By now, you’ve no doubt heard (or heard about) Dave Grohl’s recent rant at the Grammy Awards regarding how real music is recorded. If you were pirated away to the moon by Amazon women that held you captive as their love slave and are now just returning, then I will give you the quick recap. As Grohl and the Foo Fighters accepted their Grammy for Best Rock Performance, Grohl went on a rant about how real music is meant to be recorded and enjoyed with passion. The music shouldn’t be touched up by computer, or auto-tuned, or even over-edited.
“It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about sounding absolutely correct. it’s not about what goes on a computer. It’s about what goes on in (your heart) and (your head),” Grohl stated. He went on to mention that the Foo Fighters recorded their latest album (Wasting Light) with no touch up at all — real, raw, recording. While it was enjoyable for me to hear Grohl take a huge swipe at most of the artists that were in the audience that night, the music community reaction didn’t seem to share the same sense of amusement.
Grohl apologized, somewhat, the next day via a press release. Even in that press release, Grohl stuck to his original statement, not backing down from his true feelings. That is what I love about Dave Grohl. He isn’t afraid and he isn’t going to back down. Grohl’s not looking for acceptance from the Lady Ga Ga camp. Grohl just wants to create real music the way it should sound. More bands should strive to do what the Foo Fighters are doing.
Even if you take all of the bubble gum, pre-recorded, auto-tuned, crap that almost no reader of Hard Rock Hideout listens to, there are still a lot of rock bands that are overproducing to get a slick, polished sound. Sometimes that’s good, but most times it’s not. A real, raw sound is the most welcomed sound of all. That’s why most of us love to attend live performances, because they are true. They are real. And they are achieved only through hard work and practice, practice, practice.
Auto-tuning and computer correcting are no different to music than steroids and performance enhancing drugs are to baseball. It’s a competitive edge that is also cheating. When the Beatles recorded one of their greatest albums ever (Let It Be) they did every song in one take to get the live feel in the studio. Granted, they practiced the hell out of those songs before finally recording them, but that’s part of what makes them so special. You practice until you are ready and then you unleash what you have on the first try. If a minor mistake is recorded, that’s all right. It’s the beauty of real music.
Raw power and true sound is one of the biggest elements that draws me to rock music over any other genre. Can anyone imagine AC/DC auto-tuning Brian Johnson’s vocals? What if Black Sabbath decided to clean up the sound of Tony Iommi’s guitar on their first album? Innovation would be lost. And unfortunately, that is the direction the next generation of music is heading in. There is limited originality. There are too few risk takers. Everyone wants to sound perfect and clean, so their albums are over produced and polished to a shine.
That is one of the reasons that Wasting Light is such a great record. There is raw, real, music on that disc. It can be felt, it can be heard, it can be believed. What that album teaches most of all, is that if you practice hard enough and dedicate yourself to your craft, you can be a huge success and gain a competitive edge without having to resort to any performance enhancements at all. I can only hope that lesson is leaned on the new wave of rockers that are getting set to take the world by storm.
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From Guns N’ Roses, to Slash’s Snake Pit, to Velvet Revolver, Slash has had one hell of a career so far. One thing is for certain, if you have lived on the planet Earth for the last few months, you have heard a lot of hype about Slash’s new solo album. I must admit that although I like Slash, I didn’t have high hopes for this CD. Usually when there is such a hodgepodge of musicians on a release like this, the end result is typically a couple of good songs a but not much more. This is NOT the case with Slash’s CD.
First and foremost, Slash plays his ass off on this CD. His guitar work is superb all the way through. It is going to take a few more plays before I fully realize the full effort that Mr. Hudson has put into this disc. If anything, I am quite impressed.
The opening song “Ghost” has made me hungry for some new Cult songs. This is no phone in performance from Ian Astbury. This is a great vocal, and an awesome song!
I love Ozzy Osbourne, and I thought his appearance might be one of the lone highlights on this CD. I would have to say that Slash’s playing on “Crucify the Dead” is better than Ozzy’s vocals. All in all, it is a decent song, but not one of my favorites.
Fergie’s appearance on this disc, took quite a few people by surprise. I am not a Black Eyed Peas fan by any means, but I have heard Fergie sing enough rock songs to know that she has some vocal talent. (Take a look on youtube and check out her rendition of Heart’s Barracuda.) With that being said, I didn’t have an issue with her appearance here. Fergie turns in a very good vocal performance, and seems to be a good match for Slash’s playing. I found “Beautiful Dangerous” surprisingly refreshing.
I have been anxiously awaiting to hear Slash’s song with Myles Kennedy for quite some time. Myles has made quite an impression on me with the last Alter Bridge album. This guy is one hell of a singer. He is also Slash’s singer on tour, so it is important that his vocals are top-notch here. I am pleased to say that both “Back to Cali” and “Starlight” are highlights on this disc. Myles Kennedy may just be one of the most under rated vocalists today.
Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell turns in a solid vocal on “Promise”. This song has single written all over it. This is going to get a lot of radio play without question.
The first single from this CD, is “By The Sword” with Wolfmother’s Andrew Stockdale. I am not sure why this song was released as the single. It is not the best song on this CD. It isn’t even close. The song almost has a Led Zeppelin like vibe. Although it is not one of my favorites, it has grown on me after a few spins. The song does work to break up the pace on the album.
Maroon 5’s Adam Levine takes the mic on the song “Gotten”. With no surprise, this song is more of a pop tune, than a rock song, but it isn’t bad. I can’t say that I have ever heard Slash play like this. His playing is rather light until about two-thirds of the way through the tune, when he breaks out with some cool bluesy licks.
Thank God for Motorhead’s Lemmy! You know exactly what you are going to get with a vocal from Lemmy. He always dishes out razor-sharp vocals with Motorhead, and while “Doctor Alibi” may not be as heavy as a Motorhead tune, he does turn in a pretty good vocal. I like this song a lot.
“Watch This” became an instrumental tune when Dave Grohl decided that he did not want to SING on Slash’s album. Grohl does play the drums on watch this, and it turns out to be a pretty cool tune. This is easily one of the heaviest songs on this CD. I don’t think Grohl’s vocals would have improved this. You can download “Watch This” for free, here!
Kid Rock offers no surprises on “I Hold On”. This song has a very southern rock like vibe to it. I am not a big Kid Rock fan either, but I must admit, Kid Rock sounds 100% better with Slash.
After hearing Avenged Sevenfold’s M. Shadows on “Nothing To Say” I thought myself, could this be the singer that Velvet Revolver needs? This is an up tempo rocker, and Slash’s playing is awesome here. I love hearing him cut loose like this! M. Shadows and Slash seems to complement each other well. Who knew this one would work? Very cool indeed!!
Out of all of the musicians on Slash’s solo CD, I am least familiar with Rocco DeLuca. Much like the song, with Adam Levine, Slash shows another side of his six string prowess. Even though this style of song is not what I would expect from Slash, it does sound like a million bucks. The production is top notch.
The album closes out with the legendary Iggy Pop signing “We’re All Gonna Die”. This is a very catchy rocker, even though it does have some silly lyrics. It is a pretty solid way to close out this album.
Overall, I am very pleased with Slash’s new album. There are a ton of great tunes on this CD on this disc, and it seems to get better with every listen. Don’t miss out on this CD! You can preview the songs at Slash’s website at this link.
Rating: Out of 10
1. Ghost (feat. Ian Astbury & Izzy Stradlin)
2. Crucify the Dead (feat. Ozzy Osbourne)
3. Beautiful Dangerous (feat. Fergie)
4. Back from Cali (feat. Myles Kennedy)
5. Promise (feat. Chris Cornell)
6. By the Sword (feat. Andrew Stockdale)
7. Gotten (feat. Adam Levine)
8. Doctor Alibi (feat. Lemmy)
9. Watch This (feat. Dave Grohl & Duff McKagan)
10. I Hold On (feat. Kid Rock)
11. Nothing to Say (feat. M. Shadows)
12. Starlight (feat. Myles Kennedy)
13. Saint is a Sinner Too (feat. Rocco DeLuca)
14. We’re All Gonna Die (feat. Iggy Pop)
Josh Freese – drums (except track 9 & 12)
Chris Chaney – bass (except 9)
Leonard Castro – percussion (except 1, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13)
Catalog # 5099963143324
Them Crooked Vultures is made up of Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme, Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl and Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones. They are releasing their self-titled debut album on November 17th. The album is available for pre-order on iTunes now. You can also download their first single, “Mind Eraser, No Chaser”, for free on iTunes!
Twisted Sister seemingly opened the floodgates for a new batch of hard rockin’ Christmas tunes when they released their album, “Twisted Christmas” in 2006. “We Wish You A Metal Xmas, and a HeadBanging New Year” has more hard rock and metal stars than any other Christmas compilation in history (Yes, even more than Monster Ballads Christmas from 2007). With that being said, it has to be awesome right?!
For the most part it is, and I would go so far as saying they have one upped, “Twisted Christmas” with this compilation.
First and foremost, I am a Jeff Scott Soto fan and he can do little wrong in my eyes. He helps rock out this rocking version of “We Wish You A Merry (Metal) Xmas”. My step daughter likes this one too. I caught her singing “We Wish You A Metal Christmas”. 🙂
You either have to love or hate Lemmy Kilmister. His rendition of “Run Rudolph Run” is pretty fun for the most part, but you know what to expect from his vocals. I have officially started a new holiday tradition by singing “Run Rudolph Run” in my best Lemmy Kilmister voice. What a great way to annoy the spouse and siblings.! 🙂
“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” is a creepy and cool rendition of this tune. Ronnie James Dio and Tony Iommi make this sound like a lost Black Sabbath cut.
“Silver Bells” is one of the weaker moments on this disc. Geoff Tate’s lack of vocal fortitude really shows up badly on this song. He can’t hit the notes that this song requires, and that is a shame. He used to have an awesome voice, but it is severely lacking here.
Dug Pinnick from King’s X turns in a semi soulful version of the Little Drummer Boy. George Lynch adds some pretty tasty guitar licks to this version.
You have to love Ripper Owens. He may not be the best singer in the world, but he can really metalize Christmas songs like no one else. Steve Morse provides the tasty guitar licks on “Santa Claus is Back In Town”, and Ripper drives it home with his metal screams. I love it!
Chuck Billy destroys “Silent Night” with his death metal growl, but I think this is more tongue in cheek, than anything else. I can’t say I ever expected to hear a death/thrash metal version of “Silent Night”, but the unit of Scott Ian, Jon Donais, Chris Wyse and John Tempesta somehow manage to pull this off. The shredding on this tune is pretty awesome.
Every time I hear “Deck the Halls” I think it is Geoff Tate back for another dose. It is actually Lynch Mob’s Oni Logan. I don’t know if is just me, but his voice also sounds worse for wear here. I don’t remember him sounding anything like this in the 90’s.
RATT’s Stephen Pearcy pulls off a pretty good version of “Grandman Got Ran Over By A Reindeer”. As it turns out, Pearcy has a pretty good voice for this tune. Who would have thought that?
As a whole, I have enjoyed this CD, and have replayed this quite a bit . This is easily the best hard rock Christmas CD released in 2008. Buy it!!
- We Wish You A Merry Xmas – (Jeff Scott Soto, Bruce Kulick, Bob Kulick, Chris Wyse, Ray Luzier)
- Run Rudolph Run – (Lemmy Kilmister, Billy F. Gibbons, Dave Grohl)
- Santa Claws Is Coming To Town – (Alice Cooper, John 5, Billy Sheehan, Vinny Appice)
- God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – (Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi, Rudy Sarzo, Simon Wright)
- Silver Bells (Geoff Tate, Carlos Cavazo, James Lomenzo, Ray Luzier)
- Little Drummer Boy – (Dug Pinnick, George Lynch, Billy Sheehan, Simon Phillips)
- Santa Claus Is Back In Town – (Tim Owens, Steve Morse, Juan Garcia, Marco Mendoza, Vinny Appice)
- Silent Night – (Chuck Billy, Scott Ian, Jon Donais, Chris Wyse, John Tempesta)
- Deck The Halls – (Oni Logan, Craig Goldy, Tony Franklin, John Tempesta)
- Grandma Got Ran Over By A Reindeer – (Stephen Pearcy, Tracii Guns, Bob Kulick, Billy Sheehan, Greg Bissonette)
- Rockin’ Around The Xmas Tree – (Joe Lynn Turner, Bruce Kulick, Bob Kulick, Rudy Sarzo, Simon Wright)
- Happy Xmas (War Is Over) – (Tommy Shaw, Steve Lukather, Marco Mendoza, Kenny Aronoff)
Produced by: Bob Kulick and Brett Chassen