With Theory Of A Deadman about to kick off their Australian tour, we spoke to the band about the tour and what the crazy last twelves months have been like.
Recently signed to Nuclear Blast and about to drop their new album, Desolation, on June 22nd, we caught up with doom merchants Khemmis all the way from Denver, Colorado. Dave G chats to the band about what inspired them with this new album and finds out what it would take to get the band to Australia.
You can listen to our full Khemmis interview below.
Since Phil Lewis began his musical career in the late 80s, he’s brushed shoulders and played with some of the most well-known rock stars, some still on the scene today. As the singer for glam rockers LA Guns, the music he’s released has had a massive impact on those that were on the scene when he started out, and still inspires many today – of course, not everyone is going to love what LA Guns do. “I get a lot of compliments, I’ve been slagged off a bunch of times too,” he says, his English accent balanced with an American twang. “It’s always nice when people say nice things about you but the public can be fickle – they’ll love you one day and they’ll hate you the next.
“I’ve been in both sides because I have been doing this such a long time now, it’s inevitable I would see all kind of aspects. It’s still a great job I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing and I don’t know how I feel personally, about my influence honestly – you’d have to ask them I suppose.”
Though Lewis isn’t based in Los Angeles anymore, hanging out on Sunset Strip played a massive part in propelling his career in those early days, though those of us who’ve weathered the streets that so many stars have stepped are often disappointed with what we find. “People have an expectation for it to be like it was in 1978 and it’s not, it’s not even like it was in 1988,” Lewis says firmly. “It’s a bit of a shadow of its former self to be honest with you – venues closing down left right, the West Hollywood scene, the Sunset Strip scene, is roughly 10% of what it used to be and I can understand how that might be [a] disappointment for people but that’s the reality of it.
“I’m in Vegas now, just down the road by LA standards, because I couldn’t bear how populated LA’s become. The density of people, it got to me. It wasn’t like that when I first moved out. It’s just filled with people that really have no business being there. People like the weather, they like the lifestyle or whatever, but it’s just so overpopulated, so expensive. It’s hard to do anything – it’ll take you an hour in Hollywood to drive ten miles. I couldn’t bear that.
“I know we [LA Guns] are very much diplomats for Los Angeles, Southern Cali, that whole Hollywood scene, but I agree, it’s nothing like it used to be. It always was fake, let’s be very clear about that. It’s a shallow town, you just scratch beneath its shiny, gold surface and its rusty tin underneath it, and it always has been that’s just the nature of LA, it’s a bit of a whore.”
Groups like LA Guns ultimately had to break through the greasy film that covered Los Angeles to get out and perform elsewhere – and now, they’re here. LA Guns are on Aussie shores with the “original” lineup, a roster that sees Lewis reunited with founder and bandmate Tracii Guns. “Yeah me and Tracii – we’ve never played there together – we’ve both been very in separate projects so this’ll be a first for us,” says Lewis. “There aren’t many new firsts we haven’t done so we’re really looking forward to it. It’s good to be in LA Gus right now.”
Still experiencing firsts some 25 years into their career, Aussie fans can expect a fresh injection of life into classic LA Guns repertoire, all because of one element that exemplifies their bond – chemistry. Chemistry between players, musicians, is very important, fundamental,” says Lewis. “Even though you can have two guys playing the same guitar part, the same song, it’s gonna have subtle influences that are actually quite different.
“Tracii, his playing, his style when we work together, he puts a flame up my arse. He makes me work harder than anyone else, than any other guitar players. There’s just something about the chemistry between me and him when we’re together and that we bring out in each other, that’s very unique and I haven’t felt that with anyone else.
“To have that partnership with somebody that who music just flows through his veins 24/7, he lives and breathes guitar music and it’s great, especially after a hiatus of well over 15 years. There’s something hard to put into words, but it’s a chemistry.
– words by Anna Rose
There are very bands over the years that have been so different that their work has pretty much placed them in a genre of their own – but that has certainly been the case for American modern progressive metal innovators The Contortionist. Their last album Clairvoyant had music journalists and lovers scratching their heads on what to class them as… the end result was a genre of their own.
Now The Contortionist is teaming up with UK djent-metal pioneers SikTh for a tour of Australia and HEAVY Mag was able to catch up with guitarist Cameron Maynard ahead of the tour.
“I think I can talk for everybody in the band when I say that we love coming to Australia, “ says Maynard. “It’s exotic but reminds me of the States, everybody speaks English and there is this kind of cowboy machoness that I see in the States a lot to… that’s why it is similar. It just feels like we are in California the whole time and that’s great, but yeah we are very, very excited. Every time we come down to Australia, and we don’t do it very often, but we love coming down there and this time is especially great because we have got SikTh, and a little bit of information that you may not have known but The Contortionist, especially Robbie and I we were very much influenced by that band – the structures, the melodies, their guitar riffs, things like that, we have certainly taken an direct influence from that. It is surreal for us to be going down there and playing a show with them.”
I ask Maynard whether that means they are a little bit in awe of what is happening with this tour or whether it means in a way they have ‘made it.’ “It’s a good feeling,” he says really thinking. “We used to get butterflies and anxious about how we were going to do things, but I think especially with this tour it is something that we are excited about and we just can’t wait to get down there and do it. Like-minded people getting together to play music, I can’t get much more perfect than that really.”
The Contortionist hits Australia with SikTh very soon. All details are below.
With the mighty Def Leppard announcing a tour of Australia alongside Scorpions Dave G sat down with Phil Collen to chat not only about the tour but also went back through the legendary band’s career as their back catalogue is released digitally.
You can listen to our Def Leppard interview right here.
The might Steel Panther are bringing their Sunset Strip tour to Australia and Dave Griffiths was lucky enough to be able to catch up with lead singer Michael Starr and talk about what they have in store for fans. He also delves into a little bit of Steel Panther and talks about what it was like when the band were trying to start out and grunge was dominating the local scene in L.A.
You can listen to our full Steel Panther interview right here.
The mighty Dimmu Borgir are back after eight years with a brand new album. Now while we wait for Eonian to hit shelves on May 4th you can sit back and take a listen as frontman Silenoz sits down and has a chat with Dave G. Silenoz not only talks about the brand new album but also drops in a little bit of news for Australian fans.
You can listen to the full Dimmu Borgir interview below.