Finding strength through adversity- guitarist Randy “the Arsonist” Cooper

photo courtesy of Randy Cooper's Facebook page

photo courtesy of Randy Cooper’s Facebook page

I first met Randy a few years ago at a show in NM. We hit it off and have remained friends and stayed in contact ever since. In getting to know Randy and the strength and tenacity he possesses has been inspiring to say the least. While life has seen fit to try and throw roadblocks ( there have been several and they shall remain personal out of respect for Randy) at him he blasts through them like a rock n’ roll juggernaut.

When I first bore witness to the performing and playing style of Randy I was blown away. It was obvious that he was inspired by the late great Dimebag (if you look closely at his headstock you will see two dimes, message me if you don’t get the reference) and yet he remained true to his own style of playing. Straight up in your ears power coupled with thoughtful melodies are what Randy shares with us in his music.

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I have seen Randy move on with his life and career in a positive way. He recently added his talent to the band Emperors And Elephants. I have really come to like this band and their straight up sound. Here’s taste for ya:

    Randy you continue to inspire and give me hope, thank you my dear friend.

     he’s loud, he’s on fire, he’s Randy “the Arsonist” Cooper!

    the Hellion

My conversation with Emperors And Elephants drummer Jason Meudt

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Very lucky to have the opportunity to speak with drummer Jason Meudt from Emperors And Elephants. Great conversation and we could have spoken all day. We spoke about the new release ‘Devil In The Lake’ and even premiered a track “Your Will”. Here’s the link for your enjoyment:

     Their new CD ‘Devil In The Lake’ has just dropped and you can pick it up world wide

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     Emperors And Elephants are on the web find them at: https://www.facebook.com/EmperorsandElephants and http://emperorsandelephants.com

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     it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s EMPERORS AND ELEPHANTS!

     the Hellion

EMPERORS AND ELEPHANTS – DEVIL IN THE LAKE CD REVIEW

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1. Bring It Down
2. Who You Are
3. Your Will
4. Man Of God
5. Locust
6. Hit Of Red
7. Deep Sleep
8. Change
9. Wicked Game
10. Ghost In The Mirror
11. You And I
12. M.O.G.- Dupermang Remix

     The Rock N’Roll  onslaught of 2014 continues with the release of ‘Devil In The Lake’ by Emperors And Elephants. Emperors And Elephants hit my radar when my friend, guitarist Randy Cooper, informed me that he had joined forces with them. I eagerly awaited news from this collaboration and read everything I could find. Now the fruits of their hard work have come to light as they unveil ‘Devil In The Lake’ to the world.

I have read other reviews comparing them to this band or that band, there will be none of that here. While you can hear certain influences in the music of Emperors And Elephants they remain unique in their sound.  There are elements of Southern Rock riffs to full on blazing Metal. I am not going to list who I feel their influences are I will leave that up to you and your ears.

Emperors And Elephants is  Jesse Andrews – vocals, Jason Meudt – drums, Jeph Stiph – guitars, Randy “The Arsonist” Cooper – guitars,and Ron “Stoppable”Vanders – bass a truly tight unit built for Rock N’ Roll.

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‘Devil In The Lake’ reaches out and sinks its sonic awesomeness into your ears right out of the gate with opening track “Bring It Down”, and by the the time you get to the closing notes of “M.O.G. Dupermang Remix”, you will come to realize you have become infected with the need to listen to the record all over again.

The guitar work that is found on ‘Devil In The Lake’ is top-notch. Randy “The Arsonist” Cooper and Jeph Stiph give us some riffage that dreams are made of. Beautiful acoustic, dirty Southern Rock grooves, to ear bleeding shred it’s all here on ‘Devil In The Lake’. Their trade-off licks remind me of some of the great guitar duos of Rock N’ Roll. You can distinctly hear their individual styles on the record though as each show their style of playing.

Jesse Andrews vocal work makes me ask “Where the hell has this guy been hiding?” Powerful is an understatement with Jesse on ‘Devil In The Lake’. Clean melodic work to bone rattling screams give your ears delight throughout. One of the things that draws me into a vocalist is the ability to inject emotional feeling into their vocals. Jesse imparts emotion and then some here, you truly feel when you listen to him sing.

Ron “Stoppable”Vanders provides the bottom end to Emperors And Elephants on ‘Devil In The Lake’ solid and the style that is needed on a record like this. Ron has the ability to lock into the groove of the song and get your head nodding, in my opinion a good bassist does just that. I love closing my eye and focusing in on the bass lines on this record.

The drums of a record are like a heartbeat to me. Jason Meudt gives ‘Devil In The Lake’ its heartbeat and then some. Another thing a bout a record I love is the ability of the drums to accelerate your own heartbeat and get your adrenaline pumping. No needless flashiness here, just some solid Rock N’ Roll drumming. Jason provides the foundation upon which ‘Devil In The Lake’ is built.

Clocking in at around 46 minutes the 12 songs on ‘Devil In The Lake’ are all enjoyable, yet there are a few that stand out to me. “Bring It Down”, “Man Of God”, “Deep Sleep”, “Change”, “Ghost In The Mirror” all just have that je ne sais quoi about them. Give them a listen and you” see why.

Production wise the ‘Devil In The Lake’ is clean and mean. Levels and clarity are stellar across the board and the CD stands up to being played at levels that will let your neighbors on the block enjoy it as well.

I was just speaking to Randy Cooper as I was writing this and he is excited for the world to hear it and he is proud as hell of the band and the work they accomplished here. I have to say “Randy, you’ve found your groove brother.”

My final thoughts on ‘Devil In The Lake’ are this, 2014 is gonna be a great year for Rock N’ Roll music, and bands like Emperors And Elephants are on the font lines leading the charge. This a record that all lovers of straight up, Rock N’ Roll music need in their collection.  15 out of ten stars right here, it’s that good. Thanks Jesse, Jason, Randy, Jeph, and Ron for making a record that is enjoyable start to finish. Now, bring it out on the road!

Find Emperors And Elephants online at:     https://www.facebook.com/EmperorsandElephants and http://www.emperorsandelephants.com/

it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s Emperors And Elephants!

-the Hellion

COMING SOON! The debut CD DEVIL IN THE LAKE from EMPERORS AND ELEPHANTS

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Emperors and Elephants is releasing the debut album January 21st!!! Stayed tuned here for exclusive updates and news!!!

wanna teaser????:

     are YOU ready?

     it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s EMPERORS AND ELEPHANTS!!!

     -the Hellion

Ted Nugent, Shotgun Rebellion, AND Randy “The Arsonist” Cooper!!!

     I just received this press release courtesy of SHOTGUN REBELLION:

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“OK Corral 2013 – the Legend, the Dean, and the Gunslinger”

Every music lover has that one show that they’ll never forget. That one ticket stub that they hold in prized reverence. The show that led to stories they’ll still be telling in the old folks home.

This will be one of those shows…

At the Diamond Ballroom in Oklahoma City on August 25th, three stellar guitarists will be on display; the Gunslinger Rick Davis, the Dean Randy Cooper, and the Legend Ted Nugent.

As the style of southern metal continues to grow, one of the fastest rising and dominant bands to emerge is “Shotgun Rebellion”. Built by the rebel soul of Davis and influential and creative bassist Jon Parr; “SGR” has taken over, driven hard by the power and thundering Johni Walker on drums and leaving audiences amazed.

As “SGR” toured the southern regions, a brotherhood was cemented with current “Emperors & Elephants” and former “Texas Hippie Coalition” guitarist Randy Cooper during the dozens of shows they shared.

With “THC”, Randy helped spread the outlaw metal style across Europe and South America on one of his many custom Dean guitars.

Knowing that playing a show with Nugent was a bucket list item also with Cooper, as soon as DCF Concerts announced that “Shotgun Rebellion” had been selected as the opener, “SGR” reached out to their southern brother for a guest appearance.

As if a night with one of outlaw metal’s top acts featuring two of the genres best guitarists wasn’t enough, the legendary motor city madman Ted Nugent himself takes the stage. Playing a full set showcasing some of rock’s most classic anthems, Nugent defines the image and sets the standard for guns and guitars.

For one night, and one night only, Oklahoma City’s Diamond Ballroom becomes a shrine to the six string. “Shotgun Rebellion” come all blazing with Rick Davis, Jon Parr, and Johni Walker, with special guest appearance from Randy Cooper; supporting a no holds barred headlining performance from Ted Nugent. For one night Rick and Randy team up to become the Arsenal!

..the Legend, the Dean, and the Gunslinger…see it all live !!!

– Jon Parr

Guitarist Randy “The Arsonist” Cooper talks about past, present, and the future.

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I met Randy a few years back and was amazed by his playing and his style. I stayed in sort of a disjointed contact with him through the internet throughout that time. I found out in passing that we shared some common friends in the music world. Randy even played on my good friends Scattered Hamlets’ new release Skeleton Dixie. Randy and I finally caught up and had a great conversation about the events in his life. Enjoy and leave some feedback!

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

the Hellion

Five more bands for you to enjoy and support!!!!

HARM

563199_513194042052041_1532972024_nhttps://www.facebook.com/HARMBAND

http://harmband.bandcamp.com
http://www.myspace.com/harmband
http://www.youtube.com/user/harmband#p/a
http://www.harmlive.ca

“People just want music they can get up and shake their asses to” A crass but fitting description from guitarist Mike Allen of the musical drive that fuels Southern Ontario’s heavy groove kings HARM. Everyone who has seen HARM live has been churned back through the venue doors hooked, and ready for more. Their musical innovation and intensity translates strongly through mics and amps, hitting the crowds right in their core. They’ve booked packed–house shows around the region and back, including Lee’s Palace, Absinthe, Kathedral, Casbah, Red Rooster and the Horseshoe, to name a few. Harm was also a featured act at 2008’s Roger’s Spring Music Festival and performed at the Y108/RedPipe.ca Breakout Band Challenge and Metal Queen Management’s metal festival in Downsview Park.

 

 EMPERORS AND ELEPHANTS

181050_549097321777750_64043654_nhttps://www.facebook.com/EmperorsandElephants

http://emperorsandelephants.com

Emperors and Elephants formed in late 2011, but despite its youth on the scene has already supported acts such as Soil, PopEvil and many others. Recently my  friend Randy “The Arsonist” Cooper added his world class guitar skills to this band. I, for one, cannot wait for the new music to come out from these guys!!!

SOUTHERN HERETICS

155374_175700372456367_5622799_nhttps://www.facebook.com/pages/Southern-Heretics/152789418080796

http://www.southernheretics.com
http://www.myspace.com/thesouthernheretics

Influenced by metal greats such as Black Sabbath, Metallica, and Black Label Society, Front man/guitarist, Randall Phillips and Bass player and genetic throwback, Kage sought out to create and spread a metal that was superior. After a short search followed by what some would consider a humilliating first few months the drumming skills of Brett Dobbs was added. After a few failed attempts to round out the quartet the Heretics finally came in contact with Shane Davis, whose tenacity would put the hardest of workers to shame. The Southern Heretics proudly stand guard at the wall that seperates those with souls of metal, from the posers. Unwilling to bend, compromise is not an option, Randall, Kage, Brett and Shane are who they are, non-conformists, Heretics to the end.

HELLBOUND

227560_379987998744806_1156299341_nhttps://www.facebook.com/pages/Hellbound/163281223748819

http://www.hellbound.se

Any band that cites the following influences has to be checked out: Blues, Country, Exploitation movies, Captain Morgan spiced gold and Absinthe. Hailing from Sweden this band is new to the scene and we will be keeping our eyes and ears open for more from them.

STRIKES AT ONE

400560_407105999352364_917836633_nhttps://www.facebook.com/StrikesAtOne

http://www.strikesatone.com

Strikes At One represents time and the realization that everyone’s time is limited. To that end, Strikes has hit the ground running with the release of their debut EP ‘Hardwired’ earlier this year. Strikes co-produced the EP along with Ryan Guanzon of New Medicine (recorded and produced bass, drums and guitar) and Jon Sinclair, who recently mastered tracks by Shiny Toy Guns.
Featuring Matt Molloy on lead guitar, Jordan Hankey on bass and Beau Bricher on drums, Strikes’ sound was developed in Santa Barbara in the bands personal studio. Adding Bret Campbell to the mix on vocals proved to be the final compliment to the sound they had all been searching for. Strikes’ sound is distinct and uncompromising. Reminiscent of classic rock but with Metal, Funk and Blues influences wrapped into a sound that is undeniably original. The sincerity of Bret’s vocals, the melodic weaving of Matt’s guitar, the punch and calculated clarity of Jordan’s bass and the amazing intensity that Beau brings on the drums. With songs like ‘Pyramid’ that harness raw power to ‘On My Way’ that shows vulnerability to ‘Sayonara’ which was a song written about a tragic loss… “Blowing around like scattered leaves in a life we think we own, but this ain’t home, light falls from me but know I am not left alone,” this band is an experience that is universal to all.