Metalstock Cancer Benefit To Feature 24 Bands, No Cover

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St. Madness
Two dozen bands. Nine hours. Two stages. One good cause. No cover.

Oh yeah, and no moshing.

This weekend's Metalstock show is almost a dream come true for Valley metalheads, if only Club Red would do away with that pesky "no moshing" policy.

Metalstock organizer Tad Zaccard has assembled quite a line-up for this year's edition of the annual local metal fest, including Sectas, the Human Condition and headliners St. Madness. There is no cover for the event, which runs from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. and doubles as a cancer fundraiser. Raffles and donations will benefit the MDS Foundation.

Read on for an e-mail Q&A with Zaccard, who lost his father to cancer last year, and St. Madness singer Prophet, who faced his own bout with testicular cancer just a few years ago.

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St. Madness singer Prophet (left) and Metalstock founder/organizer Tad Zaccard

Q&A with Prophet and Tad Zaccard

UP ON THE SUN: How did the Metalstock show come together?

PROPHET: Tad Zaccard (creator of Metalstock) has been a friend of ours for years and he called me and asked if we would like to be a part of Metalstock this year on Saturday, November 13. Metalstock has been around since 2007. This is its fourth year, and this is the first time that St. Madness will be performing at it. When Tad told me that this will also be a benefit festival for "Myelodysplastic Syndrome" (MDS), I jumped at the chance to be a part of it. MDS is a rare form of cancer that attacks the white blood cells.

Tad's father unfortunately passed away in March of this year from MDS. He was a robotic engineer, as well as a musician/drummer. Tad grew up watching his dad performing in the clubs. He fought MDS for the last 4 years. Two years ago, he underwent a bone marrow transplant. Everything looked good until the beginning of this year, when it resurfaced and sadly took his life.

ZACCARD: I came up with the idea of Metalstock after doing my first show called the Metal Showdown in 2006. I put on the Metal Showdown at Acme Roadhouse in Tempe, and put together a bunch of bands to face off for prizes. I continued the festival feel years after, just under the Metalstock name.

UOTS: We understand that the show is also a cancer benefit. Since it's a free show, how exactly can attendees help? Will there be donation booths, raffles, etc.?

PROPHET: Donations will be accepted at this event, and all of the money will go directly to the MDS Foundation. (Find out more about this rare form of cancer at http://www.mds-foundation.org).

ZACCARD: Every year I have shirts done up for the festival, and a portion of the shirt sales will be going to the MDS Foundation. We will also be raffling off a lot of cool band merch, tattoo coupons, a guitar, etc. A donation jar will also be available for people to donate.

UOTS: Can you tell us about your own battle with cancer?

PROPHET: In October of 2005, I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. I had to have surgery to have one of my testicles removed. I also went through a pretty tough regimen of chemotherapy for a few months. I shaved my head and donated my hair to "Locks of Love" (an organization that makes wigs for people with cancer or other ailments that cause them to lose their hair). As of late, my doctor's tell me that I am cancer free! Going through it really changed my thinking about what is really important in life. To me, my family and loved ones are the most important thing in my life. I realized that I have to "love more and worry less about being loved." Having cancer also helped me to get an "attitude of gratitude" for all the good things I have in my life.

UOTS: The Valley has a really strong metal scene, but it also seems really fragmented and somewhat insular. Do you agree that there's a lack of unity in the local metal scene? If so, what can be done about it?

PROPHET: This is only my opinion, but I know that all the bands here work really hard and struggle to go after their dreams, and sometimes we all become too competitive with each other. Instead of helping each other out, we often become too focused on our own goals. With St, Madness, we always make it a point to help other bands and to treat everyone as equals. We are all out there busting our butts, so it's important to us that we treat other bands with respect and kindness.

If St. Madness is meant to achieve success, I don't want to do it by stepping on other bands or people to do it. I believe in my band, our music and its members, so there is no reason to treat other people poorly. Sometimes, I think the reason why bands get a bad attitude is because they might be afraid that some other band is going to get opportunities that they want for themselves. That's another reason why Metalstock is so cool, because all the bands are donating their time and joining together in a show of unity.

UOTS: Who are some of your favorite local bands, or bands you think don't get enough exposure?

PROPHET: The Human Condition, Sectas, One Body Too Many, Sinister Ego, Hemoptysis, Pelvic Meatloaf, Autumn's End, Frankenshred, Kult of Thorns

UOTS: Looks like you've got a few shows booked in LA in the near future. Do you guys go over well in LA? How does the scene there compare to the Valley scene?

PROPHET: This is actually the first time St. Madness will be performing in concert in Hollywood. We will know the answer to that question after we play The Rainbow Bar & Grill and the Whisky a Go Go on Friday, November 19, and Saturday, November 20, respectively. We do have a lot of friends and fans in California, so we will see what happens. I am confident that they will both be great shows!

From doing research and from talking with people in the scene there, what I have found out is that the scene isn't totally dead in Los Angeles, it just needs something new from metal/rock 'n' roll to get people excited again. I don't know if anything will ever compare to the explosion of rock and metal music that came out of there in the 1980s. Los Angeles and Hollywood are both great cities, so I think it will explode again sooner or later, the people are just looking and craving for something new.

From what I have heard from many people and from some reading I myself have done, it seems that the metal scene is actually a little better here at the moment. Much like Los Angeles though, the Metal scene was great here in the 1980s as well. It kind of died down here during the mid and latter part of the 1990s. I think it once again has been steadily growing and gaining strength over the past 10 years.

UOTS: What's up next for St. Madness? Any plans to work on a new album or go on tour?

PROPHET: We are going back into the studio in February 2011 at Minds Eye Digital to work with Larry Elyea once again and begin recording our new album, Canonizing Carnage. We have the entire record already written, and I am very excited about the new music. We will be playing a number of the new songs at Metalstock.

Metalstock is scheduled to take place on Saturday, November 13, at Club Red and the Red Owl in Tempe.


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