GILBY CLARKE And TONY MACALPINE Added To ‘Axes & Anchors’ Cruise

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The upcoming five-day/four-night 2016 Axes & Anchors cruise — setting sail from Miami, Florida on February 20 aboard the Carnival Victory, stopping in Key West, Florida and Nassau, Bahamas, and docking back in Miami on February 24 — has announced two new artists to the cruise lineup. Gilby Clarke, best known for his time as rhythm guitarist for GUNS N’ ROSES, and Tony MacAlpine, one of rock’s most amazing and versatile musicians, are just two amazing artists that Axes & Anchors cruise will be adding to the already stellar lineup.

In addition, the cruise is announcing a variety of non-guitar oriented workshops for music fans and musicians of all backgrounds to enjoy. Musical education and teaching is very important to the Axes & Anchors mission. Whether you are a vocalist, bassist, drummer, photographer, tour manager or just interested in learning more about music in general, you’ll have much to enjoy on the Axes & Anchors cruise. In addition to the guitar workshops run personally by 10 of the cruise’s attending guitar gods, beginners and seasoned musicians alike can experience workshops like:

* Rock photography
* How to write lyrics
* Tuning and amplifying your sound
* Sight-reading of music
* Voice training
* Glam/metal make-up
* Clothing modification

Ann Squire, co-founder of Axes & Anchors, comments: “We’ve had passengers calling and telling us how excited they are that we are offering workshops, and they are even asking for other very specific workshops — like voice training and sight reading — so while we are focused on guitars, we are also providing something for everyone. It’s exciting to see everyone so jazzed about our new format for rock cruises.”

Clarke will perform two full concerts with his band, and also offer a one-hour guitar workshop, and a photo op with each passenger!

Clarke states: “I’m so happy to announce that I’ll be taking part in the inaugural Axes & Anchors cruise, setting sail in February 2016. I can’t wait to get out on the high seas and perform for deserving fans and enjoy all that the cruise has to offer.”

MacAlpine will also perform two full concerts with his band, conduct a one-hour workshop, attend the rocktail party for Platinum VIPs, and a photo op with each passenger.

MacAlpine states: “Come sail and rock away with us on the Axes & Anchors cruise, February 20-24, 2016. It is a do-not-miss event and I, as well as everyone else, request your presence on board!”

The Axes & Anchors cruise features a line-up of world-class rock and metal musicians and their bands including Zakk Wylde (OZZY OSBOURNE, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY), Yngwie Malmsteen, Michael Schenker (SCORPIONS, UFO, MSG), Alex Skolnick (TESTAMENT, TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA), Tony MacAlpine, Tracii Guns (L.A. GUNS), Gilby Clarke, Dario Lorina (BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, LIZZY BORDEN), and more, performing concerts and conducting workshops. Passengers can look forward to more than 40 mindblowing shows over the course of the five days/four nights on board.

In addition, more than a dozen workshops by day in guitar-oriented and non-guitar musical topics will train your brain. And the cruise plans on featuring gear demos and displays from some of today’s premier guitar and gear manufacturers. Of course, there will be plenty of time to splash in one of the on-board pools, roll the dice in the casino, soak up some sun on exotic beaches, explore the sights and sounds of Key West and Nassau, or just relax and sip your favorite beverage on the deck, all while rubbing elbows with some of the hottest rock legends and their even hotter fans.

Tickets for the cruise start at the competitive rate of just $899 per person (based on double occupancy), and include all accommodations, meals, concerts, open workshops, games, photo ops and more. Since the ship holds a limited number of passengers, early booking is highly encouraged.

Tickets are on sale now at www.AxesAndAnchors.com, and monthly payment plans are available.

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Rock Against Dystrophy Hits New Jersey With All Stars

rad preview flyer may 2015In 2009 rock and metal internet radio DJ’s and brothers Jay Scorpion and Turbo, who have Spinal Muscular Atrophy (a neuromuscular disease under the category of Muscular Dystrophy) started the fundraising group known as Rock Against Dystrophy to bring awareness to the masses and fundraise for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. They unite the worlds of rock and metal together three times a year for benefit concerts in their effort to “Rock Out to Knock Out Muscular Dystrophy.”

This summer marks Rock Against Dystrophy’s third year of benefit concerts in New Jersey and it’s second with an All Star line up. This years New Jersey benefit will be taking place on Saturday, August 22nd at New Jersey’s rock and metal haven Dingbatz in Clifton, New Jersey.

This years Rock Against Dystrophy All Stars will once again feature Mark Tornillo (ACCEPT/T.T. QUICK) and Bobby Blitz (OVERKILL) with more to be announced in the coming weeks. The MC for the event, returning for his 3rd time, will be TattooTony of Under My Skin Tattoo.

Proceeds from Rock Against Dystrophy events go to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Early BLACK SABBATH Albums To Be Re-Released On Vinyl

Early BLACK SABBATH Albums To Be Re-Released On VinylThe first eight albums from the legendary heavy metal band BLACK SABBATH are being re-released on vinyl.

The reissue campaign will kick off on June 22 with SABBATH‘s self-titled debut album (1970), “Paranoid” (1970) and “Master Of Reality” (1971). They will be followed by the June 29 re-releases of “Vol. 4” (1972), “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” (1973) and “Sabotage” (1975).

On July 13, SABBATH‘s “Technical Ecstacy” (1976) and “Never Say Die!” (1978) will be reissued.

All eight albums will be made available on heavyweight 180-gram vinyl and CD.

SABBATH‘s early original-lineup catalog was previously reissued on vinyl in 2012 as a limited-edition box set, “The Vinyl Collection: 1970-1978”.

In an interview with Gibson.com, SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi spoke about the band’s musical diversity. He said: “To me, BLACK SABBATH were always open to new sounds. On every SABBATH album, there’s always something out the box. We had instrumentals on a hard rock album when everyone was telling us, ‘You can’t do that!’ I love ‘Laguna Sunrise’ [acoustic instrumental on ‘Vol. 4’], for example. I enjoyed working with a choir, I liked getting string sections involved on [‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’‘s] ‘Spiral Architect’. SABBATH always did something different on each album. But I guess many people don’t remember those tracks so well.”

Although SABBATH was briefly announced as performing at Ozzfest Japan this fall, the band is now off that bill and singer Ozzy Osbourne will be headlining as a solo act “with friends.”

Iommi, who was diagnosed with cancer in early 2012, dismissed rumors last month that his health was the reason why the band canceled the Ozzfest Japan show.

Original BLACK SABBATH drummer Bill Ward, who has recently engaged in a public war of words with Ozzy over the reasons why Ward did not participate in the SABBATH reunion, has released his first solo album in 18 years. Titled “Accountable Beasts”, the record can be purchased on iTunes.

SAXON To Release ‘Battering Ram’ Album In The Fall

SAXON To Release 'Battering Ram' Album In The FallBritish heavy metal legends SAXON have set “Battering Ram” as the title of their 21st studio album, tentatively due this fall via UDR Music.

Speaking to the Metal Hammer Magazine Show about the musical direction of SAXON‘s follow-up to 2013’s “Sacrifice”, the band’s frontman, Biff Byford, said: “Some of it is quite brutal, but there’s quite a lot of melodic stuff on there as well. Every SAXON album is different to the one before because we like to entertain people and we don’t really like to write the same song all the time.”

Songtitles set to appear on “Battering Ram” include “The Devil’s Footprint”, which recounts a tale from the 1600s while another track, “Tax ‘Till You Drop”, looks at evil of another kind. The CD’s title cut is “a bit like ‘Heavy Metal Thunder’, just a new version,” Biff told The Rockpit. “It’s about the audience raging at the barriers.” Regarding “The Devil’s Footprint”, Biff said: “[It] is a legend of a couple hundred years ago [when] people woke up with fresh snow and they saw hoof prints on the roof across the lake and they followed it for many miles and it couldn’t be explained.” As for some of the other tracks on the CD, Biff said: “I’m doing another song about, well I used to be a big chess player, I used to play a lot of chess but not so much these days. So I wrote a song called ‘Queen Of Hearts’ or ‘Red Queen’, which is a little bit, ‘Alice In Wonderland’-y, a little bit chess-y game. So, a little bit deeper lyrics. There’s another one called ‘The Drinking Song’.”

“Battering Ram” is once again being helmed by acclaimed British producer Andy Sneap (MEGADETH, EXODUS, TESTAMENT, ACCEPT).

“I co-produced, more or less, 15 albums with SAXON, so I know how to record,” Biff told The Rockpit. “You just have to have a great team — a great engineer and a great band. On this one, I thought I’d give Andy a chance to do everything with the band himself. Obviously, I’m in control of the overall executive duty-type thing.”

Speaking about the songwriting process for “Battering Ram”, Biff said: “It’s a little bit different on this one. We’ve not written as many songs together on this album. Me and Nibbs [SAXON bassist Timothy ‘Nibbs’ Carter] have written a few things together, so it’s a little bit different than the last, but we’re all working together. Doug [Scarratt, guitar] and Paul [Quinn, guitar] have come up with some stuff, and so we can get it on the album as well. A lot of the heavy stuff comes from Nibbs anyway — the actual guitar licks.”

GHOST’s ‘Meliora’ Cover Artwork & Track Listing Revealed

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Swedish occult rockers GHOST will release their third album, “Meliora”, on August 21 via Loma Vista Recordings. The follow-up to 2013’s “Infestissumam” was helmed by Klas Åhlund, a prolific songwriter, producer and guitarist who is also a member of the Swedish rock band TEDDYBEARS, and was mixed by Andy Wallace (SLAYER, NIRVANA, SEPULTURA, LINKIN PARK, GUNS N’ ROSES).

“Meliora” track listing, according to U.K.’s Metal Hammer:

01. Spirit
02. From The Pinnacle To The Pit
03. Cirice
04. Spöksonat
05. He Is
06. Mummy Dust
07. Majesty
08. Devil Church
09. Absolution
10. Deus In Absentia

The album’s first single, “Cirice”, is tentatively due at the end of May or in early June.

GHOST‘s June 3 warm-up show at at Doom in Linköping will serve as the group’s live debut with “new” singer Papa Emeritus III, the three-month-younger brother of GHOST‘s previous frontman, Papa Emeritus II.

The latest issue of Sweden Rock Magazine marked GHOST‘s final photo session with Papa Emeritus II before he was “fired” and succeeded by Papa Emeritus III.

GHOST is planning to return to the studio before the summer to record several cover songs, including one by Leonard Cohen and another by the ’80s Swedish band IMPERIET.

GHOST‘s last release was a covers EP, “If You Have Ghost”, which sold around 5,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 87 on The Billboard 200 chart. Issued on November 19, 2013 via Loma Vista Recordings, the five-track EP was recorded and produced by Dave Grohl (FOO FIGHTERS, NIRVANA), and included cover versions of songs by ROKY ERICKSON, ABBA, ARMY OF LOVERS and DEPECHE MODE, plus a live version of the GHOST offering “Secular Haze”, recorded in Brooklyn earlier that year.

“Infestissumam” was certified gold in Sweden last fall for sales in excess of 20,000 copies.

Note: The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) in Sweden has revised the sales requirements for albums to reach gold status in the country twice in the last seven years — from the pre-2002 level of 40,000 to the current 20,000.

“Infestissumam” sold around 14,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 28 on The Billboard 200 chart.

GHOST was forced to modify its name in the U.S. to GHOST B.C. for “legal reasons.”

STRYPER’s ‘Fallen’ To Be Released In October

STRYPER's 'Fallen' Album To Be Released In October“Fallen”, the new album from STRYPER, will be released worldwide on Friday, October 23. The CD was tracked at SpiritHouse Recording Studios in Northampton, Massachusetts and will include a cover version of the BLACK SABBATH classic “After Forever”.

STRYPER guitarist/vocalist Michael Sweet recently stated about the musical direction of “Fallen”: “It’s gonna be… I don’t wanna scare any fans away or anything, but it’s gonna be the heaviest album we’ve done. Not in the sense that it’s gonna be thrash metal or anything like that. It’s definitely got a little bit of a darker vibe to it lyrically and musically. Some of the songs are tuned down — not like the modern Drop B stuff; I’m talking like the E dropped to D, ‘Unchained’ VAN HALEN kind of stuff. And it’s just got a heavy sound to it. And I think when people hear it, in a good way, they’re gonna go, ‘That’s STRYPER? What?’ I think they’re gonna be shocked.”

Songtitles set to appear on “Fallen” include “Let There Be Light”, ‘Big Screen Lies” and the title track.

The new STRYPER CD will include a song that was co-written by SEVENDUST guitarist Clint Lowery.

MICHAEL MONROE To Release ‘Blackout States’ Album In October

Ex-HANOI ROCKS Singer MICHAEL MONROE To Release 'Blackout States' Album In OctoberFormer HANOI ROCKS frontman Michael Monroe will release his new studio album, “Blackout States”, on Friday, October 16 via Spinefarm Records. The 13-track follow-up to 2013’s “Horns And Halos” was produced by Chips Kiesbye (HELLACOPTERS, NOMADS) in Gothenburg, Sweden, and mixed by Petri Majuri in Helsinki, Finland.

With “Blackout States”, Monroe‘s current touring and recording outfit — comprised of bassist Sami Yaffa (ex-HANOI ROCKS, NEW YORK DOLLS), guitarist Steve Conte (ex-NEW YORK DOLLS, COMPANY OF WOLVES), guitarist Rich Jones (ex-BLACK HALOS, AMEN), and drummer Karl Rockfist (ex-CHELSEA SMILES, DANZIG) — provided strong creative support for a groundbreaking artist whose reputation continues to flourish. Many of rock’s most noted performers, including Dave Grohl and Slash, have cited Monroe‘s unwavering drive and three-decade-plus career as a genuine source of inspiration.

Indeed, when Slash headlines the Ice Hall in Helsinki on May 28, Monroe will be the invited “special guest,” opening the show in front of thousands of fans; after that, he heads across to London to play the Camden Rocks festival on May 30. This one-off U.K. appearance at Camden Proud will be filmed by videographer/photographer Ville Juurikkala for inclusion in the video for the first single from “Blackout States”.

As with “Horns And Halos”, the new recordings see Monroe both toasting the future and honoring the past, occasionally giving the nod to glam punk pioneers HANOI ROCKS, the group with which he forged his name in the early-to mid-’80s.

Says Monroe: “I’m extremely excited about our new album, ‘Blackout States’. It has all the ingredients of a perfect rock ‘n’ roll record: strong melodic songs with great meaningful lyrics that defy all clichés, delivered with a punky, ballsy attitude by a killer band. I highly recommend ‘Blackout States’ to anyone who’s even a little bit interested in what real, authentic, high-energy rock ‘n’ roll at its best sounds like today.”

Monroe has a number of festival appearances locked into place for the spring and summer, with further international touring plans to be announced shortly.