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- Blabbermouth reports singer Myles Kennedy and guitarist Mark Tremonti recently began the songwriting process for ALTER BRIDGE's fourth studio album. According to ALTER BRIDGE bassist Brian Marshall, the band "is about eight songs deep in writing! There's some pretty heavy, cerebral stuff going on and it sounds awesome." The group plans to write and record over the next few months, with the record due to be completed before a planned September tour. ALTER BRIDGE's last studio offering, "AB III", came out in 2010 and included the hits "Isolation" and "Ghost Of Days Gone By". As previously reported, ALTER BRIDGE plans to release a new box set on May 14, according to a message posted by the group at its website. The band has also launched a separate site for the package itself, although all that features at the moment is a countdown clock and a video teaser trailer. There's no word on what the box set will contain, although it will likely include the band's three previous studio discs or at least selections from them, along with a live disc released in 2011. During ALTER BRIDGE's break, Tremonti recorded his first solo album, "All I Was", and toured behind it, while Kennedy recorded all the vocals for Slash's second solo effort, "Apocalyptic Love", and toured the world as part of his live band. Tremonti, Marshall and ALTER BRIDGE drummer Scott Phillips have also toured as part of their original act, CREED, who have also been working on new material. Read more at Loudwire
- Blabbermouth reports Dark Matter Publishing LLC, a transmedia company that specializes in the publication and transformation of comic, graphic, and young adult books into film and television, is launching a Kickstarter campaign for its brand-new property, "Uncle Alice Presents". "Uncle Alice Presents" is a shock-rock, genre-bending comic book series, graphic novel, and television pilot featuring the legendary Alice Cooper. Each issue tells a story of the grim and macabre seen through the eyes of Uncle Alice, the gatekeeper of the netherworld between heaven and hell. From paintings that seek revenge to mad scientists that crossbreed beach babes with fish, the things Uncle Alice will share are just plain creepy… like, they really creep him out. Dark Matter has been working on developing "Uncle Alice Presents"' Kickstarter campaign for months, seeking out the best writers, artist, and story lines for the project before launching. The company was initially hesitant to introduce such a huge project, but the recent successful Veronica Mars Kickstarter has set their minds at ease. The campaign has set its goal at $200,000 to finance the series of twelve comic books, but if the Kickstarter reaches $500,000, Dark Matter will also make the television pilot. "Our goal is to bring our backers the greatest value for their pledges," says company CEO Todd Moyer. "We're asking as little as we possibly can to produce a large variety of original content. We're also looking forward to giving backers the chance to be a part of the creative process by entering our story line creation contest." Dark Matter wants to make the campaign fun and interactive, which is why backers of $10 or more are allowed to submit a story idea to the creative team. At the end of the campaign, the creative team will choose 10 finalists for backers to vote on, and will make the winning idea into an issue of the comic book. The ultimate goal is, of course, to turn "Uncle Alice Presents" into a television series, which can be previewed through original branded video content, which will be released on YouTube over the course of the month. "But first," Moyer concludes, "let's get the comics made!"
- Blabbermouth reports Alice Cooper, Sebastian Bach (SKID ROW), Tommy Thayer (KISS), Eric Singer (KISS) and Robbie Krieger (THE DOORS) performed Thursday night (March 28) at a concert to celebrate the opening of the Brennan Rock & Roll Academy in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The school is part of The Boys And Girls Club of Sioux Falls, and it offers music education programs to kids in Sioux Falls and surrounding towns. Fan-filmed video footage of the concert can be seen below. Photos are available at B1027.com. Cooper, who founded Alice Cooper's Solid Rock Foundation in Phoenix, was on hand to help Chuck Brennan, CEO of Dollar Loan Center and namesake of the Brennan Rock & Roll Academy, announce the academy's formation last year. "He has been an incredible mentor and supporter in helping bring the academy to my hometown," said Brennan. "I grew up just a few blocks from here and know first-hand how important it is for kids to explore their passions and be supported in that." The Brennan Rock & Roll Academy will provide the first-ever free music education program for children in The Boys And Girls Of The Sioux Empire, focusing on rock and roll instruments, including guitar, bass guitar, keyboard, drums and vocals. Cooper told radio station B102.7 in Sioux Falls that his school took nearly 14 years to open, but now serves 100 kids every day. "All kids that would have been in gangs, would have been out selling drugs, buying drugs, taking drugs or shooting people. And now they’re playing guitars, playing bass and drums." Brennan has a lifelong love for rock and roll. Before founding Dollar Loan Center in Sioux Falls, Brennan opened and operated one of the largest rock concert halls in the Midwest, The Blitz Ballroom.
- Blabbermouth reports Nina Noir (pictured here) was selected by Geoff Tate to take part in the 2013 QUEENSRŸCHE tour after making a guest appearance on the band's new album, "Frequency Unknown". She will be singing a duet with Geoff on the group's epic song, "Suite Sister Mary". Nina mastered speech level singing with renowned vocal coach Seth Riggs. In 2011 she performed on "America's Got Talent", where she received high praise from Sharon Osbourne. She has gone on to form THE LIONS, a rock band based out of San Francisco, California. They are currently recording their debut album with producer Jason Slater (QUEENSRŸCHE, THIRD EYE BLIND, SMASHMOUTH, SNAKE RIVER CONSPIRACY). She has played many roles in music and is currently fronting an all-female QUEEN tribute band called THE KILLER QUEENS as Frederica Mercury. The girls have headlined sold-out shows on their winter tour and are currently booking dates for their 2013 summer tour across the Western United States. Deadline Music/Cleopatra has released the following statement to BLABBERMOUTH.NET regarding the reports that "Frequency Unknown", the new album from the Geoff Tate-fronted version of QUEENSRŸCHE, was being remixed by acclaimed musician, record producer and engineer Billy Sherwood: "Since previews of the new QUEENSRŸCHE album were made available to the general public on iTunes and other digital retailers, some of the response has been less than positive. Some complained about the overall quality of the recordings, and in particular the mix. We here at Deadline Music have the utmost confidence in the powerful songwriting and outstanding performances from Geoff Tate and crew on this album, but we also want the fans to know that we are listening to them as well! So, in the interest of democratic free choice, Deadline Music has commissioned the superbly talented musician/producer Billy Sherwood (formerly of YES) to remix the album. Now fans will be able to decide which mix they feel best represents the album: the original mix, which will be released on April 23rd, or the new mix by Billy Sherwood that will be made available at a future date to be announced…. WE REMIX, YOU DECIDE!" Sherwood revealed in a posting on his Facebook page on Monday that he was hired to remix "Frequency Unknown". Sherwood wrote: "[It] seems there are sonic issues with the previous versions and so I shall be fixing it for all to enjoy. [I am] starting on it [Wednesday] morning [March 27]." "Frequency Unknown" was produced by Jason Slater at a studio in Northern California. Although a lineup for Tate's QUEENSRŸCHE was originally announced in the fall of 2012, things have changed. The band will now feature Tate along with bassist Rudy Sarzo (OZZY OSBOURNE, DIO, WHITESNAKE, QUIET RIOT), guitarist Kelly Gray (QUEENSRŸCHE 1998-2001), keyboardist Randy Gane and new additions, guitarist Robert Sarzo (QUIET RIOT, HURRICANE) and drummer Simon Wright (AC/DC, DIO, RHINO BUCKET). Guest musicians on the CD include K.K. Downing (JUDAS PRIEST), Chris Poland (MEGADETH), Ty Tabor (KING'S X), Paul Bostaph (SLAYER, TESTAMENT, EXODUS), Lita Ford, Brad Gillis (NIGHT RANGER), Dave Meniketti (Y&T) and Craig Locicero (FORBIDDEN). "Frequency Unknown" is packaged with bonus tracks — four QUEENSRŸCHE classics, newly recorded, including the smash hit single "Silent Lucidity".
"Frequency Unknown" track listing:
01. When Lightning Strikes
02. Running Backwards
04. Life Without You
05. In The Hands Of God
07. The Weight Of The World
Bonus tracks: (2013 versions)
11. Silent Lucidity
13. Jet City Woman
14. I Don t Believe In Love
Tate, who was fired from QUEENSRŸCHE in June 2012 after fronting the group for three decades, last year sought to prevent his former bandmates from touring and operating under the QUEENSRŸCHE name without him. While ruling against Tate, the presiding judge determined that there was no legal hurdle in Tate also using the name with an all-new lineup of musicians. "I don't see any reason that Mr. Tate can't have the benefit, if he gets other members, of whatever name he uses of using the brand," Superior Court Judge Carol A. Schapira said during the July 13, 2012 court hearing. "I think [doing that would be] inherently confusing, although I'm sure the market can get these things sorted out," she added. Last November, Tate released his first solo CD in over a decade titled "Kings & Thieves" (InsideOut Music) and toured with his solo band in support of the CD, which included dates with the legendary ALICE COOPER.
- Blabbermouth reports the inaugural "Heavy Metal And Popular Culture" international conference will take place at Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio April 4-7. It will be the first scholarly conference on heavy metal in the U.S. Registration is free and members of the public are encouraged to attend. Metal music and culture scholars from Norway, Germany, Switzerland, the U.K., France, Canada, New Zealand, Finland, Brazil and all over the U.S., including Puerto Rico, will gather to share theories, network, and discuss the forthcoming peer-reviewed journal that will be published by The International Society For Metal Music Studies. There will be four keynote speakers: Robert Walser, director of the Rock And Popular Music Institute at Case Western Reserve University and author of "Running With The Devil: Power, Gender, And Madness In Heavy Metal Music"; Keith Kahn-Harris, author of "Extreme Metal: Music And Culture On The Edge"; Laina Dawes, journalist and photographer from Toronto and author of the book "What Are You Doing Here?: A Black Woman's Life And Liberation In Heavy Metal"; and Dan Spitz, currently in the band RED LAMB and autism awareness advocate, and former lead guitarist of ANTHRAX. There will also be three roundtable discussions, which include Martin Popoff (journalist, author of 41 metal books) and Deena Weinstein, author of "Heavy Metal: The Music And Its Culture". There will also be an exhibition on masks and facepaint through genres, history and cultures. Heavy metal music studies is comprised of scholars from dozens of academic disciplines. Forty scholars will participate in the conference, including Laura Wiebe from McMaster University in Canada, who will present "'Musicians from Mars': Negotiating Music, Genre and Identity in Voivod's Science Fictional Metal." Niall Scott, University of Central Lancashire, U.K., will engage audience members in his discussion "Heavy Metal As Resistance." Colin McKinnon, independent scholar from Switzerland, will discuss "Metal And Comics: Strange Bedfellows?" Yu Zheng, Bowling Green State University, will talk about "The Scene Of Chinese Heavy Metal After The Golden Age: From Painkiller To The Globe." Sigrid Mendoza, Ponce School Of Medicine And Health Science, University Of Puerto Rico, will thrash out her paper "There's A Girl In The Mosh Pit! Female Gender Practices In Puerto Rico's Heavy Metal Scene." Kevin Ebert, Adjunct Faculty of Guitar, Music at Xavier University, Cincinnati, will present "Bridging The Divide? Classical Music And Popular Culture In Symphonic Metal." The idea for an American conference began in the late 2000s when Bowling Green State University's Jeremy Wallach, Esther Clinton and Brian Hickam traveled to a scholarly heavy metal conferences in Europe. "It was clear the whole metal studies thing was taking off and we had this idea that we would do a conference on heavy metal here in Bowling Green, which made sense for a lot of reasons," Wallach old the Toledo Free Press. "Toledo's always been a metal town and Ohio's a metal state, especially in the northern part of the state. Toledo is part of the Rust Belt and industrial wastelands have always been a part of the heavy metal mythos from the beginning." "What's awesome and a little bit different about this [conference] is it's an international conference and people are coming in from all over the world," Matt Donahue, an instructor at Bowling Green State University and a member of the local heavy metal band MAD 45, told the Toledo Free Press. And the other awesome part about it is that it's free." The academic study of popular culture in the United States was founded in 1972 by Ray Browne, former Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Bowling Green State University. The full agenda of the conference can be found at this location.
- Blabbermouth reports Christian Olde Wolbers, who handled the bass duties in FEAR FACTORY for nine years (1993-2002) and then assumed the role of guitarist in a revamped version of the band from 2002 until 2008, has posted a video clip of him "auditioning" for the vacant bassist slot in MACHINE HEAD. Check it out below. Despite the fact that he had played bass in FEAR FACTORY for almost a decade, the Dutch-born Olde Wolbers had started his career as a guitarist, having handled the axe in several groups in Belgium prior to joining FF in 1993. In an interview with RoughEdge.com conducted back in August 1999, Christian recounted his decision — made on the recommendation of BIOHAZARD, with whom Wolbers was friends — to switch to the four-string instrument in order to join FEAR FACTORY. "[BIOHAZARD frontman] Evan [Seinfeld] had seen me playing upright bass in a rockabilly band on the street in Belgium back in '90 or '91," Christian recalled. "He always thought I was a bass player. I had always played guitar in metal bands and hardcore bands. And [one night while we were hanging out] he said, 'Oh, you're a bass player — I have a band for you!' I kept telling him 'I'm not a bass player, I'm a guitar player now.' But he said, 'FEAR FACTORY needs a bass player — you're a bass player and you'd be perfect.' And I'd actually heard of FEAR FACTORY because someone told me about them while I was still in Europe. However, I really wasn't into the death metal scene too much, but I knew they were different. When I went to the audition and I was blown away when I saw Raymond [Herrera, drums] playing — I said, 'Alright, I'll play bass.' So I borrowed a bass from Evan and auditioned for a couple of days right before a tour with SEPULTURA and then I knew I was going to do the tour. After the SEPULTURA tour, the rest of the guys said, 'Do you want to be in the band?' I said, 'Hell yeah!' " MACHINE HEAD is holding public auditions to find a temporary bass player. The San Francisco Bay Area-based band is seeking a musician to perform with them on this year's Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival tour. To find a temporary bassist for the duration of the Mayhem festival, MACHINE HEAD turned to the nearly 800,000 fans on their Facebook page, asking interested parties to post a video clip of them singing and playing bass along to three tracks: "This Is The End", "Halo" and "Beautiful Mourning". Once the band has narrowed down potential candidates, they will hold tryouts in person at a to-be-determined location.
- Blabbermouth reports "Earth Rocker", the new album from Maryland rockers CLUTCH, has registered the following first-week chart positions:
"Earth Rocker" sold 22,000 copies in the Unites States in its first week. CLUTCH's previous CD, "Strange Cousins From the West" (2009), opened with 13,000 units to land at position No. 38. 2007's "From Beale Street To Oblivion" registered a first-week tally of around 15,000 to enter the chart at No. 52. CLUTCH's 2005 effort, "Robot Hive / Exodus", debuted on the chart at No. 93 after premiering with 13,000 copies. Released via CLUTCH's own Weathermaker Music label, "Earth Rocker" entered the German Media Control chart at No. 71. In the U.K., the CD landed at No. 50 on the regular chart, No. 3 on the Rock/Metal Albums chart and No. 11 on the Independent Albums chart. Weathermaker Music label manager Stefan Koster said in a statement: "Weathermaker Music is thrilled with this result." He continued: "The release campaign began six months ago. We executed on our worldwide plan by integrating touring, promotion, retail and digital marketing as well as specialty/metal and Active Rock radio campaigns in a perfect sequence. Our partners around the world backed us up. RED Music's extraordinary support made much of this possible. But in the end, none of it would have been the same without this great album. CLUTCH is the quintessential American rock band!" Produced by Machine (LAMB OF GOD, FOUR YEAR STRONG, FALL OUT BOY) at the Machine Shop studio in Belleville, New Jersey, "Earth Rocker" was described by CLUTCH vocalist Neil Fallon in a recent interview with DCHeavyMetal.com as "probably faster than most of our recent albums. Maybe compared to some other bands, it's not the fastest thing on planet Earth. For us it was definitely a step up in the tempo. And I think the other thing that kind of stands out about this one is the blues influences that we've been flirting with over the past couple records is more or less absent in this record, which didn't really happen intentionally until we looked back at it. As a whole, it's just much more of a straight-up rock and roll record." The artwork for "Earth Rocker" was created by Nick Lakiotes, longtime CLUTCH art director, who has worked on previous efforts, including "Robot Hive/Exodus" and "Strange Cousins From The West". CLUTCH kicked off the first leg of the "Earth Rocker" North American tour on March 8 in Cincinnati, Ohio and it runs through April 20 in Baltimore. Support on the first leg is coming from ORANGE GOBLIN, LIONIZE and SCORPION CHILD. The second leg of the "Earth Rocker" North American tour was recently announced and will kick off May 1 in Richmond, Virginia and run through May 26 in San Antonio, Texas. Support on this run will come from THE SWORD and LIONIZE.
- Blabbermouth reports Las Vegas' AVENGER OF BLOOD reformed last year and released a three-song EP/demo, "Spawn Of Evil", to rave reviews, metal radio play and enthusiastic responses from fans. The band has since continued to play shows locally with such bands as OVERKILL and GRAVEHILL. AVENGER OF BLOOD is putting the finishing touches on material for a new full-length album, which it plans to record in May at Arcane Digital Studio in Phoenix, Arizona with producer Ryan Butler (LANDMINE MARATHON, EXHUMED, MISERY INDEX). The band is also looking for a label to release the effort,. "We feel that Ryan is the best person for the job and we are very excited to work with him!" exclaims guitarist Brandon Gulling. AVENGER OF BLOOD's sophomore album, "Death Brigade", came out in 2008 via Heavy Artillery Records.
- Loudwire reports Adrenaline Mob’s Mike Portnoy launches celebrity cymbal fundraising raffle
- Loudwire reports HIM’s Ville Valo on the appeal of Finnish bands
- Loudwire reports festival mastermind Kevin Lyman excited about 2013 Warped Tour and Mayhem trek
- Ultimate Classic Rock reports ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons ready for first gig in more than 40 years with the Moving Sidewalks
- Rolling Stone reports The Breeders launch "Last Splash" 20th anniversary tour in Brooklyn. Read more at Billboard
- NME reports Vampire Weekend's Chris Baio reveals he's related to actor Steve Buscemi
- Blabbermouth posts audio of Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward paying tribute to Alvin Lee
- Blabbermouth posts a track-by-track breakdown of "Tears On Tape" by HIM
- Blabbermouth posts the six studio webisode from Deathdestruction
- Blabbermouth posts the official "Dirty" album teaser from Aborym
- Blabbermouth posts new music videos from Havok - "From The Cradle To The Grave" and Evil United - "Viking Funeral"
- Blabbermouth posts perfoamce footage of Vince Neil at the "Bob Rocks" concert, Ghost performing their new song "Year Zero", Jack Russell, Sepultura guitarist father & son covering metal classics in Sao Paulo and Philm at the "Beach Concert"
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