Graham Coxon

Graham Coxon Live At The Zodiac DVD

Parlophone

If we’re all honest, Graham Coxon was always the best thing about of Blur. His warm fuzzy guitar tones and hop-skip-jump bendy guitar lines worked so well, and his nervous high pitched cooing gave a real sense of emotion to Damon’s everyman delivery. But in one swift action that finally gave conclusive evidence that Damon is in fact a nasty piece of work (well, I wasn’t gonna just believe what the Gallagher’s were saying was I?) Graham was asked to leave the band in such a humiliating manner. He quit the drink and alcohol, sorted his mind and family life out, and pushed on with his solo work whilst Blur went on to sell a lot of records (as per usual) but generally bore people into buying Gorillaz records (so it would occupy more of Damon’s time until the inevitable reunion of Coxon and Blur.) and while Blur may sell more records than Graham, the respect he gets from the critics, fans and other bands far exceeds that of his former band. So just to rub it in that little bit more we have one frantically electric show of Graham’s (and his amazing band) captured on DVD for the first time.

The show is a revelation from start to finish, the band are tight and taut, and Graham is the constant focus of your attention as he strangles his guitar into making some of the most amazing sounds and looks onwards nervously, trying to remember the words. It’s all there, the new wave sensibility of Blondie, the ever-summer feeling of the Beach Boys, the robotic edginess of Wire, and the warped world-outlook of Pavement, all perfectly fused in bite sized chunks. You also get an acoustic set and his promo videos all thrown in for free, but the most interesting thing I found on the DVD was the proof that Graham sounds exactly like Nigel Tuffnel’s character in “This Is Spinal Tap,รข?”. Luckily for us though there are no Violin vs. Guitar solo’s on offer here. This DVD showcases Coxon’s undeniable talent, but much more than that it shows a man finally at ease with himself and happy. Y’see, it wasn’t that hard after all! Buy this DVD from here online.

Jeremy Chick
www.subba-cultcha.com

Anthrax


Where to start with the history of these New York metal legends? As the sole East Coast representatives of thrash metal’s ‘Big Four’, they infused their sound with a dark sense of humour and an intrepid experimental edge on classic albums such as ‘Persistance Of Time’ and ‘Among The Living’. Their collaboration with Public Enemy on ‘Bring The Noise’ proved to be a forerunner of the 90s metal scene, influencing the likes of Limp Bizkit and a whole load of good bands too. Nearly 25 years from their original inception, Anthrax recently reformed their classic 80s line-up; that’s Joey Belladonna (vocals), Scott Ian (guitar), Dan Spitz (guitar, Frank Bello (bass) and Charlie Benante (drums). Having stolen the show with a storming performance at last month’s Download festival in Donington, the band recently returned to the UK for a couple of low key shows, and I caught up with Dan Spitz at the Colchester Arts Centre.

So, Dan, first UK tour with this line-up since the late eighties…how’s it been so far?

We started it about two months ago; we’ve been around Europe, about two weeks in Australia, a few shows in the States, just touching base all over…we were lucky enough to get to play at a lot of festivals here in Europe. We just want to let everyone know that we’re here, it’s really happening, it’s not a joke, you know? It’s gonna take some time to really get comfortable, just like with any job, but it’s been working out really well.

People keep asking us if there’ll be a new album and stuff, but we just want to take each day as it comes…it’s been blowing up here and in Europe and Australia, a lot faster and better than we thought it would, so we’re very happy with that!

So on the whole, the fans’ reactions have been positive?

We’ve been blown away, it’s been amazing…because we’re seeing both the old fans, and also newer, younger fans, who are finally getting to see the classic band, the five guys who wrote the big Anthrax albums…it’s like history in front of you, in the present!

You played Donington last month for the first time in 17 years – how did that go? Did it bring back any fond memories?

I remember the time we played in 1988, with Dio and Bon Jovi – we remember that one very vividly, because that show really broke us through in Europe, and from then on, it was fantastic. So finding out that we would play Download this year, it was very important to us…and from the second we hit the stage, it was mayhem, it was crazy – two giant pits, great clouds of dirt rising up…the love we felt from the fans was just amazing, beyond reproach. We were, like, “We’re home again!”

What do you think of today’s metal bands – many of whom are clearly influenced by Anthrax?

Well, I didn’t even listen to music for about nine years, [after leaving Anthrax in the early nineties], so I’m kind of like an outsider coming back in…but we always used to say, years ago, that when we heard thrash metal on a television commercial, we’d know we’d done something! Our manager had two demo tapes – of us and Metallica – in the early 80s, and none of the major record labels were interested, they thought it was just noise…it wasn’t Motley Crue!

But these days, you can often hear thrash-metal soundtracks on commercials – even if it just generic stuff written by guys who writre music for commercials…that, combined with the influx of so many bands who grew up on us…we’ve been lucky to meet a lot of those bands at festivals, bands like Slipknot who were weaned on us, just like I was weaned on Black Sabbath!
It’s amazing.

You guys have always had a sense of humour and love of experimentation (e.g.
‘I’m The Man’) in your music; do you feel that this is important for bands to survive?

I think, to each his own…as a band, we have very different musical tastes; a couple of the other guys grew up strictly on punk, and they brought that aggression to Anthrax…and then you have Joey and I, who inject more melody into the band, because we grew up not only on Black Sabbath and Maiden and Priest, but also jazz and 70s music and whatnot, which has influenced me a lot as a lead guitarist.

We’ve never sat around a table and planned things as a band; we always just tried to reflect our everyday selves in our music, and it just so happens there’s a few million people out there who like it! We’ve never conformed, never let a record company tell us what to do – that was the hardest part about getting signed, they just didn’t know what to do with us.

As for the humour…you have to remember that back when we did ‘I’m The Man’, metal was supposed to be all doom and gloom, so we were breaking down barriers there! But we often had to fight hard to get our record company to release some of our stuff – like I said, they just didn’t understand us. We didn’t all wear black, we didn’t grit our teeth and look angry – because that’s not what we’re about, and it still isn’t today! I want the person who listens to my music to know that I’m the same fuckin’ moron onstage that I am offstage!

What are Anthrax’s plans for the near future, after this European tour ends?

After this tour ends, we’ll fly back to the States to do some recording – we’ve recorded a live DVD for one record company, and then a double anthology CD for Island Records, who released all our older material. We’ll visit Puerto Rico, and then start our American tour, to let them know we’re still alive; we’ll be doing that from October to December, then we’ll be back in Europe for a headlining tour sometime next year – just making sure everyone gets to see the full Anthrax show!

The European tour is currently rumoured to take place around springtime of next year – check out www.anthrax.com for more info!

DTX


“I was 13 years old” grins BH, singer/guitarist of Manchester rock n’ rollers DTX, reminiscing about his conversion to the church of rock n’ roll, “it was the Guns N’ Roses album, ‘Appetite For Destruction’ – I remember hearing the words from ‘It’s So Easy’, where Axl goes “Why don’t you just…fuck off!”. I know it sounds fucking sad, but it got me straight away – I thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever heard in my life! So, yeah, it all went from there…”

Welcome, my friends, to the grimy world of underground rock n’ roll. Stylised haircuts/clothing and front-page photo spreads are something of a rarity here; this is a world characterised by battered transit vans, run-down venues and barely making enough cash to get to the next gig.

You may not realise it, but there are hundreds of bands like DTX out there, unloved by the mainstream, yet undaunted in their love of the music that they and their fans hold dear. Formerly known as Dog Toffee, DTX have been playing together for nearly ten years, and have notched up an impressive array of support slots with dirty rock n’ roll luminaries such as the Wildhearts, Turbonegro and Therapy?. BH and [DTX bassist] Sean Dog have even found time to set up their own tattoo studio

“I’ve always been into tattoos, I got my first one when I was 17.” recalls BH. “I always thought they looked dead cool, and I’ve been interested in art since I was a kid, so it was just a natural progression really.” It also fits in nicely with the rock n’ roll lifestyle that the band have embraced so wholeheartedly. “Yeah, it’s definitely a lifestyle for us…that’s why we’ve been doing this for so long – it’s not just something you can turn on and off, you know?”This attitude is born out by ‘One More Sinner’, the band’s first album as DTX. It’s a record dripping in great tunes; an uncompromising yet melodic mix of hard rock and punk influences. More importantly, it’s a hungry record; the sound of a rabid rock n’ roll underdog slipping its leash and slavering to sink its teeth into the leg of the mainstream. Never shy about voicing their opinions, second track ‘NME Darlin” is a vitriolic, yet amusingly tongue-in-cheek attack on the increasingly ubiquitous weekly music paper, and the bands that feature within its pages.

“The music’s become far too weak, far too fashion-orientated these days. Take Good Charlotte; they try to come across as a punk band, but the Backstreet Boys and Busted had heavier songs than them! Shit like that, it’s not real music. Maybe they started out with good intentions, but the record company got hold of them, flashed the cash at them…it’s all about the money and the way you look, these days; the music is secondary at best. It’s worse than ever, and probably getting worse.”

BH’s distrust of record companies is understandable, given that an early incarnation of Dog Toffee were signed and dropped by a major label within the space of a few months. However, he insists he doesn’t envy NME-friendly bands’ success.

“It’s not really envy, more anger, that all these bands are so successful when they’re so shit! You look at great bands like the Supersuckers and Rocket From The Crypt, who both had a taste of success here and then just slipped away – they piss all over most famous bands these days.

All the best bands seem to get ignored, because they’re too raw, too uncommercial. Let’s face it, your average guy who works in an office isn’t gonna listen to a band like the Dwarves, is he? A band with a guitarist who goes onstage bollock-naked, wearing only a mask – it’s not gonna happen!”

Still, there’s nothing like a good gig to reaffirm a band’s faith in what they do. Tonight’s show – with the Yo-Yo’s at London’s Camden Underworld – saw the bands playing to an almost capacity crowd, and BH is understandably pleased.

“This is what it’s all about, shows like tonight! You get shows where the promotion
hasn’t been great, where only about 20 people show up, and it drains your spirits
a bit…but then you get shows like tonight, full of people who like your kind of music, it’s fucking great! If every night was like this, we’d be laughing!”

Indeed, tonight is proof that dirty, underground rock n’ roll is very much alive and kicking. Seeing as we’re all going to hell for listening to rock ‘n’ roll anyway, why not get acquainted with DTX and become ‘One More Sinner’ yourself?

Check www.dtxrockers.com for more info

Shadows Fall

The past 12 months have been a resounding success for Massachusetts metal mob Shadows Fall. Newest release ‘the War Within’ crashed the US Billboard charts at #20 and has since gone on to sell over 200,000 copies in their homeland alone, masked machine Slipknot took them on the road for 8 weeks as part of an almighty arena tour, and the five-piece shall now be spending the entirety of the summer playing alongside the likes of Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden on the legendary Ozzfest’s main stage.

During a brief and rare break from their relentless touring schedule; four-stringer Paul Romanko took the time to answer a few questions from our own metal maniac Ryan Bird.

Hello there old chap. How are you doing?

Hey! I”m alright off tour for a change!

Where are you right now? What are you up to?

Well I just woke up a little while ago and came across these questions in my email.so no time like now to get on em!

You recently completed a whirlwind tour of the UK. How was that for you?

It was great(as it always is). I enjoy playing shows in the UK. The crowds are full of energy and its pretty easy to find a person or two to share a few pints with. In addition getting to again share a stage with Slipknot put us in front of even more wild metal fans.

How did it feel to play Donington for the second time? That’s quite an honour…

That is just beyond words! We were very fortunate to play in 2003. That year we played mainstage. We were running around like school kids taking pictures behind Iron Maiden’s drumset and shit like that!! Then a second chance. Unreal! It’s an honor to play an event with such an awesome history. Quite a few legendary bands have graced the stage at Donnington.

Of course, you’re no longer strangers to such huge challenges as the spiritual home of metal as you spent around 8 weeks on tour with Slipknot and Lamb of God playing arenas in the spring. How did it feel to be playing to so many people each night?

That is a dream come true. We never thought that we”d be doing any type of tour like that. Being able to reach so many people each night is unbelievable! It’s some of the best exposure our band has ever received. Much thanks to all the guys in Slipknot for being so damn cool and having the balls to take out two non-radio bands on a very successful arena tour.

Playing the main stage of Ozzfest is sure to pull in even bigger crowds. Are you ready and raring to go for that one?

I hope so! We’ve got to be on point every night. Following In Flames and BLS is no easy feat! Then you’ve got Mudvayne and two of the greatest of all time in Maiden and Sabbath. It’s surreal to even think about the fact that we are sharing a stage with two of the biggest icons in heavy metal history!! But we’re gonna get up there and give our all rock out, drink a couple beers and hopefully make a few new fans.

Upon release, The War Within crashed the Billboard top 20. It must have been mind boggling to see your album fighting amongst the usual platinum selling hip-hop and r”n”b shit.

Yeah that was some crazy shit!! I guess that reflects how much the metal community has had a resurgence in the past few years. Quite a few bands have been hitting Billboard charts on their debut week.KSE , LOG, and very recently A7X and As I Lay Dying had great numbers. Its nice to see peer bands up there. Hopefully it”ll continue.

What do you think sets Shadows Fall apart from the rest of the modern day pack?

I think that the fact that we embrace classic rock and are willing to incorporate “rock” riffs into the metal sets us apart a bit. We also try and balance the
aggression with melody creating sonic peaks and valleys on our albums. But more from a rock perspective rather than an emo one. Even more so are probably Jon’s solos. Not many bands are shredding out leads like that these days.

Do you think the return of Headbangers Ball has had a massive impact on the metal scene? Seeing bands like yourselves, Lamb of God, As I Lay Dying etc on the biggest music channel in the world must open you up to a much wider audience than you had previously imagined possible.

Any exposure is great..but when MTV decided to bring back the ball it was huge for the US metal scene. Getting your videos played nationwide on an almost weekly basis helped us see a huge jump in our fanbase. It was cool to go into smaller markets and have kids tell you how they “discovered” your band on Headbanger’s Ball.. Good Shit!!

In the past year or two the music media has invented the term The New Wave of American Heavy Metal. Isn’t that a bit inaccurate given that bands like yourselves have been playing this music for the better part of a decade?

Yeah it is a bit funny for us to see the word “new” next to our name. Especially when next year will be the 10 year anniversary of SF. But hey the media needs tags to sell stories so!!??!! As long as the press stays interested I can live with it I guess? I just think it could have been a little more creative of a title. oh well.

What’s your opinion on internet downloading?

I used to have mixed thoughts on that but hey why not! I”m not into giving away entire albums but a few tracks.Its an easy way to check out new bands. I”ll do it and if I”m into the band I buy the cd. We don’t make a dime off cd sales. We survive by touring. So if kids are downloading songs and getting into our music its likely they will come to a show. So ultimately it benefits us in the end. Besides aren’t we all guilty of that anyways!!

With the ever increasing popularity of the genre, more and more metal bands are signing to majors. Eighteen Visions and Lamb of God are on Sony, Mastodon on Warner Bros and rumour has it you yourselves will soon be joining the major leagues. Do you think that
this may ultimately prove to be a risky move should the popularity dip and the sales drop as a result? Such labels are often used to gold and platinum records as a minimum requirement.

Rumors ..rumors ..rumors!! Unfortunately there are risks with any label. Perhaps a bit more with the majors, but it ultimately comes down to writing a good album. Good music finds a way to surface no matter what label it is on. I guess we”ll have to see what the future holds on all accounts here.

Do you think metal will soon become the new nu-metal as such? A few years back people couldn’t get enough, and now they seem to hate it with a passion. Do you ever worry about bands like yourselves being deemed “uncool”?

Well I don’t think we really care about the “uncool” thing so much. We went through that 6-8 years ago when “metal” was dirty word in the Massachusetts scene. We didn’t care then and doubt we”ll care if it happens again. We just write honest music that
satisfies ourselves first and foremost. But I do believe there will be a time when the tides change. It seems to happen every few years or so. But there is always the few bands that end up transcending there scene and lasting through it. We’ve got our fingers crossed that we”ll be able to do this a while longer.

What are your plans for the remainder of 2005?

TOUR.Tour.tour.tour.till December and then rest a bit and start writing the next album. Then
after that we”ll probably tour some more! Just for variation!

The War Within is available in stores now through Century Media.

See www.shadowsfall.com for more information.

Soulfly

The Song Remains Insane DVD

Max Cavalera is undoubtedly one of the most influential and important figures in metal today. Former band Sepultura leapt into the mainstream from the unlikely territories of deepest Brazil with their unrivalled, venomous cocktail of thrash ferocity and snarling punk attitude; while current venture Soulfly have spent the better part of a decade knocking down walls and musical boundaries of their own with a sonic battering ram of tribal influenced mayhem and delicate, flamenco driven serenity. The bands” debut DVD release is a detailed, all access journey with Max and co. captured live throughout the world over the course of the past several years. Featuring over an hour of live performance, previously unseen footage from inside the studio during the “Prophecy” recording sessions, up-close and personal band interviews and the four-piece’s entire video discography – ‘the Song Remains Insane” is an intriguing insight into an even more intriguing group of musicians, and irrefutably packs enough wallop to keep even the most avid followers satisfied for many an evening to come.

Ryan Bird

Henry Rollins

Shock and Awe Spoken Word Tour DVD

Cooking Vinyl

If you haven’t heard about once Black Flag/Rollins Band front man Henry Rollins’ spoken word performances, then where the hell have you been? I luckily caught one of his shows at the Barbican a few years ago, a sold out audience sat through what essentially is one man venting his spleen about a myriad of topics for over three hours. My bum may have been telling me in it’s own magical way that it had been THAT long sitting still with a dose of pins and needles, but my mind felt like it had only been 30 minutes. The man’s natural charisma is impossible to resist, he is shouting at you, yet you don’t mind the spit and bile because ultimately what he says will make you laugh, and more so, it”ll make you think! Henry Rollins is an articulate man, but he wont talk down to you, he wont dumb things down either, instead he explains things simply, directly and most importantly, interestingly. He touches on Politics, his own social commentary, music, his eternal mission to find love, his life in California and many more enticing nuggets throughout his set, all with a warmth and humbleness that is refreshing in this era when EVERYONE has an opinion.

I don’t want to do what most reviews will be doing, quoting jokes out of context and writing what is said without the presence of Rollins’ charisma, because it wont work, but what I will tell you is if you go and buy this DVD with bonus CD, you wont be disappointed, I promise you that!

By Jeremy Chick

Eye for an Eye

The New Breed of Hardcore and Metal

www.centurymedia.com

In the past several years, good old fashioned metal has seen somewhat of a dramatic resurgence. As the clones and lemmings of the tiresome nu-metal movement slowly but surely came to a grinding halt; a new wave of devastating musical vengeance was simmering away in the underground melting pot, almost at boiling point. Quicker than you could say “I like hot cocks!” that pot finally boiled over, and in turn spilled out into the mainstream with the same snarling aggression possessed by the bands of which its juices contained. From the realms of straight-edge hardcore courtesy of California’s own Throwdown and Bleeding Through, to the tip of the metallic iceberg with genre heavyweights Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall and Chimaira; “Eye for an Eye” is a fond and enjoyable look at just how alive and kicking the modern day metal scene really is.

Long may it continue.

Ryan Bird

Dropkick Murphys

On the Road With the Dropkick Murphy’s

Hellcat Records

Boston’s own Celtic punk veterans Dropkick Murphys are what many would consider legends in their own time. Having spent countless years forging a worldwide reputation as one of the most entertaining live bands around, the Irish-American’s at last bring their non-stop party attitude to your very own front room in the form of “On The Road With Dropkick Murphys“. Boasting a host of special features ranging from extensive on-road activities throughout a summer-long trek on the Warped Tour, an entire 24 song set from the St. Patrick’s Day weekend in their native Boston home, not to mention an entire music video discography; “On The Road With Dropkick Murphys” is a thoroughly entertaining and uncensored peek at one of the leading bands in the modern day punk scene.

Ryan Bird

Goldfinger

Live At The House Of Blues DVD

How time flies; it was nearly a decade ago that Goldfinger released their debut album. At the time, the Californian quartet were largely indistinguishable from the masses of other pop-punk bands that formed in the wake of Green Day and the Offspring’s success, but they endured thanks to singer/guitarist John Feldmann’s seemingly innate ability to meld catchy tunes with an amusingly dark, self-deprecating sense of humour. This live DVD was recorded at a sold-out Los Angeles show in July 2003; it’s clear from the start that the home-town crowd are as devoted as they come. Happily, the band are also on robust form, romping through their set with typical exuberance. Highlights include John’s foray into the crowd during “Open Your Eyes“, the mass sing-along for “Counting The Days“, and the sheer enthusiasm that greets live favourite “Superman“. The sound and video quality is excellent throughout, and the band are never short of amusing between-song banter. There’s also plenty of extra features, including a band commentary, information on PETA (of whom Goldfinger are staunch supporters) and animal rights, and additional clips of other live performances. The footage of drummer Darrin Pfeiffer’s “antics”, by the way, has to be seen to be believed! Not for the faint hearted…

Having seen the “Finger boys a few times, this DVD certainly brought back some fond memories. There’s plenty of entertainment to be found here, but also a generous helping of food for thought. Not a bad deal! Essential for Goldfinger fans, and also well worth a look if you want a good overview of the band.

Pennywise

Home Movies

www.epitaph.com

Pennywise being a major player in the california punk scene have thrown together a bunch of home videos over the years. Don’t expect any high end video footage this is exactly what the title says, Home Movies. Originally released on VHS in 1995, Home Movies has been unavailable in any form since 1997.This is a must for any true pennywise fan, filled with stage dives fights and Fletchers infamous drunken party tricks. Rough footage from shows in Holland and Japan really catch the hard road that pennywise have been on to get to where they are today! One of the most memorable californian punk bands to date. One of the only bands with true fans and a down to earth attitude to with it!
“Home Movies” is a DVD that will fit perfect into any punk rock collection! Out now on Epitaph..

4/5
Greg Atkins