Posts Tagged ‘music’

“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)

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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.

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 we shot our very first music video with Angel of Sodom, my more than radical old school thrash band.  Things are going forward at a breakneck pace, as we shot our band photos last weekend at the very same location that we did the video shoot at today.

I have no idea what the old sea vessel is that seems to be entombed and left to rust seaside at Sompasaari in Helsinki, but it served as a perfect setting and backdrop for our first album single and video piece, Righteous Kill.

I thought I had almost messed up my gear for today, as my car suffered a mishap during the week and ended up in the repair shop over this past weekend and I forgot my band clothes in the trunk.  There was no way to get them out today, as the repair shop was closed, so I had to make-do with a new batch of duds to slice and butcher up.  In the end, though, I have to say I was pretty happy with what I cooked up!

We had three wrestlers from FCF Wrestling come in, along with a host of others, to serve as the rival gang against our AoS contingent in the story of the video.  Wrestler Heimo Ukonselkä was cast as the leader of our adversaries, and in true Mad Max fashion, we duked it out for territorial pissing rights et al.  FCF’s Tohtori Ioni and Julia Kyy showed up also.

This Righteous Kill music video will now be edited and packaged for a summer release in some weeks’ time.  Keep your eyes peeled for this thrash anthem, and check out the pre-production demo of Righteous Kill below.

A special thanks goes out to Sami Haavisto of Horror Shop in Helsinki, who helped us out with select paraphernalia to make this filming come out just as awesome as it did!  Plus a big shout-out to photographer extraordinaire, Marko Simonen, who showed up on his own accord out of the blue to shoot up these spectacular production photos…

Angel of Sodom Righteous Kill video shoot by Marko Simonen (1) Angel of Sodom Righteous Kill video shoot by Marko Simonen (2) Angel of Sodom Righteous Kill video shoot by Marko Simonen (3) Angel of Sodom Righteous Kill video shoot by Marko Simonen (4) Angel of Sodom Righteous Kill video shoot by Marko Simonen (5) Angel of Sodom Righteous Kill video shoot by Marko Simonen (6) Angel of Sodom Righteous Kill video shoot by Marko Simonen (7) Angel of Sodom Righteous Kill video shoot by Marko Simonen (8) Angel of Sodom Righteous Kill video shoot by Marko Simonen (9) Angel of Sodom Righteous Kill video shoot by Marko Simonen (10)

Well, today is the last day of the year.  A fitting time to look back on the tumultuous year that has been 2013.

Personally speaking, it’s been the hardest year on many fronts in my life to date.  Sure, I’ve had both good and bad this year, but the dark side casts a major shadow on what has been 2013.  Some economic seers were predicting a shitstorm for this past year at the tail end of 2012, and lo and behold, that shitstorm came with sinister fury.  Financially, 2013 was a horrendous year.  The sooner forgotten, the better.  I really have no idea what is going to stem the tide and turn the course of the economy and job market, but something needs to happen — big time.  Maybe it’s just the foreboding clouds of impending doom that forecast the doing away with of cash money, moving society towards a total digital transaction empire.  Maybe it’s the speedy dissolvement of the middle class, ushering in a greater disparity between the those who have and those who have not.  Maybe it’s the last, great rush of the greedy and self-centered, the liars and the thieves, to capitalize on the few remaining remnants of everyone else’s piece of pie.  Whatever it is, it’s come to not only reach, but exceed the limit.  Stop already!

But yeah, there has been good in this past year, also.  I started 2013 off with a surprise engagement to my sweetheart, Diana, at a wrestling show in Lohja, Finland on January 4.  After my match against Ricky Vendetta, I took the house mic and proposed in center ring to my girl, leading to our marriage on March 13 in Espoo, Finland.  Diana told me that both numbers 3 and 13 have always had a lucky significance for her during her life, and it was her wish that we tie the knot on 13.3.2013.  It took me almost 40 years to reach marriage, but dammit, I finally found my diamond in the rough and took the head-first plunge!

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My parents pose with my brand spanking new wife and I

In March, I had the honor of representing my homeland of Canada in the Four Continents Cup of 2013 in Brugge, Belgium.  The match was a four-man random tag elimination bout, with wrestlers also representing Spain (Europe), Japan (Asia) and Ecuador (South America).  In the end, it boiled down to myself and Makoto Morimitsu of Japan, with my foe escaping my finishing piledriver attempt, capturing me in a rolling side cradle hold for the pinfall and win.  It was a hard-fought match that was eight years in the making, as I had originally faced Makoto in Italy back in 2005, where I left him laying the ring after my spike piledriver.

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StarBuck piledrives Makoto in the Four Continents Cup

I got to the critical age of 40 this past year, back on April 24.  My wife organized a surprise birthday party for me at my old friend and ex-Stoner Kings drummer Janne Kontoniemi’s Bar Chaplin in downtown Helsinki.  It was nice to see so many people turn up for the occasion.  That said, it really feels like at 40, my life may as well be half over.  I’ve been able to “live the dream”, as the boys call it in pro wrestling when one is able to enjoy a good modicum of success, rock all over the world with several of the bands I’ve fronted in, create characters with SONY music sensation Hevisaurus that have turned into a smash-hit all across Finland with kids far and wide, and a whole hoopla of other stuff.

Yet, somehow at the milestone age of 40, all of this feels somewhat … empty.  It’s strange.  When you think, that in the end, all you have ahead of you is an endless eternity that you cannot cancel out on, even if you’d have hoped, it all just becomes so very strange.  The words from my band Overnight Sensation’s song Fool Like You resound in my head: “If I could, I’d return to the womb … way the hell back to nothing, before I even set to bloom.”  Maybe it’s the hardships over the past year, but it makes one somber and philosophical.

In the Spring of 2013, I had the honor of facing WNC (Wrestling New Classic) champion, Osamu Nishimura, as part of a spectacular tag team main event in Tokyo, where I was paired up with my Synapse teammates AKIRA and Syuri against TAJIRI, Nishimura and WNC women’s champion Lin Byron.  My good friend, heart surgeon Dr. Hiroaki Terasaki, claimed that this was the best match that I had wrestled in Japan in his opinion.  I must say, that working against Nishimura in that match left me hoping I would have gotten a singles title match against the man over the course of this year.  However, the financial hardships that are troubling the west are also now being felt harshly in the east, and I didn’t get the chance to grapple solely against Nishimura, as he dropped the title to TAJIRI this past summer.

A show of respect between WNC Champ Nishimura and myself after our match.

A show of respect between WNC Champ Nishimura and myself after our match.

On May 11 in Espoo, Finland, I captured the BWA (British Wrestling Alliance) Catchweight title from Valentine, gaining a measure of revenge on my adversary for attacking my wife a couple of months earlier at an event in Helsinki.  My victory was bittersweet, as I had promised not only to take the title, but to send Valentine out on a stretcher for good measure.  I didn’t get to collect on the stretcher ride portion of it all, but that receipt is still coming, be assured of that.

2013 was a hard year also in the way of physical injuries, particularly the herniated disc between my C6-C7 vertebrae, which was diagnosed in mid-August.  I had been experiencing numbing pain in my upper left shoulderblade/trapezius/arm, and I am talking 24/7 pain that just wouldn’t relent.  I finally could take no more, and I went to one of Finland’s most highly-regarded sports physicians, Dr. Tuomo Karila, who had been the doctor for the Finnish wrestling team in the last Olympics.  That is when I understood the severity of my condition.  Had I continued to wrestle, especially in a highly-anticipated match against 190kg Cannonball Grizzly at the end of the summer, I would have risked paralysis.  I tried to snake my way out of a match in Gothenburg, Sweden, against local hero Conny Mejsel, but the President of GBG Wrestling, Lady Delores, demanded that I wrestle.  I was given a substitute, as I declined the hard challenge that Mejsel would surely present, and in lieu, I faced masked man Aguila Roja.  I trounced Roja, as I was irate that GBG wouldn’t let me sit the match out, due to my aggrevated injury, but at the end of it all, Mejsel appeared to save the day.  I beat Mejsel bloody with a folding chair, paying him back for conniving against me with the Bättre Folk contingent in FCF Wrestling back in the summer of 2013 in Helsinki at one event.  When I am fully healed, I will be more than glad to face Conny Mejsel, be it in Sweden or in Finland or any place for that matter.  All that said, I have still not fully recovered from my herniated disc, as of December 31 today, as I get pins and needles from time to time in my left index finger from the damage done to my disc.  Deadlifts, chin-ups and back squats are off limits for another three to four months, as this thing has to get properly healed up.

I got some good news from Oskari Pastila, the director of my Spandex Sapiens documentary movie.  Originally, the movie was slated to be out in January 2014, but lo and behold, the flick just kept getting more and more funding, which meant that more and more people were getting involved.  This of course meant that the release date of the film had to be pushed back to either Spring 2014 or Autumn 2014, since the summer vacation months do not warrant putting anything notable out.  So, for all of you who have been asking and wondering, now you know the lowdown on the situation.

Spandex Sapiens promotional artwork by Janne Yliruusi

Spandex Sapiens promotional artwork by Janne Yliruusi

In September, I returned to action in England for the first time in thirteen years at an event in Gloucester, entitled Wrestling Rampage.  I faced local hero Matt Jarrett aka The English Bulldog, dropping him with my trademark spike piledriver to get the duke in under 10-minutes of combat, as Jarrett suffered a neck injury during the course of our bout.  I was even asked to go to BBC studios, promoting our match-up prior to the event, which I thought was very cool, in addition to making local newspaper headlines.

The Citizen newspaper runs a big piece on my match

The Citizen newspaper runs a big piece on my UK match

September also signalled the release of my hard rock band Overnight Sensation‘s Life’s a Bitch album, which was released solely as a digital record in todays Internet market.  It’s sad to say, but by and in large, it seems that the day and age of the CD as a salable item is in its twilight period.  So much of everyone’s business has become virtual, that it’s downright scary.  Still, I am damn proud of the end result with Life’s a Bitch, which is a very catchy and solid rock album.

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I got to play director on my southern rock act Crossfyre‘s Devil’s Daughter music video, which I also did the storyboard and wrote the story for.  My wife even got a sponsorship for the girls in the video through mineral make-up company, Gaya Cosmetics.  The end result was stellar, as you can witness from the official video.

All in all, 2013 doesn’t sound too bad from the highlights mentioned above, but in many other ways, especially financially, this year is not one that I would like to revisit, outside of a few peak moments.  Only God knows what 2014 holds in store, as right now, it’s just a black hole with a huge question mark at the end of it.

Nonetheless, thanks to all my fans and supporters for keeping the faith alive and flame burning over the past year!  Let’s keep our thumbs up for 2014…

My southern rock band Crossfyre will be filming our second video from our upcoming Iron Horse album, for a song entitled “Devil’s Daughter”, on November 30 in the southeastern Finnish city of Kotka at Motel Route 66.

For this video shoot, we are taking open applications online, for female roles in the “Devil’s Daughter” video.  What we are looking for is about six attractive ladies between ages 18 – 35 to play short seductress roles, sans any spoken parts.  Everything is just body language and gesturing, but not to worry, there is nothing R or X-rated to worry about!  Crossfyre will also have a gig, which will be filmed in conjunction for the music video, the very same night at Route 66.

“Devil’s Daughter” is a song that tells a very simple and prolific story about certain types of women that can lead a man to ruin.  If any of you ladies out there that are reading this post wish to send in your open application for consideration to appear in the video, send an email to me at starbuck (at) saunalahti.fi by November 25, and we will inform the chosen girls via email.

Crossfyre gig poster A3 KOTKA 2013

Check out Crossfyre’s last video, Born to be Free, also from the upcoming Iron Horse album…

The fall season is here and so is my hard rock band Overnight Sensation’s “Life’s a Bitch” album, which will be out on Tuesday, Sept. 3 all across the Internet as an online purchase.

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Pick your copy of the album up from Muve Music, VerveLife, MySpace Music, Rhapsody, MediaNet, Xbox Music, Rdio, Amazon MP3, iHeartRadio, iTunes, Spotify, Sony Music Unlimited, Wimp, Google Play, Gracenote, Shazam, simfy, Nokia, eMusic and Deezer.

Overnight Sensation line-up: Jouni Weckman (bass), Jan Tilles (guitar), StarBuck (vocals), Jesper Löfström (drums)

Overnight Sensation line-up: Jouni Weckman (bass), Jan Tilles (guitar), StarBuck (vocals), Jesper Löfström (drums)

Here is a small assortment of photos from Overnight Sensation gigs to help you get into the groove, and listen to a couple of teasers from the album by pressing “like” on our Facebook band profile HERE.

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