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The Joker Gets an Origin Story...or Does He?

Posted by Tom Lamb on October 11, 2019 at 4:35 PM Comments comments (0)

The Joker's never before had a definitive origin story. Whether he has one now that Joker is in theaters is entirely up to your interpretation.

Joker, the much-discussed new movie featuring Joaquin Phoenix as DC’s dark Clown Prince, creates a never-before-seen origin story for the infamous super-villain. Introduced as Arthur Fleck, Phoenix embodies a man struggling with both mental illness and to find some sort of meaning in an existence that feels like it was doomed from the start. It’s a powerful, intense and often harrowing story brought to life by one of the world’s foremost actors and guided by director Todd Phillips, who shows never before seen depth and range with the critically acclaimed new film. But for comic book fans, the most impressive thing about Joker may be that it provides something that’s never been definitively provided before—a backstory that’s nearly 80 years in the making.

But does it? Aside from the fact that movie continuity doesn’t necessarily inform what takes place in the comics, part of why the Joker’s origin is still considered a mystery is because when it comes to the Joker, seeing and hearing aren’t necessarily believing. Remember Heath Ledger’s continually changing story of how he got his scars in The Dark Knight? Or the Valeska family twists and turns on Gotham? As the Joker put it himself in Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s Batman: The Killing Joke (arguably the closest thing we’ve gotten to a definitive Joker origin prior to now), “Sometimes I remember it one way, sometimes another… If I’m going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!”

While Joker’s not an adaptation of The Killing Joke, it’s clear that it was an influence on Phillips and co-screenwriter Scott Silver, who not only make Arthur an aspiring standup comedian, but also cast plenty of doubt over the truthfulness of their own story. What we’re seeing may not be what’s actually happening.

As Phillips puts it, “Not only does the story have an unreliable narrator, but it’s Joker, so it’s almost an unreliable unreliable narrator.”

That does create a challenge for the performer. When you’re unsure whether what you’re seeing and believing is real, how do you respond to it? In Phoenix’s case, it’s a matter of whether Arthur sees fit to question what he believes—something that ultimately has some pretty severe repercussions in the film.

“You never know if what he’s saying is real,” explains Phoenix. “Whatever he’s saying, it’s very real to him. Whether it is objectively real, that’s questionable. But for him, it always felt real. So, I felt like I had to approach it sincerely every time, no matter what the scene was. But it’s really left up to you, to the audience, to decide what you think is real or isn’t.”

At times, this proves to be a pretty easy task, but those moments just invite you to question others. If all this time, that wasn’t what it seemed to be, what about all of this? While Joker isn’t a surreal or hallucinogenic film, it does invite viewers to build their own interpretations.

“I think there are several different reactions that people can have and they’re all valid,” Phoenix shares. “There’s something really exciting about being in a movie that requires the audience to participate with a character in a different way. Usually, a character’s motivations are so clearly defined that we’re telling the audience precisely what to feel and when, and what I like about this movie is it’s really up to interpretation.”

One thing that’s likely to yield much conversation is Arthur’s relationship with his neighbor Sophie Dumond, played by Zazie Beetz. Sophie is a single mother who ultimately becomes a big part of Arthur’s life, for better or for worse.

“She struggles like him,” explains Beetz. “Not necessarily on an emotional level in the same way he does, but in other parts of her life. I think that’s a place where they find equal ground. But also, she is kind of this interpretation of what he wants her to be for him as a friend, as a companion, and so it’s interesting because she’s this fabrication a little bit of what he needs and wants from her.”

That may well be true of much of what we see in Joker…or possibly not. And much as we may not always trust what’s on the screen, we also may find ourselves unsure about how we feel about Arthur. Do we sympathize with him? Fear for him? Are we shocked and horrified by him? The answer probably lies somewhere between all three, much of which has to be credited to Phoenix’s remarkable performance. While the actor has built his reputation on challenging characters and material, Joker sets a new benchmark for him, ensuring that no matter how you ultimately feel about his Clown Prince of Crime, you’ll never forget him.

“To me, Joaquin is just one of the greats,” admits Phillips. “It’s hard to explain to people what an actor brings to a role. You might see it and think everything in there was written down for him to do when it’s just not that way ever. Joaquin is one of those guys who just takes it and makes it his own in a very specific way that you would have never guessed.”

As someone who had to act opposite him as his character suffers some pretty challenging moments, Beetz found Phoenix to be surprisingly playful with the role.

“He loves to explore,” she shares. “At least on this set, he was constantly finding new things. I think when he becomes the Joker it’s inherently sort of this playful person or creature almost. Joaquin brings a lot of that while also bringing a lot of humanity to a role that I think we would usually kind of keep at arm’s length. I think he brings a lot of soul to it.”

Whether it’s for Phoenix’s performance, the provocative points the film makes about today’s society or for what it adds to the legacy of the world’s most infamous comic book villain, Joker is unlikely to be a movie that’s soon forgotten by viewers, whether you see it as the Joker’s definitive origin or not.

“There’s a million ways to view this movie and…what lens you view it through depends on your experience,” suggests Phillips. “So, I hate to tell people what to feel from the movie. I just think you go in with an open mind and you’ll take with it what you take from it.”

Joker, directed by Todd Phillips and starring Joaquin Phoenix, is now in theaters.

Shane Gillis Out at Saturday Night Live Following Racial, Homophobic Slurs in Podcast

Posted by Tom Lamb on September 16, 2019 at 6:10 PM Comments comments (0)

The long-running NBC show also says its vetting process "was not up to our standard" prior to the revelation of the comedian's remarks.

Comedian Shane Gillis won't be part of NBC's Saturday Night Live after coming under fire for using racial and homophobic slurs during a conversation on a podcast.

"After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL," a show spokesperson said Monday on behalf of executive producer Lorne Michaels. "We want SNL to have a variety of voices and points of view within the show, and we hired Shane on the strength of his talent as comedian and his impressive audition for SNL. We were not aware of his prior remarks that have surfaced over the past few days. The language he used is offensive, hurtful and unacceptable. We are sorry that we did not see these clips earlier, and that our vetting process was not up to our standard."

In his own statement on Twitter, Gillis said in part, "Of course I wanted an opportunity to prove myself at SNL, but I understand it would be too much of a distraction. I respect the decision they made. I'm honestly grateful for the opportunity. I was always a Mad TV guy anyway."

Gillis, one of three new SNL castmembers announced Thursday, can be heard using a racial slur in a since-deleted video from 2018 on a YouTube channel called "Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast."

"Chinatown’s fucking nuts," Gillis says in a segment of the video dated Sept. 26, 2018. "Let the fucking ch---s live there." The video also shows Gillis mimicking a Chinese accent and mocking Chinese restaurants.

Additional audio from a separate 2018 episode of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast shows Gillis and co-host Matt McCusker ranking how funny comedians are by race and using homophobic slurs. While referencing comedians like Judd Apatow, Gillis calls them "white faggot comics" and "fucking gayer than ISIS."

Gillis took to his Twitter account to issue a statement, tweeting "I'm a comedian who pushes boundaries. I sometimes miss. If you go through my 10 years of comedy, most of it bad, you're going to find a lot of bad misses. I'm happy to apologize to anyone who's actually offended by anything I've said. My intention is never to hurt anyone but I am trying to be the best comedian I can be and sometimes that requires risks."

Gillis is the latest comedian to deal with backlash over past offensive comments. Trevor Noah was criticized ahead of replacing Jon Stewart on Comedy Central's The Daily Show over old tweets, including ones deemed anti-Semitic or offensive towards aboriginal women, while Kevin Hart gave up his Oscars hosting gig this year when earlier homophobic tweets of his resurfaced.

SNL is set to return Sept. 28 for its 45th season with host Woody Harrelson and musical guest Billie Eilish.

As 'South Park' Gets Renewed Through 2022, Matt Stone and Trey Parker Also Have New Movie Ideas

Posted by Tom Lamb on September 16, 2019 at 1:55 AM Comments comments (0)

The duo is floating some "really f—ing killer ideas" (not 'South Park'-related) for a new theatrical release.

Ever since South Park premiered in August 1997, the show has fielded complaints from concerned parents and advocacy groups who've occasionally asked Comedy Central to pull the cartoon from air. For decades, Trey Parker and Matt Stone have laughed and shrugged it off. ("People have been talking about cancelling us for 22 fucking years," Parker says).

Now the naysayers will have some more time to complain as South Park has just been renewed by Comedy Central through 2022. "In this day and age, it is more of an achievement than it was before, the fact that we are still going," Parker notes. Yet even after all they've had to endure through the years, the duo agrees "cancel culture" is different and something that deeply irks them.

After their first meeting Tuesday for the upcoming 23rd season (premiering Sept. 25), The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Parker and Stone at their Marina del Rey studio (named Casa Bonita) to discuss how long they want to keep doing South Park, some plans to make a (non-South Park) movie for the first time in 15 years and the rise of cancel culture.

"It's new," Stone says of cancel culture, the term used to refer to boycotts started (usually via social media) when a person or group is offended by a star or brand. "I don't want to say it's the same as it's always been. The kids are fucking different than us. There's a generational thing going on." Currently, Dave Chappelle is in the crosshairs for his latest Netflix stand-up special, Sticks and Stones. "I know some people have been canceled for genuinely, like, personal behavior, but Dave is not getting canceled anytime soon," Stone says, joking that South Park and Chappelle are "grandfathered" out of the culture.

Stone also shared his theory as to why critics were so hard on the latest Chappelle special, while viewers seemed to enjoy it far more. "I feel bad for television critics and cultural critics," he explains. "They may have laughed like hell at that, and then they went home and they know what they have to write to keep their job. So when I read TV reviews or cultural reviews, I think of someone in prison, writing. I think about somebody writing a hostage note. This is not what they think. This is what they have to do to keep their job in a social media world. So I don't hold it against them."

On Tuesday, the duo — who met and bonded decades ago at the University of Colorado Boulder, where they crafted a VHS short of four construction-paper foul-mouthed kids, which snowballed into a cartoon empire — was feeling good. In the past, the initial meeting to kick off a new season sometimes had been a rough one. "You hope when you get back that you laugh a lot, and we did today," Parker says. "I laughed harder today than I have in probably six months." Adds Stone, "I'll sleep better tonight. It really is like this big release." The two reveal they have a plethora of ideas that have been collected in notes throughout the year. Stone jots on his phone, whereas Parker does voice memos in character, most are as Eric Cartman.

The decision to renew their show for a few more years did not involve a long discussion. There has never been a ritual. "I don't think we have ever had an 'OK, let's sit down and decide if we are going to keep going,'" Parker says. Stone adds, "I am 48. Trey turns 50 this year. So I will say that I don't think we will be doing this show when we're 60." (Parker points out they said in old interviews they'd stop when they hit their 40s.)

The upcoming season will be produced the same as it has in years prior, each episode planned and executed the week of air. That said, South Park will hit a milestone in October — its 300th episode. Are there any grand plans to mark the occasion? Not likely.

"Well, we did the 200 two-parter, and that was a disaster," Parker says, clearly still irritated over the situation nine years ago when their shows "200" and "201," which poked fun at the prophet Muhammad, were heavily censored by Comedy Central and only aired once. (They've never been available for streaming). "We've learned the past few years to let the momentum of the season take us."

Pressure to get an episode done in a week is where they and their team thrive, but pressure to do something special for commemoration's sake has never been conducive to their process. "I think we felt the heaviness of the 20th season, some show-defining thing," Stone says. "We've tried that. I like the past couple of seasons where it's like, take the pressure off and let the thing be what it is. And we're better at doing that."

Plus, they have other projects on their minds right now. They are champing at the bit to make another film, their last being 2004's Team America: World Police. Stone says, "We think of ourselves as filmmakers, and it's like, everyone is doing TV now. It's like, movies, even though the movie business is all fucked up. And everyone will tell you don't go into movies. We just want to do a movie."

The two are tight-lipped about their plans, but Stone assures they're "really fucking killer ideas" that are not South Park-related. Still, they have little to no interest in a film for streaming purposes. "Theoretically, I would like it to be in theaters so people have to watch it together," Stone says. Parker says, "And we really like premiere parties."

Circling back to the previous season of South Park, Parker and Stone say, yes, of course the plot arc with ManBearPig (a creature used as a metaphor for global warming) and Al Gore was an attempt to atone for episodes years ago in which they joked about the former vice president's charge for climate change action. And, yes, they are aware Gore praised them for their efforts last year when he dropped by The Daily Show With Trevor Noah.

"We just felt like, of all of our episodes, that one has not aged very well," Stone admits. "And we came up with a funny idea how to use ManBearPig as a parable. I always felt like if we were going to rewrite that or comment on it or atone, whatever you want to call it, it's in kind. In other words, we didn't want to say in some interview, 'Well, we don't feel so great about that episode.' It doesn't feel as good as 'Fuck that, we'll do a whole two-parter.' And it is not just atoning. We beat ourselves up pretty good." Parker notes, "We could just do an entire season atoning. It's been fucking 22 years. We're pretty different people now."

One of the most notable aspects from last season was the lack of any political dealings, specifically the nearly total absence of Donald Trump via the Mr. Garrison persona. "It was nice for us," Parker says. "It was nice to not come in and talk about Donald Trump. And I think it was nice for people to watch and go, 'Oh, yeah, there is still comedy outside of fucking Donald Trump. There is still funny shit as the world goes on.' And you can get your Trump comedy on so many other shows."

Stone concludes, "We can make a funnier show with Garrison and that whole story, but there is other stuff that is more fun. But then again, if we came up with something tomorrow, we'd do it. We don't have any rules."

Frank Miller to Write 'Dark Knight Returns The Golden Child'

Posted by Tom Lamb on September 16, 2019 at 1:40 AM Comments comments (0)

The comic is a follow-up to 2015's 'Dark Knight III' and centers on a new Batwoman.

Frank Miller is returning to the world of his acclaimed Dark Knight Returns comic book series for a new one-shot special comic book starring Carrie Kelley, the future Robin who grew up to become Batwoman.

The 48-page Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child will co-star Lara Kent, the offspring of Superman and Wonder Woman introduced in The Dark Knight Strikes Again, as the two take on a new threat to the city of Gotham — but they have a secret weapon if needed: Jonathan, Lara’s little brother and potentially the most powerful superhuman on the planet.

The Future of Universal's Monsters Is Coming Into Focus

Posted by Tom Lamb on September 16, 2019 at 1:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Paul Feig's 'Dark Army' joins Leigh Whannell’s 'Invisible Man' in signaling a new direction for the properties following the failure of the Dark Universe.

Paul Feig is building an army of monsters. Thursday we learned that the filmmaker best known for his comedies, Bridesmaids (2011), Spy (2015), and Ghostbusters (2016) will join Universal’s tradition of monster movies for a new project called Dark Army. Universal has famously struggled for nearly two decades to find a place for their movie monsters, Frankenstein, Dracula, the Wolf Man, the Creature, the Mummy, within the contemporary franchise market. Though Universal monster movies were Hollywood-shaping events in the '30s, '40s, and '50s, the studio has never been able to find a similar level of success with characters who arguably become overexposed due to their existence within the public domain. With the cinematic universe ambitions of Dark Universe dead, and Leigh Whannell’s Blumhouse produced The Invisible Man coming next year, is it possible that Universal monsters’ darkest days are finally behind them?

In order to fully consider how Universal can do right by its monsters, it’s important to understand where they went wrong and how they can avoid the same missteps in the future. Though Universal found success with The Mummy (1999) and The Mummy Returns (2001), further attempts at finding an audience for its monster movies were either critical or financial disappointments, sometimes both. Van Helsing (2004) was a financial success for the time at $300 million worldwide, but after negative reviews it failed to launch a proposed franchise. Likewise, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Empire (2008) did solid business, though it was the lowest grossing of the franchise at $401 million worldwide. Universal opted not to go forward with a fourth film that would have seen the O’Connells face off against Aztec mummies in South America with Antonio Banderas playing the villain, and instead set its sights on a cinematic universe. In hindsight, Universal likely would have fared better with its ambitious crossover if it'd had Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) and Gabriel Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) team-up to face off against a supernatural threat with Stephen Sommers at the helm. But alas, Universal moved on to The Wolfman (2010) and Dracula Untold (2014), neither of which did the kind of business to build a franchise on. None of these aforementioned movies are bad. Flawed and somewhat dated, sure, but they are each entertaining entries, mostly lacking in scares but employing a certain expensive B-movie charm. Universal’s greatest fault during these years was attempting to compete with superhero movies. This came to a head with the ill-fated Dark Universe.

Amanda Seyfried in Talks to Star in Netflix Horror-Thriller 'Things Heard & Seen' (Exclusive)

Posted by Tom Lamb on September 16, 2019 at 1:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, who were nominated for an Oscar for 'American Splendor,' wrote the script and will co-direct.

Amanda Seyfried is in negotiations to star in Things Heard & Seen, a supernatural thriller set up at Netflix.

Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, whose credits range from American Splendor to 10,000 Saints, wrote the script and will direct. Anthony Bregman, who recently wrapped production on In the Heights, is producing with Stefanie Azpiazu, Peter Cron and Julie Cohen.

Ric Ocasek, Lead Singer of The Cars, Dies at 75

Posted by Tom Lamb on September 16, 2019 at 1:25 AM Comments comments (0)

He was found unresponsive Sunday at his East 19th Street residence in Manhattan, according to police.

Ric Ocasek, frontman of pioneering new wave rock band The Cars, died on Sunday after being found unresponsive in his Manhattan townhouse, New York City police confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. The Cars’ singer, rhythm guitarist and primary songwriter was 75. The cause of death is not yet known.

Ocasek met bassist Benjamin Orr (who died in 2000) in the 1960s, and the two performed together in various bands (including a folk-oriented outfit called Milkwood) over the next decade, eventually forming The Cars in 1976 with Elliot Easton, Greg Hawkes and David Robinson. Their self-titled 1978 debut was a milestone in the burgeoning new wave scene, melding the sonically stripped down, rockabilly-inflected approach to rock of the punk explosion with the quirky synthesizers of art rock acts such as Roxy Music; but unlike a punk or an art rock band, The Cars were radio catnip thanks to Ocasek’s sturdy, lean songcraft and producer Roy Thomas Baker’s immaculate production.

The Cars went top 20 on the Billboard 200 and produced two top 40 singles on the Billboard Hot 100, “Just What I Needed” and “My Best Friend’s Girl.” The album’s sound would prove massively influential on the next decade of radio rock and synth-pop, and continues to be celebrated by arena-filling and avant-leaning musicians alike.

The band’s next three albums, Candy-O, Panorama and Shake It Up, continued in the same vein. If they weren’t as masterful as the band’s first outing, each still went top 10 on the albums chart and produced their fair share of gems and radio smashes, such as “Let’s Go” (No. 14), “Touch and Go” (No. 37) and “Shake It Up” (No. 4).

Heartbeat City (1984) found the band returning to the creative heights of their debut, mixing their penchant for strange flourishes and brilliant turns of phrase with lustrous, polished, synth-heavy rock. It produced five top 40 smashes, including the No. 3-peaking “Drive," one of the most gorgeous, devastating ballads of the '80s, if not all time.

From that album, The Cars' video for "You Might Think" won the first-ever MTV Video Music Award for video of the year in 1984 — beating out the likes of Michael Jackson's "Thriller." While the special effects are outdated today, at the time it was considered ground-breaking. The video also was instrumental in MTV's early success, getting frequent airplay on the three-year-old channel.

After a Greatest Hits and a weak swan song with 1987’s Door to Door (the only standout being the No. 17-peaking hit “You Are the GIrl”;), the band called it quits (although the proper lineup would reunite for 2011’s well-received album Move Like This). When all was said and done, The Cars earned 13 top 40 singles on the Hot 100, with four of them in the top 10, as well as five top 10 albums on the Billboard 200. The band received six Grammy nominations, including best new artist, but never won, although the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.

Ocasek released seven solo albums, two of which came out during The Cars’ heyday, but found his biggest post-Cars success as a producer, helming Weezer’s landmark self-titled debut (the Blue Album) and albums for an eclectic mix of artists such as Guided by Voices, Motion City Soundtrack, Bad Brains and Suicide. He released a book of poetry, Negative Theatre, in 1992, and 2012’s Lyrics and Prose collected the lyrics of his solo and Cars albums.

Having served as a draftsman as a teenager, Ocasek was a prolific drawer over the course of his life. Speaking to Billboard in 2017 about an exhibition of his art pieces, Ocasek revealed he was working on an album that would compile “the best picks of the solo albums” as well as “another 10 or 15 songs that nobody's ever heard. Some are finished, some are demos. It's stuff I've always liked but never put it on things."

Ocasek was married three times and has six sons. He was married to model and actress Paulina Porizkova for 28 years. In September 2018, she announced on Instagram that she and Ocasek had not been a couple "for the past year."

They first met while filming the music video for The Cars song "Drive" in 1984 and were together in August 2018 when Ocasek, then 74, was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. They have two children.

Porizkova said at the time that their family is "a well-built car," but she added that "as a bicycle, my husband and I no longer pedal in unison."

Watch the video for "You Might Think," below.

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MOTLEY CRUE's TOMMY LEE Completes Work On New Album

Posted by Tom Lamb on September 13, 2019 at 10:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Lee took to his Twitter earlier today to write: "Hey kids! Finally ...my new record is done and getting mastered now ..... lookin like a March release! Y'all gonna LOVE this! Been working on this for 2 years! Making sure everything is amazing for you! This is gonna be a flip! 2 sides 2 genres I'll explain more later"

This past April, Lee revealed via his wife Brittany Furlan's podcast that he would release the first new album from his METHODS OF MAYHEM rap-rock side project since 2010.

"[Tommy] hasn't decided what the name is yet; he's close to deciding the album name," Furlan said. "This album is going to blow your mind. It has amazing artists on it — people that you've heard of, people that you haven't heard of."

METHODS OF MAYHEM's self-titled debut album arrived in 1999 and was certified gold in the U.S. A follow-up effort, "A Public Disservice Announcement", came out 11 years later.

Lee's last solo LP was 2005's "Tommyland: The Ride". He also collaborated with METHODS OF MAYHEM's DJ Aero on the "#MSND" EP, which was released in 2013.

TOM KEIFER Releases Music Video For Rise Title Track

Posted by Tom Lamb on September 13, 2019 at 10:05 PM Comments comments (0)

The official music video for "Rise", the title track of the second solo album from CINDERELLA frontman Tom Keifer, can be seen below. The disc is being released today (Friday, September 13) via Cleopatra Records.

The "Rise" song was written by Tom Keifer, Savannah Keifer with Keifer and Shawna Thompson of THOMPSON SQUARE. The official music video was directed by Vicente Cordero.

"For the 'Rise' video, we wanted to capture the band performing the song with an uplifting look," Tom explains. "We chose a plain white studio that just happened to have a matching white grand piano. It felt like the perfect environment for the feel of the song. Director Vicente Cordero did an amazing job capturing the energy of the band in this simplistic, beautiful setting.

"The last line of the second verse of 'Rise', 'Won't be the last time… I'm gonna rise,' sums up a simple truth," he continues. "Along with all the beautiful good times and highs we are blessed with in life, there will always be those unexpected lows we have to pull ourselves up from over and over. That's the very heart of what the song is about. As much of the entire album's lyrics speak to finding strength in those times of adversity, we felt the song was the perfect title track."

Keifer goes on to say: "As a band, we have experienced so many of the amazing gifts life can bring, but have also walked each other through some very hard times. I think that's why 'Rise' was such a natural, effortless record for us to make. All of the life we have shared together has created a bond that is in the grooves of this record. Each member of the band brought something special to the energy of 'Rise'. It is a truly collaborative creation."


Keifer's #keiferband consists of Savannah Keifer, Tony Higbee, Billy Mercer, Kendra Chantelle, Jarred Pope and Kory Myers.

Produced by Tom, Savannah and Kyle O'Connor, "Rise" scales renewed sonic heights. From the tasty slide work that stamps "Touching The Divine", the nontraditionally arranged, heavy, dark jam of "Untitled", the breakneck thrust of "All Amped Up" to the tender coda of "You Believe In Me", "Rise" signifies the ongoing evolution of the CINDERELLA frontman as a person, songwriter, and bandleader. It's the aural portrait of an artist who, to borrow a phrase, is still climbing

"When this band came together, we all felt a bit like broken souls, each with our own unique story," Tom explains. "If you ask anyone in the band, they would all say this band came along at just the right time. Every human who walks this planet faces challenges and extreme adversity they have to overcome. As a band, we feel fortunate to be able to face those things together. There is a piece of every band member in the 'The Death Of Me' as well as throughout the entire 'Rise' album."

The common thread to each song on "Rise" is the intuitive interplay between each member of #keiferband, a tight but loose collective that's spent the last six-plus years on the road honing their live craft together in support of Keifer's critically acclaimed 2013 solo debut, "The Way Life Goes". "Rise" is the studio-bred equivalent of a band just now realizing the full scope of its powers.

"We were trying to capture the feeling of what people have witnessed live with this band," Keifer explains. "There's an off-the-rails, real live feel to 'Rise' — and that's what we were going for. It shows a real kind of angst and reckless abandon that we tried not to polish too much. And when we pull it back on the ballads, it's more about the emotion, the soul, and making people feel something in a different way."

"To me, the perfect rock and roll record is perfectly fucked up," Keifer says with a hearty laugh. "You try to make each record interesting and different. I don't ever want to make the same record twice, even though there's a common thread between them. Everything doesn't have to be perfectly in place, but there is a balance you try to strike. Sometimes there may be something about it that's technically not 'right,' but there's a vibe, an energy and an attitude to it that I always try to preserve."

"Rise" track listing:


01. Touching The Divine

02. The Death Of Me

03. Waiting On The Demons

04. Hype

05. Untitled

06. Rise

07. All Amped Up

08. Breaking Down

09. Taste For The Pain

10. Life Was Here

11. You Believe In Me

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HELLYEAH Tour Announce + New Song Black Flag Army

Posted by Tom Lamb on September 11, 2019 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)

New Dates Added To “A Celebration Of Life” Tour; A Portion Of Ticket Sales To Be Donated To The American Heart Association In Vinnie Paul’s Memory; Tickets Are On Sale Now, HERE. https://hellyeahband.com/#tour

Hard rock purveyors HELLYEAH are home after an 18-city “A Celebration Of Life” headliner, honoring the life of bandmate and brother Vinnie Paul, a tour during which friends and fans in HELLYEAH’s heavy metal family mourned and celebrated their hero together.

With less than a month until the release of their sixth studio album, Welcome Home, due Friday, September 27, via Eleven Seven Music, the band announced today the release of “Black Flag Army,” the final instant download track available when you pre-order the album HERE. https://hellyeah.ffm.to/welcomehome

Their eagerly anticipated new album, Welcome Home, which features the late Vinnie Paul’s final recordings, will unleash 11 tracks, driven by their love, loyalty, reverence and respect for their fallen brother, including “Black Flag Army,” fiery track “333,” Top 5 Active Rock single “Welcome Home,” which is the band’s fastest-growing song at Active Rock Radio, guitar-driven “Perfect,” and gritty “Oh My God.”