Chuck Berry at BB Kings on Fri. June 25. Tickets on sale next Tues. Feb. 2 at 5:00 p.m. $95 ($100 day of show).
Dionne Warwick at BB Kings on Fri. Rocktober 15. Tickets on sale next Wed. Feb. 3 at noon. $67.50 ($72 day of show).
Allman Brothers have added two additional shows at the United Palace Theater on Mon. Mar. 22 and Tues. Mar. 23. Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders begins today at 10:00 a.m. until next Fri. Feb. 5 at 10:00 p.m. General public on sale is next Sat. Feb. 6 at 11:00 a.m. $60.00, $100.99 and $150.99.
Dave Matthews Band at Citifield (Home of the Mets) on Fri. & Sat. July 16 and 17. Tickets on sale Fri. Feb. 26. (Price info to follow) Also appearing at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts on Tues. July 13. Tickets on sale Fri. Feb. 26 at 10:00 a.m. $40.50 (lawn) $75 (reserved).
Nickelback with Shinedown and Sick Puppies at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City NJ on Sat. Apr. 3. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $35, $65 and $89.50. (No offense but Shinedown should no longer be openers).
Jefferson Starship 40th Anniversary Tour at BB Kings on Fri. May 21. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.$35.
Ace Frehley at Nokia Theater on Sun. Mar. 21. Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders on until noon today. General public on sale at noon. $32.50
Richard Nader’s “Doo Wop” Reunion XXI at Izod Center on Sat. June 12. Pre-sale tickets now until 11:59 p.m. this Sunday night Jan. 31. Password is: Access. General public tickets on sale Mon. Feb. 1 at 10:00 a.m. $28, $40, $50 and $103.
The National at Radio City Music Hall on Wed. June 16. Tickets on sale this morning at 11:00 a.m. $39.50.
Teena Marie and The Whispers at Theater in Madison Square Garden on Sun. May 9. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $49.50 – $79.50.
Cage the Elephant at the Music Hall of Williamsburg (Brooklyn) on Thurs. Mar. 4. Tickets on sale today at noon. $15
The Flaming Lips at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on Mon. Apr. 19. Tickets on sale today at noon. $40
The Magnetic Fields at the Town Hall on Fri. Mar. 12. Tickets on sale today at noon. $36.
She & Him at Bowery Ballroom on Mon. & Tues. Mar. 29 & 30. Tickets on sale today at noon. $25.
Selena Gomez at Gramercy Theater on Thurs. Feb. 11. Tickets on sale tomorrow at noon. (Live Nation Event).
The Chieftains at The Town Hall on Wed. Mar. 17. Tickets on sale today at noon. $49 and $74.
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony at the New York Fillmore on Tues. Apr. 6. Tickets on sale today at noon. (Live Nation Event).
Thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Morgan Harrington, the young woman who went missing after attending a Metallica concert in Charlottesville back on October 17. Her remains were found this week on a remote farm. This is such a tragic story. Metallica released a message on their website to extend their condolences and stated that “words can not express the grief and anguish” that her parents are going through.
My favorite “classic rock” song of the week is “Rock and Roll Soul” by Grand Funk Railroad. These guys were the real deal and I’ll say it again-they do not get the respect that they truly deserve. To be able to put the word “rock and roll” in a song title, you better make sure it rocks and rolls and these guys made damn well sure of that in this track. This is classic rock and roll at its best. Check it out for yourself.“We having a party… everyone is invited!!!”
My favorite “new song” (OK it’s not so new but it should be a “new” hit) of the week is “Breathe” by U2 from the absolute powerhouse of an album from 2009-“No Line on the Horizon.” This is another-“doesn’t get the respect it deserves”- rant of mine. The more you listen to “No Line” the more you will discover its greatness. I want to go on record (obviously along with Rolling Stone) that in years to come, all the “pundits” will come around on this album and then classify it as a “classic.” I, along with RS, have stated that this is a masterpiece. Listen to this track and you’ll realize it too.
Bret Michael’s new single “Nothing to Lose” will be released on Feb. 2. I like it, check it out on the web. (More on Bret in the “top 10” section below).
Rob Zombie’s new single “Sick Bubblegum” is now on video and I have to tell you that I really like the sound but again the “F” bombs are everywhere, so parents beware. He is always someone that I listen to just in the car or on my I-Pod with the earplugs and no where else. Love the guy but it’s not socially acceptable in many circumstances. That said, yes I will buy this song.
Ozzy has been a busy man lately, his new book “I am Ozzy” arrived in bookstores this week. His new album-10th solo album-is set for release in July with new guitarist-Gus G. Ozzy- who replaced Zakk Wylde-who had performed on every album and tour with Ozzy since 1988. In addition- “Ozzfest” will be back this year after a one year hiatus last year-no announcement if it is just a one day thing or a tour. By the way he and his family will be on “Ellen” next Thurs. Feb. 4.
Believe it or not: The Scorpions have announced that they are calling it quits after the release of “Sting of the Tail” which will be released in March. They will tour for the album beginning in May, so it will be the last time to catch them live. I will keep you posted on tour dates.
Jon Bon Jovi will soon be making a guest appearance on my favorite TV show “30 Rock” and will play the part of a former boyfriend of Liz Lemon.
“And 5, now this is most important, Rat…comes down to making out… whenever possible.. put on side 1 of Led Zeppelin IV”
Side 1 of “Pieces of Eight” by Styx released in November 1978.
My I-Pod shuffle landed on “Great White Hope” by Styx and it brought me way back to 1978 when I had just become a teenager and was ankle deep into Kiss, The Cars and Foreigner. Thanks to my good friend Cathy, she introduced me to, in my opinion, a great rock album of the 1970’s. Now of course when you are 13 and are discovering music really for the first time-without the influence of your parents- (although I would have to say that I stay current enough to influence what my kids listen to, hopefully they don’t mind. Now with me, as mentioned hundreds of times, my dad still thinks its 1957 so there was no chance that he was going to introduce me to bands like Deep Purple, Sabbath, etc. I had to find them on my own) the sky is the limit, right? Now with Styx, yes one can clearly say that Queen had to be one of their influences, (although the “die-hard” Styx fan would point out that their first album debuted in 1972, so maybe Queen was not an influence-I still say yes) because they took the grand “theatrical” experience to another level. So at 13 years of age,with their “over-the-top” theater like sound but accompanied by the loud rock guitars, well I thought I discovered the greatest rock band ever. Fast forward thirty years, I don’t get the same exact feelings but I tell you what- it is awfully close especially when I listen to songs like “Sing for The Day.” I loved this song from the first time I heard it and love it even more now in 2010. Literally, I could listen to this song all day- I can’t get enough of it. Anyway I’m supposed to be talking about the perfect album side-which is side two- and I’ve mentioned 40% of the songs on the first part. As mentioned so many times, music brings you back to a time in your life and unlike many adults who say that they wouldn’t want to go back to the teenage years (my wife included), I’d have to say that I lean heavily on going back because I loved being a kid, and still am a kid at heart.(Someone recently said “Boy you must be pretty good at softball for that team to want you to play at your elevated age”- I was floored because in my mind I’m still 17-maybe that’s why I’m writing about bands like Styx, you think?). So I’m back on 46th and 47th street in Sunset Park Brooklyn for this perfect album side. I was running, running everywhere while also playing softball, football and stickball in the “well” at Pershing Junior high school as well as handball and then some backgammon on summer nights. I joined my first baseball team with the “Flynn Celtics” and my teammates where a great bunch of guys as well as damn good ball players and we were led by “Mr. G.!!” Boy those were the days. “Pieces of Eight” was my first album from Styx and I was immediately hooked, I love the entire album but side two is impeccable, so here goes.
The first track on side two is “Blue Collar Man” and I say that this song can go “toe-to-toe” with any rock song out there-old or new. Now unfortunately the Styx “factions” seemed to be created as their popularity grew. On one side you had the Dennis DeYoung team (“Theatrical”) and on the other side it was the Tommy Shaw/James Young (“Rock”). Now I loved both and that’s why I think the period from 1978-1983 or so is where they hit their stride and were at the top of their game. Sadly, their musical directions drifted apart and now Dennis is no longer one of the co-singers/creators of the band. (Actually Dennis is playing with his band at the Ridgefield Playhouse in CT on Feb. 25, the tour is actually titled: The Music of Styx. I saw him recently on an interview and to me he was way too full of himself, he needed Shaw/Young just as much as they needed him. He really didn’t seem interested in the “rock and roll” part…anyway). Back to the track- This song rocks so good and I knew my youngest son would love it. When I played it for him, he was in and ironically it seems he tends to trend towards the Shaw/Young songs-oh well I guess it’s inevitable at any age. “My mother and father, my wife and my friends, you see them laugh in my face. But I’ve got the power and I’ve got the will… I’m not a charity case…” This is classic rock with a bite and stands the test of time, nice job fellas. Now the next song “Queen of Spades” starts out with the “opera-like” sound that DeYoung seems to have on every one of his songs, it starts out very soft and tranquil and I could just picture James (JY) Young jumping out of skin to get the wheels in motion and blaze in with that huge wall of sound created by his guitar, along with Tommy’s guitar as well as the Panozzo brothers (Chuck on bass, John on drums-sadly he passed away in 1996) manning the rhythm section. JY has a distinctive sound on his guitar (as well as voice) and I immediately know when he’s at the forefront. Now Dennis demonstrates that he could kick into gear and sing the rock part very well. I would say to all his “haters” look at this song as an excellent mixture of what he brought to the table as well as James and the rest of the boys. This is my second favorite song on the album (remember “Sing for the Day” ranks way up there for me, all-time-never mind just Styx) and the arrangement/production is really top notch. Love the part where Dennis sadistically states “haa haa haa… you lose” while John does as masterful job on the skins.
Track # 3- “Renegade”- could just be their most popular song (along with “Come Sail Away”) on the classic rock radio format. Styx had this way of fooling you into thinking that a song was going to be soft and then just like a lightning bolt, they joust you out of your seat with an explosion similar to when someone sneaks up to try and scare you. (You know those pranksters right, everyone has ‘em). What stands out most to me is the harmonization of the vocals between Shaw and DeYoung (my assumption) especially during the “heartbeat” part of the song where they both sing-“Oh mama I can hear you a crying you’re so scared and all alone..” This is a powerful song and even though it’s been played millions of times, I still get psyched when I know the “fast” part is coming after the scream of “Yeeeaaahhhhh… The jig is up…” Not to be outdone by his counterparts, Mr. Young has a blazing guitar solo that I think the creators of Rock Band or Guitar Hero had in mind when they fashioned this product. Excuse me while I jump up on the table to “air-guitar” as this solo is unbelievable. Whew I’m at a fever pitch and to cool off the very under-rated “Pieces of Eight” song begins and I have to say that this could be one of the best vocal performances by Dennis. His voice is confident as well as passionate (you have to give him that). It sort of has that “Queen” feel to it, especially the piano parts and the “high pitched” back ground vocals. Tommy takes it away with a nice guitar solo and the song turns into a “singfest” as I always have the urge to keep singing “Pieces of Eight.. don’t let it turn your heart to stone..” Nice touch with the piano ending. The last track on side two is the instrumental- “Aku Aku”- now to all you youngsters out there- this is what went on in the 1970’s- bands always had one or two instrumentals on their album. Now I’m not going to sit here and tell you this is a “Frankenstein” but for the theme of the album, it’s a nice touch to end the album. Tommy speaks “Aku Aku” a few times. You’d have to ask him what it means, I have no clue.
“Pieces of Eight” is one of their finest “pieces of work” that Styx has ever done and if I’m not mistaken- it is their best selling album of all time as well. (3 Million plus). As mentioned, this album, along with ‘Grand Illusion”, and subsequent albums that followed “Pieces” catapulted this band into super stardom but yet at the same time seemed to create a rift that still hasn’t healed to this day. I think after the “Paradise” tour-when they were really at the top of their fame-the members of Styx probably knew things had to change because it seemed that the struggle to see who was going to be the “captain” of the ship was getting old and even though they continued for “Mr. Roboto,” the writing was on the wall. It appears, in a nut shell, that Dennis wanted more “theatrics” while Tommy and JY wanted to just “rock and roll.” At least we have the original recordings to fall back in the absence of a “reunion” (I know Styx is still going strong). And just like in 1978, side two of “Pieces of Eight” remains perfect. If you do not have any Styx in your library, you may want to start with this album, like I did. Thanks Cathy.
I don’t know about your I-Pod shuffle but there are times when I press mine-even though I have thousands and thousands of songs- they seem to pick the same genre for about 5-10 songs in a row or they play 4 out of the first 20 songs by the same artist, even though again there are hundreds to choose from. Well this week, my shuffles kept landing on Poison and Cinderella so I decided to make this week’s top ten from their respective library of work. Now no offense to the “die-hard” fans of either but I have elected to choose my favorite five songs from each to create my top ten list this week. So I guess the genre this week is “hair-band” metal but again labels mean nothing to me-if it moves me, I’ll listen. Now I am a huge fan of both bands and am not ashamed to admit it (like many of you reading this now, you’ll brush it to the side as “‘80’s hair metal” but you know you listen and like it). I’ve seen Poison as “openers” and as “headliners” and believe me these guys put on a great live show. You can’t help but enjoy yourself. Call it whatever you like, I love the hair-bands of the 1980’s. Now with Cinderella I would have to say that these guys were my favorite “hair-band” of all time. Again it’s a shame that there is a “label” because to me, this band could play blues, country, rock and roll, throw in some “metal” riffs and of course sprinkle in the “power ballad” dressing which in my mind completes their deserved spot on the menu of very good bands from the late 1980’s-again “pre-Nirvana.” Remember, I’m on a deserted island and have been told that I could only have five songs from Poison and Cinderella-“These are Them:”
(All images from Amazon.com)
5. Look What The Cat Dragged In– Love the rocking groove in this track. This gets me out of my seat and has me playing air-guitar as I run all throughout the house trying to do the same “David Lee Roth splits” as he jumped in the air-remember those?-there is no other way to listen to this track but LOUD!!! The “back-ground” vocals are so good throughout the song. “Oh my God look what the cat dragged in!!!” The drumming in this song is super solid.
4. Unskinny Bop– I can clearly remember driving in my car when I lived in Ringwood NJ and was headed somewhere on the weekend to do those Saturday “errands” when it came on “WDHA FM” (105.5 on your radio dial) and I had not heard this song in a long time and I was immediately struck on how fresh it sounded. I had to take some more time out of my errands, so I drove to the mall to pick up their greatest hits CD. (I had their music on vinyl and tape at the time). Love the groove and the chorus is probably one of the most infectious out of all the songs they recorded. Like the way CC trails Brett’s vocals with the guitar-yes OK a rip off of the Mighty Zep but they are/were not the only ones to employ this trait. (see Van Halen). This is just an all around fun song, pure enjoyment.
3. Poor Boy Blues– Is it “over the top” the way the song is recorded, maybe yes. Is this true “blues”- well maybe not. But there is something about this song that keeps me coming back for more. I can remember being in my early 20’s living in Brooklyn and when I would put this song on, my mom would always say “leave the door open for this one.” It starts off with this slow “bluesy twist” which for some reason I picture pouring syrup from a high level onto pancakes down below. But then it starts to pick up and before you know it, the drums, guitar and Brett’s vocals are just about in 3rd gear and the flow is so rocking that I have to run around the room like a maniac-excuse me while I do this…..Ok I’m back. “Let’s walk this dog…ahhh don’t hurt yourself CC…” as Mr. DeVille breaks out into a ferocious guitar solo.. excuse me again… even the bass guitar work by Bobby Dall is very noticeable especially after CC’s guitar solo- you can feel the bass in your chest. (of course only if it is LOUD!!!). I can’t stop dancing around the room. These guys know how to make fun songs, I’m sorry but I love it. Again call it what you will but this is rock and roll the way I like it.
2. I Want Action– This song rocks-I don’t care what anyone says (yes the lyrics are juvenile but its about the music)-this pumps me up so much and immediately brings me back to one of the best time periods in my life and that was my time spent at the gym at MBIA Insurance Co. This was one of our “staple” boot camp songs (Ok yes I was the one who always put it on multiple CD’s) and whenever it would come on it was like I was possessed. The adrenaline would flow through my veins, bloodstream and every orifice and even if I might have been draggin’ through the stations, this song would pick me right back up. It pushed me harder to do those “bubble” jumps, rope jump faster, sprint faster, do more push-ups (Ok I’m lying now). But those classes spent with Dave, Tricia, CIC, Nick and Doreen were the best. Thanks everyone for making those mornings so memorable.
1. Something to Believe In– Ok, yes this is the obligatory “power ballad” that is most associated with the “hair bands” but the lyrics in this one have a greater “social” impact than most of its peers, including “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” I think the whole arrangement of this track is top notch and it always gets me when Brett laments “I tried all night not to break down and cry while the tears rolled down my face…I felt so cold and empty, like a lost soul out of place…” Yes there was a time that MTV (sorry Eddie) played this video “every hour on the hour” and I did distance myself from this song because I did hear it too many times. So I tucked it away and came back years later and it still touched me the same way as when I first heard this classic ballad-which I consider their best song.
5. Nobody’s Fool– This track reminds me of “Too Late for Love” by Def Leppard and that is one of my favorite songs. This band has changed many members since they started back in the 1980’s (they are from PA) but the one constant voice is Tom Keifer, now if you are a fan of AC/DC I would say his vocal style is similar to that of Brian Johnson. (For those of you who do not know who this band is, the man has a “high pitched” singing voice and may be an acquired taste for some. Rumor has it his voice has returned to “normal” after he has blown out his vocal chords a few times. On these original recordings it’s very high pitched). Now I know this a slow trudging tune but it still rocks in my opinion, something about it that pulls me in, “hook, line & sinker.”
4. Heartbreak Station– This song reminds me of my mother and now when I listen to it, it really is a “Heartbreak.” She use to listen to my music from the dining room while she was eating or crocheting and I remember her saying “that guy’s voice can be annoying but I like this song.” This is a love song about Keifer losing his girlfriend so the vibe is melancholy but sometimes you need that, especially when it reminds you of someone you love with all your heart. Thanks Mom.
3. Loves Got Me Doin’ Time– Love the guitar riff that blasts open this song. If you are at the gym and are punching the big bag you may want to put this song on your I-Pod song list for your next workout. It’s not that fast moving but at points when the pace picks up, it will make you jump around the bag like you were “floating like a butterfly” while Cinderella will put the “sting” into you with the “electric” guitar solo. “Ooh got this funny feeling that you are not on the level… I can’t pay the fine.. got me doin’ time…” This song rocks. \m/ \m/
2. Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)– Yes this is the typical “power ballad” that filled the airwaves back in the late 1980’s and on MTV, repeatedly but again I eat this up, don’t ask me why but there is something about this genre that I love. Maybe it brings me back to my younger days when there weren’t as many worries as you build up as you grow older. That’s why I consider music the most important release that people can have, it takes you away-albeit to you come back to reality but it makes you feel better. At least it does for me and songs like this are sappy, yes I know but I need sappy in my life-squeezed in with every other genre that I listen to.
1. Shelter Me– For some reason when I hear this I think of the Black Crowes.. that is until Tom starts singing. This is one of my all-time favorite songs, never mind by Cinderella-I’m talking out of all the bands and artists that I listen to. Love the lyrics-“check out Mr. Politician in a suit & tie… meanwhile Mr. Medicine’s treating his best friend’s wife.. Tipper led the war against the record industry she said she saw the devil on MTV..” Now remember when Al’s wife took it to the music industry and we watched Dee Snider on the hill… back then I was so upset with Tipper but now as a Dad, I thank her. (parental advisory labels were her victory). Anyway, I love the groove in this song and could sing it all day long. This is Rock and Roll at its best folks, don’t kid yourself- even my wife likes this song!!!
Answers from last week:
1. Soul Stirrers
2. Billy Preston and Lou Rawls
3. True, in Philly
4. Named after Chevy REO Oldsmobile station wagon
This week’s trivia (Poison, Cinderella)-
1. What famous rocker from New Jersey recommended that executives from A&R records to go see Cinderella perform live?(which gave them the break they were looking for)
2. What “Loggins & Messina” song did Poison cover?
3. Which song-arguably Poison’s most popular- was featured in the film “Mr. & Mrs. Smith?”
4. True or False: The Poison and Cinderalla Tour of 2006 averaged 10,000 people per show?
Name That Tune
Answers from last week:
1. “Back in the U.S.S.R.”- The Beatles
2. “Back in the U.S.A.”-Chuck Berry
3. “Back in Black”-AC/DC
4. “Back in My Arms Again”- The Supremes
Can you guess the title from the following lyrics from part of the song?
1. “Seasons changed and so did I.. you need not wonder why.. you need not wonder why…”
2. “But there never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do.. once you find them.. I looked around enough to know… ”
3. “But you’ll come running back (said you will baby).. You’ll come running back (I said so many times before) You’ll come running back to me…”
4. “And I was walking down the street one day.. a pretty lady looked at me and said her diamond watch had stopped cold dead….”
Back on this Day
Sadly back on this day in 1992, the legendary Willie Dixon passed away at the age of 76.
Sadly back on this day in 1994, Mary Wilson was injured in a car crash that killed her son in California.
Back on this day in 1962, Peter, Paul & Mary were signed to Warner Brothers Records.
Back on this day in 2006, Bryan Adams was the first Western Act to perform in Karachi, Pakistan where he performed a benefit concert for children affected by the 2005 earthquake.
If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with Tommy Ramone, (last surviving original member), David Byron (Uriah Heep) and Eddie Jackson (Queensryche).