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MERRY (whatever) you MAY or MAY NOT be celebrating at the current time.

Just dug up an interview with another KENTUCKY boy I did back in 2012 in the Seelbach Bar. Sorry about the volume. I do this shit for FREE sometimes…

Oh and one of his videos also, which by the way, is F’ing AWESOME…

Tonight’s post was inspired by OLE SMOKEY moonshine…

G’night folks…

OK…

Album-Cover-Quiet-Hollers-2015Album Review: Quiet Hollers
by Quiet Hollers
Produced by: Kevin Ratterman
Independently Released
Available: October 23, 2015
www.QuietHollers.com

Roam the rural Kentuckiana area countryside for long enough, and you’ll eventually stumble upon what us locals call a “Quiet Holler.” It’s a quiet, countryside landscape – a sunken wooded valley of sorts – nestled throughout the rolling hillsides of bluegrass land. A place where one can reflect on only your thoughts, sane or not.

Literally speaking, that is.

Stay with me, now…

Metaphorically speaking, it’s the appropriately-named debut recorded effort by Quiet Hollers, a band based out of Louisville, Kentucky. 

It’s an album that one can easily get lost in or spaced-out to, primarily induced by lead singer Shadwick Wilde’s melancholy, lazy, yet intriguing, drug-addled vocal melodies.

As a band, as the album thoroughly demonstrates, they are a progressively blended Americana-inspired alt-country quintet, with a bluesy presentation of reverbed-out guitar work, violin strings that haunt, and a dab of 90’s inspired post-grunge. Of course, they blend all these key ingredients like bourbon over ginger ale. They’re from Kentucky, dammit!

Quiet Hollers has an undeniable Woodstock’ish vibe that permeates throughout most of the album, and peaks on tracks like the whistled chorus harmonies on “Summer Song,” or the junkie-washed blues ballad “Midwestern.”

In the end, you are left with a paranoid curiosity that’s as addictive as it is downright fucking weird. What did Wilde mean when he sang “if the bastard’s ever come, promise me you’ll take the kids and run…” in “Mont Blanc”?

Run where?

Who are these bastards, and when are they coming?

Best Album Lyric: “Shed a tear for the books I should’a read…”

**This review also published at: GonzoToday.com & PerformerMag.com

Louder Than Life Festival crowd at East Stage - Photo by Jason Ashcraft

Louder Than Life Festival crowd at East Stage – Photo by Jason Ashcraft

The second year of the Louder Than Life festival is now officially in the books and I am officially done with this music scene until, perhaps, next year. The gargantuan-sized metal and rock n’ roll music and gourmet man-food extravaganza still has my fucking ears ringing, my clothes still half covered in mud, and that post-concert hangover feeling that I’ve not had since my 20’s. I don’t know if I am wishing that maybe I had indulged just a little more or a little less, at this point. I can’t decide.

Over 50,000 people in two short days flocked to the festival, like droves of wild animals trying to cram their way onto Noah’s arc. According to festival organizers, over 70% of these metalhead and rock n’ roll bastards came from outside Louisville’s city limits. “Bastards” being a word I totally threw in there myself, not the festival. For clarification. And we all experienced the gamut of what Louisville weather can dish out in 48 hour period. Cold, cloudy and rainy one day, and sunny and hot the next. Welcome to the Ohio Valley, folks.

Saturday, 3 October: Muddy Metal Mayhem

So, like I said, tens of thousands of these metalhead bastards spent most of the day stomping around in the mud, the mosh pits, with booze in-hand, avoiding roving packs of security and police, and generally just humping and living the typical American metalhead dream. Whiskey-bent. Hellbound. Making beasts of themselves for a few short hours. Some screaming obscenities at random passer-byers and some at the bands. Some so self-absorbed into the music that nothing else around them really existed. Everyone seemingly losing their minds to the overly-decibeled carnage of America’s most notorious metal and hard rock acts that FM radio stations, MTV and other mainstream media outlets have spent decades force-feeding their fans with.

Sevendust, one of the lesser-overplayed, and more talented acts on the docket, turned in a short, yet tight set, that included an old-school cut “Denial,” and also the newly released “Not Today” off their latest album Kill The Flaw. Just one question, though, guys: that new album title isn’t a subliminal reference to what you intend to do to a certain newly-reunited metal band from Louisville, is it? Probably not, but had to make a joke out of that. Moving on…

The biggest treat of the day came with Chevelle – who mesmerized with musical precision like only a brother-band could do – and went deep into their catalogue with cuts like “Forfeit” and “The Red.” Of course Chevelle probably couldn’t get off stage without playing “Send The Pain Below,” and so they did. Perfectly so.

Then came veteran metal horror rocker Rob Zombie. With pictures of classic horror movie characters as his stage background along with shitty, negative, certain one-word terms I’m not going to report on, Zombie lambasted his fans with his iconic groove-metal style that only he can pull off the way he does it. Somewhat surprisingly, he opened with a romping and rousing take of Grand Funk Railroad’s “We’re An American Band” before blistering through his own set of 20+ year solo and White Zombie cuts. I’d also be remiss to mention that he totally killed it on his take of a James Brown classic, “Get Up (I Feel Like Being) a Sex Machine.”

Sunday, 4 October: More Sun, More Fun and Interviews!

The last thing I needed on Sunday afternoon to nurse a metal-induced, late Saturday night hangover was another several hour onslaught of cookie-monster singer’s bands. Sorry, but that’s what some unmentioned Saturday acts really sound like at times.

Nonetheless, day two brought better weather, sunny skies, warmer temperatures and a more classic rock n’ roll, and overall friendly vibe. The crowd, noticeably tamer, perhaps as hungover as I was, got a dose of rock n’ roll from the likes of ZZ Top (who I regrettably bailed on), Slash, Breaking Benjamin, Shinedown, Black Stone Cherry, Kentucky Headhunters, Collective Soul and Skid Row, amongst several others.

One metal band, in particular, hailing from Louisville, and who’s in the midst of launching a new comeback tour, FLAW, also performed on this day. On the wrong stage, though, if you ask me. They should’ve been next door on the much larger East stage, all things considered. Nonetheless, they delivered exactly what they’re longtime loyal fanbase still flocks to see them for: metal with catchy melodies.

I actually had the chance to catch up with FLAW after their set, and here is what they had to say about getting back together again and what the future holds:

And of course I also had to pay homage to another set of Kentucky music icons, the Kentucky Headhunters and Black Stone Cherry, who both hail from the hollers of Edmonton, Kentucky in Metcalfe County. Just a few hours south of Louisville. Before their sets I had the chance to sit down and interview Richard Young (Kentucky Headhunters) and John Fred Young (BSC), for a cool first time ever father-son interview between the two. Check out what I made them jabber about when asked what guitar they’d break vs. play, and who they hope becomes President:

Black Stone Cherry went on to amass a hometown crowd that better resembled what they typically play to in the UK and other European tour destinations. I mean, fucking Jimmy Page shows up regularly to their shows in the UK to hang out and watch them. This was the biggest crowd I’ve seen them play in their home state, and I‘ve seen them play countless times since 2002 when I first met them in the basement of the old Jillians on Lexington Avenue here in Louisville. Those guys were maybe 16 to 18 at the time, and being escorted by Richard Young who was their manager. Gee, how things have changed for them since those days.

Black Stone Cherry crowd at Louder Than Life festival 2015 - Photo by Jason Ashcraft

Black Stone Cherry crowd at Louder Than Life festival 2015 – Photo by Jason Ashcraft

I love to see Kentucky musicians and artists exporting their creations outside of the state. The Young family of musicians has always done a fine job of doing just that, by keeping both the national and international communities aware that it’s not just bourbon, horses and fast women that come from Kentucky! But kick-ass, boot-scootin, southern rock n’ roll music does, too!

So Let’s Wrap this Shit Up

LTL is one of those festivals that when you honestly proclaim, like I remember doing in the middle of a rum-fit to some dude: that you’re “one crazy bastard,” people will be like “that’s good to hear!” And they mean it. They’re not bullshitting you. That’s what it’s all about. Being crazy bastards listening to loud-ass, rage-a-holic metal and rock n’ roll music. Together. With fancy gourmet $8 hot dogs – or some other gourmet man-food items of choice in one hand – and some sort of whiskey or beer concoction in the other. Screaming at everything and everyone around you. Pretending that one day, maybe you’ll be on that stage.

I’m guessing that’s why they call this festival Louder Than Life. And hold it in good ole’ Louisville, Kentucky, where this kind of loud behavior will be happily tolerated, no matter what you set the decibel level to, in exchange for the extra tax dollar revenue it will generate.

Welcome to Louisville, Louder Than Life! I’m sure you’ll continue to fit right in.

Selah.

“The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.”

— Hunter S. Thompson

**These interviews and coverage  also published at GonzoToday.com

louder-than-lifeHola, Amigo.

¿Cómo lo llevas?

No, I’m not gonna write my first GonzoToday.com preview of the 2015 Louder Than Life music festival in Spanish. A language that I don’t even know how to write or speak, aside from the little I’ve picked up from what Cheech & Chong, Cypress Hill and ordering Mexican food at El Nopal has taught me.

On top of that, I’m writing this in the midst of a blood moon lunar eclipse while drinking absurd amounts of rum and moonshine. Mercury is also retrograde. Perfect, right? And mercury shall stay retrograde all the way thru this weekend’s Louder Than Life Festival on October 3rd & 4th in Louisville, Kentucky. The mainstream rock n’ roll music, whiskey, and gourmet man-food weekend event drew tens of thousands in it’s 2014 debut.

Uncharted territory for me, considering the recent past. I’ve been on a bit of a mainstream rock and metal scene hiatus since the days of LRS Fest, which croaked around 10 years ago. 

But, I can’t wait to hopefully blend back into the mayhem of the mainstream rock scene once again. There is something about observing all these young and old whiskey-bent metalhead bastards that never gets old. Watching them bang their heads – both on and off stage – to rock and metal’s most shoved-down-your-throat-songs of decades past. Baby Boomers to Millennials shall be catered to equally.

Seriously folks, even if this isn’t your normal scene or musical forte’, I say go anyway. 99% of the lovely ladies and gentlemen that flock to these types of festivals are just as berserk to observe as the actual rock stars that are on the stage. No shit. The only difference between the two aforementioned groups is that one is on stage, and the other isn’t.

By all means, never reveal these known realities to the person standing next to you, or you’ll be essentially fucking yourself over on the overall entertainment factor the festival provides. Air guitars. Pantene Pro-V 80’s style hair. A few mullets here and there. Seas of black T-shirts. Tattoos. Piercings. Ripped jeans. And loud-ass-rock-music. Yep. You get the picture.

On the flip side, there are several not-so-shoved-down-your-throat native Kentucky artists that’s on the bill, too. I’m somewhat surprised to report that a few of em’ were crazy enough to accept an interview request from yours truly.

That’s right people, I’ll be sitting down to chat with the likes of country music icon Richard Young, guitarist of the Kentucky Headhunters, and his son, John Fred Young, drummer of Black Stone Cherry, for what’s sure to be an intriguing father-son interview.

I’ll also be sitting down with members of Louisville nu-metal prognosticators, FLAW, whose playing the festival for a second year in a row, and who is in the midst of relaunching themselves back into the musical forefront. Once upon a time back in the early 2000’s FLAW was a regular fixture for large metal festivals like OzzFest and Rock On The Range, amongst others.

Having recently spoken by phone to FLAW lead vocalist, Chris Volz, he was excited about not only about being invited back for a second year, but also about the band’s forthcoming revival and where it will take them, if anywhere.

Oh yeah, who the fuck else is playing the damn festival is probably what you’re wondering, right? Well, here is my totally unbiased, incomplete list of other performing artists: Rob Zombie, ZZ Top, what’s left of, and still called Lynyrd Skynyrd (*no disrespect*), Kentucky Headhunters, Black Stone Cherry, Chevelle, Breaking Benjamin, Skid Row, Collective Soul, Sevendust, Shinedown, Slash, and more and more and more…

Checkout the full lineup, along with your ticketing and camping options at: www.LouderThanLifeFestival.com

What else?

Oh yeah.

Written drunk.

Edited sober.

And this is totally fucking appropriate for my first GonzoToday.com published preview for a rock n’ roll whiskey festival. 

Agreed?

Selah.

** This preview also published at GonzoToday.com

So, back in 2011 I landed a phoner with Josh Todd, frontman for the notorious west coast hard-rock band Buckcherry. It’s still, arguably, one of my best interviews to date. He’s an interesting, strait-forward kinda guy with a lot of great stories from the road.

There was a moment – while he was talking about an experience he had while hanging with AC/DC’s Angus Young – where I asked myself, “Did he just open up to me like I’m Barbara Walters?”

Listen for yourself…

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The Revivalists @ Forecastle 2015 - Photo by Jason Ashcraft

The Revivalists @ Forecastle 2015 – Photo by Jason Ashcraft

An opportunity came up to sit down and chat with New Orleans natives, The Revivalists, at Forecastle Festival 2015, so I took it. What a great bunch of guys who – like all other NOLA-based musicians – wear their passion for their music like a heart on their sleeve.

Exactly four minutes and twenty seconds is all it took for them to convey that.

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