Saturday, January 20, 2018

Tom Petty's Cause of Death Revealed

This past October, the world lost one of the greatest rock n' rollers to ever pick up a six string: Tom Petty. The loss was a major shock to the world and up until now the cause of death had been unknown.

In an official statement released by Petty's family, it was revealed that he died of an accidental overdose on the pain medication Fentanyl - which was being taken to deal with the unbearable pain of a fractured and broken hip.

I personally had no idea that Petty was dealing with such awful pain. This makes me feel even worse for his death because all he was trying to do was cope with physical pain until he could get the problem properly addressed by medical professionals. I have no idea what that kind of pain is like, but if it was as excruciating as it sounds, I can't say I blame him for trying anything he could to deal with it.

The full statement can be read below:

"Our family sat together this morning with the Medical Examiner – Coroner’s office and we were informed of their final analysis that Tom Petty passed away due to an accidental drug overdose as a result of taking a variety of medications.

Unfortunately Tom’s body suffered from many serious ailments including emphysema, knee problems and most significantly a fractured hip.

Despite this painful injury he insisted on keeping his commitment to his fans and he toured for 53 dates with a fractured hip and, as he did, it worsened to a more serious injury.

On the day he died he was informed his hip had graduated to a full on break and it is our feeling that the pain was simply unbearable and was the cause for his over use of medication.

We knew before the report was shared with us that he was prescribed various pain medications for a multitude of issues including Fentanyl patches and we feel confident that this was, as the coroner found, an unfortunate accident.

As a family we recognize this report may spark a further discussion on the opioid crisis and we feel that it is a healthy and necessary discussion and we hope in some way this report can save lives.

Many people who overdose begin with a legitimate injury or simply do not understand the potency and deadly nature of these medications.

On a positive note we now know for certain he went painlessly and beautifully exhausted after doing what he loved the most, for one last time, performing live with his unmatchable rock band for his loyal fans on the biggest tour of his 40 plus year career. He was extremely proud of that achievement in the days before he passed.

We continue to mourn with you and marvel at Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' incredible positive impact on music and the world. And we thank you all for your love and support over the last months.

Thank you also for respecting the memory of a man who was truly great during his time on this planet both publicly and privately.

We would be grateful if you could respect the privacy of the entire Heartbreaker family during this difficult time.

Dana Petty and Adria Petty"

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Throwback Thursday: "Lovehunter", by Whitesnake

In 1979 a relatively unknown bluesy rock n' roll band by the name of Whitesnake that included former members of Deep Purple vocalist David Coverdale and organ player Jon Lord was starting to pick up a bit of traction. They had already released an EP and a debut album that has received some decent feedback. Now though, they wanted to build on the foundation they had just laid down and make something even better. The result was their sophomore effort and arguably superior release Lovehunter.

Lovehunter follows similar territory to their previous album Trouble in that the music is loud and rocking, but very blues based. However, this time around there is a lot more slide guitar and open tunings featured. You can hear more of the old school blues influence shining through rather than them just trying to make another 70's hard rock album. Sadly none of the songs from it get played on the radio or even by the band itself any more, but it definitely contains some of their best work.

Long Way From Home was the only single that made it anywhere in the charts from Lovehunter, though it's easy to see why. From the first chord that's struck to the final hit of the drum it is very bright, melodic, and full of sunshiny positive energy. It blends in very well with other radio friendly rock singles of the time. In a way, it almost sounds like a late 70's/early 80's family friendly sitcom theme. That said, it's still worth cranking up.

Walking in the Shadow of the Blues is arguably the best track on the album aside from a couple others. It has this sexy steady chugging riff to it backed up by some top notch slide guitar playing from Mickey Moody (who in my opinion is a severely under rated guitar player along with Bernie Marsden). Coverdale really steals the show though with his chest beating soulful singing and lyrics about living the blues. How this isn't considered a major classic is beyond me.

I'm still happy to have all of the flamboyant hair metal stuff that we got from Whitesnake in the late 80's, but it's albums like Lovehunter that made me and still make me love them in the first place. Some tracks on the album are better than others, but there are no straight up bad ones. You can tell the band was gelling more as a unit and that they were having a lot of fun with what they were doing. It's a great way to have a rocking good time.

Lovehunter, by Whitesnake receives 3.8 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Long Way From Home
2. Walking in the Shadow of the Blues
3. Help Me Through the Day
4. Medicine Man
5. You 'n' Me
6. Mean Business
7. Love Hunter
8. Outlaw
9. Rock n' Roll Women
10. We Wish You Well

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Jack White Announces Dates for 2018 North American Tour

It's been over three years since the last time former White Stripes and Raconteurs front man Jack White went out on tour. He has been taking an extended break since the end of his tour for his 2014 release Lazaretto in order to recuperate. Now though, he has announced the first batch of North American tour dates for this year in order to promote his upcoming third solo album Boarding House Reach.

 The pre-sale for members of Third Man Records Vault starts January 22nd. The general public sale begins January 26th. Both will be at 10AM local time. There will also be a Ticketmaster Verified Fan pre-sale. Registration for that is now open and will end just before midnight on January 19.

For further details, go to Jack White's website.

Personally I'm unhappy and surprised that there are no Chicago dates on the current batch of dates listed. I have been wanting to see Jack live for YEARS. Maybe it will be in the next wave of dates announced, though. If not, I guess I'm taking a road trip to Detroit.

Jack White 2018 North American Tour Dates

April 19 - Little Caesars Arena - Detroit, Mich.
April 20 - Eagles Ballroom - Milwaukee, Wis.
April 21 - 20 Monroe - Grand Rapids, Mich.
April 23 - Baxter Arena - Omaha, Neb.
April 24 - Providence Medical Center Amphitheater - Bonner Springs, Kan.
April 25 - Chaifetz Arena - St. Louis, Miss.
April 27 - Bomb Factory - Dallas, Texas
April 29 - Bomb Factory - Dallas, Texas
April 30 - Revention Music Center - Houston, Texas
May 1 - Revention Music Center - Houston, Texas
May 2 - Austin360 Amphitheater - Austin, Texas
May 4 - 6 - Shaky Knees Music Festival - Atlanta, Ga.
May 25 - 27 - Boston Calling Music Festival - Boston, Mass.
May 27 - Brewery Ommegang - Cooperstown, N.Y.
May 29 - The Anthem - Washington, D.C.
June 1 - 3 - Governors Ball Music Festival - New York, N.Y.
June 4 - Express Live! Outdoor Amphitheater - Columbus, Ohio
June 6 - Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica - Cleveland, Ohio
June 7 - Dome Arena - Rochester, N.Y.
June 8 - Artpark Mainstage Theater - Lewiston, N.Y.
June 9 - Budweiser Stage - Toronto, Ont.
Aug. 6 - The Armory - Minneapolis, Minn.
Aug. 8 - 1st Bank Center - Broomfield, Colo.
Aug. 9 - SaltAir - Salt Lake City, Utah
Aug. 11 - Veterans Memorial Coliseum - Portland, Ore.
Aug. 12 - Rogers Arena - Vancouver, B.C.
Aug. 13 - WAMU Theatre - Seattle, Wash.
Aug. 15 - Bill Graham Civic Auditorium - San Francisco, Calif.
Aug. 19 - Santa Barbara Bowl - Santa Barbara, Calif.
Aug. 21 - Viejas Arena - San Diego, Calif.
Aug. 22 - Comerica Theatre - Phoenix, Ariz.
Aug. 23 - The Chelsea @ The Cosmopolitan - Las Vegas, Nev.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Megadeth in No Rush to Put Out Another Album

Thrash metal kings Megadeth put out one hell of a big record with their 2016 release Dystopia - their 15th studio album. Though front man Dave Mustaine says the band is already throwing around some ideas for a new record, they are in no hurry to get back in the studio according to bassist and co-founder Dave Ellefson.

In a recent interview with Mitch Lafon (which can be found here) Ellefson talks about the success of Dystopia and plans for the future, saying:

“Moving forward, it's nice to know that Dystopia was a record that really reset the benchmark for what Megadeth is. I think one of the reasons that record worked is we rebuilt the lineup and the whole structure of Megadeth to a large degree.

We didn't have any tour dates, so we took as much time as we needed. And now, of course, the train is in motion and the phone rings and they're, like, 'Can you do the summer festivals?' 'Can you come to Mexico?’

I think the trick is making a great record, a follow-up to Dystopia, that we do make sure we take the time and make it right.”

Another reason Megadeth is slowing down some is because they no longer need to constantly crank out records in order to be able to get a tour. Ellefson continues on this subject, saying:

“Maybe for new bands, it's still like that. But for the most part, I think people just enjoy live music – they love festivals.

And, new album or not, they want to see you play – they want to see you on stage playing their favourite songs for them. So I think that, by and large, that's the calling of the music business right now.”

I've been saying for years that Megadeth needs to slow down, take a break from writing, and come back in four or five years with something fresh, thought out, and original. Something that brings that fire that Megadeth became famous for. Dystopia was definitely a great album (thanks to the line-up change, I'm sure) but I have a feeling that once they really take time to regroup they will come back with something jaw dropping and fantastic.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #148

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week is a feature I run on Young Ears, Fresh Perspective on Sundays/early hours of Monday morning where I pick out 5 tunes that I think are notable and tell you a bit about them. The point is to give you some rocking music to help you deal with your weekday blues. You can either listen to one each day, listen to them all at once, or any other combination that you feel. As long as you can get through the week without the man getting you down, that's all I care about. Without further ado, here are the 5 tracks I've picked out for this week:

1. Sailing, by Guns N' Roses

Before I had heard this, had you told me that GN'R once did a cover of a Rod Stewart song I'd have laughed in your face and told you you were crazy. However, back in 2006 Axl Rose and his solo band that they were calling Guns N' Roses at the time decided to do it just for fun. Somehow though it turned into this grand, epic musical moment. They took a wimpy soft ballad and made it something so much bigger and better.

2. Gone Shootin', by AC/DC

This is one under appreciated AC/DC tune. It has this nice steady groove from the bass with this sexy blues lick played on the guitar throughout the verses. This is another example of where you hear the Young brothers' early blues influence shining through all the loud hard rocking. Bon Scott of course brings it all together with his dirty, sleazy, charismatic singing. This song deserves to be played and talked about just as much as any of the other big AC/DC hits for sure.

3. Love in Vain, by Eric Clapton

In my opinion, watching Eric Clapton play Robert Johnson songs is the next best thing to seeing the man himself playing them these days. Clapton has the guitar technique down pat and his voice has plenty of soul to back it up. You can tell that he absolutely loves what he is doing whenever he is playing one of those songs. This tune in particular is my absolute favorite Robert Johnson cover that he ever did. It has charm up the wazoo.

4. Turn to Stone, by Electric Light Orchestra

ELO has more hits and other great songs than you could ever count. This song is among them, and for great reason. It brings together the best of 70's dance music as well as classical into something unique and original for the time. Many people have tried to emulate, but never managed to duplicate the kind of magic this tune brings to your speakers. There is after all only one Jeff Lynne and Richard Tandy.

5. Sidewinder, by Avenged Sevenfold

This in my opinion is one of A7X's coolest songs. It's loud, rocking, metal, and evil sounding, but that is by no means the highlight of the song. Honestly, the best part is the last couple minutes where lead guitarist Synyster Gates and his father Brian Haner who guest starred on the album take each other on in an acoustic flamenco duel that flows from one part to the next incredibly smoothly while showing off the same kind of smoking chops you know them to have on electric.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Of Mice & Men Cover Pink Floyd Classic "Money"

LA based metalcore band Of Mice & Men have made a rather bold move by deciding to give their treatment to a Pink Floyd classic. The song in question is "Money" (which can be listened to above), from the band's 1973 masterpiece Dark Side of the Moon.

As you might be able to guess, this cover is a much louder and heavier than the original Pink Floyd version. Definitely a lot more modern. Now I know a lot of you old timers aren't really willing to give such a thing a chance because of how set in your ways you are, but if you can try to be open minded for just a few minutes you might be pleasantly surprised.

As I said, this cover definitely has a different flavor than the original, but that doesn't make it bad. It could easily be its own song, though elements of the original still shine through in all the right places. Metalcore definitely isn't my jive, but I think in this instance I'll make an exception because I was pretty pleased with how this cover turned out.

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Throwback Thursday: "Ace of Spades", by Motorhead

This week's Throwback Thursday is dedicated to the memory of Fast Eddie Clarke, who passed away today. Mr. Clarke played guitar on Motorhead's most famous album: Ace of Spades.

By 1980 proto-thrash metal band Motorhead had been slowly but surely building up their popularity among the punk and metal fan bases by putting out two fairly successful albums, numerous TV appearances, and almost non-stop touring. The band finally broke into the big time though when they put out their best known album, a masterpiece of high octane no holds barred rock n' roll called Ace of Spades. This acted as the jumping point for them, blasting them into the stratosphere.

Ace of Spades is an interesting album because it has that fast, driving, raw punk sentiment but at the same time it has the musical chops to keep up with any heavy metal band any day of the week. This is straightforward, no frills rock n' roll. It's big, loud, and sleazy. Nothing profound lyrically or technical musically about it. Just the way a good rock n' roll album should be. There is a reason it has become as influential and stood the test of time as much as it has.

"Ace of Spades" is the song that everyone knows Motorhead for best. That fast, crunchy opening bass line is one of the most iconic in music history. When the drums come thundering in, you just know you're about to be grabbed by the balls and dragged along for one hell of a good rocking time. From the moment the song starts until it ends there is no space to breathe. It's full of adrenaline rush and raw, unfiltered attitude.

Not everything on Ace of Spades was just straight up speed and volume, though. "Fast and Loose" has one hell of a nice swing to it. It's still chocked full of power and thrill, but it's a nice change of pace and adds a bit of variety to the overall sound of the album. You might hear some minor similarities between it and a bit of Kiss's early stuff, which isn't entirely surprising. There is even a bit of vocal harmony toward the end, which adds a nice bit of flavor as well.

Ace of Spades is one of the quintessential hard rock and heavy metal albums. Not a single bad track on it. For every young rocker who wants to learn all about the greats and have a blueprint for how to make rock n' roll, Ace of Spades is a must. There is so much to enjoy and learn from here. Even if you're not a musician it's still a fantastic album to rock out to if you want something raw, loud, and kick-ass with no commercial sounding gloss.

Ace of Spades, by Motorhead receives 4 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Ace of Spades
2. Love Me Like a Reptile
3. Shoot You in the Back
4. Live to Win
5. Fast and Loose
6. (We Are) The Road Crew
7. Fire, Fire
8. Jailbait
9. Dance
10. Bite the Bullet
11. The Chase is Better Than the Catch
12. The Hammer

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