Lady Leather


“I had no problem getting my hands dirty. I liked helping with the soundchecks and I’d be out there in, you know, t-shirt and jeans and whatever and yeah, I got the cat calls and the ‘hey baby’ crap and the whatnot. But, I know I’m a good person, I know who I am. I used to be a scrapper, I was always popular, and I have enough of an ego to just let whatever the haters say just roll off my back because I know the second I start singing, they’ll shut the hell up.”


“Godmother of Metal” Interview: Leather Leone —

Though this deservingly defunct outlet may been lackluster at best, it did afford me this interview which was anything but. I have wanted to meet and speak with Leather for years since the days of “For Those Who Dare.” She is such a brutal and beautiful soul, a real natch in every way. When she told me this article was her favorite portrait, I felt very honored. She may not like it or see it or even care, but she is an awesome role model — not just for women, but for anyone. Though “Surrender to No One” may have had mixed receptions, no one ever questions the band’s collective talent.

Leather’s an awesome person and has one of the best voices in Metal. Period.

Chastain – Encyclopaedia Metallum



Photographer Linda kerberg +46 (0) 70 - 755 52 27
Photographer Linda kerberg
+46 (0) 70 – 755 52 27

“When you are creating or looking at art, you have to completely destroy yourself.”

June 8, 2014

I have never met a more salacious, enigmatic personality than Mr. Erik Danielsson of Watain. Between the two of us, we each represented (fairly) polar ends of the Metal and ideology prism. With mutual respect and unrepentant speech on the table, we engaged in fearless exploration. From that, I was able to enjoy a rewarding and breathless writing experience.

I also somehow got the scoop on what would later be called the infamous “Vomit Show” in Brooklyn, New York that year. This was my first piece with Maximum Metal. It was also my first syndication.

There are very few artists I would drop what I am doing to talk with. He is second the to the top on that very short list.

Syndication: “Watain Discusses Rare Opportunity…”
“Swedish black metal band Watain are performing in support of their fifth full-length album, The Wild Hunt, which was released last year courtesy of Century Media Records. Maximum Metal’s T. Ray Verteramo had the opportunity to talk with Erik Danielsson about the band’s rare US appearance on Sunday, June 15th at the Brooklyn Bazaar as well as his artistic and spiritual awakening…”

Syndication: News Now (Sweden)
Under the “Top Stories Last 48 Hours”

Temple of Watain — Official Site

The Renaissance of Gregg Fox

greggfox2“Gregg Fox is at home here among the rockers, just as he is among the many other swingers and the stingers. “Gun for hire,” Fox has made a name for himself through other names from other names — sharing the stage, but never the spotlight – with the likes of Heart, Asia, Bad Company, Billy Idol, Slash, Queensryche, Quiet Riot, Alice Cooper, Toto, Yes, Pantera, AC/DC, Michael Schenker Group, Iron Maiden, Ozzy Osbourne, just to name a few. And though his many, many mercenary meanderings have allowed him to make a 30-year life-long career for himself after achieving a prestigious music degree, he realized it is time to for the wizard to come out from behind the curtain.”

Sept. 6, 2014

Everyone should have a Gregg Fox in their life. Personable, sweet, passionate, full of life and tons of talent, Mr. Gregg was truly a joy to speak with. Many artists believe in what they do, enjoy what they do, even love what they do. But, very few are fearless in exposing their spiritual connection with their work. Greg shattered that glass sanctuary and was so generous to share his unique and boundless world with me. I learned much. (Besides, it’s not every day that you get to talk to someone who knows Wakeman’s Journey to the Center of the Earth. Fun!)

Renaissance Rock Orchestra – Official FB
Gregg Fox — Official Site

CNN Feature

index“Before Marilyn Manson, there was everyone else. Rather than try to understand or even pay any kind of real attention to what was happening, members of the Moral Majority determined that the heavy metal influence was a satanic influence. Ozzy Osbourne’s infamous, “Suicide Solution” presented a prime example of the present hyper-defensive climate, as every Metalhead in the world understood that the song was written about the late Bon Scott, former lead vocalist of AC/DC. But, rather than doing any respectful research, the Moral Majority and other intimidated self-appointed and elected elders of the communal council jumped to the conclusion that the song was giving instruction on how to take one’s life. At the same token, Iron Maiden’s legendary “Number of the Beast” is a classic composition about a dream, but the voting folks just took bits and pieces of the tune, came to their own conclusions, and proclaimed them to be advocates of Satan. Fear mongering escalated nearly out of control, bringing Tipper Gore (then wife of former vice president, Al Gore) to the forefront of the anti-conformity battle, with her minions marching behind her, calling themselves the Parents’ Music Resource Center (PMRC) and they meant business.” – T. Ray

September 2, 2013

On an unusually cool morning in Austin, I saw the ad for citizen reporters to share their personal experience from the ’80’s. Before I even started my coffee I said, “I got this,” and my submission practically wrote itself. Headbangers was one of nine essays vetted and chosen out of 60 entries to be featured. When the article was published, it gained a little attention from some of the bigger Metal Facebook pages. I did some reviews, went on to do some interviews, then…

Being alive is sometimes like swing dancing: You just go where you’re thrown, find your groove, and try to stay on your feet. As long as the music keeps playing, you’re alright.

Living Metal: Headbangers and the Witch Hunters

720x405-pmrc_02_1985_013©mark_weissx’80’s Throwback: What Life Looked Like When Crossfire First Aired – Feature Article

From the Report: “Music defined us. T. Ray Verteramo fell in love with heavy metal, which was under heavy fire at the time by Tipper Gore and those of the self-proclaimed moral majority. It was a topic of discussion on ‘Crossfire’ when Frank Zappa was a guest. Verteramo believed it to be an issue of free speech. The experience shaped her. ‘When you’re judged so readily, so quickly, and so harshly for so long, it’s hard not to become more empathetic...”

Enter Morean

darkfortress“It’s like analog levels, the same kind of energy is the raw force, which is there, which then translates itself into riffs and into music and into songs and into emotions that are connected to the – or that I put into songs and then I translate them into stories, imagery and into words and into my own head trip. I will get a song in an instrumental way, and then just open the doors, which I’m sure I don’t have to explain to you how that works, and then something comes. Then, I go along for the ride, or until I find something worthy to say that translates itself into a piece of art. It’s my way of trying to put a concrete image to this abstract feeling or energy.”

October 17, 2014

It was my turn to pick from the “review buffet” and I ended up with some Rammstein clone, a bunch of drunken pirates, and this Dark Fortress thing. I expected Black Metal, but I didn’t expect to be completely, literally entranced. “Venereal Dawn” stole time away from me. I had to listen to the entire project twice in order to be able to convey anything of what I heard to my readers. But, afterwards, I was determined to find out who these thieves were and make them explain themselves.

Fortress’ vocalist, Florian “Morean” Maier answered my interview request personally and with such graciousness, I couldn’t help but feel flattered. I also was rather surprised because everyone knows if you’re big enough to have your fans tattoo your logo, usually you’re too busy to be your own mouthpiece. But, there he was. In between composing for orchestras, preparing for a European tour with Schammasch and his own work with his own band, Noneuclid, we scheduled and rescheduled this damn interview 20 times over two weeks until we finally caught each other on Skype. Between his food poisoning and my being up at 6 o’clock in the morning, we were so pretty, oh so pretty…

But, it turned out to be one of the absolute best interviews I had ever enjoyed. He was a perfect guest; full of eloquence and observations, charming, un-rehearsed and genuine, with no reservations. He let me in with so much trust and color that if he didn’t have another interview scheduled, we could have easily bypassed the Energizer Bunny. He filled my palette so full of material, I hardly knew where to begin when it was time to write. He’s an extraordinary talent and personality amongst some of the most precious black pearls in Germany and The Netherlands’ Metal oyster. Dark Fortress became one of my new favorites and Morean, the artist and his work, became (and continues to be) a particular inspiration to me.

This interview was a gift. This man is important.

Dark Fortress — Official website
Dark Fortress — Facebook
Dark Fortress — International Fans Facebook page


That Big-Breasted Elephant In The Room

Metalheads: Of Hatred and Healing
Sexism and Homophobia in Heavy Metal

liv“Porn, fashion, make-up, prostitution, skin bars, and sex-trafficking are generally female-centric businesses, raking in billions and billions of dollars for male-centric owners. The music industry, which has been cashing in on estrogen for decades, is no exception. Women are still struggling to earn respect because patriarchy understands that it is very difficult to control what you must respect. Controlling women is a golden goose. Why hand over the eggs?”

T. Ray

April 17, 2015

Maximum Metal is a unique site in that it is comprised of writers who love Metal, not Metalheads who write. There is as much passion for the word as there is for the lyric. We respect each others’ work because the work earns the respect. So, when my strong, thoughtful comrade Mr. Greg Watson asked me to collaborate with him on a socio-political commentary he wanted to pen, that took real trust. That meant something. He knew that sexism is a platform that not too many artists are willing to stand on, but needs to be done. Once we got the blessing from the powers-that-be, Greg set the stage and passed the megaphone.

Collaborating writers is nothing like a band — it’s like getting a couple of hermit crabs to share a shell. But, we did it. I was proud to and I’m still amazed that nothing got cracked in the process.

You gotta stay loud in this world, my friends. Silence is lethal. Stay loud. \m/

“Carry on to your Heaven
Carry on to the End
It’s all for those who dare…”

Blood In, Blood Out

stevesouza1“After 10 years since his departure, he admitted it hasn’t been easy for the veteran to appreciate what he’s able to embrace today. He speaks with genuine humility and gratitude, very cautious not to give too much away, when talking about his departure and unexpected return. ‘Life happened. I just wasn’t ‘there’ when I was with the band. Everyone just kind of put up with me, like that uncle that pissed everyone off at Christmas.’ He laughs, but adds, ‘It’s taken me this long to be able to do this at this time and to realize that having this life is awarded to you. I can appreciate it now more than I’ve ever been able to. The music is great, but you have to know what you’re doing and be smart and know the business, too…”

September 25, 2014

I loved “Bonded By Blood.” Exodus, whoever was on the mic, is a consummate thrash band, so I looked forward to meeting Zetro. He was so excited to be back, to have a chance to play with his ol’ mate Kirk Hammett, and the new release that it wasn’t so much an interview as it was listening to a little kid open his birthday presents. Tons of fun and kinda cute! A really brutal release from good band and a sweet guy. One of my faves from 2014.

Exodus (Nuclear Blast) – Official Site
Exodus – Facebook

Alkaloid Rising

Hannes Grossman“If you have been following Obscura, Dark Fortress, Aborted, Noneuclid, Spawn of Possession, or Blotted Science, then you have been made very aware of this prog-death “supergroup” known as Alkaloid – a phantastical brainchild of Hannes Grossmann, inspired by work of the Maestro Florian “Morean” Maier. Their highly anticipated debut, “The Malkuth Grimoire,” which has been in the works since July, richly produced by V. Santura (Triptykon, Dark Fortress), had hit the Indigogo campaign trail on December 1, 2014. As of December 19, only just a little more than a fortnight later, they have successfully reached 98% of their goal with over 40 days left.”

December 18, 2014

After I had the incredible experience of being introduced to the man, maestro and monster-mind Morean back in October of 2014, I had become keenly interested in his artistic comings and goings. Out of my peripheral instincts, I noticed this “Alkaloid” hint being tossed around social media — something was up. So, with my usual audacity, I just reached out and asked. Lo and behold, something was up, indeed. Mr. Morean then gave me the chance to speak with Hannes Grossmann, the drummer elite who is responsible for collecting some of the most respected technical and creative talents in Metal to create, what would become, a masterpiece.

Alkaloid – Official Website:
Alkaloid Facebook:


The Lightning Strikes

11174839_896552887058160_8547711847240695605_nTEMPLE OF ROCK
April 7, 2015

“Schenker is one of the very few artists that can genuinely steal the breath away from his fans. Every note of every solo was received with fixation and awe. When the instrument becomes the voice and an extension of the player, the witness becomes part of the process. Schenker is an animator of sound. And when he took the last few precious minutes of the show for his grand finale, like fireworks, he pulled all the stops; manipulating every string, every peg, every muscle, every which, and every way through his signature, unorthodox techniques, and the thrill was beyond words.”

The show was explosive. Seeing the master of the axe perform live was mind-blowing. Receiving personal thanks from Wayne Findlay and Robin McAuley was very touching.

Having my review quoted on his official Facebook page was just downright humbling:
(*Note: my Facebook is set to ‘pirate.’)

michaelschenkertempespiritonamissioncdTemple Of Rock be addin’ 11 fresh portraits
TOUR UPDATES! A very busy week.. hence the lack of updates. Here is the past week..
Day 4 & 5 were days off in Vegas. As we all know, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas so these days will remain the unspoken.

Tour day 6: Show day In Vegas Vamp’d bar which included a special guest appearance from ROBIN MCAULEY.… “Schenker is one of the very few artists that can genuinely steal the breath away from his fans. Every note of every solo was received with fixation and awe.”

Tour day 7: Livewire Concert Hall, Scottsdale…


Thank You, Mr. Schenker

michael_schenker_by_laurence_harvey[1]“If I look back,” he says, “I see my life in three stages. The beginning, the first stage of my life, was dedicated to the development as a guitarist and to my music contribution to the world, creating an entity for the 80’s. And then the 80’s, the ‘Lovedrive’ album with my brother that opened doors for America, for the Scorpions. So, my brother took my black and white Flying V [laughs], took over, and I withdrew into the ‘school of Life.’ I experimented in development more and more musically and having my own face, without being in a touring machine that was looking for fame and success from me. I was hungry for learning to play on a personal level. And then 2008, somewhere around that time, all of a sudden, I felt the urge and really enjoyed being on stage, which never happened before. So, I knew that time that I should be back in the world of rock and roll now and The Temple of Rock is that group where it is happening.”

February 13, 2015

It was Friday the 13th, 5 o’clock in the morning. I had a temp of 102 from bronchitis, could barely talk, think straight, or dial the phone right. If it wasn’t for the Mad Axeman’s excitable chattiness and consummate professionalism, this interview had all the makings to be as successful as the maiden voyage of the Titanic. But, in my stupor, he gifted me with a scoop and the piece came together like an exhale. “Portrait of a Spirit” was syndicated twice. — “I See My Life In Three Stages…” — “Michael Schenker Reflects…”

Michael Schenker / Temple of Rock Official — Facebook