OVERKILL, EXODUS, ARMORED SAINT And Ex-MACHINE HEAD Members Join Forces In New Band
August 6, 2023
Former MACHINE HEAD and current VIO-LENCE guitarist Phil Demmel has joined forced with ex-ADRENALINE MOB guitarist Mike Orlando, ARMORED SAINT/ex-ANTHRAX singer John Bush, OVERKILL/SHADOWS FALL drummer Jason Bittner and EXODUS bassist Jack Gibson in an as-yet-unnamed new project which is currently working on material for its debut album.
Demmel spoke about the new band in an interview with former EXHORDER and PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS guitarist Marzi Montazeri. Regarding how the musicians first came together, Demmel said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I [was] doing a one-off [show], [filling in as the guitar player for] OVERKILL, and this is just right after things are opening up. It's in Jersey, so we go up to Dingbatz, or what's… there's the bar and then there's the venue. So whatever the bar is, we go to the bar. And Orlando comes and meets us, and it's Corey Pierce from GOD FORBID. And so we're there all getting loaded. And at a certain point, it was just, like, 'Man, we got the band right here, man. Why don't we do something? Why don't we write music together?' And we're all, 'Yeah, let's do.' And then the next day, we're kind of hung over, going, 'Hey, man, did we mean it? Did we mean that? Yeah, let's see can happen.' And I came back [to the East Coast]. I forget what I was doing when I came back. And me and Orlando got together and we just got in the room and started throwing riffs at each other and came up with, like, a dozen or so riffs that he took back. And you know Mikey O — he's got his own studio, and he gets behind something. And he's got such a great ear. He's a phenomenal guitar player. And he's got a great ear for music and melody. So he starts putting the shit together. And we're, like, Damn, this is fucking cool.' … And then so we're thinking, it's, like, all right, well, bass player and vocalists. Vocalists, who would you guys want? Let's make our list. Start at the top.' And then bang, bang, bang. All at the top was 'John Bush', 'John Bush', 'John Bush'. We're, like, 'Hmm.' I said I know him from [playing together in] METAL ALLEGIANCE. We broed down a little bit — we talked sports and stuff — so I said, I know him enough to call him up and ask him. So I did. And he was super… We were in the friend zone for a while — you know, non-committal. And it's been bit by bit by bit."
According to Demmel, the new project has "written about 10 tunes" and John has laid down vocals "to seven of 'em. And it's is super exciting, man," he said.
Phil went on to describe the new band's musical direction as "heavier than the early VAN HALEN and the early PANTERA stuff that's on the — you know, the shuffle beat. It's on the upbeat; a lot of it's on the upbeat, not on the down. So it's the head-bobbing type of type of BPMs, you know? So it's different. Nobody's really doing that now."
Orlando was the guitarist/founding member of the hard rock group ADRENALINE MOB. As owner of his own recording studio, Sonic Stomp Studios, he handles everything from engineering, producing, mixing and mastering.
Demmel left MACHINE HEAD at the end of the band's fall 2018 North American tour. He was in MACHINE HEAD for nearly 16 years, during which time he played on five of the group's studio albums: "Through The Ashes Of Empires" (2003),"The Blackening" (2007),"Unto The Locust" (2011),"Bloodstone & Diamonds" (2014) and "Catharsis" (2018).
Widely known as the drummer from American metal band SHADOWS FALL, Bittner has won numerous awards, including Modern Drummer magazine's No. 1 Metal Drummer in 2005 and 2006, No. 1 Up-And-Coming Drummer in 2004 and 2005, and No. 2 Clinician for DRUM! magazine in 2011. In 2014, Bittner hooked up with the thrash metal band FLOTSAM AND JETSAM and has since joined OVERKILL.
Bush continues to record and tour with ARMORED SAINT, which he co-founded in 1982.
John fronted ANTHRAX between 1992 and 2005 but was sidelined when the group reunited with Joey Belladonna for a 20th-anniversary tour. When that collapsed, and relationships disintegrated with next frontman Dan Nelson, Bush returned for a time before Belladonna took the job back in 2010.
In 1996, eight albums into EXODUS's career, Gibson joined the band and has remained with the group ever since. In addition to his work EXODUS, he has fathered a bluegrass brainchild, COFFIN HUNTER, a band that combines Gibson's love for Nashville music and for playing banjo, giving off a vibe of true Americana like a mix of C.W. McCall, Jerry Reed and Sergio Leone.
The mighty John Bush tracking some absolutely KILLER new vocal tracks w/ Tara Novick at his studio!!!! OH HELL YEAH!!!!!!! Bring it on Captain!!! 🤘👍💥🔥
John Bush Phil Demmel Mike Orlando Music Jason Bittner Jack Gibson
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