Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on

14Jun/1224

Return of the Stereo Dictator

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Hey everyone, it’s great to be back on the ATV beat once again!  After a lengthy sabbatical, I have returned to share music, news and old-school rock and roll stories with you.

Here’s a quick rundown of 2012 so far to get us caught up.

GRAMMYS
The Grammys were somewhat interesting in that some very typical choices were made in the winner’s category and a few surprises snuck in.

The queen of typical ended up being Adele, who fit the mold of the ultra-talented, non-offensive, multi-million selling, safe British winner.  Remember Jethro Tull over Metallica for best hard rock band in 1988?

My choice for star of the night was the ultra-talented, non-offensive multi-million selling heartthrob Bruno Mars. He and his band were great live as they put on a true “show” for the crowd.  Also, his single “Grenade” was easily the song of the year as it was superior on all three levels: lyrics, melody and production.

A surprise came in the form of the Civil Wars, as they won two awards for Best Folk Album and Best Country Duo/Group Performance.  Members Joy Williams and John Paul White are standalone performers who rely on the intimacy and immediacy of their well-written material to create a special bond with the listener. Their sometimes comfortable, sometimes edgy harmonies and stark arrangements bring their songs back to their core, ala the American Recordings done by Johnny Cash with Rick Rubin.

ROCK HALL
Well, in its own inimitable fashion, the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame found another wide-ranging group of inductees.  From Laura Nyro to the Beastie Boys with a nod to the world of hard rock/metal from GnR, it’s an eclectic 2012 class.  My favorite of this collection is the Small Faces/Faces followed closely by Freddie King.

The Small Faces were poppy, psychedelic and featured one of the greatest white soul singers to ever let it go, Steve Marriott, later of Humble Pie fame. Ian McLagan, Ronnie Lane and Kenney Jones picked up the pieces in 1969 and became Faces, the band you loved to drink and dance to and the band you wished could be in.  Straight up rockin, they also backed up Rod Stewart on many of his early solo records through 1975.

Freddie King, what can I say?  A frenetic soloist who sent the notes stinging and bending out of the guitar accompanied by his barrelhouse blues voice, King was the bridge between rock and roll, electric blues, Texas boogie and a good time.  He is also remembered as the Freddie King who is mentioned in Grand Funk’s “We’re an American Band,” a number one single and a number two album from 1973: “…up all night with Freddie King, I got to tell ya, poker is his thing…”

AEROSMITH
I read that Joe Perry is about to become the third author to emerge from Aerosmith as he prepares to give the world his version of AeroBuildup/AeroMeltdown/AeroReturn/Where Aero We Now?  Will it be enlightening, gossip-filled or even interesting? Who knows but probably as Joe is still one of the coolest guys in rock and roll.

I’m seeing Steven Tyler all over the place between American Idol, CMT Crossroads, VH1 Classic, Burger King and on and on and on.  I guess you gotta make the money while it’s there. They did blow through a fortune at one time and it takes dough to live like a rock star so… as a senior citizen, he is now among the hardest-working people in show biz.

FAREWELL
Davy Jones, lead singer for the Monkees, died suddenly and that was a shocker, one of those “he was how old?” types.

Watching the Monkees' “A Hard Day’s Night”-inspired TV show during its heyday in the late 60s/early 70s, I was hooked both musically and visually on “I’m Not Your Steppin’ Stone,” “I’m a Believer” and “Last Train to Clarksville” like the rest of the groovy guys and gals across the U.S.A.  I was hooked again when the same episodes aired on MTV in the 80s as part of a campaign to promote the group’s first new album in nearly two decades.

Jones was integral to the group’s external appeal with his boyish good looks and British wit, while his singing and dancing skills enabled him to establish some credibility among skeptical industry insiders who saw the Monkees as a collection of talent-deficient actors trying to be musicians.

While we’re still on the Monkees, don’t you think that Johnny Damon of the Indians looks like he could be Mickey Dolenz’s son?  No doubt…

Another celebrity music death was not necessarily unexpected, but still very significant in the form of Dick Clark. A true icon, Clark was as important to the development of rock and roll as Bill Haley, Elvis and the Beatles.

His signature show, American Bandstand, was a television staple for rock music fans from the 50s through the 80s, ultimately dying a slow death as MTV took front and center.

Nonetheless, the show broke ground by making rock and roll a part of mainstream TV as it set the table for countless regional descendents, one of which took a bit of a left turn out of Chicago and became the rhythm and blues/funk/soul crossover sensation of the 70s, Soul Train.

Lest you think that it was all teeny-boppers and mainstream, know that in the late 70 s and into the 80s, bands such as the Sex Pistols, X, the Blasters, Run-DMC and the Beastie Boys all made appearances on the Bandstand.

Bonus points for those who know the writer/singer of the Bandstand theme used from 1977-87.

Because they always come in threes, we also said goodbye in March to one of the greatest players of his generation, Ronnie Montrose.

A giant among 70s hard-rock listeners as well as musicians, Montrose first came to attention as the guitarist on Van Morrison’s Tupelo Honey album in 1971.  He was soon to be featured on Edgar Winter’s 1972 smash They Only Come Out at Night, which featured the monster hit “Frankenstein” and the summer sing-along, “Free Ride.”

Montrose then broke through in 1973, guided by the hand of Ted Templeman, producer for Van Morrison, Van Halen, the Doobie Brothers and many others.

The pair, along with Sammy Hagar, Denny Carmassi, Bill Church, and later Alan Fitzgerald, delivered two seminal releases, Montrose and 1974’s Paper Money.  “Bad Motor Scooter, “Rock Candy,” “Spaceage Sacrifice,” and “Paper Money” are among 16 total tracks of groundbreaking hard-rock/metal that influenced countless bands for decades.

Ronnie went on to release more albums with Montrose, as well as solo albums and collaborations with Gamma, Rail, and a load of sidework, both playing and producing. His virtuosity was unquestioned and his legend continued to grow with time.

Montrose suffered a recurrence of prostate cancer in 2009 and died earlier this year.

SO LONG
All right gang, time to slink back into the basement. I will be back soon with an assortment of stuff including songs from the big black cabinets of tuneage that will be downloadable for your continued listening pleasure.

Thanks to Matt for always having my back and also for having me back.

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19Mar/12145

New music from Aerosmith….sort of.

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I missed the news last week that the first bit of "new" music from Aerosmith will be hitting our ears in June. "New" because it is a Get a Grip-era outtake called "Legendary Child" that will be featured on the soundtrack for the movie G.I. Joe: Retaliation which is set for release on June 29th.

The band has been working on a new album with producer Jack Douglas, the skipper behind many an Aerosmith LP from the golden years of Aero music. "Legendary Child" will apparently also be on the track listing for that new album, freshly re-recorded, so it doesn't appear that it will be a straight port from the original outtake. The band is mixing the track right now.

So will this new Aerosmith album be good? It's hard to say, but as a music fan, I never count Aerosmith out - especially Joe Perry and the rest of the musical portion of the band. With Douglas guiding the ship, I think it's got good potential.

Here's an alleged full instrumental track for "Legendary Child." Take a listen and form your own opinions.

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3Dec/099

The 12 Boots of Christmas – Do You See What I See?

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Santa - 3 kids pointy head

These little rock and rollers aren’t scared of Santa, they can’t believe what they are seeing across the way at the mall convenient store…

Who’s that Red Sox fan with his mom?

Dig those nice retro Hollywood shades.

Is that Bono bringing back the Fly look?

There is NO way that is a dude.

It is NOT our Great Aunt Agnes, you moron.

Aerosmith Grandma Tyler

It Is STEVEN TYLER!

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6Apr/095

The 2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies – Reflections from Cleveland

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Wow, what a weekend.

Guitar extravaganza closes out the Rock Hall inductions with, from left, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Ron Wood, Joe Perry, Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield.

photo by Joshua Gunter / The Plain Dealer

I seriously had every intention of merely "swiping" and linking to Brian's overview of the event. And then, Friday night happened. My planned post for today was going to be all about Friday night's events, accessorized with a couple of personal thoughts about the induction ceremonies, with a link to Brian's stuff. After seeing the induction ceremonies, I realized that I really needed to break it down and give Friday its own special area, and put my induction related thoughts here.

D.X. Ferris from Scene Magazine got in touch with me and asked the following questions to wrap up our two week long Metallica "debate":

So Metallica is now officially in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Before we shut up about the band and their monumental recognition:

What does Metallica's induction mean? To you? For metal?

My reply:

When Chris and I were talking after the ceremonies, he made a good observation that until he saw the induction, he wasn't aware of how much the honor really meant to the Metallica guys. I've always had a huge amount of respect for how they've handled themselves as a band, particularly the way they've stuck with their management company Q Prime in the good times, the not so good times, and during times when other high profile clients (ex. Def Leppard) were bailing during the past few years for different management. Hey Def Leppard guys, how did that work out for you? They took a credibility hit with the Napster era, but recovered from it well.

I saw everything that I needed to see during Friday night's party at the House of Blues. It was really incredible to see that Metallica remembered completely where they came from, as demonstrated by the 150+ friends, current, and former associates that they flew in for the weekend celebration. They're still music fans - witness James Hetfield locked in conversation with Joe Perry from Aerosmith. They remember their friends, including one "friend" in particular - former RIP Magazine editor Lonn Friend, who famously chronicled the birth of the Metallica album via a series of articles in the pages of RIP.

Lars Ulrich talked to many throughout the night with giant bear hugs for quite a few of them, but spent most of the night talking to a circle of 3-4 friends in particular, who floated in and out of the conversations all night long. It was that same group of friends that was still there with Ulrich at the end of the night, still swapping stories and laughs about the old days.

The Metallica members are just people at the end of the day, and it was visually evident how grateful they are to have accomplished what they have accomplished as a band and unit, and they have gratitude for remaining relevant as a band during the same year that they are being inducted to the Hall of Fame.

What does Metallica's induction mean for Metal? That's hard to say. Hetfield obviously reeled off a list of bands that aren't in the Hall yet, and should be - Rush, KISS, Thin Lizzy, Iron Maiden, etc. I think that those are all bands that might/should find their place in the Rock Hall eventually. C'mon, you GOTTA put Maiden in there! I think it is potentially a harder road for a band like Slayer, but if Slayer can win Grammy Awards, I guess that really, anything is possible.

I found myself wondering if it was any coincidence that they sold tickets for the induction ceremonies for the first time, on the year that Metallica was being inducted. For anyone that was in the building, it was evident how many of those 5000 seats were occupied by Metallica fans. I'll end with a plea - Public Hall really looked nice after 500k's worth of renovations for the induction ceremonies. It would be a great thing to see concerts return to both Public Hall and Music Hall in the coming months and years. So many legendary artists and concerts have passed through those two halls, and it is criminal that these beautiful facilities are so underused.

When induction tickets were going on sale, Brian reached out to me and asked me if I could pick him up a ticket, since he knew I would be going out to purchase tickets. Thing is, I wasn't planning to go. It wasn't a good time financially to shell out 75 bucks for a ticket, and I had other concerts on my radar that were higher on my list. When Brian called me, I thought about it for a second, and I caved. I didn't want to be one of the music fan schmucks living in Cleveland, not in attendance, fielding phone calls and emails asking "So, you're going...right?"

On the Saturday morning that tickets went on sale to the public in limited quantities at the Rock Hall, the Cleveland weather was crummy, and cold. I knew that I would have to get there early to even have a shot at getting a pair, because I knew they would go quickly, and there was no chance that I was going to score tickets via the main public onsale planned for the following Monday at Ticketmaster. Thanks to the weather, I think that a lot of people decided to stay home, and even better, the Rock Hall let us wait inside prior to the onsale time at 10am.

Friday night, and the beginning of the induction weekend - all of those details are summarized here. I got home about 4am and went to bed about 5am after the adrenaline of the evening wore off. I now have no voice, but my voice has a way of coming back after a night of sleep. Not this time.

Saturday evening, I head to Great Lakes Brewery with no voice (still!) and Brian - we're meeting up with the mysterious Bear from Clevelandrockandroll.com, and I get to converse with Bear in what is sure to be a crowded Great Lakes atmosphere. I quickly explain bullet point details to Bear about my voice, and why it is how it is (importantly noting that this is not how I always sound!,) and we settle in for a nice evening of food and fellowship.

Heading over to Public Hall for the induction ceremonies, I run into Ferris, who high-fives me for my Friday night activities before heading off to the press room. We make our way eventually through crowded hallways to find our seats, which are better than I expected.

Now, the evening of events - here are a few of my highlights from the night:

Little Anthony & The Imperials - AMAZING. Anthony really defined every definition of what a "performer" is.

Cleveland native Bobby Womack. Wow. I was familiar with the name prior to that evening, and after that evening, I realized how much of Bobby Womack's music I was really familiar with, even though I didn't own it. Famously, "It's All Over Now" is a track that he wrote and gave away to the Stones. It's interesting to hear the differences between Womack's version, and the Rolling Stones version. Womack built the foundation, and in my opinion, the Stones made it memorable and tore the house down. After the ceremonies, I needed to acquire some Womack tunage pronto, and tracked down this nice double CD MP3 download for 13 bucks. Sold.

Run DMC: I grew up during a time when you heard Run DMC and Madonna on the radio right next to Autograph, Aerosmith, Glenn Frey, and the Rolling Stones. For me, it makes total sense for both Madonna and Run DMC to be in the Rock Hall. Eminem made a great notation during his induction speech, "for those of us that grew up listening to hip-hop, they were our Beatles." That's not the first time I've heard that statement, and I don't know that I would go that far personally, but I definitely do like me some Run DMC. Their greatest hits disc has been in my CD collection since the day of release, and being at the induction ceremonies, I realized that I need to add "Down With The King" to my Ipod.

I wish that they would have played (which is what everyone is saying,) and I'm a bit surprised that they didn't, since Rev. Run was out playing tunes from the catalog with Kid Rock last year. And DMC wanted to play. So if it was Rev. Run holding things back, where/when did things change in his mind?

Jeff Beck. Blew my mind at Eric Clapton's Crossroads Festival in 2007. Tal Wilkenfield, Beck's young prodigy female bass player, also blew my mind at that same show. I couldn't wait for Brian to see Jeff and Tal. Unfortunately, I don't think the camera work for the video screens in house, really allowed one to fully appreciate Tal's onstage energy. If you were there, grab your self a copy of the Crossroads 2007 DVD, and be amazed. Beck also has a new live DVD and CD, Performing This Week: Live at Ronnie Scott's, that is a good educational piece.

By the way, credit and props to Beck for a very sly middle finger salute during his speech, dedicated to "those that haven't helped me over the years."

Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like Beck's speech from this weekend has been uploaded yet. Instead, I'll share with you his colorfully brief speech from 1993, when he was inducted as a member of the Yardbirds.

Billboard Magazine has an interview with Beck, and also additional reflections from Jimmy Page and Joe Perry.

Metallica - see my comments above for Scene Magazine. Performance was great - great to see Newsted back out there with the Metallica boys. The finale performance of "Train Kept A Rollin'" was amazing - Jeff Beck, Ron Wood, Joe Perry, Jimmy Page, Hammett, and Hetfield - SIX guitar players on stage, which led Hetfield to proclaim the night as a "rhythm guitar player's dream!" Also on stage, Jason Newsted, and Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who gave a great induction speech (I was originally critical of him being the choice to induct the band, prior to the ceremony) and dropped what I think was the first F-Bomb of the night.

Great night and good fun - I'm really glad that Brian reached out about going, and I'll echo his wishes to go again when the ceremonies are back in Cleveland.

My friend Pat is a big advocate for buying all-local, and supporting local industry, artists, etc. This weekend was SUCH a win for Cleveland as a city. The NYC board of directors for The Rock Hall finally "bought local" and bought in to Cleveland, bringing financial benefit and plenty of much-needed good vibes to the city. And you know what, I think that everybody that came to our little city, had a lot of fun.

Cheers to that!

More stuff:

Bear from Clevelandrockandroll.com will growl out his Rock Hall induction thoughts at some point today in his Monday Rant.

Brian at Broken Headphones has his wrap-up here.

Plain Dealer pop music critic John Soeder has a ton of stuff here.

Cleveland Scene was there live-blogging the event.

Eric Olson from Blogcritics was live-blogging as well.

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6Apr/092

A magnificently Metallic night at the House of Blues

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"Why is everyone leaving me?" "Flemming, why are you doing this to me?"

The short middle-aged guy is leaning up against the bar, joking with Flemming at the end of what might be just another night at the House of Blues here in Cleveland. Except that tonight, we're talking about legendary Metallica producer Flemming Rasmussen, the current subject of torment from Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich, who is still hanging out at nearly 3 a.m. at HOB's bar.

On the eve of Metallica's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the band gather at HOB for a super-hush hush party hosted by their longtime management Q Prime, with only friends, Q Prime employees and select label execs on the invite list. Earlier in the week, rumors began to circulate that Metallica would play a secret show before/after the induction ceremonies. By the end of the week, rumors of the event had been downgraded to "private party" status and HOB employees did their best to appear completely unaware of the event, with one employee emailing me back the reply "I honestly haven't heard anything about that!" in response to my inquiry trying to confirm the event. Another associate spoke with Metallica brass and got the message "If Metallica doesn't know you, you're not getting in."

I was there with a label friend of mine that had a high placed connection with Megaforce Records founder Jonny Zazula, and a promise to get in the door on that evening. The only problem is that we've got a bad connection with Jonny's wife Marsha, who keeps answering Jonny's cell phone, unable to hear the caller on the other end.

After a few more phone calls, we decide that it's time to find another way into House of Blues. We encounter a quick roadblock with the HOB employees working the door/guest list, "Who are you" is the question that comes from the HOB employee. "Jonny Zazula" replies my friend. "Who is he?" is the question directed toward me. "Don't I get a plus one?" "No ... um ... well OK, go on inside."

And like that, we're inside. My friend immediately hunts down Jonny Zazula, hugs are exchanged, and Jonny laughs when he hears that we used his name to get in the door. Tonight's party is the best party you've never been to — free food, free booze and an audience with a dizzying list of future Rock Hall inductees, presenters, and tons of celeb friends.

No pictures is the rule, with the understanding that if you are caught taking pictures with your cell phone camera or otherwise, you'll be shown the door immediately. This allows for an atmosphere that finds all four Metallica members — singer James Hetfield, drummer Ulrich, guitarist Kirk Hammett and bass player Robert Trujillo — to hang at ease with friends and family with minimal interruptions. It is without a doubt, one big giant Metallica family reunion, as the members of Metallica reminisce and swap stories with their longtime former and current business associates, musical comrades, and family.

There are staff photographers on hand, hired to capture the evening's events on film. Legendary guitarist Jimmy Page is holding court, talking with Anthrax members Scott Ian and Charlie Benante. Hetfield is deep in conversation with Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry, who is walking with the aid of a lavish wooden cane, the result of recent hip surgery. Others in attendance: legendary Metallica producer Bob Rock (no hard feelings about the trash can drums, I guess,) rock photographer Ross Halfin, former RIP Magazine editor Lonn Friend, syndicated radio personality Eddie Trunk, Metal Blade Records founder Brian Slagel, longtime Rolling Stone scribe David Fricke and a couple of former Metallica bass players.

That's right, Jason Newsted AND original Metallica bass player Ron McGovney are both in attendance for the evening. With Rock and Trujillo there, we've got all four bass players from Metallica in the same room. It's good to see Newsted there, and Father Time has been good to him — he doesn't appear to have aged a day since his 2001 departure from the band. For anyone that was wondering the current state of relations between Newsted and Metallica, it's apparent that things are currently all good, at least for this weekend.

Celebration is the focus for not only the pending Rock Hall induction, but also the incredible legacy of Metallica. And that's why tonight feels so good, because nearly all of the principal players that helped Metallica carve out that legacy, are at House of Blues. It appears that no one was left off the guest list, and nearly all have come to Cleveland to celebrate — current and former Q Prime staffers, the previously mentioned musical friends, and some important living breathing footnotes in Metalli-history, including "Metal" Joe Chimienti and "Rockin'" Ray Dill. As members of the "Metal Militia," Dill and Chimienti gave crucial early support to the band and also gave the band a place to stay in their early days. Chimienti's house was also the birthplace for many of the writing sessions for a little album called Ride The Lightning.

During an impromptu roast late in the evening, Dill stood in front of a giant ice sculpture in the Metalli-appropriate shape of a "middle finger salute" (there was also an ice sculpture of "devil horns,") and recalled selling his New Jersey home to a group of young adults. When he told them that James Hetfield had gotten sick in the bathroom, the kids paid attention, remodeling the entire house, except for the hallowed bathroom, which would remain untouched.

McGovney spoke, recalling that the band would refer to themselves as the "young metal attack," a phrase that was used on some of the band's earliest T-shirts and merchandise — "Young because that's what we were, Metal, because that's what it was, and Attack, because that's what we did to each other." There were no speeches from the members of Metallica — there would be plenty of time for that during Saturday's ceremonies — tonight was all about having fun.

For Metallica, it was an evening that also showed they hadn't forgotten where they came from, or the people who got them there. And how many times do you get the chance to bump elbows with Joe Perry and Jimmy Page in the same room? It was a night to remember for all in attendance, and from this guy here, I'll rate it at two metal horns, way up. Best. Night. Ever.

Originally written for Scene Magazine - 4/4/09

From METALLICA.COM:

We got our invitations to the family reunion a while ago now, and leading up to last night's festivities and tonight's induction ceremony, there was a lot of excitement and the odd ripple of trepidation.

Managers, tour managers, record labels, A&R men, promoters, old OLD skool metalheads from the underground fanzines and media, close friends and family, the relationships between everyone stretched well over two decades in most cases, and it was most certainly emotional. A tremendous thing. Old faces suddenly became new ones again, long lost friends found each other making contact again and vowing to stay in touch, some people had teenage children since the last time they saw their fellow Metallifamily members, and others had just lived through different lives and arrived at a new one. There'd certainly been no need for it. The unifying factor amongst the roughly 150 people who congregated at the House Of Blues on Friday night? Metallica. And who else would actually have the magnitude to bring so many members of their family together like this? No-one. It's what this band has always been about, doing the right thing as THEY know it and not as someone tells them it should be.

Metallica.
A unifying force.
An expression.
A family.
A lifestyle.
For us all.

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