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Calabrese @ Red Owl, Tempe, Arizona

Phoenix area hometown hereos, Calabrese, might be earning a place among America’s hardest working bands. After a quick break from their seemingly never-ending touring, horror rock staples Jimmy, Bobby, and Davey Calabrese kicked off their “I Wanna Be A Vigilante” tour on Friday night at Tempe’s Red Owl.

Calabrese @ Red Owl
The brothers ripped through an hour-long set, roaming through their four album discography with wit and enthusiasm. One of the joys of seeing Calabrese perform lies in their sense of humor while singing about vampires, werewolves and the living dead.

CALABRESE MARCH 7, 2014-1-9“Born With a Scorpion’s Touch”, Calabrese’s fourth album, was released in 2013.

Calabrese’s black leather jackets and tight black jeans might harken to the 50s drive-in horror movie scene, but being at their shows always takes me back to the early 90s punk scene: Small, black-walled bars with throbbing, raw music shaking the foundations. Whether you want your horror rock served up by greasers or punks, your order is guaranteed served hot and cool, oh so cool, at a Calabrese concert.

Tour dates and information are available on Calabrese’s official site.

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Xpansion Theory Drops New Single, ‘Seeds’

Phoenix, Arizona based alt-metal rockers, Xpansion Theory, dropped their new single, ‘Seeds’, earlier this week. Zombies, people…screaming, *glowing* ZOMBIES!

Xpansion Theory Drops New Single, 'Seeds'

Recently acquired lead vocalist David Baumiller growls, snarls, and screams his way through this apocalypse-themed ripper backed by the dramatically heavy riffs of Xpansion Theory guitarists Mick Jones and Tracy Stinsman and the stentatorian pounding of bassist Steve Lee and drummer Harley Elliot.

‘Seeds’ makes its public debut on Friday, March 7 at 6 p.m. Mountain Time on Destiny’s Beautiful Chaos show on 13SRadio.com, but you can hear it now, right here on DOOM!

Enjoy it, because the end might be near…

 

 

 

Rapper Lil’ Kim Accused of Copyright Infringement (Update below)

Source: Lil Kim on Facebook

Source: Lil Kim on Facebook

Rap artist Lil’ Kim (Kimberly Denise Jones) is being accused of using an emerging make-up artist’s photograph to promote her single “Dead Gal Walking” without permission, payment or credit, thereby allegedly infringing the artist’s copyright as well as misappropriation of her personal image in the photograph which is covered by “use of likeness” protections under the law.

Make-up artist Samantha Ravndahl’s creations have been featured on BoingBoingLaughing Squid, and The Huffington Post. On November 8, 2013, Ravndahl, owner of Batalash Beauty (based in Vancouver, Canada with affiliate artists in Los Angeles, California), posted a step-by-step tutorial on how to create a “Pop Art Zombie” look for Hallowe’en; concluding the article with this image, in which she says she is both the model and photographer:

Source: BatalashBeauty ©Samantha Ravndahl

Source: BatalashBeauty ©Samantha Ravndahl

When she learned that the image was being used by Lil’ Kim, Ravndahl told DOOM! Magazine “I reported the image to Facebook on Nov. 1, and one of the posts using my image on Facebook was removed. I contacted Instagram on Nov. 2, and one image was removed shortly thereafter. I received an email from a member of Kim’s team on Nov. 2, whom I have had fairly steady contact with since (emailing back and forth every couple days [sic]). Kim’s manager called me on Nov. 5, in the phone call he agreed to remove all illegal usages of my photo within the day (quote: ‘Give me a couple hours [sic], it’s my job for the day’).” Ravndahl took her cause to reddit, venting her frustration, and seeking advice. Fellow redditors took it from there, spamming Lil’ Kim’s social media pages with accusations and vitriol. It was later discovered that Lil’ Kim’s copyright watermark had been placed on the image posted on her WhoSay page.

Ravndahl says that the pictures have yet to be removed. As of this posting, DOOM! has confirmed numerous appearances of the photo on Jones’ pages as well as others.

DOOM! found that on or around Hallowe’en (October 31, 2013), ‘Dead Gal Walking’ was posted on Lil’ Kim’s twitmusic page along with this photograph:

Source: www.twitmusic.com/lilkim/songs/dead-gal-walking

Source: www.twitmusic.com/lilkim/songs/dead-gal-walking

The image (or altered iterations of it) has been posted multiple times on Jones’ Facebook, Instagram, WhoSay pages, along with appearing on web sites including abcnewsradio online, Raw Hollywood, The Women of Hip Hop, Female Rappers.net, Swurv Radio.com, and others. As of this report the image remains on the majority of Jones’ sites.

DOOM! attempted to contact Lil’ Kim’s representatives for comment, but has not, at this time, received a reply.

Ravndahl says she is in contact with an attorney regarding pursuing legal action against Jones. This would not be the first time the rapper would be facing legal difficulties; in March of 2005 Lil’ Kim was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit perjury, and three counts of perjuring herself before a grand jury in regards to her involvement in a shooting at New York City hip-hop club Hot 97. Jones served 287 days of her 366 day sentence in a Federal Detention Center near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, followed by 30 days of house arrest and 3 years probation. She was also fined $50,000.

Just two months after she was convicted in the perjury case, singers/songwriters Anthony Jeffries and Vincent Hart sued Lil’ Kim for breach of contract, violation of their rights of publicity, and unjust enrichment for work they did on the “La Bella M.A.F.I.A.” album and tour. A Stipulation of Discontinuance was later filed, indicating that the case was settled.

In September 2007, producer/engineer Carlos Evans brought suit against Jones and Rotten Apple Records for breach of contract to collect unpaid royalties on the song “Magic Stick”. This case also appears to have been settled out of court. In late 2008, Brookland Media sued Lil’ Kim for breach of contract. The case was dismissed with prejudice against both parties (meaning neither can raise any issue raised in the original case ever again). In 2008, publishing house Simon & Schuster sued Jones for the repayment of a $40,000 advance on the memoir she contracted to write for them but never delivered.

Currently, Lil’ Kim is embroiled in a suit/countersuit with her former lawyers and business manager over licensing agreements.

UPDATE:

On Wednesday, November 13, Lil’ Kim tweeted:

“Thank U to @DustyAceti a huge fan and talented graphic designer! Muuaahh!!!”

But on Friday, November 15, XXL reported that Lil’ Kim told them ““I don’t know what the heck is going on … If there were something going on, my team would know better than I would. You have to get that from my team because I really don’t know what’s going on.'”

DOOM! has again reached out to Lil’ Kim’s team and will update if any response is forthcoming. At this time, it appears that the image has been removed from Lil’ Kim’s pages.

DOOM! will keep you posted on any further developments.

Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock is Rock Solid

Happy Halloween! In honor of our favorite time of the year, we’ve opened the crypt to bring you some of DOOM!’s spookiest past coverage!

December 2012 – Imagine a high-end, church-sponsored fundraising event; you know, at a nice theater, with a special dinner, plus entertainment, for the VIPs, followed by a night filled by affluent, middle-aged supporters and their superbly coiffed and coutoured wives. For the evening’s entertainment; a couple of gospel acts, an aging star, an auction (of course), a schmaltzy comic and/or a schmaltzy magician; maybe even a big name Hollywood star, thrown in for good measure*.

Now put Alice Cooper in charge of the whole shebang.

The result: Alice Cooper’s Christmas Pudding.

It’s all of the above, with some twists. Alice Cooper performing I’ll Bite Your Face Off is one of those little things you might not expect at such a supposedly sedate event; nor is Johnny Depp, appearing with Cooper’s band to the delighted shrieks of the girls and women (and photographers) in the audience.

There is method to Cooper’s madness. Entering its 12th year, Cooper’s annual Christmas concert, qua variety show, qua holiday party is produced by Solid Rock, a faith-based organization founded by Cooper, his wife, Cheryl, and Chuck Savale with the ultimate goal of opening a music-related teen center for Phoenix area youth.

Cooper held an informal press conference the evening before the show to talk about, among other things, The Rock, the teen center that did, indeed, open in Spring 2012. Music and dance classes are offered at no or nominal cost, and a teen room is available where kids can, as the program site says, “…play video games or pool, rock out to music, practice your guitar, or just hang with your friends.” The center is a partnership between Solid Rock and Genesis Church.

Plans are in place to expand the center to include a computer room and a recording studio, with the goal of offering vocational training in the recording arts, as well.

Cooper just wrapped up a world tour, supporting the release of his latest album, Welcome 2 My Nightmare. “We just finished 100 cities, from Europe, to South America, to Australia, to everywhere. Every city’s got the same problem. I’ll see a kid 15, selling drugs on the street, and I’ll say, ‘how does that kid know he’s not the best guitar player, bass player, drummer, singer?” Cooper said. “With me being in Phoenix for 50 years of my life…I said let’s do something about it, let’s open a place where kids — instead of going in gangs, will go into bands.”

Solid Rock has been approached by organizations in several cities, including Detroit, Denver, and San Diego, to discuss setting up similar centers. “Guns, gangs, and drugs … Every city would benefit,” said Cooper, adding “We told them ‘we’ll give you the formula; show you how to make it work.’”

Cooper explained his devotion to the project: “You’re never going to run out of teenagers in trouble, and somebody’s got to come to the rescue, and to me, music is what rescues us. If you take a kid from the biggest house in Paradise Valley and then take a kid from the worst barrio in West Phoenix, put ’em in a room together, what’re they gonna talk about? Music. That’s the common denominator.”
*This hypothetical, like most generalizations, contains several “isms”. Yah. I know.

Alice Cooper Serves Up a Steaming Christmas Pudding – Live Review & Photo Gallery

Happy Halloween! In honor of our favorite time of the year, we’ve opened the crypt to bring you some of DOOM!’s spookiest past coverage!

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December 8, 2012 – Alice Cooper’s 12th Annual Christmas Pudding was one surprise after another; mixing hard rock and gospel, magic and speed painting; sunbelt comedy and big-money auctions.

It’s after Christmas, so I’m going to skip all of the stupid holiday puns and get straight to the show.

(more…)

Fall Out Boy @ The Marquee Theatre, Tempe AZ

Fall Out Boy - Marquee Theatre  Copyright © 2013 Libbi Rich, All Rights Reserved. DO NOT REPOST - DOOM! Magazine

Pete Wentz and Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe, AZ (6/11/2013) © 2013 Libbi Rich

Fall Out Boy brought their Save Rock and Roll Tour to a thrilled to capacity crowd at Tempe’s Marquee Theatre on June 11, 2013.

This review could easily be titled “Fall Out Boy(s) to Men”. The band has matured so much, individually and as a whole, musically and in personae, since they went on hiatus in late 2009. They are still the same band, Patrick Stump (vocals and guitar), Pete Wentz (bass, vocals), Joe Trohman (guitar, vocals), and Andy Hurley (drums, vocals), but with a whole new, grown-up attitude. Fall Out Boy brought their Save Rock and Roll Tour (small venue version) to Tempe’s Marquee Theatre on June 11, 2013, much to the delight of the capacity crowd ranging from 15-year-old fanboys trying hard to look like circa 2005 Wentz to older (and old … well, middle-aged) fans.

Fall Out Boy - Marquee Theatre  Copyright © 2013 Libbi Rich, All Rights Reserved. DO NOT REPOST - DOOM! Magazine

Patrick Stump and Andy Hurley of Fall Out Boy at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe, AZ (6/11/2013) © 2013 Libbi Rich

The set list was a work of art, sampling songs from all five FOB albums. But it’s not just the breadth of the song selections that’s impressive, it’s the structure of the set, itself. As the houselights fell, Jay-Z’s recorded prologue to Infinity on High‘s “Thriller” played to a now-screaming audience, the perfect way to end a long hiatus:

“Yeah, what you critics said would never happen.
We dedicate this album to anybody people said couldn’t make it.
To the fans that held us down till everybody came around.
Welcome. It’s here.”

Stump sang a genuine love song to the fans; at least those who insisted that FOB really was just on hiatus, and hadn’t broken up; “…our hearts beat for the diehards”, and the band put their full hearts and smiles into playing their comeback tune. They slyly followed with the sardonic nod to tell-all groupies with From Under the Cork Tree‘s “I Slept with Someone in Fall Out Boy and All I Got Was This Stupid Song Written About Me”.

The band continued to weave in and out of their musical history, often linking themes, one song to the next. Folie à Deux‘s “Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes”, a tribute to falling apart and the imperfection of romantic relationships, was followed by Save Rock and Roll‘s anthemic “The Phoenix”, declaring war upon the old and promising a rockin’ make-over, while exhorting the listener to “dance alone to the beat of your heart”.

Fall Out Boy - Marquee Theatre  Copyright © 2013 Libbi Rich, All Rights Reserved. DO NOT REPOST - DOOM! Magazine

Joe Trohman and Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe, AZ (6/11/2013) © 2013 Libbi Rich

Until a few nights before the Tempe show, the setlist included the wickedly clever progression from Infinity‘s “This Ain’t A Scene, It’s an Arms Race” to 2013’s Save Rock and Roll‘s “Where Did the Party Go” … moving from the former’s opening lyrics “I am an arms dealer, fitting you with weapons in the form of words. And don’t really care which side wins; long as the room keeps singing, that’s just the business I’m in” to the latter’s intro, “I am here to collect your hearts; that’s the only reason that I sing.”

Through it all, the band sounded amazing: Stump’s voice is aging very well indeed, like fine wine, growing more interesting and smooth with time, soaring through his often complex, bluesy compositions like a well-tuned sax. Apparently, he’s really been pouring it out with all his will, night after night of the small venue tour; when he came out after the show to greet fans, Patrick … always a sweetheart — communicated in pantomime, signaling at his throat, and rolling his eyes expressively. The only drawback was occasionally poor sound-mixing; Stump’s voice was, at times, glaringly brightened, while Hurley’s drums were mixed so strongly on some songs that they buried the subtler interplay between guitars, bass, and vocals. The show had the best lighting this reviewer has ever seen at the venue (and that’s a lot of shows, folks!). Unfortunately, the big light show seemed more appropriate to a larger stage, and some of the impact might have been lost to the fans crammed against the barricade. But it sure was exciting, all the same; the audience could see every member of the band, and the timing on the lighting was immaculately matched to the music, as were the various backing images, particularly the slide review of the pantheon members of rock history during “Save Rock and Roll.”

Fall Out Boy - Marquee Theatre  Copyright © 2013 Libbi Rich, All Rights Reserved. DO NOT REPOST - DOOM! Magazine

Patrick Stump and Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe, AZ (6/11/2013) © 2013 Libbi Rich

Fall Out Boy - Marquee Theatre  Copyright © 2013 Libbi Rich, All Rights Reserved. DO NOT REPOST - DOOM! Magazine

In the past, Stump’s vocals were often his only truly noticeable presence in live performances; he has matured out of an almost painful shyness to bring a dynamic presence as a front-man to the band, sharing that duty equally, now, with bassist Pete Wentz. The band has become much more collaborative, it seems; co-guitarist, Joe Trohman did double duty, playing keyboards as well as trading off guitar leads/rhythm roles with Stump, and he (and his wonderful hair) brought a great physical energy to the show.

Fall Out Boy - Marquee Theatre  Copyright © 2013 Libbi Rich, All Rights Reserved. DO NOT REPOST - DOOM! Magazine

Drummer Andy Hurley pounded out the rhythms, fast and smooth, driving the band from pop-punk to soul to solid rock and back again with seemingly boundless energy and some of the best upper body tatts seen on the Marquee stage. Wentz was laid back and thoughtful; he explained to the audience that the band grew out of punk roots, and the new album was a reflection of that upbringing: “We did this one just for us; not giving a fuck about what anyone else thought.” Yep…that’s punk, alright. When all is said and done, Fall Out Boy might not be the ones to save rock and roll, but they sure are doing their damnedest to keep it alive and well.

Setlist

Thriller
I Slept with Someone in Fall Out Boy and All I Got Was This Stupid Song Written About Me
A Little Less Sixteen Candles, a Little More “Touch Me”
Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes
The Phoenix
This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race
Tell That Mick He Just Made My List of Things to Do Today
Alone Together
What a Catch, Donnie
Death Valley
Hum Hallelujah
Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy
Sugar, We’re Goin Down
Young Volcanoes
Dance, Dance
I Don’t Care
My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light ‘Em Up)

Encore:
Save Rock and Roll
Thnks fr th Mmrs
Saturday

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Photographs and text Copyright © 2013 Libbi Rich – DOOM! Magazine, All Rights Reserved. Do not repost or reproduce.

Emilie Autumn @ The Nile Theater, Mesa, Arizona

Words by Jimmy Rox, Photography by Libbi Rich

Emilie Autumn’s stop in Mesa on her 2013 Fight Like a Girl tour was awesome. The vocal and physical performances of Emilie and her two Bloody Crumpets (Captain Maggots, aka Maggie Lally, and The Naughty Veronica, aka Veronica Varlow) were immaculate, the lighting was amazing (when there was any … there are a lot of either completely dark or dimly lit sequences), and the set, though shaved down to its barest elements, was gorgeous. The entire performance was stripped down: there were no pyrotechnics, the lighting was lacking, and a lot of the grand theatre was removed from this stop of the show. However, it was not to the detriment of the show; in fact, it was reminiscent of minimalist stagings of Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, and highlighted the story, rather than the flash-bang-whiz of the production.

Emilie Autumn @ The Nile Theater, Mesa AZ ©2013 Libbi Rich ~ DOOM! Magazine

Emilie Autumn @ The Nile Theater, Mesa AZ ©2013 Libbi Rich

 

The show began in a way that could be mistaken for a false start, with “Best Safety Lies in Fear” playing over the speakers and flickering lights that lead into “In a World of My Own” from Disney’s Alice in Wonderland. This was not a false start but foreshadowing the nature of the true beginning—which came moments later when Captain Maggots and The Naughty Veronica danced on stage to the introduction of “Fight Like a Girl,” the first and titular track of the album. Emilie Autumn herself appeared after them, wearing a sparkling silver corset and a magnificent mohawk-style feather headdress. The first two songs played—”Fight Light a Girl” and “Time for Tea”—should have been more than enough to psych up the criminally small audience, but they were, unfortunately, dead for the whole show.

 

With “Four O’Clock Reprise,” the sequel to a song on Autumn’s 2006 album Opheliac, the performance took a turn for the dark and hyper-realistic. Emilie sat inside the structure built on stage to represent the Asylum while the Crumpets took away her headdress. She sang “What Will I Remember?”, a lament that showed that the triumphant and joyous  introduction of the show was Emilie’s Wonderland. At the beginning of “Take The Pill,” Veronica took on the role of an orderly in the Asylum, putting the zombie-like Emilie into an antique wheelchair. At the end of the song, Veronica and Maggots were both orderlies, forcing Emilie to “get back in line” and “take the pill.” We watched Emilie Autumn fall apart on stage, coming to her character’s choice in “The Art of Suicide”—while Maggots and Veronica solemnly danced with silvery boughs, Emilie climbed to the top level of the Asylum and “fell” off of it.

Captain Maggots (Maggie Lally) with Emilie Autumn @ The Nile Theater, Mesa AZ ©2013 Libbi Rich ~ DOOM! Magazine

Captain Maggots ©2013 Libbi Rich

Minutes later, the seemingly drunk Captain Maggots came back on stage to introduce the band in the first of three intermissions. She began with a long-winded speech about the leader of the Bloody Crumpets, the “one you all came out to see”—herself, of course. As a joke, you see, because she was really talking about Emilie.

Veronica Varlow w/Emilie Autumn @ The Nile Theater in Mesa, AZ ©2013 Libbi Rich ~ DOOM! Magazine

Veronica Varlow ©2013 Libbi Rich

Following that, she introduced Veronica Varlow,
“the scarlet harlot,” who got a moment in the spotlight with her feather fan dance to
“Dominant.” Her grace as she strutted across the stage, using the fans like wings instead of props, is something that must be experienced live. Even in videos, something in her birdlike beauty is lost.

 

Maggots got back to the humor by introducing the website “fan fiction dot net” and reading an excerpt from a rather erotic piece featuring Emilie and Veronica. The pair acted it out (in a PG-13 kind of way) as she read it, Emilie groping Veronica probably more than was strictly necessary for art’s sake, and at the end (after having to dig through undergarments to find the end), Emilie expressed her utter displeasure with her fans, the Plague Rats (or the fandom formerly known as the Muffins). Veronica got them all back with her own erotic fan fiction, incorporating the “delusional and strange” Rat Game.

 

The Rat Game - Veronica Varlow w/Emilie Autumn @ The Nile Theater in Mesa, AZ ©2013 Libbi Rich ~ DOOM! Magazine

The Rat Game ©2013 Libbi Rich

What is the Rat Game?

It’s when Veronica calls up an (of-age) female audience member, one who has never before kissed a girl, to be “corrupted”.  Veronica scoured the audience for a victim; she chose a young woman, Bailey, to participate in her fan fiction and, at the end (after all of the perverts in the audience chanted “VERONICA, DEFILE ME. VERONICA, CORRUPT ME. VERONICA, K-K-K-KISS ME!”) kissed her.

Emilie Autumn @ The Nile Theater in Mesa, AZ ©2013 Libbi Rich ~ DOOM! Magazine

Emilie Autumn ©2013 Libbi Rich

 


Emilie returned, dressed in a more masculine 
pinstriped vest and pants (and thus introducing the audience to the second character she portrays, Dr. Stockhill) selling tickets to people who want to see the crazy “Girls! Girls! Girls!” of the Asylum. 
Veronica and Captain Maggots acted as the girls of the Asylum, showing off for an invisible audience of Victorian voyeurs. After a speech from Dr. Stockhill of the Asylum warning his audience of Victorian voyeurs of the dangers and spread of insanity, a dual message of entrapment (from the doctors) and escape (from the inmates) came in the song “We Want Them Young.” While Emilie sang the doctors’ parts, telling everyone to send their female friends and family to the Asylum, the Crumpets climbed the set in the background, begging for release. The set then went dark as Emilie read her poem, “How To Break A Heart,” from off-stage. She returned in the role of that heartbreaker — the “Scavenger”  — stalked by a monstrous apparition (portrayed by Captain Maggots, showing of her stilt-walking skills). “Gaslight” saw Emilie’s return to the character of an inmate, watching the world around her and the women she knew slowly burn. But hope returned in the form of “The Key,” as Emilie acted out their struggles to escape with a first key that was taken and a second key that was kept, which is what set the inmates free. Emilie’s battle cry, “It’s time for the attack,” echoed over the sounds of inmates killing, and rats devouring, the sadistic 

The Bloody Crumpets w/Emilie Autumn @ The Nile Theater in Mesa, AZ ©2013 Libbi Rich ~ DOOM! Magazine

The Bloody Crumpets ©2013 Libbi Rich

doctors of the Asylum in “Hell Is Empty.” She rose triumphant—if she fell apart onstage in “The Art of Suicide,” then this was her coming back together. A moment of lightheartedness came from Maggots’ cleaning the sign on the gate of what was once the Asylum—“BEWARE OF ESCAPED INMATES.”

Now freed, Emilie wore a battle helmet and marched with her fellow inmates, the Bloody Crumpets, to “One Foot In Front Of The Other.” While the escaped inmates wondered how they would survive in a world they had forgotten, the scene was immensely uplifting.

Emilie Autumn @ The Nile Theater in Mesa, AZ ©2013 Libbi Rich ~ DOOM! Magazine

Emilie Autumn ©2013 Libbi Rich

After the finale, Emilie tearfully thanked the audience and invited them into the home she had made of the Asylum, alleviating some of the tragedy that reigns in the book, The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls, upon which the album is based, and reinforcing her message that an asylum should be a safe-haven — a sanctuary — rather than a place of misery and torture. Emilie and the Crumpets bowed off, musical theater style, and the house lights rose.

I don’t think that I saw a “concert” on January 29th. I believe that I saw the prototype to a well-crafted musical, well worth Emilie’s hopes for a debut in London’s West End. This show was literally like no other I’ve seen—it was even different than seeing the musical American Idiot. Even when other concerts have told a story, they didn’t create the musical theater-like atmosphere of Emilie Autumn’s performance. If this was merely the warm-up for a bigger, Broadway-style production, then I can’t wait to see it.

 

Read DOOM!’s interview with Emilie Autumn: Emilie Autumn Fights Like a Girl: A DOOM! Interview

More photos!

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Emilie Autumn Fights Like a Girl: A DOOM! Interview

Emilie Autumn discusses her 'Fight Like a Girl' album and tour ©2013 Jimmy Rich ~ DOOM! Magazine

Emilie Autumn discusses her ‘Fight Like a Girl’ album and tour ©2013 Jimmy Rich ~ DOOM! Magazine

She’s a classically trained violinist, composer, actor, burlesque act leader, author, former mental asylum resident, survivor, and inspiration. She’s Emilie Autumn. DOOM! caught up with Emilie on her “Fight Like a Girl Tour,” the afternoon before her performance at the Nile Theater in Mesa, Arizona.

DOOM: You’re on the “F.L.A.G.” Tour, behind the album, Fight Like a Girl, which is based on your book, The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls.

Emile Autumn: Yes! By the way, I’m in the midst of trying to convert the book into an electronic version, to get the cost down so people could get the story at an affordable price.

DOOM: And you have an eye towards taking the story, and the music, to the theatrical stage; first in London, and eventually on to Broadway.

EA: Yes. You are correct!

DOOM: When you were writing what eventually became the book, under awful circumstances, was the show in the back of your head, as a goal, or was it more just a creative outlet; an emotional salve?

EA: In the beginning, at the moment I started compiling all the diary entries and putting it together, I was in such a place in my head that I couldn’t really think of anything really joyful, or victorious. Very shortly after, I realized what I had actually done, and when you read the book you can see that it’s obviously a script.

What’s funny, though, is that I always — since I was very small – did intend to write musicals, but I didn’t realize that *this* would be the story that I had to tell, so that was a bit unexpected. And yet, it’s the ultimate story. Had it been any less gut wrenching, and all of that, it wouldn’t really deserve a spot on Broadway, and I truly believe it does because, really, this is shit you can’t make up!

DOOM: Are you familiar with the TV show American Horror Story: Asylum? I ask because you’ve been talking about reclaiming the word “asylum”… 

EA: OK, that’s weird. I hadn’t heard about it until Captain Maggots told me about it just about a week ago; she was watching it backstage and she way like ‘you have to see this!’

DOOM: Well, it fits with the vibe of your story, because much of it is about the horror of how we treat the mentally ill.

[We both fangirl out over Jessica Lange and then bond over both of us having Bipolar Disorder.]

DOOM: The first time I heard the album, before I knew it was intended to become part of a show, it felt like a libretto to me … it tells a really clear story.

EA: That’s why the lyrics intentionally feature the characters, so you know it’s not just about *me* anymore.

DOOM: I think it hit me as musical theater when, time after time, I listen to “Time for Tea”, I mentally insert that loud, shrill steam whistle from Sweeney Todd.

EA: Whoa! Sweet!

DOOM: It’s like a backwards peek into Johanna’s asylum.

EA: Exactly! That’s brilliant. I’m abso-frickin’-lutely a Sondheim fan. Really, the only musicals I’m not overly fond of – I hope I don’t offend anybody with this — are the Americana ones, like Oklahoma or Carousel. I think they don’t really … like the Morrissey song … it says nothing to me about my life, so I just don’t jibe with the Americana stuff. But everything else, that’s the music I grew up with. I didn’t grow up with rock music, at all. I didn’t go to a rock show ‘til I was in my 20s. It wasn’t even a part of my world; I was just surrounded by different things, and that (ed. musicals) was part of it.

DOOM: When you were writing the diary entries, you were in the hospital (ed. after a suicide attempt). A lot of kids, your fans – the Plague Rats – relate to the struggles you’ve been through.

EA: Yeah.

DOOM: You’ve talked about fans coming to you and showing you their cutting scars; you try to give them the message that there are better ways to channel that really raw, overpowering, emotion-fueled energy. The song ‘One Foot In Front of the Other’ seems almost like the introduction to how to do that; start by just putting one foot in front of the other foot. Is that what you were going for?

EA: With ‘One Foot…’ it’s even bigger than that. It’s supposed to represent the ultimate answer, which is to the question that all of us have, whether we’ve had some really intense situations, or somebody’s had a really fucking bad day. Everybody has their something; there’s no one who doesn’t, and if they don’t, then they’re just not truly alive, because being truly alive means that sometimes you are going to hurt THIS much. At that time, for me, for the past 25 years, it’s been like “There’s gotta be an answer; there just has to be an answer for this: How do I go on? What do I do with all of this knowledge in my head?” What do you do with that? I mean I was given the ‘amnesia drug’; it didn’t take it away – it changed how my brain processes memories now – it sucks because I don’t recognize myself, but there’s nothing I can do about that now, except relearn how to think, but I didn’t forget anything. It’s all still there; everything from before the asylum, it’s all still there; it’s never going to go away. So there has to be a way to deal with these things and so that song is simply about answering ‘how do I make it go away?’ and ‘how do I go on?’ and realizing – one day, when I was writing F.L.A.G. – that I have an answer and the answer is that there is no answer, so just put one foot in front of the other foot, in front of the other foot. But the thing that I found, once I stopped looking for that magic thing, then I could find it within myself, because you stop searching outwards, and once you just let it go, and just stop and don’t waste the energy looking for that drug, or that magic thing … that magic word … that magic spell and just do it. It’s horrible, but Nike got it fucking right: Just Do It! I’m sorry, I would like to own that, but I can’t! So, how you go on is you just go on. And it doesn’t mean that’s easy, you just have to do it.

DOOM: The song doesn’t make it sound easy. It sounds like your pushing against a wall.

EA: Right, because the verses are just so desperate – it’s just questions – there are no statements, it’s just questions, questions, questions and then the chorus: this is the answer to these intense questions like “just because we live doesn’t mean we’re alive.” Like WHAT?!? “If I have no one left to fight, how do I know who I am?” Who would I be if everything were ok? Would I be anyone, if I were just totally happy right now, in a field of daisies, who would I be? Would I have the same name? I probably wouldn’t have a job (laugh) … clearly; this has become very useful to me. But it’s the thing; I think it’s worked as part of my career, but it could be anything … it’s something that makes you interesting. An artist, or a singer, or whatever … you don’t have to try to kill yourself a bunch of times, but you have to be interesting in some way, and that’s where I think I scored on this story, is that I’ll never be boring.

DOOM: So much of your material is inspired by real things in your life. This raises the issue of “personal” versus “persona”. I started thinking about this, from the standpoint of a pop-culture journalist, back when people got on Davey Havok of AFI for changing his style – looks and music – and fans laying a sense of entitlement on artists: “Why isn’t the album coming out faster? Why doesn’t the new album sound like the old ones?”

EA: Yeah, like we can’t evolve.

DOOM: The feeling fans have that they know you; Plague Rats and casual fans, alike. They feel so much that they have intimate knowledge of you. Do you find it difficult to walk that fine line, since you share so much of yourself, and to keep a sense of privacy, or boundaries? Do you feel like you have to do that?

EA: I think that what I’ve kind of done – and none of this is intentional; it just kind of happened. When this all came out (ed. the suicide attempt and hospitalization), it was this is how it is; let’s make myself comfortable with how things are, and then let’s use how things are to just be like “This is the way it is, what can we make out of this? How can this be comfortable for me? How can this basically be ‘hey…this is just my thing, now’?”

It went from being “Oh god, now I’m open about this; now *this* isn’t private anymore”, to where now it’s kind of like it’s my thing. It draws from other people; you get back what you put out, and that means that interactions between myself and the audience … individual members … people that I meet … are generally pretty intense, and I think I have to realize that.

It is really out there. It’s real. There isn’t a persona; even what we have on stage are really just amplified versions of aspects of our personalities. It’s like Captain Maggots (ed. Bloody Crumpet performer, Maggie Lally) is really Captain Maggots every day of her life – we just had tea down the street and she *is* Captain Maggots. Veronica (ed. Veronica Varlow) is … on stage, that’s not amplified; if anything it’s a contained version of who she is. She is insane … she’s gonna love you! (ed. DOOM! Usually does not include personal chit chat it its transcribed interviews, however we chose to let this ride).

I think people respond in the very devoted, loyal, intense, sincere way that they do, because they know that it’s actually very real, and it pulls equally intense real things out of them. It can obviously be difficult. You do have to – I’m sure anyone who’s in touch with the cosmos, with themselves, with their mind – knows you have to put a lot of practice and thought into how to create the shield that says ‘I will give out, but only things that will get back into me are things that are safe for me at this time.”

Everyone should do that, because it can get very, very intense … to where I’ll leave a meet-and-greet, and I’ll have to go hide in a hole and cry, because I’ve basically just been given – and it is like a gift; you can’t say ‘why is everybody piling on me?’ because I asked for this; I put this out there, and you can’t put this out unless you want this to come back. I’m sharing my story, they’re sharing their stories. But it really can get very intense if you don’t learn – and this is an everyday learning process; I’ve in no way totally figured this out yet – to just build a safe zone around yourself, where you can calmly deal with really emotional things that people are telling you. Also, that way, you can just calmly think about what’s the best advice to give – a lot of it is meeting that obligation. A lot of it is encouragement, because people do come and show scars and all of this. I don’t want to make it out that this is all that the audience is about, because they’re so much more, but there is that aspect. But the audience is 12 years old to like in their 60s; equally male/female divided now. Some people come in jeans and a t-shirt and think “well, this looks interesting”, and some people come in full dress, which is absolutely valid and cool.

If you come knowing nothing about the intensity and the depth and the realism of all this; if you just come and think “This is a good piece of entertainment. I enjoyed that!” I do consider that as absolutely as valid as someone who came here thinking that together we’re saving each other’s lives – and in a way, we are, because the one thing for me and for them, is knowing that we’re not alone. I think that if any one sentence could have saved me in past situations that were very intense, where like I’m about to make a “big decision”, having one person there to say to me – not even try to stop me from doing anything – but just say “You’re not alone” that could’ve changed my world, but no one was there. There was absolutely no one who said that; who could say that.

[At this point we were told “One more question.” Emilie and the interviewer both protested, but hurried on]

DOOM: Well, I think I’m going to roll about three questions into one …

EA: This is great! I love talking to you because this is how my mind works, too.

DOOM: Your music is a literal and metaphorical smashing together of Victoriana and Industrial, do you see a connection between Victorian times and modern, industrial times in general and how it relates to mental illness?

EA: Absolutely, yes.

DOOM: This is a story about women, but you’ve said it’s meant for everyone. In the song “Fight Like a Girl” you sing “Even if you’re only a boy you can fight like a girl.”

EA: Right! I love that line as well, because it is NOT meant to be insulting … it’s meant to be a wink and a nod and a big love-hug to my boys, and I say, with absolute sincerity on stage, “My girls are my warriors, but my boys are my heroes.” It’s true; it only has to be girls against boys if boys want to fight about this. But there’s no reason, because what’s good for us is good for them. What’s good for them is good for us.

The massive lack of balance, globally, in how the world is structured and run, amongst humankind, with everything being so completely out of balance, it’s not serving anyone. It’s just that the people in power, who are almost all male, are just not realizing that there’s an over-run of yang energy without any yin in it at all, and that’s just incredibly destructive. The yin needs the yang in it; that’s what the circle means – the yang needs the yin. It’s incredibly important. It doesn’t matter if you’re male, female, gay, trans, whatever; you have both of these energies in you, to some degree. If you have only yin, completely feminine energy, that’s absolutely destructive as well … that is coming from a weak place … you need both. And only yang energy is fucking dangerous; and that is why the world is the way it is: that is why it’s violent, that is why it’s terrifying, that is why it is ugly. You have one energy just running absolutely rampant. And that is not the definition of a man. That isn’t a man’s energy; that’s a fucked-up, twisted perversion of only a part of a man’s energy.

DOOM (intern Jimmy Rox): It’s like in Star Wars; it doesn’t work when it’s just the Jedi; it doesn’t work when it’s just the Sith …

EA: Yes! Thank you for mentioning Star Wars, because I love Star Wars! The first song, when I was two years old … the first song where I actually used my voice, was me standing up in my crib singing the Star Wars theme. My parents actually got that on tape. I don’t have anything now, because everything was burned, but I actually did listen to that when I was about 7 because I didn’t believe it was a true story, and I fucking sang it and it was fucking dead on! Fuckin’ Star Wars!

DOOM (to EA’s liason): Can I sneak in just one more; something quick and light…

EA: I love you!

DOOM: There’s an upsurge in classically trained, female, avant garde, string players. I’m thinking specifically of Zoe Keating on cello…

EA: Right, she’s awesome, and really sweet.

DOOM: And Lindsey Stirling …

EA: I’m actually not familiar with her, I’m sorry.

DOOM: She plays electric violin while doing ballet … she’s not a gimmick, she’s immensely talented. So, do you think there’s a thing driving this emergence?

EA: I knew about Zoe, but didn’t see the thing happening. I think it’s true that there’s something that, at one moment is not really cool, but you get one person with the right look, the right personality and then it’s like “of course it’s cool, because that person is doing it” and then it has the spark and all of a sudden you see this person, this girl who can actually do this shit, like me … like Zoe … and then it’s really not that big of a deal for the next person to also come along and do it, you just need these little sparks. That would explain it to me: that we’re all making it easier for each other, and that’s excellent.

It’s great that there are people using real skill, that someone’s worked really hard at for a lifetime, and not just “I learned three chords in my garage” … that’s not music, that’s not art, that’s not skill.  It’s fun, and it can be entertaining, but it’s not what I’m after; it’s a different art form altogether; it’s like roller skating … no real relation.

DOOM: Like skateboarding and ballet …

EA: Exactly! Both awesome, but very, very different!

DOOM: Emilie Autumn, if you woke up tomorrow morning and it was the Zombie Apocalypse, what would you do? [ed. this question was actually the first one asked in the interview, because we were on a very tight schedule, and didn’t want to miss Emilie’s answer!]

EA: Oooh! Give me a moment, because I’m taking this very seriously. It’s not like you really have a lot of options. I think I’d probably join ‘em. I’d probably try to play along and I would suspect – this is like getting too-too into this – but I would suspect that a lot of other people were playing along, as well. Then I feel like we’d somehow find each other.

DOOM: Well, you’re good with make-up…

EA: Yeah. That’s what I’m saying. I think we – the girls and I – would use our collective make-up skills and we would fit in perfectly. It’s ACTING! I would make the Zombie Apocalypse my greatest make-up challenge.

 

 

Puddddinnnggggg….Need Christmas Pudding!

You thought Jack Skellington was the Nightmare Before Christmas…?

Each year, the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Day Parade closes with a smiling, waving Santa heralding the beginning of  the shopping frenzy holiday season. But in Phoenix, Arizona, there’s a slightly different tradition …

Zombie Santa at Alice Cooper's Christmas Pudding 2012 ©Libbi Rich ~ DOOM! Magazine

You thought Jack Skellington was the Nightmare Before Christmas…

(more…)

Red Hot Chili Peppers with Band of Skulls @ Jobing.com Arena Glendale, AZ

The Red Hot Chili Peppers @ Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Arizona ©2012 Libbi Rich ~ DOOM! Magazine

The Red Hot Chili Peppers @ Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Arizona ©2012 Libbi Rich ~ DOOM! Magazine

The Red Hot Chili Peppers toured on the heels of their recent release, I’m With You, appearing at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Arizona on September 25, 2012. Although some fans worried that guitarist John Frusciante‘s departure from the band would lead to disappointment, RHCP’s latest addition, Josh Klinghoffer carried his own weight on both the new material and the old.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers @ Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Arizona ©2012 Libbi Rich ~ DOOM! Magazine

The Red Hot Chili Peppers @ Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Arizona ©2012 Libbi Rich ~ DOOM! Magazine

Josh Klinghoffer/RHCP @ Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Arizona ©2012 Libbi Rich ~ DOOM! Magazine

Josh Klinghoffer/RHCP @ Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Arizona ©2012 Libbi Rich

The band is releasing 18 new singles from tracks recorded during the sessions for their 2011 studio album, I’m With You, which will be released digitally and as nine vinyl double A-sided 7″ singles (limited to 3000 copies) over the next 6 months. Each of the nine seven-inches feature cover artwork by Kelsey Brookes, that combined together will form a larger image.

The first two tracks, “Strange Man” and “Long Progression” were released on August 11, followed by “Magpies On Fire” and “Victorian Machinery” on September 11, and the most recent “Never is a Long Time” and “Love Of Your Life” on September 28. The next in the series, “The Sunset Sleeps” and “Hometown Gypsy” is scheduled to be released on November 4, with the remaining to follow on December 4, December 18, and “early 2013.”

Speaking to Billboard about the tracks, drummer Chad Smith said, “We just wanted them to come out because we just really like them. We didn’t want them to get lost, so we’re gonna put them out, mainly for our fans. They would’ve waited for the Warner Bros. box set in, like, 2020, if there’s even a record company around then. I’m glad they’re going to see the light of day because it’s an important part of the band and what we were doing at the time.”

Anthony Kiedis/The Red Hot Chili Peppers @ Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Arizona ©2012 Libbi Rich ~ DOOM! Magazine

Anthony Kiedis/The Red Hot Chili Peppers @Jobing.com Arena Glendale, AZ ©2012 Libbi Rich DOOM! Magazine

Opening act, English rock band, Band of Skulls, warmed the audience up for the Chilis. It’s been announced that Band of Skulls will be opening for Muse on some of their upcoming 2013 North American tour dates.

 

GALLERY: RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS

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GALLERY: BAND OF SKULLS

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