AUBURN, Washington — Catch this year's Ozzfest and you might notice Full Blown Chaos frontman Ray Mazzola walking around with a slight limp as his Long Island, New York, band tears up the second stage. But the wound isn't from stage diving or brawling, as you might expect — it's actually a little present a black widow bestowed on him in May at a hotel room in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
"I got bit [on the knee], I went to the doctor and everything was cool," Mazzola explained. "Then three weeks later, we're in San Diego ... the doctor had said all the venom would flush out and it never did — it caused mad sepsis [a type of poisoning]. I had a massive blood infection and was in a hospital for a week. I made the band drive me straight from San Diego back to New York, just to drop me off at the hospital. I walked in and I slept for three straight days. We had to cancel a couple of shows, and my doctor told me not to do anything until Ozzfest. But I had to play. I had to feed my need to perform. So we did some weekend shows."
The spider venom triggered paralysis in a couple of the tendons and muscles in Mazzola's ankle. He's been enduring physical therapy for weeks and has been flooding his stout frame with blood thinners and antibiotics. "I have a couple of places around the country I can go to [for] the therapy I need during Ozzfest," he said.
The band considered dropping off the tour, but Mazzola wasn't about to let that happen. "It's pretty f---ed up, but I'm not going to let it get me down," he said. "It's another story, you know? Watch — I'll probably end up getting bit by a poisonous snake this summer."
That's because Mazzola considers himself ... well, a tad unlucky. For example, on the drive out to Auburn, a man sideswiped Full Blown's pristine, straight-off-the-lot RV. In Montana, two of the vehicle's tires blew out. That led Mazzola to wonder if the band should've taken up DragonForce on their offer to share a bus. "We didn't because, I mean, that's a lot of hair," he joked of the London extreme metallers.
But despite the bad luck, Full Blown's appearance on this year's Ozzfest couldn't be better timed. Their forthcoming LP, Within the Grasp of Titans, lands in stores Tuesday, and Mazzola said it spotlights the band at its finest.
"The music, the lyrics — they've evolved," he said. "To date, this record is our best. But who knows what the next album will bring? We're going to have to top this one too. We brought a lot more thrash into this record — a lot more of what our influences are. This album has something to offer everybody. There's something on it that everybody can relate to."
That includes "Chopping Block," which was inspired by a year's worth of messy breakups and relationship nightmares. "Solemn Promise," on the other hand, is a bit more specific: Mazzola wrote the song for his mother, who has been battling cancer for more than a decade. "It's a promise to her that I won't give up on her if she doesn't give up," the singer said. "I call her every day and there are a lot of times when she doesn't think she's going to make it. Even when I feel like I'm not strong enough, I have to be there to pick her up, and I do. I've had cops crying on me at shows, just bawling, because they relate to the song — and they realize they're not alone."
The rest of the week's metal news:
Hatebreed will headline a full U.S. tour set to commence in September and run through October. The bill will feature support from the Black Dahlia Murder throughout, plus Napalm Death, Exodus, First Blood and Despised Icon. "We've never gone out on a headline run immediately following Ozzfest, and we've always wanted to, and we always felt we needed to, but there were always plans that superseded that," frontman Jamey Jasta said. "We're taking out a very extreme bill. We're going to call it maybe the Monsters of Mosh, something crazy like that. But it will be a good way for us to give back to the underground, extreme scenes, and also for us to go out and headline for the first time in a long, long time and do a full hour-and-a-half set with our new staging and new gear." ... Ex-Megadeth drummer Nick Menza is either in dire need of cash or trying to purge himself of the past. On Monday Menza put a pile of his personal Megadeth memorabilia up for auction on eBay. Objects include his titanium drum riser, drumheads, backstage passes, tour itineraries and a pair of leather jackets. As an added incentive to bid, Menza is offering the winners for each item a personal phone call, in which they can ask the drummer one question. ...
Darkest Hour, Misery Signals, From a Second Story Window and Versus the Mirror will team up next month for a North American trek, which begins August 7 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and winds down September 8 in Baltimore. ... The forefathers of black metal, Venom, will release an expanded edition of their 1997 reunion album, Cast in Stone, July 18. The disc, which marked the first time bassist/singer Cronos, guitarist Mantas and drummer Abaddon played together since 1986, features an additional five tracks from a rare 1996 release made to promote their appearance at the Dynamo Festival. A second disc of re-recorded classics presented with the original release of Cast in Stone will again be included. Venom, who in March released their first album of new material in six years, Metal Black, will launch their North American 7 Days of Hell tour on August 13 in New York. ... Those who're itching to hear some new music from Mastodon's forthcoming major-label debut, Blood Mountain, should head over to the band's MySpace page right away: "Crystal Skull," which boasts guest vocals from Neurosis' Scott Kelly, was posted to the site Friday morning (July 7). ... An unauthorized Iron Maiden biography, "30 Years of the Beast," will be published in September. The tome was written by music journalist Paul Stenning, who penned the Guns N' Roses book "The Band That Time Forgot" and the AC/DC bio "Two Sides to Every Glory." Stenning is also working on books about Trivium and My Chemical Romance. ...
Floridian death-metal Satanists Deicide shot a video for their new track "Homage for Satan" last weekend in Tampa, Florida. The clip features frontman Glen Benton dressed in a leather executioner's outfit that resembles the one worn by the character Machine in the Joel Schumacher film "8MM." Benton last donned the costume during the Roadrunner All Stars show in New York last December. At the conclusion of the video, Benton spews a fountain of bile, mimicking the reaction many mainstream critics will have to his band's new record, The Stench of Redemption, which comes out August 22. ... Throwdown will head out with Zao, Evergreen Terrace and Maylene & the Sons of Disaster next month for the Pure Hostility Tour. The trek kicks off August 18 in San Diego, with dates running through September 18 in Portland, Oregon. ... Every Time I Die's "The New Black" will be among the dozens of tracks aspiring air guitarists will be able to master on the forthcoming PlayStation2 game "Guitar Hero II." Not into breakdowns? Well, there's always Black Sabbath's "War Pigs," the Butthole Surfers' "Who the Hell Was in My Room Last Night?," Primus' "John the Fisherman," Kiss' "Strutter," and Rush's "YYZ." ... Daughters, Red Sparowes and Versoma will head out for a brief East Coast run on August 17 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Shows are scheduled through August 26 in New York. ...
Testament drummer Louie Clemente has been forced to drop off the band's U.S., European and South Korean tours due to undisclosed "medical reasons." Former member and current Exodus drummer Paul Bostaph will fill in starting July 12 in Hollywood and wrapping up August 5 in Busan City, South Korea. The Bay Area thrash veterans plan to enter the studio this fall with Clemente and other guest drummers to record the studio follow-up to their 1999 disc, The Gathering. ... After eight years together, Illinois death-metal band Enforsaken have cashed in their chips to focus on other ventures. The band's final show will be August 19 in Chicago. "We've chosen to burn out on a high note now, rather than just slowly fade into obscurity," the band said in a statement. "Due to our many obligations outside this band we cannot continue to put 100 percent of our time into Enforsaken." The group released four albums between 2001 and 2006, including their final disc, Sinner's Intuition, in March.