Anyone see a Superb Owl this weekend? I heard there was a victorious Eagle as well!
Ghost frontman Tobias Forge, who performs under the name Papa Emeritus, has given his first North American interview using his real name to Revolver magazine. Asked about speaking publicly as himself, Forge said, “The original idea of being anonymous — it was a great, naive idea on paper in 2008, not knowing to what degree we’d be touring or to what extent this was going to be a professional operation. That regimen is very hard to live by. What I hadn’t foreseen was the fans and their willingness to embrace that and play along.”
Asked if he plans to change the band’s image now that he and the group’s “Nameless Ghouls” are no longer necessarily anonymous, Forge replied, “No, no, no. The exact opposite, actually. The plan is for it to be even more theatrical and even more dressed up.”
Forge, who is Swedish, has been mixing the band’s fourth studio album in West Hollywood, with the yet-to-be-titled LP expected to arrive in late spring or early summer. He described the set as a “very bright-sounding record. And it’s a very heavy record, I’d say . . . a heavy record with a heavy theme.” He added, “Our modus operandi is a little like what Queen did — just decide to play really good songs and not focus too much on sticking to a recipe.”
He said about the concept between the album, “It is loosely themed around the concept of death and doom. It’s a themed album around medieval times, but it’s definitely clinging onto a lot of very current things.” Tracks to be included on the new disc include opener “Rats,” “Dance Macabre,” “Life Eternal” and “Faith.”
The Smashing Pumpkins did a new photo shoot in Los Angeles on Saturday, February 3rd, all but confirming that a new, mostly original lineup of the band is returning this year. According to Alternative Nation, participants in the photo shoot included frontman William Corgan, original guitarist James Iha, founding drummer Jimmy Chamberlin and latter-era guitarist Jeff Schroeder.
Corgan, Iha and Chamberlin make up three-quarters of the Pumpkins’ charter lineup, with only bassist D’Arcy Wretzky missing. Wretzky told Blast Echo last month that she would not be part of the long-rumored reunion, writing on January 21st, “I only just found about yesterday that the band has decided to go with a different bass player.”
It’s unclear if Schroeder will be taking over on the bass for the alleged reunion or if he will stay on as third guitarist while the group recruits a new bassist. Although Iha played a handful of shows with the Pumpkins in 2016, this would mark the first time he’s recorded and toured with the band since 2000. Chamberlin has toured with the Pumpkins for the last couple of years but last recorded with the group in 2007.
Corgan, Iha, Chamberlin and Schroeder have all been photographed in a Los Angeles studio recently, where the Pumpkins are said to be working with producer Rick Rubin.
Corgan even hinted at the possibility of a double album by writing that there were “26 songs currently in various states of completion, production, insanity.”
While many bands are pushing back against fans using smartphones during concerts, Starset is embracing the fixation on mobile devices. Frontman Dustin Bates told us that the group has deployed an augmented reality concert experience through its own mobile app, saying, “The main thing we do is try to raise awareness of how technology is shifting the dynamic of everything from politics to economics to philosophy, and phones aren’t going anywhere.”
Bates continued, “At the beginning of the show a rocket comes and hovers over the stage if you’re using the Starset reality app. For the rest of the show, there’s a constellation and planetary system in the ceiling of the venue — you can watch us and film us.”
The singer explained that the point of the app is to enhance what the fan is filming, saying, “We want people to come, hold their phone up and share it. If there’s something crazy on their phone that’s an actual, practical effect that’s extra to the actual demonstration, maybe they’ll share it.” The app will also point to the merchandise booth at shows and reveal hidden facets to the band’s album artwork.
You can listen to the full conversation with Dustin and guitarist Ron DeChant on the hardDrive DL podcast here.
Starset kicked off a headlining North American tour last week that next stops in Norfolk, Virginia tonight. The band is still touring behind last year’s sophomore album Vessels, which features the Number Two hit “Monster” and the Top 15 rock track “Satellite.”
Papa Roach has unveiled the music video for “Born For Greatness,” the latest single from the band’s ninth studio LP, Crooked Teeth. The clip features appearances from wheelchair motocross rider Aaron “Wheelz” Fotheringham, differently abled aerialist Jen Bricker, who was born without legs and with her heart on the other side of her chest, and break dancer with one leg Jean Sok – three talented individuals who refuse to be limited by physical challenges.
Papa Roach singer Jacoby Shaddix said, “This video is to showcase to the world that no matter your struggle and/or adversity, you are born for greatness.” Shaddix recently told The Rave TV that Papa Roach will hit the studio in summer 2018 to work on its next studio effort, explaining, “In June and July, we’re gonna step in the studio and continue working on the next record . . . and pick up where we left of with Crooked Teeth and just keep kicking ass and taking names.”
Before recording again, Papa Roach will head out on a spring North American tour next year with guests Nothing More and Escape The Fate. The trek kicks off on April 5th in Raleigh, North Carolina and will hit 25 cities before wrapping up in Corpus Christi, Texas on May 13th. You can check out all those dates on the Road Rage page!
Finally, a Happy Birthday to Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagen, and AFI drummer Adam Carson!