Mind Merchant release lyric video for “Killer Instinct”


The hard working rockers Mind Merchant have released a lyric video for the track “Killer Instinct”. Inspired the hit Showtime series Dexter, “Killer Instinct” is the 2nd single released by the Chicago band, Mind Merchant. Mind Merchant is comprised of: Steve Crandall-singer/percussion, Bob Cashin- guitar/ vox, Doug Ehrhardt-guitar/vox, Kurt Arft-Bass/ vox, Mark Cox- Drums/ vox. Check it out right here:

     You can find Mind Merchant on the facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mind-Merchant/383766625024958

      it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s MIND MERCHANT!!!

     -the Hellion

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!!!


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

Bassist Kurt Arft talks Mind Merchant, Wornstar Clothing, and future solo music







 I finally caught up to my busy brother Kurt Arft. This man is a workhorse who never slows down! We got a short phone interview from him so enjoy, and get out and support! Here’s the link:

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

     the Hellion






Special Announcement: WORNSTAR CLOTHING has a new secret weapon. Kurt Arft officially joins the Wornstar team as GM. Kurt has been a big supporter since the beginning and has volunteered his time over the past couple of years and stepped up to help Stephen and Sylvia without question. He’s been a true loyal friend so it was easy to bring him on board as an essential piece to our ever growing puzzle. Join us in officially welcoming Kurt to the team. www.facebook.com/kurt.arft

     I want to personally congratulate my good friend Kurt. There is no one more deserving than this hard working guy! I know he will take Wornstar even further than they have already gone! I am a Wornstar for life!!!

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

the Hellion

Stacey Blades gets real on the Hellion Rocks!




     Great interview with the legendary Stacey Blades. We talked about the past, present, and future of Stacey’s endeavors. Very personable guy easy to talk with, and very humble. I was lucky enough to run into him at NAMM 2013.

NAMM 2013 083

     Enjoy this awesome interview and support this hard working rocker! Here is the link to the interview:

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

     the Hellion

M:Pire of Evil (former Venom members) release CRUCIFIED 5/7 via Deadline Music‏




Los Angeles, CA…On May 7, Deadline Music (a subsidiary of Cleopatra Records) will release CRUCIFIED by M:Pire of Evil, the thrash metal project by former Venom members  Mantas (guitar), Tony “Demolition Man” Dolan (vocals, bass), and ex-Throwdown drummer JXN.


CRUCIFIED bulldozes through eleven tracks (including nine Venom favorites from the PRIME EVIL era), opening with the driving “Temples of Ice”  and not taking its foot off the gas through the closing beast, “Taking It All” (which includes the perfect anti- chant).  The riffs are dense and mighty, rhythms propulsive, and the vocals relentlessly intense.  The record takes on dystopian themes of destruction, evil, and corruption and in the case of pointed tracks like “Blackened Are The Priests,” all three.


In 1979, guitarist Jeff Dunn took on the name Mantas and created a musical entity that would inspire an entire subgenre of metal.  Venom combined dark, heavy and loud with a proficiency that created history with two records, WELCOME TO HELL and BLACK METAL, that are considered the gold standard of thrash.  Built on this foundation, M:Pire of Evil formed in the U.K. in 2010.  Their debut record displayed musical integrity and prowess befitting of the legacy.  CRUCIFIED, MoE’s second full-length record, continues that legacy.



  1. Temples of Ice
  2. Parasite
  3. Kissing the Beast
  4. Blackened Are The Priests
  5. Carnivorous
  6. Black Legions
  7. Need To Kill
  8. Wolverine (
  9. Crucified
  10. Demone
  11. Taking It All


STREAMING MP3: Taking It All



CRUCIFIED will be in stores and online retailers for MSRP of $14.98.  The booklet includes art by Mantas, lyrics and band pics.





     2013 promises to be a stellar year for new music. One of the releases I am super stoked about is Mind Merchant. They just released a new track to whet our appetites. So give “Crash and Burn” a listen right here:








     Wornstar clothing had me hooked by the get go. My good friend Adz Redpath from the band Darksite brought them to my attention. He wore their clothing onstage and swore by it.


     As I looked into getting some Wornstar clothing, I found that I knew several people who also wore their clothes and in turn, I helped others to find out about them and start wearing them as well.

        Kurt Arft                               John Exall                             Martin Tully       the Hellion


      Mark Voykin


     These guys are just a few of the people I know that wear Wornstar Clothing. I find their products to be of the highest quality and their service world class. The attention to detail is amazing and the support of their customers is awe inspiring. Let’s learn a little about Wornstar from their site:

     Wornstar Rock n’ Roll Clothing for Rock Stars and Fans

Originally conceived in 2002 by Sylvia and Stephen Jensen, Wornstar Clothing was launched. Wornstar grew out of Sylvia’s 15 years of experience styling rock star photo shoots for her husband Stephen’s entertainment design and photography studio, F3 Studios. Beginning as altered clothing for photo shoots and album covers, Sylvia’s work quickly gained the attention of Stephen’s Rock Star clients and led to creating custom pieces for them to wear in front of the camera and on stage. Stephen had designed merchandise graphics for his rock star clients and several companies and even some other apparel companies and decided that starting a line with his wife was a natural extension of F3 Studios.

Stephen is responsible for designing guitars and graphics for Dimebag Darrell, Dave Mustaine, Shaun Glass, Corey Beaulieu, and more; album graphics for Dirge Within, Soil, A.M. Conspiracy and many others as well as created amazing artwork and ads for music industry manufacturers. Stephen is also known for his amazing photography and you can learn more about him on his website blog at


This proven combination made the foundation of what Wornstar Clothing is all about.

The Wornstar Clothing line is a combination of exclusive graphic clothing and customized recycled clothing. Our goal is to make clothing for the rock n roll life style that is cool to look at and comfortable to wear. Every piece on this website can be purchased as is or customized to fit your taste and needs, or we can even design something from scratch specifically for you. Wornstar will be constantly updated, changing and evolving, so check back often.

Please visit our onlinestore for wear ready custom clothing or use the contact form to submit a request. http://www.Wornstar.com/

• Image Consulting
• Styling & Wardrobe Coordination
• Custom Clothing featuring designs by
Stephen Jensen, F3 Studios
• Custom Recycled Clothing
• Set Design
• Photography, Hair and Make-up, Design and Printing coordination

     Great people, great clothing, great company. Whether you are a performer, or just want to step up your game, you cannot go wrong with Wornstar clothing. Do yourself a favor and check them out and get noticed!

the Hellion


My good friend Kurt’s latest endeavor!

Chicago based band coming to you live, very soon!!!

FORMED TO BETTER THE MUSIC WORLD! We are an Original Rock/Metal Band that also plays some of today’s Hottest new Rock!! Five Finger Death Punch, Alter Bridge, A7X, Audioslave, Foo Fighters, Seether, Shinedown, Volbeat, BuckCherry, P.O.D. and so on….. The originals we write are a collaborative effort inspired by and drawn from all of our musical influences and fit right into the same category as those we choose to cover!!! With Steve’s amazing vocals, to Bob and Matt’s Shredding Creativity, to Kurt and Mark Making the Ground Shake, we are proud to bring you the quality music you’ve been looking for in your New Favorite Band !!!!! Thanks for checking us out!!!! We aim to please and have fun with our Friends and Fans!!!!

Steve Crandall-singer, percussion
Bob Cashin- guitar, vox
Kurt Arft-Bass, vox
Mark Cox- Drums, vox
Matt Ryan- guitar, vox
the Hellion



Kurt is the bass player for the in your face band DIE HARD TIL DEATH, he took some time from his busy schedule to answer a few questions for us.

Where did young Kurt come from?

 Kurt:  I was born in Columbia, MO in 1969 and have pretty much been a Midwest boy my whole life IN, MO, IL, WI. I did live Maryland for a year. We moved around alot cause of my dads job.

When did music become part of your life and what type of music was it?

 Kurt: My first recollections of my exposure to music was around 5 or 6 yrs old. My dad had an acoustic guitar that he would pull out once in a while and play, also his Mom played piano and guitar and can remember sitting on the bench with her while she played. My Moms Dad also was big into music and played organ. My Mom was a big influence as well, she always had music playing in the house and in the car. Around 7 years old I found her record collection and she actually put albums on for me to listen to. Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Doors, stuff I still listen to today.

What was the catalyst that made you realize that becoming a musician was your calling?

    Kurt:  At age 10 Santa Claus left me an acoustic guitar under the tree. I just thought that was the coolest and I couldn’t wait to play it. My parents enrolled me in lessons at the local music store. The instructor I had, was such a dick though, he had no patience and if I didn’t play it exactly right, he’d chew me out and tell me I wasn’t practicing enough, even though I was playing the thing day and night. Pretty much ruined it for me. I ended up putting it down after a lil bit and started playing saxophone in the school band starting around 5th grade and played all the way till the end of my Sr yr in High School. Once I graduated High School, I was like what am I gonna do now? I played music for all these years, learned how to read music and all that, but I knew I wasn’t gonna continue playing saxophone, that’s not cool. I had met a couple of guys at the community college that played guitar and hung out with them and got bitten by the guitar bug again. So, bought a Fender Strat, a lil combo amp, and started messing around again. Took some lessons from a friend of mine, grew my hair out, noticed the chicks were diggin it and as they say the rest is rock n roll history. Also, when I saw Kiss for the first time, I was mesmerized. Kind of the same story as Gene Simmons told when the first time he saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, that was when I realized “I’m in”

We all know the bass is the most important instrument in a band,. when did you decide to take on the most important position of playing the bass?

   Kurt: Well thank you for saying that, I happen to think Bass is pretty important part of the band as well haha
A buddy and I wanted to start a band, he was a guitar player too, he was lead, I was rhythm. We’re talkin early 90’s here, so finding a bass player back then was almost impossible. My thinking was everybody and their mother plays guitar around here, and being that at that time I knew I wanted to do this for a living, bass would guarantee me a job cause there are just not that many of us around. So I switched from guitar to bass. And I have to say, it was the best decision I ever made. Bass fits me  and my personality and attitude so much better than guitar

Give us a little band history Kurt, how many bands have you been in?

 Kurt: Lets see………..professionally I’ve been in 5 bands. Last Laugh, Kamikaze Butterfly, Die Hard Till Death,
Skinwalker, and ScreamKing. But total with garage or basement bands, 7.

Two of my personal favorites are Die Hard Til Death and ScreamKing, can you tell a little about them?

Kurt: To date, I would have to say DHTD is my biggest accomplisment and what I’m most proud of. Between the
success of the record, the touring, being selected for Rockband, and all the people who I’ve gotten to work with
and become friends with, it’s been pretty cool. It’s opened alot of other doors for me professionally that I don’t think
would’ve been before. DHTD is a straight up ass kicking METAL band and I’m very proud of it. ScreamKing is
classic heavy metal band in the vein of King Diamond, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest. I worked with Joe, the singer, on a
couple tracks in the studio and have known him for a couple of years, we’ve stayed in contact and just really get along and see things the same way.

We all heard of the history of bands on tour, any amusing stories from the road?

 Kurt: Hmmmmm well besides the typical cliche drunken hotel debauchery, I used to smash my bass on the stage at the end of every show, not to the point where I would destroy it, but I’d give the body a couple good whacks into the stage. This one night, we were playing in Chicago at the Double Door, had a killer show, sounded great, the crowd was really into it, good energy, so I for what ever reason smashed the bass a few times and then rammed the
headstock into the stage, it ended up going through the flooring of the stage and sticking. All the lights went down
on stage except for one, and it was shining on my bass with the headstock stuck into the stage, like a sword. An
Excaliber moment is what we called it.

If you could be a performer in any musical period what would it be?

Kurt: the 70’s

Why the 70’s? That happens to be one of my favorite periods as well.

 Kurt:  For one, the musicianship in the 70’s was incredible, everybody was a master at their chosen instrument. The singers could all sing, no screaming, guitar players smoked with great riffs, leads, solos, there were moving, walking bass lines, and the drummers beat the crap out of their drums and did shit on them that I don’t think many can do today, and with a single kick drum. Second, the songwriting was amazing back then, listen to a classic rock radio station today and I’m blown away by the amount of quality songs that were written by many bands. Classics as we call them. Third, not only did they play and write great songs, they put on a show, they entertained. They looked  like rockstars, the total package. I don’t think you can say that about any other era in music.

I found you iPod under the seat of my car, what kind of surprises am I gonna find on it?

Kurt: There’s a few. Christina Aguilara-Amazing voice, that song “Dirty” the video, WOW! Who didn’t wanna fuck her then? I have some classical music on there, Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Tchaikovsky. Poison, big into the hair band thing.

What words of advice would you have for the youngster trying to start a band and enter the music world?

Kurt: Write, Write, Write, Practice, Practice, Practice. Focus on the music, the process, the writing. Get around as many other players or “veterans” of the scene and learn as much as you can from them, do’s and don’ts. Shoot for the good clubs or venues and play with those bands. Build some experience and a fanbase. Also, utilize your social media! Facebook, Twitter, Reverbnation, etc….. I didn’t have any of that stuff back when I started, it was pounding the pavement and flyers. Respect what you do, who you do it with. Leave your ego and entitlement attitude at home. No one owes you anything, you have to go out and earn it! Be confident, not cocky, there’s a BIG difference. And last not but least, DON’T BE A DICK TO PEOPLE! I got that tidbit of advice from Rob Blasko, and it’s probably one of the best bits of advice, you’ll go alot farther in the biz if people like you as a person and know you’re not a “rockstar”

With all of the changes and the advent of digital music and social media what are your viewpoints on the music world today?

Kurt: There are so many good bands out there and they are not getting the recognition or credit they deserve. I’m very impressed by how the indie scene rally’s around its own and is making a scene where there is no scene anymore. Thanks to internet radio and social media, those bands are gettin an opportunity now, I just wish it was on a bigger, broader scale. The corporate music world has circled the wagons so to speak, if you’re in the circle, you’re very lucky and bands wanna stay there, there is no risk taking anymore by record companies due to the economy and state of the music biz. Record companies are closing down, getting rid of positions. streamlining their operations. The bands, promoters, booking agents, venues, everybody needs to work together and get rid of
this me me me mentality. I think bands now are putting out some of the best music in a long time. Every album that comes out now is a homerun in my opinion, putting the fans first and giving them what they want and pay their hard-earned money to see and listen to.The indie scene is going to be the catalyst for the next great movement in the music business. Everyone keeps fighting and fighting hard and remember who we do this for and why we do it. \m/\m/ 

Check out Die Hard Til Death “The Will”

Thanks Kurt! Appreciate the time from your busy schedule. Be sure and check Kurt out at the following sites:




the Hellion