Enter to Win Digital Code Codes for Latest Seasons of “Veep” and “Silicon Valley”

To celebrate the digital HD release of Season 6 of “Veep” and Season 4 of “Silicon Valley”, Media Mikes would like to give two of our fans a chance to win a digital HD copy of each season. If you want to win this great prize, please leave a comment below your favorite character from either of the two shows. This giveaway will remain open until August 4th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to our readers in US only. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.

Season six of the Emmy®-winning Outstanding Comedy Series VEEP will be available for Digital Download on July 24, 2017, with the critically acclaimed latest season coming to Blu-ray™ and DVD on September 12, 2017. The “gleefully foul as ever” (The New York Times) new season stars 5-time consecutive Emmy®-winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus as former VP and one-time President Selina Meyer, who is struggling to navigate uncharted political territory now that her brief presidency has ended. In addition to all ten episodes from the sixth season, VEEP: The Complete Sixth Season Blu-ray™ and DVD releases include seven exclusive new audio commentaries featuring cast (Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tony Hale, Reid Scott, Matt Walsh, Timothy Simons, Sam Richardson, Sarah Sutherland, and Clea DuVall), David Mandel, and additional Writers, Directors, and Producers.

In the sixth season of VEEP, we find President Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) now out of office for the first time in years after her loss in a Senate vote to resolve an Electoral College tie last season. Forging ahead to secure her legacy and find her place in the world, while much of her staff pursues endeavors of their own, Season 6 finds Selina and her band of fellow misfits hilariously attempting to make their mark while navigating the political landscape in Washington and beyond.

The fourth season of Silicon Valley, the “incredibly funny” (Uproxx), Emmy®-nominated HBO comedy series from Mike Judge and Alec Berg, will be available for Digital Download on July 31, 2017, with Blu-ray™ and DVD release date confirmed for September 12, 2017. In the new season of the critically beloved show that probes the ripe-for-comedy world of Silicon Valley, Richard Hendricks (Thomas Middleditch) and his team of socially awkward underdogs continue to claw their way towards tech fame and fortune. Silicon Valley: The Complete Fourth Season on Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital Download features all ten episodes from Season 4, along with three hilarious, never-before-seen deleted scenes.

Change is in the air in Season 4 of Silicon Valley as the Pied Piper guys pursue their video-chat app, PiperChat, but Richard (Thomas Middleditch) has a hard time letting go of his dream to put his algorithm to better use. As Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani) flirts with notoriety while Gilfoyle (Martin Starr) looks on in amusement, Erlich (T.J. Miller) searches for his next big break, Jared (Zach Woods) attempts to pivot with the company, and Big Head (Josh Brener) enters the world of academia. Over at Hooli, Gavin (Matt Ross) finds himself threatened by Jack Barker (Stephen Tobolowsky), while Monica (Amanda Crew) struggles to bounce back at Raviga after her fallout with Laurie (Suzanne Cryer). Sharp, irreverent and hilarious,Silicon Valley continues to lambast the self-important world of tech in a season that finds the Pied Piper guys looking to leave their mark, even as they continue to fumble along the road to success.

Sheryl Crow Announces New Tour Dates Supporting Latest Album “Be Myself”.

SHERYL CROW ANNOUNCES NEW TOUR DATES SUPPORTING LATEST ALBUM BE MYSELF
Includes Intimate Club Show at the Iridium
That Will Air On PBS’
Front and Center Concert Series
Sheryl Crow Releases Official Video for “Halfway There”

(Photo credit: Marc Seliger)

 

June 13, 2017 (Burbank, CA) -Sheryl Crow has announced additional dates on her tour in support of her latest album Be Myself. She is performing a series of headlining shows and appearing at several festivals, as well as taking part in Willie Nelson’s Outlaw Tour. Crow will also perform at this year’s Farm Aid. Tickets for Farm Aid go on sale June 23 at 10:00 am ET: https://blackbirdpresents.com/outlaw-music-festival/.Please see below for all upcoming dates and ticket links.

In addition, Crow releases the official music video for “Halfway There” today. The video was shot in Nashville and Los Angeles and was directed by acclaimed filmmaker Gus Black. It features a cameo from Gary Clark Jr. who also plays leads guitar on the track. Click here to view and share. Crow explains the idea behind the song:

“The idea of the song is that even though you may drive a big Chevy truck and I drive my hybrid, or you may wear designer clothes and I wear ripped jeans, that doesn’t mean we don’t want the same things in life and the same things for our kids in the future. The message is we need to agree to disagree and just try and meet halfway there.”

Crow will perform the song on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on June 27. Tune into NBC stations at 11:35 pm ET/ PT, 10:35 pm CT.

Be Myself has been praised by The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly, Nylon, and Rolling Stone, which called it “her toughest and best in a decade” and “a full-blown return to her fierce rock-queen glory.” Be Myself is available to purchase or stream here and available on vinyl at Barnes & Noble here.

Crow will also be featured on the critically acclaimed PBS concert series Front and Center. The series, now in its fifth season, has presented an eclectic mix of Grammy, Country Music Association, American Music and Academy of Country Music Award winners, rock icons and multi-platinum sellers including Keith Urban, The Fray, Lady Antebellum, Cyndi Lauper, Dierks Bentley, Jack Johnson, Counting Crows, The Avett Brothers and more. Tickets are on sale on June 14 at 10:00 am ET here.

Sheryl Crow’s upcoming tour dates are as follows.
For tickets, visit: http://www.sherylcrow.com/tour
*New tour dates

June 20 Sprint Pavilion Charlottesville, VA
June 21 Wolf Trap – Filene Center Vienna, VA
June 23 Funhouse Fest Williamsburg, VA
June 24 North Carolina Museum of Art Raleigh, NC
June 25 Chastain Park Amphitheater Atlanta, GA
*June 26 Iriduim / Front and Center New York, NY
June 28 Beacon Theatre New York, NY
June 29 Rochester Internat’l Jazz Fest Rochester, NY
July 3 Golden Nugget Lake Charles, LA
July 4 Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic Austin, TX
July 7 Ravinia Festival Highland Park, IL
July 11 The Palladium Carmel, IN
July 12 Meijer Gardens Grand Rapids, MI
July 14 Chautauqua Institution Amph. Chautauqua, NY
July 15 Casino Rama Resort Rama, ON
Sep 13 Red Butte Amphitheatre Salt Lake City, UT
*Sep 16 Farm Aid @ Key Bank Pavilion Burgettstown, PA
*Oct 3 The Fillmore San Francisco, CA
Oct 21 The Bren Center @ UC Irvine Irvine, CA

Outlaw Tour dates. More info here: https://blackbirdpresents.com/outlaw-music-festival/

July 2 Starplex Pavilion Dallas, TX
July 6 Walmart Amphitheatre Rogers, AR
July 8 Joe Louis Arena Detroit, MI
July 9 Summerfest Milwaukee, WI
July 16 Lakeview Amphitheater Syracuse, NY
Sep 8 PNC Bank Arts Center Holmdel, NJ
Sep 9 Northwell Health /Jones Beach Wantagh, NY
*Sep 10 Hersheypark Stadium Hershey, PA
Sep 15 Blossom Music Center Cuyahoga Falls, OH
Sep 17 BB&T Pavilion Camden, NJ

Website: www.sherylcrow.com

Charred Walls of the Damned’s Richard Christy talks about the bands latest album “Creatures Watching Over the Dead”

Richard Christy may be best known for his work on the Howard Stern radio show however long before his antics made him a regular fixture on the long running show Richard was a heavy metal drummer for bands like Death and Iced Earth. In 2009 Richard formed his latest group Charred Walls of the Damned. The group’s current lineup which along with Christy features Jason Suecof, Steve DiGiorgio and former Judas Priest front man Tim “Ripper” Owens are set to release their fourth studio album titled “Creatures Watching Over the Dead” on September 23rd. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Richard recently about the new album and its creation, possible tour plans and this year’s hot Halloween trends.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background on the new album?

Richard Christy: The new album is called “Creatures Watching Over the Dead”. It has nine songs on it and it’s been five years since the bands second album. I took quite a bit more time with the writing on this one than the previous two. A lot of that has to do with Brian Slagel from Metal Blade Records who is real cool about letting us take our time when getting an album out. He really understands our schedules and knows how busy we are all. Aside from the schedules I wanted to take the extra time because with song writing there is always a learning process. Just like with anything else the more time you spend doing it the better you start to get at it. I went through each song to make it the best I possibly could. I initially ended up writing 24 songs between the last album and this one. I had always heard about bands writing a bunch of material and then picking the best from that and with this album we were able to do that as well. I always do pre-production for the albums so during that time Jason Suecof and I picked what we thought were the best 9 tracks and those are what took in to record. It took about a year to get everything recorded from there.

AL: What type of process did you have for selecting the 9 songs that make the album?

RC: That’s what the great thing is about having Jason as our guitarist and producer. When he hears these songs fresh for the first time he is able to pick the ones pretty quickly that catch his ear. For me it’s hard to choose as I wrote them and am a little too close to the song to be objective. Jason has a great ear for songs and melody. He is also a really great song writer. I told him the ones that catch his ear right away are the ones we should go with and that is kind of how we did it. When we finally got together for pre-production we started tweaking the nine songs a little further so we had them exactly the way we wanted them on the album. By the time we get in the studio we are pretty much set to go which allows things to flow pretty smoothly.

AL: With you doing a majority of the songwriting where do the other members fit in during the creative process for a new album?

RC: The other guys in the band have total creative freedom. I basically give them the blue print and then have them add to it or make changes if they need/want to. I am not a good bass player or singer. I can do enough to get what I am hearing in my head out but with Steve Digiorgio and Tim “Ripper” Owens those guys are great and can just go crazy. When we go in to record the guitars and drums are already done so I tell those guys just go as nuts as you want to go. I love when Steve matches stuff up to my drum fills. When we do the vocals we are generally all there and we work together with Tim. Jason is great with vocal patterns and melodies so usually what happens is if we can’t come up with something better than what I put down on the demo or everyone really likes what I did on the demo we will go with that but, I like to get Tim and Jason’s ideas for the vocals first and then we just pick the best of those ideas.

AL: The album has sort of a dark title however a majority of the vocals are rather positive. Was this something that happened consciously or did those themes develop more naturally over the course of writing?

RC: I guess it’s sort of a conscious thing. I am a pretty positive person. I have tried to write lyrics about more brutal subjects or what’s going on in the news. When I was in Burning Inside I would write about horror movies and things like that but with getting older these days I like to think about things that make me happy. It’s not that these lyrics are about it being a nice sunny day but I try and make the lyrics about stuff I have experienced and also about things that inspire me. I write about a lot of stuff I see just living in New York City and walking the streets there. I find it’s easier for me to write and things flow better when I am writing about something that means a lot to mean. I do try and write things in a way that doesn’t make them sound too happy or cheerful. I want things to sound cool but at the same mean something to me and to other people.

AL: Can you tell us a little about the album art?

RC: Being a huge fan of Halloween I came across this really great photographer by the name of Pumpkin Rot. He has a website called www.pumpkinrot.com where he showcases his photos of these scenes he sets up where he lives in Pennsylvania. One day I saw a cool picture of his and I decided to just email him and ask if we could use that picture for the album art. He was totally cool about it and with the name of the band and that photo I thought it fit very well together. The title of the album actually comes from me staring at that picture trying to come up with a title for it. I also wanted to come up with something that started with the letters CWOTD to fit in with the theme of our previous album titles. I have been asked if there was some sort of deep meaning to the cover but really it’s just a picture that I liked which I came up with a cool sounding title for. (Laughs)

AL: A lot can happen when a band takes an extended amount of time between albums. Were you ever worry about the effects that it could have not only on the band but also your fans?

RC: I don’t think there was anything that difficult for us as we are all a little bit older as are our fans. I also don’t think the extended time between albums is as much of an issue with metal fans in general. For me once you’re a metal head you are always going to be a metal head. If a band that was around in the early eighties comes out with a new album today I would still be in to checking it out. I am very open minded as a metal head. The culture as well as social media has changed a lot since our last record but we are not really a trendy band. We are a band that has aspects of having a modern metal sound but we also have a very classic metal sound to us as well. We try to blend all that together. Because of all that I don’t think we as affected by changes and trends going on. In fact I think it may have helped us. A lot of people weren’t sure if we were still going to be together but I think people are pleasantly surprised that there is a new album coming out. I think also because all the guys in the band myself included have other projects that keep us busy people may have thought we would do just one album and be done but, we are now on our third album with the same line up and people are seeing this is a legitimate thing. I think those five years as helped us. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder.

AL: What does touring look like for this release?

RC: It is something that really depends on our schedule. I am excited because have been asking me a lot about if and when we are going to be playing. It shows me people do want to see us and it’s something that I really want to do. Hopefully it is something we will get to do. Festivals would seem to be the best option for us because of all our different schedules. We played Orion Fest with Metallica for our last album and that was amazing! We did a two week tour run for the first album which was awesome as well. We can’t promise anything just yet as we don’t have anything booked but it’s something we definitely want to do. I am really hoping we get to do some stuff. With all of us living in different places we have to make sure all of the logistics will work for everyone so something can happen.

AL: Knowing that you’re a big fan of Halloween and with the day just around the corner what do you think will be some of this year’s hot trends?

RC: Definitely anything having to do with the show “Stranger Things”. I have watched that series twice now all the way through and can’t stop listening to the soundtrack as well. I have been listening to it since August when it first came out. I think anything having to do with that show is going to be big. Also with this being an election year I think there is going to be a lot of Donald’s and Hillary’s. I have heard that the sales of masks determines the election. I want to say that the last few elections have in fact been determined by who sold the most masks. Pumpkin Beers are going to be big again this year as well as haunted houses. I think you will start to see more of the “extreme” haunted houses where you have to sign a waiver to go in because the actors can touch you and stuff. People seem to always be looking to take things to the next level. Me personally I will just stick to the ones where people jump out at you and that’s it. I don’t need people’s hands in my mouth or something like that. (Laughs)

For more info on Richard Christy and Charred Walls of the Damned be sure to check out www.richardchristy.com

Jag 13 of Eat The Turnbuckle discusses the bands latest EP “The Great American Bash Your Head In”

Eat The Turnbuckle is a heavy metal band hailing from Philadelphia, PA. Despite being from “The City of Brotherly Love” the groups sound and stage show which features elements of extreme wrestling couldn’t be further from the cities well know moniker. The band recently released a new EP titled “The Great American Head Bash In” and Media Mikes had the chance to speak with the bands vocalist Jag 13 to discuss the new EP, the group’s intense stage shows and their plans for the remainder of 2016.

Adam Lawton: Is Eat the Turnbuckle a band who wrestles or, wrestler that play in a band?

Jag 13: It’s kind of both honestly. Some of the older guys in the band used to wrestle and Shlak one of our guitarists wrestles now for CZW. For me personally I have always been into both wrestling and music. Philadelphia has always been a great town for wrestling and when I was younger I remember the WWF coming through a lot. I got to see the whole ECW thing come into play as well. With music I think that’s something almost everyone gets in to at a young age so I have been in to both for as long as I can remember.

AL: What can you tell us about the bands most recent EP?

Jag 13: We did “The Great American Bash Your Head In” for our most recent tour. We try and have new material out each time we go on the road. If we know we are going to be heading out at a certain time we start writing and putting things together. This EP has 5 new songs which have been going over really well so far. We only did one show here in the states on this run with the rest of the dates being over in Europe. We did about 22 shows over there and wrapped things up with our performance at this year’s Gwar B-Q inn Virginia. We were actually supposed to do one other show however we had to cancel due to our drummer having a broken ankle. He actually broke it the second day of tour and finally went to the hospital on the fourth day of the tour. He had a cast on but didn’t miss one show. Like a dummy he took the cast off when we got back home and things got messed up even worse.(Laughs)

AL: Speaking of the Gwar B-Q. This was the second time you guys have been asked to play. How did this year’s event differ from the previous year you performed?

Jag 13: The first time we played they had us going on pretty early. Something happened with the doors and we ended up playing to a small group as a lot of people were stuck at the gates. I think the reception from those who saw was really good and the fact that a lot of people who wanted to see us couldn’t helped with us getting asked back this year. This year was off the hook! We played the Slutman Pavilion which was a lot of fun. I think I would prefer playing that stage over one of the bigger stages. We have sort of gotten used to playing on smaller stages but even if we were on the bigger stage things would have definitely spilled over. (Laughs) A bigger stage means we have to do bigger gimmicks!

AL: With your show incorporating extreme/hardcore wrestling elements and references what was the European reception like being that type of wrestling isn’t as common there?

Jag 13: I think those things were why we have caught on so well over there. They don’t have the hardcore and extreme matches in their wrestling shows so this is something new for them. We had people coming up to us after the shows who weren’t fans of the music but they came out to check out the wrestling. We played a lot of smaller countries over there and those people just ate it up. They loved watching the shows. We did a festival in the Czech Republic where they actually got a wring for us. Shlak ended up wrestling the Champ from the league there in a death match. It was in front of about five thousand people and it was just crazy. Both the guys needed to get stitched up afterwards.

AL: What type of planning goes into one of your shows being that not only are you performing musically but you are also including wrestling elements as well?

Jag 13: We argue a lot. (Laughs) Right before the show we sort of get the lay of the land and plan out what we are going to do. At the same time we have work with the venue to make sure we know what we can and can’t do. Like when we did the Gwar B-Q you can’t have any glass. Every show is a little different so we have to just go with the flow. People have been really accommodating. We have all been in bands that have crazy stage shows. That’s how we all came together. Philadelphia has a history of violent shows so we sort of just fit in to that. When things started to get a little more PC within the scene myself and Shlak started gathering guys who still wanted something crazy.

AL: Do you ever feel that the graphic nature of your shows limits your audience?

Jag 13: We have had shows cancelled due to people finding out about our shows and in turn not wanting anything to do with it. At this point I have become so used to that type of thing that it doesn’t bother me. If they don’t want us, they don’t want us. We have a pretty good booking agent who lets all the places know what type of show we put on. Some of the show we have done in the past we just showed up and started going at it. (Laughs) That tended not to work out real well for any one.

AL: With your drumming being laid up with an injury does that end the year for you or do you still have things plans?

Jag 13: We don’t have anything planned until October then after that we don’t anything planned until spring time of next year. We have some bids in on tours that we think will work well for us here in the states so we have our fingers crossed.

For more info on Eat The Turnbuckle be sure to check out the bands official website at www.facebook.com/eattheturnbuckle

Singer/Guitarist John Corabi talks about the latest release from The Dead Daisies “Make Some Noise”

For over 20 years singer/guitarist John Corabi has been recording and performing with a number of hard rock acts ranging from Union and ESP to being the replacement for Motley Crue vocalist Vince Neil for a period of time in the mid 90’s. Since that time Corabi has embarked on a successful solo career and also joined the group The Dead Daisies a group whose current lineup also includes Marco Mendoza, Doug Aldrich, Brian Tichy and David Lowy. Media Mikes spoke with John recently about The Dead Daises upcoming album titled “Make Some Noise” which is due out on August 5th and also about the groups upcoming U.S. Tour with Kiss.

Adam Lawton: You joined The Dead Daisies in 2015. What has the first year of being in the band been like for you thus far?

John Corabi: It has been crazy! I got the call originally from Marco as they had been working with someone prior to me and things weren’t working out. They had plans to go over to Cuba and they asked me if I would be willing to go with them. I went and did that and we had an amazing time there. I think that was sort of a way for the guys to feel me out a bit. I think they wanted to see if I was a good fit or not. After that trip I got a call from the guys asking if I wanted to go to Australia and do an album. We got together in March of last year and wrote and recorded the “Revolucion” album in about 33 days. After flying home from that I did some solo shows with my band and the next thing I know I was in California doing a video with guys and also rehearsing for some upcoming European shows with Kiss. We then came back and did a run with Whitesnake after which we went back to Australia with Kiss. We then did the Kiss cruise and went back to Europe again but this time with Whitesnake. I got home at the end of December and by January of this year we were back in the studio working on the new record “Make Some Noise”. Things have been pretty busy. When I’m not out with The Daisies I’m out with my solo band which has a live album coming out in October.

AL: What has the addition of Doug Aldrich been like for the band?

JC: When Dizzy Reed and Richard Fortus got the call to go do the Guns N’ Roses tour we reached out to Doug. He is a really great player who has just jumped right in. I have known Doug since he was about 17 as we grew up in Philadelphia together. With this band it’s about friendship as we all hang out and have known each other for a long time. Doug was able to step in to that as he has a great sense of humor to go along with his amazing playing and song writing ability. With this new record we wanted to go in and do a straight forward 70’s era type rock album. All the guys in the band have similar influences so for us to be able to go in and do that with the addition of Doug was really great.

AL: How did the writing for “Make Some Noise” compare to that of your previous album with the band?

JC: When you bring in a different member things do change a little. Doug fits in with everyone and we all have similar interest so that certainly helped. I think the biggest difference with the new record wasn’t really anything with the guitars but it was more so the fact that we didn’t add keyboards this time around. That allowed the guitars more room to be a little more aggressive. David Lowy made that decision as doing a band similar to the style of AC/DC was his original idea for the band. When Richard and Dizzy left it was decided not to replace them so Doug and David had a little more space to expand on their parts in each song.

AL: Do you prefer working on material that is more stripped down and straight forward as opposed to something with a lot of layers and instrumentation?

JC: I think the song really dictates how much or how little it needs. There was one song we did that we didn’t end up putting on the album that I want to put on my new solo album that had a lot of stuff going on within it. When we looked at what we had this song didn’t really fit in with the others because they are all very straight forward. Again the song really decides what it needs in the way of production. I think back to the first album I did with Union which is a pretty stripped down album as that’s what most of those songs required but there is one on that recorded titled “Let It Flow” which has a bunch of cool over dubs and instrumentation on it because that’s what it sort of dictated.

AL: How was it working with producer Marti Frederiksen this time around?

JC: I had known Marti since he opened for my band The Scream in the early Nineties. I always sort of kept an eye on his career. I realized when he started working with groups like Brother Cane and Aerosmith that he was going to do a lot of cool stuff. We were looking for not just a producer but also someone who understood the writing process and would actually listen to what we were doing with a fresh set of ears. Marti was very open to suggestions throughout the process. We have all been making records for quite some time now so things worked well. We would just record things and if for some reason if something didn’t work we would just take it out after the fact. Marti was great in that he knew when to reel us in and also we to let us keep going. It was a two way street that worked pretty effortlessly.

AL: Can you tell us about the bands upcoming tour with Kiss and any other plans you and the band have scheduled?

JC: We start in the states with Kiss on August 10. Those guys have been really great to us. The shows are going to be very high energy. I am not sure how long we are going to be playing just yet but no matter how long we play its going to be pedal to the metal. We plan to do a mix of both old and new material along with a few covers to get the crowd riled up. That tour goes through mid September then we have a headlining show set in Los Angeles. After that I start rehearsals with my solo band and then we go out on the Monsters of Rock Cruise. From there The Daisies head over to Japan for the Loud Park Festival and we are booked all the way through December. We will be hitting a bunch a places all over.

For more info on John Corabi and The Dead Daisies be sure to head over to http://www.thedeaddaisies.comand also www.johncorabimusic.com

Binary Code’s Jesse Zuretti discusses the bands latest release “Moonsblood”

Jesse Zuretti is the founding member of the New Jersey based progressive metal band Binary Code. The group recently released their four full-length album titled “Moonsblood” in May of this year and are set to begin touring in support of the release in July. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Jesse recently about the new album, his new found writing freedom and about the groups upcoming summer tour.

Ryan Albro: It seems a lot has changed in the band over the last 7 years since your first album was released, most notably, line-up changes. How much would you say the band has changed over that period of time?

Jesse Zuretti: That time period was mostly due to the writing process. This is the first release we have done where I was in control of writing the entire thing. I would say that because it was put into a position of songs get written when they get written instead of forcing them out it took a little bit of time. The end result was songs truer to the mindset that I was in each time they were written. Since nothing was forced it kind of allowed the songs to come at a natural pace, which is for me, in hindsight, a better way for the music to come about in the natural process. My drummer and I at the time used to jam a lot and write songs very quickly because we both had one another to hash things out with. This new stuff comes from me sitting down and very methodically coming up with the songs and being able to emphasize more of a song structure behind it. In my opinion as much as I like the contribution from the whole band it was definitely easier for me to come up with the songs in those moments. In the future there’s going to be a lot more involvement from the guys that are in the band right now. It will be more of a fusion. I think it’s for the best.

RA: What was the recording and writing process like this time around versus your previous releases?

JZ: The last two releases that we did were a combination of DYI mixed with help from a friend of ours who was manning the studio. It was very hands on for me in the recording process the last time. This time it was 100% we had a producer there. He would very uniformly tell me when things were right and wrong. The input from having an outside prospective on the music really helped with getting the best out of the music. It’s always really good to have a second set of ears on something. Having Eyal Levi involved with his music background thrown into the mix with guys who aren’t super musically schooled really made me a better musician at the end because the amount of preparation that goes into recording with Eyal is unbelievable. You go into it and you come out a better musician. In the past we would write a song and then show up to the studio. This time I would write the song and have it pre-produced. That would give me the option of look back at the songs and adding or changing things that I wish I could have done before. I just really got to have my influences shine through a little bit more because it was kind of like a representation of the song writing that I do.

RA: That album art is killer, what can you tell us about that?

JZ: The artist who did it, his name is Acid Toad, he’s an artist from Bangalore. I was blown away when I first saw his artwork. He does everything with paper and ink. I just feel like the market in the progressive metal scene right now in terms of art is very homogenous. There’s a constant flow of similarities between the bands, like everyone is drawing influence from another band. This guy’s artwork is so otherworldly that I thought he would be the guy. We had a lot of amazing guys do art for us and we noticed a lot of it was similar to the style of other bands and we didn’t want to do that. He was awesome, he’s going to do stuff for us in the future without a doubt. I really want to have a relationship with an artist. The influence behind that was the relationship H.R. Giger had with the band Triptykon and their history together. I really wanted to do the same thing with this guy.

RA: What made you to decide to release the album yourselves?

JZ: It came down to whether or not we wanted to continue waiting for a business opportunity to come along to help with the release. We had just been waiting so long. We all decided it was time we did this on our own and it ended up being really exciting for us. I expected to be devastated be the idea of doing this on our own after all this time and it actually was a very exciting thing for us. We’re really happy to be doing it this way. There’s definitely a possibility of it in the future, just at this point we had to make a move.

RA: What are your plans to tour the highly anticipated new material?

JZ: We have a tour that’s being worked out for the end of July into August. We decided instead of wearing ourselves thin with a one month long tour we’re going to have a little space in-between and change it up with different bands. That will be hitting most of the U.S. After that we have something we’re working on with a band from Norway. We’re not really at a point where we can really say who it is, but they’re a band that we’ve played with before. We’re hoping that works out and the line-up for that tour’s killer and if that goes through that will be September. We’re definitely going to be a very busy band over the summer. We put so much work into the music and we waited so long and have been so patient, so the best thing for us is to go out and work as hard as we can.

Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider talks about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fames latest exhibit “Louder Than Words: Rock, Power and Politics”

Dee Snider is the out spoken, wild hair front man of the heavy metal band Twisted Sister. Dee is currently one of the subjects in a recent exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame titled “Louder Than Words: Rock, Power and Politics”. The exhibit showcases some of the most important debates of our country through the lens of rock music. Media Mikes had the chance to talk with Dee recently about the exhibit, his thoughts on the country’s current political climate and the Twisted Sisters farewell shows scheduled for this fall.

Adam Lawton: How did you become involved with the current Rock and Roll Hall of Fame exhibit “Louder Than Words”?

Dee Snider: As it turned out my involvement during the 1980’s in Washington was a significant rock and politics moment. They reached out to me to do an interview and afterwards asked if I had any items I could loan them for a display. I ended up donating some of the things I wore the day I testified before congress. After talking with them more I was invited to the opening of the event which evolved into me singing an acoustic version of “Were Not Gonna Take It”. We did that with just piano and vocals and it went real well. This song is so much more important and says so much. It’s a lot more than just a great party song.

AL: Prior to your appearance before congress were politics something you had always been interested in?

DS: I had no interest in politics at that time. I was a young man in rock and roll and you just don’t think about those things. The song was written about my/our oppressors and I was sharing it with our audience who were equally frustrated. Now were older and there are greater concerns. The political climate right now is just awful! The fact that we have probably the most despised person in the history of presidential elections running against the second most despised person. The elections are going to come down to voting for one of those two people. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be so that’s why now more than ever I want “Were Not Gonna Take It” to inspire people. I want people to listen to that song and have it inspire them to try and make a change to get things back to the way our fore fathers intended it to be. People have to vote based on if they like the other guy or girl candidate instead of what issues they stand for. People are viewing this election like a reality television show. We all know reality television is not real but this is! When it comes down to this election we are just boned. I am actually in the process of shooting a new video for “Were Not Gonna Take It” with the guy who shot the original. This time around the video is not going to be funny. It’s going to be a fucking statement! The thing is its too late now but it’s not too late for the future to make something happen.

AL: Initially “Were Not Gonna Take It” was attached to Donald Trump’s campaign. How did that come and about and how did things work when you asked them to stop using it?

DS: I want to make something very clear. Donald Trump is a friend, a great guy and a class act. Unlike most politicians he called me and asked if he could start using the song. Him being my friend I told him he certainly could use it. Now when you are friends with people there is a rule. You don’t talk about three things sports, religion or politics. We never talked about the things he was standing for so when I started to see and read this stuff I thought “Holy Shit!” I called him up and told him I couldn’t stand behind the things he was saying. He said ok and that was it. Donald is a class act because he asked me first to use the song and then stopped using it when I asked him. I still like him as a person but we definitely don’t see eye to eye politically.

AL: Having seen where “Were Not Gonna Take It” has gone what do you think the young Dee Snider would think of all this?

DS: Young Dee Snider would be stunned. That song was written to rile up the masses and scare parents and it did that. Then it leads to me being the poster boy for all things bad about rock music and having to defend my songs and speaking out about censorship. Cut to now and it’s a rock and jock anthem, It’s on kids shows and commercials for women’s pre-menopausal medications. The ultimate irony of all happened a couple of years ago when the “Rock of Ages” film came out. Catherine Zeta-Jones plays a typical esc character fronting a PMRC esc organization who is trying to stop rock and roll. What song do they end up singing? “Were Not Gonna Take It”. You had to be fucking kidding me! That was the ultimate definition of irony. If you told young Dee Snider that thirty or forty years ago he probably would have punched you in the face! (Laughs)

AL: Twisted Sister was recently the topic of a documentary titled “Twisted F****** Sister” which showcased the bands early career. Are there plans to release a second part to that showing the success of the band?

DS: We sort of covered that with the “Behind the Music” special that aired on VH1. That’s the story most people tend to already know. We supported the making of that documentary but it was not something that was instigated by us. There was a documentarian who was intrigued by our story having learned that we were a band for ten years prior to making it big. This was something he was taken with and we welcomed his interest as too many people think that we jumped on the bandwagon of hair metal. We didn’t jump on it we built it! There were no bands like Motley Crue or Poison when we started. I give credit to Hanoi Rocks and Quiet Riot as well for also contributing but there was certainly no wagon to be jumped on. We were carrying the torch for something that record companies were rejecting. This film shows how hard we fought to get noticed and to where we are.

AL: It was recently announced that the band will be playing a handful of farewell shows this year. Can you tell us about those plans and what prompted this decision?

DS: I think this is long overdue. I don’t want anyone to take that the wrong way but I never intended to reunite Twisted Sister and then be together longer than we were when we first got together. I wanted to fix the broken relationships we had with one another and then end on a higher note than the one we ended on when we quietly disbanded in 1987. After a few years of reunion shows we had accomplished what I had wanted. We played the Wacken Festival to seventy five thousand people and it was a perfect show played to a perfect crowd on a perfect night. It also was captured by a dozen or so HD cameras and is available on DVD. That’s how I wanted to end things and I asked the guys if we could stop however the guys voted to keep going. With AJ passing away the sense of who Twisted Sister is and how we wanted to be remembered has become very strong. We know guys have members die and they keep going but we don’t want to be that band. After AJ died it seemed like a logical stopping point for us but with one caveat. AJ was the nice guy in the band however he didn’t have any sort of estate planning set up in the event something happened to him. These shows are going to allow us to say our goodbyes to the fans but also help raise some money for AJ’s estate. Along with our love for AJ and with the help of Mike Portnoy who is one hell of a drummer we did a run of shows last year and will be doing some this year as it will be our 40th anniversary. After these show’s that will be it for us. I don’t think anyone would fault us if we wanted to continue on indefinitely however there are other things we have to take in to account besides the loss of AJ. We perform with a very high energy rate and aggressiveness which has become expected of us. I don’t want to let our fans down. With a lot of work at the age of 61 I am still in great shape but no one beats gravity. I don’t want to go down on stage with a broken hip or something. If I did I don’t think the guys would even know something happened because they have seen my roll around on the floor before. (Laughs) Those guys wouldn’t think anything was really wrong until the EMT’s showed up as they probably would just assume I was milking it.

Latest Video for “The Blame Game” from City of the Weak


“The Blame Game” is the latest video from the Minneapolis, MN based rock band City of the Weak. Directed / Edited by: Cody Hoffman & City of the Weak the video showcases not only the band’s music but also the immense visual appeal that the band carries. The group is currently touring the US through October as special guests on the “Not So Sound” tour with Solice. Be sure to check https://www.cityoftheweak.wordpress.com for a full list of dates.

Writer/Director Leslye Headland talks about her latest film “Sleeping With Other People”

Writer/director Leslye Headland is best known for her work on the television series “Terriers” and her directorial debut, the film “Bachelorette.” She also adapted this past spring’s film, “About Last Night” from the original Tim Kazurinsky and Denise DeClue script. Her latest film, “Sleeping with Other People,” has earned nothing but great reviews since it played at the Sundance and Tribeca Film Festival. With the film getting ready to open nationally, Ms. Headland took the time to speak with me about it and what she has planned for the future.

Mike Smith: Where did you come up with the story for “Sleeping with Other People?” Is it based on somebody you knew?
Leslye Headland: Usually when I write I’m writing about a combination of things that are going on in my life. Usually it starts with a question I ask myself. My first film, “Bachelorette,” asked if women are still trying to get married. Is that still a goal we worry about? And is it a worthy goal? Is that something that we actually want or is it just something we’ve been pursuing for so long and so often that we’ve been told it’s something we deserve. But to take it to the ridiculous. On this film the question I was asking myself was, “Is it really possible to fall in love? To REALLY fall in love?” The way we long for. John Cassavetes said that we need love like we need food, water and air. We just don’t know how to get it. That’s really where it sprang from. Can we make a romance that’s very real and funny and touching and scary and stupid? All of the things that romantic relationships are.

MS: For lack of a better word, I found the film to be very “adult,” in the vein of “Bridesmaids” and “Trainwreck.” Yet, like those two films, though it’s “adult” it’s also very realistic. Is that something you strove to show? The “honesty” in how some relationships are?
LH: I guess so. What I really wanted to do was make sex less of a reward or a bodily function. It’s usually shown as one or the other. I wanted to portray sex accurately. It’s very weird. There’s always something going on between you and the person you’re having sex with. I wanted sex to actually be another character in the movie, not just a thing they were doing. I wanted to showcase the sex almost as set pieces. We choreographed and story-boarded those scenes almost as if they were dance numbers. There was a lot of thought put into how to represent sex within the movie. I think that was really the goal.

MS: You’ve put together a great cast. I’m just outside Kansas City and we see Jason Sudeikis’ mom at screenings often. I was really impressed with Adam Scott. This is really a change-of-pace role for him. Did you have him in mind when you were writing? Do you write your characters with certain actors in mind?
LH: I don’t write the part FOR the actors, but I do have ideas on who and how I’d like the role played. I wrote the part of Jake for Jason. I do write them with the hope that a specific actor will do them. I ask them if they would be interested. I mentioned the film to Jason before I started writing and he said that it sounded interesting. We hung out some and talked about romance. We talked about our own personal feelings. He’s obviously found love. He fell in love with Olivia and they have a child now. (NOTE: Jason Sudeikis and Olivia Wilde are the proud parents of a little boy named Otis). I’ve settled down now with my partner. So we pretty much just sat down and talked about our dating years. Getting back to your first question, it never even occurred to me to cast Adam Scott. I mean I love him and he’s one of my favorite actors but it just never occurred to me. I mean, the character is just so evil, and Adam is just so nice. But I also think it takes an actor that good to BE that bad. He and Allie (Alison Brie) had worked together on something and he saw the script. He asked me if I had cast the role and I told him I hadn’t. “Would you like to play it? I’d love you to play it.” He said he really wanted to play a bad guy. And that’s why we had him grow the mustache. We really wanted him to be unrecognizable.

MS: The film has already won raves and awards, including from both the Sundance and Tribeca Film Festivals. Does that help you in preparing for your next film?
LH: Oh yeah! It’s funny, I’m just finishing up my next script now and we’re going to be going out with it soon. I hope it does. My next script is in a totally different genre’. It’s a thriller. I appreciate the accolades but I wonder if it will make the next film hard to sell just because it’s NOT a comedy (laughs). It will be interesting to see what happens. I hope it goes smoothly. I’ll keep you updated!

David Keith talks about his latest film “Awaken”

There are some actors who, when you first see them, they stick with you. The first time I saw David Keith on screen was when he played the young Army PFC that spends some time with Bette Midler in “The Rose.” Next for me was his role as Robert Redford’s fellow prisoner (and eventual right hand man) in “Brubaker.” But it was his role as Naval Pilot Candidate Sid Worley in “An Officer and a Gentleman” that made not only earned him two Golden Globe nominations but stardom.

Since then he has had high profile roles in both film (“Firestarter,” “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Major League II”) and television (“Flesh and Blood,” “High Incident,” “The Class”). I had the great opportunity to meet Mr. Keith in 1993 on the set of “Major League II” in Baltimore and a nicer, more down to earth person I’ve never met. Especially at 11:00 at night on a cold October evening at Camden Yards.

This week, Mr. Keith’s film, “Awaken, co-starring Daryl Hannah and Jason London, arrives on DVD. Mr. Keith recently spoke with me, with that soft Tennessee twang, about his latest role, his work preferences and feeling much better, thank you.

Mike Smith: Give us a brief introduction to “Walsh,” your character in “Awaken”
David Keith: He is a black market organ harvesting surgeon on an island where some bad people are kidnapping people, making them live in the jungle so they can clean out their systems and then harvest their organs for wealthy people who have loved ones who need an organ transplant but don’t want to wait in line for them.

MS: What, if anything, attracted you to the project?
DK: The producer and co-writer (Natalie Burns) is a friend of mine. She asked if I would come do a role for her. I said “yes” before I read the script.

MS: You seem to work equally between film and television. Do you have a preference?
DK: If I could be stuck in one job for the next ten years it would be in a situation-comedy. That is the best medium because it combines the best of theater and the best of film. When you do a play on Broadway you have to sign a two-year contract, but you get sick of it after about three months when you’re doing eight shows a week. When you do a movie, you never shoot anything in order. There’s no audience. There’s no real feeling of the project as one piece like there is in theater. In a sit-com it’s like doing a different play every week. You’re the same character but you’ve got new lines – new scenes – new things to do each week. And the hours are tremendous work – about four to six hours a day – five days a week, instead of fifteen hours a day, six days a week on a film. So sit-coms are my favorite medium. And “The Class” is my favorite sit-com that I’ve ever been on.

MS: You’ve directed in the past. Any intention of getting back behind the camera again?
DK: Yes, but only under my terms. Those were not great directing experiences – I didn’t have the control I needed. I did the best I could with what I had to work with. I have a script I hope to make. I had the money all in place years ago but then the guy who had signed the contract reneged on the contract. That script is still sitting in my drawer waiting for someone to come along and say, “let’s make this movie.” (laughs)

MS: What do you have coming up next?
DK: I don’t actually know what my next job is going to be. I had some medical issues – nothing serious, nothing to worry about – that kept me out of work for the last year. I haven’t worked in a year for the first time in my career.

MS: Everything is good now?
DK: Everything is good, yes. I’m healthy and ready to go. Now it’s up to my agents. I don’t live in L.A., I live in Tennessee. I don’t go to auditions. Somebody has to remember me and want me. (laughs)

Enter to Win the Latest Blu-ray Seasons for TNT’s “Falling Skies” and “The Last Ship” [ENDED]


To celebrate the Blu-ray releases for two of TNT’s biggest shows “Falling Skies” and “The Last Ship”, Media Mikes would like to give our fans a chance to win a Blu-ray of their latest seasons. If you want to win this great prize, please leave us a comment below or send us an email with your favorite TNT series film. This giveaway will remain open until June 12th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to our readers in US and Canada only. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.

Falling Skies – TNT’s alien-invasion saga from DreamWorks Television, TNT Productions and executive producer Steven Spielberg – will return to Blu-ray™ and DVD with its complete fourth season on June 2. The two-disc Falling Skies: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray and three-disc DVD set will include all twelve episodes from the fourth season, as well as hours of exclusive special features including behind-the-scenes footage, character interviews and more. Falling Skies: The Complete Fourth Season comes to Blu-ray and DVD in advance of the hit drama’s highly-anticipated final season, slated to debut on Sunday, June 28, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT) on TNT.

Falling Skies chronicles the extraordinary story about life and survival in the wake of a catastrophic alien invasion that leaves most of the world completely deliberated. Starring Noah Wyle (Tom Mason) as a college professor who becomes an unlikely resistance leader following the alien attack, the fourth season opens as the nightmare is just beginning for the humans battling the alien force. In season four, the Mason family and the remaining 2nd Mass suddenly find themselves under brutal attack by a new Espheni war machine – and a new, deadly creation unlike anything previously encountered.

The Falling Skies: The Complete Fourth Season two-disc Blu-ray and three-disc DVD set will feature the complete fourth season with all twelve 44 minute episodes. In addition, the set will package hours of special features including an exclusive featurette Tom Mason: A Man of Tomorrow, character interviews, inside-the-episode clips, season four prequels and a Comic-Con panel interview featurette. Falling Skies: The Complete Fourth Season will be available for the suggested price of $49.99 on Blu-ray and $39.98 on DVD.

The Last Ship – TNT’s top-rated action series starring Eric Dane and executive produced by blockbuster filmmaker Michael Bay – will make its Blu-ray and DVD debut with its complete first season on June 9. The Last Ship: The Complete First Season two-disc Blu-ray and three-disc DVD set will include all 10 episodes from the series’ first season, as well as hours of exclusive bonus features including commentaries, exclusive featurettes, behind the episode clips, cast interviews and more. The Last Ship: The Complete First Season comes to Blu-ray and DVD in advance of the highly-anticipated season two premiere on Sunday, June 21, with a two-hour premiere at 9 p.m. (ET/PT).

Based on William Brinkely’s popular novel, The Last Ship chronicles a global catastrophe that nearly decimates the world’s population. Because of its positioning, the Navy destroyer U.S.S. Nathan James avoided falling victim to the devastating tragedy. But now, Captain Tom Chandler (series star Eric Dane) and his crew must confront the reality of their new existence in a world where they may be among the few remaining survivors.

The Last Ship: The Complete First Season two-disc Blu-ray and three-disc DVD set will feature the series’ complete first season with all ten 44 minute episodes. In addition, the set will exclusively package hours of special features including commentary tracks, two new exclusive featurettes, character pieces, behind the episode clips, cast interviews and more. The Last Ship: The Complete First Season will be available for the suggested price of $49.99 on Blu-ray and $39.98 on DVD.

The Runaways’s Cherie Currie talks about latest solo album “Reverie”

Cherie Currie got her start in the music business while still in her early teens fronting the iconic all girls group The Runaways. Though the group only lasted a short time Currie went on to become a successful solo performer and chainsaw artist. Cherie’s latest solo album titled “Reverie” is her first in 35 year’s and features collaborations with former Runaways manager Kim Fowley and former Runaways guitarist Lita Ford. Media Mikes had the pleasure of speaking with Cherie recently about the albums creation, what it was like working with Kim and Lita again and her thoughts on a Runaways reunion.

Adam Lawton: What made now feel like the best time to for you to release a new solo album?
Cherie Currie: I started performing again in 2010 when The Runaways movie came out. I had the chance to open for Joan at the Pacific Amphitheater and I found it nice to not be covered in gas and oil for once as being a chainsaw artist for the last decade that happened quite often. (Laughs) The reception from that show was a great one and things just started rolling from there. I had Matt Sorum drumming for me and he also was the one who put the band together. We ended up going in and doing a record for Joan’s label Blackheart. Someday I hope for that record to see the light of day. From there I decided to put myself on the road without management as I just wanted to get out there and play. I did about 4 tours in the US and Canada. When that was over Kim Fowley reached out to me after hearing I might be interested in working with him again. I jumped at the chance to work with Kim again despite knowing he was very ill. The whole idea of letting go of that bad blood I had towards him as a kid and to be able to re-experience him as an adult was absolutely a treasure to me. Getting to have my son be a part of this process was also really great. The experience was just amazing.

AL: Besides working with Kim on this project you also worked with Lita Ford. How did that opportunity come together?
CC: Lita and I had become friends for the first time in our lives actually about three years ago. She had asked me to do a duet with her a couple years ago titled “Rock This Christmas Down”. I actually flew in mid tour to do this session. The single turned out great and after Kim reached out to me to do this album I called Lita and asked if she would be a part of it. Lita had hurt her hand prior to the session so she wasn’t able to play guitar however she did sing on a couple tracks. It was a lot of fun to be able to work with her again.

AL: What was it like working with both Kim and Lita now as compared to when you were in The Runaways?
CC: When you are 15 years old, never sang in a studio before and you have this tall man towering over you and yelling things can be a bit tense. It was a totally different experience this time. I have always thought about those times but now being a parent myself I can understand where Kim was coming from a little better. Kim didn’t have a great childhood so it’s hard to imagine him in his 30’s knowing what to do with 5 teenage girls. He did the best he could. Years ago he and I spent hours on the phone burying the hatchet. He apologized to me but he also knew that we were going out in to this big bad world and that we needed tuff skin. He did things in the only way he knew how. I look back now and wish I had the brain then that I have now but I just didn’t. I think I would have laughed a lot more than cried. Kim was just such a character which he was up until the day he passed away.

AL: Is the material that makes up this album stuff that you have been working on for some time or is it newly written material?
CC: “Inner You”, “I’m Happy”, “Dark World” and “Queens of the Asphalt Jungle” were all written in one afternoon at Kim’s apartment. Two days later we were in the studio and shortly after that Kim became so ill that he couldn’t continue. Kim turned the record over to my son Jake and he and I started writing together. The track “Believe” is one I wrote about 19 years ago. I am really happy that we recorded that song as it has just been sitting around. “Shades of Me” I wrote with Jake and it’s a duet which Jake sort of went into kicking and screaming. He was bit unsure about doing a duet with his mother. (Laughs) He ended up sounding so good that I told him to just keep singing. The two Runaways songs were ones that I had been performinglive. I used my band to record those along with Lita. The song “Reverie” was a song that was originally done 3 years ago for a film. That never ended up happening and we used that song as we felt it was a cool tune. We really rushed to get this album done before Kim passed but we ended up just shy.

AL: Describe the working/creative relationship like between you and your son?
CC: We have done 4 tours together now and while out on the road we are roommates. We have spent a lot of time together both on the road and on stage. Since he was 13 I have always drug him along with me. His very first radio show was Jonesy’s Jukebox. There was my son playing guitar with Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols. I knew then he had something and was very talented but I had no clue he would go on to be as good as he is. He is such an amazing writer, producer and musician.

AL: Have you set up any plans to tour in support of the release?
CC: Eventually. I am going to be picking up the chainsaw again. I had to put it down to make this record and I have quite a bit of work for clients along with another pretty substantial carving that needs to be completed. I am going to focus just on the chainsaw for a few months and then I will be putting the band back together and see what happens.

AL: With all the recent collaboration amongst former Runaway band members are there any talks of all of you getting together for a project?
CC: I always did and it was something I always wanted to believe would happen but I don’t think that anymore. I was the last one standing again saying that this thing was going to happen but I just can’t anymore. I am always the optimist but it just doesn’t seem to be something Lita or Joan are interested in doing. For years I was always the one telling people not to give up but sometimes you just have to admit it and walk on. From there you can move on with your life. I can’t miss out on things in my life because I am constantly wishing for the band to get back together. I just really had to let it go. I have been blessed recently in that I have got to work individually with Joan, Kim and Lita. I am very happy with that.

Bumblefoot talks about latest solo album “Little Brother is Watching”

Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal is a guitarist/songwriter/producer who has been making his way in music since the late 1980’s. He is probably best known for his work with Guns n’ Roses on the long awaited “Chinese Democracy” album and from the bands recent live film release “Appetite for Democracy 3D”. Bumblefoot’s latest solo release (his 10th to date) is titled “Little Brother is Watching” and features 11 tracks which delve in to a variety of unique sounds and subject matter. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Bumblefoot recently about the new album, his creative process and his other plans to stay busy throughout 2015.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some info on “Little Brother is Watching”?
Bumblefoot: This is my latest solo CD. It has 11 songs which if I had to describe it I would consider it melodic rock. I think it’s going to appeal to guitar players. The album took about 9 months to complete which seems to be how long all of my albums tend to take. From the time I hit record to the time they hit the merch table at my shows its 9 months. The weird thing about it is that during those 9 months I always gain exactly 8 pounds. No matter what I do or don’t do its always 8 pounds that I gain during those 9 months. After the album comes out those pounds just sort of disappear. It’s just weird. I just sort of noticed this happened one day. It’s like I was having these invisible babies every time I went in and made a new album. (Laughs)

AL: Where do you generally start when you begin work on a new album?
Bumblefoot: It usually just starts in my head. Even before that there is usually something that happens where I get an idea for a song like walking into a wall. Something in life happens and then I start putting things together in my head. I don’t play a note or anything. I am just hearing things between my ears and putting it all together. I do this for each song. The first time I actually play them is when I go in with my drummer Dennis and we play them acoustically. From there we will talk about things, lay down scratch tracks and build things from there.

AL: Have you always worked this way or has it been sort of a progression?
Bumblefoot: It has sort of become that way. When I am working with other people it tends to be different but for my solo stuff it usually happens all in my head before anything else. If it sounds good in there then hopefully it will sound good once it all comes out. I think it works good for this way because the ideas can sort of simmer and I can get familiar with before going in to the studio.

AL: Are you the type of musician who is always coming up/working on new material or do you have to set time aside away from touring and such?
Bumblefoot: I have never been able to force myself to write and while I’m out on the road I have never been able to write either. For me touring has always been about giving yourself to everybody else. Everyone else gets your attention so when you are writing music you need to put all that attention inwards. The two have never meshed for me prior to this album. With this new record I forced myself to do it. It definitely hurt. (Laughs) In March/April of last year I was in South America doing shows and started coming with things for the new album. I was a bit of a nut case. We actually figured out the drums in May and then I went back out on the road. After that run was over I jumped on a bus for the Guitar Gods tour for 5 weeks where I did a lot of writing.

AL: Can you tell us about the addition of having fans play on the record?
Bumblefoot: There are 6 songs on this album where I have 100 people singing. When the album was almost done we decided to have a listening party and invited 100 people. We would play a song, do a brief Q&A and then I would play a section of the song and have those in attendance sing on those parts. We did that for each of the 6 songs. I took those tracks with me into the studio and mixed them into the album. I think it came out sounding really good. I wanted to have these songs have parts where the audience was part of the song they were hearing.

AL: Do you find being a solo artist to be as equally rewarding as when you are working in a band setting?
Bumblefoot: Everything is going to have its own set of likes and dislikes. The goal is to have diversity in life. You want to make sure your doing enough things to where you always feel refreshed and you don’t get bored or wore out. You have to keep things interesting. One thing can’t be your everything so it’s great to be able to do a variety of things. For me being just a guitarist in a band is one thing, signing and writing is another and producing and engineering is one more. Everything is different so when I put it all together I am very musically complete and gratified.

AL: What type of tour plans do you have in place to support the release?
Bumblefoot: I don’t have a tour booked just yet. I want to take some time to get the word out about the album. I want to make sure there is time for interviews, videos and all that stuff before I go and book a tour. By giving the album some time I can then figure out exactly where we should go and set up shows. You have to have a strategy when putting out an album. I would love to go and play every place possible but the cost of doing something like that can be quite high. I really like the idea of doing residencies where I can set up and play the same venue over a couple nights. Doing shows like that makes things a lot easier on everyone and it’s a bit more affordable for everyone.

AL: Can you tell us about some of the other things you have going on/coming out this year?
Bumblefoot: Art of Anarchy which is sort of a super group featuring Scott Weiland, John Moyer, Jon and Vince Votta and I is something I have been working on lately. Our first album should be out sometime in May. I have known Jon and Vince for a long time and they approached me about doing this. They had Scott already in mind as the vocalist and then we brought in John on bass. Besides playing guitar I also worked as producer and engineer. Outside of that I have also been doing some production work for the band Generation Kill and I have been doing some guitar stuff for Darryl McDaniel’s from Run-DMC.  At the end of March I will be at Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp in Las Vegas with Michael Schenker, Glenn Hughes and a bunch of other really cool people. I also have my own line of guitar cases and hot sauces that people can check out. There is a lot of fun stuff going on over the next few months.

Fozzy’s Chris Jericho talks about latest album “You Wanna Start a War”

The hard rock/heavy metal band Fozzy released their 6th studio album titled “You Wanna Start a War” this past summer and since that release the band has been out on the road non-stop in support of the release. The group is set to hit the road again and will be kicking of a headlining tour of Europe beginning in March. Media Mikes had a chance to talk with the group’s front man Chris Jericho recently about the group’s latest album, the bands relentless tour schedule and his popular “Talk is Jericho” Podcast.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about the bands next tour run?
Chris Jericho: We have quite a few tours lined up at this time but the one that will be kicking off first starts in March. We will be hitting England, Ireland, Scotland, Switzerland, Germany and France. We have always done very well in Europe which makes it feel like our second home. We haven’t been there in about 18 months as we have been doing a lot of stuff here in the States since “You Wanna Start a War” came out. It’s really an honor to know that we have such a devoted fan base to be able to tour as much as we do. In this day and age touring is the back bone of the music industry so the more places you can hit the better it is for both the band and its fans. It’s certainly a different vibe when we are overseas but we are used to it and always have a great time.

AL: What type of band line up will the shows feature?
CJ: This will be our headlining tour over there and originally we were looking to do possibly a co-headlining tour and bring along a band with a similar style to that of Halestorm or Avatar. After some thought we decided to just go on our own. We will have a UK band by the name of The Dirty Youth with us but we really felt it was time to start taking bigger steps as a band and it’s looking like a lot of those shows are on pace to sell out. Sometimes you just have to take a chance and put on the big boy pants. That’s what we did and it’s seems to be paying off.

AL: It was announced recently that you will again be part of this year’s Rockville Festival here in the States. Can you tell us about that?
CJ: We are starting to see festivals like this one pop up here in the states that have elements of festivals that have been going on overseas for years now so this is something that is really cool. We played the festival last year and generally they don’t have bands back two years in a row. That’s why you won’t see us at some of the festival shows we did last year. For whatever reason we were invited back this year to Rockville again and we will take because we had a great time last year. Jacksonville is a great rock and roll town so I am sure it will be a great show. We have started talking about putting together a tour in the states with the Rockville show sort of being the corner piece.

AL: With “Do You Wanna Start a War” being out now for several months what has the overall impression of these songs been for you having watched them develop during the creation process to where they are now being performed live on a regular basis?

CJ: That’s always the fun part. The creative process is a lot of fun and very challenging as you want to get it right. I think most artists would say this is the best record we have ever done and you should definitely feel that way each time you make a new record. This is certainly our best record yet but it’s also our most diverse. Taking these songs out on the road and seeing the reaction from fans has just been crazy. We currently do 6 of the 12 songs from the new album live. We are looking to add one more for the European tour. Fans are getting a good helping of the new album so if you come to the show not having heard the album already you might be a bit lost. The songs are very catchy though so it’s not hard to get caught up. All the songs our going over real well and have fit in nicely with our older material which makes each shows set really great. Whether we are headlining or supporting we make sure to pick the ones that get the crowd going. It’s sort of a non-stop barrage of rocking during our shows. There’s not a lot of talking as we let the music take care of that and the shows have a nice flow.

AL: With the band going through a number of lineup changes where do you feel the band camaraderie is at right now being that this line up has been together for two albums now?

CJ: The core line up of the band has been the same since the start with me, Rich Ward and Frank Fontsere. Billy Grey has been with us a few years now and Jeff Rouse we have known for awhile as well. When you spend a lot of time together you sort of whittle away the bad seeds and dead weight over time. It’s very important to have a lineup you get along with. It’s not just the songs you’re playing during that hour long set. It’s the other 23 hours of the day you’re together traveling and what not. When you together for large amounts of time it doesn’t take much for people to get on other peoples nerves. When that stuff starts to happen it can throw an entire tour off. After all these years we have a lineup that is great together both on and off stage. This has never been Chris Jericho’s band. This is a band of 5 legitimate personalities who have worked hard to get to where they are. We want to stick with this line up for as long as we possibly can.

AL: Will you be keeping up with your podcast’s while out on tour?

CJ: Absolutely! I have about 20 or 30 episodes on deck ready to go. I do the outro’s and intro’s weekly and those can be done just about anywhere. A lot of times when I know a tour is coming up I make sure I have all that stuff set to go ahead of time. I love talking with people so to be able to do these shows is really great. Even to talk with people I have worked with for years is really great because very rarely do you get to just sit down and have a longer conversation. It’s a lot of fun and to have the freedom that podcasts have is great also because I really think that’s what draws people to them.

 

Dweezil Zappa talks about Randy Rhoads tribute album “Immortal Randy Rhoads- The Ultimate Tribute”

Guitarist Dweezil Zappa appears on the latest Randy Rhoads tribute album titled “Immortal Randy Rhoads- The Ultimate Tribute”. The album which pays tribute to legendary Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Randy Rhoads reads like a who’s who of hard rock musicians. Along with Dweezil the album also features the likes of Tom Morello, Rudy Sarzo and George Lynch. Media Mikes had the pleasure of speaking with Dweezil recently about his work on the album, his first exposure to Randy’s Music and also about his first solo album release in over 10 years.

Adam Lawton: What was your first exposure to Randy Rhoads and his music?
Dweezil Zappa: I grew up listening to music my dad made and whatever he was listening to around the house. I didn’t really know about other music until I was about twelve. We never listened to the radio or anything like that. Around that same time I started to get into guitar. I liked all of my dad’s music but I thought it was a bit hard and not the easiest place to start. At that time the most popular music on the radio was hard rock music. I would hear bands like Van Halen and Ozzy Osbourne when I was hanging out at a friend’s house or what not and I was super into what Randy was doing. When I started reading about him and his playing what really stuck out was just how much he practiced. You could tell what he was did in Quiet Riot and a short time later with Ozzy was just leaps and bounds ahead. Hearing that made me very dedicated to the instrument. Seeing what he was able to accomplish in a very short amount of time made it seem possible to me. I could start from one place and get to another in big steps.

AL: How did you get involved with the album and, what do you think make’s it stand out above other tribute album?
DZ: I have been in touch with Randy’s family over the years in different ways and been involved in a few different tributes they have put on. This particular record was being produce by Bob Kulick who had contacting me to work on previous projects he was involved in. It was a simple thing to want to be involved with as everyone who worked on the project is really great and just good people. Randy’s playing was something that was very life shaping for me and ever night that I’m out doing a show I try and throw in a Rhoads lick as sort of a tip of the cap. It’s one of those things I decided to do a long time ago. So getting to just be part of this has been great.

AL: How did you go about approaching your performance?
DZ: I felt that what Randy did was so great that I didn’t really want to change it any way. Bob wanted us to make the pieces our own so I did do that to an extent but, I tried to keep things true to what Randy did. I feel like in order to play Randy’s music you have to play it as he did.

AL: Were you involved in the song selection at all?
DZ: All of the songs on the record are ones I appreciate. The one I was invited to play on buy Bob was “S.A.T.O.”. That song has always been one of my favorites. The solo is one of the ones that Randy didn’t have completely composed solo for. Most of his work is done as a complete composition but this song has always felt like it was more free form with him just going for it. With that being said the song still has great structure and flow. What’s also cool about this song is that it goes through a series of chords that are a little different than what he had been playing over. There are elements of major pentatonic along with a few other things that are different. There are also some bluesy elements to it as well. He really seems to have dug in and just went for it which I love.  I added a few slight changes of my own and who knows they may have been things Randy may have done later on.

AL: What do think it is that keeps Randy’s legacy still going some 33 years after his passing?
DZ: I think you have to put things in to context by what he did and the time that he did it. That makes a difference. There wasn’t anyone doing what he was doing at the time. The intricacies of his recordings can still be listened to today and you can hear all the pieces and how they are connected. His style of arranging and songwriting hadn’t been done up to that point. He added classical styling’s making his work very sophisticated. There were a lot of rhythmic things in his riffs which I think made him stand out. He was in his early twenties when he did all of this and the fact he was here so briefly adds to his body of work which really stands the test of time. Everyone took notice of him and those two albums were burned in peoples mind. The energy and emotion just jumped out of the speakers. I think all of these things helped Randy and his body of work transcend time.

AL: Can you give us a quick update on some of the other projects you are currently working on?
DZ: I have a lot of things in the works right now. I have a new solo album in the works. I haven’t been able to make a record of my own for over a decade as I have been busy doing Zappa plays Zappa. I have a pledge campaign started at www.pledgemusic.com and the plan is to have it out sometime in April. There’s a lot of stuff on the record which sort of showcases everything that kind of got me into the guitar and taken me to where I am. There are a lot of different styles and influences on there. I even did a track by the Bulgarian Women’s Choir on guitar. It’s a very song oriented album with lots of strange moments of guitar spread throughout. I am also working picking out dates for the next run of Dweezilla boot camps. Along with that I recently shot a new DVD lesson series, I will be out doing more Zappa plays Zappa date along with a few other appearances.