25 Years Ago: Ozzy Osbourne Releases Comeback Album ‘Ozzmosis’

Today no one really takes rock and roll retirement seriously, but when Ozzy Osbourne announced his 1991 album No More Tears was going to be his swan song fans took it to heart, especially since the tour that followed was called No More Tours. But Ozzy soon realized that being back home was far less fun than being on the road and playing for adoring audiences was far preferable to watching the History Channel for hours on end. So Osbourne put a new band together and on Oct. 24, 1995 he released his seventh studio album, Ozzmosis, which put him right back at the top of the metal hierarchy four years after he announced his initial retirement.

It was as if he had never left. Ozzmosis followed the 1993 concert album Live & Loud and all sorts or reports about Ozzy working with guitarist Steve Vai and bassist Bob Daisley. An album never materialized, but Vai is credited with songwriting on the Ozzmosis song “My Little Man.” Backing Osbourne on the album were Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler, guitarist Zakk Wylde, drummer Deen Castronovo and Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman.

The offbeat lineup didn’t have much of an effect on the record, which sounded like a more sonically pristine, but natural extension of the type of melodic hard rock/metal songwriting on 1988’s No Rest for the Wicked and No More Tears. In additional to Vai, Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister co-wrote “See You on the Other Side” with Zakk Wylde and Butler and Wylde contributed to “My Jekyll Doesn’t Hide.” Mark Hudson, Steve Dudas, Jim Vallance, John Purdell and Duane Baron also wrote for Ozzmosis.

Ozzy Osbourne, “See You on the Other Side” Music Video

Osbourne and his bandmates recorded the album with producer Michael Beinhorn at three locations: Guillaume Tell Studios in Paris, France, Electric Lady Studios in New York City and Bearsville Studios in Woodstock, N.Y.

The sessions were professional and productive, yielding the B-sides “Whole World’s Fallin’ Down” and “Aimee.” Musically, Osbourne followed the formula he had effectively pursued since his 1980 solo debut Blizzard of Ozz. There were raging rockers (“Thunder Underground” and “My Jekyll Doesn’t Hide”), fist-raising anthems (“Ghost Behind My Eyes,” “Perry Mason”) and teary ballads (“See You on the Other side,” “I Just Want You.”). For some, Ozzmosis was too predictable and overly polished. Others were fine with the if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it approach Osbourne took for the record.

Ozzy Osbourne, “Perry Mason” Music Video

The commercial songwriting and production certainly didn’t hurt sales; Ozzmosis debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 album chart. The album didn’t blow up and fade away. By the end of 1995 it was certified platinum by the RIAA and in April 1999 the album went double platinum.

Osbourne supported Ozzmosis with the Retirement Sucks tour, which featured guitarist Joe Holmes, who was hired when it looked like Wylde was going to join Guns N’ Roses, bassist Robert Trujillo and Faith No More drummer Mike Bordin.

Loudwire contributor Jon Wiederhorn is the author of Raising Hell: Backstage Tales From the Lives of Metal Legends, co-author of Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal, as well as the co-author of Scott Ian’s autobiography, I’m the Man: The Story of That Guy From Anthrax, and Al Jourgensen’s autobiography, Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen and the Agnostic Front book My Riot! Grit, Guts and Glory.

See Where Ozzy Osbourne Ranks Among the Top 50 Hard Rock + Metal Frontmen

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25 Years Ago: Smashing Pumpkins Release ‘Mellon Collie’

After breaking through with major success behind their sophomore set Siamese Dream, how would Smashing Pumpkins top that? By going bigger, much bigger! On Oct. 24, 1995, Smashing Pumpkins did exactly that with the release of the ambitious, epic two-disc collection known as Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.

The seeds of Mellon Collie began to sprout during the summer of 1994, as the band began to wind down their support of Siamese Dream while partaking in Lollapalooza. Bassist D’Arcy Wretzky told the Chicago Tribune, “We all had our own head things going on that summer. Not so much tension within the band, but just being able to deal with other people in general.” Guitarist James Iha added, “It was time to make another record or disband. Nobody wanted to go through the high dramatic b.s. anymore. It was totally necessary for everyone to do the next record.”

So rather than take a break, the band powered forward with a desire and drive to do something special, all while feeling the pressure that most bands feel after their breakout disc.

“If you don’t sell more than the last record, it means you’re going downhill,” stated Wretzky, while drummer Jimmy Chamberlin added, “And that would be very discouraging to us. That is a vibe we want nothing to do with.” Frontman Billy Corgan stated, “I happened to be having dinner with Michael Stipe when Siamese Dream went platinum, and he turned to me and said, ‘Welcome to the deep waters, kid.’ And he’s right, because once you’re there, you have to keep treading and treading or you drown.”

Smashing Pumpkins, Live in 1995

There were some changes to be made. First off, the band stepped away from working with producer Butch Vig, choosing instead to have Corgan co-produce their next effort with fellow producers Flood and Alan Moulder, who had both found success working with Trent Reznor on past Nine Inch Nails albums. Corgan told Guitar World, “To be completely honest, I think it was a situation where we’d become so close to Butch that it started to work to our disadvantage… I just felt we had to force the situation, sonically, and take ourselves out of normal Pumpkin recording mode. I didn’t want to repeat past Pumpkin work.”

Jumping from touring to writing for a few months, the band began to gather material and by April 1995, they entered a rehearsal space to start working through what they had. Flood challenged the band members to devote a section of their day to jamming and songwriting and that practice yielded results.

“Working like that kept the whole process very interesting — kept it from becoming a grind,” Corgan told Guitar World.

In addition, Corgan took a step back to allow more input from Iha and Wretzky. The guitarist stated, “The big change is that Billy is not being the big ‘I do this — I do that.’ It’s much better. The band arranged a lot of songs for this record, and the songwriting process was organic. The circumstances of the last record and the way that we worked was really bad.” Chamberlin stated of the sessions, “After putting everybody’s egos and personal shortcomings aside, you have what you love to do, which is to make music … It was the sound of four people together.”

Soon the material started to grow. “We almost had enough material to make Siamese Dream a double album,” revealed Corgan. “With this new album, I really liked the notion that we would create a wider scope in which to put other kinds of material we were writing.”

As for what they were compiling, Corgan told the Chicago Tribune that it was a record that was written for people between the ages of 14 and 24 because “that’s the age group that’s really listening.”

He added, “It will be totally misunderstood by the plus-30-year-old rock critics. I’m not writing it for them, even though I’m on the edge of losing my connection to youth, as is anyone entering their late 20s, and you’ve got a house, you get married and the things that are important in your life begin to change. But I wanted to communicate from the edge of it, an echo back to the generation that’s coming, to sum up all the things I felt as a youth but was never able to voice articulately. I’m waving goodbye to me in the rearview mirror. Tying a knot around my youth and putting it under the bed.”

Corgan was committed to seeing the idea of the double album through to its conclusion and making it the best it could be, despite being aware of the track record of double albums being successes. He told the Chicago Tribune, “If you do something as ambitious as a double record and it doesn’t sell, it will be viewed as an artistic failure. And I will not have that hanging around my neck. If is considered a failure, it’s time for this band to be gone. It’s 1995, it’s a media driven world and I’m sorry, I’m not going to have everything this band does cast in the shadow of this big failure.”

On Oct. 24, 1995, the world received 28 brand new tracks spread over two discs known as Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. The same week, Smashing Pumpkins also released the aggressive single “Bullet With Butterfly Wings,” which would become one of the biggest songs of their career.

Smashing Pumpkins, “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” Music Video

The world is a vampire / Set to drain” painted a visual that connected with a lot of listeners. Corgan stated, “Somewhere I have a tape of us from 1993 endlessly playing ‘The world is a vampire‘ part over and over.” It took until 1995 before he would finish the track, bringing the “despite all my rage, I am still just a rage in a cage” lyrics over from an acoustic session and bringing the ideas together. The track reached No. 2 on the Modern Rock Chart, No. 4 on the Mainstream Rock Chart and cracked the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 22. It would also go on to win a Best Hard Rock Performance Grammy.

By January 1996, the band was ready to change the pace a bit from the heavy angst of their lead single. “1979” was the song to do it. Speaking with Greg Kot, Corgan revealed that the track almost never came to fruition, as producer Flood felt the track was not fully realized enough to make the cut.

“I had a gut feeling about this song from the very beginning,” said Corgan. “It was almost like I was afraid to go where this song was taking me. It’s the kind of song that if I thought about doing it on previous albums, I’d have questions about whether I’d sound shitty doing it. It’s just not a typical Pumpkins song.”

Smashing Pumpkins, “1979” Music Video

But when the producer decided to cut the song, Corgan took it as a challenge to make it the song it deserved to be. “It really inspired me to finish it and prove him wrong,” said the singer. “So that night I wrote the entire song in about four hours. The next day Flood heard it one time and said, ‘It’s on the album.'” That proved to be very fortuitous as the melodic rocker shot all the way to No. 1 on both the Mainstream and Modern Rock charts and climbed all the way to No. 12 on the Hot 100.

The third single off the album, “Tonight, Tonight,” also found the band throwing out the playbook, welcoming the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to provide a very key string backing. According to Corgan, the idea for “Tonight, Tonight” came during the touring for Siamese Dream, and he booked some studio time to get the idea down. Speaking about the track on the Howard Stern Show, the vocalist revealed that the track’s lyrics pay homage to fellow Illinois rockers Cheap Trick with a bit of black humor.

Smashing Pumpkins, “Tonight, Tonight” Music Video

Meanwhile, the lyrics are addressed to his younger self, reflecting on escaping an abusive childhood and believing in himself. Speaking about the session with the Chicago Symphony orchestra, Corgan would call it “probably one of the most exciting recording experiences I have ever had.” The song would reach No. 5 at Modern Rock radio, No. 4 at Mainstream Rock radio and cracked the Top 40 at No. 36 on the Hot 100 chart, in addition to yielding one of the more standout videos of 1996.

Before the album was complete, it would yield two more singles — the hard-driving alienation anthem “Zero” and the lilting, melodic “Thirty-Three” — while “Muzzle” would also garner some attention as a live favorite.

Though the singles ruled radio for the better part of a couple of years and the accolades came rolling in, not all was cheery during the album cycle. In May of 1996, a fan was crushed to death in a mosh pit in Dublin. The band ended the show early and canceled the next night’s performance. Then, in July, the group’s touring keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin overdosed on heroin and died in a hotel room while drummer Jimmy Chamberlin was charged with drug possession. A day later, Chamberlin was fired, and the band moved quickly to find replacements so they could finish out their touring.

Still, the Mellon Collie era was a successful one for the band. They received seven Grammy nominations, including nods for Album and Record of the Year, the album debuted at No. 1 and Mellon Collie defied the odds as one of the best selling double discs in history, reaching diamond status.

When asked if the album turned out as he envisioned, Corgan told Rolling Stone, “We finally managed to manifest everything I always thought we could do. Somehow we managed to get a lot of blood out of the stone.” He added, “There’s a part of me that cannot describe what it feels like, because how the fuck do you do something like this? It’s such a mountain. It was literally more than double the work. There was no cutting corners. Comparing how I felt exhaustion-wise after Gish and Siamese Dream, I was like ‘I can’t believe it.’ People were going, ‘How are you still standing?’ And I’m still going now. Shows, interviews. Maybe one day I’ll just die [laughs]. But it won’t be glamorous or mythological. I’ll have a Twinkie in my hand, take a bite and fall over.”

Corgan is very much alive and still generating vital music with a reconstructed Smashing Pumpkins lineup, but for a period in the mid-’90s, Smashing Pumpkins ruled the rock world.

See Smashing Pumpkins in the Top 90 Hard Rock + Metal Albums of the 1990s

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20 Years Ago: Linkin Park Release ‘Hybrid Theory’

Despite how it may have seemed, Linkin Park‘s breakout was not an overnight success. The band had their fair share of struggles before finally having things fall into place with the release of their monster debut album Hybrid Theory.

The group’s roots trace back to the high school friendship of Mike Shinoda, the band’s rapping co-vocalist, and Brad Delson, the group’s guitarist. Their influences were diverse, with Shinoda being a fan of hip-hop and Delson digging on the guitar work of heavier acts like Deftones and Guns N’ Roses.

Somewhere in between they found a blend and formed a group named Xero with drummer Rob Bourdon, turntablist Joe Hahn, bassist Dave “Phoenix” Farrell and vocalist Mark Wakefield. But something just wasn’t clicking and a hard decision had to be made to part ways with Wakefield. Around the same time, Farrell got another gig touring with a band called Tasty Snax, and it looked like the band had hit a major roadblock.

Enter Jeff Blue, vice president of Zomba Music, who was aware of the group, felt they had something and helped them in their search for a new vocalist. He made the introduction between the SoCal group and a Phoenix-based vocalist named Chester Bennington from the band Grey Daze. Bennington got the call during a surprise birthday party in 1999 and received a package from Blue the following day with two Xero demos — one with Wakefield’s voice and the other an instrumental track.

After a few days, Bennington completed his vocals and sent the demos back, which resulted in an audition two days later. According to LP Association, Bennington’s performance was so strong that the other vocalist auditioning for the band left the tryout before taking the mic. With Bennington in place, the band renamed themselves Hybrid Theory.

Linkin Park, “In the End” Demo Version

“He really was kind of the final piece of the puzzle, and he brings vocal talent that, when we were looking for a second vocalist, we didn’t see anything close to his talent in anybody else,” Delson told Madison.com.

The band started writing material together and even put together a self-titled demo tape, but still there were a few complications. A Welsh electronic group named Hybrid led the band once again to have to change their name, this time taking on Linkin Park as their new moniker, but as we know now Hybrid Theory stuck as the title of their debut disc. Over the next year, the band played a number of showcases, but ultimately it was Blue who helped the band in their move over to Warner Bros.

“We felt like, hey, we had stumbled upon something totally unique. And then as these other bands started coming out, bands that already had record deals that were being widely promoted to the world, we were like, ‘Hey, crap, look at all these other groups are kind of doing what we’re doing,” recalled Delson, who added, “At that point [we said], ‘Hey, we’re obviously not the only band out there that’s combining rap and rock. Let’s be the best band out there that’s playing rap and rock.'”

Linkin Park, Live in 2000

Helping in that aspect was producer Don Gilmore. “He wanted our lyric writing to be honest, but he also wanted it to be entertaining,” says Delson. “In other words, he didn’t want us to get too much into the ‘poor me’ thing of look at how many problems I have. You can talk about something that happened to you, but you can still do it in a witty or a storytelling way that’s not just ‘Hey, feel bad for me,’ but this is something that happened to me, and here’s an interesting way of explaining it.”

The band settled into NRG Studios in North Hollywood, Calif. with Gilmore, ready to record their debut effort.

While in the studio, Farrell was still away playing with another band, so the band called upon Scott Koziol and Ian Hornbeck to lay down bass parts, while Delson himself also pulled some time on the low end. Farrell would eventually rejoin the group during the touring of Hybrid Theory, but did not appear on the album.

On Oct, 24, 2000, Linkin Park would release Hybrid Theory, unaware of the success that was to come. The first song out of the gate was “One Step Closer,” a track that showcased the vocal mix of Shinoda and Bennington that fans would come to love.

Linkin Park, “One Step Closer” Music Video

Bolstered by the particularly aggressive “Shut up, shut up while I’m talking to you” Bennington delivery, the track became an instant favorite at radio and live. The song would peak at No. 5 on Modern Rock and No. 4 on Mainstream Rock, while the video for the track, directed by Gregory Dark, actually came from a concept suggested by Joe Hahn. It was his first foray into the music video world and over time Hahn would come to direct a number of the band’s videos.

After a long run at radio with “One Step Closer,” the band moved onto “Crawling” as the second single in early March of 2001. The heavy song dealt with the difficult subject matter of child abuse and Bennington’s own battles with substance abuse. “It’s easy to fall into that thing — ‘poor, poor me’, that’s where songs like ‘Crawling’ come from,” said Bennington to Rolling Stone.

“I can’t take myself. But that song is about taking responsibility for your actions. I don’t say ‘you’ at any point. It’s about how I’m the reason that I feel this way. There’s something inside me that pulls me down.” Admittedly, the track was one of the more difficult ones for the singer to perform.

He told Spin, “‘Crawling’ has caused me the most trouble live more than any other song … ‘Crawling’ is about feeling like I had no control over myself in terms of drugs and alcohol, hence the line ‘These wounds they will not heal’.” The song would climb to No. 5 on the Modern Rock chart and No. 3 on the Mainstream Rock chart, becoming their second straight Top 5 single.

Linkin Park, “Crawling” Music Video

In September of 2001, the band offered up “Papercut.” Though the song was never officially released in the U.S., it reached No. 14 on the U.K. singles chart and hit No. 32 at Modern Rock Radio. Though not a major radio favorite, “Papercut” has become one of the band’s live favorites, with Bennington stating it’s one of his favorite Linkin Park tracks.

A full year after the album’s release, Linkin Park had their biggest hit to date. “In the End,” featuring a recognizable piano part, rhythmically rocking verses from Shinoda and Bennington’s long-held vocal in the chorus, became the band’s first No. 1 song on the Modern Rock chart. It fell just shy, at No. 3, on the Mainstream Rock chart.

Linkin Park, “In The End” Music Video

Bennington revealed to V Music that he completely missed the lure of the track initially. He explained, “I was never a fan of ‘In The End’ and I didn’t even want it to be on the record, honestly. How wrong could I have possibly been? I basically decided at that point I don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about, so I leave that to other people who are actually talented at somehow picking songs that people are going to like the most. It also gave me a good lesson, as an artist, that I don’t necessarily have to only make music, in my band, that I want to listen to. More often than not, something that I like, very few other people like, and something that those people like is something that I kind of like, or don’t like at all.”

Over time, Bennington said he had grown to love the track and now sees how great the song is, but initially didn’t view it as a single.

Other standouts from the album included the songs “Runaway” and “Points of Authority,” the latter of which became a hit as Linkin Park served up their Reanimation remix album.

As Hybrid Theory grew in popularity, the accolades rolled in and the tours got better. The band counted invites to Ozzfest and Family Values among their earlier, profile-raising runs, and by the end of the album cycle, they were able to stage their own touring package known as Projekt Revolution.

Meanwhile, the music community took notice. Linkin Park won a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance in 2002 for “Crawling” and received a Best Rock Video at the MTV Video Music Awards for “In the End.” By the time the album cycle was complete, the disc peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 album chart, became the biggest selling album of 2001 and eventually was certified by the RIAA for over 10 million units sold and later reached 12 million units.

See Hybrid Theory in the 20 Biggest Selling Hard Rock + Metal Albums in the U.S.

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24 Years Ago: Korn Release ‘Life Is Peachy’

Long before Korn’s self-titled debut album went gold, the band was already living the high life, with an emphasis on high. The only time Korn were mostly sober was when they were performing. Other than that they were drinking heavily, popping pills and snorting up jumbo-sized lines of blow all night long. By the time they finished touring for the album and entered their rehearsal space to work on their second album, Life Is Peachy, which came out Oct. 15, 1996, Korn could barely remember the last year of their lives.

They had even less of a clue about what lay in their future, and were in a serious state of disarray when they started working on new songs.

“We didn’t know what we wanted to do,” frontman Jonathan Davis told me in 1998. “We didn’t have anything written and I didn’t know what I wanted to sing about. But we had a great vibe and we had lot of momentum behind us, so we just had to get in there and do it.”

The four instrumentalists in the band — guitarist James “Munky” Shaffer and Brian “Head” Welch, bassist Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu and drummer David Silveria – started working on material first. Someone would come up with an idea – be it an opening riff a mid-song rhythm or a cool beat, and the others joined in. Sticking with what they knew, the band incorporated elements of alt-metal, hip-hop and new wave in their songs, and within weeks they had rough skeletons for a handful of new tunes. At that point, Davis started adding vocals to their jams.

“With a lot of bands someone will write a full song and bring it in and then everyone else will play it,” Fieldy said. “This was a way more collaborative process.”

Korn, Live at Donington (1996)

Soon after Korn started working on the songs, producer Ross Robinson, who played a major role in the sound of the band’s first album, joined them to provide input. Korn ran everything they had written by Robinson, who mercilessly critiqued them, explaining what worked and what didn’t.

“I wanted to help them capture their fire and make sure it stayed completely lit,” Robinson said. “I worked with each person in the band to make sure they understood why they were doing what they were doing. My inquiry was very deep and we discovered a lot of unhealed wounds. I’m not afraid to go there and I craved it. But everything was based on a foundation of love and support.”

From a creative standpoint Korn were coming up with some inspired and cathartic music that progressed naturally from the material from their first album. On a social level, however, the band had trouble holding themselves together from one minute to the next. They fought frequently and even though Robinson implored them to stay sober long enough to finish what they were working on, the band members often opted for partying over writing and rehearsing, leading productive sessions to a crashing halt.

“We were drinking mass quantities of everything, and when we were really fucked up you didn’t want to be around us,” Davis said. “I’d bite people when I was drunk. I bit everyone in the band hard. I didn’t know what I was doing and I didn’t care.”

Korn, 1996 Rehearsal

“We were under a lot of pressure, so drinking and getting high seemed preferable to facing our responsibilities,” Welch said. “There were a lot of nights when we’d be playing and someone would do too much of something and suddenly they were passed out and couldn’t play. And a lot of times that guy was me.”

Somehow, with the encouragement of Robinson and their management, Korn motivated themselves enough to finish writing a batch of songs for Life is Peachy. And in April 1996, they entered Indigo Ranch Studios in Malibu, Calif., to start tracking.

As with Korn, the album is abrasive and confessional and Davis regurgitates his poisoned guts with lyrics about betrayal, self-abuse and excess. “Sick of the same old things / So I dig a hole / bury pain / I am so high always / Burying my life so slowly,” he sings on “Chi.” In “Good God” he laments the psychic trauma of a dysfunctional relationship: “In the sea of life, you’re just a minnow / live your life insecure / Feel the pain of your needles as they shit into my mind.”

“Most of the lyrics came to me really spontaneously,” Davis said. “A lot of it what I was dealing with. Like, in the song “A.D.I.D.A.S.” [which features the line “all day I dream about sex“] I’m just singing about myself. I’m a horny motherfucker.”

Korn, “A.D.I.D.A.S.” Music Video

In July 1996, Korn finished the final overdubs for Life is Peachy. The album included a cover of Ice Cube’s “Wicked,” which featured a guest appearance by Deftones singer Chino Moreno.

Life is Peachy entered the Billboard album chart at No. 3, and went gold on Jan. 8, 1997, less than three months after it was released. Eleven months later, the album went platinum. To date, Life is Peachy has gone double platinum and is considered by many to be one of Korn’s best records.

“It really felt like we could do no wrong,” Davis said. “Everyone was into what we were doing and really enjoying all the different styles we were putting into the music. It was a great time – a fucking crazy time, but a great time.”

Loudwire contributor Jon Wiederhorn is the author of Raising Hell: Backstage Tales From the Lives of Metal Legends, co-author of Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal, as well as the co-author of Scott Ian’s autobiography, I’m the Man: The Story of That Guy From Anthrax, and Al Jourgensen’s autobiography, Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen and the Agnostic Front book My Riot! Grit, Guts and Glory.

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26 Years Ago: Korn Pioneered a New Sound With Self-Titled Debut

Eschewing traditional metal tones and techniques from the start, Bakersfield, Calif., band Korn strived to capture the power and rage of groups like Helmet and Prong and deliver them in a way no one had ever heard before. With their self-titled debut, which came out Oct. 11, 1994, they succeeded in a way nobody could have predicted.

At the time they were just happy to reshape the music they loved with tools they felt comfortable using, including seven-string guitars and an abundance of effect pedals. There were lunging rhythms and crazy guitar noises inspired by hip-hop, downtuned riffs that satisfied their will to be heavy and slappy, funk-fueled bass lines that didn’t so much anchor the rhythms as wrap around them like rubbery tendrils of barbed wire. But the real darkness came from vocalist Jonathan Davis, who converted his love for The Cure’s Pornography and Ministry’s Twitch into confessional moans and howls of internalized pain.

“I f–kin’ loved the band from the moment I first heard them,” the late Suicide Silence frontman Mitch Lucker told me in 2008. “There was so much anger in their music and they were so heavy. They didn’t sound like anyone else and then everyone copied them.”

At a time when other metal bands were scrambling to make their music sound more alternative, Korn chose a true alternative and reinvigorated metal. Still, even after they released their punishing, bruising debut, even after a nation of disenfranchised youths started growing dreads and wearing Adidas tracksuits to emulate the band members’ fashion sense, it was impossible to know how deep an imprint, how indelible a scar Korn were about to leave on the battered face of metal.

Korn, “Blind”

In retrospect one can practically chart the moment of revelation on a timeline. A ride cymbal is repeatedly struck in double-time, a barbed, single-chord progression is strummed 10 times and a more-distorted counter-riff cuts in, building tension. A few moments later a voice bellows, “Are you reaaaddyyyy!!” Jaws dropped, fists clenched and a new revolution began. “Blind” is one of the most iconic and effective openings of any metal album – right up there with the eternal tritone that set Black Sabbath on their course of damnation – and it effectively marked the birth of what would later be called nu-metal.

“We were trying to sound like a DJ had remixed our guitars, y’know, and cutting them up and scratching,” guitarist James “Munky” Shaffer told Rolling Stone. “That’s kind of how that sound was born.”

“I wasn’t a metal guy,” Davis recently told me. “I liked metal as a kid, but then I got much more into Depeche Mode and Duran Duran. But I also liked aggressive industrial music, and I kind of wanted to bring those two worlds together — that total anger with a more emotional, melodic kind of thing.”

Driven by a desire to hear something in their heads that they couldn’t find anywhere else, Korn merged the urban groove of L.A.P.D. — the band guitarists Munky, Head, bassist Fieldy and drummer David Silveria were in — with a much darker aesthetic born of childhood trauma and teenage angst. Davis’ lyrics addressed bullying and harassment (“Faget”), meth addiction (“Helmet in the Bush”) and molestation (“Daddy”). If bands like Nirvana and Tool confronted frustration and disenchantment through cryptic verse and poetic lyrics, Korn skinned their songs to the bone, delivering ugly, unflinching diatribes in plain terms that kids could more easily understand.

Korn, “Daddy”

“I’ve always felt like a magnet for pain and I’m not afraid to sing about it even though a lot of it is really personal,” Davis told me. “And I think a lot people who have had the same kind of experiences can relate to the honesty and the vulnerability in my lyrics and vocals and it all draws them to the music and works as a kind of therapy for both of us.”

Three of the songs on Korn, “Blind,” “Predictable” and “Daddy” were originally on the band’s 1993 demo, Niedermeyer’s Mind, which landed the band a deal with Immortal / Epic Records. Korn wrote the rest of the songs for the record at a small house they moved into in Huntington Beach, Calif. Much of the day was spent experimenting with different music styles and crafting enduring tunes. But by the night the house and the nearby studio where they were working, Underground Chicken Sounds, turned into party central. Korn attacked cases of cheap beer like dehydrated athletes downing purified water and Gatorade, and some of the members kept their energy levels up with large quantities of meth.

“We were out of our minds and I was making runs to my dealer’s to score and then rushing back to the studio,” Davis said. “It was one of those situations where you’d get tired and worn out so you’d do some meth to charge back up and then you balance it out and drink some more when you’d get too wired. But you feel like a superhero when you’re that young and you think you can get away with anything.”

Since they were happy with the sound of Niedermeyer’s Mind, Korn asked Ross Robinson, who produced the demo, to come back and work with them on their first real album. The band entered Indigo Ranch Studios in Malibu, Calif., in May and spent a month recording live in the studio. After the main tracks were done they worked on guitar overdubs and final vocal tracking. While Korn were largely responsible for the storms of creativity that made the music both haunting and exciting, Robinson played a major role in transferring the band’s sound to tape and creating episodes of conflict that added to the raw, visceral and voyeuristic quality of the album.

“He’s a sick mother—er and he knew exactly how to push all my buttons and get under my skin,” Davis said. “We’d have these long talks and he’d bring out these dark pieces of my history that I’d usually block from my mind. And he’d keep at it until I was ready to break down in order to get the best performance he could get from us. And he did that to all of us.”

Korn, “Clown”

In addition to being an instigator, Robinson believed in capturing the moment, which is why he always ran tape and included snippets of conversations in the final recordings. Before the song “Clown,” he caught the musicians struggling to enter the song at the right moment of four count. But it’s the end of “Daddy” where Robinson pulled all the stops.

A revealing song inspired by a traumatic sexual assault (but not from Davis’ father), the brooding, sprawling song ends with the singer breaking down in the studio. As Davis screams, “Mommy, why?!?” he starts to cry uncontrollably, swears with rage and shouts, “You f—ing ruined my life” between agonized sobs. By the end, he’s panting and crying with exhaustion while his band mates make unstructured stabs of noise on their instruments.

“It was just a special moment that I did not know was being recorded, for one, because Ross is a prick and kept the f—in’ tape running,” Davis told Rolling Stone.

“[It was] one of the most powerful things I’ve ever experienced,” Robinson told Rolling Stone. And [Munky] continuing the song with the sobbing… That whole long ending is just a jam. The engineer, Chuck Johnson, was so great, not thinking about pressing ‘stop’ on the tape machine.”

Korn was a creative triumph, but it wasn’t immediately commercially successful. The album never charted above No. 72, but the band toured heavily and as its original, charismatic performances resonated with fans of the band’s Korn opened for – including Biohazard, House of Pain, Sick of it All and Ozzy Osbourne, — the album started to sell. On Jan. 29, 1996, Korn went gold in U.S. and on Jan. 8, 1997, it was certified platinum; by November 1999, the album was double platinum.

To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Korn, the band started playing the record in its entirety at select dates in 2014 and throughout 2015. Munky and Head have said that being able to revisit their roots so completely inspired some of the heavier riffs on their new album, The Serenity of Suffering (out Oct. 21, 2016). Davis says the experience was probably beneficial for the guitarists, but for him, revisiting some of the songs on the first album, including “Faget” and especially “Daddy,” was unpleasant and unsettling.

“Dude, it was f—ing hell going back there every night,” he said. “I never want to play ‘Daddy’ again. I never even want to hear it! The whole thing really f—ed my head up and it took me a while to recover from. I know a lot of fans got into it and I’m glad about that, but for me it just totally sucked.”

Loudwire contributor Jon Wiederhorn is the author of Raising Hell: Backstage Tales From the Lives of Metal Legends, co-author of Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal, as well as the co-author of Scott Ian’s autobiography, I’m the Man: The Story of That Guy From Anthrax, and Al Jourgensen’s autobiography, Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen and the Agnostic Front book My Riot! Grit, Guts and Glory.

See Where Korn Landed on the Top 90 Hard Rock + Metal Albums of the 1990s

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30 Years Ago: Slayer Release ‘Seasons in the Abyss’

After releasing their speed-freak thrash metal manifesto Reign in Blood in 1986, Slayer slowed down their tempos for 1988’s South of Heaven. But it was on Seasons in the Abyss, which came out October 9, 1990, that Slayer found a confident middle ground between sheer velocity and malicious mid-paced chugging.

The band started working on the new songs almost immediately after getting off tour. Continuing from the war and real-life atrocity themes they successfully explored on South of Heaven, Slayer crafted songs about the horrors of the battlefield, nuclear war, street gangs and, of course, serial killers.

“I just think we just wanted to keep being Slayer,” guitarist Kerry King told me in 1994. “There were a lot of bands that had built careers by copying what we had done and we wanted to show everyone we could still do it better.”

Slayer, “War Ensemble”

Guitarist Jeff Hanneman worked on the music for seven of the 10 songs on the album (two with King), but only contributed lyrics to two songs, “War Ensemble” and “Hallowed Point,” which he wrote with bassist and vocalist Tom Araya. The singer wrote lyrics for four other songs on his own, while King wrote music on his own for three songs and lyrics for four.

“Back then we collaborated a little more on stuff,” Araya said. “I worked with Kerry on ‘Expendable Youth.’ Jeff, Kerry and I all wrote ‘War Ensemble’ together. We knew we had great songs and we wanted the lyrics to be as powerful as they could be as well.”

In March, 1990 Slayer entered Hit City West studio in Los Angeles with producer Rick Rubin. Over the next four months the band also worked at Hollywood Sound and Record Plant. “I don’t remember anything really special about the recording session,” King says. “We were all just excited to get these songs out there. It felt like the session went pretty smoothly.”

One of the highlights of the album, and a longtime staple of the band’s live show, was “Dead Skin Mask,” a song based on the nefarious deeds of Plainfield, Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein, who, in the 50s, made trophies out of his victim’s bones, skin and organs. “Jeff wrote the music and I took off with the lyrics,” Araya said. “I just pictured what it must be like to be in this guy’s head. You’ve got to be really f—ed up to cut up people’s faces and make masks out of them.”

Slayer, “Dead Skin Mask”

Seasons in the Abyss reached number 40 on the Billboard album chart, which, at that point, was Slayer’s highest position in their career. The album went gold in April, 1993. Slayer supported Seasons in the Abyss with a lengthy tour that included the legendary Clash of the Titans tour, which included Megadeth, Anthrax and Alice in Chains (a European version preceded the U.S. dates, but replaced Anthrax and Alice in Chains with Testament and Suicidal Tendencies)

“There might have even been talk of a ‘Big Four’ tour back then, but we probably couldn’t get Metallica onboard,” said King. “But it was a big to do, man, and people came out for it. At the time, that was the biggest tour we had been on and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.”

Loudwire contributor Jon Wiederhorn is the author of Raising Hell: Backstage Tales From the Lives of Metal Legends, co-author of Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal, as well as the co-author of Scott Ian’s autobiography, I’m the Man: The Story of That Guy From Anthrax, and Al Jourgensen’s autobiography, Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen and the Agnostic Front book My Riot! Grit, Guts and Glory.

Every Slayer Song Ranked

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15 Years Ago: Nickelback Blow Up Huge on ‘All the Right Reasons’

On Silver Side Up, Nickelback released “How You Remind Me,” the most played song at radio for the decade. The band’s follow-up record The Long Road would yield four big singles on the way to triple platinum sales. And yet, Nickelback still had only bigger success to come. All the Right Reasons, released on Oct. 4, 2005, would be the album that would take them to new heights of popularity, giving them one of the biggest records of the 21st century.

But before pushing forward with the next step in their career, there was one significant change coming. As the calendar turned to January 2005, Nickelback made the decision to switch drummers. Ryan Vikedal, who had appeared on The State, Silver Side Up and The Long Road, was out while Daniel Adair, who had previously been with Nickelback tourmates 3 Doors Down was in. The wheels had been set in motion a month prior when Adair was asked to audition, and there was some contention in the split as singer Chad Kroeger would file suit against Vikedal later in 2005 over royalties the musician would receive from public performances of the band’s music. But with Adair in place, the band hit the studio with co-producer Joey Moi between January and May of 2005 to record their new album.

The sessions went about as normal for the group, with bassist Mike Kroeger reflecting to ABC News Radio, “Being humble people, we don’t ever presume that anything’s great, we just keep working, We just work. And if it’s great, it’s not within our power. People decide what’s great.”

He would soon start to see exactly how well received the album was by how their life would start to change. Kroeger says of that period that it felt like “living in the eye of a hurricane,” adding, “You’re sitting in a bubble of peace while all hell’s breaking loose all around you, in a global way. It’s, like, get on a plane, get off the plane, mass hysteria, interviews, tours. Everything’s just completely crazy, and you’re sitting in a hotel room watching CNN trying to find out if we’re gonna go to war again or something like that, and the whole world’s going nuts for your music. It’s a very unusual place to be.”

The first song to cause that fervor was “Photograph,” a track set in a nostalgic mindset that connected with listeners on a deeply personal level. While the song features a number of references to the band members time growing up in Hanna, Alberta, a majority of the experiences expressed are universal ones.

The Nigel Dick-directed video for the song added to connection, returning the band to their hometown and pointing out key places within their coming of age. It also started with a photograph that Chad Kroeger holds up of him partying with Joey Moi, the band’s producer. Answering the lyrical question of “what the hell was on Joey’s head,” Mike Kroeger told WSOU-FM, “In the video, when you see my brother [frontman Chad Kroeger] holding up that picture, that picture is actually in his kitchen – it has been for many, many years. That’s not a prop for a video. That came from his kitchen and it’s back in his kitchen now … The thing that was on Joey’s head was a champagne bucket that my wife and I got Chad for his housewarming, and it was somehow secured to his head by what appeared to be a bra — I’m not sure about that, but I think it’s a bra.”

Nickelback, “Photograph”

“Photograph” not only commanded the airwaves at radio, but also was a huge hit on video outlets. The track went to No. 1 at Mainstream Rock Radio, No. 3 for Alternative Airplay and crossed over to No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot 100, something that was just starting to become commonplace for the rockers, while en route to double platinum single status.

Commenting on the song for the 15th anniversary of the album, guitarist Ryan Peake stated, “I’m glad people have connected with it because it’s really close to us. It really is one of the best songs. It’s the best song on that album.”

NIckelback, “Animals”

Though it would be difficult to match the success of “Photograph,” Nickelback chose “Animals” to be the follow-up. The high energy rocker was a change of pace from the melodic first single, with Chad Kroeger belting about an amorous encounter in a car that unfolds in discovery. Like its predecessor, “Animals” climbed to the top of Mainstream Rock chart, keeping the band’s hot streak intact, while also cracking the Top 20 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart (at No. 16).

NIckelback, “Savin’ Me”

In the spring of 2006, Nickelback would unleash their third single, the more mid-tempo track “Savin’ Me.” For the group, it showed a bit of their musical growth, bringing strings and piano into the musical equation. Chad Kroeger said in a statement for the track’s press release, “We were a little scared of using piano. We just didn’t think it was very rock and roll.” But after trying it out, the band liked what they heard and kept it. The move, like most on the record, worked, with Nickelback once again enjoying crossover appeal. Though it only hit No. 11 at Mainstream Rock, the band had a bonafide pop hit on their hands, with the song hitting No. 19 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Nickelback, “Far Away”

Almost simultaneously with “Savin’ Me,” the tender-hearted rock ballad “Far Away” also started to grab radio’s attention as well. Singer Chad Kroeger once told fans while on tour in Australia that this was the band’s “only real love song,” adding that while other songs spoke of love, this one was truly about the experience.

Ahead of the 15th anniversary edition of the album, Kroeger added, “We’ve spent most of our adult lives away from family, friends and loved ones. You’re kind of singing about the initial stages of meeting someone and falling in love and just truly saying I love you. There’s no witticisms, there’s no cleverness. It’s just a very basic emotion and it really connected with a lot of people.”

The track has gone on to become a favorite live, with Kroeger stating, “I don’t have to sing one word and the crowd just starts giving it everything they’ve got. That’s the best feeling in the world.” The song found pop success, hitting No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Nickelback, “Rockstar”

Having melted hearts with “Far Away,” Nickelback went for something a little less serious on their next single “Rockstar.” The track would become one of the signature songs in their catalog, taking a poke at the rockstar lifestyle and getting a boost from the celeb cameo-filled video for the track (seriously, see how many you can spot). They even got a guest turn on the song by ZZ Top legend Billy Gibbons.

“None of ‘Rockstar’ is autobiographical,” says Chad Kroeger. “It’s all just supposed to be silly things taking everything that you think about when it comes to rock stardom and amplify it exponentially. That type of silliness is what we wanted to do. We were just coming up with all these silly stupid things and the ones that kind of made us chuckle, everyone in the room was like, ‘That’s just dumb enough to go in this song.’” The song hit No. 4 at Mainstream Rock radio and crossed over to No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Nickelback, “If Everyone Cared”

At this point, Nickelback had already passed the success of their previous record, but there was no slowing down. Well over a year into the album’s release, the band’s sixth single, “If Everyone Cared,” arrived in November of 2006. A more altruistic single, the band tied the release of the album to helping to raise funds for Amnesty International and International Children’s Awareness Canada organizations. The video put a spotlight on world leaders and activists working to better the world through peaceful and human rights campaigns. Though not a huge hit for the group, it did reach No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100, continuing their inroads into the pop world.

Nickelback, “Side of a Bullet”

The seventh and final single from the All the Right Reasons album was “Side of a Bullet,” an emotionally raw track that Kroeger penned after the murder of his friend and musical peer Dimebag Darrell of Pantera.

“I was very upset, and for two months, if I saw his picture somewhere I would get angry,” Kroeger told MTV. “I hadn’t lost somebody to a shooting before — it wasn’t as though he’d been killed in some sort of accident. He was taken in such a horrible, malicious way that just made it more painful.”

Dime’s longtime love Rita Haney and his brother Vinnie Paul gave Nickelback their blessing for the song and even allowed for the group to add some guitar solo outtakes from Dime to be incorporated into the song. Kroeger had previously worked with Dime on the Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle soundtrack cover of Elton John’s “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting.” “That was the first time I appeared on a record with Dime, and now this. I just wish this wasn’t the way it had to happen,” said Kroeger to MTV. Released only in the U.S., the track hit No. 7 on the Mainstream Rock chart.

By the time all was said and done, there were some pretty amazing accomplishments for the band. The album was the first chart-topper of their career on the Billboard 200 Album chart. It spent over 100 weeks in Billboard’s Top 30, becoming the first act to do so since Shania Twain did so in 1997 with Come On Over. The album won the 2006 American Music Award for Best Pop Rock Album and it ended up being the No. 13 album on the Billboard Album chart for the entire decade.

All the Right Reasons sold more than 18 million copies worldwide and was diamond certified for over 10 million in U.S. sales in 2017. When asked by Loudwire Nights about joining the ranks of Nirvana and Michael Jackson in the Diamond Album club, guitarist Ryan Peake stated, “It’s kind of like sneaking into a club when you feel like you’re going to get kicked out.” Chad Kroeger added that they were “ecstatic and very humbled” by the achievement.

In a video promoting the 15th anniversary of the album, Kroeger stated, “All those songs off that record really don’t feel like ours anymore. Those songs got played a ton on the radio. Some got played too much, hence a bit of the backlash, but they belong to the fans now.” Peake added, “I’m very proud it connected with the fans that well. As an artist you can only hope for stuff like that.”

Nickelback have continued to enjoy huge success in the years since, but All the Right Reasons still ranks as their biggest selling album.

Nickelback Albums Ranked

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How Mick Jagger and Pink Floyd Could Have Been in a ‘Dune’ Movie

The first serious attempt to bring Frank Herbert’s Dune to the screen nearly had music by Pink Floyd and Mick Jagger in a key role.

Following the mid-’70s success of avant garde movies El Topo and The Holy Mountain, cult writer-director Alejandro Jodorowski was given the opportunity by French producer Michel Seydoux to make any movie he wanted. Jodoroski chose Dune, even though he hadn’t yet read the novel. (“I have a friend who [told] me it was fantastic,” he said.) Seydoux bought the film rights from Planet of the Apes producer Arthur P. Jacobs, whose own plans hadn’t gone far.

Within months of his appointment, a far-reaching plan for an adaptation ranging anywhere from 10 to 20 hours was underway. Jodorowski had no intention of making a feature that was faithful to Herbert’s book; instead, he had a far weightier and personal proposition. He wanted to tell the story of a messiah for the psychedelic generation, and to create the effects of an LSD trip without anyone actually taking any drugs.

“I wanted to create a prophet to change the young minds of all the world. Dune would be the coming of a god – an artistic, cinematic god,” he explained in the 2013 documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune.

He got to work with the pre-production budget. He hired the artists H.R. Giger, Gene “Moebius” Giraud and Chris Foss, each of them tasked with creating a different visual aspect of the Dune universe. Dan O’Bannon was to oversee the visual effects. The director told spaceship designer Foss, “I wanted jewels, machine-animals, soul-mechanisms … womb-ships, antechambers for rebirth into other dimensions … whore-ships driven by the semen of our passionate ejaculations … humming-bird ornithopters which fly us to sip the ancient nectar of the dwarf stars giving us the juice of eternity … caterpillar-tracked hot rods so vast that their tails would disappear behind the horizon … machines greater than suns wandering crazed and rusted, whimpering like dogs seeking a master … thinking wheels hidden behind meteorites, waiting, camouflaged as metallic rocks, for a drop of life to pass through those lost galactic fringes to slake thirsty tanks with psychic secretions.”

Giger later spoke of the first commission he’d been given for the movie, that of creating Castle Harkonnen, which he called “a symbol of intemperance, exploitation, aggression and brutality” that was built of “jagged bones and excrement.” He added: “The only link with the outside world is a drawbridge which can be lowered like an enormous penis to admit visitors. The main gate is only an entrance, never an exit, for it has barbs like sharks’ teeth which prevent anyone from turning back. The two walls of the drawbridge can be brought together hydraulically, crushing visitors who are hostile to the castle. … Every visitor is materially or spiritually exploited (as I was for this film project).”

Original contributors to the soundtrack were to include prog bands Magma and Henry Cow plus composer Karlheinz Stockhausen. Then, Pink Floyd were signed to cover the majority of the music, with a double album expected. (Hans Zimmer’s take on Floyd’s “Eclipse” features in the trailer to the 2020 Dune movie.)

His casting was equally ambitious. Salvador Dali was to play Emperor Shaddam IV at a fee of $100,000, to which Jodo agreed, for only an hour of work. Orson Welles was to play Baron Harkonnen and Mick Jagger would appear as Feyd-Rautha, the same role that Sting played in David Lynch‘s 1984 version. David Carradine (Duke Leto) and Gloria Swanson (Reverend Mother Mohiam) were among other leading roles, with Jodo’s son Brontis cast as Paul Atreides.

The art team put together a complete storyboard of what they planned to put on screen, with lavish illustrations of the spacecraft and structures needed. Everything was assembled into a large, thick book, of which around 20 copies were made. Jodo set off to sell the project to a movie company, but no one took him up.

Among the criticisms leveled at the project were its scale, the fact that the story promoted the concept of following a charismatic leader while the book argued against it, and the argument that many of the things Jodo wanted to achieve on screen weren’t possible at the time. However, there’s potentially another reason – while moneymen were impressed with what they were shown, they may have been far more cautious about risking their cash on Jodo himself. Seydoux, who’d backed Jodo all the way and accompanied him on the fundraising trip, remarked, “Everything was great except the director.”

Perhaps Jodo’s comments about actually raping actress Mara Lorenzio during the production of El Topo made it difficult for the mainstream to accept him. “After she had hit me long enough and hard enough to tire her,” he said in a 1972 book about the film. “I said, ‘Now it’s my turn. Roll the cameras.’ And I really… I really… I really raped her. And she screamed. Then she told me that she had been raped before. You see, for me the character is frigid until El Topo rapes her. And she has an orgasm.”

In the 2013 documentary he described what he’d done to Herbert’s book as a similar sexual assault: “When you make a picture, you must not respect the novel. It’s like you get married, no? You go with the wife, white, the woman is white. You take the woman, if you respect the woman, you will never have child. You need to open the costume and to… to rape the bride. And then you will have your picture. I was raping Frank Herbert, raping… But with love, with love.”

With no takers, work was abandoned after $2 million had been spent on pre-production (the estimated completion cost was $15 million, compared with George Lucas spending $11 million on Star Wars). But Jodo’s Dune found a future of its own – his four “spiritual warrior” artists went on to create Alien. In the documentary a number of industry professionals testify that their work on Dune went on to influence Star Wars, The Terminator, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Lynch’s Dune movie and The Fifth Element, among others. Jodo and Moebius went on to create The Incal graphic novel series, which also made use of the abandoned work.

Frank Pavich, who directed the documentary, said that he’d personally seen the storyboard sketches that he could identify as having appeared in other movies. “[W]e were kind of discovering it as we were going along, and they were these amazing revelations that we would come across,” he said.

He added: “[P]eople laugh at that… a 20-hour movie, who’s going to watch 20 hours? But how many people do you know that sit at home on a weekend and binge-watch an entire season of a TV show? I think people are looking for longer narrative, a longer story that they can become completely immersed in. And maybe that’s what he was going for. So it stopped at this kind of perfect moment of closure with that book. And maybe that’s as far as it was supposed to go.”

Jodo himself blamed the movie companies for refusing to accept a story that wasn’t “enough Hollywood,” insisting: “Almost all the battles were won, but the war was lost. The project was sabotaged in Hollywood.”

Perhaps that didn’t upset Herbert too much, although he’d said he had an amicable relationship with the director. But while taking part in promotional appearances for Lynch’s Dune, the author described himself as happy with the version of his story that had made it onto screens, and added: “Dino [de Laurentiis] called me… and said that he had hired David Lynch. And this was after a couple of, um, well, I think they would have been disasters! And David knows why.”

Watch ‘Jodorowsky’s Dune’ Trailer

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11 Years Ago: Alice in Chains Release ‘Black Gives Way to Blue’

Nobody would have faulted them and it certainly wasn’t expected, but on Sept. 29, 2009, Alice in Chains officially began one of the great “second act” stories in rock history by releasing their Black Gives Way to Blue album. How did they get there? Let’s backtrack a little bit.

During the early ‘90s, Alice in Chains emerged as one of the core four of the Seattle scene often credited with the explosion of grunge. The band enjoyed a very successful first part of the decade, with Layne Staley’s vocals often beautifully paired with those of guitarist Jerry Cantrell to deliver some of the ‘90s greatest hits. But by 1996, Staley’s descent into drug addiction curtailed the band’s ability to continue, and they took a small break after their self-titled 1995 album. Staley recorded some new material in 1998 for a hits collection, but the band began to splinter off into side projects afterward. They never getting a chance to continue following Staley’s death from an overdose in 2002.

“He was the focal point, like singers are. So they’d single him out. But the truth was, it was pretty much everybody. I definitely had my hand firmly on the wheel going off the cliff. And the reason we pulled back — you know when you stop when you have two No. 1 records, it’s not really the greatest career move — but we did that because we love each other and we didn’t want to die in public,” admitted drummer Sean Kinney in an interview with Drum Magazine. And I know for a fact in my heart that if we were to continue that I wouldn’t be on the phone right now talking to you. I wouldn’t have made it. I just wouldn’t have.”

Alice in Chains, “Lesson Learned”

With Staley’s death, the band’s story could have easily ended right there, and it appeared as though it had with the band already going on four years since the release of any new material. The band members had moved on with other projects, addressed some of their own personal demons and privately mourned the death of Staley before terminating their recording contract in 2004.

But in 2005, a good cause brought the band members back together. Kinney reached out with the idea of doing a benefit concert for victims of 2004’s tsunami disaster. The living members of the band — Kinney, Cantrell and Mike Inez — were joined onstage by a number of guest vocalists handling the Staley parts for the one-off show. But the reunion gig sparked something and the trio decided they had more to say, eventually pushing to book a tour. They just needed someone to help with the Staley parts.

CBS approached the band about taking part in their Rock Star show, which had helped place new vocalists with INXS and the supergroup Rock Star Supernova through a talent competition, but the band balked at taking part. Instead they found their guy within another special show. Comes With the Fall vocalist William DuVall was one of the special guests joining them to salute fellow Seattle act Heart during the VH1 Decades Rock Live concert in 2006. DuVall had a standing friendship with Cantrell already, as Comes With the Fall had opened for the singer/guitarist during his solo touring five years prior.

DuVall wasn’t initially announced as the new vocalist, with Cantrell stating to MTV in 2006 ahead of their touring, “We’re making it up as we go along. It’s an exploratory thing, and we’re just having fun with it. We’d like to go out and play for the people that supported us and love the music as much as we have all these years. We want to celebrate what we did and the memory of our friend.” However, he did tease, “We have played with some [singers] who can actually bring it and add their own thing to it without being a Layne clone. We’re not interested in stepping on [Staley’s] rich legacy,”

Eventually DuVall emerged from that period, with Cantrell and Kinney revealing that it only took one audition for him to land a role in the band. Sponge’s Vinnie Dombroski and Stone Temple Pilots’ Scott Weiland were also bandied about as potential vocalists for the group, but their rehearsal with DuVall put him over the top.

With some touring under their belts, the group continued what had felt right up to that point, deciding to make music again. Kinney told Drum Magazine, “I never called Jerry; he never called me, and said, ‘Hey, let’s get the band back together,’ you know? We had been taking every step extremely cautious and slow, and just doing whatever feels right: If it’s genuine and we’re doing it for genuine reasons and we’re all okay with it then we take a little step. None of us is broke. Nobody needs to be a rock dork, and you know, stroke their ego. I mean, we don’t really operate like that. So as long as it felt good and from the right place and it’s about making music and carrying on.”

“We bonded by being on the road and being onstage,” DuVall said of his entry into the group to the L.A. Times. “But obviously there is an emotional back story that’s pretty extensive for everybody here.” The group started writing for their new album in 2007, and eventually teamed up with producer Nick Raskulinecz in the fall of 2008 to start recording what would be Black Gives Way to Blue — first at Studio 606 in Northridge, California and then finishing at Henson Studios in Los Angeles.

“Being an Alice in Chains fan myself, I know what I want to hear,” says Raskulinecz to the L.A. Times. “It’s a performance record. There’s not any trickery. It’s those guys performing the instruments and singing the parts and doing it over and over and over again until we get it right.”

Before continuing with new music, the band met with Layne Staley’s mother and other family members, seeking their approval to continue. Staley’s mother gave them her blessing. “It was really important that it was okay with them,” said the band’s manager Susan Silver. “There were a lot of baby steps. The first year especially was such a profound healing for everybody.”

One of the major steps taken forward was the emergence of Cantrell as a more prominent voice for the band. While his voice was often heard and sometimes featured during Alice’s first era, it was mainly Staley who was considered to be the lead singer of the band. Speaking with The Aquarian, Cantrell stated, I had to step up quite a bit more than I ever had. [Layne] always gave me a lot of confidence to do that, to sing more lead. And you can hear that as the albums progress, I kind of start growing into that role. I attribute a lot of that to the confidence that Layne gave me. Basically, him just saying, ‘Dude, you gotta fucking sing. These songs are your songs, you write all this fucking great material, and it’s not like I don’t like singing ‘em or whatever, but they’re personal to you, you should fucking sing ‘em.’ (laughs) ‘You can do it.’ I’m always forever grateful to him for that.” DuVall was now the perfect complement to Cantrell as Cantrell had been to Staley.

Still, there was a big hurdle ahead for the band — acceptance from the fans. There had been reunion albums before, but for any number of reasons it was often hard for reunion albums to live up to the expectations. And with Staley no longer around and a largely unknown vocalist joining the ranks, there was reason for concern about what the new era would yield. But the band managed to walk that fine line of being respectful of the legacy and while starting something fresh. Their new material was uniquely its own, but it could also continue to build upon what they began in the ’90s.

“It’s nice to sound like yourself,” Kinney told Billboard. “It’s not really that hard, actually. I know people are blown away that we really sound like ourselves, and I understand the apprehension, but it’s not really that big a stretch to sound the way that you sound.”

Alice in Chains, “A Looking in View”

Fans were first introduced to the new era of the band through “A Looking in View,” a track that was just meant as a preview song, especially given the seven minute-plus runtime. But radio still picked up the track, which was enthusiastically embraced by the fans. It hit No. 12 on the Mainstream Rock chart and was later nominated for a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance.

Cantrell explained of the track,  “The song basically speaks to any number of things that keep you balled up inside. A cell of our own making with an unlocked door that we choose to remain in. Focusing our attention inward instead of reaching out to a much larger world. I think this is common to us all. It’s funny how hard we fight to hang on to a bone we can’t pull through a hole in the fence, or how difficult it is to put down the bag of bricks and move on.”

Alice in Chains, “Check My Brain”

The first official single, “Check My Brain,” followed. With sludgy guitars and that signature Alice in Chains harmonic vocal, it connected with listeners in a big way. Cantrell wrote the song as his sarcastic response to eventually taking to Los Angeles after years of living in Seattle. “There’s a certain aspect of sarcasm, I guess, being a guy from Seattle who lives in L.A., ex-drug addict who lives in the belly of the beast and doesn’t partake, and being totally cool with that … It’s like being the bad gambler and living in Vegas. It’s right there. It’s just the irony of that and a little bit of sarcasm. And it’s not putting this place down at all. It’s just kind of like, ‘Wow, you know, check my brain, wow.'”

The track topped both the Mainstream Rock and Alternative Airplay charts and was also recognized with a Grammy Nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance in 2010.

Alice in Chains, “Your Decision”

Pulling back to something a little more somber for their next single, the band released “Your Decision” just ahead of their European touring. While many fans assumed the track was about Staley’s death, the group didn’t speak of a direct connection. DuVall explained of the track to WMMR, “You’ve got to sleep in the bed you make, you know. Things happen, and it’s just funny how one little left or right turn in your life can just totally take you off on a tangent that can be so bizarre and unanticipated, you know.” Kinney added, “I’ve taken a lot of lefts and a lot of rights. I’m sure we all have. You’ve got to deal with it when you there.” Like its predecessor, “Your Decision” also rose to the top of the Mainstream Rock chart, but peaked at No. 4 for Alternative Airplay.

Alice in Chains, “Acid Bubble”

The album also had one more radio song in it with “Lesson Learned,” which hit No. 4 at Mainstream Rock radio, but the album was filled with gems from top to bottom. The dark rocker “Acid Bubble,” the DuVall-led “Last of My Kind” and the angst-ridden “Private Hell” ensured that Black Gives Way to Blue was a top-to-bottom listen, while the solemn title track that closes the album put the perfect stamp on the record.

The “Black Gives Way to Blue” title cut definitely addressed the death of Staley, serving such an emotional catharsis for Cantrell that he became physically ill while recording it. “I got deathly ill,” Cantrell recalled to Guitar World. “I had these mystery migraines, intense physical pain, and I’d even gotten a spinal tap to test for certain things. They never could find anything wrong with me. I felt I was puking up all this undigested grief in losing Layne.”

The song also included a very high profile guest, with Elton John agreeing to lay down piano for the track. Cantrell had met the legend in Las Vegas and decided to give him a call to see if he would be up for the guest appearance. “He totally got it,” Cantrell told Noisecreep. “He was like, ‘I get what the song’s about, man, I think it’s a beautiful sentiment, and I think it’s a beautiful thing, I love it, and I want to play on it.'” Looking back on the track, the singer/guitarist says, “I’m really, really proud of that song. I’m proud of it for a lot of reasons. It’s all about facing up, owning your shit, owning your good stuff and your bad stuff, and continuing to walk forward and live a life.”

By the end of Alice in Chains’ album cycle, apprehensions over the continuation of the band had subsided, the band more than achieved the approval of their fans and critics with a stellar album that sat perfectly alongside their best works from the first era and they had the building block in place to ensure they could compete with the current era of rock’s great bands. Black Gives Way to Blue peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 Album chart and set the band up perfectly to continue their second act.

15 Best Hard Rock Albums of 2009

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11 Years Ago: Breaking Benjamin Come Clean With ‘Dear Agony’

After three successful albums that spooled out over the 21st Century’s first decade, Breaking Benjamin sought to finish out the oughts on a high note. On the surface they did, but by the end of the Dear Agony cycle run, things started to splinter within the group.

Coming off the Phobia album, a record that revealed and explored some of singer Benjamin Burnley‘s various fears, the band began writing in 2008 for their fourth release. A significant change during the writing sessions was that Burnley revealed that it was the first album he had written completely sober.

The singer told Billboard that he had worked as a “functioning alcoholic” throughout his career, and had also developed neurological problems as a result. “I’ve suffered permanent brain damage through alcoholism,” explained the vocalist at the time. “I don’t want to say that I’m proud to have stopped, but I’m glad I realized that I wanted to stick around for a while.”

After he quit drinking, Burnley decided to use his struggles and recovery for themes within the record. The vocalist stated, “All the tests and hospital visits stick with you, so I thought the scan was an effective image to use. It was a dangerous situation to be in . . . thankfully, I was able to reflect what was going on in my life within the music.”

The album cover for Dear Agony is actually a scan of Burnley’s brain, with the singer telling The Weekender, “It’s just going along with these issues that I have to deal with. They’re mainly, besides like chronic fatigue syndrome, there’s a couple of neurological disorders that I have that stem from alcoholism, so that’s kind of the whole Dear Agony theme.”

He elaborated on the themes of the album, explaining that after being fairly private through most of his career, he wanted to be more open about what was going on with his life. “It’s personal to a certain degree because I write it and it has to come from somewhere. I want it to be known I’ve been suffering with some debilitating things for years, and it’s become such an impedance on my life now that I can’t help but have it come through in the music that I write,” said Burnley. “It does affect me in some ways on a performance level and on an availability level and things like that, so I’m kind of glad that it’s finally coming to be known and that I can use the album as kind of a platform to let it be known, basically just trying myself to take a bad thing and make something useful out of it.”

The singer wasn’t alone in translating his message. In a bit of foreshadowing, Burnley called up RED guitarist Jasen Rauch to write with him on the record, with the songs “Without You” and “Hopeless” coming out of their session, as well as the outro for the hit single “I Will Not Bow” and some additional writing on “Lights Out” taking place.

“Jasen and I are two of the same mind in a lot of ways, especially writing, and he just basically writes songs how I would like them to be written and writes songs that I would want to write myself,” Burnley told The Weekender.

With a new record written, Breaking Benjamin entered the studio, once again using David Bendeth to produce the album. On Sept. 29, 2009, Dear Agony dropped, buoyed by the success of the lead single “I Will Not Bow.”

The defiant rocker gave the band another uplifting anthem and the song got an extra boost when it was tied to the movie Surrogates. While not specifically written for the movie, Disney had reached out to Hollywood Records for a Breaking Benjamin song, with “I Will Not Bow” being chosen from the material Burnley sent over. The track, which speaks to standing strong in your determination when all may seem lost, connected with listeners. It hit No. 1 at Mainstream Rock Radio, No. 5 on the Alternative Songs chart and crossed over to hit No. 40 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming one of their biggest hits to date.

Breaking Benjamin, “I Will Not Bow”

Following the pulsing energy of “I Will Not Bow,” Breaking Benjamin switched it up with the rock ballad, “Give Me a Sign.” The heartstring tugging track had Burnley singing of reaching for a ray of hope amidst a deteriorating relationship, trying to stay upbeat. Though not as huge as its predecessor, the song did hit No. 6 for Mainstream Rock and No. 10 on the Alternative Songs chart, giving the band a successful follow-up.

Breaking Benjamin, “Give Me a Sign”

One more single would come from the album. With some pulsing low end and a tension-building guitar riff, “Lights Out” hit the airwaves. Burnley exorcised some of his own demons, singing about the “monster in your head” that leads to negative behavior. The powerful cut hit No. 9 on the Mainstream Rock chart.

Breaking Benjamin, “Lights Out”

The band hit the road, touring with Three Days Grace, Rauch’s band RED, Nickelback, Shinedown and others during their support of Dear Agony. They gave the album a pretty extensive look in concert, with the slow-ebbing title track, the dark rocker “Fade Away,” the hopeful “Without You” and the solemn “Anthem of the Angels” all making set lists during the touring cycle.

But as the calendar hit 2010, several problems were lying in wait. In March of 2010, the band’s label reached out for two new songs, and sought to release a version of the track “Blow Me Away” with newly added guest vocals by Valora singer Sydnee Duran. The request led to a divide in the group that proved to be a breaking point for Burnley.

In early June, the band canceled a performance in Vancouver, reportedly “due to illness.” Not long after, rumors began to circulate of a potential split, with Burnley later posting on the band’s website, “I am officially letting everyone know that Breaking Benjamin has NOT broken up!”

Nearly a year later it was revealed that guitarist Aaron Fink and bassist Mark Klepaski had granted the band’s label permission to record the new version of “Blow Me Away” with Duran, which was eventually included as a single on the band’s Shallow Bay hits collection. Not long after the pair granted permission on the song, both members were fired from the group via e-mail.

A legal battle then ensued over the rights to the name, with Burnley demanding compensatory and punitive damages over “Blow Me Away.” By the time everything was settled a couple of years later, Burnley remained the lone original member of Breaking Benjamin. After Burnley’s legal victory, drummer Chad Szeliga exited the group as well citing creative differences, leaving the singer to replenish the ranks in order to continue his career under the Breaking Benjamin banner.

As Burnley formed his new group, he called upon Rauch, whom he’d written with for Dear Agony, to be the new guitarist. Rauch had exited Red in 2009, but continued to write for the group until he became part of the new Breaking Benjamin lineup alongside guitarist Keith Wallen, bassist Aaron Bruch and drummer Shaun Foist.

Though Dear Agony proved to be the end for most of Breaking Benjamin’s lineup, the album fared quite well. It outsold the predecessor Phobia, reaching No. 4 on the Billboard 200 album chart. It also went on to become a platinum selling album, and yielded a trio of tracks that remain essential cuts in the band’s catalog.

15 Best Rock Albums of 2009

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34 Years Ago: Metallica’s Cliff Burton Dies in Bus Crash

Metallica emerged in the ’80s as one of metal’s brightest new stars. The upstart rock band consisted of singer/guitarist James Hetfield, guitarist Kirk Hammett, drummer Lars Ulrich and bassist Cliff Burton and these “four horsemen” rode to the top of the metal genre on the strength of the Kill ‘Em All, Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets albums. But on Sept. 27, 1986, in the midst of a European tour, tragedy struck as Burton was killed in a bus crash.

Loudwire contributor Jon Wiederhorn co-authored Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian‘s autobiography I’m the Man: The Story of That Guy From Anthrax. Here he shares an excerpt from the book in which Ian recalls being on tour with Metallica at the time of Burton’s death, as well as the days following the tragedy:

We had a day off and then we were scheduled to play 27 more shows in Europe with Metallica. The first date was in Lund, Sweden on September 24, and that was a good gig because no one spit at us and everyone loved both bands. The next day we played Lillestrom, Norway for about 4,000 people, which was also great. Then we went back to Sweden to play Solna near Stockholm. That was Cliff’s last show.

It was at a big gymnasium-type place that held thousands of kids. Normally, we’d stick around every night for Metallica’s show and then hang out and goof around when they finished, leave at the same time and head to the next city. We were on a bus now, which made traveling easier, but that night we decided to leave early because the roads were icy. There had been a storm and our driver wanted to head to Copenhagen as soon as possible to avoid the streets possibly freezing up. We figured we had another month on the road to hang out with Metallica, so no big deal. We saw the guys after we finished our set and I said, “We’re going to take off. We’ll see you guys tomorrow in Denmark.”

We got into Copenhagen and stepped off the bus around 9:30 the next morning. We had a hotel that night because we had the next day off. When we went to check into our hotel we were pretty groggy as we walked into the lobby to the front desk. I saw our tour manager talking to some guy, so I waved and said, “Hey Mark, what’s up?” Then I saw a look of total shock on his face. He had no color in his cheeks, he looked scared. Something was not good.

“The promoter for the show tonight says there’s been an accident,” he told me. “Metallica’s bus crashed on the way here.” Then he paused, and when he started to speak again he had to force the words out – almost cough them into existence. “Cliff was killed in the accident. Everybody else is okay. Lars had some minor injuries and was taken to a hospital.”

My brain started spinning like a gyroscope. I replayed the sentence, “Cliff was killed in the accident” over and over. After what seemed like five minutes, but was probably only ten seconds, I shook my head and said, “Really? Really? You believe that?!?” I was in complete denial. “There’s no way. I’m sure they just got too f–ked up to make bus call and they made up this crazy story. We’ll all laugh about it later.”

Anything seemed more plausible than the thought that their bus had crashed and Cliff was actually dead. I had never heard of anything like that before, I’d never ever heard of any band’s bus ever crashing let along killing a member. It seemed completely unreal. When you’re in this tour bubble and things are going great, you feel invincible. Something like this happening was out of the realm of possibility. I asked the promoter, “Are you sure?”

“Yeah I’m sure,” he said.

I didn’t know what to say, didn’t want to believe it. Then reality hit me like a sucker punch. People around us started talking about what had happened. Fans showed up at the hotel to show their support. Somehow everyone knew where we were staying and eventually there was a big crowd in the street. Mark got a call that James and Kirk were on their way to the hotel. Lars had checked out of the hospital. He broke a toe, but would be fine. He had family in Denmark so I figured he was going to see them.

Mark asked if we would stay at the hotel to be with James and Kirk when they arrived. Of course we would. Our friend was dead and our other friends were grieving. It was insane. A couple hours later James and Kirk showed up. James was heavily sedated and drunk at the same time. Kirk said doctors had given James a bunch of sedatives because he was freaking out, but they didn’t put him to sleep so he kept drinking. We were all in a room together and James kept pounding beer, vodka, whiskey – whatever was within his reach.

Kirk was pretty drunk, too, but stable. He told us what happened. He wasn’t awake when the bus crashed. All he knew was he was suddenly getting thrown around like a rag doll in a clothing dryer. Then it stopped and he got out of the bus and everyone was screaming. It was pitch black. Everyone was trying to account for everybody else, and no one could find Cliff. And then they saw his legs sticking out from under the side of the bus and they fucking lost their minds. I can’t even imagine what that was like and I never want to know. Even to this day it’s hard for my brain to wrap around that image.

James suddenly started crying and screaming, “Cliff!!! Cliff!!” Then he became destructive. He kicked over lamps and threw bottles of booze. Frankie and Charlie looked at each other and without saying a word, mutually decided to get James outside before the hotel had him arrested. They didn’t care that Cliff was dead. They just wanted to prevent their place from getting trashed. The two of them took James outside for a walk figuring maybe he’d calm down. I stayed inside with Kirk. We could hear James down the street screaming Cliff’s name over and over. I was completely heartsick. I hung out with Kirk a little while longer. He was finally passing out. He said, “I’m going to sleep, I don’t think I’ll see you in the morning,” They were leaving super-early to fly back to San Francisco.

We didn’t know what we were doing. People were scrambling to try and get us flights, but we were supposed to be on the tour for five more weeks. Now, we had to try to change tickets and get back home and no one had any money to buy new tickets. We were stuck in Copenhagen the whole next day, then Jonny Z figured out the cheapest way to get us home. We flew to London, stayed there for a day, and then got a flight back to New York. As soon as I got home I showered, packed my bag, slept then got up to fly to San Francisco.

I stayed at James’ little apartment in the city for four days, hung out with Metallica and then went to the funeral. I met Faith no More drummer Mike Bordin for the first time, and their guitarist Jim Martin; they were good friends with Cliff. We all hung out at Kirk’s house for hours and hours every day drinking beer and talking. Those guys were already figuring out what to do next.

Within a couple of days, we were sitting around Kirk’s house, making jokes. Someone said, “Get Lemmy.” We were just throwing stupid names out there to keep the tone as light as possible, so we weren’t all completely depressed. We drank and told stories about Cliff. It was so surreal. I half expected him to walk through the door and say, “Ha, ha. I got you guys!” It seemed like something Cliff would do.

Then Metallica were auditioning people. I thought Armored Saint’s bassist Joey Vera was going to get the gig. He seemed like the obvious candidate. He’s a great player and they were already friends. But he decided to stay with his band, which was doing pretty well on its own. Armored Saint had two records out on Chrysalis and were just about to record Raising Fear. Next thing I knew, they had offered the job to Flotsam and Jetsam bassist Jason Newsted. Michael Alago, who signed Metallica to Elektra is the one who told me. I had never heard of Flotsam and Jetsam. I said, “Jason who?”
I finally got hold of Kirk, and he said, “Yeah, Jason is a great dude. He’s ripping it up. He fits in really well and we’re getting along great. I think we’re going to go back to Europe and try to make up some of the shows and hopefully you guys can come with us.”

I hoped that would work out and it did. When Metallica made up the European shows they canceled when Cliff died we went back out with them and they were absolutely triumphant. It felt like snatching victory out of the jaws of defeat.

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37 Years Ago: Motley Crue Release ‘Shout at the Devil’

Even for ‘80s music fans who grew to loathe glam and overly slick commercial metal, Mötley Crüe’s first two albums, 1980’s Too Fast For Love, and 1983’s Shout at the Devil often got a free pass. The L.A. rockers wrote both when they were still hungry and striving for success and there was more aggression in their sound back then than there was by the time they were playing major arenas on the Theater of Pain tour.

For rebellious youth, Shout at the Devil, which came out Sept. 26, 1983, had all the ingredients of a deviant misadventure. The Crüe weren’t as entrenched in metal as Judas Priest or Iron Maiden, but they were flirting with evil, as evidenced by the pentagram on the initial pressing of the album and they were still in their Road Warrior with black eyeliner attire, which was pretty bad-ass for its time, giving them more credibility than other Sunset Strippers who actually looked like chicks.

While the band had self-released Too Fast For Love on their own label, Leathür Records, and secured distribution through Greenworld with future Guns N’ Roses Manager Alan Niven, they piqued the interests of Elektra pretty swiftly and were signed in the spring of 1982.

Chris Walter, WireImage

As such, Mötley had an actual budget for the record and was able to secure Tom Werman to produce Shout at the Devil. Werman had previously worked for Ted Nugent, Cheap Trick and Blue Öyster Cult and knew how to make rock and roll bands sound supersized. Using compositions from bassist Nikki Sixx, including the controversial, devil-horns-raiser “Shout at the Devil,” the razor-edged, infectious “Looks That Kill” and the more radio-oriented “Too Young to Fall in Love,” Werman gave Mötley Crüe a sound as strong as their image.

“Some people said we were Satanic and angry,” vocalist Vince Neil told me in 2010. “We always thought that was funny, but we were like, ‘Hey, if it gets us attention let’s go with that.’ We were so starved for stardom that we were willing to do whatever it took. But there was no anger at all. We were just having fun.”

Motley Crue, “Looks That Kill” Music Video

At the same time as the Crüe were drinking excessively, doing tons of blow and having as much sex as possible, Elektra decided to portray them as a rock ‘n’ roll timebomb, and proudly announced to the press when the band was arrested in Edmonton International Airport for wearing their spiked stage gear while walking through customs. Another time, Neil tried to board with a suitcase full of porn.

“That was no big deal, but the record people sure wanted to make it look like something crazy had happened,” Neil said. “The chains were part of what I was wearing onstage and as for the porn, I had a couple magazines they found and took away. That was it. But the thing is they you didn’t really have to look very hard to find something outrageous to say about us because most of it was true.”

Mötley Crüe entered Cherokee Studios in Hollywood, Calif., in April 1983 to start working on Shout at the Devil and initially had little idea what to do in a professional recording environment. Werman guided them through the process, explaining how there was no need for everyone to record their parts at the same time and that even after everyone was done recording they could go back and edit over what they had done and fix mistakes.

As focused on partying as they were, it didn’t take the band long to grasp the concept and everyone wanted the record to be as good as possible. In the end, Shout at the Devil was a wicked little album. And partway through the recording process, the band decided to ratchet up the evil by including a gangbusters cover of The Beatles “Helter Skelter.”

Motley Crue, “Helter Skelter” (The Beatles Cover)

Contributing to the pre-release hype was the concert extravaganza The Us Festival, the last day of which featured a balls-out metal lineup co-headlined May 29 by Van Halen and Scorpions. “We were just kids. Shout at the Devil hadn’t come out yet and all of a sudden there were 300,000 people there screaming,” Neil recalls. “It was like we went from playing clubs to doing something majorily big. We were on the same bill as Van Halen, Scorpions, Ozzy, and Judas Priest; that really blew us away.”

Mötley Crüe finished up Shout at the Devil in July 1983. It didn’t take long for disgruntled teens to connect with the release, which sold 200,000 copies in two weeks and reached as high as No. 17 on the Billboard album chart. Shout at the Devil went gold in January, 1984 and was platinum less than a month later. By January, 1985 it was double platinum. And in May 1997, it went quadruple platinum.

Motley Crue, Live at the US Festival (1983)

“I can’t say I think it’s the best album we ever put out,” Neil says. “But it was definitely a record for its time. When we finished it, we were all really proud of what we had done and I think the songs had stood the test of time, which pretty much says it all.”

Mötley Crüe reissued Shout at the Devil in 2003 with five bonus tracks, including the previously unreleased “I Will Survive.”  The other four cuts were demos of album tracks.

Loudwire contributor Jon Wiederhorn is the author of Raising Hell: Backstage Tales From the Lives of Metal Legends, co-author of Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal, as well as the co-author of Scott Ian’s autobiography, I’m the Man: The Story of That Guy From Anthrax, and Al Jourgensen’s autobiography, Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen and the Agnostic Front book My Riot! Grit, Guts and Glory.

Motley Crue Albums Ranked

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