Category: music

Deaf or Havana

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Today I was joined on the show by James and Max from Deaf Havana

Following on from the success of playing ‘HYPE or THEORY?’ with The Hype Theory 2 weeks ago, there was only one logical thing to do.

On next week¹s show I’ll be joined by Herman and Sam from Dragonforce!

I won¹t be at Glastonbury this year ­ LONG STORY ­ but I will be hitting Calling Festival to see Aerosmith. I haven¹t seen them live in nearly 5 years – I wasn’t at Download either – another LONG STORY – so I’m buzzing with excitement. There¹s a full day of supporting bands in the old school vein ­- Duff McKagan’s Walking Papers, Thunder, Richie Sambora from Bon Jovi and Heaven¹s Basement to name a few.


Between now and then I’ll be mostly listening to the new Rise Against single I Don’t Want To Be Here Anymore ahead of the release of their seventh studio album The Black Market on July 14th, because nobody does melody driven, politically minded punk rock quite like this Chicago four-piece.

Hardmen and Hype!

Interviews with Hulk Hogan, Ross Kemp, Pixies and David Lovering


I’ve had some awesome guests passing through the show of late.

Perhaps most importantly, I had the fairly ridiculous and excitable pleasure this week of interviewing WWE superstar Hulk Hogan who was in the UK promoting his appearance hosting ‘Smackdown’ live at the 02 Arena.

I asked him about his return to WWE, and how he keeps his cool in the ring.

Recently I also caught up with acclaimed actor, broadcaster and ‘TV hardman’ Ross Kemp to chat about his new book ‘The A-Z of Hell’ I am a big fan of Ross dating backto his EastEnders days so hereally was a pleasure to interview.

and also friends of the show The Hype Theory, who I played ‘Hype or Theory’ with. Is it a hyped band, or a well-known theory? It’s harder than you might think.

I also caught up on the phone with Pixies’ drummer David Lovering to chat about their most recent album Indie Cindy. They will of course be over here this weekend for Field Day Festival.

This weekend I headed down to Camden Rocks festival and checked out the aforementioned Hype Theory  – who today release an EP ‘The Hunted’ featuring acoustic versions of standout tracks from last year’s Captives debut. Other highlights included Apologies, I Have None, Turbowolf, The Blackout, the ridiculously young Drones and Hacktivist who DESTROYED The Underworld with their unique rap/metal/djent/ crossover.

This week I’ll be mostly saving myself for Last Resort’s 3rd birthday party at The Star of Kings, but I’ll find time to check out the new Twin Atlantic (currently #1 on the Kerrang! Rock Chart!) album which is being premiered on Wednesday at a top secret location. If their recent London date at The Dome in Tufnell Park is anything to go by, it looks set to put them firmly in rock’s premier league.

Interviewing Two Legends – Dave Navarro and Courtney Love

Recently I was lucky enough to catch up with the living legend that is Dave Navarro, former Red Hot Chilli Pepper, and most importantly, guitarist for Jane’s Addiction.

The latter are over here in August, and will be performing their debut studio album ‘Nothing’s Shocking’ in full. I asked Dave what the album meant to him 20 years on. In particular I was keen to ask how he felt about the title, as in 2014 rock music has definitely lost something of its ‘shock’ value.

Last week I also caught up with Courtney Love. I only had literally 5 minutes with her, but this was more than enough time for her to tell me all about how she ‘forgot’ about her feud with Lily Allen, nearly falling out with the ‘Boss’ and how she wants more straight guys at her gigs!

Gig-wise, having returned from Live At Leeds I immediately got excited about the forthcoming Camden Rocks festival – a similar setup (1 wristband gets you free entry to around 20 venues, all day) but with a much more Kerrang! friendly line-up! At the very least it will give me the opportunity to see Hacktivist live, who I missed about 5 times last year.

Tonight I’ll be catching Twin Atlantic down the road at, ahem, Dome in Tufnell Park as part of a super-intimate tour looking ahead to their new album ‘The Great Divide’ in August. Their new single ‘Heart and Soul’ is the current #1 on the Kerrang! Rock Chart, and it’s definitely a step up from the band lazily tipped to be ‘the next Biffy Clyro’.

Live at Leeds 2014 preview

Live at Lee

I haven’t been up to Leeds in a little while, so I’m looking forward to heading up this weekend for the annual ‘Live At Leeds’ festival. The clue is in the title really, it’s a live music festival, it’s in Leeds. A £25 wristband gets you in to 25 venues in the city which, between them, have just about every genre of music covered – from death metal to commercial pop.

With this in mind, even moreso than traditional ‘camping’ festivals it’s practically impossible to make any sort of plan but I’ll definitely be catching ‘the world’s best bar band’ The Hold Steady close proceedings at 10.30pm on Saturday, and praying Frank Turner’s recently announced ‘secret’ set (time and venue TBC) won’t clash. Hopefully it won’t – Frank himself is a huge Hold Steady fan and even has a tattoo of the band – no doubt I’ll see him down the front!

Time permitting I’m also hoping to catch Chloe Howl and Ella Eyre, Los Campesinos, Royal Blood, Sam Airey, The Fat White Family and Women’s Hour – purely because that’s arguably the best band name I’ve ever heard. Tickets are £25 and you can find out more information here –

Upon returning, no doubt I’ll largely be harping on about the new album Earthwalker from Australian hardcore/metal five-piece In Hearts Wake – I’m currently sworn to secrecy until Monday!

Until next time!

Meeting Fred Durst


Last Friday I caught up with Fred Durst from Limp Bizkit, ahead of the final UK date of the 2014 Kerrang! tour. We talked about building the perfect Bizkit setlist, the two new albums they have in the pipeline (Stampede of the Disco Elephants and The Unbeliveable Truth Part 2) and breakdancing on stage!

Talking of Limp Bizkit, I’m looking forward to heading to Last Resort next weekend – a club night that certainly likes its nu-metal. If you missed my blog from last summer you can check it out here.

Elsewhere, I’ll be heading to the Garage this weekend to catch Manchester’s finest Sonic Boom Six – who I haven’t seen do a headline show in literally years. They totally destroyed the crowd at Warped Tour last November – with Laila performing the last track on top of a security guard’s head! If you like your music heavy with lots of rapping, screaming and breakdowns, make sure you get there early and catch The One Hundred opening things up.

I’ll also be checking out the new Lamb Of God documentary, As The Palaces Bun, which is out in cinemas today.

Frank Turner @ The 02 – Preview

frank o2

I have seen Frank Turner perform live more times than any other artist. This is, of course, in part, due to his relentless touring schedule, but, equally, because he’s a bloody amazing live act and I rarely want to miss a gig!

It feels the right time then, on the eve of Frank’s biggest ever UK date, to compile a Top 10 of my favourite FT performances to date. (These are biased towards Leeds, since this is where I lived for my first few years of FT fandom!)

1. Leeds Brudenell Social Club, 31st March 2008.
The day his 2nd album Love Ire and Song came out, the first time many hear Long Live The Queen, a tribute to Frank’s late friend Lex. Not many dry eyes in the Brudenell that night. For me, subsequent Brudenell shows were always in this one’s shadow.

2. Wembley Arena, 13th April 2012.
FT becomes an arena artist, albeit one most people have never heard of. I could not believe it when this was announced, and still don’t know how he managed it. FT fans from all over the UK take the pilgrimage and pay an absolute bargain of £25 for WEMBLEY. I’m living in North London at this point anyway but wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

3. Leeds Student Radio, 21st October 2008.
Had to sneak this one in here. Whilst running my student radio station, we got FT in to do a quick session and interview ahead of his date at the Cockpit. I suggested someone else do the interview, but our Head Of Music insisted there was nobody else as keen, so I gladly obliged.

4. Outside, then inside Leeds University, 15th May 2008.
Ahead of his set supporting The Holloways, a fire alarm forces the whole of the union outside on a hot summers day. FT brings his guitar with him. Next thing he’s performing acoustically to literally to hundreds of students who haven’t the faintest idea who he is. When the all-clear comes, he then blows his friends in The Holloways off Mine Bar’s tiny stage.

5. Leeds Santiago’s, 5th March 2011.
FT rejects ludicrous claims of ‘selling out’ by playing a series of tiny shows. Luckily I know the promoter of the Leeds date and we race up from London on the, erm, Megabus. FT is taking requests for charity donations. I ask for ‘Worst Things Happen At Sea’, put £20 in and end up on stage. After the gig we tell FT how we’d come up from London after we couldn’t get in to a Camden show the previous weekend, he seems genuinely touched.

frank leeds

6. Leeds Festival main stage, 23rd August 2013
As soon as Bring Me The Horizon leave the stage, the heavens open and everyone hides, apart from a committed core of FT fans getting positively drenched. None of this mattered at the time, obviously. I interview FT before the set and he tells me he’s about to announce an arena tour. I knew it was coming, but still couldn’t believe it.

7. BBC Maida Vale studios, 24th April 2013
The day it was announced that I was joining Kerrang!, I was also lucky enough to win 2 tickets to this, going out live on Radio 1. FT plays for half an hour longer than Radio 1 had allocated, and only stops because of a flight the band have to catch.

8. Reading Festival, 28th August 2011,
FT’s first main stage appearance, becoming the only artist to play every stage at Reading, an accolade unlikely to ever happen to anyone again. This is followed by a secret appearance in the ‘punk’ tent, ending with a rousing cover of Queen’s Somebody To Love.

9. Granary Square, 17th Dec 2013
FT teams up with Billy Bragg on a December lunchtime in aid of Shelter, performing mainly covers and FT tracks. I become a Billy Bragg fan.

frank kx

10. Olympic Opening Ceremony, 27th July 2012.
Ok, not the best FT performance, clearly – nobody knows who he is! But for the sheer WTF factor, this HAS to be in there. (Disclaimer – I wasn’t actually there)

Not many artists can make it to arenas and stay there. Indeed, Frank has said himself that he doesn’t think he can stay at this level. Personally, I’m not so sure. It’s not like he has just appeared at the 02 overnight, it’s taken years of hard graft during which he has developed the most enviable of fan bases, and its still growing.

Whatever happens, one thing’s for sure. ‘TONIGHT I’m going to play it straight, I’m going to take my chance, I want to dance’. See you at the 02!

Meeting Jared Leto


Last week I caught up with Mr 30 Seconds To Mars himself, Jared Leto. I was particularly excited about this since I think his forthcoming film Dallas Buyers Club is comfortably one of the best films I have ever seen, without exaggeration.

The film is about a group of dying AIDS patients who are forced to take unapproved anti-viral drugs not available in the USA, provided by Matthew McConaughey. Jared plays the part of Rayon, a transgender, drug-addicted woman who strikes up an unlikely friendship with McConaughey, despite his initial homophobic tendencies.

I also asked Jared about a number of recent articles suggesting that rock music is dying. He was particularly passionate about this so I included his full response in the interview.

Talking of transgender issues, if you have not checked out the latest Against Me! record, Transgender Dysphoria Blues, you are missing an absolute beast of a record. In equal parts dark, disturbing, shocking, brutally honest but yet euphoric at the same time. They are one of my all-time favourite bands, but personally I found their last record White Crosses to be quite bland and samey, dare I say it, quite MOR, so it’s an absolute pleasure to see them re-gain their inner anger. We live in an age now where bands struggle to stand out from each other and anything even slightly controversial has either been done before or just comes across as rather desparate publicity. It’s heartwarming, then, to be championing a band with a transgender frontwoman screaming lyrics like ‘You’ve got no c*nt in your strut, you’ve got no ass to shake’ and ‘They just see a f*ggot, they hold their breath not to catch the stick’, essentially releasing the first genuinely controversial and confrontational rock album in years.

Here is the single ‘Black Me Out’ (interestingly the last song on the album – has that ever happened before?!)

Elsewhere on the show, Renee from The Alex Baker Show was horrified to find that I didn’t know my shoe size, a source of much amusement to her and fellow K! presenter Jake Thomson.

Gig-wise, I’m looking forward to skanking my mind out to the Less Than Jake/Reel Big Fish/Zebrahead show at the Islington Academy, and Frank Turner’s biggest ever UK date at the 20, 000 capacity 02 Arena. More on that later in the week.

Best Song Ever

I’m not one for novelty cover versions – I said when I last posted up Hacktivist’s version of Jay-Z / Kanye West’s Pariswhich ended up being one of my favourite tracks of last year.  However, over the last couple of days I’ve had ‘Best Song Ever’ by One Direction stuck on rotation in my head – and these guys are the reason.


Askira are a five-piece metal core group from Houston, Texas and they have taken what is easily one of the worst pop songs of recent years and by adding some downtuned guitars, double bass drumming and some meaty breakdowns have turned it into an instant rock dance floor classic that I, for one will be playing at every available opportunity over the next 12 months! (I’m not a pop or 1D hater incidentally – I actually think What Makes You Beautiful is a decent enough pop song – I just think it sounds like the lyrics to this particular track were written in about 30 seconds)


Two friends of mine who love to play One Direction in rock clubs are Katy and Sean from The Hype Theory. I’m looking forward to the follow-up to last year’s Captives album dropping later this year and catching their headline gig at London’s Garage on January 25th. You can hear my interview with them from last year’s Warped Tour here.


Between now and then though, there is the small matter of Lamb of God at Brixton Academy next Saturday – my first gig of 2014. There are very, very few metal bands who can play music as uncompromisingly heavy as these guys and headline a venue like Brixton, and with these dates being their first UK shows since singer Randy Blythe’s manslaughter charges, there will no doubt be an extra layer of intensity.


I’ve yet to see the film of the aforementioned manslaughter trial, As The Palaces Burn which arrives on these shores in February, but the trailer suggests it is well worth a watch.


Before January is out, I’m also looking forward to the arrival of the Brooklyn Bowl at London’s 02, catching rising UK punks Max Raptor at Camden’s Barfly, and heading to Dublin for the last ever ‘Lockdown’, a pop-punk/rock I’ve never been before but I am assured by my friends is well worth jumping on a plane for! Time will tell, but the words pouring out on Facebook from the announcement of their demise suggests this is indeed the case. I understand the date is to be announced imminently.



Singles of the Year – 2013

As ever this list has been an absolute nightmare to compile. The fact that Nine Inch Nails’ Come Back Haunted, Lady Gaga’s Applause, Kanye West’s Black Skinhead and life-affirming singles from the likes of Hatebreed, Bring Me The Horizon, Tegan and Sara and Chrvches did not get a look in is testament alone to how much great music has come out this year. Special mentions must also go to Alter Bridge’s Addicted To Pain and Disclosure’s White Noise for just missing out.

1. Frank Turner – Recovery

Lead single from Frank’s fourth album Tape Deck Heart. Well worth getting absolutely drenched at Leeds festival for.
And I’ve been dipping in my darkness for serotonin boosters, cider and some kind of smelling salts…

2. Deaf Havana – Boston Square

From their game-changing, 3rd album Old Souls, my album of the year hands down.
But I guess I was wrong. All I am is wrong these days…

3. Hacktivist – Paris

Because the only thing this Jay-Z/Kanye West track was missing, was some beefy guitars and a load of breakdowns the RAC wouldn’t know what to do with.
You know how many sick trainers I own?!

4. Fall Out Boy – My Songs Know What You Do In The Dark

Highlight of a triumphant return nobody would have predicted, and many didn’t realise they needed.
I’m on FIRAAAA!!

5. Max Raptor – England Breathes

This Daily-Mail hating four-pice are arguably the best British punk band right now – and this takes no prisoners.
We are now taking over it.

6. AFI – 17 Crimes

Spectacular return to form for the Californian four-piece. Lead single from the natural successor to 2003’s Sing The Sorrow, Burials.
Let’s love, and kill like 17 now.

7. Limp Bizkit – Ready To Go

Featuring Cash Money labelmate Lil’ Wayne on vocals, with one riff Wes Borland demonstrates the Bizkit aren’t going anywhere, anytime soon.
I’m so pokerfaced, ladies going gaga.

8. Avenged Sevenfold – Shepherd of Fire

First track from their UK No. 1 album Hail To The King, crushing any doubts about their ability to join rock’s premier league.
Know me by name, shepherd of fire!

9. Manic Street Preachers – Rewind The Film

Epic six and a half minute ode to youth and life, featuring a vocal lead from Richard Hawley.
I want to see my joy, my friends…

10. Paramore – Still Into You

One of four stupidly catchy singles this year from the Tennessee four-piece’
I should be over all the butterflies…

The Hype Theory Interview @ Alexandra Palace

Following on from my While She Sleeps interview, check out my interview with Katy and Sean from The Hype Theory just after their performance at Vans Warped Tour last weekend.

They’re a great pop/punk/rock foursome from Essex and we’ve been playing them on Kerrang! for a little while. At Warped we discussed the big topics of the day – Essex, pizza, strip clubs and recording the follow-up to their debut album ‘Captives’

Have a listen below, let me know what you think and check them out on facebook for more!

Nice one