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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

THE DEBUT RECORD

Doing the Kiss post triggered a tangent thought about great debut records.
The saying goes; you have all your life to write the first record. That sort of explains why there are so many outstanding first attempts, but I think there's also an element of chaos theory at work. The right team in the right place at the right time.
Some of these bands would go on to make so many great records that we forget how great the first one is. For some it would be the best thing they ever did.
'Boy'


















You can hear how young they were, and how ambitious.
'Led Zeppelin'




















Got give credit where it's due, although they chose not to.
'Appetite For Destruction'














I always wished they had never made another.

'Shake Your Moneymaker'














I literally thanked God for this album when it came out.


'Too Fast For Love'




















Downhill from there.

'Ten'



















I can't figure out why these guys decided to be lame.


Now onto the comments where Tony asks why I left off the first Aerosmith record.


BEER CHEESE SOUP

The Legal Diva made Beer Cheese Soup.

Amazing.

Amazing that there is such a thing, and amazing job by The Legal Diva.

She made it her own with chicken, cauliflower, and a few special touches that only she knows.

Beer Cheese Soup, the only thing that could possibly be better would be Beer Cheese Guitar Soup.

Monday, July 30, 2007

JETLAND VISCOUNT


That's my new title. Jackson the Viscount of Jetland.


The horror of the situation in Atlanta has brought to light how lucky we here in Jetland truly are.


We know where we stand, we know who we are, and we know we're gonna pummel New England into submission, or at least second place in the division.


We've said goodbye to Curtis the Great. We honor his name, we remember his stats. Though he started his career in New England, he came over to the good side, and served well under King Bill, King Herm, but never got to carry the ball for King Eric, something I think they both wish could have happened, but knew that it wouldn't.
















We know Chad is healthy, and that he CAN make it through a season.
















We know that Chicago gave us their best player - fools!
























The grass is greener here in Jetland, and I can't help but feel bad for our neighbors who seem a little Blue.




































Soon those little girls who play that game with the stick and the ball, and the little baby girlie gloves they wear so they don't hurt their precious little girlie baby hands when they catch the ball will be done with their silly summer sport.

Soon it will be time for kings.

Stay tuned subjects, stay tuned........

Saturday, July 28, 2007

BOWIE IN SPACE

Absolute Genius. The whole episode is genius, but this tune is Absolute Genius.

Friday, July 27, 2007


KISS - WHAT LIES BENEATH

The rule of thumb in Hard Rock is that with very few exceptions the hit songs are not the best songs on the record. Kiss is a very good example of this.

In the new world of digital downloads it seems that a guide to what is actually good is necessary, so I will provide that service.

I'll start with Kiss, the first Hard Rock band that I got into way back when in a land called The Seventies.

KISS (1973)

A very strong debut, but it has it's regrettable moments, such as the super silly 'Kissin' Time'.

The hit, if you can call it a hit, was 'Strutter'. A silly song as well if you ask me. I guess there was a lot of struttin' going on back then.

The good songs on this record all appear on the breakout Live record from 1975 - 'Alive'. So in retrospect they seem like hits. They are as follows:

'Nothin' To Lose' - Featuring the vocals of Peter Criss on the chorus. Peter was the most talented singer in the band, too bad about the drumming skills.

'Firehouse' - If for no other reason, it's an excuse to use a siren during the live show.

'Cold Gin' - Written by Ace Frehley, and inexplicably sang by tea-totaller Gene.

"It's time to leave and get another quart

Around the corner at the liquor store

The cheapest stuff is all I need

To get me back on my feet again"

'Deuce' - One of the most confusing Riffs in Rock, coupled with lyrics that defy comprehension.

"Get up, and get your gramma outta here

Pick up, old Jim has been working hard this year"

Great show opener. Ace opened Frehley's Comet shows with it as well.

'100,000 Years'

Great Riff, great live track, unfortunate home to unfortunate drum solo.

'Black Diamond' - Again Peter's voice lends credibility. Used as the show closer where Paul smashes a guitar - not the one he played during the rest of the show, but a much less expensive Gibson Marauder.

HOTTER THAN HELL (1974)

If Kiss ever made a perfect studio record, this is it, or it's as close as they ever got. Those very few who are actually reading this completely unsubstantiated, unwarranted, and unnecessary post are probably screaming "What about Destroyer!".

We'll get to that one.

The hit would have been the title track I guess, which is Paul's obligatory silly chick tune, but the riff is divine, and I believe the guitar tone of said riff is responsible for the guitar playing of Mr. L Smart, aka Milkyum.

The only real sub-par tune is the Paul penned, Peter sung, 'Mainline'. It is better than a lot of Kiss tunes on other records though.

This is a very Ace driven record. He wrote my two favorite tracks, 'Parasite', the riff of which is absolute insanity, and the totally weird and forgotten 'Strange Ways'. The guitar solo in 'Strange Ways' is one of my personal favorite moments in all of Rockdom.

'Goin' Blind' is the best thing Gene ever did. That includes Cher.

'Let Me Go Rock and Roll' is another standout track, written by Gene and Paul. On the Live record, however, it becomes all about Ace.

'Watchin' You' is total bad ass Kiss. This is what Ace was talking about when he said in 1981 that they should make a Rock record instead of The Elder. It just kicks ass.

'Comin' Home' and 'All the Way' are decent meat and potatoes tracks, and again, the guitar tone on 'Comin' Home' is sent from above.

DRESSED TO KILL (1975)

A strong record when all is said and done, but the poorer offerings within are even more destitute than the weaker tracks on the first two.

The hit is, of course, 'Rock and Roll All Night'. Personally I don't need to ever hear this song again.

The record opens strong with three very good songs that got lost in the shuffle.

'Room Service' features Paul postulating on how often he has sex.

'Two Timer' is a well crafted number by Gene, followed by another Gene tune, 'Ladies In Waiting' which covers the same ground Paul trolled on 'Room Service'.

Ace's 'Getaway', sung by Peter, follows, and could well have been left off the record.

'Rock Bottom' features an Ace penned intro which feels tacked onto the Paul penned song. All in all it's decent, and made the live set, but it feels a bit thin to me in retrospect.

'C'mon and Love Me' is your basic Paul rocker from this period. It works, and makes the Live show as well.

'Anything For My Baby', Paul again, is another example of a great forgotten tune, the type of tune that inspired this lengthy and superfluous post.

'She' is the gem of the album. Like 'Watchin You', it's classic riffology a la Kiss. It's these tracks that have made Kiss so influential on the metal scene, without actually being a Metal band.

Other than the fore mentioned 'Rock and Roll All Night', the remainder is a decent Paul toss away tune - 'Love Her All I Can'.


ALIVE (1975)


After these three studio offerings Kiss dealt out the masterwork of their career, the live double record set, 'Alive'. This entire record is a must own for any self respecting Rock fan. It is worth mentioning again the astounding live version of 'Let Me Go Rock and Roll', because that's what we're talking about here, the really good stuff underneath all the bullshit.


DESTROYER (1976)


With a bit of success at hand, Kiss went to the next level with the Bob Ezrin produced 'Destroyer'. Much better produced than any other Kiss record, including the two other collaborations with Bob; 'The Elder' (1981), and ''Revenge (1992), 'Destroyer' is aptly titled, because it not only destroys records made by mere mortals, but also because the success of the record did bring Kiss to the next level. We call that level Crap. Kiss would never be this good again.


There was more than one hit from this record, there was three. The album opener 'Detroit Rock City' which is the exception to the rule that my thesis rests upon, but hey, I think we'll all survive somehow. 'Detroit Rock City' is probably the apex of Kiss' recording career.


'Beth'.........what can one say? It's a beautiful ballad superbly sung by Peter. It killed Kiss. It does hold up well though. 'Beth' is a good example of what Bob Ezrin brings to the table; maturity in arrangement, class.


I think Bob fucked up 'Shout It Out Loud'. Somehow I can't help but think that the song had more balls before Bob got a hold of it. It screams pop, specifically bubble gum pop.


'God of Thunder' is an odd bird. Certainly one of the best things they've done, but the studio cut is so amazingly produced that they never really could capture it live. The perfect Gene showcase, penned by Paul.


I think in hindsight they must regret the title and chorus anchor lyric of 'Flaming Youth', but it is a great tune, somewhat slightly marred by Paul's histrionics.


'Sweet Pain' is brilliant.


"My leathers fit tight around me, my whip is always beside me


You want the same thing everyday, I'll teach you love a different way"


'Do Ya Love Me' is a crowd pleaser, but it hasn't aged well considering the gratuitous explorations of financial gain associated with Kiss.


'King of the Night Time World' benefits from the segue link to the end of 'Detroit Rock City'. Otherwise it's forgettable Paul bluster. Something he would dish out quite a bit more of on later releases.


'Great Expectations' rounds the LP out with a direct rip from Rachmaninoff. Gene plays on the fantasy life of his very young female fans. Something he would dish out quite a bit more of on later releases.


"You're sitting in your seat


Then you stand and clutch your breast"


Well, it's better than the ever ready 'knees' and 'please' rhyme.


ROCK AND ROLL OVER (1976)


Back to basics, i.e. Eddie Kramer producing, was the order of the day on this hurried sounding follow up to the gazillion selling 'Destroyer'. Probably motivated by the need to get something in the can quickly, 'Rock and Roll Over' stops short of the mark, with the exception of some really great guitar work by Ace. Absent for much of 'Destroyer', Ace seemed to respond to Eddie Kramer's production style. Or maybe Ace just didn't care for Bob's.


The most clever thing about 'Rock and Roll Over' is it's title. While none of the songs suck, there's not much in the way of standout tracks. It's a very consistent album, but a bit of a ho-humer.


'Calling Dr. Love' was the hit. A great groove, musically the song moves well, but the subject matter was formulaic, and the lyric sophomoric. Gene issues crap and is rewarded with a gazillion sales.


'I Want You' leads off the record with zeal, and is probably the strongest tune on the record.


'Ladies Room' is vulgar. Vulgar can be good, and this is good vulgar.


'Hard Luck Woman' could be Rod Stewart. Literally, they tried to sell it to him. He passed. They gave it to Peter, but kept the Rod Stewart vibe. It works, but sounds out of place to me now - and it's the last song on the record, where out of place songs can work, sometimes.


The rest of the record (Take Me, Baby Driver, Love 'Em and Leave 'Em, Mr. Speed, Makin' Love, See You In Your Dreams) is all decent, but not deadly. Inexplicably, Gene would re-cut 'See You In Your Dreams' again on his Solo Record in 78.


LOVE GUN (1977)


Open up the crap gates.


I laugh when I listen to 'Christine Sixteen', but deep down it's very disturbing, and would not sell as a single today like it did then. Like, sixteen is illegal, right?


The best thing about the 'Love Gun' record, besides the paper 'pop gun' that came inside, is the fact that Ace finally stepped up to the mic to deliver 'Shock Me'. Ace sings like he's smiling, and high.


'Almost Human' is a refreshing number by Gene lost in a wilderness of insipid formulaic ( I know, I used that one already, but it's hard to keep coming up with disparaging musical terms when you are talking about Kiss......for this long!) phoned in crap.


The only other song even worth mentioning is the just plain ridiculous cover of 'And Then He Kissed Me', with appropriate gender switch of course.


ALIVE II (1977)


Did I use formulaic yet? Another three studio records, another live record, of sorts.


It is widely accepted that 'Alive II' wasn't recorded in front an audience, but in the studio with piped in crowd noise (which is standard - the crowd noise that is, most live recording don't actually have much crowd noise on them, it became de rigeur to add it into the mix).


The only reason to buy 'Alive II' is the 4th side which features 'bonus' studio material.


Ace's 'Rocket Ride' saves the day. For some reason his surface level ode to sex (the Kiss ethic) comes off, whereas Gene and Paul have to stoop increasingly lower into the gutter for material.


Having said that, Gene's 'Larger Than Life' is absolutely absurd in entendre, but absolutely brilliant. I would say that it is the last great Kiss song, but the fact that Ace doesn't play on it makes me think we've passed that mark already.


'All American Man' is okay.


I think we're done here.


DOUBLE PLATINUM (1978)


Greatest hits package only worth mentioning for the remake of 'Strutter' slyly titled 'Strutter 78'. The word 'why' comes to mind.


THE SOLO ALBUMS


Treat Peter's like the Plague.


All of Ace's is worthwhile, and occasionally brilliant.


Paul's mostly blows. 'Goodbye', 'Move On', 'It's Alright', and 'Love In Chains' are decent. The rest is crap, or worse, mellow crap.


Gene's has it's moments. 'Radioactive' is good, specially after the pretentious intro. 'Burning Up With Fever' follows and is decent as well. 'Living In Sin' has a certain novelty value, and 'When You Wish Upon a Star' is just hilarious. I'm still not sure if he meant that to be funny or what.


DYNASTY (1979)


The big comeback. The big comecrap is more like it.


We've now reached a point where Ace is carrying the record. Of course 'I Was Made For Loving You' was a big hit, and put the final nail in their credibility coffin, but Ace's cover of the Jagger/Richards number '2000 Man' is sublime. While Paul was courting disco, Ace was courting Rock.


Ace's 'Hard Times' isn't his best, but in a desert light beer is great.


I'd say that 'Sure Know Something' is a well crafted pop tune, but not what was desired at the time, at least not by anybody cool.


UNMASKED (1980)


Gene actually makes a bit of a comeback on this one, providing the few non-Ace numbers that don't make you puke, which are, ah......let me see here......oh, 'Naked City'. That's it.


Ace gives us 'Talk To Me', 'Two Sides of the Coin', and 'Torpedo Girl'. None Nobel worthy, but all decent - 'Torpedo Girl' simply because it's so ridiculous, and funky.


After 'Unmasked' Peter quit, much to Paul and Gene's relief, but that left Ace the odd man out.


In 1981 they brought back Bob Ezrin to produce their concept record, 'The Elder'. It was the end, and only Ace knew it.


Thursday, July 26, 2007


THE LAST DAYS OF MOTORHEAD


All due respect to Lemmy and the various incarnations of Motorhead that he's been dragging across the globe over the past twenty odd years, but for me, it ended after 1983's 'Another Perfect Day'.


Not because I didn't like the record, and not because I didn't like Fast Eddie's replacement.


I guess I should back up a bit.


Lemmy, then playing bass and occasionally singing for seventies freak out metal outfit Hawkwind, is left stranded and broke in a motel in mid-western America by said seventies freak out metal band in 1975.


When he got home to England he had a plan. A plan based on a song of his that Hawkwind didn't like. Motorhead.


After a few brief incarnations, in 1976 the classic Motorhead line-up was in place. 'Fast' Eddie Clarke (guitar), 'Philthy Animal' Taylor (drums), and Lemmy.


Nobody wanted Motorhead. Nobody except a growing fan base of bikers, rockers, and punks.


Eventually they signed to Gerry Bron's Bronze label, formed six years prior because nobody wanted Uriah Heep.


The first record, the self titled debut, was exactly what it should have been. It was Motorhead. Loud as hell amphetamine influenced Texas blues and bar boogie.


Touring the hell out of England gained them enough support to get a deal with Phonogram/Mercury for their next record, 'Overkill'.


With a serviceable sophmore effort in the stores, the band hit the boards again.


In 1978 they found the time to record 'Bomber', which was an improvement chartwise, as well as being much better produced.


More touring. A lot more.


At the end of 1979 they entered the studio once again, but this time, when they left, they had a perfect record.


'Ace of Spades' is that rare commodity, a perfect record. Every track is great.


Not many people can say that about an album they put out in 1980.


More touring, with Ozzy in the States, and everywhere else with Saxon in support.


A live record of their triumphant return to the Hammersmith Odeon followed. A true classic, 'No Sleep 'til Hammersmith' showcased a bad mother fucking band, and Lemmy was King, King of a land where bad teeth and warts are the order of the day.


Then he let Fast Eddie produce the next record.


Not that Eddie did a bad job with 1981's 'Iron Fist'.


I think some folk call it bad vibes, whatever the case, Eddie and Lemmy weren't getting on.


It came to a head during a tour break in Toronto where Lemmy had arranged to record a single with Wendy O. Williams. Eddie hated it. Eddie quit.


The tour!


"Where can we find a guitar player in Canada?"


"Robo is drying out at a nearby treatment center."


"Oh, we'll fix that........"


Or so the story goes; Brian 'Robo' Robertson recently late of Thin Lizzy was getting sober at a facility near Toronto. Lemmy rang him up. No more treatment center.


After playing out the remaining dates, the new Motorhead went into the studio.


Robo was a bit more refined in his playing than Eddie. The inside sleeve of 1983's 'Another Perfect Day' has a cartoon strip that details the hilarity that ensued.


The result was nearly magical. The sound was great, Robo added a depth without pussifying the sound. Unfortunately, there were some sub-par tunes.


After the tour, Robbo took his leave, and Lemmy did what Phil Lynott did ten years earlier when he hired Robo, he went with two guitar players - in case one doesn't show.


It was never the same, specially after Philthy left as well.


I haven't bought a Motorhead record since.


Sorry Lemmy.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I SAW BILL

When I was in Anaheim I saw Bill.
We hadn't seen each other since 1985.
We got up to speed very quickly, found the old groove of friendship.
It was really nice.
I can't say it was the same, because we aren't the same.
There's more to us now.
We spoke to each other the way we speak to people now, we've been tamed by life.
The old us was there, the old us provided the familiarity and comfort that enabled the new us to feel like the old us in the company of the new us, who don't talk like the old us, but talk about the same things.
Music, guitars, music gear, the recording of music, the playing of music in front of people..........
and girls.

It was good seeing Bill.

FOR THE FANS






On June 27, 2000 David Bowie played a fan club only show at the BBC theater. It was recorded, and released as a special edition third CD with his 'Bowie at the BEEB' release of BBC sessions from back in the day.
I've listened to the two CD set of the old sessions a few times, it's okay, you get a lot of Visconti bass playing, but it ain't all that and can of hair spray.
The 2000 show on the other hand, well, I've played that one more than any other CD I own, except for maybe the Dan Baird 'Love Songs for the Hearing Impaired', and consequently I'm bummed because these records never got printed on vinyl, and I'm hell on CDs. The Dan Baird is still skip free, but the Bowie has four, count 'em four, songs that can't be played. It is fortunate that I can live without those four, but how long before I start losing essential tracks?
I'm now forced to rip them for back-up.
I'm kinda bummed about that, the horribleness of the shelf (read car) life of a CD.
We were told they'd last forever.
If you are careful, and patient, you can 'fix' most vinyl scratches.
You can't fix a CD that skips.
Holy Shit-talking! Look how I digress.

Back to the Bowie Live 2000 BBC CD.
It is a constant source of wonder and amazement. Mostly due to these two:


















That's right, the rhythm section. Gail Ann Dorsey and Sterling Campbell have brought to Bowie's live show a consistency and groove that he's usually lacked.

Rounded out by long-timers Earl Slick (guitar) and Mike Garson (keys, and the man with the most time served, he did that crazy piano shit on Aladdin Sane), the Bowie Band is one of the two best I've seen in the past fifteen years. Yes, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers would be number one.

But I want to talk about Gail and Sterling some more. They are bad-ass. 'Ashes to Ashes' sounds like what Bowie wished he had got on tape originally. It's the same, just better. And what they do to 'Let's Dance' is simply astounding, jaw dropping, nasty groove a licious. Something I would call Funk if I wasn't so scared to.

The show opens with 'Wild Is the Wind', which was ambitious back in 76 in the studio, and they nail it. Dave's voice can't get up as far as he used t' could, but he fakes it well in a head voice and gets a huge audience reaction. The band, again, astounding.
They follow with the forementioned 'Ashes to Ashes', and 'Seven', a late nineties number much improved by the band. 'This Is Not America' and 'Absolute Beginners' follow and again, these tracks smoke the studio releases, 'Absolute Beginners' going from a ho-hum mid eighties soundtrack toss away, to probably the stand-out cut on the CD.

'Survive', another (then) new-ish tune brought to life is followed by 'Little Wonder'. My CD starts skipping during 'Survive', and continues into 'Little Wonder', but I remember digging the guitar over electro-beat vibe of the latter, and the former, well.......he'll survive your naked eyes, he'll survive..........

Then they crank out 'The Man Who Sold the World' (Resurrection by Kurt), 'Fame' (my least favorite tune, but an exceedingly well played version of it), and 'Stay' (another tune I used to skip until I heard Earl Slick rip it up on this track), before heading back to electro-land with 'Hallo Spaceboy', which I enjoy. I think that, unlike the rest of the world, Trent Reznor had a positive effect on David.

'Crack'd Actor' comes slithering out of whatever dark dank hole it comes from. Great wah by Earl. It sleazily chugs it's way along, then gives way to the brute force of 'I'm Afraid of Americans', which slays me every time. So very heavy.

"But wait, there's more......"

A blissful, cathartic, funky ass, super duper funkified 'Let's Dance' ends the show.

Really, you gotta get this stuff..................

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

THE RHYTHM IS GONNA GIT YA

I've been thinking about rhythm sections lately, basically since these guys came up during a conversation in a ballroom in Anaheim.















Adam used to take a beating back in the day, mostly because he wasn't very notey. Now we know he was laying down fat grooves with Larry that the Edge and Bono could wallow in.

"Look to Larry for the changes."


Always first in my mind is the even more time tested team of Charlie and Bill.


















When people scoff - and scoff they will, two words: Miss You.


The Barrett Brothers, however, rule the galaxy.





























They simply school everyone.

It would be stupid and suicidal to suggest that any drummer and bass player were ever more locked in than these two - BUT.......




No three-piece rhythm section is, was , or ever shall be tighter than these guys:











You just can't take Malcolm out of that equation. He IS rhythm.








Now this is a 'short list', so before you start calling me names, the intention is to have a discussion and add to this list, so if I didn't mention the greatest rhythm section ever, please let us know about it.

Monday, July 23, 2007

OOOOOOH THAT SMELL

It was my intention with my Joe Walsh 'Funk # 49' post to discuss the use of the thumb to bar the strings of the guitar across the neck. Not to discuss the perceived funkiness or un-funkiness of the song.

Clearly it is not a funk song.

I should have said as much when Papa Robbie took over the school bus.

Instead, Tony and I went down the 'Aw, c'mon, it's a little funky' road.

Well, apparently it's not even a little bit funky - in terms of what Funk is and isn't according to the gospel of Papa Robbie and the Legal Diva.

Okay then.

The road Tony and I should have gone down goes something like this:

The song has nothing to do with Funk in terms of how that word is used in a musical sense. It is about smell, as in; that smells funky.

'Out all night, sleep all day
I know what you're doing
If your gonna act that way
I think there's trouble brewing'

I think the title of the song is a play on Chanel #5.

When somebody smells like a binge drunk, they are wearing Funk # 49.

It's all about the '#' sign. It's part of the title; funk number forty-nine.

I have no proof, but I think Joe would back me up.

Anybody got Joe's number? E-mail?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

DEFINITIONS

Groove: (n) a pronounced enjoyable rhythm, (v) to interact harmoniously

Funk: (n) music that combines traditional forms of black music (as blues, gospel, or soul) and is characterized by a strong backbeat

Wikipedia has Websters beat on the Funk account.

No listings for 'skank' or 'one drop'.

Losers.

Monday, July 16, 2007

THUMB

Way back when, Frankie showed us how to play Funk 49. He used his thumb to bar the strings, saying; this is how it has to be done.

Here is eveidence that Frankie was right. I guess YouTube is good for some things.......


THREE AND OUT

In 1979 when Joe Perry left Aerosmith in the middle of the recording of 'Night In the Ruts', it seems to me, and I have no source to cite, that he took with him the best song they had for that record; 'Let the Music Do the Talking'.
I picture Joe, much like the cover of the record that would bear that title, in a board room playing the demo of the tune for Columbia execs.

















They must have liked it, or liked the dollar signs they saw on Joe, because they gave him, a drug addled none too brighter, a solo deal, apparently a three record deal, because that's how many Joe Perry Project records there are.
In Joe's defense, the first record, hell the second one too, are good Rock records, maybe not as good as 'Night In the Ruts', but better than Aerosmith's 1982 sans Joe (and Brad) record 'A Rock In a Hard Place'.
The third? Well I guess the third time is not always the charm.
I can't blame him. He had a habit, and well, he's not a mental giant.
Also, I bought it, I bought them all.

The first one, 198o's 'Let the Music Do the Talking', sold the best, and is the best of the three. Apparently he had begun recording it prior to his official jetting from the Aerosmith camp.
The second, 1981's 'I've Got The Rock and Rolls Again', featuring mostly the same band, is a decent record, but Columbia, in an effort to push Joe back into the Aerosmith fold, didn't promote it, it didn't sell, and they dropped Joe.

















Joe wasn't ready to make nice with Steve yet, so he pushed on. He might have had trouble finding Steve at any rate. After 'A Rock In a Hard Place' failed to sell up to par, Columbia tired of the drug addicted bandleader, and subsequently dropped Aerosmith. Steve burned through what cash he had left, and was seen in Lower Manhattan selling his Corvette for dope.

In a highly questionable move Joe fired the decent band he had, signed to MCA (again questionable), and put together the worst motley assortment of lackluster talent loosely termed a 'band' featuring an Ohio born 'singer' from Mars called 'Cowboy Mach Bell'.














Joe was on drugs, we've covered that, right?
The LP to follow, 1983's 'Once a Rocker, Always a Rocker', is probably one of the worst records I ever bought. A lame, but somehow amusing cover of 'Get It On (Bang a Gong)' got it a few spins on my turntable, but not in, like, 20 years has it been taken out of it's jacket.











On the tour in support of that record, Joe was joined by his old buddy Brad Whitford, who's post Aerosmith career began and ended with the one off Columbia release 'Whitford St. Homes' with former Ted Nugent sideman Derek St. Homes.
Yes, I own that one too. I don't think it even got a second spin.
The next year would be a fence mending one. Brad and Joe would re-join their Aerosmith brothers, and the first thing they would lay down for their initial Geffen release? 'Let the Music Do the Talking'

Friday, July 13, 2007

ROCK STAR 101

This is how it is done.

MORE REASONS NOT TO BELIEVE

She said this.

They said this.

TONY ALVA SHOULD NOT READ THIS POST



There was a bit of a tumult recently over at Newcritics when Jason picked the Grateful Dead as America's greatest Rock Band, maybe it was Rock n Roll Band - whatever. It was the 4th of July, and Jason was trying to say something about the Americaness of the Dead, through the songwriting, and the......well, I'm not sure, I never read his entire post. Mostly I just wanted to see what everybody else was gonna say.

I knew that his premise was faulty because Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are America's greatest Rock Band, or Rock n Roll Band, again - whatever.

But I do like the Dead.

Here's where Tony grabs his chest and starts moaning.

Much like the Giants, I sort of had to like the Dead. It was either that or be an outcast.

My brother Rod has successfully turned me onto a lot of great music, and with the exception of that Creed period he went through, I've always looked to him as an arbiter of taste.

The Dead was a challenge though, much more so than the Giants.

I did not want to like the Dead.

If you choose to not like the Dead, you have a goodly amount of ammunition. Let's face it, there's a big 'point and laugh' factor.

First: they are a bunch of dirty hippies.

Seriously. The worst sort of non-accountable smelly burn outs.

Then there's Jerry's voice. Now, I'm an accepting guy. Hell, some of my favorite vocalists have questionable voices: Warren Zevon, Keith Richards, Geddy Lee. Jerry, however, lacks sack. There's nothing coming from below, that menacing place, the place where the mojo comes from. No soul.

The same is true of his guitar playing; constant running up and down scales, no emotion - NO BENDS!

There is no good reason to have two drummers, both playing a kit. This is law.

Why is Phil Lesh never playing the same song as the rest of the band?

What's up with the Spinal Tap like keyboardist curse? How has Bruce Hornsby managed to survive?

How come I can't hear Bobby's guitar?

Having said all that, I do like the Dead. I like the songs. Well, I like a lot of the songs.

Everyone who has to defend the Dead musically ends up referring to two records. 'Workingman's Dead', and 'American Beauty'. Both good records.

I like 'Terrapin Station'.

I always gotta be different.

So, anyway, how's that for a back-handed compliment?

Thursday, July 12, 2007


HOW DID THIS RECORD GET MADE?

In 1978, Johnny Thunders was stranded in England. After the dismal fiasco that the Anarchy Tour turned out to be, the Heartbreakers (not to be confused with Tom Petty's band) disbanded, and somehow, Johnny managed to get left behind.

So what does a broke drug addicted Rock Star do?

Make a record.

I don't know who he swindled for studio time, and It's unclear how he managed to get a solo record deal, but he did.

And he made this record. With a lot of help from some friends.

Listening to this record, two things are clear.

There was a party going on, and Johnny had just about cleaned out his bag of tricks.

At least half of the songs are recycled New York Dolls tunes, but the other half are inspired, if not a little loose.

Being that most things here at Savage Distortion somehow relate to Thin Lizzy, it won't surprise you to learn that Phil Lynott appears on a couple tracks.

A REASON NOT TO BELIEVE

He says this.

They say this.

iHazzard

I knew it was only a matter of time.





HELL YEAH!

What would you camp out all night waiting on line for?

Jackson says not much, except this.

A year of free Chick-fil-A?

You bethca!

WHAT WE'VE KNOWN FOR YEARS

Rudy is a opportunist of the worst variety. His campaign is entirely based on the myth that he carried New York on his shoulder in the days immediately following the attack of September 11, 2001.

Now NYC's Bravest are coming out against him.

Next I'd like to see all the minorities who were beaten and shot by cops during his reign of terror step up to the plate and tell their stories - again. Maybe now somebody will listen.

Mayor Mike has had the real tough job. Rudy left Mike quite a mess to clean up.

SUNDAY NIGHT UNCERTAINTY

It seems there was time, looking back that is, when Sunday night was a lock. HBO was delivering the goods in a consistent manner. The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Deadwood, okay, I'll throw in Sex In the City, though I personally never watched it, really, I swear...Anyway, Band of Brothers, Curb Your Enthusiasm, you could count in Sunday night.

That was then, or so it seems, like I said.

Now?

Big Love? Can't do it. We tried, it didn't take. Nothing ever really happened. The characters weren't endearing, specially Chloe Sevigny's, whom I can't stand. I used to love Bill Paxton, back in the 'Chet' days, but he's become a snore.

John From Cincinnati? Jury's out, but it doesn't look good.

Entourage? Growing on me. I hated the concept, but Kevin Dillon and Jeremy Pivet are hard to resist.

The good news?

Flight of the Conchords. Brilliant.

ROCK STAR/NOT ROCK STAR


















Rock Star


















Not Rock Star





Rock Star
Not Rock Star
Rock Stars
Not Rock Stars

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

SLAMMER! TIME

Please SLAMMER! don't hurt 'em.

Yes folks, that's right, after a long last of time, SLAMMER! the Musical is happening.

SLAMMER! will premier at the NYC Fringe Fest this August, sometime during the last week of the fest; August 20-26.

Stay tuned for dates and venue info.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

LIVE HATIN'

While I'm not nearly as cynical about the cause as my brother and his monkeys, I do concur, with the exception of the headliners, Roger Waters and the Police, that the line-up looks dismal. Wembley got Spinal Tap, Duran Duran, and the Chili Peppers, while I'm stuck here trying to figure out what Taking Back Sunday is all about, and who had Sunday previously, and other such things my mind had been allowed to run to because the bands aren't very good.

Like Kit Tunstall for instance.

Boring.

Oh shit - it's Enrique Iglesias live from Hamburg. Dude, you need a tissue, there's something on your lip.

Crap.

The worst thing about watching these things on TV is the stupid hosts. Actually I feel bad for Duff, I mean sure she's not the brightest bulb in the building, but she's gotten herself all knocked up and whoever is directing this TV coverage has her sitting in a chair in an unflattering angle that makes her look fat instead of preggers.

Shut Up!

All this and I still have Kelly Clarkson to get through. Eeeesh. I think I'll need some help from Mr. Beer to get through this.

SHHHH! It's Leo DiCaprio introducing Uncle Al.

Al is introducing Keith Urban doing 'Gimme Shelter'.

Hmmm, not bad.......oh no! Alicia Keys! Ahhhhh! No! NO! NO!

Here's a really talented individual, but what's with the oversinging? All those runs, gadzooks!

Damn that Proactiv works though.....

Hell. it's like they aren't even singing the same song.

Crap.

Nice, a shot of some chick with 'Save the Planet' on her ass. Listen honey, the planet's not in danger, it's US! We're in danger! Mostly from idiots like you.

Okay now I'm getting bored again, wondering if they raised enough money last week to save Diana. I'm certain it's gonna take some serious cash, I mean she has been dead ten years now.....

I'm going to keep using that one until I get a laugh, so you might as well settle in, it's going to a while I figure.

Okay, enough Keith Urban. I mean he's okay, I guess. Good guitar player, tight band, but it's that pop country thing, it's too clean, it needs a drug habit or something.

Oh, we're headed to London for some Black Eyed Peas.

Huh?

Not a word.

Why are they yelling at me?

I'd say if you want to Get It Started, start by not yelling all over everybody else's lines.

Ah, a welcomed commercial break.

Some unintelligible German model/slut is now trying to talk about hurricanes.

Ludacris is up now.

Why do rappers insist on holding the 58 around the capsule? It does not help. I guess fidelity is not a concern.

Now this is cool. Literally. They have some band playing in Antarctica! I missed the intro, so I don't know who they are, but they look Canadian. Maybe it's the heavy winter clothes. I'm not sure if they suck, or that it's hard to stay in tune in Antarctica. Gotta hand it to them, taking it straight to the heart of the matter.

Nanatuck? Something like that. 5 Scientists jamming for Eco Awareness. Cool.

AFI? ATF? ATV? VH1?

The singer is awful. Honey, the pancake doesn't work in daylight.

Funny, I don't see anybody playing a synth, but it's practically the only thing I'm hearing.

Oh shit, the dude's a vegan.

God help us all.

Oh, and now they're gonna massacre 'Ziggy'.....I gotta go away for a bit, to save myself, and others....

Pussycat Dolls?

Girls gone wild?

I think they are singing to the same backing track that AFI used.

There's only one way to improve on that act.

Lose the outfits altogether.

Oh, the German model/slut is back and chatting with the lame host.

Beer.

Where's the reefer.......

Fall Out Boy.........or the Chris Farley Band? Seriously.

I guess they're better than AFI, or at least AFI's backing tape.

I can't believe these acts have record deals and the management juice to get this gig.

The level of talent in what passes for Rock today is nearly non-existent.

I wish they'd show the Chili Peppers' London set again.

Flea is amazing. They had a second guitar player. I guess Frusciante painted himself in a corner on some of the tunes from Stadium Arcadium. I guess it's cool, but it's weird seeing five people on the Chilis' stage.

Fall Out Snore is off the stage now and being interviewed by the loser host. I like them better when they are not playing.

It's now night time as we're in Sydney watching Jack Johnson.

Kinda hard to mock this.

How boring.

AKON. OKAYKON.

At least he's holding the mike properly so that we can understand him.

Okay, he's pretty good. Respect.

I'm heading to the studio.

5:30 pm

Back before Roger's set.

---------------------------------

Okay, I'm back. 7:30 pm, Dave Mathews is on.

How can such a great band be so boring?

So, what did I miss over the past two hours?

I can't seem to find out. Hopefully it was Kelly Clarkson, or Kanye.

I think Dave is playing the same song for, like, a half hour. Great drummer. Such a waste.

Cameron Diaz? Please God, can't you see we need help down here!

Madonna in London.

I can't really rag on Madonna, 'cept to say that she really should stop it with the guitar. Where's David Lee Roth with his sage advice; 'Nobody wants to see your dead ass play guitar'.

Apparently he was wrong back in 84, plenty of people did want to see Eddie's dead ass play keyboards, but I think I speak globally here when I say that nobody wants to see Madonna strum a Les Paul.

Hmmmmm.....

I think she's not only actually playing, but I can hear it in the mix - okay, she's got AFI beat.

Respect.

Oh shit, she's getting all crazy with the Les Paul, sliding the neck against the PA column, you go girl!

Fuck, Clarkson's on.....shit, I hope I didn't miss Roger.

God, this shit is horrible.

Can you lay off the vibrato for a nano-second Kelly?

Just like Alicia Keyes, trying too hard.

Need more Beer...............

---------------------------------------------------------


Holy utter crap! I went to the store for Beer, sweet sweet Beer, and when I got back Clarkson was still yelping.


Hey, it's the Chilis re-broadcast I was asking for. Dani California.


Ahhhh, a real band. Holdouts from a day almost past.


The only real Rock Stars I've seen so far today.


Here's Kanye. I can't give an unbiased opinion (as if...), because I just don't like this guy. He's a whiner, a self-important marginally talented whiner.


He should have re-thought his outfit. The camouflage cap doesn't go with the red and white track jacket and red golf shirt.


It's the details........

I'm really starting to think I missed Roger.




Okay, I just checked the Brain Damage site, it says Roger goes on after Bon Jovi, before the Police, as I originally suspected. Cool.

Yes! The Beasties in London.

Sabotage.

I love when they do the band thing, I mean they aren't great musicians, but they understand groove and feel better than most.

Crap! Only one song! Clarkson got at least four!

Such utter crap. Why? Dear God, why?

Cameron is back, yak yak yak......shut up! Save the planet? The planet? Uh, the planet's doing fine, it's just gearing up to get rid of our annoying presence upon it, idiot.

Bon Jovi.

Memories of hatin' past. I used to hate these guys back when they were killing Metal in the eighties.

Now I got respect for them. They've hung in there, haven't changed much. They didn't try to be Grunge when Hair Metal died, they just sort of leaned back a little into more of a Springsteen feel, which let's face it, suits these Jersey boys.

I'm not saying I'm gonna rush out and buy any Bon Jovi records, just that they don't make me vomit.

No Vomit - a rave from Jackson!

John just wants to live while he's alive. Sometimes when he's alone, and all he does is think. Easy John, don't break anything. John has never been a lyrical genius. He is pretty though.


Foo Fighters from Wembly.

Again the Brits with the better acts. I blame Bush.

See, that's funny because this is Al's event.......get it?

Smashing Pumpkins from somewhere dark. Can't say I care much about this reunion. Corrigan is such an annoying dude - so negative, and his voice just grates. I'd rather see this than fuckin' Clarkson though.

Roger is up next, I'm all a twitter.

No he's not, Joss Stone in Johannesburg is. I'm worried about Joss. The 'too much too soon' factor is looming. I like when she's doing the Janis thing, but she's edging toward that R&B oversinging trap.

All these chicks gotta realize that there was, is, and should always be, one Aretha. Leave it alone, let's hear YOU sing.

Rhianna in Japan. I missed it really, too busy typing. I think I fared well in that endeavour.

The Legal Diva got home just before the Pumpkins, we're cooking dinner. Now I have to pretend to be excited about the Police.

I'm okay with that.

Another 'highlight' from London, Genesis.

Sigh...........

Phil Collins is about as exciting as a test pattern.

Chester Thomson however, I can just watch Chester hit the skins; that's entertainment enough.

At long last.......Roger Waters.

Quick 'In the Flesh' open, followed quickly by 'Money'.

Usual Surrogate Band members; Andy Fairweather-Low (guitar, vocals), Snowy White (guitar), Dave Kilminster (guitar, vocals), Jon Carin (keyboards, vocals), Graham Broad (drums), Harry Waters (Hammond organ), Ian Ritchie (saxophone), and Katie Kissoon, PP Arnold and Carol Kenyon (vocals).

Roger seems much more the Rock Star now that he did when he was cementing his legendary status. Formerly a lurker, he's become a big stage stroller, taking long jaunts during sax and guitar solos.

John Carin steps up to the mic for 'Us and Them'.

'Brain Damage/Eclipse' - awesome

Will it be all Floyd?

Oh shit, there's a giant floating pig. It's not Dave's pig.

'Happiest Days of Our Lives' into 'Brick 2', flawless. Actual children onstage.

That's it.

Damn.

Cool.

Lenny Kravitz coming in from Rio. He likes to rock. Are you gonna go his way?

Well done Lenny.

Another Duran re-run. Pretty good actually.

The Police come to close it out. Good start with "Driven To Tears', 'Roxanne' got shaky, but they pulled it together during the jam breakdown end bit.

During 'Can't Stand Losing' the Legal Diva got upset. I knew it would happen.

They are seriously stretching out these tunes.

'Message In a Bottle' with John Meyer, okay why not?

He didn't just bring out Kanye, did he?

He didn't.

He did.

Oh lord, do we deserve this?

It's over, good night, time for chicken dinner.

THE GREAT RE-INTEGRATION










Fred was on about some feature on one of his Internet music interface thingys that enabled you to track what you listen to.




I call that the pulled-out stack.











The great thing about the pulled-out stack, other than it's usually a kick-ass selection, is the joy of re-integration.
Putting it all away.

I make alphabetical piles.








My pulled-out stack was a year old.

Friday, July 06, 2007

CRACK THE SKY

I know one sure fire way to turn off an audience, and that's to start talking about Progressive Rock.

See ya later.....

Anyway, for those of you left in the room, most Prog seems to come out of Britain; Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, ELP, Gentle Giant.......



Rush could be put into the Prog bucket, as could some German acts such as Amon Duul, and there's Australia's Can, but Americans seem to steer clear of the Prog.

Except Crack the Sky.

Who?

Exactly.

I don't have the critically acclaimed self titled debut, but I have the two subsequent releases, 'Animal Notes', and 'Safety In Numbers'.



I wouldn't go far as to suggest that they are some lost great band, like Be Bop Deluxe, but I do like some of their tunes. The records do get spin time, but then again so does Accept........



Anyway, if you dig progressive rock, try and find some Crack the Sky.



Or don't.


ROCK IS DEAD, LONG LIVE ROCK EPISODE FOUR - A NEW HOPE

They are called Darlings. We've been working on their record at Smoke and mirrors. Despite the fact that they killed our computer, or maybe because of it, Chris and I are in love with Darlings.

Pop meets..........ah fuck it, they're just great.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

INTELLIGENCE IN ROCK

I have been reading 'Thin Lizzy' by Alan Byrne, and watching 'Too Hot To Handle', a DVD retrospective about UFO.

Not for the first time, I'm struck by how, well, not bright some of my musical heroes come off.

In the Zevon book, it's mentioned more than once by his literary friends that he was unusual in the Rock world because he was a smart dude.

I've always been defensive of this attitude, but it has finally sunk in that it doesn't take Mensa credentials to write and play rockin' tunes.

It is also not exactly news that genius is often accompanied by chronic weirdness.

I have also reaffirmed the notion that there's no accounting for taste, and opinions are like assholes for obvious reasons.

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