Tales from a Metalhead: Chapter 5: “The Hands”

Tales from a Metalhead logo

This chapter is part of a book called Tales from a Metalhead written by Metal Express Radio’s President Stig G. Nordahl. The chapters will be posted one at the time and you can find them all here.

Running Metal Express Radio has been great fun, for the most part. I have one bad memory from an incident when I was sure my life would go straight down the drain.

Operation: Mindcrime II

Back in 2006, Queensrÿche released the album Operation: Mindcrime II and vocalist Geoff Tate was visiting Oslo on a promo tour prior to the release. The label called me and asked me if I wanted to do an interview. Of course I wanted to do that. I hadn’t met Geoff face-to-face for an interview since 1988 (we had done a couple of phone interviews in the years between), and I actually brought along a picture of the two of us which was taken during the interview 18 years earlier.  The meeting was scheduled to take place at the Grand Hotel in the heart of Oslo. When I showed up I was handed an advanced CD copy of Operation: Mindcrime II with watermarked files on it. I believe they told me not to play it before the release date.

The interview (check the YouTube video further down) went well. Geoff was in a great mood and willing to share everything about the forthcoming album. He also said that the track “The Hands” was released as a single the very same day.

Picture of GEOFF TATE
Stig and Geoff 2005

At the time we had a feature on metalexpressradio.com called Metal Jukebox where we published a brand new track every day. This was a “click and listen” service where you just clicked play if you wanted to hear any of the featured tracks. The tracks were published with low quality, only 48 kbps. I ripped Queensrÿche’s new single and published it right away for all the fans eagerly waiting for new material from the band.

The next day I was going abroad for a business meeting. I switched off my phone while I was on the plane. When I landed I turned the phone back on and I had a bunch of voicemails waiting for me. I also noticed a text from a friend asking “So, has the shit hit the fan?” I texted him back asking what he meant and he replied “Check Blabbermouth”. This was a year before Apple launched their first iPhone, and since I didn’t have a smartphone, I couldn’t check emails or get online before I got to the hotel. I didn’t dare to check the voicemails before I knew what was going on. The taxi ride from the airport to the hotel seemed to last forever.

Picture of Queensryche
Geoff and Stig 1988

The top story on Blabbermouth was about how this site called Metal Express Radio had leaked a track from the upcoming Queensrÿche album. I had absolutely no idea how the track could have been leaked or how it could be linked back to us. Yes, I know the files were watermarked, but t

he track was only available as a stream. It also became apparent that “The Hands” wasn’t released as a single the day before, like I had been told, so this track was brand new to everyone.

I finally mustered up the courage to listen to the voicemails. This guy from the Norwegian label had called a few times and left a message. He was obviously upset and told me to call him back ASAP. I was on my way to an important meeting so I didn’t have much time. I deleted the track from the Jukebox and emailed the label saying that I had to call them later, but that the track had been removed from our website.

I attended a very important work meeting (my day job) that day, but I couldn’t stay focused at all. I had to figure out what had happened and how serious this actually was. After the meeting the guys wanted to take me out for dinner. I should, of course, have politely refused the invitation in order to take care of the situation with Queensrÿche, but I didn’t. The dinner lasted forever and I wasn’t hungry at all. I needed the drinks though.

The Hands

When I came back to the hotel I had received an email from one of the Metal Express Radio partners. He was situated in the US and told me that he had received an email from the US label, asking what was wrong with us since we were leaking tracks on the internet. He also mentioned that legal actions would be considered. I had received another email from the Norwegian label asking why I had said we had deleted the track when it wasn’t true. I called our webmaster who looked into it. I had in fact deleted the entry in the Jukebox, but I hadn’t deleted the file from the server. Someone must have gotten the file path so even though I had removed it from the Jukebox people were still able to access the file. The link spread like wildfire even after I thought I had taken care of the issue. I responded to the Norwegian label again late that night, but to be honest I was much more concerned about the US label (you know Americans and their lawsuits…). At this point I was really worried. Would I have to sell my house or something to pay for the damages? I had my Metal Express Radio partner reach out to them, apologize, try to explain the situation and tell them how incredibly sorry we were. We have always supported Queensrÿche and would never give away any of their tracks like this on purpose. After much consideration they offered us a deal. We had to post an official apology (this was of course also reposted on Blabbermouth) and run a banner on the Metal Express Radio site to promote the album for a few weeks.

Puh, I was off the hook. As soon as I came back home I asked the webmaster to delete the whole Jukebox feature. It was just not worth the pain to keep it.

In retrospect I think this incident just gave the album more attention. This was a very low quality ripped file, and the sound was almost like hearing it played on the phone. If it were the whole album and a high quality ripping it would have been a real disaster and I guess I would have been homeless today. We weren’t close to doing that, of course. I am, and have always been, against file sharing. I still have no idea how someone got a hold of the file path. I hope I never end up in a situation like that again!

It costs a lot to keep Metal Express Radio running. Let’s face it, we’re a grassroots web radio and we do this because we love Metal. Any contributions that helps keeping us afloat are highly welcomed. We gladly accept donations on our donate page.


  • Stig G. Nordahl

    Stig is the founder and the president of Metal Express Radio, based out of Oslo, Norway. He has been around doing Metal radio since the mid-eighties. In fact, running Metal Express Radio takes almost all of his time. Is it worth it...? "Most times, yes," Stig says. "My philosophy is to try to give all Metal releases a fair chance to get promoted in one way or another. As you can imagine, it can be an arduous task to listen through about 20 albums every week! Still, I know we have the best METAL dedicated radio on this planet, and that is a reward in and of itself. I hope one day the whole Metal community can and will make listening to Metal Express Radio part of their daily rituals! Yeah, right..."

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