Friday, June 29, 2007

L.A. Guns - The Hollywood Years Live & Loaded dvd review

L.A. Guns
Deadline Musice

L.A. Guns have a new live dvd retrospective out (not to be confused with the live dvd they are selling on that takes you back to the days when the band was hungry and big hair, stilletto heals, and fishnet stockings were a staple of the late 80's music scene. The version of the band at the time consisted of the most popular version of L.A. Guns that the majority of music fans have come to known as the identifiable L.A. Guns - Phil Lewis singing, Tracii Guns and Mick Cripps slinging the guitars, Kelly Nickels on bass, and Steve Riley pounding the skins.

THE HOLLYWOOD YEARS consists of a full length show consisting of 10 songs that was shot in Philadelphia, PA while the band was out on the road supporting their debut release. Additional bonus footage includes 2 bonus live songs - "The Ballad of Jayne" and "Never Enough" and brand new interviews with all 5 band members who took the band to the upper ranks of the late 80's music scene.

The full length show from Philadelphia features every song from their self titled debut release and captures a moment in time when it appeared the band was on the cusp of breaking out big time. The band is playing before an arena audience on a big stage and they hit the stage running from beginning to end. It appeared that L.A. Guns were to follow in the footsteps of other L.A. bands and soon they would be headlining arenas across the world. However, with the arrival of grunge music, the carpet was pulled out from under the 80's rock bands and the band would see the big arena stage only one more time opening up for AC/DC in support of their third release HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES - they also had an opening slot for AC/DC to promote their self titled release. With that in mind, this live show is a great document from a great period of music when arena rock was king. Now you can relive that experience one more time and get a glimpse of when L.A. Guns were rookies and how they worked the big arena stages. I do have a complaint with the show and that complaint is that the quality of the show is a little under par. It looks like the recording is a high generation copy of the original recording. The reason why I say that is that I have this exact same show on video and my copy is really crisp, the colors are bright, and it's a perfect video. This one is dark and dull and may disappoint some people out there.

Quality is also an issue with the 2 bonus tracks - they appear to be dark and dull. "The Ballad of Jayne" is taken from a live show from the HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES tour and "Never Enough" is from a live show recorded during the brief reunion of this version of the band 8 years ago.

The big highlight of the dvd is the interview footage titled "The L.A. Guns Story". It features brand new interviews with each band member and some rare behind the scenes footage is shown between interview segments. What's great is that Mick takes a break from managing a retirement home and Kelly steps away from his computer to participate in the interviews. Both mantain a very low profile today. It's great to see them share their stories and reminisce about their days in the band. All of the interviews are honest and reveal alot of the innerworkings of the band. A few topics covered are how Kelly ended up doing the vocals on "Nothing Better to Do", how there was no money in the early days, Tracii and Mick's brotherhood relationship, and "The Ballad of Jayne" is about no one particular person and how Tracii never liked that song but got outvoted for it to appear on COCKED AND LOADED. Those are just a few of the stories to wet your appetite.

All in all, this is a good disc because it captures a fun moment in time that we might never see again for a band like L.A. Guns. The interviews are good and you get a good sense of what was going on in the minds of the band when they were climbing the rock and roll food chain. For those that like perfection in your live shows, you might want to avoid this. Die hard L.A. Guns fans will love it. However, it should be noted that the same Philadelphia show was available from L.A. Guns a number of years ago off of their website. In either case, the interview footage on the dvd is priceless and is a good enough reason for any fan to pick it up.

For more information on the current versions of L.A. Guns check out (Phil and Steve) and (Tracii's band)

For more information on Deadline Records and to see their latest releases check out

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Cleveland Rock and Roll Memories

There's a great book out now called Cleveland Rock and Roll Memories by Carlo Wolff. If you're from the North East Ohio area and grew up in the 60's, 70's, and 80's, this book is something you need to check out. It covers the local Cleveland music scene and focuses on the venues, bands, fans, media personalities, record stores, etc. from each decade. It's a blast from the past and features alot of photos and stories (told by the people who were part of the scene during their respective eras) from each era that will take you down memory lane - tons of photos of places and/or things that are nothing more than a distant memory. Well worth your hard earned cash. 10 out of 10 stars.

Published by Gray & Company Publishers

Check out Gray & Co's website below for more info.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Megadeth - Dave Mustaine Interview

Megadeth's new release titled UNITED ABOMINATIONS, due in stores May 15, picks up where the SYSTEM HAS FAILED and sees the band return to the classic sound that helped cement their place in the metal community. The 11 new tracks are a spit of venom combining the elements of thrash, melody, lots of guitar solos, gnarly vocals, and Dave Mustaine's thought invoking political lyrics. On a break from the Heaven and Hell tour, Dave Mustaine checked in to talk about the new release.

Mydenrocks - I love the intensity on the new cd. Did that intensity come out natural or did you gear your writing to high intensity material?
Dave Mustaine - I didn't go into making this record with any pre-conceived notions. I was just so dis-illusioned with the record business after what happened with Capitol and Sanctuary Records. After going over to Sanctuary, I thought "Hey..this is different. These guys undersand. They're metal people. My God they manage Iron Maiden." It ended up being more of the same difficulties I had with Capitol. Both labels had difficulties with the songs and issues with the songs that really couldn't be solved. Going over to Roadrunner and when we went in to do this far it's been...there's been some ups and downs. I think alot of that translated into the intensity on the record. There was stuff that was going on in my personal life that even transcended the difficulties from working with a corporation. When you're trying to do something like create art, the nature of art if very un-corporate. Do you follow me? I'm not necessarily anti-corporate. When you're trying to pitch a song to a corporate entity, it's kind of like trying to explain an orgasm to a virgin. Both sides have different points of view. You can't really get an artist to think like a corporation, but it's automatically thought that you will think like a corporation by default. So some of the energy on the record is there because there was seemingly the same syndrome that has been the same with me the whole time I've been a recording artist. There's also a refreshment there that really excited me and fortunately for me all of the beuracratic stuff is out of the way. The art side is starting to show through. I'm really excited about what the future holds for me with the label and what my gift has been given to me about being able to play guitar and sing.

MR - Was there any comromising on the new songs or did you end up having 100 percent artistic freedom?
DM - Put it this way....there were decisions that I had made in the beginning stages that weren't resonating with me. When I had talked with the A&R person at the label, who was assigned to me, we were in agreement about alot of things that deep down I just didn't feel right about. I kept perservering though. We knew the songs had to be lyrically re-approached to properly convey what I was trying to say - if you confront an enemy head on, you're going to have a battle. But, sometimes, you have to come sweeping in from the flank in order to win. I had to use that same concept for several different points of view in order to get my ideas across lyrically. I would be doing a disservice to myself if I said I didn't have artistic freedom.

MR - Did the music and vocals come easy for you this time around? It seems like you've recaptured that classic Mustaine delivery.
DM - The music was super fun to do because I just figured "Ok Dave. You by far have alot more gas in the tank that you need to let people know about. So it's time to get it on!" I really wanted to challenge myself. There's going to be some songs that are going to be hard for me to play live and sing. Hopefully, no one will ever want to hear any of those songs live! (laughing) "Sleepwalker" was a little hard, in the beginning, to figure out because it was one of those polyrhythm kind of things over the down beats, upbeats, and vocals. With the cadence and the vocal lines, you want to growl a little bit and lure something out here and there. You know what I mean? That's just part of my style. I don't have a speach impediment. I just really get into character when I sing. Some people, when you try and do that, it comes really natural. Some people have to get it into their memory to pull it off. Some songs, I can do it one way and some songs I do it the latter way I described. As it turns out, "Sleepwalker" is a breeze now. But, 6 months later I'm still having trouble with "Washington Is Next!"

MR - The lyrics really point out things wrong with the world. Do you think your average person is going to let the lyrics sink in and develop their own opinions?
DM - I don't know if it's neccessarily wrong with the world. There's things that I think aren't just not neccessarily the best choice for us right now. I've always been politically active. There's alot of musicians who think it's ok to go out and bitch about the problem. But, I actually try to back it up and do something. I got involved with the Democratic National Convention in 1992 with MTV and Rock the Vote. Michael Stipe, Dwight Yokum, and myself - we were all working on the voter bill to get that passed into law. I felt that I did something for my country. For the most part, I think musicians bellyache about stuff and I think they need to either make it very clear how to do something about it or just shut up. I hope the lyrics stir something in the minds of the listener.

MR - Will we ever see a poitical tv show from you...kind of a Hannity/Colmes type show? Maybe Mustaine/Nugent? (laughing)
DM - You know what? I actually respect Ted. I was a big fan of his when I was starting guitar. He's a very intelligent person. He's a staunch Republican. Even though I have feelings on both sides of the political aisle, I just don't think I would want to say anything bad about or to him (laughing). He helped shape a generation when I was a kid. He's got some respect from me. Even if I disagreed with something that he said I would just be like "Ted! You're so right!" (laughing). I mean come on...he's Ted Nugent! I don't know if we would really have different views because alot of the stuff I've heard him say I agree with. I mean I love meat and potatoes too, but I'm not a hunter. Obviously, I've got a hunters instinct. But as far as hunting and stuff like that, I just don't think that I could eat anything that I've killed unless we were hunting a steak that was already cooked up nice and warm. (laughing). Then I would be right there with Ted! But, in reality you know what? I'm just not that guy who likes to get into arguments anymore. I'm not into getting into arguments with people because who wins? Even if I smoke them, which most people I do, what am I going to benefit from it? As much fun as show like that would be to do, it's never going to happen.

MR - Getting back to the new record...why did you decide to record this overseas?
DM - This is going to sound really corny. One of my favorite bands is Led Zeppelin. I don't really know how much longer I'm going to be able to play - let alone having people wanting to hear what I play. People fall out of favor real quickly in the music industry. People can be successful one day and then gone the next. I thought that, while I'm still able to afford this thanks to the fan support, I would like to be able to record in the countryside like Zeppelin did back in the day. When you hear people and they go record down in Trinidad or something like that, it's like (sarcastically) "Oh! I can see how inspired you're going to be! Oooohhh....look at my guitar and my sunburn!" You know what? I wanted to go to a place that was cold, hard, damp, and that had a very dark age feeling - like in mid evil times and that whole Tolkien kind of thing. I wanted to just get back to what the NWOBHM was 20 years ago. That's my style and it's one of the ingredients of my songwriting. I went to work and absorbed that atmosphere and it was electric. We used John Bonham's drum kit and we recorded in David Gilmour's house. It was a great place to get inspired.

MR - One of the tracks that surprised me is the remake of "A Tout Le Monde" with Christina Scabbia sharing vocal duties. Why did you decide to revisit this song?
DM - It actually surprised me too at how well it came out. We had 2 other girls audition, but in the end Christina was the perfect fit for my voice. It worked out really well I think. If you start with the original version and then go to the new version - listen to them back to back and song really climaxes with the new version. It's really hard to hear 2 songs back to back that have been remakes without finding some kind of discrepencies with them. The new version is a little faster, done a little heavier, the tone is definately better, the recording is better, the solo is a little longer, and the fact that there's so much more singing performance on it makes it a winner.

MR - Are you planning on breaking out alot of the new songs live once the record comes out?
DM - We don't even choose songs from a record to play live until after a record comes out. As it is right now we're playing "Washington Is Next!" and "Sleepwalker". We started playing those 2 songs live because before we went into the studio we wanted to do some work on them. We played them live a couple of times and they became popular, so they've stuck. Somebody had bootlegged "Washington Is Next!" and put it up on Youtube, so it got popular from that. "Sleepwalker" was a song we gave to our fanclub to give them a little tidbit of what was coming. We also played "Gears of War". But, "Gears of War" was something that was released intentionally as a demo for Microsoft's XBox Gears of War game. We had sponsorship from Microsoft and it was quite an honor to be working with them. We finished the song off because of that game. It didn't have lyrics for the game - it was just music. When Microsoft heard it, they loved and wanted it on the game. I thought it would be great. I said to our manager at the time "Tell them we'll write the lyrics and call it Gears of War". Microsoft said it was too late to get it in the game with lyrics, but we could do whatever we wanted to do with the song. I thought that was great of them and we finished off the song. It was really, really exciting being involved with an XBox game.

MR - What are you touring plans beyond the Heaven and Hell tour? Will you tour the states later in the year to really push the new release?
DM - We tentatively have dates booked for this summer over in Europe. July and August are off time unless one of those crazy things happend like "Hey! You want to do a song for the new James Bond movie?" If something crazy were to happen like that, we jump on it. Other than that though, we're just going to take some time off. We are looking at going back out in the states at some point. but, that's not confirmed yet because we've got the rest of the world to tour. So far all we've got on the books is Europe, but I would like to hit the South Pacific, South America, Africa, etc.

MR - What's your take on the current metal scene? I read your not too fond of some of the newer bands using loops, etc.
DM - There is use of pro tools on this record. I'm not going to say that on this record we didn't take advantage of the new techniques. Someone thought that I had recorded the new record on tape and I was like "Dude! I'm old, but not that old! Come on now..." I just think that it's really sad with bands that are capable of playing and they just get lazy. Especially, when it comes down to an epic part of a song and you can tell they could do it but they just don't do it. In certain circumstances, with anybody, if you have a part that's got a mistake and your stuff is packed up, you're doing the mix and notice a mistake - you have to correct the mistake. At that point, it's a given to do something where you drop in a note or a small loop to fix it. For the most part, I hear alot of these newer metal metal bands that heavily use looping and stuff like that. Thank God those bands are starting to go away. For me I think the beauty of metal is that it's a way of life. It's not something we've converted to - it's just that's who we are. The fans haven't changed that much except maybe their appearance. When I first started playing, you looked at all these guys who were wearing a denim vest and they would have all the names of all the bands they liked on there. That was pretty much enough to getting an MMPI (personality information) on them. It was easier to identify a metal fan back then.

MR - Don't take offense to this, but let's face it Megadeth had a downturn there for a few records and you lost some fans. However, after people get to hear UNITED ABOMINATIONS I think you will win those fans back and then some. You really nailed a homerun and this is the record Megadeth fans have been waiting on for along time.
DM - Thanks! I can respect what you're saying. I don't take offense to it at all. There was a decline after RISK and I know that. That's the nature of my career. There was another writer involved that was part of Megadeth and his manager was really trying to control the band. Ultimately, it cost him his partnership with his partner, cost him his relationship with Megadeth, and broke up a great lineup. Hopefully, the metal fans will like this. This is a true Megadeth record.

MR - Thanks Dave for checking in with us. Good luck with the new record and tour! I'll see you in Cleveland. Is there anything you want to add?
DM - Thank you for the interview. I have family from the state of Ohio and I don't think alot of people know that. My fathers side is from Lima and Dayton respectively. I love the state of Ohio. In a really kind of weird way, whenever I see someone and they say they're from Ohio, it gives me fond memories of my dad. With that in mind, I really enjoy playing Ohio because it feels great to be back there...almost like I'm sort of coming home. I'm looking forward to the Cleveland show and I thank all of the fans out there for all of their years of support. It's truly appreciated. Don't be a stranger. Look me up on May 11th.

Be sure to pick up UNITED ABOMINATIONS when it comes out on May 11 on Roadrunner Records. For more information log onto and

Also, be sure to check out Megadeth's live dvd THAT ONE NIGHT LIVE IN BUENOS AIRES, which was release on March 6 via Image Entertainment.

If you're in the South Central Ohio area, Dave will be a feature in the May issue of Rhythm, Art, and Groove. For more information on that check out and come be our friend at

Chuck Myden -

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Exies - Interview with Freddy Herrera

After dealing with the loss of a record label and 2 band members, most bands would crawl under a rock and hide. Rather than doing that, the Los Angeles based band The Exies regrouped, took the experience as a learning curve, and found that their is light at the end of a dark tunnel. That positive shining light is their new cd titled A MODERN WAY OF LIVING WITH THE TRUTH, which comes out on May 8.

What appeared to be a promising career was cut short, when suddenly, the band found the carpet ripped out from under them. The problems for the band started when their previous label decided to not pick up the option for another release. The problems then snowballed when 2 of their members quit. From there you could almost say they almost slipped into a deep depression - questioning everything about life and where everything went wrong. However, that experience and how they dealt with that dark period is the lyrical content that makes up their new release.

Locked, loaded, and rejuvenated - prepare for a sonic shotgun blast to the senses. The Exies have re-emerged with a release that packs alot of punch. Compared to the old material, the new material has alot more "musical muscle" added to the bone of their previous efforts. The songwriting has matured and the group has incorporated alot of their influences into their recipe of creating songs - everything from new hard rock bands to older rock bands is thrown into the mix. The lyrics are thought provoking and the music is just as heavy as the lyrics. Mix in the melodic overtones of some of the songs and A MODERN WAY OF LIVING WITH THE TRUTH is a release full of songs that will bridge the gap between the younger rock audience and the older rock audience. Consider it like this - The Exies are a battery. The younger rock crowd is the negative wire and the older crowd is the positive wire. Once those 2 hotwires connect to the battery that is The Exies, the engine is going to fire up on all cylanders and explode The Exies into mainstream popularity.

Scott Stevens (lead vocals, guitar), Freddy Herrera (bass, vocals), Chris Skane (guitar, vocals), and Hoss (drums) are out on the road now getting an early jump start to promoting the new releases. Check their website for tour dates for a show near you. Band co-founder Freddy Herrera checked in from the road to talk about the band and the new release.

Mydenrocks - It's like everything gelled and came together just right - the songwriting and production is really a step up from your previous efforts. From top to bottom, there isn't a sleeper track on the new release. Any thoughts?
Freddy Herrera (FH) - We worked really, really hard. I don't know what it was. I guess it's the whole thing of struggling and paying your dues - being in pain and what's going on in your life that makes you create great art. I never really believed that before. But, now after going through that low point the band went through, I kind of believe it's true now.

MR - Would you consider the new cd almost a concept record in that there is a running theme of dealing with life throughout the whole cd?
FH - Almost. I think the reason people may get that is because the songs are so focused and there's a sound that's going on for what we shot for. It might seem like there is a deeper thing - and that thing is just growing and building yourself up to not be afraid of things that are coming or what you're dealt with.

MR - Let's back up a minute. What happened with your previous label Virgin Records?
FH - Virgin is such a big company. God bless 'em. They did everything they could for us. Miscommunication was a big problem there. We can't fault them because they did alot of stuff for us. When it came down to the fine tuning and making stuff right - alot of things got lost in the shuffle. They decided to not pick up the option for another cd. Being such a big label you have to sell alot of copies just to break even.

MR - The reason I brought that up is because you have a new label Eleven Seven Music and a new management company. Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue shares the same management and I know he has been a big supporter of The Exies. Did he have anything to do with setting you up with your new deal and management?
FH - Yeah. He was the one who introduced us to Allen Kovac - our new manager. Nikki had a talk with Scott and was asking if we were really happy at Virgin and our management. Scott told him things could always be better. So Nikki set up a meeting where we met Allen and we just really hit it off. Nikki saw something in us. We were so fortunate to go on tour with Motley Crue because so many good things came out of it.

MR - That tour exposed you to a different rock crowd, which was good because the Breaking Benjamin (one of the bands The Exies have toured with in the past) type crowd isn't the same crowd that would be going to see Motley Crue and vice versa...
FH - I have to be totally honest with you...we were a little afraid because we know those walls that exist too. We wondered if it would be right to play with bands that had different followings. We said "screw it" because we couldn't pass up an oppurtunity to tour with somebody as legendary as Motley Crue. It worked out great because their fans were really receptive to us. We learned a big lesson that way - to not be afraid to play with somebody no matter what you do. Because, if you're good they're going to get it.

MR - It has to feel good having someone in your corner supporting the band like Nikki.
FH - The new record is really a miracle in itself. We went through 2 guys leaving and the record company not picking up the option. We had everybody step up. I don't think we really ever realized how many friends we had and how many favors people were willing to do for us. I can't even begin to list the favors. All the way down to our producer going out and doing 6 weeks of basically finishing the record for free - just because he wanted the record to come out right. Allen went the extra mile and making sure he let us do our own thing and having alot of faith in us. The list goes on and on from there.

MR - Back to the new's tough for me to single out any single track as being better than any of the rest because I literally like them all. What are a few of your favorites?
FH - I'm really happy that we went with "Different Than You" - just because it's such a bouncy and upbeat thing. I really like the message it's saying. "Stray" is really big with me because it has such a huge sound. I love the total recklass abandonment of "Lay Your Money Down" - that just kills and it's really great to play live.

MR - Are you working alot of the new songs into the live set? How has the response been to the new material since it's in a little different direction than your previous songs?
FH - Oh yeah. We're only playing 3 songs from our old records. We're really proud of this new record - not that we're not of the old songs. We really want to let people know that this is what we're really about and the response has been nothing but positve from the fans.

MR - I respect that fact that you're playing alot of new material. It gets kind of boring when you see a band numerous times and each time they might only drop 1 or 2 new songs in there.
FH - That's cool that you like that. I think part of the fear that some bands have of playing mostly new stuff is that they want to please their audience. Alot of people just like to hear stuff they know. I guess it also depends on how many hits you have!

MR - Why did you decide to cover "These Are the Days" for the new one?
FH - We thought that Scott's take on the song was so good and so original that it needed to be heard. I thought it was amazing how he turned what David Byrne wrote in the song and shined a different light on the lyrics. I wasn't a big fan of the Talking Heads. I never listened to the lyric and what was being said. But, now that I hear the lyrics I'm like "That's a really heavy song".

MR - How are the new band members adjusting?
FH - Chris is loving it. (Chris was actually in The Exies early on in their career) Hoss has been on tour before. He played last summer with Nick Oliveri (Queens of the Stone Age) in a band called Mondo Generator. Nick called Hoss up to play all the drums on the record and then he called and asked him to play all the European festivals last summer. Both of them are immensly enjoying this.

MR - Thanks for checking in with us!
FH - No problem. Hopefully, everyone will open up and give the new record a chance. We're really happy with it and I think there's something there for everyone. Our live show is alot of high energy rock and roll and if anyone can make it out to check us out - please come...we won't disappoint!

For more information on The Exies log onto and

Monday, March 19, 2007

Dirty Little Secrets of the Record Business - Why So Much Music You Hear Sucks

Someone had to stand up and cry out from the mountaintop why the music that you hear on the radio today stinks. Thank you Hank Bordowitz for creating a bible that hits that nerve with everyone associated with music - whether you're a fan or a member of the industry. So much talk goes on behind the scenes that alot of fans do not get to hear - the "insiders" are privy to this knowledge of why the music business sucks. Auther Hank Bordowitz nails everything here - radio, record labels, RIAA, internet. Nothing and nobody is safe! After reading this book you will understand how and why the music industry arrived at the sorry state it is in today. Put this at the top of your "must buy" lists and head over to the Amazon link at the right and pick this up. I garauntee you that you will not be able to put this book down. It was so good for myself that everything else got put on the backburner and whittled away at 284 pages of pure truth that keeps your mind locked into it - very enjoyable read and highly recommended. Oh yeah...I blew through it in 2 days - couldn't put this sucker down! Great stuff and this gets the ELITE 10 STARS out 10. Thank you Hank Bordowitz for being the voice that speaks out for millions of music fans across the globe!

Saturday, March 17, 2007


RCA Records

One release that has eluded me is Chris Daughtry's self titled release. I finally got a copy of it and all I can say is "Wow!". This is like a smack in the face that you weren't expecting. The first release from this American Idol contestant is surging towards two million units sold after rocketing to one million units sold faster than any other rock artist for their debut release according to sales based on Soundscan. For the record I want to state that I'm not jumping on any bandwagons here. When I first heard that Chris was going to be releasing his own cd, my first thought was "Oh great. Here we go with the whole corporate spin and marketing him by doing whatever it takes to sell records and please the sheep." Even though this is backed by a major label it is anything and everything other than a corporate product. For starters, I thought the label would bring in songwriting teams and basically make Chris their vehicle for the music that the label thought would sell. Thank God the label didn't stick their noses in this release as Chris wrote or either co-wrote 10 of the 12 tracks on here. His tracks show a certain songwriting maturity not seen by any of the other American Idol contestants and the sales prove it. The songwriting is a great mix of blues based rock songs with a modern edge to them. This is sure to please any fan of the rock genre.

The opening track "It's Not Over" has been well received at radio and was the initial spark that sent this release into orbit. The swaying and swaggering vocal melodies really drive home this mid tempo rocker. This was co-written by Chris with a group of writers, which inclued his former American Idol contestant - Ace Young. The biggest slam dunk on here is a song Chris wrote himself "Home". This is a song of epic proportions that, with it's slow buildup to the emotionally hitting chorus, launches the mood level to a stratospheric level that is sure to burn into your mind and become a song that sticks with you forever - a hit song that you can look back ten years from now and remember a specific moment from when this song was popular. "Over You" is another solid song that is right up there with the strongest Creed or Nickelback material - really catchy lyrics sung over great melodies. Move over Creed and Nickelback because there's a new powerhouse in town. "What I Want" is a riff based and fast paced dirty rocker fueled by the guitar work of none other than Slash. I bet Slash was wishing he had this song all to himself. It's a song with alot of balls and probably would be the heaviest song if it were to appear on Velvet Revolver's cd. "There and Back" has an underlying fast paced funky bass line that is the backbone of the song. It's another heavy hitting song and it's one of those songs you would turn to 10 while driving in your car.

Even though this cd came out at the tail end of 2006, if I had to put together my favorite releases of 2007 right now - DAUGHTRY would be number 1. The release has a great flow and you won't be skipping over any tracks. It rocks and rocks hard from beginning to end - some songs having the fast in-your-face type approach and other tracks have that slow churning power of a flow of molten steel eating up everything in its way. I think Chris Daughtry has the ability to lose the American Idol tag eventually. The intitial sales of DAUGHTRY were obviously fueled by the American Idol fans. However, I believe that after the hard core anti-American Idol rock crowd sinks their teeth into this, it's going to strike a nerve with them and drive this thing through the roof. If I really like a cd, I'll tend to go with a 8 or 9 rating. For DAUGHTRY I would give this one a 9 and a sidebar that states "Really damn close to a 10!"

For more information log onto and

Friday, March 16, 2007

Unwritten Law - The Hit List cd review

Unwritten Law
2 AM Distribution

What we have here is a greatest hits package of re-recorded songs all spit, shined, and polished up with two new songs thrown in for good measure. I'm not big on re-recorded songs, but I understand the need for bands to do it and I'll describe that here in a minute. This batch of songs is actually pretty good compared to alot of the other re-recorded songs I've heard from various bands.

Punk rock veterans Unwritten Law acheived success with their previous record labels. However, that success didn't translate to fatter wallets for the band and it is a story that is told over and over by various bands. So, rather than slave away for another label, Unwritten Law decided to start their own label and THE HIT LIST is their first release on their new label.

Like I said earlier all of the hits are re-recorded songs. The reason why bands re-record their own material is because their former labels won't give up the master recordsings - even if the bands want to buy their own material back. The labels hold on to the masters in order to bleed every song for every penny it's worth. The labels do this buy constantly re-packaging greatest hits compilations and releasing them under different titles to throw off the consumers. Your die hard fans see through this garbage and avoid these releases. However, your casual fan will pick these up on impulse and they don't get anything new. These hits compilations put out by the label don't have to have the permission of the bands either since the label owns the master recordings. Now that we have that cleared up - let's see how THE HIT LIST stacks up.

The hits are obvious - songs like "Celebration Song" and "Up All Night" are good examples of the of the great heavy driving songs on here. Unwritten Law kind of touches on different styles of punk - such is the case with the Blink 182 flavored "Save Me". "She Says" is acoustic during the verses and erupts into rocking chaos during the chorus. One of my favorite Unwritten Law tracks is "Seein' Red" it's a great rhythmic song with a catchy vocal hook. Speaking of the hook, the band has mastered the art of writing catchy hooks that are memorable. Mix that with their infectious grooves and vocals and THE HIT LIST is a great cd worthy of picking up. The re-recordings actually sound better - better production work and a more beefier sound and not that "tin can" sound that some of these previous recordings had.

Now the real highlight of this disc is the song "Shoulda Known Better". This song is receiving some heavy airplay and could possibly rocket Unwritten Law to another level. It has all of the ingredients (hooks, infectious grooves, and vocals) all coming together cohesively to create a memorable song. The other new song "Welcome to Oblivion" quite possibly could also get as much radio airplay as "Shoulda Known Better". It's a bit toned down in the verses but picks up the beat as it breaks into a great drawn out mid-tempo vocal chorus. If these two new songs are any indication, I can wait for their next studio release. The band has really matured and have become great songwriters.

Now for an interesting twist on THE HIT LIST. Upon hearing that Unwritten Law were releasing a greatest hits package, one of their former labels rushed out one of those greatest hits compilations that I mentioned earlier to try to beat Unwritten Law to the store shelves. THE HIT LIST is the cd you should pick up - you get more bang for your buck and the recordings actually sound better. What I love about this situation is that as the hype builds over this release, it's like Unwritten Law is slowly throwing a middle finger towards their former labels and the business side of the music industry. The more the success they achieve, the higher the middle finger goes!

This is a disc that I think can span different genres of rock. Whether you're into punk, rock, pop rock, hard rock, open up your minds and give this cd a chance. I think you will like what you hear. It's a great cd and it's one that won't end up in my trade in pile. I give this cd 9 middle fingers out of 10 middle fingers!

Unwritten Law's THE HIT LIST is out now. For more information log on to

Monday, March 12, 2007

Lehigh Valley Rocks - new cd for fans of the 80's

I grew up in the 80's and was part of a generation that got to be a part of a vibrant scene that saw local bands pack the clubs and provide the soundtrack to endless weekends of decadance. That scene has long been dead and instead of your local band playing to a club packed with 700 people, local bands are lucky to pull in 100 people. There is a great cd that has just been released that captures that local band scene of the 80's and early 90's. The cd is called LEHIGH VALLEY ROCKS THE BEST OF 1984-1994. It's 2 cds containing 30 songs of the popular local bands of the Lehigh Valley, PA region. You don't have to be from that region though to truly appreciate the impact of the music on this cd. The hard rock music of that era is gift wrapped here for you for you to experience and if you like that music from then, you're going to love this. The cd booklet is top notch, glossy and has a paragraph containing a bio and a picture of every band on the disc. A proper cd review will follow. I just wanted to get the word out there on this cd asap. For more information log onto and Check it out...If you're a child of the 80's, it's well worth your money to pick this one up.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Don Dokken Interview

Dokken has two releases coming out this week - FROM CONCEPTION LIVE 1981, which is a recording of one of the earliest live performances featuring the classic Dokken lineup and the UNCHAIN THE NIGHT dvd, which was previously only available on vhs. Don Dokken checked in with us to discuss the new releases and what the future holds for Dokken. This will be the first installment of somewhat regular updates from Don leading up to the new studio release LIGHTNING STRIKES AGAIN.

Mydenrocks - So you literally stumbled across the tapes for the new FROM CONCEPTION LIVE cd?
Don Dokken - We store all of our master tapes at a vault in Hollywood. They are temperature controlled so they don't go bad. I was down looking for the master tapes from the German recordings of BREAKING THE CHAINS to do a remix for a 25th anniversary. I saw some old faded boxes with 2 inch tapes that just said "Dokken Live". I didn't really know what it was because they're were really no other markings on them. So, I took them with me, put them on the machine and found they were old recordings from way back when.

MR - How much other unreleased material is stored in the Dokken vaults?
DD - That's it. We got masters, etc. There's nothing unreleased in there. Everything has been released from what I could see. I actually looked through the tapes, but unfortuantely these new live tapes were it.

MR - The quality of FROM CONCEPTION is pretty good considering the condition they were in when you first found them. Was it hard to get the sound to come back to life and make it sound so good?
DD - It was alot of work, but it really wasn't that hard. Wyn Davis mixed it, who has done alot of Dokken albums in the past. We just transferred it to digital and got rid of all the ticks and pops. It came out sounding good.

MR - Who actually plays bass on the new live release?
DD - It's Pilson. Pilson is playing bass. He had just joined the band about a month before. Juan didn't even play on BREAKIN' THE CHAINS. His picture is on there, but he didn't play on BREAKIN' THE CHAINS. Peter Baltes, the bass player from Accept played on BREAKIN' THE CHAINS because Juan was in the U.S. and couldn't get to Germany in time to do the bass tracks. So Peter played on the tracks. Then Juan came to Germany did the European tour and the Beat Club show, then came back to the U.S. did like 1 or 2 showcases and got the record deal. But, then Juan left the band to join Ratt. Pilson joined right after Juan left and that's when these tapes for the new live release were recordeed.

MR - Why did you decide to release FROM CONCEPTION now and just not hold on to it for a later date?DD - We signed a deal with Rhino for a new studio album and I just said to them "Hey I got this old live recording that's kind of cool. You should check it out." I gave it to them and they were like "We should put this out for the Dokken catalog because it's a pretty good recording." I said "Yeah, that would be good to hold us over until we get the new studio album done." There's a big gap - it's been 2 1/2 years since we put out HELL TO PAY. So, it's about time we put out some product. It was perfect to release FROM CONCEPTION and the dvd at the same time.

MR - You're probably happy to get the UNCHAIN THE NIGHT dvd out for the first time in that format?
DD - It took a long time. Elektra didn't want to release it. They thought there was no point in putting it out because they said nobody wants to buy it - nobody cares. I said "I disagree"

MR - I heard some rumours about releasing the Dokken back catalog?
DD - I don't know anything about that. They're putting out some heavy metal compilation on Rhino that I think we're going to have one song on. Maybe that compilation thing is what you were hearing about.

MR - Do you have a target release date for the new studio release LIGHTNING STRIKES AGAIN?
DD - We wanted to put out in June. But, it doesn't look like we're going to make it. Like all albums they always take longer than you expect. It looks like it will be out late summer or Sept. at the latest. We've already booked the European tour starting in Sept. and then we'll do the U.S. tour right after that.

MR - Any particular songs stand out to you for the new studio release that you would like to give a little advance on?
DD - No song titles yet. I haven't even titled the songs yet. (laughing). I got the music. I got the lyrics. In about a month I should have some pretty concrete titles to throw out there. It's hard to describe the music without matching it up to a song name. So, no one will know what we're talking about anyhow. As far as the sound as a whole for the new material, I would say it's good hard rocking music that is in the veign of the classic Dokken sound.

MR - Where does your solo cd stand right now? Any release date planned?
DD - Nowhere apparantley. I finished it. It's done. I gave it to a few labels. Alot of people don't get the solo cd. They don't get the songs. They think it's too mellow and there's no market for it. It's a different kind of music. It's new age. It's different. It's not signed to a label yet. I'm really proud of the record. I just have to find the right label to put it out on. A rock label is not the way to go with it.

MR - Do you look at the new studio release as a make or break it type milestone for the band? If it doesn't sell, will that mean an end to Dokken?
DD - It is a make or break it album. If this album doesn't have some success, then I don't know what to say. We got great label. They're marketing it, promoting it, doing whatever they can. If it doesn't sell, then what's the point in making new cds? I won't disband the band if it doesn't sell. But we'll just stop making new records and be like Poison - we'll go out on tour every year and just play our hits.

MR - Hopefully, it does well. The whole music industry is just a mess when it comes to promotion and selling a rock product. It's almost like people who should know how to market, promote, and sell rock music don't even know how to hit a target audience anymore. Look at Cleveland for example, rock radio is just pathetic. I'm embarressed to call Cleveland the rock and roll capital anymore. It's a pathetic shell of what it once used to be and you basically have these large corporations that control the whole industry. The end result is bands like Dokken get shut out of radio airplay, venues to play, etc.
DD - The record business is so screwed up right now. It's a mess. There's no more rock radio stations. People don't how to market anymore and that's why the record companies are going down the toilet. No one wants to play in Cleveland anymore because they don't sell tickets there.

MR - Has Wild Mick and Barry ever come back from a Ted Nugent tour sporting loin cloths? They ever come back with some good stories?
DD - (laughing) No. No loin cloths. That's funny. But, you can imagine - it's Ted Nugent! They've come back with some stories. Oh yeah. But, they're stories I can't repeat. You don't want to get on Ted's bad side - don't be a rabbit! Ted will put an arrow right through you!

MR - Thanks for checking in with us Don!
DD - In about a month from now, we'll catch back up. I'll have more songs to talk about, a more solid release date, etc. Until then, check out the new releases and thanks for the support!

For more information check out...

Also, be sure to catch the Classic Metal Show on Sat. March 17 when Don Dokken will be phoning in to the show to talk about the new Dokken releases.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Dokken - From Conception Live 1981 cd review

Rhino Records

Dokken is gearing up to have a big year for releases. The first in the line of releases is titled FROM CONCEPTION LIVE 1981 and it hits the store shelves March 13. This is one of the earliest Dokken shows recorded before they ever had a record deal. This is the classic Dokken lineup on the release - Don Dokken, Mick Brown, George Lynch, and Jeff Pilson. Don Dokken accidently stumbled across the tapes while digging through the Dokken archives and he had to rescue them from mold damage. This is truly a goldmine for any Dokken fan.

The release consists of 10 tracks showcasing a band that was tearing up the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, CA circa 1981. Dokken was hungry and you can definately tell by the aggressiveness of the music here. The setlist consists of 6 songs from the BREAKING THE CHAINS release, 3 unreleased songs, and a guitar solo showcasing the abilities of George Lynch before he became a guitar hero within music circles. It's not "Mr. Scary" but it's what you would expect to see at a live show - lots of weeedly, weeedly, weeedly guitar work.

If you're a fan of the classic Dokken lineup, you will be interested in the 3 unreleased songs. My personal favorite is the song "Goin' Down". All I can say is "Why was this never on a Dokken release?" This is a high octane fueled song that moves like a dragster roaring down the strip. Musically imagaine an uptempo/slamming bass and drum rhythm mixed with shredding guitar work - mix that with Don Dokken's melodic vocals and this is a real hidden gem within this release. "Hit and Run" has a mid-tempo galloping groove that is the backbone of the song and there is some interesting vocals where Don switches from a relaxed singing style within the verses to hitting the drawn out and melodic high notes come chorus time. We also get to hear backing vocals from the band that grab your ear. The last unreleased track "Liar" is straight ahead in your face rock that has all the signatures of the classic Dokken song.

Other song highlights on FROM CONCEPTION are the obvious ones - "Paris""Breakin' the Chain""In the Middle" and "Night Rider". Quality wise the sound is incredible for a show that happened over 25 years ago. The recording doesn't sound dated like alot of live recordings from that era. It actually sounds like the show was recorded last week and is definately not what I expected to hear becasue the original tapes were in such poor condition. Great production work on every track.

This is an absolute must have for any fan of Dokken or a fan of that scene and/or genre that Dokken is part of. You will not be disappointed. Put this at the top of your wish list. I give this 8 weeedly guitar notes out of 10.

FROM CONCEPTION LIVE 1981will be out this coming Tues. March 13. Also, on that date Dokken will also release a dvd - UNCHAIN THE NIGHT, which is a reissue of the vhs title of the same name - unreleased videos and new interviews with the band are added to the original release.

For more information check out...

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Rokken with Dokken

Mark your calenders for March 13 - that's the date Dokken and Rhino Records releases the great 1981 Live cd and the re-release of the Unchain the Night video on dvd for the first time. LIVE 1981 FROM CONCEPTION is a live cd that captures Dokken circa 1981 in their element delivering a high energy setlist from one of their early live shows known to have survive through the years. The original tapes for this release were recently discovered and had to be salvaged from the mold by Don Dokken. There is a few never before released songs on it and the songs are sure to please any fan of the classic Dokken sound of the 80's. Also out on March 13 is the UNCHAIN THE NIGHT dvd. There is some performance footage and additional behind the scenes shenanigans from the band added to the original vhs release. Definately snag this one as it really captures a moment in time from when rock bands played arenas and it was all about having fun - it's like going back in time for 65 minutes, which is the length of the dvd.

Those two releases kick off a big year for Dokken. Look for a new Dokken studio release this summer as well as reissued releases of all their releases up to Beast From the East - complete with bonus tracks. Also, a Don Dokken solo cd should be arriving soon. It's good to be a Dokken fan in 2007.

Keep your eyes locked on to the Classic Metal Show for all things Dokken in the coming weeks. You can find the Classic Metal Show at Be sure to drop Wendell "Banana Peeley" Neeley an email and let him know what you think of the show. While you're there, buy a T-shirt and show some love.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Great website paying tribute to Columbus, OH local bands of the 80's

If you were around the Columbus, OH music scene back in the 80's, here is a great website paying tribute to a number of the local bands from that era. There are also a few other bands from other areas. If you were part of the scene back then, this website will take you back in time and is sure to jog something in your memory. Check it out...

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Family Values Tour 2006 cd review

Various Artists
Firm Music
Korn's been taking out their successful Family Values tour for the last couple of years. Every year the lineup changes with the mainstay being Korn. The 2006 tour also featured the Deftones, Flyleaf, 10 Years, Stone Sour, Dir En Grey, and Deadsy. THE FAMILY VALUES TOUR 2006 cd contains live tracks from all those bands and, if you attended one of the shows, serves as a great way to go back and relive the show.

Korn has 5 tracks on the disc and highlights from those blistering versions (It sounds like they picked songs where they were playing relentlessly) of their songs include the tracks "Shoots and Ladders/Wicked" (which feature Chino Moreno from the Deftones on vocals) and "Freak On a Leash" (which features Corey Taylor from Slipknot and Stonesour on vocals). The Deftones, Stonesour, Flyleaf, Dir En Grey, and 10 years are each represented by 2 tracks. The Deftones are known for their punching style of rocking out and their 2 tracks here "My Own Summer" and "Nosebleed" are a great representation of the band in a live setting. Flyleaf's hit "I'm so Sick" is included here as well as "Pride", which is a cover of the U2 hit and features Richard Patrick from Army of Anyone and Filter on guest vocals. It pretty much stays true to the original version, with a slightly heavier edge to it. One of the two tracks by 10 Years is "Wasteland", which put the band on the charts and brought them to national attention. Dir En Grey is a Japanese band that has a slamming approach to their songs on here and the 2 tracks they have here are a good introduction to the band. Look for their new cd in the next couple of months. The one track on here that I'm glad they put on was Deadsy's acoustic song "Carrying Over". It's the lone track on the disc by Deadsy. Many people don't know about this almost Marilyn Manson-ish looking band and hopefully this will help introduce the band to a new audience. The lead singer goes by the name of Exeter. In reality, the singer is none other than Elijah Blue - the son of Gregg Allman and Cher. Deadsy rocks out and "Carrying Over" isn't a good representation of the bands rocking side, but it's a good song regardless.

As I said earlier, if you attended the show. THE FAMILY VALUES TOUR 2006 cd serves as a great memento of the show. For the sheer value of descovering new talent you can't go wrong either. For big fans of Korn and the other bands involved, this will make a nice little small addition to your catalog of your favorite respective band or bands on the disc. It's definately a release geared towards the fans of these bands.

Cradle of Filth - Thornography cd review

Cradle of Filth
Roadrunner Records

One of England's darkest metal exports Cradle of Filth are back with a brilliant new release titled THORNOGRAPHY, which is their follow up to their 2004 grammy nominated release NYMPHETAMINE. NYMPHETAMINE sold 140,000 copies here in the U.S., which is a respectable number. What's more respectable is that the band has been around for 15 years, have released 7 cds in that span, and have never caved in the cravings of acheving greater success through selling out commercially. They have always remained true to their roots and that deserves to be acknowleged.

The songs that make up THORNOGRAPHY will take you on a journey exposing the listener to songs that have a pure traditionally based classical sound (pianos, etc.) to songs that will pummel your ears into submission - in the end creating a soundtrack that would work well within a theater type setting. THORNOGRAPHY is not a concept album, but that's the feeling the songs evoke. The heavier material on the release is done up in breakneck speed and a pulsating sound that features heavy double time bass drum beats and guitars that rip off driving rhythms and blistering lead guitar solos. At times, the guitar harmonies created evoke an Iron Maiden type sound. What's great about THORNOGRAPHY is that the band switches back and forth from being brutally heavy to softening things up with classical orchestra based interludes to break up the mayhem. It all goes down well. Vocally, singer Dani Filth can belt out razor like vocals on the heavy material and back down for a more melodic approach on the soft material.

Essential songs to check out are "Temptation" (which is a cover version of a song originally done by 80's band Heaven 17 and also features female vocals courtesy of Dirty Harry ), "Dirge Inferno", "Tonight in Flames", and "Lovesick for Mina". "The Byronic Man" also features guest vocals by Ville Valor of H.I.M.). THORNOGRAPHY is a great listen from beginning to end. Cradle of Filth are long overdue for some heavy exposure. So far, outside of hardcore metal fans, the band has gone under the radar of the general music fan. One of their biggest supporters is Bam Margera of the tv shows Jackass and Viva La Bam. He's helped to expose the band to a wider audience and that's helped to raise the profile of the band. Based on the material on THORNOGRAPHY, Cradle of Filth are poised to become one of the top metal bands out there and make their profile a household name in the metal world. Definately snag this one if the material described above sounds like something you would be into. If you're a fan of metal, you owe to yourself to pick up THORNOGRAPHY. This is the real deal and crushes anything put out by bands, who claim they are metal, like Slipknot or Mushroomhead for example.

For more information check out and

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Steepwater Band - REVELATION SUNDAY cd review

The Steepwater Band
Diamond Day Records

The Steepwater Band is a blues based power rock trio out of the Chicago, IL region. The band has been around for almost 9 years and their resume includes 6 releases (4 full lengths and 2 ep's) and a live schedule that sees them perfom upwards of 125 shows a year. Their latest release REVELATION SUNDAY is a shotgun barrel blast of blues based boogie rock that will leave you more than satisified.

There are two sides to The Steepwater Band - one being the side that showcases the slow bluesy "play it in the pocket" approach and the second being the fast paced boogie that resembles ZZ Top - the difference being that The Steepwater Band takes it up a notch and are definately heavier than ZZ Top.

"Steel Sky", "Mercy" and "Indiana Line" are fast paced boogie songs that will definately get people breaking out the air guitars and dancing on the dance floor. During the verses in "Steel Sky", the music kind of sounds like the Cult. There's also some really nice slide guitar work going on in these songs courtesy of lead guitarist and singer Jeff Massey. Another great track is "Revelation Sunday" - I love how the track jumps along during the verses and slows down for the climax in the chorus. Great stuff! In fact, Jeff's work really shines throughout the whole disc. His guitar just oozes the blues on slower songs such as "A lot of Love Around". This song features a long extended guitar solo that sounds great. If you like how the old blues standards sound, you will love The Steepwater Band's approach to slower material - kind of that "call and response" type blues. On some songs such as "Government Graffiti" there is a heavy Jimi Hendrix vibe going on as well. The solid rhythm section of Tod Bowers on bass and Joseph Winters on drums provides a nice heavy hitting backbone for Jeff Massey's guitar and vocal work.

The Steepwater Band is a band well worth checking out. Go to their website listed below and sample a few of their old songs. If you like hard rocking blues based music, then The Steepwater Band is definately for you. Definately, pick up their new release REVELATION SUNDAY. This one will be getting plenty of spins in your player. It's easily an 8 or 9 on a scale of 10.

For more information log onto

Naio Ssaion - Out Loud cd review

Naio Ssaion
Napalm Records
This release has been out a year already, but it's a release that I think should get a mention. I didn't get this one until late in the year and I've been giving it alot of spins lately. If you like female fronted metal bands (Lacuna Coil is a good example) that can go from being really soft and melodic to being all out brutal at the drop of a dime, you will love Naio Ssaion who hails from Slovenia of all places. OUT LOUD is their second overall release, but their first in which they sing in English. Singer Barbara Jedovnicky's vocals really stand out throughout the release. Whether she's belting out the words or singing in a soft tone, she always maintains the melody in her voice and her vocal performance is what seperates OUT LOUD from being just an average release. Musically, the band delivers the goods and musically the style is all over the map - melodic, soft, heavy in the vein of Lacuna Coil's style. You name it and the style is here and it rocks hard. ..even the violin! Naio Ssaion is not as polished (nor do they have to be) as Lacuna Coil and it doesn't matter because OUT LOUD is a great release that is well worth tracking down.

For more information log onto or

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Valient Thorr LEGEND OF THE WORLD cd review

Valient Thorr
Volcom Entertainment

Valient Thorr is back to save rock and roll with a cosmic bliss not seen since the universe was created! That statement is a little out there, but so are Valient Thorr. This band is truly a kick in the ass for rock and roll and the band has the ability to bridge musical genres with their unique style. They have the inner wrappings of punk, metal, garage rock, etc. all wrapped within their musical grab bag of songs. Think the craziness of Charles Manson (with a beard that is soon to rival a ZZ Top beard) preaching politics to the masses delivered through a Motorhead or MC5 soundtrack and you get the picture of how this band sounds. Hailing from the backwoods of North Carolina, Valient Thorr is out to right the wrongs of the universe and judging by their new release LEGEND OF THE WOLRD, they are well on their way to spreading their disease.

Carrying on where their last release TOTAL UNIVERSE MAN left off, Valient Thorr delivers another release packed with enough good songs to keep your attention from beginning to end - no filler material here. The first thing that really stands out is the incredible hooks that are delivered on both a musical and vocal level. There's alot of catchy parts scattered throughout the disc that will sink into your subconcious. Political awareness is a heavy theme throughout alot of the songs. Spewing out lyrics like a drooling pissed off dog on a short chain, lead singer Valient Himself (no -that's not his real name) delivers the policitally driven lyrics like he's addressing an army ready for battle. The guitar work of Eidan and Odinn Thorr (notice a theme here?) is nothing short of spectacular. They lead a dual guitar attack that rips your head off with great guitar solos and rhythms that keep the songs driving full speed ahead. For the guitar solos, they really do some good clean sounding melodic solos - sometimes coming off as sounding like Iron Maiden solos. It sounds like most of the songs were written around the guiars and vocals since those two things stand out the most. That's not to say the rhythm section consisting of Lucian Thorr on drums and Nitewolf on bass are slouches. You feel their contributions to the songs, they are the glue that keeps the songs together. There's no big drum fills or big bass lines - just 100 percent driving rhythms. Without their backbone, I don't think the songs would work.

It's tough to pick out any one song that stands out above the others. I tried to describe the sound of the cd as a whole, rather than breaking down each song. Log onto their website and download an older track or check out a video from them. That will give you a good idea of how the band sounds. If you like explosive slamming music that packs a heavy hitting vocal punch, then definately check out LEGEND OF THE WORLD. I really believe this band is on the cusp of breaking out big time. Get in on the action and become a believer!

For more information log onto and

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Sex Pistols Spunk review

Sex Pistols
Sanctuary Records/Castle Music

Before the Sex Pistols career defining debut release NEVER MIND THE BOLLOCKS, there was SPUNK. Well, unofficially there was SPUNK. SPUNK has been heavily bootlegged over the years in various configurations and titles. Some official releases have included some of the SPUNK tracks, but none have captured all the songs that made up the first recordings ever made of the Sex Pistols.
The 15 tracks that appear on SPUNK all were originally recorded in 1976. 12 of the tracks are demos that were taken from recording sessions that captured the Pistols for the first time in the studio. The remaining 3 tracks "Anarchy in the UK" "Pretty Vacant" and "No Fun" were also recorded in 1976.

The first thing that jumps out at you is the pure rawness of the tracks. SPUNK is a good representation of the Sex Pistols live sound from back then. NEVER MIND THE BOLLOCKS was cleaned up and it really stands out when comparing it to SPUNK. I'm not sure if the songs on SPUNK were in the early stages or if the band was just ripping through the songs in the studio - playing like they didn't have a care in the world. At any rate, this is as close to being raw as you can get with the Pistols. Most of the songs you will know - "Submission" "Nookie ( which is an early version of "Anarchy in the UK")" and "No Future (which would later be re-named "God Save the Queen"). It is pretty neat to see these songs in the early stages of what they would eventually morph into. I'm not sure exactly what was going on with the last 3 tracks that were recorded in seperate sessions from the first 12 tracks on SPUNK. "Anarchy in the UK" is not even listenable. The tempo is slowed waaaay down and it just ruins the song. "Pretty Vacant" is just bland. The last track "No Fun" is kind of interesting just because you get to hear exactly how crazy Johnny Rotten actually is. He sounds possessed out of his mind on this track.

SPUNK is not for your average fan or someone who is just discovering the Sex Pistols - you're better off starting with NEVER MIND THE BOLLOCKS. SPUNK could scare you away if you're a first time listener. This is meant more for the big Sex Pistols fan who has to have everything. As a historical document of the band at the time, it is priceless and worth it to have in your collection. Anything beyond the historical factor is irrelevent. It's not their best material, but then again it wasn't meant to be trim and proper. Isn't that pure rawness what made the Sex Pistols who they are anyways? This is really raw and sloppy. So be warned. Personally, I'll take the first 12 tracks. The last 3 tracks are throw aways

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Buckcherry - S/T reissue review on Geffen Records / Universal

BUCKCHERRY Special Edition
Geffen Records/Universal

I liked the concept of reissuing Buckcherry's first release. What I don't like about the cd is how the cd came to being reissued and the content leaves alot to be desired. It's pretty obvious that the whole thing driving this release is the recent success Buckcherry has had with their latest release 15, which has gone gold. So, the reissue of Buckcherry's first cd is strictly riding on the coattails of 15's success. If it wasn't for the success of 15, we would have never of seen this reissue and that's kind of tacky I think. It just shows how much money drives the music industry. If there's a good buck to be made, you will see products released.

When Buckcherry first exploded on the scene back in 1999, the music scene was pretty average and boring - there were no new exciting rock bands that just rocked. Buckcherry brought back that sleazy and/or rock and roll swagger style of playing to the forefront of rock music again and the general buying public bought it up. Driven by the pounding "Lit Up" the cd was an instant success based off of that one song. The reissue comes complete with both the cd as it appeared in 1999 and a bonus dvd. I'm not going to explore the tracks on the cd, because there isn't anything to talk about - just the original tracklisting appears on the cd. The bonus here however is the dvd. You get the official videos for the cd - "Lit Up" "For the Movies" "Check Your Head" and "Dead Again" In addition to the original video, there is an alternate video of "For the Movies" included on the dvd as well. Also, there are 2 live videos "Crushed" and "Check Your Head" on the dvd. I'm not sure why they didn't include a live video version of "Lit Up". That would have been pretty good. Also included on the dvd are 3 Audio tracks. I don't understand why they didn't put these audio tracks on the cd. The songs are "Late Nights in Voodoo" "Fastback 69" and a live version of "Lit Up" that was recorded at Woodstock 1999. "Late Nights in Voodoo" originally appeared on the US promo DEAD AGAIN ep and "Fastback 69" originally appeared on the Australian version of the FOR THE MOVIES ep. As I said, I don't understand why why these songs weren't included on the cd. They appear on the dvd and the only way to listen to them is through a dvd player. I don't know about other people out there, but I never listen to the audio portions of dvd's. I'm sure the sound quality is great, but it's just not for me. I listen to most of music while on the go - in the car, at work, etc. and the dvd just doesn't work for me.

If you're a die hard fan of Buckcherry, you will want this to get the few videos on the dvd that you might not have had. For the average fan, you may want to pass this one up. I think they could have done alot more on the cd portion of the reissue. I would of liked to see the bonus tracks I mentioned above on there and possibly a few more tracks of live recordings. This reissue is definately geared more towards the video lovers out there and less geared towards the fans looking for some live or rare tracks. So, if you love watching videos, snag this one. If you're looking to expand on the original tracklisting of the original, save your money - there's nothing here worth spending the extra money for.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Molly Hatchet original guitarist Duane Roland's first and last article ...

Duane Roland of Molly Hatchet fame was a big supporter of Rhythm, Art, and Groove magazine published monthly out of Cambridge, Ohio. Duane wanted to write a column for the magazine and he thought that an "Ask Duane" column would work where musicians or fans could ask him questions about the music business. This was Duane Roland’s first column as it appeared in the July 2006 Issue of Rhythm, Art, and Groove. Sadly, Duane passed away between handing in his column and the street date of the magazine. He never got to see the column and unfortunately, the column ended up being part of a tribute to Duane. Here is Duane’s column….

ASK DUANE …. Q & A with Duane Roland
RAG would like to welcome our newest monthly columnist…Duane Roland (former Molly Hatchet guitarist and current guitar player for Gator Country). Duane will do his best to answer any music related questions RAG readers would like to submit. Send your questions to "Ask Duane" at …..

I’m a beginner guitar player. What should I learn first?
Duane: I would suggest to first learn basic guitar chords. You can learn from a book, or take lessons. Just learn to get around on the guitar easily. I played drums in a teen club band and one day the second guitar player did not show for practice, and I asked the lead guitar player to show me a few chords. Two weeks later he quit playing. If you have a natural ability, you can go at it on your own. I got very lucky in that music ran in my family.

My son wants to start playing guitar. Should I pay for lessons or let him learn himself?
Duane: Some basic lessons would not be a bad thing. Again, if he starts to show a natural ability, I would let him go at it on his own. I've never paid for lessons, and I got lucky. If he really wants this, he will make it happen. I think that sometimes it's better for his creative side, to not be too influenced by any one person. The one person that made me want to play was Johnny Winter, but that was just me. I was at West Palm Beach Festival, I think it was 1969, and he was catting across the stage with those pink fingers just ripping, that's when I said I want to do that. Been working at it ever since.

I want to upgrade my guitar. Some people suggest Fenders; others Gibsons. What are the differences?
Duane: It's like "Do I want to drive a Chevy or a Ford?" I have played and enjoyed both. My first guitar that I bought was a Fender Stratocaster, I was playing that when I was asked to join Hatchet. But have leaned towards Gibsons lately. My fav is the Flying V's. The best thing to do is go to the local music store and try each and see what feels best in your hands.

I've been playing guitar for several years. What is the best way to preserve my calluses?
Duane: Don't go swimming before you play. Keep your hands dry and practice, practice, practice. I have a problem with that same thing. I tear my fingers up pretty often. I have even used that stuff called Liquid Skin on my fingers..came off after the first song. Practice...

Feel free to ask any questions, I'll do my best to answer....Duane. Also, please check my

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Shaw/Blades - INFLUENCE cd review

VH1 Classic Records - U.S. release date March 6, 2007

No Cover Art available yet

After alot of years of talking about about doing another cd together, Jack Blades (Night Ranger, Damn Yankees) and Tommy Shaw (Styx, Damn Yankees) finally rolled up their shirt sleeves and got it done - 12 years after the release of their debut cd HALLUCINATION back in 1996. That's a long wait. But, a wait that's worth it I believe it. The end result is their sophmore release INFLUENCE and the release is exactly what the title says - 11 songs that had an impact on Blades and Shaw in their formative years.

After the first minute of the first track "Summer Breeze", you get somewhat a sense of relief that this isn't just another covers release thrown out there to make a buck. Compared to the original version, "Summer Breeze" has a more distinct guitar to it and there are some hints here and there of some Damn Yankees harmonies. "Your Move" features really nice vocals that stay true to the orignal higher pitched vocals done by Yes. If you don't know this song, one listen and it will refreshen your memory. Some of these songs have gotten lost in the shuffle through the years, alot of these songs will immediately refreshen your memory. There are a couple of songs on here that really shine above the others. One of them is Simon and Garfunkel's "I Am a Rock". Gone is the artsy folk version of the song. While staying true to the original song structure, Shaw/Blades injected a dose of kick ass rock to bring this song back to life. "I Am a Rock" is possibly the best song on the release. Some of the songs I questioned appearing on here because I just plain couldn't stand the original versions. Call me crazy. The original versions of The Mamas and the Papas' "California Dreamin" and Simon and Garfunkel's "Sound of Silence"were like the sound of hearing nails on a chalkboard. I just couldn't stand the original versions. Whenever, I hear these songs I always get this mental visual of a bunch of people sitting around a campfire singing "Kumbaya" - nothing against anyone who is into that. It's just not my cup of tea. One of the reasons why I can't or couldn't stand the original versions is because the vocals of the originals just ruined it for me. Shaw/Blades have really stamped their own vocals on these two songs to make these songs somewhat listenable for me. Some of the other highlights on INFLUENCE are "For What it's Worth"(You know it..."Stop. What's that sound? Everybody look what's going down. etc.) and a jumping version of "On a Carousel". All of these songs on INFLUENCE were originally hits, so it's really hard to say that one track stands out above the rest. The vocals of Shaw/Blades have injected life into all of the the songs and the current sound of today makes the songs stand apart from the original versions.

INFLUENCE is a good listen from beginning to end. I think this release is really going to hit that nerve of the generation of people who grew up in the late 60's/70's/early 80's. All of these songs received some heavy airplay back then and these songs are going to take you back in time with memories from that era. With so much music out there now, it's easy to overlook alot of the classics. Kudos to Shaw/Blades for bringing some of these songs back to the public eye. They stamped thier own sound on it and I think that's the key ingredient to making INFLUENCE a success. It makes some of these songs listenable and nothing sounds outdated because they did the covers in their own style using the current sound of today. The only complaint I see coming down the highway on this one is the fact that some might argue that they had more than enough time to complete a new studio release of original material. After all, these guys are prolific songwriters in their own right. To debate a covers release vs. an original release is pointless. I think INFLUENCE is worth checking out - especially f you fall into that age demographic above. You will be going "I remember that song!" INFLUENCE is a nice stop gap until that next studio release. I don't think It's going to be a huge hit, but Shaw/Blades aren't looking for a hit. INFLUENCE was a labor of love, so sit back, check it out and enjoy for what it's worth.

For more information log onto The website isn't up and running yet. But, keep your eye on it.
Shaw/Blades INFLUENCE Track Listing
1. Summer Breaze
2. Time of the Season
3. Your Move
4. I Am a Rock
5. Lucky Man
6. Sounds of Silence
7. California Dreamin'
8. On a Carousel
9. Dirty Work
10. For What It's Worth
11. Dance With Me