JOHANN WIERZBICKI - Sharp Rock Photographer
I think what you are hearing is my accent! I am French! Oui.
Born in the small French town of Paris, I then grew up in the South of France before settling for the wet regions of the UK, some 27 years ago. Living life to the max, I do love the sound of a good cowbell and have a peculiar affinity for distortion pedals. These days, I spend most of my evenings shooting Hard Rock and Metal bands (Canon, for the nerd in you) and/or updating our website so that you, the Fleshsters, benefit from what the ROCKFLESH crew has to report on the northwest scene.
Stewart Lucas is a highly experienced voluntary sector leader specialising in strategic change. He has been involved in a number of initiatives that have fundamentally changed the way the world operates including the 2012 Paralympic Games. Up until September 2017 he was CEO of Lancashire Mind and led the charge to alter the way that Lancashire’s providers, commissioners and residents view Mental Health. During his time in post he took a lead role in bringing National Mind and Mind Network together in closer harmony. Currently he is working with the five Greater Manchester Mind’s to develop a shared and collaborative way of working that responds to the opportunities provided by devolution and sits on key strategic boards across Greater Manchester influencing the way that Mental Health is defined within the emerging infrastructure.
But that is not what you are interested in, Stewart is an unashamed metalhead and has weaved his love of the extreme end of the genre into everything he does. Whilst he would describe himself as a frustrated music journalist and uses his Facebook account to bore his friends and family about his latest band crush, ROCKFLESH is his first serious foray into serious writing (aside from Board Papers, Funding Bids and Five Year Mental Health Strategies, but they don’t count as they have nothing (or at least very little) to do with Metal).
Stewart was a teenage age metal fan in the mid to late eighties and cut his teeth on Thrash, Grindcore and Queensryche. During the extinction event that was Grunge, Metal and Stewart took a break and he actively saw other genres such as Dance, Indie, Americans and Drum and Bass (with whom he had a passionate but short fling in 1995). However it was System of Down’s Toxicity and Slipknot’s Iowa that tempted him back down the rabbit’s hole in the early noughties. Desperate to find out what he had missed he decided to go deeper than your obvious choices and actively explored the European scenes. Through that deep dive he developed a love for the extreme triplets of Black, Doom and Death Metal’s as well as their more flamboyant and camper cousin Power metal.
Demanding job and young family aside, Stewart still manages to go see bands as much as he can (and/or when his wife lets him) he also greedily gorges on as much new music as he can through that wonderful invention called Spotify. He is a regular at Bloodstock, Damnation and Download and it is highly likely that he was the six foot five bugger that stood in front of you at the Ritz, Academy or Rebellion. His vision and hope for ROCKFLESH is simple, he wants to use his passion and enthusiasm for all spectrums of metal to help you the dear reader to discover your next favourite band or to unearth a hidden gem. And as Stewart is fond of saying, if you have never heard 'Heartwork' by Carcass or 'Slaughter of the Soul' by At the Gates you’ve never lived my friend. Stewart is also available for Summer Seasons, Children’s Parties and Bar-Mitzvahs.
SARAH CUMMINGS - Child of the Nu-Metal Generation
Sarah has been dancing like a fool in mosh pits for about 18 years, in an act that has proven to be most definitely not a phase. You will often see her covered in glow paint and glow sticks, playing the air guitar like a boss and spilling alcohol down her demi-goth clothing. Her favourite bands are Rammstein, The Qemists, Laibach, The Prodigy, Nine Inch Nails, Chase and Status to name but a few. Sarah is easily seduced by anything that goes “squeak” “bleep” “bloop” or “wub wub wub” and can usually be found hiding in the corners at drum and bass nights looking like the Babadook had a fight with a paint ball gun. When Sarah is not drowning in a sea of industrial goodness, you can pretty much guarantee she will be feeling all her feelings to artists like Tori Amos and Aimee Mann, or she’ll be eating all the Mexican food (or both. At the same time). Future goals include to see Rammstein another 148917 times, and to discover more of the wonderful music venues and festivals that the world has to offer, and to make some new friends along the way.
There’s always that guy stood towards the back of the gig, drinking too many pints of cider, shaking his head in all the places everyone else is applauding, and nodding his head along when everyone else has gone for a smoke in disgust. That man is likely to be Matt. Working as a Quality Manager in a University hasn’t dampened Matt’s desire for the obscure, and if a band can’t be pigeon-holed then it’s likely to appeal to him. Sub-genres of sub-genres are his musical tipple of choice; why have a trad metal band, when you can have a punk-metal-industrial-prog-tech-hardcore one? Exactly.
Jo went to her first proper gig in 1979, so the first band she ever saw on a theatre stage were Def Leppard. This marked the beginning of a lifelong passion that continues to this day and is the bane of her Grumpy Husband’s life. However, he does get good holidays when she drags him all over the world to see them so it’s not all bad!
Jo represents the lighter end of the ROCKFLESH team, specialising in melodic rock, 80s hair metal, glam, sleaze and surprisingly (or not when you remember how old she is) a bit of NWOBHM and power metal just to confuse people. She also had a teenager in the 90s so whilst other reviewers were wandering in the post-grunge wilderness she managed to develop a love of pop-punk and emo that allows her to occasionally go to gigs where she is likely to be mistaken for the band members’ mother.
These days she is striving to develop an enyclopaedic (and intimate) knowledge of Scandinavian bands in guyliner and lycra, and she strongly disapproves of bands in plaid shirts unless they come from Finland.
By day Jo manages the office for a construction company with a diverse and mostly European workforce, which means she can now tell you to f*** off in seven different languages.
Somebody taller (which is pretty much everyone to be fair) always stands in front of her at gigs, and she can usually be found as far away from any hint of a moshpit as possible drinking rum and complaining that it’s not like the good old days and her feet are killing her.