Acknowledging some of his tattoos are a bit rough and edgy, Greg Stent of Hell’s Vapors says he’s increasingly concerned he’ll have trouble getting a job once his music career winds down and he’s ready to get on with the work-a-day world.
“I always thought I would play my music and nothing else, but that never stopped me from getting my B.A. in accounting in case things fell through in the music scene,” says Stent, who launched Hell’s Vapors with his Canton, Ohio, neighborhood buddy Alex Greel six years ago. Today, their band has a strong following in much of northwest Ohio, Iowa, and has even played shows in Michigan and Wisconsin. The band last year self-produced a CD, When Death Awaits You, which it makes available at its shows.
“I never considered myself a one-dimensional person,” says Stent. “Even when I was totally into music in high school, I also liked to fiddle around with numbers—add things up, subtract things down—a numbers guy, I like to think of myself. So, it made sense to go for that accounting degree even though music was my main passion. Plus, my parents totally picked up the bill, so why not?”
“It’s just good to know that, should the passion for music fade, I have the skill set to get a good job and maybe make some real money,” he says. “My only concern has to do with my tats. I mean, I’ve got some really wild things going on, and, I confess, when I had them done I wasn’t really thinking about the future.”
His biggest problem tattoo, he says, is a dragon that’s kind of roughing up a bare breasted young woman. “It’s pretty hard to hide this one,” he says. “My shirt covers up most of it, but you can really see the girls tits on my neck. It wasn’t one of my smarter decisions.”
Another tattoo that’s visible, on the back of his left hand, depicts what looks like the rear end of an ogre but is actually just the ogre’s face. “He’s a really ugly ogre,” says Stent.
Would he consider getting the tattoos removed? “Well, I would, yeah, although the dragon one with the tits—the girl was made to look like my girlfriend, so she’d be pretty ticked if I had it removed. But, you never know, we might break up some day, although I promised her I wouldn’t, which is why I got the tattoo.”
Stent says he has about a dozen tattoos in all, and, unfortunately, most of them are pretty raunchy. “Let me put it this way: there aren’t any anchors, you know?”
“The good thing is,” he goes on, “I expect to be making my music for as long as I’m around, so at the end of the day, the tattoos don’t really matter. But if I ever tried to get a job as an accountant or something, explaining all this shit I have on my body is going to be a real trick. I guess I wasn’t thinking about my future very clearly.”
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Jason Creel of Deth Knell says he had an epiphany three years ago in a Little Rock motel and since then his relationship with Satan, the embodiment of all evil in the world, has never been the same. “Let me put it this way,” he said while sitting down for a coffee outside the Orbit Room in Toronto, where his band will be shaking the rafters tonight. “Whereas before Satan was just kind of an idea to me, an abstraction, maybe a bit of a marketing ploy, now he’s quite real and, frankly, gunning for me. I’m in His sights.” Creel says his awakening to the torments of Hell that await him after this life came after he and some fans trashed his motel room. Police were called, but luckily one of the two officers that showed up was familiar with the band and the other was a big Metallica fan, although he hadn’t heard of Creel’s band. But, in any case, they told the motel manager to work it out among themselves. More.
Cowed by the recent success and outpouring of affection for the Canadian rock trio Rush, music critics have largely refrained from laying a glove on the band, which first hit the music scene in 1974 and today is enjoying something of a renaissance as it basks in the success of its most recent album Clockwork Angels. But several music critics, including most prominently Adam Carter of Rolling Stone, are bucking the trend and slamming the band for its pretentious lyrics, over-wrought drumming, and, most of all, the screeching vocals of bass player and lead singer Geddy Lee. “I know it’s fashionable for one to pay one’s respects to ‘legendary’ progressive rockers Rush, but I just can’t hop onto this bandwagon,” Carter says in his blog, Rock in/Site. “No one can tell me Geddy Lee has somehow learned how to sing. In fact, I would venture to say More.
Saying their favorite band has become too commercial since it was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last April, fans of Canadian power trio Rush say it’s time to make a push for their removal. “We were instrumental in getting the band inducted into the Hall of Fame in the first place, thanks to our years of persistence, but now we see we made a mistake,” says Randy Powers, a fan from Pittsburgh who has launched a petition drive calling for Rush’s removal from the Cleveland institution. “Bobbleheads, T-shirts, refrigerators—it’s just all too much. We don’t mind the band trying to make a buck. It’s hard to do that now with people so easily downloading or streaming music on the Internet. But enough is enough.” Rush was eligible for induction into the Hall of Fame in 1999 but despite their global popularity among a core group of fans that have bought tens of millions of albums and CDs since the band released its debut album in 1974, the Rock Hall induction committee steadfastly refused to take them seriously. More.
You might have thought nothing but a trip down memory lane awaits legendary pop-rock band Journey, whose radio staples like “Lights” and “Wheel in the Sky” provided the soundtrack to today’s forty- and fifty-somethings’ early adult years. But if you thought that you would be wrong. Because WBIG in Cleveland has just released the results of its listener poll and found that Journey is the “It” band for 2015, proving that time isn’t a factor for bands that are forever cool. “It was a ‘rock-us’ competition, but our listeners left little doubt who rocks their world,” says WBIG Program Director Rex Bartlett. “Our winner got quite a bit of heat from ABBA, Styx, and Kansas, but when the dust settled, it was Journey all the way!” The band released its 14th studio album, in 2011, which rocketed to 13th on the Billboard charts. More.
The pot’s legal in Colorado but they’re smoking crack in Kansas. Embarrassed by its state’s awkward turn to the right in recent years, beloved 1970s rock band Kansas changed its name to Colorado and announced the release of its newest studio album, Thematterwithkansas, and the opening of its 2015 tour. “As much as we love our state and have always been proud to bear its name,” the band said in a statement, “we had to ask ourselves, ‘What’s the matter with Kansas?’ and our answer was, ‘Who the hell knows?!” So we moved to Colorado and now we’re a bit to the left of our old state, geographically and politically, but we think our fans will understand.” In its mid-1970s heyday, Kansas was on the top of the charts with its mix of progressive rock and virtuosic violin playing. More.
Robert Plant, the golden haired and golden voiced singer for the legendary hard rock band Led Zeppelin, says in an interview on National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” that he should have listened to his dad and become an accountant rather than leave home when he was 16 to live the rock-and-roll lifestyle. “If I were to live my life again, would I have that nasty break with my family and sing for various bands before finally joining Pagey and the others to form Led Zeppelin? I think on balance what I did was a mistake and, in retrospect, I should have listened to my dad.” More.
Poll numbers have been slipping for U.S. Republican presidential aspirant Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) since he announced he candidacy in April and one of his top advisors is pointing the finger at Rush, the Canadian progressive rock trio whose libertarian-themed lyrics have made them a long-time favorite of Paul’s. “As an individual, Rand Paul can listen to any music he wants,” says Chip Englander, the candidate’s campaign manager and one of his top strategists. “It’s not for me to weigh in on someone’s taste in music, no matter how horrible. But as a candidate trying to build a base of support, Rand Paul is doing himself no favors playing music that causes his base of support to run away, screaming ‘Make it stop!’ We’re telling him he can’t go on listening to this music.” More.