Unless you’ve been living under a soft rock, there is no doubt that you’ve heard there is a huge, double-bill, rock and roll tour heading to a city near you this summer. Kiss will be teaming up with Motley Crue for what looks to be one of the hardest rocking double bills I’ve seen in years. I am looking forward to this amazing hard rock show when they roll into New Jersey this September. It’s going to be an awesome, late summer Friday night of fun and havoc!
Like I do with almost any concert that I attend, I’ve been thinking about what the setlists could be for each band this year. Will they stick to only the hits? Are they going to pull out some early classics? Will there be a surprise or two that no one expects? I’m always anxious to hear some deep cuts whenever I see either of these bands live, and this year is no exception. After giving it much thought, I’ve come up with a list of songs that would make me wet myself if they were performed live. Here are the five songs that I would love to hear from Motley Crue.
Sumthin’ For Nuthin’ (Girls, Girls, Girls)
Perhaps it’s because it reminds me of the summer before my Freshman year of high school where I played Motley’s Girls, Girls, Girls album nonstop, but “Sumthin’ For Nuthin’” is one of my all time favorite Motley Crue songs. Every time that I hear this song, I go berserker and just have to jump around, sing, dance, and scream. I have never seen Motley Crue perform this song live, and I am not even sure if they ever have performed this song live. It may be a deep pipe dream, but if “Sumthin’ For Nuthin’” gets played this summer, you are going to see one insanely happy fan.
Raise Your Hands To Rock (Theatre Of Pain)
Rarely played on the radio, almost never played live, and all but forgotten in the Motley Crue catalog, “Raise Your Hands To Rock” is one of the Crue’s most underrated songs. With a nifty acoustic intro, some hard pounding Tommy Lee drums, and a slick solo by the great Mick Mars, “Raise Your Hands To Rock” really is an excellent song. Why this song never got more love is beyond me. However, Motley Crue has a chance to fix that and bring this song to the forefront this summer by making it a staple in their show. How incredible would that be?
Without You (Dr. Feelgood)
Yes, I know that “Home Sweet Home” is the ballad that everyone is clamoring for. Yes, I know that “Home Sweet Home” will most likely be played in the encore of the show. Yes, I know that “Home Sweet Home” is a better ballad. Even with all of that being said, there is nothing wrong with the Crue performing two ballads on tour and dusting off “Without You” for a proper performance. I don’t think this song has been played since the Dr. Feelgood tour, and that is a real shame. If Vince can still hit the notes, “Without You” is one of the most powerful songs in the Crue catalog.
Afraid (Generation Swine)
With the exception of Saints Of Los Angeles, Motley Crue seems to have forgotten that they recorded music after Dr. Feelgood. I absolutely hate when bands do this. If you record new music, don’t be afraid to pull it out in concert every once in a while. And while Generation Swine wasn’t the best Crue album ever recorded (it may, in fact, be closer to one of their worst albums) it still contained a few gems. “Afraid” is one of those gems. When I first heard this song back in 1997 I was stoked. I felt that the old Crue was back together and really found their groove. And while the rest of Generation Swine made me re-think that statement, “Afraid” is still a fantastic song that needs to be performed every once in a while. This would be a great tour to make that happen.
New Tattoo (New Tattoo)
As stated above, Motley has forgotten about most songs post Dr. Feelgood. “New Tattoo” is one of those amazing songs that just never got the love it deserved. Yes, it made an appearance on the Red, White, And Crue greatest hits album, but other than that, it has been quite dormant. As a mid-tempo, moderate rock song, New Tattoo would be perfect for the middle of the set, perhaps after a blazing version of “Shout At The Devil” or “Kickstart My Heart.” It would provide the perfect way to let fans catch their breath and enjoy a rare Crue classic. Plus, seeing Mick Mars play slide guitar on this song would be worth the price of admission.
Those are five songs that I would love to see Motley Crue perform this summer. What are your thoughts? What songs would you like to see the Crue dust off for this tour?
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The Pleasant Surprises
Every year when I attend the M3 music festival, there is always one or two unexpected surprises, and this year was no exception. Last year the biggest and best surprise to me was the performance given by Pretty Boy Floyd. It turned me into a huge fan of the band and has me seeking them out in concert whenever I can. The 2012 incarnation of M3 came with its own pleasant surprises that made me a very happy metal head.
As part of the Friday night KIX-off party, M3 recruited the likes of Night Ranger to take the stage just before Kix would headline the show. I had never seen Night Ranger perform live before, so I was curious. I also didn’t expect much from them. Their new album wasn’t the greatest and while I loved their early material, I hadn’t listened to much Night Ranger since 1992. I figured they would put on a decent set and I would sing along to some nostalgic songs from my yesteryears.
Holy heck was I wrong! Night Ranger gave one of the best performances of the entire festival. The only band that I think edged them out was Stryper. Night Ranger came out onstage filled with a ton of energy. Jack Blades was running around like a mad-man trading jabs with Kelly Keagy and having the time of his life. Keagy’s drums were set in a unique fashion as well. They were arranged to sit stage left, facing the band as opposed to facing the audience. Where the drums would normally be centered was a ramp that the guitarists used to their advantage, running around and having fun.
Night Ranger was flat out awesome in concert. In addition to playing their best known hits such as Sentimental Street, Don’t Tell Me You Love Me, You Can Still Rock In America, and Sister Christian, Night Ranger also gave a terrific performance of the Damn Yankees classic, High Enough. Jack Blades mentioned how Night Ranger had taken that song and really made it their own. It showed in their performance, because Night Ranger’s version of High Enough was even better than the Damn Yankees version that I recall.
This exceptional M3 surprise left me wanting even more Night Ranger. I can guarantee that if Night Ranger goes on tour and stops anywhere near my town, I will definitely be attending that show.
I will be totally honest here. Prior to last Saturday, I knew almost nothing about Loudness. I knew that they were a Japanese glam metal band. I think I may have heard one of their songs back in the day. Other than that, I knew nothing. So, it was a great surprise to see them give such an amazing performance on the second stage. And while I did not know any of the songs that they performed, it didn’t matter. The band’s stage presence and professionalism, combined with the crowd reaction, was enough to make seeing Loudness live a tremendous experience.
Lead vocalist Minoru Niihara has an incredible voice and sings in perfect English. Guitarist Akira Takasaki is a true showman, playing blistering guitar solos and really cutting loose during his performance. Takasaki was so much fun to watch that it wouldn’t have mattered if his guitar playing was subpar. However, his playing was as amazing as his stage presence. Loudness was definitely one of the highlights of the day for me.
And I have to give props and credit to Hard Rock Hideout’s esteemed owner/editor Rob Rockitt. He told me that Loudness was going to put on one hell of a show. He was right.
Yes, I definitely had high expectations for Lynch Mob. Their last album (Smoke & Mirrors) was fantastic and with Oni Logan fronting the band, Lynch Mob was one of the acts that I could not miss during this year’s M3. I actually left Warrant’s set early to get as close to the second stage as I could for Lynch Mob. It was certainly one of the best decisions that I made.
George Lynch was in fantastic form and his guitar playing sounded better than ever. Add in the fact that this was my first time seeing Lynch Mob live and it’s easy to guess that I was a really happy metal head. Oni Logan’s voice was in fine shape, still hitting the notes just right and putting the perfect amount of inflections where needed.
The Lynch Mob performance consisted mostly of songs from their debut album, Wicked Sensation, with one song form Smoke & Mirrors thrown in. George Lynch also got a solo spotlight, giving a rousing rendition of Mr. Scary. It sounded as good as it does on the album, and it was a real treat to see him perform it live. Overall, the Lynch Mob set made me yearn to see the band at a full length concert. I can only hope that they have plans to hit New Jersey as a headliner sometime in the near future.
All right, this isn’t really a surprise. Every year I eat the cheese steaks at the Merriweather Post Pavilion and every year they taste better than the year before. This year’s cheese steak was the best yet.
Ahhh, another year of M3 has come and gone. I am already starting to save for next year, which I hope will be even bigger and better than ever.
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Another M3 Festival has come and gone leaving behind only the memories. 2012 was once again a great year for the M3 festival, and although Saturday’s portion of the show had a few hiccups and missed cues, overall, the festival was fantastic. A fun filled day of hard rocking, hair metal music, after a fun filled night of the same. As usual both days of the festival flew by and before I knew it, I was on my way home with a music hangover.
As with any major music production, there were plenty of highs, a few lows, and some pleasant surprises. Let’s look at each of these in a little more detail, shall we? Welcome to this very special 3-part edition of Vie’s Verses.
Let’s start with the good stuff. There were a lot of great things to see at the 2012 M3 Festival, but one of the most immediately noticeable was all of the beautiful women. It’s great to know that hair metal still has women who love the music and look terrific. It’s also great to know that there are younger women who love hair metal and look terrific! Now granted, I am a happily married man, but if I wasn’t, the M3 festival is where I would go to find the next love of my life. These beauties were absolutely stunning! As Steve Whiteman said from the stage, “There are no ugly women here!” Well stated, Steve.
For the second year in a row, KIX headlined night one (dubbed the Kix-Off Party) and once again produced an amazing performance. I am always in awe of the energy that Steve Whiteman and Kix bring to the stage each time they perform live. This latest performance was no exception. Whiteman and company brought the goods in both the songs they played and the energy they performed them with. Classic Kix hits were all done to perfection, including surprises like “Lie Like A Rug.” And while Whiteman stated that Night Ranger should have headlined the show, there is no replacement for Kix. They were the true headliners of the evening.
One of the best performances at this year’s M3 was also one of the shortest (see Part Two: The Lows). Stryper came on during the early part of Saturday and after having to do a quick live sound check, they kick-started their 6-song performance with passion. Reach Out, Free, Calling On You, To Hell With The Devil, Soldiers Under Command, and Sing-Along Song were all performed during the condensed set. Each song was performed note perfect and Michael Sweet still has the range to hit all of the notes on every song. And while I would have loved to hear him sing Honestly (to truly test his range), the M3 guffaw to start the Saturday show prevented that from happening. All in all though, Stryper was the best performance of day two. I hope that they return next year as headliners.
Wow! Geoff Tate not only looks great, but the man can still sing too! Queensryche absolutely blew me away during their performance. I had never been a huge Queensryche fan, I only own two albums and one of them is Hear In The Now Frontier, so I did not know a lot of the songs they performed. However, that didn’t matter. Their performance was so mesmerizing and intense, that I was mystified by all of the songs. And while I may not run out and buy their entire back catalog, if Queensryche were to schedule a future show near me, I would certainly have to check it out. Having never seen Queensryche before, my first experience was a grand one.
Once again, Warrant with Robert Mason made me a believer and renewed my membership in the Warrant fan club. This is the best that Warrant has sounded since Cherry Pie. Warrant not only performed all of their massive hits, they also took the time to play new material from their latest release, Rockaholic. The new songs sounded as fantastic as the classic material and if you’re a Warrant fan, I hope that you have a copy of Rockaholic. If not, you need to purchase it. Robert Mason looked as buff and beautiful as ever and his voice and energy has not shortened one bit. The rest of the band seemed rejuvenated by Mason’s lead and they all brought the energy of the early 90s with them. By watching Warrant perform, you would have sworn they were headlining a huge arena, not serving as a middle act for the M3 Festival. In a perfect world, Warrant would be one of the top bands on next year’s bill, perhaps co-headlining with Stryper. Hmmmm, maybe these two bands should get together for a summer tour? I know that I would go see that.
Be sure to check back tomorrow for part two…The Lows.
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Sitting in the back of the Pop Evil tour bus with lead singer Leigh Kakaty, two things immediately engage my attention. The first is the TV screen paused on a Playstation 3 game of hockey showing the Bruins leading the Capitals 1 – 0. I noticed this only due to the fact that Leigh has mentioned his love of hockey video games to me before.
“Still getting your ass kicked?” I ask with a nod toward the television screen.
He laughs in response. “Nah, no one beats me!”
“What about Theory? They are Canadian, you know.”
He smiles in response, committing to nothing. “Yeah, those guys are good.”
The second thing that I notice is how soft spoken and humble Leigh Kakaty is. This is the powerful front man for a rock band that is rising faster than the Phoenix. It is about 45 minutes until Pop Evil will take the stage, opening for Theory of a Deadman, and perform to a sold out Starland Ballroom crowd in Sayreville, Ne w Jersey. Seeing Leigh Kakaty in action on stage, and knowing what a wild and intense performer he is, I’m slightly taken aback by his soft spoken approach when being interviewed in person.
We talk about Pop Evil’s recent announcement first, which brings a huge grin to Leigh’s face. Pop Evil will be touring the United States this summer with several bands including Trivium, Killswitch Engage, and Five Finger Death Punch. I’m curious to know how Pop Evil got on the bill and even more curious to know how they think they will fair on such a tour. Pop Evil seems like the odd band out for the Trespass America tour.
“Five Finger Death Punch gave us this great opportunity,” Leigh states. “And now we have a chance to mix rock with metal and we’re trying to put on more of a festival type atmosphere. And the more we come together as metal and rock the more the fans can embrace that. And Five Finger Death Punch giving us an opportunity to do that is very humbling, because we are very much influenced by (them). We’re a lot heavier than people realize.”
Any band trying to make a name for themselves knows the rigors of constant touring, and Pop Evil is no exception. Over the last 2 years, they have played more than 400 shows and counting. I ask Leigh if he, or the band, ever get road weary and tired of the constant touring.
“What are you going to do with downtime? Play more Playstation video games? We’d rather be touring. We’re here to work. We’re here to play. When we start to work on the new record, then we’ll take some time with the family. Sometimes you miss the family and when your friends back at home are out on their boats and we’re in the middle of Texas where it is 140 degrees and you can’t go outside because it’s too hot. It has its moments, but at the end of the day we have the best job in the world and, you know, we’re pretty blessed.
“It’s very tough to maintain a band this day and age, and we just pride ourselves with touring and we just got to keep it going. It’s great to see the Pop Evil fans just growing at an alarming speed. It’s great. (You) just gotta keep playing,” Leigh says. “Keep writing the good jams, keep touring and staying out on the road, making a living.”
Speaking with fans in the parking lot prior to the show words like spectacular, amazing, and intense are thrown around when discussing Pop Evil’s live performance. While there are several fans that have not seen the band live and many others who have never heard of Pop Evil, there are still a plethora of fans that have seen Pop Evil live and give them high praise.
“I don’t see a band with this much intensity very often,” one fan tells me.
Back on the tour bus, Leigh confirms that sentiment. “It’s our live show that really makes people fans of Pop Evil.”
It is easy to understand why. On stage, Leigh Kakaty and the rest of Pop Evil are akin to un-caged animals set loose on a hostile crowd, ready to take over the world of hard rock. At the center of all the stage antics, is the band’s leader. Between rock screams of rage and passionately sung lyrics during power ballads, Leigh Kakaty is a Bruce Dickinson in the making. The way that he can command a crowd and mold them into his own image is awe inspiring. Leigh and his band mates have an uncanny ability to take a crowd that may not be into Pop Evil, or may not know who they are, and convert them into lifelong fans after just one performance.
Later in the evening, during Pop Evil’s performance of “Purple” a guy in the crowd turns to me and asks what album the song was on.
“It’s from their latest record, War of Angels,” I tell him.
Immediately, he logs into iTunes on his smart phone and downloads the record. He shows it to me proudly, like someone who has just caught a guitar pick in the front row. This is the power of Pop Evil’s live show. This is what the band can do with just one performance.
The previous week, Pop Evil and Theory of a Deadman performed at the Crocodile Rock Café in Allentown, Pennsylvania. It was there that Leigh Kakaty walked on the crowd to the delight of the fans. And although Leigh has done this before, it was the first time I was made aware of it (thanks to You Tube). It was an amazing moment in their set where Leigh literally walked on top of a sea of hands. The crowd loved it. I ask Leigh about this and how it came about.
“Walk on the crowd, man. You know, it’s just always been my thing. You know, Jesus walked on water, why can’t a rock star walk on some hands? I think it’s just something that’s always been a fun thing for Pop Evil and our fans. It’s something that you don’t see every day. You know, you’ll fall off and take your lumps if it’s not crazy packed, but it’s cool, it lets the fans get a little more hands on…literally. I’ve been doing it for a long time, but I swear it gets harder to do the older I get. The bruises are definitely a little more painful.”
Later that night, Leigh would re-enact the walk on the crowd for New Jersey. “All right,” he screams into the microphone. “We’re going to try something that I don’t think has ever been done at the Starland Ballroom before.” Leigh instructs the fans at the front of the stage to band together and put their hands up, palms out. “We’re gonna try to walk on the crowd! Are you ready?”
The loud roar in response indicates that they are. Leigh leans forward from the stage, putting one foot on the first hand he can step on. He then hoists himself up to where he is standing high atop a sea of hands. Leigh breaks into song and sings from his position on the hands, walking out just a little bit further. The crowd is amazed and several people whip out their camera phones to make a video for the internet.
At the end of their set, Leigh careens around the stage demanding of the crowd, “When I say Pop! You say Evil!” to which the crowd gloriously responds. “Pop!” “Evil!” “Pop!” “Evil!” This may be a Theory of a Deadman concert, but by the end of Pop Evil’s performance, it has become a double bill, with fans screaming just as loud for Pop Evil as they would for Theory.
I ask Leigh if the band has any plans for a live DVD in the near future.
“No plans right now, because we’re still new, in the scheme of things. It would be nice to do a DVD when we reach some level of touring success—when we do something more monumental, like selling out arenas. We do film everything and have all the footage, but I don’t think that I’m emotionally ready to dive into a DVD just yet, and I don’t think the demand is there. We’d like to do it down the road at some point, but a lot of variables have to come into it. Maybe after the next record, but I don’t think it will be anytime before that. Right now, the Pop Evil focus is solely on new music and developing our identity.”
As we continue our interview, the band’s manager looks into the back room asking if everything was all right. It was his way of saying that we had to wrap up, Pop Evil was due on stage in a few minutes. Leigh politely nods and after the door is closed again he looks at me. “That’s the boss,” he says with both pride and respect uncommon in most rock stars. His humbled statement only confirms how appreciative he is of all the blessings his life has been given.
I transition to the topic of cover songs and Leigh practically shudders.
“(There is) absolutely not one song that I want to cover. We’ve played covers for the first eight years of our existence. And we played all the covers from Afro Man to Sweet Home Up In Michigan, the Michigan version of Sweet Home Alabama. Covers were such a big part of how we paid for our beginnings and we just want to do Pop Evil originals for as long as we can.”
I had heard rumors that the Leigh Kakaty Facebook page was a fake, so I decide to ask Leigh about this. He laughs, loudly, somewhat caught off guard. “I’ve never been asked that question before.”
“There have been some fakes. I do have one, but I just kept it with people that I knew from high school. I use it to look at what everyone else I grew up with does, but as far as me posting, it just seems weird. If you want to know what I’m up to, check out the Pop Evil page.”
Leigh talks of enjoying his privacy right now. He likes where the band is at, because fans know the band, but they don’t necessarily know him. He can go out to dinner without being recognized and he likes that. There seems to be a slight fear of getting too big, because he could lose his anonymity. He hopes the band gets huge, but he worries about the price of becoming too famous. Leigh then tells me a funny story of how Wes Scantlin from Puddle of Mudd would wear a wig so that he wouldn’t be recognized when he went out in public. “That’s just something that I don’t want to do,” Leigh says. “I like dressing the way I dress now.”
“What advice can you offer to bands that are just starting out?”
“You gotta give it up. If you really want it, you gotta be out on the road 365 days a year. If you really want it, you have to sacrifice. Set realistic goals, and if you’re goal is a record deal, start with the little wins. How many people are you bringing to a show? If it’s nobody, make it 10. If it’s 10 make it 500. And if you’re bringing 500 call your local radio station. Do your research.
“And then when you make it big, you have to decide, can you juggle everything? You’re going to want a family, you’re going to want kids, but can you handle everything?
“At the end of the day, you gotta write good songs. You gotta create something that’s going to make someone want to go to ITunes and pay a dollar for something that you created.”
When I tell Leigh that I am going to put him on the spot and want a prediction from him, he immediately stops me with a laugh and says: “Detroit Lions win the Super Bowl next year.” His love for all things Detroit is evidently unwavering, and perhaps he is not far off with his Lions prediction, but it is his band that I am more interested in.
“I want a prediction. How long until Pop Evil sells out Madison Square Garden as headliners?” I ask.
Leigh pauses, not sure how to approach this question. I’m thinking that his humbleness may be preventing him from making too bold of a prediction. “Ahhh, OK, opening act doesn’t count? No, you said headliner. So Pop Evil with Lady GaGa, that should sell out the Garden!”
We share a laugh and Leigh continues, “I’m going to say… 2017… and a half.”
Watch out Madison Square Garden. By the summer of 2017, Pop Evil is going to take over your arena with one of the most spectacular live shows that New York City has ever seen. I just hope Leigh remembers me and offers up front row tickets. I also hope that Madison Square Garden security is ready for when Leigh Kakaty walks on the crowd.
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Sometimes when a band releases a cover song, fans scratch their heads and say “what were they thinking?” Sometimes fans think to themselves, “Hey, that wasn’t so bad. That’s a pretty cool cover.” And then there are times when a band covers a song so well that no other version is remembered. In some instances, fans don’t even realize that it is a cover song. Here are five such songs that bands have made their own, by recording a version so memorable, it destroys the original.
Faster Pussycat – You’re So Vain
Originally recorded by Lite FM radio darling Carly Simon, Faster Pussycat’s version of “You’re So Vain” is one of the best cover songs ever recorded by any band anywhere. Their dedication to the song and the transformation from sappy, easy rock, to sleazy hair metal, was brilliant. Converting this song into a metal mainstay had to be a painstaking chore, but Faster Pussycat did it with conviction. Anytime that I hear the original version, I immediately think of the (far superior) Faster Pussycat version and have to crank it on my I-Pod. Taime Down’s vocals are exceptional on this recording, and the power that the band put into their version is superb. Faster Pussycat made “You’re So Vain” a fun song. And while the theme of the song is still the same, there is something about the Faster Pussycat version that makes it too enjoyable to be considered a “sad” song. Whenever I think of great cover songs, this is the first one that comes to mind.
Van Halen – Ice Cream Man
Take one old blues tune, add one screaming Eddie Van Halen guitar solo, and a lot of David Lee Roth scat-doo-bop-wop, and you have the musical recipe for a delicious cover song. Originally recorded by John Brim in 1953, this blues classic became a fan favorite and a staple of the Van Halen catalog. If you’ve ever heard the original version of this song, then you know how Van Halen drastically changed it. They took a slow picked, harmonica blues song, and turned it into a powerful riff driven, screaming rock song. Prior to Van Halen’s version, a lesser known cover by Tom Waits had been recorded. However, it was Van Halen’s version of this song that brought it the fame. Most fans didn’t even realize it was a cover song, mistaking it to be a VH original. And while the original is decent and maintains the same semblance of the modern version, it is the Van Halen style that put their stamp on this song and made it their own. Van Halen would go on to record many more cover tunes over the years, but none were as fantastic as “Ice Cream Man.”
Charm City Devils – Man of Constant Sorrow
New to this list is the recently released “Man Of Constant Sorrow” by Charm City Devils. For reasons that are similar to Van Halen’s recording of “Ice Cream Man,” Charm City Devils took an old folk song (well over 100 years old) and put their own smoking riffs to it, resulting in a hard rock beauty that is quickly climbing the charts. While Charm City Devils is currently known for their party anthem “Let’s Rock And Roll,” that could quickly change as “Man Of Constant Sorrow” could become their signature song. They’ve already killed any other cover versions that exist (and there are plenty) with their hard rocking version, so it’s safe to say that it’s only a matter of time before people (and fans) forget that this is not a Charm City Devils original.
Tesla – Little Suzi
For years, I never knew that this was a cover song. It wasn’t until I saw Tesla in concert with Rob Rockitt that he filled me in to the fact that “Little Suzi” was not a Tesla original. Originally recorded by PhD as “Little Suzi’s On The Up,” Tesla took an electronic keyboard, almost unlistenable song and made it a modern day rocker. If you’ve never heard the original version and want to see the stark contrast between Tesla’s version and the original recording by PhD, look it up online. It is amazing to see how drastically this song was changed. Tesla took a garbage song (PhD’s version is terrible) and recorded one of their greatest songs ever. Tesla may be forever known as the band that recorded “Love Song,” but their transformation of “Little Suzi” is truly one of the defining moments of their career.
Guns N Roses – Knocking On Heaven’s Door
Whenever I hear Guns N Roses version of “Knocking On Heaven’s Door” I always forget that this was originally done by Bob Dylan. While Dylan did a great, haunting original, Guns N Roses took this song and truly made it their own. What Guns added to this song was the missing element of power. When Axl leads the crescendo into a scream toward the end of the song (Knock, knock, knocking on heaven’s door….yeah!), I get chills. Although released on Use Your Illusion II, Guns had been covering this song since their early days on the strip. The years of live play, gave the band time to hone their signature sound on “Knocking On Heaven’s Door.” A finer version of this song is not known to me, and that includes the original.
I’m sure that there are many other cover songs that could have made this list, so don’t be surprised to see a couple of sequels to this post in the future. What cover songs can you think of that a band has made their own? Drop a line in the comments section and share your opinion.
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Aerosmith tickets went on sale last weekend. It is the first time that the band will be doing a full-fledged tour of North America in years. Rumors of a new album to be released before the start of the “Global Warming” tour have only added to the rallying cry from the band’s camp that the bad boys from Boston are back in a big, big way. Perhaps in Boston they are back, but apparently, in the rest of America, not so much.
Doing research to see if Aerosmith tickets were sold out across North America yielded some interesting results. The band’s lone stop in Boston is sold out. That is to be expected, as it is Aerosmith’s hometown. However, checking stops across the rest of the tour, most notably California, and New Jersey (which serves as the only New York City area appearance) not only found the show far from sold out, but some insane great seats were still available. The reason these seats were still available can only be speculated as due to price. The lower seats for every show on this tour netted out to approximately $167 per ticket. That’s a lot of cash to see an aging band that hasn’t toured in years.
Aerosmith is also offering special packages where you can meet the band, certain members, or do a live Q&A with them. The price for this “gift” to the fans ranges between $250 and $1800. I remember when bands would meet their fans for free. Now, I have to pay (what could be for some) a month’s salary to have the opportunity to meet and hang out? What the hell is that? Pop Evil comes out after some shows and has a beer with me for free. Hell, sometimes they even buy the beer!
All of this begs the question of whether Aerosmith has lost touch with their fan base, and more importantly, have the fans lost touch with Aerosmith? Yes, once they were the darlings of the rock world, but after the recent turmoil amongst band members, the whole “Brand Tyler” saga, and the lack of a new studio album in ten years, perhaps the band isn’t the shining star they once were. Is it possible that the fans have grown weary of all the bullshit that Aerosmith has shoveled over the last decade and have now decided to revolt by not purchasing their overpriced tickets?
I’ll be the first to admit that I thought the announcement of an Aerosmith North American tour, especially with Cheap Trick opening up for them, would bring on sellouts within hours. And yet, after several announcements, e-mails, publicity, and early on-sale/pre-sale opportunities, the great seats are still available at almost all of the major venues. This is another case of an aging band being out of touch with their fans, the current state of the economy, knowing what the fans can pay, and more importantly, knowing what the fans will pay. Not every act from the 60s or 70s are going to be able to command Rolling Stone prices, because not every act has a Keith Richards or Mick Jagger. Yes, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry were amazing back in the day, and they may even still be highly talented now, but their lack of attention to the fans for the last ten years appears to have finally caught up with them. And while it’s sad to think that the golden age of Aerosmith is long gone, thus revealing my own mortality with it, it’s refreshing to know that fans aren’t going to put up with crap anymore. If you want to sell tickets, lower your prices!
Even the money loving KISS lowered their ticket prices for their current tour with Motley Crue and they offered an amazing one-day special of $14 lawn seats. Now that’s a bargain! The only bargain I see coming from Aerosmith is the fact that you can watch Steven Tyler for free on American Idol. What about you? Are you going to pony up the bucks to see Aerosmith this summer? Or, are you tired of overpriced tickets and holding onto your money for something more affordable?
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Take several high profile rockers from all different bands, package them together, send them out on the road, and what do you have? The Rock And Roll All Stars Tour. And if you are a huge fan of hard rock music wishing to see this tour, well, I hope that you are comfortable with the cost of visiting South America this spring, because that is the only way that you will see this “once in a lifetime” event.
Members of this all star jam include Gene Simmons, Duff McKagan, Joe Elliot, Sebastian Bach, Glenn Hughes, and Steve Stevens. Rounding out the cast is Gilby Clarke, Matt Sorum, Billy Duffy, Ed Roland, and Mike Inez. While it is not clear exactly how the performance will work, it is obviously an awesome package of stars that will be jamming on the stage together.
From what I’ve been able to capture around the web, there will be several Kiss songs played, a few Guns N Roses tunes, a couple of Collective Soul songs, and some Skid Row material. How the band will play together has yet to be seen. I imagine that there will be a different lineup for certain parts of the show, or at least different singers. Joe Elliot will probably sing some Def Leppard tracks. Bach will sing Skid Row. And obviously Ed Roland will sing the Collective Soul songs. I imagine that the encore of the show will consist of everyone on stage at once doing a huge covers jam ala the Moscow Music Peace Festival.
While I am very excited about this tour, I am disappointed with the fact that there are no North American dates. What’s up with that? I understand there are some die hard rock fans in Central and South America, but there’s no love for the USA or Canada? I would be willing to travel to see this show, but not that far. The cost to travel to South America is just a little bit too much for this hard working man.
My only hope is that this all star band decides to keep on touring in the late spring and add a few USA dates to the bill. However, with Simmons finishing up the latest Kiss record and getting ready for the KISS/Motley Crue tour, and with Joe Elliott set to hit the road on the Def Leppard/Poison tour, it is highly unlikely that any additional dates will be added. I’ve not heard any news on a pay per view event of one of the concerts, so I can’t even enjoy the show from the comfort of my own living room. My only chance at seeing this live, other than trolling for videos on You Tube, is to hope that there will be a DVD release in the near future.
The tour kicks off on April 19th in Paraguay and wraps up on May 6th in Venezuela. If you are in or near the area, then you should definitely check this show out. It truly appears to be a once in a lifetime event that would be worth the cost of tickets. For more information about the tour and the band visit: http://www.rnrallstars.com
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By now, you’ve no doubt heard (or heard about) Dave Grohl’s recent rant at the Grammy Awards regarding how real music is recorded. If you were pirated away to the moon by Amazon women that held you captive as their love slave and are now just returning, then I will give you the quick recap. As Grohl and the Foo Fighters accepted their Grammy for Best Rock Performance, Grohl went on a rant about how real music is meant to be recorded and enjoyed with passion. The music shouldn’t be touched up by computer, or auto-tuned, or even over-edited.
“It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about sounding absolutely correct. it’s not about what goes on a computer. It’s about what goes on in (your heart) and (your head),” Grohl stated. He went on to mention that the Foo Fighters recorded their latest album (Wasting Light) with no touch up at all — real, raw, recording. While it was enjoyable for me to hear Grohl take a huge swipe at most of the artists that were in the audience that night, the music community reaction didn’t seem to share the same sense of amusement.
Grohl apologized, somewhat, the next day via a press release. Even in that press release, Grohl stuck to his original statement, not backing down from his true feelings. That is what I love about Dave Grohl. He isn’t afraid and he isn’t going to back down. Grohl’s not looking for acceptance from the Lady Ga Ga camp. Grohl just wants to create real music the way it should sound. More bands should strive to do what the Foo Fighters are doing.
Even if you take all of the bubble gum, pre-recorded, auto-tuned, crap that almost no reader of Hard Rock Hideout listens to, there are still a lot of rock bands that are overproducing to get a slick, polished sound. Sometimes that’s good, but most times it’s not. A real, raw sound is the most welcomed sound of all. That’s why most of us love to attend live performances, because they are true. They are real. And they are achieved only through hard work and practice, practice, practice.
Auto-tuning and computer correcting are no different to music than steroids and performance enhancing drugs are to baseball. It’s a competitive edge that is also cheating. When the Beatles recorded one of their greatest albums ever (Let It Be) they did every song in one take to get the live feel in the studio. Granted, they practiced the hell out of those songs before finally recording them, but that’s part of what makes them so special. You practice until you are ready and then you unleash what you have on the first try. If a minor mistake is recorded, that’s all right. It’s the beauty of real music.
Raw power and true sound is one of the biggest elements that draws me to rock music over any other genre. Can anyone imagine AC/DC auto-tuning Brian Johnson’s vocals? What if Black Sabbath decided to clean up the sound of Tony Iommi’s guitar on their first album? Innovation would be lost. And unfortunately, that is the direction the next generation of music is heading in. There is limited originality. There are too few risk takers. Everyone wants to sound perfect and clean, so their albums are over produced and polished to a shine.
That is one of the reasons that Wasting Light is such a great record. There is raw, real, music on that disc. It can be felt, it can be heard, it can be believed. What that album teaches most of all, is that if you practice hard enough and dedicate yourself to your craft, you can be a huge success and gain a competitive edge without having to resort to any performance enhancements at all. I can only hope that lesson is leaned on the new wave of rockers that are getting set to take the world by storm.
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Have you ever seen Bruce Springsteen in concert? Have you ever experienced the way he connects with his fans during a live show? Have you ever witnessed the power, the promise, and the passion that is a Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band performance? If you haven’t had the pleasure of enjoying this for yourself, let me tell you, it is one of life’s greatest musical experiences.
Envision the showmanship of an Iron Maiden concert, mixed with the power of Kix, and the enjoyment of Kiss. A Bruce Springsteen concert is all of that and more, wrapped into a three-hour set of amazement. Springsteen has been doing this for years, and it’s what has endeared his fans to him as life-long believers in the power of rock and roll.
There are several elements of a Springsteen concert that make him worth the price of admission. As a fan of the Boss who has witnessed him in concert 15 times (and counting), I’ve logged those experiences over the years. The first notable element is the fact that there is no opening act. There is no need to sit through someone to “warm up” the crowd. Springsteen will do his own warming up, thank you very much. The second he takes the stage, the crowd is warm and ready to go, and Bruce is more than happy to lead the charge.
His performances are not for an early night (and I don’t mean because he will come on late like a certain Mr. Rose likes to do). The band takes the stage and remains fixed there, usually for the next 3 hours (sometimes more, occasionally a lot more). When was the last time your favorite band played for 3 hours?
Springsteen’s song selection is second to none. Unlike Kiss, Poison, or Van Halen, Bruce makes each concert a unique experience. There’s a reason that he can sell out ten nights in the same venue, and a large part of the reason is his song selection. Each night brings a different setlist. And the varying differences aren’t one or two songs, they are several. Sure, “Born To Run,” and choice selections from the current album are always going to be played, but after that, all bets are off.
Over the 15 concerts that I have attended, I was witness to 128 different songs. Of the 12 Kiss concerts I’ve seen, I was witness to 39 different songs. Springsteen mixes it up unlike any other performer. He knows that his fans love and want to hear any song in his repertoire and The Boss rewards his fans. Lately, he’s been known to grab sign requests from the crowd and play one of those songs on the spot. Even if it isn’t an E-Street Band song, the band will give it a shot, and almost always nail the performance. Who else has the gusto to pull off a move like that?
What’s most effective about a Springsteen concert is the way that he connects to his fans through the power of rock and roll. Springsteen (and the entire E-Street Band) give their best performance every night. They don’t have “off” nights. Prior to the start of a tour, the rehearsals are long and intense. Springsteen makes certain of that. A perfectionist to the bitter end, The Boss doesn’t want anything going wrong when it is time for the show to go live, even when he’s calling out an audible and changing the next song in the set on a whim. The E-Street Band is prepared and ready for it.
An amazing guitarist, an incredible storyteller, and a perfect showman, Bruce Springsteen is the epitome of what every rock musician should aspire to. He knows his fans and knows how to make them react. If you’re sitting on your ass at a Springsteen show, he’ll call you out for it. There’s no sitting during a rock concert, and Springsteen makes sure that everyone knows this. His passion for music and live performing are ever present and really shape the framework of his concerts. You will never see another artist like Bruce Springsteen. The rabid fans are rabid because Springsteen has spent a lifetime making believers out of them.
The E-Street Band are currently set to head out on a long tour this spring, spend the summer in Europe, and then most likely be back in the states for the fall. If you’ve never seen Bruce Springsteen in concert, this is your best chance. The older the band gets, the more uncertain his fans become of how much longer he will be able (or want) to tour. If you don’t have tickets for the spring leg, then you probably have t wait until the fall as most Springsteen concerts sell out in minutes. However, if you do get the opportunity to purchase tickets, take advantage of that opportunity. If you love hard rock, you are going to really love Bruce Springsteen in concert. The E-Street Band are one of those rare group of performers that can actually justify high ticket prices. They are a band that all hard rock bands should hold up as an inspiration.
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Note: This edition of Vie’s Verses was written before the release of A Different Kind Of Truth
Originally I was going to title this edition of Vie’s Verses “Van Halen Is Coming…Do You Care?” I was planning to refer to the high ticket prices, the new single that fans seem to dislike (or, in some cases, hate), and the fact that Michael Anthony is still not in the band leaving the brothers Van Halen to call all the shots. I was going to go on a tirade about how this tour would flop, how David Lee Roth and the Van Halens would clash, and how this would be the last time that we saw any incarnation of Van Halen.
Then I did some research on the concerts. I was really surprised to find out that most of the concerts have sold out, including the Madison Square Garden dates where tickets were $160 each. I guess the economy is doing better than the media portrays. Either that, or fans are willing to pony up the big bucks to see the legendary Van Halen. Which led to the changing of the title for this post—apparently you do care. It appears that Van Halen is in high demand and a new tour with a new album and new songs to perform has everyone excited.
And I guess when I get past my bitterness over ticket prices and the fact that Michael Anthony got screwed by his longtime band mates, it makes sense. Van Halen isn’t getting any younger, and this could be their last hoorah. Yes, there are several bands that play well into their 60s recording new music that is grand, but look how many years it took Van Halen to come up with new music. And reports are that a lot of the “new” music is just rehashed outtakes from the 70s.
So, yes, this could be the end. This could be the last chance to see Van Halen live with David Lee Roth. And while adding Mr. Anthony back into the mix would be a reward to the fans, that isn’t going to happen. First, Van Halen doesn’t seem to care about their fans, and second, I don’t think Michael Anthony would come back even if he was asked to. There is just too much bad blood.
I happen to be a fan of the new single, “Tattoo,” and while, lyrically, it’s not very advanced, it is Van Halen with David Lee Roth. I don’t find it as great as “Me Wise Magic,” or “Can’t Get This Stuff No More” (from the 1997 Greatest Hits album), but it does offer hope for the new record, which I think is going to be solid. Sure, it may not be their best record ever, it may not even be in the same league as their early material, but I’m sure it will be good. Most of what David Lee Roth does is enjoyable. Almost everything that Eddie Van Halen does is enjoyable (yes, I was a fan of VH3), so I have hope. As for the concerts, well, I’m on the fence. They’ve survived one tour, but can they do it again, especially with new songs to remember? I guess only time will tell, but one thing’s for certain, Van Halen is back and the fans do care.
Post Script: I have now had a chance to listen to the new Van Halen disc, and I must say that it is amazing. I still think that “Me Wise Magic” and “Can’t Get This Stuff No More” are better than most of the songs on A Different Kind Of Truth, but that doesn’t mean this album is bad. It is an exceptional record and one of the best Van Halen recordings to come out in decades. This could be their best record since Women And Children First. Add me to the list of fans that care.
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Let me make one thing absolutely crystal clear before going any further into this edition of Vie’s Verses. I do not, have not, and will never condone illegal downloading. Artists who spend their time and money recording an album expect to get paid for their hard work, and rightfully so. And while there are several arguments “fans” make about how it is the record company making money, not the artist, that’s complete hogwash and an argument for another day. Record companies expect a return on their investment and if an artist doesn’t sell well, don’t expect to see a follow up record. If everyone stole Pop Evil’s debut, there would be no War of Angels.
While I am completely opposed to illegal downloading, there is a gray area…concert bootlegs. Some bands (mostly jam bands) don’t mind their live recordings being distributed to the fans as long as the distributer is not making any money off them. Other bands are not crazy about the idea (Kiss comes to mind) but understand that the fans want all they can get their hands on. They don’t hold the fans accountable, they hold the bootleggers accountable. That leads to a very interesting point regarding file sharing websites and bootlegged concerts.
I will be the first to admit that I own a lot of bootleg concerts. I try to obtain the “live” version of any concert I’ve attended. However, if there is an official live release, I will buy the official release to ensure the artist makes money. If there is no official release, I will seek out the bootlegged version of the show for my personal collection. In the past few years, this has been relatively easy to do. Some internet searching will yield high results, thanks mostly in part to file sharing websites like Megaupload and Rapidshare. Prior to the ease of internet searching, I would buy these recordings off EBay or at record shows, and pay a hefty sum for them—usually $25 – $50.
When file sharing became more mainstream, the bootleggers selling at record shows and on EBay for exurbanite amounts of money became less and less. This was a good thing, at least for the fans. We could obtain a live concert recording at no cost. If the artist was cool with it, there were no worries at all. If the artist was not happy, but understandable, that was cool too. If the artist was completely against it, I usually didn’t seek out the show.
Last week, the US Government shut down leading file sharing site, Megaupload. There are several illegal charges being brought against the company including fraud, copyright infringement, and money laundering. I don’t think the government is going to stop there. I have a strong suspicion that they will move onto the next file sharing service like Rapidshare, Uploading, and others. They are going after them all. And while I think it’s a great way to stop illegal downloading of official releases, I also think there is going to be an unintended ripple effect—the return of the bootlegger. Once live concert recordings are no longer easily accessible, the bootleggers will be back with a vengeance, painting their ads all over EBay and Craigslist. And this time, the price will be $50 – $80 for that rare live show you’ve always wanted (inflation sucks, doesn’t it?).
And don’t think that the sharing sites are the only targets. YouTube will be on their list as well. There are millions of illegal videos ranging from official music videos to live concert recordings that could lead to a copyright infringement suit and shut down. After that, who knows what’s next? Hell, Hard Rock Hideout could be shut down if a video is posted without proper clearance from the record company. Anything is possible.
Personally, I don’t think that shutting down file sharing sites is the right answer. Yes, it’s a step in the right direction, but other sites will pop up to take their place. I don’t have the answer on how to stop illegal downloading. All I can do is spread the word that I haven’t done it, don’t do it, and will not do it, except for that gray area—which could make me a hypocrite to some degree.
One thing is for certain, the ripple effect has already started to take place. A largely well known site that featured Springsteen concert bootlegs (for free) from every year of his entire career was recently terminated for violation of copyright laws. Oddly enough, the site that sells the bootlegs has not been shut down. I don’t understand how that is possible. And I’m sure that other sites will follow. There’s a very well known hard rock concert sharing site that is probably under close watch. It wouldn’t surprise me if that gets downed next. Especially considering that a lot of the links from that site go directly to Megaupload.
While I applaud the fact that illegal downloading of albums has met a roadblock, I am disappointed that the bootleggers will be back in action soon. It could mean the end of my owning concerts I’ve attended, and that’s sad, but there is no way I will pay $50 for a concert recording. I didn’t even like paying $25 in the past. The government may think they have a victory on their hands, but waiting in the wings is the bootleggers, and once the dust settles, they will rise up hoisting their victory signs. That is the scariest notion of all.
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M3 is officially scheduled for May 11th and 12th this year. As of now, the only bands that are quasi-confirmed are Quiet Riot and Warrant. Every year, M3 manages to bring some major hair metal bands to the show. Here are the bands that I’d like to see grace the stage this May.
Jetboy needs to come back and be on the main stage once again. New singer D.K. Revelle has been magnificent and Jetboy was one of the best bands of the festival in 2011. Having them return for the fourth year would be a real treat.
Kix should be back and it would be great if they headlined the Friday night slot once again. Their live performance is always one of the best in rock and roll and playing a hometown headlining gig in Maryland for the second straight year would be worth the money.
Pretty Boy Floyd has to return and they should get a spot on the main stage this year. They were possibly the best band at last year’s M3. While Tesla comes close, Pretty Boy Floyd was fantastic, and anyone who did not get over to the second stage to see them missed out on an amazing experience.
Tesla, Sebastian Bach, and L.A. Guns should also return. They all gave exceptional performances last year and the fans loved them. Bringing them back would be rewarding the fans in a big way.
There are a lot of bands that have not yet performed at M3, but should.
Mike Tramp/White Lion
I don’t know if Vito Bratta and Mike Tramp have officially made up, but Mike Tramp has been able to use the White Lion name in recent years. While a reunion of all original members would be preferred, Mike Tramp’s version of White Lion would be acceptable. With massive hits such as “Wait,” “Tell Me,” and their splendid cover of “Radar Love,” White Lion would be an excellent addition to M3.
After being dead silent since 1990, Vain has recently made a comeback. They put out an album of unreleased material in 2010 titled All Those Strangers and toured the UK in 2011. Last year they released Enough Rope, one of the best rock albums of 2011. While no tour plans have been announced yet, M3 would be a great way for the band to kick off a summer tour to the delight of many fans.
Jackyl is a band that I never get tired of listening to. The energy that frontman Jesse James Dupree brings is legendary and up there with the likes of Bruce Dickinson. The man knows how to work the crowd, how to have a good time on stage, and how to host a rock and roll party. With plenty of hard rocking hits that would wow the masses, Jackyl is a band that should get serious consideration for an M3 performance. They are currently scheduled to tour California this January, and a slot at M3 in May would be a great starting point for a summer tour.
Since it is virtually impossible that a Dokken reunion with George Lynch and Don Dokken will occur, seeing the Lynch Mob would be the next best thing. I’ve always been a fan of lead singer Oni Logan, and Lynch Mob’s last album (2009’s Smoke and Mirrors) was spectacular and one of the best albums I’ve heard in years. George Lynch is one of the finest guitarists in rock and it’s a shame that he hasn’t performed at this festival already. There are rumors that the band is in the studio working on a follow up to Smoke And Mirrors. If the timing works out, Lynch Mob could release the record right around the time M3 arrives. A performance at this festival would be a great way to inform fans about a new record.
Every year, M3 gets an incredible band to headline the Saturday night performance and close out the show in style. This year’s headliner should be WASP. Their concert performances are legendary, and even though it is Blackie Lawless and a bunch of studio musicians, a WASP concert is still an amazing thing to see live. Blackie gives his all, the band plays all the hits, and the fans always leave feeling more than satisfied. Having WASP headline M3 in 2012 could be one of the best experiences the festival ever had.
What bands would you like to see at this year’s M3?
Every band that has been around for a long period of time falls into a similar trap. There is too much material to be celebrated. Certain songs rise to the top, other songs sink to the bottom, but then there are those songs that are spectacular, but never get the attention that they deserve.
One of those bands that suffer this problem is AC/DC. They have a vast catalog of material, ripe with hits and potential hits, but all we ever hear on the radio is “Shook Me All Night Long,” or “Highway To Hell.” It’s like the radio DJs forgot that there are several other amazing AC/DC songs. Sometimes the fans forget this too. AC/DC is much deeper than Back In Black. Here now are 10 AC/DC songs that deserve much more exposure than they get.
10. “Baby Please Don’t Go”
I know that it is a cover song. However, if you listen to Angus’ solo on “Baby Please Don’t Go,” you can’t help but wonder why this song never gets played more, either in concert or on the radio. With Bon Scott on lead vocals, AC/DC recorded an unbelievable cover of this Big Joe Williams classic. As one of their earliest hits, “Baby Please Don’t Go” held up over the years. Every time I hear Angus break into the amazing solo and respond to Bon’s cries of “Baby…!” I want to play air guitar like never before.
9. Breaking The Rules
Perhaps the most underrated AC/DC album is For Those About To Rock We Salute You. The album that followed the greatest selling album in AC/DC history was bound to have some problems standing out, but many fans forget how chock full of potential hits this record is. One of the best songs on the album receives no love at all. “Breaking The Rules” is a two fisted, bar stomping, rock and roll of a good time. The song epitomizes the sound of early 80s AC/DC and I would give a lot to hear this song performed in concert. Why the band continually ignores this song in concert is a huge mystery to me.
8. Hold Me Back
Capturing the more recent style of AC/DC (more jazz and blues, less heavy metal), “Hold Me Back,” is a fantastic song centered around a hard core Angus Young riff. Sure, the basic 1-2-3-4 beat is simple in nature, but the way Brian Johnson sings to that beat is magnificent. “Hold Me Back” is a song that can just get a music fan going. Any time the opening riff is performed, feet will immediately be tapping. “Hold Me Back” is a powerful song that somehow slipped through the cracks. While Stiff Upper Lip is more known for the title cut and “Safe In New York City,” it’s a real shame to forget about the beauty that is “Hold Me Back.”
7. Mistress For Christmas
One of the most innovative songs on one of AC/DC’s best albums is definitely “Mistress For Christmas.” Written about such a simple idea (and many a man’s desire) I’m amazed that the band didn’t think to write this song sooner than they did. Technically a Christmas song, “Mistress For Christmas,” probably won’t be found on any holiday compilations, but you can guarantee that if you come to the Vie household, you will hear this song every year like clockwork. Combining a solid, standard rhythm and playful lyrics, “Mistress For Christmas” is just a fun song.
6. Let Me Put My Love Into You
It’s hard to say that any song on Back In Black is underrated or ignored. Back In Black is the band’s signature album, a perfect album, and an album that every fan knows every lyric to every song. However, when you look at live concerts, radio play, and video collections, “Let Me Put My Love Into You” is nowhere to be found. That is practically criminal as it is one of the strongest songs on the record. Until the most recent Black Ice tour, I’m not sure if AC/DC ever performed this song live. Complete with slow, sex filled lyrics, and humping, rhythmic beat, “Let Me Put My Love Into You” is gold for the ears. A fantastic song that certainly needs to be dusted off and played a lot more often than it is.
5. Love At First Feel
Witty, loose, creative lyrics make “Love At First Feel” one of the greatest AC/DC songs that no one remembers. While “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.” And “Big Balls” get all the fame from this album, “Love At First Feel” is one of the best songs on the record. Bon’s voice is at its peak and singing about falling in love with a woman the first time he touched her is a nice change from the basic cliché of love at first sight. The originality in the lyrics is a refreshing change of pace. The playfulness of the words make “Love At First Feel” a memorable song, yet I never hear it anywhere except on my IPOD. That is a true crime to AC/DC fans everywhere.
4. Down Payment Blues
Any hard rock fan who has ever struggled to pay a bill at some point in their life has undoubtedly cranked “Down Payment Blues” up to ten and screamed at the top of their lungs. “I got holes in my shoes…and I’m way overdue…Down Payment Blues!” Bon Scotts wailing cries of poverty struck a chord with me in my younger days when the choice between eating or paying the electric bill was a very real nightmare indeed. Nothing would help me get over the hump of payday poverty more than singing out “can’t even feed my cat…on social security.” Written during the early days of the band, long before a huge payday, “Down Payment Blues” captures the mood of Bon at the time. Being broke sucks. This is an excellent anthem that should be remembered much more often.
3. Love Hungry Man
As is the case with any song from Back In Black, it’s hard to imagine that there is a song from Highway To Hell that doesn’t get recognition. However, that is the case with “Love Hungry Man.” The entire album finds Bon Scott’s voice at its best with the band, however, “Love Hungry Man” stands out for the terrific high notes that Scott hits. I honestly believe this is the reason AC/DC does not perform this song in concert. As great as he is, I am not sure that Brian Johnson would be able to do this song justice. With slick lyrics like “oh baby you’re such a treat, a man’s got to eat.” “Love Hungry Man,” may not be the deepest song in AC/DC’s catalog, but it is one heck of a fun song to rock out to.
One of the best solos that Angus Young has ever performed is stuck on a record that almost no one owns. Flick Of The Switch is an album that suffers from poor timing. Released after For Those About To Rock… in the mid-eighties, Flick Of The Switch received little promotion and even less fan buzz. That is a true shame, because it is a solid album. The best gem from this disc is “Landslide.” The opening riff snaps the senses alive an Angus’ finger picking is second to none. The solos burst the song to life and if AC/DC ever decided to pull this song out in concert, you would hear me screaming from the rooftops. “If you want classic Brian Johnson era AC/DC, you need to listen to “Landslide.” It is one of the best songs the band ever recorded with Johnson at the microphone.
1. Ain’t No Fun Waitin’ Round To Be A Millionaire
The early days of AC/DC being broke and hungry found them at their most creative. Bon Scott penned several songs about needing money, wanting money, and not having money, and most of them were true masterpieces. One of the best of those themes is “Ain’t No Fun Waitin’ Round To Be A Millionare.” With lyrics like “I got patches, on the patches, of my old blue jeans—well they used to be blue, when they used to be new, when they used to be clean,” AC/DC wrote a terrific song about waiting for stardom that was forgotten almost as soon as it was written. That sucks. “Ain’t No Fun…” could be the greatest AC/DC song ever recorded after “Shook Me All Night Long,” and yet, not many fans remember it. Bon sings of being supported by a woman working double shifts while he is trying to make it as a rock star. The doubt of what the future holds, if anything, is painted all over the song. Complete with some great blues rock, “Ain’t No Fun…” is certainly fun if you’re a fan of AC/DC.
These songs deserve more exposure. Perhaps the DJs over at The Boneyard will give them some more attention. Who knows, maybe AC/DC themselves will read this column and dust off some of these beauties for their next world tour. Stranger things have happened.
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Hard Rock Hideout celebrated its fifth anniversary this week. Considering that the average life span of a rock music blog/website is just over 2 years, this is an amazing feat. For the last five years, Hard Rock Hideout has been providing the greatest news, reviews, and information on all of our favorite hard rocking bands, as well as presenting plenty of information on fresh new bands that deserve some attention. I would like to dedicate this edition of Vie’s Verses to what I feel is the greatest hard rock site on the web – Hard Rock Hideout – with a look back into the hard rocking year 2006, the year that HRH launched.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born 250 years prior. One of the greatest composers the world has ever known, and clearly a predecessor (albeit centuries early) to rock and roll, there was a memorable celebration for the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth.
ITunes celebrated 2006 in style, capturing their one billionth download. That’s 1,000,000,000 songs that were downloaded through ITunes. I would call that a most successful venture. It would be nice to know how many of those downloads were heavy metal songs. I wonder if there is a statistical breakdown by category somewhere.
U2 cleaned up at the Grammy Awards behind How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb. The band took home five Grammy awards that evening, including album of the year and song of the year.
MTV celebrated their 25th anniversary. That harkened back to the days when MTV actually showed music videos. Many of my favorite metal bands were discovered through MTV, specifically Headbanger’s Ball, which I watched religiously throughout high school. Every Saturday night at 11 you could find me glued to the tube waiting to discover the next great metal band.
We lost two great musicians in 2006. Both Pink Floyd’s original lead singer Syd Barrett and the Godfather of soul, James Brown, passed away that year. Both of these legends are still missed.
The hit British music show, Top Of The Pops, which featured some great metal artists such as AC/DC, Iron Maiden, and Faith No More, aired their final episode. The show ran for 42 years (1964 until 2006), one of the longest running music programs in television history.
Some great hard rock bands formed in 2006, including Hell Yeah (Vinnie Paul’s latest band) and rookie sensation Cage The Elephant. Other great hard rock bands decided that it was time to quit the scene, including Cold (most notable for their big hit “Stupid Girl”) and System Of A Down. Cold would reunite in 2008, System Of A Down in 2011.
There were also some great comebacks/reformations that year. Alice In Chains returned the scene with a brand new singer and high hopes. Josh Todd and Keith Nelson reformed Buckcherry (with a brand new supporting cast) and released one of the band’s strongest albums ever in 15. The song “Crazy Bitch” tour up the charts and put Buckcherry back on the hard rock map. Everclear sans everyone except lead singer/guitarist Art Alexakis reformed and released Welcome To The Drama Club.
What other great albums were released in 2006? Papa Roach unleashed their best album ever in The Paramour Sessions. Pearl Jam put out their self titled album, one of the band’s best efforts since the early days of Pearl Jam. Audioslave unleashed their final disc in Revelations. Chris Cornell would go on to reform Soundgarden while the remaining members would put Rage Against The Machine back together. Paul Stanley released his first official solo album, Live To Win. Heavy metal legends Iron Maiden blessed us with A Matter Of Life And Death which would debut at #9 on the Billboard Top 100 in the U.S. The band celebrated their first top ten record by performing the album in its entirety during their 2006 world tour. Fan reactions to that decision were mixed. The Red Hot Chili Peppers released Stadium Arcadium, which would go on to sell 7.9 Million units.
Some notable debut albums were also released that year. Black Stone Cherry put out their self titled debut, which still sounds amazing to this day. And one of my all time favorite records was released. The Red Jumpsuit Aparatus came out with their debut record Don’t You Fake It. This is an album that renewed my faith in both rock music and modern rock bands.
2006 was a great year for music and for music fans. A lot of grand things took place that year, but nothing was grander than the debut of a little rock website known as Hard Rock Hideout. To Rob Rockitt I say “Thank You.” For the last five years you have put out a must read site that I visit daily. I would be hard pressed to find another hard rock site that compares. I hope there are many more years to come.
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In the world of hard rock music, there are several talented guitarists that could be considered the best of the best by almost anyone. Names that come to mind immediately include Yngwie Malsteen, Joe Satriani, Ted Nugent, and Eddie Van Halen, just to name a few. However, in the midst of all this greatness, there are some guitarists that slip under the radar and fail to get the recognition that they truly deserve. One such guitarist is Brian May.
When you hear a mention of the band Queen, the first thought that is probably conjured in the brain is of Freddie Mercury. Mercury was the flamboyant, incredible, amazing lead singer of Queen. He was one of the best band leaders in the history of rock. There are few that could compare to his showmanship, his style, and his voice. He was the face of Queen and when he passed away, the band went dark for many years. It’s easy to understand how Queen would be synonymous with Mercury. Yet, the brilliance of Freddie Mercury should not overshadow the fantastic work of Brian May on lead guitar. Have you ever really listened to Brian May play guitar on any Queen albums? From A Night At The Opera to Innuendo, the man was a guitar genius.
Brian May does not get the recognition that he deserves. Listen to the first two Queen albums and you can easily identify that before Freddie Mercury stepped up and took over the band, Brian May was the focal point of the music. The dark guitars and ripping solos reign on Queen and Queen II. Even after Queen became the Mercury show, May was still showcasing his amazing talents, as is obvious on the solos for songs such as “We Will Rock You,” “I’m In Love With My Car,” and “Flash.”
It’s easy to forget that Queen was actually May’s band. He started Queen from the ashes of Smile and it was Freddie Mercury who joined the band and pushed them in a new direction. Certainly, Queen would never have been as massive as they were without Freddie Mercury, but Queen would not be as grand without Brian May.
The later Queen albums give a deeper appreciation for his greatness. The solo on “Invisible Man” (from 1988’s The Miracle) is one of the best guitar solos I’ve ever heard on a record. The way that May is able to tap his fingers up and down and all around that guitar neck is unbelievable. He has shown other flashes of brilliance throughout Queen’s body of work as well. Songs like “Bicycle Race,” “Tie Your Mother Down,” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” would never be the same without May’s signature guitar work finishing the brilliance on each of those songs.
In the world of guitarists, it’s easy to forget Brian May, especially since he and Queen are not in the limelight that often. However, May is up there with Jimi Hendrix and Edward Van Halen as one of the most talented guitarists to change the way we hear rock music. May’s experimental sound and style helped form the backbone of Queen and led to a new wave of intense show rock. When we stop and think of the greatest guitarists to ever play rock and roll, Brian May’s name has to be mentioned in the conversation. I can’t say exactly what number he would rank, but Brian May is definitely in the top ten. The world of rock music is better off for having had Brian May be a part of it.
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Unless you’ve spent too much time at the Occupy Wall Street protests, you know that the Axl Rose version of Guns N Roses is embarking on a North American tour this fall. While this news has some fans excited, it has others wondering when the impending tour will implode, how long it will take Axl to go on a temper tantrum rage, and whether Slash T-Shirts will be allowed into the arenas.
The first thing that caught my eye after the announcement was made that Guns N Roses was going on tour this fall was the ticket prices. I immediately went online, expecting to see some astronomical cost that would immediately cause me to disqualify myself from attending any local area concerts. This would allow me the opportunity to produce a venom filled rage about how Axl was ripping off the fans and it wasn’t even the original band members.
However, when I looked online at ticket prices, I noticed immediately how affordable they were. That caught me by surprise. Ticket prices in the NY/NJ area ranged between $37 and $112 (and that includes the immoral fees that Ticketmaster adds). I could certainly afford $40 to see Guns N Roses. Ticket prices were not going to give me an excuse for an amusing rant.
That being said, there is still plenty to wonder about when it comes to an Axl Rose led tour of Guns N Roses. The first question I had was: who is in the band? Reports from the web confirm that DJ Ashba and Bumblefoot are both playing guitar and that Tommy Stinson is still on bass. While they aren’t Slash, Izzy, and Duff, they aren’t slouches either. Bumblefoot has done some amazing work on Chinese Democracy and DJ Ashba was fantastic with Sixx AM. So while it wouldn’t be the original incarnation of Guns, it’s not a bad replacement band. The band members failed to give me a good excuse to rant and rave about how I refuse to attend this show.
Okay, so maybe the ticket prices are affordable and the band members (while not the original) are solid, but the setlist can’t be great, right? It will probably consist of some Chinese Democracy songs and a couple of overplayed classics. There’s no way that Axl and the replacements would play some deep cuts from the early catalog. Well, after researching the setlists they’ve played overseas, it appears the band is digging deep on this show. If you like the classics (Welcome To The Jungle, Mr. Brownstone, You Could Be Mine, November Rain, Paradise City) they are all there. If you like the new material (Chinese Democracy, Better, Street Of Dreams), they are covered as well. And if you like the deep cuts (Estranged, Rocket Queen) they are also being played. Throw in some surprise covers and it all adds up to a magnificent setlist. Point blank honesty – I was shocked by how inviting the set looked.
Then there’s the last little bit about when the hell will the show start? Well, Axl isn’t changing his ways there, but at least they’ve warned the fans in advance. In a message posted on GnR’s Facebook page, it read the following: “Love it Hate it Accept it Debate it – You want 8 o’clock shows go find F-R-I-E-N-D-S or hit a cinema somewhere.. or you wanna be informed go catch the 10 o’clock news.. this is Rock N’ Roll!…This is Guns N’Roses and when the time is right the stage will ignite…”
All I can say is forewarned is forearmed. Bring a book. Grab an IPOD, or plan to do PLENTY of tailgating in the parking lot. Either way, don’t bother entering the building until at least 10:00PM (and even then you may be a tad early). While late start times bug the heck out of me, being warned in advance that they are going to happen makes it a whole lot easier to deal with.
So perhaps seeing the 2011 incarnation of Guns N Roses wouldn’t be that bad. What do you think? Are you going to see GnR on tour this fall?
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The latest Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees have been announced. I was not upset with this year’s list, which included the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Beastie Boys on a return ballot, along with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Guns N Roses, The Cure, and Faces. All of those bands had some critical claim to the way that rock music was shaped. So while this year’s nominees are solid, there is still one glaring omission yet again—Kiss.
This notable omission is simply ridiculous. Not only is the Hall of Fame ignoring one of the greatest rock acts of the 20th century (for the twelfth year in a row), they are also insulting Kiss fans everywhere and, by extension, rock music fans.
Putting aside my personal biases, I decided to research the qualifications to enter the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, who makes such decisions, and how many acts are allowed to be nominated in one particular year. I wanted to learn, first hand, if Kiss truly deserves to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
First up is the initial qualification to be inducted into the hall. This comes from the Hall of Fame’s own website and states the following: “One of the foundations many functions, is to recognize the contributions of those who have had a significant impact on the evolution, development, and perpetuation of rock and roll by inducting them into the Hall of Fame.”
Other criteria are:
- 25 years must have passed since the release of the artists first album
- Unquestionable musical excellence
- Musical influence on other artists
- Length and depth of career and body of work
Without a doubt, Kiss meets all of these qualifications. Obviously they make the time qualification (their first record was released in 1974). They have made a significant impact on the evolution, development, and perpetuation of rock and roll. Kiss led the way for an innovative live stage show. Their live act was the stuff of fantasy before Kiss came along and showed every other band what a live performance should be like.
Then they went ahead and changed the world of music by showing how a live album should be done. Prior to Kiss bands did not release live records. It was unheard of—they wouldn’t sell. Kiss forever changed the way that music is heard and now, every band has a live record, some as their second release.
As for musical influence on other artists, let’s examine the following: Red Hot Chili Peppers have stated they were influenced by Kiss. Guns N Roses have stated that they were influenced by Kiss. Looking at bands that are already in the Hall, Aerosmith was influenced by Kiss. Metallica have stated numerous times what an effect Kiss had on their music. Van Halen was discovered by Kiss (or at least a member of Kiss). So it’s clear that Kiss had musical influence on other artists—including artists that are in the Hall of Fame themselves.
As far as “unquestionable music excellence” goes, look at their album sales. After the Beatles, no other band has more gold and platinum albums than Kiss. Obviously fans thought their music was excellent. If the rating is determined by chart position, Kiss had 10 studio albums and 6 live albums that were in the top 25 US albums. 16 albums in the top 25 is a lot more than most of the performers currently in the hall have.
Seeing as how Kiss meets all the qualifications to be inducted into the Hall Of Fame, let’s take a look at the people who are doing the nominating. What makes these people so qualified to determine who should be inducted into the Hall of Fame? Again, from the hall’s own website:
“The Foundation’s nominating committee, composed of rock and roll historians, select nominees each year in the Performer’s category. Ballots are then sent to an international voting body of more than 500 rock experts.” Performers have to receive more than 50% of the vote to be inducted and usually 5 to 7 performers are inducted each year.
Simply stated, the nominating committee determines who is put on the ballot, and that committee is made up of “rock historians.” And what, pray tell, does it take to be a rock historian? It’s not as if there is a degree in rock music history (or if there is, I’ve never heard of it). Perhaps it is safest to define a rock historian as someone who studies the history of rock music and provides abundant knowledge on the subject. If that is true, or even close, how could these “historians” not nominate Kiss for the Hall of Fame? Is this a personal vendetta? What gives?
Sadly, Kiss’ omission from The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame is annoying and confusing. How could a band with this much history, this much influence on other musicians, this much gold and platinum in their catalog, not be in the Hall of Fame? It makes no sense to me. Love them or hate them, the facts remain…Kiss is Hall of Fame material. When will the “historians” see that?
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Regardless of personal feelings about the band, there is no denying the impact the release of Nirvana’s Nevermind had on the hard rock community. That album changed the way music was heard. It pushed the boundaries of what was expected from a hard rock record. Nevermind changed the entire landscape of rock music and countless bands would follow hoping to emulate that sound and that market share. Nirvana would become known as leaders in the “grunge” revolution, but I think what gets lost in the re-telling of the story is how fantastic of an album Nevermind really is.
Sure, Nirvana is often referred to as the band that killed hair metal, or the band that launched grunge, or the band that started the wave of “feeling sorry for myself” rock music, but beyond that, Nirvana released an album that touched the senses in a way not many before had. Take a look at the gigantic first single, “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” The first time you heard the choppy guitar riff followed by the crashing drums of Dave Grohl that sounded like a fireworks display grand finale, you had to hear more. And more importantly, you had to own this album. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was something different, as was the entire Nevermind album.
Over the course of the last twenty years, we’ve all been caught up in the death of Kurt Cobain, the speculation of what could have been had he not committed suicide. We’ve been fascinated with the conspiracy theory of whether he was murdered. We’ve been entrenched in looking for long last demos and unreleased material. What we’ve forgotten though is the complex brilliance of Nevermind. As a young man listening to Nevermind for the first time, I connected with songs like “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” On A Plane,” and “Territorial Pissings”. Finally! A platform where I could shout about the bad things in life and release my pain through primal screaming thinly veiled as rock music. It was an amazing experience.
Don’t get me wrong. The hair metal of the time was exceptional music in its own right. Singing about women and sex and booze and partying had its place, but finally having an outlet to unleash my inner anger without having to burp, grunt, and growl incomprehensibly (ala Death/Doom Metal), added to my already growing feeling of invincibility and immortality. If I were to hear Nevermind for the first time today, I would certainly like it, but I can’t guarantee that I would embrace it the same way I did in my late teens. Nevermind was a calling to all the youth of the nation that it was ok to explode from time to time and that life wasn’t always about the party. Nevermind was a reminder that there is anger inside of us all and that occasionally, that anger needs to be released, vented, and distributed into the world.
There aren’t many albums that affect me the way Nevermind did. The pure unique sound and style, the band’s desire to be decidedly different, their willingness to embrace their independence is something that I was enamored with. Nirvana was truly unique, and my first exposure to Nevermind cemented me as a fan and secured my love for the band. It’s a shame that we never got to see a deeper body of work, but I will always appreciate what we do have and will never forget how groundbreaking Nevermind was and how it shook the rock world to its core, slapping rock music in the face, and waking up the sleeping masses. Yes, we had to endure several copycats and a lot of not so great bands, not to mention endless songs about hating yourself and hating life, but it was all worth it. There are few albums as grand as Nevermind.
In the early 70s, there was really only one band that defined the rock music of the time—Led Zeppelin. Sure, Black Sabbath was around making some incredible heavy metal, and Kiss was winning fans over with their songs about sex, drugs, and rock and roll, but if you wanted to hear true hard rock that was redefining musical innovation, it was Led Zeppelin that had to be played. Not since the Beatles (and perhaps Elvis before them) had anyone changed the stratosphere of the music scene in such a prominent and permanent way.
When Led Zeppelin split up shortly after the death of John Bonham, the rock world was devastated and stunned. It was thought that there would never be another band as innovative, stylistic, and amazing as Zeppelin had been. The rock world would feel the loss for years to come. Then in 1987, a little known band from Hollywood, California, released an album called Appetite For Destruction.
Appetite For Destruction put Guns N Roses on the metal map, but it wasn’t that album that launched them into the Zeppelin conversation. That would come later. If Guns N Roses had recorded Appetite and Lies and then called it a day, they would be well remembered in rock history, but they wouldn’t be considered icons.
20 years ago, Guns N Roses released two albums on the same day— Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II. It is these albums that really showed their innovative spirit and what these rock stars from California could do when they set their mind to it. Both Illusion albums would prove to be the band’s swan song (although they did release a covers disc two years later). It was a great mark to leave and 20 years later, the music on those records still holds up.
Zeppelin brought a whole new level of creating music with albums like Physical Graffiti and the untitled Led Zeppelin IV. Songs like “Kashmir,” “Black Dog,” and “Stairway To Heaven” had never even been conceived before, let alone heard. Guns N Roses produced a similar effect with the release of the Illusions.”Estranged,” “Coma,” and “Locomotive” are breath taking inspirations that only a genius could create. If “Stairway To Heaven” was the greatest rock song of its day, “November Rain” was the greatest rock song of its day nearly 30 years later.
Zeppelin was unique in all aspects of their music. From Jimmy Page’s incredible guitar and experimental styles, to Plant’s lyrics and song depth, Led Zeppelin had it all in a way that had never been witnessed before. Guns N Roses would follow in that suit. Slash’s solos on the Illusion albums are iconic and the depth of Axl Rose’s lyrics is for deep thinkers only. The way that each song was masterfully constructed truly left its mark on the history of music.
Led Zeppelin rarely recorded a bad song and the same could be said about Guns N Roses (if you don’t count the covers album). Each band has a catalog of incredible material that still holds up to this day and is better than most music being recorded in the modern era. Both bands would make a fortune on a reunion of original members (with son Jason replacing John on drums, obviously). Both bands called it quits at the height of their creative talents. Both bands were amazing in their own right and it would be a great challenge to find any other band that could be compared to either of these grand champions of musical invention.
If Led Zeppelin was the band of the 70s era generation, then Guns N Roses is the epitome of the 80s era generation. There will never be another Led Zeppelin. However, with that being said, there will never be another Guns N Roses either. Both bands are one of a kind and the sound of their generation.
If you believe the rumors, it’s a great time to be a Van Halen fan. With Chickenfoot’s new album, Chickenfoot III in stores on September 27th and the rumored David Lee Roth led Van Halen album completed, this fall could be very Van Halen heavy. Add in the Hurtsmile CD from Gary Cherone, who led the extremely underrated VH III, and there’s a whole lot of Van Halen-esque music available for ear consumption. (PS – if you haven’t heard Hurtsmile, you really should check it out).
There’s even a possibility that both Van Halen and Chickenfoot could be on tour at the same time. That idea got me thinking of what the ultimate Van Halen tour would be. While this is high fantasy at its most extreme, I ask you to indulge with me momentarily as we imagine what could be. How amazing would it be if the following actually happened? How much money would you pay to see this fantasy become a reality?
Van Halen on tour with Chickenfoot and Hurtsmile. Now, I know that it’s never going to happen. I know that there is way too much bad blood for this exceptional idea to grow into a completed tour. However, imagine if it did. This is how I would envision the scenario.
Hurtsmile would obviously open the evening. They could perform hits from their debut album and mix in a couple of Extreme classics. Chickenfoot would come out next (sorry Sammy fans, but this is Van Halen’s show all the way) and rip into their performance. Songs from both of their releases, perhaps a little Satriani solo, and maybe even a couple of solo Sammy songs for good measure. Then it would be time for the headliners of the evening – Van Halen. Performing nothing but classics and songs off their latest album, Van Halen would rule the stage. Then Eddie would provide a mind boggling, blistering solo that would wow the crowd like never before. And that would only be the beginning.
After all of that greatness, Eddie and Satriani would step out on stage together for the first “encore”. It would be dueling guitars as they went back and forth. Joe versus Ed. The crowd, if they hadn’t fainted by this point, would be roaring so loud that the roof might cave in.
Then it would be time for “encore” number two. Van Halen back on the stage with Michael Anthony on Bass and Gary Cherone on lead vocals. They could play a song off VH3 (which hasn’t been performed live in 13 years). Next out, would be Sammy to take over the mic. Cue up “Dreams” or some other such beloved Van Hagar song.
And then, the ending of all endings could occur. Diamond Dave would walk out on stage while Sammy, Michael, and Gary are still there. Enter Joe Satriani and Wolfgang, and lead us into the all-star jam to end all all-star jams! Eddie and Joe on lead guitar. Michael and Wolfgang on bass. Alex on drums. Sammy, Dave, and Gary trading versus on some superior classic rock song (probably a Led Zeppelin tune). How amazing would that be?
Now, I ask you honestly, how much would you pay to see that concert? I know that I would pay top dollar and then some. How about you?
Scour the internet for any music related blog or website and you’ll undoubtedly stumble across a few posts with a similar theme – the slow death of rock and roll music. It seems to be a popular idea to write about these days. And the authors all utilize similar arguments: radio stations don’t carry all rock formats anymore, rock music isn’t as popular as it was in the 70s and 80s, there is no new and innovative music coming out.
Personally, I laugh at all of that. While the articles are interesting, they are about as valid as the gentleman who claimed the world was going to end this past May. Rock music is not dying, not going to die, and certainly not dead. No, folks, rock music is here to stay. Below are five of the best reasons why I feel that rock is going to be around for a long time. These are five of the best new bands to come around in the last 5 years. With their music gracing our ears, the future of rock music is safe.
Brand new to the rock music scene is New Medicine. Their first single “Laid” is a power trip of brilliance that I can’t get enough of. Packed with power chords, delicious shredding guitar solos by ax man Dan Garland, and incredibly powerful vocals by lead singer Jake Scherer, New Medicine is a force to be reckoned with. Their brand of modern age hard rock is rock music that the masses will love. The band just hit the scene this year, but as far as new bands go, New Medicine is a band that understands how to do rock and roll. With just a little bit of promotion, this band is going to go far. New Medicine is one reason that the future of rock and roll is safe.
Fronted by the gorgeous Lzzy Hale is the exceptional rock band, Halestorm. This is a band that has the sound of rock music down cold. Halestorm not only records fantastic hard rock music, but their live show is a unique, enjoyable, entertaining experience as well. Bursting onto the scene in 2009 with their major label debut, Halestorm has been receiving recognition in the rock world as one of the hottest new bands to come out in a while. Producing exceptional sound of rock music the way it’s meant to be played, Halestorm has a lot of longevity. Should their live show continue to grow in its current direction, Halestorm could take over the entire rock world in no time. Currently the band is working on the sophomore follow up to their self-titled debut. If their next studio album is as grand as their debut was, the future of Halestorm is very strong indeed.
Doing their best impersonation of AC/DC but adding their own flair, Airbourne has released two albums and both of them have been phenomenal. Airbourne combines the old school style of short, simple rock and roll rhythm with the fast beat of thrash, and a touch of the blues. The O’Keefe brothers are the backbone of the band and drummer Ryan’s fast and furious beats combined with singer/guitarist Joel’s magnificent ax work and unique voice push the band over the top. Airbourne capture the old school sleaze of Hollywood 80s rock and combine it with the blues infused sound of AC/DC on steroids. When it comes to rocking, these bad boys from Australia know how to do it best. If they continue to make albums as strong as their first two (Runnin’ Wild and No Guts, No Glory) they will continue to wield the torch for the future of rock music.
Sleaze rock at its finest—that is the pure definition of the sound of Hinder. When they released their debut album, Extreme Behavior, I was excited for the future of rock. Hinder dialed it back to old school, Hollywood Sunset Strip era of rock and added a modern flair to it. The end result was spectacular and Hinder has been getting better and better ever since. With the precise combination of hard rock anthems and power ballads, Hinder is one of the next big things. I have a feeling they will be around for a long time, and I look forward to seeing them head out on their own headlining tour in the near future. The band is poised to take over the world; it’s only a matter of time.
Pop Evil has just released their sophomore album, War Of Angels, and it is every bit as good as their debut. If you are looking for the new future of rock and roll, Pop Evil is it. Their live show is absolutely incredible, their music full of power, and their presence needs to be recognized. They are one of the best, if not the best, hard rock bands to come out in a long time. Pop Evil is exactly what rock music should sound like. Built on power and hope, Pop Evil has all the elements of an exceptional rock band. Led by frontman Leigh Kakaty, whose style emulates the great Bruce Dickinson, Pop Evil is poised to be the next great hard rock band. Within five years, Pop Evil should be headlining their own festivals. Their debut album, Lipstick On The Mirror, is one of the greatest rock records I’ve heard in ages. The recently released follow up, War Of Angels is just as strong, and Pop Evil can go as far as they want to in rock and roll. I have heard the new future of rock and roll and their name is Pop Evil.
Rock and roll is dying? I don’t think so, and these are 5 bands that will continue to dominate the rock scene for a long time to come.
Last week I received an exceptional birthday gift from my wife. She surprised me with the complete Baseball documentary series, the film by Ken Burns. This is something I’ve wanted for a long time, but could never justify the cost. Thankfully, my wife is awesome.
While watching the first disc of the set, I became enamored by something (a young) Bob Costas stated. In paraphrasing his words, the statement he made that resonated so deeply with me was this: There are few things in life that we become interested in at an early age that we keep an interest in until the day we die. He was obviously referring to baseball, but that statement started me thinking. What things in life have I been obsessed with since an early age that I will be interested in until death?
Baseball, needless to say, is one of those things. Music is another. Specifically, hard rock/heavy metal music. I was 8 years old when I got into Kiss. I was 9 when I fell in love with Def Leppard (specifically the Pyromania album). I was 5 when I started listening to Bob Seger’s Night Moves on a regular basis. There are not many things in life that go back that far with me that I still love. Music, my parents, baseball, and cartoons would pretty much sum it up. Women came a little later and everything else came much later (cars, writing, Stephen King, horror films, etc.) The other things I obsessed over at that early an age have long since fallen to the wayside.
Hard rock hit me at a young age and my love affair has grown ever since. From Kiss and Def Leppard, I transgressed to Van Halen. After that it was AC/DC (through my cousin). AC/DC gave way to Iron Maiden. That set the groundwork for hair metal and the anxiety alleviating bands like Metallica, Anthrax, and Suicidal Tendencies. By high school, I knew I was hooked for life. Hard rock was always going to be my music medium of choice.
That’s not to say that I don’t like other types of music, because I do. Some of the music I love, readers of Hard Rock Hideout would possibly ridicule me for (it’s okay, I can take it). However, even though I love that “other” music dearly, it always comes back to hard rock. Ingrained in my soul since the age of 5, rock and roll is a powerful medium that has gotten me through most of life’s journey.
How many things do we obsess over at an early age and take with us to the grave? Not many, but for me, heavy metal fits that bill. Is it the same for you? Have you been in love with rock and roll since infancy? It’s a powerful, lifelong bond that will never end, will always be defended, and will never let us down.
In case you were not aware, Iron Maiden is set to release another greatest hits compilation on June 7th (June 6th in the UK). This compilation is titled From Fear To Eternity and features the best of Iron Maiden from 1990 to 2010. No doubt conjured up to coincide with their current tour, in which Iron Maiden is performing mostly their latter day material, From Fear To Eternity is a 2-disc best of that spans No Prayer For The Dying through The Final Frontier.
While it’s great to see a compilation of the later material from the band’s storied career, this album still arrives with disappointment. I was saddened to learn that the tracks from The X Factor and Virtual IX will only be the live versions that Bruce Dickinson sang on concert releases. Why is this happening and who made this decision? It’s bad enough that the fans are brutal when it comes to Blaze Bayley, but now to see that Maiden won’t even include Bayley’s vocal version of “The Clansman,” “Man On The Edge,” or “Sign Of The Cross” is just a slap in the face to a great singer.
Why is Iron Maiden completely ignoring Blaze Bayley? Is it because the fans never really warmed to him? Is it that Steve Harris wants to show the songs from both The X Factor and Virtual IX are great songs, but he thinks the fans won’t pay attention unless Bruce sings them? As far as I know, Blaze and Maiden parted ways on amicable terms and it’s a shame that they seem to write him out of the band’s history. It’s almost as if they are trying to fool fans into thinking that Bruce Dickinson never left.
I’ve always felt that Blaze Bayley got a bum rap. This is a talented singer that had to step in and fill the lead vocalist slot for one of the most beloved bands in all of metal history. There is no one that could compete with Bruce Dickinson, and yet Blaze jumped in and rose to the challenge. When Maiden and Dickinson parted ways in 1993, it was not a pretty departure. Dickinson believed that he would do better as a solo artist and Maiden was understandably put off by this. Dickinson clearly suffered from “Lead Singer’s Disease” if he felt that he would be better off without Steve Harris. The fans were upset, the band was disappointed, and the stage was set for failure no matter who took over the lead vocals.
Enter Blaze Bayley. He worked his ass off and tried his hardest to be an exceptional lead singer for one of the world’s greatest heavy metal bands. However, the fans never gave Bayley a chance. Immediately they shunned The X Factor and the new lead singer for no good reason. The fans were just upset that it wasn’t Bruce and the haters couldn’t wait to get their pot shots in. Everything from the artwork to the length of songs was over scrutinized when The X Factor was released.
Personally, I think that both of the Blaze Bayley albums are excellent. Are they some of the best Iron Maiden albums in the catalog? No. Are they two of the worst? No. They are just solid hard rock records that reflect a certain period in Iron Maiden history. Yet, to not include songs from those albums on a retrospective collection is ridiculous. Perhaps the band is trying to eliminate that portion of their history altogether, or they think their fans are naïve. Either way, it’s wrong.
Blaze Bayley is a talented lead singer who had huge shoes to fill. I can’t think of anyone who would have done any better in that situation. He handled the transition like a true professional, gave his all on both studio albums, and delivered as best he could during the live concerts. He certainly wasn’t Bruce Dickinson, but not many are. Should Iron Maiden ever decide to release a box set, I can only hope that not only will they include the Blaze Bayley studio versions of some of these songs, but also his live renditions of other Maiden classics. That would be a real treat to this Iron Maiden lover.
One performance that I was most looking forward to at this year’s M3 Music Festival was Slaughter. I’ve always been a huge fan of the band dating all the way back to Mark Slaughter and Dana Strum’s Vinnie Vincent Invasion days. I was the first kid on my block to own All Systems Go and I was one of the first to own Slaughter’s debut, Stick It To Ya.
I had not seen Slaughter in a live setting since 2000, so I was overly excited about their appearance. I even determined that I would skip Hurtsmile’s set so that I could enjoy every moment of Slaughter. There was even a part of me that desperately wanted to believe the band was going to slip in a performance of “Love Kills” from the aforementioned Vinnie Vincent Invasion days. I knew that was highly unlikely, but I was still hopeful.
When Slaughter took the stage, I was giddy as a school girl with a crush. I couldn’t wait to start singing along with the band and reliving the glory days of my youth. Then the music started. At first I could not recognize what song was being performed. I thought that the band needed a moment to adjust the soundboard. Then Mark Slaughter started to sing. It was all downhill from there.
Mark Slaughter had no voice. That was apparent from the very beginning of their set. And how did Slaughter try to make up for that fact? They raised the volume on their guitars to a level of distortion that destroyed their music. It wasn’t until the chorus when I realized that the opening song was “The Wild Life.”
I’m not saying that I expected Slaughter circa 2011 to sound like Slaughter circa 1990 or even Slaughter circa 2000, but at some point as a band you have to ask if you are delivering a product worth charging the public. Mark Slaughter looked heavy and had no voice. It’s not that he just couldn’t hit the high notes, he couldn’t hit any notes. He could barely be heard.
As a band, Slaughter owes it to their fans to determine if they are able to perform or not. I’m not sure how the band could give a performance like they did at M3 and honestly think that they are ready to go on the road (Slaughter will be doing select festivals and a couple of shows with Whitesnake this summer). Sometimes it’s best to examine your band and ask if you are truly able to continue on.
Every proud athlete and entertainer comes to this point in their career and they all want to labor on. Some even believe that they can. Then they get out onstage and are unable to produce. Unfortunately, that is the position Slaughter is in. While the music still sounded decent, it was far from great. And it was painfully obvious how Mark Slaughter was straining behind the microphone. Perhaps it’s time for the band to say goodbye and hang it up. Perhaps it’s best for the past to be left in the past and remembered for nostalgic purposes only.
I will still listen to my Slaughter (and Vinnie Vincent Invasion) albums with fondness, but I don’t think I could ever see the band live again. Their set was so disappointing, that I was almost upset with myself for sitting through the whole thing. I wanted to believe that it was going to change and that Mark’s voice was going to kick in strong at any moment. Perhaps he was saving it for “Fly To The Angels.” He wasn’t. Unfortunately, there was no voice left. This is something that Slaughter should consider and examine before they take the stage again later this year. Sometimes you have to hang it up and move on.
Next week I will be travelling down to Columbia, Maryland to enjoy this year’s M3 Festival (http://m3rock.webs.com) . Last year I attended the festival for the first time and was very glad to have done so. The food was great, the beer was cold, the fans were awesome, and the music was amazing. Sure, the weather was hotter than a Jenna Jamison flick, but I survived. This year, with the festival taking place in mid-May, the weather should be gorgeous, which will only add to the greatness of this festival.
I enjoy road trips. I especially enjoy road trips to a music festival. I’ve already determined what albums I’m going to listen to on the way down to Columbia, and when those albums aren’t playing, I’m certain that I will have Hair Nation dialed in on satellite radio. While I’m cruising down the highway blasting the latest from Whitesnake and Hurtsmile, I’ll also be thinking about the things I am hoping to see at M3.
KIX is headlining the opening night of the festival, and they are one of the bands that I am really looking forward to. Their performance at last year’s M3 was superb, and this year they get a headlining slot, which means a full set of KIX. In their home state of Maryland, this is going to be one awesome performance. I hope that they will dust off some rare gems, but I would be completely satisfied with a standard set of expected classics.
Warrant will be performing on the main stage just before KIX, and I think they are getting a full 90 minute slot as well. If that’s true, that would be wild. I hope to hear some songs from their new disc and I really hope they play some songs from Ultraphobic. That is one Warrant album that just doesn’t get enough attention. With lead singer Robert Mason in tow, Warrant is guaranteed to give a performance to remember.
On Saturday, the full day part of the festival, I am obviously excited to see Whitesnake. I have never seen this band live before, so their headlining performance to close out the festival is going to be a real treat. I want to hear a few new songs from their latest album, Forevermore. I hope that they don’t just play the current single. Forevermore is too good to ignore some of the other tracks. Other than that, a set of hits similar to last year would be fine by me. Other fans may not agree, but hey, it’s my first time enjoying live Whitesnake.
I haven’t seen Tesla live in many years, so I am looking forward to their set, which is right before Whitesnake. Basically any song that Tesla plays is going to be good, so I don’t even need to speculate on that set list. I’d like to see Mr. Big play a lot from their new album, but I have a feeling that it will be one or two songs at most. Their time slot is probably only 45 minutes, which really limits the songs that can be played.
I have no expectations for Lita Ford or Sebastian Bach. I think that they are both over the hill and I’m not sure if they can bring it in the live setting. Perhaps they will prove me wrong, but I doubt it. Every time I’ve seen solo Bach, it’s been pretty horrendous. As for Lita Ford, I’ve never seen her live, but I also haven’t listened to any of her music since 1989.
I am really hoping that Faster Pussycat plays their cover of “You’re So Vain.” Their version is one of my favorite cover songs of all time and I would just mess my pants if they played it live. It would make the festival for me. Perhaps if I get the chance to talk to the band, I’ll put in a special request.
I am also looking forward to seeing Gary Cherone’s latest project, Hurtsmile. I’m sure they will perform a lot of their songs, but I expect some Extreme songs mixed in as well. Maybe we’ll get really lucky and Gary will throw in a track from Van Halen 3, but I highly doubt that. It would be a real treat though.
All in all, I think this year’s M3 festival is going to be even greater than last year. The lineup is solid and the festival runs like clockwork, which leads to almost no waiting time in between bands. I am just counting the days until May 13th. To this hair metal lover, it’s like waiting for Christmas to arrive!
As recently reported here at Hard Rock Hideout, Poison has decided that the best way to celebrate their upcoming 25th Anniversary is by releasing a greatest hits album. This would be Poison’s sixth greatest hits package. They’ve only released six studio albums (seven if you count Poison’D, but that’s a covers album, so I don’t). Aerosmith has just announced they will be releasing another greatest hits album, this one containing only their best ballads. That’s five greatest hits albums from Aerosmith since their last studio release of new material.
Kiss was always notorious for releasing endless amounts of repackaged music to sell to their fans. Even I, one of the biggest Kiss fans in the world, a fan who had to own every official release from the band whether it was repackaged music or not, got tired of all the best of bull. I stopped buying/caring when Kiss released Ikons, the 4 disc, best of compilation set that had 1 disc of each member’s songs. What a joke!
Enough is enough already. How many different versions of greatest hits can be released by a band? And unfortunately, 70s/80s metal acts are the worst of the worst. An excellent example of this is Aerosmith, Kiss, and Poison. Let’s look at some other culprits though. Cinderella has more greatest hits albums than they do studio records! How is that possible? They too have released a Best Ballads album. They too are annoying with all the greatest hits releases. How about some new music? Winger released a new album. Def Leppard has been making new music for years. Why not Cinderella? Don’t they think the fans would buy a new Cinderella album much quicker than they would go out to purchase yet another package of songs that they already own?
Iron Maiden has just announced another compilation as well. This one contains only their newer songs. It’s called From Fear To Eternity and has their best songs from 1990 – 2010. While another Maiden Best Of is disturbing, at least this band gets it right. They admit that long time fans are tired of repackaged material. They admit that the album is aimed at newer fans that might not own all of their albums and just want a collection of their best material. They acknowledge that there are fans out there who might get upset about paying for a packaged album just to get the artwork. They also do something about it. Iron Maiden is offering the artwork and CD booklet for free when the album is released on May 23rd. They will allow anyone to go online and download a PDF of the booklet. That covers the best of both worlds. Plus, Maiden still releases new music, so their latest greatest hits album isn’t a re-shuffling of a former disc with one additional song thrown on.
I know the old argument, if you don’t like the repackaged music, then you don’t have to buy it. However, I think that statement is garbage. As a fan of the band, I want new music. Just give us some new music already! Warrant is. The Cars are. Whitesnake has. Even Kiss is finally hearing the cry of their fans and working on another studio album. Don’t be afraid that the record may not sell or put a chink in your legacy. If done right, the fans will purchase your latest album.
I’ve always viewed greatest hits albums as filler until the next studio album is available. However, in the case of some bands, it’s not filler, it’s all they can release. Certain bands aren’t going into the studios to make new music, so they churn out another repackaged album to steal more money from the fans. Poison, are you serious? Another greatest hits record instead of new music? I’m sure that’s what all the fans want. I can’t wait to see how well this package doesn’t sell.
The unthinkable has happened. As reported here at Hard Rock Hideout last week, Motley Crue and Poison have announced a co-headlining tour with The New York Dolls. While I think this is going to be quite a concert, there are still several questions that remain unanswered. Most pressing of all is, “How in the world did this happen?” Both Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee said they would never tour with Poison. When Sixx was with Brides of Destruction, they had an opportunity to open for Kiss and declined, because Poison was part of that tour. Why the sudden change?
For Poison, the answer is easy. It is clearly about the money. The last couple of tours that Poison headlined had trouble selling out, in some cases there was trouble selling tickets at all. Plus, Poison is not touring behind any new material (not that the Crue are either, but at least they have a somewhat recent record to support) and they will most likely play the same tired setlist that a majority of fans have memorized.
As for Motley, I’m not sure why they agreed to do this tour. Their ticket sales have always done well and they are neither fans of nor friends with Poison. So what gives? Did management put them up to this? Did the concert promoters see dollar signs so big that they had to make this tour happen?
Unfortunately, I do not have the answers to any of these questions, but I do have a fun game we can play regarding this tour. It’s called Odds On (yeah, it’s a rip off of Pardon The Interruption’s “Odds Makers,” so sue me for lacking in originality). These are the chances that I think certain things will or will not happen during the Poison/Motley Crue summer tour.
Chances of this tour being completed
82%. Poison are dedicated professionals and Motley Crue always finish a tour regardless of how messed up they get. However, what could cause this tour to collapse is if the bands don’t get along. What will the chemistry be like? Will any pot shots be taken by the Crue at Poison? If Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee were forced into doing this tour, there is no telling what might happen as the summer progresses. Anger, resentment, and perhaps even jealousy may erupt from either or both of these hard core rockers. And past experience has shown us that professionalism is not one of Tommy Lee’s priorities. Good luck to the road crew!
Chances that the majority of these concerts sell out
61%. I saw the prices for this concert and they were about what I expected. The range is between $45 and $95 (before fees). While both of these bands sell well, the economy is still a little shaky and fans are carefully choosing which concerts they want to see. What help this tour is that it was announced early. I believe there is potential for this show to do well, especially in the northeast, but in other areas of the US, I’m not so sure.
Chances that Poison will go on stage last
3%. I know that this is billed as a co-headlining tour, but let’s be real. The last band to go on for the evening is the true headliner. The fact that Motley is doing this tour at all after Sixx and Lee said that would never happen means some egos had to be soothed. There is almost no chance that Motley would go on stage at any time but last. The 3% is up there, because maybe, just maybe, in Pittsburgh, Poison might be allowed to be the headliners (Poison is from PA). Other than that, it’s Motley coming out last every night.
Chances that Bret Michaels out performs Vince Neil
97%. Barring some miracle scenario where Vince goes to a performance coach prior to the launch of this tour, Brett Michaels is going to outperform Vince Neil at every stop. Brett is in better shape than Vince. Brett is a better vocalist than Vince. Brett is a better guitar player than Vince. Brett is a better entertainer than Vince. Plus, Brett sings all the words to his songs. Vince will give you every third word in between huffed panting because his overweight body can’t handle sprinting all over the stage for 90 minutes.
Chances that Poison and Motley Crue perform more than a one song encore
17%. I’ve seen a lot of co-headlining tours. I’ve seen a lot of co-headlining glam tours too. Almost always, there is the one song encore. On the last two Motley tours that I’ve seen, the Crue has done a one song encore. Every time that I’ve seen Poison (I believe it’s been a total of 7 times), they have performed a one song encore. I don’t see any reason for this to change.
Chances of an all star jam encore featuring members of all three bands
9%. While it would be a fan’s dream come true to see all the members of The New York Dolls, Poison, and Motley Crue jamming together to one of their favorite rock songs (a cover of a Led Zeppelin tune, perhaps), it just isn’t going to happen. Again, we’re not even sure how well the bands are going to get along. The chemistry required to pull off an all star jam is severely lacking. I think this is more a case of three separate bands performing for the fans, collecting their pay, and going home at the end of the summer. There’s no sharing of a tour bus, no hotel parties featuring all members of the band, and no back stage group hug amongst the different bands. This is clearly an every band for themselves tour. Perhaps they will prove me wrong, but I doubt it.
Chances of this tour happening again
0%. This is a once in a lifetime deal. If you want to see these two bands together, then you’d better be in front of your computer on March 18th when tickets go on sale.
Like most diehard, devoted, metal fans, I was an outcast growing up. During my teenage years, I was very confused about life, my purpose in the world, and how I fit into the grand scheme of things. Introverted and shy, it was a challenge for me to make friends. I tried to be the “cool” guy, but wasn’t often accepted. I had trouble with the ladies due to my awkwardness and it was always a challenge for me to just fit in. The queerness of my teen years led to a lot of anger issues that were difficult to contain. I could not understand why people just didn’t accept me for me. Why did I have to try so hard to fit a mold crusted by society that said we should be one way or another? Then I discovered heavy metal.
It was Motley Crue’s Girls, Girls, Girls that really kick started my love affair with hard rock music. While I had been listening to AC/DC , Kiss, and Led Zeppelin prior to that, it was the Crue that taught me about partying and being different. This led to my love affair with glam bands of the day, such as Poison and Warrant. Then Guns N Roses hit the scene and literally changed everything. Their new sound and “we don’t care” style showed me that it was all right to stand up for what you believed in, no matter how different it may have appeared to society.
Rock and Roll taught me that it was ok to be different. Metal is an adapted lifestyle that says screw the system and go your own way. It’s all right to be yourself. There’s no need to conform for the man, be proud of who you are. I took that message and ran with it throughout my high school years.
Heavy Metal taught me to be fearless and to go after whatever I wanted with a passion and a conviction that I could not fail. When I had a crush on the most beautiful girl in high school (two years my senior at the time) I followed the rock and roll message and went after her. Using my power ballad romantic side, I went to the flower shop that she worked for, bought her a rose, and left it on the counter with a note. She was quite impressed. While we never did get to go on a date, the experience helped build my confidence. That experience never would have happened without metal music in my ear, egging me on to rise above the challenge and to stop listening to those who told me I wasn’t good enough.
Even to this day, although older and wiser, I use the heavy metal message when I need to. Whenever I find myself in front of a difficult challenge or wanting to just give up, thinking that I’m not good enough, I think back to the metal heroes of my youth. I can hear Paul Stanley singing about believing in who you are and taking a stand. I can feel Manowar telling me to fight the world with no fear. I can sense the power of Motorhead helping me to push forward even through the deepest moments of doubt. Heavy metal music heals me during those rough times. When I lack confidence or start to believe that I’m not good enough to try for something, all it takes is a few spins of a good rock record to change my tune and make me believe in myself. That’s a powerful medium. Heavy metal music and the fans that love it have become a part of my lifestyle and have accepted me for who I am.
That’s the beauty of heavy metal. We welcome all to this house. Whether you’re tall, short, fat, bald, slow, or just a little insecure, the brotherhood of metal music will accept you as you are. We’ve all been in that awkward position. We’ve all felt friendless. And then we discovered hard rock. Long live metal!
Another football season has come to an end and another Super Bowl half-time show has been performed. While I personally thought the Black Eyed Peas did a great job, there were mixed to poor reviews all over the internet mere moments after the half-time show had ended. While reading through the less-than-flattering reviews, I came across a tweet on Twitter. The tweet was to Scott Ian of Anthrax and it stated that next year, it would be cool to see The Big 4 perform the half-time show. They could play one song each.
Of course, that got me to thinking. What hard rock/heavy metal band would I like to see perform at half-time during the Super Bowl? What bands would best serve the half a billion viewers and produce a damn good concert in the span of 12 minutes, ala Bruce Springsteen or The Rolling Stones? Which band would it be most excellent to see on stage during a football game?
Kiss is obviously the first band that comes to my mind (I know, I’m biased). They did perform for a Super Bowl once. Way back in 1999 for Super Bowl 33, Kiss performed the pre-game show for the Super Bowl. It was a pretty cool moment in Kisstory, but not as cool as playing the half-time show would be. In 12 minutes (which is the allotted time performers have) Gene could breathe fire, spit blood, and fly through the air. Tommy Thayer could shoot rockets out of his guitar and Paul could swing the microphone around and around while belting out the classic hits.
Iron Maiden is definitely a band I would love to see perform the half-time show. The mere thought of Eddie dressed in a football uniform and dancing around the stage sends chills down my spine. If done right, he could even toss an autographed Iron Maiden commemorative Super Bowl football into the crowd. Maiden would give a blistering performance that would blow away any half-time show we’ve seen in Super Bowl history. Maiden is another band that could just rip through a medley of classic hits, or play one (but only one) of their longer songs. Either way, it would be incredible.
I’m certain that Metallica would be an incredible half-time act. The band’s songs are featured at several sporting events and the energy they pack into a concert would translate well on such a large scale stage. Without a doubt, they would give the performance of a lifetime that would leave the fans wanting more. As long as they strayed away from their new material and gave the classics, there is no question in my mind that they would be incredible performers for the Super Bowl.
Van Halen would be an exceptional choice for the 2012 Super Bowl (provided there is one). They are rumored to be hitting the road this summer and if the fates align, there will even be a new album to go along with that tour. If the rumors are true, then by February of next year, the band would be in top road form and could give a performance that would leave jaws hanging and have everyone proclaiming how they had to see this band in concert. Diamond Dave could leap out on stage with his jump kicks, twists, and turns, and Eddie Van Halen could dazzle them all with his blistering rendition of Eruption. That would be absolutely amazing.
While I don’t think that any of these bands will be performing the big game anytime soon, they are definitely rock acts that would have my unbridled attention come half-time. Each of these bands is certainly legendary enough to pull it off. Who do we contact to make the recommendations?
Growing up, I was a huge Aerosmith fan. I can still remember the first time I heard Sweet Emotion on the radio at the ripe old age of 10. That song transformed my world and helped shape my love for rock music. I remember buying Pump on the day it was released in 1989 and playing that cassette over and over and over again. F.I.N.E. and What It Takes spoke to me like other songs had not (at least not in a very long time). I can remember watching all of the videos from that album on MTV and loving every one of them, including both versions of What It Takes.
I still remember the giddy joy I felt when I received Pandora’s Box one Christmas. I spent weeks dissecting every disc in that collection, waltzing through the musical history of Aerosmith while reading the entire book that accompanied the box set cover to cover. The historical musical references had me fall in love with the band all over again. From the early, pre-Aerosmith, Steven Tyler songs, to the latest version of Sweet Emotion and Chip Away At The Stone, it was all spectacular.
In the 90s, Aerosmith was still going strong with utterly fantastic releases like Get A Grip and Nine Lives. Onward into 2001 and the band was still rocking with the release of one of their greatest albums ever, Just Push Play. Then they came out with a covers album, Honkin’ On Bobo. While it wasn’t new Aerosmith music, it was still decent. The band decided to cover their favorite blues songs and the end result was all right. Nothing special, but all the fans figured it was a stop-gap until their next record of original material came out. The only problem was that record never materialized. Endless delays and issues within the band ceased it from happening.
The last two years have been somewhat of a train wreck for Aerosmith. It started with Steven Tyler being in the band, then out of the band, then in the band again. Then Aerosmith fulfilled their contractual obligations by going through the motions of their “only to collect a paycheck” concerts in Hawaii. And then there was the latest – Steven Tyler wanting to focus on the Steven Tyler “brand” and joining American Idol as a judge. What does this all mean to the Aerosmith fan?
For one, it means that Steven has deserted his fans. He can say whatever he wants, but to leave us with Honkin’ On Bobo as the last record Aerosmith ever releases is akin to Guns N Roses leaving us with The Spaghetti Incident. For a band that I idolized as a teen, I expected so much more. Aerosmith should be ashamed if the final release in their legacy is Honkin’ On Bobo. By the look of things, there won’t be an alternative ending.
To that, I make this plea to the band that I worshipped growing up; to the band that took much of my allowance; to the band that I spent several hundred dollars on to see in concert; to the band that shaped my adolescence with their funk infused style of old school rock and roll. I say this. Please don’ leave us Honkin’ On Bobo. Please do whatever it takes to get together and release that one last great album that we all know is in you. There doesn’t need to be a tour behind it (although that would be nice), but we need that last record that you were working on. Steven Tyler still has talent. Joe Perry still has credentials. Joey Kramer, Brad Whitford, and Tom Hamilton can still bring it, we know they can. So please, Aerosmith, whatever it takes, bring us one more studio record. It will wipe the taste of Bobo out of our mouths and it will do so much to help re-establish your name as one of the greatest rock and roll bands ever. The bad boys from Boston. One more record. Please.