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.
It’s a new year which is a time to look forward and plan ahead. For hard rock fans like myself that means it’s time to speculate about which hard and heavy albums are going to be amongst the favorites for 2011. Every year I get excited when thinking about which rock records are getting ready for release. I like to look and see which band is in the studio, who is close to releasing a new album, and of course debating on whether the new album will be light years ahead of the last.
Nice guy that I am I’ve compiled some of the hard rock records that I am looking forward to in 2011, along with the proposed release dates. Hopefully these are albums that you are looking forward to as well. Or perhaps you weren’t even aware that they were coming out, in which case I’m happy to fill you in. Sit back with me now for this edition of Vie’s Verses, upcoming hard rock records for 2011.
Social Distortion – Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes
Release Date – January 18, 2011
While I’ve never been a diehard fan of Social Distortion, I’ve always liked the band and I’ve always loved Mike Ness. I’ll be honest, I haven’t kept up with Social D and I haven’t listened to any of their newer material. However, when I saw they had a new album coming out in January it peaked my interest. Visiting their website (www.socialdistortion.com) I was able to stream Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes and take it for a test drive. The result? It was some solid rock and roll and a record that I will be adding to my collection. I am really looking forward to the release of Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes and seeing how well sales go for this band. This album deserves some attention.
Motorhead – The World Is Yours
Release Date – January 18, 2011
Anytime that Lemmy Kilmster is involved in releasing a new record a rock fan has to stand up and take notice. One of the Gods of metal, Lemmy is just an amazing rocker to follow. Motorhead has been a force to be reckoned with for decades. The fact that they are still making new music is exciting and liberating. It proves that the older you get, you can’t stop rocking. Hopefully, that will translate on The World Is Yours. Motorhead has never really disappointed, so it’s not much of a stretch to think that this album will be a hard rocking blast. The question is, will it be one of the best records of the year, or will it only be average?
Manowar – Battle Hymns MMXI
Release Date – February, 2011
Let’s get one thing straight. I LOVE Manowar. I’ve always thought they were one of the hardest rocking bands in the industry. I have also always been confused as to why they don’t have more popularity. Their music is outstanding, their live performances rival that of any rock band you can name, and their star quality is extremely high. With all that greatness, how come you almost never hear them on the radio? Battle Hymns MMXI is a re-recording of their 1982 debut album, Battle Hymns. Almost 30 years later and the band has decided to re-record every song on the album. This could be very, very great, or very, very heinous. We’ll find out in February.
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Title TBD
Tentative Release Date – Summer 2011
Having not released an album since 2006’s Stadium Arcadium, it will be real interesting to hear some new Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2011. Working with their new guitarist, Josh Klinghoffer, the Peppers have been in the studio since the fall, trying out the new material and determining what is good enough to make the new record and what isn’t. Drummer Chad Smith has stated that while a lot of songs have been recorded (more than 20), the new album will definitely not be a double album. I for one can’t wait to get my hands on some new material from the Peppers. They’ve not released a bad album since…well never, so I know new Peppers is going to be eartastic. Look for this album to arrive in stores by late spring/early summer.
Van Halen – Title TBD
Release Date – TBD
Rumors abound that Van Halen will be touring in 2011 (with David Lee Roth and Wolfgang once again). Rumors are also rampant that the band is working on a new album to take out on tour with them. What no one can confirm, however, is when this album will be released. It makes sense that the band would want to finish recording the disc before hitting the road, but with the snail pace that Eddie Van Halen works, it’s very conceivable that the record just won’t be finished in time. The summer touring season is a very lucrative time for ticket sales, and if there’s no album to support, then it’s highly likely the band will hit the road without it. I would love to hear a new VH record with David Lee Roth behind the mic, as I’m sure every other fan in the world would too. When you listen to Me Wise Magic or Can’t Get This Stuff No More (from the first Greatest Hits album, the last “new” songs recorded with Diamond Dave), you can’t help but salivate over what new material would sound like. It would be golden.
Rush – Title TBD
Release Date – TBD
Rush is another band that is up against the clock to release their new album. Having been out on the road for over a year and a half on their Time Machine tour, the band has performed two new songs in concert. These songs were supposed to be for the inclusion on a new record, but have since been made available as live recordings from their website (or ITunes). Has this stalled the potential of a brand new Rush record? While Snakes and Arrows was an amazing album, there’s still a lot of life left in the boys from Canada. It would be nice to see them turn that into something for the fans now, while their creative levels are still high and their talent is still hot. I would love to hear some new Rush before the year is over and hopefully our neighbors to the north will find the time in their schedule to oblige.
And there you have it. The hard rock records that I am looking forward to sinking my ears into this year. What albums are you excited about? What records can you not wait to be released?
As reported here at Hard Rock Hideout, Axl Rose is suing Activision, makers of Guitar Hero III, for using Slash’s likeness in the video game. Rose was supposedly informed that a replica Slash or appearances of his other group, Velvet Revolver, wouldn’t be used in the game. Axl allowed Activision to use Welcome To The Jungle based on this information. There are some internet reports that Axl is upset because of an alleged hatred of Slash. Some message board comments claim Axl is trying to sponge all memory of Slash from Guns N’ Roses. Personally, I don’t know what to think, but I don’t believe either of those statements.
In light of the recent Guitar Hero III news, it made me wonder – will the original Guns N’ Roses ever reunite? What would it take for this to happen? The new incarnation of Guns N’ Roses has been sporadically touring the world (with the exception of the US) in support of Chinese Democracy. As usual, there are rumors that the tour will come to North America (including the US) next year, but that remains to be seen. Velvet Revolver is no more (or on hiatus, as they claim) and Duff McKagan is no longer a member of Jane’s Addiction. As far as anyone knows, Slash has no further plans to further hit the road in support of his solo debut album. Steven Adler has been touring on and off with Adler’s Appetite, but I’m sure he could easily make himself available for a reunion with Guns. As for Izzy Stradlin, he released a new album, Wave Of Heat, this past summer. He is currently not touring in support of that release.
Knowing that all of the principle members of the band are available, is it possible that the original Guns N’ Roses could reunite? All 5 members are currently doing next to nothing. Duff recently showed up at a Guns N Roses gig and played a couple of songs on stage, which had everyone speculating if that was the beginning of something. But, supposedly, there is so much anger and hatred between Slash and Axl Rose, that it would quash any chance of a reunion.
There obviously have been no conversations about reuniting. Axl and Slash would need to sit in a room, work out their differences, and make up to a Jagger/Richards level (at least). Promoters must be salivating at the chance to produce a Guns N’ Roses reunion. The greedy corporations like Live Nation would love to offer the band a guaranteed $100 million and then turn around and rape the fans on ticket prices, merchandise, and everything else they could get their pudgy little fingers on.
I personally think this is one of those rare cases where money won’t solve the problems at hand. I believe that Axl is too stubborn and Slash is moving forward in life. There will be no reunion because the two principal players will never make up. Sure, Duff might be able to be an intermediary, and with a little luck he may be able to get them to sit down and at least be civil toward one another, but I just don’t see a reunion happening. I don’t feel that Axl has grown up enough.
What would you pay to see the original Guns N’ Roses? Knowing how sky high ticket prices can go for these nostalgic concerts, would you be willing to pay a Roger Waters-ish price of $250/ticket? More? Personally, I don’t think that I would pay more than $50, and I would want the concert to start on time. I know, sometimes I can be an old curmudgeon. One of the largest problems the original Guns N’ Roses had was starting concerts on time. In his autobiography Slash said that it was the one thing that bothered him more than anything else about Axl or the band. Concerts have to start on time, not when Axl chooses they should start.
Could they do it? Would Axl and Slash be able to make up long enough to do a reunion tour for the fans? If the Eagles can reunite, anything is possible, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. There’s still a lot of anger, confusion, and frustration inside of Mr. Rose. Until he decides to address those emotional demons, there’s not much hope for anything else. That includes a reunited Guns N’ Roses.
In the 80s, hair bands ruled. They were all over the radio, all over MTV, and all over anywhere one could look. And while a lot of people thought that most of them looked like girls, there were a few bands that actually had girls in them. In this edition of Vie’s Verses, I’m paying tribute to some of the best female fronted bands of yesteryear. So grab your aqua net, your dog eared copy of Hit Parader, and your dual cassette boom box, and let’s take a ride down memory lane.
Vixen was huge in 1988/1989 with their self-titled debut album and smash hit, Edge Of A Broken Heart. Their appeal was deeper than just the music, however. As an all female band, filled with beautiful women, the guys loved Vixen for more than their songs. Rationally, Edge Of A Broken Heart is not a song that a dude could pump his fist to. It’s a song about a woman who is trying to avoid heartbreak. That’s not very manly. But the guys found themselves singing along anyway, because these chicks were hot!
Vixen formed in Minnesota in the mid-80s and then moved to Los Angeles, California, to join the smoking hot L.A. music scene. The fact that they were an all girl band certainly helped to get them the attention of record execs. After enjoying huge success with their first album, Vixen released Rev It Up in 1990. Unfortunately, Rev It Up was not promoted by the band’s record label, EMI, as well as their debut album was, and record sales on Rev It Up were poor. In 1991 the band split up.
Where are they now?
In 2001, as hair metal was making a huge revival, Jan Kuehnemund reformed Vixen with two other original members and a new bass guitar player. Halfway through their first tour, the band split up again. Kuehnemund, determined to keep the band‘s name alive, hired a new lineup and continued to tour and record under the name Vixen. Their last show was at the 2009 Rocklahoma. Since then, there has not been much activity from the band, but there are rumors of a possible new album and tour in the works for 2010/2011.
Did you know?
80s pop star, Richard Marx, wrote and arranged Edge Of A Broken Heart for Vixen at the request of EMI.
Led by the beautiful and highly talented Doro Pesch, Warlock was a heavy metal band that formed in Germany in 1982. Their third album, True As Steel, was released in 1986, and brought the band recognition in the US. The single, Fight For Rock, was picked up by North American radio, and the band found a new following during the height of the hair metal years. Though most members of the band rotated in and out of Warlock, Doro Pesch always remained Warlock’s front woman. Warlock would find even more success once their videos started getting regular play on MTv’s Headbangers Ball. By the late 80s, all of the original band members had left Warlock. Doro had to change the name of the band (to Doro) due to Warlock’s original manager suing for the naming rights to Warlock.
Where are they now?
Doro Pesch is still performing under the Doro moniker and released a new album in 2009. Guitarist Peter Szigeti went on to play with many other bands, most notably U.D.O. Guitarist Rudy Graf went on to join the band Rage after leaving Warlock in 1985. He left the band Rage in 1987. Bassist Frank Rittel left Warlock at the end of the True As Steel Tour and little has been heard of him since. Drummer Michael Eurich left Warlock to join the band Casanova where he recorded three albums with them. His drumming activity has been quiet since then. Doro is still recording and touring in Europe and North America.
Did you know?
In 2008, Pure Steel Records released the first official tribute to Warlock which included special appearances by members of the band.
Fronted by the gorgeous Sandi Saraya, Saraya was a New Jersey based band that had some modest radio hits, including their big single, Love Has Taken Its Toll. Never wanting their album to sell based on Sandi’s beauty, the front woman actually insisted that most of her face be hidden for the album’s cover shoot. Saraya only released two albums, and their second album, When The Blackbird Sings is hardly known by anyone except the truest of metal fans. After the release of their second album, keyboardist Gregg Munier quit the band, and Saraya decided to go their separate ways.
Where are they now?
Keyboardist and founding member, Gregg Munier, died in 2006 due to complications from pneumonia.
After Saraya split up in 1991, Sandi Saraya married Tesla bassist Brian Wheat, but they soon divorced. Since then, Sandi went on to marry again and is raising five children with her current husband.
Guitarist Tony Bruno is currently performing with Danger, Danger, although he is not an official member of the band.
Drummer Chuck Bonfante has been in and out of different bands since the demise of Saraya.
Earlier this year, rumors abounded that Saraya would be playing a reunion show, their first show in over 18 years, at the Firefest in the UK. Unfortunately, this never happened. Tony Bruno and Chuck Bonfante claim that Sandi was never committed to the reunion and she backed out at the last minute after demanding an exurbanite amount of money to play the festival. Sandi claims this is not true, that she just wanted enough money to cover the expenses of her family traveling to the festival with her, so that her children could see her perform. Her husband recently underwent surgery and the medical bills depleted her savings. It is not known whether Sandi and her former bandmates have spoken since her decision to not perform at Firefest (which took place just last week (October 30th and 31st). Whether there will be a reunion in the future still remains to be seen.
Did you know?
Saraya was in the midst of recording their third album when the band decided to call it quits.
Smashed Gladys was a band that flew under everybody’s radar, but whose debut album is currently fetching a small mint on EBay and Craigslist, when they can be found. Fronted by the sleazy hot Sally Cato, Smashed Gladys released their debut album, Smashed Gladys in 1985. They followed that up with the excellent Social Intercourse in 1988. While not receiving much airplay or video time on MTV, Smashed Gladys went on to form a small following of hard core fans. Due to lack of support and promotion from the record company, the band decided to split up in 1989 while recording their third album, Tales From The East Side. The album has never been released.
Where are they now?
Front woman, Sally Cato, completely disappeared from the music scene after Smashed Gladys hung up their instruments. For most of her adult life she has been a Tibetan Buddhist. She currently owns a marketing and design firm in New York City. She still conducts interviews with glam/rock magazines and websites from time to time.
Guitarists Bart Lewis and Roger Lane, as well as bassist J.D. Malo have been in and out of bands since the breakup of Smashed Gladys. Drummer Matt Stelluto is currently employed by the New York Mets.
Social Intercourse has recently been re-released on Wounded Bird Records and can be found online for a decent price. Sally Cato has not ruled out the chance for a Smashed Gladys reunion if someone can put together a budget for the band to reunite.
Did you know?
Smashed Gladys was originally managed by Gene Simmons.
Bitch was formed in 1980 by lead singer, Betsy Bitch. Their debut album, Be My Slave was released in 1983 and received some rotation on rock radio stations. In 1987 Bitch released their follow up album, The Bitch Is Back, two years after originally recording it. During that time, the band built a large following on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, playing such noted clubs as The Roxy and The Whiskey A Go-Go. By the time The Bitch Is Back was officially released, the band had a large fan base. This helped sales of their sophomore release tremendously. In 1989, Bitch released their final album, A Rose By Any Other Name. Since that time, Betsy Bitch has been the only original member to remain in the band.
Where are they now?
Betsy Bitch has continued to stay in the music scene. In several interviews she has stated that Bitch never officially broke up, they would just go on extended hiatus. Bitch continued to play festivals and do some minor touring throughout the 90s and 00s.
Original drummer Robby Settles passed away from leukemia earlier this year.
Guitarist David Carruth stayed with the band until recently, but is no longer a member of Bitch.
Bitch is currently in the studio with a new lineup working on a new album. A release date has not been set.
Did you know?
Bitch was the first female fronted heavy metal band signed to a record label.
So you call yourself a hard rock music fan? You can bang your head with the best of them, you know who invented the horns, and you love to rock and roll all night and party every day. As an expert in the field of hard rock, what 10 albums would you recommend to someone that was just starting their collection? Tough question, huh?
While this subject is up for endless debate, there are certain albums that must be a part of every hard rocker’s music collection. Whether it’s on vinyl, CD, or MP3, these are 10 essential albums that belong in every hard rock fan’s music collection.
AC/DC – Back In Black
I’ve already discussed in a previous post how I feel that Back In Black is a perfect album. From start to finish, it is one of the greatest hard rock albums of all time. With songs like Hells Bells, You Shook Me All Night Long, and Rock And Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution this is one record that any metal head can’t live without. While Angus Young blisters away on the guitar, and Brian Johnson screams his heart out on vocals, Back In Black hits the ears hard in an enjoyable way. It’s timeless, it’s classic, and it’s an absolute definite for any hard rock record collection.
Black Sabbath – Paranoid
While their debut album is an incredible one, it was the sophomore effort of Paranoid that really put Black Sabbath on the map. Filled with incredible classics like War Pigs, the title track, and Iron Man, Paranoid is the one Black Sabbath album that every metal head should own. Dark, deliberate, and oh so amazing, this is Black Sabbath at the height of their powers. Sure, Volume 4 is a fantastic record in its own right, but if I were directing a newbie on which Sabbath album to add to their upstart collection, Paranoid would win hands down.
Guns N Roses – Appetite For Destruction
Without any debate, this is possibly the best debut album ever recorded by a hard rock band. Better than Van Halen’s debut (which we will cover later in this list), better than Black Sabbath’s debut album, and better than most heavy metal records out there, Appetite For Destruction is a pure eargasmic delight. 5 young, hungry, and crazy lads banded together to record a masterpiece that went on to become one of the best selling albums of all time. There is not one rock fan out there who doesn’t know of this record and I would venture a guess that most of them own it.
Iron Maiden – The Number of the Beast
In 1982, Iron Maiden lost a singer in Paul DiAnno, but gained a rock god in Bruce Dickinson. While the band was somewhat popular before Dickinson’s foray into the group, they took over the world with him at the helm. The Number of the Beast was the album that started the takeover. Short in length (at only 8 songs), The Number of the Beast sold quality over quantity. Every song is a potential hit. Hallowed Be Thy Name, Run To The Hills and the ever popular title track, are all amazing songs. And these don’t even scratch the surface of what’s contained on the entire record. The Number of the Beast is a hard rock masterpiece.
Judas Priest – British Steel
I’m well aware of the fact that Judas Priest recorded some fine albums prior to and after British Steel. But, if you ask any rock fan to name just one Judas Priest album, this is the one they will pick. Is that because it’s the most popular? Maybe. I like to think that it is because it’s their greatest album. British Steel is a phenomenal record where Judas Priest really found their stride in the studio. With two of their best known tracks (Living After Midnight and Breaking The Law), British Steel is pure heavy metal. To paraphrase Scott Ian of Anthrax, British Steel was the first album to really define heavy metal. Those words ring true to many a metal head, myself included.
Kiss – Destroyer
Undoubtedly the best album Kiss ever recorded, Destroyer showed the world a whole new side of Kiss. Producer Bob Ezrin went into the studio with four youngsters that were still hungry to find their true sound. He left the studio with four men who had become seasoned musicians. With ageless songs like Detroit Rock City, Shout It Out Loud, and the poetic ballad, Beth, Destroyer is an amazing record. For the beginning fan, this should be the first hard rock album they purchase.
Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV
Arguably the best work Led Zeppelin ever recorded, Led Zeppelin IV is a hard rock record that can’t be equaled. Stairway To Heaven alone makes this a must own record. Overplayed as it is, Stairway To Heaven is still one of the greatest rock songs ever. By the time Zeppelin went to record their fourth album, they were all well seasoned veterans of the scene. Between the raunch, the rock, and the live performances, Led Zeppelin really figured out what they wanted their sound to be. The end result is one of the greatest albums of all time, Led Zeppelin IV. If you were just starting your hard rock record collection, how could you leave this one out?
Yes, you could make an argument that the first three studio albums by Metallica should start any hard rock collection. Yes, you could make an argument that Metallica (aka The Black Album) is the one album to own by Metallica. No, you wouldn’t be wrong in either of those statements. However, when starting a music collection, diversification is key (which rules out buying the first 3 albums in one shot). And while The Black Album is one of the most well known and popular Metallica album, it is not their best. That honor goes to 1986’s Master Of Puppets. The title track alone is one of the greatest songs in Metallica history and worth the price of the record. Add in amazing songs such as Welcome Home (Sanitarium) and Damage, Inc., and it’s a no brainer. Master Of Puppets is a must own for a hard rock record collection.
Motley Crue – Shout At The Devil
In 1983, Nikki Sixx was fooling around with some black magic and dark studies. This influenced his writing and the end result was Shout At The Devil. With the eerie, haunting introduction of In The Beginning, a hard rock music fan knows that something different is about to be played. Once the drums of Shout At The Devil crash in and kick start the record, this thought is confirmed. One of the hardest albums Motley Crue ever recorded, Shout At The Devil is as groundbreaking today as it was when it was first released.
Van Halen – Van Halen
Another outstanding debut album that rivals Appetite For Destruction as one of the best ever is Van Halen’s eponymous debut. Discovered by Gene Simmons of Kiss and polished by Ted Templeton in the studio, Van Halen was a raw talent that is found once in a generation. With the ax wizard Eddie Van Halen at the helm, and the over-the-top, glamorous showboater David Lee Roth as the front man, Van Halen was a band destined for greatness. Their debut album shows just how amazing they were. From the innovative (and never duplicated) Eruption, to one of the best cover songs of all time (You Really Got Me), Van Halen is a record that every teenage boy needs to hear. Amazing in every way, this is a must for any collection.
And there you have it. 10 essential albums to start any hard rock record collection. Let the debates begin!
It’s hard to believe that we have enjoyed the innovation that is Back In Black for 30 years. AC/DC had just started to heal from the major tragedy they faced in the loss of lead singer Bon Scott when they decided to press on. The band went into the studio with an established singer in his own right, one they were still trying to learn and understand. How AC/DC was able to put together a masterpiece like Back In Black is beyond me. Congratulations to the lads, they pulled off a beauty!
Back In Black is one of those rare albums that actually earns the title of a perfect album. Obviously opinions vary, but to me, a perfect album is one where you want to hear the next song as badly as you want to replay the last one. The songs never get old and no matter how many times you hear them, you will listen to the song when it’s on. That’s what makes a perfect album. Back In Black meets that criteria, so to me, it’s perfect.
From the opening chime of Hell’s Bells to the closing “yes!” of Rock And Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution, Back In Black is a classic. The songs also stand the test of time, being as relevant today as they were in 1980 when this album was released. The album is timeless and it’s hard to find a hard rock fan who doesn’t own at least one copy of this record in some format.
Hells Bells opens the album with the chiming of the bell that rings out thirteen times. Angus Young’s guitar strums over the chiming bell and really starts to heat things up. By the time the drums kick in, it’s obvious that something special is happening. Brian Johnson then announces his vocals and the listener is stopped in his/her tracks. What is this unique, powerful voice? What is this wondrous music?
Every song on Back In Black is a hit. If AC/DC were to ever decide to perform one album in its entirety, this would have to be the one. Shoot To Thrill shows off the genius of Angus on guitar. What You Do For Money Honey, exemplifies Brian Johnson’s vocal talent. Every song is layered with complex rhythms made to appear simple. Ever song is a massive attack to the eardrums, a pleasure to the senses. Every song makes a statement.
You Shook Me All Night Long is obviously the most well known song on Back In Black, and it may be the best song on the album, but that’s debatable. Every song on this record contains the potential to be the best. When the band went into the studio to record this masterpiece, something special happened. They bonded together over their loss and they showed the world that they were still relevant and more powerful than ever.
It’s been cited that 22 million copies of Back In Black have been sold in the US, and that 49 million copies have been sold worldwide. However impressive, those numbers alone are not what makes Back In Black perfect. It’s the feeling in the music. It’s the sweat the band put down on vinyl. It’s producer “Mutt” Lange’s ability to push the gang to their limits and capture the incredible music. It’s all of those things and more – it’s the magic that was made in the studio.
For 30 years we have enjoyed Back In Black for the amazing piece of work that it is. I am certain that we will enjoy it for 30 more (and then some). New generations of fans will be rocking out to Back In Black long after the band (and us) are in our graves. That’s an album that stands the test of time. That’s a perfect record. That is Back In Black.
It’s been debated for decades. Since the release of Led Zeppelin in 1969 and Black Sabbath in 1970, fans, critics, and metal heads around the world have bandied about who is truly responsible for the creation of “Heavy Metal.” There’s no arguing that both Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath can make a claim to that throne. They both debuted with a sound so unique and inspiring that they could be compared to The Beatles. Both bands launched heavy metal into the mainstream and transformed the way people heard music. Without a doubt, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin are the pioneers of metal music. But which band is truly the inventor of metal music? Which band would we say metal never would have existed without them? Which band truly deserves the title of “The Godfathers of Heavy Metal?”
In the opening of his fantastic book, Bang Your Head: The Rise And Fall of Heavy Metal, author David Konow opens with this debate. He launches into the history of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin and recognizes them both as the forefathers of metal music to come. While other hard rock bands from the time are covered, there is no mistaking that there are only two bands that could compete for the throne. Those two bands are Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin.
Led Zeppelin is soaked in a blues style of music, but with screaming Robert Plant on vocals and the legendary, innovative Jimmy Page on guitar, a claim can be made that they are responsible for creating heavy metal. They also have the edge in that their self titled album debuted almost a year before Black Sabbath’s.
When the opening riff of “Good Times Bad Times” filled the air for the very first time, music fans paid attention. This was hard. This was heavy. This was amazing. The drum beat that kicks everything into place is a signature sound for Led Zeppelin and the hardness that is contained on their debut album resonates. This is metal (although it wasn’t called heavy metal then). Fans just knew that this music rocked.
Black Sabbath, on the other hand, was all about darkness. With an insane frontman in Ozzy Osbourne, and a guitarist that learned to play without fingertips in Tommy Iommi, Black Sabbath is the epitome of darkness. The opening notes of “Black Sabbath” (the song) just ooze dark metal. In 1970 when the album debuted, metal was an unknown form of music. Led Zeppelin had captured the imagination of teenagers with their heavy guitar laden debut album, but Black Sabbath took it to that next level.
The dark toned music, the deep lyrical content, and that scary album cover, all combined to prove that Black Sabbath was different than anything you had ever heard before. When the thunderstorm breaks and the bell tolls on “Black Sabbath” the listener knows something evil is coming. Yet even evil can be very enjoyable, as is the case on “Black Sabbath.”
Both Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath are extremely popular bands that stood the test of time over the years. Both bands still receive a ton of radio play to this day. Both bands helped to move the heavy metal scene to the forefront of modern music and inspired a ton of metal bands including Kiss, Judas Priest, AC/DC, and Iron Maiden. However, in the end, I would have to say that Black Sabbath is truly the band that started the heavy metal movement. Upon hearing Ozzy’s voice and that dark, devilish music, well, everyone wanted to perform that way. The problem is, Black Sabbath could never be duplicated. And while Led Zeppelin will always have their place in metal history, it’s Black Sabbath that deserves the credit and the title of the “Godfathers of Heavy Metal.”
Another summer has come to an end and another season of travelling package tours has closed out. This summer brought us some great combination tours such as Shinedown/Puddle of Mudd; Avenged Sevenfold/Disturbed; and The Scorpions/Cinderella, just to name a few.
As the summer of 2010 comes to a close, it’s already time to start looking ahead to next year. What packaged hard rock tours would make you run out and buy tickets in 2011? What bands should get together and hit the road next summer? Here’s a list of what I would love to see in the summer of 2011.
How cool would it be to see a former member of Buckcherry touring with the new incarnation of BC? Black Robot is a kick ass rock and roll band that can hold their own, and to see them open for Buckcherry would be an astounding experience. Add in the opportunity for JB Brightman to perform some classics with his former band mates, and I see a sold out tour.
Chances of this tour happening: 8%. Brightman hasn’t really made up with Josh Todd and Keith Nelson, and though the fans may want this bad, some scars are too hard to heal.
Papa Roach just released a live album with 5 brand new tracks and Airbourne is still touring behind this year’s No Guts, No Glory. There are rumors that Hinder is in the studio working on their third LP for a 2011 release, so why not take three of the greatest modern hard rock acts and put them together on one bill? Both Hinder and Papa Roach are ready to headline, so deciding who would close out this show could be a bit of a challenge, but other than that, there are not many conflicts. Airbourne would benefit from the mainstream exposure, and this tour would sell. Perhaps not arenas, but definitely amphitheaters, and in the summer there’s no better place to see a concert.
Chances of this tour happening: 59%. Papa Roach and Hinder have toured together before, so they aren’t strangers. Airbourne, however, rarely makes the states, and I’ve yet to see them on a major bill, so that could be the broken link in the chain.
Ozzy Osbourne/Black Label Society/Anthrax
Ozzy, former Ozzy guitarist Zak Wylde, and the bad boys from Anthrax – all on one bill. How amazing would that be? Both Ozzy and BLS are supporting new albums and Anthrax has been touring recently, so adding them to this bill would be relatively easy. This would be an exceptional hard rock tour that would be up there with the Megadeath/Slayer/Testament tour from earlier this year. Ozzy, BLS, and Anthrax are some serious heavy metal for your ear drums.
Chances of this tour happening: 83%. Ozzy and Black Label Society were on the road this summer for the latest incarnation of Ozzfest (along with Motley Crue), so to have all of them band together for an extensive tour wouldn’t take much. Ozzy and Zak still get along – it would just be a matter of convincing Anthrax to join the tour, which shouldn’t be too much of a challenge.
Nickelback/Theory of a Deadman/Skillet
Known for their endless tour schedules, both Nickelback and Theory of a Deadman have been on the road for over two years supporting their latest albums. Nickelback’s Chad Kroger produced Theory’s first album, so they have a connection there. Both bands are also from Canada, for whatever that’s worth (maybe this is a Canada only tour). Skillet is a band that has been around for a long time, but really needs some mainstream exposure to push them over the top. Touring with Nickelback and Theory would provide just the audience they need to give them the exposure that would catapult their name into a more well-known circle. Skillet is a fantastic band and seeing them open for Nickelback and Theory would provide an amazing three band platform.
Chances of this tour happening: 22%. Theory is off the road and resting before recording a new record. Nickelback is currently on a fall tour and then they are rumored to be taking some time off. That’s not to say that they wouldn’t record a new album and get back out on the road by next summer, but it’s more likely that they would like to take some time off.
Take three of the best hair metal bands from the 80s, put them on one bill, and let them go out on the road for the summer. That sounds like a recipe for a huge summer success. Ratt is supporting a new album, Cinderella and Poison need to record new albums, but even if they don’t, both bands draw fans to their live shows. Since these bands have all toured together before, it wouldn’t be difficult for a promoter to package this tour for next summer.
Chance of this tour happening: 47%. Poison is the big question mark here. Cinderella was on the road this summer with The Scorpions, and on the strength of their reception, I could see them touring again next summer. Ratt has been touring behind their latest album all year and they’ve always been amenable to package tours. That leaves Poison. What are the chances they’ll get together next year and hit the road?
These are the packaged hard rock tours that I would pay cash money to see next year. What travelling package tours would you like to see?
It’s happened a lot lately. Currently, Rush is performing Moving Pictures in its entirety on their Time Machine Tour. Aerosmith performed Toys In The Attic during their 2009 summer tour. Springsteen, Iron Maiden, and Roger Waters all have done it, and the trend seems to becoming even more and more popular. Performing an album in its entirety has almost become cliché, yet the fans still love it when it happens.
Technically, Kiss has already done this as well. On their Alive 35 tour, Kiss played their first live album, Alive, in its entirety, but personally, I don’t think that really counts. However, what it would be like if Kiss decided to play an entire studio album while out on tour? Which album would they choose? Which album would the fans want to hear? What album would you want to hear?
Personally, it would be my dream come true to hear all of Destroyer. Not only is it the best Kiss album ever recorded, it also contains the one Kiss song that I have always wanted to hear in concert, “Sweet Pain”. With the exception of a failed acoustical attempt at a couple of the 1995 Kiss Kon performances, this song has never been played live by the band.” Sweet Pain” is the only song from Destroyer that has never been performed.” Great Expectations” was played during the Alive IV Symphony concert and “Flaming Youth” was a staple of the Destroyer tour. Good bootlegs of this song live can be found just about anywhere.
If the band ever were to play Destroyer in its entirety, they would have to include the introduction to the album too. You know, where the newscaster is discussing the head on collision in Detroit, and then (presumably Ace) gets into his car, blares “Rock And Roll All Nite” and heads out on the highway. If Kiss chose to open the concert with this full album performance, that would be the best band introduction ever, and could even trump the usual “You wanted the best… you got the best” line they’ve used forever.
Packed with some of their greatest (and timeless) hits, Destroyer is the logical choice for Kiss to perform in its entirety. Not only are “Detroit Rock City”, “God Of Thunder”, and “Do You Love Me” on this album, but there is also “King Of The Nighttime World”, “Beth”, and “Shout It Out Loud”. Most of these songs are played on almost every Kiss tour. And anyone who knows Kiss well, knows that Gene does not like to learn songs for tours (hence every Kiss tour containing similar setlists). This would alleviate most of that concern, as Kiss would only have to practice “Sweet Pain”, “Flaming Youth”, and “Great Expectations”.
While this may never happen, it is something worth speculating. The current rumor is that Kiss is going back into the studio at the end of this tour to record a new album. However, should something arise to delay that, performing an entire album on next summer’s tour would be an incredible substitute for a brand new studio album. And with Kiss, we all know that anything is possible.
By now, we all know about the past year Aerosmith has had. They were all set to do a huge tour and supposedly finish recording an album of brand new material. Then they went on hiatus. Then Steven Tyler got messed up with the drugs again. He went to rehab after that and Joe Perry claimed that Aerosmith was looking for a new lead singer (like there could even be an Aerosmith without Tyler). There were even rumors that Billy Idol was going to be Tyler’s replacement. Things looked very bleak for the bad boys from Boston and fans feared that the worst was here, Aerosmith was done.
Then, magically, the band kissed and made up. Steven showed up at a Joe Perry concert to announce that he wasn’t leaving the band and a couple of weeks later, the band had sketched out a full “comeback” tour. What I want to know is how real is this comeback?
Currently out on their “Cocked, Locked, and Ready To Rock” Tour, how much is Aerosmith doing this for the fans versus doing it for the money? The reviews of the first handful of concerts have been positive, and that’s a testament to Aerosmith’s professionalism and years of road experience. I’m sure that if you see them on stage this summer/fall, they are going to put on one hell of a show. But is their heart really in it anymore?
With Steven Tyler recently announcing how he wants to be a judge on American Idol and with an unfinished album left rotting in a studio somewhere, could this be the swan song for Aerosmith? How well are the band members really getting along? It appears that they may just be going through the motions in order to fulfill contractual obligations.
Back in the day, Aerosmith changed their setlist every single night so that each concert was a unique experience. On this tour, the band is playing almost identical sets every night. It’s like they stole a page out of the Kiss playbook! What happened to the Aerosmith that could change it up on a dime? With their vast catalog, this band should be playing a whole slew of different tunes nightly.
Setlists aside, how well is the band really getting along. The reviews that I’ve read for their current tour haven’t mentioned anything about how the band interacts on stage. Are Steven and Joe still palling around, or is every member of the band staying in their own space? Friendship, while not required to make an exceptional band, builds a tighter unit. If each member is their own island, then how much is the band really going to give?
The big question here is – could this be the end of Aerosmith? There are currently no plans to go back in the studio to release a new album. Their current tour ends on September 16th in Canada. Will we be seeing Aerosmith after that? Will they even be able to stand the sight of each other once this tour ends? My advice is if you’ve never seen this band live, you might want to catch them on this tour. There may never be another chance.
Anyone who remembers WASP from back in the day knows what a rowdy, raunchy, and exceptional metal band they were. These wild boys from the Sunset Strip did everything in excess – pills, booze, women, and cursing; a whole lot of cursing. One of the bands signature songs was called Animal (F*CK Like A Beast). Such language and themes brought the ire of parents who did not like their children hearing that kind of music. This then brought forth the rallying cry of the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), fronted by (then Senator) Al Gore’s wife, Tipper.
The PMRC was a group of senators wives formed in 1985 with the intent to make parents aware of albums that contained “explicit content” by putting warning stickers on album covers. The PMRC claimed that the change in rock music was destroying the core of the American family. They recommended that the Recording Industry Association of America come up with a rating system for albums.
Blackie fought the PMRC with venom and refused to back down. At concerts, before playing Animal, he would curse the PMRC and call out Tipper Gore specifically. He would talk about freedom of speech and how WASP had a right to record and perform any songs that they wanted without being censored. He talked about the uptight Washington wives and what a joke they were. Then the band would cut into Animal.
This went on for years. As recently as 2007, Blackie was still cutting down the PMRC and Tipper Gore. Blackie was still fighting the fight and still singing Animal, to the delight of many WASP fans. Then a strange thing happened. Blackie found religion. He started to censor his own lyrics and the band completely stopped playing Animal.
Most notably the lyrics to Chainsaw Charlie were changed (in the live format) from “I’m a cocksucking asshole, yes that’s what they call me” to “I guess I’m a rock star, because that’s what they call me.” What? That doesn’t even make sense, Blackie. Charlie wasn’t the rock star, he was the record executive.
Lawless even went as far as saying he wasn’t proud of the songs he released in the past, specifically Animal. He didn’t find it right for 13-year-old kids to be singing that song. He said that the band would never play it live again.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a man’s religious beliefs, but doesn’t that make Blackie a total hypocrite? Here is the man who vehemently fought the PMRC and played his song with passion, only to years later remove it completely. Isn’t that what the PMRC wanted to do in 1985? Doesn’t this mean that in the end, the PMRC really won the battle?
The biggest disappointment in all of this though, is the knowledge that we will never hear Animal live again. I suppose we’ll never hear another Blackie rant on the PMRC again either, but perhaps that’s for the best. Tipper has other battles to fight these days, mainly her soon to be ex-husband, Al. Maybe Blackie will say a prayer for them.
WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! SPOILER ALERT! If you do not know what Iron Maiden is playing on their current tour and you do not want to know, please do not read any further. However, if you already know about the setlist, or you don’t mind being spoiled, then read on.
There have been a lot of complaints across the Internet and amongst my inner circle of metal music addicts about the choice of songs for the upcoming Maiden tour. US fans are in an uproar. “How could they?!” they’ve screamed. “What the hell is up with this setlist?” Some fans have been ripping Maiden’s decision to shreds.
To that, I say, hogwash! This Maiden setlist is incredible, and their decision to go out on tour and embrace their newer material should be commended. Iron Maiden is a band that is ever evolving and constantly trying unique things. That’s how a band stays fresh and relevant.
In 2005, the band went on The Early Days tour where they played nothing but songs from their first 4 albums. In 2008 they went out on the Somewhere Back In Time tour playing nothing but their massive hits from the 80s. If the fans wanted nothing but classics, then that was the tour they had to see Maiden on.
Now, Iron Maiden is changing it up. They aren’t Poison. They aren’t going to give you the same setlist every tour. They actually have new music. They’ve actually recorded a few albums in the past 10 years. Why shouldn’t they embrace them by performing songs from those albums live? A true fan of the band is open to the new songs as well as the classics. Yes, the old hits are great, but there is nothing wrong with performing a lot of newer material as well. There are other Iron Maiden albums besides Number of the Beast.
The Wicker Man is an exceptional choice for an opener. It’s a solid, rocking, and powerful song. Personally, I think it’s up there with any classic Maiden track. These Colours Don’t Run is an incredible sing along from A Matter of Life and Death. It’s hard rocking and finds Bruce at his best running around on stage and whipping the crowd into a frenzy.
Blood Brothers live is astonishing. Don’t believe me? Watch Rock In Rio and you will see how mesmerizing that song is live. The same holds true for Brave New World. Both songs are amazing in concert.
Wildest Dreams? Totally rock and roll. This is another powerful and amazing Iron Maiden Song that is going to have the crowd roaring. Wildest Dreams could battle The Wicker Man for concert opener. It’s a short, compact, bursting song that knocks the listener out with abundant energy. And we all know how Bruce Dickinson can deliver as a frontman.
And for the fans crying “Boo Hoo! No one is going to like this concert!” the classics are there. They just happen to come at the end. Sometimes you have to wait to hear the best. You know, save the best for last. It will only make those classics even more powerful. By the time Fear of the Dark is played, the crowd is going to be so juiced in anticipation that they will explode. And when The Number of the Beast is played to open the encore, and the voice comes over the PA, well, it’s going to be an experience.
No matter what songs they choose to play, this is Iron Maiden. Still fronted by Bruce Dickinson. Still led by Steve Harris. The band is magnificent in concert regardless of which album they are featuring. As someone who saw them on their A Matter of Life and Death tour (where they played their brand new album in its entirety) I know firsthand how great they can be even if the material is new. This is going to be a fabulous concert for real Maiden fans. If you’re a fan of the band and you don’t like any songs from their last three albums, then I have news for you – you’re not a fan of the band, you’re a poser.
The Wicker Man
The Ghost of the Navigator
Brighter Than A Thousand Suns
Paschendale (or Dance of Death)
The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg
These Colours Don’t Run
No More Lies
Brave New World
Fear Of The Dark
The Number of the Beast
Hallowed Be Thy Name