Posts Tagged ‘industrial metal’

ALBUM REVIEW: FLOTSAM AND JETSAM

Friday, February 15th, 2013

Ugly Noise (Metal Blade)

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Easily my favorite album of early 2013 is the new album by FLOTSAM AND JETSAM. The anticipation was high for this release and with good reason. The bands’ amazing groundswell of fans making their PledgeMusic campaign was one. The reunion of the Cuatro lineup of the band was another reason to get stoked. When we interviewed guitarist MICHAEL GILBERT last summer about the contributions of early member JASON NEWSTED to the new album, marking his return to heavy music, that was yet another. 2010′s “The Cold” wasn’t a bad album, but perhaps it lacked some of the fire the band had. With so many of the classic 1980s Thrash Metal bands turning out excellent records, I was just excited to hear what these guys, reunited and hungry were gonna do with their chance. They certainly did not disappoint. The finished album, self-produced by the band, is totally killer.

 

“Ugly Noise” kicks off the album in dramatic style with sweeping piano and movie quality, thematic guitar riffs. It has the feeling of the royal the pronouncement of a battle about to take place. After about a minute of this intro, the main beat and riff chime in and just crush it. Such a classic sound of Thrash, one that is both old-school and modern all at once. Then there is singer ERIC A.K. and his performance which pretty much sets the table for the entire album. He teases you with one haunting line at the start of the song. However, it is the swelling verses that increase in passion and anguish each time through the track that really captivate you. Eric has always had one of the preeminent voices in metal, and he announces his return with grand style. His range is outstanding and he carries enough grit to keep things tough. There is also a stellar guitar solo, and a some cool backing vocals by Gilbert there as well. A perfect track to start things off with.

 

“Giddy Up” is not just a cool song title, but also the galloping tempo of this guitar heavy track. In shape contrast to the epic feel of the first song, this cut hits you quick, has another slick solo and a great chorus too. It’s almost over too quick, but that is not a bad thing. “Run and Hide” changes the pace, by slowing things down and introducing atmospheric keyboards and Eric’s brooding voice. Returning bassist Jason Ward chips in some deep toned-bass lines as well. Flotz was never solely a meat and potatoes-type of Thrash band. Even early in their career, they had a musical depth and maturity their peers didn’t display. This song is an amazing hard rock/classic Prog metal type song that I wish QUEENSRŸCHE could get back to writing. “Carry On” flips the switch again, ratcheting up the beat and the fury. The area where a lot of the early thrash bands have trouble translating to today’s’ sound is in the drums. Luckily for these guys, band founder Kelly David-Smith slams behind the kit, always matching the perfect part with the track. “Rabbit’s Foot” is the only track even close to a ballad, but even when they go down this road, the song still rocks with a heaviness.

 

“Play Your Part” is flat out amazing and should be considered for a single release. Heavy chopping chords, more lead guitars and yet another cool performance for the ageless pipes of Eric A.K. I believe the melodies and lyrics of this album alone are going to be talked about for many years. “Rage” and “Cross The Sky” are both rough and nasty. Two different kinds of tough songs that fans new and old should love. “Motherfuckery” not only has a badass title, but is my favorite song on the album. Most bands that try to marry some kind of electronic programming with thrash riffs, usually come up short unless you are MINISTRY. This song makes it work in spades! The lyrics will hit home for anyone who’s ever been betrayed by someone of the fairer sex. You also have to give it up to mainstay guitarist Ed Carlson’s guitar work throughout the album too. He really contributes some great parts. The album closes out with the trifecta of “I Believe”, “To Be Free” and “Machine Gun”. Each is a short slab of rock and metal goodness with the band letting everything hang out. They have also managed the difficult trick that ANTHRAX did on Worship Music or FORBIDDEN did on The Omega Wave. Which is to say they made an album that is brutal when it should be, but goes beyond the confines of the style to become something even more: timeless and genre changing.

 

You can buy Ugly Noise from the bands’ website or when you catch them on tour.

 

 

GRADE: A

 by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ALBUM REVIEW: FEAR FACTORY

Monday, June 4th, 2012

The Industrialist (Candlelight)

 

FEAR FACTORY have managed to remain one of the most original and endearing bands for better than twenty years and it hasn’t been through luck. The bands’ temerity to survive in the face of many up and downs within the band and with in the music industry as a whole has been remarkable. The main appeal of the band, besides the music, has been the ability to tell stories full of drama and context. In a world softened by the convenience of incredible technology, somehow never respecting the inherent danger that comes with it, the band has been a commentator on humankind’s potential folly. Continuing the man versus machine theme they have explored on every release, The Industrialist is the most fully developed story the band has ever produced and it is a great platform for the compelling music that comes with it.

Starting off with the title track, there is a noticeable difference sonically between 2010′s Mechanize album and this new release. Mechanize was thrashy and had solid songs, but was missing something for me in the mortar that held it together. This album sounds like the classic FEAR FACTORY sound albums from the 1990s. That is pretty weird to even type that since I am a huge fan of Raymond Herrera, who is still not part of the the current incarnation of the band. I have felt like his absence was hard to overcome in general. Perhaps in an attempt at getting back to the pure essence of the music, DINO CAZARES and his collaborator John Sankey (DEVOLVED) programmed all of the drums, bringing in some of the original essence of the style. GENE HOGLAN fans, please don’t send me hate mail, I love “The Atomic” clock as much as anyone. I just felt he wasn’t the right fit for the band. It’s more about power over precision, but it does make a difference in their sound. On the album the beats are punishing and fit perfectly with Dino’s patented superhuman, staccato down-picked riffs. The first song also sets the table for the story, masterfully laid out with BURTON C. BELL’s brutal vocal performance and harbinger of doom lyrics. The overall story is not so new, but as far as recurring themes go you can’t go wrong with an Artificial Intelligence (AI) becoming sentient and then trying to eradicate its masters. “Recharger” is another slice of primo, old school FF. Cutting riffs, sinister beats and crafty keyboard work set the stage while Bell shreds his vocal lines. The chorus is great, and Bell reminds us how he was one of the originators of modern metal singing, switching up his brutality and adding melody with ease. The bands’ secret weapon is also back on board in Rhys Fulber (FRONT LINE ASEMBLY), who is as integral in the producer’s chair as one can be. “New Messiah” is just a beast of a song. It could have come out at any time in the bands’ career and has some insanely good riffs in it. It’s almost a breath of fresh air in this day and age to hear this track with its great synth work, key changes and dynamic chorus parts. When Bell screams “Future. Begins. Now.” you really feel the passion and pain of his delivery. This will be a great song to hear live. “God Eater” moves the story along dramatically with an eerie keyboard/guitar riff that may be partly inspired by one of the greatest horror themes ever. Even if it wasn’t a conscious nod, it definitely fills your ears with dread. “Depraved Mind Murder” sounds like the late 1990′s version of the band, unrelenting and harsh. “Virus of Faith” delivers more of the same vitriol and punch as earlier tracks. This cut also has some of Dino’s best stop on a dime rhythms, another key to his unique style. Other top tracks include “Difference Engine”, and “Disassemble”. This is definitely the best album under their moniker since Archetype (even if they won’t acknowledge that) and certainly right in line with the bands finer work from their heyday. I suddenly have the urge to watch a The Matrix Trilogy marathon and you will too!

 

Burton C. Bell and Dino Cazares: Together stronger than all.

GRADE: B+

by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes

 

 

 

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LIVE REVIEW: THE ROCK AND SHOCK FESTIVAL

Monday, November 7th, 2011


 

The annual concert and horror convention known as Rock And Shock brought me back to Worcester MA once again and right in time to get into the Halloween spirit. Three plus day affair is always a good time for all and usually has something for everybody. The convention gets better every year with great guests like Robert Englund, Lance Henriksen, William Forsythe and Camille Keaton among the many name actors in horror in attendance. Even though I was only interested in the second night of the music portion of the proceedings which had a pretty amazing lineup of talent. I certainly enjoyed the convention at the DCU Center and you can see my coverage of it and another funny story here.

 

 

Although there was a bevy of side stage bands I only caught the main stage acts between the convention activities and some bands interviews I needed to do. I managed to catch THE OCEAN who put on the top performance of the early evening. For those not in the know these guys are inventive, philosophical and tight musically. Even though the venue was alarmingly empty when they began, they definitely had their own heads in the house who were feeling it. Opening with “Firmament” the band tore into their short set with abandon. The group plays music beyond the scope of typical bands and shifts in motifs and tempos fall on each other like dominoes. In particular vocalist Loïc Rossetti and guitarist Robin Staps make a compelling case for the future of metal. I urge you to check them out if you don’t know them already. They not only played part of their “Grand Inquisitor” suite they closed with the hypnotic and sick “Origin of the Species”. Also up early was reunited hardcore kings EARTH CRISIS. The room filled in a little more by now with some core dudes ready to karate kick and pick up change like crazy. The rest of the crowd just starred blankly and disappointed me with their lack of respect. EC’s militant hardcore and metal mix per-dated today’s mosh-core, tough guy bands and deathcore except, they had something smart to say. Even if you didn’t love the music vocalist Karl Buechner (FREYA) and company played their balls off as always. Mixing classic cuts like “All Out War” and “Wrath of Sanity” with newer cuts from Neutralize the Threat (Century Media) they put on a great, high energy show. At least by the end of their set there was some decent moshing by the end of their set, but I think it just was a weird crowd that would prove to be even more adversarial and weird as the night wore on.

 

Otep leads the crowd in a ritual.

 

Next up was OTEP who always puts on an awesome show. By now the floor had filled up pretty well and the band always draws well when they come to Massachusetts so they also had a lot of heads in the house. Otep herself makes every show an emotional ritual and the crowd was ready for some heavy mental music. Hitting the stage with a frightening baby mask on, the famous blend of theater and artistry was already on display as the band launched into “Eet the Children”. Backed by members of OTEP’s Victory records label-mates DESTROPHY, the band was tight and Otep was as usual dominating as a live performer. She sang, she screamed and generally led the crowd in a communal exorcism. Next up was the bands live staple “Battle Ready” which is still a killer track to hear after almost ten years. For the most part “Battle Ready” represents the remaining vestiges of Otep’s rap style that she doesn’t rely much on anymore. Still, she has an effective flow and combined with her severe growls it is a winning combo. “Fists Fall” off of Atavist is also a killer track. The energy of the crowd was significantly raised and Otep tries to connect with them to make a personal connection. Even though I was conscious of the short set I was unconcerned when the band led into “My Confession”. The song is one of the best of the bands has an the release it brings is far worth the sacrifice of other songs that may have been played in its stead. Closing out the all too short set with “Blood Pigs” they left the stage triumphant as if it was a headline set. All par for the course for this band.

 

Set List:

Eet The Children

Battle Ready

Fists Fall

My Confession

Blood Pigs

 

Next up was another headline worthy name in THE DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT. Devin definitely brings his own crowd and easily could have filled this venue by himself on this night. Many DevyHeads rushed the front after OTEP to get a spot. Still other camped out for later acts held the rail and we not going to budge no matter who was coming on next. The band has been playing deep cuts and long sets on their headline run, but on this night they would play half their total number of songs in the middle slot. Still a DTP show is superior to most other acts mainly due to Devin being on of the premier forces in modern heavy music. The music played before he they hit the stage and the hilarious video projections are all from the crazy mind of Townsend. Be sure to pay close attention to this before the band hits the stage next time you see them.

 

Devin Townsend is so awesome he practically levitates himself off the stage!

 

Meanwhile The bands gear was set cross the stage side by side, even the drums! This was due to the rest of the back line being so huge. The band hit the stage one at a time with Devin coming out last, resplendent once again in his silvery suit. Before the band played a note he remarked that “Zombies are stupid!” Opening with “Truth” always seems like a good bet to combat the fans who only want to hear STRAPPING YOUNG LAD songs. The track is super heavy and Devin relishes playing it, clearly. He jammed out on his axe, grinned and humped it as he soloed like a modern day JIMI HENDRIX. Of course he is also a stupendous singer and skilled performer too. “Om” and “By Your Command” quickly followed in succession. Both tracks are also top notch and very hard even though not classically heavy like his earlier material is. Complimenting the music was all manner of bizarre videos and images projected over head on screens. Trippy! The band was also tight and in fine form, especially drummer Ryan Poederooyen whom I got to watch up close and personal. The man is a powerhouse behind the kit. “Kingdom” was next and was truly flawless to see and hear again. Dev is so in skilled and in control of his playing it hardly looks like work to the veteran star. “Supercrush!” is so slow and beautiful that is made the whole front row of Devheads loose their minds and me too. The track is almost like a mantra it is so singular and perfect, Dev’s operatic singing in particular. Just once in my life I’d like to see Anneke van Giersbergen perform her part of the song live rather than piped in. Sigh. I need to move to Europe! Meanwhile Dev was great as usual between songs and he baited the crowd by say he wanted to see more of them look disinterested and bored. I think this was a jab at a block of MUSHROOMHEAD fans who didn’t seem to even remotely like any other band. More theatrics abound on “Stand” and its grinding chug. “Juular” is likely the one track that states the ears of the doleful stubborn fans, not that the band cares any. They just go about being professional and awesome. “Vampira” closed things out in style with the hilarious video plying behind the band. It would prove to be hard to follow this act.

 

Set List:

Truth

Om

By Your Command

Kingdom

Supercrush!

Stand

Juular

Vampira

 

As the stage switched over for CAVALERA CONSPIRACY I got really excited. Even though I was totally mind jobbed by the previous two acts it had been years since I had seen either CAVALERA brother anywhere so I was intrigued to see them together again. The band came on strong opening with “Warlord”. Max took his customary spot center stage and led the charge. Right off the bat the band was cooking and Igor was just decimating his massive kit. I t was great to see him up there where he belongs. The crowd seemed to be eating out of Max’s hand the entire time too. The pits were pretty consistent since the band played a very up tempo set. Aside from the brothers the star of the band is guitarist Mark Rizzo. He was a madman on his side of the stage shredding his face off on solos and holding down his rhythms with a lot of style. If it’s possible he is almost underrated in the current scene and should be more top of mind when people do their best of lists. Bassist Johnny Chow was also solid held down the low end. “Inflikted” and “Sanctuary” came next as the band asserted their own material rather than go to the easy cover route too soon. “Inflikted” has an amazing solo by Rizzo. Both songs are solid, were performed great and had the crowd singing a long. Finally they did “Refuse/Resist” the place went bananas. It was a really treat to see the brothers doing this classic song together again. Max’s vocals still sound great after all these years too. This also set the pace for the rest of the night as well. “Killing Inside” is solid, but not too special. The mid-tempo groove allowed everyone to catch their breath a bit. “Thrasher” is also a solid song live too. Another gem came in the form of “Arise/Dead Embryonic Cells”. The old-school thrash anthem was awesome and the breakdown of DEC is one of the best ever with everybody on the floor moving, jumping and even skanking! “I Speak Hate” is one of the better CC songs to hear live. Max is more focused on being a front man at this point in his career than guitar work, but the axe work on the track crushes. Closing out with “Roots Bloody Roots” the entire place went ape shit as the band destroyed the stage practically. The ending groove of the track was amazing to hear and the band ended jamming a little bit of the “Troops of Doom” riff at the end of it all.

 

Max and Igor: Reunited and it feels so good.

 

Set List:

Warlord

Inflikted

Sanctuary

Refuse/Resist

Killing Inside

Thrasher

Arise/Dead Embryonic Cells

I Speak Hate

Roots Bloody Roots

 

Now the preparations for MUSHROOMHEAD to take over the stage began. The now totally full venue buzzed to life by the end of the last set. I had not seen the band in many years, but I was pretty excited to see how they would do. As they set up the stage for the band the crowd rumbled in anticipation which disappointed me somewhat considering how luke-warm the crowd had been most of the night. Sometimes fans of a band can squash a good time for everyone else.

 

Yes, that is Gary Busey playing the kettle drums with MUSHROOMHEAD.

 

Meanwhile the band hit the stage with a sense of theatrics and style as black lights the band imported washed over everything. They kicked things off with “Come On” and they crow ate up the bands antics of eight guys running around like crazy and their two percussionists St1tch and Lil Dan playing the light up water drums. Drummer and band leader Skinny played on giant drum kit resembling a car, complete with spinning rims. Newsflash: rims are passe unless you are Fred Durst and not metal at all. Both co-front men Jeffrey Nothing and Waylon traded vocals and complimented each others styles well. The band raged to their anthemic style of industrial metal and the crowd seemed to lap it up. Next track “BWOMP” added a little danceable beat to the proceedings. The performances were certainly fine even though the music was a little generic. Everyone in the band is certainly talented and each member of the band puts on a worthy show. Nothing is really charismatic in particular and is really compelling to watch. He has some fine singing chops and even raps well at times. Waylon has more of the screaming voice of the two. “12 Hundred” amounts to the bands hit song or one of them I suppose. Everybody in the place seemed to know the words and the band seemed to feed off of that energy as well. Other songs like “Sun Doesn’t Rise” have the band showing their song writing chops and their alt rock and metal influences. “Save Us” seemed to slow things down to a crawl, killing the momentum they built. “43” was at least more interesting since Gary and Jake Busey came out and played the water drums during the song. There were appearing at the convention and them showing up to jam was funny and cool. That was really the high point of the set for me. The group certainly played hard and well, but I found little of their music varied or heavy enough for my tastes save for “Simple Survival”, “Becoming Cold” or “Burn The Bridge” which ended the night. Even now I still can’t figure out their fans though. So die-hard they flipped off greats like Devin Townsend and then acting like a solid, long running band is the second coming of I don’t know what? I just don’t get it. I guess there really is no accounting for good taste.

 

Jefferey Nothing is excellent. The rest of the band, not so much.

 

Set List:

Come On

BWOMP

12 Hundred

Sun Doesn’t Rise

Save Us/Embrace the Ending

43

Kill Tomorrow

Solitaire Unraveling

Harvest the Garden

Damage Done

Simple Survival

Erase the Doubt

Becoming Cold (216)

Never Let It Go

Burn the Bridge

 

by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes

 

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SPINESHANK: THE METAL ARMY INTERVIEW

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Between 1996-2003 SPINESHANK was one of the leading metal bands in America. They had a great run of successful albums, had build up underground cred with their first album Strictly Diesel (Roadrunner) while breaking out into the mainstream with big tours and even Grammy nominations. The band has reunited after producing a completely brand new album independently. They are in the process of shopping  it to labels. While the band is on tour whetting everyone’s appetites all over the country, Metal Army America caught up with guitar player Mike Sarkisyan to get up to speed with the start of the next chapter in the bands history. What follows is an excerpt of a longer chat we had with Mike.

 

SPINESHANK is back and out on the road again.

MAA: How did the band get back together and record a new album?

MS: It’s been a while. It’s been about three years since we started recording this record. It just kind of happened. I don’t even remember all of the particulars of how it happened. One day we just wound up on the phone together. Me, Tommy (Decker) and Jonny (Santos) on the phone talking about possibly getting together and see if we can do something. And we didn’t have any rules about it, we just wanted to see how it was gonna go. Tommy and I had a few instrumental tracks and ideas ideas we had put together and the next thing you know we are making a full record.


SPINESHANK in 2011: Moving forward!

 

MAA: The track “Murder Suicide” was released on Noisecreep. Would you say it is indicative of the new direction of the band?

MS: You know that is a a really tough one to answer. We had a tough time picking a first song to put out and let everybody hear. “Murder Suicide” may not be the direction of the band, but it has elements in it that are part of every song on the record. It’s a heavier record and I know everybody fucking says that and I hate to be annoying, but it just is heavier. I don’t mean to get on everybody’s nerves. I wouldn’t just describe it as heavy, but the one word I would really use to describe the album is “dark”. It’s a very dark record.

 

MAA: You guys produced Anger Denial Acceptance yourselves, right?

MS: Right. Me and Tommy produced the record in our studio. And Mike Plotnikoff mixed it. He had done a mix for us on Self Destructive Pattern for us that we loved. But at that time the powers that be couldn’t get Mike at that time and we went with Jay Baumgardner again. After two years straight of working on the record I felt like I couldn’t mix it. Neither could Tommy. So Mike was the guy and he was great.

 

The bands last studio album was Self Destructive Pattern in 2003.

MAA: Did any new influences creep in the writing for Anger Denial Acceptance for the members other projects?

MS: Not really. I wouldn’t really say so. We didn’t have any complete songs per se done by the time we got back together or what ever the fuck you wanna call it. (laughs) A lot of the ideas were there. This is the first time we really had a title and a loose concept and an idea done before we ever had  a song done. Not to say we are fucking PINK FLOYD or anything. (laughs) We had that title Anger Denial Acceptance from the start and we had an idea of what we wanted the album to sound like. There is also a huge misconception I’d like to clear up. We never continued SPINESHANK without the four of us. We started a new project when Johnny left, but it was never going to be SPINESHANK. What we did do was produce other bands pretty much the entire time.

 

MAA: SPINESHANK hasn’t been broken up or away as long as long other acts from that era that are also coming back now. Do you think it is difficult in the current industry climate to make a big comeback?

MS: It is definitely not what it used to be. I believe that good music stands. What matters is that you connect with your audience. The ways and avenues to connect have changed, but you still need to to make good records. Before you had to go down to a record store to buy music and now you can go to YouTube and stream or whatever the fuck! I don’t see any bands that are coming back doing anything worthwhile like we are.  The bands that were strong are still doing it. I kind of want to consciously separate ourselves form other bands coming back that shall remain unnamed. Because we are the band with a finished record done and we are the band bringing something new to the table. We are not trying to live off of something we were seven or eight years ago. We are totally not into being a nostalgia act. Believe me dude I have better shit to do with my life than play “Synthetic” or “New Disease” for the 800th time without doing something new also.

 

MAA: Are you guys playing any new material on the current west coast tour?

MS: Oh yeah we are doing new songs! We are playing “Murder Suicide” which was leaked quote on quote. We are also playing another song called “I Am Damage” and one more. We didn’t want to just come out on tour and play the same songs we have done in god knows how long. We wanted go on tour and try out these new songs on the fans and see if they like it. So far the response has been great!


MAA: What is the band looking for in a new label to partner with?

MS: I guess care. That is the best way to explain it. Maybe care about it maybe half as much as we do. We have put a lot of time into making this record. Lives were affected. It is not easy to make a record. This was the hardest record to make. We made it totally on our own with no budget. Where we lucked out is we are technically proficient enough to do it on our own. If a label is going to come into this we want them to understand where we are as a band now. We are looking for someone to market this thing the right way. Not necessarily to go into a partnership with us thinking this was a band that was out seven years ago and only living off of that. I can’t ignore the past and don’t want to ignore my past, but we don’t want to be living off of that. I am extremely proud of all of our accomplishments. I really want to stand on our own two feet as band right now. We have the right tools and the right record. I believe this is really the best record of our career.

 

MAA: Thanks for your time Mike!

MS: Thank you very much!


(Special thanks to Mike Sarkisyan, SPINESHANK and ADRENALINE PR.)

by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes

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AL JOURGENSEN To Guest On Conspiracy Radio Show

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

MINISTRY mainman AL JOURGENSEN is one of the most unique and entertaining personalities in all of metal. My love of his acid-induced horror stories from the road and his thoughts on government cover-ups have kept me listening to MINISTRY long past the time that they were actually interesting. In fact, one of my all time favorite concerts was witnessing MESHUGGAH and MINISTRY on Al’s final tour ever, dubbed the ‘C U Latour’ back in 2008. Now, it appears that JOURGENSEN has gotten past his medical woes and is ready to return to radio and talk shop with popular Texas-based talk show host ALEX JONES.

JONES is the curator of some of this decade’s most provocative and scandalous documentaries such as ‘Terrorstorm’, ‘Police State’, ‘Endgame’ and ‘The Obama Deception’ that tackle some of the most subscribed to conspiracy theories. He also runs the popular conspiracy news websites Prison Planet and Info Wars along with being an accomplished talk radio host. Now, he has teamed announced that AL JOURGENSEN will be a guest on his radio show tomorrow (July 29) to discuss world events, politics, music, conspiracy theories, the apocalypse, 2012 and much, much more.

I will certainly be listening, as should you, to this show in order to hear what good ‘ol UNCLE AL has to say about the state of the world. You can listen online to the show tomorrow at Noon by visiting here.

JOURGENSEN recently said in a statement to Blabbermouth that he is doing much better after his major health scare earlier this year.

“I’ve been puking up blood and stuff for the last six years and didn’t know why — I just thought that was all part of being on a rock tour! (laughs) Seriously, I’d tell my wife, Angie, and she’d say, ‘You’ve gotta see a doctor!’ And I’d say, “I’m fine! I’ve been doing this for years!” And I had no idea; I just thought that’s the way it was supposed to be. So last year, last March, about maybe a year ago last week — I bled out. I lost sixty-five per cent of my blood and it turns out I had thirteen ulcers. Perfect number, thirteen —13th Planet Records — thirteen ulcers! And one of them exploded in my lower intestine. So all the blood would collect there and then come out — I was bleeding out of my nose, my mouth and peeing blood. And then blood was pouring out of my ass. And if I would try to stand up, I would faint and pass out; my blood pressure was — well, by the time I got to the hospital, my blood pressure was thirty over twenty. . . The last thing I remember I woke up out of a seizure; I was going into seizures and I woke up and I saw them getting that goddamn defibrillator ready. And I looked over at Angie and I go, ‘I don’t think I’m gonna make it this time, am I?’ . . . I’ve died a couple of times, you know, back in the day, when I OD’d, and had defibrillators and stuff like that. But this would have been my third time. So I’m figuring third time’s the charm because I was pretty surprised when I woke up. I was in this room with a bunch of tubes in my arm and I got the full Keith Richards treatment, man — they gave me one hundred per cent new blood! A complete blood transfusion; so I was in the hospital for a while. When I got out of there, I figured that was a pretty close call, and I just made a promise to, like… fans and friend and foe alike that before I die I’m gonna do this goddamn country record that I’ve been talking about for thirty years! (laughs)”

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