Welcome to the first edition of the Metal Excess News Desk! In order to provide more content to the blog, I’ve decided to do a round-up of rock news that is of particular interest of me and provide my own thoughts. So just how frequent will I be doing this? Who knows. Maybe every few days, once a week or twice an hour! Just whenever I feel like it!
Now, on with today’s top stories…
Good Showing for GNR’s 1st Single from Democracy
According to Billboard.biz, GUNS N’ ROSES’ new single, “Chinese Democracy”, has made a splashy bow across a bevy of Billboard’s and Radio and Records’ rock airplay charts — after only five days of airplay. It debuts at No. 12 on Mainstream Rock, No. 15 on Active Rock, No. 37 on Modern Rock and No. 7 on Rock. On Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart, which began in 1981, it’s the band’s best debut since 1991 when “Don’t Cry” opened at No. 4.
“Chinese Democracy” will be released in the U.S. exclusively through Best Buy. The 14-song set will be available on CD, vinyl, and as a download. While singer Axl Rose has remained silent, co-managers Irving Azoff and Andy Gould said in a statement, “The release of ‘Chinese Democracy’ marks a historic moment in rock n’roll. We’re launching with a monumental campaign…that matches the groundbreaking sound of the album itself. GUNS N’ ROSES fans have every reason to celebrate, for this is only the beginning.”
I guess this is probably about where I’d expect the single to land given the “Is this album really coming out or not?” buzz. But now that it is official (though it’d still be nice to hear AXL say something about), maybe we’ll see some increased airplay in the coming weeks. I’ve seen some backlash for the song online (then again, GNR is in the same camp with bands like Metallica and KISS where most “fans” online only wanna bash the band anyway), and it’s not the best song from the album, but I still like it a lot.
I’m a huge supporter of exclusive releases (especially for veteran acts), so I’m glad Best Buy is in on this and I’m sure they (and GNR) are going to start promoting it heavily very soon. In this day and age, too many band and albums are left it to die with open releases with little to no promotion and exclusive releases ensure *proper* promotion and a chance for success.
This is an first day release pick up for me, no question about it. I just hope it does well. There’s going to be those GNR fans that refuse to pick it up, but I think a chunk of them who aren’t totally sold on the new version of the group will still give it a shot. I have a feeling though, that if this album doesn’t perform well (Gold?), we’ll probably never see another GNR release. Axl’s ego is too fragile and if this thing fails critically and commercially that may be a wrap.
Former Megadeth Drummer Jimmy DeGrasso (and others?) “done” with Dave Mustaine
Credit: The Jakarta Post
“Like a marriage, there were ups and downs with Dave, and some of them were great. But, the man had some issues with himself in 2002, and his quitting the band at that time was disappointing for all of us because we had worked really hard for ‘Rude Awakening’ (2002).”
“I helped Marty Friedman (MEGADETH’s lead guitarist from 1990 to 1999) with his solo efforts and [I joined] Dave Ellefson (MEGADETH’s bass player from 1985 to 2002) in F5. I still make contact with Al Pitrelli, but we’re done talking to Dave.”
Speak for yourself, Jimmy-boy. Wasn’t it Dave Ellefson who recently and publically said he would be willing to rejoin Megadeth? I really hope we get to see that. Make no mistake, Dave Mustaine *is* the creative force behind Megadeth but it’s always nice to have more than one familiar face, even if Dave’s Band of Musical Chairs still delivers great metal.
I do agree that the 2002 break-up was a huge disappointment though. Dave was on a roll getting back to his metal roots and then all of a sudden “My arm is screwed, the band is done”. I always felt ending the band like that was a bit premature and a knee-jerk reaction to the injury, and obviously, it was because Dave restarted the band (with an all-new lineup) just two years later after rehabbing his arm.
James Hetfield Says Dave Mustaine Won’t Join Metallica in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
Rolling Stone: Most likely, METALLICA will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame next April. Who will be onstage with you?
Hetfield: “Everyone that played on a record should be there. You’re considered for the Hall 25 years after your first recording, not after you formed.”
Rolling Stone: That would omit Dave Mustaine [former METALLICA guitarist and current MEGADETH mainman].
Hetfield: “He wasn’t on a record. Jason Newsted [former METALLICA bassist] should be up there — he was in the band for 14 years and played on quite a few records. And so should Robert [Trujillo; current METALLICA bassist].”
Some Megadeth fans may complain about this, but James is right. Dave does not deserve to be inducted as a member of Metallica. Megadeth on the other hand… But wow, could you imagine if Dave followed the guideline of “everyone that played on a record”? They’d have to rent out a full arena to fit everyone on stage. Well, at least we know Jimmy DeGrasso won’t be there.
Chickenfoot Super Group “Hopefully” Shooting for February/March Release
Sammy Hagar told this to Billboard.com, about the super group involving himself, bassist Michael Anthony (ex-Van Halen), drummer Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers) and guitarist Joe Satriani:
“We got in the studio and recorded eight demos in two days. The chemistry is everything in a band. The band changes one guy, sometimes the whole damn thing changes — look what happened when I joined VAN HALEN. But with this band, the chemistry is awesome. It’s the best chemistry I’ve ever experienced, better than the MONTROSE chemistry, better than the VAN HALEN chemistry. We’ve got nine songs recorded, we’re going back in December to get a couple more songs and will hopefully have a February/March release.”
Really excited about this one, but I’m trying not to get my hopes up too much… Remember Planet US which was supposed to feature Sammy, Journey’s Neal Schon & Dean Castronovo and Slash (who was later to be replaced by Joe Satriani)?
And as much as I love Sammy, I think it’s kinda lame for him to be comparing this new group to Montrose and Van Halen, let alone LED ZEPPELIN like he did a while back.
I have no doubt these four guys are going to bring us something very good, but will it be VH or Zeppelin “good”? Probably not.
KISS Reveals New Shoes & Jeans from Vans
Vans KISS products will be sold separately at better footwear stores and boutiques worldwide as well as on Vans.com. Look for additional collaborations created by Vans and KISS in 2009.
For the discerning KISS fan only. As much as I love KISS, it’s just a bit too tacky for me… But then again, how can you be a KISS fan and not be a fan of tacky? =)
“I actually think Jimmy wanted Steven to come over and play a little bit because, I think, he was trying to light a fire under Robert,” Whitford said. “Come on! Come on, Robert, let’s go!”
Def Leppard Moves into the 21st Century (Sha-La-La) And Goes Solo
Credit: The Age
Joe Elliott tells of the band’s future plans and releases:
“We delivered a record that couldn’t be ignored,” says Elliott. “For the last five or six years we haven’t had the greatest of support from our record label. We signed our contract in 1979, a lot of regimes ago. Once there was respect for what you’d done, but it’s all just bean-counters now. I find that very sad.”
Unless an offer they can’t refuse is forthcoming – “and it doesn’t appear to be”, Elliott observes dryly – next year Def Leppard will join the exodus of established acts leaving big labels, exchanging their home of 30 years, Universal Music, for independent status, a lucrative touring agreement and online sales.
“If Radiohead and the Eagles can go off and do it on their own, that’s an acceptable yardstick to measure our own chances by,” reasons Elliott.
Again, going exclusive is a great move for these older bands. I can EASILY see Wal-Mart wanting an exclusive Def Leppard release. The band can still debut at high numbers (Songs From The Sparkle Lounge debuted at #5 on Billboard) and an exclusive release could easily put them at gold or platinum (I think Sparkle Lounge is stuck somewhere in the 100K-200K sold range, which is still quite good these days).
Can you believe they’ve been on Mercury Records (now Def Jam/Island Records) for 30 years? Not many acts can say they’ve been on their label for that long. I was surprised they weren’t dropped in the 90s and then again surprised they weren’t dropped after X and YEAH! sputtered. This may be a case of both parties wanting out, but I think it can only payoff for Def Leppard.
Current Def Leppard/Ex-Whitesnake Guitarist Vivian Campbell Claims Whitesnake Is Not a Band
Credit: The West Australian
“We just did some European dates with Whitesnake (an 80s glam-rock band which Campbell once played with) and, you know, they’re not a band, it’s David Coverdale and whoever.
“I was talking to the drummer in a bar the other night. He’s the 49th member of the band of which I was inversion 37c or whatever for about 20 minutes.
“They travel separately, they stay in separate hotels on tour, David Coverdale (the lead singer) stays in a separate dressing room where the door’s always closed with a sign that says ‘knock, do not enter’.
“We interact with our crew. People always want to come back and work for Def Leppard. We don’t have class distinction within the band and the crew.
Yeah, Whitesnake has gone through TONS of musicians over the years. It’s David’s baby. It always was and always will be, so sure, there’s going to be people coming and going. But, with the exception of the drummer’s seat, David has kept the same line up since 2002 and the band kicks @$$. Heck, I don’t think Whitesnake has ever had a more tenured roster.
C’mon, Campbell, don’t let the stress of leaving your label get to you by lashing out at your former bands. What next? Will you say Dio only sings about evil and gypsies ?!