Metal Sucks’ Axl Rosenberg Discusses Metal Suckfest

Posted by on November 2, 2011

We’re just two days aways from the inaugural Metal Suckfest, being held at the Gramercy Theatre in NYC. Our good buds at Metal Sucks have been working all year long to put together a kick ass two day festival package (plus and a sweet pre-game show). And as if twenty bands in two days was enough bang for your buck, ticket prices for each day are dropping from $30 to $25 (and with no service fees)! But hurry, cause this offer is only lasts for the rest of today (November 2).

Metal Sucks co-founder Axl Rosenberg took a break from running around the Metal Sucks mansion to talk with Metal Insider about the inaugural two day festival (which is on November 4 and 5, in case you needed a reminder). Axl chatted candidly with us about how the little blog that could came to launching their own festival and the difficulties that have gone into planning so far.


OK, so you guys (questionably) know how to run a blog. What made you decide to branch out into live music, especially something as ambitious as a two-day festival?

We’ve worked very hard on Metal Sucks over the past five years, and we’ve been fortunate enough to achieve a certain level of success. And that success means we can do things we never dreamed we’d be able to do. So we’ve basically just started pushing our luck, waiting for The Peter Principle to kick us in the ass.

In this instance, Vince came up with the idea to do a fest, and I thought it was a great idea, and then, to my complete shock, the folks at Live Nation thought it was a great idea, too, and suddenly we were off to the races. So, basically, we did it for the same reason men climb mountains: they thought it would be fun, and they could.


What have been the biggest difficulties in trying to put together the festival?  

There isn’t a single facet of it that HASN’T been a challenge — from finalizing the actual time frame for the fest, to booking all the bands, to deciding how the poster design should look, to figuring how and when the line-up should be announced, to making sure the fest is being well-promoted, to ensuring that there are enough hookers and blow backstage to keep everyone happy and properly, um, serviced.

But these are Uptown Problems, y’know? Like I said, we never in our wildest dreams ever imagined that we’d even get to do put on a festival, so who’s complaining?


What kind of planning was involved?

See above, re: being totally OCD and over-analyzing every last detail. We had our first meeting with Live Nation in late January/early February, and not a day has gone by that we haven’t discussed the fest since. I can’t tell you when my mother’s birthday is, but I can tell you what kind of toilet paper is going to be in the shitters at The Gramercy Theatre on November 4 and 5. (Hint: it’s single ply.)


Are there any bands that you were hoping to snag for the fest that you weren’t able to for one reason or another?

Yeah, actually. We desperately wanted Loutallica to make their live debut by closing the fest on Saturday night. But then they heard that they’d have to follow Cynic, and suddenly my phone rings and it’s Lars Ulrich and he’s all, “Dude, are you kidding? Have you heard us? We’re TERRIBLE!” So that was that.


How did you go about curating the bands for the Suckfest? Were you pitched any that didn’t make sense?

As readers of MetalSucks are aware, we’re picky douchebags, and we love all kinds of metal, so we wanted a) a diverse array of bands, and b) bands that weren’t, y’know, fucking awful. So even though the two days are organized into kind of vague categorizations — Day 1 being “fast n’ furious” day and Day 2 being “prog” day — there’s still a wide range of styles being represented. For example, on the first day, Municipal Waste, God Forbid, and Magrudergrind are all playing, and those bands sound nothing alike; and on the second day, Cynic, The Red Chord, and Fight Amp are all playing, and THOSE bands sound nothing alike. A LOT of thought went into ensuring that was the kind of line-up we had.

So, basically, we contacted every manager, booking agent, and label rep we know, and we figured out which bands were even available. Then Vince and I went through that list and narrowed it down to I think 40 or 50 bands, knowing that it wouldn’t work out with all of them for various reasons (see above), and that ultimately we only wanted to have 20 on the bill anyway. And then we just started trying to figure out which bands from that list hadn’t since booked a conflicting tour or studio time or whatever since we last spoke to their “people.” And, voila, a festival line-up is born.

Insofar as bands that don’t make sense go, um, yeah. Vanilla Ice’s booking agent called us and said “Make Vanilla an offer,” and we said, “Okay, we offer him the opportunity to stay home on his couch that evening.” I guess he didn’t understand that the name “Suckfest” is ironic.


Are you hoping this will become an annual event?

We sure are! It is our sincere goal to make The Metal Suckfest the Toyotathon of extreme music. That’s why next year we’ll have even bigger bargains, and the brakes won’t work.


Even though it won’t take place until this weekend, is there anything that you would have done differently so far?

Yes, absolutely. I would have had the aforementioned hookers and blow delivered directly to my apartment six weeks before the fest actually begins.


One thing about MetalSucks is that by writing under pseudonyms, you’ve been able to maintain anonymity. How do you plan on doing that at your festival, and how important is it to you that you maintain a different identity from your real life?

The only way we’ve ever maintained our anonymity is by writing under silly fake names, which we do because they make us laugh and because they actually sound less semitic and dorky than our real names — not because we don’t want people to know who we are. Sometimes I mention this fact to people, and they’re like, “Yeah, but no one knows what you look like.” But that’s just because we’re WRITERS and so we spend most of our time writing and not, y’know, posing for spreads in Revolver‘s “Hottest Tweens in J-Pop” issue or whatever. (Seriously, how many people would recognize Albert Mudrian or Mick Wall if they saw them at a show?) If people wanna know what we look like, here are our Facebook pages, which include real-live photos of us:

Axl – http://on.fb.me/seFbzr

Vince – http://on.fb.me/u6nKnt

Of COURSE we want people to know who we are. How are we supposed to get laid being anonymous? I mean, I’m aware bloggers are no groupie’s first choice, but we still rank higher than a sound guy or a roadie, and Michael Starr can only shtup so many girls in a night.

So please come over and say hello at Suckfest. We’ll be very easy to find — we will be the two least-sober, most-Jewy-looking dudes with laminates.

Remember, the $25 sale is only being offered today! So buy your tickets now (either in person at the Gramercy Theatre box office or online via Live Nation)

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Categorised in: Interviews