Midnite Mixtape Massacre - Michael Del Pizzo - Sunflower Dead Print E-mail
Written by Michael Del Pizzo   
Sunday, 27 March 2016 03:00

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Hailing from Long Beach California, Sunflower Dead specialise in rock with a combination of heavy riffs and infectious hooks that are both melodic and hard-hitting. Their new album ‘It's Time To Get Weird’, produced by Dave Fortman (Evanescence, Slipknot, Godsmack) and Mikey Doling (Gemini Syndrome) is what their PR team call “a healthy dose of intense rock energy combined with honest and heart-felt lyrics that has been missing in rock radio for quite some time.” So we thought what better way to introduce the band to readers of Uber Rock than by asking their singer Michael Del Pizzo to pull together the 13 songs that mean most to him, and in the process give us his ultimate Midnite Mixtape selection.

 

1.) ‘Black Sabbath’ - Black Sabbath (from the self titled album)

 

This is the start of heavy metal for me, even though other bands had touched upon it slightly in the rock world. All you have to hear the use of The Devil’s Third as the opening three notes of the song and it’s on. This is also main reason I have the Devils Third tattooed on my left wrist.   First time I heard it, I was mesmerized. Though I love all Sabbath, even with Dio, this song is the top for me.

 

2.) ‘Rock And Roll’ - Led Zeppelin (from the album ‘Led Zeppelin IV’)

 

Zeppelin to me is the greatest band of all times. I mean they had all four cornerstones covered with their four members. Zeppelin is god. I mention ‘Rock And Roll’ because even when I was a youngling just getting into music and all I wanted to hear was the heaviest stuff possible, this song always hit me because of its energy.

 

3.) ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ - Twisted Sister (from the album ‘Stay Hungry’)

 

I never had MTV as a kid, you know, back when MTV showed music. I used to go to friends houses to see videos. One day this kid in the video I was watching answered the question “What do you wanna do with your life?” with “I WANNA ROCK!”   Boom, that kid turned into Dee Snider and I said to my friend, “that’s what I want to be when I grow up.”

 

4.) ‘Paradise City’ - Guns N’ Roses (from the album ‘Appetite For Destruction’)

 

To me, this is the greatest rock record of ALL time front to back. Loosey goosey, violent and real. ‘Paradise’ is this epic rocker that just keeps building and building to the point where it feels like the band is about to fall apart at the song’s climax. When you have an entire album that sounds like the band could fall off the rails at any time but this song takes that feeling up even more, you have something special. Never will there be another album like this.

 

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5.) ‘Don’t Talk To Strangers’ - Dio (from the album ‘Holy Diver’)

 

I was all about death metal in my teens but this song came along via a friend of mine and the power and grace of singing beautifully over a piece of music that explodes into something phenomenal had me hooked. I love the entire ‘Holy Diver’ record but this song remains my favourite.

 

6.) ‘Pull The Plug’ - Death (from the album ‘Leprosy’)

 

I was obsessed with death metal all because of this band. There wasn’t a death metal vocalist who was more pure, understandable and catchy as Chuck Schuldiner was at this point in his career. ‘Pull The Plug’ is great example of this. Any screams that come from me, comes from this guy.

 

7.) ‘Becoming’ - Pantera (from the album ‘Far Beyond Driven’)

 

I liked Pantera on ‘Cowboys’. I liked them more on ‘Vulgar’. Truth is, I loved them after hearing ‘Far Beyond Driven’. This is because to me, this is the album where they combined the ultimate brutality with the ultimate amount of catchiness. I don’t believe there will ever be a record this brutal and this accessible. Listen to the guitar riff in ‘Becoming’ and disagree with me.

 

8.) ‘Them Bones’ - Alice In Chains (from the album ‘Dirt’)

 

Amazing song from their best record by far. ‘Dirt’ is another one of those records that front to back just pulls you into their world, which was heroin at the time. ‘Them Bones’ and the video sets up this record so well. I could never get tired of listening to it.

 

9.) ‘Faget’ - Korn (from the self titled album)

 

What can I say, this album changed heavy music and basically saved it for a good ten years. Nothing like this album was ever realized before. This is my favorite Korn album by far, and one of my favourite albums ever. Every song made me feel uncomfortable and weird. They sounded soooo big like a group of mutant freaks coming through the speakers. When the record got to ‘Faget’, I just couldn’t believe the lyrics, the dynamic and the vocal bridge to the song. Talk about a calling for all the freaks of the world. What a great metaphor for people that don’t belong, ‘Faget’. Such an uneasy word to hear, especially in a song. It was brave of them to do this song and the record.

 

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10.) ‘Possession’ - Sarah McLachlan (from the album ‘Fumbling Towards Ecstasy’)

 

Funny, at this time in my life in the mid ‘90s, I was all about Korn but because of that I started seeking out artists that really wrote song that were emotionally charged from a real place. I delved into all types of music and when I heard ‘Possession’ from Sarah, I was like “wow, this has that thing.” Then I bought the entire ‘Fumbling’ record and still listen to it to this day.

 

11.) ‘Bring Me To Life’ - Evanescence (from the album ‘Fallen’)

 

This is a perfect pop metal song to me. I love it and I love the entire ‘Fallen’ record. Amy Lee shocked the world with this song and album.

 

12.) ‘Faithfully’ - Journey (from the album ‘Frontiers’)

 

Steve Perry is my vocal idol. There are so many songs of Journey I could have picked but this one is special to me. I remember sitting in the back on my mom’s car at a very young age imagining I was singing this song.

 

13.) ‘With Or Without You’ - U2 (from the album ‘The Joshua Tree’)

 

This is my last song and a very special song to me. It’s not easy to write a song that will become a hit that is one big crescendo as opposed to the verse/chorus structure. More than that though, this song is special to me because again, I remember sitting in the back of my parent’s car hearing this on the radio and seeing myself performing in front of 20,000 people. A premonition maybe. We will see!

 

 

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Photography courtesy of Neil Zlozower