I find it very hard to believe that 1994 was 20 years ago. I was such a young pup then. The music was fantastic, hard rock ruled the radio, and two bands released the best records of their careers. Yes, I am referring to Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails, who are touring together on a double bill this summer.
And while I would love to hear Superunknown and The Downward Spiral performed in their entirety, I realize that probably won’t happen. A fan can dream though.
Seeing those two bands in concert this summer is certainly going to be a journey down Nostalgia Avenue. 1994 was one of the greatest years in my life and it was also one of the greatest years for rock music. Here now are some of the rock release highlights from 20 years ago.
In August of 1994, a little known band out of England named Oasis released their first record, Definitely Maybe. The album got the band all sorts of attention with critics loving the release and fans buying it in droves. With such wonderful songs as “Live Forever,” and “Rock And Roll Star,” it’s no wonder the record was such a hit. Oasis went on to become a force in the world of rock music, recording numerous hits over the next few years, but in-fighting amongst brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher ultimately led to
the demise of this wonderful band.
The all but forgotten group The Toadies released their debut, Rubberneck, which was a solid album and one I thoroughly enjoyed. The lead single, “Possum Kingdom” received a plethora of radio play, helping to cement The Toadies as a band to watch. I still don’t understand why they never got more traction.
In 2001 the band released their sophomore disc which quickly flopped and the band went into limbo.
Earlier this year, The Toadies announced that Rubberneck would receive a 20th complete with 5 previously unavailable bonus tracks. The band will be out on the road performing the album in its entirety.
Bush debuted Sixteen Stone, which was one of the best selling debut albums in rock. Upon its release Sixteen Stone was slow to gain any movement, but after several months and the release of “Everything Zen,” and “Come Down” as singles, record sales picked up. The album would eventually sell over 6 million copies and launch Bush into short lived superstardom. When their second album (Razorblade Suitcase) tanked, most fans quickly forgot about the band. Bush split up in 2002, only to reform eight years later. They are currently in the studio working on a new record.
Green Day had their major label debut release, Dookie, and in 1994 there was no album that 21-year old Ryo Vie loved more. From start to finish, this record was a pure masterpiece. Dookie was my first real exposure to punk rock and it opened many doors for my music loving ears. The fast chords, the hard hitting, overpowering vocals, and themes of anger, doubt, and confusion resonated within my young mind. After hearing “Longview” just once, I was hooked and considered myself a Green Day fan. Songs like “She,” “When I Come Around,” and “Coming Clean” were played endlessly and at maximum volume.
For a young man still trying to find his direction in life, Dookie served as my soundtrack.
Classic Veteran Releases
While 1994 contained some exceptional debut albums from a new crop of soon-to-be-famous rockers, the veterans of rock and roll would not allow themselves to be outdone.
In July, The Rolling Stones released Voodoo Lounge, proving they could still make new music that fans wanted to hear. This was the first Rolling Stones album without bassist Bill Wyman, who departed the band in 1991. Daryl Jones would fill in on bass and become the group’s regular bassist from that point on, although he never became an official member of the Rolling Stones. It was the first Stones record in five years and was released to critical and commercial success. Voodoo Lounge reached number 2 on the
US charts, eventually going double platinum. Four singles would be released from the record including “Love Is Strong” and “You Got Me Rocking.” The Stones would head out on a world tour that would last the next 18 months. Voodoo Lounge would ultimately win a Grammy for best rock record.
Tesla released Bust A Nut which sold well behind the strength of the super amazing “Mama’s Fool.” This was the tail end of Tesla’s reign on the rock world. They had been lumped in with the “hair” band category of rock, and as fans turned more toward grunge and punk they turned away from this style (or perceived style) of music. Bust A Nut would be certified Gold by 1995, but Tesla would split up that year and eventually reform in 2000.
Vitalogy from Pearl Jam hit the record stores, affirming that the band was one of the hottest groups around. The album included some of the band’s biggest hits including “Immortality,” “Corduroy,” and “Not For You.” And while the band was still battling Ticketmaster and still struggling to find venues where they could perform live, it didn’t halt record sales. Vitalogy would sell more than 877,000 copies in its first week of release and go on to become certified platinum 5 times over. Not bad for a record that never received a proper tour.
Not to be outdone by their fellow grunge rockers, Nirvana released their MTV Unplugged performance which was quickly gobbled up by the Nirvana faithful, ultimately going 5x platinum. Fans attempting to survive in a post-Cobain world were treated to one last great live album which featured spectacular covers of “The Man Who Sold The World” and “Where Did You Sleep Last Night.” The record debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and is one of the band’s most successful releases.
Motley Crue’s lesser known (but still quite fantastic) self titled album with John Corabi on vocals was put out on March 15th of that year. It was the first Motley Crue album released since 1989’s Dr. Feelgood. And while I personally feel that “Hooligan’s Holiday” and “Misunderstood” are two of the greatest Motley Crue songs recorded, most fans did not feel the same way. Record sales were flat, in fighting continued amongst the band, and within two years, John Corabi was out as the Crue’s singer. Motley would reunite with Vince Neil in 1997 and release the horrendous Generation Swine.
Does anyone remember the rap/rock conglomerate that was Body Count? The Ice-T led hardcore outfit, put out their second record, Born Dead, in 1994. After much controversy over their debut album, the song “Cop Killer” in particular, Body Count had made a name for themselves behind all the publicity and negative connotations. Riding that wave of success, the band put forth their second record, Born Dead, which included a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Hey Joe.” The album would peak on number 74 on the
Billboard charts, but never got any real traction. Body Count continued to tour and record new albums sporadically over the next twenty years. Their fifth record is due out this summer.
1994 saw the end of yet another great 80s metal band. Cinderella released their final studio album, Still Climbing. Their last album contained all of the material that Cinderella fans had come to love over the years—bluesy, gritty, rock and roll, with songs about parties and beautiful women. The album even had a couple of power ballads. It’s a shame that most of the songs from this record are either forgotten or ignored by the fans as well as the band. Still Climbing is a great record that does not get any recognition. For a swan song, Still Climbing delivered some great memories that are still cherished to this day.
The Best Of The Best
Stone Temple Pilots put out their sophomore effort, Purple, which is unquestionably their best record. The album was released on June 7, 1994 and debuted at number one on the Billboard charts. Fantastic hit songs “Vaseline,” “Interstate Love Song,” and “Big Empty” all helped contribute to the record’s success. STP would go on to enjoy their fame and popularity for the rest of that year and a few more years beyond. Unfortunately, personal demons attacked singer Scott Weiland and the band rapidly went downhill. Weiland and his bandmates would have an on-again/off-again relationship that would last into recent years. Ultimately, the band would never recapture the level of success they had in the summer of 1994.
Hard rocking punk band The Offspring came out with Smash which went on to be the best selling independent album of all time. With hits such as “Come Out And Play” and “Self Esteem” it’s no wonder the disc was so beloved. Smash was the breakout album that The Offspring had been waiting for.
Although they had recorded two records prior to Smash the band was relatively unknown. All of that changed when “Come Out And Play” got some airtime on modern rock radio stations. Something about the originality and freshness of the song connected with listeners and torched the path for The Offspring (and Smash)’s success. The Offspring is currently working on their 10th studio release and plan to tour this summer in honor of the 20th Anniversary of Smash.
As I already mentioned, Soundgarden’s Superunknown and Nine Inch Nails Downward Spiral both came out in 1994, on the same day as a matter of fact (March 8, 1994). Both records would go on to achieve unfathomable amounts of success and launch both bands into the stratosphere of hard rock gods.
Superunknown was just larger than life. Soundgarden was hitting their stride when the band released this record. It was their breakthrough gem that included huge hits “Black Hole Sun,” “Spoonman,” and “Fell On Black Days.” At the height of the grunge movement, Soundgarden had released their best album ever and was able to ride that wave of popularity. The record debuted at number one on the Billboard charts, selling 310,000 copies in its initial week of release. The single “Black Hole Sun” would spend seven weeks at number one and would ultimately net the band a Grammy Award. Superunknown is still considered Soundgarden’s greatest release and probably always will be.
Trent Reznor’s Nine Inch Nails had an exceptional 1994 with the release of The Downward Spiral. The band found an entirely new level of fame when the song “Closer” was released as a single. Receiving constant airplay on MTV and radio stations across America, “Closer” exploded and was one of the biggest hits of the year. A music fan couldn’t turn around without hearing “Closer” somewhere. The controversial video filmed for the song only helped to fuel its popularity and by the end of 1994 “Closer” was at the top of everyone’s “Best of…” list. Other fantastic songs included “Heresy,” “March of the Pigs,” and “Hurt,” which would be covered by Johnny Cash many years later. The Downward Spiral is one of those phenomenal albums that still sound terrific to this day.
All in all, 1994 was a grand year for rock music lovers. It was one of the best years for music releases and contained some of the most celebrated, amazing records of all time, most of which are still listened to on a regular basis. How many years can make that claim?
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30 years ago Twisted Sister released what would become their most well known album, Stay Hungry. The record achieved massive success, selling more than 3,000,000 copies and spawning two signature hits: in “I Wanna Rock,” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” It was those two singles that made Twisted Sister a household name in the headbangers community.
Stay Hungry will always have a place reserved in my music loving heart. It was the first metal record that I purchased upon release. After hearing “We’re Not Gonna Take It” on the radio and seeing the video several times, I knew that I had to own this record. And while Kiss’ Destroyer was the first hard rock record I ever owned, that was purchased used at a garage sale, and only because Scott Thornton couldn’t stop talking about this band called Kiss. He raved about them so much that I had to check out their work. Stay Hungry was different. The purchase of that cassette was entirely my decision and influenced by no one other than me. Purchasing Stay Hungry was one of the best decisions I ever made in my music loving life.
My decision and my cassette tape are now 30 years old. It’s amazing how quickly time goes by. It’s also amazing how well Stay Hungry has held up over the years. Every song on the record was fantastic in 1984 and every song on the record still sounds fantastic to this day. Stay Hungry is a metal masterpiece and should be higher on the list of greatest rock records of all time than it is usually placed. With classics like the aforementioned “I Wanna Rock,” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” in addition to the amazing power ballad “The Price,” and fan favorite “S.M.F.,” how could Stay Hungry not be considered one of the greatest rock albums?
This hard rocking masterpiece has aged well and if Stay Hungry were released today, I’m betting that it would still be considered a classic. The music is timeless and the themes span generations. There will always be kids that want to rock and everyone feels that they aren’t going to take it anymore, no matter what age. Hell, I still blast that song in my car from time to time when I’ve had a rough day at work. The beauty of the anthem is that it can be appreciated by almost anyone.
In 2004, Twisted Sister tried to capitalize on the 20th album, adding additional tracks, and titling it Still Hungry. The re-recorded songs did not sound as good as the originals and the album was panned by most critics. There were a lot of rumors that the album was re-recorded because it was the only record that Twisted Sister did not hold the rights to and the re-recording would change that, paving the way for a proper re-mastered version.
In 2009, for the 25th anniversary of the album, the re-mastered anniversary edition was released and included a bonus disc of early demos and unreleased tracks. This version of the record sold much better than the Still Hungry fiasco, which five years later, was still being snubbed by critics and fans alike. It was also for the 25th anniversary that Twisted Sister first played Stay Hungry in its entirety. This was a watershed moment in the band’s career as songs like “Don’t Let Me Down” and “Street Justice” had never been performed live before.
Even now in 2014, songs from Stay Hungry are a staple of live Twisted Sister shows. “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” “I Wanna Rock,” and “The Price,” are almost always played in concert. And every time they are performed, the audience sings along at the top of their lungs. After 30 years, Stay Hungry is still one of the best rock records ever recorded. To me, the album doesn’t get the proper recognition that it deserves, but that’s fitting in the world of Twisted Sister, as the band never got the recognition they deserved either.
The annual M3 Festival has come and gone for another year leaving me to once again reflect in its magnificent rearview mirror on all the great bands and events witnessed over the two day performing period. Year six of the M3 Festival proved to be one of the strongest yet with a solid line up of amazing bands. And even though the weather was a little chilly (and rainy for day one) it was still a fantastic experience witnessing the magic that is the M3 rock festival. Join with me now as I look back on all the highs, lows, and in-betweens of M3: 2014.
Extreme: Without a doubt, Extreme was one of the best bands to perform at M3 this year. Hard Rock Hideout editor, Rob Rockitt, and I argued if they were the best band of the weekend, and while a case could be made for Night Ranger, Tesla, and Red Dragon Cartel, I would not shun anyone for picking Extreme. I will admit this was the first time that I ever saw Extreme in concert, but my first view bias does not take away from their stellar performance.
This was the first time that Extreme performed in America since 2009 and they really made up for lost time. They opened their set with a blistering performance of “Decadence Dance” that tore open the crowd. Things only took off from there. Gary Cherone looked and sounded phenomenal, Nuno Bettencourt proved that he still has the chops, and the rhythm section of Pat Badger on bass and Kevin Figueiredo on drums kept a steady backbeat. Extreme was nothing short of amazing.
The band carved their way through all of their hits including “Kid Ego,” “Rest In Peace,” “More Than Words,” “Cupid’s Dead,” “Hole Hearted,” and “Get The Funk Out,” which had the entire audience on their feet and screaming along. I was absolutely blown away by Extreme’s performance and if I ever get the chance to see them again, I would gladly pay top dollar.
Night Ranger: As usual, Night Ranger gave a brilliant performance, reminding everyone what a fantastic live act they are. And even though they did not perform two of my favorites, “Sentimental Street” and “The Secret Of My Success,” they did pull out two Damn Yankees songs—“Coming Of Age,” and “High Enough.” Both sounded exceptional and it was a nice treat to hear Night Ranger perform Damn Yankees.
Night Ranger also performed a new song, “High Road,” which sounded as spectacular as their classic hits and has me excited for their new album, due out on June 10th. It’s amazing that after thirty-plus years, Night Ranger still sounds magnificent in concert. Jack Blades and Kelly Keagy still have strong voices and they, along with the rest of the band, provide plenty of
energy and antics for rock fans to enjoy. Their stamina would stagger most bands half their age, and the pure joy that they get from being on stage together clearly shows in their performance. The bottom line is that after seeing Night Ranger at M3, I want to seek them out locally so that I can see their full headlining set.
Red Dragon Cartel: As most fans know, it’s been years since Jake E. Lee has been in the public eye. This year he has resurfaced with a brand new band and they are embarking on an extended tour in support of their debut album, which is superb. One of their key stops in support of the album was the M3 festival and I was extremely happy that they made the visit.
With lead singer DJ Smith at the helm, Red Dragon Cartel performed Jake E Lee hits from Ozzy Osbourne, Badlands, and this new band. The performance was tight and grand. The Badlands and Ozzy tunes sounded terrific, but the Red Dragon Cartel material really garnered the spotlight, especially, “Deceived” which is just earth shattering live. If you haven’t picked up a copy of Red Dragon Cartel yet, do it and do it now. No metal fan should be without this record.
Queensryche: This was the first time that I got to witness Queensryche with Todd La Torre on vocals. I was absolutely enthralled. He made me forget who Geoff Tate was. Todd La Torre was simply incredible. His vocal range was outstanding, he hit the note to every song performed, and best of all, Queensryche went deep into their catalog of fan favorites. “Eyes Of A Stranger,” “Queen Of The Reich,” and “Warning” were all performed to perfection and could not have sounded better. If you have not had the chance to see Queensryche with Todd La Torre, do yourself a favor and go. You will be absolutely blown away.
Slaughter: The last time I wrote about Slaughter it was for their last performance at M3 which I gave a painfully truthful review—Slaughter just could not bring it. That was three years ago, so I figured I would give the band another try and hope for the best. I was praying that 2011 was an anomaly and that Slaughter would deliver this time around. Much to my disappointment, that did not happen. Yes, they were better this year than their last trip to M3, but they still fell short of the bar. Way short.
The bottom line is that Slaughter is a frail shell of what they used to be. Mark cannot sing the songs that made his band famous, he is still painfully out of shape, and their stage show delivered no energy at all. Add in the fact that the band took the stage 20 minutes late (the only band at M3 to go on late), and it adds up to a recipe for disaster. From now on if I want to enjoy Slaughter, I will just pull out my CDs, put on my headphones, and close my eyes.
Lita Ford: Yes, I know I was tough on her last album (which I still don’t think was that good). And yes, I know that some fans may think I have something against Lita (I don’t). She just isn’t that good of a performer, and she doesn’t have the same talent she did oh so many years ago. Age has not been kind to Lita, and that’s a shame, because I really wanted her to have a rocking set.
Lita resorted to an old gimmick by bringing Cherie Currie out on stage to perform with her for multiple songs. And yes, from a rock historians perspective, that was a very cool moment, especially since it was only the second time these two have been on stage together in more than 30 years. Yet, after one song with Cherie Currie, I found myself getting bored and just wishing Lita’s set would end already. That is never a good sign, and truth be told, Lita Ford may have had the worst set at M3.
The Odds & Ends
Sebastian Bach: I can’t really categorize this as a low, because overall, Bach’s performance was a strong one. However, his ranting at the crowd and his apparent anger onstage was annoying at best. Bach seemed pissed off that the fans wanted to hear the classic Skid Row songs, angered that they wouldn’t cheer his newest song (“All My Friends Are Dead” – which was a highlight of his set as far as I am concerned), and was just generally a douche. Perhaps Bach is still mad about the fact that he fired Nick Sterling (the best guitarist he has played with in over 20 years and who was sorely missed in concert), or maybe he’s just angry in general. Whatever the case, Bach’s sour attitude and desire to constantly remind us that his album was number one on I-Tunes was a complete turn off. Even though his overall performance was great, his overall antics left me wondering what the hell is wrong with this guy?
John Corabi: I don’t think there were many fans happier to see John Corabi take the stage than I was. It was my first time ever seeing the crab live in any capacity. I never saw him with the Crue, or Union, or Ratt, or solo, so to see him live at this festival was a great moment for me. Corabi was sporting a shock of blonde hair at the front of his head and a big bushy beard that made him appear to be more of a Grateful Dead member than a hair metal rocker. Looks aside, Corabi sounded great, performed songs from his entire career, including “Love (I Don’t Need It Anymore)” one of my favorite Corabi songs. It also happened to be Corabi’s birthday which was celebrated by the road crew presenting a birthday cake onstage and having the crowd sing out a rambunctious “Happy Birthday.”
New Stage Set-Up: The second stage drew a lot of attention this year. Normally, fans who are seated in the pavilion area leave their seats, walk up the hill, and are in view of the second stage where the other acts perform. This year, the acts on the second stage included Heaven’s Edge, John Corabi, Red Dragon Cartel, and Slaughter, just to name a few.
For this year’s M3, fans had to do a little extra walking, as the second stage was no longer at the top of the hill—this time around it was nestled up the hill, past the pavement, and a few hundred feet into the woods. That’s right, the second stage was set up in the woods, surrounded by trees. While it was additional walking time and the trees blocked out the view of the stage depending on where you were standing, I thought it was a neat new setting for the second stage, and more fans were able to gather and see the second stage. All in all, I thought that it was a great new way to showcase stage two.
The Lovely Ladies: Once again, the beautiful female fans proved that you can get older and still look awesome in leather pants, tight skirts, and/or low tops. There were several female head bangers in attendance, and each was more beautiful than the last. No wonder these bands keep coming to rock. They’re hoping to make a memory after the show!
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As you have surely heard by now, KISS is going on tour this summer with Def Leppard. And while this is bound to be a nostalgic concert full of bombs, rock screams, and plenty of guitar solos, I find myself wondering once again what setlist will KISS trot out? Recently, the band has gone out of their way to belabor the fact that Ace and Peter were not the only guitarist and drummer the band had and that their legacy expands beyond the four original members. If Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley want to be true to that statement, this 40th anniversary tour is the perfect time for them to drive that point home.
Every time KISS goes on tour, they bring out a very similar, if not identical, setlist to the previous tour. Even when they release a new album, only one song from the album gets performed while the band is in America. Once they head overseas, they take a few more risks and play additional songs from the new record, but it never seems to happen in the states. Now they are celebrating 40 years as a band, without a record to promote. This is their prime opportunity to really tap into their catalog and dust off some hits that haven’t been played in years.
I suspect that the band will have between 80 and 90 minutes of stage time and I realize that there are some hits they have to play. A couple of years ago, KISS did bring back “Crazy, Crazy Nights,” and I thought that was a high point to their show. But why stop there? Why not really mix it up and play some tracks that people almost forgot existed. I get that deep cuts like “Almost Human” and “Sweet Pain” probably aren’t going to be played, but how about pulling out “Shandi” in the USA? What if they were to skip “I Was Made For Loving You” and decided that “Hard Luck Woman” was a better fit? I can’t speak for all fans, but I know that this KISS fan would be in all his glory. I know that “Rock And Roll All Nite” is getting performed. I am sure that “Love Gun,” “Lick It Up,” and “Firehouse” will be performed. And all of those songs are great. All I ask is that the band takes a chance and mixes in some other great songs from their catalog.
I would love to hear “I” off of Music From The Elder, or “Mr. Speed” from Rock And Roll Over. “Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em,” or “Uh! All Night” would be a dream come true. Hell even “Outta This World,” or “Never Enough” would be welcomed treats at this point. I’ve been seeing this band live since the 90s and I know what they are capable of. During the period of time when the makeup was off, Kiss performed songs from their entire catalog. But once the makeup went back on, they stuck to the safe hits. Now, it’s time to celebrate 40 years of Kiss. They even have a (yet another) greatest hits album coming out that includes one song from each record they’ve ever recorded. Why not structure the setlist in a similar fashion? For longtime/diehard fans, it would be a spectacular experience. And there could still be plenty of hits to keep the casual fan satisfied.
I will be seeing the band this summer, and I truly hope that they will go out of their way to mix it up, but I won’t hold my breath waiting to see anything out of the ordinary. Perhaps KISS will surprise me this year, and that would be lovely, but I expect to get the same 15 or 16 hits they’ve played for the last decade. And for a band that has a history as deep and long as theirs, that’s a real shame. If I had a say (and boy, I wish I did) this would be my setlist for the 40th anniversary tour:
I Just Wanna
I Love It Loud
Outta This World
Uh! All Night
I Still Love You
Nothing To Lose
Detroit Rock City
Heaven’s On Fire
Rock And Roll All Nite
What about you? Are you tired of the same setlist? Do you wish that KISS would mix it up, or are you just happy that they are still touring? Drop a line in the comments and let us know your thoughts!
Based on the number of concert announcements that were made over the last couple of weeks, you can tell that summer is right around the corner. Sure, here in the Northeast, we’re due to get one last round of snowfall before winter finally retreats for another year, but the scent of summer is still close. Hearing that bands like Nine Inch Nails, Soundgarden, Kiss, and Motley Crue are gearing up for their summer tours makes me feel all warm inside. I’m giddy with the anticipation of a hot summer night and my favorite bands. This summer is shaping up to be a great one for concerts, as some exceptional bands are teaming up for double bills across the country. The only problem with all of these great shows is that no one can attend them all…unless they win the lottery.
I checked out some ticket prices for the upcoming shows this summer and I was shocked by what I saw. I mean, I get that a ticket isn’t going to cost $30, $40, or even $50 anymore, but some prices were astounding. Take Kiss with Def Leppard for instance. Here are two aging bands that have cashed in on their fans multiple times over, limping into retirement, and barely put on the live show that they did years ago. The asking price to sit in an actual seat at one of the outdoor venues this summer is $200. I find that ridiculous if not insulting. $200? And the lawn wasn’t much of a better deal at $50. Yes, it’s cheaper, but there’s a lot lacking on the lawn, not to mention a lot of drunks bumping into you and possibly vomiting where you need to walk. Yes, I love my hard partying, metal buddies.
Nine Inch Nails with Soundgarden isn’t a cheap show either. They are looking to get $100 for a seat and $40 for the lawn. Boston wants $100 and $70. Chicago with REO Speedwagon was looking for $125 but their lawn seats were a bargain at $20. And then there was the band that had me throw my hands up in despair. Journey is going on tour with the Steve Miller Band and they are expecting fans to shell out $225 for an actual seat. I have a feeling those shows will not be selling out.
Sure, you can call me a crusty old fan, a hostile curmudgeon, or someone stuck in a time warp, but I still believe that when tickets get over $100 for a seat, it’s ridiculous. The median income for a full time worker in America is $19 per hour. To see Kiss and sit in an actual seat, that fan would need to work more than 12 hours (don’t forget to subtract taxes taken out) to pay for that concert. Almost two days of work to see 3 hours of entertainment and the same tired set list. If any of these bands are wondering why their shows aren’t selling, they need only to look at their ticket prices. Face reality, gang. You’re performances are not worth the price you are charging. But what’s a head banging fan to do? He wants to see his favorite bands. She wants to have a rocking good time this summer.
Unfortunately, fans are forced to pick and choose which shows they can see. Using the above examples, I have to choose between Kiss and Def Leppard or Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden. Pick either my favorite band in all the land versus a band that I have never seen live (Soundgarden) but have always wanted to. It sucks that I have to choose at all, but unfortunately, like most hard working Americans, I am on a budget. And yes, I am making that choice for lawn seats. There’s no way I can afford the real seats.
What happened to the good old days of affordable tickets? In the 90s, I could see up to 12 shows a summer and spend less than the cost of 2 shows these days. It’s a shame the way bands just continue to rake their fans over the coals. And then they wonder why those same fans are stealing their music online. I mean, at the price they are asking for tickets, Def Leppard and Kiss could at least throw in their latest live and greatest hits albums respectively. Sweeten the deal, somehow!
In the end, I suppose it’s inevitable. If fans continue to pay the asking price, bands will continue to charge high. I know that no one is going to boycott a concert in protest of the ticket prices, but I still feel that most of these shows will not sell out. And maybe when these artists perform to a half empty house, they’ll get the message. Or maybe they’ll just count their money and move on.
What about you? Are you fed up with ticket prices? Have you had to cut out shows that you really want to see due to the high price of attendance? Drop a line in the comments and let us know.
It could have been so simple. It could have been a wonderful celebration of past, present, and future. It could have been the greatest moment in KISStory. Instead, it will now be a footnote to the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction/performance ceremony. Instead of performing in front of a hometown, New York City fan base, KISS will not be performing at all.
The band announced their decision on their official website (www.kissonline.com) after separate comments were made by founding members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. Ace fired the first shot on Eddie Trunk’s radio show, by saying that he and Peter had been denied the opportunity to perform at the Hall of Fame ceremony. Ace stated that Gene and Paul wanted their current lineup with Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer to perform instead. Peter Criss released his own statement stating: “… I want to make sure that fans understand that no original performance, in or out of makeup, has been offered to us…”
Gene and Paul immediately responded via the Kiss website, stating that they wanted to celebrate “the entire history of KISS and give credit to all members including present long time members Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer.” They went on to further state that they had never refused to play with Ace and Peter. Since the moment the band was announced as inductees, Gene Simmons has been in support of playing with Ace and Peter, at least for one or two songs.
It was speculated that Ace and Peter would play with Tommy and Eric either all together onstage, or that Ace and Peter would play a couple of songs as just the original lineup. Ace had stated that he didn’t want to perform alongside someone wearing his makeup, only fueling the fire that it may be Ace and Peter blocking the fans chances to see the original lineup one last time. And make no mistake about it— this would be the last time that the four of them would perform together.
Whether it’s Ace and Peter refusing to get onstage with Eric and Tommy, or if it is Gene and Paul trying to dictate what the band does, it is only the fans who get hurt in the end. This rock and roll induction performance had the potential to be the biggest moment in the history of KISS. It would have blown away the MTV unplugged performance where 6 members of the band (including Ace and Peter) all took the stage together. And if Gene and Paul were being true to their word and were going to celebrate the entire history of Kiss, then they should have asked Vinnie Vincent and Bruce Kulick to join in and paid tribute to Mark St. John and Eric Carr. Heck, Tommy could have been the Egyptian Ankh for one night and Eric Singer could have been the Fox. That would have been incredible! And the band could have then taken off the makeup and performed a set with Bruce and Eric featuring the 90s material (and maybe even perform a track from Carnival Of Souls).
This ceremony could have been a lifelong Kiss fan’s dream. It would have been absolutely amazing. Instead, it will be nothing. And I don’t know if there is anyone specifically to blame. It wouldn’t surprise me if Ace and/or Peter said that if anyone other than the original four performed they won’t do it. It wouldn’t surprise me if Gene said “It’s my way, or the highway.” When it comes to the original four members, there is nothing that can shock me anymore. Yet, it is a disappointment. It could have been one magical night, and now Ace and Peter aren’t even sure if they will attend the ceremony. And that is the largest disappointment of all.
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I won’t sugarcoat it. These last few months have been very hard on me. Most of it is stress due to work (my demanding day job, not this awesome gig writing for Hard Rock Hideout), as well as some family issues that I am trying to work through. The rough Northeast winter hasn’t helped my mood, and I keep trying to make more time for friends, but never seem to have enough of it. All of that has added up to some hard months that I have had to endure. On the upside, things appear to be turning around and I believe in the next few weeks, life will turn on its ear and better times will be at my doorstep.
When I go through rough times like I have recently, I find myself diving into music more and more. When I was younger (especially as a teenager) music was my vast escape from the everyday pressures. Metallica, Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, Posion, and KISS got me through almost anything. In my 20s I branched out and really got into Bob Dylan, The Allman Brothers Band, and Pearl Jam. I also re-discovered Iron Maiden at this period in my life, and all of that music really had an impact on me. If I was down, I could play power ballads for hours on end. If I needed to rouse myself into a happier state, “Run To The Hills” or “God Of Thunder” would power me through and leave me with a smile on my face. Music was always there to embrace me, no matter what was happening at the time, and it’s nice to know that it is still there today.
I got my love of music from both of my parents, but it was my father that really hooked me. He had a vast record collection of almost 3,000 vinyl albums, and they, along with his top of the line stereo, were his pride and joy. I would spend endless afternoons just staring at his collection and wishing that one day, I could have a collection that mammoth. My dad was into everything (except rap) and my diversity in music definitely stemmed from him. Dad would rock out to Molly Hatchet and Skynyrd, go crazy over Kiss, and lose himself in The Moody Blues (his favorite band). There were many nights when he and I would stay up late listening to classic rock and what was hot at that time. Those are some of my greatest memories.
And now, here I am, years later, still using music as my escape. Not too long ago I wrote a post about how I was using music during my commute to get me through the rough times. I am still doing that and now I am listening to some great hard rock whenever I can. At the office, in the car, and in the house, the music has been taking me away and making me feel much better. It’s amazing what the power of music can do for the human body and spirit. No matter how down or defeated I am, the right music can always change my mood in an instant. Over the last couple of weeks, the latest Against Me! album has kept me going, but I’ve also found myself revisiting Warrant’s entire catalog (including their lesser known works like Belly To Belly). The modern music hypes me up and the classics leave me nostalgic and smiling. Ahhhh a good song can still brighten any day!
What about you? What music are you listening through to get you through the winter blues? Anything particular song or album that is your go to when you need a pick me up? Drop us a line in the comments and let us know!
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I am almost ashamed to admit that I have never been on a rock cruise. Heck, I’ve only been on one cruise in my life, and that was for my honeymoon. It’s not that I don’t love cruises, because I absolutely do, and yet, I’ve never given much thought to attending a rock cruise. I think I need to live and dream a little more.
Rock cruises seem to be a great way to combine a vacation with the ultimate concert experience. You can ship to an exotic locale, warm yourself on a beautiful beach, and then rock out with your favorite band or bands all night. For a music lover that enjoys travel, this seems to be the perfect getaway. Cruises in general are just an exceptional way to spend a vacation. There’s drinking, games, drinking, excellent food, drinking, partying, and drinking. And since no one’s driving, drink up, man!
And on a rock cruise, not only would you get to witness some great bands live in concert, but after their performance, you get to hang out with them on the ship. Think about it, where the heck are they going to go? This is once in a lifetime access to rock stars where you can ask them any questions you want, buy them a drink, or just stargaze like a teenage fan-boy. Why haven’t I done this yet?
Some cruises are devoted to one individual band (Kiss Cruise, anyone?), while most present a vast array of artists. The Monsters Of Rock Cruise features Cinderella, Tesla, Kix, Ratt, Winger, Mike Tramp, and many, many more. The Rock Legends cruise has Alice Cooper, 38 Special, Molly Hatchet, Blue Oyster Cult and more. This year’s Shiprocked also had its share of incredible bands. Five Finger Death Punch, Papa Roach, Three Days Grace, Sevendust, and In This Moment all performed alongside a plethora of other heavy rocking bands.
Each cruise travels to a warm, tropical island, which this time of year has me envious and yearning for summer to get here. And while I always check out the metal festivals and travel to the ones I can (especially M3), I’ve never considered taking a rock cruise. I think it’s time that I branched out a little and gave one a shot. Maybe instead of hitting the festivals next year I’ll look into booking myself on a rock cruise. With some of the lineups that I’ve seen for these cruises, it seems that it would be money well spent. However, it might be the only concert/vacation I get to do all year. The cruises mentioned above start out around the $1100 mark and go up from there, which might be why I haven’t looked into doing one yet. If only I could win that lotto drawing.
What about you? Have you ever gone on a rock cruise? What did you think of the overall experience?
Would you do it again? Drop us a line in the comments and let us know!
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Kix. Extreme. Night Ranger. Tesla. Stryper. Sebastian Bach. To see any one of these bands live is a magnificent experience of nonstop fun. To see them all over the course of two days is a headbanger’s dream come true. The 2014 lineup for M3 was announced on January 10th and tickets were quickly secured by yours truly. With a lineup like this, there was no way that I was going to miss M3 2014.
Now in its sixth year, the M3 festival has really hit its stride and knows what bands to deliver in order to make a well impacted punch. This is the first year I can remember where filler isn’t on the bill. In years past, I was able to plan out my trips for cheesesteaks, beer, and people watching based on what band was going to take the stage. This year, that will be almost impossible.
On Friday night, the festivities open with Winger. They are a great live band and I haven’t seen them perform in a couple of years. Obviously, theirs is a performance I do not want to miss. They are followed by Lita Ford, who puts on a strong live show of her own.
After that, Extreme takes the stage. I’ve never seen them live, but I am anxiously awaiting my chance to pump a fist in the air with the sounds of “Kid Ego,” and “Peacemaker Die.” If they pull out “Mutha (Don’t Want To Go To School Today)” I can go to the grave a happy man.
Following Extreme, it’s Kix, and if you don’t know what a great live show they put on, you haven’t read Hard Rock Hideout enough. After having WASP headline last year’s show, it is so good to see Kix back in the Friday night closing spot. Kix is, and always should be, the true Friday night headliners of M3.
And that’s just night one. For the second day of M3 I expect to be up bright and early, because Heaven’s Edge, John Corabi, and Femme Fatale have the first three spots. I think I am most excited about seeing Corabi perform, and I know that I will dust off my old Union CDs prior to heading to Maryland.
Jake E Lee’s Red Dragon Cartel, Autograph, Keel, and Jack Russel’s Great White take the stages next and I don’t see how I will find time to use the men’s room let alone grab a beer or a bite to eat. There is no way I can miss Red Dragon Cartel, Autograph and Keel have me very excited, and Jack Russell’s Great White can be a lot of fun. However, if there is any spot that I will pause for a break, it’s probably for Jack Russell. Sorry, Great White fans, I know he’s fun, but with a lineup this strong, someone has to be the weak link.
From there things really pick up. LA Guns, Stryper, Slaughter, Queensryche (Tood La Torre Version), Sebastian Bach, Night Ranger, and Tesla. Well, which one of those bands would you sit out for? That’s right, none of them. From the moment LA Guns turns on their amps to the last note from Tesla, Saturday is really going to rock in Maryland. That is the strongest string of performers in a row that I have ever seen in print. All of those bands are amazing, all of those bands have massive hits, and all of those bands can bring it live. And to see Night Ranger followed by Tesla will just leave me speechless (and hoarse).
I’ve attended a lot of festivals over the course of my music loving years, but I can’t recall ever being this electrified for one. M3 2014 is going to be flat out amazing. Yes, there are some bands missing that I still want to see (Vain and Pretty Boy Floyd come immediately to mind), but it doesn’t matter. With the talent that is contained over the course of these two days, M3 is THE spot to be in April if you are a head banging, metal music lover. It could be the best one ever.
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It’s a brand new year. A time for hopes, dreams, goals, and resolutions to be proclaimed and carried out. At the start of every New Year, I like to think about some of my favorite bands and wonder what they will deliver to their fans in the next 365 days. Will there be an amazing world tour? How about a box set of rarities or a greatest hits package? What about a brand new album? Join with me now as I speculate on what could be seen (or what I would like to see) from some of my favorite bands in 2014.
There are rumors abound that Kiss will put out a monster box set of unreleased material sometime in 2014. The thought of this has saliva rolling down my chin, especially if it is going to include rare live performances (“Sweet Pain” live anyone?). If done properly, this could be the greatest collection of music ever released by the band. And with the added attention they will receive from being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the time is ripe for the release of a box set. Ideally, the band would include demos, outtakes, alternate versions, and rare live tracks. They should also be sure to include songs from every era of the band, not just the classic years or the recent ones. Rare Japan only B-sides would be a nice addition as well. Ideally, I envision a 6-disc set, a 128 page book with photos and stories, and perhaps a DVD documentary.
They aren’t getting any younger, but their last album (Black Ice) shows that they are still getting better. I would love to see a new AC/DC tour in 2014. Nothing excites me more than the thought of seeing Angus prance around the stage while playing his patented guitar shredding solos. And if the band isn’t ready to release a new album they should consider embarking on a hits tour. I know that AC/DC never released a greatest hits album and for the most part they are very opposed to it, but I would love to see a hits tour, especially if they pulled out some early hits. Could you imagine hearing their version of “School Days” or “If You Want Blood (You Got It)”? That would be an excellent sound, indeed!
I know it’s a pipe dream, but I would love to see a new record from Pop Evil this year. Their current album, Onyx, is setting the charts on fire (two number one singles since its release) and it is certainly their best album to date. With the amount of heat this band has right now, 2014 is poised to be an exceptional year for Pop Evil. They should ride that momentum and release a new album in the fall. In lieu of that, a live album or DVD would hold me over nicely. If you’ve never seen Pop Evil live, make it your New Year’s resolution to do so. I promise that you will not be disappointed.
It has been far too quiet in the Dead Sara camp lately. Their website hasn’t been updated since April of last year and there hasn’t been a lot of talk about what is happening with a new record. Their debut was astonishing (I ranked it best album of that year) but we haven’t heard much since then. It is definitely time for Dead Sara to show themselves and release some new material. Ideally they could follow that up with a tour. Perhaps they could open for Pop Evil on a summer club tour? Throw in Halestorm and now you’ve got a great bill working. Here’s hoping that 2014 is the year we hear the second record from Dead Sara.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen new music from Rise Against. Their last album of original material was released in 2011. Last fall, the band put out a collection of B-sides to hold the fans over, but it’s a new record that everybody wants. Currently, Rise Against is working on their new studio album and it is rumored that at some point in 2014 we will see new music from this band. And while I felt that Endgame was not as strong a record as 2008’s Appeal To Reason, it was still a terrific record. If the band has used their time off wisely to really tap into their creative genius, their next album could be their best one yet. And with the amazing body of work that Rise Against has, that thought really has me yearning to hear their new music.
One of the greatest live acts in all of the land is overdue to release a new studio album. It has been decades since Kix recorded a studio album. Their last official release was a live album collecting most of their big hits. It’s time for Kix to give us a new record. It may seem passé at this point, but I still believe that Kix could deliver one dynamite album if put up to the challenge. There is plenty of fire left in the boys and all of their albums are flat out fun. One more record from one of the greatest bands of the 80s would be a real gift to any fan. While I don’t know what the status of their new record is, or if it is even still in the works, I am certainly hopefully. I’ve always wanted just one more Kix record.
Glam Slam Metal Tour
Poison, Warrant, Stryper, Kix, Pretty Boy Floyd, Jetboy, Lynch Mob, Vain, Cinderella, et al. In the early 2000s there was a glam tour just about every summer. Usually headlined by Poison, a bunch of 80s metal acts would hit the road and do a proper summer tour across America. That just doesn’t happen anymore. Perhaps with M3 being the 80s metal stop for the summer, bands don’t think they would generate much in the way of ticket sales, but I think that’s ridiculous. If done properly and if the right acts were put together, a summer 80s metal tour would be a magnificent seller. Imagine seeing Stryper, Kix, and Night Ranger on the same bill. What about Warrant, Pretty Boy Floyd and Cinderella? I’d pay to see any of those shows and I am sure that a lot of others would as well. Perhaps this is the year that one, two, or more great 80s metal tours hit the road!
Up the Irons! Iron Maiden is due for a new studio release. The pattern that the band has been going through for the last ten years is to record a new studio album and tour behind it, release a DVD on their earlier history and tour behind it (performing only songs from that era), and then record and release a new studio album with a tour behind it. Since the band has just finished their Maiden England revival tour, it would stand to reason that it is time for some new Iron Maiden material. To see it in 2014 would make my year complete. Their last album, The Final Frontier was a stellar release and contained some of the greatest songs the band has ever recorded (“Coming Home” anyone?). Understanding that Steve Harris is a songwriting genius and knowing that he still has plenty of creativity left in his life tank, it is easy to state that the next Iron Maiden record will be better than the last and rival anything they’ve released in the last 15 years. The thought of a new Iron Maiden album just makes me giddy. Hopefully the band will make it a reality for this fan-boy at some point in 2014.
Last year, Dave Grohl proclaimed that 2014 will be the year of the Foo. I can only hope that he makes good on that statement. A new album and a tour would be fantastic. I have not seen Foo Fighters in concert since 1998 (when they opened for the Stones) so I would love to see a full concert from these guys. I have heard that they are amazing in concert and would love to confirm that for myself this year. A new album would be highly welcomed as well, as their last album, Wasting Light, was phenomenal. After taking some time off to rest, I can only imagine what the Foo Fighters could do now.
That is what I am hopeful for in 2014. What about you? Any bands that you wish would release a new album or go out on tour this year? Drop a line in the comments section and let us know!
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Over the Thanksgiving break, I was re-organizing my CD collection, dusting off some old gems, and cataloging some new acquisitions. As I often do when browsing my collection, I pulled out some albums that I hadn’t listened to in a while and gave them a spin. Two of the discs I played featured London LeGrand on vocals, (Brides of Destruction’s debut and Souls Of We) and that found me pondering whatever happened to this guy?
When Brides Of Destruction released their debut album, Here Come The Brides, I was excited because it featured Nikki Sixx and Traci Guns. That was an interesting combination and I wanted to hear the album for those two alone. What blew me away on first listen were the vocals. A raspy, deep, rocking voice was singing and screaming some exceptional music and it made me an immediate fan. I wore that Brides CD out and I was happy to give it another listen (or six) just last week.
After a stellar debut, Nikki Sixx left the Brides and returned to Motley Crue full time. The Brides released a second CD, which was not even as close to awesome as their debut, but there were still a few gems, mostly due to London’s vocal prowess. After their second disc, the Brides split up and LeGrand went on to work with George Lynch for Souls Of We.
Once again it was the excitement of hearing an established musician (George Lynch) that attracted me to the album, but it was the vocals of London LeGrand that hooked me on the album. With superb songs like “Skeleton Key” and “Let The Truth Be Known,” Souls Of We put out a fantastic record with a strong vocalist that I could listen to again and again.
Souls Of We was reputed to be working on their follow up album in 2010, but everything has been quiet since that announcement. Lynch went on tour with Oni Logan and Lynch Mob and then released a solo album. He followed that up by forming Tooth And Nail with his former Dokken band mates (minus Don Dokken). LeGrand has been quiet since 2009, with the exception of a few guest appearances both live and on studio albums. Whether he’s waiting for Lynch to finish the new Souls of We, going back to being a hairstylist, or if he has other plans, is still unclear at this time.
What is clear is that London LeGrand should definitely be making more music. His voice is magnificent and perfect for glam/hard rock bands all over. There are several bands out there in need of a lead singer in which LeGrand would be a perfect fit (Britny Fox comes to mind immediately). He would also be a fantastic fit for Velvet Revolver should they ever want to get back together. Perhaps he could reach out to some contacts and form a super group all on his own. Think London LeGrand, CC Deville, Billy Childs, and Bobby Rock.
Whatever the decision, I just think it is a complete waste of talent that London LeGrand isn’t singing, performing, and otherwise making music. He is an exceptional talent that needs to be revived and back into the public eye. What about you? Love London? Hate him? Not sure who he is? Drop a line and let us know what your thoughts are.
I know this may be hard to believe, but writing for Hard Rock Hideout is not my primary job. I’m sure that if the site was making a fortune, Rob Rockitt, my esteemed editor, would pay me a mint to write more music reviews, interviews, podcasts, and implement a lot of other cool ideas for the site. Alas, that is not the case, and therefore I have a regular 9 to 5 job.
Unfortunately, said 9 to 5 job has been kicking me in the rectum lately with a plethora of work and an overload of extra hours. And since I am salaried, that means no extra money (I would love to know what politician came up with that idea). My 9 to 5 has been more 9 to 9 plus 2 either way. Basically, work has been hell and I am just doing my best to survive. With two huge program launches set to take place mid-December, the worst of it should be over in a few short weeks, but it until then, the nightmare continues.
Thankfully, instead of quitting or doing something equally foolish, I have turned to music to get me through this rough spot in life. As I often do when in times of sorrow or anger or despair, I look for the right music to help me with the mood. The proper songs can certainly help ease the pain of the day, both on the way to the office and the return home.
Most morning drives start with “Bitch” by Metallica. It serves a purpose in that a, my job is a bitch these days, and b, it is a hard rocker that pulses right through me when played at maximum volume. The ripping intro of pounding drums and shredding guitar set the mood and when the vocals kick in, I scream along at the top of my lungs.
“Bitch” is usually followed by Theory Of A Deadman’s “Hate My Life.” The verse about hating my job and boss are sung with particular emphasis. It’s another hard rocker that keeps the commute moving along and pushes the adrenaline through my system. Shinedown’s “Bully” usually follows, mostly for the line “It’s 8 AM, this hell I’m in.” And while “Bully” is more about surviving the school day, I’ve found ways to translate it to my current work situation. I feel like I’m being bullied by clients and bosses.
The ride home is usually filled with songs that manifest other people’s sorrow. These songs serve to remind me that no matter how bad it gets, there are others out there who are dealing with their own challenges. Foo Fighters tend to kick things off. I’ve been listening to “These Days” a lot. It’s a great song about pain and sorrow and unrequited love that takes me back to my teenage years. “Savior” by Rise Against comes next. This is a powerful punk song about relationships gone wrong. Rise Against is an outstanding band that I listen to in waves. They have gotten a lot of car play lately and singing along to “Savior” always seems to put a smile on my face.
The drive home medley seems to end with “Thrash Unreal” by Against Me! I’ve always thought that this song was perfect. The descriptions of middle aged agony and addiction are beautiful and the harmony throughout the song is exceptional. This is also a song that is sung along with so loud, my throat can be raw by the end of it, and most nights, it is. Feeling the torture of someone else trying to understand their place in the world really resonates with me, especially at times like this when I question what I do for a living and why I do it. “Thrash Unreal” helps me to remember clearly that there are others going through their share of pain and doubt as well.
What about you? Do you have particular songs that you blast in times of trouble or doubt? Does anyone know any songs that I should be checking out and adding to my morning or evening rotations? Drop a line in the comments and let us know!
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While rifling through my CD/record/cassette tape/mp3/music collection this past weekend, I happened upon the self-titled debut album from Britny Fox. I quickly decided to dust the cassette off and give it a whirl in the old tape deck. Yes, I still have a cassette deck, and yes, it still works…sometimes. Fortunately, this was one of those times that it worked.
Putting in Britny Fox plastered a smile across my face and brought back a wave of memories. From 1988 – 1990, I was as obsessed with Britny Fox as I am with Pop Evil today. I thought that Britny Fox was one of the greatest bands in rock with the potential to have a huge future. The first time that I heard “Long Way To Love” on MTV, I was hooked. I picked up their debut album not long after that. Packed with gems like “Girlschool,” “Save The Weak,” “In America,” and their magnificent cover of Slade’s “Gudbuy T’Jane,” that tape was fantastic.
The band released an exceptional follow up with 1989’s Boys In Heat. This album contained two of the band’s biggest hits in their cover of Nazareth’s “Hair Of The Dog,” and the ever popular “Dream On,” which spent weeks in the top ten of Dial MTV (which was how bands got their notoriety back then). With Boys In Heat doing so well, I just knew that Britny Fox was going to take over the world. Then something happened within the band, and Dean Davidson, the band’s cherished lead singer, left. He went on to form Blackeyed Susan, while Britny Fox went out to find a new singer in Tommy Paris.
I picked up a copy of Blackeyed Susan’s Electric Rattlebone not long after its release and I loved it. I still have that on cassette to this day and that still plays as well. It was a more southern sounding version of Britny Fox, less metal, more blues, and I liked it a lot. However, when Davidson left Britny Fox, I never went back to them. The band released Bite Down Hard in 1991, but without Davidson, I didn’t bother to pick up the album. Blackeyed Susan never released another record. Their follow up album Just A Taste was recorded, but never put out, which is a shame. So what happened to these guys? Where have they been? What have they been doing? Where are they now?
Dean Davidson – Lead Vocals
After leaving Britny Fox to form Blackeyed Susan, Dean Davidson released one album with that band and recorded a second. When the music genre shifted, Davidson went silent for a while and then reappeared in 1999 when 80s metal was having a resurgence. He would go on to record solo albums, and there were rumors in 2010 that he was getting back together with Britny Fox, but that never happened. These days, Davidson is working on a new country-tinged solo album that is due out in 2014.
Michael Kelly Smith – Lead Guitar
Guitarist Michael Kelly Smith stayed with Britny Fox until the end of their run (1993) when the music scene changed dramatically. In 2003 he performed with a band called Razamanaz and released one album. Smith was involved with the production of the greatest hits and live albums that Britny Fox released, but has not done much in the field of music since his days with them.
Billy Childs – Bass Guitar
Bassist Billy Childs bounced around a lot after 2003. There were a few different lineups of Britny Fox and he was involved in them all, most recently, the 2008 (and last) Britny Fox lineup, which played several club dates throughout the US. These days, Billy Childs is the bassist in a Led Zeppelin cover band called Get The Led Out. The band still tours nationally and they have some Northeast dates scheduled for this November and December.
Johnny Dee – Drums
Drummer Johnny Dee went on to play in Doro’s touring band after the demise of Britny Fox, where he remains to this day. Dee played drums on Doro’s last two albums, Fear No Evil and Raise Your Fist and toured all over Europe and the US with the band. Dee is currently out on the road in Europe for Doro’s 30th anniversary tour.
With festivals like M3 and Rocklahoma happening annually, it would be nice to think that Britny Fox could get back together for a small tour or at least some festival performances, but that is highly unlikely. It appears that Davidson and the rest of the band still don’t speak and it is doubtful that they would be willing to put aside their differences for even one tour. That’s unfortunate, because there are still a lot of fans out there who would love to see Britny Fox play live.
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This past Tuesday, Pearl Jam released their 10th studio album, Lightning Bolt. Prior to the release of the record, there was a lot of buzz and hype. The two singles that were released over the last three months, “Mind Your Manners” and “Sirens” had me excited that this new record could be their best album since the self-titled avocado release. Not only could it be their best album since then, Lightning Bolt could be their best album since Yield.
If you haven’t checked out Pearl Jam in a while, Lightning Bolt is a great place to get back on board with the band. They are currently on a fall tour of the U.S., and for anyone who has never seen them live, I say this: Pearl Jam is one band that you must see in concert before you die. Most of the shows for this fall tour still have tickets available for purchase, albeit not many and not the best seats. Key venues like Brooklyn and Seattle have been sold out since the minute tickets went on sale, so fans in that area (yep – that’s me) are out of luck unless they take a road trip. And if you’ve never seen the band live before, a road trip is worth the cost, time and effort. Pearl Jam is one of the greatest live acts I’ve ever witnessed.
It’s amazing to see that after 22 years, this band is still making solid, meaningful music. The latest single, “Sirens,” is the new “Black.” It is also the greatest Pearl Jam song ever recorded. Between the emotion with which lead vocalist Eddie Vedder sings, the brilliance of Mike McCready’s guitar solos and the haunting piano chords from Boom Gasper, “Sirens” hits every nerve in the soul of the listener. The lyrics are outstanding, highlighting Vedder’s skill in crafting a masterpiece with meaning. The song is also a perfect example of how well the band has aged over the years.
“Mind Your Manners” is reminiscent of “Spin The Black Circle” (from Vitalogy), but stronger and more enjoyable. “Lightning Bolt” is a phenomenal song that captures the Pearl Jam of today and includes another stupendous solo from McCready. Other notable tracks on the new album include “Let The Records Play” and the beautiful ballad, “Yellow Moon.”
Early era Pearl Jam is well represented on this album, although with a modern twist. Influences from Ten, Vs,, and Vitalogy can all be heard with clarity. Yet they are no longer singing about the youth movement and overtaking the world, Pearl Jam have now looked inward and are starting to feel the effects of aging and mortality. A lot of that emotion shows on Lightning Bolt, and is put to good use by the band. Themes of aging, doubt, uncertainty, and the end of life are all captured and exploited in a manner that only a magnificent veteran rock act like Pearl Jam could manage.
It’s been four years since Pearl Jam released their last studio album (Backspacer), but the long wait was well worth it. Lightning Bolt displays only the best of this storied band. Producer Brendan O’Brien worked closely with the group to ensure that only the highest quality was memorialized for this record. The hard work and long hours paid off, as Lightning Bolt is destined to be a number one album and help Pearl Jam reclaim the title of “most talked about rock band.” Although these days, it won’t be for their boycott of ticketing agencies, or their feuds with other famous musicians—this time it will be all about the performance.
In a couple of months when I am pouring over all of the new releases that I’ve heard this year, trying in earnest to pick my ten favorites of 2013, I can guarantee that Lightning Bolt will be battling for the top spot. If you get one new record this fall, Lightning Bolt should be it. And if you go to see one concert this autumn, Pearl Jam should be your concert of choice. And if you have an extra ticket and need a huge fan to keep you company, feel free to get in touch with me. I’d be happy to attend.
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Most of you may not be familiar with Butch Walker, and that’s a shame. Yet, it is also understandable. He’s never had a huge radio hit that would push him into the category of one hit wonder. He’s never had an album that was over commercialized and everyone knew. He’s never had negative press that would help push his name into houses of every music fan. Butch Walker is just a regular guy working to pay bills and support his family. The only difference is that his work is music.
These days, Butch Walker may be more known for the bands he has produced (Fall Out Boy, Pink) than for his own music, but make no mistake, Walker is still a musician first. The documentary that I recently watched, Butch Walker: Out Of Focus, discusses that and so much more as it provides a private interior view of a hard rock musician balancing family life, reaching middle age, and still pushing forward his artistic creativity.
Out Of Focus is not just a typical documentary on a rock musician. This poignant look inside one man’s life also has deep insight into father’s relationships with sons, balancing artistic creativity with family needs, and understanding how truly supportive a partner needs to be in order for a marriage to a rock musician to work. Some of the best moments captured on the screen were interviews with Butch Walker’s wife, who admitted that she would never want to compete with his art. She understands that their relationship is not going to have the “normal” family life of come home from work, have dinner, and tuck the kids into bed. She understands it and she accepts it.
Other touching moments in the documentary centered on Butch Walker’s relationship with his son as well as his relationship with his own father and how the two travel down similar paths. The mythos of the name “Butch Walker” is revealed in a very heartfelt moment, and it is easy to see how Walker’s father was always his number one supporter. Walker hopes to be just as supportive to his son as his father was to him. Scenes with Butch and son are well filmed and realistic, as at one point we get to witness Butch’s son complain about having to take a bath. The realism in this documentary is what really makes it special.
Walker started out in a late 80s metal band Southgang before forming The Marvelous 3 and then moving on to a magnificent, albeit not well known, solo career. I first discovered Butch Walker when The Marvelous 3 released Ready, Sex, Go as “Sugarbuzz” was receiving a lot of airplay on my local radio station. After hearing the song a couple of times, I knew that I had to have that album. When I purchased it, I was not disappointed and it provided me a new band to fall in love with. From that point on I continued to follow Walker’s career, not just as a musician, but as a producer as well.
If you have never listened to a Butch Walker record, I highly recommend that you start with his solo album Left Of Self Centered. After that, I would recommend Ready, Sex, Go by The Marvelous 3. Both are amazing records that you can easily get hooked on. After that, there are several albums to check out, including a double live disc. As for learning more about Butch Walker, check out the documentary Butch Walker: Out Of Focus. It is a fantastic documentary that not only captures the life of Butch Walker, but gives an insider look at a working musician and the struggles they lead as they try to make money on their art.
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With football season upon us, all of the gamblers are talking about odds. What are the odds for this game? What are the odds for that game? Well, I like to look at the odds too, but my thought pattern heads in a different direction—music. So instead of presenting the odds on Sunday’s big games, I thought I’d put together the odds on a few things that may happen in the world of hard rock music. I call this edition of Vie’s Verses, “Chances Are…” It’s easy to play and easy to follow along. So join me know as we look at the chances of certain things happening in the world of hard rock and heavy metal.
Black Sabbath Release One More Album With Bill Ward
During recent interviews, Ozzy Osbourne has stated that he would love to record one more Black Sabbath album with Bill Ward behind the drum kit. He’s been on record saying that if Ward could get his act together, they could do it. So, what are the chances that this would actually happen? Coming off of a very successful tour behind a brilliant studio album (13), the stars are aligned for Sabbath to return to the studio and make another record. However, with health concerns for Tony Iommi, the overall age of the band, and the weariness that being on the road brings, I don’t see Black Sabbath gathering to record another record anytime in the near future. In addition to all of that, Bill Ward would still need to work out financial terms with Sharon Osbourne, which can be a deal breaker as well. While I think the chances are decent that Black Sabbath will make another record, I think that they are much less than that to make a record with Bill Ward.
Chances: Slim (22%)
Lightning Bolt Goes Platinum
Next month, Pearl Jam will be releasing their 10th studio album, Lightning Bolt. I have high expectations for this record, especially based on lead single, “Mind Your Manners.” What I really what to know is how well will this record sell. The band has never released a record that went less than gold, but their last platinum album was 1998’s Yield. They haven’t had a multiplatinum album since Vitalogy, all the way back in 1994. That’s almost 20 years. And yet, the band continues to press on. Their Wrigley concert, held earlier this summer, sold out in minutes, and most of the dates for their fall tour are also sold out. There is still a rather large demand for Pearl Jam, but will that demand translate into record sales? Judging from their previous releases, the easy argument is no, but I have a feeling that Lightning Bolt is going to be a very special album.
Chances: Good (78%)
Motley Crue’s Next Tour Really Is Their Last
Every band says that their farewell tour really is the end. And then something inevitably happens and the band is touring again within five years. So is Motley Crue the next in line to claim it’s the end, only to be back out on the road in a few short years? I’ve read all the interviews with Vince Neil stating that this is really going to be it. The band doesn’t want to be on a forever farewell tour, they don’t want to be like other bands who claim it’s the end, only to come back, but again, every single band says that. It’s no secret that Crue has had difficulty selling out shows on recent tours. They haven’t released a new album since Saints Of Los Angeles in 2008 and while there is speculation that a new album will be released before the next tour, I am doubtful. I am also doubtful that this next tour will be their last. The band is probably going through some inner turmoil right now (nothing new to them) and just want to place an end date out there so they can say, “Okay, the end is in sight. I can get through this now.” Honestly though what else are they going to do? Yes, Nikki has SIXX:AM, but that is nowhere near the same as having Motley Crue. And while Mick Mars health may be the one piece that makes this “farewell” tour a reality, I am still doubtful.
Chances: Slim (24%)
Axl And Slash Bury The Hatchet And The Original Guns N Roses Reunites
By now most fans have given up the ghost and no longer holding out for an all original member reunion from one of the biggest rock bands ever, Guns N Roses. While Slash may be willing to bury the hatchet and go out on a final mega-tour, Axl will never allow this reunion to take place. There is still way too much anger inside of him, and for whatever reason, he still holds a lot of hatred toward Slash. I personally think that Axl is jealous of how loved Slash is by the GNR fans. Whatever the reason, Axl has stated that there is no way he would ever be on stage with Slash again. And while there was a sliver of hope about a year ago, I think that hope has died. The only way to see the original Guns N Roses on stage together is to watch it on video.
Chances: Absolutely None (0%)
Van Halen Records A New Album And Tours By 2015
All has been quiet in the Van Halen camp as of late. Rumors pop up from time to time that the band is in the studio, or planning a massive tour for next year, only to be quickly shot down by the band or their PR department. And while the demand for tickets is still there, the real question lies on whether this band can keep it together for an entire tour. Between infighting, unstableness, and huge egos, Van Halen is always at the center of some sort of controversy when they are on the road. Their last album was supposedly a bunch of reworked outtakes from the 70s, which leads to the question of whether there is any creative fuel left in the tank. David Lee Roth is always ready to record or head out on the road, but his musical partner, Eddie Van Halen, works at a much slower pace. With no new tour dates emerging, I think it is safe to say that it will be a long wait before we get a new Van Halen album.
Chances: Slim To None (17%)
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Autumn has finally arrived. Football kicks off tonight, the kids are back to school, and most of us don’t have another day off from work until Thanksgiving break. Wow, that’s a long time away. And with the arrival of fall, I think about new music releases. Autumn is usually the last time I have to purchase a highly anticipated new album until spring, so I relish the fall releases. Here are some of the fall discs that I am looking forward to.
Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks
Release Date: Out Now
In college I was a huge fan of Nine Inch Nails. The Downward Spiral was on constant replay in my CD player and I was in love with the band. As the 90s progressed, I fell out of touch with Nine Inch Nails and never really got back into them. Now with the release of their (Trent Reznor’s? his?) first album in years, this could be a jumping on point for me. I haven’t heard any of the new songs yet, but I am interested in seeing what Trent Reznor has produced for his latest Nine Inch Nails album. The album is in stores now, so maybe I will kick off my football weekend by purchasing a copy.
Pearl Jam – Lightning Bolt
Release Date: October 15th
There is no album that I am more eager to get my greedy music loving ears on than Pearl Jam’s Lightning Bolt. I have been a huge fan of Pearl Jam since I first heard “Alive” in college. From that moment on, I was in love with the band. Their last record, Backspacer, was decent, but I felt it lacked a lot of what I had come to expect from Pearl Jam, and I worried that perhaps the band had peaked and hit their swan song with their self-titled album. Now the band has a chance to prove me wrong and if lead single “Mind Your Manners” is any indication of what to expect from Lightning Bolt, then consider me all in. I have a gut feeling that 2014 may just be Pearl Jam’s biggest year yet.
Five Finger Death Punch – The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell: Volume Two
Release Date: Autumn
Prior to volume one of this release, I was not much of a Five Finger Death Punch fan. I thought they were okay at best, and then I had the opportunity to review their last record for Hard Rock Hideout (review to be posted soon). Now I am a lover of this band and I anxiously await the release of The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell: Volume Two. If Volume Two is anywhere near as magnificent as Volume One, I will be spending a lot of my Autumn days listening to Five Finger Death Punch.
Saliva – In It To Win It
Release Date: Available Now
I will admit that I am very curious about this album. I was a huge fan of Saliva in the days of Josey Scott and Jonathan Montoya. After their greatest hits record, I stopped listening to Saliva for reasons that I don’t even know. I did not purchase their last record, Under Your Skin, and then when Josey Scott left the band after Jonathan Montoya, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I honestly thought the band was finished. And yet, here they are, having just released another record, In It To Win It. Bobby Amaru has taken over the vocal duties for the departed Scott, and I am very interested in seeing if this new lead singer will breathe new life into the band, or if this is the end of Saliva as we know it.
Stryper – No More Hell To Pay
Release Date: November 5th
Without question, I am going to pick up the latest release from Stryper. After Pearl Jam’s Lightning Bolt it is the must have release of the fall for me. I’ve always been a huge fan of Stryper and the fact that they are still releasing new material excites me to no end. I can only hope that their new songs are as good as other 80s metal bands who have released new albums lately (Tom Keifer and Jackyl come to mind). If Stryper can continue to make music as solid as the bonus tracks from their hits records, or Murder By Pride, then fans will rejoice. The best news about this new release is that it will contain original material. No more cover albums or re-recorded hits for Stryper—it’s going to be brand new music all the way. That makes me very happy!
Those are the albums that I am most looking forward to this fall. What about you? What are your Autumn Anticipations? Drop a line in the comments section or tweet me (@ryovie) and let me know if I am missing out on anything good.
This past Saturday I had the pleasure of seeing the Carnival Of Madness tour with Hard Rock Hideout’s own Rob Rockitt. With some great bands on the bill and ticket prices being very reasonable, how could we say no? We got to witness: We As Human, In This Moment, Skillet, Papa Roach, and headliners Shinedown, for less than the price of a trip to the movies. Now that’s what I call bang for your buck!
And while all of the bands were exceptional in the live setting, headliners Shinedown really stood out for me. I had not seen Shinedown since 2004 when I watched them open for Van Halen as part of the Van-Hagar reunion. At the time, I barely knew who the band was, but I thought that they were good enough to learn more about. Flash forward almost ten years and I got to watch them as headliners for one amazing bill.
Shinedown’s current album, Amaryllis, is their best album yet and I ranked it as the 5th best hard rock album for 2012. And while their album is phenomenal, it is nothing compared to their live show. In short, Shinedown kicked my ass all over Cincinnati. From the opening notes of “I’m Not Alright” being played behind the curtain, I knew this was going to be a special night. When the curtain came crashing down, we were witness to a circus act of fire jugglers, some on stilts, some on unicycles, and some just walking. The flames lit up from the back of the stage and we could feel the heat in our seats. Rob and I simply started at each other slack jawed. It was one of the coolest openings to a concert I had ever experienced. And that was only the beginning.
Shinedown really worked hard to keep things upbeat and to keep the crowd involved. A huge video screen was the backdrop to their stage, and it frequently played all different sorts of videos as the band performed their hits. For “Enemies,” the band’s video to the song aired in the background, for “Adrenaline,” it was a whip riding drive through city streets at night, and for “Bully” it was the saddest and most touching moment of the night (more on that in a little bit).
Nothing but the hits were performed (and Shinedown has a lot of them), but it wasn’t just the hits that made their performance so memorable. It was the energy that the band performed them with. Every song they played came with an urgency like this was their only chance to win fans over permanently. There was no stopping Shinedown for this concert. Their passion, their energy, their desire, and their hunger were all evident and greatly appreciated.
When “Sound Of Madness” was performed as the first song of the encore, I was quite surprised. I was certain that it would have been the last song of the night. However, Shinedown saved that honor for “Bully.” The band’s performance of Bully was as strong and solid as the other 14 songs they played prior. However, it was the video on the screen that really jolted me and made me take notice.
I am not sure if anyone is familiar with the story of Amanda Todd (I certainly wasn’t). The quick rundown is that Amanda was a teenage girl who made the mistake of allowing herself to be seen topless online. From that moment on she was bullied and tormented by one disgusting man and several ignorant teenagers. Ultimately, it led to her suicide (after several attempts).
Prior to her suicide, she made a You Tube video, telling her story through handwritten cards that she then filmed. As Shinedown played Bully at maximum volume, the Amanda Todd video played on the screen. It was a touching, heart wrenching, amazing moment that left me breathless and near tears. It was Shinedown’s final act of a spectacular night. (If you would like to know more about Amanda Todd and her story, there is a Wikipedia page that you can check – just look up Amanda Todd on Wikipedia or Google).
I will admit that I am a little jaded with concerts in general. I attend a lot of them every year and tend to take some shows for granted, especially bands that I have seen several times. But every now and again, I see a band for the first time (or their first time headlining) and I am so amazed that I immediately want to see them again. That was the case this past Saturday with Shinedown. They immediately leaped to my top 10 bands list and I will be seeking them out in concert again. If Shinedown is heading to your town, I highly recommend that you purchase tickets for their show.
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It’s August. The dog days of summer. Baseball is waiting for September when the pennant races get exciting. Football is in pre-season that not many people pay attention too. Hockey and basketball are still weeks away from starting up. The movies are churning out the leftovers that weren’t good enough for early summer. And the summer concerts are winding down. Haven’t had a chance to take in a show this year? Worried that the season may have passed you by? Well, fear not. This edition of Vie’s Verses is dedicated to some great remaining concerts that you can still catch.
Kid Rock/ZZ Top
Want to see a show on the cheap? Do you plan on being in the Detroit area in August? Kid Rock has you covered. Rock is currently touring with ZZ Top and Uncle Kracker and they will take up a week long residence in Detroit, before heading out to other stops on the end of their summer trek. The great thing about the Kid Rock tour is that prices are intentionally low. Every ticket, regardless of where the seat is, is $20. That’s a pretty good price to see ZZ Top and Kid Rock. Rock puts on an energetic performance, and fans definitely get their money’s worth.
The Carnival Of Madness Tour is in full swing featuring Skillet, Papa Roach, and Shinedown as the headline act. This is a great package show that runs through mid-September and tickets are still available for most dates. Papa Roach is an incredible live act, Skillet’s new album is excellent, and Shinedown is a hard rocking band still touring in support of the magnificent Amaryllis. Tickets range between $33 to $85 and for a total of five solid bands (In This Moment and We As Human are also performing) this is a great value for a summer concert.
Alice In Chains/Jane’s Addiction
Two great bands, one great night. Alice In Chains has teamed up with Jane’s Addiction to head out on the road. Throw in Coheed and Cambria, Danko Jones, and Circa Survive and you have one heck of a festival concert. Both Alice In Chains and Jane’s Addiction have a deep catalog of hits to perform, and while I’ve never seen Alice In Chains in concert, I know that Jane’s Addiction puts on an exceptional show. I’ve also heard great things about Danko Jones’ live act. Tickets range between $30 and $128 for this package deal and the tour runs through September 15th.
Black Sabbath. The forefathers of heavy metal. One of the most notorious bands in the history of rock and roll. If you’ve never seen Black Sabbath live, now is the time to change that. Sabbath is one of those bands that have to be seen live before you (or they) die. And with the age of this band, who knows how many more (if any) tours they have in them? On their current tour, the band sounds great, they play a set list of hits, and some new songs are featured that are absolutely fabulous live in concert. Ozzy’s vocals are clean and crisp, Geezer Butler sounds great on the bass, and Tony Iommi has never played a better guitar. I was absolutely amazed by the talent this band can still bring to the stage. Tickets for this show range between $47 and $163.
Up the irons! Iron Maiden is doing a quick 7 show run through the US with Megadeth as the opening act. The band is hitting specific spots of the country, so some travel may be required, but if you have the time and the desire, Maiden makes for a great summer night live in concert. The band is still performing their Maiden England tour, which means there will be nothing but hits. It’s reliving the late 80s all over again. Words can’t even describe how incredible Iron Maiden is in concert, and if you’ve been longing for a superb summer concert, this is the one to see. Tickets range between $42 and $109. Having seen Maiden in concert several times, I can tell you that the price is worth it.
To see if any of these bands are coming near your town, visit Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.com). And if none of these shows are nearby, there is no need to worry. The fall will be here before you know it bringing a great many shows of its own.
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It’s been a while since you’ve heard me complain (or whine, if you prefer) about ticket prices. I haven’t recently dedicated a Vie’s Verses to it. I haven’t tweeted (@ryovie) about my disgust with ticket prices for a few months. And I haven’t commented via podcast about the climbing prices of concert tickets. Yet, with my upcoming attendance at the New Jersey Black Sabbath show, I thought that it was time to revisit ticket prices and even offer an idea that may change the way tickets are sold (at least, I can only hope).
For the Black Sabbath show, I am sitting on the lawn. The reason for this is that I just couldn’t justify the cost of $150 to see Black Sabbath. I know they are icons and probably worth the money, but they are old and I have never seen them before. What if Ozzy’s voice is shot? What if the show is horrendous? $50 is much easier to swallow on a bad concert than $150.
With the show coming up in less than two weeks, I started thinking about ticket prices once again. That prompted me to do a little research on the cost of current tours. I picked five concerts at random that I would either be interested in seeing, or have already purchased tickets for. Here is the price range that I discovered for each. (NOTE: All prices include the heinous fees).
Black Sabbath – $45.50 – $148
Bon Jovi – $38.05 – $599.00
Pearl Jam – $92.00
Shinedown (w/ Skillet and Papa Roach) – $60.85 -$71.10
Nine Inch Nails – $63.00 – $113.00
First off, $600 to see Bon Jovi? Really? Without Richie Sambora? Really? Bon Jovi have lost their minds. And yes, there are seats for $38.00 but they are way up high and there aren’t that many of them to begin with. Want to know why Bon Jovi is having trouble selling out his home stadium in New Jersey? The ticket prices are just way too high. Recently I attended a Barenaked Ladies concert (not hard rock, I know, but I have other tastes as well). Tickets ranged between $40 – $80. The amphitheater where I saw them perform was approximately ¾ full (and I am being generous). Why? $80 was just too much to pay.
I have to think that when tickets don’t sell well, bands, promoters, and venues are all losing money. Wouldn’t it make more sense to lower the prices slightly and sell out the venue instead of having a half empty arena? But what can be done? How can we, the fans, find a way to attend the show at an affordable rate? Mulling over this issue, I came up with an idea that I thought might be worth a trial basis at least. What if before a band went on tour, they took a poll to have the fans name the price? The band could set the minimum price (say $20 ala Kid Rock) and then fans could vote on what price they would pay. It works for Priceline, although I will be the first to admit that I know nothing about their business model. But why not a Priceline for concerts?
If Kiss sent a press release stating that they wanted fans to vote on the price of their upcoming tour, I am sure that they would have droves of people voting on the price. I know that I would. And then, based upon the price that fans wanted to pay, the band could decide if they wanted to go on tour or not. Bands, venues, and promoters, always claim that they have to charge high prices so that they don’t lose money on tours. This would give them the option of knowing how much money they would make, and whether it would be lucrative for them to tour. Sure, there would have to be plenty of logistics to work out, but overall, if thousands of fans vote that they would pay $40 to see Kiss, but no more, then the band would know what the fans feel is a fair price. This way, the band would have a pretty good idea that their concerts would sell out at a certain price. Using the above example, Kiss would know that their 25 show tour would sell out at $40 a ticket, but they may have a hard time moving tickets at $50 per ticket. And since every band claims that it is all about the fans, why wouldn’t they want to do this? (Kiss is charging $76 – $113 for their current tour. Floor seats are still available at most shows).
I know that we have to assume fans are going to select an honest price that they would pay and not just the lowest price they see, but even if they choose the lowest price, the band has the option to not tour. Personally, I would pay $50 to see Black Sabbath (I am), but not $150. Yet, I don’t feel that I should be relegated to the lawn because I want to save $100. Even the mighty Pearl Jam, who fought for years to keep ticket prices low, are charging almost $100 per ticket. I am a huge fan of the band, but I am not sure that I am willing to pay $100 to see them in concert.
What are your thoughts? Would you be interested in a “name your own price per tour” option? Would you enter an honest amount, or just opt for the lowest price polled? Drop a line in the comments section and let us know your thoughts.
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You probably remember hearing “The Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats or “Focus” by Hocus Pocus at some point in your life. Most likely you heard these songs and thought they were freaking amazing, even though they may have been about the oddest songs you’ve ever heard.”It’s safe to dance?” Really? I still remember the first time I heard “Focus.” The song was so odd, yet I could not bring myself to turn it off.
And then after it was finished, I immediately wanted to listen to it again. As weird as it was, the song was still magnificent in its own right. Rock and roll has a lot of songs like that. They are the strangest things we’ve ever listened to, yet they are so enjoyable that we want to hear them over and over again. I’ve decided to reminisce for this edition of Vie’s Verses. Take a stroll down memory lane with me as I try to recall the oddest hard rock songs that still rocked like no other.
David Lee Roth – Hot Dog And A Shake
After parting ways with Van Halen, Diamond Dave went out on his own and released a fantastic album in Eat ‘Em And Smile. He then followed that up with the brilliant Skyscraper. The addition of Billy Sheehan and Steve Vai as band members only added to the greatness of each of these records. And while not every song was a huge hit or an unforgettable anthem, there was always one song that stood out to me as a great tune that I never understood lyrically—“Hot Dog And A Shake.” According to Dave, that’s what you’re hungry for. And while the lyrics may be ultra-corny, the music was so fabulous, that I found myself singing along after just a few listens. Steve Vai’s solo is one of the greatest on the entire album and the riff just made this song so addicting. And yet, it’s about hot dogs and shakes. To this day, I still move my feet and sing along whenever I hear this tune. And yes, I know there are plenty of innuendos in this song. 13 year old me, did not, Okay?
Queen – Bicycle Race
When it comes to Queen, there are several songs that could be chosen as odd and yet still addicting. “Fat Bottomed Girls” came to mind immediately, and while that is a weird song, there are plenty of men with a fetish for big bottomed women. To me, “Bicycle Race” was always the strangest Queen song I had ever heard. And yet, I loved it as much as I loved “Another One Bites The Dust,” and “We Will Rock You.” All Freddie Mercury wants to do is ride his bicycle—yes he wants to ride his bike. “Bicycle Race” could lyrically be one of the dumbest songs in existence, and yet Queen made it a memorable hit that I still enjoy.
White Zombie – Thunder Kiss ’65
I think the biggest part of what makes this song so odd is the fact that without looking up the lyrics, I have no idea what Rob Zombie is singing. Whenever I hear the song I sing along as such: “Blah, blah, meh, meh… NINETEEN SIXTY FIVE…YEAH!!!” Looking at the lyrics to the song just makes me more confused. Pig sweat a million miles? I’ve got a heart atomic style? What the hell does all of that mean? Truthfully, it doesn’t really matter, because “Thunder Kiss ‘65” is one of the hardest rocking songs I’ve ever heard and I will always scream “NINETEEN SIXTY…FIVE…YEAH!” at the top of my lungs any time this song is played within my general vicinity. Zombie may be strange, but he’s a master when it comes to music (and horror movies).
I’m The Man – Anthrax
At the end of the 80s, rap and metal came together and in a creative outburst, “I’m The Man” was born. As a pre-teen, this was one of the coolest songs I had ever heard and it made me fall in love with Anthrax. As a well-seasoned hard rock loving adult, I think the song is just plain silly. And yet, secretly, I still listen to it every now and again to make sure that I remember the lyrics—don’t worry, I do. The song was meant to be campy and comical, and it certainly succeeded in that regard, but the song was also a great rocking tune. Everyone wanted to sing along when this song came on. Everyone. So we learned the lyrics and did our part. To this day I still know the sexual organ located in the lower abdominal area…..! No man, it’s, dick! Not! Not!
Baby Snakes – Hurricane
This is a song about a high school guy that fails miserably in trying to attract a girl he is lusting after, as told through telephone conversations and jaw dropping guitar solos. This song basically summed up my freshman year of high school, so naturally the first time I heard it I was in tears from laughing so hard. Jenny is the subject of the narrator’s lust interest, and as the song opens he is psyching himself up that today is his lucky day, he’s going to ask her to go out and she’s going to say yes. And in his nervous confused state, he dials the wrong number. Enter hard hitting drums by Jay Schellen and some amazing guitar riffs from Robert Sarzo. “Baby Snakes” takes off from there, documenting the failed attempts of the narrator continuing to call Jenny and annoy her to no end. Cleverly put together, “Baby Snakes” remains one of the oddest, yet coolest, rock songs that I have ever heard. If you’ve never heard the song, you need to seek it out. It’s worth the effort.
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Summer has officially arrived. School’s out, work is a little slower, and the days are much longer, giving us all time to enjoy the outdoors even more. And to me, nothing is more enjoyable in the outdoors then sitting on the deck with a cold beer, watching the sun set, and listening to some hard rock music to end the day. It’s also fun to roll down the windows of the car on the way to work and blast out the hard rock during the morning commute. And of course at barbeques and picnics, I like to have a little rock and roll playing out of the portable radio.
So, with all those opportunities to play some exceptional music, what are some of the best albums to rock out to this summer? Well, let me preface this edition of Vie’s Verses by stating that I have not yet purchased the new Black Sabbath album (as of this writing), but I hear it may be one of the best records of the summer. I have every intention of purchasing it soon, and when I do, I will be sure to tweet whether it is an album worth rocking out to this summer (you can follow me on twitter – @ryovie).
Without being able to rate 13, here are my picks for albums that will rock your summer, 2013 style. Some of them are brand new, some have been out for a little while, but all are relatively newer records, guaranteed to rock. Perhaps you missed one of them along the way. Now is a perfect opportunity to give them a listen.
Airbourne – Black Dog Barking
If you haven’t been following this Australian band, you need to. It would be a great summer gift to yourself. Airbourne is one of the hardest rocking bands to come out in a long while and their third disc, Black Dog Barking, is nothing short of spectacular. Jam packed with hard rocking, AC/DC style jams, Black Dog Barking is certain to show your ears a hell of a good time. Between the gems “No One Fits Me (Better Than You)” and “Back In The Game,” you have a solid, old school, foot stomping rock fest. Black Dog Barking is a great album to push out at maximum volume this summer.
Buckcherry – Confessions
The latest album from Buckcherry, Confessions, is another beauty by this exceptional band. I have been a huge fan of Buckcherry since their debut album was released almost 15 years ago. They rocked hard then and they rock hard now. Confessions is packed full of great songs that will make any summer road trip much more enjoyable. From the opening number “Gluttony,” straight through to “Dreamin’ Of You,” Confessions is a well thought out, well produced, well performed rock album. If you have the chance to add Buckcherry to your summer concert list, I would highly recommend doing it. If they aren’t playing a venue near you, then just keep on spinning Confessions. Your summer will thank you.
Kiss – Monster
Even though it came out this past autumn, Kiss’ Monster is certainly a summertime hit. One of the best Kiss albums to be released in a long time, and one of the best records of 2012, Monster is an enjoyable ride of fun rock and roll. Gene, Paul, Tommy, and Eric all take vocals on this disc and everyone provided nothing but the highest quality of music for Monster. This record packs a punch and is certainly a force to be reckoned with, which is why it still gets significant play months after its initial release. While you’re grilling up your favorite protein this summer and downing a delicious craft beer, pop in Kiss’ Monster and watch how quickly the grill becomes a headbanger’s paradise.
Pop Evil – Onyx
Heavy, dark, and certainly summer worthy, Pop Evil’s Onyx is a record that I waited a long time to hear and when it was finally released, it did not disappoint. Modern sound with a hard rock edge, Onyx is a spectacular record that demands attention this summer. Tracks like “Sick Sense,” “Beautiful,” and “Fly Away,” will be all over the radio as the summer rolls on. From FM to satellite, they will be practically unavoidable. On top of that, Pop Evil is constantly touring, so more than likely you will have a chance to see the band on the road this summer (which I highly recommend that you do). Pop Evil is everywhere and their commanding presence is only getting stronger.
Suicidal Tendencies – 13
Back after a long hiatus, Suicidal Tendencies returned with one of the greatest records I heard this year—13. Infectious grooves, excellent lyrics, and a whole lot of hard rocking, fun filled jazz infused music makes 13 such an amazing album. This record not only will get a ton of play this summer, but it will probably get a plethora of spins this fall as well. I can’t say enough good things about the latest from Suicidal Tendencies, but I can say this – if there is one album that you rock out to this summer, 13 should be it. The original hard rock funk masters are back and they mean business.
Whether you’re on vacation, on the grill, or on your daily commute, be sure to rock some excellent music this summer. Don’t think you’ll be rocking to the list above? Drop us a line and tell us what we should be rocking out to. Or feel free to send me a tweet (@ryovie).
As a reviewer at Hard Rock Hideout I am blessed. Any time that I get the itch to hear some new hard rock, I just dig around in the vaults and come out with some music to review. Sometimes that means I get the latest from a rising hot artist, and sometimes I get the new released from a well established hard rock band. Whatever the case may be, when I want to hear new hard rock music, the first place I think of is the review archives.
However, sometimes those are not always accessible. I may be on the road. I may be too tired to comb through the review choices. I may just want to have someone play something for me. That’s when I turn to the radio. Luckily for me, living on the border of Pennsylvania and Northern New Jersey, I have several great options to hear hard rock music. On top of that, I also have satellite radio which fills my needs from time to time. Here now is my homage to some of the great rock radio stations that I listen to when the desire for great hard rock strikes.
Ozzy’s Boneyard (Satellite Radio)
Ozzy’s Boneyard is great for classic hard rock cuts. Bands like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Dio, and other classic metal acts are always featured. Add in Jim Norton and Jim Florentine with their own weekly programs and you have a station that is just a lot of fun for any hard rock fan. I also love listening to Luc Carl (who pulls double duty at another station that I listen to a lot).
Hair Nation (Satellite Radio)
When I’m in the mood for big hair, power ballads, and reliving the greatness of the 80s, I turn to Hair Nation. Luc Carl and Keith Roth are the dominant DJs on this station and they are both fantastic, spinning only the best of the hair metal years. From Motley Crue to Poison to Cinderlla, Hair Nation covers it all. They even bring back classics that I completely forgot about (London Quireboys, anyone?). All in all, if you want your hair metal fix, Hair Nation is the station for you.
WDHA FM (Northern New Jersey)
Every once in a great while I will turn on the regular radio just to make sure it still exists. When that happens, one of my default stations is WDHA FM. When I was a teenager, I used to listen to Eddie Trunk’s Saturday night rock show on this station. This was back when Trunk was just starting to make a name for himself as a respected DJ. Currently, the station format is a blend of classic and new rock. Sometimes I’ll get Kiss, sometimes I’ll get Buckcherry. Most times I’ll get good music. WDHA is the only New Jersey station that I still listen to.
The Bone (Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania)
Not only does the bone give me some of the best new hard rock that is out there, it also broadcasts every Yankees game for me to enjoy. And since I don’t have satellite radio in my house, this is the best option for me to listen to the Yankees while doing household chores. The Bone is an exceptional FM radio station out of Pennsylvania that always plays some great new rock. Everything from Pop Evil to Theory of a Deadman to Shinedown is played on the bone. They do throw in the occasional classics, but mostly this station sticks with modern rock, which is all right by me.
Octane (Satellite Radio)
Octane is very similar to the bone, only it’s on satellite radio and not FM. All the best modern rock acts are present and accounted for and they also play several new acts as well. Any time that I want to hear new music from a new band, I know that I need to switch the dial to Octane. From Rise Against to New Medicine to Halestorm, I heard them all first on Octane. I expect that I will continue to learn about a lot of new bands this way for many years to come.
That’s how I get my hard rock when I need it. What about you? What stations are in your area? Or did you make the full time switch to satellite radio? Drop a comment and let us know how you get your fix.
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Every hard rock fan has them. No matter how long you’ve been banging your head to your favorite rockers, there are just some bands that you have missed seeing live. Maybe the price was too high. Maybe you were sick when they came to your town. Maybe you didn’t have anyone to attend with and didn’t want to fly solo. Whatever the case, we all have certain bands that we missed out on, but really want to see.
I am almost ashamed to admit some of the bands that I have yet to see live. Hard Rock Hideout might take away my headbanger’s license and I may even lose some hard rocking credibility. But yes, there are several bands that I have missed out on. I hope to rectify that sometime in the future. For some of these bands, I’d better act fast, because they aren’t getting any younger.
Not only have I never seen Black Sabbath live in concert, but I’ve never seen Ozzy Osbourne either. And it certainly isn’t due to lack of opportunity. Several Ozzfests and Sabbath reunions have rolled through the NY/NJ area, and yet, I’ve attended none of them. Sometimes it was due to not liking who else was on the bill. A couple of times it was due to financial restraints. And then for the Maiden/Ozzy Ozzfest, I just have no excuse. To this day I do not know why I missed that one. However, all that will be rectified because this summer I will finally get to see Black Sabbath. It may be without Bill Ward, but ¾ of Sabbath is better than none.
Don’t ask me why, because I really don’t know, but I have never seen Metallica live. I even got a last minute invite to attend the Big Four at Yankee Stadium and had to turn it down due to work. Looking back now, I should have called in sick that day. From what I’ve heard, Metallica puts on one of the greatest concerts in the history of hard rock. I’ve been a fan of the band since Master Of Puppets, so there really is no excuse. I guess the next time they come around I will have to make it my mission to see their show.
This is another band that I just keep missing. Lately I haven’t liked who they have been touring with. I know that shouldn’t prevent me from seeing the band, but it does. I can’t sit through bands I don’t like just to see Megadeth. So when it was announced that they were opening up for Iron Maiden this fall, I was extremely excited. Unfortunately, there are no tour stops even remotely close to me. I’ve been considering travelling to see this show, but so far the financial impact has prevented me from moving forward with that plan. That’s not to say it won’t happen, but as of now, it’s not looking too promising.
Even I can’t believe that I’ve never seen Alice Cooper in concert. I have had several opportunities to do so and it just never happened. I am so stymied by this that I gave a long hard debate on going to see him this summer for his tour with Marilyn Mason. There’s just one small problem with that. I can’t stand Marilyn Manson. I like one song (“Beautiful People”) and I think his remake of “Sweet Dreams” is okay. Other than that, I don’t like Manson. And the worst part is that I’ve seen Manson live (he opened for Nine Inch Nails back in the day). And yet, I’ve never seen Cooper. Do I bite the bullet and just go into the venue late?
This one hurts most of all, because if statements are to be believed, Judas Priest will tour no more. Their last tour was their last tour and I missed out. Once again, work got in the way of this one. I really need to learn how to tell my job to shove it more often. Anyway, this is the one band that I think will bother me the most, because I just think Judas Priest is a band that you have to see live once in a lifetime. Granted, I am not a huge fan. As a matter of fact, I am a bigger fan of all the other bands on this list, but Judas Priest is still a band that I wanted to see in concert. Hard Rock Hideout’s esteemed editor, Rob Rockitt, has told me that they are absolutely amazing live. He was even nice enough to send me pictures the last time he saw them in concert. Damn was I jealous. I suppose all I can do now is hope that they will come around for a reunion tour someday.
Those are the major bands that I’ve missed out on. What about you? What bands have you missed seeing live that you are still kicking yourself about today?
It is very hard to believe that yet another M3 Festival has come and gone. And while this year’s M3 was held earlier than any previous, it was still another solid year of hair metal performances. Great artists came from all around the globe to rejoice with fans and rock the 2013 version of M3. Once again I was in attendance for the festival, soaking in all the glorious entertainment over the two-day span. So, as you would expect, this edition of Vie’s Verses is a nice recap of the 2013 M3 Festival, including the highs, lows, and hope for the future.
By far the best band at this year’s M3 was Twisted Sister. Dee Snider’s ability to command a crowd never ceases to amaze me, and even after 30 years, he still seems to do it almost better than anyone. Leaping out onstage to “You Can’t Stop Rock And Roll,” Twisted Sister performed all of their top hits and made the most of the 50 or so minutes they had to perform. From “We’re Not Going To Take It,” to “I Wanna Rock,” to “The Price,” Twisted Sister played everything that everyone would want to hear and packed quite a punch doing it. And while the band was not in their signature costumes and makeup, it didn’t matter. Twisted Sister does not need imagery gimmicks to get fans excited. All they needed to do was perform. It was the first time that I had seen the band in many years and it was a real treat.
I’m not sure what these guys have been up to lately, but they need to go on tour. Jizzy Pearl’s voice was in exceptional form and the rest of the band sounded fantastic. Considering that Love/Hate had to take the stage at 11:50 AM, I was quite impressed by how great they sounded. Not many could sing that vocal range before noon. Their set was heavy on songs from their first album, but Love/Hate managed to perform a couple from their second disc, and one from their third. It was a nice diverse set and even though they only had 30 minutes, Love/Hate made the most of their time. If they were to go out on a club tour this summer, they would get my money with ease.
I will be honest. Before Saturday, the only thing I knew about Steel Panther was Rob Rockitt’s review of their latest album. I had never listened to the band, I had never researched the band, I basically never cared about the band. On Saturday evening, all of that changed. I wouldn’t go as far as calling myself a die-hard fan of Steel Panther now, but I can say that I would definitely pay to see this band perform live again. Their set was filled with the raunch rock they are known for, along with humorous anecdotes, and glam metal mockery for all to enjoy. Add on the fact that they can play their instruments and sing with the best of the glam bands, and you have a successful, amazing performance. I was simply blown away.
Loudness returned to M3 for their second performance, but their first on the main stage. In 40 minutes they proved why they deserved to be on the main stage. With a brilliant set that captured all the loud, raw energy one would expect from the band, Loudness blew the roof off of the Pavilion and probably converted a lot of M3 festival goers into Loudness fans. They converted me last year with their Festival stage performance, so seeing them on the main stage this year only made me like them more. It was a memorable set from a memorable band that I would like to see more often.
I had not seen this band perform in 20 years, so when I had the opportunity this year, I didn’t miss it. And by not missing it, I mean I actually left Twisted Sister’s set early to make sure that I had a good spot for Jackyl. That is how badly I wanted to see them. They did not disappoint. From the opening of “My Moonshine Kicks Your Cocaine’s Ass” to the closing of “The Lumberjack” Jackyl was fantastic. If not for Twisted Sister, they may have been the best band at the festival. Jackyl gave a solid performance, played as if they were headlining a stadium, while keeping the intimacy of a club, and basically were unrivaled. From their song selection, to their tight playing, to front man Jesse James Dupree entertaining the crowd with great stories and even better vocals, Jackyl really did it all.
Blackie Lawless Decides To Play The Crimson Idol
I am not bashing Blackie Lawless with what I am about to say. I love WASP and I love the Blackie Lawless band that calls itself WASP. I love seeing WASP in concert and every time they schedule a performance near my house, I go see them. With all of that having been said, I think that Blackie forgot that the M3 fans on Friday night did not pay to see a WASP concert. What I mean by that is I think Blackie’s ego told him all of the fans had come to see WASP and only WASP. That just wasn’t true. WASP was an excellent addition to the bill, but not the reason fans came. So, if Blackie decided to play a 30-minute Crimson Idol set as part of a WASP concert, good for him. But deciding to that at M3 was a huge mistake. HUGE. When WASP took the stage to close out Friday night, fans were loud, proud, and in full force. The pavilion was full and the lawn was pretty crowded. As WASP played the hits, fans rejoiced. Then Blackie decided to celebrate the 20 year anniversary of The Crimson Idol by playing a 30 minute set of Idol songs and left out the hits from that album, (specifically Murders In The Rue Morgue). What the hell was this guy thinking!!?? So as the condensed Crimson Idol was played sans hits, the crowd started to file out. By the time WASP finished their Crimson set, about one quarter of the audience was left. Like I already stated, I love WASP. I loved seeing the Crimson Idol set, but I am in the minority. Most fans at M3 were casual WASP fans at best. Blackie would have been best served giving them all the hits, a couple of rarities, and called it a day. He may have converted a lot more people that way. In the end, I just don’t think that WASP was meant for M3.
All right, I will stop you right now. I get it. “I’ll Never Let You Go (Angel Eyes)” is a hard song to sing. And as one female fan pointed out to her male friend while he was bashing Steelheart, “I’d like to see you sing that.” The problem with that argument is that I don’t get paid to sing that. Overall, I thought that Steelheart gave a decent performance. They focused heavily on their third album, Wait, which I didn’t even know about until Saturday. Fortunately for the band, a lot of fans did know about it and were singing along. My disappointment came in the band’s performance of “I’ll Never Let You Go.” While lead singer Miljenko Matijevic sounded great throughout, he had some trouble with the high notes on the band’s biggest single. Combine that with the fact that the band rearranged the song and performed a shortened version of their huge hit and had the crowd sing most of the choruses—well— it just ended with disappointment. Overall, Steelheart was good, but they did not do their signature song any justice.
In case they forget, back in 1990, King’s X released a pretty darned good album called Faith, Hope, Love. That album contained two stellar songs, “It’s Love” and “We Are Finding Who We Are.” Oddly enough, King’s X decided to play neither of those during their 40 minute Festival Stage set. Instead they opted for a lot of songs that almost no one knew. Look, I get it, King’s X has a deep catalog and they want to try and perform lesser known songs in the hopes to broaden their appeal. Do that on your own tour. At M3, play the hits and then sprinkle in other songs. Fans will remember that and most likely seek out your other albums in a nostalgic blast.
This was just absolutely abysmal. From going on late to performing a horrendous cover of Sublime’s “What I Got,” the Bret Michaels band was a disaster. Sure, it was cool to see them open with one of Poison’s biggest hits “Talk Dirty To Me,” and the Poison songs sounded decent, but it wasn’t enough. Bret Michaels should not have closed out the festival (that should have been Twisted Sister). And while he may be excited about his forthcoming “solo” record, Jamming With My Friends, I don’t think anyone else is. As a huge Poison fan, I hate to say this, but I think Bret’s solo CD is going to tank. Maybe that will be the kick in the ass he needs to get Poison back in the studio to record an album of new material. Enough with this covers shit already. Please!
This one still baffles me days later. Why on Earth was there only one merchandise stand at M3? They have multiple booths, but only one of them (near the front entrance) was open and selling merchandise. What was that all about? And no dew rags or beanies? No hoodies? Just T-shirts? How lame. I don’t know who runs the merch stand, but please take note, people like more than just T-shirts. Maybe next year we can get some beanies, hoodies, and other goodies?
Other Random Observations
Bad Seed Rising
Starting off the first night of the festival was a band of 12 – 14 year olds called Bad Seed Rising. That’s right, 12 – 14 year olds. When I got to my seat and saw them come out on stage, I was wondering if they had won some local contest. These kids couldn’t possibly bring it, could they? Boy have I never been more mistaken in my life. Not only did Bad Seed Rising rock the opening of the M3 Festival in dramatic and amazing fashion, they looked like seasoned professionals why they did it. I could not believe the amount of poise and stage presence this band had. People were responding to the commands made by their lead singer to get out of their seats. When a 14 year old girl can make you do that, well, she’s got a stage presence well beyond her years. I think the future bodes well for Bad Seed Rising.
Complaining About Concession Prices
All right, I get it. Concession prices are high and no one likes paying $9 for a beer or $13 for a margarita. I do understand that. However, yelling at the teenage girl taking your order and telling her that this is the last one you will buy at those prices isn’t going to do anything. Neither is chastising her and asking her how she thinks she can get away with charging those ridiculous prices. Look, you drunk dummy, the girl taking your money didn’t set the price, has no control over the prices, and doesn’t really care if you come back or not. And here’s a novel idea—if you don’t want to pay high prices for the alcohol, don’t drink it.
Everyone Loves Steel Panther
Packed. That’s what the Merriweather Post Pavilion was when it came time for Steel Panther to take the stage. All the seats and most of the lawn were filled. As I previously mentioned, I didn’t know anything about the band. However, I was in the minority, as fans packed in early to see Steel Panther and then sang along with every word. Once I saw their performance, I understood why they were given the main stage at 6:00. They were worth it. Their live show is as mesmerizing as it is hysterical. Steel Panther was able to pull together the comedic timing with an exceptional, talented musical performance. On top of all that, the fans knew all the words to all the songs and made sure that they sang along, including the girls. Especially the girls. It made for an amazing surreal experience, but it also turned me into a fan. Now I just have to go out and buy the Steel Panther records.
The girls formerly known as Vixen (3 out of 4 original members, but the missing member holds the name rights) were exceptional this year. It was also the first time that I got to see them live, so I was quite happy. They looked great, they sounded better, and it made me yearn to see them go out on tour. The one mistake I thought they made was opting to close with a different song after playing “Edge of a Broken Heart.” Most of the audience left to get to the second stage once “Edge” was done. Bad move on the part of the Vixen girls, but maybe there was a reason for it. I always thought that closing with your best was the way to go, but what do I know? I’m a writer.
Hope For Next Year
With another year past I am already looking forward to M3 2014. I am also hoping that we can get some of the following bands next year: Dangerous Toys, Vain, Mike Tramp, Pretty Boy Floyd, the return of Jetboy, Cinderella (or Tom Keifer solo), Bullet Boys, Britny Fox (or Dean Davidson), and Night Ranger just to name a few. Night Ranger would make for a great headliner as would Motley Crue, Kiss, Tesla, and Bon Jovi. Who knows, maybe we will get real lucky and get most, if not all, of these bands and more for M3 2014.
We are less than a month away from this year’s M3 music festival. It’s the only festival that revisits all the best from the hair metal days and lets us party like a long lost rock star all weekend long! I really
enjoy the annual Hard Rock Hideout trip to Maryland for this festival and I think 2013 may be our best trip yet.
And while this year’s lineup doesn’t contain much to complain about (how can you complain when WASP, KIX, Jackyl, and Twisted Sister are all on the same bill?), there are a couple of bands missing that I
would really like to see. Perhaps M3 can keep them in mind for 2014.
Stryper got screwed at last year’s festival. They had a lousy time slot, they had to cut their set short due to poor scheduling and they weren’t even allowed to play one additional song despite strong demand
from fans. It does not surprise me that they are not going to be at this year’s M3 after what happened last year. However, they should be there and they should be given a prime slot. Stryper had one of the
best performances in 2012 and had they been allowed to play a little longer, they may have had the performance of the weekend. And while I think that WASP, Twisted Sister, Bret Michaels, and KIX are
all fine headliners, Stryper would fit that bill as well. If Bret Michaels went missing and Stryper took his place, I don’t think anyone would complain. And no, that’s not a knock on Bret, it’s more of a testament
For the love of all that is holy, when are Vito Bratta and Mike Tramp going to make up and get a full on White Lion reunion together? Could it be that hard for these two guys to talk to each other for one tour?
Vito Bratta is one of the greatest guitarists to ever perform in the 80s and I still can’t understand how we haven’t seen him at one of these nostalgic festivals. I don’t think that there is any band that I would
love to see perform at a festival like M3 more than White Lion. I missed them the first time around. I didn’t get to see them tour behind Big Game. So yes, I am being a little selfish here, but White Lion was
a terrific band. If nothing else couldn’t White Lion perform at least one show? How hard would that be to coordinate? It’s not like they have much else going on. Give your fans what they want already!
While they may not have huge, memorable, chart topping hits ala White Lion and Stryper, Vain is an exceptional sleaze metal band that got their start in the 80s. Recently the band released a brand new
album of material titled Enough Rope. It was another solid album from this great band. Yet, with all the fantastic music they’ve recorded, and despite the fact that I saw several Vain T-shirts at M3’s past, Vain
continues to be left off the bill. Now, I don’t know if it’s because the promoters contacted them and Vain is not interested, but I seriously doubt that. Maybe the money isn’t right, but I am only speculating.
I do not know the reason that Vain is not performing at this year’s M3 (or any year’s M3 for that matter),
I just know that they aren’t there. And that is a disappointment. Vain is definitely an act that should be
added to the roster.
Pretty Boy Floyd
Two years ago, Pretty Boy Floyd opened the second stage and put on what I feel is one of the best performances in M3 history. It is still one of my top 5 moments in festival attendance. So why the hell
hasn’t this band been back since? Not only should Pretty Boy Floyd have returned, they should be in a prime slot on the main stage. Perhaps not a headlining slot, but the slot just before that would be good
for this band. They give a solid performance and there is no reason why the fans wouldn’t love them. All of their songs weren’t huge hits, but that doesn’t really matter. Pretty Boy Floyd is so talented as a live
act, fans will love the entire performance by the time it is over, whether they know the songs or not. The only advice that I would have for the band is to make sure they kept copies of their album(s) on hand,
because after dominating the stage, fans would want to scoop them up. Alas, it won’t matter much, because the band is not on the 2013 bill. Again, I reiterate—why the hell not?
Can someone say headliner? M3 is always looking to mix up their headlining acts and bring in bands that will draw fans. Why not reach out to Europe and get them on the bill? The band released a new album
last year and they have plenty of well known, stateside hits that would bring the audience to their feet and leave them screaming for more. “Carrie,” “Superstitious,” “Rock The Night,” and of course, “The
Final Countdown” all qualify this band to be headliners, so why haven’t we seen them at an M3 yet? Warrant has been there. Cinderella has been there. Ratt was there last year. Even Nelson has made it
to the show. Why not Europe? What is it that could be holding them back? Promoters? Demand? Pay? I have no idea, but if M3 really wanted to blow us all away in 2014, they would announce that Europe is
going to be the closer for one of the two nights. Now, I will admit that I’ve never seen the band live and I don’t know how their current live performance is—perhaps it’s not headliner worthy. But, something
tells me that is just not the case.
Those are the missing bands that I think belong at this year’s M3 Festival. What about you? Which bands do you think should be there?
This April, (April 11th to be precise) will mark 25 years since Iron Maiden’s magnificent Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son was released. To some Iron Maiden fans it is the anniversary of another terrific Iron Maiden album. Others may remember the first time they listened to the big radio hit “Can I Play With Madness,” or heard the pulsating bass lines of “The Clairvoyant” with fond glee. And while those are wonderful memories to look back on, the release of Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son means a whole lot more to me. It marks 25 years since I became an Iron Maiden fan.
Certainly I had heard of the band prior to their 1988 record. I am sure that I heard “Number Of The Beast” or “Ace’s High” once or twice, but I never really paid much attention to them. Prior to 1988 I was still in junior high school thinking the Stray Cats were cool and believing that Van Halen was as heavy as metal music got. Then I entered high school. I discovered Manowar, Guns N Roses, and Iron Maiden. The first time I heard “Can I Play With Madness” on the local rock radio station (WDHA-FM), I was hooked. My jaw dropped. My heart pounded. What the heck was I hearing and who was the wonderful band singing “Can I play with matches?” I loved playing with matches! Yes, that’s a true story, I honestly believed the lyrics were “can I play with matches?”
Mixed up composition aside, I had fallen in love hard for this song and I had to have it. Soon after I got myself a copy of Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son and proceeded to play it until it warped. From “Moonchild” to “Only The Good Die Young,” I loved it all. Every song was a gem to me. It was all fresh and unknown. This was much better than Van Halen and light years away from The Stray Cats. Iron Maiden were masters of rock to me and on the same plateau as the legendary Kiss. I had to hear more of them.
Fortunately for me, there was a nice back catalog that I slowly started to collect. Powerslave, Somewhere In Time, and Number Of The Beast were all owned before the year was over. My journey with Iron Maiden had begun. And while the other albums were fantastic, they never quite compared to Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son in my eyes. To this day, they still don’t. I know deep down that Number Of The Beast is a better album overall, but Seventh Son will always hold a special place in my heart. It was the record that made me an Iron Maiden fan. I will always cherish that.
Now, 25 years later, Iron Maiden is gracing us with a remastered DVD from the Seventh Son tour. Maiden England ’88 came out this week and I am excited to get my hands on a copy and watch the magic come to life. Were I a teenager in high school, I would most likely watch this over and over and over again until it was ingrained in my brain. However, I am a full grown adult now, with full grown responsibilities. So while I may not be able to watch it more than once (maybe twice….) the time that I do spend watching it will be a cherished ride down memory lane. It will recall my past and bring back that nostalgic period of my youth where I fell in love with Iron Maiden forever … unto the end.
If you get a chance, pick up a copy of Maiden England ‘88. Not only does it contain the complete concert that has never been available on DVD, but there are a plethora of bonuses as well. Part three of the history of Iron Maiden, the original Twelve Wasted Years documentary, and five videos that you probably watched every time Headbanger’s Ball aired them. It’s the next step in a Maiden lover’s collection and definitely worth the price. (For the record that price is $17 at Amazon and Best Buy).
Up The Irons!!!
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Here at Hard Rock Hideout we strive to bring you the most diverse collection of hard rock bands that we can. From the latest rising stars to the old classics, Hard Rock Hideout attempts to discuss them all. However, every now and again, there is a band that just falls through the cracks. One of those bands is Florida’s Against Me!
You may have recently heard about Against Me! for the sole reason that lead singer Tom Gabel publicly came out as transgender with plans to transition to living as a woman. The move created a lot of press and coverage, some of it positive, some of it negative. A lot of hate filled ignorant comments were tossed around message boards throughout the world. I personally feel that what Tom Gabel, now Laura Jane Grace, does with her life is none of my business. My only concern about the transition would be how it would affect the band’s music and Laura’s vocals.
And music is the most important thing to focus on with Against Me! They are an outstanding punk band that really knows how to rock. Filled with temporary anger and rage, the band can juxtapose from telling off the world, to discussing the special relationship between two lovers, in the matter of one song. The genius behind all of this is Laura Jane Grace. The lyrical content of Against Me!’s music is some of the best that I have heard, and it was what attracted me to the band.
Grace writes lyrics that are deep from the heart, true to life, and extremely meaningful. Whether it be about his gender dysphoria, the desire to live and feel young again, or the general rage that we all have been consumed by from time to time, Grace paint masterful pictures with her lyrics and then delivers them with passion through her vocals.
Their debut album, Reinventing Axl Rose, received some critical acclaim and helped the band gain notoriety on the punk rock scene when it was released in 2002. However, it was the album New Wave that gave Against Me! commercial success. New Wave was released on Sire Records and was the band’s first pilgrimage with a major record label. The success of their single “Thrash Unreal,” combined with the marketing of Sire and the mainstream media picking up on the band found Against Me! gaining fans in droves. This caused a number of their older standing fan base to refer to the band as sell outs. Grace was disappointed by their reaction and it put him off to the entire punk scene, viewing the fans as “close minded.”
Currently, Against Me! have released five albums and are working on their sixth, which is due out this year. The appropriately titled Transgender Dysphoria Blues has me both hopeful and nervous. Will Against Me! still bring the same passion, energy, and subject matter that they have in the past? Or, will this major life change bring out an entirely different side of the band and lead singer, Laura Jane Grace. A major change in the musical direction could be absolutely amazing, or it could be a career killer.
If you have never listened to Against Me! before, I recommend starting with their 2007 release, New Wave. This is the album that sent the band into the mainstream, and it was the first Against Me! record that I listened to. It was so magnificent I went out and got two more of their albums shortly thereafter.
If you are a fan of modern rock, modern punk, Pearl Jam, Rise Against, or the Foo Fighters, you will most likely fall in love with Against Me! Start with their major label debut, New Wave, and then see where to go from there. Reinventing Axl Rose may be a good second choice, as you will be able to hear the contrast in styles, themes, and subject matter. Both albums are spectacular, regardless of being very different from one another. And that is the sign of an exceptional band—one that can progress and grow through the years. This is something that Against Me! has done well and it is one of the reasons that they are a band worth checking out. If you are searching for a raw, heavy, and flat out enjoyable sound, give Against Me! a try.
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The first concert I ever attended was AC/DC with Love/Hate at the Brendan Byrne Arena in New Jersey. While I was excited for numerous reasons, the one thing I remember most is how desperately I wanted a T-shirt from that show. A concert T-shirt was the epitome of cool when I was 17. It was something that could only be obtained from actually being at the concert (this was before the days of e-bay and reselling concert merchandise online) and it meant that you were one of the few who got a ticket. Having never owned a concert shirt (since I had never been to a concert before) this was a huge quest. I had to have a T-shirt.
Once we entered the arena I made a beeline for the merchandise booth. I was getting a T-shirt that I would proudly wear around school the next day to show how “cool” I was. That’s right, I saw AC/DC last night. What did you do, watch Growing Pains? Sucker!
Full of giddy excitement and with the look of a serial killer in my eye, I proudly stepped up the merchandise booth to see which shirt was going to look coolest on me. Then I saw the prices. My jaw dropped. $20 for a T-shirt? What the hell was going on? Who paid $20 for a T-shirt? Looking back now, it seems pretty cheap, but back in the day, $20 was a lot of money, especially when one gained the majority of their income from part time work at Roy Rogers fast food restaurant. $20 could buy a lot of things. Dejectedly, I shook my head and walked away from the booth. I would not be getting my shirt and would have no proof that I was at one of the coolest concerts of the year.
After the concert (which was, of course, amazing) I saw a guy in the parking lot selling T-shirts. “Shirts! Who needs shirts? Ten dollars for shirts!” $10? That was half of what they were inside. My logical, naïve, teenaged brain figured that they must be trying to get rid of the shirts now that the show was over. Buying shirts at the end of the show must have made them cheaper if there were any left. I could afford $10! I was getting my shirt after all! What I obviously failed to realize at the time was that I had just purchased an illegal concert T-shirt. Bootlegged swag. Non-official merchandise. It didn’t matter to me, because I was going to be rocking my high school AC/DC style the next morning.
Since my first concert oh so many years ago, I have attended copious amounts of shows all over America. For a while, a T-shirt was must have for merchandise memorabilia. Parking lot bootlegged, or when I could afford it, the official shirt from a merchandise booth. Then in the late 90s I got into collecting sweatshirts and baseball caps from concerts. Now I alternate between sweatshirts and beanie caps. And for some reason, concert swag, or merchandise, is still as cool and important to me as it was when I was in high school.
And it’s not just T-shirts or outerwear. I like all the cool things you can get at a concert. Tour books, shot glasses, bandannas (dew rags), all of it is cool. I still have every ticket stub from every concert I attended, kept in a nice photo album, to help remind me of all the great shows I have attended. My prize possession is a pair of 3D glasses from the Kiss Psycho Circus tour. They are 14 years old and still look as new as the day they were handed to me. And while it really is just stuff it is still cool and important to me. I still get a chill when wearing my Iron Maiden beanie and reflect for a moment on how happy I was to buy it. I still occasionally flip through the 1997 Kiss tour book and smile.
Why do we love swag so much? Why is it that even in our 30s and 40s we want to own a shirt, cap, poster, piece of the concert we just attended? Why do I still feel like a school boy when I proudly wear my Pop Evil beanie in public? I guess it doesn’t matter how old we get, the thrill of our favorite bands, that we paid hard earned cash to see in concert AND wear their gear, makes us feel alive and youthful. At least, that’s how it feels to me. What about you? What merchandise do you collect? What’s your favorite concert possession? What kind of swag you got?
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I will be the first to admit that this edition of Vie’s Verses is a little cheesy. I know other sites have done the top 10, top 20, top whatever hard rock love songs, power ballads, etc. Yet there is a reason that I am doing this cheesy version of Vie’s Verses. One, is because this week’s edition of Vie’s Verses happens to fall on Valentine’s Day (a very rare occurrence). Two, is because I am a romantic at heart. I’ll bet most of you did not know that about me.
One thing to note is that only love songs were chosen for this list. Not break up songs, not power ballads that weren’t truly love songs, only romantic love songs. So while I love Warrant’s “I Saw Red” it is a song about a cheating woman and will not work in this list. Poison’s “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” is a breakup song, so you won’t see it here. Tesla’s “Love Song,” is about a guy leaving his girl and telling her it will be all right, so, well, you get the picture.
Now without further adieu, and in honor of Valentine’s Day, here are my top 5 hard rock love songs of all time. Play them for your wife or girlfriend or significant other tonight and be amazed by how she melts in your arms.
Saigon Kick – All I Want
I know that most people are screaming that if I picked a Saigon Kick song, why didn’t I choose “Love is On The Way?” The answer is simple—read the lyrics to both songs. “All I Want” is a much more powerful song sung with raw emotion and desperation. The love that the narrator feels for his muse is overpowering. I’ve always felt that “All I Want” is one of the best love songs ever written. The line “you need a man who loves you more than his life” is extremely telling and meaningful. Being with someone who loves you more than their own means you have found the ultimate lover. It is also very hard to live up to. I only have praise for lead vocalist, Matt Kramer, who must have been fiercely in love when he wrote these lyrics. Incredible song, incredible lyrics, incredible band.
Steelheart – I’ll Never Let You Go (Angel Eyes)
Simple in its construction, yet powerful in its delivery, Steelheart’s “I’ll Never Let You Go” is an amazing power ballad sung with force. Who wouldn’t love to be told “first time I laid my eyes upon you, all my dreams were answered?” And while the lyrics are few, their message is large. This is a true ode from the narrator to the woman of his dreams. Images of romance, true love, and passion are conjured up every time this song is heard. “I’ll Never Let You Go” was a monster hit for Steelheart and it is easy to see why. It is a beautiful song about finding and holding on to deep true love. On a personal side note, I cannot wait to hear this song live for the first time at this year’s M3 Music Festival.
Hinder – Lips Of An Angel
At first listen, one can debate if this is truly a love song. However, after spinning the song several times and deeply analyzing the lyrics, it is obvious that not only is “Lips Of An Angel” a love song, it is a fantastic love song. A song about two people whom can’t stop thinking of each other and still want to be together, but for some reason are not, is the perfect backdrop for a love song. Hinder took the classic love song and turned it on its head with “Lips Of An Angel.” The listener has no idea why the couple are not together anymore, but know that they should be. “Lips Of An Angel” is the type of love song that provokes chills and raw emotional reactions. When a song can produce that level of intensity it is truly a masterpiece, and one of the greatest love songs of all time.
Stryper – Honestly
This has to be one of the best love songs ever written for any genre of music, but especially for hard rock. Michael Sweet’s voice is second to none and he really wails on this power ballad. And while the song is about God’s (or Jesus’) relationship with man, everyone uses it as a love song to sing to their girl/guy when the mood is right. Between the powerful guitar, pounding drums, and Michael Sweet’s amazing voice, “Honestly” is a song filled with more passion than any other love song that comes to mind. You can feel love just by listening to this song. The message that I will always be there for you no matter what, all you have to do is call on me, is an extremely powerful sentiment. It cements the fact that true love is centered on friendship and that true friends will always be there no matter what happens. “Call on me and I’ll be there for you.”
Kiss – Forever
A magnificent late 80s acoustic ballad, “Forever” is one of Kiss’ best songs to come out of the 80s and it is their best love song. Considering that the band doesn’t write that many love songs, it is easy to make this statement, but I digress. What is most interesting about “Forever” is that the song conveys the message of being deeply in love without the narrator ever saying the words “I love you.” As a matter of fact, the word love is used only twice. It appears in the lines, “I’ve lived my life believing all love is blind,” and “it took your love to make my heart come alive.” And that is the true essence of what makes this such a powerful song. The song conveys the message that the narrator is deeply, truly, in love, but never has to use the words “I love you.” So while it is a sweet and romantic song, it still holds an air of manliness in that it doesn’t turn too sappy from the narrator’s perspective. “Forever” is a magnificent love song that has had a long history of helping guys woo their girls. There is no reason to think that “Forever” won’t continue to do so for many years to come.
Those are my picks for the five best hard rock love songs of all time. What are yours?
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