This Week In Metal (1/12/14 - 7/12/14)

After a recent spate of doom and gloom in the metal news feeds, it’s pleasing to report that surely the best story of the week was that Slayer have rescued a tiny shivering kitten from winter on the streets of Indianapolis. In town for a show, Kerry King, assistant tour manager Jess Cortese and some roadies were on their way back from dinner when a man on the street offered them the homeless pussycat for a dollar. “The kitten was freezing so Jess took it,” explains manager Heidi Robinson-Fitzgerald. “She slept on the bus and went to the venue with her today, hanging out. One of the runners knew someone who wanted a kitten, so the little guy has a new home.” The kitten has been named Gypsy, and you’ll be delighted to hear she has now been treated for fleas and worms.

Slayer have been on something of a charm offensive this year, with the metal-obsessive 14-year-old’s wet-dream notion of Slayer car becoming an actual reality, plus Kerry King opening his reptile house to the public and the band recently giving free passes to a fan who claimed he was selling his car to buy their gig tickets. It’s helped smooth over the problems exposed by Dave Lombardo’s departure last year, and maybe even helps make up for the protracted delay of their still-untitled eleventh album, originally planned for release in 2012, which God willing – if he doesn’t hate us all – should be with us in early 2015.

However, lest our cockles get overly warmed by a cutesy, feel-good Slayer-save-kitten-from-homelessness story, this week Faith No More’s original singer Chuck Mosley revealed how desperate his own family’s housing situation has become. Threatened with eviction from their home, the man who fronted FNM on 80s classics We Care A Lot and Introduce Yourself announced on Facebook: “I seem to have no other choice than to lose my pride due to lacking the ability to provide security for my family…So here I am, for my family, on my knees, asking for help. I’m ashamed for being in this condition, that I have to burden others. I apologise – but for my family, I’ll do anything legal.” He is selling his solo albums for $1 on his Bandcamp page, and plans to add signed vinyl and CDs for sale soon.

Although not quite as serious, the Megadeth camp has this week been experiencing the fallout from the double-whammy departure of guitarist Chris Broderick and the band’s longest-serving drummer Shawn Drover (both citing that hoary old chestnut, ‘musical differences’). Ex-axeman Jeff Young, who played on So Far, So Good… So What? in 1988 and departed acrimoniously soon after, was asked on Facebook if he’d consider rejoining: “I have zero interest in ‘the Megadeth situation’,” was his terse reply. “The band is done. Put a fork in it.” Whether or not he meant ‘cork’ remains uncertain, but his remark echoes that of another ex-Megadeth shredder Glen Drover (brother of Shawn), who answered the same question with the equally unequivocal “There is no chance I would ever do that.” Dave Mustaine has understandably, if uncharacteristically, remained silent on the issue, dealing as he is with the recent death of his mother-in-law, who had been missing for 55 days before her body was found. However the band’s other Dave, bassist Ellefson, assured the world that Megadeth will not be disbanding, and are “looking at all the options, of which there are many. We’ll certainly continue working on songs for the next record,” he added. Little is known of the full situation behind Drover’s and Broderick’s exits, but last month Mustaine announced that the quartet would start recording their fifteenth album in January; now they’re down to a duo.

Finally, some exciting news from Ronnie James Dio’s widow Wendy, who’s planning three days of celebration to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the great man’s death. Details are sketchy at present, but it will take place at Forest Lawn, LA, where Dio is buried, and will include “celebrity bowling”, a “memorial” and a “Ride For Ronnie with the motorcycles. We end up in a park, with a barbecue. It’s going to be a big, big celebration of Ronnie’s life in music.” Sounds great, but, “celebrity bowling”…?

Chris Chantler

Chris has been writing about heavy metal since 2000, specialising in true/cult/epic/power/trad/NWOBHM and doom metal at now-defunct extreme music magazine Terrorizer. Since joining the Metal Hammer famileh in 2010 he developed a parallel career in kids' TV, winning a Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for BBC1 series Little Howard's Big Question as well as writing episodes of Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed and The Furchester Hotel. His hobbies include drumming (slowly), exploring ancient woodland and watching ancient sitcoms.