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METAL ALLEGIANCE

Happy 5th Birthday MA

Wow. 5 years… the date was July 17th, 2014 when I thought of the words “Metal Allegiance” and the initial idea of the then “concept” at the old Del Fuego (taco joint) in St. James, NY (Long Island). How do I remember the exact date? Its quite simple… I had that once-in-a-lifetime “light bulb” moment sitting there at my corner stool and I wrote it down in the notes on my iPhone which said “just came up with the name ‘Metal Allegiance’ I dig it”. I remember calling Dan Leo up later that day telling him about it and I also remember it pondering in my mind throughout that entire month of July… 

A few things about Del Fuego before I move on… not only is it the birthplace of MA, but its also the spot where all early MA business decisions were made. We hired managers there, had many of meetings there (we still do at the new location), conceptulized ideas there, many band dinners, post-rehearsal/recording hangs, etc… Alex Skolnick and David Ellefson were frequent visitors of the resturant throughout our formative years. HOWEVER… there is one person who loved it as much as me (probably even more) that he is now named after the freaking place, the incomparable Mr. Mark Osegueda now known world-wide as Osefuego! Yes, this is the joint Mark is named after and let me tell you something… the photos I have of him in this place will never see the public light… or maybe they will? 😉

Enough of my babbling… Fast forward to August 26th, 2014 as I was standing in my kitchen getting ready to go to the beach with my two amazing kids when I received a phone call from Dave Ellefson “Dude… Megadeth had to cancel next months performances on Motorhead’s Motorboat, we’re up to bat” I remember telling him “what in the world are you talking about??!!” and Dave’s response was “time to do your thing and get the crew back together again…” 

Now for those that don’t know, when I worked in my former life for a Musical Instruments company within the Music Industry, I put together this thing called Metal Masters that featured Dave Ellefson, Portnoy, Anselmo, Anthrax dudes, Slayer dues, Geezer Butler, etc… etc… when I parted ways with that company in the spring of 2014 I also parted ways with the Metal Masters concept hence Dave going “we’re up to bat” he knew of my name “Metal Allegiance” and he knew what I wanted to do with it… he also knew I was planning on making the debut at the House of Blues in Anaheim in January of 2015… but what I did NOT know nor expect was that opportunity was knocking and when opportunity knocks, you take it. After a few phones calls with Dave that morning and a few more that evening with Danny from Ask4 Entertainment (the fine person/company behind Motorboat, Shiprocked, etc…) Metal Allegiance was booked on the inaugural Motorhead Motorboat Cruise set to take sail from September 22-26, 2014. And yes, the kids and I had a killer day at the beach and I took this photo of a fork with metal horns signifying I was back in game (sooner than I thought)… haha

Now… “Metal Allegiance” was booked but didn’t have a band nor any members, didn’t have social media, didn’t have a website, didn’t have ANYTHING… We were non-existent. So the next day and many mass phone calls later to everyone in Anthrax, Philip, Rex, Chuck, etc… explaining what the hell was going on, they all agreed to participate and by the end of the day on August 27th we had a band and the first lineup of “Metal Allegiance” was announced.

Lets fast forward again… September 22nd, 2014 and setting sail on Motorboat out of Miami; myself, Mike Portnoy, David Ellefson and Chris Broderick flew down as the only people who were not in a “real” band performing on Motorboat but as “Metal Allegiance” everyone else was performing on that boat in their respective bands. Also note, at this time I was still the sole “behind the scenes dude”…

September 23rd is the day that the seeds were planted for “Metal Allegiance” to become what it is now known for… as many people on that boat are aware, we couldn’t make our first stop in Key West due to a Hurricane out at sea, so the boat was forced to sail away from that storm… as we were sailing, we kept circling this Island, over and over… as the day went on I kept looking at this Island. It was eventually late afternoon and myself, David Ellefson, Portnoy and Danny (from Ask4) were all just talking before our set and killing time; I remember asking someone “where the hell are we? We keep circling that Island…” and Dave enthusiastically says “Dude! Thats Cuba!” then immediately after that someone (I think it was Portnoy) had the idea to say “hey, lets write some music as Metal Allegiance” and I remember laughing and saying “what are we gonna do write covers” with a wise-ass chuckle… I also believe I made jokes of him joining another band? Needless to say the idea was then left as just an “idea” and we went on to play our first set that evening on the outdoor deck in extreme wind conditions (while still circling Cuba).

September 24th… the boat finally stopped and let us out in Cozumel, Mexico. I ventured out on my own as I was tired of being cooped up, so I went sight-seeing, ate some real-deal tacos and just relaxed. I even found this dude making custom skulls in the streets of Mexico and he painted the second item that bears an MA logo 🙂 this still sits in my living room. (The first items are the first MA guitar picks which are now super rare, I personally only have a few left) Neither here or there, when I finally got back to the boat in my sandals, straw hat, board shorts, Eagles Tour shirt and coconut drink; I stumbled into the artist catering area where a group of the guys were eating dinner with Alex Skolnick. Alex and I didn’t really know one another at that point… we both knew of each other but didn’t know each other. I remember looking over to him and saying “Dude, you’re jamming with us tomorrow” with my coconut drink still in hand and then I left… it was night-night for me. hahahaha

September 25th: Alex took me up on my offer and he did an insane rendition of “Eruption” by the mighty Van Halen along with some other VH classics for our second performance. It was awesome watching everyone rehearse in the dressing room area before the gig, all having fun, jamming like they were kids, smiling, etc… definitely a goosebumps moment. The second and last set of ours was now finally over and the inauguration of MA is done, HOWEVER… that night after the gig I clearly remember talking to Mike Portnoy and going, “Hey man, do you really think we could write music as “Metal Allegiance” and he said “Absolutely” at this point I furthered the discussions with Mike and Dave that very night, but we did not have a guitarist… and thats when I suggested Alex. I went to find Alex on that boat and mentioned the crazy idea to him… he gave me his cell number to keep in touch and we parted ways. To this day, I still believe he didn’t take it seriously. haha

About a month or so later I started a group text with Mike and Dave as I was still excited about MA and the future possibilities. We started talking about getting together to write, types of music we’d do, general talking, etc… and we kept throwing names back and forth for that “guitarist” slot and I kept saying “Alex… Alex… Alex…” I then called Alex and told him this crazy idea and continued our discussion from the Motorboat. He was interested… but none of us knew how it would work. We were all skeptical. Myself, Alex, Dave and Mike all agreed to meet at Mike’s house in early December to see what we can come up with and to see if we have chemistry between us as writing partners. We all got along great and myself, Dave and Mike have known each other for quite some time (better part of 10 years or so), but who knew how it would be getting in a room together writing creatively. It could have went one of two ways; amazing or terrible. I was also skeptical as they asked me to contribute musically and lyrically. Mike and Dave both knew I played and wrote and I believe it was Dave who said that I was an untapped resource filled with music…

Also in the month of October, MA offered the first MA shirt ever as we were the ONLY band on that boat who didn’t have merch and people kept asking if we had anything (at this point we were still brand new to social media), so we did this fine gem of a shirt! Anyone still have one?

December 2nd has some major significance to me; 1) it’s my oldest sons Birthday 2) it’s the day the Core 4 of Ellefson/Menghi/Portnoy/Skolnick was officially formed. On December 2nd, 2014 I drove to Mike’s house in PA (after spending the day and having birthday dinner/cake with my son) to meet up with Mike, Alex and Dave. The three of them got together on December 1st to start writing. I had to come a day later as there was no way I was missing my sons Birthday. When I got there, they had three song sketches somewhat mapped out; I believe “Pledge of Allegiance”, “Scars” and “Destination: Nowhere” (at least the musical skeletons of em). When I came in, we wrote “Dying Song” that night of the 2nd… the next day on December 3rd we pieced together the full musical arrangements for Pledge, Scars, Destination and Dying Song and then started on our fifth song “Gift of Pain”. I brought that tune in as its a song I had written previously (Musically and lyrically). We’ll get into the lyrics, music, meanings at a later date 🙂 the photo below was taking the night of December 2nd, 2014 at the local Red Robin by Mike’s house and is the first official photo of the “Core 4”


December 3rd and 4th we used to finalize the first of two batches of songs and what wound up being on our debut album to be released later the following year (Pledge of Allegiance, Dying Song, Gift of Pain, Destination: Nowhere and Scars)… I won’t get into the 6th year, second writing session in early 2015, other shows, Debut album release, etc… as its not the 6 year anniversary 🙂 but I can tell you one thing… in a short amount of time (July 2014 to December 2014) the ground work was laid for Metal Allegiance and I can not thank Alex, Mike and Dave enough for allowing me into their creative circle and to all the fans for accepting me into the metal-fold with these legends. Yes, they are legends and I have no business being amongst them… I’ll be the first to tell you that. Having said that, I work real hard to practice my craft as I always need to be on my A-game. I put myself through rigorous practice regimens at home, always writing, always practicing, always writing words down, (I started writing for MA 3 already haha) etc… so when I do get together with the fellas to write or jam I am prepared.

Having said all that, 5 years later here we are; a home at the greatest metal label in all the land, a killer website, awesome social pages with the most amazing fans, 2 full length records, one EP, an amazing crew/staff and many, many, many memorable shows later we are still here and more importantly, still friends. I personally have made some amazing friends and relationships over these last 5 years and will always be humbled by them.

I hope whomever reads this comes out to one of our anniversary shows in April. We will be celebrating all things MA from songs off of both records and EP, some covers we haven’t done in a while and of course, some special surprise guests. Ya never know who is gonna show up at these dates or what else will happen… but I do promise there are more surprises in-store for these four shows and for other things brewing to celebrate for later in the year 🙂 afterall, we have a year to celebrate 🙂

Much love,

MM

East Coast meets West Coast

Wow. What a week its been… Our first show of 2019 at our home away from home, the House of Blues in lovely, warm and amazing Anaheim, California. I have personally been playing shows at the HOB for many years now and I always look forward to our “one” gig a year there during the shit-show of a week during the month of January where a certain music convention is held and well over a hundred thousand people show up to. I am gonna give all a loose synopsis of a play-by-play from when I landed to the moment the gig ended as it has all been pretty epic and equally comical.



Welcome to L.A. the home of the NFC Champions Los Angeles Rams! Thats a debate all in itself…. As I was flying over L.A. and heard the flight attendant state we were landing shortly, I opened up the window and saw this amazing view… the City of Angels looked marvelous so I thought to capture my view with this nifty new iPhone my son made me get. I still think its to big and clunky but it does take killer photos.



As I landed and headed to baggage claim where I was met by the incomparable Tommy “F-ing” Jones of Nulcear Blast Records, I started to panic as my baby is no where to be found! “Red” as I call her (my Fender Custom P-Bass Special that you all know and love) was sitting lonesome with some dude in oversized baggage… hence I yelled “don’t touch her, shes delicate” hahaha the dudes face was priceless and again, had the iPhone out to capture the moment.



Once we got back to the house known as the “MA house” (a rented home the band and crew  stayed at – its like heavy metal sleep away camp – which is a comical story all in itself) I immediately said a few hellos and off to bed I went… the next day is when the chaos started. And it all started with these delicious looking tacos (above). I was craving some real street tacos and there is no where better in the good ol’ U.S of A than SoCal (in my opinion – I’ve had them EVERYWHERE) to get them. I must have had god knows how many tacos and/or burritos during my stay in SoCal. As I downed these bad boys, I received multiple texts that Blitz, Portnoy, Alex, the crew, etc… all have arrived at the MA house. With that, I finished these suckers off and headed back to the house to stir the pot.

And who is the first person I hear (not see) when I walk up to the house? The infamous Robert Ellsworth aka Bobby Blitz. I heard the dude a block away yapping… hahahah so as I walk in and the trash-talk fest was on. Not a “hello, how was your flight” or “hey man, awesome to see you”, it was ” Hey you &^@^@(@***__)” and “)*!^@*#(#” hahahahahaha Now, it is common knowledge in the MA camp that Bobby and I do nothing but talk to trash to one another. It’s resentless and probably makes a lot of people uncomfrotable. Its what we do… but also let it be known that we have great respect for one another and we truly do enjoy eachothers company. We have a blast together, but even more fun busting on eachother. For anyone that has been around us, knows full well what its like. Lets just say that it all revolves around the fact that he is from Jersey and I am from Long Island and it just goes from there into well, I am sure you get it… BUT I truly do love the man and am honored to call him a friend. Plus we shred pretty good together as well…

After a day hanging, talking and enjoying the amazing SoCal weather (and more tacos), it was time for rehearsals… Every single one of us actually showed up at one point or another (which is rare). The week is so busy with other activities going on, concerts, award shows, music convention stuff, meetings, etc… that its near impossible to get everyone to show up for rehearsal… BUT for the first time ever, everyone showed up and rehearsed at one point or another. The studio we rehearsed at was a normal hourly studio that local bands go to… we fit an MA rehearsal with all 14 of us, plus crew into a room that couldn’t be bigger than a 12×12 space. Not one person complained… it was like the old days of sweating it out. Thats when I knew we were gonna have a killer show. No egos… 

Show day! Our amazing crew all left the house extremely early for load-in… I was up early as I’m naturally an early riser these days and was hanging with LA’s own DJ Will (I know you all know him – if you live and listen to metal in LA you definitly know him). I asked Will if he could drop me off early as I had to run a few errands before I got to the venue… when I walked up through the Garden Walk district of Anaheim, this is what I immediately saw (pictured above). The validation when you see your artwork, your band, everything you created on a giant digital billboard 3,500 miles away from home is quite rewarding, but what was even better and more rewarding was I knew that as soon as I walked inside the venue, the stage would be set, the 20-foot x 30-foot MA backdrop would be hanging, red would be waiting for me and this is when it all comes to life.

Woooooo… Give me two claps and a Ric Flair! The first thing I did when I walked into the venue was to see if Ric Flair and Macho Man were set up. hahaha now most might wonder, “why does this dude have WWE toys set up on his amps in clear sight; year after year, show after show?” its quite simple; my two amazing children give them to me to display on my amps so whenever I see them during the show I will think of them 🙂 For that purpose, I will always display what they give me. It just so happens that for the last few years its been WWE figures/toys. Hence the reason why I smile from time to time on stage. Its nice to know that when I am in the middle of thrashing, I can look over and see and think of my two boys. I am truly thankful for them both. Having said that, I also have a slight obsession quoting Ric Flair… hence the new guitar picks I made with his face on it. hahaha speaking of which, these are super rare and I am going to do a giveaway soon on my Instagram page for a few. More details on that soon.

What is this that stands before me? As the rain and thunder cranked from the House of Blues PA system… it was time. I was transformed into 1970 Geezer as we were opening our set with the first “Black Sabbath” album… like we did this past October in Brooklyn, I decided to dress in full vintage Geezer clothing with only one exception… I was NOT shaving this time 🙂 Now, to dress in a costume like that (wig, shirt, necklace, etc….) with four people in the band is one thing (as the other three also were dressing up) but to do this in a band of 14 while having the show live streamed to millions around the world, with all of your peers laughing their ass off at you is another… but anyone that knows me knows that I truly do not give a shit what anyone thinks. Besides, Alex had his fake mustache on so it was worth it. hahaha I made it a point to have as little people before the show see me like this… its when I walked out of the dressing room that everyone was like “dude, are you serious?” hahaha I just follwed the sound of thunder and rain, waited for Dan (my trusted BFF, TM, Right-Hand man) to tell me it was “go-time” when everything left my mind and got into the Sabbath zone. Myself, Alex, Mike and Osefuego walked across stage with drinks in hand, traded them with our respective techs for our respective instruments as the crowd went nuts and hit that first note into the title track “Black Sabbath”


After we completed the first Sabbath album, the four of us took a bow (at that point it was myself, Alex, Mike and Blitz) – I ripped my wig off and threw it to the crowd (hey who has it btw?) and I SPRINTED off stage to change. I literally made a b-line to the dressing room as I needed to get all this crap off and get into my normal self/mode. Plus my head was itching like holy hell cause of that wig. As I was in the dressing room changing, I started to have a moment of “holy shit, my hair is covered with sweat, its a mess, what to do with it?” and Alissa was in there getting ready and said “dude, its fucking metal, who gives a shit” which I wholeheartedly agreed with… so I put on my House of Stark Winterfell shirt (Yes, I am GOT obsessed and can not wait until April), threw some water on my face/hair and back out to the trenches I went… at that point we delivered thrash tune after thrash tune after thrash tune after thrash tune… we played a lot of music off of our two albums including the live debuts of “Gift of Pain” and “Voodoo of the Godsend”. One day I will do a tell-all of my lyrics, what they mean, etc… but “Gift of Pain” was an epic moment for me. I wrote the music to that song sometime around 2003-ish, and wrote my poriton of the lyrics and the words “Gift of Pain” in January 2013. It gave me goose bumps to hear that tune again after so many years. Some highlights for me was of course the Sabbath set, but performing so many MA tunes (10 in total), hearing Bush sing “Only” again, talking Football with Doyle, having Zetro and Jack come out and do “The Toxic Waltz” and to my surprise Zet changing the words from “Exodus” to “Allegiance” during the song… I did text Gary Holt during the show (as that tune was happening) to tell him I missed him and was bummed he was not down here to partake in the festivities. Gary has some personal stuff going on, but he was missed. He will be back…

The night was coming to a close and I changed shirts yet again. I always wore the same shirt for an entire show, this time around I changed three times! Having said that, after looking at the above picture I need to stop trying to do the Steve Harris bass pose… doesn’t work for me and I can’t do it like the master himself can. But we ended the night with an amazing rendition of “Aces High” sang by both John and Alissa followed be “The Trooper” where EVERYONE came out… 

To cap it all off… it was an amazing night with an amazing crowd with an amazing band and crew. I want to thank OUR ENTIRE crew for their hard work and dedication. Without them, these shows do not happen… Dan Leo my right-hand man and all-around Taco lover, John Rup for coordinating all the gear, support acts, etc…, Aaron Mercier (my tech – stage right), KY (stage left), Mike P (drums), Wedge (sound), Scott Diussa (photos), DJ Will (MC and stage assist), Victor and the video crew of Jupiter Return (Live Stream), The Kentzells (number one MA fans on the planet) and the staff at Nuclear Blast Records whom were in the house working their asses off (Tommy, Jackie and Kristin). These people go above and byond for myself and MA and I love them all dearly. Tommy coordinated the live stream with Victor and his team… Tommy also was on MA social media patrol and tried to share as much as possible with everyone around the globe as it was going down. Jackie handled all of my personal social media and brought you all the live action from my perspective. Each and every one of you are amazing and I am grateful for you all. I also wanna thank Superfix, Helf Hostage and Metalfier for setting the tone for the evening. And last but not least, I wanna thank my Core 4 brothers of Alex, Mike and Dave and our extended family of Blitz, Osefuego, Charles William, Mark Tornillo, Trevor, John, Alissa, Doyle, Andreas, Demmel, Zetro and Jack. You all truly are amazing musicians and have long looked up to you guys and am humbled you let this kid from Long Island jam and write with you all. I also wanna thank our amazing sponsors; Nuclear Blast Records, IK Multimedia, Orange Amps and Murder in the Front Row whom all have been absolutely amazing to work with and super supportive. 

And last but not least, I wanna thank all the fans for showing up to the Meet & Greet and to the show at the House of Blues. I know you all had many options that night for your musical entertainment and I am thankful you all showed up to our gig. MA gigs are unlike any other gigs going on… ya never know what you’re gonna get but do know it’ll always be epic and on point. I also wanna point out that there is this great debate on who has better thrash, who started it, blah blah blah… the West Coast or the East Coasts? In my humble opinion… one does not work without the other. If Metallica did not move from L.A. to the Bay area and then travel to NY/NJ to meet Jon and Marsha Zazula to record “Kill Em All” then who knows what would have happened? But do not forget, at that same exact time you had Overkill, Anthrax, Exodus and Slayer planting the seeds for what we know today. I think the debate is dumb and like I said, one does not work without the other. Chuck Billy and Bobby Blitz had a moment on stage this past week and to me, that showed that we are one big happy metal family and one is not better than the other.

Until our next show… 

MM

Photos by my iPhone, Scott Diussa, Steve Rose and Iron Mike Savoia

The Gospel According to Alex

In music (as in life), some of the most exciting developments aren’t planned and couldn’t be even if you tried. Metal Allegiance – and my role as guitarist/songwriter/co-producer – is one such thing that, to use two common phrases “just happened” and came “out of nowhere.” It was the result of two other terms that, until recently, were seldom ever heard in the same sentence: “heavy metal” and “cruise ship.”

The story of Motörhead’s “Motörboat” in 2014 (one of the final voyages of our spiritual guru Lemmy) – along with MA’s last minute addition to the lineup, my randomly sitting in, talks back on dry land a week later in which I was officially brought on board (pun not intended) and the subsequent, secret mission to shift the project from “all star cover jam” into one that creates new, original music – has been recounted in many interviews and is easily “Google-able.” The same goes for descriptions of our live shows. Instead, I’ll use this forum to discuss a few personal highlights.

One is working in the studio (sometimes in person, sometimes remotely) with fellow artists whom I’ve never had the chance to collaborate with before. Some I’ve only gotten to know fairly recently (Trevor Strnad, for example), others I’ve known since my early days on the music scene (Mark Osegueda and Gary Holt for example) and most are somewhere in between. All, however, are folks with whom I’d never recorded and might not have had the chance to otherwise. Normally, doing so would require forming a whole new project and a time commitment that is unrealistic (so many of us have crazy schedules these days – myself as much as anyone). With MA, however, there is the far more realistic goal of tracking one song for each artist (with occasional exceptions), not counting those of us who have laid the groundwork (myself, Menghi, Portnoy & Ellefson). Exploring the creative process with a vocalist or guitarist you’ve never been paired with before and helping nurture their contribution – which includes offering constructive guidance when appropriate and knowing when to keep quiet and just let that person do his or her thing – can be every bit as fulfilling as playing an instrument yourself.

On that note, let’s look at my own playing for MA. While most of my projects outside of my main band have been improvisational (with musicians who specialize in jazz and other genres), I’d already been thinking of one day recording the metal side of my playing – beyond the scope of what listeners are used to hearing with Testament – when, as if on cue, MA showed up. Since then, our albums have sparked solos that I’d count among my favorites (“Terminal Illusion” currently near the top of the list) and most notably, opened up a platform for my rhythm playing. To elaborate: Testament follows the blueprint for modern heavy bands in which one guitarist is the main soloist and the other as the “riff guy” ie James Hetfield, Scott Ian; I’m primarily the soloist while Eric (Peterson – who easily holds his own with James and Scott as a riffer- imo) records most of the rhythm. This works great for Testament – it is the established sound and I wouldn’t wish to change it. At the same time, it is also nice to also be able to point listeners to some crunchy riffs recorded with my individual tone, as heard on the Metal Allegiance albums.

Finally, as fun as our big blowout shows are (which can have around a dozen or so players), special mention should be made for the times MA scales down into a small unit in order to pay tribute to a specific album. Most recently it was “Black Sabbath” (Halloween weekend at the Brooklyn Bowl). Others have included “Made in Japan” (Deep Purple) and “Van Halen” (with Wolfgang himself sitting in on a few tunes). In each case, I’ve found that studying these records with highly trained ears is vastly different than doing so in your formative years. There are numerous subtleties I’d never caught before – from Iommi’s positioning, slides on certain chords and slight alterations of the same riff (depending on whether there are vocals) to Blackmore use of right hand finger plucking (on riffs as well as solos) to Van Halen using the exact same lick patterns throughout several songs, yet cleverly disguising them so they sound distinct – that can only be recognized after many years of playing experience. It’s also fun to tap (pun not intended) into these 6-string kings’ tones, from using a classic Phase-90 pedal and custom built “Frankenstein” guitar (Van Halen), to restoring the ‘68 Gibson SG I’d acquired long ago, now transformed from “fixer upper” to “fabulous vintage instrument.” It is great to have an excuse to explore this music on a deeper level and doing so helps inspire the original tracks we create for MA.

Whether large or small, any Metal Allegiance concert – let alone an album – is not easy to put together. Credit is due to Mark Menghi, whose brainchild this is and who somehow finds the drive to outline the plans, move them forward and be a taskmaster when necessary. A former leader of the US Congress (Trent Lott), famously compared his job to “herding cats.” I imagine Mark can relate.

Alex Skolnick

Photo Credits: Main photo and photo w/ Gibson Guitar by Scott Diussa. Motorboat Photo by Stephanie Cabral. Blythe/Menghi/Portnoy/Skolnick photo by Mark Menghi’s iPhone. Full band with crowd photo by armyofonetv.com

Ozzy Blitz

Hello boys and girls!

This is Ol’ Uncle Bobby Blitz. Bone collector and Metalist of the highest order, by time served and a purist in a time of impurity.

I must say… I was recently honored to partake/took in the Metal Allegiance rendition of the first Black Sabbath record along with other classics and a few hidden gems. I was stoked and I was ready. The day was stormy that Halloween weekend, angry you might say… like an old man trying to send soup back in a deli. The Brooklyn wind howled, “go back to Jersey you curly haired prick, Ozzy had noooooo cuuuuuuurls!” But I stood firm, like Frank Sinatra in the face of Dean Martin, trying to figure out if either knew how to speak Italian.

To my amazement the day leveled out, and became a ‘gig’, sound-check, dinner, family arriving, friends and foe alike… all willing to celebrate the original Sabbath on this All Hallowed Eve. Then in a flash, all transformed before my eyes… I panicked. The first; Menghi, a bearded sort, smelling of garlic with more facial hair than brains, Cindy Crawford wig and a stache that John Holmes would be proud of with a limp dick… a “star laced” hippie shirt and silver cross followed. This as I was calling 1-800-fix-me, I looked up and Mr. Skolnick wore the same upper lip adornment, there was something going on… those bell bottoms, that 70’s scent! Was I dreaming? I grabbed the last sane man in the room, a Mr. Portnoy, from a far away drummer-land and asked…”are we ok?” He smiled, disappeared behind a wall of wood and in a flash reappeared now donning “pigtails”. I was fucked!

I tried to make my escape and heard in the distance….”never talking, always walking, spreading his magic”. I was part of the plan, a plan that tore into the hearts of us and those who felt what we felt…..an Allegiance. I bow to the greatness of that era…. and the magic of that night.

BB
Overkill

Photos by Scott Diussa

Sabbath Bloody Sabbath

It’s been a bit since I last checked in. Lets recount what has happened since my last blog post: We released our new record “Volume II: Power Drunk Majesty” on Sept 7th via Nuclear Blast Entertainment… what a trip it has been. I first and foremost wanna thank everyone involved in the making of that album. Alex, Mike, Dave, all the vocalists, guest guitarists, EVERYONE at Nuclear Blast USA and Europe/UK, etc… It was a ton of work and a true labor of love. Being one of the writing core-4 members is a lot of work, but this time around I co-produced the album with Alex and we slaved in the studio to make what we like to think is our ultimate thrash metal record (at least to us). I put my heart and soul into PDM, the music, the lyrics, the production… and hope you’re all digging it. I put the most pressure on myself as I am the “lesser known” and if I am writing, recording and performing with musicians like Alex, Joe Satriani, etc… I better be on point. Now that I think about it I have written, performed and recorded with some pretty legendary musicians and its insane to think about. Where most people have the experience with their band and the same people in their respective bands, I have the privilege of juggling over 4 dozen musicians. hahahaha its definitely a trip!

I’m truly humbled by the experience and most certainly do not take it for granted. With that, we also had our record release show the night prior on Sept 6 at the Gramercy Theater in NYC, a ton of press surrounding those days, a few in-store autograph signings, etc…

Fast forward to this past Sat night 10/27/18 at the Brooklyn Bowl in Brooklyn, NY where myself, MP, Alex and Blitz portrayed our heroes; Geezer, Bill, Tony & Ozzy and paid tribute to a band from Birmingham England called Black Sabbath. It was a total blast getting into Sabbath mode. We covered their first album along with a few other choice Sabbath selections. I spent a great deal of time learning all the Geezer nuances (plus I emailed Geezer a few times to annoy him if I have the correct notes and tunings on certain tunes). hahahaha

It was also fun to look the part as well. I searched high and low for the right wig (hair), Shirt (thank you Amazon), necklace (thank you Alex), etc… I even shaved my beard (which I still can’t believe I did) to get the mustache just right. Yes the mustahce was real! (Alex had the fake one). This is the first time I have been cleaned shaved in years. No bueno! Never again. The afternoon of the gig Alex and I searched high and low, up and down Williamsburg B’KLYN at used clothing shops, vintage clothing shops, etc… to try and find bell bottom jeans. But no luck there. I’m still continuing the search because I have a feeling we are going to do more of these Sabbath shows (wait, I might have to shave again???). Was a total blast.

Looking into the future, we have our next massive “big” MA show on Jan 24th 2019 at our home away from home, The House of Blues in Anaheim, CA! More to come on that soon.

Thank you all for the massive support. Its greatly apprecieated!

MM

– All photos by MA camera man Scott Diussa
– Geezer Butler Photo by Black Sabbath

Writing with Bobby Blitz

Hey all… our new tune and video “Mother of Sin” has been out for a few days now. Hope you all are digging. When we first wrote the music to this tune, which was on January 2nd 2017, we knew from the moment we were riffing that we had to have Bobby sing on this. Most people think that we write for particular singers or we go in knowing who the vocalists are gonna be. I assure you, that has never been the case. Not once… the music we write has always dictated who the singer would/could/should be. In this case, Bobby Blitz was the first person we all had in mind. When we approached Bobby on this, he immediately accepted the invitation. However, I am pretty sure Bobby has not done much outside of Overkill in recent time nor has he ever co-written lyrics in quite some time. I approached Bobby with my lyrical idea for the tune, a novel of words and an open mind… we collaborated lyrically for a few weeks until we had a final draft of the lyrics, from there we went into demo mode. When I gave him my novel of words, I told him to take pen to paper, change words, edit for his vocal stylings, etc… with that he added so much to what I originally had. He even come up with one of my favorite lines of the record (which I’ll save that story for another day). It was truly an honor collaborating with Bobby on this tune and we spent the better part of April 2017 crafting this tune vocally and lyrically with the choruses, melodies, hooks and phrasing. What you hear now is collaboration in its truest form. This was not an email project, it was a bunch of dudes in a room writing music together from the first note written to the last lyric sang.

Welcome to the brand new MA online universe!

Welcome to the MA Blog better known as our rants and raves! We have a feeling this is where Menghi (and probably Skolnick) will come and carry on… Come back often as we’ll be doing a lot of “blogging” here! In the meantime, we hope you enjoy our new website and all the new stuff cooking. Today being June 22nd, 2018 starts a new chapter for MA. We did the impossible and actually wrote and recorded a new album that will be released on September 7th of this year! Plus we are doing a massive gig the night before in our home town of NYC. Did you listen to our new song “Mother of Sin” featuring our long time friend Bobby Blitz? Well, we are making this short and sweet for now since today is a big day for us, in the meantime get ready for all kinds of new and exciting things coming your way from MA over the course of the coming months! – MM



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