Archive for June, 2015
An unInterview With Johanna Sadonis From Lucifer Performed By Mickey Rourke Before All The Plastic Surgery
Last night, I was abducted from my bedroom during a fitful sleep by Lucifer vocalist Johanna Sadonis, actor Mickey Rourke and former US Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird. My wife informed me later than the three performed a bizarre Santeria ritual around my bedside and poured some mind-altering substance into my CPAP machine. They then hoisted me out the window and onto famed metal musician Lee Dorian’s flying couch. I awoke hanging from my feet nearly 30,000 feet above the city of Nashville, Tenneesee while Secretary Laird painted my feet with ox blood. To the best of my recollection, here is what was discussed….
Rourke: Do you know Johnny Favorite?
Sadonis: I deliberately chose to create a new concept this time around, as when I founded The Oath. I felt no need to repeat it. I loved that one album we did with The Oath and her raw style of playing fit very well with it. With Lucifer however I wanted to put more weight on 70s Heavy Rock influences and Doom. Deeper, more moody and defined.
Rourke: How terrible is wisdom when it brings no profit to the wise?
Sadonis: Lucifer is not so much influenced by the folk stuff. Black Sabbath is the greatest influence to Gaz and me, yes. Gaz is also a huge Trouble fan. Other big influences to Lucifer are Deep Purple, Uriah Heep. Blue Öyster Cult, Aphrodite’s Child, Lucifer’s Friend, Led Zeppelin, Pentagram. The list goes on! I am personally also very influenced by 70s Heart, 70s Fleetwood Mac, Jefferson Airplane and the Shocking Blue.
Rourke: You ever watch the Mickey Mouse Club? Because you know what today is?
Sadonis: These are two great bands. Bands like these of the 1960/70s have an original fire and spirit because what they did was fresh at the time. Heavy distorted guitars and in the case of bands like Coven and Black Widow wrapped into a magic dress. I just watched a Black Widow full show on the German TV program Beat-Club the other day. It was a black mass ritual complete with magic circle, a nude girl as a vessel, ritual knife etc. Today that is not shocking anymore but then it was obscure and fairly fresh. It was daring, extreme and creative. I love that spirit and look up to it. I also love hearing the direct influence these bands drew from, music my mother raised me with.
These bands are direct successors of their influences in blues and you can still hear it prominently shining through. That is beautiful to me as it is the musical language I grew up with. I’m a rock’n’roller at heart. I’m not saying modern bands in general lack this but it is certainly difficult trying to reinvent the wheel within Rock Music nowadays, so yes, I can relate much better to the original spirit than to copies of copies.
Rourke: What gives human life its worth anyway? Because someone loves it, hates it?
Sadonis: Thank you so much! You took the words right from my mouth!
Rourke: Are you an atheist? Do you speak French? Are you from Brooklyn?
Sadonis: It is a very powerful name, yes. I put a lot of thought into everything I do. It shouldn’t matter so much what people think. It has to make sense to me and it does.
Rourke: Why do you have a thing about chickens?
Sadonis: I have been playing in bands since I was a teenager and have been along the way very involved with the Metal scene in general all these years as a DJ, as a local promoter putting up shows and running events in Berlin. I have for example an old school Heavy Metal party called Kill Em All Club for almost six years now too. When we released the first single with The Oath on High Roller Records, several labels approached us for the album. Rise Above was one of them and we decided to go for them because of their catalogue and dedication. I didn’t meet Gaz until we played in London with The Oath.
Rourke: Mephistopheles can be a mouthful in Manhattan, don’t you think?
Sadonis: Lucifer genuinely plays from the heart and not what might or might not be expected. I don’t measure Lucifer with other bands. I’m not looking at modern bands for inspiration. We might share similar influences with some of these bands. Whatever these inspirations are channeled into though, be it any of the mentioned bands or us, I don’t think needs to be compared. We all differ musically very much from another. I am however friends with most of these bands and respect and admire their work as contemporaries.
(Robert De Niro suddenly appears on the flying couch looking very much like Satan)
De Niro: Some religions think that the egg is the symbol of the soul. Did you know that?
Sadonis: In fact, my parents were listening to 70s music. My rebellion as a teenager was listening to Heavy Metal. I was a complete misfit for it at school actually. I went to my first metal shows at the age of 13. That was GunsNRoses and Metallica. Danzig then turned me onto a darker path and by the time I was 15/16 I started deeply into Black, Death and Doom Metal. Later on I opened my horizon musically and started digging into the past of musical history and here we are now.
DeNiro: Would you like an egg?
A huge difference indeed. The devil is only part of the whole picture. A metaphoric figure. Devil worshipping might have a strong appeal but it is very one sided. I am very interested in the dark side of things and had a time in my life I leaned very strongly towards it. However I learned that it applies much more to my life to draw perspectives on existence, death and everything beyond from ALL religions and philosophies. There is a universal duality. There is no dark without light and vice versa. And ‘as above so below’ as a central principle. I embrace it all with an open heart. I’m a very spiritual person and I have been looking for answers from an early age on – everywhere.
Melvin Laird: Why did you let Bedbug Eddie take Paulie’s thumbs? Do you worry that protecting him from his own mistakes will eventually lead to your undoing?
Sadonis: Lucifer is a very complex figure. He is the morning star, the bringer of light in the Hebrew bible, Greek and Roman mythology. As the morning star, he represents Venus, the brightest star in the sky, only seen while descending during morning hours, hence Lucifer ending up as the fallen angel in the bible. The Old Testament had very positive things to say about the son of the morning. Unfortunately later on his figure was used to teach a lesson Christian style. He was now pictured as a favoured angel to god for his beauty and intellect and cast out of heaven when it got to his head and he started ‘sinning’. He ended up as being this common misconception for being a rebel: the devil. A wrong picture conjured in the bible. To me Lucifer is beautiful, bright and very misunderstood. A misfit. The name is not related to Kenneth Anger even though I am a fan of his work.
That’s the last thing I remember. I awoke the next morning in my bed unharmed.
An unInterview With Gary Meskil From Pro-Pain That Didn’t Really Take Place After I Was Beaten At Shoprite
If I could be anyone when I grow up, it would be Gary Meskil from Pro-Pain. I have an unhealthy fascination with the man’s work. The band has several thousand albums and I have memorized every detail about every one of them.
You can imagine my surprise when I ran into him in a Shoprite in Passaic, New Jersey. He was buying turnips. I was so overcome with joy that I began leaping up and down and shouting. I attempted to hug Mr. Meskil when a store security guard, who erroneously believed I was trying to assault him, hit me over the head with a billyclub. I lost consciousness.
When I awoke, I was in a hospital room. Gary was standing there with my family looking extremely concerned holding a Whitman’s Sampler and a card that said “Get Well Soon, Champ!” on the front. I began asking him questions…
Me: I saw the band play back in 1992 when “Foul Taste of Freedom” had just come out. One of my favorite shows ever. It was in a Guido bar in New Rochelle, New York called Marty and Lenny’s that occasionally did metal shows under the equally awful name “The Rocker Room”. I was a skinny high school kid with a Gabe Kaplan from “Welcome Back, Kotter” looking Afro. I was wearing an Immolation shirt. How would you rate my performance in the pit that night?
Gary: I would give it the highest of scores. A perfect 10! Aerodynamic haircuts are timeless and seem to be quite practical in and out of the confines of the pit. The spherical shape obviously aides in getting to the forefront of the circle pit and also in eluding certain rough and tumble types. The Gabe Kaplan cut was a good one! Add an Immolation T-shirt and you have a perfect score!
Me: Was Johnny Black a real guy or is that a made up story?
Gary: It’s a true story, but I made it vague enough so that the fans could relate to it via their own story. It’s generally about a modern day James Dean type. Someone whom we all looked up to “way back when”. Then as the years went by, everyone and everything seemed to change around him, yet he stayed exactly the same. As a result, those who once idolized him suddenly frowned upon him. He died young, and I was inspired to write about my observations of people who lose their inner child as they grow older. Suddenly everything becomes shallow and forced, with talks about the weather and such. I admire people who have the guts to always be themselves.
Me: You have an incredibly powerful, distinctive voice. Have you ever ended up in a public situation where a used car salesman or some other idiot is jerking you around and all of a sudden you change your voice like in “Johnny Black” and scare the hell out of them?
Gary: That’s a great idea, but I can’t recall ever vocally changing gears like that as a fear tactic in public. However, as a father it came in quite handy sometimes to use my “stage voice”, since I’m in favor of sparing the rod.
Me: (in a serious voice) A running theme in your music is a weariness and frustration with American military adventurism. From “Iraqnophobia” to “To Never Return” (a song I believe to be one of the most passionate indictments of US foreign policy ever put to music), you have railed against the government’s choice of wars. Do you see anyway for the United States to, at this point, extract ourselves from decisions driven by the military-industrial complex or are we pretty much stuck playing that hand until Armageddon or revolution?
Gary: It’s pretty idealistic to think that war is somehow not perpetual. That is indeed how insane the world is. There seems to be a disharmony between humans and nature. Perhaps we are alien to this Earth. The wars and occupations will continue as long as at least half of the citizens of the occupying country are somehow convinced that it is necessary. The world desperately needs more tolerance and less ignorance.
Me: You have done some interesting experimenting with your sound over the years. Have you ever thought of doing a really freaky, out-there Pro-Pain album? Maybe a mix of thrash, hardcore, gospel, and Bangladeshi folk music. Or something in that vain?
Gary: That would be interesting, if nothing else. I think there are bands out there who experiment to the extreme in that regard. System Of A Down comes to mind. They use their influences really well, in my opinion. With Pro-Pain, there have been quite a few exploratory moments over the years, and more than we are given credit for (I’m sure). We used 808 samples (now called bass drops) in 92’, we had trumpets on our debut , a sax solo and Ice-T duet in 95’, horn sections on various songs, melodic vocals, and lots of guitar wizardry….yet some still categorize us as just a hardcore band.
Me: I’m in the Pro-Pain Army on Facebook. Is there any chance we could go to war with the Kiss Army? We could invade the makeup aisle at Target or something. Go after anyone who has whiskers painted on them. What do you say?
Gary: Sounds like a plan, (and good PR). We might be outnumbered, but their Love Guns are no match for our PRO-PAIN Tanks!
Me: What do you think the greatest film ever made is?
Gary: The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz
Me: Really? Why?
Gary: Because it was beautiful on it’s face, ugly inside, and was magically and majestically presented on the big screen circa 1939. To this day, there is still so much room for all kinds of interpretation (political and otherwise). Fascinating stuff!
Me: Once I was hanging out with a bunch of serious hip-hop heads that were all freestyling rap lyrics. Everybody sounded really good and I was nervous because I can’t freestyle for my life. Each guy did a verse. They were making fun of me because they didn’t think I could rap. Luckily, I knew “Pound for Pound” by heart and none of them listened to metal. I jumped up and did the whole song. They all looked at me in stunned silence and acted like I was some sort of genius. I pretended I made the lyrics up and they all thought I was cool from that point on. I’ve always felt guilty for passing your work off as my own. You’re not angry, are you?
Gary: No. It must have happened some time ago though, because “Pound For Pound” is now required learning in most urban schools around the country. The class is called Street Cred 101.
Me: (at this point, I dramatically grabbed his hand…I think it made him horribly uncomfortable, but I wanted to convey the importance of what I was about to say) Promise me you’ll never stop making Pro-Pain albums. EVER! I want your word on this.
Gary: Define EVER. My word is that I’ll keep making PRO-PAIN albums as long as I’m ABLE. (see ABLE under definitions).
ABLE: See EVER
Me: (I look away from Gary and directly into the eyes of YOU, the audience) They have a new album coming out this month. It is called “Voice Of Rebellion”. You need to buy multiple copies of it and give it to all of your family members and friends. If you do not buy at least five copies, hundreds of bees will attack you when you are not expecting it. Like, when you are sleeping. Or, on an airplane.
Have you ever been so hungry you could eat a horse? On Sunday night, members of the black metal band Watain did just that.
At the end of an impromptu show at Wantagh, Long Island’s VFW Hall 3666, singer Erik Danielsson and the rest of the band carved up the now-legendary horse American Pharoah and consumed him raw. After the band concluded their concert and meal, they donated the remaining edible flesh of the animal to the audience of nearly one hundred formerly enlisted soldiers who served our country with honor during The Korean War and World War 2.
The thoroughbred’s owner Ahmed Zayat, who himself plays in a Megadeth cover band called Hoof in Mouth, is a huge fan of heavy metal and Watain in particular. He demanded that trainer Bob Baffert play Watain’s seminal metal song “Reaping Death” for at least an hour during each of Pharoah’s workouts in order to inspire the horse to greatness. Zayat’s love for the band is so great, that he gave up the hundreds of millions of dollars in stud fees that the horse was bound to command in order to “feed Satan’s Hunger” and pay tribute to his heroes.
Many parts of a horse are not consumable by human beings. In an attempt to be environmentally conscious by not wasting unused horse parts, the band threw many of the animal’s organs into the mosh pit of elderly servicemen during their show. Later in the evening, in a prank inspired by Francis Ford Coppola’s seminal film “The Godfather”, they broke into the nearby summer home of Slayer guitarist Kerry King and placed the beast’s head in bed next to him.
While eating a raw horse is rare among metal bands, involvement in the sport of horse racing is certainly not unprecedented among some of the genre’s legendary figures. Former Samhain vocalist Glenn Danzig is believed to have sired several horses that have run in past Triple Crown events including 2007 Kentucky Derby runner up Twist of Cain and 2011 Preakness winner Her Black Wings.
Metal has also seen its share of horse racing controversy. Texas gore metallers Devourment were briefly detained by police back in 2003 when they were thought to have stolen and consumed the body of diminutive jockey Willie Shoemaker. Shoemaker’s remains were found safely weeks later in a basement in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The question on everyone’s mind after the evening’s festivities was just how did the horse taste? According to Danielsson, “Kind of like baby.”