Brandon Judeh

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Rob Zombie performing at Packard Music Hall in Warren, Ohio. Photo by Brandon Judeh.

Rob Zombie performing at Packard Music Hall in Warren, Ohio. Photo by Brandon Judeh.

By Brandon Judeh (Music Reporter)

Halloween arrived early Monday night, when Rob Zombie and his “Super Monster Sex Action Tour” rolled into W. D. Packard Music Hall in Warren.

Set to a backdrop of famous monsters such as Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolfman and King Kong, Zombie and company rocked the intimate venue for nearly two hours.

Coming out in a cloud of fog and red lights, Zombie, guitarist John 5, bassist Piggy D and drummer Ginger Fish kicked things off with 2013’s “Teenage Nosferatu Pussy,” much to the fans delight.

The sold out crowd erupted after the first few notes of White Zombie classic, “Super-Charger Heaven” which set the tone for the rest of the night.

The layout of the concert was much more low key than a typical Rob Zombie show, using backdrops, lighting and fog to set the atmosphere.

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Photo by Brandon Judeh.

A big contrast to the high-end productions Zombie has been known to put forth in recent years. Missing were the giant robots, fire and big screens.

Surprisingly, this did not take away from the show; rather it proved that Zombie and his team could put on a high quality show, no matter the setting.

“Living Dead Girl” and “Dead City Radio and the New Gods of Supertown” stood out as two of the best songs of the set, with Zombie’s energetic stage persona leading the way.

As the quartet hammered through “House of 1000 Corpses,” “Meet the Creeper,” and “Never Gonna Stop” they switched gears by throwing in a couple of covers.

In between “Thunder Kiss ‘65” the band stomped out heavy renditions of the Ramones classic “Blitzkrieg Bop” and Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out.” With Zombie adding “I’m sure sometime in the 22-year history of the Ramones that they came through your town. If you didn’t see them, well, you fucked up. If you weren’t born yet, that’s your problem.”

The Ramones did indeed roll into nearby Youngstown in July of 1976, when they played their first concert outside of New York at the Tomorrow Club inside of the old State Theater.

Joey Ramone also met future members of the “Dead Boys” that night.

Guitarist John 5. Photo by Brandon Judeh.

Guitarist John 5. Photo by Brandon Judeh.

As the band returned to the stage after a brief intermission (with the crowd chanting “ZOMBIE, ZOMBIE!”), John 5 came out and proved why he is one of the best Metal guitarists.

His gritty guitar solo of the National Anthem was the perfect segway into Grand Funk Railroad’s “We’re an American Band.”

Aside from that, John 5 showed all night long why Zombie works closely with him on albums and with the music he provides for some of Zombie’s movies (see Lords of Salem).

As the night slowly closed to an end, John 5, Piggy D and Fish played a slow, sludgy and heavy rendition of “The Lords of Salem” before closing with the fan favorite, “Dragula.”

When the band left the stage and the lights went on, the crowd continued to chant, but this time the beautiful horror show was over.

 

Chris Robinson Brotherhood. Photo courtesy of classicrock.teamrock.com.

Chris Robinson Brotherhood. Photo courtesy of classicrock.teamrock.com.

By Brandon Judeh (Music Reporter)

Often time’s fans get lost in the fact that a musician is just a musician, but in most cases that is the furthest thing from the truth.

Take Chris Robinson Brotherhood guitarist Neal Casal. Though known for his musical mastery in bands such as Ryan Adams & The Cardinals and Hazy Malaze, the guitarist also thrives in photography.

“Photography is my passion, I love it,” said Casal. “Unfortunately now days people use it in impure ways and it ruins the art.”

Though in recent memory the paparazzi and others have used photography as a weapon rather than a tool, Casal uses it to complete the experience of life.

“For me it helps complete the full experience. I take a lot of photos backstage and on tour because a memory is only a small part of the story. With pictures, I can document and see the full experience of what happened,” he said.

In 2010 Casal released a photo-book titled, Ryan Adams & the Cardinals: A View of Other Windows, which documented his time spent within the band.

Though his photography is a constant work, he also finds time to help spearhead the psychedelic blues-rock of the Chris Robinson Brotherhood.

The band is currently embarking on a tour that will span through the end of the year, which is nothing new for the hard working band.

But does it ever get tedious?

“No not at all, sure certain times of the day are rough, as we are all piled in close together, but overall I love touring and I love my band mates and being out on stage is exciting,” said the 45-year-old. “That’s the best part of the day, especially with this band because the set list is different every night and the songs give us room to experiment and have fun with.”

Chris Robinson Brotherhood will be out supporting their new effort, Phosphorescent Harvest, and will be playing back-to-back nights at the Beachland Ballroom and Tavern in Cleveland on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 10 and 11.

Casal said he and his band mates love the new album.

“We are happy with how it turned out and that comes out of how well we work together as a whole. As far as the reception of the album, it’s hard to tell. When we make an album we make it how we want it to sound, not how the general public may want it to sound,” added Casal.

Later this summer the Brotherhood will be touring along side one of their hero’s, Bob Weir, as he and his band RatDog will be hitting the road, including a stop at Cleveland’s Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica on September 10.

Bob Weir’s influence, as well as his former band the Grateful Dead, on the Brotherhood is undeniable and Casal said their admiration is even deeper than many think.

“The Dead are a huge influence on us, not just musically, but also with their lifestyle and beliefs. All of us have kind of adopted these things from them, we aren’t trying to copy them by any means, but we just highly respect them.”

“There are a lot of bands that have influenced us though, not just the Dead. We even listen to a lot of the jazz bands that influenced the Dead,” Casal added.

After the Chris Robinson Brotherhood wraps up their touring duties at the end of the year, Casal, who has 12 solo albums under his belt, said a number of things are possible.

“After the tour is over we are just going to kind of see what happens next. For me personally, Chris Robinson Brotherhood is number one on my priorities list. We will just see where it goes and maybe we will record some new music once it’s all said and done,” finished Casal.

Kaiser Chiefs. Photo courtesy of www.theguardian.com/

Kaiser Chiefs. Photo courtesy of www.theguardian.com/

By Brandon Judeh (Music Reporter)

 For well over a decade England’s Kaiser Chiefs have quietly laid the groundwork for what is turning into a rich history of top UK singles. Such hits as “Ruby” and “Never Miss a Beat” has helped catapult the group into one of the UK’s top bands.

Now with a new album under their belt, Education, Education, Education and War, their fifth album to date, the Kaiser Chiefs are invading America this summer with a slew of tour dates, including a stop at the House of Blues in Cleveland on June 17.

Recently bassist Simon Rix spoke with The Raw Alternative about the new album, tour and the Kaiser Chiefs brief appearance at the 2012 London Olympics.

“Curlywand,” as his friends affectionately call him for his curly hair, also talked about new drummer Vijay Mistry and what lays ahead for he and his band mates.

Q: How’s the tour going so far? I see you have played a few promo shows.

A: Everything is going good so far. We have only played some promo shows in Europe, so we are really looking forward to doing a proper tour in America.

Q: What can we expect during the US tour? Any Surprises?

A: We are playing in a lot of new venues that we have never played in before and we will be playing a lot of new songs off the latest record. That’s what we are most excited about, is playing the new songs and putting on a great show for all the fans.

Q: Tell me about the new album ‘Education, Education, Education and War,’ it seems to be doing well.

A: We are very happy with how it turned out; we feel that with this record we got better as a band. We kind of felt like we hit a plateau a few years back, but now with this album we feel like we are soaring upward again. It has us all very excited about what’s next for the band and to keep working hard on improving and getting better as a whole. The record is currently doing well in the UK and getting a lot of radio play.

Q: I have to ask you about the title of the album, where did it come from? I would imagine it has a lot to do with the lyrics?

A: Yes the Album is about personal education and personal war. All of us kind of felt we were fighting for the band and with ourselves. Throughout the songs a recurring theme of education and war comes up in the lyrics and we captured a bit of a new sound.

Q: This is the first album without founding member and drummer Nick Hodgson and first with new drummer Vijay Mistry. What new dynamic does he bring to the band?

A: He’s a great new member and everything feels kind of fresh again and exciting. We get to see things through his eyes and that helps us see some things differently. He’s a very enthusiastic and exciting person, which is great because we are all from Northern England, which means we are never happy (laughs).

Q: Lets backtrack to the 2012 Olympics in England, what was it like playing “Pinball Wizard” at the Olympics in your home country?

A: It was great, a good day, but also an insane day. We kind of waited around and were very nervous because we were going to play for millions of people watching the event on television plus the ones in attendance. It was a little hard to get into a groove because we were only playing for about three minutes and then it was time to get off the stage, but we still enjoyed it. Being a part of the Olympics in our homeland was very special.

Q: What will the rest of 2014 and beyond bring for the Kaiser Chiefs?

A: We will continue to promote the album, do some festivals and probably come back to America for another tour as well. We are looking to get back into the studio fairly soon to maybe record another single, or even do an EP so stay tuned!

 

King Buzzo

King Buzzo

By Brandon Judeh (Music Reporter)

For more than 30 years Buzz Osborne has been the King of everything weird, heavy and sludgy with his highly influential band the Melvins.

Now, King Buzzo is looking toward another outlet as he’s releasing an acoustic solo album titled This Machine Kills Artists set for a June 3 release via Ipecac Recordings.

To the casual fan, this raw, bare bones record may seem strange. But to any hardcore Melvanite, this will come as no surprise.

“Nothing we do is universally accepted, to be honest sometimes I think we drive away as many people as we bring in with every new album,” said Osbourne. “We’re not a band that sells millions of records, I would find it hard pressed to find someone who’s three favorite bands were Nirvana, Green Day and the Melvins, you know?”

Osborne admitted he knows the Melvins aren’t the type of band you would hear played at the prom.

“I can’t imagine any of our songs have ever been played at a prom or anything, but I bet they have proms themed around Green Day or bands like that. I don’t know though because I didn’t go to my prom, I hated teenagers then and I still do now,” said Osbourne.

Osborne’s hatred of some critics also strikes hard within him, as one writer recently bashed his guitar skills by saying, “he needs to listen to Jimmy Page.”

“I thought that was really funny, I mean really, does he think I have never listened to Led Zeppelin?” laughed Osbourne.

On This Machine Kills Artists, the singer shows his knack to make any guitar, acoustic or electric, sound heavy and sludgy. And Buzz’s distinct booming voice sounds heavier than ever overtop of the acoustics. This is something Osborne was aiming for and he nailed it, especially on songs such as “Drunken Baby” and “Instrument of God.”

Folk rock has never sounded so good.

“It certainly works well and I’m happy with how it turned out,” Osbourne said. “Some people have told me how it sounds like the Melvins, well I’m in the Melvins so what the fuck did you expect? (Laughs) But there will always be people bashing my music and bashing music in general, no one is ever 100 percent happy.”

Though undoubtedly countless musicians have influenced King Buzzo, he said that he really can’t pinpoint just a few. He certainly found some inspiration from Woody Guthrie, whom he gave a nod to with the album title, as well as everyday life.

Some things stranger than others.

“I can’t really say I have any particular influence, really anything can influence a person, from a barking dog to a bowl of cereal, I just try to do something different every time I make a record,” said the 50-year-old.

One glaring difference on his upcoming tour will be the fact that Buzz will be up on stage alone, without his drummer and close friend, Dale Crover, or anyone else for that matter.

But when Osborne got into the music business a little over 30 years ago, he knew that sometimes he would have to go on stage prepared to make a complete idiot out of himself.

“If you’re scared to go on stage and look like a complete moron, then you shouldn’t be in this business. I’m up for the challenge and I always look like an idiot on stage anyway,” Osbourne said.

Buzzo will have plenty of opportunities to embarrass himself as he will be playing nearly 70 shows across the US, Europe and Australia.

Touring almost stopped completely for Buzz and side kick Dale 28 years ago after a tour in 1986 took them through the south.

States like Texas and Florida weren’t very accepting of the band, as insults such as “Faggots!” were hurled at the band.

After being roughed up by some skin heads, Buzz and Dale decided not to do a full tour of the states again for a while, it wasn’t until around 1989 that they hit the road on a full out tour again.

While on tour, Buzz unwinds by watching and listening to baseball games. Anyone who follows Buzz knows of his love for the Los Angeles Dodgers and baseball in general. Early on in our conversation Osborne went on about how much he loves the game.

“Baseball is really the only sport I can watch, I mostly enjoy watching it in person. As much as I love the Dodgers I have to say I just enjoy watching the sport no matter who is playing, especially National League ball,” he said.

He even shared a Cleveland Indians story as well.

“Back in the 90’s when Cleveland was a powerhouse we were in town and wanted to see them play, but they were always sold out. So we had the opportunity to buy really shitty tickets for like $60 a piece and at the last minute we decided not to pay that much. But I would love to go to the stadium sometime and see them play,” Osborne said.

Despite the extensive touring behind his new disk, Melvins fans need not worry that their front man is going to focus solely on solo material.

The band will be releasing an album sometime in October (Their fourth in under two years) and are planning a tour and some other surprises.

Stay tuned, as the Raw Alternative will be sure to talk to King Buzzo this fall.