Monday, February 29, 2016

Ginger Baker Dealing with Serious Heart Problems - Cancels Tour

It would seem that former Cream drummer Ginger Baker is dealing with some rather serious unfortunate health problems right now. He just had to cancel an entire tour on doctor's orders due to the fact that he has just be diagnosed with "serious heart problems".

The tour was for Baker's current band Baker's Air Force 3 had they had only 10 shows booked for the entire length of the tour (not entirely surprising given his advanced age).

The announcement of the tour cancellation and Baker's heart problems was announced via his official Facebook page, saying:

"To all fans; it is with great sadness that we announce the cancellation of all shows. Ginger's doctor's have insisted that he have complete rest due to diagnosis of serious heart problems. We hope you will all join with his family in wishing him well. God bless Ginger Baker. " Team Baker"

Baker honestly shouldn't have been doing much in the way of any work anyway given the fact he already knew he had health problems to begin with, but due to money troubles he has had to find ways to make ends meet. Kind of a real shame for someone so talented who has had such a huge influence on multiple generations of musicians. Hopefully Baker can find some way to get his money affairs sorted out and then just retire. It would probably be the best thing for him.

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #62

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. Wind Cries Mary, by The Jimi Hendrix Experience

This is not one of Hendrix's more rocking shredding tunes, but I still feel it is one of his absolute best. He shows just how much blues influence really does go into his playing without an overabundance of fuzz or whammy. It's something you can get lost in the groove of and let go of yourself in; especially during the main chord progression. Honestly, this is not a bad song for blues beginners to learn on guitar.

2.  Comfortably Numb, by Pink Floyd

This is a rather powerfully emotional song on multiple levels. Even if you don't have the drug problems that the character in the song has, if you've suffered from depression you know just how the concepts mentioned in the song can feel. It does not take long for it to cut you right to the bone and give you feels. Layer that on top of one of David Gilmour's greatest guitar solos of all time and you've got a tune that is a masterpiece and played constantly on the radio for damn good reason. 

3.  Man on the Silver Mountain, by Rainbow

This is one of Ritchie Blackmore's most famous guitar riffs of all time. It gets ingrained in your head and absolutely will NOT leave no matter how hard you try. Anyone who is a 70's or 80's metal head knows this tune, as it is also where Ronnie James Dio made his big time band debut. It's one of those songs that makes you feel like you're at the beginning of a fantastic amazing adventure of AWESOME. To be honest, given what all is in Rainbow's catalog your feeling would not be wrong at all whatsoever.

4. 2112, by Rush

Like big long grand rock operas? Look no further! This Rush classic clocks out at over 20 minutes and it is the most epic 20+ minutes you could ever hope to spend your life on. In a dystopian future a boy discovers a guitar and how to play it, but when he shows it to the people they shun him and kill him just because he is doing something outside the norm and challenging the ideals of the modern society they have. Add that onto some big riffs, wailing vocals, and thundering drums and you have an epic.

5. I Wanna Rock, by Twisted Sister

What do you want to do with your life? I WANNA ROCK! Who doesn't? This is one of the ultimate 80's metal songs of teenage rebellion against parents, teachers, and the establishment at large. Twisted Sister may have looked absolutely ridiculous, but they understood kids and their problems better than any adult ever will regardless of the fact that they were once teenagers themselves. It definitely reflected in their music and I Wanna Rock is the best example of that besides their other hit We're Not Gonna Take It.


Saturday, February 27, 2016

5 Essential Guitar Albums

I've been noticing a lot lately that all kinds of big shot rock stars are putting together lists of what they consider essential guitar albums. I figure if they can do it, why can't I? In this list I've put together five albums that I consider to be absolutely necessary for anyone who wants to hear some of the best guitar playing to ever happen. These albums have had HUGE influence over multiple generations of players. Have a look and let me know your favorites as well.

Surfing With the Alien, by Joe Satriani

In 1987 Joe Satriani did something almost completely unthinkable: put out an entirely instrumental guitar oriented album that made it high into the charts. It's not surprising Surfing With the Alien became so popular though because so many of the songs are incredibly memorable despite the fact there are no vocals. The songs range from ripping and running to slow and melodic. Satriani really did bring the art of technical shred to the public in a way they could really understand it.

Van Halen, by Van Halen

How could I NOT have this album in my list? Without Van Halen rock and metal as we know it today would simply not exist. Eruption alone was enough to inspire multiple generations of guitar players trying to copy Eddie Van Halen by learning how to finger tap on their fret boards and create all kinds of wicked melodies; some better than others of course. Aside from that, the album pretty much laid the foundation for what would in a couple years be the hair metal movement, which say what you will about it - some of those bands could REALLY play.

Led Zeppelin, by Led Zeppelin

Before Led Zeppelin there really wasn't such a thing as hard rock. Their debut album was a real game changer starting from track 1 all the way to the finish. By taking the blues and adding a loud gritty edge to it, upping the tempo in some areas, and then in some moments completely blasting things into outer space Led Zeppelin laid the foundation for countless bands to come. Nothing had ever sounded that big and monstrous before. Everything had been all psychedelic or folksy up to that point. Thanks to the vision of Jimmy Page Led Zeppelin took rock n' roll and for the first time really gave it some balls.

Are You Experienced, by The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Naturally Hendrix was going to come into this list sooner or later. The man practically invented the art of the guitar solo as well as funk music. Plus, before Led Zeppelin came along he was the closest thing to hard rock that existed, taking the blues and going in an exploratory direction with it. Hendrix's debut album Are You Experienced is absolutely dripping with the fuzz, fire, and acid trip fueled musical adventure that he would become known for. This album alone due to Hendrix's imaginative song writing and playing technique really does show why many consider him to be the greatest guitar player to ever live.

The Complete Recordings, by Robert Johnson

Without Robert Johnson we more than likely would not have rock n' roll or any of the great guitar players that we know and love today. His simplistic warm delta blues style was pretty much the blueprint for virtually everyone who came after him. In the late 1920's/early 1930's he wrote and soulfully performed countless blues standards like Sweet Home Chicago, Crossroads, From Four Till Late, and more. I would honestly venture to say that this guy is the father of the blues and popular music as we know it. 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Diary of a Madman, by Ozzy Osbourne

In 1981 Ozzy Osbourne and his solo band then known as The Blizzard of Ozz were coming hot off the tail of the success of Osbourne's debut solo album The Blizzard of Ozz which had spawned multiple hits of his that are still well known and frequently played to this day. Osbourne and his band needed a big follow-up album to help keep the momentum going, and they managed to do so with their sophomore release Diary of a Madman.

Diary of a Madman does not alter too drastically in terms of musical style from The Blizzard of Ozz, except it does get a bit more exploratory and technical, mostly due to the fact that guitarist Randy Rhoads was a genius musically. It is still very much a melodic heavy metal album, but you can hear Rhoads's neo-classical influences in different parts; especially in the title track of the album where he is literally playing a modified version of something Mozart had written. Some of the tracks are also done in irregular time signatures, making things a little more interesting.

Believer in my opinion is one of Osbourne's most under rated tracks. Though it is simplistic in nature, that big beefy bass line and crunchy stomping guitar riff make you feel rather powerful while Osbourne is singing all kinds of encouraging messages about believing in one's self. Not really what you would expect to hear out of him considering he is known for singing about supposedly evil things, but maybe this is a good thing honestly.

Flying High Again while not all that spectacular as a song is brought to a godly level of awesomeness when Rhoads's iconic guitar solo kicks in. Supposedly during the recording of the album Rhoads locked himself in the studio and would not eat, drink, or sleep until he got the solo exactly the way he wanted it. If this is true, then it definitely paid of because it is some of the most fantastic guitar work he ever put to tape. This is a moment where his musicianship and skill as a guitar player really managed to shine through.

There isn't a single bad track on Diary of a Madman. It is definitely an adventurous album to say the least, though not to the point where an average listener will feel bamboozled and bored. You can hear just how much the musicians loved and cared for what they were doing, even if Osbourne was the star of the show. That said, if you want to get this album make sure you do NOT get the 2002 rerelease of the album because it has rerecorded bass and drum tracks by other musicians that absolutely pale in comparison to the original performances.

Diary of a Madman, by Ozzy Osbourne receives 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Over the Mountain
2. Flying High Again
3. You Can't Kill Rock and Roll
4. Believer
5. Little Dolls
6. Tonight
7. S.A.T.O.
8. Diary of a Madman

Buy the album on Amazon:

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Joe Lynn Turner Beats Up on New Rainbow Line-Up

Many of former Deep Purple and Rainbow guitarist Ritchie Blackmore's fans are excited about the fact that the man in black is making a brief return to rock music for a few shows after playing exclusively renaissance music with his group Blackmore's Night the past two decades. However, it would seem that former Rainbow vocalist Joe Lynn Turner does not share the enthusiasm.

He seems to feel that the new line-up of Rainbow is just a cover band and it is not what the fans deserve. In an interview on Eddie Trunk's SiriusXM show, Turner says:

“I was shocked. I wanted an authentic lineup. I was talking to Bob Daisley, Bobby Rondinelli, Roger Glover, Don Airey. There’s a whole bunch of guys that were really willing to get involved. I spent a good year working that out with his manager. Everybody thought I was delusional, and I know I wasn’t delusional at all – they were telling me this was going to happen. It made so much sense, especially with the deal that was presented to him. I have no sour grapes about this, so let that be told. But I think a man of his status, an icon, really deserves a lot more. I really wish he had done it a different way for the fans – I think the fans deserve better than a cover band.”

Personally I think Turner is only making a big stink because he wasn't asked to join Blackmore for his temporary return to rock. Honestly, I don't think he really gets how Rainbow works if he is that shocked. Rainbow has always been about Blackmore bringing in new different talent to keep things fresh and interesting. If he always kept going back to old guys he has worked with in the past it would kind of defeat the exploratory adventurous purpose that Rainbow has had since its inception in the mid-70's.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Northwinds, by David Coverdale

In early 1978 former Deep Purple and current Whitesnake vocalist David Coverdale released a follow-up album to his solo debut Whitesnake titled Northwinds. This time around Coverdale wanted to keep up the momentum he had just started to build up with the tour to promote the first album, using some of the same musicians he had worked with previously. In addition, that passion seems to be very much present in the tracks on Northwinds. Coverdale would later form the first incarnation of Whitesnake with the musicians he used to tour for the album.

Northwinds has a more blues rock type sound to it than its predecessor, though it still has some of the gospel and R&B elements the previous one did in certain places. You can hear the amount of soul and unfiltered passion from Coverdale's song writing and vocals. For a white British guy he sure has a hell of a lot of soul in his music. Half the tracks would later on be used as the B-side to Whitesnake's first EP Snakebite.

A little known fact about Northwinds is that it has a song that features the late Ronnie James Dio and his wife Wendy Dio as backing vocalists. This would be a song called Give Me Kindness. You can hear Coverdale's obvious gospel influence come pouring through on this one. With horns, piano, and powerful backing vocals that remind you of a sunny day it's hard to not get swept up in the moment of this walking paced tune.

Only My Soul is arguably one of the best songs David Coverdale has ever written in his 40+ year career. It's a soulful rock ballad that the man puts every last fiber of his being into. One of the coolest parts of the song however contains no vocals at all, but is rather just an interlude containing drums, bass, and haunting synth. Kind of raises the hairs up off of your arms and neck. When the chorus comes crashing back in from that however, it absolutely blows it all out of the water.

This is another one of those obscure 70's albums I'm a big fan of that in my opinion is deeply under rated. It's understandable why Northwinds isn't highly remembered by the general masses, but for those who take the time to actually pick it up and give it a listen there are treasures aplenty to be found. There is a great deal of soul, passion, and energy that emanates from this Coverdale classic. Definitely worth buying.

Northwinds, by David Coverdale receives 4 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Keep on Giving Me Love
2. Northwinds
3. Give Me Kindness
4. Time & Again
5. Queen of Hearts
6. Only My Soul
7. Say You Love Me
8. Breakdown

Buy the album on Amazon:

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Lemmy Kilmister's Son on Late Father: "Great Example For Hard Working Musicians"

Motorhead founder/front man Lemmy Kilmister was known not only as the definition of rock n' roll to some people, but to many he was also looked up to as a great man and a real stand up guy. This praise seems to have been furthered by Kilmister's son Paul Inder who also praised him for being so hard working and dedicated to his art and fans.

In a recent interview with Loudwire, Inder said:

“He had his up days and he had his down days. He would battle to go onstage sometimes, but he would always get it together. Even if he was laid out on his back, like one show I heard from his assistant. Like one show, he was actually laid out on his back backstage and he heard the crowd chanting, ‘Lemmy, Lemmy’ and he got up and he went out and did it. So he was determined all the way to the end. That’s all he lived for. 
He said, ‘There’s nothing else I’m gonna do. I’m not gonna retire.’ Retire didn’t exist in his vocabulary. For him, he wanted to go all the way to the end with his boots on and he kind of did. He set a great example for hard working musicians. For anyone who gains respect from just sheer hard work and never giving up and not ever giving in, I think he represented that.”
I had a great amount of respect for Lemmy as it was, but this just goes to show you what lengths you will go to when you really care. When you care so much that you are willing to go through excruciating pain just to make music and please your fans. You really can't get much more rock n' roll than that. Props to you, Lemmy. Hope you're resting in peace with an endless supply of Jack and Cokes. You clearly earned them.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Joe Perry Knocks Steven Tyler's Country Project

While Aerosmith has been on a break, singer Steven Tyler has been keeping busy by working on a solo country album. Many fans are shaking their heads at this and they aren't alone. Even Aerosmith lead guitarist Joe Perry isn't too fond of the idea either.

Perry has never been shy about saying what he really thinks of his band mate and the things he says and does. It's no secret that ever since the beginning the two of them have always had a rather difficult relationship. Recently Perry decided to give his thoughts on Tyler's current project.

In an interview with USA Today, Perry says about Tyler's new single The Red, White and You:

"Hey, if I didn't know him when I heard the song I'd go, 'It's okay, next.' I'm not going to say anything else about that."

Perry further elaborated his overall feelings on the project by saying:

"Steven is in Nashville doing whatever he's doing. He's got a rhinestone cowboy hat going 'Yippee ki yay.' I don't know what else to say about that."

The rest of the guys in Aerosmith don't seem to be too happy about Tyler's side project because it has actually forced them to scrap most if not all of their 2016 touring plans, according to rhythm guitarist Brad Whitford. Can't say I really blame them. I'd be upset too if I was forced to sit on my hands because a band mate wanted to do something self-indulgent out of nowhere when there were already plans made.

Monday, February 15, 2016

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #61

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. Hotter Than Hell, by Kiss

Haven't heard this tune on the radio? No real surprise, but you're missing out if you haven't listened to it before. With a catchy vocal melody, a grooving guitar riff, and overall flamboyance it probably could have done a lot better in the charts when it first came out if it had better production quality and better promotion. The contrast between Paul Stanley's vocals on the verses and Gene Simmons's on the chorus definitely hits the ear drums in just the right way.

2. When the Lights Go Out, by The Black Keys

This is one of those blues tunes that drones on and on for the entire length of the tune, but in this instance it works to the song's advantage. It's something you can find yourself getting lost in the groove of if you let it envelope you the right way. It's a delightful marriage of acoustic and electric guitars backed by the most primal pounding drums. Add a layer of soulful vocals and you've got a primo blues song.

3.  Gallows Pole, by Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin doing bluegrass? What's next? Even though this isn't exactly the first thing that one might think of when they think of Led Zeppelin, Gallows Pole kicks ass nonetheless. That banjo picking is some of the most sweet playing I've heard from anyone. Just goes to show you how valuable a player bassist/multi-instrumentalist John Paul Jones really was to the band. Such an under rated musician if you ask me.

4.  Trash, by The New York Dolls

This is probably one of the most punk rock songs that the New York Dolls ever wrote. You can definitely hear the elements that punk would take from it and use to forge its own path in various ways a few years later on down the line, especially in the chord progression. As much of a rock n' roll ruckus as the song is though, it has quite a lovely synth melody playing in the background. You wouldn't think it would work out that well, but it actually does. Listen for yourself.

5. Sweet Freedom, by Uriah Heep

This has to be one of the most compassionate break-up songs I have ever heard. Lyrically it just paints the picture of what a decent person would say in such a situation. To make things better the organ playing is absolutely beautiful and the chorus harmonies are a delight as well. Naturally the guitar playing brings up the rear, though that never quite was what Uriah Heep was all about. Nonetheless, it's one of the band's most epic tunes.


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Top 5 Rock/Metal Songs About Sex

Well it's that time of year again. Valentine's Day. The one day of the year where if you're in a relationship or are about to be in one and you manage to do things just right you will be whisked off your feet for a night of passion. That said, the rock and metal genres have managed to provide us with some great tunes about the act of love making over the years. Today I'm going to give you five of the best ones (in my opinion) in no particular order.

1. Still of the Night, by Whitesnake

Whitesnake has become notorious since the 80's for writing songs about love and sex. This song while all about lusting after that gorgeous someone in the middle of the night is actually pretty well written musically. Those guitar riffs are absolutely tasty and you can really move and groove to them. It really does provide the listener though with a musical vision of being in the kind of head space being sung about.

2. The Jack, by AC/DC

This song is absolutely PACKED with double entendres, analogies, metaphors, etc. for sex and VD related stuff. In all honesty it really is some of AC/DC's best lyrical work. If you didn't know any better you might not catch the true subject matter of the song behind all of the card game related wording. Add the fact that this is as basic of a blues song as you can really get and you've got something to get your groove on to.

3. Big Foot, by Chickenfoot

This is the perfect song to listen to in the car cranked at top volume when you're on your way to meet up with that special someone for a late night booty call. It's all about having your foot on the gas and trying to get over there as quickly as possible. The riff seems to match the big foot motif as well and will get you in that mood for getting to your rendezvous to get what you are lusting after so very, very badly.

4. Anything Goes, by Guns N' Roses

This driving tune from one of the world's most dangerous bands is unashamedly all about the rougher kind of love making which some people enjoy partaking in. There is absolutely no double entendre, metaphors, or analogies in this. It's straight up blunt and honest about what would make for a rather interesting evening. While in some ways it could be considered uncreative and deplorable I kind of admire the no frills straight and to the point approach.

5. Everybody Wants Some, by Van Halen

The title kind of gives it all away, doesn't it? No matter how puritanical you may be, it is nonetheless true. Everybody craves sex with a burning passion no matter who they are whether they want to admit it or not. The pounding rhythms will get your heart booming and physically unable to NOT want to go find some hot piece of ass you want to bang the crap out of right that very moment. Not surprising that Van Halen would have written such a song, honestly.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Ace Frehley and Paul Stanley Reunite on Frehley Solo Album

I guess if Axl Rose and Slash can make amends, just about anything is possible; especially in the world of rock n' roll. It would seem that former Kiss lead guitarist Ace Frehley and Kiss lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Paul Stanley have made patched things up as well.

Frehley is currently working on a solo album that is a compilation of covers of songs that heavily influenced him as a musician titled Origins Vol. 1. Frehley called in Stanley to play and sing on the cover of Fire and Water, originally by Free.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Frehley says:

“I thought Paul did a fabulous vocal on it. He jumped at the chance to do this because it's something that's outside of Kiss and his character in Kiss. It gave him a chance to sing. With Paul, you usually think of him singing in a slightly higher register and on Fire And Water, he's singing deep from his diaphragm, and it's a real cool vocal. Everyone's who heard it was just thinks it's the shit.”

Speaking of the Cat in the Hat, Slash will also be playing on the record along with John 5, Lita Ford and Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready. This seems like it is shaping up to be a pretty cool record. Even though it's all covers it should be a good time. To be honest, I have a feeling I will like it better than Frehley's most recent release Space Invader, which came out in 2014. I kind of think the guy is making the right move taking a short break from writing new stuff so he can truly get back to his roots.

The track list for Origins Vol. 1 looks pretty good. It includes:

  1. White Room – Cream
  2. Street Fighting Man – Rolling Stones
  3. Spanish Castle Magic – Jimi Hendrix (ft John 5)
  4. Fire And Water – Free (ft Paul Stanley)
  5. Emerald – Thin Lizzy (ft Slash)
  6. Bring It on Home – Led Zeppelin
  7. Wild Thing _ The Troggs (ft Lita Ford)
  8. Parasite – Kiss (ft John 5)
  9. Magic Carpet Ride – Steppenwolf
  10. Cold Gin – Kiss (ft Mike McCready)
  11. Till The End Of The Day – Kinks
  12. Rock And Roll Hell – Kiss
If you want to hear the cover of White Room, go here. It's pretty snazzy.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Hotter Than Hell, by Kiss

In 1974 arena rock legends Kiss were still working hard at making a big break into the music industry. Although they had had some minor success with the release of their debut album Kiss the year before, they weren't anywhere near the household name they are today. Nonetheless, they decided to press on and make another go at it by writing, recording, and releasing a second album titled Hotter Than Hell. Although this also didn't launch them into super-stardom, it still had some tasty gems for Kiss fans to treasure.

Hotter Than Hell is known for having a rather loud and colorful Japanese manga looking cover. It features a lot of Japanese characters on it including the kanji for "power". In terms of the songs, they are darker in terms of lyrical themes and production quality. Where the songs on the first album had a dirty shimmer to it, this time around they were just plain murky (though not necessarily in a bad way). In fact, the album even features some of lead guitarist Ace Frehley's best soloing.

Parasite is probably one of the absolute heaviest songs from Kiss's classic line-up that I have ever heard. Countless metal bands have covered it over the years including thrash metal band Anthrax. It has such a powerful yet lightning quick riff to it. This is definitely some of Frehley's better song writing to be honest. There is definitely a reason that the song is considered a classic to this day by fans.

Mainline in my opinion is one of the most absolutely under rated Kiss songs of all time. Drummer Peter Criss sings lead on it and in my opinion does a fantastic job. It is so fun, happy, and melodic; which is definitely something the album needed considering how dark it was. Of course the lyrical content is all about sex, but considering what a lot of Kiss's songs are about that is absolutely no surprise whatsoever. That said, that doesn't necessarily make it a bad thing.

Hotter Than Hell is one of those albums that sadly falls through the cracks because it doesn't have any of the band's big hits on it. However, if you're willing to dig it up and give it a listen odds are you'll find at least a couple tracks on it that you will like enough to put into your playlist. Plus, it's a great way to hear Kiss before all of the fortune and fame got to their heads and they became a brand rather than a band.

Hotter Than Hell, by Kiss receives 3 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Got to Choose
2. Parasite
3. Goin' Blind
4. Hotter Than Hell
5. Let Me Go, Rock n' Roll
6. All the Way
7. Watchin' You
8. Mainline
9. Comin' Home
10. Strange Ways

Buy the album on Amazon:

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Stone Temple Pilots Looking For New Singer

Stone Temple Pilots are making an attempt to bounce back after vocalist Chester Bennington recently decided to go back to being full time in Linkin Park due to having difficulty juggling both bands as well as the recent death of original singer Scott Weiland while he was out on tour with his band The Wildabouts.

This time around they are opening auditions to the general public rather than just trying to go with someone who is already well known. They have created a short tune for singers to write their own lyrics and sing over to give the band a taste of what they can do.

The band recently released a statement saying:

“2016 marks a new year for Stone Temple Pilots. A year of hope, optimism, and most importantly, new music. We are immensely proud of all that we have been able to share with you over the years. We very much want to continue doing that, but that’s going to take a little help from all of you. As you know, prior to the untimely passing of our brother in arms, Scott, we had been working with the incomparable Chester Bennington. What you also likely know is that having Chester front two bands of this size and scope was too much for one man to be able to do and so regretfully we had to move onto a new chapter together.

This is where you come in. We are officially announcing that we are seeking a new vocalist to front Stone Temple Pilots. We’ve already heard from many talented people, but want to make this an opportunity for many more so we’ve set up a way for you to do just that. If you think you have what it takes to front this band, record with this band, and tour with this band, we would dig hearing from you. No one will ever ‘replace’ Scott, that was never the intent. The intent is for Stone Temple Pilots to continue on, to evolve, and to do what we do… make music. We look forward to seeing you.”

Think you have the vocal and lyrical chops to try out for STP? Maybe you might get lucky and have overnight stardom. Probably not, but I guess it never hurts to try. No one ever got anywhere by just giving up due to tiny odds. Hell, maybe I might even try out myself just for shits and giggles. Best of luck to those who try out!

STP Singer Submission

Monday, February 8, 2016

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #60

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. Puff the Magic Dragon, by Peter Paul & Mary

Yes, I know this is a low key non-rocking folk song for kids. Do I give a crap? Not even a little. The simple melodies, harmonies, and song structure are enough to draw anyone in and have them enchanted. The only thing that keeps this song from making me particularly happy though is that the subject matter of the lyrics can get rather sad towards the end. All that aside, it's a song I think everyone needs in their life be they young or old.

2. God Save the Queen, by The Sex Pistols

And now for something completely different. We can always use some rip-roaring anti-establishment rock n' roll ruckus in our lives, right? You can clearly tell that the Sex Pistols didn't care even a little bit about being marketable or friendly presentable faces you could bring home to your parents and nowhere is this more clear than in God Save the Queen. Hell, even if you don't agree with their ideals it's hard not to get swept up and singing "No future... No future... No future for you..." during the chorus. That said, find your inner punk today by giving this a shot.

3. All the Way, by Rival Sons

Haven't loaded up the playlist with some Rival Sons in a while. That is a darn shame. This fuzz tinged classic rock style quartet from Long Beach, CA puts their own spin on 60's/70's hard rock in a way where they don't sound like they are directly copying off of anyone while still giving that same warm grooving feeling that music had. All the Way encompasses that quite well because it is swinging and bluesy but at the same time there isn't a whole lot out there that you could say it sounds like.

4. Check Your Head, by Buckcherry

This has got to be my all time favorite tune from Buckcherry. It's a ballad from their first album Buckcherry, although it still has some rock n' roll balls that one would expect to hear from a Buckcherry song. It definitely has a lot more emotion and life experience packed into it than most of their tunes do, though. It feels like more than just your typical obligatory sensitive cock rock album moment.

5. Hound Dog, by Elvis Presley

Can't go wrong with the King, right? I remember this being one of the first rock n' roll songs I had ever heard as a young child on the radio. My mom would play the oldies station ALL the time and this was some of the first exposure I had ever had to a genre of music that would change my life for the better in a HUGE way. I and countless others out there really do owe a great deal to Elvis Presley. There has never been anyone like him since.


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Elton John Gives Surprise Performance in London Train Station

Sir Elton John decided to make the day of some lucky travelers the other day by giving a quick one person performance of his classic song Tiny Dancer at St. Pancras International depot in London. The video can be watched below.

A spectator told The Guardian:

“A colleague and I were just walking through the station and there was a bit of a crowd, then everyone started clapping and cheering. Elton sat down and started playing Tiny Dancer. He didn’t sing, played for about five minutes, then got up and walked away, all very low key.”

Elton then logged onto his Instagram, informing fans of his performance and the fact that the very piano he had played was a gift to the station, saying:

“Surprise!! I popped into St Pancras International to christen the Yamaha piano which I donated to the station. Now everyone can have a play. … My gift is my song and this piano’s for you.”

The piano has an inscription on it saying:

“Enjoy this piano. It’s a gift. Love, Elton John.”

The performance in the video is rather subtle and laid back. I'm a bit disappointed that he didn't sing, but I guess that is understandable given the fact that they probably didn't have time to set up a PA or whatever and would have made the performance less of a surprise. Plus, Elton doesn't quite have the vocal range he used to have when he first put the song out back in 1971. All that aside, I still think it was a cool thing for him to do. It is definitely a great way for him to promote his 32nd album that just came out Crazy Wonderful Night.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Welcome to My Nightmare, by Alice Cooper

In March of 1975, legendary shock rocker Alice Cooper made his big solo debut with the album Welcome to My Nightmare. While all of Cooper's previous albums had had his name as the band name as well, those albums had been as the band called Alice Cooper rather than Alice going and doing his own thing. This would be the start of a major change in Cooper's career which continues to this day except for the occasional reunion with one or more of his former bandmates.

Welcome to My Nightmare is a concept album that goes on a journey following the nightmares of a young boy named Steven. Music-wise it follows a variety of genres from hard rock to Broadway. Even horror legend Vincent Price made a guest appearance on the album doing voice acting parts on various tracks. The whole album is a big production and you can really feel like you're a part of something monumental when listening to it.

Welcome to My Nightmare is one hell of a title track for the album. Cooper's vocals are so smooth and cool in the intro and gradually gets more raucous as the band picks up more and bolsters gradually throughout the duration of the tune. In a way it almost sounds like he was trying to emulate Jim Morrison's vocal style in certain parts. However, it isn't long before his signature grit kicks in during the big horn backed parts. You can tell that this song was made to be bigger than just something on an album.

Cold Ethyl is one of my favorite tunes on the album and quite frankly I feel it's one of Alice's most under rated songs of all time. This one is more of a straight up rocker. No horns or backing orchestra. Just one down and dirty rock n' roll band making some blues tinged glam rock that was definitely appropriate given the era it came out in. It has a catchy chorus that will get you singing right along and guitar riffs that will get you dancing and grooving for a while to come.

Welcome to My Nightmare is a must have for fans of the Coops. You can tell he was giving it everything he could because he wanted to make a good impression on the masses as a solo artist. Needless to say, I think he did pretty darn well; especially given that he was in the midst of his alcohol addiction at the time. That said, pick it up. It's a fun album with good tunes and an interesting story to go along with.

Welcome to My Nightmare, by Alice Cooper, receives 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Welcome to My Nightmare
2. Devil's Food
3. The Black Widow
4. Some Folks
5. Only Women Bleed
6. Department of Youth
7. Cold Ethyl
8. Years Ago
9. Steven
10. The Awakening
11. Escape

Buy the album on Amazon:

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Last in Line to Carry On Without Jimmy Bain

Last month former Rainbow and Dio bassist Jimmy Bain passed away from undiagnosed lung cancer. His band mates from his most recent project The Last in Line which was comprised of original Dio members Vivian Campbell, Vinnie Appice, and replacement vocalist Andrew Freeman have decided that they will still carry on in order to pay tribute to his legacy.

In an interview with Linearock, Campbell says:

"We're very, very, very sad to have lost him. But I know that Jimmy believed very much in the new record, Heavy Crown, and that he would want us to continue to play and to play the Frontiers festival. And we will continue to do that. We will play it in his honour. We still have to figure out who is gonna play bass moving forward. That's a heavy, heavy decision for us to make. It has to be someone that is appropriate and someone that does tremendous respect to Jimmy Bain's legacy.

We have a few ideas, but it's obviously very early days yet. We don't even really wanna think about that just yet. It's not something that we want to dwell on right now. We're still mourning the death of Jimmy. Although we do know that Jimmy would want us to promote this record and to continue, and we will do so. But it's also very, very, very important that we make a very careful decision as to who will play bass moving forward."

Hopefully the guys will be able to pull through this difficult time fairly soon. I'm hoping that whomever they choose to replace Bain with will be another bassist who at some point worked with Ronnie James Dio in order to keep the original vision of the band alive. I'm still kind of stunned that they are choosing to go on despite all of this, but am glad at the same time glad. The show must go on, after all.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Original Santana Band Premiere New Single "Anywhere You Want to Go"

Members of the original Santana band Carlos Santana, Neil Schon, Gregg Rolie, and Michael Schrieve have been teasing the public for a few years now with the fact that they are working on new material together. Now, there is finally a sample of what will be on the upcoming Santana IV album called Anywhere You Want to Go (which can be listened to here).

On the new album, Santana says:

“When you can go back and break new ground with joy and determination – and some whoop-ass energy – it gets you going. I think we achieved something very rare. This music was screaming to come out of us. It wasn’t about nostalgia. It was about passion.”

Anywhere You Want to Go sounds a lot like Oye Como Va and Evil Ways, but it doesn't sound too much like it is just trying to rip off the old stuff that got them notoriety in the first place. It just sounds like a few guys from the old guard who still have some of that fire left in them giving it all they've got. Santana and Schon definitely show they have lost none of their speed and fiery passion in their guitar work, that's for sure.

Santana IV will be hitting the shelves on April 16th. It will be the band's first album with all of the original members since 1971. Quite frankly, I'm pleased with what I'm hearing in Anywhere You Want to Go. It has a classic Santana vibe without it sounding too much like they were going for nostalgia, like Santana said. If it is really as passionate as he is saying, then I don't think any of us are going to be too disappointed.

Monday, February 1, 2016

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #59

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. I'm Shakin', by Jack White

Always pretty sweet to hear a grooving swing laid down by an electric guitar backed by a full band including backing singers. This jumpin' and jivin' tune originally by Rudy Toombs from Jack White's first solo album Blunderbuss shows that he knows how to rock even outside of The White Stripes. If anything, it has more depth to it musically than a lot of songs from his former band did. It takes an older R&B/blues tune and puts some more modern balls to it.

2. Rack 'em Up, by Jonny Lang

This song from Jonny Lang's first album Lie to Me in my opinion is an under rated gem. It has such a smooth bassy groove that will get you dancing right in your seat. The guitar solos are absolutely juicy and will make you want to air guitar right along. It really does give you the image of a dimly lit smokey pool hall shooting a game with some local fellas. The fact that there is also some sweet horn playing just adds another layer of deliciousness to this bluesy jaunt.

3.  Blues Power, by Eric Clapton

If you need that boogie-woogie down in your very soul, look no further. Eric Clapton is considered one of the gods of the blues for a reason. Clapton shows just how well he does what he does on guitar with some of the tastiest blues licks in between lyrics that sound like he is having an absolute ball. It's enough to make even the stodgiest old fart to want to start running on blues power. Definitely a MUST for any blues/Clapton play list.

4. Somebody in My Home, by Howlin' Wolf

Howlin' Wolf had one of the most smokey blues powered voices I've ever heard from any musician. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in his track Somebody in My Home, which also shows off just how good of a harmonica player he was as well. It's a fairly laid back tune and doesn't quite hype things up the way Smokestack Lightnin' does but it nonetheless draws you into a whole other world where everything else around you slips away and you are on a plane of nothing but the sound of blues in the night.

5. As the Crow Flies, by Rory Gallagher

Although this wasn't originally a blues tune (written originally by Tony Joe White) Irish blues man Rory Gallagher turned it into an acoustic delta blues-like stomp in his Irish Tour '74 album. Makes the song sound like it could have been written 40 or 50 years before it had originally come out, honestly. I always have kind of found it interesting when an artist will take a song and make it sound like it was written in an older genre.