Monday, November 29, 2010

Nick Cave, Rob Halford and Queensryche

Nick Cave, Rob Halford and Queensryche, oh my!

Over the past month, I’ve done a few interviews with some of my favorite artists. The first is with Nick Cave for The Village Voice’s Sound of the City blog, and in it we talk about the new Grinderman album (the last one produced one of my favorite songs that year), the Birthday Party, his favorite Bad Seeds album and song, and the lyrics that anger his wife most. He was very candid and forthcoming and, given how he’ll sometimes take on the press, I was happy he felt comfortable speaking with me.


The next is with Judas Priest singer Rob Halford for He’s currently on tour with Ozzy—for a show some refer to as the Prince of Darkness meets the Metal God—and he talked a little bit about his kinship with the Sabbath singer. We also discussed the new Halford album and Priest’s future plans.


The last is with Queensryche’s Geoff Tate and Michael Wilton, also for Their album, Empire, was recently re-released so the interview covers the making of that, staging drug deals, S&M, and what Michael Kamen was like.


I have more stuff in the works, and the next Revolver contains a ton of interviews I did. I’ll post updates on those here has they happen.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Recent Writings: Slayer, Cynic, Xasthur

I’ve recently written a few articles here and there that I wanted to share. First is a web-exclusive interview I did with Kerry King for In it, we talk about Slayer’s 30th anniversary, playing the Big Four shows, raising snakes and more. It’s also a good bookend for my blog about going to Germany and seeing Slayer from Jeff Hanneman’s guitar pit at Wacken.

Kerry King - SLAYER - 2008

Next is an article I wrote for the Broward/Palm Beach New Times on death-via-prog metallers Cynic. The interview focuses mostly on vocalist-guitarist Paul Masvidal’s life growing up in South Florida (since that’s where the publication is) and gives a different perspective on why death metal blew up in Florida. The story was also picked up in the Miami New Times.


Finally, I interviewed underground black-metal firebrand Malefic, the “frontman” for one-man band Xasthur, about giving up on metal for The feature, previewed in HTML here and presented in online magazine form here, also features amazing photos by Bryan Sheffield of Malefic both with and without his corpsepaint. In the interview, he was incredibly candid about everything from the pain he’s endured making his music to the betrayals he’s suffered from the music industry. It’s one of his final interviews (I thought I had his last one), and I’m honored he gave interviewing another go. Also, his final “metal” album, Portal of Sorrow, is actually quite good and I highly recommend it, especially to Ennio Morricone fans.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

I’ve got a lot more writing that will be published soon, including pieces on Alice Cooper, Rob Zombie, Nick Cave and more. I’ll post updates here as they come out.

Xasthur image by Bryan Sheffield

Monday, September 06, 2010

On Stands Now!


The current issue of Revolver magazine—with Zakk Wylde on the cover—has an article I wrote on Iron Maiden in it. Bruce Dickinson was really open with me about how he first discovered that he could be a singer and the uncertainty in Maiden’s future. Up the Irons!

All Yesterday's Parties


After Sunn0))) and Boris closed out All Tomorrow’s Parties fest last night with their Altar performance in upstate New York, DJ Kool Herc—the man who basically invented rap—did a DJ set. It was pretty amazing watching the master put together a perfect dance set, including bits of James Brown, Michael Jackson (and the Vincent Price poem from “Thriller”) and basically an encyclopedia’s worth of breaks on the best hip-hop records.

Partway into his set, in walked Wu-Tang Clan’s GZA, who had played a sort-of aggressive set at the same time as Altar (I went back and forth between the two.) He just kept riling the crowd saying, “You’re all looking at me like you’re scared. You guys can’t make eye contact for more than four seconds.” He performed great nonetheless. Anyway, in the presence of Herc, he was nothing but reverent. He nonchalantly stepped behind the turntables and said hello. Check out the pic above. It was one of those rare moments where you felt like you were seeing something rare and historic. GZA grabbed the mic and talked about what a legend Kool Herc was and thanked him before leaving. I’m glad I got to see it take place.

Friday, June 25, 2010

On Stands Now!

The July/August issue of Revolver magazine, which came out this week, features an interview I did with Ozzy Osbourne, as well as his new guitarist Gus G. In it, we talk about his new album, Scream (of which I’m a fan), his Black Sabbath days, Randy Rhoads, religion, and a lot more. It’ll be on stands through August 16. I’m pretty proud of this one, so check it out.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I recently rediscovered this Metallica feature I wrote in 2008 and decided to repost it. Enjoy.

A Matter of Life and Death

by Kory Grow


Metallica’s fans will never know just how close their favorite headbangers came to disbanding. The group’s dark times and therapy sessions may have been aired publicly in the 2004 film Some Kind of Monster, which chronicled the genesis of that year’s exposed nerve of an album, St. Anger. But since the movie runs only two hours, their fans couldn’t see all the work the band did off-screen to heal as friends. “We got very close to experiencing life without Metallica there for a year, and it was pretty nutty,” says Lars Ulrich, the band’s exuberant Danish drummer, now 44. “I think we all realized that we were much better off with Metallica than without. We made the best efforts that we could to try and get beyond that. We put a lot of work into it.”

The work they put into reestablishing their friendships with one another is wholly responsible for the triumph of their latest album, Death Magnetic (Warner Bros.). Balancing the underground thrash metal of Metallica’s early ’80s work with the catchy grooves of ’90s blockbusters like their self-titled “Black Album,” the disc is their most vital work in nearly two decades. With ex–Ozzy Osbourne bassist Robert Trujillo onboard, Metallica’s core—vocalist-guitarist James Hetfield, lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and skinsman Ulrich—plays just as aggressively as the myriad young metalheads still trying to ape their style after nearly 30 years. The band sounds hungry again.

To get to this point, Metallica needed to separate themselves from their recent past. The first step was to find a producer other than Bob Rock, still a close friend of the band, who had guided them since the Black Album. They chose Rick Rubin, the bearded Grammy-winning producer who made the careers of the Beastie Boys, Slayer and System of a Down and revitalized those of Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond. Rubin’s main objective was to get Metallica back into the mindset they were in when writing Master of Puppets. The question he asked them to ponder was, “What would you have done if it was 1985?”

“You’ve got to understand that for Metallica, for our fans, for everybody—…And Justice for All, Master of Puppets, Ride the Lightning—these records have been elevated by everybody to the icon stage,” Ulrich says. “These records are on pedestals and they’re so important. And they’re so ‘all this stuff’ that we even got scared of ’em. [Laughs] We were intimidated by the supposed greatness of these records.

“We spent the better part of the next 15 years running as far away from those records as possible to not do anything that would in any way belittle them or take any of the glory away from these records. Rick made us feel OK about circling back through that ZIP code again and checking out the neighborhood, listening to the records and being OK with adopting some of the same processes, some of the same ways of thinking.”

To make sure they got Death Magnetic right, the band took their time writing the album. They started writing in the spring of 2006 and composed at their leisure. As invitations to tour and headline festivals arose, the band obliged at will. The lack of pressure would later prove instrumental to the album’s success. In October of 2007, the band played an acoustic set for Neil Young’s Bridge School Benefit charity concert. In April of the following year, they appeared at the Mountain View location of Rasputin Music, a San Francisco-based independent record store chain as part of Record Store Day, to sign autographs and meet fans. It was their first in-store appearance in nearly a decade.

“It just seemed like it was a good time to remind people of what a great experience just walking into your neighborhood mom-and-pop record store was, instead of walking into a mega building that’s the size of a small country or sitting and tapping on your keypad and getting music that way,” Ulrich says. “Nothing against either of those; I do both of those myself. But it’s like, you’re walking into a place that you feel the love of human beings. You walk around and you can check out some records and some shirts and some paraphernalia. It’s just a vibe.”

By opening themselves up to so many different opportunities and revisiting their past interests, the members of Metallica primed themselves for anything to happen in the recording studio. One of Rubin’s main demands was for them to have the album arranged perfectly before entering the studio. “It was basically just, ‘Learn the fucking songs ’til you can play them in your sleep standing on your head with your fucking eyes closed, while you’re saying the Lord’s Prayer backwards,’ or whatever,” Ulrich says. “That was the marching order.” Rubin was onto something, too: Metallica played Death Magnetic with unabashed hunger. “It’s still raw,” says the drummer. “It’s very in-your-face. It’s very aggressive and it still sounds like a bunch of human beings playing music. That’s probably what I’m most proud of.”

Nearly three decades ago, it was Metallica’s goal to take over the world. They’ve done that, and now their priorities have changed. “It’s really just four dorky big kids in their early 40s still playing the music that gets ’em off,” Ulrich concludes. “I guess Metallica’s mission is to provide the best music that we’re capable of for the people that are interested. It’s to give people a sense of escape. Something that can take them away from five-dollars-a-gallon gas and shit economies and whatever the fuck else it is that’s going on out there in the real world.”

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


For those of you who visit this blog regularly—and I doubt there are very many of you, since my last post here was in December—I just wanted to check in. I’ve been taking a little hiatus, focusing my online energy on I’ve also been writing regularly for Revolver, Guitar World, The Village Voice, and I’ll post some links to things here and there from this point on, beginning with this bit I wrote for on “Advice for Young Writers.” Scroll to the bottom to read mine. I’ll also post photos here from shows I’ve gone to, like the one below from the Quasi concert this past April. Anyway, that’s all for now.