By: Donnie Hardin
In 1986 my older brother Kenny had taken me to my first real concert at the age of nine to see Ozzy Osbourne at the old Cardinal Stadium. A young band of dirty haired, ripped jean wearing, greasy-haired thrashers called Metallica, unknown to me, opened the show. Cliff Burton would die in a tragic accident a couple of months later.
By the time 1993 rolled around I was a teenage headbanger, while proudly toting my beloved Walkman cassette player to school, getting geared up for the day with the sounds of Metallica, Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies, Anthrax, Megadeth, and a selective assortment of others, I was hungry for more.
There was nothing quite as awesome as brand new 10-pack of shiny, blank cassette tapes. When you ripped off the packaging they had a unique smell. Brand new plastic. Untouched. By the radio we would sit patiently waiting for that one song, but it would only be hard rock at best, like Guns-N-Roses, Skid Row, or Whitesnake. There were no metal tunes on rotation. (Not until Metallica released ‘One’ off ‘…And Justice For All’ in 1989. But never would you hear Slayer, Pantera, Testament, Sepultura, Suicidal Tendencies, Metal Church, or any of the heavier bands. You had to first read about new releases in Metal Edge or Hit Parader magazines, which were expensive, or be lucky enough to have an older brother who had friends with jobs and played in bands. But it was all spread about, for me anyway.
On August 8, 1993, that would ALL change when our local rock radio station, The Fox, had hired a disc jockey by the name of ‘BLACK FRANK’, and gave him a show originally called ‘The Metal Pit’, later renamed ‘The Attitude Network’, complete with eerie background sounds such as grinding metal, power saws, and spooky, cool noises behind this seriously incredible radio voice. This guy knew his shit too. he wasn’t playing songs off of a list passed down from some geek in a suit and tie somewhere high up the corporate food-chain at Clear Channel Productions.
It was Frank’s list, metal news, release dates, tour dates, and various metal happenings worldwide, scrawled out on a legal pad. I would sit in my bedroom with a fresh cassette tape every week waiting for midnight to strike because he would likely play something by a band I had never heard of, that I would love, like Machine Head, Biohazard, Skinlab, Corrosion of Conformity, Downset, Korn, Voivod, Fear Factory, on and on.
Frank Webb aka Black Frank (I wouldn’t know his real name for about twenty years later)… He had the perfect voice for any radio station covering any genre in the country, and we, the hard-edged thrashers, slammers, fist pumping armies of the 502, 270, and 812 area codes, we were the lucky ones because he was one of the biggest reasons, if not THE biggest reason amazing national acts started coming out of the woodwork to play Louisville Gardens, The Brewery Thunderdome, or The Palace Theater, shaking up our previously tame and humble river city, inspiring would be musicians as an unstoppable collective, eventually kicking ass with our own brand of metal, as the incredible local scene would take hold in the mid-to-late 1990’s, producing nationally relevant acts such as My Own Victim, Primer 55, and Flaw along with local titans Faceplant, Incursion, Shapeless Matrix, Luther, Factor 9, Engrind, and so many more. more, all of which FRANK WEBB promoted, pushed, pimped out, and believed in as much as anyone could have.
I have heard many of my peers talk about the old days, before we all had the luxury of Google, You Tube, when Black Frank could be counted on every single week to play some groundbreaking metal. Then when we started making the metal ourselves, he enabled us, whether you were Dimebag Darrell or unknown me, he would, and continues to carry on a great conversation with anyone whether they are a rock star or unsigned drummer of a garage band in the south end.
I ramble, but I ramble for a good reason.
Thank you FRANK WEBB for your service to this very fortunate metal music community. You may not have been born in Louisville, but you are LOUISVILLE’S BLACK FRANK.
It is about time that Frank Webb hits the airwaves again.
LOUISVILLE, Kentucky –
By: Donnie Hardin
In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s the Louisville metal scene thrived thanks to a few great local acts. One of those acts was the brutality laden power-groove-metal band Incursion. Being at an Incursion show or even band practice would put you in some kind of odd upbeat, energetic form of a trance with the dueling and seemingly possessed vocals of their two vocalists, (or co-vocalists as I would refer to them) of Van Avery and Tim (aka Stem) Holder along with the demonic and brutal guitar riffs and head banging drum beats. You couldn’t help but have your soul and body become a part of the eerie, powerful groove metal sounds.
I will be writing more about them within the next couple of weeks, as they have announced they are working together once again and will see the stage and re-issue their complete cd catalog. For those who live outside of the city of Louisville and state of Kentucky, and like some good groove oriented metal I just wanted to share with you some of their music for now… check them out. If you like what you hear, like them on Facebook here.
By: Donnie Hardin
To: Danny Wimmer Presents, (promoters of festivals such as Rock On The Range, Louder Than Life)
I have been a Deftones fan ever since I saw the Southern California band open for KISS all the way back in 1996. The concert was at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky, a noisy, cracker box-shaped basketball arena built for the college basketball dominant Kentucky Wildcats, which was opened in 1976. It is a dreadful venue to see any kind of concert. It was built so that its basketball crowds were especially loud. Therefore, has terrible acoustics for loud music. Anyway, that did not matter when the energetic, fresh groundbreaking act known as ‘Deftones’ took the stage amongst a sold-out crowd. As a musician and fan, that day kinda of changed my life.
Deftones have not let up and have built a stellar career as hard rock / metal icons. So now… it is 2015, and if you have not noticed, there has been a most definite resurgence of alternative metal bands, from a genre that dominated from 1997-2003, and which many people refer to as the ‘nu-metal era‘. It was 2014’s Korn that really sparked things, having co-headlined with metal hot-shots, Avenged Sevenfold on the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival. Members of Avenged Sevenfold were the first to admit that following Korn was a “tough act” after the performances they belted out on that tour. Korn went on to play at 2014’s ‘Louder Than Life‘, as they were the band a good majority of attendees came to see. A major success. So keep it going.
Deftones are the same kind of band people want to see play a big festival. Their innovative sound, style, and years of hard work have constantly, and steadily, built one of the strongest fan bases in North America.
I am not alone in my feelings about the Deftones. Especially here in Louisville, where the band has played several times and has built a strong following.
Deftones are currently adding the finishing touches to a new album, which they expect to release sometime this fall. Through May and November they are slated to tour and play various summer / fall festivals internationally. They are the perfect festival headliner, and after hearing many fans suggest this very idea, I have taken it upon myself to write this little op-ed piece or whatever you want to call it.
For a brand new festival such as Louisville’s Louder Than Life, where in its first year, last year, brought such bands as Korn. Judas Priest, Hell Yeah, Mastodon, and Flaw to name a few, it is so very important that organizers keep the momentum going with appealing to the hard rock and alternative metal crowds.
Deftones are exactly the kind of band that the young festival needs which appeals to the modern rock crowd, as is the band Flaw, which just happens to be based out of Louisville and has resurfaced, and is preparing to take the nation by storm. Flaw, the former Universal Recording artists who released their 2001 debut album ‘Through The Eyes‘ and then their sophomore follow-up, ‘Endangered Species (2004), will be headlining the Reawakening Tour (May-June) and has released a brand-new upbeat, energetic track titled ‘Bleed Red‘ exclusively on Sirius satellite channel Octane.
Of course, at the time of writing this article, I have no idea what plans management for these fine acts have in mind at the time Louder Than Life 2015 will occur, in fact, I don’t even know what the dates are for this upcoming years event. I am just pleading with organizers to look into these two bands. If they have an opening in their schedule which makes them a possibility, go after them with all you have!