Former METALLICA bassist Jason Newsted made his first 'official' public appearance since leaving the group on Sunday, April 1st when he took the stage at Ashkenaz in Berkeley, California with the MOSS BROTHERS, 12-year-old Reuben and 15-year-old Evan, to perform a number of songs from the MOSS BROTHERS debut CD and the upcoming follow-up effort, on which Jason is reportedly featured as a guest musician. According to people that were present at the concert, Reuben and Evan played one song in front of the 350-strong crowd before introducing Jason by his first name only, after which they proceeded to jam out excellently-executed tunes that, by all accounts, sounded like they were composed and performed by musicians of far more experience than the MOSS BROTHERS' ages would suggest. Based on eyewitness accounts, it appears that, true to form, Jason wanted the evening to be all about “the kids”, and he made every effort to deflect all the attention given to him for the sake of the two brothers, going even as far as to tell the crowd to “shut up” at one point when the audience got particularly unruly and loud. Moreover, when several METALLICA fans tried to get his attention by yelling his name and attempting to talk to him after the first song he performed with the MOSS BROTHERS, he simply pointed at the fans and then at the kids (Reuben and Evan)... as if to say 'Hey, it is about them, not me'. A fun time was apparently had by all, and Jason reportedly “rocked” in a way that made it clear he loved being up on stage playing music in a more jam-type live environment, without the constraints and weight of the METALLICA machine on his back to contend with.
“Moto Psycho”, the first single from the upcoming MEGADETH release The World Needs A Hero, became the #1 most-added track at active rock radio in the United States its first week of release, according to the band's publicist. The World Needs A Hero, MEGADETH's Sanctuary Records debut, is set for U.S. release on May 15, 2001.
As part of the promotional activities for the upcoming release, MEGADETH will embark on a 12-city The World Needs A Hero Record Release Party Tour in late April. The tour will also include acoustic performances.
According to an official press release, the only way for the public to attend the record release parties is to obtain passes from the sponsoring radio station in each city. The party starts when MEGADETH and a local disc jockey introduce The World Needs A Hero to the crowd. After the entire CD plays, MEGADETH will go on stage and perform an acoustic set approximately 40 minutes long consisting of both old and new songs. Following the acoustic set, MEGADETH will meet and talk with fans for 60 to 90 minutes. (Philadelphia fans are apparently really in for a treat because the May 10 party at the Fels Planetarium at the Franklin Institute will include a laser light show.)
The record release party tour stops include:
April 28 - Phoenix, AZ – KUPD @ Mason
April 29 - San Diego, CA - KIOZ @ Brick by Brick
April 30 - Sacramento, CA - KRXQ @ The Boardwalk
May 01 - Denver, CO - KBPI @ House of Rock
May 03 - San Antonio, TX - KISS @ White Rabbit
May 04 - Dallas, TX - KEGL @ Hard Rock Cafe
May 05 - Minneapolis, MN - KXXR @ The Quest
May 06 - Milwaukee, WI - WLZR @ Shank Hall
May 07 - Detroit, MI - WRIF @ Second City
May 09 - Boston, MA - WAAF @ Bill's Bar
May 10 - Philadelphia, PA - WYSP @ Fels Planetarium
May 11 - Tampa, FL - WXTB @ State Theater
May 12 - Orlando, FL - WJRR @ Sapphire Supper Club
SYSTEM OF A DOWN vocalist Serj Tankian launched his own website on Sunday, April 1—serjicalstrike.com—specifically 'to introduce words and music that have been otherwise unavailable in stores,' according to the singer.
The first project available at serjicalstrike.com will be Serj's self-published poetry book, Cool Gardens, 96-pages of very personal reflections and considerations that give the reader a glimpse into Serj's life and thoughts over the past seven or eight years. Cool Gardens is available now and is priced at $15.00.
“I chose to title it Cool Gardens,” explained Serj, 'because I love the thought of spending my life walking around surrounded by Cool gardens. When I think of that term, it relaxes me.'
Nearly half of the tome is original artwork created by Sako Shahinian, a young L.A.-based artist. Topics include a mix of spiritual, political, and humorous. Serj plans an initial run of 5,000 copies, with the first 500 personally signed by the singer.
CDs by three of Serj's favorite unknown bands will also be available on the site in the coming weeks: BAD ACID TRIP, 'One of the best undiscovered secrets from L.A.'s thrash/punk scene. Their name says it all' KITTENS FOR CHRISTIAN, 'I often describe them as SONIC YOUTH meets JESUS LIZARD or the BIRTHDAY PARTY. They're very interesting and drivy' and BIG ELF, 'The best progressive classic rock band of this era. Amazing songwriting, arranging, and harmonies.'
According to band management co-ordinator Jayne Andrews, JUDAS PRIEST are somewhat puzzled over the fact that one of the Downing /Tipton/Halford-penned tracks on the current HALFORD live CD Live Insurrection, “Prisoner Of Your Eyes”, includes additional songwriting credit given to a HALFORD band member when he, in fact, didn't contribute a note to the song that was originally written nearly two decades ago. Halford has yet to comment on the matter.
APARTMENT 26 will be the support act at the following FEAR FACTORY UK dates:
April 14 – London, UK @ Astoria
April 15 – Manchester, UK @ The Academy
April 16 – Glasgow, UK @ The Garage
April 17 – Wolverhampton, UK @ Wulfrun Hall
Veteran producer Kevin Shirley (i.e. IRON MAIDEN, DREAM THEATER) is currently in Helsinki, Finland working on an as-yet-unspecified track with the Finnish rock Gods H.I.M.
Cristofer Malmstrom, the guitarist for the acclaimed Swedish thrash outfit DARKANE, will be appearing on the Danish radio show Metal Magasinet via Tannisbugt Radio on April 4th between 5:15 M and 6:00 PM local time.  Meanwhile, DARKANE drummer Peter Wildoer has just finished recording the drums for the instrumental “weirdo/shred project” by the name of ELECTROCUTION 250. Featuring keyboard player Lale Larsson and American guitarist Todd Duane, the band's first album will be released through WAR Music late this year and will contain music that is being described as “mentally insane jazz/fusion/metal with no limits whatsoever”.
Norway's ENSLAVED will be entering Grieghallen Studios shortly to record the follow-up to last year's Mardraum release. The band have also confirmed on their official site, www.enslavedunion.com, that drummer Dirge Rep has not left ENSLAVED, but will contribute full-time to AURA NOIR. Expect ENSLAVED's sixth full-length album to be released by Osmose Productions sometime in the fall.
THE WILDHEARTS mainman Ginger has reportedly been holed up in a UK recording studio laying down another batch of tracks which will eventually find their way onto the forthcoming solo single releases. Tentative song titles include:
01. The Dying Art Of The Chorus
02. Cars And Vaginas
03. Not Bitter, Just A Little Disappointed
04. Naked Innocence
05. Blinded By Absinthe
06. You, Me And BT
07. Reinventing The Wheel
08. And This Time I'm Serious
When asked recently to comment on the direction of the new material, Ginger replied: 'They're very mixed styles. There's everything from ballads and country and western, to rock 'n roll, pop and electro. You name it and it's probably there. It's a completely different vibe to either SILVERGINGER 5 or THE WILDHEARTS. Now I've got all bases covered!'
Former IMPELLITERRI / AXEL RUDI PELL vocalist Rob Rock and his band will perform 'live' at the Orlando Metal Awards Concert on May 18th, 2001 in the FBI, Winter Park, Florida at 11:45 PM.
Colorado power metal legends JAG PANZER will appearing live on Saturday, April 7th at the House Of Rock in Northglenn, Colorado with special guests SILENCER and SERBERUS. Tickets $5 at the door, and the show starts at 9:00 p.m. The new JAG PANZER album, Mechanized Warfare, is scheduled for worldwide release on June 16th.
Former HANOI ROCKS frontman Michael Monroe will be performing live at the Hesperia Night Club in Helsinki, Finland on April 12th. Michael will also be appearing on the Finnish TV show Mankeli on Friday, April 13th.
Former IRON MAIDEN vocalist Paul Di'Anno is reportedly “on the verge of a mammoth record deal and has had several offers to join major established bands”, according to the singer's official web site. “Some of these rumors hold a certain amount of truth, but Paul will not be joining any established bands,” the statement continues. “KILLERS are currently in demand and The Motalla Festival is beckoning, as is Wacken and other premier dates in Europe and South America. Offers are on the table from record companies and as soon as something is signed, you will hear it here first.”
THE SCORPIONS are in the middle of a European “Orchestra Tour” that is taking them through Belarus, Russia, Estonia, Latvija, Lithuania and Ukraine. Here are the upcoming live dates from the group:
April 05 – Kiew, Ukraine
April 07 – Grindelwald, SWI @ SnOwpenAir
Aug. 25 – Künzelsau, GER @ Schlosspark
Brazil's SHAMAN, the new band of former ANGRA members Andre Matos (vocals), Luis Mariutti (bass) and Ricardo Confessori (guitar), are tentatively due to release their debut album in October through an as-yet-unspecified record label. Tracks set to appear on the CD include:
01. Time Will Come
02. Here Will Go
03. Be Free
04. Blind Shell
Atlanta's SICK SPEED, featuring STUCK MOJO's Rich Ward on vocals/guitar, Mike 'Happy' Schneider on guitar/vocals, STUCK MOJO's Dan Dryden on bass/vocals, and STUCK MOJO's Bud Fontsere on drums, have been hard at work on new material, and will be recording the songs 'Starting Over', 'The Way I Am', and 'I Learned to Love the Rain' during the first two weeks in April.  Previously tracked songs 'Matter of Faith', 'Hero', and 'Believe', (recorded in early February, and mixed by Andy Sneap and Shawn Grove) are being added to the current eight-song demo and will be sold at the band's upcoming live shows. SICK SPEED are reportedly “in the final negotiations” with Century Media Records for a European record deal that will be followed up by some live dates on the European continent. Meanwhile, SICK SPEED have also completed a live video for the song 'Never Comin' Back', and are currently working on videos for 'Those Were The Days' and 'Hero”.  These videos, plus extreme-sports videos for 'The Test' and 'Can't See Straight', done by Shrapnel Films, will be compiled for a home video release, which will be available via the band's web site in the near future.
More SICK SPEED live dates:
April 20 – Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade (FREE SHOW!)
April 21 - Winston-Salem, NC @ Ziggy's
Finland's melodic metallers SONATA ARCTICA will issue their second album, Silence, in Japan on June 21st. The Finnish release will follow on July 15th.
THE CROWN drummer Janne Saarenpaa will be behind the kit for GOD DETHRONED's performances at the No Mercy Festivals, also featuring MARDUK, VADER and MORTICIAN, among others. However, THE CROWN wish to make it clear that he is not the new drummer of GOD DETHRONED, but is merely helping them out at these shows: 'I will be helping GOD DETHRONED out with the drumming and beer drinking on their upcoming European tour. [GOD DETHRONED] drummer Tony Laureano is busy playing with NILE (filling in for Pete Hammoura, injured in action). So I really hope to see some true CROWN fans out there, C-ya soon!', says Janne.
The official UNLEASHED web site has confirmed the rumors that the Swedish death metal legends are back together and working on a new studio album, due to be released at the end of the year. The brief statement goes on to allude to some “surprises that we will unveil when the time is right”, but no details have been divulged as yet.
Former MEGADETH guitarist Chris Poland is recording a brand new CD with OHM, a Los Angeles-based jazz rock trio consisting of major label and studio musicians. Six drum tracks have apparently been completed so far.
According to Poland's official web site, “Chris' guest appearance on the the Jason Becker tribute album went very well. He has a minute of soloing in the middle, and 16 bars in the outro. He had 32 bars, but 16 were cut so [DEEP PURPLE guitarist] Steve Morse could play over them. He said he really liked what Steve had done and that it really complimented what he was trying to get at with the cut 16 bars. Besides Morse, Chris also mentioned that Vinnie Moore's playing was great.”