Category Archives: Music

I like music.

RIP AC/DC

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It was back in 1989 or so when I heard my first AC/DC track. At the time, my dad was a garbage man and he would often bring home stuff he found in the garbage that was too nice to throw away. He picked up the garbage in a few very nice neighborhoods and often times they would toss out something a year old when they upgraded the following year, and my dad would jump on it. He would bring home nice TVs, radios, toys for us kids, and one day he brought home a cassette of High Voltage.

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My dad was cutting the grass in the back yard that day and he had the cassette in a tiny radio on the back porch, cranked up as high as he could get it, blasting AC/DC into the back yard while he mowed. I went outside to see my dad for the first time that day and was hit hard by what I heard. This was the first time I had heard AC/DC.

I’m not sure what track it was, but I knew instantly I was listening to something I wanted to listen to more of. It wasn’t long before he had told me all he knew about AC/DC and I was listening to his High Voltage cassette over and over again.

Eventually I started getting more of their albums, and then one day while at the store I saw their Live At Donington VHS. At that point I had no idea you could watch a band perform live on tape. I didn’t have to beg, my dad bought it instantly for me. I took it home and watched all 2 hours of it. Again. And again. And again. Suddenly I was a fan of a whole bunch of other songs by them that I hadn’t heard yet, and some new singer who didn’t sound like the guy I had come to know.

I looked at the dates on the albums I owned and then the date on the VHS and realized I had albums from the 70s and that concert was 1990. Clearly the singer I had heard from the 70s had gotten older and his voice had changed. I was too young and uninformed to know that legendary Bon Scott, AC/DCs first front man had passed away (just a couple months after I was born) and Brian Johnson had taken over. Even my dad hadn’t shared that info with me.

Because of Angus Young jumping and running around on stage like “a chinchilla on speed” (I read that in a review of them once) and playing the baddest music ever, I decided I wanted to play guitar. My dad bought me a guitar and signed me up for lessons. I have been playing the guitar for 20 years now.

I’m sure a lot of musicians get their start that way. I once wrote a paper on AC/DC in high school about how they were the greatest band of all time. I didn’t convince my teacher, but it was while writing that that I found out one of the first songs (if not the first) that Kurt Cobain learned to play on guitar was Back In Black. I would have paid tons of money to hear Nirvana cover an AC/DC tune.

I began collecting their albums on cassette. By my mid-teens I had begun to get their albums on CD, but I made sure to get everything on cassette as well, a collection I still have to this day. I even have a couple original printings of their albums on vinyl.

In 1995 AC/DC released Ballbreaker, their twelfth international album. There had been rumors the band was retiring and that this would be their last album. Our local radio station played the album from front to back the night before it was released in stores. My mom got it for me the next morning on her way to work. That night I listened to it from front to back, and at the end of the album I was pissed that it just ended. Surely if they were retiring they would have recorded a goodbye message for their fans, right? I was an idiot, but more so, I didn’t want them to retire.

That’s when I heard they were coming around in concert to promote Ballbreaker. I got my paycheck the day before tickets went on sale and had the money ready. The morning of I went to my local Ticketmaster, a counter at one of the local grocery stores in the area, a Thriftway, and I waited. I showed up an hour early because I wasn’t letting somebody have my ticket. Finally when they opened I bought two tickets, one for me and one for my dad. It cost me almost my entire paycheck, just about $90, and I discovered I was seventh row from the stage.

The day before the concert I came down sick, but that didn’t stop me. We drove to Louisville, KY to Freedom Hall (got lost on the way, made it in time), found our seats and watched one of the greatest concerts ever. A band called The Poor opened up for them (their drummer was Angus and Malcolm’s nephew) and they rocked hard. So hard, in fact, after the concert I went to a record store and had to special order their album, Who Cares, because it wasn’t available in the states. I still have it as well, and it rocks.

I do, The Poor, I do.

I do, The Poor, I do.

Then AC/DC came out and I wasn’t prepared for just how loud it was going to be. They blew up the place and after 2 hours we went home happy. Our ears were ringing, but it was worth it. At 16 I could die a happy guy.

A few years went on and there was no news about AC/DC. Nothing was happening. No albums were coming out. And then finally, in 2000, Stiff Upper Lip.

I had to work the day it came out, so I woke up early and went to the mall. I bought it and listened to it all day. I was delivering pizzas at the time, so I had a good time driving around that day jamming out. And then I heard they were coming around for another tour.

I gathered up two of my buddies and we all got tickets. Just like the previous experience, I went to the same Ticketmaster the day the tickets went on sale and I got there an hour early. I was the first one there. Just before Ticketmaster opened, a few other people showed up to get tickets and because of that, the manager came out and said they were going to have us draw numbers to see in what order we got our tickets.

WHAT THE EVER LOVING FUCK?! I WAS THERE FIRST!!!

Apparently the cosmos understood and it was meant to be, because I drew number one and got my tickets first. Once again I paid $45 per ticket… five years later. Awesome.

We went to the show and it was my one buddies first concert ever. He was a fan of loud music but I kept telling him he had never experienced music that loud. We were looking for our seats when the ticket usher guys kept telling us to go down closer and closer to the stage. The way the tickets had been printed we couldn’t tell exactly where we were located, so I literally had no idea just where we were sitting until we were shown to our seats… in the seventh row from stage.

Meant to be? Meant to be.

The coolest part of that show was a long walkway that stuck out from the middle of the stage and went through the crowd. Our seats were right up against that and there were only three seats, so we had our own row together right next to a ramp that Brian Johnson and Angus Young used repeatedly throughout the show. They were walking and rocking within 10 feet of us for 2 hours. At one point my buddy Danny got to shake Brian’s hand. I was so envious.

The opening band was Slash’s Snakepit. They were pretty good, and loud, and at one point Slash threw out his pick to the crowd. The lady in front of me didn’t notice or even attempt to catch it, and it landed on the floor under her chair. I still have it.

Back to AC/DC… when they started playing I looked at my buddy who had never been to a concert before, the one who liked loud music, and with a big smile on his face he mouthed “That’s LOUD!” Obviously I had to read his lips cause I couldn’t hear him. When the show was over, once again my ears were ringing. Once again my neck was stiff from head banging. Once again my voice was gone from screaming. What a great time.

As years went on I kept up on AC/DC through the internet. I haven’t seen them live since, but that’s okay. Two times is good for me. Besides, chances are I wouldn’t get seventh row, and I can’t break that streak.

I named my dog Angus after Angus Young. The love, it is real.

I’ve fallen in love with bands and musicians since. John Fogerty and Creedence Clearwater Revival are the next big one, and honestly they’re right up there with AC/DC. Bobby Bare Jr., for me, is awesome. I’m even a big fan of Motley Crue. But nobody will ever be AC/DC.

A band who has rocked out for so long, who is so legendary that the king of horror novels, Stephen King, not only writes about them in his books but had a movie made where the entire soundtrack was nothing but AC/DC, has done what few bands have done. They’ve survived. My dad once told me he respects any band that can last for twenty years. AC/DC has lasted twice that.

That’s why it’s with great sadness that I read, as I’m sure everybody else has, that AC/DC is retiring. I knew it wasn’t going to last forever. Hell, they’re getting to be old men. And honestly I thought they were already calling it quits. When their most recent tour was ending, Brian Johnson said he was going to retire from singing, and Malcolm Young said only if they let him.

I was a little upset by that, but I understood, and I was happy for them. I honestly didn’t think it would last, but even if it did, cool. They’ve earned it.

And then recently I read that Brian Johnson, in an interview, said how the boys (the Young brothers) were writing new songs for a new album and how they were going to do something big for their 40th anniversary. Talk about stoked! That’s amazing! I couldn’t wait for more music…

… and then I read today on Facebook’s trending section how rumors were saying AC/DC were going to retire because of Malcolm’s failing health. WHAT?!

One of the reports making heavy rounds on the net now over this is this one, where it says…

When AC/DC reunited at the start of April to begin a month of rehearsals, in the lead-up to new album recording sessions, Malcolm discovered he couldn’t play. At least, he couldn’t play like he used to play.

Nothing has been officially confirmed, as of this writing, but friends and family members have been discussing what happened to Malcolm for the past couple of weeks. The blood clot, resulting from the stroke, is believed to be why Malcolm couldn’t keep working.

Although friends have described Malcolm’s condition as serious, it doesn’t mean he won’t recover. People do get better after strokes, and people do recover lost skills.

But friends and family of band members believe the decision was made last week to call it quits.

Media in Australia have gone ballistic today on rumours of The End Of AC/DC, and it appears the news got out ahead of a planned official announcement from the band and management.

Right now, that announcement is expected Wednesday, April 16, and a press conference has been scheduled.

Please check out the link, if you’re interested in more, as the rest of the article is an excellent read.

When I read it I had a tear or two in my eyes. Again, I didn’t care if they were retiring. They’ve been around 40 awesome years, they’ve dominated the world (and me) and they’ve become legendary. Nobody will ever do what they’ve done, ever. Love them or hate them, they have influenced music time and time again, and probably multiple other bands you listen to. They’ve earned retirement.

But not like this. I feel horrible for Malcolm, and his family. I hope him the very best, and a speedy recovery. I don’t care for another album, or another tour. His music has made my life what it is. It has rocked me out, cheered me up, calmed me down, pumped me up, and made my ears ring on two separate occasions. He put out great music that has had my head bobbing and my toe tapping for most of my life. He should be able to get a normal retirement. Not a stroke.

Good luck Malcolm Young, you are a true rock hero and legend, and I hope you the very best. Don’t focus on a new album or a tour or getting back to playing, which you quite obviously love to do. Just focus on you and do what you have to do to be well. Thanks for the tunes.

As for the rest of you, I share this. I decided to put this as my profile pic on Facebook. If you’re interested in doing the same, to show your love and support for a speedy recovery for Malcolm, you can right click on it and save it.

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Album Review: Wrote A Song For Everyone

Wrote A Song For Everyone” is a collaboration type album by John Fogerty of his hits. If you don’t know who John Fogerty is, you don’t know shit about music and your taste in music sucks, or you’re four.

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Fogerty is a complete egomaniac. His shit doesn’t stink. That’s one reason why Creedence broke up so many years ago. Everything has to be done his way, and it has to be perfect, period.

That being said, he’s sort of earned the right to be an egomaniac. His shit really doesn’t stink. Because his music has changed the world of music forever. Seriously, Fogerty’s better than Elvis. Tell me I’m wrong. You can’t. While you may not recognize his name (you fuck) you probably recognize Tina Turner’s name, right? She had a huge hit called “Proud Mary,” which was a horrible (in my opinion, I’m not a huge Turner fan) cover of an old Creedence Clearwater Revival hit of the same name, written and originally performed by Fogerty. That’s just one.

Over the years he’s recorded hit after hit. Those hits are typically great songs in and of themselves, but the songs that weren’t hits were almost always better than the radio songs. And just about everybody in music from the 60s to today have been influenced by Fogerty’s work.

Because Fogerty is an egomaniac, he decided he wanted to get a bunch of other artists to redo his songs in their style, but he was going to sing and play guitar on those songs with them, because he had to be on each song. Again, he wanted them to do his songs in their style, but he had to be there because his ego wouldn’t allow them to record his songs without him.

“Wrote A Song For Everyone,” the name of one of his early CCR hits (which was redone for this album) turned out to be an awesome album. It didn’t need to happen, so it was basically just a fun project for him. Some critics thought the album was pointless and blah blah, and really it was. It was just another way for Fogerty to stroke his ego a bit and put some more cash in his bank account.

Rolling Stone put the album on their list of the 50 best albums of 2013, at number 10. I can’t believe 50 albums came out in 2013, and I sure as fuck can’t imagine there were 50 good ones. Number 10 is a great spot regardless, but I’m honestly shocked there were 9 better ones.

From beginning to end you get 14 tracks of awesome. I can’t believe there were only 14, with so many kick ass songs he’s recorded over the years, but looking at some of the guest artists he got for the album made me realize that maybe he just couldn’t find anybody else to do songs with. Otherwise there should have been 20+ songs on this album.

The reason I say that is, there are a couple of questionable artists and/or recordings. I figured this would be a great way to have some fun with some newer, younger talent, as well as help promote those artists to people who may not have heard them before. These kind of albums are a two way street. Fogerty gets his ego stroked, while the guest artists get some publicity for their own sound, as well as a chance to record with one of the greatest singer/songwriters ever.

With all of that said, here’s my rundown of each track and what I think of them. Again, Fogerty played and sang on each track.

Continue reading

TV Show Themes

The mark of a good TV show isn’t just about good writing and good acting (good directing also comes into play somewhere), but having a good theme is just as important. When was the last time there was a popular TV show on with a horrible opening song? Of course opinions can declare anything bad, but those hit shows, no matter when they aired on TV, have or had theme songs that people still recognize today, even if they had never seen the show.

I grew up with shows like Night Court, Sanford & Son, Married… With Children and Roseanne, to name a few. Of course Sanford & Son was just before my time, but to this day I can hum the theme song as if I had just watched an episode.

Roseanne had many versions of their theme song, which all rocked, in my opinion. A groovy blues jam that was never long enough and always finished up with Roseanne laughing her fat mouth off. This all culminated in Blues Traveler recording a version with lyrics for the final season.

Married… With Children had a long opening with an extra verse (Try, try, try to separate them, it’s an illusion…). It was shortened to what just about everyone remembers, and then for the DVD releases they lost the license and couldn’t even use that, so now they have some horrible shitty generic opening that totally kills the show. That’s how much a theme song matters. Of course the song was based off of a real song, so they just used an extra verse for the long version.

Hey, do you know the theme song to Bonanza? I’m sure you do. Would it surprise you to know that it actually had lyrics? Just like Hawaii Five-0 and MASH, they had lyrics to their theme songs too. Seriously, click those links and try not to kill yourself after listening to the MASH tune. No wonder they went with the instrumental version for the show.

The thing about TV show theme songs is, most of them are typically songs that are exactly as long as they are during the shows opening. What you hear is all you get. They’re also made by some theme show making band with no name, in house, specifically for that show. However, other times, they’re full length songs by real bands that just so happen to get picked up for a show, and then they’re cut down to fit the opening of the show and recorded specifically for the opening, so that when you actually hear the full version of the song you’re like, “That just barely sounds like the opening to the show…” and then you’re pissed off because the song doesn’t live up to the TV shows opening version. The thing is, sometimes the real bands or artists recording those songs can be big name acts, such as Blues Traveler, Sammy Davis Jr. (Hawaii Five-0), Frank Sinatra (Married… With Children) and Quincy Jones (Sanford & Son). But other times they’re done by bands who are one hit wonders, those one hits are the theme songs, and the full version of those songs are terrible, making one wonder just what in the hell did some TV exec see in the song to begin with to make them consider it for their show.

Since I’m a fan of TV, there are a ton of TV show theme songs that I love, but there are just a couple I want to touch base on. Otherwise this piece would be novel length and you’d quit reading somewhere after this sentence. You probably will anyway. I did.

Love or hate it, the show Friends was on for a long time, had many fans and was a huge success, despite the fact that they lived in a New York City where only white people lived. Personally, I was a fan of the show only because it made me laugh. I wasn’t a huge fan, or even a follower of the show. I watched it in syndication and can only recall actually watching brand new episodes as they first aired maybe three or four times. I only seemed to catch it by accident, but I never turned it off. There are worse things to watch, after all.

The band who did their opening, The Rembrandts, had a hit with the song. Unfortunately for them it was their only hit (The Rembrandts six fans will argue this). The reason for this is, they weren’t really a good band. I saw them on Leno one night performing the song and it was terrible. Seriously, it sounded very monotone, and as if they were performing it for the first time ever without having rehearsed it first. Way to break free from those TV theme shackles guys.

Another show I really like is the USA Network hit, Psych, and naturally I really like the opening. As it turns out it is done by The Friendly Indians, the band show creator Steve Franks belongs to. Way to promote your shit, you’re doing it right.

The fun thing about this band is, this is their only hit and I doubt it’s getting radio play. While looking for a performance video for this song I found a live acoustic version where the guys fuck up the lyrics to the song, immediately. Amazing, the only hit they have and they can’t even remember the fucking lyrics.

I’m probably the biggest fan of That 70s Show alive, and it’s almost impossible to hate their opening song. Both versions. Well, I’ll just say I love the show theme, but the full song can suck one.

Cheap Trick redid the song made famous by Big Star, and there were name changes and key changes and lyric changes, but overall, I can’t stand the song, no matter what version it is. The theme version is the only one I can get behind. Possibly the worst video for it that I found is the one where Cheap Trick is in the Formans living room playing it with the cast of the show hanging out behind them. Not that I’m a hater of Cheap Trick, there’s just some creepy vibe they’re throwing off in the video. Maybe it’s just the drummer with his pedophile smile.

Lastly, there’s the show Rules Of Engagement, that for the record I’d like to say is one of my favorite shows of all time. I was depressed to learn it was canceled finally after seven seasons and 100 episodes.

Oh, and I’d like to point out that Will Harris for the AV Club said of it:

“Seven seasons is a damned fine run, no matter how you look at it, but it’s a particularly remarkable achievement for Rules Of Engagement, a series about which no one has ever exclaimed, ‘Oh, my God, that is my absolute favorite!’” Apparently he knows what he’s talking about. Idiot.

Their theme song is catchy and I typically sing along to it when I don’t plan to, just because it’s catchy. It’s not a favorite song of mine, it’s not something I would jam out to in my car, but it’s catchy enough. One day I decided to see if there was a full length song and sure enough, there is. And it’s not just bad, but horribly performed in the video.

Senor Happy really looks out of place performing, and by “Senor Happy” I mean “the singer.” He has this look on his face the entire time like he’s afraid to show any form of emotion past “I just had a stroke, my mouth can’t do anything.” He looks as if he realizes his band is only good for the opening 30 seconds to a TV show and that they’ll never be more than that. And then he gets to jumping around and overplaying the song to make up for that shitty look on his face and he oversells it. It would be like having a mosh pit to Barney’s “I Love You.” His presence in this video is a clusterfuck of emotion and none of it makes sense with the song.

The good news is, we’ll probably never see Senor Happy, The Rembrandts or The Friendly Indians on any tour with any real acts, unless they get together with each other and play to sold out bars and restaurants all over the state of Kansas. Despite that, they made some really cool TV theme songs, so I guess they can be proud of that. They better be, they have nothing else going for them.

Live – Dead

Back in the early 90s we were introduced to a new sound in music. The 90s were full of bands who rocked our world, from Nirvana to Green Day to uh… other bands… the 90s had a sound all its own. So much so that there are radio stations that play nothing but 90s music and totally get away with it.

One of the bands who lead the charge of a new sound into the future was Live, and they didn’t disappoint (much, unless you’re not a fan, then a lot). They came out with an album and it was an album. Then they hit their stride with their second album “Throwing Copper,” an album that would push them to the forefront of rock stardom.

A must-have album from the 90s. Even today it still rocks.

A must-have album from the 90s. Even today it still rocks.

With hits like “Lightning Crashes,” “I Alone,” “All Over You” and “White, Discussion” they dominated air waves for almost a decade. Then they put out a follow up album, “Secret Samadhi” and it produced a couple more hits. After that they dropped off the face of the earth. Just kidding, they put out a couple more albums but had little to no success.

Through the 2000s they didn’t do much of anything. They toured with a bunch of other has-been bands who also had their time in the spotlight but they all needed each other on tour to bring in a worthy audience at all of the race tracks and baseball post-game shows they performed at. They also brought in Blues Traveler as insurance to make sure people showed up. And then finally, Live broke up.

Well, they didn’t exactly break up. Singer Ed Kowalczyk decided he wasn’t feeling the music anymore and needed something to spark his creative Lakini’s juices. So he told the band he wanted $100,000 as a “lead singer bonus.” Because that’s apparently something that exists.

The band scoffed and he fled to do his own solo project, saying in later interviews that he wasn’t feeling the music and that he wanted to do something fresh to reinvigorate his career. Or, $100,000. You know, either one.

Here, Ed is seen doing an interview at a rock station where he promotes his new album, his new band, and then plays an acoustic song off of the new album that amazingly sounds entirely like one of the first hits he had with Live, the stuff he’s trying to break away from.

So he set out on an acoustic tour where he performed some new material and uh… a bunch of old stuff he had done with Live. And then he put out a solo album where he recorded with a bunch of studio musicians a dozen or so tracks that all sound like Live, only less Live, and he called it “Alive” because he’s trying to break away from Live. He should have just called it “Not Live” or “Studio Recorded” or “Less Than Live,” not to be confused with “Less Than Jake.”

To recap, Ed decided he wasn’t happy with the stuff his friends and band mates of 20+ years were coming up with (even though he had a say in the writing process), so he took his unique voice that when heard everyone knows he’s the dude from Live, recorded new music that could easily pass off as Live, only shittier, blander, and sounding like everything else that’s out there (except for his voice) and is trying his damndest to be viewed as fresh and new while sounding anything but. Oh, and he’s still playing the old Live stuff.

His old band Live decided they still loved music and still want to, you know, put food on their tables and pay their bills, so they hired a new lead singer and continue to do shows. Eventually they’ll put out a new album, so they say, but in the meantime they’re playing gigs with the old set lists and a new singer. Fans of Live enjoy watching videos of the new singer playing with the band and blasting on how shitty he is and how not Ed he is. Some fans get it and say what needs to be said about Ed, but the majority are hating on the new guy, Chris Shinn.

One thing a lot of people are getting down on him for, besides not sounding exactly like Ed, is fucking up lyrics. You can see on one video how he does in fact forget some lyrics. Sure, he was hired to be a lead singer for a band who has hits and he should know the fucking lyrics before attempting to sing the songs in public for money. But to be fair, he’s new, probably a bit nervous singing some other dudes shit, and the audience is singing along through the entire song, much louder than he is. I’m sure that would fuck just about everybody up. Hell, the Rolling Stones played a Super Bowl halftime show a few years back and Jagger was fucking up lyrics that he himself not only wrote but has been singing for the better part of a century. Shit happens.

I’ll say this about Shinn. He’s a singer, obviously for hire or he wouldn’t have been recruited to sing for Live. He does a pretty damn good job of singing Ed’s songs and he’s got some decently big shoes to fill. Ed has an amazing voice and sung some of the most popular songs to come out in the last 20 years. And it’s not easy for a band to replace a key member of the group such as the lead singer and get away with it. Very few bands over the years have successfully done that, like AC/DC for example. Other bands try and try again, like Van Halen, and just never get it as good as they had it.

On the flip side, who was the last singer from a band to break away and have a successful career? Rob Zombie?

Historically, when a lead singer breaks away from the band that got them famous to have a solo career, they never see the type of success they once had. Just off the top of my head, here’s a list of singers who told their bands to fuck off, had a horrible solo career, and in some cases went crawling back to their old band to beg for forgiveness:

Vince Neil from Motley Crue
Scott Stapp from Creed
Travis Meeks from Days Of The New (not reunited, and probably never will)
Gavin Rossdale from Bush
Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins

Who knows? Maybe Live will once again be in the spot light after having been out of it for a decade. Maybe they’ll fall by the wayside with Shinn and be just another band to lose a key member and replace him and not do nearly as well. Even still, maybe they’ll reconcile with Ed when Ed gets his head out of his ass and they’ll put out a new album with tons of publicity and they’ll be on top again. After all, it seems that THAT is all that Ed wants. To be on top again. Because if he’s actually wanting to be fresh and reinvigorated, he’s not doing a very good job at it.

“Is that a new Live song? It sounds kind of bland. Like it’s them, but it’s not them. What’s up with that?” – Someone listening to the radio and hearing a new Ed Kowalczyk song. Just kidding, none of his solo songs will ever be played on the radio.

One Of My Favorite Bands Ever, Bare Jr.

I started writing a piece on my top five favorite albums ever and started with Boo-Tay, the first album by awesome late 90s-early 2000s rockers Bare Jr. It turned into a piece about how much I love Bare Jr, so I switched it up to just talk about them, one of my favorite bands ever. I may just be their biggest fan. Anybody can argue with that, but it’s true.

It all started one summer day when I was delivering pizzas at the ripe old age of 18 back in the year 1998. During this time I was still listening to the radio a lot. We were at the tail end of the 90s when music, at least for me, was completely awesome. It wouldn’t be for another couple of years before music started sucking again.

While delivering a pizza, I happened to catch a song on the radio called “You Blew Me Off” and I was immediately hooked. I don’t know why, I don’t know what it was that turned me on to it, but I loved it. The only problem was, at the end of the song the DJ didn’t announce who it was or what the song title was. I listened to the radio more so than ever at that point, just hoping to hear it again and maybe hear who it was or what the song was titled.

With no lyrics memorized, I finally called the station and spoke to a DJ. I gave him the best details of the song I could remember, but he couldn’t help me. A week later I heard the song again and caught who it was, Bare Jr. I called into the station to request the song a few days later and they told me they had pulled it from their rotation and couldn’t play it for me.

You may have heard that song before. It’s been on quite a few movie soundtracks and was their biggest hit.

I drove around to all of the music stores and literally at the last one that I knew of in the city, I found one copy of the album, Boo-Tay. I bought it, ran out of the mall to my car and put it in my CD player where it stayed on continuous play for 3 months.

Admittedly, it took me some time to get used to Bobby Bare Jr’s singing (like 4 or 5 tracks). It’s not for everybody. Once I fell for it, I was hooked. The emotion he sings with is unmatched. He doesn’t just sing the words he writes, he delivers them with the emotion that they convey.

The band was something else entirely. Their music ability was something I had not experienced before in a rock band, especially from one straight out of Nashville, TN. They wrote music that didn’t conform to the standards that the music industry had fallen into even at that point, with everyone trying to sound the same. Bare Jr. sounded different. Each song was a masterpiece, telling stories of women who had hurt time and time again, telling of deep scars earned from life, while celebrating other moments. And they had a dulcimer player hooked up to an electric amp. Seriously, WHO DOES THAT?

The album has 37 tracks but only 15 songs (I think). There are a ton of blank 1-2 second tracks after the 14th song all leading up to the last, bonus song. One of the songs, Soggy Daisy, I covered for 2 years while playing out at open mic nights. Not well, but I covered it.

They put out a second album, Brainwasher, which turned out to be just as good as Boo-Tay and spawned another hit for them in the title track. I wrote Bobby an email telling him how big of a fan I was and how I appreciated them keeping their sound through two albums and not conforming to the shitty music standards of the day. And he responded almost immediately. I printed out the conversation and still have it saved. A music star wrote back to me personally. How cool is that?

They disbanded shortly after and they all went their separate ways. Bobby still records music, and it’s still some of the best music out there.

I had never gotten to see them live, which sucked. Now, back to how I’m their biggest fan. If you happened to be a fan of them and you happened to be on Myspace a few years ago and you happened to like their official fan page, that was run by me. I even got into a dispute with Myspace and Sony for posting their songs to that account without proper permission, even though each member of the band told me it was cool by them. Bobby even told me he was “flattered” that I had created the page. And I just looked it up, the page is still up even though I haven’t been back to Myspace for years. So if you’re a fan of that page still and you’re wondering why nothing’s happened to it since, I apologize. I don’t remember my login for it and honestly, I have no desire to go to Myspace again.

It was never said but I’d wager money on it, that due to the popularity of that Myspace page, the band got together for a reunion concert in Nashville. They allowed me to record the show live to distribute copies to everyone who wanted one. I finally got to see them live. I got to personally meet Keith Brogdon, their drummer, and hang out with him back stage. I learned from that meeting and each and every conversation I’ve had with the members over the years that they are all completely awesome stand-up guys. It’s no wonder their fans were so in love with them.

As far as why they broke up, I spoke again to Keith recently and asked him why. He told me they basically were having fun in the beginning and they weren’t in the end. I guess major labels will do that to you. Also an excellent side note to Keith’s whereabouts, he’s a drummer for hire and he’s been playing out with some awesome bands lately. Also, he runs an awesome design company that does up posters and other stuff for bands and I guess whatever else you might need, so if you’re looking for some great work for your next project consider Thinking Out Loud Design.

Because of the Myspace page, Bobby emailed me two songs they had recorded, one for each album, that didn’t make the final cut. These were two unheard, unreleased songs. He allowed me to put them on the Myspace page to share with the fans. At the time, a friend of mine and I were trying to record an album with the songs we had written to play at those open mic nights. Bobby allowed me to re-record one of the two unreleased songs and put it on the album. Sadly, we never finished the album and the song is still unreleased. I did post the song and a few others on our Myspace band page and our Facebook band page. Amazingly, the Myspace page is still there and you can listen to the song and those few others there, if you like. For some reason the Facebook page I created allowed me to upload songs to it, but you can’t find them anywhere on the page, much less listen to them. The cover is “You’re Ruining My Life.” Admittedly their version is much better than mine, but I had fun recording it. Also it should be known that the version on that Myspace page isn’t the final version, it went through some tweaking to get it sounding a little better, but not much.

Just a couple of years ago I finally got to meet Bobby in person at one of his solo gigs. I got a picture with him and my dad and he gave me a copy of his newest CD just for helping him BUILD HIS WEBSITE. He didn’t keep the site, and I don’t blame him. I couldn’t give him what he wanted, but he did use it for a short time, so that’s awesome. I also have his number and his address, should I ever be in Nashville and in jail or something and need a friend to help me out. That is if he’s not touring around the world, which he does all the time.

I also purchased the barejr.net domain and created a fan website for anybody who was still a fan but couldn’t find any info on them. Sadly that site had to close a year later. Even still, I’m friends with them on Facebook and talk to them occasionally. And I still jam out to Boo-Tay all the time. Music will never be like that again. Here’s to hoping they’ll get together and put out a reunion album and maybe tour again like The Toadies did a few years ago, but I’m not holding my breath.

What band or artist totally changed your life?

Bad Moments In Classic Rock

Everyone has an opinion and naturally this is just my opinion on a couple of bad instances in classic rock.

For starters, I don’t do well with lip syncing, and I’m a huge fan of live music. If a performer does a live performance and is lip syncing, they are useless to me. If I wanted to listen to the album version of their song, I wouldn’t be seeing them live. That’s one reason I don’t get into the “boy bands” and music of the like.

Back in the day bands used to lip sync all the time when they’d perform live on certain TV shows. My favorite band of all time, AC/DC, lip synced on TV shows when they were getting started. It depressed me to find this out, but I have to accept it because hey, they all did it apparently. And I can sort of understand it too. They were young, trying to get their name and sound out there and they did what they had to do to get that done. Fine. At least I can rest easy knowing they’ve been selling out venues by the thousands since then, and they don’t lip sync at those shows.

One instance of this that really ruined a band for me was the Super Bowl 31 halftime show, featuring the Blues Brothers, James Brown and ZZ Top. I tried to find a video of it on Youtube, but there is none, at least of ZZ Top’s performance. Apparently someone tried to post it and it was flagged by ZZ Top’s people. Most likely because THEY WERE LIP SYNCING.

I was only 17 when that Super Bowl happened back in 1997, but even then I could see a lip syncing performance when it was right in front of me. Now, I’m not sure if every band has to lip sync when playing the Super Bowl halftime show (I doubt it, the Rolling Stones weren’t when they played and they probably should have, it was horrible). But this particular halftime show was bad all the way around. It even made the cut on VH1′s 10 Most Awesomely Terrible Super Bowl Halftime Shows Of All Time, and ironically not for this reason.

It started with a fake news report of one of the Blues Brothers breaking out of jail and making his way to the Super Bowl to perform, and then they came out to perform. It was probably the best part of the show. I don’t remember the James Brown part of it because well, I don’t. But it was James Brown, so it was probably decent. But the fact that ZZ Top were lip syncing ruined the whole damn show, despite that some think it was the best show in the last 20 years. If a classic rock band lip syncing helps to make it the best in the last 20 years, that says a whole lot about the other shows.

The easiest way to tell if a band is lip syncing is to watch the drummer. When you hear a cymbal crash in the music and the drummer didn’t hit one, that’s a good indication. And that’s what I noticed during their performance of “Tush”. I was watching the drummer because I had a feeling they were lip syncing, and sure enough, cymbals crashed and he wasn’t hitting any. Instead he was busy watching the half naked dancing girls all around him instead of paying attention to his own music.

I lost all respect for them then, and still haven’t gotten it back. I wasn’t ever a huge fan of theirs to begin with, so it wasn’t a big loss for me.

The rest of my list includes classic rock bands who not only deserve respect, but have earned it countless times over. Yet even for them they put out some questionably bad music. The first is “Going Mobile” by The Who.

I actually just heard this song for the first time tonight and while it was playing I was thinking “What the fuck is this garbage?” and then I found out it was by The Who and I almost cried. Really? Of all of the great songs this band put out, the radio chose to play THIS song instead? It just does nothing for me. It sounds like a filler song and that’s probably what it was. That’s also probably why I just now heard it for the very first time, and I’ve been listening to them for years. What a horrible song.

The Who are awesome, rather, WERE awesome. Some bands grow old with grace. The Who hasn’t done that. As much as I love and respect them, it would benefit everybody if they just stopped now.

The next on the list is by Queen, one of the greatest bands of all time. Their music was great, their singing all the way around was great (nobody could harmonize like them, ever) and they’ve put out anthems. Not just one, but multiple songs that not only define them but their entire generation of music. Except for this one.

That’s great. You want to ride your bicycle? Who the fuck cares? The biggest problem with this song that I have is it’s played ALL THE TIME on the radio. Never mind that, but it gets stuck in my head and I wind up singing it to myself until something else comes along and replaces it. And I hate that. There’s nothing worse than having a bad song stuck in your head. But I have to give it to Queen. Even their bad songs were catchy as hell.

Lastly, and this one almost didn’t make it to the list because I had justifiably forgot about it, is a song by, again, one of the greatest bands of all time, Jethro Tull.

Now I’m sure that every band has a song or two that sucks, and I don’t hold it against any of the last three mentioned for having a bad song. Even AC/DC has songs I don’t really care for, and I’m one of their biggest fans. But this song by Jethro Tull is absolutely horrible. I seriously think they made it as a joke and some asshole put it on one of their albums as another joke. You know, to get back at them for making it in the first place.

For a band that put out such great songs as “Aqualung”, “Locomotive Breath” and “Thick As A Brick”, it disgusts me to know they recorded this.

First of all, I have a problem with artists making songs with titles or hooks that rhyme, simply because they rhyme. “Bungle in the Jungle”… I can imagine the conversation behind the making of it.

“Hey guys, it rhymes!”
“So?”
“So, that means it’ll be a good song!”
“Why?”
“BECAUSE IT RHYMES!”

Bullshit. You can do your own research to come up with other songs that follow this premise. I’ve had enough of the bad stuff. Now I’m going to go listen to some great music to “rinse my mouth” of this garbage I just subjected all of us to. I suggest you do the same.

4 Reasons Why The Monkees Were Great

First off, let me start by saying that I’m a fan of The Monkees. As a child I used to watch their TV show on reruns (obviously, I’m not THAT old despite what my wife would have you believe) and I’ve always loved their music. Some people, especially huge Beatles fans, tend to hate The Monkees even though The Beatles themselves liked them.

From the TV show to their music, they were great and actually still are. Just a month ago they had yet another tour even though one of the four, Davy Jones, passed away earlier in the year due to a heart attack. Can The Beatles say they’ve toured recently? No. Of course more of them are dead than just one…

So here are my reasons why The Monkees deserve some fucking respect.


4. They Rocked


Despite rumors that have been around as long as they have, The Monkees played their own instruments. Yeah, that’s right, they totally did. Don’t believe me? Go read something. As much as I hate to use Wikipedia as a source for info, I can’t link to a book and have you read that without you actually buying it.

So The Monkees played their own instruments. Interesting. I wonder what else we’ve been lied to about all of these years.

“Wikipedia isn’t a reliable source? Nooo…”

Now let’s get down to it. The music they played was indeed rock, even though they had some slight country heading to the mix. Eventually they wanted to lean more towards blues which can go either way, in country and rock.

They had four number one albums in a one year period. They held the No. 1 spot on the Billboard album chart for 31 consecutive weeks, 37 weeks total. You can’t do that if you don’t put out some decent music.

Their first album The Monkees held the top spot on the Billboard 200 for 13 weeks, after which it was knocked out by their second album, More Of The Monkees. It included their first hit, “Last Train To Clarksville” which as it turns out was a depressing song about going to fight in Vietnam and most likely not coming home from there. Even the Cracked writer who wrote that bit thought they didn’t play their own instruments. Shows what kind of research they do.

“Hey Hey we’re The Monkees, and people say we monkey around!” Yup, now it’ll be stuck in your head all day.

Take the last train to Clarksville now I must hang up the phone
I can’t hear you in this noisy railroad station all alone
I’m feelin’ low oh no no no, oh no no no
And I don’t know if I’m ever coming home

Depressing shit, but the song was a fun-filled number you could dance to, so people loved it. Plus, you know, it was The Monkess, and they were top shit then.


3. Jimi Hendrix Opened For Them


That’s right, guitar/rock legend Jimi Hendrix opened for The Monkees. As you can imagine it didn’t go over well, because well, their music styles are completely different. There weren’t a lot of drugged out rockers in the crowd at a Monkees show. At least not then anyway. During one of the shows, Jimi Hendrix finally had enough of the audience booing him and gave them the finger before walking off the stage and quitting the tour. And now he’s dead.


2. They Had A Hit TV Show


Sure The Beatles had some hit movies, but The Monkees had a hit TV show. In the scheme of things that doesn’t mean much, but The Monkees TV show, aptly titled “The Monkees” can be shown in reruns and syndication. The Beatles can’t say that.

The Monkees TV show first hit the airwaves in 1966 and went until 1968 before stopping production on new shows. It went into syndication in 1969 and has been reran multiple times up until the 1980′s. Because of the syndication, they sold even more albums and had more success, including more tours which were critically acclaimed.


1. They Still Tour


As I said at the top of this article, The Monkees just had a tour in the U.S. even though Davy Jones passed away on February 29, 2012. From Wikipedia (AGAIN?!), “The brief tour marked the first time Nesmith performed with the Monkees since 1997, as well as the first without Jones. Jones’ memory was honored throughout the shows via recordings and video. During one point, the band went quiet and a recording of Jones singing “I Wanna Be Free” played while footage was screening of him walking along the beach. For Jones’ signature song, “Daydream Believer”, Dolenz explained that the band had discussed who should sing the song, only to conclude that it should be the fans. “It doesn’t belong to us anymore,” said Dolenz. “It belongs to you.””

“Hey, aren’t we missing somebody? Oh… right…”
What? Too soon?

Hopefully that tour won’t be their last, because I’d love to see them live. Until then, thanks for the tunes, chaps. They rock, and so do you.

Of Dogs And Lions

Recently, rapper and general good guy Snoop Doggy Dogg changed his name from that to Snoop Lion. It is still unclear at this time if he’ll go by Snoop Doggy Lion or Snoop Liony Lion.

The reason he did this is, he discovered Rastafarianism. So, Snoop Lion is now a Rasta. That means he’s free to smoke as much weed as he wants.

Oh, right.

So Snoop Lion is now a Rasta. That means he’s not allowed to call himself a dog anymore, in case you were wondering. In Rasta, calling someone a dog is an insult, and to call himself one shows lack of self knowledge. When he decided to have the procedure done, the Rasta priest told him that was a no-go and thus made him change his name.

This makes me wonder a couple things. One, has Snoop smoked so much weed in his life that he, up until now, didn’t realize someone like the Rastas existed? They’re in Jamaica and smoke a ton of weed for crying out loud, you think he would have been all over that from birth.

Two, has he smoked so much weed since becoming Rasta that he has channeled the dead spirit of the greatest pot smoker the world has ever seen, Bob Marley, into his own body?

He seems to think so.

“Speaking of Marley, Snoop Lion also said that he considers himself a reincarnation of the late musician. Edmonds said that some Rasta theology bears the influence of Hinduism, in which reincarnation is a core belief.” – A bit I picked up from the news source.

Now personally, I think the move is great. Snoop is a legend. Everybody knows who he is, regardless if they listen to rap or not, and most people find him to be entertaining, regardless if they listen to him or not. I like Snoop and I’m not even a fan.

But to get used to calling him Snoop Lion, that’s going to take some time. Time I’m sure he’ll spend smoking more and doing less. I can only imagine though, what his music is going to be like now. Let’s see if his music reflects Marley’s more, or if he’ll be dropping anything else because it resembles something that is hot.

Album Review: Airbourne – Runnin’ Wild

I first heard of this band while playing NHL ’09 with their song “Runnin’ Wild” and I really enjoyed it, even though they quite obviously sound like they’re trying to sound just like AC/DC. However, the more I listened to that one song on the game, the more I liked it. Eventually I’d wish I could hear more, so just now I picked up their debut album “Runnin’ Wild” and am giving it a listen.

The album starts with “Stand Up For Rock ‘n Roll” and it does what it’s meant to do. It gets the album started on a high note with a fast, balls to the wall, solid, driving rock tune. And guitar solos! A rock band with guitar solos!

I know what I’m in for, and it’s an AC/DC-esque rock album. If you can successfully pull of AC/DC, then you should be successfully pulling off good rock ‘n roll. Airbourne pulls off good rock ‘n roll. It’s kind of like getting a fresh dose of AC/DC. I’m not mad at that.

The next song is the title track, the one I heard so many times on NHL ’09, which for the record also produced another favorite band of mine, Black Tide. The game’s soundtrack rocks. Anyway, it’s nice to finally hear “Runnin’ Wild” all the way through. Good tune.

The third track comes on and once again I’m in for a driving rock tune. Listening to these guys makes me happy for rock ‘n roll. This is basic, down and dirty rock and that’s what I like.

A song that got me pumped up was “Blackjack”. Another fast and driving song. Good stuff.

“Cheap Wine” was another song that I really got into. It had a real nice funky riff that kept my attention away from writing.

The last song on the album, “Let’s Ride” is another fast driving song that helps to finish the album on a high note.

Now that it’s over, I’m glad I finally listened to it. It’s nice to hear some new rock that I can get into. Hopefully the fact that they sound just like AC/DC doesn’t eventually get on my nerves, but so far so good. I’ll give this album 6.5 out of 10. Check it out. Now I’m off to get their follow up, No Guts. No Glory. to give it a listen to.

Editorial Archives: Who The Fuck Is Vanessa Carlton Anyway?

Who The Fuck Is Vanessa Carlton Anyway?
Mar. 14, 2005

That’s all I want to know. Who the hell does she think she is? I’m sure you’ve seen her ad for Time Warner Cable (if it’s in your area). She’s the stupid bitch that plays the piano and “sings” that song “Time, is on my side, yes it is…” and she not only ruins it, but she puts shame and disgrace on piano players all over the world, not to mention her family.

That SHOULD’VE been the cover of her new CD, but as it is I added the “Talentless Bitch” on to it. She has nothing to offer the world at all. As a matter of fact, her boyfriend is the singer from Third Eye Blind. At least the talentless bitches are staying together.

So I was wondering how the fuck someone like this could get a record deal so I did a search on her. I was thinking that she was probably one of those American Idol winners, since that show sucks. But no, she actually was heard playing in a bar by a record dealer. Apparently the record guy is the same that signed up Third Eye Blind. Anyway, here’s what her bio said. This is from Yahoo Launch.

Born in a tiny town in Pennsylvania, this musician was listening to music before she was born, as her mother performed various classical pieces in the home’s piano. At the age of two, Carlton and her parents went to Disney World, where she heard “It’s A Small World.” Falling in love with the song, she discerned the song’s melody on the piano when she returned home. Having composed her first piano piece at age eight, Carlton was exposed to a wide array of music, from Debussy to Pink Floyd. At 14, she was accepted into the School of American Ballet in New York, where she lived in a dorm in the famous Lincoln Center. But, after being in the top of her class, she became frustrated at the strictness of the discipline. This frustration led to her playing a nearby piano within the dorm, from which a multitude of songs began forming. After waitressing in Lower Manhattan and living in Hell’s Kitchen, Carlton would drive between her place and her parents’ home on weekends, attempting to record “the perfect demo” on piano. Open-mic nights in New York City followed, and her music caught the attention of important music industry ears. In February 2002, her debut single A Thousand Miles, hit the charts and its video was played on MTV. She has performed on Rosie O’Donnell, MTV’s TRL, and has been mentioned in Rolling Stone as one of ten artists to watch in 2002. In April 2002, she released her debut album, Be Not Nobody. Carlton’s second effort, Harmonium followed two years later. ~ Jason MacNeil, All Music Guide

So she went to the School of American Ballet in New York and quit. She should’ve kept up with it because she is sexy and ballet chicks are usually hot. Plus, it’s a silent thing, she wouldn’t have to sing. Oh man, if only.

And in the beginning, “was listening to music before she was born”. What the fuck? How does that make sense? When our mother’s were pregnant with us, chances are good that at some point in those 9 months they were around music. So technically we’ve almost all been listening to music since before we were born. Jason MacNeil should’ve been a nuclear physicist with great writing skills like that.

And did you notice the last part of that bio? Let’s see, she was on MTV. MTV sucks, so that figures. She was on TRL, and that sucks hairy monkey balls. So that figures too. She was also on the Rosie O’Donnell show, which has since been cancelled. Figures. And Rolling Stone says that she’s one of the 10 artists to watch in 2002. That makes sense too. Let’s take a look at the list of great artists in 2002. *insert cricket noise* That’s right, 2002 sucked for music. So I’m surprised that there were even 10 sucky artists worth watching that year.

I was with a friend of mine one night just hanging out watching tv and that commercial came on where Vanessa’s murdering that “Time is on my side” song and my friend is a pianist and she actually started crying. I asked her why she was crying and she said because that bitch Vanessa Carlton just ruined piano playing for many years to come. I felt her pain.

If you haven’t heard her play you’re not missing much. Her playing isn’t all that bad, but her singing is… well… her singing sounds like she’s trying to squeeze a puking monkey out of her ass.

I was reading a review of this new CD of hers (by the way there are two to name unfortunately) and among all of the great things this reviewer says about her CD “Unharmonious”, he says this about her boyfriend being her producer… “as a producer and co-songwriter, and his presence doesn’t so much alter Carlton’s music as give it a sharper, direct focus.” Sharper and direct focus my sweaty hairy ass. His direction is going to do for her career what it did for his own. Currently he’s best known as FORMER frontman for Third Eye Blind. FORMER. Meaning they aren’t around anymore. I’m not bitching about that though. That’s actually a good sign, that maybe her career won’t last nearly as long as theirs did, and she might be out of the little lime light that she’s in now.

If she was naked more, maybe I’d have to buy her CD, just for the pictures of course. But since she’s not, fuck her.

I hate Vanessa almost as much as I hated Third Eye Blind.