Errols Weekly Music Update.

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 http://blog.beastieboys.com/ 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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3 Comments »

  1. Fuel?? And not unforgiven wow I disagree a little on that

    Comment by Anonymous — April 8, 2011 @ 8:22 am

  2. Great write up. Glad you finally did it! You have to send your top ten songs by Metallica in. I bet you will be published.

    Comment by Rosanna — April 8, 2011 @ 11:05 am

  3. Thanks for this article. It was a very enjoyable read. I really like the list of songs that your scared to admit to like.

    Comment by Electrician Fleetwood — November 1, 2011 @ 8:18 am


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