Fight to the Def | New Times Broward-Palm Beach


Fight to the Def

Two bands, one stage, one burning question: Who would win in a celebrity death match between '80s icons Journey and Def Leppard? For the curious, here's the tale of the tape.

Why Journey Will Win:

With hits like "Don't Stop Believin'," "Any Way You Want It," "Open Arms," and history's greatest prom ballad, "Faithfully," this band established itself as one of the great arena-rock bands of the 1980s. Steve Perry's soaring tenor is undeniably one of the most recognizable voices in pop-rock history, or, for that matter, all of music history. When he sings, "Wheel in the sky keeps on turnin'," you know that wheel will indeed keep on turning.

Why Def Leppard Will Win:

First off, any band that has the balls to let an illiterate grade-schooler name its group after a handicapped jungle animal has the chutzpah necessary to bitch-slap Steve Perry and company back to their mommies' open arms. Second, hits like "Animal," "Hysteria," and "Love Bites" are unforgettable entries in the pop-metal pantheon. And if those tunes aren't persuasive enough, consider "Pour Some Sugar on Me," a song that has prompted two generations of strippers to rub their junk on poles, chairs, and each other to the delight of lonely dudes everywhere.

Who Would Really Win:

Journey is at a distinct disadvantage here, mostly because Steve Perry is such a pussy. Hell, it's because of him that the band dissolved in the first place. And in 1996, just as he was about to reunite with the boys for a tour, Perry busted his hip while hiking in Hawaii — and whined about it for three years. Eventually, his bandmates had no choice but to replace him with a Gap store employee (seriously) named Steve Augeri, who most people think is Steve Perry anyway. To further confound matters, Augeri has been temporarily replaced by Jeff Scott Soto as the former recovers from some chronic throat infection. Pussy, the sequel.

Hell, Def Leppard's drummer drove himself through a wall on New Year's Eve 1983, lost his arm, and still figured out a way to show up to work. When guitarist Steve Clark died of an accidental prescription-drug-and-alcohol-cocktail overdose in 1991, the band soldiered on. Although the odds in this match-up look to be in Def Leppard's favor, the fact is, no one really gives a shit about the outfit anymore. True, strippers are still fondling themselves to the band's songs, but ultimately the band has no pop-culture resonance. You'll never find references to Def Leppard on The Simpsons — where Journey has, um, journeyed — nor will you hear the act's tunes on shows such as Family Guy, South Park, or American Idol, which have all used Journey's songs and made it a point to celebrate how awesomely bad these guys are. In the end, it looks like there's just no escaping it: Journey is the more relevant band. — Cole Haddon When thrash-core veterans Dirty Rotten Imbeciles moved to San Francisco in 1983, the band fell on some hard times, living in a van and getting their meals from soup kitchens. But, to paraphrase the band's 1985 album, they dealt with it. And in 2000, when D.R.I. guitarist and founding member Spike Cassidy lost the rights to his label, Rotten Records, it was a whole new type of headache. But it wasn't until this past March that Cassidy faced his biggest challenge yet — he was diagnosed with colon cancer. For D.R.I. the band, that meant having to cancel all upcoming shows. And for the other three D.R.I. members — including drummer Rob Rampy, also of the Sickboyz — there was no way they'd leave him hangin'. So when the Sickboyz headline this Saturday's D.R.I. Cancer Benefit at Churchill's Pub, it's one of many nationwide efforts to help Cassidy get his (thrashin') groove back.

Besides the Sickboyz, there are more than half a dozen local bands hitting the Churchill's stage that night, and every last one of 'em is doing it gratis — Middle Finger Mob, Anger, Modern Day '84, Mehkago N.T., Howitzer, and Maruta. The ten-dollar door charge goes directly to the Spike Cassidy Cancer Relief Fund, based out of Poulsbo, Washington; fans can also contribute at Though Cassidy's condition has improved since his diagnosis — he completed radiation treatment in August — his chemotherapy will continue through the end of the year.

For the past 24 years, D.R.I. has been assaulting eardrums and taking on politicos (including a "Rock Against Reagan" tour with the Dead Kennedys). In 1987, D.R.I. released Crossover, helping to bridge the gap between punk and metal. Since then, D.R.I. has done just that, playing alongside bands like Testament and Gang Green, and even having one of its videos ("Acid Rain") featured on Beavis and Butt-Head.

So it's in the spirit of Crossover that Saturday's benefit features a good mix of punk, hardcore, metal, and more. But genre's not important here — labels are for clothes, pal. What matters here is supporting the man whose guitar riffs inspired every band on the bill. "Spike has such an influence on us," Middle Finger Mob guitarist Jeff Tucci says. "The first time I heard [D.R.I.] was when my brother gave me a mix tape that had their first EP — 21 songs in 18 minutes. From that day on he has been someone I ripped off in so many ways. So I figured I would give something back." — Jason Budjinski Raymond Herrera is what you'd call a technology enthusiast. Big time. He's also the drummer for industrial death metal pioneers Fear Factory. As such, Herrera has plenty of thoughts on music, the relationship between science fiction and reality, and a spooky tale about suspicious men in suits, all of which he shared with Outtakes during a recent phone conversation.

Outtakes: Where does the band's ongoing interest in technology come from?

Raymond Herrera: We're all big sci-fi fans and pretty much up-to-date with all the latest technology too. It made a lot of sense with the sound of the band to sound futuristic. I really enjoy the cinematic sound of movies, the epic-ness of orchestral music and keyboards. We wanted to add that.

What was your first profound response to a film that you can remember?

Probably Blade Runner. That's definitely one of the earliest movies that we can think of that we all unanimously thought "we could do the soundtrack to that." That was way before Fear Factory. We were all kids at that time.

When Fear Factory came out, you guys were reaching more into fantasy. But things have changed rapidly. For example, the Internet wasn't even a phenomenon back then. How much have the lyrics taken on new perspective for you?

Burt [C. Bell, vocalist and lyricist] might have been onto some stuff. He wanted to write about a really negative aspect of the future because that seemed to make more sense with our sound. Some of it actually has taken form to a certain extent.

You guys have contributed songs to several films, but how much have you thought about taking a crack at an actual score?

We've done scoring for video games before. I do a lot of that on my own too, with my production company [Prevolution Productions]. But as far as a movie, it would obviously have to be more of an action, sci-fi type of movie. Like a love story, we probably wouldn't do very good at that. [Laughs.] Although maybe we could.

Unless it's two droids in love.


In a film, there's a lot of breathing room. You have to be more subtle. Especially with Fear Factory's ambient keyboard stuff, one has to wonder what you would do if you could space things out a little more.

It would be a very cool challenge. — Saby Reyes-Kulkarni