Currently holed up in a North Californian rehearsal space working on new material for the group's forthcoming studio album, METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich has posted the following studio update in the band-exclusive area of the group's official web site:
'We made this pact to work on one or two ideas every day and not listen to it until we take our first break. So every day, we throw sh.t at the wall, store it away safely on tape, and in a few days we will take tapes home. The idea is to not think about or overanalyze it.... you know, a little less anal than before...'
In other METALLICA news, The Metallica Club (www.metclub.com) has posted seven exclusive pictures from inside the studio where METALLICA are currently writing material for their upcoming album. These photos include pictures of the person 'helping out' METALLICA with the bass duties during the songwriting sessions, and they indicate quite clearly that, contrary to rampant Internet rumors, ALICE IN CHAINS bassist Mike Inez has NOT been recruited as METALLICA's new bass player.
Unofficial sources indicate that ALICE IN CHAINS guitarist Jerry Cantrell's current condition is not as serious as previously thought, and reports suggest that Cantrell may be back on the road as soon as June 24th to play the make-up dates that will supposedly run for another five weeks. As reported yesterday, the guitarist is said to have broken his left hand on Thursday, May 3rd, causing the remainder of his solo tour to be postponed/cancelled, so that Jerry could undergo surgery in California and allow the hand to heal properly.
In a recent issue of Kerrang! magazine, PITCHSHIFTER vocalist JS Clayden once again commented on the material the group's written since getting dropped by UNI/MCA Records by stating that it's 'the best stuff we've ever produced. Screw anyone who doesn't want it on their label. Good music will outshine any amount of hype and bullsh.t.
'The fans' support is going to make this an amazing album, and we will tour it with a vengeance.'
As previously reported, PITCHSHIFTER are strongly rumored to be on the verge of signing a deal with Sanctuary Records, with a view towards releasing a new studio album before the end of the year.
ANCIENT RITES' latest CD, Dim Carcosa, is reportedly getting great reactions from the metal press in Europe, where the album is being released on a limited digipack, a vinyl version and a normal CD. The biggest Dutch metal magazine, Aardschok, gave the album 95/100, while Belgium's Mindview (the country's biggest metal mag) is giving it the highest rating.
ANCIENT RITES is currently preparing for the initial live dates in support of Dim Carcosa, with shows in Portugal, Belgium, Israel and France already confirmed. The band are also said to be holding discussions for a possible Colombian tour later in the summer.
The upcoming ANCIENT RITES live dates are as follows:
June 10 - Lisbon, POR @ Paradise Garage
June 16 - Vosselaar, BEL @ Biebob (CD release party!)
June 22 - Dessel, BEL @ Graspop Metal Meeting
June 27 - Tel Aviv, ISR @ TBA
July 07 - Marseille, FRA @ Festival
The UK's BAL-SAGOTH are expected to announce North American dates shortly. The group's Atlantis Ascendant CD is due to receive an American release on May 15th through Nuclear Blast Records.
W.A.S.P.'s Blackie Lawless will be participating in an exclusive live chat with America Online on Friday, May 11th at 9:00pm EDT (6:00pm Pacific). The chat is at AOL Keyword Rock chat. Those without AOL can still access by downloading the free trial software located at www.aol.com.
UK prog-metallers THRESHOLD are preparing for a full European tour to promote Hypothetical in September. The band had previously intended to leave out the summer festivals from their plans for 2001, but have since been asked to play at Bospop alongside such names as SAVATAGE, MEGADETH, LIVING COLOUR and PORCUPINE TREE. As a result THRESHOLD will also perform two other shows prior to Bospop. The full schedule for July is as follows:
July 12 - Verviers, BEL @ Spirit of 66
July 13 - Kleve, GER @ Radhaus
July 14 - Weert, NETH @  Bospop Festival
At the first two shows, THRESHOLD do not plan to have a support act, so they will be able to perform an extended set including most of the material from Hypothetical as well as a number of songs from the band's previous albums. Tour dates for September will be announced nearer the time.
Former BATON ROUGE/JOHN NORUM vocalist Kelly Keeling is finishing up his solo album, which will be available through an as-yet-unspecified label shortly. Kelly will also be collaborating with DOKKEN mainman Don Dokken, although it is not yet clear in what capacity. In other news, Keeling will be getting an MP3.com site up soon where he will sell his solo album, compilation CDs and all his catalog. Kelly's past catalog will be for sale at MP3.com as well as new and future stuff. This will include outtakes, B-sides, A-sides, live tracks and special stuff including movie soundtrack music.
Former MOTORHEAD/FASTWAY guitarist Fast Eddie Clarke has launched an official web site via: www.fasteddieclarke.com. According to the site's introductory message, Clarke's new solo album will be released later in the year, and it will include appearances from a host of unnamed guests.
In a recent interview with Total Rock, Fast Eddie Clarke talked about his solo plans and the reasons for his coming out of a self-imposed retirement to make a studio album.
'Well, [MOTORHEAD] they had this kind of twenty-fifth anniversary/birthday gig and Lemmy phoned me up and asked would I come along, and 'Of course', I said. It was great for me because I hadn't done it for a while with them. So, I got up on stage with them and Brian May was up there, who I know quite well, and we had a bit of a laugh and I quite enjoyed it. After I came off, I thought, 'Oh I have to do this again!' So since then I have been kind of putting the foot to the floor to get something organized. I went to see a studio last night where I am going to be making an album. I am going to do a solo album for a start, as soon as I can. I am going to use some people on that and, hopefully, get a situation with some good players that I can get on with and take that further to have a band to have a band to, later in the year, go out and do some stuff.
'It is kind of like a chance just to do something, really, because I have been in the wilderness since I did my last solo album. I think that everyone has one in them where they say, 'I have to do this solo album thing', but that was just something that I wanted to do, because I had some songs and stuff. Now, I haven't really got any songs, because I have gotten out of touch a little bit. You get a bit like that, and you do different things, so I am using it as a vehicle, really, to put a band together, and the material will be written as we go, or as I go. It is not like I have this thing that I want to do. I will create it as I go along. I will probably do a couple of old MOTORHEAD songs, and maybe a couple of good FASTWAY songs that I like, but only to keep the links there. I feel that, at this age, I am not going to go out there and say, 'Hey I have got a new album with all of this new material and I am starting all over again, ain't it great?' That is not for me anyway, and I would rather say, 'Hey, this is what I do if you like it, fine, enjoy but if you don't that is fine too.' It is that kind of attitude. I am not going out to try and sell records. It is just a vehicle for people who like my guitar playing and like the sort of music that I play. I want to keep it sort of straight, so that if they do come and see me, they know what to expect, you know what I mean? It will be me doing just what I do best.'
New York's PIST.ON will be announcing the dates for their forthcoming European tour later this week.
UNJUST will be playing the following west coast dates in support of their soon-to-released Makeshift Grey CD (due out in August through Mascot Records):
May 12 - Concord, CA @ The Depot
May 17 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Roxy
May 19 - Sandy, OR @ Meinig Park
May 28 - San Francisco, CA @ The Pound
Sweden's SKINFECTED will be recording a brand new demo this week, possibly a five-tracker. For more info, check out the band's official web site.
Legendary drummer Carmine Appice (i.e. OZZY, BLUE MURDER) has added a couple of other Drum Clinic dates to his itinerary. The latest additions to the schedule are as follows:
May 31 - Studio City, CA @ La Ve Lee
Jun 12 - Studio City, CA @ La Ve Lee
Zakk Wylde's BLACK LABEL SOCIETY is currently in Japan, where they're performing live shows through May 10th. In the meantime, here is the track listing for BLACK LABEL SOCIETY's Alcohol Fueled Brewtality Live +5 CD, which is due to be released this week:
01. Low Down
02. 13 Years of Grief
03. Stronger Than Death
04. All For You
06. Phoney Smiles, Fake Hellos
07. Lost My Better Half
08. Bored To Tears
09. A.N.D.R.O.T.A.Z. (guitar solo)
10. Born To Booze
11. World of Trouble
12. No More Tears
13. The Beginning... At Last
01. Heart Of Gold
03. Like A Bird
04. Blood In The Wall
05. The Beginning... At Last (acoustic version)
Italy's LACUNA COIL will be the headlining act at the Rock Planet club in Cesenatico, Italy on Saturday, May 26th.
Canadian hard rockers HELIX have had their Russian date (in Moscow) postponed until July, with MEGADETH and W.A.S.P. having been added to the bill.
STRYPER vocalist Michael Sweet will be giving an 'exclusive' solo performance at the House Of Blues in West Hollywood, California on Monday, May 21st.
CHIMAIRA vocalist Mark Hunter has posted the following update on the progress of the mixing of the band's Pass Out Of Existence CD, which is tentatively scheduled for an August 8th release through Roadrunner Records:
'We finished the first week of mixing, and I must say that I am really impressed where [producer] Mudrock is taking this record. He has amplified our vision tenfold. We can't wait for you all to hear it. We recorded a lot of songs... The reason for that is to give all of you as many songs as we possibly could before we get out and tour. The song that [guitarist] Stef from the DEFTONES wrote with us is called 'Rizzo'. Yes, it is named after the dog that lived with us at Third Stone Studios, and no, it is not about that dog. Yes, the song is heavy it is one of the heaviest on the record. Stef is a friend and a fan of heavy music, the combination just made sense. The name came from pure exhaustion, and it was a time we all needed a quick laugh. The name has a good ring to it for all of us.'
Hunter also stated that the band may hit the road with good friends SPINESHANK prior to the album's release, although this was as yet unconfirmed.