Metal of Honor
By Alex Distefano
Inland Empire concertgoers are always lucky during the summer months when it comes to music festivals. For metal heads, this year is no exception. The Rockstar Mayhem Tour this year rolls through San Bernardino, at the San Manuel Amphitheater on June 29. This will be the first show of the tour, which has 26 dates across the country and ends on Aug 4, in Dallas, Texas.
The Mayhem Fest began in 2008, and has featured some of the most prominent metal bands out there including Slipknot, Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeth and hordes of other up and coming metal bands over the years.
Headlining the show on this year’s main stage will be Rob Zombie (backed by a live band including John 5 on guitar, Piggy D on bass and drummer Ginger Fish). Also appearing on the main stage: popular heavy hitters Five Finger Death Punch, prog metal masters Mastodon, and Viking Metal warriors Amon Amarth.
The MI (Musicians Institute) Stage will be headlined by Children Of Bodom and will also feature Emmure, Born of Osiris, Atikka 7, Motionless in White and Thrown into Exile.
The Jagermeister Stage will feature Butcher Babies, Huntress, Battlecross, Job For a Cowboy and headliners Machine Head.
Headlining the Sumerian Stage will be Scorpion Child, with other acts to be released online prior to the event. Polish black/death metal band Behemoth were also supposed to play this year, but were forced to cancel when drummer ‘Inferno’ had to undergo emergency surgery for his appendix.
The Weekly got a chance to speak to Nick Schendzielos, bassist from Arizona death metal band Job For a Cowboy and Tony Asta, guitarist from Michigan based metal band Battlecross about being a part of this year’s Mayhem Tour, what the fans can expect, energy drinks, and the summer heat.
“Summer tours rule!” Asta said. “Hanging out with fans is probably the best part for me because as you all know, Battlecross fans are the hungriest, rabid fans out there.”
He told the Weekly that fans could expect a short but sweet set from Battlecross, only 25 minutes. “Half our set will be new material but we’ll be sure to play an old hit or two,” he said. “We perform 2nd on the Jager stage after Huntress.”
Schendzielos from Job For a Cowboy said that the band is excited beyond belief to be part of this year’s tour. “It is pretty much one of the greatest honors as a metal band in this country,” he said. “There really is not a higher level of achievement you can attain besides something crazy like a Metallica tour or something.”
For opening bands, on summer music tours, most play in the daytime, often in sweltering sunlight heat and sometimes humidity. “We play looser in the heat, playing in the cold blows!” said Asta. “I was born to sweat, shred, and head bang after all. If it gets too hot I just dump a bottle of water on myself, I change my clothes after anyway. Plus clothes dry real fast in the sun.”
Schendzielos agreed about loving the heat. I personally like super hot shows. You get all sweaty and sexy, and your muscles glisten in the sun and it’s very much a sensual experience at that point,” he said. “Let’s all sweat together, you know?”
Job For a Cowboy however, makes music centering on motifs that are anything but loving or sensual. With harsh sounds of brutal death metal and spastic grind core, the band presents songs that might be called apocalyptic, or dystopian.
Battlecross however, create songs about more personal issues. “On the new album War of Will we revisited the more positive themes and continue to reiterate the slogan of ‘Do what’s in your heart and ignore the naysayers.’ Some topics focus on the choice we have to let go of the material things that own us or political ideals that divide us, while other songs describe the struggle to keep the inner demons at rest,” Asta said.
Both bands look forward to the party and hope to see many mosh pits at this year’s Mayhem Fest. “Get your asses into the pit for our set, do not let us down,” Schendzielos said. “We want to have the sickest pit of this year’s Mayhem fest. We want to see some Braveheart shit. “
Asta also said he can’t wait for the Mayhem to start. “Summer tours rule. There is nothing like performing outside, sweating our asses off, and enjoying every moment of it!”
The Rockstar Mayhem Festival at the San Manuel Amphitheater, 2575 Glen Helen Pkwy., San Bernardino, (909) 880-6500; www.rockstarmayhemfest.com. Sat, June 29. 1pm. Tickets $60-$90. All ages.