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General Music News: "I was going slowly insane throughout the touring of this record," Phil Anselmo remembers.

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In the April/May 2014 issue of Revolver magazine, the surviving members of PANTERA — vocalist Philip Anselmo, drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott and bassist Rex Brown — speak about the making of the band’s classic 1994 album, “Far Beyond Driven”, which is being re-released next week as a 20th-anniversary, two-disc edition. The new version will include a newly remastered version of the original recordings along with a new live performance from the 1994 Monsters Of Rock festival.

Speaking about PANTERA‘s touring activities that followed the release of “Far Beyond Driven”, Vinnie Paul said: “When we went on the road, that’s when the wheels started coming off and people didn’t know what other people were doing. Phil had his own bus. Things started turning into what they turned into in the end.

Phil started isolating himself from the rest of us. It got to the point where we wouldn’t see each other until about 20 or 30 minutes before showtime. You never knew if he was going to be in a shitty mood or a good mood. You just hoped it was good enough to get through the show. That’s truly where some of the shows started lacking. They weren’t as good as they used to be, and he would start his rants and go on for 20 minutes while we stood around and looked at him, like, ‘What the fuck are you saying to these people, dude? They want to hear us play some songs. Let’s play some music.’”

Said Anselmo: “The touring was really a mixed bag for me. The [chronic back] pain was intense, but the thrill was still there much of the time, and when I was onstage, that part of it I enjoyed very much. But during this time, I was drinking an entire bottle of Wild Turkey every night before a show to numb the pain I was experiencing.

“I felt trapped, man. I felt lost even trying to explain to the guys in my band, who were so used to seeing Superman up onstage, that I was not Superman anymore. I felt like a trapped animal, honestly. I felt cornered and very confused.

“The words that would come out of my mouth [while we were on stage] were abrasive. I was lashing out at other bands when I really had no business mentioning other bands during a PANTERA show. I was going slowly insane throughout the touring of this record, whether it be from pills, alcohol, or the mental stress from carrying around the chronic pain along with the addiction.”

When PANTERA broke up in 2003, Vinnie Paul and his brother, PANTERA guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott formed DAMAGEPLAN. On December 8, 2004, while performing with DAMAGEPLAN at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio, Dimebag was shot and killed onstage by Nathan Gale. He was 38 years old.

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RockNLive.org recently conducted an interview with former PANTERA and current HELLYEAH drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott. You can now watch the chat below.

HELLYEAH‘s fourth studio album, “Blood For Blood”, will be released on June 10 via Eleven Seven Music. The CD was helmed by producer Kevin Churko at his The Hideout Recording Studio in Las Vegas, Nevada. Churko is the Canadian musician, sound engineer, songwriter and record producer who has previously worked with OZZY OSBOURNE, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH and IN THIS MOMENT, among other acts.

Prior to the recording of the new album, HELLYEAH parted ways with guitarist Greg Tribbett (MUDVAYNE) and bassist Bob “Zilla” Kakaha (DAMAGEPLAN). A replacement bassist in the shape of Kyle Sanders (former member of BLOODSIMPLE and the brother of MASTODON‘s Troy Sanders) has been secured.

Still in the lineup are original drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott, guitarist Tom Maxwell and singer Chad Gray.

Speaking to RockNLive.org about Sanders‘ addition to HELLYEAH, Vinnie Paul said: “After we realized we were gonna have to part ways with Bob and Greg, we wanted to make sure that we brought somebody in that was a ‘bro,’ somebody that we felt comfortable with. We didn’t wanna go through an audition process and bring a whole bunch of different people in that we had no idea, anything about their character or dynamic or what they were all about. And Kyle had toured with HELLYEAH many times with his band BLOODSIMPLE, who we were all fans of. As a matter of fact, BLOODSIMPLE was on Chad‘s label when he had a label. And he was the first guy that came to our mind. And the first phone call we gave to him, we barely mentioned it and he said, ‘I’m the guy. I wanna do it. I wanna do it.’ And that’s all we needed to hear; that was perfect. So he’s gonna be a perfect addition to the band. We shot the videos together and we hung out, and he’s really into it. So it worked out perfect for us. And to complement Tom on guitar, these songs for this record really have a lot of duelling guitars and a lot of parts, we’re gonna add a touring guitarist. We haven’t announced who that is yet, but I can tell you he’s a hell of a guitar player. So we’ll do that soon. And the band’s gonna be stronger than ever. There’s nothing like having some fresh blood out on the road with you. And these guys are gonna kill, we’re gonna kill, and we’ve got a great new record to tour with.”

A press release describes “Blood For Blood” as a “welcome return to form” for the band, adding that it “sounds like a recharged HELLYEAH, taken up many notches.”

HELLYEAH will hit the road this spring, starting with several festival slots in April and May.

HELLYEAH was formed in 2006 by NOTHINGFACE guitarist Tom Maxwell and bassist Jerry Montano, MUDVAYNE singer Chad Gray and guitarist Greg Tribbett, and former PANTERA and DAMAGEPLAN drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott.

Montano left a week after the release of the band’s self-titled debut album in 2007 and was replaced by Bob “Zilla” Kakaha, who had played with Abbott in DAMAGEPLAN.

HELLYEAH‘s other albums include 2009′s “Stampede” and 2011′s “Band Of Brothers”.

MUDVAYNE has not released an album since 2009 while Gray and Tribbett have been working with HELLYEAH.

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Niclas Müller-Hansen of Sweden’s Metalshrine recently conducted an interview with Max Cavalera (SOULFLY, SEPULTURA, CAVALERA CONSPIRACY). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Metalshrine: You’re just two years older than me and I just feel that there’s so much time left for you to put out cool music and have more cool stories. What made you [write your “My Bloody Roots” autobiography] now?

Max: Well, it was an idea that kinda came out of nowhere, actually. I thought it was a good time for it because of what happened with the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. What happened was that the notebook that I wrote SEPULTURA on for the first time, the schoolbook, we actually donated it to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in Cleveland and they displayed it together with Dimebag‘s [PANTERA] guitar and a bunch of stuff from other metal bands. I think that kinda led to the idea of now being a good time to do a book. I came all this way from being a kid in Brazil to be part of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. That’s a huge journey, but you’re right. There’s a lot more to be done and the story will continue for many more years, but we just felt that it would be good to tell the story right now and we had Joel McIver, who’s a really good writer. He approached us and offered to write the book for us and we saw what he’d done. I read parts of his METALLICA book, the Randy Rhoads book and the MOTÖRHEAD one and I really like how Joel writes. We started working on it and it’s out in Brazil, finally, and it will be out in the rest of the world in January 2014. It’s a very cool book with cool stories and a lot of great people involved. Dave Grohl [FOO FIGHTERS] wrote an amazing introduction. People in Brazil are really digging it. It was a good time for it now. I’m 44 and let’s just see what happens from now on.

Metalshrine: Did you sit down with Joel or was it mostly done via phone or Skype?

Max: We did most of it over the phone, but I sat down with Joel twice. We were touring a lot, but he came to two of the shows and we sat down during the day and we talked a lot. But a lot of it was done by phone. It was like an hour-and-a-half phone calls and three times a week. It was horrific and I did not look forward to them. It was, like, “Oh no, the phone call’s coming!” and I had to try and remember everything that happened during all these years. It was like therapy sessions.

Metalshrine: Were there things he brought up that you had forgotten about?

Max: Yeah. He was trying to get as much as possible. We ended up forgetting a couple of things, which is really amazing to me. For example, SEPULTURA toured with the RAMONES and that’s not in the book. Incredible that I left that I forgot about that. How could I? [laughs] It was just too many stories, too many things, but that’s why it’s so cool that Gloria [Max‘s wife and manager] has her blog that tells all these other stories that are not in the book. The making of the book was a long, long process and I think it took about three years all together. Gloria found a lot of cool pictures. There’s pictures of my grandfather and pictures of my great grandmother, who was an Indian, so there’s a really cool picture of her. Then there’s pictures of us as kids in Brazil and my mom and my dad and our teenage years and SEPULTURA. You see the whole madness developing. It’s really cool.

Metalshrine: This project you have together with Greg Puciato (THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN), Troy Sanders (MASTODON) and Dave Elitch (ex-THE MARS VOLTA), have you recorded everything [for your debut album]?

Max: We’re still recording and we’re actually going to the studio right now. I have to finish two more guitars and we’re singing today, which is cool. All the drums are done, twelve songs. There are some great songtitles like “Set Fire To Your Flag” and “A Throat Full Of Broken Glass” and some other crazy titles. I think it’s gonna be really, really cool. It’s really energetic and there are all these melodic parts that troy’s gonne be singing and bring that kinda MASTODON vibe to it. It’s exciting and it’s a combination of all the bands involved. A little bit of DILLINGER, a little bit of MASTODON, a little bit of SOULFLY and a little bit of Dave playing as in THE MARS VOLTA. It doesn’t really sound like any of those bands but you can hear parts of them. A cool fact is that the three of us are gonna sing on every song and that’s gonna make the singing really exciting. It’s like a metal version of THE TRANSPLANTS. It’ll probably come out late next year, because [SOULFLY‘s new album] “Savages” is just coming out and we’re gonna let it take its course and we’re gonna tour for a long time. After that we’ll probably release the project.

Metalshrine: Are you doing a new CAVALERA CONSPIRACY album before or after the project?

Max: After. CAVALERA CONSPIRACY is taking quite a long break right now. It’s good though. That’s the way CAVALERA is created, no stress. There’s no pressure and we can do it anytime we want. It’s SOULFLY now and then the project and once that’s settled, we can work on the new CAVALERA CONSPIRACY album, which is probably gonna be towards the end of next year or beginning of the year 2015.

Metalshrine: Why don’t you just call it THE PROJECT?

Max: Yeah, we don’t have a name yet, but that’s a possibility. We’re totally running out of ideas.

Metalshrine: Who’s producing it?

Max: We have this guy Josh Wilbur. He produced LAMB OF GOD‘s last records and the last GOJIRA record. He’s a very cool guy and very young. He’s only like 35 and very energetic. He’s doing a great job so far and he’s been able to get a lot out from us and the music is really coming out great and powerful. I think it’s gonna be a great thing.

Read the entire interview at Metalshrine.

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On September 15, Shabby Hasan of In The Now Magazine conducted an interview with with vocalist Ryan McCombs of SOIL at the Aftershock festival at Discovery Park in Sacramento, California. You can now watch the chat below.

SOIL‘s sixth studio album, “Whole”, was released on August 20 via Pavement Entertainment. It’s the band’s first 100% independent release.

“Whole” is the first SOIL album with original frontman Ryan McCombs since 2004′s “Re.De.Fine” (after which he joined DROWNING POOL). It sees SOIL returning to its classic sound that fans have come to admire, with a pres release calling it the CD “that could have come directly after the ‘Scars’ album in 2001.”

Following the 2012 release of its first-ever live DVD, “Re-LIVE-ing The Scars”, SOIL began writing new material and entered the studio in February 2013 with producer Ulrich Wild (PANTERA, BREAKING BENJAMIN) to begin recording.

“This was by far the most comfortable and natural recording process we have ever experienced,” said guitarist Adam Zadel. “From the writing, pre-production, and through the main tracking and mixing, everything was smooth and fluid.”

Songs featured on “Whole” include “Loaded Gun” and “Way Gone”. Another track, “Amalgamation”, sees McCombs taking songtitles from both the SOIL and DROWNING POOL releases he was a part of and weaving them into verses of the song.

“I think, lyrically speaking, those that are familiar with the work I’ve done are going to get the next chapter that they would expect,” McCombs says about the lyrical process. “Words from a heart and mind that has lived them.

“One of the greatest things I experience as a lyricist is when people come up and share with me how a song, or a specific verse or line from a song, got them through a hard time or times in their lives. It reminds me of the times music did that for me and how powerful music and/or a lyric can be in a person’s life.”

Drums and percussion on “Whole” were performed by Will Hunt (BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, EVANESCENCE, DEVICE).

Will added a whole new dimension to the songs,” states King. “He added a monstrous and aggressive vibe to the album.”

A guest guitar solo on “Wake Up” was performed by longtime friend Mike Mushok of the band STAIND.

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On September 15, Amb Pirate of Capital Chaos TV conducted an interview with with Adam Zadel and Tim King of SOIL at the Aftershock festival at Discovery Park in Sacramento, California. You can now watch the chat below.

SOIL‘s sixth studio album, “Whole”, was released on August 20 via Pavement Entertainment. It’s the band’s first 100% independent release.

“Whole” is the first SOIL album with original frontman Ryan McCombs since 2004′s “Re.De.Fine” (after which he joined DROWNING POOL). It sees SOIL returning to its classic sound that fans have come to admire, with a pres release calling it the CD “that could have come directly after the ‘Scars’ album in 2001.”

Following the 2012 release of its first-ever live DVD, “Re-LIVE-ing The Scars”, SOIL began writing new material and entered the studio in February 2013 with producer Ulrich Wild (PANTERA, BREAKING BENJAMIN) to begin recording.

“This was by far the most comfortable and natural recording process we have ever experienced,” says guitarist Adam Zadel. “From the writing, pre-production, and through the main tracking and mixing, everything was smooth and fluid.”

Songs featured on “Whole” include “Loaded Gun” and “Way Gone”. Another track, “Amalgamation”, sees McCombs taking songtitles from both the SOIL and DROWNING POOL releases he was a part of and weaving them into verses of the song.

“I think, lyrically speaking, those that are familiar with the work I’ve done are going to get the next chapter that they would expect,” McCombs says about the lyrical process. “Words from a heart and mind that has lived them.

“One of the greatest things I experience as a lyricist is when people come up and share with me how a song, or a specific verse or line from a song, got them through a hard time or times in their lives. It reminds me of the times music did that for me and how powerful music and/or a lyric can be in a person’s life.”

Drums and percussion on “Whole” were performed by Will Hunt (BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, EVANESCENCE, DEVICE).

Will added a whole new dimension to the songs,” states King. “He added a monstrous and aggressive vibe to the album.”

A guest guitar solo on “Wake Up” was performed by longtime friend Mike Mushok of the band STAIND.

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Zakk Wylde: willing to pay respects to his fallen brother

Zakk Wylde has addressed longheld speculation that should the surviving members of Pantera ever perform together again, he could be the man to step in on guitar duties.

“It’d be up to Vinnie, Phil and Rex — they’re the guys that make everything happen,” he tells Artisan News. “So if they were all gonna do it and honor Dimebag and [if they said to me], ‘Zakk, would you wanna honor Dime and do Dime’s parts?’ Of course, I was a pallbearer for him — I laid him to rest — so, of course, I’d say, it would be a beautiful way to honor him and stuff like that. And to celebrate all things Pantera and what they achieved. ‘Cause they changed the game, as far as extreme metal goes. I mean, they’re the kings of it. But it’s up to the fellows. Then it would just be me woodsheddin’ 25-8, learning all of Dime’s parts, you know what I mean?! Yeah, but like I said, as far as I’m concerned, it would just be honoring Dime.”

Meanwhile, Black Label Society have finally begun work on the follow-up to 2010′s awesome Order Of The Black, with Zakk confirming that the riffs are now officially a-flowin’.

“It’ll have all the heavy riffs and other stuff everyone knows and loves,” Wylde promises Billboard. “Order Of The Black was already three years ago, which is pretty insane. But the whole time we’ve been working, touring and stuff like that; it’s not like we’ve been sitting around the house. It’s crazy because back in the beginning of Black Label we were pumping out an album a year and constantly touring. But don’t mind doing it this way, either.”

BLS are set to release Unblackened, a special collection of live acoustic re-imaginings and a couple of covers, this week. The opus includes an awesome acoustic cover of Bill Withers classic Ain’t No Sunshine, complete with bonkers video:

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During a brand new interview with Artisan News, Zakk Wylde (BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, OZZY OSBOURNE) was asked about the possibility of a hypothetical PANTERA reunion with him filling in for the late “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott on guitar. “It’d be up to [former PANTERA members] Vinnie [Paul Abbott, drums], Phil [Anselmo, vocals] and Rex [Brown, bass] — they’re the guys that make everything happen,” he said (see video below). “So if they were all gonna do it and honor Dimebag and [if they said to me], ‘Zakk, would you wanna honor Dime and do Dime‘s parts?’ Of course, I was a pallbearer for him — I laid him to rest — so, of course, I’d say, it would be a beautiful way to honor him and stuff like that. And to celebrate all things PANTERA and what they achieved. ‘Cause they changed the game, as far as extreme metal goes. I mean, they’re the kings of it. But it’s up to the fellows. Then it would just be me woodsheddin’ 25-8, learning all of Dime‘s parts, you know what I mean?! Yeah, but like I said, as far as I’m concerned, it would just be honoring Dime. Like with the Yankees, you honor… everybody’s wearing Thurman Munson‘s ’15′ for that day, just because we’re honoring Thurman‘s greatness. So it’s the same thing, man.”

Dimebag‘s longtime girlfriend Rita Haney in 2011 called on Vinnie and Anselmo to settle their differences in honor of Dimebag, who was shot and killed by a crazed gunman while performing with DAMAGEPLAN at a Columbus, Ohio rock club in December 2004.

Vinnie, who is Dimebag‘s brother, and Anselmo have not spoken since PANTERA split in 2003. But the relationship got even more acrimonious when Vinnie indirectly blamed Philip for Dimebag‘s death, suggesting that some remarks the vocalist had made about Dimebag in print just weeks earlier might have incited Dimebag‘s killer.

Speaking to Fuse News, Anselmo said about the possibility of a PANTERA reunion with Wylde filling in for Dimebag: “For me, really, I think it would mean a lot for [ex-PANTERA bassist] Rex [Brown] and [ex-PANTERA drummer] Vince [Paul Abbott] and myself to sit down and, I guess, bury the hatchet where we can be on more friendly terms. And, you know, I think it would mean a lot to the fans.”

He added: “Without Vince, there’s not any PANTERA reunion at all; it’s useless. But he damn well knows my door’s wide open. He needs to bust out the keys and unlock his, man. I’m waiting, but I’m not holding my breath.”

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Former PANTERA and current DOWN singer Philip Anselmo recently took Fuse on a guided tour of his tattoos, revealing the hidden meanings behind the ink. Check out the footage below.

Anselmo‘s first-ever solo album, “Walk Through Exits Only”, sold around 8,700 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 35 on The Billboard 200 chart.

Asked what fans might be surprised to see in his forthcoming autobiography, tentatively titled “Mouth For War: Pantera, Pain, & Pride – Heavy Metal Highs, Drugged Out Lows, & The Battle For My Life”, Anselmo told The Washington Times: “There’s a lot of stories and a very, very interesting journey to fuckin’ even get to the PANTERA chapters. It took quite a while and quite a lot of different craziness in my life to even fuckin’ get to the point to where I was able to join PANTERA. So, a lot of shit happened before PANTERA and then obviously the PANTERA days were fucking insane in their own way. Since the death of Dimebag and the breakup of PANTERA before that, a whole lot of shit has happened, as well, both horrific and pretty damn fucking good.”

He continued: “These days, man, you know, it’s like I’m ten years clean from any fucking hard drugs at all and fuckin’ haven’t touched a drop of whiskey since 2001. Honestly, there’s a big, I guess, educational, if you want to put it like that, portion of the book that shows there’s somewhat of a ray of light even at the fuckin’ lamest part of your life or the lowest part of your life. If people can learn from me, good, good for them. It’s gonna be an interesting book.”

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Phil Anselmo: remembering Joey

Down and Pantera legend Phil Anselmo has paid tribute to Eyehategod drummer Joey LaCaze, who sadly passed away last month, in a heartwarming chat that took place when we caught up with the singer recently.

“It was dreadful news and still is for everyone round here,” remembers Phil. “Honestly, Joey was one of the funniest motherfuckers you could ever meet in your life. He was one of the most down to earth people I’ve ever known, as well as one of the most humbly yet superbly talented drummers I’ve ever had the opportunity to watch play.

“I was at his funeral, it was held at a place in the French quarter called the Voodoo Temple. It was a beautiful ceremony and a moment where we all felt the pain of the loss. I’m not a spiritual guy, but when the high priestess was giving her sermon, they passed out tambourines and percussive instruments to all these people that loved him. We went through interludes in these gigantic drum circles in his honour. Tears were streaming down my face, sweating was pouring off the top of my head and I was lost… I had my eyes completely closed and I was beating this drum until my thumb basically got disolocated! I wasn’t paying attention to what was around me, I was thinking about Joey.

Joey LaCaze: Gone but not forgotten

“Mike IX Williams was stood next to me, and little did I know, but I was getting sprinkles of blood on my head because he was beating this tambourine with such intensity. He had bloodied up his knuckles and pretty much ruined this tambourine… but we all took it later, wrote messages and buried it with his ashes. Mike and his wife live above my studio Nodferatu’s Lair, they’ve been here for almost ten years. We’re twenty feet away from each other and you know, we’ve been through some tough times together – we both became clean together. I’m around ten years, maybe ten years plus, away from hard drugs and Mike too… I’m very proud of him.

“It was a beautiful ceremony and the perfect sendoff for Joey. But once that happens, there’s always the quietness of the day after. That quietness was like a dagger in our hearts. That was when reality really soaked in.. It’s been a bit dark and gloomy around here since Joey passed.”

Mike Williams released the following statement soon after Joey’s shocking passing:

“Joseph M. LaCaze, New Orleans native and drummer for Eyehategod, Mystick Krewe Of Clearlight and Outlaw Order, passed away on August 23rd in New Orleans after a very successful five-week U.K. and European tour with Eyehategod. He also performed ceremonial voodoo drumming and in numerous solo experimental electronic projects. Doctors confirmed to family members the cause as respiratory failure. He also suffered from severe long-term asthma.”

Donation funds have been set up for the LaCaze family. Checks can be made payable to the Lilith LaCaze or Joseph LaCaze Memorial Fund at Capital One banks, or via PayPal, using the email address lilithlux04@gmail.com.

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