they journeyed down the Highway To Hell and came Back In Black

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how can a band have back to back swansongs? Leave it to AC/DC. I was watching a documentary on the band and it got me thinking about their career. Keep in mind these are just my opinions and mine alone.

AC/DC has been hanging out in my ears since “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” caught my attention in late 1976. I was hooked from the get go. I really identified with the rebellious dirty sound of these guys. AC/DC was a band full of guys that were the type your parents warned you to stay away from and yet you couldn’t. I felt an affinity towards these guys and made it my mission to collect their music and adopt their attitude.

I earned money to buy High Voltage, T.N.T, Dirty Deeds, Let There Be Rock, and Powerage. I did my best to wear them out as they remained in constant rotation on my turntable. There was just SOMETHING about the vibe of the music.

The summer of 1979 AC/DC delivered unto the world their best work to date, Highway to Hell. This record was perfection start to finish. The songs were flawless, and the cover was every parents nightmare back then. Devil horns, pentagrams, sullen hooligans…heroes to us rebellious youths.

Then a short seven months later my hero Bon was found dead in a car, death by misadventure, taken out like he lived.

In my mind I think that AC/DC made the best album they could ever make and the pressure to top it was weighing heavy on Bon. I think it was Bon Scott era AC/DC’s swansong.

My mind was blown when in the summer of 1980 a new AC/DC record hit the stores, Back In Black. Wait, what?!?!? They had replaced Bon Scott?!?!? Turns out that yes they had.

I bought it and raced home to hear what my beloved AC/DC had done. It wasn’t bad, in fact the record kicked ass. Brian Johnson wasn’t Bon and he wasn’t trying to be, and I was ok with that. It was AC/DC and yet….not. I felt that the new stuff was good but was missing a bit of their street tough element. To me this was Brian Johnson era AC/DC’s swansong.

And that was that, the following records really did nothing for me and I felt that my beloved AC/DC had crossed into the realm of hard-pop music and even though I have consistently purchased every release the love affair  was long over.

That is how to me AC/DC made back to back swansong records. They jumped the shark twice, and to me that’s ok.

AC/DC soldiers on to this day and yes I still support them and always will, but that special connection, that spark, that nod from one street tough to another is long gone…

Thanks for the history guys, I still have the denim vest, and can still smell cigarette smoke and feel the whiskey flask in my pocket, and probably always will.

it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s AC/DC!!!

the Hellion

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Talking to Michael Sweet of Stryper about the new record ‘FALLEN’


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It’s always a good day to talk with Michael Sweet from Stryper. I had the chance yesterday to speak with Michael a bit about the new record and some other things. It was a heartfelt conversation and left me feeling good. Thanks again Michael, and Kevin for making it happen. Enjoy our conversation right here:

     Do yourselves a favor and pick up the new Stryper release out on Frontier Records Friday, October 16th, I give it a 15 out of 10 stars!!!

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     Check out Stryper online:

www.facebook.com/Stryper

www.stryper.com

www.frontiers.it

     it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s ROCK N’ ROLL!!!

     -the Hellion

Wait, they made a new record?

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A recent conversation I overheard: “I’m going to see Def Leppard this weekend, are you?” “No I don’t like him.” I interjected “You know, Def Leppard has a new record coming out.”  To which the response was “I only like that one song, you know, the “Sugar” song.”

After banging my head repeatedly into the wall I began to think about veteran bands and their new music.

I can recall going to several recent shows where the bands were touring on new music and yet the fans were only interested in hearing the “hits” from the past. It is this that bothers me. Why make a new album then if no one cares to hear the new stuff? I get why there are so many frustrated musicians in the world these days.

I, for one, love to hear the new music, I actually prefer it. I blame this on corporate radio (yet again, the bane of my existence). Oh yes they will play the “new” track from the more popular artists for a bit but then often times it fades away to be replaced with the classic “hit” songs.

What does this really do to the artists? I feel that it makes some of them only go through the motions when writing a new record. They put it out only because they have to contractually. It’s the “nobody cares to listen to our new music, so why bother” syndrome. I am not saying it’s always like that but I get that vibe from some.

So what is the fix? I don’t really think there is a general fix for the problem. It is up to us stalwart music lovers who go out and buy the new releases from veteran artists to turn others on to said new music. I have said in the past that Rock N’ Roll was spread by word of mouth in its beginning and it has come full circle to that today.

I am tired of seeing people at Iron Maiden, KISS, Def Leppard, Motley Crue, etc., etc., shows looking bored and distracted when they play new material. I get it, you love “that one song”, but why not give the new stuff a chance, and you might just find another song or two to love.

 

It’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s ROCK N’ ROLL!!!

-the Hellion

Was Dimebag really that great?

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 photo credit: Chad Lee

THIS POST IS IN NO WAY INTENDED TO DISRESPECT THE MEMORY OF DIME

 

It has been almost ten years since Dimebag was shot to death onstage. It just so happened that I was talking to a very well known guitarist today (he wished to remain anonymous) about Dime and the impact he has had on the music community. His opinions and thoughts made me think about Dime and his influence.

I see so many people sporting the pink goatee and citing Dime as their main influence in guitar playing. But was he REALLY that good a player? I mean are there any songs by him that are truly game changers? Or is it “cool” to like him and therefore “cool” to cite him as an innovator? In my discussion with my friend the statement was made that Pantera filled a niche in the metal community and that was all it was.

In my opinion Dime played with heart and soul and THAT is good enough for me. If you look at the so called “A-List” guitar players you might find that their “skill-level”, or “technical mastery” might be lacking but their heart and interpretation was spot on.

I am just curious what you, loyal reader, have to say about Dimebag. Not looking for a slamming of him just some intelligent feedback.

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it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s ROCK N’ ROLL!

-the Hellion

from the Hook to the Slender Man, scary things.

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I am old enough to remember the tales of old told in the dark long ago. You know the urban legends I speak of. Bloody Mary, The vanishing hitchhiker, the killer in the backseat, the babysitter and the man in the house, humans can lick too, aren’t you glad you didn’t turn on the light, and the hook. We loved to scare each other and adapt the stories to our areas and situations. We all knew they were just stories but there was always that little bit of apprehension.

Now we have the internet taking the stories worldwide. There’s a new crop opened up to us and just recently it turned scary. The tales of  the Slender Man have hit the news in a big way. It is interesting to note that what started out as an internet meme has grown into the sensation it has become. It is as if the internet has actually given life to this creature. Now we have two young girls  who have attempted to impress this made up legend by harming a friend. What are we becoming? Thoughts everyone?

 

Scarily yours,

-the Hellion

Regarding AVENGED SEVENFOLD and Hail To The King

Ststoriginal In 2001 a band caught my ears, that band was Avenged Sevenfold. “Warmness On The Soul” from their debut release Sounding the Seventh Trumpet was the song that did it. I dug the sound and the imagery the band was trying to present. I thought to myself if this  band managed to keep it together, and not breakup, they had the potential to become a great band.

WakingTheFallen

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    They released three more albums Waking The Fallen, City Of Evil, and the self titled Avenged Sevenfold. Each album brought enjoyable music and showcased their growth and talent as songwriters and musicians. And then in 2009 disaster happened, founding member and drummer James”The Rev”  Owen Sullivan passed away. Was this end of a band that I was sure would rise to the top?

James "The Rev" Owen Sullivan (February 9, 1981 – December 28, 2009)

James “The Rev” Owen Sullivan (February 9, 1981 – December 28, 2009)

I cannot imagine their thoughts at the loss of their comrade in arms and yet, they muddled through it and released Nightmare in 2010. Pulling in Mike Portnoy (one of The Rev’s idols) to complete the drum work The Rev had started and including the vocal tracks he had laid down. Nightmare was met with critical acclaim and launched A7X into mega stardom.

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     Due to the fact that The Rev played a part in the songwriting process of A7X people began speculating as to the survival of the band post Nightmare. Mike Portnoy toured with the band briefly before leaving the band.  Arin Ilejay was then tapped to become their permanent drummer.

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     2013- Hail To The King was released on August 27th and I was scheduled to shoot their performance on August 30th. What can I say about this album? My prediction from 12 years ago has come true. A7X has managed to knock everyone off the charts and put ROCK N’ ROLL back on top as it should be. Congratulations guys, your perseverance has paid off.

     Now, to address the naysayers to the album. There has been postings and rumblings on how A7X has “ripped off” Metallica, Megadeth, Guns N’Roses, and Iron Maiden. Well if you give it some thought you will realize that those bands were some of the bands who inspired the members of A7X. Go through your records and listen to them again and you will hear similarities to other bands in almost all of them in some way or another. How long has it been since a hard rock act has been on top of the charts? A7X has gone to ground and pulled from those influences and made a damn good hard rock record.  Thank you gentle men, thank you very much. And to the naysayers: how many records have you sold recently, and what is your tour attendance like?

    Now, on a lighter note, here’s some of the pics I shot from their stellar performance on Day 1 of The Revolt On The Rio Grande powered by Rock Star Energy Drink.

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M. Shadows

M. Shadows

M. Shadows

M. Shadows

Zacky Vengeance and Synyster Gates

Zacky Vengeance and Synyster Gates

M. Shadows

M. Shadows

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Johnny Christ

Johnny Christ

Zacky Vengeance

Zacky Vengeance

Arin Ilejay

Arin Ilejay

A7X stage setup

A7X stage setup

Hail To The Kings indeed

the Hellion

SCHECTER GUITAR RESEARCH KICKSTARTS 2013 BY SIGNING MOTLEY CRUE / SIXX: A.M. BASSIST NIKKI SIXX TO ITS STELLAR ROSTER OF ARTISTS

Company to Unveil “The Schecter Sixx” Bass at Winter NAMM Conference – Room 210-D

(January 16, 2013, Sun Valley/Hollywood, CA) –2013 is proving to already be a monumental year for Schecter Guitar Research as the company settles into its expanded headquarters in Sun Valley, CA,  ramps up for MAJOR new gear announcements and continues to amass a stellar lineup of artists, which includes some of the biggest names in the recording and touring industries. To that note, the company is proud to announce the partnership with a true modern-day rock icon by signing Mötley Crüe / Sixx: A.M.bassist, NY Times bestselling author and radio host Nikki Sixx, adding even more fire power to its roster.  Not only has Schecterlanded a talented and noted songwriter and player, but also one of the leading voices and minds in fashion, non-fiction, photography and media via his clothing lines, New York Times top 10 selling books and his successful internationally syndicated radio shows Sixx Sense with Nikki Sixx and The Side Show Countdown with Nikki Sixx.

However, it is his musical pedigree, history and current musical projects that helped the collaboration with Schecter come to fruition. “It was an exciting and creative process to work with Schecter on the new Schecter Sixx Signature Series Bass,” states Sixx, “It was important to all of us to design a bass that would feel right as well as sound amazing in the hands of all players, not just me. Every detail about the new Schecter Sixx comes from all of our collective experiences – whether it’s my 30 years of playing live and recording or Schecter’s unprecedented standards for making quality instruments for players of all genres. Simply said, this bass rocks!”  Schecter’s Executive Vice President, Marc LaCorte adds, “I really felt as if we instantly gelled and were looking to accomplish the same goal with this project.  Above all, it was so refreshing to see an artist of Nikki’s stature be so involved and genuinely concerned about every detail in the creation of this instrument.”

Nikki Sixx has been known for years as a player stylized by his brashness and Schecter has taken it upon themselves to create this Nikki Sixx signature mode, aptly named the Schecter SixxNikki Sixx will be introducing the Schecter Sixx with an exclusive signing at the winter NAMM Conference in Anaheim, CA on January 26th from 3:00pm-4:00pm PST at the Schecter booth (Room 210-D). It can be maintained that The Schecter Sixx will reflect Nikki’s style, both visually and sonically, while being able to withstand the punishing rigors of the road from opening night to the end of tour closing set.  The Schecter Sixx bass will surely make a rumble through the industry and then resonate with players, retailers and consumers alike.

 

Nikki Sixx Biography

Nikki Sixx is the International rock icon, founding member of Mötley Crüe and Sixx:A.M., two-time New York Times bestselling author with The Heroin Diaries and This Is Gonna Hurt, co-founder of rock couture fashion line Royal Underground, philanthropist, photographer and internationally syndicated radio show host of Sixx Sense and The Side Show Countdown. Some of Sixx’s accomplishments include over 80-million in album sales with Mötley Crüe and Sixx:A.M., countless sold out tours, Mötley Crüe’s sold out residency at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas – a first for the hard rock genre – an award-winning Superbowl commercial for Kia, photographing a high fashion shoot for The New York Post’s prestigious supplement Alexa, and raising several hundred thousand dollars through his Running Wild in the Night charity for Covenant House California.

http://www.motley.com

http://sixxammusic.com/

www.sixxsense.com

www.facebook.com/nikkisixxofficial

@NikkiSixx

 

About Schecter Guitar Research:

As Schecter Guitar Research moves into its 37th year in business, they have solidified the elite status, as one of the world’s premier guitar companies.  Its continually evolving and expanding line of guitars and basses appeals to a broad spectrum of players and diverse musical styles. Its core business practice offers high-quality instruments with professional components at an affordable price.  One of the company’s strongest assets is its growing roster of high-profile artists, including: Nikki Sixx, Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold, The Cure, Papa Roach, Seether, Prince, Stone Temple Pilots, Nevermore and Black Label Society.  For more information log onto: www.schecterguitars.com

THE SCHECTER SIXX:  NIKKI SIXX SIGNATURE BASS (Photos below)

Construction:                   Neck-Thru with Ultra Access

Body:                                     Mahogany

Neck:                                    5-ply Maple/Walnut

Scale:                                     34”

Fingerboard:                   Rosewood

Nut:                                     Graph Tech Black TUSQ XL 42mm

Frets:                                     24 X-Jumbo

Inlays:                                     Dots

Pickups:                   EMG P/J

Electronics:                   Vol/Vol/Tone/”Kill” Switch

Bridge:                                     Schecter Custom String Thru Body (or Top-Load)

Tuners:                   Grover

Hardware:                  Black Chrome

Colors:                                     Satin Black (SBK) or Vintage Sunburst (VSB)

Left-Hand Availability: Satin Black (SBK)

Case: SGR-21-NS

Lefty Case:                   See Website www.schecterguitars.com

Handler