, you can still get involved and help out.  At the very basic level, you can join The Wyrd Ways Rock Show marketing team.  No commitment is required, you don’t need to wear anything wanky or do anything morally questionable (but if you do, I’m not going to be judging you).  All you need to do is link to The Wyrd Ways Rock Show social media or website.  Preferably both.  I’d really, seriously appreciate it if you’d tell your friends about the show.  Get them to listen to it.  Retweet all the Wyrd Ways Rock Show tweets and share all the Faceache posts, or at the very least those that interest you.

If you’re interested in joining up as a member of the team, write a review of a show you’ve been to or an album you’ve bought recently.  Take a look at the stuff Rick writes to see the sort of standard I’m looking for.  If you think you can do that, email your audition piece to THIS ADDRESS.

Did you know there’s also Wyrd Ways Rock Show merch?  Head over to cafepress.co.uk and search for Wyrd Ways Rock Show, and there we are.  All designed by my good self (except the logo – the Mrs designed that!)

Communications channels and hailing frequencies are all open.  Talk to me.

Some thoughts about Sepultura

I know there are those of you who will class this as something tantamount to heresy, but I think Sepultura are much better off without Max Cavalera.  Let me explain…

Having heard the new Sepultura album, Machine Messiah, and thinking back to the last album (which was the first Sepultura album I ever bought), I’ve come to the conclusion that Max Cavalera was what was stopping me liking them.

As a qualifier, I don’t like Soulfly either.  For me, the only places that the Killer Be Killed album fell down was when dear old Max opened his gob.  He disrupted the rhythm of the song, damaging the flow it had.  He’s also very limited in what he can do (in my opinion).  He can do the heavily accented “shouty-growl” thing, and that’s about it.  There’s no light and shade or variation of the kind someone like Alissa White-Gluz, his replacement, Derrick Green or Robb Flynn can produce.  For me, he’s a one-trick pony whose trick has worn out it’s welcome.

He also seems to be the only person on the planet who has a negative story about meeting Lemmy for the first time (Cavalera was being a pissed-up twat while Lemmy was playing the fruit machine, so he poured his drink over him).

I remember hearing Sepultura for the first time back in the late 80’s.  I remember thinking it was OK until the vocals came in, then my enjoyment kind of stopped.  To be honest, I wasn’t a fan of growled vocals back then.  Being around near the beginning of Thrash, I was used to “clean” vocals in my Metal.  Machine Head were another band around at the time that I wasn’t a fan of, but warmed to later, so much so that I’ve loved their last two albums.

So there it is then.  I don’t like Max Cavalera as a musician or as a singer.  Sepultura are so much better with Derrick Green fronting them.  Plus Andreas Kisser is a top bloke (interviewed him at Bloodstock a few years ago) and an excellent guitarist.

So here’s the question: Which musician do you dislike that everyone else seems to worship?

Put your answers in the Comments (along with reasons – let’s not just make it a slanging match), and we’ll see what happens.

Temporary Change

Greetings, my children!

You may well have noticed a slight change on the website’s landing page.  The player is currently not a Soundcloud player, but a Podomatic one.  The simple reason is that, at present, there’s something wrong with my internet connection.  Whenever I try to upload anything to either Soundcloud or Mixcloud, the whole connection fails.  The only way I can upload anything to anywhere at the moment is to upload to Dropbox (which, if you don’t use for your online storage needs, you really should – here’s a link to help you check it out) then using an applet to move it over to Podomatic.

All of this farting about could be avoided if Soundcloud and Mixcloud allowed ftp uploading or uploads via connections.

Ah well.

Anyway, as soon as PlusNet have sorted me out (they’re supposed to be contacting me by the 11th), it’s back to Podomatic for a while.