Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Who Post Rescheduled Tour Dates

After a battle with viral meningitis earlier in the month, The Who singer Roger Daltrey is now feeling a great deal better and is gearing up to make up for the missed tour dates early next year.

In a press statement Daltrey says:

“I am now on the mend and feeling a lot better,”

Guitarist Pete Townshend also says:

“We will be starting our rescheduled shows in March and will be coming back stronger than ever!”

Daltrey came down with the meningitis on September 18th. Hopefully these rescheduled shows are more than enough to make up for the postponement. All tickets that were bought for the original dates will be honored at the new dates.

The Who Hits 50! Tour Dates:

2/27 – Detroit, MI – Joe Louis Arena
3/1 – Toronto, ON – Air Canada Centre
3/3 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
3/7 – Boston, MA – TD Garden
3/10 – Chicago, IL – United Center
3/12 – Louisville, KY – KFC Yum! Center
3/14 – Philadelphia, PA – Wells Fargo Center
3/16 – Pittsburgh, PA – CONSOL Energy Center
3/19 – Newark, NJ – Prudential Center
3/21 – Milwaukee, WI – BMO Harris Bradley Center
3/24 – Washington, DC – Verizon Center
3/26 – St. Louis, MO – Scottrade Center
3/29 – Denver, CO – Pepsi Center
4/26 – Toronto, ON – Air Canada Centre
4/29 – Kansas City, MO – Sprint Center
5/1 – Minneapolis, MN – Target Center
5/4 – Winnipeg, MB – MTS Centre
5/6 – Saskatoon, SK – SaskTel Centre
5/8 – Edmonton, AB – Rexall Place
5/10 – Calgary, AB – Scotiabank Saddledome
5/13 – Vancouver, BC – Pepsi Live at Rogers Arena
5/15 – Seattle, WA – KeyArena at Seattle Center
5/17 – Portland, OR – Moda Center
5/19 – Oakland, CA – Oracle Arena
5/22 – Anaheim, CA – Honda Center
5/25 – Los Angeles, CA – STAPLES Center
5/27 – San Diego, CA – Valley View Casino Center
5/29 – Las Vegas, NV – Colosseum at Caesars Palace

Monday, September 28, 2015

Guns N' Roses Guitarist Richard Fortus Banged Up in Motorcycle Accident

Guns N' Roses and Dead Daisies rhythm guitarist Richard Fortus has unfortunately just been involved in quite a scrape: a motorcycle accident and will be out of action on the current Dead Daisies tour.

In a Facebook post made by Fortus, he gives details of his accident saying:

"Since The Dead Daisies have now announced that I am not going to be able to do the Australian tour, I'd like to share my statement here-

On September 17, 2015, I was involved in a motorcycle accident. As a result, I broke my shoulder blade, collar bone, six ribs, a toe, I have a bruised lung, lacerated liver and a concussion.

Amazingly, my doctors have assured me that I will make a full recovery. I have never missed a show in my entire career and unfortunately, I will have to miss the entire Australian and New Zealand leg of this tour. I am devastated that I will not be able to play for the Australian and New Zealand fans, who have been so supportive and loyal.

I am healing quickly and getting stronger by the day. I'm looking forward to rejoining the Daisies for the KISS Kruise as well as the Whitesnake tour and our own tour of the UK and France.

I’d like to thank everyone for their well-wishes and can’t wait to be back in Australia very soon. rf"

I can only imagine how painful that must have been for Fortus to endure. Hopefully he is recovering as quickly as he says he is so that he can be healthy and ready to get back out on the stage to rock. Motorcycle safety is no joke, kids. Be careful out there.

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #45

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. I Wonder Who, by Rory Gallagher

In this live interpretation of a Muddy Waters song, Irish blues man Rory Gallagher rips out some of his finest licks while laying down a chill bluesy jam at the same time. The way it fluctuates between volume levels is pretty swell too. The entire Irish Tour '74 album is a fantastic live blues album if that's what you're into. It's got something for every kind of fan of the genre to dig.

2. Do the Rump, by The Black Keys

I bet many of you don't remember when The Black Keys were a pure bluesy garage rock band, do you? This tune (which is a cover of a Junior Kimborough tune) from their first album The Big Come Up is a prime example of the raw dirty nature of their early music. They have definitely changed a lot over the years. I'm happy they are growing as musicians, but personally I'd love an old school Keys album some day again.

3. Outlaw Blues, by The White Stripes

This live cover of a Bob Dylan tune takes a song that already is driving and kicks it into overdrive. It is The White Stripes about as close to their pure blues roots as you will hear them, save maybe a small handful of other songs in their catalog. It's a great tune to jump all around to. Shame that we'll never hear them do it again (probably).

4. Blue Suede Shoes, by Black Sabbath

I bet you NEVER would have fathomed Black Sabbath cover Elvis Presley, would you? Before they became known for their big hits and were all doom and gloom, they were actually a blues band and did quite a few good covers; including this one of the Elvis classic Blue Suede Shoes. It kicks some serious ass and has some fantastic guitar work by Tony Iommi.

5. You Shook Me, by Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin's cover of this Muddy Waters classic is absolutely phenomenal. They took an already sweet jam and completely blasted it into outer space. The band really is in top form on this track and truly show off without shame their blues based roots. It really is kind of hard to do the blues any better than it's done in this track.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Pope Francis Releasing Rock Album

You heard right. The 266th man to bear the title, Pope Francis is going to be releasing a rock n' roll album.

This does not come entirely as a surprise however, considering the fact that it has been uncovered in recent years that the Holy Father was at one point a metal head. The Pope's album’s overall sound will range from prog rock to Gregorian chant. As for the lyrical content (which will be in English, Spanish, and Portuguese) the message will feature uplifting pieces of wisdom from the Pope’s speeches as well as some of his favorite hymns.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, the album's producer Don Giulio Neroni says:

"For many years, I’ve been the producer and the artistic director of albums by the Pope. I had the honor to work with John Paul II, Benedict XVI and now Pope Francis… As in the past, for this album too, I tried to be strongly faithful to the pastoral and personality of Pope Francis: the Pope of dialogue, open doors, hospitality. For this reason, the voice of Pope Francis in Wake Up! dialogues music. And contemporary music (rock, pop, Latin etc.) dialogues with the Christian tradition of sacred hymns."

Personally I'm quite interested to hear this album despite the fact that I'm not even Catholic. The single Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward! (which can be listened to here) actually rocks. I dig the blend of heavy rock music with bits of melodic horns. If the rest of the album is anything like that I may actually go out and pick up a copy of it.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Blue Oyster Cult, by Blue Oyster Cult

 In 1972 one of the giants of hard rock, Blue Oyster Cult made their introduction to the world by releasing their self-titled debut album Blue Oyster Cult. Since then it has been highly regarded by critics and even considered one of the best albums of the 70's. IGN even named it "Heavy metal for people who hate heavy metal". Interesting compliment, wouldn't you say?

Blue Oyster Cult contains quite a few songs that are still often played in their live sets to this day and considered classics such as: Cities on Flame With Rock and Roll, Stairway to the Stars, and Then Came the Last Days of May. For the time the sound of the album is pretty heavy, though not quite on a Black Sabbath kind of level. Many of the songs are still based in basic blues, boogie, and rock styles.

Before the Kiss, A Redcap is a pretty basic blues boogie in terms of rhythm. The guitar licks and solos are pretty respectable. You can tell that the song was kind of constructed around them. It's a band jam with lyrics in the best possible way. It is definitely a fun song to get your kicks and dance to. I'd argue to say it's the best track on the album aside from maybe one or two other contenders.

Cities on Flame With Rock and Roll in my opinion is the best song to ever come from Blue Oyster Cult; even above Don't Fear the Reaper or Godzilla. It has such a monstrous guitar riff, blistering solos, and creates such a vivid musical mental image of standing on a skyscraper in a burning city at night. Nothing really says rock n' roll quite like something like that. It's pretty badass.

Blue Oyster Cult really is what guitar driven hard rock should be. The riffs are big and memorable, but at the same time there is enough presence of older genres that things are kept interesting and not overly stale. This is definitely an album I would recommend to someone who was thinking of picking up the guitar but wanted more inspiration for. Even if you're not going to do that but still love the guitar, this is a great pick.

Blue Oyster Cult, by Blue Oyster Cult receives 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Transmaniacon MC
2. I'm on the Lamb but I Ain't No Sheep
3. Then Came the Last Days of May
4. Stairway to the Stars
5. Before the Kiss, A Redcap
6. Screams
7. She's as Beautiful as a Foot
8. Cities on Flame With Rock and Roll
9. Workshop of Telescopes
10. Redeemed

Buy the album on Amazon:

Todd Rundgren Announces US Winter 2015 Tour

Looks like the famed Todd Rundgren is hitting the road this winter for the second tour that he has done this year.

The 19 date tour starts on December 1st in St. Charles, IL and will be going into next year; ending on January 6th in Coachella, CA.

Rundgren has released two albums this year that he will be busy promoting: Global, which is one of his more traditional blues and soul albums that he has been known for over the years and then Ruddans; a more progressive type album.

Below is the list of tour dates. Should be a fun time. I definitely recommend you go see Todd.

Todd Rundgren 2015 U.S. Tour

12/1 — St. Charles, Ill.
12/3 — Kansas City, Mo.
12/4 — Council Bluffs, Iowa
12/6 — North Tonawanda, N.Y.
12/7 — Munhall, Pa.
12/9 — Detroit, Mich.
12/10 — Northfield, Ohio
12/12 — Northampton, Mass.
12/13 — Glenside, Pa.
12/15 — Ridgefield Ct.
12/16 — Boston, Ma.
12/18 — Montclair, N.J.
12/19 — New York, N.Y.
12/20 — Sugar Loaf, N.Y.
12/22 — Alexandria, Va.
12/23 — Harrisburg, Pa.
1/6 — Beverly Hills, Calif.
1/8 — Scottsdale, Ariz.
1/9 — Coachella, Calif.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Who's Roger Daltrey Falls Ill

Unfortunately due to sickness, The Who singer Roger Daltrey has fallen ill on the band's 50th anniversary tour; postponing all further tour dates left on the roster.

Daltrey has been stricken with Meningitis. He says in a press release:

“We are very sorry to disappoint our fans in this way. For the last four weeks, I have been in and out of the hospital and have been diagnosed with viral Meningitis. I am now on the mend and feeling a lot better but I am going to need a considerable time to recover. The doctors tell me I will make a complete recovery, but that I should not do any touring this year.”

Guitarist Pete Townshend has also chimed in on the subject saying:

“We apologize to all our fans who have supported us in the last 50 years. Once Roger is completely well, we will come back stronger than ever and Roger and I will give you all a show to remember.”

The dates are yet to be announced, but the band assures that they will come shortly. Hopefully Daltrey can make a speedy recovery and can be back up and at 'em in no time. I guess this is what happens when you go back on your word and don't die before you get old. [Sorry for the tasteless joke. I had to.]

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #44

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. Dear Maria, Count Me In, by All Time Low

This mid-late 2000's song takes me way back to my sophomore year of high school. I know this kind of cheesy over produced pop-punk isn't what I usually put on here but I can't help it. It's a guilty pleasure. It's cheery, upbeat, and fun. It's just the kind of tune to pop in when you're feeling kind of down and need something to put your mood back into an elevated place.

2. Buckethead's TV Show, by Buckethead

For some reason even though this song doesn't really have anything to do with the subject, it's always given me the picture of a fallen hero getting back, pulling himself together, and rushing off into the distance to go surprise the enemy that took them down in the first place so they can turn the tables and put an end to their evil. Kind of funny the different interpretations instrumental music can bring about, you know?

3. First Avenue, by Elf

If you're in the mood for a cool swanky blues shuffle, this should be right up your alley. Plus, this is one of the few times you will ever get to hear the late Ronnie James Dio sing with a falsetto; definitely not something that would be heard in his later heavy metal works. It's too bad. He did a pretty nice job in that kind of vocal style. I guess it would have been weird to hear something like Heaven and Hell, Stargazer, or Rainbow in the Dark with that though.

4. The Forgotten (Part 2), by Joe Satriani

This track ALWAYS gives me the feels. Despite the fact it has no lyrics/vocals whatsoever it always raises the hairs on my arms and neck and connects with me on such a deep emotional level. I'll admit that when I'm down in the dumps and this song has come on I've shed a tear or two. It takes real skill and finesse as a musician and composer to be able to do such a thing. Props to Satch for that.

5. Dancing in the Moonlight, by Thin Lizzy

For anyone who has ever been young, in love, and stayed out past curfew to have one more dance with that special someone this song is for you. It's got a sexy dance groove to it (of course) and some sweet guitar melody harmonizations. Phil Lynott really was a true great of song writing. He may not have been the best singer, but he managed to convey so much of that raw emotion that Thin Lizzy songs usually did.

Friday, September 18, 2015

AC/DC Vocalist Side By Side Comparison

One thing that has divided AC/DC fans over the past few decades is whether or not they prefer original vocalist Bon Scott or current vocalist Brian Johnson. Both have very distinctly different vocal styles, stage presences, song writing styles, etc. Even the overall sound of the band had shifted between having the two different singers. Today during the last day of AC/DC Week here on Young Ears, Fresh Perspective we're going to do a side by side comparison of the two singers and how they affected the band.

Bon Scott 1974-1980

Bon Scott's voice was pretty recognizable. He had that greasy sleazy sneer that no one else since has managed to replicate. This was a man who clearly did not care whether or not he had any traditional singing ability. That being said, he was perfect for AC/DC as they were just starting to get off the ground and laying the groundwork for their career. The band at that point was a lot more based in straight up blues and rockabilly but with a greater punch in the guitars. Scott also being based in similar roots was able to pick up on it without much problem and suited them quite well until his untimely demise in February of 1980.

Brian Johnson 1980-Present

When Scott passed, AC/DC had to decide whether or not to carry on. When they made the choice to do so, they hired Brian Johnson; a singer whom Bon Scott was highly fond of. Johnson's voice was incredibly different from Scott's. Rather than a sneer, Johnson screamed in an oddly melodic way. This then made the band change its sound to one that was louder, more epic, and more punchy. It was a great way for AC/DC to change with the times (as heavy metal was becoming more of a thing) and stay relevant. Plus, without Johnson we never would have received the blessing that is the Back in Black album.


Personally I think of AC/DC as two different bands. While both have mostly the same members they both have almost entirely different sounds; both of which I LOVE for different reasons. I don't understand why people necessarily feel the need to compare so much. Either way, it's all AC/DC and it kicks some serious ass. What do you think? Do you prefer one AC/DC vocalist over the other? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, by AC/DC

In 1976 Aussie hard rock legends AC/DC released their third studio album: Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. This was a time in the band's career where things were really starting to take off due to the success of their first two albums. The title track of the album is considered one of the band's classic tunes and is a staple in their catalog and live sets.

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap continues the balls to the wall high octane blues rock kind of vibe of AC/DC's first couple of albums. Big surprise, right? The one small exception though is that it also contains AC/DC's one and only sad slow song: Ride On; a song which once in a while is still played live by the band. However, the rest of the album is full of audacious double entendres with blister fast solos, punch riffs, thunder bass and drums, etc.

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap is probably one of the most baffling songs to ever become a hit for AC/DC. Considering the song is about hiring a hit man to do your dirty work for cheap you wouldn't think that it would become so mainstream; yet here it is to this day one of their most popular songs. It's low down and dirty, but in all the best possible ways. No AC/DC concert would ever be complete without it.

Big Balls is in my opinion the single most lyrically creative song that AC/DC has EVER written. Singer Bon Scott managed to find ways of making the whole song sound like he was talking about male genitalia when in reality all he was talking about was ballroom parties. I laughed my ass off the first time I ever heard it as a kid. It's incredibly silly and fun. However, don't listen to it anywhere near sensitive company.

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap is without a doubt an AC/DC classic for a reason. There are so many great tunes on it; many of which you don't hear much about on the radio or anywhere else aside from the title track. There isn't a single bad tune on it. I guarantee you will find at least one or two hidden gems on it that you will consider personal treasures if you do yourself the favor of picking the album up.

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, by AC/DC receives 4 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
2. Love at First Feel
3. Big Balls
4. Rocker
5. Problem Child
6. There's Gonna Be Some Rockin' (At the Show Tonight)
7. Ain't No Fun (Waiting Round to Be a Millionaire)
8. Ride On
9. Squealer

Buy the album on Amazon:

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

AC/DC Chicago 2015 Concert Review

Last night (9/15) legendary monster of rock AC/DC brought their own brand of high voltage rock n' roll to Wrigley Field in Chicago. The stadium that is normally home to the Chicago Cubs was packed with 40,000 people all gathered for the single purpose of having their faces melted by the sheer awesomeness that is AC/DC.

Opening for AC/DC was a LA based band called Vintage Trouble. They had a more old school R&B/blues/rockabilly sound which in all honesty seemed kind of fitting considering it's from stuff like that that AC/DC originally got its influence from way back in the day. They were pretty energetic and fun to watch. I wouldn't mind checking out some of their songs in a non-concert environment. From what I heard they seem worth it.

I have to say I was pretty impressed with the professionalism of the whole show in terms of how quickly and effectively they got things set up and taken down. No one had to wait too long for there to be some rockin' at the show that night. The only thing in terms of technical details that I would have to nitpick is the sound didn't always sound very balanced for various reasons through both Vintage Trouble's and AC/DC's sets. I could barely even hear Angus Young playing unless he was soloing by himself or his nephew Steven Young was at least laying back on rhythm guitar.

Despite that however, it was still one hell of a show. AC/DC did NOT disappoint. They rocked harder than guys even one third their age. The stage set-up was probably the most elaborate one I have ever seen in my entire life. The stage itself was shaped like Angus's signature Gibson SG with a platform in the head stock for Angus to get up and be lifted on. From there the back drop was shaped like horns and a head with horns. Then of course there were all kinds of pyrotechnics, a giant inflatable Rosie, and cannons. It was everything you would hope to see from an AC/DC stage set-up and more.

There was a good mix of songs in the set. Everything was played a half step down to account for Brian Johnson's aging vocals, but that didn't make the songs kick any less ass. AC/DC naturally pulled out all the major radio hits like Back in Black, Dirty Deeds, Thunderstruck, Highway to Hell, etc. but they also threw in a couple tunes from the new album Rock or Bust such as Play Ball and Rock or Bust. They even pulled out a couple of slightly more obscure Bon Scott era songs like Shot Down in Flames and High Voltage (which was definitely a pleasant surprise to me).

I was thoroughly impressed with AC/DC in a live setting. I had heard talk for years of how flashy and fantastic of a show they put on, but I didn't truly understand until I finally got to witness it with my own eyes. It was definitely a treat for me given the fact that this was the band that inspired me to become a rock musician 13-15 years ago. In a world today where everyone is into wimpy hipster music, it is reassuring to see that bands who actually have balls like AC/DC are still around to give folks what they really need. If you ever get the chance to go to an AC/DC concert I HIGHLY recommend you do. It is an experience like no other.

This AC/DC concert receives 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Set List:

1. Rock or Bust
2. Shoot to Thrill
3. Hell Ain't a Bad Place to Be
4. Back in Black
5. Play Ball
6. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
7. Thunderstruck
8. High Voltage
9. Rock 'n' Roll Train
10. Hell's Bells
11. Baptism by Fire
12. You Shook Me All Night Long
13. Sin City
14. Shot Down in Flames
15. Have a Drink on Me
16. T.N.T.
17. Whole Lotta Rosie
18. Let There Be Rock  (With Angus Young guitar solo)


19. Highway to Hell
20. For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

AC/DC Singer Brian Johnson Talks Band Retirement

In the past couple of years AC/DC has undergone some heavy hits (primarily the departure of founding rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young due to dementia), but the band managed to pull through and release a new studio album Rock or Bust. However, they have been considering the idea of hanging up the towel and calling it a day.

In an interview with Morning Sun singer Brian Johnson says:

“Y’know, retirement is like anything. A good footballer, a good ice hockey player, they don’t want to retire, but unfortunately sometimes there’s a time when you have to call it quits. So, it’s an ongoing thing with us. We never say no, and we never say never. The thing about the boys in AC/DC you’ve got to remember is we’re constantly surprised and amazed at how we keep the success going. We don’t know what we’re doing. I mean, we literally don’t know what we’re doing, except what we’re doing is we just play 100 percent every night and give it everything we’ve got. If that’s the secret of success, we’ll pass it on. But we never expect the crowds. We never take anything for granted. How can you? Times change. You’ve just got to keep doing what you’re doing, basically, and just hope they come back for more.

It would be a sad and unfortunate day to see the greatest thing to ever come from Down Under to finally retire, but considering the massively successful and impacting career they have had they would earn every last moment of retirement. In all honest also, considering that Malcolm is now out of the picture it just wouldn't be the same if they carried on. Rock or Bust was proof of that.

Monday, September 14, 2015

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #43

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. Shot Down in Flames, by AC/DC

This is an under rated track from Highway to Hell; singer Bon Scott's final album with AC/DC before his untimely passing. Shot Down in Flames has some thundering steady bass with riffs from the Young brothers accentuating the rhythmic nature of the song with the signature punch they are known for having. Add all that with Scott's sleazy moaning and belting and you have yourself one hell of a tune.

2. There's Gonna Be Some Rockin', by AC/DC

There's Gonna Be Some Rockin' is as basic as basic gets for AC/DC. It is a straight up blues shuffle, but the way they execute it is so rocking and fun that you don't even really care if you're tired of that kind of thing. I always listen to the tune at top volume right before I play one of my own gigs. It's a great way to get pumped for a rock n' roll show given the title and subject of the song's lyrics. Angus Young's solo on this is pretty top notch too.

3. Skies on Fire, by AC/DC

AC/DC's 2008 album Black Ice had some absolutely FANTASTIC tracks on it including this one: Skies on Fire. It really felt like that Back in Black vibe had come back, but not in a way where the band was trying to copy off their old work. The riffing and backing vocals are absolutely killer and drive the tune while Brian Johnson howls away at the top of his lungs on lead vocals. This song has everything you need from an AC/DC song.

4. Night of the Long Knives, by AC/DC

When I first started playing drums as a kid, this song from For Those About to Rock was on of my absolute favorite tunes to play along to. The drum parts are fun as hell and when that epic chorus would hit I couldn't help but throw every last bit of myself into what I was doing on the kit. While not necessarily the best AC/DC song by any means, it's a great arena rocker and a good way to get some pent up rage out.

5. High Voltage, by AC/DC

This song is an anthem for every rebellious kid who wants to be a rock n' roller when they grow up. It's all about doing your own thing and love of rock n' roll of the high voltage variety. If in the 70's your parents just didn't understand you or the things you do this was a great way of getting your frustrations out and having the absolute best rocking time you can; even if it was only within the confines of your bedroom.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Jake E. Lee's Red Dragon Cartel Escapes Vehicle Fire

On their way to a show in California this past Wednesday former Ozzy Osbourne and Badlands guitarist Jake E. Lee and his solo band Red Dragon Cartel narrowly escaped a rather explosive brush with death when their limo caught fire while on I-280 in San Jose.

The fire was reported to be caused by an electrical short which then caused everyone in the Hummer stretch limo to get out to ensure their safety. The fire closed two lanes of the highway while emergency services dealt with the situation for an hour and a half.

The band then addressed the situation via Facebook saying:

“Thanks to the quick action of our driver and a little luck on our side, we are all safe and sound. Thanks to everyone for your concern.”

Later on they further addressed it in a more joking manner saying:

“Tonight’s soundcheck song – Burn!” and “We’re on fire tonight!”

Good thing Lee and his people managed to get out of there ok. It would have been a shame to lose such talent in such an unfortunate way. Furthermore, I'm glad they were able to find some humor in it. I approve in their choice of sound check songs.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Passion and Warfare, by Steve Vai

In 1990 former Frank Zappa, David Lee Roth, and Whitesnake guitarist extraordinaire Steve Vai put out his second solo album Passion and Warfare which to date is his most highly regarded work from his entire career. It features songs like Liberty, For the Love of God, I Would Love To, The Audience is Listening, etc. This was just as Vai's stint with Whitesnake was coming to a close, so he did have some guest appearances from his band mates.

Vai was definitely out to make a name for himself and prove that he was not just another flashy shredder who went from band to band. He wanted to show people just how well he could compose his own songs that were more than just cock rockers and did not require a singer. These songs definitely showcase his experimental nature. There is definitely a lot of shred, but there are also more precise and delicate nuances as well that keep the songs flowing and intriguing.

Liberty is by far one of my absolute favorite Steve Vai songs at all. Despite the fact that it is only a couple of minutes long and barely features any of Vai's signature speed, the melody really does bring a patriotic feeling to the listener. You feel proud to stand up and be part of your nation. It's fanfare-ish, triumphant, and powerful. This is a song that gets its message and intent across quite clearly even with no lyrics.

For the Love of God is Vai's signature song. Anyone who is a fan of Vai even a little bit knows the song. It is a slow song, but it is full of so many layers that it takes multiple deep listenings to truly appreciate everything it has to offer. There is shred, there is melody, there is emotion, there is intrigue. Supposedly Steve Vai recorded it on the fourth day of a ten day fast and did the whole entire thing in one take. That is pretty impressive to say the least.

For anyone who is a fan of the electric guitar/guitar music Passion and Warfare is an essential album. The songs are a wide variety of genres, though you really do get taken for one hell of a wild ride. However, that ride at the same time gives you moments to breathe and take in the beauty of the beautiful soundscapes being laid down. This album will definitely prove to you that you do NOT need a singer for a rock album to be good.

Passion and Warfare, by Steve Vai receives 4 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Liberty
2. Erotic Nightmares
3. The Animal
4. Answers
5. The Riddle
6. Ballerina 12/24
7. For the Love of God
8. The Audience is Listening
9. I Would Love To
10. Blue Powder
11. Greasy Kid's Stuff
12. Alien Water Kiss
13. Sisters
14. Love Secrets

Buy the album on Amazon:

Chickenfoot Not Over Yet?

Looks like we haven't seen the last of Chickenfoot, the super group consisting of former Montrose, Van Halen, and solo singer Sammy Hagar, former Van Halen bassist and backing vocalist Michael Anthony, Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, and guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani.

After some serious push from Satriani it seems the band is working on a new song (their first new material since 2011's release Chickenfoot III) together according to Satriani in a recent interview with GuitCast, saying:

“It was really bothering me and I still, philosophically, just felt like there was a really big disconnect there. When I started speaking my mind, I think I realized I rattled some feathers there in the ‘Foot camp. I sent Sam some stuff, and I was surprised to see him respond so quickly with some creative ideas. And I can happily tell you now that there is a track that is circulating through the band. It’s got new drums from Chad on it, it’s got new vocals from Sam, and I think Mike is coming at the end of this week to add bass and vocals.”

The reason for such a long hiatus from Chickenfoot is that Hagar felt that with the music buying market dwindling and Chickenfoot not being a big selling band it wasn't worth the time, money, and effort to make another album or do another tour. Seems Satriani's pushing however may have changed his mind. Hopefully a full new album can come from this because it would be a shame to see such an awesome fun band just vanish.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Tony Iommi on Why Next Black Sabbath Tour Will Be the Last

It was recently announced by Black Sabbath that come this January they will be embarking on their final tour before ending the band for good. Guitarist Tony Iommi has stepped forward to address why they are doing this.

A lot of it has to do with Iommi's three year battle with Lymphoma. Although he has gotten through it for now, his body took a real beating from it and has left him in a fairly weakened and fragile state.

In an interview with Birmingham Mail, Iommi says:

“I can’t actually do this anymore. My body won’t take it much more. I don’t want that [Lymphoma] creeping back again and all the traveling involved in Sabbath tours increasingly takes its toll. That’s why we’re going out on one last tour, to say our farewells. And then it very definitely is the end. We won’t be doing it again.”

So far the band has announced a slew of American and Australian/New Zealand dates, but they will be tacking more on as things progress with the preparations for the tour.

I keep hearing a lot about how the band will possibly be making one last album as well, but with the Sabs you never can be too sure until you actually see them in the studio working. Personally I hope all the drama between singer Ozzy Osbourne and drummer Bill Ward can be resolved before it's too late because it would be a shame for Black Sabbath to end without all four members it began with. Either way, let's hope that Iommi's health holds out long enough for the band to get through the tour.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #42

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. Sonic Reducer, by The Dead Boys

This is a punk classic that has been covered by countless bands over the years. It's loud, snotty, and in your face; pretty much everything a punk song needs to be. Who knew that some of the best punk rock to ever exist would come out of Ohio rather than the UK, New York, or Los Angeles? That being said, it's a great tune to rip into your week with; especially if you want to feel like you are powerful.

2.  Hotel California, by The Eagles

Overplayed as this song may be, it is done so for good reason. The way it is constructed is pretty elaborate for a radio hit. The guitar work is exquisite as it seamlessly blends 12 string acoustic with deliciously dual harmonized electric guitar solos throughout the song. If you can stand back for a moment and kind of appreciate what the song really is without that feeling of "Ugh... This again?" for a few minutes I think your perspective may change.

3. Crocodile Rock, by Elton John

I know some people for whatever reason absolutely can NOT stand this song, but personally I don't see why. It's cheery, upbeat, and fun. It's everything a rockabilly-esque type song needs to be. I have to dance and sing along every time it comes on. If this doesn't lighten up your weekday blues, then clearly you have no soul because Crocodile Rock kicks some serious ass.

4. Outlaw Blues, by Bob Dylan

To give a bit of change of pace, here is some straight up 12 bar blues from the king of singer songwriters Bob Dylan. This is one of the few times I think that it was perfectly acceptable for him to plug in rather than play acoustically like he is famous for doing. His voice while not known for being that outstanding absolutely suits the blues perfectly. Great harmonica playing too in this particular tune.

5. Love Interruption, by Jack White

Jack White doesn't just write songs; he creates magic. With just an acoustic guitar, an electric piano, clarinets, and a couple of voices Love Interruption is brought to a whole other level of musical ecstasy. It really has some of the tastiest female/male vocal harmony blends I've heard in some time too. Despite the rather unhappy lyrical content, the melody will still have you singing along to it every time.