Music Discovery Monday – 4/4/16

Music Discovery Monday - Sunflower Dead

Hard Rock Daddy presents Music Discovery Monday – 4/4/16.

After more than a year of sharing songs that fly below radio’s radar, ranging from lesser-known artists to deeper cuts from both up-and-coming and established artists, the time has come for Music Discovery Monday to evolve into something new.

In an effort to streamline this weekly feature, the Hard Rock Music Time Machine segment will now be a standalone feature that is published every Thursday on Hard Rock Daddy.  There will be some changes announced to that feature as well, when it debuts on Thursday, 4/7/16.

Music Discovery Monday will continue to shine a light on artists that are not getting the radio attention that they deserve, but it will expand to include new singles by established bands that are likely to get airplay in the future.  The main priority of the column, however, will continue to be the exposure of up-and-coming artists to our readers around the world.

This week, Music Discovery Monday features an exclusive interview with Sunflower Dead frontman Michael “Hulk” Del Pizzo, who discusses the band’s latest single, “It’s Time To Get Weird.”  Del Pizzo also shares the story behind how Jonathan Davis (Korn) ended up providing guest vocals, and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the animated video for the song.

In addition to appearing on the embedded YouTube playlist below, all songs featured on Music Discovery Monday can be listened to individually by clicking on the hyper-linked song titles above each review.



 ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)


With the vast amount of music and entertainment vying for the attention of the masses, standing out from the pack is becoming increasingly difficult, but it is also extremely important if you want to be more than just another artist in the mix.  Enter Sunflower Dead, a band that rises above the din to capture your attention with their brand of intense, dark, melodic hard rock.  The makeup that they wear certainly helps them stand out, but it is the music that grabs you before you even know what they look like.  You have to figure that they are something special when you see that, as a newcomer, they managed to get Korn’s Jonathan Davis to provide guest vocals on the track.

To be honest, I had no idea what “It’s Time To Get Weird” meant until speaking with frontman Michael “Hulk” Del Pizzo recently, but it didn’t matter.  Hearing the song made me want to listen more, and seeing the thought-provoking animated video whet my appetite even further.  I don’t often make predictions in this forum, but in this case, the exception is warranted…

Sunflower Dead will join the ranks of the elite, modern-day hard rock bands sooner rather than later.  Not only do they have the right blend of music and image, but they also have aspirations to do big things with their stage show when the time is right.  Touring with the likes of Avatar, Hellyeah and In This Moment in the coming months should go a long way towards increasing their fanbase.


In an exclusive interview with Hard Rock Daddy, frontman Michael “Hulk” Del Pizzo shared the meaning and inspiration behind “It’s Time To Get Weird.”  Del Pizzo also reveals how the band got Korn’s Jonthan Davis to provide guest vocals on the track, and the meaning behind the story line of one of the most inspired videos to be released in recent memory…


“The phrases ‘it’s time to get weird’ came from our guitarist Jamie (Teissere) on our first touring cycle.  I guess you could say that he was nervous every night before we walked out on stage.  You know, we have the makeup on, and I play the accordion, and he would just look at us and go… ‘well, I guess it’s time to get weird my friends; let’s go out and do this!”  Nobody really knew us at that time, and it’s a phrase that we just started saying a lot.  As we started building a fanbase, they started picking up on it.  We just figured that we had to use it as a record and song title.

To me, what ‘It’s Time To Get Weird’ means is being yourself at all costs, no matter what, and no matter who’s mocking you.  In the lyrics, the ‘dead birds’ represent the people mocking you…always chirping the background saying that this is no good, or that you’re no good.  You just have to keep going and being yourself.”


On getting Jonathan Davis to provide guest vocals…

“We had a meeting with a bunch of record labels in 2015 when the record was done.  One of them knew that we were going on tour with Korn in the UK, so they suggested that we ask Jon to sing on the song.  We thought that it would be interesting.  Being that one of the guys in the band is really good friends with the guys from Korn (and has been since before they were Korn during the LAPD days), he just texted Jon and asked him if he wanted to sing on the song, and he agreed right away.  We recorded with him in California, and it was real easy.”


On creating the video for “It’s Time To Get Weird”

“Videos are a real tough thing for me.  Being a visual band, it’s hard to really get across what we do live.  I’m always thinking of ways to help get the point across about who we are.  I thought that it was time to do an animated video for this song.  As soon as we started, and people saw pictures of us from 2012, they said that we should be animated characters.  I wrote the video treatment for the song.  I wanted to do everything so that it came across the way that I wanted it to be.  I kind of took the back story of Sunflower Dead, which is my graphic novel idea that I’m working on right now.  There’s a whole story behind Sunflower Dead.  I combined our back story and Jonathan Davis’ life before he was in Korn; he was a mortician or coroner.  I came up with the story where we get killed as kids.  He picks us up in his little cart and does his autopsy on us.  After he buries us, he throws evil seeds on us, and we become Sunflower Dead.  We chase him down and he becomes a Sunflower Dead member, which is cool because we actually turned him into his character, JDevil.  We turn him into that character because he wears the black contacts.  I wanted it to be a big, Scooby Doo-type video…very fun, not too serious or dark.  I think that sometimes when people do animation in metal, they try to make it as dark and serious as possible.  We’re going the opposite way, giving people the chance to have fun.  This is my favorite video because it really gets across what Sunflower Dead is all about.”



AVATAR – “Regret” & “House Of Eternal Hunt”

Avatar is one of the most interesting artists on the hard rock scene today.  Many artists who find radio success would continue down a similar path, however, Avatar has taken a page out of Queensryche’s book by re-inventing themselves with each subsequent release.  This time around, they have built upon their recent success to deliver a concept album entitled Feathers & Flesh (May 2016).  If “Regret” & “House Of Eternal Hunt” (the two opening tracks that segue into each other) are any indication of what’s to come, this is an album that should excite fans of the band, and introduce them to an even bigger audience.
Avatar vocalist Johannes Ekstrom revealed the following about these two tracks…
“What you have is the beginning of the story and all the light and darkness of things to come!  We meet our protagonist, Owl, as she lies dying, looking back on the night that would be her last.  ‘Regret’ is about, well regret!  Staring into the cold eyes of Death, she wishes to change everything, to go back, to live again.  This leads us to ‘House of Eternal Hunt.’  It is how things used to be; how they were supposed to be. That is how the tale starts, with a predator ruling the sky on the night that would turn out to be her last! With this concept and these tracks, we want to give you the past, present and, more than anything else, the future of metal as we see it.  It is the beginning of an epic journey and we’re glad to have you along for the trip.”





THE NEW BLACK – “Send In The Clowns”

This German band, that’s had a number of good moments since their formation back in 2009, may have broken through to an outright great moment with this track from their recently released album, A Monster’s Life.   This highlight, among a large number of solid tunes, makes it an album that seems likely to appear on my best of 2016 list at year’s end.


SINBREED – “Moonlit Night”

Don’t let the slow, haunting melody that opens the song fool you; it doesn’t take long for things to accelerate.  Once it picks up, it delivers some of the best work from the band in their decade-long existence.  Standout vocals are matched by the guitar work.





TREAT – “Ghost Of Graceland”

Swedish melodic metal band Treat enjoyed international success in the mid ‘80s, broke up in the early ‘90s, and made a big comeback ten years ago.  In 2010 they released the critically acclaimed Coup de Grace.  Today, they’re still flying under the radar for many rock fans, though, and they shouldn’t be.  This is the very promising title track from their upcoming album (due out later this month).


MAD HATTER’S DEN – “Hero’s End (At The Silver Gates)”

Power metal newcomers Mad Hatter’s Den, out of Finland, are following up their acclaimed 2013 debut with Excelsior.  Their sophomore album features a new drummer and new bassist Jarno Vitri taking over on vocals.  Twin guitars are unleashed all over this first single, which boasts lots of drive and some nice progressive and symphonic touches.






The Chronicles Project brings members of very good European power metal bands together in “Forever,” an articulate and driving melodic metal track from the band’s inaugural album.  Represented are several bands featured previously on Music Discovery Monday, including:  Black Fate, Thaurorod and Barque of Dante.



The Paralydium Project is a prog metal collaborative of Swedish talent that impresses on all instruments.  The best features of “New Frontier” are Georg Härnsten Egg’s effortless skill on drums, and the outstanding guitar work of Jonathan Olsson (bass) and John Berg’s (lead).




To be considered for Music Discovery Monday, please e-mail a link to the song being submitted on YouTube and an artist bio to –



About AW

Hard rock journalist and father of two amazing rock and roll children.

Posted on April 4, 2016, in Hard Rock Music Time Machine, Music Discovery Monday and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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