Joining RADIO.COM today for a special roundtable discussion featuring stars and creators of the upcoming music documentary Long Live Rock: Celebrate the Chaos, include Slipknot and Halestorm members, as well as the film's director Jonathan McHugh and producer Gary Spivack.
The debut of Long Live Rock: Celebrate the Chaos will be streaming tomorrow, March 11 during a special debut screening -- and before you virtually pile into the pit, RADIO.COM's Ryan Castle got some gory details and behind-the-scenes looks at the highly-anticipated film with a few of the artists who were there.
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Here to give us an entirely new list of reasons to set some time aside on Thursday for this awesome event, Slipknot singer Corey Taylor and Halestorm drummer Arejay Hale are just two among many in the metal and hard rock genres who were interviewed for the thrilling new release. Interspersed with concert footage and intimate talks with members of Metallica, Guns N' Roses, KORN, Avenged Sevenfold, Five Finger Death Punch, Rage Against the Machine, and many more, the film promises to be an intimate look at the bands and the unbreakable connection they have with their devoted fans even through the pandemic.
“This isn’t about just rock concerts – it’s a lot bigger than that,” RADIO.COM’s Ryan Castle says. “The idea was a love letter to the rock culture,” director Jonathan McHugh agrees.
“I was never interested in doing a live concert DVD,” explains producer Gary Spivak. “I was really interested to explore the fandom, and the fans, and the connection these bands and these fans have. This underlying theme started taking place, and Corey talks about it really well in the movie. He even says, ‘these people out here,’ sorry I’m giving away the movie now, ‘they’re like family.’ Because they are. These festivals that they go to, that is captured in this film, they don’t go bungee jumping, or cliff diving, or to the lake house – they spend their hard-earned money on meeting up at these festivals and spending all weekend seeing their bands. It’s again, this family dynamic and it’s really inspiring… proving that rock is not dead, it’s alive, it’s vibrant and it lives especially in these festivals.”
That feeling of belonging and kinship amongst fans extends beyond the barriers and into the dressing rooms and tents of the bands and artists gathered backstage. The difference between rock bands coming together from all corners of the globe to perform at a festival and a traditional family reunion, Slipknot and Stone Sour singer Corey Taylor says is the fact that “most of us look forward to these shows. Not a lot of us look forward to family reunions,” he joked. “It’s the dichotomy of the nightmare Thanksgiving dinner, as opposed to… it’s like summer camp, is what it is.”
“We all meet on the road,” Corey explains. “There’s not only a camaraderie, but there’s a shared passion for what we do. Not only do we all kind of bond in that regard, but we become fans of each other’s music… it’s all about keeping the spirit alive. We all band together and keep this thing alive because, like it or not, we’re still the bastard children of the music industry, which is fine, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I wouldn’t want to be these plastic pukes! We at least have the soul, and we have the brotherhood and sisterhood to go with it.”
Halestorm drummer Arejay Hale admits to looking up the line ups for festival shows the band has been booked on, simply to find out if Corey Taylor is involved “and I try to find a way to tell him to go f*** himself before he can tell me to go f*** myself,” he laughed. “He never does,” Corey jumped in. “I always get him, don’t even try!”
As a well-traveled musician, Arejay appreciates getting together with “all the bands that you rarely get to see, some that you’ve toured with but some that you have only sees at festivals – you really developed a strong lifelong bond with these people.”
Director Jonathan McHugh was an outsider to the festival world compared to the extensive experience in concert production that Gary Spivak has gained over the years. That fresh look at the connection between bands, fans, and even security personnel, who he assumed most people avoided while smoking pot or surfing the crowd to get a thumbs-up from the stage, was eye-opening. “The movie in a way is trying to knock out some pre-conceived notions of, ‘these rock fans are all freaks…’ They’re just like you, and me, and everybody – but this is how the music that they love, and a lot of them use it for therapy, is actually important to them.”
Still a fan of bands new and old, Corey admits to attempting to watch festival performances from the crowd, but says the ten minutes of music followed by hours of being chased by fans has kept him closer to the stage lately. It’s also been a full fifteen years since Corey has seen one of his favorite bands, Clutch, in a live setting because his projects are always performing or doing press at the same time. “Gary, I’m picking a bone with you dude. I’m tired of it… figure it out,“ Corey says.
“It’s the exact same level of openness and acceptance that the fans get from being at these shows, because it’s music – it’s positive, it’s open, it’s loving,” adds Arejay. “Even though the music is aggressive, and it’s heavy, and in a lot of cases they’re pushing and beating the s*** out of each other, but it’s great… they do it in good spirits. It’s also the same with the bands too.”
“You’ll meet these big names and almost royal-esque figures in rock n’ roll music and they’ll treat you like you’re one of their peers. There’s no competition, there’s only love amongst the other bands and artists too, because you’re right, we’re all kind of the ‘bastard stepchildren’ of the music industry. We’re all kind of the underdogs here so we all gotta look out for each other.”
Rock music as the underdog was not the accepted pecking order in the past – rock and hard rock enjoyed a good run at the top of the charts. With the advent of electronics and music fans veering away from the guitar, metal as “popular music” began to wane. But in sticking to their collective truth, becoming outcasts has become a badge of honor.
“In the movie, [Rob] Zombie says, “I don’t want to do morning TV… I’m not gonna dress up and do Kathy Lee’ or whatever it is. We do our thing,” says McHugh. “People love it, and we love it, and we don’t actually want that s***. Part of it you do and part of it you don’t, because otherwise once you become uncool, your fans leave. Metallica can’t do a record with Taylor Swift – it won’t work!”
“Isn’t rock n’ roll supposed to be ‘the other side of the tracks’ though,” asks Spivak. “We’re the dudes who grew up at the grassy knoll while the preppies and the sports kids were at the ‘cool’ lunch table with their Polo f***ing shirts. It’s the ethos of rock n’ roll.”
“I’d rather be underground than overrated,” says Corey. “Any day of the week.”
Looking ahead to the future of live music post-pandemic -- and who better to ask than a major concert promoter and two massive artists --- when does everyone begin to see a light a light at the end of this very dark, and obviously closed tunnel?
For Corey’s part, he’s “tentatively booking” a socially-distanced CMFT club tour, “25-50% capacity depending on restrictions, full mask, in pods, temp checks at the door. Nobody’s allowed in without a negative COVID test on paper regardless if you have a ticket or not.. or proof of vaccine. We’re looking to do that May to June… Full band, full electric, we’re gonna play for like two hours. We’re just going for it… I’m coming for Bruce Springsteen! I wanna do a five hour show and make everyone hate me for the rest of my life!”
Get your seat for tomorrow’s show NOW, and be sure to watch the full, pre-game rock roundtable with Corey, Arejay, Jonathan, and Gary above for more behind-the-scenes moments and insight into all of our guests first concerts to get you ready for the main event!
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