2013 was a great year for the Hellion Rocks, bring on 2014!!!

178928_10150973183505972_426071352_n 2013 was great year for us here at the Hellion Rocks. Killer interviews, great shows and hanging with even cooler people. It’s very cool when you get to talk to artists you have grown to admire. It’s even cooler when they message you and stay in contact with you. It’s a great feeling when you also help to spread the word of a new up-and-coming band as well. In the past year I have learned how small the music community really is. It is amazing the connections that lead to other connections and how the music brings us all together.

I have to give thanks to my cohorts at Bleach Bangs Radio, Charlie Owens and Randy Norris. These guys are my brothers plain and simple. They are the embodiment of awesome and I am proud to work with them.

     Eddie’s Mates holds a special place in my heart as well. Sandy and Sean have not only helped us with Bleach Bangs Radio they also made the logo for the Hellion Rocks! Thanks EM!!!

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I have to thank my wife Dani for giving me the courage and strength to reach out and chase this crazy dream. She is ALWAYS there for me.

There are so many people who mean the world to me as well: Mike Araiza, Jeff Sandoval, Adam Joad, Jake Delling LeBas, Redd Yoachum and the rest from Scattered Hamlet, Craw Cajun and Kat Ford, Death Alley Motor Cult, Kurt Arft, Wornstar Clothing, Justin Manning and Crowned By Fire, and Dellacoma Rio and the Sunset Riot guys, Steve Helmer, Dave Gold, and Bobby Siekkinen . Those are just a few from an incredible list.

Thank you to all of the publicists that have worked with me this year as well. Here’s looking towards a productive 2014!!!

Thanks to Blabbermouth.net and Circus Magazine for picking up some of my interviews! I am honored and humbled.

Lastly but far from least I wish I could personally thank each and every one of the 60,000 people from the 140 countries around the world who dropped in on this site last year. I hope you enjoyed it and let me know what you want to see here in the future.

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

see ya in 2014 – the Hellion

PET PEEVES: Who’s your favorite/best guitarist?

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There are so many polls, questions, battles, etc., etc., on who’s the best guitarist. I feel that this is a question that can never be truly asked or answered. In my opinion each and every guitarist that I listen to is distinctly different. I often wonder what Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Zakk Wylde, Tony Iommi, Dimebag, Randy Rhoads, and many more, would think (or would have thought) of all of these comparisons. For me, there is such joy in the diversity of styles in rock n’ roll. If everyone tried to sound like each other what would be the point? I say enjoy the bad ass guitarists that are out there and do yourself a favor and seek out the new crop of players that are trying their hardest to be heard. I just had to put this out there after seeing all of the recent polls and battles out there. Now, let’s talk about some  axe slingers you should be listening to.

     Justin Manning:

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Justin is the guitarist for the band Crowned By Fire. Incredible riffs, blinding speed, and a certain uniqueness in style make Justin a player to watch. check Justin and Crowned By Fire in the video for “Witch In The Window” : 

 Redd Yoachum:

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Redd is the lead guitarist for Scattered Hamlet. Redd plays with an old soul. He makes you feel the music that he plays, his passion fills your ears with sonic joy. I feel the guitar heroes who have passed on are smiling down on Redd. Here is the live version of “Skeleton Dixie”: 

 Craw Cajun:

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Craw is the guitarist for All Hail The Yeti. Craw is another one of those guitarists that when they play it gets right into your soul. All Hail The Yeti’s self titled release  was my top CD for 2012. This is a band on the move and Craw is a player headed for legendary status. Check out Craw’s playing in “The Art Of Mourning” : 

These are but three of my favorite guitarists that I feel should be getting more attention in the world. If you have any by all means bring to my attention! You can reach me at janaya64@msn.com or on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/theHellionRocks

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

the Hellion

Chad Erickson’s CARVED ROCK LEATHER!!!

     I have met many great people in the music community Chad Erickson is one of them. He has made awesome leather works for a lot of people in the music world. He recently made a custom leather cuff for me with the Hellion logo. Check out his page and give him a like at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Carvedrockleather/

Adam Joad from Scattered Hamlet guitar strap.

Randy “The Arsonist” Cooper guitar strap

the Hellion custom cuff

custom strap for Justin Manning from Crowned By Fire!

Crowned by Fire – Southern Horsepower Tour 2013 03/28/13

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Ever since Crowned By Fire hit my radar I have been jonesing to see them live. I have been lucky enough to have become friends with guitarist Justin Manning, and interviewed him  on several occasions. When the promise of new music via a new EP called SPACE MUSIC FOR CAVE PEOPLE was announced the metal world shivered in anticipation. Add to the fact that it was being recorded at The Black Vatican (Zakk Wylde’s personal studio) AND was being produced by the one and only Sterling Winfield (Pantera, HellYeah, Damageplan, yeah that guy) make it a winner straight out of the gate.

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Even cooler was the announcement of their Southern Horsepower Tour 2013. The Metal Gods were smiling down on me when it was revealed that the tour was starting in my hometown. FINALLY I would be able to experience Crowned By Fire in person. The day had finally come.

The day of the show was it was hard to stay focused on work but I managed. A text and then phone call with Justin let me know they were closing in on my home town. They wanted a day room to freshen up before the show so a quick phone call to the man Trev McKendry (band manager) and info was passed along and the band was taken care of.

I met the guys as they were getting ready for the show and found them to be just as awesome as I had hoped them to be. I wanted to do something nice for them and get them dinner before the show. We headed towards a restaurant that was near the venue but it had unfortunately gone out of business. There was a local brew pub right next to the venue that served food so to the Farside Brew Pub it was. Pizza was ordered and Charles, the proprietor, took care of the beer needs. With bellies full, and good craft beer enjoyed,  we were off next door to the venue.

The amount of gear that the guys pulled out of their trailer seemed endless. It was miraculous how they had fit everything into such a small trailer.

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Eventually the gear was in and the set up began. We were all awestruck by the awesomeness of the gear as it was un-crated and revealed. Justin had some wonderful guitars with some awesome stories behind them. The Green V OV Doom and its custom paint work by the AWESOME Jason Oberly .

Green V OV Doom with custom paint by Jason Oberly.

Green V OV Doom with custom paint by Jason Oberly.

Probably one of the more surreal moments of the night was getting to hold in my hands the guitar given to Justin by the one, the only Zakk Wylde. I could feel the immense power emanating from it as it was in my grasp. I was holding the mighty Ol’ Betsy in my grasp. It also had a custom strap made by Chad Erickson of Carved Rock Leather!!!

in awe that I am holding a guitar given to Justin by Zakk Wylde.

in awe that I am holding a guitar given to Justin by Zakk Wylde.

     After watching Justin warm up with licks that would kill a mere mortal it was time. As I was shooting pics of the stage I heard Justin call my name, I handed my camera off to Charlie M.F. Owens and went to see what Justin needed. I was again floored when he told me I was introducing the band. Well, now I was not only going to see one of my favorite bands, I was going to introduce them as well.

Introducing Crowned By Fire

Introducing Crowned By Fire

“Well alright Hooligans! Are you ready for CROWNED BY FIRE?!?!?!” I roared into the microphone and it was on. Exploding on to the stage Crowned By Fire delivered everything I expected, and then some. The band lineup was spot on, Jonathan Paschall brought the thunder from his throne on high, Chris Breedlove  handled the bottom end like a boss, Michael Pacheco kicked your ass with his guitar, and you thanked him for it, John Fitterer   stalked the stage like some deranged shaman belting out vocals from some primal age. And then there is Justin Manning , his wizardry of the fretboard was mystical and enthralling. The combination was perfect. We were treated to some of the new songs from the above mentioned impending release as well as some tracks from the always awesome PRONE TO DESTROY. 

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     Wow! What a show! It did not disappoint! Crowned By Fire is a band not to miss and EVERYONE needs to experience it! I will leave you with a video from the show, this is “Buried Away” enjoy!

the Hellion

PS: A special shout out to Chad Miller for keeping the guys geared up and tuned up! Make sure you stop and shake this mans hand for helping to keep the guys runnin’!

Justin and Chad preshow

Justin and Chad preshow

P.S.S. extra special thanks to Lindsey Thompson for handling the merch area, and various and sundry needs. She will prove invaluable to the guys on this tour.

Justin and Lindsey at dinner

Justin and Lindsey at dinner

Crowned By Fire, Classic American Metal? You bet your ass they are!

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GET TO KNOW A LITTLE ABOUT GUITAR WIZARD JUSTIN MANNING

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https://www.facebook.com/groups/148831261916027/?fref=ts

 

Justin Manning is a local southern CA rocker born and raised Los Angeles and is currently one of the
founding members and lead guitarist for the heavy metal band Crowned By Fire. This shredder started his
musical journey as a drummer at the age of 10 and became the “First Chair” drummer in his Junior High
marching band and local school band. He always inspired to be a guitarist and it was not until the age
of 12 when he received a red and white Fender Stratocaster for Christmas from his father. Not knowing
where to begin playing guitar, Justin used his knowledge of reading drum music to incorporate it into his
guitar playing, a distinct signature to his rhythm playing still heard to this day.
He listened to records from the likes of Guns N Roses, Van Halen and Ozzy Osbourne and learned
playing the solos off the records by creating music patterns and on many occasions played guitar with his
friends to gain more experience.

At around this time, he met a graduate of Musicians Institute who became his mentor and taught Justin
to play scales and on many occasions would take him to various band rehearsals with the likes of Lemmy
from Motorhead, El Duce (The Mentors), Jimmy Bain (Dio) and other major rock stars. Justin would
sometimes sit in as a drummer for these bands when the actual drummers missed their rehearsals. It was
at this ripe age of 13 that Justin’s calling to be a musician came to be.

At the age of 16 with a bass his mother bought him, he joined the local band Men in Black as a bass
player and played the local clubs on the sunset strip. He shortly left the band to start a new Pantera-
esque inspired band, again taking the helm as lead guitarist. It was during this time that he met Zakk
Wylde and was asked to be his guitar tech and in less than 24 hours was on a plane to Arkansas to start
the Black Label Society and Crowbar tour. This gave Justin the opportunity to meet some of the greats,
most notably the members of Pantera and other notable rock stars. This opportunity gave Justin a taste of
what life on tour really is as well as a vast amount technical experience.

When he returned back home from the BLS tour, Justin became the personal assistant to Zakk’s wife
Barbaranne, helping with her the various necessities. He also became Zakk’s protégé during the Ozzfest
tour that same year and appeared on the TV show the Osbournes.

Justin started various bands and held regular day jobs at ESP and Schecter Guitar Research as a guitar
technician. While at ESP he became acquainted with George Lynch (Dokken, Lynch Mob) who gave him
the opportunity to work as a bass tech for Anthony Esposito (Thin Lizzy, Lynch Mob, Ace Frehley) and he eventually took the reigns as Georges tech. Justin
was asked on several occasions to actually play on stage with Lynch Mob as a second guitar player
doubling the rhythm and leads for the guitar legend himself.

Upon his return home he started a few bands one which will eventually turn into the current band
Crowned By Fire with co-founder John Fitterer and released an EP and their latest full album “Prone To
Destroy” recorded in Florence, Italy and distributed under a European label.

Justin still remains close friends with Zakk Wylde, George Lynch and also with Tommy Victor (Danzig,
Prong, Ministry) who has offered him a gig as his guitar tech on the Danzig Legacy Tour which includes
Danzig, Samhain and The Misfits on their tour in the coming months. Justin carries various major
endorsement deals and mainly plays his favorite Les Paul specially given to him by the great Zakk Wylde.

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https://www.facebook.com/CrownedByFire?fref=ts

the Hellion

AN INTERVIEW WITH CROWNED BY FIRE GUITARIST JUSTIN MANNING

 

http://www.facebook.com/CrownedByFire?fref=ts

http://www.crownedbyfire.com

Justin took time from his busy schedule to call me and give an intimate interview on Crowned By fire and their up and coming take over of the world. Take your time, sit back, grab a tasty beverage and listen……

thanks Justin! It was a pleasure speaking with you as always.

the Hellion

Dream band lineups

 

One of the questions I see the most is “What would your dream band lineup alive or dead be?” I have pondered this question many times and I come up with different answers each time. So I decided to  write about it and come up with three bands. One with band members who are no longer with us, one with all living band members, and comprised with both. I will try to give reasons why and even try to give my fantasy bands an appropriate name.

From the other side,

SOPHISTICATED HOOLIGANS:

Bon Scott, AC/DC (deceased 19 February 1980) – vocals

Dimebag Darrell, Pantera/Damageplan/Rebel Meets Rebel  (deceased December 8, 2004) – guitars

Randy Castillo, Lita Ford/Ozzy/Motley Crue  (deceased  March 26, 2002) – drums

John Entwistle, The Who (deceased  27 June 2002) – bass

I can only imagine what a jam session with these guys would sound like. I hope that they are hanging out on the other side. I think the combination of these “gentlemen” would make for a unique sound. I chose the name “Sophisticated Hooligans” for them because the oxymoron just suits the attitude I imagine they would have.

Still with us,

COSMIC DESTRUCTION:

Sebastian Bach, Skid Row/Solo – vocals

Zakk Wylde, Ozzy/Pride & Glory/Black Label Society – guitars

Justin Manning, Crowned By Fire – guitars

Geezer Butler, Black Sabbath – bass

Mike Portnoy, Dream Theater/Adrenaline Mob/Flying colors – drums

I shudder to think of the destructive power this band would have, hence the name “Cosmic Destruction”. There would have to be a warning label on the CDs and at the live performances. All of these players have that explosive power that would give this band the ability to crush your chest and have you thank them for it.

 

Some still with us and some not

RETROGRADE:

Paul Rodgers, Free/Bad Company – vocals

Randy Rhoads, Quiet Riot/Ozzy (deceased  March 19, 1982) – guitars

Flea, Red Hot Chili Peppers – bass

John Bonham. Led Zeppelin (deceased  25 September 1980) – drums

The mixture of Paul Rodgers beautiful voice combined with Randy Rhoads melodic playing style would compliment each other so well. Combine that with Flea holding down the bottom end and John Bonham keeping the beat and WOW! I know this lineup seems kind of weird but I think it could work. As for calling the band “Retrograde”, I think it just sounds cool.

 

There you have it those are just my thoughts, please share yours!!!

the Hellion