• Blog,  Book Reviews

    Desmond Child w/David Ritz “Livin’ On A Prayer: Big Songs, Big Life” Book Review

    Songwriting extraordinaire Desmond Child released his long awaited autobiography on September 19 of 2023.

    I preordered a signed copy, via TalkShopLive.  Thank you for that!!

    I could not put this book down. 

    Desmond has lived a full life.

    So full that I don’t even know what to say because I don’t want to leave anything out.

    All I can say is that if you want to read a compelling story, this is it.

    I cannot recommend this book enough.

    Not just for the stories he has about working with Barbara Streisand, Laura Nyro, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, KISS, Meat Loaf, Ricky Martin, just to name a few, but for his life story.

    Desmond has seen, done, and experienced a lot.

    I have nothing but respect for this man.

    Thank you sir for writing this book, along with David Ritz.

    I can’t say enough how compelling it is.

    Thank you sir.

    And everyone:  Please check out his solo album Discipline.  It is a masterpiece.  Not opinion.  Fact.  The song “Obsession” alone is one of my favorite songs of all time.

    How he is also not one of the biggest singers in the world is beyond me.

    But hey, he’s done great and continues to do great.

  • Blog,  Movie Reviews

    The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Movie Review

    As I’ve said in previous blogs, I was not a horror movie fan growing up.

    It was not until 2022 that I finally watched all of the Freddy Krueger and Jason movies.

    As of November 26 of 2023, I can say that I finally saw The Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie.

    I watched the 40th anniversary (the movie is now 50 years old as of this writing) DVD with 4 commentary tracks.

    Director/Producer/Co-Writer Tobe Hooper made this movie in 1973.

    It eventually spawned several sequels and remakes, but this is the original.

    I can definitely say it is a scary movie, but not a very bloody/gory movie like I thought it would be.

    It’s way more of a psychological horror movie.

    It’s about a group of people on a road trip that goes very wrong, in which (spoiler alert) most of them are killed by a cannibal named Leatherface, who uses a chainsaw to cut up their bodies and he and his two brothers eat them and their other victims.

    Most of this is not shown, again this is not a blood and guts movie by any means, but if you watch it, you get the point.

    Very effective story, and it still holds up.

    It’s always been heralded as one of the scariest movies (it was not shown in UK theaters for 28 years because it was deemed unacceptable viewing to the general public) , and even though it’s not very bloody, I’ll agree it’s definitely scary.

    And even though it was a very low budget movie, it was well done, and again, still holds up 50 years later.

  • Album Reviews,  Blog

    Dirty Honey Can’t Find The Brakes!! Album Review

    Dirty Honey continue to amaze me.

    They are a newer rock band that just check all the boxes for me.

    They have great songs, the band is tight, great musicians (John Notto on guitar, Justin Smolian on bass, and new drummer Jaydon Bean), and the singer (Marc LaBelle) is amazing.

    Their latest album, Can’t Find The Brakes!!, released on November 3rd of 2023, is one of my favorite albums of the year.

    It’s perfect from start to finish.  No skipping of songs on this album.

    They are one of the newer bands that I have high hopes for the future.

    The legends are going to eventually be gone, so we rock fans/music fans need newer bands to keep on rocking.

    Dirty Honey is one of them, in my opinion.

    Great band!!!!!

  • Album Reviews,  Blog

    Mark Farner Rock ‘N Roll Soul Live 1989 CD/DVD Review

    Mark Farner (Grand Funk Railroad singer/songwriter/guitarist) performed at a show in 1989 celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Woodstock festival.

    This was filmed and recorded, but was never released until 2023.

    This is the video and audio of Mark’s set.

    Mark and his band at the time played several Grand Funk Railroad songs, as well as some of Mark’s solo songs.

    Great, rocking, really live show.

    Thanks Mark for signing this too.

    Keep on rocking sir!!

  • Blog,  Book Reviews

    Todd Rundgren The Individualist: Digressions, Dreams & Dissertations Book Review

    Todd Rundgren is a singer/songwriter/musician/producer.

    He is also an author.

    His book, The Individualist:  Digressions, Dreams, & Dissertations, is an autobiography, but unlike any I’ve ever read.

    It’s formatted like a diary.

    Each page documents a time in his life, but yet, each page goes in sequence.

    I consider Todd a musical genius, having made so much music, can play so many instruments, has produced hit albums by other people, and also got into the computer industry earlier on too, coming up with software, which I did not know.

    I have nothing but respect for this man and what he has accomplished.

    If you’re a fan or am interested in learning more about Todd Rundgren, check out this book.

  • Blog,  Movie Reviews

    My Ranking of the Friday the 13th Movie Franchise

    Here is my ranking of the Friday the 13th Movie Franchise: 

    1. Friday the 13th-The first one.  The template, although the main antagonist, Jason Voorhees, is not the killer in this one.  Spoiler alert:  his Mom is.  Either way, awesome start to what has been I think an overall very good movie franchise.
    2. Friday the 13th Part 2-Great follow-up to the original.  I like it almost as much.
    3. Friday the 13th The Final Chapter-The 4th and what was originally supposed to be the final Friday movie.  It turned out not to be, but nevertheless, I really like this one.
    4. Freddy vs. Jason-This is really more of it’s own thing, but since Jason is a big part of it, this has to be here.  I love this movie.  A lot of fun.  Having Jason and Freddy Krueger battle each other is so great.  Pure popcorn movie.
    5. Jason X-Jason movie #10.  Many may think this is a silly one (Jason killing people in space.) but I think it’s fun and it’s really more of a science fiction movie because as I said, it’s in space.  But I really like it.  No apologies.  And I told Kane Hodder (Jason in Parts 7-10) that when I met him in 2022.
    6. Friday the 13th Part VI:  Jason Lives-The 6th one.  I think this one is over the top but a fun horror movie.
    7. Friday the 13th Part VII:  The New Blood-Kane Hodder’s (perhaps the most famous Jason because he played him 4 times and has always been a flag waver for this character and the franchise) debut as Jason.  Very good story.  Great action and kills.  I like this one.
    8. Friday the 13th Part V:  A New Beginning-Apparently this is not a popular one, although I think it’s now a cult favorite.  Jason is not really in this one (Spoiler:  Someone else is imitating him.).  However, it works for me.   I really enjoyed it.
    9. Friday the 13th Part 3 3-D-The 3rd movie and yes it was shot in 3-D and shown in theaters in 3-D.  This was actually the first one where Jason wears the now famous hockey mask.  Great kills in this one.
    10. Friday the 13th Part VIII:  Jason Takes Manhattan-This should really be called Jason Takes a Ship because Manhattan is not featured until way later in the movie.  However, it’s still fun, I think.  
    11. Friday the 13th (2009)-This is considered a remake but I think overall, it’s just another Jason movie.  I really like this one.  Definitely some differences in the character and his backstory, but still, it’s a Jason movie.  I think it was well done.
    12. Jason Goes To Hell-This is my least favorite by far.  The story is an interesting idea, but overall, it doesn’t work for me.

    OK there is my ranking of the Friday the 13th/Jason movies.  As of this writing, there is supposed to be a prequel series coming, so if that happens, I look forward to seeing that.

    How would you rank these?  Thoughts?

  • Blog,  Movie Reviews

    My Ranking of the A Nightmare on Elm Street Movie Franchise

    I was super late to the A Nightmare on Elm Street movies.

    I was aware of them since I was a little kid and knew who Freddy Krueger and Robert Englund was, but I was not a horror fan growing up.

    But in more recent times, I have become a fan and I started watching these movies in 2022.

    Yeah I’m a late bloomer on these movies.

    But I love them now.

    This franchise is very good.  It’s hard to rank these because I enjoy all of them (even the remake of the original).

    However, I’m going to rank them on this post.

    Here it goes:

    1. A Nightmare on Elm Street-The original.  The best.  The template.  I loved it on first watch.  All the characters and actors are great.  Great story.  It has everything it needs to be great.  When I first saw this, I thought wow this is going to be hard to top.  Again, I like all of these, but this is number one period.
    2. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2:  Freddy’s Revenge-A lot of people seem to hate this movie but I love it.  Again like the first one, I love all the actors and characters.  Great story.  I don’t see what’s wrong with it.
    3. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4:  The Dream Master-I like 3 but this one for me is better, in my opinion.  I know I’m repeating myself, but I love the cast and characters.  Everyone was cast well and the story is great.  I love all of Freddy’s kills in all of these movies.  I know he’s an evil character, but you forget that because he’s always cracking jokes and has a super over the top way of killing someone.  These movies I always thought were scary, but I think they’re a lot of fun to watch now.
    4. Wes Craven’s A New Nightmare-This is the 7th Nightmare on Elm Street movie and I think one of the best.  Creator Wes Craven returns to write and direct this one and it is so well done.  It’s really more like a Twilight Zone or Tales From The Crypt type of episode, but it’s a Freddy Krueger movie.  Excellent story.
    5. Freddy vs. Jason-This is really more of a separate movie, but since Freddy is a big part of it, it still deserves to be on this list.  This is a ton of fun.  It’s a pure popcorn movie.  I love it.
    6. A Nightmare on Elm Street 5:  The Dream Child-Very good sequel to the 4th movie.  Again, apparently this is not one of the popular ones, but I enjoy it.
    7. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3:  The Dream Warriors-One of the big fan favorites, and I like it for sure, but I just like the ones listed above more.
    8. Freddy’s Dead:  The Final Nightmare-This is the next to last one ranked but it’s not because I hate it.  I really like it actually.  But again, I just like the others more.
    9. A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)-The remake of the original.  I avoided this one for quite awhile because Robert Englund does not play Freddy in it, but once I gave it a chance, I thought it was pretty good, and a little bit different than the original, which I appreciate.  I hate remakes, but if they’re done a bit differently, I can respect them.  So I actually do like this one.  Everyone did a good job with it.

    Well that’s my ranking of this great movie franchise.  I truly do like them all very much, so even the ones ranked lowest I don’t hate by any means.  This is a great franchise and I’m so glad I finally gave these movies a chance.

    How would you rank these?  Thoughts?

  • Blog,  Movie Reviews

    My Ranking of the Halloween Movie Franchise

    I was late to the horror genre.  I always stayed away from it, but in the last 20 years and even more so in the last few years, I’ve become more a fan of it and am still discovering horror movies.

    Having said that, Halloween is definitely my favorite horror movie franchise.

    There is just something about it that really grabbed me.

    And I’ve been showing my girlfriend Mariah all of the Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Friday the 13th movies (yes she’s been patient watching these) and we discussed ranking them so I decided to do just that on this site.

    Of course, these are only opinions and it’s OK to agree or disagree.

    I really like most of them, I’ll admit, but there are few that I’m not wild about.

    So, here is my ranking of the Halloween movies:

    1.  Halloween (1978)-This is the first movie of what became a franchise.  It will always be the template.  Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, all the cast are great.  The killer, Michael Myers, is human, but yet, he’s unstoppable, and he gets more unstoppable as these movies go on.  Directed, co-written (along with Debra Hill), and scored by John Carpenter.  It’s just a straight up thriller with a simple but solid story.  For such a low budget movie, it was still ambitious with great camera work and editing.  Even the mask of Michael Myers is a William Shatner mask, which I love.  I will say after having revisited these movies, the mask kept getting changed and it should not have been.  I’m fine with them, but the first one, and a few of the way later ones are the only ones that truly got it right.  Anyway, back to this movie.  To be a horror movie, there’s almost no blood at all in this.  No gore.  And it works!!!!  And it stands alone.  You really don’t need to see any of the others because it’s it’s own story.  However, if you like this, I recommend watching the others.  Great movie and no other Halloween movie will top this.
    2. Halloween 4:  The Return of Michael Myers-This is my 2nd favorite.  After a solid sequel and a movie that had NOTHING to do with the franchise, other than it’s on Halloween night (I do like it though), the franchise hit the reset button with this movie.  Like the first, I think the story is solid and the actors are good.  Donald Pleasence returned after being absent in the 3rd movie.  And if you’re a fan of Halloween as a franchise and of the killer, Michael Myers, then I think you should like this one.  If not, fair enough.
    3. Halloween:  The Curse of Michael Myers-This is the 6th Halloween movie.  It was also Donald Pleasence’ last movie.  There are two versions of this movie.  The theatrical cut, which most people probably know if you’ve seen these, but there is also “The Producer’s Cut”, which was heavily bootlegged for years, but eventually, was released.  Personally, I really like The Producer’s Cut more than the theatrical one.  The story is mostly the same, however, there are big differences, especially the endings of both.  I think The Producer’s Cut flows better, and there is more of Donald, which is always welcome.
    4. Halloween 3:  Season of the Witch-The 3rd movie of the franchise, HOWEVER, it has nothing to do with the first two or any of the later ones.  It really is it’s own story.  The only mistake I see with this movie is the title.  It should’ve just been called Season of the Witch and maybe it would’ve been more successful.  But at this point, you had two hit movies featuring the killer Michael Myers, Donald Pleasence as Dr. Loomis, and Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode, and none of them are in this.  It has nothing to do with those movies.  That doesn’t bother me, but it bothered a lot of people.  I’ve seen trailers of this movie and this is very clear, but somehow, the audience did not get that message and went into theaters with expectations and got none of them.  Having said that, I think it’s a great, scary movie.  Everyone did a great job in front of and behind the camera.  I was hooked immediately.  I think it’s one of the scariest.  Luckily, this movie has become a cult hit with a lot of people, but many will always hate it because it has nothing to do with Michael Myers.  Fair enough, but I think if you watch it as a stand alone horror movie, then I think you would like it.
    5. Halloween 2 (1980)-This is the 2nd Halloween movie, if you hadn’t guessed.  It picks up right where the 1st one left off, continuing the story of Michael Myers, Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) and Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis).  I’m actually ranking this one higher than I initially intended because it was never one of my favorites, but in more recent times, I’ve given it a little more attention and I think it is a very good sequel, but not as good as the first one.  Jamie Lee is in it a lot less, which I don’t like, but all the kills that Michael does in this are very good.  His mask looks very wicked in this one. This one is definitely more explicit in it’s violence.  And the storyline definitely changes and I don’t mind it.  It’s not my favorite and I don’t love it like many do, but it is a very good sequel and could have been the end.  It was intended to be the end.  Hence why Halloween 3 is so different.  But the reset button was pushed for 4 and beyond.
    6. Halloween 5:  The Revenge of Michael Myers-Many people seem to dislike this one, but I still think it’s good and a good follow-up to Halloween 4.  Some of the actors from 4 return in this one and it picks up where 4 left off.  Donald Pleasence’ character Dr. Loomis is wayyy more aggressive in this one, but I think it works because he’s always been obsessed with tracking down Michael and either wanting to kill him or putting him back into the asylum.  So I’m fine with it.  I like it and I’m not apologizing for it.
    7. Halloween H2O:  Twenty Years Later-This movie is set 20 years after the first one (and it was released 20 years later in 1998).  Jamie Lee Curtis is back as Laurie Strode for the first time since Halloween 2 and this movie ignores every movie past 2, in terms of storyline.  I really like this one.  And I especially love the ending.
    8. Halloween (2018)-This movie ignores every Halloween movie past the first one, again Jamie Lee Curtis returning as Laurie Strode for the first time since Halloween:  Resurrection.  This was a great return to the franchise after Rob Zombie’s interpretations of the characters from the original first two movies.  It’s simple, straight forward, definitely bloodier than the original, but a very good story and seeing Jamie Lee back is great.
    9. Halloween Kills-The perfect sequel to the 2018 Halloween.  Continues that storyline but goes further with it.  Anthony Michael Hall is awesome in this.  I really like this one a lot.  I could rank this one higher, but I give some of the others seniority.  But ask me some other time and I’ll probably rank this one higher.  I did rank it higher recently, but for this post, this is my ranking of it.  But it is great and I thoroughly enjoyed this one.  These first two movies of this latest trilogy I think are great.  The last one not so much, but I’ll save it for last because that’s where it belongs.
    10. Halloween (2007)-This is Director/Writer Rob Zombie’s interpretation of John Carpenter’s original classic.  Rob added a lot more to the story, but also told the original story as well.  He did a great job, I think.  I really like this one.  
    11. Halloween 2 (2009)-The sequel to Rob Zombie’s first Halloween movie.  Great follow-up, although I definitely prefer the Unrated Director’s Cut, particularly with it’s ending.  Initially, I didn’t like this one, but after seeing Halloween Ends, I thought it can’t be that bad, and I was right.  It’s actually very good.  The originals are the best, as they usually are (I HATE remakes) but if you do something different with it, which Rob did, then I appreciate that.  I’m glad Rob did these.
    12. Halloween:  Resurrection-This is the follow-up to Halloween H2O:  Twenty Years Later.  Actually let me rephrase that:  the first 10 minutes is a follow-up.  The rest of the movie is something else.  Jamie Lee Curtis returns for the beginning and (spoiler alert) her character is killed by Michael Myers.  Then the movie is basically about a bunch of students doing an internet reality show inside Michael Myers’ home and he just happens to be there.  It’s silly, but it’s fun, so I still enjoy it.  It’s definitely the most laughable of the franchise, but it’s still fun so I dig it.
    13. Halloween Ends-The final movie of this new trilogy.  True story:  I was so excited to see this, after enjoying the other two so much.  I’m not kidding when I say this, but after about 10-15 minutes, I was browsing the internet and the movie was just on in the background until I saw something that grabbed me.  That’s not good.  I initially thought why would you write a story about this new character in the last of 3 stories and make this character the star?!  Why not establish this character in the 1st story and build them?!  Having said that, I gave it a few more watches, and I’m starting to understand it more.  I’m going to give my girlfriend Mariah all the credit for that, though, because she got this story from the get go.  We talked about it, and she helped me understand it more.  Usually, I can interpret a movie well, but this one took a little time.  After initially hating the script, I now think it’s a pretty smart, creative idea.  All of the actors are great and the kills are well done.  Jamie Lee Curtis is great as always. and if this is her final Halloween movie, then she did great.  Still, I wanted more Michael Myers.  Oh well.  This may be the most creative one of all, story wise, but it’s still my least favorite. 

    OK that is my ranking of my favorite horror franchise.  I could say so much more about them, but I’ll leave it at that.

    I hope the future Halloween movies are good and I look forward to seeing them too.

    How would you rank these?  Thoughts?

  • Album Reviews,  Blog

    Dolly Parton Rockstar Album Review

    Superstar Dolly Parton’s new album, Rockstar, was released on November 17, 2023.

    This is her first true rock album.

    It is a double album that includes 9 new original songs, plus 21 cover songs.

    Several other famous singers/musicians are on this album.  Some of whom appear on their songs that Dolly covered, as well as some on her new songs.

    I really like the whole album.

    I love hearing my hero Rob Halford of Judas Priest singing with Dolly on one of her new songs Bygones.  And Nikki Sixx and John 5 of Motley Crue are playing bass and guitar, respectively, on it.

    Michael McDonald of The Doobie Brothers and solo fame is on one of her new songs called Bittersweet.

    The last of The Beatles (Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr) appear on her cover of Let It Be, along with Peter Frampton and Mick Fleetwood.

    Frampton also appears on her cover of his song Baby I Love Your Way.

    I really like her versions of Stairway To Heaven (Led Zeppelin), Purple Rain (Prince), Magic Man (Heart cover with Heart singer Ann Wilson), Night Moves (Bob Seger cover w/Chris Stapleton), Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me (Elton John cover also featuring Elton), Long As I Can See The Light (Creedence Clearwater Revival cover featuring John Fogerty of CCR), and really everything else.

    Her original I Dreamed About Elvis is fun.

    Again, I really like this album.

    It’s fun.  It rocks.  It’s emotional.  It’s just great songs.

    I’m glad Dolly made this album.

    Thank you for it.


  • Album Reviews,  Blog

    KK’s Priest The Sinner Rides Again Album Review

    Guitarist K.K. Downing (formerly of Judas Priest) has released his second album with his band KK’s Priest.

    It is called The Sinner Rides Again, released on September 29 of 2023.

    The band includes singer Tim “Ripper” Owens (also formerly of Judas Priest from 1996 to 2003 when classic singer Rob Halford was not in the band), co-guitarist A.J. Mills, bassist Tony Newton, and drummer Sean Elg.

    Honestly, I was not a fan of this album when I first bought it.

    I liked the first album, Sermons of the Sinner, but this album I was not into at all.

    I thought everything sounded great, sound wise, but I just was not wild about the songs at all for some reason.

    But after a few listens, it has grown on me and I’m digging it now.

    All of the instrumentation, the vocals, and the production and mix are very good.

    Tim has always been an amazing singer and I’m glad he and KK are working together again.

    It’s a SUPER Heavy Metal album for sure.

    I’m glad K.K. is playing again, has a very good band, and I would like to see them in concert if they play in America someday.

    However, I will also say this:  I’m TIRED of reading interviews where K.K. is complaining about not being in Judas Priest anymore.

    OK I know this happens all the time.  A band member is fired or quits a band and they air their grievances in public, on both sides usually.

    And I know he’s answering the question(s) he’s being asked by interviewers, which is fair enough, but I am beyond tired of reading about him complaining and wishing he was still in the band.

    He QUIT!!!!!

    He has a very good band now and should focus on that, in my opinion.

    Yes I’m a HUGE Judas Priest fan and KK, along with guitarist Glenn Tipton, will always be my favorite guitar duo of all time.

    And I would welcome K.K.’s return to the band, but until then, I wish he would just focus on this band that he has now.

    That’s all.

    Again, this is a Heavy Metal album and I love Heavy Metal.

    Having said that, though, this one had to grow on me.