Fan-filmed video footage of former AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd and his solo band performing on April 21 at L'Empreinte in Savigny-le-Temple, France can be seen below. Rudd was ousted from AC/DC when he was sentenced to eight months of home detention by a New Zealand court in 2015 after pleading guilty to charges of threatening to kill and drug possession. Rudd appeared to take responsibility for his dismissal from AC/DC, saying: "I was just being a fucking dickhead. I shot myself in the foot. You make your own bed, mate. You make your own mistakes and you have to deal with them and that is what I have done. Hindsight is 20/20." Rudd, who has appeared on all but three of AC/DC's 18 studio albums, has just kicked off his first solo tour in support of his 2014 solo debut, "Head Job". It was the release of that album that led indirectly to Rudd's arrest, with the drummer allegedly so angry at a personal assistant over the way the record was promoted that he threatened to have the man and his daughter killed. Rudd's replacement in AC/DC is Chris Slade, who also did a three-year stint with the group from 1990 to 1993. In a recent interview with Kaaos TV, Rudd stated about the AC/DC songs he is performing with his solo band on the group's current European tour: "[Those are] the ones I like, that I feel I contributed a lot to, with just the way I played them. We don't wanna be a covers band, so we just brought in two or three [AC/DC tracks]. Because we're playing the Bonfest [the annual celebration of the life and music of AC/DC legend Bon Scott, who died in 1980 at the age of 33] on the 28th of April in Scotland, so we've got three of Bon's songs that we're playing, and hopefully we'll do them well for the fans in Scotland." Asked if he would like to play with AC/DC again in the future, Phil said: "I'd like to be involved with Angus [Young, AC/DC guitarist] again, maybe on the next album or something. But I still have some traveling restrictions, and I'm not sure if I can go to America or not. I've got some lawyers doing some work so I can go back to America, but I'm not too sure. So I have some limitations on what I can do, and I'm just making the best of my situation at the moment." Rudd played with AC/DC from 1975 until 1983, and then again from 1994 through 2014. He first appeared on the band's second album, 1975's "T.N.T."
Matt Mills of Far Beyond Written conducted an interview with vocalist Björn "Speed" Strid of Swedish metallers SOILWORK prior to the band's March 16 date at the O2 Forum in London, England as the support act for KREATOR and SEPULTURA. You can listen to the full chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET) On the band's 2016 B-sides and rarities album "Death Resonance": Björn: "Basically, we had some leftovers from 'The Ride Majestic' that didn't really fit the flow [of the album], but they were really cool songs. At the time, we were also going through the vaults and found a lot of tracks that have only been released in Japan before and some had not been released at all. Some had been on video games and stuff like that. There was also the EP, 'Beyond The Infinite', that was only released Japan. We kinda pissed off the rest of the world. We didn't really expect that; it was leftovers from 'The Living Infinite', but people really seemed to like those songs. Some of the songs on the compilation are slightly more progressive. Now it makes sense why they didn't fit back then, but I think we are slightly more progressive again, so it makes sense timing-wise as well, I guess. There's some cool tracks on there." On whether SOILWORK would attempt something like their 2013 double album "The Living Infinite" again: Björn: "I doubt it, but it was fun. It was definitely the most fun recording we experienced. There was such a nice flow and nice vibe in the studio. We really loved recording it at Fascination Street [Studios] with [producer] Jens [Bogren]. It was in the countryside and at the end of the summer. I don't know… there was a certain vibe to it that was very inspiring." On how the band approaches their live setlist: Björn: "We try to not become too nostalgic. We're still out there promoting our latest album, 'The Ride Majestic'. We always try to make it a nice mix, but also sort of focus on our latest effort." On whether the band has started writing new songs: Björn: "Yeah, we have been discussing. We might have the title, but we don't have any music at all, which is interesting. It's usually the other way around. I think we'll slowly get into writing-mode maybe sometime in the summer and then maybe record at the beginning of next year. We're going to take our time, I think. We did so much touring for this album. Last year was absolutely insane." On whether revisiting their old material and B-sides has given SOILWORK inspiration for their new album: Björn: "I think so. It was also a matter of grasping how you evolved musically and going back and listening to some of those tracks, or at least some of the memories. I remember for example, 'Martyr', the song, I was so mad that it didn't end up on the album at the time. [Laughs] I let it go, but it also brought it back, like, 'That's a cool song! Why wasn't that on the album?' But at the same time, it also makes sense, looking back. There are a lot of songs that had a playful approach to them. I think that's where we were at, but yes, absolutely I do get inspired by the past." On whether he would get tired of playing melodic death metal in SOILWORK if he didn't have his classic rock-oriented THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA side project: Björn: "If it wouldn't be that, it would be something else. I'm a metalhead, but I'm also a rocker, so I'm 50/50. I think it's really good for me. Plus, I think I've developed a lot as a singer through that band and I've brought it with me to SOILWORK as well. But no, I can get sick of the metal scene sometimes because I don't really find that many new bands that have something unique to say, but then again, sometimes you run across some bands and you're like, 'Wow, this is amazing!' I don't want to be cynical about it at all. I'm just having a hard time finding interesting stuff, but when I do, I promote the hell out of it for sure. I still really enjoy performing and writing melodic death metal. It's fun because…we can still evolve as a band. We keep doing that and I think we still have so much to say." On the newer metal bands he finds interesting: Björn: "I can mention TRIBULATION. They're one of my absolute favorites. That was like, 'Wow.' It's not something completely unique, but I think it was a unique expression somehow. I really like the vibe of it and the melodies. I really enjoy seeing them live as well. I don't go that much to live shows, at least not metal shows, but I went to see them live and I was blown away." On his memories of the famed Gothenburg, Sweden melodic death metal scene: Björn: "We started in Helsingborg, which is three hours south of Gothenburg. We were not there, like in Gothenburg while all those bands were hanging out, but we also went up to Gothenburg to record our albums. That's how we got to know everyone. It was a very creative time. People also tend to romanticize the thing a little bit too much as well, but there was so many good albums coming out, obviously, and then again, I think most bands were sounding the same. I think today, most of those bands from that time have developed their own sound, so it's more diverse today. It is more interesting in a way today because back then, you could barely tell the bands apart, including ourselves, maybe." SOILWORK recently announced the addition of 25-year-old drummer Bastian Thusgaard to the group's ranks. Thusgaard has been blazing the kit for the band for the past ten months, but will make his official debut as a permanent member of the band at their upcoming summer festival performances. SOILWORK's most recent studio album, "The Ride Majestic", was released in 2015 via Nuclear Blast.
Greece's "TV War" conducted an interview with bassist Pär Sundström of Swedish metallers SABATON prior to the band's March 8 show at Piraeus 117 Academy in Athens, Greece with ACCEPT as direct support. You can watch the full chat below (the interview starts around the 20-minute mark). A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). On the turning point in SABATON's career: Pär: "There has been many turning points. Well, points, where I see, 'Okay, we are ready for the next level.' The first one was 2004 when we recorded 'Primo Victoria'. I was listening to it and I realized, 'This is good enough. This is so good that it can get somewhere.' 'Metalizer'  was just a cool album. It was nothing that I felt like it would be something big, it was just a cool album in some ways, some good songs, some not-so-good songs, but it was a cool album. 'Primo Victoria' was 'Wow!' So that was one thing. With 'The Art Of War' , it was also one thing because it brought us outside of Sweden to a wider audience. We could tour. We got appreciated in some media, they wrote 'This is a cool band.' We got reviews and stuff, then a big turning point was a bit later as well, we signed a contract with Nuclear Blast, making our albums available worldwide. That was 2010. That was one thing. Around 2012, we were kind of really going towards something, but that's when we split up with the band because some people thought it was too much. It was not what they wanted when they started. It was completely different." On why SABATON lost four of its members (who went on to form CIVIL WAR) in 2012: Pär: "They saw that it could be possible, that it could be done, but it would require too much. That was the main thing why we went different ways. I said, 'Okay, I believe in it. I will take it to the next level. If you guys also want to take it to the next level, you know what is required. It requires to tour this over two hundred days in a year and a lot of energy and sacrifices, but we can make it.' And people [went] 'No, no.' That's why we are now in two different bands. They tour when they feel like it and we tour all the time." On whether bands like AMON AMARTH, GHOST and SABATON are using bigger stage productions to appeal to younger audiences: Pär: "I'm not sure exactly why others do it and why some don't do it. It is very costly and it requires a lot. Also, a lot of regulations are popping up all the time making things complicated to use and do. We do everything by the book which makes it very complicated. I know a lot of bands do it without asking permission, so to say, and that makes it more possible and cheaper. If something happens, it's going to be trouble for the band. But, of course, I think that as a fan, you ask of something more of a band. Some bands, they look good when they are stripped down. SABATON works fine stripped down in a small club, but when you want to move to a bigger place, you have to fill up the stage with something. Even if we are an active band running around the stage, I still don't think it's enough." On ACCEPT opening for SABATON in certain European markets despite ACCEPT's legendary status: Pär: "We've heard the same, funnily enough only from a few countries. There was a few other countries where we also heard it. Actually, I was a little bit sad in some ways. We did some co-interviews together with Wolf [Hoffman, guitar] from ACCEPT. We did triple interviews where we and ACCEPT were doing together with journalists in front of the tour. They even approached us in kind of an evil way saying, 'You are heretics. You are blasphemy' and stuff like this. Then Wolf is there, and he's like 'Hey, this is not like we signed a contract that we have to do something we don't want to do. We are here because we want to be here. This is a great opportunity for ACCEPT. These are my words. I am here because I want to be supporting SABATON. I'm not here because of any other reason. If I didn't want to be here, I'd stay home. So, how can you be angry about this? This is a great opportunity for people to discover ACCEPT and yes, as a matter of fact, these days SABATON pulls a bigger crowd than ACCEPT. It's no secret.' It would be odd and more people would be disappointed if they played a longer set these days. For us, this is a good thing. For ACCEPT, it's a good thing. For the fans, it's a good thing. I don't see the problem, really. "Okay, if some people say 'ACCEPT is this legendary band, how can they open for you?' But if they are so big and legendary, why don't people go out and buy their albums if they have so many fans that complain? But you're right, they don't support them that much [in Greece]. For ACCEPT, it's great, they have a new audience now. Every night, you see a lot of young people in the crowd and they're like, 'Oh, wow!' A lot of people can sing along to their tracks. I think it's great. ACCEPT is still, even though they are quite old compared to us, they are still doing great albums, great shows and I think they still have a lot of things to give. That's one of the reasons. If they weren't interested in continuing with the band, they'd go 'We're not interested in the young crowd anyway. We'll stay home and we won't do this tour.' Now, they are even seeing there is a couple of years more for ACCEPT in the future, which is great." SABATON began the North American leg of their "The Last Tour" headlining trek on April 20 at The Trocadero in Philadelphia. The tour will hit seven Canadian cities plus Chicago, Anaheim, Dallas, and conclude at the The Fillmore in Silver Springs, Maryland on May 22. SABATON's eighth album, "The Last Stand", was released last August via Nuclear Blast.
France's Loud TV recently conducted an interview with LIFE OF AGONY frontwoman Mina Caputo (formerly Keith Caputo). You can watch the full chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). On the motivation behind LIFE OF AGONY's new "A Place Where There's No More Pain" album: Mina: "We were offered a couple of labels, offered some really good deals. We weren't really looking to make a record, not right now anyway. We were just enjoying being out there in the world and catching up on a lot of lost time that we missed with one another. I had been through some changes the past ten years; all the boys had children. We do all different kind of creative things. Alan [Robert, bass] has his coloring books that are on top of the world right now. His comic books, I'm doing my solo music and different musical projects. We were all doing live gigs. We really enjoyed this time around, the past few years, having a great time, a lot of fun. We fired many people, we keep it really small now, just really close with the band. We got some offers and when we started getting some offers, we started kicking around some ideas and one thing led to another, a year and change later, 'A Place Where There's No More Pain' was born. "I think the motivation, really, was to make up for lost time. I could say that personally, for me, it was the album to make amends with my brothers, with my family, for all the trouble I've caused them throughout all the years. [Laughs] For me, that's the heart of it. Plus, I love the band, I love the songs that they write, I love singing for them and being with them. They're my biggest allies and my biggest friends. We're enjoying each other's company more than we ever have in our lives, so why not take advantage of really good times while it lasts? Because life is fleeting; life goes by so quick." On how it felt being back in the studio with LIFE OF AGONY: Mina: "It felt great. I had the best time, the most creative time laying down vocals and melodies than I ever have for this band. This was the fiercest I've ever been. The most deliberate. [I] had an amazing, amazing time creating and helping to bring the songs to the point where they needed to be. That's my life. That's my passion. I'd rather stay in a studio, in a recording studio, than anything else. If I didn't have to go out on the road to take care of my family and my dog, I'd probably stay in the studio making records every year. That's where my true passion is. It's in the studio, it's being a doctor, it's giving birth to songs and melody and lyric that becomes soundtracks to people's lives. I love the studio. The studio is sometimes better than sex for me." On whether she feels better than ever after coming out as transgender in 2011: Mina: "Absolutely. I'm living my life the way I always intended it to be, but didn't have the strength or the courage to let the lady out. Now that I have and I'm transitioning almost ten years now, I became an old lady real fast. [Laughs] It's a cruel world. I'm not going to let the cruel world stop me from being me. I don't give a fuck who likes it, who doesn't, I'm not here to please people. If you don't understand, then fuck off. I don't care if you don't like people like me or whatever, you don't understand it because you can't look deeply within your own self. Those are usually the people that dislike people that follow their dreams. I'm just going after my dreams. One dream after the other, I'm living it. That's the purpose of my life. I live my dreams and one of my dreams was to honor the feminine. I'm just a woman born without a uterus. I don't have the tools. I don't have the physical 'down there' to give birth, that's all. I'm no different than any other girl on the street. In my personal view, if you really knew who I was intimately, I think people would say the same." On how long ago she started feeling like a girl: Mina: "Since I was six, seven years-old, maybe. I always knew. I was just afraid. I grew up in the '70s and the '80s, so back then, it was very, very different than it is now. That's part of the point. I'm not like everybody. The more you walk into your fear, the easier life becomes because then you realize fear doesn't even exist. It's a charade, it's a game. The institutions play with us, all the institutions set into place for humanity creates fear and that's why they got everybody running around like sheep and slaves because everyone is afraid. I'm not afraid anymore. I don't give a fuck. I don't care what you think, what you say, just don't touch me because then I'll get Brooklyn on you and I might have to, I don't know, stab you in the fucking neck because if someone tries to harm my life, I'm going to do whatever I have to do to protect my life, or protect one of my friends. I'm still an angry, violent person. I'm fucking very angry. From society. 'You can be yourself, but not like that!' That's society. Very hypocritical, very fear-based and very counterproductive. The institutions set into place for humanity, the school system, the healthcare system, the food systems, the political systems, they should all be ashamed of themselves. They all should be ashamed of themselves. They're all big fuck-ups. It's fucking humanity, man. Humanity's taking some weird fucking turn. But I don't know if that's the way it's supposed to be. Are we supposed to destroy ourselves? I don't know. No one knows nothing. I don't care who you are. You're the fucking pope or [British physicist] Stephen Hawking, no one knows shit. No one knows the origin of life. No one knows why we're here, but you need to create why you're here. We're here to have fun, to feel good, we're here to give each other unconditional love and encouragement, we're here to protect one another. But the way the institutions are, unfortunately, they don't teach that." "A Place Where There's No More Pain" will be released on April 28 via Napalm.
In a brand new interview with Music Choice, Ice-T explained how MEGADETH leader Dave Mustaine came to make a guest appearance on "Bloodlust", the latest album from the hip-hop legend, actor and director's metal band BODY COUNT. He said (see video below): "What happened is, BODY COUNT, when we came in the game over twenty years ago, we debuted at the Lollapalooza tour. Once we got in, and they saw we were serious, every rock group became our friend. People were coming out of the woodwork, whether it was SLAYER… all these different groups were, like, 'Yo, I see what you're doing, and it's unique, and, uh, we down. And if you're ever getting ready to make a record, call us.' The first person was Dave Mustaine. And Dave has been a fan… I've been a fan of Dave for years, but I learned about Dave Mustaine a long time ago because when I did the 'Original Gangster' album, he reviewed my album. They asked him, 'What's your favorite album this year? Five favorite albums?' He said, ''O.G.', 'O.G.', 'O.G.', 'O.G.' and 'O.G.'' So my boy's, like, 'Yo, you've gotta go meet this motherfucker, right? So I met Dave Mustaine. I'm, like, 'Okay, you're the business. You're MEGADETH.' I was like 'This shit's badass.' So, we became friends but never had a chance to work [together]. So, I called Dave, and Dave was, like, 'I'm on it. What do you want me to do?' So the first verse, the first voice you hear on the new BODY COUNT album is Dave Mustaine doing that announcement." "Bloodlust" was released on March 31 via Century Media Records. The disc was recorded with producer Will Putney (MISS MAY I, UPON A BURNING BODY), who also helmed 2014's "Manslaughter". The new CD features additional guest appearances by Max Cavalera (SOULFLY, SEPULTURA) and LAMB OF GOD frontman Randy Blythe. The effort also contains BODY COUNT's medley of the SLAYER songs "Postmortem" and "Raining Blood". Pictured: Ice-T at Music Choice Studios on April 20, 2017 Photo credit: Music Choice / Juan Navarro
FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH frontman Ivan Moody has shot down reports that he is leaving the band, explaining that he has no intention of walking away from something he spent the last ten years working "incredibly hard" to build. In an interview with the Denver radio station 106.7 KBPI radio station conducted on Thursday morning (April 20), Moody revealed that he was planning to launch a side project with members of COAL CHAMBER and GEMINI SYNDROME, but never stated that he was intending to abandon his main group. He said during the chat: "To be completely honest with you, DEATH PUNCH and I have kind of come to a crossroads, and we're very proud of what we've done — I mean, years and years and years and years of work. But it's time for us to kind of take our way and go do something else. So after this new year, my new band VILLAIN… I'm so excited, man. I've got Brian [Steele Medina] from GEMINI SYNDROME [on drums], I've got Stitch on bass. You're not gonna believe this: I've got Meegs [Miguel Rascón] from COAL CHAMBER as our guitar player. It's gonna be fun, man. It's gonna be a good time." After a number of web sites misinterpreted Moody's words as saying he was leaving FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH, the singer released a lengthy statement explaining his comments and vowing to return with a brand new FFDP album and extensive touring in support of the disc. Moody said: "It's no secret that this has been a tough year for me and for my bandmates in FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH. When you put everything you have into making music, both on and off the stage, it can be very frustrating when the music you work so hard to create is not allowed to see the light of day. I know we share this frustration with our fans too, who have come to expect new music from us — fans who mean everything to us. "It is true that FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH has come to a crossroads — and that crossroads is we're all at a place where we will never again let someone or something hold us back from making music for our fans. "The lawsuit by Prospect Park holding our new album hostage has taken a toll on me. I was in a rehabilitation facility when Prospect Park decided to sue the band last year, and that was very difficult for me to handle all at once. "Yesterday I made a statement that was taken out of context by the media — a media always looking to create headlines that will make people click them. The truth is, I want to start a side-project like Corey Taylor has with STONE SOUR or Maynard has with A PERFECT CIRCLE and I want to do it when FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH's deal with Prospect Park is over and we are out of this lawsuit. "THIS DOES NOT MEAN I PLAN ON LEAVING FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH! "The great thing about being a musician today is that you can explore your creativity in multiple ways without compromising your primary focus. I learned this watching people like Corey and Maynard and I think their fans are glad they've put more music out into the world. I hope my fans are, too. "All that said, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH fans can expect our next album via Prospect Park and we are geared up to tour all throughout 2017. We are about to leave for South America and Europe and we have other dates [to be announced]. "All of us in the band have worked incredibly hard over the last ten years to build this band and none of us are going to let that go just because our record company is trying to sabotage us. I am sorry if the media took my statement as a resignation, but I assure you it wasn't." FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH recently filed a new lawsuit against its longtime record label Prospect Park, asking a judge to have the band released from its contract and order the company to pay the group more than a million dollars in damages. According to TMZ, the band's lawsuit called the company a "sinking ship" which is drowning in debt, and accused the label of "cooking up a bogus lawsuit last year to keep the band recording… while it shopped the label." Prospect Park has countered that the band still hasn't delivered the album "required under the recording contract and expected by their fans." The label sued FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH last year for breach of contract, alleging that the group wanted to rush the recording of a new album without proper creative input from the label and in order to "cash in" before the anticipated "downfall" of Moody, who was revealed at the time to be in rehab. Moody has not helped his own case, acting erratically at several shows and causing the cancelation of at least one tour. He also missed eight concerts during FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH's fall 2016 U.S. co-headlining arena tour with SHINEDOWN, with ALL THAT REMAINS singer Phil Labonte stepping in to take his place. In addition, Prospect Park wanted more time to promote 2015's "Got Your Six" album. The group allegedly rejected that plan, insisting instead on recording a new full-length album. The label also hinted that it wanted "greater creative input" in the next record after allegedly being told by radio stations that the band's sound was "getting stale." In the meantime, anticipating the end of its contract with Prospect Park, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH signed a new deal with Rise Records that will begin with its eighth studio effort.
INTERNAL BLEEDING drummer and veteran FDNY firefighter Bill Tolley passed away Thursday, April 20 after falling five stories from a rooftop while battling a two-alarm apartment fire in Queens, New York. Tolley leaves behind a wife and eight-year-old daughter. Said Tolley's bandmates upon his tragic passing: "Our drummer, the heartbeat of the band, William Tolley, died today. There are zero words to describe the loss. He was a good, decent, and honorable man who loved his friends, his family, and the people he served. There will never be another like him. There are no words to describe the utter sadness and despair we feel right now. Bill was our rock, our heart, and supplier of insane laughter. The music world lost a very influential drummer, and the world lost a friend, a father, and a damn good man. We love you, Bill." Today, marks the release of INTERNAL BLEEDING's digital single "Final Justice". The track serves as a teaser from the band's forthcoming full-length, "Corrupting Influence", and the band planned to celebrate today's release with a new video for the track. INTERNAL BLEEDING wishes to unveil the clip today as planned in Tolley's honor. "Bill would want that more than anything. It will mean so much," his bandmaes said. "Final Justice" takes the patented INTERNAL BLEEDING sound into new, more intense levels. It's still filled with all the hooks, slams, and grooves you've come to expect from the band, but at the same time, it's more sophisticated, sharper, and focused than anything they're released previously. "Final Justice" is available now via iTunes. INTERNAL BLEEDING last full-length album, "Imperium", was released in 2015 via Unique Leader. Produced by the band and Joe Cincotta at Full Force Studio (SUFFOCATION, DEHUMANIZED, MORTAL DECAY) in Ronkonkoma, New York and engineered by Cincotta and Derek Boyer, the effort featured guest appearances by SUFFOCATION's Terrance Hobbs and Frank Mullen as well as former INTERNAL BLEEDING throat Frank Rini.
SLAUGHTER vocalist Mark Slaughter will release his sophomore solo album, "Halfway There", in May worldwide via EMP Label Group, the U.S.-based label of MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson. The follow-up to 2015's independently released "Reflections In A Rear View Mirror" is a stunning return to form for Slaughter, channeling the familiar hard rock sensibility of classic-era SLAUGHTER releases like "Stick It To Ya" and "The Wild Life" on "Hey You" and emotionally charged title track, "Halfway There", with a mature, progressive, metal bent, evidenced on cuts like "Devoted", "Conspiracy" and "Reckless". Produced and co-mixed by Slaughter with John Cranfield (AFI, Andy Grammer), with art by famed horror/album artist "Mister" Sam Shearon (ROB ZOMBIE, IRON MAIDEN, KISS, Clive Barker), "Halfway There" is slated to be released May 26 in North America by EMP Label Group/Amped, and EMP/SPV in Europe, and May 10 in Japan via EMP Label Group/Universal. The song "Devoted" can now be streamed below. Mark will tour Japan in May with SLAUGHTER, supporting RATT, in conjunction with the Japanese release of the LP, with shows in Nagoya, Osaka, and a performance at the Tokyo Metal Summit on May 14 with RATT, SEBASTIAN BACH, ENUFF Z'NUFF and more. Not only is "Halfway There" a blistering showcase of Slaughter's seemingly never-ending vocal abilities, but a glowing testament to his perpetually underserved prowess as a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, handling all production, engineering, songwriting, arrangements, guitar, and the bulk of the album's instrumentation himself. Slaughter says: "My first solo record was kinda getting back on the horse, so to speak. I mean doing everything and recording... I'm taking on a lot more tasks as an engineer/producer/ writer on all this… because I'm doing everything. "Ultimately, at the end of the day, anybody who is a SLAUGHTER fan will certainly understand that I am a large part of the SLAUGHTER sound and vibe, so, obviously, if you like that, it's in there. It's just that I take a lot more liberties on the solo side that I probably wouldn't do when it's a group effort." He adds: "The record is basically… I spend a lot of time writing songs and things just grow out of me.. I'll be woken up in the middle of the night from nowhere and the song's just in my head and I just exorcize the demons and there you have it. I guess what it is is an artist makes art. And I've really come to the fact that since we haven't made a SLAUGHTER record in so long, it's one of those things that I still have to make the art. That's what I do. That's what I love to do, and that's what I'll continue to do." EMP A&R director Thom Hazaert chimes in: "It's been such an incredible honor to put this record together with Mark, who, truly, in my humble opinion, is one of the greatest hard rock singers and songwriters of our generation, and, what a lot of people don't realize, just a phenomenal player as well. "We spent almost a year going back and forth about the idea of putting the record out together. Obviously, Mark and David (Ellefson) have a great longstanding friendship, so it really was an amazing fit. "From the first time I heard the working demos of these songs, I knew Mark was working on something very, very special. "Growing up (and still) a huge SLAUGHTER fan, I think these songs are going to not only resonate with the people who already love Mark and what he does, but carve a niche far beyond." Ellefson adds: "I have been friends with Mark for over 30 years, since he was in VINNIE VINCENT INVASION, and there's a lot of shared history. So when we started talking about the idea of putting this record out, yes, it was a great and natural fit. "Mark is such a tremendous talent and songwriter, and the scope of that is truly evident on 'Halfway There'. "We're extremely proud, and excited to have been able to partner with him on it, and can't wait for the world to hear it."
Don Dokken has once again ruled out the possibility of a full tour from the classic lineup of DOKKEN, explaining that he doesn't want to "open old wounds." The singer, guitarist George Lynch, bassist Jeff Pilson and drummer "Wild" Mick Brown launched a short Japanese tour last October in Osaka, before heading to Fukuoka, Tokyo for an appearance at the Loud Park festival and continuing on to Hiroshima, Aichi and finally, back to Tokyo for the final concert. A new DOKKEN concert DVD focusing on the band's reunion tour is tentatively due before the end of the year. The set will feature footage from two of the Japanese shows — including Tokyo — as well as the band's very first comeback gig, which was held on September 30, 2016 at Badlands Pawn Guns Gold And Rock 'N' Roll in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. In a brand new interview with "The Classic Metal Show", Don spoke about the new studio recordings that will be included on the upcoming DVD. He said (hear audio below): "There's one [new song]. It's called 'It's Just Another Day'. And I was just at Jeff's last night working on that. We're still working on it. We're almost ninety percent done with fixing some problems we had from.. 'Cause the problem was we were gonna do the DVD from the South Dakota show. We filmed it, we recorded it, there were technical problems, I wasn't crazy about some of the stuff we had on it. So then we went to Japan. We recorded that too and filmed it. So now I've decided to take the Japan recordings and the footage from the big Loud Park festival and mix it in with the DVD, with footage of Dakota and Japan, which is gonna be a lot more work. So now I have to mix two records. We have to do all the songs from Japan and all the songs from Dakota, so it turned into a double-duty project. But we're almost done. Jeff's done a great job. He's a great engineer. And I just go to his house, and I'm just doing some vocal repairs. The other night I was working on the new song, 'It's Just Another Day'. There's just a couple of lyrical things that I didn't like. I thought they were a little negative. Not negative, but just a little too much 'woe is me,' so I just kind of flipped a few words to a more positive vibe on the lyrical end of it. And that song came out killer. And it'll be coming out with the DVD. And as far as the other two new songs [are concerned], they're not new, they're just acoustic versions. We did a new acoustic version of 'Heaven Sent', we did an acoustic version of 'Will The Sun Rise?' So those are the three quote-unquote bonus tracks — two old DOKKEN songs acoustically and one brand new song called 'It's Just Another Day'." Asked about the chances of a proper tour from the classic lineup of DOKKEN, Don said: "I keep telling everybody: it's a hard call, 'cause Jeff… If you look at the FOREIGNER tour dates, those guys are on the road all the time. So how would we do a tour when Jeff would have to take a break from FOREIGNER, which affects that franchise. George has his KXM project and LYNCH MOB. We just have to find that right window, but I just really don't see the point of doing it; I just don't. I like the band I have. I understand the fans would like to see the original lineup, but I've said it before and I'll say it again: I like the band I have now, and I think we're better." He continued: "I don't think I could do it. Five days in Japan was fine, three days of rehearsal. But I just can't see us doing a tour. I think there's so much personalities. We're all chilled out now, we're all mellow, I guess, but I just don't see what the point is. Why would I wanna do it? If it's just for money, no, I'm not gonna do it. I'm not in this business for money — I'm just not. We made our money. How much money do you need? And I like playing with Jon [Levin, guitar], and I like playing with Chris [McCarvil, bass], and I like playing with Mick, so I would probably be missing them. It's a different situation with the original lineup. We're all very different people. George is different and Jeff and Mick. With the band I have now, that I've had for thirteen years, it's more of a family kind of thing, to be honest with you. We never were close in DOKKEN — everybody knows that. The infamous infighting and all that, and we just weren't close. There was too much drugs and alcohol and personality differences. But Jon and I, we're like best friends, and Chris comes out. We just have a lot of fun. We go to dinner, we hang out together. It's just very easy breezy, and I wouldn't want… I have reservations of doing a tour with the original lineup and opening old wounds, let's put it that way. I don't need it." Pilson told "Trunk Nation" that the Japanese tour was "very, very drama-free; I was kind of surprised — very pleasantly so. It was a great time," he said. "We actually had a lot of fun. We connected on a friendship level that I wasn't really expecting, to be honest with you, and it was great. I mean, it was really, really fun — much more so than I was expecting." Lynch echoed those comments, saying that DOKKEN's brief 2016 reunion was "went well" but admitted that "it wasn't without its challenges." He told AntiHero Magazine "It was a lot of work. We were kind of just thrown into the maelstrom. We didn't really prepare like we should've. It was kind of put together a little strange. I think we would all agree to that. We were all starting to talk about that recently about how we were just kind of… [we] kind of did it backwards. But despite all that, when we were up there playing, for the most part, it was the same band that we were thirty years ago, same personalities. I mean, you saw us all looking at each other, and we're in a room, a dressing room, we're hanging out whatever at the hotel and it's funny how nothing had changed. We're all just the same distinct, funny personalities. And, both on and off stage, it was great. Ideally, it would be nice to rehearse it a little more if we do it again, get a little tighter, and try to figure it out, but it was cool for what it was."
Japanese metallers LOUDNESS have released a statement and apology to fans for the cancelation of the band's previously announced U.S. tour. The trek was scrapped after the band was denied entry to the United States Tuesday night at a Chicago airport, apparently due to the new immigration policies from the Trump administration. The news of the tour's cancelation was broken by the Chicago club Reggies, where LOUDNESS was scheduled to perform Wednesday night. LOUDNESS wrote on its official web site: "We greatly regret to inform you that, due to various reasons, the planned tour scheduled for the U.S. has been postponed, effective immediately. "LOUDNESS deeply apologizes for any inconvenience that this may cause our fans. We plan to learn from this experience, prepare more accordingly, and we promise to put on a U.S. tour again in the near future. Please wait a little while longer until that is possible." LOUDNESS's record company confirmed to The Asahi Shimbun that the four members of the band had been refused entry at the airport on April 18. "In previous tours, we were able to enter through the hosts' invitation, but this time it didn't work," said a record company official. The record company's comments echo those made by LOUDNESS's agency Katana Music, which told Japan Today that the band was able to enter the United States in the past with proper invitation letters but that the immigration this time requested visas for the musicians. Reggies owner Robby Glick told the Chicago Tribune that he spoke to the band's publicist who cited an issue with "exemption papers," which were acceptable for entry the last time the band visited the U.S., but denied this time around. "It's a little bit harder," said Glick. "I don't know if it's a product of the administration or if LOUDNESS was flying by the seat of their pants, but there is a difference since our new president came in."