“In The Beginning” New Album Coming June 19th – Pre-Orders Available Now
2019 saw the CRO-MAGS crushing the masses with the release of their first pieces of music in 19 years. Today, the legendary hardcore pioneers have released a music video for the previously released single “From The Grave,” featuring former Motorhead guitarist Phil Campbell. The band’s first full length album in 20 years, titled In The Beginning, will be available on June 19th via Mission Two Entertainment.
“The idea for the video is that I’m rising from the grave and going on a mission…like I came back from the dead to become the Grim Reaper himself,” explains CRO-MAGSfounder, bassist and vocalist Harley Flanagan on the clip. “I think anybody who knows the history of this band and of my life will get it. It starts off at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, where I will be buried with my family and in-laws. In the opening shot, the grave I’m in front of is actually my mother’s.”
As CRO-MAGS toured with Motorhead in 1986, Flanagan adds, “Phil is one of my favorite guitarists of all time and I still can’t believe I have him playing on one of my songs! I am so honored. The footage of Phil was shot by his son Todd Campbell at his recording studio in Wales, UK.”
“From The Grave” is the second video following last year’s “No One’s Victim,” which was the CRO-MAGS first music video in 27 years.
In The Beginning will be released on June 19, 2020 on CD, limited edition yellow or red cassettes, and the following vinyl formats:
Transparent orange w/ yellow splatter
Ultra-clear w/ orange and yellow splatter (Indie retail exclusive)
Watch Music Video for Cover of Aerosmith’s “Toys In The Attic” HERE
American Made to be Released on June 12, 2020 via Napalm RecordsPre-Order HERE
“Absolutely f*cking brilliant! God bless the real music krankers of America! Godspeed!”-Ted Nugent
”Turbocharged version of D.O.A. by BPMD. These guys are rocking!”– Michael Anthony (Chickenfoot, Ex-Van Halen)
“Super charged versions of some all time great (but not overplayed!) classic rock songs done by a killer band. I loved the originals of many of these tracks, and these versions bring a whole new edge and energy that make it fun to rock them once again.”– Eddie Trunk, iconic rock radio and TV personality
The time has come! Shortly following the recent announcement of their signing with Napalm Records,
BPMD – the new juggernaut featuring heavy metal icons Bobby Blitz (Overkill) on vocals, drummer Mike Portnoy (The Winery Dogs, Sons of Apollo), bassist Mark Menghi (Metal Allegiance) and guitarist Phil Demmel (Vio-lence, ex-Machine Head) – are thrilled to announce new details regarding their debut album. BPMD will release their upcoming full-length, American Made, on June 12, 2020 via Napalm Records. The 10-track homage to some of rock music’s greatest treasures is turbocharged by the experience and enthusiasm of its four creators, and its first single, “Toys In The Attic” – an Aerosmith classic just begging for a heavy reimagining – is only the first boisterous sliver of proof.
The “Toys In The Attic” video was directed by Victor Borachuk / JupiterReturn, with art direction and motion design by Natália Tanus and Leonardo Gill. Watch the brand new video for the track below!
Frontman Bobby Blitz says about “Toys In The Attic”:“I remember waaaaaaaaaaay back when Overkill formed, we were cutting our teeth on covers as I was finding my way around the mic. The Aerosmith covers were right in my wheelhouse, so when Mike [Portnoy] picked ‘Toys’ to cover, I was like… ‘Hell Yea’!”
Guitarist Phil Demmel adds about recording the track:“It was tricky because Aerosmith have two guitarists, Joe Perry and Brad Whitford, playing different things. So, as one guitar player, I had to pick a medium place between the two that sounded good. I thrashed it up a little by adding a lot of down picking and some gallops and triplets.”
Watch the brand new video and listen to BPMD’s “Toys In The Attic” HERE
It’s evident within the initial seconds of BPMD’s American Made, as the legendary Bobby Blitz chants the introductory lyrics to Ted Nugent’s “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang” in his signature skyscraper-high howl, that he and his equally iconic bandmates are here to have a damn good time. Featuring 10 unforgettable rock classics reimagined as heavy bangers, American Made is a party on wax. Tracks such as the raucous “Toys in the Attic” (Aerosmith) and rager-ready “Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers” (ZZ Top) prove that BPMD not only manages to capture the essence of each original track on the album, but skillfully transforms each classic into an unforgettable metallic anthem for a new age.
The seasoned quartet flex their musical muscles on renowned classics such as “Saturday Night Special” (Lynyrd Skynyrd), “We’re an American Band” (Grand Funk Railroad) and “Walk Away” (James Gang), and introduce a whole new heavy generation to deeper cuts like blues standard “Evil” (Cactus/Willie Dixon) and “Never In My Life” (Mountain). Channeling nostalgia while maintaining a fresh attitude, American Made is a summer soundtrack for all ages.
Bassist Mark Menghi remarks on BPMD’s origins:“Last summer, right after the Fourth of July, I was sitting in my backyard. I was listening to a bunch of ‘70s stuff and Lynyrd Skynyrd‘s ‘Saturday Night Special’ came on. I said, ‘Man, I would love to play that song,’ and my eight-year-old son turned to me and said, ‘You should do a record of all these songs, Dad.’ And I was like, ‘Hmmm? Yeah, why not!?!’”
After connecting over their mutual love for the classics and forming their current line-up, the members of BPMD traveled to drummer Mike Portnoy’s home studio in Pennsylvania and set up shop. Since the whole concept of the band was born the night Menghi was listening to “Saturday Night Special”, BPMD were determined to record the song for the album. Beyond that, each musician picked two ‘70s rock tracks and everyone had to learn them!
Menghi chose “Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers” in addition to “Saturday Night Special”. Blitz’s choices were a little more obscure – “Never in My Life” replete with cowbell and a blazing repeated blues lick, and Cactus’ version of “Evil”, a fiercely Zeppelin-like take on an old Willie Dixon song. For his tracks, Demmel picked “D.O.A.” and had a blast channeling his inner Eddie Van Halen, and took a deep dive with “Tattoo Vampire”. Recalling the days when Ted Nugent was more of a bad boy than a gunslinger, Portnoy picked “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang”, in addition to “Toys In the Attic”.
Menghi, who also co-produced American Made, adds:“We didn’t go into it trying to make everything metal, we just wanted to play the way we play and this is what you get… we’ve all been influenced by a wide variety of bands including Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Metallica. So, of course, we’re going to attack the songs a little harder than guys that didn’t grow up on heavy music.”
Blitz adds:“We made sure we did high-quality versions of these songs and gave them all a little twist. I think there’s a place for that in the music world today. There’s something really great about nostalgia, especially if it’s reimagined.”
American Made was mixed and mastered by Mark Lewis, also known for his work with Metal Allegiance (featuring Mark Menghi), as well as artists such as DevilDriver, Trivium, and many others.
American Made Tracklist:
1. Wang Dang Sweet Poontang
2. Toys in the Attic
4. Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers
5. Saturday Night Special
6. Tattoo Vampire
8. Walk Away
9. Never in My Life
10. We’re an American Band
American Made will be available in the following formats:
Phil Palmer is a legendary session guitarist who has performed on countless albums for acts such as Robbie Williams and George Michael and Bob Dylan. Palmer has also had the distinction of being a member of both Eric Clapton’s band and 80’s hit makers Dire Straits. Palmer is currently on the road touring with Dire Straits Legacy (DSL) a group made up of former Dire Straits members wanting to pay tribute the bands amazing catalog. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Phil recently about the group’s formation and the bands first tour of the United States in ten years.
Adam Lawton: Can you give us some history as to how you initially became with Dire Straits?
Phil Palmer: I was part of the band during the group’s last world tour between 1991 and 1992. I think we did something around 270 shows. Prior to joining Dire Straits I had been in Eric Clapton’s band for about three years. That time period was quite busy for me as Eric’s group was very active and then I went right over to Dire Straits to play over 200 shows.
AL: What was it like transitioning stylistically from Eric Clapton to Dire Straits?
PP: The main difference I guess was for Eric’s tour we did around three days of rehearsal. It was all very much by the seat of your pants. At that time I think he had the best band in the world. The situation was very fluid and the arrangements would often evolve as we began playing as the environment was very free. When I joined Dire Straits we rehearsed for three months prior to the tour starting. There were quite a few complicated sections and the arrangements were very important to Mark. That was probably the biggest difference. To be in Dire Straits you have to be regimented. Half of my job was to make sure that when Mark decided to be spontaneous with his playing that I stayed out of his way while still providing a supportive role. This was much different than where I had just come from. As a session player those are the types of things I am good at so after the three months of rehearsal and we started playing shows things lightened up a bit. The real important thing was the dynamics which tended to be the hardest thing to get everyone in sync to.
AL: Now how did the Dire Straits Legacy project start out?
PP: This group was born out of a chance meeting really. I had not seen any of the other Dire Straits guys in about ten years or so. There was an idea for us to get together and play the Dire Straits music presented so we all met in Rome and at the start we weren’t really in to the idea. After a nice dinner and a few bottles of wine everyone loosened up to the idea. After that a small show was set up for us just outside of Rome. With very little rehearsal we showed up to a field filled with around ten thousand people waiting to hear us play. We realized then that there was a lot of life left in the Dire Straits band and the only person who was not there that should have been was Mark Knopfler. Most of the original Dire Straits personnel from the tour in 92’ came out for this show and had fun.
AL: With Mark not being involved in the project was there any trepidation on your part to do the project?
PP: Yes. We weren’t sure people were going to accept it without Mark. The surprising thing is it’s the music that shines through. Marks songs and arrangements are so good that people still love it and even after twenty five years of being away the shows go over great! The music is just so interesting that people really love it.
AL: Can you tell us about the current DSL line up?
PP: Steve Ferrone and I have known each other since the Eric Clapton days. He is such a great drummer and to have him involved in this is very cool. His history with Tom Petty speaks for itself. Trevor Horn is a guy who I have worked a lot with over the years and, one day I mentioned to him that we were going to be doing this tour. He said he was interested in being a part of it and jumped on board. It’s interesting to look at the resumes the guys in the band have. It’s just extreme! There so much material that we could pull from each of our careers. The other day we were playing “Owner of a lonely Heart” which Trevor wrote and produced for Yes. That’s a great song to listen to and play. It also gives a slight diversion from the Dire Straits stuff. We really wanted to explore everyone’s talent even if it was outside of Dire Straits. We plan to add a few other songs outside of the Dire Straits set as time goes on.
AL: It has been awhile since the group has been to the United States. Can you tell us about the upcoming shows here and possibly why you have been absent from the U.S. market?
PP: We like playing in the States however this project can be a bit hard to promote. We are playing the music of the Dire Straits however we are not the Dire Straits. We can’t legally use the name so it’s hard for us to explain to people what they are buying tickets to see. That’s really been our main issue. We have a showcase booked in Nashville for all the American promoters and it was basically brought us to the States. We are doing some other gigs because we want to play but everything sort of revolves around this showcase which we hope will generate gigs for 2019. By coming over to the States now in late 2018 we are hoping to get the foot hold we need to make a solid presence for next year.
AL: In 2017 DSL release “3 Chord Trick”. Are any of the songs from that album going to be featured in the set for this run of U.S. shows?
PP: We are going to play a few tracks from that album. We had a lot of fun recording that record. The idea was to record the old way where the band was all in one room and not use any modern equipment. It was a lot of fun and I think the album has a depth that you just don’t hear today. It is quite diverse. There are some Dire Straits moments in there as the nucleolus of the band (Alan Clark and myself) we were inspired by Mark’s music but we didn’t deliberately go out and try to produce a Dire Straits album. We like to think that “3 Chord Trick” is the next stage of our development rather than Dire Straits.
AL: Are there any other projects you are currently working on outside of the Dire Straits Legacy project?
PP: Alan and I have been working with Trevor on a project called “The 80’s Reinvented”. It’s a bunch of classic tracks from that era done in Trevor Horn’s signature style. That’s been a lot of fun! We have been working with a full orchestra and a lot of very special guest performers. Trevor being who he is able to call up just about anyone and ask them to be on his record and they more than likely will do it! It’s great fun.
Phil Campbell and the Bastards Sons is the latest post Motorhead offering from long-time guitarist Phil Campbell. What makes this group unique is that the “Bastard Sons” really are Campbell’s sons. Along with Neil Starr on vocals Phil’s sons Todd, Dane and Tyler round out the group’s lineup which is set to release their self titled debut EP on November 18th. Media Mikes had the chance recently to talk with Todd Campbell about the group’s formation, the creation of the EP and about the bands upcoming tour.
Adam Lawton: How did the idea for the new band come about?
Todd Campbell: About four years ago I celebrated my 30th birthday and we had a party with a band. My dad happened to be home at the time and we got up and jammed along with my buddy Neil Starr. We did a few Rolling Stones songs and it went really well. We had said that we should do that more often and things have just sort of carried on since then. That really was the basis for the band. My dad and I play guitar, my youngest brother Tyler plays bass, my other brother Dane plays drums and we have Neil singing. Us Campbell’s we can play a bit but our voice is a bit un-cool. (Laughs)
AL: From a creative stand point how did the album come together?
TC: The whole process was really cool. We didn’t really have a time frame to get the EP out so we just played quite a bit together. We would sort of sit on the material for a bit then my dad would come in and give his thoughts and input in different parts. It was all really easy to be honest. I think my dad actually enjoyed the process as well because being related we were all sort of on the same page already so it was a good experience.
AL: What was it that appealed to the band about doing an EP for your first release as opposed to a full length album?
TC: There were some time and budget factors that helped with that decision but when you do a full album you in a way are sort of tied to that specific sounds for a couple of years. With an EP you can bounce to the next thing a little quicker and get some fresh material out there to your fans. It also gives us an angle to play some new songs live as we move on to the next album.
AL: Do you think the music market right now sort of lends itself more to EP’s as opposed to full length albums?
TC: The value of music these days is just lost. Gone are the days of saving up your money and going to the music store and buying an album. We originally had this idea of doing just one song and then charging $100 dollars for it. (Laughs) We figured if we made the most expensive song people would look at it and just wonder why it was expensive in hopes to bring value back to the industry. We never ended up doing it because we figured after one person bought they would just share it and the thing would die on its ass. In today’s market you have about 30 seconds to grab some ones attention and that’s all you get. Despite all of that I think for rock bands the album will always be there. You get that 45 minutes or an hour to put your stamp on something which is important in rock music.
AL: “Big Mouth” is the bands first single. What was about this track that stood out above the rest?
TC: That song has a good rock and roll vibe and is also really punchy. That was about the third song I think we actually worked on. I had come up with the riff and then my dad unlocked the rest of it. I think that song came together the most organically. We all agreed this was the one that should go our first to everyone so they could gauge us as a band. It was all a very natural process.
AL: A lot of times we see band members taking on dual roles as producers. Your situation is even more unique as you are not only both of those but also a son and brother. How do you go about balancing all of those rolls?
TC: I have worked/played with a lot of different bands and when you don’t know someone as well you have to be rather tactful with your approach to different things. In this case where I have known everyone practically my entire life you just get right to it. If I think something is shit I can come right out and say that. (Laughs) You can be really upfront with everyone. Sometimes when people see us sound check they are a bit taken back as we are very honest with each other. We have these mini arguments but then 2 minutes later it’s all been forgotten about. Everyone is very honest and no one’s feelings get hurt as we just move on being we have that family bond with one another. Where I had to step back from things was during the mixing process. I wanted to bring someone in with fresh ears. You can sort of obsess when it’s your own work so we brought in Cameron Webb who mixed the last few Motorhead records. He did a fantastic job and that sort of took some pressure off of me. Having those outside ears keeps you on the ball as well because you can’t be lazy. You have to get everything right before it goes on to that next process where you won’t be as involved.
AL: Can you tell us about the bands upcoming UK tour and if there are plans to bring the band to the States?
TC: We are doing a run of shows on our starting October 18th and then towards then of the year we will be doing some shows with Saxon which should be really great. We definitely want to come to the U.S. and we have representation there now. The EP is really kicking things off for us and now that we have the Motorhead team behind us I think that’s going to really help. Before we just called ourselves the “All Star Band” and only played here or there but now we have something bigger going and we are taking it serious so we hope to be able to get out to as many different places as possible.
You may recognize Phil Sgrosso as the guitarist for bands such as As I Lay Dying and Wovenwar However, not one to sit idle for any length of time Phil is back with yet another new band, Poison Headache. The 3 piece power trio is set to release their self-titled debut album in June via Metal Blade Records and Media Mikes had the pleasure of speaking with Phil recently about the group’s formation, the albums creation and the status of his other projects.
Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background on the band how everything came together?
Phil Sgrosso: Andy Kukta the bands other guitarist/co-vocalist and Kyle Rosa our drummer had been friends for quite some time and this sort of started up when I was with As I Lay Dying. Andy is a fellow riff writer who was looking to put a band together after his previous one broke up. He reached out to Kyle and I and we would jam off and on when I wasn’t out with my current band. Nothing serious really came of it until we had enough songs to make up an album. We decided that’s what we were going to do and got Metal Blade Records on board and they were super supportive of the whole thing which was great. Things were a bit slow starting out but we are now ready to kick things into the next gear and get going.
AL: Where did Poison Headache fit in during that period of time where As I Lay Dying was ending and Wovenwar was beginning?
PS: It was something we wanted to do and during that time I actually had the time to do it. We were just waiting for that window to open. Now that we are making a go of this we have to make the most out of it. I don’t for see Wovenwar being as busy as it was when we first started. It will still be an active band but I want to be doing as many musical projects as I can be. I don’t want to put all of my eggs in one basket because if I have another band that I really love doing that’s something I want to be able to go out and do. So far this year I have the Poison Headache album coming, we are finalizing the second Wovenwar record and I also have been out on tour with the band Saosin as well as one called Nails who I also have been touring with. I try to fill my schedule with as many musical things as I can to keep me busy and going.
AL: What type of adjustment period did you have to allow yourself for going from playing/writing in 5 piece bands to now doing the same for a 3 piece band?
PS: It is a very different animal. With all the bands I have done I tend to like being the overseer of things. When I have someone like Andy writing a lot of stuff and I can play the producer role on the songs he has written which allows me to hone in on his vision within that role. In a way its easier being in a three piece but there is still a lot of work. You have to take on more roles that may be delegated to another member in a bigger band. Knowing that I have that type of control over things I can process things the way I do. There is a little bit of a different mentality especially with gear and such. We both want to play guitar live so we have to be creative with our tones and things like that. Once we start moving into the live stage of things we will have all that stuff figured out. Vocally it takes a lot of practice to build up your stamina to be able to do a whole song and not just backup vocals and then to take it further being able to perform an entire set.
AL: How do you separate your roles as Producer and Performer?
PS: You have to really rely on your band to produce you when you are in that type of situation. What’s nice about a three piece is you ask the other two guys what they think and their cool with it that’s really it. I really trust Andy and Kyle’s opinions so I think that’s what keeps me in check when I am trying to oversee the big picture of things. I feel trust and respect is the foundation of any relationship so the fact that we have that together along with being on the same creative page has made things very easy.
AL: Is a majority of what makes up the album material Andy had written or is there new material you all contributed to on here as well?
PS: I would say probably a third of the album is stuff Andy had written with another third of it being stuff I had written. The other third was probably pieced together from things the three of us had written together. Andy and I are both capable of writing a complete song and seeing its vision so we bounce a lot of ideas off of one another. I can say that Andy’s approach and style has been the inspiration behind the sound of the band.
AL: The album has a very hardcore meets thrash sound to it. Was this sound something that evolved over time or was it present from the very beginning?
PS: I think having that hardcore type feel or groove is something completely Andy. When I hear the album and a part like that comes on, I can say that’s totally Andy. Kyle is a very dynamic drummer that is able to adapt to that which is certainly a strength. That’s the type of music that we like and want to play so when we can include those elements we enjoy that. There is one track on the record called “Be Numbed” which is an instrumental track that I wrote to break things up a little. That track has more of a shoe-gazing, post metal vibe. We just sort of threw in things here or there which we may have not done yet. I don’t think there was ever an instance where we said “no we can’t do that”. If a song called for something we went for it. This really helped push our creativity.
AL: What types of touring plans are in place for you guys at this point?
PS: It’s tough for any new band to get out there on the road. We could do that but being older now we have more responsibilities. We just can’t go jump in the van for a tour and come home with no money and be ok with that like we did when we were teenagers. We all want to have jobs and security for our families so with Poison Headache we plan to build gradually within out scene in Southern California. I also co-own a venue with two of the other guys in Wovenwar with my wife acting as the promoter so we know a lot of bands and we feel that’s a smart way for us to start. From there we will see what opportunities come our way.
AL: Where are things at with the upcoming Wovenwar album?
PS: Things were a bit different when we shifted from As I Lay Dying to Wovenwar. We had become this machine and had gotten used to a certain way of doing things that when we had the rug sort of pulled out from under us we tried using that same design with Wovenwar. We had to step back and realize that we were still a new band despite our previous work together. The business side of things is a bit different and where we are at with life now is all different. We have to be smart about what we do. We are all at different stages in our lives with having kids and being married and what not so we all had to look at what we wanted to do and how we could make the band work. We did all of the production ourselves and it is currently being mixed by Nolly from Periphery. Everything is just now entering the final stages.
Phil Bozeman is the lead singer for the heavy metal group White Chapel. On April 29th, they will release their 5th full length studio album titled “Our Endless War”. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Phil recently about the creation of the new album which is probably the most diverse record we have heard from the band yet and also about the group’s upcoming headlining tour with Devil Driver.
Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background on the new album? Phil Bozeman: We have grown as musicians and are chemistry as a band has certainly gotten better. We were very focused on writing the heaviest and best music we could. We are a heavy metal band but we wanted to incorporate as many of our own influences as we could to help make a diverse record.
AL: Did you find it hard to explore those influences and still stick to the sound and style the band is known for? PB: It was a bit difficult at times to try something different while still keeping the elements that appeal to our fans the same. I think we are able to get away with everything we did as we paid close attention to make sure that things were still fitting our style.
AL: In a recent press release you stated that the band felt held back when working on the previous albums. Can you tell us a little bit about that and what creative process you took this time around? PB: We have always worked the same way from record to record. We generally start out by just sitting down and discussing everyone’s different ideas. We all want to take chances and do different things however we don’t want to look bad while doing those things. I think that’s where the bands chemistry really shows as we all work together to put out a great product and it is something we are all happy with. As far as being held back goes in the past there had always been time constraints which limited us a bit. We never had disagreements or anything like that but we always seemed to be under a deadline.
AL: Can you tell us about the bands upcoming tour? PB: We just finished up a short ten day run as part of the New England Metal Fest. We have a couple shows in Mexico scheduled before we start our headlining tour with Devil Driver. That will take us through the summer.
AL: When you guys are putting together a headlining tour how do you go about choosing which bands will be going out with you? PB: We always start out by just looking at the bands we like and who we feel would be good to bring out. On a tour like the ones that’s coming up bands submit offers to be considered for a spot and we either accept them or pass.
If you’re a fan of movies you’re probably already familiar with the work of Phil Hall. A contributing editor to the on-line magazine, “Film Threat,” Hall is also a well respected author of such film books as “The Encyclopedia of Underground Movies: Films From the Fringes of Cinema” and “The History of Independent Cinema.” His latest book, recently released, is entitled “The Greatest Bad Movies of All Time.” Mr. Hall recently took the time to answer some questions for Media Mikes:
Mike Smith: What makes a movie “Bad?” Phil Hall: We need to clarify what “bad” means. I am not writing about the mediocrities that you forget about after the closing credits have rolled. My book celebrates what I call the “anti-classics.” These are the films that inspire wonder – they are so profoundly misguided and egregiously off-target that you have to wonder how they ever got made. These bad films are the cinematic equivalent of narcotics – you get hooked by their toxicity and you become a happy prisoner to their crashing awfulness. It is a wonderful addiction, for sure.
MS: What inspired you to write the book? PH: A few years ago, I was an actor in a film called “Rudyard Kipling’s Mark of the Beast,” and while on the set a number of people were talking endlessly and enthusiastically about the Tommy Wiseau film “The Room.” I recognized that people tend to become animated and involved when talking about the so-bad-they’re-good films, going to the point of quoting the screenplays verbatim, and I thought that I would bring together my choices for 100 of the best of these anti-classics.
MS: You have some critically popular films, “Mystic River” among them, on your list. Any reservations on labeling films like this “bad” when they were well received? PH: My book is not a be-all/end-all text book. My book is an expression of my opinion as a film critic and film scholar. Remember, the appreciation of films (or any art form) is strictly subjective. I know people who loathe “Citizen Kane” and “Gone with the Wind” – that is their opinion. And remember, opinions are like a certain lower body cavity – everyone has one and most of them stink! Whether you agree or disagree with me is strictly your call. This book is my vehicle to share my opinions.
MS: Have you received any feedback from any of the filmmakers? PH: The book covers the full spectrum of the cinematic experience, from the silent era to the present day. Thus, many of the filmmakers cited in the book are no longer with us. As for those that are still active, I don’t know if they are aware of their inclusion in the book.
MS: Do you have a favorite “bad” movie? PH: That’s sort of like asking if you have a favorite child, isn’t it? Some of the films cited in the book — the musical version of “Lost Horizon,” “Chariots of the Gods,” “Airport 1975” – have a special emotional tug because I saw them in the theater when I was a little kid. Others hold a special meaning because I shared the viewing experience with friends and/or family. And I am always discovering new films, so today’s favorite could easily become yesterday’s corny memory.
MS: Are you planning another book? PH: This is my sixth book that has been published since 2004. I think I am overdue a long rest!
Phil Anselmo is no stranger to the music scene after sky rocketing to fame in the mid 90’s with the multi-platinum selling heavy metal group Pantera. Though the group disbanded in 2003 Phil has kept himself busy with several other bands such Super Joint Ritual and Down which also featured former Pantera bassist Rex Brown. Phil’s newest endeavor is a solo album titled “Walk Through the Exits” and is being released under the name Philip H. Anselmo and The Illegal’s. Media Mikes caught up with Phil recently to discuss the band, its new album and the inaugural “Housecore Horror Film and Metal Fest”?
Adam Lawton: Was there any particular reason you chose now to be the time to release a solo album and do you feel there’s more pressure on this release compared to ones you have done with Pantera and Down? Phil Anselmo: Why not? I had the urge and felt I needed to scratch that particular itch. I base a lot of what I am going to do off the mood I am in at that particular time. As far as more pressure or whatnot I don’t think there is any more than what may normally be there. It’s doesn’t matter who I am up on that stage with because no one is doing the singing for me. I’ve got to get up there and do things regardless so I don’t really feel any more pressure.
AL: How did go about assembling your backing band “The Illegal’s”? PA: I always knew that Marzi Montazeri was my guy for guitar. This has been a long time coming type of project and I always knew I didn’t want to start a “super group” or anything like that. I could have asked a lot of different people to be involved with this but I wanted to get cats that were under the radar. Marzi was one of those guys. From there I struggled in finding a drummer who could learn all these different time signatures and not rely on speed for the sake of playing fast. The singer from Warbeast offered me their drummer Jose Manuel Gonzales. I asked him if he was up for it and he said “sure”. When we started actually recording the record and it was time for bass we used this guy from New Orleans named Bennett Bartley. He is a really talented guy that plays with a lot of different bands and also holds down a day job. I knew there was always going to be a question of his availability for touring so for that side of things we are going with a guy by the name of Steve Taylor. He has been working with Marzi for a very long time so that made perfect sense.
AL: What was the writing and recording sessions like for the record? PA: I wrote things the good old fashioned way. When I was inspired I busted out the axe and practice amp and just started writing riffs. I just kept putting everything together and when I finally found I had the basic structure of a song that’s when I would bring the band in. After doing that there is always a lot of trial and practice to see what you have. You can sometimes write a riff that just doesn’t translate to a full blown band type setting. I was pretty lucky this time around and very focused. At the same time I was working on my record I was also producing for others and recording the Down EP. Work on my solo album was sort of a start and stop type situation. We would record or practice for a bit then I would have to take time off from that work on Down or whatever. That happened four or five times.
AL: Do you have a specific preference as to what comes first (music/lyrics) when writing? PA: I don’t really have a preference especially now. A song can come out of nowhere. For this particular record it seemed as though there would be a cadence that I would catch and then I was able to feel or hear the rhythm. I would then write the lyrics around that section. That opened up a whole new world for me as I normally sing against a riff rather than on top of it. With this album it felt different so there are certain parts where I am singing right on top of a riff and I felt that was the correct thing to do. In the past and normally even if I have written the entire song its riff first then vocals. That sentence structure or cadence was something that was always rearing its head and had a lot to do with how things were done on this record.
AL: Can you tell us your thoughts on releasing the album via your independent label as opposed to going with a major label release? PA: I don’t really see any worth in major labels anymore. There are just straight up too many rules. That was the reason I started my own label to begin with. I wanted the freedom to be able to do what I wanted, when I wanted to do it. I didn’t want to have to ask for permission or have to pay anyone. These days you don’t have to sign to a major label. You can just do things yourself and be done with it.
AL: What are the bands tour plans in support of the release? PA: We start things off in Oklahoma and will be traveling through the mid-west as we make our way to the east coast. Possibly in the fall we are looking to do a west-coast run. We will have the bad ass thrashers Warbeast out with us along with Author & Punisher. He is a one man act that makes his own instruments. He is very interesting and makes this sound that is just a wall of sonic poison. I love it!
AL: Can you tell us about the upcoming “House Core Horror Film and Metal Fest”? PA: Obviously we are going to have films ranging from older black and white films up through the 70’s and early 80’s. There are going to be a lot of cool bands and guest directors coming out as well. One of the more interesting things for me to come out of this opportunity is to review a lot of submission films. Everything from short and mid length films to full feature length films have been coming in from unknown directors. I have no aspirations to become an actor or director but these guys are really pushing the envelope in an effort to make horror less of a paint by numbers thing. It’s going to be a huge kick to be able to turn the audiences on to these new guys. That’s really exciting to me. With this being the first year of the event a lot of it is going to be trial by fire as there are lots of logistics and things to make sure everything runs smooth. I want make sure I don’t use the term “annual” until I get this year’s event under the old gut.
AL: What is it that has made you a horror fan for so long now? PA: The only answer I can possibly come with for that is that it was born in me. I can remember being just this squirt of a kid who was glued to television set watching everything from “Godzilla” to “The Twilight Zone”. I caught on to things at a very early age and things just stuck. It’s still a mystery to me to a certain degree. I really guess it just caught me young enough and just held.
AL: Has there been a horror film in the past 5/10 years that can compete with the likes of classic horror films? PA: I don’t know. There have been some movies that I thought were pretty good but as far as a classic I don’t know about that. I thought “In Absentia” was pretty good. “The Bleeding House” was ok. There have been films like “Insidious” and “The Blair Witch Project” that have been so hyped up only to fall flat for me. I have no problem saying “The Blair Witch Project” was a steaming pile of dog shit. I hated that movie. There is just so much that goes in to a classic from the direction and characters to more importantly the story. How it wraps up and how it is shot always is important. These days I think there is a real problem with character development as people just don’t have a care for what they are seeing. People like Steven Spielberg and Toby Hooper know how to build characters that people connect with and care about what happens to them in a story. Things these days seem to be very Hollywood and not very believable. My heart lies with the likes of Boris Karloff and Mario Bava of “Black Sabbath” fame.
AL: Do you have any other projects in the works that you can tell us about? PA: I have been in the studio with IHATEGOD who are wrapping up a really great studio album but I’m not sure who they are going to release it with. I have been working with their vocalist Mike Williams very tightly. I love those boys and this record is a really tight record. Anyone who is a fan of IHATEGOD is going to be just blown away. Besides that I have just been working hard on the solo project and getting ready to play all sorts of venues and have a good time.
Ben Harclerode is the drummer and Phil Bozeman is the singer for the heavy metal group White Chapel. The band has just released a new full length album titled “White Chapel”. The group is also set to take part in this summer’s Mayhem Festival. Media Mikes had the chance to talk with Ben & Phil about the album and what their is most looking forward to with touring this summer.
Phil Rosenthal is the creative mind behind one of America’s most popular shows “Everyone Love Raymond”. He recently took a journey to Russia to help bring the hit show over into Russia. During that process he made the very funny documentary “Exporting Raymond”, which hits DVD August 2nd. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Phil about his struggle through turning his hit show in the US into a hit show in Russia.
Mike Gencarelli: Can you tell us how you were approached to bring “Everyone Loves Raymond” into Russia? Phil Rosenthal: The head of Sony called me into his office a few years ago and he told me that Sony invented the sitcom in Russia, as they didn’t have them prior to Sony bringing them there. He also went on to tell told that this new form was very strange to the people over there. I was then asked if I would go over there and just observe how we worked with the people on getting sitcoms going. The next part of the task was to come back to the states and write a fictional script about a creator of a show who goes to Russia to have his show translated. I told them that could be good but if this situation really exists then why not take a camera crew and film what’s really happening. They loved the idea and asked if I would go and do a film about bringing “Everybody Loves Raymond” to Russia. I was really excited because this project combined everything that I loved.
MG: What do you think was your biggest struggle in bringing the show into Russia? PR: I was told that this was a big deal that I would be going over there and that it was a real honor to have the creator of a show come over, as I was the first. It was an honor for me as there was another country that wanted my little show and they are our countries former enemy. I was very excited and told how welcomed I would be. When I finally got there it turned out that I was sort of lied to and was not as welcomed as you would think. Combined with a kidnap and ransom scare,which was real I was a little nervous. However I was more nervous about what they would do to my show. I just wasn’t sure if they were getting the simple premise of the show, which was to keep it real. Our one rule in the writer’s room was to always ask if something could really happen. I didn’t know if they truly got the premise or if they even wanted to understand it.
MG: Was it difficult for you to make the film as well as make the sitcom at the same time? PR: What I did to make sure things wouldn’t be insane was before I started the project. So, I made a big decision to bring two cameras. Most documentaries and movies are made with one. I brought two so that I would have coverage and not have to think about it. I knew before going over that the movie was going to be about our reactions to one another. If I brought a camera for each side I figured we would get everything and I would have to worry about directing. I could just go and do my job. In that regard nothing was faked in the movie. I just didn’t think about the filming at all until I got into editing when I had to put a coherent story together. I had about 200 hrs. of film to go through and chop it down to 86 minutes. When you are editing you save all the funny stuff as well as the fascinating stuff which bring people to the film and then you back through and take out all the stuff that doesn’t intersect with the story. On the DVD there is extra footage that is funny but didn’t necessarily fit into the story. I really just forgot the camera was there most of the time except when something so outrageous would happen.
MG: Did you ever think that you would be put in this type of situation with the show? PR: I wasn’t even sure the show was going to be picked up for a pilot! When you write you’re often by yourself and you have no idea if someone over at CBS is going to like it and cast for it let alone give you money to film it. They don’t like to part with money very often. (Laughs) To become popular and have another country want to do the show and now it looks like from what Sony has told me the show is going to be the most produced show in the world! At the end of the film it tells the show will be produced in Poland. Before you ask, no I am not going! I now understand the whole European culture and they can send somebody else. (Laughs)
MG: What other projects are you working on? PR: I don’t you if you have heard or not but business is terrible. (Laughs) Because of that I have to diversify so I am working on many different things. I have a couple screenplays out there that I hope to get funding for and to direct. I am going to be in a film. Someone saw me in this film and asked me to play a Rabi. It’s the film version of the long running off Broadway play “Jewtopia”. I don’t know if the film will take that name but Jennifer Love Hewitt plays my daughter and Wendie Malick is my wife.