Peter Steele - 1962-2010. RIP

Earlier today Josh Silver, keyboardist in Type O Negative, confirmed the rumours of the untimely death of his fellow bandmate Pete Steele; bassist and frontman in the gothic metal band.

The reports have proven this is not yet another hoax surrounding Steele’s death, as many people have speculated.

Internet rumours were rife last night that the 48-year-old metal bassist had died of a heart failure – these rumours were confirmed today through an official statement released on the band’s website.

Earlier today, prior to the official statement released on the Type O Negative website, the speculation was confirmed by Fuse VJ, and friend of Pete Steele, Mistress Julia through two Tweets on her Twitter account.

The first confirmed Steele’s death and the second confirmed that he had died of heart failure; Mistress Julia had apparently spoken to Type O Negative guitarist Kenny Hickey who verified the reports surrounding the cause of death.

Mistress Juliya’s Tweets, confirming Pete Steele’s heart failure and death.

Blabbermouth has deatiled uinconfirmed reports that Steele was seriously ill in the days leading up to his death – these have yet to be verified.

Tributes have been pouring in all day for the Type O Negative, and ex-Carnivore, bassist from fellow metalheads in bands such as Biohazard and Hatebreed.

Steele truly was a heavy metal inspiration to all and he will be sorely missed – today has been yet another dark day for metal. My thoughts are truly with Pete’s family, friends and bandmates.

I will leave you with one of Type O Negative‘s most well known songs – Black No. 1.

RIP  Peter Steele – 1962-2010

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A special edition of the album will feature this funky artwork

Ratt’s forthcoming album, Infestation, has been made available to stream in its entirety almost a week ahead of its release.

The complete stream of the album has been released this evening, through the official Ratt website several days before its release is due, on the 19th April, 2010.

In addition to being able to stream the whole album fans can flick through a virtual album booklet containing photos and a music video for the band’s single ‘Best of Me’.

The album has already been incredibly well received by the press – the UK’s Classic Rock magazine hailed the album as “…[Ratt’s] best studio form in 25 years.”

Check out the album stream for ‘Infestation’ here!

‘Infestation’ is due out this Monday, on April 19th, as is available for pre-order here. The album is Ratt’s first in 11 years and what appears to be a true return to form for the 80s rockers. Expect a full review soon!

Leeds and Reading are offering lacklustre bands this year - so who would you pick?

There’s been a lot of controversy over the recently announced Leeds and Reading festival lineups. Hell, my rant on how thoroughly dire the entire lineup is has been my most popular and most commented post on my blog so far.

So if I’ve been throwing insults at artists this way and that, explaining why those bands don’t make a great festival lineup, who do I think is deserving of my praise as festival headliners and big-name acts?

The whole thing got me thinking of who I would have at Download, my festival of choice, to make it totally perfect. But I found myself having to omit bands because they’d broken up or members of the band are no longer with us.

But what if there were no boundaries? No feuds holding bands back. No constraints of death or age. If we could have any bands and artists we wanted, dead or alive, to play the festival of our dreams.

So I’ve come up with this, rather rudimentary, poster for Six StringsFest 2010. Click the thumbnail to the right to check out my choices, though I’m sure you can make out the main headliners from their logos.

Six main headliners, and another six to back them up - thems the rules!

Let me run you through my headliner decisions, which were much harder to finalise than you’d think.

Before you tuck in and read, leave a comment – what’s YOUR ideal festival lineup?

Pick four for each day – two headliners and two other artists to follow them on stage. Choose wisely!

First Day (Friday)

First up, to kick off the whole thing, we’ve got Pantera. The brutal, relentless force mixed with the band’s ‘groove metal’ style would really kickstart the festival at 500mph right off the bat. Seeing as there are two constraints on the band, Six StringsFest would be the only chance we’d get to see the boys again!

The band broke up in 2001 after long-term problems with vocalist Phil Anslemo, and all chances of a reunion went totally out of the window on December 8th 2004, when ex-guitarist ‘Dimebag’ Darrell Abbott was shot on stage with his new band, Damageplan, by a deranged ‘fan’ who sought to kill him and his brother (drummer Vinnie Paul), who managed to survive unscathed.

Having the boys back together to play again as Pantera in their prime would be a musical dream come true, so they’re number one!

Lamb of God continue the relentless metal force of the first day with chugging thrash riffs, brutal pits and the inevitable ‘Wall of Death’ as the set would finish with their signature mosh-pit tune Black Label.

Second Day (Saturday)

Now I know that Van Halen are still around, and still gig. But they’re getting on a bit now, and the band were at their prime in the early 80s when David Lee Roth still rocked the microphone. He was the better frontman (since replaced by Sammy Hagar) and helped the band create their greatest tracks so no substitutes!

After a good old-fashioned rock and roll arena gig, Steve Vai would take the stage to let the magic flow from his fingers for an hour while everyone would get high purely from the aural ecstasy that he creates whenever he picks up a guitar. We could all chill in the afternoon sun with a ton of beers and some sexual music.

Final Day (Sunday)

Another band still rocking the stages, but having suffered from numerous lineup changes, is Ozzy Osbourne. While Ozzy is still, obviously, a part of the band my choice in this instance would involve deceased guitarist Randy Rhoads. The man died in a tragic plane crash in 1982 and never got to fulfill his full potential both with Ozzy and as a musician, being only 25 at the time of his death.

So I’d invite him back to the stage to play at Six StringsFest, so I could experience something that I wouldn’t ever have the chance to.

And then to wrap up the weekend’s headliners, Kiss would take the stage with a slew of proper rock songs, stage moves, pyrotechnics and performances of many tracks which are all a part of rock and roll history.

So guys, this is my perfect lineup. As I said before, let me know yours. Comment with your lineup and a few details of why. If I get enough good ones, I’ll do a follow up post with a few of the best. Get scribbling!

Notice how Reading's logo reads 2010, but the Leeds Fest logo still says 2009. Screw-up after screw-up...

Ok, so it’s all over.

The completely artificial hype created by Leeds/Reading festival organisers came to a head a matter of hours ago, momentarily crashing both the Reading Festival and Leeds Festival websites – in fact, neither of the sites are back up running at full-throttle just yet.

A very basic-looking page, just with ticket links and line-up info, is all that remains for now.

You’ll have to forgive this post, it’s not often I rant incessantly (on here, at least) outside of a review, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to tell you why the people having bought Reading/Leeds tickets 15 minutes before any acts were confirmed are stupid.

Of course, rumoured line-ups have been flying around for months now, with stronger assertions over who will be appearing becoming more frequent in recent weeks.

Blink 182 had been pretty much a dead cert for the past year, and Guns N’ Roses rumours had been coming in from every angle. Even the odd suggestions that Arcade Fire would be a headliner on the main stage seemed well founded.

Arcade Fire as the opening band doesn't really set you up for a good weekend...

Check out the Reading line-up here, and the Leeds lineup here.

Even though some were wrong, most of these rumours turned out to be right. Arcade Fire, Blink 182 and Guns N’ Roses will all be main-stage headliners for this year’s Reading and Leeds festivals. Rejoice, for what could be the lamest attempt at a festival lineup in festival history.

So let’s take Leeds as the case in point since that’s where most people seem to go. To start the weekend you’ve paid no less than £187 for, you’re treated to Arcade Fire.

Yawn. Uninspired indie ‘alternative’ rock (seriously, is something labelled ‘alternative’ because it’s just totally unlistenable?), with not a single redeeming track. You know how some bands can be quite pants, but they have one song that’s actually pretty decent so you tend not to hate them? Yeah, not Arcade Fire.

And you know how some bands generally have at least one uplifting song to counter the melancholy ones? Yeah, not Arcade Fire.

In a depressing fit of irony, ‘Wake Up’ genuinely nearly put me to sleep.

These guys are opening and headlining the main stage at a festival that people are paying over 180 well-earned British pounds to be at. A festival that’s had the likes of Metallica and Rage Against The Machine grace the stage.

Then we move across to the next day and see the newly-reformed Blink 182 headlining the main stage with such songs as “I’m 30 but let’s pretend I’m really 15” and “Hammering the same powerchords while singing about high-school is awesome”.

Perhaps a worthy addition to the lineup if only for the upbeat, poppy songs that will no doubt get people jumping. But headlining? A bit of a bizarre elevation in status, don’t you think?

As we wind down our disappointing and over-priced weekend in the middle of a field, let’s see who kick-starts the big final day of partying. Guns N’ Roses.

Now, 15 years ago I would’ve jumped at the chance the see Guns N’ Roses in a festival lineup, but given that GNR is now literally just Axl Rose and whatever Hollywood rock band he can pull together to play his contrived tripe off the Chinese Democracy record, I’ll give this one a miss thanks.

It’s not even important that such a simply terrible, terrible album took fifteen years to make. What matters is that THIS is what Guns N’ Roses are now.

Just Axl Rose, his failed voice, and his lack of ability to write music that doesn’t make people want to hurl their iPods at a wall.

All three headliners are padded out with generic indie bands and whiny American pop-rock, topped off with grime dance sell-out Dizzee Rascal.

Well done guys – you’ve effectively turned what used to be Download Festival’s less-heavy little brother (The Darkness headlined the main stage back in ’04 ferchristsake) into a mish-mash of semi-popular mediocrity.

I’ll keep my money for this year’s Download where I can see bands that make me feel alive.

</rant>

Infestation is looking to be truly some of Ratt's best work - roll on the release on April 20th!

Legendary 80s rockers Ratt are back; today they released the video for their latest single, which comes off their upcoming album Infestation – the bands first album in 11 years.

The track, Best Of Me, is the first single the band have released off the soon-to-be-released album – a follow up to the incredibly bland and disappointing self-titled Ratt album from 1999.

But this video cements one fact right from the very start – Ratt are back, and they’re bringing their epic 80s sound back with a vengeance. Since the single’s release about a month ago, fans have been hailing it as the return of ‘Ratt N Roll’ and if this video is anything to go by then the album definitely will be.

The establishing shot of theom Sunset Boulevard sign, coupled with the crunching 80s-style opening riff hold your attention before the rest of the band enters the song and grabs you firmly by the balls. The epic, almost Steve Vai-esque, lead guitar lick cries out in typical 80s arena-rock fashion.

You can picture the thousands-deep crowds, massive stages and falmboyant pyrotechnics as vocalist Stephen Pearcy growls out the vocals over images of guitars, women and alcohol.

Then you don’t have to even picture the scene, as the rest of the music video plays out as an epic Ratt gig – man how I wish I could’ve got a spot appearing in that video! (Fingers crossed Ratt do a worldwide tour to promote Infestation!)

Lead guitarist Warren DeMartini told music blog Noisecreep that the band were confident the fans of ‘Ratt N Roll’ will love both the track and the video.

“The video is a visual ode about today’s 21st century mass media and information age overload mixed with unabridged smokin’ live performance.

“We know Ratt fans will like it as much as we liked shooting it.”

This really is a return to form for Ratt. Their output in the 80s was so epic and legendary – Ratt’s famous track Round And Round is a staple 80s rock song – and their last album effort was so lacklustre and ‘un-Ratt’, for want of a better phrase, that it’s like the band are saying “Y’know what, fuck being different – let’s do what we do best and just fucking rock“.

That’s not a quote, by the way, but after watching this video and listening to the track it just might as well be!

The band have also released a second single off the album, titled Eat Me Up Alive – kicking almost as much ass as Best Of Me, and closer to heavy metal than hair metal.

The album Infestation is penned for an April 20th release date – get pre-ordering folks; Ratt N Roll is back!

The 'Cocked, Locked, Ready To Rock!' tour will go all across Europe this summer

After much time of turmoil and rumours, Aerosmith have at long last announced for their upcoming European tour; the ‘Cocked, Locked, Ready To Rock!’ tour.

The band will be fronted by none other than…Steve Tyler. Yes, that’s right. In a total, complete and utter shock move Aerosmith’s next tour will feature the same singer the band have used for the past 40 years. Calm down folks.

The announcement of the tour, and Steve Tyler’s re-addition to the band after a statement from the band last month said they would be auditioning for a new singer, was made on the band’s YouTube channel.

Steve Tyler lead the video annoucning “We’re comin’ to the UK and Europe this summer so grab your ankles, we’re comin’ in for landing, baby!”

Vocalist Tyler also made light of the fact the band had been in the stages of auditioning for a new singer, cuing laughter from the rest of the band, proclaiming “I just auditioned and I got the gig. We’re comin’ your way and rockin’ your world!”

The announcement was also made on the band’s official website, outlining the 11 planned European tour dates, including their headlining of the main stage at this year’s download festival.

The dates are as follows:

  • Sweden – Rock Festival – June 10th
  • UK – Download Festival – June 13th
  • UK – London 02 Arena – June 15th
  • Romania – Bucharest – June 18th
  • Greece – Athens Olympic Stadium – June 20th
  • Holland – Nijmegen Goeffert Park – June 23rd
  • Belgium – Graspop Festival – June 25th
  • Spain – Barcelona St Jordi Arena – June 27th
  • France – Paris Bercy Arena – June 29th
  • Czech Republic – Prague 02 Arena – July 1st
  • Italy – Venice Festival – July 3rd

It has been three years since Aerosmith have taken the stage in Europe and guitarist, Joe Perry, is adament that the are back and better than ever before.

The legendary fret-master said: “Enough BS – we’re coming and everything is going to be set at eleven.”

Tickets for the band’s appearance at Download festival are already on sale, and tickets for their other dates are expected to go on sale shortly.

Source: Aero Force One – The Official Aerosmith Website

The Dean Band, featuring MAB, rocking out.

So this weekend saw the Dean Owners of America (DOA, for short) holding their annual guitar bash for anyone who owns, or just loves, Dean guitars – the ‘of America’ is slightly misleading, given that anyone of any nationality can join.

It’s basically just a big weekend where all the members of DOA (mainly members of the company’s forum) hook up at the Dean HQ in Tampa, Flordia and have a good time. Jamming with Dean’s endorsees, parties, factory tours and drinking way too much alcohol always seem to be on the cards.

Michael Angelo Batio was one of the big stars at this year’s event.

He took to the stage to perform a blisteringly shred-tacular set, and even went along with other DOA members on the Dean factory tour, where members got to see the ins and outs of what goes into making a Dean.

A custom shop floyded ML built for Randy Cooper from southern-rockers 'Texas Hippie Coalition'.

Right from choosing the wood, to the body being routed out by a CNC machine to winding and wiring Dean’s line of pickups, the fans got to see the whole process from start to finish.

This was all the morning after the night before. The Friday night of DOA is when everyone gathers at Dean HQ to jam some songs live, drink some beers and meet the new faces of the club.

The coolest recoded moment of the night seems to have been Michael Angelo Batio joining Jen from Genitorturers on stage to jam Highway To Hell.

Name me one other guitar company who does this for their fans? Sure, other companies put on quite a show and dance…when it comes to sales. But this isn’t for the money, this is about bringing all the fans together and putting on a killer weekend for all their loyal customers.

You don’t see many endorsees joining forces (even with other DOA members) and getting up on stage to put on a good show for the fans. That’s how to treat your customers. Jackson, ESP, Ernie Ball…take note – I love these companies as much as my Deans, so step up to the bar!

This year saw another year where I couldn’t attend – flying to the US for the weekend is not a cheap affair, but year in year out, the guys who do go share their marvellous memories with us all. Whether they won a shiny new Dean V in the raffle, or just picked up a few…er, pickups for their axe everyone had an amazing time and has a story to tell.

So my pick of the stories goes to Brad (forum member BradWorld) for his post-DOA airport security woes. Oh the turmoil of being a guitarist…!

Security: excuse me sir, is this your bag?

BradWorld: Yes sir it is.

S: What is in here, a bunch of battery packs?

B: no sir, they are guitar effects pedals, and guitar pickups.

S: pickups? Why do you have them?

B: because I am a guitarist.

S: WHY DO YOU HAVE SO MANY????

B: ummmmm…. because I was at a guitar event, and got them there….

S: well they must have be cheap then… move along..

I sure would’ve loved to have seen the security staff’s look of disappointment when he realised he hadn’t rumbled a terrorist mastermind.

Keeping tearing it up ’til I get there, DOA!

Props to forum members DOOMZDAY and sabbathtozzy for the pictures, and to sabbathtoozzy for the video. Rest assured, when I go in 2011 the pictures and video will be my own!