SAXON Set Release Date For Heavy Metal Thunder Movie

Saxon have set a November 20th, 2012 release date for their new documentary, “Heavy Metal Thunder – The Movie.”

The double-disc set features the soon-to-be-celebrated story of  Saxon, while the second disc is packed with bonus features including a full-length performance (on St. George’s Day) from April 23rd, 2008. Rivetingly honest, and including the frank memories of every musician who has played in the band, Heavy Metal Thunder – The Movie pieces together the earliest incarnations of  Saxon, from frontman Biff Byford’s teenage years in the coalmines of Yorkshire and Son Of A Bitch (the first incarnation of Saxon) all the way through to top 10 hits and world tours.

“Our music was more sort of machinery banging together, wheels turning, machines making noise,” says Biff of those early, industrial days, “It’s what Heavy Metal is all about. Heavy Metal is all about hard, big sounds bashing your skull in. I used to work in factories where big machinery made lot of noise and I used to sing along to the noises they made.”

It is a documentary which looks for all the world as though it’s a superbly crafted script, as much a tale of pure, honest, working class triumph as just another Rock n’ Roll story. Heavy Metal Thunder – The Movie shows every facet of Saxon on their journey without once diluting the true characters who make up the band. “We basically played every dump and sh*thole that there is in England over a period, probably just short of eight years,” laughs Biff. “You know classic cliché of transit van, up and down and we used to play more or less every night. One gig might be a good paying gig and the other one might be no money or ten quid but it was an obsession, you had to play every day.” These wonderfully naïve young men sought nothing more than a great gig, a good time and maybe a nice girl, before suddenly finding themselves on tour in the US, exposed to the sorts of things which (quite frankly) Barnsley simply didn’t offer in 1980. And from that point, Heavy Metal Thunder – The Movie, takes the viewer on a journey on a Rock n’ Roller of a journey encompassing it all from triumphs to tears to tea-bags and beyond.

Nothing is forsaken and nothing skipped. Despite the fact that to this day there remain problems between the Byford/Quinn and Oliver/Dawson parties, everyone tells the full unedited Saxon story with heartfelt honesty and integrity.

“We do have a great legacy,” says Byford, “whether you joined the band in 1994 or (as) an original member. There’s a legacy there and I’ve tried hard to not let people demean it and to spoil it and you have to look after that thing that is Saxon.”

Heavy Metal Thunder – The Movie will entertain, engage and charm fans and non-fans alike. That’s a truth as honest as the film itself…

Kevin J. Anderson releases "Clockwork Angels" hardcover book with Neil Peart

 

 

A remarkable collaboration that is unprecedented in its scope and realization, this exquisitely wrought novel represents an artistic project between the bestselling science fiction author Kevin J. Anderson and the multiplatinum rock band Rush. The newest album by Rush, Clockwork Angels, sets forth a story in Neil Peart’s lyrics that has been expanded by him and Anderson into this epic novel. In a young man’s quest to follow his dreams, he is caught between the grandiose forces of order and chaos. He travels across a lavish and colorful world of steampunk and alchemy with lost cities, pirates, anarchists, exotic carnivals, and a rigid Watchmaker who imposes precision on every aspect of daily life. The mind-bending story is complemented with rich paintings by the five-time Juno Award winner for Best Album Design, Hugh Syme.

In a recent interview, Anderson talks about his experience working with the prog rock legend and what we can expect in his new book.

 

Your relationship with Rush and Neil Peart goes back a few years. Can you tell us how your friendship started?

Neil and I have known each other for more than 20 years. My very first novel Resurrection Inc. (1988) was inspired by the Rush album Grace Under Pressure — which I acknowledged in the book. I sent copies off to Mercury Records, expecting they would vanish into a black hole somewhere, but about a year later I received a letter from Neil telling me how much he liked the novel, and we struck up a correspondence, met in person, and have done plenty of things together over the years, but Clockwork Angels is our most ambitious project yet.

You’ve mentioned that Rush has been a major influence on your work. How so?

Ever since I was a kid in a small town in Wisconsin, listening to Rush (which I chose from the Columbia Record Club because their covers looked cool, even though I had never heard them), I found that the stories in the songs inspired scenes and ideas in my mind. Their concept album 2112 is a science fiction dystopia; “Xanadu” is a big fantasy epic based on the Coleridge poem; “Cygnus X-1” and “Hemispheres” together are a science fiction epic. But the Rush songs didn’t just tell me stories; the lyrics and music made me think of my own stories, and I liked to think of them as the soundtracks to what I was writing.

Fans of Rush will be thrilled to discover a number of clever references and homages to the band sprinkled throughout the story. What is it about Rush fans that sets them apart?

Rush fans are very devoted; they are not casual listeners who pick up a song or two. They immediately buy the whole album and listen to every track. When Clockwork Angels was released, it immediately became the #1 bestselling album in North America…and the band has been together 38+ years. The library of songs (20 studio albums now) is so rich, covering so many thematic landscapes and so many moods, it was a large treasure chest for me to draw from. The Rush lyrical references sprinkled throughout the novel are natural extensions of the prose, not shoehorned in with a big grin and a wink. If you catch them, you catch them, but if you don’t get the references, it should not affect your enjoyment in any way.

Neil and I plotted this story from its inception; he approached me with his own ideas for scenes and characters, and he knew the lyrics he was writing, so we built the world, the storyline, the villains and heroes around the songs; but it also had to work as a novel, too. Clockwork Angels should be an enjoyable steampunk fantasy regardless of whether or not you’re a Rush fan.

After Neil and I had mapped out the blueprint of the novel, I wrote drafts of the chapters and sent the roughs to Neil every day, and he read and commented, usually within hours. Some scenes he suggested; others he wrote himself. (Neil has published several of his own books and is an accomplished author in his own right.) We went back and forth, sometimes with a dozen emails a day. He was so pleased with the finished manuscript that he offered to read the unabridged audiobook himself-so if you listen to the audio, it’s his voice carrying the words.

Collaborations are now something you’re quite experienced with. What are the most pronounced benefits of working with another creative force? How do you resolve creative differences?

Some writers prefer the solitary experience, being the sole arbiter and inspiration behind a story. I like the “let’s pretend” aspect of collaborating, bouncing ideas back and forth, building one idea upon another, drawing the best from my partner’s imagination as well as mine. My most frequent collaborations have been with Brian Herbert (on the Dune novels and the Hellhole trilogy), my wife Rebecca Moesta (the Young Jedi Knights series, Crystal Doors, and Star Challengers), and Doug Beason (numerous high-tech thrillers). Collaborators have to choose each other well, someone to work with, someone whose intellect and experiences will complement your own. After talking through a project, exchanging ideas, being open to other ideas, we really don’t have any creative blowups…we always try to steer through to a finished book we’re both proud of.

My other collaborators were experienced novelists, but Neil brought a different perspective to the table, approaching it as a lyricist and musician. His insights and images made the story blossom in ways I would never have been able to do myself.

Clockwork Angels takes place in a hyper-regimented dystopia. How did the steam punk elements help you convey the “clockwork” nature of this world in a way that conventional science fiction could not?

Even though the Watchmaker makes certain that every tiny detail of society is rigid, on schedule, and well planned — sort of a Big Brother figure — the land of Albion isn’t a particularly unpleasant place. It’s bucolic, clean, colorful…you don’t really see steampunk and dystopia together. Neil in particular thinks it isn’t a repressive or bad place to live…but the regimented rules could feel like a straightjacket to a dreamer. On the other hand, we try to convey that the opposite end of the spectrum, the “freedom extremist” Anarchist, is just as unpleasant.

The steamliners, the alchemy, the lost cities, the pirates, “magical” Clockwork Angels, the Watchmaker all give this story a sense of wonder and high adventure that you don’t see in grim dystopias.

Alchemy plays an important part of your world-building. What was it like being able to infuse this element into your story?

Neil was fascinated with the history and beliefs of alchemy and spent a lot of time researching the various aspects so we could include it into the world-building. “In a world lit only by fire…” Clean and abundant energy as well as readily available gold — that would radically change the economic and social landscape, allowing the Watchmaker to create his perfect world and meet the needs of all his citizens. We added the Alchemy College, the backstory of the Anarchist, and the extensive mines in the mountains of Atlantis.

How do the struggles and desires of your protagonist, Owen Hardy, compare to your own? Is Owen more like you or Neil?

Many Rush songs are about dreamers struggling to find an outlet for expression against tough obstacles or repressive societies (“2112,” “Red Barchetta,” “Middletown Dreams,” “The Enemy Within,” “The Analog Kid,” “The Body Electric”), an independent explorer going to see what’s beyond the horizon (“Cygnus X-1/Hemispheres,” “The Fountain of Lamneth”)…that’s by no means a complete list.

For myself, I grew up in a very small farming town, dreaming about becoming a writer and seeing the world someday. I can definitely relate to Owen in a very deep and personal way. There’s a lot of my upbringing in his character, and a lot of my grandfather in the frame story (with Owen as an older man). One of the key lines in the album is “In a world where I feel so small, I can’t stop thinking big” — and I think that sums it up perfectly.

What are the modern day analogues to the Watchmaker and the Anarchist?

The Watchmaker and the Anarchist are opposites, and both are relevant. Some people insist on absolute Libertarianism, with utter freedom and no safety net, which might work in a theoretical sense but can only function if everybody accepts responsibility. Others don’t want to think for themselves and want all decisions made for them, to let the safety net wrap them up like a mummy so they forget how to be individuals. I want to emphasize that the Watchmaker is not portrayed as evil — he’s just more extreme and stifling than a dreamer can be comfortable with. But not everybody’s a dreamer.

We have one small scene in the carnival with a fabulous contraption called the Cage of Imaginary Creatures, with colored-glass portholes for viewing. Customers peer inside to see what their imagination inspires; one frumpy woman demands her money back in a huff because “there’s nothing inside!” And for her, alas, it is the truth.

What’s next for you? And do you have any further plans to work with Neil and Rush?

Released simultaneously with Clockwork Angels is the first in my new “Dan Shamble, Zombie PI” series, Death Warmed Over, a humorous horror series about a zombie detective solving cases with monsters, vampires, werewolves, mummies, etc. I’ve already written the first three of those books, and they were enormously fun and entertaining; next week is the reissue of my steampunk alternate history The Martian War, in which a young HG Wells and his college professor head to Mars to prevent the War of the Worlds. Brian Herbert and I have our next original novel, Hellhole Awakening, out in February, and I’m just starting a new trilogy set in my Saga of Seven Suns universe. So, plenty busy.

Rush are just embarking on a full US concert tour for Clockwork Angels, which will then lead into a European tour, and then (my guess, at least) another US tour leg. Neil and I loved working on this project and I expect we will do something together in the future, but no definite plans yet. (It took us 20 years to figure out this one!)

You can find out more about Kevin J. Anderson at his website.

 

Ken's Halloween Retro Pick – "Trick or Treat" (the movie-1986)

Ok, normally when I do a “Retro Pick” it is usually of a band from a long time ago. This time around to celebrate the spirit of Halloween, I decided to do something a little different. So my Retro Pick on this Halloween is the 1986 metal movie, “Trick or Treat”.  Metal was booming, to say the least, in the 80’s and it didn’t stop at just music, it ended up in theaters as well.

Trick or Treat is a 1986 horror film by De Laurentiis Entertainment Group, starring Marc Price, Tony Fields, and Lisa Orgolini, with special appearances by Gene Simmons and Ozzy Osbourne. For those of you who may not remember, or may not have even been born yet in the 80’s, lead actor Marc Price is the actor who played Skippy on the TV series “Family Ties” with Michael J. Fox.  Skippy was a nerd on the show and it was cool seeing him transformed into a metal head in this movie.

THE PLOT…High school outcast Eddie Weinbauer is writing a letter to his hero, metal musician Sammi Curr. He puts the letter in an envelope and starts doing his chores. He watches the news at the same time when he hears the worst words to ever reach his mind: Sammi Curr has died in a mysterious hotel fire. He is completely devastated. He goes to his friend “Nuke” (Gene Simmons), a DJ who knew Sammi Curr personally. To take Eddie’s mind off the death of his idol, Nuke gives Eddie the only copy of Curr’s last and only unreleased album on an acetate disc.

Once back home, Eddie falls asleep while listening to the record and has a strange dream about the fire that killed Sammi Curr. When he wakes up he finds that the record is skipping and after listening to it for a few seconds he comes to realize that there is something not right about the words the record is stuck on. Having previous experience with hidden lyrics, Eddie plays the record backwards but receives more than he imagined: Sammi Curr speaking to him from beyond the grave.
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Devil's Spotlight: Sequester releases "Ancestry" EP

Back in April 2012 I spotlighted Canadian “band” Sequester. The band consists of one member, Ryan Boc. Boc is the vocalist, guitarist, bassist and drummer.

In early October 2012 I received an email from Boc who saw my post I did on Sequester. I thought this was so cool, I mean you just never know who is looking at That Devil Music let alone it be someone you are writing about. I thanked Boc for taking the time to write to me about the posting.

In the mean time he gave me access to Sequester’s new album, Ancestry. Boc delivered again with4 new songs, A Feral Apparition,  Niseag, Bonnie Dundee and Skye Boat Song. All four songs are very different in their own way which is something I really liked.  While I enjoyed all four songs, A Feral Apparition and Bonnie Dundee really stood out for me.  A Feral Apparition was total metal with Boc not missing a step. Bonnie Dundee is traditional Scottish folk music with a nice metal touch.  Skye Boat Song is more of a ballad compared to the other songs with great piano and acoustic guitar playing.  The variety of music between all of these songs made me wanting more.  While it must be totally time consuming to just record one song being the sole musician after listening to the Ancestry EP, these 4 songs made me wanting more.

 Solo SEQUESTER musician, Ryan Boc

On Sequester’s website, Boc talks about the new songs on Ancestry (from September 22, 2012)

“So with the album coming out soon, I thought I’d do a brief summary about the songs and the album as a whole. As mentioned before, this is a Scottish themed album titled Ancestry, which is referring to the ‘Niven’ side of my family. With that in mind, I would like to dedicate this work to my granddad, Albert Niven, who cannot be thanked enough for all his support over the years.
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Devil's Review: Wintersun – Time, Vol. 1

It’s been 8 years since Wintersun released their debut.  I am not going to rehash the history, because if you are reading this, you probably already know it.  Time Vol. 1 (with volume 2 supposedly a couple of months away) is the sophomore effort from Jari, the former Ensiferum frontman’s own band.  Eight years is a long time, so expectations were essentially through the roof for this album across the Metal world.  Anything less than exceptional would be unacceptable.  So how did Wintersun do?

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Kane Roberts' 'Unsung Radio' Now Available For Purchase

Back in August I did a Retro Pick of Kane Roberts, former guitarist for Alice Cooper. Now, Roberts has a 2-disc set available for purchase.  Roberts  has released ‘Unsung Radio’, a collection of previously unreleased and Phoenix Down material.

The double CD release features a re-issue of Kane Roberts’ 3rd solo release (the 1999 Phoenix Down album ‘Under A Wild Sky’) along with a full CD of 11 unreleased ‘rough’ songs that scan from Roberts’ pre-Alice Cooper recordings to a few years ago, including several Jim Peterik co-writes and an additional audio commentary. During the commentary Roberts explains what “was happening during the recording sessions and other nonsense”.

‘Unsung Radio’ is limited to 500 copies, is sure to be a much sought after collector’s item, and can be ordered by visiting the Firefest shop at www.firefestofficial.com.

Earlier this year Kane Roberts reissued his ‘Saints And Sinners’ solo album through Yesterrock Records. The album wwas released in two versions — the original 10 song CD and a limited edition (only 500 copies) two CD set featuring four bonus tracks.

Kane Roberts is well known as guitar player for none other than Alice Cooper. He can be heard on the albums ‘Constrictor’ and ‘Raise Your Fist And Yell’. He also performed live on the tours for these albums. The guitarist as well was involved in writing the songs on these two albums and in charge for adding the heavy metal flair of the late 80’s to Alice’s sound.

Roberts’ on stage performance was branded by his masculine looks and his utopian looking, pyrotechnical guitars. After leaving Alice’s band, Roberts released his first, self-titled solo album in 1987. The lyrics of the song “Full Pull” were co-penned by Alice Cooper. In 1989, the guitarist appeared as a guest on Cooper’s ‘Trash’ record on the song “Bed Of Nails”.

‘Saints And Sinners’, Kane Roberts second album, was released in 1991 and included the Jon Bon Jovi written track “Does Anybody Really Fall In Love Anymore?” which also has been recorded by Cher.