When we went to Download Festival 2014, we had planned on asking all the bands what they would do if Linkin Park ratted them out to the cops (not sure what we’re talking about? Here’s a link to Sublime With Rome’s version of what happened when they played a festival with Chester Bennington and co at a festival in the USA). However, we got distracted by drinking booze and watching bands and only did a handful. The best of our videos – by far – was when we caught up with our old friends CJ McMahon and Lee Stanton from mighty Australian deathcore monsters Thy Art Is Murder what they would do if Linkin Park grassed them up to the fuzz.
August 12th, 2008
Bring Me The Horizon have always been fond of a little tour-time tomfoolery. Ryan Williams talks to them about life on the road and their new record, Suicide Season. Plus, watch the new video to ‘The Comedown’.
Bring Me The Horizon have also been setting out their stall. The Sheffield quintet have been sweating their way through the American summer on the Warped Tour before unleashing their second album, Suicide Season, upon the masses in September.
“Last time we were in America, we just had the best time,” exclaims drummer, Matt Nicholls. “We’ve just been itching to go back!”
“It’s going to be pretty cool to go out on Warped Tour,” says a slightly more restrained Ollie Sykes. “There’s no negative really.”
Watch the brand new video to ‘The Comedown’ by BMTH
“Some people see touring as purely business to make money,” he continues and starts shaking his head. “They’ll sit in their bus or van on their computers and then they’ll play and it’s just like what’s the point? This is the best thing you could be doing in life.”
“Last time we toured America for three months and being with the same people for three months…” Ollie grins and looks at me. “It can get a bit cosy.”
Indeed, it can definitely get a bit cosy. In spring 2007 you may recall that Sykes was pulled up on some heinous charges which were soon dropped completely. But the incident definitely left a lasting impression on the band.
“It kind of slowed us down a bit,” winces Nicholls, shifting in his seat. “We were getting a lot of coverage from Kerrang! and Metal Hammer at that point but as soon as that happened everything just stopped.”
Frontman, Ollie Sykes manages to look on the bright side none the less, “At the same time, so many people wanted to come and see us, even if it was just to throw a bottle at us. We were wondering, ‘Just where have all these people come from?’”
“It was a shitty time,” Sykes acknowledges. “We never really looked at it as good for press as much as we were thinking ‘Everyone thinks we’ve done this terrible thing!’”
“It opened our eyes a bit,” nods the heavily-tattooed singer. “It was the first time we had our own tour bus and we probably were going a bit wild every night but we’ve done worse things than take a piss on a bus.”
It might seem like stating the obvious but, somehow, Nicholls manages to make this sound like the most pertinent revelation of the interview: “Put a bunch of 19 year olds on a bus and things are bound to get a bit crazy.”
Watch the video to ‘Pray For Plagues’ by BMTH
It is certainly true that a bunch of talented, hard-partying teenagers cooped up in a pressure cooker environment are always going to cause some mischief but they also managed to muster up the resolve to create two albums.
“We recorded our first CD five minutes from the Birmingham Bullring so if it got a little boring we could just go into town,” explains Nicholls. “This time we were in the middle of Sweden surrounded by nothing but forests and lakes. We put everything into recording this CD.”
“We didn’t really want to write a CD what sounded anything like our last CD,” states Nicholls, quite matter-of-factly. “It’s just a waste of time. Why would you want to do that?
Bring Me The Horizon autumn 2008 UK tourdates
16 Newcastle Academy
17 Dundee Fat Sam’s
18 Glasgow Garage
19 Stoke Sugarmill
20 Sheffield Academy
21 Oxford Academy
22 Nottingham Rock City
23 Norwich Waterfront
24 Liverpool Academy
25 Wrexham Central Station
26 Brighton Concorde 2
27 Leeds Cockpit
28 Cardiff Ifor Bach
29 Yeovil Orange Box
30 Bristol Academy
31 Southampton University
01 London Astoria
02 Manchester Academy
03 Birmingham Academy
Suicide Season by Bring Me The Horizon is released on 22 September 2008 on Visible Noise
June 11th, 2008
On the night Def Leppard played one of their tiniest shows in a very, very long time, Thrash Hits .com grabbed five minutes with singer Joe Elliot. Ruby Q was on hand to chat hair metal, radio hits and longevity.
Prepping for a near sold out, joint-headline arena tour with fellow ‘80s cock rockers Whitesnake (who Def Leppard guitarist Vivian Campbell jokes was in for all of, err, five minutes) the Leppard are performing to a crowd just short of 500 later at London’s Islington Academy. And there’s already a queue outside.
No surprises there. These guys have sold over 60 million records worldwide (over 20 million on 1987’s Hysteria alone), been inducted to the Rock Walk Of Fame on Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard, heck, they even played the Philadelphia leg of Live8. Simply, their music equals big business.
That means bucks galore, especially in this credit crunch climate which sees record labels dropping bands like freshly swotted flies and groups not even getting the mere sniff of a chance of band bankruptcy. It’s hard times and Leppard head honcho, that volume-defying larynxed frontman Joe Elliot, agrees, even though they don’t seem to be suffering.
“The music industry has changed a lot and if you’ve been around for a long time people know your songs,” explains Elliot in between fanning his face. “There’s not much chance of a young new band building up a back catalogue.” He’s right.
Watch ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ by Def Leppard
Thrash Hits has just finished watching the five Lepparders straddle burgundy thrones and wisecrack through some music TV shorts for their VH1 Classic Countdown (alas, the bands don’t really get to pick the tracks by the way – what a sham).
This scene of a still lion-maned Elliot, who is slathered in foundation and being endlessly dabbed by make-up girls in between almost every take, gives an insight into band-life that not many groups nowadays will get the opportunity to experience.
He continues, “How many Arctic Monkeys are there? Where do you think they might be around in five or six years’ time? Oasis are just moving into that like legendary status where they’ve got a career and they’re not just putting out a couple of albums and then disappearing.”
Watch ‘Animal’ by Def Leppard
The reason for this? Radio. They just ain’t playing the new stuff. Elliot continues, “You see bands like The Police reforming and they put 60,000 people in every place they play because they’ve got the songs.
“You’re probably going to have heard ‘Message In A Bottle’ more over the last five years than you will have heard ‘Boulevard Of Broken Dreams’ by Green Day because the radio won’t play new stuff as much as it plays old stuff. The stations are playing to the mums and dads and they’re the ones buying it.”
Later on at the gig though it’s clear that, although they play more hits than you can remember, have probably been heard plenty themselves on our radio waves and work the stage like a bunch of fine herb sprinkled and seasoned pros, this band is not just about the music – it’s the whole shebang.
The cringe-worthy, but almost awe-inspiring, onstage moves; the double, nay make that triple encore we experience; the genius guitar riffs that rip your face off and make you beg for it back; those sweaty fifty-something torsos that could easily belong to someone thirty years younger, and, of course, that larynx defying howl.
Watch the epic version of ‘When Love And Hate Collide’ by Def Leppard
Indeed – Def Leppard are as subtle as a brick to the skull but boy it’s top grade fun; a fuck-you-blind guilty pleasure that should not be ignored. It’s been over 28 years since their 1980 debut album, On Through The Night, but why does Elliot feel there’s still so much love for ‘80s hair metal?
He muses, “Music is music. It’s either good or bad and I think a lot of people are coming to terms now that music from the ‘80s isn’t all stupid and funny and you can listen to it. It’s becoming ok to like the ‘80s like it was ok to like the ‘70s.”
Maybe it’s just if you’re listening to Def Leppard. As, if tonight’s show and the new album, Songs From The Sparkle Lounge is anything to go by, these cock rockers will be rocking cocks ‘til at least twenty million other wannabes have had a stab at what they’ve achieved. And that’s saying something.
June 6th, 2008
In a parallel universe there are some bands that Thrash Hits .com would love to be massive. Mínus are definitely near the top of the list. Having previously worked with them, Ben Myers takes a look back over the band’s career.
“They came from the land of the ice and snow…”
It’s a cliché to say that Icelanders are a breed apart, but as most clichés are born out of truth I’m sticking with this image.
When I first heard Reykjavik five-piece Mínus my knowledge of Icelandic music was limited to The Sugarcubes, Sigur Rós and the poetic rhythms of The Sagas. Though they sounded like none of them, they were somehow very much part of the same tradition that spawned both: they were artists, hedonists, musical voyagers squinting into the distance.
It was The Sugarcubes who released Mínus’ 2000 breakthrough album Jesus Christ Bobby on their label (their debut Hey, Johnny preceded it in 1999). Like twelve sheets of sleet blowing across the arctic tundra, it was less a collection of songs and more a sensory-freezing attack of high-pitched frequencies, white noise and lung-spewing screaming – the latter the last vestiges of their early days as a straight-edge hardcore band.
Watch ‘Romantic Exorcism’ by Mínus
Like the journalist knobhead I am, I immediately wrote a review proclaiming them the first great rock ‘n’ roll band of the millennium; far more interesting than anything coming out of the US or UK.
The fact that Mínus have not gone on to sell millions of copies of albums matters little. Anyone with a brain knows that 99% of bands who sell millions are shit.
What mattered was that Mínus were those exotic ‘others’. They were – and still are – an interesting crew. Singer Krummi was from showbiz stock, his father and sister already famous in their home country, former guitarist Frosti was a radio personality and all-round nice guy.
Second bassist Þröstur – better known as Johnny – was straight out of The Sagas, a marauding Viking warrior who liked to drink, snort and fuck anything in sight and who wielded his bass like his forefathers would a war hammer. A man on first name terms with the local Reykjavík constabulary.
Watch ‘Angel In Disguise’ By Mínus
All this was evident when the aforementioned review got them a UK tour, whereupon they spent three weeks of a frosty UK winter playing to less people per night than the alcohol units they consumed. Those who saw those shows though still bear the scars in their ear-drums.
They returned a year later, only this time their hair was longer and there was a swagger in their stride. Before our eyes Krummi was morphing into a young Axl Rose – all cocked hips, smudged eyeliner and snake eyes.
The hardcore scene that spawned them began to turn its back, too emotionally closeted to realise they were about to miss out on their new album – Halldór Laxness (2003), named in honour of Iceland’s sole Nobel Prize-winning author and a hefty, heavy slice of sub-zero stoner rock.
Significant things followed: a much-coveted Icelandic support slot to Metallica, European shows with Queens Of The Stone Age, Muse and Biffy Clyro, a US tour (aborted when Johnny broke his arm) and key singles like ‘Angel In Disguise’, ‘Romantic Exorcism’ and narco-comedown ‘The Long Face’.
Watch ‘The Long Face’ By Mínus
When I decided to start a record label in 2003 they were the first band I approached about doing a one-off release with (which they duly obliged). And every time they returned they were more unhinged than ever, stripped to the waist and partying like they had seconds to live. A bottle of some weird-tasting Icelandic liquor always close to hand.
Mínus’ latest album The Great Northern Whalekill, released in May 2008, saw a new label and a line-up change. I don’t know how it has done sales-wise, but I do know that Krummi has been starring in Jesus Christ Superstar in Reykjavik. This band’s legacy will not be in record sales and statistics.
It’ll be the way in which they helped expand Icelandic culture, the way in which they penetrated the dark interior of Europe and America. The way in which they have brought the party to many dull British towns.
Mínus make music for that time in your life when you’re totally fucking indestructible.
The Great Northern Whalekill by Mínus is out now on One Little Indian Records