The Deep Six: Why Sammy Hagar’s Music is Inexcusable‏‏‏

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by Ryan Meehan

Through the years, we’ve all heard our share of classic rock.  We’ve been treated to the revolutionary sounds of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and The Who.  But as you well know, classic rock stations can’t play those artists all day, and in most cases will ignore Sabbath altogether.  What this means is there’s a lot of artists that you’ll never buy records from, such as your .38 Specials and your REO Speedwagons.

Another artist that I would put in that category would most certainly be Sammy Hagar.  The guy is a constant source of average cookie cutter rock music who thinks that his music is much heavier than it really is.  It’s pompous, obnoxious, and above all it’s boring.  In short, it’s just gone on for way too long.  We’ve all sat here and taken it in the butt while this joker has stretched this party band thing into a three and a half decade career in an industry that clearly used to know better.

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7 Questions with Rich Ragains

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by Ryan Meehan

It’s a good thing sitting still, paying attention aren’t the skills you need to become a standup comedian, because Rich Ragains possesses none of them. And while his ADHD kept him from being a teacher’s pet or even a good student, it has helped him develop and act that even his Teachers would be proud of. In an odd sort of way, his quick thinking and improv skills also helped him become a high school wrestling champion, but that fact really has nothing to do with his current career. Rich’s career began on a dare when he was talked into taking the stage at an open mic night after the guy who was scheduled to perform backed out! And because that one guy lacked either courage or scheduling ability, Rich now enjoys a career in standup comedy that has taken him from Northern Canada, all the way to the sunny Bahamas. Rich has also written a book entitled “No Excuse Dad,” which discusses the lost art of hanging out and is the host of the new program “Tractor Fanatic”. Rich Ragains is the perfect choice for your next event. With clean jokes, hilarious true-life family stories and this show will leave your people rolling with laughter. When not performing for corporate groups or private parties, Rich performs at the nations top comedy clubs such as the Comedy Caravan, Stardome, Funny Bones, the Punchline, and Zanies. He is also a contributing writer for National Lampoon’s Sports Minute Or So. Rich has opened for the likes of Dave Chappelle, Carrot Top, Larry the Cable Guy. He’s been seen on Country Music Television, NBC and been heard on Bob and Tom as well as XM and Sirius radio. We are extremely lucky to have Rich Ragains as our guest today in 7 Questions. Continue reading

7 Questions with Phil Sgrosso of Wovenwar

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by Ryan Meehan

Our choices define us. At heart, we choose between good and evil or right and wrong. It’s not predisposed, but rather something we learn through experience, life’s twists and turns, and the stops along the way. The very moniker Wovenwar speaks to that truth.  “When we’re born, we’re innocent and blameless creatures with no hatred or judgment,” explains guitarist Nick Hipa. “Along the way, personality and perspective get cultivated. Hate, love, and other influences can be woven into you, but you ultimately choose your path. If you recognize the foundations, you can opt to live differently. It’s a struggle. That’s what the name signifies. It’s about recognizing that and choosing accordingly.“  In the spring of 2013, the members of As I Lay Dying-Nick, Phil Sgrosso [guitar], Josh Gilbert [bass, vocals], Jordan Mancino [drums]-made an important choice of their own. They had seen tremendous success, selling over one million albums, enjoying a Top 10 debut on the Billboard Top 200 with 2010′s The Powerless Rise and a Top 15 debut with 2012′s Awakened, and touring globally alongside the likes of Slipknot, Slayer, Suicide Silence, Killswitch Engage, and more. Facing tumultuous controversy related to their singer and a shattering foundation shakeup, these four musicians decided to press on and do what they do best.  “We had been playing music for our entire adult lives and working towards becoming a better band every year, and then our unit was extremely compromised,” sighs Nick. “The natural step was to let that be and work on something else. We felt like we had a lot to accomplish in terms of our writing and chemistry together. We still wanted to develop. A lot of bands quit because they lose their love for it. We loved it more than ever. That’s why we decided to form something under a new name with no pressure to be anything.“  As they traded song ideas back and forth, Nick reached out to a lifelong friend Shane Blay. The two grew up together in Dallas, TX and even played in Evelynn before Hipa joined As I Lay Dying. In between working with Oh, Sleeper, Shane had begun writing songs with Nick purely as a creative outlet a year prior. Given their existing bond, the transition to writing for Wovenwar‘s self-titled debut proved seamless.  With Shane officially in the fold, the quintet hit a San Diego studio to record the album with producer Bill Stevenson [Rise Against, NOFX], who helmed Awakened. Immediately, they collectively tapped into a sound that picked up where they left off, while forging new territory altogether.  “It’s more dynamic,” exclaims Phil. “There’s a hard rock element to it. We wanted to utilize Shane’s voice and go bigger. That was important. There’s a different energy, and we got to explore more sounds. It feels more alive than ever. This is the most exciting thing we’ve done. We wanted to keep it familiar but take risks here and there.“  We are extremely proud to have guitarist Phil Sgrosso of Wovenwar as our guest today in 7 questions. Continue reading

7 Questions with Matt Ward

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By Ryan Meehan

Matt Ward is a father, comedian, comedy show producer, writer and musician. He is an anomaly among his peers that focuses on balancing the most important parts of his life. To Ward, balance is the meaning of life. “As a lover of comedy I work hard to balance not only being a great comedy producer, but a strong comedian as well. I want to be great on both sides of the mic.” Ward says. Others marvel at the amount of projects Ward is involved in. Matt Ward grew up in Lancaster, Ohio and spent 8 years living in Columbus, Ohio where he earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing from Franklin University. In 2006, he relocated to just outside of Wilmington, North Carolina to take a job with Verizon Wireless. Soon after moving he began his stand-up comedy career. Matt started getting on stage weekly at Timmy Sherrill’s Nutt Street Comedy Open-Mic every Tuesday in Downtown Wilmington. Together with other local comics including Sherrill, Ward helped build the comedy scene in SE North Carolina. In 2009 Ward and Sherrill began laying the groundwork for the Cape Fear Comedy Festival. In the fall of that year Matt moved once again, this time to Knoxville, Tennessee for a higher paying position with his company. In the spring of 2010 the Cape Fear Comedy Festival was born. In the fall of 2010 Ward did what many dream of doing – he left his soul-sucking job at Verizon Wireless behind him, and plunged headlong into working in the comedy industry. He had watched work/life balance become so skewed while working in the corporate world that he was becoming increasingly unhappy regardless of how much money he was bringing in. One day a district manager for his company revealed to him that the key to success within the company was sacrifice by putting family 2nd. Ward then composed the most important document he may ever write, his resignation letter. He delivered it the very next day and never looked back. Currently Ward produces and performs stand-up comedy full-time, but spends the majority of his time with his son Sam who was born in October of 2011. Ward appeared on Doug Stanhope’s CD “From Across the Street”. By appeared, we mean he introduced Doug on the CD and then walked to the back and sat down. He also has shared the stage with comedians such as Shane Mauss, Nikki Glaser, Myq Kaplan and Kyle Kinane. He has performed at Zanie’s in Nashville and the Improv in Atlanta, and has also appeared at the Laughing Skull Comedy Festival, Laugh Your Asheville Off and the Memphis Comedy Festival. Matt was also retweeted once by Jose Canseco. Ward has a CD under his belt: He released his debut ‘Glamorous’ independently in the Fall of 2011, and he’s our guest today in 7 questions. Continue reading

7 Questions with Admiral Nobeard of Swashbuckle

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by Ryan Meehan

Following their previous two LPs released through international juggernaut Nuclear Blast, the brutal buccaneers in New Jersey’s Swashbuckle are loading their grapples to raid the deck of Get This Right Records, the label now preparing to unload the newest motherload of pillaging shanties from the trio. With the “We Hate the Sea” EP, we are offered a glimpse at where Swashbuckle’s rum-soaked minds have brought them over recent years and where their impending fourth studio full-length release will take them. Bearing four hornswagglling new rippers dispatched in less than seven minutes, We Hate the Sea will blast unsuspecting landlubbers broadside with the might of a typhoon, undoubtedly utilizing some of the crew’s most mutinous tactics to date, the jingles conceived in grog-soaked skirmishes and harnessed during sessions at The Sound of Revolution with Len Carmichael. On August 5th the quartermaster at Get This Right Records will have stockpiles of “We Hate the Sea” in a a melee of colors/pressings, including 200 on blue/white swirl, 200 on black and a limited run of 100 on red/black smoke which will be limited to preorders with a numbered, special edition cover and a message from the band. In the mid 2000s, from the crumbling ports of Central New Jersey, sprang a band that has consistently held to one unifying principle: Thrash hard; Steal harder. With a career that began as a DIY tour de force of ramshackle maritime props seamlessly blended with blistering riffs, Swashbuckle has steeped their unique brand of high-seas hijinks and nautical nonsense to an internationally tasty piratical mosh sauce via self-released demo material, a debut full length unleashed by indie record label Bald Freak Music, and two subsequent full-length albums under the world’s foremost extreme metal label, Nuclear Blast Records. Swashbuckle’s discography swims parallel to an impressive campaign of touring cycles that range from their earliest self-booked trek, to countless professionally booked circuits of North America and Europe, and rounded out by appearances at numerous top music festivals including Summer Breeze, 70000 Tons of Metal, and Wacken Open Air. Swashbuckle’s core duo of bassist/vocalist Admiral Nobeard, and guitarist/backing vocalist Commodore RedRum have weathered the years with support, or lack thereof, from several retired band members including defunct keyboardist (Cabinboy Arsewhipe), a bellyaching guitarist (Rowin’ Joe Po), the much ballyhooed, shitkickin’ drummer (Captain Crashride), and finally a loquacious percussionist (Bootsmann Collins). The pirates currently sail into the fray led by Admiral Nobeard, who we are lucky enough to have as arrrrrrrrrr guest today in 7 questions. Continue reading