12 episodes

Heavy Metal Bebop is a series of in-depth conversations about the intersection of jazz and heavy metal, featuring prominent musicians from each of these worlds. Your host is writer and musician Hank Shteamer. Published in web Q&A form for seven years, HMB re-launched as a podcast in February 2019.

Heavy Metal Bebop Hank Shteamer

    • Music
    • 4.8 • 23 Ratings

Heavy Metal Bebop is a series of in-depth conversations about the intersection of jazz and heavy metal, featuring prominent musicians from each of these worlds. Your host is writer and musician Hank Shteamer. Published in web Q&A form for seven years, HMB re-launched as a podcast in February 2019.

    Jack DeJohnette

    Jack DeJohnette

    If you're discussing the early intersection of jazz, rock and related styles, Miles Davis is an unavoidable name, and one of the players most directly responsible for helping Miles achieve his early breakthroughs in that area was Jack DeJohnette. While DeJohnette has never left the world of straight-ahead jazz and has also remained engaged with the avant-garde, this in-between zone that he explored with Miles in the late '60s and early '70s has remained a constant fascination for the drummer and pianist, from bands like Compost and Gateway right up to more recent projects like Hudson and his trio with Ravi Coltrane and Matthew Garrison.
    Jack and his wife Lydia were kind enough to invite me to their home in upstate New York last summer (long before COVID!). Jack and I spoke about his time with Miles and Charles Lloyd, his connections to Earth, Wind and Fire, why he loved the drumming of both Mitch Mitchell and Levon Helm, his collaborations with members of Living Colour in his Music for the Fifth World album, and much more.

    • 1 hr 31 min
    Defeated Sanity

    Defeated Sanity

    [Update, 7pm Eastern time on Sunday, March 8th, 2020: I've re-upped the episode to fix some audio issues that were present in the first version, so if you downloaded the file previously, please refresh it if you haven't yet listened! -HS]
    For the first episode of Heavy Metal Bebop's second season, we have two guests, presented one after the other. They are Lille Gruber, drummer, co-founder and principal songwriter for the German death-metal band Defeated Sanity, and Jacob Schmidt, the band's bassist and co-songwriter since 2005. If you've listened to prior episodes of this show and/or read Heavy Metal Bebop interviews online, you've probably run across Defeated Sanity's name. That's because, like Meshuggah and Gorguts before them, during the past 15 years or so, Defeated Sanity have gradually evolved into an institution of forward-thinking metal, a band that open-minded musicians both inside and outside the genre look to as leaders in their field. Their work draws on the brutality of genre forefathers like Cannibal Corpse as well as the jazz savvy of bands like Cynic, creating a breathakingly diverse sound that wholly rejects the pristine veneer of modern extreme metal. In 2016, they released Disposal of the Dead / Dharmata, a "self-split" album that isolated the two different sides of their work.
    Recently Lille and Jacob were in New York putting the finishing touches on their upcoming album at Menegroth, the Queens studio owned and operated by my friend Colin Marston. I dropped by and sat down with Lille and Jacob for sequential conversations touching on how Lille started the band with his fusion-loving father, Wolfgang Teske; why Lille considers the Mahavishnu Orchestra to be his Black Sabbath; why he'd like to combine Miles Davis' Tutu with death metal slams; Jacob's take on the difficulties of being a truly progressive band in an often conservative genre; and much more. If you're listening to this episode in March 2020, Defeated Sanity are about to head out on a big U.S. tour with Origin, so check their Facebook page for all the details.

    • 2 hr 4 min
    Bill Ward

    Bill Ward

    In an earlier episode of this podcast, drummer Kenny Grohowski spoke about what he called the unique swing of metal. In this episode, we delve into the root of that idea via a conversation with one of my musical heroes: Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward. I met up with Bill in Los Angeles in early November for an unforgettable conversation during which he discussed why he views Gene Krupa as his definitive influence, how the behind-the-beat feel he perfected in the band's early days enhanced the sinister quality of their music, why he's just as inspired by death-metal drummers as he was by his early heroes, and much more. To learn more about Bill's current work with Day of Errors, the Bill Ward Band, and other projects, visit him on Facebook.

    • 1 hr 9 min
    Pyrrhon

    Pyrrhon

    Pyrrhon formed in 2008, and during the past 10 years or so, they've become one of the standout heavy bands in the New York underground. At their core, Pyrrhon are an extremely intense death metal band, but over time, they've incorporated elements of noise-rock and free improvisation into their sound, resulting in fascinating and unclassifiable albums like 2014's The Mother of Virtues and 2017's What Passes for Survival. In 2016, they released an EP, Running Out of Skin, that featured two entirely improvised tracks, and as soon as I heard it, I knew I wanted to speak to them for this series. I met the entire band — guitarist Dylan DiLella, bassist Erik Malave, vocalist Doug Moore, and drummer Steve Schwegler — at Doug's apartment in Queens, and we discussed how Pyrrhon arrived at their genre-blurring sound, the influence of Miles Davis and Gorguts on their work, defying death metal's prevailing aesthetic of "perfection," and much more.

    • 1 hr 45 min
    Jan Hammer

    Jan Hammer

    As anyone familiar with this interview series has most likely gathered, the original Mahavishnu Orchestra are something of an obsession for me — not to mention a gamechanging force in the early blending of jazz and heavy rock. Jan Hammer's passionate, virtuosic keyboard playing was a crucial element of the group, and his time with the band is only one brief chapter in his career. In this interview, conducted at Jan's home studio in upstate New York, we touch on the birth and development of Mahavishnu, as well as Jan's collaborations with great musicians across the jazz and rock spectrum, from Tony Williams, Elvin Jones, Sarah Vaughan and John Abercrombie to Jeff Beck, Eddie Van Halen, Carlos Santana and Journey's Neal Schon. Jan couldn't have been more enthusiastic or generous with his time, and it was an absolute honor speaking with him. To learn more about Jan, go to janhammer.com.

    • 1 hr 58 min
    Wendy Eisenberg

    Wendy Eisenberg

    Wendy Eisenberg is a jazz guitarist by training who can often be heard playing just about anything but conventional jazz guitar. That includes free improv, art pop, noise and avant-garde punk with radically inventive bands like the now-defunct Birthing Hips and the currently active Editrix. In 2018, during an episode of Jeremiah Cymerman's excellent 5049 Podcast, Wendy — who uses gender-neutral pronouns — made a passing mention of their love for the Australian death-metal band Portal, and at that point, I knew I wanted to speak to them for Heavy Metal Bebop. We met up in March and delved into Wendy's vast musical universe. Topics discussed include: how hearing Sonny Sharrock helped expand their musical horizons, why Portal is their favorite band ever, why they feel like an outsider in both jazz and metal, how Birthing Hips flourished within the context of higher education, why they're not a fan of jazz covers of pop and rock tunes, how their early love for Pantera informs the music of Editrix, what they took away from playing with Curtis Fuller and Earl Klugh, and much more.

    • 2 hr 18 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
23 Ratings

23 Ratings

Jon Madof ,

Yes!!!!!

Such a great podcast. Hank is insightful, passionate and incredibly knowledgeable about music and gets so much out of his guests. The Vernon Reid episode is a particular highlight as well as Kenny Grohowski and others. A must-listen for hardcore music nerds who are as blown away by Coltrane as they are by Slayer.

ZaWheelZ ,

Killer idea

New favorite podcast!

pfeifdigs ,

Love it!

Super informative and right up my alley; boon for any drummer to check out!

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