Book Review: “Heavy Tales: The Metal. The Music. The Madness. As Lived By Jon Zazula”

“Heavy Tales: The Metal. The Music. The Madness.  As Lived By Jon Zazula”
Author: Jon Zazula/Harold Claros-Maldonado
Paperback: 193 pages

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

“Heavy Tales” details the stories of how one Jonathan Zazula better known as Jonny Z who went from living on the streets of the Bronx in New York City to managing and releasing albums by some of the biggest artists in heavy metal music including Metallica, Anthrax, Testament and Mercyful Fate. Together, Jonny and his wife Marsha built a musical dynasty out of modest beginnings unmatched by any other underground heavy metal label. With a foreword written by Testament vocalist Chuck Billy, plus over 100 rare photographs unearthed from the Mega-Vault and photographer friends worldwide, “Heavy Tales” is the definitive American story of a family man with a dream, determined to prove to the world that heavy metal belonged on the stage, in your car, on the radio, and in your living room.

Growing up around the college town of Ithaca, NY you would always hear rumblings of the fabled Pyramid Studios and how all these heavy metal bands from the city would make the five plus hour drive just to record there. A name that was often attached along with that of bands like Anthrax, Testament and Raven was Jonny Z. It wasn’t until sometime later when I myself had the chance to record at Pyramid Studios that I would go back and dig a little deeper in to the lore that surrounds Mr. Jon Zazula. “Heavy Tales” filled in all the gaps, lapses and holes as it is the story right from the horse’s mouth. With the help of Harold Claros-Maldonado, Jon tells you about how his rough upbringing and  keen business sense put him at the fore-front of the heavy metal invasion of the mid-eighties and into early nineties where he help orchestrate the early foundations of cross over Rap-Metal. Just reading the candid stories about Metallica’s early days (Pre-“Master of Puppets”) would have been more than enough for me but Z takes it further recounting numerous concerts, trips and pivotal first time meetings which until now were stories only heard by select few and/or those who lived it.

Counting in at just over 190 pages “Heavy Tales” is a quick read that wastes no time getting to the good stuff. The book and its authors give you just enough background to nicely set the stage for the bulk of each story. I had no problem reading this book in one sitting and the various photographs included in the book were a nice touch. If you grew up during the time period the book covers and was in to heavy metal you undoubtedly have a record that Jonny Z had a hand in and now is your chance to hear his story.

 

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Holiday Shopping Madness Begins

It is official Fall and even though it is not Halloween yet, the holiday shopping season has already started. As you are visiting your favorite stores, you will see how they are already transformed into Christmas themes and the shopping craze is getting geared up. Stores like Lowes, Cracker Barrel, Kohls and many others are already all decorated for the season to come with hopes to kick start the madness that occurs this time of the year.

Personally, I always find that the best way for me is to get started and be done BEFORE Thanksgiving. That was I can enjoy the holidays and not have to worry about gifts and able to actually enjoy the season itself. That was in between holiday shows and holiday cooking, there is time to relax and hit up some UK mobile casino sites online. If you are good also playing would be a good way to pay back those holiday bills also! I find that if I leave shopping to the last minute that I am missing the true feeling of the holidays and more time stressing, which I do through out the year enough.

If you are an online shopper, the who dynamic of shopping for the holidays has changed so much as well. I remember “kicking off” the holiday season on Black Friday morning at 5am waiting in those lines, but now the shopping starts anytime online with numerous deals throughout the Fall. So whether you are a smart shopper like myself or a last minute rusher, be sure to get ready because the season is here as we gear up for the most wonderful time of the year! Happy Holidays (in advance) and stay safe!

Film Review “20 Years of Madness”

Starring: Jerry White, Jr and John Ryan
Directed by: Jeremy Royce
Not Rated
Running time: 1 hour 30 mins

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

“20 Years of Madness” is a look back at a local cable access show that aired in the early 1990’s in Michigan called ’30 Minutes of Madness’. It was “Jackass” meets “Tom Green” before either of those shows existed. “30 Minutes of Madness” was written, produced, directed, and starred a group of teen-age friends whom all came together to create madness and insanity, and recorded it on VHS, then put it out for public consumption.

The show was created and overseen by Jerry White Jr., a talented writer/director with a few anger issues. Very controlling and not open to other people’s input, the show hit well with a local audience, but fell apart when tempers would rise as each show was made, and slowly the friendships of those involved broke apart.

Twenty years later Jerry White Jr attends his twentieth high school reunion and uses the opportunity to reach out to those friends, to come back and make one more episode of “30 Minutes of Madness.” Having crowd-sourced funding to make the episode, Jerry returns to Michigan, rents a house, and collects all the previous cast members that he can. From here we see just how much twenty years can change people, and how grudges can remain.

What I really liked about this documentary was that it is extremely honest. You are able to openly like and dislike everyone involved. It doesn’t arbitrarily paint anyone in an unfavorable light, although quite a few of them are behaving in ways that make them hard to care about. But in the end: you do.

“20 Years of Madness” is about that teen-age sense of invincibility. Feeling that you have the entire world within your grasp, and that you can do anything. It’s about doing whatever you want whenever you want as a teen-ager because you can’t see the future repercussions. It’s about ego driving out rational thought, and tempers flaring over art that ruins friendship. It’s also definitely about dreaming larger than what you have the ability to create on your own. Then realizing you have to looked past yourself and ask for forgiveness and for the help of others.

“20 Years of Madness” isn’t about two decades of insanity captured on video; it’s about anger between people whom were once friends trying to come back together and reclaim that sense of innocence and fun that they lost. Director Jeremy Royce has crafted a great story out of the very interesting person that is Jerry White Jr. The film is very well-balanced, and is worth seeing in the theatre.

NCAA March Madness vs. NBA Playoffs – A Battle of the Basketballs

Any basketball fans out there? As we approach the end of the season, the burning question for sports way is which is the best way to end it properly. Some will same NCAA March Madness and some will say NBA Playoffs. If you are conflicted, take a look at this amazing infographic and let it give you the facts behind each.

Feel free to enter your comments below and let us know what are your thoughts, feeling and of course most importantly predictions for the end of this season!


Via: Equip Supply

Papa Roach’s Jerry Horton talks their tour “Carnival of Madness”

Jerry Horton is the guitarist for the multi-platinum rock group Papa Roach. The group’s latest release “The Connection” has been tearing up the rock charts and Media Mikes caught up with Jerry recently to discuss the bands career at the Big Flats, NY stop of the Carnival of Madness tour which along with Papa Roach features Skillet and Shinedown.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about the bands decision to tour as a package as opposed to a solo headlining run?
Jerry Horton: I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that last year we were supposed to be part of a package tour however due to Jacoby’s vocal problem we had to cancel those shows. We were trying to figure out what to do this year tour wise and the guys from Shinedown hit us up. We have toured with them before and it’s always been a great time so that’s what we decided to do.

AL: Having not toured immediately upon the latest albums release how has the reception been towards the new material on this tour run?
JH: It’s been really good. We have had quite a few people up front just singing along to the new stuff. That’s not something we expect especially from say a Shinedown crowd. Not to say there isn’t cross pollination of our fans and Shinedown fans happening but with them being the headliner you don’t expect to see people singing along to some of our heaviest songs. Things have been great on the tour and each night we flip flop sets with Skillet so some nights we play earlier and other nights we have the later slot. The challenge of getting everyone up out of their seats is one we enjoy and we have had a lot of people up and dancing this time out.

AL: Having a career that is going on 20 years now what do you feel has been the
bands biggest progression over the course of that time?
JH: I would have to say that probably our biggest change happened just recently. We introduced some more electronic elements to our sound. We had a little bit here and there in the past like on “Getting Away with Murder” but it was never really as much in the forefront as it is on this record. We wanted to do that in a way that wouldn’t take away from the rock element of the band. When we write and record we will do the main guitar part and then layer over the top of that. With the electronic sounds we want those to help people differentiate between the various parts of the songs. There are a lot more textures going on in the newer material however I wanted the beats to resemble those from our earlier records.

AL: From a tonal stand point do you feel the band’s sound has changed at all?
JH: I wouldn’t say it has changed so much. We have used different amps from time to time but for our main sound whether I am using a Marshall, a Bogner or a Boogie I have a certain frequency range that I like my sound to sit in. Whatever amp I am using will generally fit in there. You can kind of hear some differences if you go back to the “Infest” album and compare it to “The Connection”. There is a little difference but I generally don’t get down to the freakishly specific settings. I go a lot by ear and how it meshes with the bass. Tobin acts like a second guitar player with his playing style so at times the tones have to be similar and distinct even while we are playing lines that may be similar.

AL: Over time has your live tone and recording tone started to mimic one another or have they stayed pretty separate?
JH: On the last record we used Bogner amps but live I am currently using the Axe Effects unit. I have a similar tone but it’s not exactly a Bogner amp. There are some concessions I am willing to make when it comes to touring and playing live. It’s not only a space issue but there are things like weight and shipping that we have to take in to consideration. The Axe unit comes within I would say between 90-95% of my studio sound. A tone purist would take a look at my whole rig and probably just shake his head in disappointment.

AL: Have there been any talks yet of starting work on a new album?
JH: We have started thinking about it. Ideas have started floating around but we don’t have specific songs finished just yet. I know Jacoby has lyric ideas and we have an idea as to how we want the album to sound. There are a lot of cool things that we are tossing around. I know Tobin has two or three songs in the works and we are really stoked about those. We are still just in the beginning stages. We will probably be in the studio around March.

AL: What other tour plans are in place for the remainder of this year?
JH: We finish the Carnival of Madness tour on September 15th. In October we are starting in the Pacific North West and going through Canada and down the east coast making our way to Florida. In November and December we head over to Europe for some shows and we finish there at the Brixton Academy in London. We have a few shows after that but we have most of the holiday season off.

Concert Review: “Carnival of Madness 2013” Tag’s Summer Stage, Big Flats, NY

“Carnival of Madness 2013”
Shinedown, Skillet, Papa Roach, In This Moment, We As Human
Date: Wednesday, August28th 2013
Venue: Tag’s Summer Stage, Big Flats, NY

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

The Tag’s Summer Stage was alive and kicking on August 28th as the 2013 Carnival of Madness tour made a stop in the normally quiet upstate NY town of Big Flats. Complete with stilt walkers, jugglers and of course tour headliners Shinedown there really shouldn’t have been anywhere else to be.

The show kicked off with We As Human taking the stage for a brief 20 minute set which primed the crowd for what was to come later in the evening. Though the crowds appreciation was lacking somewhat in the way of applause the 5 piece rock band from Nashville, TN forged ahead giving their all. In This Moment would take the stage next and the always entertaining Maria Brink and company took the show to a completely different level. The set consisted of air/smoke cannons, scantily clad backup dancers and of course some great heavy music.

The next slot on the bill changes from night to night with Papa Roach and Skillet alternating line up slots. On this night it would be veterans Papa Roach who would take the stage first blasting their way through a high energy set that mixed both classic and new songs from the bands expansive catalog. Lead singer Jacoby Shaddix who is back and better than ever (Shaddix had a polyp removed from his vocal cord recently) whipped the crowd in to a frenzy that resulted in people and lawn chairs sailing through the air from the start of the bands set until the last notes of the bands hit song “Last Resort” rang out.

Skillet would follow and though I wasn’t sure how anyone could follow the amazing set that Papa Roach had just completed Skillet delivered. The band pulled out all the stops including masked string players, air cannons and levitating platforms. Not only did the band deliver visually they sounded great as well. As always fan favorites such as “Hero” and “Monster” garnered the biggest responses however each number the band performed in their 11 song set was spot on.

Last to take the stage where tour headliners Shinedown. Though the bands set was packed with hit after hit for me the performance fell kind of flat. At times the production of the show which featured a vast lighting rig over powered the bands performance making it hard at certain points to look directly at the stage. I did however enjoy the bands cover of the Lynyrd Skynyrd classic “Simple Man” as singer Brent Smith always does the song justice. All in all a great night of music and fun was had by those in attendance.

Papa Roach Set List:
1.) Still Swingin’
2.) Blood Brothers
3.) Give Me Back My Life
4.) Between Angels and Insects
5.) Where Did the Angels Go?
6.) Burn
7.) Forever
8.) Leader of the Broken Hearts
9.) Scars
10.) …To Be Loved
11.) Getting Away with Murder
12.) Last Resort

Skillet Set List:
1.) Whispers in the Dark
2.) Hero
3.) Sick of It
4.) Comatose
5.) Rise
6.) Awake and Alive
7.) The Last Night
8.) Not Gonna Die
9.) Circus for a Psycho
10.) Monster
11.) Rebirthing

Shinedown Set List:
1.) I’m Not Alright
2.) Enemies
3.) Devour
4.) Unity
5.) The Crow & The Butterfly
6.) Adrenaline
7.) I’ll Follow You
8.) Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom -Lay Boom)
9.) If You Only Knew
10.) Amaryllis
11.) Sound of Madness
12.) Second Chance
13.) Simple Man
14.) Bully

CARNIVAL OF MADNESS: First Tour Dates Announced; Unleashes August 13 In Cleveland With Shinedown, Papa Roach, Skillet, In This Moment & We As Human

FIRST TOUR DATES ANNOUNCED FOR THE FOURTH ANNUAL CARNIVAL OF MADNESS

UNLEASHES AUGUST 13 IN CLEVELAND, OH WITH SHINEDOWN, PAPA ROACH, SKILLET, IN THIS MOMENT AND WE AS HUMAN

June 3, 2013 – The first batch of dates for the highly anticipated CARNIVAL OF MADNESS tour, powered by Monster Energy, have been announced.

Sure to be known as the premier rock tour of 2013, the CARNIVAL OF MADNESS–sponsored by Monster Energy–returns this summer with multi-Platinum rock band SHINEDOWN, along with PAPA ROACH, SKILLET, IN THIS MOMENT, and WE AS HUMAN. The tour commences in Cleveland, OH on Tuesday, August 13. Go to www.CarnivalofMadness.com for specific on-sale date and ticket information, and see below for the first batch of shows. More will be announced in the coming weeks.

VIP ticket pre-sales for these shows are now available to the “Shinedown Nation,” SHINEDOWN’s exclusive fan club. For more information about VIP pre-sale packages and “Shinedown Nation” membership, please visit the band’s official website, www.shinedown.com.

SHINEDOWN makes their triumphant return to the CARNIVAL OF MADNESS after headlining the 2010 inaugural launch, with a lineup that also included Sevendust, Chevelle, Puddle of Mudd, and 10 Years. The first CARNIVAL OF MADNESS proved to be one of the biggest tours of the summer, heralded as a Top 50 tour by Pollstar. Last year’s trek featured Evanescence, Chevelle, Halestorm, and New Medicine.

CARNIVAL OF MADNESS 2013 TOUR DATES

DATE CITY VENUE

Tue 8/13 Cleveland, OH Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica
Wed 8/14 Philadelphia, PA Mann Center for the Performing Arts
Fri 8/16 Canandaigua, NY Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center
Sat 8/17 Cincinnati, OH PNC Pavilion at Riverbend Music Center
Sun 8/18 Bloomington, IL US Cellular Coliseum
Tue 8/20 Burgettstown, PA First Niagara Pavilion
Wed 8/21 Bristow, VA Jiffy Lube Live
Fri 8/23 Tinley Park, IL First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
Sun 8/25 Cedar Rapids, IA U.S. Cellular Center
Tue 8/27 Clarkston, MI DTE Energy Music Theatre
Wed 8/28 Big Flats, NY Tags
Fri 8/30 Charlotte, NC Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
Sat 8/31 Virginia Beach, VA Farm Bureau Live
Sun 9/1 Raleigh, NC The Red Hat Amphitheater
Fri 9/6 Allegan, MI Allegan County Fair
Tue 9/10 Morrison, CO Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Sat 9/14 Sacramento, CA Discovery Park

About Monster Energy:
Most companies spend their money on ad agencies, TV commercials, radio spots, and billboards to tell you how good their products are. At Monster Energy, we chose none of the above. Instead we support the scene, our bands, our athletes and our fans. We back athletes so they can make a career out of their passion. We promote concert tours, so our favorite bands can visit your hometown. We celebrate with our fans and riders by throwing parties and making the coolest events we can think of a reality. www.monsterenergy.com

About In De Goot Entertainment:
In De Goot Entertainment powers CARNIVAL OF MADNESS and boasts an artist roster that defines rock music today! The management company opened its doors in 1993 and has grown into one of the premier rock management companies in the U.S. We represent a wide range of Platinum-selling rock acts and underground fan favorites. The company takes great pride in helping artists succeed in all areas of their career. With decades of music business experience shared amongst the staff, we strive to provide expert guidance and insight for the acts we represent. www.indegoot.com

 

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Concert Review: “Carnival of Madness 2011” Big Flats, NY

Date: Friday, September 9th 2011
Venue: Tag’s Summer Stage, Big Flats, NY

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

Click here to check out our interview with Alter Bridge’s Mark Tremonti

Click here to check out our interview with Theory of a Deadman’s Dean Back

The 2011 Carnival of Madness tour featuring Emphatic, Adelitas Way, Black Stone Cherry, Alter he small town of Bridge and Theory of a Deadman made its way into Tag’s Summer Stage located in tBig Flat’s, NY on September 9th. The tour now in its second year has previously featured bands such as Chevelle, Sevendust and Shinedown. This year the tour is co-headlined by hard rock heavy weights Theory of a Deadman who in July of this year released their 4th studio album titled “The Truth Is” and Alter Bridge a band that features 3 of the 4 members of multi-platinum selling band Creed.

Upon hearing the line up for this year’s Carnival of Madness tour I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Black Stone Cherry would be making the rounds. After seeing them open for Zakk Wyldes Black Label Society a few years back I was anxious to hear them again. Sadly this did not end up being the case. During sound check the tour crew was notified that Black Stone Cherry would not be able to make the show due to portions of their route being still flooded by the devastating storm the NY/PA area was hit by just days before. At the time this still left the other 4 bands to go on as scheduled….so I thought. Upon returning to the venue for the show the gate was posted with signs stating Emphatic would also not being playing the show. Then to add insult to injury it was announced by the promoter that Adelitas Way also was not able to play. Within the course of 2 hrs. a 5 band line-up was reduced to just its co-headliners and needless to say things were looking pretty grim. However I would like to personally say that both Alter Bridge and Theory of a Deadman stepped up to the plate and hit clutch homeruns which quickly won over the ill tempered crowd. After it was announced that both bands would play extended sets to make up for the other bands being stranded Alter Bridge took to the stage and played a relentless hard rocking set which featured killer dueling guitar solos from front man Miles Kennedy and lead guitarist Mark Tremonti. To close out the night Theory of a Deadman played a hit filled set featuring songs such as “I Hate My Life”, “Low Life” and “Bad Girlfriend”.

Even though the nights show was plagued by transportation issues. Theory of a Deadman and Alter Bridge brought their A games. Though some fans were upset over not being able to see the entire tour lineup I feel TOAD and Alter Bridge made up for it and left fans with very little to regret about sticking around for just two bands.

 

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PS3 Game Review “Alice: Madness Returns”

Developer: Spicy Horse
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Designer: American McGee
Engine: Unreal Engine 3
Platform: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Genre: Action-Adventure, Platform
Mode: Single-player
Rating: ESRB: M

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Click here to view our interview with the game’s creator American McGee.
Click here
to enter for a chance to win a copy of the game on Playstation 3.

“American McGee’s Alice” has always been one of my favorite games to date. I have been early awaiting the release of this game…so let’s just say that expectations are very high. But worry though, this game comes through well over expectations. The game takes place 11 years after the first game (like in real life between their releases). Unlike the first game which was only released on PC and Mac format. This game is released on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360, so it is the first time it is available on console. If you are a fan of the original you will be greatly appreciative to hear that the first game, “American McGee’s Alice” is included for free on the disc of each game. So fans rejoice, 11 years was worth the wait because this game in plain English..KICK MAJOR ASS!

It’s eleven years since Alice left Rutledge (where we left her from the first game) and she is being taken care of by a child psychiatrist in London. She is still fighting the loss of her family and she starts to lose grip reality and returns to Wonderland. Unfortuntely the Wonderland she knew is gone and it is now a completely different place. This time, though, there’s an bigger question fueling her madness is the truth behind the fire that caused her family to die.

The visuals are stunning. The level design is very smooth and well done. The design isn’t the only thing that got an upgrade though Alice also is now about to double jump using twirls, she can also glide after jumping. She has the ability to shrink on demand to get to those hard to reach spots. I have been reading that some people are having issues with the controls and cameras. I find it to be the complete opposite in fact. I thought the cameras track well and the controls are definitely manageable (I just keep forgetting how to get that damn umbrella to come out).

“Alice: Madness Returns” is also heavy on the action and has some really dark gameplay. Alice has many weapons in her arsenal like the Vorpal Blade (can’t beat the classic hack/slash), Pepper Grinder (machine gun-like) and Hobby Horse (melee smash attack). What I also like about this game is that each hit will turn into a combo when combined with other buttons and dodges. I would have to agree pretty well with the games M rating, it definitely pushes the barriers, but that is a good thing. There are a few minor glitches I found the game, mostly when changing rooms or entering keyholes but otherwise, I didn’t noticing any lagging or freezing. The length of the game is decent and leaves you definitely feeling satisfied.  This is a must buy and I can’t wait to replay it again to see things that I missed the first time.

Now like I mentioned earlier the original American McGee’s Alice is included on the disc (unlockable using an online pass at the console store). One thing is though, after playing “Madness Returns” which is so smooth and beautiful, switching back to the original really shows its age. But hey what do you expect…11 years is a long time and games look better today that is expected. Getting to play the original for the first time on a console was really sweet and was a great idea for them to include it on this disc.