Thursday, October 30, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Bad Company, by Bad Company

In 1973, out of the ashes of multiple fairly well known bands at the time came one of the most heralded names in the classic rock genre: Bad Company. Singer Paul Rodgers and drummer Simon Kirke of the band Free, guitarist Mick Ralphs of the band Mott the Hoople, and bassist Boz Burrell of the band King Crimson came together to make a whole new band. What would seem to be a super group ended up becoming so much more over the next decade with the original line-up of the band.

Bad Company released its 1974 self titled debut album Bad Company to a vast amount of commercial success internationally. It featured radio hits that are still played to this day such as Bad Company and Can't Get Enough. Bad Company did end up going number one in the charts in North America. The sound of the over-all album has some pop elements to it, but is still very much straight bluesy rock n' roll. Both casual and hardcore listeners of the band and genre can put the album in and have one hell of a good time.

The track Bad Company is a very emotional song both lyrically and emotionally. The soft piano and vocal intro does a vast amount to build up the suspense for when the rest of the band kicks in with the chorus. The only thing I would complain about is that I think the mix should have turned up the volume of the chorus a bit to give it a bit more of an impact. Rodgers is soulfully singing his heart out telling this heart wrenching tale (of the movie of the same name that the song is based off of) and the right punch would have gotten the point across a lot better. Be that as it may, it is still a classic and a good way to spend 5 minutes rocking out.

Movin' On is one of my personal favorites from the Bad Company album. Though not as well known as the previously mentioned track, a smile always appears upon my face whenever I hear the opening chords ring out with the almost freight train like rhythm of the drum sticks on the high hat fill up the background. Movin' On is a pretty basically structured upper mid-tempo blues rocker of a tune, but the timbre of the guitar (especially in the solo) is so pleasing to the ear that I always get into the groove and start to dance along a little bit. This is one of those times where simplicity is done in the best way it can possibly be done.

Bad Company is another must have for those who collect classic rock albums. It had a huge impact during the time it came out and many of the songs on it are still covered by many bands today. Heavy metal/heavy rock band Five Finger Death Punch released a cover of the title track a few years back. It isn't anywhere near as good as the original as far as I'm concerned, but I will admit that what it does try to do it does pretty well. Bad Company has everything: bluesy soulful vocals, punching guitar, well thought out melodies, and an overall groove that will stick with you for a long time to come.

Bad Company, by Bad Company receives 4 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Can't Get Enough
2. Rock Steady
3. Are You Ready For Love
4. Don't Let Me Down
5. Bad Company
6. The Way I Choose
7. Movin' On
8. Seagull

Buy the album on Amazon:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Jimmy Page Explains Why Led Zeppelin Disbanded After Bonham's Death

Throughout the history of rock n' roll, many iconic bands have lost key/original members to the other side. Many bands like AC/DC and The Who have had to go through this, yet somehow to decided to carry on as a band anyway. One band that notoriously did NOT however, is Led Zeppelin.

In 1980, Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham was lost due to his problems with alcohol. When this tragedy ensued, rather than find a replacement the band decided to call it quits with Led Zeppelin. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone guitarist Jimmy Page was asked why this was. Page says:

"Led Zeppelin wasn't a corporate entity. Led Zeppelin was an affair of the heart. Each of the members was important to the sum total of what we were. I like to think that if it had been me that wasn't there, the others would have made the same decision. And what were we going to do? Create a role for somebody, say, "You have to do this, this way?" That wouldn't be honest."

While there have been short lived reunions of Led Zeppelin throughout the years, they still have stood by their decision. Page continues:

"There were attempts [at reunion] that didn't work – trying to push it together in a hurry. That's why the [2007] show had to be done with such intent – rehearsing as much as we could so Jason [Bonham's son] felt he was part of the band as opposed to a novelty. He was filling big shoes, and we needed all of that."

Of course none of this has stopped fans for asking for a reunion tour for decades despite the countless number of times various members of Led Zeppelin have said no. I can't say I blame them considering what Page has said, but it would still be one hell of an experience to be able to see them live. I envy those who saw them in their 70's heyday.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Handwritten Letter by John Lennon Sells for $28,000 at Auction

Never in a million years would John Lennon have guessed something like this would happen at the time, but a hand written letter of his on Apple stationary to US TV host Joe Franklin asking him to listen to Yoko Ono's album Fly just sold for $28,000 at auction in Boston by RR Auction.

In his letter Lennon says, “Yoko can explain her music better in person – this is a kind of introduction. She was trained as a classical musician and took music composition in Sarah Lawrence College as her major. It's far out, but don't let it frighten you."

Personally I wouldn't blame Franklin for being frightened. No one wants to listen to nails on a chalk board cat wailing. They say love is blind, but in the case of John Lennon it was clearly deaf.

Other items that sold at the auction were: Beatles stock transfer sheets from 1969 for $16,000, Stairway To Heaven sheet music autographed by Led Zeppelin for $13,000, a Fender bass owned and used by Dee Dee Ramone for $38,000, and a Crosby, Stills and Nash Daylight Again gold disc for $245.

It's amazing what some people will pay for certain things. $28,000 for a handwritten letter is astounding, even if it was written by Lennon himself. I'm as big of a Beatles fan as anyone else, but there comes a point where you have to ask yourself if anything is REALLY worth that much. Things are only worth as much as you're willing to pay for them.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Top 5 Jack Bruce Tracks

With the sad passing of former Cream front man and solo artist Jack Bruce, I figured it would only be appropriate to take some time to list off five of his most notable tracks both with and outside of Cream. He had a remarkable career, worked with a multitude of high caliber musicians, and left a legacy that will not be forgotten any time in the near future. That being said, here are five of Jack Bruce's most notable songs (in no particular order):

1. White Room - Cream

From Cream's Wheels of Fire album, this song instantly became a classic. It's intro is loud and crashing. The solos are long, creative, and psychedelic beyond anything that the world had heard up to that point in time. Most importantly of all in this case, Bruce's legendary singing voice shines through like none other. It reminds me of a good smooth drink of Scotch, to be honest. It is strong, but has a lot of character and smooth over tone.

White Room, by Cream

2. The Loner - Cozy Powell

In 1979, drummer Cozy Powell who was well known for his session work and from having worked with some notable artists up to that point (Rainbow, Jeff Beck, and many others since then) decided to do a solo album. This album became known as Over the Top. Although there was no singing whatsoever on this album, Jack Bruce was the featured bass player on all of the songs. The Loner is a sad bluesy ballad of a song, but that kind of music was right up Bruce's alley. Bruce added a kind of depth to the song that made you feel it through your chest and straight to the heart.

The Loner, by Cozy Powell

3. Sunshine of Your Love - Cream

Who doesn't know this song even today? The signature riff is so thick you could cut it with a knife (although the guitar tone and solos were created all by guitarist Eric Clapton). It ingrains itself into your brain forever the moment you hear it. Originally featured on Cream's album Disraeli Gears, Bruce came up with the riff one night and then spent an all night creative session with poet Pete Brown coming up with the majority of the lyrics to the song. It became Cream's only gold selling single in the United States.

Sunshine of Your Love, by Cream

4. Into Money - B.L.T.

In 1981, Bruce teamed up with guitarist Robin Trower and drummer Bill Lordan for a collaboration that became known as B.L.T.; like the sandwich but with each of their last names being a different part of the acronym. Much of Trower's flashy bluesy almost Hendrix-like guitar work is prominent in the album's opening song Into Money, but Bruce sings this hot upbeat track with a fiery attitude that not many other people could really ever come close to matching. Once more however, what impresses me more than anything about Bruce's performance on this song is not just his singing and his impressive bass playing but the fact that he was able to do both simultaneously. B.L.T. isn't a very well known album, but it's still worth checking out.

Into Money, by B.L.T.

5. I Feel Free - Cream

Another one of Cream's more well known songs, I Feel Free has a very doo-wop a-Capella intro that leads into a groove that has a vibe very signature of the time period that it came from. It comes from Cream's first album Fresh Cream. At the time it was made the band still had much of the pop sound that The Beatles had put into place, but you could already hear bits and pieces of the psychedelic direction they would take as they would progress onward in their career. Again, Bruce's deep smooth voice is very prominent and is one of the crown jewels that makes I Feel Free as good as it is.

I Feel Free, by Cream

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Former Cream Front Man and Solo Artist Jack Bruce Passes Away at 71

It is with heavy heart that I announce that Cream front man and solo artist Jack Bruce has passed away today (October 25th) at the age of 71. A message was posted earlier in the day on Bruce's website officially announcing the tragedy:

“It is with great sadness that we, Jack’s family, announce the passing of our beloved Jack: husband, father, granddad, and all round legend. The world of music will be a poorer place without him, but he lives on in his music and forever in our hearts.”

According to the Guardian the cause of Bruce's death was liver disease.

Former Cream drummer Ginger Baker had this to say on his Facebook page:

“I am very sad to learn of the loss of a fine man, Jack Bruce… My thoughts & wishes are with his family at this difficult time.”

Former Cream band mate and world renowned blues solo artist Eric Clapton said this through his Facebook:

"It is with great sadness that we learned that Jack Bruce had passed away this morning at his home in England.

"He was agreat musician and composer, and a tremendous inspiration to me" ec"

To read what others have said on Bruce's passing, go to the link blow:

In a matter of only a few years in the late 60's, Bruce and Cream managed to change the face of rock n' roll by including more technical prowess, extending the lengths of songs, and including much more improvisation (especially in solos). Many of the songs he took lead vocals on are still played on the radio today. Such songs include Sunshine of Your Love, White Room, I Feel Free, etc. After Cream, Bruce went on to do many collaborations with people like Robin Trower, Uli Jon Roth, Leslie West, Bernie Marsden, Ringo Starr, etc.

It is sad to lose such a great talent, but at least Bruce has left behind a remarkable legacy and some of the greatest rock n' roll that the world has ever heard. I grew up rocking out to Cream a lot. I've even played quite a bit for my niece and nephew who are both of a very very young age group and they both LOVE it. Bruce may be gone, but he certainly will not be forgotten any time soon.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Demons and Wizards, by Uriah Heep

To this day hard rock band Uriah Heep is known to many as one of the "Big Four of Hard Rock" along with other 1970's hard rock/heavy metal pioneers Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and Black Sabbath. Unlike their peers however, much more emphasis was put on the Hammond organ/keyboard rather than guitar; even more so than Deep Purple. This of course can be attributed to the fact that the primary song writer for Uriah Heep was their keyboard player Ken Hensley.

By 1972 Uriah Heep had already made three albums but still had yet to gain any real commercial success as a group. However, this changed when bassist Gary Thain joined to complete what would be considered their classic line-up of him on bass, Hensley on keys, David Byron on lead vocals, Mick Box on guitar, and Lee Kerslake on drums. Together the band recorded the Demons and Wizards album; which contains one of their most well known and still played hits Easy Livin'. Once this album was released, Uriah Heep finally began getting some real positive reviews and became more renown.

Easy Livin' was the main single for Demons and Wizards and for good reason. It is a straight up rocker that is simple and easy to follow along with. It takes the idea of a simple three chord song and makes it loud, heavy, and in your face. The musical fireworks are kept to a minimum on this track (no keyboard or guitar solos! D:), but it works to its advantage. It's a more uptempo swing rhythm with crunchy guitar chords and organ playing that accents it perfectly. Byron shines through in his own way showing just how high he could get his falsettos. It's kind of ridiculous, but I don't knock it because it takes some serious talent to do that kind of thing consistently well.

There are many songs on the album that are real gems, but Paradise/The Spell is the one that really puts the cherry on the sundae in terms of epicness as far as I'm concerned. Technically these are two songs, but they bleed into one another on the album so I count them as one. Paradise is a mostly acoustic ballad, but there are some electric guitar and Hammond organ parts as well. It's quite a relaxing song, even if the subject matter is about heartbreak.

The Spell however is where things get absolutely AMAZING. It starts off with an upbeat almost 50's style boogie but with more elements of heavy organ. Byron and Hensley both trade off lead vocals in this song because they are both playing characters locked in an epic battle for the fate of the world. Things slow down in the middle of the song, but that's when Mick Box busts out this amazing melodic slide guitar solo that is backed by what sounds like a choir doing 'ahhs' (though it's probably just Byron multi-tracking). It will send chills down your spine and make the hairs on your arms and neck stand up like no other. When the solo ends it goes right back into the boogie and the battle finishes and ends the album in the most astounding way.

Demons and Wizards is what got me into Uriah Heep in the first place. They are more of an obscure band these days unfortunately, but if you do yourself the favor of tracking down this album I assure you that you are in for one hell of a musical treat. It stands up with even the more well known classic hard rock and heavy metal that gets more public mentioning these days. There isn't a single bad track on there. Those of you who listen to lots of melodic heavy metal could learn a thing or two by putting this into your player.

Demons and Wizards, by Uriah Heep receives 5 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. The Wizard
2. Traveler in Time
3. Easy Livin'
4. Poet's Justice
5. Circle of Hands
6. Rainbow Demon
7. All My Life
8. Paradise
9. The Spell

Buy the album on Amazon:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Michael Anthony Feels He Could Sing for Van Halen

Ex-Van Halen bassist and backing vocalist Michael Anthony has recently made quite a bold statement in an interview with 107.7 The Bone. Apparently he feels that he is more than capable of singing lead for rock n' roll titans Van Halen.

Anthony says, "I don't need that kind of pressure on me. Lead singers, they're their own breed. It wasn't until the fourth or fifth Van Halen record that people would go, 'Wow! You're singing backgrounds on those records. That's not David Lee Roth.' And I go, 'Hell, no! That's not David Lee Roth.'"

Anthony continues:

"I sang Somebody Get Me A Doctor. That actually goes over quite well. But I'd sing any of them. I could sing any of that crap. I can sing it all."

I will admit, Anthony does have some legitimate vocal chops. They blend very well with almost any singer that he has ever worked with in Van Halen and more recently hard rock super group Chickenfoot. However, I personally find it a little odd to picture him taking lead; especially on Van Halen songs. To be fair, he does have more vocal skill than lead singer David Lee Roth, but his style seems more suited for backing rather than lead. Maybe he could take the post, but I would personally like to hear solid proof before I could agree with him or not.

Anthony will supposedly be doing another album with Chickenfoot some time in the near future, as revealed by guitarist Joe Satriani. However, at the moment there is no certainty as to when the group will come together to make it happen.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Ozzy Osbourne: 'Being in a band is a dying art'

According to Black Sabbath singer and solo artist Ozzy Osbourne, the art of being in a band is a dying one. With the use of technology in music constantly on the rise, it becomes increasingly rare for musicians to just get together and make new musical ideas out of nothing.

In an interview with, Osbourne says:

“The computer age is taking over and there's a lot of trickery. I've actually seen guys in bands. You go, 'Do you want to jam?' and they go, 'Jam? What's that?' Just playing anything together. They can't do it. 'I'll have to consult my computer first.' The art of being in a band is dying.”

Sadly, I have to say Osbourne is right. It seems more and more these days people are ditching the guitar for their computers. While the digital age has brought about many wonderful new advancements in music, it has also brought some handicaps along with. Lots of music these days is made by just one person sitting at a computer whereas it used to be that the best ideas were sparked when two or more people got together with instruments that require actual skill to play put their heads together and let the music flow.

Osbourne and Black Sabbath will be getting together next year to record one final album together and also do one more tour before bowing out and calling it a day.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Slash Discusses Singers Considered for Velvet Revolver

Over the past six years hard rock band Velvet Revolver has pursued a new lead singer to replace Scott Weiland in a sluggish manner. However, recently lead guitarist Slash has spoken publicly in an interview with Rolling Stone Australia about two of the well known singers who were considered for the post: ex-Skid Row vocalist Sebastian Bach and Slipknot and Stone Sour vocalist Corey Taylor.

This wasn't the first time Bach was considered for the post. Even before Weiland had come into the picture he and Velvet Revolver had given things a go. Slash says in terms of Bach:

“I love Sebastian, but if you can imagine, it sounded sort of like Skid N’ Roses. It was cool, but you knew that everybody who heard it was gonna be, like, ‘Oh, yeah, that makes sense.’ It was a little bit too predictable.”

I can kind of understand why Slash feels that way. I've been an avid fan of both GN'R and Skid Row for years, so I can kind of get a picture for what that would probably sound like. There would be no element of surprise or any new direction to the music at all were they to legitimately team up with one another.

Apparently back in 2010 Velvet Revolver had even recorded a full album's worth of material with Taylor. However, Slash didn't feel it was what the band needed. He says:

“Everybody was rallying for him. And I love Corey to death, but something about it was just a little bit too – what’s the word for it? You know how Corey sings. It’s a very macho kind of thing. But it didn’t have certain elements I thought it needed. So we just didn’t go down that path. And that was the closest so far.”

It's a shame that Slash feels that way. Even if it isn't quite what he was looking for, it sure would be great to at least put the album out anyway to give the fans something cool to tide them over while the band searches for a singer they feel more properly fits them. I've heard Corey Taylor do some GN'R stuff with Slash and it was absolutely killer.

To view the video of the interview, look no further (I'd have embedded the video, but Blogger was being crap):

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Second New AC/DC Song Online!

AC/DC recently released Play Ball as a single to their upcoming album Rock or Bust to the masses. It would seem however that now this isn't the only song from the album circulating on the internet. A day or two ago what is believed to be the title track Rock or Bust seems to have surfaced by way of a video anonymously posted.

Rock or Bust seems to be packed full of more AC/DC hard rocking goodness. There really isn't much more to say than that about it. The guitars punch, the drums thunder, and the soloing is very signature Angus. The lyrics seem to convey the sentiment that the band has worked really hard at what they do, they love it, and they don't want to stop. We wouldn't expect anything less than all of this from the long-lasting hard rock icons.

Rock or Bust will be in stores and online to buy on November 28th. It is the first album without founding member rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young. Replacing him is his nephew Steven Young. To hear the song, click the link below and skip ahead to 2:49 in the video. Let me know what you think!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Bridge of Sighs, by Robin Trower

Many people state that the 80's was the decade for many flashy, skilled, and creative guitarists to make their way onto the music scene, but this isn't entirely the case. The 70's also had many such guitarists who in many ways did more than just shred and try to copy off of Eddie Van Halen. One such guitarist who fits this description who sadly is not always remembered by the general masses is Robin Trower. Trower made a name for himself in a prog-rock band named Procal Harem, but then left to start his own solo career in the early 70's.

In April of 1974, Trower put out his most notable work: Bridge of Sighs. This album boasting much of his Jimi Hendrix influence produced many songs that are still played in his concerts and highly regarded by all of his fans to this day. What makes Bridge of Sighs so remarkable is not just upbeat numbers that showcase the kinds of fireworks on the fretboard that Trower can produce, but rather it is the slower more laid back tunes that create musical and emotional atmosphere. The kinds of sounds Trower creates are so utterly unique and in a way almost tangible.

Every time I listen to the title track Bridge of Sighs all of the hairs on my arms and the back of my neck stand up. It is one of the slower songs on the album, but I feel it is one of the crown jewels. I absolutely LOVE the blend of effects he has concocted. It feels so thick. However not only does Trower's guitar work convey powerful emotion, but singer/bassist James DeWar's rich soulful voice absolutely gives the song the emotional punch it needs. It makes you feel the sadness they want you to feel. This song is one of the few songs where it is not particularly catchy, but I find myself playing it over and over again whenever I have the album on.

Now if more cheerful and upbeat songs are more your bag, Trower has you covered with the song Too Rolling Stoned. This song has a VERY Hendrix infused funk vibe. However, Trower makes sure you know it's him with his own flourishes and musical nuances. Trower does tend to use a bit more of a crunch to his sound than Hendrix did in this song in particular. All that being said however, it's hard not to get moving to this tune when it comes on. One of the more curious aspects of the song though is that it has a bridge section where things actually slow down and sound more straight bluesy rather than funky; though it is still very easy to groove and dance to.

If you want a unique musical experience, Bridge of Sighs is right up your alley. It's one of those few albums where there are NO filler tracks. You become legitimately curious as to what will come on the following track because of how intriguing each song is. The slower songs are actually very conducive to falling asleep if you put them on with headphones at night. I've spent a few nights with Bridge of Sighs playing on my computer and had to stop myself from passing out with my face in my keyboard. That would be an awkward way to wake up, wouldn't it?

Bridge of Sighs, by Robin Trower receives 4 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Day of the Eagle
2. Bridge of Sighs
3. In This Place
4. The Fool and Me
5. Too Rolling Stoned
6. About to Begin
7. Lady Love
8. A Little Bit of Sympathy

Buy the album on Amazon:

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Johnny Rotten Unveils Facts About Cancelled Sex Pistols Album

Throughout the 90's and 2000's punk rock pioneers The Sex Pistols have sporadically reunited from time to time to do short tours. During those periods there have been plentiful opportunities to write, record, and release brand new material to the public. However, no such thing has ever happened. In an interview with Independent Singer Johnny Rotten aka John Lydon has weighed in on how come that is.

“[They] laid down some basic tracks without involving me at all, and then presented this cassette, not to my face, but snuck it under the bloody hotel door. To this day, I’m very bitter about that.”

However, that isn't what upsets Rotten (though it would not be surprising if it was) about this whole situation. Apparently he didn't feel that any of the new tracks the band had laid down without him were up to his standard.

“Those new tracks were hideously dull. ‘Go on, put the money-earner on this dross.’ It was always that cold indifference to the lead singer. You can’t end up just imitating yourselves, that’s preposterous to me.”

Perhaps Rotten may have made the right call. Some times bands will get to a certain point in their career where their new music just sounds like them trying to sound like the way they did 20+ years ago and ending up just sounding like a crappy cover band of themselves. (*cough* Metallica *cough*). Maybe if the Sex Pistols can just find that spark of life that made them what they are to begin with they can create something new, energetic, and relevant to the 21st century. It would be a shame to see them bow out forever without one more album for their fans both old and young.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Pink Floyd Release New Track "Louder Than Words"

Lately Pink Floyd has been teasing its fans with 30 second snippets of songs from their upcoming album The Endless River. However, last week they finally released a full track: Louder Than Words. The song will be the only track on the album that will have a full vocal track on it. Everything else will be primarily instrumental.

I have to say, Louder Than Words is VERY trademark Pink Floyd in terms of sound. Most of their familiar elements and nuances are in there, but in a very 21st century way. David Gilmour's guitar work is absolutely fantastic. He is clearly on top of his game. What really gets me though is that the song sounds big without being loud. Much of what makes Louder Than Words along with much of the band's past work so good is that they build up layer upon layer musically to create an atmosphere that just surrounds the listener and makes them feel as though they live in the cosmic realm created by sound.

What really astounds me besides the celestial atmosphere of the music itself is the vocals from Gilmour. His voice sounds almost EXACTLY like it did 30 years ago when the band made their famed The Wall album. This of course could be studio magic, but I know a year or two ago he made a live appearance with former band mate Roger Waters and performed his vocal parts to Comfortably Numb and he sounded exactly the same there too. It's a bit uncanny and almost suspicious. However, I'm willing to overlook that seeing as the song is good enough.

The lyrics to Louder Than Words were written by Gilmour's wife Polly Samson. This is not the first time she has made such contributions to a Pink Floyd album, as she played the same role for their previous album The Division Bell back in 1993.

According to an interview with BBC Radio 6 Gilmour says this will be Pink Floyd's final album. Gilmour said, “This is the last thing that’ll be out from us. I’m pretty certain that there will not be a follow-up to this.” The Endless River will be arriving on November 10th.

Below is a link to listen to the new Pink Floyd track Louder Than Words:

Sunday, October 12, 2014

David Bowie Premieres New Song "Sue"


It would seem that pop rock legend David Bowie has put out a new single. However, it's quite unlike anything you're used to hearing from him. I can guarantee that.

The song is called Sue and it recently premiered on BBC Radio 6 and was made for an upcoming compilation album titled Nothing Has Changed which will be arriving in the shops and online November 18th. Sue seems to go in a VERY experimental jazz direction, rather than a lot of the straight up pop style of music we have grown accustomed to hearing from Bowie in the past.

Even his more experimental stuff has never quite been this radical, to be quite honest. To me it seems like there are two songs fighting each other in this piece of music. On the one hand you have the rhythm section playing in an upbeat odd timing while other parts of the orchestra along with Bowie are going at a much slower tempo. Perhaps this is the point of this kind of music? Hard to say for certain.

While Bowie has put out a new song, he has recently denied rumors that he was working on a new full length album. It's a bit of a shame though because it would be fascinating to hear what else he could do in this particular genre. Instead Bowie is doing a retrospective documentary on his life and career titled David Bowie Is

The new song Sue can be listened to below. Song starts at 1:12.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Velvet Revolver Still Looking For Right Singer

After over six years of inactivity hard rock band Velvet Revolver are apparently STILL trying to find the right singer to replace original vocalist Scott Weiland. To be fair, many of the members have kept themselves busy with other projects over the years, but still. That's a long time to take to find someone. Anyway, lead guitarist Slash recently weighed in on the subject in an interview with

“A lot of people are asking questions, and it’s been very active under the radar. I mean, nothing has happened with it as far as getting a new singer, so there’s nothing to talk about. But there is activity going on, and there’s people that we’ve been checking out. At some point the right guy’s gonna walk in the door, and at that point, then we’ll look into making another Velvet record. We started working with Scott for that period and we made some cool music, but it was just a really, really hard thing to keep together, that exact lineup. When you’re cutting off your nose to spite your face, there’s a point there where it’s, like, ‘You’ve gotta either get it together or we’re not gonna suffer through this.’"

 It's a shame that Weiland can't get his crap together enough because the original line-up of Velvet Revolver was really something else. However, if the guys can finally decide on a singer I'm sure whatever album they put out after that will be awesome. I just can't believe that it has taken this long, though. They certainly have their pick of anyone out there, though maybe that is the problem.

You can watch the video interview with Slash below:

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Throwback Thursday: The Blizzard of Ozz, by Ozzy Osbourne

In 1979 heavy metal legend Ozzy Osbourne faced one of the worst moments of his life: Being fired from heavy metal pioneer band Black Sabbath due to his abuse of drugs and alcohol and the disastrous events that came as a result of them. For months afterward, Osbourne locked himself in a hotel room and did nothing but drink, do drugs, and order room service until his soon to be wife Sharon made him clean up his act enough to put a brand new band together. That is when Osbourne discovered one of the greatest neo-classical metal guitarists to ever live: Randy Rhoads.

Together in 1980 Rhoads and Osbourne with the help of bassist Bob Daisley's song writing abilities would create an album that would not only bring Osbourne back from the dead career-wise but would blast him into superstardom and even surpass his old band by a long shot. This album is called The Blizzard of Ozz. It contains many of Osbourne's most notable solo songs that are metal anthems even to this day such as I Don't Know, Crazy Train, and Mr. Crowley. The Blizzard of Ozz is astoundingly different from anything by Black Sabbath. Rhoads was far more speed and melody oriented when it came to guitar technique. However, the music was every bit as heavy.

Crazy Train. You can't go a day listening to classic rock radio without hearing this anthem once. This song is the definition of a headbanging tune. It has a signature riff that while extremely simple to play will get itself ingrained into your head for years to come. Every metal guitarist learns it almost right away. The guitar solo is also one that many guitarists learn early on because of how memorable it is. It does include a lot of techniques that many still try to emulate to this day. Naturally Crazy Train is still a staple in Osbourne's live performances.

One of the lesser known tunes on The Blizzard of Ozz that I particularly enjoy is Revelation (Mother Earth). It's more of a ballad type song about an eco-warrior. Osbourne puts a lot of emotion into every last lyric he sings in this song. Toward the end however, it gets heavier and then picks up the pace. When that happens, Rhoads's fingers absolutely FLY across the fretboard. His solo is melodic, speedy, and jaw dropping astounding. It's a shame that you don't hear it much on the radio or in Osbourne's current live sets. However, I guess it would be hard for any guitarist to tackle such a song.

It's a shame that after The Blizzard of Ozz Rhoads only did one more album with Osbourne before he died in a plane crash in 1982. Putting the two of them together is one of the single greatest things the god of rock ever did for us mortals. There is not a single bad track on this album. Even the songs that may seem like fillers kick serious ass. Any student of heavy metal can learn a lot by picking up The Blizzard of Ozz to put on their turntable, CD player, or mp3 playlist. It's worth every penny (even though Ozzy probably doesn't need any more money).

Track List:

1. I Don't Know
2. Crazy Train
3. Goodbye to Romance
4. Dee
5. Suicide Solution
6. Mr. Crowley
7. No Bone Movies
8. Revelation (Mother Earth)
9. Steal Away (The Night)

Buy the album on Amazon:

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Album Review: Modern Vintage, by Sixx: A.M.

The musical wizards of Sixx: A.M. have done it once again. The super group composed of guitarist D.J. Ashba from Guns N' Roses, singer/producer/song writer James Michael (who has written songs for many notable artists such as Meatloaf), and Motley Crue bassist and song writer Nikki Sixx have pooled their talents to put together another album of profoundly written hard rocking music titled Modern Vintage which was released today (October 7). The title is representative of the sound the band was going for on this particular album, which was they style of classic rock they all grew up on while adding their own modern edge to it.

Sixx: A.M. came together back in 2006 when Nikki Sixx decided to put together a side project. The band's first release The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack came out in 2007 and was meant to act as a musical companion to Sixx's book of the same name which was comprised of diary entries he wrote during the height of his heroin addiction in 1987. The single Life is Beautiful instantly became widespread and popular amongst the general public. Since then Sixx: A.M. has released one other full album, This is Gonna Hurt in 2011 which was more along the lines of straight heavy rock/metal.

Modern Vintage has a surprising number of notable songs from it. I personally have been a fan of everything Sixx: A.M. has done but that didn't make me any less surprised at how good this new album actually is. Unfortunately I can only go through so many because otherwise this review would just go on forever...

The first notable one is the debut single Gotta Get It Right. For a three chord song it kicks some SERIOUS ass. There is no lack of power behind it. Plus, the mid-tempo swing of the rhythm makes it even more easy to connect to and have a good time rocking out. Michael's singing shines through brilliantly because he gets to showcase a lot of his vocal talent. He can go from straight up singing to some of the nicest falsettos you have ever heard. However, the only minor thing I would change about this song is to bring up the guitar more in the mix; especially in the chorus. It would be unbelievable that way.

DJ Ashba on the other hand really shines through on the opening track Stars. The riffs themselves are simple enough, but his rhythmic use of the crybaby pedal during the verses is absolutely delicious. It sounds cool and at the same time accentuates the singing and lyrical message Michael is trying to get across. Stars REALLY kicks into overdrive however when it comes to the solo. Ashba does NOT hold back. He shows exactly what he is made of with not only blazing fast guitar licks, but with memorable melodic sections as well. In fact, I recall hearing one or two parts of this solo in some of his live work with Guns N' Roses. That being said, Stars is absolutely killer and is some of the best few minutes you will EVER spend rocking out.

Ok, I will go through ONE more track because I like this album so much. Before It's Over. Just when you thought you had Sixx: A.M. figured out and knew exactly what to expect from them, they pull a total 180 and make your jaw hit the floor with this little ditty. It is a very exuberant tune that is extremely reminiscent of the song Seaside Rendezvous from Queen's A Night at the Opera album. While the tune has a similar vibe to Queen, it is still original and creative in its own right. I definitely don't feel held back from dancing around to it in my truck. It is a very positive note to end Modern Vintage on and I can't praise them enough for this lovely surprise.

As I said earlier, there are definitely more songs I could go into detail about from Modern Vintage, but then you would be here all night and we obviously wouldn't want that.... Or would we? Anyway, this album is a MUST have for rock n' rollers of all generations. I can guarantee you that you will find at the very least one track on it that you like. It is definitely a different musical direction for Sixx: A.M., but the meaningful and poetic lyrical style and raw passion of the music itself is very distinct of the band. I honestly feel that this may be their best release yet.

Modern Vintage, by Sixx: A.M. receives 5 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Stars
2. Gotta Get It Right
3. Relief
4. Get Ya Some
5. Let's Go
6. Drive
7. Give Me a Love
8. Hyperventilate
9. High on the Music
10. Miracle
11. Before It's Over

Buy the album on amazon:

Monday, October 6, 2014

Slash Speaks Out on What He Admires About Axl Rose

It's no secret that during the past two decades there has been much attention drawn to the ongoing feud between former Guns N' Roses band mates Slash and Axl Rose. Mentioning the two names in the same sentence any more seems to carry quite a negative connotation.

However, there wasn't always this bad blood between the two of them. In fact, for many years Slash and Axl were both best friends and forged one of the greatest rock n' roll entities that ever existed. Slash himself seems not to have forgotten this despite all the more negative things mentioned in interviews with him over the years.

In a video interview with Loudwire the cat in the hat rattled off some of the more positive things about his former brother in arms, praising him as a front man, a singer, a song writer, and person in general.

Perhaps there is still hope at the very least for Axl and Slash to mend their friendship if not working together musically ever again. Given their profound history with one another it would be a shame for such a feud to continue into old age.

The video of the interview can be watched below:

Sunday, October 5, 2014

B.B. King Falls Ill During Performance, Forced to Cancel Shows

It would seem that 89 year old king of the blues B.B. King has unfortunately fallen ill recently and is unfortunately being forced to cancel eight upcoming shows.

The following statement was given from King's official website:

“Mr. King fell ill (Friday, October 3) during his performance at the House of Blues in Chicago. He was immediately evaluated by a doctor and diagnosed with dehydration and suffering from exhaustion, whereby causing the eight remaining shows of his current tour to be cancelled.”

This is not the first time that King has become ill during a performance. Due to a health scare back in April during a performance in St. Louis he became quite erratic where he didn't play a single song for 45 minutes. He later had to give a public apology in order to smooth things over.

Unfortunately there is no other information on King's current health status, though hopefully he is back on his feet playing the blues better than ever soon. It would be an absolute shame to lose such a talent that helped give shape to blues and rock music as we know it today.
“Mr. King fell ill (Friday, October 3) during his performance at the House of Blues in Chicago,” according to a statement posted on King’s official website. “He was immediately evaluated by a doctor and diagnosed with dehydration and suffering from exhaustion, whereby causing the eight remaining shows of his current tour to be cancelled.”

Read More: B.B. King Cancels Remaining 2014 Shows Because of Illness |

Friday, October 3, 2014

AC/DC's Brian Johnson Opens Up About Band's First Sessions Without Founding Member Malcolm Young

Within the past week rumors of AC/DC founding member rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young having to retire due to dementia were sadly confirmed by members of his family. That being said, for AC/DC's upcoming album (titled Rock or Bust, which will be released December 2nd) there was a big emotional change with the replacement of Malcolm and lead guitarist Angus Young's nephew Steven Young according to vocalist Brian Johnson.

In a recent interview with Classic Rock Magazine, Johnson said:

“We missed Malcolm, obviously. Stevie was magnificent in his stead, but when you’re recording with this thing hanging over you, and your work mate isn’t well, it’s difficult. I’m sure he was rooting for us the whole time we were over in Canada.”

According to Johnson, the track Man Down from the upcoming album will act as a tribute to Malcolm. “It’s from the heart. That’s just the way I am. Some of the guys thought it might be a bit negative — but I like that title.”, says Johnson.

Rock or Bust will be AC/DC's first release of new material since 2008's Black Ice album. It is a sad shame that this tragedy has befallen the band and the Young family overall. As a young teenager it was Malcolm Young's riffs that got me amped and totally psyched to listen to and learn to play rock n' roll. I'm sure the boys in AC/DC have done the absolute best they can to pay tribute to their ailing brother. I know I'll definitely be buying a copy of the new album when it comes out.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Phenomenon, by UFO

In 1974, British hard rock band UFO had a new member added to its line-up: at the time young German guitarist Michael Schenker. With Schenker in the UFO's ranks, the band's most iconic classic line-up would be complete and in May of 1974 would release the album Phenomenon; which has the band's best known tune Doctor Doctor amongst other tunes well known in the classic hard rock/heavy metal community.

Where UFO's sound had been primarily bluesy space rock before, the addition of Schenker gave the band a more hard rock vibe to its sound especially in songs like: Doctor Doctor and Rock Bottom. However, there are a few songs on Phenomenon that still have very much an outer space kind of overtone to them such as: Space Child and Crystal Light. Interestingly enough however, there are quite a few tunes on the album that are not as much hard rock as you would expect. There are quite a few surprises.

Doctor Doctor is one tune that has been covered to death by countless heavy metal bands, including Iron Maiden in the late 90's. The build up at the start of the tune lets you know right away that something absolutely amazing is about to happen. When it breaks into the dual harmonized guitar riff that defines the song, the listener is NOT let down. Doctor Doctor is an upper mid-tempo swing rhythm but still has some real balls to it. Surprisingly there is no guitar solo, but with the main riff being what it is, it really doesn't need it.

Space Child on the other hand is far more laid back, but you get to hear more of Schenker's melodic soloing ability near the end. It is a bit of a forlorn sounding ballad but in a way makes you really feel like you're just aimlessly floating through outer space. Besides Schenker's soloing the focus of the song seems to be more on vocalist Phil Mogg's singing as well as what he is singing about. If you're in a bit of a down mood this song will absolutely hit the spot by empathizing with what you feel and then make you feel free at the same time as you listen to Schenker talk to you with his guitar.

To be fair, the other members of UFO had every bit as much of a part of Phenomenon as Michael Schenker did, but it was really the addition of him that made them everything that they could possibly be and more. Schenker shows off his wide range of capabilities with soft melodic instrumentals like Lipstick Traces to upbeat heavy metal rockers like Rock Bottom to blues infused tunes like Built For Comfort. Phenomenon really does have a lot of variety in it. It's worth the money to add it to your 70's rock or heavy metal collection.

Phenomenon, by UFO receives 4 out 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Too Young to Know
2. Crystal Light
3. Doctor Doctor
4. Space Child
5. Rock Bottom
6. Oh My
7. Time On My Hands
8. Built For Comfort
9. Lipstick Traces
10. Queen of the Deep

Buy the album on Amazon: