Godsmack Bassist Talks Touring Life, 20 Years as a Band, and Being Honored by Boston

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Chapman Baehler

If ever a song were to frame the longevity, trajectory and torque behind the Boston based heavy metal act, Godsmack, it would have to be the first single, "1000hp", from their sixth studio album of the same name.

While the track sounds like a piece of hype music, the autobiographical lyrical content sums up the history of Godsmack quite well. Taking listeners through a form of warp-speed storytelling, the band revisits the days of playing empty bars in Boston, circa 1995, before taking over America, state by state, and spreading to foreign countries where all the band hears now is "turn that shit up louder," as the track states, and "take it to a thousand horsepower."

"At the end of the day, we write the best songs that we can for what we are," Godsmack bassist Robbie Merrill says with a New England accent, and in a surprisingly soft-spoken tone for being part of such a loud band. "We believe in them, and we give them to you, and whatever happens, happens."


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Metal's First Female Frontwoman Talks About Playing in a Man's World

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Doro

You'd think that Doro Pesch would come off as a pretty tough broad.

I mean, this is the first female band leader in heavy metal. Her name has been synonymous with "strength" over the past 30 years. She helped pioneer heavy metal's style, not just blazing a trail for future women artists, but for the entire genre as a whole.

During her childhood in Germany, her father brought her on his truck driver tours, instilling a passion to "be on the move," before she fell deathly ill and was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis. Extremely weak, she was bed-ridden for nearly a year, but made a vow to herself: If she ever got better, she would dedicate her life to her greatest passion, music. And she lived up to that promise.

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Sanity's Edge Concert at Rogue Bar Features a Sampling of Arizona Metal Genres

Categories: Metal!

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Sanity's Edge makes the trip from Denver for a show this weekend.

"You hear one metal band, you've heard 'em all."

Heavy metal fans know that this is one of the most naive statements one can say about the genre, but it's still a sentiment often spoken.

Metal genres are exponentially diverse nowadays, allowing for some interesting lineups. A perfect example is a metal show at Rogue Bar on Saturday, February 28.

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John 5 Loves the Arizona Heat and Vintage Telecasters

Categories: Metal!

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John 5
John 5 and The Creatures are coming for you on Valentine's Day

When John 5 received his first guitar at age 7, it became a lifelong love affair (lucky for us). He had no way of knowing that, within just a few decades, he would be seen as one of music's most acclaimed and sought-after guitar-slingers. All I gotta say is when Slash calls you one of the most mind-blowing guitarists around, you know you're doing something right. Not that John 5 needs little endorsement, even from our favorite top hat-wearing shredder.

He's played guitar for an array of high-profile artists, including David Lee Roth, k.d. lang, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Marilyn Manson, and Rob Halford. Since 2005, he's worked as Rob Zombie's main guitarist and released a string of solo albums, cementing himself as a virtuoso guitar hero and pioneering a style that's part shred guitar, part wild country pickin', part flamenco, part mesmerizing macabre.

When John 5 received his first guitar, his parents didn't realize that their son would become such a revered musician either -- and frankly, his guitar obsession became a cause for concern.

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8 Best Metal Concerts in February in Phoenix

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Jim Louvau
Marilyn Manson has a new album out, and he's coming to town to promote it.

The start of February made it one of the busiest, most exciting months of 2015 in the Valley of the Sun. More than a million extra people crowded into town for the Phoenix Open, the Superbowl, or the fact that they're just snowbirds. Clearly cause for shots of whiskey and heavy metal. Lucky for all us metalheads, the heavy metal scene isn't resting on its laurels, even with all the other heavy excitement, traffic, and rain around town.

Don't let that keep you indoors, though. There are a ton of great shows around town, which is why we compiled a monthly list of the best metal and hard rock concerts happening at venues around the Valley during the month of February.

There's local EP release bashes, legends like Napalm Death and Marilyn Manson, and even a show by metal guitarist John 5 on Valentine's Day. I know where I'll be pre-gaming before the strip club.

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Best 13 Metal Concerts in Phoenix This January

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Alaectra Busey
Westfield Massacre

The year 2014 ended with a hell of a heavy metal season, with shows like Yucca Tap Room's "Not So Silent Night" ushering in the New Year -- but unlike the insane holiday spending and the snowbird-thick traffic pace, the show calendar isn't slowing down any time soon.

I'm aware that this Metal Mondays Best Metal Shows of January is a little late, so it doesn't include killer shows like the Dead of Winter Festival this past weekend and Anti-Flag.
However, there's an abundance of shows throughout January, and that's why we compile a monthly list of the best metal and hard rock concerts happening at venues around the Valley.

There are prominent metal acts like Cattle Decapitation, Machine Head and Periphery, and a wealth of local shows, including the ever-intense HannemanFest and a "When Titans Collide" show, where some of the best metal acts in the Valley share the stage.



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Lil Jon, Adele, and 10 other Unlikely Heavy Metal Covers

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Screenshot from A Static Lullaby's "Toxic" video
Brittany Spears' "Toxic" is so good, even a hardcore cover doesn't suck.

Whatever your religious beliefs -- Christian, Jewish, Pagan, Athiest -- there's no avoiding the ruckus of the holiday season. For me, Christmas brings a lot of old traditions, love and charitable giving, but there's a lot of needless commercialism that's shoved down everyone's throats starting the day after Halloween.

So kick back and take a break from the stress of shopping, visiting in-laws, gift-wrapping, and terrible holiday song covers by Taylor Swift and Mariah Carey. Seriously -- not only do we have to put up with pop and hip-hop year-round, but then they invade the already-smothering lineup of carols?

Welcome to your heavy metal music break: If mainstream artists can assault your ears via every genre, you can be damn sure that heavy metal steals the thunder now and again, too.
So forget the list of heavy metal Christmas carols.

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11 Best Metal Concerts in Phoenix in December

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Opeth

It's that time of year where I get to say "'Tis the season to be metal."

The temperatures have finally fallen, and some of our favorite metal band's touring schedules are still in full swing. It's that time of year where we can leave those sweaty mosh pits and emerge into some crisp cool air.

The season for giving is bringing a bounty of metal shows around Metro Phoenix, thanks to an array of locals and major international legends. As such, we're on the lookout for the best upcoming shows.

That's why we compile a monthly list of the best metal and hard rock concerts happening at venues around the Valley during the month of December. There's prominent metal acts like Emmure, Devin Townsend and Opeth, charity benefit shows to help feed the hungry, and a major two-day festival featuring the top Valley metal bands. There's also three killer shows on December 5 -- so skip the whiskey so you can check out at least two.

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Pallbearer's Prog-Doom Metal Comes from Strange Places (Like Kansas)

Categories: Metal!

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Diana Lee Zadlo
Pallbearer loves Kansas. What's next -- does Taylor Swift like Queensrÿche?

Being the torchbearer of the modern American doom metal movement can be a tough job, especially when you list Kansas as one of your favorite bands. But it makes sense, according to Pallbearer bass player and vocalist Joseph D. Rowland, who says the band's progressive tendencies are just as important as its metal roots.

"I think we are just as much a prog-rock band as we are doom metal," says Rowland from the band's recently repaired van as he drives it from Lexington, Kentucky, to the band's home base in Little Rock, Arkansas. "We're huge fans of King Crimson, Yes, Kansas . . . bands that pushed the envelope. We like telling a story through the music as well as the lyrics."

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15 Best Guitarists in the Phoenix Metal Scene Right Now

Categories: Lists, Metal!

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Clayton Haugen
Jeremy Davis from Animus Complex

The Valley of the Sun has a lot of musical talent that spans across all genres. However, when it comes to heavy metal, the desert spawns some killer musicians. So we decided to take a look at some of our favorite heavy metal shredders. There's no way to really define the best guitarists -- everyone's a critic, right? -- so we chose this list based on several factors.

Let it be known that this list was difficult to compile; it started with about 35 guitarists and was whittled down to 15. This is about honoring standout local guitarists based on talent, presence in the local scene, background as a musician, and other miscellaneous available information.

So, in no particular order, here are our favorite Valley shredders.

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