Rock Rundown

Greta Van Fleet has both an ally and a critic in Justin Hawkins, lead singer of British throwback glam rockers The Darkness.

In a recent interview with Classic Rock, Hawkins defended the Michigan rock quartet against charges that they've ripped off the sound of Led Zeppelin. But at the same time, Hawkins criticized the group for its songwriting abilities.

He explained, "The timbre of (singer) Josh Kiszka's voice is so similar to Robert Plant's that you can't help but be excited when you hear him sing. There's lots of potential for them to be as amazing as Led Zeppelin, but they're going to need some better songs."

Hawkins added, "When something like this comes along and everyone gets excited, it shows you how little we have to offer as a genre. That's not to slag them off, because I think they have the potential to be amazing. They could be the next phase of what Led Zeppelin should have been doing."

Kizska himself told us not long ago that the backlash hasn't bothered the group: "That's, I think, in a way kind of almost been beneficial, as a reminder that maybe if we're doing something of substance, that if we're not insulting people's intelligence, and we're trying to challenge them or ask some questions, that there are certain people that are getting whipped out of shape is a good reminder that maybe it is substantial material."

Greta Van Fleet's debut album, Anthem Of The Peaceful Army, landed at Number Three on the Billboard 200 chart in October 2018 despite earning a lukewarm 53/100 score on review curation site Metacritic.


Marilyn Manson has shared a new version of the classic American folk song "God's Gonna Cut You Down." The track was recorded with producer Tyler Bates, with whom Manson collaborated on his last two records, 2015's The Pale Emperor and 2017's Heaven Upside Down.

Manson has also released a cinematic black-and-white video for the tune filmed in Joshua Tree, California. The song is available to pre-order now on a limited-pressing picture disc featuring one of Manson's original watercolor paintings.

Over the years, "God's Gonna Cut You Down" -- also known as "Run On" -- has been recorded by numerous artists, including Johnny Cash, Odetta Holmes, Elvis Presley, Bobbie Gentry and others. The lyrics are a warning to sinners that no matter how hard they try, they will not avoid God's judgment.

Marilyn Manson has spent the last few months collaborating with country rocker Shooter Jennings on his new studio album, tentatively due in early 2020.

Saint Asonia, the act led by ex-Three Days Grace frontman Adam Gontier and Staind guitarist Mike Mushok, has shared the new song "This August Day." The track is the latest single from Saint Asonia's forthcoming album, Flawed Design, which is due out on October 25th.

Gontier said about the song, "Two years ago this August, I went through the single most trying time of my life . . . After a long and very difficult relapse with alcohol and substance abuse, and with the help of some very close family and loving friends, I found myself at a treatment center in Nashville. Not only that, but I found myself in an emergency room, hanging on to life by a thread."

Gontier added, "At that exact moment, on the other side of the continent, my life was changing in the best possible way. My son was being born. Not being physically present the day my son came into this world is something I will look back on and regret for the rest of my life . . . For me, to be the father, the son, the brother, the husband, and the person I want to be, I had to go through that darkness, to finally live in the light. 'This August Day' is about all of that."

Gontier has told us in the past that staying sober in his line of work has always been a challenge: "I mean, I know what environment I need to be in every night. There's a lot of partying that goes on before and after the show, and I, you know, if there's anything going on that I feel, you know, I'm in jeopardy at all, I'll just kind of hang out by myself."

Saint Asonia previously released a music video for the first single from Flawed Design, "The Hunted," featuring Godsmack's Sully Erna.


A British physician is refuting a claim that Eddie Van Halen contracted tongue cancer back in 2000 due to placing metallic guitar picks in his mouth. Van Halen's camp remains mum regarding the rumors that the guitar legend is battling either throat or lung cancer. According to a recent TMZ report, Van Halen has been traveling between the U.S. and Germany for treatment going on several years now. In 2000, surgeons removed roughly one-third of Van Halen's tongue due to the disease.

Back in 2015, Van Halen, a longtime heavy smoker and drinker, told Billboard the metalic picks were the cause for his illness: "I used metal picks -- they're brass and copper -- which I always held in my mouth, in the exact place where I got the tongue cancer. Plus, I basically live in a recording studio that's filled with electromagnetic energy. So that's one theory. . . This is just my own theory, but the doctors say it's possible."

According to, Dr. Tom Micklewright, the medical officer at Push Doctor UK, guitar picks are most likely not the cause of Van Halen's cancer issues. He explained to Insider that neither copper nor the metals in brass are considered carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC): "Copper coils have been used as contraception in the human body for many years without evidence in increased cancer risk. In contrast, numerous chemicals contained within cigarettes have been conclusively proven to significantly increase cancer risk, and the more likely cause of his throat cancer."

Micklewright went on to say that Van Halen may be confusing other metals, such as mercury, lead, cobalt, and nickel, which have been found to have carcinogenic effects: "However, the impact of these are far outweighed by the proven effect of tobacco smoke on a vast range of human cancers. It's disappointing to see so many publications focus on the metal in this case and miss the opportunity to reinforce the strong public health message about the harms of smoking."

Slipknot bassist Alessandro "VMan" Venturella told Bass Guitar magazine that he landed his job with the band after getting a phone call from Slipknot guitarist Jim Root, while working with Mastodon as guitarist Brent Hinds' tech.

Venturella recalled, "Me and Jim became friends while I was teching. He was asking if I knew any bass players. When I found out what for, I put my hand up right away. He pointed out, 'But you don't play bass?' and I said something to the effect that I could do whatever he needed from me. Then I just had to make sure it was true."

Venturella joined Slipknot following the 2010 death of bassist Paul Gray, a founding member and primary songwriter in the group. Venturella said his early role was to "fill a great man's shoes and do him justice," adding, "My approach isn't the same as Paul's. I can't be him and never will be; every player is ultimately born different."

Following his audition, Venturella found out he had the gig two weeks later. He explained, "I was hanging out with everyone and (percussionist) Clown said to me, 'Right! Are you going to do it?' I rang my mum straight away to tell her I wasn't coming home."

Venturella began working with Slipknot during the recording of 2014's .5: The Gray Chapter album, contributing bass tracks to several songs. He also made his live debut with the band that year. His first full LP with the group, We Are Not Your Kind, came out this past August.

Beck's 14th studio album, titled Hyperspace, will feature a guest appearance from Coldplay vocalist Chris Martin. The latter will contribute to a song called "Stratosphere." Sky Ferreira also shows up on a track titled "Die Waiting," while super-producer Pharrell worked on seven of the set's 11 songs.

Beck told NME about collaborating with Pharrell, "I'd always wanted to make a record with him. We had been friendly over the years and had got together and talked about making some music back in 2012, but around that time he ended up putting out a song with Daft Punk, then 'Blurred Lines' and 'Happy.'"

Pharrell's other producing credits include Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar and many others. Hyperspace is due out on November 22nd and will follow up 2017's Colors. Beck has already shared three songs from the LP: "Saw Lightning," "Hyperlife" and "Uneventful Days."

In the coming months, Beck will headline New Orleans' Voodoo Music Experience and Las Vegas' Intersect Festival. Martin and Coldplay also have a new album coming out in November.