Friday, April 20, 2018

Article: '10 Great Musicians Who Could Be Assholes' by Tony Sokol

10 Great Musicians Who Could Be Assholes
Article by Tony Sokol

Musicians are people too, most of them, and have problems like everyone else. Sometimes it's their troubles that make them turn to music in the first place. Other times it's the music that's the problem. Every genre has its masters, monsters and scoundrels. No matter what instrument they play, no matter how many instruments they play, once you take the axe out of their hands, there's no telling what they'll do.

Witty Beatle couldn't take a joke
The Beatles changed rock's foundation. Their wit highlighted press conferences and feature films. John Lennon's cut deepest, but not both ways. DJ Bob Wooler made a crack about a rumored affair Lennon had with manager Brian Epstein during Paul McCartney's 21st birthday party. Lennon responded by beating Wooler and had to stop himself before he killed him.
A Todd Rundgren comment during Lennon's "Lost Weekend" period turned ugly. Lennon responded to "Turd Runtgreen's howl of hate" with a scathing letter in Melody Maker but concluded "however much you hurt me darling; I'll always love you." Rundgren told Punk Globe "before it got too far we were on the phone and defused the whole thing."
Tony Hendra scored a satirical dig using Lennon's own words for National Lampoon Radio Hour. Hendra told Den of Geek while "promoting Radio Dinner" at "around the same time" Lennon "was promoting an album," someone at KRLA radio played "Magical Misery Tour" for the ex-Beatle, who "turned white" and "walked out of the studio."
The songwriter's greatest hits made vinyl. Lennon "Maxwell-Silver-Hammered" Paul McCartney and skewered Allen Klein, who made Bobby Darin his first million and took The Rolling Stones catalog out of petty cash, in A minor.
Lennon confessed he "used to be cruel to my woman. I beat her" in a song. Cynthia Lennon told ABC News the jealous guy saw her "dancing with a friend of his" and "smacked me, but that was the only time."

Eric Clapton handed out slow blues
Eric Clapton infected America with British blues but inflicted his pain on fellow musicians. Yardbirds' drummer Jim McCarty recalled being relieved when the blues purist quit the band after balking at the impure hit "For Your Love." The "moody" guitarist woodshedded on tour, "sitting in the van not talking to anyone."
The graffiti in London read "Eric Clapton is god," but he was a wrathful god. Clapton broke up the Cream because of one bad review in Rolling Stone that noted Slowhand's blues clichés. Clapton buried his blues with heroin, and hooked socialite Alice Ormsby-Gore with him. "It never crossed my mind that it was wrong," Clapton confessed, Ormsby-Gore later died of an overdose.
Clapton fell in love with Pattie Boyd, the wife of his best friend, Beatle George Harrison, penning the driving devotional heart-wrenchers "Bell Bottom Blues" and his signature "Layla" to win her. He'd tried to get close by dating Pattie's younger sister Paula but when she heard "Layla" for the first time, "she packed her bags and left my home in great distress. Because she realized it was about Patti and that I'd been using her," Eric later recalled to biographer Ray Coleman.
Ultimately, the shy Beatle moved out of the way and Pattie married Eric. According to Pattie Boyd's book Wonderful Tonight, Clapton didn't let her take money from Harrison as a matter of pride, and left her in financial straits after his lawyer took a lead.

Chuck Berry's tastes ran too sweet and not 16 enough
Chuck Berry invented rock and roll and taught it on the road. He toured with a guitar and a briefcase for money and threw local bands onstage to back him on short notice. His songs were three-chord classics most groups thrilled to squeeze through their fingers. That is, when they weren't being harangued for bending a string. Not even Keith Richards got away with that.
While every musician knows the backing, not many people hear the flip side. The man who wrote "Sweet Little 16" had troubled teens. In 1944, Berry was arrested for driving along in an automobile he carjacked at gunpoint after robbing three stores in Kansas City.
At the start of the 60s, Elvis was in the army, Jerry Lee Lewis was blackballed for marrying his young cousin, and Berry was in jail. Arrested for transporting a 14-year-old girl across state lines for "immoral purposes," Berry was charged under the Mann Act. The guitarist said he had a real job for her. An all-male, all-white jury found Berry guilty and sentenced him to five years. Berry was convicted again on retrial and served two years.
Suspecting Berry of hiding a huge coke stash, police raided Berry's home and found pot, guns, cash and pornography in the 80s. Berry sued the prosecutor, and cut a no-jail plea deal. Spin's allegation that Berry's secretly filmed women in bathrooms never got to trial. Berry settled the class-action suit for $830,000.

Not all James Brown's moments were proud
James Brown put together the tightest funk band in soul, but if the musicians missed a beat they'd also miss their pay. The "Godfather of Soul," who kept Boston peaceful in a live broadcast the night Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, wasn't just cheap with his musicians. He had to pay $40,000 for wrongfully dismissing Lisa Agbalaya after she resisted the sex machine's advances. The ex-employee wanted damages to the tune of six times her yearly salary. Brown's mouthpiece told the jury she deserved no more than a week's pay.
A Chicago woman suffering from Graves' disease said she got it after Brown sexually assaulted her at gunpoint in South Carolina in 1988. The case was tagged "rag sheet fodder" and dismissed as frivolous. Brown was arrested for assaulting his ex-wife Adrienne Rodriguez and, according to the memoir Cold Sweat by Brown's daughter Yamma, also beat his second wife, Dee Dee.
Brown was electrifying at classic shows like Live at the Apollo, but his stagecraft was nothing compared to his moves on the street. In 1988, the man who taught the moves to Mick Jagger led cops on high-speed car chase from Georgia to South Carolina on tire rims. While he was acquitted of an assault with intent to kill charge, it took an Aiken County jury a little over three hours to find Brown guilty of two counts of aggravated assault and eluding police. Brown admitted he probably should have just pulled over.

John Phillips turned California Dreams into nightmares
The Mamas and The Papas' John Phillips practically invented rock festival shows. The Monterey Pop Festival was his baby. Phillips scored Nicholas Roeg's The Man Who Fell to Earth even though David Bowie already delivered demos deemed perfect for the atmospheric parable of alienation. While this alone could land Phillips on a terrible person list, remember we wouldn't have the album Low.
But Phillips got even lower. In her 2009 memoir High on Arrival, his daughter, the actress Mackenzie Phillips, recounts a long-term affair of "consensual sex," and remembered waking up "from a blackout to find myself having sex with my own father" on the night before her first wedding."
The author of "California Dreamin'" even put it on tape, recording the song "She's Just 14" in New York with Keith Richards and Mick Jagger in 1977. Mackenzie's admission divided the family. Michelle Phillips admitted to Vanity Fair that "John was a bad parent, and a drug addict." Michelle was already on record saying John physically abused her, but all she would say about it was that "it was serious. I ended up in the hospital." She rejected her step-daughter's allegations because Mackenzie "had a needle stuck up her arm for 35 years."
John was the first to pass the syringe, having gotten Mackenzie started on drugs when she was 11. On July 31, 1980, Phillips was arrested in Manhattan for trading stolen prescription drugs to dealers in exchange for cocaine.

DMX had street cred to burn
DMX isn't bragging when he claims he's lived a hard knock life. An unstoppable force in hip hop, he partied his way up to movies like Romeo Must Dieand his own BET show. But then there was X.
DMX, whose real name is Earl Simmons, found out about a Denver fugitive-from-justice warrant while appearing in court for an assault charge in Yonkers. DMX said he was justified in the Yonkers assault because he was defending his wife, and had "no reason to run" from the concert stabbing and shooting incident in the Rockies.
After a tip DMX was running dogfights, deputies from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office raided his home and seized 12 pit bulls and hit him with seven misdemeanor animal cruelty charges. The police found no evidence of dogfighting but authorities said some of the dogs hadn't been fed. DMX faced similar charges in Teaneck, N.J. in 1999. They were dismissed after he agreed to record a PSA for an animal rights group.
The gangsta rap artist truly earned his street cred when he was charged for impersonating a Federal Agent for yelling "I'm with the FBI" at Kennedy Airport. He'd just crashed a sport-utility vehicle, complete with lights and sirens, through a parking lot gate. To make things more cinematic, he pulled blue privilege and told another driver he was requisitioning his car. DMX was also accused of sexual assault by a woman who was arrested for stealing his $30G watch.

Bing Crosby wrapped black and blue Christmases
Bing Crosby is the best-selling singer of all time. It takes an Elvis, four Beatles and the rhythm section of the Rolling Stones to equal one Bing. "White Christmas" alone dwarfs the British Invasions and the decade of grunge. And beloved? Some books claim Bob Hope detested his cash cow on-screen partner but at least they were friendly enough off-screen to get arrested together for illegal gambling. Hope even quipped about Crosby's penchant for picking bad horses. The feds thought Crosby was too beloved by mobsters, as singers often are, as well.
As loved as Bing was on stage, film, radio, and every other Christmas special made for over a half century, he didn't show much love at home. His son Nathaniel never even heard the word. Crosby didn't want his kids to grow up Hollywood brats. He put them to work, pulling 14-hour shifts baling alfalfa and vaccinating cattle on his ranches. In his memoir, his son Gary claims the crooner whipped him bloody if he had gained weight, and he ate every day. His sister Lindsay backed his story, but his brother Phillip called Gary a whining crybaby. Phillip's twin, Dennis agreed Gary was singled out for punishment.
The kids lived on an allowance from blind trust funds they couldn't touch until they were 65. Crosby's son Dennis was found dead in his home of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Lindsay shot himself to death after his inheritance ran out.

It's all a larf for Keith Moon til it costs an ear
Keith Moon may not have been the tidiest of drummers in early rock, but he was the busiest. He brought tension, dynamics and theatricality to the Who, and enough party favors for anyone in any room. Until he trashed it, tossing everything at hand or underfoot out windows without warning. Hilton Hotel staff still complain of post-traumatic stress flashbacks.
As dangerous on a surfboard as was at hotels, Moon the Loon was lethal behind the wheel. He drove his car into a swimming pool, his wife to distraction, and John Entwistle occasionally to the dentist. Moon killed his chauffeur, Cornelius Boland, by running him over with his Bentley while dodging a rock-throwing skinhead mob. Moon pled guilty to drunk driving, driving without a license and driving without insurance, but the court wiped out the charges.
The clown prince of the British Invasion also, ultimately, deafened lead guitarist Pete Townshend when he put a pinch too much gunpowder in his drum for an appearance on The Smothers Brothers Show. Townshend would complain about it for years, surrounding himself in a sound-proof cage during tours. He may even have considered it for a rock opera.
But Keith Moon's final collateral damage was himself, and his band. The Who were on the verge of several major releases in both music and film. Keith mixed the drugs he was taking to keep him off booze with alcohol.

Miles Davis spun hits into jealousy
Miles Davis was the king of cool, but lost it if you asked him about any other musician. Maybe he didn't chase critics with guns like in the recent biopic, it sometimes appeared nobody could do anything right by the man who went off on everyone in the jazz industry and media, one at a time.
Miles told Downbeat he could always tell an Eric Dolphy song because "nobody else could sound that bad" and asked critics to admit they had nothing to listen to when they brought up Cecil Taylor. In 1986, when Miles was modernizing his sound, he feuded with Wynton Marsalis. Things came to a head at the first Vancouver Jazz Festival. Marsalis came up on stage during Miles' set ready to blow nasty lip service to recent putdowns with his horn, but the band gave him nothing but dead air.
Miles also blew an ill wind at home. The trumpeter learned to slap his girlfriends by watching jazz great Billy Eckstine prove what a tough guy he was. In Miles: The Autobiography from 1989, Miles says he hit his first wife, Frances, before he realized what happened, and passed it off to jealousy. Frances categorized it differently, telling The New York Times she "actually left running for my life—more than once." Miles also admits he beat his second wife, Cicely Tyson. While the actress and activist played it off as artistic growth, the jazz legend didn't cut her much slack in his book.

Real Phil Spector mystery is why it took so long
In spite of being a soundboard legend, Phil Spector is iconic as the industry burnout with the wild hair on trial for the murder of Lana Clarkson. But the First Tycoon of Teen was already legendary for his lone gun approach to landing hits.
The man who invented the Wagnerian "Wall of Sound" imprisoned his wife Ronnie Specter in a fortress of fame, locking her in their mansion for safe-keeping. He showed his mother-in-law the glass coffin her daughter would lie in if she tried to leave. Phil also took Ronnie's voice. He forced the former lead singer of The Ronettes to stop singing. By the last year of their marriage, Ronnie said she didn't talk at all.
Spector, who committed the musical sin of putting strings on the Beatles' "Long and Winding Road," terrorized talent regardless of their power. He played mind games with John Lennon, calling about Watergate Tapes while holding the ex-Beatle's master tapes hostage. Producer Mark Hudson recalled a time when "Spector pulled out a large gun and started chasing John through the hallways" of A&M studios.
During 1977 recording sessions Spector pointed a gun at Leonard Cohen's chest and told him he loved him. "I hope so, Phil," Cohen measuredly responded. Marky Ramone downplayed the myth about how Phil kept the Ramones at bay in the recording studio, saying, "he did pull out guns on different people, but not at us."

Zine Editor Interview: creep of HELLS ENVOY MAGAZINE

Interview with creep of HELLS ENVOY MAGAZINE

Hells Envoy Magazine features heavy metal-oriented stories collected from fans. What gave you the idea for this kind of zine and how has publishing gone?
The idea came from a culmination of ideas, really. Being a heavy metal fan and just noticing that everyone into metal, including mates and myself, has stories that are about first getting into heavy metal, how good heavy metal is and random stories somehow involving metal. Also watching a couple of Australian metal documentaries and hearing bands telling stories. Also my cousin who encouraged me to write. Family and friends were a big part in support, help, encouragement and process. Everything just clicked into place early on in terms of ideas, and within a year we had our first volume in print which was released in January of this year. It is still in his early days yet but there are a few issues kicking around, mainly in Australia but some overseas as well. Hopefully it will be well received and hopefully some stories will come from people reading it and we can continue on with further volumes.

Are there a lot of magazines dedicated to real life stories related to metal, or would you say Hells Envoy is among the first of its kind?
I’m not sure what else is there regarding zines with real life-related stories. I’m hoping Hells Envoy is original and one of a kind. We never had other projects in mind when we conceived of Hells Envoy; we just thought it would be good to get a broad representation of the metal community and present experiences anonymously through a zine, in essence giving heavy metal culture a voice.

Why is the zine named Hells Envoy? How does the name relate to the subject matter?
An envoy is a messenger, usually a religious messenger, and Hells Envoy just seemed appropriate. You could interpret it as being a heavy metal messenger I suppose, passing on heavy metal messages/stories. It seemed to fit the idea quite well and we ran with it

Do you read underground magazines dedicated to fiction or perhaps to horror?
I’m more of a nonfiction reader. Not a real horror fan either, though I’m a long time reader of Stephen King novels. I read a lot of books and nonfiction about serial killers, law enforcement, mafia, bikers, military, history, autobiographies and biographies especially music related, classic poetry and literary criticism (not a fan of modern poetry). I have a fair to good collection of books on these subjects plus more. Fiction includes Stephen King, Bret Easton Ellis, Cormac McCarthy, John O’Brien, Tolkien, Irvine Welsh, Chuck Palahniuk and various others, but mainly nonfiction provides my reading material.

In what ways do the authors you cited speak to you as a fiction reader?
Fiction for me is escapism and the ability to go where the author’s imagination takes you. So it is usually the story itself that speaks to me, but sometimes it could be a particular author’s writing that intrigues me. And the way in which they express their ideas holds my attention.

Do you think about publishing a fiction zine or a traditional zine with interviews and reviews etc? Is this something you would pursue at some point?
I don’t think about other publishing projects. Publishing a zine is hard work and I think I will be fully committed to Hells Envoy in the foreseeable future.

In which of the documentaries you watched have you heard memorable stories? How many of the submissions for your magazine do you find accurate and exaggerated?
The documentaries are Metal Down Under and Tasmanian Metal. There wasn’t any particular story in either; I just noticed they all had stories, some even similar to my own. Hopefully all the stories we receive are truthful accounts. I have no doubts about any of them. They are usually personal experiences and memories so we take them at their word. A lot of people think when we ask for a heavy metal story that we are after some way-out story involving the devil, sex and drugs (which of course we do want) but one of my favourites is a simple story of an American dude who, as a teenager, had a group of friends. One of his mate’s younger brothers got leukemia and died, and they buried him with his favourite Iron Maiden record. They all got Iron Maiden patches and put his details on the back of the patch before sewing onto their battle jackets. He still has the jacket over thirty years later.

How much information does Metal Down Under and Tasmanian Metal offer about their respective scenes?
The documentaries are great for anyone unfamiliar with the Australian metal scene. Metal Down Under gives a broad overall look at the Aussie scene, the bands and people, past and present. Tasmanian Metal is also a killer documentary about the Tassie scene and all that is happening with it. Tasmania has a great little scene happening.

What Australian and Tasmanian bands were interviewed for Metal Down Under and Tasmanian Metal?
The Aussie documentary was released in 2014, the Tassie doc in 2016. Some of the bands interviewed in Metal Down Under include Abramelin, Mortal Sin, Hobbs’ Angel of Death, Sadistik Exekution, Allegiance, Blood Duster, Damaged, Psycroptic, Destroyer 666, Frankenbok and King Parrot. More quality Australian metal bands everyone should get into include Misery, Armoured Angel, Bestial Warlust, Grenade, Hellbringer, Goatblood, As Flesh Decays, Beyond Mortal Dreams, Laceration Mantra, Cryptivore, The Plague, Face Grinder, Sedulous Rouse, Intercranial Tremors and King.

I’ve interviewed fans from Australia, and I am somewhat familiar with the underground there. But I haven’t heard as much about the Tasmanian underground.
Tasmanian Metal includes interviews with M.S.I., Psycroptic, Intense Hammer Rage, Striborg, Mephistopheles, Dreadnaught, Tyrant, Taberah and others. Tasmania is isolated somewhat, in that it’s an island. This makes it harder for bands to tour, especially overseas bands. But some bands to tour there recently include Venom Inc, Napalm Death, D.R.I. and Mayhem. A lot of metal bands from mainland Australia try to tour too, but having to cross the Bass Strait between Australia and Tasmania (a 12 hour ferry ride or plane ride) can be daunting in terms of costs. Besides the bands mentioned before, there is a thriving local scene with GAPE, Ruins, Pure, Permafog, Vrag, Lacerta, Lab A, Mountains Of Madness, Ironhawk, Ultra Martian and more around capital Hobart. Other bands further north in Launceston are Atra Vetosus, Plague Of Sickness and Zero Degrees Freedom. There are a couple of annual festivals running with the Summer and Winter solstices that have attracted overseas bands. The two festivals, Mofo (Summer) and Dark Mofo (Winter), have so much happening, not just metal. People have to look them up to understand how good they are. Alternative is all I will divulge, and not to be missed. Southern Extremeties Productions has been monumental getting bands to tour Tasmania. All in all Tassie has more tours happening with international and national bands, and more local bands recording and touring. It is only getting better.

Why do you think the Australian and Tasmanian scenes aren’t noticed as much as the scenes in other countries?
At a guess, isolation. It’s not lack of talent, that’s for sure! Aussie metal can mix it up with the best of anyone from anywhere and has been able to for a long time. But yeah, it’s probably something to do with not being to be able to easily tour overseas with costs and such. Touring gets your name out there. Hopefully more Australian bands will get overseas recognition. With music so easily accessible on the net nowadays (Bandcamp, Big Cartel selling band merch, Spotify or YouTube) and bands being accessible via social networks (most bands have a Facebook page; just look them up, message them and ask about buying their stuff) all one needs do is find bands and buy their CDs. Hopefully that will change it up but touring will always be a factor, so we’ll have to wait and see. ,

Where can Metal Down Under and Tasmanian Metal be purchased online?
eBay has Metal Down Under available to purchase and it is on YouTube to watch. I am not sure about Tasmanian Metal. I think the physical copies may be sold out. may have a digital copy to view.

When compiling the first issue, did you advertise for submissions on social media? How many submissions did you receive? Did you go through a process of choosing stories for publication?
It was Facebook on social media and T-Shirt Slayer on the internet. The users on both those sites provided massive story contributions, especially overseas. We can’t thank these people enough for their support. We are always looking at new avenues to pursue in gathering stories. We have 64 pages at well over 100 stories in the first volume. We used pretty much all the stories we chased down or were sent. We tried to just not double up on stories like those about one’s Dad/brother/mate/next door neighbour, or one of the same variant of what got a reader into metal/ I hope the readers appreciate all the stories shared.

What is T-Shirt Slayer and how can you advertise zines and merchandise there?
T Shirt Slayer is a website dedicated to heavy metal merchandise; mainly shirts, battle jackets and patches. There is a sale and trade option available. I created a chat forum there telling of my idea and asking for stories. T Shirt Slayer members rule! T Shirt Slayer rules! A few sales came from this site and quite a few stories were contributed via the heavy metal stories forum I created. If you’re into metal, you no doubt already know of this site and how excellent it is.

How many copies of issue 1 of Hells Envoy are available? Is it available through mail order, or do you also distribute it at local shows?
There are 1000 hand numbered copies available. Hells Envoy is available through eBay, the Hells Envoy Facebook page, email, mail order through Nuke The Moon Productions at P.O Box 458 Glenorchy Tasmania 7010 Australia and distributed also by Black Bird Yellow Eye, NGM Records and Screen Printing and Tommy Gun Records. Wholesale rates available also. I’m always looking for overseas distribution too.

How did you handle the cost of printing the first issue? Did its limited run help you break even? If finances allowed would you release more copies of the next issues?
The costs came from art, logos, graphic design and some incidental costs, as well as getting it printed. But it was feasible and I was determined to get it done. Luckily I had good people around me that could do the jobs, and more, I asked of them. Feanors Scribe ( designed the Hells Envoy logo, submitted art and was the graphic designer. Hannah Noel, an unknown young talented artist submitted art. These two, as well as fellow story consultants Ursa, Carnage and Gravedigger helped make it all possible. So overall costs weren’t too excessive and we have tried to limit costs for the zine as much as possible ($5 Aus/P&H).
We went with 1000 copies as I read in Slayer Mag Diaries that Metalion had that many print figures for Slayer Mag. No more rhyme or reason than that really. Metalion is a legend. Slayer Mag Diaries is my bible.
Being only three months since publication we have had only limited sales and are still in the process of trying to get eyes on our product, so we are far from even at the tick. A fair few copies have been sent out to promote to favourite bands, labels, shops and various people nationally and internationally. So postage is a bit of a killer in regards towards costs. But Hells Envoy isn’t about making money. I of course like to break even and would love to make anything. For me it is a creative outlet and I want to keep it going if possible. We have Volume 1 At The Altar Of Metal available now and we are currently trying to gather enough stories to release a second volume, From The Serpents Tongue. So stories, not money, are the life blood of Hells Envoy. If we don’t have stories we don’t have anything. As soon as we get enough stories, 100-200, we hope to release more volumes.

Were you in contact with Feanors Scribe and Hannah Noel before you founded Hells Envoy? Have they worked for local bands besides the magazine?
I met Feanors Scribe a couple of months before Hells Envoy’s conception through trading with him on the Facebook local buy and sell page. I had some two inch spikes to trade and he had some metal shirts to trade.
After trading, chatting and running into each other at gigs I learned about his artistic background and such. Feanors Scribe has been amongst the metal scene since the early to mid-90s whether he was in bands such as Portal, Carbon and Permafog, designing tour posters for local events or for international headlining acts such as Cannibal Corpse, Carcass and others, designing logos for bands such as Ruins, having his hand in putting out an Australian extreme metal zine in the early 2000’s called Sentinel, or being just a massive fan of metal in general. He designed our Hells Envoy logo, submitted art (Borders, Bones and Baphomet) and designed the layout getting it set for print. Being able to work with Feanors Scribe, and the experience he provided, on our Hells Envoy project I feel truly lucky and very grateful I was able to work with him one on one with my ideas. Not only was he good at his job; I couldn’t have asked for better; he knew exactly where I was coming from with different things being a fellow metal head and all, even coming up with a couple of ideas which were incorporated. Good dude.
Hannah Noel I knew through a friend a little while before conceiving of Hells Envoy. Young, not long finished schooling, she is just naturally gifted with drawing and supplied art for our back cover and at the start of each eight chapters. We gave her our ideas written, and somewhat drawn out, on eight different bits of paper and some pictures to look at and she came back with our chapter art. Same with the back cover. This was, as far as I know, Hannah’s first public appearance as an artist. Hannah also has a dance background and is musically gifted. Unfortunately she is also not into metal nor in the metal scene. I am unsure of her artistic pursuits at the moment but we are very grateful to have been able to work with her. It was also great to be able to release a new artist with our project and that is something we could continue if possible.

How many submissions did Ursa, Carnage and Gravedigger examine as story consultants? How often were you on the same page as far as the stories you approved?
Mainly I and Ursa were the two to go through all the stories working out what’s what. Carnage and Gravedigger were more in a supply of stories capacity, but equally invaluable. In terms of final say I had a clear, concise conception of what Hells Envoy was going to be from early on. Not that I wasn’t open to suggestions or an exchange of ideas, just that I knew what I wanted Hells Envoy to be. An anonymous heavy metal stories zine in which the stories are not about the people telling them but the stories themselves, and inclusive of everyone in the scene from the band to the fan and everyone in between. Everyone in the metal scene has stories and the idea of the story consultant is that we are actively trying to get people’s stories. This could be people we may know, at gigs or asking bands or just noticing someone in the street with a metal shirt on and asking them if they have any stories. We now have I (Creep) and Carnage covering Hobart and Gravedigger over Melbourne and Orphan up in New South Wales trying to chase stories (Ursa and Hells Envoy have now parted ways and we wish her all the best). This was the idea behind the story consultants and the examination, approval and final output is down to me.

Are you looking to expand your staff as you receive more submissions, or are you satisfied with the people you work with at present?
Staff expansion would always be considered and more international reach would be ideal. Hells Envoy is no more than what each person brings to it, so if nobody gets any stories there is no more Hells Envoy. The idea of the story consultant, story chasers, the Hells Envoy Facebook page and even the Hells Envoy zine itself is all geared towards trying to get stories. The people I work with, both presently and in the past, have been and continue to be vital components. But new members are always going to be considered if what they bring makes Hells Envoy better.

How many Facebook surfers are on your community page? Do any of them order Hells Envoy there?
There are almost a couple hundred Hells Envoy followers on Facebook at the moment, but we have only been active for under a year, so it’s going slowly. Patience and perseverance. The idea was to release stories and hopefully people would read them and think ‘I have a story like that’ and share their stories, which has happened. Now the page has a product to sell as well as still trying to get stories for further volumes. Most of our sales, at this stage, have probably come through the Hells Envoy Facebook page.

How did you hook up with the companies you mentioned? Do those companies also help with advertising?
NGM Records and Screen Printing came through Facebook, Tommy Gun Records is the local shop to get metal in Hobart, I met Black Bird Yellow Eye through a mate; it is advertised as a Grotesquery of Unpleasant & Blasphemic Art Prints. They sell locally at various select events and online Nuke The Moon Productions is a mail order company and the publisher of Hells Envoy. It’s advertised as showcasing select dark, subversive and misanthropic art and artists. Each has Facebook pages and has Hells Envoy for sale, but I am not exactly sure what advertising is happening. I’m happy to have a few more copies out there available for people to get is my thinking.

Describe some the stories published in the first issue and explain how they resonate with you.
I really liked that American dude’s story I mentioned about his mate’s brother dying and the Iron Maiden patches. I thought it was a very personal story to share and meaningful to the person telling it. I also like asking people how they first got into metal (Chapter 1: Initiations), hearing their stories and being able to easily relate to a lot of them. They may have initially liked a certain band or something and I will be like ‘yeah I get that’. There is a story about a dude, after seeing the Deicide show, seeing Glen Benton outside the gig, chatting with him and finding him to be just a normal musician, happy to hang out and sign stuff and not the confrontational, evil person he was hyped up to be. I find most metal musicians are happy to chat and are usually good dudes. There is another story of a fella going to a Black Sabbath concert, seeing some video cameras recording in the car park, going off and getting himself on the Black Sabbath DVD. Not that I have gotten on any bands’ DVDs (nor want to); I can just understand his excitement. Also a lot of the bands mentioned in the stories; Morbid Angel, Venom, Slayer, Cannibal Corpse, Sepultura, Kreator, Bathory, Motörhead, Bolt Thrower, Carcass, Darkthrone, Mayhem and others; are some of my favourites, so I always like stories that somehow involve them. Not that all stories are extreme metal, we try to cover as many metal genres and time periods as possible, but generally speaking most stories involve bands of that era. So when I ask someone if they have a story and they start reeling off bands like those mentioned I am much happier than if their stories started off with Limp Biskit or Poison.

Are most of the stories published in the first issue from fans in Australia and Tasmania, or are there stories from fans in other countries?
Most stories have come from people around Australia but there are a few stories from overseas. One German dude sent us a couple of stories via Facebook voice message and it took a couple of listens to decipher his story through his thick accent. With the internet having worldwide reach, this has enabled some international access that would have been seriously limited if it was unavailable. The Hells Envoy Facebook page and the T Shirt Slayer internet site have been from where the most international stories have come from. A couple of random international emails have been received too, but I am not sure where they heard of Hells Envoy from, probably one of the two aforementioned. Always looking towards more local reach, more national reach, more international reach, more stories.

Are you considering interviewing bands, club owners, or label owners for future issues?
Bands, club owners, bar staff, people on the door at events, sound technicians, roadies, label owners, promoters, shop owners and anyone else who may have some sort of direct or indirect involvement within the industry. Hell, even if they don’t like metal, have nothing to do with metal but have an opinion on metal we want to know. Chapter 7 is entitled Heavy Metal Is Just Rah Rah Rah and is about the critics and the people who aren’t metal and their opinions plus just general opinions within metal and also stories of being hassled because of heavy metal. So we’re always trying to look to new avenues. As long as heavy metal is central to the story we want it no matter who is doing the telling.

Do you think publishing online or doing a companion profile on Youtube would help Hells Envoy reach more readers?
I should look into these two ideas, and will research more into it as that is exactly what we are wanting, more reach to more people. We are slowly learning as we go along at the moment and it is all still a new process to us. Any sort of expansion towards gaining a wider audience is always being pursued and we are always trying to think of new and inventive ways to reach more people’s attention.

Internet radio is another resource for zine editors to spread word. Are there net shows in Australia or Tasmania you would consider advertising through?
I am not sure of internet radio and such, and haven’t looked at net shows. It would be something to look toward. Any sort of advertising we will be all over because for more eyes on product.

If the magazine earned more revenue would you consider improving the printing quality? Do you prefer standard print, newsprint or glossy print?
I reckon we will stay with newsprint, regardless of cost. Hells Envoy has always been envisioned as being on the 55 gsm paper, not glossy, no hard cover, no colour and no photographs of bands and such. Maybe some more advertising that fits with the concept would be considered for future volumes. I like any zine format whether glossy or not. The bands represented in each product is what draws my attention. I do prefer a zine I can hold to a web zine, much as I prefer a CD to streaming or downloading.

Do you see the print zine industry remaining consistent in the age of webzines and ezines? Will print zines retain their popularity in the future?
One would hope print zines will always be around, but who knows in this day and age. Printing is a dying trade as everything becomes more digital. For example physical newspaper readership is down as more people switch to reading online, and as iPads and such are the medium newspapers and the like will become less. But in saying that people like physical copies of things, not just on a screen, so who knows what the future holds. Hopefully there will be a resurgence.

Would you consider running stories involving other genres like punk, hardcore, goth, and other genres besides metal?
It will just be metal, metal and more metal. Not that I don’t like other genres of music; it’s just that metal is the way to go. There are enough sub genres enough in metal to hopefully give it variety.

For what do you most want Hells Envoy to be remembered?
It’s a bit corny but heavy metal has given me so much over my life. I have never picked up an instrument or anything and given back, so for me personally, if Hells Envoy could be remembered as having any impact on the metal genre and furthering it in any way, then maybe I could feel I have given back to something which has given me so much.

-Dave Wolff

Full Length Review: EXPURGO Deformed By Law (Black Hole Productions) by Ben Fitts

Deformed By Law
Place of origin: Brazil
Genre: Old school grindcore
Release date: April 5, 2018
Recorded at Engenho Estúdio Multimídia, Belo Horizonte, MG, September 2015 to April 2016.
Vocals recorded at Estúdio Riff in Belo Horizonte, MG, April 2016
Produced, mixed and mastered at ClintWorks Arts, Hamburg, Germany, May 2017
All songs composed by Expurgo
All lyrics written by Egon
Cover art by Pedro Felipe/Ars Moriende
The Brazilian quartet Expurgo play pummeling deathgrind that grabs your by the throat and hurls you around like a ragdoll. This is no less true on the band’s second CD (and first in eight years), Deformed By Law. The fury and uncompromising brutality of their debut are still present, and if anything those element have been further amped up. Deformed By Law by is harsher, crustier and meaner than its already significantly harsh, crusty and mean predecessor from 2010. Drummer Anderson Oliveira batters the skins with a greater vengeance than he did eight years ago, Egon’s vocals have developed an extra bite of venom and as a unit, Expurgo’s sonic assault has grown as hostile as any fan of extreme metal could hope for. But Deformed By Law is a strong record for reasons other than just its extremity. Mechanically tight performances, infectious energy, strong riffs and keen sense for groove make Deformed By Law an album that’s sure to delight any fan of the genre. -Ben Fitts

Band lineup:
Egon: Lead vocals
Philipe Belisario: Guitars, vocals
Sérgio W. Vilhena: Bass
Anderson Oliveira: Drums

Track list:
1. Silence
2. Victimized
3. Inhale Radiation Fumes
4. Carnivorous Eyes
5. Dead As Fuck
6. Xenon Pieces Swallowed
7. Interlude
8. The Taste Of Human Toxicity
9. Discurso Do Cadafalso
10. Nasty Gut Feast
11. Classic Utopia Of A Junkie Ambience
12. All Substances Are Toxic Under The Right Conditions
13. Habemus Cannis
14. Deviled Mind
15. Morgue Despair
16. Lungs Decay
17. Devil Variation
18. Sadistic Executioner
19. Harmless Scares
20. Agateophobia
21. Atmosphere Of Horror
22. Deploring Connections
23. Global Suppuration
24. Grey Waste III – Malebolge
25. Walk Among The Dead
26. On The Edge
27. Obsolescence

Monday, April 16, 2018

EP Review: GAPANG Mabagal, Mabigat At Madumi (Mindplight Recordings) by Dave Wolff

Mindplight Recordings (Manila, Philippines)
Place of origin: Philippines
Genre: Doom/sludge metal 
Release date: April 1, 2018
Listening to this EP for the first time, my initial reaction is most American fans of doom, stoner and sludge haven’t heard it played quite like this. Being that Gapang is from the Philippines, they pursue their craft with an increased amount of diligence and passion compared to bands from this side of the ocean. If you thought The Obsessed were heavy you need to listen to Mabagal, Mabigat At Madumi as it may well inspire you to rethink your definitions. Even if you’re well versed with the countless subgenres of doom metal, Gapang has the potential to blow many of the bands you know out of the water. Checking this out may even give you a sudden keenness for doom if you weren’t previously a fan. The EP was released by Mindplight Recordings, an indie label headed by Joy Legason who is bassist and vocalist for the band. These songs are louder, harder, raunchier and just plain uglier than the most caustic doom from elsewhere. Their severity responds to “a country’s strife from the mud-brained leaders that leeched the people dry”. By the time the EP ends you’ll feel you’ve been dragged through the most poverty-stricken areas of the band’s hometown and not look at doom exactly the same way. The band makes a convincing argument that doom bands don’t have to refine their style but can go in the opposite direction by infusing additional grime and grit, and your listeners will appreciate your effort. Mabagal, Mabigat At Madumi likewise argues you can unite different levels of ambience from different subgenres of doom and make it work. Blues and early grunge are mixed with catchy riffs, gratuitous distortion, agonizingly slow dirge sections, atmosphere, clean and dirty vocals to create what could become an entirely new subgenre if allowed to develop naturally. Each song is a massive earthquake, each note is an emission from a blast furnace, each drum hit is a punch to the head, each vocal line is wholehearted and all-consuming in its veracity. Back in 2002 I saw a Brazilian movie called City Of God and remember it to this day for its brutal realism. This is one EP that would have fit into the movie’s soundtrack without trying. Do yourself a favor and contact this band for information about their work. -Dave Wolff

Band lineup:
Joy Legason: Bass, vocals
Jon Estrada: Guitars
Jay Jumawan: Guitars
JayDee Calinawan: Drums

Track list:
1. Gin Bulag Swing
2. Mudd
3. Neverhide

Friday, April 13, 2018

Artist Review: X-PLYCIT by Devin Joseph Meaney

Place of origin: Cape Breton Island, Canada
Genre: Rap, hip hop
Over the last few years, I have really been getting involved with a bunch more rap music than I have in the past. In my younger years, I would mostly listen to extreme forms of metal, punk rock and various different styles of grind and gore. I would like to think my acceptance of different styles of music has really grown over time, and because of that I have been noticing a myriad of talented artists from my local area that I would not have paid much attention to before. One of these artists is the local rapper X-Plycit. Tonight I have spent some time listening to different songs from X-plycit. The songs that I have been listening to range from 2015 to 2018. Not to say that she had no talent when she started, but she clearly has improved within only a few short years. The production quality of her recent tracks are highly professional and her timing and flow is on point. Her attitude appears to be totally in your face, but she acts so without coming off as cocky or ignorant. Besides, if you are talented and you know it, shouldn't you show it? like a bong rip after a bad day at work, X-Plycit puts me in a positive mood and I suggest anyone interested in this genre of music sincerely checks her music out. This is not the rapper you knew from high school who rapped for quarters and the rest of your Pepsi; this is some really talented shit. Just fucking listen to it, she makes Cape Breton look good. -Devin Joseph Meaney

Thursday, April 12, 2018

EP Review: GUNGNIR Ragnarök (Metal Throne Productions/Mercyful Hell Productions) by Dave Wolff

Metal Throne Productions (CD)
Mercyful Hell Productions (cassette)
Place of origin: Athens, Greece
Genre: Viking black metal
Release date: February 16, 2018
Gungnir was founded in October 2016 by Nick “Yngve” Samios who was the drummer of Mortuus Sum when I interviewed him for that band back in February of 2015. It doesn’t seem that long since that interview was conducted but time flies I guess. Other bands he has been involved in are Dismal Chant, Flames, Deviser, Sirius, AfterBlood and Abvulabashy as guitarist. Samios and I have discussed the ongoing presence of occult and satanic themes in extreme metal, which he said will continue to thrive. However on their debut EP Ragnarök the band draws from themes of Norse seafarers favored by Norwegians Enslaved and Swedish bands like Bathory and Amon Amarth. Specifically they draw from the ancient sagas and myths of Norse mythology and medieval Icelandic literary works known as the Eddas. You would have to correspond with the band for further elucidation, and what the folklore means to them. Still I trust this is not a band that is relying too heavily on labels to spread their message or going out of their way to be “kvlt.” The band is named after the fabled spear of Odin (sometimes known as the Spear of Heaven), said to have been forged from Uru metal, a substance unique to the Asgardian Dimension. While avoiding labels the band does bring a rough-hewn, unprocessed disposition to their music and by first impressions you can tell they conducted a healthy amount of research for their lyrics and concept. The heated battle scene of “Intro” enhances the acerbic guitar sound and gruff vocals sustained throughout, and Fenrir the fourth track shows the band have skill at handling the war metal sound and making it their own. The bass isn’t drowned out as it can occasionally be on a band’s debut recording. The drums tended to sound too thin for the recording, but the percussion is as sturdy as the songwriting and does a lot to propel the songs forward with consistent temperament. The raven symbolism of “Outro” fits as it apparently symbolized Odin’s relationship with Huginn and Muninn. Ragnarök is worth checking out if you still listen to the Norwegian and Swedish bands of the 1990s. -Dave Wolff

Band lineup:
Ithonas: Vocals
Jim Havok: Bass, guitars, keyboards, vocals
Yngve: guitars, drums, vocals

Track list:
1. Intro
2. Our Swords For Thor
3. The Wanderer
4. Fenrir
5. Outro