Artist Interview | Page 6 | Revolver

Artist Interview


The following article is from Revolver's October/November 2016 issue. It is on newsstands now and available for purchase in our webstore.

by Jon Wiederhorn

After almost eight years in limbo, Body Count returned in 2014 with the album 'Manslaughter.' For those who thought the record marked a bold return, founder Ice-T says it was more like a preview for the coming attraction.

"We did that album to test the water to see if there was still a market for our music," says the rocker, rapper and actor. "And it worked. People were excited to see the band, so once we got that foothold we decided to go back out and hit 'em with everything we've got."

Body Count's upcoming record, 'Bloodlust,' is tentatively scheduled for release in early 2017, and will feature a mix of mid-paced metal songs and thrashers that will likely up the ante from the band's previous output. There will be long, doomy intros, multiple rhythm shifts and even a slow, melodic rocker called "This Is Why We Ride."

"It's kind of like a ballad, but not really," Ice-T says. "I could definitely see it getting played on the radio."

But before Body Count entered the studio, Ice-T hired seasoned musicians, including members of Sevendust, to put together song skeletons for the band to work with. Then he, guitarists Ernie C and Juan of the Dead, bassist Vincent Price, drummer Ill Will, and sampler Sean E Sean entered The Platinum Underground in Mesa, Arizona for a month to reshape the ideas into Body Count songs and work on their own material. They left the studio with 15 tracks, including moshpit scorcher "The Purge" and the brooding title track, which is reminiscent of Black Sabbath.

The only snag in the process took place when the band was riding so high on adrenaline, it failed to realize it was recycling ideas. "Making records is a very interesting process," Ice-T explains. "You work really hard on something and finish it and then you'll be like, 'Yo, that sounds like somebody else's record.' Or, 'Hey, didn't we just make that record three days ago?' One time we did two songs in a row and afterwards I looked at them and said, 'Yo, that's the same riff in each song.' So we had to pick one! But in the end we came up with some very aggressive and cool music."

At the end of August, Body Count flew to Jersey City, New Jersey to work with Will Putney (The Amity Affliction, Upon a Burning Body). Before they wrap, they will also record a yet-untitled song Max Cavalera wrote for them, which will also feature guest vocals from the Soulfly frontman. When of the music is recorded, Ice-T will finish writing the lyrics and tracking the vocals.

"I like to start with hot metal tracks that you can listen to without a word on them and go, 'Wow, that was just like fire!'" Ice-T says. "The music tells me what the song is about, and that's when the words start coming to me. Then it's up to me not to fuck it up."

In addition, he says 'Bloodlust' will feature political songs, gang-oriented cuts and horror based numbers that all revolve around the central theme of the title track. "Bloodlust is part of the human makeup. Murder is about as normal as love. It's in our nature to want to get violent and kill, but we know there are consequences. That's why we like violent movies, video games and combat sports. It's in our DNA. It's what we are."


Meshuggah621.jpg, Olle Carlsson
photograph by Olle Carlsson

The following is an excerpt from the Meshuggah feature in the October/November issue of Revolver. Here, the Swedish metal group's drummer and lyricist Tomas Haake discusses some of the dark meanings behind the songs on 'The Violent Sleep of Reason.'

To read the rest, pick up the new issue on newsstands now or get your copy here. Story by J. Bennett.

Struggle might just be one of the prevailing themes on 'The Violent Sleep of Reason.' The album's title was inspired by the name of an 18th century etching by renowned Spanish artist Francisco Goya called 'The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters.' "It's a little weird because it's not the actual sleep that is violent," Haake explains. "To me, [the album title] is just another way of saying that not responding to what's going on around the world in a proper way will have violent implications and effects. Some scholars have said that we actually already have a World War III, even though people don't see it as such. But if you look at the casualties on a daily basis in armed conflict around the world, it's a lot more than what happened in the two World Wars. That's a pretty scary thought. But we just turn off the news and go back to watching Netflix."

On the album's title track, Haake addresses the massive fallout from Syria's ongoing civil war. "There's a tremendous humanitarian catastrophe with refugees fleeing their homes and trying to get into other countries," he points out. "Slowly but surely, borders are being closed and it's just like, 'Sorry, guys. You cannot come in. We don't care if you have a two-year-old in your arms. You're fucked.' And of course tens of thousands of refugees have died over the last few years because they just cram the boats to the point where they sink in rough weather. So, it's definitely dark."

Haake also rails against the religious extremism that has bred so much terrorism and death in recent years. He says the new songs "MonstroCity" and "Nostrum" focus particularly on the evils perpetrated by fundamentalists. "I think one of the reasons why the world is the way it is today is because of religion and extremist views on ancient writings [that were authored] when man was just a prototype of what we are today," he says. "And I'm not just talking about Muslims. I'm talking about Christians, too. All the monotheistic religions and they way they're interpreted is scary to me."

Then on the song "Stifled," Haake writes about the abuses of power that often facilitate terrorism, war and other human atrocities. "It's about when too much power is put into the hands of one person, like a dictatorship," he offers. "That's of course something we can trace back to the beginning of time but it still goes on today. The song talks about the hatred that can boil up even being in safe Sweden and seeing all the shit that's going on around the world. It still pisses you off when you see something mind-boggling stupid."

For the rest of the story, pick up the October/November issue.




Blind Guardian -17.jpg, Derek Soto
photograph by Derek Soto

When it comes to music and entertainment, we familiarize ourselves with those in the spotlight and often forget about the teams of people who helped those artists get to where they are today. Munsey Ricci is a seasoned music industry veteran who has been working in radio promotions since his college years. In 1991, he launched his own company, Skateboard Marketing, where he has since worked with some of the biggest names in heavy metal such as Motörhead, Dio, Iron Maiden, Overkill, Testament, and many others. This year, Skateboard Marketing celebrated its 25th anniversary with a huge party at Webster Hall in New York City, which featured performances from Grave Digger and Blind Guardian (check out those awesome pics below). Not only were some of the biggest guns in corporate heavy metal in attendance, but even Ricci's mom showed up to rock out! In this interview with Revolver, Ricci discusses his storied career, shares tales from the road, and has some advice for musicians who are looking to get their record played on air.

REVOLVER How did you first get involved in radio promotions and how did Skateboard Marketing first come about?
MUNSEY RICCI I was in college radio; I was already working part-time for CMJ which was one of the radio trade magazines. So with all the relationships I was building with radio and records, it was something that I really fell in love with. So I decided that was what I wanted to do. It wasn't rocket science, I was good on the phones and it wasn't that hard to get something done. So I worked on my relationships and wound up at the famed Combat-In Effect Records in Hollis, Queens. Pokey from Leeway was also my supervisor, it was a great place to be when you're 20 years old. Not to mention, me and Pokey had a blast.

A year later Sony bought them and many of us were let go. So in 1989 I sat down with the national at PolyGram Records. They were the last of the major labels not to have an official metal department. I went in for an interview and looked at what needed to be done and said, "I can do this." PolyGram hired me shortly after and I put together a call list, mailing list and set up my own system on how to work stations. There was a little learning curve, but I had some of the greatest mentors teaching me the ropes. We also had a huge roster of killer bands—Mortal Sin, Onslaught, Tony MacAlpine, Vinnie Moore, Kiss, Scorpions, L.A. Guns, Mother Love Bone to name a few. It was one of the best learning experiences you can have.

When the company went through management changes many of us were let go. That's normal in the music industry, new presidents always bring in their own people. So Johnny Barbis and Sky Daniels called me into their office and said, "Here's what you do, work Indie promo for a while until you figure out your next move." So on August 12, 1991 Skateboard Marketing Ltd. was born. I really didn't call it Skateboard at the time. I was just using my name until Chris Payne from KRZQ said he'd come to NYC on his deck and we'll come up with a name for the company over pizza and beer. So I renamed it to Skateboard Marketing Ltd. Big thanks to Payne at KZRQ for that!

You've just celebrated Skateboard Marketing's 25 year anniversary. What are some challenges that you face now that weren't an issue back in 1991?
Budgets and low record sales are one of the key things that we have faced since the early 2000's. In 1998, we wouldn't think twice about spending money to fly out to a station to close an add. But it's a little different today. Instead of selling 400,000 units first week it's more like 40,000 units. So there's a big difference with how you set your budgets. But you have to look at the band and the record company. It's our job as record guys to make it happen regardless. You really have to get creative and work around things that normally wouldn't have been an issue. Luckily there's a lot of PD's and MD's [program directors and music directors] that have compassion for the music and radio is in their blood. Once you're bit, there's no turning back. Only a programmer or air staff will tell you that. It's something you have to feel and experience for yourself.

The same goes for record promotion and publicists. It's in your veins and you will have none of this I need a new career. This is what I do and it's not going to change. Artist development has become very DIY in areas. Even major labels have embraced the DIY approach in some cases. It works if it's the right formula. But as it always goes, there's no science to how it works. You have to create a promotion from an idea and roll with it. I just know I wanted to wake up with Motörhead in the morning and hit the phones.

On the contrary to that, what are some advantages that you have now in 2016 that you didn't have 25 years ago?
We've been able to establish ourselves as a driving company. It takes time to make that happen, you just have to deliver and work 70 hour weeks. But when you start and it's something new, there's always the "let's see how they do first." Today, it's not really the "let me see what happens." Record companies, artists and managers already know what we can and can't do. As an industry professional, it's very important to know your limitations. If you don't, it's a recipe for disaster. But one of the main things is to always be honest with people. That is how you'll earn your respect.

You've worked (and partied) with some major bands over the years. Tell us one of your craziest stories!
I guess it was my first major tour with PolyGram Records. It was the Yngwie Malmsteen & Ronnie James Dio tour. I went out with them to cover radio for the Northeast. After a few days on the road we had a wild party in the hotel in New Haven. A lot of drinking and a lot of people. Well, the police showed up and said we all had to leave. So we loaded out to the bus and right behind us another tour bus pulled up. It was none other than Johnny Cash. There were a few older chicks waiting for autographs. They totally looked like they were in their '60s or maybe even their '70s. I was already hammered. The cops said, "Hey, that's Johnny Cash. Let's get a photo and autograph." We were rolling on the floor. They just walked away and got photos and totally forgot about us. They even forgot to write us tickets for being loud at 4:00 a.m. It was classic!

There are tons of bands out there who are just starting out and want to know how they can get their music on the radio. What guidance can you give them?
Take your time making a record. If you feel you can do better it's because you can. Instead of taking advice from a band locally, totally look at a seasoned pro. If you need advice on guitar leads, ask Alex Skolnick [Testament, Metal Allegiance]. If you need to know how to build better drum chops, ask Dirk Verbeuren [Soilwork, Megadeth]. Need vocal advice on how to maintain longevity? Then Bobby Blitz [Overkill] is your guy. Always go to someone who has made killer records.

Also you'll need to look at production. If you've never made records before, then go to the conventions and sit in on the producer panels. Nobody knows this better than Ross Robinson or Fredrik Nordstrom. Both have a long list of credits. It costs money to sound good, but you want to make a good record that you can get radio and press. You also want to be extremely proud of what you made. You can't second guess.

One of the most important things is not to waste anyone's time. If you have the budget and are serious about it then make the call. If not, then sit tight and practice. It's all about refining your talent. But asking someone to pick their brain at a show or a BBQ is cool too. A key factor is when you leave the studio, always make radio edits for explicit tracks. The FCC has guidelines with radio. So to have them in the can from the beginning is a smart approach.


With hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of vintage guitars serving as his backdrop, Zakk Wylde is seated on the cozy stage of the Vintage Room at Guitar Center's Hollywood, California, location. The guitar he's wielding, though, is far from old—it's one of his brand-new signature-series Wylde Audio solidbodies (the Odin model). And he's absolutely shredding on it. With no less than four 4x12 cabinets behind him, the sound is ferocious and immense.

The cabs, however, are just there for looks. None of them is actually plugged in.

In actuality, the powerful sound filling the room is coming from the tiny, boot-high Marshall practice amp at Wylde's feet (which is miked up and running through the room's modest P.A. system). As is the case with any true titan of guitar, Wylde doesn't need heavy sonic weaponry to deliver heavy tones. He gets his power and ferocity from one place and one place only—his fingers.

"How's everybody doing?" the always unpredictable guitar hero asks the small crowd in attendance after he finally stops playing. Wylde is keeping things fun and informal—very informal.

"I have a surprise for you," jokes Wylde. "After we do this and maybe a jam a little bit, we're all going out for an anal bleaching appointment on me. Bleaching is part of the music business as well."

That, of course, is not the sort of topic the roguish guitarist is actually here to address. Today, Wylde is holding his first official guitar master class, and, even by Hollywood standards, it's an exclusive affair. Aside from Guitar Center Artist Relations manager Jake Cheung (who is also the event's emcee); Michael Cirovolo (President of Schecter Guitar Research, the company that distributes Wylde's new guitars); Rob "Blasko" Nicholson (Wylde's personal manager), a few camera operators and staffers, and this journalist, there are only five attendees present—the five people Wylde has chosen to attend.

The lucky quintet—Warleyson Jose, Daniel Mahanger, Emily Hastings, Adrian Carey, and Dana Bradshaw—were among the thousands of entrants who submitted renditions of Wylde's new single, "Sleeping Dogs," in hopes of a scoring a free trip to California to hang with Mr. Wylde for special this master class. Clearly, Wylde felt their performances were the most kick-ass of the bunch. Now, they're face to face with one of their heroes, watching him blaze up and down the neck as he fills the air with white-hot blues/metal fusillades.

"Years ago, I made a list of things everyone else was doing, and consciously stopped doing those things," says Wylde when the topic of how he forged his style comes up. "I thought, 'No more whammy bar. And I'll get rid of the tapping, so I don't sound like Ed or Randy. No harmonic minor stuff or diminished runs. No sweep picking, and no arpeggios.' I did that to separate myself from everyone else. Basically, the only thing left was pentatonic scales. And when I saw my first Albert Lee video, the hybrid-picking country plucking stuff he was doing sounded so amazing, I started incorporating it into my playing as well."

Several questions about building a brand in the social media age arise. For instance, how much personal cash should a young musician sink into launching his/her band?

"If you're thinking of opening a Hooters restaurant or investing in your band, well, the restaurant might be the best bet," Wylde cautions. "The good part, though, is that as soon as you start really building your band, other people will likely step in to help, because it's already got some legs."

While the five attendees will surely cherish the day they got to watch their hero demonstrate his famous Ozzy Osbourne and Black Label Society solos mere feet from their faces—and will also surely treasure the Wylde Audio Odin model guitar and Dunlop, EMG, Monster Cable, and MXR gear they were each awarded—it is likely that it will be Wylde's optimistic life coaching they will remember most.

"Back in the day," Wylde tells them, "if you didn't get a record deal by the time you were 30 years old, it was almost like, 'The dream is over. I guess I gotta quit music and get a crummy job.' Nowadays, though, that's not the case. If you love music and you want to do it, you can make a living doing it, because you have access to social media, which Zeppelin and Sabbath never had. Back then, you only had that level of reach if you were on a major label. Young bands today are often really good at social media. For instance, check out the Black Veil Brides. They're a perfect example of how you can build things yourself, do things on your own terms, and play the music you want to play."

Though the group-bleaching appointment Wylde has promised never actually transpires, the afternoon is still a success, and Wylde is happy.

"I love showing people solos that I've done, and I'm always happy to show people scales and stuff," says Wylde after the event. "But my whole thing is, 'What if I was able to sit down with Frank Marino or John McLaughlin or Al Di Meola or any of my other heroes when I was coming up and just ask them questions about what they do?' I would have loved that. So, my favorite part of today was just hanging with everybody, talking with them."

Austin621.jpg, Jimmy Hubbard
photograph by Jimmy Hubbard

Of Mice & Men appears on the cover of Revolver's October/November issue, which will hit newsstands on October 4 and is available for purchase online right now! You can view the cover below, which was photographed by Jimmy Hubbard.

Below, you can also read an excerpt from the issue's cover story, written by Dan Epstein. In this section, frontman Austin Carlile opens up about his health problems that impacted the making of the California-based metal band's latest, Cold World.

To hear the chirpy laughter that peppers his conversation, or witness the unbridled energy that he brings to his stage performances to tens of thousands of fans, you would never guess that Austin Carlile has spent his entire life suffering from Marfan syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that affects the body's fibrous connective tissue. Because of Marfan's, Carlile has endured enormous pain in his back, hips and limbs since childhood, and has had to undergo multiple heart surgeries over the last half decade. But 2015 was even more trying than usual for the tall, heavily tattooed singer; he began the year by breaking a rib while on tour, then had to undergo surgeries for his hip, his heart, and a torn dural sac in his head that was causing fluid from his brain to leak into his spine. The fact that 'Cold World's pummeling lead single is called "Pain" is no coincidence. "We have issues with a lot of things going on, whether they're internal or external with the world, and we wanted to touch on those with this album," Carlile says.

But it's only recently that Carlile has opened up about his physical woes, however, whether in his music or in his interviews. "I spent so many years trying to deny that I actually had something wrong with me," he explains. "I was trying to act normal and be normal and be like everybody else, and it didn't work. But after all the stuff that I've been going through in this past year, I really wanted to make other people aware of what's going on. I felt like it was time to step up and really just accept who I am.

"There are so many other people that are going through the same thing," he continues. "Or it might not be Marfan syndrome, it might be something worse like cystic fibrosis, or cancer. My mom also suffered from Marfan's, and I lost her at a hospital, because the doctors there didn't know what Marfan syndrome was. She was only 38, and things might be a lot different today if they had known more about it. So I think it's kind of my responsibility to share my story; I think bringing some awareness to something like that is important."

Carlile also wants to make people aware of the frustrating state of U.S. healthcare, something he's had plenty of first-hand experience dealing with. "Our song 'The Lie' is about how terrible our healthcare system is," he explains. "It's about how the 'one percent' in this country has the money, the power and the ability to help so many people, but they use their power negatively. It disgusts me how people that have money and power think they can treat people who don't. It's not right, and it's not fair, and people need to wake up to that—just like they need to wake up to how the pharmaceutical industry is shoving prescriptions down people's throats."

For nearly a decade, Carlile tried to manage his physical pain with multiple daily doses of OxyContin, a highly addictive narcotic that's often prescribed to chronic pain sufferers. But this past January, deciding that he wanted to make 'Cold World' with "a clear head and a clear heart," Carlile stopped taking the drug, and promptly opened the door to a personal hell...

For the rest of the story, pick up the October/November issue.






Welcome to Revolver Magazine's "World's Loudest Podcast." Tune in every other week to hear the latest news, music and interviews with special guests from the world of hard rock and heavy metal.

Episode 28 which is presented by Razor & Tie, DW Drums, and Zoom Audio, is hosted by Zeena Koda (formerly of Sirius XM's Liquid Metal, currently of andRevolver's Chris Enriquez. Check it out below and let us know what you think in the comments!

First, we catch up with The Dillinger Escape Plan's Ben Weinman to talk about the end of an era for the band, old stories and performance highlights, and what's next, if anything. Then, we sit down with Faith No More's Roddy Bottum to discuss 'We Care A Lot,' Courtney Love, the early days with Chuck Mosley, being the accidental pioneers of nu metal, and much more. Plus, we play new tunes from The Dillinger Escape Plan, The Pretty Reckless, The Sword, and more!




SuicideSilenceArticle.jpg, James Kilian
photograph by James Kilian

In honor of Ozzfest Meets Knotfest, Black Sabbath's Ozzy Osbourne and Slipknot's Corey Taylor appear on the cover of Revolver's August/September issue, which is on newsstands now and available for purchase online! You can view the cover below.

In the feature, we asked artists performing at what is sure to be the metal event of the year for tips and tricks to surviving festivals. Check out Eddie Hermida of Suicide Silence's below.

"Because Knotfest/Ozzfest is going to be over at the San Bernardino campgrounds, so you can camp right across the way. I'd bring a cooler so you can have your beverages, the sandwich deli meats and such."

"Gotta bring condoms, man. You never know what's going to happen when you're out in the playing field. If you're going to be somewhat responsible, having dirt-covered sex is probably not the best idea—but if you gotta go, you gotta make sure."

"You know damn well that once the music's done, you're going to want to keep the party alive. If you don't have speakers, how are you going to deejay?"

"You gotta bring toilet paper. Not enough people bring toilet paper when camping. You never know when you've gotta go. You don't know when you're going to be crying! Your girlfriend leaves you for the buff guy with tattoos, or Suicide Silence comes on and wrecks you to pieces... you might break down and cry."

"You never know, man. Shit can get really hectic, really quick. Literally! I can tell you times where I was on stage and almost had an emergency. We're attracted to the shitty hot dog, or we really wanted that extra sour cream on our nachos. But that will not sit quite well in your tum-tum."

Check back soon for more tips and tricks, or to read the rest, pick up the August/September issue.


TriviumArticle.jpg, Jon Paul Douglass
photograph by Jon Paul Douglass

In honor of Ozzfest Meets Knotfest, Black Sabbath's Ozzy Osbourne and Slipknot's Corey Taylor appear on the cover of Revolver's August/September issue, which is on newsstands now and available for purchase online! You can view the cover below.

In the feature, we asked artists performing at what is sure to be the metal event of the year for tips and tricks to surviving festivals. Check out Matt Heafy of Trivium's below.

"You can refill it! When I travel to the airports these days, I bring a water bottle that filters itself. If you can find a source of water, that's important."

"It also helps if you can bring protein bars or something, so you don't have to eat awful, greasy, typical festival food and feel like crap. It's good to be self sufficient for the day. It's also important to not burn out all your cash so you can buy a shirt later."

"If you're not accustomed to port-o-potties, these [baby wipes] help. The first tour I did, I had never used a port-o-potty before. Try to bring extra paper, too. You need to put a net of paper and liners down there. If you don't, there's a good chance it'll splash back up and hit you. I've had that happen and it's one of the most traumatizing experiences of my life. I remember running to my bus and spraying myself down with Lysol."

"I think it's important to bring what the Brits call 'wellies'—high rain boots. During the summer you can get in a rainy season, and a festival is always in a field. We were just at the European fests, and they have it down."

"Bring your phone, obviously, and take a couple of pictures, but then just enjoy the show. If you get the phone out, then you're messaging people and you're not paying attention."

Check back soon for more tips and tricks, or to read the rest, pick up the August/September issue.


Corey621_0.jpg, Shaun Vaughn
photograph by Shaun Vaughn
In honor of Ozzfest Meets Knotfest, Black Sabbath's Ozzy Osbourne and Slipknot's Corey Taylor appear on the cover of Revolver's August/September issue, which is on newsstands now and available for purchase online! You can view the cover below.
In the feature, we asked artists performing at what is sure to be the metal event of the year for tips and tricks to surviving festivals. Check out Corey Taylor's below.
"Party all you want, have a great fucking time. But for every beer or two you have, drink a water. It's not even dehydration that you have to worry about—if you drink too much beer in that heat, you'll pass out that much quicker. You'll miss half of the show that you paid a lot of money to go see, you know?"
"There's plenty of food at this festival. Just take care of yourself. And that's probably a very un-rock and roll thing to say, but I don't give a fuck. This is coming from someone who takes good care of his body, for the most part, and has gone down a couple of times onstage with dehydration even being as fit as I am. Imagine being out in that heat all day and getting to that point in the day where the sun's starting to go down but it's still fucking hot."
"Nobody wants that kind of fucking bum-out! Put some sunscreen on! I sound like somebody's fucking mother, but put some fucking sunscreen on, eat some food, drink some water, and you're gonna be great. It's all about balance, man. If you can keep everything balanced, you're gonna make it through the whole day. You're gonna be able to see Sabbath at the end of the first day, and Slipknot at the end of the second day. Just fucking settle into it and enjoy it."
Check back soon for more tips and tricks, or to read the rest, pick up the August/September issue.

Welcome to Revolver Magazine's "World's Loudest Podcast." Tune in every other week to hear the latest news, music and interviews with special guests from the world of hard rock and heavy metal.

Episode 27 which is presented by Party Smasher Inc., Prosthetic Records, DW Drums, and Zoom Audio, is hosted by Zeena Koda (formerly of Sirius XM's Liquid Metal, currently of and Revolver's Chris Enriquez. Check it out below and let us know what you think in the comments!

First, we catch up with Giraffe Tongue Orchestra's Ben Weinman (also of The Dillinger Escape Plan) and William DuVall (also of Alice in Chains) to talk about the formation of the supergroup, forthcoming shows, balancing lives between other bands and trying to keep this one going, and much more. Then we sit down with Spellcaster's Gabe Franco and Bryce R. VanHoosen to discuss how the Fellowship of the Strings tour came together, latest album, and more. Plus, we play new tunes from Exmortus, Holy Grail, The Dillinger Escape Plan, and more!