Anthrax’s Joey Belladonna talks about touring with Rockstar Mayhem Festival

Joey Belladonna is the lead singer for the seminal NY thrash band Anthrax. Media Mikes caught up with Joey at this year’s Mayhem Festival where we talked about how the crowds have changed over the year and the bands recent work on several cover songs.

Adam Lawton: What has been the best experience so far on this summer’s tour?
Joey Belladonna: I would have to say the new kids. We are running in to a whole lot of different fans. There are young people, old people, new fans and old fans. It’s been really great. The whole atmosphere of this tour has been quite a bit different. It has a carnival like feel to it but it’s still a heavy metal/rock show.

AL: How have shows like Mayhem changed from the band first started playing on them to now?
JB: I think the buzz has started to pick up more. People have started taking notice that we as a band are still strong and better than ever. We aren’t a manufactured something that is just out here for nothing. We don’t mess around and the new material live is brutal.

AL: How did you go about making the set list for this run of shows?
JB: The real hard part was covering are catalog in 40 minutes. We have some songs that are pretty long. We had to try a few different things to fit in to that time frame. I think we have done pretty well touching on all aspects of our music. Sadly there is just no winning if someone wants to hear a specific song but I think we did the best we could with the allotted time.

AL: Can you give us any updates about the cover album that has been in the works?
JB: There have been some songs recorded but I can’t tell you much more than that. I haven’t really started doing vocal tracks for it yet. Things are still sort of lingering with what will become of it and if deadlines can be met.

AL: What are the plans for Anthrax after the Mayhem Festival wraps up?
JB: We will be hitting Canada and some portions of the U.S. That will take us through mid October. Then we will be back out with Testament and Death Angel for the third time around. Starting in November we will be out with Motorhead in Europe as the support act. That should be pretty cool.

AL: Anthrax did a lot of recording at the legendary Pyramid Studios in Ithaca, NY. What is your take on what’s happening with the city trying to destroy that building/business?
JB: Alex was out and saw us the other night. It awful what is happening with that situation. I can’t even imagine being told one day that you have to move out of your house because it’s supposedly unsafe. I didn’t really know what to say when we were discussing it. I passed along some info and I hope everything works out.


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Laura Wilde talks about music and touring with Ted Nugent

Laura Wilde is an Australian singer/songwriter who is currently out on tour with her band supporting classic rock icon Ted Nugent. Laura just released a new single titled “Sold my Soul” and Media Mikes had the chance to talk with Laura recently about the single and the current tour.

Adam Lawton: What was it that made you want to get in to playing/performing music?
Laura Wilde: I have been obsessed with guitars ever since I was a kid. It was something that was always on my mind. My parents wouldn’t buy one for me so it just started to become a deeper and deeper obsession. Around the time I turned 12 I finally received a guitar for Christmas. I was so happy to have one that I played it all the time. When I was about 16 I decided that I wanted music to be my career. I started recording songs as soon as I finished high school and all while I was attending university. After a year of university I asked my parents if I could try music and see how things go. I have been working at it ever since.

AL: How do you personally describe your sound?
LW: I think it is pretty much just straight up rock and roll. There are screeching guitars, heavy drum beats and some melodic tracks thrown in the mix.

AL: Can you give us some background on your first single “Sold my Soul”?
LW: The song was written and demoed pretty much over night. It was a very fast process and the song sort of wrote it’s self. It’s a celebration song about coming to America and all of the places I want to visit while touring. We had the toe tapping drum beat and then we threw the guitar riffs over the top of that and everything just fell in to place.

AL: What has been the biggest difference for you performing in the States as compared to performing in your home of Australia?
LW: In Australia there wasn’t a real rock scene. There it is more of an indie rock type thing going on. I am more in to the leather and big hair. (Laughs) I decided to come to America after an A&R guy told me that I would be more suited in the States. There are more opportunities here in the States because there is a larger group of people. America is the heart land of rock and roll.

AL: Can you tell us about your current tour supporting Ted Nugent?
LW: It has been such an honor to be invited to tour with Ted. He is a legend and does over 300 shows per year. Ted runs a very tight ship and everything is very professional. It’s been a huge learning experience.

AL: How did you initially become involved with the tour?
LW: My publicist at the time used to be Ted’s publicist as well. She was the one who put it together thinking it would be a good fit. Unfortunately she passed away before she could see everything happen. She has been with us in spirit every step of the way.

AL: What are your plans for the rest of the year?
LW: We are out with Ted until late August. Once we get back home we will be going in to the studio to start on the record. We will definitely be doing a full-length release next and you will probably see some of my older influences shine through. I have about 30 tracks written that we can choose from but I know there will be more stuff being written while we are out on tour. We are looking forward to being busy in the coming months.

LMFAO’s DJ DainjaZone talks about touring and DJing in Las Vegas

DJ DainjaZone is a member of LMFAO’s Party Rock crew. He has recently taken up residency at Las Vegas’ LAVO and will also be filling in for DJ Air on LMFAO’s current tour. Media Mike had the chance to talk with DainjaZone about his newest gig and what got him started DJing.

Adam Lawton: What got you into djing?
DJ DainjaZone: It was something that I had just a small interest in. The plan was to be a major league pitcher and have a DJ set up in my mansion of a living room. That fell short. Before that fell short I started DJing in New Mexico while I was there playing baseball for New Mexico State University. We had a big Halloween party coming up so I said I would DJ. I went out and bought a CD mixer so I could control the music. I was into the old school hip-hop and not what was poppy or hot at the time. I just wanted to play the older stuff at first. I eventually evolved in playing what is hot today.

AL: Would you say the basis of your style is mostly old school?
DJ DainjaZone: I am all about adapting to what is going on. I like to grow and be ahead of the curve. I would say my style is definitely new but it has a lot of old elements to it. Sometimes it just comes down to song selection. For the most part it is new. I edit all of the tracks that I use. I have personal edits of just about everything I use. That way what I am presenting to the crowd is unique and it won’t be heard anywhere else. We all have access to the same tracks so I create my own edits. I have my own a capella ins and outs. I just like to make it sound different than what is going on. This creates for a unique beat.

AL: What generally sparks you interest when creating a track?
DJ DainjaZone: Inspiration comes at any place and time. I can be in a club listening to a DJ and they will play one song and something will pop in my head about that song. There style will have nothing to do with that but when inspiration hits me and I think I can take a song and do certain things with it and that’s what I will do. I can take a song people are familiar with and intro it three different ways. These will be something you have never heard before. A lot of time inspiration comes from the club. I go to clubs and study DJ’s and the crowd. When I am there it’s always business.

AL: How did you initial get involved with the Party Rock Crew?
DJ DainjaZone: I have a couple friends who were close with LMFAO’s manager. Through those people I eventually met him at a music conference. He hadn’t heard me yet but had heard about me. I guess he was feeling me because he asked that when we got back to Los Angeles that we have a meeting. We met and he still hadn’t heard me. We started talking about politics in the game and seeing where my head was at and what my ambitions were. After seeing and hearing those he wanted to take me on and be my manager. This was the summer before “Party Rock Anthem” so there was a lot evolving with Party Rock. There name was starting to grow and they were touring around America. At the time they wanted to create a Party Rock brand of DJ’s. A lot more has been added to the show and to the crew.

AL: Can you tell us about your current gig in Las Vegas?
DJ DainjaZone: It’s called “La Freak Friday’s”. La freak is actually the alter-ego of the Party Rock clothing line. If you have seen “Champagne Showers” that is what La Freak is. It is mysterious, sexy and vampire like. There is a lot of dark involved. People will associate this with Party Rock. I did the show for the first time a couple weeks ago and it went exceptionally well. They want me to rotate there two times a month but LMFAO’s DJ Air recently broke his ankle in Moscow so I am going to be filling in for him over the next 3 months. I am going to be doing the main stage and after parties with them.

AL: Do you have any other projects we can be watching for?
DJ DainjaZone: I have had to cancel a lot of dates in America because of filling in on the LMFAO tour. A lot of this stuff is taking it month my month. It depends on how Air feels. I have nothing big planned after August. My number one priority right now is LMFAO. Where ever we go that’s my priority. I am going to be trying to take more control of my own bookings. When we have open dates I will be trying to get myself some shows and fill in those days. I still have my own brand to push and I want to keep my name relevant in the DJ and club scene. I don’t want to be just be known as that Party Rock DJ. I want to have other options. I will also be starting work on a new mix tape sometime in June. That will hopefully take me back to Australia in September.

The Marshall Tucker Band’s Doug Gray talks about New Album and Touring

Doug Gray is the Founder and Lead Singer of The Marshall Tucker Band.  He has been with the band for 40 years now and shows no sign of slowing down.  He recently released a solo album of lost recordings called “Soul Of The South”.  The Marshall Band will be appearing in Orlando, FL at the Orlando Jai-Alai Fronton on Friday April 13th, click here for more info on that show. Doug took out some time to chat with Media Mikes about the new album, touring and what else the band has planned next.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your new album “Soul Of The South”?
Doug Gray: This was a record that never had a name and was never going to be released. I started recording it within a year after Tommy (Caldwell) had gotten killed, our bass player, so around 1981. I wanted to go to Nashville and pick some songs out.  I had wanted to do something more rhythm and blues, since I grew up singing rhythm and blues.  I found a Michael Bolton song that he had written but never release, as well as a bunch of different songs. I thought it would be fun to do if not to keep my mind off things. I ended up with the Memphis Horns on there and a lot of other players from Nashville and also other rock ‘n roll bands.  Once we made a cassette of it…we never listened to it for about 28 years. After that time, one of the partners for the record label got a copy of the cassette and said we should pull try and pull some of these tracks out and release them.  So we put it out and people really seem to like it. It was just another experiment and so far it’s paid off.

MG: What do you like most about touring today?
DG: You know what, people that left us after the first five years came back in 20 years and said “Man, you are as good as you ever were”.  20 years later, you get parents that come with their kids.  Now I am even seeing pregnant women and I know there is going to be another generation of fans.  I think that is cool as can be.  The music is good and that is what it is. We just love going out their and sharing it with our fans. As long as the fans come, we will still get up there on the stage.

MG: I know the fans have their favorites songs but what are yours to perform?
DG: Well I think “Take the Highway” is one of the first original rockers. You go back and listen to it today and it sounds better now than it did on the record. The good part is that we actually are playing it better.  We did it as good as we could back then but we updated it as time went along.  We play it faster.  It wears me out singing it and it is just intense. Just so fantastic and it only gets better and better.

MG: Do you feel that The Marshall Tucker Band as evolved from when you started?
DG: We had no choice.  A lot of the times, guys get older and they don’t want to be on the road. Toy (Caldwell) himself told me, before he passed, he said “I am glad you got it, your the one that will keep it going”.  We don’t sell anything compared to people that walk around with submarines on their head [laughs].  But we are continuously selling CDs and digital downloads. We have opportunity for the next five years to be with Sony Distribution.  They see it just like the public sees it.  Am I proud that I stuck with it and do I believe in all the people I brought in this thing? You better bet your butt I do!  Everyone plays and everyone is a part of it.  That is what is important!

MG: I am a big Lynyrd Skynyrd and Zac Brown Band fan, would love to see you guys tour together in the future.
DG: We do stuff with Skynyrd all the time.  As far as Zac Brown goes, we do have a gig coming up with them.  Somehow Marshall Tucker always seems to get incorporated in the mix.  As far as big group shows, I would love to go to Philadelphia at the JFK Stadium and have 120,000 people there with us.

MG: What can we expect from 2012?
DG: Oh man.  December the 21st, we will be waiting to be lifted up into the sky with this Mayan calender thing.  We will probably be on the tour bus and no better way to go if you gotta go.  We are going out there and got a lot of concerts and festivals upcoming.  I love doing the festivals, whether we are playing for 4,000 people or 200 people it doesn’t matter. As long people show up they are going to be treated to some of the best music they have heard in a week.

MG: Tell us about next year’s Rock Legends II cruise?
DG: It is going to be cool, man.  It is from January 10-15th, 2013. The most important thing is that Paul Rodgers is now on the roster, he is such an amazing singer.  The Foreigner guys are gonna be there. Hatchet is on there with us.  We are just so excited for this.  There is going be some amazing four-hour jams on this cruise.  I have already spoke Rodgers and plenty of other guys.  I don’t have to even ask Hatchet or .38 Special because they can’t keep their asses off the Marshall Tucker stage [laughs]. We just jam and it is going to be fantastic.