MUSIC

Interview With Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein

 

Interviewer: Kidman J. Williams

Illustration by: Joey Feldman

This is the second time that I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein. And I do mean a pleasure. Doyle is nothing like his monstrous persona, he is simply the guy next door that you want to hang out and have a beer with or in his case, eat a bunch of peanuts and work out seven days a week with.

Frankenstein’s newest project simply called Doyle, has now come out with their sophomore album titled, “As We Die.” The album comes out on April 27th.

This modest monster and I got to sit and chat again about everything from the Misfits’ reunion, a possible Misfits album, our kids, and even the move to a new label.

Doyle Interview

 Kidman J. Williams:  So, it is a nice day in Florida.

Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein: I bet! (laughing)

Hell yeah! It is beautiful, once we got through the tornado weather last night.

Oh, sorry man.

Well, you know. It happens. I just wanted to say sorry. Not that you would remember me from an interview two years ago.

It is frightening, I’m horrible.

I just wanted to say sorry. You were very cool. You personally invited me to your show on Halloween and I just wanted to say sorry I couldn’t make it out. The show was on Halloween and I had to take my kid trick-or-treating, just wanted to say sorry.

Yeah, I miss all that stuff. When I’m out and doing my stuff. You’re lucky.

It was cool and now he is eight and he talks back and —

(Laughing) Yeah, wait four years and see what he says then.

I’m sure it can’t get better from here.

Now he’s got a opinion for everything.

So, how are you doing man?

I’m doing great man. Everything is feeling good man, bands doing good, the crowds are getting bigger and they are starting to sing all the words. Excited about the new release. So, pretty good.

I  haven’t had a chance to hear or review the new album yet.

Well, we are still working on it! We got to finish it by tomorrow, it comes out on the 27th. (laughing)

Oh, I didn’t realize you guys didn’t finish it yet.

Well, I just want it perfect. If it isn’t perfect I just won’t like it.

The last time we talked you did a self-release off of your label Monsterman.

Yeah.

What made you decide to release on a big label, EMP. What made you go with the big label this time?

Distribution, promotion, and the stuff that I just couldn’t afford this time. And they are very excited to have us.  They are also taking on Monsterman Records on as a partner. And sign other bands. So it is pretty cool.

Plus working with David Ellefson (Megadeth) who owns the label. I’ve known him for a long time. I brought him Abominator and he got back to us. I was like if you want us make an offer. He asked what do you want? I told him what we wanted and he was like “ok.”  I was like “Really?!?” (laughing)

NICE! Did you guys self-produce this one or did the label assign a producer for you this time?

Yeah. We recorded the stuff at the same time as Abominator. We had to do the drums over because we got a new drummer Brandon Pertzborn. It came out better, better performance.

Last time I did the guitar, drummer did the drums, Alex did the vocals in his underwear in his kitchen. It just came out better.

So, you just said that a lot of this came off from Abominator. Last time we had spoken you said that for Abominator you had written 40 songs, recorded 25, and then used only 18. So a lot of this album came from the other tracks from the Abominator sessions?

Umm, yeah. They were all written. We had to write 9 or 10 more. We — (incoherent mumbles)

What was that? It is really hard to hear you wherever you are.

Yeah. We are driving. We are driving through, I don’t even know where the fuck we are…umm, Nebraska.

Nebraska?!?

Where are you headed to?

Wisconsin…somewhere I’ve never heard of.

You took care of my next question, how did the signing come about. Now did you take a different approach with the writing of the new album “As We Die?”

Umm, no. We just do what we do. I don’t approach it with “I’m going to write a song like this or I’m going to write a song like that.” Whatever is comfortable for me to play I use it. If it is too hard I don’t use it. I don’t need to be standing out on stage having a panic attack because I don’t know what is supposed to be played next.

What can we expect on this new album? Are there any big surprises on this new album?

Yeah! We have some guests on this album. We have Randy from Lamb of God singing with Alex Story on one. Alisa Winkler and Michael from Arch Enemy on “Kiss Me As You Die.”

We got this new drummer who is fucking insane. He is just so good. Brandon Pertzborn was playing with Black Flag. Our drummer, he just had to go.

We met up with Brandon and we weren’t even going to rehearse with him. I was just like, let’s just do it. He got the stuff perfect in like two days.

Are things still as easy with the chemistry and writing between you and Alex as they were on Abominator?

Oh yeah. It is just so easy.

You had been playing with Danzig for years off and on, but how was the vibe when you ALL got together for the reunion shows?

It was really funny man. (laughs) It was good times man. We all laughed. I know it was an easy gig. It was fun.

I’m sure somebody had to have asked this. But, could we expect a new Misfits album in the near future?

That would be sick wouldn’t it?

It would be! It think a lot of fans would love to see it.

I think I would love it MORE than them.

I know we have some limited time. I figured though, since we have done the interview dance before we could do something a little different. So, we took the questions to the fans and asked them if there was anything they wanted to know. You ready for this?

Yeah, yeah!

We will start with Mike Vest asks, “Would you ever play on a Cancerslug album?”

Yes, absolutely. We already talked about that. Why wouldn’t I do that?

Now we have another one. He must be a really big fan of yours. We have Chas “Frankenstein” Riley. He wants to know… oh, this is a pretty good question. “What was the punk scene really like? I’ve always wanted to know from a musician who was around at the time.”

It was pretty crazy. The shows were pretty violent, rowdy, very cool man. I was pretty young then though.

How old were you then?

I did my first recording when I was 15.

Wow.  This is a weird one. Jesse Chapman wants to know, “How did you like your time managing Vampiro in WCW?”

Let me go on the record saying that wrestling is all absolutely real (laughs). It is really happening. It was all very violent. Getting hit with steel chairs.

Did you ever get hit with anything?

Oh fuck no (laughs)! I didn’t want to get fucking hurt bro.

(Laughs) John Burden wants to know, “Is the Devil-Lock real or just a hair extension?”

It is fucking real as Hell.

Right (laughs). Right! Like stupid bastard.

This is kind of a two parter. Octavious wants to know if you are a vegan?

I am.

You are?!? I didn’t even know that. And how much do you have to work out to keep the look?

I work out 7 days a week.

Do you find it harder to keep in shape now than say 10 years ago?

Of course it is what kind of question is that (laughs)? I’m 10 years older. Let me ask you.

I would say yes

Yes of course. I’ve been doing it for so long that it is just part of my job. Plus it makes me feel good. If I don’t do it, I don’t feel good.

(Laughs) I get it man. Even in my 30’s it is harder to stay in shape.

Yeah. And everything gets heavier every day (laughs).

(Laughs) You aren’t joking there. I know you guys are doing a lot of touring right now in the UK. Are you going to extend your touring in the US?

Yeah. We have some shows in June, I don’t have the list. I know we are also going to be doing South America and some more in the UK as well.

I like to usually end on this. Is there anything that you would like to say to your fans reading this?

Yeah, don’t steal music. Go to the shows.

Album Review: Thirteen

 

by: Doc Jeffurious Higgason

Band: Thirteen

Album: Volume 1 EP

Label: Unsigned

Rating: 2.8/5.0

Those of you who were kids in the 80’s and 90’s might recall a channel on television they called the ‘MTV’.

For a full lesson on that I encourage you to check out the ‘Take Back MTV’ episode of Portlandia. However, for our purposes here, let’s talk about Saturday nights on MTV all those years ago.

Each week, host Riki Rachtman would take us through the latest and greatest in heavy metal and hard rock on ‘The Headbanger’s Ball’. We would save our greasy dollars and go see these bands, returning home minus a bit of hearing but nevertheless rocked for eternity. Some of us who spent their formative years staring at that show week after week eventually went on to form bands and spent years performing in dive bars, outdoor parties, band battles and everywhere in between.

However, we are now growing old and weary. Still, there are so many of these misbegotten, dispossessed children of Riki Rachtman still out there rocking nearly 3 decades later, drubbing the notion that the party can in fact go on forever, despite the fact that hairlines and knees do not.

Washington D.C. based ‘Thirteen’ is undoubtedly one of these bands. Drawing influences from iconic groups such as Alice In Chains, Guns N’ Roses, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, Thirteen is solidly based within the sphere of heavy guitar driven rock. The kind that can light up a tingle in your loins if you sit close enough to the speakers.

Thirteen strives to carrying on that hard rock tradition with the release of their debut EP modestly titled ‘Volume 1’.

I always like to talk about the first track. It’s the first impression that sets the tone for the rest of the thing. It’s the thing that allows me to decide whether I want to continue further, more times often than not I proceed but only with strong demurral. In this case, I wasn’t completely disappointed. ‘Nightingale’ fires forth with guitar squeelies ala Zakk Wylde and vocals that have a whisper of Ozzy. Thirteen noticeably wears their influences on their sleeves like a tight fitting leather arm band.

The only criticism would be that there is a dangerous area a band can run into being so influence-driven. It’s sort of like having a web page where everyone rips off the writing style of Hunter Thompson (yeah I know. But it’s an apt example, hang with me, there is a point). It’s amusing to see everyone else ape and mimic a particular style but in the end no new ground is discovered. It just continues to limp around and mumble nonsense about golf shoes. The material on this EP, while being new, can lean heavily upon things already done, not only by other bands but by Thirteen themselves on other songs throughout the EP. There are at least 3 out of the 10 tracks where the melody is so reminiscent of other songs contained within, I had to double check what I was listening to.

The first single, ‘The Siren’ was produced by, Rocco Guarino and in a short period of time beat its way to the top of the D.C. rock charts, landing squarely at the #1 slot. So, yeah, not too shabby for the first recorded release of an unsigned band. The song’s popularity was no doubt driven in part by its theme. Singing about a sexy chick, expressing masturbatory desires of touching her and her eventual acquiescence. Complete with a “face melting” solo, this possibly could qualify as the most rocking-est rock song of the last decade. Possibly. All Thirteen needs now is a duet with Lady Googaw, or whoever and their legacy is set. HAW!

One more definite highlight that caught my attention is the song ‘Romeo Kiss’. It’s catchy even!

“Feel out of control! Think I’ll start a fire! To burn this memory.”

How Shakespearean! *swoon* It has the drive and infectiousness of anything that came off of Stone Temple Pilots ‘Core’ album way back in 1991. Oddly enough as I type this I am reading that this collection of songs was actually recorded Scott Weiland’s Lavish Studios. Ooooh! Spooky.

Finally, let’s talk about the softer side of Thirteen. Any sane laudation to 90’s hard rock must contain a minimum of two power ballads, right? ‘Time’ is the one that I had to listen to over and over. Normally I hate power ballads, there is another one on the EP, but I hated this one less. The guitar work on this song is very good and worth a listen. The mood it invokes is one of bittersweet, acid washed nostalgia.

In summation, Thirteen, while extremely derivative in many areas is not without their charm. Any fan of late 90’s alternative hard rock would certainly enjoy ‘Volume 1’. Within the first few listens of them I decided to the give them a small chance. They proved that they are certainly chock-full of talent and talent that is something that must be recognized.

Also, you can’t argue with their fan base which is clearly very strong. I can predict with confidence that if there is any amount of fairness in the universe we will all be hearing more from Thirteen. Their website hints at the rapidly upcoming release of the band’s first full length release ‘Save Rock n Roll’ followed by a stint on the road in support of the album. For more on the band or to just keep up with their doings dial up their web page: www.thirteenband.com

Album Review: Edweird

 

by: Joe Siess

Artist: Edweird

Album: C.H.U.D. Complex

Label: None

Rating: 3.8/5.0

Edweird not only has a wicked, ruthless, machine gun flow that would blow the pants off any rap/hip hop aficionado, but his witty lyricism and dark humor bring a whole new game to the scene. His bizarre lyrics and manic cadence combine to form a scalding front of cold ass Canadian air pushing mercilessly South with a shameless vengeance. Yes.

“Nothing short of Armageddon can excite me now,” Edweird raps on the fifth track, OddGod (produced by Lord Vulture,) on his newest EP entitled ‘C.H.U.D. Complex.’ OddGod just so happens to be my favorite track on the EP, and his subtle nod to Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction sent a lovely flicker up my spine.

Edweird’s EP as a whole is difficult to compare to anything else. It’s provocative. It’s smart. It’s political. It’s so many things and some, but I’m drawing blanks trying to compare him to other artists… Maybe it’s just better left unsaid. Edweird is… weird. In a good way of course. Yes.

The song Brain Washington (produced by WLMG), gives a shout out to Black Lives Matter, and sends a scorching cascade of feces south of the border in his calling out of Washington’s ineptitude, and America’s cultural degeneration. It’s always fun to hear Canadian rappers talk trash on the problems afflicting their doomed and backwards brothers and sisters south of their border ho ho.

After giving the EP a solid listen I hopped on YouTube and found Edweird’s channel. One video in particular, entitled Sacred Nothing is manic and politically charged, and I obviously love the Hunter S. Thompson overture at the beginning. Edweird even tips his lyrical hat to George Orwell when he raps, “It’s 84 and the Farm at the same time.” Nicely done.

I also really enjoyed listening to some of Edweird’s older albums, specifically tracks three and four on everybody Poops by Edweird, featuring Red-Eye Ray and Krash respectively. Good stuff.

It goes without saying, Edweird is brilliant. He’s a smart lyricist, and his flow is savage, and his literary and political undertones create a kind of mystique that I feel the rap genre could use a lot more of.

I really enjoyed reviewing Edweird’s newest EP C.H.U.D. Complex, as well as his other stuff. If you are a rap person I would suggest getting a solid dose of this guy from the Frozen North. The only other Canadian rapper I know, and who I really like is K’naan. I suppose the only parallel I can draw between K’naan and Edweird is that both rappers are poetic and literary, which makes for a much more intense listening experience.

Album Review: Brett Basil’s Exceed

 

by: Doc Jeffurious Higgason

Artist: Brett Basil

Album: Exceed

Label: Redlight Records

Rating 2.0/5.0

Here at the music desk the “powers that be” in all their… eh, hem, Gonzo wisdom have adopted the policy of what we in the biz call ‘open submission’. Basically asking bands to send us just… whatever. Which in my experience can certainly be a blessing.

However, the blessings are usually few and what normally occurs is a small pain in the back of the ass.

In this age of digital home studios and their availability (sadly) to every caliber of musician, independent recordings are being churned out like so much mystery meat. In fact, just like the meat, a lot of the music is slimy and gross.

As a musician myself I know that we are very capable of over embellishment and prone to “delusions of grandeur”. Yet I feel that instinct has multiplied itself in the digital world. Egos are out of control, the music is mediocre and quite frankly, it’s bothersome.

But why? Why do we suffer through the thick mucky mire of openly submitted music that reposes within the dregs of the modern music experience? Because there are the true cliched “diamonds” out there and when you find them it’s damned near the level of a spiritual orgasm. You want to catch them! It happens. That’s why, we spend the hours in here, listening. To find that next pure sound. To find the needle in the horse dung.

Brett Basil’s ‘Exceed’ is not that needle.

I received the poorly-written biographical info that told me the following:

“Multi-award winning composer, producer, vocalist and multi -instrumentalist Brett Basil has 30+ years in the music scene, and with no less than 3 new CD’S he has worked on out soon- Brett Basil has indeed established himself as a well versed musician, singer and songwriter throughout the US, Canada and the UK. With solo CD’S plus a stellar history of recording, writing and performing with many acts.”

Well geez, so much room for speculation, nothing too specific, just music industry lingo and make it as vague as possible. Sounds like important stuff, right? It went further to say:

“Brett has written for 2 other cds “{Tunnel Vision” by Boys’ Entrance, and, Juha-“Every Step Is A Migration”} this year as well as “E-X-C-E-E-D” , out on 12-4 2016 on Red Light Records and Produced by Jordan Egler.”

Wait. Boys Entrance? Juha? Jordan Elger? “N-O W-A-Y!” Names that obviously mean…something to someone and doesn’t “Red Light” mean stop? Also, the only real information I was able to truly clarify was that YES in fact there is a thing known as Brett Basil and a collection of songs called, ‘Exceed’. All the other stuff, maybe not so much. We are however in this new realm of alternative facts so, let’s dig in.

The first track ‘In The Raw’ I will admit is not too bad but, that is where it seems Brett’s uniqueness runs squarely into the wall. The rest of the “CD” is comprised of songs that while they have legitimate feeling and heart they are by and large particularly unimpressive. That becomes wildly obvious during the song ‘Heartbeat’. It was this song (the SECOND track) where I began to suspect that maybe Brett wasn’t the “well versed singer songwriter” he had been described as. I was a little pissed that I was lied to truthfully. The musical feel of this album is so redundant that it’s hard to distinguish one guitar intro from the next.

Another song that didn’t suck completely would be ‘Hard to Believe’, it has a spirit resting squarely in some 80’s sports movie training montage. The actual odor and flavor of the music contained in this album are rather dated. It’s not all negative. I will say that the music is very coherent. The ideas are obvious, but poorly fertilized. A listener certainly won’t spend much time trying to decipher the deep meaning of Basil’s lyrics. This can be easily noticed during ‘Get A Life’, one more that fits into the aesthetic of the soundtrack to a ‘Police Academy’ movie.

‘Exceed’ contains 11 tracks of… music. Not exactly something I would considered moving. I would highly recommend it if you are a fan of indie records (the cheap ones) from thirty years ago. Perhaps I would have been less harsh had the description not been so pretentious and high falutin.

Album Review: Blue Fruit Snacks

 

by: Kidman J. Williams

Band: Blue Fruit Snacks

Album: No Artificial Flavors

Label: Independent

Rating: 4.6/5.0

Take me to the beach with a nice bonfire, surfboard, and Blue Fruit Snacks, not the food, the band. This Island Rock band hails from landlocked St. Louis, MO, but don’t let the location fool you, they bring a beach paradise right into the heartland.

The band brings a unique stripped down sound with the very talented Ahna Schoenhoff on lead vocals that will take you back with a Shannon Hoon (Blind Melon) and Janis Joplin kind of an approach while Bongo Jak lays down the rhythm with the bongo drums. Get it? “Bongo” Jak? He also lends sounds from the tambourine, kazoos, and even pulls backing vocal duties, while Jesse Cruzen rounds out the rhythm section with his tasty bass licks.

BFS has been touring nationally now for 5+ years and has played well over 500 shows all over the US.

BFS’s album “No Artificial Flavors” is a high energy spirited race, with a sun to the horizon on a wind surfboard.

From the first few measures of the first track, “Good Pain” you are instantly hooked into the feeling of popping open a cool beer on a hot summer beach evening.

The tone of the album really doesn’t change from song to song on this album, but what it gives you is that “glad all over” feeling that you just need out of music sometimes. The song “Skinny Corn” is no different.

Despite the somewhat dismal lyrics it still contains a powerful message and infectious rhythm that your feet just can’t help but tap and stomp to.

The sixth track “I-YO” will leave you loving life. This song as Schoenhoff states in the beginning of the song “is a sing along.” If the catchy, simplistic sing-a-long lyrics don’t float your boat maybe the kazoo will catch your funny bone enough to hook you.

Some songs have a bit of a long intro, but that is something you should expect with a jam band. For example, “Walking with a Gun” has a two minute intro, but you almost don’t even notice it through the Spanish like chug that keeps you waiting for what’s next.

“No Artificial Flavors” is an album for all ages and all types of consumers. Much like Sublime, it doesn’t matter what genre you typically listen to, Blue Fruit Snacks brings a little something for every listener. They are just looking to show you a good time and they want you to get to the end of the album with nothing but a smile on your face.