Read Excerpt From ‘Iron Maiden: ’80 ’81’ Book

Maybe you know my name from my writing for Alternative Nation. But then again, maybe you know “Greg Prato” by the various books I’ve done over the years. Either way, if you’re a fan of Iron Maiden – and particularly, Maiden’s first two albums (that featured singer Paul Di’Anno) – then you should get a kick out of my 15th book overall, Iron Maiden: ’80 ’81, which has just been released.

By the mid/late ’80s, Iron Maiden was unquestionably one of the biggest heavy metal bands on the planet – regularly headlining arenas/stadiums, each new album rocketing up the charts, and t-shirts sporting their ghastly mascot (Eddie) was one of the most popular fashion statements by metalheads. But by this point of their career, most of the band members were different than the ones that appeared on their classic 1980 self-titled debut album, while musically, they had transformed from a raw “punk metal” sound to a more refined “prog metal” approach.

Set up in an oral history format, interviews include Paul Di’Anno (Iron Maiden singer, 1978-1981), Dennis Stratton (Iron Maiden guitarist, 1979-1980), Wil Malone (‘Iron Maiden’ producer), Brian Tatler (Diamond Head guitarist), Scott Ian (Anthrax guitarist), Charlie Benante (Anthrax drummer), David Ellefson (Megadeth bassist), Dave Lombardo (former Slayer drummer), Mike Portnoy (former Dream Theater drummer), Richard Christy (Death and Iced Earth drummer), Glenn Tipton (Judas Priest guitarist), Pete Way (former UFO bassist), and Eddie Trunk (‘That Metal Show’ co-host, radio DJ), among many others.

Read an exclusive excerpt here:

And ordering info is here:

Paperback and Kindle:

Iron Maiden book cover

Smashing Pumpkins & Marilyn Manson Announce Co-Headlining Tour

The Smashing Pumpkins and Marilyn Manson will kick off The End Times Tour this summer.  See full dates below.
Jul 07 Concord Pavilion Concord, CA
Jul 09 Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre Irvine, CA
Jul 10 The Joint Las Vegas, NV
Jul 11 Comerica Theatre Phoenix, AZ
Jul 13 Red Rocks Amphitheatre Morrison, CO
Jul 15 Gexa Energy Pavilion Dallas, TX
Jul 16 NRG Arena Houston, TX
Jul 18 Freeman Coliseum San Antonio, TX
Jul 19 Austin City Limits Live Austin, TX
Jul 20 Bold Sphere Music New Orleans, LA
Jul 22 Bayfront Park Amphitheatre Miami, FL
Jul 24 MIDFLORIDA Amphitheatre Tampa, FL
Jul 25 Aaron’s Amphitheatre Atlanta, GA
Jul 26 Red Hat Amphitheatre Raleigh, NC
Jul 28 Blue Hills Bank Pavilion Boston, MA
Jul 29 PNC Bank Arts Center Holmdel, NJ
Jul 31 Jones Beach Theater Wantagh, NY
Aug 01 Foxwoods Resort Casino Mashantucket, CT
Aug 02 Susquehanna Bank Center Camden, NJ
Aug 04 Molson Amphitheatre Toronto, ON
Aug 05 DTE Energy Music Theatre Clarkston, MI
Aug 07 FirstMerit Bank Pavilion Chicago, IL
Aug 08 Riverbend Music Center Cincinnati, OH

Members of A Perfect Circle & STP Discuss Failure’s ‘Fantastic Planet’

Since Failure’s recent reunion, the space rock band has been busy with the likes of touring with Tool, writing a new album, and headlining shows. With support from their PledgeMusic campaign, the group will be releasing a vinyl reissue of their 1996 cult classic album, Fantastic Planet, this summer. You can click here to view more on Failure’s campaign. A video was recently released that showed members of A Perfect Circle and Stone Temple Pilots talk about their opinions on the album. You can watch guitarist Billy Howerdell (A Perfect Circle, Ashes Divide) and guitarist Dean DeLeo (Stone Temple Pilots, Talk Show, Army of Anyone) compliment Fantastic Planet below. Also, be sure to check out our interviews with Howerdell and DeLeo.

Fantastic Planet vinyl tracklisting:
Disc One/Side One:
1. Saturday Saviour
2. Sergeant Politeness
3. Segue 1
4. Smoking Umbrellas

Disc One/Side Two:
5. Pillowhead
6. Blank
7. Segue 2
8. Dirty Blue Balloons
9. Solaris

Disc Two/Side Three:
10. Pitiful
11. Leo
12. Segue 3
13. The Nurse Who Loved ME

Disc Two/Side Four:
14. Another Space Song
15. Stuck On You
16. Heliotropic
17. Daylight


Primus & Dinosaur Jr. Hit The Road This Summer

Primus and Dinosaur Jr. are teaming up for a tour this summer. Last year, the experimental rockers released a re-imagining of the 1971 Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory film soundtrack under the title Primus & the Chocolate Factory with the Fungi Ensemble. As for the alternative indie rock trio, Dinosaur Jr. hasn’t released a studio album since 2012’s I Bet on Sky. The two groups will start the 16-date tour with a performance at the All Good Festival, which also features Cake, Thievery Corporation, John Butler Trio, and more.

Primus/Dinosaur Jr. tour dates:
7/9-7/11 – Summit Point, WV – All Good Festival
7/17 – Wallingford, CT – Oakdale
7/18 – Raleigh, NC – Lincoln Theatre
7/19 – Birmingham, AL – Sloss Festival
7/20 – Charlotte, NC – The Fillmore Charlotte
7/23 – Philadelphia, PA- Penn’s Landing – Festival
7/24 – Asbury Park, NJ – The Stone Pony
7/25 – Boston, MA – Blue Hills Pavilion
7/27 – Portland, ME – Thompson’s Point
7/28 – Holyoke, MA – Mountain Park
7/30 – New York, NY – Pier 97
8/1 – Columbus, OH – LC Pavillion
8/2 – Sterling Hts, MI- Freedom Hill Amphitheatre
8/4 – Huber Hts, OH – Rose Music Center
8/6 – Milwaukee, WI – Eagle’s Ballroom
8/7 – Papillion, NE – Sumtur Amphitheater


Failure Reveals Fourth Album & New Song

Failure has just announced that they will be releasing their fourth album, The Heart Is A Monster, on June 30th via INresidence/INgrooves Music Group. The record marks their first studio album since 1996’s Fantastic Planet.  Eighteen songs will be included on the self-produced LP. To add on to the good news, the space rock group debuted a new track titled “Hot Traveler” during last night’s ‘BBC Radio 1 Rock Show‘. You can listen to the song below.

The band also have several tour dates coming up including a performance at Ottawa Bluesfest, with such acts as Simple Plan, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Dropkick Murphys, Weird Al, Interpol, Deep Purple, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, John Butler Trio, Chvrches, Gaslight Anthem, Canned Heat, Scott Weiland, Black Lips, Future Islands, The Growlers, Metz, Antibalas, and more. You can view the tour dates below the video player. Also, be sure to check out our interview with Failure frontman Ken Andrews by clicking here.

Failure tour dates:
5/1 – Ventura, CA – Ventura Theater
5/2 – Mecca, CA – Desert Daze
5/18 – London, UK – The Garage
7/12 – Lebreton Flats, ON – Ottawa Bluesfest

The Contortionist

The Contortionist Announce Tour Dates With CHON & Auras

The Contortionist has just announced a US tour for this upcoming May in promotion of their third studio album, Language, which was released last year via eOne and Good Fight Music. The record is the group’s first release with vocalist Michael Lessard since Jonathan Carpenter’s departure. You can click here to preview/purchase the LP on iTunes. CHON and Auras will be joining The Contortionist during the 17-date tour. The formerly mentioned band recently debuted their album, Grow, via Sumerian Records while touring with Circa Survive.

The Contortionist/CHON/Auras tour dates:
5/9 Kansas City, MO – Davey’s Uptown
5/10 Denver, CO – The Marquis Theater
5/11 Colorado Springs, CO – Black Sheep
5/12 Albuquerque, NM – Launchpad
5/14 El Paso, TX – Mesa Music Hall
5/15 San Antonio, TX – Jack’s Patio Bar
5/16 Dallas, TX – Trees
5/17 Memphis, TN – The Abbey
5/19 St. Louis, MO – Fubar
5/20 Louisville, KY – Expo Five
5/21 Charlotte, NC – Tremont Music Hall
5/23 Lancaster, PA – Chameleon Club
5/24 Philadelphia, PA – The Voltage Lounge
5/26 Portland, ME – Port City Music Hall
5/27 Syracuse, NY – Lost Horizon
5/29 Cleveland, OH – Agora Ballroom
5/30 Detroit, MI – The Shelter

Top 10 Pre-Nevermind Seattle Grunge Albums

After the massive success that was Ten of the Heaviest Bands From Japan, Anthony Carioscia chose to do a list that is more Alternative Nation friendly (minus Billy Corgan); here he talks about some of his favorite grunge albums that predate the popularizing of the genre in 1991 with the release of Nevermind and Ten.

Skin Yard – Skin Yard (1987)

Mother Love Bone – Apple (1990)


Screaming Trees – Buzz Factory (1989)


Tad – God’s Balls (1989)


Mudhoney – Mudhoney (1989)


Soundgarden – Louder Then Love (1989)


Green River – Rehab Doll (1988)


Alice in Chains – Facelift (1990)]

Nirvana – Bleach (1989)


Melvins – Gluey Porch Treatments (1987)


Scott Weiland’s Guitarist Jeremy Brown Passes Away

Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts guitarist Jeremy Brown has passed away. Scott Weiland posted the following on his Facebook tonight:

We received a call today about my friend Jeremy Brown that has shaken me to the core. We were all concerned this afternoon when Jeremy didn’t show up for a long-scheduled rehearsal for tonight’s album release show at School Night. An hour later, Jeremy’s family called us to say that he had passed away. I am in shock right now, everyone that knows him is devastated. It is a terrible loss that goes beyond words. He is one of my best friends, a truest friend and one of the most gifted guitar players that I’ve ever known. A true genius. It’s impossible to explain how much he will be missed and what a hole this will leave in our hearts. A post on Facebook feels so trite and small compared to the love that I have for him and for the talent that has passed on but I felt it was necessary to at least start here. Please keep his family in your thoughts.

Alternative Nation sends its best wishes to Jeremy Brown’s friends and family during this tough time. Reporter Doug McCausland said, “I met Jeremy briefly in Atlantic City last year after his tight performance, and he was very laid back and personable. His crunchy guitar riffs on Blaster really brought new life to The Wildabouts. I give nothing but my deepest condolences to Brown’s friends and family.”

RIP Jeremy Brown


Kurt Cobain ‘Sought Acceptance Through Fame’ But Didn’t Know The Consequences, Says Documentary Director

Brett Morgen, the director of Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, discussed Cobain’s reasons for wanting acceptance and fame, without knowing what fame and the consequences of it were, in a new interview with Vice.

“Kurt was really after acceptance. He sought it out initially through family, and then through the band, back when he started putting together bands. Then through Tracy, his girlfriend. And then with Courtney. I think he was ambitious and he also sought acceptance through fame, but he didn’t know what that meant. The bottom line is, if you don’t feel good about yourself, having the whole world tell you you’re beautiful and you’re amazing, doesn’t really make you feel better. In fact, it makes you feel worse. It’s like, Kurt’s deal with fame was that he didn’t know what that meant. In his mind, the ceiling for a band like Nirvana was 200,000 albums, like being Sonic Youth. So, he didn’t know—there was no scenario or plan to sell 600,000 albums in a week.”

He later said, “See, what you get with the concept of the film is, it’s not a guy who’s just being abrasive to the media to be punk, or because he’s a whiny white guy, it’s that he’s an artist, and he doesn’t really want to explain his work. He’d rather people experience it.”

smashing pumpkins corgan

Watch Smashing Pumpkins’ New PTSD Inspired Music Video

The Smashing Pumpkins released their ninth studio album, Monuments to an Elegy, last year via Martha’s Music/BMG. You can click here to preview/purchase the LP on iTunes. More recently, the alternative rock group revealed the music video for the sixth track off the album. You can watch the PTSD inspired video for the record’s third single, “Drum + Fife” below.

Previously, the band unveiled a music video for “Being Beige.” You can click here to watch the video. Smashing Pumpkins will be performing on The Tonight Show featuring Jimmy Fallon on April 2nd. Also, be sure to check out our interview with frontman Billy Corgan.

Soundgarden Frontman Chris Cornell Meets President Obama

Toni Karayiannis (@ToniKaras) has tweeted a photo of Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell and his wife Vicky meeting President Obama.


Cornell told the Washington Post in 2013 that Soundgarden playing at an Obama fundraiser was a triumphant moment.

“I had done three different Obama fundraiser events alone, just with an acoustic guitar. When inauguration came up, they invited me to play, and I said, “I’m out touring with my band. What if my band played?” And they loved the idea of Soundgarden doing it. To me it just seemed like a triumphant thing to be able to do.”

“When we went there, unfortunately, it becomes less about the moments you’re onstage and more about just getting from the hotel to the event, and getting inside and everything happening the way it’s supposed to. It was all that – it was totally crazy, and we were totally fish out of water in terms of the kind of music we play. I like that. . . . The moments that Soundgarden has done things where we were fish out of water have always been the most memorable and the most rewarding.”

Interview: Coal Chamber’s Dez Fafara Talks Nu Metal, DevilDriver, & New Album

Coal Chamber is an alternative metal band that formed in 1993. The group hit mainstream success with the release of their debut self-titled album and extensive touring within traveling festivals such as Ozzfest. After the release of two more successful albums, Coal Chamber disbanded as the members reached out to other musical projects. More recently, the band has reunited and will be releasing their fourth album, Rivals, on May 19th via Napalm Records. We were able to speak to frontman Dez Fafara about the reunion, upcoming album, DevilDriver, and nu-metal association. You can check out the interview below.

coal-chamber-tour Promotional poster for Coal Chamber’s tour with Filter, Combichrist, and American Head Charge

You’re currently on your headlining tour. What is it like to be back on the road again as Coal Chamber?

Dez Fafara (vocalist): The tour has just been spectacular. It’s been a pretty humbling thing after thirteen years to watch how this is going. All the bands have been really cool and on it. The package is really working and diverse. We’re just knocking out dates.

Can you talk about your relationship with these three bands you’re touring with?

Dez: I met the Filter guys at Soundwave in Australia. I was just at the bar having a beer and I ran into Richard [Patrick, Filter frontman] and we started talking for an hour or two. So the idea of touring got brought up because our two bands go well together. I didn’t really know the Combichrist guys at all until this tour but they are some sweet-hearted guys. The singer is just a really nice guy. I had to listen to their music to get acquainted with their material and I liked that they were doing something different. American Head Charge have been around for a long time and they have a new record coming so I was more than happy to bring them along.

Coal Chamber was broken up for a good 13 years. What were the events that led up to the reunion and decision to record a new album?

Dez: Well, Meegs [Miguel Rascon, Coal Chamber guitarist] came on stage in Pomona with DevilDriver and we did “Loco” together. So after that we discussed making music and decided to do a tour first. We were at Soundwave and he was listening on his headphones, so I asked what it was and it happened to be some music he was working on. It sounded incredible and something I wanted to work with. From there, it took a couple years for the record to get in progress.

coal-chamber-rivals Cover artwork for the upcoming album, ‘Rivals’

You’ll be releasing the group’s fourth album, Rivals, in May via Napalm Records. What can fans expect? Any surprises?

Dez: I did a track with a good friend of mine, Al Jourgenson, from Ministry. It’s called “Suffer in Silence” and it’s really badass. It’s a monster of a record and has a lot of different moments and elements in it. I used my voice differently than in my other projects. I can tell you what not to expect. Don’t expect a 90’s throwback record. After thirteen years, I don’t think we could do that if we tried. We put a lot of heart and soul into the album with the help of Mark Lewis as a producer. He manages to get different tones for every band he works with. I had a great time working with him and I think people are going to like the record.

And regarding lyrics, was there a specific theme you were hoping to convey in Rivals?

Dez: There’s a lot of positive content and story telling throughout these tracks. I tend to be one of those guys that see the glass half full and try to exemplify that through my lyrics.

Soundcloud stream for opener track “I.O.U. Nothing”

If you reflect back on the early days of Coal Chamber, were there any specific moments that really stood out as definitive or significant in your musical career?

Dez: The first time we sold out The Roxy. The promoters were so thankful that they had people going to shows again because the hair metal scene was dead. I think touring the world with Pantera, Black Sabbath, and the Ozzfest shows were huge.  I think the highlight for me now is the fact that we disappeared from each other for so long and now we’re back together.

Coal Chamber was initially labeled as a “nu metal” band. What’s your take on the genre? Is it a dirty word?

Dez: Not really, I don’t shy away from the nu metal tag. It was only a dirty thing when a lot of other bands started coming into what we were doing. In the beginning, it was like us, Deftones, Korn, System of a Down, and Static-X. But then, you had all these other bands come in that made the genre dirty. In reality, I’d like to live up to what it was in the start before all the other bands made it a household name. I’m going to be a gentleman and not list those bands who I’m talking about, but many people familiar with the genre know who I’m referring to. If you look now, many of the very popular metal bands sound like nu metal. Like Five Finger Death Punch sound that way. You see the influence everywhere. When we started off, we were mixing the sounds of like Bauhaus with Motörhead to make it more interesting. Deftones still have music coming out and it’s sounding great.

Official music video for hit-single “Loco” off self-titled LP

And then in 2002, your next band began. Was the transition to DevilDriver difficult or more a breath of fresh air?

Dez: It definitely was a fresh of breath air. If you listen to Dark Days by Coal Chamber, we already were going just a smudge bit heavier than we were in the very beginning. We certainly were changing to the influences that I listened to. I grew up on a lot of early Orange County punk rock and heavy music. For me, I really wanted to do something different and more extreme. I remember when I did the first DevilDriver record, the first thing Roadrunner Records said to me was that I had to go back and do something lighter for commerce. I just said I’m not thinking about commerce because I’m an artist and this is where we’re coming from.

What’s your current stance on DevilDriver? Are you planning on going back soon or is Coal Chamber your main focus for awhile?

Dez: DevilDriver is going in this year to record an album. We should release it next year and start some touring. Most bands take a year off between records to hang with their family. But for DevilDriver, we stayed on the road constantly and put out six records. It was just about time to step away from it for a year and do Coal Chamber. But, it’s gonna be great to be back with them and I’m ready for it.

Official music video for “I Could Care Less” from DevilDriver’s debut album

After this tour and the album release, are there any other plans for Coal Chamber?

Dez: We’re going over seas to do Monsters of Rock with Ozzy, which will be absolutely incredible. We stop over in Chile and Mexico City. Then we’re heading over to Europe for about nineteen days with a cool package. And we might head to Australia before I settle down to do the DevilDriver record.

What do you see for the far future of Coal Chamber? Is this your last record with the group?

Dez: Oh no, it’s been a great time doing this again. When Coal Chamber started, we were had this mindset of ruling the world. But now, we’re just having fun. I think we’re always going to work together. I’ll probably do some shows in the middle of the DevilDriver cycle next year. As long as we’re always having fun, we’ll definitely continue and do another record.

kings of carnage

Watch Kings Of Carnage’s Lyric Video For “Broken Soul”

Kings of Carnage is a five-piece metal group located in Hollywood, CA. Last year, the band was featured in the Knotfest lineup alongside Slipknot, Five Finger Death Punch, Danzig, Volbeat, Anthrax, Atreyu, Black Label Society, Hellyeah, Hatebreed, Of Mice & Men, Testament, Killswitch Engage, In This Moment, Napalm Death, Fear Factory, DevilDriver, Carcass, Whitechapel, The Devil Wears Prada, Avatar, Otep, Veil of Maya, Butcher Babies, Upon a Burning Body, Nothing More, King 810, Miss May I, Prong, and more after winning the Headbang for the Highway Battle.

The group will be releasing their debut album, The Crimson Stone, on May 4th. You can click here to pre-order the LP on iTunes. More recently, Kings of Carnage revealed the lyric video for the second track off the album. You can watch the video for “Broken Soul” below. Also, be sure to check out our interview with all five members.

New Details On Layne Staley’s Battle Against Addiction

I was sent a link to a page of a December 2002 auction of Alice In Chains frontman Layne Staley’s property. I don’t know how long this has been online, or if the property was stolen, but it is new to me, so I thought I would share the description of the auction with Alternative Nation readers. The second paragraph sheds some new light on Layne’s battle against drug addiction.

“Alice In Chains”, a name that was invented by singer / songwriter Layne Staley for a parody heavy metal band that dressed in drag, grew out of the grunge capital of the world – Seattle, Washington in 1987. Arguably the band that put Seattle on the map, if not for another radical American “grunge pioneer”, Kurdt Kobain (now also deceased). Both artists died long before their time. Ironically laboratory results showed that Layne died from a drug over dose on the exact same day that Kurt committed suicide. This important compilation of fragments in Layne’s life comes from personal and tour garments as well as ephemera – a personal, deep and touching look into the life that once was. Included is his motorcycle helmet with sticker “Keep Kids Off God” and handwritten “God Awful”, pair of bates dress shoes, a brown used right cowboy boot, his Mexican leather cowboy hat, black Henry Grethel shirt, his Levy guitar strap (with skull art), Converse Chuck Taylor sneaker with Alice In Chains printed with fly and star art. All items are well worn. The ephemera part of this historical aggregation includes his personal Grammy invitation, his hand written resume (at age 26), a comical letter from his Mom, 13 misc. letters to Layne from girls and friends, candid photos of himself, Poison Bone, girls, band members and even Billy Idol. Legal letters, cell phone bills, union dues bills, e-mails, deposit stubs, bill of sales, his stock portfolio statement, 1995 tax return.

Also, a very serious personal hospital health form for drug addiction in 1994 that suggests AA meeting, meditation, and continued sobriety, 10 assorted comic books, fanzines, from Layne’s personal library. From one of his notebooks a four-page handwritten commitment to himself to do his “Twelve Steps”. Another is values and priorities in nine hand drawn sketches. Tons of music, clivvppings, unpublished art and photos, five concert handbills and an early poster, his own “Star Registry”, some very personal notes, letters and commitments from his girlfriend, Kemri. Four explicit letters from drug rehab; his girlfriend, & music life which describe meetings with Steven Tyler and Ringo, Janes’s Addicition Eric Avery and going through withdrawal…wow. Truly enthralling accumulation for another sadly missed rock artist.


Pearl Jam & Matt Dillon Supergroup Citizen Dick Set To Finally Release “Touch Me, I’m Dick”

In Cameron Crowe’s 1992 film Singles, Matt Dillon played Cliff Poncier, the frontman of the fictional rock band Citizen Dick. The band also featured Pearl Jam members Eddie Vedder, Jeff Ament, and Stone Gossard. The band had a song called “Touch Me, I’m Dick,” in the film, essentially their own version of Mudhoney’s real life song “Touch Me I’m Sick.” The track will finally be released as a 7 inch single on Record Store Day (April 18th).

You can see fictional Citizen Dick’s fictional album tracklisting and live show posters below!

Citizen Dick album tracklisting:
1. Mist of Pain
2. Stomach of Chaos
3. Doghouse Blues
4. Louder Than Larry (Steiner)
5. Touch Me, I’m Dick
6. Rebound
7. Can’t Go 3 Days (W/O Drinking)
8. Bust of the Boz




Scott Weiland Reveals Why He Thinks STP Really Fired Him

Scott Weiland discussed his 2013 firing from Stone Temple Pilots in a new Canoe interview.

“It’s just a shame how it happened,” said Weiland of the STP situation. “I said I needed six months off. I felt we needed six months off in order to do a 20th year anniversary tour and that 20th anniversary tour didn’t end up happening and I said, ‘Okay, then we need to make a new record because we can’t go on just playing the greatest hits set. It’s not going to work. We’re losing fanbase. Our guarantees are starting to go down.’ So I assumed we were all on the same page when we left tour and it turned out not so and they got different management and things just soured. (I’ve known them) since I was a teenager. Crazy things happen especially when you end up getting different management. People see things one way and a lot of times how things are portrayed to the band members are through the goggles of the management and filtered through that and that’s what you end up hearing.”

STP’s lawsuit claimed that part of the reason they fired Weiland was due to how often he showed up late for concerts, and that when they asked him to sign an agreement guaranteeing that he would show up on time, he asked for more money.

Dave Grohl Talks Seattle’s Grunge Scene: ‘Rain Is Great Motivation’

Dave Grohl discussed what motivated the Seattle and New Orleans music scenes in a new FastCoCreate article.

“The tempo of the city, the weather, the historic roots in each city… all of these things have an influence on what you do,” Grohl says. “If you go into the fanciest studio in the world to make a record, you’re probably going to make a fancy record. If you make a record in a 200-year-old room in the French Quarter of New Orleans, it’s going to sound different. There are so many different factors that go into influencing how a song sounds. It’s maybe hard for people to understand nowadays because you can pick up the computer and scroll down from a menu of different sounds and put together something that really doesn’t have anything to do with your surroundings.”

Beyond the vibe, he says that physical attributes have a distinct affect on the sound of music. Like humidity, for instance. “The humidity in New Orleans affects the instruments. Even the humidity in the air will affect the sound of a piano because the wood stretches and the strings stretch. It affects the sound of the horns,” he says. “Or rain. Rain is a great motivation. It draws people inwards and makes them go inside. One of the reasons there was such a vital community in Seattle because everyone couldn’t be fucking bothered to go outside.”

Album Review: Moon Duo’s ‘Shadow of the Sun’

above: Image by Claudia Kershaw-Rae.

Born in San Francisco, Moon Duo is the brainchild of former teacher Sanae Yamada and psych veteran Ripley Johnson, also vocalist and guitarist of Wooden Shjips. The pair have recently evolved their “repeat-o rock” sound with the help of drummer John Jeffrey, releasing their third LP, Shadow of the Sun, via Sacred Bones Records earlier this month.

Created during a rare break from touring, Shadow of the Sun is influenced by the stir-crazy feelings experienced in the dark Portland basement where the album was recorded. A press release states that this was an “uneasy rest period, devoid of the constant adrenaline of performing live and the stimulation of traveling through endless moving landscapes.”

The band’s headspace informs their album’s vast psychedelia. By employing droning, repetitive riffs, Yamada and Johnson leave room for wandering guitars and calming melodies, while their sharp musicianship is complemented by distant, echoed vocals. Although it’s identified as psychedelia, and rightly so, the album’s influences are clearly more extensive and wide-ranging. Tracks like “Night Beat” are driven by their krautrock-inspired minimalist riffage, while lead single “Animal” is a fuzzy descent into punk.

Still, Moon Duo’s work is characterized best by tracks like “Wilding,” with the band’s self-described “cosmic trucker boogies”: strong, driving rhythms aided by the new drummer and the expansive guitar solos of Ripley Johnson. Meanwhile, Yamada’s modern keyboards steer the album away from unvarying nostalgia. Despite the tense, compact nature of its riffs, the album resists excessive repetition with its blissful solos and Yamada’s melodic synth work. This is evident with the drifting, sedated space rock of “In A Cloud,” which uses a more subdued acoustic approach and in the process, delivers an enjoyable ethereal environment.

Moon Duo’s latest LP, Shadow of the Sun, is an expressive piece of psychedelic music from two talented veterans of the genre. It tactfully blends their wandering solo efforts with a sharp, minimalist formula to create a unique, inventive contribution to the psych-rock scene.

Moon Duo is soon embarking on a tour of the UK and Europe, check out the dates here.

Scott Weiland Is Suing His Fashion Line Partner: ‘He Owes Me $150,000’

I am, I am, I am, I said I wanna file another lawsuit.

“I’m in the middle of a lawsuit with (design house founder Christopher Wicks),” former Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland said in Toronto recently (via Canoe). Weiland launched ‘Scott Weiland For English Laundry’ with Wicks a few years ago.

“He owes me $150,000 and doesn’t feel like he should pay me. They made great clothing, stuff exactly as I had envisioned… but commercially it didn’t work as well, they didn’t have the distribution. I’m looking actually to get paid and then start it again with a better (fashion) house.”

Weiland said his long-standing sense of style comes from “my rock ‘n’ roll icons – everything from the early Beatles to the great era of the Stones, like ‘69 to ‘72. Bowie is my ultimate style icon.”

Weiland recently settled a multimillion dollar lawsuit with his former Stone Temple Pilots bandmates, who fired him from the band in 2013.