Chevelle Singer Says Band’s New Album May Be the Last for a While

After spending over 25 years in a band, sometimes musicians want to take a break and pursue other endeavors. Chevelle are on the brink of releasing their ninth studio album NIRATIASand frontman Pete Loeffler remarked that if fans do not like it, it’ll probably be the band’s last release for a while.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had a more difficult time writing music,” the singer explained to Loudwire Nights regarding the making of Chevelle’s upcoming record. “If they like it, awesome. If they don’t, I get it. It’s fine. It’s not as easy as it used to be. And I look back at some of our albums, and I’m not exactly proud of every song I’ve written.”

Loeffler admitted that he felt pressured and overworked when writing some of the band’s material in the past, mainly due to their “tyrant of a manager.” That’s why it’s taken them about five years since their last album The North Corridor came out to release a new one — they simply took their time.

And, of course, the pandemic had an impact on it as well, as they initially wanted to release NIRATIAS in June of 2020.

“If people like this one, then I’m gonna continue on,” Loeffler assured. “And if not, it may be many years before we put out anything else. I may move on to some other side projects and let Chevelle sit for a minute. This is pretty much everything we could throw at it over four years’ time.”

Chevelle dropped the first song from NIRATIAS, “Self Destructor,” earlier this month. The album will arrive March 5 and can be pre-ordered here now. For more details about the record, listen to the full interview above.

2021’s Most Anticipated Rock + Metal Albums

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How Cleopatrick Tricked Spotify Head to Get Their Music Played

“Fake it ’til you make it” isn’t a phrase that was coined for nothing, and rock duo Cleopatrick knew just the trick to get their song “Hometown” heard by the masses.

“We wrote that song expecting it to be heard by like 10 people, because that’s how many people would come to our shows back then,” Luke Gruntz told Loudwire Nights. “The song was about being from where we’re from and being like no matter how loud we are, no matter how hard we try, our voices aren’t gonna be heard.”

“It’s a lot about the anxiety around that, feeling like we’re putting everything we have into music, but we’re just not sure how far that’s going to get us,” he continued. “I guess the irony of that is now a lot of people have heard it.”

One of the reasons the song has become so popular is because it’s been featured in an episode of Spotify’s “Rock This” podcast as well as the corresponding playlist, which is hosted and curated by Spotify’s Head of Rock, Allison Hagendorf.

“We put the song out, and I had been doing some online sleuthing trying to figure out how bands get fans, I guess,” Gruntz laughed. He discovered Hagendorf and “Rock This,” and reached out — by acting as a fan, rather than a member, of the band.

“I sent her this totally BS email of me pretending to be a fan of our own band being like, ‘Oh my God, Alli, you’ve gotta check out this band Cleopatrick,'” Gruntz recalled. “Within like 20 minutes, she replied and had put us in one of her playlists.”

How’s that for a success story?

For more details on their goals as a band and the release of their debut album, listen to the full interview above, and check out “Hometown” below if you haven’t heard it already.

Cleopatrick, “Hometown”

Most Streamed Spotify Songs for 66 of Rock + Metal’s Biggest Artists

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Oxymorrons Blend Hip-Hop, Rock on Braggadocious ‘Green Vision’

NYC genre benders the Oxymorrons started off 2021 with the debut of their newest single,”Green Vision” — both sonically and visually a seamless blend of hard rock and hip-hop, and therefore a perfect representation of who they are as a band.

Starting as a collaboration of two Queens-bred brothers and vocalists Kami (K.I.) and Demi (Dee), the band was completed with the addition of drummer Matty Mayz and guitarist Jafé Paulino. And from the beginning, the project was meant to be a culmination of their collective love of rock and hip-hop.

“From my dad playing Lionel Richie to Phil Collins, to our older brother playing Biggie to Metallica, I was definitely an MTV baby,” recalls K.I. “I would watch videos from acts like Soundgarden and Nirvana and pretend to be a rock star, even breaking my bed a few times.”

Meanwhile, growing up in NYC they saw plenty of rappers from their area — including Onyx, 50 Cent and Nicki Minaj — have major success, which was inspiring in itself. But they also knew they wanted to make music that was outside of the box.

“It was acts like NERD, Jay-Z, The Diplomats, Kanye West, Outcast, Jamiroquai, Lupe Fiasco and Kid Cudi that really influenced us the most,” says Deee. “They inspired us to be ourselves.”

Of the new song the band says it’s them putting their mark on the world with a “new “New York sound. They are redefining what rock means, and they are unapologetic about it.

“It’s that real New York braggadocious shit that our city is known for,” they shared. “It’s Oxy: Hip-hop low end, heavy hitting drums, wailing guitars and most importantly, swag. We here to break down genre barriers, kick down walls of what people consider rock music. Rock has evolved but it’s here to stay and so are we!!!! Get used to it!”

The song’s music video, which was produced and directed by A1Vision, was filmed in the band’s neighborhood.

“‘Green Vision’ is putting our culture in everything you see visually and hear sonically,” says Mayz. “Visually it’s in our hood, shot with our people, in places we grew up. We took hip-hop culture and infused it with rock and roll, because that’s who we are.”

You can check out the new song and video, which is the perfect introduction to the band, below.

Hip-hop and rock have been blended in various ways for years. Run DMC and Aerosmith brought the concept to the mainstream in 1986 with “Walk This Way” and has seen many iterations since. And while we saw artists such as Rage Against The Machine took it new heights, we also saw a wide range of quality with mainstream rap rock and nu metal.

In other words, while the blending of these genres is not exactly rare, finding an offering as authentic as the Oxymorrons can be, which is why we asked the band about their experiences as a BIPOC rock band. You can see some of their insights in the Q&A below.

“Green Vision” Single Art


Oxymorrons, “Green Vision” Music Video

Oxymorrons Q&A Interview

Can you explain the choice to make your own version of the Nevermind artwork for the single?

Dee: This is our third repurposing of iconic rock album covers. Rock music is inherently Black, and people have not fully embraced the core essence of rock being part of our culture. So, we want to feed that visually. Making iconic white rock album covers Black, is our way of driving that point home.

What has your experience being a Black rock/metal fan been like?

Matt: There have been times that we have been the darkest people in the room, and those experiences have ranged from being awesome to downright terrible. It’s something that we are very conscious of. Other fans approach us with either curiosity or animosity. Either way, they wonder why we are there and our loyalty to the culture.

Jafè: It’s almost impossible to navigate predominately white spaces as BIPOC people. Seeing another person of color at a show where you already feel like you don’t belong, a sense of safety comes over. It’s kinship that is hard to explain. Outside of shows, it’s a hard anti blackness if it’s not hip-hop or R&B. Within the black community, it is met with a lot of resistance and a misunderstanding of what Blackness is.

Dee: A lot of people write off rock as inherently white, and therefore attack your Blackness in doing so. Which is what we’re aiming to change. The saving grace for us growing up were bands like NERD, Killswitch Engage, Rage Against the Machine, Outkast and the Mars Volta. People of color rocking out harder, making bigger hooks, being more musically technical, and thrashing more than their white counterparts. AND WE’RE NEXT ON THE DOCKET.

Rock music started with Black Americans, but that has not always been reflected in how we talk about rock music or its history today. In recent years, genre lines have become more and more blurred and I, thankfully, see more people of color taking part in rock, which has traditionally been (at least in its mainstream portrayal) extremely white and male. While some … let’s call them traditionalists… have fought the evolution of the genre by deeming certain artists as not “real rock,” rock continues to transform. 
How do you envision the future of rock? 

Jafè: Less white, male and straight is the future of rock. Thus, more authentic. Rock has always been reflective of the times.

How do you hope to see Oxymorrons fit into that future?

Jafè: We are that future. We are the epitome of what rock is to come. It’s our specific experiences, how we grew up, what we believe in, and our swag bleeding into everything we put out. A genre combining mish mosh of a group of New Yorkers who are just being unapologetically themselves. All we can do is encourage other bands, especially in the BIPOC community, to do the same. Speak your truth and show your individuality to the world.

Hip-hop and rock have been blended together for years in many different ways. What artists do you see as pioneers in doing this?

K.I: “Walk This Way” by Run DMC and Aerosmith as the first. But huge people we look up to are Rage Against the Machine, Linkin Park, NERD, Outkast, Beastie Boys and Public Enemy.

Which artists do you think did (or do) it the best?

K.I: NERD drove it home for us that it could be done in this modern era. We could identify with them sonically and visually. By the way, they do not get the props they deserve at all. They really got through to us, a black fronted rock band, that we could aspire to be.

Is there anything else you want to add?

K.I: Don’t be racists. Support black businesses.

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Interview with Erja Lyytinen: The Blues Queen: Video, Photos

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Interview with Finnish blues singer/guitarist Erja Lyytinen: voted #2 on Total Guitar’s “10 World’s Best Guitarists Now” poll.

How has the Blues and Rock Counterculture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

By being able to travel around the world and meeting lot´s of different people from different cultures I´ve learned so many things and seen so many things that I wouldn´t have seen unless if I was a traveling musician. I have learned, there´s blues lovers everywhere where you go and it seems to be a unique group of people who value music that has been actually played by musicians on stage, with sincere, honest lyrics and with huge emotional output. Also, the fact that musician lifestyle is so different compared to an ordinary day life, changes your way of looking at things. Nothing is ever regular, except that everything is always irregular. Plans are always changing, and things moving forward. There´s no dull moment in this business!

Where does your creative drive come from? What was the hardest part of writing “Blues Queen” book?

I have been always very enthusiastic about music and playing, ever since I was a kid. I can still remember the feeling what I felt when I sang on top of my Father´s guitar playing at the age of four (4). Music moved me, it made me happy, and brought out feelings. So later in life I really wanted to become a professional musician so therefore I soke into various different music schools and learned so much I could from music in overall. Nowadays I run my own record company and play normally hundred shows per year around the world, and I enjoy performing live more than ever! But I also enjoy that time, when I can just create music, and dig deeper to songs. Music is my occupation and a hobby, and I feel very privileged that I can do what I do.

When writing “The Blues Queen”, hardest thing was to get into ugliest feelings, to open up and tell people about the hard times. But then again, it´s good to tell that success doesn´t come without sacrifices. I have recorded several albums, written a book, and we recently also put out Erja Lyytinen Songbooks (VOL1 and VOL2) and nowadays I also have my own tea brand. So, I really like being creative in other ways as well and this also keeps my mind fresh.

Are there any memories from ‘Lockdown Live 2020’ (on line event) which you’d like to share with us?

It sure was very exciting to play with my band after two months of a break in May 2020. We were all so full of energy and joy – not knowing how long this corona situation would last. While recording “Lockdown Live”, this was our first proper stream gig with multiple cameras, so everything, the whole production, the situation, was new for all of us. We were simply just happy to be able to do some work at least! We had a meet & greet session with the fans in the end of the live stream, and it was really lovely to answer to people´s questions. I didn´t see my fans, but I could “feel” them.

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

I miss the interaction between the audience and the band. I love the fact that every gig is different and how audience reacts, really has a huge impact also how you are on stage. Although I always do my best, whether I am performing for 20 people or 20.000 people, and if it´s a private gig, a gig in a jail (yes, done few of these!) or a sitting audience in a concert hall. My hopes are that the vaccine really works for the people and we can get back doing what we really love. My fears are that the music industry will suffer even more if this situation won´t get any better. And the less unfortunate people will suffer even more. We will see the effect of corona after few years in childcare and mental services I am afraid.

I really do hope that we can play and travel freely in 2022. I can´t wait to travel to Australia, where we supposed to play last year. I can only imagine the happiness we all feel, when we can finally meet our fans and friends around the globe, and can hug each other without a fear of getting an ugly virus.

If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

I would improve the compensation regarding digital services and using of music and art freely online. The overall feeling nowadays feels like that music should be free for consumers, although just making a one proper music video for Youtube with multiple cameras requires a lot of resources. I do use Youtube and Spotify myself too and my latest albums and some of the stream gigs are there for free for everyone. But then we also have some music videos on Vimeo for a purchase as well.

What does to be a female artist in a Man’s World as James Brown says? What is the status of women in music?

Women´s status in the music business has gotten a lot better nowadays. Majority of the new guitar buyers is females, all the social media channels are full of women and girls playing guitar, bass, drums, all of these instruments, that men used to only play. I think it is fantastic! Music shouldn’t be judged by one´s sex, but by the quality of it.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

Always be kind, try inspiring others, and don´t be afraid to share. Don´t try pleasing others, but just follow your own instincts. And most of all, be true to yourself, in the end we have to only responsible for yourself, and you are the one you have to live with for the rest of your life, with every decision you make.

What is the impact of music on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want it to affect the people?

Music really crosses all the boundaries. Music is a language, that everyone can learn and when you speak the same “language”, you can share emotions. It´s amazing to get to play for example in India, and encouraging young women by saying, that I am a guitarist, and a Mother and entrepreneur and travelling around the world all the time, doing my dream job. That everything in life can be possible.

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

I would travel fifty years ahead. Just to have a look how all is then and what kind of future my kids would have. And what kind of music we would listen. I am pretty sure that people will always listen to Led Zeppelin, Hendrix and other “organic” music, and enjoy music performed live, let´s at least hope so!

Interview by Michael Limnios / Photos by Hertta Hynninen & Iiro Laitinen

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Phil Campbell Looks to Return of Shows: I Hope There’s Free Beer

Motorhead icon Phil Campbell was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie’s weekend radio program. The guitarist touched on two of his latest albums — one with Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons (PCATBS) and the other a solo record — as well as how he’s dealing with his downtime amid the pandemic.

We’re the Bastards, the 2020 release from PCATBS, was the second record from the group which also features three of the rocker’s sons, and is a result of the newly afforded time in lockdown. Without any deadlines to work with, Campbell attested to the relaxed songwriting environment and praised the bevy of influences the band possesses as a multi-generational act.

Without touring on the table for the foreseeable future, Campbell didn’t seem to mind such a long gap in time between tours. He professed he’s an optimist and has been taking everything in stride.

Read the full interview below.

What was easier about the process of making an album together the second time around?

We did it in our studio this time, during the lockdown, so it was fairly relaxed. We didn’t have to finish up in a few days or whatever as we did on the first album. We just took our time and made the record we wanted to make. We went in different days, in different rooms — socially distanced and everything — it was all pretty safe and luckily we came out with 13 brand new songs at the end.

The lockdown period hasn’t been a total disaster for us, because we made a hell of an album. I’m just really over the moon with it.

When they were younger, musically, you most likely influenced your sons. Now that they’re your bandmates, how do they influence you?

They’ve all been playing various instruments from a very early age, probably from when they were four or five, and they’ve just evolved over the years into fantastic players. I’m always learning something new from them and probably more than they’ve been learning off me. They always used to come to see me with Motörhead and stuff, it’s just all music has been around.

With my generation and with their generation now, and having Neil [Starr] as our vocalist — Neil couldn’t tell you the title of a Black Sabbath album or a Deep Purple album; I don’t know what he was listening to when he was in his day — but he’s influential. That’s another strange element to the band as well with all the different influences coming in — this makes for something quite interesting.

They’re all fine players and Neil’s one hell of a singer.

Phil Campbell and The Bastard Sons, “Born to Roam” Music Video

Your solo album Old Lions Still Roar gave us a bigger picture of your musical taste. What do you enjoy about playing styles of music that normally aren’t associated with you?

I enjoy the beauty of some of it — it just all comes from within.

Some of the slower songs on Old Lions Still Roar, I wrote on the piano in hotels with Motörhead and kept tweaking them. I didn’t want to prove anything really, it’s just nice to be myself, to get it out and prove to myself I was capable of making some decent recordings of other genres of music.

It was a long time coming. I had ideas for the album for about 20 odd years, but I never thought I’d end up having all of the big artists out along the way with it. I don’t think anyone could ask for more than that and I’m very humbled.

The album is really good. So I’m glad it came out and this year it’s time for another Bastard Sons album we thought. We planned on getting an album out at the end of 2020, last year, anyway. Apart from no live gigs, recording-wise we’ve just been okay this year. The live gig situation, of course, as with everyone, has gone to hell at the moment, but we’re hoping for better things, better luck, I’m sure everyone is.

Phil Campbell, “Swing It” Feat. Alice Cooper

Motörhead was a significant part of your life for so many years. What was the most difficult adjustment to no longer living that life?

It’s been about five years now since we finished with Motörhead and obviously it’s been really difficult not having Lem around — all the characters from the past — but especially Lem. I spent nearly all my adult life with him. In the new band, there are different people in the band so it’s a different dynamic. I try and think of the good times with Motörhead and what we achieved and all the great fun we had — the ridiculousness of it all. We took everything to the extremely, basically, all the time.

I try to keep smiling that way, but we’ve got a great band together now with the kids. We’re coming up with some serious music, so that’s also something I’m very very proud of as well. It’s another act in my life and my career, so we’ll see where it takes us.

When someone has spent nearly all their adult life on the road, a global shutdown must be a jolt to the system. For you, what’s been the saving grace in not being able to tour during the pandemic?

It’s just nice with the no touring. It’s out of my control, out of everyone’s control, so I just sit back and smell the roses. Appreciate what you’ve got, what you’ve got at home — appreciate your wife more and walking the dogs. Just the simple things. You can chill out a bit, you can direct it and put on some things you haven’t seen for ages on the TV and stuff. Kind of recharge your batteries, I guess. That’s what it is.

When everything starts back, hopefully, to more or less, normal, I think there’s going to be some ecstatic crowds around. Everyone is going to go nuts, especially the initial period when gigs start up again. Hopefully, there will be free beer for everyone for a while.

[laughs] That would be nice.

Yeah, we just gotta look forward to it. Everyone can get through this, you’ve just got to show some patience. I’m an optimist. I’m sure if we dig in a bit longer, we’ll come out fine on the other side because our souls are too strong to let it get to us. Especially in our rock ‘n’ roll fraternity — we want to hear live rock again — everyone does. We just have to bide our time for a little bit longer, I think. But next year could be amazing after a while!

Thanks to Phil Campbell for the interview. Get your copy of ‘We’re the Bastards’ here (as Amazon affiliates we earn on qualifying purchases) and follow Phil Campbell and The Bastard Sons on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Spotify. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie’s weekend radio show here.

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Voice Actor Jess Harnell Explains Why His Mash-Up Band Got Sued

Modern technology has allowed for just about anyone to create mash-ups of different songs, but actually performing them is a different story. Rock Sugar is a band fronted by Animaniacs voice actor Jess Harnell that combines hard rock and metal songs with pop anthems, and they’re so spot-on they’ve actually been wrongfully sued.

Harnell told Loudwire Nights that he came up with the idea for Rock Sugar after being hired to cover a couple of Journey songs on a tropical island.

“One day we were talking and I said, ‘You know what’d be really funny? If there was this band from like the ’80s, like a Def Leppard or a Poison or something, and they got shipwrecked at the end of the ’80s, and they got brainwashed because all they had to listen to for 20 years was pop hits from the ’80s,'” he explained.

“And they got brainwashed into thinking metal was pop and pop was metal.”

The exampled Harnell came up with was a combination of Metallica‘s “Enter Sandman” and Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” — “Don’t Stop the Sandman.”

The video became so popular on YouTube that they started receiving offers to play live. They eventually made an album of mash-up creations called Reimaginator, which came out in 2010.

“We got sued because one of the singers I imitate… I guess the impression was a little bit too close, because he actually thought that it was his voice. He thought we sampled his voice without permission,” Harnell recalled. “So we had to go to court with this dude and prove, using forensic audio tracks, that it was me singing and not him. But it created so much complication that we can no longer sell the music online to people.”

The judge in the case deemed the recording “misleading to the public” as it would make them believe it was actually the singer Harnell was imitating.

“It’s a strange thing when the person who made you wanna be a singer sues you to make you stop singing,” he added.

To hear Harnell’s Ozzy Osbourne impression and more about Rock Sugar, listen to the full interview above. You can also check out their latest mash-up “Shout at the Devil Dog All Night” below, which is a combination of “Shout” by Tears for Fears, “Shout at the Devil” by Motley Crue, “Up All Night” by Slaughter and “Black Dog” by Led Zeppelin.


Rock Sugar – “Shout at the Devil Dog All Night”

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Chevelle Drop Aggressive ‘Self Destructor,’ Announce New Album

Welcome back, Chevelle! The band is back after last releasing an album in 2016 with The North Corridor and they’re dropping an aggressive new song “Self Destructor” and some key album details on us to start the new year!

While the title “Self Destructor” seems like it could come from the tumultuous last year, singer Pete Loeffler reveals in an interview with Loudwire Nights‘ Kevin Vargas (as seen below) that’s actually not the case. “The song was actually written in 2019 so it’s just strangely coincidental that it fits so well with 2020 being what it was. It’s hard not to find that in everything now,” says the vocalist.

He adds though, “I’ll give you one thing though. It focuses on science deniers and you guys can run with that. Go delve into the lyrics and check it out. It’s aggressive and I’ve had to learn how to play it all over again this past year with Sam [Loeffler], so fingers crossed that we can do that live too.” You can delve into those lyrics below:

How many ways
And how many words
Safe in your lies but can’t ignore it all

You aren’t at all right
Ten million other lives

Well it’s to much to lose
It’s time, or self destruct

They don’t care what the science says
They don’t want to talk

Cuz this time ready or not, This time you fought us all
Cuz time you aren’t at all right, You aren’t at all right
Ten million other lives

How can we save
And how in this time
The lessons we learned
To rescue the mind before it’s gone

Well it’s to much to lose
It’s time, or self destruct
They don’t care what the science says
They don’t want to talk

Well it’s to much to lose
It’s time, or self destruct
They don’t care what the science says
They don’t want to talk

Cuz this time ready or not, This time you fought us all
Cuz this time your doubling down,
This time you’ll work alone
Cuz time you aren’t at all,

It’s like war x2

Bite your tongue this Nosferatu ways
It’s minimal these stomach knots
This conscious can’t hide from his soul
Till now
It’s like war x5

Go Fight yourself

Cuz this ready or not, this time you fought us all
Cuz this time your doubling down this time
You aren’t at all, right
You aren’t at all, right

The song is part of a new album titled NIRATIAS (Nothing Is Real and This Is a Simulation) that is due on March 5. The album as a whole has more themes dealing with space in it as that became a fascination for Pete Loeffler during the writing of the record.

“It has a lot of space to it, a lot of interstellar travel to it. You’ve got Elon Musk trying to get to Mars and that was completely fascinating to me so when I write lyrics, it’s just kind of made its way in there. As you’ll see with the cover, it’s sort of space themed as well,” says the singer.

He adds, “I love the idea of the cosmos and I love Carl Sagan and Elon Musk and Neil deGrasse Tyson and all these people that look beyond and look to the future. Getting off this planet is part of that future if we can do it. It’s funny when you started to delve into it how difficult that really is. How are you gonna deal with radiation out in a spaceship for nine months or longer than that? It’s fascinating. It just made its way into the music.”

As stated, the NIRATIAS album will arrive on March 5 and pre-orders are currently available here.

You can check out more of Chevelle’s Loeffler brothers interview, including their thoughts on tour and their messages for fans in 2021 in the Loudwire Nights interview posted below the new song. A video for “Self Destructor” will be posted Friday morning and we’ll update this post once it goes live.

Chevelle, “Self Destructor”

Chevelle’s Sam + Pete Loeffler Talk With Loudwire Nights

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Interview with Jeremiah Johnson: Southern Heaven Gate: Video, Photos

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Interview with St. Louis-based Jeremiah Johnson: the voice of Mississippi River blues blending with the struggles of everyday life.

How has the Blues, Rock and Roots music influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

If there is one thing my music journey has taught me, it’s the fact that you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. I have seen people who look conservative completely burn up the dance floor and throw it down. I have also seen big strong biker guys break down in tears when they hear a song that touches their heart. In the end of the day, it seems we all have a big heart for music.

How do you describe your sound, music philosophy and songbook? Where does your creative drive come from?

It can be hard to describe my sound, but it starts out with a 70’s southern rock, blues-based foundation. I have a bit of a Kentucky/Southern accent that comes out occasionally, and I always try to do what is best for the song. A good song is where the magic mojo all begins. There are thousands of amazing guitar players, it’s good songwriting that separates the diamonds from the coal.

It seems like I have been dreaming about playing the guitar and writing songs since my life began. Truthfully, I was 6 years old when I first begged my parents to pay for guitar lessons. It’s been a long road and a lot of years with the same dream.

Which meetings have been the most important experiences? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

There have been many moments in my career that I could point to as “important experiences” and it is hard to say that one or the other was more important. I would say I am extremely thankful for the friendship I have had with Mike Zito and Devon Allman. I have known them for decades now and it makes me happy to see both doing so well. They have both been good to me. Zito and Allman have both produced records for me.

The best advice I have is, “Every step forward, no natter how small, is a step in the right direction. It could be a long road ahead, just keep moving forward and you will reach your goals. The true joy of life is in the journey.”

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

In 2019, I was fortunate enough of tour with Mike Zito. We had a 12-hr drive across Germany and Zito asked me if I wanted to take a journey or ride in the van. I said let take a journey! We rode in a taxi, two different trains, two different trains and one short plane ride. We arrived at the hotel doorstep in about 10 hours and I had such a wonderful experience traveling across Germany. I hope to be back in Europe in Fall of 2021.

What do you miss most nowadays from the blues of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

I can’t say I miss anything nowadays; I just wish blues was popular like it was in the 80’ and 90’s. Bands like The Fabulous Thunderbirds, SRV and Eric Clapton used to be on the big radio stations. If we keep going the way we are headed with streaming services and lack of interest in physical CD’s, smaller blues artists are not going to be able to earn a living.

Why do you think that Ruf Records (Label) continues to generate such a devoted following?

Because Thomas Ruf is a genius! Hell, he signed me didn’t he! Seriously, Ruf Records consistently puts out high quality artists who push the envelopes of the genera. I am proud to be on Ruf Records and have a great relationship with everyone at the label.

What would you say characterizes St. Louis Blues scene in comparison to other local US scenes and circuits?

To me St Louis Blues is somewhere between Texas and Chicago styles of blues. Lot’s of horn players, plenty of piano players and a solid band that can not only shuffle, but they can bring the heat. It’s hard to explain. Why don’t you come visit our city and I can show you how good it feels.

What is the impact of music on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want it to affect people?

Blues music brings people of all kinds, together and helps one realize that we are more alike than not. I hope my music makes you want to dance, close your eyes and forget what troubles you.

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

I would like to go back to the amazing concerts I went to in my youthful party days and actually pay attention to the damn concert! I went to some great concerts and only seen half of them!

Interview by Michael Limnios

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Poppy Is the 2020 Artist of the Year

Poppy is Loudwire’s pick for the 2020 Artist of the Year. We got the artist herself to break down her year, beginning with her magnificent post-genre album, I Disagree.

As 2019 came to a close, Poppy announced her split from creative partner Titanic Sinclair, which was met by an outpouring of support for the musician. “I was trapped in a mess that I needed to dig my way out of — and like I always do, I figured out a way to handle it,” Poppy shared in an official statement. “I encourage those of you who feel trapped in a situation, whether it be similar to my previous one or not — to take the first step because that is the most difficult one. This is not a request for sympathy and I am not a weak victim, but this is me setting the record straight. I am happier than I have ever been and I am excited to move forward.”

After months of hype — driven by the experimental 2019 singles “Concrete,” “I Disagree” and “Bloodmoney” — Poppy forcefully planted her flag into 2020 with the release of I Disagree on Jan. 10. Poppy directed her own visual feasts for “Anything Like Me” and “Sit/Stay” as the year progressed, while I Disagree broke the Top 5 of Billboard’s Hard Rock Albums chart along with the Top 15 of the Rock Albums chart and Independent Albums chart.

Poppy also embarked on a successful headlining tour in early 2020 and returned to NXT for an arena performance at Takeover: Portland before COVID-19 shut down the world.

“For the first two months of 2020, I got to tour, but I had to cut my tour short because of the… oh, you know… situation,” Poppy tells Loudwire. “The whole world became dark and grey and miserable, but I made the best of my 2020 by keeping my chin up and carrying on, even when I was contemplating ending it all. I can’t wait until I can go back on tour and see my fans. They mean everything to me.”

In the months following lockdown in the U.S., Poppy lent her support to the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd. Originally meant for a Pride Month release, Poppy released her cover of t.A.T.u.’s “All the Things She Said” in solidarity with BLM, sharing a rare message written as Moriah.

“While we are still fighting for equality in the lgbtq+ community, we still have a long way to go, and there still remains an absurd amount of injustice for minorities in America,” she wrote. “I cannot adequately express my distain for how our government, and above all, our president is reacting to what’s happening in America right now. I encourage you to educate yourself, go out and protest, donate, and raise your voice to speak out against this injustice. I’ll also be sharing a few links to donate to if you have the means to do so. I stand with you in love. – Moriah”

After rescheduling her tour with Deftones and Gojira, Poppy unleashed a deluxe version of I Disagree featuring brand new songs, along with a Christmas EP led by the single, “I Won’t Be Home for Christmas.” Those releases, along with her own graphic novel, Damnation: Poppy’s Inferno, made Poppy one of the most prolific artists of 2020. Poppy even received her first Grammy nomination this year for “Bloodmoney.”

“2020 was unforgettable, but I’m glad it’s over. See you in 2021. I’m Poppy. See you out there,” the enigmatic musician concludes.

Congrats to Poppy for her incredible 2020! Watch Poppy recap her year in the video below.

Burn It Down, Poppy

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Deftones’ ‘Ohms’ is the 2020 Album of the Year

Twenty years after releasing their landmark White Pony, and 10 years following the gorgeous and vibrant Diamond Eyes, Deftones added another masterwork to their discography with Ohms — Loudwire’s pick for the Best Album of 2020.

Deftones fans were shot with a jolt of excitement once it was revealed that Around the Fur / White Pony producer Terry Date was returning to collaborate with the Los Angeles band for the first time in 17 years. Reports of guitarist Stephen Carpenter rededicating himself to the writing process, after largely taking a back seat for 2016’s Gore, further signaled a classic in the making, bringing the hype for Deftones’ ninth album to a fierce peak.

As 2020 turned into a worldwide annis horribilis, the themes of isolation within Ohms, which were mostly written and tracked in 2019, became tragically relevant. “I did a few overdubs, but lyrically it really didn’t change much,” vocalist Chino Moreno explained in an interview with Full Metal Jackie. “I myself felt like I was dealing with this sense of isolation. I was living out in the mountains for a good five to six years, and I moved straight from Los Angeles, where I was around my friends and going out to shows and doing stuff all the time.”

“After a certain amount of time, I was longing just for some connection and wanting to have that thing that I was missing in my life. It’s ironic that the album is a mirror of what we’re going through.”

On Aug. 20, Deftones officially announced Ohms after a week-long buildup of teasers and billboard ads. The following day, fans were introduced to the title track, a gorgeous mid-tempo piece led by an infectious dream-pop guitar lead and air-tight rhythm work by Sergio Vega, Frank Delgado and Abe Cunningham.

“‘Ohms’ was born from Stephen sending me a demo tape, like three years ago, of this riff, pretty much an eight-minute piece of music that had all the riffs from that song in it, but sort of sporadic all over,” Moreno told Loudwire Nights. “I came really quick with the vocal melody, pretty much right in that moment when we all started playing it for the first time.”

“The vibe of the lyrics were kind of surrounded around the environment. I felt it morphing into more of a general thing of connection and being connected. It could be more about a relationship or whatever, but I like to do that when I have lyrics — to have some anonymity in there so people can have their own connection to it.”

Deftones – “Ohms” (Official Music Video)

The album’s second single, “Genesis,” spotlit the heavier side of Deftones, delivering thoughtful lyrics about individuality and balanced with a brutal, down-tuned lead from Carpenter. Before the entire Ohms album was even released, it became clear to fans that Carpenter’s active songwriting approach had paid massive dividends for the band.

“It’s always great when everybody’s in the same place from the creative process,” Moreno explained. “A lot of times, especially with technology these days, it got easier for us to make music… I don’t want to say separated, but just in more fragmented ways.”

“There’s something that happens when we are all in the same room and we’re all playing together — there’s this sort of energy that is just prominent when the five of us get together. I don’t want to say it’s exactly the same as when we were young in Stephen’s garage, but it definitely gets us closer to that as opposed to everybody just kind of putting their ideas down and then the next person comes in, and the next person comes in.”

“We have a lot more tendency to react to one another immediately, and I think that some of our best music is made in that manner.”

Deftones – “Genesis” (Official Music Video)

Through the strength of “Ohms” and “Genesis,” along with the furious dedication of Deftones fans, Ohms hit No. 5 on the Billboard 200, giving the band one of the strongest debuts of their career.

Deftones reign as one of the few veteran bands who can boast no weak albums in their catalogue. With Ohms, Deftones didn’t just extend their hot streak to nine albums — they created their strongest work since Diamond Eyes and arguably a Top 3 album when ranking their 21st century discography. Ohms was undoubtedly a high water mark of 2020 and is our pick for Album of the Year.

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Bring Me the Horizon, ‘Parasite Eve’ – 2020 Song of the Year

Bring Me the Horizon’s “Parasite Eve” is Loudwire’s pick for the 2020 Song of the Year. To celebrate the unintentional COVID-19 anthem, keyboardist and programmer Jordan Fish joined us via Zoom to break the song down.

As many BMTH fans know, “Parasite Eve” was not written about COVID-19, but the general, seemingly growing threat of a global pandemic as of 2019. As fate would have it, vocalist Oli Sykes picked the right topic, and as the world went into lockdown, Bring Me suddenly had a track that perfectly fit the zeitgeist of 2020.

“[Oli’s] mind went back to these lyrics he’d written last year,” Fish explains. “It was just a question of trying to make sure that it wasn’t offensive. You never know with these things. When they’re really topical, it can be really easy to fuck it up and be really insensitive. You don’t want to make it seem like you’re taking the piss or joking, but then, also, you don’t want to make it completely devoid of humor. There are a lot of elements about how you deal with this kind of thing that are quite, not funny, but it’s not all just deadly serious. Like the whole thing of putting a sneeze into the song and talking about the conspiracy theories and all that kind of stuff, I guess, is a bit playful.”

“Parasite Eve” debuted on June 25 to an uproarious reception from fans. The song became one of Bring Me the Horizon’s highest charting tracks, breaking the Top 10 of the United States’ Rock chart and hitting No. 1 on the UK’s Rock chart. In just six months, the video for “Parasite Eve” is on the brink of surpassing 20 million views on YouTube.

Bring Me The Horizon – Parasite Eve (Official Video)

It was Sykes’ idea to recruit DOOM soundtrack composer Mick Gordon for “Parasite Eve.” Bring Me sent the immersive track, along with others on Post Human: Survival Horror, to Gordon, who crafted layer after layer of soundscapes for the album’s lead single.

“Mick Gordon’s production is very detailed and it’s got a real creepy… lots of itchy sounds and real headphone detail,” Fish says. “He sent back around 25 tracks — a load of detail. To be honest with you, I don’t know how he does it. It basically sounds like a gnarly computer game, really.”

One of the many strengths of “Parasite Eve” is its post-genre feel, combining influences from rock, metal, hip-hop, pop, electronic and gamer culture. “We’re kind of culture vultures in a way,” Fish confesses. “I feel like we just steal the essence of what we think is cool from another genre and we’ll just be like, ‘We should try and use that in our shit.’”

“Oli was like, ‘Have you ever listened to Bulgarian folk?’ and I was like, ‘No, obviously not.’ He’s like, ‘Oh, it’s really fucking sick, you should check it out.’”

That song ended up being “Ergen Deda” from a Bulgarian folk album called Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares. “I was just like, ‘We should fucking start the song with this!’ We pretty much just pitched it down one semitone and that’s the start of the song. It’s barely even changed.”

Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares – Ergen Deda (Live on KEXP)

As for the lyrics to “Parasite Eve,” a fundamental question the song asks is, “When we forget the infection, will we remember the lesson?” We won’t know until late 2021, or even 2022, but Fish shared what he believes the lesson should be.

“The obvious lesson for me, as someone who doesn’t eat meat, is that keeping animals in cages really close to each other in torrid conditions is not a good idea,” Fish shares. “I know that’s probably not what people want to hear, and I would never want to be the preachy sort of vegan. I don’t ever talk about being vegan, because vegans do my head in. The more we fuck around with nature and manipulate it to extremes so we have huge numbers of animals in really, really close proximity… obviously, cruelness aside, it’s meddling with the balance of nature a little bit.”

Watch Jordan Fish break down “Parasite Eve” in the video below and congrats to Bring Me the Horizon for creating the Song of the Year!

Bring Me the Horizon’s Jordan Fish Breaks Down ‘Parasite Eve’

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Ayron Jones Addresses Polarizing Alice in Chains Performance

Alice in Chains were given the Museum of Pop Culture‘s Founders Award earlier this month, and there was a star-studded lineup of performers for the virtual celebration. Among them was rising rocker Ayron Jones, who has commented on his polarizing performance to Loudwire Nights.

Jones joined Guns N’ RosesDuff McKagan, Shooter Jennings and Martin Feveyear for a rendition of the acoustic Dirt track “Down in a Hole,” but he also tackled a cover of “Heaven Beside You” from AIC’s 1995 self-titled album.

Comments on the video of the performance were mixed, with some supporting Jones’ originality in the cover and others not liking it. One note, in particular, said that his vocal style was a “kind of weird” cross between Kurt Cobain and Layne Staley.

“I was really honored to be able to be a part of it,” Jones said. “[‘Heaven Beside You’] wasn’t honestly my favorite performance of mine.”

Jones explained that due to COVID-19 and having to quarantine after traveling to Seattle from Nashville, he wasn’t able to prepare for the event properly.

“Again, I say it first — it wasn’t my favorite performance. The reason I chose to do it that way is because I knew that there were gonna be some people that loved it and I knew there was gonna be some that hated it. But either way, it was going to leave a lasting impression, and at some point, my name was gonna pop up again.”

Watch Jones’ performance of “Heaven Beside You” below, and listen to the full interview above to hear more about his smash hit “Take Me Away” and what to expect from his upcoming debut album.

Ayron Jones, “Heaven Beside You” (Alice in Chains Cover)

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