Saturday, July 31, 2010

My Prog Rock EPIC Now Available on CD

Ha ha -- could not resist that title. But as I rehearse with the band for our CD release gig on Sept 10 in Portland (Dublin Pub, 7 p.m.), I cannot help but get into the four more proggy songs on my new CD, A Fear Of Flashing Light.

Yes there are eight other tunes that range from acoustic based storytelling type songs to straight ahead rockers, but I am really digging what I call the proggy songs. Those are tracks 1, 7, 8 and 11 (The Garden, Comfort Zone, The Mokus, and Rescue).

You can check it all out at this A Fear of Flashing Light link.

Also, for anyone who has been waiting for an actual CD version (as opposed to the digital version that came out June 1), you can get that now. Just order from the site and we'll ship it right away. Only $5 including shipping - what a baaaargain! Enjoy, and let me know what you think!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Rush Classic Album Series Preview

I know I posted earlier that the fabulous Classic Albums series was going to put out episodes on Rush 2112 and Moving Pictures. Looks like they will both be available on Sept 28, and are still slated to run on VH1 and VH1 Classic around that same time frame. In the meantime, whet your appetite with this killer preview from the Moving Pictures episode:

Rush Classic Albums preview - MyVideo

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Cars to Reunite?

Just like 80s music stalwarts The Talking Heads and The Police, there has always been major doubt about The Cars ever reuniting. Front men David Byrne, Sting and Rik Ocasek all made it pretty clear they did not want to go back in time and reunite with their lesser band mates.

Clearly in the case of The Police, Sting had a change of heart and that reunion tour was very successful.

Based on a random photo thrown up on the band's Facebook page, the four surviving Cars might just have something brewing as well.

The photo shows Ocasek, guitarist Elliott Easton and two other surviving Cars (bass player Benjamin Orr passed away in 2000) in a studio, presumably jamming. This has led to rumors that the band is reuniting for some reason. Clever buzz generation by just popping that photo up on the official Facebook page and letting the wind fan the flames.

The Cars were always a boring assed group live, but you cannot deny that their first few albums were fantastic. They for sure milked a New Wave image, and Ocasek's voice fit that mold for sure, but really they were a good little rock band before success turned them into MTV hitmakers.

Could be interesting to keep an eye on. Here is the photo:

Monday, July 26, 2010

KISS Make First Donations to Wounded Warriors

As noted in an earlier post, KISS plan on donating one dollar from every ticket on the current North American tour to a veterans organization called Wounded Warriors.

Well, the tour just kicked off and in typical KISS fashion, they will make a photo opp out of every town's donation. And, judging from some of the photos so far, the total seems to be about $15,000 per gig. That will add up to a lot of cash! Good for them.

It will also make for some awesome photos and videos, like these from Cheyenne, Wyoming - the middle of the conservative, ranching-based Rocky Mountain states. Perhaps to get the check they need to have the city council in makeup or something. I hope none of these guys ever plan on running for major political positions - these photos will for sure be used by some right-wing political group to discourage the election of clown face paint wearing liberals!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

New Iron Maiden Video Marries Alien with Raiders of the Lost Ark

I used to love Iron Maiden's videos back in the day because they would always focus on long shots of the band either playing live (or on a soundstage) or in the studio, donning headphones like the Flight of Icarus video.

I had not seen any of the band's latter video efforts until just this week, when I checked out the band's latest for the new song The Final Frontier. I have to agree with my good friend Pat that El Dorado is a better new song than The Final Frontier but I am just glad to get any new Maiden at all, so there.

The video is very, very high budget and it breaks from the old tradition in that you don't see the band at all in the video. In fact, it's almost a short movie with Maiden music playing in the background.

The beginning is almost like the Powerslave song Aces High set to film and thrown into the future. It's a very cool dogfight sequence. The rest is some kind of weird take on Alien and Raiders of the Lost Ark, but hey that can't be bad, right? And this is for sure the most bad-ass Eddie we have ever seen!

Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think:

The Final Frontier - Director's Cut

Iron Maiden | MySpace Music Videos

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Under 14 Years Old? See KISS For Free - No Shit

Now HERE is some KISS news worth sharing. I was watching an interview with the band after its Leno performance Monday and half way through, they say that times are tough so if you are 14 years and under and come with an adult, you get into any summer KISS show for free. A lawn seat, yeah, but free.

If this is true, it's a class move. The band is also donating a dollar from every ticket to Wounded Warriors, a non-profit organization that honors soldiers of the U.S. Armed Forces. Classy part two.

Check it out here:

Story and Music of 2112 To Be Baked Into Guitar Hero Game

OK so this is hella cool. According to Rolling Stone:

It's official: Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock has the most epically prog-rock sequence of any music video game yet. Rush have teamed with Activision for the fall release, which features a story-based Quest Mode that includes with hero wannabes playing the entirety of "2112," a seven-part suite from the Canadian band's 1976 album of the same name. The story of the game's final segment roughly follows Rush's opus, and will be narrated by lead singer Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson. "In our story, the caves of 2112 are where our hero finds the lost guitar," says Lee. "This rediscovery of music is much like the Guitar Hero warriors' journey to find the Demi-God of Rock's Legendary guitar, which has been trapped in a cavern."

Peart, Lee and Lifeson join Kiss' Gene Simmons as Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock narrators. Simmons' contribution begins with an introduction asking players to "Come with me, and enter a world populated of Demi-Gods and Beasts. Transform from an everyday person and become the savior of rock & roll."

I love that Rush is getting more and more 'mainstream' without compromising itself. I mean, think of all the kids who will get turned on to 2112 because of this game. Very cool interviews with Geddy and Alex at this video:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

KISS on Leno...Um, Tonight Show

Told ya it would be Modern Day Delilah. Still can't figure out if they are lip syncing this or not. The drummer usually gives it away and by the end I am pretty sure it's live. What do you think?

I also wonder how many kids stayed up to watch this like i did in the late 70s? I bet not as many, as you can just key up any KISS video you want on YouTube or use a DVR. Back in the day seeing KISS live on TV was like fuckin Christmas.

Monday, July 19, 2010

KISS Special on A&E Tomorrow, on Tonight Show This Evening

There is so much KISS stuff going on these days, I avoid posting it because it's all over the place. KISS Dr Pepper ad campaign? Really? Don't care...

However, two interesting things are coming up this week. First of all, the band will play on the Tonight Show tonight (Monday) at 11:35 p.m. Leno has always been a huge KISS fan and supporter and they have been on his show before. I predict they will do Modern Day Delilah, and it is always interesting to see how their huge fire and brimstone show translates to a small studio stage.

Second, A&E runs a program on the band tomorrow night at 10 p.m. The trailer looks pretty blah but I do like Tommy Thayer golfing backstage in full regalia. I guess there is a good amount of behind the scenes stuff from a recent Australian tour so what the heck.

An ad I saw said:
"For the first time in their 35-year career, rock icons KISS give you an all access pass to the 'Alive 35' Australian tour. When Paul [Stanley] and Gene [Simmons] decide to launch a spontaneous mini-tour with only one week's notice, the entire KISS family must scramble to make it a reality. Malfunctioning pyrotechnics, faulty flying righs and missing drummers are the least of their challenges."

If you dig KISS, might be cool to check out.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Gilmour to Play on Waters' Wall

Wow. I go off the grid on vacation for a week and Pink Floyd get back together. Well, not really, but close.

According to a Billboard article a couple of days ago, the recent Gilmour-Waters reunion at a charity gig came as an offer from Gilmour, who said if Waters joined him at the gig to do the obscure "To Know Him Is To Love Him" by the Teddy Bears, Gilmour would join Waters onstage for ONE Wall gig to rip his Comfortably Numb solo, presumably from the top of the wall just like in the old days.

Oh please do it in San Jose! Ha ha.

Here are some choice quotes from the article:

Waters says Gilmour emailed him with a tongue-in-cheek offer for them to collaborate at the 2010 benefit on the Teddy Bears' "To Know Him Is To Love Him," in a nod to the pair's famously rough-and-tumble relationship. Waters says he "loved" the idea, and the duo agreed to also round out their set with the Pink Floyd classics "Wish You Were Here" and "Comfortably Numb."

The only trouble: Gilmour began sending Waters "a number of very musical and eloquent demos of how we could do the song in two-part harmony." Waters then got cold feet and told Gilmour performing the song in that fashion was "way outside my vocal comfort zone," to his "eternal shame."

According to Waters, Gilmour then made him a better offer. If Waters would agree to perform "To Know Him Is To Love Him" at the Hoping Foundation Benefit, Gilmour would guest on "Comfortably Numb" at a to-be-determined show on Waters' upcoming tour featuring Pink Floyd's "The Wall" being performed in its entirety.

"You could have knocked me down with a feather," Waters says. "How f*cking cool! I was blown away. How could I refuse such an offer. I couldn't, there was no way. Generosity trumped fear. And so explaining that I would probably be sh*te, but if he didn't mind I didn't, I agreed and the rest is history. We did it, and it was f*cking great. End of story. Or possibly beginning."

The plan is for Gilmour's appearance to be a surprise, adds Waters.

Are you kidding me? This is a fantastic development and I hope it leads to further collaboration between the two. Hopefully Gilmour will have such a blast on his one show that he'll do a few. WOW!

The audio to the below is from the Live 8 reunion but there are lots of great photos from last weekend:

Monday, July 12, 2010

Waters and Gilmour Unite in Charity Gig

Logged into the "I swore I'd never see this happen" file is the news story I saw on this morning.

Roger Waters and David Gilmour performed four songs together over the weekend at a charity event for the Hoping Foundation Benefit Evening at Kiddington Hall in Oxfordshire, England.

The duo were backed by longtime side guys Guy Pratt (bass and acoustic guitar), Harry Waters (keyboards), Andy Newmark (drums), Chester Kamen (guitar) and Jonjo Grisdale (keyboards). The line-up performed in front of 200 people, raising some £350,000 for the foundation.

They played "To Know Him Is To Love Him," (a cover) "Wish You Were Here," Comfortably Numb" and "Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2), and of course this was the guys' first time back together onstage since the Live 8 reunion in 2005.

This is obviously notable because despite the 2005 reunion, the two have not been totally complimentary of the other and most held out little hope of them playing together again.

This totally begs the question, will Gilmour join Waters to rip out his Comfortably Numb lead on top of Waters' giant Wall on any dates on the upcoming tour? Let's hope so!

Friday, July 09, 2010

Alex Lifeson Talks About His Crazy New Amps, Some Tour Spoilers

SPOILER Warning: If you are trying to steer clear of anything to do with the new Rush tour (I couldn't take it anymore and looked at the set list yesterday - it's very different but very, very cool in my opinion. Lots of stuff I have never seen them play live), don't read this post.


Alex Lifeson must have gotten tired of Geddy having dryers, chicken cookers etc instead of amps on his side of the stage because as you'll see in the below video, Alex now has some pretty whiz-bang visually killer new Hughes & Kettner amps that run along with the theme of the tour (time machines, steam engines etc).

There are some sneak peeks at the set list and of course some of the stage look is given away in this video. But if you don't care, and you dig weird assed amps and yabbing on about gear, watch the video!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

McCartney Joins Starr Onstage For Birthday Surprise

Any dream of a Beatles reunion was of course shattered by Lennon's senseless murder in 1980. We did get as good of a reunion possible with the Anthology project. The DVD bonus features of the three surviving Beatles jamming is pretty priceless even though they seem a little tentative around each other.

Of course with Harrison's death a few years later, we have half the band dead. Just like The Who as a matter of fact. So we take whatever we can get when it comes to reunions.

Which leads me to this post. Ringo turned 70 this week. He is on his umpteenth All-Starr band tour and who joined as a surprise guest in New York? The one and only Sir Paul. As reported by Spinner:

All Ringo Starr asked for as a 70th birthday gift on July 7 was "peace and love" from all his fans around the world. However, he was the one who delivered a big birthday surprise to the wildly cheering attendees at his celebratory concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York when Paul McCartney joined the legendary Beatles drummer onstage, fronting Ringo's All-Starr Band for a joyous encore appropriately consisting of the Fab Four's 'Birthday.' Sir Paul, clad in a tight black suit and skinny tie right out of 1964, waggled his iconic Höfner bass in time while delivering his full-throated take on the song. Starr merrily bashed away behind him on his kit alongside his drummer son Zak Starkey, with Joe Walsh joining in to supply guitar pyrotechnics.

And thanks to the Internet (God bless the Internet), here it is:

The Who to Trot Out Quadrophenia Again?

After the band's atrocious Super Bowl performance I was about ready to throw in the towel and say The Who have officially jumped the shark for me, again.

I say 'again' because they jumped it when they had Kenney Jones replace Moon in 1979, again in 1989 when they rolled out the Who Review tour with a full horn section and line of backup singers. And despite the intense resurgence of the band's energy in the 90s through Entwistle's death, they jumped it yet again with the thud of a new album (Endless Wire) and boooorrrring tour I saw in 2006 and reviewed here.

I don't think anything would get me back into an arena to see these guys again. Except perhaps Quadrophenia. My interest and passion for the band was fully renewed in the mid 90s when I saw the guys (with Entwistle of course) tear through the whole album live, with guests Billy Idol as the Ace Face and Gary Glitter as the pedophile.

The performance ripped my head off and Townshend was fully engaged. Something about the music on that album up-levels the band's game, and I would eagerly see even this rather gutless, tired version of the band play Quadrophenia again.

I MAY get the chance, based on what Daltry told Billboard yesterday:

"We're just working out what to do next," singer Roger Daltrey told "We've got ideas ... We're looking on probably being out there, hopefully if all goes well, in the spring of next year ... We definitely don't want to stop. We feel it's the role of the artist to go all the way through life 'til you can't do it anymore."

While there are tour plans in the works, there are a few things that the Who need to sort out -- namely, the potential of incorporating the band's 1973 rock opera 'Quadrophenia' into the show.

"There are issues with it to make it work at our age," Daltrey said. "I'm 16 years older than when we last did it and I always had a bit of a problem as far as the crowd was concerned, with the way we were presenting the show, the way our position within the piece was explained. For the newcomers, it was narratively a bit of a puzzle, what Pete and I were to this guy on the screen. It needs a revamp. It would be dated to put it out as it is now. We need to fix that area, but I know how to do it."

One more thing that Daltrey cites as a concern is bandmate Pete Townshend's severe Tinnitus, but he believes it's something that shouldn't be too much of an issue with the help of technology.

"It's nothing that can't be sorted out -- just different monitor systems, different onstage volume, which is where the issue is," Daltrey said. "Pete being the addictive character he is, if he gets carried away he tends to turn up his volume to the odd levels, and that's when it causes the trouble. That's one of the problems with rock 'n' roll, once the old adrenaline kicks in."

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Sharon Osbourne Sucks - Ozzy Confirms It

As seen on this morning, Ozzy confirms in an interview with Pulse Radio that he was against the idea of replacing Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake’s work on his first two solo albums. I blogged about this issue here earlier.

The crux is that in 2002, bassist Daisley and drummer Kerslake were removed from the Blizzard Of Ozz and Diary Of A Madman albums, after they took legal action for unpaid royalties. Their parts were replaced by Robert Trujillo and Mike Bordin who were in Ozzy's band at the time.

Ozzy told Pulse Radio: “Believe me, it wasn’t my doing. I mean, I didn’t know that was being done, ’cause Sharon (Osbourne) was fighting all the legal things that were going down at the time. I said, ‘What did you do that for?’ And she said, ‘The only way I could stop everything was if it went to that level.’ And I said, ‘You know what, whatever the circumstances were, I want the original thing back.’ I mean, I wouldn’t have done that.”

Well, mistakes are mistakes and I am glad it's being fixed. Now I can actually get those albums on CD soon.