Errols Weekly Music Update.

April 16, 2010

Weekly Update – 04/16/2010

Filed under: CD Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , — ea0217 @ 5:30 am

Hot 97 Summer Jam at New Meadowlands Stadium on Sun. June 6. The is an “internet” pre-sale until midnight tonight. General public tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $40, $65, $99.50, $125 and $250. This year’s full lineup will be announced on Hot 97 on the Angie Martinez show at 4:00 p.m. on Monday May 3.

Crosby, Stills & Nash at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel NY on Tues. Aug. 31. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $40.50 – $81.45.

Phil Collins at the Roseland Ballroom on Tues. June 22 and Fri. June 25. Pre-sale tickets for Citi card holders go on sale this Mon. Apr. 19 at 10:00 a.m. General public tickets on sale next Sat. Apr. 24 at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event but further ticket info to follow).

The Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem featuring Korn, Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch and others at the PNC Bank Arts Center on Wed. July 28. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $20, $39.50 and $49.50.

The Lilith Fair Tour returns this summer and will stop at the PNC Bank Arts Center in NJ on Saturday July 31 and the Comcast Theater in CT on Sun. Aug. 1. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event). Each tour date will feature 11 artists and the only mainstay at each show will be Sarah McLachlan (co-founder). Other artists include Mary J. Blige, Heart, Erykah Badu, Ingrid Michaelson, Loretta Lynn, Colbie Caillat and many others.

Sting with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at The Metroplitan Opera on Tues. July 13. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $20 – $350.

John Mayer at Jones Beach on Wed. July 21 and at PNC Bank Arts Center on Tues. Aug. 3. Pre-sale tickets for Citi card holders on until 10:00 p.m. tonight. General public on sale tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m. Jones: $49.50 and $79.50; PNC: $36 and $79.50.

Rush at Jones Beach on Sat. July 24 and at PNC Bank Arts Center on Fri. Sept. 3. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. Jones: $36.50, $61.50, $91.50 and $151.50; PNC: $35.75, $56.25, $96.25 and $156.25.

Pat Benatar at the Nokia Theater on Wed. Aug. 25. Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders on until 10:00 a.m. this morning. General public tickets on sale today at noon. $45.

Cheap Trick and Squeeze at Radio City Music Hall on Tues. July 13. Further ticket information to follow.

Kings of Leon at the Borgota Event Center in Atlantic City, NJ on Sat. June 5. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event)

Modest Mouse at Brooklyn Waterfront in Willaimsburg on Fri. July 23. Tickets on sale today at noon. $37. Also appearing at the Wellmont Theater on Thurs. July 22. Tickets on sale today at noon. $37

Lyle Lovett at the Wellmont Theater on Sun. Aug. 15. Tickets on sale today at noon. $40, $60 and $75.

Toby Keith with Trace Adkins and James Otto at the PNC Bank Arts Center on Sat. June 19. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $39 and $74.

Lady Antebellum at Nokia Theater on Mon. May 10. Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders on until 10:00 a.m. this morning. General public tickets on sale today at noon. $44.50.

The Black Crowes at the Theater in Westbury NY on Wed. June 2. Tickets on sale tomorrow afternoon at noon. $49.50

Billy Idol at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Wed. Sept. 15. Pre-sale tickets for Citi card holders on until 10:00 p.m. tonight. General public tickets on sale tomorrow at noon. $45 and $65.

The Michael Schenker Group at The Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza on Sat, July 31. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $29.50

Dave Mason at BB Kings on Thurs. Sept. 30. Tickets on sale next Fri. Apr. 23 at 10:00 a.m. $33.50 ($36 day of show).

Cyndi Lauper at the Ridgefield Playhouse on Wed. July 28. Tickets on sale now. $85 and $95.

Other items:

Thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Peter Steele (front man for Type O Negative) who passed away on Wednesday at the young age of 48 and apparently it was from heart failure. This is a total shock and numbing, rest in peace Peter.   \m/ \m/     He was born in Brooklyn NY.

Bret Michaels had emergency appendectomy surgery this past week and is apparently doing fine now recovering in a hospital. He had severe abdominal pain and was rushed to a hospital in San Antonio TX and some of his shows for April have been rescheduled. Take it slow Bret and we’ll see you this summer.

Ok I have listened and digested Mary J. Blige’s version of the Mighty Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and “Whole Lotta Love.” I’ll start with “Stairway”- now I have read the many negative comments and some people have reacted with a feeling that it is “sac-religious” to even touch a Zep song. Now you all know that I have put down my feelings on some songs that should never be re-worked (“American Pie” by Mr. McLean quickly comes to mind) and of course you all know how I feel about the Mighty Led Zeppelin. My oldest son is all over me for actually being OK with someone covering the “Mighty Led Zeppelin” (as I put it) and he doesn’t understand why I have accepted it and said the only reason I’m OK with it because it is Mary J. Blige- he says if it were any one else, I wouldn’t even acknowledge it. He may be right but you all know I have a soft spot for Mary. But I have to tell you, Mary treats this song with the respect that it deserves and it is very close to the original rendition, so she didn’t try to change the meaning and the tradition of this landmark song. To me that is always the first rule when trying to cover an epic tune, Ok the second rule-my first rule is that it should never be re-recorded-so yes I can understand those people who feel that the remaining members of the Mighty Led Zeppelin should have never given Mary permission to record her spin on the song. Now is it as good as the original? No, but no one could ever do it like Plant, Page, Bonham or Jones. The ending of her song is a bit theatrical but overall I would say she does a very good interpretation. By the way, the Steve Vai guitar solo in the middle of the song is “off the hook” and electrifying.

Now with “Whole Lotta Love”-I would say for all of you “rockers” out there-don’t even attempt to listen to this-you might become very angry. Now for all of you out there who do not know this song (can’t imagine who but I have to assume there are) you may like her take on it as she definitely changes the entire mood of the song and brings you to a club with dancing beats. So what is my take you ask? Well admittedly the first go around I was making squinting faces like I just swallowed some rotten milk but after a few more turns, it not as bad as I thought. Love the way she does the “Way down inside.. you need it….Loooovvveee” Again if you love the original don’t even go near this but if you can keep an open mind, it’s not so bad.

If you are a fan of Soulja Boy, you can ask him questions either now or live today at 2:00 p.m. through Twitter by tweeting to @billboarddotcom using the hashtag #bblivechat. He is a fixture on Twitter as he has over 2 million followers as well as at @souljaboytellem. So start tweeting away your questions now or at 2:00 p.m. today.

No offense to Andrew Garcia but finally… whew if he wasn’t gone after Wednesday I probably would have stopped watching American Idol… I’m completely baffled on why Katie Stevens was voted off (and even more confused on why Michael Lynche was standing next to her in the bottom three) because out of the remaining women, Siobhan Magnus deserved to be booted after her lackluster performance on Tuesday. My prediction now is that Crystal Bowersox will be the winner in 2010. I know this years’ competition has fallen short when compared to prior years but I have to say that now that we are in the final few, the performances have really been better and for all of you out there who haven’t been following-now’s the time to turn it on as we head for a winner in a month or so. Most everyone’s performance on Tuesday night was really good, except for Andrew and Siobhan (in my opinion)-although Casey James has to take it up a notch again, he can’t rest on the solid performance of “Jealous Guy” from last week.

My favorite “80’s song” of the week belongs to Men at Work with one of their most popular songs-“Who Can it Be Now?” When is the last time you have heard this tune? Boy it has been a while for me and I forgot how catchy this song is and I love the saxophone solo. (That should have been me, oh well) Great tune check it out!!!

Sheryl Crow’s new album-“100 Miles from Memphis”-is due out on July 20 and it is “a bit of an experiment” as it is filled with R&B influences. She says she grew up with heavy influence of Carla Thomas and Curtis Mayfield so she decided to pay homage to these vintages artists with her take on R&B. I am very intrigued and can’t wait to hear it.

Ozzy will release his 10th studio solo album-“Scream”- on June 15th and if you are a fan of CSI you may have heard his new single-“Let Me Hear You Scream”-which debuted this past Wednesday night on CBS. You can listen to the entire version of the song right here: is blistering and loud. Metal fans rejoice-Ozzy still has it. A tour will follow, I’ll keep you posted on Ozzfest.

My other favorite “80’s song” of the week is “One Thing Leads to Another” by The Fixx. Remember that song? Man this was the “bomb” back in 1983 and was part of that “new wave” revolution that made their stamp on the music world. The early ‘80’s music was special in my opinion because it was a period of time where an individual or a band could have really made a splash as it was a time where the road was wide open as genres like disco was being left behind (still not in Brooklyn though), classic rock was there but nothing new, so bands like The Fixx (B-52’s etc.) had a chance to make some cool songs and this is definitely one of them.

Have I mentioned how great the solo Slash album is? I can’t stop listening to this phenomenal album and now am obsessed with “Back to Cali” with Myles Kennedy. What’s up with Blabbermouth? They can’t review this phenomenal album? Check out this performance on the George Lopez “Tonight” show:

By the way, just a second on the song with Iggy Pop-“We’re all Gonna Die” (from the same album) and please take what I’m about to say as not a knock on Iggy, just want to make a point on something. We all know Iggy has made his impact on Punk rock and the world of rock with his time with The Stooges but definitely is an acquired taste and probably is not something you’ll have at your next tea party (no not the maniac Republican “get-togthers”), I’m talking regular tea that you drink. I just have to point out that one of my favorite bands-Kiss- has been ridiculed for their last album-Sonic Boom- as far as the juvenile lyrics and how can it be that Simmons & Stanley at their age write about such things. OK let’s compare- here are some lyrics to “Yes I Know (Nobody’s Perfect):” “…flip a coin.. is it heads or tails tonight.. you can’t bring this boy to his knees..” –admittedly kind of “teenage-like” lyrics. Now let’s take a look at “Gonna Die:””…I’m in the mood…so let’s intrude…pee on the ground.. and jump around..” Ok did you see those last two lines-pee on the ground and jump around- do I need say any more? I believe Iggy and Gene are about the same age, why is it OK for Iggy but not Gene?

My favorite “new song” of the week (thanks to my youngest son as he is now “schooling” me on all the latest “pop/rap” stuff out there-he’s 12, so who better, right?) is “Nothing On You” by B.o.B. I had not heard this song until yesterday and I have to say that it is very impressive. “Nice beat, nice vocals… Mr. Clark I would give that a 9 as my score.”

Fred Durst (Limp Bizkit) has released a two minute version of one of his new songs-“Shark Attack”- through his twitter account and of course it is laced with all the nice words that you’d expect from him. I don’t know but this sounds awfully similar to what he released back in 1999 on his most popular album-“Significant Other”- so if you like that sound it is right up your alley. Sounds a little stale to me

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

Side One of “Tapestry” by Carole King


Ok I know what you are thinking- how can I ignore side two of this landmark album? I’m not, I will state that every song on this album could be considered as “perfect.” But for my taste, there are some songs on side two that are good but just not perfect which I will not disclose due to fear of retribution out there on the part of some of you. Please do not be upset with me, catch your breath and just know that I acknowledge the entire album as an American classic. I especially love “Smackwater Jack” from side two and that is probably my favorite song on the disc. I acknowledge that this album is akin to a “greatest hits” collection even though it is an actual studio album. Carole put her signature on the world of music with this album and it deserves to be in everyone’s music library, if you don’t have it… well.. you still have time. This album is like water- you need it to survive.

Anyway about side one… it starts off with the electrifying “I Feel the Earth Move” and this has to rank way up there as one of the greatest songs ever recorded in the 20th Century and any other Century you’d like to throw in there. The opening piano notes are legendary and you immediately recognize it. Now this was recorded in 1971 but to hear today it still sounds as fresh as it was back then. This brings me back to my early days when I was growing up on 46th street in the Sunset Park area of Brooklyn, this song was everywhere during my childhood and for some reason I immediately picture me standing in front of the apartment building that we lived in with my mother, with her “beehive” hairdo on a nice spring day taking a walk down to 5th avenue to shop because that’s what my mother loved to do. I love the way the song ends with “tum bum bling down…” Track # 2-“So Far Away” could possibly be another “greatest song ever written” in the history of music. This song brings me to a standstill and I can’t even move when I hear it, it gives me chills down the back of my neck. Think about how many people know this song? Think about how it has affected the lives of millions? Can you imagine if you wrote this? I can’t even envision what it is like to be Carole King after writing this song, I wonder if she knew what kind of world renowned acceptance she would receive from people from every corner of the globe. There’s no way that anyone can not like this song, I have declared it-“unallowed.” Now talk about a “1-2-3” lineup- the third song is “It’s Too Late.” What makes her songs so great is the easiness to start singing along to the lyrics, there is a certain comfortable “homey” feeling to it-the same feeling you get around the holidays-do you know what I’m saying? The arrangement of this song is so spectacular it just has the coolest grooves ever created. “…And it’s too late baby.. though we really tried to make it..” If you get a chance-buy tickets to her tour with James Taylor just to hear this song. Incredible.

Track # 4-“Home Again” could be used as a tranquilizer because it has this immediate effect of soothing one’s entire body-think of it as a full body massage. This is an absolute stunner and you have to search long and hard to find someone who sings with the passion as Ms. King. If this doesn’t move you, you may be from another planet. “Beautiful” is all about inspiration. It says that you need to love yourself and “show the world” how beautiful you really are. These are powerful words and have such a special meaning-“maybe love can end the madness”-that I wish the entire world would adhere to these words so that we could all live in harmony. This songjust brings a smile to my face and I wish I could have been in the studio when she recorded it, I’m assuming everyone had “goosebumps.” Another absolute stunner. The last song on side one is “Way Over Yonder” is a blues laden track filled with one of the best vocals performances you will ever find. For me this conjures up images of Aretha because I could picture her taking on this track and when the saxophone solo comes into play well I’m floating off into “La La” land and don’t want to come down. This brings tears to my eyes; that’s how good it is. Well folks just like that there you have it, side one is done and again side two is also fantastic but for me side one is perfect.

Carole King’s “Tapestry” remains one of the most important albums of all time and represents the longest charting album by a solo female in the history of music. (Think “Dark Side of the Moon” on the men’s side). It has sold over 25 million copies worldwide with over 10 million sold alone in the U.S. and was ranked the 36th greatest album of all time by Rolling Stone magazine in 2003 when they named their top 500 ever. I have the vinyl and I love listening to this gem with all the “scratchiness”, timeless classic.


Image of Shinedown

This week’s I-Pod shuffle landed on “Burning Bright” by Shinedown from their debut album-“Leave a Whisper” and it had me thinking that I needed to put down their top ten songs. Now I know I wrote so much about them last year that many of you were probably thinking this was the “Shinedown Weekly” instead of “Errols Weekly.” But more recently I have not “sung their praises” (I know I did a review of their sophomore effort-“Us and Them” a few months back but that was “months”) so I figured it was time to try and get more of you on their bandwagon. This band was formed in 2001 in Jacksonville FL with four guys who had dreams of grandeur as rock stars and more recently they have reached that upper echelon of stardom as more and more of their songs are reaching the masses with some pretty good success. “Second Chance” went on to be a powerful hit and now that I am older I love the fact that it reached the “general” audience. Why? Because it will draw more fans in to what the die-hard Shinedown loyal already knows-this band has some serious talent. Now I was drawn into this band back in 2004 while vacationing down in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee and back then their cover of the Skynyrd classic-“Simple Man”- was all over the air waves. I tried to get my brother-in-law to go see them at a local club in Tennessee but he had never heard of them and wasn’t as intrigued as I was, so I did not end up going because I did not know my way around the area. Then in 2005, when they released “Us and Them” it was almost like a potion as I became engulfed with that entire album and I “got” what the original fan was talking about. When that little girl starts off by reciting “Whisper in the yard, turn the trees all into toys, lay there on the ground and turn the dirt into your joy…” I know I will be off into a dream state for at least an hour while taking a fantastic musical journey as their music is pumped into my bloodstream and I know this is good for my heart because it makes me feel great. There is something different about the passion that resides within Brent Smith (and the rest of the band but its Brent I hear singing) that gets me going like no other band out there.

After “Us and Them” they started their work on “The Sound of Madness” and somewhere along the line, the original foursome had something go wrong and sadly the original guitarist (Jasin Todd) and bassist (Brad Stewart) left the group. To this day I still don’t know what really happened as all parties have taken a page out of the Bill Belichick playbook by not saying a word about it. The band Shinedown still shines on and again they appear to be primed for bigger things in the years to come. I am here to convince you to listen to their music as last year they released “deluxe” versions of both “Leave a Whisper” and “Us and Them” which include more unreleased material plus a cover of the infamous U2 song-“One.” I absolutely love their version and I won’t say it is better than U2’s version because my oldest son has threatened to never read my blog again if I state that on this page and I wouldn’t want to lose him as a reader (or disappoint him). So here it is, I am on an island and have been told that I can only have 10 songs-“These are Them:” (Of course if I was able to take eleven that would be “Some Day”or “Yer Majesty”)

10.     Fly From the Inside– What a way to start off their career with this powerful knockout that begins their very impressive debut-“Leave a Whisper”-(2003) “It’s the weight of the world on my shoulders…on my shoulders..” wails Brent as you can immediately feel a twitch in your own shoulders as his voice surrounds you just like when you sit in front of a fan that blows your face and hair. You can hear the heavy influence of Soundgarden in this song-think the “Badmotorfinger” Soundgarden. Yes this is the “post grunge” sound with a twinge of “heavy metal rap” (think Linkin’ Park-a little bit). There is a heavy guitar riff that dominates the song but they take it down at points with some acoustic vibes that gives it that extra kick when they storm back up. “I don’t wear a mask and I have no regrets!!!” and as Kara (American Idol judge) would say-“Brent makes you believe that this song is “relate-able” to the experiences in his life.” Shinedown is “real.”

9.     Devour– They had me on the opening “high school marching band drums” sound that slowly gets louder as the slick guitar work creeps in and all along the piano is working its way in there as you prepare for a tornado as the pace intensifies with crashing of the pounding drums and before you know it you are in a mash pit with yourself spinning in circles looking for something to crash into. Talk about intensity? I’m assuming this song has to be on many a football player’s I-pod playlist before the big game to get them totally psyched. Every time I hear this song I am immediately taken back to the High Line Ballroom where I saw them perform this song in the summer of 2008 and I can just picture Brent’s face highlighted by a light while the rest of him remained in a shadow as I was blown away by his intensity, it’s a moment I will never forget. This pumps me up like no other song and after the week I have had, this works perfectly, as it was my “release.”

8.     Burning Bright– Whew…I coming down from the ride of “Devour” to the calming influence of this great tune from their debut album. Folks listen to this song and tell me you don’t feel the passion in Brent’s vocals??!! Especially the “bridge” part where he exudes the furor of “There’s nothing ever wrong but nothing’s ever right.. such a cruel contradiction..” How anyone can not like this song is beyond me. This is always a fan favorite at their live shows, some quality stuff right here.

7.     Atmosphere– The guitar melody is outstanding and how much more can I praise the massive skills as Brent Smith as a singer? He is freaking phenomenal. I wish I could get up on stage when they come back to NY again and sing this song with him (there is no way I could match his zeal) because he is the only singer out there today with the “younger” bands that has moved me (keep in mind I’m 45) and I would just once want to experience what he does up there on stage in front of the faithful followers, it has to be magical. It’s hard to put into words what this song does to me, it’s like I’m possessed-this is some powerful stuff folks-please join in on the fun.

6.     Stranger Inside– You know how when you hear the opening notes of a song that you really love and you get that incredible urge to turn the sound up as loud as you can and just savor the moment? I can just picture myself in an abandoned parking lot surrounded by a chain link fence about 10 feet high in the night time with a street light shining a circle on the ground while the rain is pouring and I have a microphone trying to emulate the dedication that Brent applies to each and everyone of his songs. Love the beginning of the song where he accentuates the word “breath” as he says “I just won’t relax I can’t catch my bray-eee-ethhh” His intensity is unmatched and the heavy riffs from the guitar is too much for me to take, this is too good to be true. This is some of the best stuff that was released in the decade of 2000, hands down-so don’t even try to argue the point.

5.     Breaking Inside– If this song doesn’t hook you into this band then nothing will. This song has it all-softness, heaviness, inspiration and a passionate display to make one self better. Don’t say nothing about that it is a pop ballad or any other nonsense like that because this is straight from the heart and anything from the heart which displays the devotion as this song does-then you need to pay attention. I want to say that this is Brent’s best ever vocal effort but I’d be lying because he gives the same effort on each song he sings, some may mean more to him but the effort is always there. Folks, he is the best singer/front man out there today, I’m sorry you can’t make songs like these and not be considered one of the best in the business. Beautiful song.

4.     Fake– Oh my Lord when I hear the beginning of this song I just lose it. Please I beg of you- next time you are in one of those music stores (FYE or whatever-we went through this already) go to the Shinedown section (pray that they have “Us and Them”) and go to track # 12 press play and squeeze those headphones (Ok you should bring one of those Lysol swipes to clean the headphones, I understand) as tight against your ears and slowly bring up the volume and I don’t care what 30 second section of the song it will play because you will be blown away. Then you can put down the headphones, buy the disc from the teenager behind the counter who looks confused, then run to your car, try to rip open the package (use your car keys that usually works for me) slip it into your CD player and quickly fast forward to track #12 and listen to this masterpiece in its entirety. “Because I’m bleeding and my hands are bruised… from the grip that I once had on you…And I’m open for a new way because there’s not much more I can fake…” This is so good, it brings tears to my eyes. Music is supposed to move you, this moves me.

3.     If You Only Knew– For those who have been following me for the last few years you know when I did a review for “The Sound of Madness” I told you that this was going to be the biggest song on the album (OK it didn’t go as far as “Second Chance” but there is still time) and I told the casual fan that if you didn’t like the heaviness of the other songs you’d have to love this track. This song evokes so many memories-the first being at their live show at The Highline in 2008 when Brent introduced the song as one of his favorites because he wrote it for his wife- the second being I hooked my cousin Michele (and Jenny too) into Shinedown and last year she sent me a birthday card and at the bottom of the card she wrote “.. it’s 4:03 and I can’t sleep without you next to me I toss and turn like the sea..” The smile that came across my face when I read the words to the song was from ear to ear. So this past Wednesday I woke up and didn’t have a job to go to again, so I couldn’t stay in the house so I went to the mall and was just walking around aimlessly and guess what song was playing over the speakers around the entire mall- yes- you have it-“If You Only Knew”- I said this has to be a sign of some sort-their music will help me get through this bump in the road. Thank you boys!!!

2.     Save Me– Wow this is colossal… majestic…grandiose…folks these have to be some of the best songs written during the 21st Century… if you don’t feel the passion in this song then I just don’t know what to say… this song is a “Cry for Help” (which is on my youngest son’s top ten list) for the many who struggle with their demons. “.. my hardest question to answer is WHY…WHY!!!!” I can’t decide which version of this song I like better- the original or the acoustic- they both are so incredibly stupendous. Tears are rolling down my face as I listen to this song and think of my mother’s brother who struggled so long to get off those demons but couldn’t, you always ask “what might have been?” I think to Layne Staley the lead singer of Alice In Chains and of his mother speaking to those living addicts on the “Celebrity Rehab” show. “What could have been?” Man the passion rips your heart right out of your chest-how many singers can do this like Brent? “How did I get here and what went wrong?”

1.     I Dare You– After “Save Me” comes “I Dare You” and I swear I feel like I could fly. I want to run right outside my house now and run and dive into the air with the feeling that I can fly high above the trees. I really feel that I could “walk through fire” when I hear this song. I feel like I can do anything when I hear this song. Folks this is some kind of special and if you don’t know these songs you are truly missing out. Again both versions-original and acoustic- are out of this world. If you remember (I do) Daughtry covered this song on his run with American Idol a few years back and did an admiral job but this song should never be officially “covered” by anyone-no one will ever do it justice the way Brent Smith does. This is absolutely stunning.

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Elton John

2.     David Bowie

3.     Waylon Jennings gave his seat up to the Big Bopper

4.     “Ain’t Wasting Time No More”

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     Who wrote the Manfred Mann popular song-“Blinded by the Light?”

2.     Who sings backup on Carly Simon’s single-“You’re So Vain?”

3.     What is Fleetwood Mac’s only number one single in the U.S.?

4.     Who is the only female credited with backing vocals on Pink Floyd’s “The Wall?” (Hint: she played along side a piano player-no not Richard Carpenter)

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     “Fly Like An Eagle”- Steve Miller Band

2.     “Fly Me to the Moon”- Frank Sinatra

3.     “Gonna Fly Now”-Bill Conti (theme from “Rocky”)

4.     “Fly By Night” –Rush

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

1.     “…So many times, it happens so fast…you change your passion for glory…don’t lose your grip on the dreams of the past…you must fight just to keep them alive…”

2.     “…Now every morning just before breakfast…I don’t want no coffee or tea…Just me and my good buddy Weiser…That’s all I’ll ever need…”

3.     “…when I hold you in my arms… I know that I can’t do no wrong…and when I hold you in my arms…my love won’t do you no harm…”

4.     “…I got flowers in the spring…I got you to wear my ring…And when I’m sad… you’re a clown…and if I get scared you’re always around…”

Back on this Day

Back on this day in 1965, The Hollies had their first concert in the U.S. at the New York Paramount.

Back on this day in 1969, Elektra Records dropped MC5 from their label after MC5 took out an ad in a local Detroit paper blasting a record store that did not carry their album.

Back on this day in 1972, the Electric Light Orchestra made their live debut at the Fox and Greyhound Pub in Croydon U.K.

Back on this day in 1974, Queen made their first live appearance in the U.S. when they opened for Mott the Hoople in Denver CO. (What a cool show that must have been).

Back on this day in 1993, David Lee Roth was arrested at Washington Square Park in NYC for buying a $10 bag of marijuana from an undercover police officer.

Back on this day in 1996, Kiss made an announcement from the Intrepid that they were getting back together for a reunion tour with Peter Criss and Ace Frehley, leaving Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer in the cold. (Singer is now the drummer for Kiss). That tour went on to make $144 million.Can you imagine how much Gene and Paul are worth if that one tour made $144 million?

If it is your birthday today you share the same birth date with the late great Dusty Springfield, Bobby Vinton, Gerry Rafferty and John Bentley (Squeeze)


October 2, 2008

Weekly Update – Rocktober 3, 2008

Oasis at Madison Square Garden on Wed. Dec. 17. Guests include Ryan Adams and The Cardinals. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m.   $39.50 – $79.50.

Neil Diamond at The Mohegan Sun on Fri. Nov. 28. Tickets on sale Mon. Rocktober 6 at 10:00 a.m.

Govt. Mule at The Hammerstein Ballroom on Tues. & Wed. Dec. 30-31. Tickets on sale next Fri. Rocktober 10 at 10:00 a.m.   $40 – $79.50.

Tom Morello at New York Fillmore at Irving Plaza on Fri. Nov. 21. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m.  $25.

Yo Majestry at The Blender Theater on Sat. Rocktober 25. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m.  $19.

The Saw Doctors at Nokia Theater on Fri. Mar. 13, 2009. Tickets on sale tomorrow at noon.  $31.

The Outlaws at BB Kings on Fri. Jan. 16, 2009. Tickets on sale today at 10:00 a.m.$35 ($40 day of show).

Nas at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Fri. Dec. 26. Tickets on sale today at noon.   $52

Other items:

In what is being billed as their first ever joint concert, Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen will team up for a benefit for Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama. Reports say the show will take place at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Thurs. Rocktober 16. Ticket prices will not be cheap, the starting price will be $500 and work its way up to $10,000. In other Springsteen news, he will be performing at halftime for the 2009 Super Bowl.

Its official: Best Buy has won the rights to distribute “Chinese Democracy” by GNR (or should I say Axl Rose as he is using the name GNR). However there is no word when it will be released. Ha! Stay tuned. It will be interesting to see if Dr. Pepper stands by their word and distributes a free can of soda to everyone if it’s released before Dec. 31.

Also official: Phish will reunite for shows in 2009. Check their website for further information.

And finally another official note (a sad one at that): There will be no Led Zeppelin reunion concert. Robert Plant has confirmed this on his website and has wished the other members “nothing but success with any future projects.” Thanks for killing the dream, Robert.

Lars has responded to the recent criticism (oh surprise, Metallica is being slammed again) that the new CD “Death Magnetic” is too loud. He said the same thing I’ve been telling you- somebody always has something to say when it deals with the boys from Metallica. He said he listened to it in his car and it rocked. The Wall Street Journal jumped into the fray last week as well citing Metallica’s sound quality and in addition they quoted one of the producers saying that he was embarrassed to be associated with the release. Now there is a petition of 12,000 people who are demanding that the album be remixed and re-released. Somehow I get the feeling if it is remixed its still going to be loud… because it’s METAL people!

Paul McCartney is teaming up with producer, Youth, and will release an album on Nov. 17 called “Electric Arguments” under the band name “The Fireman.”

T.I. had his new album – Paper Trail- out this past Tuesday and I have to say some of the songs sound pretty good. Average review from fans on I-Tunes is 4.5 stars. The songs that I like from the 30 second sample are “I’m Illy”“Ready for Whatever” “Live your Life” (with Rihanna) “Swing Ya Rag” and “Slide Show” (with John Legend).

Speaking of John Legend, this man is incredible- have you caught on yet? Another single was released from his upcoming album and it features Estelle and the song is “No Other Love.” I’m telling you folks, he may be the best artist out there today. He has some many great songs already.

New single by American Idol winner- David Cook– “Light On” was released this past Tuesday and I have to say my initial reaction is I like it. The song sounds like something that the band Hinder would do.

Keeping with the American Idol theme- Jennifer Hudson– released her self titled debut album and almost every track sounds phenomenal. “Giving myself” will be performed by American Idol contestants next year without a doubt. “Pocketbook” with Ludacris sounds great. Check out the gospel like “Jesus Promised Me a Home Over There”- you will get chills- freaking phenomenal. Total thumbs up on this debut!!!

HBO will run a documentary that will air next Friday Rocktober 10 at 7:15 (and will be played on HBO Family throughout the month) and it’s called “Blindsided.” The show is about a teenager, Jared Hara, who discovered at the age of 11 that he was going blind due to a hereditary disorder passed on to him genetically by his mother. The film explores his journey as he began to give up things he loved, such as hockey. But he took up guitar and Shinedown became his favorite band. When Shinedown came to his town, Jared’s dad arranged for him to meet with the members of Shinedown. He was able to jam with the lead guitarist on their tour bus and then was called up on stage to perform with the boys in front of thousands of people, which included his family. Nice!!

Megadeth has released their Anthology- Set the World Afire- if you are a fan you probably have most of the tunes. This album has 35 top notch songs for $17, not bad. Mustaine rocks!! \m/ \m/

Nickelback has released a new single “Gotta Be Somebody” and at first I wasn’t so crazy about it but it’s growing on me. Check it out.

The Killers have a new single “Human” and I have to tell you after their sophomore effort I started to put one leg out to jump off the bandwagon. This may make it two legs.

Christina Aguilera also has a new single out-Keeps Getting’ Better- and I also didn’t like it at first but this one has grown on me as well. She is now a bonafide superstar without a doubt.

For those of you out there looking for holiday music and want to get a head start -look no further than Faith Hill’s release of “Joy to the World.”  She also does a beautiful song for new parents- “A Baby Changes Everything.” That song alone is worth the price of admission.

James Taylor has jumped into the fray of releasing an album of covers and it is appropriately titled “Covers.” Highlights for me are “Wichita Lineman” (never thought anyone but Glen Campbell could do it right but this version sounds pretty good) and “Why Baby Why.” You can’t go wrong with anything that Mr. Taylor does, so pick it up.

OK for this week’s review of an album, I will not say that the following two albums are “classics” but these are recordings that were a favorite of mine while in my late teens and early 20’s. And I mean I listened to them so much that to this day I remember almost every word of every song. Now some of you may laugh, others may scratch their heads but it may lead some to venture out and take a listen. The first album was the self titled debut from Bad English. Now many will say that this really was a continuation of The Babys as three out of the five members of Bad English were from that band. Jonathan Cain- who went on to enjoy more fame with Journey- and still is- was the keyboardist. The bassist was Ricky Phillips and the lead singer was John Waite. Mr. Waite has had a very respectable career and he is one of my favorite male vocalists. His career has spanned many decades and he’s probably most well known for “Missing You.” (check out the re-recorded version with Alison Krauss helping out on vocals). The band’s lead guitarist was Neal Schonn- yes from Journey- after Journey split up in the 1980’s- they formed this band. (Did you know that Neal started out with Santana?) The drummer was Deen Castronovo. Now I won’t review every song like I usually do but this album is super solid- yes there are a few slow songs that take it down a little but overall even the ballads are very good.

The album kicks off with the rocking “Best of What I Got.”- Ok I acknowledge that this is glam rock but so what? That was the style back then in 1989. It’s a fun song and always sounds great when blaring from your speakers. The bass stands out in track # 2- “Heaven is a Four Letter Word”- and I just love the groove- you will be moving your head up and down to the beat. I remember them performing this song when they opened for Whitesnake- yes Whitesnake- I told you this was B.N. (Before Nirvana). The following songs deserve a listen from you as they knock the cover off the ball (in no particular order): “Tough Times Don’t Last,” “Ready When You Are “(this one could be the best track of the whole album-crank it up!!) “Rocking Horse” (a slow bluesy tune) and my favorite track on the album- “Lay Down.” John Waite’s vocals on this song shine brightly. Now most bands back in the late 1980’s had ballads- and these guys were no exception- but I would say that their ballads were exceptional. (how do you like that?). One of the reasons why I love this album is because it has one of my all-time favorite ballads- “When I See You Smile”- (song was actually written by Diane Warren). This song reminds me of my wife and it was almost our wedding song (it lost out to “I Don’t Want to Live Without You” by Foreigner). Come on you can’t tell me this song is not good- yes its sappy- but sometimes in life, you need sappy. This song is a total wave the arms in the air back and forth in the air for four minutes and seventeen seconds. Every time I hear it, a never ending grin emerges on my face as I think of dancing with my beautiful bride. I love it when Waite wails “Sometimes I want give up…” and then Schon wails with the guitar. Two other songs are great ballads as well- “Possession”and “Price of Love.”

The other album which I will recommend for purchase rewinds 10 years, back to 1979 and it is “Cornerstone” by Styx. Again some may laugh, some may ask why? But I love it. One of the main reasons now today is because it brings me back to my mother. She probably listened (not sure if she wanted to..but anyway) to that album as much as I did as I use to listen from my bedroom, with or without the door closed. Whenever I hear the opening song “Lights” I just wish I could turn back the clock and go back to my room in my parent’s house. This song cracks my top 20 songs of all time, I don’t know what it is about the song but to me it’s perfect. And like I said- it brings my mother to the forefront. “Why Me” is another great song- this is my favorite song with Dennis DeYoung on vocals. (Tommy Shaw does “Lights”). The saxophone and guitar trading licks is the highlight on this song as well. These first two tracks are perfect sing-a -long songs. OK so track # 3 is the ballad “Babe.” Go ahead puke all over it but when it was released it was a hit everywhere- even on the oldies station in NY “WCBS FM”-now back then CBS did not play any contemporary songs until this one came out. “Never Say Never” is a song that you will not be able to get out of your head. I love it!! Track # 5 “Boat on the River” is another one of my all-time favorite songs (I know I have many as my kids tell me all the time). I guess I gravitate towards Shaw’s songs. This track makes me go off into a haze and I try to emulate Tommy’s vocal style. Talk about a perfect album side (remember when WNEW FM use to play those?).

Now side 2 is not as great as side 1 but still has some solid songs. The rocking “Borrowed Time” will definitely bring you back (although I recognize the part where the “yes” and “no” could be irritating. This song sounds like it could have been on “Paradise Theater.”) “First Time” is the ballad for side two and is as sappy as Babe. The album winds down with “Eddie”- song about Ted Kennedy and Styx telling him not to run for President and the under-rated “Love in the Midnight.” This is the best song on side two and again it’s Tommy at the helm.

So now you have two obscure albums to research and see if you agree with me. Again give it a chance and I believe you will enjoy them. I always have and always will.

Sadly back on this day in 2000, Benjamin Orr, co-lead singer for The Cars, passed away at the young age of 53 from cancer.

Back on this day in 1982, John Mellencamp had his first number one hit with Jack & Dianne.

Back on this day in 1992, Sinead O’Connor caused quite a stir on Saturday Night Live by tearing a picture of Pope John Paul II. NBC received thousands of calls with complaints.

August 8, 2008

Weekly Update – 08/08/2008

Mary J. Blige at Radio City Music Hall on Thurs. Rocktober 2. Pre-sale tickets on now for Citi card members until this Friday Aug. 15 at 10:00 p.m.  Fan club and VIP pre-sale begins Wed. Aug. 13 at 10:00 a.m. until Friday at 10:00 p.m. General public on sale this Saturday Aug. 16 at noon.  $69.50 – $165.50.  

Weezer at Madison Square Garden on Wed. Sept. 24 and the Borgota in Atlantic City on Fri. Sept. 26 and the Susquehanna Center in Camden NJ on Sat. Sept. 27. Angels and Airwaves along with Tokyo Police Club will be the openers. Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders go on sale this Monday Aug. 11 at 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. Wed. Aug. 13. I-Tunes pre-sale on Thurs. Aug. 14 from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. General public on sale next Friday Aug. 15 at 10:00 a.m. $54.50

Jackson Browne at the United Palace Theater on Sat. Sept. 20. Tickets on sale this coming Monday Aug. 11 at 10:00 a.m.

Biohazard at Fillmore New York on Sun. Rocktober 5. Tickets on sale Sat. Aug. 16 at 10:00 a.m.

Alanis Morissette at Music Box at the Borgota in Atlantic City on Sat. Sept. 27. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.

Mars Volta at the Starland Ballroom on Thurs. Sept. 18. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $34.50.

Beck with MGMT at United Palace Theater on Friday Rocktober 10. Tickets on sale now. $49.

Rockband Live featuring Panic at the Disco, Dashboard Confessional and Plain White T’s at Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport CT on Fri. Rocktober 28 and also at the Prudential Center or the “Rock” in Newark, NJ. Tickets on sale at 10:00 a.m. $29.95 – $39.95

Kings of Leon at Webster Hall (125 East 11th street in NYC) on Tues. Sept. 23. Tickets on sale next Friday Aug. 15 at noon. $35. Their new album “Only by the Night” will be released on the same day.

Other items:

Metallica’s new disc, “Death Magnetic” will be released on Friday Sept. 12. Typically all new albums are released on a Tuesday but this is the second time that Metallica has gone against the norm- the other being “St. Anger.” Anger took a long time for me to like but I finally came around.

Tesla is one of rock’s enduring bands, and their history will be saluted on the digitally remastered “Gold” collection. The two-disc set features such longtime favorites as “Modern Day Cowboy,” “Luttle Suzi,” “Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out),” “Love Song,” “Signs,” “Song & Emotion,” and “What You Give.” Also included are such previously unreleased or non-album b-sides as “Love In Vain,” “I Ain’t Superstitious,” “Rock The Nation,” “Children’s Heritage,” and “Cotton Fields.” An August 26th release is expected.

AC/DC will embark on an 18-month world tour in October, the hard rock band’s first since 2000/2001, their agent said this week. A single is expected to hit radio this month. AC/DC released its last album, “Stiff Upper Lip,” in 2000, and launched a year long tour of 17 countries.

The second single to be released off the incredible “The Sound of Madness” by Shinedown is “Second Chance.” I haven’t stopped listening to this disc since it came out in late June. There will be multiple “single” releases from this outstanding third effort from the boys from Jacksonville, Fla. The video for “Devour” can be seen on Fuse and MTV2.

Alicia Keys and Jack White have recorded the theme song for the new James Bond movie. The ’No One’ singer and The White Stripes frontman have joined forces on ’Another Way to Die’, which will appear on the soundtrack of ’Quantum of Solace’.

Seether has released hits and rarities plus interview clips with the band exclusively through I-Tunes. The show was recorded this past May 19. They also perform a cover of the Beatles “Across the Universe.”

The Black Crowes have a complaint against Gretchen Wilson and her new single “Work Hard, Play Harder.” They say it bears an uncanny resemblance to their first single “Jealous Again.” I will take it a step further and say that it is a complete rip-off. If George Harrison can be found guilty of plagiarism for supposedly copying the Chiffon’s hit “He’s So Fine” for one of his most popular hits- “My Sweet Lord,” then Gretchen needs to IMMEDIATELY AND CONTINOUSLY hand over any profits she makes from this song to the Black Crowes. Check out her version at then check out the Crowes at

and tell me it’s not a rip-off?

Thanks to technology, a number of Country stars will be able to sing Christmas songs with Elvis Presley. The new album “Elvis Presley Christmas Duets” will be out on Rocktober 14. Artists include Carrie Underwood, the aforementioned Gretchen Wilson, Martina McBride, LeAnn Rimes, Amy Grant and Anne Murray.

This week’s classic album review is my personal favorite Beatles album: The Beatles, otherwise known as the “White Album.” This was their ninth studio album and was their first after the death of its manager, Brian Epstein. Now it is very hard to pick the “best” Beatles album because there are so many. Revolver and Rubber Soul quickly come to mind, but if I’m stuck on a desert and had to pick only one Beatles composition, the White Album does it for me. What I love about this double disc is the obscure songs such as “Wild Honey Pie”, “The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill,” “Piggies,” “Don’t Pass Me By,” (my favorite Starkey song) and my personal favorite “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey.” Believe it or not, the “Monkey” song was the tune that had my youngest son jump on the Beatles bandwagon and now he can’t get enough of them. This album ranked number 10 in the top 500 albums of all time that Rollingstone magazine did back in 2003. It is also the Beatles best selling album of all time and tenth best selling album ever in the United States. Even though this was the Beatles as a group, the whole album is made up of individual compositions and there is not one Lennon/McCartney composition. The last combined song from the powerful duo was “I’ve Got a Feeling” which appears on Let It Be. (another great album). We all know that Lennon’s tunes have an edge to them and Paul not so much. George was just gearing up for his massive solo explosion on “All Things Must Pass” and this album is where he begins to come out of shadow of John and Paul. Even Ringo had his own song-“Don’t Pass Me By” composed entirely by himself. However, Ringo at one point quit the band and the recording session in Aug. 1968 (the album was recorded between May and October of 1968).He felt his role in the band was minimized compared to that of the other members and he was also tired of waiting around during the sessions. He was coaxed into returning a few weeks later but during his absence Paul played drums and his skin skills ended up on the recording of “Back in the U.S.S.R” and “Dear Prudence.”

OK so we start with side 1- oh and by the way if you don’t own this album or are one of those who don’t like the Beatles- please don’t make me laugh- there is no bigger musical influence in the history of sound- yes even back to the days of Nikola. I’m back- yes side 1- album kicks off with a Beach Boy homage with “Back in the U.S.S.R.” a song by Paul. “Dear Prudence” a song from John written about Mia Farrow’s sister- Prudence- who had both accompanied the Beatles on their transcendental mediation trip taught by the Maharishi Yoga on their spring of 1968 trip to India.Prudence apparently stayed in her room during most of the trip meditating, so John was asking her to “come out and play.” “Glass Onion” is a sarcastic hit at the fans of the Beatles, whom John felt read too much into their lyrics. “Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da” is such a fun song and the hook is mesmerizing. This song was my mother’s favorite Beatle song- she loved the part of “Ha Ha Ha” before Paul sang “happy ever after..” “Wild Honey Pie” is 53 seconds of greatness and leads into the amusing “Bungalow Bill” … “all the children sing..” This is the first Beatle song with female singers as Yoko, Pattie Harrison and Maureen Starkey all took part in the background vocals. The first song from the quiet Beatle, George, is “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and we all know that Eric Clapton played lead guitar for this track. George would reciprocate by contributing to the song “Badge” for Cream on their last album “Goodbye.” George expresses concern over being “bought and sold,” a theme in later songs about Harrison himself, such as “Handle with Care”, recorded with the Traveling Wilbury’s. Side 1 ends with the eerie “Happiness is a Warm Gun”- a song supposedly written about drug usage but we all know what happened on that awful night in December of 1980.

Side 2 is my personal favorite of the album and starts off with the excellent “Martha My Dear”- I can’t say enough about this song- it’s pure. And then what can I say about “I’m So Tired?”- this could be one of the best songs that Lennon ever wrote. I love the part“You’d say I’m putting you on…” You have to crank the volume way up on this one. “Blackbird” is another pure beautiful song. Then how cool is George’s take on society with “Piggies?” I can’t get enough of this song and always have to hear it twice. Love the harmonizing vocals that begin with “Everywhere there’s lots of piggies living piggy lives….” Now I know “Rocky Racoon” gets many wrinkled faces when they hear it and the response is how can you like this song? I can’t get enough of it. If I could sing, this would be my ultimate karaoke performance. Then it’s on to the aforementioned “Don’t Pass Me By” by Ringo. “I listen for your footsteps coming up the drive…” Love the violins, the Beatles doing Country. The last three songs on side two I must have listened to a million times in my lifetime. “Why don’t we do it in the road” (no explanation here) “I Will” – love song by Paul and the beautiful “Julia” by John about his mother. Whew talk about a classic album side (WNEW-FM based in New York, “back in the day,” use to have those all the time).

Side 3 could also be a classic album side and has everyone’s favorite song on the day you were born – “Birthday”- come on this song kicks you into gear and was used in boot camp as well. “Yer Blues” is not really an uplifting song (song about dying) but it’s a song you can’t skip over. As a matter of fact my walls are shaking right now and my wife is telling me to turn it down. Then it quickly gets quiet with Paul’s “Mother Nature’s Son.” The walls are shaking again as my favorite song of the entire album comes on- “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey.” I love the bass work by Paul and the wailing background vocals- “woo”- this is John at his best. “Sexy Sadie” is a song written by John and expresses his anger over supposedly being personally betrayed by Maharishi whom had made sexual advances toward Mia Farrow. “Helter Skelter” could arguably be the first song of “metal” and this one song totally rips those “nay-sayers” out there who call the Beatles a pop band. This song is friggin’ phenomenal and is my second favorite song on the album. Talk about having the volume up. “I got blisters on my fingers!!!” Side 3 ends with the soft “Long, Long Long” by Harrison, another beautiful song.

Side 4 begins with “Revolution 1”- did you know that this version was the original recording? John wanted it released as a single but the others objected because they thought it was too slow. So Revolution 1 was re-recorded (faster) and was the B-side to “Hey Jude.” Hey Jude was recorded during the White album sessions but was released as a stand alone single (with Revolution again being the flip side to the .45). “Honey Pie” this version is different from Wild Honey Pie and if you are following along- Wild Honey Pie is the 5th song from the beginning of the album and Honey Pie is the 5th song from the end. This version reminds me of something that Tony Orlando would do at his shows. Harrison’s “Savory Truffle” is something that sounds like something John or Paul would write and sounds like a “Beatle” song- if you know what I mean. “Cry Baby Cry” is classic John. Now “Revolution 9” has been debated for many years as something that is classic or a mess. Personally I say it’s a mess and it is one song that I skip over. Sorry my fellow “Beatle-ites.” I can’t do it. This classic album ends with “Good Night” a mesmerizing song that takes you far away and a perfect ending song.

Now I know that there are many people who are tired about hearing about the Beatles (hear me out Beatle fans) and I do admit that they are in many, many conversations amongst many different people. But what does that tell you? Nearly a half a century later, we are all still talking about the Beatles as if they just recorded something. This generation has taken a turn and now gets most of its music from I-Tunes. (myself included). Guess who is not on I-Tunes? The Beatles. If I-Tunes can somehow manage to get them aboard- what band do you think will have the most songs sold on I-Tunes? ‘Nuff said.

Back on this day in 1969, the cover photo for the Beatles “Abbey Road” was taken.

Back on this day in 1992, Axl Rose set off a riot in Canada by walking off the stage because he had a sore throat. Problem was that James Hetfield from Metallica, the opening act that night, was severely burned from pyrotechnics and Metallica had to cut their set short (pretty obvious why). So Axl and Guns had a chance to be kings for one night and they blew it. The Canadian fans went berserk when he walked off stage.

July 25, 2008

Weekly Update – 07/25/2008

Randy Newman at Carnegie Hall on Fri. Sept. 19. Tickets on sale this coming Monday July 28th at 11:00 a.m.

Rascal Flatts at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden NJ on Friday Sept. 12. Tickets on sale next Sat. Aug. 2 at 10:00 a.m. $35.75 – $75.75

Derek Trucks Band at the Highline Ballroom and Blender Theater on Thurs. Nov. 6 and Fri. Nov. 7. Tickets on sale for Highline at noon and 10:00 a.m. for Blender.

Goldfrapp at Radio City Music Hall on Friday Sept. 12. T ickets on sale today at noon. $39.50 – $75.

The Whispers at the BB Kings on Sat. Rocktober 25. (7:30 and 10:00 shows) Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m.$40. Remember “And the Beat Goes On?”

Shemekia Copeland at BB Kings on Mon. Sept. 25. Tickets on sale Sat. at 10:00 a.m. $25.

Other items:

Buddy Guy’s new album “Skin Deep” was released this past Tuesday and the 30 second samples on I-Tunes sound great. This is his first recorded album with all original tunes. He gets help from Susan Tedeschi on “Too Many Tears.” Also contributing to the album are Eric Clapton, Robert Randolph and Derek Trucks. If you have never seen Guy in concert, you are so missing out.

One Day as a Lion, the new band with Zach De La Rocha and Jon Theodore (drummer from Mars Volta) put out an EP of 4 songs. If you were a fan of Rage, you will definitely enjoy it. “Wild International” sounds great.

Rush has released a never heard before version of “Working Man” due to popular demand as a result of the song being released on the “Rock Band” video game a few weeks back. Check out this video on You Tube.

The Rolling Stones are suing rapper Lil Wayne for his song “Playing with Fire.” The Stones reps say it’s a clear derivative of their song with the same title and he used it without their permission.

Have you ever been put on the spot to name your top 25 music acts of all-time? Well my oldest son put me on notice that he wanted my favorites, with an accompanying song and a reason why I liked them? I was resistant because I felt that I would leave an artist off of my list. However, he keenly pointed out that if they did not quickly come to mind, how could they be in my top 25? (Putting them in order does take some thinking and time but again the first 25 that come to mind) So here goes: (you too can play along at home):

25. Tom Petty

Favorite Song: You Wreck Me

Why?: Like fine wine, he gets better with age. An American classic.

24. Motley Crue

Favorite Song: Kickstart My Heart

Why?:Love their energy! The other side of me wanted to be them.

23. Black Crowes

Favorite Song: There’s Gold in Them Hills

Why?: Always wanted to transform into Chris Robinson for just one tour.

22. Stone Temple Pilots

Favorite Song: Crackerman

Why?: Love their version of grunge.


Favorite Song: I Dare You

Why?: Their music is in my blood stream.

20. Black Sabbath

Favorite Song: Fairies Wear Boots

Why?: Masters of Metal, period, end of story.

19. Patsy Cline

Favorite Song: Why Can’t He Be You

Why?: Her voice is mesmerizing & takes me far away; also my mother’s influence.

18. Sam Cooke

Favorite Song: Nothing Can Change This Love

Why?: Favorite male singer ever.

17. Karen Carpenter

Favorite Song: (They Long to Be) Close to You

Why?: Favorite female singer. This song reminds me of my mother.

16. Cheap Trick

Favorite Song: Lookout (Live)

Why?: A band that never dies, pure fun in concert.

15. Aerosmith

Favorite Song: I Wanna Know Why

Why?: Hard rocking boys from Boston that are just great!

14. Boston

Favorite Song: Smokin’

Why?: How can you not get psyched listening to Smokin’?

13. AC/DC

Favorite Song: Thunderstruck

Why?: Never sold out. Head banging to the end!!

12. Bee Gees

Favorite Song: I’ve Gotta Get A Message to You

Why?: Great Harmonizing vocals.

11. Soundgarden

Favorite Song: Mailman

Why?: Grunge music at its best! Under-rated.


And now the long awaited top ten (who was waiting? I don’t know but here it is anyway)


10. Kiss

Favorite Song: King of the Night Time World (Live)

Why?: I wanted to be every member of Kiss ten times over!!!

9. Foo Fighters

Favorite Song: What If I Do?

Why?: Who’s cooler than Dave Grohl?

8. Collective Soul

Favorite Song: Crown

Why?: Passionate band and I’m all about passion.

7. Led Zeppelin

Favorite Song: Boogie With Stu

Why?: Page, Plant, Bonham and Jones. ‘Nuff said.

6. Metallica

Favorite Song: Master of Puppets

Why?: See them live and tell me you don’t like them?

5. Tesla

Favorite Song: Lady Luck

Why?: So under-rated it pisses me off and makes me love them that much more.

4. The Cars

Favorite Song: It’s All I Can Do

Why?: One of my first loves of rock music.

3. Foreigner

Favorite Song: Seventeen


2. The Beatles

Favorite Song: I’m Only Sleeping

Why?: So many great tunes in such a short amount of time. Timeless band.

1. Van Halen

Favorite Song: Feel Your Love Tonight

Why?: Greatest live band ever!

Now I am not going to say who was omitted from this list because the rule is that you can’t take too much time. It has to be the first 25 that come to mind. I know I left off some whoppers but this is my list. I want to thank my son for making this a fun process.

Back on this day in 1965, Bob Dylan performed his first non-acoustic set at the Newport Folk Festival to a very hostile crowd.

Back on this day in 1969, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young had their first live performance, it was at the Fillmore East in New York.

July 23, 2008

Concert Review: Shinedown at the Highline Ballroom in NYC – 07/22/08

Concert Review: Shinedown at the Highline Ballroom in NYC on Tuesday July 22, 2008.

After attending many shows at the legendary Madison Square Garden for the past year or so, I knew on my drive down to NYC, that the Highline Ballroom was obviously going to be smaller. Now I love the Garden don’t get me wrong, love the energy but I was so pumped for a smaller venue and knowing that I was going to see my new favorite band, (I know.. I have a new one every week), Shinedown, just put me over the top. I had never been to the Highline and while walking down 16th street after crossing 9th Avenue; I was getting nervous that I had the wrong address. I saw a “Western Beef” supermarket- I worked there many years ago with my uncle- and just assumed I was on the wrong block. But wait, right next to or on top of Western Beef, was the Highline Ballroom. Talk about old school- the guy at the door actually ripped part of my ticket off and gave me the remaining part. I can’t remember the last time that has happened. And then there it was as I walked up the stairs; I had flashbacks to Le Balloon in Brooklyn when we use to go see live bands (or the Lion’s Den). As I reached the top step and saw the entrance, I could already see the members of Black Stone Cherry seemingly right there in front of my face, creating havoc for the crowd. Then I made my way through the standing only crowd to get my position on the floor.

Now as you all know, I love many types of music but you can probably tell I’m partial to the heavier stuff. The Highline Ballroom seems to fit about 750 people tops and I loved every moment. Heavy bass lines pounding in your chest like your heart is going to burst right through, the crashing sound of cymbals (when is the last time you actually heard cymbals crashing at a show?) and the lead guitar ripping your ears off. I felt like I was in someone’s basement watching these bands. And talk about hot? Just picture yourself on a NYC subway platform waiting for the # 3 train to pull into 14th street on a day like yesterday.I was in my element. I needed this night; I needed loud guitars and driving heavy music because it has been a while since I have had that.

Knowing that I made the mistake of showing up late when Shinedown played with Zombie and Godsmack a few summers ago, I was not going to blow off the two other bands: Black Stone Cherry (BSC) and Theory of a Deadman. (TOAD) So I showed up right at 7:00 as BSC was playing their first song. These guys are from Kentucky and I have to say these guys are pretty good. Their set was full of energy and the one thing I will say is towards the end of their set I think they were trying too hard to be rock stars but overall a good way to start the night off. Highlights were “Rain Wizard” “Lonely Train and “Hell and High Water.” At one point they brought out a high school choir from Orange NJ to help on the background vocals and the ironic part is all the members of BSC were singing for this one song (and they had not done that in the prior songs), so you could hardly hear the choir. I figured the rest of the band would not sing background and let the kids do it but….

Then the second band to take the stage was Theory of a Deadman. They are from Canada and were signed to 604 records by Chad Kroeger- lead singer for Nickelback. These guys kicked butt. Their lead singer, Tyler Connolly, had an Elvis Presley hairdo that never moved throughout their set. Now I think the reason I liked them so much, (and I mean no disrespect to their fans) but they remind me of Puddle of Mudd (the “Come Clean” Puddle). I loved their first album and it was weird how similar the songs are as well. For instance, “Bad Girlfriend” or “I Hate My Life” struck a chord with me with the Mudd song “She Hates Me.” And tell me “So Happy” doesn’t take you back to “Bring Me Down” by POM? These guys are talented and their set was tight!! The highlights were “Santa Monica” and “So Happy.” Keep an eye out for these guys. Great sound.

By the time TOAD was finished, I was saturated (and for the people who know me, you could picture the puddles of sweat). I was warmed up and the anticipation for Shinedown to take the stage was killing me. I couldn’t wait. The crowd was mixed- some kids and some older dudes like me- same with the women- yes there were women there. I could tell the crowd was there for Shinedown and when I heard the snare drums piped in over the speakers as the beginning of “Devour” started, I was jumping out of my skin. The speakers for their set was almost as tall as the room and then there was a blast as the lights came on and there here is the man, Brent Smith, seemingly larger than life up at the front of stage and singing the opening lyrics “Take it and take it…” I felt an adrenaline rush and thought my ears and chest were going to explode off of my body it was so loud. And about a little more than 2 minutes into the song when you hear the bass by itself, I was so out of my mind that I wanted to take the stage and sing along with Brent as he wailed “diving down, round and round…” As the song ended I knew I was in for a nice ride. As the blaring guitars introduced “Cry for Help” the crowd was in a controlled chaos. No mash pit, which made me happy. I will admit at times, Smith’s vocals were hard to hear but their enthusiasm more than made up for it. And I was impressed that the fans knew all the words to the new songs and we all helped Brent wail the chorus “You better pray there’s another way out, you better pray someone’s listening now..” The frantic pace kept up with another new song- “Cyanide Sweet Tooth Suicide.” And it was great because all the words I knew were the chorus and again in unison the crowd chanted, “White… Lights… Train…. Wreck” The guitar work in this song and the breaks in the song were flat out phenomenal. Then it was on to my new favorite song of the week: “Sound of Madness”… “Hola here we go…” Talk about a head banging start out of the gate? I was “air-guitaring” and “air-drumming” all over the place; I couldn’t believe how good the show was at this point. (And it was maintained to the end).

The first song not from the new album was “Heroes” off of Us and Them (a friggin’ great CD) and this time the whole audience participated in singing the vocals for Brent. Hey they might have been playing for a “block party” type atmosphere but everyone was having a blast. Brent addressed the crowd and was pointing out that he never thought he would write a love song but his recent marriage changed this. And I knew what song it was before he even said it- “If You Only Knew”- the one song I told all of you to download a couple of weeks ago. It’s impossible to not like this song and to hear it live already was the icing on the cake for me. This will be their “staple” at every one of their shows going forward. I predict this song will top “I Dare You” as a fan favorite. He then explained to the crowd that they were going to play many songs from the new album; hey no complaints from me- I was prepared.

The setting was intimate and for “The Crow & the Butterfly” Mr. Smith explained that this was the toughest song he ever had to write. He said finding the right words took him a while-it is worth the wait. This is another fantastic song and “epic-like” where you get lost in the sweet melody. His voice is perfect for the song. Then at one point in the show, it became real serious as Brent was describing the song they were about to perform, “Second Chance.” He told everyone to “just be yourself”, be a good friend and live your life the way you want to. He described his seemingly hard upbringing by his parents. Seemed like they weren’t too happy that he wanted to be a singer and he insinuated that he was also hit while living under their roof. The song is directed towards them and the chorus states “Tell my mother, tell my father I’ve done the best I can to make them realize this is my life…” Powerful song & lyrics.

Shinedown continued to please the crowd as they performed some songs from “Leave a Whisper” with the highlight being “45.” As the show ended, Brent informed the crowd that it was the last song and even I assumed they were coming out for an encore but they didn’t. I heard a lot of complaints as the crowd was itchin’ for “Simple Man.” And the crowd did hear Simple Man- the original version over the speakers as they exited the Highline Ballroom. So what you didn’t hear “Simple Man”- I was more upset about not hearing more of their own songs. But not to the point that it made me not like the show- no way- the show was a blast and I can’t wait to go see them again. Next time I’m taking you with me!!!

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