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Double M – 12.16.04
By: Michael Melchor

The views and opinions expressed herein are those solely of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of the rest of the human race.

May, 1994

I was outside the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, FL, with out photographer, Brad. Days ago I had just completed the first interview that DBCC’s school paper, In Motion, had ever gotten with a national recording artist. As a result of that interview with Vinnie Paul of Pantera, we were about to see the band perform live.

This was our second trip to the backstage area. The day before the actual interview, lead singer Phil Anselmo had jumped on a security guard in Buffalo, NY. The guard was harassing one of Pantera’s fans and Phil decided to do something about it. Anselmo escaped with only a misdemeanor assault charge, but because of the incident cameras were banned from the rest of the tour, photo pass or no.

We made it back from putting the camera away and waiting to go on backstage was Vinnie Paul. I had a security staffer call him to me and introduced myself. Vinnie shook my hand and seemed genuinely glad to see me (maybe because I had gotten their side of a controversy with MTV instead of attacking them like a lot of the rest of the media had done). He told the guard we were okay and we entered.

Also there was Vinnie’s brother. Vinnie called him over and introduced us to him “the college paper guys”. “Dimebag” Darrell shook our hands and cordially welcomed us there. We’d made some small talk about the show as I told Dime that this would be my first time seeing them live.

“This is the first time you’ve seen us play?” Dime wanted to confirm.

“Yes, sir,” I responded. “And I’m looki—”

“Man,” he stopped me. “No need to call me ‘sir’. Appreciate and all, but all I do is play a guitar, man!” He laughed.

I laughed along with him at my own apparent goof. Then he gets back to the subject at hand:

“Anyway, I hope you’re ready to get your balls blown off!” Dime laughed. “Y’all enjoy the show!” With that, we all shook hands again as Brad and I proceeded into the arena itself to grab our seat.

“Dimebag” was right. For almost 2 hours, Pantera was the loudest and most sadistic beast I had ever heard. Even in a 10,000-seat venue like the Ocean Center, I may as well have been standing right by the speakers. Anselmo was all over the stage, roaring through the band’s creations as if his life were on the line. The remaining members – “Dimebag”, Vinnie, and Rex Brown – were playing right along with him, pouring their whiskey-stained hearts into their music and having the time of their lives. After the show, both Brad and I left exhausted with our ears ringing – and it was worth every second of it.

That concert was the second I had ever been to and few have topped it since. Every once in a while, thinking about that encounter, I would grin at meeting Vince and Darrell Abbott. Both of them, riding high on a #1 Billboard album (Far Beyond Driven) could have been complete assholes and not let us in at all.

But Vince recognized that we wanted to be fair about the controversy surrounding them, and for that simple act of fairness had welcomed us in like we were guests at his home (which we were, in a way, since they owned that building once they finished). That generosity was also recognized by his brother Dime, who went out of his own way to make us feel comfortable and make sure we enjoyed our time there.

I’m certain that “Dimebag” Darrell forgot all about that inconsequential meeting days afterward, but I never did. It was an experience that made me feel like meeting and talking to these people that I had admired because they touched me with their music was what I wanted to do for a living. It also showed me that my own preconceptions about ignorant rock stars may have been wrong as some of them were just like any of us when it came down to it. I’ve always appreciated Vinnie Paul and his brother Dime for that and I wlaays will.

Five days ago, “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott – along with 3 other innocent people – was shot and killed onstage in Columbus, OH, performing with his new band Damageplan. The shooter, Nathan Gale, seemed to have no motive or reason for his actions. In his senseless and idiotic actions, he robbed heavy metal – and the rest of the music world – of a great talent and a genuinely great guy.

I understand this may not be a very “turn the other cheek” type of statement, but I’m glad that Gale was shot and killed along with those he took before the police could stop him. What Gale did would have been unconscionable no mater who it had happened to. But to take the life of a man that gifted who still had his whole life ahead of him to make kids feel like they had someone who understood what they felt...I can’t forgive that. Had he been arrested, I would have been calling for the death penalty the entire way. I’m just glad that officer saved the system and the rest of us the time and trouble.

Still and all, none of this will bring “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott back to play his ass off on stage one more time. My heart goes out to his family and friends – especially his brother Vinnie. His pain right now must be immeasurable. My sympathies also go to the rest of Damageplan and to the other 2 that were in Pantera. Despite all the bickering that heavy metal band members do about former mates, I’m almost certain even they would have liked to have jammed and smoked out with Dime one more time rather than to have seen this happen just as the boys in Damageplan were looking forward to having Dime – a fun-loving and honest guy – at the next show.

Rest in peace, “Dimebag”. You’ve certainly earned it after the impact you’ve made on many of us.

Okay, This Is Boring – What Else Is There To Read?

Well, you COULD always drop by the main page and read an article or several, you know. And THEN you could always head for The Forums and talk about what you read! See how easy that was?

All The News That’s Fit To Post

I’ll feel it fair to warn you now the news and tours sections may be a little scarce this week. One reason that there was one HUGE news story but not much else going on. Second is that the industry is starting its shutdown process like it does every holiday. And third is because I have some business to tend to at the end. With that said, let’s get down to brass tacks...

· The NME Newsletter reports that, in addition to saving beached whales and solving world peace (as well as occasionally fronting a multi-platinum band), U2’s Bono will be one of BBC Radio 4’s guest editors on their “Today” program the week after Christmas. While admitting to being “not a natural editor”, Bono nonetheless will use the time to highlight the AIDS epidemic in Africa and the crippling consequences of third world debt. After the editor stint, Bono will also save kittens and puppies from trees and hand out candy to little boys and girls who have been left off of Santa’s list. No wonder he won the Nobel Peace Prize...

· The NME Newsletter informs us that, in a pathetic attempt to sell tickets to the John Lennon Musical, two of Lennon’s songs that have never been heard before will make the show – “India, India” and “I Don’t Want To Lose You”. In an equally pathetic attempt to rake in some of the box office cash, Yoko Ono has given her permission for the songs to be used.

Now, it’s no secret to anyone that’s read this column for any length of time that I detest the idea of musicals based on pre-existing work. Even more so when the main impetus of said musical seems to be of someone who has already passed away with no other outlet for the estate to make extra money off the works of the corpse. So, with that in place, writer/director Don Scardino and Yoko Ono can both choke on deez nuts.

Besides, if I were to hear something new from John Lennon I’d prefer that it was HIM singing the song. And if not him, then at least one or more of the surviving Beatles. Not some goober hired to play the man on stage without a clue of what drove him and why.

This is one stage show that Britain can keep.

· NME hits the trifecta with word that the Scissor Sisters’ new video for “Filthy Gorgeous” is awaiting to see IF it will make the airwaves in the UK. You see, the video was shot in The Zipper Theater in New York City and features the band and several others...”living it up” in the nightclub. In rather controversial fashion.

As singer Ana Metronic puts is, “We wanted it to be honest. The song is about trannie hookers on acid so what the fuck do you want?” And THAT should tell you everything.

I’ve only recently heard the Scissor Sisters (courtesy of our man in Amsterdam, Grimmy Acosta). I liked what I heard, including their cover of “Comfortably Numb”.

But this...this only piques my curiosity now. If this video makes it out and someone gets their hands on it, PLEASE hook a brother up. Thanks in advance.

· Word comes from The Blistering Newsletter about a state of affairs that comes as no real surprise. Cradle Of Filth’s bassist Dave Pybus was recently interviewed by MetalUnderground.com and was asked about the band’s participation in last year’s OzzFest tour. Rather then try and break this down, I’ll let Mr. Pybus tell the tale:

The thing about Ozzfest is it's good in the crowd, playing-wise. But I would never want to do it again...I didn’t really want to earn the Osbournes any money while I spend ten weeks dying. We were the only English bands on there and they never once came to our tours. They're from Birmingham. So it was like 'Fuck you.' I'm a normal person. I take things like that kinda personally. The fact that they're not normal. . . It's not a bad thing. I mean, they're traveling with their family. They've got shitloads of money. It's great for them. But for guys away from his family for 10 weeks, dying, you know, for nothing. You're not even allowed to have a poster campaign while at the same time as Ozzfest. Not at the stores or anything like that. They control everything. It's a bit like Nazi Germany. They say, 'Rock 'n' roll this, rock 'n' roll that.' It's the most sterile environment you could ever go into. I'd rather not do it again if I get a choice. I shouldn't be doing this interview...That's what they're like. That's what they're like though, you know? Freedom of expression. And I just said it was a pile of shit so sorry.

Okay, that’s bad when homeboy is even afraid to talk about it. I shouldn't be doing this interview...That's what they're like? Holy shit...

I kinda thought that Sharon Osbourne ran a tight ship, but Jesus. OzzFest felt like a corporate entity when I went 3 years ago. There were sponsors and merchants and product hawkers all over the place. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose and feeling of rebellion that metal is supposed to have?

That’s bad that Cradle Of Filth is that skittish about talking like that now but I’m glad Pybus threw it out there anyways. Now Cradle Of Filth is headlining their own tour with Arch Enemy – a band that I’ll take to task myself a little bit later on.

· Our last piece of news comes once again from The Blistering Newsletter and concerns the final tracklisting for a CD that I can’t wait for. Strapping Young Lad’s Alien, due March 22, 2005 from Century Media, looks something like this:

01. Imperial

02. Skeksis

03. Shitstorm

04. Love?

05. Shine

06. We Ride

07. Possessions

08. Two Weeks

09. Mega Bulldozer

10. Zen

11. Info Dump (instrumental)

What? No “What’s New, Pussycat”?! Dammit, I wanted to hear that—

But never fear! SYL front(mad)man Devin Townsend said the track was left off because it didn’t the flow of the album – but that it WILL appear “somewhere in the future”.

Nice. I can live with it being left off as long as I get to hear it. Swear to God, that’ll be the funniest thing I’ll ever hear...

On The Road Again

· Only one bit to report here, but man is it a doozie. It comes from Maximum Metal and from the fine folks at Adrenaline PR. I already reported it here on 411 but this is such good news it bears repeating!

Slipknot is set to hit the road next year starting in March. But this ain’t no Hard Rock Live/insert name of cool local nightclub here run, oh no. This is a full-blown arena tour, and in support of Slipknot will be Lamb Of God AND Shadows Fall, making this possibly the biggest metal tour of 2005. And the year ain’t even started yet!

So far, the itinerary reads as follows:

Hartford, CT

Philadelphia, PA

New York, NY

Columbus, OH

Cleveland, OH

Chicago, IL

Detroit, MI

Indianapolis, IN

Boston, MA

Washington, DC

Atlanta, GA

Pensacola, FL

Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Tampa, FL

New Orleans, LA

Dallas, TX

Houston, TX

Corpus Christi, TX

San Antonio, TX

Phoenix, AZ

Las Vegas, NV

San Diego, CA

Los Angeles, CA

Fresno, CA

San Jose, CA

Sacramento, CA

Portland, OR

Seattle, WA

Spokane, WA

Salt Lake City, UT

Denver, CO

Kansas City, MO

Des Moines, IA

Minneapolis, MN Green Bay, WI

Madison, WI

Omaha, NE

No exact dates or venues yet, but I CAN tell you that it’s set to start on March 4 and go through May. I’ll be keeping an eye on more developments for this for 411Music’s main page as well as this very column. And my GOD, I can’t WAIT to see this one hit Tampa – if it doesn’t come to Orlando.

Reasons To Rejoice Their Own Worst Arch Enemy

Yes, the name and visage of my fiancée Lee Ann Taylor is on the list of Reasons To Rejoice indefinitely. And the fun officially stops here because I have some business to attend to...

First of all, I’m not going to reprint every gory detail of the story. If you want all that, your best bet would be to go back and read the 11.15.04 edition of Double M for the full story on this one. But, if you’re in a hurry, I can give you the Reader’s Digest Condensed Version:

Back in May, Machine Head’s Robert Flynn accused Arch Enemy of gross unprofessionalism after the latter band cancelled out of a support position touring with Machine Head. The war of words is on as Flynn accused Arch Enemy singer Angela Gossow and Arch Enemy’s management of lying about Gossow not being able to secure a work visa for the US. Arch Enemy apologizes to their fans (and no one else) online and the fight settles down. Six months later, Gossow said the way Flynn handled the incident was unprofessional and that his throat giving out for a show was karma’s payback. The war of words starts again as Flynn is pissed and promises to beat the hell out of everyone in the band except Gossow. This includes her “husband” (according to Flynn), Arch Enemy founder and guitarist Michael Amott.

Meanwhile, also in November, Yours Truly is putting together a Headbangers’ Ball Tour preview feature for 411 including interviews with all 4 bands on the bill – Himsa (done), Bleeding Through (done), Cradle Of Filth and Arch Enemy (both obviously not done). I went to the Headbangers’ Ball stop in Orlando on November 12 and, after a whole day of hell, neither interview with the headliners of the tour happened. When we last left the story, I was still in pursuit of those interviews and a completed feature.

Not anymore.

If you paid any attention to the teaser, you know that this is the final time I address the Headbangers’ Ball Tour after all of the time and work I have put into trying to make the feature happen. Since that November 15 column, I’ve been rather busy but NOT busy enough to reschedule the interviews. Those were to happen on December 6 – last week and near the end of the Headbangers’ Ball tour. Cutting it close, I figured I still had a story to do and did everything I could (along with the PR firm representing them, who is NOT being held responsible for any of this) to still get it out.

The day the interviews were scheduled, I was given a number for the PR firm to call in case the band didn’t. Well, I had to use that number – and even THAT wasn’t enough to get the band to pay attention to 411 and a story that had to be done to get their dumb asses over in any way, shape, or form.

And therein lies the problem. I can personally handle being blown off for an interview. This ain’t the first time it’s happened, and it won’t be the last. That’s just the way this business runs sometimes. Egos and whatnot. If you think wrestling is bad for this shit, you haven’t seen a damned thing.

What I DO have a problem with is a band already full of its own shit. A band that thinks outlets like 411 (which reaches almost a million people a week) and BackStage Pass Magazine (which reaches about 100,000 people near the band’s Florida tour stops) are too small for them. A band that’s so wrapped up in itself that they don’t understand that, at the level they’re at, ANY help is needed from turning them from a small niche band into the actual success story that they perceive themselves as now.

A band that only works with or talks to whom they think will do the most for them and shits all over everyone and everything else.

I really can’t stand bands with that level of ego, especially when they haven’t had the success to back it up. Such luminaries as Winger and Poison, to name only a few, had that attitude back when.

And where are they now? Oh yeah – featured on VH1’s Where Are They Now!

This conclusion doesn’t come from sour grapes, folks. Let’s take a few excerpts from the full story in the 11.15.04 edition of Double M for some proof, shall we? Look for underlined passages as your biggest clues will be there.

First, Robert Flynn’s account of the tour cancellation that started all this mess:

ARCH ENEMY asked us to go along with their ‘work visa’ excuse. We did. They then told us they’d be missing Philly and New York, but to keep going along with the work visa excuse. We did. The next day at Metalfest [New England Metal And Hardcore Festival], their bassist and guitarist both confirmed they’d be starting the tour, but were very evasive. Then, after tracking down their manager, he gave us ‘his word’ that they would be doing the tour.

The next day they had their BOOKING AGENT call our TOUR MANAGER to tell us they were canceling ‘the entire tour’ ‘cause she had blown out her voice. This wasn’t their manager calling our manager, which would have been proper etiquette... no, the first official ‘statement’ we got from your camp was your ham-fisted ‘apology‘ to your fans on your fucking website, and that didn’t even give anyone an explanation!!!

Based on that, Arch Enemy is prone to not only backing out of commitments but not even having the guts to tell someone in a proper manner. Kinda like they did me.

Next, let’s look at the message left on Arch Enemy’s website regarding that same tour (I remember it like it was yesterday):

We would like to clarify to everyone who is wondering why there are tour dates posted on other websites before they are up here on the official Arch Enemy website. This is because many promoters are eager to advertise & promote their gig even before it has been confirmed by all parties (pay attention to that phrase). The shows you see here at archenemy.net are ALL 100% confirmed.

Read: If we WANT to be on the tour, you’ll see the dates here. If we’re still hemming and hawing OR looking for a way out, then you won’t see anything posted here. Thank you, please drive through.

Now, at the time of the tour in question, Flynn was a little nicer about it but still had a telling message:

The tour’s been great. I think we’ve got a really strong package. We’ve got GOD FORBID and 36 CRAZYFISTS. ARCH ENEMY — it’s unfortunate that they’ve decided to do things the way that they have. They kind of made up a bunch of excuses about going out, you know, because [ARCH ENEMY singer Angela Gossow] couldn’t get her visa...you know, whatever. If you buy that, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn I can sell you too. The thing is that they needed this tour more than we needed them, you know. No one’s asked for their money back, so...it’s unfortunate that they had to go the whole lying route, but whatever. No one’s hurting from it.

At the time, this would have been great exposure for Arch Enemy. Instead, they went on a few solo shows with God Forbid and, as fate would have it, landed on a bill that got them a LOT more exposure – the Headbangers’ Ball Tour. For that tour, they’ve done a few interviews. The bigger the outlet the better, it’s seemed. And apparently we weren’t big enough.

The way they’re handling their career goes beyond picking and choosing their opportunities and thinking that they – a step above a local band – are “too big” for ANYone. Going back to the November 12 edition of the Headbangers’ Ball show, we have the following examples (taken, once again, from the 11.15.04 edition of Double M:

· Arch Enemy posts a sign at the merchandise stand stating they’re leaving immediately after their performance but that their shirts and crap will be available until 10:30, forcing people to get them at the band’s discretion and collecting their money before they blow town without giving the fans who bought their tickets and merchandise the chance to get ANY of it autographed like any other band on the bill did – INCLUDING Cradle Of Filth.

· When introducing the big single “We Will Rise”, Gossow copies the exact same introduction used on the Dead Eyes See No Future EP, which was available at the show.

Now, with all of this evidence in place, it’s easy to see that Arch Enemy has a very short term future ahead of them. Why? Because, as any band that’s playing free gigs for little Eric’s birthday party will tell you, who you step on the way up the ladder will be glad to piss on you on your way down. And Arch Enemy isn’t big enough yet to be able to have that attitude by a damned sight.

As evidence, I offer a fact that I’ve left out until now. For the review of the show, I played up the performance of ALL bands that night, as each of them were good. Including Arch Enemy’s. That was done to honestly portray the stage show of each band and to keep business channels open as I thought i still had 2 interviews yet to do concerning the tour.

However, the performances may have been in vain for all involved. For the November 12 Headbangers’ Ball show, the House Of Blues in Orlando was half-full.

Consider this: When Ministry played there on Halloween Night and even when Queensryche (a band considered dead by many) played there a week before, both of those shows were PACKED. There was no room to move at either concert, as it was asshole-to-elbow at the venue.

But yet, when “up and comers” Arch Enemy takes the stage, not that many people can be bothered to show up despite a promotional blitz from MTV2 (who sponsored the tour) and several dozen different media outlets.

Wouldn’t you think that, if Arch Enemy were as popular as they’d like to believe, that the show would be sold out? Instead, they played to barely 1000 people despite a national advertising campaign.

Exactly when Arch Enemy may be on their way to obscurity (or, even better, a passing mention on VH1’s Where Are They Now? right alongside Cinderella) remains to be seen. Honestly, I hope it doesn’t come to that point. In fact that’s one of the reasons I’m doing all of this – to call them out and make them understand that heavy metal isn’t an industry here to make them all rich. Rather, metal is a community here to help each other so long as it gets a favor every now and again in return. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.

I was willing to sctarch Arch Enemy’s back and so was Robert Flynn. But apparently Arch Enemy didn’t think either one of us was good enough to.

By their own actions and the way they treat those who they seem to think have nothing to offer them, Arch Enemy will NEVER make the superstar status they apparently crave so bad.

Mark my words, kids. Unless Arch Enemy cleans up their act and decides to include a hell of a lot more professionalism into their repertoire, their success will never grow past the level it is right now.

They COULD be a lot bigger based on some impressive playing and melodies and the novelty of a roaring screaming banshee as a vocalist. They COULD...but it’s all up to them and how they carry themselves.

If they don’t, it’ll all be their own fault. And I’d rather not see them become their own worst Arch Enemy.

Happy Trails

Well then, I think I’ve run my mouth enough for a column. Next week we’re gonna switch things up a bit as it’s time for the Year End stuff. Top 10 albums, favorite moments, all that good stuff – all to follow in the next 2 weeks.

But for now, enjoy the rest of the Music Crew as well as all of 411Mania. Take care and I’ll see you back here in 7.

L8. Thanks again for reading.

For more interesting (?) reading, click here.

Be sure to visit EdWolf for all of your (non-video) gaming needs, Rehab Radio for some good surfing music, and The Wrestling Fan for a good chuckle or two.

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November 2006


by Sean Carless

With Christmas just around the corner, what better way to spend your few remaining dollars (left over after the seemingly infinite line-up of fucking pay-per-views ) then on the following "quality WWE merchandise!" After all, if they don't move this stuff, and fast, stockholders just might get time to figure out what "plummeting domestic buyrates" means!... and well, I don't think they need to tell you what that means! (Seriously. They're not telling you. Everything is fine! Ahem.).