Category Archives: News

R.I.P. Sammi Curr (1947 – 1986)


Sammi Curr
1947 – 1986

One metal legend that I’ve never really discussed has been “Rock’s Chosen Warrior” — Sammi Curr.  A former student at Lakeridge High School, Sammi’s aspirations went higher than being stuck in his small town. It’s no secret that Sammi was an angry young man growing up. He cared little for authority and used his rebellious nature to propel himself to the top of the heavy metal heap in the mid-1980s. With his dangerous attitude and shock rock antics, he became a rock icon, a living legend, and amassed a large loyal teenage fanbase.

Sammi was a controversial figure during his time. While popular with teenagers, his music, lyrics and stage show were extremely controversial with parents, schools, politicians and members of the religious community. In a time when bands like Megadeth, W.A.S.P. and Motley Crue ruled the airwaves, it was Sammi Curr that felt the wrath of the media and concerned citizens the most.

That’s not to say that Sammi didn’t encourage the controversy though. Ego was another driving factor for Curr. He thrived on the adoration of his young fans and on the hatred of his detractors. Like many rock stars, Sammi wanted the attention and he lived the image of the “bad boy” to its fullest. You can’t drink blood straight from a snake’s mouth onstage and not expect some people to get up in arms about it.

Spending the majority of his music career signed to Waste City Records, some of Curr’s most loved (and despised) songs are “Trick or Treat”, “Fuck With Fire”, “Burn in Metal” and “Torture’s Too Kind”. It was in those last three songs that he used the technique of backmasking. Whether done for fun and as a gimmick or if there was a more sinister intention there, I don’t know. There are many who will argue either side.

In October 1986, Sammi petitioned to play a free concert at his old high school’s Halloween dance. He was denied this opportunity by the PTA and died just days before Halloween, under mysterious circumstances, in a hotel fire.

Sammi’s final album was to be called Songs in the Key of Death but it has never been released to the public in its entirety. The demos were set to debut on a local radio station in Sammi’s hometown at midnight on Halloween (per Sammi’s request) in 1986 but there was a malfunction with the broadcast. The demos have since gone missing.

Sammi Curr lived fast and died young. Perhaps for someone him, there was no other way.

“You cannot legislate morality, or music, or people’s minds… or we’ll bring you down, man!” – Sammi Curr

Mark Reale (1955 – 2012)

On Wednesday, January 26, 2012, the metal world suffered a great loss. Mark Reale, the guitarist, founding member & driving force behind Riot, passed away due to complications from his life-long battle with Crohn’s disease. He had been in a coma for the past two weeks after suffering a subarachnoid hemorrhage.

An official statement from the surviving members of Riot (Tony Moore, Mike Flyntz, Don Van Stavern & Bobby Jarzombek):

“To friends and fans of Mark Reale and Riot, we are deeply saddened to confirm that Mark has lost his battle with a lifelong illness. Your thoughts and prayers are appreciated by Mark’s family, friends, and bandmates at this difficult time.”

This is really shocking news to me. I was aware that Mark was suffering from Crohn’s disease and had been hospitalized, but I did not know he actually entered into a coma and had a brain hemorrhage.

His contributions to the world of hard rock & heavy metal are immeasurable in my opinion. Despite Riot’s line-up changes over the years, and the shift in styles from hard rock to NWOBHM to power metal to Celtic influences to southern hard rock to melodic rock, Mark was always the driving force and the one constant.

It was only in the last few years that I got into Riot but I was blown away once I started buying their albums and I quickly acquired the entire catalog. They never released a bad album. Riot’s constant shift in styles was a double-edge sword though. They did so well at playing numerous styles of rock/metal, and I enjoyed the variety, but it probably kept more casual fans at bay and prevented them from ever gaining a large following. Albums like Fire Down Under (universally agreed to be their best), Thundersteel, Born in America, Restless Breed and even last year’s Immortal Soul are absolute CLASSICS.

I do not know where Riot goes from here or if there even is anywhere for them to go. Mark & Riot have soldiered on through various line-up changes and styles since 1975. They’ve even had to deal with two previous deaths. Former vocalist Rhett Forester was killed during a carjacking in 1994 and original vocalist Guy Speranza died of cancer in 2003. With Mark’s passing, there are no more original Riot members left in the band. And to me, Mark was Riot.

Neither Reale nor Riot ever really got the credit or success they deserved. While the loss of Mark is a tragic tale for his fans, friends & family hopefully some good can come out of this and people will be compelled to look back into the Riot catalog and realize just how talented and consistent the man has been since the 1970s.

My condolences to all of Mark’s friends and family during this tough time. Rest in peace, brother. Your suffering is over and I thank you for all the years of great music you gave the world. You will be missed. 

Stand by your band: Nickelback still on for Thanksgiving half-time show

Nickelback has to be one of the world’s most unpopular popular bands (right up there with Metallica!). I’m sure they’ll prove this when their new album debuts at #1 on the Billboard charts despite one (former?) major U.S. city not wanting them to play at a football game.

My advice to Detroit? Shut up and watch the game.

I understand hometown pride but this is ridiculous. So, what now? ONLY Detroit acts can play the half-time? I’m sorry that this once great city has fallen on tough times but it’s for this very reason they should stop worrying about what musician plays at a football game and concentrate on more important matters like housing, creating jobs and stopping things like, um, MURDER.

Concerts! Part II

This past April, I mentioned a number of concerts I would be attending this summer. A few more have been announced/come to my attention so I thought I’d provide an update as to who I’m going to see this summer. Here’s my complete dance card!

July 1st
Scorpions w/ Cinderella
DTE Energy Music Theatre
Clarkston, MI

Less than a month away! This was the second concert I had lined up this year and Scorpios are one of my all-time faves so I’m pretty excited about it. Cinderella’s great too, I just wish they had some NEW material to play.

July 16th
Alice Cooper w/ Tesla
Common Ground Music Festival
Lansing, MI

Finally bought my tickets for this last night. It’s all general admission so there was no rush to get’em, even though they’ve been on sale for close to month now. In addition to Sammy Hagar playing on another night, Buckcherry and Bret Michaels were recently added as headliners for the nights they play and Cinderella is now playing a date too (not as headliners though). I would love to see all three of them but I’ve seen Buckcherry three times already, saw Poison last summer and I’ll be seeing Cinderella with Scorpions, so I gotta go with Alice! I’ve wanted to see him forever, he’s one of my favorite acts and the fact that I’ll see Tesla too is a really cool bonus.

July 17th
Iron Maiden w/ Dream Theater
DTE Energy Music Theatre
Clarkston, MI

First concert tickets I bought for 2010. I just saw the set list for the tour and I’m kinda disappointed because it mostly focuses on their music from ’90s through today. It’s understandable since their last tour was built around their ’80s catalog but for this being my first time seeing Maiden, I wanted all the signature songs!

July 22nd
Huey Lewis & The News
DTE Energy Music Theatre
Clarkston, MI

I actually like this band a lot, at least when it comes to their “hits”. I have one of their albums and two greatest hits. Lawn tickets were only $7 so I figured why not? Should be fun.

Aug 31st
Aerosmith w/ Sammy Hagar & The Waboritas
The Palace of Auburn Hills
Auburn Hills, MI

Haven’t bought the tickets yet (they go on sale next Wednesday but I won’t be able to buy them until the Wednesday AFTER next Wednesday) but I’m really excited for this show. Tickets are pricey but it’s AEROSMITH! With Sammy Hagar! I don’t want to pass up seeing Aerosmith at least once in my life.

Sept 5th
Ted Nugent
DTE Energy Music Theatre
Clarkston, MI

Another $7 lawn seat ticket. Ted’s a really cool guy but he’s another act I’m not all too familiar outside of his signature songs. Still, I think it should be a fun show. Haven’t bought these tickets yet but I will the same time I buy the Aerosmith tickets.

Sept 11th – Saturday
KISS w/ The Academy Is
DTE Energy Music Theatre
Clarkston, MI

Definitely HAD to buy these tickets, got’em yesterday. Since the great ‘Rock The Nation’ show cancellation back in 2004 (Paul got heat exhaustion and the Pensacola, FL show I had tickets to got canceled and was never made up), I made a promise to myself that I would always go see KISS should they ever be in my neighborhood. How could you expect any less of me when they’re my favorite band? Well, I saw ’em last September as they were one of the last acts to ever play the historic Cobo in Detroit and I’ll see them this September too! DTE’s site lists The Academy Is as the support (they kinda suck and are way too indie rock/pop to be supporting KISS, IMO) but KISS is also holding a contest for a different unsigned band to get the opening slot in each city. Could be interesting…

So that’s my summer concert series! Should anything else pop up, I’ll be sure to report on it here and I’ll definitely be doing my concert reviews for each and every one of these shows.

My thoughts on the 2010 Revolver Golden Gods Awards

This was the second annual Revolver Golden Gods Awards and the first to be broadcast on VH1 Classic (was the first on Fuse TV?). The awards took place in April and aired last night on VH1 Classic at 10PM as a one-hour special. Revolver is a hard rock & heavy metal magazine based in the U.S. I’ve never bought an issue but just by flipping through it a few times in the last couple of years, they seem to focus more on the current metal scene than anything else but don’t come across as a genre band-riding fanzine like other U.S. metal mags Metal Edge, Circus or Hit Parader have.

I knew “Golden Gods” sounded familiar. Apparently this awards show is going to co-exist with the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards (both magazines are owned by Future Publishing, which also publishes the amazing Classic Rock magazine). Both shows have similar categories but their nominees aren’t always the same. Basically, the Revolver show caters more to America and Metal Hammer more to England. I can understand that as there’s often a big difference between both countries in terms of rock and metal preferences but I think having them both billed as “Golden Gods Awards” is a bit confusing and unnecessary. I guess they’re betting on fans in both countries to not care enough about the other to realize there are two of these shows.

The show itself was okay but the editing was HORRIBLE. I’m sure this event easily was about three hours in length so why they decided to chop it down to one hour of “highlights” is beyond me. There was so much jumping around it was annoying, no segment had time to breathe. As soon as a band was done playing, the show clipped to the next batch of presenters rambling off the list nominees.

In my opinion, an event that brings together Chris Jericho (host), Andrew W.K. (host), Alice Cooper, Rob Zombie, Slash, Ozzy, Ronnie James Dio, Vinnie Paul, Lemmy, Dave Grohl, Dave Mustaine, Jerry Cantrell, Zakk Wylde, Joey Vera, Rob Halford, Kerry King, et cetera, et cetera is a HUGE event and should be treated like such. The whole set up was cheap looking and was not helped by the intimate little venue it was booked to be held in. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the idea of the Golden Gods, I LOVE that VH1 Classic aired it, I just wish better care was given to the editing and the production of the show in general. Hopefully, the show did decent numbers and Future will pump a little more money into the show next year.

I guess I shouldn’t be too harsh on an awards show that is only in it’s second year but it would really help if they took the time to explain what the categories were all about and what they meant. Obviously “best guitarist” is self-explantory but one example is the actual Golden God Award. There was no build up given to this award. Ozzy announced what the award was the handed it over to Rob Halford. TELL US WHAT IT MEANS! In addition to that, another cool feature would have been maybe some clips of Halford footage and a narration telling us why Rob deserved to be “honored” with this award. Things like that go a long way in making the show and the individual awards feel special. This goes for all the awards. Show some clips of the best guitarist shredding, show a graphic of each nominated album of the year as you’re reading the list of nominees, etc. It’s pretty easy.

Again, the idea is great but the execution was lacking. Hopefully as the years go on, this will become a bigger and better hard rock & heavy metal awards show. They’ll know what worked, what didn’t work, hopefully get a bigger budget, hopefully get some more airtime on whatever station it ends up airing on.

Of note, the late, great Ronnie James Dio won Best Vocalist for his work in Heaven & Hell. How cool is that? This was Ronnie’s last public appearance and you couldn’t even tell he was sick. It’s so sad that just a few weeks after this was filmed the cancer took a turn for the worse and took Ronnie away from us.

Check out Ronnie accepting the award:

Complete list of winners:

Revolver Golden God Award: Rob Halford
Revolver Golden Gods Lifetime Achievement Award: Lemmy Kilmister
Album Of The Year: Alice In Chains – Black Gives Way To Blue
Best Vocalist: Ronnie James Dio
Best Guitarist: Zakk Wylde
Best Drummer: Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan
Best Live Band: Metallica
Comeback Of The Year: Alice In Chains
Best Underground Band: The Dillinger Escape Plan
Hottest Chick In Metal: Maria Brink

Ronnie James Dio – 1942-2010

When I woke up this morning and got online, I logged into my Google account and scrolled through the news that had piled up since last night in my Google Reader’s “Music” folder. Late last night news “broke” that Ronnie had passed away. Ronnie’s wife Wendy quickly laid those rumors to rest but added they were at a hospital and that Ronnie was not doing well at the moment. Fast forward to this afternoon and I am saddened and heartbroken to say that this early morning Ronnie passed away and unfortunately that is the truth.

The statement Wendy Dio issued to

Today my heart is broken, Ronnie passed away at 7:45 a.m. [on Sunday] 16th May. Many, many friends and family were able to say their private goodbyes before he peacefully passed away.

Ronnie knew how much he was loved by all.

We so appreciate the love and support that you have all given us.

Please give us a few days of privacy to deal with this terrible loss.

Please know he loved you all and his music will live on forever.

I know in the coming days and weeks there will be many touching tributes and words directed towards Ronnie James from family, friends and fans alike. In fact, many are already be posted online.

For myself, I must admit that up until just a few years ago, I wasn’t a huge fan of Dio’s music. I had no ill feelings towards his work but it never clicked with me despite owning a few Black Sabbath and solo albums: Heaven and Hell, Mob Rules, The Last In Line, Stand Up and Shout: The Dio Anthology. It wasn’t really until he reunited with Black Sabbath under the name of Heaven and Hell that I gave him (and Sabbath) a second chance. I started to immerse myself in the works of Sabbath, revisited those first two albums with Dio and fell in love with them. Then I began to pick up the rest of Dio’s solo work (only Intermission and Strange Highways elude me now) and just recently I picked up Rainbow’s Rising and Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll.

I won’t turn this into some retrospective, as I’m sure many of those are to come, but the guy had an amazing career dating as far back as 1958. It wasn’t until the early ’70s and the band Elf that the Ronnie James Dio the world knows and loves began to take shape. From there, he went on to front Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio and Heaven and Hell. In short, if you’re not familiar with Ronnie’s discography then you’re missing out on some of the most essential and landmark rock and metal albums of all time.

I never got the chance to see Ronnie perform in person. Heaven and Hell came to nearby Detroit last summer but I didn’t go see them. It’s been a regret of mine ever since and obviously an even bigger regret now.

Dio has played a large part in my music obsession these last few years. His songs have dominated my playlist in the last year and because of this I’ve grown to feel a great connection and fondness for this man, who by all accounts, legitimately comes across as one of the nicest and most intelligent and articulated men in rock. No matter what band he was in at the very least you knew the album would be solid and it’s not hyperbole to say he’s one of the greatest rock vocalists of all time. No longer do I have a merely passing interest in all things Dio. He is one of my favorite singers and personalities in rock ‘n’ roll and Black Sabbath and Dio are two of my favorite bands of all time.

Literally just yesterday I was watching Dio’s Evil or Devine concert DVD courtesy of Netflix and now here I am writing about his passing. It’s all a bit hard to take. Ronnie had been battling stomach cancer since last year so I think everyone knew this outcome was a real possibility but it doesn’t lessen the impact or shock.

I don’t really know what else to say other than rest in peace, Ronnie James Dio. You will be missed greatly.


A number of my metal blog brothers have posted their own thoughts & feelings on this tragic situation. Here are the links. I will post more as they come to my attention:


Here is one of my most favorite songs that Dio ever sang on–  Black Sabbath’s “I”. Amazing vocal performance.

Bret Michaels in critical condition

I just came across the sad news while checking my usual news sites…

Bret Michaels is in critical condition suffering from a brain hemorrhage, his publicist said Friday.

Joann Mignano, Michaels’ New York-based publicist, confirmed a report on People magazine’s website that said the former Poison frontman was rushed to intensive care late Thursday after a severe headache. The report said doctors discovered bleeding at the base of his brain stem.

Mignano said tests are being conducted but did not know where he was being treated.

The 47-year-old glam-rock reality TV star had an emergency appendectomy at a private care facility for diabetics last week after complaining of stomach pains before he was scheduled to perform at Sea World in San Antonio, Texas. Michaels later wrote on his website that though the surgery “has taken its toll,” doctors expected him to make a full recovery.

I knew about his appendectomy so this was pretty shocking to read about even MORE bad news. Awful to hear. I think Bret’s one of the coolest, nicest rock stars out there. I wish him a speedy recovery!


I can’t remember if I mentioned it already but I bought my few concert tickets for 2010 a month or two back. I’ll be heading off to DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston, Michigan (for my fourth time) to see Iron Maiden and their special guests Dream Theater on July 17th! Should be a great show. I like Dream Theater but the real draw for me is Iron Maiden. They’re one of those bands that’s been on my unwritten “must see live” list forever.

Well, I have some more good news to add to that. Today I found about THREE great acts coming to area. Here in downtown Lansing, there’s the week-long Common Ground Music Festival that takes place every summer. This will be the festival’s 11th year and in the past they’ve featured acts like Sammy Hagar, Snoop Dogg, Sheryl Crow. Last year, Stone Temple Pilots were one of the headlining acts.

Despite living in Lansing for nearly four years now, I’ve never gone before just because I couldn’t bring myself to spend $30 on a ticket to see only one act. I like Sammy, I like STP but thirty bucks was too much in my book to just see them (and them only) AND have to deal with the summer heat and huge crowd that gathers down by the Grand River. The Red Rocker is returning once again this year (I think this is his 4th performance at Common Ground) and appears to be sharing headliner status with none other than…


Alice is another one of my all-time favorite acts and just recently I had been complaining about how he never seems to get close enough to Lansing or Detroit (though he almost always pops up in Michigan somewhere during the summer every year). I noticed the newspaper this morning talking about Common Ground and they mentioned Alice will be performing July 16th and it will be full of his usual theatrics.

And the icing on the cake? Well, Tesla will also be performing on the 16th! Hagar performs on the 14th and I’d like to see him but Alice alone is enough to win out over Hagar and when you throw Tesla into the mix, it’s a no-brainer that this is the year I need to shell out $30. Heck, even if Tesla wasn’t performing, just seeing Alice is worth the money, in my opinion.

Common Ground still have a number of slots to fill and promises more artists to be announced but I can’t imagine anyone topping Alice Cooper! Tickets aren’t on sale yet. I think they go on sale next Wednesday and I’ll definitely be picking two tickets up then.

So what a great weekend I’ll have! Friday, July 17th: Alice Cooper & Tesla. Saturday, July 18th: Iron Maiden & Dream Theater!

BUT WAIT… There’s more!

I received confirmation earlier this afternoon that the Scorpions will be storming the stage of DTE on July 1st! Tickets go on sale this coming Saturday morning (gee, thanks for the heads up!). Ratt, Cinderella or Dokken are opening most of their shows but as luck would have it, the DTE show is one of the few where there is no opener. Oh well. I would’ve love to have seen Ratt but I won’t complain about an extended show from the Scorps! Scratch another all-time fave off the “must see” list. July is going to be a great month for me!

Do YOU have any concert plans for the summer?

KISS album cover designer Michael Doret interviewed @ Tokyo Five

C’mon, Bob! You gotta LET ME KNOW these things! I had to dig through your site to find this.


Bob (who can frequently be seen in the METAL EXCESS comments section under the name “tokyo5”) was recently lucky enough to interview famed Rock And Roll Over and Sonic Boom cover designer Michael Doret.

Mr. Doret was originally interviewed in April 2009, but now there’s a sequel. Both interviews are well worth your time and congrats to tokyo5 for a job well done!

April 2009 interview

August 2009 interview

You can also check out the interviews Bob conducted with Bruce Kulick and KISS tribute band member Fred Bensi while you’re at Tokyo Five.

I came across this site thanks to Metal_Mark on Twitter. It’s a great (and growing) resource to keep updated on the metal scene if you use Twitter a lot!

NEWS SITES, AND RECORD LABELS IN ONE PLACE! Aggregates All Your Metal Twitter Accounts on
One Site So You Can Get Your Favorite Metal News 24/7

SYNHERGY ENTERTAINMENT and Lekberg Enterprises have come up with a way for fans to get all their metal news in one place, as it happens. The solution is CircleTwitt, the internet’s circle pit. Located at, the site gathers the latest tweets from metal personalities, bands, news sites, record labels, and more. Tweets are displayed in one convenient feed making it easy for metal heads to get news directly from the world of metal. Readers don’t need to be Twitter users to use CircleTwitt, although the site allows Twitter users some additional features such as re-tweeting posts.

CircleTwitt lets users find all their favorite metal tweets individually as well. Additionally, users can “throw a metal-head into the pit,” i.e. submit a Twitter account to the site administrators to get added into the main feed on the home page. CircleTwitt already has over 150 bands and industry twitterers listed with more being submitted every day. The site also informs users on the number of daily metal tweets, most active metal twitterers for the week, and has a special section for featured metal twitterers.

“This project is very exciting for me because I’ve always had a hard time keeping up with the numerous metal news sites, blogs, and gossip because of my busy schedule,” explains SYNHERGY ENTERTAINMENT owner Dimple Thakkar. “With CircleTwitt, users can come to our site and check all the latest and greatest in the world of metal. We are also hoping that we can help drive traffic back to our partners and assist bands, record labels, and other ‘metal heads’ get more exposure through our site.”

CircleTwitt is part of the Twitty 4 Hour News Network (T4HN), a new brand by SYNHERGY ENTERTAINMENT and Lekberg Enterprises that specializes in building custom-built, brand-centric Twitter Destinations. The official T4HN website is located at and plans to release additional niche sites to cover other genres of music and other types of entertainment such as sports, news, and more.

T4HN is the natural offspring of one of today’s most exciting technologies, Twitter. Real-time information, or as close as we can get to it, has raised its hand as an important part of the future of the internet. The Twitty Four Hour News Network takes the powerful information source created by Twitter and builds brand-centric destinations that help to focus the flood of that information” says Jason Lekberg, founder of Lekberg Enterprises.

SYNHERGY ENTERTAINMENT and Lekberg Enterprises partnered with professional web designer and photographer Kris Arnold to build The site is currently working on releasing additional features that will allow users to leave comments on each tweet on the site. Soon, metal heads will also be given the opportunity be a part of the “circle pit” with all their favorite metal celebrities, bands, record labels, and more whenever the #circletwitt or #metal hashtag are used within updates on Twitter.


SYNHERGY ENTERTAINMENT is a multi-faceted company designed to meet the needs of anyone in the entertainment industry. The company features marketing, talent management, publicity, and provides creative solutions to deliver better entertainment within the digital world.

Lekberg Enterprises is an umbrella corporation that manages all of the endeavors created by or involving Jason Lekberg.

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