System of a Down: Armenian Metal Proprietors...

One thing about popular music is that it is catchy.  The messages are often simple and fun.  The music more of the bubble gum variety rather than metal.  And pop music rarely, if ever, contains politically charged and controversial lyrical content and ideas.  Pop music almost always is settled into well defined genres as well.  Justin Bieber is undoubtedly R&B.  Lil’ Wayne is squarely rap/hip-hop.  Nickleback is assuredly alternative rock.  Shania Twain is unmistakably country.  But there are always exceptions to every rule.  System of a Down is the exception to these rules. They dated their roots back to 1992 in a band called Soil, which featured Serj Tankian on vocals and keyboards, Daron Malakian on vocals and guitar, Dave Hakopyan (who later played in The Apex Theory/Mt. Helium) on bass and Domingo “Dingo” Laranio on drums.  Soil hired Shavo Odajian to be there manager and he eventually joined the band as a rhythm guitarist.   In 1994, after only one live show, and one jam session recording, Hakopyan and Laranio left the band, feeling that it was not going anywhere. After Soil, Malakin, Tankian and Odajian formed System of a Down (a.k.a. SOAD or simply System).  Odajian switched from guitar to bass and the band hired Velvet Hammer Music and Management Group to handle their managerial duties.  Ontronik “Andy” Khachaturian was recruited to play the drums; he, along with System’s other members, were alumni of Rose and AlexPilibosArmenianSchool.  System of a Down made two demo tapes that never saw commercial release, Untitled 1995 Demo Tape and 1996’s Demo Tape 2.  These tapes were released to the masses via file sharing networks.  In 1997, they released final demo tape, Demo Tape 3.  In mid 1997, drummer Khachaturian left the band because...

Linkin Park: Progressors of Nu Metal...

You have sold millions of records worldwide, including a Diamond album certified by the RIAA.  You have successfully taken to new heights a mixture of some of the most popular genres during your time.  You have collaborated with some of the hottest and most recognizable names in other genres.  You earned a nice collection of awards, including a couple of Grammys.  You were the first rock band to achieve one billion hits on Youtube.  You’re LinkinPark. Three Agoura High School friends, Mike Shinoda (vocals, guitar, keyboard), Rob Bourdon  (drums), and Brad Delson (lead guitar), began recording music shortly after graduation in Shinoda’s bedroom studio.   Joe Hahn (turntables, samples, programming, keyboards), Dave “Phoenix” Farrell (bass, backing vocals), and Mark Wakefield (vocals) rounded out the group.  The originally were called Xero, and then changed that to Hybrid Theory, eventually settling on LinkinPark.  It was supposed to be Lincoln Park, the namesake of a Santa Monica park, but they wisely changed it to Linkin in order to obtain the internet domain linkinpark.com.  They recorded their four track demo, yet failed to get a record deal.  Soon after the failed demo, Farrell and Wakefield left the band for different reasons.  With the departure of Phoenix, the band went through two replacements for bass duties; Kyle Christener in 1999, then Scott Koziol from 2000-2001.  Farrell would eventually rejoin the group after Koziol’s tenure.  With the departure of Wakefield, the band recruited Chester Bennington off of a recommendation form Zomba MusicVP Jeff Blue.  Blue would also be instrumental in obtaining LinkinPark their first record deal when he became VP of Warner Bros. Records. With five years of material and growth, LinkinPark released their major-label debut, Hybrid Theory, to a massive success.  The debut sold just...

KoЯn: Nu Metal “Five” Fathers!!!...

It is rare when a musical act can honestly state that they were true innovators and pioneers for a specific musical movement and/or genre.  Names like Elvis Presley, Metallica, NWA and Led Zeppelin come to mind in this regard.  Another band that can lay claim to this achievement is the Sacramento based Korn.  Korn were the first pioneers of the nu metal genre that gained massive popularity in the mid-‘90s to 2000’s.  Without Korn, bands such as Slipknot, Limp Bizkit, Coal Chamber, Crazytown and many others may have never obtained their nu metal chops and went on to achieve mainstream success in the process.  Whether you love or hate nu metal, you have Korn to thank for it. Korn has origins in the Bakersfield based group L.A.P.D., which contained members James “Munky” Shaffer (guitar), Reginald Arvizu (bass) and David Silveria (drums).  After L.A.P.D. released their debut studio album Who’s Laughing Know, the group disbanded and the three aforementioned members recruited Brain “Head” Welch (guitar) and Jonathan Davis (vocals) to form a new band.  Someone suggested the name “corn” which, in all honesty was justifiably, shot down.  Shaffer had the idea to spell the name with both a “K” instead of a “C”, and a backwards “R”, so the band’s name would appear as “KoЯn”. The logo was designed by vocalist Jonathan Davis. Silveria explained, “the music makes the name, because Korn’s a dumb name. But once we get established, it makes the name cool.” In 1993 KoЯn released their first demo album, Neidermayer’s Mind.  With limited printing, the album did not gain positive reception from the industry or public, but it is considered to be the pioneering sound for nu metal. After recording with now famed producer Ross Robinson, Korn released their...

Disturbed: Throwing Down Metal Hits for Over a Decade!!!...

For modern hard rock and metal, there are not many bands out there that have been as successful, powerful and beloved as Disturbed.  Their music is monstrous and everlasting; belonging comfortably both in your headphones and in the biggest arenas spanning the globe.  If you have ever had the privilege of attending one of their awesome live shows then you undoubtedly felt the charged energy that the band members share with the audience, and visa versa.  And you probably felt said energy from the moment frontman David Draiman says his inspired “My brothers, my sisters, my blood…SPEAK TO ME!!!” Hailing from Chicago, Illinois, Disturbed started in 1994 with Erich Awalt on vocals and went by the name Brawl.  The band also contained Dan Donegan (guitar), Mike Wengren (drums) and Steve “Fuzz” Kmak (bass).  Shortly after they recorded their first demo tape in 1996, Awalt quit the band for personal reasons.  The band posted ads looking for a new singer and, after twenty auditions in the same month, the ad was answered by Draiman.  During the audition the band members where highly impressed by Draiman’s insistence and readiness not to audition with covers, instead wanting to try to write to the band’s original material.  When Draiman began to sing, the band members were even more impressed.  According to Donegan, “After a minute or two, he just starts banging out these melodies that were huge…I’m playing my guitar and I’m grinning from ear to ear, trying not to give it away that I like this guy, you know, because I don’t want to, you know…[say] ‘Yeah, we’ll give you a call back. We’ll, you know, discuss it.’ But I was so psyched. Chill up my spine. I’m like, ‘There is something...