Who We Are

“Metal” Tim Henderson

Metal Tim HendersonI’ve been waving the flag of hard rock and heavy metal around the world for over 30 years, in the fields of publishing, retail, radio and on the ‘net. Schooled in Barrie, Ontario where the power of music germinated within me, the addiction formally began at Hamilton’s McMaster University (I graduated with two Bachelor Of arts degrees: Economics and Political Science) in 1990 where I hosted two weekly radio shows on campus station 93.3 CFMU. After a stint with M.E.A.T. magazine, the “Metal” Tim Bits fanzine was launched in 1993 as a stapled freebie handed out to customers at HMV’s flagship superstore in downtown Toronto. Upon uniting with Martin Popoff in early 1994, it soon became Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles (named after the infamous Agony Column album which has been metallically blessed by the band!) and the first issue appeared in May. A scant few hundred copies were produced of issue #1 and Canada’s longest running metal magazine was born! I would balance the magazine and my duties as a buyer at HMV, (proudly) building the 333 Metal Section into a $1 million-plus grossing sales department, making it one of the biggest metal departments in the world. BW&BK (as it would soon be known) became the chain’s biggest selling magazine being distributed in over 100 stores. Soon the magazine would be available in over 30 countries around the world, with a production run of nearly 50,000. Radio and video was and still is a passion, where I had stints as an intern on MuchMusic’s Power Hour program, as well as gigs at 97.7 HTZ FM in St. Catharines. BraveRadio Weekly was born at Virtually Canadian in the mid ‘90s and soon I would be programming all the hard rock/metal stations for Iceberg Radio (the company’s new moniker) at the famed CFRB building at Yonge & St. Clair in Toronto. And to this date, I’m still involved with the web’s oldest metal station, HardRadio. In 2000 we launched BraveWords.com (now simply BraveWords) and we’ve led the charge in covering the hard rock/metal world with the most up-to-date news, features, reviews and of course our famous playground the BraveBoard. In 2008, BW&BK in print was sadly put to rest, our final magazine being the much sought-after issue #113 with Metallica on the cover. And how times change… by that point we’d transitioned from the magazine funding the website, to the website funding the magazine! But here we stand 20 years later, with our dedicated team of scribes continuing to build the greatest metal website on the planet with our brave words!

Martin Popoff

Martin PopoffMartin Popoff has been described as “the world’s most famous heavy metal journalist.” At approximately 7900 (with over 7000 appearing in his books), he has unofficially written more record reviews than anybody in the history of music writing across all genres. Additionally, Martin has penned 47 books on hard rock, heavy metal, classic rock and record collecting. He was Editor In Chief of print mag Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles/BW&BK (now BraveWords), Canada’s foremost metal publication for 14 years, and has also contributed to Revolver, Guitar World, Goldmine, Record Collector, Lollipop.com and Hardradio.com (continuing on as Senior Writer at BraveWords), with many record label band bios and liner notes to his credit as well. Additionally, Martin worked for two years as researcher on the award-wining documentary Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage and on Metal Evolution, an 11 episode documentary series for VH1 Classic, and is the writer of the original metal genre chart used in Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey and throughout the Metal Evolution episodes. Martin is back at Banger again, working on their new series, Rock Icons. Martin currently resides in Toronto and can be reached through martinp@inforamp.net or Martinpopoff.com.

Carl Begai

Carl BegaiThose who can’t play write about it, and although I’ve been known to shred my way through Dokken’s “Kiss Of Death” or Helloween’s “Future World” on guitar without breaking my fingers or having a heart attack, making music is best left to people with a talent for it. Born and bred in Toronto, this adventure began in 1993 when I joined the M.E.A.T magazine crew, providing show and album reviews before finally getting my first ever interview with Phantom Blue’s guitarist Michelle Meldrum (rest in peace). Having grown up as one of many rivet-heads immersed in Toronto’s vibrant rock and metal scene in the ‘80s, being on the inside was a high that eventually led me to Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles. Kidnapped by an alien Medusa in 1995 and dragged kicking and screaming to Germany, I was dubbed BW&BK’s European correspondent at the tail end of 1996, making my presence as an actual writer (!) known in January 1997 with a Sentenced story that, in retrospect, still doesn’t suck. Since then it’s been a wild ride that has provided me with amazing experiences, a wealth of knowledge and a roster of artists, managers, label reps, journalists and photographers I’m proud to call friends. In 2005 I was asked to jump on board the BraveWords.com news team as well, further extending my grubby paws deeper into the metal world. Over the years BraveWords has led to my involvement in writing band biographies for several record labels and independent artists, co-writing a book (which tanked), proofreading and penning song lyrics, doing work as a translator, and being propped up in front of TV cameras for my views on all things metal. I’ve also earned the self-proclaimed title Master Of Typo Disaster for some impressive errors while dreaming up headlines for the BW&BK news feed, the best of the bunch being when I referred to Alice Cooper as a “sock rocker.” Ultimately, for all the European coverage I’m happy to provide, my head and heart remain focused on the Canadian metal scene, hopefully giving back to the place and people that made me what I am. I learned a long time ago that the saying “never a dull moment” was coined for this line of work. I’m not complaining. Cheers, Hosers!

Mark Gromen

Mark GromenIt all began in ‘83, with a short review of Accept, opening for Kiss. Since then I’ve been toting a pen, spiral-bound notepad and/or a camera to concerts around the globe. A five year DJ stint at Case Western Reserve University’s campus station (staying an extra year, after graduation, since I loved it so much) opened a lot of doors, including the weekly concert and album review beat for Cleveland’s Scene Magazine during the mid-to-late ‘80s. Had already written for numerous publications, domestic and foreign, when introduced to “Metal” Tim at the old Concrete Foundations Forum, a multi-day confab on the outskirts of LA. and was actually on the staff of the sponsoring, industry-only tip-sheet, at the time. Ultimately, my penmanship has graced the pages of Alternative Press, Metal Maniacs and during the metal-barren years of the ‘90s, countless regional zines. Have also been published on every continent except Antarctica and Africa, although BW&BK has been a permanent home since ‘95, when my Paradise Lost European tour diary first graced the grey, heavy gauged pages of the Canadian bible. Hard to believe that an American could fostered so many great international relationships over three-plus decades, including being lucky enough to meet/befriend some of the artists, visiting them at home, in the studio, tag along for days on tour and travel to some exotic locales, all because of metal music. As a result of many an industry junket, I returned to photography after more than ten years, in order to augment the printed word (i.e. labels weren’t willing to pop for airfare for a photog and journalist from North America, so rather than miss out on the opportunity, I simply packed my camera bag too!). Maybe you’ve seen my visage on your favourite band’s DVD? My artwork or penned liner notes can be found inside releases by several old Cleveland pals, as well as the likes of Overkill, Cage and Deadly Blessing, amongst others. Was the brains (for better or worse), as well as partial financier for the trio of BW&BK 6-Pack Weekend concerts (2003-2005). Like to say I’ve dabbled in virtually every corner of the metal world, apart from performing onstage: radio, promotions, label, tour managing, roadie, etc. Personal accolades have included numerous thank yous on sleeves and CD booklets, a long-lasting, no-holds-barred friendship w/ Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth (Overkill), the heartfelt comments from Tom Englund (Evergrey) in the deluxe edition of The Inner Circle, an inclusion in Mat Sinner’s (Primal Fear, Sinner) autobiography that accompanied Seven Seals and serving as English tutor/proofreader for Andy B. Franck (Brainstorm). Hard to believe, but still get jazzed hearing and seeing new discoveries. Cheers!

Aaron Small

Aaron SmallHard rock and heavy metal are as essential as food and water—or beer and chicken wings—to me. To say I’m passionate about this music is an understatement. During the early ‘90s, each and every Saturday I’d make the trip from the suburbs to downtown Toronto, always headed for the same destination: the HMV superstore at 333 Yonge Street; precisely where I met BraveWords President and CEO Tim Henderson. As the “Metal” Tim Bits fanzine grew into Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles, I made my official journalistic debut in issue no. 7 March/April 1995. Being part of what would become a globally respected magazine was life changing! It led to a four year stint co-hosting The Aftermath, a weekly metal radio show at CHRY 105.5, campus radio station for York University, where I earned a B.A. in English. In 2003, US-based publication Metal Maniacs came calling, and I joined their roster for six years; while still bringing deserving bands into the spotlight at BraveWords. As the immediacy of the Internet eclipsed the outdated print format, both BW&BK and Maniacs ceased to exist; but BraveWords.com quickly became the essential online destination for continually updated news and reviews within our beloved genre. To borrow a quote from Al Jourgensen of Ministry, who was talking about Black Sabbath at the time, BraveWords.com is “more addictive than heroin or pussy.”

Greg Pratt

Greg PrattI’ve been writing about metal since around 2000; Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles was one of the first magazines to give me a shot, and I’m happy to say I’m still with them all these years later! It’s been a great experience writing for what was Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles and is now bravewords.com; I’ve got to interview so many bands I love and got to review countless albums I loved... and hated. My love of metal also extends into the pages of other magazines (such as Exclaim! and Revolver); I was also a judge for the metal/hard category for the 2013 Junos, did a metal radio show for 15 years at the University of Victoria campus station, and will be teaching a course on heavy metal at the same university in 2014. I live in Victoria, BC, with my wife and two kids and am always happy to hear from Bravewords readers, so feel free to shoot me a line! Horns up, metal soldiers!

David Perri

David PerriDavid Perri, born and raised in Montreal, is a lawyer who has been a music journalist since the late ‘90s. David has contributed as a staff member and freelance writer to a wide variety of music magazines, newspapers and websites (including BW&BK, Canada’s largest metal magazine, and its online presence, BraveWords) and was the Editor-In-Chief of his university newspaper as well as the host of two specialty shows at campus radio. David majored in political science at the University of Western Ontario where he graduated as the top student in his program and subsequently attended McGill University’s Faculty of Law where he attained degrees in both Common and Civil law. He then completed a Master’s degree in Public Policy at Concordia University. David has worked at a multinational corporation as well as a record company/entertainment group, and practiced corporate law in Toronto. Along with noted metal journalist Martin Popoff, David is the co-author of The Collector’s Guide To Heavy Metal Volume 4: The ‘00s, which was released by CG Publishing in 2011. He has attended over 500 concerts since 2000 and has conducted over 400 interviews in that same time span, including conversations with members and ex-members of thrash’s Big Four (Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax) and just about every signed underground band to come out of Sweden, Norway and Finland during the ‘00s.

Jason Deaville

Jason DeavilleI’m one of the lucky ones; one of those that can look back on the trajectory of their life and truly say that they have accomplished many of their personal goals. Looking back, there were two things growing up that truly defined the person that I am today—video games and heavy metal, and it’s both video games and heavy metal that comprise my earliest childhood memories. I am fortunate enough to have forged successful careers in both. Metal, like video games, has been there as far back as I can remember. My father, being the musically eclectic man that he is, introduced me to the metallic hammerings of Sabbath, Maiden, Priest, and Motörhead alongside the easier listening pleasures of Elton John, Genesis, and Pink Floyd. One of my earliest, fondest metal memories is hammering away on a set of drums in an attempt to replicate the song “So Walk On” by legendary Canadian rockers Goddo. Since then, my head hasn’t stopped banging. Fast-forward many metal-filled years later to Grade 9 math class. It was there I sat, ignoring the lesson on algebra, ensconced in the latest issue of M.E.A.T. magazine, that my infatuation with one “Metal” Tim Henderson first started. It was Tim’s interviews and reviews in M.E.A.T. that defined, to me, what that magazine was, and the only reason I continued to pick it up. Tim was a metal hero to me; the epitome of cool—just as cool as the bands he covered. I envied his knowledge and access to this music and I completely identified with his love of the extreme. It was through Tim that I first learned about Swedish death metal and Norwegian black metal. It was through Tim that I became obsessed with early American death metal; and it was also through Tim, and the launch of BW&BK/BraveWords, that the seeds of music journalism were first planted. Like many of you, I was a devout reader. No other magazine on the market even came close to the greatness contained within its beautiful pages. The anticipation of a new issue was just as relevant and important as the anticipation of a new album by my favourite artists of the time. At this point, it was clear I needed to be involved. So, throwing caution to the wind, I reached out to Tim. That was just over seven years ago now. Since then, thanks to Tim, I have had the opportunity to meet and interview many of my musical heroes, as well as review some very big albums. It has been an absolutely amazing journey; a journey that continues to offer new and ever-more exciting adventures... onward an’ upward we go!

Matthew O’Shaughnessy

Matthew O’ShaughnessyI was raised in the suburbs just north of New York City (about 25 minutes from Manhattan) in a city named after the French, New Rochelle, NY, where I’ve sowed many roots and have made my home base for my entire life. For more than 31 years this New York-based disc-jockey has been leading the on-air charge producing weekly radio shows on the last remaining family-owned and independent stations in the Northeast part of the US. Just 13 when my first radio blitzkrieg hit the airwaves and I have never looked back. Since 1982, I’ve interviewed and played a wide gamut of hard rock and heavy metal artists. I am especially passionate about advocating and supporting those unsung heroes, the many tremendous local, unsigned and independent acts who normally do not get such a voice on commercial radio. From Aerosmith, Judas Priest, Queensryche, Zakk Wylde to Accept, Yngwie Malmsteen, King Diamond, Slayer and countless other nationals, I’ve had the great pleasure and honour welcoming these artists and more in prime time feature exclusive interviews over the past three decades. I believe the reason Metal Mayhem continues to get these legendary groups to open up and talk candidly is because we give them deep respect and really appreciate all they have done and contributed to our metal fraternity, and all that they have given back to their fans and their community. That’s why these artists keep coming back on WVOX time and time again. Heavy metal radio is like Lazarus in the bible, you can’t kill it. It may ebb and flow in popularity but it will never die and never go away. It is the strongest and most loyal fan base of all music genres. I’ve had the distinct privilege of being part of the BraveWords army and team for several years now and there is simply and honestly no better read on the world of all things hard and heavy.

Greg Prato

Greg PratoLong Island, NY native Greg Prato takes his hard rock and heavy metal seriously. Very seriously. Ever since receiving Kiss’ self-titled debut as a kindergarten graduation gift from his mother in 1978 and his father taking him to see Kiss (with Judas Priest opening) in concert a year later, he has been taking his hard rock and heavy metal to heart. Greg began his long and winding journey as a music journalist in the late ‘90s, and has subsequently written for the likes of All Music Guide, Classic Rock magazine, Rolling Stone, Songfacts, and of course, BW&BK. He has also penned liner notes for several music titles over the years, including Primus’ Sailing The Seas Of Cheese deluxe edition and Judas Priest’s The Complete Albums Collection box set. In 2008, Greg decided the time was finally right to make the jump to “book author,” and has since penned both music and sports books. If you really want to know, some of his best known titles include Grunge is Dead: The Oral History of Seattle Rock Music, The Eric Carr Story, A Devil On One Shoulder And An Angel On The Other: The Story of Shannon Hoon And Blind Melon, and The Faith No More & Mr. Bungle Companion, among others. He has also been interviewed about his books on radio shows hosted by Eddie Trunk, Dave Marsh, and Ron & Fez. Greg has also been lucky to interview many of his all-time favourite musicians, including William Shatner, Eddie Vedder, Tony Iommi, Ace Frehley, Rob Halford, Scott Gorham, Marky Ramone, Iggy Pop, Curt Kirkwood, Kim Thayil, Les Claypool, Jello Biafra, Mike Patton, Billy Corgan, Lemmy Kilmister, Geddy Lee, Dave Mustaine, and David Lynch, among countless others.

Nick Balazs

Nick BalazsBorn and raised in the great city of Cleveland, OH, I graduated from Bowling Green State University in 2011 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. My journey into the hard rock/metal world began when I saw KISS on their Farewell Tour in 2000. That was a life changer for a very impressionable 11 year old. As I became older and developed a taste in writing and creating stories, I enjoyed writing album reviews and I should have known this would be future when in college I delivered an informative speech about thrash metal (I got an A on it too). BGSU has its own student-organized news television show with BG24 News and I was a sports anchor for two years and I would always drop metal references that I’m sure no one else understood, but me. After graduating, it took a little bit of time to find my place, but now I have been with a BraveWords since February 2013 and have had a rocking time spreading the gospel of heavy metal.

Kelley Simms

Kelley SimmsAfter hearing Sweet’s “Ballroom Blitz” in 1974, I was hooked on rock ‘n’ roll. My first concert was Elvis Presley in 1976 in Tulsa, OK at the age of nine. I started playing the drums at the same age and ever since I can remember, art, music and hockey went hand-in-hand. I started skating when I was four years old while living in Michigan and I began drawing Kiss members and hockey players a few years later. I spent many bored hours during high school drawing Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Saxon and many other heavy metal band logos on my desk. I attended art college on the East Coast and earned a BFA in Illustration upon graduation in 1995. From there, I worked as a graphic designer at various magazines, printing companies and newspapers. Currently, my day job is as a full-time multimedia artist at a daily newspaper in Des Moines, IA while I moonlight as a freelance music journalist. I joined the BraveWords team in April of 2012. 

Hendrix!

HendrixOur ten-year-old pug! In “Metal” Tim’s words: “Hendrix has been my shadow, the ultimate companion through thick and thin! When I picked him up at a breeder in Brockville (close to Ottawa and inches from where my mother would spend summers on the St. Lawrence River as a child) he barely fit in my two hands. The five hour drive back home was filled with heavy metal and pee breaks! He had no idea what world he would grow up in, but to this day he sits behind me and snores in the background. Stubborn as all hell, but beyond loveable. And during my last interview with Jimi’s sister Janie Hendrix (Experience Hendrix CEO in charge of the estate) I mentioned Hendrix the pug, so now rock ‘n’ roll royalty even knows him!

 

 

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LIVIN GARDEN - "Exile"

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VARGA - "Three Section Staff" Video Premiere

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