The 10 Best Metal Columns of 2015

The holiday season is winding down, and we at Phoenix New Times hope that you had a great 2015. As we look forward to the New Year, I wanted to re cap some of the best Metal Mondays blogs of the year.

These were picked based off of social media shares, how much they got music lovers talking, as well as my own favorite interviews. Here's looking forward to a very metal 2016!

Rock Biz Veteran Alan Niven Thinks the Arizona Metal Scene Can Thrive

Alan Niven set up shop in Prescott a few years back with an AZ label, Tru-B-Dor Records. Credited with kick-starting the careers of Mötley Crüe, Dokken, Great White, and Guns N Roses, he sees lots of potential in the desert music scene, comparing it to the same energy he felt in LA in the mid-‘80s: the ability to create timeless yet contemporary music.

"There was a camaraderie, but also a sense of competition. Each band raised the bar for the other," says Niven. "Now L.A. is impossible to afford, and that's why it hasn't had a good music scene in ages. But in the Phoenix socioeconomic environment, you can put your energies and focus into making good music, and you can just about get by and do it.”

"The yardstick of that is, are any of these bands what you would call 'national quality'?"
Otep Talks Spiritual Intercourse and How Slipknot’s DJ Convinced her to Perform Again

Most people either love or hate Otep. The singer/poet/activist/screamer/illustrator/rapper/The Hobbit voice-over actress challenges just about everybody and everything—but that’s also what produces the good shit. This is a woman who has some really thought-provoking opinions about the direction of the music industry, and stays true to why she got into the profession over 20 years ago.

Plus, the conversation is never boring: We talked about "spiritual intercourse," record companies fighting over her again, kids being named after her, and the incident she was involved in that has act Terror Universal dismiss their lead singer.

Rock TV Host Eddie Trunk: “There’s No Mystique or Surprises” in Music Anymore

Eddie Trunk is easily one of the most knowledgeable personalities in hard rock and metal. He’s always been known for getting to the meat of the matter (metalheads don’t care about who's-dating-who or fashion feuds), which has made his show, That Metal Show, not only the longest running program in VH1’s history—but the only hard rock/heavy metal-oriented show on cable TV.

We talked about the show’s 14th season (and all the changes that came with it), social media's affect on the music industry, and his most anticipated albums of 2015—let’s see how on his predictions were.

AZ Metal Bands and Comedians Come Together for Desert Frostover

Earlier this month, Desert Frostover took over Marquee Theatre. For the past three years the event has evolved in impressive ways, moving from a 600-capacity venue in 2014 to one with 2,500 this year, as well as incorporating live art displays, food trucks, comedians, and more than 20 top local bands.

“One of the biggest challenges is breaking through people's preconceptions about what we can or can’t do: Two-day festival of all Arizona-based music? Can't do it. Biggest and best venue in town? Can't do it. 22 bands? Can't do it,” says Jeremy Jalowiec, event organizer. “We had to fight to change people's minds every step of the way to make a dream reality. We want to be a part of and help create something bigger—something no one has thought of to do in Arizona. We love this scene, this state, and want to show everyone how great they—and we are.”

Marky Ramone Talks Punk History, Phil Spector, and Italian Food

There’s no denying that the Ramones completely redefined American music, creating a blueprint for the future of hardcore and punk, and that the members were all ahead of their time. In Marky Ramone’s autobiography Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone, readers get to hear many of the stories behind the writing, touring, and collaborations that have never really seen the light of day.

During our interview it was clear to see how Marky Ramone helped influence the world of heavy metal, hardcore and punk. Just one example? His high school band Dust (one of the first heavy metal band in the U.S.) signed with a major label, opened for Alice Cooper, and broke into the Billboard Top 100 chart.