Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Something Borrowed: "Tobacco Road," David Lee Roth/The Nashville Teens/John D. Loudermilk


Every now and then my shuffle hits a song from David Lee Roth’s Eat ’Em and Smile album, and I remember how much I loved that record.

Sure, it’s silly, corny and completely over the top, but that’s precisely what I want from Diamond Dave. That flamboyant, and at times, yes, goofy personality is part and parcel of why I’ve always loved him and why, in my mind, Sammy Hagar was never a replacement for him despite really being the better singer. 

Roth also has a knack for surrounding himself with great musicians, and that was especially true of this record, which featured the likes of Steve Vai on guitar, Billy Sheehan on bass and Gregg Bissonette on drums.

At a time when Van Halen with Hagar was moving toward a more pop-oriented sound, Eat ’Em and Smile was a loud blast of wild-eyed rock ‘n’ roll that was essentially a middle finger to what Roth’s former band was doing. At least that’s how I saw it.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Saturday Shuffle: Soilwork, Tesla, Anthrax, Scatterbrain, Alestorm


Pretty heavy lineup this week -- some new stuff, some old stuff and ending with some fun ...


Soilwork, “Memories Confined.” From the album The Living Infinite (2013). One of the tracks from the mellower, more melodic side of last year’s Soilwork double album. It’s not really one of the more memorable, but it’s not bad, either.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Review: Skid Row, "Rise of the Damnation Army: United World Rebellion, Chapter 2"


United World Rebellion, Chapter 2 marks the first Skid Row record that I’ve actually had some anticipation for since Subhuman Race.

That’s because Chapter 1, released last year, was such a great EP. It was the first to really recapture the feel of their classic material. Rise of the Damnation Army follows that well. I’ll admit that I don’t find the songs on this EP as immediately catchy as some of those on Chapter 1, but they’re solid rockers, and they’ve grown on me with each listen.

This one follows the same basic pattern as the first one. There are four hard-driving rock tunes and one ballad. This one adds a couple of cover tunes.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Review: Alestorm, "Sunset on the Golden Age"


Though lots of pirate metal bands have popped up since Alestorm’s 2008 debut album Captain Morgan’s Revenge, none have captured the feel and spirit of it better than these Scots.

On their fourth full-length album Sunset on the Golden Age, Alestorm has just as much fun as on the previous three. By now, you mostly know what you’re getting from the band — thrash-influenced songs about wenching, plundering and grogging, a stray sea shanty here or there and plenty of bombastic symphonics worthy of a pirate movie soundtrack.

I’d like to begin this review by thanking Christopher Bowes and company for immortalizing me in song on my personal favorite track (for obvious reasons), “Mead from Hell.” I’m joking, of course, but it adds to the fun since I don’t hear the name Fred in the music I listen to much. It’s just not a very metal name. That aside, the song is just a great, catchy romp across the sea, as is most of the record.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Saturday Shuffle: Savatage, Skynyrd, Billy Idol, Red Eye Gravy, Pantera


Jon Oliva hits a high note, Skynyrd goes creepy with John 5 and Pantera shreds this week ...


Savatage, “Somewhere in Time/Alone You Breathe.” From the album Wake of Magellan (1997). Can I get a hell yeah? Jon Oliva and a piano performing a medley of “Somewhere in Time” from Streets and “Alone You Breathe” from Handful of Rain. This bonus track, for me, is easily one of the strongest performances on Wake of Magellan, and I love the record.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Review: Buckcherry, "F**k"


Sometimes there’s a fine line between throwing a middle finger to the world and a desperate plea for attention. It doesn’t take much thought to decide which category Buckcherry’s EP Fuck falls into.

A concept album of sorts, if having the f-word in every song title can qualify as a concept, this EP seeks to play on the somewhat dumbfounding success the band had with the single “Crazy Bitch.”

When Buckcherry released their self-titled debut in 1998, I bought it. I still own it and listen to a couple of the songs on occasion. I thought it was a fun little bit of retro hard rock. Like most of the rest of the world, I promptly forgot about the band until 2006, when all of a sudden, you couldn’t seem to escape them.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Saturday Shuffle: III, Hank Jr., Priest, ST, Godsmack


It's a shame I couldn't have had a Hank Sr. song come up to hit the Hank trifecta, but two out of three ain't bad. Things get a bit heavier after that ...


Hank III, “Thunderstorms and Neon Signs.” From the album Risin’ Outlaw (1999). One of several Wayne Hancock songs that III did in his early years, this tune, highly influenced by his grandfather, fits III’s wail perfectly. This version is great, but I think I still prefer the Hancock version which has a little more character.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Still Spinning: Warlock, "Triumph and Agony"

Though often overlooked and rarely talked about, Warlock must be acknowledged as a pioneering band in metal.

Looking around the metal landscape these days, women are almost as plentiful as men. Gone, too, are the days of women writhing around on the floor in their videos a la Lita Ford’s “Kiss Me Deadly” to appeal to the male-dominated fan base. These days, to suggest something like that to some of the women in metal might get you a punch in the nose … or a swift kick somewhere else.

During the early to mid-1980s, though, women in heavy metal were a rarity. You had Joan Jett doing a heavy-rock style that was close, but not quite metal. Lita Ford was laying down some heavy licks, but it was still a few years before her 1988 breakthrough album Lita would blow the doors open for ladies in metal.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Stuck in My Head: "Weird Al" Yankovic, "Word Crimes"


I was probably 12 or so when my family got cable TV for the first time. I believe that plan had 12 channels — which seemed like a wealth of content to someone who had previously only received three, or a fuzzy fourth when the weather was right and you adjusted the antenna to just the right spot.

One of those channels, at least for a little while, was HBO. In those days, HBO wasn’t stacked with as many promos for their stuff as regular TV was with commercials, and the network would sometimes play music videos between programs. It was there that I first discovered “Weird Al” Yankovic.