Slipknot’s Jordison marks Paul Gray anniversary plus latest from Megadeth, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, Mastodon, U2, Krokus, Staind and more

Paul Gray

Paul Gray 1972 ~ 2010

On this day last year Slipknot bassist Paul Gray was found dead in a Des Moines hotel room after an accidental overdose. Drummer Joey Jordison has written an open letter to his deceased bandmate to mark the anniversary: “Hey Paul, it was so great hanging out with you today, talking about old times and seeing you respond with some of the strongest gusts of wind I’ve ever felt. All the music that we’ve done together, all the times that we’ve shared, will live on forever. I miss you each and every day. I’ll see you on stage! Let’s destroy. There will never be another Number 2. I love you.”

Megadeth have completed work on a new track as they continue recording their next album – but the finished song may not appear on the record. Drummer Shawn Drover reports: “It’s been submitted for a video game. The tune put a big smile on my face, for anybody who knows me and what I like musically. We’re making a solid, heavy record. We’re definitely on the right path.”

Jimmy Page last year promised fans would see him playing live in 2011 – but now he says he won’t be gigging until his new website is launched: “I’ve had the domain name JimmyPage.com but I’ve not had a site, so I’m constructing that. I think it will bring a few surprised. Once that’s done, I’ll start working on the new music.”

Meanwhile, Page’s Led Zep bandmate Robert Plant and his Band of Joy has been nominated for three Americana Awards: artist of the year, album of the year and group of the year.

Mastodon have revealed the names of two tracks on their upcoming album. Blasteroids and All the Heavy Lifting will form part of the follow-up to acclaimed concert release Crack the Skye.

Former Legion of the Damned bassist Twan Fleuren has committed suicide. He left the band in 2006 to deal with family health issues, and frontman Maurice Swinkels says: “We lost contact but only a few weeks back we were back in touch and felt like old times were about to return. He even wanted to join us at a festival, which I was really looking forward to.”

U2 frontman Bono admits he wouldn’t be able to perform today if he hadn’t cancelled part of the band’s world tour to undergo back surgery last year. He told the crowd in Denver on Sunday: “Things could have been very different. I was in a lot of trouble. But through the wonders of science, I’m not just fixed – I’m better.”

Drummer Freddy Steady has quit Krokus. Guitarist Fernano Von Arb says: “It wasn’t personal, but solely a professional decision. Freddy concluded he really wanted to play music just for fun in small clubs rather than conquering the world. We wish him all the best for the future.” The band haven’t begun looking for a replacement but frontman Chris Von Rohr says: “With our three-chord style three things are of the utmost importance: grovve, drive and thrust. We’re definitely not looking for a metal drummer.”

Matt Bachand has replaced Daniel Struble as touring bassist in Times of Grace, but he’ll continue with his full-time role as guitarist in Shadows Fall.

Staind guitarist Mike Mushok says it was time to part ways with drummer Jon Wysocki, whose departure was announced at the weekend. Mushok explains: “After seventeen years together making this record was tough. Things weren’t going the way we wanted them to. We tried to work it through but we weren’t able to, and it was time to make a change.” The album, called Seven, is due later this year.

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