Gwen Stacy Doing It All For The Love Of The Lord; Plus Suicidal Tendencies, Withered & More News That Rules, In Metal File

'We've taken some fire for being Christians, and it's to be expected,' drummer T.J. Sego says.

It should come as little surprise that the dudes in experimental Christian metalcore quartet Gwen Stacy loved reading Spider-Man comics when they were kids (well, drummer T.J. Sego considers himself more an X-Men guy, but we digress).

After all, the band takes its name from the classic Spidey series. Gwen Stacy was Peter Parker's first love, and she was killed off by the Green Goblin in a 1973 edition of "The Amazing Spider-Man," thus opening the doors to Petey's heart for the arrival of his chief love interest, Mary Jane Watson. All right — that's enough geeking out for one day.

It should, however, come as something of a shock to learn that the folks over at Marvel Comics, home to the beloved web-head, haven't pursued any legal action against the Indiana rockers for copyright infringement. In fact, Marvel actually supports the band's usage of the Gwen Stacy moniker, according to the band.

"We were actually worried about them coming after us," Sego, who has been battling a wicked case of tendonitis in both his wrists these last three months, said. "They contacted us about it one time, and we thought it was going to be a negative thing — but they were pretty excited about it. There was some unofficial talk of them doing some stuff with us — what, I'm not sure — but nothing ever happened with that."

Gwen Stacy, who've been around since 2004, have a record on the way — their first for Ferret Music. The Life I Know drops February 5 and will feature "I Was Born With Two First Names," "What Will Happen If I Hit Enter" and "I'll Splatter You Like Jackson Pollock." The band self-released an EP, ... I Believe in Humility , in 2005 and had been an unsigned act before Ferret came calling.

"We had a few labels that were feeling us out and wanted to know where we were as far as other labels [went], but there's always just a lot of talk — just talk and talk and talk," the drummer explained. "It took a lot of patience on our part, but Ferret was our label of choice. We had a very small list of labels we were willing to work with, and Ferret was at the top for all four of us."

Sego said he's anxious about the impending release of the band's first LP, but that the guys aren't letting those nerves get to them.

"I'd be lying if I said we weren't nervous at all, but it isn't getting any of us," he said. "I think good music speaks for itself, and we worked our butts off on this album. We're proud as we can be of it, and we think it's a great album. I don't see how a kid could listen to it and not like it. But if it flops and doesn't sell, I'll still be proud of it. I poured my heart and soul into it — all of us did.

"It's a really, really passionate album," Sego continued. "There are entire songs in there that just flat-out explain my life. This album is our hearts on tape. ... We love to play and hang with our fans, and we love our Lord and Savior, and that's basically what the album is all about."

Gwen Stacy's members are devout Christians, but they're not preachy, Sego said.

"We believe in Jesus with all our hearts, and we take that very seriously," he said. "We don't throw it around lightly. The Bible says to love the Lord and Savior with all your heart, and to love your neighbors — that's our stance. We love people, and we love our fans, and there's nothing we wouldn't do for any of them.

"We've taken some fire for being Christians, and it's to be expected," he continued. "We don't mind. We have a little 15-second thing that we throw into our set each night, which lets kids know our stance — that we play because we love Jesus. But we're not about to judge them if they don't believe the same thing. We make sure that kids know that we're not there to ... ram our beliefs down their throats. ... We have our beliefs, and anyone who wants to know about them, we are more than prepared to share what we believe, but we won't look down at them if they don't."

Gwen Stacy will spread their message on tour with Haste the Day, Scary Kids Scaring Kids and Drop Dead Gorgeous starting Friday night (January 11) in Dallas for a jaunt that runs through February 17 in Gwen Stacy's hometown of Indianapolis. The band has also booked a co-headlining run in late February with Inhale Exhale and will spend a week in March touring South America with Haste the Day and Still Remains. The band's summer plans remain wide open — for now.

According to Sego, Gwen Stacy have expressed interest in joining this summer's Sounds of the Underground Tour — and there's a very real chance they'll be on it, seeing as how Ferret is one of the festival's sponsors. But they'd prefer to be on the Warped Tour, he said.

"That's a freaking rad tour, and we're always down for playing anywhere, anytime," he said. "We have our fingers crossed for Warped, and there has been some talk about that. We are really, really pushing for that tour, because every year ... it seems like Warped just gets better and better, and they keep pulling more bands from our genre, which is awesome."

If they do get on the Warped Tour, that will no doubt give Gwen Stacy ample opportunity to hype The Life I Know. Sego takes pride in the fact that his band — and no one else — crafted the album's tracks, something he says many bands in the genre don't do.

"The album is written by us," he said. "A lot of bands are going into the studio with three or four songs, expecting the producer to help them do their job and finish the rest of the album. We were very much an independent band through this entire process. For me, I couldn't go out there and play someone else's songs. For it to not be legitimate, that's the ultimate scam. I would rather write crap and write it myself than have something great that someone else did for me."

The rest of the week's metal news:

Iron Steel, a bass-heavy all-star group with death-tongue planted firmly in cheek, are looking for distribution for their five-song debut EP, The Devil May Care, which will be mixed at the end of the month. The band features Sevendust drummer Morgan Rose, singer/guitarist Fran Strine and guitarist Tommy Redd, in addition to a slew of bassists: Dragonforce's Fred Leclercq (who actually plays guitar for Iron Steel), ex-Megadeth member David Ellefson, Skid Row's Rachel Bolan and Chimaira's Jim LaMarca. "Iron Steel is all things, all the time, including ferocious playing, banshee screaming and a good sense of humor," Ellefson told Metal File. "The name says it all. You can't fit any more metal into a name like Iron Steel." The Devil May Care was produced by Johnny K (Disturbed, Staind) at Tree Sound studios/Light House Studios in Atlanta, Georgia and includes the tracks "STD," "Pie Eater," "goth Girl" and "Hail Satan." ...

In one of the strangest tour pairings since Slayer and Marilyn Manson, Slipknot and Disturbed will hit the road together on the Rockstar Mayhem tour, which runs from July through August. Dates and additional bands will be announced soon. The tour is the brainchild of Vans Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman and John Reese, who works with Lyman on Taste of Chaos, which is also sponsored by Rockstar. Slipknot are currently working on their new album, and the next Disturbed disc, Indestructible, is tentatively scheduled for a May release. ... Stick to Your Guns, a Southern California quintet, have just finished working on their second full-length, Comes From the Heart, which was produced by Zeuss (Hatebreed, Shadows Fall) and is tentatively scheduled for release in the fall. "It has been a dream of ours to work with Zeuss since we were in our early teens," singer Jesse Barnett said in a statement. "He is so awesome at what he does, and we are so happy with how it turned out." ...

Instrumental experimental Chicago band Pelican will release the DVD-and-3-inch-CD set "After the Ceiling Cracked" on January 22. The DVD features a show recorded in December 2005 at London's Kings Cross Scala, various live footage shot between 2003 and 2006, and the video for "Autumn Into Summer." Pelican will tour North America with Black Cobra and Unearthly Trance starting February 28 in Chicago and running through March 15 in Louisville, Kentucky. ... On Saturday night, Suicidal Tendencies, Supersuckers and Daughters of Mara will perform at a party to celebrate NAMM at the Galaxy Theatre in Santa Ana, California. Lamb of God singer Randy Blythe and Hatebreed frontman Jamey Jasta will DJ between sets. ...

Atlanta black/death-metal band Withered have signed to Prosthetic Records and will release their new album, Folie Circulaire, in late spring. The album will be produced by Phillip Cope (Kylesa, Baroness) and is the follow-up to Withered's 2005 debut, Memento Mori. Withered will preface their new release with a tour that runs from March 14 in Nashville to March 26 in Houston. ... Members of Baroness, Alabama Thuderpussy and Municipal Waste will release the second album by their side project Birds of Prey, Sulfur and Semen, on January 22. The follow-up to their 2006 debut, Weight of the Wound, was produced by Vince Burke at Sniper Studio in Moyock, North Carolina, and includes "Mentoring the Mongoloids (Return to the Attic)," "Turning Big Rocks Into Little Rocks," "Murder the Homeless/ Burn the Upper Class" and, surprisingly, a cover of "Show Him the Ground" by indie-folk act Iron and Wine. ...

Artsy demolitionists the Human Abstract have entered Red Bull studios in Santa Monica, California, with producer Tony Wright (Slayer, Alice in Chains) to record the follow-up to 2006's dizzying Nocturne. The band plans to take some time off from recording to play this year's Take Action Tour, which also features Every Time I Die, From First to Last, the Bled and August Burns Red. Dates run from February 14 in Detroit through March 23 in New York. ... Om, the ambient stoner band that features ex-Sleep members Al Cisneros (bass and vocals) and Chris Hakius (drums), will launch a North American tour Wednesday in Seattle. The band will remain on the West Coast through January 20 in Los Angeles, then it will plunder the East Coast starting February 6 in Baltimore and trudge through February 9 in Boston.