Saturday, March 31, 2012

GWAR's Oderus Urungus vs. Megadeth's Dave Mustaine


Friday, March 30, 2012

Decibel Geek Joins Auralgasm Podcast Network




NASHVILLE, TN (March 30, 2012) The Decibel Geek Podcast has officially joined the Auralgasm Podcast Network. Auralgasm, a high quality independent podcast network, features a select group of shows from a variety of genres. 

“We are thrilled to be a part of the Auralgasm Network” says Decibel Geek co-host Chris Czynszak. “Aaron Camaro (co-host) and I are looking forward to expanding our audience and Auralgasm is the perfect partner to help us in that quest. We’re excited!”

The Decibel Geek Podcast was launched in April of 2011 by Chris Czynszak, a former rock journalist and webmaster. With co-host Aaron Camaro, the Decibel Geek Podcast is quickly earning a reputation as one of the go-to music commentary podcasts on the internet. All episodes are available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, as well as the official Decibel Geek Podcast website.

To access the Decibel Geek Podcast visit .

To view the Decibel Geek Auralgasm page visit

Check out Auralgasm at

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pauline Butcher (author of Freak Out! My Life with Frank Zappa) interview, part 2


Although I have several favorite Frank Zappa albums (after all, he is my favorite artist/composer of all time), if I had to pick just one, I'd go with We're Only In It For The Money (WOIIFTM). What, if anything, do you remember about the making of that album?

WOIIFTM was written and recorded in the fall of 1967 and released in March of 1968. I didn't start working for Frank until May of 1968, so I had no connection with the making of this album at all.

What was your initial reaction to WOIIFTM?

I was in Washington DC when the album came out. My very Republican sisters thought that he looked revolting and wanted me to have nothing to do with such an apparently drug-crazed hippie. Frank had offered me the job by this time and I was waiting for him to work out the legalities because I was English and I didn't have a green card (which, in the end, became my being put on the books as a songwriter and my salary registered as royalties for the song). I didn't buy the record and I didn't hear it until later. I liked and still like all of it because the songs have messages and political slants.

Do you happen to recall if any of The Beatles had any opinions of WOIIFTM, particularly the fact that WOIIFTM's intended album cover (which became part of the insert artwork) was a very blatant rip-off of the album cover for The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band?

When Frank was in London in August of 1967 to promote The Mothers' first tour, he telephoned Paul McCartney to tell him of his intended spoof of the cover of Sgt. Pepper. McCartney was hesitant and said that he would have to ask his manager. Frank was scornful and commented later that he didn’t ask his manager what to do, he told his manager what to do, as the manager worked for him, not the other way around. Presumably, McCartney’s manager gave his approval.

How much involvement did Frank and/or The Mothers have in the songwriting for The GTOs' Permanent Damage album?

The Mothers had no involvement in the writing of the lyrics on Permanent Damage and minimal contribution to the music. Lowell George wrote and produced "Circular Circulation" and "I Have a Paintbrush in My Hand to Colour a Triangle". Davy Jones worked on "Ooo Man", Jeff Beck pepped up a couple of tracks with guitar riffs and Rod Stewart brought Mercy’s song "Shock Treatment" to life with his own wailing vocals.

What is your current relationship with the most well known member of The GTOs, Miss Pamela a.k.a. Pamela Miller a.k.a. Pamela Des Barres?

I wrote to Pamela with abundant praise when her first two books came out and we exchanged emails for a while. I sent her a copy of my book but have had no word from her save for a "lurved your book darlink" comment on Facebook.

What was your initial reaction to Frank's most popular musical discovery, Alice Cooper?

Alice Cooper and Christine Frka (Moon Zappa’s nanny and, later, a GTO) woke me up at 7 AM one morning because Frank had asked Alice to come over at 7 o’clock for an audition. They wanted me to go and wake Frank up but I refused as he had not long gone to bed. It turned out that the rehearsal was meant for 7 pm. In any event, Frank got up at around lunch time and the boys had set up in the garage where they played and Frank agreed to record them (as much to please Christine, I think, as anything else). I did not meet Alice again or have any other communication with him.

Frank and The Mothers put out albums at an extraordinarily high frequency during your tenure working for him from 1968 to 1972. Would you happen to have any insight as to why Frank felt the need to do this?

Lumpy Gravy was produced in 1966 (although not released until December of 1968) and Cruisin’ with Ruben & The Jets was also made before May of 1968 when I started working for Frank, so they constitute part of the earlier group (Freak Out, Absolutely Free and WOIIFTM).

Here is an excerpt from my book which occurred on May 14, 1968 and relates to Ruben & The Jets:

"As we splintered through the house, each going our separate ways - Gail to crash with Moon upstairs, some to the kitchen or my office, others to the basement - Frank called me into the living room. Would I like to hear the final mix of Cruisin’ with Ruben and the Jets? Delighted that Frank had singled me out for a special review, I settled sedately on the sofa next to Frank, who sat cross-legged on the floor. I had quickly learned from my visit to his apartment in New York that when Frank invited you to listen to music, you must not speak.

As the album played, I found that each track sounded the same and kept hoping the next one would be different, an instrumental maybe, the kind of instrumental that, as far as I knew, only Frank could write, the part of his music that I liked the most - but I waited in vain. I let my head tip back against the sofa as the album droned on, dull and boring and I wondered what I would say to be positive. Then, at last, a track came along that I liked – ‘Anything’, a beautiful love song.

When the tape ended, Frank bent intently over the machine and pressed re-wind. Above its whirr, I felt his silence waiting for my verdict.

I blurted out, ‘I’m surprised they are all slow numbers.’

Now he looked at me, a flash of pain in his eyes. When I’d rehearsed those words in my head, I’m surprised they’re all slow numbers, they’d sounded innocuous, harmless, but he heard them as criticism of his months and months of hard work. In a rush and trying to rectify things, I said, ‘I really liked “Anything”. I think I liked that the best.’

He said quietly, ‘That’s the only song I didn’t write. Ray Collins wrote it.’

If there was such a thing as instant petrifaction, at that moment I should have turned to stone. He placed the tape carefully in its box and the box in its correct and tidy place. He brushed a rag of black hair from his face, gathered up his cigarettes and mug of coffee and said in a flat monotone, ‘I’m going to bed.’

As he trod his way across that vast room to the staircase at the far end, I wanted to call after him, utter some reassuring or flattering words, but it was too late. Rejection wafted back from his heavy steps and I felt gloomy and lost. He would find solace, I knew, with Gail. She would smother him with incontrovertible praise. ‘It’s brilliant. There’s nothing like it.’ It would have been so easy for me to do the same, to have waxed lyrical. What would it have cost me to lie?"

From 1968 to 1971, Frank produced and released Uncle Meat, Burnt Weeny Sandwich, Weasels Ripped My Flesh, Hot Rats (Frank’s solo album), Chunga’s Revenge, Fillmore East, 200 Motels, and Just Another Band from LA, so it was indeed, as you suggest, a very prolific period. I don’t think that Frank felt the need to put out so many albums, it’s just that work was all he did. He got up in the morning, went to his piano and desk and wrote music until he went to bed. He rarely went out except to play concerts and so the material accumulated, he recorded it and compiled it into records. That’s what he did.

What, if any, are some of your favorite of Frank's albums/songs and why?

My least favourites are the Flo & Eddie period. Otherwise, I have compiled the tracks I like which include "Watermelon in Easter Hay", "Black Napkins" and "Zoot Allures". I exclude all the "rude" and contentious songs like "Catholic Girls" and "Jewish Princess". Often, I resort to live concerts on YouTube, particularly the Ike Wilis, Steve Vai and Tommy Mars periods.

What is your current opinion of Los Angeles/Hollywood and Southern California in general? Just so you know, I've lived in Southern California (Orange County mostly) for over 35 years and I don't like it much.

I returned to Hollywood in 2007 and drove around all the landmarks in my book: the log cabin site on Laurel Canyon, Frank and Gail’s house on Woodrow Wilson Drive, my own house on the same street, The Whisky A-Go-Go, Ben Frank’s, Troubadore, Barney’s Beanery, Canter’s Deli, etc. I particularly found the Hollywood Hills beautiful with their leafy lanes. When I visited Gail, we travelled over the hillside to a restaurant in the Valley. Gail said that she never goes into Hollywood as it is always gridlocked.

Are you planning on writing any more books? If so, please discuss. If not, why not?

I am not planning on writing any more books. I would like to adapt my present book, Freak Out! My Life with Frank Zappa, into a stage play and am, at present, giving thought to this.

Episode 26 - 1975 Year in Review


Chris and a raspy-voiced Aaron Camaro return this week with a trip into the past. We're adjusting our flux capacitor and taking the wayback machine to 1975; an era where people wore bellbottoms, platform shoes, and had ridiculous haircuts without a shred of irony.

While there was plenty of music to vomit over, there was also lots of cool rock being put out into the ether. We take some time to share that music in today's episode as well as our discussion of some news events that happened throughout the year.

So, kick back, grab a quaalude, and take off those Toughskins while we take a look at 1975.

Direct Download

FREE SHOW! Mike 'Popeye' Vogelsang and Dan O'Mahony at 33 Degrees - Harborside Pub in Long Beach, CA on 4/12/12


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Episode 25 - Top 5 Paul Stanley Songs


After a week spent in Bizarro World, we're back to discuss something *GASP* KISS-related. We'll give you a second to pick your jaw back up. Ready? Okay.
The Tour
With the recent announcement of the upcoming Summer tour featuring KISS & Motley Crue, we decided that now is as good a time as ever to devote a show to our favorite Starchild, Paul Stanley.

The Starchild
For almost 40 years, Paul Stanley has provided audiences all over the world some awesome musical contributions. No matter what is in fashion, be it disco, new romantic, heavy metal, hair metal, etc, Paul has been able to tap into a genre and produce relevant results.
The List
Today, Mitch Lafon of joins Chris Czynszak for a discussion of their favorite Paul Stanley-penned KISS tunes. Co-host Aaron Camaro has his voice in the shop this week for repair but does chime in during the intro and outro of the show. He will be back next week.

The Tribute
Today's show is dedicated to the memory of Tony Whitfield; a Decibel Geek listener and avid KISS fan that we lost too soon recently. Tony loved rock and roll and KISS as much as anyone and he carried that torch for all his days through his own projects and ventures.
Tony Whitfield w/Paul Stanley

We salute Tony in this episode with a testimonial from friend Cassius Morris of the Creatures of the Net podcast at the end of the episode. Rock on in Heaven Tony!

The Final Word
So, without further ado, check out Mitch and Chris' picks for favorite Paul Stanley tunes!

Direct Download

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Softer Side of GWAR


Ah, Gwar; the answer to the question, "What would have happened if Gene Simmons had been mentored by Satan instead of Amazo the Magician?"
Whether you like them or not, there's no one else like them. In the effort to prove that even more, this Sunday March 18, Oderus Urungus will lead the band in a Dear Abbie style show on Fuse TV. The format will include the opportunity for fans to send in a video along with their relationship question and a pic to be given the magnificence of relationship advice only possible from a man wearing a two foot prosthetic penis.
This will also be the official kick-off for their media blitz concerning their new tour that starts Friday March 16 in Richmond. Even though this will be the first tour without the presence of Cory Smoot as Flattius Maximus, after his tragic passing from coronary artery disease, it's expected to be a fitting tribute and the usual GWAR heavy metal theatrics experience like no other.
If you want to get in on the sage advice for your love life, email a video of your story and your love question to: Be sure to include your full name, email, phone number and permission to use your video for the show, and have fun.

Bianca Halstead (Betty Blowtorch) 10 year remembrance celebration at El Cid in Los Angeles, CA on 5/19/12


December 15, 2011 marked 10 years since the very tragic passing of Betty Blowtorch singer and bassist Bianca Halstead (a.k.a. Bianca Butthole), so there will be a remembrance celebration for her at El Cid in Los Angeles, CA on 5/19/12. The 3 surviving members of Betty Blowtorch will be performing with Mia X on bass and vocals at this celebration.

If you haven't already purchased the Betty Blowtorch and Her Amazing True Life Adventures DVD (cover pictured above), I highly recommend doing so. It's everything that a DVD should be - packed to the brim with deleted scenes, after-the-fact interviews, music videos, easter eggs and, best of all, MULTIPLE AUDIO COMMENTARY TRACKS. All that and the movie ain't half bad either. I kid, I kid - the movie is terrific.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Episode 24 - Bizarro Covers


After a quick week off, we're back and we're spinning more covers but things are a little different this time. We're not going with tried and true covers this time. This time, we're going into the Bizarro World with some of the strangest rock and metal covers that still kick ass.

These are tunes that were not necessarily originally intended for the rock and metal world but some visionary artists decided to show that, as Autograph, prophesied back in the 1980's, things go better with rock!

We start the show with some talk about our recent discussion with Jan Kuehnemund of Vixen and the response we received as well as the swell new look of our official website and news on our Facebook fan page. We had to whore ourselves out a little.

Moving on, we get into the music with our lone straight ahead rock cover. We had to go with this track because we couldn't squeeze it in on the Under Covers episode and it just plain kicks ass (regardless of band members' political views).

We're not going to be spoilers and give away the tunes we're playing. What fun would that be?

So, kick back with a cold bevereage, crank the show, and stay frosty!

Direct Download

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

$5 show this Friday night in Los Angeles!


Kick St. Patrick's Day weekend off right with a $5 show (only $3 with flyer!) featuring 12 of LA's best punk bands. Free food from 7 PM to 8 PM as well!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

KissFAQ articles on KISS's album sales


The excellent KISS website and resource KissFAQ recently posted a series of articles on KISS's album sales, which included an in-depth interview with music industry veteran Paul Grein. Click on the links below to check 'em out.

Smashes, Hits, RIAA & Nielsen SoundScan: An interview with Yahoo! Music's Paul Grein, plus a listing of KISS' current Nielsen SoundScan figures -

How Is The KISS Catalog Selling??
: A closer look at Nielsen SoundScan and KISS from 2007-2012 -

Dissecting KISS' Nielsen SoundScan Totals: Crunching numbers and tossin' and turnin' the sales of the KISS catalog in the Nielsen SoundScan era -

All articles written by Tim McPhate.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

More Unpublished Vinnie Vincent & KISS Photos Surface


A few months ago we received a handful of photos purportedly from Vinnie Vincent's private collection.
The pictures were supplied by a fan that claimed to have had a close relationship with the former KISS guitarist and had supposedly been jilted. The photos received quite a few views as well as some mud slinging back and forth in the comments section. Read for yourself.

We have now received a whole new set of Vinnie Vincent & KISS photos from the 1982-1983 Creatures of the Night era. These pictures were supplied by a member of the Vinnie Vincent Fan Forum and, as far as we know, are relatively unseen. Could these photos come from the same source as the previous ones? No one here knows for sure but it is interesting.

Many of the shots appear to be from a promotional photo shoot while others seem to be possibly from an in-store appearance. This era  of the band was short-lived, thus photos with the Simmons/Stanley/Carr/Vincent lineup of KISS are a bit more scarce.

We are happy to share these photos with the Vinnie Vincent and KISS fans all over the world. Be sure to comment!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Teddi Tarnoff (Queen Diamond, Misstallica, Teddi and the Northern Lights) interview


How old were you when you first started listening to music and what were the first bands/artists that you listened to?

Until I was about 10, I listened to whatever my mom listened to, which was usually something traditional in the Celtic or Greek sound. When my friends started talking about their favorite artists, I realized that I didn't really have any of those. I started listening to the alternative rock station and I think that my first favorite band was Nirvana.

What exactly was it that you initially liked about music?

I was singing before I started talking. It was such a natural and primal thing for me. It was never a choice. Music has always been at my core and I was lucky enough to have a mother that nurtured those early signs of what is now my life.

Who are some of your favorite bands/artists and why?

There are so many. For bands, I would have to say Pink Floyd, Slayer, Led Zeppelin, Jane's Addiction and Fleetwood Mac. For artists/singers: Joni Mitchell, Marvin Gaye, Billie Holiday and Aretha Franklin. I know that's a wide spectrum but all of those artists have that thing, whatever it is, that when they play, it's like the world stands still and everything's as it should be. Or nothing's as it should be. But that's the point and you can feel it with their every note and word.

How old were you when you started both singing and playing a musical instrument? And what was the first instrument that you played?

I was an infant when I started singing little melodies I would hear. I was one and a half when my mom started me on violin lessons and 5 years old when I began studying voice classically.

As a singer/vocalist and as a musician, who are some of your influences and why?

Everything around influences me. Whether it's something I hear and love, hate or some variation, I can take something from anything.

How did you come to be the singer/vocalist for Queen Diamond, your King Diamond/Mercyful Fate tribute band?

It was a joke to start, with one show to kind of say "look, here it is" and be done. But it took on a life of it's own and gave all of us an outlet to perform at a time when I, at least, was still figuring out what direction life was taking me. It's way fun though.

What are some of your favorite King Diamond and Mercyful Fate songs to sing/perform and why?

While I love it all, I do prefer Mercyful Fate. There's something so old school and creepy about those songs. They send chills up my spine and the lyrics are so dark. It's really just all around great music.

What are some of your favorite King Diamond and Mercyful Fate albums and/or songs and why?

I love Mercyful Fate's Don't Break the Oath and my favorite King Diamond album is, of course, Abigail! They kill all those nu-metal guitar riffs and the illegible band names. Just truly dark and heavy music.

Discuss Misstallica, your all female Metallica tribute band.

We're all girls (yes, all 4 of us are female) and we play Metallica songs. First 4 albums only, with a few of their cover songs thrown in for fun.

What are some of your favorite Metallica songs to play and why?

"Orion", of course, is my favorite Metallica song. But not just because of how glorious the bass is. It's really just a great song, a true testament to the musicianship in that band and the dynamic.

What are some of your favorite Metallica albums and/or songs and why?

My favorite album is Ride the Lightning. I love the compositions of the songs especially on that album, the guitar tones and the ferocity.

Discuss Teddi and the Northern Lights, your all-original band.

Yes, the material is all original. The songs are all written by myself, my former writing partner Dan Nitz and me, or myself and my current writing partner, Gina Gleason. We are currently trying to get into the studio and record like a real band as all of the recordings that I have now are acoustic on my computer microphone.

I couldn't help but notice on your official website that you've played with quite a few alumni of Frank Zappa, my favorite artist/composer of all time. Discuss your work with them.

I've had the pleasure of working with a few of the Zappa alumni, including Napoleon Murphy Brock and Ike Willis. Joe's Garage and Roxy & Elsewhere being my two favorite Zappa albums, it was a treat to work with both of those artists. I've gotten to tour with Napoleon and I have sat in on live songs as well as in the recording studio with Ike many times.

Who are some of the bands/artists/musicians that you're most proud to have shared the stage with and why?

I am most proud and humbled to share the stage on any night with all of my bandmates. Over the years, I have played with so many amazing people and gotten to do some really great things. But it's the people who keep getting up there with me and who I get to keep creating that energy with that keep me going.

Feel free to discuss any of your other endeavors (musical or otherwise) here.

Teddi and the Northern Lights is trying to get into the studio in the next few months. We're recording with Julie Slick, bassist in the Adrian Belew Power Trio. In the next few weeks, I will be setting up a Kickstarter to help fund this recording project, so any and all interested in finding out how they can help little ol' me, please check out my website ( for info!

Gina Gleason (Misstallica, Queen Diamond, Teddi and the Northern Lights) interview


How old were you when you first started listening to music and what were the first bands/artists that you listened to?

I was about 13 when I really started getting into music. The first two CDs that I ever bought were Judas Priest's British Steel and AC/DC's Back In Black.

What exactly was it that you initially liked about music?

Initially, I loved the power and energy of music (rock music specifically). I also love a lot of the artwork and imagery that goes along with rock music, which is probably what drew me to it initially. As I got into playing, I started listening for different techniques and styles that I liked from different players. I tried to take all the things that I admired and integrate them into my own playing. I still feel that power and great energy when I'm playing and performing. I always try to convey it to the audience and make sure that everyone is having a great time.

Who are some of your favorite bands/artists and why?

I absolutely love David Bowie. Mick Ronson is one of my favorite guitarists. I love his dirty style of playing over the almost delicateness of Bowie. It makes for an amazing pairing! I also love old school metal like Mercyful Fate and Angel Witch. I'm just a huge metal fan and there's nothing like old school shit!

Finally, I have to say that one of my favorite guitarists of all time is Les Paul. I love listening to his stuff with Mary Ford. I love the harmonies and his fast clean playing style. I am so appreciative of his innovation and techniques.

How old were you when you started playing a musical instrument and what was the first instrument that you played?

I was somewhere around 14 or 15 years old and I started playing electric guitar.

As a musician (and, specifically, a guitarist), who are some of your influences and why?

As I mentioned before, I'm a huge fan of Mick Ronson and Les Paul. Along the same lines as Les Paul, I also really love Jimmy Bryant and Speedy West. I love the clean fast picking styles. These guys are just amazing. My favorite metal guitarist has to be Andy Larocque. His solos are some of my favorites in metal. They are so melodic and thoughtful while maintaining the rapid fire intensity of the music.

How did you come to be the vocalist and guitarist for Misstallica, your all female tribute to Metallica?

Funny story - I started in the band as just lead guitarist and let's just say a series of events allowed me to become the lead singer as well. I am totally grateful to have had the opportunity to front the band. I never thought I'd be a front person but I have really taken a liking to it! Fronting Misstallica is a lot of fun and has helped me hone the craft of being a metal front person, which I have been doing in my original metal project.

What are some of your favorite Metallica songs to play and why?

I love playing "Ride The Lightning". It's my favorite solo and I love playing the double harmonized solo section with our other guitarist, Leanne Martz. I love singing "Creeping Death". I really like to belt it out and get the crowd chanting the "die die die" part. It's a lot of fun.

What are some of your favorite Metallica albums and/or songs and why?

My favorite albums are the first 3 for different reasons. Kill Em All is old school and thrashy. It's a great album from start to finish. I love the tones and solos on Ride The Lightning. You can really hear the way their songwriting has evolved. I love Master Of Puppets because I think that it is a production masterpiece and has some of the most epic songs ever written.

Discuss Queen Diamond, your King Diamond/Mercyful Fate tribute band.

I love King Diamond and Mercyful Fate! I love playing with Queen Diamond. I think Teddi Tarnoff does an incredible job at being King! Shows are always a lot of fun. King fans are the best!

What are some of your favorite King Diamond and Mercyful Fate songs to play and why?

I love "Family Ghost". It has a great solo that was pretty challenging to learn. I also love "The Black Horsemen". It's epic!

What are some of your favorite King Diamond and Mercyful Fate albums and/or songs and why?

King Diamond's Abigail is a great story and has some of the best solos. Don't Break the Oath is my favorite Mercyful Fate album. It's evil, sexy and awesome!

I couldn't help but notice on your official website that you've played with quite a few alumni of Frank Zappa, my favorite artist/composer of all time. Discuss your work with them.

I performed at Zappanale in Germany with Denny Walley. He is an incredible player. Getting to watch him play slide was such a great experience. We did a lot of Captain Beefheart material. Along with being a great player, he was a really nice guy. I learned a lot from his playing. I also got to play with Napoleon Murphy Brock at that same festival. He was a great band leader and such a talented musician. I am a huge Zappa fan, so playing with those guys was an honor. I always love playing that material.

Who are some of the bands/artists/musicians that you're most proud to have shared the stage with and why?

I have had the opportunity to share the stage with many artists but I think that I'm most proud to have played with Perry Farrell several times. I love Jane's Addiction and it was awesome to have been able to meet him, let alone play with him.

Feel free to discuss any of your other endeavors (musical or otherwise) here.

Along with Misstallica and Queen Diamond, I play guitar and write music with Teddi Tarnoff. She's an amazing vocalist. The music is bluesy with traces of country. I really dig it. We are hoping to record this spring, so we hope to have the album out this year.

I play drums in a punk band with Leanne from Misstallica. It's called Emily Pukis and the Vagrants.

I also have an original metal band with Zack Smith of Queen Diamond. He's one of my favorite guitarists to play with. He is truly talented. We are also recording this spring. The band consists of Zack and I, Teddi and Kaleen. I am always stepping in on different projects. I like playing all genres of music, so I'm open to anything!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Rock Strikes Ten


Andrew Jacobs here,

Even though I interviewed Rock Strikes Ten's Joey Haynie in January (click here if you missed that), I wanted to do a separate post about his excellent podcast which quickly became one of my favorites when I discovered it late last year. Besides playing lots and lots of great tunes covering all the different genres of music (not just rock, as the podcast's name implies), Joey is extremely knowledgeable on everything associated with both music as well as business as it relates to music and he speaks very intelligently and eloquently to boot. I encourage all of you to check out Rock Strikes Ten by clicking on one or more of the links below.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Mitch Lafon (senior writer and staff photographer for interview


How old were you when you got into music and how exactly did you get into music?

I've always been into music but my earliest recollections go back to when I was 7 or 8. I would play the Beethoven and Abba vinyls that were sitting by the turntable. I remember having a great love of Beethoven's 5th Symphony.

One day, I saw a KISS record sitting by the turntable. The Love Gun album. The inner jacket had KISS written in dripping blood. I was intrigued. Though I feigned disgust, I listened to it. Then I listened some more. Then one day, KISS' Double Platinum showed up. I was hooked. It wasn't long before I was begging my parents to buy the just released KISS solo albums, then Dynasty, then the t-shirts, the remote controlled car, the dolls, etc. Ah, KISS - it was the music and so much more.

What were some of the first bands/artists that you got into and why?

In the late '70s, I was hooked on Cheap Trick, Aerosmith and KISS. Tom Peterson left. Peter Criss left. Joe Perry left. Brad Whitford left. Ace Frehley left. Then, Music From The Elder came out and I was done with KISS. I started listening to The Cars, Bryan Adams, Huey Lewis, etc. but those albums wore thin quickly. KISS' Creatures Of The Night provided relief. Finally, the Sunset Strip came calling. Quiet Riot, RATT, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Motley Crue and KISS' Lick It Up album broke. Hard rock was back in my life and hasn't left.

What are some of your favorite bands/artists and why?

I've always been very loyal. I love KISS for the music and the spectacle. I love early Aerosmith for the vibe. I love all Van Halen for the musicianship. I love '80s hair metal because Poison, Bon Jovi and Def Leppard represent my youth and the music is fun. I love Metallica - except their albums. Live, they deliver the goods. On album, they always seems to have production issues. Death Magnetic clipped. And Justice For All had no bass. Stuff like that. But live, NOBODY beats them.

At what point did you decide that you wanted to work in some capacity in the music industry and why?

I think when I was 7. Who doesn't fantasize about being a world renowned rock star? But I was way too introverted to be in the spotlight. Behind the scenes works for me. I love doing it because I love the music and the more I talk about it and write about it, the more I keep that love alive in other fans. And ultimately, I keep it alive for me. Selfish perhaps.

When and how exactly did you land the Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles (BW&BK) writing gig?

Thanks to the Internet and email. It was 1994 or '95. I had a lot of friends in the music biz and I would see articles that I knew weren't as accurate as they could be or I had news to offer that I would email in. They kept saying to me, "how are you always 100% right?" Because "I knew who I knew", I would say. Eventually, they said, "do you write?" Of course I said yes. I was doing a Master's in Psychology at McGill University in Montreal. How hard could it be to write a couple hundred words about a rock star?, I thought. So, I started writing. But my first ever interview was in June of 1980 when I interviewed Gene Simmons of KISS (without makeup) in NYC -

Who have been some of your favorite BW&BK interviewees and why?

So many, but I love interviewing ROB HALFORD because he's so kind and gracious.

Other than that:

David Coverdale, because he always makes you feel like you're his best friend.

Anybody in KISS because it's somebody from KISS.

Glenn Hughes is always great to me.

Kirk Hammett from Metallica because it's Kirk Hammett from METALLICA!!!!

I love interviewing all the people that I've talked to. Though those with only yes/no answers can make it difficult.

As a writer, who are some of your influences and why?

Howard Stern. I know that he's not a writer but his work ethic and the way that he treats guests is an example for all.

What other publications have you written for and what other publications do you currently write for?

Metal Hammer US (before it folded), Metal Edge (before it folded), Classic Rock (still the world's greatest rock magazine), Roadie Crew in Brazil (I still write for them) and because BW&BK magazine went all digital a few years back. They are the best online hard rock/metal source because they provide ORIGINAL content (interviews, features, concert reports, etc.). They don't just aggregate.

Discuss Cinderella Touring Inc. and your role in it.

Not sure I can, but mostly it comes from being friends with Cinderella's bassist Eric Brittingham.

Feel free to discuss any of your other endeavors (musical or otherwise) here.

I worked in TV years ago - PA stuff on the PBS show 'The Editors' and the TV5 show 'Rédacteurs En Chef'. I did my very own 'Mitch Minute' on radio. It was literally a minute to run down song music news. Loved doing it and would love to do it again.

Be sure to check out Mitch Lafon's YouTube channel at

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Episode 23 - Jan Kuehnemund of Vixen


Anyone that was around during the glam rock era of the late 1980’s remembers the teased hair, lipstick, and revealing clothing. There was also a female rock band named Vixen that was giving the pretty boys a run for their money in the hooks and looks department. Plus, you could unashamedly stare at them and drool without requiring therapy in later years.

We recently had an opportunity to spend some time chatting with founding guitarist Jan Kuehnemund about all things Vixen and some theories on the music business in general.
Vixen Today

Jan gave us all the details of the current Kickstarterproject that Vixen has launched to help fund their next album.

We take a trip down memory lane from Jan’s early days forming Vixen in St. Paul, Minnesota with high school friends to their journey out west to Los Angeles in the early 1980’s.

It certainly was not an overnight success story for Kuehnemund as she struggled for a number of years moving Vixen forward while enduring demanding producers and numerous lineup changes.

One lineup of Vixen saw the band portraying a group known as Diaper Rash and performing at a bikini contest on the beach. The group toured the Midwest in between shooting their parts as well as working waitress jobs in the Los Angeles area to survive.

Jan gives us her recollections of the formation of the most notable lineup of the band which included singer Janet Gardner, bassist Share Pedersen, and drummer Roxy Petrucci. We hear her story of how ‘Edge of a Broken Heart’ was written and delivered in 24 hours by singer/songwriter Richard Marx as well as her comparisons of the 1988 debut album to the follow-up Rev It Up.

Aaron and Chris hear Jan’s memories of touring with artists such as KISS, Deep Purple, and Ozzy Osbourne among others.

Throughout the 90’s and early 2000’s, Vixen became a chameleon –like group, shuffling members but the transition was certainly not seamless as Jan was in and out of the group and even took them to court over copyright infringement for the 1998 album Tangerine. We asked Jan about the stresses and strains of that era and she was very open about what took place.

We hear about the current lineup of Vixen and how they formed in only a few weeks time to finish out the Voices of Metal tour.

Vh1 came calling a few years later and got Vixen back together for a single one-off performance in Los Angeles. The tension in the room was palpable when the four women met again for the first time in years but they pulled it together to perform. 
Vh1 Bands Reunited

We also ask Jan if there’s any possibility of another Vixen reunion and she gives us the low-down on recent contact between band members. Pretty interesting stuff.

We want to thank Jan Kuehnemund again for coming on the show and wish her luck in the future with Vixen. To check out more Vixen stuff go to

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2012: The Year in Music.


2012: The Year in Music. All you really need to know, and a few things you’ll wish you didn’t.
In deference to the Mayans being so kind as to leave us signs that this will be the last year of the Earth (ha), I’ve decided to do a little bit of prognosticating myself. No, I won’t be telling your fortune, per se, and I won’t be reading your palm. What I am going to do is tell you the future of music; or, at least the next several months of music. I’m not going to cover every single month or every single release because, frankly, some of the stuff being released isn’t even funny and I have no intention of breaking international laws by torturing you.
While there are some really great albums scheduled to come out this year, there is, of course, some real rank ass shit too. You’ll forgive the language once you see what I mean.
So let’s start with what are definitely going to be the highlights of 2012 music.
March 26 IRON MAIDEN-En Vivo
While I’m ususally not a fan of live albums, I figure that since I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing Iron Maiden live this is the next best thing. Regardless, it’s Iron Maiden and that’s all that needs to be said.
The offering will consist of a two disc set along with a DVD/BluRay of the concert in Santiago, Chile from 2011. And even though the guys are getting on up there in years, from the buzz about the early cuts this promises to be well worth the wait.
March 27 Shinedown-Amaryllis
I know there are some who don’t particularly like this band, but I do so bite me. I still say that singer Brent Smith belongs in the realm of Bruce Dickinson, Layne Staley and Sebastian Bach. This guy has vocal talent that many only dream of.
Smith has said in interviews that this album didn’t feel like just another version of the previous albums but a progression into what the perfection of Shinedown is. This is a high bar considering all six singles from 2008’s Sound of Madness went to #1.
June 2012 KISS-Monster
Well here we go again, and no I’m not talking about David Coverdale. Yes, it’s time for another KISS album. Sure it’s KISS and everyone will run out and buy it, but at this point KISS has more to lose by releasing a new album than to gain. If they release a great album it will just be another in the long line of KISS, if it sucks though, well then they become a joke. After all, you’re only as good as your last album and at this point the members of KISS are getting a little old and have far less time in front of them than behind them. But, I have faith in Gene and Paul and actually expect a good effort and even not being a fanatic KISS fan I’ll probably, wait for it…buy my FIRST KISS album. I know, I know, I’m late to the party. It’s not that I don’t have KISS on the old MP3 player, I’ve just never gone to the store and bought an entire album. Hoping there’s no disappointment.
May 2012 Tool-The Seventh Side
It’s Tool, one of the greatest and most originally talented groups of musicians to ever play together. I know they’re not for everyone, but as a classically trained musician it’s the depth of their writing that has always drawn me in and never disappointed, that and the fact that they rock out like so few can now. Early reviews for this are far more than glowing. Reports are that it will be the best Tool album yet.
Spring Soundgarden
Not to sound superstitious or anything, but I have noticed an odd coincidence that relates hair length to music quality. Don’t believe it? Think about when Metallica started to suck. It was just after they all got skeezy looking short haircuts, Soundgarden rocked far less once Chris Cornell’s hair got short and commercial and Robert Plant got old the minute he went to the bowl cut. On the flip side, Ronnie James Dio sported metal locks until the day he died and now Chris Cornell is back to actually looking like a rocker instead of some cashier at Abercrombie and Fitch. I am hoping for good things.
TBA Rage Against the Machine
And following up Chris Cornell, I guess it’s time for Zach De La Rocha to get back to making money, I mean bitching about politics. Hopefully he’s not gotten so jaded with success and fortune that the album will include such titles as, Oppressed by My Facebook Timeline, Township Cotillion or Take the Caviar Back.
TBA Black Sabbath
With the original lineup of Ozzy, Tony Iommi, Geezer and Bill Ward you’d expect this to be incredible. Well, just to top that off, it is going to be produced by Rick Rubin which all but guarantees it to be one of the absolute best albums of the year. This is a presale I will getting into.

TBA Motorhead-The Covers Album
Apparently Lemmy thought other bands sucked at playing their own songs so he’s just going to show them how to do it right. A definite purchase for me. But as of right now, there’s not much info on what songs will be on the album or band lineup. So, just turn on Top 40 Radio and imagine how Motorhead would do it.

TBA Slayer
Ah, Slayer. Yes, Slayer. That is all.

Honorable Mention
Cannibal Corpse March 13, Testament Spring, Lamb of God January 24, NOFX, Bad Religion, Diablo Swing Orchestra
Now to the fun part, the LEAST worthy albums expected out this year. This section had to be cut down at least a dozen times. Not because I got long winded, but because there is so much unmitigated crap coming out this year. Just as an example you can expect new abominations from the Bieber, Madonna, Christina Aguilera and Lady Gaga.
TBA Scott Stapp-Somewhere in the Middle of Lust and Love
So if you didn’t get tired of Creed sucking, well here’s a second chance. Scott Stapp has gone solo; obviously even his fellow band mates just couldn’t handle him anymore. The only thing worse would be a perfect storm of Stapp opening for Nickelback. What have I just done? Damn I hope no one from the networks or record labels took that as a good idea, otherwise we’re all screwed.

May 29 Insane Clown Posse-The Mighty death Pop!
ICP, the band who has supplied the soundtrack to trailer park meth labs across America. Once again, there is no justice in the world. They say only the good die young, so I guess we have another century or two of these idiots. This has to be some sick joke; there must be some international human rights law against releasing shit like this. But since there isn’t we’re going to be “blessed” with the fanatical delusions and ramblings of Juggalos and more talk about their fascination with Faygo. If you’ve never had the pleasure of a five minute conversation with a Juggalo, you don’t know what you’re missing and for that you should be eternally grateful.
What I expect from this album, which I will most definitely waste the brain cells on, is more of the fundamental questions of life as in their previous albums such as,

Sorry, I get a little teary eyed when I read great poetry.

March 20 Adam Lambert-Trespassing
Ok, I don’t watch American Idol so I didn’t know what this “thing” was when I first saw it. To be honest, my first thought was, “wow, dark Goth chick with daddy issues. Sounds hot.” Then, I found out it was a guy. Ouch. On a related note, this was also comparable to my first impression when I saw the previews to Brokeback Mountains. I thought, “Hey, cool a new cowboy movie”. Luckily I found out what it was about before going in blind and being surprised. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not being judgmental, but sometimes surprise is a little too much. For reference just watch the “Two Girls One Cup” reaction videos and see what happens when what you expect is clearly the opposite of what you get.
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