blackSabbathProducer Rick Rubin wanted Cream drummer Ginger Baker to replace Bill Ward in Black Sabbath, guitarist Tony Iommi has revealed.

The band’s plans for their first album with Ozzy Osbourne since 1978′s Never Say Die were thrown into turmoil after Ward refused to participate saying he hadn’t been offered a contact that was “signable.”

But Iommi, who faced his own challenges with a cancer battle, rejected Rubin’s suggestion of calling Baker, who was recently named rock’s craziest drummer.

The guitarist tells Rolling Stone: “I thought, ‘Bloody hell!’ I just couldn’t see that.”

He’d already struggled with Ward’s announcement. “I didn’t know Bill was having these issues when we got together,” he reflects. “He never even mentioned it to us. It was quite confusing. We wanted him involved but it was just getting too hard.”

Frontman Osbourne states, “You can’t go, ‘Well, I don’t like it.’ You get off your ass and you get your shit together. The life of a bohemian rock star is fucking long over.”

Bassist Geezer Butler describes pre-production sessions as “confusing” after Rubin – who’s maintained his controversial reputation after being blamed for delays in Slayer’s next album – told them to try and recover the mindset they’d had on their 1970 debut album. Butler says: “We had to unlearn everything we’d learned.”

Rage Against The Machine drummer Brad Wilk was finally chosen to fill Ward’s role. The album, which is set to be, released in June and includes tracks called End Of The Beginning, Age Of Reason and God Is Dead.

Despite Rubin’s intentions, Osbourne reflects that the band’s outlook has changed significantly in their 43-year history. He describes the album as “Satanic blues” but reports of God Is Dead,  “It starts off, ‘God is dead,’ but at the end it says, ‘I don’t believe that God is dead.’”


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IRON MAIDEN ft Lauderdale 2010Iron Maiden will release Maiden England 88, a new, remastered, bonus-filled edition of their classic 1989 VHS, on March 25th.

Filmed across two sold-out nights at Birmingham N.E.C Arena, UK in November 1988 during the band’s Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son World Tour,  disc one contains the concert itself, which has been upgraded and extended from the existing and now includes three previously unreleased encores: Running Free, Run To The Hills and Sanctuary. Disc two features a bonus documentary that includes interviews with Maiden and their manager, Rod Smallwood, as well as a bonus bonus documentary, Twelve Wasted Years, and five promo videos. Watch the trailer below.

“We’ve been busy upgrading this concert footage for a long time, with our in-house Film Producer and Director Andy Matthews working tirelessly to weave his magic yet again!,” says Rod. “The 1989 VHS video has been largely unavailable for many years and we know how eagerly our fans have been awaiting the new version so we wanted to give it the best possible treatment. The current Maiden England World Tour which continues later this year revisits much of the set list and production from the initial 1989 VHS release so it will be interesting to compare just how much has changed in terms of our 2013 live show production, especially with all the advances in modern technology and the improvements we’ve been able to make to the set.”

Maiden England 88 will also be made available on a two-CD album, as well as Limited Edition double vinyl picture disc and Digital Download formats.

Disc One – Maiden England 88

The Evil That Men Do
The Prisoner
Still Life
Die With Your Boots On
Infinite Dreams
Can I Play With Madness
Heaven Can Wait
Wasted Years
The Clairvoyant
Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son
The Number Of The Beast
Hallowed Be Thy Name
Iron Maiden
Run To The Hills*
Running Free*
*previously unreleased.

Disc Two – The History Of Iron Maiden Part 3

12 Wasted Years documentary
Wasted Years promo video
Stranger In A Strange Land promo video
Can I Play With Madness promo video
The Evil That Men Do promo video
The Clairvoyant promo video











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paulraymondproject Paul Raymond, songwriter, keyboardist and rhythm guitarist of legendary cult hard rock outfit UFO has inked a deal with Cherry Red Records’ new hard rock imprint label Hear No Evil for his new solo album with The Paul Raymond Project.

The new album, entitled Terms & Conditions Apply was released on January 28th, 2013.   It will mark the sixth release by the group and features a guest appearance from Michael Schenker (MSG, UFO, Scorpions) on a cover of Reach Out (I’ll Be There) and by Reuben Archer (Stampede, Wild Horses, Lionheart, Lautrec) on Love Is Blind.

Paul Raymond is set to play some select regional solo UK shows to promote Terms & Conditions Apply in the New Year before resuming his duties touring with UFO.  The shows will feature Stampede vocalist Reuben Archer amongst other special guests and will showcase the new material as well as UFO classics. Regional dates are yet TBA.

Paul Raymond is primarily best known for his work in UFO, having joined the band’s ranks in 1976. Beginning with Lights Out in 1977, to date Paul has appeared on 11 UFO albums, including the incendiary double live Strangers In the Night.  In a varied career, he’s also been a key member in a number of acts, including 70s legends Savoy Brown, Chicken Shack, Michael Schenker Group and Waysted.

The Paul Raymond Project (PRP) was first formed in 1989 in Japan featuring original lineup of Frank Di Mino (formerly of Angel) on lead vocals and Masoyoshi Yamashitu (Loudness) on bass.  Paul spent 1990 writing new material, inspired by the resurgence of straight-ahead blues/rock led by bands such as the Black Crowes and the Quireboys, until, joined by guitarist Andy Simmons, the third incarnation of the project released Man on a Mission through Zoom Club records.  It was to be nine years before Paul and Andy joined forces again and recorded Virtual Insanity as UFO had once again intervened. In 2010, together with bass player Mark Coles and drummer Tony Steel, they began working on Terms & Conditions Apply.

Terms & Conditions Apply  Track Listing:

1. Born & Raised On Rock ‘N’ Roll
2. End Of Life As We Know It
3. Deeper Shade Of Blue
4. C-List Celebrity
5. We Will Be Strong
6. Terms & Conditions
7. Whiskey Mac
8. Bright Lights
9. Reach Out (I’ll Be There)
(featuring. Michael Schenker)
10. Love Is Blind (featuring Reuben Archer)
11. If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody
Bonus Tracks:
12. Still The Same
13. Drifting Apart
14. Partners In Crime

PRP are:

Paul Raymond – lead vocals/lead & rhythm guitars/keyboards
Andy Simmons – lead & rhythm guitars/ keyboards
Mark Coles – bass/backing vocals
Tony Steel – drums/backing vocals

For more information, please visit


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davidleerothSteve Baltin of Rolling Stone spoke with Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth about that state of Van Halen, his new internet radio show and relocating to Japan. Excerpts from the interview appear below.

Q: What brought you to Tokyo?

A:  lifetime of growing up next to a Japanese neighborhood. First time I held a Japanese sword in my hand, I think I was nine years old, 10 years old. Here now I train four times a week with a fellow who’s a professional instructor and I go to school every day of the week – I’m in school two and four hours variously in Japanese. I’ve never had an issue with changing my geography, perhaps to jolt my mind or my creative forces, or my fighting spirit. The first three months were challenging, I’m not gonna kid you. I came by myself and without knowing the language or anybody here, and cut to today, we have the Tokyo Dome show coming up, the Van Halen brothers and I, and I have more guests here than I had at Madison Square Garden. We sold out the Garden twice last February. I have close to 200 friends and family, all of them I know by first name, coming to each of the shows, so it’s exploded. And creatively it has had a really resounding impact on me. I have an apartment and I’ve been here since last May, actually – wow. I love the United States. I have not given up my New York City apartment or my tomb with a view in Pasadena – I understand the sprinklers are all working perfectly. But I don’t have any real plans anytime soon, until it’s time to talk about The Roth Show, which, again, is an international flavor. We launched that about four months ago, but I broadcast from here and, the miracle of everything, we shoot the show here and wherever I go. And I’ll be heading to New York, I’ll do a month there.

Q: How will this experimental energy manifest in possible new Van Halen material?

A: I would certainly look forward to working with Ed on some new material, but we have yet to do that. Almost all of the music that you hear on our most recent album was written and demoed before the first album. And I would certainly look forward to writing a whole list of songs with Ed, but we haven’t found the time to do that [laughs]. You hear the tone. I’m not sure what’s in Ed’s mind at this point. I’m gonna guess that his plans are to write with his son, and I’m not sure where that actually leads. But truth be told, Edward and I haven’t written a new song in 20 years.

Q: The Tokyo dates are coming up. Will there be more after that?

A: There’s nothing on the ticket as far as travel, and that’s a disappointment, frankly. How long have I been back with the gang? Maybe six years, we’ll say and we have yet to travel to Europe, South America, Japan, anywhere outside of those basic 50 cities in the United States. And again that’s been a disappointment. We have an audience and we have a potential future in many, many places, but our story is one of a whole lotta Shakespeare going on. And I don’t know where the Van Halen future lies aside from the States. We’ll always be able to play our hits – and keep in mind we have more hits than Beethoven, we have more hits than Tony Soprano – so getting onstage and playing that is glorious, and certainly getting onstage with the brothers will always be an excitement for me. But in terms of taking the music past where we found it, I’m not sure where that’s going to go.

And in the interim I’ve written and recorded an entire album of material with a fellow named John 5. It’s called Somewhere Over the Rainbow Bar & Grill, and it was designed as a jukebox musical after seeing what the South Park fellows did. Those fellows are ardent Van Halen fans – they’re been to Vegas and L.A. variously on the last tour. I saw the play [Book Of Mormon] and went home and we started putting together what I guess is called a jukebox musical, but it’s not particular to Van Halen. Indeed we can create Van Halen material as the interstitials, but we have 15 songs ready to go, and it’s my story. Indiana kid goes to the big city, sells his soul to the devil. Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets Dave. It’s knockout stuff.

The Jump remix is part of an approach I wanted to take of, “What if we take a specific song and update it both in terms of time period and neighborhood, and you use that throughout the play?” The way Jump sounds originally is very different than the way it sounds on this latest version. You can turn it country, you can make it a very sad song. I was also thinking to take this material to one of our finer filmmakers and see if the whole package might be used. That being said, it’s not heavy metal, and no, it’s not dance music. It’s R&B-based, a lot of B3 [organ] and a lot of girl-friendly . . . It’s rock, but think early Rod Stewart, perhaps, arguably the best years, [or]  Tumbling Dice if you’re thinking in terms of classic. So who knows where that’s gonna go.

But Ed has his own vision, I’m assuming. We haven’t really been able to speak about it and it’s a disappointment, just as not having a chance for a reunion of the original band. Clearly, vocals are every bit as much a component of success as a rhythm section or a guitar solo, and there’s an old expression saying, “They don’t go home singing the lighting show, they don’t go home singing the production.” You’re right, they sing my words and my melodies. And what we have at our fingertips is arguably one of the greatest high tenor voices ever – that was in Michael Anthony. In our tiny little corner of the universe, that voice is as identifiable as the high voice in Earth, Wind & Fire, as identifiable as the high voice in the Beach Boys. Van Halen is an indelicate house blend of both – that’s intentionally. So I would always look forward to that reunion, and I would always look forward to writing a whole variety of material. I’ve offered the fellows, come on out here to the land of the gods. And if you don’t want to make it that far we’ll make it halfway – Konishiki [his friend and former champion sumo wrestler] has said he’ll lend me his house in Hawaii, Let’s go woodshed. But so far there hasn’t been any response, so hope and faith are not actual tactics and strategies – they’re strippers from Albuquerque.

Q: It will be very interesting to see what happens with all of these merging interests you have. You mentioned Coachella. Would we ever see Van Halen on that type of stage?

A: Alex and I have been begging to become part of that, and Glastonbury and Reading and Hyde Park. We keep being shuttled into the heavy metal world, and that’s a very exclusive neighborhood, but here we are – we’re back knocking on the doors begging for Bonnaroo and begging for Lollapalooza and Coachella, not even as an advancement of career, but there’s a whole new audience who doesn’t know and doesn’t give a shit about Van Halen, and that’s exactly the best audience to sharpen your spirit on. That will compel you to the very best that you have. I can’t wait for those opportunities and wish us well. We’ve been asking for those shows since I’ve gotten back with the band six years ago, and I’ll be very curious to see where we wind up come next season.

Read more at Rolling Stone.


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rex book thumbOn March 12, 2013 Da Capo Press will release OFFICIAL TRUTH 101 PROOF – THE INSIDE STORY OF PANTERA, written by Pantera bassist Rex Brown, along with Mark Eglington. Rex, who now plays along side Vinny Appice in Kill Devil Hill, joined Pantera in 1982 at the age of 17, after meeting Dimebag Darrell while both attended high school together.


The book offers shocking insight into one of the most influential and enduringly popular bands in heavy metal history. Rex’s memoir is the definitive account of life inside Pantera, which succeeded against all odds and released a series of fiercely uncompromising platinum albums, including #1 albums Vulgar Display of Power and Far Beyond Driven, but ultimately ended in tragedy when iconic lead guitarist Darrell “Dimebag” Abbot was murdered on stage by a deranged fan.


According to Brown, “This is what went down, from my point of view. If you read it, everything should be clear, at least from where I was sittin’!” He continues, “I’ve simply tried to shed some perspective and insight onto my life so far, and the many beautiful people that have surrounded it. With all the trials and tribulations, sacrifices and tragedy, I’m very grateful for even having a chance to put a smile on the fan’s faces. That’s what it all boils down to after all.”


OFFICIAL TRUTH 101 PROOF – THE INSIDE STORY OF PANTERA will be officially released on March 12, but is available for pre-order NOW at Amazon! CLICK HERE TO PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY!

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johnsykes,jpgGuitarist John Sykes has updated his official website and the following message has been posted there:

“Since John left the Thin Lizzy reunion band a few years back, he has been immersed in the studio writing and arranging new tracks, he has written well over 30 tracks up to now and has also had new equipment fitted in his studio, where he records all his own material. John is currently working on a fifth studio album that is due for release 2013, the title of this album is yet undisclosed but we are told that this has had a lot of time taken on it and there are some fantastic guest musicians on board. As soon as we have word on the release for this album we will certainly keep you all posted.”

[Ed’s note: As a huge fan of John Sykes myself, if there is any news, it will be posted in this section as well].

In addition to his official website, you can also follow John on Facebook and Twitter.

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