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  CURVED AIR: INTERVIEW WITH SONJA KRISTINA WITH TRACK BY TRACK COMMENTARY OF NEW ALBUM 'NORTH STAR'

Liz Medhurst

liz medhurst

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Pioneering prog-rockers Curved Air are back with a new album – their first new studio material since 1976s 'Air Conditioning', and born from the 2008 reunion. 'North Star' has launched itself into orbit with a confidence and maturity that closes the long gap in a heartbeat.

The 14 tracks contain seven new songs, four re-workings of earlier material and three covers, and the result is a wonderfully vibrant, complex and powerful album which has stunning musicianship and powerful themes.

The current line up is iconic vocalist Sonja Kristina, original drummer Florian Pilkington-Miksa, with guitarist Kirby Gregory who first joined for 1973s 'Aircut' album. They are joined by violinist Paul Sax, keyboard player Robert Norton and bassist Chris Harris.

Article continues below...

 
 


Original guitarist Kit Morgan was part of this line up at first, but left due to ill health before the album started recording.

I spoke to Sonja about the album before their gig at The Stables, Milton Keynes. She radiates both inner and outer beauty and has been described as a Goddess many times over the years. During our conversation it is clear to see the archetypes she holds - the wisdom of Athena; the artistry and knowledge of Sarasvati; the ability to journey and explore other realms like Abeona.

She was generous with her time and we talked about many subjects including the creative process behind the making of the new album, how this incarnation of the band had evolved, and a track by track commentary giving a personal insight into the album.

Since Curved Air reformed in 2008, there had to be a period of settling in and regaining the momentum and assimilating the new band dynamics before the album could be made. Sonja agreed: "The gestation process was quite tempestuous but in the end, the birthing was in great harmony with all of us."

With the band now being without original composers Daryl Way and Francis Monkman, I wondered about the differences in the writing and recording processes, more than just the obvious technological aspects.

"This material was written by contributions from everyone on the band. One individual might have produced a sketch and then we all worked on what was there and added to it. I wrote all the words as I don't like singing other people's words, particularly in my own projects as that's what I'm communicating, it gives it more of a through line, but the melodies often were there in the pieces and the sketches that were brought in.

"Everybody put in ideas on CD and then we got together in my house on Clapham to develop them.

"Everyone is very committed, we decided that we were going to share all the publishing, ideas have come from all of us so everyone got very involved in creating their own parts. I created my vocal lines based on what I had heard, Paul created his violin parts, some of them were written for him by Chris the bass player as he had that melody in mind, themes, so everybody shares the credit.

curved air

"Back in the beginning when I joined, the songs were pretty much written. Being music students, Daryl and Francis would tell everybody what to play and gave me melodies and more often than not with no words, or just a couple of lines so I enjoyed finishing off the words. Some of the lyrics on 'Air Conditioning' I didn't write, things like 'Situations', as they were already written but 'Young Mother' started off as an idea that Daryl had that I didn't like at all so I messed with that until I got something I could feel, and it still works for me now, it's about standing up for yourself.

"As to how the music was first formed, you will have to ask Florian as he was there when it was being created."

Just then, in a marvellous piece of synchronicity, Florian Pilkington-Miksa chose that moment to wander into the room so we asked him.

"Well, Francis was very good at arranging things. They had an idea of what they wanted, but of course we would modify it as we did it. With me and the drums I was learning as I went along so I had to make up a rhythm for each song, which now when I look back it was quite clever of me, but on the other hand it was an advantage because I didn't think shall I do this or that, or shall I prevaricate, I just had freedom to work out each little bit.

"For about a year before Sonia came along we played it for fun over and over and we got better. They were going from being classical to being electric or whatever you want to call it, they were at the Royal College of Music and I knew the basics, and we worked it out".

Florian also referred to the difficult start made by the current band to create the beautifully crafted new album.

"When considering what we and the other individuals went through, the psychological aspect, you wouldn't think anything creative would come out of it with all sorts of other things going on, trying to get it together, but it just goes to show that despite all the various obstacles you might have, in your head or trying to do it, it did turn out all right in the end."

As Florian went off in search of a Diet Pepsi for Sonja, I reflected that it appeared vital for her to make a deep connection with the material, and the result was an album that covered broad issues yet remained intensely personal at the same time.

"That was one of the obstacles of the writing process, first just getting us together, then fighting over the person's original feel, and what is actually possible for the other individuals to feel.

curved air

"I quite often recreate situations in my head when the song is born, or I make it about something similar so I have a focus, a true story that I'm telling, if you're imagining something clearly in your mind then people will pick up on that, they won't see the same picture necessarily they will feel the truth of it and relate in their own way.

"I'm also a great believer of the microcosm being a reflection of the macrocosm, how can you sort out things between countries if you can't sort it out between yourselves?"

The album contains four re-workings from the large back catalogue, and I was interested how these came to be chosen.

"Well we liked to perform them, we changed them round, and they are still relevant today. I didn't actually write the words for 'Situations', they were done by our original bass player but are actually very forward-thinking, written by a young man, about a mature person looking back on their life, having not lived their dream, so it's relevant.

"We thought that the version on 'Young Mother' that we've been doing on stage was done well by Kit, but now we've Kirby-fied it, inspired by his guitar solo. We hadn't captured that one on the 'Live Atmosphere' album and thought that was worth capturing and also the lyrics fit in well with the other songs.

"'Puppets' too was still highly relevant, being about manipulation and reflection on people thinking that they are free but are controlled.

"For this album we wanted to have the element of free playing, and record the album so it sounded live. We recorded it all playing together and then just tidied it up."

Curved Air were never about the disposable three minute song, but were pioneers and visionaries yet their music remained accessible and aligned with the issues of the day. They were there for the birth of Prog although as Sonja says: "Back in the 60s and 70s there wasn't a thing called Prog music, there were only bands. This is something that people have called it but everyone is so different.

"I mean Pink Floyd are not like Gentle Giant, who are not like King Crimson, who are nothing like Genesis, who are nothing like Curved Air - and Curved Air are not really anything like Jefferson Airplane. People like to try and put things into boxes.

"There was a thread going through all music in the late 60s, early 70s, the introduction of Eastern themes and jazz and the long, long solos, and taking things anywhere, and the Grateful Dead thing and the playing with effects and electronica - it was great, like everyone had released a huge toy room, and also amplification was getting louder, with big stacks, so you can be heard for miles therefore big crowds could come."

"I'm a great believer in synchronicity, and it seems that from taking an overview on social development, that when certain ideas are happening in literature they are also happening in art and science, and the thinking and philosophy it's all one thing, politics, the same ideas pop up all over the word and now it's even faster, but even without the internet there was kind of a critical mass when everyone adopts the idea.

"I witnessed that with punk, a little art school scene, people dressed up, sweet nice kids looking frightening like Halloween, then suddenly the press take up on it and talk about safety pins and the Sex Pistols and all of a sudden the clubs are rammed with identikit kids, pogo-ing. The hippy thing too, literally there was something in the air, that travelled round the globe, there is more to life than we see."

This is true, but you still need to have musicians and artists that are skilled, that know what they are doing, it's not enough to pick up on an idea - you have to have the chops to bring it to life.

"Whenever I've chosen a line up, in solo projects, and in the Aircut band I'll go for people who have the strongest voice. I can't play the guitar and improvise, I love to be surrounded by that sort of freedom, of music that can go anywhere, not someone comes and says I know the chords and the song goes like this - it's no,no,no,no, I want people who can hear and just play, make atmospheres.

"Everyone was so inspired by each other - we love Kit's playing and were very sad that he left, but we were so inspired by what Kirby brought, just loved it. Robert said he's the best musician he's ever worked with and he worked with quite a lot of big soul and funk names. Robert does soundscapes with his own music and we used that treatment.

"There was a lot of development work, but they say you reach a plateau where nothing's going to happen and you break through that, that's what you are waiting for. We are all very pleased with the album. After we made it I played it through three times for my own pleasure so that's a good sign."

Sonja and the band are justifiably pleased with what they have created. 'North Star' is full of textures and emotions, from heavy solos to swirling counterpoints and frenzied interactions, and still contains plenty of space and air, all topped off with Sonja's wonderful, dramatic vocals, whose impact has not diminished at all over the decades. It is a triumphant return.

curved air

North Star Track by Track Commentary By Sonja Kristina

Stay Human

'Stay Human' was the first song on the table and the violin and guitar riffs were all there. I wanted to write something about the state of the world, the unrest, the revolution, the feeling of somebody being very angry and how to keep the perspective and not turn into a monster which so often happens in war. I know you're angry but I still love you - that can be applied to relationships too.

I was obsessed with this internet TV station in Benghazi when Mohammed Nabbous, who got killed by a sniper, he was putting out this footage and it was very very graphic, you saw it, people's bodies torn in half, things that had been going on, and they had a chatroom where they were asking for news from the outside as everything was locked down. One felt from the comfort of one's own living room that you were in the middle of their revolution. His favourite saying was "the candle loses nothing lighting other candles", so I used the "the candle loses nothing lighting other flames, as that fitted.

There was another journalist in Israel, Vittorio Arrigoni, working with Palestinians and then he got kidnapped and killed by a Palestinian group, and when he used to write letters to his friends, he always used to say "Stay Human", and there are videos of him doing what he was doing, and he wrote a book called 'Stay Human', so I took these as a homage to those ideas but then also with my ideas of being the angry one, the loving one, these are both valid emotions.

Time Games

The middle verse of this is the hillside where I had this dream and there was this big icy wind, and then all the hillside was black and charred and people were standing like ghosts around a grave. There is civilisation after civilisation, generation after generation, there was one civilisation through history, with great technology way beyond what we know about and something happened to these people, or it, but they were all there for their time and their time was very important to them.

It's our challenge to make the most of our time, it's like 'It Happened Today', which is also about time, but this is about apocalypses and civilisations, and generations. In the blue underworld, it's amazing how much imagery you can get into an idea, this is about the lifetime of emotions and desires, and evil and good.

Puppets (first appeared on Second album)

The puppets are making do and they're practising a dance and every day they have to do this dance, and so it could be God, could be society, whichever way you want you look at it but they believe they are free and they give so much, such dedicated little puppets.

Images And Signs

I have had friendships and love interests which have been conducted mostly by text and email and one has the real time together as well, but the romance is in what you create with your words, your photographs and things, this is just now but as it evolves in the future, you don't have to be close together in the room, you could be out in space, you could be anywhere. Love is a feeling, there's love, romance, caring - a lot of this is done with a kind of poetry between people which is crafted very carefully in the text and email, it's very personal to those two.

Interplay

That was a melody I picked up from Robert and the lyrics got themselves born from that tune and it's about when you are in a relationship, the communication can be very hard, what's the answer? Try and look at it a different way, the remorse can be very strong, we held our heads up, it isn't over until the feelings gone. Those are truths to me, little truths, as whatever it is it's not over while you still feel passion for it, or sadness or anger, it's not finished, you can't let go until it's really run its course, it's not over.

Spider

This originated with the bass player Chris, but includes themes from other people. It's the live overture, the dramatic start to the set and it is spiderish, like a wild creature.

Magnetism

We were playing with the idea of magnetism and attraction. Magnetism in terms of physics, but also about a kind of charisma, and the attraction of, so I put them together in a dream state, this person in attraction, it applies to relationships, you've got in the dust, on the walls in the stains on your palms, in the stains on your cars, and in the stars, in your hips and in your stride, and in the sparkle in your eyes, attractive, attraction, magnetism. It's everything there. You attract and you repel, orbiting between the poles of sub atomic worlds, radiant and full of grace, attractive, attraction, so it's kind of mixing up physics, as we are all just vibrations anyway so why not.

Colder Than A Rose In Snow (first appeared on the solo 'Sonja Kristina' album)

We wanted to do a Christmas song so we turned this it into one. I had a concept for it, from Steve Reich, Music for Mallet Instruments and all that, but it tends to change chords more frequently than the Steve Reich music, which stays in one place. We referred to that as that's where Robert's keyboard line come from, then Kirby's playing very slow notes, and Paul's just playing little answering phrases, a little pattern over the keyboard and they play this beautiful solo in the middle.

It was written by my friend Norma Tager, who was a very special friend just before I met Stewart (Copeland), when I was between relationships and she took me in to live with her family and we started writing together. This was something that she had written and she had a publishing contract with Rondor who had put her together with this guy called Paul Travers, it's very hymnal, it's beautiful the way it goes and her lyrics are kind of crazy too, so it doesn't quite make sense and yet it has a vulnerability about it.

It's about first meetings feeling vulnerable and lost, meeting somebody and they are also troubled and lost and they get caught up in the storms but then we hit the poles together.

Spirits In A Material World (originally by The Police)

We started off with a very good vibe for it, then Kirby came and changed it into what it is now, away from the original reggae theme but then it and went back that way a little bit. It's about society, about spirituality so it fits in with the overall theme.

Old Time News

This is about community, society, someone who's grown up and lived in the same postcode area, and is now living in a flat alone and old, just watching TV and hearing songs in her head when she goes to sleep. She's thinking that all the people grow older. A lot of the baby boomers are getting older, some of them are staying here, some of them are long gone but to me, I've always moved around, it's a strange idea that some people never move around or leave their village.

I used to live in Buckinghamshire for a while in a village and I was amazed that some of the people there had never been to London, only forty miles away, why wouldn't they want to go there? Just not wanting to go far away, never being abroad, just staying in one place, that's the concept of it. The melody, created by the band, reflects the madness, the small town jig, it drops into the void and can get very spooky.

Situations (first appeared on 'Air Conditioning')

Looking back on a life. For me that's an appropriate theme for the original audience. But young people really like the album too. There's a progressive band called Purson we met them when they came to one of the gigs with Wishbone Ash and The Strawbs and she modelled herself on me in the 70s and they are a very good band, it was like a new Curved Air crossed with a touch of Black Sabbath.

I have met some interesting nouveau hippies, and Rosalie from Purson doesn't listen to any music that's later than the 70s and is totally immersed in it. It's exciting that some people can go back there and see where they can take it.

Chasing Cars (originally by Snow Patrol)

Robert in his element, this was done in one take, along with 'Across The Universe'. I thought it was a really beautiful song, one of the things that really moved me and felt good to sing it. Doing it with the full band didn't get us anywhere, so we ended up with just me singing and Robert doing a bit of piano and that gorgeous bass line.

It gives me the image of a couple in this battle of this falling apart, changing world, a couple that are together in some little attic and they are just losing themselves in each other and letting everything else go. When you are in love with someone it's like you two are the only people in the world, it's the beauty in that bubble.

Young Mother (first appeared on second album)

This shows off the players, we needed a big number on the album. As with Time Games and Spider, with 'Young Mother' the solos are just so kind of explosive and the way that we do it is so different from the original, we were really pleased with this.

Across The Universe (originally by The Beatles)

My concept with that was just to have one being in the middle of space, the universe, this small quiet voice, just on their own like a little atom, a nucleus, singing. Another one that is pure Robert and me - a chance to take the ingredients of a song and make it work between the two of us.

Online:
www.curvedair.com
www.sonjakristina.com
www.facebook.com/CurvedAir
www.facebook.com/SonjaKristina


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graveltones THE GRAVELTONES ANNOUNCE LIVE SHOWS IN NOTTINGHAM AND LONDON TO CELEBRATE NEW ALBUM RELEASE
'Love Lies Dying' is released on May 31st. "Recording this album felt so right, we had the right producer and engineer and the sounds just fell out of us..."

anti flag amnesty ANTI-FLAG STREAM 'AMERICAN SPRING' VIA AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
"Amnesty International's mission is to speak up and stand up for those who cannot for themselves. The record American Spring is about the very same idea..."

blackberry smoke BLACKBERRY SMOKE ANNOUNCE EUROPEAN TOUR DATES
Blackberry Smoke are touring in support of their latest album, 'Holding All the Roses'...

death angel DEATH ANGEL REVEAL ARTWORK FOR 'THE BAY CALLS FOR BLOOD' LIVE LP
"The title is written in the blood of victims whose bodies have been dragged down to the second deck of the bridge, where their assailants plot the next attack..."

nile tour NILE ANNOUNCE UK SHOWS THIS SEPTEMBER WITH SUPPORT FROM SUFFOCATION
Nile's withering live performances are nothing short of legendary...

skarlett riot SKARLETT RIOT RELEASE NEW SINGLE 'DIVIDE US'
One of the UK's most exciting young bands can be seen on a headline tour in support of the new CD...

scrap metal FREE SCRAP METAL EVENT COMING TO GLASGOW
Eight hours of Metal is heading your way this June in this must-see event...

hrh aor MELODIC LEGENDS AND ICONS JOIN THE HRH AOR 4 CRUSADE
Quiet Riot, Joe Lynn Turner, Tyketto, The Dan Reed Network are among the first batch to be announced...

napalm death NAPALM DEATH ANNOUNCE US FESTIVALS AND EUROPEAN TOUR DATES
It's a busy time for Napalm Death who can be seen at festivals and gigs throughout the summer, including Bloodstock in August...

wacken ROCKCOMM TO HOST SPECIAL FESTIVAL FOCUS Q&A ON WACKEN OPEN AIR FESTIVAL WITH ITS CO-FOUNDER THOMAS JENSEN
As well as the festival focus, the prestigious rock music conference has doznes of panels and showcase covering all aspects of the industry...

black sabbath BLACK SABBATH REUNITE WITH BILL WARD TO ACCEPT IVOR NOVELLO AWARD
Ozzy Osbourne, did not join the other three members at the ceremony for reasons unknown...

rival sons RIVAL SONS ANNOUNCED AS SPECIAL GUESTS FOR DEEP PURPLE EUROPEAN TOUR
"I cut my teeth on those early records... 'Machine Head', 'In Rock', 'Made In Japan' etc. The musicianship, performances and sheer bravado is nothing short of LEVELLING....

trooper RAMBLIN' MAN FAIR ANNOUNCES TROOPER AS OFFICIAL ALE FOR FESTIVAL
One of Iron Maiden's famous creations is now the must-have ale for the must-see festival...

helloween HELLOWEEN REVEAL STUNNING POST-APOCALYPTIC VIDEO FOR 'MY GOD-GIVEN RIGHT'
When the tough girl realises that she won't escape, she turns around and kills her chasers with a grenade which looks like the torch from the Statue of Liberty...

lucifers friend ROCK LEGENDS LUCIFER'S FRIEND TO RELEASE NEW BEST OF COMPILATION PLUS BONUS DISC WITH FOUR NEW TRACKS
The founder members have re-formed and will be taking their influential and ground-breaking original sound to fans old and new...

symphony x SYMPHONY X ANNOUNCES NEW ALBUM 'UNDERWORLD' OUT IN JULY
The album is a flowing, total experience Inspired by Dante and secret knowledge. "There's cool shit like this all over the record..."

chris squire CHRIS SQUIRE TO UNDERGO TREATMENT FOR LEUKEMIA
Chris will be receiving treatment in his hometown of Phoenix over the next few months...

sepultura SEPULTURA ANNOUNCE TWO UK AND IRELAND SHOWS THIS AUGUST
Brazil's most successful Metal band are making additional stops after Bloodstock...

download AT THE GATES CONFIRMED TO PLAY AT DOWNLOAD
The Swedish Melodic Death Metallers can also be seen across Europe, South America and Australia...

magic bus 3CD COMPLIATION 'MAGIC BUS' IS RELEASED ON UNIVERSAL RECORDS
Take a trip and relive the hippie trail with this mystical compilation bringing together the best of the era...

bruce dickinson BREAKING NEWS: BRUCE DICKINSON GIVEN ALL CLEAR AFTER CANCER SCARE
Absolutely brilliant news this Friday afternoon - Iron Maiden lead singer Bruce Dickinson has been given the all clear...

the edge THE EDGE GOES OVER THE EDGE ON U2'S OPENING NIGHT
This is karma's way of saying don't make your new album a compulsory free download on iTunes...

gus g GUS G ANNOUNCES NEW SOLO ALBUM 'BRAND NEW REVOLUTION'
"It's a continuation of the modern hard rock style I followed on my 1st album, although I think this one's a bit heavier..."

mac sabbath MAC SABBATH, THE CHEESIEST AND BEEFIEST BAND IN THE WORLD TO DRIVE THRU THE UK
These mind-blowing sets are guaranteed to leave you satisfied...

pearl handled revolver PEARL HANDLED REVOLVER RELEASE NEW VIDEO FOR 'ABSINTHE IN ADELAIDE'
This stunning psychedelic new track is the first taste of the new studio album to be released later this year...

billy idol BILLY IDOL RELEASES VIDEO FOR 'SAVE ME NOW'
The dramatic promo was filmed in the Californian desert...

beth hart BETH HART ANNOUNCES LONDON'S UNION CHAPEL SOLO CONCERT
Beth will play solo in the UK for the first time ever - tickets for this unmissable show are on sale from Friday 15th May...

vintage trouble THE NEW ALBUM FROM VINTAGE TROUBLE IS SCHEDULED FOR RELEASE ON AUGUST 14
'1 Hopeful Rd.' is available for pre-order now. The band open for AC/DC in Europe this summer...

joe satriani JOE SATRIANI ANNOUNCES NEW ALBUM 'SHOCKWAVE SUPERNOVA'
Satch releases a wildly ambitious album, showcasing his extroverted alter ego...

helloween HRH 9 ANNOUNCES HELLOWEEN FOR NOVEMBER
Fans will get a chance to see this rare UK performance surrounded with the customary HRH community back drop...

glenn hughes GLENN HUGHES, THE VOICE OF ROCK, RETURNS FOR EURO DATES
Glenn has announced a month long string of dates across western Europe which will run from mid September to mid October...

anvil ANVIL RETURN TO UK FOR SUMMER TOUR
Canadian Heavy Metal legends return to the UK for four dates in July...

vardis VARDIS SPEED BACK AT '200MPH' WITH FIRST NEW MATERIAL AND LONDON DATE IN 30 YEARS
Hoplite Records proudly announce the first new Vardis release since 1986...

ron wood GIBSON TO LAUNCH RON WOOD SIGNATURE GUITAR
Not all vintage guitars were first built in the 1950s...

art of anarchy ART OF ANARCHY STREAM ALBUM SONG SNIPPETS
Their debut self-titled album will be in stores and online June 8th 2015...

paradise lost PARADISE LOST LAUNCH VIDEO FOR 'BENEATH BROKEN EARTH'
"Doing a performance video with our miserable, old faces barely moving in a crappy, old basement was too much to resist..."

between the buried and me BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME PREMIERE EXCLUSIVE CLIP FROM 'MAKING OF COMA ECLIPTIC' DVD
'Coma Ecliptic' is available for pre-order from Metal Blade with special bundles and packages offered...

marilyn manson MARILYN MANSON UNVEILS NEW VIDEO FOR 'THE MEPHISTOPHELES OF LOS ANGELES'
Marilyn Manson will play live across Europe this summer, including an appearance at Download in the UK...

enter shikari ENTER SHIKARI RELEASE 'TORN APART', THE NEW SINGLE AND VIDEO
The band can be seen at a string of summer shows and festivals across Europe...

death angel DEATH ANGEL TO RELEASE 'A THRASHUMENTARY' DVD AND LIVE ALBUM
"This is the first time that the band in its current lineup has been able to collectively sit down, and tell the story of how Death Angel came to be..."

dan reed DAN REED NETWORK UK TOUR ANNOUNCED
Dan Reed was very excited to announce the six dates and said that "this would be a funky good time warp indeed"...

wildhearts THE WILDHEARTS TO CELEBRATE 20th ANNIVERSARY OF 'P.H.U.Q' WITH UK TOUR
It's twenty years since the album went straight in at Number 6 on the national UK album charts...

arch enemy ARCH ENEMY LAUNCH VIDEO FOR 'STOLEN LIFE (2015 VERSION'
This brand-new version of the song that was originally released on the 2014 album, 'War Eternal'...

whitesnake WHITESNAKE RELEASE NEW 'SOLDIER OF FORTUNE' VIDEO
"It's a tribute. A homage. It's a huge thank you from me to Deep Purple for the opportunity I was given over 40 years ago..."

acid reign ACID REIGN ANNOUNCE NEW LINE-UP
"It's not a reformation, it's a reboot!" Howard 'H' Smith...

ac dc AC/DC KICK OFF EUROPEAN TOUR IN ARNHEM: VIDEOS AND SETLIST HERE: WARNING - CONTAINS BIG SPOILERS
The set list running order differed slightly from the show they played at the Coachella Festival...

craig gruber ORIGINAL RAINBOW BASSIST CRAIG GRUBER PASSES AWAY AGED 64
Craig Gruber's career in music took off in 1974 when he joined Elf, the band fronted by Ronnie James Dio...

rev jones REV JONES SLATES DON DOKKEN, MARK BOALS AND THE HAIR CLUB FOR MEN
"...normally I would have hit him in the face but I didn't want to knock that really bad fucking wig off his head..."

venom VADER ANNOUNCE UK EXCLUSIVE SPECIAL SET THIS SEPTEMBER SUPPORTING VENOM INC
Death Metal legends Vader released the "absolute heaviest" studio album of their career last year, according to frontman Peter W...

status quo STATUS QUO ANNOUNCE UK WINTER TOUR
Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt, Andy Bown, John 'Rhino Edwards and Leon Cave will plug back in and bring their thunderous electric live show back to the nation's venues...

borknagar BORKNAGAR WORKING ON NEW STUDIO ALBUM
The original Borknagar vocalist Kristoffer Rygg (aka Garm/Fiery G Maelstrom/Trixter G) has already recorded vocals for two songs...

wasp W.A.S.P. ANNOUNCE TEN DATE TOUR OF UK AND IRELAND IN SEPTEMBER
W.A.S.P. have announced a ten date tour of the UK and Ireland to promote their highly anticipated and long awaited new album 'Golgotha'...

dew scented DEW-SCENTED TO RELEASE NEW ALBUM 'INTERMINATION' ON 12th JUNE
The German/Dutch thrash commandos have finished recording their third full length studio release for Metal Blade...

joe lynn turner JOE LYNN TURNER SAYS RAINBOW REUNION IS "PROBABLE"
"We are talking, but we have not sat in the same room yet to discuss anything..."

new england EXCLUSIVE: NEW ENGLAND - AOR LEGENDS RELEASE FIRST NEW MATERIAL IN 33 YEARS
This will be the first brand new material from New England in decades...

black sabbath OZZY OSBOURNE CONFIRMS THAT BLACK SABBATH WILL RETIRE AFTER 2016 FAREWELL TOUR
"The plan is that next year we'll do the final Black Sabbath tour and then it's over..."

motorhead MOTORHEAD ANNOUNCE FIRST BATCH OF DATES FOR EU TOUR WITH SAXON AND GIRLSCHOOL
This year is Motorhead's 40th anniversary and we always knew that a big tour would take place...

michael schenker MICHAEL SCHENKER'S TEMPLE OF ROCK ANNOUNCE JANUARY 2016 UK TOUR
Schenker will perform tracks from 'Spirit On A Mission' plus all the MSG, UFO and Scorpions rock classics...

venom MANTAS, ABADDON AND DEMOLITION MAN REUNITE TO CREATE VENOM INC: TOUR DATES ANNOUNCED
...now there is a second Venom on the circuit...

kamelot KAMELOT PREMIERE MUSIC VIDEO OF 'INSOMNIA' FROM UPCOMING ALBUM 'HAVEN'
It's time to step into the cinematic, epic and emotionally dynamic world of Haven. Check it out here...

the darkness THE DARKNESS LAUNCH NEW VIDEO FOR 'OPEN FIRE'
The Darkness have announced details of the first single from their forthcoming fourth album 'Last Of Our Kind'...

doro pesch DORO ANNOUNCES UK TOUR THIS NOVEMBER AND LIVE DVD
Internationally renowned rock and Heavy Metal legend Doro Pesch has just announced a run of three UK shows this November...

epica DUTCH SYMPHONIC METAL STARS EPICA ANNOUNCE UK TOUR WITH SWISS FOLK METALERS ELUVEITIE
"Both bands bring their unique flavour to Metal and are known as top live acts, so we are certain that every single night is going to be one to remember..."

cradle of filth CRADLE OF FILTH UNVEIL THE COVER ARTWORK FOR 'HAMMER OF THE WITCHES'
"...themes rife with heady witchcraft, be it persecution, retribution or unfettered spiritual liberation..."

heidevolk MARK BOCKTING AND RAEMON BLOEM DEPART HEIDEVOLK
Heidevolk, Mark and Reamon have all made statements which you can read in full here...

phil rudd AC/DC DRUMMER PHIL RUDD PLEADS GUILTY TO DRUG POSSESSION AND THREATENING TO KILL CHARGES
Phil remained silent in court except when asked to enter his plea and also refused to answer questions as he left the courthouse...

inglorious EXCLUSIVE: INGLORIOUS RELEASE VIDEO OF 'FOOL FOR YOUR LOVIN'' AHEAD OF LONDON HIPPODROME SHOWCASE
The video was recorded completely live and recorded and mixed by Steve Rispin at Liscombe Park Studios...

majesty GUITARIST TRISTAN VISSER LEAVES MAJESTY
The split appears to be amicable and without bad blood. Tristan has left to pursue a solo career...

uriah heep JUDAS PRIEST AND URIAH HEEP MEMBERS IN ALL-STAR METALWORKS JAM AT DAVEY RIMMER'S WEDDING
Other guests included all the members of Uriah Heep plus numerous faces from the London scene...

alestorm BREAKING NEWS: GUITARIST DANI EVANS LEAVES ALESTORM
"I hold nothing but respect for the guys and there is no bad blood between us..."

ozzy osbourne BREAKING NEWS: OZZY OSBOURNE HITS BACK AT BILL WARD: "BE HONEST WITH BLACK SABBATH FANS"
"Deep down inside you knew you weren't capable of doing the album and a 16 month tour..."

kiss KISS ANNOUNCE EUROPEAN TOUR FOR MAY/JUNE 2015
"Prepare yourself for the greatest show on earth as Kiss are coming to OWN Europe..."

bill ward BILL WARD POSTS LONG STATEMENT ON HIS FEELINGS ABOUT BLACK SABBATH CONTINUING WITHOUT HIM
"The continuing misguided information about me has established a necessity on my part to confront these issues..."

origins of iron ORIGINS OF IRON: AN ALBUM FULL OF EX-IRON MAIDEN MEMBERS AND THEIR MUSIC
After the success of the highly rated encyclopaedic book, 'Outside Iron Maiden' the author and organisers hatched a plan...

giants of rock MICHAEL SCHENKER'S TEMPLE OF ROCK TO HEADLINE GIANTS OF ROCK FESTIVAL 2016
Other acts already confirmed are Wishbone Ash featuring Andy Powell plus two of the finest bands to ever come out of Dunfermline...

aerosmith AEROSMITH BLUE ARMY TOUR 2015 SUMMER TREK TO KICK OFF JUNE 13th
Following their wildly successful and acclaimed 2014 Let Rock Rule tour, Aerosmith will return to the road June 13th...

accept ACCEPT ANNOUNCE NEW GUITARIST AND DRUMMER AND POST NEW VIDEO CLIP
Looking back on 2014, it was the best year in the band's career so far...

bernie torme BERNIE TORME ANNOUNCES 'BLACKHEART' NEW ALBUM AND TOUR SCHEDULED FOR OCTOBER 2015
"We did a storming little UK tour end of last year following the release of the 'Flowers & Dirt' album and I really caught the bug to play live again..."

behemoth BEHEMOTH RELEASE NEW VIDEO FOR 'MESSE NOIR' WITH PRODUCER ZEV DEANS
The combination of visual and auditory elements could not be more ideal...

conan CONAN ANNOUNCE UK HEADLINE TOUR IN JUNE
""As we gear up to record the follow up to 'Blood Eagle', we welcome you to join us on our only run of UK shows in 2015..."

muskel rock MUSKEL ROCK ANNOUNCES SPECIAL HEADLINERS
Let Them Eat Metal On Metal because there's Thunder On The Tundra at this year's Muskel Rock Festival in Sweden...

primus PRIMUS ANNOUNCE 'AN EVENING WITH PRIMUS' JUNE UK DATES
Primus are set to return to the UK for the first time since 2012 for three special shows...

babymetal BABYMETAL TO FINALLY RELEASE SELF-TITLED DEBUT ALBUM IN UK VIA earMUSIC
Babymetal are a divisive phenomena in the Metal world today...

ac/dc AC/DC OPEN ROCK OR BUST WORLD TOUR WITH SURPRISE SETLIST INCLUSIONS: WARNING - CONTAINS SPOILERS
The Rock Or Bust world tour resumes on April 17th during Coachella's second weekend before the band hit Europe in May...

six feet under SIX FEET UNDER ALL SET TO RELEASE THEIR ELEVENTH STUDIO ALBUM 'CRYPT OF THE DEVIL'
The band's eleventh studio recording boasts ten murderous slabs of audio repugnance...

gwar METAL BLADE TO RE-ISSUE GWAR's 'AMERICA MUST BE DESTROYED'
'America Must Be Destroyed' is definitely their "heaviest" album. The hardest vocals, and the hardest music...

twisted sister BREAKING NEWS: TWISTED SISTER ANNOUNCE AJ PERO TRIBUTE CONCERT, FAREWELL TOUR AND AJ'S REPLACEMENT
"Dee Snider and the boys made the decision last month to call it quits - just one week before drummer AJ Pero died from a heart attack."

skyclad MARTIN WALKYIER GOES SKYCLAD ANNOUNCED AS BEERMAGEDDON SATURDAY NIGHT HEADLINER
"Once again we will witness Skyclad in it's true glory, as intended from conception, the Skyclad that impacted Metal like no incarnation since..."

iron maiden IRON MAIDEN CATALOGUE NOW MASTERED FOR ITUNES
"I honestly feel that there is a massive improvement in the quality of these classic albums..."

skid row JOHNNY SOLINGER LEAVES SKID ROW; REPLACEMENT NAMED ALREADY
"We had a lot of great times together and created a lot of great music. We wish him nothing but the best."

sos festival SOS FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES SIX MORE BANDS
Skarlett Riot, The Raven Age, 13 Stars, Heartbreak Remedy, Liz Owen & Charlotte Hackett are added to the loaded bill this July...

megadeth ANGRA GUITARIST KIKO LOUREIRO JOINS MEGADETH
He will be Megadeth's tenth guitarist in the band's thirty year history and he replaces the departed Chris Broderick...

odium CANADA'S ODIUM ISSUE STUDIO UPDATE AND OFFER FREE SONG DOWNLOAD
As the album comes together in the studio, Odium have no plans to slow down on the live performance front...

videscape VIDESCAPE IS THE NEW WAY FOR MUSICIANS TO MAKE MORE MONEY FROM VIDEOS AND AUDIO
VidEscape is perhaps not a site many musicians and bands are familiar with but all that could change in the coming months...

van halen VAN HALEN SHUT DOWN HOLLYWOOD BLVD FOR SPECIAL JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE PERFORMANCE
The band performed a forty five minute set to fans who were given free tickets to attend the outdoor event...

status quo STATUS QUO TO ROCK ROCHESTER CASTLE FOR A RECORD FIFTH TIME
The Quo will perform at the picturesque Norman castle grounds on Wednesday July 15th with support from Steve Harley And Cockney Rebel...

skarlett riot SKARLETT RIOT ANNOUNCE UK TOUR
Dubbed the 'We Will Rise' Tour to promote their new EP, 'We Are The Brave', the band will be joined on the trek by The Raven Age...

whitesnake BREAKING NEWS: DEF LEPPARD/WHITESNAKE/BLACK STAR RIDERS ANNOUNCE DECEMBER UK TOUR
Tickets go on sale at 10.00am on 1st April from Live Nation UK with pre-sale and VIP ticketing information coming soon...

doro DORO CONFIRMED FOR ROCK IN RIO AND ANNOUNCES HUGE EUROPEAN TOUR
"This is amazing and a dream coming true. I think that we might also play my hymn 'All We Are'."...

evil scarecrow EVIL SCARECROW SET OFF FOR 'ROAD TO DOWNLOAD' TOUR
Grab the chance to catch the Nottingham maestros of Metal around the UK before their appearance at Download...

iron maiden IRON MAIDEN TO RECEIVE O2 SILVER CLEF AWARD
The iconic band have won the Outstanding Contribution To UK Music category...

thunder THUNDER APPEAR ON WEEKEND WOGAN BBC RADIO SHOW
Thunder's new album 'Wonder Days' went straight into the Top Ten of the UK album charts and they have just completed a highly successful UK tour...

aj pero BANDMATES AND STARS PAY TRIBUTE TO TWISTED SISTER AND ADRENALINE MOB DRUMMER AJ PERO
Pero was on tour with Adrenaline Mob when members of that band were unable to rouse him on their bus on Friday morning...

red dragon cartel RED DRAGON CARTEL NAME MICHAEL THOMAS BECK IN LEAD VOCALIST CHANGE UP
Darren James Smith is out, and a new era begins. The saga continues...

walls of jericho WALLS OF JERICHO ARE ENTERING THE STUDIO
The band will start work shortly on their first full length album since 2008...

beyond forgotton shores DORMANT INFERNO & DIONYSUS ANNOUNCE SPLIT RELEASE 'BEYOND FORGOTTEN SHORES'
India's Transcending Obscurity label produces a Doom Metal double...

icon I.C.O.N SIGN TO METALBOX RECORDINGS
With a follow up album to 'New Born Lie' on the way and an extensive touring schedule, 2015 sees I.C.O.N in full flow...

soldierfield SOLDIERFIELD RELEASE OFFICIAL VIDEO FOR 'THE ONLY WAR'
The video is from the latest acclaimed release 'Catharsis'...

serpentine SERPENTINE ANNOUNCE THE RELEASE OF THEIR ALBUM 'CIRCLE OF KNIVES'
The new studio album contains ten brand new songs from the melodic rock quintet...

styx STYX RELEASE 'LIVE AT THE ORLEANS ARENA LAS VEGAS'
The definitive live show is available on DVD, CD, Blu-ray and digital formats...

mike porcaro MIKE PORCARO OF TOTO DEAD AT 59
The rock world was shook again on Sunday morning, March 15th 2015...

sick of it all SICK OF IT ALL LAUNCH NEW VIDEO FOR 'GET BRONX'
"This video serves to show people across the world that as gritty and unpretentious as hardcore music is, it still translates to the big stage and doesn't need a tiny, intimate atmosphere to work..."

steve hackett STEVE HACKETT LAUNCHES 'THE WHEEL'S TURNING' LYRIC VIDEO
"In contrast to the primal and gothic nature of much of the album, 'The Wheel's Turning' has a fun and nostalgic vibe..."

corbitt WARBEAST'S BRUCE CORBITT ISSUES UPDATE FOLLOWING HIS HEART SCARE
Bruce has been undergoing tests and has an important message to share...

enter shikari ENTER SHIKARI ANNOUNCE INTIMATE DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL WARM-UP SHOW
Catch the band at Bristol in June before their slot headlining Download's second stage...

serpentyne MEDIEVAL FOLK ROCKERS SERPENTYNE UNLEASH NEW VIDEO FOR 'VALKYRIES'
Over the last few years their live show has become quite the spectacle...

tank TANK REVEAL ALBUM ARTWORK FOR 'VALLEY OF TEARS'
"He's injected so much new energy and inspiration into the band since joining us in 2013..."

mike portnoy MIKE PORTNOY IN MEGA "DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM" MOMENT AFTER HAVING TO WAIT AT HOSPITAL
However well intended, the post comes across as though he is expecting to jump the queue due to his "status"...

david gilmour DAVID GILMOUR ANNOUNCES 2015 SHOWS
The dates will coincide with the release of his as yet untitled fourth solo studio album...


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