Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Whitesnake's David Coverdale Feels Bad for Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page

Whitesnake front man David Coverdale has had a lot on his plate lately with rereleasing his band's mid-late 80's albums. During this conversation he went into talking about his friend and former collaborator Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page.

In an interview with Sweden Rock, Coverdale expressed his empathy and feelings for Page, kind of feeling bad for him in certain regards. Coverdale says:

"The saddest thing for me, and my dear, dear, dear beloved friend Jimmy Page. I think one of the reasons he’s explored the Zeppelin catalog so significantly is because he can’t get the guys to commit to making a new record or touring.

Zeppelin’s his baby, as Whitesnake is mine, but I’m very happy to say I have a fabulous fresh chapter of Whitesnake. I’m still a recording entity and I’m still a touring entity.

I’ve recommended to him for years to do what Carlos Santana did with Supernatural. Jimmy’s got all these great songs. I said, ‘I’m there for you. I’ll do a couple of songs for you, without a doubt.’ I said, ‘Do something like Supernatural. At least you’re playing.’ It breaks my heart, ’cause he’s such a f—ing valuable musician. With what he’s already given to us, he doesn’t really owe us anything, but I just know that he’s still valid and relevant and can still play amazing guitar and write amazing songs. Where do you go after f—ing Led Zeppelin, dude? Where do you go?”

I understand what Coverdale is getting at. It's kind of difficult to figure out what to do and where to go after you've ruled the world in one of the most gigantic and influential rock n' roll bands to ever exist. I too wish Page would do SOMETHING with the music he has, even if it is in the vein of Supernatural. Santana pulled it off. Slash pulled it off. Page is more than capable of getting together some great talent and releasing one of the greatest records of the 21st century. He would blow anything the remaining members of Zeppelin are currently doing out of the water for sure.

Monday, May 29, 2017

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #119

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. In My World, by Buckingham-McVie

I'm pretty stoked for the upcoming duet album from Fleetwood Mac members Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie. It has basically everyone in Fleetwood Mac except Stevie Nicks, which in my opinion is an improvement. This single put out a month ago is probably my favorite of the three that have been put out so far. I'm looking forward to the full thing coming out on the 9th for sure.

2. Would You Fight For My Love, by Jack White

This is another one of those songs that I didn't really care for all that much at first, but over time it's grown on me. I love the female vocal melody as well as all the unique instrument sounds and the way they are arranged. The fact that I and many of us can relate to the lyrics also makes it that much better because it forms that deep personal connection. When you manage to pack all that into one song, you definitely have yourself a lasting work of art.

3. Land of Hope and Glory, by Rainbow

This is the first new Rainbow song in over two decades. While I'm disappointed that all it is is just a soft instrumental version of Pomp and Circumstance it's always nice to hear Ritchie Blackmore play the guitar. Even after all these decades the man in black still has that touch on his instrument that many have tried to copy but will never succeed at. That said, I'm hoping Blackmore puts out a new song with Ronnie Romero singing at some point.

4. Keep Yourself Alive, by Queen

This has always been one of my absolute favorite Queen tunes. It's the perfect blend of hard rock, flamboyancy, and creative song writing. It's the first track on their first album and right from the get go you could already tell from this song alone that they were destined for great things. It's just a shame it doesn't get more radio play because it definitely deserves it. I bet if they re-released it it would be quite popular.

5. Lady of the Lake, by Lords of Black

This is hands-down one of the single greatest covers of a Rainbow song I have ever heard. This is from Ronnie Romero's (current singer of Rainbow) band. It captures the spirit of the original while still being undeniably its own. After listening to this there is definitely no question in my mind as to why Romero was chosen to front Rainbow. The man was born to do this. Maybe if we're lucky he and Blackmore will write and record together.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Fleetwood Mac Had Doubts Over Upcoming Buckingham-McVie Album

When it comes to tackling such a big yet different kind of project it is understandable to some times have doubts. Members of Fleetwood Mac were no different when it came to putting together the upcoming Buckingham-McVie album (due out June 9th).

In a recent interview with Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie (which can be viewed in the video above) these doubts are discussed, but then put to rest when Buckingham says:

“One of the things we thought about was to create an environment that was a departure, but also one that was familiar and felt like home. We immediately thought of John and Mick, the greatest rhythm section there is. It was a wonderful idea on paper. Whether or not that played out remained to be seen. We didn’t go in assuming it was going to be wonderful. We knew we loved each other and we wanted to do it. But whether the process would be as enlightening and effortless as it seems to have been was another question.”

It's understandable that they might have been unsure at first, but from the looks and sounds of things it's turning out to be a great album. I'm kind of glad that Fleetwood Mac is in some form moving forward despite lead vocalist Stevie Nicks not wanting to do another album as a band. Personally I am betting that the band will sound even better without her because Buckingham and McVie are way better singers and songwriters.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Fleetwood Mac, by Fleetwood Mac

By 1975 Fleetwood Mac had gone through numerous changes in line-up and sound. However, stability and lasting commercial success would find them when two Americans guitarist/vocalist Lindsey Buckingham and vocalist Stevie Nicks joined the band. Though they wouldn't have their breakthrough album until 1977, Fleetwood Mac is the album that introduced the famous line-up and sound of the band we all know and love to the entire world.

Where Fleetwood Mac had previously had a blues/rock fusion sound, Fleetwood Mac is where their distinct signature light but melodic pop rock sound came into existence. Though it was't quite as polished as it was in Rumours there are still multiple songs on the album that are worth listening to and remembering including the still famous hits Landslide and Rhiannon. The triple blended vocal harmonies and Buckingham's unique style of guitar playing made for an album that showed what they could accomplish.

Monday Morning in my opinion is one of the best songs Fleetwood Mac ever put out. It's rather simplistic, but it is in that simplicity that the song finds its greatness. It's only a few chords and some rather easy to follow lyrics, but the way it flows and the way Buckingham makes it so melodic and catchy is what makes the song so easy and quick to grasp. Some times that is really all a pop rock song needs. Just a few chords, simple lyrics, and a vocal hook that ingrains itself into your mind so deeply that it will never go away.

Rhiannon is of course a Fleetwood Mac classic. It still gets consistent radio airplay even 42 years later. Admittedly I'm not that big a fan of Nicks, but I will admit she put together a rather memorable tune. The soft finger picking on the guitar draws you in, but its Nicks's vocal melody that you stay for. There are moments where her timbre is so sweet that you could swear you were just stuffed with a whole batch of your grandma's best cookies. Overall though, the atmosphere of the song is magical. You feel like you're swirling in a mystical dimension with a bunch of gypsies.

While Fleetwood Mac is really only just a taste of what the band would soon go on to accomplish, it is still an album worth recognizing and looking back on. I guarantee you'll find at least a couple of tunes on it that you will put on your regular playlist. It's catchy, fun, and well put together despite the fact that this line-up of the band had only just gotten together when they made it. I would definitely recommend picking it up when you get the chance.

Fleetwood Mac, by Fleetwood Mac receives 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Monday Morning
2. Warm Days
3. Blue Letter
4. Rhiannon
5. Over My Head
6. Crystal
7. Say You Love Me
8. Landslide
9. World Turning
10. Sugar Daddy
11. I'm So Afraid

Buy the album on Amazon:


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Vicky Karayiannis, Wife of Chris Cornell Pens Open Letter to Late Husband

Ever since Chris Cornell, singer for Soundgarden and Audioslave passed away last week due to suicide, countless people have taken the loss immensely hard. Most of all, Cornell's wife Vicky Karayiannis to no one's surprise or blame. To ease her sorrow, she penned and shared an open letter to her late husband for all the world to see.

The letter in its entirety can be read below:

"To My Sweet Christopher,

You were the best father, husband and son-in-law. Your patience, empathy and love always showed through.

You had always said I saved you, that you wouldn’t be alive if it were not for me. My heart gleamed to see you happy, living and motivated. Excited for life. Doing everything you could to give back. We had the time of our lives in the last decade and I’m sorry, my sweet love, that I did not see what happened to you that night. I’m sorry you were alone, and I know that was not you, my sweet Christopher. Your children know that too, so you can rest in peace.

I’m broken, but I will stand up for you and I will take care of our beautiful babies. I will think of you every minute of every day and I will fight for you. You were right when you said we are soulmates. It has been said that paths that have crossed will cross again, and I know that you will come find me, and I will be here waiting.

I love you more than anyone has ever loved anyone in the history of loving and more than anyone ever will.

Always and forever,

Your Vicky"

That is honestly one of the most touching letters I have read in quite some time. It was straight and to the point; and honestly I think that is why it is so potent. The love unbound by time or mortal life emanating from this woman's words is something you really don't see too often any more. I'm not sure you ever did. I hope for her and her children's sake that the pain becomes at least easier to deal with as time goes on. Karayiannis seems like a remarkable person and deserves that peace.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow to Release Two New Songs This Week

A little while back we got news that Ritchie Blackmore is going to be releasing the first Rainbow songs he has put out in over 20 years. We had no idea when these tracks would see release though, until now. Blackmore has set the two tracks for release on May 26th and also given us the names of them.

Blackmore with the current line-up of Rainbow re-recorded the Joe Lynn Turner era tune I Surrender and wrote and recorded a brand new song titled Land of Hope and Glory. In an interview with Japanese rock magazine Burrn! Blackmore talks about the songs, saying:

“We were recording until yesterday in the studio at our home. We recorded some songs for Blackmore’s Night and two songs with the new singer for Rainbow.

I wrote one new song, and also recorded one of the old ones. Ronnie, who is in Madrid now, added his vocals and sent it back. Rather than make an album, we may release as singles.”

Both songs are currently available for pre-order. Personally I'm kind of disappointed that Blackmore didn't choose a Ronnie James Dio era tune if he was going to re-record an old song, but I will still check it out anyway. Maybe it will have more balls to it this time around. That said, I'm pretty stoked to hear what Land of Hope and Glory will sound like. Probably like Doogie White era stuff, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. We'll see. Regardless, I'm just glad there is going to be new Rainbow music this week.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #118

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. Promise, by Slash featuring Chris Cornell

With the tragic passing of Soundgarden and Audioslave singer Chris Cornell last week I wanted to pay tribute a bit with one of my absolute favorite songs of his. It might not be his most profound, but I always thought that this team-up with Slash was one of the coolest things ever. Both are extremely passionate at what they do and it shines through in this tune. It's kind of sad that it isn't better known because it's absolutely wonderful.

2. Steady, by The London Souls

I saw these guys last week at the House of Blues in Chicago opening for Rival Sons. Oh man, did they put on one hell of a show for the short amount of time they were up on the stage. Their sound is like Lenny Kravitz meets The Black Keys. It might seem like a bit of an odd combination, but it works out insanely well. This tune is a fairly decent representation of their sound, but believe me when I say you need to see them live. They will blow anything done in a studio out of the water.

3. Waiting on a Song, by Dan Auerbach

Black Keys front man Dan Auerbach is getting closer to putting out his second studio solo album Waiting on a Song. He released yet another single and video from it this past week, this time for the title track. You can definitely hear the influence living in Nashville has had on him, though there is definitely still some of that bluesy sound that has always sung from his very core. That will never fully go away no matter how over-produced and mainstream he goes.

4. Cherry Bomb, by The Runaways

Usually I'm not that heavy into girl rock, but these ladies had enough of the right attitude and stuff that I can dig it. Plus, you can't really go wrong when two of the members ended up becoming famous solo artists Joan Jett and Lita Ford. This is punk rock right at its very core, even though this came out at a time where punk hadn't really quite taken off in the States just yet. It's spunky, thundering, full of attitude, and fun.

5. Still Alive, by Jonathan Coulton

Yes, I'm letting my geeky side out to play once again. This is the song that plays at the end credits of the classic first person puzzle game Portal. The song was written by famed nerdy singer/songwriter Jonathan Coulton, but was sung by the person who voices the evil AI in the game named GLaDOS. Even if you don't know a whole lot about the game, the song has multiple humorous lines that make it rather charming and fun to listen to.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Black Keys's Dan Auerbach Releases New Solo Single "Waiting On a Song"

As Black Keys front man Dan Auerbach comes closer and closer to the release of his second studio solo album Waiting on a Song (due out June 2nd on Easy Eye Records), he has been releasing more singles from it in addition to videos to accompany them. This time he has released the title track Waiting on a Song and a video to go with it.

The song is like a blend of 60's rock and a little bit of country (but not overly so). You can definitely hear all of the influence that living in Nashville has had on Auerbach. You can definitely hear him singing from a place of experience and reflecting back on such times in his life with friends that he had back in the day. Even if you aren't in it for the lyrics, it's got a nice groove and melody to it.

The video is rather cinematic. It tells the story of a group of guy teens who have just graduated high school and are spending one last summer together before they all move on with their lives and go their separate ways to grow up and become adults. It's a lot of fun to see them get into different typical teen shenanigans like smoking, drinking, partying, and some other interesting stuff. It makes it all the more impacting when you reflect back on the beginning of the video and then see the tail end, which will make you sigh a bit.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Chris Cornell, Singer for Soundgarden and Audioslave Dead at 52

The world of rock n' roll suffered a huge shocking loss late yesterday (5/17/2017) when singer for Soundgarden and Audioslave, Chris Cornell aged 52 was found dead in his hotel room in Detroit, according to the Associated Press. The same article reports that when Cornell's body was found there was something around his neck. After further medical examination the examiner confirmed that the death was indeed a suicide.

This comes as almost a complete shock because Cornell had been very public about how much he was looking forward to the various gigs that Soundgarden had coming up this year in addition to what good spirits he seemed to be in.

However, to be fair depression can be a very sneaky and easily covered up disease. No one can know for certain just what had been going on in Cornell's head or how long it had been going on for. It's a shame that he wasn't able to get the necessary help when he needed it, as now the world has lost a musical icon and his family and friends an important soul in their lives.

I'm still stunned by the loss myself. At 52 he was still fairly young and had so much more he could have given the world. However, I do understand that some times depression can get the best of us and make us do rather drastic and dreadful things that are often quite regrettable. It can go undetected for so long if you're not careful and some times not until it's too late. One thing we can learn from Cornell is that if you think something might be wrong mentally/emotionally with either yourself or someone around you don't just shrug it off. Say something right away before things take an ugly turn.

Despite his life being cut short, Cornell has left behind an outstanding legacy. The man had a great deal of passion and soul to him and he put all of it into everything he ever did. He fronted two of the greatest bands to ever exist and did some respectable stuff on his own. I know pretty soon I myself will be putting on Superunknown to remember him.

Rest in peace, Chris. May the Great Gig in the Sky treat you better than Earth did. You deserve it.

Deacon, Son of Late Glenn Frey to Play With The Eagles

Ever since the passing of the late Eagles guitarist Glenn Frey, many fans have wondered whether or not the band would continue with Frey's son Deacon Frey playing in his father's stead. Speculation has now been confirmed that this will in fact be happening, especially since they have festival dates in LA and New York this coming July.

Even though Don Henley had previously denied that such a thing would be happening, in a recent interview with KTCK radio station (via Billboard), the band changed their minds. In the interview he goes into detail on the decision, saying:

“There’s going to be an official announcement in a few days, but let’s just do it here.

Glenn’s son Deacon is a very talented young man, and he seems to be up for the task. He’s enthusiastic about it and he’s been working real hard on it, and he’s gonna do it with us. And I think that’s appropriate.

There’s an old system both in Eastern and Western culture called the guild system, where the father is the master and the son is the apprentice.

The trade, the craft, the business is handed down from father to son. I think it’s the only appropriate way to carry on. I don’t think I’d do it otherwise. Since it’s Glenn’s blood, it’s his son, I think that’s appropriate.”

Personally I think The Eagles should still call it a day considering what all has happened, but if they are going to carry on then I do agree that it is appropriate that Deacon fill his father's post. I doubt he will sound the same, but then again I'd be disappointed if he did. As iconic as Glenn was, Deacon should still have his own way of playing these songs. We'll see how it all goes.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Ex-AC/DC Singer Brian Johnson Returns to Stage for First Time with Paul Rodgers and Robert Plant

Brian Johnson, formerly lead singer of AC/DC has been keeping things pretty tame since in March of 2016 he was forced to leave his long time band due to complications with his hearing. He has appeared on one or two studio releases from friends, but has done nothing substantial musically aside from that - until now. On May 14th Johnson made a triumphant return to the stage as a guest singer during a Paul Rodgers concert in Oxford, England.

To sweeten the pot, former Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant also joined the fray to perform the 1959 Barrett Strong classic Money. Johnson definitely sounds and looks great. He seemed in good spirits and as much of the charismatic performer as he ever was. Plant was also sounding and looking great as well. He looked like he was having a lot of fun.

Whether or not this means Johnson will be returning to AC/DC or live performing regularly remains to be seen. Johnson is always working on more ways to get his hearing fixed. Regardless of what happens, it's great to see him still doing what he loves. The three performers definitely sounded great together. You can view most of the performance in the video above.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #117

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. Treat Me Like Your Mother, by The Dead Weather

I've been finding myself listening to this song more and more lately. Not necessarily for the lyrical content, but because of the attitude and dark atmosphere it provides. I guess if you're feeling like you have some pent up rage that you can't seem to get out this is a good tune to help you feel that release you have been looking for. It's not necessarily even an angry song. It just has that feeling to it where you can get your true raw aggressions out to it.

2. Last Ride, by Danzig

Danzig put out another single from his upcoming album last week. It's pretty good. Though you can still tell that his voice has aged, this sounds a lot more like the classic iconic Glenn Danzig dark evil Elvis vocal style that many of us have become familiar with over the decades. It's rather laid back in terms of instrumentation, but that kind of makes sense considering that the vocals are without a doubt the main focal point in the song.

3. Reptilia, by The Strokes

This song always made me imagine cruising down an empty highway late at night either on a motorcycle or in a convertible. It just has that night time solitude pedal to the metal feel to me. Probably because of that steady bass line. It isn't really a flashy song, but when you're going more for a feeling rather than showing off what you can do on an instrument you don't really need to be able to do that. Regardless, this is speaker blasting material.

4. White Wedding, by Billy Idol

Can't go wrong with a classic, now can you? Yeah this one gets way too much radio airplay, but that's ok. At least it isn't another forgettable 'repeat stuff' kind of pop song that you hear on the mainstream channels. That said, Billy Idol still kicks ass. He has a real punk attitude and that spirit shines through in all of his music whether or not it is directly punk rock or not. If anyone could make a song about a white wedding rock, it would definitely be him.

5. Paradise By the Dashboard Light, by Meatloaf

Ah, yes. Songs about pressuring a guy into a commitment. That is totally the way to start a healthy lasting relationship, now isn't it? Even if this song has some questionable morals it is still a classic. You can't really go wrong with Meatloaf's brand of Broadway meets rock n' roll. Everything with him has always been a huge theatrical-like production, but I think that is why we all know and love him to begin with.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Danzig Releases New Single from Upcoming Album: "Last Ride"

Fans of Glenn Danzig have even more to get hyped about. The singer has put out yet another crunchy heavy track from his upcoming album Black Laden Crown (due out May 26th via Nuclear Blast Records) titled Last Ride (which can be listened to in the video above).

Last Ride is a bit more laid back musically than the previous single Devil on Hwy 9, but Danzig's voice definitely sounds better on this track. You can still hear the age in his voice, but it has a bit more of that smooth bourbon Jim Morrison/Elvis Presley flavor to it that he has made himself known for over the past few decades.

The only nitpick I might make is that production-wise it sounds like the instruments are lacking the proper punch. They are too far down in the mix. I get that the vocals are supposed to be the focus of the song, but you can still do that while giving the mix the proper balance it requires. If anything, you would achieve that goal better if you did that. That said, it's still a pretty good song. Maybe it will sound better live?

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Throwback Thursday: The Wall, by Pink Floyd

In 1979 English rock prog rock icons Pink Floyd put out what many people consider to be their magnum opus: The Wall. The Wall was a double album that was also a concept album. It did so well that it stayed in the Billboard 200 for 15 consecutive weeks, is placed at 87 at Rolling Stone's 500 Best Albums of All Time list, and even spawned a feature film. Needless to say, this gigantic theatrical album propelled the band to new heights and earned them a place in the pantheon of the all time greats of rock n' roll.

The Wall is a concept album that follows the story of a fictitious rock star named Pink. Many of the songs and parts of the story are based off bassist and vocalist Roger Waters's own personal experiences as a youth and young adult and somewhat on former singer Syd Barrett. It is definitely dark in theme as it ranges from topics like war, to drugs, to rockstardom, to isolation (hence the metaphor of the wall), to abandonment, to so much more. The album spawned hits like Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 2, Mother, Hey You, Comfortably Numb, Run Like Hell, and more.

Comfortably Numb in my opinion is one of Pink Floyd's grand masterpieces. It is filled to the brim with intense emotion and the music truly reflects that. When combined with the lyrics you can feel that overwhelming sense of anguish and emptiness. David Gilmour's guitar solo in this song in my opinion is probably one of the single greatest guitar solos ever put to tape despite the fact there is no shredding or complex technique whatsoever. Just goes to show you that you don't need flash and dexterity to be able to do great things on a guitar.

Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 2 is also one of the greatest things to ever happen to rock n' roll. Even if not all of us can directly relate to the kind of cruelty from educators that Pink or the people he is based on went through we can all relate to the fact that as youths we always wanted to burn down the school establishment because we hated how it treated us. We all connect on that raw emotional level when this song comes on the radio for the 1,000,000th time.

The Wall is a must have for not just fans of Pink Floyd, but rock music in general. There is a reason this album gets overplayed and overhyped. It deserves every last bit of it. It is musical, lyrical, and story writing genius. Even with the grand production value it is every bit as raw, honest, and real as anything done by just a couple of guys in a basement. I guarantee if you listen to this from start to finish your life will never be the same ever again.

The Wall, by Pink Floyd receives 5 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

Disc 1:

1. In the Flesh
2. Thin Ice
3. Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 1
4. The Happiest Days of Our Lives
5. Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 2
6. Mother
7. Goodbye Blue Sky
8. Empty Spaces
9. Young Lust
10. One of My Turns
11. Don't Leave Me Now
12. Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 3
13. Goodbye Cruel World

Disc 2:

1. Hey You
2. Is There Anybody Out There?
3. Nobody Home
4. Vera
5. Bring the Boys Home
6. Comfortably Numb
7. The Show Must Go On
8. In the Flesh
9. Run Like Hell
10. Waiting for the Worms
11. Stop
12. The Trial
13. Outside the Wall

Buy the album on Amazon:


Former Guns N' Roses Rhythm Guitarist Gilby Clarke on Band Reunion

Ever since classic Guns N' Roses members Axl Rose, Duff McKagan, and Slash got back together under the GN'R moniker in the past couple of years, there have been all kinds of comments, praises, and criticisms coming from all directions. Former rhythm guitarist has recently added his input on his former bandmates getting back together as well.

In a recent interview with Loudwire, Clarke voiced a surprisingly enthusiastic and positive opinion on the Not in This Lifetime tour, saying:

“I’ve been saying from day one that I think it’s fantastic. It’s great for rock music, number one! I mean we all know that rock music has kind of taken a hit over the last ten years and I think by the success of this tour we can really help rock come to the forefront again.

Look, I was a huge fan of Guns N’ Roses before I was in the band. I think it was a great band and to me there’s nothing better than seeing Slash and Axl back together again and I’m happy for them.”

Personally I find it to be rather refreshing to hear a former member of the band (especially from the band's initial heyday) have something nice to say about the reunion even if they aren't personally involved. While I wish Izzy Stradlin, Steven Adler, or Matt Sorum were involved it's still amazing to see such a tour happen. For decades no one ever thought anything like this would ever happen. I'm glad it did before they all got too old. Those criticizing just need to find something better to do with their time.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Former Kiss Drummer Peter Criss: "Rock is Over"

It looks like another member (or rather former member in this case) of Kiss in addition to Gene Simmons has jumped on the whole 'rock is dead' bandwagon. This time it is original drummer Peter Criss.

In an interview with Hi Fi Way Criss discusses his experience of being around from the genesis of rock n' roll until now and says that the genre is over because of the way things have gone. Criss says:

“I’ve been around since the day that the Beatles were onstage, I’ve been around when music was Motown … I’ve been around! What’s going on today ain’t my cup of tea. The ’60s and ’70s were the times to be around. I saw Jimi Hendrix, I saw the real Who, the real Zeppelin, the Beatles and seen the Stones many times now that I know them and we’re friends. Over the years a lot has happened to me and I got to see all these great acts, and what I see today doesn’t rock my cradle and doesn’t do anything for me and I don’t care for a lot of the music.

We were early pioneers and no one was doing that when we started out. Now everyone does it, so it isn’t big news anymore. It’s time for me to get off the train as it’s not a great ride anymore. I don’t go out to concerts much anymore because I don’t enjoy myself because I get constantly harassed, people with phones wanting to take pictures, I can’t really sit and enjoy the concert or have a good time so I’m more of a homebody these days. The world has changed, my friend.”

If you ask me, Criss sounds like just another cranky old man who is upset because things aren't like the way they used to be. Yeah, rock n' roll isn't the huge chart topping genre it once was but it is far from dead. You still have tons of big name artists touring and making albums all the time. Plus, there is plenty of fresh talent if you know where to look. Rival Sons, The Black Keys, Jack White, Halestorm, and countless other newer artists from after the 80's are making great rock n' roll all the time. You might have to dig for it, but it's there.

As for the vibe at concerts, get over it. There is nothing wrong with people wanting to snap a few pictures to help remember the experience. I don't think they should stand with their phones out the whole time, but give people a break if for a quick moment they want to get something to take home with them as a memento; especially for the prices people have to pay to get into shows to begin with these days.

Monday, May 8, 2017

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #116

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. Ex's & Oh's, by Elle King

Because I'm often so slow on the uptake with newer artists and songs, I let about two years go by before I finally discovered this awesome song. It has a really sexy old school blues swing to it, but has enough of a modern aftertaste that it doesn't sound like another rehash of an old style of music. This is taking the blues and doing something unique and new with it, even if it is slightly overproduced. I'll be having this on repeat for some time.

2. Invisible, by Dio

Getting back to my bread and butter though, this has always been one of my favorite Dio tunes. I especially love the clean guitar and melodic vocal intro. It has a bit of a Rainbow feel to it, but you can definitely tell it's newer and more intense. It's a shame that this tune never got more attention because in my opinion the intro mixed with how in your face and pounding the rest of the song is it has what it takes to be a classic.

3. Boris the Spider, by The Who

I've always liked this tune because of just how different and off the wall it is. Bassist John Entwistle does some rather gnarly guttural vocals that make him sound like an absolute monster. In a way he was kind of laying the groundwork for the future of hardcore metal band vocalists even though The Who were farthest thing from being even remotely metal. That said, it's a short, quirky, and fun song. Even hypnotic in a way. You'll see what I mean.

4. The Dangerous Kitchen, by Frank Zappa

Speaking of quirky, off the wall, and odd you can't go wrong with a bit of Frank Zappa in your life. This song definitely features some of the most complex timing I have ever heard in music. That is absolutely no surprise though because even though Zappa's songs were weird lyrically they were very musically advanced. Everyone Frank ever worked with was an absolute super star in terms of being a technical musician. He made such music accessible to the layman though because he was able to make the lyrics humorous.

5. Stairway to Heaven, by Led Zeppelin

Oh no! Not Stairway! Yes, Stairway! Regardless of how many millions or even billions of times this song has been overplayed since 1971 I still think that it is a great iconic song. It definitely features some of Jimmy Page's best song writing and Robert Plant's best lyrics and performing. It's a seamless blend of rock and medieval European folk. It really is beautiful if you can manage to separate yourself from the stigma that surrounds the song.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Wendy Dio Retort to Criticism of Ronnie James Dio Hologram

On May 16, 2010 we lost the metal god Ronnie James Dio at the age of 67 to a long battle with stomach cancer. To this day it is still considered one of if not the largest loss the world of heavy metal has ever faced. To try to ease the pain though, Wendy Dio (Ronnie's wife) has been working with a company called Eyelusion to make a full show hologram of Ronnie performing. However, after a short demo/premiere of it at Wacken last year Wendy has come under fire and received a great deal of criticism for it.

In an interview with Ultimate Classic Rock, she explains her feelings on and some of the realities of the situation, saying:

"I get called cash cow. Well, actually it’s costing us a hell of a lot of money. We didn’t need to do it, but we’re doing things that we always did. Ronnie did things for his fans, and we’re trying to continue doing that.

A lot of people don’t like the idea and some people do. It’s done with love for the fans. It’s for those who would love to see him on the stage again with his bandmates, and for those who never got the chance to see him.

We always tried to make a hologram, Ronnie and I. In 1986, those who saw the Sacred Heart tour saw that we did a rear projection of Ronnie’s head in a crystal ball, talking. Ronnie was always very very fascinated by Disney World and all the holograms that were in there. So I think he’d give his blessing to this. He was also an innovator in music, so why not an innovator in technology?"

The hologram won't fully be ready for a while yet, though. Wendy says:

“It’s a long process; it takes a long time. It won’t be ready until September or October – maybe this year, maybe not. But we’re working on that, and we’re hoping to put that out.”

While I kind of understand where Wendy is coming from and the good intent behind the hologram, I still don't fully agree with it (as I have mentioned in previous posts on the subject). I'm not going to try to stop people from enjoying it and might even go see it myself if the tickets don't cost too much, but it still seems like it could just be one more way for a record label to try to make money off a man's legacy without him actually needing to perform any more. It just seems a bit weird to me.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Throwback Thursday: GN'R Lies, by Guns N' Roses

In 1988 Guns N' Roses were experiencing tremendous success with the release of their debut album Appetite for Destruction. They were the biggest name in rock and metal at that moment and there wasn't a soul around who didn't know of them. To keep the momentum going, they released an eight song EP titled GN'R Lies. This showcased their unplugged capabilities and also on the second side of the record featured another EP they did: Live Like a  $#% Suicide which was released on a limited run before Appetite.

GN'R Lies showed that Guns N' Roses could still have the raw energy, passion, and attitude even without the amplifiers. It also spawned another one of the band's most popular hits, a sensitive heart felt ballad known as Patience. The other side of the record is pretty fun too, as it shows what GN'R sounded like in their early club playing days when they were still really hungry (both metaphorically and physically), but of course gives the band that clean studio razzle-dazzle.

Patience while a bit overplayed is overplayed for a good reason. That is one of the most honest, down to Earth, and real songs that ever came out of the late 80's. While other bands' ballads at the time were all sweet, sappy, and generic you could tell that this song came from real life experience and pain with no corny or cheesy frills. Just unplugged instruments and the passionate and soulful voice of Axl Rose pushing through.

Move to the City is one of the coolest songs GN'R ever put to tape. It's loud, punchy, and plugged in but it is unapologetically a swingy blues song. The addition of horns in the background add to the vibe that much more. You really feel like you're driving down the streets of some big city at night in a convertible when you blare this one. Slash does some pretty nice guitar soloing in this one. Not necessarily his best moment, but still one that shows off just how thrilled with the blues he always has been.

GN'R Lies is one of those records where even though there are two distinct feels to it, it all comes together nicely in the end and leaves you satisfied with the experience that only Guns N' Roses can provide you with. Whether you want some rip-roaring rock n' roll or something more earthy and unplugged you'll find whatever you're looking for here. This record kept the band's popularity and hype going well into the early 90's when they topped themselves with the Use Your Illusion albums.

GN'R Lies receives 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Reckless Life
2. Nice Boys
3. Move to the City
4. Mama Kin
5. Patience
6. Used to Love Her
7. You're Crazy
8. One in a Million

Buy the album on Amazon:


Op-Ed Piece: Should Led Zeppelin Reunite?

I was reading online today that there are rumours floating about for Led Zeppelin to reunite and play together for the first time in 10 years at Desert Trip. These rumours were started due to some supposed "well placed sources" and the fact that a few weeks back singer Robert Plant changing the home page of his website to just a page of black with text saying "Any time now..." with no further way to navigate.

It's been no secret however that Plant has been working on a new album with his band The Sensational Space Shifters since January. Personally, I think that whatever Plant is doing right now is in relation to that or some big tour he intends to embark on. He might even be planning to retire. Who knows? I don't think it is a Led Zeppelin reunion though because he has shot down HUGE offers to do it countless times over the years.

That said, if hypothetically Zeppelin is planning on reuniting is it necessarily a good idea? Plant has made it clear time and time again that he wouldn't want to do it, in a 2014 interview on Zeppelin having done a tour, saying:

”A tour would have been an absolute menagerie of vested interests and the very essence of everything that’s s—ty about about big-time stadium rock. We were surrounded by a circus of people that would have had our souls on the fire. I’m not part of a jukebox!”

If Zeppelin did get together to play that is kind of what they would be. Just a jukebox playing all the old fan favorites just for the sake of nostalgia. In my opinion that would go against the very artistic integrity that Led Zeppelin stood for. Odds are they wouldn't be making any new music at all, which is the only way I would even consider a reunion even a slightly ok idea.

The thing is though is that each of the surviving members of Led Zeppelin are different people and musicians now. They each have their own things going and have moved on from the days of being big time stadium filling rock stars. It really wouldn't be the same experience that people would be envisioning. It wouldn't be like their 70's heyday shows.

I kind of admire Plant's desire to keep pushing forward as an artist rather than keep going back to the past like so many people would want him to. Even if I'm not the biggest fan of what he does these days I still can appreciate that driving spirit. I know not everyone in the band shares the exact sentiment, but I like that the spirit of the band is being preserved and everyone in it pushing forward to some degree or another. Led Zeppelin is the past and while it should be celebrated, should be left there.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Metallica's "For Whom the Bell Tolls" Played Entirely on Bells

YouTube heavy metal icon Rob Scallon is at it once again with his eccentric brand of musical prowess. This time he has taken the Metallica classic For Whom the Bell Tolls and played it entirely on bells (which you can view in the video above).

It's amazing just how many different kinds of bells Scallon utilizes in this video to make the song come alive in his own unique way (some of which were kinds of bells I had never see nor heard of before). What impressed me most though was he managed to include every last layer of that song with some form of bell. He left no part of the song out.

It's a silly video, but at the same time rather creative. You don't see a whole lot of people doing that kind of thing, for which I will give Scallon props on his originality. He has some other rad stuff on his YouTube channel as well if you have some time to kill and want to see more unique takes on famous songs or original stuff played in cool ways.