Posts Tagged “Contrary To Popular Belief”

Former JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Kenneth “K.K.” Downing spoke to Midland Rocks about his shocking April 2011 announcement that he was leaving the band prior to their “Epitaph” world tour.

Downing, who recently started a career as a rock promoter under the banner The Future Of Heavy Metal, says that, contrary to popular belief, he didn’t retire from the music business.

“I’ll never get away from this retirement thing, but what happened was that I quit,” Downing explains. “Retired implies that I am not physically able to do it. I am able to do it, but I didn’t want to do it; I just wasn’t enjoying it anymore

“A lot of things had changed. I think I counted about thirty reasons why I didn’t want to do it at the time, and that is an awful lot of reasons.

“In all honesty, I think that in so many respects it had run its course.

“If you’re part of a songwriting team, you get the recognition and reward for creating something, but for me, PRIEST became about going out and playing live and replicating exactly what people had enjoyed ten, twenty or thirty years ago. The fans would be just as happy if they could see us bin all of the modern guitars we now play and take them on a walk down memory lane, because I think that’s what people enjoy most. And I understand that, because if I could go out now and see Eric Clapton with CREAM, then I would be the happiest person in the world.”

He continues: “One of the beautiful things about being in the industry was the ability to continue to invent and create, constructing songs and making good records. You do feel the need to be creative, and that was taken away with the downloading thing, and as you get older, the balance of the scales starts to tip. So if you can’t be creative, why would you want to continue to dedicate the time into something?

“I suppose if the industry was still healthy and people still had to spend their hard-earned money buying a record, it would be different, but if you give something away, then it has no value.

“We used to buy an album and think, ‘Well, it’s not that good, but I’ll play it a million times [and] I’m sure I’ll get into it, and now it doesn’t really get a second chance.

“In the past, there was always the opportunity to create a record like ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ [PINK FLOYD] or ‘British Steel’ [JUDAS PRIEST] or ‘Back In Black’ [AC/DC] that would be one of those albums that would be indelible and people will always come back to. And I think that opportunity has gone now, and I think it would take a miracle for one of those to happen again.

“If you consider an album like [JUDAS PRIEST‘s much-maligned conceptual effort] ‘Nostradamus’, then if that had been released in 1978, then it would have been another ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’, but it is all about the timing.

“When you think about it, in the early days, we had the opportunity to write great songs, play great solos and have great vocal performances, but people get used to it and it is hard now to get the reaction of, ‘Wow, have you heard the new PRIEST album?’

“The industry has changed so much… I see companies that are repackaging and rehashing, and that started happening to us, and that was not a pretty thing to be a part of. It’s kind of duping the fans a bit, because there are fans around the world that have got to have everything to complete their collection, so even if there are only a few thousand of them, if you put out a box collection, it might be $100, which is a lot of dollars, and so for me, that is something that I didn’t get into music for.”

Downing‘s place in JUDAS PRIEST was filled by new guitarist Richie Faulkner.

JUDAS PRIEST is currently writing and recording material for a new studio album, to be released sometime next year.

Comments No Comments »

M F’n’ H

Robb Flynn has posted the following message via the Machine Head Facebook page regarding the recent news that bassist and founding member Adam Duce has left the band:

“As much as I do not want to write this journal, I promised you I’d write them “at least once a week”. Good, bad, happy or sad… so this is what has to be done.

2-11-13.
That is the date we fired Adam Duce. That is the day that I had to tell Adam that after 21 years of being in a band together, I just couldn’t take it anymore.

That is the day I said “My hope is that this can be amicable.”

The words sounded like someone else had spoken them.

It was like being outside of my body watching someone else deliver these painful words.

But, it was me saying it.

And we all said it.

We had our say sitting in our jam room in Oakland. Dave said it. Joseph (our manager) said it. Phil said it. We all said that we couldn’t take being in a band with him anymore. That if this didn’t happen, we were going to break up the band.

It was hard. One of the hardest moments of my life.

It was also a long time coming.

We may have fired Adam on 2-11-13, but Adam quit Machine Head well over a decade ago. He just never bothered to tell anyone… but we all knew it.

Contrary to popular belief, being in a band is tough. Really fucking tough. It’s the toughest sonofabitch you’ll ever come across in your life and it will beat the living shit out of you 80% of the time. Many times it feels like one big rollercoaster, the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. There are wins and losses seemingly every single day. Being in a band is one of life’s strangest gambles.

But when you do win, when you win that 20%, well… it truly is salvation. It’s what makes eating the other 80% of that shit-sandwich bearable. It’s where “those” stories come from. It can be the best job you’ll ever have and unquestionably one of the hardest you’ll ever have. But until you’ve done it for 20+ years, you have no clue. Until you’ve held a band together for 20+ years, you really don’t know jack shit about it.

You think you do.

You don’t.

A band is a dysfunctional family. A brotherhood, a family business, and a renaissance-era-court. You’re room-mates in studio-apartment-on-wheels for years-at-a-time, 24-hours-a-day. Plus you’re in the pressure cooker of the spotlight, every move analyzed, read into, or attacked. Everybody wants something from you, everybody wants to be your friend, everybody loves you, everybody can do so-much-better-for-you-than-the-people-you-have-now. Some people try and turn you against each other, and everyone wants to take credit for your success.

Often time you’re enemies. At odds and fighting about something, but “pretending” everything is “fine” onstage.

But it isn’t…

You just wear a mask that looks like it’s fine, and after 20 years, we know that mask so well, it slides on way too fuckin’ easy.

Adam hasn’t been happy in this band for a long time. But how do you leave? To a guy like Adam everything is either winning or losing. A stunning victory or the ultimate failure. There was no in-between. And while that sounds great for a TV show or an interview-sound-bite, or even a John Wayne movie that wraps up in 90 minutes… life just isn’t like that.

And life certainly isn’t like that for a band like Machine Head. A band who operate in the upper-middle-tier. For us, there are no stunning victories, only respectable wins. No ultimate failures, just better-luck-next-times. We carved a niche, we OWN that niche, but it’s still just a niche. Nothing wrong with that.

No matter how un-happy or fed up he got, quitting the band would be seen as “losing” or a “failure”. Truth be told, he was sick of it. Sick of touring, sick of recording, sick of practicing, sick of looking at album artwork, sick of being-on-a-team-but-never-getting-the-ball, sick of yearning-for-the-honeymoon-to-resume when 20 years deep it never does. Sick of never quite hitting the big-time, sick of carving the niche… sick of caring.

I don’t blame him. It’s hard to keep the passion.

But he just wouldn’t quit.

We wanted him to quit. We were hoping he would quit, “guys, my heart isn’t in this anymore, it was a good run, later dayz”. We didn’t want it to come to this…

But he wouldn’t.

I didn’t feel anything as I drove away from the jam room that night. When I awoke the next morning I didn’t feel anything either. I wasn’t “numb,” I still “felt”, was just kinda blank. But three days after the meeting, an argument broke out in the jam room about how conflicted I felt about it. Then I cried.

I cried and cried.

I’ve cried every day since. I’ve been an emotional wreck. I cried writing this. I was sick the day that we announced it (11 days and 2 General Journals after actually doing it), walking around about to vomit for hours.

I met with him for a couple hours last Wednesday, met with him yesterday. It’s civil.

I don’t know what else to say.

I don’t have some inspirational quote to end with here. I’m not gonna sit here and tell you everything is gonna be all right, or that’s it gonna be the same. At this moment I can’t even bring myself to say that it’s going to be better.

Why?

Because it sucks.

It fucking sucks.

It sucks for everyone who tried to save this.

It sucks more than you can imagine…

It’s a horrible relief.”

 

Adam had been in the band for over 20 years. Machine Head will release a new album later this year via Roadrunner.

Comments No Comments »

The melodic death metal vikings are back! Since 2008′s Twilight of the Thundergod, all of metaldom has been waiting for the return of the most acclaimed Swedish band today, and this year’s Surtur Rising, without a shadow of a doubt, lives up to the hype.

Most notable on Surtur Rising, is the lack of bone shattering heaviness. Since the beginning of Amon Amarth’s career, melodic death with an emphasis on primal, viking-esque atmosphere. However, with Twilight of the Thundergod, the band began moving in a much more high melodic direction with classic, dueling riffs that allowed the melodies to breath, instead of engaging in non-stop action. While Amon Amarth has always been melodic, they have always maintained their ferocity, and reeling themselves in a bit is not only just a good step for their careers, but also a necessary one. Creating album after album of blistering metal is not a bad thing, but look what happens to extreme metal bands over the years that have kept up the same style with no changes, the sad fact is these bands fizzle out (as with most punk acts), because they choose to make the same album over and over again with only pulse pounding aggression, and nothing else. Contrary to popular belief, Amon Amarth on the other hand, has always progressed with each new album, but it wasn’t until Twilight of the Thundergod that we were treated with something really groundbreaking in the storied career of this band. Surtur Rising will likely illicit criticism for straying from the unbridled past, but really, Amon Amarth’s changes are not monumental, they are just modifications of the band’s original style, and this is necessary for the band’s sanity, their art, and really, to expand the minds of the fanbase.

Surtur Rising is not without it’s faults however. For example, “Destroyer of the Universe” is much too bland, and sounds more like a mainstream tune without the soul of previous efforts. After the brilliant first two tracks, Destroy really put a damper on the mood, and I was left hoping that the rest of the album would not disappoint. Luckily, the majority of the remainder of the album does not disappoint, though it doesn’t quite reach the echelons achieved with the band’s two previous outings (which were basically responsible for turning Amon Amarth into underground superstars for good reason).

Long time fans, and newer fans who cut their teeth on latter albums will be collectively pleased with this result. To me, at this juncture, this band can do no wrong, they have the perfect formula to expand their metal empire, album after album, with what seems like barely a sweat being broken in the process. I think the entire metal community should be proud of this band, for not only sticking to what has made them great over the years, but have allowed enough modification in their sound to allow freshness, and a bit of unpredictability for what awaits around the corner. I just saw Amon Amarth last year, and now, I can’t wait to hear them rip out some new tunes on stage, and that my friends, is the mark of a truly classic, legendary act.

VERY GOOD

Similar Artists: Ensiferum, Omnium Gatherum

1. War of the Gods
2. Töck’s Taunt – Loke’s Treachery Part II
3. Destroyer of the Universe
4. Slaves of Fear
5. Live Without Regrets
6. The Last Stand of Frej
7. For Victory or Death
8. Wrath of the Norsemen
9. A Beast Am I
10. Doom Over Dead Man

Johan Hegg : Vocals
Johan Soderberg : Guitar
Ted Lundstrom : Bass
Fredrik Andersson : Drums
Olavi Mikkonen : Guitar

Metal Blade Records

http://myspace.com/amonamarth

Comments No Comments »


Contrary to popular belief, some critics don’t really like slagging an album in print.
The reluctance has little to do with possible repercussions from a label, act or fans. It’s because…

Read the rest of this article at www.Braingell.com and tune in to Braingell Radio!

Go to Braingell Radio
http://www.braingell.com/bgrfadesmall.gif

Comments No Comments »