Don’t you just love summer? Bars open up their patios, the weather is wonderful and, perhaps most excitingly, music festivals are in full force. We’ll of course be covering everything from NXNE to Vans Warped Tour, Osheaga and Heavy MTL, but I thought we’d kick off this pre-season with a spotlight on an international festival – HELLFEST.
Harry Hess, the powerhouse vocalist behind Harem Scarem, one of Canada’s most acclaimed hard rock outfits, is back with a vengeance singing for First Signal. The new studio project finds him paired with Dennis Ward and a dream team of other songwriters and players. We had the honor of having Harry take a few moments to answer some questions for The Rock and Roll Report!
Q: Like many other fans of Harem Scarem, I was really disappointed to hear the band broke up. What were some of the reasons for ending the many productive years with Harem Scarem to open up this exciting new chapter with First Signal?
A: I felt we were starting to repeat ourselves on our last few records, but, more importantly, it came down to dividing my time between H.S and making other peoples records, and not having enough time to do both properly. I also just signed a publishing deal with Universal Music worldwide as a writer, so I knew that would really limit my time for other things.
After disappointing Quebec metal fans last year, Heavy MTL returned to Parc Jean-Drapeau on July 24 and 25, much to the delight of the head-banging faithful. With thirty-four bands booked over two days, Saint Helen’s Island, located between Montreal and Longueil, was packed with long-haired, tattoo-covered, beer-drinking metalheads worshiping their rock Gods.
Saturday, July 24, sunny skies and a million degrees outside, yours truly took in the action. The day’s lineup sported some old heavyweights like Slayer, Megadeath, Rob Halford from Judas Priest, and the ageless Alice Cooper. Scanning the crowd, most of the attendees were clearly too young to have actually been alive when most of these bands were in their prime. But metal fans don’t care what your latest hit is, they just want a tonsil-bleeding good time. And that’s what they got.