A deluxe edition of Kiss’ Love Gun is to be released later this year.
While the news has had time to sink in with the passing of time, it was a big ol’ shocker when Witch Mountain vocalist Uta Plotkin announced she was stepping away from her post after five years of fronting the Portland doom heroes. According to drummer Nathan Carson, he and the other members [guitarist Rob Wrong and bassist Charles "Charles Dingus" Thomas] received the disheartening news via phone shortly after returning from a European tour a few months ago. Plotkin and Witch Mountain are on the tail end of their pairing – opening for Nik Turner’s Hawkwind across North America – and from there the band will begin seriously entertaining CVs from hard-working, golden throat-ed individuals willing to jump into the fiery fray surrounding their recently released fourth album, Mobile of Angels. You will definitely be reading a lot from the remaining members about their present and future, so we tracked down the departing Plotkin and somehow managed to get the normally reclusive vocalist to answer a few questions about her departure from the band.
So, you’re leaving Witch Mountain after this next tour. What were the factors leading to this decision and when did you make it?
I’ve been feeling restless for about a year. I joined Witch Mountain in 2009 looking for a learning experience and just experience in general. I had started my band, Aranya a year earlier and was new to the scene and new to running a band. I worked fanatically those first few years, but as I passed out of my twenties and into my thirties, I found my priorities changing and my inner vision shifting from something ecstatic and all-encompassing to something more personal. With three albums behind me in Witch Mountain, I feel I’ve accomplished what I needed to here and as it’s taking up more of my time, it’s harder to justify neglecting other parts of my life and creativity.
Was it a difficult one to make and was it difficult bringing it to your band mates?
Of course, this was a difficult decision that kept me up nights. I’m making big changes in my life and that’s never easy or comfortable. Luckily my bandmates took the news with maturity and understanding.
Are you leaving the world of metal/music? What are you going to be heading into and what is the next chapter of your life looking like?
I don’t intend to stop making music, metal or otherwise. This next year will be an incubation period for the next phase. After this fall tour I’m moving onto my friend’s farm in Oregon City where I’ll have plenty of time and space to work on a solo album and continue my training in web development and programming. Also, Aranya might record one more album early next year before I go hermit.
What would you say were some of the high/lowlights during your time in the band and what aspects did you like/dislike about being in a touring band with a rising profile?
Writing and recording with Witch Mountain has been a special treat. Rob and I write well together and recording with Billy Anderson demonstrated to me what a good producer can do to take your music to the next level. Being in Witch Mountain made me a better and more confident performer. As far as touring, getting to see more of the world through the lens of underground music was something I’d dreamed of for a long time. But the pace and intensity often overwhelm me. The attention too, despite being mostly positive, makes me uncomfortable, which doesn’t bode well for me as we gain in popularity. I’m a private person and the internet is not for private people. Over the last few years too, I’ve been turned off by the business of music, its falsity, its cynicism, its shameless, empty bragging and how it makes some people treat and talk about others. But I’ve met too many positive and inspiring people in music to let that get me down for long.
With your time in Witch Mountain, how do you feel you changed as a person, what lessons did you learn that you feel you’ve been able to apply to your everyday life and what mistakes do you think you’re now better equipped to avoid?
This is a hard question to answer right now. I feel very different than I did six years ago but the changes just kind of feel related to getting older. Ask me again in a year when I have a better perspective on all this. One thing that hasn’t changed though is the principle that guides my life better than any other I’ve come across, and that’s to follow my heart.
Witch Mountain + Nik Turner’s Hawkwind (remaining dates)
09/18 – Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen
09/19 – Rock Island, IL @ RIBCO
09/20 – Milwaukee, WI @ Cactus Club
09/21 – Saint Paul, MN @ Turf Club
09/22 – Winnipeg, MB @ Pyramid Cabaret
09/23 – Saskatoon, SK @ Vangelis Tavern
09/24 – Calgary, AB @ Palomino
09/26 – Vancouver, BC @ Venue (early evening show)
09/27 – Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey
09/28 – Portland, OR @ Star Theater
And if you think your singing voice has what it takes, check them out on Bandcamp and contact them via Facebook.
The identity of Joey Jordison’s replacement in Slipknot may have been revealed through the tweet of an angry ex-bandmate.
You ever go to your parents’ house, watch football all Sunday, and forget to feed their dog? Week 2 in the books. Let’s do this.
I met Ryan Wolfe, drummer of Richmond doom band Windhand, back in 2012, when I booked his band the first time they came through Chicago. After load-in, he asked me if the bar’s TV had cable. He wanted to watch the Washington Redskins/Buffalo Bills preseason game, which showcased the debut of highly touted first-round QB Robert Griffin III. I responded by telling him that the owner of the club was a hack and hadn’t paid his cable bill in years.
We didn’t watch a second of the game that night, but I never forgot Ryan’s Redskin ties. So, when Windhand came through Chicago last week, I knew to hit the Skins with him. If you haven’t heard of Windhand, by the way, you’ve been living under Damien Woody for the last three years. These dudes do nothing but tour, pack venues and lay waste with their female-fronted psych/doom metal machine. One of the tightest bands of the genre I’ve ever had the pleasure to see. They absolutely crush.
Now a full three years after the RGIII debut we didn’t watch, and two injury prone seasons, I asked Ryan for his thoughts on the Skins’ lackluster offense under Griffin, or as he likes to call him, “Bobby Three Sticks.”
“It all goes back to Bobby Three Sticks. He’s not confident… he’s so paranoid to fuck up, HE ENDS UP FUCKING UP!”
RGIII may be a classic too much, too soon case. He started his first game as an NFL QB. We are slowly seeing how bad this can be for rookie quarterbacks. Yes, on-the-job training is arguably the best training, and there are exceptions to the rule (i.e., Andrew Luck). But for every Luck, there are several quarterbacks who spend their first two seasons getting destroyed, both mentally and psychically, for mediocre-at-best teams. The irony is, by the time said team is ready to compete, said quarterback is often injury-prone and mentally crippled.
Besides battling injuries, Bobby Three Sticks has Kirk Cousins to deal with. If you’re unfamiliar with Kirk Cousins, he’s RGIII’s backup, looks like a young Dave Coulier, and coincidently, also likes when you go down on him in a theater. According to Ryan, the DC media foreshadowed a QB controversy brewing during the preseason:
“When the Patriots came to town during the preseason, they scrimmaged with the Redskins … (and) it was put out in the press that everyone in the Patriots organization said the offense ran more smoothly under Kurt Cousins with the first team than it did under RGIII.”
I think it was then that Ryan and I had a simultaneous thought: What if it was Cousins at the helm this year and not RGIII? It was then that we heard a thunderclap outside the green room we were sitting in.
Fast forward to this past Sunday. RGIII dislocates his ankle in the first quarter of the Skins’ home opener against Jacksonville and is carted off the field. Like cosmic clockwork, Cousins comes in and throws a 20-yard touchdown to TE Darrel Young on his first snap. The Skins crowd goes Hog-wild, and RGIII, at least for this game, becomes an afterthought. Cousin finished with 250 yards passing, two touchdowns, and a 109 passer rating in the blowout.
You know how Mindy Kaling cries every time FOX is about to cancel her show, so they don’t cancel it? Well, RGIII can’t get away with that in the NFL. It starts with this week’s huge clash with division rivals, Philly. If Cousins produces this year, I think RGIII is gone and Cousins wins Jay Gruden’s heart.
Before Ryan headed to the stage and I headed to the bar, he gave me a great story from his childhood as a Redskins fan, most notably about his celebration of the 1991 Super Bowl win:
“I wore Zubaz pants, an Art Monk jersey, and a Redskins tie to school the next day, and got made fun of SO bad… I had to call my mom to bring me a change of clothes.”
Mrs. Wolfe, if you’re reading this, please don’t bring a change of clothes the next time he wears this outfit.
I’ve never really liked Adrian Peterson. No, it’s not because he’s averaged 100+ yards and has 14 touchdowns against my beloved Bears in their 12 meetings. Or because he unnecessarily has two nicknames, AP and AD (why?!!!). It’s for a much more superficial reason:
I’m in Las Vegas for Week 1 of the 2009 season. I’m sitting at an outdoor bar watching the Vikings/Browns game. Sitting right next to me, by chance, is Chicago White Sox Hall of Famer Frank Thomas (he sat next to me). I am the only person in Vegas who had the unbelievable smarts to bet the Brady Quinn-led Browns getting a million points over the Brett Favre-led Vikings. My Browns are hanging in there. It soon becomes apparent that Frank Thomas has a 10k bet on the Vikes. He made sure everyone in the bar knew. I have $ 100 on the Browns and don’t tell anyone. Yet Frank Thomas has to let everyone know about his bet. Classy, Frank. So, now I’m pissed. And of course, as soon as I hit my apex of pissiness, Peterson busts for a 64-yard TD run in the fourth quarter, covering the spread. Frank Thomas stands up from his stool, rejoices, and starts high-fiving people and yelling at the TV, “That’s my boy. I know him. All Day Baby, All Day!” My trip was ruined.
This aside, in October of 2013, I was devastated to hear that Peterson’s two-year-old son had died as a result of child abuse from another man (a story that has seemingly has fell by the wayside in this current debacle). Nothing makes me sicker than child abuse perpetrated by stepparents and live-in boyfriends/girlfriends. From a psychological standpoint, the majority of said incidents occur because the abuser is trying to in a roundabout way get over on the kid’s biological father and/or mother. The child becomes a pawn in their personal struggles with their insecurities. This incident was the first thing that popped in my head when I heard Peterson had been arrested for child abuse this week. I was totally baffled as to why a man who experienced such a tragedy could have such tendencies a mere two years later, let alone ever.
Peterson was “disciplined” by his parents growing up. He was born in rural East Texas in the ’80s. His disciplines were a product of the time and the region. However, it’s not the ’80s anymore. Having money, not to mention an education and access to forward-thinking people should have helped his personal ethics evolve. In this case, it didn’t.
“It is important to remember that Adrian never intended to harm his son, and deeply regrets the unintentional injury,” said Peterson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin. This is an outstanding statement only a lawyer could make. So, he intended to hit his child, but not cause him harm? Hmmm… I think this is meant to say is that he meant to harm his child, but not cause any seeable harm. You know, any visual that could potentially lead back to him or deem his actions wrong by society?
So, let’s quickly compare this to the Ray Rice situation: Rice gets fired and indefinitely suspended, and rightfully so, for punching a grown woman. Peterson hits a defenseless four-year-old. Someone who can’t get up and leave the next day. Anything less than a year suspension by the NFL is probably hypocritical. I feel horrible for Vikings fans in this situation, who I have a lot of respect for. Adrian Peterson was set to retire the greatest Viking of all time. This will tarnish his legacy. Just bad news for AP, or AD, or whatever he wants to call himself.
Are You There Colin? It’s Me, God.
The Prep/Chad Muska skater boy look isn’t as cute at the postgame press conference after three interceptions and a lost fumble.
Sometimes You Feel for a Nut
And finally, in this past Sunday’s win against San Francisco, Chicago Bears cornerback Charles “Peanut” Tillman reinjured his tricep and has been placed on IR for the rest of the season. Everyone watching saw the writing on the wall when the camera focused in on Tillman crying on the sidelines not from pain, but from the reality of his injury. This may spell the end of his 12-year NFL career. Peanut has been adamant about saying he wants to retire a Bear. Sadly for Tillman, the new Bears regime under coach Marc Trestman has also been adamant about taking health and age into play when resigning players (i.e., Brian Urlacher, Devin Hester). Tillman has been to two Super Bowls: one as a player in 2007, and last year’s as a recipient of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. His winning the award was mainly based on this work with his foundation, Tillman’s Cornerstone, a Chicago charity that helps for chronically ill children.
As for his on-the-field play, he is criminally underrated. His biggest standout stat is his incredible 42 forced fumbles since 2003 (way more than any active NFL player). Below are two clips of Peanut that sum up his career: his Man of The Year induction, and him robbing future Hall of Famer Randy Moss of a game-winning touchdown in his rookie season. He never looked back from this play.
I hope this isn’t the end for Peanut, even if it means him playing for another team. If it is, the Bears and the NFL couldn’t have asked anything more of him and the example he has set in his tenure. As fans, we live vicariously through our favorite players. We’re happy when they’re happy. We’re sad when they’re sad. We’re mad at them when they’re mad at themselves. We’re hurt when they’re hurt. In the case of Charles Tillman, anyone who has lived vicariously through him is a better person for it.
Pick of the Week
Detroit -2 ½ over Green Bay
The Crown have confirmed plans to mark their 25th anniversary with a new album.
Norwegian hard rock heroes Audrey Horne have teamed up with Amon Amarth’s Johan Hegg for new tune Out Of The City. What do you think?
Our Managing Editor and I share a fondness for many bands, but if I’m remembering correctly, he was responsible for introducing me to one in particular via his review of The Ruin of Nová Roma way back in the day: Taint. While the trio broke up in 2010, guitarist/vocalist Jimbob Isaac has resurfaced in Hark. The group released Crystalline earlier this year, an effort that will not leave Taint fans disappointed. When we asked Isaac to participate in this little series, we were excited to hear what he’d come up with: things to do in Swansea [Wales] when you’re dead. As he describes it, “With local poet/legend Dylan Thomas’ infamous summation of Hark’s hometown Swansea being ‘the graveyard of ambition,’ this playlist is my soundtrack to growing up during the early 90s and beyond, in this ‘ugly lovely town’ or ‘pretty shitty city.’” You can check out his picks below and pick up a copy of Hark’s debut here.
Acrimony’s “The Inn” (from 1994′s Hymns To The Stone)
Seeing local legends Acrimony evolve from their death-doom roots into the shamanic, wode-covered, stoner/doom tribe was pivotal to my immersion into Sabbath inspired groove. “The Inn” was their “hit” for me, and their shows were equal parts heavy metal congregation, transcendental free-party/rave ritual, and basement punk chaos. I owe so much to this band, and their legacy grows with the current Sigiriya, whose new album Darkness Died Today also seriously rules. See also Acrimony’s video for “Spaced Cat”, filmed in Swansea’s Oxwich church.
Hawkwind’s “You Shouldn’t Do That” (from 1971′s In Search Of Space)
Like any small town, when you’re in Swansea, you create your own fun and your own scene. Lord knows no one else is going to do it for you. “You Shouldn’t Do That” accompanied my first experiments with herbal exploration, and contributed to my taste for psychedelia while discovering Acrimony gigs and the free-party/rave scene that occurred on the fringes of Swansea in the beautiful Gower peninsula. The trance-out repetition and layers of other-worldly frequencies hypnotized me and ingrained itself in my psyche.
Helmet’s “Rude” (from 1990′s Strap It On)
Stripped down aggression, and bombastic groove suited me down to the ground, and still does. An American transfer student in my school sent me Strap It On and Meantime after he returned home to Knoxville, TN and we continued our friendship via written letters and tape trading. Helmet spoke to me with their under the radar status, and as a conduit through which I could vent all that teen angst. I’m wondering when that well is going to dry up, but hey, adult life is hardly a walk in the park.
Quicksand’s “Fazer” (from 1993′s Slip)
Thanks to early morning rock TV show Raw Power, and the post-Nirvana major label domineering of the ‘90s, I became obsessed with Walter and co’s dynamic post hardcore. For me Slip is timeless and has contributed hugely to how I write music. Walter’s phrasing and melody made complete, tacit sense to me, and I’ll always regard him as a huge musical influence. I met him on Rival Schools’ first UK tour, and he was the first person to enlighten me as to what Taint means in American slang. An unfortunate perversion of the English dictionary definition, and certainly not what I had in mind when scratching it on my school book covers in the early ‘90s.
Robert Palmer’s “Addicted To Love” (from 1985′s Riptide)
Rewinding to my pre-adolescence, this song was pure, perfect pop. You can put this next to “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis & The News for my early life soundtrack. Dubbing these songs on to cassette from the radio charts every Sunday was a weekly must. Crossing into Dad-rock territory with Dire Straits’ entire Brothers In Arms is also a priceless record, and sits nicely next to this bad boy.
The Cure’s “Lullaby” (from 1989′s Disintegration)
This video freaked me the fuck out, as a teen rocker that didn’t know why he was drawn to it. A guy with weird hair and makeup, being slowly eaten by a huge spider…or something? The creepiness drew me in, scared me but all the while comforting with the perfect pop melancholy. Little did I know then how much I would relate to that night time discomfort further down the line.
Uriah Heep’s “Gypsy” (from 1970′s …Very ‘eavy …Very ‘umble)
Speaking of spider webs and being freaked the fuck out, …Very ‘eavy …Very ‘umble sat on my Dad’s record shelf as I was growing up. Passing it always gave me the jeebies, and eventually plucking up the courage to see what this horrifying album was all about, rewarded me endlessly. Heavy, British prog rock at its best. From the Hammond intro to the groove verse and hammond freak out, it gave me a perfect window into my father’s experimental years. The live photo inside the gatefold also has to be one of the best out there. Thanks Dad.
Sepultura’s “To The Wall” (from 1987′s Schizophrenia)
TDK 90 cassettes. The lifesblood of my late 80s/early 90s musical journey. A friend copied the early Sepultura albums for me, and while Morbid Visions scared the pants off me with its blackened, Frost-isms and crusty production, it was Schizophrenia that took my tastes in more extreme directions. The bilious vocals and garage-sounding brutality was like a hidden, dark secret amongst the classic rock in my adolescent record collection. My parents thought it was awful, and the metal gods above looked down, and they saw that it was good. Amen.
Hard To Swallow’s “Only A Glimpse Of…” (from 1998′s Protected By The Ejaculation of Serpents)
Thanks to the Acrimony tribe, Taint got to play with Nottingham’s HTS in ’97 at the Old Angel. Alongside buying from distros like Land of Treason, HTS introduced me to the crust/power violence scene and they were a terrifying live proposition. The first three seven inches were produced by Andy Sneap, and let their musical talent and ferocity shine through perfectly, without Sneap’s thrash metal gloss. Just thinking of their live shows raises the hairs on my neck, and while the Pessimiser and Slap-a-ham stables gave me some favourites (Dystopia, Grief, 16), Hard To Swallow pretty much wiped the floor with the lot of them for me. Their brother band Iron Monkey are equally treasured to me, but HTS deserve just as much props.
Knut’s “Whacked Out” (from 2002′s Challenger)
The tired label of “underrated” is far too often attached to bands that to me, just needed to achieve more road work, but simply couldn’t. Or more accurately, didn’t want to. Knut came into my life along with Keelhaul, Isis and Botch (thanks Hydrahead). Their live shows were (and hopefully will again be) intense, with their unique mix of influences and precision chaos. There’s only one Knut, and they will forever make imitators pale in their shadow.
*Photo by Ester Segarra
**Pick up a copy of Crystalline here
***For past Decibrity entries, click here
Sylosis have confirmed the departure of drummer Rob Callard, and confirmed Bleed From Within’s Ali Richardson as his replacement.
The Ghost Inside will release their fourth album in November.
Bring Me The Horizon’s Jordan Fish says frontman Oli Sykes is like a “different person” since his stint in rehab.