PiercingMetal Talks To Voivod’s Jason Newsted (3/9/2006)

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Artist: Voivod – Jason Newsted
Label: The End Records
Date: 3/9/2006

Bassist Jason Newsted is someone who the Metal Community knows very well for as history shows the musician left his band Flotsam & Jetsam to join the mighty Metallica (1986) and after several albums and tours as their longest tenured bassist, he would depart from the juggernaut and find himself a member of the very cult favorite Metal outfit Voivod (2002). His membership found a new level of attention and interest in the ever-referenced & influential Metal band who while revered, never received the level of acclaim that mass media could offer. After appearances on Ozzfest and a rebuilding interest in the band by a wider public, tragedy would strike as guitarist Denis “Piggy” D’Amour would be stricken with and succumb to cancer. Piggy recorded demo music up until his death, as he was determined to return stronger than ever but sadly this would not be the case. His death caused the remaining players to decide how best to move forward with his music and the decision was made to complete Piggy’s demoed work and release it all to his fans as his final music. Together with Pete Pardo of the Sea Of Tranquility, I attended a listening event hosted by The End Records where we would hear the completed work – a Progressive Metal opus entitled “Katorz”. After the album had completed we had some sit down time with Jason, and discussed life, music and what will become of Voivod now that Piggy has left us. Below is the transcribed conversation.

KP: Ok, we are set to go. So you were jamming with Friends last night since you were in town. Late night?

Newsted: Yeah, and at that point, one song becomes thirty minutes and you’re to the point of “hey it sounds great too” (laughs).
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“Suicide Shot” by Pretty Suicide

Artist: Pretty Suicide
Title: “Suicide Shot”
Label: Unsigned
Release Date: 2003
Genre: Rock & Roll
Rating: Good

Pretty Suicide is a band who I met at a KISS Convention and that is truly on of the great perks of an event like this. You have the ability to walk about and potentially meet some wonderful and talented people. I had the pleasure of talking to Courtney who is the lead singer of this band and she sent me the CD for commentary on the site. The self-released CD “Suicide Shot” that they have is a nice assortment of tasty and well laid out Rock & Roll. There is a dose of catchy numbers that I found myself singing along with after a couple of quick listens. Opening track “Should Have Said Goodbye” is perhaps the best and my personal favorite across the recording. I found Court possessing a very Pat Benetar like quality in her voice during this one in particular. “User Abuser” and “Do You Want It” are also on the memorable side. Band members Larry (guitar) and Armand (drums) do great on the piece and certainly prove that Courtney is not treating them as the backup band to her front person role. You too often find the case where the players are forgotten and the singer the main focus. Her look is of course very pretty but she plays it down and instead focuses on the task at hand which is Rocking and Rolling to the best of her ability.
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“Alive II” (remaster) by KISS

Artist: KISS
Title: “Alive II” (remaster)
Label: Mercury/Universal
Release Date: 8/12/1997
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 9/10

Recorded during the “Love Gun Tour” of 1977, the album Alive II is both a special and a powerful one from the second it begins. At the time before this album I remembered only listening to KISS a little bit yet when life was set to change that with the album hitting the record shops (yes, records were sold in shops once upon a time). I remember clearly almost blowing up the family stereo as the announcer growled “You Wanted The Best And You Got The Best”. The explosions literally shaking the house and making my Mother scream at me more than usual. As a budding musician as well I made sure to learn this album from top to bottom. While I don’t do that much anymore I am pretty sure that I can still knock out a bunch of these songs from memory. To this very day it remains one of my favorites in their catalog because it was among the first records I was allowed to buy and it had so many of the songs that were on the radio (“Dr. Love”, “Christine Sixteen” & “Detroit Rock City”). Alive II would focus on the three releases that followed the classic concert release Alive featuring material from “Destroyer”, “Love Gun” and “Rock & Roll Over”. The band was a little heavier now and walked a little taller over the competition – stepping over them in lizard faced platform boots. The stronger emphasis on their individual identities and bombastic shows made them officially referred to as Hard Rock super-heroes by this point. There was not a member of the now formed KISS Army that would argue this fact with you. KISS ruled, and that was that. While Alive is considered the original masterpiece, Alive II is a lot cleaner and tighter if you asked me. Songs like “King Of The Night Time World” and “I Want You” literally explode like the firebombs presented during the show. There is a hotter drum solo by Peter Criss and not only do we get a unique guitar solo from Frehley but we hear him sing live for the first time on record during “Shock Me”.
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“Ace Frehley Solo” (remaster) by KISS

Artist: KISS: Ace Frehley
Title: “Ace Frehley – Solo” (remaster)
Label: Mercury/Universal
Release Date: 9/16/1997
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 9/10

In 1978 KISS did the unthinkable and released solo albums for each individual member of the group. It allowed the band to showcase what drove them musically on an individual level. As soon as the opening riffs on Ace’s solo album began it was clear that this would be among the best of the individual releases. The songs all around this recording leaned to the creative aspect of the KISS guitarist very well and by kicking off with “Rip It Out” you were made to feel as though you were in a concert setting immediately. “Speedin’ Back To My Baby” and “Wiped Out” are also solid rockers and play against Ace’s established style perfectly. There were no new tricks and surprises to spring on the fans with his solo and if they expected a rocking guitar record they most certainly got one with this release. Despite the number of catchy songs the most unexpected part of Frehley’s solo would be the knock down hit he had with “New York Groove”. Instead of bandleaders Stanley and Simmons delivering such a track or even Criss (who found his “Beth” becoming one of the bands most staple tracks) we get this simple and basic blockbuster from The Space Ace.
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“Rock ‘N Roll” (remaster) by Motorhead

Artist: Motorhead
Title: “Rock ‘N Roll”
Label: Sanctuary Records
Release Date: 3/28/2006
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 8/10

To celebrate the band’s 30 year career, Sanctuary Records is re-issuing expanded and remastered versions of some of their best albums. The double CD sets come with the original album in remastered form, along with a second CD that is loaded with bonus and unreleased tracks. The slip-cased package includes full-color booklets that are packed with topical information on the release as well as photos and notes from the time of the album’s release.
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