This Week In Metal (26/1/15 - 1/2/15)

Nowadays whenever we hear that a much-loved entertainer of a certain age has been arrested, it’s hard not to fear the worst. Almost a relief, then, to hear that Geezer Butler was this week busted for getting into a bar brawl in a Death Valley boozer, the Corkscrew Saloon at Furnace Ranch Creek.

“Dispatch received a call regarding a verbal and physical altercation at the Corkscrew Saloon,” reported the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office. “It was determined that there had been an argument that escalated into a physical confrontation. Terence Michael Butler was arrested for misdemeanour assault, public intoxication and vandalism. Butler was booked into the Inyo County Jail and released after detox and citation.”

It’s believed a man got hit and a window got smashed. Obviously getting into pub fights isn’t big or clever – especially if you’re 65 years old and your career depends on your fingers – but it was hard to suppress a furtive smirk given such evocative place names, and the idea that Geezer is still that brooding, hard-drinking Aston scrapper who slogged his way round the seedy dives of 1960s Britain. After his release from the cells Geezer tweeted: “Thanks for your messages and support following the unfortunate altercation that occurred,” and shared a photo headlined “After that little distraction” of himself in shorts looking fit and well, if a little dazed, in front of an odd sculpture.

Speaking of bassists with a bus pass, this week Lemmy was reflecting on Motörhead’s 2015 Grammy nomination in the Best Metal Performance category for the song Heartbreaker, the opener from 2012’s Aftershock LP. The album was released amid a series of health problems that saw sets curtailed and shows cancelled, leading many to presume that the iconic frontman wasn’t long for this world. “It’s always nice to stick your middle finger up and say, ‘Ha ha you bastards, six months to live ey?’” Lemmy told Mitch Lafon. “I don’t see why you should stop when it gives you so much pleasure.” And there’s no let-up for Lemmy’s pleasure this year; the trio are currently writing their 22nd studio album, and hoping to release it in time for festival season, when the band are lined up to play festivals in Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Poland and Spain.

Megadeth are also anxious to get their next album in the can asap and are entering the studio in March, and although Dave Mustaine this week vowed “I’m not making another radio song ever,” there’s still no word on which new drummer and guitarist will be joining them. Frequently rumoured to be the former – a quarter of the fan-favourite Rust In Peace line-up – Nick Menza this week appeared at the Soultone Cymbals booth at NAMM 2015, inevitably fielding questions about the possibility of rejoining Megadeth. Equally inevitably, he could neither confirm not deny anything: “It’ll be final when it’s final,” was his pragmatic assertion, before deflecting the question by offering the subject for public speculation, adding: “What do you think are the chances of me coming back?” Menza recently joined a new project featuring other ex-Megadeth alumni James Lomenzo and Chris Poland; asked how he could divide his time between that and a full-time job like Megadeth, Menza’s reply was more direct: “I’m a free agent, I can do whatever I want.”

We also learnt this week that Alice Cooper wants to kill Mötley Crüe. Appearing as the opening act on what is contractually definitely the Crüe’s last ever farewell tour, honest, every metalhead’s favourite 66-year-old born-again Christian golf enthusiast told Triple M: “They finish up in the United States on New Year’s, and that’s their last gig. I told them, ‘Why don’t you let me kill you on stage? That finishes everything.’ Four guillotines, floomp! Done! Auction off the heads on stakes.” This is clearly a brilliant idea, but it seems doubtful that the LA four-piece would allow themselves to be so spectacularly overshadowed by their support act on the final date of their Final Tour; and just maybe the suggestion is Alice’s subconscious show-stealing vengeance for being demoted to a warm-up slot after decades of decadent headline glory. Crüe be warned: the Coop will make sure no one can follow him onstage!

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.