Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Just over a week ago, I had the express pleasure of playing alongside one of the godfathers of the stoner rock genre and one of my personal groove/riff rock favorites: Fu Manchu.

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We lit that Helsinki stage on fire the night of March 10. (photo: Marko Simonen)

I remember when I started my own stoner rock band, Stoner Kings, in the year 2000. I still vividly recall the backlash that we got from especially the Finnish stoner rock scene at the time. All the hate mail and criticisms over our name. “Who the hell do these guys think they are, calling themselves the Stoner Kings?”, that was pretty much the adverse sentiment of our detractors.

I recall clubs that refused to book us because their bookers disliked our name and image. I recall certain bands in the same genre not wanting anything to do with us (which I’ll refrain from naming, as there’s no need to go so low), refusing to play with us even, due to our name. There was so much spite from a small, but influential, sector of the music industry toward Stoner Kings, that it was baffling.

Stoner Kings StarBuck Michael and Joonas

It ain’t supposed to be pretty! (photo: Saara Planting)

Alas, we persevered, regardless. I personally put out our debut album back in 2001 as a self-released title, and I sent 300 physical copies out to the various hard music medias worldwide. We got a ton of press, most of it good to very good to excellent for Brimstone Blues. They likened us to a mix of Skid Row meets Monster Magnet with the energy and intonation of Guns ‘n Roses. Some said we were like a sludged down Mötley Crüe. Others said we were like a potent mix of stoner rock and 70’s glam with a very distinct LA vibe.

Once we put out our second album, Fuck The World in 2006, the music business had changed considerably and stoner rock in general had gone back underground. Our sophomore album title reflected our backlash at the haters that we’d amassed after our debut. It was a big, fat middle finger to every detractor that chose to stand against Stoner Kings just for us being ourselves.

Stoner Kings Rude bassist

It was never my intention to imply by our name (as our most vehement detractors claimed) that we were somehow “better” than Kyuss, Monster Magnet and Fu Manchu — the big three of the stoner rock genre. I chose Stoner Kings as a name since it embodied the kind of bravado that I had become familiar with over my time and career in pro wrestling. Everything was over-the-top, larger than life and bold beyond belief. Who the hell wants to be low-key and hide in the bushes when you’re out to make an imprint and make your own mark on the world? Go for broke or go home, that’s what I believe.

Stoner Kings JJ Crash drummer

J-J “Crash” Kontoniemi lays down the rhythms like a monster. (photo: Marko Simonen)

So we went all-out with Stoner Kings from day one. Just like Alice Cooper did. Just like Motley Crue did. Just like WASP did. Just like all of the greats before us did. If you want to become the best, then learn from the best. And if you don’t want to take my word for it, then take Arnold Schwarzenegger’s word:

And so it is, that we come to 2018, two years into the comeback of Stoner Kings after an eight-year AWOL absence (2008-2016), and to the date of March 10 in Helsinki, Finland. That was the day that Stoner Kings got the chance to play with one of the three greats of the stoner rock genre. That was the day that we got to share the stage with Fu Manchu, and it’s a day that I’ll fondly remember for the rest of my life.

Stoner Kings Fu Manchu Helsinki March 10 2018

I personally take great pride in this opportunity and moment. It was a milestone for me personally. Chatting with the boys in Fu Manchu showed how cool they were with Stoner Kings, as they warmly accepted us opening up for them at Helsinki’s Nosturi. Fu Manchu frontman Scott Hill even dedicated their song California Crossing to us at the event, upon hearing that it was my personal favorite album (and title track) from their band.

So thank you, Fu Manchu, for giving Stoner Kings the opportunity to play alongside you guys. Thank you to Zachris at Live Nation Finland, who made it possible for us to play with these fellas. And thank you to the stellar 800-strong audience on hand at Nosturi the night of March 10 in Helsinki and the rousing, heartfelt ovation that they gave Stoner Kings, also. 

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Fu Manchu’s vocalist Scott Hill and I share a few words. (photo: Marko Simonen)

Catch Stoner Kings next in concert on May 3 at Bar Loose in Helsinki as part of the Tuska-Torstai band contest, where the overall winner gets the opportunity to play Finland’s premiere, annual metal festival, Tuska Open Air this summer.

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Well, ladies and gents, it seems that 2017 is turning out to be one of my better years in the wrestling game.

Firstly, my long-awaited autobiography Battleground Vahalla came out through Crowbar Press, and it has since been released on Kindle also!  This book has been selling great, and I am stoked about its success!

Shawn Khan Battleground Valhalla StarBuck

Shawn Khan, the Director of the Middle East and USA for Pro Wrestling Entertainment Pakistan, whom I wrestled for in May of this year, mugs with my autobiography!

Whereas this summer, I became the first-ever Valhalla Nordic Wrestling Champion, a title covering four Nordic countries (Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark), I also find myself as the number one contender for the Finnish FCF Wrestling championship title, with a title shot pending and upcoming on December 2 against current FCF titleholder Juhana “King Kong” Karhula at the biggest annual event in Finnish pro wrestling, Talvisota XII.

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As of late this autumn, I’ve traveled on several occasions to Germany to wrestle, doing very well for myself there against the top European competition, against the likes of Pascal Spalter of Germany and James Mason of England.  Just this past weekend, I toppled Native American superstar and former WWE name Tatanka in Delmenhorst, Germany.

StarBuck vs. James Mason POW Germany

I had one hell of a technical match in Hannover, Germany on October 14 against POW Intercontinental champion James Mason.

On November 11, I will travel to Wittorf, Germany to wrestle a mammoth of a man in Voodoo from the UK at DWA Harley Night XVII, and on November 25, I travel to Moscow, Russia to fight at Wrestliada 2017, which is the biggest Russian pro wrestling event of the year on an annual basis.

DWA Harley Night 2017

In addition, I have some marquee gigs with my band Stoner Kings coming up on November 17 in Helsinki in support of Swedish heavy rock powerhouse Sparzanza at Nosturi’s Alakerta venue and on November 18 in Tallinn, Estonia at Rockstars, where Stoner Kings will be joined by Redneck Rampage from Estonia and Hold from Finland.

Stoner Kings 2017

Stoner Kings are back on the attack, with monsterously potent new music soon coming out! (photo: Marko Simonen)

Right now, I am in the studio with both my Stoner Kings and Crossfyre bands, as we have new music coming out at the end of this year also!

In closing, get this: the It Came From The Desert movie (based on the famous 1989 Amiga video game) that I play a key role in has now been sold worldwide, as far as Japan!  Add to that the fact that Finland’s first-ever superhero action movie Rendel has been scooping up tons of international acclaim and licenses, and I’d feel comfortable saying the snowball of momentum is super-hot right now!

It Came From The Desert JAPAN

Stay tuned, more infos coming soon!

Hey folks, it’s been awhile since I last blogged, but things have been hectic!

I have huge news: this Thursday, on November 3 in Helsinki at On The Rocks, my infamous Stoner Kings band makes a return comeback to live gig action!

It’s been eight long years since we last played, and incidentally, our final gig was at On The Rocks then, too!  Since our inception in 2000, Stoner Kings recorded two studio albums, Brimstone Blues (2001) and Fuck The World (2006), going through a few line-up changes in the process, before calling it quits in late 2008.

Now, in late 2016, Stoner Kings are back with a new line-up, consisting of myself on vocals (as always), co-founding member Janne “Crash” Kontoniemi back on drums, Rude Rothstén from the 2007-2008 incarnation of Stoner Kings on bass, and Joonas Vespä on guitar.

Don’t be unfortunate and miss out on this monumental comeback gig!  Come on out tomorrow night at On The Rocks in Helsinki for the dawning of the new Stone Age!!!

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History was made this past Wednesday, July 27 and Thursday, July 28 in Lahti and Helsinki, Finland, respectively.  These were the days when my thrash metal band, Angel of Sodom, performed the only two gigs we will ever potentially play in history, period.

Now, I will address the question “why”, which has been on everyone’s lips, as the news spread about the rarity of these events.  The answer is simply that our guitarist/songwriter/founding member Eero Tertsunen moved to the USA last year, and only this summer did he plan to come back to Finland to pull off these two special shows.  Other than that, Eero is not planning on coming to Europe in the next four years.  That said, Angel of Sodom will still release a second album, which we are preparing as we speak, but we will not tour.

Angel of Sodom by Markus Palo 1

Angel of Sodom creating havoc in Lahti at Ravintola Torvi

If anyone out there questions why we will not tour, the answer lies in the sad state of the music industry at large.  We will not be buying on to any larger tours as a support act for a potential headliner.  That is simply not economically feasible.  For those who are unaware, only established large acts have a chance at making any real money with touring and shows.  Everything that remains local has little to nil chance of making any real turnover.  Therefore, the financial arguments are not in place for Angel of Sodom to plan gigs in the interim, while our guitarist Eero lives in the USA.  The price of airfare alone would have to be covered and justified by monies coming in from potential shows, and as anyone who is in the music industry knows, that would require a set of larger stages and a considerable number of monetarily healthy shows.

Yet, for those who were on hand this past week here in southern Finland for these Angel of Sodom concerts, you witnessed something special.  I have heard it from pretty much every single person that came out to witness the sonic devastation that we left behind.  The Helsinki show was filmed with four cameras and footage will be upcoming down the line, as we wanted this on tape for posterity.

My good friend and ace photographer Kari Helenius of MetalPhotos.com took these stellar shots from Helsinki at Semifinal.  Enjoy!

Today is the official album release of my old school thrash metal band Angel of Sodom‘s “Divine Retribution” album, which is now available as a digital sales download through the following:

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/fi/album/divine-retribution/id1033539593?app=itunes&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/music/album/Angel_of_Sodom_Divine_Retribution?id=Bvg4j6lifeylmxu3vzpemjeuw4a

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Divine-Retribution-Angel-Sodom/dp/B014GA256G/ref=sr_1_1?s=dmusic&ie=UTF8&qid=1441763730&sr=1-1&keywords=angel+of+sodom

Angel of Sodom - Divine Retribution COVER

The music video for our single, Righteous Kill, was also released today and can be seen below:

Today, Finland’s leading metal music online media, Imperiumi.net, released a week-long pre-listening stream of my thrash metal band Angel of Sodom‘s new album “Divine Retribution”, which can be heard in its entirety HERE — take a listen!

Angel of Sodom is ready to unleash sonic Hell on the unsuspecting world! (photo: Jarmo Katila)

Angel of Sodom is ready to unleash sonic Hell on the unsuspecting world! (photo: Jarmo Katila)

The official release date for “Divine Retribution” as a downloadable 10-song album is September 9 worldwide across the Internet.  September 9 will also be the release of our music video for the song Righteous Kill.

Angel of Sodom Divine Retribution album cover

It has taken literally over five years in the making, but finally, with a pending release date of September 9, 2015, the scathing debut album of my thrash metal outfit, Angel of Sodom, will finally see it’s long-awaited release!

This album, entitled “Divine Retribution” is chalk-full of brutal goodness, featuring 10 original cuts that certainly won’t wear out their welcome!  “All killer, no filler” is our motto.  I painted and designed the cover myself, being a graphic artist.  Take a look…

Angel of Sodom Divine Retribution album cover

Heavy on the riffs – and catchy, well constructed riffs at that – I have never had as much fun recording original material as I have had with Angel of Sodom.  This is doomsday in sonic form, with Yours Truly belting out the ode of a dying world with the force of an angel of destruction.  Clear and concise, you can actually make out the lyrics as they are verbalized, unlike a lot of thrash where it’s hard to make out the actual words amidst all the yelling and screaming.

Angel of Sodom (left to right): Joonas Heikkinen, Michael Majalahti, Eero Tertsunen

Angel of Sodom (left to right): Joonas Heikkinen, Michael Majalahti, Eero Tertsunen (photo: Jarmo Katila)

Rolf Pilve of Stratovarius played the drums on this “Divine Retribution” album, as he was momentarily with us for a spell before moving on to Stratovarius full-time.  Our current line-up features Joonas Heikkinen on drums, songwriter Eero Tertsunen on guitar (and he also played the bass for the album) and me, myself and I as the lyricist and vocalist.  We had one helluva time finding a bassist to commit to our group for whatever odd and eternally mystical reason, so we went and produced the album ourselves sans a regular bassist.  Well, I think Eero did a great job filling in the bass lines also, so no gripes to be made!

Here is a foretaste of the upcoming sonic fury about to be unleashed on September 9th, as you will be able to download the entire “Divine Retribution” album at that time.  This classic Metal Church cover was left as an outtake and teaser bonus for y’all…

And for those who want to cross-reference with the Metal Church original: