Errols Weekly Music Update.

June 23, 2010

Concert Review: The Scorpions at Jones Beach Nikon Theater on Tues. June 22, 2010

Concert Review: The Scorpions at Jones Beach Nikon Theater on Tues. June 22, 2010

The Scorpions, in the midst of their supposed final tour across the U.S., landed on Jones Beach last night and “knocked-out” their fan base with a vigorous performance supplemented with a dazzling display of video pyrotechnics which at various points in the show engulfed the audience to the point where you actually felt like you were on one of those “simulated” rides where you can feel every twist and turn. This was a night where you might have thought that Michael J. Fox was part of the audience as everyone was catapulted “Back to the Future.” The German based band excelled at every aspect of their game and even though the clock says 2010, they made it feel like it was 1980. Based on last night’s show, let us all hope & pray that they decide to keep it going a few more tours as well as some more new material. Folks, I’m telling you right now if you have never experienced “Rock You Like a Hurricane” at one of their shows, it is the equivalent of never seeing “The Wizard of Oz.” So you better hurry and see if Doctor Emmett Brown (aka-Christopher Lloyd) has anymore room in his time-capsule race car so you won’t miss out on taking a trip down memory lane with some of the best rock songs ever created as well as some new orders on the menu which will leave you salivating for more.

For anyone who does not live on Long Island New York, getting to Jones Beach is like visiting the Land of Oz because even when you think you are there- you have to go back and “get the broom” and get back on that “yellow brick road,” which seems to never end. (Could they have built the amphitheater any further out?). And of course there is always a good chance of rain if I attend a show there (think back to Cheap Trick, Heart & Journey). But the threat of rain did not stop me, Rosie, Melinda & Sandy as we were determined to revel in this “glory night.. where the children of tomorrow dream away.” I arrived just in time to see the opening act-one of my favorite bands- Cinderella. Now I was so curious to “see what I was going to hear” from this band which has persevered through so much over the years. And you know what? They rocked the house! Tom Kiefer sounded like his old self and the band appeared to be having a blast up on stage as their fans couldn’t get enough of them despite the heavy downpour of rain midway through their set which lasted through their last song. Cinderella was not about to lose that slipper and they made sure they tied their shoe laces as tight as their sound that was resonating from the stage. Of course the highlight for me was “Shelter Me” as I couldn’t believe that in 2010 I was again seeing this song performed live- as I always say-don’t take things for granted-if there is that one artist or band that you love-go out and see them in concert because you never know. As the rain was pouring down, (by the way, no one was looking for shelter) many of the fans were up singing and dancing to this classic tune as I was in my glory looking up to the sky as the rain was drenching my socks. From that point onward they blasted through some of their best known tracks, including “Don’t Know What You Got, Till it’s Gone” and “Shake Me.” As their set ended, I was already aboard the time machine that was going to take me back to my youth. Nice job Cinderella!!! I knew right then and there that this night was going to be one to remember and of course with the Scorpions set to take the stage, it was only going to get better.

Rosie and the crew arrived just as Cinderella were playing their last song and as the rain was pelting the audience, since there was no more great music being performed, we decided to head for cover with the rest of the crowd inside the brick tunnels that lead to the seats. As the clock was getting closer to 9:00 p.m. we went back to our excellent seats in orchestra to the left of the stage. Right around 9:15, the drum set rises from the ground and seemingly grows to about 12 feet in the air and there he is-James Kottak-already pumped up and ready to bang away. (By the way, if you didn’t know any better he appeared to be the “main attraction” as he was profiled continually throughout the night and he psyched up the crowd with his adrenaline). So he appeared larger than life and the backdrop included two huge screens to the left and right of James as well as one right smack in the center of the stage. The opening chords of the title track to their current album-“Sting in the Tail”- are crafted by Rudolph Schenker (with the band since 1965), Matthias Jabs (since 1978) and Pawel Maciwoda (since 2003) as they appear to be on the lower floor because of the massive drum set towering above them. And there he is-Klaus Meine-the lead singer in this historic band off to the side of the stage wearing a black leather jacket and a black beret almost trying to appear invisible as it is clear from the get go that these guys are “family” and no one piece is bigger than the band. Everyone in the orchestra section was on their feet cheering and as one looked to the stage you felt like you were inside a kaleidoscope as the power of “red” completely took over. There were bright red roses that surrounded the title of the song which was displayed on the screen. The band was as tight as could be and just like that it is a homerun on the first at bat with a feeling of a “Blackout” on the horizon. When Klaus spoke to the crowd he thanked them for coming and pointed out that the rain had stopped but that they were going to make their own rain up on stage all night long. They sent the crowd into a frenzied state as they blasted into-“Bad Boys Running Wild”- as the blazing guitars and searing bass lines compiled with the feverous pace of the drumming was too much for many of the seasoned fans to take, they knew the best was yet to come. The pace slowed a bit-but not the head-banging- as the very cool-“The Zoo”- highlighted their musicianship as Mr. Meine took this time off from his singing duties to distribute some of Mr. Kottak’s drum sticks to the crowd-which looked like throwing a piece of fish into an ocean surrounded by a school of sharks. Meanwhile, both Rudolph and Matthias were making the crowd do the Wayne’s World bow as their guitar solos were incredibly righteous as one of them were doing their best impersonation of making the guitar talk like Mr. Frampton. The showmanship of their skillful talents continued as they played an instrumental- “Coast to Coast”- while the screens displayed a simulation of driving down a road at very high speeds just like in the great 1980’s video game- “Pole Position”- you see I told you we were back in time.

They played “Sunday Morning” but this was not your ordinary Sunday morning with the tranquility you normally are used to as the guitar solo in the middle of this song was blistering as I looked around and could see many fans “air-guitaring” their way into a blissful peace of mind. Of course the Scorpions can also “take it down” with the best of them and have made some of the best “power ballads.” (if you want to call them that). In a very touching moment, they dedicated-“Send Me an Angel”- to their recently departed friend and metal icon-Ronnie James Dio. The screen presented an image of a musician which seemed to depict Mr. Dio as the wind off the ocean blew a little stronger as you could feel Ronnie’s presence. The calm atmosphere continued as they performed my second all time favorite song by them-“Winds of Change”-complete with the whistling from Klaus-(they could have easily piped in the studio version with the whistling but that’s not them). It was a love fest with the audience as the screens exhibited fans wrapped arm in arm singing the song word-for-word as images of the Berlin Wall collapse appeared on the screen. Klaus did not even have to sing as the audience took over on vocals. The gears shifted and we were back in full throttle mode as they played one of the new tunes off of “Tail”-“Raised on Rock”- which is that same Scorpion sound that we have all grown used to but with the same vigor as their earlier hits. The cool part about this is when they were rocking out to this song, a video depicting their younger days was displayed on the two screens and this added a flavor of the old “This is Your Life” show as one couldn’t help but smile reminiscing about the good old days but at the same time we were all witnessing them today delivering that same knock-out punch that they are famous for. After a raucous version of “Tease Me,” one of the most awesome visual effects that I have ever witnessed at any concert I’ve been to occurred during the lightning fast-“Dynamite.” Now just picture yourself standing right below the annual 4th of July fireworks display that Macy’s puts on every year on the NYC Piers. As they played, the video screens put on a flurry of explosions which was perfectly choreographed to the music. I was completely blown away and a few times had to look away as I easily get “motion sickness.” As the song ended, the band members walked off stage except for James as the drum set again rose up into the air and it was time for his solo. Again the video images keenly enhanced the solo as we all felt like he was in some sort of short film. They filmed him walking through doors in the middle of no-where, traveling with some women (hey he’s a rock star right?) with displays of their past albums as he would play parts of those songs. This lasted a pretty long time and he turned around high above the crowd and presented the back of his T-shirt which said-“Rock and Roll Forever”- and then he pulled the shirt off and displayed the same statement which was tattooed on his back.

They pulled out their classics for the rest of the show as “Blackout” brought the house down. (Klaus throughout the night would bring out a tambourine for some songs-including this one- and then wail it across the stage as a roadie caught every one of them). The highlight of the show-prior to the encores- was the scorching-“Big City Nights.” As the four members (except for the drummer obviously) stood next to each other in the left hand corner and the stage and were performing “synchronized head-banging” as they all moved in the same direction at the same time. At this point, the crowd was rejoicing as it could not get any better, right? It was a summer night, outdoors and the rain subsided. Could it get any better? Well of course you know the answer- a resounding “yes.” They didn’t make the audience wait too long as they embarked on arguably two of their most popular (and best) songs with the timeless classics-“No One Like You”- and-“Rock You Like a Hurricane.” I can’t say it enough- seeing them perform “Hurricane” in concert is one righteous experience. The pure joy and ecstasy that pours out of both the band and the audience is hard to put into words, so please just attend one of their shows to see what I am talking about.

As the show ended each band member thanked the audience and took their bows. As we exited our time machine, we still all could feel the power of the memorable night and the buzz is still lasting even today as we had to get back to our normal life. This version of “Back to the Future” was the best of the series release. “Danke” Scorpions for the ride, I hope to see you again. \m/ \m/

Set List

1.       Sting in the Tail

2.       Make it Real

3.      Bad Boys Running Wild

4.      The Zoo

5.       Coast to Coast

6.       Sunday Morning

7.       The Best is Yet to Come

8.       Send Me an Angel

9.       Wind of Change

10.     Raised on Rock

11.     Tease Me, Please Me

12.     Dynamite

Drum Solo

13.     Blackout

Guitar Solo

14.     Big City Nights

Encore

15.     No One Like You

16.     Rock You Like a Hurricane

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June 18, 2010

Weekly Update – 06/18/2010

Aerosmith at Jones Beach on Thurs. Aug. 12 and PNC Bank Arts Center on Tues. Aug. 24. Pre-sale tickets available beginning at 10:00 a.m. this morning until 10:00 p.m. tonight and the pass-word is: “Aero.” General public tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. Jones: $41 – $207.50; PNC: $35 – $200. Also appearing at the Mohegan Sun on Sat. Sept. 4. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $135 – $185. (C’mon boys that is way too much for a concert, what is up?)

Stone Temple Pilots at Mohegan Sun on Tues. Aug. 31. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $44.50 – $54.50

Donald Fagen with Boz Scaggs and Michael McDonald at PNC Bank Arts Center on Thurs. Sept. 2 and Jones Beach Fri. Sept. 3. Pre-sale tickets available beginning at 10:00 a.m. this morning until 10:00 p.m. tonight and the password is: Q104. General public tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. PNC: $46.25 – $100.25; Jones Beach: $46 – $150.

Sheryl Crow at Radio City Music Hall on Sun. Sept. 26. Tickets on sale this morning at 9:00 a.m. $50.50 – $126.

My Morning Jacket at Terminal 5 on Mon. & Tues. Rocktober 18 and 19, then Thurs.-Sat. Rocktober 21-23. Each night they will be playing one of their albums in its entirety. Pre-sale tickets are available now for American Express cardholders until 11:00 a.m. this morning. General public tickets on sale today at noon. $41. 18th: “Tenessee Fire,” 19th: “At Dawn,” 21st: “It Still Moves,” 22nd: “Z,” 23rd: “Evil Urges.”

Ian Anderson at the Wellmont Theater on Wed. Nov. 17. Tickets on sale today at noon. $35, $60 and $75.

Keith Urban and Kris Allen at the Oakdale Theater on Sun. Sept. 5. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $73.50.

The Backstreet Boys at Manhattan Center Hammerstein Ballroom (must be another Live Nation/Ticketmaster venue name change, why can’t it just be the Hammerstein ballroom?) on Thurs. Aug. 26. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m. $52.50 – $72.50.

Black Label Society at Manhattan Center Hammerstein Ballroom on Wed. Rocktober 20. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $39.50 – $59.50.

Adam Lambert at the St. George Theater in Staten Island NY on Tues. Aug. 24. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $30 – $40.

Lisa Lampenilli at the Beacon Theater on Fri. Dec. 10. Tickets on sale now. $59.50.

Pink Martini at the Beacon Theater on Sat. Nov. 13. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $44.50, $54.50; $79.50 and $89.50.

Other items:

On Thursday June 10 while performing in Milan, Italy an unruly fan jumped up on stage and tackled Slash while his band was playing-“Sweet Child O’ Mine”- but before things could have become worse, security was able to pounce on the guy to prevent any further damage. Slash continued to play after a brief pause. The guy busted his guitar.

In honor of the World Cup, Weezer has made a single-“Represent”- and it is now available on I-Tunes. Rivers Cuomo grew up in the New York area and his father was an Italian-American who took Rivers to many a soccer game in the neighborhood. He loves soccer and this is his return gift to the sport he loves. Check it out. It was free on I-Tunes but now I think you have to pay.

Last Saturday, June 5, Ozzy was at the Los Angeles Dodgers game against the Anaheim Angels (or whatever they are called these days) and proceeded to set a world record for the longest scream with more than 50,000 fans in attendance holding it for 60 seconds. I was channel surfing and found it odd that he came out in the 5th inning to do this and I saw this dude with a stop watch but didn’t realize it was a man from Guiness until after he finished screaming. His new album-“Scream”- is out this Tueday June 22.

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers new album-“Mojo”- received a four star rating from Rolling Stone magazine this week and based on the many positive reviews from I-Tune listeners, it sounds like Petty has hit a homerun with this album. I have not made the plunge as of yet but most likely will. I will keep you posted.

Santana is making a “cover” album containing some of the best classic rock/hard rock songs made over the last 30 years or so. He gets help from Nas as they pour through AC/DC’s “Back in Black.” He utilizes Chris Cornell to perform the Mighty Zep’s “Whole Lotta Love.” Ray Manzarek (the Doors) joins Carlos on the classic-“Riders on the Storm.” Scott Weiland belts out the Stones classic-“Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” while India Arie does her take on the Beatles classic-“While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” The album is slated to come out later this year.

My favorite “classic rock” song of the week belongs to Bad Company and their tender-“Do Right By Your Woman.” This is pure perfection folks. I always put this as a “cool down” song when I tried to help out Chris and make a CD for his classes back in the day. Paul Rodgers vocals are spot on baby!!

Rob Zombie will host the “WWE-Raw” show on the U.S.A. network which will air on Monday June 28 at 9:00 p.m. Perfect match, no?

Steve Miller’s new album-“Bingo”- is out and judging from the previews on I-Tunes this is a rocking blues album that will open your eyes and ears. Steve still has his chops, the songs are all covers with help from Joe Satriani.

My favorite “old school R&B” song of the week is “Crying Time” by the incomparable Ray Charles. I love this time even though you may feel like crying. There is another version where Barbara Streisand gives Ray a hand in a spectacular duet. Fantastic song.

My oldest son turned me on to the “best guitar song ever” and you can be the judge. The song is “Blues for Salvador” by the one and only Carlos Santana. My youngest son said the song is “sick.” I did the “Wayne’s World We are Not Worthy Bow.” Check it out for yourself at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7GP1nV44fE

Unfortunately next Friday marks the one year anniversary of Michael Jackson’s passing. It still remains something that I can’t believe, he was only 50 and again the “What if’s?” will always remain. Billboard has decided to rank his 50 best songs and you can see them here at http://www.billboard.com/#/features/1004098667.story?tag=hpflash1

My favorite “new” song of the week is-“Compliments”- by the Band of Horses from their new album-“Infinite Arms.” This band is growing on me, they sound like a mixture of America, Steve Miller and the Eagles all rolled into one. Very nice tune.

Album Review: Metallica (“Black”) by Metallica released on Aug. 13, 1991.

Metallica

This week’s I-Pod shuffle landed on “Through the Never” by Metallica from the brilliant “Black” album and since I am on a “metal” kick the last couple of weeks I figured to do a review of one of the best albums of the 1990’s, if not the best-then definitely in the top two of the decade. Now I will not listen to all the “haters” out there for this album so I will try not to bring them up too much, I will concentrate on the positive. You all know that I am a huge Tallica fan and this was the album to draw me in. As I have time and time again, I jumped aboard the “metal” train at a much later age than my fellow brethren. Most of my friends growing up in Sunset Park Brooklyn would be surprised to hear that I was a member of the Metallica fan club for much of my adult life because they couldn’t get me to listen to the really hard stuff, they saw me as a “light weight” because I listened to bands like The Cars, Foreigner and Journey and I just didn’t get “it.” When we all use to hang out near Pershing junior high school listening to the “boom box” (that was the thing to do back then) my friends with were heavy into bands like Metallica, Ozzy and Suicidal Tendencies (ironically the band that Mr. Robert Trujillo was in for many years before later joining Ozzy and of course now that bassist for Metallica) and I would listen but never ran to the store to buy their records. (sorry Rob but to this day I still don’t get Suicidal Tendencies-way out of my league). So the story goes that I marry my lovely bride in Feb. 1991 (at this time I am 26)and sadly leave the lovely confines of Brooklyn NY and head out to Ringwood NJ. Who knows maybe it was the “quiet” that we had to get use to; there were no sidewalks, no street lamps, no NYC buses blazing by my parent’s apartment on 8th avenue, no fights outside the local bars that occurred almost every Friday night, no blasting music from every fifth car that drove along the avenue- since both my wife and I grew up “in the city” we were not use to all the “quiet.” Honestly it took us probably six months or more to adapt our new environment and maybe it only makes sense that I was looking for loud “noise”- welcome Metallica (I mean this in a great way).

Of course to the dissatisfaction of the early die-hard fan, the song that hooked me in was obviously “Enter Sandman.” If you watched MTV during this time there was no way you did not see this video and it intrigued me to no end. I was so captivated by the blurry images of James, Lars, Kirk and Jason constantly flipping back and forth on the screen. I was blown away by this little kid’s voice saying the prayer that most of us say before we go to bed. It was “scary” but at the same time it was a door that I wanted to enter. So I decided to make the plunge and bought the album. I can honestly say that this record changed my life forever. If there is one album that altered my being, this is “it.” I became so obsessed with this album that it made me go back and purchase every single album before that as well as following every release since while making it a point to see them every time they hit the tri-state area. As with many of us, we lose touch with people we grow up with but I always wanted to let them know-“if you could only see me now”- well maybe they will read this and hopefully I have finally earned their respect as I finally “get it.” The Black Album is a brilliant masterpiece which will forever stand the test of time and many years from now when none of us are around, I can just picture someone finding a copy of the album on a beach somewhere, running back to see what piece of history they think they can sell off of E-Bay’s successor and when they put the first song on, they will be a light straight up to the sky. The person will realize that there is no way he or she can sell it, so they mass produce copies for free (no not Napster) to distribute to every household so they too will realize the beauty of this historic landmark.

Once I moved to Ringwood NJ, most every trip I made was a long car ride to every where because Ringwood is “out there.” And just like a dog has its trusty bone, this album became my side kick for many a trip to any where. I clearly remember making a trip from Northern NJ to South NJ almost every weekend playing softball for what I thought was going to lead to a new career but it ended up being that I was only needed for softball. (Once I realized that I was out before the beach season opened as there was no way I was riding the Garden State on Friday or Saturday nights in the summer). Anyway on one of these trips, I was completely engulfed in this album as it was blasting so loud that it could have made my ears bleed because I kept all the windows shut so as to not lose the flavor. While I was driving, my head was banging up and down to “Don’t Tread on Me” and I must have been in a zone because when I looked over to my right there were these two people in the car next to me that slowed down to see what the heck was wrong with me, I just gave them the \m/ sign and I could see them laughing. I have listened to this album so many times that I know every note, drum beat, grunt, growl and to this day I have to listen to the entire album from start to finish-there really is no other way to do it. Anyway, here is my review.

What else can be said or written about “Enter Sandman?” This was a ground breaking song that catapulted them into another stratosphere. Yes I know many of the original fans probably think this was the start of their downfall. This was the first album that they went “outside” to look for assistance with the production-Enter Mr. Bob Rock. Say what you will about some of the other Rock productions but there is no denying that this is his “Sgt. Pepper’s.” The only thing that is wrong with this song is that you may play it so many times that you may overload your system and it may backfire, so just like anything else-watch your intake. This arrangement of this song is superb especially when Mr. Hetfield and that child go back and forth with the night prayer; it really is unlike any song you have heard. The song is dark and mysterious but the groove is so addictive that it attracts many who don’t do “metal”- take my wife for example, there are only a handful of songs that she will actually tolerate from any “head-banging” band and this is by far her favorite. I think that this is what angered their original fans because they didn’t want the general public involved-something I use to live by and totally get but remember I went back and purchased every public piece of work they ever recorded along with some material for which the fan club is only privy to. If you have never been to a Metallica show you are truly missing out and there is a good chance that they will perform this song. The last time I saw them in November at the Garden, they brought the house down with this song, a true spectacle. “Sad but True” is a flat out, knock ‘em dead, all out blitz of power and energy. I can remember when James couldn’t understand all the complaints that this song wasn’t “heavy” enough-fast forward almost 20 years-this song has become a staple at their shows. I think they probably add a little “umph” into this song every time when they play it just to prove the power this song always contained, listen to the original recording and feel every bass line crushing your chest as well as every drum beat on the top of your head. This is the best “slow head banging” song of all time-there is no way you can’t move your head up & down. “Holier Than Thou” picks up the pace in a hurry and Lars is all over the place on the drums as his consistent playing is one of the main reasons that this band is still going strong after more than a quarter of a century. James and Kirk keep the train ignited with their blazing guitar work as Kirks solo is an eye opener and he has to be considered one of the best guitarists for the genre called “metal.” And Mr. Hetfield’s vocals take no prisoners as you know he means business, so don’t mess with him. Love the part where he scowls “… you…know…NOT…” Jason’s pulsating bass and his background vocals (listen carefully) are top notch. Track # 4-“The Unforgiven”- is-in my mind-a masterpiece. The arrangement of the song is flawless as Lars punctuates many of the words that James belts out. Yes there is a “soft” spot in the middle of the song but so what? It’s not like they didn’t take it down on their other albums (see “Sanitarium”). Actually in my opinion again, I think this showed the world that James can sing very well and his range is impressive. But the strange thing is that there are parts of this song that is super heavy, however most don’t recognize this because of the chorus-“.. what I felt, what I’ve known.. never free…” It doesn’t get much better than this folks. “Wherever I May Roam”- whenever I hear this song I feel like I’m in the middle of a desert being chased by someone and am having a hard time getting away but then when Lars drums bang into action I emerge, rising out of the sand, standing about 50 feet tall, ready to take on any action that comes my way. “Any where I roam, where I lay my head is home…” I now have the power to leap tall buildings in a single… oh well you get the picture. To see them perform this song live is really a treat as the entire crowd knows every word, every riff, drum beat, and if you have never experienced 18,000 fans or more “air-guitaring” at the same time, then there is a void in your life that you need to fix. Side one ends with the vivacious-“Don’t Tread on Me”- a pointed message to those who want to mess with the U.S. (when this was released the first Gulf War began). There is no other way to listen to this song but LOUD!!! This has to get you psyched up and has this consistent beat where you can not help but bang your head up and down for a full four minutes. “.. so be it, friend no more…liberty or death… once you provoke her, rattling of the tail…” Head-banging music at its best.

Side two starts off with the twisting and turning –“Through the Never”- which has to rank up there as one of the best songs on the album. Kirk’s guitar is like a laser beam, nailing anything in its path while James passion bleeds through your headphones as you can not believe how great this album has been so far and I for one, do not want it to end. Kirk’s guitar solo is down right righteous. Love the part where the song slows down a bit and James sings-“On through the never.. we must go…” and then the song comes crashing back to the same pace. Pure perfection folks. Then it’s on to arguably their most popular song-“Nothing Else Matters”- (I know many of you are banging your head against the wall and screaming “No!!!” what about “One?” what about “Master of Puppets?”) C’mon folks, (even the haters) you have to admit that most anyone can listen to this song- our parents, our aunts & uncles and even maybe our grandparents, it’s that enjoyable. This song really puts me in a good place as I wander off and think of my life-where it has gone, what lies ahead and everything that happened in between. It makes you think about what matters most. Even my best man-Johnny Boy- likes this song and he’s a “disco” guy. (On a weird note, he has always maintained that he wants this song to be played at his funeral). Call it pop, call it a ballad but you can’t call it bad. This has to rank up there as one of the best ballads in the history of music. James Hetfield’s vocals are flat out spectacular and no one can sing it like him. Dare I say that this song never be covered-sort of like “American Pie” by Don McLean. (I will never acknowledge any covered version of American Pie, so don’t even mention Madonna). As you remain there in a trance reveling in your relaxed atmosphere, all of a sudden like when Freddy Kruger comes out of know where to scare you out of your wits, Lars does his best to make it feel like his drums are coming through your chest as you are back to thrashing with the ever popular-“Of Wolf and Man.” This song will always remind me of Jason (sorry Rob no offense intended) because he has the backing vocals-“Back to the Meaning”- and I can just picture his face when he played with the boys-was he intense or what? This song is like sticking your finger in an electrical outlet and having that electricity travel throughout your body. Next time Dr. Frankenstein needs to wake his monster all he has to do is put a set of headphones on his ears and press the play button on the I-pod for this song. Can it get any better? Track #4 on side two is-“The God that Failed”-now to describe this song I would say that this could be ‘metal-blues’ because the his nothing short of spectacular, while James make you move your neck at a controlled pace and Kirk knocks the cover off the ball with his amazing guitar solo. The one thing about these songs is that they are all pretty long but are so good that they fly by in much less time than actually occurs. “My Friend of Misery” is probably my favorite song on the album, this is an epic song which contains one of my most favorite lyrics-“…they say an empty can rattles the most…”-we all know people in our lives like that but I’m here to focus on the music. The arrangement of this song is so well constructed, almost like a great novel as it seems to contain chapters where the song has timing changes, shifts and builds the story with the artistic work of Kirk on guitar that makes it the song larger-than-life. This grand album ends with the blazing-“The Struggle Within”-starts off with a marching band drum beat that makes you put your right hand up to your left eye and salute them for making this fantastic album. Then it’s on to the “mosh pit” as the beats in this song will cause most of the crowd to look for something to bang into, especially when Kirks guitar solo kicks in-I would even maybe look to jump in to the fray. (Ok that’s a lie but I can dream). Love the part where James says –“Go”- and I can picture an orchestra conductor pointing his pointer while kicking over the music stand to letting James and Kirk know that their parts are up. Of course the always reliable Lars Ulrich is crazed with his awesome drumming skills to keep this song motoring along. As the song comes to a crashing end I am totally wiped with the sweat pouring off of me as I do the Wayne’s World- “We are not worthy”- bow.

Folks, the “Black” album changed the course of history for both Metallica and the world of metal. Now just like any other democratic society, you will have people on both sides of the fence who have positive and negative thoughts on this album. Since I have stated that this album changed my life forever, I think you know what side I sit on. I understand that the original fans wanted to contain their “niche” in the market (hey I have stated that when I was younger, I dropped bands once they became too popular) and did not want the band to change their sound or to have “fair-weather” fans board the Metallica bandwagon but when a machine like Metallica is growing, how can you stop it? Why would you want to stop it? And the complaints that it isn’t heavy enough? I will always go back to what James said (or something to the effect of)-“Sad But True isn’t heavy??!!!” Please…Don’t buy it because it’s heavy or because it’s not heavy enough, buy it because it is arguably the best album that came out in the decade of the 1990’s.

“TOP TEN”:

 

Megadeth - Greatest Hits

The last few weeks I have been really getting my “metal”on and sometimes I go through phases where I stay on something for a while but then leave it and eventually I go back to it. Well folks I am “back on it” and I might as well dive head first into one of the heavier head bangers of all time because this week it made sense that my I-Pod shuffle landed on “Train of Consequences” by Megadeth. That was the sign that I needed because I dove right into lots of Megadeth and decided to make them my top ten list this week. Now admittedly, they are an acquired taste to say the least (with no offense to Mr. Mustaine) and they are not for the faint of heart. Now I am not going to sit here and tell you that I was at the forefront when they first came out on the scene after Dave left (or was kicked out- I don’t want to start this up again) Metallica. As I have stated more than a few times, as I became older my taste changed and I wanted “heavy” cream in my coffee and went for bands like Metallica and Megadeth long after they were well established in the metal world. But I have done my homework and know a majority of Megadeth’s work, again no expert but I will give it my spin on what I like as their top ten songs.

Way back when I use to work at MBIA, I would go to shows by myself because sometimes I felt that people might look at me strange if I said I was going to see Megadeth or most times, many had not even heard of the bands that I followed, so I made up my mind that I wasn’t going to deprive myself and again I headed to many a show on a solo basis. (Once the light’s go out there isn’t going to be much conversation anyway, especially with a Megadeth). So I made up my mind that I was going to experience what I had read or heard about and went to see Megadeth at Irving Plaza about 7 years ago. I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived but the first thing I felt was the unbelievable adrenaline that was abuzz in this pretty tight room cuddled right on a seemingly residential block. If people walking outside Irving Plaza could feel what was going on inside, it either would have you: a) run for cover and head home or b) soak up the energy and get in there. I chose “B.” When they took the stage, I couldn’t believe the mosh pit that formed and the circle seemed to widen at every song. I could feel my chest pulsating with every bass line and the atmosphere was like someone accidentally knocking over a bees nest with the emerging bees swarming violently around the nest in incessant circles trying to protect its Queen. For more than two hours it was straight up speed metal like you have never experienced and when I left Irving Plaza I was so drained, it was like I was in a 15 round boxing match with both boxers going the distance, blow for blow with standing eight counts and the such. I would definitely go see them again but this time I want some takers, any one in? Ok so I am on an island and have been told that I can only have ten songs by the machine called Megadeth, “These are Them:”

10.     Hangar 18This classic from “Rust in Peace” is a mainstay at their live shows and the one thing about this song that stands out are the timing/tempo changes that constantly shift in and out. Mustaine’s initial solo is lights out and then he and Marty Friedman exchange solos the rest of the way with Dave closing out the tune with an all out blitz. The video to this song is one of the coolest you will come across as it depicts the torture of aliens and then all the members of the band are shown locked up in a room where they are being frozen. The lyrics were written by the drummer at the time, Nick Menza, and the topic dealt with UFO conspiracy theories. Blazing guitar work.

9.     Kick The ChairI remember the first time I heard this in my car when I took the CD out of the plastic, I immediately wanted to start kicking over chairs. This song comes right at you with seemingly thousands of punches all over your body as you try to stop all the blows. The intensity is too real as it feels like there are about 10 drummers playing on this track. This is the perfect song for kick boxing or shadow boxing as you won’t be able to keep up with the number of punches thrown because it’s just too quick. This is thrash head-banging metal at its best. \m/ \m/

8.     Holy Wars…The Punishment DueAs soon as you hear the opening riffs, it’s like falling down a trap door and you don’t know when you are going to land, I don’t know what it is to sky dive but that’s the image I get when I hear this song. Now for those of you who don’t know Mr. Mustaine-the man is really intelligent and most of his songs have critical questions on why the world is the way it is and he will always give you his opinion on how it should be. This song relates to the age old conflicts between the Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland and his opinion on religious disagreements. The musicianship on this track is freaking unbelievable and the tempo is in the “fifth” gear for most of it, except when an acoustic guitar comes into the picture around 2:24 into the song and then there is a pounding pace that is easier on the neck but don’t get too comfortable because the break-neck speed returns along with some walloping guitar solos. Thrash metal baby!!!

7.     Symphony of Destruction-Even though I have listened to this song so many times, when I was doing the battle of the songs, this kept winning out amongst some others. Since this is not as “thrashy” as many of their other tracks, I always felt compelled to play it for friends and family when they came to my house figuring they would think it was cool. Sometimes I would get a “hit” but most times when they heard Dave’s vocals, they walked away. I did put this on a Spin class CD that I made while I was at MBIA and most did not like it but the instructor, Melissa, said she liked it, so that made my day. This is the perfect song to snap your head and neck up & down to, I love the part where Dave says “acting like a robot…” and then he makes this sound like he is sucking in air- yes I do listen closely.

6.     Dread and the Fugitive Mind– Metal with melody- that is what this song is. Love the stop and go effect that resonates throughout the tune. This song is about looking within oneself for meaning-I told you Dave is an intensely intelligent man. I bet you wouldn’t have thought that a Megadeth song would have you searching for your true self, so what if the music behind it sounds like you better run if you can’t find yourself. “If you shake my hand you better count your fingers…” Ouch even the lyrics pack a punch. The guitar solo is scorching as usual. Educated metal is a terrible thing to waste. Give it a chance!! \m/ \m/

5.     A Tout Le Monde (Set Me Free) (the single version released with Cristina Scabbia) – I like the original version of this track but when I heard this “duet” with the lead singer from Lacuna Coil, it put a different spin on this song and I actually like this version better. I love the harmony between Dave and Cristina and this could be his best vocal performance on any song they have recorded and maybe because she is in the picture. Totally cool version of this track.

4.     Sweating Bullets– Can’t get enough of this song, I love the fact that Mustaine is talking/singing about himself in the third person. C’mon we all have talked to ourselves at some point in our lives, I know I have (and continue to do so). “…hello me, it’s me again…”- how great is that? Anyway love the vibe of this song and the deep “monsterous” voice that laughs as the word-“sweat” is constantly repeated as the octave gets higher and higher. “My icy fingers claw your back…” Yes I know you can feel kind of claustrophobic from this song but only if you let in creep in deep enough. And yes there is a bit of anger in this song but again I focus on the music. The military like drumming makes it easy to bang your head while Mustaine’s slick guitar work will open your eyes. Put on a great pair of headphones and squeeze them as tight as you can to your ears and listen to this schizophrenic battle of wits.

3.     Skin O’ My Teeth– For some reason I can picture this song being used to promote “NASCAR” because the beginning of the song with the drums and the guitar remind me of the guy who stands atop these car racing events waving the checkered flag, as the cars are about to start up the race again (after a minor crash) and then BOOM: the red flag comes out and it is off to the races as the tempo of this song goes from 0 – 60 in about 13 seconds. “…No escaping pain… you belong to me…clinging on to life… by the skin of my teeth!!!” This song is lights out and the guitar work is phenomenal-listen to the solos, they will blow you away. Can it be any more energetic? I think not. Sports fans- do you remember when Bo Jackson ran up and down the outfield wall in Kansas City way back when he caught that ball? That’s what I feel like doing when I hear this song. ‘Nuff said.

2.     Kill The King– I recently played this song for my youngest son and he had the same reaction I had when I first heard it- his eyes grew bigger-like a major league baseball player sees that fast ball which he is about to crush over the wall- and his jaw dropped and he immediately said he wanted this song on his I-Pod. This song is like smelling salt it will completely wake you up and knock you out. For me, it’s like an immediate sting to my body, gets into my blood stream and I am completely possessed. The song could be the best head-banging tune ever. There’s always a lot going on in their songs as they talk and make noise in the background while the preparation for the pulverizing pace is being prepped for its comeback. I recently rode home in my car and literally had the volume on the highest it could go and I swear my car was vibrating. When I came to a stop sign, a few people looked over to see what the heck was going on, I quickly turned and headed home so they couldn’t see who it was. Hey it was a long day and this is my release. \m/ \m/

1.     Train of Consequences– For me, this is their ultimate song. I immediately think of a dog ripping at his favorite bone as the unbelievable arrangement with the stops & starts, twist & turns is almost too much for me to take. I keep rewinding the start of the song so I get more pumped up. You have to turn up the volume. The guitar solo is mind numbing as all the band members are clicking on all cylinders as I am in a complete frenzy and don’t want the song to end- so yes I have rewound it again for like the fourth time as I write about it. This is a flat-out knockout of a song-you need to own it. \m/ \m/

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Faye Dunaway

2.     “Got To Get You Into My Life”

3.     True

4.     Ted Nugent

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     Ed and Dean Roland are part of this band which hails from Georgia

2.     What is Billy Idol’s real name?

3.     Who sang the song- “Addicted to Love?”

4.     Simon Kirke and Mick Ralphs were part of what band that were highly successful in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     “Day After Day”- Bad Finger

2.     “I Write the Songs”-Barry Manilow

3.     “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again”-Dionne Warwick (written by Bacharach)

4.     “Down with the Sickness” –Disturbed

Can you guess the title from the following lyrics from part of the song?

1.     “…you tell her that she’s the one…she needs someone to tell her…that its gonna last forever… so tell me…”

2.     “…it’s like this and like that and like this and like uh…it’s like this and like that and like this and like uh…”

3.     “…Yeah she’ll tell you she’s an orphan after you meet her family…she paints her eyes as black as night now…she pulls those shades down tight…”

4.     “…If the sky that we look upon…should tumble and fall…or the mountains should crumble to the sea…”

Back on this Day .

Back on this day in 1977, Fleetwood Mac reached the top of the Top 100 singles on Billboard with “Dreams” which lasted for one week representing their one and only number one hit.

Back on this day in 1977, Johnny Rotten & Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols were stabbed and beaten outside of a bar in London.

Back on this day in 1977, Tina Weymouth & Chris Franz, both band mates in the Talking Heads were married and are celebrating their 33rd anniversary. Congrats!!!

Back on this day in 1984, at the end of a Judas Priest concert at Madison Square Garden, fans ripped out and threw seats up on to the stage. It cost over $250,000 to fix and the Priest was the first band to be banned for life from The Garden.

If it is your birthday today you share the same birth date with Sir Paul McCartney and Carl Radle (Derek & the Dominoes)

June 11, 2010

Weekly Update – 06/11/2010

Aerosmith at Jones Beach on Thurs. Aug. 12 and PNC Bank Arts Center on Tues. Aug. 24. Pre-sale tickets will be available starting next Wed. June 16 at 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. Fri. June 18. General public tickets on sale next Sat. June 19 at 10:00 a.m. Jones: $41 – $207.50; PNC: $35 – $200.

Stone Temple Pilots at Jones Beach and PNC Bank Arts Center on Sat. & Sun. Sept. 4 & 5. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. Jones: $29 – $131; PNC: $26.25 – $131.

Kiss at the Mohegan Sun on Thurs. Aug. 19. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $75 – $95.

ZZ Top at the Beacon Theater on Sun. Sept. 12. Pre-sale tickets will be available beginning 10:00 a.m. this morning until 10:00 p.m. tonight and the password is HETOP. General public tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $39.50 – $79.50.

Arcade Fire and Spoon at Madison Square Garden on Wed. Aug. 4. Pre-sale tickets available now for American Express cardholders until 10:00 p.m. tonight. General public tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. $49.50

Barenaked Ladies at Mohegan Sun on Fri. Aug. 6. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $33

John Legend at the Borgota Event Center on Sat. Aug. 6. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event)

The Black Crowes at the Music Box in Atlantic City NJ on Sat. Rocktober 30. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event)

Rick Springfield at the Nokia Theater on Sat. Sept. 25. Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders on sale until 10:00 a.m. this morning. General public tickets on sale at noon. $39.50 – $89.50.

Exodus at the Gramercy Theater on Sat. Aug. 28. Tickets on sale today at noon. $20.

Relient K at the Gramercy Theater on Thurs. July 29 Tickets on sale tomorrow at noon. (Live Nation Event).

Drive By Truckers at Terminal 5 on Fri. Dec. 31. Tickets on sale today at noon. $55 ($60 day beginning Dec. 29).

Patti LaBelle at the Theater in Westbury NY on Thurs. Nov. 27. Tickets on sale tomorrow 12:30 p.m. (Live Nation Event)

Gov’t Mule at the Theater in Westbury NY on Thurs. Aug. 12. Tickets on sale next Sat. June 19 at 12:30 p.m. (Live Nation Event).

Other items:

It only took more than two years but Live Nation admitted their mistake with trying to re-name Irving Plaza the Fillmore New York (or New York Fillmore) at Irving Plaza and have put back the traditional name that everyone knows- Irving Plaza. Can you imagine coming in and making that decision? And then leaving it for two years despite the public outcry? The arrogance is stifling and now they can live happily ever after with the other arrogant company-Ticketmaster- a marriage made in heaven.

Behind the Music with Christina Aguilera premiers this Sunday June 13 at 9:00 p.m. on VH1 and she talks about the abuse that her mother suffered at the hands of her father as well as herself. Jealousy amongst her schoolmates heightened as her career took off. Her new album has received less than favorable reviews from a few different outlets with comparisons to Lady GaGa running rampart. That said I know I will be tuning in this Sunday night.

My favorite “metal” song of the week is “Heaven & Hell” by Black Sabbath with the late Ronnie James Dio on lead vocals. Man is this a freaking awesome tune or what? Not for nothing but when everyone thought Sabbath was done after Ozzy left, he breathed new life into this band and made some awesome tunes during his short stint-this one included. Black Sabbath created metal with Ozzy and Ronnie did more than a formidable job on continuing their dominance, this song rocks baby!! \m/ \m/

The Go-Go’s had to cancel their farewell tour-including dates in New York- after their guitarist, Jane Weidlin, fell 20 feet while hiking in CA and injured her knee, she needs surgery for an ACL replacement-Ouch!! Get better Jane and then come back later in the year near the holiday’s to go out on top, it can’t end like this, can it?

My favorite “1980’s rock” song of the week belongs to Loverboy with “The Kid is Hot Tonight.” Go ahead and laugh if you will but I love this stuff. Yes I have been to a Loverboy concert and it was during their “hey-day” and guys were outnumbered at least 10-1 by the girls attending the show. Who’s laughing now?

Remember when Ozzy had the show-“The Osbournes”- and half the time on the show you would get the idea that there were some of earth’s natural substances having an effect on the king of metal? Well it turns out that he confessed this week that he would hide in one of his rooms in the house (while MTV was filming) and smoke away. The first season of that show was hysterical and maybe now we know part of the reason. Speaking of Ozzy, he released his second single from his upcoming album-“Scream”- and it’s called “Soul Sucker.” It is a heavy fusion of that classic metal sound including a pulsating bass line, the almost talking guitar and his familiar vocals, it’s a slow trudging head banging song that quickly picks up the pace midway through and blasts its way into your blood stream. Has sort of a “Soundgarden” feel to it. Check it out.

My favorite “southern rock” song of the week goes to Lynyrd Skynyrd with their delicious “funk-a-fied” “Whiskey Rock a Roller.” How great is this freaking song? There is no other way to listen to this track but super LOUD!!! Love the piano in the background, it makes the song that much better. Man you always ask-“What coulda been if Ronnie was still around?” Songs like these make you realize what a talent this man was and it’s upsetting that he still can’t be around to sing these great songs as well as make some new down home cooking.

Ratt had to cancel tour dates in Europe in support of their new album-“Infestation”-because lead singer-Stephen Pearcy- underwent surgery for a hernia. In addition, their drummer-Bobby Blotzer- was arrested over the Memorial Day weekend for DUI while driving a boat on a lake in Arizona.

My favorite “Nu-Metal” song of the week belongs to Marilyn Manson with his super knockout –“Mobscene”- yes folks I have many songs from this person who many consider the devil. Now as you all know it is the music for me, I try not to get all mixed up in what he is trying to sell (but admit it is pretty hard with him). This is a song that I blast in my car when I’m by myself or downstairs in my house (when my wife is not home, like now). Be aware there are many “F” bombs in this track. This was a mainstay in our boot camp classes at MBIA back in the day.

My favorite “folk” song of the week is the beautiful and masterful-“The Wedding Song (There is Love)”- by Peter, Paul & Mary. I don’t make a sound or move when I listen to this spectacular song. This brings tears to the eyes if you let it sink in. Has to be one of the best songs ever written.

“And 5, now this is most important, Rat…comes down to making out… whenever possible.. put on side 1 of Led Zeppelin IV

Fair Warning

Side 1 of “Fair Warning” by Van Halen released on April 29, 1981

Ahh to be 16 again, where has the time gone? I can’t believe next year will mark the 30th anniversary of the release of “Fair Warning.” In 1981, I was a sophomore at Brooklyn Tech and enjoyed playing football every Sunday morning (not with Tech) during the fall and winter with The Outlaws. We used to meet before every game at the corner of 48st and 8th avenue in Sunset Park Brooklyn (in front of “Izzy’s”) and toss the ball around and then load up in different cars to head to Dyker Heights to play football on the concrete. Fights galore on every kick-off. In 1981, the NY Jets had their first winning season in a long time and almost pulled off a history making comeback in the playoffs against the Buffalo Bills, losing 31-27 as Richard Todd threw an interception with 10 seconds left in the game when the Jets were on the 10 yard line. Oh well, back to the music-I was in the early stages of my “rock” days and by this time was fully integrated to the sound of Diamond Dave, Eddie, Alex and Michael, also known as Van Halen. By this time when Fair Warning was released there were signs of dissension between Eddie and Dave. Diamond wanted more “pop” songs while Eddie wanted to “metal” out and make a heavier Van Halen album. In a sense they both won out because “Fair Warning” was considered a return to the “guitar” rock that Eddie had displayed on the first two albums but on the other hand it was the shortest Van Halen album that was ever released. The album was released almost three weeks after Eddie had married actress Valarie Bertinelli and during this time Ace Frehley had left Kiss and Eddie actually auditioned for the role but Gene Simmons and his brother Alex convinced him to stay with Van Halen. Whew thank goodness.

Now recently my oldest son has finally started to acknowledge that Van Halen with Diamond Dave was one of the better groups “back in the day” but for some reason thinks that “Fair Warning” is one of their worst albums. But the thing is, he is reading all these comments on I-Tunes about how “over-rated” this album is and that “1984” is the best Van Halen album. Please….I was there in the thick of it-the ground floor, the belly of the beast-however you want to say it and when “Fair Warning” was released the excitement that Van Halen was “back” spread from coast to coast. Songs like “Unchained” and “So This Is Love”-which appear on side two!!- changed hard rock forever. (Ok that might be a little strong but you know what I mean). And what about side one you ask? Well it happens to be my recommendation this week for a “perfect album side.”

Side one begins with arguably the greatest guitar riff beginning of a song-maybe in the history of rock-“Mean Street.” When you listen to this “greatness” you realize that Eddie meant business and was there to show you that he was the best guitarist of his generation. I don’t know about you but every time I hear the start of this song, I lose it-I become so pumped up that I immediately have to hit the volume and blast it as loud as I can stand it (or until my wife screams to turn it down). I can remember riding in my best man’s car with the windows down and slowly driving under the “L” on 86st street in Brooklyn trying to drown out the other cars who had their disco blaring out of their speakers. (If you go back today, disco has won out because those same cars are still playing “Saturday Night Fever”). When Dave exclaims-“Dance Baby”- and Eddie breaks in with that phenomenal guitar solo you have to ask yourself if this is one of the best guitar driven songs ever. As I listen I am doing the “Wayne’s World” bow and what about Alex? His drumming makes Eddie sound that much better, he has to be considered one of the best “hard-rock” drummers ever. I can’t imagine why Diamond Dave would want to sing a pop song over this but I don’t want to conjure up all the bad memories. “…its all over but their shouting… I’ve come to take what is mine…” Doesn’t get much better than this folks. “… turns you from hunted into hunter…” \m/ \m/ Now say what you will about “Dirty Movies” but I consider this a “perfect” song and I will not waiver to any suggestions that this “kills the album.” Quite the contrary-if you listen to Eddie’s fabulous work again you have to be convinced that this song is good just based on this fact. I love the slow bluesy groove that works it way up into a rocking song whereby Diamond Dave is at his best. What the heck does his say at the beginning? “bebo-lous?..” The chorus is addictive and Van Halen has always been considered as having the best background vocals in the business and Michael and Eddie shine brightly. Now admittedly this is not the type of song that you can sing along with the family as the lyrical content is for a mature audience. Then it’s on to the blazing –“Sinner’s Swing”- hold on to your seats boys & girls because this ride is fast and filled with twists & turn not meant for the faint of heart. Both Alex and Eddie jam their way into the door while Diamond Dave waits in the wings to sing what could be one of his greatest vocal efforts on any Van Halen song. And Michael Anthony’s bass is all over this track. Now I will warn you on this track-there is a major “F” bomb that drops at the beginning, so hold the kiddies ears for that one. (I really think that is the only recorded curse word on any of their songs-now of course there may be a cuss word or two at their live shows-but not as many now as there was then). Then Eddie kicks down that door with an electrifying guitar solo that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. How freaking good is he? The song is short but packs a powerful punch and could be used at your next Spin class; especially if you are doing sprints-it could coincide with Eddie’s solo. As the song fades out and you catch your breath, Eddie slows down the pace a bit with the fantastic riff to what I consider to be one of their best songs-“Hear about It Later.” I know I have mentioned this before but every time I hear this song I am taken back to standing outside Brooklyn Tech (near the park across the street) as one of the students had his car parked blasting this song as all the windows and trunk were open for all to hear. “Ain’t got no money, got no house on the hill…tell me honey will your lovin’ pay my bills?” C’mon how can this not psyche you up? Eddie has one of the most amazing guitar solos and again I’m doing the “Wayne’s World-We are not worthy” bow- please join me. As the song starts to fade out, Mr. Roth does his best screeches and squeals as Alex makes you want to take drum lessons as he bashes away. Pure perfection.

Yes folks take it from me (and only me) “Fair Warning” is a fantastic album and side 1 is definitely a “perfect album side.” In my opinion, this album was made at the height of their career and just like when the Cyclone reaches that first hill, there is a long drop down. Now I won’t say that their career went all the way down because obviously they made some more great songs but one could tell that the musical differences between Dave and Eddie caused some inconsistencies in “Diver Down” and “1984.” Not that I don’t like those albums, just wasn’t “top to bottom” something that one could listen to like on their first four albums (don’t even think about saying anything negative about “Women & Children First”). “Fair Warning” sounds just as fresh today as it was when released in 1981 and who knows in 2011, we may yet again experience a new Van Halen album. Thirty years later, I still believe if they do make some new music, most Van Halen fans would say-“How does it hold up against Fair Warning?”

“TOP TEN”:

Image of Motley Crue

This week’s I-Pod shuffle landed on “Too Young to Fall in Love” by Motley Crue and you know when you haven’t heard a song in a long time and it conjures memories of how much you loved that song and also where you were at that point in your life. This song is off of their 1983 classic-“Shout at the Devil”- and by 1988 I was a fully fledged “Crue-ster”-having gone back and purchased their debut (thanks Audrey!!) as well as “Theater of Pain.” I love their driving sound and have always thought that of Tommy Lee as being one of the best drummers of his generation. He brings so much energy and excitement to their shows that he really is a spectacle to see when they tour. The much maligned Mick Mars has proved everyone wrong and to this day remains the driving force behind the machine called “The Crue.” Call him robotic, call him what you want-but there is no better person for the job of being the lead guitarist for Motley Crue, so tell your story on the way out. Nikki Sixx is (and always has been) a person who speaks his mind whether you want to hear it or not but if you listen to this band, his work has always been outstanding. How many bass players do you want to “air-guitar” to? He’s one of them. Vince Neil is also one who will voice his opinion even when not asked and with all the “explosive” personalities in this band (minus Mr. Mars-at least from what I can tell) it is amazing that they have lasted all these years and continue to tour and create new music. Mr. Neil is also the only “voice” for this band-with no offense to Mr. Corabi- and the first song I think of when I think of Neil is “Kick Start My Heart” (even though it’s the story of Nikki). C’mon his vocals are perfect for this tune, no one can sing it like him.

Anyway, it’s 1988 or so and at that time my younger brother was turning nine years old so my thought was to turn him on to the awesome album-“Shout at the Devil”-I purchased it to give to him but before I did, I mentioned to a few others that I was going to give it to him. “Are you crazy??” “Shout at the Devil to a 9-year old?” “It’s devil music, you can’t give that to him”- these were the quotes that I was given and it forced me to rethink my position. You all know that I don’t “read” into any lyrics to seriously and my love has always been for the music but I was told that just because I could distinguish between what was reality and what was for “show” didn’t mean that I should assume that others could do the same. He might be negatively influenced-even the cover of the album just bleeds with “scariness”-don’t do it. So of course I never did give it to him (although a few years I did purchase it for him) but I made up for it when he turned 26 by taking him to their “reunion” tour in 2005 at Madison Square Garden and to this day, Motley Crue remains as one of his favorite bands.

I have seen Motley Crue more than a few times and attended their shows when they were at the height of their career-in my opinion- in the late 1980’s. I remember attending a show at Madison Square Garden for their “Girls, Girls, Girls” tour and being blown away by their stage presence and how exciting the entire show was. Now all their fans know for that tour, Tommy was placed high above in the air-inside a revolving cage-and had one of the most memorable drum solos ever. The thing that was different about his solo was he selected some great classic rock tunes and blasted away on the drums to them. And then just like that crazy ride you went on as a kid (or now that you’re a parent you go on with your kids) where the cart spins wildly in circles, Mr. Lee was frantically smashing his way as the cage spun like a bicycle tire-seemingly enough to get anyone sick but he continued on. By the time they let him down, my jaw was on the floor-I couldn’t believe the spectacle that I had just witnessed. To this day I can still feel, taste and smell the energy inside the Garden that night. One more tidbit about this band that has affected my life- when my lovely bride and I were introduced by the DJ at our wedding for our first song to dance to as husband & wife- I informed him to play the opening licks of “Live Wire” just so as to mess with the audience. If you could have seen my mother’s face as she really thought that was our “first song”-talk about priceless? My wife was a good sport about it and we made believe we were “head-banging” and the DJ turned it off after 30 seconds or so. There was a collective sigh of relief as the DJ put our “real” song on.

Next year will mark the 30th anniversary of “Too Fast For Love”-now for all of you out there that are my age all I have to say is-“Can you believe that?” “Motley Crue” and “30 years” are two phrases that no one would have ever thought would go together (even the band members would agree). They are still “head-banging” and are showing no signs of stopping. Now this is a tough one to do because I love the first album so much that more than half of the top ten songs could come from this work alone. The same can be said about-“Dr. Feelgood”-arguably their most popular album. So many songs to choose from but I will do my best to represent what I think are their finest songs. I am on an island and am told that I can only have ten songs by the band called Motley Crue-“These are Them:”

10.     Dr. FeelgoodNo matter how many times I thought this would fall out of my top ten list, it kept coming back and beating some of the other songs that I had on my list. (remember I start out with “a lot” and whittle it down by having a showdown between songs). There is something about this song that psyches me up so easily-is it the awesome drumming of Tommy or the pulsating bass lines from Nikki or the blazing guitar from Mick?- Yes it’s all of that and more. The one thing I will never forget about this song is that I put it on one of my CD’s that I created for boot camp exercise class at MBIA and Dave (to his credit) always played the CD’s very loud. This song was blasting out of the exercise room on to the floor where the weights were and this woman didn’t like the song and came in like a crazed person holding her ears demanding that Dave turn “that crap off.” I couldn’t stop “air-guitaring” while she was screaming. Ahhh those were the days. This song has an awesome solo by Mr. Mars.

9.     Too Young to Fall in Love Love the way that Tommy starts off the song with the vivacious bass drum beats while Nikki and Mick provide the rhythm section that pulsates with life while Vince is at the top of his game on this track. This has a very addicting chorus which will have you singing it all day. This is a perfect song to cover if your band is just starting out in the garage and is hoping to move up to the local pub-it will get everyone out of their seats to either dance, join a “mosh pit” or just “air-guitar” everywhere there is a little room. \m/ \m/

8.     Piece of Your Action“I want you… I need you… I want you to be mine tonight…” Is there a better way to start off this classic tune from their debut album? You can feel the “rawness”- you can feel the “drive to get that record contract”- you can feel the “pure energy.” This song puts me over the edge, especially when you can hear the “high hat” on Tommy’s drums. Does this song rock or what? When Mick and Tommy trade their parts back and forth it makes the song that much better. Then Vince enters with a primal howl that just knocks me out. Can it get any better? I think not. This is some good stuff right here folks, you need to own this track (as well as the album).

7.     Looks That Kill Please put on a good set of headphones, test out the volume on any other song that you want to listen so as to know what your limit on how loud it can be, then put this song on and tell me you don’t get psyched? Oh my this is “head-banging” at its best. Love the part when Vince says “…the clock strikes midnight” and you then hear that bell (think “Hells Bells” by AC/DC for that sound I’m talking about) in the background-can it get any cooler than that? This has that classic AC/DC sound as you really can “break your neck” as I know I can’t stop moving my head up and down. Did you ever see that commercial for “J&R Music” where all those dudes with the long hair have the headphones on banging their heads up and down? This just may be the song they are listening to.

6.     Saints of Los Angeles-I knew from the first time I heard this track that it was going to be one of my all-time favorites. In my opinion, this is “classic” Motley Crue complete with all the trimmings including the familiar heavy guitar riff (think the guitar part from the song “Girls, Girls, Girls”) by Mick, the thick bass lines from Nikki that makes you hold on to your chest, the frenzied pace of Tommy on drums (he’s always on top of his drumming skills) and Vince has that classic “heavy metal” voice that all of us were quite use to hearing during the 1980’s. I turned my younger son on to this track and he loved it (so now that’s my younger brother and youngest son). He’s not a full fledged “Crue-ster” as of yet as his Mom is closely watching his father to see what songs he allots to him. (No I have not given him “Shout Out the Devil”). The song rocks and was definitely one of the best songs to come out in 2008.

5.     Too Fast for Love– Are you looking for a good work-out song? Or how about something that you can bang your head to? Then look no further than this song. This is pure energy and again you can feel the “primitiveness” in the recording, it sounds like it was recorded in one take while they were in their garage. Sometimes you just have to love the “unpolished” sound better than all the production that goes into most recordings today. I love the guitar work by Mick and Tommy’s drumming has me picturing kids in the back seat of a car bouncing up and down while hand drumming on the back of the head rests for the passenger and driver. Now of course the lyrical content is not for the kiddies but hopefully they don’t listen to the words too intently as the musicianship should put them in the mood to dance around. Nikki has a cool 5-10 second bass solo towards the end of the track that puts the icing on the cake to this super cool song.

4.     Public Enemy #1– I think if I had to pick one song that depicts what Motely Crue is all about then I would have to say that “Public Enemy #1” not only describes their long journey which included many battles with the press, record companies, other bands and also internal fighting amongst themselves which created this aurora of being that down, dirty, street-fighting band before Guns & Roses grabbed that label from them but the music demonstrates the tenacity that was needed to be an up and coming metal outfit that proved that they were a force to be reckoned with, while causing parents everywhere to consider them-“Public Enemy #1.” (and of course the song has “cowbells” so you know it’s a cool song, right?) Think through the years of all the controversies along with their well publicized demons, is this not the ideal song that would easily describe this band? Anyway, this song flat out rocks and I have already hit the rewind button four times.

3.     Same Ol’ Situation– Now I know for many of the die-hards, this song may be too far to the “pop” side but I can’t get enough of this track. I absolutely love the chorus and once it gets in my head- I sing the song all day long. I have NY Jets season tickets and walking through the parking lot before game time I have heard this song plenty of times blasting from some of the most absurd sound systems that are outdoors in East Rutherford NJ. Back to the music, how great is Tommy on the skins? Mick is the man on guitar and his solo needs to be played as loud as you can stand it. When this first came out on the album-“Dr. Feelgood”- it wasn’t one of my favorites but over the last few years this has catapulted its way to the top of my all-time favorites.

2.     Wild Side– I really believe that this is their best song they ever recorded, so why is it number 2 you ask? This was the toughest call for me since I have been doing these top ten lists but I “like” –“Kickstart my Heart”- just a tiny bit more but again I still stand by the statement that this is the highlight song of their career. This song is like an early Mike Tyson right hook-this is Lenny Dykstra when he first came up with the Mets and crashed into every wall, floor & player who was in his way- this is “All in the Family” during its prime and dare I say this is like the “GodFather II?” The arrangement of this song is spectacular and at points it really sounds like Tommy is down in an NYC apartment building banging on the pipes. This is “grit” at it’s best-again you can feel and taste the raw power just like a dog rips away on a nice bone. You have to go see them once just to hear them play this song- it is a righteous experience. \m/ \m/

1.     Kickstart My Heart– Mick’s guitar riff in the beginning had me from the first moment I heard this song-the only reason this beats out “Wild Side” is because of the pace. I feel like running everywhere when I hear this song. When I put it on in the house I blast it as loud as the walls can take (of course no one is home) and ran frantically from one end of the house to the other all along while “air-guitaring.” (perfect tune for your next “boot-camp” exercise class) I love that “double sounding” drum part that Tommy pounds away on. This song psyches me up like none other. When Vince slows the pace down when he says-“…when we started this band all we needed, needed a laugh… we’re still kicking ass..” –well that sends me over the edge as I know the breakneck Mars solo is on its way. Yes so I’m 45 going on 17- I don’t care-this is what music is all about-this is one of my ultimate “release” songs. Now I’m assuming everyone knows the story behind the title, right? For those of you in the know bare with me as I let those who don’t know-Nikki Sixx was basically dead and then received a bolt to the heart to kickstart his life over again. (think the scene in “Pulp Fiction”). Doesn’t get much better than this folks. \m/  \m/

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Cher

2.     Smokey Robinson

3.     The Beef Eaters

4.     ABBA

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     Peter Wolf, lead singer for the J. Geils Band use to be married to this Academy Award winning actress. Name her ?

2.     Which Beatle song did Earth, Wind & Fire re-record which landed in the top ten of the pop charts in 1978?

3.     True or False: Robin Trower was a member of Procol Harum ?

4.     Who is known as the “Motor City Madman?”

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     “Waterloo”- ABBA

2.     “You Shook Me All Night Long”-AC/DC

3.     “New York Groove”-Ace Frehley

4.     “Dream On” –Aerosmith

Can you guess the title from the following lyrics from part of the song?

1.     “…I remember finding out about you…everyday my mind is all around you…looking out of my lonely gloom …”

2.     “…Oh my music makes you dance…and gives your spirit to take a chance…and I wrote some rock and roll so you can move…”

3.     “…don’t tell me what it’s all about cause I’ve been there and I’m glad I’m out…Out of those chains, chains that bind you…that is why I am here to remind you…”

4.     “…drowning deep in my sea of loathing…broken your servant I kneel…(will you give it to me?)…it seems what’s left of my human side…is slowly changing in me…”

Back on this Day .

Back on this day in 1966, rumors ran wild on European radio that Roger Daltrey had been killed in an auto accident. Turns out it was Pete Townsend involved in a car accident where he had minor injuries.

Back on this day in 1971, Dennis Wilson-drummer for the Beach Boys-severed some nerves in his hand after he put it through a window pane. The accident caused him to miss three years of work.

Back on this day in 1976, Rush began a three night stint in Massey Hall in Toronto Canada which was recorded and turned into their first live album-“All the World’s a Stage.”

Back on this day in 1979, Chuck Berry was convicted of tax evasion and was sentenced to a four month prison term.

Back on this day in 2002, Paul McCartney married Heather Mills-which lasted four years.

If it is your birthday today you share the same birth date with Frank Beard, (ZZ Top) Donnie Van Zandt (.38 Special) and Jimmy McCulloch. (member of Wings)

June 3, 2010

Weekly Update – 06/04/2010

(My apologies for missing last week but my computer died on me the day before I usually post the page. I scrambled to get this week’s back on).

Aerosmith at Jones Beach on Thurs. Aug. 12. Ticket information to follow. Also appearing at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City NJ on Sat. Aug. 28. Tickets for this show on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $59.50 – $195. Sammy Hagar will open this show. Also appearing at the Mohegan Sun on Sat. Sept. 4. Ticket info to follow.

Kiss at Jones Beach on Sat. Aug. 14 and at PNC Bank Arts Center on Fri. Aug. 20. Pre-sale tickets available now for Citi card holders. (for non-Citi card holders the password is: Eventful2010) General tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. Jones: $38.60, $59.50, $93.05 – $153; PNC: $36.50, $59.35 – $91.40 – $153. The Academy Is and The Envy are the openers.They will also be appearing at the Mohegan Sun on Thurs. Aug. 19. Tickets for this show will go on sale next Fri. June 11 at 10:00 a.m. More information to follow.

Maroon 5 at Jones Beach on Wed. Aug. 11 and at PNC Bank Arts Center on Sun. Aug. 15. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. Jones: $35-$105.75; PNC: $34.25 – $105.95

John Mayer at Jones Beach on Thurs. July 22. Pre-sale tickets for Citi card holders on sale next Wed. June 9 at 10:00 a.m. until Fri. June 11 at 10:00 p.m. General public tickets on sale next Sat. June 12 at 10:00 a.m. $62.50 – $96.55

Rihanna at Jones Beach on Sun. Aug. 15. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. Mezz: $46; Stadium 2: $60.25 – $81.95; Orchestra: $125.50; Stadium 1: $81.95 – $125.50.

Queensryche at Nokia Theater on Fri. Aug. 20. Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders now until 10:00 a.m. this morning. General public tickets on sale today at noon. $45.

The National at the Wellmont Theater on Fri. Sept. 24. Tickets on sale today at noon. $33 ($35 day of show).

Perpetual Groove at the Bowery Ballroom on Fri. Sept. 24. Tickets on sale today at noon. $15 ($17 day of show).

Gotan Project at Terminal 5 on Thurs. Sept. 30. Tickets on sale today at noon. $39.50 ($40 day of show).

Engelbert Humperdinck at the Theater in Westbury NY on Fri. Rocktober 1. Tickets on sale this Sunday at 12:30 p.m. $51.50 – $61.50.

Barry Manilow with the New York Pops at the Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall on Sat. Aug. 14. Pre-sale begins this morning at 10:00 a.m. and ends 10:00 p.m. tonight and the password is: Manilow. General public on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $65 – $225.

The Smithereens at B.B. Kings on Sat. Jan. 15, 2011. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $27.

Other items:

Thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Mr. Paul Gray who passed away at the very young age of 38 last week. He was one of the founding members of Slipknot and was eulogized by his wife, friends and bandmates which you can see here. This is a tough thing to watch but very poignant. Rest in peace Paul. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrcfdgJhcgk

Two stunning concert cancellations this summer- U2 and Christina Aguilera. I completely understand U2 because Bono had back surgery and has to miss some shows, they will get back out on the road when he gets better. The more interesting one is Miss Aguilera, the reason given was that her schedule was too busy which leads one to believe that ticket sales were less than spectacular. And now there is speculation against Live Nation Entertainment and they are supposedly being looked at by the legal system for maybe some improprieties with ticket sales. (Ya think? You let Ticketmaster and Live Nation merge, what did you think would happen?)

Kiss is looking for some unsigned bands to open up for them on their summer tour. If you think your band is worthy you can register for free at GCOnstage.com to play at one of the 22 cities. Kiss will pick the five top bands from each city and then they will ultimately pick the winner. Has to be a dream come true, no?

According to legal documents, Joe Walsh has filed a restraining order against a neighbor who has threatened to kill him. Even though the man is 70 years old, Joe claims that he attacked his personal assistant with a block of wood. Joe fears for his life and he also put his wife, assistant, and gardener on that order of protection.

Robert Plant will release a new album in September with his new project-Band of Joy- (the band he was part of before joining the Mighty Led Zep- he is the only original member now) and supposedly everyone who was in the recording studio while it was recorded have raved about the new tunes. The 12 song disc will be released internationally on Sept. 13, no exact date set yet for U.S.

Rush has released two new singles-“Caravan”- and –“BU2B”- and I have to say that these songs are really good, especially if you are a fan of the boys from Canada. It sounds like a mixture of old Rush complimented with their contemporary sound. I really should start a campaign to have these guys voted into the U.S. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It’s enough already and pretty much embarrassing that the Hall doesn’t recognize this band’s amazing talents over the last 30 years. (30 Years??!!!)

Ministry has covered the AC/DC classic-“Thunderstruck”- and I sort of like it but nothing compares to the original. Check it out for yourself, it’s available on I-Tunes.

Kid Rock will release a new album-“Born Free”- on Sept. 7. It is the long awaited follow-up to “Rock and Roll Jesus” and will feature Bob Seger, T.I., Martina McBride and Sheryl Crow. The Kid is a huge fan of Seger and called him to ask if he would help out on a song but Bob never called him back, instead he showed up at Kid’s doorstep. When asked why he didn’t call back, Mr. Seger responded that he was “practicing.” I for one can not wait and hope this album is the turning point in his career. Maybe this will be his “Superunknown”- the new album was produced by the “Zen-Master” Mr. Rick Rubin. This should be interesting.

Album Review: Stone Temple Pilots by the Stone Temple Pilots released on May 25, 2010

Stone Temple Pilots

Sometimes in life you are part of something that is just a “natural fit” and feels good; of course there are “bumpy roads” along the way filled with disagreements or arguments but for the most part you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else and want that experience to last forever. However, like many times in our lives things change and no matter how hard it is to not welcome that change, you move on. And every once in a while-after some period of time- you are back in that same situation and even though it doesn’t feel like it did the first time around, there is a certain intrigue that keeps you wondering if you can recapture that magic. The members of the Stone Temple Pilots are now in this mode of reunification and instead of just “getting fat” on what they have already done, they decided to make some new music again after nine years and instead of naming the new album, it is just their name. In my opinion, this was purposely done, indicating that this is their “debut” all over again. The first thing different about this debut was that Scott Weiland, lead singer, decided that he did not want to sing in front of the other band members, so he decided he would cut the vocals on his own while the band had to record without him singing. Now say what you will about seeing him live-we all know about his demons-and there is always that chance that he will be “out there” (to put it mildly) on one (or more) of those nights you are sitting in the audience. But when it comes to the “studio” albums, you understand why Slash wanted him as a singer in Velvet Revolver. If awards were handed out for sounding “healthy” on an album, then Scott wins this one hands down for the new album. Now hopefully this “healthy” attitude stays with him as they embark on a tour for this new recording but already the rumors are abound.

The second thing that is different about this “debut” album is they can’t be painted as Pearl Jam “wanna-bee’s.” (Someone however, will point out that PJ’s latest album has very “short” songs and that STP has followed suit). Folks I’m not sure if STP will draw in new fans from this release but I think it has a shot for someone who was between the ages of 8-10 when they made their last studio album in 2001. And for the “fan” of this band (like me) this is what I expected from them. Bands that break up and almost a decade later decide to record some new material will have to look at this album as the “gold standard.” This is what I have been missing for the past nine years and in my opinion even though it has that distinctive STP “sound,” this album is different from all the past recordings-again I think done purposely. The album contains influences from David Bowie, Aerosmith and the Beatles. And in my opinion, it sort of reminds me of an album that Collective Soul (a more “contemporary” band) would put out because of the slick melodic “hooks and guitar riffs” that at times can be heavy but at the same time can come off as “pop.” There are no songs that reach five minutes and there are no tunes that contain that familiar slow trudge as in “Creep.” This album is crisp and clean sort of “old school” style when albums would contain 5-6 songs on each side that totals between 16-18 minutes of music. This is straight forward rock and roll plush with outstanding “pop” moments (see “First Kiss on Mars”) as well as superb musicianship (great guitar solos throughout) and topped off by excellent vocals. This is a “must have” for the STP “die-hard” (please no complaints) as well as the younger fan of rock & roll who were too young at the time when they disbanded. Buy it and “Just Push Play.”

The album kicks off with the very short-“Between the Lines”- which for you Kiss fans out there this possibly could remind you of “Baby Driver”-anyway this song moves and makes you sway your hips in circular gyrations. The chorus is addicting-“…even when we use to take… even when we use to take…” while Dean’s electrifying guitar solo is the highlight. This song continues to move largely in part of Eric Kretz drumming and you will feel like you are looking into one of those kaleidoscope toys you had when you were a kid when you listen to this track. Lyrics seem to indicate that Scott still considers his ex-wife his favorite even after her “tell-all” book. “Take a Load Off” is a head shaking rocking song with many stops & starts which has very cool background vocals, especially the “yeah” part while Scott sings the chorus. This is a tight song which has much going on and it’s hard to believe that the sound is made by just four guys, (feels like more) and there is no “rest” period at all-only at the end when it crisply stops on Scott’s vocals of “record store.” Whew I need to catch my breath and track # 3-“Huckleberry Crumble”- allows me some breathing room as this is pure rock and roll with a blues twist and will definitely conjure up images of Aerosmith’s “Same Old Song & Dance.” This is one of the better tracks on the album and in my opinion highlights the unheralded skills of Dean DeLeo on lead guitar-his solo is nothing short of spectacular. I can picture up and coming bar bands taking this song on because it has all the makings of a fan favorite- everyone will be “air-guitaring” and “air-drumming” while the others will be banging their heads up and down to this rocking song. Just like that out of the box, three-for-three. “Hickory Dichotomy” is another one of the better tracks on the album-this just flat out rocks and rolls and definitely pays homage to Mr. Weiland’s heroes- the one and only David Bowie. Put this track on and tell me you couldn’t picture Bowie doing this- it sounds like they borrowed the “Spiders from Mars” to assist in the recording. Scott’s vocal style really shines brightly here and again when he is “on” there really aren’t too many rock & roll singers out there that can match him. The background vocals will ignite images of the Beatles if they were just starting out in 2010-totally awesome. Track #5-“Dare if You Dare”- slows down the tempo a bit and again this sounds like it could have appeared on “Ziggy Stardust” and when the chorus kicks in you will swear that you have heard this before but I can’t really pinpoint from where. I don’t think this ever appears on their first album because this was written after much of life experiences and they have been through much adversity (and maybe still) but the point here is to make a difference-“…Dare to be something…” This is the new and improved Stone Temple Pilots equipped with real life messages. If I am correct in my thinking that the first side of the album would have six songs, then the last song on side one is-“Cinnamon.” Now I know for all the STP fans of the first album this song is a hard pill to swallow because this is more “pop-ish” than “Days of the Week.” But for me, this is one of my favorites on this album as I love the “simplicity” along with the chorus-“hear me, hear me…can you hear me…”-once this song gets in your head (obviously if you allow it-open your mind) you will not be able to stop singing it. Think of a those pop songs recorded by R.E.M. in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s.

If I can go back to the days when vinyl was “king” (it is making somewhat of a comeback), then my assumption is that “Hazy Daze” would start off side two and what a way to kick it off with those righteous guitar riffs that are slick in nature combined with an addictive chorus, this song has the capacity to be one of those tracks that will be played at every beach this summer. This tune will take you by surprise and should quickly become one of your favorites-the guitar solo is sweet and before you know it the beginning of “Bagman” begins and the first thing (if you are old enough) you will think of is the theme from the Batman show (yes the Adam West version)-it sounds similar-“…Batman… I mean Bagman…” I can picture Kiss doing this track with a twist of Bowie again. The bridge that leads into the guitar solo takes the tune into another stratosphere as you have to admit this is some good music right here that the Stone Temple Pilots are making. Track # 9- “Peacoat”- is one of the best tracks on this album. It sounds simple enough and has a slower groove than the previous tunes but when Scott starts to sing-“…I sleep all day…”- the song gets that much better. This is a foot stomping, make believe you can wail on the guitar song that should become one of the fan favorites at their live shows. Their harmonizing vocals really stand out in this track (who knows maybe Scott supplied all the vocals but it sounds great). “Fast as I Can” is a high speed track that I can picture riding a bike and pedaling as fast as you can as you either try to make it up a hill or actually come down a hill-either way this song will make you move your legs faster- a definite “speed” song for your next Spin class-tell the instructor to put this on his or her list. Dean again has a real nice guitar solo. Then it is on to the best song-and my personal favorite-on the album-“First Kiss on Mars”- this track should be on the radio everywhere right now. This is pure perfection and should be the “hit song” of the summer. I really can’t get enough of this track-again what stands out for me are the amazing vocals by Mr. Weiland-lead and harmonizing. If you don’t like this song, then I give up. You will think that you are listening to David Bowie especially the beginning of the song but as they get into the chorus, you will know that it is Scott, so in essence you get both Bowie and Weiland-sort of like a duet but not really. Listen and you will see what I mean. This has quickly moved up my list of my top ten all time Stone Temple Pilots songs (which I just did a few weeks back) and could possibly be number one or two-yes folks it is that good. This could be the song of the summer or year. (The music was created by Robert DeLeo- the bassist. Excellent job Robert!!). The last song on the album is “Maver” and it is the longest track, clocking in at 4:52 and is the perfect ending to a stellar comeback album. This is a peaceful song that evokes pictures of kids running through some corn fields in the summer time playing hide and seek. When the bridge kicks in with Scott singing “…how many nights did you make it without it…” it gets that much better. This is a wonderful track that highlights how far this band has come.

The new Stone Temple Pilots is worthy of your attention as they have produced one of the best “reunion” albums in a long while. Rolling Stone magazine has given this album a respectable 3.5 star rating (out of 5). My rating would have come in as a 4 star. Hopefully they can keep this groove going.

“TOP TEN”:

Image of John Mellencamp

This week’s I-Pod shuffle landed on “Rodeo Clown” by Mr. John Mellencamp and it put me on the track of trying to come up with my favorite songs from this talented guy from Bloomington Indiana. This man’s career has now entered its fifth decade and he has shown no sign that he will ever stop doing what he loves best-writing songs that matter deeply to him. I think John has come to a point in his career where he will do what he wants to record and if people buy it-fine, but if they don’t purchase it-that’s fine as well. Now if one were filming a movie about becoming a “rock” star, is there any better choice to follow the life and times of John Mellencamp? It’s a Cinderella story whereby the record companies/or “suits” played the mean step-mother, forcing John to use “Cougar” as a last name because that was the “cool” thing to do but in the end it is John drinking champagne from that glass slipper. But what happened in between that time was a massive explosion of force, swagger, revolt and good old home town cooking that catapulted him to stardom on his own merits where by just like a snake sheds its skin, he left the Cougar behind him and ultimately battered down the doors of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as John Mellencamp. And oh by the way, contrary to his outward appearances, I believe he had fun along the way.

I remember hearing “I Need a Lover” for the first time and wondering who this rocker that I need to know is. It was my junior year in high school, I was knee deep into Van Halen while trying to soak in all the cool rock & roll that I could find and in walked this guy named John Cougar. During the same time, Pat Benatar had the same song out but I was always partial to John’s version-mainly because of the very awesome rocking introduction to the song which lasts two minutes and thirty seconds. Then when I heard-“Hurts So Good”- I was hooked on to the bandwagon and followed his career through most of the 1980’s as he became a favorite of mine. I clearly remember watching a music award show with my parents back in the early 1980’s (not sure which one-Grammy’s or American Music Awards or “whatever”) with “visions of grandeur” because John Cougar was nominated and in my mind-there was no way he was going to lose, so I finally could show my parents that our generation had its “Elvis”-Ok that is a little carried away-but you get the picture, right? Well here it is a “black-tie” event and the person reads his name as the winner-here it is-what I was waiting for all day and night- a great acceptance speech from one of my “idols” and my parents are going to see that I follow real cool artists. As the camera shows John making his way up to the stage I’m wondering where is his tuxedo? (Ok maybe not the rock and roll way, I get it but…). He comes up basically in a white T-shirt, walks up to the microphone and says something to the effect of “I know you people think I’m stupid but thanks anyway” and walks off the stage. What?…What just happened?…. Did I just get punched in the face? I didn’t even look over to my dad as I knew there would be this scowl across his face that I was not about to live down. I arose from the couch and went straight to bed, full of the same “piss & vinegar” that John displayed to a national audience.

During the period from 1983- 1990, his albums became-“John Cougar Mellencamp”- and in my opinion he was at the height of his career during this time. I absolutely love “Uh-Huh” from top to bottom and what else can be said about “Scarecrow”-arguably the best album of the 1980’s decade. Then came my favorite-“Lonsome Jubilee”- released in August 1987 and at that time John had really let his hair down, no really I mean his hair was the longest it had ever been. Another thing I remember about Mr. Mellencamp was that during that year-1987-he had this huge tour and the only night he was playing Madison Square Garden was Thanksgiving night. Now I remember feeling uneasy about telling my parents that I was going to a concert on Thanksgiving but I had to go. As it turns out, I went with a whole bunch of people including many of the people I worked with in Dan’s supermarket including Mary, Audrey and my best man John. We had a blast and Mr. Mellencamp put on a fantastic show. As the 1990’s approached, I kind of followed the “hair bands” and then of course the “grunge” scene but always kept an eye out on his stuff. As he became older, his music, in my opinion, went in the right direction-like fine wine-it just gets better and he keeps evolving making him relevant still to this day. I recently saw John on an interview show with Michael Kay and to me his appearance is basically still the same-he seems to have just awakened from a sleep, his words can sometimes cut to the bone but again every once in a while there is a smile. His last album-“Life, Death, Love and Freedom”- was a dark gloomy work but after giving it some listen, it gets better. (T-Bone is the producer so you know there is no “Shiny Happy People” coming from him). Mr. Mellencamp has earned his way to the top of being mentioned as one of the all time American artists in the history of this country. (You see Mom & Dad, I was right..) He is a living legend and continues to raise awareness (with his lyrics) on bold topics, especially on race. He has been there (with Willie and friends) from the very beginning to “Aid” the American farmer and continues to do so. His library is so extensive and he has amassed many hits in the Top 40 (although recently he has said that he is through with being a “rock star” which is fine because is a “star” in his own right) and it is really hard to pinpoint ten songs but I will try. Here goes:

10.     Down and Out in ParadiseWhen John has something to say, he says it and does not hold back. This is off of “Jubilee” when Ronald Reagan was the President and this song is a clear message that there was a whole segment of the population that was down and out while everyone else lived in “paradise.” Politics aside, this song has such a funky groove and makes parts of your body move that you never could. The “stop & go” bends and breaks through out this song is incredible and I can picture someone doing the “robot” dance to this track. By this album, the fiddle and other different “country music” instruments became part of his repertoire and it fit perfectly. Great song.

9.     A Ride Back Home This duet with Karen Fairchild (Little Big Town) is what I mean about how John has grown as an artist as this song only comes through his life experiences, this doesn’t appear on any of his first seven albums. Now if this reminds you of Robert Plant & Allison Krauss well you can thank Mr. T-Bone Burnett as he was the producer on “Life, Death, Love and Freedom.” John’s vocals are phenomenal and Karen’s voice is the perfect offset to his lower pitch. This is a song to sing around the camp fire. The video is very cool, it was shot in his hometown of Bloomington.

8.     Love and HappinessWhen John wants to “rock and roll” like the Stones (one of his biggest influences along with Dylan and Guthrie) he can make some of the best songs. This has the heaviest guitar work since his “Uh-huh” days but the really cool thing is the blazing trumpet solo in the middle of the song. It’s hard to avoid the hard hitting lyrics as John always seemed to stick up for the “middle” American people and the struggles they had/have. “…If you are a young couple today, forget about buying a house…” I believe he steers to the “left” so during his formative years he a lot to write about the “right” and his views on their policies.

7.     Minutes to Memories How great are the lyrics to this song? I love the line that states-“…He said an honest man’s pillow is his peace of mind…”This is song about life and how it comes at you whether you are ready or not. It tells a story of how an older man told him things but at the time he was too young and thought that he knew better than the old man. As they years went on and when he had his own son he realized that the old man was right and he was trying to convey that message to his son. “…You are young and you are the future…so suck it up and tough it out…and be the best you can…” Words to live by. Awesome song.

6.     Rodeo ClownThis song used to pop up in my I-Pod shuffle a lot and it grew and grew on me and sure enough it became one of my all time favorite songs. I love the chorus and the music behind it sounds a lot like something that the Rolling Stones would perform-“…she changed direction with the gas fires burning…racing for protection, what could she possibly find…” This is a perfect song if you know people who can play the acoustic guitar, get a few of them, and sing this song around a camp fire as this is an addicting song complete with great musicianship. Think about a rodeo clown with red eyes? Seems to indicate that the clown should be happy and clear of any worries but the lyrics paint a very different story- it was written in 2007and again it seems he was tired of things going to the right.

5.     The AmericansBeing from the North East corner of the U.S. it’s hard for me (and I believe others) to relate to what the Mid-Westerner is going through when he or she is growing up but the one thing that is clear is that I can relate to the lyrics-“…I’m an American…I’m an American…I respect you and your point of view…” I love the part with about a minute and 25 seconds left when the drums are used as emphasis to the lyrics-“…they call me the land of opportunity…”-and when he says the word-“opportunity”- the drums give it that extra punch. This is another great song to sing around the campfire-love the way he sings-“and I wish-(but he pronounces it weee-sssh) you good luck with whatever you do…” It makes me want to play acoustic guitar right now.

4.     Crumblin’ DownWhen I first bought “Uh-huh”I remember being in my bedroom with the door closed and blasted this song as loud as I could. I wanted everyone to hear this very cool song. Talk about a rocking tune? In my opinion, this was the loud brash young Mellencamp that was there to tell you that he was coming to the party whether you like it or not. It has the “edge” that is needed to be a rocker-I know he doesn’t think of himself as a rocker now-but back then this was the “bomb.” (No not Cherry yet, that’s still to come). I use to mimic him in my bedroom and wanted that swagger that just surrounded him but I was always too nice, always doing the right thing and behaving-maybe that’s why I am drawn to rock and roll-because it takes me to places that I can dream about. You see what music does to me? This song is like getting a blood transfusion, it has to make you want to rock and roll. Love it.

3.     Paper in FireI can’t think of a better song to start off the amazing “Lonesome Jubilee.” I remember when I first heard this song, it knocked me out. There is no other way to listen to this song but LOUD!!! “…she had a dream and boy it was a good one…so she chased after her dreams with much desire…”-and when the drums come in to accentuate “well her dreams burned up… like Paper in Fire…” This song is just too much for me to take; I have to keep hitting the rewind button and try to dance around in circles. Folks this is great stuff right here, doesn’t get much better than this. It has that “country” flavor as you can hear the fiddle but it also has this blast of rock and roll that has to get you to move. I can still remember the way he performed this at The Garden back in 1987 on Thanksgiving night-the band was jamming all over the place where it seemed all the musicians were doing their own thing but were playing together so naturally-this is one of the “tightest” songs you will ever hear. The musicians are working on all cylinders.

2.     Pink HousesThis song will forever take me back to “The Record Store” on 86st street in Bay Ridge Brooklyn. Every time I hear the opening notes, I think back to the salesman on the floor who was dancing around the place like there was no one else in the store. He told everyone in the store that the album had just come out and at that moment I was blown away on how great this song sounded blasting throughout the entire place (and if you remember that store, it was pretty big with tons of albums-I wonder what they did with all those albums when they closed-I wish that store was still there). I immediately purchased the album right on the spot, and headed right home to do my own dancing around my room as I had it just as loud as that guy in the store. This is pure perfection folks.

1.     Cherry BombThis is the perfect sing along song that I think was ever created. It is impossible not to sing along with John as he belts out the story of “yesteryear” and how quickly life goes by and how we all now say “do you remember when?” Believe you me-all you youngsters out there with soon enough be in the same club-“The Cherry Bomb.” I can remember like it was yesterday how we all loved to hang out in Brooklyn on 3rd avenue in Bay Ridge as we all “hit the clubs” and our favorite “watering holes.” We should have a reunion. Those were the days. Now fast forward to today and I have teenage boys-whew where has the time gone? “…17 has turned 35…I’m still surprised we’re still living…got a few kids of my own…”And I agree with John-I hope my kids are not laughing too hard when they hear me talking like this to you.

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Paul Daniel Frehley

2.     The Beastie Boys

3.     Blue Oyster Cult (for two weeks only)

4.     Courtney Cox

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     Who sang background vocals on “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’” by The Righteous Brothers?

2.     Who wrote the Temptations huge hit-“My Girl?”?

3.     What was the original name of the band-The Byrds?

4.     What band had the following members: Anni-Frid Lyngstag, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Agnetha Faltskog.

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     “Fight For Your Right”- The Beastie Boys

2.     “New York Mining Disaster 1941”-Bee Gees

3.     “You May Be Right”-Billy Joel

4.     “Hit The Road Jack” –Ray Charles

Can you guess the title from the following lyrics from part of the song?

1.     “…my my I tried to hold you back but you were stronger…oh yeah, and now it seems my only chance is giving up the fight…and how could I ever refuse…I feel like I win when I lose …”

2.     “…She was a fast machine…she kept her motor clean…she was the best damn woman that I ever seen…”

3.     “…stop at third and forty-three, exit to the night…it’s gonna be ecstasy…this place was meant for me…feels so good tonight, who cares about tomorrow…”

4.     “…half my life’s in books’ written pages…lived and learned from fools and from sages…you know it’s true…all things come back to you…”

Back on this Day

Sadly back on this day in 1997, Ronnie Lane bassist and songwriter for “Faces” passed away from pneumonia after a long illness with multiple sclerosis at the young age of 51.

Back on this day in 1984, Bruce Springsteen released his seventh album-“Born in the U.S.A.”- which went on to be his most successful commercial release selling 15 million copies in the U.S. alone.

Back on this day in 1992, Priscilla Presley announced that the ’57 Elvis would be the image for the Elvis Presley stamp.

Back on this day in 1993, Kurt Cobain was arrested after a dispute with his wife, Courtney Love, over his firearms collection.

If it is your birthday today you share the same birth date with the late Freddy Fender, the late Gordon Waller (Peter & Gordon), Michelle Phillips and Jimmy McCulloch. (member of Wings).

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