Errols Weekly Music Update.

January 7, 2011

Weekly Update – 01/07/2011

Elton John at the Mohegan Sun on Fri. Mar. 11. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $141.05 – $202.40

Diana Ross at the St. George Theater in Staten Island NY on Sun. Mar. 20 performing her “greatest hits.” Tickets on sale next Sat. morning Jan. 15 at 9:30 a.m. $72.15 – $193.40.

The Allman Brothers have added more shows for their “March Madness” shows at the Beacon Theater (Mon. & Tues. Mar. 21 & 22; Thurs.-Sat. Mar. 24 – 26) and if you have an American Express card you can purchase pre-sale tickets until 10:00 p.m. tonight. General public tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $63.29, $106.29 and $169.74

Explosions in the Sky at Radio City Music Hall on Wed. Apr. 6. Tickets on sale this morning at 11:00 a.m. $39.50.

Due to overwhelming demand a second Utopia show featuring Todd Rundgren at the Highline Ballroom has been added for Sun. Jan. 30, 2011. Tickets on sale now. $40 ($45 day of show).

Deftones at Best Buy Theater on Fri. & Sat. May 13 & 14. Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders on sale until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. General public tickets on sale tomorrow at noon. $30

Bobby Vinton at the NYCB Theater in Westbury NY on Sat. June 25. Tickets on sale this Sun. Jan. 9 at noon. $41.50 – $74.

Other items:

Thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Mr. Gerry Rafferty who sadly passed this past Monday at the young age of 63. He is mostly known for the fantastic song-“Baker Street”- but to his many fans, he was more than this “one hit” wonder. Admittedly, this is the only song that I own from Gerry Rafferty (I do have “Stuck in the Middle” when he was with Stealers Wheel) on his own and I absolutely love this song. I can remember as a teenager I couldn’t wait to hear this song when it came on the radio. The Foo Fighters covered this. Rest in peace, Gerry.

Chuck Berry who is 84 years young startled fans in Chicago at the “Congress Theater” on New Year’s Night when he slumped over his electric piano and waved for help as he needed assistance off the stage. He returned 30 minutes later and did a short song and duck walked off stage and did not return after that. Audience members were shouting-“ We Love You Chuck”- Hotel workers stated they saw Mr. Berry on Sunday morning and he looked fine. Berry’s representatives said it was a case of exhaustion and he will be back on the road again in no time. Whew.

The apparent illness that had plagued the Queen of Soul-Aretha Franklin– has been successfully healed according to reports out of her camp. That is great news!!!

My favorite “old school” song of the week is “You Are So Beautiful” by the living legend Joe Cocker. There is something magical about his version (sorry Billy Preston-who co-wrote the song), it is pure genius. Let your special partner know that they are so beautiful and mean some much to you.

My favorite “nu” metal song of the week is “Justice” by Rev Theory. This is not for the faint of heart-this song rocks!!!\m/ \m/ I heard this on the only radio station in the U.S. that plays these kinds of songs- WCCC 106.9 on your FM dial out of Hartford CT. This song friggin’ rocks!!!

Have you seen the new video from Shinedown yet? “Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom Lay)” – the song was made for the Sylvester Stallone movie-“The Expendables” and the video incorporates clips of the movie as well as a live performance by this most excellent band. Folks I don’t know how long I have to keep singing their praises-this band does not disappoint. Check it out here

Tesla is currently in the studio working on a “acoustic type” album to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the “Five Man Acoustic Jam.” Also Frankie Hannon and Jeff Keith recently appeared on “That Metal Show” and Hannon proclaimed that Guns N Roses had stolen “Patience” from them. It turns out that Frankie was “joking” and he has apologized to Eddie Trunk as well as to G N R.

I have to admit that I did like the new Paula Abdul show – “Live to Dance”- and I thought she was very good in her analysis of the prospective dancers. One thing Paula has always seemed to be is genuine and her comments to the dancers came from the heart. The format of the show is similar to others where there are three judges and she has her familiar spot in the middle-there is no “Simon”-meaning no “cut to the bone” criticism of the contestants. All three judges were nice but firm in their opinions and it was a breath of fresh air. (even though I do like Simon).


Hunky Dory

For the past few years and for reasons unknown, I really started to dive into the early years of David Bowie albums and “discovered” what I had been missing all these years-that is what I have been preaching for the past few years-it is never too late to uncover any type or form of music-if it moves you-then you need to move in and begin your research. Now for the Bowie “die-hards” I know they are going to cringe for what I am about to state- I love “Hunky Dory” in its entirety but I feel that it is an “acquired” taste and so that is the reason for which this album lands into this “Nuggets” section of the page. Also, in my opinion, this album doesn’t seem to get the accolades that it truly deserves, this is one of those “diamonds in the ruff” that easily seems to go unnoticed (again except for the die-hards) but again I am trying to put myself into the shoes of the general public and I am not too sure that songs like “Eight Line Poem” is going to completely bowl one over-the beauty of this song (and others) might need a few more turns for many to “get it.” So for that reason – and only that reason- the “Hunky Dory” album lands in the category of containing many good songs but not enough for a perfect album side or entire album review. So without further adieu here are the golden nuggets (in no particular order) from “Hunky Dory:”

Life on Mars” –I know when I did my top ten songs by David some time ago (at least a year ago) I had put “Dream Genie” as my all time favorite tune but as time has gone on, “Life on Mars” may have catapulted to number one but I will stick to my original list. I can’t say enough about this song and I’d have to say that this song totally lands in my top ten songs of all time. Ask my two sons how many times I have played this song around the house or in the car? This is one of the greatest compositions ever recorded in the history of music-that’s right-ever. I say that this song should be submitted to the Smithsonian and forever be protected. It should also be a requirement for everyone in the world to own this song-how’s that for emphasis? (This could have helped that structured deal that securitized those Bowie records-“Bowie Bonds”) And if anyone could honestly say that they don’t like this song, then I’d refund the $0.99-oh excuse me now $1.29. I defy anyone to tell me this song isn’t one of the greatest songs ever recorded. (Yeah I know…more than half of you probably never even heard it…no matter I will listen to it over and over to make up for the rest of you).

Changes” – Has to be considered one of the best recordings that David has ever done, no? The overall quaintness and beauty of “Hunky Dory” is exemplified so well with this song, don’t you think? There is tranquil calmness to this song that makes it very enjoyable and this entire album highlights the keen ability of Mr. Bowie to show everyone that he is a world class singer. This is pure greatness.

Kooks” – I can remember the first time I heard this song (again only recently) and how awestruck I was-could this really be David Bowie? I think of the rocking tunes that he had made (what I was used to hearing on the radio) and then to hear such an exquisite tune caused me to realize just how talented this man is. This is a spectacular song which shows how diverse Mr. Bowie can be. Love the piano work-flawless-and the chorus is addicting.

Quicksand” – You talk about “hidden gems?”-Look no further than this unbelievable song. Again the word that comes to mind is “awestruck.” Folks this composition is staggering. I wish I could write songs like this. There is such calmness to this entire album and this song could arguably be the best song on the album. Now again you have to give it a chance, you just can’t hit the “skip” button-force yourself to sit down and take a true listen and feel the magic.

Song For Bob Dylan” – This is the type of song where you hold the ale mug while swinging it back and forth with the crowd behind you at the pub and everyone sings along word for word. You will be “air-guitaing,” “air-pianoing” and “air-drumming” to this wonderful song. Bowie pays homage to Dylan, a true tribute from the heart on how Dylan affected the life of Bowie (and so many others). Love the line that describes Dylan’s singing voice – “…like sand and glue…”

Songs That You Are Scared to Admit You Like

Ok I decided this week to go with songs that you like to sing when there is no one else around like maybe when you are in your car or in the shower or whatever place you feel that you are safe where no one else can enter your zone. I know I have plenty of songs, why just this past New Year’s Eve I had a set list of songs that my best man –Johnny- and my brother –and yes even my boys- were giving me a hard time about and when I started to doze off around 1:15 in the morning, Johnny asked my oldest son for my I-Pod and was trying to figure out how to remove all my songs- nice, huh? Well despite that, I will always stick to my guns on what I like and even though I may be ridiculed-it’s no longer enough-now that I am older- to make me shy away and say “yeah of course I don’t like that song!!” “Who me?…I never listen to that song!!!” Well this could be a section that could last throughout the year but for today I will let you know the songs that quickly come to mind, so in no particular order- here are some:

I Want It That Way” – The Backstreet Boys – I can clearly remember like it was yesterday but it was actually in 1999 and I still lived in Ringwood N.J. and would commute to NYC out of the Fairlawn N.J. train station and this one particular morning, I heard this song on the radio and when I pulled into a spot I sat that with the car turned off but the radio still playing and my good friend, Shirley, was walking by my car and knocked on the window. Well I immediately hit the radio button to its off position and made believe I was looking for something in the passenger seat. When I came out of the car, she was laughing and said-“you were listening to that song?” Now as I mentioned-if I had been younger I would have never stayed in my car-I would have immediately left as soon as I parked but I had to come clean and state that I actually liked this song a lot. It is the harmonizing vocals- is this the “poppy-est” of the Pop world? Yes…but I am here to tell you I like this song.

Leaving on a Jet Plane” – Peter, Paul & Mary– Wow at the New Year’s party, everyone (except for Cathy & Dave) wanted to kill me for putting this song on the set list. I think this is one of the best sing along songs especially at a party where some may have had a bit too much to….well that didn’t happen. It was a “sober”-ing experience as I had to duck from all the junk that was thrown at me. I love this song, always did-always will.

Afternoon Delight” – The Starland Vocal Band– This was the second song that I had to duck for cover at the same party. People were actually looking for things to break- I almost fell off my chair from laughing so much. I love this song!!! It brings me back to my early childhood days when I spent the summers in Otisville, N.Y. with my grandparents and uncle-this song was a “staple” on AM radio-yes boys and girls there is music on AM radio. This is the perfect summer song hanging out under a tree on a blazing hot day with a blade of grass stuck in between your teeth. I can listen to this all year round, any time, any day.

Saturday Night” – Bay City Rollers– A third song I had to run for cover. C’mon, how can you not love this one hit wonder from the Bay City Rollers. It teaches you how to spell and clap along to the spelling-what can be better than that? This is a perfect party song for those of us “on the back nine.” ‘Nuff Said.

Beautiful Sunday” – Daniel Boone– I can remember I put this song on a Spin CD back at MBIA and it was a “cool down” song and Taxter looked over at me and said “Really?” I don’t know what it is but I love songs like this-the groove is so much fun and so easy to sing along to. “…when you say…say..say…say that you love me…oh my, my, my… it’s a beautiful day…”

Jackie Blue”- The Ozark Mountain Daredevils– This is another one of those great 1970’s songs that take me back to such wonderful times when you’re a kid and don’t have as much worry as you do as an adult. Songs like these remind me when I was on 8 different softball teams, 2 football teams and worked at Dan’s Supermarket or just taking my glove with me as I told my mother I would be home for dinner as I went to the local school yard to shag flyballs in centerfield from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. This song takes me home-music does that to me, what about you?

Top Ten

If you own an I-pod and you utilize the “shuffle” effect to receive a random selection of all the songs loaded you then know that the I-Pod seems to pick an artist and play more of their songs in the first ten random songs. For me this past week, the I-pod wanted me to listen to both Carly Simon and Linda Ronstadt because no matter how many times I tried to hit that shuffle button, I was drawn back to both of these women. So in my mind, it was a sign to somehow get them into my weekly update and I decided to do this week’s “top ten” list using both artists, hence I will pick my favorite five songs from these magnificent stars who have made an impact in my life as well as yours because each has at least one song that you know by heart. (And no- they do not qualify for the “artists you are scared to admit you like” category because they are living legends-that’s right both are legends). Take Carly Simon for instance, her career has spanned more than four decades now and her library is filled with so many songs and no I do not profess to know her career inside out (nor Linda’s) but I do know that she has made some unbelievable songs that will last for generations to come. The same can be said for Linda. Now I can remember always hearing both artist’s songs as a kid when my family and I used to make trips up to Otisville New York and we all sang the songs word for word because they were enjoyable for everyone. Hey when my Dad-the doo wop king- can listen to songs from any other era besides doo wop, then you know it must be good, right? (Take my word for it- he especially liked Linda’s songs a little better if my memory serves me correct). I can remember when I used to hear-“Haven’t Got Time for the Pain”- and I would look at the rushing roadway going under our wheels and how that song took me to another place. Yes it seems like a sad song but there was a “positive” message (sorry Monica), so ultimately it puts a smile on your face. Many of Carly’s songs put a smile on your face and isn’t that what music is all about? Now with Linda, she is so dynamic in my opinion because she seems to have participated in every kind of genre of music and has succeeded in everything she has done. As a teenager, I can remember listening to her songs (yes she covered many tunes but so what?!) and thinking that she had so much fun recording them because so many of them were so upbeat and rocking. (eg.-“Heatwave” and “Back in the U.S.A.”). Then I will never forget one day when I came home from work and my wife was listening to some Mexican songs and I heard this woman’s voice and it was so mesmerizing and even though I had no idea what she was saying (as my wife was singing along word for word as these were “classic” songs) I was loving what I was hearing and listened to the whole album with my wife. And I am not lying when I tell you that I can listen to the entire “Canciones de mi Padre” album even though I do not understand one word- it is pure beauty. Apparently at some point in Linda’s career, she left “American Pop” and went back to her roots and recorded more than a few albums in Latin. Linda also came to us right before we were married when we were trying to decide what our wedding song should be and her duet with Aaron Neville-“Don’t Know Much”- was very close to being our first dance song-as it turned out we used it when we danced together during the middle of the reception-we somehow had to get that song into our wedding day-it was too good to not have it. This amazing woman has somehow been a constant throughout my life (and yours) and I didn’t even realize it. So I say “thank you ladies” for your unbelievable contribution to the world of music because without it, there would be a huge void in all our lives. We are lucky to have you in our lives.

Linda Ronstadt

Image of Linda Ronstadt

5.     Y Andale (or “Get On With It”) – Ok like I said I have no idea what is being said in this song but I fell in love with this song because of my wife. I can remember when my mother-in-law came to the house and both her and my wife would sing along to this song (and the entire album) and the joy it brought to them was so infectious that it soon became one of my favorites. I love the arrangement with the horns and string section and her mesmerizing voice. Pure perfection.

4.     When Will I Be Loved? – How many times did I hear this song on WCBS-FM radio in my lifetime? Whew but you know what? Every time I hear it, it is like the first time all over again because the recording sounds like it was made yesterday-so crystal clear, so full of life-this song contains the “it” factor. “I’ve been cheated…been mistreated…when will I be loved?…” The drums are kicking and Linda’s vocals are spot on. My only complaint is that the song is way too short, before you are going to do you’re next-“when will I be loved?!!”-the song is over. But don’t cha just love the ending when all the background vocalists collide with Linda and take the song out-“…looooovvvvvvvvveeeeedddd…” Love it!!!

3.     Don’t Know Much – Linda has performed with so many artists her Facebook account could overflow but if I had to pick I think this song would be the most well known duet she has ever done. This duo’s harmonies are pure perfection as Aaron Neville compliments Linda so well it is surprising to me that they never made a whole album together. Like I mentioned above, this song was a close contender of being our first wedding dance with my lovely bride. (It was my cousin Jenny’s wedding song with her husband, Mike). This song has a way of putting me into a trance and taking me to another stratosphere and it also takes me back to one of the happiest days in my life when I married my bride.

 2.     Heatwave – With no disrespect to Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, this is my favorite version of this song. Now I usually don’t veer off from the original versions of a song (and I love Martha’s version) but I love the spin that Linda put on this song. It has a lot of kick-think of those spicy hot buffalo wings you’ll be having tomorrow night watching the Jets play the Colts- and the groove is rocking with a very surprisingly good guitar solo in the middle. This song takes me to the summer-far away from the current cold spell we are in. Linda’s vocals are nothing short of spectacular. I love the “oooh oooh oooh” that takes the song to its finish.

1.     Different Drum – I remember as a kid growing up I would hear this song once in a while on the radio and wondered who had performed it and most times the DJ would just say “The Stone Poneys.” Now I think it was Harry Harrison (the long time DJ for WABC AM and then WCBS-FM radio stations) who informed me that Linda was part of this band and I knew there had to be a reason I loved this song. Isn’t it funny that many times artists’ early career releases are usually the best? Why is that? I’ll go with “hunger”-meaning that they strive very hard to make it in the music business and know they need a “distinctive” sound that separates them from the rest of the pack. Now listen to this masterful arrangement with the splendid vocals from Linda and can’t you hear that “separation?” This has to land in my top 50 songs of all time-I don’t move when I hear this song-it is too important to do anything else for a few minutes.

Carly Simon

Image of Carly Simon

5.     You Are My Sunshine – Yes this is the American classic and wow when I first heard Carly’s version I was stunned, it immediately became my favorite take on this tune. Now it is much slower than what you are probably used to hearing but that is what it makes it so special-it is just Carly and a piano. If you listen intently, especially at the very beginning of the song you will hear Carly sing “You” and it immediately reminded me of the very beginning of “Doll” by The Foo Fighters as Dave starts off with the word “You.” Carly’s song is perfect if you are trying to soothe a baby or toddler to fall asleep as the entire song is quite appeasing. Give it a listen-it is from one of her most popular albums-“Into White.”

4.     That’s The Way I’ve Always Heard It Could Be – Carly has this way of making “sad” sounding songs (nothing wrong with that-there are many an artist or band who have done that) that completely grips you and doesn’t let go. The arrangement of this song is especially gripping as you can feel the emotion and then the passion as the instrumentation gets gradually louder (as well as the pounding drums that clearly is the leader in that department) and then it slips back to the melancholy feel. Her vocals are magical and you can’t help but listen with the same passion as she is singing to all of us. She deserves that!! Great song!!!

3.      You’re So Vain – I forget who this song was written for (sorry Chris-was it Warren Beatty? Mick Jagger?) Anyways, you can’t help but sing along to this song, no? “…You’re so vain…you probably think this song is about you…I bet you think this song is about you…don’t you?…don’t you!” C’mon sing along with me!! There is nice guitar solo in the middle. “Clouds in my coffee….clouds in my coffee…” Could be one of the best sing along songs ever recorded? Whomever it was written for, Ouch!!!

2.     Haven’t Got Time For The Pain –I love her vocals as she starts off the song behind the backdrop of the piano and you can instantly feel that this is going to be a good song. Music, when it is done with passion and soul, hits one in the heart and soul that makes you feel it. Carly accomplishes that in this awesome arrangement of a song. “…Oh those crazy nights…when I cry myself to sleep…now mellow drama never makes me weep, anymore…” Sometimes it hard to put into words how great a song is but for me if one continually goes back and listens to a song (or album) over and over again-you feel it. ‘Nuff said.

1.     Nobody Does It Better– Again love the opening piano notes and when Carly starts to sing I drift off into another zone where I am entranced with her voice and do not want to come back to reality. I can picture being in the recording room because I would have loved to been there just listening to Carly singing it a capella with no other instruments behind her. My oldest son makes fun of me because I really try to concentrate on a certain part of a song while blocking out all the rest that is going on with the song and usually I do not like when there are “alternate” versions of famous songs (yes I am talking to you Bon Jovi!!!) but I would love to just hear Carly sing this by herself with nothing else in the background. That said this song, in my opinion, is her masterpiece-every thing about this song is fantastic and for nearly four minutes I can take a trip out of reality and enjoy every second of it.

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Steve Marriott

2.     Rod Stewart

3.     Kenney Jones

4.     Art Garfunkle

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     I was a legend in R&B, Gospel and even Country music and of course I rocked and roll with the best of them. I offended many fans of Elvis when I said that he was “a punk.” But I think my music may have soothed their anger over the years and I think they couldn’t stop loving me. Who am I?

2.     I was the first artist signed by the Beatles when they created their Apple record company. I am a living legend and recently just finished touring with a good friend of mine. Who am I?

3.     I was a guest on the Howard Stern radio show (when he was on “free” radio) and on that particular day he had Simon Cowell on the show. Howard made me “audition” for Simon (Simon couldn’t see me) and he said if I was a contestant on American Idol there was no way I would make it past the first showing, meanwhile I already had a recording contract and had albums out with my band already. Who am I and what band am I in?

4.     I have been playing guitar for a very long time and love to play good time rock and roll. Me and my band usually hit BB Kings in NYC at least once a year and we have a blast. I like to drink alone and when I order it’s usually one bourbon, one scotch and one beer. Who am I?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week: (Nice job Steve)

1.     Devil Inside – INXS

2.     Lonely Teardrops – Jackie Wilson

3.     Running on EmptyJackson Browne

4.     99 Problems – Jay-Z

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

1.     “…sometimes it hurts…so badly I must cry out loud…I am lonely…I am yours…you are mine…you are what you are…”

2.     “…we…can never know about the days to come…far… we think about them many way…and I wonder …”

3.     “…after my picture fades and darkness has turned to gray…watching through windows you’re wondering if I’m OK…secrets… stolen… from deep inside…”

4.     “…so many nights… I’d sit by my window…waiting for someone…to sing me his song…”


Back on this Day

Back on this day in 1974, Carly Simon and James Taylor became parents for the first time when they welcomed their daughter Sarah Maria into the world.

Back on this day in 1980, Foreigner’s “Head Games” was certified gold and platinum by RIAA and later went on to sell over 5 million copies in the U.S.- Yes of course I bought it the first day it was released and know it inside out.

Back on this day in 1992, John Mellencamp began his first tour in over 4 years in Savannah Georgia. (On another note did you see in the news that he is now dating Meg Ryan only weeks [days?] after divorcing his wife of 18 years?)

Back on this day in 1994, Nirvana performed their final concert in the U.S. at the Seattle Center Arena.

Back on this day in 1997, George Harrison’s garden was robbed of two bronze busts worth more than $70,000. (Weird this is like the third week in a row where poor George was robbed “back on this day.”)

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with the late Kenny Loggins and Paul Revere. (of Paul Revere & the Raiders-not the guy who screamed “the British are coming”).


December 23, 2010

Weekly Update – 12/23/2010


Utopia featuring Todd Rundgren at the Highline Ballroom on Sat. Jan. 29, 2011. Tickets on sale now. $40 ($45 day of show).

Plain White T’s with Parachute at Highline Ballroom on Tues. Feb. 22. Tickets on sale now. $20.

Furthur at Best Buy Theater on Tues. Mar. 15. Tickets on sale Fri. Jan. 14 at 10:00 a.m. $59

Skid Row at the Starland Ballroom in Sayerville NJ on Fri. Apr. 15, 2011. Tickets on sale now. $17.50.

John Waite at BB Kings on Wed. Mar. 2. Tickets on sale now $25. ($30 day of show).

En Vogue at BB Kings on May 18, 2011. Tickets on sale now $35 ($40 day of show).

The Outlaws at BB Kings on Wed. Aug. 24, 2011. Tickets on sale now. $35 ($40 day of show).

Sepultura at the Gramercy Theater on Mon. Apr. 25. Tickets on sale next Tues. Dec. 28 at noon. $35.50

Other items:

Say what?—It was just reported that after all these years (more than 40 years mind you) that we all have been pronouncing the Kinks brother’s last name incorrectly. Ray and Dave Davies have stated that they don’t know why there name has been prounced-“Dave- eez” when all along it should have been stated like this-“Davis.” What??? Are you kidding me? C’mon boys this is a little late in the game for a name change now, don’t cha think?

Buckcherry has recorded a Christmas song and it is called-“Christmas is Here”- and I have to tell you that I liked it so much that I bought it. It’s actually a song that I can listen by them that I don’t have to hear any cursing, no nudity and nothing vulgar-can you imagine? It’s weird I’m still mad that some one wrote to me that Buckcherry blew Kiss off the stage the last time I saw Kiss at the Garden. Again, are you kidding me? That is so laughable and I know that I shouldn’t take it out on the band but until they can sell out Madison Square Garden on their own, then I’ll pay attention.

This week’s issue of Rolling Stone magazine with John Lennon on the cover is probably the best issue they have had all year long. The “never before released” interview with Lennon three days before he was murdered has been reproduced and it really is a fascinating read. If you are a Lennon fan this is a must have. (Again maybe stocking stuffer).

R.E.M. has had a track leaked on to the web and the song is called-“It Happened Today”- off of their upcoming album (Mar. 8)-“Collapse Into Now”- and features guest vocals from Eddie Vedder. If you recall, Eddie inducted R.E.M. into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a few years back (and I think he is still giving his speech).

Velvet Revolver apparently has their new singer but won’t comment just yet. “We’re just dating now” says drummer Matt Sorum. It is a young dude, so we will see soon.

Rumors of a new live Green Day album may be true as some track listings have appeared on Amazon. It is suppose to be released this coming March.

Back on Dec. 4 a man stole five video systems from a children’s cancer treatment at a medical center in North Carolina. The guy was eventually caught because he didn’t realize there were cameras everywhere but anyway once Nikki Sixx had heard the story he sprung into action and using his syndicated radio show-“Sixx Sense”- he told the story and representatives from Sony, Disney, Activision and Nintendo reached out to him and supplied all the systems that were stolen. A nice holiday ending!!

Have you ever heard the Lemmy Kilmister version of “Run Ruldolph Run” Christmas song made popular by Chuck Berry? Well Lemmy gets help from Dave Grohl (who else?) and Billy Gibbons and the song totally rocks. Now mind you this is “metal” Christmas, so go in with your eyes (and ears) open.


Draw the Line

Ok I admit it. I bought “Draw the Line” by Aerosmith because of the art work on the cover of the album. This is not the only time I have done it but it may have been the first as I think I was only 14 years old or so. I had to have the album because I thought the drawing on the cover was so cool and I also like to draw, so you know I had done hundreds of sketches of this album cover (no I didn’t save any, I know I should have). Then when I put this album on, I think it was like when you see rays of sun light breaking through the clouds in the early morning. It was then I knew that I wanted rock and roll for the rest of my life and I always come back to this album as one of the cornerstones of how my life with rock and roll began, sort of like the cement that is poured for the foundation when building a new home. Now as I mentioned a few months ago when I picked my favorite top ten songs by Aerosmith, this album has been panned by critics and the band as well and I for one can never figure out why that is and I won’t have any of it. Why because they may have been in “other places” when recording it-there have been plenty of other bands that have recorded some of the greatest albums ever and may have been aided by “high”-er substances. Isn’t it ironic that I have never even smoked a cigarette in my entire life and I love this album the best out of all their albums and they were probably in the worst shape in their career due to substance abuses? Maybe music is my drug? Anyway, like I said “Draw The Line” for me is one of the greatest albums that I own and I love it from top to bottom. But I do acknowledge that this is an “acquired taste” and for that reason I will point out the golden nuggets on this album instead of doing an entire album review. Now this goes back a long time (yes I am old now), even before their historic comeback with Run-DMC, so to me this is the “vintage” Aerosmith and probably the Steven Tyler that his legion of fans want to remember him by instead of a judge on the American Idol series. I don’t have a problem with it, if Ozzy can do a futuristic version of “Ozzie and Harriet” on TV, then why can’t Steven do his thing? I get all the questions and frustrations about how he is “selling out” but ever since the NY Mets traded away Tom Seaver in 1977, I knew right then and there that life for me would never be the same, so I don’t let those things get to me. Anyway, here are the golden nuggets from “Draw The Line:”

Milk Cow Blues” – Love this tune, it is a mixture of rock and roll with a twist of blues that will knock your socks off. I can remember bringing this album to my aunt’s house and putting it on their record player because they had the biggest set of headphones out of any family member and I can remember just shutting out the whole world while jamming out of my mind, especially when Steven plays the harmonica. I can listen to this song all day long-love it when Tyler screaches with that high pitch voice of his and the playing by the rest of the band is freakin’ phenomenal. Love the hiccup at the end. This song totally rocks.

Critical Mass” – OK you all know how I feel about this song as this made my all time favorite song by Aerosmith and I think this is the coolest song Aerosmith has ever recorded. A few weeks after posting those top ten songs, my oldest son and I were at Borders and they have this rack of CD’s that sell for less than $9 and one of the CD titles were “Aerosmith Hidden Gems” (or something like that) and guess what song was on there- yes you guessed it- Critical Mass baby!!!! \m/ \m/ Vindication tastes so very good!

Draw The Line” – This is the “rawest” song that I think Aerosmith has ever recorded. It sounds like it was recorded in one take and the overall sound is lower than the rest of the songs on the album. This song has some “giddy-up” as the bass lines are prevalent throughout-this is like controlled chaos going on here. To this day when Steven starts screaming the lyrics after the song slows down and picks up again I still can’t understand one word he is saying. I defy anyone in the universe to write down what he is saying, it can’t be done and maybe since they were all messed up I don’t even think they know what the lyrics were. They probably made them up after the recording. Awesome tune though.

Sight for Sore Eyes” – The groove in this song is unmatched by any other song on the album. Joe Perry is out of his mind on the guitar and Joey Kramer flat out knocks the cover off the ball with his drumming. Again trying to figure out what Steven Tyler is singing is pretty hard and I can picture this song being a selection on the show “Guess the lyrics” where you have to fill in 6 – 13 words or so. I’d have a hard time doing the next three words but the groove is out of sight!!!

I Wanna Know Why” – Rock and Roll the way it was intended to be. Joe Perry is flawless on guitar and Steven sounds like he is singing in a cylo. I love the piano that shadows throughout the entire track, along with the horns. I think Meatloaf took a little from this song when he wrote-“All Revved Up with No Place to Go”- as I can here parts of that song in this track. There is a fast bluesy twist that will make you wonder why you weren’t familiar with this song, you need to know this song as well as all the others mentioned.

Kings and Queens” – This arguably could be the best song on “Draw the Line” and the one thing I remember about this song is that a childhood friend of mine-Vinny (aka as “Rockhead”- I know he hates that nickname, so sorry) loved this song. What’s not to love? The arrangement goes from fast to slow back to fast and with about 1:40 left it really turns into a production as the piano and bass take center stage while Mr. Perry is doing his thing on guitar in the background. Steven does an awesome job on vocals, folks this is good stuff right here!!!

Artists You Are Scared to Admit You Like

Image of Phil Collins

OK for some strange reason Phil Collins is now a “persona non grada” and I for one don’t really understand it. The recent article that appeared in Rolling Stone magazine on how he is being treated like he is some sort of social disease is beyond me and how it has affected his life is very sad. He has stated that he will no longer make music because of the ridicule that seems to grow on a daily basis. Phil, I am here to say : don’t listen to all that nonsense. You are someone who has created some of the most popular songs in the history of music where so many people around the world know them. How many people among us can say that? Do you make pop music? Yes but so what? Folks, say what you will about Genesis but who brought them to a wider audience? Times were changing and the “progressive” genre faded away during the late 1970’s as disco and new wave music ruled the airwaves and here was Collins switching gears and doing songs like “Abacab” and “Land of Confusion” and now he is being treated as if he were Barry Manilow? (Sorry Barry, no offense-hey I wrote about how much I liked your songs last week). (Even Fleetwood Mac started out as a “prog” band and went the popular route). The metal band-Disturbed- did a cover of “Land of Confusion,” does that tell you anything? Yeah so what he does pop songs for Disney? (Hey, Steven Tyler is on American Idol). He recorded one of my favorite songs for the “Tarzan” soundtrack-“ You’ll Be in My Heart”-which I told my wife I wanted that to be our wedding song when we re-new our vows. It’s OK for Elton John to do the soundtrack for the “Lion King” but when Phil does one, there’s a problem? Phil Collins will always be OK in my book as he played percussion and sang background vocals on George Harrison’s masterpiece album-“All Things Must Pass.” How can this gentleman be disrespected so much? Can he help it if radio stations across the universe played “In the Air Tonight” so many times that people grew sick of it? But it’s OK for us to hear “Sweet Home Alabama” or ‘Stairway to Heaven” a zillion more times in the next few weeks? I will firmly tell everyone that I am not embarrassed now or had been at any other point in my life, to admit that I like Phil Collins as a solo artist and of course his work in Genesis. (yeah I know… Peter Gabriel was….blah blah blah.. I’ve heard it a zillion times before). So here are some of my favorite Phil Collins songs:

You’ll Be in My Heart”- I absolutely love this song, can’t get enough of it as it makes me feel good all over. If you love someone-as I do my lovely bride-then you can not help but feel the passion of the lyrics while the arrangement of the song is simply spectacular. If I’m “sappy” then so be it. Thank you Phil for this song for which I will always treasure.

Turn It On Again” – Love this song. What’s wrong with this tune? This brings me back to my teenage years and the good old days when WNEW FM radio was a real radio station and this song was a staple for so many years. “I…I…I…get so lonely when she’s not there…” Someone fill me in on what’s wrong with this track? Solid tune.

No Reply at All”- Is it “pop”-ish? Yeah but so what, some of my all time favorite songs are “pop” songs. What would the majority of this world do without pop radio? We all have our favorite bands that are obscure to many people but just because something is popular doesn’t necessarily mean that it is bad. This song has an addictive chorus that you can’t stop singing all day long. “I get the feeling you’re trying to tell me…is there something that I should know?…” C’mon this is a great tune??!!!

Abacab” – I remember hearing this song for the first time, I was being driven home by a friend and co-worker at the time-“Mikey”-after a long hard day of work in a butcher wholesale market in downtown Brooklyn N.Y. I was only 17 and he was channel surfing and I told him to stop on this song. I was intrigued and said that I needed to know who sang this song, so we listened to the entire song-the version with the long ending with the drums and keyboard-so as I could know who performed the song. This is my favorite song by Phil and Genesis.

Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)” – “You’re the only one who really knew me at all…so take a look at me now…” C’mon you know you have lip-synced this song in front of a mirror making believe you were holding a microphone and singing to a sold out audience-I know I have. Phil gives it his all in this song and I stand still when I hear this song and don’t move at all. This is a great song-period end of story.

Man on the Corner” – “Who’s the lonely man there on the corner…what he’s waiting for I don’t know…but he waits every day now…” We can all relate to this song, right? I know I have seen my share of “men on a corner” as the homeless plight is amongst us all. I can remember passing this one guy every day in lower Manhattan across from the American Stock Exchange and one winter it was especially cold, I couldn’t take it any more so I brought him to the local coffee shop and bought him a hot chocolate and then gave him my gloves. This song is beautiful and hits me in the gut every time.

Keep It Dark” – I forgot how much I love this song until I went back to look at my Abacab album and listened to this. I love the drumming in this song-hey he sings and plays the drums, not to easy. This song has a lot of “giddy-up” and the keyboards, guitars and drums all work nicely together to make this a top notch tune. Love the percussion in this song.

Top Ten


AC/DC….AC/DC….I’ll say it again….AC/DC….Has there been any other band in the history of music that has had the success they have had and with two very different singers? (I can’t think of any. No not Aerosmith-yes they had two careers, just like AC/DC but with the same singer. Van Halen you say? Well you know I love both the Diamond Dave and the Red Rocker eras but they fall short a bit when compared to Scott and Williams-just my opinion. Black Sabbath? Maybe…had Dio made as many albums with them as Ozzy did but that did not happen). Then came “Back in Black” with Mr. Brian Johnson after the beloved Mr. Ronald Belford “Bon” Scott had passed away and could there have been a better pick than Mr. Johnson? He has always shown the love and respect for Bon’s work and knew going in that at some point he was going to pay homage to Bon at every live show that AC/DC would ever do. He was nervous about filling such big shoes but he was also a fan of Bon’s work with AC/DC (and was hired immediately after auditioning the song “Whole Lotta Rosie”) and that in my opinion is the one of the most important reasons why he has flourished with the fans because again he treats those songs with such respect and care. But along the way, Brian has also recorded some of the best and most known songs in the history of hard rock and 31 years later lo and behold they are still going strong by releasing a solid album a few short years ago-“Black Ice”-while seemingly on tour since 2008 or so. I will say it again-if you have never been to an AC/DC show- it is the equivalent never seeing “The Wizard of Oz” or not believing in Santa Claus when you were four years old. There is a gap in your life that you probably don’t realize but everyone else who has seen “Oz” and still believes in Santa (me) knows what you are missing.

Anyway, since AC/DC has had “two lives” (three if you count the original lead singer-Mark Evans- who lasted only a year) the focus for today’s discussion will be on the first life of AC/DC with Bon Scott. Now for those die hard fans of Bon’s work, please know that I caught on to Bon’s work with his last recording-“Highway to Hell”- as I was only 14-years old when that came out in 1979. So again just as with Thin Lizzy, I do not to profess to know everything about the Bon Scott era but I did go back and do my homework by diving into the albums made before “Highway.” First off there are two people that immediately come to mind when I think of AC/DC. The first person is Jack McGlade, an old friend of my uncle Gary, when he lived with my grandparents in Otisville N.Y. during the 1970’s. I can remember how psyched Jack would get when the conversation of AC/DC came up, he was a freak of a fan for these guys and he definitely was the main reason why I jumped into this great band. So Jack if you are reading this somewhere-thanks!!! The other person is a guy that I didn’t know too well, all I know is that his name was Richie and he had the “rocker” look as his long blond hair rested on his shoulders but he had this look of being the toughest guy in the neighborhood. It was the mid 1980’s and every time I would walk up to my girlfriend’s house at that time, I had to walk by his house and he was always sitting on the stoop with his boom box and of course Bon’s voice would be booming out of those speakers. Brian Johnson was well on his way of making the second phase of AC/DC even more popular (in my opinion) because a larger audience had seemingly caught on to this legendary band but here was this guy who would not let Bon go away, I never heard the Brian Johnson AC/DC when I walked by his house. (who knows maybe he still to this day doesn’t recognize the “new” AC/DC and there may be a whole lot more people who feel this way, I don’t know). Anyway, somehow I ended up in his house as the girl I was dating knew his sister and here we are in his living room. I felt like Macaulay Culkin (or “Kevin McAllister”) when he sat next to his “scary” neighbor in church in the movie “Home Alone.” But I knew how to break the ice, I immediately said that I was a big fan of AC/DC-yes of course I said the Bon Scott AC/DC (I’m not stupid) but I also loved the Brian Williams AC/DC. (No I didn’t tell him that). From that point onward, I would always “air-guitar” my way past his house or bang my head up and down to the blasting music, all because of Bon Scott-who grew up in a world away in Australia-here we are in Sunset Park Brooklyn and you see the affect he had on our lives-just like so many others around the world. Richie would say hello and I didn’t fear walking by his house any longer. Do yourself a favor folks, there is an AC/DC DVD that has many early videos of Bon’s days with the band that you need to own. The energy that comes through (even on video) is hard to describe-I can’t even imagine being in the audience (remember back in those days it was “real” videos before the “staged” videos that made MTV) when they filmed these. This is pure raucous rock and roll that I know they did not invent but I defy anyone to find a band who did it better.

Now of course how can I write about AC/DC and not mention the Young brothers? Angus is electrifying, always has been, always will be. Find me someone who puts in a better effort while performing live? He is like a “Transformer”- before hitting the stage he is someone you would have a cup of tea with and maybe discuss the economy or something like that but when he hits the stage, he transforms into this rock and roll machine that never stops. Have you ever not seen him saturated with sweat at the end of his shows? I think not. If Angus is the “flare” gun of AC/DC then his brother-Malcolm- is the gas that keeps the rock and roll train moving at a breakneck speed, he is so consistent and all he wants to do is play rhythm guitar in this band called AC/DC-I see nothing wrong with that, do you? Phil Rudd has been with the band a long time after a stint where someone else sat in on drums. I’m still amazed on how he can smoke while playing the drums, amazing. And Cliff Williams has been on board since the “Powerage” album playing his pulsating bass for a very long time.

Speaking of “Powerage”-this album alone could have 9 out of the 10 top songs in the Bon Scott era as this album is arguably the best piece of work that they ever recorded (including “Back in Black”) and has to be considered in the top ten hard rock albums of all time. This was the last album that Angus and Malcolm’s older brother-George- produced for the band before “Mutt” Lange came on board as they exploded into the limelight with “Highway.” Now trying to come up with ten songs is as hard as it was when I tried to name my favorite ten songs by the Mighty Led Zeppelin. There are so many great songs to choose from but I followed the same formula: first-immediately name the songs that come to mind; second-look through their library; third- identify the songs I know are in my top ten and fourth-have a “battle” of the songs as I put each up against one another and decide which ones I like best. Again this is so hard but here goes, I am on an island and have been informed that I can have ten songs from the Bon Scott era of AC/DC-“These Are Them:”

10.     What’s Next to the Moon– The more you listen to “Powerage” you will realize that this is a masterpiece from top to bottom and every song is great. This song had to fight off a lot of competition from so many other songs, including from “Powerage” but at the end of the day this has to be in my top ten. I guess it is the addicting chorus-“It’s your love that I want…it’s your love that I need…what’s next to the moon”-that makes me choose it. I also love the beginning with Cliff’s chest thumping bass lines as Angus awaits in the background to slide in nicely and when it is his turn, the guitar solo is short but packs a wallop. Bon’s vocals are righteous-“…all right officer I confess…everything’s coming back…”- and his style has never been replicated.

9.       Ain’t No Fun (Waiting Round to Be a Millionaire) – Talk about your head-banging tunes-no not as fast as you might think but it is a steady stream of your head rocking up and down at a nice pace as Angus and Malcolm make you want to dance around the room with this knock out of a groove. Rock and Roll has to get into your blood stream and you have to feel this song enter your system as the bluesy twist can not be ignored as you begin to float away-at least that it is what it does to me. I love the part where Bon laments-“…I got holes in my shoes…I got holes in my teeth…I got holes in my socks…can’t get no sleep…I’m trying to make a million…”- as he sounds so natural it’s as if he was born to sing the rock and roll blues-which he was. The pace picks up for the last two minutes of the song and it makes it that much better. Incredible tune.

8.       Rocker-I love this friggin’ tune. It makes me feel as if I have stuck my hand in an electric socket and being shocked with AC/DC currents that makes me want to run around in crazy circles at breakneck speeds-it’s almost too much too take. This song is too short and I always have to hit the rewind button, I love the way Angus plays the guitar on this song and Phil Rudd is out of his mind on drums. I can remember putting this song on for my boys when they were younger and they watched me transform (you see Angus is not the only one) into an out of control parent running around the living room making believe I am playing guitar-it’s those moments that a child never forgets right? (seeing their parents out of control). Then another time I remember throwing this tune on to a disc that I created for Chris at one of his Spin classes at MBIA and I can picture him laughing at my reaction to this song-if this song doesn’t move you (and I know I have said this plenty of times before but this time I mean it) then you may want to check if you have a pulse right now!!!

7.       Touch Too Much-This is the more “polished” AC/DC (thanks to Mutt’s production) but there has always been something about this song that keeps me coming back for more. I know it is Angus guitar work as well as Bon’s great vocals. Was he the greatest “bar” rock and roll singer ever or what? The thing that Mutt did was highlight the bands great ability to sing background vocals and this song has them, the chorus is so addicting-“…seems like a touch…a touch too much…too much for my body… too much for my brain…this damn woman is gonna drive me insane…” For me, this is a great sing along song and again that guitar lick makes me wish I could play guitar.

6.       There’s Gonna Be Some Rockin’ – Do these guys know how to rock or what? I can listen to songs like these 24 hours a day and never tire. For some reason I can picture my mother moving her shoulders up and down while shaking her right wrist (that was always the sign of approval in my mind on what songs she liked). This is rock and roll at its best and you can’t help but move a part of your body-any part-even if it is just your fingers-to TURN UP THE VOLUME!!! I can’t tell you how much this song psyches me up, it is almost too much too take. I have rewound the song three times already; I may not be able to finish the rest of this list……

5.       Down Payment Blues – This is the raw AC/DC with the unbelievable riffs and grooves that produces some of the finest rock and roll that has ever been made. Folks I’m telling you it is hard to find a band that poured all its heart and soul into the words we call Rock and Roll better than these guys did. “…I’ve got holes in my shoes…and I’m way over due…down payment blues…” Think of some of the greats signature albums that made an impact on the world-“Dark Side of the Moon,” “Sgt. Pepper’s,” “Pet Sounds” and now think “Powerage”- this is their best work ever (yes including “Back in Black”) and it is due to songs like this. You know how people say you haven’t tasted a Mojito unless you are in Miami (yes people say that) then you haven’t tasted rock and roll if you don’t own “Powerage,” so make your down payment on this bad boy. I love the way the song ends in that slow blues style, -icing on the cake!!!

4.       Sin City – In my opinion, this song epitomizes what Bon Scott and AC/DC were all about. C’mon- “Sin City”- even if you have never heard the song (which is a sin) you know by the title that no one but Bon and AC/DC should record a song like Sin City. How many times has this song been covered? Too many times to count. Angus is out of his mind with that ridiculous solo midway through the song and the best part of the song is right after the solo as the tempo slows down and Bon takes over with his righteous vocals-“…ain’t got a hope in hell…that’s my belief…” (On Twisted Sister’s cover they change it to-that’s Bon Scott’s belief). This could be the best song that Bon has ever recorded just based on his vocals. This is so good it is hard to describe. You need to have it inject into your blood stream-that is the only way!!!

3.       The Jack – I know my oldest son is screaming right now at his computer because I know he thinks this song should not be on my list but I will stick to my guns till the very end and let everyone know that I friggin’ love this song. Do they repeat the same thing over and over-yes-“She’s got the Jack…She’s got the Jack…Jack, Jack, Jack, Jack, Jack, Jack, Jack…” C’mon who makes (made) songs like these? No one, this is blues mixed in with rock and roll that keeps my head bouncing up and down at a beautifully consistent pace that it causes me to have an outer body experience. I remember taking my friend Johnny to see AC/DC back in the 1980’s-he didn’t know any of their songs- and even he was singing to this song, how could he not? The words aren’t too hard to figure out. I was laughing my ass off. This is a staple at their live shows and something I look forward to every time I see them. I love the ending of the song where the crowd starts booing and hissing while Bon just continues to thank them for coming. Awesome.

2.       If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It) –Ok folks go find your best set of headphones…make sure no one else is around because you can’t have any distractions…take your hands and squeeze the headphones tightly into your ears so that there is no air that is getting in… are you ready?…are you sure?…OK hit play…do you hear Angus’ intro on the guitar? Are you not psyched yet? Or how about Phil’s drumming? Are you jumping out of your seat yet? Then Bon blasts in with his perfect rock and roll voice as you wonder where this song has been all of your life…just sitting there waiting for you to experience one of the greatest rock and roll songs ever. This song has it all-an addictive chorus, a driving beat where you can bang your head feverishly, a bass line that shadows in the background like a scary monster in one of your dreams. Get ready for Angus’ solo as it will blow you away-if you weren’t having an outer body experience just yet-wait Angus will put you there…here goes…oh man am I air-guitaring now-pure ecstasy-this is unbelieveable. Can it get any better than this? “Blood in the sky…blood in the seats…if you want blood you got it…” as Bon voice echoes out into the distance. Could be the best produced song AC/DC has ever recorded. Phew… I have to listen again…\m/ \m/

1.       Let There Be Rock– Oh my…this bad boy starts off in 5th gear-there is no warm-up-as soon as you put the needle on the record, you are off and running. “In the beginning…back in 1955…man didn’t know ‘bout a rock and roll show…and all that jive…” I can’t even begin to describe the live experience when you see AC/DC perform this electrifying song. By this time, Angus is usually possessed and you can see, feel and smell the rock and roll just pouring out of every part of his body-most of all his heart. You don’t make this type of song by not loving every second of what you are playing. The surrounding bandmates are also at the top of their game giving every bit of effort as their fearless leader. Bon’s vocals are just out of this world and I can imagine him in the recording studio when they recorded this, he was probably head-banging harder than anyone else in the room. Watching Brian Johnson perform this song now is also incredible, it’s like they all know that they are involved in one of the greatest songs that has ever been recorded on this earth. (And who knows Bon may just be jamming up in heaven with a litany of all the lost rock legends-I can picture Bonham playing the drums on this one-can you imagine that combo? Oooh Faaa!!!). My youngest son will forever remember this song at the old Meadowlands stadium when we saw them as Angus was rolling on the floor in circles while his hand was bleeding. A jaw dropping moment in our rock and roll life together. I say we all do the “Wayne’s World We Are Not Worthy” bow right now. I know I do it every time I listen to this track. \m/ \m/

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Michael Buble

2.     Michael McDonald

3.     Michael Bolton (nice job Charlie!)

4.     Michael Anthony

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     I am the aunt to one of the greatest female singers in the history of music who is trying to make a comeback after stumbling for more than a couple of years. I am also a legend who vowed to never fall in love again. Who am I?

2.     I made my start back in the 1960’s with a man who if it was not for him, maybe my career does not take off. We did a TV show together in the 1970’s. My solo career took off in the mid to late 1970’s. I started to make movies in the 1980’s and recently did a movie with a diva from today. Who am I?

3.     I come from a family where my brothers were huge as an act in the 1970’s. I couldn’t join the group because it was all boys but one of my brothers’ decided that I was good enough and he and I became one. We have doing shows for decades and recently set up shop in Las Vegas and actually for the holiday season, we are now in New York. Who am I?

4.     My father was a legend for at least four decades and his music is still selling like crazy even 10 years since he passed away. I began my career in the 1960’s with my Dad helping out a little bit. I am still touring and since it is winter you may see me in my boots and hopefully I don’t say something stupid. Who am I?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     Are You Experienced – Jimi Hendrix

2.     Are You Gonna Go My Way – Lenny Kravitz

3.     At Last Etta James

4.     At Seventeen – Janis Ian

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

1.     “…romantic lady…single baby…sophisticated mama…come on you disco lady…”

2.     “…Friday night arrives without a suitcase…Sunday morning creeping like a nun…Monday’s child has learned to tie his boot lace…”

3.     “…won’t you come and save me…save me…feed my eyes… can you sew them shut…”

4.     “…if only I could find a way…I feel like I am the man you believe I am…its getting harder every day for me…”

Back on this Day

Back on this day in 1959, Chuck Berry was arrested for taking a 14 year old girl across state lines and received a five year jail sentence but didn’t have to serve it after the judge made racist statements, Berry was freed.

Back on this day in 1964, Brian Wilson had a nervous breakdown on a flight to Houston for a concert. Wilson remained with the band but did not tour with them ever again.

Back on this day in 1977, Cat Stevens converted to Islam and changed his name to Yusuf Islam.

Back on this day in 1978, The Cars second single from their debut-“My Best Friend’s Girl”-peaked at number 35 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Back on this day in 1999, an unemployed musician, Cristin Keleher, made her self comfortable after breaking into the home of George Harrison in Hawaii. She ordered pizza, did laundry and called home to her mother in New Jersey. She was arrested and served four months in jail.

Back on this day in 2009, Metallica’s self titled album (otherwise known as the “Black Album”) became the biggest selling album of the Soundscan era since Nielsen Soundscan began tracking album sales for Billboard 200. It has sold over 15.5 million copies since its release in Aug. 1991.

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with Eddie Vedder, Dave Murray (Iron Maiden), Luther Grosvenor (Spooky Tooth, Mott the Hoople), Ron Bushy, (Iron Butterfly), Jorma Kaukonen (Jefferson Airplane)

December 10, 2010

Weekly Update – 12/10/2010

Elton John at Madison Square Garden on Wed. Mar. 16, 2011. Pre-sale tickets available now for Amercian Express cardholders until Thurs. Dec. 16 at 10:00 p.m. General public on sale this Fri. Dec. 17 at 10:00 a.m. $48.45, $96.55 and $177.40.

Rush at Madison Square Garden on Sun. Apr. 10, 2011. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $62.90, $83.40, $116.65 and $197.45.

Prince at Madison Square Garden on Tues. Jan. 18, 2011. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $31.40, $92.25, $114.75 and $200.70.

Jeff Beck & Imelda May at the Beacon Theater on Mon. Mar. 28. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $61.80 – $115.

Linkin Park at Madison Square Garden on Fri. Feb. 4, 2011. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m. $56.65 – $87.40.

Disturbed with Korn & Sevendust at the Hammerstein Ballroom (which they now call the Manhattan Center Grand Ballroom) on Fri. Jan 21, 2011. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m. $73.75

Buckcherry with Hell Yeah and others at the Best Buy Theater in NY on Tues. Feb. 15 and at Mohegan Sun on Wed. Feb. 16. Tickets on sale today at noon. (If you have an American Express card you can purchase pre-sale up until 10:00 a.m. this morning). Best Buy: $37.50; Mohegan: $33.40.

Kenny Chesney with the Zac Brown Band at new Meadowlands Stadium on Sat. Aug. 13, 2011 at 4:30 p.m. Pre-sale tickets on sale now and the password is Access or Lines. General public tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $53.20, $117.20, $156 and $269.35. Billy Currington and Uncle Cracker are the openers.

The Decemberists at the Beacon Theater on Mon. Jan. 24. Tickets on sale today at 11:00 a.m. $51.55.

New Kids on the Block with the Backstreet Boys at the Mohegan Sun on Sat. June 4, 2011. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $89.85 – $110.35.

Celtic Woman at The Oakdale Theater in Wallingford CT on Wed. Mar. 16, 2011. Pre-sale tickets for Citi card members only on now through midnight Sunday. General public tickets on sale Mon. Dec. 13 at 10:00 a.m. $59.60 – $91.75.

Cake at Terminal 5 on Thurs. Apr. 21, 2011. Tickets on sale today at noon. (If you have an American Express card you can purchase pre-sale up until 11:00 a.m. this morning). $41.30

Flogging Molly at Terminal 5 on Wed. Mar. 2, 2011. Tickets on sale today at noon. $33.50 ($35 day of show).

Over Kill at Best Buy Theater on Sat. Apr. 16. Tickets on sale tomorrow at noon. $30 ($34 day of show).

For Parents: Miranda Cosgrove at the Beacon Theater on Sat. Feb. 5. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. $51.55 – $115.50.

Other items:

Thoughts and prayers go out to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, as she recovers from her recent surgery. There has been no official word on her illness but whatever it is, there are many of us who will hope and pray that she is well.

Judas Priest has announced that they will have their last tour ever in 2011. Eight shows have been announced so far and they are all in Europe. I will keep you posted on the U.S. Tour. Now I’m hoping I don’t go to this show by myself. Who’s going to step up?

It’s still hard to believe that John Lennon was murdered but even harder to believe that it was 30 years ago. It is hard to think of someone who made a bigger impact on so many people’s lives. Again the age old question: What if?

Ok folks here is a perfect stocking stuffer for the upcoming holiday-“Coal Miner’s DaughterA Tribute to Loretta Lynn”-this is an absolute stunner. The performances are all fantastic and I don’t care if you are not a Country fan-the way the songs are arranged is brilliant and there is no way you will not like this. Gretchen Wilson kicks it off with “Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind”) which is a perfect “do-see-do” song with a whole bunch of people dancing around a big room with hay on the floor. Lee Ann Womack smacks the cover off the ball with her amazing rendition of “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl.” The White Stripes are just the White Stripes pulling off a dazzling cover of “Rated X.’ Totally cool. Carrie Underwood is flawless and again every time I hear her sing my jaw just drops in amazement, her take on “You’re Looking at Country” has to put a smile on Loretta’s face. Paramore-yes Paramore- takes an acoustic guitar and blazes through-“You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man)”-this Hayley can sing, take notice folks. Faith Hill will mesmerize you on “Love is the Foundation” while Mr. Kid Rock will rock your socks off with his rocking version of “I Know How.” And if course you have the national treasure herself, Ms. Loretta Lynn joined by Sheryl Crow and Miranda Lambert performing her most popular song-“Coal Miner’s Daughter.” Folks, this could be the best stocking stuffer this year. Get your boots on!!

I don’t know about you but I am starting to become addicted to “Glee” as the show is really good and whenever you throw Christmas into the mix, it is just that much better. You know you were almost crying when Arty was able to get out of his wheel chair and walk with those “transformer” type crutches. The singing is quite spectacular and I find myself downloading the songs from I-Tunes.

Back on Nov. 30, I went to see Straight No Chaser at the Beacon Theater and didn’t know what to expect but by the end of the show I was totally blown away on how great these guys are and I will be taking all my family and friends next year for their next holiday tour. I would even see them at any point of the year but the way they sing the holiday classics is incredible-they mix up the classics like no other band or group out there today. These ten gentlemen were loose, calm and just having a blast up on stage that I knew that my Dad would love the show because a cappella is what he is all about. The best thing about this group is how they take today’s best known songs and make it a “throw-back” but at the same time make it sound so contemporary. The highlight of the show for me was when they started to sing the “Theme from New York, New York” by Frank Sinatra and then mixed in “Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys. They also did a cool montage of “cartoon” songs (like the ones we’d wake up early Saturday morning “back in the day” as they keenly pointed out). Folks, I’m telling you know-this is a show that everyone from Grandma down to the grandkids would enjoy- and you need to make it your business to see these guys when they come to your town. Simply put-Phenomenal.

Back on Nov. 19, I went to see Shinedown again, this time on their acoustic tour and since the only Tri-State area appearance was at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair N.J. –yes I trekked from Connecticut to New Jersey (by way of Staten Island N.Y. with my brother) to see the best band out there today. Folks-what are you waiting for? How come I didn’t see you at the show? Brent Smith is the best rock and roll singer out there today and their brilliant cover of “Simple Man” makes me agree with my boys that their version is better than Lynyrd Skynyrd’s. (Sorry boys, your version is fantastic too but there is something about Brent that makes you speechless). When I’m out shows I always look around to see how people are affected by a band and when you go to a Shinedown show, you are guaranteed to see someone standing up (even if no one else is) singing word for word with such passion that they think they are the only ones in the theater. When they played “Call Me” I spotted this woman singing so passionately that it immediately put a smile on my face because I felt the same way. Brent emotes such enthusiasm internally and he is so infectious that he makes you feel like you can do most anything. He talks a lot but he has such poignant things to say that you don’t mind that it takes time away from doing what he does best-and that is sing. One of the totally cool parts of the show was when they performed a cover of the Foo Fighters “Times Like These” as the audience found out that they are friends with Dave Grohl. (Grohl has now become the new Kevin Bacon). They pummeled the crowd with chest thumping version of “Sound of Madness” which brought the faithful out of their seats. One of the highlights of the show was their take on the Lennon/McCartney classic-“With a Little Help from My Friends”-but they did the Joe Cocker version with help from Will Hoge & his band. The musicianship was flawless and put a huge smile on the faces of the older members of the audience. And of course the other highlight was watching the entire audience on its feet singing word for word on the last song of the night-“Second Chance.” You had to feel the fervor from everyone in that audience, it makes me speechless. This band seems to be flying under the radar and I for one will never understand-everyone needs to stand up and take notice-this is the best band out there!

Back on Nov. 5, I went to see the Black Crowes at the Best Buy Theater right smack in the middle of Times Square in NYC on a Friday night-you want to talk about a crowded place? It was like it was New Year’s Eve but Andy and I found each other and took in the show with the many faithful who know that this may be the last time to catch the boys before they take their self imposed exile for who knows how long. How cool is Chris Robinson?-you know I have always said that I would love to be him for one tour. He seemed to be out there but completely nailed every note, grunt and his pipes are clean as a whistle as he belted out more popular songs on this tour which sounded exactly like the original recording-and his harmonica playing was awesome-who knew he could play so good? Talk about musicianship? You’d be hard pressed to find a more talented band. Like I said they pulled out the better known classics and the show totally rocked the house. This is one of the most unheralded bands in my opinion but their talent has made them last this long and hopefully they will be back soon enough for you to see what I am talking about.

Have you bought “Dio At Donington UK: Live 1983 & 1987” yet? What are you waiting for? Ok, you can ask for it as a stocking stuffer. I will use the line that one of the guys on “That Metal Show” said: “If you don’t like “Children of the Sea,” “Rainbow in the Dark,” “Holy Diver,” “Stargazer,” “Man on the Silver Mountain”- then you don’t like metal.” Folks, even my oldest son-who is not the biggest metal fan- was impressed with these songs. He wanted to know who the singer was, you see that’s how good Ronnie James Dio was. “Man on the Silver Mountain” is my favorite song of the month, never mind week. You NEED to own this! \m/ \m/

“Fall to Pieces”- the book written by Mary Foresburg Weiland (ex-wife of Scott Weiland)- will be released this coming Tuesday Dec. 14 in papaerback form. It details her life with Scott and his drug issues as well as her own troubles with addiction.

“Born Free” by Kid Rock released on November 16, 2010

Born Free

(As I posted this review, I read somewhere that many professional musicians were brought in by producer Rick Rubin to help record this album-so keep that in mind when you read this-I assumed it was the Twisted Brown Trucker Band, which is his band).

If you have been following along, you would have to think that this is the album that I have been waiting for from Kid Rock. For the past few years, we the public, have been getting glimpses of the Kid doing things that I would say leads him down the roadway to adulthood. Sometimes it may take longer for some to get there but eventually most of us get there…but you always have to have a little “Kid” in you. There was a recent article on Kid Rock and it highlighted the humanitarian side of him that may have been in him all along but for me up until this point, I was unaware of- I knew he would jump at the chance to go play for the U.S. troops and give those men and women a chance to forget about life for a while and just enjoy some music. But I did not know that he went into business in his local town of Detroit and bought into a brewery that put some back into the workforce who had lost their jobs when the U.S. auto industry hit the skids. Then there were stories of him helping people that he didn’t even know who have come into hardships. And then coincidentally, he releases “Born Free” and when I listened to the entire album the first time through, I was thinking- “Wow, is this Kid Rock?” After this mature release, he may just have to remove the “Kid” and add the “Mr.” If he is like me, there is no way he wants to be known as “Mister” but in a weird way I think he knows he has arrived at the crossroad in his career (and maybe life) and it appears he has chosen the road that will feature his own style of Detroit home cookin’. It takes some people a while to get to their “calling”-there are various paths that may take us in different directions-but in the end, once you get there it is such a natural fit that others will be amazed at your fortitude and intelligence. Mr. Rock has always shown such great respect for the artists and bands that he revered while he was growing up and in another strange twist where we always say we are not going to be like our elders, we often end up becoming that same type of personality that embodies professionalism and leadership. Now when I look at Kid Rock, I think to myself- “hey this guy is a throw-back to those great 1970’s sounds-rock, country, R&B and blues” but the one big difference is that he is the only one (that I know of) that can do all four genres as one artist and yes even throw in some rap-which wasn’t that what he was known for? Now many of you out there may wonder what happened to Kid Rock after listening to this album because there are no really loud guitars, not much cursing, no “Bawitdaba” or “Sugar” going on here but I say this is what I have been waiting for. Is it mellow? Yes-I can’t believe I am saying that but yes this album is perfect for hanging out on the back porch with family and friends while-forgive me-“chillin’.” The song writing is heartfelt; his singing is a pure & natural as ever while the musicianship of his band is such that they now have to be considered one of the most talented bands in the music world today. Who knows what the future Kid Rock albums will be like but if this is any indication of where that road leads, count me in as a passenger on his “band wagon.”

The album starts off with the title track and it is a throw-back to the 1970’s rock anthems that everyone can sing along to and I can picture a “Springsteen”-like response to this song on his upcoming tour as everyone from your uncle to your niece will be hugging and singing along to this American tune. It is a catchy hook and conjures up a feeling of pride and joy of being “Born Free.” Everyone will join in at the end and scream-“Oh…Oh woo woo woo woo.” Track # 2-“Slow My Roll” is another great sing along song, and I can picture riding down Route 66 with the windows rolled down, volume cranked up high while bopping my head back and forth while making believe I am playing the piano. It is a “chillin’” song that moves a bit and the guitar playing is super sweet. Think Bob Seger (he helps out a little later) jamming with The Eagles. “Care”- (featuring Martina McBride and T.I.)- will be the monster hit on this album the way that “All Night Long” was for “Rock and Roll Jesus.” This is an easy going country song with rap spliced in perfectly. T.I. is perfect with his rapping while Martina adds those sweet high vocals which are a wonderful blend with Mr. Rock’s singing. Everyone from Grandma to the youngest in your family will love this song and the words have to hit you right in your heart. (By the way when the song begins you won’t believe that is Kid Rock is singing-totally ‘70’s R&B like). “Purple Sky” is one of my favorite tracks on the album; he makes me want to pick up an acoustic guitar and start taking lessons. Scream out this song when the request comes out over the speakers for what song you want to hear next from the entertainer up on stage at your local pub. “I just want to drink ‘till I’m not thirsty…I just want to sleep ‘till I’m not tired…” (Amen to that). Track #5-“When It Rains”-is an easy going song that conjures up memories of a gentler and easier times but like we all know-“when it rains…it pours.” One can tell that this economy has affected almost everyone and you can feel the pain in Rock’s words as my assumption is he is writing about his hometown of Detroit. (I know-“Times like These”- is the signature “Detroit” song but this my belief that it is also in other songs). “God Bless Saturday” is the “heaviest” song on the album and you have to turn up the volume on this bad boy. This is the new “vintage” Kid Rock with a slamming groove that will have you foot stomping in no time. I can just picture Rock with headphones over his long hair in recording studio singing up into the hanging microphone above his head with the passion that bleeds through your speakers. There is a nice guitar solo in the middle. This is knee slapping, dancing country rock song that has to get you out of your seat.

Track #7-“Collide” (featuring Sheryl Crow & Bob Seger) will surely be a hit on the radio in the near future. These two are made for each other and at some point I wouldn’t be surprised if T. Bone Burnett gives Crow and Rock a call to do a total duet album a la Robert Plant & Alison Krauss. This is a perfect “love” style song which will melt the hearts of couples everywhere. Kid Rock’s vocals are spectacular and you won’t believe this is Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow gives it that sweet touch and they definitely have a whole album in them in the future. “Flyin’ High” (featuring Zac Brown) is also another one of my favorite songs on the album. This is pure country with a perfect twang that it makes me want to chew on a blade of grass with my ten gallon hat-there is a righteous guitar solo that will lift you off your feet. And what else can be said about Mr. Brown-this guy is the real deal. If you are not familiar with his stuff-listen to this song and then go find his solo stuff. This is a fantastic collaboration with such a natural fit. I love the way they shoot the breeze while the song is still playing behind them. I believe they will see each other down the road at some point. “Times like These” is probably the most important song that Kid Rock has ever written and if you are honest with your feelings, you will get a lump in your throat when he says “I won’t leave because this is my hometown.” I read somewhere that Kid wasn’t sure if such a “local” song would work but the producer, Rick Rubin, told him to go with it because he knew that it would be a song that everyone could relate to. I envy him because he has never left Detroit the way that I left Brooklyn. My heart will always be in Brooklyn but I left, his heart has always been in Detroit and he is still there and trying to make it better. This song lets you know that there are tough times now and ahead in the near future but at some point there has to be hope that it will turn around. People like him will be able to tell their grandkids that things can sometimes get tough but with love and determination it will get better. I can’t wait for that day. “Rock On” is another slow track but what keeps you standing at attention are Kid Rock’s vocals, simply put-amazing. It’s hard to believe where he is now with his singing and song writing ability compared to just five to ten years ago. Track #12-“Rock Bottom Blues” is the best song on this album and accordingly my favorite. This could be the best song Kid Rock has ever recorded-yes he takes the similar groove as in “New Orleans” on the “Rock & Roll Jesus” album- but the blues laden jam is almost too much for me to take. I can’t help but raise the volume to the loudest my car radio, computer and my I-Pod player can take. This is a hand clapping, knee slammin’ rock and roll blues song that has to get you out of your seat and dance around the room in circles-if this doesn’t make you move, then you don’t like music. It sort of has that Aerosmith “Honkin’ on Bobo” feel to it and at points the Kid sounds like Steven Tyler, (I know Kid made some disparaging comments towards Tyler about Steven’s new gig with “American Idol”), especially with scowls and squeals. The last song on the album-“For the First Time (In a Long Time)”- starts off with an unidentified voice but as the song rolls on you begin to realize that it actually the Kid singing-I can’t even describe the pitch of his voice-you have to listen for yourself. Like I said this man has come a long way in the vocal department-a far cry from his early rapping days-and who knows maybe he could always sing but I still believe he has become a better singer as he “matures.” By the time I arrived at this song in the car, my two boys told me to turn it off because they seem to think that it was too mellow and predictable-now tell me folks-did you ever think you would hear thoughts like that about Kid Rock? In a way, they speak the truth a little but for me at this stage in my life I come to appreciate the more mellow things in life and have more patience now than I ever did in my younger days. I knew what they were saying but as I listen to the song by myself I have to say I am very impressed by the composition of the song along with the musicianship and the almost 6 minute song for me breezes by. (By the way, there is a “demo” version of “Care” at the end of the CD and even this is good).

So here it is Kid Rock has made an album in the vain of Bob Seger and the Eagles with a Country feel throughout the entire work and this is what I have been waiting for. My belief is that this is will be the first of many great albums to follow from this man as I think he has a lot left in the tank, now that he has made the turn down that long highway road with no curves seemingly in front of him. Now I know many of his earlier fans are left wondering what happened to their rap hero and my response is that he is still in there and can always perform those great songs in concert. In addition, with the Kid you never know he could sprinkle those types of songs in future albums but like I said I think he has found his “path” and this rock, country, blues genre which fits him like a glove. His band is getting better with each album while the composition and arrangement of his songs continue to flourish as well as the lyrics which now make you listen with your heart-who would’ve “thunk?” Folks-I don’t care what anyone else says or writes (I saw it written somewhere that stated that Kid Rock is now the poor man’s John Mellencamp-please spare me)-“Born Free”- is an incredible piece of work from Kid Rock. It may take you more than a few turns to get to this opinion but the more you listen, the more you will recognize that the Kid has more talent than we all realized.

My Top Ten Songs of 2010

10.     ImpossibleShontelle– Nothing short of a mesmerizing song, her vocals make you stand up and take notice. This is a finger snapping song that you just sit back and listen to her vocals as you drift off into another stratosphere. I don’t much about her but I love this song. “Shout it from the roof top”-this is one of the best songs in 2010

9.       DynamiteTaio Cruz– Normally I don’t go for the pop/dance genre (as many of you know) but you also know that I often give any genre a chance especially moves me (“move” can have many different meanings). I guess I have to give credit to my youngest son as he has a handle on the latest “hits” out there on the radio and he introduced me to this song. We listened to it on our trip to Cape Cod this past summer. It has an addictive groove and you can’t but help to sing and dance along to it.

8.       Love-Hate-Sex-PainGodsmack– Mr. Sully Erna makes my list twice this year-once with his regular band, Godsmack and one for his solo effort. Their latest album-“Oracle”- is nothing short of spectacular and has, in my opinion, spawned one of their best songs and this is it. Is it heavy?-Yes but so what? Every once in a while you need loud guitars with a crushing groove so look no further than this song. My oldest son-who is not into “metal” as much even has this song on his I-Tunes library, so you know it is a good song.

7.       Front Porch Swing AfternoonJamey Johnson– Is it laid back and slow? Yes but what does that mean? When he starts singing you just become still and don’t even move. He is a throw back to the classic country that I grew up listening to in my house-remember my mother was the country part of my life. My dad had the doo-wops and Elvis (which my mother also liked) but it was my mom’s influence with Country music that I have really come to appreciate as I move on in years. This is a perfect song to listen to with the fire place going while the snow falls outside-even though it is a warm weather title song. Pure beauty-you need to own this song. (He will be touring with Kid Rock in 2011).

6.       My Best TheoryJimmy Eat World– Doing their best Linkin’ Park imitation or is it that Linkin’ Park has copied Jimmy? Either way, this song will grow on you as it did on me and became one of the most listened songs in 2010 for me. It has a catchy hook and the chorus is infectious, it has some heavy moments but mostly sounds like “What I’ve Done” by LP. Again it doesn’t matter who it sounds like, this is a really good song so check it out.

5.       AirplanesB.o.B. featuring Hayley Williams– At first when I heard this, I easily dismissed it because it sounded like everything else but the more I heard the song, the more I started to like it. I guess what made me like it so much is due to the fact that I can picture my youngest son and our “adopted” daughter-Angelina-sitting in the back seat of our car singing this song word for word. There was so much enjoyment on their faces and I was laughing as they were moving their hands over their face while lip syncing B.o.B. rap parts-hysterical. Very cool song with a nice beat!!

4.       Kiss GoodbyeLittle Big Town– You all know that this is by far my most favorite “Country” band out there today and I still stand by my statement that this is the best harmonizing set of men and women since the Mama’s & Papa’s. This is a sad song but you feel good because their vocals meshed together is like being on a cloud with your arms around the back of your head as you drift off to outer space. The words cut to the bone and if you have recently broke up with your partner you may not want to listen to this because you will be crying in no time. The video for this song just came out and it is fantastic. This band never ceases to amaze me, this song is off their most recent release-“The Reason Why.”

3.      7 YearsSully Erna– Now I know I am going to catch a lot of grief here but that’s because most of you out there don’t know who Sully Erna is and probably are unfamiliar with his first solo release-“Avalon”-and if you do know who he is-you are probably going to complain that the song is way too long-8:41 to be exact. But you know what? I’m will have none of it and am sticking to my guns on this one. This album is nothing short of spectacular and this could be the best track on the album. It is an epic journey of sorts as the arrangement shifts and changes throughout. Again the more you listen, the more you will be drawn in. It makes me feel like I am on a massive boat cruising the ocean waters (and for those who know me well, you know I want nothing to do with boats and water) on a journey for the meaning of life. Sully’s vocals are astonishing as well as the female artist he has helping him.

2.       Rocking My Life AwayJerry Lee Lewis featuring Kid Rock and Slash– Again I know I am going to catch a lot of flak for putting this one here but I can’t help myself because when I hear great rock and roll like this song, I just lose it. Jerry is the “real deal” (as Mr. Rock exclaims at the end of the song) as his piano playing is slamming and it has to get you out of your seat and just start twisting everywhere. Slash’s guitar solo is smoking and I can just picture Kid Rock jamming out while Slash is whaling away. And what else can I say about Kid Rock?-the man is so talented and this fits him like a glove. This song is freaking phenomenal!!! Buy it now!!!

1.       Back to CaliSlash featuring Myles Kennedy– Wow is all I have to say-when I hear the opening licks to the best song in 2010 (by far). I can’t explain how psyched I get, it’s almost like an outer body experience (not that I have experienced one but I would assume it would feel like this). Talk about “air-guitaring?” I’m out of mind right now as I need to make believe I’m Slash right now and play that guitar solo-excuse me while I stop typing….I’m back-how great is that high pitch vocal singing in the shadow of Myles vocals? (who knows it may be him). This is pure rock and roll and who knew Myles Kennedy was the perfect rock and roll singer for this one? I guess Slash knew and if I were him I would try to steal him away from Alter Bridge-if they could make an entire album with songs like this-it would go down as one of the most classic albums ever. This song is stunningly breathtaking-how’s that for the best song of 2010?

Top Five Albums of 2010

Just like it was last year, I did not buy enough new albums to pick ten albums, so I will stay with my top five. Now I know there are other genres and artists that I may miss and I do not profess to know everything that is out there-that is impossible, so take it from the world that I live in and these are my top five favorite albums from 2010:

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5.     Court Yard HoundsCourt Yard Hounds– Who knew that the other two thirds of the Dixie Chicks could sing like this? Sisters Martie McGuire and Emily Robison decided to make some new songs and since Natalie Maines was not ready to “get back into the ring” at that point, they became the Court Yard Hounds. Take a listen to “It Didn’t Make a Sound” and tell me this is not good stuff? It is folk and Country with a breath of fresh air and the musicianship is top notch. There are also some very poignant tunes that will grab you by the throat and won’t let go as you have to listen to the beauty of their vocals (“Fear of Wasted Time” for example). At some point the Dixie Chicks will record again but for me I hope this is not a “one and done” sort of project-this album is too good to not move on with some more material at a later time in the future. I look forward to it.

Key Tracks: The Coast;  Ain’t No Son;  Then Again;  Fairytale

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4.     Midnight SouvenirsPeter Wolf– Folks you need to have this album in your library. This is the perfect “hang-out” album when you are hosting a party with friends. I will make another bet that before the end of that party your friends will want to know who that is-they will recognize the voice but not the new kind of melodies that exist on this super solid CD. The party kicks off with the rocking blues song-“Tragedy”-with help from Shelby Lynn-it is a finger snapping event throughout the album.Then it shifts to the rocking “I Don’t Want to Know” and from that point onwards just sit back and enjoy the ride. He also gets some help from Neko Case and the living legend Merle Haggard. This is totally different from his days spent with J. Geils, so do yourself a favor-either you buy it as a stocking stuffer (and then ask to borrow it) or let your family and friends know that you want this album as a stocking stuffer.

Key Tracks: It’s Too Late for Me;  The Green Fields of Summer;  Watch Her Move;  Always Asking for You

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3.     Born FreeKid Rock– Well how much more can I write about this album? (The review is up above). Don’t think that just because this was just released and is fresh in my mind that this would not have been on my list if it were released in the spring or summer-it would. This isn’t like when they nominate movies that come out around the holidays and earlier film releases seem to be ignored. (check out the rest of my top 5-all earlier this year). Anyways-yes I am partial to Kid Rock I admit it-but I am telling you folks this is another perfect album to play when you are hanging out with your friends hosting a house party. Yes “Born Free” can be played in its entirety and your family and friends will be amazed on how far Mr. Rock has come.

Key Tracks: Rock Bottom Blues;  Purple Sky;  Times Like These;  God Bless Saturday

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2.     SlashSlash– In my opinion, it was a total injustice that this massive solo album seemed to be ignored by many in the music review industry and this took longer to release than Axl’s “Chinese Democracy”- remember this is his first solo album-so where was all the hoopla surrounding this release? I usually don’t like to compare but this solo effort is ten times better than “Chinese”-I’m sorry it has to be said. Does anyone think that this man is not talented and that it took a massive effort to work with all the various artists on this album?-probably harder than working with the same set of people in a band-I would think so-but then again, what do I know? What I love best is that he did not try to change the artists’ strength’s, no Slash conformed and morphed into their style. One minute he is rocking and the next he is “metal-ing” and then he is “popping” out with Adam Levine, c’mon folks this is good stuff right here. I say from top to bottom one can listen to every track and not skip over any of them. Slash you will not be ignored here-Thank you for this massive effort-you get a solid “A.”

Key Tracks: By the Sword;  Back to Cali;  Saint is a Sinner Too;  Nothing to Say

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1.     AvalonSully Erna– For those of you that are scratching your head out there, do me one favor and listen to “Broken Road” from this fantastic solo effort by the front man of Godsmack and tell me this is not good music right here??!!! This is the ultimate “hang-out” album when you just want to relax and let the music take you to another place-you will not believe how much you will like this album. The thing is though-you need to buy it and give it a chance. Even my wife likes this album (she has no clue that he is the lead singer of a heavy metal band-she doesn’t need to know that-neither do you) and did not tell me to turn one song off on a recent drive to relative’s house, so you know that is a good sign. She especially likes the song-“Sinner’s Prayer.” No she wouldn’t know the name of the song if asked but if I played it for her, she would say “yeah that is the song.” My boys liked some of the songs, especially-“My Light.” Folks if you only want to follow the solo career of Sully that is OK as well because after this release, there has to be more coming down the road. I know I am looking forward to more in the future. This album is by far the best in 2010. Mellow yes but also incredible.

Key Tracks: 7 Years;  Broken Road; Eyes of a Child; My Light

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Susan Tedeschi

2.     Living Colour

3.     Edie Brickell

4.     Joe Walsh

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     Now that it is the holiday season, my rendition of a classic written by Mr. Berlin has sold the most copies of any single released in the history of music. Who am I and what is the name of the song?

2.     I was an accomplished singer, movie actor and stage actor and starred in one of the greatest movie’s ever made-“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”- but am probably best known as the narrator of the most watched children’s Christmas show every year. By the way, I sang the entire soundtrack which contains one of the most recognizable holiday songs’ ever. Who am I?

3.     My singing voice has been compared to the likes of Dean Martin and Roy Orbison. I made my mark as a Maverick but am now doing my own thing. The author of this page has stated that the Christmas album that I made a few years back is the best one to be released in the past 25 years. Who am I?

4.     Our band has made its mark as a mostly holiday band and we tour every year towards the end of the year. Each tour our popularity has grown, almost to a cult status. Funny thing is, we don’t sing. Who are we?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     Got to Be There – The Jackson 5

2.     Taking It To The Streets-Doobie Brothers

3.     A Change is Gonna Come- Sam Cooke

4.     Higher Ground– Stevie Wonder

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

1.     “…she shadows me in the mirror…she never leaves on the light…some things that I say to her…they just don’t seem to bite…”

2.     “…Hey don’t let it go to waste…I love it but I hate that taste…weight keeping me down…Hey don’t let it go to waste…”

3.     “…and I really never knew how to love…I just hope somehow I’d see…ask for a little help from above…send that angel down to me …”

4.     “…run for your life…you’re moving on and on the art of survival…isn’t turning me on…and I’ve been chasing it…”

Back on this Day

Sadly back on this day in 1967, Otis Redding and three members of the Bar-Kays died in a plane crash near Madison Wisconsin. The question is always: What if?

Sadly back on this day in 1999, Rick Danko-the bassist for The Band- passed away in his sleep at the very young age of 56.

Back on this day in 1955, Johnny Cash made his first appearance on the “Louisiana Hayride” show and met his future wife-June Carter.

Back on this day in 1966, The Beach Boys hit the top of the Billboard charts with their smash hit-“Good Vibrations.” (Thanks Chris!)

Back on this day in 1967, The Steve Miller Blues Band signed with Capitol Records for $750,000. The “Blues” portion of the name was dropped shortly after signing.

Back on this day in 1971, Frank Zappa was pushed off a stage while performing in London by a jealous boyfriend and suffered 9 months worth of injuries.

Back on this day in 1976, Generation X made its live debut in London with Billy Idol as the lead vocalist.

Back on this day in 1983, Paul McCartney had his last number one hit with “Say, Say, Say”-a duet with Michael Jackson.

Back on this day in 2007, the Mighty Led Zeppelin reunited with Jason Bonham on drums to play a benefit show for Ahmet Ertegun. Robert Plant said it one of the most stressful nights for him and I recently saw Jason Bonham on “That Metal Show” and he was asked what reunion would happen first-Zep or Guns & Roses- he said Guns-wow??!!!

October 29, 2010

Weekly Update – Rocktober 29, 2010

Prince (“Welcome 2 America” Tour) at the Izod Center on Tues., Wed. & Fri. Dec. 14, 15 & 17. Also appearing at Madison Square Garden on Sat. Dec. 18 and Wed. Dec. 29. Pre-sale tickets for the Izod Center begins this morning at 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. and the passcode is: Purple. For the Garden there is a BET/Apollo Presale that also begins at 10:00 a.m.Password for the Dec. 29 show: Lights. General public tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m.. Izod: $26.65 – $173.55; MSG: $31.40 – $200.70.

Bon Jovi will be at Madison Square Garden on Thurs. & Fri. Feb. 24 & 25, 2011. Ticket info to come or go to their website for further information It looks like pre-sale tickets for fan club members start this Mon. Nov. 1, so tickets should be coming soon.

John Mellencamp has added a second night at Radio City Music Hall and it is Sat. Feb. 19, 2011. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $61.25 – $148.25.

The Goo Goo Dolls at Roseland Ballroom on Wed. Dec. 1. Tickets on sale today at noon. $50.

Jeff Tweedy at the Bowery Ballroom on Sat. Dec. 4. Tickets on sale today at noon. $45.

Fab Faux at Terminal 5 on Sat. Dec. 11 performing “The White Album” in its entirety. Tickets on sale today at noon. $35 ($40 day of show).

The Roots at Brooklyn Bowl on New Year’s Eve. Tickets on sale today at noon. $85.

The 70’s Soul Jam Valentine’s Day Concert at the Beacon Theater on Sat. Feb. 12. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m.$57.50 – $92.50

Other items:

My apologies to the folks who read this page religiously, believe me it killed part of me that I couldn’t write the updates in my very favorite month-Rocktober-but the more important stuff like my profession has taken over my existence and has limited my ability to do what I love-music. No, I have not stopped listening to it but I was having a hard time finding time to write about it. And yes I did go to a show this month- Godsmack – on Rocktober 5th with my “brother”-Slats- and I’m telling you folks-Godsmack is one of the best-if not the best- live bands out there today. The energy and the vibe from the audience “smack”-ed me right across the face-it was freaking phenomenal. Sully and the boys were dominant. I needed a “release” and writing this week’s page was actually very therapeutic for me and I had to have at least one write-up for the month of ROCKTOBER!!!- Rock on my friends. I will do my best to do as much as I can in the coming months, so if it is not weekly, at least you know why.

Caught the new premiere episode of “That Metal Show” last Saturday (I know it’s a repeat) on VH1 classic and the show was a tribute to Ronnie James Dio. You can see it here off, I love this show and would love to be on it –either in the audience- or somehow work with those guys on the show- Eddie Trunk, Don Jamieson and Jim Florentine. And what a show-this is one of the best tribute shows that I have seen. Ronnie’s wife- Wendy- was a guest as well as members of his solo band and Black Sabbath. After watching this show, I can see why he was loved so much-he just seemed like a person who cared about his family, friends and especially the fans. Wendy’s interview was touching and Geezer Butler was genuine and you could feel his pain. Simon Wright, drummer, also had some cool insight the man named Dio. Rob Halford and Tom Morello also joined in the tribute with Halford being the lone voice in picking Rainbow as Dio’s best band. Morello had a cool fan’s approach as he gushed about how much he loved the song-“The Mob Rules”- which a freaking awesome tune and a song I always loved to. That resonated with me because it is fun to share the same music or songs with people, especially a rock star. One of the things I learned is that there will be a new album- “Dio at Donnigton” a live selection released on November 9th. As they said on this show-if you don’t buy this you are not a Metal fan. It has songs from Dio, Rainbow and Black Sabbath. I am definitely buying it. And the number one message from his wife is that guys don’t get things checked out until it is too late and they mentioned that if Ronnie had gone to the doctor for annual check-ups and of course doing tests, he would have beaten his cancer. Scary and makes you think- go to the doctor so that you will be able to rock on.

Rumor of the week: The original members of The Cars, including Ric Ocasek, have reportedly reunited. Like that saying goes- “Don’t Tease Me.” They will release a new studio album (first one in 23 years) and also tour. A song-“Blue Tip”- was posted on their official Facebook page. I’m in!!!

Thanks to my oldest son, I now have the best “free” offer that I-Tunes has ever tendered- a video none-the-less- of the “Big Four”- Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer & Anthrax– joining in an “all hands on deck” cover of the Diamond Head song-“Am I Evil?” As Mr. Hetfield rightly states-“That was a Metal Moment”-folks even if you are not a metal fan you need to own this-just to say that you do. I can’t tell you how much I love this video-talk about getting your adrenaline going? If this doesn’t psyche you up, nothing ever will. This is by far the best video of 2010 and could be the best video ever. Friggin’ phenomenal!!! “Am I Evil??!!!”

If you have noticed that Keith Richards sort of seems to be everywhere recently (cover of Rolling Stone, many TV appearances, etc) it is because he has written a book –“Life”- and the NY Times gave a raving review. This could be a good stocking stuffer for the upcoming holiday season.

Hackers took down two Gene Simmons sites after Gene had said that the music industry was asleep at the wheel and should have sued every college kid who illegally downloaded music for free and said the industry died right then & there, with so many people losing jobs. Gene promises to find the people responsible.

My favorite song of the week is “Smoke on The Water” from the new Santana album-“Guitar Heaven”- with Jacoby Shaddix-lead singer for Papa Roach. Jacoby treats the song with respect and does a phenomenal job at the helm and what else can you say about Santana-listen to him tear through this song-jaw dropping.

You know I love Rocktober and I was planning something this month like I did last year but as you know I was not able to do the blog this month, so in a condensed version-this is what I had in mind-listing albums from an artist that were in my opinion their best work and then following it with the second best, third best, etc. So again in a “summary” basis here is what I was thinking:

Van Halen –(With Diamond Dave)

1.     Van Halen II

2.     Van Halen I

3.     Women & Children First

4.      Fair Warning

5.      Diver Down

6.      1984

The Beatles– (everything after “Help”)

1.      The Beatles (aka “The White Album”)

2.      Revolver

3.      Abbey Road

4.      Let It Be

5.      Rubber Soul

6.      Sgt. Pepper’s

The Mighty Led Zeppelin (everything before Graffitti)

1.      Physical Graffitti

2.      Led Zeppelin II

3.      Led Zeppelin

4.      Led Zeppelin IV

5.      Led Zeppelin III

6.      Houses of the Holy

Hands All Over” by Maroon 5 released on September 21, 2010

Hands All Over

I can remember the first time that I heard-“Harder to Breathe”- by this band called Maroon 5 back in 2002 and thinking that this was very different from what was out at that time. There was a certain raw energy that captivated me and I immediately purchased “Songs about Jane.” To this day, I think this song is an anomaly out of their entire library. It’s like it was purposely planted to draw you in, thinking that there was this new rock band out there that was going to fuse pop and rock with a new purpose. In some ways I think it was a trick because once the door slammed behind you, there was this polished world of pop awaiting you with a splash of “dance” and every time you started to head for the exit, you couldn’t because the quality of their songs were so good. So when “It Won’t Be Soon Before Long” is released, there you are again wondering if you should head for the back door and leave this band for the general public who listen to Z-100 or WPLJ everyday (not there is anything wrong with that, just trying to make a point) but “Makes Me Wonder” brings out that John Travolta dancing days as in Saturday Night Fever and you put your hands over your head, clap and dance your way back into the thick of the party-the song is so good you forget where you are and you can swear the Bee Gees are in the same room swaying along with you as everyone dances away to the “disco” celebration. Clearly the influence of The Police was stepping aside for their other influence-Prince- as their sound was unmistakably headed for the “pop”-sicle aisle in the supermarket of all kinds of music genres. But you know what? I followed them and I know there are many others who followed along to, even though they wouldn’t admit it publicly-sort of like the head-bangers who know they like a song or two by Poison but again in public, scoff at Poison like…they were actually…well, real poison.

So now the rumors are swirling that Robert “Mutt” Lange will produce their third studio album. Mr. “Mutt”-the same “hard rock” producer who brought us “Back in Black” by AC/DC-arguably one of the best albums in music history, never mind in rock history. He produced for Def Leppard when Leppard was “def” as in “Pyromania”-another friggin’ classic. I know it’s been a while since he has been behind the wheel of guiding a rock band-he went Country for a while as he produced his former wife Shaina Twain’s albums but more recently he “got back on the horse” as he steered Nickelback with their “Dark Horse.” So I’m thinking maybe it will become “harder to breathe” again as the Mutt will put the rock back into the outfit known as Maroon 5. But folks I’m here to tell you that it is not the case. Maybe Mr. Lange is pulling a Rick Rubin as he seems to morph into the genre of whatever artist he works with-that makes sense, right? I don’t know why I was thinking that he was going to turn Maroon 5 into AC/DC. That doesn’t make sense, I know… but I was thinking that there would be some sort of “hard rock” candy in his bag full of tricks but just the opposite has happened. Mr. Lange has helped dig a deeper path into the world of pop/dance music- a la Madonna like- and has sprayed the “Pledge” all over the place as they have become the most polished pop act since Madonna. In a strange way, they have become so popular and so big that early buzz on their “new” sound is now a distant memory as the pressure of “staying on top” while making money for the big record executives in this dying business took precedent on this album as there is no going outside the “formula” that “currently sells” for this “zero attention span” society as the songs are super tight, so squeaky clean and not one song longer than four minutes (I don’t count the “bonus” tracks). And who knows, maybe this is the path the Maroon 5 wanted to take; who is to say that it is all “the system’s” fault? But the weird thing is overall I have to say that the album is good- I would say three stars out of five if I had to give it a rating. Now I will also say that some of the songs sound like “everything else” that is out there today and for me personally, they have fallen a notch in my book but the one thing I cannot dispute-this band is super talented and deserve all the attention from the “masses,” as this album will surely infiltrate more of the “general” public.

The album starts off with “Misery” and right away I feel like I am on the dance floor in a club as the party is really kicking into gear as the confetti is swirling all around the dancers as the smiles on everyone’s face is the number one indicator that this song is “the bomb.” I could see Justin Timberlake doing something like this, so yes that are now entering his territory. The fun continues with “Give a Little More” and while you are dancing around the room you may stop like I did and say “Mutt” Lange produced a song like this?… but it’s a new time and I guess a new Mutt…anyway I can clearly picture Michael Jackson helping them out on this song if he were still around as it is right up his alley with pure energy. Track #3-“Shutter”- is one of the best songs on the album. The “hook” in the song is addictive and you will not be able to get the chorus out of your head. The song has this funky groove that will make you move parts of your body that you never knew could move. Pure fun is what this song is all about, I can picture a whole bunch of people forming a “football huddle” and dancing with their shoulders into each other and then wave their arms over their heads like the audience in “American Idol.” Now for me the next two songs are almost “filler” like in my opinion as they just have that vibe the first three songs had. “Don’t Know Nothing” starts off with “mechanical” feel to it that turns into a finger snapping affair but I’m not feeling it, sorry. “Never Gonna Leave this Bed” is something that One Republic could sing. I like One Republic don’t get me wrong but this song is “just like many of the songs you hear on pop radio” today and sometimes I like it and sometimes I don’t. I’m not saying I don’t like it but I could see myself pushing the “next” button. Track # 6-“ I Can’t Lie” reminds me of something Amy Winehouse would do because the beginning has this sort of updated classic R&B sound. This was the first song I picked off of this album when I made a mix of songs for a recent road trip (every trip for us is a road trip because we live near the end of the earth) and it is very “catchy.’ You will find yourself closing your eyes and snapping your fingers as the memories of the classic sixties R&B will resonate within you.

The title track actually has a little guitar in it and without a doubt I could see Joe Elliott and Def Leppard performing this track-if you listen closely you can definitely pick up hints of “Pour Some Sugar on Me” as the chorus is “Put Your Hands All Over Me.” You will also hear the song-“Rock On”- made famous by David Essex and later covered by Leppard on their cover album “Yeah!” Cool song, I like it. Track # 8-“How”- is destined to be on the radio for a long time as this is a fast ballad and something of their signature sound. This also ranks up there as one of the best songs on the album. You can hear the Police’s influence (the “Every Breath You Take” Police) as it sort of has that feel to it. Mr. Levine’s vocals are top notch. “Get Back in My Life” gets you back out on the disco floor as the pulsating beats will have you bouncing in no time. Look to your left, here comes John Travolta moving his hands in a circle as he slides across the colorful floor-is this Mutt Lange? What???!!! Ok forget it and just enjoy the music. “Just a Feeling” slows it down a whole bunch and the song is crystal clear as Adam shines brightly with his vocals-this will be on Z-100 in no time. Talk about a pop power ballad? Whew…where is that “hard candy?” Track # 10-“Runaway”- is another song that will be on the radio but here is where I think the ship seems to be going down the same path. It’s almost like-“Didn’t I just hear this song?”-again not a criticism on the song itself because it is good but you may ask yourself if you have heard it already. The last song -“Out of Goodbyes”- gets some help from Lady Antebellum and the result is spectacular. You may think they sort of sing in that same “pitch” but their voices blended together actually sound very good. When they all sing at the same time that is when the song is at its best. Take a listen and tell me it doesn’t put you into that “dreamy” state. Nice job!!

So as you can tell from what I have written, there are some super solid songs on this third studio album but also some songs that just don’t do it for me. Now as you all know, my music taste varies and most people don’t have Dean Martin to Megadeth on their I-Pod shuffle-but that is me-but you also know that I normally don’t gravitate to the deep world of pop and what is popular-yes there is still some of that “teenager” in me- but I have come a long way (because you all know that there is no way I would have kept this album when I was 16 or so-remember I dropped both The Cars and The Police once they hit the general public). So what I am trying to say is that I am still on board the band wagon called Maroon 5 but my foot has slipped off the back of that wagon as I try to gain my balance. Let’s see where this ride takes me. Either way I now have three albums (Ok two and a half) from this super talented band. Mr. Lange, we need to talk…..


Crimes of Passion

Since it is Rocktober, what better way to rock than with Pat Benatar? This woman put the edge back into rock when she first hit the scene. C’mon what better song to introduce herself to the music scene than “Heartbreaker?” If this song doesn’t move you, well then you better check for a pulse right now. The rock world needed a shot in the arm and she was there to deliver the transfusion that was needed to get it back on its feet. Anyways, I am always looking on how to publicize her work or do a “shot out” on her library and I think I have found another way through this concept of golden “nuggets.” Let’s take her second album for example-“Crimes of Passion”- which was released in the summer of 1980 and by that time you could already see clones of her around most high schools and colleges across America. Now I like this album very much but don’t consider it a “classic” throughout, nor do I consider either side of the album-“perfect”- but again it does not take away from the landmark songs that appear on her sophomore effort. Now some bands go through their career and never have “landmark” songs but yet they have a long sustaining life (doesn’t mean the band or artist is not good-again just making a point). And yes one of those songs were not written by her or her team (actually by The Rascals) but she made it more famous (in my opinion) than the original composers and oh by the way-it was the second video ever aired by MTV-yes I’m talking about –“You Better Run.” So pick up this album or at the very least you should own the following nuggets from “Crimes of Passion:”

Hell is For Children”- Talk about a landmark song? Wow??!!! In only her second studio effort she met head-on a very real and sensitive topic which nobody ever seems (or seemed) to want to talk about it. There is always one line that gets me every time I listen to it-“…and you shouldn’t have to pay for your love with your bones and your flesh…” Whew, think about that line for a second, especially if you have children. Or how about-“…tell grandma you fell off the swing…” These are eye openers and punches right to the gut. I pray for all the children who go through this terrible tragedy every day. I wish I could protect them all. And what about the music? Freaking phenomenal, that’s all I have to say. I absolutely love the way that Pat screams with such a passion, she blows the cover right off the ball. Find me a better song?

Treat Me Right”- How fantastic is the groove in this song? It actually lifts me off my feet as I feel like I could fly. “Do you think I’m a fool?…well you better think twice…” I love it-she comes right at you and the players behind her deliver a wallop of a punch. Musically, this is one of her best efforts ever. Then Neil, her husband, has a tight guitar solo that will have you “air-guitaring” in no time. “I’m losing my patience…you’re nearing the end!!!” You better watch out and treat her right!!

You Better Run”- Now I mean no disrespect to Felix Cavaliere and the Rascals but she put this song on the map. Her scowl and fervor put the fear into every guy out there-you know it. Again, the musicianship behind her words is stellar and puts emphasis where it is needed. Neil has another blazing guitar solo, albeit a bit short. I love it when Benatar grimaces-“I said go away…and leave me alone…I can’t stand you no maaw…” The drumming is super solid on this tune, listen carefully and follow his every drum beat. Whew this song rocks!!! \m/ \m/

Hit Me With Your Best Shot”- Do you see (hear) a theme here? Wow talk about tough? It just seemed she had a chip on her shoulder and dared you to knock it off. She commanded respect and she backed it up with great songs like this one. C’mon you know you have dared someone to “hit you with their best shot” while you were singing it to them, right? I know I have-again just foolin’ around. Songs like these will forever be etched in your system-some one steps up to you and what is the first thing you want to say is-“go ahead hit me with your best shot.” Right? Musically, this song is righteous. ‘Nuff said.


Image of Soundgarden

There are certain dates that will forever remained etched into your memory whether they are happy or sad events. Most of the time when it comes to musicians or artists those dates are associated with an unfortunate passing of one of the members or a solo artist that cause you to go back in time and you know exactly where you were at that moment. Take the morning of Dec. 9, 1980, I was a 15-year old paper boy getting my papers ready for delivery, it was a Tuesday morning and since I was a sports fanatic I always started with the “back of the paper” looking to read about the Monday night football game that had taken place the night before. Then I turned the paper over and instantly was frozen in time as I saw a picture of John Lennon on the front cover indicating that he had been killed. Then last year on June 25th, I came home from umpiring a baseball game and was heating up my dinner and I thought I heard a TV announcer for one of those “Entertainment Tonight” type of shows state that Michael Jackson had passed. What?? Could this be real? So now before I make an analogy please be aware that in no way am I comparing the death of a person to be the same as a band breaking up. That is not my intention- again it is the date and where you were when something that has affected your life or something that you wouldn’t forget. So here it is April 9, 1997, I am riding in my car coming home from somewhere and I hear on the radio that Soundgarden had decided to disband. Poof just like that, it is over. At that time I had recently joined their fan club so as to be able to get “pree-mo” seats for their shows and they were actually scheduled to tour in 1997 and poof-just like that, it is over.

It took me some time to jump on the Soundgarden bandwagon, I was not there with them when they jumped out of the gate (remember I was still smarting from the “grunge” movement that took out all of my “hair bands”-yes I will always admit I was a fan of the “hair” movement) and it took some time to get use to all the “dark” movement but once I “got it,” I was in. I guess the reason I gravitated to this Seattle act more than Nirvana or even Alice In Chains is their music seem to incorporate the Mighty Led Zepppelin sound or just “classic” rock in general and when I first heard-“Outshined”- I knew I had to have it, so I rushed out to buy “Badmotorfinger.” But even then, the “other” songs on that album was so different from what I was normally used to listening to. The songs were weird to me (like most all the Layne Staley only songs on “Dirt”). So I kept them in that “junk draw” that everyone has in their house-you know what I mean- afraid to throw something out because you know within that mess there just might be that “jewel” you will come across one day. So yes I moved on a bit but then comes 1994 and the “buzz” on the street is their “Superunknown” album which is getting rave reviews from just about everyone involved in the music scene. So I take a ride in my town-Ringwood N.J.- and this dude had opened a music store (didn’t last too long but I loved it and tried to keep his business flowing by buying stuff) right down from “The Forge.” I walk in and ask him about the album and he says he didn’t listen to it but “people” kept commenting on how good it was. I decided to buy it and I ran home to throw into the stereo. I remember thinking that the first two songs rocked but then the next few songs were just too weird again for me, and I skipped to the next song with each song seemingly more “psychedelic” than the next-so again I put them back in the “junk” draw.

Then it happens, all of a sudden “Spoonman” explodes on the radio and MTV and the song is everywhere. I said to myself-“I think that song is on that album that I threw to the back of the pile”-maybe I should give it another chance. Now it is almost a full six months later and here am I giving “Superunknown” another chance. Folks it was like the morning rays of sunshine breaking through your window as you are first waking up. I finally “got it” and never looked back- I became obsessed with this band and they quickly rose to being one of my favorites. Now the next thing I needed to do was see them live. I think it was the spring/summer of 1996 and I remember being so stoked to be finally seeing this band live. Of course they are Soundgarden and have to do things differently, so they have this show in an old military warehouse on the lower east side of New York Citywhich basically stores airplanes and other war equipment, it hasn’t been “functional” in over 20 years. I can also clearly remember being so excited that members of the S&P women’s softball team which I used to manage asked me who I was going to see that made me so stoked. Now since I am in the “corporate” world, sometimes I think people get the wrong idea when I tell them the bands I listen to, so I was very hesitant to let folks know who I am going to see. I figured I would let them know and when I mentioned Soudgarden, only one person had heard of them but of course the expression that I had feared came roaring out. “Aren’t they a very heavy band? I am surprised that you would like a band like that?” Oh well, even Richie Cunningham can like a little hard rock/metal. Anyway, I go to this “basement” with absolutely no windows and the air in this “dungeon” feels like it had been stuck in the place since the 1950’s. To give you an idea how hot it was-just picture the NYC subway system on a scorching hot day in August- are you feeling the sweat already? Well this same subway system was like a refrigerator compared to the place that Soundgarden played in that night. But it’s rock and roll, so I can do this right? I am by myself (yes no one else wanted to go) and I bunker in to find a good spot but it is right next to the large speaker but it is so crowded that I can not move. Soundgarden hasn’t even come out yet and I am literally gasping for air and I am already drenched in sweat. As the night wore on I thought I was becoming delirious from the heat but wouldn’t leave because Soundgarden was putting on a scorching set. I almost “body surfed” but figured I would go down like a sack of potatoes (plus I had a small child with another on the way) and my senses took over and I just listened to their set. A year later I watched them again as one of the headliners (with Metallica) at Randall’s Island in the Bronx for the last Lalapoolooza tour. (My only one because the line-up had the rockers as opposed to the usual “alternative” line-up).

When “Down on The Upside” was released I was again totally ready to follow this band every where they went. Then poof-just like that, it was over. So now that they have reunited, I figured I would write down my favorite top ten songs by the machine called Soundgarden. Now since it has been more than 13 years since they last played together, some of the “novelty” has worn off for me. But maybe if they make some new material again, I could come back in full force. I would like to think this reunion is more than a “money” play. More recently, my oldest son has engulfed himself into the “grunge” world and probably knows more than me at this point. He favors Nirvana and Alice In Chains but has come to find Soundgarden’s library worthy of his time. He has asked to join in on the fray and I welcome it. So here it is, we are both on an island and have been told that we can only have 10 songs by the band named Soundgarden-“These are Them:”(Now believe me I could put down the entire album of “Superunknown” as all the ten songs and more but I will try to include other material) (By the way, they will be appearing on the new Conan O’Brien show on TBS, I believe  Wednesday Nov. 11th) (If I could have 11 songs, number eleven would be “Head Down”). My son is in blue and I am the red:

10.     Burden In My Hand– When I hear the beginning of this song with Chris singing “Follow me into the desert, as thirsty as you are” and the acoustic guitars ringing I can’t help but form a smile.This tune sounds like it could have been on “Led Zeppelin III” with the acoustic Led Zeppelin type sound. This song really impressed me the first time I heard it, the song sounds so perfectly made. The acoustic and electric guitars compliment Chris Cornell’s voice a lot in this song especially when just the acoustic guitar is playing. Despite the lyrics the music is very “feel good” which is rare in a Soundgarden song. That’s probably why I like it so much though.

10.     Overfloater– Chris Cornell was my favorite singer from his days in Soundgarden and I followed him into his solo career (Wasn’t a huge fan of Audioslave but they made some solid songs) and on this song from “Down on The Upside,” he is at his best. Now I know they tried to follow the same formula as “Superunknown” on the “Upside” and the results were less than spectacular but there are some phenomenal songs on the “Upside”-and this is one of them. Like many of their later songs, it has a slow trudging “blues” type of vibe to it and I readily admit that their music is an “acquired” taste-especially songs like this but once you “get it”- you will want more and even though their songs are typically more than five minutes- you want the song to just continue on and on. No matter how many times I lined this song up with others from their library, it kept winning out and ended up at number ten.

9.     Rhinosaur – This short little rocking song from the band’s final album somehow snuck its way onto my top ten. I was never fond of this song but having listened to “Down On the Upside” a lot the past few days I have come to appreciate this song much more.It has a great riff plus I’m a sucker for a good guitar solo and you have to admit this song has a pretty awesome solo.

9.     Drawing Flies – This is “earlier” Soundgarden and unbelievably this song is less than three minutes long but it will rock your socks off. It even includes a “horn” section (I don’t recall Nirvana or AIC ever doing that) which adds to the flavor of this powerful blast of rock, blues and grunge fused together that will have you salivating for more. It was songs like these that first drew me into this band-they have the ability to rock like no one else. Listen to what I am talking about.

8.     Mailman– My dad introduced me to this song and even before I was a Soundgarden fan I always liked this song. There just something about it that just gets me going, it has a great riff and spot on vocals from Chris. I love the parts when Chris starts screaming especially the end of the song when he goes all out with his voice.

8.     No Attention-Here is another hidden gem from “Upside”-this is filled with heavy guitar riffs laden with smashing drums and the first half is a very fast moving, almost in a crazed like state which includes an awesome guitar solo. But then the song shifts gears and slows down a bit with a crushing slower groove with just about 1:50 left in the song and you will bang your head up and down while shouting-“I’ll pay no attention, I’ll pay no attention…” And don’t you just love the rebel lyrics-“they are going to tell you where to walk…when to smile…and just what to say…and I’ll pay no attention.”

7.     Outshined – Without a doubt this is the highlight of the spotty “Badmotorfinger.” I love everything about this song!  This cool thing about this song is the variation between the verses and the chorus, it sounds like two spate songs. However the best part about this song is without a doubt Mr. Cornell’s vocal power.His wails and screams are just so crazy and raw it has to get you head banging. His vocals combined with fantastic guitar, bass, and drums, make this song one of their greatest accomplishments as a group.

7.     Just Like Suicide-I really didn’t want to pick this song because of the title and I hate songs about suicide. Now I know Cornell is going to say it is about living and that’s why he wrote it but the whole vibe of the song does not exude sunshine and happiness. (C’mon to think of it, I couldn’t name one Soundgarden song that does exude sunshine and happiness). But on the other hand, the musical composition is outstanding and it is hard to ignore as one of their best songs ever arranged. In addition, Chris’ vocals are outstanding-he has that “squeal” working so well, again it is hard to ignore. And to top it off, Kim Thayil has one of the best guitar solos you are ever going to hear. He kind of gets easily dismissed or ignored as a good guitarist and on songs like this, well he just blows the cover off the ball. “She lived like a mother…how she flies so sweetly…” Begrudgingly I have to admit this is one of their best songs but again the topic is dismal.

6.     Black Hole Sun– Usually when I make a top ten list for a band I refrain from picks a band’s major hits but this song was just inevitable. I didn’t even fight myself about putting this on the list because I knew it was of no use. This is song is often hailed as Soundgarden’s best song and while it may not be THE best one it is certainly a masterpiece in every sense of the word. After I hear the guitar intro immediately I get lost in the music. This song has fantastic lyrics and has one of the best guitar solos that Kim Thayil ever played. Not to mention amazing drumming by Matt Cameron. It’s easy to see why this is their biggest hits, simply because it’s such a perfectly made song.

6.     Room A Thousand Miles Wide – Soundgarden songs have this way of creeping up on you as there is always a part of their songs that play the same part over and over again (do you know what I mean?) And in this song, it is that “alarm” sound that just follows Cornell’s vocals. I feel like it is a fly buzzing around one of those electric zappers that a country house has hanging outside on its porch on a hot summer night with extreme humidity and I always wait for that “zap” but it does not come-the alarm just continues to sound off. And then what about a saxophone solo in a Soundgarden song? Sounds weird, right?… but there it is for the last minute or so just blowing up the place as Cornell is screaming his lungs out. Of course the heavy bass line is what draws me in as I can feel the pulsating vibes in my chest as I try to put the volume up as loud as my ears can take it (Children be aware-do not do this- I’m like one of those TV commercials that have to put out the obvious warning- Do Not Attempt This!!!).

5.     Superunknown– The title track from the monumental album of the same name is such a hidden gem. This powerful rocking song definitely should have been released as a single. It just has so much energy you have to turn the volume up as high as possible. Again all instruments are flawless (including a great guitar solo) and Cornell’s voice is so fantastic especially when he wails “First it steals your mind and then it steals your…soul!!”When he screams the word soul you really start to realize what an amazing singer he is.

5.     Let Me Drown – Again the title kills me and the lyrics as well but tell me this is not one of the best lead off songs in the history of music? It feels like there is so much going on here but yet at the same time it’s hard to find a tighter song with all the musicians playing at their absolute best. Love the part where the song shifts gears a bit and then it sounds like Cornell’s vocals are in a silo (listen in your headphones, its spectacular)-“I see you turn aroud…I feel the hurt surround me…” Thayil has a blazing guitar solo and Matt Cameron’s drumming is freaking phenomenal-controlled chaos is the expression I would have to say if I had to describe this song. You have to own this song!!! \m/ \m/

4.     Like Suicide – There couldn’t have been a better song to end Soundgarden’s magnum opus “Superunknown”. This ballad is the perfect closer to the album and has always been one of my favorites from the album. The lyrics are very powerful and Cornell sings them with such a passion. Mr. Thayil provides another excellent guitar solo to add to the already phenomenal track.

4.     Tighter and Tighter – As a Dad I try to pass down my musical taste on to my boys (or should I say –“force”- especially bands like Foreigner and The Cars-they will like them someday-at least that is what I tell myself) and sometimes I purposely wait to introduce a band or a song because as they get older their tastes have matured and there is less of a chance that they easily dismiss what I am trying to show them. Take this song (and this album) for instance, I kept this in my back pocket for a long time but I knew it was time to put it into the car rotation. So when I picked up my oldest son last week from his dance, this song just “happened” to come on. I didn’t tell him who it was but he knew it was Cornell and Soundgarden. He didn’t say “put the radio on” right away, so I knew I had a chance. As we both listened to the brilliance of this song, I could tell he liked it and he did. Then the next day I had to drive my younger son from his entrance exam for high school and again this song “happened” to be on. As the song progressed I could see he was loving it and when Thayil’s guitar solo was over, he looked over in amazement and said “how do people say he is not one of the better guitarists’?” So I was two for two. Anyway, this could easily be one of their best compositions they have ever recorded. The song is over six minutes long but when I listen to it, I never want it to end, I could listen to Cornell say “Sleep tight for me…I’m gone” for days at a time. “Cause I feel I’m going…cause I feel I’m slowing down..” One of the best endings to a song as well.

3.     Fell On Black Days – Yes I know this is a popular song but I have always loved this amazing song. I think the reason I like it so much is because lyrically it is one of the “grungiest” songs from Soundgarden. I guess one I was never into Soundgarden as much as I was into bands like Nirvana, Alice In Chains, and Pearl Jam because Soundgarden never wrote lyrics that were up to par with the other grunge bands. But eventually I took a liking toward Soundgarden and this song was one of the reasons that I gave them a chance.  It showed me that Soundgarden was capable of writing lyrics that people could relate to.So I’m glad I discovered this song because it led me to another fantastic band from the 1990’s.

3.     Black Hole Sun – I know, I know-the song titles are so depressing.. anyway how great is this song? I can remember when the video was playing incessantly on MTV and yes it is a weird video-what do expect from a song titled “Black Hole Sun?” But the one thing I noticed is that this song attracted the general public and I recall one of my co-workers at that time-who was a bit older than me- who said he really liked the song. Really? You do? Now again being a bit older than a teenager, I did not abandon them when he said that. I was actually happy that their name was getting out there and reaching more people. This song is addicting, there is no way to deny this fact. Again it creeps up on you and before long you will be holding the word –“cooooooooooommmmmmmmmeeeeeeee” -(“won’t you come”) for as long as Cornell does. Whatever happens in the future with this band, you can’t take this classic away from them. Nice job fellas.

2.     Tighter & Tighter– I think I will always remember the first time hearing this epic song.My dad and I were driving late at night with the volume pretty loud and he had this song playing and I was completely blown away. Everything just completely shocked me, the guitar riff, the magnificent guitar solo, drums, bass, and Cornell’s fantastic vocals. I couldn’t believe I had never heard the song before, it honestly impressed me more than any other Soundgarden song I’ve ever heard. If you are just a casual fan and don’t know this song I don’t know how much I can stress that you need to listen to this song. Simply one of the best and most underrated songs by the band.

2.     Burden in My Hand – I remember the first time I ever heard this song, I knew instantaneously that this was going to be my favorite song on “Down on the Upside” and I knew it was going to either be my number one or number two song by them. There is something about this song that seems to be as fresh as it was when it was released in 1997. Thirteen years later I still get the same feeling throughout my entire body as I did when I first listened to it. I could do this in a karaoke bar and would completely nail it-but you know no one would have this song in their library. “Follow me into the desert…as thirsty as you are…crack a smile and cut your mouth…and drown in alcohol…” This could be the best song that Chris Cornell has ever recorded vocally, he is flawless, like on many other songs as well but this one is special. I love this tune!!!

1.     Let Me Drown – Want to hear Soundgarden at its best?Put this song on and prepare yourself for one heck of a ride. This song is pure energy and gets me pumped up every time I hear it. You need to blast this song as loud as possible and just enjoy it. Talk about a flawless song, the guitar has such a great riff and has fantastic solo work, the drums are like a power machine they make me “air drum” the entire song, and the bass and vocals are great as always. This song also has great lyrics so overall it has everything anyone could want in a song. Just listen and enjoy.

1.     Mailman – Ok now if you know Soundgarden and you know this song you are probably scratching your head and saying “What??!!!” Yes I know this is the slowest, most unattractive song and even I couldn’t listen to it when I first bought the album (see above). But the more I listened to it, I became obsessed with the tune and there is only one song that I remember them playing in that “dungeon” in the military warehouse on the lower East Side of NY and this song was it!! “I know I’m headed for the bottom…I know I’m headed for the bottom…but I’m riding you all the way…” Give it a chance… close your eyes and let Cornell take you into another stratosphere. Love the way he emphasizes the word “riding” as his high pitch comes into being like never before.

(Close cuts for my son: “Limo Wreck”, “The Day I Tried to Live”, “Rusty Cage”, and “No Attention”)

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     The Cars

2.     Foreigner

3.     Ace Frehley

4.     Eminem

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     I am a young female artist who has the blues inside of me since I can remember. I have toured with BB King and Buddy Guy and many other blues artists. I exploded on the scene in the late 1990’s and am still recording albums. My husband plays in the Allman Brothers Band. Who am I?

2.     Our band lived at CBGB’s for a few years before we hit it big. We exploded on the scene with a monster hit that is still played on the classic rock radio format. Mick Jagger helped us pen another song and he helped us become popular. We fizzled out a bit and went our separate ways, including our lead singer performing on Broadway. Recently we reformed and have been touring. Who are we?

3.     I had a one hit wonder and basically fell off the face of the earth. I am what I am. I created a big buzz with this hit but never really had another one. I also married a member of one of the most popular duos in music history, who started in the 1960’s, created some of the best American songs ever. They split and “reunionize” every ten years or so. Who am I?

4.     I had a successful solo career before joining this monster band in the 1970’s. I am an accomplished guitarist and a good singer but most people say I’m crazy but I have a good time. I used to go to parties, sometimes until four and it was hard to leave when you couldn’t find the door. Those days are over now; the drummer would have no part of it. Who am I?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     Second Hand News – Fleetwood Mac

2.     Slow Ride-Foghat

3.     Rock Me Baby- George McRae

4.     Rich Girl– Hall & Oates

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

1.     “…the moment I know she loves me…cause when I look in her eyes I realize…I need her sharing the world beside me…”

2.     “…you don’t know me…but I’m your brother…I was raised here in this living hell…you don’t know my kind in your world…”

3.     “…it’s been too hard living…but I’m afraid to die…cause I don’t know what’s up there…beyond the sky…”

4.     “…people…keep on learning…soldiers…keep on warrin’…world…keep on turnin’ …”

Back on this Day

Sadly back on this day in 1971, Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident in Macon GA. He was only 24 years old. Again, the question always remains- “What If?”

Back on this day in 1957, Bobby Helms recorded one of the most famous and popular holiday songs ever-“Jingle Bell Rock.”

Back on this day in 1977, Meatloaf’s ‘Bat Out of Hell” entered the Billboard 200 and spent 82 weeks on the charts and peaked at number 14. It sold over 14 million in the U.S. alone.

Back on this day in 1983, Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” spent its 491st week on the Billboard 200, making it the longest listed album on their chart history.

Back on this day in 1996, Axl Rose sent Slash a fax informing him that he was no longer the guitarist for Guns & Roses.

Back on this day in 2001, U2 made its first appearance on the David Letterman show and performed “Stuck in a Moment.”

If it is your birthday today you share the same birth date with the late Kevin Dubrow (Quiet Riot) Denny Laine (Wings & Moody Blues) and Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac).

September 24, 2010

Weekly Update – 09/24/2010

Roger Waters performing The Wall at Madison Square Garden on Sat. Nov. 6. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $79.50 – $129.50 – $254.50.

Dave Matthews Band at the Nassau Coliseum on Wed. Nov. 3 and Madison Square Garden on Fri. & Sat. Nov. 12 & 13. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. Nassau:$87.35 and $97.60; MSG: $75 – $85.

Michael Buble at Prudential Center on Fri. Nov. 26 and Madison Square Garden on Sun. Nov. 28. Tickets on sale Mon. Sept. 27 at 10:00 a.m.Prudential-$69.70 – $111.55; MSG-$74 – $94 – $129.50.

Devo at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Sat. Rocktober 30. Tickets on sale at 10:00 a.m. this morning. $55.35

Suicidal Tendencies at Terminal 5 on Sun. Nov. 14. Tickets on sale today at noon. $25 ($30 day of show)

Donavon Frankenreiter at Webster Hall on Wed. Dec. 1. Tickets on sale today at noon. $24 ($25 day of show)

Better Than Ezra at Webster Hall on Sat. Dec. 11. Tickets on sale today at noon. $25. 

Halestorm at Wellmont Theater on Sat. Jan 1. Tickets on sale today at noon. $15 ($19 day of show).

BB King at Wellmont Theater on Thurs. Jan. 6. Tickets on sale today at noon. $45, $65 and $85.

Cee Lo at Hammerstein Ballroom on Thurs. Rocktober 7. Tickets on sale today at noon. $42.

Kenny Rogers Christmas show at NYCB Theater in Westbury NY on Wed. Dec. 22. Tickets on sale today at 12:30 p.m. $69.50 – $79.75

Other items:

Thoughts and prayers go out to family and friends of Eddie Fisher who passed away Wednesday at the age of 82. He was one of the most popular singers in the world during the 1950’s selling millions of records. He mainly had success selling singles as opposed to albums. Of course many of us remember him when him and Debbie Reynolds divorced and he married Elizabeth Taylor. Rest in peace Mr. Fisher.

Bret Michaels can’t catch a break. He has to now have heart surgery in January. Doctors discovered a hole in his heart (had it since he was a kid) when he had the stroke back in April. He says he will be back on the road after this new surgery.

Is there anything more popular than “Glee” right now? I think not. Everything they touch seems to enhance their sales or the original artists’ sales. Their first season two songs have already been released on I-Tunes. This is a money making machine. Britany Spears will be on the show this year featuring her music. Paul McCartney, Billy Joel and now Coldplay (who turned them down last year) have all given Glee permission to do their songs. (yes of course they get paid for allowing Glee to use their songs).

Santana has released a record where he has covered his favorite “guitar driven” rock songs and he again has collaborated with many different artists. The album-“Guitar Heaven”-features Chris Cornell on the Mighty Zep classic-“Whole Lotta Love,” Scott Weiland on the Stones classic “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’” (Santana has an awesome guitar solo to take the song out to its sunset). Probably the best song on the album is “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” featuring India.Arie and Yo-Yo Ma. India is flat out amazing on her vocals, it was like she was born to sing this song. Santana has another amazing solo. “Photograph” with Daughtry is a little over the top but may be the first song to end up on pop radio. Santana works again with Rob Thomas and the result on “Sunshine of Your Love” is excellent-these two have the magic touch together. The weirdest collaboration is Nas on the AC/DC classic-“Back in Black” and you know I usually love when rock and rap mix together, the jury is still out for me on this track-it might grow on me. (But for you AC/DC purists-don’t even go near it you may break something). Chester Bennington actually does a nice job on vocals on the Door’s classic –“Riders on the Storm”- with Ray Manzarek helping out.

Maroon 5 has released-“Hands All Over”-this week, the highly anticipated third album with Robert “Mutt” Lange at the controls and I will come back with a full review at some point. According to Rolling Stone magazine, the “polished” Maroon 5 is even more polished on this album and the writer exclaims that they need to open up a bit more because they sound too “stiff.” He gave it 3.5 stars. “Stutter” sounds like their most pop song ever and is headed for WPLJ or Z-100. Again I will come back but I wanted to let you know it is out there.

What sounds like the coolest album to be released in a while is “Wake Up” by John Legend & The Roots. They have recorded some of the lesser known R&B classic hits and made it their own. I also think this will make my library. Legend sounds fantastic and we all know The Roots are a very talented instrumental band. What a perfect collaboration. Rolling Stone says this is a “must buy.” Sounds awesome, he brings back that classic R&B sound that has been missing for a while, in my opinion.

The growing in popularity band-The Zac Brown Band-has released a new album-“You Get What You Give”- and according to I-Tune listeners this is a stellar piece of work and the average rating is 4.5 stars (out of 5). If you are a fan I think you are going to love it. He gets help from Jimmy Buffet and Alan Jackson, each doing a song with the band.

Michael Franti & Spearhead have released a new album-“The Sound of Sunshine.” This guy makes some real fun music but with a very focused cause. This is a great fusion of rock, reggae and funk that you will find out there today. This guy has a blast at every one of his live shows. Check this album out.

Susan Boyle will release her second album-“The Gift”-on Nov. 9 and the first single released is “Perfect Day” – a cover of the Lou Reed song-yes Lou Reed. Susan makes everything sound enchanting, so if you are a fan you will love it. There are some Christmas tunes on this as well-just in time for the holiday season.

Kid Rock and his crew will have to fork over $40,000 for that huge fight they had at a waffle house back in 2007, remember that? The guy was seeking $2.5 million but the judge said that $40,000 should cover the damage. The Kid had plead guilty in 2008 and was sentenced to probation and anger management.

Congratulations to Eddie Vedder as he married his long time sweetheart-Jill McCormick-last Saturday at a ceremony in Hawaii. They have two daughters. Sean Penn was there and Tim Robbins was his best man. (interesting? Similar to the late Peter Boyle being the best man for John Lennon when he married Yoko)

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

Head Games

Side 1 of “Head Games” by Foreigner released on September 11, 1979.

The year is 1979 and I am 14-years old and the band Foreigner has fast become my favorite band, a close tie with “The Cars” and for those who remember me when I was younger, these were the two bands that I followed the most. Now as I have mentioned so many times on this page-I wanted to be Lou Gramm-he was my idol as a teenager and I thought (and still think) that he was one of the best singers in rock and roll. At this point in my life I was sitting and waiting for their next album to come out, couldn’t wait to listen to see what they had in store for their fan base. I knew that “Head Games” was going to be produced by Roy Thomas Baker (who produced The Cars-see a pattern here? As well as some Queen albums) so I was expected something raw and good. I love everything that Foreigner did (with Gramm only, I don’t acknowledge the “new” Foreigner) and love “Head Games.” Now I know that this album was panned by the critics and fans alike but again you know that means nothing to me right? It did produce two monster hits-“Dirty White Boy”- and-“Head Games”-but for the most part every other song is easily dismissed. Well I am here to let you know that side 1 is pure perfection. Admittedly, side two does not have the same vibe but that does not take away from the entire album. Remember back in the day, artists usually made 5 songs for each side of the album that they were putting out. So in my book if 7-8 of the songs are “listen-able” then I consider it a good album. In this case there are five songs in a row that make it a perfect album side and that again is side one. If you remember, my all time favorite Foreigner song is –“17”- and this appears as the last song on side one.

Side one starts off with the grimy “Dirty White Boy” and I say-how can anyone not like this song? (Ok maybe the title of the song is not PC but the music is great). “Hey baby if you’re feelin’ down…I know what’s good for you all day…” as Mick Jones is rifling through those great guitar riffs. This is a perfect song for “Guitar Hero” or “Rock Band”, no? I can do the singing and I guarantee that I can get a perfect 100 score on “expert” or if they had a higher level than that, I would still nail it. Lou Gramm is the best. Many people think at the end of the song, he sounds like Roger Daltrey as he screams to take the song out to its ending. This song rocks and should be a part of your workout regimen. Good for running, lifting or whatever floats your boat. “Love on the Telephone” sort of has that “Cold As Ice” feeling to it with the piano but with the blazing guitar and psychedelic keyboards surrounding it, not so much. Again I can get enough of Lou Gramm’s vocals, I especially like the part on the bridge where he exclaims-“…hello operator…you know that I’ve been waiting on this call…I’m going to tear this phone right off the wall…” The keyboard is stellar and is what was to be missed by Foreigner after they decided to shrink the band after this album. This is a great sing along song. The third track-“Women”- is the single most different song that Foreigner has ever recorded in my opinion. When I listen to it still today I can’t recognize Lou’s voice-it is so different from anything he has ever recorded. But this song rocks your socks off. This was a staple at the MBIA boot camp class almost every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 6:15 to start our day. (Boy those were the days!!!) It has a simple smashing beat but it is so infectious that you can’t stop singing “Women” all day long. Now I hope women don’t get offended by the lyrics, I don’t think they are too bad but I am a man so what do I know? I guess the part-“Women who will stab you in the back with a switch blade knife”-is not so nice, huh? Sorry..but the song rocks and I love Dennis Elliot’s drumming on this song, he really keeps the frantic pace at a high energy level. There is no other way to listen to this song but LOUD!!!! “I’ll Get Even With You” is an underrated and underappreciated song in my opinion but I still love it. This album has some “rough” spots-musically and lyrically- and that may have been intentional with Mr. Baker at the helm, who knows. Even Lou Gramm stated that this album was “grainy” but again they tried to be a little different from the first two albums (same with The Cars when they released “Panorama”) and I don’t see anything wrong with it. Lots of keyboards on this song but Mick Jones is in every Foreigner song with his guitar so I don’t see anything wrong with it. Gramm is just the best rock and roll singer so his part is great. ‘Nuff said. Then it is on to my all time favorite Foreigner song-“17”- don’t ask me why, don’t tell me it shouldn’t be, don’t tell me it stinks-cause I don’t want to hear it. I can remember laying on my hard wood bedroom floor with a pillow under my head blasting this song from my “furniture” style record player with the glass door (I’d scrape my head endless times on the point of that door) and playing it over and over. My mom would say to keep the door closed on this song, she didn’t like the “heavier” stuff. “Late last night…I get a call from a so called friend…wouldn’t give his name…says he saw you with another man…”-how friggin’ great is that? It is a straight hard driving song that is supplemented by the pounding skins by Mr. Elliot. I remember when I went to see Lou Gramm by himself at BB Kings (this is after his voice was affected by his health) and I was screaming out for him to do this song. Only one other person in the place knew the song, he turned to me and said that the song was too obscure for the crowd and that there would be no way Lou would play it. I asked him nicely to keep watching the show. How great is Mick’s guitar solo at the end? It is the longest solo he has ever had on a Foreigner studio recording and he jams away with Dennis. This ends the perfect album side.

Now side two starts off with the huge “Head Games” which was played all over the place for a couple of years straight on classic rock radio format, so they did have a great hit on side two. Foreigner was a band to reckon with back in the day and maybe because the expectations were so high on every next album that caused the tensions which led to decisions to make some power ballads, then ultimately led to their break up as the power struggle between Gramm and Jones was noticeable. It was Jones band when they started out but without Gramm-there is no Foreigner-sorry Mick that is just the way it goes. So no I do not recognize the new Foreigner, never did and never will. Lou Gramm is the man and contrary to all the critics and alike-“Head Games” is a good album and side one is perfect. Go ahead and listen for yourself.



Image of Aerosmith


Aerosmith. Think about this band for a second. They have to be considered one of the all time greatest American bands, no? There are very few bands which have had a career like these boys from Boston, not many bands to come back after seemingly disbanding because of issues related to every single member of the group, not just the lead singer or lead guitarist-as it usually is. All the members had some sort of “dependency” concerns and there really was no other way to hold it together as a single unit, they each needed time away to get better. And then after a few years where they fell out of the limelight, they quietly made an album together-“Done With Mirrors”- but there wasn’t much fanfare. It wasn’t really until they collaborated with Run-DMC on their monster classic-“Walk This Way”-that their “second” career was catapulted by this unlikely pairing which probably is still being debated today with their legion of fans. On one side you have the fans that can’t stand the fact that Aerosmith “bludgeoned” one of their favorite songs with rapping and changing the vibe of the tune. On the other side (like me), fans loved the fact that a whole new generation of fans were going to be introduced to Aerosmith because of Run DMC and yes the changing of the arrangement was spectacular. (My two son’s state that the Run DMC version is much better than the original recording).

In my opinion, the “album” that put them back on the map (remember the Run DMC was “a song”) was “Pump.” Now I know many of the “original” fan base will most likely scoff at anything done after “Rocks” because they consider the “second” coming of Aerosmith to be filled with “bubble-gum” flavored ingredients that caught the attention of the general population, whom the original fan base consider a pop eating culture and want no part of that world. Again, I may be in the minority but I love both sides of Aerosmith and can listen to songs and albums that “everybody” loves but at the same time, my favorite album by these guys is “Draw the Line” which maybe 9 other people listen know about or have listened to. Yes they mastered the art of the “power ballad” (“Amazing’”) during the last couple of decades but have also shown that they can still rock out (“Honkin’ On Bobo”), especially when you see them live.

Now the last few years have been pretty tumultuous as the original tensions between the lead singer and lead guitarist (hey I didn’t say that they didn’t have that problem but it wasn’t the main reason for the first breakup) have been rearing its ugly head and now with the latest rumor that Mr. Steven Tyler will be potentially sitting next to Randy Jackson and “J. Lo” (another rumor) as a judge on the slipping “American Idol” reality series has apparently caused Mr. Joe Perry a headache because he doesn’t understand how they can function as a band if Tyler accepts this position. It was only a few months ago that Aerosmith was “auditioning” for a new lead singer and then Tyler mysteriously showed up at a solo Joe Perry concert to announce to the “You-Tube” world that there was no one else but him for the job as front man of the band they call “Aerosmith.” They seemed to patch things up, then recently at a concert together Tyler fell off the stage…or did he? Was he pushed by Joe? Well there appears to be some activity rising to the surface, sort of like when one sprays some repellant into a bee’s nest. One flies out but the others don’t and for a few seconds you figure you have them where you want and then boom the 95 others fly out seeking retribution. This is sort of the feeling I have…but I could be wrong. So before something happens I figured I would try to name my favorite top ten songs by this legendary band-boy talk about something that is hard to do-this is near impossible as their library is so extensive that I really could have done ten songs from their “first career” and then ten from their “second career” but this time I will combine and try to come up with the top ten songs that I would want have if I were on an island and told that I could only have ten. “These are Them:”

10.     You Gotta Move– I know I am going to be abused for this top ten list but I am telling you no matter how many times I tried taking this song off the list, I could not. This is a smoking hot track off of “Honkin’ on Bobo” and this definitely proved that in the decade of 2000, Aerosmith could still rock and roll with the best of them- I know this is a “blues” album but “blues” falls into the category of rock and roll in my book. I can remember when I worked at MBIA I bought this album on the first day of its release on my lunch hour, threw it into the car and blasted off. I skipped to each song to see how it sounded and stopped here and was blown away by both Tyler and Perry. They are at their best on this song and this is easily, in my opinion, the best song on “Honkin’.” This funky rock blues fusion is too much for me to take-you have to own this song!!!

9.     No More No More – Remember last Rocktober when I did the “juke-box” special for the entire month giving you some “lesser known” songs from great American bands- I gave you this song so you have had almost a year to listen and own this classic. How tight are these four musicians? Listen to this song and tell me they aren’t one of the most talented musicians? They blend together in perfect harmony and can jam with the best of them. When Perry has the long solo to close out the song, the band is so perfect that I always hit the rewind button to hear this masterpiece again. Very addicting chorus-“No more, no more…”- “You gotta love this!!!”

8.     Back in the Saddle Again– Love the opening with the clacking of the horse shoes and the horse sounds. Does this song rock or what? This is off “Rocks” which many consider to be their best work ever (even Mr. Perry has been quoted more than a few times that this is their best work). I can remember as 16 year old working with my uncle John in a butcher shop in Fort Greene Brooklyn and one of the worker’s there was a huge fan of Aerosmith and wanted to know if I knew this song. At the time I was not familiar with the track and he kept imploring me to give it a listen-I did-and it has become one of my all time favorites. I love the driving drums of Mr. Joey Kramer (I met him in NYC a few years ago, remember?)-he keeps the motor running as well as Mr. Tom Hamilton and Mr. Brad Whitford. (The rhythm section). And what else can be said about Mr. Tyler on vocals, could be the best American front man ever-love his screams and squeals.

7.     Living on the Edge-I friggin’ love this song and remember being awestruck from the first time I ever heard this song. The arrangement of this song ranks up there as one of the best ever in the history of music (yes I stick by this statement-now don’t go comparing it to Mozart or Beethevon). “There’s something wrong with the world today…I don’t know what it is…something’s wrong with our eyes…” Again love the way Steven accentuates the part –“Living on the edge.” (Can’t get enough of that part). How about the “bridge” where it breaks into the part where Steven sings-“Tell me what you think about the situation?”- and the pace picks up? Can it get any better? I can listen to this song all day long, this is a timeless classic.

6.     Don’t Get Mad, Get Even – I think this is one of the coolest songs that Aerosmith has ever recorded. Love that feeling in the beginning of the song where you feel like you are near a swamp on a humid summer night and waiting for a mosquito to be electrified by the trick light to zap them. (sorry Monica). Steven Tyler is at the top of his game (when is he not?) on this track as you can feel every part of this song as he implores you to not get mad but get even. It is a bluesy type of song (could have appeared on “Honkin’”) that makes you slowly bang your head up and down. “Rollin’ dice get lucky…cause they roll you all the time…you’ve got nothing left to lose…if you only lose your mind…”- lyrics that make you think, right? I love the chorus and the groove that rolls along with it. Again Mr. Kramer’s drums sound larger than life. Awesome track.

5.     Toys in the Attic – How great is this song? Man does this song move or what? This definitely has to be on your set list for your next workout. This is perfect for a boot camp class or a Spin class. This is hard rockin’ head banging at its best (not metal but hard rock). This was made during their first heyday and many consider their first go around the best-I wouldn’t argue that but I also love the later stuff. This song rocks and it deserves your attention.

4.     Monkey on My Back – The beginning of this song is their best ever, I’m sorry. It starts off pretty slow and you’re thinking another slow one? Well folks hold on to your seat because Kramer’s drums are there to take you on a rocking journey supplemented by his buddies, Tom, Joe and Brad roaring rhythm section. I can’t get enough of this track- I listen to it over and over. I dance all around the room (with a waffle ball bat with a handkerchief tied to it as a make believe microphone) and wait to lip sync Tyler’s words-“The fortune teller looked into my EYEballs…the wrinkles on her face ABOUT to crack…”- freaking phenomenal. Of course this is a song for all the members and their struggle with their addictions and there would be no way to move forward unless they all got the monkey off of their back. Thank goodness they did and made a song like this. This song totally rocks. \m/ \m/

3.     I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing – Ok I know the Aerosmith purist just threw their computer on the floor (or blackberry or wherever you read this page from) and walked away in disgust. How the heck could I put this as their third best song ever? It is pure pop in the vein of Z100 (radio station in NY). Yes it may be but there is a reason why this was their one and only song to ever go to number 1 on the charts. This is a masterpiece, it is majestic, it is mesmerizing, it is jaw dropping-so if you want to call it bubble gum pop, so be it-I will continue to listen this with open ears and open heart. Speaking of the heart, I will forever remember this song as the wedding song of my cousin Devin. Last summer in Miami, the lights went out and these colorful strobe lights circled the dance floor and when Tyler’s voice breaks in, the spotlight centered on him and his lovely bride and it was a breathtaking, beautiful moment that I will never forget. What a perfect song for a wedding’s first dance. Could be the best pop song ever recorded.

2.     Dream On – This has to rank up there in the top ten songs of the 1970’s decade, no? I don’t care how many times you have heard it since the 1970’s, it is still a song that freezes you in your steps. This is an epic and strangest thing is that it wasn’t even recognized when they first released it. The song became a “hit” once they released it for a second time. I often wonder how it feels to write a song that nearly everyone in the world knows. That must be a great feeling, something to be proud of. What else can I say about this song? It is timeless, it will last forever and yes I know many of you are saying that this is their best song so how can I have it at number two? Well again, I am weird and like what I like. And it made the list, right?

1.     Critical Mass – Ok now I know you are really scratching your head on this pick, right? As I stated there are probably nine people or so who may know the album-“Draw the Line”-and this is one of the hidden gems on this “un-popular” album. But as you know, that never matters to me; I love the obscure stuff, right? Supposedly they were on some mysterious stuff while they recorded this album and this song is very different from anything they have ever done, so it may have been the trick-hey we all know the Beatles wrote some of their best songs…well let’s leave it at that. Anyway back to the song- this is hard rock at its best and right about the 2:00 minute mark-Kramer blasts away with the drums and leads into a nice piano solo which totally rocks. Steven plays the harmonica with such passion and the background vocals are stellar. The song sort of has the Beatles “Helter Skelter” feel to it as it slowly fades out…you think it’s over…and then you slowly hear it come back but without the dramatic-“I’ve got blisters…”- moment, it ends with Steven sort of hiccupping. I don’t understand all the negativity towards this album as there are some kick ass tunes on this underappreciated piece of work. “Critical Mass” is an awesome tune, check it out for yourself. “Celebrate, celebrate, celebreak it? We are critical mass…”

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     The late Dan Hartman (“Instant Replay”)

2.     Mickey Thomas- “Fooled Around and Fell in Love.”

3.     Stevie Ray Vaughn

4.     Sting, Dire Straits (“Money for Nothing”)

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     We are a band out of Boston and made are mark during the late 1970’s and most of the 1980’s. Unfortunately there can not be an “original lineup” reunion as one of the lead singers’ passed away and the other refuses to budge on getting back with the other original members. What is the name of this band?

2.     Our first three albums consisted of three Americans and three guys from England. And then on our fourth album, we became a four member group. During our career we had some real juke box hits. Who are we?

3.     I am in the “Bronx Hall of Fame”-that’s right, the “Bronx Hall of Fame” and played with one of the biggest bands in the world. Some people might think I’m out of this world as this was part of my identity for this band. Who am I?

4.     I am a rapper who says what I like to say and do what I like to do and if people don’t like it, so be it. I was recently out of action to take care of myself but am now back with a new album. Who am I?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     Wedding Bell Blues – The 5th Dimension

2.     Rockin’ into the Night-.38 Special

3.     Tush- ZZ Top

4.     Time of the Season– The Zombies

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

1.     “…when times go bad…when times go rough…won’t you lay me down in tall grass…and let me do my stuff…”

2.     “…I’m in the mood…the rhythm is right…move to the music…we can roll all night…”

3.     “…there’s nothing to it…just say you want do it…open up your heart and let the loving start…”

4.     “…don’t you know…oh don’t you know…that its wrong…to take what is given you…so far gone…”

Back on this Day

Back on this day in 1966, Jimmy Hendrix arrived in London from a flight from New York and his manager changed the spelling of his name to Jimi.

Back on this day in 1971, the Jackson 5 appeared on the cover of Life magazine.

Back on this day in 1988, James Brown was arrested and sentenced to six years in jail after a high speed car chase resulted in his capture and he had firearms and drugs.

Back on this day in 1991, the world forever changed in the world of music as “Nevermind” was released by Nirvana– some believe this should be a national holiday (I just made that up but I bet there are folks out there who believe this).

Back on this day in 1993, Steven Adler was awarded $2.5 million as a result of a lawsuit against his bandmates in Guns & Roses-who kicked Adler out of the band for his continued drug use. Adler claims that the band members told him to start using heroine. It’s a shame you wonder where that settlement money went to?

Back on this day in 2003, Gordon Lightfoot was inducted into the Canadian song writers hall of fame.

If it is your birthday today you share the same birth date with the late Linda McCartney and Gerry Marsden (Gerry & The Pacemakers).

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