Friday, December 23, 2016

Top 10 Albums of 2016 Part 5 (Final Part)

Happy holidays/Merry Christmas/Happy Chaunukah/Happy Yule/Happy Kwanzaa/Happy New Year/etc.! By now I imagine you guys know the drill with this. I'm taking the last week that I will be posting this year to list what I feel were the 10 best albums to come out this year. 2016 had some pretty good stuff released, so I'm looking forward to posting two of them a day till the end of the week after which I will be taking the rest of the year off to enjoy the holidays. These albums will not be listed in any particular order because as I've said in the past, it's a pain trying to place all of them. All that aside, let's wrap this up!

2. Blue and Lonesome, by The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones seem to have gotten back to their roots on this newest album of theirs, and by getting back to their roots I mean WAY back to their roots. Blue and Lonesome is an album comprised entirely of covers the Stones did of old blues songs that they all know and love. Songs that gave them their original inspiration as young lads to pick up instruments and make the songs that we know and love from them.

Recorded in a matter of only three days it has tunes from many of the greats, like: Howlin' Wolf, Willie Dixon, Memphis Slim, Buddy Johnson, and so many more. You can definitely tell the guys are having a good time playing these songs and adding their own spin to them. It kind of feels like you're listening to them feeling like kids again in those early days when fame and glory were just a pipe dream and all they really wanted to do was play the blues.

1. Memories in Rock, by Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow

Now I know I said I wasn't going to actually rank these albums in any particular order, but for those of you that know me did you really think that there would be a new Rainbow album this year (even though it was just a live one) and I WOULDN'T put it at number one? After almost two decades of playing almost exclusively Renaissance music Ritchie Blackmore for a few shows decided to make a big triumphant return to rock with a brand new band.

Memories in Rock features many great classics from Blackmore's career in Deep Purple, Rainbow, and beyond. I think what I like best about this album aside from hearing Ritchie Blackmore finally playing these songs again is the new vocalist he got, Ronnie Romero. The man is still his own vocalist but there are moments when he is singing the Ronnie James Dio era Rainbow songs and he sounds hauntingly spot on. It's spooky in a good way. He definitely does them justice. Can't recommend this album enough.

Writer's Moment:

That's a wrap for 2016! As I've been saying for the past couple of weeks I will now be taking the rest of the year off to enjoy the holidays and relax. After the way 2016 has treated me (and all of us for that matter), I think it's a well deserved break. I will be returning January 2nd to resume business as usual. I hope you have enjoyed this week's list and everything I have put out this whole year. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your continued readership and support. It means the world to me, even if my audience is a small one. That said, from Young Ears, Fresh Perspective to you, have a Merry Christmas (or whatever you celebrate if you celebrate) and a Happy New Year!

Top 10 Albums of 2016 Part 4

Happy holidays/Merry Christmas/Happy Chaunukah/Happy Yule/Happy Kwanzaa/Happy New Year/etc.! By now I imagine you guys know the drill with this. I'm taking the last week that I will be posting this year to list what I feel were the 10 best albums to come out this year. 2016 had some pretty good stuff released, so I'm looking forward to posting two of them a day till the end of the week after which I will be taking the rest of the year off to enjoy the holidays. These albums will not be listed in any particular order because as I've said in the past, it's a pain trying to place all of them. All that aside, let's continue!

4. Revolution Radio, by Green Day

Green Day has always been at their core a punk rock band, but with their most recent release Revolution Radio, it's about as back to basics raw pure punk as you can really get. There were times listening to this where I had to make sure I wasn't listening to The Sex Pistols or another old school 70's punk band. From the moment you hit the play button until the end it's balls to the wall rock n' roll with a real message.

I think what I appreciated about this album more than the last couple of albums they have put out (including the trilogy) is that they got back to their roots. Like WAY back to their roots. Don't get me wrong, highly produced albums like American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown are still good in their own right, but it was really cool of Green Day to remember that they are first and foremost a punk band and to put that on tape with a real message and direction.

3. Heavy Crown, by The Last in Line

When metal god Ronnie James Dio died in 2010, it struck a heavy blow to the metal community at large. Gone was one of the most extraordinary and iconic voices and song writers to ever bless the musical world with his presence. In the past couple of years however, original members of Dio's solo band: guitarist Vivian Campbell, bassist Jimmy Bain, and drummer Vinny Appice got back together as a group with new vocalist Andrew Freeman to form a new band to pay tribute to Ronnie and the music they made as well as also making new music. The result: Heavy Crown.

If you're looking for something that is a good throwback to the days when metal had that certain crunch and thunder that you just don't hear any more, this is definitely the album for you. It is a HUGE nod to the past while still pushing forward and sounding fresh in some respects. Freeman doesn't try to be Ronnie, but at the same time he fits the mood of the band and the music flawlessly. Definitely one of the best metal albums to come out recently.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Top 10 Albums of 2016 Part 3

Happy holidays/Merry Christmas/Happy Chaunukah/Happy Yule/Happy Kwanzaa/Happy New Year/etc.! By now I imagine you guys know the drill with this. I'm taking the last week that I will be posting this year to list what I feel were the 10 best albums to come out this year. 2016 had some pretty good stuff released, so I'm looking forward to posting two of them a day till the end of the week after which I will be taking the rest of the year off to enjoy the holidays. These albums will not be listed in any particular order because as I've said in the past, it's a pain trying to place all of them. All that aside, let's continue!

6. The Stage, by Avenged Sevenfold

Avenged Sevenfold have always been a rather creative band. More so than a lot of the metal community might give them credit for. To be fair, when you have such a plethora of radio hits out there it can be a bit difficult to be taken seriously among the metal community considering how much it prides itself in being not consumer friendly. That said however, A7X has quite a few technical tricks up their sleeves and they let them all out to play on their current record The Stage.

The Stage is probably Avenged Sevenfold's most exploratory and creative albums to date. No radio hits whatsoever. This is all them just letting their creative side out to play and really digging in. The songs are incredibly long and feature some extraordinary writing and musicianship. One of the best tracks is over 15 minutes long and even features a monologue from astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson. If you love prog metal, this might actually be worth your time to listen to.

5. Dystopia, by Megadeth

This brand spanking new Megadeth cut was the first to feature the band's current line-up of Dave Mustaine on vocals and rhythm guitar, David Ellefson on bass, Kiko Loureiro on lead guitar, and Chris Adler on drums. It is definitely a return to classic thrashy form for the band since the more commercial sound 2013 release Super Collider. Probably because that album didn't do all that hot with the fans and critics alike.

If you go in expecting what you have heard out of Megadeth's more thrashy albums in the past decade or so you're going to get what you expect. It's no Rust in Peace, but it still has some good thrash metal on it. The writing and musicianship are pretty solid. Plus, the fresh blood in the band definitely brings the music new life. I would definitely recommend picking this up if you're in the mood for a loud, angry, crashing, banging, and shredding good time.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Top 10 Albums of 2016 Part 2

Happy holidays/Merry Christmas/Happy Chaunukah/Happy Yule/Happy Kwanzaa/Happy New Year/etc.! By now I imagine you guys know the drill with this. I'm taking the last week that I will be posting this year to list what I feel were the 10 best albums to come out this year. 2016 had some pretty good stuff released, so I'm looking forward to posting two of them a day till the end of the week after which I will be taking the rest of the year off to enjoy the holidays. These albums will not be listed in any particular order because as I've said in the past, it's a pain trying to place all of them. All that aside, let's continue!

8. Self-Destruct, by Metallica

After making their fans wait eight long years, the kings of thrash metal finally put out their 10th studio album. With this album, Metallica don't exactly knock on the door politely. In true metal fashion they come crashing in guitars pummeling, drums and bass thundering, etc. They will rock your house or wherever you are to the ground in this most recent release of theirs. Self-Destruct is a definite return to form for Metallica. Each song on this two disc nearly 80 minute ass whooping is a throwback to an earlier incarnation of the band's sound while still pushing forward and trying to do something different with it. In my opinion, it is both the album's greatest strength and weakness. That said, if you're looking for some good kick-ass straight up Metallica you're going to find it here.

 7. Acoustic Recordings 1998-2016, by Jack White

After the extensive tour that Jack White did for his 2014 studio album Lazaretto and then writing, recording, and putting out a new album with his side project The Dead Weather last year I'm not surprised that he wasn't in the mood to jump back in the studio and put out a new solo album this year. That said, Acoustic Recordings features a pretty cool selection of tunes throughout all of Jack's recording career including stuff from: The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, and plenty of his solo stuff as well.

I like that it features some never before heard tracks as well as some more stripped down or differently mixed tunes of his that we have heard. Honestly, some of the tunes I've listened to most often were the ones that were just different versions of already released tunes. I'm always a big fan of listening to a song I really like in all of the ways that it exists. If there is an acoustic version of something I love with different sounding vocals, you bet I want to get on that. Definitely worth looking into for anyone following Jack White.

Top 10 Albums of 2016 Part 1

Happy holidays/Merry Christmas/Happy Chaunukah/Happy Yule/Happy Kwanzaa/Happy New Year/etc.! By now I imagine you guys know the drill with this. I'm taking the last week that I will be posting this year to list what I feel were the 10 best albums to come out this year. 2016 had some pretty good stuff released, so I'm looking forward to posting two of them a day till the end of the week after which I will be taking the rest of the year off to enjoy the holidays. These albums will not be listed in any particular order because as I've said in the past, it's a pain trying to place all of them. All that aside, let's get started!

10. Hollow Bones, by Rival Sons

Rival Sons have kept right on schedule with giving their growing fan base that old school big thundering blues tinged rock n' roll they ever so desperately crave. It has everything a Rival Sons record needs: catchy fuzzy guitar riffs, howling passionate vocals, and a grounding and pounding rhythm section. From start to finish this album will pick you up and pound you into the ground, though the last track will be rather sweet and kind to you to make up for it.

This album shows the band pushing forward and exploring a little bit more, though at the same time it sounds a little bit more like their old stuff than their previous record Great Western Valkyrie did. The only thing I have against this record is that it's too short. It's only 9 songs long. It's a great record, but I feel they could have done more with it. Regardless, it's still worth picking up. If nothing else, it's that extra bit of injection of pure rock n' roll that we all clearly need to get through this year.

9. Resonate, by Glenn Hughes

Veteran rocker Glenn Hughes has done a LOT in his 4+ decade career. Despite all the music he has made over the years though he has almost never made the same record twice. However, at the same time anything he makes regardless of the genre/musical direction has that unmistakable Glenn Hughes signature sound to it. Hughes's most recent studio effort Resonate is definitely a prime example of this.

Resonate is a lot heavier than any of the solo stuff he has ever put out. However, it has that certain raw unchained fuzzy thunder and grind to it that was very much the prevalent sound in his previous band California Breed. The difference here though is that this album goes in a much darker and somewhat heavier direction than that album. If you're a fan of Hughes or are just looking for something awesome to blow out your speakers with, this record ought to do it.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Metallica's James Hetfield Gives Latest Statement on Former Band Mate Dave Mustaine

The burning feud between thrash giants Metallica and Megadeth went on for decades until only within the past decade or so was it finally laid to rest and the fences mended between Megadeth front man Dave Mustaine and his former band mates in Metallica. These days Metallica front man James Hetfield has some interesting things to say about his former band mate that are a stark contrast to what he would have said not all that long ago.

In a recent video interview with Bild Musik, Hetfield was asked to react to a bunch of different photos as they popped up. When one of Mustaine popped up, he says:

“An old friend of ours for sure and he has done very well for himself in Megadeth. And after him getting kicked out of Metallica he went on to have an amazing career. Dave is an amazing guitar player, great songwriter and he has done some amazing stuff in his band.”

I'm not surprised that Hetfield is singing the praises of Mustaine these days considering they have buried the hatchet and have a profound mutual respect for one another. However, it's always nice to get a reminder here and there that the feud is over. Seeing all these long standing musical rivalries end is kind of a heart warming thing because it goes to show you that time really can heal any wound. 

Maybe if we're really lucky next year we'll get that Big Four tour that Mustaine has been pressing for recently. Would be cool to see the largest four bands in all of thrash metal get together to do something on such a massive scale and make the most metal tour to ever happen happen for the fans who have waited for something like this for the past three decades.

Writer's Moment:

For those of you who did not already know, next week will be the last week of blog posts from Young Ears, Fresh Perspective for the year. The week will be a five part list of the Top 10 Albums of the Year rather than the regular posts and features that I run. After next Friday's post I will be taking the rest of the year off to relax and enjoy the holidays, returning January 2nd to start the new year refreshed.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Please, Please Me, by The Beatles

The Beatles while they admittedly took years of hard work to get where they got became unarguably overnight sensations when they put out their debut LP Please, Please Me in 1963. You couldn't go anywhere without at least hearing something about that British band that just got huge and was making young girls all over the world wet themselves. Rightly so, because this album was only the beginning for what would be one of the most celebrated careers in all of music history.

Please, Please Me though half covers features quite a few of the band's earliest hits, such as: I Saw Her Standing There, Love Me Do, Twist and Shout, and more. This is early Beatles in its purest form. It is that perfect blend of bubble gum, blues, and rockabilly. You can hear that the band is having a lot of fun playing these songs. You can hear the smiles through the recordings. I've honestly never heard a record that sounded happier overall in more than just the music itself than this one.

I Saw Her Standing There is the epitome of early Beatles awesomeness. The lyrics are definitely not the most profound they ever wrote, but it's just such a fun uptempo song that you don't really care. You're too busy jumping and dancing around with the biggest smile on your face to give a crap. The vocal melody is enchanting and the rhythm is absolutely grooving.Great tune to put on at a wedding or even just a regular party if you feel like putting on a throwback that will get people up and moving.

Twist and Shout is probably one of the most beloved songs from this record. Even if you haven't heard it while watching Ferris Bueller's Day Off you probably still know it as one of the most fun songs to jive to. It is the bubblegummiest of the Beatles' bubblegum era stuff. Supposedly when they recorded it John Lennon had worn out his voice so much and was so sick that he was able to get the vocal tone that he did. It was all done in one take. Needless to say, he did not want to do another. I'm glad he didn't because otherwise we never would have gotten that awesome sound.

While Please, Please Me is nowhere near the pinnacle of The Beatles' accomplishments, it was one hell of a way to start off their career with a bang. It shows them from the very beginning, at their truest roots before they evolved into the politically and socially meaningful mouths of a generation that within only a few years they would become. This is just four mop tops in suits with smiles having a darn good time making some of the best remembered rock n' roll to ever be put to tape.

Please, Please Me, by The Beatles receives 3.75 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. I Saw Her Standing There
2. Misery
3. Anna (Go to Him)
4. Chains
5. Boys
6. Ask Me Why
7. Please Please Me
8. Love Me Do
9. P.S. I Love You
10. Baby It's You
11. Do You Want to Know a Secret?
12. A Taste of Honey
13. There's a Place
14. Twist and Shout

Buy the album on Amazon:

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Sebastian Bach's and Skid Row's Managers in Talks for a Reunion

There has been a great deal of bad blood between vocalist Sebastian Bach and his former band Skid Row over the years since Bach quit in 1996 due to an ongoing rift that had been emerging between him and the band that came to a peak when Bach booked the band to open for Kiss when the band had other plans. Now however, it is said that the managers of Bach and Skid Row are meeting to have talks of a reunion.

In an interview with Blabbermouth, Bach divulges how he feels about the idea of a reunion and what is currently going on with it, saying:

“All I can say is that [my manager] Rick [Sales] is talking to [Skid Row’s manager] Doc [McGhee]. That’s all I can say. That is what is happening, and I don’t have anything else to tell you. All I can tell you is we’re not getting any younger, folks. Let’s put the hair band back together while we’ve got hair.”

While Bach has made it abundantly clear that he would be down for a reunion with his old band, last we heard from current Skid Row member guitarist Dan Sabo, he would rather not go backward and deal with Bach, saying in an interview with The Aquarian Weekly:
“Happiness, to me, is my spirit and my soul is more important to me than having dollars in my wallet.”

As much as I would LOVE to see Bach back with Skid Row, I kind of have to side with Sabo on this one. If he and the rest of the band do not wish to reunite with Bach then they shouldn't do it, regardless of how much cash is waved in front of their faces. Money is the wrong reason to ever do anything when it comes to being creative. Plus, if I was at a Skid Row show and knew they were only doing it for the money I don't think I'd have as much fun. You'd be able to see it in their performance if nothing else.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Former Dio Drummer Vinny Appice Doesn't Think Ronnie James Dio Would Like Last in Line

Vinny Appice (son of Carmine Appice) played drums with the late great Ronnie James Dio in both Black Sabbath and Dio. In the past couple of years, he and the original members of Ronnie's solo band got back together to form a new band Last in Line that pays tribute to the music they made together and also pushes forward to write new stuff (they put out an album titled Heavy Crown earlier this year). As cool as this is, Appice feels that Dio might not have liked the idea of them playing together.

In a recent interview with RockMyWorld (via Blabbermouth), Appice talks a bit about how he thinks Dio might have felt about the idea of these guys playing together again, saying:

"I think he would like Heavy Crown. He might go, 'Fuck those guys!' I don't know. He would probably like it inside, musically, but he wouldn't like the idea of us playing together. That's what I think."

I have a feeling that Appice is probably right. After he quit the band in 1986, guitarist Vivian Campbell and Ronnie were blood enemies for decades until the singer's death in 2010. I can't imagine that these guys from Dio's early solo days playing together would sit too well with Ronnie because they might draw attention away from him. That wouldn't sit well with the elf with a voice from Hell. Regardless, Heavy Crown is a good record and I'm glad they're playing together again.

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #99

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. Turn Blue, by The Black Keys

This is one of those songs that fits a chilled out, low key, some times melancholy night time atmosphere seamlessly. Though in some respects it's quite a morose song, in others it will help you relax quite well if you're just wanting to put on a soundscape that will transport you to a more calm and restful state of being. Will definitely go well with all of the other songs you have in your late night playlist.

2. Jailhouse Rock, by Elvis Presley

I don't know if you guys realize this or not, but Elvis Presley &$#%ing ROCKS! The vocal grit in this songs just hits you directly in the face in all the best ways possible. There is absolutely no deep profound meaning to the song whatsoever, but that's not really what Elvis was ever really about. This song will get you up off your feet and MOVING. It pretty much laid down the blueprint for what a rock n' roll song is supposed to be like.

3. Sing Sing Sing, by Benny Goodman

I know what you're thinking. "WTF are you putting jazz in here for? This is a ROCK blog!". Well you know what? Rock would never have evolved the way it did without jazz, especially in terms of long drawn out improvisation sections. The way the orchestra works together and then gives different parts these wild solos is absolutely astonishing. For something this old, it definitely blows the roof off of any joint it is played at.

4. Thank God It's Christmas, by Queen

I suppose I have to acknowledge that Christmas is coming up, don't I? It was inevitable. Oh well. That said, have one of the absolute greatest Christmas songs to ever be written, recorded, and distributed to the masses. You can never go wrong with Queen, especially when it comes to music about Christmas. I get a tad bit emotional every time I listen to this on the day itself. Even if I'm feeling absolutely horrible it helps restore some of that holiday spirit for me.

5.  The Magician's Birthday, by Uriah Heep

Speaking of long songs that go on and improv forever, this is a prime example of what jazz structure helped to accomplish later on. This tune goes on for over 10 and a half minutes, has multiple distinct sections, and in certain places features some killer guitar improv from Mick Box. I know big prog rock odysseys aren't everyone's cup of tea, but some times you need to try something new. Go on. Give it a shot. You might find you like something in it after all.


Writer's Moment:

As I recently mentioned, after the 23rd of this month I will be taking the rest of the year off to relax and enjoy the holidays. I will be returning on January 2nd to resume with business as usual. That said, this will be the last week of the year with regular posts. Next week will be my Top 10 Albums of the Year posts that will span the entire week. 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Black Sabbath Guitarist Tony Iommi Has Surgery Scheduled to Remove Throat Lump

Black Sabbath guitarist and godfather of heavy metal Tony Iommi has been through Hell and back with the lymphoma he was diagnosed with a few years back. Though it is in remission and he feels fine at the moment however, he received news recently that he has a lump in the back of his throat and has scheduled surgery to have it removed.

In an interview with Irish Times, Iommi says that the doctors aren't taking any chances with the growth being cancerous or not. He explains, saying:

“I went for a check four weeks ago and the doctor said that at the moment there is no activity where I had the cancer before, but there is activity in the throat. When I get back to England, I have to have an operation to remove this thing at the back of my nose.”

Hopefully for Iommi's sake the growth is not cancerous or that if it is they manage to get to it in time before it can spread any more cancer cells to the rest of the body and cause problems. It would be a shame to lose such a talented metal titan considering he probably still could have some decent years to come despite the battle with lymphoma. I'd love to see him do all sorts of collaborations with former Black Sabbath band mates once Black Sabbath calls it a day once and for all.

Throwback Thursday: Girls, Girls, Girls, by Motley Crue

Motley Crue was known back in their 80's heyday for being one of the druggiest, drinkingest, most partying bands on the entire planet. Sadly however, it got to a point where the need to do drugs and other vices outweighed their need to make music. It came to a bit of a head when in 1987 bassist/song writer Nikki Sixx overdosed, died, and then came back. During the months leading up to this however, the band wrote, recorded, and put out their infamous Girls, Girls, Girls album. Though successful, it definitely reflects the troubles they were having.

Though there is a distinct metal crunch to the sound of Girls, Girls, Girls it seems to be more of a rock oriented record like many of Motley's recording endeavors. You can hear that old blues rock influence in there all over the place. Despite the fact that Sixx was using way too much heroin among other drugs at the time, he somehow managed to put multiple commercially successful songs on the record like: Girls, Girls, Girls, Wild Side, You're All I Need, and a live recorded cover of Elvis Presley's Jailhouse Rock. A couple of tracks sound fairly similar to one another on this record, but all in all it's still solid despite Sixx's health at the time.

Dancing on Glass is my personal favorite track from Girls, Girls, Girls. Sadly it was never a single (though I think it should have been). It is a very sexy blend of 80's metal riffs mixed with 50's rock n' roll piano plunking. I'm not surprised it works as well as it does though, considering Sixx's rich musical background. All he really did was take an old musical concept, but make it a bit more dark, modern, and crunchy. I think my favorite part of the song however is the tail end where they have a female soul vocalist howling her lungs out. It's pretty cool.

Girls, Girls, Girls is one of THE quintessential Motley tracks. When they were still together, no concert would be complete without them playing this anthem to dirty, sexy LA women and everything we all know and love about them. You can't go to a strip club without hearing it at least half a dozen times. It's a good song, though. That guitar riff just digs right into the dirt and doesn't let go till it's over. The steady mid-tempo rhythm just thunders and booms through your chest. It's just the slimiest song and makes you feel dirty even listening to it, yet you love it the entire time.

It's absolutely extraordinary what the human spirit can achieve even when in the most dismal of states. Girls, Girls, Girls is kind of a testament to Sixx's will to keep going on even when he didn't really want to; when all he wanted to do was either die or just do more and more drugs. Got to give him credit for that, especially since it turned out to be one of the albums that any fan of the Crue (myself included) would consider a must have classic. Even if you don't know the album's background, you should definitely do yourself a favor and pick it up.

Girls, Girls, Girls, by Motley Crue receives 4 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Wild Side
2. Girls, Girls, Girls
3. Dancing on Glass
4. Bad Boy Boogie
5. Nona
6. Five Years Dead
7. All in the Name Of...
8. Sumthin' for Nuthin'
9. You're All I Need
10. Jailhouse Rock [Live]

Buy the album on Amazon:

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Jason Bonham Not Getting Hopes Up About Led Zeppelin Reunion

Over the past few decades people have dreamed and begged for a Led Zeppelin reunion, with it only ever happening in short one-off stints a small handful of times ever since the band's break-up in 1980. The most substantial reunion happened back in 2007 (nearly a decade ago at this point) when the band got back together to pay tribute to former Atlantic Records executive Ahmet Ertegun. Currently however, late drummer John Bonham's son Jason Bonham is not too hopeful of another reunion of the band ever happening.

In a recent interview with Billboard, Bonham goes into detail on how he is trying to put the idea of another Zeppelin interview ever happening; saying that it's the only way that a Zeppelin reunion ever could happen. He says:

"Back in 2004 I finally let go. I said to myself, 'Don't ever think it's gonna happen. Don't in the back of your mind ever think something's gonna happen. Let it go. Don't have that little flutter of hope in your stomach or whatever.'

And then when I let it go what happens? I get a call in 2007. So all I'll say is 'I'm gonna let it go.' As far as I know, nothing's gonna happen, but if I let it go, you never know."

I hope for Bonham's sake (and ours for that matter) that this little method of his works for getting at least one more Led Zeppelin reunion, but I still don't think it will ever happen again. Robert Plant seems like he is about ready to retire altogether and Jimmy Page last I heard is working on getting his own thing going. If it does happen it will be a miracle and will probably be only one more show rather than a tour. Besides, since Black Country Communion is getting back together next year I'm more interested to hear what Bonham and the rest of the guys in the group will do.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Who's Pete Townshend Finds Joy in Performing Live Again

Pete Townshend, guitarist and primary song writer for The Who has made it crystal clear in recent years that he feels absolutely no joy in playing live and HATES his band. However, recently Townshend threw a bit of a curve ball at us by telling us that at least the first part of the previous statement isn't necessarily true any more.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Townshend explains his recent rediscovery of his love for playing before a live audience, saying:

"For me, the last five weeks of the tour we did, before we came to California to do Desert Trip, everything felt very different. I'm notorious for being, I suppose the word is blasé, but also a bit diffident about performing.

We'll do a good show and afterwards, people will say, 'Were you having fun?' And I'll say, 'No, not really.' They'll say, 'Isn't it great?' And I'll say, 'Well, glad you think so but it's just what I do.' That kind of thing.

I'm a little bit detached and I put it down to the way that I grew up. My dad was in a band, and I grew up on the road with my dad, and I feel safe on the road. I don't get nervous on the road. I get a little bored on the road. I don't have a lot of hose kind of starry buzzes that a lot of people get when they perform.

Well, this last couple of months, maybe it's because I can see the end in the distant misty future or maybe it's something else, I started to feel like what I'm doing is of greater consequence. It means more to me, anyway.

In Germany and Italy, and Bologna specifically, at least 65% of the audience were under 30. Now, when we went to Coachella, we were also playing to an audience that was about 50/50 millennials on the one hand – fuck knows why they were there but they were there, and I'm not gonna try and explain it – and people of our age and younger.

But in the middle, we played in Mexico, and the audience was very young, but they knew the words of every song and they sang them the whole way through. And on both nights, when I went to bed, I couldn't sleep. I was tired, but I couldn't sleep, and I think it was because the little artist inside me was excited. I feel I'm still riding on a bit of that now."

Whatever it is that has made Townshend change his mind, I'm glad he is giving at least some semblance of a crap again. It doesn't seem right to me for a performer to go on stage and play with absolutely no passion. If you don't like what you're doing, you shouldn't do it. People want to see performers that are actually having fun and enjoying what they're doing, otherwise it kind of feels like a cash grab and a waste of time.

Writer's Moment:

The end of the year is rapidly approaching. That said, I want to do things a little differently to wrap 2016 up. This year I want to take the days between Christmas Eve and New Years Day (including the two aforementioned days themselves) off. It's been a rough year for me and I want to take that time to not have to worry about putting a blog post out 5 days a week so I can just relax, spend time with my friends and family, and enjoy the holiday season. For those that are wondering, I will still be doing my year end Top 10 Albums of the Year posts but they will be posted the week before Christmas.

Monday, December 5, 2016

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #98

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. Cliffs of Dover, by Zack Kim

This Eric Johnson classic is beloved my millions of guitar nuts and regular listeners alike. It's melodic, upbeat, catchy, and fun. However, some times it's interesting for such a long standing pillar of a song to be taken in a different direction. A long while back South Korean guitar wizard Zack Kim did just that by doing a jazzy rendition of it. However, what you hear is him playing two guitars simultaneously. No joke. That is all him just playing in one single track. Check it out for yourself.

2. No Shows, by Gerard Way

The former My Chemical Romance front man has definitely gone in an interesting musical direction with his debut solo album Hesitant Alien. This track in particular is a definite departure from his old band's style in that instead of sounding like emo punk music, it has a great deal of early 80's New Wave overtones to it but with a bit more modernish fuzz added onto it in certain areas. Regardless, it's quite a catchy song (even if the lyrics make little to no sense).

3. Pyrrhic Victoria, by Joe Satriani

This has to be one of the absolute best songs Satch has put out in recent years. It's hard and rocking while still having an epic symphonic feel to it that makes you feel like you're watching the summer's biggest blockbuster hit in the theaters. I love that he was somehow able to make a marriage of two seemingly distinctly different musical styles in such a way where they blend and intertwine, rather than have a war with one another.

4. Rip This Joint, by The Rolling Stones

This is a tune I LOVE to crank whenever I want to get energized, feel good, and have some fun. Surprisingly enough I almost NEVER hear it on the radio. It's fun enough that you would think it would. Anyway it's not lyrically profound by any stretch of the imagination, but it's the Rolling Stones. They don't need to be. It's straight up blues charged rock n' roll with a real swing to it. Great for getting a party going if you're hanging with people who actually have taste in music.

5. Princess of the Night, by Saxon

If you're feeling more metal though, Saxon ALWAYS has you covered. I love how lightning quick the intro riff is played. You might not think so, but this riff isn't quite as easy to do justice as it would sound to someone who is just coming in and listening casually for the first time. Some times it's not the lead guitarist that impresses me, but the rhythm guitarist and just what they can do when given the right kind of focus. That said, crank this tune up to 11 and rock.


Friday, December 2, 2016

Ace Frehley Returning to Kiss for Final Tour a Possibility

Over the years it has been no secret that founding Kiss lead guitarist Ace Frehley has had some major spats with his former band mates Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. However, Frehley insists that especially his relationship with Stanley is quite good (especially since Stanley contributed to Frehley's recent solo album Origins Vol. 1) and he would never say never to reuniting with his old band if they did a farewell tour.

In a recent interview on Sirius XM he was asked if a reunion with the band was ever at all a possibility for a final tour, he says:

“Rumours are rumours. I haven’t been contacted. I’m not ruling it out. It’s a possibility. If that’s something they would like to do to end the career of Kiss, if it was handled correctly, it could be great.

Those guys run the show these days. I’m doing my thing and they’re doing their thing. If it happens it would be great. If it doesn’t I’ll be fine and they’ll be fine.”

Personally I don't see Kiss doing anything even remotely close to a final tour any time in the foreseeable future. Gene will definitely want to keep milking that cash cow for as long as he can stand on his own two feet and put on all the make-up and stage outfits. Plus, they really don't show any signs of slowing down at all at this point. That said, Frehley returning to the band in any capacity (even if only for a song or two on stage once in a blue moon) would be epic and rad. That said however, I'm not holding my breath.

Throwback Thursday: Sticky Fingers, by The Rolling Stones

In 1971 The Rolling Stones put out their 9th British album (11th American one), titled Sticky Fingers. It just so happens that it has become one of their most monumental landmark albums (so much to the point where in America it went triple platinum and is considered by many their best album). At this point these guys were definitely on top of the world. They were on fire and nothing was about to make them stop any time soon.

Sticky Fingers has a bit of a variety in sound, ranging from the jumping and jiving rock tunes that everyone loves, to blues, to even bits of country at certain moments. It's definitely a well rounded record to say the least. That's probably why it has done so well over the years. Of course it also helps that it features mega hits like: Brown Sugar, Wild Horses, Dead Flowers, Can't You Hear Me Knockin', etc. If ever there were an all killer no filler record, this would be it.

Wild Horses is one of my personal favorite Rolling Stones songs. It might not be fast, loud, or rocking, but it is lovable nonetheless. It's soothing, calming, and relaxing. Those guitar chords played by Keith Richards are so smooth and buttery, washing you away in the relaxing chill of the night while Mick Jagger's soulful voice just makes it that much more impacting. This is the kind of song you put on in your car after a long hard day at work and you just need something to calm you down and put you in a better state of mind.

If high energy fun times rock n' roll is what you're looking for however, then look no further than Brown Sugar. That opening solo guitar riff is iconic. Everyone knows what song it is and who is playing the second it comes on. It has a killer groove to it and will get everyone moving. Plus, that saxophone solo done by Bobby Keys really brings everything together and exudes the good atmosphere the song is meant to present to the listeners.

Sticky Fingers has sold as many copies and been revered as much as it has over the past few decades for a damn good reason. It's definitely a lot of fun and gives first time listeners an excellent idea as to what the Rolling Stones are about. It has its peaks and valleys and they all manage to come all at the right moment. These guys in their prime definitely had a lot of talent. I would recommend this as the first album that anyone looking to get into the Rolling Stones pick up. You're shooting yourself in the foot if you don't.

Sticky Fingers, by The Rolling Stones receives 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Brown Sugar
2. Sway
3. Wild Horses
4. Can't You Here Me Knockin'
5. You Gotta Move
6. Bitch
7. I Got the Blues
8. Sister Morphine
9. Dead Flowers
10. Moonlight Mile

Buy the album on Amazon:

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Rush Donates $40,000 to Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research at Sunnybrook

Rush has done some amazing things in their 40+ year career as a band, but now they can add major philanthropy onto that list (more so than before). They have just made a $40,000 donation to the Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research at Sunnybrook.

Gord Downie is the singer for The Tragically Hip, who has unfortunately developed terminal brain cancer and has since with his band done their final shows. Downie started this charity to help combat the disease so that no one else has to suffer the way he did.

In an official statement, Rush say:

“We are pleased to direct this generous donation from the Allan Slaight Humanitarian award to the Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research at Sunnybrook. Many Canadian families have been affected either directly or indirectly by this terrible disease.

Through Gord's courageous efforts this cause is now getting the attention it desperately deserves. As fellow musicians and friends it's our turn to help support his efforts to fight brain cancer now."

 In addition to the band's statement, head of neurology at Sunnybrook Dr James Perry adds:

“We are thrilled to learn Rush has made such a donation. It will help give us the tools we need to find ways to treat the untreatable. Right now we are investigating new drugs, surgical techniques and genetic therapies. We are using ultrasound to reach tumours that couldn't be reached before.

The funds so generously donated by Rush will support us as we continue our pioneering work, to the benefit of brain cancer patients not only across Canada but around the world.”

Definitely good on Rush for making this donation, regardless of the amount (because I know a lot of people would be wondering why they didn't donate more). Every little bit counts when it comes to fighting a disease. I can only hope that soon something substantial can be discovered that will help eradicate brain cancer once and for all, or at the very least help in combating it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Eric Clapton Announces North American 2017 Tour Dates

Despite the fact that Eric Clapton has fairly recently stated that due to his advancing age and health issues he wishes to retire from touring once and for all, the 70 year old legendary blues man has made public some tour dates for next year.

In the tour program for the upcoming shows, Clapton addresses the fact that he has been talking retirement for a while now, saying:

“I know I’ve been threatening retirement for the last 50 years, but I didn’t think I’d ever really want to stop. I love what I do and always have done, but over the last few decades I’ve found what I was always really looking for, a loving family who love me just the way I am, which means I can relax and rest when I need to, and more and more I treasure the beauty of that.”

Personally I'm a bit surprised that Clapton is going ahead with another tour, but at the same time not really. Performing is something Clapton clearly loves. He has been doing it for over 50 years and I can't imagine him wanting to stop altogether until he physically cannot do it any more. That said, I'm not so surprised that he is keeping it as short and at as few venues as he is. We'll just have to wait and see how he manages to get through the dates.

The tickets will go on sale to the general public on December 3rd at 10AM local time. Chase customers will have access to a special pre-sale starting December 1st at 12PM ET.

Eric Clapton 2017 North American Live Dates
3/19 — New York, Madison Square Garden
3/20 — New York, Madison Square Garden
3/25 — Los Angeles, The Forum
3/26 — Los Angeles, The Forum

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Phil Collins Getting Drum Chops Back Up to Snuff for Comeback Shows


Phil Collins has admitted that something during the Genesis reunion shows in 2007 made his drumming nowhere near as great as it used to be. It just hasn't felt natural for a long time to him. However, Collins is now practicing harder than ever to make it all come back to him so he can be on top of his game for the big comeback tour he has planned next year.

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Collins goes into detail about how drumming has been a struggle for him for a while now, but how he is making an effort to fix it, saying:

"After the Genesis reunion tour, I played with Eric Clapton at Albert Hall for one song in 2010, and I had that feeling of 'This isn't happening.' That kind of scared me. The one thing I could rely on in life was that I could sit down at the drums and it would sound good, and suddenly I couldn't pull it together.

Now, I've got a drum kit in my garage and I've got into a routine of practicing. I'm trying to get my hands to feel natural again when I hold a pair of sticks. I've got some comeback shows booked for next year, and we'll see what happens."

I wish Collins all the best. Having something that has been such a staple in your life for so long all of a sudden become unnatural to you must be a complete nightmare, especially if it's a major passion like playing the drums. I hope for Collins's sake that he can manage to pull it together and put on the kind of show that both he and his fans deserve to have. After all, it wouldn't be right for Collins to perform In the Air Tonight without it being him behind the drums at that key moment.

Writer's Moment:

Since it is Thanksgiving weekend I'm taking the next four days off to spend time with my family and to just relax. I hope for those of you who celebrate the holiday you enjoy it as well!