Saturday, November 8, 2014

The long and winding road...

   Sorry it's been a while. Crazy things going on... anyway, if I could have taken anyone along for the ride, it would have been you! (This excludes Erik, because he was there for most of it.) Anyway, there are some bands I have gotten into in the past year, some concerts I went to, albums I bought. Ready? Let's go!

    So it's been a year since I wrote here, so I will try to sum it up as best as I can. I have gotten into some bands (Volbeat, Haim, Sixx A.M, etc.) that I never knew existed, or were new. I have also gotten more into bands I loved for a long time, like I saw SOiL twice (more on that in just a second.) I also went to Mayhem fest where I got to see Mushroomhead again, Ill Nino (from afar) Trivium, yet again... not complaining. Though I did not like the 2 headliners much the first time I have seen them (though one I saw again and liked) KoRn really impressed me, this time they brought it. Now the first time I saw Avenged Sevenfold, I was no where near impressed (though they had just followed Adema, who I was a big fan of at the time.) Well this time they didn't have to lead in for Ozzy and whoever was before him (I wanna say System of a Down, who I do not care for.) They were headliner, they had their own set. It was a huge castle with pyro, and LCD screens in the back and a giant "king" on a throne of skulls. It was an amazing show, and they dedicated a song to Rev, it started pouring rain, and of course we were on the lawn.

    When I went to see SOiL the first time they seemed mad, and later we found out why. Well the first time was a chilli cook-off with no chilli, no beer, barely any food, and 2 stages that you had to shift back and forth to get to. Well apparently some of the bands were talked to about not getting paid. We found this out because at the second concert, we actually talked to the band! I got to meet them. I got a picture with Ryan McCombs, and an autographed set list. Later on they sold an autographed vinyl record on their website for $12, I had to snatch that up. It was just nice to actually talk with them and they seemed to be genuinely happy to talk to the fans, and I got to tell Ryan I talked to him on Facebook, he said "on purpose?"

As for new music, I bought both Slipknot, and Bob Seiger's new album. I was so excited about Seiger, but when I listened to it the excitement kind of dropped. His notes are still well done and his lyrics aren't what you would think coming from him. Though his voice has aged, still not as scary as John Fogerty when he sang with the Foo Fighters. The new Slipknot, however is full throttle smash faces in with baseball fun for all Slipknot fans. Corey really brings it, and doesn't quit until the end.

So it has been an interesting year. I will try to keep up with this now that things are less hectic and I can focus, so until then, keep hitting the HIGH NOTES!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Special Edition: Crazy on You

     As much as I love concerts, I have not been able to go to all that I wanted to. I got tickets to Heart and Jason Bonham's Zepplin experience, and was so excited. $15 to see an interesting concept AND a band I loved as a kid? Why not? Unfortunately, Erik got sick and decided it was best not to go, and as the planets aligned, as they sometimes do, and I got to take a date to the concert. Now she knows music, but is a Country fan. I thought this would be perfect, a way to show what I like.

      So as the Led Zepplin experience took the stage, they were playing, and I thought "not only did we arrive JUST in time, but they sound pretty damn good!" I'm sure if I closed my eyes, it would have been what I would have imagined what Zepplin sounded like back in the day. Though they only played 30 minutes, I thought it was an amazing venture into rock history, hearing Jason's story, listening to the official backing drum track his dad laid down years ago, and getting to experience what it was like, I think the only thing that was more classic than this was seeing Black Sabbath with Bill Ward, ya know, before the screw job contract.

     As the opening band left the stage, the mood was set, it was getting dark,and it was exciting. Then all of a sudden, Nancy comes on and plays the riff to Barracuda... I think that was a gutsy move. Usually bands save their most popular or best work for later. As the concert went on, going on the recordings and word I have heard from people, I have heard Heart sucks live. Well the recording studio must have messed with the sound, and people must be hard critics. Nothing was farther from the truth! From Nancy's solos and her lead on "These Dreams," to Ann's always fantastic vocals, this is a concert to see! I like that they played Alone, and a few songs I haven't heard before. Nancy even sang an Elton John song (I Need You to Turn to.) As Ann said, "I am going to turn the microphone over now." (and she did just that and turned the mic backwards... Very funny...) I hope they come back. I would LOVE Erik to see them, after his selfless action, and it was nice to see Heart gain a new fan. We had to leave early before the big group finally (plus Jiffy Lube Live is a pain to get out of anyway.) I heard the final songs as we left, but I don't know how I would have felt about it if I stayed... I am a music snob, and need my covers to be great (maybe that will be a next blog?) Anyway, I hope this isn't a lackluster post, it is late and I could not sleep... I figured I would get this out of the way. Thanks for listening, and oh yeah... OOH BARRACUDA!

Keep hitting the HIGH NOTES everyone!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Special Edition: What Time is it?

     So to start this, I have to go back to the beginning. That's a good place to start, OK, so when the album Pocket Full of Kryptonite came out, it was 1991. In 1991 I was 8, and my brother Erik and I went to private school. Now they didn't have bus service, so someone had to drive us. While my dad liked oldies on 94.7 WARW (I believe...hey, I'm not a professional blog yet, I don't have to have ALL my ducks in a row.) When mom drove us though, it was Q107.3 (they later went off the air, and became Mix 107.3. The ones who sponsor the Fairfax fair concerts.) Anyway, one of my favorite songs to come on was Two Princes (when it made it as a single.) Yes, at an early age, after I got out of the New Kids on the Block phase (hey, I was young. It happens... shut up!) I had gotten more into bands like The Beatles, U2, INXS, Genesis and the like. However the Spin Doctors always hit me as just a "cool" band. Almost the epitome of cool. The flow, the meanings (what I could understand of the meanings anyway) of their songs, were just awesome.

     So to present day (I wanted to do that transition as boring as possible. Moving 22 years forward too fast might make a great law suit for you, but trust me... you won't get much.) I always look to see who is playing Fairfax Fair. I have seen the likes of Sugar Ray, The Smithereens, Rick Springfield, Collective Soul, Cheap Trick, and a few others. Now one year Blues Traveler came and I missed them, when I found out the Spin Doctors were coming, I was not going to miss this one. As soon as I heard they were going to be there at 4:30, it was obvious what they were going to open with (and it's my favorite song of theirs, so I am not complaining.) I was pumped, they sounded great, had a fantastic energy to them, and were totally on point (unlike Smash Mouth.) then they did Nice Talking to Me right after which was nice, considering I thought they were going to do something I didn't know. Now one thing I get upset with at concerts (Steve Winwood) is when they only play new stuff. Spin Doctors played a lot of new stuff, and it was great. The trick is to mix it in with the old stuff to keep interest, and Spin Doctors did just the perfect blend of that. The new songs are really unique, without sounding like they sold out. When they did an old song, it was like meeting an old friend again after a long time (either being away from the friend or you were too drunk to remember you saw them recently.) But yes, I suggest seeing them because of the energy, and the full on sound all together. Even with the very talented Eric Schenkman singing, I think that was one of the best performances I have seen, and the tickets were cheap, double positive!

     This is where I would usually end the blog, but there's more! During the concert Chris said they were going to be at the tent and to come say hi. The thing is, you didn't even have to buy anything! Of course that came with the guilt trip of their kids having to eat cardboard... But I digress. I got in line right during the encore because I knew the line was going to be long, because I have met bands (Hootie and the Blowfish, Disturbed, Otep, Strapping Young Lad) before, and as they showed up and I looked back, yup... long line. As I headed up all I really had was a free hat I received from the government that said "Recycle" and had the Fairfax website on it. I asked if they would autograph it, and there was no problem at all. In fact, Chris wrote the band logo on it and said "there, now it's a spin doctors hat!" I asked for a pic, and Eric said "ask the man in the tie. His name is Bob." Yes, I'm a music nerd and knew for a fact that Chris Barron's name isn't Bob. I got the picture and left on cloud 9.

     So for some of the meet and greets, I had to pay $20, Spin Doctors and Hootie and the Blowfish are the 2 I have done that were the nicest and most down to Earth groups I have met. As dad said, they treated their fans like they were human. Anyway, great energy, nice style, and just plain fun. When people were leaving because it was raining, I laughed. I threw my "Spin Doctors" hat in the closet on a top shelf so nothing ruins it, and posted the picture on Facebook (I want to print it out to frame it) and all is well. So until next idea or concert (I will try to post more...) I will see you next time, until then... Keep hitting the HIGH NOTES!
(now where are those damn ducks?)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Greatest Hits

     Who doesn't love a greatest hits? (Other than bands who think it means "we're done.") All the best songs from that band/artist all on one CD, or 2 or 3...or volumes (lookin' at you Eagles...) Anyway, have you ever thought a band or artist shouldn't have a greatest hits, or they have 60 of them? It becomes preposterous, yet for some reason you can't help but buy it.

     I had many conversations with people, and they would tell me "I hate it when a band puts a new song on the greatest hits album. It's kind of arrogant and overzealous, thinking it's going to be a hit..." Well look at Boston, they went through the 70's and 80's, and fell apart, and when Brad went to other bands, and Fran Cosmo took over in the 90's when Tom decided to do his own thing. When Brad came back to the band, they had 2 singers. Well, they weren't done and wanted to show they were recording more music, so instead of the fans losing interest in what would be a record in 6 years, they added Tell Me (a song that would have been a good fit to close Walk On) and Higher Power, a soulful new outlook on what was to come out of Brad's and Fran's and Tom's think tank of music and show they weren't down for the count. Some bands refuse to put out a greatest hits, they feel it's a death sentence.

     Now when a band makes a ton of greatest hits, and super hits, and whatever, and suckers (me) will buy it. "Chicago and Beach Boys have a new greatest hits? Who would buy that? Oh...it's only $5? OK." I mean I have 2 copies of Boston's greatest hits because for one I thought I lost it, and it had the songs from Corporate America, But it's better to buy the collection for some bands. I could not imagine a Metallica or Beatles greatest hits ("1" does not count.) Look at Led Zepplin, they have a 4 disk greatest hits (not talking box set.) Kiss has a box set, but they also have double platinum and a few greatest hits, but it just doesn't feel right. The Eagles can get away with it because they had a career, broke up and got back together, and they had time to mature. If you listen to the two volumes, you can see it. One band I could see doing this is Pink Floyd. Their songs are long and intricate that they could do so, but they didn't. Now one greatest hits I saw that irked me was Notorious B.I.G. I think the fans would be better off getting the entire series of albums.

     So think of greatest hits as you will, sometimes it cheapens a band, or just isn't right, but sometimes there are some good ones. Now compilations are another thing, so maybe we can get into those next time, until then, keep hitting the HIGH NOTES. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

These words he speaks are true. We're all humanary stew... if we don't pledge allegiance to The Black Widow!

     So it's been a while, I haven't had much to say, and I have been super busy. I hope to start this up again regularly and bore ALL of you again! So I went to see Alice Cooper and Iron Maiden (yes...Maiden again.) I believe I have mentioned before about how I had the chance to see Cooper and missed out. Anyway if I didn't, short version is I went to get free tickets and couldn't get the tickets to get to the show. When he opened he was singing Black Widow...which caught me off guard for I was expecting "Hello, Hooray." Anyway he played a lot of his good songs. He played "No more Mr. Nice Guy," and of course "Feed My Frankenstein" and "School's Out." It was nice that he did the decapitation/I love the dead bit, and during School's Out he incorporated "Another Brick in the Wall" and yelled "EXPLOSION!" before the confetti cannon went off. All the guys did great, good to see Ryan Roxie back, and Orianthi is a fantastic guitarist. I have seen Maiden 3 times and do believe I blogged about them at an earlier time.

      Unfortunately with the loss of time I did not do this blog when it was fresh and lost a little, but what I did do, was got Alice Cooper's new CD. I like that he has the surviving original members when Alice Cooper was a band, not an artist. People like Kip Winger, Ke$ha, and Rob Zombie/John 5 make an appearance too. I like this album and like they didn't make a sequel to Along Came a Spider...because they could not really go anywhere with the concept album...though I am made of you would have worked for that too.

     On other topics, everyone was talking about a new Aaliyah song. I looked it up because her final album was produced a while after her death, and I thought they said she finished most of the vocals before making Queen of the Damned and had more mixing to oversee (though I don't doubt the production style of Timbaland.) I thought the producer's used all her unused music to finish the album... which unfortunately the break between QotD and her going to film her music video was when the accident happened. I'm sure the movie would have been better and she would have had more albums out and R&B/Hip Hop wouldn't have partially died with her.

Well, until next time guys...keep hitting the HIGH NOTES!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

We hear the playback and it seems so long ago.

     I was thinking tonight, I thought "could you imagine if Facebook was created in the 50's?" There is a song by a group called Friend and Lover, it's called Reach Out of the Darkness (yes, the song says reach out in the darkness...but the title is R...actually, I think I covered this before.) Anyway the lyric is "I knew a man that I did not care for, and then one day this man gave me a call. We sat and talked about things on our mind, and now this man, he is a friend of mine." Could you imagine changing the lyric to this man sent me a friend request? Kinda creepy if ya think about it. If that were to happen, what sort of creepy things would we be singing about today?

     I'm kind of in a 90's mood tonight, but I regress the decades every once in a while, and one of the things that is weird is I was listening to Ugly Kid Joe, and how that song seems...forgotten. I like the big forget you song...yes, even C-lo! One thing I haven't messed around with on here is rap. I am not the biggest rap fan, but I like the rap songs that are actually rap songs, not this mumbly random beat stuff, I like Naughty by Nature's Pin the Tail on the Donkey for instance. Anything by Run DMC is good too, but I tell you what absolutely amazes me still...the crossovers, Run DMC and Aerosmith's walk this way for one, they both knocked down the door of the rock rap border. Next people like Anthrax and Public Enemy go together and make Bring the Noise. it's just nice to hear both styles in tune with each other. Don't get me wrong, I like Anthrax by themselves, but when they collaborated with Gene and Paul for Love Her all I Can, it was cheesy. I just think this lead to bands like the early 311, and the like.

     Now a  collaboration I am not to keen on is Lionel Ritchie doing all his old songs with country stars. I don't mind country, but I like Lionel better. I was happy to see he did a new CD, just to find it's stuff I can get off my CD...if I can find it. I lose CDs all the time. Now a lot of people ask me "why does someone your age like and listen to these old songs?" Well it's simple, I grew up with them. Mom always played the 80's/90's mix, Dad was stuck in the 50's, 60's and sometimes 70's, and well my stepfather is...crazy, so I was always around that. I had to discover new music by myself...which wasn't easy because in 6th grade my radio occasionally got DC101, which is/was the grunge/punk 90's stuff and they still keep pretty true to it. So I just find it funny when someone is confused with my music tastes...

     Oh well, If anyone has a subject they want me to cover, feel free to email me or comment, or check me out on Twitter or Facebook (not Myspace though...that's lame.) Till then keep hitting the HIGH NOTES!

Friday, April 13, 2012

LACK sabbath

So it seems my excitement was misconstrued, as the four members of the original Black Sabbath will not be doing the CD and tour. Bill Ward has pulled out because he was not given a "signable" contract that made him look respectable as an original member. They do not give any more detail on specifics, but it sounds like they were given separate contracts, and if this is true then that was a bad idea. I don't understand who would think that was a good idea, this is what breaks bands up in the first place. I believe KISS had the best contract idea of splitting everything straight down the middle, Equal divide, yet I understand why the contracts happen, if Bill or Geezer writes a lyric, and/or the music and no one else pitches in, then all the other members get paid just as much, it's unfair. Though it's hard to live with a band that you have been dealing with for years, and have someone you fired in the 70's rejoining it can get flustering. I guess as a Sabbath fan I was just excited, and this got to me. I just wonder who they are going to get to replace him on drums. I would hope it's not someone who doesn't fit the bill, or can't do the job, or a studio drummer...I don't know what would be worse. Now what I would like is having Ward to sign the contract, but I guess the fans can't have everything. When I saw Sabbath, it was an amazing experience, I was thinking (as I stated in a previous blog) I was seeing a band that many had not received the chance to see, or lied to their parents to see...or even (eww) people were conceived at their concert (people that were may have even been at that same concert I was.)  Oh well, we will see, and only time will tell.

     Anyway I have been cursing new music, a lot of boy bands (speaking of which, the boy band One Direction is being sued by another band with the same name) and stuff that doesn't reach my interest (Lionel Richie singing his classic songs with country singers, or Nicki Manaj, Train or Keane.) I finally broke down and bought (along with some classic music) Pighammer by Wayne Static. It's a solid album and I like it so far, wouldn't expect anything less from Wayne. Hard core fast guitars, booming bass and vocals, and drum sounds, it's like sadistic, evil disco. It's a concept album about a guy who kidnaps women and attaches pig noses to them. As Wayne said in an interview,

"The 'Pighammer' concept conjures up bizarre images," Static explains. "It's about a mad plastic surgeon, with a pig fetish, that likes to convert hot chicks into pigs. It is the total opposite of what a plastic surgeon would do. He has this crazy hammer device made from a pig foot. The images of the surgery in the CD package are only a dark comedic visualization of the real theme of the album, which is my transformation."

     If you like Static-X, or that style of music, I suggest checking it out. It's quite interesting. Until next time, keep hitting the HIGH NOTES.