the Hellion Rocks presents: Gregg LoCascio of Cycle Of Pain



A while ago we had the chance to speak with Black Label Society/Cycle Of Pain bassist John “JD” DeServio ( We now have the great fortune to speak with Cycle Of Pain vocalist Gregg LoCascio. We had a great chat and he’s a down to earth kind of guy. Enjoy our conversation right here:


it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s CYCLE OF PAIN!!!

– the Hellion

the Hellion Rocks top 16 (started at 10, then 16) CDs of 2013!!!


Well it’s rapidly approaching the end of 2013 and time for my top releases of the year. While there were so many fantastic records from both new and established artists, there are a few that just burrowed into my brain and I couldn’t shake them. There are 16 that I am going to mention here and they are in no particular order as they are all incredible in my book. To those bands who aren’t listed here, relax I have another post planned to address you.



When you have a CD from a band that has members like Vinny Appice, Rex Brown, Mark Zavon, and Dewey Bragg you know your’re in for a treat. This CD kicks ass on so many levels. The music of KDH sounds familiar and distinctly unique, giving you a feeling that this band has been around for years but yet remaining fresh. Do NOT miss out on this CD, here’s a taste:


Scattered Hamlet - Skeleton Dixie CD cover

Scattered Hamlet – Skeleton Dixie CD cover

My boys in Scattered Hamlet deliver on their full length release and then some. Remember when music made you feel something? Skeleton Dixie gets right in and touches your musical soul. Throughout the years these guys have become family to me and I have the great fortune of being mentioned in this CD as well. You WILL love it! Get some:



     When Billy Sheehan, Mike Portnoy, and Richie Kotzen get together you know you’re gonna get something great. There was a lot of buzz around this project and when it came to fruition it delivered in spades. Great straight up rock n’ roll, there needs to me more records like this one. Check it:



     Tom Keifer has always been one of my favorite vocalists. The gritty soulfulness of his voice is iconic. It has been quite a while since we have had new music from Tom and it has been worth the wait. Bluesy with a razors edge is what you find on this record. Take a listen:



     I find it funny that I have included Stryper on this list. I’ll admit that I was not really the biggest Stryper fan back in the day, I have found a new respect for them in this record. They have a tenacity that will not quit. Strong in their beliefs, and strong in their musical passion is what landed them here. (On a side note, I recently interviewed Michael Sweet and have one coming up with Oz Fox). Here’s the title track:



     Black Water Rising has been honing this record for a few years, and it shows. These guys have been in my ears for a few years now and I finally got to see them live and hear some of these songs live. BWR brings powerful rock n’ roll and here is some for ya :


Adrian Galysh Tone Poet Cover

     Adrian Galysh is one of hidden talents that the world has yet to discover. I received this CD for review and was completely amazed by it, and I believe you will be too. listen to this CD and hear a mans passion transferred to his music.



     Korn has welcomed Head back into its fold and released one of their best CDs to date. I believe that their life experiences has caused this band to grow and mature and that growth is reflected in The Paradigm shift. “Never Never” has become one of my favorite tracks. Check out the video and see why:



     Death Alley Motor Cult is one of those bands that you want to hang out with but you remember what your mom said to you about the company you keep. Their music is like that too, when you listen to it you feel dirty, dangerous, and cool, very very cool. The Outlaw Chronicles needs to be played at 11 and in a conspicuous place so you can “enlighten” those in need of a visceral experience.



     Sometimes I catch grief for listening to A7X, but this band gives me hope for newer music. upon the heels of suffering the loss of their founding drummer “The Rev” they have come back with strong music that has shaken up the pop laden music charts. Hail To The King pays homage to the bands that inspired these guys. Hail To The King:



     Clutch is one of those bands that will always remain just under the radar. Earth Rocker is a great album that unfortunately many people will not get to hear. Clutch is a band that gets ignored by the mainstream and yet I think they are happy with that. Great band, great show, great record. Do yourself a favor and listen to Earth Rocker and then dig into the music of Clutch. Here’s “Crucial Velocity”:



     Adrenaline Mob put out this CD of covers that is just incredibly awesome. They cover Van Halen’s “Romeo Delight” with the power and aggression that I think it deserved from the beginning. I usually do not put cover albums on my list, but this one has a place. Check this out:



     Last Patrol takes you on a psychedelic journey into the mind of Dave Wyndorf. Monster Magnet is back on their game with their latest release. Just caught these guys on tour in support of Last Patrol and the songs kick ass live!



     Mindcage came out of left field and socked me in the head with this one. Our Own Devices creates a magical world with their powerful music. I have said that is transports you away from the mundane and I stand by that statement. Here you go:



     Those of you who know me knew this one would end up on here. Zakk and co. have always and will always be one of my favorites. Unblackened gives new life to some of the most iconic BLS tracks. While the members may change, Black Label Society will remain STRONGER THAN DEATH.



     Of all of the great and wonderful 2013 releases on my list, this is most magical for me. Having considered Tracii Guns one of my favorite guitarists for years and years I was supremely stoked when I caught wind of this project. When I finally had it in my  hands it was all that I expected and then some. Trippy , ethereal and full of passion, and soul the music found on here is the kind we grew up listening to. Thank you Tracii!

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

     the Hellion

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

Road trip to ROCK N’ ROLL – KILL DEVIL HILL!!!


I cannot say enough good things about Kill Devil Hill. Paul Gargano of Century Media made sure I received the new CD Revolution Rise for review, set up an interview with vocalist Dewey Bragg, and arranged for me to shoot their show and meet with the guys. Thank you Paul and Century Media. Here is the interview link in case you missed it:

     I have to give thanks to Rancid Savage Productions for making it possible for my very good friend guitarist Mike Araiza (Of The Earth, Frank Hannon Band) to attend the show with me.


    I want to thank my friends guitarist Mike Araiza (Of The Earth, Frank Hannon Band) and vocalist Dion Tejada (Scars Blue) for sharing this epic road trip with me. We talked music, life, and basically had a great time. It was reminiscent of the glory days of Rock concerts. The vibe were chill, the road music was great, and the conversation flowed.

     We rolled up to the historic El Morro Theater in Gallup, NM and saw the infamous Dimebag tour bus. From that moment we knew we were in for a kickass night of Rock N’ Roll!

the Dime bus!

the Dime bus!

     We parked the Hellionmobile and walked to the venue as cool as we could. As we passed a small cafe we saw the legendary Vinny Appice sitting there on his laptop. We got to the venue and found it locked and the guest list was not available yet so we just chilled a bit. I called my friend Rob Traynor (vocals/guitars for Black Water Rising who was on the bill) and he said he’d meet us in a few. It was then we were told to go around the back and come on in. The bands were still loading in and equipment was everywhere and we were geeked for a killer show. My brother Mike Araiza offered to use one of my cameras and shoot from a different angle than me. It was a welcome addition to my show shoot and Mike managed to squeeze in 2400 shots!! Thanks Mike, much love brother!

El Morro theater preshow!

El Morro theater preshow!


     First up on the bill was local Gallup band Testify. Identifying with their local heritage this young band brought some seriously good music to the mix. Definitely looking forward to more from these guys.




     Ahhh BlinDDryve, a band near and dear to my heart. I have seen this Albuquerque band grow and evolve into the powerhouse that they are today. They delivered a great set today and left the crowd wanting more.




     Revocation is a band new to me and I have already interviewed them and caught them twice. Hard, aggressive, and LOUD!!! Revocation is a band on the move in a big way. Kicking ass and taking name is their game. Don’t miss out on them if they come your way.



Black Water Rising

     I was busy with something menial the first time I heard Black Water Rising, and it grabbed my attention fully. “Brother Go On” was the track and I was hooked. I found the CD and stayed in touch with what they were up to. Eventually I was able to do a phone interview with vocalist/guitarist Rob Traynor. I stayed in touch with Rob and was excited to hear about their new release Pissed And Driven. It was with great pleasure when I heard they were on the bill for this show. I will be doing a feature piece on them and their set.

Black Water Rising

Black Water Rising

Eyes Set To Kill

     A lot of people were excited to see this band and they drew a positive crowd response. New, fresh, with solid shared vocals and hooks, this band has been making waves across the globe. A band for the new world Eyes Set To Kill is coming to your ears soon.

Eyes Set To Kill

Eyes Set To Kill


     Vinny Appice, Rex Brown, Dewey Bragg, and Mark Zavon are collectively known as Kill Devil Hill. The crew closed the curtains as the crowd prepared themselves for complete devastation from the band.  The crowd roared as the curtains finally opened and the band exploded on stage.

Kill Devil Hill

Kill Devil Hill

Having heard both of the KDH records I knew the sound that the band had in the studio and was stoked to see what they sounded like live, I was not disappointed. The band was stellar with their live performance. While true to the songs from the records, they infused them with the magic one can only see in a live show. Rex Brown played to the crowd drawing them in to the show and feeding off of their energy.

Rex Brown firing up the crowd

Rex Brown firing up the crowd

The legendary Vinny Appice brought the thunder to Gallup, NM that night. Pure magic came from behind the kit as Vinny pounded out the songs of Kill Devil Hill. We owe Vinny a debt of gratitude for giving us this incredible new music.

Vinny Appice the legend!

Vinny Appice the legend!

Mark Zavon has some serious chops. This is guitarist that I feel is seriously underrated and then some. From shred to clean riffs Mark did it all effortlessly. Although Mark is a newcomer to most people, he took the stage with swagger and confidence many veterans of the stage do not. He is rapidly becoming one of my favorite players.

Mark Zavon owning the stage

Mark Zavon owning the stage

And then there’s Dewey Bragg, my favorite new vocalist. There is a magic in his voice and you can feel it reach into you when you listen to the songs of Kill Devil Hill. From brain shattering screams to haunting harmonies Dewey hits it all. The thing about Dewey is that he sees his voice as an instrument and treats it accordingly, and it shows. Besides the voice and the company he keeps Dewey remains humble and grateful. I asked him in our recent interview if he ever looks around while on stage and says damn that’s Rex Brown and damn that’s Vinny Appice, his repsonse: : “Every Night”.

Dewey Bragg filling our ears with joy

Dewey Bragg filling our ears with joy

Kill Devil Hill are a classy group of gentlemen indeed. After busting their asses onstage they took the time to hang out and meet the crowd, take pictures and sign stuff for them. The Crowd lined up in anticipation and you could see the joy on their faces as Rex, Vinny, Mark, and Dewey acknowledged them even if for only a moment.

Rex Brown and Dion Tejada

Rex Brown and Dion Tejada

Vinny Appice with a fan

Vinny Appice with a fan

Kill Devil Hill with some VIP  purchasers

Kill Devil Hill with some VIP purchasers

Rex Brown with the Hellion

Rex Brown with the Hellion

As a bonus to people attending these shows Rita Haney (DimebagzHag) is running the merch table for Kill Devil Hill. She took the time to talk, sign things, and take pictures with the fans. A class act indeed.

Rita Haney with a fan

Rita Haney with a fan

Rita Haney with Mike Araiza

Rita Haney with Mike Araiza

And then it was all over and everyone had to go back to their regular lives, but at least, they were all carrying the magic of the nights show with them into their dreams.

Thanks to all of the bands for delivering a great night of Rock N’ Roll!!! Thanks Mike Araiza  and Dion Tejada for the company!

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

the Hellion

Rob Traynor gives us the lowdown on Black Water Rising


Rob Traynor-Vocals/Guitar
Dennis Kimak-Guitar
Mike Meselsohn-Drums
Oddie Mclaughlin-Bass

The first time I heard the track “Brother Go On” by Black Water Rising it stopped me in my tracks. Groovin’ with a heavy vibe it was something special. After searching around for the record, to no avail in the stores, I ordered it online and was completely satisfied. Heavy with killer riffs, powerful lyrics it kept my attention with every song. Here we are years later and there is an impending new release from Black Water Rising and, I nailed an interview with vocalist/guitarist/founder Rob Traynor.

2102_1084084425275_8625_n     Before you listen to the interview, Which includes the new track “Show No Mercy”, watch the video which started it all for me “Brother Go On”:

     Be sure and check them out at : and on facebook :

     Now, sit back, open a cold beverage, and enjoy getting to know Rob:

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

     the Hellion



Death Alley Motor Cult brings metal back to where it belongs, to the forefront of radio. Start with a dose of blistering guitar work, a thunderous rhythm section, growling vocals and you have an idea what Death Alley Motor Cult is all about. Check out “American Nightmare”:



In a flash of bright, colorful, iridescent light The Electric Boa don’t just remind you of all things rock, they ARE all things rock – now, yesterday and tomorrow.  Here is “Horse” live:



I have loved this band since I found them. In the process of spreading the word I have bought several of their CDs and passed them along to friends. Here is my favorite track:



a couple of years ago a friend told me about this band. I have liked them ever since. Blues based straight up Rock N’ Roll have kept this band in my ears.  They made a breakthrough with the 2011 release of “Pressure & Time”. They have just released “Head Down” on  09/17/12 I recommend you grab it. Here is their new video for “Keep On Swinging”:


This is another band recommended to me by a friend. They are new to me but a definite like. Heavy DOOM and hard charging music makes this band a worthwhile listen. Check out “Coven of Cain” and let me know what you think!:


from their bio: Abiotic is an American progressive, technical death metal band from Miami, Florida that has recently signed to Metal Blade Records. The five-piece group consists of vocalist Ray Jimenez, bassist Alex Vazquez, drummer Andres Hurtado and guitarists Matt Mendez and Johnathan Matos. The band has released two singles and a seven song studio EP entitled ‘A Universal Plague’. “Vermosapien”, the second track on the EP, has recently been featured on the quintet’s first music video, directed by Dan Drescher.Abiotic is agressive, melodic, technical and musical, to say the least. They’ve been compared to bands like The Faceless and Veil of Maya. Mixing technical riffs, brutal break downs, and solos that will leave you breathless, makes this five-piece assault an act that fans won’t ever want to miss. Here is “Vermosapien”:


I got to see these guys a few weeks ago. Great band, very tight, awesome stage performance and great guys to talk to. I see great hings with this young band. They out on the road and earning their stripes! Here is their new video for “tWIST3D l0V3 sTORY”  : 


So I just love this band period! Getting out, getting done with pure Rock N’ Roll music. Bringing the fun back into Rock but at the same time ready to kick your ass at the drop of hat. Thanks guys! Here’s “KISS Tried To Kill Me” :


I have a deep seated love for southern rock. I grew up listening to old school country and hippie rock. Southern Rock was a natural progression for me. I found Blackberry Smoke recently and new immediately I would like them. With bands like them Southern Rock and its legacy will stay true. Here is “Ain’t Much Left Of Me” :


I heard this band on satellite radio one day and had to know more. What I found is a band whose attitude is “What you see is what you get”. No frills, groove laden Rock N’ Roll. This band sees regular play in my rotation. Here’s the KILLER track “Brother Go On”: