Vocalist Biff Byford of British heavy metal legends SAXON was recently interviewed by Canadian rock journalist Mitch Lafon. You can now listen to the chat below. Asked why he thinks SAXON never managed to reach the same commercial heights in the 1980s as a band like IRON MAIDEN, Biff said: "I just think that they had a fantastic team around them — and still do have, actually — and I think that made the extra… made it a bit better. I don't think they were surrounded by 'yes men,' if you know what I'm saying, where I think we were surrounded a little bit by fawning 'yes men,' and we lost our way a little bit in the way that we wrote songs and the way we recorded songs. It would have been better if we had stayed with a winning team, if you know what I mean. That's the sort of thing I mean. It's not particularly anything to do with musically or fashion or anything. It's just a matter of… I think they had the right team at the right place at the right time. They really went for it in America, and we sort of probably went about fifty percent for America. You have to remember that we were probably bigger in Europe at that time. It's just how it goes, really. It's just the luck of the draw, as they say." Byford was also asked why he thinks SAXON had a particularly hard time breaking the American market. He responded: "You're asking the wrong person. I don't know. I mean, we certainly had the songs: 'Power & The Glory', 'Wheels Of Steel', 'Strong Arm Of The Law', 'Princess Of The Night', 'Denim And Leather'… I just think it was the record company and the general team that surrounded us. There's no reason why SAXON shouldn't have been a multi-platinum [band] in America — no reason whatsoever, apart from probably our own naiveté." He continued: "'Power & The Glory'  was high in the [American] charts, and 'Crusader'  was as well. We just didn't manage to get to the platinum club; that's all. It's as simple as that. But that doesn't mean to say that we don't have a lot of fans in America. I mean, this tour that we're doing now [with UFO], we've just done three and a half thousand people on the West Coast, and it's fantastic. So we have a lot of fans out there, and we have a growing fan base of younger fans as well, so it's great, really. We don't have any regrets." SAXON recently revealed that the band's forthcoming follow-up to 2015's "Battering Ram" will include a song dedicated to MOTÖRHEAD, called "They Played Rock And Roll". "Battering Ram" was released in North America via UDR Music. The effort featured Byford alongside Paul Quinn and Doug Scarratt on guitar, Nibbs Carter on bass and Nigel Glockler on drums.
Teenage radio host Miles "The Shoe" Schuman of the rock station WMOS-FM 102.3 The Wolf recently conducted an interview with legendary DEEP PURPLE drummer Ian Paice. You can now listen to the chat below. Asked if being inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame is as prestigious of an honor as it is sometimes made out to be, Paice said: "For the musicians, I don't think it really makes much difference. I think for the fans of those musicians, it's a very important thing. It reinforces their belief that the people they like and the music they enjoy is worthy of a mention. And I think on that level, it's a very, very nice thing to happen." He continued: "Rock and roll is not Hollywood. Hollywood's [about handing out] awards every year, slapping each other on the back for just doing a good job. It's a bit schmaltzy, really, isn't it? And rock and roll is everything that that's not. And just 'cause we've been around for a while and made some records that have been successful, I don't need a slap on the back from anybody. I know what we've done, I'm proud of a lot of it, and our fans let us know what we've done. So that's it; I can't put it any better than that." Regarding whether it was awkward being in the same room as some of DEEP PURPLE's former members during last year's Rock Hall induction, Paice said: "No. The old saying 'water under the bridge'… Lots of things are said in the past, lots of things are done. In hindsight, you could look back and say, 'Nine out of ten of 'em was stupid and it should have never happened,' but hey, life is like that. If you could make every decision correctly and do it logically and be sensible about it, life wouldn't be what we know it is today. So, Glenn [Hughes] and David [Coverdale] were there, and it was fine. We had a sitdown and a drink and a good laugh about a few things that we remember from the past and got on with the night." DEEP PURPLE — which has been eligible for induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame for two decades now — finally entered the Rock Hall as part of the class of 2016. The band's first three lineups were inducted, including Paice, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, late keyboardist Jon Lord, and various singers and bassists — Rod Evans; Ian Gillan and Roger Glover; and David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes. DEEP PURPLE will release its new album, "InFinite" on April 7 via earMUSIC. The disc was tracked in February 2016 at a studio in Nashville, Tennessee and was once again helmed by Bob Ezrin, who has previously worked with KISS, PINK FLOYD, PETER GABRIEL, ALICE COOPER and KANSAS, among others.
Fan-filmed video footage of LAST IN LINE's March 31 performance at The Chance in Poughkeepsie, New York can be seen below. LAST IN LINE is the band featuring DEF LEPPARD guitarist Vivian Campbell alongside fellow founding DIO member Vinny Appice, plus singer Andrew Freeman, who has previously fronted HURRICANE and LYNCH MOB. Playing bass for LAST IN LINE is Phil Soussan (OZZY OSBOURNE, BEGGARS & THIEVES, Steve Lukather), who joined the group after original LAST IN LINE bassist Jimmy Bain passed away in January 2016 at the age of 68. He was reportedly suffering from lung cancer at the time of his death. LAST IN LINE will enter the studio in September to begin recording its sophomore album for an early 2018 release via Frontiers Music Srl. Helming the disc once again will be Jeff Pilson, the veteran bassist and producer who has played with DIO, FOREIGNER, DOKKEN and T&N, among others. Campbell told the "Trunk Nation" show on SiriusXM channel Volume (106) that the second LAST IN LINE album is "half written already." He added: "We started writing in January, and we have six songs on the go, and it sounds amazing — it's so, so good. So we're excited for that. We were hoping to get it out this year, but, unfortunately, due to my schedule with LEPPARD and Jeff Pilson's schedule with FOREIGNER… 'Cause Jeff produced the 'Heavy Crown' album for us, and we wanna work with him again on the next one. So we have to wait. It looks like September before we'll actually be able to start recording it, so it'll probably be an early 2018 release."
Rob Halford (JUDAS PRIEST) will guest on this Wednesday's (April 12) episode of Comedy Central's new comedy and music series "The Comedy Jam". The eight-episode season features celebrities dishing on a cherished memory linked to an iconic song and then performing that song with the Comedy Jam Band in front of a live audience. This week's episode will see Halford join forces with Jim Breuer to perform the PRIEST classic "You've Got Another Thing Coming". A preview clip can be seen below. Also on the April 12 episode, Mark Duplass and Kevin Cronin perform "Can't Fight This Feeling" by REO SPEEDWAGON, and Big Jay Oakerson and Lukas Rossi perform "Rebel Yell" by BILLY IDOL. CC.com features preview clips and highlights from each episode, plus a web-exclusive after show, "The After Jam", hosted by show creator Josh Adam Meyers. Full episodes of "The Comedy Jam" will be available the day of premiere on the Comedy Central app and CC.com. Highlights and exclusives from "The Comedy Jam" will also be available in the CC app and the Comedy Central channel on Snapchat Discover. Fans can tweet about the series using the hashtag #ComedyJam. "The Comedy Jam" was filmed at the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood. The eight-episode weekly series is based on the special that aired in August 2016 and was born from one of the hottest live shows in Los Angeles. Created by Josh Adam Meyers, "The Comedy Jam" is produced by Ugly Brother Studios and Tenth Planet and is executive-produced by Meyers, Mike Duffy, Tim Duffy and Joel Gallen. Gallen directed all eight episodes. Jordan Ellner, Gary Mann and Ryan Moran are the executives in charge of production for Comedy Central.
BARDSPEC, the ambient project/band led by ENSLAVED composer/guitarist Ivar Bjørnson, will release its debut album, "Hydrogen", in June via By Norse. Having launched at Roadburn in 2015, BARDSPEC has since evolved into a fully-fledged band, with Steve Austin on guitars/effects, David Hall presenting the live visual aspect of the project, and the layout created by Josh Graham (SOUNDGARDEN, NEUROSIS). The official video for the song "Fire Tongue" — created by David Hall — can be seen below. BARDSPEC combines stirring, hallucinatory synth-sounds with mercurial guitar effects and hypnotic rhythms that navigate illusory landscapes. Field recordings, and other found-sounds also drift and evaporate into the ether. Working intuitively with these elements and with sharpened senses, attuned to inner impulses, this is immersive music that can exist anywhere and anytime within the minds of the listener. Whilst BARDSPEC might essentially be the same brain and personality making the music, compared to ENSLAVED, it is a widely different entity. Thematically and sonically, BARDSPEC is about minimizing, subtracting, and meditating upon the simplest essence of "things;" the single points exemplified through song titles like "Bone", "Salt" and so on, the basic elements and foundations that make up the whole. There is an element of "space" in the music and the artwork, as a representation of the inner workings of the mind and the subconscious. BARDSPEC is inspired by the German masters TANGERINE DREAM, Klaus Schultze and Conrad Schnitzler, in addition to contemporary ambient music like Norwegian one-man-band BIOSPHERE and abstract modern electronic music like WHEN (Norwegian also), as well as the electronic/industrial-driven metal like GODFLESH. Ivar describes the appeal and trance-inducing aspects of such music to him. "I remember listening to Richard Burmer and his album 'Mosaic' from 1984," he says. "I thought I fell asleep but I was in a semi-lucid state where I still registered music — but not much else. At the end of side A there's an explosion so violent and extreme that I jumped two feet into the air and was totally shocked. The weird thing is, I couldn't remember it being there. When I revisited the music again, it was just a little 'thud.' I was just experiencing a trance so deep into the music that this deviation from the pattern and frequencies in the foregoing half hour of monotony totally shocked me. I loved it!" Roadburn festival will play host to a very special public listening session of "Hydrogen" by BARDSPEC, a chance for people to hear the album from start to finish in advance of the official release date. This event shall take place on April 21. "Hydrogen" track listing: 01. Intro - Deposition 02. Bone 03. Fire Tongue 04. Gamma 05. Salt 06. Teeth (bonus track) "Hydrogen" willl be released on June 23 across all formats. The six-panel CD digipak is available as limited first press to a thousand copies including bonus track "Teeth". The double gatefold LP is limited to five hundred copies on black vinyl, and the digital format also including the bonus track.
IN THIS MOMENT has completed work on its long-awaited follow-up to 2014's "Black Widow" album for a tentative summer release via Atlantic. The new disc was once again recorded at The Hideout Recording Studio in Las Vegas, Nevada with producer Kevin Churko, who has previously worked with FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH, HELLYEAH, PAPA ROACH and DISTURBED. "We have an album done. It's done," IN THIS MOMENT guitarist Chris Howorth told Cutter of Razor 94.7 and "The Cutting Edge Countdown" (hear audio below). "There's gonna be a single released probably around the 21st of this month… But we have a whole new album ready to go. It's gonna be out over the summer. It's different and cool and I think it's a different step for us but that I think our fans are really gonna like." Regarding the musical direction of the new IN THIS MOMENT material, Howorth said: "Stylistically, I think we went a little bit more raw, you know — like, not so much campiness like 'Sex Metal Barbie'. Not that there was anything wrong with that — we're always trying to experiment and do something different — but it's more serious, I guess, and a little more stripped down. There's still electronics and stuff, and it's still IN THIS MOMENT, but it's a little more stripped down, I guess, and maybe swampy and bluesy a little bit in certain elements, but still metal, you know, still us." Chris also talked about the evolution of the IN THIS MOMENT songwriting process and how it has affected the band's new album. He said: "I've learned over the years. At the beginning of the band, it was all about the guitar riffs and the solos and shredding and trying to be metal as we could. I've kind of learned to open up to the song itself and particularly Maria's [Brink] vocal. That's the key selling point of the band, that's what everyone's listening to, so I don't wanna do anything to clutter that. So it's kind of like the guitars are there, but they're not there to be in the forefront; they're there to support the whole song. And that's what most of the new stuff is. But it's still guitar driven. That's IN THIS MOMENT." IN THIS MOMENT kicked off the "Half God Half Devil" North American tour on April 7 at Milwaukee, Wisconsin's Eagles Ballroom. Support on the trek is coming from MOTIONLESS IN WHITE, AVATAR and GEMINI SYNDROME. Howorth revealed last summer that he was diagnosed with acute arthritis in his neck and shoulders. His diagnosis came less than two months after IN THIS MOMENT was forced to cancel its European tour due to what was described at the time as an injury to Howorth's neck. After receiving his diagnosis, Howorth said that he has accepted the fact that he will have to learn to live with the arthritis but insisted that he is "determined to continue writing and performing with my band." Howorth co-founded IN THIS MOMENT with Brink over a decade ago. The pair remain the band's only original members. Brink ruled out the possibility of IN THIS MOMENT touring with a replacement guitarist, calling Howorth "my partner, brother and one of my closest friends. I can't bring myself to do this tour without him. It simply would not be IN THIS MOMENT."
On April 2, Brazilian/American metallers SEPULTURA took part in an interview and live performance at the studios of "Metrópolis", the Brazilian show from TV Cultura. You can now watch video footage of their appearance below. SEPULTURA guitarist Andreas Kisser recently revealed that the band is planning to embark on a special tour of Europe featuring groups with Latin connections. Although the initial plan was to stage the trek in late 2017, it now appears that the tour will take place several months later. "I don't know if I can talk too much about [our plans for this special tour], because we're just starting to put together some ideas, but we finally wanted to do something more Brazilian and Latin, trying to bring Brazilian bands to tour in Europe," Kisser told WSOU. "But let's see what happens. I think the possibilities are great. We have great possibilities for a really nice package — not only in Brazil, but then from Argentina and even the States that have Latin connections and heritage. That would be cool — something that we never really were able to put together. And it's kind of like an old dream. As a matter of fact, many bands really demand some kind of stuff like that. Some bands really felt that we could make a little more effort to bring them out, to take them out to Europe and the States and stuff. And I think now finally we get in this position and the situation that we are organized enough to do something like that and the momentum, I think, it's great. So I think early 2018, we're gonna start doing something like that in Europe and hopefully we can take that everywhere. It would be great." SEPULTURA's latest album, "Machine Messiah", was released on January 13 via Nuclear Blast. The disc was produced by the band and Jens Bogren (SOILWORK, OPETH, KATATONIA, AMON AMARTH) of Fascination Street Studios in Örebro, Sweden. The CD's cover artwork was created by Filipino artist Camille Della Rosa.
LED ZEPPELIN's classic track "Immigrant Song" is featured in the first trailer for the upcoming third movie in Marvel Studios' Thor franchise, "Thor: Ragnarok", due in theaters on November 3. "Immigrant Song" first appeared on LED ZEPPELIN's third studio album, "Led Zeppelin III", released in 1970 via Atlantic Records. Official "Thor: Ragnarok" synopsis, per a Disney press release: "Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok — the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization — at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela. But first he must survive a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger — the Incredible Hulk!" Following the appearance of ZEPPELIN's "Kashmir" in "Fast Times At Ridgemont High" (1982), almost two decades went by before the cult film "Almost Famous" (2000) showcased the ZEPPELIN tracks "Misty Mountain Hop", "The Rain Song" and three others, followed by "Immigrant Song" in "School Of Rock" (2003) and "Shrek The Third" (2007), and "Good Times Bad Times" in "The Fighter" (2010). More recently, "When The Levee Breaks" was featured in "Argo", while "What Is And What Should Never Be" appeared in "Silver Linings Playbook", followed by "Good Times Bad Times" in 2013's "American Hustle" and "When The Levee Breaks" in 2015's "The Big Short".
According to Billboard, "Emperor Of Sand", the new album from Atlanta heavy rock icons MASTODON, landed at position No. 7 on the Billboard 200 chart with 43,000 units and 41,000 in traditional album sales. This is MASTODON third Top 10 album, following 2014's "Once More 'Round The Sun" (No. 6) and 2011's "The Hunter" (No. 10). "Emperor Of Sand" is also the top-selling album of the week, and bows at No. 1 on the Top Album Sales chart. "Emperor Of Sand" was recorded at The Quarry Recording Studio in Kennesaw, just outside MASTODON's hometown of Atlanta, with producer Brendan O'Brien (PEARL JAM, NEIL YOUNG, AC/DC, RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE), who first worked with MASTODON on their seminal 2009 album "Crack The Skye". MASTODON kicks off a spring U.S. headline tour in support of "Emperor Of Sand" on April 14 in Missoula, Montana, with support from EAGLES OF DEATH METAL and RUSSIAN CIRCLES. The tour also includes stops at several festivals, including the Carolina Rebellion on May 5. "Emperor Of Sand" finds MASTODON returning to a deeply imaginative and complex conceptual storyline that ponders the nature of time. Threading together the myth of a man sentenced to death in a majestically malevolent desert, the band conjures the grains of a musical and lyrical odyssey slipping quickly through a cosmic hourglass. "'Emperor of sand' is like the grim reaper," says drummer/vocalist Brann Dailor. "Sand represents time. If you or anyone you know has ever received a terminal diagnosis, the first thought is about time. Invariably, you ask, 'How much time is left?'" "We're reflecting on mortality," adds bassist/vocalist Troy Sanders. "To that end, the album ties into our entire discography. It's 17 years in the making, but it's also a direct reaction to the last two years. We tend to draw inspiration from very real things in our lives."
Official video footage of METALLICA performing the song "No Remorse" live on March 3 at at Foro Sol in Mexico City, Mexico can be seen below. The North American leg of METALLICA's "WorldWired" 2017 tour kicks off in Baltimore and will hit stadiums in 25 cities before winding down in mid-August. Support on the quartet's first North American trek since 2009 will come mainly from AVENGED SEVENFOLD and VOLBEAT, with GOJIRA taking over for the latter group for the last six shows. The first European leg of "WorldWired" kicks off on September 4 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands and stretches through November. After a break, the trek will pick up again on February 10, 2018 in Bologna, Italy, and continue through May, finishing up in Helsinki, Finland. Speaking about what fans can expect from the stage show on the "WorldWired" tour, bassist Robert Trujillo told Italy's Virgin Radio: "Yeah, I think what's exciting about what's happening right now is it's all still very fresh, and we're figuring out, visually, where production's going, we're getting to know the stage a little more. We're playing in the round, and it's been a while, so what happens is there's a different sort of approach to where you're supposed to be or what's comfortable or where you need to be. We're still working through the visuals you may see on the stage, 'cause the stage itself is also a screen, really. So there's a lot of things going on, and it takes a little bit of time to navigate… what I say, 'navigate the terrain.' So we're still trying to figure it out." Regarding how METALLICA goes about choosing the setlist for its live performances, Trujillo said: "Well, that's a challenge too, because you have the back catalog, which is pretty strong. A lot of the hardcore fans wanna hear the deep cuts — songs like 'Orion' or maybe like a 'Disposable Heroes'; you know, songs that we don't play all the time — and then, of course, they wana hear 'Sandman' and 'Nothing Else Matters' and some of the hits. So Lars's [Ulrich, drums] job is to balance that out as best as he can, and then we sort of go over it and see if that works. But we do try to change the set every night; it's never gonna be exactly the same, which keeps things fun and interesting." He continued: "One of the things that I think is important, and I think there's some pride in this, is that over the last few years, we've actually played obscure songs, like 'Frayed Ends Of Sanity', off the 'Justice' album, which hadn't been played ever with METALLICA live. So we did that a couple of years ago. So the fact that we're still doing that, I think, helps us become, actually, a better band; we grow from those experiences. And I believe those are the experiences that have helped 'Hardwired' become that much better of an album."