The Bucketlist With THE DARKEST HEARTS


*In this series we pose the age old questions to a wide array of music lovers. As fans of music most of us keep a mental list of active bands we want to see live that we haven’t yet seen. The Bucketlist brings to you those lists of your favorite artists and why those bands mean so much to them*


It’s that time of the month again, yes the Bucketlist segment is back with another killer band opening up about the bands they’d love to see so bad. For today’s edition we have THE DARKEST HEARTS from Tennessee, a DIY hard rock band that echoes characteristics of grunge with strong, melodic pop rock vocals against almost heavy metal instrumentals and organic tones. So, since this one we found to be an amazing band, we thought why not shoot them up our bucketlist question and see what acts they feature on their list. Without beating around the bush much, let’s see which bands they are dying to see.

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What I Learned From A Juggalo [Exclusive Interview]

It would be amiss to glaze over the utter confusion that fell upon many as the announcement of the fourth installment of Camden’s Rock Allegiance lineup was revealed. Sure, heavy on the nu-metal, plenty of the current up and comers, but right in the middle of the ad mat sits one that raised more than a few eyebrows. Insane Clown Posse. Admittedly, I laughed and sent out a few snarky text messages in response to it all. ICP? With their “whoop whoops” and their Faygo at a rock and metal festival? Either utter insanity on Danny Wimmer’s part, or pure genius… there was some investigating to be done before drawing any conclusions.

Perhaps it was fate, but somehow through the Metal Nexus community, there lay an answer to every question, even ones unknown. Oddly enough, these words of wisdom came from a dude in a bikini. Mankini, as he is called. Mankini resides in Maryland and he is a world class Juggalo. That last sentence is not facetious whatsoever. Mankini was featured in a BBC documentary, “The World’s Most Extreme Festivals: The Gathering of the Juggalos.” He takes the apprehensive British host around the Gathering, telling tales, debunking myths and setting a really positive tone to a people who are often stereotyped for delinquency and debauchery.

We had the pleasure of speaking with Mankini about his introduction to the fam-uh-ly, experience with the Gathering and other festivals and he even reveals his favorite kind of Faygo. This exclusive interview is only here on Metal Nexus, please enjoy.

 

METAL NEXUS: The BBC documentary about The World’s Most Extreme Festivals that focused on The Gathering put you front and center as a voice and personal tour guide for Juggalos. Which we have to add you spend the entirety of the festival in a bikini, thus your moniker “Mankini”… How has it been placed in an almost ambassador role for the Juggalo community?

MANKINI: Aww man, that’s a crazy one. I always look back on that and think, “What is life? Did that really happen?” And it did, it really happened and in my honest opinion, it was truly amazing, not only for me, but Juggalos as a whole.

It’s funny you bring up “ambassador” when talking about Mankini. This all started on accident during a beer pong tournament at the Gathering, one year prior to the documentary. It was hilarious to me, and everyone else. But, it quickly became “my thing” because the Juggalos embraced it so hard, the bikini became a staple. So, when we talk about ambassador, I guess you could say the Juggalos did that, they let Mankini be, and wanted more of him, and they allowed Mankini to have a voice that’s constantly in the media talking about us. And, cameras of any sort seem to be rather fond of a guy in a bikini. Let’s not forget that I love my Juggalo family and do everything in my power to paint our community in a positive light, anytime I have the chance. Mankini exists because of the Juggalos, there wouldn’t be a Mankini otherwise, my sole duty is to continue spreading this Juggalo love whenever possible.

MN: What has been the best and worst things you have endured in regards to your normal festival attire aka the bikini?

MANKINI: The best? I’ve been pulled on stage, I’ve had some of my favorite musicians pull ME ASIDE and take a photo with me…. that’s completely surreal. Worst? Man, I don’t even want to go in to details, but being a half black dude, in a bikini does not always draw the kindest comments. I’ve had some HEAVY slurs thrown my way. And don’t get me wrong, 99% of the time, it’s nothing but positivity. But when that 1% hits, it hits hard with hate and ignorance. I ignore it, it’s what you’ve got to do.

MN: What drew you to the juggalo community? Was it just the music or was there more to it than that?

MANKINI: It was the music, initially. I remember in high school when a buddy of mine said, “you know what, I think you’d really like Insane Clown Posse.” I had no idea what he was talking about, it was completely foreign to me. So, I went to a friends house and got on Napster and downloaded a song he said I had to hear “Still Stabbin.” I highly recommend it to anyone who has never listened to ICP. But, I heard that song, and I was pulled in immediately, I can’t tell you what drew me to them from that song, but I know that’s upon first listen, I instantly wanted more. I went and picked up the only album I could find, The Great Milenko, which had already been out for more than a couple of years. That album changed me forever, it was the only thing I listened to for 3 months straight. Thus began my journey into all things ICP. It wouldn’t be until 11 years later that I made it to my first Gathering ever. And that’s when everything really hit me. I had been to shows before, met local Juggalos, and even friended a few online. But once I hit the Gathering, I found something I didn’t know I was missing. I found that hike away from, where all of my extended family had been meeting up all the years prior. But I’ll tell you, it all starts with that music, and I really can’t put my finger on what it was, but there was something that just called to me, and told me “you belong” and I never looked back. Man, I love my mother fucking Juggalo family!

MN: You are just returning from this years The Gathering of the Juggalos in Ohio which in addition to Juggalo acts also featured CKY, Butcher Babies, Attila, and Gwar. How do you feel this festival compares to festivals like Rock Allegiance?

MANKINI: I’ll say this in, in what I feel the realest answer is. The Gathering is the last of the truly independent, truly about freedom, most accepting music festival in the country.

Don’t get me wrong, I attend all kinds of festivals, and man do I love going to them! But they are not the Gathering. They don’t have the camping literally on the grounds of the festival, the Gathering doesn’t have $16 beers because you bring your own. The Gathering doesn’t charge you an arm and a leg for simple access to their festival. The Gathering kinda has no rules, kinda. There’s obviously rules, but they’re much more guidelines simply there for your safety and the safety of others. It’s one giant party that doesn’t stop for 4 days….literally. You think a guy in a bikini is fun, there’s people at the Gathering, and I mean more than 50 people, who just walk around naked all week, it’s freedom and it’s fun.

And I’m not knocking Rock Allegiance at all, but it’s a different beast, with a different audience. Juggalos will show up to Rock Allegiance for ICP. Metal heads won’t show up to the Gathering for Gwar, CKY, Butcher Babies, Sevendust, or even Cannibal Corpse. The Gathering is something special.

MN: From the documentary you were featured in we also heard about the “year of the butthole”, can you tell us about that? And what was it this year?

MANKINI: Hahahahahahahahaha! This is why Juggalos are so great. That wasn’t like the official theme of the year, that was all done online by Juggalos. It gained traction online in all the Juggalo forums, and took off for real as soon a as we hit the Gathering grounds. Actually, that was the 17th annual, the year of the butterfly, and there’s a whole story there, but I don’t think we have the time for that one. This years theme was Whoopstock, embracing the peace and love of the Juggalo community and spreading it like never before. We even had cover bands of actual Woodstock performers. There was a Hendrix Cover band, a Grateful Dead cover band, even a Santana cover band. It was really cool.

MN: ICP is slated to perform at this year’s Rock Allegiance festival on October 6th in Camden, New Jersey. How do you feel they fit in on a lineup that is predominantly rock or metal?

MANKINI: In actuality, ICP belong at that festival. I mean, ICP have got to be one of the few acts that can perform at rap or metal fest and still do damn good.  Not to mention, ICP have been doing this for 30 years, these guys are well known, despite the hatred they get. I think they fit in perfectly! And, I assure you, there will be mosh pits.

MN: Metalheads and juggalos sometimes clash, what do you think some misconceptions are that keep them from being more friendly?

MANKINI: Well, I think the biggest one is, we can’t get along because our tastes in music are so far from each other, we never see eye to eye on anything. I can tell you firsthand, as being someone who loves both metal and rap, both sides are actually kinda similar. I’ve met plenty of Metalheads that are insanely accepting, of everything, and many of them even talk about their love of Juggalos. I also think that Juggalos are very weary of just letting metalheads into our community, while there may be some “things” you see from and around Juggalos, metalheads can carry a pretty bad reputation too. Honestly, I think we can all get along, if we just kinda talk it out first.

MN: When did you realize that ICP fans are more than just music fans?

MANKINI: Shit! After my first ICP show. I’ll never forget walking into this club in DC, with my buddy, and literally being welcomed by everybody in the room. The fact that I was at the show, made me their friend…er, family, and it was the coolest, most sincere feeling.

MN: As most of us know Faygo is the favored drink of Juggalos, what is your favorite faygo flavor? …… For people that are unaware can you explain what a Faygo Armageddon is and should we expect one at Rock Allegiance?

MANKINI: Favorite flavor? 60/40, it’s like a grapefruit lime soda, It’s fucking delicious. A Faygo Armageddon is the culmination of an ICP set. Throughout the entire they will throw and spray and Faygo, but during the last song it goes completely ape shit bonkers! In many cases, Juggalos bum rush the stage to throw the soda as well. We’re talking cases and cases of Faygo being sprayed and thrown rapidly, it’s like splash mountain on acid!

MN: You’ve been to plenty of metal festivals, what has been some of your favorites?

MANKINI: Rock On The Range is probably top of that list. And not just because Mankini is so insanely accepted and loved there, but because it feels like my Gathering before the Gathering, and I treat it as such. I’m actually hitting Louder Than Life for the first time ever, and I’m super stoked to be there! There is one that I really need to hit, and that’s Wacken Open Air, in Germany. Next year is their 30th anniversary of that festival and I really want to check it out….I wonder how they’ll take Mankini at a European metal fest???

MN: Other than the lineup and/or bands performing, what are some of the most important aspects of a festival to you?

MANKINI: Food offered. I’m a fat kid, I love food, good food at that. You bring the good eats, I’ll bring my feet’s. Vendors. If you have a bunch of insanely corporate vendors at your festival, I really don’t care what you’re about then, because you’ve made it clear you only care about money. I’m all about independent vendors, artists, young musicians, Fuck Cancer (I love that whole crew by the way).

MN: With the exception of ICP, who is your favorite band performing at Rock Allegiance?

MANKINI: I’ve got to give you two… Limp Bizkit and Papa Roach. I’ve always loved the both of those bands and have followed their careers for many years, and will continue to do so. They’re going to throw it the fuck down! And I can wait.

MN: As you well know Rock Allegiance is ran by Danny Wimmer Presents who promotes some of the largest and most revered festivals in the country. How important is it do you think that ICP is making its way onto the stage of a mainstream kind of festival?

MANKINI: I mean, these guys played Woodstock 99. They also go on nationwide tours every year, they even tour overseas and in Canada. I know that festival is critically panned for all the violence and everything else that went down there. But, it was one helluva festival when it happened. But, this is huge too, insanely huge. I’ve always said that DWP needs to start booking ICP on their festivals, these guys absolutely kill any stage they touch, and the set is always a crazy party. Hopefully we get more DWP/ICP from this.

MN: So for all the naysayers and metalheads out there that are totally against ICP performing at a rock or metal festival like Rock Allegiance, what is your pitch to them to check the band out when they perform?

MANKINI: Come, come see the greatest show you’ll ever see. It has clowns, freaks, zombies and weirdos. ICP will literally blow your mind with their set, and you won’t even know what to do afterwards. I promise, you’ll be pleasantly surprised, and definitely soaked in Faygo…so don’t forget to bring something to keep your phone safe. I challenge you all to step outside of your box, and try something different.

MN: Last but not least, have you chosen what bikini you will be wearing to this event yet?

MANKINI: Not yet….but there’s still time. It’ll definitely be sexy.

Aside from being an incredible sport and tremendously fun interview, Mankini made some remarks that really resonate. Namely, the community aspect of scenes. Whether one is a Juggalo, metalhead or a country fan, there should be an unsung honor within our respective scenes. Juggalos preach for “family.” There is no judgement, no hierarchy and really no reason to banish anyone. I have been attending metal shows for over a decade now, and whole heartedly admit my guilt in the following. There is a definite elitism that is very apparent in metal. It could be a “my taste is better than yours” or the thought that has crossed my own mind an embarrassing amount of times, “this is only your 5th show? Well, it’s my 17th.” In this thinking there is primal flaw. It doesn’t matter if one loves Norwegian black metal, 9 string prog or war history power metal. We are all playing on the same team. A victory for one is a victory for all. We all like heavy riffs, for god’s sake. The Juggalos don’t care if this is your first or your millionth Gathering, so why should we think less of someone for not being into metal long enough or liking more mainstream bands? If you’re at a metal show, you’re part of the crew.

Going into this interview, I struggled to believe that much substance would come from something that was seemingly very lighthearted and fun. But living with it for a bit and allowing these thoughts marinate, it ended up as a critical retrospective for my identity as a metalhead and the metal scene as a whole. With a new found respect for Juggalos and an agenda to be open, welcoming and positive. Shows are where we go to get away from work, school, relationship issues and anything else that sucks in life. Let’s just all enjoy a good beer, listening to some heavy shit and have a great time.

I will likely not be wearing clown makeup to Rock Allegiance, however, I will certainly take the time to check out Insane Clown Posse’s set. If you STILL haven’t purchased your tickets yet, it’s not too late, and you can do so right here. The festival is right around the corner and yes, Mankini WILL be making an appearance. Details for his meet and greet to come. 

 

Barney Greenway (Napalm Death) Says Trump “Is A Terrible Human Being” [Video]

Napalm Death

 

Napalm Death have been creating thought provoking grind core classics since the mid 1980’s. In most everyone’s eyes they are the kings of grindcore and are responsible for inspiring bands all over the world. Their lyrical content usually written by vocalist Barney Greenway is often complex and gives listeners ideals to chew on and come to their own conclusion. Napalm Death is currently supporting Slayer on their final world tour. We was able to catch up with vocalist Barney Greenway after their performance in Nashville at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium on August 12th. I must add that speaking with Barney was a pleasure, one of the most easy going and pleasant people I’ve ever interviewed. We are grateful for his time in conducting the interview. Continue reading

The Bucketlist With LOLA BLACK


*In this series we pose the age old questions to a wide array of music lovers. As fans of music most of us keep a mental list of active bands we want to see live that we haven’t yet seen. The Bucketlist brings to you those lists of your favorite artists and why those bands mean so much to them*


It’s that time of the month again, yes the Bucketlist segment is back with another killer band opening up about the bands they’d love to see so bad. For today’s edition we have from Denver, CO, LOLA BLACK, who has been rising up the ranks of Denver metal scene real quick. With a mesmerizing live performance and a relentless work ethic she and her eponymous group have become the “it” band in Colorado taking in 3 Westword Music Awards putting them in alumni status, landing the title of 106.7 KBPI’s Best Band in Denver and becoming the go to act for national festivals and other numerous radio events.

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The Bucketlist with QUOR!

San Diego, CA heavy rockers, Quor, are making huge waves in the music scene with the recent release of the brand new lyric video for “Raising The Dead” from 2018’s ‘The Way We Are’Quor consists of Brian Corn (vocals/guitars), Doug Smith (bass/vocals), and John Michael Cordes (drums).  With two hard-hitting albums (‘Human Paradigm’ and ‘The Way We Are’) under their belt, it’s no difficult task to see why these guys are gaining momentum – fast.  The band brings hefty servings of heavy metal and pure rock and roll that will immediately grab anyone who listens and is summed up with this description from the band themselves:

“Your judgment is all that you will need whether attending a performance or spinning the music on your own sweet time. The dynamics of rock vs. metal, indie vs. punk will intrigue you. An active culture. A three-headed dragon of thrash, groove, and soul. Simply, un-simple. Quor culture will force you to question what you believe about rock. Period.” Continue reading

Johanna of Lucifer to Nicke, “I Want To Make Music Until You Have To Carry Me To The Cemetery”

Lucifer is back after the amicable departure of Gaz Jennings (Cathedral) in 2016. With help from Nicke Andersson (Exhumed), vocalist Johanna Sadonis could put the pieces back together. Writing the album together, these two have paved a new road for Lucifer. The bands new album ‘Lucifer II’ drops on July 6, 2018 via Century Media. You can read our full review of the album here. Continue reading

An Interview With RONZWORLD GUITARS [Audio]

 

If you were at a rock festival recently and saw a fan on stage or walking around with a striking hand-painted guitar with the festival’s logo blazoned on the body, you more than likely witnessed a RONZWORLD GUITARS axe in all its one-of-a-kind glory!

Although RONZWORLD GUITARS have been featured and awarded to fans at festivals across the country for years, RONZWORLD founder and artist Ron Williams is now pleased to announce his next venture. This summer – in partnership with The Music Experience, a traveling consumer exhibit present at live events – RONZWORLD has launched the Official Festival Guitars Experience for a rock, alternative, and country music portfolio of festivals produced by Danny Wimmer Presents, ASK4 Entertainment, AEG, Live Nation and Ledge Entertainment. Continue reading

The Bucketlist With THE BEAST OF NOD


*In this series we pose the age old questions to a wide array of music lovers. As fans of music most of us keep a mental list of active bands we want to see live that we haven’t yet seen. The Bucketlist brings to you those lists of your favorite artists and why those bands mean so much to them*


We are back again with our Bucketlist segment and today we have technical death metal quartet from Boston, MA, THE BEAST OF NOD. In an age where there are a plethora of genre names, it is sometimes hard to categorise a band, but who cares? Here we are, with this Boston outfit who in their own words play “intergalactic death metal”, as crazy and interesting it sounds, the band’s ferocious and high speed brutal death metal certainly does keep upto it’s self imposed genre name. You might think these are some extra terrestrial bunch of sci fi aliens who formed up a band and is ready to wreck chaos upon humankind, while you’re watching Netflix on your recliner. Nah, they are just pretty chill, nerd tech death guys who do get into beast mode once they shred like hell with linear song structures, extreme tremolo pickings, odd time signatures and outright technical passages. So much techy!

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An Interview With Matt McJunkins (A Perfect Circle, The Beta Machine & More) [Video]

Palm Springs, CA native, Matt McJunkins has become quite familiar amongst music fans everywhere – and for good reason. Matt has played, and still plays, for several bands including A Perfect Circle, Ashes Divide, Puscifer, The Beta Machine, Eagles of Death Metal, the list goes on. In 2008, Billy Howerdel (A Perfect Circle, Ashes Divide) approached Matt with an offer to join Ashes Divide, which he kindly accepted. After extensive touring in support of their debut album ‘Keep Telling Myself It’s Alright’, as well as touring with Puscifer, Matt was asked to hit the road with A Perfect Circle following the announcement of the band’s reunion in 2010. Matt has also sparked his own project alongside Jeff Friedl (A Perfect Circle, Puscifer), The Beta Machine, who joined A Perfect Circle on their recent tour in 2017.

 

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An Interview With DIAMOND HEAD’S Brian Tatler

 

Formed in 1976 Diamond Head have been one of the most iconic yet underrated New Wave Of British Heavy Metal bands in the history of music. The band has influenced a long list of musicians and bands around the world but some of those topping the list would be Metallica, and Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine. You may have heard Metallica’s cover of “Am I Evil”, which they have also performed with the Big 4 during their tour. The song was originally written and recorded by Diamond Head in 1980 on the bands album ‘Lightning to the Nations’. The band has released 7 studio albums, 5 live albums, and several EPs, singles and splits. The bands most recent album released in 2016 and is self titled. The album was the debut of the bands new vocalist Rasmus “Ras” Bom Andersen. Ras is the third vocalist the band has had since their formation over 40 years ago. The bands original vocalist was Sean Harris who last left the band in 2004 and from then until 2014 the bands vocalist was Nick Tart. Though both the former singers released great material with the band I do feel that the vocal style Ras delivers in the bands new album is exactly what the band needed, and I believe it’s some of the best material the band has released to date. Diamond Head has been working on a follow up to the self titled album with plans to have it released during the winter of this year.

 

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