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Converse Launch Black Sabbath Chuck Taylors

blacksabbath2013I’m never sure if I love or hate the idea of bands getting in on the shoe market. But when it’s a band like Black Sabbath, how can you not be a little curious?  Featuring cover art from the band’s albums Black Sabbath, Paranoid, Vol. 4, and Never Say Die!, as well as logos and photos, a new line of Black Sabbath Chucks will be issued by Converse. Shoes will run between $60 to $70, and feature various imagery in the liners, depending on the edition. Check out a teaser of the new shoes below. (more…)

Riffs, Rants & Rumors: Celebrate the Weed Laws with Rock's Top 10 Stoners

Sure, there was some kind of election or something last week”at least we think that’s what we heard coming out of the mouths of the TV pundits. Honestly, we kind of stopped paying attention after a while, at least until the news broke about a truly earth-shattering political breakthrough. While the rest of the world was focused on whichever one of those guys with the suits and ties walked away with the prize, we were captivated by a revolutionary piece of legislation that proved to be election night’s biggest surprise: the legalization of recreational marijuana use in Washington and Colorado. While this monumental move has been the dream of stoners all over America for decades, it must be assumed that the passing of what we like to call The Bong Bill will be most widely celebrated in the realm of rock ‘n’ roll. To commemorate the dawning of a new era for uncontrolled substances, let’s look back at some of rock’s most notorious stoners, who are sure to be holding their lighters aloft in honor of these epochal developments.

Black Sabbath

Just for starters, one of their earliest albums introduced the much-covered metal marijuana anthem Sweet Leaf. But beyond that musical love letter to THC, Ozzy Osbourne is one of rock’s most titanic tokers, to the point that he ultimately changed his stance on legalization in recognition of the damage drugs had done to his neurological system. Granted, we’re talking about a lot more than merely pot in Ozzy’s case, but nevertheless, Sabbath are still stoner-rock (more…)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Kind Of A Drag

Today is kind of a slow news day. And so, today, you get¦ rock stars in drag: the superlatives.

Most natural: Bowie

Most disturbing: Queen

Most frequent: Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones

Best homage: Blur (as Blondie)

Most dudes: Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention

Best pout: Ozzy Osbourne

Most confusing to high school jocks in 1994: Kurt Cobain

Most committed: New York Dolls

Best looking: Bono

Jack Osbourne Diagnosed With Multiple Sclerosis

Reality television star Jack Osbourne has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, according to People magazine. Osbourne, son of Black Sabbath rocker Ozzy Osbourne and America’s Got Talent judge Sharon Osbourne, recently welcomed the birth of daughter Pearl in April with fiancé Lisa Stelly just two weeks prior to the diagnosis. I was just angry and frustrated and kept thinking, ˜Why now?’ Osbourne told People. I’ve got a family and that’s what’s supposed to be the most important thing.

Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system “ the brain and spinal chord “ and can affect muscle control, strength, vision, balance, thinking, and feeling. MS differs in each case, producing effects ranging from minor to severe disability. However, most people fall somewhere in the middle of the two extremes.

Osbourne, the youngest of three children, starred in the MTV reality series The Osbournes, which followed the every-day lives of the rock star’s family. After entering rehab for drug use, he went on to star in his own 2005 series, Jack Osbourne: Adrenaline Junkie, undertaking various extreme sports around the world.

Osbourne is 26.

Friday, June 8th, 2012

Metal Monday: What If Ozzy Never Left Sabbath?

Many years ago in a galaxy known as metal, some stuff happened that would change the course of the genre forever (but you probably knew that already). We’re here to ponder things like “what if that never happened” in regard to some of metal’s most momentous events and happenings – What might the metal world be like today?

1979. What a year, right? Metal was really starting to gain some traction with breakout bands like Judas Priest, Motí¶rhead, etc. and all seemed well, except over in the Black Sabbath camp. For lack of a better description, the Sabbath camp was a drunken, dysfunctional mess by 1979, and that atmosphere ultimately led to Ozzy Osbourne being kicked out of the band. Ten years into the band’s legendary career, they cut ties with their vocalist. End of the road, right? WRONG. Instead, Sabbath hooked up with equally legendary voice Ronnie James Dio, and cranked out one of the most legendary metal albums of all time: Heaven & Hell.

The rest, as they say, is history. But what if Ozzy never left? Just imagine how different things from 1979 through 1980 could have been!
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Metal Monday: Looking Forward to 2012

Last week we covered the things we want most from the metal world in the coming year, some of which were things we already know are going to happen”we just hope it’s not for the worst (except Axl Rose, poor guy). Outside of the metal Christmas list, there are some happenings in the coming year that we’re especially amped for, and now we’re going to tell you all about them so you can be excited too!

First, the whale-loving Francophones Gojira will be releasing their follow-up to The Way Of All Flesh”one of our absolute favorite metal records of 2008. Over the last decade Gojira have steadily built a fanbase with their unique brand of rhythmic and forceful metal. The band really got their big break opening for Metallica a few years ago, and just recently signed to Roadrunner Records. If you didn’t already know who Gojira were, you certainly will now. There is a good chance this record will see itself in a lot of top album lists for 2012 if the band’s previous sucess is any indication of things to come.

Obviously, Gojira aren’t the only band releasing a highly-anticipated album in 2012. Perhaps the most anticipated metal album of 2012 is the upcoming Black Sabbath album. We briefly covered this in last week’s metal Christmas list, but let’s think a bit more about it.  Ozzy Osbourne released an album called Scream in 2010, which was okay. More importantly, Ozzy didn’t sound like total garbage on the recordings and this gives fans hope for the upcoming album. Now, can you remember the last album that the other 3/4 of Sabbath put out? Under the moniker Heaven & Hell, the Dio version of Black Sabbath released an album called The Devil You Know and it was fantastic. Who knows if they’ll be able to play well at live shows at this point, but there’s reason to believe that the album the band records will be at least “pretty good.”

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Metal Monday: 2011 Metal Christmas List

Christmas: a time in which little boys and girls ask ol’ Saint Nick to fulfill their wildest desires. Thankfully for Santa Claus, kids don’t really wish for that many outlandish things. Metalheads, however, have some pretty crazy wants. Even though Santa might not be real, we’re going to make ourselves a metal Christmas wish-list, just in case. Better safe than sorry, right?  Here’s what we want:

1. We want Wintersun to finally finish Time. Even if you’re not completely stoked about Wintersun, won’t it be nice to finally get rid of the “Wintersun never releasing Time” joke? We think so. Even if it turns out to be another Chinese Democracy, at least we’ll be done with it.

2. We want Metallica to just stop. We love the band and all, but they just aren’t what they used to be. St. Anger was an atrocity, Death Magnetic was better but not great, and Lulu was just painful (even if we sort of gave our thumbs up to them recording with Lou Reed). Just recently they released a B-sides EP from the Death Magnetic material, and it provides almost no hope.

Yeah, same guy who sang "Welcome To The Jungle"

3. We want Axl Rose to continue being a hilarious wreck. It’s sort of a cruel thing to wish for, but it’s just too entertaining seeing more and more clips of Axl Rose totally blowing it on stage. He’s probably still making bank, so what does he care?

4. We want Black Sabbath’s reunion to not suck. In the wake of Dio’s unfortunate passing (RIP), Ozzy and Sabbath have made plans to get back together and play some shows as well as record a new album. I know a lot of people are very cautiously optimistic about this. It’s no secret that Ozzy is a former shell of himself and the entire Sabbath crew is starting to really get up there in age… but it’s the original lineup! Count us in, since this is likely the last shot to see these legends play together. We just don’t want it to be really bad.

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Metal Monday: Tips For Making A Solo Metal Record

Picture this: You’re a wildly-talented, successful musician in a wildly-successful, talented group, but you have more musical ideas than your band can record and release. What do you do? Well, you could just leave all that creativity dormant but who wants to do that? Any musician worth their salt will just decide to start a side project, and anyone who is really great will release a solo record (a popular trend these days). If you’re wondering how exactly you might go about releasing a solo record, here are some tips.

First, you need to make sure you have material that showcases you and your talents. After all, it is your side/solo project, right? You need to find a backing band to play the rest of the parts if you don’t want to be concerned with writing memorable parts for the other instruments. There’s a reason they’re the “other instruments” after all. If you’re feeling ambitious, however, can you tackle those parts yourself instead of hiring extra musicians.

Being as crazy as Devin Townsend is not a prerequisite for a solo project

Once you have the material, you need a name. This is probably the easiest part of the whole process. All you need to do is take your name, then add the word “project” to the end, and you’re done! Voilí ! Worked for Devin Townsend (ex-Strapping Young Lad) and Francesco Artusato (of All Shall Perish), why not you too? If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can leave off the “project” part and go the Yngwie Malmsteen way.

 

What’s left to do after you have material, backing musicians, and a name? Well, you might need a label to release the album. This part is optional, especially if you have no issues recording it yourself. Touring? Well, that’s another issue. Same with promotion. If you’re famous enough, that will all take care of itself, or with a little do-it-yourself effort, can come together without many hitches.

Being a weird Englishman like Ozzy isn't a prerequisite, either

The last point you need to consider is whether or not your band is going to hate you by releasing your solo/side record and becoming more popular without them (we all know they’re holding you back). There are pros and cons to each situation, you just need to know how to leverage them. For instance, if your band still likes you, then perhaps you could work in material from both projects to a live show with either. If your band ends up hating you, then use that hatred to fuel a really brightly-burning PR fire and skyrocket to the top of all the music news blogs. Any PR is good PR, right?

 

Deciding to indulge on your own solo project is a pretty big undertaking, and it’s not for everyone. But, if you’re going to do it, at least do it right. Aspiring metal solo artists can take their cues from a litany of examples, such as the aforementioned Devin Townsend, Francesco Artusato, Yngwie Malmsteen, as well as people like Jeff Loomis (ex-Nevermore), Evan Brewer (The Faceless, ex-Animosity), Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Fredrik Thordendal (Meshuggah), ICS Vortex (ex-Dimmu Borgir) and perhaps the most obvious example of all, Ozzy (like I need to say, but, ex-Black Sabbath). If you think you can hang with these phenomenal acts, then by all means make a go at it. If you can’t, maybe you’re not ready for the big leagues.