Cycle Of Pain, Black Label Society bass legend John “JD” DeServio on the Hellion Rocks



I keep fighting to bring you pertinent interviews with musicians trying to keep kicking your  ass with new music. From time to time people step up to help these interviews happen. The Garcia family (Ish, Lacey, and Matt “The Cat”) put me in touch with Paul Byrne who set this interview up. Thank you guys for stepping up and making this interview with John “JD” DeServio!

Cycle Of Pain has already put out one quality record and is fixing to drop another killer EP on us soon. Cycle Of Pain is:

John “JD” Deservio (Bass)
Joe Taylor (Lead Guitar)
Gregg Locascio (Vox, Guitar)
Bob Pantella (Drums)
Troy Cromwell (Keys)





JD and I talked a little about his history, a little BLS, his Schecter endorsement,  and music. Enjoy the interview right here:

     it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s JD holding down the bottom end!

the Hellion

An interview with Michael Sweet from STRYPER



Hot on the heels of the new STRYPER release “No More Hell To Pay” I caught up with vocalist/guitarist/founder Michael Sweet and had a great conversation. Kevin Chiaramonte of PFA (Paul Freundlich Associates) set this up so many thanks to him. Michael and I had a nice, relaxing conversation about life and music. Here is the link to the interview:

    Be sure to check out the new release from STRYPER  “No More Hell To Pay” out on Frontiers Records



it’s loud, it’s inspiring, it’s STRYPER!

the Hellion

The Musical Magic of Mike Araiza and Jeffery Sandoval: “It’s All I Need” coming soon!


I have had the great pleasure of becoming friends with Jeff and Mike over the years. I have shared in the joy of their successes in the music industry. They released one of my favorite CD’s to date, Of The Earth, and collaborated with Frank Hannon  (Tesla) on “SIX-STRING SOLDIERS”.


Now they are releasing a new single “It’s All I Need” in 2014.


Mike and Jeff have some pretty heavy hitters add their touch to this project as well. They have recruited bassist Kurt Arft (Die Hard Til Death, Mind Merchant) to law down the bottom end, Kurt is an amazing player and an awesome person to boot. Studio wizard Chris Collier (Music Producer, Pro Tools Engineer, Mixer, Session Drummer) will be producing and drumming on the track. With all of these factors in the equation it adds up to one hell of a project. Stay tuned to Jeff and Mike’s Facebook page: and the Hellion Rocks for updates.


it’s melodic, it’s beautiful, it’s Mike Araiza and Jeffery Sandoval

the Hellion




It has been a while since I have seen Jake E. Lee with such a smile on his face. I am glad he is returning with this exciting new project. It is definitely a release that I cannot wait for.



In case you’ve been in exile here is the official press release:


New Album by Band Comprised of Former Ozzy Osbourne/Badlands Guitar Legend Jake E. Lee, Bassist Ronnie Mancuso, Vocalist D.J. Smith and Drummer Jonas Fairley Set for Release on January 28th

(New York, NY – November 20, 2013) – The newest band ready to take aim at the creative void in the hard rock world, Red Dragon Cartel, are set to release their debut album via Frontiers Records. The self-titled debut by the band, made up of guitar legend Jake E. Lee, bassist Ronnie Mancuso, singer D.J. Smith and drummer Jonas Fairley is set for release on January 28th. Jake E. Lee is best known for his work in Badlands and as guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne on Bark at the Moon and The Ultimate Sin albums. Red Dragon Cartel also features various guest appearances from some of music’s most notable faces including legendary Cheap Trick vocalist Robin Zander, original Iron Maiden vocalist Paul Di’Anno, Kill Devil Hill/Pantera bassist Rex Brown, Slash’s Conspirators Todd Kearns and Brent Fitz and In This Moment front woman Maria Brink. The album was produced by Ronnie Mancuso and Jake E. Lee and was executive produced, mixed and mastered by Kevin Churko (In This Moment, Ozzy Osbourne, Five Finger Death Punch).

From the opening riff of “Deceived” to final sustained piano chord of “Exquisite Tenderness,” it is clear Red Dragon Cartel has created an album that stands amongst some of the greatest hard rock albums of all time. Infectious songs such as “Shout It Out,” “Wasted” and “Slave” showcase the band’s ability to write memorable hooks and vocal melodies. Robin Zander of Cheap Trick lends his voice to the track “Feeder” and a lyric video for the song can be seen at Maria Brink of In This Moment lends her unique vocals to the track “Big Mouth.” Paul Di’Anno and Sass Jordan also lend their talents to the band’s debut. Jake E. Lee’s trademark playing style instantly shines through and picks up right where he left off. The album is available for pre-order on at or digitally on iTunes at that comes with an instant download of “Deceived.” Eddie Trunk is premiering “Deceived” in the 11:00PM hour Friday night on his weekly radio show that can be heard on Q104.3 in the NYC area, streaming on Q104.3 website or with the free iheartradio app for any smartphone.

The track listing for Red Dragon Cartel is:

1. Deceived
2. Shout It Out
3. Feeder with Robin Zander
4. Fall From The Sky (Seagull)
5. Wasted with Paul Di’Anno
6. Slave
7. Big Mouth with Maria Brink
8. War Machine
9. Redeem Me with Sass Jordan
10. Exquisite Tenderness

The band will be bringing these new powerhouse songs on the road playing a handful of dates before embarking on a full tour in 2014. The band will be stopping in Los Angeles, Tempe, San Diego and Las Vegas and is a must-see for anyone in those markets. Tickets are currently on-sale and all information can be found on the band’s website.

December 12th – Los Angeles, CA – Whisky A Go Go
December 14th – Tempe, AZ – Marquee Theater (Support of Queensryche)
December 15th – San Diego, CA – Brick By Brick
December 20th – Las Vegas, NV – Count’s Vamp’d

Red Dragon Cartel – Official Website:
Official Twitter:

HIRAX gets ready to drop Immortal Legacy on SPV Records



There is nothing like a dose of thrash to get your heart racing and blood pumping. I got news this morning from HIRAX vocalist Katon W. De Pena of their impending new release Immortal Legacy.  Here is the track listing:

1. Black Smoke
2. Hellion Rising
3. Victims of the Dead
4. The Conquest. Thunder Roar. La Boca de la Bestia (Mouth of the Beast)
5. Earth Shaker
6. Tied to the Gallows Pole
7. Deceiver
8. Immortal Legacy
9. Mass Hysteria
10. Mephistopheles
11. Sign of the Wolf “S.O.W.” part 2 (intro)
12. Violence of Action
13. Atlantis (Journey to Atlantis)
14. The World Will Burn (Suffer the World)

     Imagine my great delight to hear the lead single, which will be officially released on 11/22/13 “Hellion Rising”. While coincidental, I think it is a great title. Here is the artwork for the single.


     Stay tuned for continuing coverage of Hirax right here on the Hellion Rocks!

     it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s HIRAX!

     -the HellionImmortal

Steve Asheim from DEICIDE on the hellion Rocks



Thanks to Paul Gargano from Century Media I found myself on the phone with Steve Asheim, one of the founding members of the influential Death metal band DEICIDE.


The band will drop its new record, In The Minds Of Evil on November 26th (I’m writing my review for it as well). It was an interesting interview with Steve, check it out here:

     it’s loud, it’s evil, it’s DEICIDE!!!

     the Hellion

1979, Saxon, and me



It was summer of 1979 and I was an impressionable youth. Music was my best friend, music got me through the tough times. I used to hang out at the local record store pouring through the vinyl looking for new music and bands that would fill my ears and mind. I came across a record in the import section and the cover immediately grabbed my attention. A warrior with a bloody sword and shield, the band was called Saxon. I didn’t have enough money to buy it right out but I remember asking the guy there if I could give him a couple of bucks to hold it for me. I came up with the rest of the cash a few days later and ran home with my prize.

The music was powerful, loud, and glorious. Songs like   “Big Teaser”, “Judgement Day”, “Stallions of the Highway”, and “Militia Guard” called to me. I knew then Saxon was destined for greatness and would be one of my favorite bands.

Saxon and their music carried me through the years giving us anthems to raise our fist high and shot at the top of our lungs. “Strong Arm Of The Law”, “Denim And Leather”, and many more.

Saxon never charted here in the US but there were plenty of us listening to them and we still do.

“Denim And Leather”

Where were you in ’79 when the dam began to burst?
Did you check us out down at the local show?
Were you wearing denim, wearing leather?
Did you run down to the front?
Did you queue for your ticket through the ice and snow?

Denim and leather brought us all together
It was you that set the spirit free
Denim and leather brought us all together
It was you that set the spirit free

Did you read the music paper from the back and to the front?
Did you find out where to see your favorite band?
Did you listen to the radio every Friday night?
Did you hang around your local record store? Sing it

Denim and leather brought us all together
It was you that set the spirit free
Denim and leather brought us all together
It was you that set the spirit free

It was you, you, you, you that set the spirit free
It was you, you, you, you that put us here today
It was you, you, you, you that filled the concert halls
It was you, you, you, you that set the spirit free

Denim and leather brought us all together
It was you that set the spirit free
Denim and leather brought us all together
It was you that set the spirit free

Denim and leather brought us all together
It was you that set the spirit free
Denim and leather brought us all together
It was you that set the spirit free

It was you that set the spirit free
It was you that set the spirit free
It’s you, you, you, you

           I was there in ’79 wearing Denim and Leather, and I’m still here today and still wearing Denim and Leather. Thank you Saxon, thank you for helping us to set our spirits free.


     it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s SAXON!!!

     -the Hellion



SEEKER on the Hellion Rocks!



     Josh Eldridge from Victory Records brought SEEKER to my attention. It just so happened that they were also coming to my town. I managed to drag them away for 10 minutes and chat with them about music. I was able to shoot their set for review (coming soon). Check out this the interview right here: 

     it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s SEEKER!!

     -the Hellion

British Heavy Metal Legends SAXON Unleash Brand New “Unplugged and Strung Up” Album Teaser with Interview Footage

British Heavy Metal Legends SAXON Unleash Brand New “Unplugged and Strung Up” Album Teaser with Interview Footage


New Album of Alternative Takes on Classic Favorites Hits Stores on November 25, 2013



British heavy metal legends SAXON and UDR Music are pleased to reveal a brand new Unplugged and Strung Up album teaser, which also includes snippets of interviews with vocalist Biff Byford. Check out the exclusive new video via UDR Music’s YouTube page here: 


Unplugged and Strung Up hits stores in the US on Monday, November 25th due to the holiday week, via UDR Music.


With Unplugged and Strung UpSAXON introduces a carefully selected collection of unique, fresh and adventurous interpretations of material previously heard only with raw heavy metal thunder, the point is triumphantly underscored.


Unplugged and Strung Up reveals layers and pieces previously dormant in many of the 14 classic SAXON songs chosen for this makeover, thanks to some ear-catching new arrangements and mixes. Recorded, mixed and mastered with Andy Sneap in Derbyshire, UK earlier this year, Biff and co. re-evaluated, re-worked and re-energized the towering likes of ‘The Eagle Has Landed’ and ‘Crusader’ by introducing orchestral dynamics to offer added dimension. ‘Frozen Rainbow’ from the band’s 1979 debut, gets a stunning acoustic reprisal which transports it into a power ballad to be proud of, whilst ‘Red Star Falling’ soars and sweeps the emotions with its orchestrally-arranged dovetail.


As if this reinvention wasn’t enough, SAXON superfans and collectors can purchase a digipack version of the release which will include 2002’s storming set of full-volume, pedal-to-the-metal re-recorded hits Heavy Metal Thunder. Featuring staple SAXON stormers such as ‘Motorcycle Man’, ‘Strong Arm of the Law’ and ‘Dallas 1pm’, it is a quintessential part of any collection. Order your copy of the digipack version here via Amazon.



The full-track listing for Unplugged and Strung Up is as follows:

01 Stallions Of The Highway (Remix)

02 Crusader (Orchestrated Version)

03 Battle Cry

04 The Eagle Has Landed (Orchestrated Version)

05 Red Star Falling (Orchestrated Version)

06 Broken Heroes (Orchestrated Version)

07 Call To Arms (Orchestrated Version)

08 Militia Guard

09 Forever Free (Re-recorded Version)

10 Just Let Me Rock (Re-recorded Version)

11 Frozen Rainbow (Acoustic Version)

12 Iron Wheels (Live Acoustic Version)

13 Requiem (Acoustic Version)

14 Coming Home (Acoustic Version)


The full track-listing for Heavy Metal Thunder is as follows:

01 Heavy Metal Thunder

02 Strong Arm Of The Law

03 Power & The Glory

04 And The Bands Played On

05 Crusader

06 Dallas 1PM

07 Princess Of The Night

08 Wheels Of Steel

09 747 (Strangers In The Night)

10 Motorcycle Man

11 Never Surrender

12 Denim & Leather

13 Backs To The Wall



– Limited Edition Digipack + Bonus Disc Heavy Metal Thunder

– CD Jewel Case

– Double Vinyl Gatefold LP

– Digital Download

– Exclusive D2C (Direct To Consumer) Package



For more information, please visit and



What is music to me?


What is music? Wow, what a question. I’ll try to tell you what it is to me.

I remember being alone a lot when I was younger, I also remember a painful childhood. Yet there was always a friend around to whisk me away from reality, music. I would often find myself listening to the world around me and the music it contained. There were birds chirping, the wind in the trees or against a building, the rain, sometimes the music of people going about their lives. That was natural music and it lives within us all, it is primal.

I remember radio becoming a close friend to me as well. I would listen to the various stations open minded to all that I was hearing. Through it all Rock N’ Roll called to me and welcomed me with open arms. There was such feeling in the music, and I identified with it. I was carried away from the everyday world by Rush, Van Halen, Boston, Peter Frampton, KISS….on an on. I was safe with them and I felt good. I give thanks to the live DJs who turned me on to the music they were listening to. I remember being able to call them up late night and discuss music with them and learn of bands and songs that still hold meaning to me today.

Ahhh the rock show, I have many fond memories here. When I was old enough I started going to live concerts and experiencing live music. What a joy to hear the songs I had come to know and love in a live setting. It was magical to see the songs being played to the moment. There is nothing like a live song played with the passion and emotions of the artist in the now. It was a party going to a live show, no fighting (well not like today, there were a few at times), no animosity, such a gathering for a good time. You could find out about bands you might not have heard of yet from others and you could turn them on to bands you have discovered. It was FUN!!! No cellphones, no leaving before the show was over, you were on from the first note to the end. Then the post show hangout and discussions, oh the times we had.

The event  of a new release, yes I said event. Once upon a time there were music stores and that was their main focus. Many of us would read every scrap of print we could find in order to know about upcoming releases. We would hang around in the record store talking music, and about the bands we loved. When a new record came out we would eagerly shell out our hard earned bucks, race home heart pounding, rip off the plastic, smell the fresh vinyl, drop the needle, and escape into the album artwork and liner notes.

What is music? Well, to me it is life, love and who we are. Our styles and preferences may change throughout the years but that love lives on within us. It is a different world today, the demise of the big labels, record stores closing, live radio traded for corporate canned programming. And yet, I raise my horns high and rock on as I have always done. The spirit lives on in me as I know it does in others and I am taking it back from the corporate world and I am gonna pass this message on to the world. Go to a live show, buy a t-shirt, buy a physical copy of the bands music, read the liner notes, TALK to people at a show, live the music because it lives in you.


it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s ROCK N’ ROLL (and I love it)

-the Hellion