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

24Sep/099

Making A List: Top Ten Rock Songs in Two Minutes

Hey everybody! The Stereo Dictator is back with a list that is sure to stimulate some conversation: The Top Ten Songs of the 20th Century in Two Minutes!

This post is inspired by a friend of mine who recently asked me to come up with the top ten rock and roll songs of the 20th century in in two minutes. Having lived through most of the last five decades, my reference point was songs which had great influence and/or worldwide appeal, not necessarily the best ten songs I have ever heard.

Take a look at my list and let me know what you think. If you like, send in your own list, but be sure to follow the rules by timing yourself and giving consideration to every decade from the 50s forward.

Yes, I know my list stops in the 70s, but that's as far as I got after two minutes. I did not have the luxury of coming up with a list of 50 songs and paring it down to ten. Besides, I like my list.

17Sep/090

A few words in defense of Human Touch and Lucky Town

Human Touch

My longtime blogging comrade TJ at Viva La Mainstream has been admirably reviewing an album a day, both new and old releases, since the beginning of the year.  It's one of my favorite daily reads, and this week is of special note and interest to Bruce Springsteen fans - the entire week is dedicated to reviews of albums from the Springsteen catalog!

TJ reached out and asked me if I had interest in participating in the festivities, and I was honored to tackle not one, but TWO albums I consider to be very important from Springsteen's body of work.  My love for Human Touch and Lucky Town is no secret, and in today's Album A Day post, I spend a very brief moment examining both releases.  Important note:  I do realize that I'm sitting in a half-empty theater by expressing my love for these particular Boss albums and I'm okay with that.

It's not like I am gushing about my love for Paul McCartney in the 80's - we'll save that for another time and another post!

Thanks to TJ for the opportunity!

Bruce Springsteen - The Long Goodbye

15May/0910

Metal Horns Up: Talkin’ Testament

Bay Area metal gods Testament return to Cleveland on Sunday night with the fan favorite lineup of singer Chuck Billy, guitarists Eric Peterson and Alex Skolnick, bassist Greg Christian, and drummer Paul Bostaph (Slayer, etc.) Armed with additional artillery in the form of openers Lazarus A.D. and Unearth, the ingredients combine for another must-attend Cleveland metalhead summit.

testament.jpg

Local metal rippers Chris Akin (Pitriff.com and The Classic Metal Show) and D.X. Ferris (Scene Magazine, author of 33 1/3: Reign in Blood) had an impromptu discussion that wound up in my email regarding many different subjects, including the latest Testament album The Formation of Damnation.

I thought that you all might enjoy reading this in advance of Sunday night’s show:

D.X. Ferris: What’s everyone think of that last Testament album? I don’t get it, man. I’ll argue all day that the first album ruled, and the next few blew dog. “Trial by Fire?” more like “Trial by Sh*tting Songwriting.” Ironically, I prefered Zetro’s lyrics, but prefer how Chuck Billy Milano handled the vox.

Also, random note: The Legacy was thrash's only real, hardcore Dungeons-and-Dragons moment. Sure, it had realist songs like "Over the Wall," but stuff like "Alone in the Dark" were some real Dio sh*t. Which I mean as a good thing.

Chris Akin: My God, D.X.! Doesn’t Scene have some kind of drug program you can look into? Testament is and continues to be the single best band to come out of that Bay Area Thrash scene that never saw worldwide dominance. They should have, without question, been bigger than Megadeth. They should have, without question, been a close to equal to Metallica when Metallica was at their best. Had The Ritual not been thrown in there, I would almost stack their early career up next to Slayer. Yet, I don’t think that most even consider them ahead of bands like Exodus or Anthrax.

The first albums are classic, although the production is a bit dodgy. The Ritual was a label forced attempt to make them successful. After that, all brilliant since (although a few may question Demonic because of the vocal direction change). The Formation of Damnation was quintessential Testament - in your face, smashmouth thrash that’s unrelenting all the way through.

Don’t believe me though, D.X. There’s a whole new wave of great thrash out right now - Mantic Ritual, Lazarus AD, Warbringer, Hatchet, Havok, etc. I’ve interviewed each and every one of them over the last year, and they all claim Testament as one of the main influences on what they do. These are all kids that weren’t more than diaper-bound when Testament debuted, if that. And they all found their way to this band being one of the key bands that made them pick their musical direction.

Ferris: Wrong! The Legacy is a classic. It has that whiplash groove that they never came close to capturing again. And it’s their only album with real lyrics… as opposed to “Hey / This is what the people say / a new way / A trial by aiissss!” New Order is kinda heavy, I guess, but it’s just a bunch of chunky riffs. And, again, no lyrics.

Formation of Damnation was a worthy successor to New Order, but that ain’t saying much. It’s a one-trick pony that had none of the flare we saw in Legacy.

Respect where it’s due, tho: After Tha Ritual, the band was the only A-lit thrash band to get heavier.

Yeah, all these new cats love Testament. Maybe that’s why all the new wave of metal sounds the same. All chunky riffs, no hooks.

Except Warbringer, who totally f*cking own.

Akin: Warbringer - definitely great. Not as good as Mantic Ritual in my eyes, but damn solid. They kicked ass with Exodus a few weeks ago…even if they were missing their drummer and had to put in a member of that total sh*t band Epicurean to play the songs.

To me, your statement right here says why they are superior to all the rest - ” Respect where it’s due: After Tha Ritual, the band was the only A-lit thrash band to get heavier.” In other words, they were the ONLY band that had the integrity to continue to live and develop the musical style. Metallica sure didn’t. Exodus disappeared for awhile. So did Death Angel. Vio-lence broke into pieces to make the more modern bands that sort of kept the tradition (Machine Head, Skinlab (I think)). Dave Mustaine decided it was more important to write pop hits, wear flannel and be a “Rock The Vote” analyst before losing his mind completely with Risk. Laaz Rockit died off for awhile (although their album last year was brilliant). Slayer stayed heavy, but became somewhat of a genre jumper, and now in more recent years wants nothing to do with the genre (which is emphasized by their choices of touring mates time and time again).

Not only do I disagree with your statement about them being 1 1/2 albums of goodness, but I’ll go all the way to the other side of things and say they are the sole torch bearers of Thrash, and the band that kept the entire genre alive in the 90s…well, them and to some extent, Overkill.

Sadly, staying true to their guns got them to be headliners to such “major” tour stops as the World Series Of Metal, Ron’s Crossroads and the like over the years. It’s a shame when you look at the list of bands that gave up on it - Anthrax, Metallica, Megadeth, Death Angel, Exodus, etc. I love them, but it’s no wonder Pantera rose to dominance…the path was cleared out for them.

Ferris: You are correct, sir. Exodus’s Atrocity Display C totally owns Formation of Tarnation. The fact that it’s not as popular only supports my argument.

Exodus - Riot Act

Akin: This I will not argue. In fact, I would probably take all three Exodus comeback albums over the Testament (Atrocity, Shovel Headed Kill Machine
(arguably the greatest title ever) and Tempo of the Damned). Exodus now is better than Exodus then.

Editor’s Note:

At this point, like many of the email conversations between these two about metal that find their way to my inbox, the talk shifted to a different subject: in this case, the music of Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth and Overkill. Which is another conversation, for another day.

For now, I'll leave you with one of my favorite Testament picks, from First Strike Still Deadly, a worthy collection that revisits the best parts of the Testament catalog with re-recorded versions that actually don't suck.

Testament - Disciples of The Watch

Testament lands at the House of Blues in Cleveland on Sunday night with Unearth and Lazarus A.D. offering maximum metal support. Tickets are still available.

Check out the entire tour schedule for Testament right here!

Click here to visit the official Testament website.

21Apr/0911

Cage Match: Cheap Trick vs. Belinda Carlisle

Ouch!

Well, what did we learn during last week's battle royale? We learned that a whole lotta people LOVE "Hungry Like The Wolf" by Duran Duran, and not nearly as many are affectionate towards Def Leppard and "Rock of Ages." I was kinda surprised.

This week, we've got a battle pending that is sure to cause debate and plenty of name-calling.

In the left corner, we've got Cheap Trick, hanging out with a little ditty called "Tonight It's You."

In the opposite corner, Go-Go's lead singer Belinda Carlisle, who taught us all in 1987 that "Heaven Is A Place On Earth."

Allow me a bit of personal reflection:

I hold a bit of a grudge against Carlisle, for the night that I spent watching her perform at a casino in Milwaukee in early 2003. On that same night, Eric Johnson was also playing in a venue in town. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band were in town, and there were a few other shows playing as well. My friend was working at the local ticket broker, and had a leftover pair of tickets for Carlisle, so off we went to check out the show.

I was kind of stoked at the chance to see Carlisle run through her 80s solo hits, and Go-Go's material. But then that didn't happen - Carlisle came out and performed with instrumental backing tracks (and perhaps a keyboard player on stage as well) and did a bunch of new material, and very few hits, and maybe ONE Go-Go's song. My one evening in Milwaukee, totally wasted.

But that's okay, because later that same year, she got some nice payback from those same backing tracks when there was a little problem with the tapes.

Justice is mine!

Still, in 1987 - I was all about "Heaven Is A Place On Earth," "I Get Weak," "Circle In The Sand," and I think you get the picture.

Carlisle came to mind, because there is an anniversary legacy edition thingamabob on tap for Heaven On Earth, paired with a concert video re-release from the Heaven on Earth tour, on DVD for the first time.

Now, about Cheap Trick - who can say a bad word about Cheap Trick? "Tonight It's You" is a favorite - and I saw them play it live last summer when they were on tour with Journey and Heart. Journey keyboard player/vocalist Jonathan Cain came out to play keys on the track.

You can probably imagine how great it was. But hey, let's get to it, shall we?

The choice is up to you - Cheap Trick vs. Belinda Carlisle - what's your pick? Lemme know in the comments!

Here's the original video for "Heaven Is A Place On Earth" since embedding is disabled.

Related:

An interview with Belinda about "Heaven Is A Place On Earth"

14Apr/0916

Cage Match: Duran Duran vs. Def Leppard

Ouch!

Good morning kids!

Have you registered for your chance to win the Jane's Addiction vinyl yet? Get it done!

The rules of this game are simple: My co-worker Michael and I pick two songs, and we put 'em up against each other in a fight to the death, grudge match, last man standing doesn't necessarily win kinda thing. And from past history, this could be ugly.

Today's question: "Hungry Like The Wolf by Duran Duran or "Rock of Ages" by Def Leppard: Which one is your favorite?

P.S. - Here's the original video for the DD tune, which is linked here, because embedding is disabled.

9Apr/098

A challenging interview with Billy Bob Thornton

If you haven't seen it yet, I think you'll enjoy CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi's interview with actor/musician Billy Bob Thornton and his band The Boxmasters. The Boxmasters were in Toronto for a pair of shows opening for Willie Nelson at Massey Hall, and Thornton took issue with the mention of the "actor" side of his career. It seems that he was only there to talk music (not surprised by that,) and either the producer didn't pass that information on to Ghomeshi, or Ghomeshi might have decided to go for it and ignore Thornton's wishes.

It all makes for an entertaining interview, and I've got to give mad props to Ghomeshi for pulling it off in the end. I'd say that he wins it.

6Apr/095

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

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.

6Apr/092

A magnificently Metallic night at the House of Blues

"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.

More

5Apr/091

Eddie Trunk with Night Ranger

This weekend, I got to spend some time talking with syndicated radio personality Eddie Trunk (Sirius/XM, That Metal Show, Q104.3/ NYC, etc.) and it was good to hear the latest down low regarding his radio activities and otherwise. Today, while recovering from the induction ceremonies last night, I came across an interview that Eddie did in June of 2008 for XM, with Night Ranger. I thought that my fellow Night Ranger lovers would dig this chat, which covers the latest album Hole In The Sun, the departure of Night Ranger guitarist Jeff Watson, and quite a few other subjects. All wrapped into a half hour chat with Night Ranger...enjoy!

The interview is in four parts, and all four parts should play using the video player/playlist below.

P.S. - If you haven't seen Night Ranger lately, they are STILL one of the greatest live bands out there. I'm hoping to see them in June in my old stomping grounds of Joliet, IL.

Also, for Damn Yankees fans, the audio portion of the Uprising live DVD, recorded live in Denver, CO in 1992, has been released on CD as part of the Sony Extended Versions series. The CD includes the whole set, all 11 tunes. Grab it here!

4Apr/098

Everywhere I look, all I see is Metallica

I have to say that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction weekend here in Cleveland is off to a good start for me personally. Last night was an EPIC night of fun for this music fan, and I'll fill you in on all or most of the details after the weekend is over. I'll tell you this much: Last night, I spent some time hanging out with legendary Rolling Stone scribe David Fricke.

True music fans will know Fricke's name without the Rolling Stone tag attached, and will appreciate how cool it was. More on all of that will come in the coming days. P.S. - longtime rock photographer Ross Halfin is just as grumpy in person as he appears via his blog. But he has an unbelievable body of work, and I guess that he's earned the right to be a bit sour. And chances are, if you had to put up with some of the egos that he's been with over the years, you might be the same way! Total props to Ross.

Tonight, Brian and I are headed to the induction ceremonies. I'm stoked to see Jason Newsted back on stage with Metallica, and there are a lot of other surprises that I've started to hear about, that are going to be very cool. I'm DVR'ing the coverage on Fuse, because I'm sure that I will want to watch it again before the weekend is over.

In the meantime, here are the last couple of rounds of our Metallica debate, over at Scene Magazine's music blog C-Notes.

Round 5 - Best Metallica Song and Worst Metallica Song

Round 6 - The band's personal bests - What were the best albums and classic moments for each member?

I spent Friday listening to a ton of live Metallica stuff from LiveMetallica.Com, getting pumped for the weekend. It got me stoked for the Metallica show here in Cleveland, later this year.

One of my favorite tunes so far from Death Magnetic in the live setting, remains "Cyanide." The lyrics are more than just a bit cheesy on this one, but the tune itself is a total jam. Here's a live version of "Cyanide" from the band's surprise show in Austin, TX at SXSW, the very same show where my good pal Rob sprained his ankle in the pit, all in the name of metal!

Metallica - Cyanide (live in Austin, TX, March 2009)

"All Nightmare Long," another one of my favorites from Death Magnetic, doesn't quite pack the same punch live as it does on the album, at least in this live version from Chicago earlier this year. Hopefully they'll continue to rock that one in the setlist throughout the year, until it attains the necessary crunch by the time they get to Cleveland.

Metallica - All Nightmare Long (live in Chicago, January 2009)

Purchase these two shows, and many others at LiveMetallica.Com.