Saturday, July 22, 2023

“Sin” and Survival: Inside Enuff Z’Nuff's Latest Glam Slam

Photo courtesy of

A phone call with Enuff Z’Nuff co-founder/bassist/vocalist Chip Z’Nuff is perfect for summertime. Why? Because the whole damn thing feels like a rollercoaster.

Like every conversation I’ve had with the dude over the years, I held on tight during our latest chat as the Hard Rock veteran took me on a sprawling journey fueled by the kind of enthusiasm I’d typically expect from a teenager who had just recorded his first garage demo. Thirty-four years after his band’s eponymous debut album delivered “New Thing” and “Fly High Michelle” and put his band on the map, Chip’s still hitting everything he does at 100 miles per hour.

As always, he’s got a lot going on. Currently, Enuff Z’Nuff—Chip, guitarist Tory Stoffregen, drummer Daniel Benjamin Hill, and new guitarist Jason Camino (formerly of Nelson)—is on the road with the second installment of its Glam Slam Metal Tour, which launched in 2022 with Pretty Boy Floyd and The Midnight Devils in tow. This time around, the band is joined by British Rock veterans The Quireboys (for whom Z’Nuff is filling in on bass on this tour) and Boston-based band Bad Marriage, featuring former Tesla guitarist Tommy Skeoch.

With everyone and their mothers on tour these days—and with average ticket prices more expensive than typical monthly car payments—Chip and company are beating the competition by offering an affordable night of solid music. 

“Instead of people paying $100, $200, or $500 for a ticket, they can come out for $30 and see three great bands that have a long legacy of great Rock songs,” he says.

Enuff Z’ Nuff’s current tour follows the November 2022 release of its 17th studio album, Finer Than Sin. Described by Chip as “a potpourri of Rock and Pop,” the 10-song collection is the third Enuff Z’ Nuff record released since the summer of 2020. (Chip, who apparently never sleeps, also released his second solo album, Perfectly Imperfect, in March 2022.) Never one to rest on his laurels, he tells me that the songs on the new album (sans the spirited cover of The Sex Pistols’ “God Save The Queen,” of course) were all written “in five, 10 minutes” at his place in Blue Island, Illinois.

“A lot of songs come to me late at night when it’s quiet and there’s nobody around. I just fiddle around with my old 1962 Danelectro guitar while sitting on the couch and smoking a joint.”

This smoky creative haze yielded another classic release from a band that has never once made a bad album. Check out the album's first single, the outrageously catching "Catastrophe," below.

“[Finer Than Sin] showcases the world through my rose-colored glasses. If you listen to how the lyrics and the songs are put together, it’s basically a synopsis of how I see everything right now […] My inspiration was what’s on the plate for what we’ve got to deal with in society nowadays. I wanted [the album] to be aggressive; I wanted the album to be strong—big guitars, big drums, and fat bass. But most notably, I wanted good storytelling with some nice abstract harmonies and colors.”

“Aggressive” is the best word to describe the album’s most musically left-of-center track, “Lost And Out Of Control.”

“It shows a harder side of the band. The topic of the song is the same way, too. It’s about a guy or a woman who can’t be controlled—a person who lives their life on a shoestring and doesn’t know what to expect next. There’s a reckless abandonment to that song. It might be one of the heaviest ones Enuff Z’ Nuff has ever recorded.”

Chip’s recent music machine also includes a guest appearance on Born To Be Wild, the latest album by singer and film legend Ann-Margret. The bassist duets with her on a cover of Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers’ “Why Do Fools Fall In Love.”

“I got a call from Brian Perera over at Cleopatra Records, who said, ‘We’re doing a record with Ann-Margret.’ I said, ‘Oh, man! I’ve always loved her! She’s such a little Scandinavian goddess—just a wonderful singer and a great dancer.’ He said, ‘Would you like to play bass on it?’ I told him I’d love to. I went down to the studio and played bass on the track. They called me back a couple of weeks later and said, ‘It sounds great. Would you be willing to do a duet with her?’ I said, ‘I’d be honored!’ I wasn’t even sure I could do it, to be honest. But if someone asks you if you could a job, just tell them you’ll do it and then learn it right away and make it happen.”

Other guests on Born To Be Wild include Pete Townsend of The Who, Aerosmith’s Joe Perry, and The Fuzztones.

Not surprisingly, Chip will be keeping busy once the current tour wraps up. Work on a new Enuff Z’Nuff studio album is already underway, and the band plans to release a live album (recorded at LA’s legendary Whisky a Go Go) in the not-too-distant future. Not bad for a band that’s scratching at the door of its 40th anniversary. In an industry not known for inspiring longevity, Enuff Z’Nuff—and its sole remaining original member— won’t be throwing in the towel any time soon.

“It’s a blessing from above to still be able to move forward. We believe in the legacy of Enuff Z’Nuff. We’ve done six records in the last six years, and I still think there’s gas in the tank. At the end of the day, we’re a real Rock ‘n’ Roll band that shows up and kicks ass whenever we play. We don’t know when it’ll end or when the last show’s going to be, so we just want to leave an indelible mark wherever we go.”

More on Enuff Z'Nuff on This Site

Enuff Z'Nuff Tour Dates

Enuff Z'Nuff Website



Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Keeping It Surreal: Puscifer Hits the Jersey Shore

"Agent Dick Merkin" of Puscifer

There are few people in this world more incendiary than an artist who’s earned the right not to give a single fuck.

Thirty years ago this month, singer Maynard James Keenan hit the small second stage during Lollapalooza’s stop at Waterloo Village in Stanhope, New Jersey. He appeared as the frontman of Tool, a buzz band out of LA that had released its debut album, Undertow, a few months earlier. Even on an eclectic bill that exposed Cow Country concertgoers to everyone from Front 242 to Arrested Development, the mohawked vocalist truly looked like a visitor from another planet. Anchored by a jaw-dropping sonic backdrop courtesy of bandmates who’d clearly listened to more than a few Prog albums, the man proceeded to slay the crowd with one of the richest, most expressive voices heard that day. To my 16-year-old ears that afternoon, Keenan and Tool sounded like the future of music.


As the past three decades have shown, I wasn’t alone in my reaction. Years removed from being a second-stage act, Tool now fills out 20,000-seat arenas in support of chart-topping albums. The band’s extraordinary success has afforded Keenan the opportunity to pursue extracurricular passions both musical (A Perfect Circle) and entrepreneurial (Merkin Vineyards). In 2007, he began releasing music with a side project called Puscifer, a piss-taking experimental mindfuck that allows him the chance to play in a surreal sandbox without the commercial and logistical demands of his main gig. Placing that kind of power in the hands of someone with nothing to prove or lose is like giving a kid the keys to the world’s largest candy store—and anyone who listens to a Puscifer release or ventures into one of the group’s batshit bonkers live shows is in for an experience they won’t soon forget.


After a six-year break from overseas touring, Puscifer recently preceded a jaunt through Europe with a handful of U.S. dates. One of these performances, held at the 1,400-seat Sound Waves Theater in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, showcased something more akin to a Broadway show from Mars than a traditional Rock show. With an onstage aesthetic that fell somewhere between GWAR (sans bodily fluids) and the band from the talent show scene in Revenge of the Nerds, the group delivered an evening of pristine musicality augmented by video presentations and a stage set with scaffolding and props galore.

Carina Round and Maynard James Keenan

The night began with a video introduction by one of Keenan’s outrageous Puscifer personas, Agent Dick Merkin, who cheekily warned attendees that anyone caught breaking the band’s notoriously strict no-photo/video policy during the show would be ground up into Spam. (That said, please enjoy the band-sanctioned live shots by Kris Ohmen Photography, taken exclusively for this website, that accompany this review.) 


The insanity escalated from there. With stellar vocalist/keyboardist Carina Round aiding greatly in the theatrics department, Keenan (who, in addition to Agent Dick Merkin, also appeared as the redneck-y Billy D) and the rest of the Puscifer circus amazed and amused the crowd. Their two-hour selection of songs leaned heavily on 2020’s Existential Reckoning with a few moments from past releases (including a mind-blowing “The Remedy” off 2015’s Money Shot) added in for good measure. Puscifer foreshadowed different album eras represented in the set via pre-recorded vignettes that were worth the price of admission alone. (At one point, Agent Merkin revealed that Plasmatics frontwoman Wendy O. Williams—who, as it turns out, never actually died—lives on in the body of… Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan, because of course she does.)

After whiplashing the audience with aural and visual absurdity, Puscifer wrapped up its Atlantic City stop with the Existential Reckoning number “Bedlamite,” which perfectly summarized the evening’s glorious escapist entertainment through the repeated chorus of “It's gonna be all right/Everything will be all right." For two hours on a Friday night at the Jersey Shore, everything really was all right.

Thank you, Maynard—er, I mean Agent Merkin!

Emily Kavanaugh of Night Club

Electronic duo Night Club opened the festivities with a brief set of well-received Goth-tinged Dance Rock. Full marks to frontwoman Emily Kavanaugh, daughter of late Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes keyboardist Kevin Kavanaugh, whose high-energy command of the stage did her home state proud.

Official Puscifer Website


Saturday, July 8, 2023


I'm pleased to share my video interview with one of my favorite singers, Fred Schreck (The Ancients/Crush/The Billygoats/Satellite Paradiso). We discuss a host of topics, including the July 17, 2023, digital re-release of The Ancients’ 1991 debut album—an underground classic that features guest appearances by Paul Ferguson (Killing Joke/Crush), Joe McGinty (Psychedelic Furs/Loser’s Lounge), Knox Chandler (Psychedelic Furs/Siouxsie and the Banshees), and John Valentine Carruthers (Siouxsie and the Banshees/Clock DVA/Crush). Later in the conversation, we're joined by current Ancients drummer Frank Coleman (Bentmen/Satellite Paradiso/Secret Agent).