Former Van Halen and current Chickenfoot bassist Michael Anthony called into to Eddie’s Sirius/XM show, Eddie Trunk Live, on Monday, April 9th, to discuss the passing of famed producer Andy Johns. In addition to discussing Johns, and other topics, Eddie asked Anthony a question about his former bandmate David Lee Roth. His response to the question appears below.
When raising the point that David Lee Roth stated in recent interview with Rolling Stone magazine that he would like Anthony back in the band and missed his vocals, the bassist said: “It was flattering to hear Dave talk like that. He never used to talk like that when we were all playing together. [laughs] But hey… I really don’t know what to say to that. It was flattering that he said that. And, obviously, I’m the kind of guy that… water under the bridge. I don’t hold any kind of grudges for anything, and you never know what will happen at anytime…. At this point in your life and career and whatever, the career aside, it’s more about the friendship and just people. And if the music side of it, if that happens, if that comes about, all the better, but that’s not what it’s really about at this point.”
Black Sabbath will concentrate on the 1970s era in their upcoming world tour, bassist Geezer Butler has revealed.
He also recalled the band’s early days, when he couldn’t afford a bass, their rise to success, and how technology affected their attitude.
The metal giants will release new album 13 – their first with Ozzy Osbourne since 1978 – on June 11th, and will tour the UK in December.
Butler tells The Metal Forge, “Since all our albums date back to the 1970s, that is the decade we will be dealing with. We always have to play the staples, such as Iron Man, Paranoid, Black Sabbath, War Pigs, Children Of The Grave, but it’s good to include more obscure stuff.”
Thinking back to their first studio experiences, he recalls, “The first and second albums were recorded on two four-track machines, the first album in two days, the second in five days. It was basically like doing a live gig in the studio.
As technology advanced, it was almost a curse to have so many tracks to record on; we lost focus of what the band was supposed to be about. It was great for experimenting, but we wasted a lot of time – and money – just pissing about in the studio on the later albums.”
That followed Butler’s early struggle to buy an instrument, after Cream inspired him to focus on bass. “I’d never seen anyone play bass like Jack Bruce before,” he says. “Everyone would be staring at Clapton while I’d be staring at Jack.
The main obstacle was I couldn’t afford a bass. I had a Fender Telecaster guitar at the time. I was paying it off at 50 pence a week over four years, so I couldn’t sell it until it was paid for. When I got together with Sabbath, I tuned the guitar strings down to simulate a bass.
On our first gig I borrowed a friend’s Hofner bass. It only had three strings – and that gig was the first time I’d ever played a bass. I swapped my Telecaster for a Fender Precision bass, and that was that.”
While Sabbath will mainly live in the past when it comes to setlists, Butler says they’ll also squeeze in a couple of tracks from the new album and he reflects on how recording 13 was a completely different experience from those that took place 40 years ago.
“These days it’s great – you can have the equivalent of a major studio on your laptop, so you can save a lot of time and heartache by recording your ideas at home and then playing them to whoever you are working with, to get instant feedback. There is nothing to replace jamming live together, but it is great to have a reference point, to give direction.”
The bassist admits writing the album was a challenge, “You have to feel extremely comfortable with each other to write and record. We have seen each other almost every day for the last two years – but we persisted, and we have done the almost impossible.”
Iron Maiden will make a brief return to the USA this September, playing seven specially selected shows en route to Latin America where they will once again headline at the legendary Rock In Rio Festival, Brazil, on September 22nd, their show there having recently sold out to 70,000 fans in just a couple of hours.
These will begin with a first-ever visit to Raleigh, North Carolina, for the opening show on September 3rd at the Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion followed by taking metal back to country music capital Nashville, Tennessee where Maiden haven’t played in over twenty years, at the Bridgestone Arena on September 5th. There will also be shows in Kansas City, Missouri, Sprint Center on September 7th, St. Louis, Missouri, Verizon Wireless on September 8th and the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada on September 12th, all of which the band last visited way back in 2000 on the Brave New World tour. Plus a return to Austin, Texas for a show at the 360 Amphitheater on September 10th, the first time the band have played in that city since the original Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son tour twenty-five years ago!
Very special guests on all these dates will be Megadeth.
Before they finally head south towards Brazil, Maiden will also headline a very special event at the San Manuel Amphitheater, San Bernardino, California. The Battle Of San Bernardino will take place on Friday, September 13th. Anthrax, Testament, Overkill and Sabaton will join tour special guests Megadeth for this performance only, making for a big, loud and exciting day out for metal fans in Southern California.
Commented Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson, “As Maiden fans know, we’re going back to Brazil to headline Rock In Rio again, so we thought that on our way down south we should certainly stop off and do a few more shows in the U.S if we possibly could. We especially wanted to try and play some more cities we’ve not visited for a while, so we’re really excited about seeing our fans again in places we’ve not been to in over a decade, and in some cases over two decades, and for our first-ever visit to Raleigh! We’ll be bringing with us the same full production we had on the Maiden England tour in North America last year so fans can expect to see the huge lightshow, stage set, various incarnations of Eddie, plenty of pyro and all kinds of other exciting stuff.”
Added bassist Steve Harris, “We know how popular the History Of Maiden tours are with fans of all ages and we love visiting cities we haven’t been to in many years as it gives us a chance to play to new audiences. We had a huge amount of fun with the setlist for this Maiden England tour when we opened in North America last year as we got to play songs we had not played in a very long time, like Seventh Son, The Prisoner and Afraid To Shoot Strangers, as well as fan favorites like The Trooper, Aces High, The Clairvoyant, The Number Of The Beast, Wasted Years and Run To The Hills. That opening leg of the tour was so enjoyable for the whole band, we’re really looking forward to coming back to see our fans again and a lot of new faces too!”
Iron Maiden/Megadeth September tour dates
3 – Raleigh, NC – Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion 5 – Nashville, TN – Bridgestone Arena 7 – Kansas City, MO – Sprint Center 8 – St Louis, MO – Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre 10 – Austin, TX – Austin 360 Amphitheater 12 – Las Vegas, NV – Mandalay Bay Events Center Sep. 13 – San Bernardino, CA – San Manuel Amphitheatre
Tickets for the Las Vegas and San Bernardino shows go on sale on April 12th. Tickets for Raleigh, Nashville, St Louis and Austin go on sale on April 13th. Tickets for Kansas City go on sale on May 17th.
Rob Zombie has released the official video for the song Dead City Radio And The New Gods Of Supertown from his forthcoming album, Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor, which will be released on on April 23rd. Watch it below.
Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor track listing:
1. Teenage Nosferatu Pussy 2. Dead City Radio And The New Gods Of Supertown 3. Revelation Revolution 4. Theme For The Rat Vendor 5. Gong Gang Gong De Do Gong De Laga Raga 6. Rock And Roll (In A Black Hole) 7. Behold! The Pretty Filthy Creatures 8. White Trash Freaks 9. We’re An American Band (GRAND FUNK RAILROAD cover) 10. Lucifer Rising 11. The Girl Who Loved The Monsters 12. Trade In Your Guns For A Coffin
Former Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar is ready to reopen communications with Eddie Van Halen – even regarding the possibility of working together again. But he’d also want bassist Michael Anthony involved in proceedings.
Asked what he’d say to Van Halen if they met today, Hagar tells Vegas Rocks, “I’d say: ‘Wow – great! You look like you’re healthy. I’m really proud of you and I’d like to see you continuing doing that. Here’s my phone number. Call me up if you want to hang, and just have some fun and goof off.’
“I wouldn’t say, ‘Hey, let’s get together and do it again,’ because you would have to do that slow. I’d never do it again under the last circumstances. But I would do it again under different circumstances. Then I would also say, ‘Here’s Mikey’s phone number with mine!’”
Van Halen fans were divided over Anthony’s departure and replacement with Eddie’s then-teenage son Wolfgang. Hagar – who formed supergroup Chickenfoot with Anthony – has previously said that’s the part of the drama he’s always been most upset about. Even original and current frontman, David Lee Roth, recently implied that he would love to see the bassist back in the band.
Andy Johns, the veteran producer and engineer who worked on classic albums by Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Van Halen and many others, has died at the age of 61. The news was confirmed to Billboard.biz by guitarist Stacy Blades, who was working on an untitled project with Johns until the producer was hospitalized last week.
No cause of death was immediately available for the British-born Johns, the younger brother and uncle, respectively, of fellow producer/engineers Glyn Johns and Ethan Johns. However, Blades said liver trouble was one reason why Johns had been hospitalized.
Twitter quickly filled up with tributes: Red Hot Chili Peppers and Chickenfoot drummer Chad Smith wrote that Johns “made some of my favorite all time records,” while former Deep Purple and Black Sabbath member Glenn Hughes tweeted “Larger than life-You are loved Andy.” Former Go-Gos member Kathy Valentine’s advice was to “Crank up #ExileOnMainStreet and help send his soul off to the big mixing board in the sky.”
Born in Surrey and a student at the King’s School in Gloucester, Johns put aside an early ambition “to be the next greatest bass player of all time” to follow his brother into the studio world. “It looked a lot better than working,” Johns told Universal Audio. He began his career as a tape operator at London’s famed Olympic Studios, helping Eddie Kramer on sessions for the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s Axis Bold as Love.
“In those days you could go into one studio and Joe Cocker was working, and then you’re working with Jimi Hendrix in Studio One, or down the corridor Eric Clapton is doing something,” Johns recalled. “It was a serious center. A lot of talent was there.” Johns produced early albums by Blodwyn Pig (Ahead Rings Out), Humble Pie (As Safe As Yesterday Is, Town and Country) and Free (Free, Free Live!, Heartbreaker), as well as Television’s landmark Marquee Moon in 1977.
Johns’ engineering resume, meanwhile, was dotted with landmark sets by the Stones — including Sticky Fingers, Exile On Main Street, Goats Head Soup and It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll — Led Zeppelin’s II through Physical Graffiti as well as albums by Mott the Hoople, Jethro Tull and many more. Johns relocated to Los Angeles during the 1970s, where he worked with Van Halen, Joni Michell, Ozzy Osbourne, Cinderella and Eddie Money. Over the past dozen years he worked on albums by Hughes, Godsmack, Taylor Hawkins & the Coattail Riders and others.
Johns once told music tech blogger Bobby Owsinski that the key to his approach was taking a total overview to the sound of a piece. “I don’t build mixes…I start with everything,” Johns explained. “Most of the people that listen to and tweak one instrument at a time get crap. You’ve just got to go through it with the whole thing up because every sound affects every other sound.”
Johns also told Universal Audio that to him “fidelity is obviously of prime importance. My idea is to make it sound as if you are in the best rehearsal that the band ever did, and you are about 12 feet back from the stage, in a nice rehearsal place…You’re supposed to be there and feel them playing.”
Joe Satriani recalled that Johns’ philosophy was key to Chickenfoot’s 2009 debut album. “He was great at capturing very evocative performances,” Satriani said. “He was great at capturing the chemistry between rhythm sections, and he knew exactly how to layer rhythm guitars. He knew when you just needed one or if you need 15. I was all about the composition and the band. Andy always knew when there was something good to record, and when he didn’t like something he would tell you that you were full of sh– and leave the room — which was good, too, because sometimes you need somebody to set you straight.”
Steve Miller said Johns inspired his last two Steve Miller Band albums, 2010’s Bingo! and 2011’s Let Your Hair Down, which were recorded at George Lucas’ Skywalker Studios. “Andy and I were working on a live concert DVD that he was mixing (2007’s Live From Chicago),” Miller remembers, “and he said, ‘Boy, I would really love to do a guitar album with you.’ The next thing you know, we go into Skywalker and cut 42 tracks. And doing guitar overdubs with Andy is so much fun, you never want it to end. It was like back in the early days when we were making records in England. He’s the monster man for all the Led Zeppelin records and the Stones and stuff. He’s just a great engineer and a really good co-producer to work with.”
Johns’ sons also went into music: singer-songwriter Will Johns has released a pair of albums, including 2012’s Hooks and Lines; while Evan Johns played drums in the band Hurt.
Funeral arrangements for Johns were pending at press time.