There's been a lot happening on MetalTalk.net in the first couple of months of this year and it's all seriously good.
We now have ten columnists in our ranks and another coming on board later this week, who just happens to be one of the most legendary Metal journalists of all time.
The news is rolling with daily stories coming in thick and fast and the MetalTalk.net Forum is back up and running...
We've got more gig and CD reviews coming in than we ever had and a competition to win Hammerfest tickets as well. And this is only the beginning...
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Our new Head Reviewer Judith Fisher joined at the start of the year and has been busy reviewing the backlog of CD's that built up whilst the position was vacant. And she's doing a wonderful job. Click here for Judith's reviews.
Tank bass player Chris Dale launched his 'Metal Meltdown' column in early January and this is already extremely popular. Hardly surprising given the entertainment value within Chris' writings. Click here for Chris Dale's Metal Meltdown.
Paul Stenning is the author of one of my favourite books, 'Thirty Years Of The Beast', a complete biography of Iron Maiden and Paul showed his quality with his debut offering 'Why Did I Cry When Gary Moore Died?' which you can read by clicking here.
Jonathan Churchill's 'Defending Our Island' column was also received very well and Jonathan will be writing regular gig reviews and a monthly column column on the London Classic Metal scene. Click here for 'Defending Our Island'.
Scott Adams has been writing for many different Metal publications for a long time now and is another welcome addition to the team. Scott will be writing a monthly column highlighting the scene in Australia. Click here for Scott's column.
Dutch Michaels' Gig Of The Week has been a regular feature for some time now and nearly every gig he has featured this year has sold out. Click here for Gig Of The Week.
Hunny Claire is currently interviewing another big name for her column. If you haven't read any of Claire's columns yet, they are well worth a few minutes of your time. Click here for Claire's columns.
And we'll be hearing from Billy and River Gibbs soon as well. And this is surely the best team of Metal writers on the internet today.
The Forum has been in 'cold storage' for some months now but it's back up and running now, redesigned and we've had a good first day of relaunch. It's dead easy to register and your account will be approved right away. Come and join in the chat by clicking here.
As mentioned earlier, the news is rolling nicely as well. I've lost count of the number of bands who have announced touring plans for 2011. It's certainly going to be a busy gig going year.
It already is actually with both Black Label Society and St Jude last week and The Heavy Metal Kids with Max Splodge compering this week.
Back in days of old, I used to be the booking agent for Splodgenessabounds and there was never a dull moment, to say the least.
We met when I was scouting around for business for a punk band I managed back then and the deal was that if we could get them a gig in our local area, we could have the support slot. So we went ahead and booked a local venue and the gig was a great success and helped our profile as well.
Two days later I got a phone call from Max himself. They had made it up to Scotland but his band had walked out on him and he was in the shit for the last two gigs of the tour in Leeds and Scarborough. Could the band I managed stand in for his AWOL members and could I get him to the venues?
So we did it and it (kind of) worked but there was trouble on the way back.
I was driving the van and we got pulled over just as we were on the home stretch. There was nothing wrong, I never drink and drive and the van was perfectly legal and the copper realised all of this when I got out to speak to him. He actually apologised for taking up my time and was just about to walk off, when it happened...
The back door of the van bursts open and a stark bollock naked Max Splodge was suddenly stood there with an empty bottle of gin in his hand shouting "Steve, are we at the off-licence? There's no fucking booze left!"
Well the copper didn't take too kindly to this and I ended up getting a producer, which meant I had to show my documents at the nearest station within seven days.
I never got to do that as the house I was living in burnt down one Sunday night and I ended up in hospital, forgot all about the producer and moved to London when I was let out.
A few years later there was a minor spat involving former members of Max Splodge's band and the police were called. Everyone present was checked out and I was promptly arrested for an outstanding producer. I was hauled off to Leicestershire (why, I have no idea) put up in front of the beak and banned for a year and fined £500.
I offered to pay the fine at ten pounds a week and my offer was accepted so I would go to Battersea cop shop every Tuesday with a tenner's worth of pennies in a plastic bag. They really loved me...
Maybe I should give Thursday night a miss and have a quiet night in instead...