Written by: Matt Wardlaw
What a shock it was to wake up on Sunday morning to the news that heavy metal legend Ronnie James Dio had passed away, after a six month battle with stomach cancer. All recent indications made it seem like Ronnie was winning the battle (in fact, he was on the "black metal" carpet in April for the Revolver Golden Gods Awards, looking great), and although Heaven & Hell had recently postponed some summer tour dates, it made sense that perhaps Ronnie just needed more recovery time to finish treatments and get back to full strength. Apparently things must have been much worse than any of us realized, or perhaps they worsened quickly within the past few weeks. I was sad, both as a music fan and as someone that had experienced personally what an awesome human being Ronnie was.
I wrote a few words about my experiences with Ronnie for Popdose, and I thought I'd share a few more highlights here, as seen around the web.
My pal Chris Akin is the one responsible for my first meeting with Dio, and although we've had many memorable metal/music experiences together, Chris has quite a few tales of his own that I forget about - like that one time that Dio introduced him to Jimmy Page.
Nationally, a bunch of metal folks stopped by Eddie Trunk's radio show on Sirius, and you can stream the interviews with former Dio band members Craig Goldy, Rudy Sarzo, Scott Warren and Doug Aldrich, plus Geoff Tate, Tom Morello, etc; here.
Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic adds his own tribute via the Seattle Weekly where he is an occasional contributor.
This is Ronnie James Dio that we're talking about, so if you dial up Blabbermouth.net, you'll find tributes from nearly every musician that has ever picked up an instrument in metal.....only a slight exaggeration. Without a doubt, the man was loved by many, and that will continue to live on via his music with both current and future musical generations.
On that musical note, my buddy Mark Zander will have a nice two hour musical tribute to the music of Dio on this weekend's edition of The Rockin' '80s - which you can stream via the following link. I've seen the song list already, and it's a really nice collection of not only the hits, but some pretty cool Dio-related rarities as well.more
Written by: Matt Wardlaw
As we get going, let's start of by congratulating Steve in Nashville, who is the winner of the contest for the super-awesome Jane's Addiction vinyl reissues of Nothing's Shocking and Ritual de lo Habitual!
You know what that means - it's time to give something else away! But you'll have to wait a little bit for the next one, because we've got some weekly business to attend to in the following post.
P.S. - The MP3 version is only $18.99 at Amazon MP3 - that's crazy talk!
Remember how I was talking about those blog posts that come to you like a gift? This week's showcase showdown is very much in that vein. I was on my way out, heading to Detroit with a brief stop at the post office to pick up mail before leaving town.
In the mail, I got the new Jane's Addiction box set, A Cabinet of Curiosities (SWEEET!), and a package of musical love from Scene Magazine staff writer D.X. Ferris.
Inside the package was Par-Tay Mixxx G:9 #6 (2009) (download)
with the note Designed for linear or random play.
That's right, another mix disc from Ferris, in the tradition of DXMas, Danzig Slow Jams, and all of the many mixes that have come prior to those instant classics.
Unlike previous mixes, there was no track listing for this one. I popped it into the CD player, and without knowing it, I suddenly had this week's Cage Match locked, loaded, and ready to go. Oh, don't worry - I already had one on deck previously, but it got bumped.
The 1st contender: "Jane" by Jefferson Starship:
The track comes off of the 1979 album Freedom at Point Zero, featuring drummer Aynsley Dunbar, who had departed from Journey the previous year (uh, nice career move,) and is also the first album featuring new lead singer Mickey Thomas.
You know, the guy that also sang "Fooled Around and Fell In Love" with the Elvin Bishop Group, and would go on to sing on many Jefferson Starship/Starship hits.
Today, he continues to tour rib cookoffs, parties in the park, and 80s radio festivals across the United States, singing those hits. He's also available for your next bar mitzvah, as long as he can borrow your car to pick up the rest of the band, and oh yeah - dinner is included with that gig too, right?
Now, despite my previous snarky comments above, I actually really like Mickey Thomas as a singer.
This is a viewpoint that is not necessarily a slam dunk across the board with everyone else, however. There are people that think that Mickey Thomas is the devil, and these same people view the Knee Deep In The Hoopla album as a musical scud missile turd of an album from a band that wrecked two to three years of their formative period as a young adult.
This band was the band that delivered not only Hoopla, but also No Protection, an album that contained the dreaded Starship hit "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now."
Now again, I actually like "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now." Quite a bit, actually. My pal Jason Hare at Popdose recently put "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" underneath the microscope for this revealing probe, identifying the track as one of the suckiest songs in the world.
I think that means that he liked it.
So how did "Jane" wind up as track one on Ferris's par-tay mix?
"Jane" is inspired from the opening of Wet Hot American Summer, which is 3 of my favorite minutes ever committed to film. Totally captures a moment there. the subtitle of the par-tay mix is "Wet Hot American Par-Tay." I make those every year to listen to in the garage, for outdoor chores, etc.
I STILL haven't seen Wet Hot American Summer - it's one of those films that I keep hearing about, and Bela Dubby even did a screening here in Lakewood at some point last year. Gotta check that one out, pronto. Ferris tells me that it is airing this month on cable via Starz or similar.
Now let's welcome in the 2nd contender: Joe Walsh - "Turn To Stone."
When Ferris and I were at the Rock Hall earlier this month watching a Q&A with drummer Joe Vitale, Vitale told some stories about the recording of "Turn To Stone," and then we heard a portion of the track played over the theater sound system, with that big fat drugged out 70s production featuring drums that were recorded so that they kick you in the face when you first hear them.
The drums are surrounded by blankets of reverb that make you wonder if there might have been acid in that Dr. Pepper that you drank on the way to the Rock Hall. You start looking around the room to see if it is really floating, and determine that it's just the song, not you. This time.
You know that was a good day in the recording studio, when they recorded that song. Between the stories for that one, and the stories about recording "Life's Been Good," Ferris and I left the Rock Hall realizing that it was really cool to be Joe Vitale back in the day.
So there you have it - Jefferson Starship or Joe Walsh. What's it gonna be?
P.S. - Download your own copy of Ferris's Par-Tay Mix.
To keep with the spirit of the mix as I originally heard it, the tracks are only tagged with artist (D.X. Ferris) and album name ("Par-Tay etc.) I suggest that you should put it on, and rock out. Let the mix surprise you, as it did me.
I'll let you know, that when the mix crossed over into Canadian territory, I punched the dashboard with happiness and commenced air keyboards to the extreme. People that were driving next to me at that moment, gave me that weird look that says "Dude, go back to Cleveland - PLEASE."
NOTE: There's some extremely NSFW language in track 15. If bad words offend you, you're going to want to skip that one!more
Written by: Matt Wardlaw
I've been ill over the past 24 hours after reading D.X. Ferris's rundown of the downward spiral of Phil Lara and the Jigsaw Entertainment Group. In the past couple of years, Lara has purchased or taken a controlling interest in 4 prominent Cleveland-area landmarks - The Jigsaw Saloon and Stage, Peabody's Down Under, The Hi-Fi Concert Club, and the world famous Cleveland Agora.
What sounds like a recipe for trouble has become a lot worse, and Ferris chronicles the downfall, with several big reveals, including this:
Since Lara's team took over, the Agora has bounced checks for big shows, including a December concert by Dragonforce and a sold-out, two-night stand by Akron's Black Keys, with tickets at $28.50 a pop. "I don't think we will ever play there again," says Keys drummer Patrick Carney.
Lara declines to guess how many checks his clubs have bounced. Laeng, the former Jigsaw GM, estimates the number around 500. He says he's never knowingly written a bad one. One of his last loyal soldiers says that's possible.
I'm not going to comment on this much, except to say that it makes me sick to have a lot of friends that have lost employment as a result of this mess, during the current economic times where finding employment is already challenging. Some of my worst fears regarding the business practices of the Jigsaw Entertainment Group have come true, with the potential loss of The Jigsaw Saloon and Stage, a Parma staple and landmark for over 30 years, and the amount of damage that has been done financially, and credibility-wise, to the Cleveland Agora.
I'm disappointed but not surprised to read the quote from Patrick Carney. I would have expected to read a quote like that from a national band, but not from a "hometown" group like The Black Keys. I can understand why they would be pissed about getting screwed on payment for two completely sold out shows, but in the context of this article, which is about an individual, Carney's statement is a heavy quote that has little to do with Phil Lara, and one that will go far beyond the Scene article and ultimately hurt the Agora's ability to get shows.
Read the complete article here.
And in other news.....
On a much lighter note......let's continue onward with some musical stuff!
In less than a year, my good pal Brian from Broken Headphones has turned out some pretty cool interviews with folks that you don't hear a lot about these days, including Stompbox (one of my personal faves,) Face to Face frontman Trevor Keith, and his most recent interview with Todd Kowalski of Propaghandi.
Propaghandi is one of those bands that make me think of high school, and my friends Casey and Steve, who were both fans of the band. Thanks to them, I knew plenty about them, and they also introduced me to bands like Jesus and Mary Chain, Sonic Youth, All, Season to Risk, and so many more.
That's probably one good reason why Brian and I are such good friends - he writes about a lot of music that I'm not personally familiar with, but thanks to Brian, I've learned a little bit more after I read his stuff. Broken Headphones also has a review of the new NOFX DVD Backstage Passport. Check that out right here.
Sound The Alarm!
Good ol' Swap over at TheFrontloader.Com takes a look at one of my favorite bands, The Alarm, and their Strength release. Life for me got a little bit better the first time that I heard The Alarm and "Sold Me Down The River" from the Change album. As compilations go, The Alarm Standards package is one that pops up fairly often in my musical listening travels. "Devolution Workin' Man Blues," "The Stand," "The Road," and of course, "Sixty-Eight Guns" - love 'em all! I'd love to see a show from Mike Peters and crew in my neck of the woods someday soon!
The Alarm - Sold Me Down The River
Swap also has some tunage for you from John Mayer, someone that I've become a big fan of in the past few years. Standing in Illinois at Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival in 2007, I finally paid attention to John Mayer, and quickly became a convert.
Bruce and Bono = Paradise
Pete at Blogness had a bit of fun churning up the rumor mill with this post, and what I really enjoyed about it all was the tasty video rendition of "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" that was at the end of the post. Taken from U2's 2005 Rock Hall induction, how did I miss this one? I must have been sleeping during all of the coverage pre/post, and during the ceremonies!
The Ultimate Drinking Mixtape!
I almost left this one out! Popdose made sure that St. Paddy's Day 2009 went down in style with a mixtape featuring "116 minutes of pure malt goodness" featuring tunes from Social D, The Hold Steady (Hey Jason, Hey Narm!) The Replacements, my man Willie Nelson, and many, many more. Even if you're drinking nothing stronger than Dr. Pepper (the officially endorsed drink of Addicted to Vinyl,) you'll enjoy the heck out of this one.
Drink up and be merry! Welcome to the China Club!more