Twisted Sister/Adrenaline Mob Drummer A.J. Pero Dies At Age 55

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(PCM) We are deeply sadden to report that Twisted Sister and Adrenaline Mob drummer A.J. Pero has tragically passed away at the age of 55.

A statement regarding Pero’s passing was posted on the official Facebook page for Twisted Sister which read “The members of Twisted Sister are profoundly saddened to announce the untimely passing of our brother, AJ Pero. The band, crew and most importantly the family of AJ Pero thank you for your thoughts and prayers at this time.”

Pero’s immediate cause of death has not been revealed at this time.

Pero joined Twisted Sister back in 1982 and was considered to be part of the band’s classic line-up. He ended up leaving the band in 1986, but then returned again in 1997. He has drummed on every Twisted Sister album with the exception of 1987’s “Love Is For Suckers”.

Twisted Sister front man Dee Snider posted the following on Twitter in regards to Pero’s passing:

Pero’s current band Adrenaline Mob also posted about Pero’s passing saying:

Our sincere condolences go out to Pero’s family, friends and bandmates during this incredibly difficult time.

From Twisted Sister/Adrenaline Mob Drummer A.J. Pero Dies At Age 55

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Catching Up With Miss May I Vocalist Levi Benton

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(PCM) If there has truly been a band that has proven that hard work and perseverance pay off than the words Miss May I should certainly be on your lips. These Ohio-based rockers have been continuously climbing their way to the top of the rock/metal world with each and every tour.

Currently, they have been making their way around the country on the Frozen Flames tour with August Burns Red and showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Miss May I are still currently touring behind their insanely successful fourth album “Rise Of The Lion” and are gearing up for the release of a follow-up later this year.

It is always a pleasure to catch up with Miss May I front-man Levi Benton to discuss life on the road, what we can be expecting from the band’s new material and more! Check it out below:

From Catching Up With Miss May I Vocalist Levi Benton

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“The Honeymoon Tour” Featuring Ariana Grande And Rixon At The Wells Fargo Center

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(PCM) It’s always nice getting over to the big arena for a spectacular show.  When in the Philadelphia area it’s always a treat to check out the large production shows that the Wells Fargo Center brings. Known by many as the face on some of Nickelodeon television’s most popular programs Ariana Grande has made her way from the screen to the stage. It would be easy to say that her popularity from these shows helped, but truthfully it’s her talent and shining star that helps keep her relevant to her many fans.

Opening was Manchester, England natives, Rixton. Making the most out of every second they had on stage the four pack made up of Jake Roche, Charley Bagnall, Danny Wilkin and Lewi Morganpiece group went right to work. Rixton opened with “Wait on me” to an appreciative Philadelphia audience following with their hit song “Make out”. It was great to hear a song that I recognized, and one I won’t forget as many of fans in attendance sang along with them.

Though most boy bands have to go through the motions of connecting with fans there was a real genuine energy and charisma that the group showed. They were entertaining to watch and looked like they were having a good time. Rixton played seven songs, my favorite being the cover medley of “Fine China / Uptown Funk / Crazy in Love”. The dancing and stage presence of these guys is something you don’t want to miss. I am sure this will not be the last time we talk about Rixton. Rixton will soon be hitting the road for a summer tour with Ed Sheeran, so we absolutely can’t wait to catch these guys when they are around again this June.

After a 20 minute changeover it was time for Ariana Grande to hit the stage. The lights went down and a roar of 20,000 screaming girls filled the air at the packed Wells Fargo Center. The girl we used to know as “Cat Valentine” is all grown up now. The innocence she showed on “Victorious” and “Sam & Kat” have been replaced with beautiful sparkled dresses and stiletto heels. Aided by a full group of back up dancers Ariana showed why she is making her way up the pop charts. Opening with her popular hit “Bang, Bang!” — Ariana went into full dance mode, leading her dancers like a true pop star. The way Ariana took control of the stage was very impressive leading her dancers like she has been doing this forever.

Each song came with a full costume change with sparkled dresses and stiletto heels being the theme of the night. Though she was singing to a parent in tow younger audience I always had the feeling that Ariana was performing like she is trying to shed the teenage innocence of her TV character and enter into adulthood as a pop superstar. As she performed through her one and half hour set Ariana showed a comfort in being on stage using props like clouds and beautiful chandelier’s to carry her through the air into or out of each song. The background light screens and lights also played into her performance, using perfect light and video combinations to build up each song. The fans sung along as she performed flawless versions of songs like “Be my Baby”, “Best mistake”, “Tattooed heart” and “Love me harder”.

If the fans in attendance did not get enough interaction with Ariana the highlight moment of the night came when everyone sang happy birthday to one of her back up dancers. There was so much child parent bonding at this show you couldn’t help but leave with a song in your heart. Catch Ariana Grande on “The Honeymoon Tour” in a city near you!

From “The Honeymoon Tour” Featuring Ariana Grande And Rixon At The Wells Fargo Center

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Country Music Jesus – Eric Church earns praise on The Outsiders World Tour with special guests Drive By Truckers

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(PCM) Country music outlaw Eric Church is continuing his domination in 2015. Church released his fourth album The Outsiders just over a year ago, debuting at #1 on the both the Billboard Top 200 and Top Country Albums charts. It was the best-selling country album of 2014. Last month, Church was a featured performer at the 57th Grammy Awards. He delivered an emotional rendition of “Give Me Back My Hometown”, and was also nominated for four Grammys that night. Last week, The Outsiders’ fifth single “Like a Wrecking Ball” hit the radio waves. It’s a rather appropriate track, as Church is still rolling across the country like a wrecking ball on The Outsiders World Tour.

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Last night at the sold-out Mohegan Sun Arena, very special guests Drive By Truckers opened the evening. Last year, the likes of country legend Dwight Yokam, Grammy Award-winning hard rockers Halestorm, The Brothers Osborne, and Brandy Clarke all supported Church on respective stretches throughout the 31-show trek. Southern rockers Drive By Truckers played hits like “Birthday Boy”, “The Big To Do”, “Tornadoes”, and others. The set also featured “First Air of Autumn” from their latest album English Oceans which hit #16 on the Billboard Top 200 and #1 on the UK Rock Albums Chart last year. The band closed the set with their 2001 anthem “Let There Be Rock.”

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After the set change, the arena went black and “Electric Worry” by Clutch came blasting through the speakers. The crowd began to sing along immediately, getting even more jacked up for The Chief to take the stage. He came out to Clutch. That’s badass.
Church entered out of the darkness with a Gibson Les Paul Special slung over his shoulder. He began strumming the opening notes of “The Outsiders”, the title track of his latest album. Then the rest of the band took the stage as Craig Wright and his drum kit descended from the rafters. “We’re gonna play whatever we want, and whatever you guys wanna hear,” Church stated. And that’s just what they did.

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Church tore through a 23-song setlist that included hits like “Creepin’”, “Guys Like Me”, “Country Music Jesus”, “Cold One”, “Smoke a Little Smoke”, the ultra-heavy rocker “Homeboy” and his feel-good megahit “Drink In My Hand”. He also played “Jack Daniels”, and at one point while shaking hands with the crowd, a fan handed him a mini bottle of Jack which he immediately slammed. Would you expect anything less from Eric Church? I think not.

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He closed out the evening with a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born In The U.S.A” that bled into his signature tribute track “Springsteen”. Speaking of The Boss, The Chief’s band The Outsiders are an absolutely stellar group that will one day take their place in the ranks with The E Street Band, The Heartbreakers, Crazy Horse, and other famous backing bands.

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While I still think that Chief was Church’s finest hour, he’s definitely put out another gem with The Outsiders. The sold out shows on this tour run prove that Church is definitely at the height of his career and atop the country music world. He’s a rebellious renegade who’s doing it his way in class by himself.

Eric Church signed with Capitol Records in 2005, and released his debut LP Sinners Like Me in 2006. That same year, he made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry stage. He promoted the album on the road with Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts, Gary Allan, Dierks Bentley, and Miranda Lambert. In 2009, Church released his sophomore effort Carolina. The disc hit #4 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums Chart and produced three hit singles.
Church broke out in 2011 with his third album Chief. The disc skyrocketed to #1 on the Billboard Top 200 and Top Country Albums Charts, selling nearly 2 million copies in the U.S. alone.

The disc ended up containing five hit singles, including fan-favorites “Homeboy” and “Creepin’” as well as #1 hits “Drink In My Hand” and “Springsteen”. Church toured with Toby Keith on the Locked & Loaded Tour, and he took home the American Country Music Award for Top New Solo Vocalist. The album Chief received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Country Album and won the CMA Award for Album of The Year.

In 2012, Church took his rebel reputation to a new level by accepting a personal invitation from heavy metal icons Metallica to perform at their own Orion Music + More Festival in Atlantic City, NJ alongside Avenged Sevenfold, Arctic Monkeys, Cage The Elephant, The Gaslight Anthem, Suicidal Tendencies, and more.

From Country Music Jesus – Eric Church earns praise on The Outsiders World Tour with special guests Drive By Truckers

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Robin Thicke And Pharrell Williams Found Guilty Of Copyright Infringement

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(PCM) Many people have noted the striking similarities between the hit Robin Thicke song “Blurred Lines” which was produced by Pharrell Williams and the late Marvin Gaye song “Got To Give It Up”. Apparently, 12 jurors felt that those similarities were enough to find the pair guilty of copyright infringement and award Gaye’s family the amount of $7.4 million in damages.

This case is now making waves within the music community, as there is cause for concern over the fact that if a songwriter is able to draw inspiration from another it could possibly be considered copyright infringement even it it is not done purposefully. It is worth noting that in this particular case the infringement was found to be non willful.

Gaye’ family is pleased with the verdict although they had initially been seeking over $25 million in damages. The jury also ruled that neither the record company, nor rapper T.I. who appears on the song should be held accountable in the lawsuit.

Gaye’s family claim that they noticed striking similarities between the two songs back when “Blurred Lines” was first released back in 2013, however both Thicke and Williams, who is responsible for writing the song, claim that they never discussed or copied Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got To Give It Up”.  Williams said he was inspired by the feeling of Gaye’s music and that he was channeling that feeling of the late 70’s when the song was created and Thicke claimed that he was high on Vicoden when the song was penned, mostly by Williams.

 

From Robin Thicke And Pharrell Williams Found Guilty Of Copyright Infringement

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Catching Up With Mallory Knox Vocalist Mikey Chapman!

Credit: Andrew Wendowski Photography

Credit: Andrew Wendowski Photography

(PCM) Kristyn Clarke and Renee Winner of PopCultureMadness were recently able to catch up with Mallory Knox vocalist Mikey Chapman during their recent tour stop in Philadelphia, PA. The band were part of one of this winter’s biggest tours sharing a bill with both Sleeping With Sirens, Pierce The Veil and PRVIS.

Being out with bands such as Pierce The Veil and Sleeping with Sirens makes this a huge tour for the band. We are sure that they have seen their fan base continue to grow as a result. Mikey tells us “The great thing about this tour is that we get to go back to the beginning, our roots so to say, because we are performing to people who don’t know us and that is where we all start. It means that we can really be the underdogs again and work towards making new fans. So far, so good! 

The American public have really seemed to pick up on our sound and what we are doing. People are vibing off  of that and really enjoying it, so hopefully that will just carry on growing.”

We assume this must be refreshing to the band overall and certainly like dealing with a different type of animal touring-wise. Mikey reveals “Absolutely. I mean, you go from the U.K. and Europe to Australia and now finally we get to do The States, you notice that the crowds of people are different. They all have the same wants and likes, but there are slight kind of differences that you have to learn and craft your set around. You have to make a point to tailor it to the people you are playing for and people in The States are no different. It’s been a real nice challenge to come to grips with that for sure.”

When asked which songs are going over the best live thus far, Mikey responds “We always have our last song, which is “My House” which we always seem to play last because it is a favorite where ever we go and it carry’s over very well over here. There seems to be a divide among the crowds we’ve played to so far between kids who really like moshing and there are other kids who like the more poppier side of things so its been nice to see that both aspects of what we consider makes us a band are being received by almost two different kinds of people which is really weird, but kind of exciting to see.Kids who enjoy both subgenres of music can come together and enjoy one band. It’s very exciting”.

We were also curious if the band was looking into any of the U.S. music festivals this year. Mikey told us “I think we are going to be doing a summer over here, I can’t say too much right now, but I can’t wait.” The band is also headlining the Takedown Festival this year overseas. Mikey says “We head back home March 6th and then we have a few hours to get to where we are playing and then it is straight back on. It’s going to be nice because it is going to be one of our first home shows of the year. It gives us an opportunity to meet back up with our British fans. We then have a few more days off and they we come straight back here to The States for SXSW.”

With all the traveling that the band has been doing we are sure that they have seen some crazy stuff along the way. Mikey comments “Being a video game lover, one of the things I like the most here in The States and would love to take back home are these arcade/video game bars. It is brilliant. You have a place to buy alcohol and sh**tloads of video games, we don’t have that back home and we have been to three here so far and I am just in heaven.

It’s been a great thing to immerse yourself into and to me it is something that is quintessentially American. Things like pinball they don’t really do back home, as a kid I kind of assimilated so much American culture through television, music and stuff like that, so just being here and immersing yourself in it physically is a unique and exciting experience.”

We asked if it was everything he expected to which Mikey responded “In a way, yeah, I mean obviously you have your expectations, but the people here completely blow my mind and everyone has just been so welcoming and totally wonderful. Everyone seems to be looking out for one another and very friendly, so you guys should be proud of yourselves for that.”

Sometimes there can be certain aspects of a band that people misunderstand from time to time, Mikey reveals that with Mallory Knox often times people actually think they are Australian rather than British and that his name is not Mallory Knox. Many people at shows will think it is a singular person not an entire band. “I am not a girl, nor is my name Mallory Knox”. 

He goes on to say “We pride ourselves in just being straightforward and we are what we are. I used to be fed up as a kid about having to know certain things or know this or that to try to fit in and all that kind of rubbish. For me, if you like us you like us, it doesn’t matter where you’re from, what you do or any of that stuff, it is just completely irrelevant to me. For us if there are any misconceptions they are prefabricated because what we are on stage is what we are in real life. There’s no bulls**t”

The band are currently touring behind their latest album “Asymmetry” which was released last October. In talking about the recording process Mikey tells us “With Mallory’s recording process, before we even get to the studio, just in the writing side of things, we don’t write a song and bring it to fruition, if we don’t believe that it is going to make it onto the record. We may keep some stuff floating from time to time, but we will never take a song all the way to the end and then say we are going to put that one on the back burner.”

Whatever we write, if we are going to spend our time and effort on it, it’s got to be something we really think will fit on the record. Once the writing is out of the way, the recording process process is very swift I suppose. With “Asymmetry” we had maybe two or three months to do this one, which is really unique to us because the album before we only had about two or three weeks. So, in comparison it was a long time for us, which meant we could really perfect certain sounds and things like that.”

Mikey went on to praise his band mates in Mallory Knox saying “They are brilliant at what they do!”

Credit: Andrew Wendowski Photography

Credit: Andrew Wendowski Photography

We were curious what it was like to work with Gil Norton as a producer and if he challenged the band in any way. Mikey tells us ” Sure. We were really apprehensive to work with Gil because of some of the great records he has done, I mean we are all big Foo Fighters fans, massive Jimmy Eat World fans and know just how influential those bands are and he was such a big part of that. Gil really became a friend and he became the sixth member of the band. He helped us get through certain parts and he just really understood us and how we worked, especially when I was doing my vocals. He knew how quickly I would get frustrated if I couldn’t get something and he would work around it … he could see it before it could. It was the mark of a true master of his craft and we are very honored to say we got to work with him for sure”

The rest of 2015 will hold more and more traveling for the band, as Mikey says “We’ve put a lot of hard work into this record and our fans at home have just been so fantastic at picking it up and giving us the opportunity to do some of the things we are doing now. We just want to do right by that and just tour the hell out of this record and visit as many places around the globe as we possibly can and hopefully make some new fans and friends along the way.”

To wrap things up with Mikey we asked him some of this thoughts on the current rock scene and jokingly what he would do if Kanye took his award away.  He jokingly replied “I would kick that guy in the face. I don’t give a sh*t! That guy is rude as hell. Beck deserved that sh*t! Musicians these days fight an uphill battle and I take pride that within British music we all kind of have each other’s backs and it seems to me that being on this tour with the guys in Pierce The Veil and Sleeping With Sirens and seeing how they work, everyone is looked at as equals. We all have each other’s backs.”

Photography credit: Andrew Wendowski Photography

From Catching Up With Mallory Knox Vocalist Mikey Chapman!

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