This Week In Metal (10/11/14 - 16/11/14)

Unsurprisingly, the fall-out from last week's shock arrest of AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd continues to pester news-feeds with various perspectives from the people who know him best. Although the charge of attempting to pay for a murder was dropped the next day, the 60-year-old stickman still faces up to seven years imprisonment for 'threatening to kill'. On Tuesday his son Thomas told the Daily Mail "All I will say is that my dad is a good guy. He's not perfect – but he wouldn't hurt anyone." Meanwhile, on Friday the band's normally taciturn guitar hero Angus Young told USA Today that the drummer "seems to have let himself go. He's not the Phil we've known from the past." Revealing his concerns about Rudd's erratic behaviour during the recording of the band's forthcoming LP Rock Or Bust – as well as his failure to turn up for the filming of their latest video Play Ball and for a mysteriously drummer-free photo shoot in London – Angus states "It put us in a difficult situation. It put us in a spot where we couldn't move forward. Does the guy show up? Is he reliable to do his job in good shape? We've always been a solid, reliable unit." He also addressed the subject of Rudd's additional charge of possession of methamphetamine, saying "When you get into that land, it's very hard… I can only say, from our perspective, that the guy needs to sort himself out."

One wonders if the members of Saint Vitus are saying the same about their iconic frontman Scott ‘Wino’ Weinrich, who was apprehended at the Norwegian border in possession of eleven grams of methamphetamine. After he’d been detained for four days, on Thursday a Vitus statement claimed “As of 4pm yesterday, we were informed by his Norwegian defence attorney that he would more than likely be released that same day and be able to continue the dates of our European tour. This morning we received notification that Wino was being deported back to the US with no hope to remain in Scandinavia or anywhere in the EU.” It might be tempting to imagine that a Wino drug bust is an occupational hazard; after all, Saint Vitus have always been spiritually awash with bad drugs, hence the bleak, crazed, strung-out intensity of their music. But when a 54-year-old man compromises the success of a tour by smuggling such a hefty yield of the drug that did so much to derail his life and career in the mid-90s – a drug he just recently claimed to have quit (again) – it raises the depressing spectre of addiction, and the response is not ‘quelle surprise’ but an emphatic surge of concern and hope that this great talent can get the help and support to overcome his dependence on such a dangerous substance.

In happier news, Wino’s old Probot compadre Dave Grohl has been sharing the philosophy that got him through the death of Kurt Cobain and has sustained his success ever since: “There’s so much to look forward to,” he told Esquire. “That’s something I learned after Nirvana was over. When Kurt died, I had this whole new outlook at life, that we’re all so lucky to be here. You can’t take life for granted, it’s short. It’s fragile. And you don’t know when it’s going to be taken away from you. So the short time that you’re here? You just have to kick ass the whole time and not look back. I’m not ready to stop, but if it all ended today, I’d be the happiest person in the world.”

Although an enthusiastic workaholic, Grohl was also insisting this week that the Foo Fighters will never again make an album the way they made Sonic Highways, recording each song in a different US city. “I’m never fucking doing it again!” he told NME. “But I can imagine there are bands from all over the world who could do the same thing. England’s a great example of a country where each city has regional variance. I think every country should have its own Sonic Highways.”

If there was a Sonic Highways for Brazil, who better to pull that off than a supergroup between members of Sepultura and Cavalera Conspiracy… let’s call it Sepultura, shall we? Drummer Igor Cavalera – who left the Seps in 2006 to join the titular project with his brother Max (who himself left Sepultura in 1996) – this week prodded the sore tooth of a classic-era Seps reunion. “To be honest, I really hope one day we can do this in a very cool way,” he pondered, adding “There’s nothing solid. The only solid thing right now is Cavalera Conspiracy.” Sepultura are still pretty solid as well, with 2013’s convolutedly-titled The Mediator Between The Head And Hands Must Be The Heart LP hailed in some quarters as their best work in 20 years – but evidently not enough to quash those reunion rumours, which Seps axeman Andreas Kisser described earlier this year as a “pain in the ass.” Still, no pain no gain…

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.