This upcoming Saturday night, November 17 in Wittorf, Germany, I’m scheduled to put my recently won DWA World Heavyweight Championship on the line at an annual German event called Harley Night.

Challenging me will be former DWA World Champion from several years back, Joe E. Legend.  Joe also happens to be Canadian, just like myself, and in the latter half of the ’90s he briefly wrestled for WWE as Just Joe.

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I know Joe from my early beginnings in pro wrestling, going back to my sophomore year in the business.  It was the year 1995 and Joe took the Greyhound bus down from Toronto to rendezvous with me in Sudbury, Ontario to drive onward to Winnipeg, Manitoba to wrestle for Tony Condello’s IWA.  On that same tour were Ultimo Dragon from Japan, Chris Jericho, Sexton Hardcastle (WWE’s Edge), Lance Storm, Bad News Allen and former AWA World Heavyweight Champion, Rick Martel.  It was a star-studded tour to be sure, and it was a crash course for a green boy like myself back at that time.

Joe Legend is a veteran of the ring wars, just like myself, here 23 years later.  How ironic, that we meet under these circumstances now this coming weekend at DWA’s Harley Night!

Be that as it may, Joe E. Legend is in for the fight of his life in one week’s time.  He’s a former DWA World Champion and I plan on making it stay that way.

DWA Nov 17 2018

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“Stoner Kings are benchmarking a whole new sound standard for stoner rock as a whole!”

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Hannu Leidén

Alas, we’ve reached the end of recordings for our third Stoner Kings album, which will carry the name Alpha Male. As a special introspective we thought to do a second interview with our producer, Hannu Leidén, following the grand close of this monumental project.
Hannu initially had a certain vision of things as we set out last year on recording the songs for this album. You can read that interview here: https://www.facebook.com/stonerkingsband/posts/854157918075740?__tn__=K-R.
Let’s see what views and things have changed and how our producer feels about the new Stoner Kings material overall as we close the loop on our third album before its release!
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Q: How have your views and impressions about Stoner King’s third album material changed over the course of this past year, having recorded and produced the band over the past 12 months now?
A: In my opinion, Stoner Kings have been searching for their own style inside of the stoner rock/metal genre since their beginnings. On this album, they’ve finally arrived. They’ve found their own style, their own niche. It’s damn near impossible to define stoner rock in general in only a few words, as the boundaries of the genre itself are very vague. With this forthcoming album, Stoner Kings are benchmarking a whole new sound standard for stoner rock as a whole!
Q: What was the most challenging part of the recording process in your role as producer?
A: The hardest part was definitely the fact that there was no set example that Stoner Kings were attempting to emulate. We had to construct an album from scratch that would come to define an entire musical genre from here on out, as auspicious as that sounds.
Q: You’ve now worked with sound engineer Eero Kaukomies for several years. You guys are like a team in many ways. What makes working with Eero so fluid?
A: Eero happens to be a very capable musician in his own right (having played in Geman metal powerhouse Gamma Ray, amongst a host of others) and he has the same work ethic as me. I’m still very much an analog guy. Eero, on the other hand, is more in tune with the digital age. Combining these two approaches helps produce optimal results in my opinion. Eero also happens to be one of the most adept Pro Tools users that I have ever seen.
Eero Kaukomies and Hannu Leiden

Eero Kaukomies and Hannu Leidén

Q: You and sound engineer Eero Kaukomies really tried to make this new Stoner Kings album arguably the best sounding stoner rock release recording quality-wise that the market has to offer. Open up the world of sound in this regard to the readership, to give them a better understanding of the standard you aimed to achieve.
A: We tried to retain some of the core aspects of the stoner rock soundscape, such as the grit of the genre’s aggressive garage sound, as well as making sure that the vocals weren’t too up-front. With the drums we kept the cymbals quite in the forefront. I wanted the arrangements to be clear-cut and anything that was unnecessary we trimmed away. For example, one of the band’s new songs called Universal has vibes going back to ‘70s acid rock acts like Hawkwind. I wanted to ensure that Stoner Kings’ bassist Rude Rothstén’s playing was duly noted as a defining factor in the band’s music, as he has a very unique sound. Another key factor was to run all of the rhythm guitars through a Marshall JCM 800 amp. This way, we were able to get more true rock’n’roll into the overall sound.
Q: Which songs of the lot overall stand out in your ears and for what reasons?
A: Bringing Out The Dead. This song is founded on a hypnotic drum rhythm which has a nifty, little hook here and there. The beat is strong and the vocals are very unique. The cherry on top here is the guitar riff, which carries the song from start to finish. Plus, vocalist StarBuck’s highlight coughs (channeling Black Sabbath’s Sweet Leaf) are as authentic as can be! Another song I just mentioned a moment ago, Universal, pays homage to the ‘70s in spirit, making this old rocker’s heart all warm and fuzzy.
Q: What kinds of people would you see enjoying the new Stoner Kings album?
A: I hope and believe that everyone and anyone that’s into heavy rock in general, and especially the diehard metalheads out there, will find something intriguing and captivating here. One thing is for sure; the stoner rock faithful will sure get a new bone to chew on with this one!
Q: What market sectors and countries would you see this third Stoner Kings album resonating in most of all? Thanks for your time and kudos for the good work on this upcoming album!
A: I believe that central and southern Europe, as well as Japan and the USA, would be best suited for this new Stoner Kings material. But even moreso, I believe that stoner rock bands worldwide will take influences from this upcoming album after hearing it, regardless of where they come from.
Stoner Kings at Sonic Pump with Alexi Laiho from Children of Bodom (photo by Marko Simonen)

Stoner Kings mug with Alexi Laiho from Children Of Bodom (middle) as well as Eero and Hannu at Sonic Pump Studios in Helsinki (photo: Marko Simonen)

I’ve been a performing musician for the past 19 years, and as such I’ve enjoyed a modicum of adventure and success around the world.

My own baby is a band I created back in 2000, which I called Stoner Kings. The name is a takeoff on Josh Homme’s Queens Of The Stone Age band, which I found to have an absurdly contradictory name back in the day. “If there’s a queen, there must also be a king!” I mused to myself. And alas, in my personal bravado and grandeur, I auspiciously called my own heavy rock outfit, complete with chunky, grooving riffs and heavy drums beats, Stoner Kings.

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STONER KINGS 2018

We released our debut album back in 2001, entitled Brimstone Blues. At the time, I felt like I had conquered the world. It was my maiden voyage, with my very own crew, me, the captain of the ship. Sure, I had been in a band prior to this, but it was someone else’s ship. I was just a crew member. With Stoner Kings, it was mine, all mine.

We went through the ups and downs, trudged the roads of trial and tribulation, met adversity from those others might have deemed “brothers” in our chosen genre, were kicked off stage in the middle of a particular set, and traveled Europe together. It was a brilliant time, one I wouldn’t trade for anything.

In 2006, we released our sophomore effort, entitled Fuck The World. I was pissed off, angry at our detractors and tired of smacking our heads against the glass ceiling. In Finland, it was a small circle of inside members, and if you weren’t hip with the big boys, then you weren’t playing ball. I bucked the system with FTW, gave as good as we got and then some. That said, we did pretty good with FTW domestically in Finland, although we failed to make a bigger imprint with it globally.

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Eero Kaukomies and Hannu Leidén

In 2007-2008, Stoner Kings went through some major upheaval. All the guys in the band got overhauled and changed, except for Yours Truly, Captain StarBuck. It was a tumultuous time, one that saw a very disjointed and wavering adaption of Stoner Kings. It wasn’t going to last and it didn’t. At the end of 2008, I called it quits and hung it up with my baby.

I engaged in different bands after Stoner Kings, finding solace in other musical endeavors and efforts. Yet, deep down, I knew Stoner Kings was my brainchild. It was my imprint, for better or worse. You can’t run from who you are and you can’t bullshit yourself. And so it was, that at the end of 2016, I felt the urge become undeniable. I reformed Stoner Kings, complete with my my original drummer Janne Kontoniemi, 2007-2008 bassist Rude Rothstén and a young, hungry guitarist named Joonas Vepsä.

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Alexi Laiho (Children of Bodom) lends a hand to one of our new songs with a mean lead & solo!

I had a vision. I had unrealized songs hidden away in my musical drawer, just begging to be released. Songs I had written in part 15 years earlier. They were ready, awaiting to be incarnated on tape. Other tunes had been spawned within the past few years. Yes, I was still churning out the only kind of rock that I knew how to make with my eyes closed. Chunky, heavy, groovy, catchy, riff-laden, attitude-infested raw rock. The kind that cavemen would dig. Primal. Animalistic. Simple.

And so it was that over the past year, from the fall of 2017 to the fall of 2018, we did our due diligence in the studio. We performed and laid down recordings over three separate sessions in order to focus our energies on writing a quartet of songs at a time. We got serious. Driven.

Now, here in the autumn of 2018, on a Monday tagged October 8, we brought our newest Stoner Kings incarnation of an album to a successful close. We mastered the thing at Chartmakers West in Espoo, Finland, under the auspices of Svante Forsbäck. Our producer Hannu Leidén and our sound engineer and mixer Eero Kaukomies stood by with us as we finalized the deal. It was a group effort, and we all shared in the thrill of the kill.

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Svante Forsbäck puts the final mastering touches on our new album today.

So alas, here we are now, with a complete, finished third Stoner Kings album in hand. Even in today’s desperately crappy record label jungle, I’ll still shop this doozy around to see if any possible players are game out there. Knowing the nature of the game and dire numbers of physical album sales, I’m not holding my breath for any miracles. Nonetheless, I’ll do my best on behalf of my baby. I believe staunchly in the product we’ve created and it’s an absolute killer in my ears.

Soon, very soon, you’ll hear it, too.

Remember the name: Stoner Kings.

Returning from what had to be one of the best tours I’ve ever had of Japan, I can only be grateful and happy for the experiences I enjoyed in The Land Of The Rising Sun between September 22-30.

First and foremost, I want to thank my friends Dr. Hiroaki Terasaki, Mayumi Miyazawa and Fumi Saito for making this trip truly memorable.  In addition, thanks to promoter Jimmy Suzuki of Tokyo Championship Wrestling, Masa Anchan, ASUKA Project, my old tag partner Akira Nogami, Yoshitake Hatada and his wife for the hospitality afforded to both me and my wife, Diana, on this trip.

In the first match that I had on September 24, I tagged with UTAMARO against Mitoshichi Shinose and Shota Nakagawa, the latter of whom was still reffing for WNC back in 2014 when I was in Japan last.  We beat our opposition after I pinned Shinose following my world-famous spike piledriver to score the win for our team at ASUKA Project’s event in Tokyo.

On September 27, I tagged with UTAMARO once again to face the duo of my age-old rival Yoshihiro Tajiri and my former Synapse teammate Yusuke Kodama.  This was the main event for Tokyo Championship Wrestling’s big event at Shinjuku Face Arena on a show that featured 50 wrestlers in total.  Sabu vs. Masato Tanaka vs. Yuko Miyamoto in a hardcore Triple Threat was also one of the feature matches at the event with Atsushi Onita of FMW fame refereeing.

In our TCW Shinjuku showdown, we fought like spirited dogs of war, ending the battle when Tajiri nailed UTAMARO with his infamous Buzzsaw Kick to the head, claiming the win for his team.  Regardless of our past rivalry, Tajiri extended his hand after the match and raised my arm in a show of respect and mutual admiration as the Tokyo crowd ate it up.

Thanks once again, Japan!  This has been a truly memorable trip and here I share some of the moments with you in photos.

 

After a four year absence and missing Japan terribly, I will be back in the Land of the Rising Sun next week!  This has been a long time coming, I can assure you of that and the Japanese fans are eagerly awaiting my return from the buzz that I’ve heard.

On September 24, I will be wrestling for ASUKA Project in Tokyo, as these guys running the deal are former WNC rookies from 2013-2014 that went on to form their own company after Tajiri and select other wrestlers moved on to Wrestle-1.  I will be teaming with UTAMARO against Shota Nakagawa and Shinose Mitoshichi in a tag match.

ASUKA Project tag match StarBuck Sept 2018

StarBuck ASUKA Project Sept 2018

Then, on September 27 at the famous Shinjuku Face Arena in Tokyo, I wrestle for Jimmy Suzuki’s Tokyo Championship Wrestling, once again tagging with UTAMARO against my old rival “The Japanese Buzzsaw” TAJIRI and my ex-stablemate from my 2012-2014 unit Synapse in WNC, Yusuke Kodama.  Tickets available through: http://wrestle-tour.com/tcw0927ticket.html

StarBuck tag match TCW Japan Sept 2018

Tokyo Championship Wrestling poster Sept 2018

I will be signing autographs with a special meet + greet with the Japanese fans at Toudoukan in Tokyo on Sunday, Sept. 23 at 6:30PM and there will be another meet + greet with autograph signings on Sept. 26 at Pro Wrestling Shop Champion starting at 7:30PM.

SEE YOU IN JAPAN!

So desu ne!!!!!!!!!!!!

Alas and behold, last night at Teatteri Forum in the middle of Helsinki, I claimed the DWA world heavyweight championship title, defeating former champ Rob Raw of Belgium in front of a rabid audience that hoped to see me lose.

FCF Wrestling Show Live, Sept 1st 2018, Helsinki, Teatteri Forum.

All match photos by Marko Simonen – http://www.markosimonen.com

This championship win adds to my extensive list of title belt accolades over the course of my career, which read:

  • PWF (Pro Wrestling Finlandia) championship 2005-2006
  • IWS (Italian Wrestling Superstar) Intercontinental champion 2005
  • Eurostars European championship 2006-2007
  • IWS (Italian Wrestling Superstar) world heavyweight championship 2005-2008
  • FCF (Fight Club Finland) championship 2007-2008, 2009, 2010, 2017-current
  • EPW (European Pro Wrestling) tag team championship 2010
  • TopCatch European championship 2011
  • SMASH championship 2011
  • BWA (British Wrestling Alliance) Catchweight championship 2013
  • WNC (Wrestling New Classic) championship 2014
  • Valhalla Nordic wrestling championship 2017-2018

…and now, as established already, the new DWA (Deutsche Wrestling Allianz) world heavyweight championship, following in the lineage of former champions such as Tatanka, Marty Jannetty and Joe E. Legend.

Rob Raw fought a game match, a hard fight, but in the end he overcome my moxy or the fact that, as FCF General Manager still last night, I had the power to restart the match after it seemed that Rob had gotten the duke.  Notwithstanding, call it controversial if you will, but I told everyone that we’d have a new champ once the dust settled in Helsinki on September 1.

All that said, FCF Wrestling’s board of directors decided to eviscerate my standing as interim General Manager and appoint my old nemesis Juhana Karhula as the new GM, making the announcement at the Wrestling Show Live! event last night.  I couldn’t be any less underwhelmed at this news, as it’s a definitive dig at me personally and a desperate attempt to try and topple me from my perch as FCF champion, also.

In addition, it looks like Karhula has made plans to reinstate Mikko Maestro, whom I fired from FCF back at the end of May this year.  Maestro showed up out of the blue last night just as I was celebrating my big DWA title win, which was surprising to say the least.  He’d finagled himself into the venue, probably kissing Karhula’s ass, as I’m sure Karhula let all of his buddies know in advance that he was taking over as GM.

Well, bring it on!  I’m far from being finished and I’m not laying down for anybody.  So Maestro, Karhula and company, load up your guns, ‘cos this means war!

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A double champion yet again: the DWA and FCF title belts proudly displayed!

Alas, as the Good Book says, there is a time and place for all things under heaven.  And so it was this past Friday night, August 10, that after 397 days as the undisputed Valhalla Nordic Wrestling Champion, I was dethroned by “Kid Fury” Timmy Force in Stockholm, Sweden in a 30-minute Iron Man match with a final score of 4-3 as the time ran out.

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I make no excuses and place no complaints.  The better man won that night.  Timmy brought his A-game to the show and he managed to survive at the end just as I was about to tie the match at 4-4, which would have made the bout a draw.  I spike piledrove Timmy in the final 15-seconds of the outing, after which he managed to roll out of the ring to the floor so I had to waste precious time in retrieving him and rolling him back into the ring to make the elusive pinfall to even the score.  But it was not to be.  The time simply ran out.

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Once again, I have to say that the Swedish crowd is one of the most hostile, anti-conservative, liberal-minded, hipster audiences that I have ever worked in front of.  They absolutely hated me.  That said, they got more than their emotional satisfaction’s worth when Timmy was declared the winner and new Valhalla Nordic Wrestling Champion.

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There’s only one thing that young “Kid Fury” needs to know, and that is the fact that the only place to go from the top is down.  I’ve climbed back up the mountain so many times in my long wrestling career that it’s already a familiar path for me.  I know how the ball bounces and how to reclaim former glories.  In so saying, Timmy, you had better enjoy your day in the sun, ‘cos this old warhorse is back on the hunt and trust me as I tell you: your days as Valhalla Nordic Wrestling Champion are numbered.

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And I’m the one that has your number.

(Photos by Maksim Lion)