Errols Weekly Music Update.

February 25, 2011

Weekly Update – 02/25/2011

Def Leppard and Heart at the Mohegan Sun on Sat. July 2; at Jones Beach on Tues. July 12; at PNC Bank Arts Center on Wed. July 13. Tickets on sale next Sat. Mar. 5. Further information to follow.

Usher with Akon at Prudential Center on Sat. May 7. Pre-sale tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. until Thurs. Mar. 3 at 10:00 p.m. for American Express cardholders. General public on sale next Fri. Mar. 4 at 10:00 a.m. $39.40 and $145.85  

Adele at United Palace Theater on Sat. May 21. Tickets on sale tomorrow at noon. $44.80 and $76.10.

Bruno Mars & Janelle Monae at Roseland Ballroom on Wed. May 4. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 A.M. $47.70

Cake at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Tues. Apr. 19. Pre-sale tickets on sale now if you have an American Express card until 11:00 a.m. this morning. General public tickets on sale today at noon. $44.65.

Elvis Costello & The Imposters at the Beacon Theater on Tues. May 24. Pre-sale tickets on sale now if you have an American Express card until 10:00 p.m. tonight. General public tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $63.15, $73.35 and $106.10.

Eric Burdon & The Animals at BB Kings on Wed. June 8. Tickets on sale this morning at 11:00 a.m.$35.

The Strokes at Madison Square Garden on Fri. Apr. 1. Tickets on sale this morning at 11:00 a.m. $68.25.

Rammstein at the Izod Center on Thurs. May 7. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $70 and $100.75

Hollywood Undead at the Oakdale Theater in Wallingford CT on Fri. Apr. 8. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $35.25

3 Doors Down with Seether, Hinder and Pop Evil at Comcast Theater in Hartford CT on Fri. May 20. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $68.

Earth Wind & Fire at Mohegan Sun on Fri. May 13. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $53.55

Alan Jackson at Mohegan Sun on Fri. Apr. 29. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $53.55 and $74.55.

Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi Band at Highline Ballroom on Wed. Apr. 13. Pre-sale tickets on sale today at noon. Password is: Guitar. General public on sale Wed. Mar. 2 at noon. No price info.

Snoop Dogg at the Wellmont Theater on Sat. Mar. 26. Tickets on sale today at noon. $35 ($40 day of show).

Other items:

American Idol was very good again these past two nights, watching Jennifer Lopez shed some tears for Chris Medina was very touching and tough to do because you could feel her pain. (On a good note, Chris received a $29K van yesterday and will be performing on the “Tonight Show” tonight). Viewing Randy and Steven comforting her was something that the TV audience members have never really seen before from this show. Folks, there is something magical about this year’s show and it is because of the chemistry between the judges-hopefully it lasts until the last show in May. I have to admit that there were two guys that passed through who I felt like they are always “screaming” ( a la “Adam Lambert”-here we go again) but I knew the judges had to send them on to the final 24. One of the dudes is way over the top with his antics after getting through and I wouldn’t be surprised if he physically hurts someone in the future if he continues on through the next three months and he is a bit “too confident” in my view. The one woman, last name was Cunningham, was so disrespectful and filled with piss & vinegar as she was the #25 woman contestant, so she didn’t make it through. To see her stick her two middle fingers up to the judges at this stage in the game was so classless that if I am a producer of the show, she is never allowed to come back again.

It’s official- The Cars will release their first studio album in more than 20 years with every original member back on board, except obviously Ben Orr, when “Move Like This” is released on May 10. Ric Ocasek, lead singer, had always maintained that they would not get back together had a chance of heart recently as he had some songs and knew “the guys” could easily help him make them come alive. He mentioned that there are some really good songs that Ben could have sung better but he will do his best with his vocals. He also stated that this does not mean that The Cars will go on tour and do their greatest hits but he did leave it open to do some shows, so hopefully one of those is in the Tri-state area. (Hey I can wish, can’t I?)

This week’s Rolling Stone issue (with Bieber on the cover) is also a very good read this week (two in a row!!) with some very interesting articles. If you are a fan of “The Clash” there is a six-seven page article on what made them tick. Metallica’s Kirk Hammett paid tribute to the late Gary Moore and said he was intimidated by Gary but when he met him face to face, Gary was very nice to him. There is also a “lead” story that wonders where all the “rock” songs went in 2010 and kind of leads you to believe “rock is dead they say” but we all know that rock will never die. Just happened to be a year where there weren’t that many publicly “known” artists/bands that didn’t release any new material. I don’t know what they were trying to say about Shinedown but that is one rock band that is here to stay for a while. It’s cyclical as the Foo Fighters and others will release some new material this year but to say that there was no rock songs in 2010, was a bit out there in my opinion because there was some good material released in 2010 but the “general” public is not aware of.

In case you didn’t know-Beavis & Butt-Head will make its way back to MTV later this year. No they have not “grown up” they will still be the same dorky teenagers we all knew back in the early 1990’s and they have a lot more material to make fun of as “You-Tube” will be added into the fracas as well as shows like “Jersey Shore,” so if you were a fan you know there is a lot of fun to be had.

Lots of buzz on the new album by Adele-“21”- as the reviews have been pretty solid from almost everyone. I love the single-“Rolling in the Deep”- and this is destined for greatness. The sound coming out your speakers will remind you of that old R&B classic sound that you love and you will say-“who is this?” Folks, I think I am sold-this may be my first “new purchase” of 2011. I really like the sound of each song from the 1:30 sample on I-Tunes. Really-check this out-this is some really good stuff here!!!

My new favorite song of the week is “Come On Get It” by Lenny Kravitz. How freaking good is this man? He just keeps getting better in my eyes (and ears). There is no other way to listen to this song but LOUD!!! This is “rock-funk” at it’s best. (Think of James Brown with an electric guitar in his hands). You will be dancing all around the room in no time. Funkadelic!!! And the guitar solo is smoking!! Can’t wait for “Black and White America” to be released this summer.

If you are a fan of Johnny Cash (and who isn’t?) there was a new release this past week-“Bootleg, Vol. 2: From Memphis to Hollywood” which has outtakes and original recording never heard before. Check it out. Grab some snacks and refreshments tonight and put this on and sit back on the couch and relax-some good stuff right here.

Weird thing: The “Wall of Sound: The Very Best of Phil Spector 1961- 1966” was released this past Tuesday and includes some of the greatest songs in the history of rock and roll performed by The Crystals, The Ronettes, Bob B. Soxx, and Ike & Tina Turner. What happens to the profits? How was he able to release something while in jail (I know that Lil Wayne did too but Phil is in for a long long time). Again weird but every song on this album is a classic.

Nuggets

All Things Must Pass [BOXED EDITION]

In honor of George Harrison, who would have been 68 years old today, (this November will be ten years since he passed away) I figured I had to get him on to the page in some way shape or form and then when my I-pod shuffle landed on “Hear Me Lord” from his greatest solo work-“All Things Must Pass”- I thought maybe it should go here in the “nuggets” section. Now I know there are many of his fans out there who are cursing me right now because everyone knows this is a masterpiece but I have to tell you-I really have to be in the mood for side four when it is all “instrumental.” Now don’t get me wrong it showcases his unbelievable talent on the guitar but after a while it starts to grade on me and I have to turn it off because I usually get to the point where my head hurts and that is not a good thing.

We all know that George was itching to have way more input into the Beatles catalog and was part of the reason that the band eventually split up. And with classics such as “Something,” “Here Comes The Sun” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” it is hard to believe that the rest of the guys did not recognize his extreme talent. Can you imagine had they stayed together and he wrote songs with John & Paul? (sorry Ringo) I can’t help but think that writing songs with John and/or Paul that this band would have gone on to another stratosphere, if that could be possible. I know they sit high above everyone else but I am convinced that it would have been that much higher if the “Lennon & McCartney” tandem was expanded to include “Harrison.”

As I have grown older I have to say that Harrison is now my favorite Beatle, (it was always John), because of his unbelievable solo career (as well as the songs he wrote for the Beatles, we all know the “John” songs as we all know the “Paul” songs) but I loved the way he still created music, especially with the Traveling Wilbury’s and after a while I found myself listening to his catalog more than any other Beatle. I won’t say that George’s solo career is better than John’s, or Paul’s or even Ringo’s for that matter-all I am saying is that I favor listening to his songs more than the others-not that I do not love or own just as many songs by John or Paul-it’s just my opinion these days. Who know this could change over time again but for now…well you know.

“All Things Must Pass” is a culmination of what George wanted to say during his days with the Beatles. All this musicwas waiting to come out and just like when a band makes its first album-more times than most it turns out to be their best effort because it represents hunger, a statement to the world that they have made it, a masterpiece in the eyes (ears) of the critics and more importantly-the fan base. On this album, he has created some of the best songs ever recorded in the history of music-yes in the history (take that Beethoven!). Even though this is a nugget section-everyone should be required to own this album-I say it should be federal law. For the next Census, there should be a box to check “yes” or “I will obtain it as soon as I mail this back” for the question that states-“Do you have All Things Must Pass in your place and residence?” (right under the question that asks you how many people live with you-yes it is that important).

So here it is a list of songs (in no particular order) that I consider to be “golden nuggets” from one of the best solo albums ever recorded:

What is Life – Ok you know I am going to state-“This is one of my favorites by George”- on almost every song, right? But you have to believe me with this song-I truly think this is one of his best songs ever recorded. I immediately get a smile on my face when I hear the opening guitar licks, don’t you? “What I feel…I can’t say…” I remember bringing my own CD’s to Spin class in Danbury CT (after MBIA) about an hour before the class started so I could hear my music (you see Chris was nice to me) in a closed gym room and I could blast it as loud as I wanted and I had this song on one of the CD’s when this person walked into the room and said “Finally a good old time song.” He jumped onto the bike and spun away singing every word to the song and he stayed for the rest of the songs and as the class was about to start, he was done and thanked me for putting this song on as he had forgotten how great the song is. Folks, please don’t tell me you don’t know this song. I won’t have any of it.

Art of Dying – I could see John Lennon singing this song along with George and this is exactly what I was talking about above when I said this type of song writing between him and John (or Paul) would have elevated their status to an even yet higher mark. Love the guitar work on this bad boy and the groove is fast with a lot of “giddy-up.” I believe that a young Phil Collins assisted on this one with “percussion” sound. The guitar and bass guitar work is flat out righteous. Awesome song.

I’d Have You Anytime – Talk about a song that stops me dead in my tracks. This song is unbelievable-everything about it- George’s incredible vocal and awesome guitar work makes it arguably one of the best songs he has ever written and recorded. I always say that I was born too late because if there was one song that I would have loved to see him perform live, it would have to be this one. No really, if I heard this song sung by him live then I could say I have seen it all. Perfect masterpiece.

All Things Must Pass Another incredible song, a very sad song and not just because of the Beatles breakup. This song is bigger than that, think about situations that confront us in our lives? Death, loss of job, divorce, moving and so many different sicknesses that can affect us but like the song says- “All Things Must Pass.” If you have not seen the version that Paul McCartney does on the “Concert for George” DVD and/or CD then you are truly missing out. Paul does a heartfelt version of this song and it really feels and looks like a bigger brother is lost without his young little buddy. The lyrics are poignant and the arrangement is nothing short of spectacular.

Wah-Wah – This song is so addicting and I find myself singing and screaming out-“And I’m thinking of you…all the things that we used to do…Wah Wah…Wah Wah…” Again I go back to the “Concert for George” DVD and to see Billy Preston up there having so much fun with the song is a sight to behold and when the camera cuts to George’s son-Dhani- you do a double take for a quick second and say-“was that George?” He looks so much like his Dad it is uncanny. The way the entire band jams to this song is everything I love about music-I love when many artists get up on stage and jam away to a song and is there a better song to jam away to than this one? It seems to go forever-it has percussion, guitars, piano’s, trumpet’s and saxophones and who knows what else-all I know is that this is a great jam song. You see, George was at the forefront of many things-the list is endless. Awesome tune.

I Dig Love – This sounds like something that should have been on “Let It Be” or “The White Album.” The song sounds very simplistic but the groove hooks you in as that slow blues vibe will have you “air-pianoing” in no time as I am assuming it is Billy Preston on keyboards. “I dig love in the morning…I dig love in the evening…”-this is a finger snapping tune that gets the best results when you have a great set of headphones on and you squeeze them into your ears as hard as you can. Have fun!!

My Sweet Lord – Even though I have heard this song a zillion times I do not reach to turn the dial when I hear it on the radio or on my I-Pod shuffle-as a matter of fact I do go to the dial-to turn up the volume. There is something so soothing about this song-the lyrics and of course the melody-(I won’t go down the path of The Chiffons, I will just concentrate on the beauty of this song) is something that we can all behold for the rest of our lives. The acoustic guitar beginning is so recognizable that I would venture to say that 70% of the population would know this song. My wife absolutely loves this song and when we watch the “Concert for George” we always have to watch Preston’s performance of this national treasure. This is a stunner.

Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll) – In my opinion, this song captures the essence of George Harrison- it has the beauty, the stellar arrangement, the fantastic vocals and the feel that he could make it on his own (was there any doubt?). There are some songs on this album that sound like they could have been made with The Beatles but not this one. To me, this is his “break-away” from the Fab Four which started a long prosperous solo career. As I listen to this song again and again I realize that songs like this one are probably the reason why my allegiance (for lack of a better word) kind of switched over to George from John. This song alone is worth the price of the entire album.

Isn’t It A Pity – Listen to the lyrics and tell me this man wasn’t one of the best song writers there ever was. As I ride the Metro North train into the city I look out to the snow covered suburban streets as the sun is blaring where I can’t see a thing with this song playing in my ears, I’m thinking to myself-“Does it get any better?” (You see what the simple things in life do to me?). This is another song that makes me wish there were no conflicts in the world, especially this war which has gone on way too long. I recently saw an Oprah show that highlighted the men and women who have sacrificed their lives, who come back home with serious physical (and mental) handicaps. We can not forget the 1% that are fighting (and have fought) for the rest of us. With tears in my eyes as I watched a mother pour her heart out about losing her son, a wife and mother of two who has become her husband’s 24 hour care taker after he was severely injured from a car bomb. These and so many other stories always have me saying-“Isn’t it a Pity?” Thanks George for writing this song and may God bless all those families affected.

I Live For You – George had this way of making you drift off when you listen to his songs, especially this one with that guitar lick that echoes after he says-“I live for you.” I dedicate this song to my wife and children because I really do live for them. What more can I say after that? Ok you need to own this song and album.

Beware of Darkness – I’m starting to become speechless, sometimes all I need to do is just listen and not say a thing-which is what I have done a few times as I have rewound this tune about three times and then realized that I had not written anything down about this polarizing, powerful song. I am trying to think if I have heard a more beautiful song than this one and right now I can’t come up with anything. “Watch out now…take care…beware of falling singers…falling all around you…” This song is so good it brings a tear to my eye-another perfect masterpiece.

Songs That You Are Scared To Admit You Like

I decided to switch it up this week, I did do this back in January, so this is a continuation.

Seasons in the SunTerry Jacks – “Goodbye to you my trusted friend…we’ve known each other since we were nine or ten…” I know it is a sappy song but you know what? I can never get the chorus out my head-“we had joy, we had fun…we had seasons in the sun…” I love the dramatic guitar riff-“doo doo doo doom”-this is bubblegum “AM” radio but I love it. You know you sway your head side to side while you sing the chorus. C’mon admit it-you like this song.

You Light Up My LifeDebby Boone – “So many nights…I’d sit by my window”- boy does this song bring me back to the 1970’s or what? C’mon you all know (if you were of age) that everyone was singing this song when it came out. It was the number one song for so many weeks, it was on every radio station across America. This could be the most popular “one hit wonder” ever, no? Everyone from grandma down to the grandkids love this song, so why are you afraid to admit that you like it? If you were born after 1979, you probably don’t know this song but I find that hard to believe.

The Night Chicago DiedPaper Lace – Man there were some real cheesy songs made during the 1970’s, right? But who doesn’t like cheese? Love the consistent drum beat and then the “sirens” that ring down. It’s funny I hadn’t heard this song in a really long time but just like riding a bike, I knew every word and sung it with the same fervor that I used to do when I was kid. C’mon don’t you love the “clock upon the wall”-tick tock, tick tock-“then the door burst open wide…and my daddy stepped inside…and he kissed my momma’s face and he brushed her tears away…” The power of cheese!!!

Billy, Don’t Be a HeroBo Donaldson & The Heywoods– I know what you are thinking-there is no way that anyone should admit that they like this song but I will. The reason is because the song brings me back to my childhood days when I used to “summer” in Otisville NY. These type of songs were all over WABC AM radio during the 1970’s and they were played endlessly, how could I not like it? “I heard his fiancé got a letter…that told how Billy dies that day…the letter said that he was a hero…she should be proud he died that way…I heard she threw the letter awaaaayyy…” Again “the power of cheese!!”

Sky HighJigsaw– Man I am pulling out all the stops on this list, huh? I know you are laughing (or just breezing by this section of the page). As a kid this was one of my all time favorite songs. I love the dramatic beginning-sounds like a 1970’s TV cop show- and the chorus-“…by telling me a lie…without a reason why…you’ve blown it all sky high.” This is a fun sing along song that will have you singing the chorus all day long.

Me and You and a Dog Named BooLobo – I don’t about you but I love these songs from the 1970’s-different from any other decade in the history of music in my opinion. This song is very “soothing” and so easy to sing along to and you will be “acoustic air guitaring” in no time. “Me and You and Dog Named Boo…traveling in and living off the land…” Ahh takes me back.

Shiny Happy PeopleR.E.M. – I can remember when we were all over-worked and things were going crazy I always would make the comment that we should all sing-“Shiny happy people holding hands…” Every time I am on the #4 or #5 train and it takes an unbelievable 40 minutes to get from lower Manhattan to Grand Central (when it should take 12 minutes) as the #6 train (the local) breezes by us as the conductor tells us there is train traffic ahead. Really? I waited like 8 minutes for the train to pull into the station, am squished like a sardine and there are trains ahead of us? News to me…anyway whenever I get into that zone-I just start to sing this song and I immediately start to laugh…I’m not supposed to like this song.

Private IdahoThe B-52’s– I remember buying “Wild Planet” when it first came out and not telling anyone. But at that time, the B-52’s were the new psychedelic new wave band along with the Talking Heads and I was intrigued by their sound. Believe me when you listen to it now it’s different, I don’t know why. It was cool back then, anyway, I love the groove in this song. They have the same “zany-ness” they had in their debut album and it’s “new wave” head-banging at its best.

Top Ten

Image of Frankie Valli & Four Seasons

Last weekend my lovely bride and I celebrated our 20th anniversary together in New York City. I know what you are thinking- you travel every weekday to New York City why would you go to NY? Do you know how great it was to finally be able to be a tourist? I finally put my feet into the shoes of an out-of-towner and roamed New York instead of making a bee line for the building I work in or frantically trying to catch the Metro North train that does not care if the NYC subway is the worst train line in the nation (well I should specifically state that the #4 and #5 lines are the worst train lines in the nation ) and will not wait for the subway to pull into Grand Central-they also have to maintain their 98% on time level (giving themselves an extra 8 minutes for “on-time”). Anyway, one of the highlights of our weekend was going to see the Broadway play-“The Jersey Boys”- which depicts the “life-story” of The Four Seasons or later on known as Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons (never understood that band name because I think of five guys, not four-Oh well). Based on recommendations from Dave & Kathy and also a good friend of mine-The Manster- we trekked over to the August Wilson Theater at 245 West 52nd street to witness one of the best plays that I have ever seen (not that I am a frequent visitor to the Theater district). Folks, if you have not seen this play you need to immediately make plans to purchase tickets-this play as Bob Gaudio states that one of his friends saw the play and said-“this could be bigger than the band itself.” My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the show and we were very young of course when this quartet was at the height of their career but you have to remember that I was brought up in a household where making music on the street corner under a street lamp with just your vocals was the only form of music in my dad’s eyes and ears-so Frankie and the Boys were always played in my household as they fit the mold of a genre of music that seems to be making its way back. (Bruno Mars with his doo-wop thing and we actually saw five guys on the corner of 51st and Broadway after the show ended who were singing a capella as a crowd formed around them). And who doesn’t know their songs? They created some of the best American songs ever and are so enjoyable that everyone from Grandma on down to the great grandchild can sing along to their songs.

What I found so interesting about the play is the life that these guys went through to get to the top. Again I am too young and did not know that Bob Gaudio was the fourth guy added to the band (a suggestion by Joe Pesci-yes that Joe Pesci) and it was his song writing ability that lifted them off the ground-of course Frankie lead vocals had everything to do with their success but I did not know about Gaudio’s contributions. I did not know that the band was in debt for $150,000 to loan sharks after one of the members-Tommy DeVito-apparently like to gamble and it took them many years to pay that back. And in one of the most touching moments of the play I never knew that Frankie Valli lost his daughter to drug abuse at the very young age of 22. I did not know that Nick Massi left the band in 1965 and the reason cited in the play was that “when you’re Ringo-it’s time to go home.” The one part of the play that I did know was their 1990 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and deservedly so as they could be one of the most popular American bands ever in the history of music.

Recently I found out that my sister-in-law’s father was really into The Four Season’s and when we spent New Year’s Eve together I made sure that I had many songs by Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons for my I-Pod playlist. Folks I know I was just a baby, literally, when Nick Massi left in 1965 but by that time the four of them had so many huge hits and like I said, they remained in my life almost every day growing up because between my Dad and WCBS-FM (the “oldies” station) there probably was not a day (or at least a week) that went by where I didn’t hear a song by these guys. Ever since the play, I have been on a kick with The Four Seasons and decided to do this week’s “top ten” list by “The Jersey Boys.” I am on an island and have been informed that I can only have ten songs by The Four Seasons-“These Are Them:” (Frankie’s solo career is included as well)

10.     Beggin’-It’s funny you don’t realize just how many songs these guys have until you see the play and the version on Broadway of this song is top notch-the original obviously is not slouch. Now I know these guys started out singing on corners but the musicianship is what set them apart from the rest of the pack. Check out the bass guitar part in this song-it is a constant as well as the awesome piano playing (which is most likely a session player). The groove is fast paced finger snapping and hand clapping and if you listen carefully you can hear that “slash” part which could be classified as “early disco”-the bass playing is phenomenal. Frankie, as usual, is super solid on vocals.

9.     Save It For Me – Ok after the piano introduction, everybody at the same time-“Don’t let your love go astray-(save it for me)-don’t give your sweet kiss away-(save it for me)”-I love this song and it reminds me of my mom, Dad and Aunt Carol as they would always sit around and listen to music on the weekends and this song always seem to make the playlist. I can picture some couple using this song on “Dancin’ With the Stars” as it seems like a very formal type of dance song where you need to keep every move crisp and sharp. Frankie’s lead vocals are incredible and this song sounds like it was recorded last night and not in 1964.

8.     Opus 17 (Don’t You Worry About Me) – Listen to this record carefully and listen to how many times the song changes keys-folks this was recorded in 1966-really ahead of its time. The musicianship is spectacular as the piano and horn section really adds to the flavor of this tune-the saxophone solo is off the charts. The greatest thing about this band are the background vocals and if you just concentrate on them you will be amazed on what great singers all these guys are. Love the high pitch vocal style of everyone in this song-I never realized it but these guys could sing as high as the Bee Gees. “Baby…Baaaayyy…Beeeee”

7.     Dawn – The groove in this song is so infectious, it’s really unbelievable. “Hang on…hang on…Think!! Think!!!…think of what the future would be with a poor boy like meeeeeeeee…” The beginning starts off with that “doo wop” sound but again the thing that set this band apart (in my opinion) is the addition of the instrumentation which supplemented the incredible lead vocals of Frankie Valli. These guys were competing with the likes of The Beatles and The Beach Boys and going toe-to-toe with them as this early sound is reminiscent of the early Beatles. The competition produced some of the greatest songs ever recorded, no? This is one of them.

6.     Can’t Take My Eyes Off You– Talk about a song that stops me in my tracks? This has to rank up there as one of the best love songs ever written. “Pardon the way that I stare…There’s nothing else to compare…the sight of you leaves me weak…”-c’mon you know you wish you could have written that or sing it like Frankie-does anyone do it better? I think not. The next time you are at a party or wedding, walk up to the DJ and ask him or her to play this awesome song. Then take that special person in your life and lead them to the dance floor and sing in their ear-“I LOVE YOU BABY…and if it is quite alright…I need you baby…to warm a lonely night…” I love the drumming in this song and it has the obligatory hand claps (along with the tambourine), so you know this has to be great right? It’s sung with such a passion-has to be considered one of the greatest recording ever, no?

5.     Sherry – I don’t know what it is about this song but every time I tried to get it off my top ten list it just kept beating out the rest of the songs I had it up against and look where it lands? Yes I have probably heard this song more times than I want to remember but again there is a reason why it is played so much-because it is such a great sing along song. Now I can’t hit the high notes like Frankie can (who can?) and my two boys are telling me to keep it quiet as I try to hit that –“Sheerrr- errr-rrriiiieeeee”-they claim that all the local dogs showed up on the front porch demanding that I stop singing as their ears were bleeding. Nice, huh?

4.     Let’s Hang On – “There ain’t no good in our good-byein’…True love takes a lot of tryin’…Oh I’m cryin’…” Now the great thing about the play is that you can see the people there drifting off to another stratosphere as they step back to that place and time where they were when this song came out. It brings back memories of an easier time with music being their release. I have been preaching that for the whole time I have been writing this page- music is a release and also a connection. Folks there is nothing better to me than seeing lots of people having a great time because of music and it’s not just this song during the play-it is every one of them-they bring you to a better place and that is what it’s always been with Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons-it’s all about the music. The music that is in them that they want to share with all of us and all I can say is “Thanks.” This is one of the best song’s ever recorded, I’m sorry.

3.     Bye Bye Baby (Baby Goodbye) – I don’t know why but this song reminds me of the Beach Boys-maybe because of the great background vocals that really standout in this track. I can listen to this song all day long and could picture someone trying to sing this on American Idol as the crowd will do that certain sway of the arms back and forth in the air. This could be their greatest vocal performance ever-the background vocals are so stunningly good and when Frankie leads in with “You’re the one girl in town I’d marry…girl I’d marry you now if I were freeeeeeee” I have to rewind it to hear it all over again because the song is too short in my mind so if I start it over like three or four times, then it turns into a four-to-five minute song instead of the 2.5 minute song it is. The Bay City Rollers actually did a cover of this song but nothing like this-it should have been rendered a crime to try and cover this tune.

2.     Walk Like a Man –It’s funny I always wondered why they wrote this song? And in the play I learned the reason-I won’t give it away-but all I have to say that it makes sense now. Tommy’s initial reaction was the same one I had (and probably thousands more) and it was funny to see how it played out up on the stage. My son’s are really tired of me trying to sing all these Frankie Valli songs and have now closed the door on me. You know how I focus on certain parts of songs, right? Well in this song it is the background vocals of “Ooh Wa” and “Ooh Wa Ooh Wa Ooh”-I love that part I can’t get enough of it. This is such a great song to sing and dance to and you could see that the cast of The Jersey Boys were really having fun with this song. Friggin’ phenomenal song.

1.     Big Man In Town – I wish I could have been in the recording studio when they performed this one because without a doubt I think this is Frankie’s best vocal performance-not so much the high pitched parts- but the versus in between the chorus. “Each day as I grow older…the nights are getting colder…some day the sun will shine on me…” Now this song wasn’t one of their biggest hits but you know that doesn’t mean anything to me-if I feel it-then I love it and I feel this song. I was really glad that this song was featured in “The Jersey Boys” and again when you hear this up on the big stage-the sound is so large and I know it’s not the original but who knows maybe Frankie Valli is still singing this on his tour which has stops all over the Tri-state area. I now know my next concert. Thanks to the “Jersey Boys” for their monstrous contribution to the world of music, there would be a huge void in the lives of so many if they never made it as big as they did. We now all have a chance to relive it- Go see “The Jersey Boys” on Broadway-you won’t be disappointed.

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Don Henley

2.     Natalie Maines – The Dixie Chicks

3.     Deep Purple

4.     Damn Yankees

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     I am mostly known for a song that has the word “devil” in it but I have so many other songs and albums and am revered in the Country music genre by plenty of young artists and bands that say that my music was an inspiration for them getting into the music business. I am still playing my fiddle and touring with my band. Who am I?

2.     Most people believed that our band was just going to be a one-hit wonder but we knew better as we have faith in each other and love making music. We are no longer known as a one hit wonder band and have a 2011 grammy to prove this point. Who are we?

3.     Our band is still around after starting out in the 1970’s; we are from Long Island and had a few songs on the radio during the late 1970’s and we cover the “Mighty Led Zeppelin” like no other. So can you give us one more chance and tell me what you want? Who are we?

4.     I had a huge one hit wonder in the rap genre back in the early 1990’s and used to appear on the Howard Stern show all the time and would mix up the words to this song to sing about Howard and his gang. After the song’s popularity ran its course, I was never really heard from again. Who am I?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     Fortunate Son – Creedence Clearwater Revival

2.     Drops of Jupiter – Train

3.     Everything About You – Ugly Kid Joe

4.     I’m Not In Love – 10cc

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

1.     “…he can make you love…he can make you cry…he will bring you down and he’ll get you high…something keeps him going…miles and miles a day…”

2.     “…hey girl what cha doing down there…dancing alone every night while I live right above you…I can hear your music playing…”

3.     “…see the stone set in your eyes…see the thorn twist in your side…I’ll wait for you…”

4.     “…when I was a child I had a fever…my hands felt just like two balloons…now I’ve got that feeling once again …”

Back on this Day

Sadly back on this day in 1993, Toy Caldwell, guitarist for the Marshall Tucker Band, passed away at the very young age of 45 from heart disease.

Back on this day in 1981, Rush received their first platinum album-“2112”- as it was certified by the RIAA as it reached one million copies sold. It has since sold over three million copies in the U.S. alone

Back on this day in 1984, Van Halen reached the top of the billboard charts for their first and only time as “Jump” hit the number one spot and stayed there for four weeks.

Back on this day in 1985, U2 kicked off its first arena tour ever in the U.S. by opening at the Reunion Arena in Dallas TX in support of their “Unforgettable Fire” album.

Back on this day in 2003, Gary Rossington had to have emergency heart surgery after going in for a routine check-up as the doctors discovered severe coronary heart disease. He is still making albums and touring with Lynyrd Skynyrd.

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with the late great legendary one and only Mr. George Harrison.

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February 18, 2011

Weekly Update – 02/18/2011

Bon Jovi at the Mohegan Sun on Sat. May 7. Tickets on sale now and you are never going to believe how much the tickets are: $151.25 and get this…are you ready…. $524.70 (love the 70 cents added). FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS TO SEE BON JOVI???!!!! (Or anyone else for that matter) DO THEY REALIZE THERE IS A RECESSION?? I HAVE NOW SEEN IT ALL. (I guess he needs more money to buy into the Atlanta Falcon franchise and figures he’ll get it out of the state of CT, would love to see if he would charge that much in his home state at the Prudential or new Meadowlands stadium). If they sell even one ticket for $500, I will need immediate medical attention.

TV on the Radio at Radio City Music Hall on Wed. Apr. 13. Tickets on sale this morning at 11:00 a.m. $40.50. If you are an early riser you can grab pre-sale tickets until 9:00 a.m. and the passcode is: HELIGHT.

Queens of the Stone Age at Terminal 5 on Fri. Mar. 25. Tickets on sale today at noon. $40 ($45 day of show).

PJ Harvey at Terminal 5 on Tues. Apr. 19. Tickets on sale today at noon. $40 ($45 day of show).

David Crosby and Graham Nash at the Town Hall on Sat. May 14. Tickets on sale today at 10:00 a.m. $59.50 and $99.50 (before TM rips you off the website was a pain so the info was limited. I guesses on the time this morning)

Glee at the Izod Center on Thurs. & Fri. June 16 & 17. Pre-sale tickets on sale until 10:00 p.m. tonight if you have an American Express card. General public on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $64.85 and $105.85

Keith Urban at the Prudential Center on Thurs. July 14. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $37.65 and $91.80

Chelsea Handler at the Beacon Theater on Sat. May 21. Tickets on sale at 10:00 a.m. $101.50 and $111.75

Other items:

Tonight on FUSE TV you can see Linkin Park live from Madison Square Garden beginning at 9:30 p.m. That is pretty cool. This band is great live.

Say It Ain’t True: Mike Starr, former bassist for Alice In Chains and who was recently on that “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew”, was supposedly arrested yesterday morning in Utah for possession of a controlled substance. Man, I don’t know what to say except that I hope that he can get clean.

I am not a big fan of watching the Grammy’s or should I say I don’t make it a point that I have to watch it but I did catch some of it last Sunday and have to say that I was pleasantly surprised on how well run the show was and how good the performances were by the various artists. Lady GaGa was not as outrageous as I expected but believe me I had my expectations in overdrive. But I will say that her new song-“Born This Way”- sounds a lot like “Express Yourself” by Madonna which I thought she asked to use but apparently that is not the case. Hey if Georgia Harrison can lose to The Chiffons for taking parts of “So Fine” and supposedly using it on “My Sweet Lord” then Miss GaGa may be in for a fight. (By the way did you catch her interview on “60 Minutes” before the show? Would you or I be in trouble if we admitted to a national audience-filled with law enforcement-that we still smoke an illegal drug?). I thought the tribute to the Queen of Soul was excellent and done with much class. I thought the best performance of the night went to Muse-wow-I was blown away on the sound that was coming out of the three-some and the stage show was phenomenal. My younger son has been singing their praises for some time now and after that performance, they now have my attention. That whole Doo-Wop thing with Bruno Mars was totally awesome. I don’t get Bieber but I’m assuming I’m way too old to get it. By the way, did you hear the band Train thanking “Howard Stern” right before they walked off. Howard had these guys on way before they hit it big and they recognized that-nice job.

Rolling Stone Magazine recently put out a poll and asked people who their favorite rock star was that had passed away. Topping the list was John Lennon, then Hendrix, Cobain, Morrison, Presley, Mercury, Joplin, Harrison, Bonham and Moon. Kind of a weird top ten list but also kind of interesting to view.

Congratulations to Rod Stewart and Penny Lancaster who had their second child together earlier this week. That makes it eight children for Stewart, who is 66 years old. I’m almost 46 and I wouldn’t want to start all over, never mind 66.

Soundgarden has confirmed that they will make a new album together and supposedly have been writing and jamming away. They will record “very soon” according to the web site so maybe we will have a new album later this year? Honestly at this point, I will have to see the final product to believe. I am headed to see Cornell on his acoustic solo tour though just in case things don’t work out.

I have to say that I am really liking the new American Idol this season-I didn’t think I was going to like it without Simon on it but it is like he was never there, I have almost completely forgotten about him and you have to hand it to the producers for making the choices they did. Jennifer Lopez is very good and has that same “nurturing” personality that Paula exhibits and Steven Tyler is really good. Both him and Jennifer have taken this gig very seriously and it shows.

Bon Scott fans: Be on the lookout as on Feb. 22 there will be a release of-“Round and Round: The Forgotten Tales”- which will feature 11 songs from Bon before his days spent with AC/DC. He spent ten years prior to AC/DC with various bands and this new album highlights some of those songs. Should be very interesting.

Rev Theory just released their newest album-“Justice”- this past Tuesday and not for nothing I think I am going to pick this up. I really like the sound of “The Fire.” This is what I expected Puddle of Mudd to graduate to. “Say Goodbye” also sounds good. Check it out.

The Drive By Truckers released yet another album-“Go-Go Boots”- whew this band just puts out music, no? I really like the song-“Everybody Needs Love”-and I believe you will as well. Great song. Check it out.

Nuggets

Who Are You

The year is 1978 and I am only 13 years old and the first album that I ever bought by the band called The Who was “Who Are You.” Now of course I had heard their earlier songs on the radio (and have since gone back and now have “Tommy,” “Who’s Next,” etc.) but “Who Are You” was my first real introduction to this legendary band. Unfortunately it was the last studio album with Mr. Keith Moon on drums, he was great wasn’t he? (I think the Muppets had to base their “Animal” drummer character on him, don’t you think?). Now after all these years I still say that this album is very different from all the others that they have ever recorded. There are glimpses of pure perfection and then I have to be honest, there are songs on here that I always wondered how they made it on to the record. (Please no offense meant to the band or their fans). I think I have stated in the past that I tried to do a perfect album side review but there is at least one song on each side that kill the vibe-again in my opinion-so with that fact I have never done a complete album review, hence this album brings me to the “Nuggets” section of this page. Now I know there are fans of this album out there who say it is a classic and I will not argue against that fact because there are more “great” songs than there are “poor” songs. Believe it or not you will not see the title track of this album be put down below and I think that is because I have heard this song way too many times in my lifetime- granted I know that this is the most popular song on the album (and arguably one of their most popular songs ever)-but again you won’t see it below. (just assume it’s a given-I’ll put it down in my mind but won’t write about it, sorry). Anyway, here is a list of the golden nuggets from “Who Are You” in no particular order: (By the way you should buy the whole album).

905 – In my opinion, this is the best song on the album and is so different from anything that the Who has ever done. I love the keyboard that starts off the song sounds like something that should have been on the “Mork & Mindy” show and for some reason I feel like saying “Nanu Nanu.” The groove is a steady head banging psychedelic tune that highlights Pete’s amazing vocal performance. I like when the bridge comes in and Pete sings- “ I had a feeling deep inside that something is missing…it’s a feeling in my soul…”-and the musicianship that follows is super solid. Again, this is unlike any Who song that I can think of.

Trick of the Light – This is that classic Who sound that we all came to love as Moon is all over the place with his excellent drumming skills and Mr. Daltrey sings the story well. With a great set of headphones the guitar part will have you shaking your head up and down and all around in a nice slow pace. “Was I alright?…was I al-reye-it?” The background vocals from Pete are spot on and very addictive. There are lots of keyboards/synthesizers all over this album (that was “in” at the time the album was released) and almost dominant at points in this song. If you follow along Pete’s guitar playing is excellent, especially towards the end of the song. “Was I alright?”- I’d say so- a most excellent song.

Sister Disco – The main thing that sticks out in my mind every time I hear this song is how good a bass player that John Entwistle was, his pulsating bass thumps are prominent throughout the song. (follow him throughout the song and you’ll hear how talented the man was). Now in 1979, this was the coolest song to me because the chorus says-“Goodbye Sister Disco”- and remember I was the “rocker” back then full force and had no room for disco. I wouldn’t have gone as far as the Chicago White Sox did when they held a “break a disco album” day but I was in that category of not liking disco. (even though I listened to the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack every time I went my Aunt & Uncle’s house in Staten Island-hey there is still a lot of Brooklyn in me). Admittedly I am not so crazy about the part where Pete breaks in and does his “opera-etic”- “Goodbye…goodbye sister disco…now I go…”-part but it’s not that bad.

New Song – This was the song that made me buy the album. I remember it used to get a lot of air-time on the WNEW-FM 102.7 radio station when they had the likes of Pat St. John (now on WCBS FM), Carol Miller (now on Q104) and Richard Neer (now a sports talk analyst on “The Fan”). The blazing guitar introduction is what caught my immediate interest as well as Roger’s vocals. I love the lyrics-“I write the same old songs with a few new lines…and everyone wants to cheer it…”-interesting isn’t it? Not saying too much about us fans but you know what? He is right. Most of the general public wants the same formula and don’t you dare veer off the track (ask the “Coke” family about that one). The Who have a flair for the dramatic and the song slows down where it sounds like there are crickets in the background but as Roger begins to sing-“Let it rain…let it rain… let it raaaiiiiinnnn…ahhhhhhhh”- you know the huge production is coming as Pete cuts the song like a knife with his guitar riff that is short and simple but gets the job done. Great song!!!

Had Enough – Roger Daltrey is the key to this song as his vocals are stupendous and again Entwistle’s bass playing is incredible-listen carefully to his powerful bass lines throughout the song. Keith’s drumming adds the spice to this song as the sweeps and rolls up and down are just so good it makes me want to take drumming lessons right now. Love when Roger sings-“if you slap one cheek well I ain’t gonna turn the other”- and when Pete provides the well rounded background vocals as he sings along to the keyboards, it adds to the “sweetness” (think Walter Payton sweetness) of the tune and then Roger’s raspy voice takes it from there and exclaims-“here comes the end…the end of the world.” This is another song that I believe is so different from what they did in the early 1970’s and I for one, really like it. Perfect composition.

Artists You Are Scared To Admit You Like

Image of John Denver

Recently I have been on a kick of watching re-runs of “The Walton’s” (I found it channel surfing and it’s on “The Inspiration” station at 8:00 p.m. EST) which I consider to be one of the best, if not the best, TV shows in American history. There is something so righteous about the show, it bleeds with honesty, goodness, tradition and a real sense of family-which leads me to Mr. John Denver-an artist you are probably scared to admit you like but I am not because whenever I hear songs by him I get that same warm feeling because his music is very righteous. His music was everywhere in the 1970’s and was a big part of my childhood. I don’t know about you but whenever I hear his songs it brings me back to a simpler time- a time with no cell phones as I struggle everyday to avoid the person around me on the train just talking the whole one hour trip (like no one else is around); a time when people actually talked to each other face to face (instead of texting or tweeting), a place where people paid attention to where they were going instead of trying to multi-task while they are walking (can we put down the blackberry phones for one day? Or how about one minute?). His songs put me at peace and are very calming-better than chameleon tea. His death was tragic and a huge loss for his family & friends as well as his legion of fans. I can’t imagine a world without John Denver songs and here are some of my favorites:

Thank God I’m a Country Boy”- Wow how much do I love this song? This song will forever remind me of my mother as I can picture her clapping her hands together along with the audience who John was performing this song for. How great is the fiddle playing? My wife and kids roll their eyes whenever I blast this around the house. I clap, slap my knees and look for a large kettle (I don’t know why but I do) when this song is being played. I could be a country boy because I do just like the song says (for those who know me)-“early to rise…early in the sack…” and my lifelong dream has to work on a farm-maybe that is why I also love this song so much because in my mind, I identify with it-even though I grew up in Brooklyn N.Y.-go figure? I can listen to this song all day long.

Sunshine on My Shoulders” – I think this song cracks my top 100 songs of all time. It is one of the most beautiful songs ever recorded, it stops me right in my tracks and I have to sit and let the music take me away. “If I had a day that I could give you…I’d give you a day just like today…” I love the way he holds the notes on “shoulders” and “cry”-c’mon is that not mesmerizing? The arrangement is spectacular as the musicianship is subtle but so good. I would say that this has to be one of the best songs recorded in the 1970’s. Love this song.

Take Me Home Country Roads” – Another great sing along song that can be sung by everyone in the family-yes even John Boy and the rest of the Walton family. I can picture both Grandma Walton and Grandpa Walton singing along to this wonderful song.“Country roads…take me home…to the place… I beloooong…West Virginia…mountain mama…take me home…country roads…” This song is so pure, like the winter’s first snow fall. C’mon folks you know this is a classic tune and there would be a void in our lives if we didn’t have this song. Pure perfection.

Annie’s Song”- C’mon, all together now- “You fill up my senses like a night in the forest…like the mountains in spring time…like a walk in the rain…” You forget how much you miss songs like this once you hear it again and I am determined to make sure that it remains part of my rotation (somehow I have to figure out how to fix my I-Pod shuffle so that this song comes up at least once a month) for the rest of my life. This could be John’s best vocal performance ever- love the way he extends the words throughout the song. If you listen carefully there’s even humming going on with the background vocals-find me another song that does that? Spectacular song.

Rocky Mountain High” – I don’t know about you but when I hear this song it makes me feel like an American Eagle that is flying high above the Grand Canyon- (hey I know it is the Colorado mountains but I’m letting you know what it does to me) with the wind beneath my wings (hey another song) on a beautiful sunny day in the spring time with a brisk wind and I just fly around in long circles with my headphones on listening to this great song. Boy do I remember this song being played on WABC radio during my summers in Otisville NY and again I am taken back to my childhood with those great summers spent with my grandmother and uncle. Mr. Denver had a knack for holding his notes really long and this song is no exception. I would love to sing this song around a campfire, hey we’ll invite the Waltons.

Back Home Again” – This definitely sounds like a song that Willie Nelson has either written or performed as John does his best impersonation of Willie. This is so “country” and I love it. You know my mom and Dad were “Donny & Marie” before the Osmond duo because my dad was “a little (a lot) bit rock and roll” and my mother was “a little (a lot) bit country” and I will always be grateful for my mother introducing me to this genre. Now granted I am not the biggest country fan but I do love many songs and artists and this song epitomizes the country genre in my opinion. I feel like sitting on a huge rock with a blade of grass sticking out of my mouth when I listen to this song. “They don’t make songs like this anymore.”- so true.

Top Ten

Image of Elton John

Maybe it is because he is featured on the latest issue of Rolling Stone magazine or maybe it is because in less than a month for the first time ever our entire family unit (yes my wife and two boys) will all be attending his “Hits” tour that lands at Madison Square Garden but I felt like this week’s Top Ten list should be associated with Sir Elton John. Now the focus here will be just like his upcoming tour-“Hits”- as I do not profess to know this man’s entire library as it is so extensive; but he is always around us-think about it. There is probably not a day in our lives that we don’t hear a song by this living legend. I’d say he is like water- you don’t really focus on it because luckily for us it is always around us. You take it for granted but then when you think about how important it is in your life, you realize just how special it is. Yes, in my opinion Elton John’s music is the same thing, you get so used to hearing it all the time that you just take it for granted but when you sit down and really think about just how many songs he has written (along with his buddy Bernie Taupin), you realize that he has been a part of your life-in some way shape of form- for the past five decades, including the current one we are in now. Just like water, right?

There was a point in my life, when I was around 15-17 years old, and my friend Cathy would always play his song-“Funeral for a Friend”- over and over. We’d play backgammon while her tape player was stuck on “Groundhog Day” because if we heard that song once, we heard it a million times. She knew every word and sung it with such fervor. Another “Elton” moment for me was after John Lennon was killed and Elton recorded a moving tribute for him-“Empty Garden (Hey, Hey Johnny)-to this day I get chills down the back of my spine as you can feel the pain in Elton’s voice. “And I’ve been knocking…but no one answers…and I’ve been callin’ oh hey, hey Johnny…can’t you come out to play?”-heart crushing lyrics-but I digress.

Let me head back to the “hits” as some of you may not know “Empty Garden” (I’m not sure why not but hey…) or “Funeral for a Friend.” Now admittedly he probably “farmed his best in younger years” with some of the most recognizable songs ever recorded but there is a lot to be said for the “roots that grew stronger” which resulted in songs that were just as special as the younger years. If you are old enough you know how much of his songs were played on the radio during the 1970’s…then again in the 1980’s…then the 1990’s. He has recorded songs with so many artists that the list is probably beyond comprehension, including with one of my favorite bands-Collective Soul-and created one of my all time favorite Collective Soul songs-“Perfect Day.” He has resurrected the career of his idol and mentor-Leon Russell. Again the list goes on and on.

So I am on an island and have been informed that I can only have ten “hit” songs from the unbelievably talented living legend, Sir Elton John. “These Are Them:”

10.     Candle in the Wind– Elton has this way of playing the piano that tells a story even before he starts to sing and even though the beginning of this song has a short piano part, you know that it is going to touch your heart. Then once he breaks in with “Goodbye Norma Jean” you are fully entranced listening to his every word as he describes his reflections on the never ending legend of Marilyn Monroe. The song is melancholy and makes you think of loved ones in your life that have passed on, I know it definitely makes me think of my mother. I believe the re-recorded version for Princess Diana after she was killed is the biggest selling single besides “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby (if I am not mistaken). Unbelievable song.

9.     Tiny Dancer – The first two songs on this list had a lot of competition and every time I thought it was going to be another song here at these spots, these two kept winning out. There is something about this song that keeps me coming back. I say it is like a chicken pot pie on a cold winter’s day-“comfort food”- yes that is what this song is like-comfort food for your soul. It is a long and telling story but just like a book that you can’t put down, you want more and then you scream out-“hold me closer tiny dance-sirs…count the headlights on the highway…” His piano playing is flawless as is the arrangement of this song.

8.     Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Me – I can picture the entire Madison Square Garden crowd putting their arms around the person sitting next to them and forming one giant football huddle and everyone will do their best karaoke imitation of Elton as I know he will not even have to sing the song because the audience will take over-“Don’t let the sun go down on me…although I search myself…it’s always someone else I see…to want be freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…” Such an unbelievable song and I can’t wait for the experience on March 16. “Ladies and Gentlemen…Mr. Elton John!!!!”

7.     Your Song – This song will forever remind me of Otisville N.Y. as I remember this song always being played on WABC radio (on your AM dial) when I spent my summers as a pre-teen with my grandmother, grandfather and uncle. And this will always remind me especially of my grandmother-I can picture her beautiful face while making those Norweigan pancakes for me every Sunday morning, holding my hand, along with my brother Rich’s hand, as she took us to those great “Penny Social’s” where everyone in the town knew her-that’s how special she was. Or I recall walking with her for at least 3.5 miles to her job, usually on the hottest summer days, because Pop was nowhere to be found. She always took care of us with such love and caring and like I said-this song will forever remind me of her. Rest in peace Ma.

6.     Rocket Man (I Think it’s Going to Be a Long, Long Time)– Talk about your “arena anthem?” Can you imagine the Garden when he starts to play this song. “She packed my bags last night…” Everyone will be out of their seats and again the huge huddle will start as people will think about where they were in their lives when this song was released-it will take me back again to Otisville NY where I would swim in the local “beach” there-not a real beach to the city folk-more like a body of water that doesn’t move surrounded by sand that was thrown over the underlying grass. I know I say this all the time but this could be one of the best sing along songs and thinking about it, he may have the most sing along songs that brings out so much passion. “Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids…” –that is an interesting line because people who really know me, they know that I have said that I would volunteer to take my family there. Anyway, back to this song-an incredible piece and song writing and arrangement, no?

5.     Goodbye Yellow Brick Road– “And the hits just keep coming” – to borrow a phrase that the WCBS FM radio utilizes for their format. Of course this song is played on this “oldies” station. It’s weird because I am now at a stage in my life where I have become the guy listening to the “oldies” station. I never thought that day would come, that was always for my father, right? But the funny thing is now my Dad does not listen to WCBS anymore because it is not “oldies” enough-you see they now play hits from the 1960’s through the 1990’s-and like I have said a million times before-he is still stuck in the 1950’s. I get crazy thinking about it, he was 26 years old when Woodstock occurred but…oh well I digress, back to the yellow brick road- this song will have you singing the chorus all day long- “Beyond the yellow brick ro-oh-oh-oad” Can you imagine how many dogs that live around Madison Square Garden will be hollowing as the 18,000 plus people there will be trying to singing “Ahhh Ahhh. Ahhhhhhh and ro-oh-oh-oh-oad?

4.     Someone Saved My Life Tonight – Wow what this song does to me. I automatically freeze and can’t move. I think of my childhood- P.S.169, then moving to Otisville NY, then less than a year we moved back to Brooklyn. Playing handball in Pershing Junior High school yard, living next door to Carl who thought I was the fastest kid he had ever seen as he would set up races with every one he knew and I would beat them until I met Slats, meeting the 48th street boys for the first time (Joe C., “Cribbs” “Paulie” “Flip”), playing football with the Outlaws at Dyker Park, playing tackle football in the snow with Jay Sellers on 48th and 7th Avenue, hanging out at Izzy’s, playing baseball with Slats on the Flynn Celtics and then being introduced to my “brothers” that are still a very important part of my life; working at Dan’s Supermarket with all my neighborhood friends (Scott, Kathy, Mary- I can remember spilling at least thirty gallons of milk down the aisle as the hand-truck I tried to use lifted but the middle crate of milk split out like a “pez dispenser” and a title wave of milk rolled down the aisle as the customers ran for cover and Pete was there at the end of the aisle to tell me that was coming out of my paycheck). Unloading the massive trucks that would deliver food to Dan’s Supermarket and having “can” fights with Pep; “loading up” the freezer downstairs; working with my uncle in a meat warehouse in downtown Brooklyn; one time my uncle and I were riding down 39th street in Brooklyn towards 5th avenue in a snowstorm and his car was sliding all over the place as I thought my life was going to be over as it would not stop and for sure I was convinced we were heading through two way traffic on 5th avenue. Looking over at my uncle from the front passenger seat I said-“John, what are we going to do? We are going to crash into all those cars going back and forth.” He didn’t answer so I figured OK I have to jump out-so I went to open the door to jump out and all of a sudden this long arm grabbed me and in one fell swoop he yanked me back into the seat and nailed the door shut, all in one motion. He managed to steer the car up on the sidewalk as we slid gently into one of those “old fire alarms” that used to be all over Brooklyn at many corners throughout the borough. You see someone did save my life but it wasn’t at night, it was like 5:30 in the morning. Thanks Uncle John!!!

3.     Levon – Ok I have to admit that the scene in “Almost Famous” is what really did it for me with this song. I never realized what a great sing along song it was until I saw that movie. As you can probably guess, that movie is something I can relate to very much, I wanted to be Mr. Crowe-I still do. I wish that I could write for a music publication and follow an up and coming band. (or any band for that matter). Can you imagine that for Cameron it was the Allman Brothers? Anyway I digress, back to this monumental song. Elton’s piano playing (as usual) is flawless (listen carefully to the background piano notes) and his vocals on this song could arguably be his best ever. The chorus is so addictive and you know you can’t stop singing this song once you hear the opening notes, no matter how many times you have heard this song, you don’t even think of turning the dial-it is that good. One of his best songs ever.

2.     Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting –This is one of the best rock and roll songs ever recorded in the history of rock and roll and I for one will take no arguments against this fact, that’s right-fact. From the opening drum beats and that awesome guitar lick I am instantly polarized and start to shadow box almost immediately. Of course this song was utilized so many times for our Boot Camp class at MBIA from 2002 – 2005 and I would run over to the stereo and hit the volume up to the max. There is nothing better when you are working up a sweat, start to get winded and then have this song come on to keep you going, to make you stronger and to give you that extra kick in the behind. Just listening to this song now I could picture the five to six of us at each one of the 12 stations set up within the gym room (everyone stayed at least two stations-in each direction-away from me because I sweat like I am getting sprayed with a water hose). C’mon how many times have you sung the part-“it’s 7:00 a clock and I wanna rock…wanna get a belly full of beer?” Has to be at a million times for me, what about you? Love this tune.

1.     Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters – Ok I know what you are thinking- is this a “hit?” And my response would be “Yes it is his best one ever!!!!” Folks, of all the songs that Elton has ever made (and there are many that I do not know) this is my most favorite ever (including the ones I don’t know). This is a complete masterpiece, this song should win a Grammy every year-yes that is right, every year- I don’t know maybe there can be a different category added each year to somehow recognize the greatness of this song. If he does play this song at the Garden when we go to see him, then I think at that point I would have to say that moment would probably be the “pinnacle” of my concert going career (which is pretty extensive). At that point, I don’t think there would be much left to see as I believe I have seen most every artist I wanted to but of course that won’t stop me from exploring new music (or old). If it does happen, I will look to the skies (yes through the Garden roof) and will see the sun beams from heaven and say hello to my mother. This is the best 5:00 minute song ever recorded

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Alice Cooper

2.     Bob Seger

3.     Adam Lambert

4.     Amy Winehouse

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     I usually say what I need to say and don’t really care what others might think. My lyrics usually drip with sarcasm. I am a drummer for one of the most popular bands ever in rock music but I do also have a very successful solo career. Until the very end, I will not go quietly, who am I?

2.     My band is on a hiatus and it is mainly due to me as my other band-mates just recently completed an album on their own under a new name. We fought a heavy public battle during the “W” years with President Bush at the helm and I was amazed at the viciousness I received from people who didn’t even know me. Who am I and what is the name of our band?

3.     Our band is still around as we enter our fifth decade of playing some of the best hard-rock ever created. The author of this page (hey I’m like Deion now talking about myself in the third party) thinks it is a travesty that we have not been selected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Our line-up has changed a lot over the years but the focus has always been the music and we also agree with the author- “What’s going on here?” Who are we?

4.     We formed a “hair-band” during the late 1980’s and it was one of the stranger line-up’s in hair-band history as we already had made it big with our own separate bands and were not some up and coming kids trying to hit the big time. No one was sure if we would hit it high enough but we lasted more than a few years? Who are we?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     Baby Come Back –Player

2.     Legs – ZZ Top

3.     I Dare YouShinedown

4.     Dangerous Type – The Cars

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

1.     “…some folks were born made to wave the flag…oohhh they’re red, white and blue…”

2.     “…tell me did you sail across the sun…did you make it to the milky way to see the light’s all fading…”

3.     “…I…hate the rain and sunny weather…and I…I hate the beach and mountains too…and I …”

4.     “…I’d like to see you…but then again…that doesn’t mean you mean that much to me…so if I call you…don’t make a fuss…”

Back on this Day

Back on this day in 1968, David Gilmore replaced the erratic Syd Barrett as the singer and guitarist for Pink Floyd.

Back on this day in 1973, the long running “King Biscuit Flower Hour” had its premier which featured Bruce Springsteen and Blood, Sweat & Tears.

Back on this day in 1974, Kiss released its debut album on Casablanca Records. (what a great day, huh??!!!) To this day, their concerts have at least 5 songs on their set list from this album.

Back on this day in 2003, Styx released its first album-“Cyclorama”- without one of its founding members-Dennis DeYoung (ironic for him that it was released on his birth date-wonder if that was done on purpose?) and featured guest appearances by Brian Wilson and John Waite.

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with Yoko Ono, Dennis DeYoung (formerly of Styx), Robbie Bachman, (BTO), and John Travolta (Grease).

February 11, 2011

Weekly Update – 02/11/2011

Bon Jovi at the Nassau Coliseum on Fri. May 6. Tickets on sale today at noon. $34, $64.75, $75 and $172.85

Elvis Costello & The Imposters at the Wellmont Theater on Wed. May 18 and the Beacon Theater on Sun. & Mon. May 22 & 23. Tickets on sale today at noon for Wellmont: $55, $95 and $125. Beacon: pre-sale on now for American Express cardholders until 10:00 p.m. next Thurs. Feb. 17. General public on sale next Fri. Feb. 18 at noon. $63.15, $73.35 and $106.10

 Glee at Nassau Coliseum on Sat. June 18. Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders begins this morning at 10:00 a.m. and goes until next Fri. Feb. 18 at 10:00 p.m. General public on sale next Sat. Feb. 19 at 10:00 a.m. $69.85 and $110.85

Taylor Swift (by overwhelming demand) has added two more shows at the Prudential Center-Sat. & Sun. July 23 & 24. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $37.95, $85.55 and $95.80.

Adele at Beacon Theater on Thurs. May 19. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $47.75 and $79.

LCD Soundsystem at Madison Square Garden on Sat. Apr. 2. Tickets on sale this morning at 11:00 a.m. $46.65 and $61.50. (Supposedly it is their last show ever)

Rise Against at Terminal 5 on Thurs. & Fri. May 5 & 6. Tickets on sale today at noon. $39.50 ($45 day of show).

Frankie Valli at NYCB Theater in Westbury NY on Sun. Apr. 3. Ticket on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $76.25 and $86.25.

Richard Nader’s Summer Doo Wop Reunion XXII at the Izod Center on Sat. June 11. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $39.35, $64.90 and $120.20

Keith Urban at Mohegan Sun on Sat. July 9. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $79.65 and $100.10

Rihanna at the Izod Center on Thurs. July 21. Pre-sale tickets begin today at noon and the password is: Access. General public on sale this Monday Feb. 14 at 10:00 a.m. $29.85 and $115.85. (wow no in between, nice trick).

Other items:

Thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Gary Moore, the legendary guitarist, who passed away at the very young age of 58 last weekend. Initial reports are that he passed away from a heart attack. I can’t say that I am too familiar with his work but from all the accolades that have pouring out, it appears that he was revered as a guitarist, particulary in the blues genre. Now he also had a stint with Thin Lizzy and played on their “Black Rose” albumwhich was released in 1979. My friend John, a huge fan of Thin Lizzy and “Black Rose” send me this clip of Gary with Lizzy performing “Military Man.” Take a look at this link below. Rest in peace Gary. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXoHc6HbEF4&feature=email

Ok I really have to get something off my chest and it is about the musical aspect of last Sunday’s Superbowl-can all the people who have been screaming and yelling at Christina Aguilera for messing up the “Star Spangle Banner” just calm down already. Can anyone in this Country make a mistake? The woman made a mistake; do you think she purposely forgot the lyrics? This was not a vile rendition of the song-not like when Roseann Barr grabbed her crotch where her vulgar actions boiled my blood-this was an honest mistake.

 [Soapbox begins]-This is what is wrong with this Country overall- we want perfection in every aspect of our lives and everyday we forget that we are all human and we are going to make mistakes. Christina followed through like the professional she is and if you weren’t paying attention, you would have never have know. You don’t think it is nerve racking to get up in front of 90,000 people with an additional 111 million more people watching your every move-yes I understand this is what she does-but you have never made a mistake on your job? If you say no-then you are not working. [Soapbox ends]

Now on to the Black Eyed Peas– it drives me insane that people still complain about the halftime show. Here you have one of the hottest bands-if not the hottest- in America taking the stage-finally a “hip” act. The last six years all we heard is that wheel chairs were needed to take out the “old” acts for the halftime show-complaints about The Who, Tom Petty, The Stones, etc. “Why do we need those “old” bands/artists?” Now personally I loved all the Superbowl halftime shows with all those classic bands but understand the need for something more contemporary. So the NFL signs up the Black Eyed Peas-let’s face it any “stronger” rap artists’ will not be considered because the NFL is never going to take a chance on having the artists’ curse on national television. Now I thought the Black Eyed Peas did a great job-c’mon being let down out of the sky on to the stage-with all those coolly dressed uniformed dancers surrounding the stage moving in unison to every beat was really a sight to behold. All I heard was complaints about the sound system and that Fergie was screaming (maybe she thought the sound system was failing so she tried to do a better job?) while she was performing. And the best complaint yet- they should have let Slash play more? What???!!! Slash was perfect for the allotted amount of time-this was not a Guns & Roses set-this was the Black Eyed Peas and besides Fergie, I don’t foresee a change in musical genres for the rest of the band any time soon, so how can you say the Slash should have been out there longer? It’s amazing to me that the complaints still flood the market but I guess in a world where “tweets” are now the standard, I have to get used to it. Doesn’t matter who is the half-time performers at next year’s Superbowl, the “nay-sayers” will be waiting to “tweet” their displeasure. I’m exhausted by all this technology, what about you?

My oldest son and I caught an episode of “That Metal Show” on VH1 Classic and the guest was Phil Anselmo-current lead singer for “Down” and more famously known for his work with “Pantera.” Folks, do you know how sometimes you’ll see rock stars interviewed and they seem so different from the music they play? Well let me tell you something-I was nervous watching this guy from my couch-never mind if I were Eddie, Jim and Don who were right there sitting next to him in the studio. This man was the most intense person I think I have ever seen and it makes perfect sense that his genre is “metal.” He was brutally honest and “no holes barred” and my son even quipped that he wouldn’t want to get him upset. Then I thought Eddie Trunk was in trouble when he dared to say that Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth from the band “Overkill” was the best frontman in thrash-metal history. My jaw hit the floor as you had to see Phil’s reaction-it was hysterical. That dude is intense, whew.

Peter Frampton will perform “Frampton Comes Alive” in its entirety when he tours this summer as it is the 35th anniversary of when the landmark album was released. Somehow I wish he could bring out the living members of Humble Pie and do some more of those songs as well.

Yes will embark on a “Rite of Spring Tour” with very intimate venues and supposedly will be performing their biggest hits. I will keep you posted.

My favorite “old school” song of the week is “Quando, Quando, Quando” by Engelbert Humperdinck. Now I know what you are thinking this song should end up in the category of “songs you are scared to admit you like”-oh well, so be it. Engelbert has to be considered one of the best singers ever and this song is the perfect sing along song.

Even though I think Maroon 5 is slipping from me, I did purchase the 6 song acoustic set they did for I-Tunes that was released this past Tuesday. The songs have a different vibe and in my opinion really spotlight’s this band’s talents. I think I am hanging by a thread with this band, although I really love the first two albums, so I’ll have to save judgement until their next album. Anyway, back to this six song “EP” like album-this is a no brainer, you need to own it.

This week’s Rolling Stone magazine edition features a great interview with Elton John that you will not be able to put down. What he has done to resurrect the career of his idol and mentor, Leon Russell, is really “heart-warming.” Again the whole interview is a great read-this is the best issue so far in 2011.

Guitar Hero” the video game has come to an end, “Activision” stated that there was no way for them to make money with the game in this current economic environment. Wow, I for one am pretty stunned that this has already fallen to the way side. Hopefully “Rock Band” will still be able to continue but take a cue and maybe not over-flood the market.

Lady GaGa will be featured this Sunday night on “60 Minutes” where I think she claims she is the greatest female vocalist ever. I like her “spunk” and I will be tuned in to hear this one.

Album Review: “Come Clean” by Puddle of Mudd released on Aug. 28, 2001

Come Clean

Remember a few weeks back I wrote about the band-“Silvertide”- and I mentioned that they just seemed to fall off the face of the earth? Well obviously, it turns out that they split up. Now there have been certain bands that I “had fallen head over heals” for and then even though these bands are still together today-it was me who disappeared, seemingly overnight. Two bands quickly come to mind-“Three Doors Down”- and “Puddle of Mudd.” Now I think (if my memory serves me correctly) that I did like these bands almost at the same time-I would say it was right around the beginning of the 2000 decade. I was about half way through my MBIA career and took Chris, Paul & Sal to see Three Doors Down in concert in NYC somewhere (may have been the Hammerstein) and they were touring in support of their “The Better Life” album, which I loved. So it was a quick “love affair” and for some reason I never really followed them after that album. Now with Puddle of Mudd, it was different. At first I didn’t want to like them, I figured I was “too old” for these guys- they were the “nu” sort of metal/hard-rock and when I heard that Fred Durst (Limp Bizkit) had helped produced the album-I said there was no way I was going to like the album-“Come Clean.” But then I saw the video for “Control” on MTV and I thought to myself-“Hmmm that was good, I really like that song!!” And that was it- I bought “Come Clean” and the rest as they say was history. Folks I commuted to MBIA, which is based in Armonk NY, from my home in New Fairfield CT and I’d have to say in the six years that I did that run-this CD is what I played the most in my car (with “Symptom of the Universe”-the box set- by Black Sabbath being a close second). The car ride was approximately 45 minutes long each way and you really would not believe how many times I listened to this album-it turns out this album was right up my alley-heavy guitar riffs, smashing drums and screaming vocals-what could be better-especially on my ride home on a Friday night? (Hey who am I kidding, when I was into this album, it could have been a Monday night).

Now again some of the names of these bands are really not conducive in a public setting because you are bound to get a strange look if you say you are a fan-as most would assume they can’t be good, right? But I have a long time friend that I met while working at MBIA, the aforementioned Chris and I knew we both had the same musical tastes, so I asked him about Puddle of Mudd and yes he said he had and loved the album-that was all I needed. A road trip had to happen, we had to see them in concert and we knew we didn’t have to do too much convincing of Paul and Sal, so they were in as well. Now believe it or not, I missed the boat on when tickets went on sale and they sold out instantaneously-yes folks Puddle of Mudd sold out in no time and we were locked out. I was really bummed because I wanted to see these guys so bad, I could taste it. And guess what? We were able to go because of another good friend of mine-Sue-she has “connections” and within days of missing out, I had four tickets mailed to my house. We were going to see Puddle of Mudd!!! The road trip was going to happen. Do you know how in life when you are expecting something to be great (say a new movie) and when you do the event, it turns out to be less than great? Well that DID NOT HAPPEN- the show was so phenomenal that my expectations were met and more. And really it was all due to this album as I think it was their debut, so there were not too many other songs that I did not know word for word. I have to be honest with myself and say that this album-at that time in my life-was my most favorite and I considered it to be in my top ten of all time. Now fast forward almost ten years, I still love this album but for some reason this was it-I never really dove into any other of their albums (they were going through some band members either leaving or getting kicked out, I don’t really know) and every once in a while when I hear one of these songs on my I-pod shuffle-I have to go back and listen to the entire album.

The album starts off with the aforementioned-“Control”-and the one thing that really stands out in this song is the drumming-they sound larger than life with the crashing cymbals and pounding snares. Of course Wes Scantlin is another reason I love this song (and album) as his singing/screaming is some of the best that came out during the early 2000’s. I can remember so many times riding on Rt. 22 in Pawling NY waiting to make the right at the light to head towards New Fairfield, singing as loud as I could when the song slows down at the 2:09 minute mark-“I love the way you look at me…I love the way you…(won’t put in the rest of the lyrics)…”- while slamming the hands on the steering wheel (yes they were on “10 and 2”) to mimic the drums as the pace builds back up. “I can’t control you…you can’t control me…you’re not the one for me, no!!!” What a way to start off an album- loud, raunchy rock and roll. Track # 2-“Drift & Die” could arguably be the best song on the album and is the most “controlled” song with an acoustic touch that starts it off and highlighted by a very melodic chorus. If you listen closely you can also hear the violin (or other string instrument) which adds the flavor as this (even back when it came out) should be on classic rock radio all the time. If I played this song for you (and didn’t tell you the name of the band) I guarantee you would say-“Wow this is good.” One can not help but sing along to this track word for word-“…Ignorance spreads lies…how much will money buy… well I’ll take my time…as I drift and die…as I drift and die…” The arrangement of this song is freakin’ awesome-nice job Fred and the boys from POM. The next track-“Out of My Head”- actually makes me go out of mine as the drumming and the guitar riffs are infectious and one can not help but bang their head up and down. Now I am not going to sit here and lie to you-this music is aggressive and you all know by now that I love that, so it makes total sense that I love this album. I get the picture that Wes is grinding his teeth and snarling as he sings-“…don’t hold me back, I don’t look good to them…they always acts so dirty…they keep themselves so clean…” I love the way he screams throughout the song as the energy of the song is perfect for a mosh pit-which is exactly what happened up front as we saw bodies surfing high above the audience. “I’m so high…I’m never low…I want the sky…never letting go…go ohhh ohhh ohhh…” as the song comes to a crashing end. “Nobody Told Me” is a heavy melodic arrangement that again features the phenomenal drumming as well as the vocals. Do I dare say that Wes sounds like Kurt Cobain on this track? In no way am I comparing the two-I am just saying that he sounds like Kurt as he seems to be “slur-moaning” (if that makes any sense) his words-do you know what I mean? It has a grunge feel to it and his low grit voice definitely conjures up memories of Kurt for me. (Ok all his die-hard fans can breath now, I will move on). “I can’t find my way back home…lost my head down there somewhere…” as his vocals start to rise to a higher pitch-this is grunge head-banging folks!!! I love the part when it slows down and Wes exclaims-“Same old s**t…different day…gotta get up…gotta get up…” and this is repeated until he is screaming at an even higher pitch. (Forgot to mention-there are a lot of curses on this album-some songs don’t have them but most do-including an infamous one in the title-coming up). “Blurry” is the major hit on this album and was played incessantly on pop radio across America-yes that’s right it made it to the pop stations but that’s because it is a song that contains no cursing and everyone can sing along to it. I requested this song for the DJ who was playing music for everyone at the park in Florida and I told Sue (the friend who scored the tickets) that this was Puddle of Mudd and she said she knew this song. Now for her to hear and/or know the song-you know it had to be played on Z-100 or WPLJ because she is not listening to WCCC out of Hartford, CT. Anyway back to the song-it is again very melodic and the chorus is so addicting that one can not stop singing this song all day long, once you hear it. Who knew that a Puddle of Mudd could make songs like this? This is good stuff right here folks and this is also arguably the best song on the album (and maybe their best ever?). When my best man and I ventured up to Buffalo NY in 2002 to watch opening day when the Jets played the Bills, he was blasting this song out of his car windows-and knows nothing about this band. “Can you take it all away…can you take it all away…will you shoved it in my face…explain the game to me”

Now the next song contains the “F” bomb in the title and is not a song I recommend to play around “the general public”-especially kids. (Although this year’s Grammy nomination’s includes this word in the title of a song nominated for song of the year-what is this world coming to when this happens?). “She Hates Me” is a song for when you are alone in a car or with your headphones when no one else can hear it because the “general public” will not understand why you are listening to a song like this. If you remember last year I did something called “Bottom Feeders” and this song made the list-it is a song that I like and know every single word to it but you will never hear me play it around the house or anywhere where there is a normal human around. I can’t believe that I am admitting to liking this song but it is so addictive-“…went well for a week or two…then it all, came unglued…”- sorry I will move on to the next song. “Bring Me Down” is another fast paced upbeat song but the subject is dark, dealing with drug usage (my assumption because of the lyrics that are often repeated-“I can see that you are Jonesin’”). The beat is a driving head-banging tune that sounds really good with my young son’s new headphones-Wes’s screaming is top notch all throughout this album and for this track he is on his game. “Whhhhyyyyyy you gotta bring me down??!!!” They have that “bullhorn” effect that the Stone Temple Pilots utilized a lot and makes it sound that much better. Track #8-“Never Change”- starts off with a nice sounding guitar riff and if I had to pick, I think this is my favorite track on the album. “…Maybe it’s all, it’s all, in my head…think its something, something that you said…” I could see this song being performed “unplugged” style as I always am “air-strumming” like I am playing an acoustic change. I love when the song changes pace around the two minute mark where Wes exclaims-“Why did you have to go and change???!!! Couldn’t you just have stayed the same??!!” It’s funny songs like these (and many other “alternative” new bands) one expects a blazing guitar solo but they never really happen but the guitar work is so prevalent in the song that you are “air-guitaring” but it is typically not for a solo like back in the 1970’s or 1980’s. It’s weird but I consider this song (along with their others) “sing-along” songs because I find myself singing every word to all these songs-yes I know it is due to the fact that I have listened to it a zillion times, I get it. (just like “The Sound of Madness” by Shinedown). “Basement” is a phenomenal song that blazes from the beginning until the end. The sound is overpowering as the guitars sound real big and the drums sound like someone is pounding on your front door. “If you want you can take it all away from me…away from me…please don’t come down…I’m too afraid”-paints a picture of despair-it’s weird these songs are pulsating and head-banging but dark in nature. “Said” is another dark lyrical tale of drugs but you know me- I love the music behind it and that is what I focus on. The arrangement is very good as the song changes directions at various moments highlighted by the heavy guitar riff that coincides with the part where he exclaims-“Just walk away!!!” The pace picks up after that and it is frantic as his screams get longer but it comes back to that slow heavy groove and before you know it, more than four minutes has passed-a sign that you like the song. The last song on this track –“Piss it All Away”- sort of reminds me of Vodoo by Godsmack or maybe just Sully on his own as it has that Mediterranean feel to it with the guitar sound. Again I am reminded of Kobain, I don’t know if Wes Scantlin set out to do that but it appears Kurt is a heavy influence on him. Now admittedly the song goes on way too long (and should have ended up on my list of “terrible endings” a few weeks back) but I do love the “bongo” effect (even if there are none, I feel like playing them to this song). All in all, a solid song.

“Come Clean” is a surprisingly good album from a band that one could say I had a “fling” with. The album was released in 2001 and I was totally into them in 2002 and went to see them live and loved their performance. But then things went south for me as their follow-up –“Life on Display”-did not resonate with me the same way as “Come Clean” and then the band broke up and re-emerged in 2007 but by that time, I was gone. Folks if you are into “hard rock” or “alternative rock” then I totally recommend this album. In my opinion, there is not a bad song from top to bottom.

Artists You Are Scared To Admit You Like

Image of Loverboy

As I look back on my childhood in the Sunset Park area of Brooklyn N.Y. most of the guys I hung out with were really into the “heavier” side of things as they loved Nugent, Black Sabbath, Dio, Metallica (all artists I love now) and Suicidal Tendencies (not so much) and they would scoff at the bands that I listened to- Kiss, Foreigner and The Cars. There were some bands that we would agree on (Van Halen and The Mighty Led Zeppelin quickly come to mind) and I would definitely hang-out with them in the “well” at Pershing Junior High School when Paul took out his boom-box to throw some tapes on of VH and Zep. (We also agreed on Billy Squier but that was “pop” according to them). But once they went to the really heavy stuff, I was out. Now we went to see Van Halen together but that was about it. There was no way I would tell them that I was going to see Loverboy-oops did I just say that? Yes folks I admit that I love more than a few songs by this outfit from Calgary, Alberta. It was the early 1980’s and I had just started to experience going to concerts with my friends (imagine my first concert was at Central Park when I went to see Joe Jackson at the age of 16- without my parents-I think about that now. My oldest is 16 and I’m not sure if I would let him venture to a show by himself with just his friends but who knows…) and it seemed during the shows that I went to were filled with so much energy. (think Van Halen on their “Diver Down” tour). Now believe it or not, Loverboy was a real big deal for a period of 3-5 years and back then, they could sell at Madison Square Garden in a heartbeat-which is where I saw them. To this day, the only other show that I can think of where girls outnumbered boys by at least 7-to-1, is a Bon Jovi concert. With that in mind, can you just imagine the ridicule I took for going to see them or by admitting to owning some of their albums? But I stuck to my guns as I bought a concert tee-shirt that night and yes I did wear it outdoors and not just as a “bed T-shirt”-(c’mon all guys out there know what I am talking about-we all have T-shirts that we only wear around the house where only our loved ones know the crap we wear). This was a fad as they kind of disappeared as the late 1980’s and I lost touch but then when I was working at MBIA, they resurfaced in my life again as I realized that they made some really good songs for exercise classes such as Boot Camp and Spin. Since then I have added more than a few songs to my I-Pod and am not afraid to admit I like Loverboy. Here are some really cool songs in my opinion-in no particular order:

Working for the Weekend”- Ok now I know we all have heard this song like a zillion times and it is always on some classic rock radio station at 5:00 p.m. every Friday night as we all get set for the weekend. But there is a reason it is played so much-because it is a great song. Yes this song was utilized for the Boot Camp class at MBIA and everyone always loved this track as it is fun to exercise to. Every time Paul, Sal, Ed and I get together for burgers at the Blaze, inevitably the 1990 Saturday Night Live skit with Chris Farley and Patrick Swayze performing as Chippendale dancers comes up in conversation and we all laugh hysterically at how Farley does his thing and guess what song is used in the background as they dance?-yes you guessed it-“Working for the Weekend.”-‘Nuff said

The Kid is Hot Tonight” – I can remember when I started doing Spin CD’s for classes at MBIA early on and I would scour my CD collection looking for a mixture of songs that one could move to as well as slower one for the hill climb. Then I came across this song and realized how cool the song was and what “giddy-up” it had (not for boot-camp but Spin it works perfectly). I think I have said this before but when you are more than 30 minutes into a Spin class and a song comes on that you recognize and like, it becomes that much better because it pushes you to do better-go farther-spin your legs faster- whatever-but it does sound better. Now throughout this song there is a part that is repeated and it reminds me of riding on a horse because the guitar and drums make it sound like a “giddyupgiddyup” that makes you turn the pedals faster as you scream –“The kid is hot tonight… so hot tonight…but where will he be tomorrow…” I can listen to this song over and over. “But where will he be tomorrow???…The Ki…id   is hot tonight…Ohhhhh”

Hot Girls in Love” – Ditto for this song for your next Spin class, this track moves and should move you as well. Just to let you know I had to put my younger son’s headphones on as I wrote about this song and I’m telling you folks this is some good stuff right here. I love the beginning as it sounds like you are in a silo as the drum role gets you ready for some nice guitar riffs and lets face it Mike Reno can sing-he is all over this bad boy as the groove is so infectious. The harder I squeeze the headphones the better it is and now the hand claps have started as I am dancing all around my room. “Some say she do…some she say she don’t…” as it breaks into a pretty heavy guitar solo. I’m loving it, this could be my favorite song by these guys. “Hot girls in love…it’s a 100 above…be careful where you touch…because it’s a little too much…she’s turning on the heat…”

Notorious”- The synthesizer is all over this song and if I might say, I could see Bon Jovi doing this song, so if you like Bon Jovi, you will love this song. Now of course if you don’t like Bon Jovi, you will probably laugh at this song but I love this song. This was also utilized extensively in Boot Camp class at MBIA-“well there is a lone wolf out on the prowl tonight…always lurking in the shadows always out of sight…” as one can really bounce their way around the exercise floor. I picture someone doing a modern day Chuck Berry move where he clicks his leg up and down as you flow across the gym floor with the speakers blasting this as loud as one can stand it. The pace is furious as you could definitely use this at your next kick boxing class as well-love the way the piano plays in the background-you have to listen closely-it’s there and wailing like a modern day Jerry Lee Lewis.

Lovin’ Every Minute of It” – This song always reminds me of Def Leppard for some reason as I could see them doing this (hey if they could do “Pour Some Sugar on Me” then they could do this song). The drumming reminds me of Rick Allen, c’mon admit it? Is it “pop rock?” Yes but this is so good that it can’t and shouldn’t be ignored. Again there is a decent guitar solo and the chorus is so addictive –“touch that dial…turn me on…start me like a motor…make me run…lovin’ every minute of it…”- that I will be singing this all week. Love the background vocals as they repeat-“Lovin’ every minute of it…Ow-ow-ow…”

Top Ten

Essential Stevie Ray Vaughan

Since the Northeast has been experiencing a ton of snow over the last few weeks, my boys will be going to school until July, so since they had some consecutive “snow days,” my oldest son was getting cabin fever and asked if he could add to this week’s blog. I was fine with that because it wasn’t interfering with his school work. Now my oldest has taken off, he has left me behind and is now into his own thing and right now the blues are his specialty. He wanted to do Stevie Ray Vaughn’s top ten songs, so these are his words:

To me the man Stevie Ray Vaughan is more than just a musician or a guitar player, he is an idol and a hero.  Stevie will always be remembered as a legend and nothing less, he was one of the greatest guitar players that ever lived.   I think that what made him so great was the passion and soul he would put into his music.   When he played he concentrated on something deeper than music theory or technical skill, he truly played with his heart and soul.

I discovered Stevie Ray Vaughan through my favorite musician John Mayer, Mayer would constantly state that Stevie was his biggest influence and after a while I got curious to see where Mayer got this blues sound from.   So I went out and bought Stevie’s debut album “Texas Flood” and immediately I fell in love with it.   Songs like “Love Struck Baby”, “Pride and Joy”, “Texas Flood”, “Testify”, “Rude Mood”, “Tell Me”, and “Lenny” just completely blew me away, it introduced me to a whole new world which I would soon learn was the world of the blues.   After “Texas Flood” I went out and bought every SRV record that exists and I think now I own pretty much his entire catalogue.

But back to Stevie’s music, there was something special about the way he played guitar that separated him from everyone else that had every picked up the instrument.   He had such power and control over the instrument; he had this freakish speed and accuracy too.   Stevie plays some of the fasted licks and notes you will ever hear and but yet at the same time he was able to still put his soul into and not just play fast for the sake of playing fast.   He knew when to slow it down, when to play with his lightning speed, when to play quietly, and when to blast it as loud as possible.   Having all the qualities in one guitar player is honestly just amazing.

The last thing I want to say about Stevie is that many people forget that besides being a legendary musician he was also such a wonderful person.   It’s easy to forget that he was a regular person just like you and me and that he had his struggles and problems especially with drug addiction.   What I find so inspirational about him is that he was able to realize the mistake he made by slowly destroying his life with drug abuse and he was able to conquer it.   He got help for his addiction and was sober the last 4 years of his life.   After he became sober he recorded his best album yet (which happened to be his last) “In Step.”   This album was so much better than previous albums, the songs on it were more creative and not simple based on the 12 bar blues.   He improved so much after he got off drugs and I honestly believe that he was only going to get better.

The irony about Stevie’s death is that he defeated the thing that was supposed to kill him (drugs) and ended up dying in a helicopter accident.   His death is something that troubles me every time I listen to his music; I constantly raise the question “What If?”   Well, it’s no use thinking what if, he is no longer with us and we have to just appreciate the music and inspiration he has left us.  I just want to thank Stevie for making some of the best songs of all time, for being one of my biggest influences, and (along with John Mayer) inspiring me to pick up a guitar.   You will always be remembered as a hero. RIP Stevie

Without further adieu here are my Top 10 Songs from Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble (Some songs that almost cracked my top ten were “The Things That I Used to Do”, “Tin Pan Alley”, “Cold Shot”, and “Tightrope”):

10.     Rude Mood (Live on MTV Unplugged) – My jaws drop every time I hear this song, Stevie plays this song so perfectly and with such speed it will make any guitar player want to quit immediately.   He played this extremely difficult song on MTV Unplugged in 1990 on a 12 string acoustic guitar making the already difficult song virtually impossible to play for any average guitar player.   The speed, accuracy, and soul will just leave you in awe.   Watch this and you will know exactly what I’m talking about: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqiVN0vpZsQ

9.     The House Is Rockin’ – I was a bit surprised at myself for including this in my top 10 but I had to be true to myself and include my absolute favorite songs from SRV.   I can’t get enough of this rocking tune; with this song Stevie proved that he wasn’t restricted to playing only blues music he could branch out and play some good old fashion rock and roll.  This song will definitely have you dancing around when you listen to it; it just has such a great rhythm to it! This is without a doubt the most fun song Stevie ever created.

8.     Lenny – This was one of the first SRV songs that I really truly loved.   The thing I love about this song is the passion Stevie plays it with; he makes his guitar sing in a way.   This is a love song dedicated to his wife Lenny; it’s funny how he created one of the best love songs without a single word in it.   Slow and soul spurning songs like this is when Stevie played his best.   This song gave him an opportunity to just play whatever was in his heart and with all the passion he could muster.  Any guitarist that can do this is automatically great but no one did it quite like Stevie did.

7.     Love Me Darlin’ – This is one of my favorite songs off Stevie’s last album “In Step” and even though it is a cover of the great Howlin’ Wolf it will always be one of my favorite SRV songs.   Stevie obviously loved Howlin’ Wolf since he covers about 5 or 6 songs from him throughout his career and always played them perfectly.   This version stays true to the original song but at the same time gets that Stevie Ray Vaughan sound.   The best addition to this tune is the 2nd solo Stevie adds which just takes the song to a whole new level.  This is just good old fashion upbeat blues that is pretty much impossible not to like.

6.     Voodoo Child (Slight Return) [Live] – First let me begin by saying that while this is not better than Hendrix’s version I have to say it comes really close to it.   Hendrix was one of Stevie’s biggest influences and he showed that by cover this song (and “Little Wing”).   What is great about this song is the power and aggression Stevie plays with; he plays notes so quickly yet so accurately which is something he was very good at.  Personally I prefer the live version of this song, its 12 minutes of pure greatness and is better than the studio version.   Even if you prefer Hendrix’s version of Stevie’s this is a must have song for any rock or blues fan.

5.     Riviera Paradise – This is Stevie’s last song on his last album and arguably his best ever.   Stevie dedicated this magnificent song to those people still struggling with drug addictions and other types of addictions.   When Stevie overcame drug abuse I think he became a symbol of hope to many addicts.  Anyway this song is definitely one of SRV’s most passionate songs ever; just listening to the song puts you in another world.   It just has such a quite, somber, and yet peaceful feel to it that honestly puts you at complete peace with yourself for about 9 minutes.  Stevie gives it his all on this one and plays his guitar with more soul than probably any other guitar player that lived.   The other thing I love about this song besides the guitar is the amazing piano playing by keyboardist Reese Wynans who also plays his heart out.   So if you ever want to be at peace for a few minutes put this song on and just enjoy.

4.     Leave My Girl Alone – This is one of my favorite slow blues songs from Stevie, I just love everything about this song especially the vocals, guitar work, and lyrics.   Every time I hear this song I have to sing along, it’s impossible not to.   This song always reminds me that besides being an amazing guitar player Stevie also had an extraordinary voice.   So many people forget that he truly had a powerful voice, one of the best blues singers ever in my opinion.   Overall this song is just the blues played right and what’s better than that?

3.     The Sky Is Crying (Live) – Usually I stay away from picking an artist most popular song this just had to be in my top ten.   I can’t get enough of this song every time I hear it, it just blows me away.   This song is heavily influenced by Albert King (King covered this song as well, it was originally by Elmore James) you can hear King’s licks all over this song, but as always Stevie takes it to the next level by adding his own touch to it.    In my opinion the live version is 10 times better than the studio version, Stevie’s vocals are better and his guitar playing is even more fantastic.   I love how Stevie knew when to blast his guitar and also knew when to play extremely softly, this song is a perfect example of how you combine those two concepts into one song.  Stevie just does an awesome job of covering one of the best slow blues songs ever made.

2.     Little Wing – Do you know certain songs where immediately after hearing the opening notes you freeze and give all your attention to the song?   This is one of those songs for me.   This is without a doubt one of the greatest guitar songs ever made, every time I hear it I get inspired.   Stevie’s playing on this is so unbelievable; when you hear it you know that he is just pouring out his heart into the song.   It’s amazing how much emotion is put into the song despite the fact that there are no words in it.   His speed is just un-human too.  Now as you all know this is a Jimi Hendrix song but Stevie’s version is without a doubt better than the original.   I apologize to all the Hendrix fans but Stevie’s version is a million times better, he just adds so much more to the song.   Regardless of your opinion of whose version is better you have to admit this truly is one of the greatest performances on the electric guitar.

1.     Life Without You – It is going to be really difficult to describe how much this song actually means to me, everything about it is pure perfection.   It is without a doubt Stevie’s greatest accomplishment as a writer, as a composer, and as a musician.   Lyrics aren’t something that come to mind when you talk about a SRV song but this song is proof that Stevie knew how to write an amazing song.   This song is about the death of one of friends and whenever I hear it I think of all the people I have known that have passed away.   Besides the perfect lyrics Stevie adds in some of his best guitar playing, he always gave his all on this song when he performed it live.   His guitar playing truly was an extension of his soul and he proved that every time he played this song.  The other day I came across this video on youtube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRNhFZkTXAs, and I am not going to lie I had tears in my eyes watching it.   Stevie often used this song to talk to his audience and talk about his struggles with drug addiction and in this video he gives a short but inspirational speech about taking care of yourself so you can take care of others.   It just reminds me that Stevie was more than a guitar player; he was a person who had his share of problems and managed to get through them.   He truly was an amazing and inspirational person as well as a musician.   Please watch this video and you will truly understand the man and legend that was Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Robert Palmer

2.     Rob Thomas

3.     Mungo Jerry

4.     Jason Newsted

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     People used to think I was really outrageous and when I first hit the scene, I tried to do everything possible to “push the envelope” but my main focus has always been about “the music.” I believe I was one of the fore-father’s that wore make-up and we played “hard rock” and “heavy metal” but we had a dark side-hey Marilyn Manson had nothing on me, he would be under my wheels when I was in my prime and to boot I am in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Who am I?

2.     I was “Detroit” before Kid Rock and Eminem and will always love my home-town. I played piano on Kid Rock’s last album and the only other person who’s “single” has been played more on a jukebox than my “monster hit” is “Crazy” by Patsy Cline ? My inspiration’s were Elvis and Little Richard. Who am I?

3.     I was only on American Idol a few year’s ago and now one of my song’s has been nominated for a Grammy this year. Who am I?

4.     I made one of the best new albums in 2006 and won five Grammy’s for it. This album is the third best selling album for the 2000 decade in England. I haven’t had a follow-up yet but I know people are clamoring for my next album. Who am I?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad – Meatloaf

2.     Enter Sandman – Metallica

3.     On and OnStephen Bishop

4.     Open Letter (To A Landlord) – Living Colour

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

1.     “…spending all my nights…all my money going out on the town…doing anything just to get you off of my mind…”

2.     “…she’s my baby…she’s my baby…Yeah it’s alright…she’s got hair down to her fanny…”

3.     “…hello…hello…let me introduce you to the characters…in the show…one says yes…one says no…”

4.     “…Inside angel, always upset…keeps on forgetting that we ever met…can I bring you out in the light…my curiosity’s got me tonight…”

Back on this Day

Sadly back on this day in 2009, Estelle Bennett, was found dead in her apartment in Englewood N.J. She was an original member of The Ronettes, the cause of her death was colon cancer. She was 67.

Back on this day in 1964, The Beatles performed their first concert in the U.S. at the Washington Coliseum in Washington D.C. 

Back on this day in 1965, Ringo Starr married his long-time sweetheart Maureen Cox with Brian Epstein serving as Ringo’s best man. They divorced in 1975 and sadly she passed away in 1994.

Back on this day in 1972, David Bowie performed as Ziggy Stardust for the first time ever in a show in Tollworth U.K..

Back on this day in 1985, The Firm released its debut album which featured two legends- (still going strong today)- Jimmy Page from the Mighty Led Zeppelin and Paul Rodgers from Bad Company.

Back on this day in 1992, Vince Neil was fired from Motley Crue for not having passion about the music and Neil claimed he didn’t like the musical direction the band was headed. Vince rejoined the band in 1997.

February 4, 2011

Weekly Update – 02/04/2011

The Rockstar (Energy Drink) Mayhem Festival will stop at Comcast Theater in Hartford CT on Sun. July 24, PNC Bank Arts Center on Wed. July 27 and the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden NJ on Sun. July 31. This year’s line-up is stellar- Godsmack, Disturbed & Megadeth are the headliners and there are a whole bunch more bands included. Ticket info to follow.

Taylor Swift at the Prudential Center on Tues. & Wed. July 19 and July 20. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $37.95, $85.55 and $95.80.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra performing Beethoven’s Last Night at Mohegan Sun on Sun. Apr. 10. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $43.35.

Ricky Martin at Mohegan Sun on Sun. Apr. 17. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $59.20 and $69.40.

PJ Harvey at Terminal 5 on Wed. Apr. 20. Tickets on sale today at noon. $40 ($45 day of show).

Fleet Foxes at the United Palace Theater on Wed. May 18. Tickets on sale today at noon. $39.50

Thin Lizzy at Best Buy Theater on Fri. Mar. 25. Tickets on sale tomorrow at noon. $30. (If you have an American Express card you can purchase “pre-sale” tickets up until 10:00 a.m. this morning).

Alter Bridge with Black Stone Cherry at Best Buy Theater on Thurs. May 19. Tickets on sale today at noon. $25. (If you have an American Express card you can purchase “pre-sale” tickets up until 10:00 a.m. this morning).

Lil Wayne at Nassau Coliseum on Sun. Mar. 27. Ticket on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $73.75 and $145.45.

Stone Sour with Theory of a Deadman, Skillet, Halestorm and Art of Dying at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Fri. Apr. 29. Pre-sale tickets on sale now until 10:00 p.m. tonight. Password is: Keys. General public tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $57.70 and $77.10

Other items:

Shock and Sadness of the Week: Last night my oldest son called me over to his computer and showed me a story on the web that stated that the White Stripes had officially split up. Take a look at their website http://www.whitestripes.com/This is a real bummer because Jack and Meg White belong together and even though Jack has other projects, his best work has always been done with the White Stripes. For those of you who don’t know-Jack White is a legend and the White Stripes made some of the best music that has come out over the last ten years. Luckily I had the privilege of seeing The White Stripes twice-the first time was in Coney Island at the home of the Brooklyn Cyclones and then just a few years later, they were headlining Madison Square Garden-both great shows. Folks, this hasn’t sunk in yet-this is as big to me as when Soundgarden broke up in 1997, maybe even more of a shock and disappointment. This is really sad and I don’t know what else to say or do….I hope they get back together for a reunion, let’s say next week. Say it ain’t so Jack and Meg…

Rumor of the week: Slash and Usher will join the Black Eyed Peas this Sunday at the half-time show for Superbowl XLV. Apparently Slash has joined them on tour and has performed “Sweet Child of Mine” and supposedly that is what will happen this Sunday.Also performing at the Superbowl will be “Glee’s” Lea Michele, who will sing “America The Beautiful” before the game starts. Speaking of Lea, she and Mark Salling do an amazing cover of “Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum-you have to hear it. Of course, after the game there will be a new Glee episode with the cast performing Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” in football uniforms.

Last night’s American Idol show was the worst I think that has ever been shown. A word of advice to the producers: you can’t do a one hour show and display the worst auditions that come through. The LA contingency was so horrible last night that if they ever broadcast another episode like that, I think I might be out. No need to show these horrible and stupid auditions that go on and on. And by the way, what’s up with all the judges cursing? I thought this was a family show? Even J Lo had to be bleeped off the air..and Randy too. Simon, with all his crudeness, never had to be bleeped.

Thanks to Sharif for pointing this one out:Ozzy canceled a show this past weekend in Reno for a “sudden illness.” Doctors recommended that Ozzy should not take the stage that night and the show has been rescheduled for April 23. No word on the illness.

Mick Jagger will perform on The Grammy’s for the first time ever on Feb. 13. He will pay tribute to the late Solomon Burke and be accompanied on the Grammy stage by soul singer Raphael Saadiq.

Elton John has called out his friend and long time touring partner, Billy Joel, to check himself into a “real rehab” in a recent interview with Rolling Stone. Elton said that when he went to get himself clean, he had to scrub the floors and work hard and every one that Billy has gone to is way too soft where they have TV’s and the such. When asked about what Elton said, Billy said that his friendship with Elton was too strong to let his words affect their relationship.

Alice Cooper has blasted Robert Plant for not wanting to do the reunion thing with Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones for the Mighty Led Zeppelin. Alice doesn’t understand what is so hard. “Jimmy wants to do it, John is waiting to do it…why can’t he do it?” I’m right there with you Alice.

The Foo Fighters new yet untitled album will be released on April 12 and according to Dave it is “the heaviest work the Foo’s have ever done.” I say bring it on and I can’t wait for April 12.

Panic at the Disco has a new single-“The Ballad of Mona Lisa”- off of their upcoming album-“Vices & Virtues” with the new two man line-up. I have to tell you I really like the sound of this new song. Check it out. The album is slated for release on Mar. 29.

Lots of buzz surrounding the new release by The Decemberists with their new album-“The King is Dead.” Seems everywhere I turn I am reading very positive reviews about this album-I may just have to take the plunge. “Down By The Water” sounds just like R.E.M.

Nuggets

Back Into Your System

It took me some time to adapt to the “heavy-metal rap” genre, while it seemed everyone was diving in head first, I kind of sat on the sidelines-waiting for the coach to put me in the game. I am a big fan of Howard Stern and I can remember him having Limp Bizkit on his radio shows all the time but I still couldn’t get there. Don’t get me wrong I loved the Beastie Boys and what they did with the loud guitars and rap on their debut album (turns out I don’t think they were so happy about that album but I guess to put themselves on the map, they went with it). I think I would have to say that Rage Against the Machine was the band that finally brought me into the game, although I was not a big fan of their political rhetoric, so I would listen to their albums but never went to see them live. Then when I was at MBIA, a friend and colleague, Eric, lent me the debut album from a “Nu-Metal/Rap” band that had exploded on to the scene-Linkin’ Park- and even then I still wasn’t totally hooked. It wasn’t until “Meteroa” by Linkin’ Park that the “Nu Metal/Rap” finally gripped me and I was in (figures now Linkin’ doesn’t do that any more? Makes sense now that I am finally on board). Now once a “genre” starts to take off, the market gets overloaded with bands and acts that try to capitalize on that good feeling and then everyone gets sick of it. Before you know it, that genre is no longer “cool” and people are on to something else. (Now it’s “Indie,” right?). Anyway, one of the bands that I became attracted to during this period was a band from Memphis, TN called “Saliva.” For some reason (reasons unknown to me) this band has not reached “Superstar” status with more of the general public. Who knows maybe it has something to do with the name of their band. Maybe it’s because of what I just mentioned-that the “Nu-Metal/Rap” period is behind us-but if a band or artist is talented I will never understand why there can’t be a place for them in the genre that they love. (Like I have always said- “Disco” is still “Alive and Kicking” in the greatest borough there is-Brooklyn N.Y.-even though the rest of the nation dropped disco on 12/31/1979).

So with that in mind, I know there is still a fan base for Saliva and I am still included. Now I am not sure if my friend Sal is still a fan because we went to see them in a small club in New York City (I believe it was the “Best Buy” Theater) back in 2002 or so and to this day he maintains that he lost a part of his hearing because of this band. I was pumped to see them that night and we arrived early, so early that we secured a nice spot along the guard rail for which we thought we were high enough and away from the stage but that was not the case. When Saliva took the stage, I don’t know if it rose or if we didn’t realize how close we were but once the opening guitar licks started along with the bass and drums, I actually felt like the sound had completely ripped open my chest, took my heart, along with my ears and stomped on it so hard-just picture a pack of wild dogs converging on a piece of liver. Sal and I both looked at each other and said-“Should we go to another spot?”-For some reason (most likely “machismo”) we stayed and both loved the show but we paid dearly. There are only two shows that I can remember where I could not hear right the next day (Soundgarden and Saliva) but with Saliva, it lasted a full three days. I think for Sal it was like a week or maybe more, so needless to say –I won’t be able to drag him along to see these guys ever again.

Now the album that made me a fan was “Back Into Your System” and I can listen to the entire CD without blinking an eye but I realize that these guys are definitely an acquired taste but I believe once you let them sink in, you will really like this band. It is not only “rap/metal” there are some really solid rock songs (see “Holding On”) that I believe should have escalated them to a “superstar” status. Believe it or not, this band is melodic and despite the loud guitars and extensive cursing, I believe this album should have catapulted them into another stratosphere. I have followed these guys since then and am always pumped when they release new material. It doesn’t matter to me what label others put on them-this is a rock solid band and here are some golden nuggets to prove it: (in no particular order)

Pride – This was the song that I heard on my I-Pod shuffle that made me automatically say that this album needed to be highlighted in the “Nugget” section of the page this week. The opening guitar riff rips your face off and you don’t want to mess with the “pride of America.” Now this is just like when Metallica did “Don’t Tread on Me” from the Black album when the first Gulf War was being fought (1991) and then Saliva took a page out of this after the second Gulf War when they recorded this. For me, it is not about the lyrics, it is about the music and the arrangement on this track pumps me up and actually makes me want to start boxing-the kick boxing class that is. The “F” bomb is dropped throughout this song, so for the parents out there who still are concerned with what their kids are listening to-keep this away from them. I can’t help myself, I love this track. Head-banging at its best. \m/ \m/

Always – “Always…Always…I just can’t live without you…I breathe you…” C’mon folks this is a great song right here. For a band that can play as loud as these guys, they can turn on a dime and throughout some of their songs it’s like one can go fishing because the music is so quiet-but just like the statement-“the calm before the storm”-the momentum builds back up to a feverish pitch. This is what happens on this track and oh by the way you will not be able to stop singing the chorus all day long. This band has talent and songs like this are the proof.

Rest in Pieces – This is the “hit” of the album (and maybe their “most popular” song with the general public). The song was written with Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue and surprisingly is a “ballad” type of a song of which everyone in the family can enjoy-from grandma on down to the kiddies. I remember putting this on a CD I created for an afternoon Spin class at MBIA and my pal Rosie asked who was singing the song because she liked it. I believe she may have bought the song (probably not the album). The arrangement is stellar and again very melodic. This is one of my favorite songs on the album as Josey proves to the world that he has is a good singer. (Contrary to what Simon Cowell thought when both appeared on Howard Stern). I usually drift off to another world when I listen to this “classic”-Yes that’s right- a Classic!!!

Holding On This song will rock your socks off and the vocals are freaking phenomenal. If Lynyrd Skynyrd were a bit heavier, I could picture them covering this tune. This is “old school” stuff with a modern twist of heavy metal blues that should get your attention-it is arguably the best song on the album (and I would say one of the best songs they have ever recorded). The chorus vocals and the background vocals sound like they were all sung by Josey with the result being super solid. It is a slow head-banging groove with some awesome guitar riffs that will have you “air-guitaring” in no time. C’mon let’s all sing along- “Any one can see…what’s happening to me…I’m living in a dream…no one hears me scream…”-for some reason I feel like a cowboy when I hear this bad boy!!!

All Because of You – I think this song is one of the many reasons I love “guitar rock”-just listen to the beginning of this song and tell me this is not some good stuff right here? I put on my younger son’s headphones and squeezed with all my might so the sound would penetrate my ears and enter my system. Talk about melodic? These guys are good! I’m still scratching my head on why they haven’t garnered a bigger audience. If you like hard rock or metal, this is right up your alley. There is a nice guitar solo in the middle of the song and when that stops, Josey is waiting there to scream-“…All because of you…All because of you…”-this song rocks. “All I want is you and I don’t care!!!” Perfect arrangement.

Back Into Your System – The title track is stupendous and is a “sing-along” song for the entire family to engage in (yes there are no curses). I can picture a circle of family and friends, arms over each other shoulders-forming a huddle-slowly bopping back and forth waiting to scream-“I’M BACK IN YOUR SYSTEM!!!!… a way to get…BACK INTO YOUR SYSTEM…”- as the circle breaks up as each one of you makes believe you are screaming into a microphone in front of 10,000 or more rabid fans. How cool is this song? Is it loud? Yes. Is it heavy? Yes. But sometimes you need that, especially on a Friday. These guys can sing and play, please check them out.

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

Shake It Up

Side 1 of “Shake It Up” by The Cars

It is the fall of 1981 and I just started my junior year at Brooklyn Tech High School and by this time I am well on my way into the world of rock. Anyone who knew me back then knew my favorite bands were Foreigner and The Cars. (remember I did not get into the heavier stuff until the mid to late 1980’s). I was 16 years old at this time and had “the world at my feet.” I was playing football for “The Outlaws” on every Sunday beginning in early September and lasting until the following spring just in time to start of softball with the “All-Out” (combination of Outlaws and All-Stars). Every Sunday morning we would meet on the corner of 48th street and 8th avenue in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn and jump into the cars of the guys who were old enough to drive and had their own wheels. The three main cars used were Joe C., Cheesy and Johnny-Boy (“Eugene!!”) and while we waited for them we would throw the football all across 8th avenue as there was little car traffic at that time for a Sunday morning. (“Izzies” Candy and Food Store was closed-man we had great times with him & Sonya). As soon as I jumped in to Johnny’s car I would have cassettes for him to throw in and listen to and for half the month of November and whole month of December-I had to listen to my most favorite band out of Boston-The Cars-who had just released-“Shake It Up.”

Now I will be perfectly honest with you and state that this would be the last studio album that I purchased by them because in my opinion they were getting “way too popular” and being 16-I couldn’t deal with that. (By the time “Heartbeat City” came out in 1984 with “Drive” and all those “pop” songs, I was gone…now of course being 45 today I love those songs but I had an image to uphold-hey I know the local neighborhood guys thought I listened to pop as they were knee deep into Sabbath and Nugent). Also remember I dropped the Police after “Ghost in the Machine”-so essentially looking back after 1981, I dropped both The Cars and The Police from my radar after experiencing four great albums from each from 1978-1981. Anyway back to “Shake It Up.” Now you all should know by now that I absolutely loved their third studio album-“Panorama”- as I thought they didn’t keep the same formula from the first two albums, they ventured out and I for one, loved it. But for some reason it did not sit well with the critics and the general public as most thought it was “weird” music, so with “Shake It Up” they went back to some of the basics but also added the twist of “pop” which in my opinion was a slippery slope and wouldn’t you know it-they became one of MTV’s golden bands with “You Might Think” and “Magic” as those videos were played at nausea to the point where they were like Madonna. (again nothing wrong with that-I am speaking like I am still 16). Anyway again back to “Shake”- I absolutely loved this album again but for the first time I could honestly say that there were some songs that I skipped over-only on the second side though-(obviously)- and to me that was a big deal because I NEVER skipped over any songs on the first three albums. The crack in the seal had begun and the water seeped in. But the first side is super stellar in my opinion and that’s why I am including this as a perfect album side.

Side one starts off with “Since You’re Gone” and I love the beginning with “chop-stick” sound effect as Ric Ocasek gets set to start it off with “Since You’re Gone…the nights are getting strange.” What I remember most about this song is Brooklyn College because between classes there was this “hangout” place where this tall dude would take “perfect album” side requests from the students and you know I was there all the time-especially to see the other student’s reaction. This dude absolutely loved this song and he would dance around in a circle like no one was around, meanwhile half the kids were listening to the album while watching him dance around and the other half were talking but still were watching him. Sometimes I gage the quality of a song to how it affects others (I already knew I loved it) and this sealed the deal for me with this song. The second song is the title track and I know what you are thinking-isn’t this pop? Why yes I did mention that this album was the beginning of the “pop” (and the end in my mind) but I still love this song. Elliot Easton’s guitar solo is electrifying and that totally makes the song a classic. Is it simple? Yes, but that seemed to be The Cars niche-simple but yet addictive. “Dance all night…dance all night…go all night…shake it up.” If you listen to this song really loud you will really like it. (That’s what my oldest son says when I listen to songs loud in my car they always sound better than in the house when we have to keep it down for my lovely bride). Track # 3-“I’m Not the One”- could arguably be the best song on the album, I love the slow groove and Ocasek’s vocals are so clear and clean. For some reason by this album Ocasek seemed to have total control in song-writing and singing as well-not that there was anything wrong with it. And this could be one of his best vocals as one can hear the heart-break in his vocals as it is another tale of a girl breaking a boy’s heart (sorry girls…I know it goes both ways). I love the way Greg Hawkes follows along with his phenomenal keyboard/synthesizer playing which highlights the track. Before you know it, four plus minutes have passed and I usually hit the rewind button. “Victim of Love” is my most favorite song on the album as well as the first side-now for some reason I can picture the early Joe Jackson doing a song like this. The obligatory hand claps are present throughout and I love the way Ocasek sings this tune. “…She’ll tell you things that you should not know…because you’re the victim…victim of love…framed by the night…touched by the glove…” Again the arrangement is “simple” but not Easton’s guitar solo-they always seem to be slick, short and tough to play but he makes it sound so easy. The last song on side one is “Cruiser” and this is probably the most “head-banging” song on the vinyl. In a weird way it sounds almost muted as I think they could have turned Elliot loose with some really loud guitar riffs. Benjamin Orr sings this bad boy and he was such a great rock and roll singer and it’s such a shame that he passed away at such an early age. As the song plays on, I can picture these guys playing this song in a tuxedo and I always waited for them to rip it off-in a way-Ben does it with his vocals but the arrangement is so tight with the keyboards, that it always felt like “controlled head-banging”-if that makes any sense?

So there you have it, that was my last review for The Cars as I had already written about their debut album, “Candy-O,” “Panorama” and now side one of “Shake It Up” as those are the only four albums that I bought from this band who will always have a soft spot. Supposedly there are in the studio (with Ocasek back) working on a brand new album, so who knows there just may be one more review about the Cars. Side one of “Shake It Up” is a perfect album side.

 

Top Ten

Lowdown Unauthorized

Sometimes there are bands in your life (pretty dramatic, huh?) that “come and go” but just like some real life relationships, there is a reunion of sorts and in some cases the relationship solidifies after splitting up, other times there may be more time needed to get back to that original feeling-which brings me to the Black Crowes. Now this band created a rush of good feelings for me when they put out their debut album-“Shake Your Money Maker”- and I was immediately struck with their sound- a modern day Rolling Stones if you will with a touch of the Allman Brothers in them as far as that “bluesy” sound. At the time they emerged, the MTV world was knee deep in “hair band” metal and this band was like a breath of fresh air for those fans clamoring for “pure” rock and roll. All of a sudden during the early 1990’s here was a band that didn’t quite fit in with any type of music that was out at that time-ironic isn’t it to say that “rock and roll” wasn’t really in the picture (or at least in the forefront as glam metal and Pop ruled the airwaves) but their sound brought them a whole new fan base, including myself. (I have always thought that my older rock and roll brethren fan base would and should love this band, as they have always been a “throwback” band to me). My feelings only became stronger when they put out their sophomoric effort-“The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion”- because at that time I thought “Remedy” was the greatest song that I had ever heard. That song for me was like being “plugged in” to an electrical outlet as I could feel the vibe of the song enter my body, my bloodstream and moved me in so many ways that I didn’t know was possible, sort of like the way Chris Robinson moves up on stage. So here it is, two albums and in my opinion they are “batting 1.000.”

Now when “Amorica” hit the scene, I was kind of shocked and surprised by the “nasty” album cover but I figured “it was the rock and roll thing to do”-(although I still don’t think it is an “appropriate” cover). Anyway getting over the artwork of the album, when I slipped in the disc I was thinking to myself-“wow what happened here?”-this was like a 360 degree turn from the first two albums and if I am being honest, at first I did not get it or like it. (It wasn’t until a few more years later that it became my most favorite Crowe disc). During this same time period I had married my beautiful bride and you know me- I always try to “encourage” the people around me to engage in the bands that I love (hey I have been doing it to all of you reading this each week for more than two years now, right?) and the Black Crowes were right there in the thick of our relationship, so I had to take her with me as I ventured to see them for the first time live at the Beacon Theater. (On a side note, this was the old and quickly deteriorating Beacon-not the beautiful remade model it is now).

When the Black Crowes hit the stage that night, they “exploded” with such energy and extreme “tightness” as the band could do no wrong with the first three songs being exactly as it sounded when it was recorded in the studio. And then it happened, every song from that point forward sort of became a “jam” and the “energy” seemingly disappeared right then and there. Thinking about it now, it really was the last time that they were the “Rolling Stones” with an edge and became the “Allman Brothers” in the sense that many of their songs lasted “well into the night.” Now there is nothing wrong with that-I have probably seen the Allman Brothers in concert more than any other band and am now taking my oldest son to see them this coming March 11. But when you are expecting the “Stones” approach and you get the “jam band” special, it turned into one long night as my lovely bride was drained, I could see it. She loved the beginning just as I did but the long drawn out songs were just too much for her to take and honestly for me, and from that point forward I had to “re-adjust” my relationship with the Black Crowes.

As the early 1990’s became the mid–to-late‘90’s, I started to drift away from The Crowes as the allure of grunge had finally wrapped its grip around me and I was into it full throttle. (And they were knee deep in touring and making music with the legendary Jimmy Page). Now I never stopped liking the Crowes, I knew that they had put out new albums (“Lions,” “Three Snakes and One Charm,” etc.) but at that time I never purchased them. And then it happened-the band broke up. Of course I was so upset as I couldn’t believe I wasn’t going to get a chance to see them live again-I know what you are thinking-I had “given up on them” and didn’t follow them during the mid to late 1990’s, so why would I be upset? My response would be-“You don’t know what you have until you lose it.” Those words rung so true.

Fast forward to the early 2000’s, while working at MBIA, I heard the great news that they were getting back together and I believe it was a return to Hammerstein Ballroom for a three or four night stint that was announced. I knew I was going and checked around to see if there was any interest and there was none, now you know that never has stopped me so I bought one ticket and trekked into New York City to witness their “triumphed” return. Of course this time I knew what to expect and went into the show the same way I do when I go see The Allman’s-with an open mind because I knew many of the songs to be performed were going to be at least 8-10 minutes long with a lot of jamming guitar solos, piano solos and long endings to the songs. As the show began I could feel the energy and intensity from the crowd and was pumped up. One and a half hours into the show I didn’t recognize one song-I didn’t realize how much I really missed with this band when I went away. But I was loving the show and was writing down song titles so once the show was over I could find out what albums they were from and purchase them. Slowly they started playing songs that I knew and I was blown away-this time I focused on how talented this band really is-the guitarists, the pianist, the drummer and especially the singer. Folks I know by now you are probably sick of me saying it but I wish I could morph into Chris Robinson for one tour (or at least a couple of nights when they play). He is, in my opinion, one of the all-time best “front-men” of any male bands. The music is in him-one can tell just by looking at him upon the stage-it’s like he turns into another being when he is up there. (I quickly think of Angus Young of AC/DC that transforms himself into another stratosphere just like Chris).

Fast forward to the late 2000’s and they release a new album-“Warpaint”- and this album quickly turns into my second favorite album (again I do not profess to know every song or thing about this band). I desperately wanted to see the concert where they performed this album in its entirety but had a conflict in my schedule and could not go. I heard the concert was phenomenal and the show was released as the live version of “War Paint.” They recently put out a double album which they recorded at Levon Helm’s place which was really low key. The rumors-which were confirmed-started again that they were going to take another “hiatus” so their tour at the end of 2010 was supposedly the last one for a while. Now I knew my buddy-Andy- was a huge fan of the Black Crowes and this time I knew I had someone to go with. We watched them tear the night up at the Blender Theater and we were both blown away on how tight they were. Their musicianship is really second to none and Chris did not miss any note, grunt, screech or any other sound-including his spectacular harmonica playing. I walked away that night thinking I had come full circle with this band-here I started in the early ‘90’s loving this band, then kind of “fell off” the bandwagon in the mid to late 1990’s, they split….they have a reunion in the mid 2000’s and I jumped back on the wagon and as the decade ends I see them at their very best. Maybe it’s because I knew it was their last show for a while or maybe they knew it to and put their “all” into it. (Think of a professional athlete in the last year of their contract-that it typically one of their best years’ statistically).

Now I am not going to sit here and tell you I am the biggest fan of the Black Crowes-I can’t because sometimes I jump on and off of their bandwagon but this band has had the skills and talent to keep my attention all these years. I believe in a couple of years they will be eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and in my opinion; they will be a “first ballot” entrant without any doubt. Thank you Black Crowes for making so much great music throughout the years and being a constant in my life. Again I do not know their entire library, (it is so extensive) so I will go with what I know and give you my top ten songs if I were on an island and was told that this was the limit for Black Crowe’s songs-“These are Them:” (Not for anything folks but I had at least 18 songs that I needed to dwindle down to ten)

10.     God’s Got It– Now if you are a big Crowes fan you are probably scratching your head on why I would put a cover on my list of top ten songs with all the songs that these guys have written and composed but every time I tried to knock this tune out of the top ten, it kept winning out in my own personal “battle of the tunes.” The groove in this song is so infectious and you will immediately feel like you are in a gospel church somewhere in the south as the blues will over take you as the beat will have you clapping your hands together and screaming “Alleluia” in no time. This song will forever remind me of my youngest son because he actually put this song on his I-pod (he may have since taken it off) and the way he moved to this song is actually what the Black Crowes intended for people to do when they hear it. The music was in him and I wish I had made a You-Tube video of it because my son was feeling it. He felt it more than I did and believe you me, I am in a different planet when I hear this track. Friggin’ phenomenal.

9.     Cursed Diamond – Sometimes in life you feel like the vibe in this song-a serious tone filled with conviction, passion, pain but a righteousness that makes you feel good all over like you are singing in the pouring rain but you don’t care because you are in a place that you don’t visit to often. I think that this could be the best vocal performance that Chris Robinson has ever done on any recording-listen to this track and tell me he doesn’t put his all into this song? The guitar solo by his brother Rich is so freaking phenomenal and the drumming behind Chris’s vocals are almost too much too take. Right now I am looking up to the skies as the pouring rain has drenched me to the bone but I will continue to hold my heart and sing this powerful song. Awesome!!!

8.     Come On– Seeing them perform this song live is a real treat-especially if they stay close to the original recording-(if you don’t know they put a spin on all their songs in some way-it usually is never like the original recording). If you don’t know the Black Crowes too well you probably think they are always mellow but they always know how to rock with the best of them and this song proves it. There is no other way to listen to this song but LOUD!!! The funky fresh groove will have you dancing in circles in no time, dancing like it was the 1960’s-I don’t know why but I picture the old “Laugh In” show where all the people would be dancing with all those psychedelic colors. (You see what their songs do to you?). They sort of have a “rap” thing going on as they have a telephone ringing in the background as the percussion is making your body twist and turn like never before. “Come and get some…yeah come on and git some…” I say this all the time around the house and told my boys that this is the song that I took it from. When they heard it, they were laughing.

7.     Gone –If you remember when I did the review for “Amorica” a while back I stated that this song could have the best beginning of any song ever recorded-I still say that. Before Chris starts to sing-“Save Me…Save Me…”-I have to rewind the song and listen to it over and over again. This is like the best groove ever and I am moving my arms like I am coming out of a bottle-lie “Jeannie.” I really feel like the song is injected into my system and I let the music flow through my veins and I let it take me where it wants. I am still wailing my arms like I am holding snakes (I’m petrified of snakes…) or better yet-it is like I am an octopus who is dancing-yes that’s how I would describe this song-put a pair of headphones on an octopus and I guarantee every arm would move in different directions. This song is freaking phenomenal.

6.     Good Friday – For some reason I always think of the S&P men’s softball team because every “Good Friday” we used to hold our first practice of the season. Anyway you remember when I said that “Cursed Diamond” was the best vocal performance by Chris? Well this could be his second all-time best song while behind the microphone. I love the way he “accentuates” certain words throughout the song-for instance-“I know this will be awkward…cause soon you’ll have…”-with emphasis on “know” and “soon”-if you know this song then you know exactly what I am talking about. When they played this at the Best Buy Theater when Andy and I went to see them-I was in my glory because I wanted to hear it live because there have been so many times I sing this song aloud in my car and I wanted the opportunity to sing along with Chris and the rest of the audience. “I will not forget you…nor will I accept the blame…I will see you on Good Friday…on Good Friday..” Spectacular song.

5.     By Your Side – If someone were to ask me to name one song that would define the Black Crowes, this song just may have to be my answer. There is rock and roll, R&B and blues which are intertwined to create one of their best songs-in my opinion. The best and I mean the best part of this song for me is the background vocalists who do the lovely “Ooohhh’s” throughout the tune. The Black Crowes are infamous for having the R&B female singers on many of their songs and if you just focus on their part, well watch out. Now of course the boys do a great job as Chris is just plain out of sight with his vocal prowess and the heavy guitar riff towards the end of the song actually lifts me off the ground. “I’m gonna be right there for you baby!!” The song ends with the obligatory hand-claps so you know how I feel about them. Freaking awesome tune.

4.     Twice As Hard –“They had me on the opening guitar riff.” (“Jerry Maguire”). Whew how awesome is this song??!!! This song makes my lips scrunch towards my nose (my brother, who is one year younger than me, would always say that was the face I made when I really liked a song) and I immediately am psyched to a level “10.” Chris’s vocals are nothing short of spectacular and when they are elected into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015, this is the song that should be played in the background as the members get out of their seat to head up stage to make their acceptance speech. In my opinion, this was their best song off of their debut and has stood the test of time. I’d put this song up to any rock and roll song as I think it can go “toe-to-toe” with the best of them. How can anyone not sing along to this song? “Twi…eye…eye…ice as hard as it was the first time I said goodbye…” I friggin’ love this song!!! \m/ \m/

3.      Wiser Time – I told you a while back that “Amorica” is my most favorite album by the Black Crowes and this is the “masterpiece” of that recording. I can’t put into words how phenomenal this song is. “And on a good day…I know it every day…and on a bad day…I know it ain’t every day…” Folks this was recorded in 1994 when the world was knee deep into “grunge” and if you do not know this song…well shame on you. This is a throw back to when “they used to write songs” like this. The organ solo is so righteous and when the guitar solo comes in, you will feel like you are flying and as it continues you can pick your own destination as you will fly high and far. Chris Robinson’s vocals are out of sight. They played this song at the Best Buy Theater a few months ago and I was in my glory. Songs like this are the reason I live for music, this is “first-rate” material.

2.   Remedy –As I mentioned above the first time I heard this song I was immediately hooked and forever thought that this would always be my most favorite Black Crowes songs of all time (until the next song was released a few years ago). The groove in this song has to rank up there in the history of rock and roll as one of the best ones ever created-it is impossible to not dance around to, not sing along to and to not like. Please don’t even try and say this song isn’t great-you will just get-“talk to the hand!!!” I feel like I am possessed when I hear this song as I imagine myself as Chris in the studio with the headphones over my ears as I sing upwards into the microphone and try to match his passion-“who killed that bird upon your window siiillll?…if I come on like a dream…oooh will you let it glide?” As the female background singers break in I completely am out of my mind dancing around in a circle with my lips scrunched up against my nose again. The guitar solo is virtuous and by this time I am on another planet and then when it turns towards the percussion sounds as Chris awaits to wail and screech I wonder why I couldn’t write a song like this. Only Chris can do the –“I need a remedy…re…remed…re…re…”- I can’t even write it, never mind trying to sing it-I don’t think anyone in the world can do that besides him. You can’t teach that-it’s the music in him that just pours out. I am completely awestruck. ‘Nuff said. 

1.     There’s Gold in Them Hills– Ok, so you’re asking how can this be my favorite Black Crowes song? I know my boys and my wife always ask the same question. This song always stops me in my tracks, I completely freeze and listen with such intent it really is polarizing for me. This is the most beautiful song I think I have ever heard, it is so tranquil and I picture snow falling lightly on a hill with someone walking a horse across the plain looking for gold in them hills. My younger brother once said-“who writes songs about gold in them hills in the 21st Century?”-and my answer will always be-“The Black Crowes.” I think I have listened to this song more now than any other Black Crowes song and this was released in 2009. (Think about how many times you have heard-“Hard to Handle” since 1990….well I have listened to this song more times than that). In my opinion, this is their ultimate masterpiece and nothing will ever change that. I can literally listen to this song all day long… all week long…all month long…all year long.

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Dee Snider

2.     Jackson Browne

3.     Sheryl Crow

4.     Tommy Shaw

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     I passed away way too young but while I was around I made some really cool songs that some thought were irresistible. I was real popular before MTV and also when MTV was at the height of its popularity. My video with those tall women playing guitar is still talked about today. Who am I?

2.     I am in a band but I also have a very successful solo career. My band had a few albums out in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s but when I hooked up with Carlos Santana for a song it made me more popular, along with my band. Who am I?

3.     We had one of the most popular “one hit” wonders of all time and we made it in the 1960’s and were part of the “hippie” scene. Our song was made with sounds from our voices (like they did in the 1950’s) with “Uuuhhs” and “CChhh’s” You would most likely hear this song in the warm months of the year. Who are we?

4.     I replaced a legendary bass player in one of the most successful metal bands of all time after he was killed in a bus crash. I played with this band for years, begrudgingly through the “pop” years and for some reason I couldn’t do side projects while two of my bandmates couldn’t get along as we were headed for certain breakup. I left the band and later took part in a reality music show as we looked for a singer for our star studded band. Who am I?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week: (Nice Job Charlie)

1.     Everybody Wants to Rule the World – Tears for Fears

2.     London Calling – The Clash

3.     Jet City WomanQueensryche

4.     Rainy Days and Mondays – The Carpenters

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

1.     “…and maybe you can cry all night…but that’ll never change the way that I feel…the snow is really piling up outside…”

2.     “…say your prayers little one…don’t forget my son to include everyone…I tucked you in…”

3.     “…down in Jamaica they got…lots of pretty women…steal your money then they break your heart…”

4.     “…now you can tear a building down…but you can’t erase a memory…these houses may look all run down…”

Back on this Day

Sadly back on this day in 1983, Karen Carpenter, died of a heart attack at the very young age of 32. As you should all by now she is my most favorite female singer, very sad day.

Back on this day in 1968, John Lennon and Paul McCartney were recording “Across the Universe” and decided they needed falsetto harmonies so they supposedly invited two women into the studio to sing with them.

Back on this day in 1977, Fleetwood Mac released the landmark album-“Rumors”- which went on to sell 19 million copies in the U.S. alone.

Back on this day in 1977, American Bandstand celebrated its 25th anniversary and Stevie Wonder, Chuck Berry, Gregg Allman and Bo Didley were some of the guests on that show.

Back on this day in 1989, Guns & Roses became the first band in more than 15 years to have two albums in the top 5 of the Billboard 200 with “Appetite” and “Lies.”

Back on this day in 2004, Art Garfunkel plead guilty for possession of marijuana in Hurley, NY after being pulled over for speeding the month before and was found in his jacket.

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with Alice Cooper, Phil Ehart (Kansas), Jerry Shirley (Humble Pie), and John Steel (The Animals).

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