GUITARIST JOHN SYKES TO RELEASE NEW SINGLE “DAWNING OF A BRAND NEW DAY,” ON NEW YEARS DAY

Legendary English guitarist John Sykes (Tygers Of Pan Tang, Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake, Blue Murder, Sykes) will release the official music video for a new song called Dawning Of A Brand New Day tomorrow (January 1st). The track, which was recorded at least four years ago, is expected to appear on Sykes’s long-awaited new solo album, tentatively due in 2021.

Sykes’s new disc (its previously announced title of Sy-Ops has now apparently been scrapped) is expected to include such other tracks as Believe In YourselfMy Guitar and Out Alive.

Dana’s note: Thank you to Rattlehead for passing this along!

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LESLIE WEST PASSES AT AGE 75 FROM CARDIAC ARREST

Leslie West, born Leslie Weinstein, has passed away. The iconic guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and storyteller has left a legacy that to this day is celebrated by peers and fans across the world.

Weinstein was born in New York City, and first emerged in the scene as a member of The Vagrants. A few years later he and Felix Pappalardi formed Mountain, a band that was amongst the first to pioneer the genre later to become known as Heavy Metal. Hits that include Mississippi Queen, Theme From An Imaginary Western, and others established an indelible voice and guitar tone that remains legendary to this day. In 1969, West brought his presence to the stage at Woodstock.

As the decade turned, he formed West, Bruce and Laing with his band-mate from Mountain drummer Corky Laing and Cream’s Jack Bruce. In, 1971 West contributed to The Who’s Who’s Next sessions in the city, performances which can be heard on the 1995 and 2003 reissues of that cornerstone album. 

Alongside his significant contribution to pop culture as the face of Mountain, West appeared in films that include Family Honor (1973) and The Money Pit (1986).  He was a regular guest on the Howard Stern Show, and over the course of decades remained a periodic visitor alongside enjoying a decades-long friendship with the talk show host.

West was inducted in to the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2006, and appeared on dozens of other recordings from a vast universe of artists. Samples of his performances lived a secondary life on the masters of a who’s who of hip-hop and rap stars. 

The guitarist is renowned for helping popularize the Gibson Les Paul Jr. model with P-90 pick-ups to create a tone that is undisputedly his own. More recently, he enjoyed a long relationship with Dean Guitars, releasing several signature models.

Leslie West is survived by his wife Jenni, whom he married on stage after Mountain’s performance at the Woodstock 40thAnniversary concert in Bethel, NY on August 15, 2009. And, brother Larry and nephew Max.

From 1964 through today, few artists have left a more significant mark on music as we know it. Guitarists across the globe together will unite in sadness as The World says goodbye to a true original. 

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DON DOKKEN ON GEORGE LYNCH AND JEFF PILSON’S “HEAVY HITTERS” COVER ALBUM, “I DON’T GET IT”

Don Dokken was a recent guest on The Classic Metal Show, where  co-host Chris Akin, asked him about his former bandmates, guitarist George Lynch and bassist Jeff Pilson’s, new covers album Heavy Hitters, which include songs by Duran Duran, Madonna, Prince  Carole King, etc.

Dokken sated (as per blabbermouth.net), “But those are not heavy hitters. No offense, they are good songs, but those are vanilla tunes. [Sings R.E.M’s ‘It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)’] Did they rock ’em up or put some shredding guitar solos [in them]?”

“They must be really bored,” he continued. “But, you know, everybody’s got their mantra; everybody’s got their financial things, I guess. If a record company is willing to give you money to put out pablum, then put out the pablum. But I hope my standards as a songwriter are a little higher than that. If I’m gonna do a remake, I’m gonna do something that was super cool, like Paint It Black by The[Rolling] Stones or Revolution by The Beatles or something that’s awesome and do something like that. I’m not gonna do Carole King.”

“I don’t get it. I don’t know what’s going on with those guys,” the singer added. “I don’t really talk to them much. Lynch and I, we talk once in a while, ’cause he always wanted to move to Santa Fe; that’s his dream. He’s always wanted to come to New Mexico. And I said, ‘Hey, you’re welcome to come on up and stay in the casita’ — as they call ’em up here, a casita, the guest house — ‘and if you wanna go hike’… He hikes; he’s a hiker. So, I’ve got 13 acres. He can get lost very easily. I’m not going looking for him.”

Dokken’s classic lineup — iDon Dokken, George Lynch, Jeff Pilson and drummer “Wild” Mick Brown — reunited for a short Japanese tour in the fall of 2016. It marked the first time in 21 years the four musicians had hit the road together.

A concert DVD focusing on the band’s reunion tour, Return To The East Live (2016), was made available in 2018. An original song was also recorded for th special release titled, It’s Just Another Day, which can be heard here.

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STRYPER’S MICHAEL SWEET ANNOUNCES VIRTUAL 5TH ANNUAL CHRISTMAS SHOW ON DECEMBER 19TH AT 7PM EST WITH VENUENET

Rock sensation and Stryper founder and frontman’s Michael Sweet announces his 5th annual Christmas concert with new partnership with VenueNet a brand new premier social platform for concert live streaming.  This fully interactive concert experience brings the spirit of Christmas and the music you love right to your laptop or mobile device. Michael’s Christmas show has been a success for years in the Massachusetts area but now fans across the globe will have an opportunity like never before to be a part of this yearly celebration.  Featuring original music and Christmas classics (with a twist) this once in a lifetime experience is an opportunity for fans to see Michael like never before as he streams directly from the newly opened state of the art Bank Of New Hampshire Stage in Concord, NH. 

For this unique fully interactive concert experience fans will have three price options to choose from that will offer them varying degrees of access to Michael during the live concert experience. (Ticket options below).

$10.00 – General Admission 

  • Access to view the livestream on VenueNet
  • Access to watch the Re-Play until December 25th 

$25.00 – Front Row 

  • Access to view the stream and, using your devices camera, have your image featured on the fan wall (full stage LED Video wall) that the band will be performing to
  • Access to the replay until December 25th 

$100.00 – VIP Experience 

  • Access to view the stream and, using your devices camera, have your image featured on one of two freestanding video displays directly in front of Michael that the band will be performing to
  • Access to the fully interactive (two-way communication) Post Show VIP talk back session. 
  • Access to view the replay for an unlimited amount of time. 

Michael Sweet online: Official Website, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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SAMMY HAGAR & THE CIRCLE SURPRISE FANS WITH “SANTA’S GOING SOUTH FOR CHRISTMAS” THEIR FINAL LOCKDOWN VIDEO OF 2020

Sammy Hagar and The Circle wrapped up their “Lockdown 2020” sessions with a surprise virtual edition of Santa’s Going South For Christmas.

“This song has been waiting many years for a video,” Sammy Hagar said about his 2010 classic. “Here it is, courtesy of Lockdown 2020.”

Watch out for special cameos from Sammy’s wife Kari, son Andrew, Michael Anthony’s daughter Elisha and granddaughter Nina, plus a special appearance by Guy Fieri.  [Dana’s note: If you hit refresh on your browser you can watch the video below.}

Pre-order the band’s Lockdown 2020 album now and get an instant download of Heroes, the Circle’s new Lockdown cover of the David Bowie classic. Read more details about this release here and catch up on all of the previous Lockdown 2020 videos, here.

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TESLA BASSIST BRIAN WHEAT ON HIS STRUGGLE WITH BODY IMAGE, “I STARTED STICKING MY FINGERS DOWN MY THROAT TO KEEP MYSELF FROM GAINING WEIGHT”

As previously reported, Tesla bassist Brian Wheat’s new book, Son of a Milkman: My Crazy Life with Tesla, will be released on December 15th through Post Hill Press. Reuben Mosqueda of KNAC.com spoke with Wheat about his forthcoming autobiography, his ongoing battle with anxiety, depression and body image, among other topics, highlights of the interview appear below.

KNAC.com: When did you make the commitment to write Son of A Milkman? What was the length of time that you spent working on this book?

Brian Wheat: It was a total of about five years in the making. I wanted to write a book that was honest and that laid it all out there for people. It’s not ‘very rock ‘n’ roll’ because it’s not a rock ‘n’ roll book. [laughs] I wasn’t interested in writing a book about all these chicks that I f–ked and all the drugs that I used. I wanted people to know that I’m like them, I suffer from everyday stuff like the guy that works at WalMart does. I have health issues, mental health issues, self-esteem issues.

KNAC.com:…You shared about your childhood, health and your challenges with depression and anxiety disorder. Was writing [the book] therapeutic for you? Did you have to go through rewrites, because perhaps you thought you shared stuff that was too personal?

Brian Wheat: It was therapeutic for me. I think me writing this book was part of my therapy to tell you the truth…it did liberate me to some extent. It was so good to let go of all of these things that I have been holding inside for all of these years. I think there were a couple of things that I changed or took out because it might have been a bit too personal, but I didn’t have to change too much…I wanted it to read just like an interview, like a chronological interview…There were things that were rewritten or were changed once I sat down with Chris [Epstien who is a professional writer] and we started working on the draft. I might have softened up my stance on something or I might have felt in some instances where I might have needed to make more of a point on something.

KNAC.com: How do you handle an anxiety attack while onstage? You talked about having a difficult time on the tour with Def Leppard in 2019. What are some coping skills that you have developed?

Brian Wheat: It is in how you cope with it. Like you said, we were on tour last year with Def Leppard across Canada. Every night we play to sold-out arenas to 15-20 thousand people. I’m having anxiety attacks every night. There I am on stage coping through it by telling myself ”I have to get through the set.” Then my mind is racing and I tell myself “I can’t forget the set.” I’m going all these different directions. It was unsettling because it was the most unfocused that I have ever been on a tour in my whole career. I found myself asking “Why now? Why at this point in my career? Things should be amazing at this point.” There I was still struggling with this anxiety and these attacks followed by this depression. You learn to cope with it and that was one of the benefits of the therapy. Dr. Herschkopf helped me deal with it on my own with self-talk and talk myself off the ledge. That’s what you do because your mind does all of these things simultaneously while you’re trying to play Little Suzi on stage. [laughs].

KNAC.com: You spent some time with the late, great [Soundgarden frontman] Chris Cornell, who as we know lost his battle with mental health disorder and possibly substance [abuse]. What did you take away from your time with Chris? He opened up to you about it and you didn’t know him that well at the time?

Brian Wheat: Ross Halfin, my friend who is a famous rock photographer was going out to do a photo session with Chris. I happened to be out in L.A. hanging out with Ross. I had my car with me and he asked if I would drive us around to some places to get some shots. Ross was in the back seat and Chris was in the passenger seat. We were driving around and Chris and I started talking, just general chit-chat about this, that or the other. Somehow we got on the topic of anxiety attacks. Chris said, “I get these panic attacks.” I was like, “I get them too. I have had them since I was 14 years old.” We shared stories about our anxiety and panic attacks and I never saw him after that. It wasn’t too long after that he committed suicide and died. It was a real drag because I was a fan of his. I love his music and he [was] an amazing singer. He was the only guy that I had met that had anxiety attacks, because it isn’t very rock ‘n’ roll.

KNAC.com:  You spoke about the impact that his death had on you. You also mentioned the [Linkin Park frontman] Chester Bennington and [Chef} Anthony Bourdain deaths.

Brian Wheat: The point I was trying to make there with Anthony Bourdain, Chris and Chester is that they passed close to the same time. I don’t understand how things can be so bad that someone could take their own life. I have anxiety and I have been depressed, but I couldn’t understand that level of depression until I was on tour in the summer of 2019 with Def Leppard. I was so overwhelmed by that depression. I want to be crystal clear, I have never thought about suicide. It’s never been on the table, but I finally did understand how it could be so overwhelming for someone that suicide would be their only way out.

KNAC.com: You spoke candidly about struggling with your self image which has been attributed to struggles with weight that lead to an eating disorder. Guys have these issues, it’s something that isn’t talked about. It’s like it’s a “woman’s thing.” There was a statement you made where you wanted to bust out your best Pete Way [UFO] moves, but elected to hang back by the drum riser instead.

Brian Wheat: Yeah, people think that those things are exclusive to supermodels or something but it’s not. The fact of the matter is I was a fat kid. I lost all of this weight. If you look at the photos of me during the Mechanical Resonance album I was a fat kid, then I lost a lot of weight. To be able to maintain that…we were out during that time where everyone was looking for that image and MTV was huge. I started sticking my fingers down my throat to keep myself from gaining weight. I did that for 3-4 years. It was during ‘88, ‘89, ‘90 and ‘91 that entire time period. I know what this is like and that’s a slippery f–king slope. I haven’t done that in years. I’m heavier now, of course but that’s due to my autoimmune disease. I have taken Prednisone regularly. It’s hard to be thin and take Prednisone at the same time. It’s a steroid that puts a lot of weight on you, it bloats you among other things. My weight fluxuates. Today I’m more comfortable in my own skin. I want the guy or the girl in Des Moines, Iowa to read this and know that I’m just like them, they can overcome it and there are other people that are experiencing the same problems. This isn’t a gender thing, it happens to all of us. And I wanted to be Pete Way so bad. He was the best and baddest, bass player there ever was. [laughs].

KNAC.com: You wrote about The Beatles having a huge impact on you as a kid, specifically Paul McCartney. In fact, Let It Be was the first album that you bought with your money. You play a violin style bass because of him. When you met him, how did you not get tongue tied and become a total ‘fanboy’ at that point? I love the story in the book of the first time you met the guy. It was all hand signals.

Brian Wheat: The Beatles were everything. I’m still of the belief to this day that on the 8th day God created The Beatles. To me they are right up there with God. [laughs] I’m such a huge fan of their work. Like you said I’m especially fond of Paul McCartney. They are still very important in my life to this day. I don’t think there isn’t a day that doesn’t go by that I don’t listen to The Beatles. There’s alway some thought related to The Beatles or some reference to The Beatles everyday of my life [laughs] somewhere throughout the course of the day. When I met Paul the first time I was freaking out inside, but I was trying to keep my composure! [laughs] I don’t know how I kept it together to tell you the truth. I guess I just rose above it? I still have to pinch myself because I can’t believe I was able to have an intelligent conversation with him. [laughs] That was pretty f–king cool man. [laughs] I’m a pretty lucky guy to have met my hero or to have met several of my heroes. I’m blessed.

Read more at KNAC.com.

To find out more details about Son of a Milkman: My Crazy Life with Tesla, please click here and to pre-order the book go here.

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