Errols Weekly Music Update.

August 27, 2010

Weekly Update – 08/27/2010

Godsmack at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Tues. Rocktober 5. Pre-sale tickets begin this morning at 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. tonight and the password is: flute. General public tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $67.50 (floor seating) $57.50 for general admission, 1st and 2nd level balcony seats. How great is the month of Rocktober and what better way to kick it off with Godsmack? Who is in??!!

Mary J. Blige at Radio City Music Hall on Tues. Rocktober 12. Tickets on sale this coming Mon. Aug. 30 at 10:00 a.m. $65.75 – $165.75. This is shaping up to be some Rocktober, huh?

Elton John & Leon Russell at the Beacon Theater on Tues. Rocktober 19. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m.$79 – $189

John Legend & The Roots at Terminal 5 on Thurs. Sept. 23. Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders on sale now until 10:00 p.m. tonight. General public tickets on sale this Mon. Aug. 30 at noon. $30 ($35 day of show)

Govt. Mule at the Beacon Theater on Thurs. & Fri. Dec. 30 & 31. Tickets on sale this morning at 11:00 a.m. $49.50 – $69.50.

LCD Soundsystem at the Wellmont Theater on Thurs. Sept. 23. Tickets on sale today at noon. $35.

Pete Yorn at Bowery Ballroom on Tues. Rocktober 5. Tickets on sale today at noon. $25.

Disturbed at Oakdale Theater in Wallingford CT on Wed. Rocktober 27. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m.$33.

Bad Religion at Irving Plaza on Wed. Rocktober 20, Tues. Rocktober 26 and Wed. Rocktober 27. Tickets on sale tomorrow at noon. $27.50. (SRO, no seats)

Lifehouse at Roseland Ballroom on Sun. Rocktober 17. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $35.

Soulfly at the Gramercy Theater (formerly “The Blender”) on Wed. Dec. 8. Tickets on sale today at noon. $26. (SRO, no seats).

The Hendrix Experience will do its second annual tour at the Beacon Theater on Wed. Nov. 10. Ticket info to follow. Features guitarists such as Robert Randolph, Steve Vai playing with Living Colour, Susan Tedeschi, Kenny Wayne Sheppard and many more.

Joe Satriani at Nokia Theater on Mon. Dec. 13. Tickets on sale today at noon. $37.50, $57.50 and $75.

Other items:

Sly Stone and George Clinton are recording a new album together which is supposed to be ready by December of this year. “It’s a funky family affair and I’m happy to just be on it” George was quoted as saying. Apparently Sly has plenty of recordings/music that has never released and send Clinton a whole bunch of stuff. They are jamming with both members of the Family band as well as members of P-Funk. This should be interesting to hear and this has to pump you up, no?

PBS will premiere a two hour document on John Lennon this coming Nov. 22 which will focus on the last decade of John’s life. This will include the birth of Sean, his battles with immigration and the recording of Double Fantasy. Unbelievably this year marks the 30th anniversary since he was gunned down in front of his home. It is the Monday during the Thanksgiving week.

A rare interview given by Mr. Rock and Roll himself-the legendary Chuck Berry– appears in this week’s issue of Rolling Stone magazine (the cover is filled with naked people with blood-what is going on with Rolling Stone the last six months? Are they kidding me? It could be a Playboy/Playgirl issue).Anyways, the article is riveting and you gain a glimpse of what Mr. Berry is all about. This is a must buy (despite the offensive cover).

Elton John & Leon Russell have released a new single-“If It Wasn’t for Bad”- and I have to tell you this is a great song. You need to own this now. These guys have been long time friends and if this song is any indication of how the entire album is going to be-then it is a must buy. Check it out.

Brandon Flowers has released a single-“Swallow It”- and I have to say I really like it. Sounds like the Killers but with a twist of R.E.M. Check this one out too.

My favorite “classic rock” song of the week is “Stormtrooping” by the Wang Tango man Mr. Ted Nugent. This is off his first solo album and this song rocks. Despite his raucous nature, he is a very talented guitarist and has made some classic rock songs. Love this one.

U2 and Jay-Z are planning a tour together of Australia and New Zealand this coming November. They last teamed up in 2009 and did a version of “Sunday Bloody Sunday” together. U2 say they plan to do some interesting things with Mr. Z. Sounds cool.

Rush will be featured on VH1 Classic for 24 Hours straight as part of a celebration of the Jewish New Year. “Rush Hashanah” will take place and the following pieces will be shown: “Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage” “Rush in Rio” with in depth looks at their classic albums “2112” and “Moving Pictures.” All the fun starts on Wed. Sept. 8 at 7:00 p.m.

Sammy Hagar has opened his restaurant called-“Sammy’s Beach Bar & Grill”- at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport in the British Airways Terminal #7. So the next time you are at JFK, check it out.

Album Review: “The Reason Why” by the Little Big Town released on August 24, 2010

The Reason Why

It seems like some of the bands that I really get into do not get as much notoriety or affection by the “average” person walking down the street.(See “Tesla”) I could just picture myself as a reporter with a microphone in my hand and asking a bunch of people walking down 5th Avenue in Manhattan-“Excuse me-Have you ever heard of a band called Little Big Town?” My assumption is that less than 20% of the random applicants that I stopped would have recognized this unbelievably vocally talented foursome despite being the best-in my opinion- harmonizing vocalist band in the country. And oh yes, they play “Country” music. This brings me to another point, from my standpoint they play beautiful Country music, but for some reason I get the feeling that they are sort of labeled as “Alternative Country.”-Whatever that means? Putting aside all the “labels” or “expectations” that are sometimes just not right- Little Big Town has delivered the goods once again on their new album-“The Reason Why.”

Their fan base will love it along with their other albums. Now I have to admit that the genre of “Country” has not usually been my forte so I am going on my knowledge of listening to rock and roll bands and I will state that I was expecting this to be a notch above “A Place to Land” and if I am being honest with myself, I would have to say that it is not. However this does not mean that I do not totally enjoy this album-I do- but I guess I was sort of looking for their-“Superunknown” (by Soundgarden-that’s the standard that I always use because in my opinion that was their best album). Like I said I am not too familiar with Country artists having that ascension towards their own “Sgt. Pepper’s.” Is it a solid album? Yes. Do you get spectacular harmonies on the upbeat songs? Yes. (as well as the slow ones) Do you get chills down the back of your spine on their heartfelt songs? Yes. They have this formula down pact. Will it expand their fan base? Maybe. I’m not sure what they have to do to get them over that hump of being named in the same breath as let’s say-“Rascal Flatts”- (whom they should have beaten in the category of best vocal Country band last year or maybe even earlier this year) or some of the other top artists in the Country genre but maybe until they get to that point, the people “in the know” will still have to spread the word, like myself, that this is one of the best bands-in any genre- to have come out in the last ten years.

The album starts off with the title track and it is very unassuming as there is a guitar playing some notes for about 10 seconds but then Karen Fairchild’s (I’m assuming it is her) amazing vocals kick in with-“I could love you…baby…if you want me to…”- and it is off to the clouds as she will have you floating in air. Then by the time, they all join in to sing-you have to hit the “stop” button and ask yourself-“what group sings better?” Jimi Westbrook (again I’m assuming) comes in with his part of the verse as he waits for everyone to then join the chorus. I think Little Big Town is at their best when they share vocal leads in their songs-and I would have liked to see (or hear) this much more often on this album than what is presented. The cool part about this song is the added benefit of a righteous guitar solo to supplement the amazing voices. “Runaway Train” is a raucous (for them) country rock and roll song that will have you dancing in no time (or head-banging-yes Country head-banging-you knew I was going to get that in there somehow, right?). This is Jimi’s baby and again the guitar work is awesome-this band is excellent when they take it up like this and honestly I would love to hear more songs like these because you can feel the “party” atmosphere. I really could picture Kid Rock doing this song with them up on stage. This song rocks!

The pace comes severely down with the exquisite “Kiss Goodbye.” Now I was all pumped up from the first two songs and then I fell but the weird thing is this is the same effect I usually get when I hit “shuffle” on my I-Pod-I can go from Metallica to Dean Martin in a second. Now the thing that gets me over the fact that I have “come down” is the beauty of this song. This is a perfect sing along song-especially the chorus when the three others help on vocals. This is a gut retching song as far as the lyrics, so if you have recently broke up with someone, you may want to skip over this one. “Shut Up Train” keeps the beauty moving along. (By the way- the words “train” and “station” are used often in this album-sort of reminds me of AC/DC using the word “rock” on their last album). This is another “heartache” song but the thing is no one sings these songs like Little Big Town; they seem to melt your heart a little faster with their vocals. I can picture looking out the window inside of a log cabin on a rainy night while that train that woke her up trudges by, a picturesque vision in many different ways. This one will touch your soul. “Why, Oh Why” has the feel of that old “bluegrass country” style music that will get your “twang” up. They modernize it with some really crisp guitar riffs and at points you will almost think this is a rock song as the pace and arrangement takes a turn down that avenue but the vocals keep it on the country road. Nice guitar work!! “Little White Church” was the first single released off the album and it has some kick in it as you will be snapping your fingers, clapping your hands and slamming your head up and down as you head out on to the dance floor. (just picture your aunts and uncles getting off their seats at a wedding as “You Should Be Dancing” comes over the DJ’s airwaves). “Mama warned me about your game…She don’t like you anyway”-a rough and tough comeback for the guy who is not being respectful to her beloved daughter. Guys watch out- you don’t want to mess with Karen or Kimberly Schlapman-they have some edge in them, even with a song that mentions the word-“church”- in it.

Track # 7 (or side “two” in my mind) slows down with a hearty country like tune called-“You Can’t Have Everything”- with Kimberly (I think) on lead vocals. This is a perfect song to sit around a campfire (or you back porch) and just lean back and listen to the splendor of the tune. As with many a Country song, this is a sad story of a love lost and hence you can’t have everything. “All The Way Down” will remind you of something that Fleetwood Mac might do (maybe that is why they are put in the category of “Alt Country”) and it is a nice song to dance to (but it’s not that slow) with that someone special in your life. “Rock me like a lullaby, roll me like a wheel…”-this is mainly the girls song but the boys chip in with some background vocals. “All Over Again” is a song that I can definitely see landing on the radio real soon. It has that certain feel to it that the general masses seem to go for, so who knows this may be the song that pulls in more fans. It has the feel of a pop song in the vain of Daughtry but with a Country twist. And it’s perfect for that certain couple who are thinking about getting back together again. “Rain on the Roof” takes the pace down again. Songs like these are great to sing along to but it might be a little overkill with the slower tempo songs- I like the more upbeat songs but again not a bad song. Track # 11- “Life Rolls On”- is my favorite track on the album. You see this is the type of song that LBT should do more of; it has the nice dance beat that has to put a smile on your face. I clap my hands as I dance to the circle of people on the dance floor singing “la,la,la, la, la life rolls on…” Makes you want to kick back and enjoy watching everyone having fun to this track-the electric guitar solo is “on” and makes “it easy to move your feet.” Now the last track-“Lean into It” is the perfect way to end the album even though it is a slow song again because sometimes there is that extra something that is contained in certain songs, and this tune has “it.” This could arguably be the best song on the album and could be one of the best songs that they have ever recorded but may be lost in the shuffle as some may skip over it because they feel like they have heard it before. And I think that is what they have to “change up” when they record their next album- sometimes you can’t “go to the well too many times.”

“The Reason Why” is an excellent album and is deserving of your attention. I love this band and enjoy almost every song that they have ever recorded but I believe for the next work they will be at a “crossroad” where they will have to decide what ingredients to add to their soup to spice things up a bit. My analogy would be like Green Day- before they did “American Idiot”- they had some really good songs on many different albums and then they did something that most didn’t think they could do-they wrote and performed songs that were longer than three minutes (you know what I mean). There was a “concept” and the result was a masterpiece. And I’m not saying LBT needs to do a “concept” album but in my opinion to draw more people in-they have to separate themselves from the rest of the pack to hit that next level. They already have the talent to do it. But again this new album is worth the price of admission-especially the $7.99 price tag. Definite “buy.”


Double Fantasy

Ok this week’s “Nuggets” comes from a duet album but in reality (with no offense to Yoko) I really only listen to the songs by the legendary John Lennon off of his “comeback” album-“Double Fantasy.”Talk about a weird dynamic of songs from Yoko to John’s tunes. Again with no offense to Yoko but her songs are just not my cup of tea, but I respect her. What else can be said about John Lennon-that five year period where he took off time to be with Yoko and Sean was just what he needed because his “new” stuff was a breath of fresh air filled with so much promise which always begs the question-“What if?” Right? I can’t even imagine what our lives would have been like if he was alive to do what he did best-make music. It was just in him, he could never really “walk away” from it all. Even if he made tapes just for himself-music was his passion (as well as Yoko and Sean). Here are the gems from that album from him in no particular order:

I’m Losing You – How great is this song? “Here in some stranger’s room…late in the afternoon..what am I doing here at all?”Do you feel that vibe? It grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let you go. The groove is so infectious as you rock out and John’s vocals are crystal clear. Songs like this blow me away and again I just keep going there-what if? This arguably could be the best song on “Double”-what do you think? The guitar work is so righteous. Phenomenal-“I know I hurt you then..but hell that was way back when..” Doesn’t get better than this folks.

Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) – I summarized this song for all of you seven weeks ago when my younger brother and his wife had their first child- a beautiful boy. This is the ultimate “baby” song ever created. John’s lyrics capture the essence of being a father (and mother too) to a young child. Everyone who has ever had a child has to drift off into another zone as you listen to this masterpiece. This is John at his very best. ‘Nuff said.

Woman – I wanted this to be my wedding song. I wanted to sing this to my beautiful bride-this really was the first song that popped into my head when we were planning our wedding. But she felt it was just directed to the bride and respectfully declined. It is hard to put into words how one man can write lyrics like this that are universal to almost every man who has married (or lives with or just plain loves her). This is earth shattering stuff that brings tears to the eyes. Talk about love and passion? Absolutely, positively stunning music from this unbelievable talent. Thank you John for this song, it is truly a gift.

Watching the Wheels – The first person I think of is my best man-Johnny Boy- as he loves this song so much I can picture him singing along to this song with the same passion as Mr. Lennon evokes in so many people around the globe. This was John’s response to all those people who thought that he wasn’t happy being a husband and father-is there any better occupation? There was no anger in his voice just the plain truth-“I’m just sitting here doing time…” The arrangement of the song is spectacular and the next time you listen to this track, follow the bass lines-unreal. This is an epic.

(Just Like) Starting Over – Every time you hear that “triangular bell” ring, don’t you freeze? I know I do. This was the first single to be released from the album and weren’t you blown away? I know I was. This was such a quality song. I think he was so comfortable in his life and the prior five years before his untimely death were probably the best years of his life and it shows in these songs. You ever see those “mood rings” where if it turns deep purple one is “very happy” well the color of that ring immediately turned like a ripe plum because this is a joyous return to being the best. This song let everyone know-he was back.


Styx - Greatest Hits

I have been on a “Styx” kick the last couple of weeks and they brought back memories of a good friend, Cathy, as well as my mother so I figured it was time to list my favorite top ten songs by this once powerful outfit which is still going strong today, albeit without a certain core member which for whatever reason could not seem to work out his differences with the rest of the band. And just like Kiss, they decided to move forward after giving it numerous attempts to try and make it like it was in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s but sometimes you just can’t go back to the way things “used to be.” Now folks don’t kid yourself, this band was without a doubt one of the biggest bands during that time period and yes even though they moved away from the “progressive” genre to the pop side, there is no denying that shift resulted in some of the best “rock” songs along with a plethora of fans that would completely sell out the likes of Madison Square Garden for a few nights in a row. So to the true faithful Styx fan, please forgive me because I jumped on the bandwagon real late- their seventh album to be exact-“Grand Illusion” and coincidentally almost the same time that Tommy Shaw joined the fray and in my opinion helped ignite them to the top of the “rock arena” tours back in those days. Actually my first album by Styx was “Pieces of Eight” which was given to me by Cathy as she knew I was heavily getting into the rock music scene back in 1977. I was already into Kiss and Foreigner but as always- I was looking for more. Styx was right up my alley-blistering guitar riffs, awesome drumming, memorable choruses from some of the best songs released during the 1970’s and 1980’s as well containing the best harmonizing vocals which in my opinion has to rank them up there at the top of the best singing rock bands of all time.

Before the new decade of 1980 became a reality, Styx released my favorite album of theirs-“Cornerstone” in 1979 and by that time I couldn’t wait for their material to come out. I knew when it would be released and yes I purchased it the first day it came out. Yes Ok I acknowledge that “Babe” is the most popular song from that album and call it “pop,” “power ballad,” “sappy” or whatever you want to classify it as but I don’t care. You know what? I actually was happy this song came out because it landed in the top ten pretty quickly (I know then I should have dropped it like a hot potato because I was only 14 and that’s what I did at that age but something inside of myself allowed me to hang on to this band). And then when I heard this song on my father’s station-WCBS FM (the “oldies” station)- I couldn’t believe it. I should have smashed the album to pieces, right? But what happened was that I was actually proud that a song from a band that I listened to actually pierced the airwaves that my dad listened to. Believe me, this was big. Of course my dad would always say that because of this song it was the beginning of the end of WCBS because they didn’t stick to the true format of playing anything beyond 1963. And then when I used to listen to “Cornerstone” my mother would tell me to open my bedroom door so that she could listen to the album as well. My mom always had more of an open mind when it came to new music. Granted she didn’t like the heavier stuff that I morphed into but she was always a fan of good rock and roll, rock and music that moved her. Yes she liked “Babe” but she also enjoyed “Lights,” “Never Say Never” and she especially loved “Boat On a River.” (which is one of my favorites and since my mom is not with us anymore, this song takes on a whole new meaning, right?) As Styx grew in popularity, the next piece of work is always going to be tougher to top right? (ask…Guns & Roses…Meatloaf…Boston…shall I go on?). So enter-“Paradise Theater” and even though I bought it and enjoyed it for the most part, there was just too much “theatrics” added to it as well as their live shows and instead of “rocking” out, they became a “production.” Turns out it was Dennis DeYoung who wanted the “theatrical” feel to the band while the others wanted to rock out more. Believe me, if Dennis would have made more songs like “Come Sail Away” I’m pretty sure the rest of the boys would have not had a bit of a problem playing those type of songs but my gut tells me they did not want a “concept” album released every time. They also wanted songs like “Renegade” and “Blue Collar Man.” The part that confuses me the most is why one member (it seems like) always appears to want to control of a body of at least three or more members of the band with his or her type of music and the direction of the band. With no offense to Mr. DeYoung because I admire many of his contributions to the band, but I recently saw him on an interview show and I’m sorry but he was so full of himself and seemed to have that arrogance that it was all him who made Styx what they were back in the day. And forget it when they made “Mr. Roboto” then I dropped them like a hot potato-but still love their “popular” years. (and let me make clear that this is my assumption of what happened, I could be wrong). Then I’d say about five years ago, I came back to Styx and purchased “The Big Bang Theory”-(a record of covers of the band’s favorite songs-yes without Dennis DeYoung). I am headed to see them at the Beacon Theater in Rocktober and it will be the first time in more than 25 years that I have the chance to relive the “glory” years and relive my childhood-how could I not go to this show? And to boot they are playing “Grand Illusion” and “Pieces of Eight” in their entirety, I am so stoked. So here I am on an island and told that I can only have ten songs by the band Styx-“These are Them:” (If I could pick eleven-then # 11 would be-“Shooz”- a heavy head banging tune by Tommy and James).

10.     Rockin’ The Paradise– No matter how many times I told myself that I couldn’t have this song in my top ten, it just kept coming back and if I am honest with myself and I’m on an island, this song has to make my list because I have always loved it, although I would hardly admit it in public. This was the beginning of the end, right? But you know what? This song rocks!! Yes I could do without the theatrics but Tommy has a blistering guitar solo which knocks your socks off. It’s a fast pace song which incorporates some really cool piano parts. This song has to be good for your next Spin class, no?

9.     Lady– This is another song that no matter how many times I thought this would not land in my top ten, it kept beating out the other songs I had laid out in the competition. The only version to listen to is the original-which appears on Styx II- and not the re-recorded version (something to do with the record company, of course right?). This has to rank up there as one of the best songs that Dennis has written. It is a complete sing along tune from top to bottom. When is the last time you have heard this tune? Check it out, sounds as fresh as it did over 30 years ago.

8.     Crystal Ball – Ok this was really Tommy’s introduction to the band as the title track to this album was his first work with the band and he immediately made them a major force in the rock world. No offense to the prior members but once Tommy stepped in, he elevated this band to another level. This was his first song that he wrote by himself. Again the “signature” move by Styx was to be so soft and lull you into a sense of security but then batter down the doors with a huge guitar and keyboard crunch that really is unmatched in this genre. Add the fantastic background vocals and here you have that classic Styx sound. This is an unknown epic but make no mistake-it’s an epic tune!!

7.     Renegade– Don’t care how many times I have heard this; don’t care about any complaints about this song-call it what you will but for me this song pumps me up every time I hear it. Obviously when I was 13, this was the greatest song ever. The guitar solo by JY is blazing and then Tommy joins the fray and he is no slouch on the guitar (he is not just a great vocalist). The drumming by Mr. Panozzo (who unfortunately passed away many years ago) is something to behold. And yes this may get over played (just like “Carry On Wayward Son” by Kansas) but you have to ask yourself why songs like these get played over and over? Because they ROCK!!!! \m/ \m/

6.     Come Sail Away – Did you ever have a song that would evoke such happiness in your whole body that you could not contain yourself and you had to reach for the volume knob to turn it up to its highest point? And for some reason I never really heard this too much on rock radio (as much as maybe you have-who knows maybe I was “channeling surfing” while this was on another station) so when I did, I considered it a real treat. This song was “November Rain” before “November Rain.” It was an epic tale complete with that “Queen like” piano playing in the beginning that conjures up another great song in my mind that I also did not often hear on the radio-“Bohemian Rhapsody”- along with Dennis’ spectacular vocals. This could be the best song he has ever recorded (with no offense to his wife and his dedication to her with “Babe”). Every time this song came on the radio, I felt like I was part of the Styx “in-crowd”- I felt like I was part of something special because this song-in my mind-was their “Stairway to Heaven” and I wanted everyone to listen to its greatness. Sometimes when I am on the subway and a song like this comes on, I was I had the ability to blink and put an I-Pod into the ears of everyone so that they had to listen and become as pumped and psyched as I am to hear such a spectacular song. “Cause I’ve got to be free…free to face the life that’s ahead of me…”- brings chills to the back of my spine… or how about-“reflections in the waves spark my memory…some happy, some sad…I think of childhood friends and the dreams we had…live happily ever after, so the story goes…but some how we missed out on the pot of gold… but we’ll try, the best that we can… to carry on…”-is that nostalgic or what? Come Sail Away is a classic, ‘nuff said!!

5.     Lights – There was always something about this song that puts a smile on my face. I knew from the instant when I put “Cornerstone” on my record player that it was going to be a fantastic album just because of this song. As previously mentioned this song takes me back to my mother as she liked to listen to this album as well and always implored me to open my bedroom door so she could join in the fun. I love how the keyboards mesh with the acoustic and electric guitars- a fusion of splendor. “I heard the knock on my door…I heard the ring of the bell…I got the letter but I couldn’t go…” This instantaneously puts me back to Pershing Jr. high school in Sunset Brooklyn as I spent most of my childhood in that school yard playing every kind of ball-softball, football, basketball, stick-ball (“off the wall” in the “well” as well as the chalk filled square box which indicated a strike if your “spaldeen” had green coloring, assuming you wiped off the ball from the last pitch) and of course hand-ball. For those of you who live in the suburbs-hand ball is played on concrete with a concrete wall, sort of like tennis as it had boundaries. I’d play handball then lots of backgammon during those summer nights and this song takes me back to those moments when as a kid you didn’t know what lie ahead as a working adult. Sometimes I wish I could turn back the clock. I miss all those who played ball with me as well-Joe, Cheesy, Little Joe, Flip, Eugene, Jay. I’d always fly home as I was constantly late for mom’s dinner-which was served every night at 5:00 p.m. sharp-not 4:59 or 5:01… 5 o’clock… “Carry me away… carry me away…”

4.     Queen of Spades – One of the best things about Styx is that one never knew when they would break out with the loud guitars because some of their songs were so low key, almost “church like” that sometimes if you didn’t give it at least 30 seconds or so, one might have been tempted to skip the song. Case in point right here-the beginning of the song is so calm and sweet sounding that you may automatically think it is going to be a ballad. But then right about 1:50 into the song, Mr. James Young blazes in with his forceful sounding guitar riffs and just like that you are on the top of the first hill of the “cyclone” rollercoaster waiting for that first dramatic drop as the ride called “Styx” was about to begin with all the twists and turns of a coaster. “Luck is a lady whose smile is as cold as a stone…she’ll bring you things, many things you might never have known…”- how good is that? And the harmonizing background vocals are fantastic and when James breaks out into his solo, well “Pieces of Eight” is worth the price of admission just on this song alone!!! “Turn of the card… she’s theeeeerrrreeeee…”- Have to give Mr. DeYoung his props-he had some chords that could shatter glass (meant in a good way). I love the part where he says-“ Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha….You loooossseee!!!” I can picture myself lying on my back as a teenager in my bedroom with a pillow under my head listening between the two speakers as loud as I could take it (especially when no one was home)…ahh the memories… can’t wait to see them perform it live in Rocktober.

3.     Boat on a River – Now I know most of you out there are probably scratching your head on this call but Tommy Shaw’s vocals are paralyzing (in a good way-I don’t like to use that word but you know what I mean, right?). This is stripped down song that has a “simple” arrangement but it is powerful. I have to close my eyes every time as I try to match the pure greatness of Shaw’s vocals and I can see my mom sitting at the kitchen table swinging her head in appeasement for this beautiful track. “Oh the river is deep… the river it touches my life like the waves on the sand…” Don’t you just love the “accordion effect” that depicts images of “old time” music? If you listen carefully you can hear Dennis break in towards the end of the song and add the perfect blend of background vocals. Totally awesome song.

2.     Blue Collar Man – Another song that had me on the opening note. How freaking phenomenal is this song? And I don’t want to hear that this is corporate rock or juvenile rock because I’ll be a “corporate juvee” all day long. What’s wrong with still loving songs the way you did when you were 13? This song pumps me up like none other. I can never get enough of it as I have already played it back three times as I enjoy the blistering pace. Who says keyboards don’t belong in rock bands? They have not heard this song. “Give me a job…give me security…I’m just a poor soul on the unemployment line…” You know there are so many people out there who can so relate to those words-hey I was right there with them for a while and pray that things turn around for everyone out there!!! How about the phenomenal guitar solo(s) by James and Tommy-an absolute knockout!! “You don’t understand…I’ll take those long nights, impossible odds…keeping my eye on the keyhole…” Talk about an “air-guitar” song?

1.     Sing for the Day – Ok go ahead…bang your head against your computer… I’ll wait…there it is, the loud “thump”…try and pick yourself back up and hear me out. Now you’ve already seen what I wrote about Shaw’s vocals in “Boat in a River” right? So this is the main reason for why this is my all time favorite Styx song. This is-in my opinion- is his best vocal effort in anything he has ever recorded. The arrangement is spectacular and every time I hear this song I feel like I am listening to it for the first time. Call it sappy and call it a “minor” hit (I keep seeing that term-“minor”- well you know what I wish I could have written this absolute beauty). “Hannah you’re with me in spirit wherever I go…to the ends of the earth and all points between high and low…” I am “heaven” right now as it doesn’t get much better than this folks. This song, all by itself,  is what made me buy a ticket for their show in Rocktober at the Beacon. Now that I know that they are going to play this “classic” I can’t wait. (But at the same time I love the anticipation-like the days leading up to Christmas). “Hannah don’t fail me I need you like never before…Father Time is on my back…” I am so there!!!

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     John Waite

2.     Barry Manilow

3.     Lionel Richie

4.     Ted Nugent

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     I made a bet with one of the most famous music artists’ of all time, that the song that we wrote together would shoot to number one and the result would be for him to join me on stage at Madison Square Garden to sing that song. I also have performed the most times at Madison Square Garden. Who am I?

2.     I recorded a duet in 1977 with a legendary singerwhose career spanned from the 1920’s through the 1970’s and most people couldn’t believe this odd pairing singing a holiday song together. Who am I?

3.     I first became popular in the 1980’s and always have “pushed the limits.” I have redefined myself in each decade since and I am the gold standard in pop/dance music. I married a famous actor but that didn’t work out so well. Who am I?

4.     I am one of the best-if not the best- R&B singers in the world today. I had a tough time of it earlier in my career before making it real big in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. I grew up in the Bronx and the writer of this blog thinks I am the coolest artist out today. Who am I?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     Every Breath You Take – The Police

2.     Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey-The Beatles (way to go Chris-the longest titled Beatle song!)

3.     Everybody Hurts- R.E.M.

4.     Everybody Wants You – Billy Squier

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

1.     “…He was born a pauper to a pawn on a Christmas day…when the NY Times said God is dead…”

2.     “…take a look at the wrong man…beating up the wrong guy…oh well wonder if he’ll ever know…he’s in the best selling show…”

3.     “…just one day out of life…it would be… it would be so nice…”

4.     “…you know I love music…and every time I hear something hot…it makes me wanna move…”

Back on this Day .

Sadly back on this day in 1967, Brian Epstein, manager for the Beatles, died after an accidental overdose, he was only 32 at the time of his death. The Beatles were with Maharishi at the time.

Sadly back in this day in 1990, the world lost one of the best guitarist players ever-Stevie Ray Vaughn, was killed in a plane crash. I will never forget that day, I was coming home from a camping trip in North Lake with two of my best friends-Johnny and Slats when we heard it on the radio. It was so shocking and sad….still is. Rest in peace SRV.

Back on this day in 1965, The Beatles met with Elvis at the home of the King in CA. Paul offered Elvis some lessons to play the bass guitar. After leaving, John stated that if not for him, there would be no Beatles.

Back on this day in 1991, Pearl Jam released their debut album-“Ten”-which spawned “Jeremy,” “Evenflow” and “Alive” as staples of rock and roll forever.

Back on this day in 1992, the hand written lyrics to “A Day in the Life” by John Lennon was sold for $87,000 at Sotheby’s auction.

If it is your birthday today you share the same birth date with Alex Lifeson (Rush), Tim Bogert (Vanilla Fudge) and Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols) Daryl Dragon (The “Captain” in Capt. & Tennille)

August 20, 2010

Weekly Update – 08/20/2010

Furthur at Madison Square Garden on Sat. Nov. 20 and Sun. Nov. 21. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $39.50 – $59.50

Cypress Hill at Nokia Theater on Sat. Rocktober 30. Pre-sale tickets available now for American Express cardholders until 10:00 a.m. General public tickets on sale today at noon. $36.50.

Goo Goo Dolls at the Wellmont Theater on Mon. Rocktober 18. Tickets on sale today at noon. $40.

Robert Randolph and the Family Band at Terminal 5 on Sat. November 13. Tickets on sale today at noon. $25 ($30 day of show).

Kate Nash at Terminal 5 on Fri.Nov. 20 and at Wellmont Theater on Sat. Nov. 21. Tickets on sale today at noon. Terminal: $22.50 ($25 day of show); Wellmont: $25

Mumford & Sons have added a second show at Terminal 5 (after first one sold out) on Tues. Nov. 16. Tickets on sale today at noon. $25 ($30 day of show).

Sevendust at the House of Blues in Atlantic City NJ on Thurs. Rocktober 7. Tickets on sale tomorrow at noon. $22.50 – $27.50.

Trans Siberian Orchestra at Mohegan Sun on Wed. Nov. 17 at 3:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets on sale Wed. Sept. 1 at 10:00 a.m. $51 – $61.

Jon Anderson at BB Kings on Sat. Rocktober 14. Tickets on sale Mon. Aug. 23 at 10:00 a.m. $36.50 ($40 day of show).

Accept and Kings X at BB Kings on Mon. Sept. 27. Tickets on sale now. $35 ($40 day of show).

Eric Burdon and The Animals at BB Kings on Mon. Rocktober 25. Tickets on sale now. $35

Other items:

Rolling Stone Magazine will release a special collector’s edition of the top 100 songs by The Beatles. The issue will be available at Barnes & Noble next Friday Aug. 27 for $9.99. I can’t wait to see the list and get the issue.

Soundgarden has released a single-“Black Rain”- this past week from their upcoming Sept. 28 album-Telephantasm- and this song did not make the “Badmotorfinger” album back in 1991, so it now appears on this “greatest hits” collection as a “new” song. If you are a fan you will love it!!

Maroon 5 has released a real “new” single-“Give a Little More” off of their upcoming album-“Hands All Over”- set for release on Sept. 21. The song is polished pop along with that dance groove and this is the second song from this album that I really like. This band is very talented and under-rated by many (in my opinion) but I know there are lots of out there who are “in the know.”

John Mellencamp released a new album of 13 songs called-“No Better Than This”- and just listening to the 30 second sample on I-Tunes I know I will be purchasing this real soon. He harkens that pure “country” sound a la Hank Williams in all of these songs. I think Mr. Mellencamp has “arrived,” I think this is where he should be at this point in his career. This could be some of the best work he has ever recorded. Check it out.

Iron Maiden have released-“The Final Frontier”- and of course all the haters are out there complaining that Maiden has “sold out.” What? Are you kidding me? This band has been the same just as long as AC/DC has been the same. Just because they “ventured” out into a different path doesn’t mean they sold out. If you are a Maiden fan you have to give it a try. Will there be “new” fans pulled in? At this point-“maybe”- so the die hards should not worry that they won’t have them all to themselves. Grow up man.

Ok I have been telling you about-“Back from Cali”- by Slash with Myles Kennedy for the past few months (and yes last week) but here is another super cool version of the song- done acoustically-this song definitely lands in the top ten songs of 2010-maybe even both versions to take up two out of the ten. Check it out right here-

Eric Clapton will release his nineteenth solo studio album-“Clapton”- on Sept. 28 and it will feature guests such as former girlfriend Sheryl Crow, former bandmate Steve Winwood as well as the young prodigy Mr. Derek Trucks. He produced the album with long time producer/friend Doyle Bramhall II.

Bun E. Carlos has retired “from the road” and will not accompany Cheap Trick when they tour but he may still record with them in the studio. For now, Rick Nielsen’s son-Daxx- is on the skins.

The American Idol winner- Lee DeWyze– will release his first album on Tues. Nov. 16. The album is not yet titled and Lee says he can’t wait for everyone to hear it. Should be interesting.

Sebastian Bach has ruled out a Skid Row reunion on a recent radio interview and basically said that rock bands are not like sports teams, he stated that he does not know the guys in the band anymore because it has been more than 15 years since they played together. His analogy was-“everyone wants Robert Plant to do the Zep reunion but at the time Robert was doing the Alison Krauss thing and didn’t want to do the “Lemon Song.” The same goes for me, I am 42 years old and don’t want to be doing “Youth Gone Wild” now-it is a great song but not who I am today.” I get what he is saying but there is nothing wrong with doing some of the old tunes every once in a while, no?

Album Review: “Hope & Glory” by the Ann Wilson released on September 11, 2007

Hope & Glory

Ann Wilson has to be considered in the top five female rock singers of all time and right now I’m having trouble naming four others that have been better, so that would land her as the best ever, no? Her vocal range coupled with that ever burning passion are the main ingredients, in my opinion, that has made her who she is today. Her flame never burns out and she gives it everything she has in every recording and live performance, can one ask for more? And what makes her career more impressive is that she seemingly has endured endless (as well as ruthless) comments on her appearance, like that matters or affects anyone? I haven’t been able to tell from her outward appearance over the years-either seeing her live in concert or on TV- if it bothers her because she is so confidently cool in every setting I have observed. What I have observed (and heard) is a voice that can melt your heart, a voice that pumps your heart up with adrenaline, a voice that feeds the heart with so much passion that it pushes the blood through the vessels better than what “Liquid Drano” does for your clogs in the bathroom or kitchen pipes. Now we all know where there is Ann, Nancy is right there by her side and have created some of the best music in the last 30 years or so with no sign of slowing down. Now surprisingly, her first “solo” album wasn’t conceived until a few years ago where she decided to cover some of her favorite songs that seemed to depict “songs of war” but with a message of hope and peace with the backdrop that we as Americans can not forget that many heroes have died (and continue to do so) as well as those who have served or continue to serve, for our Country. Whether you are for or against war, one has to support our men and women serving or who have served. Now you all know I normally don’t like to do reviews of “covers” but in special cases (like this and Tesla, of course), I am glad to make an exception. “Hope and Glory” is an excellent album and has to be part of your musical library. I would love for her to do another album putting her take on her other favorite songs or brand new material. Come to think of it, any thing that she does is a “keeper.” Ann-thank you for your commitment to the beauty of music. You have added so much joy to the lives of so many of thousands of people around the world and know that your art is appreciated with just as much fervor as you give out.

The album starts off with “Goodbye Blue Sky” (a Pink Floyd song) where her sister Nancy assists her in this slow moving tune (picture shaking one of those percussion instruments that seem to have broken pieces of matter inside it) accompanied by Ann’s soothing background vocals singing-“Oooooh Oooooh.” It has that psychedelic feel to it (how could it not? It’s a Floyd song) but the song is “crystal clear” if you know what I’m trying to express. The musicianship is flawless as is the arrangement. You kind of drift off as Ann’s vocals will place you right on a bed of clouds. “Where to Now St. Peter” is the second track and she gets help from the original artist of this song-Mr. Elton John- and if you are familiar with this track, her version is a bit different. I will refrain from stating which version is better-that’s not what it is all about. What is relevant is if the cover is done with respect and Ann does that on every song that she replicates. I love the string work that highlights the tune as well as when they both sing together, their voices unify the best concoction you have ever put into your blender. This is a finger snapping and head shaking song that will have you singing the chorus all day long-“…where to now St. Peter…show me which road I’m on…where to now, St. Peter…” Track # 3-“Jackson”- (a song by Lucinda Williams) is one of the highlights of this album. It sort of has a “Fleetwood Mac” feel to it (especially with the chords created by the acoustic guitar) and Ann’s vocals are salivating- just like when one is having a steak (with apologies to the vegetarians out there) and it melts like butter in your mouth. The arrangement showcases her ability to hold an audiences’ attention with every note. Again the one thing that stands out is the clarity of every note sung or played. This is a perfect rendition of the original and K.D. Lang’s background vocals are the “cherry on top.” On “Gotta Get Outta of This Place” she gets some help from her friend-Wynonna Judd- and the duo turn this serious lyrical song into a whole lot of fun. What a perfect pair as they have the flair and passion to get the point of this song across with a wink & a smile but you know they mean business. I love the background string arrangements that accentuate all their ardent vocals which are sort of like instruments themselves (a la “Dueling Guitars”). (The Animals have to be proud of this version). Now when you get to track #5 you can not be surprised that there is a cover of the classic Mighty Led Zeppelin song-“The Immigrant Song”- because it is well documented the love that Ann (and Nancy) have for this legendary band. Ann was sometimes referred to as the “female Robert Plant.” (If you see them live there is a very good chance you will hear one of Zep’s songs being recreated). And there are only so many artists that can even pull this off as there needs to be laws put in place that prohibit poor covers of songs. Now Ann has turned this song upside down because it is totally different from Zep’s version but commands the respect and the original meaning of the song. The acoustic and much slowed down pace (honestly I know now the words to the song) makes you stand up and take notice and when the electric guitar adds that riff it makes the song that much better. Does she know how to rock out or what? My youngest son says this version is better then the Mighty Zep-I don’t know if I can allow myself to say that (or admit) but I absolutely love her spin on it. The pace comes down a bit with her beautiful rendition of the The Youngbloods classic – “Darkness, Darkeness.” Nancy helps out and you can feel her presence as the funky drum beats combine perfectly with her acoustic guitar riffs. About half way through the song the violins and electric guitar kick in (as well as a flute) and it reminds you of a college band where everything is flowing perfectly. Everyone steps back as Ann comes back to sing and they highlight her strong vocal style as the song rides out into the sunset. Pure perfection.

“Bad Moon Rising” is another fun packed song where Gretchen Wilson lends a helping hand and their combined vocals are some of the best duet voices you will ever hear. It’s a perfect match while the violin playing is spectacular and the background piano gives it that extra something. The members of CCR have to be smiling when they hear this version and I bet you they are dancing around just like I am. Just picture lots of people in a country barn setting swapping dance partners arm in arm. Before you know it, the song is over just like that. And that my friends, is the best sign that a song is good. “War of Man” is another stand-out on this album and could possibly be the best song of the bunch. The harmonization of the vocals when they all sing-“No one wins…it’s a war of man”-could possibly be the best I have ever heard on any song ever recorded. (Alison Krauss assists on this one). The song showcases Ann’s amazing ability to make her voice sound so soft and tender but then take it up with that passionate ecstasy that is unmatched. The guitar work in the background of their spectacular vocals is so righteous. I’m telling you folks-this song is worth the price of admission for the entire album, unbelievable!!! Neil Young has to nod and give his blessing on this rendition. “Get Together”-remember this song? I don’t know about you but every time I hear this song it puts a smile on my face. Now I have to admit I love the original a little better but Ann’s version is fantastic. There is a certain “calmness” to this song which reminds me of the early morning. If you are an early morning person (like myself) then you know what I am talking about when you go outside when everyone else is sleeping and there is that certain beauty that you can’t find in any other part of the day. You might be walking the dog or go for a run/walk and the feeling you get when the sun is beaming down on you-this is Ann’s version. “Isolation” is my favorite song on the album. Again trying to cover one of the greatest artist ever-Mr. John Lennon-is a daunting task but if you can sing like Ann Wilson then there is an exception to the rule of not even thinking about covering a Lennon song. She blows the cover off the ball as this is a grand slam homerun in the bottom of the ninth inning of the World Series when the away team is ahead by three runs. I can’t even say anything more you just have to listen for yourself. Spectacular. The classic Dylan tune-“A Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall”- is done with grace and dignity as Rufus Wainwright and Shawn Colvin help out with some nice vocals. The song is a show stopper as I can picture a rows and rows of people at a show just putting their arms around each other while they sway back and forth singing in harmony-“It’s hard.. it’s a hard rain that’s gonna fall..” This will elicit memories of the 1960’s for those who are old enough to remember- I was born in the sixties and this song takes me back to Woodstock and I wasn’t even there. It makes you think as of course the lyrical master Dylan cuts right to the bone with his passionate words. “Little Problems, Little Lies” is one of two original songs (the bonus of “American Tune” appears on I-Tunes) and is a gut wrenching song about what our soldiers have been experiencing over the past nine years. “In a bombed out SUV… no more cell reception… till a chopper comes from heaven to gather up my bones…”-powerful lyrics that hit home, especially for those who have been there and are still there as well as their family and friends. This is a poignant song. “American Tune” displays the beauty of a woman named Ann Wilson, her voice is so soothing and relaxing it is like you are lying on a cloud. Again you have to listen for yourself to experience getting chills down your backside when you hear vocals. “I dreamed I was flying” she writes and I can honestly say that I feel like I am doing just that when I listen to her.

“Hope & Glory” is an excellent piece of work filled with unbelievable moments of Ann’s vocal prowess along with super tight musicianship as well as the many friends who pitched in to make this a fun experience even though the topic is very serious. This is a no brainer- you need to own this. ‘Nuff said.


Just Won't Burn

The year was 1999 and I made a big change in my life by deciding to leave my position at S&P and head north to Westchester to work at MBIA and also moved from Ringwood N.J. to Connecticut. Some big doings, I was also knee deep into Metallica and at that time they were in the “symphony” mode and of course I went to the legendary show at Madison Square Garden with the entire orchestra but something came along and knocked my socks off and no it was not hard rock or metal. It was pure soulful blues and rock & roll and the woman to serve it up was someone I had never heard of before- Miss Susan Tedeschi (or should I say “Mrs.” as she is married to Mr. Derek Trucks). The album for me was her second one-“Just Won’t Burn”- and folks this album is fantastic but I decided to pick some real gems off of it as there may be a few fillers in it. Again I totally love it but have to admit that some might be an acquired taste. I remember seeing her live at Jones Beach a while back and for someone who was born in 1970 (sorry about that Susan I know a lady’s age should never be asked or spoken, but I will make a point), it’s almost impossible to believe the music that comes out of this young woman. She was playing with the likes of BB King and Buddy Guy and her music fit like a glove, she held her own and was so in her element. Talk about someone who has the music in them? She plays the blues like someone who has been around since the 1950’s. Try and find me a singer with more passion than Susan Tedeschi, you won’t be able to do it. Folks you need to familiarize yourself with this young lady, she is something special. Here are some of the golden nuggets from “Just Won’t Burn:”

Friar’s Point – This is freaking phenomenal. The blues laden groove is a sound to behold. Talk about your down home boogie complete with the trimmings- bulging bass lines, Stevie Ray Vaughn like guitar, rocking drums and the highlight- Mrs. Tedeschi vocals. She is magnificent and she gives it her all as I get the chills down the back of my spine as I take it all in. This is righteous music folks and for someone born in 1970, are you kidding me? Talk about a “once in a lifetime” type of female singer or talent? She blows the cover off the ball on this bad boy.

Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean– This song has some “giddy-up” and if this doesn’t get you out of your seat, well then you need to check yourself at the door. This groove in this track is so infectious and again Susan’s vocals are the reason why the song is so good. I remember when I threw this song on a Spin CD back at MBIA and Tricia was a blazing on the bike shaking her head up and down to the beat. She immediately wanted to know who this woman was because this genre of music was right up her alley. Folks you need to own this song. Awesome.

Little By Little – I swear every time I hear this song, I think that Stevie Ray Vaughn is playing with Susan at the helm singing. This is flat out blues at its best. If you are a blues aficionado, I believe you would have to agree that this song right here deserves to be labeled as some of the best blues ever. (I’m not but I believe I know something good when I hear it). I know this a Junior Wells song and there have been many covers but in my opinion, no one does it as good as Susan. Freaking awesome.

Rock Me Right – This was the first song I heard by her, it was played many times on WNEW-FM (when it was still a rock station) and I knew that I had to have the entire album because I absolutely loved this track. Do you know this song? Man what are you waiting for? This will knock your socks off. It is pure rock and roll, I’m almost tempted to say if you looked up the meaning of rock and roll in the dictionary-this song would have to be referenced. I drift off into a zone and don’t even care where I am because I will start dancing, “air-guitaring,” “air-drumming” and just plain swaying my hips back and forth while trying to match the passion of Susan in her unbelievable singing. This is like “a dream come true rock and roll song.” ‘Nuff said.

It Hurts So Bad – Folks I’m telling you right now-I am having a hard time composing myself in trying to express how friggin’ great this song is. You want a song with passion? This could be the best passionate song ever recorded. The album is worth the price of admission just for this song alone. You can feel the music in her-it is flowing throughout her whole body and she makes it transform into your body-I swear I feel like I have the blues inside of me when I hear her sing. “It hurts!!! It hurts… don’t do it…don’t do it” This is too righteous-you have to love this-you have no choice.


It’s been a while since my youngest son has chipped in to help with the page so I asked him to let all of us know what the ten best songs that are out today on the radio. It could be pop, dance or whatever genre but I wanted a “young” voice in the audience to let me know that there is a lot more out there than just what I cover (although I do try to spread it all around and hopefully you agree). So here it is- my youngest sons’ take on the top ten songs out right now:

10.     La, La, LaAuburn– When I first heard this song I thought it was Jason Derulo, until I heard the voice. Then I thought it was Nicki Minaji. When I realized it wasn’t her either, I was confused, but pleased. I expect this song to become very popular and I know I’m going to hear more of great songs from Auburn.This is a very interesting song about a girl wanting to have fun with her friends, but her boyfriend is messing everything up. I’ve always loved concept songs and other story albums like American Idiot and many others. Even though Green Day is rock, Auburn decided to do the same thing, but with hip hop. Many other Artists are doing this as well. I expect great things out of Auburn.

9.     Cooler Than MeMike Posner– I actually got this song free on iTunes when it first came out. Usually, free songs on iTunes don’t get picked up on radio stations. I wasn’t surprised to hear it on the radio. The rhythm and dance beat collaboration makes the song a big hit along with his voice.

8.     California GurlsKaty Perry feat. Snoop Dogg– This song has dominated the charts for 12 weeks. This catchy song is a great summer song. Katy Perry has done it again! She always seems to hit the charts, no surprise. Her songs are loved by the kids in the 6-16 years of age area, which is the most important section for her business. Snoop Dogg also features in this song. After 18 years in the business, Snoop Dogg is still as great as he can be. This collaboration is a major success

7.     AirplanesB.o.B feat. Hayley Williams of Paramore– As a fan of Paramore, I really like this song. I grew to like this song not by Hayley, I actually enjoyed B.o.B’s rapping. Hayley’s voice is also amazing.I know, it’s different for an alternative singer to sing in a rap song, but she really is perfect for this song. Not only this but I expect great things out of B.o.B, or should I say Bobby Ray.

6.     Not Afraid Eminem– This rap anthem tells people to be who they want to be, don’t follow the same road, to go where you feel you should be. Eminem’s new album Recovery is also producing a new single “Love the Way You Lie feat. Rihanna”. This song speaks to me telling me to shoot for the moon, but you can always gaze at the stars.

5.     Getting’ Over YouDavid Guetta & Chris Willis feat. Fergie & LMFAO– This song is the greatest club song I’ve ever heard. This song is going to last on the radio for a while I can tell. Clubs and DJ’s will play this song anytime. Personally I love this song. It’s beats and other stuff is cool. David Guetta, you’ve really out done yourself.

4.     Ridin’ SoloJason Derulo– My friend told me, “Dude, Ridin’ Solo is gonna be big.” He was right. After a few weeks after he told me, I heard this song on the radio. Jason Derulo has yet done it again. I knew he was going to be big. Unfortunately, my dad doesn’t appreciate the new style of music. Well I tried to teach him, oh well. Anyway, I am a big fan of Jason and I can’t wait for what he does next.

3.     DynamiteTaio Cruz– This new artist has blown people away with his new album “Rokstarr”. He’s has already produced at hit with Ludacris called “Break Your Heart”. His new single “Dynamite is a fun song to play when hanging out with friends. I really enjoy this song.

2.     BillionaireTravie McCoy feat. Bruno Mars– This mixture of rap an acoustic music is a fun song to listen to any time. Travie McCoy is a new rapping artist. He’s very similar to B.o.B and other young rappers. This song is such a fun song. I could really listen to it anytime of the day. Travie and Bruno performed this song on the Teen Choice Awards just a week ago. Be sure to check out Travie’s album Lazarus.

1.     I Like ItEnrique Iglesias feat. Pitbull– This amazing hit by Enrique Iglesias has dominated the charts. The mixture of Spanish and English is very cool. Enrique Iglesias + Pitbull = Very good music! I’ve never heard a song like this before. It has originality and is the best dance song you will ever here. Enrique’s album Euphoria was just released July 6th and it has gotten very good review. I can’t wait to see his next move and I expect great things out of him.

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Phil Collins

2.     Janis Joplin

3.     Little Richard

4.     Barbara Streisand

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     I was the lead singer for two bands during the 1970’s and 1980’s and both bands started with the letter “B.” The second outfit contained members of the band Journey. I also had a solo career where I had a number one hit on Billboard. Who am I?

2.     I am a living legend whose career has spanned more than 35 years now. I have countless hits on pop radio and my song was used by Dick Clark to promote his music related show. Who am I?

3.     My career started in the 1970’s with an R&B outfit that had more than their fair share of top ten songs in our career. I left the band for a solo career and went on to be more popular than my original band. I was everywhere in the 1980’s including dancing on the ceiling. Who am I?

4.     I am an avid hunter and never hold back on my opinions. My career started out in the late 1960’s with the Amboy Dukes but I was made my name during the 1970’s as a solo artist and then in the 1980’s I joined a “pop rock” band which was very different from what my image was. Who am I?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     Don’t Stop – Fleetwood Mac

2.     Peaceful Easy Feeling-The Eagles

3.     Disco Inferno- The Trammps

4.     Who Are You – The Who

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

1.     “…Oh can’t you see…you belong to me…my poor heart aches…with every step you take…”

2.     “…Your inside is out…and your outside is in…your outside is and your inside is out…so come on come on…”

3.     “…If you’re on your own in this life…the days and nights are long…when you think you’ve had too much of this life…hang on…”

4.     “…You see ‘em coming at you every night…strung on pretension…they fall for you at first sight…you know their business…you think it’s a bore…”

Back on this Day .

Sadly back on this date in 1988, two fans were trampled to death as Guns & Roses were playing their set in Donington U.K. at the Monsters of Rock festival. Fans rushed to the stage when they came on and sadly two were swept up and then crushed.

Back on this day in 1973, the Rolling Stones released “Angie” and this song would soon hit the number one spot on Billboard.

Back on this day in 1990, Jimmy Page joined Aerosmith up on stage to lend a hand with “The Immigrant Song” while playing a gig in London.

Back on this day in 1996, Carlos Santana received a “star” on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Back on this day in 2000, Bon Jovi was the last act to play at the old Wembley Stadium in London.

If it is your birthday today you share the same birth date with Robert Plant, the late great Phil Lynott (you should know, especially if you read this page often) and the late Doug Fieger (The Knack).

August 13, 2010

Weekly Update – 08/13/2010

Rob Zombie and Alice Cooper (the Gruesome Twosome Halloween Hootenanny Tour) at the Mohegan Sun on Fri. Rocktober 15. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $45. (How cool is this show going to be? And in Rocktober on a Friday and a few weeks before Halloween-I’m in!!!)

Vince Neil at Irving Plaza on Fri. Sept. 24. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $32.50

Jimmy Eat World at Terminal 5 on Wed. Rocktober 13. Tickets on sale today at noon. $32 ($37 day of show).

Mumford & Sons at Terminal 5 on Mon. Nov. 15. Tickets on sale today at noon. $25 ($30 day of show).

Wolf Parade at Wellmont Theater on Wed. Nov. 3. Tickets on sale today at noon. $25 ($28 day of show)

Justin Townes Earl at Webster Hall on Tues. Rocktober 19. Tickets on sale today at noon. $17 ($20 day of show).

Serj Tankian at Hammerstein Ballroom on Sun. Rocktober 3. Tickets on sale now $75 and $85.

Massive Attack and Thievery Corporation at Beacon Theater on Thurs. & Fri. Rocktober 21 & 22. Tickets on sale at 11:00 a.m. this morning. $49.50 – $89.50

Moe. at the Beacon Theater on Fri. Rocktober 8. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $35.

Ingrid Michaelson at Nokia Theater on Wed. Rocktober 13. Pre-sale for American Express cardholders on now until 10:00 a.m. this morning. General public tickets on sale today at noon. $25

Sufjan Stevens at the Beacon Theater on Sun. & Mon. Nov. 14 & 15. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $35.

Other items:

Best news of the week: Van Halen has announced that they are now working on new material with the dynamic Diamond David Lee Roth and it will be released sometime in 2011 followed by another tour. Oh man!!! How great is this? Another chance to see the legends live in concert. I am so in, I can already taste it. It has been 27 years since they recorded “1984” and now some new material. I am so curious to hear what they are going to do. I’m assuming this break has refilled their tank and I expect some great songs!!! \m/ \m/

Remember last year when all the world was a buzz about a possible Mighty Led Zeppelin reunion? And many of us were all disappointed when Mr. Plant decided to forgo that possibility to tour with Alison Krauss. Well it turns out in a recent interview that Robert stated that the pressure of “keeping with it” was too much for him to take. After performing with the original members (plus Bonham’s son, Jason) at the special night for the late Ahmet Etergun, Plant said he left 20 minutes after the show and went to a bar and drank a whole bottle of vodka along with many beers. “Because I had to get away from it…I’d done it. I had to go…it was too heavy.” Disappointed but I can totally understand his reasoning. I can’t imagine the pressure to be the MIGHTY LED ZEPPELIN.

Yoko Ono is telling everyone not to hold their breath waiting for the Beatles catalog to be available on I-Tunes or any other digital download system. Apparently Apple and the original Apple can not agree on terms so the Beatle’s albums will continue to see the old fashion way-albums (now CD’s) only. I actually like the fact that they have not made the catalog available on I-Tunes.

Slash has released the official video for –“Back to Cali”- featuring Myles Kennedy (Alter-Bridge) on vocals. This song will definitely land in my year end review of the top 10 songs of 2010. It rocks. \m/\m/ Check it out here

My new favorite “country” song of the week is “Country Done Come to Town” by John Rich. It has a rocking beat and it almost sounds like rock and roll and I love it. The video is a bit “racy” but none the less a very good song. Check it out.

Christina Aguilera has done an awesome cover of Etta James’ –“Something’s Got a Hold on Me”- for her upcoming movie with Cher called “Burlesque” which is slated to be released in November. When she sings like this there really is no denying that she is by far the best female singer out there today-please no arguments. Listen for yourself-

Jimmy Eat World has released its first single-“My Best Theory”- from their upcoming Sept. 28th release of-“Invented” and the song sounds good. First thing I thought of when I heard it was I thought it sounded a lot like Linkin’ Park-not sure why but just did for me. Check it out.

My favorite “old school doo wop” song of the week is “Donna the Prima Donna” by none other than the legendary Dion. Wow this song brings back memories for me. As you know I grew up on Doo Wop and this is totally my Dad loves this stuff and I do too. Check out Dion’s catalog. Massively impressive.

Album Review: “In Your Honor” by the Foo Fighters released on June 14, 2005

In Your Honor

Dave Grohl. Kurt Cobain. When I think of these two gentlemen I often wonder what would have transpired if Kurt had not left us all at such an early age. Kurt was already a living legend and his legacy has been elevated in status to the tenth degree (maybe more) since his unfortunate death. To be quite honest, I did not know the names of the “two other guys” in Nirvana, it was Kurt and really only Kurt (no offense to Krist or Dave). After the tragedy, Dave quietly started up the band he called the “Foo Fighters” but there was something strange as the news filtered out that “the drummer for Nirvana is now playing guitar for his new band.” What?? How can that be? Even though I didn’t know his name at the time, I knew that the drumming on “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was phenomenal, along with so many other Nirvana songs. And get this; he is also the lead vocalist. Talk about stepping into the spotlight? The Foo Fighters debut album had a few hit singles that made its way to the radio and enjoyed good commercial success. I bought into it early and was curious to see what was to come. Enter “The Colour and The Shape” and I was engulfed-“hook, line and sinker.” I could not stop listening to this album from the first song to the last one and from that point onward I knew that anything that Mr. Grohl would do from that point forward would absolutely be music that I would love. Fast forward to 2005, The Foo’s decided that for their fifth studio experience they would release of a double album- “In Your Honor”- and the second disc would be purely acoustic. I for one could not wait for this to enter the market because I was very curious to see if Dave could actually put out an acoustic album since many of his songs have him screaming and screeching at decibels so loud, sometimes you go to put the ear plugs in-I know, I know-not the rock and roll thing to do but you know what I’m talking about. I know there were many out there who berated the fact that the Foo’s were putting out an acoustic side but I say-what do they know? A band or artist sometimes has to go towards another path of their music abilities, to venture out but stay true to who they are and Mr. Grohl did just that with this stellar body of work. It rocks out on the first disc for all the fans who don’t want him to change a thing but on the second album there is a side of Dave exposed that elevated him to another stratosphere in my opinion. (This is after his side release of “Probot” where he paid homage to all his heavy metal idols while growing up and putting out one of the fiercest metal albums of the 2000 decade). Here is this drummer-who is part of the greatest grunge band of all time now singing for arguably one of the best bands-if not the best band- for the past 13 years or so but also collaborating with everyone under the sun while making so many diverse genres of music, it is really hard to keep up with him. After Kurt’s death, he has exploded into the category of being a legend himself with ample opportunity to solidify this status to the tenth degree (or more).

Disc One

Disc one starts off with the title track and you just hear one note from a guitar that just sits out there with a build up that lasts about 30 seconds, then the riffs begin and in a far away voice Dave enters with “Can you hear me…hear me screaming…” –of course Dave we all know that distinctive scream. About 1:40 into the song, Mr. Hawkins breaks in with his mad drumming skills as Dave’s wails become louder-“…can you feel me…feel me breathing…”- the bedlam begins as it seems like everyone is doing their own thing-especially Mr. Hawkins-but it all comes together to make this beautiful wall of music. Yes it is loud and yes there is a lot of screaming but there is that certain “something” that they have which defines their legacy. (This is one of my oldest sons’ favorite Foo songs). The pace kicks into fifth gear with the electrifying –“No Way Back”- as Taylor blistering work on the skins gives this song that extra “giddy-up.” This song takes me back to a big change in my career (and life) as I had decided to leave MBIA and head back to S&P and my last day at MBIA was June 10-this album came out on the 14th. Our family had a planned vacation for early in July and every morning I would take a long walk on the beach with this album in my I-Pod and would continue to listen to it over and over. I can remember looking up into the clear blue skies and then over to the clear blue water and thinking-“it doesn’t get any better than this”- I have the beautiful weather and this rockin’ tune in my headphones as I knew my life was going to change (and boy did it ever, especially three years later) but for me, if music inspires you-like this band does- then it puts a feeling into you like you can conquer the upcoming obstacles that life will throw at you. Track # 3-“Best of You”- is arguably the best song on the album(s) and this is sort of confirmed since the Foo Fighter’s greatest hits CD only contains one song from “In Your Honor” and this is it. (I still say this is their “ultimate” album). They had me from the opening lyrics-“I got another confession to make…I’m your fool…everyone’s got their chains to break…holdin’ you…” and this is such a quality song with fantastic vocals from Grohl. I remember when I went to see them on their “Skin and Bones” tour at the Beacon Theater and when he performed this song it was one of those “A Ha” moments which I will never forget. I was witnessing pure greatness and knew it and when I have that feeling, I get the “chills down my back side” (like on the last out of the 1986 when the NY Mets won the World Series-can you imagine if the NY Jets ever win a Superbowl? I’ll probably faint). I was in complete awe of Mr. Grohl and when the crowd started to sing-“Ohhh Ohhh Ohhhh” (my favorite part of the song) that was the icing on the cake. (This is also one of my oldest sons’ favorite Foo Fighters song). “DOA” is another upbeat song which is perfect for your next Spin class- it has a fast pace which could be used for breakaways. This is the “prototypical” Foo Fighter’s song in my opinion because it has the very cool verses to sing along to punctuated with the addictive chorus that will have you singing all day long. “No one’s getting out of here alive…this time”- The song gets even better when it crosses the bridge to the “DOA” part as the musicianship is something to standup and pay attention to-how does he do it? Go from being a drummer to making melodies like these? “Hell” is a real short tune with a lot of screaming, screeching complete with a hard driving beat whereby Taylor accentuates Grohl’s screaming with each pounding of the drums. Before you know it, the song is over.

Track # 6-“The Last Song” starts off with Hawkins playing a consistent head-banging beat while Dave starts to sing and then the rest of the band joins in the fray and again it sounds like organized chaos. The bass lines vibrate throughout the track and when the bridge comes in, the song shifts a little to the right-just picture yourself on one of those summer rides where you are holding on so as to not fall out. Hawkins is the highlight on this track as his fanatical way of drumming makes you want to take lessons tomorrow. He really reminds me of that muppet drummer-“Animal”-with his hair flailing all round, doesn’t he? “Free Me” is probably my least favorite on the album-I really have to be in the mood here to listen to this one. I like the verses as Dave sings and the groove is good as well but once you hit the chorus it really turns into a scream fest as he violently wails, especially towards the end, “FREE ME!!!!” I have to be in the mood to listen to this, although I hardly ever skip over it-go figure? Then it’s on to my favorite song on the disc-“Resolve”- I think this is the masterpiece on this album. It has an infectious groove and the vibe has been taken down from the previous two songs and the song is like when a heat wave breaks and you open the windows at night to let the nice cool breeze in. The song flows so nicely and yes Dave gets up there in his high octane vocals but he doesn’t stay there the whole time. I love the part where Dave sings-“…swinging from the chandeliers…hanging on your words…”-it presents a certain visual, very cool lyrics if I say so myself. I am back on the beach walking with the headphones blaring this tune and again wondering to myself-“Does it get any better than this?” “The Deepest Blues are Black” is a sing along song that during the verses people could be arm in arm swaying side to side but they might let go during the chorus and make believe they are grabbing their heart as they passionately try to match Dave’s fervor as his heartfelt bursts of the high octave vocals burst into your bloodstream. It’s amazing how soft he can get but then you know the volcanic energy is ready to explode, it’s a tried and true formula but for the past decade or so, there is no one better at utilizing this formula. The album ends with my second favorite track-“End Over End”- which I think he purposely put it there because he knew how good it was. “Burn all the candles out…make a wish but not aloud…” as your head starts to bop up & down as you patiently wait for Taylor’s entrance on the drums. The consistent groove in this song is so good and when the chorus kicks in-you will be singing-“End over End”- over and over. The arrangement is flawless as Dave really makes a push to bring this to a fantastic finish-just picture that last 100 yards or so in a 200 yard dash as the runner digs deep for that last burst of energy and puts their chest out to break the tape as they begin to slow down but not right away-there is a fade away just like the guitar sound that takes the song to its final end. Aahh pure beauty.

Disc Two

The first song of disc two-“Still”-will completely take you by surprise as the whole tone changes right away as the acoustic guitar will mesmerize you as well as Dave’s vocals. Is this really the Foo Fighter’s? No there has to be that burst of primal energy that will light up your headphones, right? Wrong-this song (as well as the rest of the album) can “soothe the savage beast.” The first time I heard this I was blown away-this is a side of Grohl that I knew he had it in him but wondered if he would succumb to the expected criticism from probably a large portion of the “rock” world as well as his own fans. But you know what? He brought it home and stayed true to himself, who is to say one has to listen (or perform) the same kind of music all the time? I love it. Track # 2-“What if I Do?” instantaneously became my favorite Foo Fighter song of all time (as well as my oldest son-probably the only number one song we shared together). He gets help from the legendary John Paul Jones on this tune (as well as the next one) and claimed it was the “second greatest thing that ever happened in his life.” (This collaboration would later turn into “Them Crooked Vultures” as Dave lived his dream of playing with Led Zeppelin on drums, albeit with one member). Again I am back on the sandy beach of Turks & Caicos, this time sitting in the sand looking at the clearest blue water I have ever seen (remember I grew up on Coney Island water) and wondering what my life was going to be like now that I was back in New York City, leaving the beautiful confines of Westchester NY behind. Did I do the right thing? If you have something going on in your life-put this song on and tell me you don’t drift off into another stratosphere? This song-in my opinion-is right up there with “One” by U2. I know many of you out there just squirmed and screamed an obscenity at me but it really is the way I feel. “Miracle” is flawless. Should I just go to the next song because it really is hard to describe how good this “Miracle” is. The title of the song makes me think of when my children were born and I had “my hands on a miracle.” The musical arrangement is spectacular and if you have children you have to own this song. I dedicate this to my brother and his wife who just had their first born a month ago. “Another Round” reminds me of something that the Beatles-that’s right I said the Beatles- would do, I could see either John, Paul or George performing this song. It sort of has that “Blackbird” feel to it whereby the vocals are the highlight as the acoustic guitars playing behind him makes it that much better. “We could just lay around…stare at the ceiling…want to forget about…one for the feeling…”- pure perfection folks, doesn’t get much better than this!!! “Can you go another round?” I know I have already hit the rewind button. “Friend of a Friend” is either written about Kurt (or was written with Kurt) and it definitely has that Nivana “MTV Unplugged” feel. The song is raw and the lyrics are powerful. It is just Dave and his acoustic guitar. This song will stop you right in your tracks, it cuts right to the bone-pure excellence.

“Over and Out” is another gem and was featured prominently on the “Skin and Bones” tour as you will be blown away on the singing talents of the one and only Dave Grohl. The vibe picks up a bit as Dave exclaims- “Are you there, do you read me? Are you there, I don’t feel you anymore”-but as soon as he finishes that sentence, it comes back down again-except after the second chorus prior to the bridge-it stays up there as Dave’s passion pleads to be recognized as a force, even in a soft tune. Again the word flawless comes to mind. The guitar work is impeccable and this could arguably be the best track on disc # 2. “On the Mend” sounds like the words to the title of the track-it will put you back on the mend if you need it; the exquisiteness is something you should examine throughout the entire song. If you don’t think this is great, then I give up. It sounds like Grohl has been making these songs his whole career-there are artists who make this kind of music their entire career that haven’t put out the quality of this disc, separately or the pool of songs together. “Virginia Moon” is a flat out masterpiece and he gets help from the beautiful vocals of Norah Jones. Can this really be Dave Grohl singing? C’mon folks you have to admit, this is as much an eye opener (his singing ability) as when everyone discovered that Kid Rock could sing as well. Norah shades Dave’s vocals throughout and gives it that sweet touch that shines brightly. He takes the lead but her background vocals are magnificent. I would say for all those folks with new borns, if your son or daughter is having trouble sleeping, put this song on and sing sweetly into their ear. Pure perfection. “Cold Day in the Sun” is the anomaly on the album but that is because Grohl handed over the singing and writing chores to Taylor Hawkins and what a pleasant surprise. This is a top notch song and who knew? I guess Taylor knew that he had this in him. The beat is a whole lot faster than the rest of the songs but the mood is still acoustic. I saw Taylor perform this live a few times and have to say that this tune deserves your attention. (and check out his solo stuff as well). The last song is “Razor” and when you hear it you will want to take acoustic guitar lessons right away. I love the way the guitar riffs go up and down throughout while Dave’s vocal prowess is back with excellent results again. If you listen intently (like I usually do) you will float off into another zone and feel like you are sitting on a cloud, especially when Dave gets to the part-“…day after day…cut and away…day after day…but anyway…” I’m speechless.

“In Your Honor”-in my opinion- is the Foo Fighters best work to date. (I will gladly wait to compare future compositions from the Foos in the future to compare to “Honor”). As a fan you can’t ask for anything more-the first disc rocks and rolls with sweet melodies but of course has the hot sauce in the form of Dave’s raging voice for those of us that like our buffalo wings super hot and then the second disc is a mind boggling display of impeccable tunes that everyone from grandma on down to the grandkids could listen to without any complaints. I will go out on the limb and state that disc # 2 is the best acoustic album made in the last 20 years or so. If you want to throw an album at me, go ahead because I am confident that disc # 2 can stand toe-to-toe, nose-to-nose with anything you have up your sleeve. Folks if you don’t have this double album in your record collection, you are sorely missing out on arguably the best album of the decade of 2000. Run-don’t walk- to buy it right now.


Sixteen Stone

Do you remember when Bush was one of the hottest bands in the country during the mid-to-late 1990’s?-they were Creed before Creed even knew they were Creed. And just like Creed, they seemed to just disappear-what’s the expression?-“fall off the face of the earth?” (Ironically both bands are back together now). This was the “alternative grunge” movement as the market was full with the stalwarts like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains. I’m not sure what ingredient was added to the recipe but Bush was able to squeeze into the soup called grunge as it added a little more zest that was needed before the soup started to get stale. And maybe they were the “flavor of the week” but they were able to make their mark in a short period of time as radio stations across the nation endlessly played some of the golden nuggets off of their most popular album-“Sixteen Stone.” Eddie and I went to see them at a sold out Madison Square Garden in 1999-that’s right folks-they sold out MSG and put on a solid show. Again, I mean no offense to the selected artists when I do this but here are some of the best songs off of “Sixteen Stone.” (In no particular order)

Machinehead – Even though they utilized the name of one of the best hard rock albums in the history of music (Deep Purple-if you didn’t “recognize”) I have to admit I love this song. The opening guitar riffs will make you automatically go and turn the volume up-“breathe in…breathe out…breathe in…breathe out…breathe in…”- remember this tune? It is awesome, no? This brand of grunge was a bit cleaner with noticeably clearer lyrics (or maybe it was the singer?). There is heavy guitar but it sticks to the grunge way because there is not really a guitar solo to speak about that you would normally find in the hard rock or metal genre. (I know, except for “St. Anger.”). This song moves along and would be perfect for your next Spin class.

Everything Zen – This was the first song that introduced me to this band and I have to be totally honest and state that it did take me some time for to come around on this tune. But once it clicked-watch out-I couldn’t get enough of it. And of course, they reference the legendary Bowie as they pay homage with the lyrics-“Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow”-so that says to me-these guys were “in the know” when it comes to music. (And of course-“I don’t believe that Elvis is dead”) The arrangement of this song is all over the place-there is chaos along with a calmness-that clearly makes this song stand out amongst all of them on Sixteen Song. This could arguably be their best song ever.

Comedown – They had me on the opening riffs; the groove from the bass is right in your face as the infectious melody lasts about a minute before the lyrics-“Love and hate..get it wrong…she cut me right back down to size…” And how addicting is the chorus? “I don’t want to come back down from this cloud…it’s taken me all this tiiimmmmeee!!!” The lyrics are ironic in the sense that what they feared actually came true as they were unable to meet the standards of “Sixteen” on subsequent releases. You know they didn’t want to come off that cloud.

Glycerine – This is probably their most “popular” song as it was endlessly played on the radio (and MTV-the video). Every band had their “ballad” type song and this was their staple. It has an addictive hook which makes you play a “slow hand” air-guitar while you do your best Gavin vocal impression-“Don’t let the days go by…could have been easier on you…glycerine” Sort of has that Nirvana feel to it as it is slow and “grungy.” Solid tune.


Image of Nirvana

Since my schedule was a bit hectic this week and since it is the summer time, I had to ask my boys to chip in and help write some stuff down so that I may “go to the well” when I need it-and this week I need it so my oldest was nice enough to write about his favorite Nirvana songs. Even though he was born in 1994 (same year Cobain left us all), my son knows this band inside and out-clearly way better than I do-so it is actually better that he pick his top ten songs. Here are his comments:

I was born 8 months after Kurt Cobain died.I never experienced the “grunge era”, never saw Nirvana, and yet it’s still my musical heritage. I was born in 1994, a year that grunge and alternative music dominated the entire country.  “Jar of Flies” by Alice In Chains became the first EP to hit #1 on the charts, Soundgarden put out their magnum opus “Superunknown”, Pearl Jam released the experimental “Vitalogy”, Green Day and The Offspring brought alternative music to the mainstream with “Dookie” and “Smash” respectively. Stone Temple Pilots had “Purple”, Nine Inch Nails released the critically acclaimed “The Downward Spiral”, Weezer put out their legendary debut album “The Blue Album”, and Nirvana would release “MTV Unplugged in New York” after Cobain’s death. This is the music that defined the year I was born. I think the reason I love these bands and albums from the “grunge era” so much is because they are etched into the decade that I was born into, they are my musical heritage.

Nirvana will always be my favorite grunge band; Alice In Chains has come very close to surpassing them in my mind but then I put on “MTV Unplugged in New York” and I’m back to my senses again. “Unplugged” in my opinion is their best work and definitely makes my “Top 10 Albums of All Time” list (Although my mom would disagree with me; she actually banned me from bringing this album into her car because she dislikes it that much). So I’m going to apologize in advance for the amount of “Unplugged” songs on my top ten. I recommend that any fan should get the “Unplugged” DVD that came out a few years ago. Watching the performance is such an amazing experience, it’s almost like being there. There are so many special moments throughout the show were you get choked up a little knowing the Kurt is no longer with us.

Kurt Cobain is a legendary figure in my eyes, no matter what people may say about him he defined an entire generation. He really is a musical icon to me, he may not be the most talented guitar player but he was a gifted lyricist and had an extraordinary voice. So much of his music I hold near to my heart and I thank him for giving the world the gift of his songs. So without further adieu here are my top ten songs from Nirvana.  Here are some songs that almost made the list: “Heart-Shaped Box”, “School”, “Stay Away”, and “Serve the Servants.”

10.     Negative Creep – This track is off their debut album “Bleach” and is without a doubt one of their heaviest songs. The guitar rift to this song is pretty awesome and yes as you can tell from the title this song is a negative song. This is one of those songs that you can let off steam listening to; Cobain’s vocals are very angry in this song as he screams “I’m and a negative creep!”  I go crazy when Kurt looses it in the middle of the song and starts using scream vocals. I know that this is an angst driven song and most people find it strange that I even like this song but every once in a while it’s good to put this song on and just rock out.

9.     Lake of Fire – The first time I heard this song I was blown away. I love Kurt’s vocals on this song especially when he sings “Where do the bad folks go when they die?  They don’t go to heaven where the angel’s fly.”  Another great thing about this song is the fantastic guitar solo by Curt Kirkwood of the Meat Puppets. Curt may not have a great voice but he is an excellent guitar player. This song is a highlight of the legendary “MTV Unplugged” performance.

8.     You Know You’re Right – This is the last song Cobain ever recorded and what a way to go! This is one of Nirvana’s best songs it has such a great light/heavy contrast sound. The verses are very quiet then the chorus is just a blast! The best part is in the second chorus Kurt starts singing so loudly he gets on the brink of screaming but doesn’t take it too far. This is a great song to just rock out to. This song pulls the “All Apologies” type ending and even though it can get annoying sometimes it doesn’t take away from this grade “A” track. This song also makes you wonder what the future of Nirvana could have been; this track shows everyone that they could have made a lot more great songs.

7.      On A Plain (Unplugged) – “I’ll start this off without any words” After I hear this opening line I immediately start singing along. This song originally from “Nevermind” is one of Nirvana’s happiest sounding tunes, and I think it’s a great “sing along” song. Once I hear this song I’ll be singing “I’m on a plain, and I can’t complain” all day long. This is an extremely catchy song and I think the band does it a lot better acoustically than electrically.

6.     Plateau – I have no idea at all why I like this song (I played it for my mom and brother and they looked at me like I was crazy) but when I hear the opening lines I just stop doing whatever I’m doing and listen to Kurt sing this beautiful song. I just love the way Kurt sings this song; he sings it very low and calm like. Also the lyrics are just great I love the line “nothing on the top but a bucket and a mop, and an illustrated book about birds”, it just makes me smile. Even though this is a not an original song (it’s a Meat Puppet’s song) this is just one of my favorites on the “Unplugged” album, every time I hear it I can picture Kurt spinning on his chair singing it for everyone in that lucky audience.

5.     Dumb – One of my favorite lines from any Nirvana song is the opening lyrics to this song: “I’m not like them but I can pretend, the sun is gone but I have a light, the day is done but I’m having fun. I think I’m dumb or maybe just happy, I think I’m just happy.” Although Kurt used to say that his lyrics didn’t mean anything a lot of his songs have very personal lyrics and in fact do have a meaning. This song is a perfect example. This song also benefits from the cello that plays throughout the song; it makes the song that much better. My only complaint for this song is could have been a bit longer but other than that it’s one of the best songs on their final studio album “In Utero.”

4.     Pennyroyal Tea (Unplugged) – The performance of this song on MTV Unplugged is one of the most important moments in Nirvana’s history. During the show the band decides that Kurt should sing this song by himself (it’s the only song the entire show he does alone) so Kurt reluctantly agrees. The entire song you could see how afraid Kurt was, it was just him and an acoustic guitar on the stage in front of everyone. There is a part in the middle of the song when Kurt slows down and looks like he is going to break down and end the song right then and there, but then he courageously continues and finishes strong. That moment where he almost stopped the song is one of the most intimate moments Kurt ever showed and I get chills every time I watch it.

3.     Jesus Don’t Want Me For A Sunbeam – Musically this song is very diverse compared to the usual Nirvana sound. Bassist Krist Novoselic pulls out an accordion, Dave Grohl plays drums and bass at the same time (that’s right he is that skilled) and besides playing guitar Kurt sings this song with so much passion. I don’t know what it is about this song but I feel at peace when I hear it. It has a very special place in my heart. I like this so much because it shows off the bands softer side, which most people thought they didn’t have, and that’s why I love their acoustic songs so much. Nirvana shines in the amazing song.

2.     All Apologies – “What else should I be? All apologies, what else should I write?  I don’t have the right.” After I hear those words I immediately turn the volume up as high as possible. This is Nirvana’s biggest accomplishment in my opinion. This song is the best work, everything about it is flawless the vocals, the guitar work, the drums, bass, lyrics, everything is perfect. The lyrics to this song may be a bit confusing to interpret but they mean something different to every person, which is what makes Kurt’s writing style great. Musically this song has an unusually happy sound to it and that’s probably why Kurt dedicated the song to his wife and daughter. Whenever I hear this song I immediately start singing it at the top of my lungs and begin to air drum like crazy. I’m not really sure what the meaning of the song is but all I know is that it makes me happy every single time I hear it. I picture bright sunny days when I listen to it and it makes me feel at complete peace. It is simply one of the greatest rock songs ever made. “All and all is all we are, all and all is all we are….”

1.     Where Did You Sleep Last Night – I freeze every time I hear or watch the video of this powerful song.  I think to get the full effect of this heart stopping song you need to watch the video of them performing it on MTV Unplugged. When I watch the video I go into a trance, I can’t even move because my eyes are fixed on Kurt the entire song. This is the song that ended the famous “Unplugged” concert and they truly do save the best for last. This rendition of the Lead Belly song has so much passion it’s unbelievable.When Kurt gets to the last verse and starts screaming the words I get goose bumps. I can’t even handle it I get the chills so badly; his passion goes right through me. His last scream is a cry for help, it’s full of pain and emotion and it so powerful that I can’t even describe the things I feel inside. In the video there is a moment (3:58 into the song to be exact) towards the end where Kurt pauses right before saying the last line, and in that moment he looks at the audience for the first time the whole song with his eyes wide open. That stare he gives the audience is so haunting every single time I see it I shiver, I can’t even describe how it affects me; the look he gives is one of the most powerful moments in the entire show. As you can see words can’t even begin to describe how much this song means to me, this song is simply one of the greatest performances in the history of music.

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Freddie Mercury

2.     Chrissie Hynde

3.     Peter, Paul & Mary- Mary Travers

4.     Peter Frampton

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     I replaced the original drummer (who had recurring bouts of stage fright) and joined an established outfit at the forefront of “progressive” rock. The main singer left the band after some internal conflicts and I became the lead vocalist. I also went on to a very successful solo career. Who am I?

2.     I was one of the most popular “psychedelic” rock singers during the hippie movement and my songs have been covered by countless female artists who consider me their inspiration. Who am I?

3.     In 1966, Jimi Hendrix was quoted as saying that he wanted to do to with his guitar the way I do with my voice. Who am I?

4.     One of my earlier films-“the Owl and the Pussycat”-helped me on my destination of becoming one of the greatest singers of all time, along with being a movie star-again earlier in my career. Who am I?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     Magic – Pilot

2.     Comfortably Numb-Pink Floyd

3.     Hey There Delilah- Plain White T’s

4.     Crazy Love- Poco

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

1.     “…If you wake up and don’t want to smile…if it takes just a little while…open your eyes look at the day…you’ll see things in a different way…”

2.     “…And I found out a long time ago…what a woman can do to your soul…ahh but she can’t take you anyway…you don’t already know how to go…”

3.     “…The heat was on…rising to the top…everybody going strong…that is when my spark got hot…I heard somebody say…”

4.     “…I woke up in a Soho doorway…policeman knew my name…he said…you can go sleep at home tonight…if you can get up and walk away…”

Back on this Day .

Back on this day in 1952, the original recording of “Hound Dog” was made by Big Mama Thornton. This song was covered by the King-Elvis- as well as plenty of others but none like Elvis.

Back on this day in 1971, John Lennon left Heathrow Airport in London and never again stepped foot on his hometown soil of England.

Back on this day in 1975, Bruce Springsteen & the E street Band performed the first of five nights at New York’s Bottom Line club. “Born to Run” was released a short time afterward.

Back on this day in 1979, Cheap Trick had the one and only gold single with the live version of “I Want You to Want Me.”

Back on this day in 1980, Todd Rundgren’s house was robbed by four masked bandits and stole Hi-Fi equipment and paintings after tying up Todd.

Back on this day in 2007, Fats Domino is honored by the Record Industry Association of America as am “American Music Legend.”

If it is your birthday today you share the same birth date with the late Dan Fogelberg.

August 6, 2010

Weekly Update – 08/06/2010

Styx at the Beacon Theater on Thurs. Rocktober 28 performing the “Grand Illusion” and “Pieces of Eight” in their entirety. Tickets on sale this morning at 11:00 a.m.$39.50 – $79.50.

Chrissie Hydne at Irving Plaza on Sat. Rocktober 25. Tickets on sale today at 10:00 a.m. $34.50.

Primus at Wellmont Theater on Sat. Rocktober 9. Tickets on sale today at noon. $40.

Blues Traveler at the Brooklyn Bowl (61 Wythe Avenue) on Fri. & Sat. Nov. 5 and 6th. Tickets on sale today at noon. $15

Sarah Bareilles at Webster Hall on Wed. Nov. 10. Tickets on sale today at noon. $25 ($30 day of show).

Filter at Bowery Ballroom on Sat. Aug. 21. Tickets on sale now $20.

Gorillaz at Madison Square Garden on Fri. Rocktober 8. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $49.50 – $125.

Paul Anka at the Westbury Theater on Sat. Nov. 20. Tickets on sale Sun Aug. 8 at 12:30 p.m. $61.50 – $71.50.

Smokey Robinson at the Westbury Theater on Fri. Nov. 12. Tickets on sale Sun Aug. 8 at 12:30 p.m. $60 – $75.

Rusted Root at Nokia Theater on Fri. Nov. 12. Tickets on sale today at noon. $22.50.

Seether at the Starland Ballroom (Sayerville NJ) on Thurs. Sept. 16. Tickets on sale today at noon. $25.50

Other items:

My new favorite song of the week belongs to Jerry Lee Lewis-that’s right the legendary Jerry Lee Lewis- with his pure rock and roll boogie flavored-“Rockin’ My Life Away”- and guess who helps out the big man?-Mr. Kid Rock and Slash. Jerry still has his chops and his wailing on the piano is still something to behold. Kid Rock-in my opinion- a legend in the waiting-if he keeps up this kind of singing, watch out. He is absolutely a ball of fun and this genre fits him like a glove. The Kid even manages to spray his rap style in there-you have to listen carefully. Slash’s guitar solo is so slippery sweet-just like when you put a hot knife into that stick of butter that was in the refrigerator. This song will land in my top ten songs of 2010 without a doubt-you need to own this right now.

My other favorite new song of the week is-“The Suburbs” by Arcade Fire. My friend Dan gave me one of their CD’s a few years back but I never really took a liking to their sound but I really like the title track of their new album and wouldn’t be surprised if I ended purchasing the entire CD. Check it out.

The Black Crowes have released a new CD-“Croweology”- and it contains many of their hits performed acoustically. If you are a fan of this band, this is a must buy. And for $9.99 on I-Tunes it’s a no brainer as you get 22 songs. Are you kidding me? (Ok “Best Buy” has it for $7.99) I have said this before but I wish I could be Chris Robinson for one tour-I think he is one of the coolest rock stars ever. These boys know how to sing rock and roll, gospel, the blues and anything that feels good. They played this past Wednesday night on the Jimmey Kimmel show-check them out and tell me Chris isn’t the man??!!

Ozzy says “Never say Never” even though he has been in legal battles with his former bandmates in Black Sabbath for the past few years over using the name of Black Sabbath. There has been some real hard feelings but Ozzy thinks that they could reunite again and make a new “ultimate” album. I know there would be many out there who would love for that to happen.

The “2010 Crossroads Guitar Festival” which was held in Chicago this year on June 26 and then put into Movie theaters for one day only-Tues. July 27- (my oldest son wanted to go so bad but it was playing at least 40 miles from our house) will be released on two DVD’s on Nov. 9. It will contains four hours of footage with such guitar legends as Clapton (of course it is his festival), BB King, Buddy Guy, Jeff Beck, ZZ Top and new addition John Mayer. Look for it- this has to be good.

Deftone’s bassist-Chi Cheng– is still under medical care (still in a semi-conscious state) after being in a car accident in Nov. 2008. His family is using doctors from New Jersey who are supposedly on the cutting edge of treatments for people who have been in accidents like Chi. This is so heart-breaking, I truly hope his family and friends will find light at the end of the tunnel and I hope and pray he comes out of this. Peace. If you would like to make a donation please go to

Apparently not everyone is happy with the rumor that Steven Tyler may be sitting as a judge on American Idol including Mr. Joe Perry who recently said in an interview that he was completely caught off guard and can’t understand why Steven would do this gig when Aerosmith has so many plans in the next year such as recording a new album. Sounds like things are not so great in “Aero-land.” Lots of strange things have happened between these two guys the last few years. Who knows what will happen if Tyler gets Simon’s spot.

The Cult’s new single-“Every man and woman is a Star”- was released this past Tuesday and after a few listens it will start to grow on you. These guys have been rockin’ for a long time and they “still got it.” The chorus is addicting.

Album Review: “Women and Children First” by Van Halen released on March 26, 1980

Women & Children First

Ok you know I have been touting this album for the past few years on this page, defending it every chance I get because in my opinion, plenty of people (and critics alike) seem to bypass this album when the topic of which are the best Van Halen albums (with Diamond Dave) that were ever recorded. Now I totally get “VHI,” “VHII” and “Fair Warning” maybe being put ahead of “Women and Children” but I totally lose it when people state that “1984” or even “Diver Down” is better. Now you all know that I totally love Van Halen and have every album they recorded (again except for the Gary Cherone experiment) and I will continue to endorse this as a masterpiece as long as I am on this earth. But even Van Halen albums have a pecking order and there is no way “Women” finishes behind “1984” or “Diver Down”-I’m sorry. Forget a perfect album side-which I contemplated-but then quickly realized-“what am I thinking? The entire album kicks some serious butt!!!” From the opening guitar riff of “And the Cradle Will Rock” to the heavy slow trudging head bang guitar that lasts around 13 seconds (called “The Growth”) after the brilliant “In a Simple Rhyme” ends-No the album doesn’t end at “Rhyme” so let it go to the end (I know you- the Van Halen fan- are aware of this, so excuse me while I make the point). Another thing that drives me crazy (I have also made this point in the past) is that I see this in the remaining stores that sell CD’s for like $4.99 but every other Van Halen album is priced at the full price of $12.99 (or something like that). And it’s usually in the bin with the “Slim Whitman” greatest hits- I usually make a bee line and complain to the store owner (because the kids working there-what do they know?) It’s like putting the portrait of the Mona Lisa on sale in the 99 cents store. But I guess you could look at it like you have just bought a priceless “antique” at a local yard sale as the person selling it doesn’t realized he or she just lost a gem. Well no matter how anyone looks at it-I’m telling you right now if you are a Van Halen fan with Mr. Roth at the helm, most likely this is already in your music library, but if it is not, now is your chance to run out and get it immediately.

This masterpiece, yes masterpiece, starts off with the “wind blown” like guitar riffs created by the masterful Edward Van Halen with one of their best songs-“And the Cradle Will Rock”-Stop right here- you have to rewind it before Alex jumps in on the drums and listen to it time and time again. Can I get any more psyched? Then as the screams of the most awesome David Lee Roth come into play-well this takes me over the edge. “Back in the day” David Lee Roth was the greatest front man of any band ever-he was by far the coolest dude to ever play the part of a rock star and his acrobatics during Van Halen’s early day concerts is something that hasn’t been duplicated since and most likely will not be replicated ever. How heavy is this song? And how freaking phenomenal is Alex Van Halen on drums? Of course throughout the entire song (and album) you can feel the bone crushing bass beats of Michael Anthony. When Eddie enters with his mind blowing guitar solo-well I say right then and there that this album is worth of the price of admission (especially if you took it from the “Slim Whitman” bin). Love the part before Eddie’s solo when Diamond exclaims-“Have you seen Junior’s grades??!!!” This song (and album) reminds me of my good friend-Slats- who I know is a huge fan of this album (as well as another childhood friend John G. as he would mimic Diamond Dave all the time) and I know he loves to drum out to this tune. “Everybody Wants Some” was always a fan favorite at their live shows- it starts off with Alex’s drumming and right away I feel like I am in a jungle trying to get through some rough vines as they are everywhere. Eddie’s guitar work adds to the mysteriousness of the song and then bam!!! “But everybody wants some…I want some too…” To this day there is a verse that Diamond Dave sings that I still have no clue what he’s trying to say, something that sounds like “mook-bee.” Anyway during their heyday, once the song slowed down again, Dave would break off and tell the audience a long story about his escapades. This would go on for sometime and then when Alex’s constant drumming started again, the white lights would shine on the thousands of fans as everyone would thrust their arms high and sing-“But everybody wants some…” Ahh those were the days. I’m telling you folks there was not a better live band in all the land during the years from 1978 – 1985. “Fools” pays homage to the Plant/Page thing as Dave moans/groans and makes noises as Eddie answers him back on guitar. As Dave quiets down, Eddie takes over on guitar as he awaits for his brother Alex to make his grand entrance on drums. You can barely hear Eddie’s guitar but it slowly gets louder and when Michael & Alex join in the fray it becomes this hypnotic steady head-banging beat. You can hear Alex hitting the “high hat” throughout this song as Eddie’s heavy guitar chords engulf your ears- his guitar work is lights out. Dave makes all these weird noises and squeals as the song fades out. “Romeo Delight” is my favorite track on this album and the arrangement is of top quality. This blazing song kicks off with all three musicians jamming at a high fast pace before Mr. Roth chimes in with his most excellent vocals-“what’s to like, cause I ain’t leaving… save it please I can’t take it anymore…” Just last week I made a CD for a long car ride and I didn’t tell my oldest son what the name of this song was and what album it was from (he knew it was VH but didn’t know the tune). As he listened (along with my younger son) I could see that he was enjoying it (they both were) and I had the volume on “30” (it usually sits at 12 or so). I was trying to air-drum to every drum beat-especially the end where Michael & Alex bring the song to a crashing end. When it finished, I told them it was “Romeo Delight”-a song that they had previously dismissed-but I know they are both fans of this track.

Side two kicks off with the heavy metal psychedelic-“Tora Tora”-which only lasts about a minute but it has this cool vibe and of course Dave can be heard screaming again and laughing and then BAM!!! It quickly turns into the lightning fast-“Loss of Control.” I know Slats loves this song-“May-day..May-day…” I can’t get enough of this song as I frantically dance all around the room trying to mimic a tornado. Alex’s drumming is out of this world. I can clearly remember my last Spin class at MBIA I threw this song on a CD and you want to talk about an all out sprint? Try doing this song for the full 2:37 seconds at the fastest pace you can try-you will certainly be sweating by the time the song is over. The pace quickly slows down as the blues laden-“Take Your Whiskey Home”- has to put a smile on your face because Diamond Dave is absolutely fantastic on this tune. He is so natural singing to Eddie’s guitar-(these guys are great together). The pace picks up a bit but it is still a slow head-banging song which flat out rocks. Eddie’s guitar solo is pure perfection but it is Dave who steals the show as he laments about how his woman doesn’t want him around because the bottle gets in the way. And watch out for Michael Anthony’s bass lines which will have you performing the Wayne’s World “We Are Not Worthy” bow. The title track is my second favorite song on this album and again Dave steals the show with his phenomenal vocal piece. I just lose it when he says “but you got women’s on your mind,” I have to hit the rewind button to listen again. Remember I mentioned a childhood friend-John G.- well I immediately think of him as he emulated Mr. Roth “to a T”- especially the part where Dave says-“Edward…thank ya..” I can still picture him on the stoop on 46th street in Sunset Park Brooklyn singing this song like he wrote it. Flat out masterpiece of a song. This classic album ends with the extraordinary-“In a Simple Rhyme”- and in my opinion the arrangement on this track may be the best that they ever recorded. It flows so naturally-“Well ain’t love grand when you finally hit it…I’m always a sucker for a real good time…”- and then gets as soft as any other Van Halen song but you know it won’t stay there for too long as Michael’s bass guides Eddie’s entrance for a magnificent guitar solo. As I scour their library I don’t think they ever made a song like this one-this is totally different from everything else. Of course the signature background vocals really shine on this song and as the track ends it softly fades away. But just for good measure so that you don’t forget this is Van Halen that 13-15 second “secret” ending (“The Growth”) pounds into your ears as you nod your head and say “yes!!! How great is this album?”

“Women and Children First” is Van Halen’s hidden gem because I think most look to other albums but just like when you are looking for that special ingredient in your cupboard, you may have to move a few things to the side before that unique feature is staring you right in the face. It was always there and that’s my analogy for “Women” because this album will be waiting for you when you want straight up rock and roll as you scour through other artists rock albums (and even other Van Halen albums) before the cool cover attracts your attention and you say –“let me give this a whirl.” Ladies and Gentlemen, I am here to tell you that when this happens you won’t be disappointed. What are you waiting for? \m/ \m/



I introduced the concept of nuggets to you last week and simply put-in my opinion there are some real golden “nuggets” that appear on albums but maybe the entire album (or album side) is not as perfect. For a long time I was trying to figure out how I could review-“Reckless” by Bryan Adams but I had to be honest with myself as I thought there were some “fillers” so I even had a hard time picking a perfect album side. But there are enough songs on the entire album that I feel would have been a perfect album side if they were bunched together instead of appearing on opposite sides. I have been a fan of Mr. Adams for a long time and last year I took my oldest son to his first show-which was Bryan (also the first time I had seen him)- and he proved that he still has his voice, guitar skills along with stage presence which will last for a long time. I remember when “reckless” came out, I couldn’t stop listening to this album throughout the summer of 1985 (it was released in Rocktober 1984). His work spawned six singles that made it to the top 15 on the Billboard charts (a feat previously only completed by Michael Jackson for his “Thriller” album) Now in my opinion, the first two songs of the album and the last two songs are not that great but the six pack in between are stellar hits that really help send his career into another stratosphere. So here they are in no particular order, my “nugget” picks of the week:

Heaven – Sappy? Ok yes…You know I’m all about sappy…This is the perfect love song for any couple and I can remember watching Sal & Mimi dancing to their first song as husband and wife to this tune like it was yesterday. This song makes you drift off into another dimension as I can picture lying on a grassy hill in the summertime just looking up at the clear blue sky. “Oh thinking about our younger years…there was only you and me…we were young and wild and free…”-believe me boys and girls those words take on a whole new meaning as you get to be my age. Ahh this song takes me back to when I first met my bride and I knew she was the one for me. This song will do that to you.

Kids Wanna Rock – This was always my favorite song on “Reckless” and it still is. First thing you have to do is turn up the volume so it is real LOUD!!!! “Gimme my DJ, I got something he’s gotta play!!!!” Back in 1984, I was so amped up on rock and roll so when I heard this song I immediately bought the record. This is the “head-banging” Bryan Adams-you didn’t think he had it in him, did you? Don’t kid yourself-the man knows how to rock and this is the proof in the pudding. (And he helped out Motley Crue on Dr. Feelgood, so what about that?). This song was a staple in our boot camp class at MBIA from 2003 through 2005 and I know all of us would love to turn back the clock to be at Dave’s class at 6:00 a.m. to rock out to this and many other songs. “So turn it up, turn it up..turn it up… Woo!!!”

Summer of ’69 – Ignoring the fact of finding out why Bryan wrote this song when I saw him live in concert last year, this song will always be a favorite because it is a song of nostalgia. For some it may really be the summer of 1969 and it takes you back in time when you were younger and having a great summer. I tell my boys all the time-enjoy every bit of the summer (as well as life) now that you don’t have to work. Boy would I love to go back to long days of summer when all we did was grab a towel and get on the “N” train to head to Coney Island to ride the waves of euphoria. I took my boys to Coney Island last week and we took off our shoes and walked along the waters’ edge all the way to Brighton Beach. The rush of memories is sometimes overwhelming and then I looked over at my boys-who are such wonderful young men-and it brings a tear to the eyes. This is what this song does for me-brings me back but also makes me look to the future.

Somebody – Love the groove in this song-it keeps me coming back for more. It makes you bounce your head up and down as you sing every word with the fervor that Bryan displays-“I need somebody… hey what about you?” This is a crowd sing along song (like many of his) and I had the pleasure of hearing (and singing along with) the crowd at the Beacon Theater last year- it was pure fun. The chorus is addictive and once it is in your head you won’t be able to stop singing it.

It’s Only Love – Does this song rock or what? Love the opening guitar riffs. This is my second favorite song on “Reckless” (are you sensing a pattern?- yes- heavy guitar licks!!) And who better to assist him on this rocking classic but the knockout Ms. Tina Turner? She flat out hits a homerun with her passion and energy. Take a listen to this song and tell me it doesn’t sound like it was recorded last night? My only complaint is that it is too short. This is a song that should never be done by anyone else but Tina and Bryan-it’s that good-probably the best song of 1984-if not- then it is in the top ten. Flawless duet if I ever heard one. \m/ \m/

Run To You – Another phenomenal song that will last through the ages. Have you passed this on down to your kids? Your grandkids? What are you waiting for? Sometimes I have a hard time putting into words how great some songs are and this one falls right into this category. Bryan’s vocals are super solid-“She says her love for me could never die…but that would change if she ever found out about you and I…”-I wish I could have written and sang this song like he does. I love when Bryan’s vocals dig deep down and his higher pitch at certain points in the song is like the cherry on top of your ice cream sundae. Folks, it doesn’t get much better than this song.

So there you have it- “Reckless” is worth the price of admission and I would recommend purchasing the entire album because of these six classic tunes. Run – don’t walk- to buy this now!!!


This past week my I-Pod shuffle kept landing on both Linkin Park and Rage Against the Machine so I decided to do my favorite top five songs from both to equal this week’s top ten. Now I admit that I have to be in the mood to listen to both of these bands because there is a lot of anger accompanied with heavy guitar riffs along with screams which could last more than 30 seconds which make the experience of listening to these guys a little hard on the ears. But when I am in the mood to listen-watch out-there are some really good songs that both entities have supplied to their faithful.

Now with Linkin Park it did take me a while to get into them, my friend Eric kept imploring me to give these guys a chance during my time at MBIA. He lent me-“Hybrid Theory”- and I did like some of the songs but it just didn’t click. Then came-“Meteroa”- and I was off and running. This album struck an immediate chord with me and I couldn’t get enough of it. The disc is really short (less than 40 minutes) but it packs a wallop of a punch, so much so that I usually end up enjoying it twice as I have to put it back in and listen to it all over again. I wasn’t knee deep into the heavy metal rap scene but I did venture into some of these bands (and I know that Linkin Park doesn’t want that label, so forgive me) and it seemed that the time from 1996-2004 was full of “Nu-Metal” acts, so I did get into somewhat. (Yes I have Limp Bizkit CD’s-I know another band that LP does not want to be associated with-at least I know their fans don’t).

Then in 2003, Metallica went on tour and did the stadium venue that summer and took along Linkin Park (as well as Bizkit…but by that time Bizkit seemed to be out of the picture). It was one of the hottest summer days that year and Linkin Park made it even hotter as they blew everyone away with their electrifying set. I was amazed on how great they were live, they gave it everything they had that day and it was something I will never forget.

Now with Rage, I remember when I first heard-“Killing In the Name ” –and was intrigued by what I was hearing. There was a certain energy that I had never heard from any band and these were recorded songs, not even “live” songs. Now I loved the energy of the songs which included the musicianship from Tom Morello on guitar and Brad Wilk on drums and I loved the way Zack de la Rocha rapped but I have to honestly say that I did not agree with most of their political views. (Of course I don’t want to leave out the pulsating bass of Mr. Tim Commerford). Again I am a man of music and most of my focus is on the melody, beats or whatever sound that is coming through my speakers. Now obviously (especially as a parent) I recognize much of the harsh language that comes with this genre so I can’t make believe I don’t know what’s going on. For me it is the equivalent of listening to Howard Stern-he may not be for everyone, especially in a public setting-but when I am by myself or with other adults who know what it is all about, I can listen all day. Same with these bands, I recognize that this may be an acquired taste and is not for everyone. I will say that the “Battle of Los Angeles” is my favorite Rage album and it is in my opinion their most compete body of work from top to bottom. So here I am on an island and have been told that I can have five songs from Linkin’ Park and Rage Against the Machine, “These are Them:”

Linkin Park

Image of Linkin Park

5.     In the End – Thanks to Eric, this is one of the gems from “Hybrid Theory” and this process is harder when it’s limited to five songs but this song kept winning when I put it up against the other tunes I had on my list. I love the piano melody and I think that was probably the main reason this song lands here. I also love the singing going on behind the rapping (love the part where he says “watch the time go right out the win-doe”) and really don’t understand why they kind of walked away from these types of songs because in my opinion this style put them on the map. “I put my trust in you…pushed as far as I can go… for all this… there’s only one thing you should know…” How great is that part of the song? The ending of the song is the same as the beginning-the piano- awesome!!!

4.     Numb –This song could arguably be their best and most popular song, right? (I also love the way they used this song to collaborate with Jay-Z and I seem to hear that song more often than the original). This song brings me back to 2004 and the trip our family made down to the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee to visit my brother and sister-in law. This song was everywhere and we had gone into an arcade that had a jukebox, this song was playing when we walked in and even my brother in law said he liked the song. So of course I love to play the songs that I like in a public place so I played this song again along with basically the entire “Meteroa” album (I feel a review coming on). This was an instant classic and will continue to be for years to come.

3.     Faint – Believe it or not this song has sentimental value despite all the screaming, screeching and the loud guitars. This song will forever bring me back to the boot camp class at MBIA where I met some of the best friends I have ever encountered in my lifetime. I can remember the first time I put this song on the playlist for Dave and informed him that the girls were not going to like this song and probably will end up holding their ears. Sure enough as I was in my station I looked over to Tricia at her station and she had this look of disgust. I had to keep from laughing because I knew the part where the singer screams-“Nooooowww Hear me out noooowww… you’re gonna listen to me like it or not.. Right noooowwww!!!’ was coming up and I could see Tricia holding her ears while trying to say something but it was so loud that we couldn’t hear her. Eventually she came around and actually ended up liking the song-I think I changed her opinion on hard rock/metal/rap because these songs you can really move to-if you open your mind.

2.     Given Up – It baffles my mind that I have my top two songs from the album-“Minutes to Midnight”- because Linkin Park went out of their way to publicize that they were not going to do songs like they did on “Hybrid” or “Meteroa” (meaning no “rapping”). But when I listen to this song it has everything right up my alley- loud guitars and that primal scream that makes him one of the best screamers out today (I may have to revise my list of the top ten screamers of all time). The pace is fast and furious as one can clearly feel the rage coming out of every orifice of Chester’s body-especially when the pace slows down and he’s just pleading-“Put me out of my misery..” and that scream lasts about one minute. I know this is not for everyone especially if mom or dad are around or grandma and grandpa-you get the picture? But if you are at a Stadium with all LP fans then it can be one of the greatest experiences you’ll have. (Even though it’s anger and rage-I know- I’m weird).

1.     Bleed It Out – I remember when I heard this song for the first time I knew it was going to be my favorite Linkin Park song (despite the silly “F” bomb but you can buy the “clean” version). This song is so freakin’ awesome!!! I love the incredible pace with the hand claps, how cool is that? Then when the drums come in and smash that consistent beat I dance all around in circles-this could be one of the best workout songs ever. I was gone from MBIA but I sent a disc to Tricia with this song-this was the song that I had to let everybody else hear- and she said the reaction was the same as when I had played “Faint” for the first time. But everyone was bouncing at their exercise station. I’m still clapping my hands. This is the best!!!

Rage Against the Machine

Image of Rage Against the Machine

5.     No Shelter – Taken from the “Godzilla” soundtrack this song is the “bomb.” The groove in this track is spectacular as the drumming explodes which enables you to move your feet and head with such ease you might start to believe that you could rap like Zack. Like I said, I love the way this guy raps/sings/screams and he was one of the best-if not the best- in the heavy metal genre rap, personally I don’t think anyone comes close. Morello is all over the place with his awesome guitar work and the bass pulsates as you can feel your chest vibrate (if you have it at the right decibel level). Is there a better band that accentuates every note with such complete “In-Sync-Ness” between every instrument as well as the vocals? This band creates a force that few can emulate. (Watch out for the “MF” bomb, sorry)

4.     Testify – I remember the first time I heard this song, I felt like I was being lifted off the ground as the guitar riffs created by Morello makes it feel like there is a tornado of some back down (or lower) throughout the entire track. (I can actually picture Dorothy’s house being lifted off the ground and spinning in circles when I hear this tune).His solo in the middle is absolutely electrifying and it’s hard to believe there are only 3 guys making all that music behind Zack because it seems like there is at least double that amount creating the incredible wall of sound. This is some heavy stuff and perfect for your next work-out.

3.     Born of a Broken Man – This is one of the heaviest songs ever created-in my opinion- and similar to Linkin Park they can create this soft sound but then turn on a dime and create this outrageous fit of rage which makes you wonder where all this anger comes from. So why do I like it? It’s weird but I can do the same thing, I can listen to soft music but I have always had a thing for heavy stuff that gets me so psyched that I don’t know anything else but to air-guitar while banging my head to try to match the furiousness of what is blasting through my speakers. This song is violent I must admit and like I said- I have to be in the mood to listen to this. This isn’t like “Breakfast with the Beatles” that you hear every Sunday morning on your classic rock station but a few hours before that as Saturday night turns into early Sunday morning at one of those metal clubs is most likely the best time to listen to this.

2.     Guerilla Radio – Man hold on to your seat with this track. This is a violent fast paced knock-out punch that a young Mike Tyson use to apply to his opponents (victims) when they dared to enter the ring with him as he first started out his boxing career. There seems to be so much going on musically again it’s unreal that it is only three guys making this awesome sound. I love the part towards the end when Zack passionately exclaims in almost a whisper like tone-“It has to start somewhere…it has to start sometime…what better place than here?…what better time than now?…Ugghhhhh!!!!” Love the passion. Whew this song will wear you out.

1.     People of the Sun – Again this is my list and this is my all time favorite RATM song so don’t even try to ask me why-it just is. The beginning of this song is one of the greatest ever as that bass line is deep and thrusts into your chest as you begin to bounce up and down looking for a mosh pit. I can clearly remember leaving a softball game in Ringwood and as I pulled away from the “botchy” ball courts I had this blasting from my car while people looked over and probably wondered whose car was trembling as Zack says “People come up..” The bass and drums punctuate every beat together creating this minor earthquake and as the song progresses Mr. Morello adds his zesty flavor of his guitar. Does anyone play guitar like him when he made those albums with Rage? (who knows they may do some more work now that they are back together). His sound is so distinctive and again I don’t think there was ever a band like Rage before or after they came into existence. I have tried to sing this song (or rap to it) and in my opinion it is virtually impossible, only Zack can do this.

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Lou Gramm (Foreigner)

2.     Aretha Franklin

3.     Chuck Berry

4.     Jim Morrison (nice job Chris)

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     I was the lead singer for one of the biggest bands during the 1970’s and 1980’s and my roots are in the Middle East. I could sing with the best of them, even with an opera star. Who am I?

2.     I am the lead singer for a band that started out in the 1970’s and we were considered “new wave” or “alternative” when we first exploded on the scene. We have had many personnel changes but are actually back together in 2010, it is a “mystery” to me that we have “achieved” this? Who am I?

3.     I was part of a trio that was really popular during the flower power era and I was the only different one in the group. One of our songs was discussed between Robert DeNiro and Ben Stiller in the movie “Meet the Parents” where Mr. Stiller insinuated that the song was “drug” related. What group is it and who am I?

4.     I was in the band “Humble Pie” but achieved more fame and notoriety individually as some consider my solo live album to be one of the best ever. I can make my guitar talk. Who am I?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     November Rain – Guns & Roses

2.     Centerfold-J. Geils Band

3.     Grazing in the Grass- The Friends of Distinction

4.     Double Vision- Foreigner

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

1.     “…leaning on my pillow in the morning…lazy day in bed…music in my head…crazy music playing in the morning…”

2.     “…Hello (hello, hello)…is there anybody in there…just nod if you can hear me…is there any one home…”

3.     “…Oh it’s what you do to me…Oh it’s what you do to me…Oh it’s what you do to me…Oh it’s what you do to me…what you do to me…”

4.    “…tonight I’m gonna to break away…just you wait and see…I’ll never be in prison…like a faded memory…just when I think I’m over her…this broken heart will mend…”

Back on this Day .

Back on this day in 1973, Stevie Wonder was seriously injured in a car crash in North Carolina and he remained in a coma for four days (but obviously recovered).

Back on this day in 1988, Guns & Roses “Appetite for Destruction” finally reached number one on the Billboard charts after more than a year climbing its way to the top of the charts.

Back on this day in 1989, Adam Clayton (bassist for U2) avoided jail time after donating $40,000 to the Dublin Women’s Aid Center after he was found with marijuana by Dublin Ireland police.

Back on this day in 1996, The Ramones had their final concert together in Los Angeles which included appearances by Dee Dee Ramone (who at that time was the “former” bassist) along with Lemmy, Eddie Vedder, Chris Cornell and Ben Shepherd.

Back on this day in 1996, Vince Neil pulled an “Axl Rose” when he walked off the stage a small club in Indiana after three songs and didn’t return after the crowd had waited four hours for him to come on. Of course the police had to be called as the “rightfully upset” patrons demanded their money back after being told that there would be no refunds.

If it is your birthday today you share the same birth date with the late great Issac Hayes.

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