Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Black Sabbath Keyboardist Geoff Nicholls Dies at 68

Most people when they think of Black Sabbath think of them as a guitar driven band and would never really associate keyboards with their sound. In most cases they have the right idea, but what some people might not know is that in 1979 they actually did get a keyboardist Geoff Nicholls who stuck with them through various line-up changes until 2004 when Ozzy Osbourne brought in the keyboardist from his solo band Adam Wakeman. Sadly however, Nicholls passed away on the 28th due to lung cancer.

Many messages about Nicholls have been pouring in over the past few days to mourn his death and remember and celebrate his life including from most of the original line-up of Black Sabbath.

Guitarist Tony Iommi made the longest statement about Nicholls on his Facebook, saying:

“I’m so saddened to hear the loss of one of my dearest and closest friends Geoff Nicholls. He’s been suffering for a while now with lung cancer and he lost his battle this morning. Geoff and I have always been very close and he has been a real true friend to me and supported me all the way for nearly 40 years. I will miss him dearly and he will live in my heart until we meet again. Rest In Peace my dear friend.”

Bassist Geezer Butler made a Facebook post expressing his thoughts, saying:

"Very sad to hear of old friend and Sabbath keyboard player Geoff Nicholls passing. RIP Geoff."

Even the Prince of Darkness himself, Ozzy Osbourne took a moment to pay his respects through a tweet, saying:

"Geoff Nicholls was a great friend of mine for a long time. He will be greatly missed. I'm very saddened at the news."

It is definitely a sad occasion for metal fans. Nicholls did some of the coolest keyboard work I've ever heard, especially in songs like: Die Young, E5150, Stonehenge, The Dark, Sphinx (The Guardian), etc. He was definitely a skilled and quite frankly under rated and valued musician. Personally I think he should have been a more visible/official member considering how much he contributed during his time in the band. Regardless, I hope he rests in peace and that his friends and loved ones manage to find their own peace.

Monday, January 30, 2017

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #103

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. Ain't Gonna Cry No More, by Whitesnake

This has always been one of my favorite Whitesnake tunes. It's the perfect blend of acoustic and hard rock. Jon Lord's synthesizer solos in this one are pretty cool too. They fit in pretty seamlessly to the song. David Coverdale sings so soulfully, passionately, and honestly in this one. Every last lyric is one you can tell is something he genuinely feels down to his core. You don't hear a whole lot of music like this any more, sadly.

2. Lady, by David Coverdale

This is one of those songs where the moment it comes on it's impossible for me to not have at least the faintest trace of a smile and dance a little bit no matter how blue I'm feeling. It is rather upbeat and has driving around in summer time written all over it. That slide guitar melody is one of the nicest sounds to ever bless my ears. Soothes my soul and puts a smile in my heart for sure. The horn section especially adds a nice bit of sunshine.

3. Love Child, by Deep Purple

I really think the Tommy Bolin era material from Deep Purple is some of the most under rated rock n' roll to ever come out of the 70's. The band really did some of its best work despite the fact that some of them were having problems with drugs and there was a great deal of internal strife within the band (especially due to original guitarist Ritchie Blackmore having left the band recently). This tune in particular kicks a WICKED sexy groove. It was originally meant to be reggae, but they turned it into hard rock. I think the end result is quite nice.

4. Waiting on You, by Coverdale - Page

I find it a crime that the collaboration between David Coverdale and Jimmy Page didn't take off more. The songs on the one album they did together were pretty damn good. They do sound a little too much like Led Zeppelin at certain points, but at the same time it's still a neat throwback. I think it was probably the wrong point in time when they did this collab. This tune has some good slide playing from Page. Kind of matches the old school Whitesnake vibe, but with Page's own stamp on it and with a little more production and balls.

5.  Behind the Smile, by Roger Glover featuring David Coverdale

This tune is kind of odd, but this is one of the coolest outside of Deep Purple projects David Coverdale ever participated in. The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast was a concept album by at the time ex-Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover based on a children's book of the same name. Glover got many performers to contribute to this album including Coverdale even though he joined the band after Glover was fired. The end result is rather mysterious and intriguing. The vocals here have a real smooth whiskey type flavor to them.


Saturday, January 28, 2017

Cool People Did Lego Recreation of David Bowie and Mick Jagger's Cover of "Dancing in the Street" Video

There has been a great deal of negativity going around in the world lately, and for good reason. However, I figure in light of that maybe it's time to take a break from it all for just a moment by showing you guys something I found that I thought was pretty darn cool. Remember back in 1985 when Mick Jagger and David Bowie teamed up to do a cover of Dancing in the Street? Well someone took that awesome video and did a shot for shot recreation of it entirely with stop motion video in Lego.

Turned up by the good folks over at Dangerous Minds, the video was created over the course of about three years by stop motion animator and Vimeo user William Osborne. It's arguably better than the original video, though personally I think the original gets a lot of unnecessary hate. To me it seems like one of those things where people only hate it because someone made it a trend - like with Nickelback.

Overall the video is very well done. You can tell that Osborne put a lot of time and effort into it. It matches up perfectly with the original video and the song. Personally I'm glad we've come to an age where Lego is cool for adults too and also stop motion stuff can be done with it. Personally I think stop motion animation needs to become more commonplace again, but that's a different discussion. Anyway, you can check out the Osborne remake here. Let me know what you think.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Throwback Thursday: The Temperance Movement, by The Temperance Movement

Writer's Moment:

In the true spirit of rock n' roll, I'm breaking the rules today; at least the ones I set for myself anyway. Normally on the Throwback Thursday posts what qualifies an album to be written up is that it has to be at least 10 years old. However, I'm going to break that rule today (and might every once in a blue moon in the future) because I thought enough of this album to give it a review despite the fact it's only four years old.

And now back to our regularly scheduled program.

A lot of people these days say that rock n' roll is dead *cough cough Gene Simmons cough*. These people feel there is no great up and coming talent to carry the torch when the very last of the great original rock stars pass on to the great gig in the sky. I on the other hand beg to differ. All you have to do is actually dig in and look for it in places besides commercial radio. That said, a prime example of a band that has a real fire and passion in their souls is The Temperance Movement, an English bluesy hard rock band who in 2013 put out one hell of a debut album that was also called The Temperance Movement.

The Temperance Movement has almost everything anyone could ever want in a hard rock album: tasty riffs, bluesy soul, raw integrity, and above all else a down to Earth good time with songs that still have a respectable level of honesty to them. There is this driving, lighthearted energy to all of the songs that I honestly haven't felt in a long time, except maybe from Rival Sons and even then it's still a different kind of vibe. Some songs are pedal to the metal, some bouncy, some party vibing, and some that are slowed down ballads. Either way, they put their all into every last track.

Take It Back is the tune that really drew me to The Temperance Movement in the first place. From the moment the track comes on until that last chord gets struck it feels like you're partying with the band on stage at a concert. That powerful soulful grit on Phil Campbell's voice really gives the tune the edge it needs. It's already a loud and proud rock n' roll tune, but some times you need that extra special something to make a song really stand out the way it should.

Know For Sure like many of the tunes on The Temperance Movement really reminds me of early Whitesnake. It's definitely got some bounce to the rhythm and the slide guitar is really reminiscent of Micky Moody's playing in some ways. However, they definitely take this kind of music and do their own thing with it. This is one you can get up and dance to or just sit back and groove with as you bob your head back and forth. The solos are a lot of fun to listen to as well. They don't try to just sound like stereotypical classic rock solos. It's some sexy slide playing where at some moments both guitarists harmonize with one another. It's a beautiful thing.

The Temperance Movement is definitely the kind of rock n' roll record that we need to see more of from more bands these days. It's a lot of fun from start to finish. The only thing that I personally feel holds it back a bit is there are just a couple too many soft slow songs. I don't have anything against them, but when there are too many it kind of messes with the flow and vibe of a rock n' roll record. Otherwise from start to finish this album is chocked full of a bunch of great songs that could be new classics if they actually got proper airplay.

The Temperance Movement, by The Temperance Movement receives 4 out of 5 stars.

Track List: 

1. Only Friend
2. Ain't No Friend
3. Pride
4. Be Lucky
5. Midnight Black
6. Chinese Lanterns
7. Know For Sure
8. Morning Riders
9. Lovers and Fighters
10. Take It Back
11. Smouldering
12. Serenity

Buy the album on Amazon:


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Allman Brothers Drummer Butch Trucks Dies at 69

While 2017 doesn't quite have the body count that 2016 had by this point, we have already lost yet another great. The legendary talented Allman Brothers drummer and founding member Butch Trucks has sadly passed away at the age of 69 on January 24th in West Palm Beach, FL from what are currently causes unknown.

While some details are yet to be found out and/or made available to the general public, the band's public relations firm put out an official statement on Trucks's passing, saying:

“Butch Trucks, a founding member of the Allman Brothers Band, tragically died the night of January 24 in West Palm Beach, Florida. His wife, four children, four grandchildren and all of the Allman Brothers Band, their families and Road Crew survive Butch. 

The Trucks and Allman Brothers Band families request all of Butch’s friends and fans to please respect our privacy at this time of sadness for our loss. Butch will play on in our hearts forever.”

It's definitely a shame that such a talented powerhouse of a drummer has gone so soon. One of the first things I ever remember about hearing the Allman Brothers is my dad putting in their Live at the Fillmore album and hearing Trucks just hammer and pound away, but keeping things lighter where needed in that glorious extended jam of Whippin' Post. You don't hear a whole lot of drummers who can use dynamics like that, nor do the kinds of patterns Trucks did. He will be sorely missed for certain.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Iron Maiden Announce Summer North American Tour

Need some more Iron Maiden in your life and looking for one of the most awesome metal shows you could go to this summer? Well my friend, you are ever so much in luck as Iron Maiden has just recently announced the dates for the North American tour they will be embarking on this summer to continue promotion for their most recent release The Book of Souls. The dates and venues are listed below.

The tour will be kicking off June 3 in Virginia and going all the way until July 21st in New York with numerous stops in between. Opening band will be Ghost (which I've heard good things about). Tickets go on sale this coming Friday (the 27th), though the Fan Club pre-sale tickets are available now.

This is definitely a show worth seeing. From what I've heard it's one of their biggest shows yet. I saw them about five years ago in Chicago when they were promoting Maiden England. I was in the pit with my buddy and it was AWESOME. Elaborate stage set ups, tons of costumes for Bruce Dickinson, and a gigantic Eddie stomping around at certain points. I imagine by this point everything has only gotten better.

Summer 2017 Iron Maiden North America Tour Dates:



Monday, January 23, 2017

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #102

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'm Down, by Beck Song Reader featuring Jack White

A few years back, folk legend Beck instead of putting out a new album wrote a bunch of new songs and released them as sheet music for other people to perform. Personally I find that to be pretty neat and innovative, but it's no surprise considering Beck is known for doing all kinds of stuff like this all the time. Anyway, this country blues type tune is done ever so delightfully well by Jack White and his solo band. The vocal harmonies hit you in all the right ways and it has a laid back enough groove that you can either dance or relax to it.

2. Battle of Evermore, by Led Zeppelin

As if there weren't enough reasons to love Led Zeppelin already, this song is pretty much about The Lord of the Rings. This wasn't the first time that Zeppelin referenced J.R.R. Tolkien's classic trilogy in their music, but certainly the most potent. It has a heavy world/folk music vibe to it while still keeping the focus very much on the fact that this is still rock n' roll despite the fact there are mandolins and other odd instruments playing. Definitely a must listen for fantasy genre fans.

3. Creep, by Postmodern Jukebox

This is one of the most hauntingly beautiful songs I have ever had my ears blessed with in my entire life and is honestly one of the few occasions where the cover far outshines the original. As I have mentioned before, Postmodern Jukebox takes newer hit songs that we're all familiar with and turns them into various forms of jazz. The way this comes together is so perfect. The singing is just so soulful and powerful, making the lyrics and the message they convey that much more potent.

4. The Decisive Battle (Final Fantasy VI Boss theme), by Daniel Tidwell

Letting my nerd side out to play again, I couldn't not put this tune in the playlist this week. This is a heavy metal version of the boss battle music in one of my absolute favorite video games of all time: the RPG Final Fantasy VI. Even if you're not into video games or at least haven't played this one in particular, it's a pretty awesome solid track and this arrangement of it makes it that much more kick-ass and fun to crank up and jam to.

5. Giant Robot, by Giant Robot (Buckethead)

Who knew that the theme song from a 60's Japanese kids show could be turned into something so badass and cool? Buckethead has never been shy about expressing his fandom of odd and nerdy things, including the show Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot. In the early 90's he turned the song into one of the biggest, most stomping metal tunes of all time. It definitely carries a great deal more emotional weight to it than it ever had before, although the interlude of the song is an extended funky jam. Still comes together quite nicely, though.


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Op-Ed Piece: Hateful Behavior of Older Classic Rock Fans I See on Facebook

I've been doing Young Ears, Fresh Perspective for a while now. I think this May will make three full years since I started writing this blog on a regular basis. Over that amount of time I have frequently gone back to the same few sources to get my news for me to write about - usually the Facebook pages of some well known and reputable classic rock and metal publications. Naturally that affords me the opportunity to peer over the comments section of each article posted. Often times what I see quite frankly appalls me.

Now I know what you're going to say: "But Josh, of course the comments section is full of garbage!". Be that as it may, some of the things said still kind of make me shake my head. For example, whenever a rockstar/band expresses their views on something political many people (usually old stuck in their backwards mindset conservatives who somehow like the most rebellious form of music there is) will say things like: "Oh, these guys are just a bunch of whiny pussy babies! They should just stick to entertaining and not bother us with their views!" or "These guys suck!". The insults just keep coming and coming.

In terms of rockstars expressing their political views via spoken word or often times song, people who make the awful comments that I mentioned above are exactly why we need the rockstars and people with a soapbox to say something. Rock n' roll is all about speaking up for those who don't have a voice (or at least not much of one in the grand scheme of things) and speaking out against such backwards and hateful mind sets.

Rock n' roll has been one of the major forces in speaking out against political tyranny since the 60's, which is something you would think a lot of these people would remember. I don't seem to recall anyone of the generation who loved the Beatles - one of the HUGEST protesting bands of the late 60's - calling them a bunch of whiny leftist fags who need to go to their safe space. In addition, just because you disagree with a rockstar's political views it doesn't mean that they suck as a performer or writer. You just don't see eye to eye and that's ok.

I just find it a shame that even in the 21st century so much of our nation still has such a hateful, cruel, and backwards mind set that leads them to doing and saying such nasty things. We ALL need to learn a bit more peace and love and practice a lot less bigotry and cruelty towards one another. That includes the things we say on the internet. Until that day however, I will support every rockstar (whether I'm a fan or not) who wants to speak their mind to promote the good things we need to be focused on right now as well as expressing how many people feel about the not so good. We're entering a new dark era where we're going to need all of the light we can get.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Toys in the Attic, by Aerosmith

In 1975 Aerosmith were really coming into their own. After relentless touring for their previous two albums the band had become a well oiled machine. Not only that, but each individual member had improved as a player over the time they were touring since they were on almost every single night for months at a time. When the time came around to make their third album Toys in the Attic, this improvement was definitely apparent because the tunes they wrote and performed on it made the album the best selling one in the U.S. that they ever made.

Where the first couple of Aerosmith albums had a bit more of a straight up blues feel to them, Toys in the Attic ventures outside of that into what many consider just straight up hard rock. It definitely has much more variety to its sound. It features hits such as Sweet Emotion, Walk This Way (the good version), Toys in the Attic, You See Me Crying, etc. Some of the lyrics can be rather tongue in cheek and it makes it all the more enjoyable because right when you think Steven Tyler is about to say something dirty, he goes to something else.

Uncle Salty has to be one of my absolute favorite Aerosmith tracks of all time. Honestly, I don't feel it gets played or talked about enough. The way it has that walking groove somehow just hits me the right way. That isn't surprising though, considering that walking pace matches the human heartbeat which is a rhythm that naturally goes well with us. It's a rather emotional and heavy tune if you actually listen to the lyrics. Makes you feel kind of bad for everyone being sung about. You could easily get lost in the earthy groove, but if you listen close enough it will kind of blow you away.

Sweet Emotion is one of those songs that shows you just how much Aerosmith had improved as individual musicians and as a cohesive unit. There are so many complex and interesting pieces to it (particularly the bass intro done by Tom Hamilton, the talkbox, and the backing percussion) that when put together it makes for quite the musical feast. I honestly like that the bass takes the center focus in this song because it so well acts as the glue that holds everything together, even in the more riffy parts.

I don't know if this would be the record that I would start a new Aerosmith fan off with, but it would definitely be among the first. This album has sold a lot over the years for a damn good reason. I can't say there is a single track on there that I personally don't love to death. It has all the right amount of everything in terms of a classic rock record: hard rockers, fun B sides, and emotionally potent slower tracks - all of which are put in the perfect order. This is definitely Aerosmith in top form before the drugs and partying took too much of a toll on them. This is a must have for certain.

Toys in the Attic, by Aerosmith receives 5 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Toys in the Attic
2. Uncle Salty
3. Adam's Apple
4. Walk This Way
5. Big Ten Inch Record
6. Sweet Emotion
7. No More No More
8. Round and Round
9. You See Me Crying

Buy the album on Amazon:


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Ozzy Osbourne Announces First Solo Date After Black Sabbath Finale

Black Sabbath singer and solo artist Ozzy Osbourne is definitely the kind of guy who seems to want to keep himself busy. The past few years he has been touring relentlessly with Black Sabbath, but next month they are going to play their absolute last concert ever. That said, Osbourne has already announced his first performance post-Sabbath finale. The first solo concert in a while considering how much his solo career has taken the back burner since things with Black Sabbath kicked off again in recent years.

The performance will take place at Chicago's Open Air Festival at Toyota Park in Highland, IL. The festival will be happening July 14-16 with single day passes starting at $50 and VIP packages at $425.

Osbourne's performance will take place on Sunday the 16th, where he will be the headlining act of the day. Other notable bands on the bill will be Megadeth, Slayer, Godsmack, Korn, Kiss, Rob Zombie, Godsmack, and countless more.

At this point there is nothing for certain on whether or not Osbourne is working on a new solo LP, but there have been rumours going around that he has been working on stuff with Billy Idol guitarist Steve Stevens which if true could definitely lead to something wicked cool. It would definitely be a vast improvement over the past two or three solo LP's he has put out.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

5 Amazing Emotional Lyric-less Songs

Throughout all of time people have conveyed their deepest thoughts and feelings through the power of music, often using words to do so. Lyrics have the power to make you feel profound things you might never have experienced before or to relate to experiences the writer had. However, some times the greatest of artists can make you feel such emotions without a single word being sung. In my opinion, being able to create a song that blows you away on a profound level with only the music being performed is the mark of a truly great musician. Today I'm going to list five such songs that deserve attention for doing so.

1. The Forgotten Part 2, by Joe Satriani

Holy crap. If you put this one on in the middle of the night (especially if you're driving on a dark lonely road) when you are in the right frame of mind then this song will blow you right out of the water with the feels it will give to you. I've never managed to listen to this song and not well up with emotions of all sorts. It vibes with me on this profound level that many songs with lyrics could never manage to. Will definitely make the hairs on your arm and neck stand up.

2. I Love My Parents, by Buckethead

This is a track I can NEVER make it through without tearing up or at least wanting to cry. Most people know Buckethead for being an eccentric robotic shredder type, but there is really a great deal more to him than the vast majority of folks out there give him credit for. He has an emotional side as well and it really comes through here. If you don't feel like bawling your guts out 10-20 seconds into this one then there is something seriously wrong with you.

3. Carry On... Jon, by Blackmore's Night

You can absolutely hear and feel the great pain in Ritchie Blackmore's heart when you hear him play those mournful melancholic and somewhat medieval sounding guitar melodies in this. He lost his former Deep Purple band mate organist Jon Lord a few years back, and put out this tune as a way of expressing his feelings for his fallen friend and sending him off into the next life. Ritchie may not be the nicest guy around, but after listening to this you can definitely never say he has no heart.

4.  Lipstick Traces, by UFO

If something less sad is more what you're jiving, then this is one of my absolute favorite love songs of all time. Not a word is sung, yet you still get that feeling of just cuddling up to your partner on a warm Spring or Summer evening on a hammock out by a lake or something. At least that's the picture I always get. It's such a warm, genuine sounding tune. I'm sure guitarist Michael Schenker was really channeling some legit romantic feels for someone when he came up with this.

5. Fluff, by Black Sabbath

This song will make you feel like you're floating on a cloud in the most serene part of existence. Then again, a song called Fluff I'm sure is supposed to make you have the image of clouds in your mind when listening to it. It is so soothing and peaceful. It makes you remember that even in the roughest parts of life there are things worth putting your rage, anxieties, and other stresses aside for. It's impossible to leave this tune not feeling at least a modicum better than you were before.


Monday, January 16, 2017

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #101

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. Dead!, by My Chemical Romance

This has been one of my favorite MCR tunes for a while because it blends a lot of really heavy classic punk with some nuances of classic rock here and there. The moment those drums come pounding in and that blistering guitar solo tears it up, you know you're in for one hell of a wild ride. The way the song flows and progresses into a more grandiose and somewhat slowed down end though is absolutely magnificent and majestic. The incorporation of horns is also a nice touch.

2.  We Ran Out of CD Space, by Psychostick

Psychostick is one of the absolute greatest comedy metal bands to ever exist. Songs like this are exactly why. All it is is just them doing an acoustic ballad where they are singing random (though admittedly awesome) crap just to fill up the last of the CD space left available to them on the album they were recording at the time. I won't give away the ending of the song, but it ends in the best way for a song like this to end possible.

3. Why Don't We Do It in the Road, by The Beatles

The Beatles in their day came up with a lot of wild and occasionally random and silly stuff. I think this tune in particular is a prime example of that. To be fair though, there is actual meaning behind the song. Paul McCartney saw two monkeys doing it in the road in India and it was done rather quickly and no one thought anything of it. He was kind of taken aback by how cool everyone was about it and therefore wrote a song about the idea.

4. Brain Damage, by Pink Floyd

As years have gone by I've been able to relate to certain aspects of this tune a bit more. Well that and quite a few other Pink Floyd songs as well. While I always enjoyed Pink Floyd for their musicianship, it wasn't until I became more of a grown man that I really started to understand what they were talking about in many of their songs and started being able to relate to a noticeable amount of the lyrical content myself.

5. 500 Miles, by The Proclaimers

To end this week's post on a more cheery note, I figured I'd throw this one in. It's always made me feel a little better even when I'm feeling the most down and blue. It's kind of hard not to with how upbeat and cheery it is. Almost makes you feel like getting right up out of your chair and march. Plus, those thick Scottish accents add all the more charm to it and make you want to listen to it over and over and over again for years to come.


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie Working on Duet Album

While lead singer Stevie Nicks has been busy being on solo tour with The Pretenders, the rest of Fleetwood Mac are not letting that stop them from keeping busy and moving ahead. This has apparently taken shape in the form of a duet album by keyboardist Christine McVie and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham tentatively titled Buckingham McVie.

In an interview with The Los Angeles Times, McVie goes into detail on the writing of the album saying:

“You know, a better thing’s never happened to me. We’ve always written well together, Lindsey and I, and this has just spiraled into something really amazing that we’ve done between us.”

In a 2014 interview with the Huffington Post, McVie described how the collaboration between her and Buckingham was already going swimmingly even with the absence of singer Stevie Nicks while she was on solo tour, saying:

"Because of Stevie’s absence, there’s been a very strong link musically between Lindsey and I, where we’ve actually been able to concentrate and co-write. The early collaborations produced some fantastic, quite profound, quite surprising emotions. … It knocked my socks off completely.”

According to McVie, the duo are working on the album at Village Studios, where in 1979 Fleetwood Mac wrote and recorded their Rumours follow-up double album Tusk. According to McVie, "it feels like coming home.".

Personally I'm glad that the rest of Fleetwood Mac is keeping busy creatively while Nicks is out doing her own thing. Personally though I would think she would want to put some time and effort into the big opportunity she has to do the band's first album with all five classic members since 1987's Tango in the Night. Regardless, I'm sure whatever Buckingham and McVie put out will be pure gold.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Avenged Sevenfold, by Avenged Sevenfold

In 2007 Avenged Sevenfold were making it HUGE in the metal scene, coming off the tail end of the successful release and tour for their commercial breakthrough album City of Evil. That album turned them almost entirely into an overnight sensation. In order to top what they achieved in that album however, they decided to make a record that was almost entirely different and in some ways quite risky. The result was their incredibly well received and still popular to this day album Avenged Sevenfold.

Avenged Sevenfold is a rather experimental album in that while all of the songs are very distinctly Avenged Sevenfold they sound entirely different from anything the band had done up to that point. They tried all sorts of different concepts and it seemed to pay off ranging from prog rock, to heavier than the previous album metal, to pseudo-Broadway, to even a country-esque ballad that was popular with fans. It spawned many of the band's most well known hits such as: Afterlife, Dear God, Almost Easy, Scream, and quite a few more.

One of my favorite songs from this album is definitely Critical Acclaim. Despite the fact I'm not usually into political statements, I LOVE feeling the raw passion of any performance. You can DEFINITELY pick up on that vibe here with all of the things M. Shadows screams into the mic. I love the way it builds up and then is balls to the wall intense, but then in the middle gets a little bit softer followed by a burst of powerful emotion with Synyster Gates playing one hell of a melodic guitar solo. Whether you're into statement pieces or not, I still think you'll like this one.

A Little Piece of Heaven is one of the most odd, yet most fun songs I've ever heard from Avenged Sevenfold or any heavy metal/hard rock band for that matter. They manage to make a morbidly happy marriage of heavy metal and Broadway musical styles here. If you're a metal purist it might not be up your alley, but if you're looking for something entirely different then this is SO for you. It's a long song, but it tells a story (as any musical would). It transitions and blends styles seamlessly and does so at all the right moments. With a macabre libretto and wild music, I think you're in for a treat if you have never listened to this song.

One of the things I've always loved about Avenged Sevenfold is that even if I don't particularly care for some of the directions they go, they're never afraid to try something different. They never make the same record twice. Every one of their albums thus far has its own unique flavor, and such is definitely the case with Avenged Sevenfold. All of the tracks on it are extremely different from one another but you can still feel that when put together they do make a cohesive record. Definitely give this a shot. I guarantee you'll find at least a couple tracks (though probably more) that you like.

Avenged Sevenfold, by Avenged Sevenfold receives 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Critical Acclaim
2. Almost Easy
3. Scream
4. Afterlife
5. Gunslinger
6. Unbound (The Wild Ride)
7. Brompton Cocktail
8. Lost
9. A Little Piece of Heaven
10. Dear God

Buy the album on Amazon:


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Op-Ed Piece: One Year Since David Bowie's Death

One year ago the glittering gender bending thought provoking song writing extraordinaire David Bowie died from an 18 month battle with liver cancer only a few days after the release of his final studio album Blackstar. Quite frankly it's hard to believe that it's already been one year since then. It definitely hasn't been an easy one, I'll tell you that much.

There will definitely never be another David Bowie again, but I think that's ok. The one thing he tried so hard to teach us in his life time is that we should never be afraid to be who we want to be and should never try to hide it. I think over the years that teaching has helped enough shy, scared, awkward kids become something extraordinary and put out music/art of their own. Hell, even the non-artist types benefit from this as well.

One of the things I find most extraordinary about the music Bowie created is that it is not only often catchy and fun, but it is incredibly exploratory and profound in so many ways. He managed to pack all that stuff into pop songs and yet somehow managed to slide it under the radar to the mainstream public for them to enjoy. That is definitely no easy feat, let me tell you. Having something to say and saying it in such a way that is accessible without watering it down is something so very few people could ever do.

One of the things I have wondered especially in the past two or three months is what Bowie would think of the world the way it is now, especially with the less than lackluster president elect about to take office in about a week or so. I can only imagine the powerful words he would have and the boundary pushing music he would set it to.

All that said, I for one am definitely looking forward to eventually meeting the man at the gates of Heaven. That's pretty much what Heaven would be to me, aside from limitless tacos and all the best guitar gear I could ever dream of. David Bowie inspired multiple generations of young and old fans alike to become the best versions of themselves possible and for that reason along with the fact that his music is phenomenal will never be forgotten. May he continue to R.I.P.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Metallica's James Hetfield on Why the Band Only Does 50 Shows a Year Now

When a band manages to last for multiple decades and stay together into old age it's not much of a surprise for them to slow things down a bit. When you're in your 50's/60's you can't really do the whole rigorous touring that many bands are forced to do in their early years when they are getting the most amount of attention. Such is the case now for Metallica who according to front man James Hetfield has slowed their tour schedule down to only 50 shows a year.

In a recent interview with Blabbermouth, Hetfield (joined bylead guitarist Kirk Hammett) explain why they have chosen to do this, saying:
“My body has told me to tell these guys that 50 shows a year is kind of what we can do, so make the best of those. And I think we all kind of agree in that.

But 50 shows a year, that’s pretty good. My body can handle that. Body, mind and spirit all need to kind of revitalize themselves at home and days off for voices — things like that — so 50 shows a year, it goes pretty quick, I’m sure. I tell people, ‘We’re only doing 50 a year,’ and they’re saying, ‘Oh my God! That’s a lot.’ And it’s, like, it’s not. It’s not, really, compared to what we used to do.”

Hammett added:
"Yeah, I mean, we would tour for 10 out of 12 months in the past. We had crazy tours where we would tour, like, 12, 15, 16 weeks in a row, doing five shows a week…” 
Hetfield finished the statement, saying:
“And we came home and we were divorced, girlfriends were gone and we were addicted to a few substances and we were fighting.”
Depending on how you want to look at it, 50 shows can be plenty if you can space them out across the globe enough. That is an average of about a show a week, though I can't imagine that is the way they would do things. Good on them however for recognizing that the road isn't a place they can live on forever. The older you get the more toll being out on tour takes on you. At this point in their career they definitely have earned the reprieve.

Monday, January 9, 2017

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #100

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. Time For Bedlam, by Deep Purple

Deep Purple has put out some statement pieces before in their nearly 5 decade run, but this particular new cut of theirs from their upcoming 20th studio album InFinite seems especially poignant. It definitely shows that these old folks have something to say about the current state of affairs in the world today. Surprisingly this is also a very classic Deep Purple sounding tune without it sounding like they are trying to copy off themselves.

2. Don't Drop That Dime, by Velvet Revolver

Most people associate Velvet Revolver with sounding balls to the wall in your face dark and heavy rock n' roll. However, they had a bit more of a diverse sound than they have usually been credit for - especially on their second/final album. This tune in particular had a really cool unplugged Grateful Dead kind of vibe to it. It actually was a bit more honky-tonk than I've ever heard any of these guys go before. It's pretty awesome.

3. Built For Comfort, by UFO

You couldn't really call yourself much in the way of a rock n' roll band back in the day if at some point you didn't cover the late great blues giant Willie Dixon, now could you? This is one of those songs that I love putting on if I want to just sit and groove to something for a few minutes but don't necessarily want to feel energized. Guitarist Michael Schenker definitely shows off some of the blusier side of his chops here rather than the hard rock and metal ones he is more known for.

4. I'm Shakin', by Little Willie John

I posted the rather bouncy and electrifying Jack White cover of this a while back, but I couldn't go without posting the original at some point as well. This has a rather haunting vintage jazz atmosphere to it that makes it that much more intriguing to listen to. It's definitely a product of its era, but the song writing itself gives it a timeless quality that a great deal of the music from that particular point in time seems to have garnered over the years.

5. Over the Hills and Far Away, by Led Zeppelin

Couldn't let Jimmy Page's birthday go by without posting a Led Zeppelin tune, now could I? This has always been one of my favorite tunes from Zeppelin - especially the intro. It was supposedly done on four different acoustic guitars which Page multi-tracked in the studio. Definitely gives it a rich built up quality. This is definitely Led Zeppelin at their creative peak, not long before things went south for them in multiple ways.

Writer's Moment:

Wow! 100 5 Songs posts, huh? I guess I've been doing this for a while. I'm glad you guys have been sticking with and enjoying these posts for as long as I've been doing them. It's always fun to see what tunes I can throw together each week into a bit of a playlist for you. That said, here's to the first 100 of these and the next!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Lump in Black Sabbath Guitarist Tony Iommi's Throat Found Non-Cancerous

Back in December Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi had yet another health scare related to his lymphoma when a lump in the back of his throat was found at a check-up. The doctors got him into surgery as quickly as possible in order to remove it. Word just got back that it was not only a successful surgery, but the lump was benign (non-cancerous) as well!

In a recent interview with Planet Rock for his latest song he wrote for the Birmingham Cathedral Iommi goes into detail about the whole experience, saying:

“I went in for the throat (operation) – they found a lump at the back of my sinus in the throat and we had to have it checked in case it may have been cancerous, but it turns out it wasn’t - which I found out on Christmas Day, which is brilliant! So far (I’m all good). I daren’t say that – I’ll probably fall down the stairs now!”

I would say a clean bill of health like that is one hell of a Christmas gift to receive, especially because of all of the struggles with cancer that Iommi has been dealing with since 2012. I have to admire how much of a trooper that guy has been. He not only fought lymphoma until he got a clean bill of health, but he did it while on an extremely extended world tour with Black Sabbath (which is planning to do its two final shows in Birmingham next month after a nearly 5 decade career). Good on ya, mate. I hope you live many more happy healthy years.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Libertad, by Velvet Revolver

In 2007 we heard what at the time we didn't know would be the absolute final studio album from super group Velvet Revolver, which consisted of former Guns N' Roses members Slash on lead guitar, Duff McKagan on bass, and Matt Sorum on drums as well as rhythm guitarist Dave Kushner followed by former Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland. After an explosive debut album and tour in 2004, the band needed a strong follow-up for Contraband. The result: the more classic rock oriented Libertad.

While Contraband was a lot heavier than most people would expect out of the former GN'R crew, they seemed to get back to their roots a bit more on Libertad. You can sort of tell that they were trying to be a bit more diverse and creative than on the last record, which I get. As awesome as Contraband was they didn't want to just make the same record all over again. Unlike its predecessor which was pretty dark and heavy, this record breathes more. There is less radical shift in dynamics, but still has all the emotions. Soft in some place, grooving in some places, and kicking your ass in others.

The tune that EVERYONE knows Velvet Revolver for came from this record, which is She Builds Quick Machines. Over played though it might be, it's still an awesome tune. I love how it starts off with just the guitar riff sounding like it's coming through an old AM radio, but then when the whole band kicks in it just punches you right in the face. After that you're taken on one hell of a wild ride for the rest of the tune. There isn't a whole lot else to it, but it really doesn't need it. It's straight up rock n' roll and that's all it needs to be.

Personally, my favorite tune on this record is the cover of Electric Light Orchestra's Can't Get It Out of My Head. They gave it an amped up punchy plugged in sound without losing the emotion and tenderness of the original. I still don't understand how they managed to pull it off, but they did. You still get that same swelling warmth within your chest and that arm hair raising quality that any good ELO song gives you, but with VR's distinct flavor. They definitely made it their own here. Even made it just a tad more psychedelic which is actually kind of cool.

Libertad isn't the punch packing roller coaster ride that Contraband was, but it doesn't need to be. If you give it a fair shot you'll definitely find at least a few tunes on it you like. There are a wide variety of styles/genres on it. Heck, there is even a hidden bonus track on it that has a real Grateful Dead vibe to it that some of you might like. Regardless, this record was one hell of a way for the band to say goodbye even if they had no idea that it was going to be a farewell when writing and recording it.

Libertad, by Velvet Revolver receives 4 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Let It Roll
2. She Mine
3. Get Out the Door
4. She Builds Quick Machines
5. The Last Fight
6. Pills, Demons, and Etc.
7. American Man
8. Mary Mary
9. Just Sixteen
10. Can't Get It Out of My Head
11. For a Brother
12. Spay
13. Gravedancer

Buy the album on Amazon:


Thursday, January 5, 2017

Deep Purple Release More Details for New Album "InFinite" and Lyric Video

Deep Purple have been some pretty busy guys lately. Not only are they gearing up to go on an extensive tour which they are naming The Long Goodbye Tour (it's currently speculated that the band will be calling it a day next year when they reach their 50th anniversary), but they are also putting out an EP, a full LP titled InFinite (their 20th studio album, coming out on April 7th), and just now a lyric video (which can be viewed below) for their song Time For Bedlam (which will be on the upcoming EP).

Time For Bedlam is one of the most classic Deep Purple sounding tracks I've heard the band make in a while, but at the same time there are aspects to it that still make it not sound like they are just completely trying to copy off the sound they had in their 70's heyday (especially the haunting computerized vocal intro). Maybe it's because of how much of a Ritchie Blackmore fan I am, but I kind of liked that current guitarist Steve Morse sounded a bit more like his predecessor for this track specifically. The more emotive playing style was what it needed rather than playing a million notes a second.

Overall it's a very dark track both musically and lyrically. You can tell that as the band have aged they definitely have a certain perspective on the world today and all of the things going on in it (especially because they have all been alive long enough to see so much happen). To add a bit more feeling and crunch the keyboard solo in the middle of the song definitely sets you on edge but also excites you at the same time.

Overall I'm a fan of this new song. I don't think it's the greatest thing they have ever put out and I have a feeling InFinite will have way better stuff on it, but it's still a pretty damn good song. I would definitely recommend having a listen even if you're not that big a fan of Deep Purple post-Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord. If nothing else, you can see that these old guys still have quite a bit of talent and can play circles around guys 1/3 their age.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Young Year, Fresh Content: What I Intend to Do in 2017

Happy new year, one and all! I hope you all had a fantastic time during the holidays, if you celebrate during that particular time of the year. I'm doing something a little different from the norm today to talk to you guys for a moment about what I intend to do here on Young Ears, Fresh Perspective this year.

First of all, I want to do more new album reviews in addition to the Throwback Thursday retrospective reviews I do every week. I feel this past year I really dropped the ball on that because I'd been dealing with some rough stuff and I didn't have the energy or motivation to actively go out and listen to new music and then do an in depth critical analysis of it. I'm still dealing with many of the same set of issues, but this year I want to try a bit harder regardless. From what I hear there are going to be some good albums coming out this year and they will definitely be worth having a look at.

I'd also like to do Op-Ed pieces a little more often. Not all the time, but a little more often than once every few months. Often times a topic relating to rock n' roll/music in general will pop up and occasionally I will have a particular opinion on it that I feel is worth discussing and sharing with you guys. I'm not promising any scheduling for these pieces, but I do want to put them out a bit more often than I have.

I would also like to do more Top 5/10/some number lists. I've gotten pretty creative with these in the past and they're often fun to make. Usually I've only done them as filler pieces when there is absolutely NOTHING worth writing about that day, but I think they would be cool to do regardless of what news is out there. I like sharing my opinion on for example what the 5 best movie soundtracks of all time are and then hearing back from you your thoughts on the subject.

I would also like to hear from you guys what kind of content you would like to see me create. As much as I have plenty of my own ideas for things to write, some times I like to take a minute to hear from you readers what you feel would improve this blog or at least would be a cool thing to see happen on it from time to time. Not every idea will be implemented, but everything will at least be taken into serious consideration.

That said, I look forward to writing and rocking in 2017. Last year was a stinker, so I can't wait for it to be put to shame by the awesome stuff that goes on this year in the blog and other areas. Thank you for your continued readership and support. As always, it is much appreciated.