Home > Music > Mini-Issue #559.5 Y&T Interview

Mini-Issue #559.5 Y&T Interview

Mini-Issue #559.5
August 6, 2010

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Patrick Brower, Editor

Sean P. Gahgan, Editor

Tim Wadzinski, Owner

Steve Shumake, Co-owner

-Sneakin’ this one in at the finish line for today. It was just going to be my Y&T coverage (interview and live report) but then a ton of stuff came in the last day or so… So this isn’t much of a “mini-” after all. – Tim

*** PRESS RELEASE #1 ***
-Kiss HDTV & Liveshare Interactive Concert App

Limited Edition LED HDTV

Introducing the first Kis TV, making Kiss the first concert artists to ever have a television. The new line of RTC officially licensed Kiss HDTV LED televisions. Featuring the legendary logos of Kiss, the Kiss LED TV is one of the finest LED televisions on the market.

These televisions will make the ultimate statement in your home, bar, restaurant or wherever the Kiss HD LED televisions find their homes.

This first limited edition Kiss LED Television is available in three sizes: 32″, 40″ and 46″. This collector’s edition Kiss LED TV is limited to 15,000 pieces worldwide and features a diamond plated look to the casing with the Kiss logos embossed on each side. The live image of Kiss appears on the screen for eight seconds when the TV is powered on and includes a collector’s edition packaging.

Visit http://kisshdtv.com for more details!

Kissonline Debuts Liveshare

Kiss becomes first band to introduce live interactive concert photo experience for fans! Liveshare by Cooliris featuring Kiss, an exciting mobile photo-sharing application that launched on Kiss’ The Hottest Show on Earth tour this summer.

Fans attending The Hottest Show on Earth tour, Kiss’ biggest, loudest, most over-the-top concert tour ever that kicked-off July 23 in Cheyenne, Wyoming, will become the first to have photos of Kiss, themselves, and their friends experiencing the raw power and excitement of a live Kiss concert, appear live on giant Kiss video screens.

Through a free downloadable app, Kiss fans can snap photos during the concert with the highlights being displayed on the Kiss jumbo screen. Users will also be able to share photos to Facebook and Twitter, bringing their friends into the live concert experience.


*** PRESS RELEASE #2 ***
-Rhapdosy Of Fire To Release An Epic 35-Minute Symphony!

Rhapdosy Of Fire are going to release an epic monument called: “The Cold Embrace Of Fear – A Dark Romantic Symphony.”

“For this special CD we composed a unique song of around 35 minutes divided in 7 ‘acts.’ Looking at the title you can easily imagine that such long and epic song will show the most cinematic and orchestral side of our band, all our passion for the world of cinema we love so much and that always represented our main influence while composing the Rhapsody’s music,” says Luca Turilli and adds: “Essentially it is a long huge song, sounding very symphonic, full of orchestral sections very soundtrack oriented, narrations and spoken parts. More than in other cases we tried to create a real movie atmosphere with very dynamic musical results, also thanks to the help of the English actors that gave voice to different characters. You will just need to close your eyes and explore those new emotional dimensions we wrote the music for.”

The lyrics of this monumental, epic symphony is based on the “dark secret saga” and represents a new chapter, directly connected with THE FROZEN TEARS OF ANGELS.

Luca explains: “After the long journey to the icy frozen northlands at the borders of the known world, while facing concrete natural obstacles and the inner demons lying in the depths of their conscience, the five main characters reach the ancient gothic fortress of Har-Kuun, a real monument of evil trapped between ice and snow, the mystic place where the Erian’s book could be finally found. ‘The Cold Embrace Of Fear’ tells about the entrance of those bravehearts in the ancestral world of Har-Kuun and the dramatic search for the holy book of the angels, only possible way to understand something more about the dark secret threatening the whole known world. Also in this case I liked to create particular ‘bridges’ connecting the new chapter of the saga with our modern life on the basis of symbolism, ancient wisdom and spiritual evolution. To someone who knows something about modern psychology and the study of the different ‘self,’ the hidden geometries and gothic labyrinths of Har-Kuun will reveal themselves very clearly.”

Once again Christopher Lee was chosen for the spoken parts as a main narrator. “We couldn’t imagine to release something like this without his fundamental partecipation. Sir Lee is one member of the Rhapsody Of Fire’s family since a lot of time and we love him not only as an actor but also as man. Because of his great and majestic personality he has surely the aura of a king of the ancient times.”

This extraordinary release, will hit the stores on October, 15th for a special price.


*** PRESS RELEASE #3 ***
-Napalm Records News

Monster Magnet: Mastermind

It is time to tune in to MonsterMagnet.net for the relaunch of their newly designed Web site. Focused around the late October worldwide release of their new studio album MASTERMIND, the re-launch will also be the worldwide premiere of the new album’s cover artwork, designed by Invisible Creature (Wolfmother, Chris Cornell, Foo Fighters).

“I’m extremely proud of this new album,” says Magnet front man Dave Wyndorf. “It’s been an amazing process, the songs are exactly what I wanted them to be, and I’m proud to begin presenting this new phase of the band on our new Web site.”

Monster Magnet make their way to Europe for a short festival run beginning next week and have just put tickets on sale for a string of U.K. dates in November. European dates to follow. A full list can be found at the band’s Web site.

The band will be making many more announcements leading up to the release of MASTERMIND. Join the MonsterMagnet.net RSS feed for up-to-date information and updates.


Shadowgarden: With Love And A Bullet

“With Love And A Bullet” is now available for streaming on Shadowgarden’s MySpace. ASHEN will hit the streets in August.


Van Canto: “Rebellion” Video & Gamescom

It’s been a long time coming, but the fan clip to the Grave Digger Cover “Rebellion” is finally available. Rakkatakka-fans may watch the clip at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPUNdwRhuMA ! In addition, Van Canto will deliver the perfect soundtrack for Frogster’s (“Runes Of Magic”) appearance at this year’s Gamescom ( http://www.gamescom.de/ ).


Midnattsol: Album Update

Midnattsol issued the next update regarding their upcoming studio effort! Fans will find all the details and a brand-new video teaser at the band’s MySpace.


Iron Fire: New Song

Iron Fire present their fans with the brand-new track “Reborn To Darkness.” Fans may listen to the song at the band’s MySpace. The new album METALMORPHOSIZED will be released in early October.


Serenity: DEATH & LEGACY

Fans of the symphonic metal band should make sure to visit Serenity’s MySpace site on a regular basis, as the band keeps posting updates about their upcoming album DEATH & LEGACY.


Monster Magnet On Tour:

Aug. 9 – Amsterdam (NL) @ Melkweg
Aug. 10 – Saarburcken (D) @ Garage
Aug. 11 – Avenches (CH) @ Rock Oz Arenes Festival
Aug. 13 – Feldkirch (A) @ Poolbar Festival
Aug. 14 – Burgenland (A) @ Picture On Festival
Aug. 15 – Budapest (HU) @ Sziget Festival
Aug. 17 – Prague (CZ) @ KD Vltavska
Aug. 18 – Frankfurt o.M. (D) @ Batschkapp
Aug. 20 – Lierop (NL) @ Nirwana Tuinfest
Aug. 21 – Ludinghausen (D) @ Area 4 Festival
Aug. 22 – Großposna/Leipzig (D) @ Highfield Festival

Nov. 18 – Cardiff (UK) @ Millenium Music Hall
Nov. 20 – Sheffield (UK) Corporation
Nov. 21 – Reading (UK) @ Sub 89
Nov. 22 – Southampton (UK) @ University
Nov. 23 – Birmingham (UK) @ HMV Insititute
Nov. 25 – Manchester (UK) @ Moho Live
Nov. 26 – London (UK) @ Electric Ballroom


*** PRESS RELEASE #4 ***
-Delain Prepare For ProgPower USA Performance

Dutch epic metallers Delain will be performing on North American soil for the first time this September!

Delain are one of the main acts set to appear this September 11th at the annual ProgPower USA Festival in Atlanta, Georgia, set to perform alongside Kamelot, Nocturnal Rites, HammerFall, Tarot, Tyr, Leaves’ Eyes, and more. See the full lineup and more at: http://progpowerusa.com/ . Immediately following the fest, Delain have also booked shows in Mexico City and Sao Paulo before returning home. More live appearances will be announced shortly.

Delain “Mini World Tour” 2010:
8/07/2010 Wacken Open Air – Wacken, Germany
9/11/2010 ProgPower USA – Atlanta, GA
9/13/2010 Circo Volador – Mexico City, Mexico
9/18/2010 Carioca Club – Sao Paulo, Brazil
9/19/2010 ExpoBrasilia – Brasilia, Netherlands

The progressive metal professionals at New Jersey’s Sensory Records — who released the band’s sophomore release APRIL RAIN to North American audiences in 2009 (the album released via Roadrunner Records in Europe) — also reissued the band’s debut LUCIDITY in June, tying perfectly in with this upcoming U.S. appearance of the band. The expanded edition of LUCIDITY features four full bonus tracks not available on the European version, and was also made available for the first time as a digi-pak worldwide.

Delain was conceived by former Within Temptation keyboard player Martijn Westerholt. Although Within Temptation was a rising star on the European metal scene, Westerholt had to leave the band due to a chronic illness. During his recuperation he wrote the material that would evolve into the LUCIDITY sessions. For the Delain studio project, Westerholt brought together some of the best known names in the European metal scene: Marco Hietala (Nightwish, Tarot), Sharon Den Adel (Within Temptation), Liv Kristine (Leaves’ Eyes), and Ad Sluijter (Epica). He also discovered a young vocalist named Charlotte Wessels. With a voice that matched her stunning looks, she immediately became Delain’s front woman.

The instant success of LUCIDITY in the European market necessitated Westerholt to create a fully active, touring band. Delain went on tour in support of Within Temptation and other high profile bands, and appearances at festivals as well as Dutch television elevated the band’s status into headlining performers. The band’s follow-up album, APRIL RAIN, has further established the band as rising stars in the gothic metal scene.


*** PRESS RELEASE #5 ***
-Epica & ReVamp On Tour Together

“Once upon a time” Mark Jansen (Epica) and Floor Jansen (ReVamp) started making music in a band called After Forever. Today they will join forces again on a European tour, together with the French band Kells.

Epica looks very much forward to this tour as it’s a great package that will attract and fulfill the wishes of many fans!

A great opportunity for ReVamp to introduce themselves to the European audience! The three bands on this tour all have an own and distinctive sound, which with they guarantee you a varied and heavy evening! ReVamp will open up these special nights, followed by Kells and headliner Epica.

24-09-2010 Nosturi, Helsinki (SF)
26-09-2010 Debaser, Slussen / Stockholm (SWE)
27-09-2010 John Dee, Oslo (NO)
28-09-2010 Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SWE)
30-09-2010 Eskulap, Poznan (PL)
01-10-2010 Rialto, Katowice (PL)
02-10-2010 Diesel, Budapest (HUN)
03-10-2010 Szene, Vienna (AT)
05-10-2010 New Age, Treviso (IT)
06-10-2010 Docks, Lausanne (CH)
07-10-2010 Backstage, Munich (D)
09-10-2010 Colos-Saal, Aschaffenburg (D)
10-10-2010 Tivoli, Bremen (D)
28-10-2010 Elysee Montmartre, Paris (F)
29-10-2010 La Laiterie, Strasbourg (F)
30-10-2010 Transbordeur, Lyon (F)


*** PRESS RELEASE #6 ***
-CellOut Rocks Sweden Rock Festival Along With New Release For Believe Digital

Swedish hard rock heroes CellOut have it all: killer riffs, addictive melodies and unforgettable hooks. All are proudly on display with this year’s staggering Nuerra Records debut, SUPERSTAR PROTOTYPE. Flaunting lyrics as cutting as their serrated dual-guitar attack, the band has earned rabid fans on both sides of the Atlantic. Now, on the strength of a transcendent performance at the massive annual Sweden Rock Festival — and upstart Nuerra’s union with marketing powerhouse Believe Digital — CellOut are truly poised for a global takeover.

Over the last 19 years, the Sweden Rock Festival has become one of Europe’s mandatory summertime headbangers’ balls. This year’s edition, held in early June and attended by over 35,000, offered intimidating headliners in the form of Guns N’ Roses and Aerosmith. Yet, as the sun set on Saturday evening, CellOut were primed to rise to the occasion and make their 30-minute set count.

“We went up on the stage with open minds, but with the confidence of four lions,” says front man Percy Mejhagen. “We adjusted our set so it would hit them like a fist in their faces, but with a thoughtfulness to it. After the intro, we went straight into ‘The Tragedy In You,’ and immediately we knew we had them! We won a lot of new fans, but also noticed that a lot of them already knew about us and really dug our music.”

Believe Digital is a digital distributor and service provider that has become a promotional giant on a pan-European basis, along with being the leading distributor on the continent, with over 70 A&R reps worldwide. They’ve recently expanded into the United States and will be working with digital music stores to broaden CellOut’s growing audience at home and abroad. “The music definitely does the talking on this one,” says Believe artist and label manager Rick Reed. “I love the band, so I’m totally excited to see where they can go.”

It all begins with the first single, album opener “Dark Days,” whose chugging verses and anthemic chorus encapsulate CellOut’s blend of crushing brutality and progressive dynamics. Then again, one shouldn’t expect anything less, considering the involvement of Grammy-nominated mixer Ulrich Wild, who enthuses, “Led by a great vocalist, CellOut masterfully combine metal and melody into powerful, well-crafted songs.”

With the muscle of Nuerra and Believe Digital behind this hard rock juggernaut, it’s only a matter of time before CellOut’s infection goes worldwide.

Online stream / download, “Dark Days”



Believe Digital:

*** PRESS RELEASE #7 ***
-Sonic Syndicate: Bass Player Back On Track!

As reported earlier Karin Axelsson of Swedish up and coming rock stars Sonic Syndicate got seriously injured during the shooting of the band’s latest video clip for the song “Turn It Up.” The accident occurred while shooting a scene in which the band is being murdered with a guitar.

Earlier this week it was not entirely clear if Karin could join the band on stage for their next gig on August 7, 2010 due to massive headache and feeling dizzy.

Today we received word from the band’s management that Karin has made a brilliant recovery and is back on her feet with only mild headaches.

She has full intention of making the trip to Lithuania this saturday to perform at Rocknights festival.

She would like to thank everyone who was concerned about her condition and is looking forward to get back on tour and practicing with the band.


by Tim Wadzinski (tsw512@yahoo.com)

-Interview w/ Dave Meniketti (Y&T)
July 30, 2010

Y&T is currently on the road supporting FACEMELTER, its first new studio album in 13 years. I’d never seen the band live and did what I could to catch their show in far northwest suburban Chicago, and to arrange a chat with main man Dave Meniketti. The day of the show I was online checking out the band’s forums and discovered bassist and co-founding member Phil Kennemore had been “struck down” by a serious back injury. Amazingly, they were able to fly in a replacement to keep the tour going. I sat on the roof of the Penny Road Pub and got the lowdown from Dave. Read on to hear him go into detail on this tumultuous turn of events, how he views himself as a performer, and whatever happened to Rock The Robot from the band’s old ’80s videos…

DETRITUS: I just read about what happened to Phil. How is he doing?

DAVE MENIKETTI: So-so at this point. He’s in the care of some physicians at the moment, he’s in the hospital at the moment. They’ve given him all the X-rays, and they’re trying to sort out what’s going on with him, with his back and everything.

D: Was this something that just popped up?

DM: Well actually, he’s had back problems through most of his life. But this recent thing he thinks is from something he was doing like three months ago, working out in the yard or something. He thought that he’d done something to make this thing happen or whatever. All we know right now is [it’s] something like nerve damage or who knows what. We actually had to cancel one of the shows on this trip, while we had some physicians looking at him and everything. They did some preliminary stuff and said, “You gotta go home and get treatment.” It sort of caught us a *little* bit off guard. We knew that he was having problems, obviously, ‘cuz he was basically living on painkillers to get through it, as it was. But we weren’t sure if he was gonna actually have something that was gonna stop the tour for him — which we originally thought would’ve stopped the tour for us.

D: How did you hook up with Brad Lang?

DM: Actually, it was a recommendation from our drummer [Mike Vanderhule] and our other guitar player John [Nymann]. They both had known of him. John was the one that really brought it up to me first. He said, “This guy’s really good. I just saw him recently playing at a club near us, and I just thought this guy could really work out real well for us. I’m sure he knows some Y&T songs — he’s probably played them before in some bands.” We called quite a few guys, actually, probably four guys. The other guys were also interested but weren’t able to do it in this timeframe. Brad was available and he was willing to get on a plane and come out immediately. But I mean *immediately* — after we called him and made the decision, it was at nighttime, but he was basically on a plane that morning, not more than 12 hours later. And he had a list of 20 songs to learn, so… (laughs) He’s been constantly, you know, MP3 player in his ear, practicing. He’s non-stop practice, today, yesterday, he’ll be doing it right now after this soundcheck. I feel for the guy. But I gotta tell you, what a great find because he just nailed it last night. First gig, less than 24 hours after we gave him a call — literally — he’s onstage playing these songs, and he maybe made, like, three little mistakes in the almost two-hour set.

D: But who’s counting?

DM: I was. (laughs) No, no, he was great. I just asked him how he’s doing and he goes, “I’m worried!” I go, “Dude, you got nothing to worry about, you’re cool.” So you know, I figure after tonight and tomorrow night, he won’t even have to look at his notes anymore and it’ll be cool. He’s filling in great.

D: Did you have to alter the set list?

DM: A little bit.

D: I didn’t see you when you guys were a few months ago for MelodicRock Fest but I’d heard at that show Phil sang a song or two. Was that still part of this tour?

DM: No, he sang a song; he sings “Squeeze.” We pulled that out of the set. But we had pulled it out of the set anyway, for this part of the tour, because of his back bothering him so much. We just didn’t want to give him any more than we needed to, you know. But no, we haven’t changed too much at the moment. Actually, what we played last night [was only] one song different from what we played at the last gig right before this happened. So that was all fine.

D: On to the new album. This is the first new studio album in 13 years. Why now? What was right about this year, as opposed to six or seven years ago? What happened to make you decide, “We’re gonna do a new album now?”

DM: Well, the last thing we did was the mid-’90s. We were basically butting our heads, at that. The ’90s were not good for bands like us — actually not good for almost *anybody* that came before the ’90s; ’60s, ’70s, ’80s band, doesn’t matter. (laughs) Sort of a throw the baby out with the bath water kind of thing. (laughs) It’s like, “Here’s this new grunge thing — screw everyone else!” At least, you know, with the business side of things; the fans obviously were still there, but it was kind of a bad time. So that pretty much washed after that. After the mid-’90s records that we did, it was like, “Well let’s not do any more for the time being.” Then we really were sort of in limbo. We played just a few shows here and there, up till about 2003. 2003, things start picking up. We started playing some tours in Europe again, after not being there for almost 20 years. And, wow, that just changed everything around. All of a sudden we’re back there playing, things start picking up back in the States, we start playing Japan again. It got to the point where for the last four-and-a-half years it’s been the same band members, and everybody’s been playing 50 shows a year every year now. It’s like, you know, it’s obvious we’re back in it. We’re doing it full time. We gotta get creative again. So this was the right time for it. The ’90s wouldn’t have been the right time; even the early 2000s maybe wouldn’t have been the right time. For the last five or six years it’s been the right time. It just took us that much time for us to wrap our heads around what we were doing, where we were going, and to realize that we had to get back to doing it. So it was about 2008 we decided, “Okay, we’ll do it.” We started writing in January/February of ’09, and then we got busy for the whole year touring. Then we just said, “Okay, January through April — we’re blocking it off. Let’s finish writing, record, and be done with it.” And that’s what we did.

D: It’s all new stuff?

DM: Everything’s new.

D: I know you did those UNEARTHED albums a while back…

DM: Exactly. We didn’t have anything else that was old except for “Gonna Go Blind,” which was a song that Phil had written in the ’90s. He kind of like brought it back and sort of restructured some of the lyrics, and said, “I still want to do this. I think it would be fun.” Other than that, everything was written brand new in the last year-and-a-half or so.

D: So what’s it like? What do you do with yourselves? You guys were busy. You had a ton of albums, and were used to the album/tour/album/tour cycle like a lot of other bands with your longevity.

DM: Sure.

D: Then all of a sudden, basically, the rug gets pulled out from under you. You had to be going crazy for 10 or 12 years.

DM: Yeah, easily. Maybe 20. (laughs)

D: I mean, I understand you did a couple of solo projects, too…

DM: Yeah I did, and that was, you know, the middle to end of the ’90s and early 2000s. I put out a record in ’97, but I had actually started working on it as early as ’93. So it was just something that I had been working on, and then I put it aside, and then I came back to it. Yeah, it was a frustrating time. We had a band that sounded great still — as good as anybody out there, as far as we were concerned, and the fans — and we had no place to go, for the most part. It could’ve partially been our manager at the time, and our agency and so on and so forth — people maybe weren’t working as hard as they could’ve for us at that time — but I knew that it was also slim pickings. Yeah, it was frustrating, but once we got going again in 2003, you know the way I look at it is, you don’t look back on stuff. You jus move forward. If it’s good from this point forward then it’s just another time in our life that I just have to say, “This is good, this is working for us.”

D: I think you just answered my next question. I was going to say that some other bands have “come back,” in a sense, and they’ve re-recorded some of their old stuff.

DM: Yeah, I didn’t want to do that, actually. We were presented with that a couple of times. Mostly people re-record their own stuff because they want to get the rights to their material back, because a previous record company was holding back their stuff, and basically holding it for ransom. They want to get full access to the royalties, and so on and so forth, and that’s why they do that. You know, I just want to move forward. And I figured that the fans really just want to hear the old material the original way. I mean, it’s nice to have it, and I’d like to do it for maybe one reason: I sing about 500% better than I did when I did those records. For my own personal pride standpoint I’d love to do all those songs over again with the voice I have now. But, I know what the fans want. The fans want the original material; that’s what they grew up listening to, that’s what brings the memories back, exactly how it was and how it sounded. And you know, move on. And we have. We’ve got new material and we go forward.

D: You are one of those rare “triple threats.” You’re a singer, song writer, and lead guitarist. Which of those do you take the most pride in, and which of those was the hardest to work on?

DM: We’ll, I guess equal amounts. But definitely, singing was the hardest for me. Only because I didn’t take it as seriously as I should’ve, I think, is the only way I can think about it. When I look back and I listen to those first five or six records we did, I think I had the voice and I had the ability but I don’t know… Maybe I just needed guidance at that time. This is probably what it was; I needed somebody to show me how to get the best out of it. I figured it was something that I have to do, because I’m the only guy that could do it in the band, at the time. So it was sort of a “I have to do it” thing, rather than a “Man I’m into it, I really love singing.” It wasn’t until probably the IN ROCK WE TRUST album in ’85 when I really started coming into my own as a singer, and started learning better. And it still wasn’t until a couple of years after that until I kind of nailed it for myself. I needed a lot of work. I needed to slap myself in the face and say, “Dude, you’re the singer in this band, too. You gotta take that as seriously as everything else.” Not that I wasn’t serious — it’s just that I guess I wasn’t really, really digging deep into every last little corner, you know, and trying to figure out where can I make it better. Or maybe it was just a natural thing. Maybe I just got better as I got older. (laughs) That was all that was gonna happen, who knows? But I’m fortunate, at the same time now.

So to answer your question the long way around, maybe I take the most pride in singing at the moment because of the fact I know how difficult it is to sing. And I know that you can be tired every day of your life on the road and you can still get up there and play guitar. You *cannot* sing when you’re tired and not getting enough rest, proper rest. It is an *amazingly* hard job to keep well, and well-tuned. So from that standpoint I’m most proud of the fact that I still have a voice at my age, and not only a voice, but I think a better voice than I had when I was 20 or 30. That’s where I probably take the most pride. Not to say that I don’t have an amazing amount of pride in guitar playing. I mean, you know, that’s where I started from. That was what I wanted to be, was a guitar player. That was all I saw myself as for many years. And song writing, of course, you can’t put that one down. (laughs) You’d have no band that can last for 30 years if you didn’t have some decent songs. I mean, if you’re a band off of gimmicks, or something, then I could understand where you could still have a draw where people came out to see the show. You know, if it was about the show and not necessarily about the songs. I think in some terms maybe that’s why we’ve lasted as long as we have, is the fact that we had good musicianship, sure, but the fans love the songs. They’re still songs that you can dig your teeth into, you know?

D: The new video, for “I’m Coming Home.” I just checked that out today. Within about a minute I thought, “That’s a Y&T song.”

DM: Yeah, exactly.

D: By the second chorus, I knew it, and I recognized it right away when you played it at soundcheck.

DM: Yep, yep.

D: Are you a perfectionist?

DM: I’m a perfectionist to a point. Like when it comes to recording, I’m a perfectionist to make sure that I do the best performance that I can do. But not a perfectionist — well, not overly perfectionist — about overdubbing, and tricks on records and stuff like that. Which is true about this record. Because we’ve done it so many times before, it’s a standard way of doing it. Everybody records at the same time when you record the basic tracks. And then you wipe everything off and start from scratch, and just leave the drums. “Let’s all do new guitar parts again, new bass parts, blah blah blah, and overdub the guitars, do two of them or three of them each, and it’ll make it bigger!” No. It just takes the soul and the whole vibe of the band out of it. And we learned that lesson. So we just said on this one, “We’re gonna record the four of us together, and we’re gonna keep absolutely as much as we possibly can. If there’s a mistake, we’ll just fix the guitar part mistake but leave the 90%-95% of the guitar part that went down with the drums as we played it live, as we were getting all of us together, and getting the feel of that song.” So that’s the part that I would say I’m less of a perfectionist and I’m more of a realist about that kind of stuff. I want performances on records that truly speak to the band playing live. You don’t have to do anything different. There’s nothing we have to try to figure out how to make it sound as good as the record, on this record. It’s exactly how we recorded it, is how we play it live. Only maybe better live, because it’s got more energy, and there’s more, you know, interaction with the crowd. And we’ve had more time to play these songs now. They were all brand new when we put them down on the record.

D: With touring, one of our writers is in Georgia and he said, “Ask Dave if they’re coming my way!” We took a look at your schedule and saw you’re not hitting the southeast…

DM: I know, it sucks! (laughs)

D: But you’re pretty busy — the U.S., Europe, and Japan early next year.

DM: Yes, right.

D: What’s the long-range plan? Just ride this out as long as you can, or are you already thinking about the next record?

DM: At the moment all I’m thinking about is getting through this year, simply because, you know, now that Phil is injured and we don’t know what his prognosis is going to be, and how long he’ll be out, or whatever. That sort of rattled me a couple days ago. I’m still not 100% based on where my head’s at. But, as long as we feel confident about the way that the band is — which we are right now — we’re just gonna finish this tour out and see what happens after that, see what feels right. I think that it’s gonna be the same as what I expect it to be, which is, “What are we gonna do if we’re not playing?” I could do something else, I could do my own solo stuff. But Y&T still has a voice. We still have an *amazing* fan base that’s all over the world, and it just seems stupid to stop playing. So I would imagine we’ll just keep going. In Japan we had set up the whole thing where we’re going to do another video now, and Japan comes in the middle of January.

D: A full-length live video?

DM: Yeah, a full new DVD. We’re still going forward with that at this point.

D: You have done guest spots with other artists, and appeared on tribute albums. You were on Lizzy Borden’s most recent record.

DM: Yes, that’s right.

D: How do those things come about? Any more in the works?

DM: Nothing at the moment, although somebody just recently asked me if I would do something on their record, and I said, “Send me the track and I’ll see what I can do.” Those things just come and go. Every once in a while I’ll just get a call and somebody will say, “Hey, we’d love you to do a solo,” or do a vocal part or something. I’ll say, “Sure,” if it’s somebody that I believe in or I think it’s gonna be a cool deal, absolutely.

D: Silly question: Whatever happened to the “Rock” costume?

DM: Not a silly question. (smiles) When we let our original rhythm guitar player Joey Alves go, in ’88 I guess it was, one thing that he wanted was the Rock costume. And so in lieu of wondering if he was ever going to sue us or something for firing him, we thought, “Okay, that’s fine, let him have the Rock costume. We’re not gonna use it anymore.” (laughs) And unfortunately, it went to a friend of his and then that friend passed away, and the friend’s girlfriend took the costume — it was in pieces and road cases — [and] nobody knew where it was anymore. Couldn’t contact her, nobody… We’d get little stories every once on a while where they thought they saw an appearance of “Rock The Robot” showing up at somebody’s “best Halloween costume” contest, stuff like that. Somebody told me that they spray-painted the mask and tried to make it look like Dracula, or Frankenstein, or something like that. Who knows. (laughs) It was like, “Oh my God.” The thing cost us $17,000 to have it made.

D: No kidding?

DM: Yeah, they had to fabricate it, you know it was ridiculous. Seven-and-a-half feet tall, it had stilts built into the legs, all kinds of stuff. Fans inside the headpiece to cool down whoever was inside. (laughs) So, we still don’t know where it is. We don’t know. One of these days… Somebody said once, a couple of years ago, “I know where the head is! And I’m gonna bring it to one of your next shows.” He never came; we never saw it. (laughs)

D: I was digging through the archives and found a really old episode of, I think, “Heavy Metal Mania” — Dee Snider’s old show on MTV from 25 years ago. You were the guest, joking around about the “East-West Connection” since you were in San Francisco and he and Twisted Sister were in New York.

DM: That’s right.

D: He’s in the news again since his new reality show [“Growing Up Twisted” on A&E] just premiered. Are you guys still in touch?

DM: Oh yeah, I actually see him all the time. Well, not all the time, but I see him at least two or three times a year because we end up playing the same festivals together. In fact, we just played a festival with them not more than a week ago in Wichita, the Midwest Rock Fest. Although, for the first time we’ve ever played festivals with these guys every year, we did not see them. They were not on a tour bus; we were on our bus at the festival and they were back at the hotel miles away. We left well before they got on stage because it was a matter of timing. But yeah, I see them all the time and those guys are good friends. Realistically — I kid you not — we just played another festival in June together, we played Hellfest in France, and we’re the first band that they go to see when they get into the festival. They go to Y&T’s room, or we go to Twisted’s room because we’re like brothers. We’ve traveled together, we’ve toured together for months. We’ve seen each other ever since and we just have enormous respect for each other. When you play some of these festivals there are sometimes a hundred bands playing in three days, and the hell if you know 90% of the bands! (laughs) I mean, you’ll know Aerosmith and Twisted and, you know, Dio or something — God help him. But for the most part there are all these other bands, you know, these hell/death bands with the “Rrrrrrrrr,” you know these kinds of guys, and you’re just like, “I don’t know these guys. I heard their name.” (laughs) So you go to your buddies. And I don’t know, I’m sure at some point once he gets his thing established, there’d be no reason why I couldn’t see him at the next gig and say, “Hey Dee, uh, how about having me on your show?” (laughs)

-I’d like to give a say a big “Thank You!” to Dave and his manager/wife Jill Meniketti for allowing me to take up some of his valuable time, when he could’ve been relaxing or going over the set with the guys. Given the circumstances he was remarkably calm, collected, and good-natured and I felt like this conversation could’ve easily gone on for another hour at least. Maybe we’ll get an autobiography sometime soon, eh?

Relevant links:


by Tim Wadzinski (tsw512@yahoo.com)

-Y&T/Icarus Witch
Penny Road Pub, South Barrington, IL
July 30, 2010

There were actually four bands on this bill: Slam Bang, Friction, Icarus Witch, and Y&T. I believe the first two are local Chicago-area bands, and Icarus Witch has actually been touring North America with headliners Y&T. We got to the club a little late due to circumstances beyond my control (*cough*, ahem, my friend’s wife…, *cough*) so we missed Slam Bang and Friction, and only caught a few Icarus Witch tunes. I believe we heard the title track from their latest, DRAW DOWN THE MOON, and their awesome cover of the old Def Leppard rocker “Mirror, Mirror (Look Into My Eyes)” from 2007’s SONGS FOR THE LOST. I’m not too familiar with this band but their new singer Christopher Shaner certainly looked and fit the part. I definitely need to pay more attention to these guys.

Y&T (115 mins.)
From The Moon (intro) / Open Fire / Don’t Wanna Lose / Mean Streak / Lonely Side Of Town / Shine On / If You Want Me / Don’t Stop Runnin’ / I’m Coming Home / I Believe In You / Black Tiger / drum solo / Barroom Boogie / Down And Dirty (part) / Hungry For Rock (part) / I’ll Cry For You / Hurricane / Dirty Girl / Midnight In Tokyo / Summertime Girls / Forever // Rescue Me

If you read my interview with main man Dave Meniketti then you know Y&T were playing one of their first gigs with Brad Lang subbing for injured bassist Phil Kennemore. Nothing against Mr. Lang’s abilities, but 1) I was certainly disappointed Phil wasn’t there, and 2) given the whirlwind circumstances I was expecting to hear a flub or two. But, nope. Showing what true pros these guys are, they soldiered on through what had to be a difficult task and put on a helluva show.

As expected, the set list leaned heavily on the ’81-’83 EARTHSHAKER / BLACK TIGER / MEAN STREAK triumvirate. There were token nods to IN ROCK WE TRUST (the ass-kicking, all-time classic “Don’t Stop Runnin'”), DOWN FOR THE COUNT (the commercial hit “Summertime Girls”), and CONTAGIOUS (the bluesy instrumental “I’ll Cry For You,” which is essentially a Meniketti showcase), and a decent sampling of the new disc FACEMELTER (the stomping “Shine On,” the simmering “If You Want Me,” and the killer Eurometal-tinged “I’m Coming Home”), the first with current rhythm guitarist John Nymann and drummer Mike Vanderhule. The band’s ’76 s/t release and subpar mid-’90s discs MUSICALLY INCORRECT and ENDANGERED SPECIES weren’t touched — and I’m pretty sure everyone in the crowd was okay with that — but I was disappointed the very fine TEN from ’90 was also overlooked. I’d gladly have swapped out “Don’t Wanna Lose” and “Dirty Girl” for TEN’s “Surrender” and “Goin’ Off The Deep End” in a heartbeat! But as it stood, the set list featured an excellent overview of this underrated band’s impressive catalog.

Some fun moments from the show included what had to be the earliest crowd sing-along part I’ve ever encountered, right there in song #2 “Don’t Wanna Lose,” and watching rhythm Nymann politely walking through the crowd during “Barroom Boogie.” From my vantage point I couldn’t tell if he had to say something to the sound guy, or if he was just takin’ a little tour of the floor. The band also took stabs at “Down And Dirty” and “Hungry For Rock,” a couple of tracks that apparently weren’t in the set list; perhaps they were audience requests? (I wasn’t up front to hear everything that was being said to/shouted at the band.) “Midnight In Tokyo” started out that way, too, as if the band was just figuring it out on the fly, but they ran with it all the way through to the end. Kudos. (I love that song!)

You really wouldn’t know the band was under duress with the Kennemore situation, not with the way they played. Fans definitely want him to get better and rejoin Y&T on the road, but until then Lang will apparently do a stellar job standing in. Hat’s off to Mr. Meniketti & Co.

Relevant links:

Icarus Witch


-Blind Guardian’s new video for “A Voice In The Dark” is online now at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1px6jEHWzfw .

-Denial Machine’s new E.P. THE GAINSAYING OF KORAH was produced by Chris Wisco and mastered by James Murphy. Track list: “Recompsense,” “Silver Tongued Devil,” “Promise,” “The Gainsaying Of Korah.” It’s due out September 14; it will be available through all online retailers and a “special physical CD edition” will be available exclusively through http://www.denialmachine.net/ . See http://www.myspace.com/denialmachine for more.

-Check out — and buy — some great pictures of Kiss performing live at Madison Square Garden in New York City on October 10, 2009 at http://rockstarpix.smugmug.com/Rockstarpix/KISSMSG/13200864_esTn7#958268786_5dpDH .

-Loopfest 2010 is set for September 19 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, IL. The annual fest is sponsored by Chicago radio station 97.9 FM/The Loop and apparently features two stages with these lineups: UFO, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Dokken, Jonathan Tyler And The Northern Lights; and Ratt, Candlebox, Fuel, Jackyl, Shaman’s Harvest, Lovehammers. See http://www.wlup.com/ for more.

Thanks to John Erigo and Jeff “Facemelter” Adee for help gathering some of this information.

*** OUT ***

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