Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bold Prediction: Mick Taylor Will Re-join The Stones

Running on the treadmill tonight listening to the remastered Exile on Main Street, a bunch of random tidbits of information coalesced in my mind and I had a eureka moment that I needed to share with everyone. It's a little far-fetched, or is it? Here is my bold prediction:

The Rolling Stones will get back together with guitarist Mick Taylor, will ditch Ronnie Wood, and will tour playing Exile On Main Street in its entirety.

My rationale? Dig it:

--Exile On Main Street is #1 on the charts this week and there is currently a great interest in the Mick Taylor era of the band (1969-1974). This has always been called the Stones' most creative period, and much of the credit goes to Taylor's tasty and fluid lead and slide playing. It is the Stones' first #1 album in 16 years.
--Mick Jagger had Taylor come to the studio to lay some leads down on the new Stones single from the Exile bonus tracks, Plunder My Soul (video below).
--Keith Richards in a recent Rolling Stone interview said "If I had my way, Mick Taylor would still be in the band."
--Ron Wood has been off the deep end for more than two years, falling off the wagon and splitting up with his long-time wife Jo in exchange for a 21 year old Russian girl, who he later was accused of assaulting. Too extreme even for the Stones, Keith reportedly was trying to cut down on his drinking and partying after he saw how low Wood had fallen. That to me says a lot. Respect for Woody lost?
--Wood just this week is reportedly in a reunited version of the Faces, his pre-Stones band fronted by Rod Stewart. New gig for Woody.
--Rumors of Ronnie's departure from the Stones heated up when the band's official Web site changed his bio's status in the band from 'ongoing' to '1976-2010.' (It has since been fixed)
--Mick Taylor isn't doing anything right now.

OK yes I am crazy but think about the show. I predict they would do theaters, and play Exile along with other Mick Taylor material. Think of the the set list: Exile On Main Street (all 18 songs), Can't You Hear Me Knocking, Brown Sugar, Sway, Wild Horses, Moonlight Mile, Stray Cat Blues, Dead Flowers, Heartbreaker, Angie, Time Waits for No One, It's Only Rock And Roll, If You Can't Rock Me, 100 Years Ago, Dancing With Mr D. Need I go on? I have a boner just thinking about this.

Pair that with the fact that bands playing their classic albums all the way through is also very hot right now. Everyone from Springsteen to Rush are doing this.

Well, time will tell but remember you saw it here first! What do you think?

Plunder My Soul, from the Exile bonus tracks:

Preview Track From My Upcoming CD - Voices

Here is the second sneak peek track from my forthcoming CD, A Fear of Flashing Light, which will be released next Tuesday, June 1.

Like I said yesterday, the songs on the CD vary, with four tunes that lean on the prog rock side, a couple of more acoustic based, moody things, and some more mainstream sounding tunes. This one falls into the middle category, and has probably my favorite guitar solo I have ever recorded, which is kinda me going out on a limb here. Let me know what you think!

The song is called Voices. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Preview Track From My Upcoming CD - Wondering Why

As some of you may know, I have been working on my first solo CD for about a year now. I have played in numerous bands over the years, have been on many CDs, and have had lots of my songs recorded. But this is the first project I have put my actual name on (yes, the identity of "Isorski," while always a loosely guarded semi-secret at best, is about to be officially revealed!)

The CD is called A Fear of Flashing Light, and will be released next Tuesday, June 1. But in the meantime, here is a sneak peek at one of the 12 songs: Wondering Why.

The songs on the CD vary, with four tunes that lean on the prog rock side, a couple of more acoustic based, moody (Floyd-ish?) things, and some more mainstream sounding tunes. This one falls into the latter category. Let me know what you think!

Cool Rush Interviews on CBC Hour

Lots of recent Rush news with a new tour, new songs available next Tuesday, the documentary film Beyond the Lighted Stage, etc. So I am trying to be choosy in what I post - there could be something every day! (For that, go to But these recent interviews are really cool. They get some questions thrown at them in part two that I have never heard anyone ask before. Enjoy!

Part 1:

Part 2:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bono Injury Forces Scrapped U2 Tour

This is not a news flash, as it's been pretty well covered this week. U2 singer Bono injured his back severely enough in rehearsals to require emergency back surgery in Germany last week. Originally a couple of shows were scrapped but now the U.S tour is postponed as well.

Why is this a big deal, besides the obvious concern for Bono's health and the inconvenience and disappointment of the people who made travel plans to attend the enormous shows?

Well, this is not just a typical big arena tour, but rather a continuation of the massive 360 tour. Some info on the logistics from last year:

The cylindrical 360 degree video screen weighs 54 tons and opens up in a scissor-like fashion to resemble an enormous gyro. Fully extended, it covers an area of 14,000 square feet which is as big as 2 doubles tennis courts. The video screen is made up of over 1 million pieces… 500,000 pixels, 320,000 fasteners, 30,000 cables and 150,000 machined pieces. Once the show is over, it takes 6 hours for the production team to dismantle the stage and another 48 hours for the road crew to take down the super-structure and get it loaded onto the trucks. The stage cost $40 million to design and build and that was just for the first one. The band is currently traveling around North America with 3 complete stages tended to by 500 crew members who are using 189 Semi-trucks for its transport.

That means Bono's back surgery is going to cost the band millions of dollars. Note that manager Paul McGuinness after delivering the perfunctory "The band is devastated they can't play for you because they are artists" line, betrays to Reuters the very real monetary concern of this disaster:

Paul McGuinness, speaking to Reuters outside the Munich hospital where the operation was performed on Friday, said the 50-year-old singer "feels awful" about the tour changes, which will affect over a million fans. "Clearly this is a serious injury and the recuperation time necessary to rehabilitate Bono is a big problem for the U2 tour and has unfortunately necessitated the postponement of 16 shows in North America," he said. As well as the band and fans, the injury will also hit Live Nation, the music concert company which signed a 12-year deal to handle merchandising, digital and branding rights and touring for one of the world's most successful bands. "Obviously Bono feels terrible about missing these shows and we are working as fast as we can with Live Nation to reinstate them and reschedule them for next year," McGuinness said.

Let's hope Bono gets better and doesn't worry about the dollars. Money comes and goes but your health is paramount!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Last Dio Track Ever Recorded

Let's wrap up this week's series of Dio posts with definitive evidence that the man went out on top.

Classic posted a link to the below YouTube, a song called Elektra, which was slated to appear on a follow-up to Dio’s Magica album, released in 2000. The track was reportedly recorded before Dio’s stomach cancer had been diagnosed.

Magica was originally intended to be the first part of a trilogy of concept albums. Shortly before starting his (final) run of dates with Heaven And Hell, Dio announced that he planned to start working on new Magica material after the tour’s end.

This song is pretty pummeling, and shows that Dio's voice at 67 was as sharp as it was over his whole career. Enjoy the song, and have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

CD Review - Rolling Stones Exile on Main Street Reissue

Even though Exile on Main Street is my favorite Stones release hands down, I had not heard the album all the way through in quite some time. Growing up, I used to practice playing leads to this album, since almost all the songs are in the same key (A), and I could practice my Pentatonic scales to almost all of it. To this day, when someone throws a song at me that goes from A to D, all my Exile licks come out!

Exile is a bit of a weird choice of albums to remaster and repackage since its beauty is how gritty the thing is – among other things, the album is notorious for being recorded in Keith Richards' basement when the band was living in France as tax exiles in the early 70s. The basement had no ventilation or natural light and was basically a total shithole. The tales of drug use and debauchery, while probably exaggerated, go hand in hand with the basement legend.

But this remastered version is crisp and certainly benefited from digital transfer with modern technology, just like The Beatles remasters from last year.

Regarding this grittiness, when you get down to it only about half of the 18 tracks were recorded in Keith’s basement, and all the vocals were laid down in L.A. But this just shows that it’s not necessarily the place, but the general vibe of the band that is etched on this release. The album embodies blues based rock and roll and also seeps with a druggy undertone and groovy rawness. Is it Charlie’s slinky beats? Mick Taylor’s shimmering slide parts? Keith’s thin, creepy backup vocals or grungy rhythm guitar? Or is it Mick Jagger, who vacillates between a full bore coke-induced jittery screaminess (Rip This Joint, All Down The Line) and downer induced lethargy (Torn and Frayed, I Just Want To See His Face)?

I dunno. It might be the guest musicians who push it over the top. Billy Preston on organ, Nicky Hopkins on piano, Bobby Keys, sax. Those guys add as much to the vibe as the rest of the Stones. Anyway, if you have not grooved on this album in a long time (or – gasp – ever!), you owe it to yourself to do so stat.

The bonus CD of 10 unreleased tracks from the sessions is pretty cool. New old Stones. New songs Alive and Kicking, and Plunder My Soul are both worthy of inclusion on Exile, despite the fact that the vocals were clearly recorded this year, not 40 years ago. But the music is swampy and gritty, with dirty harmonica, honking baritone sax and barroom piano.

The other new songs (I’m Not Signifying, Following the River, Dancing In The Light, So Divine) are OK but you can see why they were left off the original album release. I’m Not Signifying has some sweet slide guitar and dirty blues harp interplay over a slow bluesy shuffle that never really seems to lock until the end when slightly out of key New Orleans-esque horns come in and Charlie moves to the ride.

Following the River sounds like the not quite as developed bastard cousin of Shine A Light – music is better than the lyrics here but nothing really special until, again, the band kicks it up at the end of the song. Dancing In The Light is a pretty good upbeat tune with all sorts of snapping Telecaster leads. I could hear this one of the original release but they probably ran out of space, and it meanders a bit. So Divine starts out with a variation of the Paint It Black lick and carries on for four and a half more minutes. Snooore.

Then we get to the alternate takes of Loving Cup and Soul Survivor. Loving Cup is much slower and frankly sounds like an outtake from Beggars Banquet, which is a very good thing. Killer to hear this. Soul Survivor is also a real gem, with Keith taking the lead vocals here, singing totally different lyrics from Mick’s version on the original album. Kind of a trip.

The next tune, Good Time Women, is a working version of Tumblin Dice and has the signature lick in the chorus. Very cool tune that reminds me of Taj Mahal for some reason. The final song, Title 5, is short and sweet and is almost like the Stones doing a surf shuffle instrumental. A bit of an offshoot of Rip This Joint, but not as good.

My Best Buy version came with a second bonus CD with audio interviews from all the Stones on the album (Jagger, Watts, Richards, Taylor and Bill Wyman and nothing from Ron Wood). Truth be told I bought this release partly for this disc so I could hear the band share their stories of the album (esp Taylor and Wyman who are no longer in the band). In retrospect, it's interesting but not a must-have.

Overall, the re-issue sounds fantastic and provides enough solid bonus material to make this a must-have for fans of rock and roll and certainly fans of Mick and da boyz. Get it!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Rush on CNN, Two New Songs Available June 1

Lots going on in the world of Rush but I have tried to be judicious and not post ALL of it. But today it was announced that two new Rush songs will be made available for digital download on June 1.

According to the band's Web site, the main song is called Caravan, and a b-side song called BU2B is also going to be for sale. Caravan's running time is 5:40 and BU2B's is 4:21. You can buy them together or separately, and if purchased together a digital PDF booklet is included.

Cool! Looking forward to that.

Also, the band was interviewed recently on CNN about the movie Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage, which will hit cable TV on June 26 (VH1 and VH1 Classic). I love how humble these guys are...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

One More Dio Post

So here I am on a trip for work, running about 3 miles to my Dio mix, and I got some classics. Neon Knights from Live Evil is probably the most pummeling metal vocal I have ever heard. 'Nuff said.

There have been loads of comments, articles, stories the last two days. Notably the New York Times ran no fewer than three items - one a fairly amusing blog post about the lighter side of Dio. I will let you enjoy that here.

It's pointless to repeat it all but one interesting statement seemed to encompass everything. This is from Queen's Brian May:

“It’s a shock to hear that Ronnie has gone. Even though we had all known he was battling with cancer for some time, he was such a wiry fighter, and of such an amazingly optimistic nature, I think I assumed he would go on forever. Well, he fought to the very end… was gearing up to go back out on tour. I know this will be a very hard blow for my friend Tony Iommi. When I last saw Ronnie in Los Angeles, he was as full of life and positivity as anybody I’ve ever known… and sang up a storm with Heaven & Hell in the Universal Amphitheatre.

In my opinion, Ronnie was one of the creators of the genre of heavy metal. I’m not an expert on his work — there are many people much more knowledgeable than me… but our paths crossed many times over the years, and I had clear glimpses of his unique spirit and personality. He was in many ways the antithesis of the current mould of TV-bred singers. He had no apparent desire for fame, in the sense that so many X-Factor contestants seem to. He was not a TV face, a ‘celebrity.’ He just loved doing what he did. So, to his millions of fans, there was an unquestionable feeling of reality to his persona, his songwriting, and his performances. His lyric-writing was very distinctive, and set a style in heavy metal which has influenced many bands over the years. To me, it was as if his mind operated in layers — on the surface, a hard-working honest singer, with a great humanity and strong sense of humour — and underneath, in the world of his songs, his subconscious seemed to be populated by hobgoblins of all kinds, and palpable evil forever on the march. His lyrics, dark and mysterious, in tune with the metal ethos, always represented the sword of goodness in triumph over evil.

I don’t know if he invented the devil-horn salute, but he was certainly the man who, more than ever, made it a universal symbol, a worldwide salute of metal. He was universally loved in the community of rock music, and will be sorely missed.”

Still can't believe he lost that fight but there is a lot of his music to crank, so let's rock it this week. Horns at half mast...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Some Thoughts On Ronnie James Dio

It's been about 12 hours since I heard about Dio's passing and I am sitting in the Portland Airport waiting for a flight for work. Last night I created a "Dio mix" for the trip, comprised of his three studio albums with Rainbow, all his Sabbath work and Holy Diver, along with a bootleg or two.

Great to listen to but it's not like I had not been listening to Dio lately. Unlike some other bands that made a huge impression on me growing up, (The Who come to mind), I never really stopped listening to Dio.

I had the great, great fortune of seeing the man with Heaven & Hell just three years ago and as I posted in my review of that show, he blew me away. At age 65, he still sang better than most. I was frankly shocked at not only how excellent he was, but how many notches he raised Sabbath beyond when I had seen them with Ozzy a few months prior. It was like a different band.

And as stated by many others, Dio was also a great guy. I never heard a story of him treating people with anything but respect. No drugs or alcohol stories, yet he was not preachy about it. Even his reports on his battle with cancer were heartfelt and genuine.

At age 67, Dio went out at the TOP of his game. He will be missed but his influence will ripple forward for decades. Can anyone imagine the current state of heavy metal without him near the top? I can't. Below is his last interview, with Eddie Trunk, and a great live take on Heaven and Hell from the early 80s:

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

RIP Ronnie James Dio

Sad, sad Sunday. From Wendy Dio:

Today my heart is broken, Ronnie passed away at 7:45am 16th May. Many, many friends and family were able to say their private good-byes before he peacefully passed away. Ronnie knew how much he was loved by all. We so appreciate the love and support that you have all given us. Please give us a few days of privacy to deal with this terrible loss. Please know he loved you all and his music will live on forever.

Total bummer and a great loss. I will post some personal thoughts tomorrow night. Come back and mourn with me.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Paul Stanley Wants to Talk To You

First of all, apologies for the lack of posts recently. I have been working very hard on getting a new solo CD recorded. I hit a great stride last month and then as with a lot of big projects, the end took a bit longer to get to than I expected. Just sent the last track in for mastering today and it feels great. Artwork almost done, sequencing next week. I will for sure post a link so any interested parties can check it out once it's cooked. I am very proud of this disc and feel it's the best thing I have committed to tape (hard drive?) and that is saying a lot.

Anyway, while I recharge my blogging batteries, this is flipping hilarious -- Someone snipped a bunch of Paul Stanley's between-song cheerleader rants and put them in one place. Enjoy here. Thanks to Nedrum for the suggestion!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Roger Waters Wall Preview Video

Now here is a good interview. Waters talks a bit about the origins of The Wall from 30 years ago and what may be different this time around. There are some great clips that I had never seen, from the original limited run of shows.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Roger Waters on Jimmy Fallon

This is really interesting. Waters never does TV interviews and for some reason Jimmy Fallon got him. Fallon is slim on his Floyd history and is clearly intimidated and highly nervous (as I would be) and asks really dumb ass questions.

But at the same time, it's wild to see Waters on late night. Video is below.

As an aside, I signed up for the ticket presale lottery for Tacoma and San Jose and actually won the opportunity to buy San Jose tickets. I bought a good pair yesterday when that presale hit, so I am very happy to be seeing the show in San Jose on December 6.

The iTunes presale is running today (you had to buy a copy of the Wall film from iTunes to get access) and there is a LiveNation presale tomorrow. Lots of complaining on Waters' Facebook site about the insane prices for the premium packages ($750), but you can get decent seats for around $150 in most venues. It's a lot of dough, but really - this is a once in a lifetime chance, people.

Also, dig this Jim Ladd interview (Ladd was the DJ on Radio K.A.O.S by the way), talking about how the sound system will be quadrophonic and huge, the wall and gear will require 20 semis, etc. 100 stage hands to construct the wall...No wonder it's so expensive...

Part One:

Part Two:

Monday, May 03, 2010

AC/DC Let There Be Rock Coming to DVD

One of my earliest impressionable rock and roll memories was of me and my friend Bill in probably 7th or 8th grade taking a bus to the Century 25 theaters in San Jose to see the film Let There Be Rock.

This was the third rock and roll film I had seen in a short period. One was The Secret Policeman's Ball and the other was The Song Remains the Same - both of which inspired me to choose music as a career at a ripe young age, and both filled me with dread and uncertainty about HOW I would actually make that happen. But the seed had been planted.

If I had any doubts, though, Let There Be Rock buried them deep. This film (which I have never seen again since) carved itself in my head. The loud rock and roll. The insanity of Angus Young spinning around on the ground and then going side stage for a hit of oxygen. The ruggedness of Bon Scott. Raw raw raw.

I left that theater transformed. It's also why I immensely prefer the Scott-era AC/DC over the Brian Johnson version. But as Johnson said when AC/DC made it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, "It's Bon's band." Yeah baby. Good man.

Adding to the aura of this film in my mind is that it's apparently never made it to DVD. Oh I am sure I could have found it on VHS or DVD if I had really wanted to, but I am glad I will be able to watch an official sanctioned version some (almost) 30 years later on a large screen TV with the sound CRANKED.

The official release is slated for January 2011. According to Eddie Trunk's Web Site:

"Let There Be Rock", the AC/DC concert documentary that was filmed December 1979 at the Pavillion De Paris, will receive its long-awaited DVD release in January 2011.

According to the All Music Guide, "Let There Be Rock" was released in France a year after it was filmed, though American release was delayed until well after the band had established themselves in the States with new vocalist Brian Johnson and the multi-platinum success of the "Back In Black" album.

In his review of the original "Let There Be Rock" film, Fred Beldin of the All Music Guide writes, "Director Eric Dionysis captures the excitement of the live show with an energetic style and effective close-up shots, though the staged interviews and sub-'The Song Remains The Same' fantasy sequences show the band to be bemused but not convinced by these attempts to add some arty depth to the proceedings. The highlight of the extracurricular segments is Bon Scott, radiating warmth and humility in these last interviews before his untimely death at age 33 from alcohol poisoning."

I will be first in line. Online, of course. Let There Be Rock!