Posts Tagged ‘rock band’

“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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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.

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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.

We have a whole slew of shows across Finland this August slated with FCF Wrestling, and I am stoked about this!  The fact that FCF runs more events on an annual basis than 3/4 of our contemporaries out there in Europe puts us at the top of the food chain in the pro wrestling field on our continent.

On August 10 in Rovaniemi, Finland, FCF Wrestling presents Saturday Night Rock Fight at the 2013 installment of the Simerock Festival.  This is a special occasion, as the wrestling will be in the main slot of Saturday’s Simerock line-up, starting at 22:45 with five big matches on the menu.  Saturday Night Rock Fight will be headlined by Yours Truly tagging with “Wildman” Heimo Ukonselkä against Stark Adder and FCF champion King Kong Karhula.

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Between August 16-18, FCF Wrestling will present Ragnarök 2013 at this year’s Häme Medeival Fair in Hämeenlinna, Finland.  This theme weekend, featuring reenactments and relics of the Medeival era in Nordic culture, is an annual attraction in the city of Hämeenlinna.  2013 marks the third year that FCF Wrestling has been a part of the festivities and program.  All throughout the three days, Friday to Sunday, wrestling matches will be held in a central tent on the fair grounds, three times a day.  The gimmick is that all the wrestlers must dress up in Medeival costumes and garb for their matches, adding to the flair and flavor of the whole kit and caboodle.  For more infos, go to the Medeival Fair website.

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On August 24, FCF Wrestling comes to Kotka, Finland for an event entitled Rock & Wrestling Rampage at Route 66.  The catch here is, that the show is restricted to anyone under the age of 18, with alcohol and strippers on hand also.  This big event will feature five kickass wrestling matches, headlined by 185kg/188cm Cannonball Grizzly from the USA challenging me for my BWA (British Wrestling Alliance) Catchweight championship title.  This is going to be undoubtedly my toughest challenge to date, as Grizzly is a 25-year veteran of the ring wars, and the current reigning EWP (European Wrestling Promotion) heavyweight champion in Germany.  Grizzly has wrestled in 40 countries worldwide over his extensive career, and on August 24 he adds Finland to that list.  I just have to hope that I find a way by hook or by crook to retain my BWA championship at Rock & Wrestling Rampage, because I have never wrestled against anyone the size of Cannonball Grizzly before, and my active in-ring career dates all the way back to 1994!  In addition, my hard rock band Overnight Sensation will be playing live in Kotka at the same event, offering up originals and known cover songs by acclaimed artists such as The Cult, Van Halen, Ted Nugent, Motörhead and Thin Lizzy.

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For more infos, go to www.wrestling.fi