Errols Weekly Music Update.

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.

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2 Comments »

  1. Great write up this week. Please tell your son he did a great job.
    Hope all is well.

    Rosanna

    Comment by Rosanna — February 15, 2011 @ 12:40 pm

  2. Excellent job. I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

    Comment by chosencoupon — July 22, 2011 @ 4:24 pm


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