Alice Cooper Stresses the Importance of Independent Music Venues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out “Take Me Away” below.

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

Ayron Jones – “Take Me Away”

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Nonpoint Singer Explains Why Band Left the Herd Immunity Fest

There’s been a bit of controversy over the last few days surrounding a festival set to take place in Wisconsin in mid-July, which was formerly titled “Herd Immunity Fest.” Nonpoint were originally part of the lineup, but have since dropped out. Frontman Elias Soriano detailed their decision in an interview with Loudwire Nights.

Despite health officials still encouraging social distancing measures and suggesting that large gatherings not take place, the outdoor festival is being held at the Q & Z Expo Center in Ringle, Wisconsin from July 16 through the 18. Following backlash over the event’s name, the organizers shared that their venue capacity is 10,000 and assured that they are only selling enough tickets for 20 percent of that. They also confirmed the name is being changed.

When Nonpoint were first presented the offer to play the festival, Soriano claimed that it did not yet have a name.

“There’s a lot of deciding factors to acceptance of any show by any band. There’s multiple members of the band who’ll remind everyone that we’re in the middle of a recession,” the frontman explained. He added, however, that they’ve turned down a multitude of opportunities to perform due to unsafe circumstances, like the show being held indoors.

“If people know anything about my band, there is one thing that no one can argue with — it’s that we are very fan engaged,” he affirmed. After receiving an offer for a show, the members collectively decide whether they should take the offer or not. During this particular time, he said they want to make sure social distancing limitations are intact and being promised by the venue — masks, disinfecting stations, etc.

“When you receive those assurances and then you see something deemed in a way that doesn’t follow those assurances, then you should be able to reconsider,” he explained. “For the safety of our fans, for the safety of our families.”

Soriano noticed a lot of negative comments within their fanbase regarding the title of the festival, and he realized the discrepancy in beliefs amongst people over whether the virus is an actual threat or not.

“I can’t ask my fans to hope that the person next to them — that may not be a fan of my band — shares those beliefs,” he stated. “That the COVID situation is real, that there are hundreds of thousands of people dying, and we should take it seriously.”

“Do we want to put our fans in that situation and hope that they make it out okay? Or do we want to disassociate ourselves with it because it’s giving the impression that we don’t believe it.”

“We sign the contract to play a show, not to create what’s considered ‘herd immunity.'”

Following the announcement of the festival, Powerman 5000‘s Spider One wrote a tweet that called out the bands who were set to play the festival. However, Soriano confirmed that Nonpoint had already dropped off of the bill the day before.

Nonpoint’s latest song “Remember Me,” which you can hear below, is dedicated to the frontline workers who’ve put their lives on the line throughout the coronavirus pandemic. To hear more about the festival and the band’s upcoming new music, listen to the full Loudwire Nights interview above.

Nonpoint – “Remember Me”

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Bad Wolves Singer Says Racism Is ‘Manufactured’ for the Media

Bad Wolves vocalist Tommy Vext has shared a conspiracy-laden video in which he espouses dubious views about the Black Lives Matter movement and civil unrest in the U.S. following the killing of George Floyd in police custody. In the clip, the musician calls racism a “manufactured” media construct.

Using colorful markers, Vext invokes many right-wing theories involving paid protestors, Hillary Clinton, Antifa, billionaire investor George Soros and the nation’s media. As recently shown by the Anti-Defamation League, conspiracy theories surrounding Soros saw a surge following Floyd’s death.

Watch Vext’s video from Monday (June 8) down toward the bottom of this post.

Throughout the Bad Wolves member’s presentation, he underscores a belief that Black Lives Matter demonstrations are being infiltrated by outside agents — whom he identifies as “Antifa” — to sabotage the movement.

“You have Antifa who is paid for by George Soros,” Vext says in the clip. “These are highly trained, professional rioters and escalators. So they move in and disperse throughout all the different riots, right? And then The Clinton Foundation pumps money into promoting this stuff on social media.”

He continues, “The same people who instigate the event, organize the protest and escalate the protest make money off the African-American community’s outrage and further deplete the morality of the United States.”

But perhaps the most shocking notion from Vext comes from his insistence that racism doesn’t exist in the first place. Pointing to his worldliness as a touring musician, the rocker holds that racial prejudice is fictitious.

“We have turned into this — citizens policing other citizens over a veil of racism that doesn’t exist,” Vext offers. “I’m African-American … I’ve grown up in this country and I have not experienced actual racism. I’ve spent 20 years traveling through 48 states and … 50 countries all over the world. We don’t have a problem with race here.”

He adds, “It’s all manufactured.”

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Maria Brink Speaks About Having Her Two Moms Sing on ‘Mother’

In This Moment‘s latest album Mother is packed with appearances from special guests from Lzzy Hale to Taylor Momsen. Two less-obvious guests are frontwoman Maria Brink‘s mothers, particularly on the song “Mother.”

“All those harmonies you hear in the back, that’s them singing,” Brink confirmed in an interview with Loudwire Nights. “My one mother plays guitar acoustic all the time and she’s always singing, that’s her thing and she loves it. And then my other mother is very shy and has a beautiful voice, but very quiet and timid. She’s very shy to sing things sometimes, so it was a big deal to get her on there.

“But they did it and we all held hands in the room there when we sang together. It was a really beautiful moment to put there — their spirit and their soul — into that song with me.”

Brink credits one of her moms as being responsible for her love for rock ‘n’ roll, particularly Stevie Nicks. She accompanied her mom to a lot of concerts growing up, thus exposing her to music from a young age.

The vocalist hasn’t spoken much about her familial details. However, on June 26, 2013, she wrote in a Facebook post, “As a daughter of two beautiful mothers that I couldn’t be more proud of our family celebrates today’s news. I believe in love, freedom and equality to every single human being in this world. Love, Love, Love, Love!”

June 26 is significant in the LGBTQ community because in 2013, the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, which thus allowed same-sex couples the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples. On the same day two years later, the Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage legal in every state of the U.S.

To hear more details about the writing process and inspiration behind Mother, listen to the full interview above.

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John Dolmayan: Trump Is the ‘Greatest Friend to Minorities’

System of a Down drummer John Dolmayan has spoken out in favor of President Donald Trump in a new meme, using a quote from Trump himself in running down the U.S. leader’s accomplishments and then calling him “the greatest friend to minorities.”

The drummer posted a photo of Trump on Instagram with a quote from Trump running down his accomplishments. The Trump quote reads, “My administration has done more for the Black Community than any President since Abraham Lincoln. Passed opportunity zones with @SenatorTime Scott, guaranteed funding for HBCU’s, School Choice, passed Criminal Justice Reform, lowest Black unemployment, poverty and crime rates in history … AND THE BEST IS YET TO COME!”

Dolmayan added his own commentary, stating, “Let’s not let the narrative that’s being spun make us forget the truth of this statement. The most attacked president in history yet the greatest friend to minorities! Don’t believe it? Look at the stats. Don’t like it, doesn’t change the truth of it.”

This comes during a week in which the System drummer has been engaged in speaking out on the protests in our country going on in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death.

“For those of you peacefully protesting please continue to do so, the only way to institute the moral change we all want is to do so peaceably and with the voices of the masses merging into a single voice that can not be denied,” he initially stated, adding, “To the famous people lending financial support to Antifa members incarcerated during these looting sprees perhaps your efforts would be better served by helping the thousands of small businesses these people are destroying. It’s easy to be sucked in by the narrative, be more substantive, there are people out there who actually think you know something they don’t and while you hide in your secure compounds and safe places they are on the streets suffering. I pledge to help those small businesses destroyed by these awful riots, I pledge to make my voice heard to seek justice for George Floyd and to help insure this doesn’t happen again by any means necessary. I also support the tens of thousands of good intentioned police men and women nationwide who go to work everyday to help keep us safe.

A second post stated: “I would like to form a group of law enforcement officers, military, firefighters, students, teachers and private citizens of any age to host a peaceful march for justice and solidarity, anyone who would like to help organize this in the next few days feel free to DM me. We are all in this together no matter what the perceived divide. For all the people who disagree with many of my posts you are welcome to join, for those who agree let’s remember that part of a free society is giving everyone a voice especially those we disagree with.

His most recent post prior to the Trump support was to speak out on the death of David Dorn, a retired St. Louis Police Captain who was killed by looters breaking into a pawn shop while rioting over George Floyd’s death. The drummer commented, “Injustice breeds injustice, for those of you who vilified me for calling for peaceful protests you should be ashamed of yourselves for perpetuating violence and advocating for mob justice. This man had a family too. I don’t care how many of you condemn me for my views and defense of the president, I will fight your attempt to silence any voice that isn’t in line with your perceived morally superior views just as I would fight for your rights to have and express those views I don’t always agree with. For those of you incapable of understanding that feel free to bash me all you like as that is also your right under the constitution but know I couldn’t care less.”

Meanwhile, Dolmayan’s System of a Down bandmate Serj Tankian has been vocally against President Trump, calling for his resignation earlier this week. “Run Donny run into your bunker,” mocked Tankian, who went on to note, “You may be the first US President to do so out of fear of your own citizens. A real leader would address the nation properly and a real man would go face the protestors on the streets in person. But like other corrupt undemocratic leaders in the past, you’ve realized they are not your people as you are not really our President.”

He later added, “These protests are not just over race but over institutional injustices beginning with the slave era electoral college that put you in power, K Street lobbying firms, superdelegates of a two party duopolistic Neo-liberal corporatocracy whose day has come. You make antifa a terrorist organization but not the KKK? The lessons of the 2018 peaceful successful revolution in Armenia can be applied in the US and elsewhere in the world. Coordinate online and block every street everywhere and force the regime to resign. The time has come. Your time has come @realdonaldtrump.”

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The Pretty Reckless’ Taylor Momsen: Music Saved My Life Again

The Pretty Reckless were on top the world in the spring of 2017. Their third album Who You Selling For had come out a few months prior, and they were on tour with Soundgarden — one of their biggest influences. Three years and several tragedies later, the band is back with a new single “Death By Rock and Roll” and an album on the way, which Taylor Momsen describes as a rebirth for them.

Right at the end of their tour supporting Soundgarden, Chris Cornell was found dead in his hotel room in Detroit. Just under a year later, Kato Khandwala — the producer who had worked with the band since 2010 — died from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident.

“This [new] record was me starting to come out of that. I went down for a while there,” the singer admitted in an interview with Loudwire Nights. “This record, when I started writing that, was the start of me going on an upswing and really needing to get back in the studio and make music again.”

“Music for me has always been the thing that’s been my salvation, it’s always been the thing that I can do in my bedroom and helps me stay sane,” she continued. “So I turned to music again, and it once again saved my life. It really brought me back to life again.”

Part of that “upswing” was when Momsen got to fly to Seattle and record a song at London Bridge Studio with none other than Kim Thayil and Matt Cameron of Soundgarden. “We have this tune for this record — that I can’t really talk too much about because it’s not out — but it was just begging for Soundgarden, it was a Soundgarden-type tune,” she explained.

Recording at London Bridge Studio, where albums such as Alice in Chains‘ Facelift, Temple of the Dog and Pearl Jam‘s Ten were made, was quite the experience for the vocalist. And to top it off, she says the song is one of her favorites on the record.

“Actually getting to go to Seattle and spend some time there and get to be a tourist for a minute and record in such an iconic city, in such an iconic studio with the guys in those bands that made those records was such a highlight in that record and in my life.”

To hear more details about the band’s upcoming album Death By Rock and Roll, listen to the full interview above.

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Christian Rock Singer Revokes Faith: ‘I No Longer Believe in God’

Jon Steingard, singer and guitarist for Christian pop-rock group Hawk Nelson, has revoked his faith, declaring, “I no longer believe in God” in a long-winded statement on social media, which outlined his journey to this realization.

Hawk Nelson formed in Ontario, Canada in 2000 and have released eight full length albums, the latest being 2018’s Miracles. In his statement, Stengard makes no allusions as to what this means for the band’s future despite a Facebook post issued on May 21 indicating there was much more ahead.

In his Instagram reveal, the frontman explained that his revocation of Christianity was not an overnight decision as he had been grappling with elements of his faith for “several years.” Steingard grew up in an overtly Christian home and community with faith being the foremost fixture in his life.

“I am now finding that I no longer believe in God,” he wrote, noting, “The process of getting to that sentence has been several years in the making. It didn’t happen overnight or all of a sudden. It’s been more like pulling on the threads of a sweater, and one day discovering that there was no more sweater left.”

In his nine-slide Instagram post, Steingard spoke about his battle to believe that the Bible is the “perfect word of God” as transcribed through the divine inspiration of a collection of human individuals. Struggling to understand all the wickedness present in the world and why an all-powerful God would idly stand by to let it happen, he was told to seek answers within the biblical text. “I found, however, that consulting and discussing the Bible didn’t answer my questions, it only amplified them,” stressed the Hawk Nelson frontman.

Elsewhere, he relayed an eye-opening conversation with his father-in-law, who, like his father, is a pastor. Steingard also mentioned that he and his wife, Jess, were never enthused about going to church, reading the Bible nor praying, all of which he said “felt like an obligation.”

Still, the Hawk Nelson singer is “open to the idea that God is there,” though not in the same fashion he was raised to believe.

Read the entire statement below.

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Top 90 Hard Rock + Metal Albums of the ’90s

The ’90s were one of the most fascinating decades in rock and metal, widening the gap between the two genres and putting fans on opposing sides, either clinging to their denim patch vests or trading them in for flannel shirts. Grunge signaled the death of metal supremacy that put a stranglehold on heavy music in the prior decade, but the underground kept the metal going strong while rock acts were assuming their role on the world’s biggest stages.

Kurt Cobain became the voice of a generation in Nirvana, while Dave Grohl steamrolled the success into the Foo Fighters following Cobain’s tragic death. Meanwhile, Texas groovehounds Pantera were flying the banner for heavy metal, keeping the genre in the mainstream. In the meantime, a new genre called nu-metal was emerging, taking the rhythmic approach of metal even further and fusing it with rap influences. Below the surface, extreme genres like black and death metal were thriving, scaring parents, exciting kids and netting headlines rife with controversy.

We started with a list of nearly 300 albums to contend with and narrowed it down to the 90 Best Hard Rock + Metal Albums of the 1990s. Take a trip down this diametric decade of music and see which album is No. 1 in the gallery below!

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Volbeat Singer Was Once Robbed of Metallica-Gifted Baby Clothes

If you steal from people, you’re a jerk. If you steal baby clothes from people, you’re a bigger jerk. Volbeat singer Michael Poulsen was once gifted a bag of baby clothes from Metallica, and it was stolen from him when was in the airport to go home.

When Volbeat were touring with Metallica back in 2017 in support of Hardwired… To Self-Destruct, Poulsen’s girlfriend gave birth to their baby girl. To congratulate the frontman, the thrashers gifted him Metallica-themed baby clothing.

“I was so excited about it, I couldn’t wait to get home and show it to my girlfriend,” the frontman recently recounted to Loudwire Nights. “And you know what? It got stolen in the airport. When I got home, somebody had opened up my bag and took all the baby clothes. What kind of person is doing that?”

See? What a jerk! The good news is, there was a happy ending to the story.

“When Metallica heard that, they sent two bags for me. So it was a win-win situation,” Poulsen said laughing.

Take that, jerk!

Volbeat would be in the midst of a tour with fellow rockers Clutch right now if it weren’t for the coronavirus pandemic. “Right now, we’re just waiting like everybody else to get the green light to go out and do what we’re supposed to do,” the singer explained. Stay tune for any rescheduling announcements.

To hear more about why Poulsen prefers not to watch videos of himself perform, the time he first saw Tony Iommi and more, listen to the interview above.

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Puddle of Mudd Go Viral for Heavily Criticized Nirvana Cover

Puddle of Mudd are going viral for a less-than-stellar cover of Nirvana’s “About a Girl.” Released earlier this year, the cover laid dormant for nearly three months before jumping from 4,000 to nearly 700,000 views in just a couple of days.

While performing on SiriusXM’s Octane channel, Wes Scantlin strained his way through the Nirvana classic, continually pushing past his vocal range in an attempt to yell like Kurt Cobain. The performance has been down-voted to hell, accumulating a 10-to-1 dislike to like ratio.

Puddle of Mudd’s Nirvana cover has received the Catatonic Youths treatment, being brutally cut up by the Instagram shitposter:

Jared Dines has also made a reaction video to the cover, eventually going through the comments to reveal the video’s most vicious hot takes:

Wes Scantlin has reportedly sobered up after many years of struggling with substance abuse, calling his recent incarceration a blessing from God. Before coronavirus canceled all concerts, Puddle of Mudd also held an online Battle of the Bands to secure opening acts for their tour.

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Here’s Why Ticketmaster Won’t Give You a Refund for a Postponed Concert

Ticketmaster has come under fire this week for its ticket refund policy regarding canceled and postponed concerts, especially in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, the president of Live Nation, Ticketmaster’s parent company, has responded to the matter in a television interview with CNBC.

Company head Joe Berchtold appeared on the business news channel’s Squawk Alley on Tuesday (April 14). There, he detailed the ticket sales subsidiary’s outlook on live events going forward. Offering a rough timeline for when concerts may resume, the executive also addressed Ticketmaster’s refund policy.

Watch the video down toward the bottom of this post.

“I think there’s a lot of misperception about Ticketmaster,” Berchtold explained regarding the company’s much-maligned refund policy. “Ticketmaster doesn’t sell these tickets and sit on a mountain of cash. Ticketmaster sells tickets and gives the cash over to the venues where the events are held.”

For concertgoers wanting refunds, however, the distinction with Ticketmaster lies in whether a show has been flat-out canceled or merely postponed to a later date.

Canceled concerts are refunded at the point of purchase. But Berchtold said “about 90%” of the ticketing company’s shows are postponed and working to get rescheduled. Regardless, getting ticket money back into a consumer’s hands is not as cut and dried as one might think, the executive indicated.

“Before Ticketmaster [can] issue a refund on a rescheduled event,” Berchtold continued, “it has to go to the venue, get that money; a lot of those venues are closed because of the current situation. They have to then sometimes go and get the money from somebody else, and so on down the chain. So it’s a pretty big process to go through and right now the volume of it is just so huge.”

But that doesn’t mean ticket buyers won’t be appeased in the long run. He added, “We’re trying to … follow a standard process that says as soon as it gets rescheduled and there’s a date, so people can then determine, can I go to that time or not, then we’re gonna have an opportunity to get some refunds.”

But when will concerts resume in earnest? In answer to that, the Live Nation president echoed recent projections that estimate fall 2021 is the earliest that most major shows will start hitting stages again.

“A year from now, 15 months from now, we have the vaccine in place,” Berchtold theorized. “We’re highly confident that concerts will be — 2021, 2022 — will be bigger than ever. The artists want to perform. The fans want to attend the shows. We’re very comfortable, very confident that as we get through this, we’ll be able to get back to the normal of being able to go to the shows thanks to the vaccine and the treatment.”

Live Nation’s Joe Berchtold Talks to CNBC’s Squawk Alley – Tuesday, April 14

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