Thursday, December 31, 2009

Shameless Self-Promotion -- Isor Wallobee CD Available Online

First up, my apologies for not posting in a while. Between having a newborn on 12/11 and the holidays, I have been a bit busy! But I was very stoked to see that the sole CD from my 90s band Isor Wallobee has posted to iTunes and so I thought I'd crack out a quick post while people still had credit on their iTunes gift cards, ha ha.

I played lead guitar in a band called The Strangers from 1990 to 1995 and when I quit that band, I had a backlog of material. I was basically the Ace Frehley/George Harrison of the band. Meaning, there were two other primary songwriters and I had to fight to get my stuff in the mix. I'd do vocal harmonies, play leads, and maybe get to do two or three of my own songs in our live set.

And just like with Ace and George, that was OK for a while but I eventually got fed up and wanted more of my own spotlight. So, Isor Wallobee was my post-Strangers vehicle to get that backlog out into the public. It was the first band I really ever fronted and it was a blast.

We released one CD before calling it quits in 1998. I loved the CD and thought it was a great representation of the band and where I was at at the time musically. So after all these years I finally got the CD up on iTunes and Amazon and am very excited to share it with the world.

I made the best song on the CD (in my opinion), Just to Get to You, a free download at Amazon so you can at least check that out w/o spending any money. But if you like that song, you'll probably like the whole CD.

Here are the links, as well as a fan page I threw up on Facebook. Whatever you do tonight for New Years, be safe and have fun!

Facebook Fan Page

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Guitar Lessons, Guitar World Interview with Ace Frehley

In yet another in a string of "why I love the sober Ace Frehley" events, Ace has made several instructional Web videos on how to play classic KISS tunes.

At, Ace shows how to play Cold Gin and Shock Me, two songs that absolutely made me want to play guitar when I was 10. So to see Ace show how to play the songs, the killer riff/jam sections, and to hear some of the back story behind the writing of each is a real treat to a lifelong Ace fan like me.

Ace has been sober for more than three years and has entered one of the most productive and fruitful eras of his life. He talks more about this and other topics in a current Guitar World interview. A few interesting quotes:

Because of the drugs, I had created situations and problems that prevented me from doing anything. So things weren’t going right with business and things weren’t going right with family. That hinders your creativity big time. If you keep throwing a monkey wrench into the machine again and again, eventually the machine doesn’t work right no matter what you do. Everything becomes problematic.

I still don’t think I’m a great player. There are guys that play circles around me. But it’s a combination of my songwriting, my voice, my attitude, my persona... It’s the package. I know great guitar players that don’t have any image or personality. And you need it all.

I think I’m being driven by the fact that for a while I was pushed down, and so I feel like I have to prove to everybody that I’m back. After I left Kiss in 2001, they told everyone I couldn’t tour anymore, that I was fucked up. I felt like that wasn’t going to be my epitaph. So I decided to get strong and get sober and show everybody what I really can do and what I could have done if I had been more together. It’s weird that my time is coming this late in life. But better late than never.

Keep it rocking, Ace!

Meanwhile, KISS posted a video of the band working at WalMart. On paper, lame. On YouTube? Funny!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - Genesis In; KISS Out

While waiting to check out of the hospital today with our newborn, I was flipping through my Twitter feeds and noticed that there were a few Tweets announcing that KISS had been slighted by the Hall of Fame after being nominated for the first time this year.

I am not totally shocked. I was more shocked that they were nominated in the first place, because the R&R Hall is run by a group of 500 industry types. It's not a popularity contest or a popular vote that gets you in. It's a decision by an elite closed group, and that makes it fairly questionable IMO.

I thought the Rolling Stone coverage of the 25th anniversary shows in New York was glad-handingly self congratulatory. Many of the board members are RS editors and writers. But anyway, KISS didn't get in this year and ABBA did. Yeah, that makes sense. They totally rock.

But my next thought was, what about Genesis? I was equally pleasantly surprised that they had been nominated as well. The prospect of KISS or Genesis being inducted meant the possibility of reunions of the original members to accept the award and possibly perform.

KISS has done the reunion thing, so it's all good. They'll get in eventually and then the Hall in Cleveland can open a Hotter Than Hell wing with all the merch and costumes.

But the original five Genesis principals - Steve Hackett, Phil Collins, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and Peter Gabriel - have not performed live since a one-off get-together in 1982.

So I poked around and lo and behold it was announced today that Genesis will be inducted into the Hall. So, I will be keeping an eye on that one. Peter Gabriel has been the guy who has been the most wishy washy about doing anything again with the others but maybe he could pull it together for just one night.

The one cool thing about the Hall events is that sometimes they do lead to full-bore reunion tours, or at least interesting onstage jamming. So, we shall see...

Maybe Peter could whip out some of his old costumes and they could blow our minds with Selling England By The Pound!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Guitarist Steve Kimock Gets Some Love

Some of my fellow bloggers and I frequently lament the current state of the music biz and how all the good artists are either not getting their due or are from eras long gone by (or both).

Finally, CNN of all outlets is shining some light on one of the greatest unsung guitar players of the last 30 years - Steve Kimock.

Kimock has a jazz-meets-Jerry style that has always endeared him to the Deadheads but to me the standout is that his tone is insane. It's the cleanest, most pure guitar tone I have ever heard.

Back in the day, my band The Strangers (nothing to do with Merle Haggard's band) opened for Kimock's band Zero at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. I enjoyed watching Kimock but I was really stoked that I met Pete Sears, who had played in Rod Stewart's bands in the 70s and was a key member of the Jefferson Starship.

That was a hell of a night.

But anyway, good for Kimock. Not that a CNN story is going to make all the difference to a guy's career, but if a few thousand people who have never heard of Kimock check him out, then that is a good thing.

The story is here, with this accompanying video:

Also, there are tons of YouTube videos of Kimock live but you'll get a good idea of his guitar tone from this one:

Saturday, December 12, 2009

New Blogroll Addition - Badass of the Week

So, I am in a hospital right now, as my wife just gave birth to our latest addition almost exactly 24 hours ago. Why am I blogging (or more specifically, why am I being allowed to blog)? Because my wife kicks ass and knows I will drop whatever I am doing to run a hankie, cracker or pillow over to her stat.

That's what the guy does in the maternity recovery room - becomes a combo roadie/personal assistant to bedridden mom and newborn spawn.

And of course grab some Zzzz's when you can. Which is what I should have been doing at about 11 pm last night when all was finally silent in room 576.

But no, thanks to fellow blogger Chris, I was laughing my ass off (quietly) for an hour or more, going through various entries on the very excellent blog Badass of the Week.

From historical figures, war heroes, astronauts and mythological creatures, the blog adds to the roster of 'badassedness' every week. This week's installment? The Kracken.

Behold a sample:

What's worse than having your ass chomped in half by two rows of serrated, dagger-sized shark teeth, you might ask? How about getting a singing molest-o-gram from a half-dozen gigantor rubbery tentacles that bludgeon your brain apart while simultaneously tearing your ship into jetsam, leaving you either dead, retarded, or stranded in the middle of the ocean with no hope of salvation? While that's pretty much one of the worst things ever, to the Kraken it's just the way he enjoys spending his lazy Sunday afternoons.

This is just the tip of the enormous, hilarious iceberg, and now part of the Isorski blogroll. Thanks, Chris!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

DVD Review - The Joshua Tree Bonus DVD - 1987 in Paris

Got the remastered The Joshua Tree box set as an early Christmas present to myself. Take that Santa!

It has a second CD of unreleased nuggets and a bonus DVD. The remaster sounds great, and the bonus disc is pretty cool too, but I was not as blown away as I was with the Unforgettable Fire bonus CD. The only two great bonus tracks are Spanish Eyes and The Sweetest Thing, and the latter has been released in other places.

But man, the DVD alone is worth the money.

First up, there is a 30 minute or so featurette about the band in America on the Joshua Tree tour. It’s kind of a precursor to the Rattle and Hum movie, which I am not a huge fan of. But this documentary is a bit more real, with some of what looks like Super 8 footage, and loads of shots of them hanging around in dive bars in Arizona and Texas. There is a great segment where they are onstage in some shithole bar, drunk, just farting around making stuff up. There is some great rehearsal and concert footage as well.

It’s a compelling watch. They are not mega-superstars yet, but damn close. And it feels like they know it. But they are also still Irish kids in their 20s freaking out on how massive America is.

But the real standout on the DVD is the concert from July 4, 1987 in Paris at the Hippodrome, which looks like it’s full of a city’s worth of people. It’s an ocean of hands. Here, I was blown away by how good of a live band U2 was during this era. I always slagged them in high school as not being good musicians but once again I stand corrected. The band is solid and most refreshingly rocking.

Edge totally kicks ass. His guitar tones are biting and he often carries the whole band musically. This was the era where Bono would wear a guitar that he never played. He also is doing his crazy LiveAid stuff like jumping into the filming pit and running around where the roadie has to chase him with his cable so he has a mic the whole time. I guess cordless mics were not reliable yet. And if you want to see how Edge plays Bad, they zoom in on his hands a few times. Nice for the guitar players in the audience!

It’s so great to hear the band do nothing but stuff from the first five albums. To hear them do I Still Haven’t Found What I'm Looking For before they had played it a million times, or stuff like Trip Through Your Wire or Party Girl, which I can’t imagine stayed in the set list past this tour.

The band is in its prime. The songs are great. They are still playing with passion and fire, but they are also about to the top of the top and are therefore very confident and are stretching a bit.

I was actually shocked at how rocking they were. I am so sick of With or Without You but the song was so new at the time, this live version almost makes me want to hear it again. Bono in particular sings it like his life depends on the performance, instead of singing it because they can’t NOT play the song at a concert anymore.

Interesting to see Edge play piano, on for example October, Running to Stand Still, and The Unforgettable Fire. And for the closing song, 40, Edge plays bass and Adam Clayton does a nice Edge impression getting some good echo-drenched chordal work in. Who’d have thunk it?

There are great gorgeous performances of The Unforgettable Fire and Bad. New Years Day and Electric Co have a really fresh energy. New Years Day shows what a tight, rocking band they were back then. I am always impressed when Edge jumps from the main piano riff to his guitar solo without missing a beat.

It’s also cool to see how the band takes some of the heavily overdubbed songs from Unforgettable Fire and Joshua Tree and plays them as a three piece. For the most part it works really well with a couple of exceptions. Pride (In The Name Of Love) does not sound quite as huge as it should.

I’ll tell you what there is very LITTLE of on the DVD – Bono going off on political tangents. Rather, he is smiling a lot, posing like a rock star and kicking major vocal ass. Again, I feel like they are still a bit hungry but also on that total precipice of an insane level of fame. They are not yet jaded or laden with the ‘social responsibility’ that came with being good famous, rich Christians. One notable exception - I can see those fighter planes!

But in general, at this concert U2 is not concerned with saving the world. They are more concerned with rocking the house. And I am really glad someone got it on film.

Here is a clip of Bad from the DVD:

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

29 Years Ago Today

I remember sitting in the family room in Cupertino - I was 12 years old - and my dad came into the room to tell me that John Lennon had been murdered. I was pretty upset. I think I went to my room, had a bit of a cry and played some Lennon/Beatles on my acoustic guitar (I was just learning to play and the Beatles were heavy in the rotation).

In the years that have passed I will think about it now and again. I always have the same emotion - that it was such a pity, a waste for him to be murdered by a lunatic, just as he was starting to make music again. All the "what could have's" play over and over in my mind.

Would he have toured? I think so. Seems like that was his intention. I may have been able to see him in concert. Would he have gotten back together with the other Beatles? I don't know about that one. I can see him being the one stand-out guy who said no, never. Sort of the David Byrne of the band.

But who knows? Maybe for LiveAid or some other charity, or maybe after many more years passed and he said oh what the hell. But again, we'll never know.

Would he have worked with Jeff Lynne? God I hope not. But seriously, I wonder if he would have given his blessing to all the Beatles reissues, anthology series etc.

Anyway, I always feel lousy when I remember that he had been shot. The good thing is, the guy made so much great music and left behind such a legacy that I still to this day uncover new songs, stories, photos that I had never seen before. In that way he does keep living. But of course it's the 'what music would he be making now,' that keeps me thinking.

29 years ago today it happened. Bleh. Time to crank some Lennon:

Monday, December 07, 2009

Interesting Them Crooked Vultures Interview

One more item on Them Crooked Vultures and I swear I will move on to other topics:

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Them Crooked Vultures Videos From Portland Show

The kid in front of me at the Them Crooked Vultures show last week in Portland took a bunch of photos and shot a couple of videos. I was watching him do this all night and when the show was over I asked if he'd be posting his stuff. Lo and behold, here are the videos. This is for the most part exactly where I was standing all night. I am still high from seeing this show!

One note about the piano solo. When JPJ was done, the look on Grohl's face was priceless. He looked at Josh Homme and they shared a "I can't believe I am in a band with this guy, but we have to be cool about it" moment. Enjoy:

New Fang:

John Paul Jones, piano...

Monday, November 30, 2009

Tom Petty on CBS

Check out this video from a CBS segment on Tom Petty that ran yesterday. He's still one of the coolest...

What In The (Heaven and) Hell?

Man, it's been a tough couple of months for Heaven and Hell. Just saw today that drummer Vinny Appice will be out of commission for five months after shoulder surgery that he'll have today (11/30).

But that's nothing compared to Ronnie James Dio, who is reportedly battling stomach cancer. Dio's Web site posted the following last week: "Ronnie has been diagnosed with the early stages of stomach cancer. We are starting treatment immediately at the Mayo Clinic. After he kills this dragon, Ronnie will be back on stage, where he belongs, doing what he loves best, performing for his fans."

Eeeks. Here's best wishes for speedy recoveries for both guys.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

CD Review - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - The Live Anthology

Tom Petty has kind of always been there in my life. He hit it big when I was around 10, and although I was way more into KISS at the time, I remember Don't Do Me Like That and Refugee playing on the radio non-stop, along with other people's stuff like Lido Shuffle and Dream Weaver.

I saw them live in the mid 80s, on the Let Me Up, I've Had Enough tour and thought the band was fantastic but I have never seen TP in concert again. A total pity, as I also rank The Last DJ as one of my favorites of his and I even missed that tour.

But for us couch potatoes and tour skippers, Petty had issued (just in time for Christmas) the four-CD set The Live Anthology. I bought it on iTunes for $24.99 - 52 tracks (including 3 live videos) -- less than .50 a track -- a nice bargain.

The music on this set is awesome. In the liner notes, Petty says he didn't want this to be a "live greatest hits package," meaning "the greatest hits, played faster," so there are some nuggets the band rarely played, like My Life, Your World, and various covers that didn't last in the set list for too long, such as I'm In Love (made semi-famous by Wilson Pickett), a cool version of Friend of the Devil and a 13 minute slow jam version of It's Good to Be King.

You get the hits too, but again, all these versions are excellent. For example, I was thinking I might skip the 7 + minute version of Breakdown, but it's very good. Petty even concedes in the liner notes that they would get carried away with extending the song live, but this 1981 version is a good mellow burner, with the "Hit the Road Jack" middle section being totally off the cuff with the band following Petty's lead.

Petty also said that one of the rules he set for himself in putting this set together was no editing or fixing of anything in the songs, so if there is a mistake, you get that too (I haven't heard any). A big highlight from the first CD is the "Driving Down to Georgia" into "Lost Without You." I heard these on Petty's XM Radio show last week and that was when I decided I would buy this anthology.

The set is not organized chronologically, so it jumps from era to era (read 'bass player/drummer to bass player/drummer'). But it works very well this way - much like a real good live set, it flows energy-wise. The first five or six songs are from the early 80s and then it starts moving around.

The iTunes LP feature is very cool too. You open the window in iTunes and an application pops up that lets you go song by song and read liner notes from Petty about where the version of the song was recorded and his memories of it. It's a neat way to explore the album on your computer.

There seems to be a fairly even mix of early 80s recordings when the band had just broken through, counter balanced by more seasoned performances from the 90s and more recent shows too.

One thing that is constant is the tasty, tasty lead playing of Mike Campbell, one of my favorite lead players of all time, but someone who does not seem to grace the cover of Guitar Player magazine or the top of guitar popularity polls. But really ought to. And the other secret weapon of course is Benmont Tench, the band's Garth Hudson. Check out his gorgeous piano work on Melinda from CD 3. These guys really shine on this set.

For me, the set is yet another return to The Heartbreakers. I recently watched the four-hour Running Down A Dream, which is a fantastic overview of Petty's career. The whole first hour or so is about Mudcrutch and the Heartbreakers and the rise to success. Then in the 90s, Petty gets tight with the Wilburys crowd - Jeff Lynne, George Harrison, etc.

And while this period was the apex of his success and for sure the coolest deal - to hang with all of these flipping legends and write/play music with them - the Heartbreakers got set aside for a while. Of course there has been great work since then, such as the 20-night Fillmore run (many tunes on the Anthology are from those shows), the aforementioned killer album The Last DJ, but it's so great to hear The Heartbreakers shine once again and to hear Petty give props to former members such as drummer Stan Lynch.

All in all, the point of the set is to showcase how good of a live band The Heartbreakers have been all through their career. And damn, they were (are) one of the tightest good little rock outfits to have ever existed. And good grief, why do I also always forget about how good of a songwriter Tom Petty is and has always been? This set proves it without a shadow of a doubt.

52 songs - it's going to take me a while to soak all of this in, but I can strongly suggest buying this set based on my first impressions. I can't see why anyone would not thoroughly enjoy this music.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Concert Review - Them Crooked Vultures in Portland

I spent my Sunday night like every responsible working stiff parent of three (soon to be four) boys - I was in downtown Portland catching a rock show.

But not just any rock show, peeps. Oh no, this was Them Crooked Vultures, the latest 'super group' or just a super group as I heard someone rephrase it (both are correct) featuring John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), Dave Grohl (Nirvana and the Foo Fighters), and Jose Homme (Queens of the Stone Age). They had a fourth member to help augment instrumentation and vocals -- Alain Johannes. This guy was a jack of all trades who played bass, guitar and keyboards and did some great vocal harmonies.

But the two I was really there to see were Grohl and Jones. I had never seen either live in any incarnation, which is really pathetic because I could have seen Nirvana a bunch when they were in their heyday and for sure The Foo Fighters have been through Portland a ton of times.

So I was really seeing these guys live with a fresh brain. And my poor fresh brain was filled with groovy goo, ripped out of my skull and smooshed around the floor of the Roseland Theater over the course of the hour and a half long show.

People, I didn't even know who to focus on. Dave Grohl is a monster. I have never seen someone hit the drums with such a sense of purpose and BELIEF. He also hits them incredibly hard. He is a big guy, and he plays the drums very physically. No - he beats the SHIT out of the drums. Like I said in my CD review, I feel like he is auditioning for the next Zeppelin reunion. I seriously think he may have the part...

John Paul Jones on the other hand just makes what he's doing look amazingly easy. He is an effortless player and after a while I was so stunned by his talent that I kept forgetting I was looking at one of the founding members of Led Zeppelin. He pulled out all the instruments, too. He played four string bass, eight string bass, twelve string bass, some kind of multi-string lap steel oddity I had never seen before, and keyboards, including one of those keyboard guitars that you wear over your shoulder.

There were a couple of songs (Reptiles was one, and the others I don't know by name) where Grohl and Jones locked tighter than I have ever seen a drummer and bass player lock together. And they knew it, too. Big, big smiles on their faces all night.

I mean come on. Playing with Zeppelin's bass player has got to be like some unreal crazy-assed dream for Grohl, and can anyone tell me another post-Zeppelin band Jones has even been in, much less something this heavy and groovy at the same time? I tell you what - you want to see what Jones' contribution to Zeppelin was? Go see Them Crooked Vultures. It was A LOT.

Homme was also excellent. His vocals were spot on and he added great vocal melody to the insanity of the music. He and Johannes also had some of the coolest guitars I have ever seen, and played with all sorts of interesting techniques, from slide playing to octave effect pedals. He's a darn good soloist as well.

The band did all of the stuff off the CD plus a couple of other things and didn't touch the vast catalogue of any of their previous/current bands. They didn't even do an encore - they ran out of songs! Part way through, some chump in the audience shouted out for a Zeppelin song and Homme told him they weren't a cover band but if they wanted to hear covers, there was one playing down the street.

I also have to point out that I usually don't like seeing music at the Roseland because it's a pretty dark rock venue and there is always a kind of heavy vibe there. But I have to say, the security folks did a GREAT job keeping things under control. I was two back from the barricade on JPJ's side, and some wasted idiot tried to barrel by me. I stopped him but of course later he made another run. When he got to the front center, a gigantic security guy grabbed him and told him to chill the hell out. They stopped some mosh breakouts too, ensuring that the younger kids in the front didn't get hurt, as the show was all ages.

Also, the rumor mill had Eddie Vedder and Krist Novoselic in the audience but I didn't see them in the roped off special balcony section. I did see Myles Kennedy however, and was tempted to go up to him and scream "Stand up and Shooooooooooooouuuuuuuutttttttt!" but I didn't want to get punched. Hell, maybe there is truth to the Zeppelin rumor after all - he'd sing the shit out of The Immigrant Song!

Not sure if Them Crooked Vultures plan on continuing indefinitely or if this is kind of a one-off endeavor. So, I'd encourage you to see them while you can. You will not be disappointed and your brains may feel better too. I know mine do.

Here are some more of my Treo photos:

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Isorski's Musings Hits The Big Time on KISSONLINE

I usually hesitate to toot my own horn, but I have to do it today. And also I need to throw out a big thank you to whoever runs the site, because they posted an edited version of my review of Tuesday's show in Portland on their home page.

Imagine the shock I felt when I went to the KISS Web page this morning and lo and behold, my photo of Tommy Thayer (taken with my crappy Treo camera phone) is on KISS' very own Web site, along with my review. They did edit out everything snarky but who am I to complain? I feel practically famous for the day. The same edit ran on KISS' fan page on Facebook. Here are links to the stories:

--Facebook Fan Page story (the comments are quite amusing, as the old debate over who's better - Ace/Peter or Tommy/Eric rages on)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

CD Review - Them Crooked Vultures

I fired up the new Them Crooked Vultures CD with a level of trepidation. Because I felt like before anyone even heard the band they were over-hyped. I have friends who worship Dave Grohl and he could shit in a bag, post the sound on iTunes and they’d buy five copies and say it was GREAT.

But from the first song I was smiling. This is gooood shit. First off, the sound. It’s raw. The drums are pummeling and it sounds like Grohl is auditioning for the next Zeppelin reunion (he probably is, as a matter of fact). He throws in a few Bonham fills for good measure before the first song hits 1:15.

The guitars are in your face and again, from the first song there is excellent riffage. Don’t forget that bassist John Paul Jones wrote the riff to Black Dog. Need I say more? The same syncopated heavy riffs that add a beat here, take away a beat there to throw you off are weaved throughout these songs. The singing is urgent and one-off. They must have made this CD quickly because that is how it sounds – Excellent players cranking out fresh unprocessed, not overthunk rock and roll. Good for them.

For me, the quintessential track is Elephants. In this song, I hear late 70s era Zeppelin, mixed with the rawness of (believe it or not) The White Stripes (but with better drumming) and fer God’s sake I know squatney about Josh Homme but I personally think he sounds a lot like David Byrne. That is a hell of a combo and it’s one of the reasons why I think this band is so good.

Also, check out Scumbag Blues. Partway through the song, JPJ dusts off the clavinet and it’s Trampled Underfoot part two. Great tune, that Scumbag Blues.

There is some really weird/interesting stuff on the CD, like the track Interlude With Ludes (the song is named appropriately), the latter half of Warsaw or the First Breath You Take After You Give Up and the closing track, Spinning With Daffodils. It sounds like at the very end of this last track, after the band fades out, Jimmy Page steps in for some slide work. But that is just my overactive imagination plus wishful thinking!

Fellow blogger Seano (who also reviewed the CD here) told me that the band live was a life changing event. I have tickets to see these guys this Sunday in Portland at the Roseland, a theater-like rock club that holds about 2,000 people. Bring it ON, vultures!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Concert Review - KISS in Portland

Just got back from KISS at the Rose Garden in Portland. Where do I even start?

This review is going to be totally biased because this was not my usual concert experience. First of all, I bought side stage (read “expensive”) tickets because I was taking my 10 year old son and wanted him to have his mind blown. So our seats were unreal.

Second, my co-guitar player in my Portland band colorfield is a long-time friend of the Thayer family (KISS-man Tommy Thayer is from Portland). So long story short, I run into Pat at will call, and he is picking up a pass for a meet and greet. I knew about this and of course had asked if he could find out if he could bring me and my kid, and of course he couldn’t. No shock there – but I thought it never hurts to ask.

But lo and behold he gets his envelope and there are five passes in it. He wanted to make sure he didn’t mistakenly have someone else’s passes so he went in alone and my son and I got settled. Opener Buckcherry started and honestly I wasn’t impressed so we bailed just in time for Pat to text me that we could have two of the extra passes. Sweet!

So he comes and gets us and we stroll across the main floor backstage just in time to see the fab four in full makeup and gear walk by to go to the meet and greet. I high five Gene Simmons as he walks by. My life is complete.

We are ushered into a room where almost everyone is a friend/family member of Thayer. On the other side of a black curtain separating the room is the meet and greet, and there is a line of folks posing with KISS for a photographer. We figure this is for sure the radio contest winners, people who paid to meet the band etc. But we get in line anyway. If I can get a copy of that photo I will post it because that is the closest we got to the whole band. Didn’t really have a chance to talk or anything. It was stand here, snap snap, go over there. But wow, we got our photo taken standing with KISS.

So we went back around to where we started and eventually Tommy came into the room to greet his friends and family (oh and me). Got his photo with my son, got an autograph on my Sonic Boom CD etc. We had just enough time to hit the crapper, grab a couple of waters and get back to our seats.

So, THANKS to Pat for making this happen for me and especially my son. Wowsa.

Oh yeah so then the SHOW started. Anyone who follows my blog knows that I slag on KISS frequently. I didn’t give Sonic Boom the best of reviews, although it has indeed grown on me. I have questioned how much money those guys feel they need to make with the merch. I am not a giant fan of WalMart. Blah blah blah.

It doesn’t matter. The band I saw tonight was the tightest version of KISS I have ever seen. Of course I was blown away by the lights, bombs, smoke, spitting blood, revolving drum set, flying bass player etc.

But they were really tight. Gene and Paul finally let drummer Eric Singer have a double kick set and he used it to its fullest potential. Maybe it was b/c he was in his home town, but Thayer blew the doors off of his leads. I swear I didn’t miss Ace once, and that is about as blasphemous as I get. Didn’t hurt that we were so close to Thayer that I got one of his thrown guitar picks, which I promptly gave to my son. The night just kept getting better huh?

Vocal harmonies were tight. Paul Stanley did less prancing and more rocking than I have ever seen. Gene was great. His blood spitting bit has evolved a bit and is even more monster-movie derived, which is a good thing. He did Calling Dr. Love, which is one of my faves from childhood. In fact, the setlist was mostly stuff from Alive!, with personal faves being Hotter Than Hell and 100,000 Years. They did two new songs – both were awesome live, two 80s era songs (Lick It Up and I Love It Loud), and they mercifully did not play I Was Made For Loving You, which never sounds that great live, even with the killer new lineup.

One more note on Thayer. He kept mugging to our side because many of his family/friends were seated in my section. Right before Rock and Roll al Nite, I saw him go up to Eric Singer and get a drumstick, which he promptly slid into one of his hip-high boots and walked towards our side. Under cover of the raining down confetti, he leaned over the stage and handed the stick to a guy who came over to our section and gave it to a kid who must have been about 3 or 4. High class, that Tommy Thayer.

So to sum up, this is not the classic KISS lineup, and they don’t sound like the classic KISS lineup. It’s something else and damn it, it is good. I bought this ticket thinking, I will take my kid and then I'll be done with KISS. But shit, if they came back tomorrow I'd be there. They are kicking serious ass right now.

PS – if I am able to do half the stuff Paul Stanley did onstage when I am pushing 60, I will be a very lucky guy. That dude is immortal. Up close, you can tell he’s older, but man those new hips he got a couple of years ago are holding up well!

PSS – Noted one other popular musician at the meet and greet – Journey drummer Deen Castronovo. He was about five people in front of us for the photo opps. But I was so star struck being in the same room as KISS I didn’t even think to get an autograph or even say hey on behalf of my most fanatic Journey blog followers! Sorry everyone!

Here are some of the photos I took with my substandard Treo phone.

For some proper photos of this show, check out Chris Ryan's site here.

Also here is a video montage someone shot:

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monty Python Meets Iron Maiden?

Watching the new six-part documentary Monty Python: Almost the Truth (The Lawyer's Cut) a couple of weeks ago, I was somewhat mystified as to the appearance of Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson as an interviewee.

My wife in fact commented, "What, did they just interview anyone who was available?" But on further research, Dickinson is a big Python fan, as are many big-time musicians. For example, from the documentary we learn that Pink Floyd helped the troupe finance the Holy Grail movie in 1975, and George Harrison did the same for Life of Brian a few years later.

What I didn't know is that one of the last things the late Graham Chapman from Python ever did was to appear in the fairly typical dumb video for Can I Play With Madness off of Maiden's 1988 album Seventh Son of A Seventh Son. Where in the hell was I? Anyway, here ya go:

Iron Maiden - Can I Play with Madness

Everyday I Write the Book | MySpace Video

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Britney Spears is a Satan Worshipper - She Said it Herself on Twitter!

I don't know why I think this is so funny but I do. Britney Spears' Twitter account was hacked (again) but this time instead of making her look like more of an idiot/sexpot/loser than she really is, they turned her into a follower of the Illuminati and Satan.

According to a post on CNN:

Hackers appear to have struck the singer’s Twitter account on Thursday, altering her wallpaper and posting the following tweets:

“I give myself to Lucifer every day for it to arrive as quickly as possible. Glory to Satan!”

“i hope that the new world order will arrive as soon as possible! -Britney”

The Illuminati wallpaper and offending tweets were quickly removed. #DontHackBritneySpears later appeared as a popular trending topic on Twitter.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Steven Tyler Joins Joe Perry Onstage in New York - Aerosmith Breakup Rumors Are Shattered?

Anyone trolling the rock and roll news sites on the Web the last couple of weeks has likely seen all the drama around Steven Tyler and the rest of Aerosmith. Tyler has been having a rough time the last few months, what with breaking his shoulder in a fall off a stage mid-concert, and various rumors that he has fallen off the wagon.

This week's news was that Joe Perry got off the plane from a recent concert in Dubai to hear that Tyler announced he was quitting the band, via his Web site no less. What he actually said was that he was going to focus on the "Tyler brand," which probably means a solo album or something. But Perry took it as a resignation, and even went so far as to say they would be auditioning for replacement singers, adding that Tyler won't even return his phone calls.

Well, according to a Tweet from @PiercingMetal who is at Perry's Fillmore NY show right now, Tyler just joined Perry onstage for Walk This Way. So much for all the bullshit tabloid-like coverage, stoked by Perry himself. Maybe it was a ploy to get people to his gig!

Anyway, if the band needs a break, let 'em have it. It is often good to take a break to recharge the ole batteries. But after all this time, it’s hard to believe those two wouldn’t stay buddies somehow.

Stream the New Them Crooked Vultures Album

I just got an email that simply said, "Fuck Patience. Let's Dance" and provided me the below link to stream the new Them Crooked Vultures album, which will hit the stores next week. Enjoy:

CD Review - U2 The Unforgettable Fire Remastered

On the urging of fellow blogger Seano, I went out at found the 2 CD remaster of U2’s The Unforgettable Fire. I had a bitch of a time finding it too, and finally got it at a Border’s.

I had not heard this album in years but know it well from high school, when U2 and The Police were my ‘secret bands’ I listened to by myself in my room.

Publically, it was all Quiet Riot, Sabbath, Maiden, Priest etc. U2 were just not musically adept enough to pass muster with my metal friends. Plus, way too many of our fellow students with strange haircuts liked this stuff. Therefore, I could not.

But I did! And The Unforgettable Fire is my probably my favorite U2 album, followed by All That You Can’t Leave Behind, No Line on the Horizon, The Joshua Tree, and War, in that order.

Anyway…This remaster is fantastic. The original CD is crisp and as with all good remasters, I hear all sorts of stuff that I never heard on the original. For example, you can hear the amp hiss at the very beginning of Bad. Not something you really WANT to hear, but you get the idea of the clarity presented here. This album is also a great one for remastering because it is so sonically ambitious. The layers of guitars, echo, keyboards and the pulsing bass and drums just sound really good here. A Sort of Homecoming and the title track really stand out.

The very odd Elvis Presley and America is very Floydworthy. I heard they got that sound by slowing the tape down and letting Bono wing it live. He wanted to re-do his vocals and they all said no. Imagine that. Telling Bono ‘no.’

The bonus disc also sounds great. It kicks off with a song begun for the album but finished for the remaster. So, kind of a ‘new’ old U2 song. The next four songs are from the EP Wide Awake in America, which contained live versions of A Sort of Homecoming and Bad, and two studio tunes, the better of which is The Three Sunrises -- a song that sounds like it would have been on War. I have to note that this live version of Bad is my favorite version of my hands-down favorite U2 song. And it just sounds great here.

The rest of the bonus tracks are B-sides, remixes and odd soundscapes that didn’t make the album. Together, they paint an ambitious picture of a band trying to do something new, with producers (Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois) who had some powerful sonic tools at their disposal and weren’t afraid to use them. For example, the instrumental Yoshino Blossom has a bit of a New Years Day feel, but with some screaming guitar tones from The Edge armed with an E-Bow, according to the liner notes written by Edge himself.

Another fun piece is the remixed version of A Sort of Homecoming that was done at Peter Gabriel’s studio (around the time he was recording So with Lanois). You can hear Gabriel doing backing vocals and that is kind of a neat novelty. The song starts like a Peter Gabriel song, as a matter of fact.

Two new mashup mixes of Wire are pretty good too. Overall the bonus disc adds a lot to this release, and the packaging is really nice too, with liner notes from Eno, Lanois, and like I said, Edge. Lyrics are also included. Very helpful in the afore-mentioned Elvis Presley and America, which has always been mysterious to me lyric-wise.

There is a super-deluxe version with a bonus DVD but I didn’t get it – maybe I should have. But if you ever dug this album back in the day, you’ll have fun re-experiencing it in its sonically enhanced state. Rock it!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Neil Peart Waxes on the Future of Rush

What to write? What to write? Another Rush post? Seems like there are lots of opportunities to put up little things about Rush these days. I usually let them pass because there are better sites for that – like

But every month, Neil Peart posts a usually-lengthy entry on his Web site that either chronicles a motorcycle trek, a bird-watching episode and sometimes items about drumming. This month, he got way into the drumming again, and it’s worth a read if you are a Peart fan.

One part of his post struck me as interesting enough to repeat here. Peart said that soon he would be getting together with Alex and Geddy to talk about what they are going to do next as a band. He said that none of them have any idea of what lies next but that they have been paying attention to the changing landscape of the music business and may decide to go very non-conventional moving forward.

They only have one album left on their deal with Atlantic (he didn’t say this, but it is true), so after that is done, they can pretty much do whatever they want, business-wise. Interesting possibilities. Here is some of what I am talking about:

... In this autumn of 2009, the three of us are poised on another kind of "reinvention." We have agreed to meet in Los Angeles in November, and discuss our future. ... these are parlous times in the music business, so our time-honored pattern of touring, recording, and touring is no longer the obvious way to do things. ... Because of that reality, record company advances that used to pay for album projects are a thing of the past, so if that was what we wanted to do, we'd be on our own. ... To this point, the three of us haven't even discussed what we might discuss, so to speak-so our ideas and shared enthusiasm for the entity of Rush will be fresh, spontaneous, and quite likely exciting. For myself, I'm open to anything we can all agree on (I've pointed out before that in a three-piece band, we need consensus, not democracy-it's no good having one outvoted and unhappy member). My favorite group activity is always songwriting and recording, and I've got some lyrical ideas and those new drumming frontiers to explore. However, those rhythmic concepts would also be inspiring for a new drum solo, if we decided to do a tour of some kind, maybe with an orchestra. We could write and record just a few songs, and release them some way. Or there were a couple of film-and-music projects we had discussed in the past. In any case, there are enough possibilities for future collaboration, and I am curious to see what we'll come up with.

Maybe they could just do house concerts and start in my basement. There’s an idea to discuss!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Concert Review - John Cleese

I saw comedic genius John Cleese last night in Eugene with frankly low expectations. I had seen Cleese in some interviews over the last few years and thought he was funny but not rip-roaring funny. I thought, well, maybe the man has lost his edge and his best work is behind him.

Well, call me all straightened out. Last night Cleese did what amounted to a two-hour monologue in front of a sold out theater. He used hilarious slides on a screen behind him to help drive the jokes home, and he showed various clips from his career as well.

He started off saying that he was so old, one of his teeth fell out when he was brushing his teeth that morning. “I am so old that pieces are literally falling off of me.” He continued on by saying he had to do this tour because he was recently divorced and has to pay his ex $20 million dollars. He continued saying that by other divorce settlements, he could have married Pamela Anderson 8 and a third times (accompanied by a graphic of eight and a third Pamela Andersons), and other similar comparisons of what $20 million can get you these days.

He talked about his mother, who was afraid of everything. “The only two things my mother and I had in common were that we were not raised by wolves and that we both loved black comedy.” He went on to say that his remedy for her complaining that she was depressed was to offer to have someone come to her house and kill her. When she said "You'll forget about me when I am gone," Cleese said "No I won't because when you die I am going to have you stuffed by a taxidermist, and I will put you in a glass case by my door so when I grab my hat to go outside, I will see you." This promise, according to Cleese, upped her status at the nursing home.

It went on and on and soon focused on how he got into comedy, with of course lengthy segments on Python, Fawlty Towers, his late writing partner and fellow Python Graham Ghapman, and the Fish Called Wanda movie. Then he said, “since my career has been dead for the past 19 years, let’s go to the Q&A,” and took a few questions from the audience.

I was dying laughing all night and immediately wished that every one of my friends were there with me to see this. One was – one of my oldest friends Brendan. Brendan runs the production house that puts shows on in the Theater, so we watched the show from the soundboard. And Steve, the house sound guy, had a 30-odd page script that was basically everything Cleese was saying. There were some improvised parts but I was very impressed that Cleese basically had written a two-hour comedy skit about his life, complete with props, slides and films. And he delivered it flawlessly.

Cleese brings the show to his home state of California next week, with various shows (mostly in Southern California). Do some Googling and see if you can see this. And while you’re there, get the tour shirt (yes, he has merch) that says “I saw John Cleese Live. Before he died.”

There is a pretty good interview with Cleese in the Glendale Press as well, here.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Governator and His Secret Message to the California Assembly and Senate

According to numerous reports last week, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger included a secret message, Lucy In The Sky with Diamonds-style, into a memo to the California Assembly and Senate.

Seems that the Assembly and Senate unanimously approved Assembly Bill 1176 to help the port of San Francisco with financing issues. Schwarzenegger decided to veto the legislation, sending a letter to the state Assembly chastising them for focusing on “unnecessary bills.” And check out the little secret message he included:

The Wall Street Journal provides more context, making this even more amusing:

Earlier this month, the Republican governor crashed a San Francisco Democratic Party fund-raiser, where he was booed by Democrats still upset at the spending cuts he pushed this year. One attendee, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, yelled “You lie!” at him, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Then, Ammiano, a former standup comedian who is famous in San Francisco for his championing of liberal causes and gay rights, walked out on the speech, shouting a vulgarity.

Schwarzenegger has said he was unfazed by the incident.

Four days later, Assembly Bill 1176, which just happened to be sponsored by Ammiano, reached his desk. The bill would have expanded the financing powers of the Port of San Francisco. The state legislature didn’t have a problem with it; it cleared the Senate 40-0 and the Assembly 78-0.

Nonetheless, the former tough-talking “Terminator” star vetoed the bill, sending along a message.

...When asked about the intent of the message, Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear said that “like every veto message, it says why the governor vetoed the bill.”

Okay. What about the other message in the letter?

“As far as what it says on the left-hand margin, that’s just a strange coincidence,” McLear said. “When you do so many vetoes, that’s bound to happen.”

Monday, November 02, 2009

John Cleese Silly Walks Into the Northwest

John Cleese from Monty Python's Flying Circus is on a rare tour right now. The 70-year old Cleese is calling this the "A Final Wave at the World or The Alimony Tour, Year One." Similar to the Carol Burnett tour I just took my mom to, Cleese will talk about his life in comedy, of course hitting on Python and Fawlty Towers, and then taking questions from the audience.

I am attending the show with my one of my best/oldest friends Brendan on Wednesday in Eugene. The show in Portland tonight is sold out but it'll be more fun to see it with Brendan in Eugene anyway, despite the 109 mile drive. The venue is where my band plays the Floyd tribute shows, so it'll be nice to be there and not have to perform!

Serena Markstrom from the Register Guard in Eugene had the good fortune to interview Cleese for an article in the paper to promote the show. She published the mostly complete transcript here. Check it out!

I certainly will post something about the show on Thursday or Friday, time permitting.

Friday, October 30, 2009

WTF? Orianthi Is Avril Lavigne Meets Yngwie Malmsteen?

I was poking around the blogosphere last night and came across this video at Mr. Mike's Media Madness. It's this chick singer, Orianthi, and of course because she is hot I had to click on the video. What I heard was your average Avril Lavigne The Matrix chick pop song but then all of a sudden this shredding guitar came in and I realized it was coming from the fingers of Orianthi herself.

OK, so aside from the fact that the shred and this song do NOT go together, I thought it was very cool that this woman is such a fine guitarist. And damn it, if she turns a bunch of Miley-loving tween girls onto shredding guitar, then God Bless Her!

Also, according to Wikipedia, she was Michael Jackson's lead guitarist and "was present on all rehearsals for his This Is It tour before his death...She appears in the film This Is It, which chronicles the rehearsals for the tour" and is raking in loads of cash. Further proving that if you want a career pop, all you have to do is die.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Introducing the Running With The Devil Soundboard!

OK, this is too funny. Someone carved up the audio-only track of David Lee Roth singing Running With the Devil and made a soundboard out of it. Go to this site and click around. I think the photo they chose it perfect too. Claaaasic!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

CD Review - The Swell Season - Strict Joy

I picked up the new The Swell Season CD today, called Strict Joy. I got the deluxe edition, which has a second CD of live tracks from the last couple of tours. A total of 32 tracks - 13 make up the new CD and 19 are live tracks.

A quick glance at the writing credits of the new songs betrays that this is more of a Glen Hansard album. Marketa Irgolva only has a couple of writing credits. But her voice and piano are very present, and the harmonies are still sweet.

The album opens with a couple of good, solid upbeat tunes (Low Rising and Feeling the Pull). Not until the third song (In These Arms) do we get a song that sounds like the Once soundtrack, with Irglova harmonizing with Hansard over soft acoustic progressions. These three songs were released over the last couple of months as singles on iTunes but this is the first time I had heard any of them.

The fourth song, The Rain, comes back up in tempo with full band and impassioned relationship-based lyrics from Hansard.

In fact, relationships seem to be the theme of this album and there doesn’t seem to be any effort to hide the fact that it’s a very Fleetwood Mac-ish break-up album. The songs are loaded with references to the on-again off-again nature of Irglova and Hansard’s relationship. Lots of songs about longing, people.

But where the Once soundtrack and The Swell Season CD are mostly softer, acoustic based discs with a couple of rockers, Strict Joy is a better balance.

Not knowing anything at all about these two (except for the movie) when I saw them the first time live, they were mostly acoustic and quiet, which is what I kind of expected. The second time through, however, Hansard had most of his band The Frames with him, and they did lots of really upbeat, rocking numbers. Some of The Frames tunes like Fitzcarraldo were fairly face-melting. That rocking side of the band comes through more on this disc.

A good example is High Horses, which starts out as an arpeggiated, repeating piano riff but really takes off at the end with full band coming in and bringing the energy level waaaaay up. This one will be on par with Fitzcarraldo live. The Verb does something similar structurally, with some very nice call and response vocal trade offs and a great build at the end with a nice use of strings.

Irglova’s two songs are strong. Fantasy Man is pretty obviously about Hansard and is well done, with dare I say an Eastern European vibe to it (it would make sense, since that is where she is from). I Have Loved You Wrong is the standout here. I remember seeing this one live and thinking, what the hell is this song? It’s a very trancy song, with a repeating bass line and very tasty piano noodlings. But the repeating vocal bit that takes the song out was mind blowing live, and although it is understated on this version, the song is done really well on this disc. Might be her best song.

Suffice it to say, if you like the music from the movie Once, and/or the first Swell Season album, you’ll love this. And if you dig The Frames, you’ll probably like it too. I am still discovering that band, so I don’t have a ton of insight there. But the new material picks up where the last left off, with enough familiarity to link it to the previous work but also with enough of an evolution so that you don’t feel like you are listening to a re-hash.

There really isn’t a bad track on the CD although the last two songs are a bit sleepy, although very pretty - especially the outro to Somebody Good, which closes the CD with some gorgeous vocal harmonies between Hansard and Irglova. A nice way to wrap up the CD.

And of course you get what amounts to a full live CD as a bonus of you get the deluxe edition. Which is nice.

Monday, October 26, 2009

T.U.B.E. Bootleg Site Vanishes, Shows Up Again, The Sun Shines and Birds Chirp Happily

I noticed today that my favorite bootleg site, T.U.B.E. (stands for 'the ultimate bootleg site') had been taken down. This periodically happens to boot sites but this was a big blow. And based on the spike in traffic to my earlier post on T.U.B.E., it looks like I was not the only one freaking out.

Well, happily, they are back up here and here. And there is a Facebook page too, which I didn't know about. Praise Jesus. Go forth and downloads boots.

Them Crooked Vultures Debut New Single on YouTube - New Album Out Nov. 17

The big buzz the last couple of months has been about this new 'super group' with John Paul Jones (Zeppelin), Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters) and Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) called Them Crooked Vultures.

The band went from a kind of a "guys Dave Grohl would love to form a band with" rumor to an actual act that played a few small shows to massive acclaim leading to the aforementioned buzz. Rumors of an album circulated.

Three interesting nuggets came to my attention today:

1) The new album is indeed happening and will be released November 17. You can see the track listing for it here.

2) The band will play some shows in the States and is scheduled to play the Roseland Theater right here in Portland on November 22. All the dates here.

3) The band issued its first single from the album on YouTube today. Sounds pretty rocking! Check it out:

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pink Floyd's Richard Wright Left Millions to His Kids

It recently came out that Richard Wright who passed away last year was worth about $26 million, and he left the lion's share to his children, James, 42, Gala, 39, and Ben, 17. None of Wright's three former wives were mentioned in the will. But none of them have contested it, because presumably they were taken care of with divorce settlements.

Here is a cool bit: Wright also made arrangements for 'a really good party' to be held for his friends - putting aside $30,000 with a guest list to be drawn up by James and Gala.

Dang - I was not on that guest list! Didn't they know I am in a PF Tribute Band!!!???

More on this from the Daily Express here.

New Blogroll Entry - Cake Wrecks

Yeah this blog is mostly about music. 98 percent, probably. So it takes a funny site to make the blogroll, like Candy Gurus or the site with the incorrect uses of quote marks.

Along those lines, I just was turned onto this hilarious site, Cake Wrecks, by my wife's cousin. It logs cakes that have gone horribly bad. Pretty funny stuff - peruse at will.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sort of DVD Review - David Gilmour at Royal Albert Hall

This is a "sort of" review because a buddy loaned me just the bonus DVD and I have not seen the actual concert DVD. This bonus DVD is loaded with songs from other gigs on the tour and a very good film about the On An Island tour in general. I wanted to suggest watching this bonus DVD for a few reasons:

--There is a very interesting encounter with Roger Waters that is captured on film. This is after the Live 8 reunion but they sure still don't seem very comfortable around each other.

--The film reinforces what I already thought, which was that On An Island is a return to pre-Dark Side Pink Floyd, mood-wise. The tour is also a showcase for Rick Wright, who plays better than ever and is shown in the most light-hearted manner I have ever seen in a film. He always seemed cautious and guarded but not here. Given that he dies the next year, it's a bittersweet observation but still worth watching.

--The guest appearances are very interesting. David Bowie, Nash, Crosby etc. Makes me want to watch the actual concert to see how they performed. The backstage stuff in the bonus film is fun. Bowie is a kick.

--Gilmour comes off as a very cool dude. For example, at some point on the tour, people start futzing around with playing wine glasses at a restaurant. One thing leads to another and some of the band plays the keyboard parts to Shine On on wine glasses at a festival gig in front of thousands of fans, as a dare by Gilmour, and it takes a life of its own from there.

Gilmour also decided to bust into On The Turning Away at a show, but fails to tell the rest of the band, some of whom have never played the song before. Hearing a bootleg of it recently, it's classic. Gilmour forgets the end of the second verse and starts laughing on the mic. Come to think of it, like Iron Maiden with A Matter of Life and Death, Gilmour decides to do his whole new album live on this tour, despite the fact that everyone wants to hear old Floyd hits. He busts out oldies like Echoes, Fat Old Sun and Wots...Uh the Deal. Good for him. Very few bands have the balls to do that. Porcupine Tree is doing it now with their new album The Incident.

Anyway, this has been out for a while but if you haven't seen it and you dig Gilmour or old Floyd, check it out. It's a good bookend with the Live at Gdansk CD/DVD from the end of this same tour, which I reviewed here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

U2 on YouTube - Say It Ten Times Fast - Then Watch Live on Sunday

U2 have announced that their upcoming concert at the Pasadena Rose Bowl in California on Sunday will be streamed live in full and free of charge on YouTube.

Paul McGuinness, the band's manager, said that the band has wanted to broadcast a gig in this way for sometime. "It's the perfect opportunity to extend the party beyond the stadium."

You'll be able to see the show at at 8:30 PM Pacific Time.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Peter Criss Beats Breast Cancer

I know I post too much KISS stuff on this blog but I couldn't hold back on this one. Original drummer Peter Criss announced this month that he overcame breast cancer last year. Huh? Breast cancer? Yep, guys can get it too.

Seems that Peter noticed a suspicious lump and had it checked out and removed, and it turned out to be cancerous. He is currently cancer-free but is taking advantage of Breast Cancer Awareness Month this month to get the word out that yes guys have a small amount of breast tissue and can indeed get breast cancer. Rare, but it happens.

CNN tells Peter's story well, and has some good commentary by the man himself such as, "It's just important -- just go get checked out. It's not like you're going to lose your manhood."

I actually had a lump in a pec a couple of years ago and went to get it checked out. It was nothing and it went away by itself but at that time I learned that guys can get breast cancer. I was slightly freaked out when they slammed my meager tit into the mammogram machine but it beats dying, you know?

Anyway, good for Pete for having the balls (and tits) to speak out on this issue. It's no joke.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Floydian Slips Videos from the Weekend

In addition to blogging and having an actual job, I play guitar and sing in various bands. One of the more fun and long-standing is The Floydian Slips, an 8-piece Pink Floyd tribute band.

We have been playing shows for the past 12 years - usually one or two a year, as they are big production deals. Also, most of the other folks in the band are full time musicians and getting a date that works for all of us, plus the crew and venue, is sometimes a challenge.

But it all came together last Saturday and we did a pretty decent show at the McDonald Theater in Eugene. The first set was a little challenging, as the computer with the samples for Money, Time, the front of Wish You Were Here, the end of Fearless etc went down and we had to wing it. Musically, that was OK but we had to have these quick conversations among ourselves onstage, which is never a good thing in front of 1,000 people.

Second set crushed, though, with the computer working again and all of us determined to overcome the challenges and put on a kick ass show. Below is the set list and videos of some of the stronger songs from the night.

Our next show is in February in Eugene Oregon with the Eugene Ballet at the Hult Center. We are playing the Dark Side of the Moon live and they are dancing. That is all I know for now.

Set 1

One Of These Days
Set The Controls for the Heart of the Sun
Have A Cigar
Wish You Were Here
Great Gig in the Sky

Set 2

Pigs on the Wing Part 1
Pigs (Three Different Ones)
In The Flesh?
The Thin Ice
Another Brick in the Wall Part 1
Happiest Days of Our Lives
Another Brick in the Wall Part 2
Goodbye Blue Sky
Young Lust
Hey You
Comfortably Numb


Shine On You Crazy Diamond
Learning To Fly
Run Like Hell

Pigs (Three Different Ones) - Part 1

Pigs (Three Different Ones) - Part 2

Run Like Hell

Hey You

Comfortably Numb

Monday, October 12, 2009

Prince Rips Bitchin' Solo - Happy Monday!

In the 'why have I never seen this file?' falls this VH1 clip of an all star group doing While My Guitar Gently Weeps. It's the usual suspects Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne etc, with Harrison's son on acoustic.

But get to 3:30 to witness none other than Prince ripping a face melting solo on a Telecaster. Wow. I thought Prince was a total recluse. I have never seen him join anyone onstage for an 'all star jam' but it looks like he was having a blast and his guitar did all the talking here.

I don't know Prince's music very well but I gotta say that when I see shit like this, I am impressed.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

CD Review - KISS - Sonic Boom

KISS’s new Sonic Boom album, released two days ago, made me angry. Why? A few reasons:

1) I had to go to WalMart to buy it. Which started the whole thing off on the wrong foot. I felt dirty going in there and sure enough I wasn’t in the door more than 30 seconds when a lady driving a motorized shopping cart road raged someone who ‘cut her off.’ F bombs were dropped. She scooted off. I immediately wanted to bolt back out the door.

2) The WalMart KISS Korner is a joke. Aside from the CD, there were $6 bags of M&Ms with KISS faces on them, and throw blankets. That was it. Snoooore. In a completely other section, they had all the KISS remasters for $5 a pop, which further angered me as I bought many of them for much more than that when they first came out. Maybe they hadn’t fully stocked the KISS Korner yet, but even the paltry merch that was there just stank of another way for Gene and Paul to get richer.

3) The CD was $12, for the new 11-song disc, a second disc of old KISS songs re-recorded by the new lineup, and a DVD. This was the exact same format for the Journey Revelation WalMart-only release from last year. This didn’t make me angry. I thought the price was great for the package, which is very nicely put together. The artwork is pop-arty and fairly cool and there is a book with all the lyrics in case you couldn’t decipher Gene singing about pussy or Paul signing about living life to the fullest because you are the boss and KISS rocks for you…

4) Popped the CD on in the car. Modern Day Delilah comes on. Still sounds great. This is an absolute KISS classic. Next song – Russian Roulette. Gene tune. Sounds pretty good but yeah he is singing about ‘loaded guns,’ ‘pulling triggers,’ etc and I am not nearly as OK with Gene singing about humping chicks at age 60 than on the 1970s albums when he was actually supposed to be getting lots of tail. Then it was the 1970s and he was about 30 – good man. Now it’s just kinda gross.

5) I wanted every song to be as good as Modern Day Delilah and it wasn’t happening. The songs are catchy, rocking and very well-performed. The new lineup is much tighter than the original band, but this CD is breaking no new ground. Every Tommy Thayer solo sounds like Ace from Alive! He has this down so well that he sounds more like Ace than Ace does. I get angry again and then feel bad for Tommy Thayer because he is just doing his job.

6) Then song 7 comes on and it’s Eric Singer singing, and he sounds gravelly – yeah just like Peter Criss. I get very angry. It made me realize that I am annoyed more than I thought that Paul and Gene replaced Ace and Peter with guys who dress, perform and act just like them. It’s bogus. I do not want to hear Eric Singer sing a song like Peter Criss, even if it is very anthemic and catchy, which it is.

7) Then just as I am calming down song 10 comes on and Tommy Thayer is signing. Thankfully he doesn’t sound like Ace but then I think – this now doesn’t even sound like KISS. What the hell is this crap?

8) The CD winds up with a song called “Say Yeah,” which is another Paul Stanley arena-pleaser. The sum total of the experience is that I want to turn off Sonic Boom and listen to Ace’s album again. Ace broke new ground on his album. He sang about his struggles. He kicked out some killer instrumentals. He took some chances and sang some stuff that was way outside of what you’d expect. Sonic Boom, while for sure is a return to form for KISS, breaks zero new ground. It’s just 11 more catchy KISS songs done by half the original band about the same old crap.

9) OK I know this is harsh – read between the lines here. The songs are good KISS tunes. There is loads of KISS-level passion, meaning Paul Stanley signs the shit out of everything he touches and the band for sure believes in itself on this CD. But it just made me pine for the original band. Shit, I even tolerated Psycho Circus because I could at least pretend that Ace was playing the leads, although it probably was Tommy Thayer!

10) The next day (yesterday), I ran into a guy I talk with at the music store and he too got Sonic Boom, but he loved it. He said I should keep listening and give it another chance. Now that the smoke has cleared from my day one rant, I am indeed liking Sonic Boom better and am appreciating it for what it is, as opposed to what I want it to be. In fact the Paul Stanley song "Never Enough" is growing on me in a big way - excellent chorus in particular...But I thought it would be far more interesting to share my first impressions, which were certainly tainted by my ‘shopping experience.’ Anyway, any thoughts from the peanut gallery? Those who have heard both Sonic Boom and Ace’s Anomaly CDs, which do you like better?