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Skell ~ “Everything’s Fine”

Everything's FineThe long awaited Skell CD was released this year and there will be very few fans who can’t agree that it is worth the wait! This is an amazing compilation of the current members; Mike Palone (guitar), Mike Ekis (bass), Wally Wright (vocals) and using tracks recorded by late drummer, Kieth Kweder. As Skell is still searching for the right drummer for their band it seemed only right that they use Keith’s already recorded tracks in tribute to him. Not by chance, the release happened at KwederFest, a yearly benefit event that has been going since Keith’s untimely death.

Skell is a well known Hard Rock/Metal band from the Pittsburgh area that has been going strong for ten years, and “Everything’s Fine” is a CD that will prove just why they are so popular. The production quality is amazing and the band made special effort to thank Rob Deaner (Contagious Music) as well as Sean McDonald (Red Medicine Recording) for their talent. The five track release Contains:

Track #1 – Deaf Ears
Track #2 – Loose Myself
Track #3 – Everything’s Fine?
Track #4 – Menschheit
Track #5 – Everything’s Fine? (Radio Edit)

On a personal note, when I popped this into my CD player at the beginning of a long ride I didn’t expect to let it play for almost an hour but I was caught up in it from the first notes. While all genres have their own sound Skell keeps their originality in the front from start to finish. Their influences of Sabbath, Slipknot, Slayer, and some added influence of Deep Purple can be found as trace elements in the songs but their own sound retains its identity. There is obviously a ton of talent in this band and the production quality brings it to you in a way that makes you feel like they are in front of you on stage. I was so excited by what I heard that I hoped from the first play through that I would get to do this review.

What you’ll find from the very beginning are drum beats that make something in you move, that top body nod you get at concerts because the feeling has hit you and you have no choice but to give in to it. The wonderfully rough-edged vocals grab you and rather than bleeding into the music they force you to listen and catch every word. The laughter in “Deaf Ears” is perfectly maniacal and growling at the same time. An accent to the music and song that fits perfectly. From “Loose Myself,” I can almost promise you will be screaming “If I lost myself, do you think you could find me” right along with it. These two songs are hard hitting and energetic with real meaning behind the words. The title track “Everything’s Fine” slows things down a bit. Certainly not a ballad but filled with moments, such as the guitar solo, where you close your eyes and let it all flow through you. While retaining the hard rock feel it brings you to a place inside that’s almost soothing at times. It never gets too slow and “Menschheit” brings you immediately to a fever pitch that continues through the song before setting you back into the radio edit of the title track.

In all, this is a wonderful CD and shows the amazing talent of this band. Crisp clean sound with everything hard rock and metal are supposed to be but carving its own path with its originality and feel. By the release of this review Skell’s “Everything’s Fine” will be available to the public online at iTines, Amazon, Best Buy, Target as well as streaming on Pandora, Spotify, Deezer and even more to come. There’s also the option of seeing one of their shows, which you can find listed on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/skellmetal or their website and purchase one directly from the band. That may be the best option because if this is what Skell sounds like in a studio, I can only imagine what it would be to see them live!



Spotlight on Chris Dittman

AKMS: Chris, you’ve been in the western PA music scene for a while now, what do you feel are the pros and cons of the scene?

CD: Well, I’ve been in the scene for 23 years now and I’ve seen it go through several changes. I’d have to say the biggest pro of the scene we have right now, is the brotherhood that is being formed with all of these bands.
Bands booking shows and sharing nights together, splitting costs and profits of multiple band shows. Also the charity and benefit scene that is going on. These musicians are more than generous with their time and talents than ever before. They jump at the chance to play a free show for a cause they believe in!!! Who would have ever thought 20 years ago that bands would be lining up and waiting for a chance to play….for free!!

I’d have to say the only con that I see recently is actually one that’s been around a while and I’m not sure I see it changing, its the rotation rut that some clubs get stuck in. There are so many great bands in this town that won’t get a chance to play in some clubs in the area because they only book the exact same bands in a rotation every month or 2. I can understand that sometimes the ” if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” philosophy is just downright safe business, but there could be the next big thing waiting at your door…..you just never know.

AKMS: What do you feel was the best moment you spent on stage, and why?

CD: I’ve had some great moments that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed but I’d have to say my favorite moment on stage was at Rock for Life’s Gigaroo when my daughter Zoe got to watch us live for the first time and I got to hold her on stage while I sang. She looked at me that day like there was no cooler dad in the world!!! She won’t always look at me that way but I’ll now always know what that look, looked like!!

AKMS: What does the future hold for your current projects? Do you have any upcoming shows? Recording Sessions? etc.

CD: The future for Flashback is looking great!!! We’ve recently had some great shows and have gotten some great exposure and we plan to continue to grow in 2017!! Playing at a Pittsburgh Pirates Block Party at PNC Park was definitely a huge moment for us!! Flashbacks last show of the year is a Peter B’s on November 19th if you dig 80’s music come on out and Party with us!!
Rokbot will be doing our last show of the year on November 12th…also at Peter B’s!! The plan for Rokbot in 2017 is to possibly do some recording. We get great reactions to our original music but have never put out any kind of disc….it may be time to put down some tracks and get something people can take home with them.

AKMS: Please tell us about Zoe’s New Beginnings.

CD: Zoe’s New Beginnings is a Non-profit my wife and I run. We deliver gift bags full of essential items that parents receive as they leave the NICU. We work with every hospital in Pittsburgh that has a NICU. We make monthly deliveries and the hospital distributes the gift bags as the babies are discharged. It’s our version of a graduation, from the NICU, present.
Our next fundraiser is at Jergels on Sunday afternoon December 4th. It’s a Christmas show for kids. I put together an all-star band and we play Christmas songs  and get the kids dancing and singing and just enjoying the music and spirit of the holidays… oh yeah and there’s always a visit from the Big Guy himself for pictures with the kids. For more info check out our Zoe’s New Beginnings Concert Series page on Facebook.

AKMS: What is 1 question that you’d like us to ask the next interviewee?

CD: 1 question….I think I’d like to ask this…. If you could say a thank you to one local musician that is not a current band mate of yours, for being an influence and helping to mold you into the performer you are today, who would it be?

In the interest of fair play and answering my own question…I would have to say thank you the one and only Mike Palone!!

chrisdittman2

 

Where to find Chris Dittman:

Listen to the Pennsylvania Rock Show Episode on Rock Benefits including Zoe’s New Beginnings

12 Years of the Pennsylvania Rock Show, What’s that all about?!?

newparslogoSeptember 14, 2016 So what is the Pennsylvania Rock Show about and why has it lasted so long? Well, it started out about the local music scene in a little valley in Western Pennsylvania known as the Alle Kiski Valley. There are so many great bands in this small area that need to be heard. The show has been able to remain active for over 12 years due to the amazing talent in Western Pennsylvania. I salute and thank the reasons that both the AK Music Scene and the Pennsylvania Rock show were able to remain sustainable: all the bands and their fans, all the benefit organizers, all the local music promoters, and every single person that has ever shown me, or my hobby a little bit of support (or huge support, you know who you are!)

The Story

anniversaryshows-252x300In 1995, Bill was taking an intro to computing class at Slippery Rock University. In that class, he was given an assignment to create a bio webpage using a template. He didn’t like how the website looked when he was finished and decided to learn how to design his own website. Shortly after that, he came across the unfinished website for the Band Hybrid. Hybrid included members of current day After the Fall and Slant 6. Bill became the webmaster for their website and started designing websites for a lot of the best bands in the area. During this time, he started to accrue local music. He dealt with bands like Doppler Affect, (kaj), sundog, and more!Tim Henry, former Hybrid guitarist and Bill started a group called TH Entertainment that worked with websites and musicians and helped to deeper tie Bill to the local music scene. Eventually Bill created a section of the Th Entertainment website, called TH Music Scene. This was the precursor to today’s AK Music Scene. During the TH Entertainment days, Tim and Bill designed a website for a local artist named Liz Hazelett. Liz’s nephew Tony Marinacci, owns and runs TM Entertainment. Tony was in need of some website help. Eventually, Bill brought up the local bands that he worked with, since Tony ran an Entertainment Company.This is where Utah Burgess (Shady Lady Studio & Grass Roots on the Rock Station 97.7) comes into the story. Bill met Utah through the Rock for Life concerts, (Matt and Steve from Hybrid). Utah is a staunch support of AK Music Scene and The Pennsylvania Rock Show. Utah paid for the original AK Music Scene domain on January 29, 2004.The next 2 people in the story found the AK Music Scene website and ran 2 unsigned music scene websites in Texarkana, TX. Chris and Holly Hawthorne, were a huge step in the evolution of AKMS and PARS. Chris ran indiebandradio.com. An online radio station that played nothing but local bands. Chris had some issues with his streaming computer and didn’t want to shut his station down. Bill offered to help and Chris explained how the streaming worked. Bill then called Brian Shaffer front man of the band (kaj) (currently the Travelers)and asked him if he had a mic that he could use. Brian showed up and he and Bill DJed on indiebandradio.com for the first time on September 14, 2004. This is when the Pennsylvania Rock Show was born. Tony Marinacci was instrumental in teaching Bill how to run a mixer which enabled the show to continue to progress into what is today!

Read more at: http://parockshow.com/listen/anniversary-shows/

PARS 348 & 347 both break into the top 50 metal charts!

August 10th, 2016

For the first time ever in our time with mixcloud.com, the Pennsylvania Rock Show has 2 podcasts that have charted in the top 50 of the metal charts at the same time! Episode 348 is currently charted at #43 and Episode 347 remains in the top 50 coming in at #47!

Day 2 Interviews: Episode 348

On Rock for Life 17 Day 2 I spoke with Paul Guerrini (Who Called the Cops & Bled Zeppelin), Bill Postle (Doppler Affect), Garry Simmons (Amber-Alexis & KGB), Mark (DBL Blind) and Amanda Hensel, Mike Piroch (Creep, Staley’s Comet, & Mona Lisa Smile), & Mike Ekis (skell & ZuZu Petals) about the Rock for Life experience and why they are involved in it.

Day 1 Interviews: Episode 347

I caught up with Vegas (Ride for Life), David Hipchen (Tilted Shadows), Jen Heymers (A Common Crown), the Jagemans, Greg Shotts (Tilted Shadows & Post traumatik), Sean Nestor (Homicide Black), Jason “Mailman” Slee, Matthew Wilmot (Farewell Felicia & Suffacate), & Cate Fouse (Farewell Felicia & Suffacate) on site of Rock for Life 17 Friday August 5th. Hear their on the spot interviews about Rock for Life and what it is all about.

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Episode 348 of the Pennsylvania Rock Show Charts!

For the first time ever in our time with mixcloud.com, the Pennsylvania Rock Show has 2 podcasts that have charted in the top 50 of the metal charts at the same time! Episode 348 is currently charted at #43 and Episode 347 remains in the top 50 coming in at #47!

Day 2 Interviews: Episode 348

On Rock for Life 17 Day 2 I spoke with Paul Guerrini (Who Called the Cops & Bled Zeppelin), Bill Postle (Doppler Affect), Garry Simmons (Amber-Alexis & KGB), Mark (DBL Blind) and Amanda Hensel, Mike Piroch (Creep, Staley’s Comet, & Mona Lisa Smile), & Mike Ekis (skell & ZuZu Petals) about the Rock for Life experience and why they are involved in it.

Day 1 Interviews: Episode 347

I caught up with Vegas (Ride for Life), David Hipchen (Tilted Shadows), Jen Heymers (A Common Crown), the Jagemans, Greg Shotts (Tilted Shadows & Post traumatik), Sean Nestor (Homicide Black), Jason “Mailman” Slee, Matthew Wilmot (Farewell Felicia & Suffacate), & Cate Fouse (Farewell Felicia & Suffacate) on site of Rock for Life 17 Friday August 5th. Hear their on the spot interviews about Rock for Life and what it is all about.

Western PA Local Music Scene – Local Spotlight

Interview with John Klazon from Western Pennsylvania Local Music Scene

John Klazon of Western Pennsylvania Local Music Scene
John Klazon of Western Pennsylvania Local Music Scene
1. How did you originally get involved in the local music scene?
A: I’ve always liked bars and bar bands. I married someone that absolutely did not. 15 years of wedded bliss lead to a divorce and my freedom. I re-discovered my love of both once I regained my freedom in 2008 and never looked back.
2. What was the best concert you have ever been to that involved big name bands?
A: 1986. Tarrant County Convention Center Ft. Worth, Texas. Ozzy and Metallica. Ultimate Sin and Master Of Puppets. I was fortunate enough to not only get great tickets but see Cliff Burton play.
3. What was the best local concert you have been to?
A: Tie. The Mayan Apocalypse Show at the Leechburg Moose in 2012 with Skell and Gigaroo 2014.
4. What past local band that is no longer together would you like to see get back together?
A: Dragline
5. How did Western Pennsylvania Local Music Scene come about?
A: After a few years going to shows, meeting the bands and seeing how Facebook was being used I thought I may be able to do my part spreading the word. I actually kicked around the idea for over a year. One night as I was on my way to a show, I stopped in a bar for a cold one on a karaoke night and the place was packed. After my beer, I went to the show and saw a really great local band playing to a half-full house. That did it. I then created the group over the course of one sleepless night and began inviting people to join. I re-posted what I was receiving in my news feed regarding shows, bands, etc. I then set out to discover just what was here in Western PA. In two years the group has grown to 3,800 members. Participation is the key. Bands need to get their shows, music, videos and Facebook pages in the group. Everyone should try to post pictures and videos of the bands they go to see as well. Shows the band they are reaching people with their music. Everything posted in the group is Public, so fans should feel free to re-post anything posted to their Timelines or ‘networks’, if you will. Spread the word.
6. What do you see as the singularly most important thing about our local scene?
A: Participation. Hands down. Without participation, it would be a shadow of what it is now.
7. You are a local band t-shirt connoisseur. Which band gets the honor of being your first? Which shirt is your absolute favorite? Which band’s t-shirt is your most recent purchase?
A: My first band T-shirt (not event, mind you) was Big House Pete. On the back was a Paul Petersen greeting to all terrorists. Some of you may remember that shirt. I still have it. My most recent purchase was a Dave Iglar shirt that I bought at the Town Tavern in W. Leechburg. My favorite shirt? You’re not putting me on the spot that easy.
8. What was the first local cd that you ever obtained? What is the most recent cd that you have purchased? Are there any cds in particular that you recommend for fans of the scene?
A: First local music CD was Hybrid. For whatever reason my ex-wife decided to open the cell door and let me out for a night. I wandered into Vandergrift and they were playing at the Gazebo in Kennedy Park. I can’t remember who was handing them out. Took it home and listened. Liked what I heard. Can’t seem to locate it, though. My last purchase was Silk9’s “Exit The Pain” EP. My last acquisition was Slant 6’s “No Regrets” (Thank you, Matt Ferrante). Wow, recommendations? Really, it depends on what you are looking for. That’s what I like about the “Scene” here in Western PA is that whatever your tastes, you’re bound to find something you like in original local music.
9. What is your favorite venue to attend a show at?
A: Hands down, Iselin Ballfield for an outdoor venue. I’ve attended 6 years of the Rock For Life shows at the Ballfield without missing a single show. Each year it gets better. I bought a camper specifically for the Ballfield. I even had a very minor part in building the new stage. Indoor, if I am looking for that dive bar atmosphere and some great local music in a more “intimate” atmosphere, the Sidebar in Kittanning. In Pittsburgh, I like the Altar Bar for a larger indoor venue. Like music, there are so many great venues in this area. Hard to give the nod to any particular indoor venue.
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