Want to know how excited Fight Amp is to be playing its first hometown show of the year? So excited that my fellow South Jerseyans decided to give away a pair of tickets to their May 28th show at Philadelphia’s Kung Fu Necktie and asked us to help. Oh, did we mention that the evening will also features the likes of Weedeater, Old Wounds and Philadelphia’s own Serpent Throne? Nah, you didn’t need any more convincing.
To be eligible to win, all you have to do is email firstname.lastname@example.org with your favorite story about/experience with any of the bands on the bill. Entries are due no later than a week from today (that would be May 23rd). You should also, you know, be able to make it to the City of Brotherly Love on the 28th.
The band will choose the winner itself and get in touch with you so that it can put you on the guest list plus one. It’s that simple. And since second place is the first loser, the runner up will get a download code for Fight Amp’s last record, Birth Control.
Not feeling lucky? Buy a ticket here.
Birth Control by Fight Amp
Check out more about the show here, pick up a copy of its latest record, Birth Control, over at Translation Loss and dig Fight Amp’s great taste in tunes here.
Download Festival 2013 is finally just around the corner, so we’re grabbing some of the biggest and best bands from this year’s lineup to throw some irreverent bollocks at. Not literally. That’d be insane. Today, we chat to Bury Tomorrow frontman Daniel Winter-Bates.
How many times have you been to Donington?
Unfortunately, I haven’t ever had the chance to go
How does it feel making your Download debut?
Unbelievable; it’s always a strange feeling first going to a festival to play. Especially a festival as massive as Download – stoked is an understatement.
What are you most looking forward to about playing this year?
I think the lineup this year is so perfect it has something for everyone, really. Also, I think we have waited long enough, so when we do play a fair amount of people could turn up!
Which bands on the bill are you most excited about?
Rammstein! That band have the best live set of all time so I am so stoked to see them smash it again this year.
What can we expect from your set?
Fast, high energy metal. We will be bringing our best set of songs to please everyone – plus we don’t take ourselves to seriously, so some crowd banter as well.
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever seen at a festival?
I think bottling is my least favourite thing about festivals, to be honest. At the end of the day, every band has to have balls to get up and put on a show. That should be enough for people to respect that, or at least go and watch other bands. Bottling just shows a massive lack of respect, and I’m hugely against it.
If you could only pack five things to take with you, what would they be?
A portable hot tub for after the set, a quad bike to mish around on and watch all the bands, some toilet roll, haha, a go pro camera to capture all the madness, and my own toilet seat. I have a big bag, hahaha!
Download 2013 takes place June 14-16. Grab your tickets now
Lamb Of God’s Randy Blythe: “A Fan Of My Band Was Dead, And A Family Had Been Shattered. I Did Not Feel Like Celebrating”
Randy Blythe has posted another extremely poignant, thought-provoking and particularly moving blog that expressed some of the conflicting emotions he felt upon hearing that he was found not guilty of the manslaughter of Lamb of God fan Daniel Nosek.
He also underlines the dignity and lack of malice that underpinned the attitude and actions of Daniel’s family throughout the trial and reinstates his call for compassion directed at the people that have been most affected by Daniel’s death. It’s an amazing read, some of which is below:
“When I returned to Prague for trial, answering the charge of killing a young man named Daniel Nosek who was a fan of my band, one of the biggest hurdles I and my legal team faced was attempting to explain the atmosphere of a heavy metal show, trying to get across to three Czech judges how smashing into other people and flying through the air over a crowd in the hopes of being caught was a normal thing. From the perspective of folks who are not a part of our scene, these seem to be the actions of insane people.
“Why would anyone do such a thing? You could be severely injured.”
“Over and over throughout my trial, the witnesses and myself were asked if we knew what “stage diving” and “moshing” were, then asked to explain these things. Slowly, through a translator and with the help of videos we put together, we tried our best to show that the aggressive nature of our music and other bands like mine was not an expression of malice. My character was questioned again and again, several witnesses saying ludicrous things like how my quick onstage movements, my deep voice, my profuse sweating, and how I dumped water over my head (astoundingly, I do it because I’m sweaty and hot) was clearly evidence of the fact that I was drunk, on some sort of drugs, and yes, even evil. I was sober as a judge that night, thank God, and I know I never intended anyone harm, otherwise I would not have been able to fight for my freedom. I would have had to tell the judges “I do not know what happened. Maybe I did try to hurt this man. I just do not know. I cannot remember- I was drunk.” As a sober, responsible adult, my conscious would not have allowed otherwise.
“Sober or not, convincing these judges that our show and others like it aren’t some sort violently nihilistic orgy of hate and self-destruction took a little doing. Explaining via a state supplied translator what you and I take for granted as people having fun at a show was one of the biggest challenges I have ever faced. It was like trying to tell a person who has been blind from birth what the color purple looks like. People outside of our scene cannot be expected to understand the way we act at shows without a lengthy explanation, and even then they may just think you are crazy. But in the end I was exonerated, and I am a free man as of this moment.
“The family of Daniel Nosek never attacked me in the press. They never wished me ill, either publicly or privately. They did not smear my name in front of any judge, prosecutor, or police officer, did not stare at me malevolently in the court room. For this I am eternally grateful to them. I certainly would understand if they had, and would have made no attempt to dissuade them from holding a low opinion of me, for all they knew about me was what the Czech press had initially published- a picture of me as a barbaric murderous American with evil intent. I know what it feels like to hold my dead child in my arms. The emotions one goes through are absolutely indescribable. If I had had a finger to point at someone for taking my daughter from me, I probably would have, especially if there had been the sort of media circus that surrounded my arrest.
“Daniel’s family did not point any fingers at me. They just wanted to know the truth of what had happened to their son, so they came to court and listened as I did my best to provide them with what I knew. Before the verdict was delivered, the uncle of Daniel (who was the family’s representative in court) told the judge that no amount of money was going to bring their boy back, and after hearing the evidence, withdrew the family’s motion against me for damages. He also wanted me to know that Daniel had died on his father’s birthday, and that Daniel’s mother had been unable to function at her job since Daniel’s death.
“That was it. They didn’t want anything from me in that courtroom except for me to understand how this had affected them. There was no malice, just the real, honest, pain that I was already regrettably so familiar with. It was one of the most amazing displays of strength and dignity I have ever witnessed.”
Read the blog in full over on Randy’s tumblr
Lamb Of God play Bloodstock in August
We remember the folks who were around when we started listening to metal. One of the people I have a vivid memory of is my old friend Robert Dyer: a wild haired guitar aficionado that sat next to me in many a math class during our four years at a parochial prep school. Robert often watched in horror as I attacked my desk with a high school issue compass, which the TSA would classify as a weapon today.
Robert was unforgettable: he was shy but incredibly warm and good-natured and had a wonderfully dry sense of humor. He was also one of the few guys who learned how to play guitar instead of just talking about how cool it would be to shred. We had many conversations about the brilliance of Ace Frehley – who was charting a solo career – and shared the early Metallica albums. Robert was way more into classical and proggy stuff; I liked and still appreciate more extreme fare. So Robert never ran with Slayer and Venom quite like I did, or got into Darkthrone later down the road. Stratovarius and Malmsteen? That’s his speed.
What was important is that we were fans, and friends. When many of our high school classmates were singularly focused on college and futures as bankers or attorneys, we talked about records. It’s nice to find the people who share your passions. One of our passions was metal. It certainly wasn’t geometry.
Perhaps my greatest memory of Robert was when he played the high school talent show. As you have surmised Robert’s last name is Dyer. His band’s name: Dyers Eve. Pretty much everyone thought it was a take off on his last name; those in the know immediately picked up the Metallica reference from …And Justice For All. Like the double entendres in AC/DC songs, it worked well regardless of interpretation. Robert didn’t win the talent show; it was probably a Tone Loc imitator. But I sure as shit don’t remember anyone else who played.
I’ve always wondered what happened to my old friend Robert, and if he was doing well. I’m happy to report that he is. Through the visionary power known as the Internet I learned that Robert now has a bustling practice as a fast food reviewer on YouTube. He’s reviewed every product that public health advocates have warned you about, and done so with gusto.
His reviews are getting noticed: Robert’s channel has close to 200,000 views at this writing, and many of his commenters are return visitors. I don’t know how anyone could see his droll but often spot on reviews and not envision him on television so if we have any connected readers please forward them the link. But focusing on fast food would short-change Robert; he’s recorded and released an album; run for office (as a Republican) in Montgomery County, Maryland (where he can verbally joust with the best of them) and started a websites to showcase local businesses. We both agree that life hasn’t turned out quite like we expected (Robert’s a Republican for starters) but Robert has made the most of the mixed bag we all receive. So, I decided to e-mail my old friend and see if he’d be up to talk and allow me to record it. And he was more than game.
Jeff Hanneman’s passing was a stark reminder that life is often shorter than we’d like. This conversation happened weeks before Hanneman’s death but seems especially poignant given that he was one of the icons of our youth. Remember your old friends and don’t be afraid to reconnect. So ladies and gentlemen – welcome, WELCOME – my old friend Robert to the Deciblog.
Robert was even cool enough to run out to Barnes and Noble and grab a copy of Decibel. We begin this week’s blog post with Robert’s new video review of our magazine. My favorite part: his aside that Barney Greenway must mean business because he has a rotary phone. Hey Robert, you need to subscribe and get a copy of Albert’s book, too!
How much of a run did you make at the musical career after we graduated from high school?
I did go on to college and I was totally focused on being a professional recording artist and breaking into the business. It was more challenging than I expected. It seemed like if you didn’t have connections, you were on your own. I always did home recordings and I did some studio recordings in the mid-90s that I shopped around record labels. I got sidelined for a few years in the mid-90s when I had wrist surgery. Since I recovered I haven’t had any problems. I finally figured out I would just finance my own independent recordings. I put out a record called Out For Revenge in 2000. At the same time I majored in Latin American history at the University of Maryland. I had the opportunity to specialize and I picked the field because it interested me.
Did you keep up with metal in the 90s?
The funny thing was that once we got to the Nirvana years the guitar magazines all switched over to grunge or alternative. So I just cancelled my subscriptions! I was listening to some of the names that went forward like Yngwie Malmsteen and George Lynch. Dokken got back together at one point, I think. I would listen to a lot of things from the small labels. I just kept listening to bands I liked from 80s. I haven’t been great at keeping up but, ultimately, I’ve found that I always go back to the 70s and 80s. The music was better.
We both loved Metallica although we could never get you fully on the Slayer train. What did you think of the path Metallica took? Of course, your band’s name was Dyers Eve.
Their career never matched the first three albums. I think a lot of artists have that period where they just make classic material and have classic performances, then never match that package again. But I do think they’ve done good stuff. They had some good stuff on the most recent albums but it doesn’t feel the same. If I was going to tell someone the Metallica albums to get it would be the first three. Master Of Puppets has it all: production, sound, songwriting. Even …And Justice For All was a little too dry for me. I like the big sound.
The whole thing with the band name Dyers Eve was funny. I dropped an apostrophe to make sure people understood but no one did!
Decibel covers some of the extreme ends of metal – black metal, death metal, grindcore. Did you ever sample that music?
It just depends on the sound of the band. In the early years of high school you remember I listened to a lot of hardcore and punk. I did listen to more speed metal but I never had a collection of those genres. I will listen to any type of metal but I tend to prefer things in a minor key. If there’s a really heavy band that has a classical influence and a dramatic sound then I probably will listen to it no matter the genre.
That probably explains why we could never get you into Venom.
Yeah (laughs). I was a big fan of Megadeth. But for some reason I never got into some of the contemporaries. I tend to prefer more of that Euro metal sound, even things like the Scorpions. Megadeth certainly has minor key scales. That’s probably why I didn’t like bands that are heavy for the sake of heavy.
So, how did you end up doing fast food reviews online? You have more than 150,000 page views on YouTube.
I’ve always liked American food and fast food. A lot of the food available now wasn’t available where and when we grew up. I’ve always been a fan of McDonalds and Burger King. So, basically, what I did was share my passions. People really seem to like the food reviews. I did an unboxing of the McDonalds Angus burger and I got more hits than ever. That’s gone over 10,000 and it’s probably more now. At the time I was getting 100 views or less per video. This December I started to do a Christmas countdown with Christmas related food. And in between that McDonalds put out a lot of new products. The fast food reviews got the most views by far so I gave them more emphasis. It seems to be what people want to see.
When you hear about fast food in our culture it’s like Michael Bloomberg trying to cap soda sizes. Or you hear about calorie counts or the downsides. But you celebrate it.
There’s definitely an element of my personal philosophy in there about what government should be telling us about what to eat and drink. The hypocrisy that goes on is funny. Beyonce recently endorsed Pepsi and I didn’t hear a lot of criticism. And I think she was part of some campaign about healthy eating – it was “Let’s Move” or something. I’m not suggesting people go out and drink galloons of soda. But I think it’s funny how they can talk about how sodas are killing kids and then endorse Pepsi. I don’t see anything wrong with fast food as an option. There’s certainly a lot of elitism toward people who don’t have a lot of money and eat it. I just don’t think government has any place in what people can eat and drink and restricting it.
I have to ask you, though: how do you eat this food and stay healthy? You look pretty much the same, which is a good thing.
I think because I do the videos people think I eat fast food 24-7. I actually eat a lot less fast food than you would think. For all my personal opinions I hardly drink any soda at all. For the last ten plus years I’ve worked out pretty much every day. So that’s part of why I’ve never seen these things as a health crisis. I eat it in moderation as part of a balanced diet and I exercise every day.
I just think it would be funny if someone recognized you at the gym and was like “what is this guy doing here?”
I do a lot on my own, actually. I walk three or four miles a day. I have some weights and I put my own routine together. It’s really helped me. When I ran for office I had to go to thousands of doors and it was second nature because I do so much walking. If a person sticks on a regular regimen there’s no reason they can’t sample what I review.
How do you go about selecting food to review? There were certain things I didn’t even know I existed like onion ring potato chips.
My interest in fast foods and snacks is the same as the other guy. Anything with bacon really jumps out at me. I like things that are unusual or decadent. Sometimes, that’s part of the appeal. Wendy’s had something called the “Baconator” that was so over-the-top. I just look for things I think I would enjoy eating.
Many bloggers and video critics end up getting courted by major brands. People like you now have as much of a voice as the major critics.
Well, there are also some people on YouTube that take an elitist, condescending approach to fast food. They’ll talk about how it’s a horrible product that’s horrible for us but let’s try it, anyway. I just take the products at face value. I don’t think anyone would claim their burger is as good as a steak or lobster. I do find that some things offered by fast food – when they get it right — can be as good as anything put out by a restaurant. I try to offer an alternative to the tired old critics or the hipsters. I’m just an average guy who appreciates fast food and American food and will give an honest review.
I remember when we were growing up we were besieged with messages about how awful metal is. Yet a few decades later I can email you out the blue and we start a conversation like no time has passed. I have to think there’s a magic to the music. Once you are part of the community you are part of it for life.
That’s definitely true. It’s like you just walked down the hallway and started talking to me at school. Metal fans tend to be – even if they don’t realize it –more creative and intellectual and think through the big issues. Behind the volume, metal dating back to Sabbath has been about the average person trying to wrap their mind around huge issues like war, ethics and political ideologies. You don’t get that listening to a boy band. When you are part of the community –even if you just think it’s something rebellious — you are subconsciously thinking about the big questions that face everyone. All of the controversy and fears people had about metal, look, we turned out fine! We’re upstanding members of the community.
Our high school teachers would probably be proud of this conversation.
Yup (laughs). The things we’re doing aren’t what some people would think come from a steady diet of heavy metal listening. You’re writing. I’m doing things in the community – not just running for office but also working as an advocate for the disabled. Fans of heavy metal tend to be very engaged with the world around them.
Does this mean I can show up unannounced at your house with a six-pack and a dozen Cool Ranch Dorito Tacos?
(Laughs). Why don’t we wait until they make a taco based on the Jumpin’ Jacks Dorito?
Follow all of Robert Dyer’s reviews — subscribe to his YouTube channel.
Yeah, you read that precisely right. The Boss Man was invited to talk to the two BBC Radio 5Live mainstays about Lamb Of God on their recent Film Reviews show.
Listen to the show here (it’s the JJ Abrams one, our Milas kicks in around 1:40)
We’ve heard that Kermode is up for appearing on a Metal Hammer Podcast soon. COME ON MARK, GET INVOLVED.