Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Top Ten Albums of 2014 Part 4 (Final Part)

Last day of 2014! I hope your year was as rocking as it could be. If not, at least it's almost over and you can start fresh in 2015. Anyway, this is the final part of my Top 10 Albums of 2014 series of posts. Today we get to find out what the top 3 albums I picked are! Hooray! Yesterday, I got through numbers 4-5which you can find if you click here. You can find 6-8 if you click here. To find 9-10, click here.

3. California Breed, by California Breed

In late 2012, hard rock super group Black Country Communion which was comprised of Deep Purple bassist and vocalist Glenn Hughes, Dream Theater keyboardist Derek Sherinian, blues guitar prodigy Joe Bonamassa, and Jason Bonham, son of the late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham parted ways. However, Hughes and Bonham still felt a chemistry with one another and wanted to work together on something completely new. That is when a 23 year old guitarist by the name of Andrew Watt whom Hughes had met through a friend was brought into the picture.

Watt's driving funk rock chops seems to mesh well with Hughes's and Bonham's pre-existing chemistry on the group's debut record California Breed, which came out this year. The sound is a huge departure from that of BCC. Every track on the album sounds raw, charged, honest, driving, and in general fun. It does have a very California type vibe to it. When I put it on it makes me feel as though I'm driving in a convertible down the street on a nice sunny day. Despite Hughes's advanced age he gives one hell of a fresh performance vocally, lyrically, and in terms of song writing. Again, credit to a man with a legacy who does not choose to stick to the past.

2. Modern Vintage, by Sixx: AM

The trio that brought you such songs as Life is Beautiful and Lies of the Beautiful People are back with a whole new album. However, this time around, Nikki Sixx, DJ Ashba, and James Michael have taken a bit of a different approach to the song writing. Where most of their tunes are known for being somewhat heavy metal/heavy alternative rock in nature this time the concept they were aiming for was to take the styles of the music they all listened to growing up and putting their own personal modern spin on them; hence the title.

Each song on here is a unique musical gem. You can find tunes that are just straight up rockers, but then you find ones that have almost a mild folksy, a funky, or a flamboyant Queen-esque vibe to them. Then of course you have a couple of ballads and even a cover of the classic tune Drive, by The Cars. It's another album with a little something for everybody, though all of the tunes are pretty easy to like. I honestly feel that this is probably the band's best work yet, which is really saying something because their previous album This is Gonna Hurt blew me away too.

1. Great Western Valkyrie, by Rival Sons

My pick for the album of the year for 2014 is Great Western Valkyrie, by Long Beach, California based rockers Rival Sons. Rival Sons combine hard rock, blues, and soul to make a sound that is comparable to many classic rock bands, yet at the same time is one all their own. This year these guys put out their fourth full length studio album Great Western Valkyrie. It's a bit of a departure from the sound of their previous albums though, partially due to the addition of a new bassist. Surprisingly, yet not so at the same time their sound has taken a more heavy British Invasion type direction.

There is a wonderful blend of influences from bands like The Who, to The Animals, to even Led Zeppelin and beyond. However, what makes the album special is while these influences are there, Rival Sons is by no means trying to copy off of any of them. It's more like they are saying "This is what we like, this is our musical style, and this is what we're pushing forward with" rather than just trying to sound old school for the sake of sounding old school. Plus, while the sound is old school they are still loud and heavy enough to keep up with the rest of the big boys in this day and age. If you're looking for some real honest to God rock n' roll, look no further. These guys are right up your alley.

Albums I didn't list:

Now I know what a lot of you may be thinking. "Why didn't you mention the Pink Floyd, Slash, Uriah Heep, AC/DC, Ace Frehley, Jack Bruce, etc. albums?". To be honest, while I absolutely LOVE those bands and artists I didn't really feel anything from their new albums. None of it felt like there was any real energy, drive, or willingness to create something new and fresh like they did when they were younger. There weren't any tunes in particular from those albums that really grabbed me and made me open up all of my senses. I was sadly kind of bored while listening to these albums, which then lead me to just put on their old stuff instead. Hopefully next time around this changes.

Anyway, let me know if you agree or disagree with my list. What were some albums from 2014 that you liked? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top 10 Albums of 2014 Part 3

The fun continues! Earlier this week I started a countdown of what I feel the top 10 albums of 2014 are, releasing two or three of the albums each day till New Years Eve. We are now at the half point, having done 6-8 yesterday and 9-10 the day before. In order to see what I listed yesterday (6-8), click here. To see what I put the day before (9-10), click here. Without further ado, let's get on with the show and see what 4-5 are!

5. Redeemer of Souls, by Judas Priest

Though metal gods Judas Priest have certainly eased off the throttle in terms of touring in recent years, they have by no means gotten out of the fast lane with their music. Redeemer of Souls is the first album without founding guitarist K.K. Downing and features new member Richie Faulkner in his stead. Though Downing is sorely missed by fans of the band, Faulkner does more than well enough in filling the shoes and preserving the legacy of this extraordinary band of metal pioneers; which is by no means an easy feat to accomplish.

Redeemer of Souls is pretty much a musical return to their older style that they were known for in the late 70's and early 80's while also still having some modern touches here and there to not sound like they are just clinging to the past. Interestingly enough there is even a track that has a SERIOUS funk rock vibe; something that I personally never would have seen coming out of Judas Priest. Any fan of the band or old school hard rock and heavy metal will not be disappointed when they pick up a copy of this. Judas Priest may be entering their golden years, but that only means that their music is golden too in this case.

4. Shine, by Bernie Marsden

Bernie who? Again, I understand if you aren't quite familiar with Bernie Marsden. He was one of the founding guitarists of Whitesnake in the late 70's and early 80's. Back then however, the band had a much more bluesy sound, unlike the heavy hair metal they became known for later on. This year he finally put out a new album of all new material under his own name titled Shine. I have to say, for an old timer he sounds incredibly youthful, fresh, and energetic in both his guitar and vocal performances on it. You would never guess he is 63.

Shine is a splendid blend of straight blues and driving rock n' roll with a dash of REALLY old school Mississippi delta style blues here and there. Any fans of the old Whitesnake will be able to easily latch onto it, especially since there is a modernized re-recorded version of the Whitesnake track Trouble with his former band mate David Coverdale singing on it. Even for the average listener however, it is some solid work. It also features blues aficionado Joe Bonamassa on a track as well as Cherry Lee Mewis. He is one of the few old rockers who isn't trying to just cling to his old sound. By going forward in his own way he far surpasses some of the more well known bands/artists who put out albums this year.

Top 10 Albums of 2014 Part 2

2014 is coming to an end. Know what that means? Time for a top 10 list of the best albums of the year! I have decided to spread the list through the week and only including two or three albums in the order in which I'm ranking them each day. Yesterday I got the ball rolling and went into a bit of detail about what numbers 9 and 10 are. Today I'll be talking about 8, 7, and 6. To see what I ranked as numbers 9 and 10 yesterday, click here.

8. Sonic Highways, by The Foo Fighters

Dave Grohl has once again brought raw meaningful rock n' roll to the mainstream with The Foo Fighters' latest release Sonic Highways. Anyone who has followed the band for some time will not be too surprised by the nature of this album's content, but in a way that is not necessarily a bad thing. It blends balls to the wall riffs and raw vocals with pure heartfelt moments and pleasant melodies. At one point in the song Something From Nothing there is even a tribute to the late metal vocalist Ronnie James Dio where the main riff from Holy Diver is played briefly.

In all honesty, this is a pretty solid effort from Grohl. I'm more of a fan of the earlier Foo's stuff but the beauty of this band is that they evolve and adapt over time while still being true to themselves and the messages that they try to get across to the world. It's better this way because nobody wants the same album over and over again. Not every band can get away with stuff like that the way that AC/DC can.

7. Red Dragon Cartel, by Red Dragon Cartel

If you were a fan of Ozzy Osbourne in the mid 80's, then chances are you knew who Jake E. Lee is. After nearly two and a half decades of virtual silence (except a few tribute records here and there throughout the years) Osbourne's former guitarist has burst back onto the heavy metal scene in a humongous way, with his playing chops still as solid and flashy as ever. For this endeavor Lee put together an entirely new band with mostly unknown musicians who despite this fact are by no means slouches.

In his new band's debut, Lee shows that he is not stuck in the 80's like many other musicians of his generation. He features many of his more modern influences while at other points tearing it up old school style for his older fans. The songs on Red Dragon Cartel do show that Lee meant for himself to be the centerpiece, or main focal point if you will. It is his project after all so that is to be expected. Everything still comes together very nicely, though. It is some solid heavy metal and a great way for Lee to make his return. To add even more incentive, Red Dragon Cartel also features guest spots by Robin Zander, Paul Di'Anno, Maria Brink, Sass Jordan, Rex Brown, Scott Reeder, Todd Kerns, Brent Fitz, and Jeremy Spencer.

6. Get Right, by The Soft White Sixties

Now I understand most of you probably have not heard of this group yet, but that is perfectly understandable. Unlike the impression their name may give, The Soft White Sixties are anything but soft. They are a newer band that have been building up a bit of momentum in the past year or two. Get Right is their first full length release and it is really something else. It's a unique blend of classic rock and modern pop. You wouldn't think that such a blend would work out particularly well, but believe me when I say that it does. It makes two genres that would normally be on opposing sides in their fandoms accessible to one another. In their live performances they are so full of life and energy that it's hard not to have a good time.

The music on Get Right is reflective of those shows by being really energetic, melodic, and creative. The blend of guitar and keys is impeccable, considering it's one guy (Aaron Eisenberg) doing both of them at the same time (at least live anyway). A lot of the music has a really sweet groove to it that makes it easy for anyone to dance to. The cherry on the sundae however is the vocals. You can tell that vocalist Octavio Genera could get away with doing straight pop if he wanted to but instead brings that same talent and energy to rock instead. Look up this album. You won't regret it.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Top 10 Albums of 2014 Part 1

 So 2014 is coming to an end in a few days as we're all well aware. It has been quite a busy year for music. Many artists both old and new have come out with albums within the past 12 months. Some good, some bad, some just so-so. What I am going to be doing here at Young Ears, Fresh Perspective over the next few days is a list of what I feel were the ten best albums that came out this year. Each day will have two or three of the albums, so you'll have to wait till the next day to see what comes next. That being said, let's get this party started!

10. Turn Blue, by The Black Keys

Now I will admit that it took me some time to warm up to this album. However, eventually the atmospheric and experimental nature of the songs won me over. I still don't consider this an actual Black Keys album (as unlike the music they were originally known for at the beginning of the band, there is virtually no rawness or blues to it whatsoever except at maybe one or two brief points), but nonetheless I still like the music on it.

Most of the songs have the same general vibe and overall it makes for good night time driving music. Turn Blue kind of helps you relax, unwind, and maybe get a little more introspective as you travel to whatever destination the road ahead leads you to. This album isn't for everybody but if you want to listen to something a little different and maybe expand your mind a little you have come to the right place.

9. Lazaretto, by Jack White

Jack White has certainly made a musical departure from the raw semi-simplistic garage rock sound of The White Stripes, which broke up back in 2011. However, his abundance of talent is still as prevalent as ever in this eclectic record. The sound ranges from blues, to rock, to country, to alternative, and beyond. I have to applaud White for his efforts in expressing the other facets of his musical tastes and skills and being completely original about it. Some times when an artist goes solo they end up just sounding like their old band, but maybe with one or two subtle differences.

Many of the songs seem more like compositions and don't focus on any one instrument in particular. The way all of the vast multitude of musicians White brought in work together is simply extraordinary. That being said, there really is something for everyone on Lazaretto including old White Stripes fans. Chances are you will find at least one tune on the record that catches your interest and stays with you for quite some time.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #6

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week is a feature I run on Young Ears, Fresh Perspective on Sundays/early hours of Monday morning where I pick out 5 tunes that I think are notable and tell you a bit about them. The point is to give you some rocking music to help you deal with your weekday blues. You can either listen to one each day, listen to them all at once, or any other combination that you feel. As long as you can get through the week without the man getting you down, that's all I care about. Without further ado, here are the 5 tracks I've picked out for this week:

 1. Changes, by David Bowie

This happy sounding little piano jaunt is sure to get you singing along and raise your spirits despite the fact that the work/school week has started once again. Bowie always did seem to have a way of making social and political commentary that was relevant to what was going on at the time while blending it all into a magical pop musical cocktail. This song seems to exemplify this better than almost any other tune in his repertoire. If you like fun music with some actual depth to it, you have come to the right place.

2. Round and Round, by Ratt

If you're still in the mood for something fun but with a bit more drive and balls to it, this 80's hair metal classic will get you where you need to go. Few bands have personified what the 80's hair metal movement was about as well as Ratt. The guitars are loud, shredding, and melodic, the chorus is extremely memorable, the vocals are filled with extreme confidence and charisma, and everyone in the band was hair sprayed up to high heaven and back again. It's 80's cheese at its absolute best and I wouldn't have it any other way.

3. Christmas Time is Here, by Steve Vai

Because it is the week of Christmas, I will put ONE carol into this mix. Most people who know guitarist extraordinaire Steve Vai know him for being a loud, shredding, rip-roaring beast of a guitar player. However, he is at the same time quite versatile on his instrument and he proves this in his jazzy instrumental laid back version of this holiday classic. Even those who aren't that much into rock n' roll/the electric guitar can probably appreciate the pleasant nature of this cover. It makes you feel the warm fuzzies all over.

4. The Pink Panther Theme, by Bumblefoot

Bumblefoot is another guitar playing master who up until recently was a lead guitarist in the current incarnation of Guns N' Roses. However, he has quite the rich catalog of his own solo material that combines musical proficiency with humor. Anyway, during his tenure in GN'R he came up with his own rocked up cover of the classic Pink Panther theme song that he would play during tours as his guitar solo during the show. At one point, he and the rest of the band went into the studio to record the tune. It's surprising how well this song translates from jazz into tear-it-up rock n' roll. If you're ready to try something a bit different, this is right up your alley.

5. Are You Gonna Be My Girl, by Jet

This is the song that as far as I'm concerned helped save garage rock back in the early 00's. It made the genre accessible and popular again with the masses. It's zippy, lighthearted, and fun while still having a very much rock n' roll edge to it. I honestly wonder how their singer Nic Cester was able to scream his lungs out so consistently without hurting himself somehow. You can tell that every last guy in the band was having fun while playing this song and I believe that is a huge part of what gives it the edge it has.

Friday, December 19, 2014

New Jimmy Page Material Will "Stimulate All the Senses"

Ex-Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page has recently been working on some new music for probably the first time in almost a couple of decades and is making some fairly hefty promises about the nature of it.

In a recent interview with Classic Rock Magazine the subject made a turn towards Page's solo work, to which Page said it was "sparkling". He elaborated further by saying that his goal with the new music was to "stimulate all the senses". Sounds like a pretty tremendous objective if you ask me, but if anyone can do it I'm sure it would be Jimmy Page. I have never been particularly disappointed in anything he set out to do.

In terms of how Page will go about things in terms of making an album and then possibly doing a 'Greatest Hits Tour' Page says, “Whatever I do, I don’t want everyone to have made up their mind what I’m doing before I’ve done it. I mean, they already have. On the Internet, people are telling me that, ‘Oh, you’re doing this, and you’re doing that,’ and I’m — ‘Am I? Just wait and see what I do.’”

It's good that Page is in a way taking a leaf from his former band mate singer Robert Plant and is moving forward musically and making himself relevant today in his own way rather than just trying to live in the past. Page's emphasis in both his new music and his upcoming live sets seems to be surprise. He says, “I’d like to obviously show what I’ve done along the way, but I’d definitely have musical surprises for people so they wouldn’t sort of start yawning.”

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Dookie, by Green Day

In 1994, punk rock band Green Day released its third studio album Dookie which has since become one of their most popular and influential albums as well as bringing the band and punk rock music into mainstream popularity and winning them the Grammy award for Best Alternative Music Album in 1995. This is most likely due to the fact that it provided five singles that were all hits including: Basket Case, Longview, When I Come Around, Welcome to Paradise, and She.

Dookie along with most of Green Day's work is not exactly what I would consider traditional punk in terms of sound. Don't get me wrong, much of the riffs and song structures are very much punk but the vocals are far less rage driven and politically charged than the bands from which Green Day derived much of its influence. Instead, there is far more melody and lyrical basis on every day life that the general public can relate to. It really is hard not to like a lot of these songs when so many of them have a lot of energy and drive to them.

Basket Case is one tune that does get a lot of attention from long time fans. Its chord structure basically rips off Canon in D, by Pachelbel, but the way it is done makes it pretty forgivable. Like many of the tracks, it is fast paced, loud, and melodic. It's almost impossible not to find yourself singing along to it at some point or another. Believe me, I've tried not to but I don't think it can be done. Honestly, I never thought a song about panic attacks and anxiety disorders could be this fun. Lo and behold, it has been done.

One song that at least I personally have never seen get much discussion is one of my personal favorites: Pulling Teeth. This tune is a bit more slowed down than most of the tunes on Dookie (except maybe When I Come Around). However, what it lacks in energy and balls to the wall guitar sound it makes up for in pleasant vocal melody. It is so catchy that it has never completely left my head since I first heard it years ago. Again, a song that is about a rather unpleasant topic (in this case an abusive relationship) is fun, catchy, and pleasant to the ear. Green Day really seems to have an uncanny knack for doing such things.

This is one of the few times where I really can't find anything I don't like about an album. Green Day accomplished no small feat by making punk rock more accessible to the general public. Considering the genre's background, it's almost a miracle. Hardcore fans of punk may dislike this fact and not consider Green Day to be real punk, which in a way is understandable. That doesn't change the fact that they were rebellious enough to rebel against a rebellion and do their own thing. I find that to be pretty damn admirable. Get this album if you don't have it already. It deserves a place on your music shelf.

Dookie, by Green Day receives 5 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Burnout
2. Having a Blast
3. Chump
4. Longview
5. Welcome to Paradise
6. Pulling Teeth
7. Basket Case
8. She
9. Sassafras Roots
10. When I Come Around
11. Coming Clean
12. Eeminus Sleepus
13. In the End
14. F.O.D.

Buy the album on Amazon:

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

This Year's Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame Inductees

The inductees for the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame have been decided. The list for the class of 2015 includes:

Stevie Ray Vaughan
Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
Lou Reed
Green Day
The Paul Butterfield Blues Band

Being honored with the Hall's "Award For Musical Excellence" will be Beatles drummer Ringo Starr, who was already inducted in with the rest of the band in 1988. All the other members have been inducted into the hall for their own solo efforts over the years.

This doesn't seem to be too shabby of a list. It's about time Stevie Ray Vaughan got in. This will be Lou Reed's second time getting in, as he was inducted with The Velvet Underground in 1996. Unfortunately, Reed passed away last year so he will not be inducted in person. I know quite a few people aren't too pleased about Green Day being inducted, but I think they deserve it. They have some exceptional tunes and have been a major influence to a lot of people over the past couple of decades.

The only thing I'm really displeased about is that Deep Purple has once again been snubbed by the Hall. They have been eligible since 1993 and every year for the past 21 years they have been passed over. Personally I think it's all politics with the Hall and wanting only to do it if original guitarist Ritchie Blackmore performs with them, which he won't due to decades' worth of tension. It's a shame because Deep Purple has been a HUGE influence on many rock bands over the past few decades and they deserve to be honored for their achievements.

The ceremony will take place at the Public Hall in Cleveland, OH on Saturday April 18, 2015.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

David Bowie Rejects Coldplay Collaboration Offer

Seems that if you intend to work with pop icon David Bowie, you had best be able to bring nothing but your best and be ready for honest criticism. Coldplay front man Chris Martin found this out recently for himself.

Martin says in a testimonial for a tribute video that aired during the BBC Music Awards that recently Coldplay attempted to start a collaboration with Bowie, but they were rejected. Apparently the tune the band sent Bowie was not quite up to his standards.

Martin says:

“One time I sent him a song to ask him to sing on it. He called me and said, ‘It’s not one of your best,’. He’s got very high standards, and I appreciate that. It inspires the rest of us to keep our standards high.”

Martin further elaborated on David Bowie's high musical standards by discussing Bowie's most recent songs and his 2013 album The Next Day. “When Where Are We Now? (the first single from The Next Day) came out I was staggered, and also annoyed. Like, ‘Come on, it’s not fair.’ He’s already got all these amazing songs and then this instant classic.”

It's certainly understandable that Martin is flustered as he is. Considering how astounding Bowie's officially released material is, I bet most artists would kill to have even one of his rejected songs as one of their own. I really wonder what a collaboration between Bowie and Coldplay would have sounded like. Their styles are both unique, yet they still have the potential to work together quite well. Be that as it may, perhaps from here this will get any artist who wishes to work with Bowie to try even harder and make sure they come up with something that is up to snuff for the pop legend.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #5

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week is a feature I run on Young Ears, Fresh Perspective on Sundays/early hours of Monday morning where I pick out 5 tunes that I think are notable and tell you a bit about them. The point is to give you some rocking music to help you deal with your weekday blues. You can either listen to one each day, listen to them all at once, or any other combination that you feel. As long as you can get through the week without the man getting you down, that's all I care about. Without further ado, here are the 5 tracks I've picked out for this week:

1. Icky Thump, by The White Stripes

There are so many things to like about this tune if you're looking for something different. You can hear a lot of Jack White's Led Zeppelin influence in the guitar playing here, but at the same time there are multiple radical change-ups that make it almost seem like it is multiple songs in one. However, through Jack's magical songwriting prowess they all fit and flow together extremely well. The vocals make it almost seem like Jack is rapping, but not quite. It's a unique style to say the least. Either way, it has a sweet old school made modern groove to it and if you didn't hear it on the radio a lot when it first came out then you should check it out immediately.

2.   Dead Flowers, by Gilby Clarke

Ex-Guns N' Roses rhythm guitarist Gilby Clarke put out a solo album in 1994 called Pawnshop Guitars. Most of the songs were original material, but he also did a couple covers as well. One of these was of the Rolling Stones classic country-esque tune Dead Flowers. This is one of those few cases where I actually feel the cover far surpassed the original. Don't get me wrong, I love the Stones. However, I feel that Clarke's version has far better...well...everything. The instrumentation is fantastic and includes more than the original. Plus, GN'R vocalist Axl Rose also lent his talents with some backing vocals to this track and I feel it makes the song more warm and fun.

3. Couldn't Stand the Weather, by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble

If the blues is more your shindig then you can't go wrong with this Stevie Ray Vaughan classic. It's not easy to get more soulful and skillful than Stevie. This upbeat tune starts off basic enough, but then Stevie just rips into it and it seems like he is on fire. I find it hard to believe that he never actually did set anything on fire with the way he played... haha. Of course his Jimi Hendrix influence is very present, but Stevie was very much his own musician. If you ever wanted to learn more about the blues, this is one of the best places to start.

4. Cliffs of Dover, by Eric Johnson

This is one of my absolute favorite instrumental guitar focused tunes that I have EVER heard. If you have played Guitar Hero III I guarantee you know it. It's a happy, upbeat, ripping tune that makes you really feel like you're soaring over the cliffs of Dover. It is a very melodic and easy to follow tune for the average listener while also being just technical and shredding enough for the guitar aficionado. As far as I'm concerned there isn't a single part that isn't pleasant to the ear while still being VERY rock n' roll. You could even dance to it if you wanted to.

5. Deceived, by Red Dragon Cartel

Lastly, a bit of heavy metal. If you liked anything from Ozzy Osbourne's mid-80's catalog like Bark at the Moon or Shot in the Dark, odds are you're quite a fan of the playing style of guitarist Jake E. Lee. Up until about a couple years ago he had been mostly dormant in the public eye for nearly two decades after his post-Ozzy band Badlands. This song from his new band Red Dragon Cartel (whose self-titled album came out in January) features a lot of his classic playing style (it's a bit reminiscent of Bark at the Moon) while also incorporating a few of his newer influences that he has picked up over the years. It is modern classic metal at its best if you ask me. The riffs and solos are absolutely killer and will leave you wanting more.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Ex-Judas Priest Guitarist K.K. Downing Announces "Metal For Men" Fragrance

Though ex-Judas Priest guitarist K.K. Downing has been retired from the band for a few years now, heavy metal is still a very important aspect of his life. These days however, it's on his mind in a way you might not think: a new fragrance called Metal For Men.

In a recent interview with Planet Rock, Downing explains his new idea:

“I think I just woke up one morning and thought of the word ‘metal’ and I thought ‘metal for men’ and I thought — straight away, I thought — ‘What could that relate to?’ And I don’t know why I thought about it, but I thought there’s nothing out there on the market that’s associated with rock and metal fans in respect to fragrances and stuff. And I guess that, combined with my mum asking me continually what I want for Christmas and stuff, it just came about. And it just so happens I had a friend who had associations with fragrances before, and it came about very, very quickly.”

I think the reason that there aren't many fragrances associated with rock and metal is because at least when I think about them the only smell that comes to my mind is a blend of cigarette smoke, leather, sweat, puke, booze, etc. I'm not sure how anyone could really associate any other scents with such an idea. I have a hard time believing anything that smells nice could be considered rock n' roll. I know I can't be the only one who thinks this.

Downing is insisting that "these fragrances both look and smell fantastic, and I think that they are the ideal gift for all rock and metal fans this Christmas”. I'm a little skeptical, but I guess only time will tell. They probably do smell good, but I kind of doubt I will associate them with loud rip-roaring rock n' roll.

Fortunately, Downing also did briefly mention that there is a slight possibility that he may yet still get back into music. Downing says:

“We’ll have to see what happens. Who knows? But anyway, I’m always doing stuff in the music thing. I don’t want people to think that I’m just disassociating myself [from music], ’cause I’m not. I’m helping some new bands, and I’m always doing stuff on my website and stuff, and I’m happy to do that. Something will come along, I think. I’ve had a couple of propositions for next year. We’ll see what happens. I’m looking forward to the future. That’s all I can say.”

Personally, I'm more excited about the possible music than perfume. Rock n' rollers should stick to doing what they do best rather than trying to smell pretty as far as I'm concerned. What are your thoughts on the subject? Leave a comment below.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Bark At the Moon, by Ozzy Osbourne

In 1982, the world of rock and metal lost a legend: Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Randy Rhoads who at the time was only 25 years old and had helped Osbourne to launch his solo career with two astounding albums that included tunes like Crazy Train, I Don't Know, Mr. Crowley, Over the Mountain, etc. This left Osbourne having to find a new guitar player who could fill the shoes left by the prodigy. Having looked through many different guitar players, he finally decided on Jake E. Lee, a California based shredder. Lee was more than up to the task while also bringing his own style and flare to Osbourne's music and helping him to create some new classics.

In 1983, Osbourne put out his first album with his new guitarist titled Bark At the Moon. Where Osbourne's music had previously been more about melody, the tunes on this album seem to be more riff and crunch driven with intermittent blistering leads and solos. I think that Lee was definitely far more into heavy metal than Rhoads was because you can hear just how much of the style Lee embraced whereas Rhoads just took his classical style and made it heavy. It's actually nice to hear that Lee didn't try to copy Rhoads (unlike certain other guitarists who have played for Ozzy). In a way, some of the songs are almost mildly reminiscent of Deep Purple in terms of guitar tone, riffs, song structure, rhythm, etc. That's just my opinion, though.

The album opens up with its title track Bark At the Moon; which in my opinion is the best track about lycanthropy I have ever heard. I like it because the album just grabs you right by the balls and takes you along for a wild ride right from the get-go. The opening signature riff is really fast and tears things up. Osbourne's vocal melodies (which is one of the few things he actually contributes to his music) keep the song pretty easy to follow for the most part. What absolutely makes the song the killer metal track that it is though is the guitar solo. It's one of those solos where if you cover the song, you play that solo note for note. You don't mess with it or change it at all. It's a musical piece all on its own.

Rock N' Roll Rebel is another one of my personal favorites from Bark At the Moon, but mostly because of its lyrical content. Don't get me wrong, the music itself is pretty fantastic and the riffs crush it but some times a song's subject matter is more prevalent. Anyway, it is a song talking about all the kinds of presumptions and misconceptions people seem to have about rock n' rollers (thinking they worship the devil, have no morals, and wanting them to conform to society's standards). It really does say a lot about people's reactions to metal music at that point in time. Sadly, a lot of it still seems to be the same even to this day.

What makes me kind of sad is that you don't hear a whole lot of the songs from Bark At the Moon besides the title track in Osbourne's live sets any more. There are some pretty good ones. Granted, many of them aren't the "classics", but that doesn't mean that they aren't worthy of being performed to the long time die hard fans who would like to hear them. There are some good riffs, excellent guitar solos, and even a couple soft tender moments. It was a unique time during Osbourne's solo career and I think it is still a great album to listen to. Give Bark At the Moon a listen if you haven't already. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised and will find at least a couple tracks you really like.

Bark At the Moon, by Ozzy Osbourne receives 3.75 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Bark At the Moon
2. You're No Different
3. Now You See It (Now You Don't)
4. Rock N' Roll Rebel
5. Centre of Eternity (Forever)
6. So Tired
7. Slow Down
8. Waiting For Darkness
9. Spiders in the Night
10. One Up the B Side

Buy the album on Amazon:

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Jake E. Lee Calls Out Ozzy Osbourne on Stealing His Song Writing Credits

Over the years Ozzy Osbourne has had many musicians come and go that have helped write his vast catalog of solo material. However, many of them have gotten stiffed in terms of writing credits. One of the most prominent examples of this is the case of his second guitarist Jake E. Lee. 30 years after the fact, Lee is now clearing everything up in terms of his raw deal.

When Osbourne's first solo band guitarist Randy Rhoads died in 1982, a replacement was needed quickly. Lee was brought in to fill the vacancy left by his predecessor, after which he would help write and record all the tracks from Osbourne's 1983 release Bark at the Moon. When the album was released though, there was an error in the printing that made Lee a bit displeased to say the least: All of the songs were credited to Osbourne and only Osbourne. It said nothing about Lee's or anyone else's contributions to the writing process, which according to Lee is a violation of the initial agreement that was made with him.

In a recent interview with Eddie Trunk on Blabbermouth, Lee says:

“I was told from the get-go, ‘[If] you write part of the songs, you’ll get writing credit, you’ll get publishing. That’s part of your deal. Later, however, after he recorded the final guitar track, “They said, ‘Ah! We have the contract for you.’ And in it, it says, specifically, ‘Ozzy Osbourne wrote all the songs. You had nothing to do with any of the writing, you have no claim to publishing and you cannot say so publicly.’”

When Lee decided to say something about this to management (aka Sharon Osbourne) she told him he would have to accept the new terms. According to Lee, “She says, ‘Because if you don’t, we’ll give you a plane ticket, you go back home and you stand in line and you sue us. In the meantime, we have all your tracks, we’ll get another guitar player, he’ll redo your tracks, and you’ll have nothing,’”

Bark at the Moon met with an abundance of success of course, but Lee was left feeling less than thrilled about it all. It's quite understandable. How would you like it if you made a rather substantial contribution to something huge and then got absolutely none of the credit? Lee elaborates further by saying:

“The only reason I’m saying it now is because that was just mean — that was mean. What am I gonna do? Really? Am I gonna say, ‘Fine. I’m going home. Take my tracks off. Some other guy will get all the credit for playing guitar, and I still have to try to sue you for the rights?’ It would have been just … not a good decision.”

I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for Lee to swallow his pride like that. The only way some of the best music of your career can meet with the kind of widespread success you want is if you take none of the credit for it. How big of a ripoff is that? I have to give the man props for having the balls to do something like that. I'm not sure I could have done the same.

In 1986 when the follow up album The Ultimate Sin was about to be recorded, Lee was a bit wiser and had learned a lesson from his previous endeavor with Osbourne. “I refused to do anything until I had a contract in front of me promising me writing credit and publishing.”. Smart move on his part. Don't do anything until you have all of the business details in writing. Lee got credit on 8 of the 9 tracks, not including the main hit Shot In the Dark.

Lee has long since left Osbourne, being replaced in 1988 by guitarist Zakk Wylde. Lee went on to form blues rock based group Badlands and now has his own solo band that he calls Red Dragon Cartel, which put out its debut self titled album Red Dragon Cartel earlier this year. You should check it out. It's got some pretty legit metal tracks.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Axl Rose Death Hoax Disproved By the Man Himself

There seems to be many celebrity death hoaxes going around lately. One of the most recent victims of this little prank is none other than Guns N' Roses lead vocalist Axl Rose. Rose supposedly died on December 3rd.

However, this is fortunately very far from the truth. A fake website made to look like an official MSNBC page was headlined: Sources: Guns N’ Roses Frontman Axl Rose Found Dead in West Hollywood Home at Age 52. The fake site cited “sources” behind “unconfirmed reports” and contained a “quote” from a fake LAPD spokesperson. This isn't the first time this site has done something like this to get attention. Another notable "victim" of their pranks would be child star Macaulay Culkin.

Rose did give them a reaction, but not in the kind of pissed off way the singer has been famed for in the past. Instead he made a couple of rather amusing and intriguing tweets that addressed the issue. One of them even implies that Guns N' Roses is working on making some new music.

Photo that Rose shared on Twitter:

Rose made another tweet saying: "If I'm dead do I still have to pay taxes?". I guess he is quite the comedian, according to interviews with members of the more recent GN'R line-up. Occasionally some times he will tell jokes to the guitarists while they are playing solos live just to see if he can get them to mess up due to the fact that they are laughing so hard.

It's good to know that Rose is alive, well, and taking this with good humor. It's also nice to see that Guns N' Roses seems to be hard at work with new music. I would definitely like to hear some of the new stuff as well as some of the unreleased stuff they have been working on over the past couple of decades.

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #4

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week is a feature I run on Young Ears, Fresh Perspective on Sundays/early hours of Monday morning where I pick out 5 tunes that I think are notable and tell you a bit about them. The point is to give you some rocking music to help you deal with your weekday blues. You can either listen to one each day, listen to them all at once, or any other combination that you feel. As long as you can get through the week without the man getting you down, that's all I care about. Without further ado, here are the 5 tracks I've picked out for this week:

1. Rock the Blues Away, by AC/DC

Australian hard rock staple AC/DC  put out a new album Rock or Bust last Tuesday. Although I wasn't that impressed by the album overall (You can read my full review of it here), I still felt this was a good track. It's uplifting, fun, and paints a very nice musical and lyrical tapestry of the good times you have when you hang out with your friends and just let loose when life gets to be a bit too much. Definitely the kind of tune a working person needs to hear and jam out to.

2. All the Young Dudes, by Mott the Hoople

In 1972, British glam rock band Mott the Hoople were about to call it quits when much to their surprise they were approached by pop sensation David Bowie. Bowie was a fan of the band's work and wrote them a single titled All the Young Dudes to put on their next album to help bring them the kind of success that they had been striving for. Though the song helped them immensely, they still broke up not long after the album was released. Since then All the Young Dudes has been covered by countless rock and pop groups. The song itself sounds like a typical slow Bowie ballad. It starts off with a really catchy guitar melody and then goes through a chord progression that sounds a lot like Canon in D Major, by Pachelbel. Be that as it may, the chorus is easy to sing along to and remember.

3. Man in the Box, by Alice in Chains

If you want something a little more alternative/grungy, I've got you covered with this. Man in the Box, by Alice in Chains is interesting because to me it blends a lot of elements of classic rock, funk, and metal while still having a distinctly grunge-like sound to it. The soloing in it really reminds me of Jimi Hendrix and Zakk Wylde in a way. What really gets me off though are some of the melodies played on guitar and talk-box. The two instruments blend together so well that they almost sound like a whole new instrument.

4. Pulling Teeth, by Green Day

This fun tune comes from punk band Green Day's 1994 breakthrough album Dookie. It isn't loud and fast like many of the tunes on the album, but the vocal melodies and harmonies are very pleasant. The funny thing is that the subject matter of the lyrics is quite dark and disturbing even though the music itself sounds pretty fun and upbeat. It's a good example of the meaning of something going over your head if you aren't paying close enough attention to pick up on it.

5. Surfing With the Alien, by Joe Satriani

If ripping and running shredding guitars are more your dig, check out Surfing With the Alien, by guitar legend Joe Satriani if you haven't already. In this song the man takes the electric guitar to a whole other level and does things you never thought possible with the instrument. There are no vocals in this song as is the case for the majority of Satriani's catalog, but that doesn't make the song any less enjoyable. The melodies make you forget the absence of any singing. You don't have any time to. You keep wondering what kind of tricks he is going to pull off next. It is loud, fast, creative, and fun.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Album Review: Rock or Bust, by AC/DC

It has been 6 years since hard rock legends AC/DC put out an album of new material (Last one being Black Ice). This past Tuesday (December 2nd) the band released its 15th studio album Rock or Bust. Sadly, this is the first album without founding rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young who was forced to retire due to his worsening Dementia. Replacing him for this album was his nephew Stevie Young, who also stood in for him when he temporarily left the band in the late 80's to get his alcoholism under control.

The sound of Rock or Bust is pretty much in line with much of what we have heard from AC/DC in the past, but that is pretty much to be expected. They are one of the few bands who can get away with making the same music over and over. However, you can kind of tell that Malcolm is not there. His writing style and backing vocals are very distinct in AC/DC records past. To me it almost sounded like this time around the band was just trying to preserve its sound rather than push it to another level. That isn't to say that this is a bad record though, because it isn't.

Play Ball was the first single released from Rock or Bust. It has more of a classic mid-80's/early 90's AC/DC feel to it. It isn't the heaviest song in their repertoire, but it blends in well enough with what they already have to sound good. Angus Young's guitar soloing in the tune is as good as ever. Doesn't seem like he has lost anything in his old age. However, with all the good aspects about it I still have a difficult time saying that Play Ball is really memorable or worthy of being put up there with the AC/DC classics. I just don't really find it to be that driving or distinct.

Rock the Blues Away pretty much has the vibe the title would suggest. It starts off with a very straightforward 12 bar blues pattern, though it is jazzed up a little bit. Then again, since when does AC/DC do anything very technical? Not that this is a bad thing, of course. The only thing that really bothers me about this song is that the vocal melody of the verses is pretty much the same exact melody from the verses of Anything Goes, a song from their previous album. I hate to say it, but that's probably one of the main reasons I like the song. However, it is also upbeat and cheerful enough to help me just rock my own blues away so I can't say I hate it.

Rock or Bust clocks in as the shortest album of AC/DC's repertoire at 34:55. I hate to say it, but that's probably for the best. This is not a bad album by any stretch of the imagination, but I feel that Black Ice was far better. This time around there didn't seem to be as much of the bold adventurous spirit that the band has had in the past. To me it seems like Rock or Bust is AC/DC in mourning over what is pretty much the loss of their brother. There are two or three tracks that are worth listening to, but the rest of it almost seems a little phoned in to me. Rock or Bust is still worth getting, but I would wait till the album goes on sale to buy it honestly.

Rock or Bust, by AC/DC receives 3 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Rock or Bust
2. Play Ball
3. Rock the Blues Away
4. Miss Adventure
5. Dogs of War
6. Got Some Rock and Roll Thunder
7. Hard Times
8. Baptism By Fire
9. Rock the House
10. Sweet Candy
11. Emission Control

Buy the Album on Amazon:

Friday, December 5, 2014

Details of AC/DC Drummer Phil Rudd's Charges Released

Things don't seem to be looking too bright for AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd lately in his case where he is being charged with possession of marijuana and meth as well as making death threats. However, some new light has been brought to the public in terms of the specifics of the case as documents from his case have been revealed.

According to The Canberra Times Rudd allegedly threatened to kill a contractor as well as his daughter on September 26th of this year; the same day that he was accused of discussing "what he wanted to have done" to his almost victims.

Rudd has pleaded not guilty to just about everything but the marijuana possession charge. This would not be the first time he has had a run-in with the law on pot, as he was charged with possession of it in New Zealand back in 2010. Rudd's current trial is scheduled to begin on February 10th of next year.

Rudd does not seem to be helping his case either by showing up late to his hearing, being profane to the paparazzi, nearly getting in a car accident, and then getting into a fight at a coffee shop with one of the witnesses in his case. I hate to say it, but I don't think any testimony from him will be taken 100% seriously when his trial starts next year. I kind of hate to say it, but as much as I admired Rudd growing up I hope he gets what he has coming to him because he is clearly showing that he cannot handle being free and at large.

AC/DC is already going ahead with the promotion and tour for their new album Rock or Bust without him. It's probably safe to say that he is pretty much out of the band even without any kind of official statement from them. I will be reviewing Rock or Bust in the next few days, so be on the look-out for that. It's going to be pretty rad.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Giant Robot, by Buckethead

The world is chocked full of skilled guitarists. Some of them are more well known and unique than others, but none of them are quite on the level of Buckethead in many aspects. In all of my years being a rock and metal fan I've never come across anyone quite like him. Not only is his style of playing unique (not to mention incredibly proficient in multiple styles of guitar playing) but he also has quite the unique persona as well. On stage he wears a blank white face mask to cover his identity and a KFC bucket atop his head to "give him his power". Many people who have played Guitar Hero II know him for the solo he contributed: Jordan. He does far more than just shred, however.

Buckethead has been active in all kinds of musical projects since the late 80's. Some of his first albums were only released in Japan (though Buckethead is from the US) because at the time there was not much of a market for such music here in America. The album Giant Robot was originally released in 1994 and was one of these releases. However, in 2000 it was rereleased on a different label to make it more widely available to the rest of the world. This album features some of his more heavy material, but it has softer moments at different points. It is a concept album that is loosely based on Buckethead's own more creepy version of Disney Land that he calls Bucketheadland.

Welcome to Bucketheadland is the first full length track on the album and is one of Buckethead's more well known songs amongst his mostly underground fan base. The song starts off with an eerie robotic voice saying "Welcome to Bucketheadland". From there the listener is taken for a heavy doom filled ride. There are no lyrics to this song (as is the case with most of Buckethead's work), but here and there different voices will come in saying something that further progresses what is assumed to be the story. Oddly enough, this song was originally meant to be a Crazy Train cover but it turned into something else entirely. The solo is lightning quick, though not quite what I would consider signature guitar work for the masked axe man.

One of my personal favorite tracks from this whole album is Binge and Grab. This was originally a song by Buckethead's first band The Deli Creeps. It did have lyrics, but there is no studio recording of the band's original version of it. Instead, Buckethead plays it instrumentally and I think it is just fine as it is. In a way, I get a driving during sunset in summer kind of vibe from it. I put it on whenever I need something to lift my spirits. Not only is it melodic and catchy, but Buckethead once again does not disappoint with some good shredding sessions at a couple of points in the song. I guarantee you will have this track on repeat.

Giant Robot of course has far more to offer than just these tracks. There are even Buckethead's own interpretations of the theme to Star Wars, A Pirate's Life For Me, and the song Pure Imagination from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. There is also a ballad or two along with songs that are far more macabre that I did not delve into. If you're looking for a rock n' roll experience that is far beyond what you would ever expect from the genre and also are not afraid of the more sinister and occasionally grotesque, look no further. You've come to the right place. The music is fun, some times hilarious, and also makes you feel all kinds of emotions. Pick it up. You'll enjoy it.

Giant Robot, by Buckethead receives 5 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Doomride
2. Welcome to Bucketheadland
3. I Come in Peace
4. Buckethead's Toy Store
5. Want Some Slaw?
6. Warweb
7. Aquabot
8. Binge and Grab
9. Pure Imagination
10. Buckethead's Chamber of Horrors
11. Onions Unleashed
12. Chicken
13. I Love My Parents
14. Buckethead's TV Show
15. Robot Transmission
16. Pirate's Life For Me
17. Post Office Buddy
18. Star Wars
19. Last Train to Bucketheadland

Buy the album on Amazon:

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Megadeth Not Disbanding Says Dave Ellefson

Big Four thrash metal band Megadeth recently (November 25th) suffered a major loss when lead guitarist Chris Broderick and drummer Shawn Drover made a nearly simultaneous departure from the band; ending its most stable line-up of seven years. According to founding member and bassist Dave Ellefson however, this does not mean the end of the band. They are currently "looking at all the options" laid out before them.

According to Blabbermouth, Ellefson said the following in a recent online chat with Megadeth's official fan club The Megadeth Cyber Army:

"As you can probably tell by me being here today, we are not disbanding. As of right now, we are looking at all the options, of which there are many. We'll certainly continue working on the new songs for the next record, Hopefully that brings everyone up to speed on things as of today. Thank you for all of your kind words, concerns and support to us."

Naturally many fans are hoping to see the return of the "classic" line-up of Megadeth, including lead guitarist Marty Friedman and drummer Nick Menza. This was the line-up that worked together from the majority of the 90's. However, I don't see this happening due to not only the friction between them but also the fact that Friedman is off in Japan busy making J-rock/metal and Menza is currently working with former Megadeth lead guitarist Chris Poland and bassist James LoMenzo on an album that should be out some time next year.

Personally, I'm sad for Megadeth because I know how much losing a good chunk of your band in one go can feel. It sucks. However, maybe this is a chance for band leader and rhythm guitarist/lead vocalist Dave Mustaine to chill for a bit and get some fresh ideas as they search for new members. The last couple of Megadeth records haven't been quite up to snuff in comparison to what they have put out in the past. I think Mustaine has kind of lost his edge ever since he got older and lost his anger. The rage is what fueled his music and his live performances. Hopefully he takes the time to reflect on this so that something new and better can be released.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Nikki Sixx Asks For Artist Honesty on Social Media

Motley Crue and Sixx: AM bassist and song writer Nikki Sixx stays pretty close with his fans through his various social media accounts; particularly Facebook and Twitter. He has recently made an effort to let everyone know that his accounts really are him interacting and not just an assistant and is now calling other artists to follow suit.

In a recent Facebook post, Sixx says:

"I don’t agree with artists who have other people always posting for them or posting the same thing across multiple account’s….Even though I misspell, I believe fans would rather have a relationship with me than my assistant. I also think its absurd when artists buy followers to make themselves look more popular than they really are. This isn’t a popularity contest…Rock n roll was never about being popular, its always been about being real."

I have to admire Sixx's desire to keep in touch with those who care enough to follow him. This is exactly what having a fan page on social media is all about. I wish more artists and stars were as authentic as Sixx. Of course, I know of a few who go a step further and directly respond to people's Facebook posts and comments like Amanda Palmer, George Takei, and Michael Miley. However, it is nice to see such busy people taking the time out to actually talk with their fans nonetheless. If you can't be bothered to actually do your own social media posts it is pretty much pointless to have an account to begin with as far as I'm concerned.

Monday, December 1, 2014

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #3

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week is a feature I run on Young Ears, Fresh Perspective on Sundays/early hours of Monday morning where I pick out 5 tunes that I think are notable and tell you a bit about them. The point is to give you some rocking music to help you deal with your weekday blues. You can either listen to one each day, listen to them all at once, or any other combination that you feel. As long as you can get through the week without the man getting you down, that's all I care about. Without further ado, here are the 5 tracks I've picked out for this week:

1. Sit Down Honey (Everything Will Be All Right), by Elf

For those of you who are avid fans of heavy metal, the name Ronnie James Dio probably rings a bell to you. Before he was in bands like Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and his own solo band he was in a blues rock band that went through many name and line-up changes. However, most people refer to it as Elf due to that being the name they put out their first full length record under in 1972. This band put out music far different from what you would expect to hear out of Dio. Much of Elf's music had the piano as the instrument with primary focus rather than guitar. The song Sit Down Honey (Everything Will Be All Right) accurately represents what the band was all about. It has a bit of a honky tonk vibe to it, but is also straight up blues. It is a fun rock n' roll romp to put a smile back on your face when you're a little down.

2. Funk #49, by The James Gang

If you listen to a lot of classic rock radio you have probably heard this song. Before singer/guitarist Joe Walsh rose to fame in The Eagles and his own solo career, he was in a band called The James Gang. Funk #49 is the song that got them what fame they did manage to acquire. The guitar riff is rather iconic and quite accurately reflects its name. If you happen to be a guitar player, I highly advise you learn this. It's rather fun to play. If you're not, it's still a great tune to bob your head and relax and/or dance to; especially during the bridge when there is no guitar and it sounds like a Latin/tribal dance party.

3. Bang a Gong (Get It On), by T. Rex

This is another tune that gets a lot of play on classic rock radio. Bang a Gong (Get It On) is 70's glam rock band T. Rex's biggest commercial hit. Sadly you don't seem to hear much else from them on the radio or anywhere else because T. Rex was actually a pretty fantastic band. I feel that this is another great tune to get up on your feet and dance to if you're in the mood. It has a pretty good fairly upbeat shuffle rhythm to it and an easy enough melody for you to follow. There aren't a whole lot of fireworks on the fretboard in this tune, but in this case such things are not particularly necessary to have.

4. Bad Motor Scooter, by Montrose

Now I KNOW you guys have heard of Sammy Hagar. If you don't, you have done bad and should feel bad. Before he was in Van Halen or had a solo career he rose to prominence somewhat in a band called Montrose; which was lead by blues/rock guitarist Ronnie Montrose. Bad Motor Scooter was written by Hagar shortly before joining the band. If you need something fast, loud, and fun then you have most certainly come to the right place with this tune. Plus, the revving motor sounds made by the guitar make you feel like you're riding on a bad motor scooter that much more. It's definitely one of my favorites from Montrose.

5. Strange Magic, by Electric Light Orchestra

Strange Magic is one of my favorite songs to put on if I really need to relax and feel a pleasant warm sensation; especially at night. It's a softer tune, but the orchestration and various melodies in it more than compensate for all of that. Oddly enough this song gets me into the holiday spirit even though the lyrical content has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas or anything of that nature. To me, this song has everything: pleasant melodies, tasty vocal harmonies, immaculate orchestra backing, etc. It is easy listening while still being very much rock n' roll.