Errols Weekly Music Update.

April 29, 2011

Weekly Update – 04/29/2011

Dave Matthews Band at Governor’s Island on Aug. 26 – 28. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00. It looks like it’s being sold as a three day pass. $195. Payments will be broken into three parts at $65 each. Payment one is when you purchase tickets. Payments 2 and 3 will be June 15 and July 1. (credit card will be charged).

KISS at the Mt. Laurel Pocono Mountain Performing Arts Center (Bushkill, PA) on Wed. July 13. Tickets on sale now. $66.50, $96.50 and $122.50.

Lynyrd Skynyrd at Jones Beach on Thurs. Aug. 18 and at PNC Bank Arts Center on Sun. Aug. 21. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. Jones: $30 and $107.80; PNC- $26, $58.50, $75 and $107.70

Queensryche at Irving Plaza on Fri. July 29. (30th anniversary tour). Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $52.

Scott Weiland at the Gramercy Theater on Tues. May 17. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $35.25.

Britney Spears with Nicki Minaj at the Nassau Coliseum on Tues. Aug. 2 and Izod Center on Fri. Aug. 5. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. Nassau:$116.05, $193.40 and $372.75; Izod: $36.80, $70.55, $189.95 and $369.35. (more than $300 for Spears? What am I missing?)

Sara Bareilles at the Rumsey Playfield (Central Park) on Wed. Aug. 31. Tickets on sale today at noon. $38 ($44 day of show).

James Blake at Webster Hall on Wed. July 13. Tickets on sale now. $25 (tickets can only be picked up at the “will call” window).

Kings of Leon at the Comcast Theater in Hartford CT on Sat. Aug. 13. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $33, $39, $52.35 and $74.

Sonic Youth at the Williamsburg Waterfront on Fri. Aug. 12. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $40.15

Dolly Parton at the Oakdale Theater in Wallingford CT on Sat. July 30. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $62.35 and $84.25

Lee Dewyze at the Gramercy Theater on Wed. June 29. Tickets on sale today at noon. $27.

Other items:

Thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Phoebe Snow who passed away on Tuesday from a brain hemorrhage at the young age of 60. This is very sad. Last year, the CBS Sunday Morning show (9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.) did a segment on her and the one thing that I took from it was that she was an unbelievable mother who took care of her disabled daughter (who also passed away in 2007 at 31) with such love and affection. She’s most known for her smash hit-“Poetry Man”- but made so many albums and songs along the way but her daughter was top priority. She had performed with countless other artists through the years and appeared so genuine. May you rest in peace Phoebe.

Well wishes go out to Richie Sambora, guitarist for Bon Jovi, as he has checked himself into rehab for exhaustion and sobriety issues. He has been on tour with Bon Jovi and now needs some time to regroup. Their tour starts up again in Europe in June and the band has stated that they fully support Richie and will do whatever it takes to get him through rehab. Get well Richie!!

The Beastie Boys released a video for their new single-“Make Some Noise”- and it contains many TV stars. I don’t get the breaking into a store by throwing a garbage can through a window but I have to admit that I watched the entire video so it must have grabbed my attention. Their new album-“ Hot Sauce Committee Part. 2” comes out this Tuesday May 3. Check out the video here

Green Day helped close their Broadway play –“American Idiot”- this past Sunday night by playing for an hour for the fans who showed up to the St. James Theater. Tickets sales slipped once Billie Joe Armstrong announced he was leaving the cast back in January. He came back earlier this month but the show had run its course. The actors drank beers with Green Day on stage after they performed.

Steven Tyler will release his first solo single-“Feels So Good”- on May 10 on I-Tunes. You can go to to hear a 30 second sample of the song. It has a “pop” feel to it but I think it just might be the surprise hit of the summer. You can also obtain it this coming Tues. May 3 if you buy his autobiography-“Does the Noise Inside My Head Bother You?”-the song comes with the book.

I had a funny feeling that Casey Abrahams was going to be eliminated last night from American Idol and in my opinion it was due to the fact that he was “growling” or “grunting” as Jimmy Iovine pointed out. I still say Jacob Lusk should have been voted off but for some reason he keeps getting through. My prediction is the three left standing will be the two women (Haley Reinhart and Lauren Alaina) and James Durbin. Mr. Durbin showed everyone on Wednesday night that he is not just a “heavy metal” singer by doing a masterful take on “Will You Still Love Me” written by Carole King.

Have I mentioned how good the new Foo Fighter’s album-“Wasting Light” is? I can’t stop listening to it. The album flows so nicely and every song is good and they just keep getting better. Rolling Stone magazine gave it four stars. Don’t have it yet? What are you waiting for??!!!!

Artist Profile – Marvin Gaye

The Best of Marvin Gaye (Motown Anthology Series)

Today marks the third anniversary of when I started this “blog” (prior to that time I just sent e-mails to a couple of friends for about a year and a half) commencing the urgings of family and friends and as one can tell, I have a passion for music. Even though my younger son thinks I don’t write about “relevant” artists from today’s era, I think I have written about more than a few genres but admittedly one can recognize that I am partial to classic rock and hard rock/ metal. But I am a big fan of classic R&B-not as deep as the “die-hard”-and my first “posting” three years ago included a review of Marvin Gaye’s landmark album-“What’s Going On?” Then a year ago today, I posted my favorite top ten songs by Marvin Gaye. Hence in my mind, I had to continue the tradition of writing about this “once in a lifetime artist.” This year I decided to render an artist profile and look to identify songs that you may already know but is worth repeating because it is never a bad thing to keep Marvin Gaye in the conversation.

The question always remains-“What If?”- can you imagine if Marvin was still around today? What do you think he would be doing? My guess is that he would be collaborating with the “relevant” artists of today which would automatically enhance their career but I believe that he would like to grow as an artist himself, while keeping the essence of Marvin intact. If one looks back on his career, you would be hard pressed to find another who progressed as much as he did. Think about it-he was at the forefront of when that classic R&B sound was coming out of “Hit Town.” (Remember he was a drummer for Smokey). I would say he defined Motown but I recognize there are many others to be included in that conversation. To this day, I can not think of a better duet combination than him and Tammi Terrell. I defy anyone to find any other couple that made better songs. He was devastated for years after she passed away and in my opinion that elevated him to another level as a human more than any music that he would create. By the late 1960’and early 1970’s his music had a significant social impact on millions of people across this nation during those turbulent times. He was a man of character and passion who would not be denied as he held his ground to what he wanted released on his terms. And how that could have been an issue I will never understand. Then during the 1970’s he took R&B to a whole other level while driving women out of their mind with his appeal.

Rolling Stone Magazine released a “special collectors edition” recently which depicted the top 100 artists of all time and Marvin landed at number 18. At this point it doesn’t really matter where he is slated because at least he is closer to one than he is to one hundred. (with no disrespect intended to those listed from 50 onward up). Smokey Robinson wrote a piece on what Marvin meant to him and as usual he comes straight from the heart and soul. He speaks of Marvin always being late for when he was supposed to be in the recording studio but he didn’t mind because some things are worth the wait. Smokey stated that he “Marvinized” the songs they worked on and at the very end of his piece, he said that sadly he is still waiting for Marvin. So is everyone else, right?

There are super talents that we come across in life that astound us to the point where we realize while they are still with us that they are different from all the rest. And sometimes legacies loom larger once they leave this earth but in this case, we all knew how special he was while he was with us. For those of you who are younger and really don’t know his music too much, please make it a priority to let his music permeate within your soul like it does in the rest of us. Here are some songs that I absolutely love by this once in a lifetime artist.

Got to Give It Up, Part 1 – When is the last time you have heard this song? I totally forgot about this track until I heard it on the oldies radio station and immediately went and purchased it. So much going on in this song in the background reminiscent of a summer block party on the streets of NYC, lots of people talking, laughing as the kids play. What a groove, unbelievably infectious as you will begin to clap your hands and “keep on dancing” until the track is over but it is so good, you hit the rewind button.

Pride and Joy – Is this Motown or what? Wow what a song!! Love the background vocals from the ladies as Marvin does his “Marvin-ism” and completely nails this track with his extraordinary voice. This is a finger snapping tune that never loses its appeal-it sounds like it was recorded last week. My only complaint is that it is too short.

His Eyes Are On The Sparrow – Marvin could sing any type of genre of music and as Smokey points out, Marvin used to say that the music was from God and he was his instrument to “tell the world” all about him. In this gospel classic, he will bring you to your knees as you might have an outer body experience due to his angelic vocals. Angelic but powerful as the build-up is incredible. The piano work again is something to behold. Stunning song and nothing short of an epic.

You – Unbelievable track-listen to his passion as he makes you feel like you are on top of a mountain in the pouring rain as you plead for that someone special to realize that you need them more than anything else in this world. If you feel it then it must be real, right? Marvin had this way of pulling you into every picture he was drawing with his lyrics, he put you right where he was and there is no turning back. What a great song!!! “You…You I see…in my mirror in the morning…staring to see me…”

Too Busy Thinking About My Baby – Listen to the lyrics and tell me this isn’t one of the greatest love songs ever written. The lyrics speak to a true devotion to that someone special in your life-your soul mate. Marvin puts his soul into this effort so if you want to tell that someone special how you feel-learn the words, put this track on and lip sync with the fervor that he puts into it. If that doesn’t impress, then I don’t know what will. Awesome tune.

Flying High (In the Friendly Sky) – Talk about angelic? Marvin told Smokey that “What’s Going On” was God’s words through him serving as an instrument and I think this song epitomizes that thought. Even though the lyrics state that he never leaves the ground, you just might because if you let the song take you away, the drifting will begin in no time. When something means so much to you the result is what you have here-something that can never be matched-listen to his voice. No one can teach that…it’s just Marvin.

Let’s Get It On – The opening notes to this song is so recognizable, I would bet that 99% of the population knows this song. Now it deals with an adult subject that I usually don’t like to write about but I can not ignore this song, it really is a masterpiece. The arrangement is spectacular and no one sings it like him. This should be one of those songs that should never be re-recorded by anyone. I remember when I worked with my uncle in a meat warehouse in Brooklyn when I was a teenager and this song would come on WBLS; all the butchers would stop what they were doing and in unison take their long knives as make believe microphones and sing in front of the entire store-“I’ve been really trying baby…trying to hold back these feelings for so long…” Those were the days!!!

Your Precious Love – This reminds me of the old “doo wop” type of songs that I was raised on. Like I stated up above, there is no duo that sing songs like Marvin & Tammi and in my opinion no one has ever or will ever come close. There is a certain magic between the two of them that is hard to describe-they were made to sing with each other. When you see the clips of them singing these songs together it brings a tear to the eye. Nothing comes close, spectacular duo.

If This World Were Mine – Keeping with the same theme between the both of them, this song is breathtaking. One can hear the pureness, the “simple-ness” and the overall greatness. It really is stunning to go back and listen to these wonderful songs. You need to own these.

What You Gave Me – I think I could go on and on with the spectacular songs that Tammi did with Marvin. Their harmonization is second to none. They just had this way of putting a smile on your face, seems like everything they did just turned to gold and that was no accident. Folks these songs can never be replicated and need to be in your musical library.

Workout Songs

Spin Coach (Coached Spinning / Cycling Workout Music Mix) (Interval-based Hill Ride With Master Instructor Gregg Cook)

For the last two weeks I have given you songs that I think are useful for boot camp classes or if you are working out alone and need some motivation in the form of music to get you moving. This week I will focus on tunes that I have utilized for Spin classes. As I have mentioned numerous times, Chris, our MBIA instructor for more than a couple of years, was nice enough to let me create some set lists for his class. And before him, I did the same thing for Meagan. As a matter of fact, Meagan has many of the discs that I created for her spin classes when she moved on from MBIA. And like I said a few weeks ago when my old computer died, I lost all my Spin class collections. So for this week I will try and create a set list that I think could be used for a 45 minute or 60 minute class. (take a song or two out for the 45 minute class). I typically like to start it off with some speed so that one can climb that hill and then come down but then head back up that mountain again. So here is a set list that I think can be useful for your next Spin workout.

Price Tag – Jessie J – I need to thank my younger son who is the “pop” connoisseur in our family and when he played this song on a recent road trip I was immediately impressed. And even though I haven’t done a Spin class in a long time, I said to myself that this is a perfect song to start off a Spin class because it has a nice groove that will make the stretching lots of fun as “everyone look to the left…everybody look to the right.” It is a nice easy beat to get the legs moving and if there is a nice stereo system in the room I think everyone will like this song. (3:42)

Born This Way – Lady Gaga – Again thanks to my younger son because he introduces the rest of us to the latest stuff out there that makes everyone move and since there really is no “salty” language that I can pick out, I think this is a good song to start out the long bike ride, not too fast but not that slow-almost continuing that warm-up phase but as an instructor you can get your class to pick it up at any point so jump off that bike like Chris and get your class moving. (4:20)

Instant ReplayDan Hartman – Ok by now the juices should be flowing and with this song one can really pick up the pace while still be enjoying the ride-but don’t sing out loud because that will be an indication to the instructor that you are not giving it your all and he or she will turn up the resistance while still imploring you to keep up that pace you were on with the lower resistance. C’mon pick up the pace and the resistance-don’t cheat yourself!!! (5:20)

I Stole Your LoveKiss – Ok so we are not going at break-neck speed yet (that comes later on in the class) but this song has some giddy-up as one can see the hill coming up which is about three minutes away so you need to pick up the pace so that you can get up the beginning of the hill with no problem before the resistance really starts to limit your mobility. By the way- I love this song!!! (3:05)

The Jean GenieDavid Bowie – The instructor can have some real fun with this song as the pace starts to slow down-but not by much- and he or she could make the class get up and do those “up & down” exercises where you want to scream out for them to make up their mind-“Do you want us in the seat or up off the seat??!!!” This is my all-time favorite Bowie song-so great. (4:08)

Victim of LoveThe Eagles – Ok now it is time to start to turn that resistance to a real seven and make this a hill climb that is worthy of your time and energy. By now you are really starting to sweat but the tunes are so good (well I think so) it becomes your lifeline as you know the next song is going to be even slower. This is one of the Eagles “hidden” classics that never really gets talked about in my opinion. (4:10)

Life’s Been GoodJoe Walsh- Ok get ready for a long mountain climb for over eight minutes but again the instructor can have some fun with this track as well because they can make you get out of your seat as many times as they want as you struggle up that hill/mountain and everyone can sing along-“life’s been good to me so far!!!” The cool thing about this song is that at certain points it becomes so slow and you can have the resistance up to a real 10 as you can see the top of the mountain while you are dripping in sweat. Instructor’s get off your bike and turn up their resistance now!!! (8:04)

On The FloorJennifer Lopez – Ok the groove starts to open up as you want to get off your bike and start to dance but don’t do that-stay on the bike and start to pedal down the hill at a nice pace. Instructors, you can still keep the class at a six or seven but if you want to give them a break, you could use this song for a five or four resistance. Jennifer has revitalized her career by turning around American Idol (along with Steven and Randy) and this song is a continuation of her comeback. Peddle away!! (3:50)

Back and ForthFoo Fighters – The Foo Fighter’s new album-“Wasting Light”- is fantastic and you really can’t go wrong with any track as far as a workout song-this tune has some “giddy-up” and the chorus is very addictive as the legs start turning a little faster waiting for that all out sprint coming up soon. Again this song can be used as a six or seven for resistance or at a four or five to start picking up the pace. The Foo’s are great and you will realize that as you spin along. (3:52)

All I WantThe Offspring – Ok here it is, the all out sprint. For less than two minutes you need to turn those legs as fast as you can to match the fervor of this blazing song. I know its tough but you can do it. Sprint- go!!! This is a crazy song but I know you can do it…breath you are almost there…yes now you can catch your breath as you start the climb again. (1:54)

SecretsOne Republic – The beginning gives you some time to catch your breath as you start to catch some air as the pace comes down but not to the point where you think the class is over (although to some this may be a “cool down” song). I think this gives you the breathing room you were looking for but again you are starting to climb back up the hill again. Great song. (3:44)

Silver SpringsFleetwood Mac – I remember some instructor using this at a class in Danbury CT and I was thinking that it was not a good song at all but he turned into such a mountain climb that by the end of the track, it convinced me that this is one of the best “hill climbs” ever. If you give this song a chance, I believe you will feel the same way. This is a “nine” or “ten” resistance for the entire five minutes plus. The dramatic build-up is fantastic. (5:24)

Mr. Big StuffJean Knight – Ahh the cool down song. You were waiting for it and now it is here, so just shake those legs out and start the stretching process. And if you can sing along to it, please do-you have earned it!!! “Oh Oh Yeah!!!” “Who do you think you are??!!” (2:44)

Smoke Gets in Your EyesThe Platters – For those who need some more time to wind down and stretch next to your bike, what better way to do it than with this ever lasting classic that everyone should know and love. How does he sing this song like he does? (2:37)

Marry MeTrain – Wow as you wipe down your bike and yourself, you will listen to this beautiful song and ask why haven’t I heard this more often? This band is now longer a one hit wonder-they make some of the most beautiful songs out there. This is the ultimate cool down song. (3:25)

Top Ten


This week’s I-pod shuffle landed on “In and Out of Love” by The Supremes and it had me thinking about the importance of this unbelievable “girl” group that emerged during the 1960’s (along with so many other girl groups) and I told myself that it was about time to pay homage to one of the most influential women’s acts of all-time. Now of course we all know about the legendary Diana Ross but my focus today is on the Supremes as a total unit as opposed to just focusing on Diana. I believe that there is (was) still some “hard feelings” between the original and succeeding members of the Supremes and my assumption is these sentiments rose to the surface due to the group being referred to as “Diana Ross & The Supremes,” instead of just “The Supremes.” I have always had a soft spot for the “Andy Summers” and “Stuart Copeland’s” of the music world who were kind of left behind as the “I” in team became the focus for St-“I”-ng to make his departure. (I shouldn’t be so crude for I do not know what really happened with the break-up of the Police). The same applies here, I don’t know what really has transpired between the members but suffice to say I do lean towards Mary Wilson’s side but I can’t ignore one of the most recognizable voices in all of rhythm & blues, Ms. Diana Ross.

Anyway, I am here to focus on the positive side of things which is their beautiful harmonies that created some of the most memorable songs in the history of music. Think about the revolution that these girl groups started during the 1960’s? Remove any thoughts of any type of replication because this massive explosion of creativity amongst these legendary woman groups was a “once in a lifetime” phenomenon and The Supremes have to be considered as one of the elite members of this movement.

Now of course I have to thank my father and mother for bringing the music of the Supremes into my life (as well as so many other artists, genres, etc.) as I had an almost daily dose of their melodic tunes. There is something so special about their songs, (not just because they proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that they could compete with the boys), which brings me back to memories of “the good old days.” I think back to the holidays spent with family members that have been gone for sometime now or just a period where times seemed more pure and innocent-even though the 1960’s were so turbulent. As with Simon & Garfunkel, the Supremes music had this way of making you “escape” from all the hard times that were going on in the world. And even though these songs were made some time ago, one can hear the sparkle in their songs as if they were just recorded this past year. So here it is I am on an island and have been informed that I can only have ten songs by The Supremes-“These are Them:”

10.     Stop! In the Name of Love – This almost didn’t make my top ten list but as I battled the other songs in contention, it kept winning out. I know I have heard this song probably as much as any other recorded song in the history of music but again that is what happens when greatness occurs. If you listen closely you can hear the bass guitar throughout thumping its way through very subtly but the song wouldn’t be the same without it. Ms. Ross lead vocals are angelic and the background vocals are heavenly as well. This song was a staple at many parties that my parents through and I can picture my Aunt Carol singing with such passion. Think about how many times you have heard this song performed by other artists or done by a television sitcom series. Love the way Diana says the word “where.”

9.       Love is Here and Now You’re Gone – You know AC/DC gets ridiculed because of having the word “rock” in various forms for many of their song titles (rock and roll, rocking, rocker, etc.) but they are not the only band/artists to do this. I would venture that approximately 60%-70% of the song titles from The Supremes contain the word “love” and there would be nothing wrong with that. Many songs speak of heartache and this song epitomizes this sentiment. Love when there is just the talking part-“You close the door to your heart and you turned the key, locked your love away from me.” C’mon folks “they don’t write/sing songs like this anymore”-this is pure gold. Great song.

8.       The Happening – They had me on the opening lyrics-“hey life, look at me, I can see the reality, it shook me and took me out of my world”-and the melody is so infectious. This is a “hand clapping” or “dance around the room” type of song that you can not get enough of. I was singing, humming and whistling this song all day long this past Tuesday-“it happened to me and it can happen to you.” Again even though it is an upbeat song it speaks to how love was there one day and the next day it was gone but as we all know, we grow from the experience. “I saw the light!!”

7.       Love Child – For some reason whenever I hear this song I always think that it is a Marvin Gaye song because the melody sounds like something that he would have performed. This is pure R&B with a real story line that affected many of us out there. Don’t you just love the background vocals that “shout” out words like “scorned” or “different from?” It is very hard not to sing along to their songs, I would say close to near impossible. The guitar work on this song flows nicely and gives it the flavor as the women make the rest of the song very sweet-as usual.

6.       Baby Love – Just like the promo for CBS FM radio states-“And the hits just keep on coming”-so true for this group as this is probably one of their most popular songs. Again one can not help but sing along to these great songs. If you listen to the very beginning of the tune I am convinced that Amy Winehouse “sampled” it for her title track on “Back to Black”-sounds eerily similar. This song reminds me of my Aunt Carol when she would sit with my mom at the kitchen table having a cup of coffee and belting out tunes like this. Classic tune!!

5.       Back in My Arms Again – Don’t you just love the opening vocal note-“Oooohhh?” Ahh the “bee-hive” hairdo’s-weren’t they the best? Before you snicker or make fun, my mom and two Aunts utilized this look and made it work. Love the background vocals on this tune as the consistent finger snapping tune has to make you want to dance with your significant other. Great house party song!!!

4.      Reflections – Love the beginning of this song-it’s like “psychedelic R&B”-again reminiscent of Marvin Gaye (the “later in his career” Marvin). This is a perfect song as even the lyrics take you back in time-“reflections of…the way life used to be”-although in my context I think of happier times as opposed to the hurt that is expressed by Diana from a “love that used to be.”The chorus is addictive and I am surprised that the contestants on American Idol don’t perform more songs by The Supremes, this would be a nice song to try and replicate. Songs that make you “reflect” are the songs that I like best.

3.      Where Did Our Love Go – If I had to pick songs that defined the 1960’s, this would definitely land in the top 25 songs of that unbelievable decade of music. “Baby, don’t leave me…ooh please don’t leave me all by myself..” C’mon-everyone-“Where did our love go? Don’t you want me no more?” The arrangement of this song is priceless and this could be one of the best vocal performances by any girl group. Where does this song take you? If you are old enough-where were you in your life when it was released? Brings back some good memories, right?!

2.       I’m Livin’ in Shame – Listen to these lyrics to this song-it gets to me every time I hear it as it conjures up feelings of embarrassment, sorrow, pride, love and disbelief. The disbelief for me is how one could feel embarrassed by their mother? From the story told, her mother worked her fingers to the bone to make a better life for her daughter but because of the way she dressed fear set in that her uptown friends would see her. It’s sad but my reasoning she felt that way about her mother was because she was young and didn’t know better. As I have been saying for some time on this page, I made many “mistakes” because of my young age and as I grow older I see things in a different light. I know she loved her mom but she didn’t get to see her before she died and now she is living in shame and asking for forgiveness. Heartbreaking tale to an unbelievable song.

1.       Someday We’ll Be Together – This has to be considered one of the best songs ever created. I listen in complete awe when this song comes on the radio or my I-pod shuffle. This is far and above my most favorite Supremes song and you can probably guess why. Yes because I am convinced that someday I will be together again with my mother and when that day comes I am going to hug her and not let go. And then I think of others that I will see-my grandmother’s, my Aunt Carol, my great aunt Sarah, Mr. Fagan and Uncle Lenny. I consider this one of the most beautiful songs ever recorded and it’s definitely in my all time top ten songs. Brings tears to the eyes.

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Meatloaf

2.     Cheap Trick (Nice job Chris)

3.     Harry Connick Jr.

4.     The Donnas

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     I am an extraordinary guitarist who has produced many quality albums that were all instrumental but I did provide my own vocals on an album that I released in 1989. It has just been announced that I will be the opener for Metallica when they crash Quebec City. Who am I?

2.     I was probably the most influential woman vocalist for the genre of Country music but died at a very young age from a plane crash. Who am I?

3.     I recorded a one hit wonder during the 1970’s for which the song is still well known throughout the world even today. My name is very close-as far as the lettering- to the man who always dressed in black. Who am I?

4.     We were a popular band in the 1980’s and we did have some hits but most people would probably say we had one “monster” hit. This song is always played at weddings and anyone in the 40’s will run to the dance floor once they hear it, while the younger generation will roll their eyes. All of the 40 year olds will be dancing in a circle yelling “Hey!!” What is the name of our band and what song is referenced?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     Moving In Stereo – The Cars

2.     Nights in White Satin – The Moody Blues

3.     We Got The Beat – The Go Go’s

4.     Grazing in the Grass – The Friends of Distinction

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

1.     “…woke up this morning feelin’ fine…there’s something special on my mind…last night I met a new girl in the neighborhood…”

2.     “…bye bye baby it’s been sweet love…yeah yeah…oh this feeling I can’t change….but please don’t take it so badly…”

3.     “…I remember standing on the corner at midnight…trying to get my courage up…there was this long lovely dancer…”

4.     “…Wohohhh…here it comes…that funny feeling again winding me up inside…every time we touch…hey I don’t know…”

Back on this Day

Sadly back on this day in 1993, Mick Ronson, guitarist for David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed and Ian Hunter passed away at the young age of 46 from liver cancer.

Back on this day in 1972, John Lennon & Yoko Ono received support from then NY Mayor-John Lindsay- to stay in the U.S.

Back on this day in 1976, Bruce Springsteen was caught by guards at Graceland, home of his idol-Elvis- as he was trying to climb the fence to get in.

Back on this day in 1988, Eric Clapton was served with divorce papers from Patti Boyd as she accused him of infidelity with an Italian actress.

Back on this day in 1989, Jon Bon Jovi married his high school sweetheart-Dorothy Hurley- and today marks 22 years. Congratulations Jon and Dorothy!

Back on this day in 1993, Gilby Clarke broke his wrist in a motorcycle accident and Guns & Roses had to postpone four shows.

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with Tommy James.


April 22, 2011

Weekly Update – 04/22/2011

Gladys Knight at the Beacon Theater on Thurs. May 5. Tickets on sale now. $79, $101.50 and $143.20.

Sully Erna at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Thurs. May 19. Let’s try it again this Friday-Tickets on sale today at 10:00 a.m. $48.50.

Jennifer Hudson at the Beacon Theater on Wed. July 6. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $73.35 and $121.45.

BB King, Buddy Guy & J. Geils Band at Jones Beach on Sat. Aug. 27. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $44.85 and $171. Also appearing at the PNC Bank Arts Theater on Sun. Aug. 28. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $17 and $207.25. (I am sorry, I love BB and Buddy but the pricing terms of these shows are outrageous, this is now insane).

Steve Earle at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on Mon. Sept. 12 and at the Town Hall on Tues. Sept. 13. Tickets on sale for the Town Hall this morning at 11:00 a.m. $35 and $50. Tickets on sale for the Music Hall at noon. $40

Animal Collective at the Prospect Park Band Shell on Tues. July 12. Tickets on sale today at noon. $35.

Debbie Gibson and Tiffany at NYCB Theater on Fri. July 29. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $41.50 and $52.

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals at the Central Park Stage on Sat. Sept. 24. Tickets on sale today at noon. $37.50

ZZ Top at the Mt. Laurel Pocono Mountain Performing Arts Center (Bushkill, PA) on Sat. Aug. 20. Tickets on sale now. $46.50, $76.50 and $86.50.

Frankie Valli & The Beach Boys at the Mt. Laurel Pocono Mountain Performing Arts Center (Bushkill, PA) on Thurs. Aug. 25. Tickets on sale now. $46.50, $66.50 and $96.50.

Kenny G and Michael Bolton at the Beacon Theater on Sun. June 19. Tickets on sale now. $58.50, $83.60, $121.45 and $174.70.

Other items:

Ok what is it going to take to finally get Jacob Lusk voted off of American Idol? I didn’t think Stefano Langone was going to win it all but he is definitely a better singer/performer than Lusk. I have to believe next week he is gone. By the way, everyone thought that American Idol would fail once Simon left (including myself) but after this season, I say “Simon who?” This year’s show has been better than any year before. The chemistry between the judges is astounding and Jennifer Lopez has been the best judge they ever had-she keeps it real. Steven Tyler is….well Steven Tyler, doesn’t get any better. Producers of the show are going to figure out a new system for next year to try and correct the bias towards the male singers due to the largely female based voting audience. The girls haven’t had a winner since Jordan Sparks in 2007. Come to think of it, the male winners since that time really haven’t turned out to be superstars. Even last night, with no disrespect to David Cook, but his new single was nothing that stood out. Though I will give Simon credit when he said that Carrie Underwood would be the best American Idol there ever was, he had that right.

Jon Bon Jovi opened a homeless shelter for displaced youths in Philadelphia PA this week. He has been a long time supporter of homeless charities and thinks that failing to support these youths “denies all of us of their talents and visions.” I know I get on Bon Jovi sometimes (the band) but this is a beautiful thing that Jon has done and I applaud him. Thanks Jon!!!

Steven Tyler granted a dying fan’s final wish as he was able to call Lawrence Ori who was in a hospice and Steven was able to talk to him via “Skype.” Ori was a huge fan of Aerosmith and Steven told him that he loved him and was glad to meet him. Sadly a few hours after the call, Lawrence passed away. Nice job Steven!

The Foo Fighter’s had their first number one album that debuted in the top spot of Billboard 200 when they sold 235,000 copies of “Wasting Light.” I told you this album is good-now go out and buy it so they can keep it there another week.

Slash has squashed the rumors that Corey Taylor (Slipknot) will be taking over as the new lead singer of Velvet Revolver. Slash is quoted as saying that “he’s great, I love him but he is not the answer to the Velvet Revolver problem.”

Fans of Twisted Sister set the “DVR” for this Tueday night (technically Wed. morning) as they will be a guest on the Jimmy Fallon show at 12:35 a.m. on April 27.

My favorite “blues/rock & roll/rap” song of the week is “Hillbilly Stomp” by Mr. Kid Rock. I know my friend Slats would absolutely love this song because I can picture him making believe he is a rap star while ripping this song. Now the lyrics are “salty” (including an “F” bomb) so if there are youngsters around, you can not play it. I have it blasting right now because the wife and kids are out of the house-the walls are shaking!!! This song is “the bomb.”

Album Review – “The Wild, The Innocent and the E-Street Shuffle” by Bruce Springsteen (& The Unnamed E-Street Band) released on Sept. 11, 1973

The Wild, the Innocent & the E-Street Shuffle

(My boy’s had off from school this week and they wanted to contribute. This is a review from my oldest son).

In my constant quest to expand my musical horizon I recently decided to search for music outside the world of the blues and jazz and go back to the genre I started in which is good old fashion rock and roll. Recently I’ve explored a lot of guitar based music in an attempt to learn from it and become a better player myself.  However I realized that good guitar playing isn’t alone what made guys like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Clapton, and Hendrix legends.What made them legends was the fact that they were great artists, besides being amazing guitar players they knew how to create good songs, knew how to sing, and knew how to write good songs. So after realizing that I decided to expand my tastes beyond “guitar based” music and decided to head back into the world of rock and roll and find artists who I had never really listened to before.

Songwriting is something I have been really fascinated with lately and I wanted to find rock artists who were known for their songwriting and naturally the first two artists I thought of that were Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. Even though I’ve grown up on rock and roll (because of my dad) I had never really experienced either one’s music simply because my dad has never been into Springsteen or Dylan. But I needed to experience their music myself in order decide whether or not I liked them.  So I ended up buying “Blonde on Blonde” from Dylan and “E-Street Shuffle” from Springsteen and I enjoyed both of them.

The album that appealed to me more was the Springsteen record only because it was shorter but had strong songs, and Springsteen’s voice along with his songwriting captivated me (not to say I didn’t like “Blonde On Blonde” because I did). Another great thing is his backup band The E-Street Band which adds so much more to the record. Overall I’m glad I chose this as my first Springsteen record and would recommend newcomers to start with either this album or “Born to Run.”

Side 1:

The album starts off on a high note with the funky “E-Street Shuffle” that will immediately have you grooving. This song sets the tone of the album and displays everything that is present in the album like Springsteen’s voice and excellent songwriting along with the powerful instrumentals of the E-Street Band. Just when you think the song is over the opening guitar riff is played followed by a short instrumental part which launches right into the next song. The album progresses here with the fan favorite “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy).” This is one of my personal favorites on the album; this is one of the best ballads you will ever hear. The heart of this song is without a doubt its great lyrics, Springsteen paints a picture in your head with his words that just makes you smile. Even if you didn’t pay any attention to the lyrics there is something about the song, I don’t know how to explain it but you can just feel the passion. It’s definitely one of rock’s defining ballads.

The somber tone of “Sandy” is quickly lost when “Kitty’s Back” begins with its ringing guitar intro that sets the tone of the song. This is really the only song on the album that, in my opinion gives the E-Street Band time to improvise and show how good they really are, this song displays an excellent organ solo from David Sancious, a nice guitar solo from Bruce, and a great horn section that gives the song a nice groove. Throw in Bruce’s great vocals and some good lyrics and you have one awesome song. The album slows down a little after that powerful song with the acoustic “Wild Billy’s Circus.” My first impression of this song was not very good, I didn’t enjoy it at all but it has recently grown on me. This is a song you have to carefully listen to and really pay attention to it in order to appreciate its quiet beauty.

Side 2:

Now even though Side 1 is really good and provides excellent tunes, Side 2 is the gem on this record. It has three long epics that blew me away when I first listened to them, for me Side 2 will always be my favorite part of this album.  Side 2 begins with the peaceful piano intro to “Incident On 57th Street.”   This song tells the story of “Spanish Johnny” who meets a woman named “Puerto Rican Jane” and proceeds to fall in love with her. The lyrics tell such a vivid story about their struggle with love; the lyrics are so good that when you listen to them you can almost feel what Johnny and Jane are feeling. When I hear this song I feel like I am in the world of Johnny and Jane, and I forget about everything else around me. A song has to be really good for it to transport you to another world like that. Even running close to 8 minutes long this song flies by before you know it and is definitely one of the best Springsteen songs ever.

“Incident” goes right into the best song on the album, the rock classic “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight).” Now I don’t care how you feel about Bruce, even if you’re not a fan it’s impossible not to like this song. It has such an infectious groove that you can’t help but smile every time you hear it.  The horns and saxophone are absolutely perfect in this song along with the vocals and lyrics. The verses are great and the chorus is so addicting you will be singing it all day long.I think my favorite part of the song is when the band goes into the a-cappella chant “Oh you’re papa says he knows I don’t have any money” and goes in the nest verse. If this song doesn’t excite you, you may want to check your pulse because it is definitely one of the best rock and roll songs ever. If only every song could be this good.

The energy from Rosalita is brought down on the final track of the album “New York City Serenade” which boasts some phenomenal piano and guitar work. The piano intro will have you in awe and when the guitar jumps in you will just be blown away at the peacefulness of it. I wish the intro could last forever but after about 2:25 minutes Springsteen’s voice comes in and starts the song.  This is the perfect closer for the album as it some of Springsteen’s best vocals.He sings this song very quietly which gives the song a sense of intimacy. As the songs ends you really appreciate the album for what it is, a collection of great songs.  This really is an underrated album because it’s constantly in the shadow of “Born to Run” but I have to say that in many ways it’s a better record.  If you don’t own this album do yourself a favor and pick it up as soon as you can.

Workout Songs

Don't Quit Music: Bootcamp Burn (Exercise, Fitness, Workout, Aerobics, Running, Walking, Weight Lifting, Cardio, Weight Loss, Abs)

Figured I would keep the Boot Camp theme going, here are some more songs that will get the juices flowing: (these are in no particular order, like last week)

Here Comes My BabyThe Tremeloes– Use this as a “start-up”song (“warm up,” whatever you want to call it) it’s an “oldie” but a classic. You’d be surprised how many “oldie” songs there are that can get the blood pumping. And the best part is that you can even whistle to this song (remember you have to use this at the beginning of your work-out while you can still whistle).

Go FasterThe Black Crowes – Another great song for just starting a boot camp class. It starts off a little slow but it quickly turns into a rockin’ song that you will have a blast dancing and singing to-“Can you make this thing go faster”- I can remember everyone in the MBIA boot camp class liking this song the very first time they heard it and I knew I had a “hit” on my list-again it is tough making every song work in your work out. Get over the guitar aspect and put it in your play list.

The MiddleJimmy Eat World-Keeping with the theme of “warm-up” this song starts to get you moving faster as you head to the next station in boot camp. It’s such a shame that I could not save my boot camp and spin lists because I had some really good ones. This song was utilized many times during the MBIA boot camp days, it’s not too heavy and it contains a consistent beat that will have you kicking your legs high in the air. Cool song!!!

HigherGloria Estafan – Even though there are lots of “rock” songs in my selections, during my years at MBIA I knew I had to mix it up because I didn’t want to give everyone a headache with the crazy stuff all the time. This is the perfect release from all the head-banging songs and makes you move in ways you’d never thought possible. The part where Gloria sings-“Here we here we go now” – right about the two minute mark and then all the bongos/percussion perform a solo, it is so good. Thanks to my bride for playing this around the house, it caught my ear and I said-“that is a song I could use for boot camp.”

The Cup of LifeRicky Martin – Whew… talk about getting the juices flowing? This is a great song to exercise to, I can remember I had a “Ricky Martin” section with like three songs in a row (yes I know I said that only Green Day had two songs in a row but like I said, this is now coming back to me little by little) and the women in the class loved it. Yeah I know it’s not cool for guys to like it (maybe this should also land in the “songs that you are scared to admit you like” section) but if you are in a boot camp class and need “motivating” music-look no further than this. Great work-out song, period end of story.

Hit Me UpGia Farrell – Great song from the “Happy Feet” soundtrack and it is perfect for the movie title because there is no way you won’t be happy singing and dancing to this song. Again I definitely mixed in the “dance” music in my CD’s for boot camp and this song was utilized many times over. This definitely get the juices flowing.

I’m ReadyGeorge Thorogood– George does a blistering cover of the Fats Domino classic, this is pure rock and roll that will have you “twisting” all over the place and “air-guitaring” all around the room. If this doesn’t move you then again, head back to the couch. You will clapping your hands and stamping your feet like crazy.

RockerAC/DC– This song is a “cross-over” in the sense that it can be used for “boot camp” as well as “Spin.” Ask Chris about this song, he’ll tell you I was possessed when I put it on a list for one of his “Spin” classes. This is almost three minutes of pure blazing rock and roll that has to get you dancing around the house like Macaulay Culkin did in “Home Alone.” That’s how I feel when I hear this song.

Don’t Phunk With My Heart – Black Eyed Peas – Ok how could you have a workout and not have a Black Eyed Peas song? This song will keep your feet moving and if you are at a “cardio” station in the boot camp class you will have just a little over four minutes to groove along with this “phunk-y” tune. This is just pure fun.

American Idiot – Green Day – Green Day is the perfect band for “work-out” music because their beats are pulverizing and have to get you energized like no other band/artist. Now I will say that if you are putting this song on in a “public” setting, make sure that everyone will be okay with hearing the “F”- bomb very loud and clear (there are no clean versions, sorry). That is the only negative with this track, other wise you will be raring to go the moment this song starts. On your mark, get set…GO!!!!

Now That We Found LoveHeavy D & The Boyz – Again I used to scour my music library searching for the most upbeat songs that will keep your feet and body moving and in my opinion this is one of the best songs that can be utilized for your next work-out. This is pure fun (and I think for the most part the lyrics are “PG-13”). Heavy D does a great job rapping over this great dance song. You need to have this in your mix.

SolutionTesla – Oh man does this song rock or what? You know I love these guys and whenever I hear this track I immediately go back to the gym room at MBIA. I saw Tesla perform this song at one of their shows and it blew me away. I don’t care what anyone says-these guys can rock with the best of them.

Two Lane BlacktopRob Zombie – Say what you will but guys like Zombie and Manson make some of the best workout songs because their songs are usually heavy and quick-perfect combination for your workout, no? Love the female background vocals-gives the song some flavor. And it has hand-claps, so you know it is a favorite of mine. If you can get used to the heaviness, this is a good workout song!! “Hook me up…hook me up…c’mon…driving…black top rollin’”

Rock and Roll JesusKid Rock – When Kid Rock makes songs like these, there is nothing better-nothing, I tell you. This is pure rock and roll and if this song doesn’t get you out of your seat, then nothing will. This song is so friggin’ good that I have to listen to it over and over again. And it has to be LOUD!!! This fits Kid like a glove-again find me a better song??!!!

Top Ten

Image of Green Day

Since both of my sons’ are on a spring break from school, they wanted to contribute to the page this week, so I figured we could all do a “top ten” list together but as I am finding out as they grow older, tastes have changed dramatically and trying to nail down an artist or band that we all like seems to be getting more difficult than I would have ever imagined. We sat down at the dinner table and were throwing names out there-I thought for sure that Maroon 5 was going to work but now my oldest son has soured with their latest super pop effort and on the flip side, my youngest seems to like pop more than ever. That suggestion died as quickly as it was brought up, so then I said “Green Day.” I figured that since this was our first concert together and we all have the last two albums (and more “greatest hits”) on each respective I-Pod, this would be the perfect match. My youngest immediately said yes, I stated that I was in, but my oldest did not instantaneously solidify the agreement. He was kind of wavering and making faces so my youngest, acting like an umpire who has a manager in his face, raised his arm and gave his brother the “out” sign. And not that he was looking for confirmation from me but I had to agree, so it will be just my youngest and I who will be giving you our list of favorite top ten songs by Green Day.

I can’t say that I am the biggest Green Day fan that is out there but I have seen them the last two times that they have come to the Tri-State area and would definitely be up for another return to the Garden (or anywhere else they decide to play) to hear them play. When “Dookie” exploded on to the scene back in the early 1990’s, I would equate my interest to this band the same way I was with Nirvana-I liked the songs that I heard on the radio and/or MTV but something always held me back on purchasing their albums. I will not even get into the never ending debate of if they should be considered a punk band, in my opinion it doesn’t matter because whatever one would like to call their music, it has always rocked.And I will be perfectly honest, my first Green Day purchase was their “International Superhits” release which housed all those “single” hits on one package, so this was perfect for me. But this doesn’t mean that I can’t get psyched up for this band, on the contrary, some of their songs take me to another stratosphere.

I was looking for “American Idiot” from them before they recorded it and even then I needed convincing from my friend Paul and others, where many said that they had done their “Sgt. Pepper’s.” Now that was a pretty big statement but I went with the recommendation and never looked back. In my opinion, “American Idiot” is a complete masterpiece equipped with that familiar sound that their fans all loved but the “blood, sweat and tears” that went into the production and arrangement proved to all the “nay-sayers” that they could make songs longer than a few minutes. The result was an unbelievable collection of songs that flowed beautifully, were so melodic and I knew that they had turned a corner in their career where most will eventually say that this album was the “black top” that paved the way on their journey to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Their latest release-“21st Century Breakdown” is a solid album with many great songs. I do think for the next album they will have to reinvent the formula again because they run the risk of trying to recapture the magic of “Idiot” which could be a “once in a lifetime” album. (I mean nothing negative I’m just trying to make a point that it’s hard to recreate that formula, I think new ingredients are needed for the next album).

So here we are, my youngest son and I, stuck on an island and told that we can only have ten songs by Green Day. “These Are Them:” (My son’s songs are in red and mine are in blue).

10.     Minority– I was going through a decision: I couldn’t decide on “Minority” or “Extraordinary Girl.” I finally picked “Minority” because I thought it was more “Green Day” or more rebellious. I also thought the music video was pretty funny and interesting. In addition, because “Extraordinary Girl” is more popular and popular music is frowned upon in this establishment, I picked Minority for number ten.

10.     Warning – I love this song, the groove is so infectious. Are some of their songs “simple” sounding? Yes but as I always mention-sometimes simple equates to genius. Now I am not going to say this song is “genius” but it is so good that I usually have to rewind it and listen to it twice once I hear it. I can remember putting this song on a set list for Chris’s spin class when he taught at MBIA, it is really fun to pedal to this track-try it, you’ll love it. Try not to “air-guitar” while on the bike because if you have an instructor like Chris he/she will get off their bike in a matter of seconds to turn up your resistance if you are having so much fun. Do what I did-hold on to the handle bars and dance your body from side to side. Great song.

9.      Coming Clean– Coming Clean really inspires me. The song is about a teenager is finally becoming mature and how everyone else doesn’t believe in him.Even though it is a short song, it’s really fun and enjoyable. It’s like a song you can easily listen to twice in a row.

9.      Welcome to Paradise– Controlled chaos, this term comes to mind when I think of Green Day and this song is the perfect example of what I am talking about. This song is “light’s out” from the very beginning, so fast, so furious that you better hold on for the ride. Their songs get you go from “zero to sixty” in a matter of seconds, no? They are full of amazing energy; it’s like sticking your finger in an electrical outlet- you are instantaneously charged for action. I can remember when “Dookie” came out, my good friend Mike bought it right away and listened to it all the time and he introduced me to this track. Love this song. \m/ \m/

8.      East Jesus Nowhere– This song is an amazing rock anthem. The bass guitar is really noticeable and great, the drums are chest pounding, but what really gets me is that great guitar lick that starts in the beginning.I recommend this song to all who enjoy this kind of rebellious alternative music, I know I do.

8.      Restless Heart Syndrome – This song displays their unbelievable progression as a “song-writing” band as well as crafting sensational arrangements. When you listen to this track you have to be impressed with how far they have come as a band, especially with the “string” section that gives it that dramatic flair that most associate with orchestra’s. I also think this is one of Billie Joe’s best vocal performances as his voice is so melodic and you can hear the range he has, really nice job. What else can be said about the drummer-Tre Cool- he kind of sits and waits for his turn and by the end of the song, he is all over it. This tune has that “grandiose” feel to it and in my opinion one of the best songs on “21st Century.”

7.      Poprocks and Coke– This next one is just a really happy song just for people to have fun dancing around in their rooms. When I first asked my brother what the name of this song, I was really confused on what he told me. Why the song would be named “Poprocks and Coke” when the song is really about how a boy is always there for his girl. Who knows?

7.      Last Night on Earth–Call me sappy and I will gladly accept this title because this song is stunning. This song takes me far above the clouds as I drift off to another world. Is this really Green Day? Wow while I’m drifting I think of my mother, my aunt Carol and my recently departed great aunt Sarah and wondering if they are having coffee together like they did down here on earth. Armstrong’s vocals are absolutely remarkable. This is one of the best songs-yes even though it is a ballad.

6.      American Eulogy– The first time my brother and my father and I heard this song, the first thing my father said was “I can’t believe I’m letting you guys go to their concert.” The two sections of the song, Mass Hysteria/Modern World, are a story of what this world has come to. I personally enjoy the bass player’s singing part in Modern World; it really brings out a rebellious message.

6.      Hitchin’ A Ride– Love the violin “effect” in the beginning of the song which makes you think that this song is going to be soft but then it quickly changes pace and grabs you by the throat without a thought of letting go. This song has one of the heaviest guitar riffs that gets me so psyched up- this is a perfect workout song as well because if you pick up a jump rope you could start out slow but try and keep up with the progressive pace, it really is a lot of fun. Green Day will forever be remembered as one of the most energetic bands of all time and songs like this one is the proof in the pudding. This is “head-banging” at its best. \m/ \m/

5.      ¡Viva la Gloria! – The soft piano in the beginning of the song makes you think that the song is a ballad, but as soon as the guitar enters it’s a cool rock song. Even though it’s not a ballad, it is still a love song about the fictional characters of Christian and Gloria. I like this song because it’s not a complicated song, it’s a nice song just to listen to.

5.      Boulevard of Broken Dreams – This has to be considered one of their best songs by most everyone out there, no? I would assume that most anyone would have this song somewhere in their top ten. There is something about this song that really gets me every time I hear it. In my opinion, it signifies that “jump” to superstardom-sort of like when a major league baseball pitcher gets that 300th win or when a professional organization wins the coveted title of “champion.” Don’t get me wrong, Green Day were already there as “stars” before American Idiot was released but this song (and album) took them to another level: where Icons live.

4.      Last Night On Earth– This song brings back happy, proud memories of one of my best friends. I always think of her when I hear this song. This love ballad is a very calm and peaceful song that even non-Green Day fans would like. It’s not likely you will come across such a calm and nice song from Green Day, but I really love it.

4.      Wake Me Up When September Ends–I don’t care if this track is played on WPLJ or Z-100 or any other “pop” radio station around the U.S. and I don’t mind that the “general masses” like this song, so go ahead and make fun of me for putting it here on the list but I will hold my head high because this is an amazing piece of work. I can remember the first time I heard this song as I listened in my car to “American Idiot” and I was polarized listening to the vocals because I could relate it to my mother (instead of “father”) and just like the lyrics state-“seven years has gone so fast”-boy how true that is for my family and I. When the drums enter to give it that dramatic feel, I am lifted off my feet and look to the skies while just letting the song take me where it may. Phenomenal song.

3.      Brain Stew/Jaded– This was the first song I ever learned to play on the guitar and I know what you’re thinking, why isn’t it number one. Even though this is the first one I played, it is not their best. The song does contain that real heavier side of Green Day which I love. The guitar in the song is very intense and suitable for any hard rocker. As soon as the song ends Jaded comes in and speeds things up. This has to pump anyone up, no? It contains the fastest drumming ever, which is just the coolest thing.

3.      Geek Stink Breath– As mentioned last week, I will forever remember this song (as well as the next) as one of the stalwart’s that was used for our boot camp class at MBIA from 2002 – 2005. This is like getting pulverized by Mike Tyson when he was in his prime, is this a knockout or what? It starts off with a crushing “one-two” punch which is repeated a few times just for emphasis and launches into this all out free-for-all as the lead guitar, bass guitar and drums unify to create a wall of sound that few others can emulate. Listen to Billie Joe play with his vocals as he sounds like he is slobbering the words towards the end of the song. This is Green Day at their best. Totally awesome song!!! \m/ \m/

2.      Burnout-One of the many songs I learned how to play on the guitar, Burnout is one of my all time favorite Green Day songs. The guitar is just so exhilarating and the drum solo really shows off Tre Cool’s drumming skills. To me, it really is just an exciting song to listen to and to see in concert. The song really speeds up my day and not a day goes by that I don’t listen to the song. This is the essence of Green Day.

2.      She– Don’t cha just love the bass and drums as they start off another powerful song from this amazing trio-“She…she screams in silence”- and then right around the 25 second mark this track blasts off into a scorching out of control pace that makes the “roadrunner” appear slow. Listen to the phenomenal drumming- so fast and out of this universe-that all I want to do is run around in a frenzy looking for “pillowed” walls to crash into-or better yet-where is that mosh pit? Let me at them-if you need a release this could be the greatest release song ever recorded. “SCREAM AT ME….UNTIL MY EARS BLEED!!!! YAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!!”

1.      Jesus of Surburbia/City of the Damned/I Don’t Care/Dearly Beloved/Tales of Another Broken Home – The first part of this song is just perfect. Jesus of Suburbia is one of my favorite parts of the song. Then it goes straight into City of Damned.I love the line in the song where it says “I read the graffiti in the bathroom stall, like the holy scriptures of the shopping mall.” I Don’t Care is the most rebellious part of the song complaining about the modern age and what is going on in the middle east. Dearly Beloved is the break in the song where it randomly goes soft with the jingle bells in the background and then goes right back to the fast bass line of Tales From Another Broken Home.This nine minute masterpiece really shows the world what Green Day is made of- that’s why it is my number one.

1.      Jesus of Surburbia/City of the Damned/I Don’t Care/Dearly Beloved/Tales of Another Broken Home – This is Green Day’s “Master of Puppets”- a complete and utter masterpiece which I believe will be so hard to top on any future work that they record. Talk about “giving it your all?!” They poured their entire heart and soul into these tunes which resulted in a stunning accomplishment of a “concept’ song- yes that’s right- do you know how bands used to record “concept” albums-well this track is a concept song within their first concept album. The thing is I can’t decide which one of the parts of the entire concept for which I like best. I love them all-love the transitions into each, which is pure brilliance by the way. I remember seeing them perform this song at Giants Stadium in the summer of 2005 and thinking that it was one of the greatest performances of a song that I had ever seen or heard. They get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame just based on the recording of this song-it’s automatic. ‘Nuff said.

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Johnny Cash

2.     Marilyn Manson

3.     Bad English

4.     Jeff Lynne (nice job Chris)

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     Before my landmark album was released in 1977, I was trying to make it in the business and caught a break when I was asked to sing some songs on a “Free for All” in 1976. I am still going strong today and am still “alive” on a current TV reality show. Who am I?

2.     We are from Rockford IL and noticeably missing from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame even though we were eligible many years ago. We love the Beatles and worked with their legendary producer George Martin on a record. Who are we?

3.     I brought back that legendary “Sinatra” sound during the 1990’s at a time when “grunge” had over taken the air-waves. My “old school” vocals are legendary. I also had a recurring part on a show for NBC during the early 2000’s. Who am I?

4.     We are a female rock band that took our love of the Runaways & the Ramones and have turned it into straight up rock and roll. We were all born in 1979 but we are a “old school” type of band that has a very contemporary sound. Who are we?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     Then Came You – Dionne Warwick

2.     Ben – Michael Jackson

3.     Poundcake – Van Halen

4.     Wanted Dead or Alive – Bon Jovi

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

1.     “…it’s so easy to blow up your problems…it’s so easy to play up your breakdowns…”

2.     “…beauty I’ve always missed…with these eyes before…just what the truth is…I can’t say anymore…cause I love you…”

3.     “…see the people walking down the street…fall in line just watching all their feet…they don’t know where they want to go…”

4.     “…everything here is so clear you can see it…and everything is so near you can feel it…and it’s real, so real, so real…”

Back on this Day

Back on this day in 1969, The Who performed “Tommy” in its entirety for the first time at a concert in Dolton, U.K.

Back on this day in 1972, Deep Purple’s “Machine Head” reached the number one spot on the U.K. album chart and stayed there for three weeks. Have I mentioned that it is a travesty that Deep Purple is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

Back on this day in 1978, Gerry Rafferty released the song-“Baker Street”- which peaked at number 2 on the Billboard charts.

Back on this day in 1981, Eric Clapton was hospitalized in Seattle after being involved in a car accident.

Back on this day in 1990, Ric Ocasek performed in New York’s Central Park as part of “Earth Day.” The B-52’s and Hall & Oates were also among the performers.

Back on this day in 1993, The Who’s “Tommy” debuted on Broadway at the St. James Theater where it remained open until June 1995.

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with Peter Frampton, Paul Carrack (Squeeze), Mel Carter (“Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me”) and Glen Campbell.

April 15, 2011

Concert Review: Chris Cornell at the Town Hall Theater in New York City on Wed. April 13, 2011

“Cornell Outshines in NYC”

Chris Cornell settled in to New York City for the second night in a row on his current acoustic solo tour and by the time he finished I would bet that everyone who was lucky enough to attend either night had thoughts of putting in a leave of absence at their place of employment just to follow him across the United States to witness each breathtaking performance. I don’t want to put any hex on the Soundgarden fans out there (for which I am included) but he looked so comfortable doing this kind of show that I wouldn’t be surprised if he pulled a reverse Dylan and played only acoustically until further notice.

Chris has done the “band” thing with more than a few (Soundgarden, Audioslave, Temple of the Dog) but I get the feeling that he likes to do things himself. He was so comfortable up on stage it was like he invited about 1,500 of his friends over to his house and set up a few guitars across the living room floor and reminded everyone just what a sensational vocalist he is. Make no mistake, he has been and still is one of the preeminent, if not the best, male singers’ for some time now. To make it more like a house party, he had his very young daughter join him to help him sing a few songs as she sat in one of those kindergarten chairs that are like one foot off the ground. Chris put on an unbelievable display of raw emotion and passion as he performed a vast assortment of songs from his illustrious career as well as a few covers from some of his favorite artists. The best thing about this tour is that he is changing the set list on a nightly basis which is why I mentioned that many of us at the show were thinking of dropping everything and just follow him everywhere. Folks, I implore you to not miss this most intimate of performances so please log on to his web site to see when he is coming to your town or city.

When I woke up on Wednesday morning, I couldn’t believe that I was actually going to see Chris Cornell again in concert. It had been 15 years since I last saw him when he played with Soundgarden at Randall’s Island in the Bronx, N.Y. I was devastated when they split up but followed his solo career when he released “Euphoria Cornell” and really enjoyed this album. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Audioslave but have more than enough songs from their catalog. Anyway just like Chris, I went solo and entered the Town Hall and figured I would buy something to drink and go to the seat. But no, you can’t enter the theater with a beverage- you would think they would have a sign or tell you before you purchase, nice trick. The opening artist, William Elliot Whitmore, was surprisingly good and he “had no illusions” because he knew that everyone was there to see Chris but it was his job to “prove himself” to the audience. And prove he did, what a voice and you get a sense that he is “old school” type of person who seemed very genuine. He was also very appreciative as he constantly thanked the audience for coming early. I don’t know for sure but I think he was hanging out in the vestibule before the show with a couple of friends. I will be checking out his albums real soon.

The crew for Chris’s stage show came out and set up a very simple and intimate setting as they laid out three acoustic guitars to the right of Chris and two more guitars to the left. There was a tall stool for Chris to perch upon and off to his right was his family and friends watching with same enthusiasm as the rest of us. As the clock struck just a little pass 9:00 p.m., Chris entered the stage as someone helps strap on a guitar over his shoulders as walks to the front of the stage to a very warm reception from the audience. There he is, Chris Cornell, right in front of us-this huge star but yet so unassuming looking like the rock star he truly is and tells the audience that while growing up he always searched for “obscure” songs and artists. He informs the audience of Syd Barrett, who was one of the founders of Pink Floyd, and explains that he wrote some great tunes before drugs basically took him out of the spotlight. Chris starts off with “Dark Globe” and right off the bat I was looking for any “kinks in the armor” but I could immediately tell that he still has “it.” The setting is just like “Story Tellers” and before the third song of the night Chris informs us of a friendship that he developed with someone basically over the phone. They fast became close friends and it turns out that the guy’s 10-year old daughter had brain cancer, so he sent Chris a poem that he had written from the stand point of his daughter. Chris turned it into a song-“I Promise It’s Not Goodbye”- which utilized those lyrics. Sadly Chris also stated that the gentleman also contracted the same cancer and passed on. It was only due to the fact that I was surrounded by two “dudes” that I did not shed a tear while he was singing. On the third song, I was lifted off the ground and felt the pain but yet happiness in the unbelievable lyrics to this gut wrenching narrative. He followed with “Can’t Change Me” from “Euphoria” and it brought back so many memories when I knew this album inside out. “She’s going to change the world…but she can’t change me.” Surprisingly there was very little chit-chat amongst the audience members and everyone could hear Chris’s phenomenal vocals.

As the show progressed, you could hear cat calls for “Rusty Cage,” “Jesus Christ Pose” and the like but Chris had his plan all mapped out and he launched into “Wide Awake” from his days with Audioslave. The acoustic version is better than the original in my opinion and I hope Chris puts these shows out on CD and DVD because I will purchase it right away. The crowd lights up as he starts to sing-“Fell on Black Days”- from the unbelievable “Superunknown” album with Soundgarden, again the result was staggering. And he is probably the only person that could turn “Blow Up the Outside World” into a love fest as the audience were all drifting away to another stratosphere while swaying back and forth to the pleasant sounds. I could see boyfriends & girlfriends snuggling real close together singing “Blow up the Outside World,” kind of strange, right? But that is what he does to you, he can hypnotize an entire audience with his vocals and guitar playing ability.

At the half way point of the show, he slipped on a “vinyl” as people were cynically were asking “what is that?” He said that he couldn’t find anyone that could play the piano part so he put on the record and sang “When I’m Down.” Folks, I’m telling you that could have been the best song of the night and in all the concerts I have ever attended I have never seen that. He made it work with his ever-lasting passion, absolutely stunning. I was doing the “Wayne’s World We Are Not Worthy Bow.” As the show was in full force, the sweetest moment of the night was about to happen as his daughter came out on the stage to help her dad sing the songs “Say Hello to Heaven” and “Season’s.” The women behind me said something to the effect of “you just made my life” as they seem to all melt once he started singing “Seasons.”

After “Seasons” I could hear the distinctive notes to “Thank You” by the Mighty Led Zeppelin and there are not many artists that could pull this off but we are talking about Cornell. He completely nailed it and by this time I was high above the clouds never wanting to come down. I mentioned that he could get an audience to do anything and towards the end of the show he asked everyone to “stretch” and come forward to the stage. No one really moved so he said that it was an order and people were flying out of their seats to get closer to the stage. He closed the set with two Audioslave monster hits-“Be Yourself” and “Doesn’t Remind Me” as it then became a “sing-a-long” super fest.

Chris re-enters the stage for his encores and as the opening chords to “Black Hole Sun” begins I am beside myself (as was everyone else) and can’t wait to sing along to this phenomenal song. But most just listened, so I held back because I didn’t want my terrible voice to ruin the moment for those around me. You can tell that he put a lot of time and effort into this tour because he followed these songs to the very note even as the arrangements shifted. Chris is a huge Beatles fan and he performed “A Day in The Life” to absolute perfection. I was blown away that he even did the “woke up…got out of bed” part with such precision. Chris, please release this song immediately, even the most die-hard fan of the Beatles would have to agree that this is the closest to the Beatles (besides McCartney and Starr of course) we are ever going to get. He also covered Lennon’s “Imagine” with such beauty that it is hard to describe; you had to be there or go to one of his upcoming shows.

In my opinion, Chris Cornell has found his niche and I would attend every acoustic show he ever wanted to play in New York City. The man is a living legend and you’d be remiss if you miss this performance. Thank you Chris for an unbelievable night, I am still drifting.  

Set List

1.       Dark Globe (Syd Barrett)

2.       Ground Zero

3.       I Promise It’s Not Goodbye

4.       You Know My Name

5.       Can’t Change Me

6.       Wide Awake (Audioslave)

7.      Call Me A Dog (Temple Of The Dog)

8.       Sunshower

9.       Fell on Black Days (Soundgarden)

10.     Blow Up The Outside World (Soundgarden)

11.     I Am The Highway (Audioslave)

12.     When I’m Down

13.     Sweet Euphoria

14.     Heaven’s Dead (Audioslave)

15.     Say Hello 2 Heaven (Temple Of The Dog)

16.     Seasons

17.     Thank You (Mighty Led Zeppelin)

18.     Sad Sad City (Ghostland Observatory)

19.     Be Yourself (Audioslve)

20.     Doesn’t Remind Me (Audioslave)


21.     Black Hole Sun (Soundgarden)

22.     A Day In The Life (The Beatles)

23.      Imagine (Lennon)

24.     Like A Stone (Audioslave)

Weekly Update – 04/15/2011

Sully Erna at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Thurs. May 19. Tickets on sale today at 10:00 a.m. $48.50.

Stevie Nicks at Webster Hall on Wed. May 4. Tickets on sale tomorrow at noon. $99.50.

Lucinda Williams and Amos Lee at the Wellmont Theater on Wed. July 20 and at the Beacon Theater on Thurs. July 21. Tickets on sale today at noon. Wellmont: $40; Beacon: $39.50, $44.50, $59.50 and $75. (If you have an American Express card you can purchase “pre-sale” tickets for the Beacon up until 10:00 a.m. this morning).

Alison Krauss & Union Station at the Beacon Theater on Tues. Aug. 2. Pre-sale tickets begin this morning at 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. this Sun. night Apr. 17. Password is: HEAIRPLANE. General public tickets on sale Mon. Apr. 18 at 11:00 a.m. $49.50 – $69.50.

K.D. Lang and the Belle Brigade at the Beacon Theater on Mon. June 20. Pre-sale tickets begin this morning at 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. tonight. Password is: HESING. General public tickets on sale Mon. Apr. 18 at 9:00 a.m. $39.50 – $89.00

Levon Helm Band with Emmylou Harris at the Central Park Summerstage on Mon. July 18. Tickets on sale today at noon. $40 ($50 day of show)

Happy Together Tour featuring The Turtles, The Grass Roots, The Association and The Buckinghams at the Oakdale Theater in Wallingford, CT on Sat. July 9. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $39.25 and $61.60.

Rock Star Energy Drink Mayhem Festival featuring Megadeth, Godsmack and Disturbed at Comcast Theater in Hartford CT on Sun. July 24. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. Lawn seats: $32.25; $52.10, $62.60 and $73.75. Also appearing at the PNC Bank Arts Center on Wed. July 27. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $33, $58 and $68.50.

Ke$ha at Mohegan Sun on Fri. Aug. 12. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $53.55. Also appearing at Jones Beach on Sat. Aug. 20. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. If you have a Citi card you can purchase “pre-sale” tickets until 10:00 p.m. tonight. $34, $52 and $62.50

Journey with Foreigner and Night Ranger at Comcast Theater on Thurs. Aug. 25. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $32 and $162. (again total rip off, how is there no “in-between” price?)

The Goo Goo Dolls with Michelle Branch at PNC Bank Arts Center on Fri. July 22 and at Jones Beach on Sun. July 24. Tickets on sale this morning at 11:00 a.m. PNC: Lawn-$25; $38.50, $51.85, $62.35 and $116.30; Jones Beach: $40, $52, $62.50 and $116.65.

Hot Tuna at the Beacon Theater on Fri. Dec. 9. Tickets on sale this morning at 9:00 a.m. $63.15 and $73.35.

Further at Jones Beach on Sun. July 17. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $47.35 and $84.20.

Other items:

Wow… last week Iggy Pop is on American Idol, then this past Wednesday night the legendary Zakk Wylde comes out on the stage to play guitar alongside James Durbin who did a blistering cover of Sammy Hagar’s “Heavy Metal.” Zakk said that he came on because of his friend-Chris Jericho (of WWE fame) -who is still alive and doing well on “Dancing with The Stars.”I have to say I am kind of shocked that the punk/metal world have accepted the invites to American Idol. You know both Chris and Zakk have to be taking some big time ribbing from their friends but hey they are opening themselves up to a much bigger audience. I have no problem with it at all and wish others would follow suit-c’mon if Zakk can appear then all the walls have been taken down. By the way, James Durbin has a shot to become the winner of American Idol.

Bret Michaels will release his sixth solo album named-“Get Your Rock On”- and states that this effort will be “harder” than past albums. He cites Aerosmith and Metallica as his influences for the upcoming disc to be released on June 14.

Kiss Army, I apologize in advance for not knowing this but I just learned that Paul Stanley was born deaf in his right ear-I did not know that-Paul appeared on the TV show-“The Doctors” to discuss this topic. Go to to see the clip.

Speaking of Paul, he has already stated that the new album by Kiss, which they are currently recording, “will leave Sonic Boom in the dust.” He claims we will all be hearing it soon. Adds Gene-“this is straight up rock songs, no ballads, no keyboards.” I’m in again!!

After being informed by the IRS that they owed back taxes of $1.7 million, Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne just wrote out a check this week and they are now Paid In Full. It must be nice to be able to write a check for $1,700,000.00-that’s more zeroes than I will ever write down in my check book.

The case of slain Virginia Tech student, Morgan Harrington, the student who disappeared and her remains were found months later, after attending a Metallica concert in Charlotte will be profiled this Monday Apr. 18 on the Discovery Channel’s “Disappeared” show.

The Kings of Leon have taped an episode of the VH1 show-“Story Tellers”- which they recorded in Franklin, TN near their home in Nashville (show is usually done in NY) and it will air on Fri. May 13.

Evanescence is back in the recording studio and they brought along guitarist-Troy McLawhorn-who rejoins the band after just leaving Seether. Shaun Morgan, lead singer for Seether, wasn’t too happy because he had dated Amy Lee (singer for Evanescence) from 2003 to 2005 but it ended badly. Morgan tweeted-“Little Anti-Shaun club…so good luck to Amy Lee and Troy, they deserve each other.” Ahh “As the Metal Turns.”

Did you see that Tommy Shaw has released a “blue grass” country album? “The Great Divide” was released on Mar. 22. I was shopping in the last CD store alive-“J&R Music”- in lower Manhattan and I saw this stand of “bluegrass” music and there was Tommy Shaw. I did a triple take and grabbed the CD to see if it really was him and it is. Tommy gets help from some big names and the album is getting “pleasing” reviews. I listened to the free samples on I-Tunes and it sounds pretty good. Very interesting.

TV on the Radio has released “Nine Types of Light” and the reviews have been very positive. This type of “progression” music just may grow on me, I just need to give it more time, I think.

Album Review – “Wasting Light” by The Foo Fighters released April 12, 2011

Wasting Light

Just imagine a reality show called “Being Dave Grohl” and let’s suppose that this show started back in 1995. Most of us would say-“Who is this guy and why does he have his own reality show?” Think back to when the Foo Fighters first started out, we all heard that there was this guy from Nirvana that started a new band and even though there was only three of them (and sadly one was no longer was with us) most of us probably still didn’t know who he was. I thought they were talking about the tall guy who played bass. Yeah he used to play drums for Nirvana but now he plays guitar and is the lead singer- what?? How does a drummer just become a guitarist? He sings too? Is he the Deion Sanders or Bo Jackson of rock bands? And just like the “Fonz” on the Happy Days sitcom, he grows on us with each passing album and eventually becomes the star out of nowhere. Following in the footsteps of the Fonz, he is also dedicated to his band to the very end but he knows how short life can be, so we have all seen this multi-talented musician & singer lend his hand into so many projects that I would say there probably would not be too many “repeats” on the channel that is showcasing “Being Dave Grohl.”

He takes his time putting together a monstrous effort with “Probot” highlighting his passion for heavy metal music and utilizes almost every one of his boyhood heroes to join the experience which results in complimentary reviews from the metal world (no small feat because there is much cynicism in this circle-just ask Metallica). On another “episode” he is making beautiful music with Norah Jones. (Did you see them perform this past December at the “Kennedy Honors” show with the tribute to Paul McCartney?) C’mon how many artists do you know that can go from Lemmy to Norah? Little by little, Dave Grohl becomes a rock superstar with the Foo releases of “There is Nothing Left to Lose” and “One By One.” Then out of the blue he releases a double album-‘In Your Honor”- and the second disc contain all acoustic songs? (which included the aforementioned Norah Jones) What?? How can a rock star do this? People are going to start whispering that he is “getting soft.” Did that matter to him? Of course not, he takes the Foo’s out on a national acoustic tour across the States and releases a very successful –“Skin and Bones” live CD that captures the magic. Then comes “Echoes, Silence, etc.” and if I may say this album did take a while to grow on me and if I remember correctly, some of the reviews were less than stellar.

So here it is, the build up for “Wasting Time” as Dave has now firmly established himself as a rock “Icon”-never mind superstar-and with that has to come unbelievable pressure. The viewing audience of this “make believe” reality show is now in the millions after starting out in the hundreds. Will he “jump the shark” just like the Fonz? Not a chance. Dave and the Foo Fighters went back to the basics and recorded this album in his basement. The result is a staggering production of straight up rock music that has eclipsed every other effort previously released in the form of melodic mastery. Now there has been much touting on how “heavy” this album is but this is far from “Probot” as all the early reviews would have you believing that your neighbors were going to start disliking you because of the loud ruckus that were shaking their walls. Your walls will still shake but again not in a Probot sort of way, this is an edgier Foo Fighters with a taste of Them Crooked Vultures (hey he had to get something from Josh and John) and the one thing that stands out to me is how melodic this album really is. I do agree with the synopsis that there are “arena anthems” in the waiting for their tour to support this production. This reality show is still going in full force with no end in sight and would’ve given “The Simpsons” a run for the money.

“Wasting Time” begins with a “morse code” sound effect alarming the masses that there is a “Bridge Burning” as the slick guitar hook is amplified by Taylor Hawk’s blazing drums that creates the controlled chaos vibe and Dave gets it going right off the bat by screaming to the top of his lungs- “these are my famous last WOOOORRRDDDDSSSS!!! And with that the journey begins on this melodic core of an album which is covered with hard rocking grooves. The musicianship has stepped it up with their seventh studio release but maybe that is the additional guitar we are all hearing as Pat Smears is now back in full force with the Foo’s. This song is very tight, controlled, has “heavy” parts but also utilizes their familiar “sing-ability” effect where one can no help but rock out and sing along to every word of the chorus. I bet you on the upcoming tour (I’m assuming) they will open with this roaring tune, this get the juices flowing. The second track-“Rope”- has gained much momentum for me personally as I knew it would eventually grow on me to the point where I can’t wait to listen to it. I still stand by my original assessment that Dave picked up a few pointers from his time with “Them Crooked Vultures” because the “stop & go” effects are reminiscent of “Them” and I also maintain that this song could have one of the best guitar solos out of any song that the Foo’s have recorded. This song has many layers.

“ Dear Rosemary” is one of the highlights of this album, in my opinion, a sense of calmness enters the fray-didn’t say it lost it edge-and I would point to this song as an example of how far Dave (and rest of the Foo’s) has come in his song writing ability as well as constructing an fascinating arrangement. The backing vocals sound exactly like David Bowie and I thought for a second it was him but it is not. He is telling a heart felt story and the music behind it is pure perfection, I can see this song becoming a fan favorite real soon. “White Limo” is the closest track to “Probot” and has a real “punk” edge to it. This is the blistering track that I thought was going to happen on every track with all the “pre-game” hype about how heavy this album is. My analogy to this song is Aerosmith’s “Draw The Line” because if you can tell me what Dave is screaming (with out looking for the lyrics on line) throughout most of the song, then you are good. This is going to be a hard song for Dave to put on the set list every night when the tour begins because it sounds like it is taking a toll on his vocal chords. But you know what-this is friggin’ great “metal-punk” that will get you out of your seats and look for the nearest mosh pit.

The fury comes down a bit with “Alandria” which is also destined for stardom. This song highlights Dave’s ability to sing, we all know he can scream with the best of them, but when he just does what he can do naturally, the result is tremendous. “Alandria” has that familiar Foo guitar hook as the arrangement is top notch and also highlights Taylor’s drumming skills-the man has talent. “These Days” sort of reminds me of “The Crow & The Butterfly” by Shinedown (just the beginning) and again showcases Grohl’s tremendous vocal ability. This song is similar to another Foo’s song but I can’t put my finger on it. There is a catchy hook that keeps your interest for the entire length, this is a “mature” Foo Fighter song meaning it shows their elevated progression as a band. “Easy for you to say…your heart hasn’t been broken!!…one of these days”-you’ll be singing this song for days. Track #7-“Back & Forth” utilizes his experience with “Crooked Vultures” as the musicians take it up a notch with the “herky jerky” effects that give it the flavor and of course the chorus will lead to this being on the radio very soon. It’s “back to the basics” with this song as this is the pure rock that I think the Foo fans want every time. Folks, this is sixteen years later and to be able to produce quality songs like this is no small feat. “A Matter of Time” sounds like rock and roll that one would make in the garage (which it was!!) where there are bikes lying on the driveway with a stray basketball as Dave is sticking half-way out of the garage but still inside. Meanwhile, Taylor is way in the back up against the wall where the car’s nose usually touches and the other musicians are crammed but loving it and the music that is streaming out of them is pure rock and roll. The song has a driving beat with an addictive chorus but the guitar work leads the charge, nice work!!!

The album goes out on a high note with the last three songs as each one progressively gets better and that is usually not the case with many other albums. “Miss the Misery” has a big guitar sound reminiscent of the classic rock bands in the 1970’s filled with the contemporary touch that will make you state that this is what rock has been missing lately. Recently, there was an article floating around that rock was dying; well folks here is the lifeline. “I Should Have Known” is the track where Dave’s old buddy-Kris Novoselic-(the “bassist from Nirvana) lends a hand. It starts off a bit slow (actually the beginning sounds a lot like “The Black Keys”) but slowly builds into a passionate “epic like” production where I can picture an orchestra leader feverishly waving his baton to each section of musicians as even string instruments pitch in to create this atmosphere where it seems like everyone is doing their own thing but it all comes together in a majestic way. This would have been the best song on the album, in my opinion, if not for the last track-“Walk.” I think they took the approach that Sabbath did on “Technical Ecstasy” where the last track leaves you thirsting for more and just like a Fonzie season ending cliff-hanger (jumping over the cars with his motorcycle), one can not wait for the next chapter. “Walk” is destined for stardom and could ultimately end up as their best, if not one of their greatest songs ever recorded-again my opinion. Funny thing is when I came home this past Tuesday, I spoke to my oldest son about this album and informed him that “Walk” was the best song on the album and he quickly told me that this song has been the most popular (“downloaded”) song on I-Tunes. Just when you think the song is over it comes back-“learning to walk again…I believe I’ve waited long enough….learning to talk again…” This is passion folks that can’t be taught-again this comes from within-I feel it, do you?

“Wasting Light” will most likely end up being named as one of their best albums when all is said and done. There is not one “filler” song on the entire disc and I immediately liked it after the first listen (unlike “Echoes” which had to grow on me). Dave and the boys went back to the basics by recording in the basement (where it all starts, right?) and even though these guys are now “veterans” they play with the enthusiasm of a 17-year old. My uncle asks me all the time when I am going to grow up and stop listening to groups that appeal to the 17-year olds and albums like this make me never want to grow up-if I haven’t done it by now, there is a pretty good chance it is not happening any time soon. This band has the skills of those ball players (think Jeter and A-Rod) that never seem to get old. I wish I could have produced that reality show -“Being Dave Grohl”-because after this piece of work, the show has been picked up for another three years (or however long it takes them to make another album).

Workout Songs

Don't Quit Music: Bootcamp Burn (Exercise, Fitness, Workout, Aerobics, Running, Walking, Weight Lifting, Cardio, Weight Loss, Abs)

I received a request this week from one of my brother’s friends, Brandon, who was looking for some good workout songs and knew that I have put some CD’s together over the years for both “Spin” and “Boot Camp” classes during my time at MBIA. Creating playlists for boot camp classes are much harder in my opinion than Spin classes because, in my opinion, with “boot” every song needs to be able to move you, psyche you up and there really can’t be any “lull” in the action because it will deflate a class in a matter of seconds. I had so many “boot” and “spin” playlists but when my old computer died-every list went with it. I did not lose the songs but with I-Tunes you have to create “playlists” once you purchase a new computer or I-pod. Long story short, there was one playlist that was saved because I had put it on a blank CD and I named it “Audio” CD so I-Tunes picked it up. Now this is my absolute favorite “boot” camp playlist (and my good friend Taxter also saved it for me as well as some others for which I will have to pull out and download). This set list was utilized so many times at MBIA for Dave’s 6:00 a.m. Tues. & Thurs. classes that I think he, Taxter, CIC, Doreen and Nick could probably name all the songs before I list them. So here is to the former gym rats at MBIA, I salute you and Dave-“How do you like your whiskey???!!!”

Rough Housing.38 Special – I used to scour my CD collection for hours upon hours to always try and come up with the best songs as well as creating a nice flow. I also did not like to repeat songs (meaning if they appeared on one list, then don’t put it on the next). Now with this .38 Special song-it is probably not one of their more well known songs but after careful consideration I felt this song should kick off the class because it served two purposes-good warm-up song with enough of a consistent beat to get the juices flowing. I think this will get you moving.

Lawless and LuLuBuckcherry – This is really probably the only song that I like from this band. It is straight up rock and roll with such a great groove that you can’t help but move, dance or “air-guitar” like I used to do during the classes. Of course you can head-bang while you workout to this track. I can picture Taxter in the beginning trying to get used to all the loud guitars from the songs I chose but after a while I changed her opinion of “modern” rock and she has this song now in her music library.

Smokin’Boston – This has to be one of Taxter’s favorites as well-I can picture her head bopping up and down to the consistent head-banging groove. Is there a better song to get you psyched up? I think not. Even CIC and Doreen, who didn’t know who these bands, were rocking out because this song keeps you moving, even during the long organ solo. I would say that this would have to crack out Top Ten MBIA boot camp songs. Nick? Dave? Agree?

Doll Dagga Buzz BuzzMarilyn Manson – I wish I had a video for when we first played this song for that particular class. Not only were the people in the “boot” room scared but all the folks enjoying their morning workout with the weights or on treadmills were scratching their heads on this “crazy” music coming out of the room. But do you want to move or what? Do you need a song that will pulverize you? I think this also cracks the MBIA top ten boot camp class songs. Sometimes you need something like this-think Tequila without applying the lemon or a “chaser.” You’ll make a face but you’ll eventually like it.

Bad ReputationHalf Cocked – Taken from the soundtrack of the first “Shrek” movie-this is a remake of when Joan Jett was in “The Runaways.” This is a powerful song and I will be the first to admit that this could become annoying if you don’t like consistent earsplitting guitars and loud screaming. But if you need it this song is asking you to “come get some.”

Son of DetroitKid Rock – Ok without a doubt this is the number one MBIA boot camp song of all-time. From the first time I threw this song on to a setlist, Taxter became polarized and she loves this song so much that as soon as I hear it I think back to the expressions on her face as we were working our way up to 6:00 minutes per station, with no breaks!!! Dave and I would toss the football, basketball or heavy ball as we all “air-pianoed” and rocked out to this track like no other. Then I would scream out Dave-“How do you like your whiskey”- and he would shout back- “I like my whiskey straight up…daiquiris make me ill…” Oh man those were the greatest days; I never had so much fun in an exercise class. Again gym rats, I salute you!!! \m/ \m/

FaintLinkin’ Park – Now this song took a long time to grow on Taxter and the other ladies in the class. I can picture them holding their ears and screaming for Dave to skip over this track. This is not for the “faint” of heart-you may get so mad that your workout will increase in intensity as you probably will want this song to end quickly. But if you like the heavy metal/rap genre then you will have a blast with this song like I do. I feel like dropping now and doing those annoying push-ups. (That was my least favorite station as they all knew).

A Little Less ConversationElvis Presley – Whew I had to take the class down because I didn’t want people going around wanting to punch anyone in their way after “Faint.” Ahh the atmosphere is much less tense but still kicking it. I love this remix, it is pure fun. I will forever associate this song to the episode on “Everybody Loves Raymond” where Robert and Amy danced to this as their first wedding dance together as husband and wife. Great workout song.

House Is A RockinStevie Ray Vaughn – Pure rock and roll is the best work out music in my opinion and look no further than this SRV classic. Piano solos are the best when the songs are jamming and of course you will be air-guitaring in no time as you let Stevie take you away. Man this song is so easy to go wild and crazy to, there is no way you will not be moving when you hear this. Awesome.

Kids Wanna RockBryan Adams – By the time this song used to come on we were more than half way through our boot camp class and you could become real winded. But once this song came on, it was like a jolt of lightning that caused you to get back on that intense effort that you were putting in during the first few songs. This is a great song to jump rope to or “shadow box.” “Around the world or around the block…every where I go…the KIDS WANNA ROCK!!!” \m/ \m/

Monkey WrenchFoo Fighters – Ok it’s back to the “anger” part of the workout-this is a GREAT song to workout to. By this time, I literally was a human sweat ball (everyone stayed at least one station away from me in both directions around the room) but I didn’t care because I was possessed once this song came on. Dave used to get a kick when I would scream along with Mr. Grohl as he vented his rage-“One last thing before I quit I never wanted any more that I could fit into my head I still remember every single word you said and all the s**t that somehow came along with it still there’s one thing that comforts me since I was always caged and now I’m FREEEEEEEEE!!!!” Whew this is the best.

SheGreen Day – This is the best (I know I say that about every song, right?!). I was totally out of my mind when this would come on. This could get me going like no other song (until the next one). My only complaint is that it’s too short. Green Day packs a wallop of a punch-if this doesn’t get the juices flowing, then just go back to the couch. “SCREAM AT ME UNTIL MY EARS BLEED!!!!”

Geek Stink BreathGreen Day – Since their songs are so short I put two in a row. There is no other time I had done this with any workout CD but these guys are so good I had to put it them back to back. And you can ask the rest of the class, as soon as this song ended I ran over to the CD player and put the songs back two spaces to start “She” and “Geek Stink Breath” all over again. \m/ \m/

Young LustAerosmith – Love the way Tyler screams in this song (sensing a theme?) and Joey Kramer’s drumming send me over the top. How freakin’ great is this song? Even when you want to give up and go back to the couch, this song will not let you. Again it is like a jolt to your system. “always getting stronger…never getting weaker…” –you see even the lyrics are tied to your work-out. “sneaking out the back way…sneaking down the alley way!!!” Simply the best!!!

Top Ten

Best of Simon & Garfunkel

This week’s I-pod shuffle landed on “A Hazy Shade of Winter” by Simon & Garfunkel and I immediately thought of making them this week’s “top ten” theme. You’d be hard pressed to find a superior recording duo in the history of music- in a short six year span they created some of the most exceptional songs that few others have come close to matching. (Think the Beatles or Jimi Hendrix). Now of course, I was not even born into to this world yet when their career began and was only five years old when they parted ways in 1970 after the release of one of the greatest albums ever recorded-“Like A Bridge Over Troubled Water” so I do not know all there is to know about them. But I do know that there would be a void in my life if they did not record these wonderful songs that I have come to love and cherish.

Can you imagine a world without Simon & Garfunkel? C’mon you know you can’t-there has to be at least one song that you know and love (I would venture to say there should be more than one). I would profess that the song-“Mrs. Robinson”- has to be considered one of the most popular songs in the history of music and that the lyrics-“where have you gone Joe DiMaggio…our nation turns its lonely eyes to you”- are probably the most recognized words in any song ever written. Think about what our nation was going through during the turbulent times of the late 1960’s and you can get a sense of the “desperation” meant in those lyrics. I know they wrote many other songs with deeper meanings but for some reason this one line gets me thinking all the time-when times are tough we usually look for that something special that brings us back to a better time. I believe their music was therapeutic for a large portion of the population back in those days and served as a priceless outlet as their music has to make you feel good all over.

Even their “sad” songs quench your soul with a feeling of “comfort” while filling your heart with the love that it needs to move forward. For instance, after my mother passed away on May 20, 2004, the first song I heard on May 21, 2004 was their “The Sound of Silence” and even though the opening lyrics of –“hello darkness my old friend…I’ve come to talk with you again…” brought more tears to my eyes, I couldn’t turn the song off. Even though it was painful, it made me go back and think of all the great times I had with my mother. Now I am not going to tell you I was smiling by the end of the song but I would say that maybe it was the beginning of my healing process and every time since I have heard this beautiful track, I think of my mother.

Simon & Garfunkel songs make you reflect, don’t they? Their lyrics have a way of making you stand still while your mind races to the things they have written about-think about that for a second? How many other artists do that to you? (Dylan quickly comes to mind). Even the “simplest” of their songs are priceless and timeless; they fit into every generation’s heart & soul, in my opinion. Their harmonizing vocals are astonishing and even though many of their songs are “short” in terms of time, they have a “lasting” effect in ways that again, few others have come close to bringing to the table.

So here it is, I am on an island and have been informed that I can only have ten songs by the terrific duo of Simon & Garfunkel. “These Are Them:”

10.     Homeward Bound – They had me on the opening lyrics-“I’m sittin’ in the railway station…got a ticket for my destination”- and I was forever hooked. My assumption is that song took on so many meanings for some many different people during the late 1960’s as they all tried to get “homeward bound.” We had men & women involved in civil unrest as well as the Vietnam War and again my assumption this song had to hit much of the general population right in the heart. Who knows maybe I am wrong but that is what the song means to me. (I know the lyrics tell a different story but I’m speaking to the meaning). It’s has a melancholy melody but picks up the pace at certain points and is just an all around wonderful arrangement that has to make you sing along.

9.     Old Friends/Bookends Theme – I love the way “Voices of Old People” precedes the beautiful “Old Friends” song on the album “Bookends”-to me, it makes perfect sense. The exquisite melody of this song gets me all the time, the arrangement is pure perfection and as you listen to the lyrics you can visualize what is happening as one drifts off into a world where you remember your “old friends” who may or may not still be here today. The string section accentuates the dramatic flair as it seems the friendship, which has become solidified to the point where you can’t wait to spend that time on the park bench, is now in peril as the dramatic playing seems to indicate something has gone wrong. But then the “bookends” theme takes it back down as you settle in and realize that you will always carry that old friend in your heart.

8.     The Dangling Conversation – I think this is one of the best vocal performances by Paul and when Art joins him at certain points in the song, they have created one of the greatest harmonies on any song ever recorded. Talk about being lifted off the ground and brought to another stratosphere?I feel like an eagle that is flying high above the world with nothing but the clear blue skies and sun on a beautiful spring day. This is one of the most eloquent songs’ that has ever been recorded-stupendous!!!

7.     The Only Living Boy in New York – Wow what a song. Like I have mentioned, these two gentlemen craft songs that force one to reflect on life-either by their words or through the composition of the music. I love the acoustic guitar playing behind Paul’s vocals-“…half of the time we’re gone but we don’t know where, we don’t know where…” For those of you who don’t know, the “ahhh” background vocals are being utilized by the Honda Corporation in current commercials on television now to sell their vehicles. I guess I am OK with it (after the Mighty Led Zeppelin “sold out” to Cadillac, what else is there?) and don’t begrudge them because I feel it is another outlet for the younger generation to recognize greatness-that’s if there is someone there to let them know that the background music is by Simon & Garfunkel-consider this a public service. This song has to make you drift off into another world, no? Art’s background vocals are mesmerizing and what else can be said about Paul’s crystal clear voice on this track? Picturesque song.

6.     Mrs. Robinson – I was almost going to leave this song off the list because I have heard it so many million times here on earth that I figured I could hum the words while I am stuck on that island. But then I thought to myself, are you kidding? How can I leave this off my list-I think I could be locked up and thrown in jail if I didn’t include it. Think of how popular this song is-starting of course with “The Graduate” and as I mentioned above the lyrics about Joe DiMaggio? If you listen very carefully you can hear the bass lines doing a wonderful job of following along to Paul’s vocals. I don’t think I have ever encountered anyone that does not like this song because it brings you back-back to a time where things were settled, calm and feels like home. We all have wonderful memories and in my opinion this song nudges one to recall those events, so you have to drift off. I think of my childhood while growing up on 46th street in Brooklyn playing “triangle” when there was alternate side parking in effect two days a week; engaging in a game of “stoop” ball (and if the ball was stuck up on the top step, you had to hop on one foot to get it); or gathering teams to play manhunt (but we called it-“Caw-Caw-Caleave-ee-ohh” in Brooklyn) or “kick the can.” Rooting for the Mets with the “Hammer” at first base, Seaver, Matlack, and Koosman pitching; Cleon in left and Rusty & Kranepool… Ahh so many memories-this is what this song does for me, what about you?

5.     El Condor Pasa (If I Could) –I was recently in a restaurant with my bride and this song came on and you know me-I was trying to get everyone to stop talking- no not just because I wanted to hear it but I wanted the entire audience to listen to this wonderful song. Of course you know that wasn’t happening-some people just don’t get it. Granted it is a very low key song and even the cooks would have had to stop making food to hear it-but that is not the point. You also know I was able to follow along and I sang it to my wife. “I’d rather be a hammer than a nail…yes I would…if I only could…I surely would…”- I absolutely love the “flute” like instrument that accentuates this breathtaking tune. The one thing I don’t like about this song is that it is over before you know it-I could see a “jam” band turn this into a 15-minute excursion-but only if Paul and Art were able to able more lyrical verses. “I’d rather feel the earth beneath my feet…” I can picture Art and Paul strolling along a long country road with the musicians playing this song with hundreds of kids following them as they joyfully sing along.

4.     The Boxer – This is another song that hits me right in the heart-not only the lyrics but again the music. Is it melancholy? Yes. Is it kind of sad? Yes. But you have to admit that it is astonishing, no? I don’t know how these two gentlemen came up with these songs but I am certainly grateful for supplying us with life-long songs that we can forever treasure and pass on down to future generations. There is certain “calmness” to their songs that make you feel that everything is going to be alright. The “big production” towards the end of the song gives it that grandiose feel to it-almost like you are watching a gripping ending to a movie and then it calmly ends-which makes me think of an ocean that has finally relaxed and the water coolly works its way up the beach sand and then quietly goes back. This is a masterpiece, in my opinion.

3.     The Sound of Silence – As mentioned above this song will forever resonate with me because of my mother, I loved it before my mother passed away but it has risen to another plateau since 2004. My whole body becomes still and I can’t move when I hear it, stops me right in my tracks and I have to listen with my heart and reminisce about the times I spent with my mother-so many things go across my mind. She did everything for my brothers and I while never complaining. I can remember her taking us shopping all along 5th avenue (in Brooklyn) when we were kids and she always took us to the “five and dime” store (or “Woolworth’s”) for an ice cream float. Sitting on the circular red stools next to my mom is something I will never forget. Mom, this “float” is for you. Fantastic song.

2.     7 O’Clock News/Silent Night – Whew…this is another “tough” song to listen to without shedding a tear, at least for me. There is something so touching about this song, it’s an absolute Masterpiece in my opinion, and even though it seems like a very “simple” arrangement-Simon & Garfunkel singing the same verse over and over, while an actual news cast, voiced by Charlie O’Donnell, a radio host, gradually becomes the focal point as he informs the world of the days’ events which occurred on Aug. 6, 1966-but sometimes the simplest of structures can become the most striking example of pure genius. One can get a sense of the gripping events that had a stranglehold on the United States during that time and even though the “despair” of what was occurring must have been overwhelming, there is Art & Paul soothing our worries with their beautiful harmony and the magnificent piano playing by Mr. Garfunkel. This song is so nostalgic and reminds me of days gone by. Again, this simple arrangement is brilliant.

1.     Bridge Over Troubled Water – Wow… this song is a national landmark that few other songs have ever matched in notoriety, stature and importance. In my opinion, it is the most definitive song about love, commitment and loyalty. Think of your loved ones, wouldn’t you “lay me down” and become their bridge if they were in troubled waters? It is real ironic that Simon wrote this but it is sung by Art and went on to be their biggest song ever, in my opinion. But you have to feel good for Mr. Garfunkel because he “seemed” to take a back seat to Paul (just like Mr. Oates, right?) and he did such a masterful job that no other version of this song can even come close to the original. He put all of his blood, sweat and tears into this one. Sorry I didn’t mean to diverge away from the song and I meant no disrespect to either Paul or Art- this song has to rank up there in the top ten songs of all-time. It is filled with so much raw emotion and its meaning is beyond powerful-could be the greatest arrangement of any song ever recorded.

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     R.E.M.

2.     Mickey Thomas

3.     Steve Clarke

4.     The Village People

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     I was known as the man in black. My career started in the 1950’s and I was known as a rebel. I had my own TV show for a while in the 1970’s and one of my first guests was my good friend Bob Dylan. My career was resurrected by Rick Rubin right before I passed away and I played my guitar till the day I died. Who am I?

2.     I am the guy who loves to shock the world every chance I get with either my “evil” lyrics or my appearance. I have been banned in certain States around the U.S. at certain parts in my career. Who am I?

3.     Our band was formed in the late 1980’s and it contained the lead singer of the Baby’s and the lead guitarist from Journey. What was our name?

4.     I was the lead singer and probably the “leader” of a very popular band in the 1970’s. I absolutely loved the music of the Beatles. I have produced albums with Tom Petty and was part of a “super” group of five guys but after one of our guys passed away, we only did one more album together. Who am I?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     Just the Way You Are – Billy Joel

2.     Something – George Harrison (thanks Chris!)

3.     Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen

4.     Should I Stay Or Go – The Clash (Living Colour does a blistering cover)

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

1.     “…ever since I met cha…seems I can’t forget cha…the thought of you keeps running through…the back of my mind…”

2.     “…with a friend to call my own…I’ll never be alone…and you my friend will see… you’ve got a friend in me…”

3.     “…you take an average guy…he can’t identify…and there’s a short supply…of the fine, fine stuff…let me get on…”

4.     “…sometimes I sleep…sometimes it’s not for days…the people I meet…always go their separate ways…”

Back on this Day

Sadly back on this day in 2001, Joey Ramone, passed away from lymphoma at the young age of 49. He was listening to the U2 song-“In a Little While” when he passed.

Sadly back on this day in 2005, John Fred (“Judy in Disguise”) passed away after being hospitalized with kidney problems.

Back on this day in 1966, Buffalo Springfield made their concert debut in the U.S. by performing in San Bernadino, CA, opening for the Byrds..

Back on this day in 1971, Rolling Stone magazine reported that the Illinois Crime Commission had issued a list of songs that were “drug oriented” and among them were “Yellow Submarine” by the Beatles; “Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procol Harem and “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane.

Back on this day in 1971, The Beatles received their only Oscar award for the “Best Original Score” for “Let It Be.”

Back on this day in 1982, Billy Joel was hospitalized for a month after the motorcycle he was driving was broadsided by a car on Long Island.

Back on this day in 1996, a portion of Jerry Garcia’s ashes were scattered in San Francisco CA near the Golden Gate bridge. Eleven days earlier another portion of his ashes were scattered in the Ganges River in India.

Back on this day in 2003, Fleetwood Mac released “Say You Will” which featured for the first time in 16 years a Fleetwood Mac album with Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham on it.

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with Dave Edmunds and Roy Clark.

April 8, 2011

Weekly Update – 04/08/2011

Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow at Comcast Theater in Hartford CT on Thurs. July 7 and PNC Bank Arts Center in NJ on Tues. July 12. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. Comcast: Lawn-$32.50; $46, $58 and $90.20; PNC: Lawn- $37; $50.35, $68.50 and $103.70.

The Cars at Roseland Ballroom on Wed. May 25. Tickets on sale this morning at 11:00 a.m. $64.95. (Thanks to Chris and Jon, I am already in!!)

A Perfect Circle at Hammerstein ballroom on Wed. July 13 and at the Beacon Theater on Fri. July 15. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. Hammerstein: $71.45; Beacon: $89.25 and $111.75

Chicago at the Beacon Theater on Sun. Aug. 21. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $64.15, $96.90, $177.35 and $177.70.

Howard Jones at Irving Plaza on Wed. Rocktober 19. tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $46.70

TV on the Radio at the Music Hall of Williamsburg next Tues. Apr. 12. Tickets on sale today at noon. $35.45 (Tickets can only be picked up at will call window, they will not be mailed).

Against Me at Webster Hall on Tues. June 7. Tickets on sale this morning at noon. (If you have an American Express card you can purchase “pre-sale” tickets up until 11:00 a.m. this morning). $22.15

Huey Lewis & The News at the NYCB Theater in Westbury NY on Wed. July 20. Tickets on sale this Sunday Apr. 10 at 10:00 a.m. $62.45

Other items:

Ok what is going to take for Little Big Town to win the best vocal group at the Country Music Awards? Last year the voters chose Rascal Flatts as the best vocal group and now this past Sunday night, they lost out again, this time to Lady Antebellum. With no disrespect to both Flatts and Lady but are you kidding me? The category is “best vocals”-not “most popular group.” Last year, Rascal Flatts were riding high with all their hit songs on the radio and of course in 2010 it was “Need You Now” that blew the cover off the ball for Lady Antebellum but again these songs are “popular.” Their songs also include very good singing, I don’t want to take anything away from them but when it comes to harmonization-no one even comes close to Little Big Town-in my opinion. It’s a shame because I don’t the general public know how phenomenally talented this band is with their vocals.

Funny story-Little Big Town was a guest on the daytime television show-“The Talk”- last week, so I made sure I “dvr’d” the show so that I could replay them singing for my wife and boys. So here was the big moment, I fast forward to their part-they sing the title track to their latest album-“The Reason Why”- and I guess my “build-up” was so immense that once it ended I looked to gage the expressions on my family’s faces, there were “blank” stares. (I was so hooked into the song that I waited until the very end to look around). They all said it was “good” but I could tell that they didn’t want to burst my bubble and as soon as I left the room-the truth came flying out- “it wasn’t anything special.” Oh well shot down twice in one week (hey it wasn’t the first time and I know it won’t be the last) but I am still sticking to my guns on this one- Little Big Town was robbed. They are the best vocalists out there today and in my mind they are a “consecutive” winner.

Last weekend we were all playing a family game of scrabble and this time I didn’t have to fight to put my I-pod on shuffle (usually both of my boys make play lists that they want to be heard) to listen to while we were thinking of words and trying to maximize points. Midway through our game (and while my wife was trying to concentrate) the song-“Paradox”- by Kansas (from the great “Point of Know Return” album) came on and you know I had to turn up the volume a bit. Once everyone heard the violin they all made faces (are you kidding me-Robbie Steinhardt is the best!!) and if you know Kansas, everyone gets involved with the action, so when the keyboardist did his thing, my entire family wanted me to skip over the song.

Of course you know that wasn’t happening because I couldn’t wait to sing word for word and once Steve Walsh (or Kerry Livgren) began singing-“I’m on fire…burning with a question in my mind…strange desire…”- I was right there with him. As the song progressed (hey they were a “progressive” band) and the solos began, especially the lead guitar, I was totally ruining the game because I became the violinist, the drummer, the guitarist, the singer and everything else that was going on in this song. My wife and boys stopped and all stared until the song was done-almost four minutes later- and all stated that the song was the worst they have ever heard. It went in one ear and out the other, I paid them no mind and forgave them for they do not know.

Speaking of Kansas and “Point of Know Return,” the song-“Closet Chronicles”- is one of the best songs ever recorded and clearly is my all-time favorite Kansas song. “Once carried through the current…and being swept away…the king is in the closet…he’s hiding from today.” Wow- the entire arrangement of this song is something that you have probably never heard before-talk about “majestic?!” Whenever I put this song on a CD for a car ride, my boys look at me and wonder how I know every word to a song that they consider-“weird.” Again, I forgive them for they do not know. Someday it may click (as with other songs and groups I have played around them) and when it does I want to be there to see the smiles on their faces.

I wonder if the producers of “American Idol” received permission from the producers of “Glee” for utilizing the “splitting” of two songs into the same melody. Interesting that in all the years that American Idol has been on, they never did that before and last night they mixed “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd and “I Love Rock and Roll” by Joan Jett where the girls took Joan’s part and the boys..well you know. I guess since both shows are on Fox, it was “legal.”

And by the way America, you did wrong by Pia Toscano by voting her off and just like Jennifer Lopez I am “shocked and angry.” How does she lose out to Paul McDonald (who wasn’t even in the bottom three!!) or Stefano Langone?? I was finally glad to see Jacob Lusk in the bottom three and she is even better than him. (By the way once he gets voted off they won’t be able to contain him, he’s going to cry, punch, and/or demand a recount).

The Beastie Boys have released their first single-“Make Some Noise”-from their upcoming album-“Hot Sauce Committee Part 2” and if you loved their stuff during the 1990’s-you will absolutely love this song. This is totally “off the hook” with that great familiar groove that we expect from these guys. This could be the best song released so far in 2011-it is that good folks. Head on over to and click on “Make Some Noise.”

Congratulations to Brandon Flowers (The Killers) and his wife who are proud parents of their third boy-Henry- who was born on Mar. 9. The parents now have the “outfield” now set with Henry-who fills in right field next to his brothers- Ammon and Gunnar- in center and left.

Hey if Steven Tyler can appear on a reality show, well so can his Aerosmith band mate-Brad Whitford who will surface on the “A&E” channel’s-“Storage Wars.” Brad has a friend who enlists him to calculate the value what he has in storage.

Album Review – “Technical Ecstasy” by Black Sabbath released Sept. 25, 1976

Technical Ecstasy

I guess by now you should all know that once I get on a roll with a band (artist) it usually lasts a good few weeks (or in this case now, close to a month) and even though I just did my top ten songs by Black Sabbath, I am in such a groove with this band that I had to write about one of my personal favorite albums-“Technical Ecstasy.” Now when one thinks of Black Sabbath I would assume that most would imagine “doom” and “gloom” because of their earlier albums and I could not fault you for assuming that but I believe one should delve into the unknown instead of just deliberately walking away. Hence I am here to recommend an album that doesn’t have that presumed “darkness” for which I assuming the original “die-hard” most likely had an issue with when this record was issued in 1976. So if that is the case, then you know that it should be alright to “dip your toe in the water” and believe me-if you let it sink in-you will be swimming with in a sea of pleasure for which you probably never would believe that a band by the name of Black Sabbath could ever deliver. Consider me the person who walks one to the water, now all you have to do is drink.

Let’s be honest right up front, I’m not going to sit here and tell you this album is one like Fleetwood Mac but their experimentation with keyboards and synthesizers continued to give it that added sophistication. The genre will still say “heavy metal” but there is one song-“She’s Gone”-that features “orchestration” and even the other songs are still “heavy” I would venture to say Black Sabbath became even more melodic. I would equate it to a young major league pitcher who can just blow the ball by everyone but as the years go on he has mastered the art of “pitching.” Sabbath could always blow you away but by the time this album was released they found so many more ways to amaze and I don’t know for this to be true-it is just my opinion-but for the band to try to continue to “top” the next piece of work must have grated on them to the point where disagreements over the direction (or whatever) may have led to them kicking Ozzy out of the band. (Yes I know- there were a lot of other substances that were involved in that decision). However, I am here today to concentrate on the positives of this incredible band and album.

Side one starts off with “Back Street Kids” which is a rocking straight ahead head-banging tune-now don’t get scared off-the throttle is still in full force but the “heaviness” is not as intense as you think. In my opinion, the sophistication of their arrangements along with the staggering contributions from each member of the band is evident from the first song, so you know what to expect from the rest of the album. The “rhythm” section of Geezer and Bill was so crucial to the success of the band (and eventually the various keyboard players) for which most of the credit appeared to go to the lead singer and lead guitarist. The consistent groove in this song is so infectious that you will be banging your head up and down at a feverish pace but it won’t stay that way for the whole song (think “Paranoid”) because the melodic vocals by Ozzy when he sings-“Nobody I know will ever take my rock and roll away from me”-slows it down some and makes you realize that there is pure rock and roll underneath this “heavy metal” label. I love the way the song ends-it just disappears-what a way to start off the album. The second song-“You Won’t Change Me”-starts off “dark” and you will be saying to yourself –“I thought the image of a grave yard at midnight”-was gone? But give about 90 seconds or so to realize that the fog has been lifted and even though the synthesizer gives it that “Addams Family” vibe (hey like I said the image doesn’t totally disappear). The guitar solo by Tony is jaw dropping and makes you realize how gifted this man really is-he speaks to us with his guitar and the music couldn’t be any sweeter. If this music were “calories” then I would immediately have to register for the “Biggest Loser” because I have ingested so much of their work. This is the second longest song on the album but you won’t feel it. Track 3-“It’s Alright”- is actually sung by the drummer, Bill Ward, which Ozzy was on board with and I must say-he does a masterful job with this song, it is absolutely beautiful. If I played this song for you-and you didn’t know it was Black Sabbath-one would never guess that this pleasing melody could be them (except maybe for Tony’s blazing guitar solo in the middle). Who knew that Bill could sing like this? We all are familiar with his massive skills on the drums but this is incredible-and again this song would have not appeared on their debut album-so there is the sophistication I am talking about. “Gypsy” reminds me so much of a Santana song, especially in the beginning when Ward’s drumming gives it that “Latin” flavor. Love the lyrics-“Watched the universe at the end of another day” and at the 1:10 minute mark or so-it turns into a “rock” song as Tony enters the fray with his hard riff. Ozzy is so good on this track (and the others as well) and is especially clear with his lyrics and when Tony’s guitar sings behind him (most times it was the other way around) it gives the song that “majestic” feel which turns it into another epic song.

Side two starts off with the super cool-“All Moving Parts (Stand Still)”- which has a funky groove which is highlighted by the slick riff by Mr. Iommni. And listen to the vivacious bass playing by Geezer-it is absolutely incredible how distinctive his performances are. The shifting of gears-stopping on a dime to either slow it down or speed it up-is something that this band does better than anyone that I can think of. The middle of the song sounds like something Deep Purple would do, especially when the keyboards enter the fray. The second song on side two-“Rock and Roll Doctor”- is just pure rock and roll at the very core of what this genre was meant to be. Last weekend I went to see one of my best friend’s (Slats) band appropriately named –“The Groove”- and these guys play that classic rock and roll, so I decided to send a song suggestion to them-this song-it has everything-drums, guitar, bass, keyboards and of course the mighty vocals. This is a pure finger and knee slapping tune that one would probably never associate Black Sabbath with but as I mentioned the pure genius of this band came out with every new album that they put out. I can’t believe how much I love this song-it needs “rock and roll” in the title because there is a chance if you looked up the meaning of this term you just might be given a reference-“See Rock and Roll Doctor.” Track # 3-“She’s Gone”- is in my opinion the most stunning song that Sabbath has ever done (yes I know there is “Changes”) and it’s not only due to the “orchestration” but for theraw emotion that is captured in the tone and especially the lyrics. Take for example-“you said you’d always love me, all my life…and then you said your last goodbye”- wow, so powerful and I bet this song hits home for many people- we have all gone through a “heart-break” or two in our lifetime but this feels so real, so painful that it holds me still for the entire four minutes and fifty-three seconds. Their progression as a band with this song puts them at another level for me and it is jaw-dropping-excuse me while I hit the rewind button and drift off into another world. The last song on side two is –“Dirty Women”- is often called the “centerpiece” of this album and deservedly so. Sometimes bands would purposely start off an album with their best songs (especially back in the 1970’s) and I don’t know if Sabbath purposely selected it to be the last song on the album but I wouldn’t be surprised because it leaves with a feeling that you can’t wait for the next album. The arrangement on this song is so spectacular that I would venture to say that the shift at the 3:19 mark is the best transition of any song ever recorded. This is a complete and utter masterpiece. (Yes it may run on a bit at the end but that was the thing to do back in the 1970’s). There is not much else to say but know that I am bowing right now as the song comes to a close-downright unbelievable.

“Technical Ecstasy” is another classic album made by Black Sabbath but probably is not named in the same breath as some of the other recordings that this powerful outfit from England created. Their musical, technical and mechanical prowess continued to escalate to levels that few other bands have been able to achieve. Sadly, this was the beginning of the end for them as “Never Say Die” was the final recording for the original Sabbath members but at least we can go back in time whenever we want and listen to the genius of Black Sabbath. For the folks out there who do not know this band, you may want to start with this album and work your way back-but it doesn’t matter which album you start with because every one of them contains something special on each-it’s all there waiting for you. What are you waiting for?

Songs You Are Scared To Admit You Like

Sugar SugarThe Archies – This song always makes my playlists whenever I am hosting a party at the house or if I’m asked to bring a set list to a family or friend’s event. This is the ultimate “bubble-gum” pop song ever created but why does that matter? We all know sugar is sweet and it doesn’t get any more appealing than this tune, it is pure saccharine-I mean fun!!! How can one not sing and dance along to this song? I find it near impossible, I love this tune!!!

Those Were The DaysMary Hopkin – “Once upon a time there was a tavern… those were the days my friend…” I love this song because it brings back so many memories of growing up on 46th street in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn. I can remember that our sixth grade teacher at P.S. 169-Mr. Whitman- totally loved this song as it was featured in our school play at the end of the year. We prepared for months for that play and one of the weirdest things I can recall was being asked to search for “big cardboard boxes” by him and he would let us leave during school hours to find these boxes. He directed us towards 13th avenue-mind you our school was on 7th avenue and we’d scour the neighborhood for an hour or two before making our way back. (My parents never knew-can you imagine this being done today-he would have been fired immediately). Great sing-along-song!!! “We’d live the live we choose…we’d fight and never lose!!!”

Ice Ice BabyVanilla Ice – OK “Check out the hook while my DJ revolves it!!”-yes I know that it is a terrible rip off of the Queen song-“Under Pressure”- but it is in my I-Pod. Is it goofy-yes? But is it fun?-yes. Ok maybe this is “bad rap” but at least it was fun-whatever happened to “fun rap?” It’s been a long time since we have had some fun in rap-“word to your mother!!”

I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)The New Seekers – Now I know that Coke used this song for their commercials back in the 1970’s and most probably thought this was a “product” song but boys & girls it was not-this is a real song (and a terrific one at that). There are songs that are just like “comfort food” and this is fuel for the soul. I can listen to this song all day long, again it brings me back to simpler times. Just like Jackie Gleason said in the episode where they all went roller skating-“Youth is wasted on the young.”

The Rain, The Park and Other ThingsThe Cowsills – I’m not even sure that this song belongs here because I believe there are many people out there who would not be afraid to admit that they love this song as much as I do. But when I sing along to the chorus-“I love the flower girl…oh I don’t know just why, she simply caught my eye…I love the flower girl” and thought to myself well maybe yes-there may be a few folks out there who wouldn’t admit it-but you know you love it. “Flowers every wheeeeeerrrrreeeee”-one of the best songs of the 1960’s-period end of story!!!

I Got You BabeSonny & Cher –Ask my wife and kids how much I love this song??!! You can make fun of Sonny’s vocals all you want but I actually think he did a great job when they were a duo. I was really upset with Cher when she did a “goof” with this song on the “Beavis & Butthead” soundtrack. There is something so pure and good about this song. The melody is what does it for me from the opening notes, I can help but sway my head side to side and sing along-“… I got flowers in the spring…I got you to wear my ring…” and when Cher responds I just think it is one of the best vocal performances she has ever recorded.

I Think I Love YouThe Partridge Family –Please let me explain, I don’t want to lose credibility here but I can’t help myself, I love these type of songs!!! “I don’t what I’m up against…I don’t know what it’s all about…I got so much to think about…heeeeyyyyyyy”- C’mon you know you love this song just as much as I do. This is another song that typically makes its way onto my playlists.

I Was Made for Loving YouKiss – Ok of course you know that when this song first came out, I went along with the masses because I (we) all had an image to uphold and I (we) completely threw up all over this song but as the years went on (yes I’m old now) it started to grow on me. Hey it even made one (of the thousands-yes I know) of the “greatest hits” albums that Gene (I mean Kiss) has released over the years. They weren’t the only ones to go “disco”- The Rolling Stones and Queen had more infamous disco songs, so why all the hostility towards Kiss? There was a cool wedding video (which I posted on this page maybe like a year ago) where the wedding party acted out a whole scene to this song, which made me like the song even more.

Top Ten

Image of Metallica

Metallica. OK I have held out for too long and I have been bracing for this moment for the past few weeks. I think my oldest son basically had given up on asking me to put down my top ten songs by this incredible band and had probably just accepted that it wasn’t going to happen. This is a massive undertaking and was going to take some serious time & effort. Now by now you should all know the love and respect that I have for this band. Even though I have never met them personally I feel like they are a part of my life. I can’t imagine my life without Metallica, it isn’t possible.

Discovering music or a band or an artist-new or old-is something that can happen to anyone and for me (as I have mentioned many times before) the year was 1991 when they created the masterpiece known as “The Black Album.” I guess you could say I was born into this band while many other “die-hard” fans would say that was when they “died” because in their eyes and ears, Metallica had joined the “sell-out” world. Looking back now twenty years later, I don’t understand why the original “die-hards” had jumped ship once the “black” album was released because when you look at it (sorry, I mean listen to it) this recording is beyond spectacular as it is filled with so much energy, blood, guts and everything humanly possible that could be turned into music, so why walk away? The only reason I can think was because it brought a whole new population of fans into the world of Metallica, while the die-hards only wanted them for themselves and didn’t want the “general” population to get involved. I guess I get it because when I was younger I sort of felt the same way about the bands that I followed and once they were too popular, I used to walk away.

Like I said it was 1991 and I was climbing my way towards the “big 3 OH” and was becoming more mature (I married my beautiful bride in 1991) so by this time I could not understand why anyone would walk away from the “Mecca” of all bands. Now for all the “die-hards” I want to say one thing- I went back, I went back and discovered the original magic that had all lured you into this world of Metallica. I continue to follow the magic and think their latest effort-“Death Magnetic”-is an absolute masterpiece.

For the folks out there who have never seen Metallica live and in concert, I implore you to give it your best effort to attend one of their shows the next time they come to your city. I would venture to say that it could be a life changing event, as it was for me. Attending a Metallica concert is very hard to put into words to describe but I will give it my best shot-let’s say it is at Madison Square Garden (like in Nov. 2009) and there are 18,000 people in the stands. By the end of the show it will feel like just the four guys because 18,000 people in the audience will be morphed into the body and soul of James, Lars, Kirk and Robert-slicing the crowd into 4,500 parts of each member of the group. All four members give it their absolute best effort every time out and at points throughout the night you will feel like you have been sucked inside each one of them because this is what their performance and music will do to you. You can’t teach what these guys have-this is engrained into their fabric-it is all natural-and once you feel that, then you will know exactly what I am talking about. You will become them, just like I have.

Now how does anyone go about just trying to name only ten songs from this legendary band? The original die-hards would all pick the ten selections from their debut-‘Kill ‘Em All.” (But you know they would want to include every song from “Master,” “Ride” and “..Justice” but will stick to ornery ways and claim that the first is the only thing to “thrash” about). Talking about “Master of Puppets?”-whew-this album is so phenomenal that it just adds to the complexity of trying to name only ten songs (do you see why I didn’t –don’t-want to do this?) “Master” is not for those who are “faint of heart”- be prepared for pulsating action. (“Back to the front!!!”) I skipped over “Ride the Lightning” but let’s go back to that album for a second-just absolutely incredible (listen to Kirk’s guitar in “Trapped Under Ice”-total knockout-again this is not for the faint of heart). This is metal at its best. And then we get to “…And Justice for All.” Whew, another knockout punch. Before my oldest son was born, my wife left the house (of course, no way I could blast this album when she was home, she was “with child”) and I painted the entire room by playing this album two times in a row. (Do you know how many times I stopped to “air-guitar” with the long broom stick? That is why I had to put the album on a second time!!)

Then it is on to the “Black Album”-I will never forget riding to South Jersey from my home in North Jersey (to play softball) and the only thing that eased the pain of the long ride was this album. It completely engulfed me and like I told you on one of those rides, I was so entranced into this album that when I was stuck in traffic (while head-banging) two people looked over at me-pointing their fingers at me and laughing-because I was completely in my own world-check that-in “Metallica’s world.” If you are looking for criticism from me on “Load” and “Reload” you will not get it because I love a lot of songs from those albums as well. Even the often criticized-“St. Anger”-grew on me and I can listen to most of the album (yes despite the fact the there are no guitar solos from Kirk).

And now “Death Magnetic?” Wow talk about one great song after another?I could easily put down these ten songs as my top ten. From the very beginning with “That Was Just Your Life”-you board this ride called Metallica and within seconds you are morphed into their world and again all of us become the four of them.

So you see folks why I have put this off for so long? This is too hard. (Maybe I won’t do it after all)…Ok I’m back- I will give it my best shot and will try to incorporate their entire career into this list-even though it is so easy to just pick an album and be done with it. Now the one thing I will not allow is a “cover”song-that is a whole separate category with these guys (see “The $5.99” album and “Garage Inc.”). (Some of their covers are better than the original-see “Breadfan” with no disrespect to “Budgie.”) So here it is, I am on an island and have been informed that I can only have ten songs by Metallica- “These Are Them”- \m/ \m/ (let’s just get that out of the way):

10.     The Four Horsemen– Ironically I said no “covers” but I did not say that Dave Mustaine would be excluded. Now I don’t want to get into the whole “Megadeth vs. Metallica” saga because I think by now, they have buried the hatchet, especially with both bands agreeing to tour with “The Big Four.” Mustaine is credited-along with James and Lars- and this is a stellar song no matter who the song was written by (or performed for that matter). The thing with Metallica that has always stood out, is their unbelievable ability to turn on a dime and create a whole new arrangement (they learned this from Black Sabbath) within a composition that makes it seem like a couple of different songs within a song. The other thing about this band is how tight they are as a unit, no matter who was in the quartet. I love the middle of the song where the bridge turns again and you can hear the amazing Burton on bass, while Kirk is doing his thing on lead guitar with Lars and James being the rhythm section that never quits. If you listen to this song with headphones you will hear the incredible shifts from your left ear to your right ear. Like I said- I was late to the party but I totally get the thrashing that Metallica has put before us. Unbelievable work of art.

9.     Harvester of Sorrow – Oh boy does this bring back memories of painting my first sons’ room as we prepared for his arrival. Now as I mentioned I couldn’t have the walls shaking in my house while my wife was home, so one day while she was out doing errands-I decided to make my move and paint by myself. I can remember painting with such precision as I methodically rolled up and down, back and forth to the massive beats from the drums, bass, and rhythm guitars. Who says one can’t concentrate with metal music while you are busy performing a task? It was probably the best painting job I had ever done and it was all due to “Justice.” This groove is so infectious, so addicting that it is one of their best “head-banging” songs they have ever recorded. My eyes are closed and my head and my neck are in sync as my chin touches my chest in a controlled and steady beat as I try to match every drum beat that Lars is filling into my ears. Love when James growls. Kirk’s guitar solo is spot on while Cliff’s bass feels like my heart is being thumped on every note. “Anger…misery…you’ll suffer unto me…harvester of sorrow”-Ok not the most upbeat lyrics but it’s all about the music for me. Head-banging at its best.

8.     For Whom The Bell Tolls –A few weeks ago I put this track down as having one of the best beginnings to a song and I will always stick by that notion. From the opening bell, you are mesmerized by their sound and I always get so pumped up that I am buzzing around the room like the way Robert Trujillo roams the stage like a predator. Don’t you just love the “double” sounding guitars about a minute into the song? Can it get any better? Yes it does as Lars drums get a bit faster and the double sounding guitar comes back right before the crowd gets ready to sing-“Make his fight on the hill in the early day…constant chill deep inside”-this is a pure spectacle to witness as you will be amazed on how many people are transformed into their music-again, everyone takes a turn being each member of the band. I remember when I first started dating my bride, I would drive home from her home on a Saturday night and WNEW FM (when it was WNEW) used to have this metal show that always had a segment on Metallica. This one particular night I heard this song and before it was introduced, Donny Osmond was interviewed and stated that he was a huge fan of Metallica. Now come on for all of you folks who are afraid to dip your toe in the water-if Donny Osmond says it’s OK to like Metallica you know it’s safe. If you can’t trust Donny, who can you trust?

7.     Wherever I May Roam – Wow does this song get me psyched up or what? Love the beginning where I feel like I am on a hot desert trying to get away from some dudes on camels that are chasing me through “never, never land.” (oops that’s another song). Don’t cha just love the way Lars breaks in with those smashing beats as the song gets ready for lift-off? Kirk picks up the pace with that unbelievable guitar riff but then it slows down as you hear James’s growls as he gets ready to belt out that renowned passion that we all have come to expect. This song grabs you by the throat and does not let go. Ok are you ready-“And the road becomes my bride…I have stripped of all but pride…”- and then –“But I’ll take my time anywhere…free to speak my mind anywhere…and I’ll redefine anywhere…” James makes you really feel that anywhere he lies his head that place becomes his home. This is a song of epic proportions-all the musicians are in complete control and have created an absolute masterpiece. Folks this is something you have to feel. Kirk’s guitar solo is flat out electrifying-“My body lies but still I roam…wander…wander…WANDER!!!!” Tell me this isn’t heavy??!!

6.     That Was Just Your Life – The heart beat at the beginning of the album is a great metaphor and immediately was a sign of things to come to let everyone know that Metallica is here to stay and if anyone thinks they had gone soft, well think again. Seriously folks, when you really listen to this song you realize the unbelievable talent that these guys possess. Maybe it took the “Zen-Master” Rick Rubin for it to come out of them but “it” was in them- he helped get it out but “it” was always there. C’mon I don’t care what any of the naysayers think-this is a freaking unbelievable arrangement of fury and controlled chaos. I don’t know how James sings this song-it is really hard in my opinion and he does it with such ease-again you can’t “teach” this or “practice” this-this comes from within. And what about Lars? It sounds like sixteen other drummers are helping him play this song-are you kidding me? You may not like what he has to say but he shuts everyone up with his massive skills on the drums-how long can these guys keep up the pace? Again I am friggin’ saturated as I try to “air-drum” and “air-guitar” my way through this epic. Seeing them perform this at Madison Square Garden left me speechless. My jaw hit the floor and I unconsciously kept on bowing with my arms over my head-bow to the Masters!!!

5.     Disposable Heroes – I am doing the “Wayne’s World We Are Not Worthy Bow” as soon as the song starts and I will keep on doing it for the entire eight minutes or so. Oh my this is so good I don’t even know where to start. How about the “ninety mile per hour” guitar riff by Kirk at the 33 second mark of the song (and then again at the 1:20 mark) supplemented by the pulsating bass of Cliff? Lots of metal bands seem to make songs about war and even though this song was written while there really was no war going on, it really hits home today. Kirk’s solo is light’s out as you feel like you are being lifted off the ground or out of your seat as you float the front of the stage to morph into his body and calmly play the guitar with such ease. This song shifts gears so many times I lost count but whenever it speeds up again I am out of my mind-I can picture the “mosh pit” near the front of the stage-it’s like a swarm of bees that have been disturbed and they will do anything to protect the Queen bee. This is thrash metal at its absolute best-so you see they did do thrash metal after “Kill ‘Em All.” I am absolutely spent, dripping with sweat wondering how these guys do it year after year. This is a freaking amazing song!!! \m/ \m/

4.     Fuel –Go ahead and smirk, snicker-do whatever you want-frown, throw-up, tell me I am not a “real” Metallica fan. How could I put a song on from “Re-Load” you say??!! How?? Have you heard this song? Go ahead and tell me it is not heavy??!! You know what? I don’t care what you have to say-this song will always make my list because it knocks the cover off the ball every time I hear it. From the opening-“Give me fuel, give me fire, give me that which I desire”- I was totally transposed into this song-it was like I fell into a black hole and while falling there was a guitar that went around my neck for me to riff on, a set of drums for me to attack the skins with such a furiousness that I landed on solid ground-right in the middle of the “pit” that the boys used to sell tickets for the lucky fans to be on stage with them. I remember when they played this song on “Saturday Night Live” and I jumped out of my seat and was trying to reach the ceiling as my excitement level was at an all time high-(there was no one else in the room as my wife had gone to bed)-I was so excited because I knew that there were millions of people around the U.S. were experiencing the magic of Metallica. This is rock/metal at its best-again I will accept no negative comments, so keep them to yourself.

3.     Cyanide – Lars is all over “Death Magnetic” and this song is no exception. I think maybe he had some vengeance in his mind after all the “garbage can” criticism thrown at him for “St. Anger.” And what about James? He also came back with a purpose to prove to everyone of the naysayers out there (they are never happy by the way) that he can sing. If there is anything that has been evident over the years is his progression as a vocalist. This song is bursting at the seams- you know how sometimes you bite into a jelly donut (come on now- every once in a while you can have just one) and there is so much jelly that some of it falls from your mouth on to the ground? That is my description of this song-there is so much extra that you don’t want any to fall to the way side-you need to soak it all in. Kirk proved to the world that he still can play solos within a song and after seeing Trujillo perform at Madison Square Garden, the decision to bring him aboard was a no brainer. These guys are so talented and like fine wine, they get better with age.

2.     Creeping Death – I will never forget when Matt Pinfield hosted a special event on MTV in 1998 in San Francisco where a lucky bunch of fans were able to sit in a very intimate venue to watch Metallica pour through some of their classics and a super fan was pulled out of the audience to sing this song. Both James and Lars were warning him before he made his way up there that he had better know all the lyrics. But the confidence this dude exerted was impressive and I knew right off the bat that he was going to nail it. As Lars and the boys started the track, this dude was “transformed” into them (you see what I mean?)-it was like the music was injected into his veins and he started off with the same fervor that James displays on the original recording-“So let it be written…let it be done …” Here was this guy living every Metallica fan’s dream to be able to be up on stage with the Masters and I was living vicariously through him down in my “man cave” when I lived in Ringwood N.J. as I was running up and down my walls from all the excitement. It was incredible and when the song ended you could sense that the Masters were impressed with his skills-you could tell this dude “lived for Metallica.” And who doesn’t want to do that? If you have never seen these guys live I have to tell you the spectacle of witnessing 40,000 (at a stadium let’s say) delirious fans all chanting-“Die…Die…Die” while continuously bending their right arms at the elbow thrusting towards the sky is a sight to behold. This song should go down as one of the best songs in metal history. I love the “demonic” background vocals towards the end of the song. \m/ \m/

1.     Master of Puppets – How can the Masters not have the word “Master” in their number one song? What else can be said about this song? Amazing, stupendous, electrifying, blazing, powerful, “Hell Yeah,” exciting, unifying, passionate, moving, fierce, “Hell Yeah,” calming, inspirational, majestic, faithful, all these words and more should make us all bow down to the Masters!!! I will never forget the two nights that stand out in my mind when I went to see Metallica and both times it was at Madison Square Garden. The first was November 2009 when I literally thought the place was going to crumble because the excitement created from the opening licks felt like a human earthquake. Again, a sight to behold. The other time was November 2000 when Metallica performed one of the very few shows with a complete orchestra (the “S&M” disc) and I was so proud of these guys because I had both my brothers at the show, my uncle and his son. They completely nailed it and I have to say that I absolutely love the version on “S&M” almost more than the original because there is so much going on with the orchestra to give it that extra mind blowing kick in the pants. I also remember my last Spin class at MBIA as I sadly decided to leave the company and I was always afraid to put Metallica on the set list because I didn’t think the other members of the class could handle it. But since it was my last class I figured why not take a chance? And to my pleasant surprise, I believe CIC, Doreen, Taxter and Chris all enjoyed this song. This is one of their many masterpieces, and one which I believe is their ultimate work of genius.

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Faith No More

2.     Georgia Satellites

3.     The Grateful Dead (my apologies to those Dead fans who do not feel Mr. Garcia was the “leader)

4.     The Guess Who

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     Our band has been around since the 1970’s and we are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Our next studio album is set for release in the next month or so. We have made so many hits it is hard to keep track of. When we were kids we loved to go night swimming. Who are we?

2.     I was the lead singer for Jefferson Starship at one point in my career but am probably best known for singing the lead on the only “hit” that Elvin Bishop ever had. In this song I was a “love ‘em and leave ‘em” kind of guy. Who am I?

3.     I was a very talented guitarist who unfortunately passed away at a very young age. Before I left this world I played with a huge band that sky-rocketed to fame in the 1980’s. We always wanted to make you rock until you dropped. The band Tesla wrote a tribute song to this man that goes by the title of “Song and Emotion.” Who am I?

4.     We were the kings of a certain genre of music that basically died by the time 1980 rolled around (except in Brooklyn N.Y.). One of our songs is probably the most played party song in the history of music and also used by the ground crew at Yankee stadium at every home game. Who are we?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     How Can I Be Sure – The Rascals

2.     Werewolves of London – Warren Zevon

3.     Shiny Happy People – R.E.M.

4.     I Was Only Joking – Rod Stewart

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

1.     “…I would not leave you in times of trouble…we never could have come this far…I took the good times…”

2.     “…you’re asking me will my love grow…I don’t know…I don’t know…you stick around now it may show…”

3.     “…didn’t mean to make you cry…if I’m not back again this time tomorrow, carry on…carry on…as if nothing really matters…”

4.     “…its always tease, tease, tease…you’re happy when I’m on my knees…one day it’s fine and next it’s black…”

Back on this Day

Tragically and sadly back on this day in 1994, Kurt Cobain was discovered dead by an electrician who was working in his home. It was a self infliction and his body was found by the electrician three days after he had passed.

Back on this day in 1963, Julian Lennon, the son of John Lennon was born to his first wife, Cynthia.

Back on this day in 1980, AC/DC introduced Brian Johnson as the new lead singer for the band, six weeks after Bon Scott had passed away.

Back on this day in 1998, Tommy Lee was sentenced to six months in jail after breaking his probation by assaulting a photographer in 1996.

Back on this day in 1998, Ronnie Wood’s boat caught fire while sailing around the Rio De Janeiro. Ronnie and his passengers were saved by a passing boat filled with journalists.

Back on this day in 2010, Malcolm McLaren passed away from mesothelioma in Switerland, he was 64. He used to manage the Sex Pistols and New York Dolls.

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with Izzy Stradlin, (Guns & Roses) Steve Howe (Yes).

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