First off thank you to every one that joined us at NAMM and the NAMM JAM we had some great bands come by the booth this year and got to meet some really cool companies! Below are some of the photos from the fun that took place… NAMM of course is to big and has so much going but please enjoy these galleries of some of the happenings of NAMM and tell next year!
There is no better way to start off your week with an official Metal Monday listening party for Meshuggah at the Affliction Studios in Seal Beach. Monday’s always drag, but not this past Monday when I was invited to hear the new 8th studio album by tech-metal pioneers Meshuggah. The album will be released October 7th on Nuclear Blast Records, but tonight around 50 lucky people were invited to hear the whole album before the rest of the world. Jose Mangin is the ultimate metal host. He makes sure your bellies are full from tacos by Borracho Taco and endless Modelos. Plus his signature jalapeño cucumber infused Riazul Tequila. Jose and his wife Melissa probably refilled the margarita station four times before the end of the night. The guests were going through it like water. It was so tasty and the next day I did not have a hangover. The night was filled with familiar faces like the band members of Kyng, Sen Dog of Cypress Hill and the drummer of Exmortus plus other familiar industry folk. After we got settled and feeling good, Jose Mangin came down to introduce Tomas Haake the drummer of Meshuggah. He the main songwriter for Mashuggah and is known for his polyrhythm’s and technical ability.
Tomas said a few words about the album. He said this album was recorded live. There is rawness and an organic element to it because the band was together playing in one room at one time as opposed to in separate places sending their instrumental parts to one another. The album was engineered by Tue Madsen of Puk Studios in Kaerby, Denmark. The new album is called The Violent Sleep Of Reason will be well worth the wait and different from anything the Swedish tech- metal band has done before. This new album is also inspired by a Goya painting called The Sleep Of Reason Produces Monsters. The album packs a powerful punch and keeps you interested from beginning to end. It was another great party at the Affliction Studios and I can’t wait till the next one. Make sure to pick up The Violent Sleep Of Reason released by Nuclear Blast Records on October 7th!
By Raquel Figlo
Devilskin photos by Enrique Nunez
As a music blogger I have the opportunity to interview and check out new bands as I try to support the music scene as much as I can. When I was asked to interview New Zealand band Devilskin, who opened up for legendary musician Tracii Guns, I jumped on the opportunity and did as much research as I could to see what this band was all about. They definitely lived up to their reputation as arena rock performers.
Devilskin is a Rock/metal band from Hamilton, New Zealand that was formed in 2010 by lead guitarist Nail and bassist Paul Martin. Jennie Skullander is the lead vocalist who is not only gorgeous but has amazing vocal range and can growl with the best of them. Drummer Nic Martin is not only the youngest member of the band but he is also the son of Paul Martin. Imagine going on tour with your dad? Nic’s an excellent drummer with lots of energy who hits the drums with great power and precision. The band debuted their album “We Rise” in July 2014 and it entered the national charts in New Zealand at number one and became certified gold. Super impressive!
Performing at the Whisky a Go Go on April 29th was their first LA show and they nailed it! The crowd’s reaction was positive and from the look on everyone’s faces they were impressed by Devilskin’s performance! You can check out their videos on YouTube and one of my favorite songs already is Little Pills because of the melody and heavy riffs. A lot of the songs they sing have depth and meaning, something you can relate too. You can read my full length interview with Devilskin in the next issue of Rock ‘N Roll Industries Magazine.
I was hanging out upstairs by the bar waiting for Tracii Guns to take the stage when Rudy Sarzo walks up and, of course, I had to stop him and take a photo! He is so nice and a killer bassist. For those who don’t know he was in Quite Riot and Ozzy Osbourne. He has had quite the career and he still is playing bass and killing every performance. You can catch him all over rock venues in LA! However, I am glad to see him sharing the stage with Tracii Guns formally of LA Guns! When Tracii Gun’s band started to play I couldn’t help but notice the lead singer Keith St. John because he is very charismatic. His stage presents reminds me of Robert Plant back in the 70’s and he has the vocals and the look of a rock star. Tracii Guns is just the ultimate shredder on the axe! He really put on a great performance that night and did it with great passion and energy. The night had a special surprise when 11 year old drumming prodigy Jagger Alexander-erber took the stage. He was on the television program Australia’s Got Talent. His parents were in the audience grinning ear to ear as he played a Led Zeppelin song with the band. He shocked the whole audience how incredible he was. Tracii gave Jagger a hug when the song ended and was super impressed, himself, by the performance! It was a great night for Rock N Roll!
By Raquel Figlo
Rock n roll’s elite graced the red carpet and the stage at the Roxy, on January 12th , to raise money for music education at the first annual Adopt the Arts Charity event. Those in attendance included Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Butch Trucks (The Allman Brothers), Slash, Duff McKagan (Guns ‘N Roses, Velvet Revolver), Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi), Steve Lukather (Toto), Edgar Winter, Jimmy Vivino (Conan O’Brien), Frankie Perez, and Adopt the Arts co-founder Matt Sorum (Guns ‘N Roses, Velvet Revolver). The backing band for the evening was The Disreputable Few. Orianthi walked in holding hands with Richie Sambora, both wearing stylish hats, and there was lots of bling flashing around everyone’s necks. These rock stars don’t age, they looked better than ever!
As I walked in to the delicately lighted room and past the auction items, there were chairs where people would usually stand. Once I sat down, a friendly server brought some appetizers. The catering for the event was delicious.
The show began with Matt Sorum talking about Adopt the Arts and how important music education is to both our youth and society as a whole. His co-founder Abigail Berman shared a few words, herself, and statistics about the decline in music education in California schools. Sadly, only one out of ten kids get an arts education.
They strongly pushed the message that the purpose of the evening was to raise funds for music education and to have fun doing so. And they raised a lot of money. During the intermission they auctioned off signed guitars, original photography and Matt Sorum’s signed drum heads. At one point the audience started making donations. I heard two $5,000 donations, $500 donations plus other smaller amounts. This was what the event was all about, donating for music education and about giving back to the arts, the concert was a bonus.
It was sold out with good reason. The honorees of the night were Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Billy Gibbons, lead guitarist of ZZ Top, and Butch Trucks, one of the founding members of the Allman Brothers Band. These men are legends and to see them on stage and play in an intimate venue like the Roxy is an experience I will never forget.
Billy played all the classics and my favorite song, Cheap Sun Glasses. Highlights of the night included Edgar Winter playing the blues alongside Billy Gibbons, Richie Sambora jamming shoulder to shoulder with his lovely lady Orianthi. They looked and sounded great together! Matt Sorum turned in his drums for the bongos for selected songs and did a great job getting the audience into the mood. The night was pure rock and roll and soul!
Something that touched me is when Butch Trucks talked about music’s impact on his life growing up. He said he was in marching band eighth grade through high school. He added that he is now 67 years old and sometimes it is hard for him to climb the three steps to his drums, but when he starts playing he feels like an 18 year old super hero. He added, “With music, you don’t need your head… you feel it!”
The concert continued with hit classics from the Allman Brothers. The Grand Finale was all the rock stars jamming out together in unison. It was star studded event that will go down in history! It was the first live event to have a full 360 view that viewers could watch online. It was also the first event like this for Adopt the Arts and I was a part of it!
Adopt the Arts Foundation really hits home with me. At the age of 7 I started playing the piano. I also took violin and cello lessons. It was really cool to learn how to play those instruments and play along with other students. As I grew into my teens I fell in love with rock n roll and metal. I started playing guitar at age 14 and I played all through high school and spent many Friday and Saturday nights at home with my guitar. As an adult I still sit with my original Fender guitar and play my favorite songs. I never made it to rock star status but I love music so much that I found away to be in the industry as a music journalist.
Programs like Adopt the Arts are vital to help develop well rounded individuals. Playing those instruments as a young child taught me discipline, responsibility, gave me confidence and it made me feel good about myself! It is sad and disturbing to hear that music and art budgets have been cut back drastically in California. As a society, we need to support non-profits such as Adopt the Arts. We have to show the youth the future is not just the internet and the latest technology, it’s about self expression and raw emotions. And music education highlights these very important qualities.
About Adopt the Arts
Founded in 2010, Adopt the Arts Foundation brings together well-known artists, public figures, and the general public to save the arts in America’s public schools. Co-founders Abby Berman and Matt Sorum believe that it is morally and ethically incumbent upon the public-at-large to foster the creativity, dreams, hopes, and imaginations of our children. Adopt the Arts is dedicated to improving the academic performance of every child through the gift of making art and music available to public school students. In 2011, Adopt the Arts chose Rosewood Avenue Elementary (West Hollywood, CA) as its pilot school, working directly with the principal and the booster club to ensure that the students receive exposure to all the arts disciplines, including music, dance, theater, and visual arts. Adopt the Arts is paying the salary of the music teacher and has outfitted a music room with donated keyboards, guitars, and drums. With the help of the arts education branch of LAUSD, Adopt the Arts is identifying the most underserved schools in the district as it prepares for its next series of adoptions. In September 2012, Adopt the Arts donated 1,000 musical instruments (i.e. drum kits, keyboards, guitars, bass guitars) to LAUSD elementary schools. Each school site is available to be “adopted” by anyone that wants to help—whether a business, a working artist, celebrity or public figure—to underscore the importance of community involvement. As of December 2014, Adopt the Arts has now adopted Westminster Elementary School in Venice, CA and their music program will begin at the school in January 2015. (adoptthearts.org)
Story by Raquel Figlo