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?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

New KISS Album In Stores Today

...well, in one store. Wal-Mart. Ugh. I will probably make a run to get it though. I will try and snap photos of the obnoxious KISS Korner display. And of course I will be posting a review this week.

KISS will also be making appearances this week on late night TV:

--Tuesday, October 6: Late Show with David Letterman on CBS 11:35 PM ET
--Wednesday, October 7: Jimmy Kimmel Show on ABC 12:05 AM ET

But here is what I want to see again: Ace cranking the amps to 11 at a recent Giants/Chiefs game! He botches a note near the end and seems a little surprised when the bombs start to go off but overall I think this is cool. Go Ace!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Movie Review: It Might Get Loud

When I was about 10 or 11, my brother (who was ten years older) took me to a movie. I remember him being very fired up about this movie and saying I needed to see it because I liked music and guitar so much.

The theater was really far away and the drive took forever. On the way he told me about this new band he thought I would like. It had two kind of cool guys in it, and two sort of nerdy guys – it was Cheap Trick and he was right, I did like them. I also really liked KISS at the time and was getting way into The Beatles. I was still a year or so away from The Stones, Who, Tubes and Police. And puberty.

But he was about to blow my tiny little mind away by taking me to see The Song Remains The Same.

Whoh, mission accomplished, as GWB would have hung in the theater on a big banner. The place was packed. People were smoking dope and being really loud. It was very overwhelming and exciting and my brother turned to me about every three minutes and said, “are you doing OK?”

Of course the main event was on the screen. What a way to be introduced to Zeppelin. Everything about it was huge. The theater sound system was cranked, and I could only imagine why that bearded guy (manager Peter Grant) blew all those card playing dudes (music industry people) away with a machine gun at the beginning of the movie, and that one dude’s head fell off as colored streams of paint fountained out his neck. Huh!?

The music was of course a lot to take in -- 25 minute Dazed and Confused with violin bow solo and Jimmy Page scaling a mountain to meet a wizard-like version of himself, only to be thrown backwards in time back into the womb? Check. Creepy horse-riding highwayman causing general havoc and then returning home to a lovely dinner in his mansion with his family? Check. Insanely long drum solo? Check. Dragon pants? Check. Golden God? Check. Needless to say, I was never the same again.

Thanks, Johnny.

In the same spirit, I took my 10 and 12 year old boys to see It Might Get Loud this weekend. Not to freak them out on some 70s pseudo devil soundtrack, but to celebrate what I have loved and played for more than 30 years – the electric guitar.

The movie was billed as Jimmy Page (there is that name again), The Edge and Jack White getting together to pretty much talk shop and share stories and observations about the electric guitar.

And we got that. But we got more. A lot more.

The movie tracked Page, White and Edge and how they got into the guitar, what was going on in their lives at the time (all three have great stories of struggle and how music helped them respond), and how they have approached the instrument.

I learned a lot from all three but the one guy I didn’t know at all was Jack White. He is a very interesting dude. Youngest of 10 kids, raised in Detroit in a shitty neighborhood. Likes to make things hard on himself for a challenge, to keep things real. Such as, “If the keyboard is three feet away from me onstage, move it to four feet so I have to run over to play it.” I like that. Complacency is not his deal.

Edge’s story is a bit better known but the background on what was going on in the music industry and in Dublin (lots of strife) when U2 started was fairly eye opening.

Interspersed between the individual stories was footage of the three hanging out on a soundstage, talking about guitars and playing each other riffs. Some pretty cool little jams between all three as well.

Some of the cool scenes:

--Page touring us through the mansion where LZ 4 was recorded and showing the room the drums for When The Levee Breaks were recorded, and how he miked them (from the upper balcony)
--Edge showing how he uses his various effects and pedals – a gear geek’s wet dream
--White writing and recording a song out of the blue on a reel to reel for the movie
--The look on Edge and White’s faces as Page breaks into the Whole Lotta Love riff
--The three jamming on In My Time of Dying, trading slide solos

Anyway, I highly suggest seeing this film is you are a guitar player. It’s a must see, actually. Not sure it changed my kids’ lives or anything, but they really enjoyed it as well and asked when my next gig was. Gotta love that…

If you haven’t seen it yet, the trailer is pretty representative of the movie:

Friday, October 02, 2009

One More Reason to See Porcupine Tree - Neil Peart Might Be There

If is to be believed (and they are usually accurate with rumors/news etc), Neil Peart attended the first four Porcupine Tree shows on the west coast (Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles).

Yes, that means the show I saw in Portland! That would have been a trip running into Neil in the shitter, huh? I suspect he was safely watching from backstage but who knows?

According to the rumor, Peart 'rode his bike between shows' with PT guitarist John Wesley. If by 'bike' they mean 'motorcycle,' I would believe it. Otherwise, no way they rode tenspeeds on I-5 between Seattle and Portland.

Alex Lifeson was spotted at the Toronto show at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre as well. Coolio! Starfucking aside, if you can see this show, do it. It's unreal.