Rising stars of Japan’s metal scene LOVEBITES will release their sophomore full-length album, “Clockwork Immortality”, on December 7 via Arising Empire. The official music video for the disc’s first single, “Rising”, can be seen above.
“Rising” is available as an instant gratification track on iTunes ahead of the album’s physical release. The track was written by the band’s guitarist and pianist Miyako, who was also the main composer for half of the album.
Miyako comments: “One of the key sections to ‘Rising’ is a piano and vocal part in the middle, I used this piece to pay my respects to Chopin. If you listen carefully, you may be able to notice it. I believe this song will be one of LOVEBITES’ defining tracks.”
LOVEBITES leader and bassist Miho adds: “‘Clockwork Immortality’ features the strongest, most powerful elements of our second EP, ‘Battle Against Damnation’, with the speedy and melodic elements of our debut album, ‘Awakening From Abyss’. This is the evolution of LOVEBITES so far. I would be happy if you can feel the power overflowing from each song.”
“Clockwork Immortality” includes ten new recordings and sees Finnish engineer supremoes Mikko Karmila and Mika Jussila return to mixing and mastering duties, respectively. It is the same team responsible for working on releases from CHILDREN OF BODOM, NIGHTWISH and STRATOVARIUS, among many others.
The album’s spectacular artwork, featuring a wolf smashing through an hourglass, also sees the return of Spanish creative forces David López Gómez and Carlos Vincente León. The pair had worked on the cover art of LOVEBITES’ previous two releases, as well as HELLOWEEN’s 30th anniversary book “Hellbook” and single “Pumpkins United”.
LOVEBITES consists of Asami (vocals), Miho (bass), Haruna (drums), Midori (guitars) and Miyako (guitars/keyboard). The LOVEBITES sound owes a debt to the many great overseas heavy metal bands that have directly influenced their writing. Coupled with their own unique take on music, taking a piece from each member’s eclectic background and experiences, everything has culminated into forging a truly formidable group.
Last fall, Asami, Haruna, Midori, Miho and Miyako performed their first overseas live show in London. On the heels of this success, the all-female band won the “Best New Band” award at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards in June 2018. LOVEBITES released its second mini album, “Battle Against Damnation”, that same month, and followed it up with appearances at Wacken Open Air in Germany and Bloodstock Open Air in the U.K.
LOVEBITES’ first European tour kicked off on November 13 and will include stops in the Netherlands, Germany, France and the U.K.
According to The Pulse Of Radio, rock artists responded on Monday (November 12) to the death of Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee, who passed away that morning at the age of 95 after being rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Lee was born as Stanley Lieber in Manhattan on December 28, 1922. He went to work as a teenager at Timely Comics, the forerunner of what briefly became Atlas Comics and then Marvel. Working his way up to editor and writer, Lee and artist Jack Kirby changed the face of comics and pop culture forever in 1961 when they created the superhero team The Fantastic Four.
From that point on, Lee — along with Kirby and other artists like Steve Ditko — launched one iconic character after another, including Iron Man, Thor, Spider-Man, the Hulk, the Avengers, the X-Men, Daredevil, Black Panther, Doctor Strange and many more, all existing together in a shared universe that became known as the Marvel Universe. The comics, books, movies, games and TV shows that have sprung from the work done by Lee, Kirby and others are now the basis of a multi-billion-dollar multi-media empire owned by Disney.
Lee’s characters were groundbreaking in that they were flawed, vulnerable and insecure, subject to family fights, financial difficulties and other normal human problems and issues. The stories also addressed concerns of their times such as racism and war.
Many rock musicians were inspired by Lee’s stories and characters. Rob Zombie wrote, “Marvel comics was one of the best things I remember about being a kid. Thanks for everything. What would we have done without you?”
Alice Cooper said in a statement on his Facebook page: “Apart from being a hero in the comic world, Stan was so much fun to be around. He had a regal air about him. He was gracious to his fans too – he knew who he was to people and seemed to love every minute of it. Of course MY absolute favorite thing about Stan Lee is that when he had me drawn for the comics, it was with great abs. Thanks for that Stan!”
METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett offered, “Stan Lee was a visionary and a pioneer. I owe a lot to him for personally shaping my childhood fantasy worlds, my appreciation for art on all levels, & for teaching me humanness and humility through his wonderfully insightful stories.”
SLIPKNOT and STONE SOUR frontman Corey Taylor said simply, “Heartbroken. Thank you for making me believe in heroes,” while BAD WOLVES guitarist Doc Coyle remarked, “RIP Stan Lee. A true legend.”
Gene Simmons of KISS, which was the subject of its own Marvel comic book in 1977, wrote, “Thank you for making my childhood so much more exciting with your astonishing superhero characters. Thank you for inspiring me to think and dream big. Thank you for the Hulk, Thor, Fantastic Four and many others. You will be sadly missed.”
Lee had been ill in recent years and lost his wife of 69 years, Joan, in July 2017. He is survived by a daughter, Joan “J.C.” Lee, along with the universe, characters and stories that will endure for generations to come.
Michael Monroe will release his new solo album, “One Man Gang”, in the spring. The follow-up to 2015’s “Blackout States”, which is currently being mastered, features guest appearances by ex-HANOI ROCKS guitarist Nasty Suicide and THE DAMNED legend Captain Sensible.
Monroe told Heavy TV he named his new solo record after the album’s opening track, which includes a “killer solo” by the aforementioned Captain Sensible. “It’s one of the songs [on the LP], and we decided that since the band is called MICHAEL MONROE — the name of the band is MICHAEL MONROE; the name of a person — so ‘One Man Gang’; it’s a whole gang of me,” he said.
Monroe was also full of praise for his current solo band, which includes Steve Conte and Rich Jones on guitars, Sam Yaffa on bass and Karl Rockfist on drums.
“If I had a choice of playing with anybody — alive or dead — in the world, I would choose these guys; that’s how important they are to me,” he said. “Everybody is allowed to write. Steve Conte [brought] exceptional, totally outstanding material. And Rich Jones now came through amazingly on this record. I swear, I had, like, five or six songs of my own, and I was, like, ‘Okay, that’s out. I’m taking Rich’s, because his are better. Forget about my songs.'”
He continued: “See, the best songs make the album; it doesn’t matter who writes. Everybody has the freedom to write, and we choose the best songs for the album; it doesn’t matter who writes them, as long as they’re the best ones. The whole album, as an entirety, has to be as strong as possible. All killers, no fillers. I never let it go out if it’s not perfectly… There can’t be one weak track on the record. I’d rather wait and have it be perfect. Actually, we recorded 18 songs, so there’s a couple of great ones that we left out too. They’ll be on the next album. They’re too good for bonus tracks; we’ll save ’em for the next album. There’s a few obvious bonus tracks — three or four, or whatever.”
Were it not for cruel and fickle fate, HANOI — who disbanded for the first time in 1985, then finally in 2009 — might have ended up as an arena act; but whatever obstacles were thrust in their path, they were never less than the real deal, and major names like GUNS N’ ROSES were ready to acknowledge their influence and their worth (GN’R would go on to issue the European HANOI catalogue in the U.S. via their Uzi Suicide imprint).
Over his three-decades-plus in the spotlight, Michael has befriended and performed with a whole host of artists and acts, including GUNS N’ ROSES and Slash; Lemmy, Alice Cooper, AEROSMITH, Little Steven; and Ian Hunter. But since that first break-up of HANOI in the mid-’80s, he’s essentially been pursuing his own path.
SOURCE: Writer, editor and comics publisher – who helped bring Spider-Man, X-Men, the Avengers to life – was one of the greatest pop-culture creators of his era.
Stan Lee, the writer, editor, and former publisher and president of Marvel Comics who co-invented Spider-Man and was responsible for turning superhero comic books into a phenomenon, died Monday at the age of 95, People confirmed. There was no immediate cause of death.
To some, Lee was one of the greatest pop-culture creators of his era – the primary voice behind Marvel’s golden years and the mind that introduced characters every schoolkid knows: Not just your friendly neighborhood web-slinger but also the Fantastic Four, X-Men, Iron Man, Daredevil, the Hulk, the Avengers, and on and on. To others, he was a shameless huckster and glory-hound who reaped the rewards for the hard, brilliant work done by artists like Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Don Heck and Gene Colan. Both schools are correct.
Born Stanley Lieber on December 28th, 1922, Lee was not the kind of solitary creative genius whose role in his work is easy to grasp. He was best known as a writer, and his prose was not, by most standards, especially good. (Had he quit comics after his first 20 years in the industry, he’d be unknown today.) But he was an extraordinary collaborator, coach and businessman, and the comic books he banged out at top speed between 1961 and 1972 throb with power and joy.
At the beginning of that period, Lee was singlehandedly running the little comic book company where he’d first been hired (by his cousin’s husband, publisher Martin Goodman) in 1939. Marvel was publishing 10 comics a month in 1961 – romances, Westerns, war stories, teen comedies and monster tales, almost all of them written by Lee himself. To save time, rather than writing full scripts, he’d come up with quick story synopses, pass them off to the stable of artists he worked with, and then fill in dialogue and captions when the artwork came back.
Fantastic Four #1, drawn by industry veteran Jack Kirby and cover-dated November 1961, was an experiment: a hybrid of monster comics and superhero comics, a genre that had been hugely popular during World War II but had since become almost archaic. Nine months later, the final issue of Lee and Steve Ditko’s sci-fi series Amazing Fantasy introduced Spider-Man, a shocking inversion of superhero tropes: a scrawny, bitter teenager who gets weirdly monstrous powers, and whose first adventure ends with him sobbing in horror and shame.
Both were hits, and over the next few years, the superhero series Lee wrote and edited came to dominate American comics. As Tales of Suspense and Journey Into Mystery and Strange Tales gave way to Iron Man and Thor and Dr. Strange, Lee’s next great innovation kicked in: cross-continuity. All of the characters he was writing lived in the same world, and regularly dropped into each other’s series; subplots from a Sub-Mariner story could be resolved in a Captain America story and have repercussions in a Daredevil story. It was an ingenious trick, one that still works (it’s the idea behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe, for instance).
Lee eventually ceded even more of his comics’ plotting to Marvel’s artists, and encouraged them to stretch out stylistically – which just made the work better and bolder. He was the ringmaster overseeing the show, hyping the “Merry Marvel Marching Society” fan club, cracking jokes about his collaborators in every issue’s credits (where his name always appeared up top), and generally elbowing readers in the ribs. By the mid-1960s, he’d developed his public persona: “Stan the Man,” a cheerful, alliterative, slightly disreputable, faux-megalomaniacal carnival barker.
Lee scripted both the first 100 issues of The Amazing Spider-Man and the first 114 issues of Fantastic Four, and they’re the wellspring from which modern superhero comics still draw. (Ditko and Kirby both later claimed, reasonably, that they didn’t get enough credit for their creative roles – but their collaborations with Lee were the best work of their careers.) Even the supporting characters in his stories were unforgettable: the gloating newspaper editor J. Jonah Jameson; the silent monarch Black Bolt; the Falstaffian warrior Volstagg. And, as corny and overstuffed as Lee’s dialogue could be, it had an inimitable sparkle; the occasional episodes of Thor or Ant-Man credited to other writers were leaden and airless by comparison.
When Lee moved out to Hollywood in 1972, he gave up his last few monthly comics-writing gigs and settled into his role as Marvel’s spokesman. (He was usually careful to praise the contributions of the artists with whom he’d worked, but journalists tended to gloss over his collaborators’ names, which reinforced Lee’s reputation as the guy who took credit for others’ achievements.) “Stan Lee Presents” subsequently appeared on every Marvel comic’s title page for decades – although, by all reports, he scarcely read any of them – and he wrote a chatty monthly column, “Stan’s Soapbox,” that appeared in their back pages.
n the last four decades of his career, Lee wrote an occasional one-off Silver Surfer or Spider-Man story, and a handful of other comics, none particularly noteworthy. Still, he’d put his name on just about anything, especially after the Internet production company Stan Lee Media collapsed in 2000: he worked with everyone from the National Hockey League to Ringo Starr on projects. Mostly, though, he was always around to give his blessing to the work descended from his own. He made cameo appearances in nearly every Marvel-based movie, voiced the Mayor in the animated Super Hero Squad Show, and signed fans’ treasured back issues at convention after convention well into his nineties, happy to have become as much a beloved character as any he’d co-created.
When Rolling Stone asked Lee in 2015 what kept him working, he replied, “Greed. Pure greed. No, I love working on stories, and luckily that’s the one thing that age doesn’t really stop you. You don’t have to be incredibly powerful like the Hulk in order to dream up stories.”
STATIC-X bassist Tony Campos has addressed “questions and misinformation surrounding the dynamics” of his relationship with the band’s frontman Wayne Static, particularly in the years prior to Wayne’s tragic passing in 2014.
Static founded STATIC-X in 1994 and achieved commercial success with the band’s 1999 debut, “Wisconsin Death Trip”, which included the rock radio hit “Push It”.
The group issued five more studio albums before disbanding permanently in June 2013. Static had been pursuing a solo career at the time of his death.
It was recently announced that the surviving members of STATIC-X’s original lineup — Campos, drummer Ken Jay and guitarist Koichi Fukuda — will release a new album titled “Project Regeneration”, featuring Wayne’s last recordings. This move was met with criticism by some on social media, especially since Tony had said in the past that he wasn’t friends with Static the last five years of Wayne’s life because the STATIC-X frontman “went down a path that none of the other guys in the band wanted to go down.”
Campos opened up about his relationship with Static in a lengthy statement that was posted in the comments section below the YouTube video announcing the “Project Regeneration” album.
Tony wrote: “Thank you so much for all of the positive vibes and excitement around what we’re doing with ‘Project Regeneration’. I wanted to take a few minutes to personally address some of the questions and misinformation surrounding the dynamics of my relationship with Wayne, particularly towards the end.
“It is important for people to remember that I worked side by side with Wayne for more than 15 years. He and I shared some of the most amazing experiences of our lives together! We worked together, played together, and helped each other achieve our childhood dreams. Through it all, we developed a friendship that went beyond the band. Together, along with Ken and Koichi, we brought STATIC-X from the streets of L.A., all the way to the main stages of Ozzfest. We made six albums together, and shared more on a personal level than I can even put into words.
“Several people came and went through the ranks of STATIC-X throughout the years. Managers, agents, band members, etc. Through everything, I remained a steady partner to Wayne in STATIC-X. I love the band, and I love the music that we all made together.
“Being in a band comes along with many challenges. Success, pressure, expectations, fame, money, personal influences, and egos can all be very divisive factors for people that are working and living in such close quarters for extended periods of time. When you add drugs and alcohol into the mix, it can be very easy to lose yourself, and lose sight of what’s really important.
“As time went on, Wayne began to isolate himself from the band. Drugs and alcohol truly began to take over. His personal life became more of the focal point of STATIC-X, and was on display during band interviews as well as on stage. I found myself in many uncomfortable positions, and began to feel the need to stand up for myself and protect the integrity of the band that we worked so hard to build.
“Unfortunately, Wayne and I eventually reached a point where it seemed impossible to overcome our differences. Wayne expressed his intent to go solo, so we agreed to take some time away from one another and to give STATIC-X a break. Neither Wayne or I quit the band. Our partnership remained intact, while our personal differences kept us from working together.
“After some time, Wayne expressed the desire to tour his solo band under the name of STATIC-X. I knew that it remained impossible for me to insert myself back into that toxic environment, so I reluctantly agreed to give Wayne my blessing to tour STATIC-X, without my involvement, for a limited time. We both came to a business agreement and we went about our separate lives.
“During that tour, some legal troubles involving drugs took place, and ultimately led to cutting the tour short. While Wayne did also have a lingering health issue, it was this incident that ultimately ended the Wayne ‘solo band’ touring as STATIC-X experiment.
“Wayne returned to his solo project and I continued touring with my other projects. We both had hurt feelings. Wayne was angry that I didn’t want to continue on with the way things were and I was angry over how helpless I was to stop any of it from happening to begin with. To make matters worse, we both began vocalizing our unhappiness and our frustrations with one another publicly. I sincerely regret us doing that.
“In the end, you can never be prepared to lose someone that you have cared about, so unexpectedly. In my heart, I hoped that Wayne would eventually rise above his demons and that we would reconcile. I was not prepared for Wayne’s passing. None of us were. It was devastating for me. I never got to reconcile with my friend. I never got to apologize, or to forgive to my friend while he was still alive. I never got to say goodbye.
“Unless you have unexpectedly lost someone, you may not truly be able to understand what I am expressing. It changes everything. It makes you realize how short and fragile life is, and how lucky we all are to be alive. It makes you replay all of the situations in your head and wish that you could have done things differently. All of that, while having to accept the fact that your friend is gone, and that you will never get to express any of this to them.
“The bottom line is: I miss Wayne. Despite our differences and disagreements, he was my friend for over a decade. He was my brother and my partner. Many of the people that were closest to Wayne in the early years were driven out of his life towards the end. In our own ways, we all did our best to reach him, but we were all powerless to save him.
“I wish that Wayne was here, celebrating 20 years of ‘Wisconsin Death Trip’ with us. I truly believe in my heart, that if Wayne were sober and healthy, and had distanced himself from the negative influences in his life, he’d be doing this with us. I know that Kenny and Koichi feel the same way that I do.
“Making this record with Ken, Koichi, and our friends, and bringing this to all of the fans, is the best way that I can think of to express my love, my respect, and my admiration to my old friend. Having personally reached out to Wayne’s family and gaining their blessing, I feel like this is the right way to celebrate and remember who Wayne truly was, and all the good times we had together. This is the send-off Wayne deserves.
“In closing, I just want to say I am not interested in rehashing the things that divided us. I am only interested in celebrating the things that brought us all together. I hope this has been a helpful insight. I look forward to bringing everyone together as we celebrate Wayne’s life, and the music we all made together in STATIC-X.
“I thank you all for the love and support!”
STATIC-X has cultivated a treasure chest of vocal performances and musical compositions left behind by Wayne. Along with the help of STATIC-X’s longtime producer Ulrich Wild, the band is in the process of completing its seventh studio album, which will feature between 12 and 15 brand new STATIC-X tracks.
For the unfinished songs, the band is inviting several of its friends to lend their voices for the completion of this very personal project, including David Draiman (DISTURBED), Ivan Moody (FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH), Al Jourgensen (MINISTRY), Dez Fafara (COAL CHAMBER, DEVILDRIVER), Edsel Dope (DOPE) and Burton C. Bell (FEAR FACTORY).
Wayne Static died after mixing Xanax and other powerful prescription drugs with alcohol, according to the coroner’s report. The 48-year-old Static, whose real name was Wayne Richard Wells, was found dead in his Landers, California home on November 1, 2014.
The FOX series based on a young Bruce Wayne and the villains of Gotham City won’t end before an appearance by the Dark Knight. Heroic Hollywood shared Gotham actor Cameron Monaghan’s tweet teasing Batman’s emergence.
“Yes,” simultaneously answers one question and creates many others. Monaghan first appeared in season 1 as Jerome, a proto-Joker. In the fourth season, Jerome perished and Monaghan continued as Jerome’s twin brother, Jeremiah. Monaghan’s performance has consistently been acclaimed as one of the best reasons to watch Gotham. His portrayal as two young men spiraling further down into madness is a perfect counter to Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) discovering his own true self. This dichotomy of good and evil makes Monaghan’s other recent tweet all the more chilling.
It is currently unknown how Batman will appear on Gotham. He could show up multiple times or once at the very end much like the finale of Smallville. However Batman is introduced, the wording of Monaghan’s tweets could be promising. Monaghan very pointedly refers to “J’s final appearance” instead of Jeremiah or Joker. The earlier tweet asks if “we get Batman.” Monaghan might not be saying that the fans will get Batman. Instead, they might get the Joker himself.
Gotham debuted in September 2014 as an alternate take on Batman’s origins. The show debuted as the story of a young Bruce Wayne growing into Batman. Over five seasons the series showcased the Dark Knight’s iconic villains and allies as they battled for control of Gotham City. Gotham begins its fifth and final 12 episode season on January 3, 2019.