Spin This! Obscure metal vinyl featured in the "Rock Gods and Metal Monsters Auction"

Written by - J.D. 

It’s no secret that most of the auctions assembled by Backstage Auctions have all historically featured some pretty incredible vinyl. Some of the collections we’ve encountered over the years have been the subject of many a collector’s sweet dreams. Well, the “Rock Gods and Metal Monsters” auction coming up in April is certainly no exception! We are besides ourselves with excitement over what we have in the upcoming auction.

We have vinyl in this auction from a number of consignors: rarities from the private collections of highlighted artists like Scott Ian (Anthrax) and Sean Yseult (White Zombie) - to extremely rare advances or demos from current and/or former record executives Gayle Miller and Amy Jozefek. The vast majority of vinyl in this auction, however, comes from a closed record store in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong collection is literally the Holy Grail of Metal vinyl, for three very important reasons. First, all of the vinyl - and we mean everything - is factory sealed. Secondly, everything in this collection is from the 1980s, or the “Golden Era of Metal” as we like to think of it. The collection features a ton of “New Wave of British Heavy Metal” as well as the first days of American Heavy Metal. So by default, and the third reason this collection is so cool, is that all of the classic Metal labels are represented: Neat Records, Metal Blade, Shrapnel, Roadrunner , Mausoleum and more - they’re all there! Backstage Auctions owner Jacques van Gool put it this way:
“A good amount of the releases available in the auction are extremely hard to find. If you find them on eBay, they sell for crazy money - but rarely, if ever, do you find them sealed. The fact that these are - basically the birth of Heavy Metal - all from the classic Metal labels and they’re sealed - really makes this a unique collection.”
But don’t just take his word for it. Here are a couple of records that stand out from this collection:

The second collection providing a plethora of vinyl for this auction is the personal collection of a former West Coast A & R rep. Unlike the Hong Kong collection, this collection is much larger and features a much wider array of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal records - everything from AOR giants like Stan Bush, Strangeways and Dare to colossal Hard Rock and Metal bands like Van Halen, Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne and KISS. There are several factors that make this collection really stand out. First, is the quantity of advance copies and promotional releases, as well as Japanese, UK, Dutch, French and German pressings. For example, check out this exceedingly rare lot of Japanese Quiet Riot vinyl from the late 1970s, featuring Randy Rhoads!

Secondly, the vast majority of the vinyl included is in NM or EX condition. Being collectors ourselves, we understand the importance of providing top quality products to our customers and we’re excited about the outstanding quality of all the vinyl in this collection!

Lastly, the sheer volume of vinyl - as well as variety - really makes this a very unique, in-depth collection. There are many large lots not to be overlooked! And take note, that just because we have put some of these records into larger lots certainly does not mean they’re not good enough to be sold individually - it just shows we have so much vinyl in this auction, it would be impossible to list them all individually! Owner Jacques van Gool elaborates:
“What I like in particular about this collection is vast variety. Everything from classic to rare and everything in between! There’s a crazy amount of obscure releases from Van Halen, Ozzy and Quiet Riot - but then records from the likes of August Redmoon and Dietrich, and really obscure Metal compilations like “Metal Concussion”, “Metal Massacre” and “Metallurgy” - all in great condition. This is a really exceptional collection!”

This is only the tip of the needle folks! With over 1500 records available in this auction from a variety of unique consignors, there is guaranteed to be some jaw dropping, head turning vinyl to peak your interest! Here are just a few more records we wanted to spotlight for you:

So there you have it. The Backstage Auctions 2012 “Rock Gods and Metal Monsters” Auction is a force to be reckoned with. We stand by our words that this auction will have something for every Rocker and Metal Head! But especially for all you vinyl collectors out there, this is absolutely, positively one you can't afford to miss.

Grab your VIP All Access Pass today and get access to our Special VIP Preview from April 14-20. The auction goes LIVE on April 21 and will be open for bidding until April 29th. See you there!

Rarities and Relics Take Center Stage in the Rock Gods and Metal Monsters Auction

In addition to all of the jaw dropping items consigned by our headliner artists, the auction will also feature rarities and never before seen relics from the private collections of music industry professionals. 

Backstage Auctions is excited about the “Rock Gods and Metal Monsters” Auction coming up in April - and for good reason! In addition to the insane gear and equipment (see the gear highlight article) we have in this auction from rock icons like Scott Ian, Charlie Benante, Rudy Sarzo and John Tempesta, we have an overabundance of vintage and rare vinyl, t-shirts, posters, backstage passes, tour itineraries, handwritten lyrics - and just about any type of promotional item imaginable!

Over the years we have established unique relationships with many of the music industry’s people behind the scenes - from record company executives and artist management to celebrated photographers and renowned journalists. When these folks consign with us, it enables us to offer things that would normally never be made available to the general public. Promotional items, for example, that were only distributed to small inner circles - or advance vinyl or CDs, personal correspondence, contracts, notes, lyrics, etc. The “Rock Gods and Metal Monsters” Auction is filled with all of this, and more! We’re so excited about this stuff, we feel compelled to highlight a couple of things before the preview begins!

Even today, long after their prime, its hard to imagine Guns N’ Roses as anything less than a Rock n’ Roll juggernaut selling out arenas worldwide. But before they became global rock stars, they were an LA Glam-Rock band with a new record deal, trying to get a break. This auction features one of the earliest known Guns N’ Roses press kits: an original ‘Appetite For Destruction’ press kit, complete with 6-page press release and a very rare and obscure 7” flexi-disc, which contains snippets of the album with commentary to each of the songs! This incredibly rare press kit is also paired with a sealed copy of the ‘Appetite For Destruction’ withdrawn first pressing that contains the banned artwork!

Guns N' Roses First Sealed Album & Press Kit

Guns N' Roses First Press Kit w/ Flexi-Disc - Super Rare
Another incomprehensibly rare lot of goodies featured in this auction comes from our pal Walter O’Brien, long time manager of Pantera - among many other notable Hard Rock and Heavy Metal bands. From his vault we’ve assembled an exceptional several collections of original artwork proofs, such as for the making of the 1997 official Pantera ‘Watch It Go’ video, including 36 individual sheets of various sizes, which show a progression of ideas that eventually evolved into the final artwork. Among these is an original drawing by Dimebag Darrell for the artwork of the video box, done on the back of a Pantera set list! The lot also features an additional dozen or so sketches from Dime, faxed to Walter. What a unique look into how some of these things develop.

Dimebag Darrell Original Art Sketch (backside of set list)

Set list featuring Dimebag Darrell's sketch on the backside.

Also from Walter O’Brien is this incredible lot of Phil Anselmo’s original handwritten lyrics for Down’s “II” album! Featuring 13 pages in all, these ‘raw’ versions contain corrections, scratched out words, some doodles and perhaps even some changes from the final printed version!

Phil Anselmo's Handwritten Lyrics for Down's "II".

Steve Vai's Whitesnake Coat
Occasionally our consignors surprise us with something so unique and rare, it is truly a one-of-a-kind item. Such is the case with this custom jacket that belonged to none other than legendary guitar virtuoso Steve Vai! Vai wore this during his stint with Whitesnake in the late 80s, and can be seen wearing it in official Tour Programs from that era (available in the auction), as well as the following official video:

Equally as impressive is this early 1980s Van Halen t-shirt, stage worn and personally mutilated by David Lee Roth! Roth was notorious for ripping off his shirt and throwing it into the audience, and would often do so with official Van Halen shirts. Well, this indeed is one of those shirts! He can be seen wearing this very shirt in this concert photo taken from a September 10, 1982 Van Halen concert at the L.A. Forum in Inglewood, California!

DLR Stage worn t-shirt.

DLR - Live on stage wearing t-shirt

While we’re discussing clothing, we’d be silly not to mention this next item! This is an extremely rare, heavy duty leather jacket that was issued by Epic Records in a very limited quantity for the 1990 Judas Priest ‘Painkiller’ tour. Distribution of this jacket was strictly limited to the band, band management and select record executives only!

Judas Priest 1990 Leather Tour Jacket

Judas Priest - backside view of Painkiller Leather Tour Jacket

When it comes to rare clothing items available in the auction, this next item ranks pretty high up there! Few shirts are as collectible and sought after among Pearl Jam fans as this 1991 ‘Rookie’ tour shirt. Prior to taking the Pearl Jam name, the band was called ‘Mookie Blalock’, after the NBA rookie for the New Jersey Nets. These shirts are highly sought after, and the “Rock Gods and Metal Monsters” auction will have two of them available!

Early 1990s rare Pearl Jam "Rookie" t-shirt.
This next item is certainly worthy of mention as well! Nirvana turned the Rock and Metal world upside down with the release of their single “Smells Like Teen Spirit” in 1991, which undoubtedly put “Grunge” and “Alternative” on the map. The video for “Teen Spirit” was just as epic as the single itself and is still considered one of the greatest rock videos of all time! We are thrilled to have in our possession an original casting call flyer for the “Teen Spirit” video that was handed out at the conclusion of Nirvana’s August 15, 1991 show at the Roxy Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles!

Nirvana Video Casting Call Flyer
Did we mention all of the awesome record awards available in the auction? Like this Metallica RIAA 12X Platinum Record Award for the Self-Titled, or “Black” album! There are so many distinctive record awards just like this one in the “Rock Gods and Metal Monsters” Auction, you’ll have to see it to believe it!

Metallica "Metallica" RIAA 12x Platinum Award 
This “Rock Gods and Metal Monsters” Auction will feature an absurd amount of vinyl - be it vintage, rare, sealed, promotional or all of the above. One small record that stands out to us in this enormous collection is the very first White Zombie 7 inch! 'Gods on Voodoo Moon' is the very first recording and release by White Zombie, released as an EP in 1985 under their own indie label Silent Explosion. Because the lack of funds at the time only 300 copies of vinyl were pressed at Macola Records Hollywood, California, 100 of which were sold while the others remained in the possession of the band members. There is no denying that this is without question the single most sought-after White Zombie record and we're simply ecstatic to be able to offer this dead mint copy, hand numbered #160/300. Additionally, the front of the sleeve is signed by White Zombie bassist Sean Yseult!

White Zombie's First Vinyl Release

Talk about something unique and rare that just looks down right radical!  Take a look at this B.C. Rich Warlock signed by Type O Negative, including the legendary Pete Steele! The guitar itself is such a reflection of Metal music - factor in the autographs, and it becomes infinitely cooler.

B.C. Rich Warlock Signed by the members of Type of Negative.
We wouldn’t feel complete if we didn’t share a little Anthrax, seeing as Scott Ian is our highlighted consignor this year! In addition to numerous guitars, effects, clothing and promotional items, Scott has generously turned over his personal poster collection! One can only imagine the amount of exceptionally rare stuff you might find in the personal collection of one of Metal’s most notorious guitar players who has been grinding out tours around the globe for 30+ years! This particular poster stands out as one that just seems so dang cool because its from such an obscure show from early in their career! And c’mon - a Belgium concert poster featuring Anthrax, Over Kill and Cyclon? Horns up, that’s METAL.

Rare 1986 Anthrax Belgium Concert Poster
As April draws near, be sure to check back periodically for updates and more sneak peaks into our epic Backstage Auctions “Rock Gods and Metal Monsters” Auction. We guarantee this is NOT one you will want to miss! There are an abundance of one-of-a-kind items. Clearly we are giddy like naughty schoolgirls about the whole thing. We hope you share our excitement!

Tune in to our special VIP PREVIEW beginning April 14! The Auction goes live April 21st and ends April 29th

Grab your VIP All Access Credentials now: Register Here (it's free and takes 2 minutes)

Washburn, Randall and Ampeg Gear Highlight the RGMM Auction

What do Scott Ian and Charlie Benante of Anthrax, John Tempesta (The Cult, Testament, White Zombie), Mike Tempesta (Powerman 5000), Rudy Sarzo (Whitesnake, Quiet Riot, DIO) and Matt McDonough (Mudvayne) all have in common?

Okay, besides the fact that they’re all Rock and Metal icons who’ve collectively sold multiple millions of copies of albums…

They are all consignors in the 2012 Backstage Auctions "Rock Gods and Metal Monsters" Auction who are consigning a plethora of personally owned and stage used musical equipment such as one-of-a-kind guitars, amps, speaker cabinets, guitar effects, drum heads, sticks, cymbals & more! Yes, in addition to multitudes of collectibles such as stage worn clothing, backstage passes, tour itineraries and such - these guys have generously opened their collection to YOU and I, the fans, to have an opportunity to own and cherish some of the very equipment used on tours, recordings, videos and more. Our phones and emails have been blowing up with folks who can’t wait for our Auction Preview to begin so they can check some of this stuff out - so we figured we’d throw you all a bone and shed a little light on some of the rockin’, top of the line professional gear we have.

Scott Ian's Murder Weapon and Suit
Our specially highlighted consignor this year is legendary guitarist Scott Ian of Anthrax. Scott has provided us with a dozen personally owned and used Washburn guitars, all showing varying degrees of use and bearing his personal signature. Scott’s endorsement with Washburn has produced some of the most gnarly looking, heavy sounding guitars in the industry! Take this ‘Murder Weapon’ for example. Pictured right is a Washburn SI91 Limited Edition Murder Weapon. Each Limited Edition Murder Weapon is one-of-a-kind guitar - beaten, blood stained and signed by Scott in the Washburn Custom Shop. Scott has also included the very paint suit worn when he customized the guitar! Horns up!

Scott Ian's Randall V2
In addition to Scott’s Washburns, we have 10 of his personally owned and used Randall amps! Used on various and/or multiple tours and recordings, these amps have driven Scott’s brutal sound over the years and bear the marks to prove it! For example, this Randall V2 amplifier pictured left shows black sharpie marks around each of the tone and EQ controls for Scott’s preferred settings! It doesn’t get much more personal than that folks.

It takes more than just an amplifier to have a sound as big as Scott’s. We also have 2 of his Randall speaker cabinets, outfitted with two 12” Celestion Vintage 30 speakers on top and one 15” Eminence Legend speaker on bottom. This combination of speakers creates such an enormous sound with an awesome balance of high and low end! And they just look awesome with that ‘Anthagram’ painted on the front. Double horns up!

We have so much more to offer in addition to Scott’s gear! Legendary rock bassist Rudy Sarzo (Whitesnake, Quiet Riot, DIO) has provided us with a unique assortment of his equipment as well. In addition to multiple effects and processors used in touring and in his home studio, Rudy has graciously offered his Ampeg SVT 4 PRO amp, and 2 individual Ampeg SVT-810 speaker cabinets, all used on tour with DIO and Quiet Riot! These items will be shipped from Rudy’s personal home studio and he has even offered to sign and personalize everything upon purchase!

In the midst of all this excitement we can’t overlook some exceptionally rare and unique Schecter guitars we have. Former Powerman 5000 guitarist Mike Tempesta has provided us with 3 of his custom Schecter guitars, including this ‘Bloody’ one shown below in this video:

We also have an assortment of small gear in this auction: Wah pedals, stompboxes, preamps, effect processors and much more! A few that catch our eye are this Dunlop ‘Crybaby From Hell’ Wah pedal (Dimebag Darrell model), signed and used by Scott Ian - which still contains tape on the bottom from being stuck to Scott’s pedal board! Also, this Scott Ian DigiTech Black 13 Distortion pedal, featuring 7 presets of Scott’s most celebrated distortion tones!
Stage Used "Crybaby From Hell"
Scott Ian Black 13 Distortion
Fear not - our gear in this auction is not solely limited to guitarists. We also have a nice assortment of Zildjian, Ludwig, Paiste, Tama, and Pearl drum goodies! We’ve got used cymbals, drum heads, sticks and hardware from notable rock drummers like Charlie Benante (Anthrax), John Tempesta (The Cult, Testament, White Zombie), Robert Garven (Cirith Ungol) and Matt McDonough (Mudvayne), to name a few.

Check out this John Tempesta lot that features a signed 16” Remo drum head, used on a recent tour with The Cult, paired with a signed brand new pair of his signature Vic Firth drumsticks - now that’s a framer!

John Tempesta Stage Used Drumhead
Or what about this concert used 15” Alchemy Professional crash cymbal that belonged to Matt McDonough and was used on Mudvayne tours during the early 2000s - it shows some definite wear and is signed by Matt!
Matt McDonough Stage Used Cymbal
Whatever your fancy, this auction has something for YOU. Above is but a small fraction of the overall music gear and equipment available in the upcoming Backstage Auctions "Rock Gods and Metal Monsters" Auction. Be sure to check back regularly for updates, and definitely tune in to our VIP PREVIEW from April 14 - 20! The auction will go live and open for bidding on April 21st.

Rock yourself over now and get your VIP All Access Pass: Grab Your Pass

Backstage Auctions Announces Headliners for Annual "Rock Gods and Metal Monsters Auction"

The auction will showcase over 900 exceptionally rare  pieces of rock memorabilia direct from the private collections of notable rock and metal icons from Anthrax, M.O.D./ S.O.D., Testament, White Zombie, The Cult, Mudvayne, Helmet, Cirith Ungol, Ministry, Quiet Riot, Dio, Whitesnake, Queensryche, Powerman 5000 and more.

Scott Ian (Anthrax) - Personally Used Guitar
Houston, TX – March 13, 2012 – Backstage Auctions is proud to present their annual "Rock Gods and Metal Monsters Auction", a one of kind, rock you to your core, online auction event. "Almost every item being offered in the auction is iconic hard rock and heavy metal memorabilia and is easily identifiable to a specific artist or band that spans 3 decades," explains Backstage Auctions founder Jacques van Gool.

Scott Ian sealing the deal.
The auction, which is scheduled to go live in April, features amazing rock relics direct from the personal  collections of Scott Ian, Charlie Benante, Robert Garven, Page Hamilton, John Tempesta, Mike Tempesta, Matt McDonough, Sean Yseult, Rudy Sarzo, Scott Rockenfield, Al Jourgensen…just to name a few. "This years auction catalog really took on a life of it's own when we started getting in so many rare but highly personal items from each of the artists and industry executives. It's not every day that you get a dozen guitars belonging to Scott Ian, but knowing that each of these guitars have a kick ass story, that is a fan or collector's dream. Of course giving fans and collectors direct access to rare pieces of rock history is always our goal when we build our auction events, and we have definitely achieved that with this auction," says van Gool.

Charlie Benante (Anthrax) Big 4 Drum Head
There is definitely a wide range of collectibles featured in the auction and whether you are a fan or collector, you can bet that your inner rock star will come out! "We have everything from guitars, amps, cabinets, drum kits and heads, Gold and Platinum records awards, artist stage worn apparel to master recordings, rare concert posters, historical ephemera, photos and negatives with "money shots", picks & sticks and the list goes on and on. We couldn't be more pleased with how the catalog came together and the final result," says van Gool.

Equally impressive are the private collections of various music industry executives, which feature a jaw dropping collection of RIAA record awards, rare and sealed vinyl, promotional items, signed memorabilia, ephemera, promo jackets and concert shirts, interview cassettes and so much more. "The fact that these executives worked for various records labels, means the memorabilia covers a wide range of artists such as Judas Priest, KISS, Van Halen, Thin Lizzy, Ozzy, Pearl Jam, Pantera, Twisted Sister, Dokken, Gary Moore, Korn, Stryper, Incubus, Motley Crue, Metal Church, Grim Reaper and the list just goes on, it's very impressive," says van Gool.

Motley Crue RIAA 3x Platinum - Dr. Feelgood
The event, aptly titled the “Rock Gods and Metal Monsters Auction”, is a not-to-miss opportunity for fans and collectors around the world to own an authentic piece of one of the most significant genres of music history. 

The online auction, starts April 21, 2012 and will run through April 29, 2012. A special VIP All Access preview of the entire auction catalog will be available beginning Saturday, April 14th.

 For more information and to get your VIP All Access pass for the event visit:  http://www.backstageauctions.com/catalog/auction.php


Backstage Auctions is a boutique online auction house specializing in authentic rock memorabilia. By exclusively representing legendary musicians and entertainment professionals directly, every auction event is unique, reflecting the artist's legacy and chronicles their legendary career. Backstage Auctions has represented dozens of notable and very talented musicians, producers and managers in the music industry. The very first online auction event featured the private collection of legendary producer Eddie Kramer (Hendrix, Zeppelin, Kiss) and since then, Backstage has represented Ted Nugent, Howard Kaylan (The Turtles), Ross Valory (Journey) and Michael Shrieve (Santana) Johny Barbata (Jefferson Starship), Kip Winger (Winger), John 5 (Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie), Al Jourgensen (Ministry), Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot, Whitesnake, Dio, BOC), Scott Rockenfield (Queensryche), Graham Bonnet (Rainbow, Alcatraz) as well as managers of legendary bands such as The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, KISS, Journey, Joe Walsh, Pantera, White Zombie, Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band and Motley Crue. Backstage Auctions works closely with each of their clients and incorporates their personal stories and memories throughout the online auction event. The end result is a unique, historical and unforgettable journey spanning decades of music history and turning fans into collectors one auction at a time.

Metal Evolution - "Early Metal UK"

Metal Evolution - "Early Metal UK"
Sam Dunn
VH1 Classic

All Access Review: A-

Demo in hand, Jim Simpson shopped Black Sabbath’s first recordings to 14 record labels, and not one of them had the foresight to sign this fearsome foursome. Not one to hold grudges, especially all these years later, Simpson understood their reticence. As he tells filmmaker Sam Dunn in the “Early Metal UK” episode of the “Metal Evolution” documentary series, why would any A&R representative with a cozy job at some British record label jeopardize his or her career by signing somebody who sounded like that? There was nothing on the charts that sounded anything remotely like Sabbath, recalls Simpson. And, as Simpson points out, label executives have never really gone out of their way to seek out fresh, new sounds. They want something safe, something marketable that bears some resemblance to songs they know will sell. The A&R representative who likes his or her job and wants to keep it will then, predictably, not risk it on four soot-stained lost souls from an industrial hellhole like Aston, Birmingham whose ghoulish sonic menace couldn’t possibly sell more than a handful of records.

Impenetrably dark and truly demonic, Sabbath was playing the devil’s music, even if the charges of Satanism leveled at Sabbath would never stick. Just when it seemed that nobody loved them, along came Olav Wyper. Working for Phillips Records, Wyper saw something in Sabbath, and signed them to the recording giant. One of the unsung heroes of heavy metal, Wyper shepherded Sabbath through the maze of Phillips subsidiaries, finding them a nest at Vertigo. And the rest is history, thanks to Wyper … and Simpson, too. After all, were it not for Simpson’s diligence as manager in the service of his client, Sabbath might have returned to the factories and labored in obscurity until death.

Wyper and Simpson are not exactly Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. The guitar legend and the golden god turned down requests for interviews for “Metal Evolution” because they felt Led Zeppelin was no more a heavy metal act than The Rolling Stones. And maybe they’re right. Producer and sound visionary Eddie Kramer, famed for his work with Jimi Hendrix and Aerosmith, agrees when discussing the matter with Dunn during “Early Metal UK.” Though undoubtedly pioneers in the realm of heavy music and hard rock, Zeppelin’s expansive oeuvre encompassed so many genres – including a strong foundation in the blues – that pigeonholing them in a box marked “heavy metal” would be a sin. The presence of Page and Plant are not required, however, for Dunn and his partner, Scot McFayden, to craft an engrossing, informative and curious study of the role such bands as Zeppelin, Sabbath and Deep Purple – not to mention the contributions of glam-rock upstarts Sweet and T. Rex – played in the development of heavy metal in the early to mid 1970s.

 With eyes wide open, Dunn, fresh off exploring the impact of American bands like KISS on early U.S. metal, seems giddy about the prospect of meeting rock icons from Sabbath and Deep Purple, two sides of the British proto-metal triangle. After a brief, but detailed, study of the British blues boom – with John Mayall sharing his memories of the scene’s explosion and vintage black-and-white live footage of the Yardbirds’ slamming through “Train Kept A-Rollin” – and how slowing things down, as Cream so vividly illustrates during a particularly heavy, psychedelic reading of Willie Dixon’s “Spoonful” onstage in rich video unearthed from the vaults, led to a U.K. metal awakening. Zeppelin’s transformative reinventing of the blues and its influence on metal is thoroughly debated (Dunn makes it into the offices of Plant’s manager, but that’s as close as he gets to him), before Dunn runs headlong into Sabbath, who, as Kramer says, is the definitive metal band.

Heady, punishing live footage of Sabbath pounding away in concert gives way to Bill Ward and Geezer Butler talking about the barren, dismal and violent existence of Birmingham, England in the ‘60s. Of keen interest is Ward’s discussion of how his drumming helped thicken the gloomy atmosphere of the title track to Black Sabbath – in particular, it was the funereal march of his toms that did the trick, the vintage live performance of the track providing the incontrovertible evidence of the fact. But, it’s how deftly Dunn pieces together the story of Sabbath’s early search for a record label, stringing together segments of Butler humorously relating the story of A&R reps abandoning a Sabbath gig two songs in and Wyper’s incisive initial impressions of the band, that speak to the respect he and McFayden show for the material and their ability to communicate it in interesting ways. The fact that Dunn spends so time with Wyper and Simpson, without dwelling on their contributions too long, is indicative of his willingness to go the extra mile, and it is appreciated.

Sharing top billing on “Early Metal UK,” Deep Purple and its metamorphosis from progressive-rock hopeful to proto-metal force of nature – as told by Roger Glove and Ian Paice – is dealt with on a scale equal to its legendary status. Def Leppard’s Phil Collen indulges in a bit of Ritchie Blackmore worship as he recounts seeing Purple live as a defining moment in his young life. An in-depth assessment of Deep Purple In Rock follows the touchy subject of Purple dispatching of singer Rod Evans and bassist Nick Simper in favor of Ian Gillan and Glover, respectively – Paice reiterating that it was a necessary housecleaning that had to take place for Purple to become the powerful, muscular rock engine that would drive such classic LPs as In Rock, Machine Head and Fireball. Of course, Deep Purple would fracture due to internal friction, most of it having to do with Blackmore. Gillan and Glover departed eventually, their shoes filled by the soulful tandem of David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes.

The transition was a rocky one, as Paice tells it. Though Coverdale and Hughes bonded instantly, Blackmore, as has been told time and time again, wasn’t on board with the more R&B-inclined direction of Purple and disavowed Mark III’s first foray, Stormbringer. All of this makes for great drama and fodder for Dunn, as he ties together the seemingly disparate histories of all versions of Deep Purple and shows how all of it did, indeed, shape the future of heavy metal. And that includes Mark IV.

Sabbath’s deterioration is dissected without pity, as Dunn digs into the disastrous Rick Wakeman experiment and the band’s prodigious drug use. Purple was also savaged by substance abuse, creative differences and personnel shuffling. Then along came glam. England was reeling from economic despair and labor unrest, and with the working-class heading to the pubs for a good time, bands like Sweet stepped into the void. The Zeppelins, Sabbaths and Purples of the world had become unapproachable millionaires – and their work was suffering, although in the case of Zeppelin, it was John Bonham’s tragic death that did them in – and the people wanted something different. “Early Metal UK” chronicles the fall of metal’s birth parents and glam-rock’s glittery stomp to the top with aplomb. Always easy and relaxed, but with the inquisitive restlessness of a detective obsessing about a cold case, Dunn and company again weave richly filmed, incendiary period live footage with wide-ranging interviews. And though they play a small role in “Early Metal UK,” the recollections of Simpson and Wyper are essential to Sabbath’s story, and they provide some of the most fascinating commentary of the series. They may not be stars, but Dunn has elevated their level of importance to metal’s growth, and it’s one of the gratifying surprises that Dunn and company plant throughout “Metal Evolution” as if they were Easter eggs, even if some of the stories and photography aren’t always of the rare and never-before-seen variety.

-        -   Peter Lindblad

Metal Evolution - Early Metal UK
Watch the Full Episode - Here and Now! 

Blind Melon's Brad Smith retools Abandon Jalopy

New Distribution deal in the works

By Peter Lindblad

There was a time when Brad Smith and Blind Melon had their pick of major record-label suitors. Hardly any of them are even in business anymore, and Smith has accepted the fact that the ones who are probably aren’t interested in courting Abandon Jalopy, the solo project he’s been carefully and quietly cultivating since the tragic death of charismatic Melon front man Shannon Hoon.

So, Smith has taken matters into his own hands. And that means all matters. As DIY as it gets, Abandon Jalopy released the deeply personal and highly accessible sophomore effort Death and Joy – the first AJ album, the earthy blend of psychedelia and folk-rock that was Mercy, came out in 2002 – on February 14, and Smith has been handling all the little details that a label would, including distribution.

That may soon change, as Death and Joy could be coming to a record store near you.

“Right now I’m just trying to arrange for some physical distribution,” revealed Smith. “I’ve gotten a bigger response from this record than I thought I would, to tell you the truth. So I have this friend who is kind of advising me; he’s not really managing me, but he’s a manager who I can bounce stuff off of. And we’re of the mind at this point that we should go for some physical distribution. It’s on iTunes. You can buy it from my web site. But there’s a company called … actually, there’s a few of them. There’s like Super D and Fontana, and Alliance. And we’re working on a distribution deal as we speak, actually, which is really great for me, because I can put out a few thousand pieces, and it’ll get into stores, so people can find it right next to the Blind Melon stuff.”

Not to mention that such an arrangement would free up Smith to do what he’s best at, and that is, making music. At the moment, when somebody buys the record off his web site, it’s Smith who takes care of all aspects related to supply chain management.

“I go out to the garage. I pack up my orders and go to the post office and mail them out,” said Smith. “And I was fine with that, but it’s getting a little out of hand. So I figured I’d bring somebody in and partner with a company, something like that. But right now, I’m a one-main show. I’m an independent artist doing it the way … well, really the only way it makes sense anymore, which is to build your own following as well as you can. The days of a record company coming in and financing your whole situation are kind of long gone, at least for me anyway.”

As for promotion, Smith’s frequent and targeted use of social media has paid off. “I’m on the social media sites every day, and to tell you the truth, that’s how I got this record as far as I have,” explains Smith. “I’ve already, basically recouped … I paid for the record myself. I’m completely independent. I don’t have a record deal. I don’t have a manager. I’m literally doing everything myself.”

 Well, not quite everything – on hand to assist Smith, who took on vocal and bass duties for the album, were Blind Melon guitarists Christopher Thorn and Rogers Stevens and drummer Jimmy Paxson (who mans the kit for Stevie Nicks), as well as guitarist Kevin Haaland and a surprise vocalist, Hoon’s daughter Nico Blue, who sings on “Love Has a Way” (We’ll have more on Nico’s contributions later). A warm, engaging classic rock record flooded with pop sunshine and brimming with bittersweet, likeable melodies, Death and Joy is an eclectic treat that has an immediacy its predecessor didn’t. And while the vibe is relaxed and even celebratory at times, behind the weak smiling fa├žade is a bit of ennui and some tough realizations, like those of “Black Cloud.”

“‘Black Cloud’ is basically about getting to a point in your life where you don’t really have a choice anymore,” said Smith. “Your parents, when you grow up … you can do anything you want to do. You have this blank canvas, but I’ve been in bands and writing songs for so long, I mean, I don’t really want to do anything else. And I kind of came to that realization that I didn’t want to do anything else, and that’s not necessarily good for you. Rock and roll killed one of my best friends in a strange way, through drug addiction and not giving him a break or a reprieve from just the craziness that is rock and roll. And when Blind Melon got back together, with Travis (Warren, who left and has since returned to Blind Melon), that was just laced with heartache and hard times, and ‘Black Cloud’ is one of those things where you’ve got to take the good with the band, and I kind of summed it up … I can’t remember if it’s the first verse or the second verse. It’s when I say, ‘I’ve got a crater outside my mind, but I don’t want to change.’ Basically, things aren’t exactly right in my head, but I really don’t want to do anything else, so I just have to take the good with the bad.” 

Expect more news on touring and possible future Abandon Jalopy recordings in good time, and we’ll have plenty more on the new record and Smith’s days in Blind Melon coming soon.

Rare Vinyl, Artist Signed Items and Gear Highlight the Rock Gods 'n Metal Monsters Auction

By Patrick Prince
Powerline Magazine

Walk a mile in Scott Ian's stage shoes from the 80s.
In April, Backstage Auctions will hold their annual metal auction, “Rock Gods and Metal Monsters,” and it has all the promise of being their best yet. Autographed items from bands ranging from Motorhead to The Babys will be up for auction. There are also rare Japanese vinyl bulk lots with albums from such artists as early Quiet Riot (with Randy Rhoads) and well-loved guitarist Gary Moore. And the biggest consignee for this year's metal auction is Scott Ian, guitarist and founder of the thrash metal band Anthrax. As owner Jacques van Gool explains it, the Scott Ian collection going up for auction is one for the ages.

Anthrax "Anthagram" Cabinet
"It's massive," says van Gool. "I've got like ten amp heads and two cabinets with the famous 'Anthagram' stenciled on them. I've got a dozen guitars. I've got a few dozen pedals. A few dozen straps. And all of the big stuff is autographed. Then I have a lot of smaller stuff, like fifty of his tour itineraries, handbills (including a handbill for Anthax' very first concert on August 19, 1982), laminates and guitar picks, and obscure vinyl. I probably have close to one hundred shirts. Everything is his personal stuff. All his shirts he wore personally, onstage and offstage. And one of my favorite things: in the '80s Scott wore nothing but those hi top basketball shoes and I've got three pairs of his old shoes. Which I think are totally awesome. And I've got some of his famous shorts (including shorts from a popular '80s clothing line called Jams). His casual attire is now jeans but the moment he goes on stage it's back to shorts again. It's hard to imagine Scott doing those high jumps in jeans."

"Plus, you gotta show off your tattoos, and his best tattoos are actually on his legs," adds van Gool with a laugh.

Van Halen Fully Signed Album
For those naive to the art of headbanging, Jacques van Gool believes collecting heavy metal memorabilia can be good for you. It is a great investment. "From a collector's point of view, and from a memorabilia point of view, heavy metal is equal to, let's say, the '60s psychedelic rock or the '70s classic rock. It's just the next generation. And the reason I say that is everybody romanticizes the '60s and the '70s as the two best decades in the history of music. And we all know our '60s icons, whether it's the Beatles, the Stones, The Who, you name them. Into the '70s you get yet another generation of highly collectible icons, like Queen and Kiss and a whole slew of bands in-between, there's definitely a second generation of legitimate icons. But I think that the '80s were probably the last decade to really create bands that ended up having that same die-hard following, that same large fan base that carries the same fanaticism almost as they did back n the '60s and the '70s.

Motely Crue Concert Promo
"And I think the reason for that is somewhat simple or predictable," continues van Gool. "After the '80s, the music industry changed a lot with the introduction of CDs and then eventually the digital format. And then the near disappearance of the record industry. Music has become really anonymous and invisible and it's almost become a disposable product. So if you go back and say 'Who or what in the '80s stood out the most?' It's typically metal — in terms of what survived and stood the test of time. And whether you go with the New Wave of British Heavy Metal or the birth of thrash metal and even the third wave of metal. Albeit, the third wave was far more commercial — the Bon Jovis and Motley Crues and the whole explosion with Winger and Poison and Cinderella and Slaughter and all those bands. Unlike almost any other genre of music, you had to be dedicated to like metal in the first place. It was like joining an underground club. You knew if you were going to like metal your parents wouldn't like you, your neighbors wouldn't like you, that you were most likely an outcast in your classroom and sometimes you may have had to run for your life. Metal was by no means an easy or popular choice. But I think because of that it will never let you go. Once you connected with it, it stayed with you. And I think the proof is in the pudding, because you fast forward 30-40 years and all these bands are still around. They still record. They still tour. People still buy their stuff. People still can't get enough of it. Even the most obscure bands."

August Redmoon Red Vinyl - Signed 
The vinyl records of metal’s more obscure bands are now rare gems. Backstage Auctions' metal auction is filled with bulk lots of albums from these more obscure acts, like August Redmoon, Cirith Ungol, Coney Hatch and Vicious Rumors ... and the list goes on. Take the band August Redmoon for instance. The album is now worth between $50-75. Backstage Auctions, however, has a signed copy that can go for up to $100, or more.

"If you just look at the value of heavy metal vinyl," van Gool says, "it far exceeds any other genre. And it's very hard to find. Go to a used record store and I guarantee you will find fifty Dan Fogelberg albums and fifty Hall and Oates albums and fifty Journey albums, and you'll probably find a hundred Barbra Streisand albums, but you're not going to find an Iron Maiden album. Because everybody wants it."

"So, why is heavy metal so collectible? Or, why would it be good for a person to collect heavy metal?" van Gool concludes. "Well, the simple answer is value. And that has been proven. The value is there. But I think more importantly, metal has proven to be one of the few and final genres that has legitimate collectibility. And again the whole foundation of that legitimacy lies in the fact that it is a genre that requires dedication. And with dedication comes loyalty and with loyalty comes fanaticism and you tie all of that together and it kind of explains itself."

Backstage Auction's Rock Gods and Metal Monsters auction runs from April 22 to 29. The VIP Preview runs from April 14  to April 21. 

For more information and registration for VIP All Access passes go to www.backstageauctions.com

CD Review: Sixx A.M. - 7

CD Review: Sixx A.M. - 7
Eleven Seven Music
All Access Review: B+

An EP featuring seven acoustic sketches of tracks from both The Heroin Diaries and This is Gonna Hurt, the two albums SixxA.M. has released so far, 7 comes wrapped in a cloak of gothic darkness. The oaken strings, the black-hearted piano that seems to drip blood and the rich, full-bodied acoustic guitar tones – all of it is ensconced in shadowy atmospherics, graveyard meditations and poisonous opium den gloom. Occasionally, however, the door to this dim crack house opens and lets in streams of hopeful, life-affirming light that make the half-dead inhabitants’ eyes wince. As for Sixx, he walked out of his own dungeon of lost souls a long time ago and hasn’t been back since.

As serious as the heart-stopping drug overdose in 1987 that almost killed him, Nikki Sixx’s side project is the very antithesis of Motley Crue’s revved-up Sunset Strip sleaze and gleeful immersion in a carnival of sins that nearly destroyed them all. He may vicariously relive his wild days through various Crue nostalgia tours, but the dangerous drugging and boozy escapades are a thing of the past for the now clean and sober Sixx. Therapy, though, is good for the soul and it seems to be an essential part of Sixx’s recovery from addiction. Sixx A.M. has certainly helped keep Dr. Feelgood at bay.

The Heroin Diaries, Sixx A.M.’s edgy, oddball debut, served as the nightmarish musical accompaniment for the no-holds-barred autobiography Sixx wrote in the mid-2000s that chronicled a life of excess so extravagant and scary that it made you want to vomit in the dirty toilet stall right next to him. And whatever skeletons Sixx had that remained in his closet were trotted out for Sixx A.M.’s sophomore slump This is Gonna Hurt. Less daring and not nearly as original as The Heroin Diaries, This is Gonna Hurt – released as a companion piece to another Sixx book, this one an artsy photo gallery of stark black-and-white stills – paled in comparison because Sixx A.M. played it safe. But, it did, once again, release some strong emotions that had laid dormant in Sixx’s damaged soul, and there were some well-crafted songs hidden among the weeds of familiar hard-rock tropes that touched nerves and raised spirits. Some of them are completely deconstructed and reanimated on 7, like “Lies of the Beautiful People,” the dramatic reworking of which opens the EP, and “This is Gonna Hurt” – the former cutting its wrists with a tasteful, tension-filled string arrangement, percussive guitar strumming and James Michael’s expressive singing and the latter a sparse reading of the title track to the second LP comprised almost solely of wounded, angst-riddled piano.

Bruised but not beaten, the uplifting new versions of “Help is on the Way” – as affecting a track as Sixx has ever recorded, its bittersweet violins arranged and played with great care and eloquence – and “Life is Beautiful,” its chorus soaring high on Michael’s impassioned wail, have acquired greater depth and meaning. If Sixx were searching for beauty among the ruins of his past indiscretions, he seems to have found it, although “Sure Feels Right” is a sickeningly sweet and cloying love song that’s as sentimental as a Hallmark card or Uncle Kracker’s “Smile,” which means it’s made for Top 40 radio. Only temporarily weighed down by those empty calories, 7 rights the ship slightly with “Pray for Me” finding salvation with some complex acoustic picking and yearning vocals that sincerely search for divine intervention, this laboring through a section of disinterested guitar strumming that would bore even the most forgiving folkie.

“Accidents Can Happen,” on the other hand, is a lovely, heart-wrenching ballad, augmented by searing guitar leads, about second chances and healing, themes that are dear to Sixx’s adrenaline-spiked heart. If Motley Crue is still out having a good time and staying out till all hours, Sixx A.M. is the morning after, where Sixx takes a good hard look in the mirror and thinks about mortality, God and pain. And these bare-bones revisions to previously recorded Sixx A.M. material, while perhaps not completely reinventing the originals, strip away the “sturm und drang” to reveal well-built song structures sturdy enough to support complex string arrangements and stand up to a hurricane of emotions. These are redemption songs, not for a visionary island martyr seeking to lead his people out of poverty and oppression but for a prodigal son of rock and roll who is still dealing with some heavy sh*t and is optimistic about his future. 

- Peter Lindblad

 Motley Crue Vintage Collectible Posters: Rock On Collectibles

CD Review: Foo Fighters - Wasting Light

CD Review: Foo Fighters - Wasting Light
RCA Records
All Access Review: A-

Aside from the bizarrely theatrical exorcism Nicki Minaj’s performed in debuting the song “Roman Holiday” to a quizzical national TV audience that still hasn’t quite figured out what in the world it was watching, the 2012 Grammys were memorable for three things: Adele, Paul McCartney’s extravagant closing number, and the Foo Fighters’ total and complete dominance in any category that had anything to do with rock music. And wouldn’t you know it? For once, the Grammys … well, they got it right.
Released almost a year ago, Wasting Light, the Fighters’ triumphant seventh studio album, finds Dave Grohl and company perfecting their tried-and-true formula of balancing big-hearted emotions with crashing, screaming, hook-filled hard rock that’s as therapeutic as burning an ex-lover’s mementos in a blazing bonfire. But, why is now the right time to reassess an album that’s been dissected and probed thousands of times by now? Four Grammys – that’s why. Well, that and perhaps it’s time to see if Wasting Light can provide any clues as to just where the Foo Fighters go from here and whether they now deserve a place at the table with rock’s greatest luminaries.  
As for the back story to Wasting Light, it was purported to be a throwback, an analog answer to today’s more artificial musical output, hatched with Pro Tools and other digital cleansers. And in many ways, Wasting Light does turn back the clock. Recorded in Grohl’s Encino, California garage using nothing but analog equipment Wasting Light was produced by none other than Butch Vig, who, of course, shepherded Nirvana’s legendary Nevermind album to immortality. One of Grohl’s old bandmates Krist Novoselic also showed up during the Wasting Light sessions to help out – playing bass and accordion – on “I Should Have Known,” and for the dramatically wistful “Dear Rosemary,” Grohl enlisted the assistance of punk hero Bob Mould to bomb away on guitar and lend his grizzled voice to a powerful duet. With the exception of Vig’s propensity for clean production and mushrooming volume and the grizzled character Mould’s vocals add to “Dear Rosemary,” none of that really mattered. In the end, it was the Fighters’ insistence on a return to a warts-and-all recording approach that favors furious energy and primal band chemistry above antiseptic, bloodless production that brought Wasting Light to a rolling boil. Of course, Grohl has had a lot to say lately about how the recording industry’s emphasis on digitally washing every song to a gleaming, spotless shine is killing music, and he’s probably spot-on about that.
Though there’s nothing on Wasting Light that approaches the awe-inspiring majesty of the gathering storm that is “Everlong,” without a doubt the most artfully arranged and affecting song in the Foo Fighters’ catalog, tracks like “Arlandria” – with its building tension and a chorus full of tricky little hooks – and the angular hit “Rope” – its aggressive stop-start dynamics taking full advantage of the band’s three-guitar attack as Chris Shiflet’s careening leads almost plow through the guard rail – speak to the album’s delicate balancing act of riding barreling grooves, torrential riffs and crashing drums roughshod over, around and through tough, indestructible melodies that refuse to be overwhelmed by any of it. As with “Arlandria,” “A Matter of Time” and “Back & Forth” surge with amplified power and roiling emotions, only to ebb slightly and reveal those gripping melodies that grab hold of your throat and don’t let go. But, as Stephen Thomas Erlewine notes in his review of Wasting Light for AllMusic.com, it’s about time that Grohl embraced the hot-wired pace and haunted desert weirdness of Josh Homme and Queens of the Stone Age – who worked with Grohl on their modern classic LP Songs for the Deaf – and he brings all of it to bear in “White Limo” and “Bridge Burning,” two songs full of horsepower that seethe with rage and practically froth at the mouth.
Top to bottom, Wasting Light is the Foo Fighters’ most consistent album. Whereas previous efforts boasted a number of memorable hits and a maddening amount of filler that fluctuated greatly from record to record, Wasting Light is surprisingly free of waste. And if the intention was to capture more of a “live” sound, which it seems like almost every band talks about doing when they’ve hit a plateau somewhere along the way, the Foo Fighters nailed it and in the process, they’ve unleashed an album that can actually be called a “classic.” It’s the record we’ve been waiting for since that eponymous debut way back in 1994 that introduced us to Grohl the songwriter and front man, roles few thought he was capable of playing. Not at all content with growing old gracefully, the Foo Fighters have proven they have plenty of life left in them, provided they focus on bringing intensity and passion to the studio and are not seduced by the siren song of Pro Tools.
What holds them back from being considered among the true giants of rock and roll is a tendency to put blinders on and charge straight ahead into the fray, while also indulging in somewhat predictable quiet-loud-and-then-louder means of song construction. Wasting Light finds the Fighters deviating ever so slightly off the beaten path – the vocals are occasionally a little more dream-like, the dynamics a little more interesting and acrobatic. Having Pat Smear’s bold and loud rhythm guitar back in the fold can’t hurt either. In all likelihood, more of the same is going to come from the Foo Fighters. They’re too far along in their career to drastically change their personality, with Grohl, Shiflet and Smear all coming from a fairly puritanical punk background. Still, if they can find different ways to experiment with tempos and make their sound as thick and intense as possible, while never losing their melodic sensibilities, the Fighters will keep be the band that couldn’t be killed. If they simply fall back on old habits, eventually the world will tire of them.

- Peter Lindblad 

Do you collect Foo Fighters memorabilia? Check out these Foo Fighters posters on eBay!