metal talk
metal talk
  CHRIS DALE'S METAL MELTDOWN
SCREAM FOR ME SARAJEVO PART 3
A Mission To Play Heavy Metal In The Bosnian War, December 1994
1st August 2012


chris dale



Click here for Part 1...
Click here for Part 2...


In parts 1 and 2 I'd been going on about the time I went to Sarajevo during the Bosnian War with the Bruce Dickinson band. We pick up the tale with a day off in the besieged city after the gig...

bruce dickinson sarajevo
Your Humble Narrator

So, what do we do on a day off in Sarajevo? Well, much the same as we'd do in any other town.

On days off on normal tours you might do some sight seeing, maybe do a celebrity appearance or signing session type thing for some fans, then go to a bar or find a party.

All three of these happened in Sarajevo but being in a war zone they were all a bit more surreal than on 'normal' tours.

Being shown the sights in Sarajevo was done by Major Martin Morris and a couple of British soldiers in a mini-bus, driving along mostly deserted streets through the ruins of what had been a modern thriving city. Every other building was pock marked by shrapnel. Most of the windows were long gone and now boarded up.



bruce dickinson sarajevo
A street scene in Sarajevo. Notice the missing windows and the wrecked bus with sheet metal down the side to protect its passengers.

Spare bits of greenery were converted to vegetable patches, even the roadsides and central reservations. But the growers risked death by sniper fire every time they checked on their carrots.

We stopped here and there to see the sights. As I remember these sights consisted mostly of views of the Serbian frontlines (always from a distance) and various shell holes (usually in civilian targets such as a block of flats or a market place).

We saw a large graveyard with all of the graves looking poignantly fresh. Each time we got out to see the sights we rushed back inside the mini-bus, as if its thin panels offered real protection. We kept our heads low through fear. This was not a fun-filled tourist trip.

Our 'celebrity' personal appearance was a little different too. Bruce and Alex were going to do an acoustic session at an orphanage.

An orphanage is always a kind of sad place, kids who for whatever reason don't have their mums and dads there to look after them. This was more tragic.

These kids had all lost their parents in the war. Many of them had seen them murdered in front of them. Some were still in shock, just staring straight ahead. They'd been like that for months. Others clung to us and wouldn't let go. Maybe they knew we'd be getting out of here soon.

bruce dickinson sarajevo
Alex Elena playing with a child at the Orphanage

There were two shell holes in the playground. The people running the orphanage told us the Serbs had fired the first shell during playtime. Then they put the second one in when the ambulance crew arrived. It was a cold attack and was calculated to cause the most possible casualties amongst children and non-combatants.

It was under these conditions that Sarajevo lived. Before we got there I had known this was a war. I had known that wars are bad things. But I wasn't emotionally prepared for this at all.

*****************

balls to picasso   'BALLS TO PICASSO'
"It's not before time. There's so much stuff on it that people will be unaware of..."
Bruce Dickinson
balls to picasso
CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON 'BALLS TO PICASSO'balls to picasso

*****************

In the evening we went to a local fire station, where UN firemen and other workers were having a small party for us. I'm not sure what the real address was but it was known to our British Army hosts as 'Sniper Alley'. I resisted asking how it got its name.

It was a dual carriageway that was largely deserted as dusk approached. There were burnt out cars and rubble across the road and its pavements.

The sensible route to take, we were told, was just blasting down it at full pelt while also swerving left and right. I've been in cars before when people drive too fast, sometimes because they're drunk or stupid, often a combination of the two. Somehow it's even scarier when a sensible and sober driver does it deliberately because dangerous driving is infinitely safer than safe driving in this topsy-turvy world.

I didn't actually urinate myself on the journey but I seem to remember it was a close call.

At the fire station, Andy and Bob set some of our gear up for a quiet jam. We didn't bring Ampegs and Marshalls down here so one of the locals was going out to pick up a little guitar amp from his friend's house. Sponder went with them out of curiosity.

When he got back he told us that at the friend's house, all the family were in one room with a nine-volt battery running a single Christmas tree light bulb taped to a mirror to illuminate the room. They invited him in and offered him food and drink.

We felt unable to help these people. Sponder gave this household all the British money he had on him. They cried in gratitude but nothing could help them really. Back home we had lit houses, CD players, nights out and what we took most for granted, relative personal safety.

These people had none of that. They all had crippled, missing or dead relatives. They lived in squalor and fear.

Yet, you know the odd thing? They were, more alive, more happy for the moment and more generous with what little they had than anyone back home. Their human spirit was unbroken.

These people smiled. They were probably not far from clinical starvation and yet they offered Sponder food. All the civilians we met out there were like that.

During the gig the night before, people at the front had a few times rolled cans of beer across the stage at me. I thanked them and gave them back. We had free beer backstage (thanks to the Danish Army!). These people had no proper running economy. Half of them had no regular water supply but they would buy you a beer.

bruce dickinson sarajevo
Alex Dickson and Bruce performing an acoustic 'Tears Of The Dragon' in the fire station

Back at the fire station Bruce and Alex did a few acoustic tunes, then me, Sponder and Alex jammed around a bit and got some of the locals up. One was the Portuguese UN Medical Officer - he wasn't a bad drummer! We did 'Jumping Jack Flash' with him.

The insane situation outside broke down all barriers, smiles and beer flowed all round till late in the night... or would have done if the Bosnian military police hadn't turned up to enforce the curfew and send us back to base.

bruce dickinson sarajevo
Jose, the Portuguese Medical Officer on drums!

The next morning after an emergency rations breakfast of pasta and baked beans Major Morris and our British Army friends from the previous days were ready to pick us up for the trip out of the city. They were driving us to a UN base in Kiseljak, where we'd get helicoptered back to Split and flown home from there.

The only slight worry we had in advance was that we'd be passing through Serbian Army lines this way.

We were neutral non-combatants in the war and we were being chaperoned by British UN peacekeeping soldiers in armoured Land Rovers. The UN had arranged with the Serbian command that we were coming through so nothing should go wrong for us but anytime you have to meet a group of armed and drunken murderers is cause for concern.

Also the thought of actually meeting the people who had been deliberately putting Sarajevo in such a state of death and misery was daunting in itself.

We were due to pass through four Serbian checkpoints. They were imaginatively known as Sierra One, Two, Three and Four by our UN hosts.

bruce dickinson sarajevo
Serbian Army Checkpoint. It was pointed out to me later that taking photos like this can potentially get you shot as a spy.

At Sierra One we were stopped but we didn't have to get out. The Serbian soldiers took a quick count of passports and passengers to make sure they tallied up then waved us through.

Sierra Two and Three also waved us past. Fine, we thought, they've radioed ahead and we clear through.

At Sierra Four we were stopped and asked to get out and line up on the roadside.

The Serbian officer in command was a woman who had aged badly but was probably in her late twenties. She spoke reasonable English and was dressed exactly like so many rock chicks at London's nightclubs of the time - bleached blonde permed hair, too much make up, tight leggings and thigh high boots. The only difference was the blue/grey camouflage Serbian Army jacket she wore over the top.

Following her were two or three soldiers in the same camouflage pattern uniforms but without the leggings and thigh boots. They had Kalashnikovs casually slung over their shoulders. She smiled at us. They didn't.

She went up and down the line of us, examining passports, asking general conversational questions and being ever so charming. Her unshaven escorts did not charm us but stayed back, smoking and eyeing us up and down, no doubt with their trigger fingers itching.

She eventually bid us a happy journey. We were keen to get out of there and quickly got back in the Land Rovers.

Back on our way, the British soldiers told us: "She's one we'll be hunting down after the war. She's had plenty of people shot on the side of the road. She wouldn't touch you guys but we didn't want to mention it before the check in case you got freaked out."

From the Serbian lines we drove up to the UN base at Kiseljack in Croatian-Bosnian territory. There, we finally felt a little relief. We were beyond sniper fire, landmines, stray shells and mortar rounds. Kiseljak was nice; it was the first time in two days when there wasn't any gunfire to be heard in the background.

We weren't bothered at all when we were told that our helicopter ride to Split would be a little delayed. They gave us some lunch instead.

The delay, we were told over lunch, was due to one of their two Sea King helicopters undergoing repairs. It turned out that it had been hit yesterday by small arms fire. Nothing serious, they said.

We had been due to go out on that one but instead we'd have to wait for the other to get back from its current mission and be refuelled.



bruce dickinson sarajevo
The UN base at Kiseljak. Notice the two Sea King helicopters. The one on the right, partially tarpaulined, is undergoing repairs after being shot at and ours is on the left.

Pretty much everything that everyone had said since we got here had made me think that this whole trip was a quite stupidly dangerous thing to have attempted but this was at least surely the last crazy thing we'd have to do before going home, so with no option we got into the least damaged of the Sea Kings.

Getting into the Sea King, a British Naval officer was handing out life vests but ran out just before me and Alex Dickson.

"Sorry about that," he said. "We haven't got anymore but not to worry. To be honest they're not a lot of help. Most of the trip is over land, if you do get shot down over the lakes, then you've got to get out of the helicopter and swim clear of the rotors before they hit the water. Once the rotors touch down they'll chop up anything floating within their radius. Then you have to inflate your jacket.

"If you panic and inflate it too early inside the copter, you'll float the to top of it, get stuck in the fuselage and sink with it. Then if you've managed to get out and clear the rotors and inflate your life jacket you might have two or maybe three minutes to swim to safety or get rescued before hypothermia will set in.

"Bearing in mind that the rescue copter is currently under-going repairs, I wouldn't worry about the life jacket too much."

bruce dickinson sarajevo
Me in the Sea King helicopter

That was more reassuring advice that made my bowels loosen. But surely, this lot are winding us up a bit with all this scary reassurance? I mean, I know there's a war on but maybe I'm just jumping at shadows and they're all having a laugh at us for it and telling bigger and bigger tales?

Once we were inside the helicopter, they fixed a heavy machine gun to the open port on the right next to us and belted in some ammunition. The gunner cocked it and sat back for the flight. We took off and flew over some stunning forested mountainous countryside.

After the first twenty minutes or so and passing over some lakes, he packed the gun up and put the ammunition away. I asked him why he was packing up now.

"We're past the fighting zone now. We don't need it." More reassurance for now but that meant they really did think there was a possibility of being shot at over the last section: the life-jackets were for real.

But now surely at last the danger really is over. We can rest easy. We're safe and nearly home!

Most of us had headphones on in the helicopter and could hear the pilot and crew talking all the "Roger Charlie Bravo Two Zero" stuff that pilots do. Bruce loves that kind of thing and probably even knew what they were on about.

bruce dickinson sarajevo
Bruce on board the Sea King helicopter

Then the pilot said over the headphones: "I hear we have some civvies onboard. We'd like to show you what the Royal Navy can do with a Sea King."

At that moment we dropped out of the sky to below tree level, spun over hilltops at high speed, swung side to side in tight valleys and generally risked our mortality in every conceivable way.

On the ride some of our flight crew shouted: "The Royal Navy are not pussies!!!" I had never suspected they were, and have certainly not doubted it since.

We didn't have seat belts and the starboard side was wide open for the machine gun which had been taken away. We clung on for dear life to anything we could grip.

The flight crew loved it. They must have done it dozens of times before. They threw their heads back and laughed. They lived with mortal risks every day and this was how they dealt with it. More danger, this time for fun.

Other British UN soldiers had told us of similar episodes, for example driving up and down 'Sniper Alley' under fire for kicks or shooting up buildings, which a female UN soldier told us felt "sexy". This is how the human mind deals with being in fear constantly; it turns to viewing the danger as fun.

Black humour was rife in all the UN troops we met. Most of it was good humour with some great jokes and a seemingly fearless attitude. But in some cases I suspected it was caused by intense personal stress with only the comradeship of their unit as a relief.

I've not been on a fair ground ride since. They're all stupid and useless as compared to what the Royal Navy can do with a Sea King.



bruce dickinson sarajevo
Andy Veasey, myself and Alex Dickson on board the homebound Hercules. Notice the visible relief on our faces, contrasting with the concerned looks all through the previous two days in Sarajevo.

When we landed at Split we spent an evening drinking with some British special forces (they were highly trained drinkers as well as killers) then flew on a Hercules transporter plane back to RAF Brize Norton where Maiden's legendary roadie, Johnny Allen, picked us up in a splitter van.

"Make sure you've got your seat belts on", he said. It seemed so trivial. We drove at a steady 68 mph down the M40. We were not going to be swerving sniper fire, or being shot down into a frozen lake. Seat belts? Pah!

In fact, of course, wearing a seat belt is a very sensible thing to do back in real life. But that was the problem. British normal life didn't work for me anymore. I'd only been away for a weekend yet everything was changed forever. We'd all changed inside a bit.

I'd not actually been personally shot at, none of us were injured and my family was still alive. I've got nothing to complain about. In fact we got back into London as it was building up for Christmas. Oxford Street, the lights, Santa, presents, shoppers... consumerism. It should be great. But I couldn't be happy.

I tried telling people at home what had happened out there but they couldn't understand. They nodded and agreed but they couldn't see it and I could see that they couldn't see it.

I would break down in tears at the wrong moments, excuse myself and go to the toilet to sort myself out. It's OK. That's a normal reaction. I'm fine now. Mostly. I was only there for a weekend.

But what about the people of Sarajevo? They'd lived through years of it. They actually lost friends, family members and limbs.

What about the soldiers who still fight in Afghanistan and other parts of the world? What happens when they get home after a six month tour of duty?

What about the innocent people who live (and the children who grow up) through that shit in Syria today or any of the many conflict zones around the globe?

Can these people ever be normal again?

Quite frankly no. Seeing a war and its effects and meeting its victims up close for a couple of days was far more shocking than I'd expected. If Tony Blair and George Bush had seen the Bosnian War up close they could never have invaded Iraq.

Living through or taking part in a war is more horrific than can be imagined. You'd literally be scarred for life.

Remember those stories about how Grandad was in the Second World War or Uncle Bob was in Korea and he never wanted to talk about it? He couldn't talk about it.

War veterans walk our streets every day. Their view of the world is very different to ours. Everyday life is extremely trivial to them. The price of tomatoes, someone complaining about a having a headache, soap operas - it means nothing after what they've seen.

But they can't tell you what they've seen because you wouldn't understand it and you would think they are mad, which is what much of society does. They need understanding and support.

In all 18 British soldiers were killed in action in Bosnia, trying to save civilian lives. You can donate towards helping injured British servicemen and women at Help For Heroes by clicking here.

According to the International Center for Transitional Justice, the Yugoslav Wars resulted in the deaths of around 140,000 people in total. Of those over 11,000 were Bosnian civilians living in Sarajevo during the siege and of those over 1,500 were children. A further 15,000 children were injured in Sarajevo.

You can donate to the children of Bosnia at SOS Childrens' Villages by clicking here.

Normal service will be resumed next month. Until then enjoy your life - you are blessed to have it.

bruce dickinson sarajevo
Roland Hyams and Alex Sponder Elena - smiles all round on the way home

Thanks to Roland Hyams, Alex Dickson, Alex Sponder Elena, and Mirza Coric for providing extra information about this experience. Thanks very much also to Bruce, Sanctuary Management and Major Martin Morris for making all this possible. However the biggest thanks should go to all the UN personnel who kept us safe, the Serious Road Trip who got us there and the people of Sarajevo who made us feel so welcome throughout.

Click here for Part 1...
Click here for Part 2...





MORE CHRIS DALE'S METAL MELTDOWN COLUMNS HERE...

April 2015: Undiscovered Kisstory: The Kiss Drummer Auditions Of 1980
March 2015: Matthew Trippe RIP - The strange case of the man who would be Nikki Sixx
November 2014: Kiss: 'Love Gun' Deluxe Edition
October 2014: Mr. Big – Live Review at Koko, London
September 2014: Mr. Big: 'The Stories We Could Tell' album review
September 2013: Intensive Bass Course with Billy Sheehan
August 2013: Booking Agents vs Promoters
July 2013: Rock and Metal Pub Quiz
June 2013: Communication Tips For European Festivals, Or How To Learn A Language In An Evening
May 2013: Storm Thorgerson (1944-2013) RIP
April 2013: Daily Mail Columnist Richard Littlejohn Sinks To New Low With Anti-Heavy Metal Article
April 2013: The Future Of Classic Bands
March 2013: Smashing Pumpkins Video Shoot
Febuary 2013: Ten Years On Total Rock
January 2013: Kiss Follow Up To Monster 2013
December 2012: Kiss Reformation Magick
November 2012: Exclusive Interview With Geoff Tate
November 2012: Morally Worrying Session
October 2012: Kiss 'Monster' Review
October 2012: The Best Invention Of All Time
September 2012: A Conversation With Rudy Sarzo
August 2012: Scream For Me Sarajevo Part 3
July 2012: Scream For Me Sarajevo Part 2
June 2012: Scream For Me Sarajevo Part 1
May 2012: Managers v Producers
April 2012: Kiss 'Monster' Album Preview
March 2012: London Venue's Nazi Past?
February 2012: How Not to Join the Ozzy Osbourne Band
January 2012: Metal Evilution
December 2011: Take Your Pick Competition
November 2011: The Pandora's Box Of Pop
October 2011: Tank Tour Diary 2011
September 2011: Festival Stage Collapses
August 2011: Bruce Air, The Early Days
July 2011: European Festival Round-Up
June 2011: Bernie Torme Proud To Be Part Of MT Ozzy Article
June 2011: Who's Your Favourite Ozzy Guitarist?
May 2011: Japanese Tsunami Disaster
April 2011: 10,000 Tank Albums!
March 2011: Death Metal Session!
6th February 2011: Gary Moore (4th April 1952 - 6th February 2011)
February 2011: Recording Bass at Steve Harris'
January 2011: A Column About Columns











 

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therion EXCLUSIVE: THERION STEAL THE SHOW AT WACKEN: CONTAINS NSFW STEEL PANTHER PHOTOS
Catch this incarnation of Therion when you can because today they were superb...

bruce dickinson IRON MAIDEN FRONTMAN TAKES ON THE GOVERNMENT: BRUCE SHOOTING CLOWNS JUST HOURS AFTER WORLD TOUR ENDS
"Byzantine - people in The Awkward Squad - reasons that I frankly don't want to understand - just get it fixed!"

pete way PETE WAY TAKING A FAST RIDE OUT OF HERE WITH SHOCKING AUTOBIOGRAPHY
"He blew millions on drugs and booze and left behind him a trail of chaos and carnage..."

eluveitie EXCLUSIVE: ELUVEITIE RETURN FROM THE DEAD TO DESTROY WACKEN
Somehow Chrigel has managed to create another incarnation of Eluveitie whilst the band were embroiled in a heavy touring schedule.

iron maiden EXCLUSIVE: IRON MAIDEN CLOSE THE BOOK WITH SPECTACULAR WACKEN PERFORMANCE
"After the show I was so relieved everything went well that I had a glass of wine while I said my farewells to my friends in the crew."

motorheaed EXCLUSIVE: NO SLEEP 'TIL HAMBURG: MOTÖRHEAD'S BOMBER MAKES ITS FINAL FLIGHT AT WACKEN
And he spoke, with his voice: "Don't forget us. We are Motörhead. And we play rock n' fucking roll."

magnum WAS BREAKING NEWS: MAGNUM ANNOUNCE DECEMBER UK TOUR DATES
The latest album crashed into teh UK charts at number 31, their best position since the 80s...

don airey EXCLUSIVE: DON AIREY ROCKS CAMBRIDGE FIRST DAY ALL NIGHT LONG
Cambridge Rock 2016 kicked off in style last night as a packed out Main Stage area ensured that Don Airey took to the stage to rapturous applause.

status quo STATUS QUO'S RICK PARFITT HAS ALL THE REASONS TO BE HAPPY IN HIS CONVALESCENCE
"Had a lovely morning walk with Pappa Parf. He's really on the mend."

delain DELAIN UNVEIL FIRST ALBUM DETAILS: EUROPEAN TOUR WITH EVERGREY AND KOBRA AND THE LOTUS ANNOUNCED
"We have never had so many milestone events in one year and there is still more to come.

buckcherry BUCKCHERRY ANNOUNCE NEW RELEASE AND UK TOUR DATES
2016 is the 10th anniversary of their acclaimed '15' album and the huge rock hit that was 'Crazy Bitch'

dokken DOKKEN CLASSIC LINE-UP ANNOUNCE TOUR DATES
"Being that it is only six shows, we are going to make it as spectacular as possible."

weapon uk WEAPON (UK)'S 'SET THE STAGE ALIGHT' 35th ANNIVERSARY EDITION SET FOR RELEASE
The anniversary edition contains all Weapon UK's 1980/81 recordings and two live bonus tracks.

slayer WAS BREAKING NEWS: SLAYER FUTURE "VERY UNCLEAR" SAYS KERRY KING
"I'm holding off a lot of things I wanna do at home, just 'cause I don't know if I'm gonna be working in two years..."

black sabbath WAS BREAKING NEWS: OZZY OSBOURNE REVEALS SEX ADDICTION
"I am mortified at what my behavior has done to my family..."

black sabbath WAS BREAKING NEWS: BLACK SABBATH DENIAL ISSUED BY BILL WARD
"We have seen it reported in the news that Bill will be playing with Black Sabbath on The End tour..."

scorpion chld WAS BREAKING NEWS: SCORPION CHILD AND JARED JAMES NICHOLS ANNOUNCE UK TOUR
"It is our pleasure to announce a return to the United Kingdom. Now that 'Acid Roulette' is in play, we will have some real fun...."

clutch CLUTCH RELEASE OFFICIAL VIDEO FOR 'A QUICK DEATH IN TEXAS'
"Originally, I was going to be drawn-and-quartered, but we didn’t have the budget for four horses..."

simon townshend THE WHO TOURING GUITARIST SIMON TOWNSHEND'S RE-MASTERED ALBUMS FEATURING EDDIE VEDDER ON THE WAY
"I would place it amongst his best work. Incredible how he just gets better and better..."

skillet SKILLET EXTEND THE UNLEASHED TOUR: LONDON DATE INCLUDED
The tour is in support of Skillet's new album 'Unleashed', their first in three years, which will be released on August 5t...

evyltyde EVYLTYDE TO HEADLINE LEICESTER'S FIREBUG: VEIL OF DELUSIONS TO MAKE THEIR UK DEBUT
Female fronted Metallers bring their take on traditional classic rock, 21st century style, to Leicester's Firebug venue in September...

ac dc AC/DC FUTURE UNCLEAR BUT ANGUS SAYS HE WANTS TO PLAY WITH KEITH RICHARDS
"At this point, I don't know. We were committed to finishing the tour. Who knows what I'll feel after..."

marilyn manson EXCLUSIVE: CBS ATTEMPT TO DISCREDIT SLIPKNOT AND MARILYN MANSON FANS WITH "VIOLENCE" LIES
If you happen to see any reports about what happened on Saturday night at the First Niagara Pavilion, be very careful what you believe....

sex pistols SEX, DRUGS, ROCK N' ROLL, FASHION, CRIME, POLITICS: UK SCREENINGS OF 'ANARCHY! THE McLAREN WESTWOOD GANG' HERE
Much more than the short lived punk phenomenon however and explores the notion of Malcolm McLaren as the great architect of British Punk...

pink floyd PINK FLOYD TO RELEASE MAMMOTH 27-DISC BOX-SET IN NOVEMBER
Pink Floyd delve into their vast music archive to produce a deluxe package that includes seven individual book-style volumes...

devilment DEVILMENT, FEATURING DANI FILTH, TO TOUR THE UK IN DECEMBER
"It's going to be awesome touring this in our home nation just before Xmas. We literally can't wait; the shows are going to be insane!"

a7x AVENGED SEVENFOLD, DISTURBED AND IN FLAMES TO TOUR UK IN JANUARY
The tour hits eight UK cities between 10th and 21st January and tickets are on sale right now...

hellyeah HELLYEAH HONOUR DIMEBAG IN NEW "MUST SEE" VIDEO OF PHIL COLLINS SONG
"...and he's, like, 'Dude, you're gonna be singing this song for the rest of your life."

opeth OPETH UNVEIL FIRST TRACK FROM FORTHCOMING NEW ALBUM: LISTEN HERE
"We're happy with the tune. It's heavy, a bit 'meat and potato' but what the hell... we love it! Hope you do too!"

led zeppelin RANDY CALIFORNIA'S ESTATE APPEAL LED ZEPPELIN 'STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN' VERDICT
The jury agreed with the defence's argument that the chord progression was "commonplace” and dated back centuries

iron maiden WATCH IRON MAIDEN'S NEW ED FORCE ONE SPECIAL VIDEO RIGHT HERE
"In this guise, with Iron Maiden down the side of it, it just blows the doors off ever other plane on the planet..."

joe bonamassa JOE BONAMASSA TO PLAY TWO SHOWS AT THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL
The Royal Albert Hall concerts will feature a hand-picked group of world-class musicians playing material from his latest album plus classic Bonamassa fan favourites...

winterstorm festival TROON - ARE YOU READY TO ROCK? WINTER STORM FESTIVAL IS ANNOUNCED
A new rock festival is heading to the Scottish seaside town of Troon in South Ayrshire this November...

blues festival FORMER WHITESNAKE MAN ANNOUNCED FOR THE GREAT BRITISH RHYTHM AND BLUES FESTIVAL
"We are really excited about the changes we are making and hope they will attract a wider audience..."

armored saint ARMORED SAINT TO HEADLINE OZZFEST MEETS KNOTFEST KICK-OFF PARTY
The September 23rd pre-festival concert includes a night of performances from Armored Saint, Havok, Exmortus and Thrown Into Exile...

new england EXCLUSIVE: NEW ENGLAND ANNOUNCE NOVEMBER TOUR DATES INCLUDING JAPAN
New England have announced tour dates in support of last year's vinyl release 'I Know There`s Something Here' and upcoming album 'Live At The Regent Theater...

british lion STEVE HARRIS' BRITISH LION TO HEADLINE PLANET ROCKSTOCK
"Fundamentally, it's still rock, and if you see it live, it's really powerful live..."

second relation SECOND RELATION PREMIERE TITLE TRACK OF FORTHCOMING THIRD ALBUM 'ENO'
Austrian prog rockers Second Relation's new single and video is premiering today and it's got Europe in a buzz...

amorettes THE AMORETTES ANNOUNCE SECOND LONDON SHOW ON CO-HEADLINE TOUR
"Our show at Our Black Heart in London has sold out in ten days, which is fantastic! How quickly could this one sell out?"

thunder THUNDER PLAN TO GIVE THE GAME AWAY WITH A NEW BOOK
The band plan to launch the book at an event being held as part of the 'Louder Than Words' literary festival in Manchester on Saturday 12th November.

rudolf schenker SCHENKERS AT WAR: RUDOLF BREAKS HIS SILENCE ON MICHAEL'S ACCUSATIONS
"He's a trick master, and he's a wannabe. And that's it. He can do whatever he wants..."

jon oliva SAVATAGE MAINMAN JON OLIVA RECOVERING FROM STROKE
"I lived the rock n' roll lifestyle since I was 18. It's all I knew and I enjoyed the ride very much..."

ramblin man RAMBLIN' MAN FAIR 2017 DATES ANNOUNCED PLUS WHO WE THINK COULD HEADLINE NEXT YEAR
After what was probably the best rockin' weekend of the year so far, we didn't have to wait long before we could start planning for the 2017 rematch...

airbourne AIRBOURNE ANNOUNCE NOVEMBER HEADLINE UK TOUR
The band will play ten UK date beginning in Portsmouth and Norwich on November 17th and finish off with two nights at The Electric Ballroom in Camden, London...

black stone cherry BLACK STONE CHERRY ANNOUNCE UK TOUR
"We have never done anything like this before and we knew the UK was the only place to do it. That's all we're gonna say about it!"

gary rossington LYNYRD SKYNYRD UPDATE WITH MORE CANCELLATIONS DUE TO GARY ROSSINGTON ILLNESS
"Currently the band hopes to resume touring on Thursday 4th August at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, The Woodlands..."

extreme EXTREME CELEBRATE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF 'PORNOGRAFFITI' ALBUM WITH 'PORNOGRAFFITI LIVE 25/METAL MELTDOWN'
"Some of these songs were never played live before so we had to go back and relearn them for the tour."

ozzy osbourne OZZY OSBOURNE: "I'M NOT HAPPY BEING SOBER"
"It scares me. I hear all the time people say that they have another drink in them but they may not have another sobriety in them..."

paul rodgers IT'S NOT ALL RIGHT NOW! PAUL RODGERS SUES DONALD TRUMP
"We will make America great again. God bless you and good night, I love you."

heavy metal HEAVY METAL HELPS PEOPLE DEAL WITH MORTALITY ACCORDING TO OFFICIAL STUDY
"Metal music can be seen as cultural good for fans and thereby can form part of their social identity."

motorhead MOTÖRHEAD STILL RUNNING DOWN THE HIGHWAY: PHIL, MIKKEY AND EDDIE ALL GEARED UP FOR FORTHCOMING DATES
"Every snare hit I do from now on until the end of my career will be a small tribute to Lemmy..."

iron maiden IRON MAIDEN'S STEVE HARRIS DROPS THE PRICE OF HIS ESSEX MANSION BY £1MILLION
The eight-bedroom mansion was on the market for £6.75million in 2012 but it's "guide price" is now a mere £3.95million...

hrh aor ALL GUNS BLAZING FOR NEW HRH AOR 5 ANNOUNCEMENT
Phil Lewis & Tracii Guns unite under the L.A. Guns banner once again for next year's HRH AOR 5 being held next March at Camp HRH in North Wales...

deep purple DEEP PURPLE 'LIVE AT THE NEC' DVD ON THE WAY: FAREWELL JON, WELCOME DON
The two share keyboard duties during the night in a very fitting "passing-of-the-torch" moment...

status quo ROCK 'TIL YOU DROP WITH STATUS QUO 1981-1986 VINYL BOX SET
In addition to the studio albums the box set will include an extra disc of b-sides and extended mixes...

zz top ZZ TOP TO RELEASE THEIR VERY FIRST OFFICIAL LIVE ALBUM IN SEPTEMBER
"In an abstract surrealism style, this collection is a definitive chronicle of the band hangin' together for four plus deluxe decades..."

tygers of pan tang TYGERS OF PAN TANG "SPECIAL TIME" HAS COME WITH NEW RELEASE
"The new Tygers album is finished, done and dusted and ready to unleash on our 'Tygertastic' audience. You're gonna love this one, it's a MONSTER..."

andy fraser ANDY FRASER OF FREE'S LAST RECORDING WITH SAIICHI SUGIYAMA ONLINE HERE
"'Melting Away' became one of Andy's last recordings. He still had so much to offer and I was really looking forward to continuing to work with him."

ritchie blackmore RITCHIE BLACKMORE'S RAINBOW TO PLAY AGAIN BUT WITH LESS DEEP PURPLE SONGS
"I would do probably ninety-five percent Rainbow songs; that's what they seem to want to hear. And it didn't occur to me. I just naturally assumed they wanted to hear everything."

saxon EXCLUSIVE: THIS IS WHAT OUR FAVOURITE ROCKERS THINK OF THE CURRENT POLITICAL CLIMATE
Comment from Saxon, Slash, Thunder, Iron Maiden, Uli Jon Roth, Hawkwind, Cher, Johnny Rotten, Machine Head And More...

beyond the black UK EXCLUSIVE: BEYOND THE BLACK SINGER JENNIFER HABEN IS LOST IN FOREVER AS FIVE MEMBERS DEPART THE BAND
"I have enjoyed the time together with the guys very much and am grateful for everything we have achieved together in Germany. I am currently looking for new colleagues..."

cats in space CATS IN SPACE SET TO RELEASE SLADE CLASSIC WITH DANNY BOWES OF THUNDER ON GUEST VOCALS
"It's is one of my favourite Slade songs, so when they asked me to sing on their version it took me a good second and a half to say yes..."

guns n roses WAS BREAKING NEWS: GUNS N' ROSES ADD MORE TOUR DATES FOR OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER
The Gunners' newly announced dates are for South America with ten dates in Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Chile and Colombia with more to be announced soon...

keith moon YOU WON'T GET FOOLED WITH OFFICIAL KEITH MOON COMMEMORATIVE DRUM HEAD
Manufactured as a special, custom product by Remo, these 14" high-gloss drum heads are a perfect collector's item for true fans of the legendary drummer and The Who...

the answer WAS BREAKING NEWS: THE ANSWER AND THE DEAD DAISIES ANNOUNCE NOVEMBER UK TOUR
"The fact that we get to debut this new material with our mates The Dead Daisies just adds to the rush we're currently experiencing. You really don't want to miss this one!"

ian gillan IAN GILLAN SAYS: "IT'S A WONDERFUL THING, VINYL..." WITH NEW COLLECTION ABOUT TO BE RELEASED
"You just bought something significant, not easily disposable. And look at the sleeves - aren't they cool..."

quireboys THE QUIREBOYS NEW ALBUM ON THE WAY: "THE LYRICS ON THE TITLE TRACK ARE SOME OF SPIKE'S BEST EVER!"
"I approached the songwriting from a different angle and it felt good. There's a lot of passion there."

48 hours 48 HOURS TO ROCK THE UK TO A CITY OF ASHES
"We're hitting the road in September for a co-headline tour with our broseph's City Of Ashes! This will be one of the unsigned tours of the year!"

hammerfall WAS BREAKING NEWS: LIVE LIFE LOUD WITH HAMMERFALL ON 2017 EUROPEAN TOUR: NEW ALBUM ON THE WAY
"We can't wait to get back on stage again to have a gigantic Heavy Metal party every night with all our Templar friends!"

joe perry AEROSMITH GUITARIST JOE PERRY REPORTEDLY SUFFERS HEART ATTACK DURING HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES GIG
"Thanks to everyone asking about our brother Joe Perry," Alice Cooper wrote. "He is stable right now, with family and is under the best care."

onslaught ONSLAUGHT, BEHOLDER AND ANIHILATED TOUR PROMISES TO BE A TOUR DE FORCE
"By the time we hit the road in November it will be well over two-and-a-half years since we did the last run and we feel the time is now right..."

arw ARW (JON ANDERSON, TREVOR RABIN AND RICK WAKEMAN) ANNOUNCE BAND FOR UPCOMING WORLD TOUR
"I have played with arguably the three greatest bass players ever and I can't wait to play with one of them again!"

marillion MARILLION UNVEIL 'THE NEW KINGS' FROM FORTHCOMING STUDIO ALBUM 'FEAR'
'The New Kings' can also be heard on Marillion's current tour which starts on Monday 11th July in Barcelona...

michael des barres AN AMERICAN WRITER ASKS WHY IT TAKES A BRITISH EX-PAT TO ASK, "WHAT'S GOING ON?" MICHAEL DES BARRES HAS THE ANSWER
This incendiary cover of Marvin Gaye's classic confronts America's issues in an incredibly timely and head-on manner...

freedom call FREEDOM CALL RELEASE A NEW METAL HYMN 'HAMMER OF THE GODS', AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD NOW
The trademark bold vocal harmonies remain. The track is taken from forthcoming opus 'Master Of Light'...

guns n roses STEVEN ADLER JOINS GUNS N' ROSES ON STAGE IN OHIO: FOUR FIFTHS OF 'APPETITE' LINE-UP PLAY TOGETHER FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 1990
"On the drums, you might know this guy. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr Steven Adler..."

ac dc AC/DC BASSIST CLIFF WILLIAMS TO RETIRE AFTER ROCK OR BUST WORLD TOUR: "IT'S BEEN SURREAL"
"AC/DC has been... you know, just... I don't know what else I would wanna do. I love the music and I love playing in the band, and I'm all filled up..."

guns n roses GUNS N' ROSES USE THEIR ILLUSION TO SILENCE THE DOUBTERS WITH US TOUR GOING SO FINE
Axl is clearly in his element on this tour, running across the stage to jump on the monitors mid-song and displaying all the panache of a man completely on top of his game...

stray del bromham STRAY TO ROAM AROUND THE UK ON TOUR INCLUDING A RARE REUNION OF THE ORIGINAL LINE-UP
No need to move a mountain as both Stray and Del Bromham's Blues Devils are on their way to a venue near you...

amorettes THE AMORETTES ANNOY THE NEIGHBOURS WITH RAUCOUS NEW SINGLE
'Let The Neighbours Call The Cops' was co- written by vocalist Gill Montgomery and Black Star Riders front man Ricky Warwick...

eagles of death metal WAS BREAKING NEWS: EAGLES OF DEATH METAL WANT YOU SO BAD ON TWO UK DATES IN AUGUST
This is EODM's first visit to the UK since the band were caught up in the terrible events at The Bataclan Theatre in Paris back in November 2015...

soil SOiL 'SHINE ON' THE UK WITH COMPREHENSIVE TOUR
"We are looking forward to seeing some new places and making some new friends this time around..."

acid reign ACID REIGN GET IN FESTIVE MOOD EARLY WITH SPECIAL GIG ANNOUNCEMENT
'Tis the season to Thrash as Acid Reign team up with Shrapnel with far from obnoxious results...

iron maiden IRON MAIDEN: LEGACY OF THE BEAST MOBILE RPG GAME IS OUT NOW
"We've always wanted to make a quality Maiden mobile game as we think the combination of Eddie and the music is so well suited..."

rick parfitt status quo EXCLUSIVE: STATUS QUO'S RICK PARFITT SEEMS TO BE 'FINE FINE FINE' AS HE IS SPOTTED OUT AND ABOUT
Following the recent health scare a picture has emerged online of him taking a walk in Kingston over the weekend...

bullet for my valentine BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE TO PLAY 'THE POISON' IN FULL FOR THE FIRST EVER TIME
"We promised you something special right? See 'The Poison' played in full for the first time in Manchester! Tickets on sale now here..."

alter bridge WAS BREAKING NEWS: ALTER BRIDGE TO HEADLINE ARENAS ACROSS EUROPE THIS WINTER WITH GOJIRA AND VOLBEAT
This will be their biggest headline tour yet with twenty-four dates across fifteen countries, kicking off on November 4th 2016

the mission WAS BREAKING NEWS: BAUHAUS FRONTMAN PETER MURPHY TO GUEST WITH THE MISSION ON THEIR 30th ANNIVERSARY UK TOUR
"Peter's appearance will help make these shows the special events that we always wanted and hoped they'd be..."

iron maiden IRON MAIDEN ILLUSTRATOR DESIGNS SHIRT FOR ONE DIRECTION'S ZAYN MALIK, MAIDEN LAUNCH THIRD TROOPER BEER AND HI-ON-MAIDEN TO HEADLINE PICCSTOCK
A full-bodied beer using a blend of chocolate and crystal malts to give "a roasted malt and caramel backbone with hints of liquorice and honey"...

bruce dickinson BRUCE DICKINSON TO TAKE PART IN TOP GEAR STYLE CHARITY ROAD TRIP
"The enthusiasm from the group is amazing which will lend itself to making it an unforgettable trip..."

anvil WAS BREAKING NEWS: ANVIL ANNOUNCE UK AND EUROPEAN TOUR FOR OCTOBER/NOVEMBER
Anvil will not only be playing dates in Scotland and Wales but also English towns which rarely see major international artists, such as Huddersfield, Doncaster and Grimsby.

status quo IT'S TIME TO GET 'DOWN DOWN' TO BUTLINS AS SECOND STATUS QUO FAN CLUB CONVENTION IS ANNOUNCED
The weekend will feature live music from ex-Quo drummer John Coghlan and his band with long time friend of the band, Jackie Lynton also scheduled to appear...

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