Guitarist Ben Bruce from metalcore band Asking Alexandria is in good spirits considering he’s about to embark on tour with the band soon for the new album The Black. He’s also been busy filming a new Hollywood movie called American Satan. “I’m not too bad, I’m about to jump on a plane and head your way” he says down the phone in a thick English accent. “I just landed in Phoenix Arizona today been in Hollywood for the last three weeks filming a movie – its brutal mate, I’ve had about two hours sleep in two days”
The yet to be released film follows a young rock band, half from England and half from the US, who drop out of college and move to Hollywood’s Sunset Strip to chase their dreams. “It’s basically a rock n roll thriller movie” says Bruce. “It’s my first role in a movie and I was fortunate enough to get one of the leading roles in the film, I got to work alongside people like Malcolm McDowell (Clockwork Orange) and John Bradley from GameofThrones. There was a bunch of names in the movie it was just a really good time”.
We chat about the recent T20 World Cup loss to the English against the Black Caps in the semi-finals, thwarted at the last hurdle so to speak after a promising star to the World Cup campaign while the English narrowly nudged out of the final this morning by the West Indies. “So, what you’re saying if we do go out for a drink expecting a leisurely stroll through town, we might actually get the shit kicked out of us? Dammit, I’ll bring my pads” (laughter).
Bruce is adamant that he is just ‘really lucky’ however as well as acting the versatile guitarist also plays in one of the most popular rock bands in the world, they have their upcoming NZ gig at Auckland’s Powerstation tomorrow, then an extensive tiki-tour around Australia to promote their brand new album The Black.
“Normally when we release a new album we start in the States or the UK” he confesses. “We toured Australia about three times and we fell in love with it and we got to play NZ for our first time only time a couple of years ago, we fell in love with your country. We enjoyed it so much we thought ‘why don’t we do something different with this record and do the first tour of the record over in your territory?’. We’re excited about and it will be the first time we’ll be over there with our new vocalist, so he’s super excited”.
Last year amidst controversy, lead singer Danny Worsnop announced his departure from the band to focus on his new band We Are Harlot. Fans reacted to news in distress as they believed he was essential to the band's sound, while others were not surprised by his career move, some going as far to say he performs better with his new band We Are Harlot than he did with Asking Alexandria – Bruce is pleased with the decision to go with Ukrainian metalcore singer Denis Stoff from the band Make Me Famous who sounds as if he’s been in the band forever
“Actually incredible if I’m honest” he shares audibly excited. “Changing vocalists in the band is like taking a few steps backwards and trying to build up again. Somehow we’ve managed to keep grinding upwards from everything I’ve been reading online & from what bands have been saying to us at shows, this could well be our biggest and most successful album yet – so that’s incredible”.
It’s going to be a crazy year for the band, who have just finished supporting British metal band Bullet For My Valentine in North America, dubbed the ‘British Invasion tour’ before heading our way to see fans, the boys keen to sample the local fare and hang out with locals.
“Normally when we're over there it’s been part of a festival or Soundwave in Australia so not much time to hang, but this tour I think we’ve got a day or two between each show. I think the reason we fell in love with New Zealand & Australia is that it seems so much more laid back than the rest of the world. While everyone’s racing around a million miles an hour you guys are just wandering along smile on your faces loving life, and it’s just a laidback relaxed atmosphere. So you know were definitely going to be checking out some restaurants and bars explore and drink up the atmosphere”.
Growing up many musicians dream of playing alongside their idols, the likes of Motorhead, Slayer and Slipknot their music Bruce says “Should be a part of everyone’s staple”. While not many people have the opportunity to be on the same bill let alone meet them it’s a reality that Bruce ponders without flinching, even a chance meeting with legend Lemmy from Motorhead before he passed away.
“The funny thing is it’s the opposite of what you would think” he says. “When we tour with bands in our generation there tends to be, not on our part by any means, but there tends to be a lot of animosity a lot of competition and shit bogging on each other and it’s not as much fun. Then all the older bands we’ve got listening to, like Motorhead like Slayer, they’ve all been the opposite. They’ve all actually been fans of our band and very supportive of us, we’ve actually made quite good friends in a lot of these older bands we look up to. They come up to us and say “My daughter/my granddaughter introduced me to you guys, I love what you’re doing, can I get a picture?” – so it’s really nice to see how humble a lot of these bands are and how much they support young up & coming rock bands”.
“The Motorhead guys we’ve hung out with all of them, had good times, Lemmy was the only one that we never actually spoke to. He would magically appear moments before the show happened he would play a set then magically disappear. I don’t think he was well for quite a few years the first time we toured with them was about three years ago, over the course of the three years Lemmy wasn’t actually out socialising if that makes any sense”.
The band have released cover songs over their short tenure together, classics like Nine Inch Nails song Closer for the compilation Punk Goes 90s Vol. 2 and also covering Duran Duran's Hungry Like The Wolf, featuring guest vocals from Jonathan Davis (JD) of Korn. It’s something the band do time to time while Bruce adds “There’s something very nostalgic about that we just love doing it”. All of the band's members have expressed their passion for 1980s rock music; Life Gone Wild EP features covers of two Skid Row songs while the Under The Influence: A Tribute To The Legends Of Hard Rock EP featuring covers of songs by bands such as Motley Crue, Whitesnake and Def Leppard.
“It kind of just takes us back when we were kids in our garage, with our tiny little practise amps and crappy little first ever guitars that never played in tune. There’s something magical about that time period as a musician when you first get into it. You sit there print out the tabs like Ultimate Guitar, sit down in your room for hours and you learn your favourite songs. We’ve got really young fans then older fans, but when we were starting out and doing Skid Row covers and stuff a lot of our younger fans which made up our core fan base, they didn’t know who Skid Row was, they didn’t know who Guns & Roses were, they didn’t know Whitesnake, so it was kind of cool to reintroduce these kids to bands that we grew up loving and listening. It was nice to bring that around again”.
The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus are gracing our shores on the 28th of November at Galatos. After a 4-year hiatus, they have burst back onto the scene and headed straight for the spot they are most familiar with, number 1 on the Billboard Christian Rock Charts.
Breakups are never easy - whether it's a romantic tryst, a teenage crush, or with a young Mark and his favourite band Dream Theater, that dark moment when founding keyboardist Kevin Moore left the group in 1994.
There's no denying that at my core, I'm a lover of progressive music - whether that means I love "prog" music or not is a question for another day, and is a topic which I touched on whilst talking to Steven Wilson the other week regarding the upcoming To The Bone show at Auckland's Bruce Mason Centre.
Auckland-based quartet Openside have added an extra date to their first, all-ages, nationwide tour. The group headlines The Seamless Tour will now perform a final show in Tauranga on July 20th featuring special guests DUNES .
Consisting of drummer/vocalist Cat Leahy and guitarist/vocalist Leisha Jungalwalla, This Way Northwill be a part of a very special night in Auckland called ‘Sass the Patriarchy’ an event they have been running in Australia.
As the days and nights get colder, we need something more to laugh about than the unpredictability of Auckland weather and lucky for us, The New Zealand International Comedy Festivalreturns (kicking off this Thursday 26 April).
I Am Giant’s have recently released their third and final album ‘Life in Captivity’. Featuring the singles ‘Dead Flower’, ‘Playing With Fire’ and ‘Don’t Look Back’, the band are currently touring New Zealand; their final tour and last hurrah in NZ.
To this day I still remember my introduction to Sepultura - camped out in the granny flat bedroom of long-time friend Kerry - a live version of their cover of Motörhead's Orgasmatron, and from there it continues to this day
Due to incredible demand, internationally renowned award-winning musician, comedian, actor, writer and composer TIM MINCHIN has today announced a third and final Auckland show as part of his Australasian tour of his live show BACK.
Legendary, GRAMMY-award winning band FLEETWOOD MAC today announced an Australian and New Zealand tour, set to kick off on August 9 with two shows in Auckland on September 16 and 19, along with a welcome return to Dunedin on September 21.
California’s radical sons, The Growlers arrive in the country this week for the start of the Australian leg of their mammoth worldwide ‘Beach Goth’ tour. In what is guaranteed to be a rollicking, majestic wave of movements all around our golden coast,
Timaru’s iconic Soundshell in Caroline Bay will host two of the most well-known bands in New Zealand in a one-day entertainment extravaganza this January. Katchafire and The Black Seeds will headline the R18+ event at the Soundshell on Saturday, January 26, 2019. They’ll be joined by The Butlers.
In true kiwi summer tour tradition Marlon Williams will now take The Tūrangawaewae Tour to a further six markets this February making it a total of 12 shows - Marlon’s most comprehensive New Zealand tour ever!
With sounds primed for a hot summer ahead, Christchurch four piece Mako Road have arrived with the perfect soundtrack for long nights, cold drinks and hazy days with the ‘Local Safari’ EP, which releases today.
“Music can bring us all together, it bonds us, it strengthens us...” this song “Your Guardian Angel” by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus has been dedicated to Toyah Cordingley.
Please spread the word to anyone who loves the song, or has lost someone too early also, feel free to leave any dedications in the comments of which we will share direct for Toyahs’ family and the band to see.
On the heels of releasing several collaborative hit tracks this year, five-time Grammy Award-winning artist and producer Mark Ronson returns with a brand new single of his own ‘Nothing Breaks Like A Heart’ featuring Miley Cyrus.
George Ezra toured the world nonstop for more than two years following the release of his debut LP Wanted On Voyage, finally making it to Aotearoa for one of the standout sets of this year’s Auckland City Limits.
Colin Mochrie, Brad Sherwood and Greg Proops the popular stars of the Emmy nominated Whose Line Is It Anyway? have teamed up to present an evening of extraordinary improvisational comedy for one show only at the Bruce Mason Centre in Auckland.
In a New Zealand first, five of the stars of Twin Peaks, Sheryl Lee, Kimmy Robertson, Michael Horse, Al Strobel, Dana Ashbrook and the Executive Producer of Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series, Sabrina S. Sutherland, will visit Auckland and Christchurch for an exclusive and unique CONVERSATION WITH THE STARS evening.
Singer Elaine Paige has announced an 8-date series of concerts from October 10 to October 25 2018, which will see her perform songs from her illustrious career along side an array of her favourite tracks by contemporary songwriters.
The critically acclaimed, award-winning comedian and actor, Catherine Tate, is bringing The Catherine Tate Show - Live to New Zealand for the first time, with shows in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch commencing November 28, 2018.
It has been announced overnight that Last Tapes Theatre Company's original production Valerie has been selected for a month-long season in the prestigious Summerhall programme at Edinburgh Festival Fringe this August.
Featuring Brouhaha: choreographer Malia Johnston, composer Eden Mulholland, AV designer Rowan Pierce; In Transit: choreographer Louise Potiki Bryant, composer/AV designer Paddy Free; The Geography of an Archipelago: choreographer Stephen Shropshire, composer Chris O’Connor.