Kirk Hammett Was on The Toilet When Metallica Called Him to Join

The story behind how Kirk Hammett came to join Metallica is a peculiar but memorable one. As if getting the call on April Fool’s Day wasn’t strange enough, the guitarist revealed was actually on the toilet when the phone rang, per a previously unpublished 2014 interview with Metal Hammer

“It was April 1st, April Fool’s Day, and I was sitting on the toilet,” Hammett confessed, who further recollecting the life-changing 1983 moment, went on, “I got the call from [Metallica sound engineer] Mark Whittaker, and after I hung up, I was like, ‘I can’t believe I just got that phone call. Was that an April Fool’s Day prank?’ A couple of days later I got this tape from them, but I already had the demo and I already knew two thirds of the songs on there.”

Naturally, the offer to join Metallica necessitated Hammet’s exit from Exodus, of which he was one of the founding members. His playing can be heard on the group’s first two demos, released in 1982 and 1983.

But how did Exodus take the news? “I told the guys in Exodus and they were pissed,” said Hammett, “They were pissed. I remember [Exodus singer] Paul Baloff was so pissed that he poured a beer over my head. He said, ‘[angry-hurt voice] I can’t believe you’re doing this Kirk’, then poured his beer over my head. I just took it, ‘Yeah, yeah, I know…’

It’s also worth noting that Metallica had originally intended on titling their debut record Metal Up Your Ass, featuring artwork by Stephen Gorman, which pictured an outstretched arm emerging from a toilet bowl, tightly gripping a sharpened dagger. Distributors were repulsed by it all, however, and with little chance of the record making it on to retail shelves, the band reluctantly agreed to go in another direction, settling on Kill ‘Em All and its now iconic artwork.

After leaving Exodus, Hammett took some of his original riffs with him, repurposing them for Metallica on the Ride the Lightning track “Trapped Under Ice.” The riffs were originally written for the Exodus song “Impaler,” which did not make it on to any studio album until the 2004 comeback effort, Tempo of the Damned.

“[The riffs] came from songs I had written, music I had written. I consider them my parts,” Hammett told Metal Hammer. “I didn’t feel guilty about that,” said the guitarist, “but I did feel guilty about leaving the band I started in high school. I’ve known [Exodus drummer] Tom Hunting since I was 16 years old, I’ve known [Exodus guitarist] Gary Holt since I was 17. We’re all close to this day, but there was a lot of guilt there for a while. A little bit of remorse.”

The Best Metal Song of Each Year Since 1970

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Scientists Name Newly Discovered Crab Species After Nightwish

Scientists have named a new crab species after symphonic metal group Nightwish.

A recently published scientific paper on Mesozoic reef crabs was submitted in November of last year and accepted in June. Amid the dozen-plus figures outlined in the paper is “Tanidromites nightwishorum,” a coral reef crab discovered in the Ernstbrunn quarries in Austria.

“Named in honor of the members of the symphonic metal band Nightwish (Troy Donockley, Kai Haito, Marco Hietala, Tuomas Holopainen, Floor Jansen, and Emppu Vuorinen), in particular for their 2015 album Endless Forms Most Beautiful about the evolution of life,” states the etymology section of the paper.

For their Endless Forms Most Beautiful album, Nightwish teamed up with evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, who contributed narrative dialogue to the opening and closing tracks of the record.

Nightwish shared the news on Facebook (accompanied by photos), stating, “The new species of crab was found in eastern Austria and lived during the late part of the Jurassic period, around 150 million years ago. While dinosaurs dominated the land, parts of Europe were covered by a warm, shallow sea full of life.”

“Tanidromites nightwishorum was discovered in a fossil coral reef,” the band continued, noting, “Crab diversity and abundance exploded for the very first time in their evolutionary history during the Late Jurassic in central Europe.”

Expressing their gratitude for being immortalized within crab taxonomy, Nightwish said, in closing, “Thanks to Dr. Adiel A. Klompmaker and his colleagues for this truly fantastic honour (Adiel is curator of palaeontology, Alabama museum of natural history).”

See the post below and to see more species named after rock and metal artists, head to the bottom of the page.

Earlier this year, Nightwish released Human. :II: Nature., their first new album since Endless Forms Most Beautiful.

15 Rock + Metal Icons Who’ve Inspired the Name of a New Species

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Watch Implosion of Detroit’s Palace of Auburn Hills Concert Venue

The demolition of a famous Detroit-area sports and concert venue was completed this morning with the implosion of the Palace of Auburn Hills.

You can watch video of the building’s final moments below.

On Aug. 13, 1988 Sting, on tour in support of his second solo album …Nothing Like the Sun, became the first artist to play at the Palace. The 23,000 capacity arena went on to host shows by many of rock’s most famous acts, including multiple-night stands from Pink Floyd, Aerosmith and Bon Jovi.

Van Halen played at the Palace four times each on tours in support of their For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge and Balance albums. Kiss included their Oct. 14, 1990 show at the venue on the Hot in the Shade tour in their Kissology Volume Two: 1978-1991 home video.

Watch the Implosion of the Palace of Auburn Hills

On March 31, 1995 a deranged former Led Zeppelin fan unsuccessfully tried to reach the stage and stab Jimmy Page during the Palace stop on Page and Robert Plant‘s No Quarter tour. The Cure‘s live album Show was recorded during the band’s July 1992 two-night stand at the venue, as was Madonna‘s 2001 Drowned World Tour HBO special and live DVD.

The NBA’s Detroit Pistons won three championships during the three decades they called the Palace their home. It was also the site of the infamous Nov. 19, 2004 “Malice at the Palace” fight between players and spectators.

Watch Kiss Perform at the Palace of Auburn Hills in 1990

The team moved to the Little Caesers Arena in downtown Detroit at the start of the 2017 season, and Bob Seger performed the last concert at the Palace on Sept. 23, 2017. “What a great building this has been,” he said near the end of the show. “A lot of great shows. Thanks for everything, Palace. We love ya!”

After Seger performed a live version of “Rock and Roll Never Forgets” to end the concert, a pre-taped version of his song “The Famous Final Scene” was aired from the empty stage, accompanied by video footage of various famous music and sporting moments from the venue’s history.

Watch Bob Seger Perform the Last Songs at the Palace of Auburn Hills

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Eagles Touring Members: The Band Behind the Band

When a group lasts as long as the Eagles, evolution becomes a necessity. While growing and stretching in artistic ways helps keep the creative spark alive, it also creates challenges in the live setting.

For the Eagles, being able to bring decades worth of dynamic and influential songs to the stage required added musicians. While not official members, these rockers remain in the background, adding layers and depth to the group’s iconic catalog of tunes.

But their contributions are not limited to the live setting. These touring members have added to the group off-stage as well, thanks to their involvement in recordings and various solo efforts.

Unsurprisingly, the Eagles have been very particular about who they’ve allowed into their inner circle. Here’s a look at the touring members who’ve helped make the band one of rock’s most engaging acts.

John Corey

Corey’s first experience within the Eagles’ orbit came in 1978 when he contributed vocals, guitar and keyboards to the self-titled debut album of former member Randy Meisner. Nine years later, he get involved in another solo effort, delivering guitar, keys and bass on Don Henley’s The End of the Innocence, while also receiving songwriting credits on the tracks “The Last Worthless Evening” and “Gimme What You Got.” The rocker would join Henley’s band, touring in support of the hugely successful 1989 LP.

When the Eagles reunited in 1994 for their first tour in 14 years, Henley brought Corey into the fold. Thus, the multi-instrumentalist appeared on the ensuing ‘94 live album Hell Freezes Over. He also contributed to Henley’s 2000 solo effort, Inside Job. Aside from the Eagles, Corey has worked with such vaunted artists as the Who, Rod Stewart, the Knack and Eddie Money.

Ethan Miller, Getty Images

Scott Crago

When the Eagles agreed to reunite in ‘94, they knew they’d need some additional musicians to fill out the touring lineup. The band auditioned 10 drummers, with Henley keenly watching over the process. One of those who auditioned was Scott Crago.

“To fit into a band that’s that big, I don’t think they needed somebody else to come in and compete as being a fifth Eagle, a sixth Eagle,” Crago later recalled in an interview with drumstick company Vic Firth. “They brought me in knowing that I could just come in and do the job and not take away from who Don Henley is, and who Glenn [Frey] and Joe [Walsh] and those guys were.”

Still, his arrival wasn’t without incident. Crago’s first rehearsal with the band was on the song “New York Minute.” When Henley stopped the song midway through and suggested the drummer “listen to this song one more time,” Crago assumed he’d immediately lost the gig. “I turned white,” the rocker recalled to Modern Drummer, adding that he had an “immediate stomach ache.” “It felt like a failure.” Still, the drummer went and listened to the song “about 600 times” to ensure he’d never mess it up again. Since then, he’s been a steady member of the Eagles’ larger faction, appearing on the Hell Freezes Over live LP, the 2003 single “Hole in the World” and the 2007 album Long Road Out of Eden. He also co-wrote the song “Everything Is Different Now,” featured on Inside Job.

Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Steuart Smith

Guitarist Steuart Smith initially appeared on Henley’s Inside Job. Impressed by the musician’s impressive acumen, Henley set up a jam session alongside Frey in the hopes of bringing Smith into the Eagles touring band. After running through a handful of songs, Henley thanked Smith and said that he and Frey would need to discuss further steps. “I looked at Glenn and I said, ‘What do you think?,’” Henley recalled. “And he went, ‘Bingo.’ He said, ‘That’s the guy.'”

Smith is credited on five songs 2007’s Long Road Out of Eden, while also sharing producing duties for the LP. The musician’s contributions to the Eagles have not been lost on the group’s core members or their fans.

“Steuart’s quite a musician, and he’s added a lot of much-needed creative spark to the band,” Henley told The Washington Post in 2003. “He’s incredible, one of the best I’ve ever seen and one of the few people who could have stepped into this position and handled it as gracefully as he has. The thing that is most gratifying to me is that the crowds seem to love him: They applaud him vigorously every night and when he’s introduced, they chant his name.”

Smith’s additional work has included work with Shawn Colvin, Rodney Crowell, Nils Lofgren and fellow Eagles auxiliary member Vince Gill. He also played a key role in Henley’s 2015 album, Cass County.

Michael Thompson

One only needs to look at the credits for Glenn Frey’s 2012 LP After Hours to understand Michael Thompson’s Swiss Army knife-like musical ability. The musician recorded eight different instruments on the release, while also serving as one of the album’s producers. In a 2012 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Frey credited Thompson with helping the singer discover new ways to interpret his classic hits. The musician has enjoyed a similar role with the Eagles, working as the band’s jack-of-all-trades since 2001, including multiple contributions to Long Road Out of Eden.

As one of the most in-demand session musicians in Hollywood, Thompson’s long and impressive resume includes work with many of the biggest names in music. including Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Hall & Oates, Bob Seger, Stewart Copeland, the Bee Gees, Steve Perry, Phil Collins. He’s also released three studio LPs with the Michael Thompson Band.

Will Hollis

Keyboardist Will Hollis joined the Eagles touring band in 2001. Over that same timespan the musician also supported Frey and Henley during their respective solo tours. In addition to nearly two decades of live performances, the keyboardist also contributed to the Eagles’ 2007 LP Long Road Out of Eden. Outside of the band, Hollis has worked with artists such as Rod Stewart and Tonic. He also served as the musical director for Dancing With the Stars the Tour in 2007 and 2008, and America’s Got Talent Live in 2011.

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Fiona Adams, Beatles Photographer, Dead at 84

Photographer Fiona Adams, best known for her pictures of classic rock icons including the Beatles, has died at the age of 84.

Adams’ death was confirmed by her son, Karl. The photographer reportedly passed on June 26 following a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Born in Guernsey, a small island in the English Channel, Adams left her hometown to study photography at the Ealing of School of Art. Her early work included architectural pictures, travel photographs and contributions to the Sunday Times newspaper.

While working for the London-based magazine Boyfriend in the early ‘60s, Adams career would reach a major turning point. The shutterbug was given the assignment of photographing an up-and-coming pop group called the Beatles.

Rather than doing a traditional studio shoot, Adams elected to capture the Fab Four among the ruins of a London bomb site. “Music was changing,” she later explained, “and I wanted to reflect this with a more dynamic, natural background.”

At the photographer’s direction, the young rockers jumped in the air. Doing so created one of the band’s most timeless images.

“I struggled down into the crater with my heavy camera case,” Adams recalled. “There was a pile of fallen bricks and detritus at the bottom. The boys did their bit and stood patiently – beautifully silhouetted against the sky and the buildings. I set up my camera and shouted: ‘One, two, three – jump!’ And they jumped – twice. Cuban heels and all.”

“I didn’t even think to check whether it was safe or not,” Adams would later admit to friend Lynne Ashton.

The band liked the pictures so much, they elected to use one for the cover of their Twist and Shout EP.

Adams would photograph the Beatles on many more occasions as the band elevated to worldwide superstardom. Though the group’s jumping image would remain the most iconic of her career, it was far from Adams’ only work with legendary artists.

The Rolling Stones, David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix are among the vaunted rockers to appear in Adams’ material. Arguably the photographer’s most popular non-Beatles image was a 1965 picture of Bob Dylan, capturing the singer as he lounged with a cigarette at London’s Savoy Hotel.

Adams would later marry and have two children, focussing her time on family more than art.

In 2009, the National Portrait Gallery in England featured her work as part of an exhibition called Beatles to Bowie: The 60s Exposed. The exhibit referred to her Beatles picture as “one of the defining images of 20th-century culture,” while Adams was described as “an unsung heroine of the decade.”

See more examples of Adams work below.

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Alice Cooper Stresses the Importance of Independent Music Venues

Alice Cooper may be considered one of the most legendary acts in rock today, but all legends started out small. The shock rocker recently spoke with Loudwire Nights about the importance of salvaging smaller, independent music venues around the country that are facing potential closure due to Covid-19.

“We all started there,” Cooper began. “Everybody from the Beatles to the Rolling Stones to Guns N’ Roses to Alice Cooper to everybody — anybody that’s worth a salt in this business started in a bar somewhere or started in a small venue.”

The rocker went on to explain that his band’s early days in Detroit were spent in old movie theaters that had been converted to music venues, along with other acts such as Iggy Pop, MC5 and The Who.

“If you don’t have that, how is a rock band — a young rock band — ever going to get good?” he continued. “I don’t care if it’s 20 people or 200 people. That’s where your fanbase comes from, that’s where the band actually becomes good enough to go out and then get on tour once they do make it.”

Aside from starting off in smaller venues, Cooper has some advice for other young bands — listen to the Beatles.

“We all go back to two things — Chuck Berry and the Beatles,” he affirmed. “Chuck Berry is your rock foundation. The Beatles are… listen to any album and tell me those aren’t perfectly-written songs.”

The rocker recently released his latest song “Don’t Give Up” regarding the coronavirus pandemic. His upcoming album Detroit Stories will be out sometime later this year. To hear more about the album, listen to the full interview above.

Top 66 Hard Rock + Metal Frontmen of All Time

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Darius Rucker Admits That “Everything Is Not Okay”

You can watch this clip of Darius Rucker on the 3rd hour of the Today show from Friday (July 10) for a few different reasons.

1. To hear his laugh. It never, ever gets old.

2. To hear him talk about his new song “Beers and Sunshine,” the only B.S. he needs right now. He wrote the summertime tune with Ross Copperman, Josh Osborne and J.T. Harding.

3. To hear him get real about racism. Very, very real.

Rucker and NBC News’ Harry Smith sat down after playing some golf at the Troubadour Golf and Field Club about 25 miles south of downtown Nashville, and when the conversation turned to the Black Lives Matter movement and what it’s truly like to feel the harsh realities of racism, Rucker didn’t shy away from the topic. In fact, he said that being able to see racism through the eyes of his children has opened his eyes even more.

“Watching them go through this? Wow. I think they’re just at an age now where they look have to at it,” Rucker explained. “I’ve lived with racism my whole life. It made me realize that I just can’t keep living my life like everything is okay. Because everything is not okay. Really, you get to the point where you go, ’That’s just how it is.’ When I was going to radio stations and you’ve got guys telling me, ’We’re never gonna play you because you’re a black guy.’ Okay. That’s just the way it is.

“I can’t let somebody say something they shouldn’t say. One sentence could end your career in country music. Proven. Look at the Dixie Chicks,” he added, recalling the backlash the Chicks faced when frontwoman Natalie Maines said she was ashamed that President George W. Bush was from Texas. In London. In 2003. And the band still has haters even now, more than 17 years later.

“I’m sure I’ve already lost fans. I can’t live like that anymore,” Rucker says.

He even admitted that people might think that racism goes away when you’re a rich black man. But it doesn’t, he said. “I mean there are people who hate you more because you’re rich. My son is the youngest, and he’s about to start driving. And all the time we have to talk about: ’You get stopped, keep your hands on the wheel, don’t do anything until they tell you to do it.’ We’ve seen so many times when something as innocent as a traffic stop (happens) and all of the sudden someone gets shot. I don’t want that for my boy. I don’t want that for my daughter. I don’t want that for anybody,” he said.

As further proof that money doesn’t eliminate racism, Rucker talked about being stopped by police himself. Until the police recognize him and then suddenly everything is cool.

“I got stopped because I was a black guy in an expensive car. Okay. But it’s happened a million times. And the thing is, it’s not going to change until enough people say it’s wrong.

“It feels like so much of the country really wants some kind of change. So for me it feels different, and I hope I’m right.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She’s based in Chicago, but she’s always leaving her heart in Nashville.

@alisonbonaguro

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Judas Priest Announce Rescheduled 50th Anniversary 2021 Tour

Before the coronavirus pandemic struck globally, Judas Priest were set to embark on a massive 50th anniversary tour as metal’s longest active running band. With their sights on September and October of 2021, the band have rescheduled their U.S. tour.

Judas Priest have announced 14 rescheduled stops thus far, and, unfortunately, 11 of the original dates have been outright canceled with no makeup concert. There is still hope, however, as the band declared, “We have every intention of adding more shows and cities to our 50th anniversary tour in the fall of 2021 — as soon as we have the new dates finalized, we will announce them.”

All tickets purchased for the original tour dates will be honored at the respective rescheduled stop, which can be viewed below. Ticket holders will also receive an email from their point of purchase with information pertaining to refunds if you are unable to make the new date.

Regarding the canceled dates, ticket holders will receive an automatic refund from their point of purchase in approximately 30 days. If your purchase was made directly at the box office or if you have any other questions, contact the venue directly.

RESCHEDULED: Judas Priest’s “50 Heavy Metal Years” 2021 U.S. Tour Dates

Sept. 9, 2020 Washington, D.C. @ MGM Casino has been moved to Oct. 28, 2021
Sept. 12, 2020 Ledyard, Ct. @ Foxwoods Casino Arena has bee moved to Oct. 30, 2021
Sept. 17, 2020 Charlotte, N.C. @ PNC Music Pavilion has been moved to Sept. 13, 2021
Sept. 24, 2020 Youngstown, Ohio @ the Covelli Centre has been moved to Sept. 17, 2021
Sept. 29, 2020 Milwaukee, Wis. @ Miller High Life Theater has been moved to Sept. 22, 2021
Sept. 30, 2020 St. Louis, Mo. @ St. Louis Music Park has been moved to Sept. 25, 2021
Oct. 02, 2020 Oklahoma City, Okla. @ The Zoo Amphitheatre has been moved to Oct. 16, 2021
Oct. 03, 2020 Dallas, Texas @ Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory has been moved to Oct. 15, 2021
Oct. 05, 2020 Cedar Park, Texas @ HEB Center Cedar Park has been moved to Oct. 13, 2021
Oct. 06, 2020 San Antonio, Texas @ Freeman Coliseum has been moved to Oct. 12, 2021
Oct. 09, 2020 Denver, Colo. @ The Mission Ballroom has been moved to Sept. 29, 2021
Oct. 13, 2020 Phoenix, Ariz. @ Arizona Federal Theatre has been moved to Oct. 9, 2021
Oct. 15, 2020 Los Angeles, Calif. @ Microsoft Theater has been moved to Oct. 6, 2021
Oct. 17, 2020 Las Vegas, Nev. @ Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood has been moved to Oct. 8, 2021

CANCELED: Judas Priest 2020 Tour Dates NOT Being Rescheduled

Sept. 11 — Long Island, N.Y. @ Nassau
Sept. 14 — Philadelphia, Pa. @ Mann Center
Sept. 15 — Newark, N.J. @ Prudential Center
Sept. 18 — Orlando, Fla. @ Rebel Rock Festival
Sept. 20 — Louisville, Ky. @ Louder Than Life Festival
Sept. 21 — Grand Rapids, Mich. @ Van Andel Arena
Sept. 23 — Detroit, Mich. @ The Fox Theatre
Sept. 26 — Chicago, Ill. @ Rosemont Theatre
Sept. 27 — Minneapolis, Minn. @ Armory
Oct. 08 — Albuquerque, N.M. @ Sandia Resort and Casino
Oct. 11 — Salt Lake City, Utah @ Vivint Smart Home Arena

See Judas Priest in the 66 Best Metal Albums of the Decade: 2010 – 2019

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Kataklysm’s ‘The Killshot’ Might Be Their Heaviest Song Ever

Canadian death merchants Kataklysm have returned with a music video for “The Killshot,” the first song to be shared off their forthcoming 14th album, Unconquered.

The new track serves as the album’s opener, setting the tone with what may be the group’s heaviest piece of work yet, even factoring in their long lost frenzied style present on the Sorcery debut. Kataklysm have clearly tightened their grip on modern metal’s hallmarks while keeping everything true to their groove-laden 21st century output and ever-present death metal overtones.

Watch the music video further down the page and read through the lyrics (via Genius) to “The Killshot” as well.

Commenting on the first Unconquered single, Kataklysm stated, “‘The Killshot’ is very Machiavellian at its base meaning. The song deals with revenge and planning it out, I wrote the song in an open interpretation because everyone has their own story that they can attach to it. In general, the album deals with pain or setbacks, overcoming them and fighting back especially in today’s situation, the timing is on point. In February, we flew to Atlanta, Georgia, and worked with director Scott Hanson. We saw some of his creations and wanted to try his style. The experience was awesome, and we won’t forget it anytime soon. Everything went great but it was there, sitting at the airport that we first started seeing on all the screens that COVID-19 was about to shutdown the country.”

Here I come again
This time, to ruin your life
Because, everything you say is a lie
Everything you are is a lie
And I’m here to sever the ties

Fear the face of hate
The face of fear
And all the things you never could see
These words won’t kill
The silence will and everything you fail to reap
I feel your wrath
I feel your heart
I feel everything you are
This bond you broke
This trust you took
The monster you created is here

I know the things you did
I know who you really are!
Sow the seeds of confrontation
Into the soul of annihilation
Take the steps to enter the void
A declaration of war!

I’m locked and loaded
And I won’t miss
This is the killshot
I’m locked and loaded
And I won’t miss
This is my killshot

Face the face of war
The face of death
And all the justice that you deserve
You bring the dark
I bring the light
Your blood will spill in the hands of dissent
The sky will fall
Your world will end
And so will the lies you try to mend
My name is truth
My name is death
And I have come to take you away

We know the things you did, the things you did
I know who you really are!
Sow the seeds of confrontation
Into the soul of annihilation
Take the steps to enter the void
A declaration of war!

I’m locked and loaded
And I won’t miss
This is the killshot
I’m locked and loaded
And I won’t miss
This is my killshot

Unconquered will be released Sept. 25 through Nuclear Blast. Pre-order the album here and view the artwork and track listing beneath the music video.

Kataklysm, “The Killshot” Music Video

Kataklysm, Unconquered Album Art + Track Listing

Nuclear Blast

01. “The Killshot”
02. “Cut Me Down”
03. “Underneath The Scars”
04. “Focused To Destroy You”
05. “The Way Back Home”
06. “Stitches”
07. “Defiant”
08. “Icarus Falling”
09. “When It’s Over”

2020’s Best Metal Albums (So Far)

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Bon Jovi’s New ‘American Reckoning’ Mourns George Floyd’s Murder

Bon Jovi chronicle the murder of George Floyd and the ensuing outrage and protests on their new single “American Reckoning.” You can listen to it below.

“America’s on fire, there’s protests in the street,” read the Jon Bon Jovi-penned lyrics. “Her conscience has been looted and her soul is under siege / Another mother’s crying as history repeats, I can’t breathe.”

“I was moved to write ‘American Reckoning’ as a witness to history,” the singer said in a statement on the band’s website. “I believe the greatest gift of an artist is the ability to use their voice to speak to issues that move us.”

The band and Island Records are donating all proceeds from downloads of the song for the remainder of the year to support Bryan Stevenson’s Equal Justice Initiative.

On May 25, Floyd was arrested for allegedly passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a grocery store in Minneapolis. While he was handcuffed face down on the street, police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck for eight minutes, while two other offices helped restrain Floyd and another kept onlookers from interfering. An autopsy ruled Floyd’s death a homicide; all four officers are now facing charges related to his death. The murder sparked a worldwide wave of protests and ongoing social changes.

The new song will be added to the band’s upcoming album, 2020, which was originally scheduled to be released on May 15. That date and the band’s summer tour plans were pushed back as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Band keyboardist David Bryan was among the first musicians to publicly announce that he had tested positive for the coronavirus. On April 19, he revealed that he had fully recovered.

2020 is currently set to be released sometime this fall.

“American Reckoning” is the third song to be released from 2020, following last November’s “Unbroken” and February’s “Limitless.”

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Jefferson Starship Preview New EP With Single ‘It’s About Time’

Jefferson Starship recruited former singer Grace Slick to co-write their politically charged new song “It’s About Time.” The track appears on the band’s upcoming EP, Mother of the Sun, its first batch of new material in 12 years.

You can listen below.

Can’t you feel the planet getting hotter? How can you sit back and watch your own slaughter?” singer Cathy Richardson sings on the compact rocker. “Old white men have had their turn / Thousands of years, what have we learned?” She also touches on school shootings, political division, pollution and natural disasters throughout the tune, which veers into a spacey bridge before its final chorus.

The recently announced Mother of the Sun is out Aug. 21 on the band’s own label, Secret Knock Records. In addition to “It’s About Time,” which Slick and Richardson wrote with guitarist Jude Gold, the seven-track set also features a writing collaboration with former singer and guitarist Marty Balin, who died in 2018. Former bassist Pete Sears appears on three tracks.

Mother of the Sun was heavily inspired by the creative ethos of former Jefferson Starship guitarist Paul Kantner, who died in 2016. “Paul Kantner was our bandleader and the visionary who kept Jefferson Starship going through so many eras,” Richardson said in a statement. “He inspired so much about this record, from the messages in the lyrics to the title and album art to the collaborative process of creating music as a band with some of his original muses — Grace, Marty and Pete. Mother of the Sun is dedicated to PK.”

The band paired the release of “It’s About Time” with the EP’s track listing and album cover. This fall, the quintet will announce dates for a lengthy 2021 tour supporting the project.

Secret Knock Records

Jefferson Starship, ‘Mother of the Sun’ Track Listing
1. “It’s About Time”
2. “What Are We Waiting For?”
3. “Setting Sun”
4. “Runaway Again”
5. “Embryonic Journey”
6. “Don’t Be Sad Anymore”
7. “What Are We Waiting For (Extended Version)”

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Rising Rocker Ayron Jones: Our Beginnings Don’t Have to Define Us

Seattle-born guitarist and vocalist Ayron Jones grew up in a tough familial environment, but with a passion for music. A self-proclaimed multi-instrumentalist, the rising rocker recently signed with Big Machine Records and released his first major label single “Take Me Away.” He hopes to spread the hopeful message that our beginnings don’t have to define where we go.

The guitarist was listening to a lot of ’60s bands and trios like the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Cream when he formed what was originally titled Ayron Jones and the Way years back. That era of the band were successful to the point of sharing the stage with groups like Slipknot and Lamb of God, but the members unfortunately quit in 2015, leaving Jones to carry on by himself.

“I felt like as the composer and the writer for all this music, I think the whole band-feel kind of took away from all the work that I was putting in,” he explained. “I think a lot of people thought that we sat down as a band and wrote these songs, as opposed to me writing out all these parts and then bringing it to an instrumentalist to play these parts and me sing the music and do all of that. So I changed the name to be solo.”

The decision to go solo has proven to be triumphant for the artist, who has opened for big names like B.B. King and Guns N’ Roses, gone on tour with Theory of a Deadman and worked with Run D.M.C. and Public Enemy. So when it came time to be scouted by Big Machine records, Jones was already a natural.

Last month, he released his first single as a signed artist called “Take Me Away.” “Having grown up with the background I had, dealing with feelings of abandonment and all that, and what those kind of emotions do to you as an adult and in your relationships,” Jones said of the inspiration behind the song. “And also just being a black man in America, and kind of figuring out what that means for myself.”

“‘Take Me Away’ was really about how I was gonna use my music to take me out of whatever turmoil or whatever beginnings I had,” he continued. “And that no matter where I came from or what kind of beginnings I had, I knew that those things didn’t have to define me.”

Check out “Take Me Away” below.

To hear more about Jones’ story as well as his future endeavors, listen to the full Loudwire Nights interview above.

Ayron Jones – “Take Me Away”

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