This Week In Metal (24/11/14 - 30/11/14)

As the long, cold winter nights draw in it seems there’s not been much good news around this week, especially for the mums of thrash legends. Dave Mustaine had appealed to fans to help the search for his missing mother-in-law Sally Estabrook, who disappeared two months ago from a campsite in San Diego; on Thursday the Megadeth frontman announced on Facebook “Yesterday evening I received a call that a person had located a body, and the investigators described our beloved mother Sally Estabrook. Thank you all for your prayers, your good thoughts and positive vibes.” The 75-year-old woman was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, and police have said that foul play is not suspected. Also this week Scott Ian was sharing the experience of his mother’s suicide attempt in 1975, when the Anthrax riff lord was 11: “My dad had to stop my mother from jumping out of a moving car. He knocked her out – he punched her in the face, knocked her out and drove her to the emergency room. I just learned that three months ago,” he told Sixx Sense. Admitting he was initially “a little pissed off” with his mother – “Really? She wanted to do that and not be there for my brother and I?” – this reaction swiftly subsided. “My mum’s 77 and she’s doing fine, so I’m not going to be mad at her for 1975.” More happily, he relates that his mother recently surprised him by turning up to a signing session, buying his autobiography and queuing up for his autograph.

It’s also been a miserable week for petulant middle-aged men, among them Scott’s old no-love-lost bandmate Neil Turbin (according to the guitarist’s aforementioned autobiography, Anthrax “hated his guts”). British punk-thrash pioneers Onslaught have been touring the USA with the Fistful Of Metal vocalist standing in for absent long-term singer Sy Keeler, but arguments over professionalism and (that old chestnut) money have caused Turbin to leave the tour with two dates left to play. The ensuing bitter war of words – waged primarily over Facebook – amount to a depressingly inevitable bout of he-said-she-said blame-shifting; amusingly-named Onslaught guitarist Nige Rockett insists the band fired the singer because he hadn’t learnt the songs, and had played the whole tour with a “prompter”. Turbin conceded that he had a month to learn “an entire set of lyrics and vocals,” but that he had told Rockett “the only way I could sing the proper lyrics would be with some help, since we never rehearsed once.” However, Turbin also insisted that he hadn’t been paid: “Nige had to intention of good faith and no intention of paying me.” Rockett hit back demanding Turbin remove his “totally slanderous post with immediate effect or you will be hearing from our lawyers forthwith,” later adding “Mr Turbin was paid in full each week as per contract.” Then ex-Onslaught drummer Steve Grice waded in with the comment “I had to put up with years of this type of shit. I say to those people who doubted me, and who in fact challenged me: read this and weep!” All of these men are pushing 50.

Normally you’d be able to rely on the feel-good fun-time boogie of AC/DC to put a smile back on your face, but even though the Aussie legends are unleashing Rock Or Bust – their first album in six years – on Monday, the quintet have recently been bothering newsfeeds for largely upsetting reasons. Brian Johnson has been sharing his hope of a miracle cure for founding guitarist Malcolm Young’s dementia, and recalling the band’s reactions to the early signs of the cruel disease on the Black Ice tour. “It was tough. But you couldn’t say anything or do anything because it would have been like giving pity,” Johnson told The Guardian. Meanwhile, in a comparatively comical turn of events, DC drummer Phil Rudd was late for his appearance at Tauranga High Court in New Zealand on charges of ‘threatening to kill’, arriving just as a warrant was being issued for his arrest. He entered no plea, flipped the bird to press photographers, jumped onto his security guard’s back, got into his car and reversed into the path of an oncoming lorry. Next week, presumably, the judge throws a custard pie in his face.

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.