Thursday, July 31, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Ace Frehley, by Ace Frehley

Since former Kiss lead guitarist Ace Frehley has been getting noticed quite a bit in rock press recently, I figure for Throwback Thursday I should take a look at his first solo album simply titled Ace Frehley. In mid to late 1978, Kiss was at the peak of their commercial success. That being said, their management wanted to take them even higher in terms of popularity. For this, they decided to have the band do two things: each member making an individual solo album released on the same day and also making a movie about Kiss being superheroes which would be called Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park.

Each solo album allowed each of the members of Kiss to go off and explore all the other forms of musical influence they had that made them who they were as musicians. For Frehley this meant really delving into various forms of guitar playing. His album ranges from straight up rockers to funk tunes to stuff that was a little more experimental at the time. Ace Frehley ended up being the highest in the charts over the other three members of Kiss. The only song from the albums that got any radio airplay at all was Frehley's cover of New York Groove, written by Russ Ballard and originally performed by Hello.

Frehley's cover of New York Groove sticks fairly close to the original Hello version, though his is more funky rather than bluesy. Frehley's version is also a half step lower in key and has a fairly high use of a wah pedal. Personally, I like the Frehley version more because it has more of a rhythm and groove that you can actually dance and move to a bit. It's mid tempo, but it's a good dance song nonetheless. Plus, Frehley's vocal style really seems to suit it and give it a little more personality than the original. I can see why this song made it into the charts in 1978.

The song from this album that many of Frehley's fans including myself remember however is Speedin' Back to My Baby. This one is a straight up rocker with a lot of blues structure to it. It has a nice swing rhythm to it while Frehley showcases some of the best of his guitar chops. The intro lick itself is enough to grab anyone by the balls and throw them into the song. The song itself is pretty basic including its lyrical content, but any fan of straight up rock can easily look past it. It's three and a half minutes of pure rock n' roll fun.

Ace Frehley is a pretty good album. Not the best I've ever heard, but it can definitely compete with anything Kiss has done as a group. It is very guitar oriented, but considering who made it I expected nothing different. There are quite a few tunes I could take or leave, but the tunes I do like I REALLY like. Be that as it may, it's still worth picking up if you can find it in a shop or if you want to get an electronic version online. No one's Kiss collection is complete without this album and the other three solo albums.

Ace Frehley, by Ace Frehley receives 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Rip It Out
2. Speedin' Back to My Baby
3. Snowblind
4. Ozone
5. What's On Your Mind?
6. New York Groove
7. I'm In Need of Love
8. Wiped-Out
9. Fractured Mirror

Buy the album on Amazon:

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

New Rock Super Group The Dead Daisies Preview Upcoming EP 'Face I Love'

Not too long ago it was announced that a new super group called The Dead Daisies was formed it consists of Jon Stevens (from INXS) on vocals, Richard Fortus (from Guns N' Roses and Thin Lizzy) on guitar, David Lowy (from Mink) on guitar, Marco Mendoza (from Thin Lizzy and Neil Schon) on bass, and Brian Tichy (from Whitesnake) on drums. Just now they have put onto Soundcloud a preview of their upcoming EP Face I Love.

It seems to sound like pretty straightforward classic rock, but in a good way. It has a good blend of guitar and keyboards set to a good groove that anyone can move to. Anyone looking for something old school to rock out to will not be disappointed with what the band has to offer. It even offers a pretty heavy version of The Beatles song Helter Skelter. It's pretty faithful to the original, I must say.

The Dead Daisies are currently opening for the Def Leppard/Kiss tour that is going on this summer. Before they were on an opening slot with Bad Company and Lynrd Skynrd. Current tour dates are listed below:

Aug. 2: Atlantic City, NJ
Aug. 3: Camden, NJ
Aug. 5: Saratoga, NY
Aug. 6: Wantagh, NY
Aug. 8: Virginia Beach, VA
Aug. 9: Scranton, PA
Aug. 10: Hartford, CT
Aug. 13: Darien, NY
Aug. 15: East Troy, WI
Aug. 16: Tinley Park, IL
Aug. 17: Minneapolis, MN
Aug. 20: Des Moines, IA
Aug. 22: Noblesville, IN
Aug. 23: Clarkson, MI
Aug. 24: Burgettstown, PA
Aug. 26: Cuyahoga Falls, OH
Aug. 28: Maryland Heights, MO
Aug. 29: Tulsa, OK
Aug. 31: Woodlands, TX

To listen to The Dead Daisies EP Face I Love, go here (Original source Ultimate Classic Rock):

What do you think of the music? Leave a comment below.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Ace Frehley Takes More Pot-Shots At Former Kiss Band Mates

Remember how a few days ago former Kiss lead guitarist Ace Frehley was saying he doesn't like to bash people? Well it seems within a matter of days he has once again proven himself to be a hypocrite.

Anyway, Frehley has recently been talking about how he doesn't think his behavior was ever anywhere near as bad as his former band mates have said and that they are just trying to tarnish his image to make the current Kiss line-up look better. He believes his upcoming record Space Invader will prove his innocence and then some.

In a recent interview with WENN, Frehley says:

“In concert, I always delivered and 95 per cent of the time I delivered on record. It’s there, it’s history. All they’re trying to do is discredit me, so it validates the new line-up. They’ll look foolish when my new album comes out.”

Frehley further commented on all of the drama surrounding Kiss's induction into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year. He believes that if the original line-up had performed, history would have repeated itself and Paul Stanley (rhythm guitar and lead vocals of Kiss) and Gene Simmons (bass and lead vocals of Kiss) would not have wanted that due to their pushing of the current version of Kiss.

“When me and Peter performed with them on the ‘MTV Unplugged’ sessions in 1995 the place went completely crazy and they had to scrap their album that they had just recorded with Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer and they had to do a reunion tour. They’re on tour right now with Tommy [Thayer] and Eric [Singer] and they didn’t want anything to overshadow that. They were afraid that everyone was gonna demand a reunion again if we played."

Well I don't know about you, but personally I think Frehley is just trying to draw attention to himself by insulting Paul and Gene just so he can actually sell copies of Space Invader when it comes out. Below is the first single from the album, Gimme a Feelin'. Do you think this preview is any indication of Frehley being right about the album being his vindication from Stanley's and Simmons's comments about him? Leave comments below.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Ace Frehley Talking of Soon to Be Released Book

In a recent interview with Rock Pit to promote his solo album that comes out next month: Space Invader, former Kiss lead guitarist Ace Frehley has revealed plans for writing and releasing another autobiography to follow up his 2011 release No Regrets.

On the subject of the book, Frehley says:

“I don’t believe in bashing people, I don’t believe in a lot of negativity, so most of the stories in the book are going to be about me, funny stories and funny situations on the road, all stories about me in the Bronx growing up, and so on and so forth. There wasn’t much in the first book about the Frehley’s Comet years, and there’s plenty of stories along those lines, there’s still plenty of Kiss stories, and plenty of stories of me growing up. I probably have enough stories for five books.”

I find it a bit ironic that Frehley says that he doesn't believe in a lot of negativity or bashing people, considering some of the comments he has made in the press recently such as: "I blow Tommy Thayer (current Kiss lead guitarist) off the stage. (source)". Considering that and various other statements of that nature he has made in the press over the years about the current Kiss line-up and his former band mates, it seems a bit hypocritical for Frehley to be saying he doesn't believe in negativity or bashing people.

Frehley has not given any indication as to when the book will be released, but he did give the impression that it would not take too long. “Every day I wake up and I remember something else that I completely forgot about. You know, I just turned 63; I’ve lived a lot in my life. The latest thing was I was just talking to my fiancee, Rachel, about the time I went over to John McEnroe’s house, the famous tennis player, and I remembered something. I’ll have to give John a call and document it for my next book.”

It should be interesting to hear more of what Frehley remembers and what kind of perspective he will offer in it despite him not always practicing what he preaches.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Joe Perry to Collaborate With Paul McCartney

As if Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry and former Beatle Paul McCartney weren't both astounding legends in their own right already, it seems the two of them have been working together in the studio. I'll give you a moment to pick your jaw up off the floor.

According to an interview Perry did with the Chicago Sun-Times recently, he says he did a session with Sir Paul for "a private thing". Perry says, “I met him once or twice [over the years] to say hello. To spend six or eight hours in studio with him recording! He makes you feel like [you’re recording with just another guy]. He just happens to be a motherf—ing huge talent! Everyone’s in the room at once; you play until you get a good take.”

I can only imagine what kind of an experience that must have been for Perry. For any musician born in the last 40-50 years getting the chance to play for Sir Paul would be the pinnacle of their musical career and in a sense a religious experience. When asked about his own experience recording with McCartney, Perry says:

“It’s the great ego leveler. I was in the studio with Alice Cooper and Johnny Depp, playing guitar, and the three of us are looking at each other like, hey, we’re sitting here with Paul McCartney! And we’re all looking at each other like open-mouthed kids. Paul was really nice. He’s all about business [when he’s recording]. At 72 he can still hit all those notes.”

Unfortunately Perry would not give any further details about the release of the project even though now that we know about it we're all on the edge of our seats anticipating it. He says they are keeping it "under wraps" for the time being. What a shame. I guess it must be something really big if there is that much secrecy about it. What piques my interest in addition to Perry being on the record is Alice Cooper. I wonder how he and McCartney would blend together.... I guess we'll find out eventually.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Velvet Revolver's Contraband

In 2002, former Guns N' Roses member Slash, Duff McKagan, and Matt Sorum came to realize after a benefit they played together for fallen drummer Randy Castillo that even though they were no longer in a band together, they still had chemistry together as musicians. This lead them to the decision that they should start a new band, which then lead them to hire rhythm guitarist Dave Kushner who had played with bands like Suicidal Tendencies, Wasted Youth, and Dave Navarro. From there, the band did a search that was televised for VH1 for a singer to front the group. One of the singers was Buckcherry's Josh Todd, but Slash decided it was not meant to be. After many auditions however, the band picked Stone Temple Pilots' former front man Scott Weiland. With the line-up complete, the band donned the name Velvet Revolver.

The band then recorded a single Set Me Free for the soundtrack of the 2003 film The Hulk. Not long afterward, they began working on their debut album Contraband at Pulse Recording and NRG. Velvet Revolver along with producers Josh Abraham and Nick Raskulinecz decided that since this was a new band, they wanted this new album to sound completely different from anything they had done together in Guns N' Roses. The result of this was a sound that was much heavier, grittier, and far more alternative than before. On June 8th of 2004, the moment of truth came when the album was released to the general public. Fortunately for them, Contraband debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 charts. It sold 256,000 copies in the first week.

Set Me Free starts off with an absolutely killer riff from Slash which then leads into a big build-up from the rest of the band. The verses themselves are pretty laid back where Weiland is mostly singing over a bass-line from McKagan and a beat from Sorum. After another build-up of a pre-chorus, the chorus kicks down your front door for you to rock out to and sing along with. While there is some amount of soloing in the song, surprisingly Slash takes a more laid back approach in this tune. Nonetheless it is still some fantastic guitar work.

You Got No Right is more of a laid back song in some respects, but both Weiland and Slash REALLY shine through on this one. Of course Kushner's acoustic work can't be ignored either. Like most songs on this album however, while the beginning and the verses are mostly softer and melody based, it does get loud and heavy at certain points, especially during the climax of the song where Slash busts into one of the most catchy, beautiful, and melodic solos of his career. Seriously, it's an eargasm. Weiland while usually known for the grit in his voice seems to genuinely sing in this song and put some real feeling into it. There are even some nice backing harmony vocals. The ending after Slash's solo goes back into straight acoustic with Weiland singing until it goes back into another chorus until the song comes to a close.

There are very few albums in existence that can be considered all killer and no filler, but Contraband is definitely one of them. It shows the kind of renewed energy that all of these musicians had at the time it was made and also proves to the world that they could be more than just Guns N' Roses without Axl Rose. I could go on and on about every last track on this album, but that would just take way too long. If you're into heavy alternative rock, this album is right up your alley. Even if you're not, it's still worth a listen. I wasn't that much into that kind of thing, but giving this album a shot was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Contraband, by Velvet Revolver receives 5 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Sucker Train Blues
2. Do It For the Kids
3. Big Machine
4. Illegal I Song
5. Spectacle
6. Fall to Pieces
7. Headspace
8. Superhuman
9. Set Me Free
10. You Got No Right
11. Slither
12. Dirty Little Thing
13. Loving the Alien

Buy the album on Amazon:

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Three Great 1970's Prog-Rock Albums You May Not Know About

The 1970's were a great time for rock musicians to truly explore their art form and leave behind the structuring of traditional pop songs. Bands were no longer afraid to go off into long musical odysseys that would show people how much of an art form rock could truly be. Unfortunately over the years many of these artists and their albums have fallen into obscurity and can only be found if one digs around for them. I'm here to help save you a bit of work in that regard today with three great prog-rock albums from the 1970's.

1. Illusions on a Double Dimple, by Triumvirat

Triumvirat was a prog-rock band from Germany. They were considered Germany's answer to Emerson Lake and Palmer as their primary focus as a prog band were also keyboards and synthesizer, rather than guitar. Their 1974 release Illusions on a Double Dimple was their major breakthrough in the US and even acquired them an opening spot on tour for Fleetwood Mac. This album shows just how rich pianos and keyboards can be when utilized the right way. Most of the music is long instrumental sections with keys taking the focus rather than vocals, though there are vocals on the album. The drumming is also quite superb because multiple odd time signatures are used to keep rhythm behind the seemingly free form keyboard odyssey. Overall, Illusions on a Double Dimple is worth at least one listen. It is a rich tapestry of piano, organ, synthesizer, and many other unexpected elements.

2. Spectrum, by Billy Cobham

 Drummer Billy Cobham had risen to notoriety by touring with world renowned jazz performer Miles Davis. In 1973 however, Cobham wanted to do something on his own. The result was an album called Spectrum. Though it is more jazz fusion based rather than rock, it still has many prog-rock elements to it where it is free form and features a variety of instruments and elements used in rock. Cobham ended up recruiting a variety of skilled musicians, most notably guitarist Tommy Bolin and keyboardist Jan Hammer. The gathered musicians essentially just jammed while at the studio, but these jams were recorded and became the album itself in order to keep everything sounding natural and organic. This album is where young Bolin really got to strut his stuff and really sound like he was on fire. This appearance would later be noticed and recruited by Deep Purple. Overall, Spectrum is a very unique jazzy experience. Every last player sounds like they are really enjoying themselves by finally getting to show off their technical prowess while still putting in some soul.

3. Captain Beyond, by Captain Beyond

In 1972, ex-members of Iron Butterfly, Johnny Winter Band, and Deep Purple came together to form a new band called Captain Beyond and recorded an album of the same name. Though some of the elements of what they did were more straight traditional rock than the previous two albums mentioned, they were still very exploratory in that many of their time signatures were different from that of the norm and some parts of the album were also suites. Also, many songs featured a wide range of dynamics within the same song leaving the listener anticipating what could possibly happen next. The album also flows very well because the songs all flow into one another leaving no gaps of space whatsoever. This would be a good album for someone who would like to give prog-rock a try but would like to dip their toes in the pool first before going all in.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Dusty Hill of ZZ Top to Undergo Surgery, Postponing Tour

Looks like the trio from Texas will have to wait a little while before going out on tour. ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill is unfortunately going to have to have surgery, according to a statement from the band's publicist.

It turns out that Hill has two kidney stones that were found during a routine exam at the doctor's. Naturally his doctor told him he should have the surgery to have them removed as soon as possible. The surgery's date this week has not been disclosed, but he is expected to be fully recovered and ready to do go after two weeks of rest following the procedure.

This is going to force ZZ Top to cancel the first week of tour dates they have for this summer from the 26th of this month through the first of the next. They will end up picking things up in Sturgis, SD where afterward they will be co-headlining with guitar legend Jeff Beck in Sturgis on the 8th.

Hopefully Dusty gets through this with no problems whatsoever. It would be a shame for the Top to have to call it a day so early.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

AC/DC Drummer Phil Rudd Releases Single 'Repo-Man' From Upcoming Solo Album

AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd only a few days after announcing his upcoming solo album titled Head-Job has already dropped the first single. It's called Repo-Man.

This song is pretty much everything you would expect something from a member of AC/DC to be. It's loud, it's gritty, and it ROCKS. In an interview with Noise411 Rudd explains that all of the songs on his album are inspired by "the s*** that goes on" day to day in his life. What better source material than the stuff you experience every day? Other songs on the album will be Bad Move and Crazy.

Rudd assures that there is a double meaning to the title Head Job. Though in one connotation it is dirty, he insists the main meaning of it is “going to the pub to commiserate with your mates about someone doing your head in”. Kind of understandable. When every day life gets you down, what better a thing to do?

The album is due August 29th, so we won't be waiting a whole lot of time. It's a bit of a bold move on Rudd's part to announce an album after everything is already done with it, leaving little time to promote it before it comes out. This is an even bolder move because AC/DC is currently mixing their yet to be titled 15th studio album and follow-up to 2008's release Black Ice. Definitely a lot to be excited about in the AC/DC camp right now.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Scott Weiland Wants Velvet Revolver Reunion, But Only If It's Easy Money

It has come to the attention of the media recently that former Velvet Revolver vocalist Scott Weiland would like the band to reunite with him. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be just out of wanting to push forward and make new music with them.

In a recent interview with Canadian newspaper La Presse, Weiland says, “Velvet Revolver, there is no problem. I even called the guys to propose the idea of doing some shows together in a few months. We are on good terms, but I do not want to be a member of Velvet Revolver full-time. If possible, I would like to only play at festivals. You know, to make easy money.”

Looks like it's just a sad attempt at a cash grab. Now I understand needing money, but if you're going to take that route don't you think you would take a more subtle approach to it? How is that supposed to make the other members of the band feel? You would love to play with them, but only if it's for money?

Weiland of course knows that the band would probably not really be down for something like that because none of them are as anywhere near as in desperation for money as he is. He muses over this saying, "Dave [Kushner, guitarist] made music for TV. He made the theme of the series Sons of Anarchy. Duff [McKagan, bass] has a lot of money in the stock market. As for Slash, he put aside the money he did in the days of Guns N’ Roses. Finally, Matt [Sorum, drummer] has embarked on a package of stuff.”

To me, that kind of defeats the purpose of music altogether if it's just about cash. I personally am ALL for a VR reunion. I've missed them so badly. However, if I were to see them at a festival and they were playing only for money and no passion, I'd turn around and leave because such a show would be a waste. I and I'm sure many others would only want to see it happen as long as it was on the right terms.

Writer's Moment

I would like to take a moment here at the end to apologize for my recent extended absence and explain some things to you all. As those of you who read Young Ears, Fresh Perspective have probably noticed, I've been missing for the past week. This is due to the fact that I felt deathly ill and had no capacity to concentrate, no energy, no motivation to work, and was in no condition to bring you, the readers a quality product. I ended up getting hit with multiple ailments at once and it just sucked big time. Seriously. It was worse than listening to Justin Bieber while walking across coals and getting my back whipped simultaneously. Anyway, I'm not completely better but I've made enough progress to where I can start writing again. Again, I am REALLY sorry for such a prolonged absence. I hope it never has to come to that ever again. I know I don't have a huge readership at this point, but for those of you that do follow what I do I still humbly apologize for letting you down like this. With all that out of the way however, on with the show!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Chester Bennington and Stone Temple Pilots Working On New Music Together

It's still kind of hard to think of the Stone Temple Pilots with anyone but Scott Weiland as their front man, but Linkin Park vocalist Chester Bennington seems to have proven recently with the Out of Time single and Highrise EP that he and the Pilots can make some pretty good music together. However, Bennington's main priority is still of course Linkin Park. Depending on how you want to look at it, it could be good or bad. Personally I'd like to hear more work from Bennington with the Pilots.

It seems that those who share my view are in luck, though. Recently Bennington has had a quick break from working with Linkin Park and according to a couple of tweets from Pilots member Robert DeLeo (tweet 1 | tweet 2), he has utilized this time to get back together with Stone Temple Pilots in the studio to see what kinds of new tunes they can cook up. It honestly seems like they are all having a good time, so hopefully all of that positive energy results in some sweet new music.

Linkin Park recently released an album called The Hunting Party. After the break the band is taking at the moment, they will be getting back on stage later this month at Comic-Con, after which they will be joining up with AFI and Thirty Seconds to Mars for the Carnivores Tour, which sounds like a pretty awesome time.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Fleetwood Mac's Rumours

Rarely does such internal struggle and strife lead to insane amounts of musical and commercial success. Such a thing is normally the undoing of any group, be it musical or not. However, in the case of Fleetwood Mac, skyrocketing success is exactly what happened after the release of their 1977 hit album Rumours. Recorded primarily at Record Plant in Sausalito, CA at the time, the band was wanting to further their commercial success after having put out a well received album Fleetwood Mac in 1975. This became difficult however when the band started fighting amongst themselves, as many of them were in failing relationships with one another (guitarist Lindsey Buckingham with singer Stevie Nicks and keyboardist Christine McVie with bassist John McVie. Drummer Mick Fleetwood was also having troubles with his own wife at the time).

Rumours of course got its title from all the rumors flying around in the press during the recording of the album regarding the fighting as well as a 10th anniversary tour for the band with all of its original members. These intense situations however provided the inspiration for almost the entire album lyrically which is why the title itself was suggested by John McVie when saying to the band that all the songs they were writing sounded like journals/diaries they were writing to one another. By the end of the drug ridden and emotionally intense recording sessions however, Fleetwood Mac had come up with something the likes of which the world had never heard before, spawning four hit singles and other commercially successful tracks. Despite the band being in such miserable shape, they were very creative in their approaches to recording technique-wise and song writing.

The music itself on Rumours is a very impressive blend of both acoustic and electric instruments. Buckingham on many of the tracks played both acoustic and electric guitars to give the songs a more powerful and melodic feel. Christine McVie primarily played a Hammond B3 organ, but also did many tracks on a standard piano as well. What REALLY made a lot of the album shine was the three part vocal harmonies on tracks like The Chain between Buckingham, Nicks, and Christine McVie.

One of the most well known tracks from Rumours has GOT to be Go Your Own Way. It's played on every single rock and pop radio station even to this day. You can't even go into a department store without hearing it at least once. Buckingham wrote the song about his relationship with Nicks and how it wasn't doing so well (go figure). The verses are pretty straight up palm muted power chords, due to the focus being on what is being sung. When the forever immortalized chorus kicks in however, the vocal harmonies come in and the rest of the band picks things up instrumentally. Even if you aren't much in the way of a music aficionado you can get into it by just dancing around and singing along to the easy to learn chorus.

The Chain while somehow NOT one of the singles released from the album is another one of Fleetwood Mac's most famous songs that also gets a lot of radio airplay even to this day. It is one of the most musically complicated due to multiple acoustic and electric guitar tracks done with lots of flashy finger picking, the triple vocal harmonies, and the structure of the song itself. It starts off with just acoustic that has almost a ghostly feel to it. Of course gradually other instruments come in, but again it's the triple vocal harmonies between the three vocalists that give The Chain its shine. In a sense it almost feels like a polished up bluegrass song, but in a good way. The only reason I would find this peculiar at all is because the band is half British. However, it definitely ends in a rocking way when at the end the tempo picks up with a bassline from John McVie that is so thick that you could hold it. Then of course Buckingham wails away on electric guitar while the vocals and the rest of the song gradually fades out.

All in all, even those who don't care much for pop music could appreciate the fine workmanship that went into Rumours because despite what many people think it takes some serious skill to put out a pop rock album of that caliber. Plus, the fact that five musicians who were having such a difficult time getting along and were also strung out so much from partying could work together to make something that is still selling many copies to this day is a very respectable and remarkable thing. There really isn't a single track on there that is actually bad or even filler. It's rare that I would say this, but Rumours really is one of those albums that EVERYONE needs to have, even if they aren't a music nut.

Rumours, by Fleetwood Mac receives 5 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Secondhand News
2. Dreams
3. Never Going Back Again
4. Don't Stop
5. Go Your Own Way
6. Songbird
7. The Chain
8. You Make Loving Fun
9. I Don't Want to Know
10. Oh Daddy
11. Gold Dust Woman

Buy the album on Amazon:

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Metal Drummer Mike Portnoy Disses New Pink Floyd Album

You would think that after 20 years, a new Pink Floyd album would be pretty rad news to EVERYONE right? Apparently it's not. Former Dream Theater and current Winery Dogs drummer Mike Portnoy according to posts he made on his Facebook account feels differently. Quite the opposite, it would seem.

Portnoy seems to feel that the band has gone through way too many line-up changes and anything put out now would just be disrespectful to former members. He says, “What’s this about a new ‘Pink Floyd’ album? Last I checked, Roger Waters is no longer in the band and Richard Wright & Syd Barrett are dead.”

The upcoming album titled Endless River is based on left over recordings with deceased keyboardist Rick Wright from sessions for their previous album The Division Bell. In relation to this subject Portnoy went on to further elaborate by saying, “If these are leftovers from The Division Bell sessions, then just put em on a TDB Special Edition release! It’s disrespectful to Roger & everything he built for all those years!”

After hearing a LOT of flack from angry Floyd fans all over the internet (can't say I blame them for feeling that way), Portnoy made another post in response saying, “OK, I’ll meet the Gilmour fans half-way and say IMO, the ‘real’ Pink Floyd is BOTH Gilmour/Waters TOGETHER….Piper at the Gates of Dawn was a Syd album, The Final Cut was a Waters album and A Momentary Lapse of Reason/TDB are Gilmour albums…the ‘magic’ was Waters/Gilmour TOGETHER.”

It's kind of understandable how Portnoy can feel this way. In all honesty, he probably isn't the only one with such views. However, having been 20 years since the last Pink Floyd studio album was released many fans along with myself are probably more than willing to overlook Waters's absence from the band. Anything Floyd will more than likely not disappoint. Even without Waters, the rest of Pink Floyd are extremely talented musicians.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Pink Floyd Confirms New Album!

A couple of days ago some utterly FANTASTIC news was leaked onto the internet via a tweet via Polly Samson, Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour's wife: The band was preparing to release a brand new album titled Endless River this October based on recordings from the band's previous album The Division Bell, released 20 years ago. Just today via the band's website this news has been confirmed.

Unfortunately former bassist/vocalist/songwriter Roger Waters will NOT be returning to the band or contributing to the record in any way. It's a shame, but on the bright side the album WILL include some of the last recordings that keyboardist Rick Wright did with the band that have not seen the light of day until Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason returned to them last year. Gilmour along with Phil Manzenera, Youth, and Andy Jackson will be producing the record.

There were hints last year that Gilmour was up to something when long time Pink Floyd backing vocalist Durga McBroom-Hudson was seen in a photo to Instagram last year of sessions that were assumed to be for Gilmour's follow-up to his 2006 solo album On an Island. However, she has since also confirmed in addition to what Samson and the Pink Floyd website have said that the sessions were for the Floyd album.

It seems like this is shaping up to be something rather special. Then again, it IS a new Pink Floyd album. It's a shame that Waters won't be involved (at least that's the story at this point, but we'll see what happens), but it will be nice to hear some new Pink Floyd for the first time in forever. My generation will finally know the joy and privilege of getting a new Floyd record the day it comes out. I'm sure they won't disappoint.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

5 70's Rock Bands/Artists You May Not Know About

The 1970's is an era of rock n' roll with many astounding bands that get overlooked unless you are digging around and specifically looking for them. Today I've decided to do you a favor and do a little bit of the work for you. Here are five awesome bands and artists from the 1970's that you may not have known about.

1. Rainbow

In 1975, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore was becoming sick of the direction his band Deep Purple was taking, so he gave the band his notice and then proceeded to leave to start something new that was more to his liking. This lead him to team up with young singer Ronnie James Dio who was still fairly fresh on the music scene at the time with his blues band Elf. Together, they made three studio albums and one live album packed full of medieval themed hard rock/heavy metal. Dio's powerful vocals that sang of swords and sorcery combined with Blackmore's lightning fast melodic guitar playing and the playing of the other all-star musicians in the band created music the likes of which the world had never heard before or has since. One well known tune that does get airplay on rock stations once in a while is Man on the Silver Mountain.

2.  UFO

UFO began in 1969, but did not meet with much success until 1973 when they recruited Scorpions guitarist Michael Schenker, who was only 18 years old at the time but already had a reputation. The addition of Schenker gave the band a distinct edge because not only could he play loud and shred it up, but he could also play more soft and melodic pieces as well. The band would make 4 studio albums and one live album with Schenker in the 70's until he quit in 1978 due to his alcohol abuse. The band would continue on, but would not see anywhere near the success they did with Schenker. One of the most well known songs from this period of the band's history is Doctor, Doctor which does once in a while get some airplay.

3. Montrose

Before Sammy Hagar started singing songs like I Can't Drive 55 and Heavy Metal, he was in a band called Montrose, lead by then well known blues rock guitarist Ronnie Montrose. The band began in 1973 when after finishing a tour with Edgar Winter Group Montrose wanted to start something completely new that he would be in charge of. This lead to him being introduced to Hagar by his producer Ted Templeman. Hagar then went to Montrose's house, showed him some songs he had written, and the two instantly got to work. The band would go on to make two albums in its original line-up, though the first album Montrose was more successful. A great deal of tension built up between Hagar and Montrose however and in February of 1975, Hagar left the band. Montrose would however continue on and in the 2000's before Montrose's death the band did reunite a few times. Two of the most well known songs from this era that Hagar still performs to this day are Rock Candy and Bad Motor Scooter.

4. Robin Trower

English guitarist Robin Trower is one musician who does seem to get overlooked quite frequently, unfortunately. However, that is not to say that he is a slouch for he certainly is not. In the 1970's he put out multiple albums with his own style of blues rock which sounded like blues blasted into outer space combined with a bit of Jimi Hendrix technique. He had been in a prog-rock band called Procal Harem until in 1973 he decided to strike it out on his own with bassist/vocalist James Dewar and drummer Bill Lordan. The band has gone through multiple line-up changes over the years, but Trower has remained constant. With Dewar he made some of his most successful albums with current concert staples like Too Rolling Stoned, Bridge of Sighs, Day of the Eagle, and Little Bit of Sympathy.

5.  Buckingham-Nicks

Before joining Fleetwood Mac in 1974, guitarist/vocalist Lindsey Buckingham and vocalist Stevie Nicks had a folk rock band called Buckingham-Nicks. They were living together and in a relationship at the time, so a lot of their musical chemistry came from that. They did open for some larger named acts like Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, etc. By 1973 the band was signed to Polydor Records after having moved to Los Angeles and they recorded a self-titled debut album. Unfortunately it was not very successful and has not been released on any format after 1973 despite the duo's success in Fleetwood Mac and as solo artists. The songs are on YouTube and the album is available on Amazon. It is definitely worth the time to listen to them.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Top 5 WORST Performances of the National Anthem

The anthem of the United States of America is a powerful song. It is enough to make anyone remember the pride they feel for their nation, especially when it is performed well. However, there have been times throughout recent history especially where it has been sung by celebrities who were not exactly the best choice for having perform it at public events. When this happens it detracts from the patriotic emotion we are supposed to feel and makes us instead focus on the horrible singing/performance of the one butchering it. This Independence Day we are taking a look at the five worst performances (in no particular order) of The Star Spangled Banner.

1. Roseanne Barr at Jack Murphy Stadium 1990

If you are somehow able to make it through the entire minute that this video goes on for, you my friend are made of some tough stuff. I mean, seriously. You must have ears of steel to be able to withstand Roseanne's ear grating voice, especially when she gets to the high notes of the song. You could tell she really wasn't giving a crap. It doesn't surprise me that the audience started booing in unison fairly quickly. Whoever thought it would be a good idea to let Roseanne do this must have either been drunk or had never heard music before. I feel it is a disrespect to America to have let such a travesty occur.

2. Michael Bolton at Red Sox vs. Yankees 2003

Now what makes this performance so bad isn't the fact that the singing itself is bad. Quite the contrary. Michael Bolton has a nice soulful voice. However, he stops right in the middle of the song to look at the lyrics written on his hand in the most blatant fashion imaginable. This elicits a lot of booing from the crowd, as should be expected. If you can't even memorize the words to the song, you shouldn't sing it. Even Rosanne as bad as she was at singing the song at least had the words memorized...

3. R. Kelly at Boxing Match 2005

It's ok to make the national anthem your own. It's fine to put in small personal nuances to make your performance unique. However, it is NOT ok to completely change it up by making it sound like some modern funky dance get-down kind of tune that you would shake your booty to in the club. This song is supposed to fill people with emotion and spirit. You're supposed to listen to the words and hear how powerful they are, not dance to some groove being laid down. This is another blatant disrespect to the song.

4. Kat DeLuna Dallas 2008

This isn't as painful to listen to as the Roseanne version, but it still is awful nonetheless. DeLuna tries her absolute best as a pop diva to put out the best performance she can but there are so many times throughout the song where either her voice completely cracks. She tries several impressive vocal runs, but of course she failed miserably. She just tries too hard to go above her range and it shows in the most amusing ways. It isn't the worst performance I've listened to, but DeLuna was just trying way too hard and she fell flat on her backside.

5. Hillary Clinton Iowa 2007

This one comes down to amusing circumstances. This was not meant to be an actual performance. During a visit to Iowa while running to be a candidate for presidency in 2007, her microphone clipped to her lapel picked up her singing along with everyone else in the crowd to the national anthem. This video shows that the senator clearly has no talent for singing at all whatsoever and it would probably be best if she stuck to politics.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Thickfreakness, by The Black Keys

Once upon a time there was a duo from Akron, Ohio who had a blues band. These men took the art form back to its earlier roots but made it more gritty and raw. This band was known as The Black Keys. All this however was long before they started making the pop oriented radio hits that we all know today. Back in 2001 singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney found success as an indie band producing their own music. Their first album The Big Come Up found them an unusually high amount of success for an independent group. This success then lead them to be signed by Fat Possum Records to record their second album Thickfreakness.

Released on April 8, 2003 Thickfreakness was also a success, partially due to the fact that a track from the album titled Set You Free was featured in the 2003 film School of Rock. The sound of the album has a very distinct sounding older feel to it due to the fact that it was recorded on an early 1980s Tascam 388 8-track recorder. While Auerbach and Carney did receive an advance payment from the record company, they had to use it to pay their rent. Carney says in the liner notes of the album that the older sound results from what he calls his patented "medium fidelity" recording techniques. Surprisingly most of Thickfreakness was recorded in a single 14 hour session in Carney's basement.

Set You Free is a very upbeat and lively blues rocker. In fact it almost has a Jimi Hendrix/Cream vibe to it, except heavier and grittier. Honestly, this isn't surprising considering The Black Keys' having similar musical roots as both these artists did back in the 60's. It does showcase some of Auerbach's respectable blues soloing chops quite well. He isn't the most flashy or skilled guitarist out there, but Set You Free definitely proves that he can write a damn good song and add some good melody. While the lyrics are definitely not of a happy overtone, the music itself will still put a smile on your face and make you want to crank it up as loud as you possibly can.

Hard Row is a more mid-tempo road rambling type of tune. It's something that produces a mental image of just ambling down a road at a normal pace. The lyrics are what one would typically expect from an old school blues sounding song. They are pretty simple, but they talk about deep feelings of being alone with no one by your side to comfort you after walking out on the one who was really there for you. The guitar tone is what makes this tune absolutely KILLER, though. The old school medium fidelity quality of it just gives it this gritty edge that is difficult to find in popular music in more recent years.

Thickfreakness is a MUST have for anyone who is either a fan of the blues, garage rock, or even both. It shows what you can really do even with the least of equipment, proving you don't have to go big budget in order to put out a quality album. The songs are memorable, soulful, and crank-worthy. Even those who have been listening to the blues for decades will find plenty of things to enjoy about Thickfreakness. I personally love it and think you will too.

Thickfreakness, by The Black Keys receives 5 out of 5 stars.

Track Listing:

1. Thickfreakness
2. Hard Row
3. Set You Free
4. Midnight in Her Eyes
5. Have Love Will Travel
6. Hurt Like Mine
7. Everywhere I Go
8. No Trust
9. If You See Me
10. Hold Me in Your Arms

11. I Cry Alone

Buy the album on Amazon:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Mention of Nickelback Could Get You Arrested?

Now I know that Nickelback has received a LOT of chastising and fueled many people's hatred (and honestly I'm not entirely sure why), but what just happened in Idaho brings things to a whole new level. A ridiculous one, if you ask me.

Here is what happened. At an Idaho gas station a motorist was blaring a song by Nickelback at top volume from his vehicle. 23-year-old Dylan Swinford along with 22-year-old Riker Morrow made a complaint about it, but by the time their questioning was over Swinford was in handcuffs while Morrow was taken off for further questioning.

However, the two gentlemen filmed this encounter with the police for about five minutes and then put it up on YouTube for the entire world to see. The two deputies from the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office were under the impression that they either had or were trying to get weed.

One of the officers in the video is quoted saying:

“I watched him get out of your car. He walks away, and he says, ‘Yeah, nickel sack, for sure.’” 

Morrow (behind the wheel), protests:

“No, Nickelback; that guy was blaring Nickelback” Unfortunately for Morrow though the officers weren't buying the story. “He’s not talking about Nickelback,” the same officer said later. “We weren’t born yesterday. That’s a bull— story.”

If you ask me, it sounds like another case of police just hearing what they want to hear so that they can fill their quota or because they want to feel like they are all high and mighty. Fortunately, the matter is being looked into according to a statement from Lieutenant Stu Miller of the sheriff's department.

Miller says:

“It’s a personnel issue,” Lieutenant Stu Miller says. “We take this type of thing very seriously and we tell our people all the time to do their job as though someone is always watching, and they are always watching.”

I guess the moral of this story is not to say the word 'Nickelback' in public. It seems to be as taboo as speaking the real name of He Who Must Not Be Named.