Friday, January 27, 2012

So very very far away, maybe it's only yesterday...

     In 1969, there was a song by a group called Zager and Evans called 2525, and let me start off saying they were 2 members of a band called The Eccentrics. The band broke up and Denny Zager and Rick Evans went out to form a pop duo (very common for that era,) and though they made a lot of songs, this was their only hit. Now the duo was expected to get the same success as the Beatles...but they only made that hit. It's a song about the world lasting until that time, as a kid I would listen to it and get creeped out. Now I just listened to it and thought  "what?" The song starts off as in the year 2525, if man is still alive, then 3535, then after 5555, and so on they say in the year 7510 and 8510...well that's random, oh wait, rhyme scheme. Now after the duo broke up, Rick Evans went on to be a solo singer and writer, and Denny became a guitar teacher and sells his own style of guitar on his website.

     Now there was a duo in the 80's  named Buckner & Garcia who tried their damnedest to make it as a real pop duo, including co-writing the theme for a show called WKRP in Cincinnati. Now unfortunately for them when they put out their most popular song "Pac Man Fever" in 1982, they were pretty much expected to follow up (which they did, with songs called "The Defender" and "Do the Donkey Kong" after their song about E.T was shelved) that pretty much solidified them as a video game band, and despite their best efforts, they compiled a CD named Pac Man Fever, solidifying their destiny. Though the duo continued writing songs and made a new song for a website (that you can find on, or Rock Band Network, or my suggestion, youtube.) Though they were seemingly on a comeback, Gary Garcia died of undisclosed circumstances in Nov, 2011.

      Like the late Jani Lane of Warrant, most of his interviews cursed the song Cherry Pie, which was just put on as a fan favorite to sell albums, he became the cherry pie guy, he said he was doing things like cherry pie eating contests, and ended up dying alone in a hotel room due to alcohol poisoning. The music industry is rough, even if the sights are stacked in your favor, there is no guarantee you will end up the next Metallica. Until next time, keep hitting the HIGH NOTES!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Gene vs. Ace

     Well I just finished Ace Frehley's book, and a few years ago I read Gene Simmons' book. It's funny how the hottest band in the world had such a love/hate relationship with each other. I mean it was apparent that Gene and Paul were friends and Ace stuck by Peter, but the way the two books differ, it seems like some things could have gone much worse. As you can see alone from the personality you can tell that Gene is a (self proclaimed might I add...) hard ass whose soul intention is to make money...and damn good at it, and Ace was in it for the music, a rocker's soul that just didn't want to quit (though his body would from time to time.) Though Ace's solo was the #1 seller of all the CD's, it was clear who the bigger rock personality was.

     There are a few stories in the two books that overlap each other, and some explanations that Gene didn't go into (whether he was trying to make Ace look bad, or just didn't know...because he wasn't there,) Gene talked about only one of the two times he saved Ace. Ace mentioned some of his (interesting) ways he recorded his solo album, went into his drug problem multiple times, and how he overcame it, and a lot went overlooked (Gene said he suggested Casablanca to Neil Bogart, and Ace just said for some reason it was changed from Emerald City records.) Though Gene was more elaborate in some things (because he had a better relationship with a lot of people, though usually business.) Ace mostly wrote about the music, like what the song was about or how it inspired him, which is a main reason I picked up the book in the first place. I do think it was funny he called Gene a whore, not something I expected to be used as a description of him. Both are good reads but I can't put my finger on which I liked better.

     Now in my personal opinion, Ace's solo CD with KISS was the best one of the group. I liked his, then Peter's then next Gene, and last Paul (sorry Paul.) But each CD showed their personal traits as artists, and their personality. For instance, Ace was the best and that is because I like rock, and it was a pure uncut rock album, and had his version of New York Groove written by Russ Ballard. Peter's CD was a clear jazz album with his own version of tossin' and turnin'. Gene, though was more of a soundtrack to his life's movie, using stars like Cher, Bob Seiger, Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick, Joe Perry (Aerosmith) and "Skunk" Baxter (Steely Dan/Doobie Brothers) just to name a few. Don't get me wrong, it's amazing, but you can tell Gene did the star studded cast for...almost an ego trip. Though that may sound like I am attacking him, which I am thing that made me happy was Gene did not play any bass on his album. Paul's on the other hand was kind of ballad like, but figuring he does a lot of opera stuff these days, it fits better than when I first heard it...though his is the one I listen to least. I liked all the CD's but Ace's takes the cake.

     Now when Tommy Thayer took over for Ace and Eric Singer took over for Peter, it seemed like it was a "conspiracy," but I see a bit of what Gene said, Ace, always the poor victim. Now given that Gene had asked Ace back for the KISS/Aerosmith tour he declined because he was ready to do his CD "Anomaly" and tour on his own, and from what I heard he said how can someone say it's over and go out again as they are planning something else? Also (I take this with a grain of salt) he was saying how can we open for someone who would opened for us long ago? Anyway, I had the pleasure of seeing both line ups and have to say, I see what Ace is saying...KISS made Peter and Ace's absence almost a secret. I did not know until the day of the concert that Tommy Thayer was taking over, and did not know until next year that it was Eric Singer. People knock Peter's ability, but Eric did not have the same solo ability and charisma Peter had. Though I was not able to rock out as hard to Aerosmith like I did during the "Just Push Play" tour. Now when I saw the originals at the farewell tour (which they wanted to call Jews in Space...even though Peter is Catholic and Ace is Lutheran,) it was an amazing night, Ted Nugent and Skid Row were there (Johnny Solinger looks and sounds so much like Sebastian Bach...but that's another blog all together...I will incorporate bits of this blog in it.) But when KISS hit the stage, I stupidly asked "we won't be able to sit during the show, will we?" Anyway, when they opened with Detroit Rock City, and the curtain went down, I knew the electricity would continue, and they played songs like Lick it Up when Ace and Peter weren't in the band, and songs like Flaming Youth, an apparently less played song from the tours after Destroyer. My favorite thing that night (besides Peter's drum solo) was when Paul went flying to the center stage for Love Gun. Also when Ace hit the light fixture and broke it with a rocket. But anyway, I got a free Yahoo! card with KISS on the front at that concert that I kept in my wallet until it pretty much ripped, and I drew pictures and made art in class usually of KISS, I was hooked more than I was when I only listened to the tapes of the greatest hits, and Psycho Circus.

     I hope for Paul and Peter to make a book too, though I highly doubt it. As Ace was saying though he was writing a book and had some things to say to Gene (he was mad when he said that at his concert on the youtube clip.) It's amazing how 2 Christmas gifts can be made amazing by one man, when Erik gave me tickets for him and I to see Ace at a small club in Springfield, VA called JAXX, and how 2 summers can be made awesome by seeing Gene with the boys in concert, but that's how life is sometimes, just saying. Until next time, keep hitting the HIGH NOTES.

Friday, January 13, 2012

I'm only human, of flesh and blood I'm made...

     Well, I'm back (sorry, I had a few things to deal with.) So I am going to start 2012 on a high note and try to make Thursdays the blog day again, though I am writing this one on a Friday just to get back in the swing of things.

     So I was reading something today, and I try to stay on top of music history for everyone that reads this...just to spread my knowledge, and I am a tad bit embarrassed about this, but I was under the impression that Fats Domino was dead. I knew he was rumored  when Hurricane Katrina came, and he refused to evacuate...but that was debunked. He actually stayed with of all people JaMarcus Russell, the free agent football player who played in Louisiana, then later the Raiders (also his granddaughter's boyfriend.) Later I heard that he was to do a concert but fell ill and died. Now that is where I got that idea...but apparently he is still alive and well. Anyway, one time I was on youtube listening to the BoxTops, and it was the exact day that Alex Chilton passed away, and I did the same for Crispian St. Peters when he died, eerie huh? But as you can see, even as a blogger I make mistakes, but hope not to be misleading.

     Anyway, has anyone heard the new song Tattoo by Van Halen? David's voice is shot, and it's missing a bit backup wise without Michael Anthony, but it's got the classic writing and most of the classic sounds of a Van Halen track, the more I listen the more I like it. I mean the video looks like a classic Van Halen video with a few new tricks, Though I don't think Wolfgang Van Halen fits the bill (though I like his "Jump" era bass guitar and I want one.)...and Alex looks old as anything now, but he is STILL one of my favorite drummers. I am looking forward to the new album.

     Another new album I am looking forward to is the classic lineup Black Sabbath album, I was so excited over that news. Even though they say Tony Iommi has Lymphoma, he says he won't let that stop him from making the album, as for a tour though, no one knows. In fact there are a few albums that have come out in the past year and a half that I didn't expect. Phil Collins and Elton John (who said they wouldn't do another album,) Devo, the Cars, Ratt, even Metallica are said to be working on a new album. Yet in all this excitement I haven't even gotten Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton's new album (though I will chalk that up to the fact I am not one for live music...but that is another blog all together.)

     So that said, I hope to be back soon, and hope in May I have that new, tattoo...ok, I'll shut up now. Keep hitting the high notes!