Astbury defends Lulu collab, Castronovo court plea plus AC/DC, Bleeding Through, Staind, Alice in Chains, Zakk Wylde, Megadeth and more

By Andrew McDonald

Lulu cover

Phenomenal: Loutallica album

The Cult singer Ian Astbury has defended Lulu, the collaboration between Lou Reed and Metallica that was almost universally panned by fans and critics. He explains: “Lou Reed is a 67-year-old man. He is one of our greatest laureates and he’s not well right now. He’s getting frail and fragile. He’s chosen Metallica to be his muscle so he can come out one more time and make a statement of what’s happening in his internal life. There are some phenomenal moments on the album, by anybody’s standards.” (Rolling Stone)

Journey drummer Deen Castronovo has pleaded not guilty to allegations of reckless endangerment, criminal mischief and harassment. He was arrested on January 20 after a domestic dispute with his girlfriend, who says they’d recently broken up after three years when Castronovo accused her of cheating on him. He’s scheduled to appear at Polk County Circuit Court, Oregon, on February 16, and a trial has been set for March 21.

AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson raised money for the Highway To Help foundation, which helps families affected by pediatric cancer, by taking part in a car rally at Daytona International Speedway in Florida. The car driven by Johnson and his team finished 32nd after 672 laps. Johnson likened race car driving to playing in a band, saying: “It’s pretty much the same – you’ve got the crew behind you telling you to go out there and keep it smooth. It’s a big high, it’s a wonderful feeling.”

Bleeding Through frontman Brandan Schieppati can’t see another metal band ever making it big, and warns that playing such music “not a career move”. He says: “I think people are too busy celebrating the short term, rather than the long term, and that’s disconcerting. I hear about bands dropping out of high school because someone told them they had to tour full time to become rich. Metal and punk has a short shelf-life – no one is buying records anymore. So you’re going to throw away your education away so someone else can make money off of you? It’s just wrong.” (Noiscreep)

Staind frontman Aaron Lewis has been nominated for two Academy of Country Music awards for his solo single Country Boy. He says: “Country is the first music that I was ever exposed to. It reflects my lifestyle; I live out in the middle of nowhere, I’ve got chickens and a house pig, and I deer hunt and fish. I really don’t do many things that require a city.” (Blabbermouth)

Alice In Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell has recorded a health and safety message for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. It says: “This is Jerry Cantrell of Alice In Chains reminding you that smoking is allowed on the lower drive outside the building and only in designated areas… bummer, dude.” John Creighton, Port of Seattle Commissioner, explains: “Seattle has a strong music heritage. Over 32 million passengers pass through the airport each year, giving us a unique opportunity to introduce a new generation of local musicians to travellers and tourists.”

Comedian Jim Breuer turned down an invite to Zakk Wylde’s celebrity roast, having “lost all respect” for the guitarist after working with him on a television series. During an appearance on The Opie & Anthony Show, he revealed: “Zakk’s people told me they were producing a rock-based sketch show, an idea I had been toying with for a while. I met Zakk and his wife in a Chinese restaurant in New York. There were like five people there, and he’s shouting things like ‘chink’. But the producer assures me he’s professional when it comes to filming. I went to LA to film, and arrive at the studio at 9am. At 11am, Zakk pulls up and hits garbage cans. He gets out of the car and a dozen beer bottles fall out behind him. He gets the producer in a headlock and wraps a biker chain around his neck and starts choking the guy. He gets up on top of his truck and starts urinating on the windshield. That was my last experience. From what I’ve heard he’s now clean, and I would hope so, because he has a small child. You gotta step up, man.”

Megadeth bassist David Ellefson is studying to become a Lutheran pastor – but can’t see himself taking the role too seriously. He explains: “I’m doing this distance education stuff to learn some new things. To open my eyes and ears to some different walks in life is inspiring to me. I don’t see me standing up there in a white robe doing sacraments and preaching.” (Toronto Sun)

8-year old guitarist Zoe Thompson has been endorsed by guitar company Daisy Rock after a video of her playing Stratovarius’s song Stratosphere gained almost 3 million views in less than two weeks. Her mother Colette says: “Zoe is overjoyed. For someone of her age to get an endorsement is a massive achievement. It’s really nice that someone has recognised her talent.” (Newbury Today)

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