Thursday, January 29, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Buckcherry, by Buckcherry

In the mid-90's just as grunge was dying out there was a hard rock band playing the clubs in Hollywood with a heavily tattooed singer and guitarist who had a sound that was bluesy crunchy style that had not been heard in at least a couple of decades by that point. This band was none other than Buckcherry, though at the time their name was Sparrow (until they got a cease and desist letter form an already existing record label with the same name). After years of hard work and a vast amount of strong support from their local scene, the band finally got signed with DreamWorks Records and then released their self-titled debut album Buckcherry and met with a noticeable amount of commercial success.

The influence from classic rock bands like AC/DC is quite present in Buckcherry, but none of the songs sound like a direct rip-off of anything. From start to finish the album is quite a rocking adrenaline rush, though from time to time it lets you breathe with a few slower songs. For lack of better wording, the style is "cock rock" but at the same time there are some real subjects talked about with honest feelings conveyed to the listener. This is probably what helps separate Buckcherry from many of the other bands of its kind.

Lit Up opens the album with the crunchiest, tastiest, and catchiest riff by Keith Nelson you could possibly think of. When the rest of the band kicks in everything just goes balls to the wall. It isn't a fast song; about upper mid-tempo. Josh Todd's Americanized Bon Scott style vocals match the band for intensity in a way that makes the two entities compliment one another beautifully. This is one of those songs that can get a crowd up on its feet and just jump when played in a live setting. There is nothing else that you could possibly do.

Check Your Head slows things down for a moment, but it does so in a good way. Todd sings about being happy with what you have in life and to appreciate those you have in life because you never know what they are going through and what may happen to them if you're not careful. The music itself is still pretty bluesy and rocking, but at the same time a bit more laid back and played mostly with straight chords. The guitar solo is what really makes this song, though. It is melodic, memorable, and almost a song in itself.

If you only know Buckcherry for songs like Crazy Bitch, then you're seriously missing out on one hell of a rock n' roll song catalog. Buckcherry does not have a single bad song on it and will have you singing along within the first couple of listens. It's cock rock with an actual purpose to it. It is by far my favorite album of theirs even to this day. It really will remind you what rock n' roll is all about if you feel like you have become removed and forgotten about it.

Buckcherry, by Buckcherry Receives 5 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Lit Up
2. Crushed
3. Dead Again
4. Check Your Head
5. Dirty Mind
6. For the Movies
7. Lawless and Lulu
8. Related
9. Borderline
10. Get Back
11. Baby
12. Drink the Water

Buy the album on Amazon:

Nikki Sixx Willing to Play Naked On Stage If New England Wins Super Bowl

Motley Crue bassist and primary song writer Nikki Sixx has always been known for his wild antics over the years, but his recent tweets really seem to take the cake. Sixx has proclaimed via Twitter that if the New England Patriots win this year's Super Bowl, he will play a song on stage naked during the next leg of Motley Crue's final tour.

The tweet says:

"No way on earth the Pats can beat .If they do I’ll play a song naked onstage and you don’t wanna see that…. "

Sixx spent much of his youth in Seattle and is a long time die hard fan of the Seattle Seahawks, the team that will be opposing the Patriots this year.

I've heard of football fans doing some pretty outlandish things to support their favorite team, but this seems quite ballsy if you ask me. If Sixx does lose, he has not yet stated when and where he will be birthday suiting up. The band's final tour is supposed to continue in Japan next month and then come back to the United States. Personally, I'm not sure how Japan would handle such an incidence considering what strict rules they have. However, regardless of where it happens I'm sure there will be quite an uproar.

Monday, January 26, 2015

5 of the Best Beatles Covers

In the world of rock n' roll, covering a song by the Fab Four is a pretty standard thing to do. It's been that way since their 1960's heyday. This isn't a surprise at all, considering how massively popular and influential they have been even to this day. Some of the most high profile artists have taken part in this over the years and have almost completely reinterpreted their chosen tunes in their own unique ways, making them completely their own. Below are five of the best ones in no particular order:

1. She Said, She Said, by The Black Keys

In 2002, Akron, Ohio based blues rock group The Black Keys recorded their own interpretation of this acid trip inspired tune from Revolver for their debut album The Big Come Up. Though the smooth vocal harmonies and soft pop rock nature of the original version are gone, they have been replaced by a more raw, gritty, and upbeat vibe that sounds as though a blues band recorded it in their garage on cheap equipment. However, I mean this in quite a good way. In addition, the vocals are the epitome of soulful. This is really worth taking a listen to.

2. Helter Skelter, by Motley Crue

In 1982, California based hair metal band Motley Crue covered this howling hard rocking Paul McCartney classic for their Shout at the Devil album. For the most part it stays true to the original, save a few minor nuances here and there. They did make it heavier, a little bit faster, and more intense (naturally), which is quite fitting given the attitude and nature of the song. It works out as a metal song quite well. The pinch harmonics laced throughout the song make you just shiver in pure delight. The flashy lightning fast guitar solo only adds to the eargasm. I never thought I could say I've headbanged to a Beatles tune until I heard this.

3. Help!, by Deep Purple

When this cover was released in 1968 by prog/hard rock band Deep Purple, the Beatles were actually still together. It was part of the band's debut album Shades of Deep Purple. This cover sounds almost NOTHING like the original version at all. It could very well be its own song. The only things kept are the vocal melodies. This version is slowed way down and given more a ballad-esque ambience, unlike the upbeat pop-rock style it was originally written in. In a way it almost reminded me of a hymn, but with electric guitar (which at one point does an epic melodic solo). I cannot recommend this cover enough because it will give you a new appreciation for what can be done with a song when you rethink the style it's played in.

4. Across the Universe, by David Bowie

In this cover, a former Beatle actually performed on the track with the artist; in this case pop icon David Bowie. John Lennon contributed backing vocals and guitar to Bowie's 1975 cover of his ballad for Bowie's album Young Americans. This version leaves out some of the eastern influenced chant lyrics that were in the original and replaces them with dual harmonized guitar melodies. Lennon said this was actually the best recording of the song he had ever. It's easy to understand why. There is a lot more passion, love, and energy put into it. There wasn't all of the stress and drama that had influenced the last sessions of The Beatles when this song was originally recorded.

5. Day Tripper, by Whitesnake

Before Whitesnake became known for their hair metal sound and appearance, they were originally a soulful blues rock band that started in 1978. On their debut album Trouble, they recorded a cover of Day Tripper. Many of the familiar melodies are kept, but the tune is slowed down a bit and given more of a funky soul kind of feel. The main riff translates into that style really well. One thing that makes this cover and absolute treat to the ears is the vocal harmonies. They are multi-layered, tight, and booming with melody. Layering a Hammond organ over the whole thing also brings a new layer and dimension of sound as well.

Do you agree with my list? If not, what are some of your favorite covers of The Beatles' work? Feel free to leave a comment below.

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #10

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. Home Sweet Home, by Motley Crue

This is one of Motley Crue's best known ballads and have for the past three decades used it to close their live shows. The piano is the focal point and was written and performed by drummer Tommy Lee. The lyrics pretty much convey what it's like to be so exposed to the world all the time due to vast fame and notoriety while also missing home and just wanting to be there. Like many ballads it is fairly slow paced and semi-soft, but comes to a massive climax during Mick Mars's guitar solo. I really love this song because it was a way for Motley Crue to get the point across that they weren't just about girls, parties, and vices. They actually are real people and feel things too. Such honesty doesn't appear too often in the hair metal genre.

2. No Quarter, by Led Zeppelin

This 7 minute long epic track from one of the greatest bands to ever come out of Britain sadly gets overlooked by the general public (meaning non-fans of the band) a lot in this day and age. It brings the psychedelic style of music born in the 1960's into a heavier and more intense state of being in the next decade. Vocalist Robert Plant sounds as though he is singing under water during this journey. What makes the song unique and fascinating is that while the overall tone is laid back, it still has nuances of intensity laced throughout it. The electric piano, synth, and guitars all blend together into a multi-layered masterpiece. If you have a bit of time to kill and want to try something that may open your mind a bit, give this tune a shot.

3. Everlasting Light, by The Black Keys

Now normally I'm not as much of a fan of what The Black Keys have done since they became more popular (No, it's not because they are popular. I'm not a hipster.), but this tune is one of the exceptions. It reminds me of an updated version of Mambo Sun, by T. Rex but with grittier guitars and higher pitched vocals. It has that same night time, swinging from side to side kind of vibe to it. It keeps the same overall feel to it for the entire song and does not feature much in the way of any noticeable change-ups, but that works to its advantage. It's a great way to start to get yourself moving if you're in the mood for a bit of dancing.

4. Gangland, by Tygers of Pan Tang

Time for something with a bit more balls to it. Tygers of Pan Tang were part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement in the late 70's and early 80's. This band at one point featured lead guitarist John Sykes, who would later go on to join Thin Lizzy and Whitesnake. His lightning fast chops are featured nowhere better than on the track Gangland. It's an upbeat rocker that is very representative of the time and style it comes from, but not something I would call dated. Apart from the flashy guitar work the vocals aren't too shabby either. They can get high, but still maintain enough masculine grit to where the average listener can take them seriously. All in all it's heavy, it's fast, it's in your face. What more can you ask for from heavy metal?

5. Fortunate Son, by Credence Clearwater Revival

This well known hit is one of John Fogerty's magnum opuses. The chord progression is pretty simple, though it features a few simple bluesy licks here and there and packs quite a punch overall. It's the profound lyrical message and the powerful vocals that deliver them that really bring this song to the level of renown it is on. It's hard not to get pumped up and even a little angry at the establishment when this tune is cranked at top volume. Though it isn't heavy metal, I could easily see people moshing to it at a live show.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Megadeth's Dave Ellefson Says Band is Moving Forward

Late last year, Big 4 thrash metal band Megadeth lost two of its members when lead guitarist Chris Broderick and drummer Shawn Drover quit virtually simultaneously. They both wanted to go a different direction creatively and wanted to try something new. According to Spotlight Report, bassist and founding member Dave Ellefson is not too happy about this and feels as though he is losing family members (as both Drover and Broderick had both been in the band far longer than most other previous members).

Ellefson says:

“It is obviously going to be different without them. We spent five years together with them in that lineup. That's a long time. We did multiple live albums with them, two studio albums, we toured together – so it’s a bit like some family members are gone. Especially through the holidays I’ve kinda been a little sad about it. I realize that they wanted to move on to something else and I support them as my friends, but selfishly I’m definitely going to miss them for sure.”

However, while Ellefson is somber about the whole affair, the band is still moving forward and planning to release a new album to follow up their 2013 release Super Collider. He states that they have already found replacements. Ellefson elaborates saying the fans will be "very happy" about said replacements but he can't say anything on the matter yet.

Ellefson is psyched to be working on new material saying: “Most importantly, we’re moving forward with writing a new album. Once we get into the studio to record it, then the lineup will naturally evolve around that.”

Many fans of the band are currently speculating that former members lead guitarist Marty Friedman and drummer Nick Menza from the band's classic line-up may be rejoining. It would be nice to see such a thing happen, but only if they can all resolve for good whatever issues they have had with one another over the years. I'd hate for it to be like the Kiss "reunion" where really it was just a marketing ploy and none of the problems were solved; eventually leading to the classic line-up dissolving for good. Only time will tell.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Kiss, by Kiss

Before Kiss had well known tunes like Rock and Roll All Nite, Calling Dr. Love, Detroit Rock City, etc. and were rocking packed arenas every single night with flamboyant stage shows they were a small struggling band with a new visual spin in New York. Signed by Casablanca Records, the band released their self-titled debut album Kiss in 1974. Though their beginnings were rough and they had multiple troubles (as their appearance and loud sound were pretty radical at the time) the album despite the lack of any hits was enough to give them the momentum they needed to build up to the speed that got them where they are today.

Kiss showcases a lot of the band's early influences like The New York Dolls and The Beatles but in a heavier way. The songs are rock n' roll in its simplest form, but with the distortion turned up and a bit of shine added on for that sparkly glam nuance. At times there are some very ear pleasing dual guitar harmonies between rhythm guitarist/lead vocalist Paul Stanley and lead guitarist Ace Frehley that add a bit more melody and musical substance to the songs. At other times the guitar tone gets a bit thicker to provide the heavier sound the band was going for at the time. Many of the songs were written by Stanley and bassist and lead vocalist Gene Simmons during their time in their previous band Wicked Lester.

Strutter is the album's opener and is probably the best known song from Kiss. Starting with an iconic drum fill from Peter Criss, it's a pretty uptempo tune and features an abundance of the glam sparkle I mentioned earlier. Stanley takes lead vocals and uses his flamboyant and semi-operatic voice almost to its full extent. Frehley does some fantastic lead guitar work in the solo section. It takes the song to it's orgasmic climax before letting the listener ride out the rest of the song on an extended simplified chorus. Fun fact: Strutter is actually one of the few songs that both Stanley and Simmons share writing credits on.

Let Me Know is a virtually unknown part of the Kiss catalog, but in my opinion it is one of their best. It's the first song that Stanley played for Simmons when they first met one another. Of all the songs on Kiss, it is probably the most Beatles-esque in terms of vocal melody and chord progression. It's a simple song, but it is such an ear worm that it honestly is quite baffling that it is not one of their big hits. Surprisingly Simmons actually sings quite melodically on it unlike the more gruff style he is known for. While it is very reminiscent of a 60's pop rock song, the ending is quite different as it turns into an almost Led Zeppelin style hard rock groove that could almost be an entire song in itself if it went on long enough. I cannot suggest this tune enough.

Even if you don't take Kiss all that seriously, you owe it to yourself to give Kiss a shot. There are so many memorable tracks that you could tell the band put their all into. There isn't a single bad song on it. This was before big money came into the picture and they weren't just doing things to further a brand name. They really cared about the music. The production is a little lacking even for the time, but in a way it works to the advantage of the music; giving it a unique charm. It is without a doubt my favorite Kiss album of all time and probably always will be.

Kiss, by Kiss receives 5 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Strutter
2. Nothin' to Lose
3. Firehouse
4. Cold Gin
5. Let Me Know
6. Kissin' Time
7. Deuce
8. Love Theme From Kiss
9. 100,000 Years
10. Black Diamond

Buy the album on Amazon:

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Scott Weiland Makes Unexpected New Super Group

Former Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver singer Scott Weiland has thrown quite a curve ball. He has joined up with former Guns N' Roses guitarist Bumblefoot, Disturbed bassist John Moyer, and Jon and Vince Votta to form a brand new band called Art of Anarchy.

This would not be Weiland's first musical venture with a former member of Guns N' Roses. The majority of Velvet Revolver apart from rhythm guitarist Dave Kushner were former members of the band. Bumblefoot served as a lead guitarist in the new line-up of GN'R from 2006-2014. His playing is featured on their 2008 release Chinese Democracy, though he has plenty of solo work of his own out there to be bought.

The new group began as the fruition of a 20 year camaraderie between Bumblefoot and the Votta twins. Bumblefoot is the producer of their album, though Jon Votta is the main writer of their material. The album is supposed to be out this spring. Below is a video with samples from two of the tunes that will be on the record.

So far the tunes are sounding a bit more metal than what I'm used to hearing Weiland sing on, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. However, I have a feeling that there is a lot more to what is coming than what is shown in the samples. While they are somewhat intriguing, I feel the real treats are probably going to be elsewhere. I'm interested to hear how Bumblefoot will tear it up on this record, though I can hear non-soloing parts that definitely sound like his style. We'll just have to wait and see, I suppose.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Kiss Collaboration Single With J-Pop Group Momorio Clover Z Released

Kiss has done a LOT of different over the top things throughout their 40+ year career to gather people's attention; some more outlandish than others. Yesterday (January 19) however, they really took the cake when they released their collaborative single with J-pop group Momoiro Clover Z titled Yume No Ukiyo Saitemina.

The video released for the single is quite vibrant, fast paced, and borderline psychedelic at times. It is half animated, half live action featuring both groups preparing to do battle with one another, though by the end both groups earn each other's respect. In a way it's like the Saturday morning cartoons you watched as a kid on acid. Be that as it may, it really is a treat to the eyes if you are willing to open your mind a bit.

The song itself is primarily poppy with Momoiro Clover Z taking the lead vocals, but Kiss brings up the rear with some darker, heavier edge and occasionally throwing in some shouted "heys" and guitar solos to make it sound more like the collaboration it is supposed to be.

Neither the video nor the song will be every Kiss fan's cup of tea, but for those with enough of an open mind to try something new they may yet find it enjoyable. However, if the initially released version isn't to one's liking, there will be two different versions: the Momocio version and the Kiss version that will be on the Best of Kiss 40 album titled Samurai Son.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #9

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. The Last in Line, by Dio

If you have ever felt as though life is crap and the man has you down with no way of escape, look no further than this song by the late metal god Ronnie James Dio for encouragement. It's bold, thundering anthem-like nature will have you raising your metal horns, banging your head, and feeling better in no time.  In his life time Dio wrote many songs that provided hope and encouragement to those who needed it the most. The Last in Line is in my opinion the best example of this. The soft intro fools you at first into thinking this will be a sappy song, but once the full band kicks into overdrive with the pounding rhythm, the thundering bass, and powerful guitar you get blown back into your seat. Dio's aggressive yet melodic vocals come ripping in and convey the important message this song has to offer. It's a nice pick-me-up to say the least.

2. Save Me, by Motion Device

This is another heavy metal tune, but I'm sure you'll like it. Motion Device is a young band from Canada where the members are all related to one another and are in their late teens/early 20's. The exception is their singer who is an 11/12 year old girl. You might not think that a band with such a vocalist would be able to be taken seriously at all, but in this case you would be dead wrong. This little girl has one powerhouse of a voice. I was blown away the first time I heard her sing. The song Save Me talks about the current state of the music industry in terms of business men only caring about money and the latest thing that will help them get it; even if it is bland, without substance, and formulaic. You can tell that a younger person wrote the lyrics, but they're still really something.

3. Savannah Woman, by Tommy Bolin

If something with a relaxing vibe is more your dig, Savannah Woman, by the late Tommy Bolin should do the trick. Despite Bolin being more known for some of his rock based music he could play a variety of styles. This song in particular has a real flamenco/island kind of feel to it. If you close your eyes while listening you can almost hear the waves of the ocean and feel the breeze upon your cheek. Most of the song is just soft strumming with Bolin singing, but at the end he tears into it by shredding it up on an acoustic/clean set electric guitar while still keeping with the relaxing tropical feel to the song. It's a great way to unwind after work.

4. Can't Explain, by The Who

This year legendary British Invasion rockers The Who are turning 50 years old as a band. The first single they ever put out, Can't Explain is a fairly simple pop rock tune that definitely reflects the era it was made in. The lyrics are very relatable to those who some times get weird feelings that they just can't explain to those around them. Definitely different from the kinds of bubble gum lovey-dovey lyrics that most pop songs of the early to mid 1960's had, which was a major contributing factor the success The Who had. Fun fact, Jimmy Page who would later go on to form Led Zeppelin played as a session guitarist in the recording of this tune.

5. Under My Wheels, by Alice Cooper

Nothing says rock n' roll like a man in scary make-up singing about how his woman drives him crazy, right? Under My Wheels was one of shock rocker Alice Cooper's first big hits in his early career. The song itself is pretty standard 12 bar kind of stuff, but with the way the guitars drive the song with their catchy rhythms and applaudable soloing you just can't go wrong. Plus, Cooper's voice is unmistakeable and really brings everything together. It just wouldn't be the same without him. The horns in the background are also a nice touch. This song will get you moving and put a smile back on your face for sure.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Former Deep Purple Vocalist/Bassist Glenn Hughes's Band California Breed Folds Up

It would seem that former Deep Purple bassist and vocalist Glenn Hughes has another band to add to his long list of short lived projects: his latest band California Breed. The band that formed in 2013 after the end of Hughes's other band Black Country Communion has now folded up after releasing only one album.

The band posted this tweet from their official Twitter account on Thursday:

"We are no more....another thing we couldn't keep together"

 To be fair though, the band had been kind of falling apart for a while. It was kind of evident when drummer Jason Bonham quit last year right before the tour to support their debut album California Breed. Bonham feels no animosity towards his former band mates saying, “I love those guys but it wasn’t going to work for me.”

Guitarist Andrew Watt was quick to jump on his Facebook and address the situation to his followers by writing out this extended statement:

"To the California Breed fans here...I put everything I had into this band...all I can say is I was in it for the long hall...I have a lot of new music for you guys...going to be announcing my plans soon...I cannot tell you how much I appreciate you supporting us, buying our music, coming to our shows...this is not the is truly the beginning...cannot wait to continue the quest to bring rock n roll back to the people that are hungry for it



Watt seems to be planning to keep going ahead with his music and to make something big happen next. Good for him. His playing was absolutely fantastic on the California Breed record. Despite the fact that Hughes is a talented song writer, it was Watt's fresh take and energy that really made the songs come alive. I'm sure whatever he does next will be nothing short of astounding and breathtaking.

Hughes has yet to directly comment on the split. A couple of his Facebook posts from the past week alluded that there may be trouble in the band, but there was nothing specific. Not surprising, given the way he goes about things on his social media accounts.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Teaser, by Tommy Bolin

It seems to be a noticeable trend in the world of contemporary music for some of the most talented performers to die at a very young age. Such was also the case for jazz fusion/rock guitarist Tommy Bolin; who played with notable groups such as Zephyr, The James Gang, Billy Cobham, Deep Purple, etc. In December of 1976 Bolin passed away due to a drug overdose via heroin, alcohol, cocaine, barbiturates, etc. while on a solo tour opening for Jeff Beck and Peter Frampton after the break-up of Deep Purple earlier that year. He was only 25 years old at the time.

While Bolin is has a rather high reputation amongst the rock community, his style was more jazzy rather than rock oriented; he just did it with more of a rock edge. His style, prowess, enthusiasm, and versatility were never better exemplified than in his 1975 solo album Teaser. In this album one minute he is playing a straight up rock tune, the next a flamenco song, the next after that a reggae groove, and so on. Anything Bolin liked, he put on his record. Throughout all of the songs on Teaser however, they are unmistakeably him.

The title track Teaser is one of the straight rock tunes that was mentioned earlier. The tune starts off with a fairly repetitive main riff that carries out throughout the verses, but despite this it is quite the ear worm. It stays in your head and kind of makes you dance even after the song has ended. The interlude is also quite funky, which isn't surprising given the era the song and album were created during. While the vocals aren't really the main focus of the album, the chorus hook also seems to latch onto you and makes you unable to help yourself in terms of singing along with it. The song is fun, memorable, and a great way to get people's feet moving.

Dreamer is the album's ballad. Surprisingly the primary instrumental focal point of the song is the piano (played by Dave Foster) rather than Bolin's guitar. Be that as it may, the guitar solo is immensely powerful on a profound emotional level. It absolutely makes the song and acts as a impeccable climax to what has been building up throughout the duration of it. The final verse is sung quite soulfully by Bolin's Deep Purple band mate Glenn Hughes, though he is uncredited due to contractual obligations. I feel that it adds a nice touch and is a great way for a friend to help a friend out.

Unfortunately Teaser isn't as well known as it could have been because around the time that it was being finished up and released, Bolin had just joined Deep Purple (after the departure of original guitarist Ritchie Blackmore who had left to form Rainbow) and was working on new music with them. I highly recommend picking up a copy of this album up. It's diverse and showcases a great deal of Bolin's talent without seeming like he was being pretentious in any way. While the original album is fantastic however, I would advise you get the Deluxe version because it features remixed outtakes of the songs that sound much cleaner, vibrant, and show off more of Bolin's chops as well as a couple of unreleased tracks.

Teaser, by Tommy Bolin receives 5 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. The Grind
2. Homeward Strut
3. Dreamer
4. Savannah Woman
5. Teaser
6. People, People
7. Marching Powder
8. Wild Dogs
9. Lotus

Buy the album on Amazon:

Company Makes Kurt Cobain Suicide Note T-Shirt, But Pulls It

It is always a wonderful thing when people want to celebrate the legacy of a beloved musician who has unfortunately passed on. However, usually the method used is one that is respectful and brings attention to their life, rather than their death. Up until a little while ago, a shirt featuring the hand written suicide note by Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain was available for sale on Etsy.

This shirt met with some serious backlash from Nirvana fans and the general public. There was even a petition from to have the shirt removed from the online store as well as fiery passionate rage filled editorials on the subject.

After the shirts were removed from Etsy they briefly showed up again on eBay from a seller in Thailand by the name of Nuchyk, though those sales have also been brought to a halt by this point as well.

I understand that people some times want to do things for the mere shock value, but I feel that there is a distinct difference between shock value and giving the finger to common decency. Shock value is meant to be used as a tool to challenge society for the better, not to remind people of a tragedy in a puerile, cruel, and tasteless fashion. I am most certainly glad there was such a backlash against these shirts. It gives me back a little bit of faith in humanity.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Scott Weiland Once Again Says He Is Open to Velvet Revolver Reunion

In a recent interview with Bay Area rock station 107.7 The Bone’s, ‘Lamont And Tonelli Show’ former Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver singer Scott Weiland has once again stated he would be open to a reunion with Velvet Revolver. He has no issues with former band mate lead guitarist Slash and feels it would go well.

Weiland says:

“That’s just coming from my perspective, though. I know there’s been a little banter before. And he was doing his own solo project, so he defused that. But, you know … That’s the thing about rock and roll: you never can say never.”

Again however, this is not the first time that Weiland has made such remarks to the press regarding his former band. They did do a one off show back in 2012, but it was very short and for a benefit gig.

In response to Weiland's multiple statments regarding the issue, Slash has said:

“I can see Scott coming back, but I can’t see anybody accepting him. That’s sort of the case. It’s not a big deal and I don’t want to bad mouth Scott or anything. The whole thing is we’re looking for another guy to replace him. It just hasn’t happened.”

Considering that Weiland has also in the past stated that he would really only be in it for the money it would kind of ruin the whole thing for everyone even if it were to happen. That being said, I kind of see Slash's point. As much as I would love to see the old Velvet Revolver get back together it would have to be under the right circumstances and for the right reasons. I'd hate to see a band just phoning it in and only doing it for money. It's probably for the best that they get a new singer, though I wish they would get a move on. It's been almost 7 years now.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #8

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.  Hold On, by Deep Purple

In the mid 1970's Deep Purple had gone through some major line-up changes; replacing bassist Roger Glover with Glenn Hughes and vocalist Ian Gillan with David Coverdale. From there the sound of the band incorporated more elements of funk, blues, and soul. These elements were most prevalent on their album Stormbringer. The track Hold On from this album features many falsetto harmonies from Hughes (as he was also the backing/secondary vocalist) and soulful bluesy melodies from Coverdale. Keyboardist Jon Lord takes most of the instrumental forefront in this song with some softer funk tinged keys, though guitarist Ritchie Blackmore rattles off the most memorable and melodic solo on the entire album; picking it with just his thumb. After this album, Blackmore would leave the band and form Rainbow because he felt that Deep Purple was making too much of what he considered "shoe shine music". Be that as it may, this song with its cheery funky atmosphere is a great way to lift your spirits.

2. Once Bitten Twice Shy, by Great White

Though the original version of this song is by former Mott the Hoople vocalist Ian Hunter, hard rock band Great White really brought the song Once Bitten, Twice Shy back to popularity with their 1989 cover of the song. It is a pretty straight up bluesy 50's rock n' roll style tune with the focal point really being the chugging away at the guitar. However, the honky-tonk piano really shines things up once it kicks in halfway through the first verse. The crown jewel of this little jaunt is the chorus. It's impossible to not find yourself singing "My, my, my.... Once bitten, twice shy baby!" along with the band. It's infectious in that way.

3. New Rose, by The Damned

If something a little more punk rock is your shindig, the tune New Rose, by The Damned is straight up your alley. This tune was actually the very first punk rock single in the United States. The pounding thunder of the drums during the intro met by the crashing chords instantaneously sets the mood for the rest of the 3 minute rock out to come. It is raw, it is energetic, rumbling, loud, and makes you want to get up and either mosh or do some kind of headbanging. The vocals don't have very much melody to them, but when it's punk rock does that kind of thing really matter?

4. Patience, by Guns N' Roses

Despite the fact that Guns N' Roses are known primarily for loud angry rocking tunes, they also have a softer and more tender side to them as well. This is extremely well reflected in the main single from their 1989 album GN'R Lies titled: Patience. No electric guitars, no bass guitars, or even drums. Just a few guys with acoustic guitars, a tambourine, and a singer. Vocalist Axl Rose pours his soul into every last lyric he sings and it really shows through; especially near the end of the song. For all of the outrageous and occasionally awful things he has been known to say and do he is an excellent and honest musician who gives nothing less than 110%. This is a great song to relax to, as this is an acoustic ballad.

5. The Seeker, by The Who

This song while played on a more clean amp setting is still a rocker as far as I'm concerned. The Seeker, by British Invasion legends The Who has this flow to it where you feel like you're being carried along. It's easy to nod your head along while also taking in the profound lyrics written by guitarist Pete Townshend and sung by Roger Daltrey. The amazing thing is while the song is pretty much just straight basic chords, it feels like it is so much more than that. Maybe it's the way everything is put together, but there is a good reason for the past 50 years Townshend has been the primary songwriter for The Who.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Motley Crue Bassist Nikki Sixx Says He Would Decline RRHOF Induction

When the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was initially founded it was meant to honor those in rock n' roll with successful careers and to celebrate their influence and legacy. However, many people in this day and age feel that the Hall has strayed far from this purpose and has made it all a political game. One of the most notable and vocal people on this topic is Motley Crue and Sixx: AM bassist/song writer Nikki Sixx.

In a recent post on his Facebook, Sixx says were Motley Crue to be offered induction into the Hall he would turn it down. Sixx elaborates on this by saying:

"It's a fixed old-boy network that has lost touch with art, songwriting craft, lyrics and influential music and usually has other agendas at hand. Young bands tell me it's a joke, and these bands are the future."

To be honest I have to agree with Sixx. If the Hall were really about the things they claim to be, so many bands who have only just recently gotten in would have long ago. Plus, the fact that bands like Deep Purple still have yet to be offered induction really proves that it really is all just a political game with a bunch of old guys just picking and choosing what they want and denying entrance if certain musicians won't do what they want them to.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols, by The Sex Pistols

Though they weren't the first band to brandish such a rough and honest sound and image, The Sex Pistols back in the 1970's were the band to really define and create the template for punk bands in the years to come. Crashing guitar chords combined with thundering drums and rude cockney vocals made for a blend that at the time was shocking, unheard of, and most certainly unique. Before The Sex Pistols most rock n' roll bands were getting more and more artistic and a bit pretentious for many people's taste and they wanted something more honest and down to Earth. When bands like The Sex Pistols and The Ramones burst on the scene in the mid-70's everything was changed and many prayers were answered.

Though many other tracks of various natures have been leaked over the years, The Sex Pistols only ever recorded one full studio album, titled Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols. Seems it was enough to leave a lasting legacy, though. Many of the lyrics are politically charged, aimed at the current state of British politics, though some lyrics were more sexual or related to the human condition. When sung by vocalist Johnny Rotten in his form that is almost like anti-singing they develop more of an awakening impact upon the ears of the listener.

If you haven't heard the main single Anarchy in the U.K., you most certainly have been living under a rock. Its thunderous based intro is iconic. The chords on the guitar played by Steve Jones just ring out and Paul Cook is an absolute monster on the drum kit. Naturally the lyrical content is of a pro-anarchy nature; something which many other punk bands have been inspired by and tried to emulate themselves. Surprisingly despite Rotten's lack of traditional singing prowess, his style adds to the flavor of this tune quite well and amazingly has a recognizable and memorable melody to it.

Problems though a less well known tune from the band's repertoire has many merits of its own and is a fan favorite. It takes a rather loud and defensive tone about how so many people criticize others for being different despite the fact that at least the people they criticize at least know who they want to be and aren't fake. It also takes a stab at the fact that the people who do the criticizing are in a way just sheeple who go to their 9-5 jobs and conform to every convention of modern human society. Musically it isn't quite as engaging as some of the other songs on the album but its brutal honesty more than compensates for it.

Every track of Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols has something to say and does so in the most audacious, rambunctious, and rock n' roll way possible. It isn't for everyone due to the graphic nature of the lyrics and the loud ruckus of the instruments. However, for those with an open mind and wanting to listen to something more honest than most popular music this album is a MUST have. You're cheating yourself if you don't listen to it. It's also a great way to hear where punk music as we know it came from.

Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols, by The Sex Pistols receives 5 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Holidays in the Sun
2. Bodies
3. No Feelings
4. Liar
5. Problems
6. God Save the Queen
7. Seventeen
8. Anarchy in the U.K.
9. Submission
10. Pretty Vacant
11. New York.
12. E.M.I.

Buy the Album on Amazon:

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Black Sabbath Guitarist Tony Iommi May Never Fully Recover From Cancer

Three years ago, guitarist Tony Iommi of heavy metal pioneer band Black Sabbath was diagnosed with cancer; specifically lymphoma. Iommi has discussed in a new interview with Mirror the ways in which cancer has changed the way he lives his life and his current chances at survival of the deadly condition.

Iommi says:

“The surgeon told me he doesn’t expect the cancer to go away. There’s a 30 percent chance that it could, but more than likely it will come back and it could be any time."

Iommi was diagnosed during the recording of Black Sabbath's most recent studio album 13, the band's first album with front man Ozzy Osbourne since 1978's Never Say Die!. During the tour every two to three weeks he would have to fly back to Birmingham, England just to get a chemo treatment and a check-up on his current condition at the time. 
His treatments have apparently been really rigorous, but he is feeling better.

"I finally finished my antibody treatment over the summer. It's good in a way because I have more energy now, but I still don't know whether the treatment worked."

Iommi further elaborates: 
"I look at life differently now. I could be here another 10 years or just one year — I don't know."

So long as Iommi's health remains intact enough and he can stay with us, Black Sabbath is supposed to do one more album and one more tour this year before they call it quits for good. It's a shame that Iommi is going through such an ordeal, but sadly the old guard of heavy rock and metal seem to be falling away one by one. Iommi's former band mate vocalist Ronnie James Dio fell to stomach cancer back in 2010. One can only hope Iommi doesn't have to join him too soon.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Black Keys Drummer Patrick Carney Injures Shoulder

Normally when you take a nice relaxing trip, you don't think the emergency room will be one of your stops. While in the Caribbean on a break from touring, this is exactly what happened to Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney.

According to TMZ, Carney was injured on January 3rd when a "humongous wave slammed him to the ocean floor". This caused his shoulder to be dislocated and required him to immediately seek medical attention. Fortunately, Carney's shoulder was reset at St. Bart's and he was released that day.

Carney seemed to be in good spirits about the whole affair and was even able to make fun of himself a bit when posting photos of it to Instagram. One of the captions reads, “Tune into my new lifetime movie. ‘Dislocated shoulder’ airing right now,”.

Unfortunately however, this incident brings up a whole new conundrum. According to the National Health Service in Britain it takes 12-16 weeks for a dislocated shoulder to fully recover. This is time that currently the Black Keys do not have as next month they begin another world tour. They have given no statement as to how if at all the injury will affect the tour. Hopefully some form of a solution can be found or Carney can tough it out like Jack White did recently with his horribly sprained ankle.
“Tune into my new lifetime movie. ‘Dislocated shoulder’ airing right now,”

Read More: Patrick Carney of the Black Keys Suffers Shoulder Injury |
“Tune into my new lifetime movie. ‘Dislocated shoulder’ airing right now,”

Read More: Patrick Carney of the Black Keys Suffers Shoulder Injury |
“Tune into my new lifetime movie. ‘Dislocated shoulder’ airing right now,”

Read More: Patrick Carney of the Black Keys Suffers Shoulder Injury |
“Tune into my new lifetime movie. ‘Dislocated shoulder’ airing right now,”

Read More: Patrick Carney of the Black Keys Suffers Shoulder Injury |

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #7

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. Dancing on Glass, by Motley Crue

During Motley Crue's big heyday it's no secret that  everyone in the band was a big party animal. However, some times these hijinks involved habits that nearly killed them on multiple occasions. Bassist and primary Crue song writer Nikki Sixx probably faced this in worse ways than any of them with his heroin addiction that actually at one point did kill him briefly but was fortunately able to be brought back. The song Dancing on Glass while being an upbeat almost rockabilly type tune outlines the demons and troubles Sixx was facing during this time in 1987. The interesting thing is that while it has that classic vibe, at the same time it sounds a bit dark apart from the lyrical content.

2. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, by Bumblefoot

I'm sure many of you know the classic Elton John version of this lighthearted musical romp. Nearly 40 years later guitar extraordinaire Bumblefoot decided to do his own cover version of it. You would think that no one would be able to come anywhere near as good as the original masterpiece, but lo and behold Bumblefoot did it. Rather than the primary instrument being a piano however, he uses a mostly clean sounding electric guitar (Surprise, I know.). Bumblefoot also does the singing and as far as I'm concerned, he nails it. Overall he stays true to the nature of the original while still going completely in his own direction with it. This is the prime example of what a cover song should be.

3. Hair of the Dog, by Nazareth

I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell! If ever there were a song that could be considered the prime example of cowbell rock, Hair of the Dog, by Nazareth is it. It's raucous, gritty, and grooving. Many other bands have tried to emulate the nature of this rocker ever since it came out in 1975. Its chorus is memorable, its riff is iconic, and its beat sets the standard for groove rock to follow. Hair of the Dog is certainly a contrast from the wimpy laughable ballad that Nazareth is also known for: Love Hurts.

4. Whiskey in the Jar, by Thin Lizzy

It is not entirely uncommon for a rock n' roll band to take a traditional folk tune and turn it into something entirely new, unique, and amazing. In 1972, Irish hard rock band Thin Lizzy took a stab at this themselves by covering an old Irish ballad called Whiskey in the Jar. It sounds almost nothing like the original tune, but that doesn't make it any less good. If anything, I like it far better. Blending acoustic and electric guitars, musically it makes you feel more of what the story teller is meaning to get across to his listeners. It is melodic, emotional, and most of all a great rock song. Metallica of course did their cover of this version, but I feel it doesn't even come close.

5. The Turn of the Screw, by Heaven and Hell

Before beloved metal vocalist and legend Ronnie James Dio left us, he got back together with former his former Black Sabbath band mates under the moniker Heaven and Hell to tour and create more music. The band was able to produce one album, The Devil You Know. The Turn of the Screw from this album in my opinion perfectly captures the refined doom metal music they had been creating in the early 1980s. It starts off crashing, slow, and loud but then picks up a bit into an ear worm of a riff. Right away you instantly know who is making this music without a shadow of a doubt if you know heavy metal music at all. The guitar solos are signature Tony Iommi work and sound almost exactly the way he did them in that era.

Friday, January 2, 2015

AC/DC Drummer Phil Rudd Vows to Get Back to Work with the Band

AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd has been in some serious hot water legally since this past November. Initially the charges were threatening to kill a contractor and his daughter, possession of marijuana and meth, and attempting to hire a hit man. The hit man charge has since been dropped, but he still faces the other two which are both quite serious.

It is unclear at the moment whether or not Rudd is still in the band. He was not present for the publicity photos for their newest album Rock or Bust as well as for the music videos for the singles Play Ball and Rock or Bust. When the band were asked up front about it they just said "the situation will probably just sort itself out".

Rudd however feels that the whole situation is "ludicrous" according to Rudd in a recent interview with ONE News. He further elaborates by saying:

“I’m going back to work with AC/DC and I don’t care who likes it or who doesn’t. This has just been a big ball of cheese and all the rats are gathering and having a piece, that’s just life, but that’s not who I am. Everyone listens to the wrong people. They should listen to me. I’m a good guy, and I’m a pretty good drummer, by the way. Ask Angus [Young]. He’ll tell you … I want my job back, I want my reputation back and I’m gonna get it back. I’m gonna f–king take it back.”

Somehow I just don't see Rudd getting behind the kit for AC/DC again any time soon if at all, considering they probably won't be playing too much longer due to founding rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young retiring due to his struggle with dementia. Plus, it would probably be REALLY bad PR to be working with a man facing such charges, even if somehow Rudd does manage to beat them. Then again, if Ozzy Osbourne can get away with all of the ridiculous things he has done and still sell records and concert tickets, who is to say Rudd can't do the same?