As a kid I grew up on all of those Rankin Bass Christmas specials such as “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer”, “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” and “The Year Without A Santa Claus” and like many others who enjoyed these time honored classics, I could probably recite them word for word and know every verse of the cool songs…..especially the ones sung by Heat Miser and Snow Miser (those guys were soooooo Metal when I think about it today). Fast forwarding to a few years ago we had long been enjoying the magic of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra but for the Metal faithful something was missing…..that something was a tried and true Metal take on the holiday standards and this curiosity about whether such an idea would work or not was answered by the one and only Twisted Sister. The band released the album “A Twisted Christmas” and well its, uhm, ahhhh…..something that you really need to listen to for yourself to properly understand. In my opinion it is an infectious bit of fun that is often hard to turn off. Something you really want to blast loud as you pour a little extra rum into the eggnog. The band set out on tour for this adventurous undertaking and 2009 finds them doing it for the fourth year straight. We recently had the chance to get a few moments of bassist Mark “The Animal” Mendoza’s time and asked him what his thoughts were about this and other recent Twisted Sister happenings. Here is what he had to say.
PiercingMetal: The chill is in the air and thoughts of holiday decorations, presents, spiked eggnog and now Twisted Sister come to mind. How does it feel to be getting ready to do the “Twisted Christmas” show for the fourth year straight?
Mark “The Animal” Mendoza: Freaking incredible. When the project was first conceived, we never thought it would go this far. We are elated that the world has embraced, “A Twisted Christmas.”
PiercingMetal: Rewinding a little bit to the ideas first conception, did you think that Dee had lost his mind when he suggested it? Furthermore, were you surprised at the largely positive response that the album and its videos received.
Artist: Maciej Kupinawski (guitarist/singer for Gwynbleidd) Label: Black Currant Music Interview Date: Genre: Melodic Death Metal
I remember the first time that I heard Gwynbleidd and it was when a friend suggested that I look into them based on their being located in my own hometown of Brooklyn, NY or very close by when it came down to it. The band was just releasing their EP “Amaranthine” and had delivered it to those who would choose to listen on their own dime without any sort of record label funding. The EP was received very well and led to the bands composing and eventually releasing the stunning full-length album “Nostalgia”. The time between the EP and the full-length has been interesting for the guys in the band and recently I sat down with guitarist/death growler/composer Maciej Kupinawski to find out some of the inside mechanics about Gwynbleidd. Below is our full discussion.
PiercingMetal: How long has Gwynbleidd been together and what actually led to the band s formation and to have you push forward on behalf of the Metal genre.
Maciej: Gwynbleidd was first started by Michal and I back in 2002. Adam joined us around late 2004 in preparation for the recording of Amaranthine EP. By beginning of 2006 Gwynbleidd was fully assembled. We have all already had some experience within metal genre before the formation of the band, with other more or less successful projects. Personally I became interested in metal because at the time, and still, I believe that it is the most diverse and unrestrictive genre of music which allows for a lot of creative freedom while making it possible to deliver emotionally strong statements and push the innovation envelope.
PiercingMetal: Let’s talk about the band s actual name “Gwynbleidd”. Is there any special meaning or significance to this and what events about you and the guys guided you to call the band this very mystical sounding name.
Maciej: The band name was borrowed from a book by Andrzej Sapkowski called “Wiedzmin” (the Witcher) which Michal and I were fans of. At the time the book was not as well known as it is today, but now in fact there’s a video game called the Witcher and there was a (not so great) movie made by based on the books as well. As far as the meaning, the name was not chosen for the literal translation but rather for the symbolic values inspired by the book’s tale of the struggle of values and questions of morality. The fight between old and new. Tradition and Innovation. Such struggles we also try to present within our music. Continue reading PiercingMetal Talks To Gwynbleidd’s Maciej Kupiszewski→
Continuing the series on the existing Social Networks and how they are being used by the PiercingMetal outlet. This is WoozyFly.
In my humble opinion, LastFM.com is NOT really a Social Networking thing if I had been asked if I thought that they were. It is a music medium that lets the subscriber sample and become fans of tons and tons of music from across a wide genre scope. That much is cool at the end of the day and what the fans can do from there is add other fans as friends based on the shared music preferences. Let’s say you find three friends who love the band KISS, it would show you this connection or say that your tastes in music with this person is “Good”, “Excellent” or “Super”. I once experienced it showing me that a friends tastes and my own were “Poor” but this was because we didn’t have any similar bands as our favorites even though we both enjoyed the same genre and quite a few groups. The site selects similar music groups for you to check out based on what you have selected as a favorite or least favorite and it does this by “scrobbling”. You can also leave comments on people’s walls about their tastes in music or join groups and get a whole dialog going with many others who agree with your own views. Another upside to this is the fact that tons of bands that don’t get proper exposure can be enjoyed via the medium. I like that very much.
I don’t use the LastFM account as much as I would like, but I sometimes do add a show review link to something that I had recently attended and I welcome anyone that has interest in my site to add me as a contact on there. The service was 100% free when I first signed up and began to use it but I think since that time a lot has changed. New fans will have to dig around a little bit to see what is required of them when they sign up. Either way I do like it when I use it and have been able to get some information about some of the harder to lock down data on bands. That is never a bad thing. Click the logo above to get the PiercingMetal.com account on LastFM and if you want to learn the very latest about the company just read their Wikipedia entry below.
Re-presenting the first ever PiercingMetal.com “Artist Of The Month” which now goes by the moniker of “PiercingMetal Artist Focus” and delivers our grand debut choice which was Mr. Chris Caffery from Savatage, and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. At the time of our initial website launch, we had opted to make Chris our choice based on having met him a number of times and his having been the very first interview ever done as a new to the music world journalist. At the time he had just began the final preparations on his own solo CD “Faces” and since that time has released many more.
Click his logo below to run the query and enjoy all of the articles written about Chris or where he makes an appearance that are currently posted on PiercingMetal.com.
As loyal followers of the site are well aware, the Main Page of PiercingMetal.com offered the readers the opportunity to check out who we felt was the appropriate “Artist Of The Month” at a specific time. The section sat on top of the most recently added batch of reviews and when selected the reader would execute a search query that would run against all of the review content on the site and present them with anything that had been written about said artist on a page of its own. We also presented some light commentary of our own for good measure. The resulting list allowed them to pick and choose what they wanted to absorb about the artists CD or DVD releases as well as any Interview or Concert coverage we had done for them. It worked well but the downside of this became clear almost immediately based on the reality that one could have several hundred reviews on a site for a number of different artists but only a brief amount of content for each individual. That made the region problematic and often unmaintained since our core reason for being a site was to add reviews of whomever we could wrap thoughts around and whose releases we were entrusted to present a narrative on for the readers as opposed to worrying about a monthly artist change. We liked having this on the site of course but in the end it became something that looked better on paper than in actual reality and even though reviews were added regularly you would seldom reach an acceptable amount to have a special page devoted to the particular artist. The other downside was the fact that there was no historical recap of it based on the way that the site flowed and this fact got me thinking about some changes.
The first change would be to modify the title a little bit and take “Artist Of The Month” and refer to it as “Artist Focus” going forward because this would allow for a little less scheduling worry. It’s often been said that the minute you put either “monthly” or “weekly” into a title, then you are saddled with trying to do it again and again and it really becomes difficult to do so when you are doing so many other important things for your site or magazine. We then realized that it should be moved over to the Musings Blog as this would give us a little more room to play with the topic than the main website did based on the design constraints. Using blog posts would also allow the ability for us to keep the historical selections in place a little easier and the chance to now add in something extra by also using links for the specific artist that had been taken from our no longer new Gallery section. We are going to re-present all of the previous entries for the readers for posterity and then shall move from there as time allows us to do so. We had originally selected Chris Caffery, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, HIM, Judas Priest and Motorhead for the AOTM section and pretty much left it at that based on being too consumed with our other adventures. The plan is to load in each of these past entries over the coming months and by doing so will get the historical archive that I have wanted for a long, long time. The other upside about using Blog entries for this is that the readers can now offer up comments on the choice and add their own views to the mix. We really look forward to the interaction with the readers of the site if they choose to take action.
*** UPDATE *** (8/1/2014): With PiercingMetal.com now using WordPress for the full on presentation of its original core site and the side blog, much of what was explained here will not matter to newer readers. All of our once referred to “Artist Of The Month” features can now be found under the “Artist Spotlight” option in our “Features” Category. This original posting has been left as a part of the sites body of work for historical purposes. Thank you.