LIFE OF AGONY’s MINA CAPUTO: ‘I’m Just A Woman Born Without A Uterus’

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.

ICE-T Talks Friendship With MEGADETH’s DAVE MUSTAINE (Video)

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

IVAN MOODY Sets Record Straight: I Am Not Leaving FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH

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 Releases ‘Final Justice’ Video In Honor Of Fallen Drummer

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 Frontman MARK SLAUGHTER: New Solo Song ‘Devoted’ Available For Streaming

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 On Possibility Of Tour From Classic Lineup Of DOKKEN: ‘I Just Really Don’t See The Point Of Doing 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."

LOUDNESS Apologizes For U.S. Tour Cancelation: ‘We Plan To Learn From This Experience’

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." loudnessreggiesapril2017poster

STONE SOUR Teases ‘Hydrograd’ Album

A short teaser video for "Hydrograd", the forthcoming album from STONE SOUR, is available below. The disc will be released in late June via Roadrunner. STONE SOUR filmed a music video for the band's new single, "Fabuless", on Tuesday (April 18) in Los Angeles. The track is expected to make its online debut at the end of April. STONE SOUR singer Corey Taylor recently said about the full-length follow-up to "House Of Gold & Bones": "It is the best stuff that we've ever written. It's got a lot of different directions, but at its core it's very hard rock, almost in a modern/classic sense. There are some hints of punk in there. There's some cool hard rock/heavy metal. There's just all of these really cool elements that we've never maybe allowed ourselves to kind of go to." Bassist Johnny Chow described the disc as "a straight rock and roll album" in an interview with Detroit radio station WRIF, adding, "It's just very groove-oriented, very melodic (with) big choruses. We've got some mellower songs on there too, which are equally just as amazing and have a lot of groove to them." Chow called the record a "bit of a departure" from previous STONE SOUR albums. "Hydrograd" was recorded at Sphere Studios in North Hollywood, California with producer Jay Ruston, who has previously worked with ANTHRAX and STEEL PANTHER. The band tracked the album live in the studio, cutting a total of 18 songs from which 14 or 15 will make the CD. STONE SOUR will play the Rock On The Range Kick-Off Party on Thursday, May 18 at Express Live! in Columbus, Ohio. The event will start the Rock On The Range weekend, with METALLICA, SOUNDGARDEN and KORN headlining this year's festival. STONE SOUR will also be special guests of KORN on the latter act's "Serenity Of Summer" trek, which starts on June 16 in Salt Lake City and wraps on August 2 in Cleveland.

STYX To Release First Studio Album In 14 Years, ‘The Mission’

"The Mission", STYX's sixteenth studio album and its most ambitious, most challenging, and most rewarding release to date, will arrive on June 16 via the band's label, Alpha Dog 2T/UMe. The first single, "Gone Gone Gone", was released today at radio and online retail outlets. A video can be seen below. "The planets truly aligned for 'The Mission', and I couldn't be prouder," says vocalist/guitarist Tommy Shaw, who co-wrote the album's storyline with longtime collaborator Will Evankovich (SHAW/BLADES, THE GUESS WHO). "It's our boldest, most emblematic album since 'Pieces Of Eight'." As founding guitarist James "JY" Young continues: "In the fourtieth-anniversary year of our release of our biggest selling album of all time, 'Grand Illusion', it just seemed truly appropriate to save our new studio album until this year. Needless to say, I'm very excited." "The Mission" is an aurally adventurous 43-minute thrill ride that chronicles the trials, tribulations, and ultimate triumphs of the first manned mission to Mars in the year 2033. From the hopeful drive of "Gone Gone Gone" to the stargazing machinations of "Locomotive" to the rough-riding blaze of glory that permeates the hard-charging "Red Storm" to the elegiac optimism of the closing track "Mission To Mars", the album succeeds in delivering the greater good from a band that continues to fire on all cylinders, forty-five years after signing its first recording contract. In fact, "The Mission" — which was recorded over a two-year period at Blackbird Studios, The Shop and 6 Studio Amontillado in Nashville — displays the best aspects of the ongoing in-harmony musical intersection of the six-man STYX team: the aforementioned guitarist/vocalist Tommy Shaw, co-founding guitarist/vocalist James "JY" Young, keyboardist/vocalist Lawrence Gowan, original bassist Chuck Panozzo, drummer/percussionist Todd Sucherman, and bassist Ricky Phillips. The new music was created to reflect the viewpoint of the six-person crew enlisted for the maiden voyage of Khedive, the first entry in a new fleet of nuclear-powered interplanetary spacecraft underwritten by the Global Space Exploration Program (or GSEP, for short). The Khedive team consists of The Pilot, a fully hands-on, seat-of-the-pants born leader; a First Officer who serves as the team's big-brother figure; an Engineer who is skeptical of every phase of the mission but remains confident in his own abilities to make the best of any technical situation; and a Top-Shelf Trio of science, astrophysics, and survivalist experts. "The album feels simultaneously comfortable and new," observes Gowan. "It's both entertaining and charming, and a natural progression of our sound." Concludes Panozzo, "'The Mission' is a sincere and honest representation of how STYX built upon where we were in the 20th century in order to go somewhere new in the 21st century." And that's the gist of "The Mission", STYX's bold sonic voyage into an exciting new frontier with the goal of discovering how the universe's mysteries unfold — and then creating the perfect soundtrack to accompany it. "The Mission" track listing: 01. Overture 02. Gone Gone Gone 03. Hundred Million Miles From Home 04. Trouble At The Big Show 05. Locomotive 06. Radio Silence 07. The Greater Good 08. Time May Bend 09. Ten Thousand Ways To Be Wrong 10. Red Storm 11. All Systems Stable 12. Khedive 13. The Outpost 14. Mission to Mars Photo credit: Jason Powell

Former PANTERA Bassist REX BROWN To Release ‘Smoke On This’ Solo Album In July; Lyric Video For ‘Crossing Lines’ Song

Former PANTERA bassist Rex Brown has set " Smoke On This" as the title of his debut solo album, due on July 28 via Entertainment One (eOne). The disc will be the first time in Brown's career in which he will serve as both lead vocalist and guitarist in a band. Everyone who pre-orders "Smoke On This" on PledgeMusic will get a digital download of the new album on street date. Once you pre-order, you get instant access to a special part of the site via the "AccessPass." There, Rex will bring you into his little private, cool world. You will hear streams of new songs, see video teasers of recording in the studio, check out unreleased photos and much, much more. Your first update is an instant download of the song "Crossing Lines", the lyric video for which can be seen below. "Smoke On This" track listing: 01. Lone Rider 02. Crossing Lines 03. Buried Alive 04. Train Song 05. Get Yourself Alright 06. Fault Line 07. What Comes Around... 08. Grace 09. So Into You 10. Best Of Me 11. One Of these Days Brown wields a six-string guitar as confidently as he wore the bass in PANTERA and DOWN. His engaging voice crackles with easygoing spirit and truth-telling power. It's a crunchy drawl that's down-to-earth, grippingly relatable, charmingly welcoming, and gritty, somewhere between the achingly resonant spiritual shamanism of Tom Waits and the instantly recognizable everyman AM radio vibes of Tom Petty and THE HEARTBREAKERS. After a season away to gather his wits about him, rediscover his own roots, and assemble a group of players ready to help him execute his vision for the days ahead, Rex Brown re-emerges with a semi truck's worth of rock n' roll tunes as honest and sincere as they come. The new album is the sound of the man's own truth, forthright and ego-free. As he likes to say, "You're only as good as your word and your word better be good." Rex's solo album is full of mojo and the force of character, determination, and nerve. He tracked lead vocals, rhythm guitars, and bass, working with his primary collaborator and old friend Lance Harvill, a Nashville-based guitarist and songwriter, on the album's songs. "Lance was and is my main man on this. Everything we did was finely tuned, both musically and brotherly." Drums were tracked by Christopher Williams, himself no stranger to diverse tastes, from funk music to punk. His talent has been utilized by country music star Lee Greenwood, the reconstituted BLACKFOOT and most recently, power metal legends ACCEPT. The album was produced by New Yorker-turned-Nashville-transplant Caleb Sherman, a multi-instrumentalist with work on records by LITTLE BIG TOWN and PORTER BLOCK, among others. "Caleb produced the project from a musician's standpoint," adds Brown. "Not just a typical producer's standpoint, which was something I definitely needed. Between Caleb and Lance, we were a force to be reckoned with. They really pulled out the best in me." Peter Keyes, known for his work with LYNYRD SKYNYRD, can also be heard on a few tracks. All bass tracking came from Rex himself as well. "My motto these days is 'Shake some shit up,'" Brown declares. "I've had my ups and downs, like anybody in this business. I wanted to feel like a true artist again, where I can write and record songs without worrying about any of the bullshit. This is just something else I'm doing for fun, man. And musical freedom. Fun has to come into it or I'm not going to do it. I've had a tremendous career and now I feel like I'm twenty-five years old again. This has given me that freedom I needed." "I've got so much more in me," he enthuses. "I'm just getting my feet wet." Brown previously described his solo album as "a rock and roll record. It's not your standard fare or typical metal thing," he told Metal Hammer magazine. "I was always a big [LED] ZEPPELIN fan and even though it has its little fringes of it... It's a new journey that sounds like anywhere from FOGHAT to old Tom Waits. I'm a child of the '70s and I love those kind of songs." After leaving DOWN in 2011, Rex went on play with KILL DEVIL HILL, which has released two albums so far: "Kill Devil Hill" (2012) and "Revolution Rise" (2013).