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Metal Maya Destination Festival Announced

ASK4 Entertainment--the creator and producer of ShipRocked--announces the first annual Metal Maya, a 4-day all-inclusive heavy metal destination festival vacation from October 29 - November 2 at the luxurious Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun, just south of Cancun in the paradise of Puerto Morelos on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

Metal Maya is the perfect place to celebrate Halloween and Dia de los Muertos (also known as Day Of The Dead and “Hanal Pixán” to the Mayans of Yucatan Peninsula) and will feature performances from a dozen bands in a tropical paradise. The initial music lineup includes: AnthraxOverkillSuperjoint (with Philip Anselmo), heavy metal all-star band Metal Allegiance,  Death AngelOtep, and Tim “Ripper” Owens, with more bands to be announced. The Metal Allegiance band will include Phil Demmel (Machine Head), David Ellefson (Megadeth), Gary Holt (Slayer/Exodus), Mark Menghi, Mark Osegueda (Death Angel), Mike Portnoy (The Winery Dogs, Transatlantic, Flying Colors, The Neal Morse Band), Steve “Zetro” Souza (Exodus), Ryan Waste (Municipal Waste), and more special guests. Metal Maya will be hosted by SiriusXM’s own Jose Mangin

Metal Maya packages start at only $1399 per person and go on sale Wednesday, April 12 at 1:00 PM ET at

"I've been going down to Riviera Cancun for a few years now, and it's one of my favorite places," said Anthrax's Charlie Benante. "And now, to go down there and play, and have some fun, and enjoy the weather?! This is going to be an awesome event! I'm really excited about it and I think that everyone's going to have a great time. We're all going to be at a place where the weather's beautiful, the ocean's there, the drinks are pouring, the metal is blasting, and your favorite bands are playing. Can't wait to see you there!"

Metal Maya host Jose Mangin of SiriusXM and Affliction said, “Far beyond honored to host this first of its kind Metal-themed vacation with so many killer bands, friends…and in gorgeous Mexico on Halloween?! I love how exotic our Metal world is getting, and look forward to partying among the living…and with the spirits of the dead! Under the serpent sun…we shall MOSH!”

Metal Maya guests will enjoy luxury accommodations, and tickets include gourmet meals, and all beverages (including alcohol). The all-inclusive heavy metal dest-fest vacation will feature bands performing on multiple stages in an intimate environment with only 1,000 guests (with two performances each from AnthraxOverkill, Superjoint and heavy metal all-star band Metal Allegiance), artist-hosted events, onsite activities, excursions and tours (available for additional fees), theme nights and more.

Guests will enjoy festive celebrations on both Halloween (October 31) and the traditional Mexican Dia de los Muertos (November 1) when guests are encouraged to dress up in calaca (skull) masks and sugar skull makeup. 

Ground transportation from Cancun airport is included with all Metal Maya vacation packages. In addition, for those who want to extend their stay at Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun, discounted rooms will be available to Metal Maya guests just before and after the event. Please note that single day passes will not be available as this is a full vacation package.



Farewell J. Geils 

More sad news. Musician J. Geils was found dead in his Massachusetts home yesterday. He was 71. The band was massive in the 80s and deserves our respect.



Our First Look At Poison Live This Tour

The Def Lepaprd/Poison tour kicked off Saturday night in New Hampshire. We already know it's the same old setlist. I will say the band sounds pretty good.


The Old And Listless: Top Ten Frontmen, Er, Singers In Rock?

Today's post is from our friend HIM.

As many of you know, I treat top ten lists like I treat exercise. By which I mean, I find them only occasionally interesting. These sorts of lists are like puzzles designed to keep old people’s brains sharp, of dubious overall value though good for a bit of entertainment.
On April 7, the Cheat Sheet—a paragon of all things listed and lightly sourced—published “The Top Ten Best Frontmen in Rock” by Robert Yaniz Jr. With no disrespect to Yaniz Jr., it is clear that this is an opinion piece meant to elicit some sort of response. So I am responding. Well played, Robert. Well played.
The first thing I noticed is that there was a caveat re: who qualified. If a band had two frontmen (we will get to that issue in a moment), then they weren’t included. So that means you weren’t even in the running, Matthew and Gunnar Nelson. Secondly, you don’t need to actually need to be, well, a man (see number seven). So that might mean that Doro was considered.
Here is the list as presented:
1.      Mick Jagger
2.      Jim Morrison
3.      Robert Plant
4.      Freddie Mercury
5.      Kurt Cobain
6.      Roger Daltrey
7.      Stevie Nicks
8.      Joe Strummer
9.      Bruce Springsteen
10.    Bono
Honorable mention to (in no particular order, I assume): Steve Tyler, Axl Rose, James Hetfield, Eddie Vedder, and David Grohl. Hey, it is an honor just being nominated.
Now I am wondering whether the caveat was even necessary, seeing as how it is violated in at least two places. Stevie Nicks wasn’t the only frontperson in Fleetwood Mac (the name gives you a partial hint, as does the presence of a certain Buckingham who is not a palace). And I suppose Mick Jones just sorta’ hung out in the back so as to not clash, a train in vain to the chugging locomotive that was Strummer.
Of course, the substance of this list is, well, the list itself. One need not challenge the people represented.  But you could. One need not question the order. But you might. One need not substitute someone not listed for someone on the list. But it is possible.
So what say you? Has Robert Yaniz Jr., writer for hire, finally got it right? If not, what did he get wrong . . . in your humble opinion?
I await your reply. In the meantime, I am going to listen to some early-era Van Halen and Heart. If I have a chance I might even give some Mach II Deep Purple a spin. Why? Oh, I don’t know. Something about this list I guess.




A Peak At The Upcoming Def Leppard Tour

Def Leppard are rehearsing for their spring tour with Poison and Tesla right now. The band put out a time lapse video of their rehearsal to get fans excited. No rehearsal audio. I think you have a buy a concert ticket to hear the real thing! Happy Sunday.


Don Rickles Ruled

Today's post is from our friend HIM.

This post is a spiritual counterpart to one I penned in 2015. In May of that year, I mourned the retirement of David Letterman. Today’s post is in response to sadness of a more profound sort: Don Rickles, the equal opportunity offender who often graced Letterman’s guest chair, died on April 6 at the age of 90.
‘Mr. Warmth,’ as he was ironically known, was an acquired taste. His style was a throwback to a different era. It was, by turns, well-rehearsed and seemingly spontaneous. But it was also a style of comedy that saw the act of loving offense as one of the higher callings in entertainment. If not for Rickles, comedians like Chris Rock, Amy Schumer, and Daniel Tosh would only exist in truncated states, with access to a certain type of breezy belligerence denied to them.  

Don Rickles, like Lenny Bruce before him, mined the worst of our thoughts and transformed them into laughs. A racial slur or gendered slam were, in his hands, a way to lighten our collective load. You showed up to one of his shows wanting to be the subject of one of his tirades, waiting for one his mic drops, waiting for some snippet of remembrance related to his days with Sinatra, some genuine mention of the love of his life, his wife Barbara.  

This was comedy best suited to nightclubs filled with smoke, to a low-lying Vegas Strip that no longer exists. Yet his humor remains as relevant as ever in an era where people constantly seek out silos of non-offense. Rickles was having none of it. Like the comedians who came before and after him, Rickles understood something important: laughing at others is a dopamine rush; laughing at yourself is cathartic. He was the master of ceremonies, timing his zingers and lobbing his one-liners with the ease of an expert.  

As Rock said on Twitter when his death was announced:  Don Rickles is funnier right now in death than most comics are in life.  

That about sums it up. With Donald Jay Rickles gone, the world is just a bit less fun. You will be missed.



Hair I Go Again - Film Review

A few years ago, I started posting on this site about an upcoming metal documentary called Hair I Go Again. The film has a simple enough premise: it follows Kyle Kruger and Steve McClure on their quest to put their teenage band back together again and to make a real run at fame and stardom.

Tryxx was formed in the 1980s and featured lots of hairspray, spandex and bad songwriting. To be clear Tryxx was based in Florida, not the Sunset Strip and during the band’s heyday they were young – 18 and under. They were well known at roller rinks in the area for doing great shows.

Kruger and McClure are lifelong best friends. At the beginning of the film it isn’t necessarily clear that they want to give up literally everything for their dreams, but as time goes by that becomes pretty evident and I’ve been conflicted about this ever since.

I watched the movie Sunday night and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say about it, exactly. The film features a ton of hair metal musicians that we love including members of KIX, Anthrax, Warrant, Keel, Great White and of course ever present radio host Eddie Trunk, among others. Seeing all the old photos from the scene days and hearing the music was fun. The interviews are all great. But still something nags.

A not insignificant amount of time is spent on the financial struggles of Kruger and McClure. When it became clear it was just them against the world and Tryxx wasn’t going to get back together, they leaned in – hard. They both quit their jobs… and went broke. They both struggled with housing. Kruger sold plasma. They both put all their energy into making it as professional musicians. Thing is, neither is particularly great at music. We’re not talking about virtuosos here that honed their craft day in and day out. In fact, McClure had to relearn the guitar as he hadn’t played in decades! Kruger had to learn how to sing the right way, too. This was the most shocking bit of the documentary to me. Usually an artist that wants to give up a day job for their craft is working pretty consistently toward… something. Other than the dream of “making it” there didn’t seem to be much planning happening here.

Around Tuesday I realized that the confliction has more to do with me than Kruger or McClure. Replace “musician” with “artist” or “writer” or “actor” and the story is basically the same. I’m a writer. I’d much rather write all day than go to a day job, but I get up every morning, day after day, and go through the mundane slog of life. I have a mortgage and that’s the adult thing to do.

Or is it?

Along the way, Kruger and McClure fight – a lot. They struggle, and practice and get breaks, including landing some financial backers and a sponsorship deal with Peavy. Ron Keel helps them a lot, especially Kruger. The ever kind Steve Blaze lends his skills on an amazing guitar solo since McClure can’t play that fast. And on and on it goes. Eventually you realize Hair I Go Again isn’t a documentary about another 80s band. It’s really a film about friendship.

By the end of the film – and we’re talking about a process that took years – Kruger and McClure become the Denver-based band Bullet In The Chamber. They got to open for Jake E. Lee and played the Monsters of Rock Cruise.

Was this their dream realized? Probably not exactly, but the journey made for a great film and they did get on stage and in the studio to record original tracks. Do Kruger and McClure have day jobs now? I have no idea. I know they are promoting the heck out of the film right now and that takes a lot of time and effort. Will they be household-name musicians? Nope, but those are few and far between now. Of the modern generation of musicians, you can name the big ones on two hands, like Lady Gaga and Bruno Mars. The outlook for aspiring musicians isn’t great, but then it never really was, right?

All throughout the film, the famous 80s musicians give the same advice: “don’t quit your day job.” Some are pretty blunt and tell Kruger and McClure that they are too old to expect too much. The music industry sucks now (and so does the publishing world for fellow writers like me). The fact is this and it’s always been the case, but it is truer now than ever: talent doesn’t mean as much as your connections, your drive and your luck.

 No, you can’t be anything you want to be, but you sure can try – and you should.

Hair I Go Again was directed by McClure and originally released January 2016. Follow the movie on Facebook to attend a special screening or order on Amazon.