Welcome to the 2nd Annual Farty Awards! 2013 was a pretty amazing year full of awesomeness. 2013 was also a year of some disappointing bands and a fair amount of suck. Last year’s Farty Awards was a small one but this year I’ve added a shit ton more categories. Why? Because I felt the need to give awards to those who deserved them, the good and the bad, that’s why.
What was the worst live band I saw? How about the worst interview I gave? What local Atlanta venue proved to be the best place to get my metal on? What band is most likely to slip your girlfriend Rohypnol and then lock you in a trunk? Well the votes have been tallied (I was the only voter) and the winners are in! Sit tight boys and girls and one more thing. If you or your band got an unfavorable award, please don’t be mad at me. You obviously did something to deserve it and maybe need to get back into rehearsal room or fire a member or two.
Let’s do this!
THE 2013 FART AWARDS WINNERS (& LOSERS)!
Band I Couldn’t Shut My Piehole About in 2013:
Winner: Scorpion Child
Runners up: Blues Pills, Kadavar, Blood Ceremony
2013 was the year of the Scorpion! Scorpion Child that is. This little band from Texas came out of nowhere and truly blew my mind with their debut album. Their live performance here in Atlanta just took my face to a whole other level of melting that I had me buying not one but TWO shirts to spread the word on the Child. Runners up Blues Pills, Kadavar, and Blood Ceremony were not far behind as bands that I just couldn’t shut my piehole about. I probably asked Mean Joe from Volume IV 7 different times, “Dude! Have you heard Blues Pills?” to which he replied, “Devil Don, believe it or not, I always check out the bands you post up, Blue Pills absolutely kill…I’m on board with most of the bands you are pushing.” Nuff said!
Comeback of the Year
Winner: Christian Mistress
Runners up: Stryper
I thought the world had lost Christian Mistress (or did they lose us?) forever but with a little sleuthing and an article called Where The Fuck is Christian Mistress? I managed to find out from both lead singer Christine Davis and guitarist Oscar Sparbel that the Mistress was indeed still alive and well and planning to move forward with a slight lineup change. The band announced their return to the stage with three Northwest shows on December 12, 13, and 14th. This was without a doubt huge news for this megafan of this awesome band and I can only hope this means a new beginning and great future for Christian Mistress.
Runners up Stryper made a huge comeback in my opinion with their album No More Hell To Pay which was so fucking good that it deserved recognition as a comeback. It was much more than a return to form for Stryper as I felt that it was Stryper coming back as a stronger band than they’ve ever been in their 25+ year career.
Worst Album of 2013
Winner: White Wizzard – The Devil’s Cut
Runners up: Megadeth – Super Colider
This award couldn’t go to a better person. Jon Leon, step on up for your award dude. Hell, you might as well since there’s nobody even left in your band to accept it for you. What was once one of my all-time favorite bands with one of my all-time favorite albums (Over the Top) ended up a huge bumbling joke. White Wizzard at this point was pretty much a laughing stock of the metal world and even two of the best metal guitarists I’ve heard (Will Wallner and Jake Dreyer) could save this steaming heap of molten dung. Even as great as the guitar playing is (and it REALLY is), you just can’t polish a turd no matter how hard you try. The fact that I was able to even find an album that was worse that Megadeth’s Super Colider just tells you how ridiculously awful this album really was.
Winners (Tie) : Erik Daniellson of Watain and Michael Sweet of Stryper
Runners Up: Rebecca Romney of Pawn Stars
I did over 20 interviews this year and each interview had their ups and downs. Some of the folks I talked to were engaging and engaged while others seemed to either be falling asleep or damn near putting me to sleep. This year, my favorite interview was with Erik Daniellson of Swedish Black Metal icons Watain. Erik was a really interesting person to talk to and it was a great example of where I feel interviewer and interviewee made a connection. Erik could tell I wanted to go deeper into our conversation and with each question took me a bit deeper never seeming to hold back or feel restrained. It was a really interesting interview and an intriguing one as well. This was the one that made me feel like I had challenged myself as a writer and really came out of it with a piece that I am extremely proud of. READ IT HERE
Tying for first is my interview with the polar opposite of the spectrum. My interview with Christian Metal icon Michael Sweet of Stryper was much like my interview with Daniellson as he was a completely open book and made me feel completely comfortable in asking whatever it was I wanted to ask of him. Our 20 minute interview turned into a nearly one hour conversation and by the end of our call felt as if I had I just hung up with my new best friend. It’s a cool feeling when you can make that connection with someone and as a writer, again, I felt like I came away from it with one of my all-time favorite interviews. READ IT HERE
Runner up was the one interview I did this year that wasn’t a person involved with heavy metal at all. My interview with Rebecca Romney was a close 2nd as one of my favorites because first off, I’m a huge fan of Pawn Stars and I love how this woman is as passionate about books as I am about metal. I even managed to hook her up with an Iron Maiden mix disc when I had the honor of meeting her in Vegas last Christmas when she gave me a great tour or Bauman Rare Books. Rebecca was a great sport and seemed to really enjoy talking with me and I have to say that I was also honored to be her first (if only) interview with a metal site. READ IT HERE
*At press time, I had yet to interview Geoff Tate of Queensryche. This interview will be one of the first one’s posted for 2014 but this interview was so fucking good that I would’ve called THIS one the Best Interview of 2013 hands down. I cannot wait to share this one with y’all!
Winner: Eric Peterson of Testament
Runners up: David Indelöf of Noctum
I love doing interviews but there’s always the challenge of making that connection. Some take a few minutes to warm up, some are just into it right off the bat and in the case of Testament’s Eric Peterson, some would rather eat a bowl of thumbtacks than do an interview. I really tried to engage this guy as much as I could and not make it feel like an interview but at least three times I swore he was nodding off on the phone. More than ½ way through the interview he admitted that he was really hungover and just not into it. Thanks a lot man. All in all, it wasn’t a horrible interview but it was definitely the worst of the bunch. READ IT HERE
The only one that came close was David Indelöf of Noctum. That was a real bummer because I’m a huge fan of Noctum and my interview with David was so lackluster that I didn’t even transcribe it fearing that if I played it back and listened to it I would end up in a coma.
Best Non-Metal Show:
Winner: Michael Nesmith
Runners up: Neko Case
I go to A LOT of metal shows (duh) but as you all know, I’m a man of many tastes when it comes to music and I do manage to go to a fair amount of NON-METAL shows. 2013 was a great year for some non-metal concerts and the best of the best being none other than former Monkee Michael Nesmith. Nesmith brought his “Movies of the Mind” tour to Atlanta and for the first time in my 30 years of being a fan got the chance to see him live. It was a truly amazing experience seeing the legend performing songs from his entire solo career starting with The First National Band up to his debut full length video production Elephant Parts. Nesmith was in awesome form as he told stories, made jokes, and even danced around the stage backed by his band creating an unforgettable night.
Close behind Nesmith was the untouchable Neko Case featuring longtime partner in crime Kelly Hogan. Neko and Co. put on an amazing hour and a half performance spanning her career and literally leaving no stone unturned with a flawless performance that left me feeling completely blown away and inspired.
Best Concert Bill of 2013:
Winner: Iron Maiden/Megadeth
Runner up: Scorpion Child/Kadavar/Gypsyhawk/Mothership/Wilson
Iron Maiden and Megadeth on the same bill. I don’t think I have to say much more about this other than absolutely NOTHING sucked about this line up. The Nashville date of this tour that I was lucky enough to attend (on my 40th birthday nonetheless) was an amazing night that had both bands firing on all cylinders and proving just why they are the household names that they are. Iron Maiden was spot on perfection and Megadeth sounded better than I’ve heard them sound in years.
While the Iron Maiden/Megadeth bill was a tough bill to beat, one tour came damn close. The Scorpion Child/Kadavar/Gypsyhawk/Mothership/Wilson tour came in at a close 2nd boasting 4 bands that I would’ve given my left nut and all 10 toenails to see. The tour was one that flew under the radar somewhat but just looking at the bill alone made realize what a piece of fucking magic that tour must have been.
Tour I Was Pissed Didn’t Come Here:
Winner: Scorpion Child/Kadavar/Gypsyhawk/Mothership/Wilson
Runners up: Christian Mistress
The Scorpion Child/Kadavar/Gypsyhawk/Mothership/Wilson tour was one that literally had me pounding on my desk in both excitement and anger. I was excited to see such a massive collection of awesomeness on one tour package but was angry that the tour came nowhere near me leaving me screaming, “Where’s my God now?????”
Runners up was Christian Mistress who announced three “comeback” dates in the Northwest in December. If I was made of money I would’ve bought me a plane ticket and flown up there for all three shows. Since I’m not made of money I’m just hear writing this blog post about how I’m bummed that they didn’t come to Atlanta. Well, here’s to hoping that will change in 2014.
Show I Was Pissed I Missed This Year:
Winner: Blood Ceremony – June 21, 2013
Runner up: Sabaton/Armored Saint at ProgPower
Blood Ceremony at The Earl here in Atlanta opening for Kylesa. I was asked to attend that show but being that I’m not really a fan of Kylesa I decided not to go. I also didn’t know a thing about any of the other bands so instead I asked my buddy and Brainfart contributor Jeff Miles to attend the show. Shortly after Blood Ceremony’s set he texted me saying, “Don, I think I just saw your new favorite band” and sure enough he was right. Blood Ceremony has yet to return to Atlanta to my dismay making this the most missed show this year.
Runners up was Sabaton/Armored Saint at ProgPower. While I managed to take in some amazing shows this year there were a few that literally got away from me for one reason or another. The one I was most pissed about missing was the co-headlining bill of Sabaton and Armored Saint at this year’s ProgPower festival here in Atlanta. At 100+ bucks, I just couldn’t bring myself to pay the price when these were the only two bands I wanted to see but I’m still pissed I missed such a pairing. Everyone that saw it said was nothing short of amazing putting even more salt in the wound.
Worst Performance of 2013:
Runner up: Thundershield
While I’ve been lucky to have seen some pretty amazing shows, I’ve also been subject so some pretty bad ones. In the case of Whitechapel’s opening slot with GWAR, I saw the single worst band I have ever sat through in my entire life. In my REVIEW of their performance, I shared that it was a blinding wall of chaotic noise that sounded more like a roomful of feral cats fucking each other than an actual band playing. If I never see this band again it will be too soon.
Runner up for the worst band I had to sit/stand through was Atlanta’s own Thundershield. Not since my junior high talent show have I ever seen such a display of mediocrity. These guys were an absolute joke and the fact it’s almost embarrassing that I have to admit that these guys are from my city. These guys didn’t make a good first impression on me whatsoever and also prove to be a band that cannot take Brainfart criticism. I’d give them another chance to see if they can turn things around.
Biggest Live Surprise of 2013:
Winner: Fates Warning
Runner up: A Sound of Thunder
Fates Warning was a band that had two albums in the 90’s (Perfect Symmetry and Parallels) that I was a huge fan of back when. Over the years they just fell off my radar only to return as a blip on my screen with this year’s A Darkness in a Different Light album. After seeing them live I was so completely mesmerized, blown away, and left absolutely mind blown at the sheer display of class, professionalism, and passion. Fates Warning’s performance was moving and it had to be one of the absolute most perfect shows I have ever seen in my life. It was a flawless night that far exceeded any expectations I had about this band and made me an even bigger fan than I ever thought I could imagine being. This was a really spectacular show and without a doubt the biggest live surprise of 2013!
It’s not so much that A Sound of Thunder surprised me live but it’s that they completely exceeded any and all expectations I had about seeing this band live. While I was sure that they would be good, I had no idea that they would as as fucking amazingly outstanding as they were. A Sound of Thunder easily put on one of the most top notch shows I saw this year and it left me wanting more. When a band leaves you wanting more you know they’ve done exceptionally well and A Sound of Thunder did just that.
Biggest Live Disappointment of 2013:
Winner: Six Shot Revival
For a band I once praised as having so much potential to be a truly great and powerful band to be reckoned with, Six Shot Revival completely fell short of all expectations that I had for them. The band’s debut album which was one of my top albums of 2011 had me feeling that I could very well be hearing the next Aerosmith but their follow up EP Bible Belt Boozehounds was a total digression and painted the band as a one trick pony ala Nashville Pussy. The band as a whole is a truly powerful thing to hear and see but their lead singer Marc Phillips in all honesty is the element holding them back from greatness. Phillip’s vocal performance this year at the Clermont Lounge was a total disappointment and so much so that I couldn’t stay for the whole thing. His presence on stage is great but I can’t help but feel that if he spent more time trying to progress and grow as a singer as he did practicing his on-stage routine he probably could grow to be as good a vocalist as I hoped he’d become. I feel that from show to show his vocals get weaker, more strained, and as of the last show painful to listen to. I’m sure I’ll get hate mail for this one but as a fan, I speak my honest opinion as I share my biggest disappointment in 2013.
Best Venue in Town to Get My Metal On:
Winner: The Earl
Runners up: The Masquerade
The Earl in East Atlanta Village has quickly become my favorite place to see metal shows these days. The venue has an amazing restaurant where you can get a good quality bite to eat before getting your face melted off. The back music room boasts a really great PA which is somewhat of a rarity in this town it seems. Every other venue I got to sounds like absolute ass yet every show I’ve seen at the Earl sounds great whether your pressed up against the stage or standing in the back nursing an inexpensive beer or a free cup of water.
The Masquerade is a close 2nd and while it has the shittiest sound system in town, the vibe of the Masquerade is always a pretty good one for the most part. The staff can be hit or miss when it comes to niceness but the parking is totally shitty now that they’ve lost their huge lot to what is now a city park where yuppies walk their dogs and where bums shot up smack in the wee hours of the night/morning.
Worst Venue in Town to Get My Metal On:
This is hands down the single worst venue in the city. If your band is playing at this dive of a bar which I’ve pretty much figured out is the unwiped, dingleberry infested asshole of Atlanta, you can definitely count on me not being there. The sound sucks, the room sucks, the clientele for the most part sucks, and it takes forever and a fucking day to even get a bartender to acknowledge your existence long enough to serve you an overpriced drink with a complimentary eye roll. Fuck this place!
Band Most Likely To Slip Your Girlfriend Rohypnol and Lock You In A Trunk:
Winner: Five Finger Death Punch
The reigning kings of date rape douche bag metal are pretty much the most deserving recipients of this award. I’m sure there are more out there but these clowns take the cake. At one time I gave these guys the benefit of the doubt only to learn that these guys really were just fucking douchebags playing date rape metal. Their meathead bass player even called me “son” once. Yikes! I can’t think of a more deserving band to get this award.
Band Everyone Said I’d Love That I Just Don’t Dig:
Runners up: Clutch, Volbeat, Royal Thunder
Ghost is fucking awful. That’s all I have to say about them. I’ve never heard so many people fawning over such a craptastic band except for maybe Mastodon but Ghost takes the cake. Ghost is another one of those bands that everyone was like, “Don, you ‘re going love this band” and I heard them and immediately had to stop with fear that I might puke up three day’s worth of meals I just don’t see the appeal of this band. A guy who dresses like the Pope decked out in Satanic imagery while the back up band is a bunch of monks in black face. Ooo, edgy. Not really.
Add to that list Clutch, Volbeat and Royal Thunder as bands that moved me about as much as a case of diarrhea. In all honesty, of all of them Royal Thunder was the closest to me actually liking but I just couldn’t find that connection with them. Everyone I know (especially around here in Atlanta) loves this band but I just found them really boring and lacking any real dynamics. Oh well, ya can’t win ‘em all can ya?
Most Metal Country:
Runners up: USA & Canada
What do Graveyard, Blues Pills, Witchcraft, Noctum, Sabaton, Avatarium, and Kadavar have in common? Well, besides being some of my all-time favorite bands, they are all from SUUVEEDEHN! That’s right. Sweden! It seems that the metal world has someone been experiencing a SWEDISH INVASION. Why hasn’t anyone really taken note of this and just acknowledged the fact that when it comes to hard rock/metal, Sweden pretty much kicked everyone’s asses. 2014 was a great year for some great metal and I tip my hat to Sweden and thank them for birthing some of the greatest hard rock/metal bands the world has seen in quite some time.
The good ol’ USA didn’t do so bad itself as it has presented us with bands like Kyng, Holy Grail, A Sound of Thunder, and Scorpion Child just to name a few. The USA did me proud but let’s face it, Sweden pretty much ruled the game when it came to delivering some facemelting masters. Let’s also go ahead and give Canada an honorable mention because without them we would’ve never seen the likes of 3 Inches of Blood or Blood Ceremony! Thanks eh?
Best Metal Label:
Winner: Nuclear Blast
Runners up: Century Media, Metal Blade
Once again Nuclear Blast proved to be the greatest metal label in the fucking world. Looking back on my top albums list, six of the 13 albums were Nuclear Blast bands. What is it about this label? I’m not really quite sure but in my opinion Nuclear Blast is a name I associate with top quality and the best of the best. If a band is signed by Nuclear Blast, I’d say that there is a 90% chance that even if I don’t like said band that they are one of the best of their kind. Graveyard, Scorpion Child, Kadavar, Sabaton, Blues Pills, and Testament just to name a few are proof of that statement. The continue to blow my mind with the bands they sign and I always get excited when I get an email from NB PR person Loana Valencia that starts off with, “Don, you’re going to love this band” because 98% of the time she’s spot on.
Centruy Media and Metal Blade are runners up as they are the home of some of my favorite bands such as Gypsyhawk, Gwar and Lacuna Coil. Both labels have really stepped up their roster over the years and continue to put out some of my favorite metal bands but it just seems that they can’t seem to get close to touching the greatness of Nuclear Blast. That being said, Century Media and Metal Blade are two strong labels in their own right.
Best Press Release From A Band:
I get a shit ton of press releases from bands describing their music and performances in the most absurd, eye rolling fashions. Every now and then a press release comes along that blows my mind and as in the case of the band Wilson is even far better than the band actually is. This press release was so awesome I sent it to just about everyone I know as a “This is how you write a press release.” Unfortunately, Wilson didn’t quite live up to my expectations and I actually didn’t even really like the band but nonetheless this is the single greatest press release I have ever read in my life! Check it out for yourself and see what I’m talking about!
Metal Fashion That Makes Me Want To Eat Dry Baby Formula and Puke:
Runners up: Southern As Fuck
I just don’t know what it is about Affliction shirts but 94.7% of the time (yes, there are some exceptions) these shirts are worn by steroid pumped meatheads who you can usually be found at Five Finger Death Punch shows pounding Redbull and Vodkas with their fauxhawks ruling the pit like bosses. They can also usually be pinpointed by the aggressive tone in their voices and the use of the word, “son” while addressing the subject that they are about to beat to a blood pulp.
Southern As Fuck is a “brand” that I can only describe as Redneck Affliction. Luckily, this brand hasn’t taken over the masses around here but I’ve seen them on the likes of bands such as Six Shot Revival and Beitthemeans. I think it’s corny and I think it’s just another one of those elitist, contrived ways of putting a brand on a subculture. I just think they’re both stupid and that’s all.
Worst Trend in 2013:
Winner: Bands putting out cassette tapes
Back when I was a kid cassette tapes were the fucking worst. You only bought cassettes when you were on a budget. Sometimes for the price of a record you could get two cassettes so that’s what you did. You didn’t do this out of want or because it sounded awesome. In 2013 it seemed to be the trendy thing for bands to release their albums on cassette. Why? This is the dumbest idea ever and I would never buy a cassette tape from a band. Sorry guys. CDs yes. Cassettes absolutely not. Besides, I’d just get a friend to dub me a copy.
Band Break Up of the Year:
Winner: White Wizzard
No band break up this year was more epic and comical than the break of up White Wizzard. The whole fiasco unfolded right before my eyes via Facebook over the course of a couple of days. It started off with drummer Giovanni Durst leaving the band. White Wizzard line up changes are so “the norm” that his leaving didn’t even make any news sites. Then the band headed to Europe and it picked up with drama with singer (the guy with chubby mom arms) Joey Mikey refusing to do a show with the band. Then it was said he was kicked out and Jon Leon proclaiming “We are strong and we’ll move forward together.” All of the sudden guitarist Jake Dreyer announces that he’s quit White Wizzard followed shortly by other guitarist Will Wallner announcing his departure. Then it was Jon left all by himself with no record label, no band, and then left to fulfill ALL of the band’s Kickstarter campaign gifts which from what I hear he is fucking up left and right. All I can say is that it couldn’t have happened to a better person.
Podcast of the Year:
Winner: Energize w/ Lonn Friend
Runners up: Art Howard at Night
My hero, acclaimed rock journalist Lonn Friend, made quite a comeback to the world with his Energize podcast. I absolutely love this podcast as it is everything that I loved and still love about Lonn Friend. He’s a man who loves and respects everything creative and his podcast is one of the single most interesting hours every week. I really enjoy his unscripted, off the cuff style and every time I hear it I want to be him and be on his show! It’s an amazing podcast that people of all loves (not just metal) should love.
When I just need to remove myself from the crazy music world, Art Howard at Night is the podcast I find myself going to. Art is a master of insanity in his own right and his interviews with everyone from internet guitar gods to comedians and all in between always offer me some insight and a good dose of laughter as well. Art Howard at Night is a podcast of all trades and I always enjoy hearing just who Art will be introducing me to.
Winners: Metal Sucks
I am hard pressed to even think of a podcast that is worse than Metal Sucks. I decided to give these tools a listen and that is over an hour that I will never get back. That is easily one of the most dull, retarded, brain dead podcasts I’ve ever heard. I would even go as far to say that these guys made Talking Metal look like Pulitzer Prize winning stuff. Much like the site of the same name, Metal Sucks podcast just flat out sucks and makes me want to sue them for the time lost listening to them. If you really like guys who praise little mall based shitcore metal bands that you’ve never heard of like they’re fucking Iron Maiden then this is the place for you. As for me, I’d rather eat a bowl of warm dung.
Band I Wished Put Out New Music in 2013
Runners Up: Draekon
The two bands I really wanted most to put out new material this year was Virginia metalers Brave. Being a huge of this band I was really keeping my hopes up for some new material from them this year but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Brave did resurface this year for one show only supporting Fates Warning and I know that they’ve been working on new songs so hopefully my wish will come true.
Indiana’s Draekon returned to Atlanta and slayed faces at Pathfinder Metalfest with songs from their upcoming EP Only Ashes Remain. I was hoping that this was going to be released this year but alas, it looks like it will be 2014 before this sees the light of day. Hopefully Brave and Draekon get their shit together and give me some new music goddamn it. HURRY UP BITCHES!!!
Person I’d Love To Feed To Zombies Just So I Can Stab Him/Her In The Face To Keep Them From Returning From The Dead
Winner: Eddie Trunk
Runners up: The Staff at Metal Sucks
Once again Eddie Trunk tops the list with his smug little shit face of people I’d love to see go far, far, very far away. I do have to say though that the fact that he and his retard friends gave props to bands like Kyng and Scorpion Child had me thinking that maybe this guy might be wising up and realizing that there is more to metal that texting Rob Halford and loving UFO so much that they take out restraining orders on him.
Add to the list Metal Sucks. Metal Sucks quickly went from a site that I loved to a site that made me want to eat fucking glass every time they popped in my Facebook News Feed. Updating your site 32 times a day with asinine bullshit doesn’t make you a good site. It makes you a festering pimple on the ass of the internet and that’s exactly what they became. The day I “unliked’ their page was the day I felt like I didn’t need to go to a therapist about my anger issues.