Saturday, February 28, 2015

Guy Tears It Up on Guitar While Surfing

I've seen guys do some pretty crazy things while playing the guitar. I've seen them destroy their amplifiers, I've seen them smash their guitars, I've seen them play with their teeth, I've seen them play behind their heads, and I've even seen them do karate. However, one stunt in particular that has just recently taken to the internet is one that really takes the cake and is almost if not the ultimate awesome thing you could do in life. The above GoPro clip shows a guy who can tear it up on the guitar while surfing.

The guitar shredding wave riding badass's name is Chris Hau, who seemed to be having a whole lot of fun while doing what was thought to be the impossible. Though he did manage to do it, Hau states in the video “It’s hard trying to do the song while surfing. There’s so many different parts of your brain trying to work at the same time.”

 Be that as it may, Hau didn't miss a note while going ape on his Fender Telecaster while riding the waves. I guess all of us guitar players have been shown what's up. Who will take up the challenge of outdoing this feat of amazing double shred?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Surfing With the Alien, by Joe Satriani

There are many guitar aficionados with chops that will shred you from here till three days into next week. However, while flash and speed are a common skill among shredders one thing that isn't is recognizable melody and being able to use it to construct actual music that people will keep coming back to regardless of whether or not they are big fans of the electric guitar. One man who does this better than anyone else however is Joe Satriani, who burst into the mainstream with an explosive vengeance with his second album Surfing With the Alien in 1987.

Surfing With the Alien like most of Satriani's albums is entirely instrumental. It is an adventurous record in that regard. This record really shows just how much one can do with an electric guitar when it is allowed free reign and is the focal point of an entire album due to lack of any presence of vocals. A lot of the time the guitar has this outer space kind of vibe to it in terms of tonality. Though it does sound very 80's in a sense it still is quite unique from what Satriani's guitar shredding peers were doing at the time. Satch puts a lot of warmth, emotion, and real feeling into his technical prowess which in itself is no easy feat.

The title track Surfing With the Alien is the quintessential Satch track. If you have never listened to his music before, I HIGHLY advise you give this a listen before anything else. Instantaneously it grabs you by the balls and takes you for a ride where you feel like you're soaring at terrifying speeds through the solar system as though you were the Silver Surfer (as pictured on the album cover and in Marvel Comics). In between the crunchy riffs and ear worm melodies Satriani definitely flexes his guitar playing muscles with solos so quick you would think that it must be a robot playing the guitar.

If softer ballads are more your bag, Satch has you covered with his most well known and beloved ballad Always With Me, Always With You. It's kind of funny how without the use of any words Joe is able to express the feeling of love and affection in the most tender and warm ways. Everything is so melodic and easy to follow, though a few well placed guitar solos help to push the song to be everything that it can be. If you're getting married, this is actually a good song to consider having as your first dance. It makes you feel like there is nothing in the universe but you, your special someone, and the love you two share.

The odd thing about Surfing With the Alien is that although it is definitely a product of its time it is quite timeless due to many of the melodies it leaves us remembering. Even if this record were to be put out today it would without a doubt still be just as popular as it was when it was released in 1987. To this day it remains one of the major pinnacles of achievement for Joe Satriani, as many of the songs are still requested and played in his live sets even to this day. Anyone looking into Satch's tunes for the first time should start here. Even if you aren't a big fan of guitar chops/proficiency there will more than likely be something here for you to like and appreciate.

Surfing With the Alien, by Joe Satriani receives 5 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Surfing With the Alien
2. Ice 9
3. Crushing Day
4. Always With Me, Always With You
5. Satch Boogie
6. Hill of the Skull
7. Circles
8. Lords of Karma
9. Midnight
10. Echo

Buy the album on Amazon:

New Whitesnake Album Full of Coverdale's Era of Deep Purple Covers

Before singer David Coverdale started Whitesnake in 1978 he rose to prominence in another well known rock n' roll band in 1974: Deep Purple. Now over 40 years later Coverdale is returning to his roots in a sense and paying homage to the band that gave him his break by having Whitesnake cover songs from each of the three albums he did with them in the first new album they have put out since 2011's  Forevermore.

This new album is aptly named The Purple Album. It is all Deep Purple covers and will have choice cuts from the three studio albums Coverdale did with the band: Burn, Stormbringer, and Come Taste the Band. These tracks will be Whitesnake's own reimagining of the classic songs and will be made heavier.

Such was the case for the single Whitesnake just released today (February 25th) Stormbringer, which was the title track of Coverdale's second album with Deep Purple released in 1975. The video is available on YouTube and features the band's newest member: guitarist Joel Hoekstra.

The Purple Album is set to be released on May 19th of this year. Personally I'm looking forward to hearing this album, but it had better have former Deep Purple secondary vocalist and bassist Glenn Hughes. Many of those tracks would not come alive as much as they do without his soulful acrobatic singing. I am a little disappointed that after four years of waiting all we are getting from Whitesnake is a covers album; especially since there is a new guitarist in the band. However, I'm sure it won't be all that long before they are actually writing again.

The video for Stormbringer can be watched below.

Whitesnake The Purple Album Track Listing:

1. Burn
2. You Fool No One
3. Love Child
4. Sail Away
5. The Gypsy
6. Lady Double Dealer
7. Mistreated
8. Holy Man
9. Might Just Take Your Life
10. You Keep on Moving
11. Soldier of Fortune
12. Lay Down Stay Down
13. Stormbringer

Deluxe Edition Bonus Tracks:

14. Lady Luck
15. Comin’ Home

DVD Extras:

Lady Double Dealer (music video)
Sail Away (mix music video)
Stormbringer (music video)
Soldier of Fortune (music video)
Purple Album Behind the Scenes
Purple Album EPK

Video for Stormbringer, by Whitesnake

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Kiss Caught Using Pre-Recorded Tracks at Japanese Concert

It's kind of sad that we have gotten to a point where it is incredibly common for artists/bands to use pre-recorded tracks for their live performances rather than just playing the music right then and there like they should. It is almost an anomaly for a band to actually be completely live. Kind of sickening in a way. At a recent gig Kiss finally got caught amongst the ranks of the mime brigade.

This happened at a recent gig they were playing in Japan. They were performing the track Samurai Son; a track they recently collaborated on creating with J-pop group Momoiro Clover Z. Kiss quickly admitted via Twitter that not all of the tracks were live and that some were pre-recorded. Their reasoning for this is because the tune has many layers to it and not all of them can be provided by just the four guys they have in their personnel.

The tweet reads:

"Recorded Samurai Son for Japan. To reproduce production here we play live with extra tracks. Nothing to hide"

I am glad that they were at least honest about it when confronted with the situation, but I think if they need extra tracks they should just hire whatever extra musicians they need and have them playing just off to the side of the stage so things don't get crowded and distracting from the main attraction. It isn't that uncommon a thing to do. At the very least it would still be live music the audience is getting instead of just a recording. If people want to listen to pre-recorded stuff they can just stay home, push the play button, and save themselves the astronomical amount of money it costs to go to a concert these days.

Speaking of the ticket fees... If a band is going to charge as much as they do for a concert ticket then they had better be actually playing their instruments and doing everything live; otherwise they are just cheating the fans who worked really hard for the money for the tickets out of what they paid to see and hear.

The video from the aforementioned performance can be watched here:

Sunday, February 22, 2015

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #14

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. Aqualung, by Jethro Tull

This is probably prog rock band Jethro Tull's most well known hit, and for good reason. The main riff is iconic and quite bluesy. For a radio hit, it isn't really structured like one. It lacks a noticeable amount of pop song structure and flows more like a suite. However, the end result is greater than the sum of its parts; as it is an exquisite memorable blend of guitars, piano, flute, etc. It is honestly a little baffling yet amusing that a song about a dirty perverted old vagabond could be so widely renowned and loved.

2.   Wheel in the Sky, by Journey

Since the song's late 70's release it has become quite the arena rock anthem. If you have been living under a rock and have somehow never heard the song before the intro might fool you into thinking it will be a soft song, but NOPE. It doesn't take long for the guitar to kick into overdrive and be joined by the rest of the band. The vocal harmonies combined with the driving rhythm and guitars of the tune make you feel like you're listening to the soundtrack of some kind of epic fantasy/sci-fi adventure kind of movie in a way.

3. The Great Divide, by Black Country Communion

This track has some of the best guitar work I have ever heard out of blues rock extraordinaire Joe Bonamassa. However, it isn't just for the mere shredding factor (though there is plenty of that). The way he crafts such a mysterious and almost adventurous melody while intertwining with the vocal melody and lyrics of Glenn Hughes is astounding. The bass also has this deep thick tone that holds the song together while Bonamassa is making melody and Jason Bonham is pounding away at the skins. However, it's the keys played by Derek Sherinian that add the extra arm hair raising vibe. They are layered in perfectly and augment what is already going on in a way that nothing else can.

4. Can I Sit Next to You, Girl?, by AC/DC

This song from AC/DC's first American release High Voltage is what I consider one of AC/DC's hidden treasures. If all you listen to from them is what they play on the radio then you're really missing out because this song while also being catchy also tells an entertaining story of trying to make your way with a girl while at a drive-in and some other guy then tries to swoop in and steal her right out from under you. Musically it's about what you would expect from early AC/DC, but in this case that is exactly what you want. It's swingy, loud, melodic, fun, and sure to help you get through your winter blues.

5. Bridge of Sighs, by Robin Trower

If you're looking for some atmospheric guitar music to help you fall asleep, look no further. Robin Trower has you covered. This tune while sad and soulful also has a relaxing presence that surrounds you like a thick warm blanket. To add to that experience, it also almost gives you the feeling as though you are floating through outer space in a way. It is pretty unique from the rest of Trower's guitar peers' tunes. Bridge of Sighs kind of proves that there is more to having guitar talent than just flashy chops.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Marky Ramone Has New Invention to Deal with Smart Phones at Concerts

Smart phones. They are quite literally a handy device that has represented a noticeable portion of technological advancement in the past decade or so. They can do a great many things and make our lives easier every day. With the advent of such a marvel however there is also a down side. It has become a major trend in this day and age for people to go to concerts and just stand there recording the whole thing rather than actually enjoying the show and the moment. This ruins the experience for other fans trying to get their money's worth and kills the vibe that the band feeds off of. However, former Ramones drummer Marky Ramone has come up with his own cheap and effective solution to this problem.

Everything is explained in the video below, which was created by CH2, a spinoff channel of College Humor. It's quite amusing, so I won't ruin any of it for you. However, let's just say that Marky's invention is so simple and genius, though you will probably want to be careful about actually using it because it could end up resulting in injury and/or lawsuit if things go wrong. Be that as it may, it is very fitting that such a solution would come from a punk rocker like Marky.

That being said, next time you're at a show and someone is ruining your good time with a smart phone, Marky Ramone has you covered. Just make sure the poor bugger using the smart phone doesn't actually know who you are.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Throwback Thursday: High Voltage, by AC/DC


AC/DC has been a staple of hard rock since 1973. Their first American release High Voltage that came out in 1976 helped them explode onto the scene with hits like It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock n' Roll) and T.N.T.. The American release of this album is actually a compilation of songs from their first two Australian only releases High Voltage and T.N.T.. The other songs would be later released in America on different albums and E.P.'s.

High Voltage showcases AC/DC at their primal bluesy roots. In a way all they really did was take 50's rockabilly music and turn up the overdrive on their amps and add sleazier lyrics. However, the way in which this is done really does prove that they do have legitimate talent. Lead guitarist Angus Young really could jam with some of the best in blues if he really wanted to, as he showcases some of the best bluesy guitar licks in his arsenal at the time.

It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock n' Roll) is one of the few times where you can get away with having bagpipes in rock n' roll and not be considered hipsters. It has a main riff that is instantly recognizable as soon as you put the album on. It grabs you and instantly pumps you up with its steady pounding rhythm and memorable vocal melody. Definitely a choice track for going on a road trip or a rock n' roll concert. It is also the one song from original vocalist Bon Scott's era that current singer Brian Johnson won't touch out of respect for his fallen predecessor.

The Jack although not a big radio hit from the band is still played frequently at AC/DC's concerts to this day. It is a very basic slow blues shuffle musically, but the lyrics are what really matter. They are absolutely DRENCHED in double entendre and sleaze if you are listening close enough. Although it sounds like Scott is singing about a bad poker game, he is really singing about sleeping with a dirty woman who left him with a present he would have rather not been given (if you know what I mean). Despite the subject matter, the way everything is written and said is actually quite clever in my opinion.

This is classic AC/DC at its finest. At this point in the band's career they were hungry and on fire (some times literally) and it shows through the music. Aside from the two radio hits on the album I guarantee you will find some hidden treasures on High Voltage that you probably didn't know about before. Beginning rock and blues musicians can also learn a lot from this album too, as it features many of the basics of blues and rock n' roll used in some of the most creative ways possible. Standing the test of time and not having a single bad track on it, High Voltage is definitely a classic.

High Voltage, by AC/DC receives 5 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock n' Roll)
2. Rock n' Roll Singer
3. The Jack
4. Live Wire
5. T.N.T.
6. Can I Sit Next to You Girl
7. Little Lover
8. She's Got Balls
9. High Voltage

Buy the album on Amazon:

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Man is Listening to Nickelback 24/7 for a Week Straight

Canadian rock outfit Nickelback has become quite notorious over the past few years for being one of the most publicly ridiculed bands in existence. Even a single note from them makes many people cringe. That being said, one man has decided to subject himself to 168 hours of Nickelback straight with no breaks in between.

The man in question is Jesse Carey, and he is doing this for a charity called Charity: Water. This charity builds wells in underdeveloped countries. Carey started his Nickelback subjugation on Monday and will be continuing it until Sunday.

In an interview with Relevant, Carey says this on his reasoning for doing this besides just for charity:

“I want to lift the confidence of what a human being is even capable of. It’s the feeling I get after I watch a David Blaine special, and he’s been locked in a block of ice upside down for reasons that were never made clear. All you need to know is that he did it.”

The endeavor has already raised $18,000; surpassing the original goal of only $10,000 and managing to do so before the marathon even began.

Carey did mention some concerns about his stunt. “My main concerns are the nighttime — of what kind of dreams I’ll have. Nickelback is penetrating into my unconscious. I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Personally, I'm glad that money is being raised for a good cause but I can't help but feel Carey and everyone else are being a bit ridiculous and blowing some things out of proportion. I'm not a big Nickelback fan per say, but I still fail to see why so many people supposedly hate them this much when it wasn't that long ago that everyone was singing along to every last radio hit they were putting out. However, again I'm just glad that a worthy cause is getting a significant boost.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Steel Panther Releases Song Satirizing Kanye West for Grammy Antics

Rapper Kanye West has garnered a great deal of attention recently for once again interrupting an awards show because someone beat out singer Beyonce Knowles for a major award. Last time he did this was at the 2009 VMA's, but this time around it was at the 57th Grammy Awards when Beck won album of the year. After all the hoopla going on about this incident, comedy hair metal band Steel Panther decided to make a song/video poking fun at the rapper titled Kanye.

The minute long video which was posted to the band's Facebook and can be seen here is a slow piano based ballad with cue cards containing lyrics from the song being shown in front of their singer Michael Starr as he sings through the tune.

The main message they want to get across is that Kanye is quite the hypocrite when he talks about respecting artistry, his music sounds like donkey farts, and of course Beck should kick him in the testicles in order to put things right. I guess they really don't hold back and seem to get straight to the point, don't they?

I'm kind of glad that a band like Steel Panther that doesn't take themselves too seriously decided to do something like this. While other well known artists like Paul Stanley and Shirley Manson have stepped forward to speak their minds uncensored on the subject, Steel Panther gets the point across in a way that we can all have a good laugh at how ridiculous the whole situation is.

Monday, February 16, 2015

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #13

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. Thunderstruck, by AC/DC

With tickets for the North American AC/DC tour going on sale this week, what better a way to celebrate and prepare for the coming rockage than by jamming out to one of the band's most well known hits? This song with its lightning quick licks and thunderous rhythm gets played at almost every single sporting event in the U.S. for the past two decades, but for good reason. How can you not feel pumped up and completely psyched after this song pummels your ears with its greatness? Like the band that created it, it absolutely never gets old.

2. No More No More, by Aerosmith

This little ditty comes from Aerosmith's Toys in the Attic album; the same that features hits like Walk This Way and Sweet Emotion. Although most of its melodies and chord progressions are taken from 50's style rockabilly it is an incredibly memorable upbeat song that will ingrain itself into your head and take a long time to leave if at all. Although not a major radio hit, it is still played at many of the band's concerts to this day. This song is the definition of taking a pre-existing thing and putting your own spin on it.

3. You're Pretty Good Looking (For a Girl), by The White Stripes

If you look past the initial shock the title of the song may bring and listen to the actual lyrics, you will find there is more to the subject matter of this song than you might have thought. Amazingly a lot gets packed in to a tune that is just 1:49 long. It is pretty much a basic three chord pop rock song, but the vocal melody is such an earworm and almost enchanting in a way. This is a case where keeping it simple works to the song's advantage. It's one of those songs you can play on repeat until one day you finally get tired of it; but only because of the constant repetition of plays.

4. Secondhand News, by Fleetwood Mac

This track kicks off Fleetwood Mac's famed Rumours album with an upbeat peppy romp. While the subject matter isn't very pleasant (as is the case for the majority of the album), the tight vocal harmonies and bright jangly acoustic guitar would make you think otherwise if you weren't paying attention to the lyrics. The guitar solo that sounds almost like a violin in the breakdown section of the song really adds to the feel as though you're over in Europe, out in a field, and dancing barefoot with happy local villagers gathered for the sake of having a good time on a balmy sunny day.

5. Sunshine of Your Love, by Cream

This song was hard rock in a time when the genre didn't even exist yet. Its thick, creamy, yet also fuzzy guitar tone makes its bluesy signature riff so much more powerful and memorable than it would have been otherwise. The song is still overall very psychedelic and screams late 60's, yet like many other songs from Cream and some of their peers it doesn't feel dated when you play it in 2015. Many bands are going back to this style, or at least putting their own spin on it. This is definitely the song you want to play if you decide to go on an acid trip. (I in no way, shape, or form encourage or condone the use of illegal drugs, but if you choose to I recommend this tune.)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Top 10 Anti-Valentine's Day Songs

I found an old list I made of my at the time top 10 Anti-Valentine's Day songs. Since today is that "special" day, I decided to share it with you, though I did update it a bit and switched a few of the songs out. I kept most of the songs and the format that I wrote the list in, though. Anyway, if you have no date tonight put on these tracks to help you through those blues.

1. Back Off Bitch, by Guns N' Roses

What better way to get the woman who broke your heart out of your life than to tell her to get out of your bed and head. If its loving her, you're better off dead.

2. The Chain, by Fleetwood Mac

And if they don't love you now, they will never love you again. You can still hear them saying they would never break the chain....

3. Chicks=Trouble, by Motley Crue 

Need I say more??

4. Die Die, My Darling, by The Misfits

Her future is in an oblong box.You'll be seeing you again in hell.

5. Warning, by Retaliation/BlackSabbath

She never said she loved you and you don't believe she can because you saw her in a dream and she was with another man.

6. Mistreated, by Deep Purple

You've been mistreated, you've been abused. You've been struck downhearted, baby, you've been confused . 'Cause you know, yes, you know you've been mistreated. Since your baby left you, you've been losing your mind.

7. Human Being, by New York Dolls

Well if she don't like it, her go ahead find herself a date, go ahead now. Try to find a boy, whose gonna be what you ain't. What she needs is a plastic doll with a fresh coat of paint whose gonna sit through the night and just always act so quaint. If you're acting like a king, she can deal with it because you're a human being.

8. Dazed and Confused, by Led Zeppelin

You've been dazed and confused for so long its not true. She hurt and abused tellin' all of her lies. You tried to love her but she pushed you away.

9. Cold as Ice, by Foreigner

She's as cold as ice and willing to sacrifice your love. She wants paradise but some day will pay the price, you know.

10. Broken Hearts Are For Assholes, by Frank Zappa

Don't be an asshole. Maybe you think you're a lonely guy? Maybe you think you're too tough to cry?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Killing is My Business...and Business is Good!, by Megadeth

Imagine how you would feel if your family betrayed you and stabbed you in the back in one of the worst ways possible. Not a nice feeling, is it? Such emptiness, anger, and depression raged through the heart of a young Dave Mustaine after being kicked out of Metallica. Mustaine then took these feelings and started on a new path: to get back at those who wronged him by forming a band even better than Metallica. One with more anger, more speed, more spirit. He did just that when he formed the band he still fronts to this day: Megadeth.

You can tell all of the emotions and strife coursing through Mustaine were still quite fresh when listening to Megadeth's first album Killing is My Business...and Business is Good!, which was released in 1985. This is thrash metal at its roots and finest. Every last track is played at lightning speed and with thunderous animalistic passion. Where much of Mustaine's former band's songs were more epic heavy riff based, Megadeth's songs are more focused on pulsing its front man's indignation through the listener's ears as quickly as possible with melodic guitar licks to bring up the rear.

Now I imagine when you think thrash metal the piano and organ aren't exactly the first things that pop into your mind, are they? Mustaine decided to change things up a little with the opening track to Killing is My Business titled Last Rites/Loved to Death. The song begins with a sinister piano melody that is then underlined by what sounds like a pipe organ. Once the keys fade out however, the fastest guitar riff I have heard in all my days kicks in and is quickly joined by the rest of the band coming in pounding and banging. It almost feels like a roller coaster ride when you listen to this song. It starts you off kind of gentle but then jerks you onto one hell of a wild ride.

Mustaine threw another curve ball on Killing is My Business with a cover/parody of a classic Nancy Sinatra track: These Boots. The reason I say parody is because it sounds almost nothing like the original in that it is very much a speedy brutal Megadeth track and Mustaine replaced many of the lyrics with his own brand of obscenity. When this caught the attention of the original writer Lee Hazelwood, Mustaine was forced to take it off the album for the longest time until later on he was allowed to put a censored version on. Mustaine found a way around this however by including a live uncensored version on the 25th anniversary edition of the Megadeth album Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?.

I can't recommend Killing is My Business enough if you want to listen to some real thrash metal that isn't Metallica. There is a lot more genuine heart, soul, and emotion in this album. As I said earlier in the review, this is thrash metal at its best. Granted, Megadeth would go on to release better quality songs and gain higher skilled musicians, but nothing matches the unadulterated brutal honesty in this debut release. In my opinion, Mustaine definitely achieved his goal of making a better band than Metallica. From the very beginning he showed them just who the real musician and lyricist of the group was.

Killing is My Business...and Business is Good!, by Megadeth receives 4 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Last Rites/Loved to Death
2. Killing is My Business...and Business is Good!
3. The Skull Beneath the Skin
4. Rattlehead
5. Chose Ones
6. Looking Down the Cross
7. Mechanix
8. These Boots

Buy the album on Amazon:

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

AC/DC Reveal 2015 North American Tour Dates

As if you didn't have enough reason to look forward to summer as it is with the release from the harsh cold and snow, AC/DC has some good news for you if you live in the U.S. or Canada: the band has just released a list of tour dates to support their latest album Rock or Bust.

This will be AC/DC's first tour since the exhausting extensive world tour they did to promote Black Ice back in 2008. The band will be touring Europe for most of the summer before landing across the pond to rock our socks off.

Taking the place of original sticks-man Phil Rudd on this tour will be former replacement Chris Slade, who drummed in the band back in the late 80's into the early 90's and just rejoined the band at their recent performance at the Grammys. This will be their first tour with Slade in 21 years. Rudd will not be joining AC/DC on this tour due to current legal troubles he is facing.

The tour will be starting on August 22 in Foxborough, MA and will be going through late September unless anything changes or more dates are added on. Tickets go on sale on Monday 2/16. Below are the current list of tour dates:

AC/DC 2015 U.S. and Canada Tour Dates

8/22 – Foxborough, MA
8/26 – E. Rutherford, NJ
8/28 – Quebec City, Ontario
8/31 – Montreal, Quebec
9/3 – Ottawa, Ontario
9/5 – Moncton, New Brunswick
9/8 – Detroit, MI
9/10 – Toronto, Ontario
9/15 – Chicago, IL
9/20 – Edmonton, Alberta
9/22 – Vancouver, British Columbia
9/25 – San Francisco, CA
9/28 – Los Angeles, CA

Monday, February 9, 2015

Tenacious D Wins Grammy For Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Performance [Editorial]

Today I'm going to do something a little different on Young Ears, Fresh Perspective. Rather than do a straight up news story like I normally do, this is going to be more of an editorial because the topic I'm talking about is something that is more opinion based rather than news. Plus, the topic is something that irritates me so much that I feel like getting on my soapbox for just a minute.

Now as many if not all of you are aware, last night was the 57th annual Grammy Awards. It's supposed to be a night where musicians get honored for their achievements in the past year or so. I've never been a big fan of the way they do things; especially when it comes to rock n' roll and heavy metal. Well last night I was quite flabbergasted and yet not so at the same time when I heard the news that comedy rock duo Tenacious D won the category for Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Performance with their comedic take on Ronnie James Dio's classic track The Last in Line.

Tenacious D is comprised of comedian/actor Jack Black on lead vocals and rhythm acoustic guitar and Kyle Gass on lead acoustic guitar. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Tenacious D. I think they are quite hilarious and I love their taste in music and their own style. However, I feel it was grossly wrong for them to win the category they did, even if it was with a tribute to Dio (which I do applaud them for).

There were many bands and artists who were far more deserving of this recognition. Ones who were trying much harder to make new meaningful powerful emotional music. Then again, no one said The Recording Academy had any brains or taste. Hell, if they had any idea as to what they were doing they wouldn't be lumping hard rock and heavy metal together into one category; as both are completely different. Maybe a category for comedy would be more appropriate for Tenacious D.

Bands like Judas Priest, Slash, AC/DC, Rival Sons, Red Dragon Cartel, etc. were nowhere to be found on the list of nominees despite the fact they all had new music out this past year. This is who they had listed as nominees for the genre:

ANTHRAX - "Neon Knights"
Track from: "Ronnie James Dio - This Is Your Life"
Label: Rhino

MASTODON – "High Road"
Track from: "Once More 'Round The Sun"
Label: Reprise

MOTÖRHEAD – "Heartbreaker"
Track from: "Aftershock"
Label: UDR

SLIPKNOT – "The Negative One"
Label: Roadrunner Records

TENACIOUS D – "The Last In Line"
Track from: "Ronnie James Dio - This Is Your Life"
Label: Rhino

I'm not entirely appalled by the choices there were, but there were so many others that should have made the list. Then again, the Academy has been snubbing any genre that isn't pop for the longest time; like when Jethro Tull won over Metallica for the same award years back. I think it's time they got some new people to take over minding hard rock, heavy metal, and also just regular rock because they are clearly out of their minds here.

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #12

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. Let the World Turn, by Death

Don't let the name of the band fool you. Despite the reaction the name might invoke, this band is not loud scary growling metal. In fact, they were the first punk rock band back in 1971. This track in particular has many elements that would become more explored and prevalent by later bands of the genre. However, the mood and tone of the song shift quite drastically multiple times. It goes from soft ambient, and borderline psychedelic to loud speedy punk and back again a few times. It's quite enjoyable for both its major elements and the fact that you don't know what will happen next.

2. Highway to Hell, by AC/DC

Since hard rock staple AC/DC just performed this classic of theirs at the Grammys, I figured I'd include it in the list this week. Sadly many of the kids watching were probably confused by them because they actually play their own instruments rather than have a studio engineer program everything into a computer for them. All that aside however, it is a fantastic tune and one of the last of AC/DC's well known catalog originally done with original lead singer Bon Scott before his untimely passing in 1980.

3.  Mr. Blue Sky, by Electric Light Orchestra

Another tune and band that played at the Grammys this year. Seems that this year's show wasn't bad completely. With winter being half over and the sun being a rare occurrence these days, who couldn't use a little bit of blue sky to brighten up their lives? Despite the fact the song is about 40 years old it is still as delightful and relevant now as it was in the time it was originally written and released to the public in. I cannot recommend this playful upbeat jaunt through the sunshine enough to anyone with seasonal affective disorder.

4. Open My Eyes, by Rival Sons

Unfortunately this is a track and band that got looked over this year. It opens with drums that rumble and lumber in a John Bonham-esque fashion for a good few measures and is then joined by the thickest, fattest sounding guitar riff I've heard in quite some time. However despite the prowess of the rest of the musicians in the band, the real soul comes from the vocals that absolutely howl at the moon. If I had to describe the whole song in one word, it would be "powerful". No posing or studio magic here, kids. This is the real deal.

5. Smoke on the Water, by Deep Purple

Nothing says rock n' roll quite like the single most overplayed guitar riff of all time, right? Most of the time however, those who try to play this iconic Ritchie Blackmore riff do it the wrong way. This song has become a classic for a reason, though. Everyone in the band seems to strut their stuff quite well while keeping everything cohesive. It is a song of multiple layers and it just wouldn't quite work out as well without each of the essential elements.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Van Halen to Release First Live Album with David Lee Roth

After many days of rumors swirling around the internet, it has finally been confirmed by the band itself that Van Halen will finally be releasing its very first live album with original singer David Lee Roth.

Being considered by the band their "definitive live album", the upcoming live release will be titled Tokyo Dome Live in Concert and will feature recordings of Van Halen's July 21st, 2013 performance at the Tokyo Dome in Japan during the tour supporting their 2012 studio effort A Different Kind of Truth.

The album will feature 25 songs, including ones from A Different Kind of Truth. The Van Halen News Desk says “there are absolutely no touch-ups on the lead vocals, unlike most live albums. They considered using different songs from different shows, but thought it would be better to simply release one stellar performance.”

In addition to this upcoming live album, Van Halen will also be taking the same route Led Zeppelin has been taking over the past year by rereleasing all of their old catalog with Roth but remastered from the original analog tapes the tracks were recorded on. The band will be starting with Van Halen and 1984 and will be releasing them at the same time as Tokyo Dome Live in Concert. Later on this spring Diver Down, Women and Children First, Van Halen II, as well as Fair Warning will be rereleased as well.

I can see this live album being a double edged sword. On the one hand I think it is great for Van Halen to put out something that shows what they can do in their later career live. Plus, it will be cool to hear some of the newer songs in a live performance. On the other hand, the band isn't as youthful, energetic, and hungry as they once were. They have all aged and no amount of effort will cover that up. There is no doubt that they can still put on one hell of a show, but odds are it won't sound anywhere near as upbeat, adventurous, and fresh as they did 35 years ago. Roth's voice while still fairly intact still shows age. Plus, the lack of former bassist and backing vocalist Michael Anthony will be a serious setback as well. If I were in their position I would look into finding some old soundboard recordings from their original heyday and see if they can be properly mixed and mastered into a live album as well.

Track List for Tokyo Dome Live in Concert:

1. Unchained
2. Runnin’ With the Devil
3. She’s the Woman
4. I’m the One
5. Tattoo
6. Everybody Wants Some!!
7. Somebody Get Me a Doctor
8. China Town
9. Hear About It Later
10. (Oh) Pretty Woman
11. Me & You (Drum Solo)
12. You Really Got Me
13. Dance the Night Away
14. I’ll Wait
15. Cradle Will Rock
16. Hot for Teacher
17. Women in Love
18. Romeo Delight
19. Mean Street
20. Beautiful Girls
21. Ice Cream Man
22. Panama
23. Eruption
24. Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love
25. Jump