Accept It – Dirkschneider Turns The Page

DIRKSCHNEIDER

DIRKSCHNEIDER plays Whisky A Go Go Mar. 22 and Brick By Brick Mar. 23; photo Tim Tronckoe

Dirkschneider’s “Back to the Roots II”, the final tour for playing all Accept songs, stops in SoCal for two nights beginning with the Whisky A Go Go Mar. 22 then on to Brick By Brick Mar. 23. The group will play an almost completely new setlist of only Accept hits, but this time with many different songs compared to previous tours.

“It’s still so much fun to sing these songs live, they are a part of my biography, but nevertheless it’s about time to turn that page,” Udo remarked. “There was so much talking and speculations about me and Accept, so this is kind of a musical statement from my end – which seems to be very interesting for the fans who came to these shows.”

DIRKSCHNEIDER

DIRKSCHNEIDER

In addition to their still ongoing successful tour, Dirkschneider has released LIVE – Back To The Roots – Accepted! featuring many classics from Udo Dirkschneider’s Accept era, as well as a cover version of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” as bonus track.

“The song “My Way” was not planned but it was normally the outro after a show, so we wanted to put it on the album,” Dirkschneider explained. “But the publishing said, ‘no’ so I said, ‘what can I do’? And then I tried to sing “My Way”. It worked!”

Playing around 200 shows a year, Dirkschneider does not appear to be slowing down noting that if you play “a lot of shows in a short amount of time, you have to be in control of yourself.” He claims not to have a problem with that.

DIRKSCHNEIDER

DIRKSCHNEIDER

“Of course, we have a good time, have a little party, but it’s not like when you were 25 or whatever,” Dirkschneider chuckled. “I mean we’re playing nearly two hours every night and then four or five nights in a row, you have to be careful.”

This tour continues through mid-October, finishing up in Mallorca. But, that doesn’t mean Dirkschneider will have nothing to do.

“Yea, we go until middle of October under Dirkschneider then we start rehearsing for the U.D.O. Tour.”

There is also a new U.D.O. album coming out at the end of the year in Europe which Dirkschneider said “is still a bit of a secret.”

Joining Dirkschneider on the current U.S. and Canada tour will be Australian metal band Elm Street for all dates.

“I want to watch the show and see what kind of music they are doing.”

Playing roughly 20 Accept songs a night, this final tour promises to be memorable.

“They definitely will see a really good show, a really good setlist,” Dirkschneider promised. “I’m looking forward to everything.”

AmeriKKKant But Ministry Will And You Should Too

MINISTRY

MINISTRY play HOB/Anaheim Mar. 22 and Majestic Theater Mar. 23; photo Phil Parmet

Ministry kicks off 2018 with an all-star lineup for the politically charged AmeriKKKant tour where “P.T.-Barnum-meets-Rage-Against-The-Machine” ringmaster, Al Jourgensen and long-time band members guitarists Sin Quirin and Cesar Soto, will be joined by vocalist Burton C. Bell (Fear Factory), drummer Joey Jordison (Slipknot, VIMIC), and live scratcher DJ Swamp (Beck, the Crystal Method), Tony Campos (Fear Factory, Static-X) on bass, and keyboardist John Bechdel (Killing Joke, Fear Factory).

When asked how the current line-up of Ministry evolved Quirin replied, “Well, we were all at this Turkish bath house (by chance) and at one point we all got up to grab the same bath towel. That is how we all met.”

MINISTRY-Al Jourgensen; photo Phil Parmet

MINISTRY-Al Jourgensen; photo Phil Parmet

Quirin went on to explain that all the current members of Ministry have known each other for many years and that reforming the band was simply a matter of checking schedules and availability. Ministry technically reformed in 2006 which is also the year Quirin joined the band. He has been involved in all the song writing since, up to and including the new album AmeriKKKant. The other members had some years that followed where their involvement was on and off due to their other bands.

Ministry founder, “Uncle Al” Jourgensen had a farewell tour in 2008 due to health issues but then Quirin pointed out that Jourgensen “started to feel better, started to feel great and wanted to do Ministry again. His spirit to do such a thing was back in it.” Then the band had another set-back that was “truly devastating for Al and the rest of us.” Mike Scaccia, the other guitarist, died of a heart attack in 2012.

“The band was in the studio recording the album From Here To Eternity and literally two days after completing that, Mikey had passed,” Quirin recalled. “And that is why it had taken so long to get that record out.”

Scaccia had worked very hard on the album and it was his final offering of course. With that sentiment in mind, the band went on tour once again and has continued through the present.

ministry

Ministry “Amerikkkant” CD cover

AmeriKKKant is a more political in-your-face expression of Jourgensen’s upset over the current ills in this “Land Of Rape And Honey”. It expresses the bands’ disdain for our current American leader whom they refer to as “Hurricane Cheeto”.

But the album is not just about that. It’s also stock-full of protest against racism and the recent unveiling of the uber-sexist and predatory Hollywood that the media has made the whole world well aware of.

Quirin expressed that since he has been involved with the band it has always been political to some degree. However, he doesn’t think that the latest album will change what people already feel about Ministry.

“There are those that listen to Ministry that pay strict attention to the lyrics and the music,” Quirin noted. “And then there are those that just listen to Ministry for the sound, for the music only.”

MINISTRY-Al Jourgensen; photo Phil Parmet

MINISTRY-Al Jourgensen; photo Phil Parmet

Fans of Ministry know that quite a few of their albums are of a protesting spirit in nature. AmeriKKKant is no different and seems to have even more of that protest-in-the-streets kind of feeling. Sometimes music can be a powerful tool for “waking people up”.

“I don’t know if it’s the most powerful thing,” Quirin mused. “But it is definitely a very powerful tool across the board with everything. I believe that music has healing powers. I am sure you have heard of that thing where someone says that a particular song or piece of music helped them get through a tough time. Music can create an instant positive change in someone. It is a universal language.”

Experience Ministry and AmeriKKKant live at the House of Blues Anaheim on Mar. 22 and The Majestic Theater Mar. 23. Chelsea Wolfe will be the opening act during this tour.

Get Lost With DIIV

DIIV

DIIV play Music Box May 18, Observatory May 19, The Regent May 21; photo Sandy Kim

Are you ready to get your shoes on and your shoe-gaze on? Brooklyn’s DIIV (formerly Dive) are crossing coasts to bring you an ample dosage of the genre. They have three trips planned for SoCal starting May 18 at Music Box in San Diego, The Observatory in Santa Ana May 19 and The Regent in Los Angeles May 21.

DIIV is the creation of Beach Fossils guitarist Z. Cole Smith. And the two full-lengths by the band, Is The Is Are and Oshin, are very much saturated with guitar presence. Even though the album is rich with ethereal vocal tones and chords, the guitar workings surface above all of that creating a thick choir of melody.

One can get lost in the harmonious hum of both studio albums, and just before the monotonous seems to take a foothold within the progression of the songs, the texture of the music shifts into moments that will remind some listeners of Joy Division and Bauhaus, minus the atmosphere of darkness and depression that one can feel from those bands. No, DIIV is music for rocking on silvery fluffy clouds or for a smooth drive down the coast on a sunny day. That’s music perfect for tour dates in California, isn’t it?

DIIV; photo Sandy Kim

DIIV; photo Sandy Kim

There are harder hitting patches in the music giving it a groove and maintaining an indie-rock feel. Then there are sections that seem to fade into the background giving the sound an even more dreamy quality, which a shoe-gaze junkie would be fiending for.

The diversity in the compositions is something sure to take notice of with this band. I find it is not common and/or easy for most bands to keep a multi-genre title under their belt. Bands tend to be more one genre over another. Such is not the case here with the balance in the music that DIIV keeps steady.

There are even moments where the band’s shoe-gaze trips morph into psychedelic ones with artsy statics and noises to boot. But should it be that one had their hair in their face for too long or forgot where they were, the sound soon shifts again and takes the listener somewhere else.

The aspect of the music that seems to keep you in this lucid-dream-state instead of floating off into unconsciousness are the siren-like male vocals that softly sneak in on most of the tracks. They are wonderfully hypnotic and mantra-like at times.

For all the cold-floor-bliss-rockers lurking in SoCal, you can follow DIIV like a dead-head would follow The Grateful Dead for three nights. Although the last night is on a Sunday and may not give you ample time to come down off three doses of DIIV by the time you need to wake up for work Monday. Yet, you may enjoy extending that trip into a potential manic work week and choose to just relax while on the job.

Delain And Hammerfall Tour 2017 Hits SoCal

DELAIN

DELAIN and HAMMERFALL play The Whiskey A Go Go May 9 and The Grove of Anaheim May 10; promo photo

For all the melodic-symphonic and power-metal-heads out there in SoCal, the Delain and HammerFall tour will make stops at The Whiskey-A-Go-Go May 9 and The Grove of Anaheim May 10. The remainder of the U.S. tour encompasses 12 states and two tour dates in British Colombia.

Delain is a musical exploration into the realms of pain, sorrow, yearning and love. Many of the songs are graced by the elegant female vocal performances of Charlotte Wessels who ascended quickly within the Dutch group. She was basically an unknown when joining, but evolved to become a song and lyric writer for the band alongside founder and keyboardist Martijn Westerholt. Now she has 5 full-length releases under her belt and what was meant only to be a studio-band is now on tour.

The overall sound of Delain will appeal to both metal and mainstream fans due the well-blended collage of heavy guitars, synths and choruses. There is almost a new-age feel to the music that at the same time retains an edge and classy sense of aggression. That edge and aggression is created by the two axes in the band: Timo Somers and Merel Bechtold

HAMMERFALL

HAMMERFALL; press photo

Hailing from Sweden, power metallurgists HammerFall tell a tale of perseverance. From their debut creation Glory To The Brave in 1997 and up until the band’s most recent full-length release Built to Last in 2016, the band has suffered a series of serious set-backs. Sickness and affliction have beset their rock and roll path: Shortly after the release of their 1998 album Legacy of Kings, vocalist Joacim Cans came down with a throat-infection so dire that he could no longer sing for most of the remaining tour dates that year.

Ironically, Cans was a “one-night-stand” vocalist replacing Mikael Stanne who was unavailable to sing for The Swedish Rockslaget contest in 1997. Cans’ performance helped to bring them into the semi-finals and that must have been enough to attract the attention of the German label Nuclear Blast which offered the band a four-record deal that same year. But alongside this success, Cans’ throat-infection then spread to the bassist, Magnus Rosen and then the whole of the band’s support crew.

The group was also subjected to more commonplace and less severe trials: Members quit and new members joined. Yet in 2002, another hammer fell on HammerFall: After the release of Crimson Thunder and while on tour, song-writer, guitarist, back-up vocalist and keyboardist Oscar Dronjak was injured in a motorcycle accident. Dronjak sustained minor injuries. But such impacted him enough to where he was forced to take a break that led to the inevitable cancellation of further tour dates.

With a band like HammerFall, the lyric: “It’s a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll” could easily come to mind. And here we are in 2017, 20-years later, 15-band-members later, 10 full-length-releases and 27 ep’s/singles later and they are on tour again. These are some impressive achievements for a band that was intended only to be a side-project.

So, prepare yourselves for an intense wave of melodic-symphonic metal and a falling hammer of mid-paced, high-toned, folksy and ballad-rich five-star power metal! For fans of these genres, these are shows you don’t want to miss!