Category Archives: The Twilight Zone

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.

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Wyrd Ways Rock Show
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mail@nullwyrdwaysrs.com
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Were Megadeth Trolled at the Grammys?

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There was plenty of the weird and wonderful at the Grammys this year, but one of the oddest moments surely has to be this. Megadeth, on their twelfth visit to the Grammys, finally won the coveted Best Metal Performance award. As they made their way to the stage, they were accompanied by the riff from that most famous of Megadeth songs, Master of Puppets. Yep, no, that’s right, it’s a Metallica song.

Now for literally any other band in the universe, it might not have been so crazy, but of course, Dave Mustaine used to be in Metallica, doncha know. He was kicked out in 1983, causing some rather bad blood for many years. Do the organisers of the Grammys not know this? I just can’t get my head around the mindset of whoever chose that particular track, from that particular band. Were they trying to piss Mustaine off?

Megadave actually took the whole thing in very good humour, giving the camera a bit of air guitar as he marched towards the stage. In a follow up tweet (and man, this guy likes to tweet!), he said You can’t blame them for not being able to play Megadeth.‘ OK, but Metallica? I mean, if they needed a generic metal theme but the organisers weren’t comfortable playing the band they were awarding (which is madness, sheer madness) then for goodness’ sake, pick any other band than Metallica.

The good thing is, while fans are super pissed off, the band seem not to be, and Mustaine told Billboard …you’ve just won a Grammy and you’re going to worry about some house band doing a cover song in the background?‘ Good man.

What do you think? Deliberate troll or organisational cock up? Let us know in the comments. Watch the award being presented below.

Metallica gain new member after Grammy Awards?

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Is it possible that, in the aftermath of their storming performance of Moth Into Flame at this year’s Grammys, that Lady Gaga will become the fifth member of Metallica?

According to several news sources, including Vulture and Rolling Stone, Lars Ulrich has been gushing about the collaboration between Metallica and pop singer (and dyed-in-the-wool Metalhead) Lady Gaga.  Although there were some technical problems, namely James Hetfield‘s mic apparently not being plugged in, that marred the performance.

If you haven’t seen it, here’s a “fixed” version:

Pretty good, eh?  Seems like we weren’t the only ones to think so.  As they walked offstage, Gaga apparently suggested to the band that “this is just too good to leave“.  An assertion that Lars agreed with, but he says he knew it was going to work from the outset:

“It was totally in her wheelhouse… The only question was at what level it was going to work. We did one run-through. The way her and James’ voices worked, it gelled so well together we all kind of stood there like, “Huh?” It was really fucking next-level.”

That impression was confirmed during their rehearsal time.  Going by what Lars was saying during various interviews, Lady Gaga might well have been invited to join Metallica on a more permanent basis:

“As you spend 72 hours with somebody, and there’s this connection and this intimacy, part of it is that maybe you don’t want it to end.  When these moments work, you always leave them open to re-connection.  Obviously, we’re not sitting in a recording studio today writing songs for a record or anything. I think that our weekend together was so seamless and so authentic and such a natural fit that the idea of revisiting this at some point down the road (is a good one)”.

Quoting from the interview with Rolling Stone:

“[She is the] quintessential perfect fifth member of this band.  Her voice, her attitude, her outlook on everything is so awesome.  [The performance] was so effortless and organic and she just has the spirit of hard rock and metal flowing through her veins.

It comes really easy for her. There’s nothing contrived; she just has this super warm, easy energy.  We already started fast-forwarding to the next chapter when we can do more of this. It’s not one of those “20 lawyers, strategists and managers trying to force two people from two different worlds to figure out how to spend four minutes together on a national telecast”.

Of any of these undertakings, this is about as organic and authentic as there’s ever been one. We’re just getting started.”

It’s certainly interesting.  Personally, I hope they end up in the studio together.  Any collaboration will be much more listenable than Lulu (which many of us have managed to block from our memories!), since Gaga writes decent pop songs and (as mentioned earlier) is a known Metalhead.  OK, the Metal Taliban will HATE even the IDEA that this may well happen.  Then again, they’ve hated Metallica since the early 90s, so neither myself nor the vast majority of the planet really don’t give a flying one about their opinions.

So… is it going to happen, or is the Danish stixman just winding everyone up?  Personally, I hope he isn’t.  She’s certainly got the pipes for it and the musical taste.  Fingers, as far as I’m concerned, are firmly crossed.

Who are The Next Generation Of Metal Festival Headliners?

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The first generation have all-but retired. The second generation are taking their curtain calls. Some of the third generation are at least starting on the encores. So what (and more to the point, who) comes next?

Carl fondles his crystal ball…

Black Sabbath have retired from touring. So have Mötley Crüe. Iron Maiden are cutting back on the huge, globe-straddling jaunts. AC/DC are a shadow of their former selves and have almost become a tribute band, thanks to the treatment of Brian Johnson. Judas Priest must be starting to wind down now, as must Alice Cooper. Even Metallica, the newly re-united Guns N’ Roses, Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson will be counting their remaining time on the road in years, rather than decades.

The same goes for Kiss, even though Gene Simmons will probably be working on a plan to sell even more of the legacy of “the hottest band in the world” before even he has to call it a day.

These are the things that, apparently, keep various media pundits, so called “fans” and mega-festival promoters awake at night.

Those of us who are keeping our eyes and ears open to those outside the stables of the likes of BMG, Universal, Sony and Geffen have seen the future, and it has a much rosier, healthier complexion than the doom-mongers would have us believe.

Allow me to guide you along an admittedly mostly subjective path, in no particular order other than the meanderings of my own mind:

Rammstein

The German technometal pioneers have got a massive, pyrotechnic-filled stage show, a charismatic frontman in Till Lindemann and they’ve certainly got the songs. Anyone who has been to any sort of Metal night in the past decade or so has heard the likes of Du Hast, Feuer Frei or Links 234 pounding out of the speakers and at the very least seen the mosh pit that forms as the dancefloor fills. The friction inside the band that almost broke them up a few years ago seems to have gone away.  Having seen them at Sonisphere in 2010, headlining the second stage, it wouldn’t be too much of an ask for them to take the logical next step and grab the glory of Main Stage Headliners.

Nightwish

To headline a festival, you need a band with a HUGE, bombastic sound and charisma to spare. The most important thing, though, is the songs. Tuomas Holopainen’s Symphonic Metal crew have all of those by the truckload. In Floor Jansen, they have someone who can literally sing anything from Death Metal to Opera, hitting all points in between and a truly commanding stage presence. As Gemma Lawler of British upstarts, Dakesis rightly said, “she’s a goddess”. The male side of the vocals being provided by Finnish Metal stalwart and Tarot founder, Marco Hietala certainly doesn’t hurt. Neither does the sheer quality and strength-in-depth of the band’s back catalogue and musicianship.

Avenged Sevenfold

Abandoning their Emo/-core roots and showing they can play and write songs that will burrow into your head and stay there (which, in this case isn’t a bad thing) has done A7x no end of favours. Their turning point was, most likely, the City Of Evil album. That’s the one where M Shadows actually start to sing, rather than scream. Guitar solos became more prevalent and the sheer melody was accentuated.

Like Metallica and even Def Leppard before them, disaster didn’t kill them. Even though Rick Allen “only” lost an arm and both Cliff and Rev lost their lives, all three bands were tempered by the fires, when lesser bands would have crumbled or at the very least, like Slipknot, when faced with the death of Paul Grey, lost their momentum.

As Mabh’s review from their recent UK trek showed, A7x have certainly got the chops to headline an arena tour. If they can do that, they’ve certainly got what it takes to headline the likes of Download.

They’ve even got a pre-made nickname in A7x.

Alter Bridge

It’s very tough to argue with a pedigree like Alter Bridge’s. Not only do they have Myles Kennedy, who could sing the phone book and make it interesting, they’ve also got Mark Tremonti on guitar. His own solo material is good stuff, and earns its plaudits with very good reason, but when he works with Slash’s vocalist of choice, it’s all over bar the shouting.

They’ve certainly got the songs. Anastasia, for instance. That one’s a festival closer by any and all measures. It’s not the only one in their arsenal, either. Whenever they release an album, it makes the annual top ten lists every time.

As I said, you really can’t argue.

Prophets Of Rage

Here’s another one that is almost impossible to argue with. Surprisingly, it’s the only “supergroup” on the list. Even more surprisingly, these guys have only released an EP so far.

Who are they?

You all remember Rage Against The Machine, right? Definite festival headliners. Replace Zak De La Rocha with Public Enemy’s Chuck D and DJ Lord and Cypress Hill’s B-Real, light the blue touchpaper with the current political climate in the US, UK and all around Europe and stand well back.

OK, like most supergroups, they may not have the longevity of the likes of Rammstein, Nightwish, Alter Bridge and A7x, but while they’re around, if you were in a band, would YOU like to try and follow THEM onto the Main Stage at a festival?

So that’s the immediate future sorted out. Come back next week and we’ll take a look even deeper into the future and take a look at the bands who may well take over in the decades to come…

Classic One-Shot: Alice Cooper, Poison

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This song takes me right back to The Wendy House at Leeds University; a riot of black eyeliner and chokers, nu-rocks and spikes, intermingled with the odd ruffle and the occasional bit of black lace (not the band, thank goodness). The Wendy House was an ‘alternative’ night, in that it veered somewhat from the mainstream path, whilst still being accessible to the average Joe. There was a cyper-punk room for the hardcore, but the flashing lights and neon colours verged on epilepsy inducing, so I usually remained in the main room, surrounded by the other stomping, sweaty punters.

The DJ’s choices wandered from Nine Inch Nails to Faith No More, Rammstein to The Cult, and the playlist was only predictable in one regard: there were always a few songs that got played every month. Poison was one of them, and it was always at that particularly drunk stage of the night, when screeching into your friends’ faces that I LOVE THIS SONG IMA DANCE NOW becomes completely appropriate behaviour.

The track hails from the end of the eighties, and retains that sense of drama and glamour that was prevalent throughout the decade. At the cusp of the nineties, Cooper avoided the stagnation that seemed to be occurring to other bands and genres, and released a raw, sexually charged song that has somehow aged very well.

The video came in for some stick, thanks to topless shots of Rana Kennedy, so there are two versions of the video, and the one mainly played is the slightly censored version. It would be easy to accuse Cooper of misogyny for using a topless model to promote his song, but I think that’s a bit lazy. If you really listen to the song, it’s about a woman using her sexuality to literally enslave a man; I think she’s pretty empowered! In an interview with Max Music TV in 2012, Cooper said he wanted to sing about something that happens to everyone: loving someone who you know is no good for you. It’s a universal theme, and combined with the songwriting talents of Desmond Child (Kiss I Was Made for Lovin’ You; Bon Jovi You Give Love a Bad Name etc) an anthem was created.

That long drawn out opening note with the touch of feedback, that launches into the simple but oh-so-catchy guitar hook; it’s so familiar to me now that it’s almost like a comfort blanket. And if having a song redolent with themes of bondage and cruelty as my comfort blanket makes me weird, well so be it.

Classic One-Shot: Iron Maiden, The Trooper

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EMI, 1983

I love that feeling when you’re just pottering about, and an absolute belter comes on the radio and you have to stop what you’re doing, or at least incorporate some head bopping into your task. Even one of these happenstances a day can cheer me right up.

Today’s metal moment came courtesy of Iron Maiden, via Planet Rock (other rock stations are available) which I was sneakily listening to while doing some exceedingly tedious reports. It’s a few seconds before I realise my eyes have glazed over and my fingernails are tapping out the guitar riff on the curve of the mouse.

I’d love to say this track takes me back to 1983, but the truth is I was a wee bit too small to remember this song the first time around, and I probably came to Maiden about 1990, via an old cassette tape of Killers which I, ahem, borrowed from my parents’ collection. In awe at tracks like The Ides of March and Murders in the Rue Morgue, I soon sought out more, and The Trooper was one of those songs that has stuck with me from that point onwards.

There probably aren’t too many songs based on 19th century battles, certainly outside the folk genre, anyway. It’s a real skill that Maiden have, to take a pretty controversial topic and turn it into a killer (pun intended) tune with some of the catchiest hooks known to man. This particular offering comes from bassist Steve Harris, who took inspiration from the Tennyson poem The Charge of the Light Brigade. The video for the track had footage of the 1936 Errol Flynn film of the same name, which the BBC found ‘too violent’; how the world has changed in 34 years!

The Battle of Balaclava was a bloody and desperate affair, and as the lyrics state ‘on this battlefield, no one wins’. There were almost equal casualties on both sides. Without getting political, there is some clear resonation with current events if you dig deep, another sign of a great, well-crafted song.

And those guitar harmonies… so beautiful! This track is a four-minute oasis in a rather busy day that leaves me smiling for a good while after. Let me share that joy right now…

 

Some thoughts about Sepultura

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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

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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.

Fox’s Biscuits… The Pleasures Of Batley

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Mmmm… yeah… Fox’s Biscuits… can’t beat ’em.  Especially the chocolate ones and their version of the Jammie Dodger with a layer of buttercreamy stuff.  Even beats the real Jammie Dodger.

Incidentally, while we’re still on confectionery, it’s not just the Toblerone that’s shrunk.  I ate (most of a) Chocolate Orange last night.  The segments are no longer solid.  They’re now flat on one side and shaped to vaguely resemble a real orange on the other.  That means we’ve probably lost about a fifth of the chocolate.

Don’t know about you, but I’d be willing to pay more to get a PROPER chocolate orange.  Like Cadbury’s, they’ve never been the same since Kraft bought them.  Bloody Yanks know NOTHING about chocolate.  So Chocolate Oranges and Toblerones have both shrunk… surprise, surprise, both owned by the same American company… bastards.

Anyway… it’s a bit of a quiet month normally.  There’s the new Kreator album out at the end of the month, and there’s the Wyrd Ways Rock Show 2016 Behemoth due at the end of the week.  I’ve finalised the playlist and written the script already.  I’ll be recording soon after I finish writing this and I intend to mix and upload tomorrow.

Get ready for an aural assault due to last nearly 7 hours, featuring tracks from 70-odd different albums released over the course of 2016.  So despite the losses of various people, at least there was some decent Metal released…

Bollocks to it

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You know what?  After the death of Team Rock and now the passing into the Force of Carrie Fisher, as well as the first anniversary of the death of Lemmy, I really don’t feel that Christmassy or festive anymore.

Then there’s Rick Parfitt, too.  OK, I was never a big fan of Status Quo, but I do recognize just how influential the man was.

Upshot?  The show I’d planned to record and release tonight, after getting home from spending Christmas up at the in-laws (which was very pleasant, thank you very much.  Even had snow on Boxing Day), has now been cancelled.

Next up will be the traditional Yuletide/New Year Behemoth.