Friday 31 March 2017

A Conversation with Loki

Hello, and thank you for taking the time to do this again. In case there is a reader here who just crawled out of the grave, can you please introduce yourself?
I'm Loki and I’m currently the guitar player for Michale Graves. I'm also currently involved in some other projects.

So recently, you completed a tour of my home country Canada with Michale Graves. How was it and how were the shows?
The shows were great. Every time we've been to Canada the response has been fantastic. We love going up there!

How were the new band members?
Yea, we had a couple of guys fill in on the most recent Canadian run. Marc Poulin (Vagora, Argyle Goolsby) filled in on drums and Christopher Dean (Darrow Chemical Company, Children of October) filled in on bass. Those guys worked hard on learning all the material. We had a 25 song set list so there was a lot of homework to be done. They both helped us on short notice, especially Dean, who only had 3 days in advance to prepare. We all met up in New Jersey and kind of had a Michale Graves boot camp a few days before the tour. I couldn't be happier about the results. I think they did a tremendous job. They came through in the clutch and deserve a lot of credit.

Now, I remember when Gotham Road was supposed to come to Canada. My friend, since his uncle worked the bar, was going to the show and took a cd with him (he could only sneak in one minor) but, the show ended up getting cancelled because of boarder issues. How has touring Canada changed from then to now in your opinion?
It's night and day. Technology has helped us out a bit. Canadian Customs encourages us to send our personal information, exemption letter and itinerary ahead of time to make the border crossing easier. Canada changed their laws for US bands. A band in our situation no longer needs to obtain a work permit and there are no longer any fees to pay in order to cross. Hopefully our government will extend that courtesy to Canadian bands.

So, we know that you did an appearance for the new Goolsby album. How is that album shaping up and is there any other appearances that you can spill the beans on?
I'm really excited for Goolsby's new album. I recorded guitar on every song with the exception of one possibly. As of this interview I think he is just about ready to announce a release date. We shall see. I think everyone that was a fan of Blitzkid will be pleased with the new album. I'm happy to be a part of it. I have been offered to be a part of a couple of other projects, but there is no news to report on that yet. I am also working on solo material (I guess). I'm just going to keep on writing and recording until the creative juices run dry and see what I'm left with and how I'm going to present it. I never really wanted to be a solo artist and I'm not quite comfortable as a singer... But I'm gonna stay the course for now and see how I feel about it in the future.

I wanted to ask this at the show because it has been so long but, I didn’t get a chance to…also, beer played tricks with my crappy memory. Anything new in terms of Darrow Chemical Company?
Well, I haven't made any formal announcement regarding Darrow Chemical Company... But I have left that band. This quite honestly is the first time I have said anything public about it, but there's really no point in hiding it. People have just assumed anyway. As for reasons why I left... It was just time for me to move on. I worked with JV for nearly 20 years. He's been in just about every, if not every project I've been involved with since 1999. We've been through a lot. You don't see many guys at this level make it this long together. It was simply time for me to do other things with other people. I know folks like to make these things more than what they are and that’s unfortunate, but there's nothing else to it. I don’t know what's next for Darrow, but I know JV continues to write music and he will continue the band. Darrow is his baby. He'll do a great job with it just like he always has.

Is there any solo project or Metal bands in your future as well? The world needs as much Loki as it can get in my opinion!
I kinda answered this question earlier. I am writing and doing some preproduction for my own original material. Right now it's a solo project but I don't know how this material will manifest itself in the future. I am very excited about it though. As far as metal bands... Nothing is on my plate right now in the metal genre, but never say never. I'm always looking to join new and interesting projects regardless of their genre

Over the years, you have played with or shared the stage with some awesome musicians. Is there anyone living and/or dead that you would love to work with that you haven’t? A dream collaboration?
Simple! My dream collaboration would be to work with Jerry Cantrell. He has been one of my biggest influences. He's one of my favorite guitar players, but it's his creativity that blows me away. The guy is a genius and I would love to sit down with him one day and pick his brain.

You are a legend who has been flying the flag for us for a long time and have been a part of some of the most awesome albums ever. Does it ever throw you off when people mention how the music and bands you have been a part of has been so influential to them?
 Well you just caught me off guard by calling me a legend hahaha. It's very weird for me because I'm just a simple dude. I’m just an average guy that loves playing music. It's funny... the one album that is probably the most 'legendary' is one that never got an official release. The Gotham Road Seasons of the Witch demo is simply that, just a demo. We never released an album. I'll be looking to change that in the near future. Michale and I are discussing how we want to approach that. Nothing set in stone yet but I think an official release will happen for that album one way or another. But I'm always honored and humbled when people think that highly of me, my playing and especially the music.

So, like me, you may remember Myspace. Younger readers may not but, this was how bands used to connect to their fans. I remember waiting to hear a new song as soon as it was posted. So, how has social media changed the game? Now there are many ways for bands and fans to connect and news is instantaneous in my opinion
Technology is crazy. It's a double edged sword. As a musician I love it and I hate it. I love it because I can reach an audience pretty quickly with news and music. I hate it because it has diluted music so much. Look how many bands there are. It's hard for the listener to filter the good from the bad. There is over exposure too. You can't have one without the other I suppose.

As an artist, what inspires you (movies, music, comics, books, etc.)?  What got you into this?
The answer to this question has changed over the years. I used to be inspired by music and other forms of art. But now I mostly find my inspiration from life events. So many things have either happened to me or those around me. These events changed the way I view myself and others. I have a completely different perspective from when I started.  
As far as what got me into this? I don't know. My mom was very musical. She had a great voice. She always encouraged me to play. I started me at Piano when I was 6. I never looked back. I've always wanted to be a musician.

As a guitarist, what inspired you to pick up the instrument? I mean, no body is born with an instrument in their hands!
Believe it or not, I always wanted to be a drummer growing up. Like I mentioned before, I started off on piano. That turned out to be a blessing because it made learning all the other instruments that much easier. If I had it my way I would have been a drummer, but we were poor. My parents couldn't afford to get me drums and if they could I lived in a shitty apartment complex in North Bergen NJ. It just wouldn't have worked hahaha. I didn't pick up guitar until I was 15. That's pretty late in the game. But I loved hard rock and metal and playing the piano just wasn't gonna hack it for me. So I picked up guitar and probably never put it down the first couple of years that I had one. I was playing 24/7.

I mentioned this before, but as a legend, is there any advice to any bands starting out that you could give?
Do something else hahaha. Unless of course you love it and you have a passion for it. This is a hard job and no one will ever give you credit for working hard at it. It is thankless. The majority of you won't make it. I still haven't 'made it'. If you are serious about it, then you will have to make a lot of sacrifices. If you want to tour, then a majority of you won't be able to have stable relationships. I'm not saying it's impossible, but highly unlikely. If you're in it to win it, it becomes very difficult to find people that are dedicated and willing to make these same commitments. If you love it, then none of these things matter. No one ever told me how hard this would be or how many misconceptions there are about being a touring musician. But if they did, it wouldn't have changed anything.

Are there any new artists or bands in the Horror Rock/Punk genre that you think people should know? Someone who is exciting you with the music they make?
I don't listen to new music much anymore. Bill Burr has this bit, that once you reach a certain age you just like what you like and hate everything new. I feel like that guy sometimes hahaha. If you would have told me I'd be like this even 5 years ago I would have thought you were nuts. But here I am.

Are there any new releases that you are looking forward to (movies, music, etc.)?
I'm ready for Star Wars!

Thank you once again for taking the time to do this! Are there any parting words you have for the readers?
Goolsby will be releasing his album soon. You can keep tabs on him at this link:  
Michale Graves just released a solo acoustic album called Back Roads. He is currently on an acoustic tour to support the album. You can find the album and much more Michale Graves related info here:
I will be touring with both bands later in the year! Hope to see you out on the road!

Thursday 30 March 2017

Another Conversation with Peter DeRaven

Well hello again man. Welcome back to the mad laboratory!
Glad to be back. It's an honor as always.

So, very soon, you are releasing the Lust of Lilly saga in it's entirety with 4 new songs. What challenges was there in making all 3 EPs cohesive over a span of a couple of years?  
We knew that this was the initial plan from the get go but were not really expecting it to take as long as it did. We ended up releasing one chapter a year which for us is sort of a long time. We have been known to do full albums a year and even albums and EPs at the same time so this was something different. Also we had a member leave so that kind of put a halt on things briefly. Over all the challenge was taken on by our good buddy in England Bill Gandon who worked so hard to make it all come together mixing and mastering from all the different sessions.

Let us break down the 3 chapters. Chapter one was Dracunculus Vulgaris. What can you tell us of this chapter and how it lends to the whole story? 
Angry, I think right out of the gate you can tell its really shows off Jesse's influence on the songs which has a bit more of a metal tinge to it. 

How about Chapter two: Tiger?
We had a lot of the songs for Tiger demoed out even before Dracunculus Vulgaris but felt we wanted the first chapter to be heavier. This part is a bit more old school VAGORA more punk I think sort of saying okay this is still the same band we were even with this new line up. 

And the final chapter Snow Princess Star Gazer?
Star Gazer is a step forward but also a goodbye of sorts. Meaning we introduced, for the first time, 4 different lead vocalists on these tracks. Robby, Jesse, and Jonny and myself all have lead vocal tracks on there. also our drummer Marc made his song writing debut with the track "The Overlooked" he wrote both music and lyrics for that. So while our sound is always evolving the glimpse of the future would be all of us writing and more than one vocalist. 

How are the four new songs going to fit in with the established chapters? Will they be at the end or mixed in?
The bonus tracks actually were recorded during each EP and are added in where they would fit in through out the record. This record was a puzzle really but there was always a final vision even with the bonus tracks. 

Now that we looked at the chapters, are the reformation of the band, what were the challenges that you faced with this vision? Was it hard reintroducing this to your fans?
So yes everything has been remixed remastered and Robby has added guitar tracks to chapter one and two as he was not in the band while those were recorded. So it really is a new experience for the listener. Im a firm believer in not screwing over people who buy our music so the original EPs do have a different sound and charm to them and will be special for those who had the chance to purchase them. Those versions will most likely not be pressed again so I think its a cool thing to have. Also we made sure the package for this full version was top notch with a 12 page booklet with lyrics and all that 24 tracks and we mad the price $10 American so I mean for nearly 80 mins of music its definitely a deal. Even if you got the other EPs already. 

What was your inspiration for this saga? 
Betrayal, I mean people will speculate who or what that is about but I never make things obvious. Its about a lot of people and a lot of things. I unfortunately am inspired when things go to shit so I try to take advantage of that. But another huge inspiration honestly was Jesse Nameless and Robby Bloodshed. We have been told many times on tour and locally that this is the line up. Those guys really kept the blood pumping in the band. So just showing off their talents on top of myself and the other guys was a huge inspiration.

How has everyone answered the call to make these albums? 
We were all pretty much on the same page as to how we wanted this project to work out I think.

During these releases, you have completed tours across America now. How have these given you the opportunity to showcase your talents outside your previous tour area? 
It's been great I mean meeting new people new bands sleeping in strange places its what I've always wanted. Its always exciting for us to play in front of people we have never met and just as awesome to play for our friends who have supported us for years. We are heading out on a coast to coast tour in May in a camper we basically restored top to bottom on our own so should be fun i was getting to old for the vans lol 

Now that this book is closed on Vagora, what is next for the band?Anything you can tell us about future releases? 
We are releasing a new EP Called Death And Dreams, 4 brand new tracks to coincide with our May tour. The sound is VAGORA but so much different at the same time. They were definitely not left overs from Lust of Lily these songs really comprise a mini album that stands alone. When we get home from tour we will begin focusing on full length releases again and will most likely being recording the next album before the years end.   

Thank you for taking the time to do this, our first returnee for an interview! Any parting words for our readers?
Thanks again for having me. I'm glad you finally got to meet one of us recently You've been supporting VAGORA for years now and I'm glad to be a part of this. for the readers thanks for taking the time to hear what I think. Support local music and touring bands. It's you guys that keep scenes going

Tuesday 28 March 2017

Michale Graves - Secret Lab Session DVD Confidenial

So, this is an awesome DVD by the man! From the look and packaging it is perfect. It's bare bones in look as it looks like a secret release but the music on there is fantastic! The oldest song on here is "Black Bird" from the Web of Drama album by the band Graves while the rest of the material is from Vagabond on. I am a fan of this release as it is an intimate release. It was filmed in a basement but it has a look and feel that, if you watch it in your living room, it feels like a private concert in your own home. Get a copy of this release if you can! It is fun and a great edition for any fan!

Sunday 26 March 2017

Ghostbusters 101 (#1)

This time around, everyone answers the call as the Ghostbusters are teaching and training new recruits, are slapped with a threat from the Environment officials and, through their teleport machine, may have come across the female Ghostbusters from the 2016 film in another universe. The first issue is good but I wonder how they will use them after the uproar that the remake brought forth from long time fans. I guess we will see as IDW has done a great job with the license so far as the issues have been entertaining and funny! Now, the real question...when will we get more that just a glimpse of the Extreme Ghostbusters? Just saying...

Ghostbusters International (#11)

Well, I finally got my hands on the final issue of this series that has had the Ghostbusters travel the world. However, I don't think in all their travels, they thought that they'd end up in Hell! That's right folks! Time to do some busting in Hell as everything comes full circle and the crew (minus Winston...he could never end up in a place like that!) must battle more than ghosts to get back home! The story and art are fantastic in this hilarious read that will have you laughing right along with it. This is a great conclusion to a fantastic story line that was a fantastic addition to the Ghostbusters universe! Get it so you know who are going to call...

Kiss (#6)

Well, here we have the conclusion of the first story arch as the kids must say Blackwell the space station from annihilation as it is heading towards the sun! This is a great read as now we end one story while beginning another as we finally get some answers to the many questions that were raised in the previous 5 issues! Dynamite has done a fantastic job with the series so far as this long time Kiss fan has been all smiles with their treatment of the license! Get a copy as soon as you can if you are a Kiss fan or not; there is so much to love here!

The Visitor: How & Why He Stayed (#1)

I can't believe that I have reached 700 posts! Where has all the time gone? Well, lets get on with the reviews shall we? A mystery in the Mignolaverse is finally getting an answer as we find out who and why this being has come here and has always been around Hellboy! Is the story predictable? A little but it is enjoyable as he wrestles with the same issues that other characters in the Hellboy universe about his true destiny here on Earth from his appearance at the end of World War II to his death on Earth. Great read with killer art as always as we follow along the story!

Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1954 - Ghost Moon (#1)

So, Hellboy and crew have an investigation in China as a whole village has had its life force stolen and weird monsters are roaming free. Just another day at the office for the B.P.R.D. if you ask me as both the story and art are fantastic as greed seems to be at the center of all it all as we have some questions answered at the end of the first issue while others remain a mystery. I love stories that look back on Big Red's past as Mignola and company have always done a fantastic job with continuity while leaving nothing behind. Another awesome Dark Horse release! 

Baltimore: The Red Kingdom (#2)

So Lord Baltimore is recruiting some help in his battle as he finds that the war has come to him personally! The Red King is looking to take over the world...not if Baltimore and company have something to say about all of this! This is a fantastic mini series so far as both the art and story are top notch as we are left wondering if he can defeat this latest threat on humanity! It is not too late to get into this series as I don't know why you have waited so long to enjoy the goodness at hand. Grab a copy of this and the first'll thank me later!

Hellblazer (#7)

Well, we are continuing to build to this big battle between Constantine and the Dijin as John is looking for answers in how to defeat them. He goes to see an old friend but is interrupted by a robbery and some cops. Things are about to get messy as we inch closer and closer to the climax of the story that has been nothing but great so far as we have both that classic feel that we know from the original Hellblazer stories with the new direction that DC is going for. Jolly good I say mate!

Rock And Roll Biographies - Pantera

This is maybe my first disappointment with this brand as I find that it focused more on the murderer of Dimebag than on the story and accomplishments of this amazing band. Don't get me wrong, the art is amazing as always but, I find that it only touches on the whole story which is not what they usually do. Get it if you must but, I am a little hurt by the product that was released and I don't want to relive the day we lost a legend due to stupidity.

Crypt of Screams (#1)

This first issue of a new Horror anthology is great in terms of both story and art as Death comes calling in different ways in these stories that are destined to strike a cord with all fans of Horror. This is a fantastic, low key read that will get your attention and keep it focused on the book! A sleeper that many will pass on but, believe me when I say, pick it up and you won't regret it at all!

Michale Graves - Backroads

So, after releasing When Worlds Collide  and Bedlam, Graves has taken a break from the monster music and has gone acoustic for a more personal touch. This album is awesome as it shows him spreading his wings musically like he did on Vagabond and Wanderer albums. However, this is all new material, stripped down completely to its bare bones letting both his lyrics and voice shine on through. No fancy tricks no nothing beyond guitars, piano and a touch of bass on these songs. This really is a fantastic listen for both long time fans and new fans alike who are just discovering his material. Yes, he can do the monster music almost as well as anyone on the planet but, he is also an amazing songwriter in his own right who can do stuff outside the Horror Rock genre and still be awesome! Turns out, it isn't evil all the time. Standouts include the opener and title track "Backroads", "Worst Day of my Life", "The World Turned Upside Down", "Condemned to Love", "Night", "Neverland", "The Creek", "I Believe", "Fields, Towns and Folks" and the closer "Am I Nothing At All?". This is a fantastic listen from beginning to end as Graves is one talented human being! Bar none, his albums don't disappoint as he is much more than his Misfits material.

Sunday 19 March 2017

Afterlife Love Machine - A Night at the Movies

What do you get when you combine Afterlife Love Machine and a bunch of movies? Try a mish mash of goodness that will have you singing along and laughing at the same time! The songs, like this review will be short and sweet. It seems like acoustics have taken over the genre as of late and I am more than okay with this as the quality of music that has been amazing! This band has released quality material after quality material and this is no different. Get a copy of this as soon as you can! You will be thankful that you did! So sit back and enjoy the tunes that Afterlife Love Machine weave.

Wanton - Harmageddon Get Together

Looking for some awesome Horror Punk/Rockabilly? Look no further than Wanton! This is just an awesome album that takes you back with that classic sound while giving you some of the awesomest music possible with songs that take you by the throat and doesn't let go! The musicianship is top notch as there is so much to love here for any fan of the music! Yes, I am currently cleaning my jaw off the floor as I am that taken aback with the awesomeness of the music! Standouts include "Fun N' Gore", "Bump in the Night", "21st Century Haunting", "Hyde", "Dystopia", "Second Coming", "Front Row Ticket", "Vendetta", "Infected" and "The End". This is a fantastic album that you need to get your hands on as soon as you can! No joke! I love it!

The Mutant Members Only Club - A Fatal Dose Of Doo​-​Wop

I have to wipe the tears from my eyes from laughing so hard while listening to this newest masterpiece from The Mutant Members Only Club! They got everything you love and more as he is telling both the aliens and the Goths where to go! Your brain won't go kablooey and she may not be the serial killer that she used to be but you will love it and laugh just the same! Seriously, if you haven't given The Mutant Members Only Club yet, I don't know what you are waiting for! This may be labeled as a fate dose of Doo-Wop but it is exactly what the good doctor ordered for you! Give it a listen as both long time fans will find plenty to love while attracting new fans alike! Just so much to love here by this band! Get on it or you may have 88 holes in you... just saying.

Tuesday 14 March 2017

Undead Artists Records - Monster Mash-Up

So last year, a challenge was put forth by Undead Artists to it's lineup of artists: record covers of each others songs for a future release. A band break up and two new bands joining the lineup could not stop this monster from raising as we now hold in our hands the Monster Mash-Up as the bands stepped up BIG time! You may recognize some of the bands on here from previous reviews like Motel Transylvania, Deadite, Cavaverman and Lupen Tooth along with more bands that I really need to check out more of! Preforming a task like this is never easy and can take a lot of time and resources to pull this off (especially since the line up or artists are spread out throughout Europe!). Hats off to Undead Artists for getting this done and the goods in our hands for enjoying! It is hard to pick favorites as every song just rocks in this compilation of awesomeness! Let the monster rise as this music hits your ears. There is lots to enjoy here for any fan of any of these bands or the genre in general! Instant classic in my books!

The Bastards - Return of the Vampire

I normally get some kind of alert for new releases by The Bastards from Bandcamp but, I may have missed this new full length release that has those Bastards locked away doing 8 new songs and 3 songs you may know of from before. Again, the songs are fantastic and the playing is top notch as those Bastards do it again with another intoxicating release! Standouts include "Just Like Us", "Maniac", "Nothing Personal", "Drag me to Hell", "Lover's Lane", "Jacki is a Creep", "Revenge", "Take me Away", "The Night She Came Back" and "These Walls". This is another fantastic release great for those mornings of relaxing after a night of drinking...or a morning you just don't want to do anything. The Bastards are acoustic awesomeness as this dynamic pair just release quality each time and I can never wait to hear what they come up with next!

Sunday 12 March 2017

The Bastards - Jacki Is A Creep

This new single has a title some what inspired by the Ramones as those Bastards do it again as they inform us that Jacki is a creep! This is a great song that is great fun and enjoyable for long time fans and new fans alike! So, get this new single as you never know if it will be on their new album or not. Any new release by the Bastards is welcomed by this ghoul! So get it and enjoy it because, like this song, the review is short and sweet!

Killroy - Live at the Rockpile

I can actually say that I was at that show as they opened for the legendary Michale Graves! This set was awesome and now I have a musical accompaniment of that night! The songs are catchy, great to move to and sing along to as (to the best of my knowledge) there have only released 2 of these songs as mp3 downloads. It was a fun night and the songs were just as fun (along with the humor between the songs)! You know you need a copy of this in your life as it is just a fantastic listen from top to bottom! There wasn't a bad song in the set and I think they need some sort of studio release to show the world just what they missed that night in my opinion! So, grab a copy of this download as you will enjoy it because, if you do and don't, I think you are truly dead inside and have no chance in the afterlife!

Deadite - the Damned

DAMN! That is my initial reaction after hearing this offering by Deadite! These 4 dudes from Belgium just rock on this album as they bring all styles associated to the Horror Punk genre and just kill it! Heavy, Punky, Rockabilly, has it all as these guys leave it all on the table and take no prisoners with this release! Undead Artists have done it again with finding another awesome band in the world to bring to our attention and our ears! These guys are really freaking awesome as it just hits you from beginning to end! Standouts include "The Shadows", "Age of Violence", "The Damned", "Show me Some Love", "Empty Heart", "Damnation", "The Taker", "MOC", "Roadkill", "SSDD" and "The Curse". So get out of the shadows as the damned known as the Deadite are here and coming after anyone who haven't heard this release yet! So, don't be one of those people!

Doyle - Run for your Life (single)

Here we finally have a taste of the new album by Doyle and his band. The first album was just amazing! Better than I could have expected as it blew Gorgeous Frankenstein out of the water and then some! The legend with Alex Story in tow is a heavy hitter and this release is no exception! If this is a taste of what is to come, I cannot wait for the main course! This is mind blowingly awesome! Now, I have to wait another month to hear the rest. So I guess I will have to wait.

Zombina and the Skeletones - In Sinistereo (Part Four)

Well well well folks. I know it has been a while but here is some new music (and a new review from me!) from Zombina and the Skeletones as they complete the 4 part saga of In Sinistereo. This journey has been epic and this release is no exception as it is another top notch release by this legendary band! I swear, by the final song "Whatever You Do, Don't Fall in Love" I was singing along as it is that good and that catchy! All 4 tracks on here have that power so, I suggest that you get on this release as soon as you can! I personally would love a physical release with all 4 EPs on one CD as I think it would make a cool package! So, as you get a copy of this for yourself remember that Satan is alive in you and you need some more Zombina and the Skeletones in your life!