BW&BK 2012: The Scribes Speak Day 3 – Carl Begai

So, me and my extended BW&BK family have issued our individual Best Of 2012 lists because that’s the sort of thing you do in this biz as the new year kicks off. I’ve decided to post my long-winded overview of the last 12 months here, with a link provided leading to my Top 10 Albums list along with other honourable (and dishonourable) mentions…

It was a rollercoaster of a year, as they all are in the music biz.

From being blindsided by Halestorm’s new album The Strange Case Of… and becoming a fan against my will, to dealing with a fuckwit promo rep at Roadrunner Records who decided to change my questions in an email interview because she felt they were “too harsh” for her artist (um, shouldn’t that be for the artist to decide?), to bucket list interviews with Brighton Rock’s Gerry McGhee and the lovely Lita Ford, to witnessing some amazing shows on both sides of the pond, 2012 has been quite the adventure.

See the list here for the Hot and Not albums of my year, then pick apart my sanity at your leisure.

Gotta say that I was surprised at not being disappointed by any of the shows I was able to attend this year. The third annual European run of Rock Meets Classic featuring Ian Gillan (Deep Purple), Steve Lukather (Toto), Chris Thompson (Manfred Mann’s Earth Band), three-fifths of Primal Fear’s roster and Trillium vocalist Amanda Somerville was positively brilliant, with PF singer Ralf Scheepers going above and beyond lending his voice to the Toto hit ‘Rosanna’ (!). Watching Devin Townsend successfully manipulate a Motörhead crowd into doing his bidding was a gut-buster, seeing former Helloween members Michael Kiske and Kai Hansen on stage together with Unisonic belting out classics ‘I Want Out’ and ‘Future World’ was ’87 surreal, and the Leaves’ Eyes / Firewind tour that looked so weird on paper turned out to be one of the best gigs of the past 12 months.

Nightwish gets a scrapbook all its own due to a brilliant show in Nuremberg – featuring more pyro than the sun – and a day and night hanging with some of the finest people in the metal business. Continue reading BW&BK 2012: The Scribes Speak Day 3 – Carl Begai

CRIMSON GLORY – In Todd We Trust

By Carl Begai

I recently caught up with Crimson Glory guitarist Jon Drenning for BW&BK to discuss the band’s surprising decision to carry on with a new singer (click here). “Surprising” because original vocalist Midnight, who passed away in July 2009 due to liver and kidney failure, was a defining element of the Crimson Glory sound. As far as the metal universe was concerned it could never be duplicated faithfully, with Drenning and his bandmates at the top of that list. New voice Todd La Torre has proven everyone wrong, even though he had no designs on doing so when he was asked to step up.

“Matt Laporte from Jon Oliva’s Pain and I are friends, and he told me he was doing some rehearsing with them, but it really didn’t mean anything to me,” La Torre admits. “I’d heard the name Crimson Glory before but that was about all I knew about them. Matt told me that if the guys were to hear me sing they’d shit themselves, so that night I checked out some of their stuff on YouTube. The ‘Lonely’ video was the first thing to come and I thought it was cool that the guys had been on MTV before (laughs). When I heard the first verse I though the vocals were beautiful, and I loved it. It had everything I liked in a song.”

“Long story short; when I got to the rehearsal there was a part of me that was nervous. I’d done some research on them probably two days before the rehearsal, so I was able to pick out the guys in the band from the videos (laughs). It was cool but I wasn’t really starstruck or anything like that. Sadly, and blasphemy for the true Crimson fans, I didn’t know their stuff (laughs).” Continue reading CRIMSON GLORY – In Todd We Trust