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A conversation with: Vinny Appice (Heaven & Hell/Kill Devil Hill)

7 Dec

Heaven & Hell, DIO and Black Sabbath have all had one thing in common. Vinny Appice stamped his mark on each of them. The world renowned drummer has performed on some of the biggest selling albums and has performed with some of the biggest bands in the music industry. Now he’s gone back to where it all started, bringing to fruition his new band, ‘Kill Devil Hill’ from the ground up. We caught up with Vinny Appice a few days after he had completed the first leg of his US tour with Kill Devil Hill. 

The latest Kill Devil Hill album is finally out in Australia. How’s the reception been so far in other parts of the world?

‘You know, the reception has been amazing. We’ve gotten a lot of great reviews and a lot of the interviews we’ve been doing with people like yourself who have actually listened to the record have really loved it. The fans have loved it as well so it’s been really great to hear. Now we just need to sell some more product, haha!

You’ve also recently just completed the first leg of the bands US tour. How was it?

‘It went really well, man. We started on the west coast of the US and then made our way into the mid-west. We did about 20 or so shows in smaller venues and clubs. Now we’re ready to do something a bit bigger, a package deal like a tour with some festival dates and bigger shows, that kind of thing. We’ve gotten really tight thanks to this tour so we’re really looking forward to playing some bigger shows’.

There’s a few heavy numbers on the album. Which songs have really gotten the crowds going?

‘Crown of Thorns’ has gone down really well. ‘Leave It All Behind’ has been really good as well. ‘A Long Way From Home’ has also gone down really well when we’ve chucked it in the middle of a set. When you play a lot of these songs live, most of them sound awesome just because of their energy’.

I had a chance to listen to the record other day, It’s real tight and a great blend of modern and old school sounds. Was it a conscious decision to create music with vintage roots but with a modern direction?

‘That’s just the way things turned out, man. We’ve all got our own influences and a lot of them can be heard on the record. Mark and Dewy are very young so they have a few influences from the modern era that Rex and I don’t necessarily have. But we also have a huge amount in common so the combination of the four of us guys really works in this band’.

My favorite tracks are ‘No Way Out’ and ‘Life Goes On’. The first is just so brutal and then you close the album with such an epic masterpiece. What songs from ‘Revolution Rise’ are your favourites?

‘Yeah I like ‘Life Goes On’ as well, haha! I also really dig, ‘Where Angels Dare to Roam’, it’s almost like a dance track but heavy. I also like ‘Leave It All Behind’ which is gonna be released as a video with the album. But I like them all man, haha. Whenever we finished a song I’d always say ‘That’s my favourite!’ but then we would finish another song and I’d say ‘No, that’s my favourite!’ so yeah, I like them all, haha’.

It’s a pretty raw and stripped back album. How does recording a record like this compare with recording a Sabbath album or a Heaven and Hell album?

‘Well first of all the budget on this record was nearly non-existent compared to Sabbath albums or Heaven and Hell albums, haha. We had limited resources, so luckily we’ve had a ton of friends and family who have supported us along the way and really saved our asses when it came to finishing the record! We’ve been very fortunate to be able to complete these records, so thanks to those guys’!

I was also impressed at Dewey Braggs vocal performance. He’s got a real classic and powerful Rock voice, however he’s relatively unknown compared to the rest of the band. How did you come to the decision to make him part of the band?

‘Well, when myself and Mark were putting together song ideas I had asked him if he knew of any singers. He mentioned this guy, Dewey Braggs. So we got in contact with Dewey and he came down for a jam and his voice absolutely blew me away. I knew he was the guy then and there. He sings with so much passion and most importantly he sings from the heart.

I think the thing that also works with Dewey is the fact that he doesn’t sound like a copy cat of Ronnie. He doesn’t sound like someone from the 80’s. He’s got a lot of fire and energy in his voice. When I was putting this band together a lot of people were sending me demo tapes and they all sounded similar to Ronnie with that whole vibrato/warrior vocal style. But a lot of them thought that’s what I wanted. There’s only one Ronnie and no one will ever sound like Ronnie’.

Has this band re-invigorated your passion for writing music or is it business as usual for yourself?

‘I’m still loving it now as much as I was 20 years ago, man. The fire’s still there, haha. I just want to kick it to 11 and take names, man, haha. But that being said, this ain’t no easy job! You gotta like going on the road, you gotta like travelling and all that stuff. I hear so many kids saying they want to be rockstars but when it comes to it, they aren’t prepared to pay their dues. The main thing that keeps me going though, is getting up on that stage and playing music and experiencing that moment. That’s why musicians work so hard’.

Is Kill Devil Hill the main focus of your career right now? Or are there a lot more things on your plate as well?

‘I’ve got a few things going on. At the moment I’m doing a show with my brother called ‘Drum Wars’ in which we play a lot of drum stuff and music from our past. I’ve also just got together with Vivian Campbell to get the original DIO band back together with the singer being Andy Freeman and that kicks ass. So I’ve got a number of things going on but Kill Devil Hill is the only original thing going on and that’s something I’m trying to bring to fruition from the ground up. I really enjoy doing lots of different things though. I like going off with my brother and just doing drum solos, haha. But until Kill Devil Hill takes off I’ll probably be doing a few different things, haha’.

How’s Carmine going?

‘Carmine’s great! We just did a couple of shows together last month and he’s playing brilliantly. He’s putting a new band together with Joe Lynn Turner and Tony Franklin on bass. He’s always doing heaps of stuff though, haha. Runs in the family’!

You’ve played in some of the worlds biggest bands on some of the worlds biggest stages and have had such an amazing career. Has it been awesome going back to the start and playing club shows again?

‘Yeah, haha. It’s shocking. It’s funny though, man. When you’re on stage and you’re playing, it’s sort of the same thing. I mean there is a big difference between playing in front of two hundred people as opposed to playing in front of twenty thousand, but you’re still just playing and people are loving it. It’s just everything around that’s different.

When you’re playing arenas every night everything is proper. You travel in style, you get all the luxuries, your equipment is the best and everything is just proper. But when you’re at a level when you’re trying to break a band everything is down graded. There’s no lights, there’s no luxuries and you’re equipment sometimes sucks. But the playing remains the same. Always’.

Anything on the table for an Australian Kill Devil Hill tour?

‘Well we’re really happy that the album will be out in Australia. Hopefully next year in our summer we’ll be able to come down and kick some butt. I was just down there a couple of years ago for the Heaven and Hell tour so I’m itching to come back’!

A festival appearance perhaps?

It depends. Hopefully we can play some festivals and throw some shows in between the festival dates. Right now though we’re just building the fan base and steadily playing bigger shows. Last year we did a few big shows though, opening for Alice Cooper, and that was great for the band in terms of exposure so hopefully if things keep going how they are, we’ll be heading down under pretty soon’.

A bit off track here, but did Tony and Geezer ever give you and Ronny shit for not having a moustache?

‘Hahaha! No, no haha. They never said anything about it. We did talk about that on ‘The Metal Show’ though. It was a skit where the guys joked that Carmine was their first choice because he had a moustache.

The interesting thing about that lineup of Black Sabbath though was that nobody in the band had a tattoo. That was the only Black Sabbath lineup where none of the members had tattoos, haha’.

Who are some of your favorite Australian artists right now?

‘Oh my God! Uhhh, I really like Wolfmother. But I’m not too familiar with what’s been coming out of Australia though so I’ll have to catch up with all of that real soon. I still love Men At Work though. Those guys are fucking awesome, haha’.

Thanks for taking the time to chat, Vinny. Hopefully we’ll see you next year for an aussie tour.

‘Yeah, man! Thanks for talking, was a pleasure. Hopefully we’ll be there real soon’!

 

Kylesa Australian Tour Postponed

7 Dec

Southern Rock representatives, Kylesa have announced that their first ever headlining Australian tour has been postponed. The band was due to begin the tour today in Perth however due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’ the band is unable to make the tour. Kylesa made the announcement via their facebook page.

The tour is now expected to begin in Late March or early April.

“Australian fans please take note! 

Due to unforeseen circumstances, KYLESA’s December Australian tour has to be postponed until Late March through early April. 

New dates will be announced on Monday. 

To our fans, we do hope you understand and we are already counting the days until we can land on your fine soil again. Thank you so much for your support. 

Ticket holders for most shows can hold onto their tickets for the re-scheduled dates. 
Full details of the re-scheduled tour will be announced on Monday 9th of December.

THANK YOU and please stay tuned for details”.

The English Beat Announce Australian Tour!

29 Nov

Charging onto the scene as ‘the hottest thing since the Pennsylvania meltdown’ in 1979, Birmingham’s Ska Kings sustained an equally explosive career, spearheading the British Ska movement alongside influential acts like The Specials, Madness, Bad Manners and The Selecter. Their sound is a cosmic blend of ska, punk and reggae. Hypnotic, rhythmic and danceable while remaining politically aware and socially active.

The current US-based incarnation boasts a setlist jam packed with fan favourites – Mirror In the Bathroom, Save It For Later, Too Nice to Talk To, Stand Down Margaret, Hands Off She’s Mine, I Confess and their 2Tone Records debut, a skankin’ cover of Smokey Robinson’s classic, Tears Of A Clown to name a few!

If last visit’s Sold Out shows in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney are anything to go by, there is no need to think twice – tickets will go fast, because The English Beat is very much alive, kicking and more infectious than ever!!

TOUR DATES 2014

Thursday, 15 May – Corner Hotel, Melbourne

Friday, 16 May – Caravan Club, Melbourne

Saturday 17 May – Metro Theatre, Sydney

Sunday, 18 May – The Zoo, Brisbane

Wednesday, 21 May – The Gov, Adelaide

Friday, 23 May – Rosemount Hotel, Perth

A Conversation With: Laura Pleasants (Kylesa)

21 Nov

Kylesa are a band that is fast becoming a house hold name in the Southern Rock genre. Even though they’re amongst a plethora of amazing bands such as Red Fang, Kyuss, Baroness and Mastadon, Kylesa still demands massive respect and proves time after time why they’re such a great band. Now the band is about to embark on their second visit to Australia (the last time being for Soundwave 2011) and their first ever headline tour of the great southern land. We spoke with Laura Pleasants to find how preparations are going and what it’s like to be a part of the mighty Kylesa.

How are you Laura? Thanks for taking some time to chat with us!

Hey man! No worries, always a pleasure.

Last time you were here was for Soundwave back in 2011. What are you guys planning for this tour since it will be a bit more of an intimate setting?

Thanks man! You’ll be able to expect our FULL show. If we’re touring on a festival it’s always pretty stripped down due to time constraints, so this time around we’ll have our full setup going on. With this tour we’ll be able to portray ourselves in a way that we feel we should be seen. Being seen on a festival stage is really fucking awesome, but it’s a totally different vibe when you play the smaller club stages.

A lot of bands have said there favourite places to play in Australia are the smaller venues. Is this the case for Kylesa?

Well we played a couple of club shows when we were down for Soundwave ’11 and those were a lot of fun! I love club shows….they’re different, haha. The energy is different, the sound is different, the rider is different and the sets are usually more awesome. But from the experiences we had playing those couple of club shows in Australia back in 2011, I think it’s going to be a lot better this time and we’re pretty much just gonna do what we always do, rock out and fucking enjoy it.

Do you guys like to hangout and mingle with the fans before the show?

It depends, man. It depends on how much time there is before the show most of the time. I generally like to hangout and get a feel for the venue, the people, maybe have a couple of beers as well. I generally warm up about 45 minutes before we play. A good time for me to start warming up is when the main support is playing. 

Before a gig do you like to party or practice before hand?

Haha, I ain’t no party animal….Ok that’s a lie. BUT for most of the show I’m pretty sober. After the show it’s fair game but before the show I’ll have like 2 or 3 drinks. On stage I have so much going on between my effects, guitar playing and singing and I manage all of that stuff far better when I’m thinking straight.

I’ve always liked bands that are all about music. Kylesa to me are a band that ‘feels the music’. A trend in music that seems to be happening is the whole ‘technically tight’ thing. Is it important for you to just feel the music and rock the fuck out, or is it more so important to be as tight as can be?

Cool question, man. Personally I’ve always been about feeling the music. I’ve been playing guitar for a long time but even when I was starting out I never cared about being very technical or anything. I can totally enjoy that kind of sweep picking and hectic guitar solo stuff but for the most part I enjoy music that I can feel and see the realness to it. I’m never going to be Yngwie. 

I tend to like simple stuff. You can change the world with three chords and a great down beat and that to me is so fucking awesome. I think a lot of young guitarists are forgetting that it’s ok to not be the fastest or the most technical.

What interests me is sound, feeling and emotion. All of my favourite bands have these factors. Just the idea of shaping sound is awesome to me, because that’s all we’re really doing. I have my own way of doing it and it’s very different to a lot of the traditional heavy stuff that goes around.

With Metal there is this assumption that you are a technically proficient player, it’s like that’s part of the deal. That stuff just doesen’t interest me. At the same time though, it’s VERY important for bands to be tight. However, some of the best gigs I’ve ever seen were from bands that were’nt very tight, but they filled the room with such an intense energy from the way they were playing. So you have to have the a little bit from both worlds I guess.

Another trend I see with Southern Rock bands are that you guys can be incredible gear nerds who take their fuzz way too seriously. Are you guys real picky with gear, or is it a case of ‘playing whatever’s there on gig day’.

Hahahah, Oh man, yeah that’s true. We’re massive gear heads. We have so many pedals and I can’t help but geek out all the time, man. It’s a bit of both though. You have to make do with what you’re able to take on tour with you. Over the past few years though there’s been a lot of new pedal makers and we’ve been lucky enough to try a lot of awesome stuff out. I have two huge pedal boards but a lot of the time I can only take one of them so you gotta really just see what works best with whichever head and cab you’ll be using. But man, Fuzz pedals are my favourite, haha. They’re cool because I can just plug into an amp that has a decent clean tone and switch on the Fuzz and we’re good to go, man.

One drummer is awesome. Two is even more awesome. What was the reasoning behind having 2 drummers in the band? And out of the two, who’s fault is it that you can’t bring 2 pedal boards?

Hahaha! Well I guess I’d have to blame our second drummer, haha. Can’t really blame the first. But we came up with the concept back in 2001, when we formed the band. It didn’t work out at first because the original guy we had didn’t want to do it so we continued with just one drummer for a long time. But since about 2005-2006 we’ve been in a position where we can have two drummers. We first tried it out in our practice space and it was just so loud, thunderous and created such an amazing energy so we were like ‘Yeah this is fucking awesome’ and just decided to have two drummers!

It opens up a lot of space for experimentation as well, especially in the studio. On record you can make certain things very subtle so on record, you probably won’t hear too much of a difference. In a live setting however it really comes into play. In a live setting having two drummers adds so much more volume to your sound and so I think it really works well in that setting. It’s just a cool dynamic to have if you can pull it off.

This must present an issue in the finance department when touring, right?

It definitely is, man. It’d be waaaaayy cheaper to have just one drummer, hahaha. It’s super effective in terms of touring to just have one drummer…..or non at all, haha. Having two drummers is way more awesome though.

A lot of bands have said that Australia is one of the most expensive places to tour. Is it financially viable to even tour here?

I do recall Australia being quite expensive to tour, logistically wise. Everything else isn’t too bad, it’s just a big place to tour that’s all. I was actually just over in Norway and I’d definitely say Norway is more expensive than Australia. They tax alcohol and beer!…Which I know Australia does to but over there a pint of beer is like thirteen dollars. But yeah, I’ll still be pinching my pennies when I come over to Australia, haha.

At what point did you guys relax into being somewhat of a ‘big name’ band?

I don’t know man, haha. Are we a big band? Haha. We’re pretty happy that people like us and are really into our music. It makes it a lot easier to get motivated and keep making music. However in saying that, we work really hard, man. We’re not a band that has a lot of outside help. A lot of other bands have management companies, promo companies etc. behind them but we like to keep things pretty small in terms of the business side of the band. 

Do you think that Kylesa will ever turn towards crowd funding?

I think it’s a good idea. If you can get people to pay for your record or tour then good for you. Bands who do that are just getting rid of the middle man. I’m not sure if Kylesa will ever do it, maybe if we ever get a bit more popular.

I’d just like to ask a few more questions to finish off.  Firstly, I’ve recently just begun collecting vinyl records. Knowing that you’re a vinyl fan yourself, what is best consumed, taken or smoked before having a good vinyl sesh?

Definitely depends on the record and what you want the record for. If it’s just for pure chilling out, light up a J and smoke up for sure.

Two. What’s the most recent record that hit the spot for you?

Oh man. I would say it was the new Queens of the Stone Age record. Took me like one minute to get into it. Totally awesome record.

And Three. We always like to ask international artists this question. Who are your favourite modern Australian bands at the moment?

I like that band Tame Impala. I saw them this past summer and I’ve got a couple of their records, I think they’re really fucking cool. Another Australian band that I’ve really been into lately is INXS, those guys get me everytime, man.

Thanks for taking some time to chat, Laura. Catch ya when you’re on tour!

Thanks, Nic! Hope to see you guys at a show!

Absu Announce Australian Tour w/Portal!

19 Nov

Cult mythological metal warriors ABSU will return to conquer Australia once again in March 2014. Joining them on the crusade will be none other than legends from the abyss PORTAL and blackened death metal overlords DENOUNCEMENT PYRE

With 3 sold out shows on their first tour of Australia in 2012, ABSU mesmerized audiences with their patented maniacal blackened metal attack – proving why they are one of the most important, exciting and influential bands in the genre. Both the band and the fans mutually agree that a return to Australian shores is essential and the time is upon us!

Few bands earn the right to be considered a ‘cult’ band – even fewer live up to the title. ABSU are one of the few who have not only earned this title; they command it. ABSU’s recordings are mandatory listening for any metal fan, their live show a ritual that must be witnessed. If you were part of the chaos on their first tour, we’ll see you again. If you missed out, this is your opportunity to redeem yourself.

TOUR DATES

Wednesday March 19 – Enigma Bar, Adelaide*

(*Portal & Denouncement Pyre not appearing)

Thursday March 20 – Amplifier Bar, Perth   

Friday March 21 – Hifi Bar, Melbourne 

Saturday March 22 – The Factory, Sydney 

Sunday March 23 – Crowbar, Brisbane

Earthless Announce Australian Tour w/The Shrine!

18 Nov

It’s official psych fans, California’s finest are returning to Australia for a 3rd time, and to mark such a glorious occasion, they’re bringing Los Angeles mega hyped garage punks, and fellow label mates, The Shrine with them.

Hailing from San Diego, Earthless have been spreading their psychic trans love energy all over the World since 2001, they’ve shared stages with the likes of Dinosaur Jr, Baroness, Dead Meadow, and Wooden Ships, just to name a few, and with the release of their 3rd studio album “From the Ages” (Tee Pee Records), which is highly regarded as their finest recorded output to date, it seems like there’s no slowing down, or turning back. The Earth is their oyster, no less.

If you’re unaware of Earthless, they’re essentially a high-energy rock n roll band with their influences heavily planted in the golden age of 60’s and 70’s heavy psych and Kraut Rock. They feature none other than Mario Rubalcaba on drums, one time Pro Skater, now full time drummer, Mario also plays for the likes of OFF!, Rocket From The Crypt and Hot Snakes.

On guitar they feature Mr Isaiah Mitchell, who as many would claim is an undisputed guitar virtuoso. Lastly on bass, Earthless feature Mr Michael Eginton, part time bassist, part time record storeowner, and full time dad!

This now brings me to The Shrine.

If you haven’t experienced this power trio, get ready, as they’re with out a doubt one of the most down to earth, coolest, and straight shooting skater punks bands on the planet. Forget about all that 90’s pop punk phony skater punk rubbish, these dudes are taking shit way back to where it all began. Imagine hanging out in Southern California in the mid 70’s with the Dog Town and Z Boys skate crew, then think of the best possible punk rock’n sound track to those times, what you have here is The Shrine. End of story!

Tour Dates:

Dec/Jan 2013/14

Saturday 28th: Perth @ The Rosemount Hotel

Sunday 29th: Fremantle @ MoJo’s

Monday 30th: Geelong @ The Barwon Club

Tuesday 31st: HEATHEN SKULLS NYE Party Fest The Corner Hotel – Melbourne

Wednesday 1st: Canberra @ The Basement w/ Tumbleweed


Thursday 2nd: Newcastle @ The Cambridge w/ Tumbleweed


Friday 3rd: Brisbane @ Crowbar w/ Eternal Elysium (Japan)


Saturday 4th: Sydney @ The Hi Fi w/ Eternal Elysium (Japan) + Dead China Doll

Sunday 5th: Melbourne @ The Hi Fi w/ Eternal Elysium (Japan), White Walls + Bad Visions

Children of Bodom Announce Australian Tour!

18 Nov

Children of Bodom, a name that redefined a genre and made it their own and a name that continues to galvanise all walks of life and all Heavy Metal sub-genres within that culture, it’s a name that crosses genres and moulds them into the one army. In 2014, Children of Bodom return to Australia for an exclusive East Coast tour on the back of their strongest release to date that surpasses any of the band’s classic and ground breaking releases such as‘Something Wild’, ‘Hatebreeder’ and ‘Follow The Reaper’.

Fronted by the charismatic Alexi Laiho, Children of Bodom deliver live performances that are nothing short of breathtaking with every show leaving the viewer spellbound and gasping for air. Such is the enormous amount of energy and entertainment the entire band puts out, simply stated, Children of Bodom back up their studio recordings with a non-stop battery and barrage to the senses of anyone that attends their shows, it’s the only way they know and long may it continue!

Children of Bodom will perform tracks off their brilliant and recent new release ‘Halo of Blood’; they will also perform a comprehensive selection of fan favourite tracks. Children of Bodom will be performing East Coast shows only; Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney (All-Ages). They will be supported nationally by Eye Of The Enemy and will be joined by Orpheus Omega for the Melbourne show.

Tour Dates:

Wednesday 7th May – Billboard The Venue, MELBOURNE (18+)

Tickets from www.metalmassacre.com.au  / www.moshtix.com.au  / www.ticketek.com.au

w/ EYE OF THE ENEMY + ORPHEUS OMEGA

 Friday 9th May – The HiFi, SYDNEY (All Ages)

Tickets from www.metalmassacre.com.au  / www.thehifi.com.au

w/ EYE OF THE ENEMY

Saturday 10th May – The HiFi, BRISBANE (18+)

Tickets from www.metalmassacre.com.au  / www.thehifi.com.au

w/ EYE OF THE ENEMY