Why has it taken so long for you to write another mailbag?
Well to be honest I have been very busy and it hasn’t been much fun this year. I can say I have been looking for a new job for quite some time since the one I was currently working at for the lack of a better term sucked. I have also been working hard on some musical projects aside from Archetype. I have so many mailbag questions to answer it’s not even funny so I will try to answer as many as I can this month and the next! MY replies are in white the the questions are in yellow So here goes:
When can we see the new Axemaster and when is the damn Archetype coming out?
Jean in Montreal
Jean, the new Archetype is like GNR's Chinese Democracy isn’t it? It’s a great album that has yet to come out. Chris will be done mixing it in a couple of days and we will be home free then. As far as Axemaster goes we are going to release a re-recorded song called Bed of Nails that originally appeared on their Blessing in the Skies album. This was something Joe has had sitting on the shelf for awhile that we are going to do to let people know what I sound like with the band as well as test out my recording studio here because I will be recording vocals here for real and sending Joe the tracks. It’s going to sound awesome and the new album is sounding amazing!
Bill Peters talked about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and how a few other bands should be there instead of Guns N Roses. I agree with him what about you?
Mike in Cleveland
I saw the video that they posted on Cleveland.com. I have to say that the R&R Hall of Fame really doesn’t interest me. To be honest I think it’s just an “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” voting policy. I think this museum and it's voting policy is a joke and most metalheads don't really take the museum seriously.
First off let me say that I think Guns n Roses should be in the Rock and Roll hall of fame. Muscially they were a brilliant band and very creative so it’s hard for me to really say they don’t belong. Appetite for Destruction is still to this day one of the best commercial metal records ever and both the Illusions albums are very close. GNR was a talented band who’s reputation was tarnished by the childish antics of it’s frontman.
Now with that said, I will say that there are several other bands who have had longer careers and more of an impact on musicians worldwide than GNR. Bill brought up some good ones: Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Deep Purple, and Kiss to name a few. These are bands who have not only sold a ton of records but they helped shape an entire genre of music. How can these bands not be in? They are all household name artists still playing to thousands of people every time they go on tour. Also, if you want to look at bands from the 80s commercial rock/metal scene then look no further than Def Leppard and Bon Jovi who need to be in well before GNR is even considered.
The fact bands like this are left out is a complete joke and a big reason why I don’t personally support the rock hall.
So what are your favorite releases so far and do you have an album you would call your album of the year?
Jared in North Olmsted
Well there are a lot of albums I do like but here they are:
My album of the year so far for me is the new Pharaoh “Bury The Light”. For whatever reason this record has grabbed me more than anything this year and anytime I am listening to a new release I keep going back and listening to it again. I like new albums so far from Accept, Adrenaline Mob, OverKill, Lanfear, Unisonic, Rage, Primal Fear, Van Halen, Deadiron and the new live albums by Iron Maiden and the Pretty Maids. There are still a lot more coming out though this year.
You don’t seem to play a ton of local Cleveland metal on your show like some of the other DJs do why is that?
Mary in Lorain
Well I look at local metal bands like anything else, if I like it and it’s good and on par with what I play I will play it and promote it’s simple as that. Saying I don’t play local bands is actually wrong. Yeah sure they may not dominate my playlists but honestly I play stuff by local artists and even have them in the studio. I just had a really good local band called Deadiron in the studio and I do play stuff by Destructor, Shatter Messiah, Shok Paris, Vindicator, At No End, Eternal Legacy and Venomin James just to name a few. There are a lot of other DJs who won’t play anything from any local artists period. I try to keep the broad perspective on the show.
Are you ever going to do the 18 hour Iron Maiden Marathon again? I thought this was such an awesome thing when you used to do this and the last one where you gave away tickets for their show here in Cleveland and gave away Flight 666 DVDs was just awesome. I also remember you hosting the Helloween Marathon. I understand that you know them but this was also really cool and many people not just in Cleveland really liked it as well as from around the world. I think you should definitely think about doing these because me and my buddies were hooked on these marathons when you did them.
Jason in Stow
I get asked this quite frequently. Doing these marathons is very time consuming and requires a lot of planning on my part. I also have to have the will to do them again. I know for sure another Maidenthon is in the future, when I do not know but I will consider doing it again. They are fun, time consuming and honestly they are also a lot of work. Time is my biggest enemy right now. I have to record the new Axemaster now, the show has been taking off since I launched the new website and there’s a new Archetype album to promote. Not to mention everything else I am involved in.
As far as the Helloween marathon goes. I haven’t even thought about doing this again, although this is something that I am now thinking about wanting to host one more time. Last one was back in 2003 so almost 9 years ago now. Again Helloween isn’t the biggest band in the states or in Cleveland but it garnered quite a following worldwide. We shall see but this sounds like something I may consider in the future as well. People also ask me about other bands such as Judas Priest, Sabbath etc. I have to tell you Helloween and Maiden are the only two bands I can stomach for this long in one day so if I ever do a marathon down the road it will probably be only these two although I would consider a Deep Purple one.
I see you talking about bands like Ayreon and Empires of Eden and how awesome they are but do you like them because of the singers on the albums or the songwriting?
Darren in Houston
The answer is both. I get these people all the time emailing me telling me that the only reason these guys’ have good songs is because of the singers they employ. While this may be partially true there is one thing Stu Marshall and Arjen Lucassen do that is NOT easy and that is to write songs for different types of singers, to suit their vocal talents and then to take those songs and make the entire album flow well. This is not as easy to do as you may think. I also think if they had talented singers who weren’t established names in the music scene the albums would be just as good. In the end it’s the songs that matter and it’s being able to use the talent you have wisely and adapt your songwriting to that talent. That’s what makes Arjen and Stu such good musicians and why their projects sound amazing.
Have you ever considered doing commercial radio and maybe trying to get the show onto a bigger stage?
No, I haven’t. To be honest I would probably never consider this unless I was offered a lot of money for it and I was able to do what I wanted on my show. Since neither of these will never happen I will always be on WBWC 88.3 and rightfully so, it’s been my home for a long time so why leave?
You did a special about the big 4, which of these bands are your favorites and what is your opinion on each of them?
Jeff in Long beach California
Well we will go band by band starting with my favorite:
Megadeth : Megadeth is my favorite of the big 4 metal bands. I don’t think there’s an album I dislike by them, I even liked Risk. There is something about Dave Mustaine’s songwriting that I really like. Also to me, I have always like their songs better. Even when they started writing more commercial songs they had (and still have) this uniqueness to them that nobody else out there out of the big 4 bands eever had. I also would rate Megadeth way over Metallica in a longshot when it comes to the consistency of their albums. If I had to pick one record I like the least it would be “The World Needs a Hero”. Even though I like this record the chemistry of the lineup that recorded it wasn’t quite there. I never thought Al Pitrelli fit Megadeth that well. Same with Jimmy Degrasso. For me, Dave Mustaine is da man. Sure he may have cause a lot of controversy but, a guy like him with his skills and his personality is what helped make heavy metal into what it is today.
Anthrax: The least successful on a commercial level of the big 4 bands, Anthrax had me hooked on their debut album Fistful of Metal and to this day I can credit them (along with Metallica) as one of the bands that got me into this music to begin with. Again, this is a band where I really don’t dislike any of their albums. In fact, I have liked everything they have ever put out. My high point for these guys has to be The Sound of White Noise. This is probably my favorite album by them and it’s probably my favorite album through high school. I used to listen to this nonstop while in High School and even to this day, 17+ years after this came out, I still listen to it quite a bit. A bit of trivia: Charlie Benante was my first ever interview for the Metal Command radio show more than 12 years ago now!
Metallica: Ride The Lightning I will put up against any metal album of all time. This is one of my top 10 albums of all time. Kill Em All was also the album to get me into Heavy Metal, but Ride The Lightning definitely solidified my devotion to this music. I still have the old white cassette copy of this album at my parent’s house somewhere. I think the first 5 albums (Kill Em all through the Black Album) are essential in every metal fan’s collection. I know some of the older die hards hate the Black Album but I liked their direction on that record, it was commercial but still sounded like Metallica and was definitely a step in the right direction. There is a reason this album is the best selling record of the soundscan era. I never hated the Load and Reload albums as much as everyone did, but I don’t care for them much. The new “direction” didn’t bother me but the lack of good songs did. If you are going to go into this direction your songwriting better be good and it was mediocre at best. Although the song “Fuel” is one of my all time favorite Metallica songs. Never cared for S&M and it’s out of key orchestra, St Anger…..well we all know how bad that was and the new album Death Magnetic was good but suffered from a poor mastering job. Overall I do like this band but mostly their first 5 albums.
Slayer: Slayer is my least favorite of the big 4 and has always been hit or miss for me. I love the debut album Show No Mercy and in fact from Show No Mercy through Seasons In the Abyss this band ranks up there with the best of them. After 1990 though it seemed to be a band that I didn’t care for much. Their latest album was good and Christ Illusion wasn’t bad but overall these guys are the one band from the big 4 I listen to the least. I do have a funny story here. It goes back to my days in high school and crusing around with my buddies causing havoc.
My friends Brian and Mike and I were in Brian’s car and we were driving down some road in parma with Slayer’s Reign In Blood cranked up really loud. We were being our usual obnoxious selves and decided to turn around in a church parking lot. Needless to say the stereo STOPPED WORKING as soon as we pulled into the lot. We sat in that parking lot trying to get the stereo to work but it wouldn’t. We tried other tapes and they worked but the Slayer tape wouldn’t. The odd thing is, as soon as we pulled out of the lot the Slayer tape decided to work again. It about freaked me out!
What do you think about Manowar re-recording Battle Hymns? Or Exodus re-recording Bonded By Blood?
Marco in Brasil
I don’t have a problem with it when bands re-record old stuff. It’s cool to see what this music sounds like with today’s technology. I think Manowar did this not just to rehash old material but to let people hear what it would sound like with today’s technology. Being a musician I can understand why someone would do this. On the flipside, I love the original much better than the re-recording and I bought the silver remastered edition when it came out a few years back which in my opinion sounds amazing! I have the same view on this as I do with Exodus re-recording Bonded By Blood. The new recording sounds good but I still like the original much better.
I noticed that you play the same Dio song “Evilution” at the end of each of your radio show each night. I listen to a lot of the other local metal shows in Cleveland. Many of them play the same songs to begin the show but you are the opposite of them. Why is this? Also, how much of an impact did Dio’s passing away have on you?
Sid in the UK
Wow Sid, thanks for listening, especially in the UK where it’s 6am at the end of my show. I would say Dio’s passing had a huge impact on almost every metalhead and musician out there. I mean, I didn’t know the guy personally even though I had met him a few times. I was upset and saddened like everyone else. You go on thinking these guys are going to live forever at times and never really appreciate something until it’s gone. I had this guilty feeling in my mind thinking to myself “Man there were a lot of Dio concerts I could have gone to and didn’t”.
Back two summers ago I did a Dio tribute show where I played nothing but Dio for 3 hours. I invited Bob Delchin who hosts the show “This Is Metal” on WCSB 89.3 and Bill Peters who hosts the “Metal On Metal” show on WJCU 88.7. We came on my show, played some Dio tunes and talked about our own personal experiences in meeting Dio and how the music he was involved in has affected us.
So the last song I played at the end of that tribute show was Evilution which is one of my all time favorite Dio tunes. So as my own personal tribute to Dio I end off the show with that song and will continue to do so.
I have listened to your show since it began. Just wanted to write you for the mailbag and I hope it't not too late. I was curious to know how you decide which bands to have on the show and why you feature some of the bands you do? For example I remember a few years back you would have people like Bruce Dickinson on your show or even members of some really big heavy metal bands. Now I see you are focusing on many smaller bands which are no doubt good but why do you focus now on smaller acts? Don't get me wrong these bands are really good and I like hearing new stuff. Because of the show I got into bands like Pagans Mind, Cage and a few others I have never heard of. I would like to hear you interview some of the bigger acts again! Just a thought.
Jeremy in Strongsville
Well you have a lot of valid points but being the longtime listener that you are how many times have I interviewed Iron Maiden? Quite a few if you remember. The mission of this show is to find really good bands who many people don't know about but have good production, songs and are just freaking amazing and then expose them to a wider audience. I have found that i like doing this a lot more than interviewing the bigger acts so to say. Don't get me wrong, if an interview comes my way with a big act I will do it of course but I don't seek out the big bands anymore and why should I? I have talked to them so many numerous times and they really don't need my help because they are already big bands with a huge audience and a lot of exposure. Now at the same time I will interview bands like this if it comes my way. I had James Labrie of Dream Theater on the show
Well that's it for this month! I will post more in May!
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