• Album Reviews,  Blog

    Jasta …And Jasta For All Album Review

    Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed has released another great solo album.

    This time, he put out a Thrash Metal album called …And Jasta For All.

    The album title and artwork is a take off/tribute to Metallica’s …And Justice For All album.

    This album is HAAAARRRRD, as Jamey likes to say.

    Charlie and Nick Bellmore play guitar and drums, respectively, and Joey Concepcion plays some guitar on it too. It also features a few Thrash Metal legends guesting, such as Scott Ian of Anthrax/S.O.D./Mr. Bungle/Pearl/The Damned Things, Steve “Zetro” Souza of Exodus, Chuck Billy of Testament, and Phil Demmel of VIO-LENCE, Machine Head, and Kerry King of Slayer’s band.

    If you are a fan of Thrash Metal, you will love this.

    Thanks Jamey for making another great album and for signing it. 

    It was released May 17, but I actually received it weeks before official release because it was shipped very quickly.

    Again thanks Jamey.  You rock!!!

  • Blog,  Book Reviews

    Miles The Autobiography by Miles Davis with Quincy Troupe Book Review

    I have been a Miles Davis fan since I was a teenager.

    My brother got me into his music.

    Miles Davis (1926-1991) is one of the biggest contributors to Jazz music and just music in general.

    His trumpet playing influenced so many and his music is timeless.

    He had a great ear for music and for talent.

    He worked with a lot of great musicians, some of whom were Charlie “Bird” Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, and soooooo many more.

    His body of work is phenomenal.

    Such classic albums such as ‘Round About Midnight, Kind Of Blue, Bitches Brew, and a TON of others.

    This book, released in 1989, is about his life, told by him in his words.

    No filter.  It’s all there.

    He was one of a kind and there will never be another like him.

    Seek out this book and his great music.

    You won’t regret it.

  • Blog,  Movie Reviews

    Gone Are The Days Movie Review

    Gone Are The Days was released in 2017.

    It stars Lance Henriksen, Tom Berenger, Billy Lush, Meg Steedle, Steve Railsback, and Danny Trejo.

    Henriksen plays Taylon, an outlaw who is near the end of his life.

    He wants to rob one more bank before he dies so he can give his daughter (Steedle), who does not even know he is her Dad, the money and the money he already has in savings so she can live a good life.

    What he does not realize is that she is a prostitute who is being pimped out by Railsback’s character, and so Henriksen needs to get her away from him too.

    Berenger plays a sheriff and former Texas Ranger, who has history with Henriksen’s character.

    This is definitely a western, but it is really more a character story of someone (Henriksen) at the end of their life.

    You watch the movie and wonder what is real and what is perhaps a dream because Henriksen’s character is so far gone.

    I found the movie a bit weird because of this, but nevertheless, I really enjoyed it.

    I’m a big Lance Henriksen and Tom Berenger fan, as well as Danny Trejo (who has a small but important role in this).

    Don’t expect this to be a straight ahead western because it isn’t.

    But it is a good movie and I think everyone did a very good job with it.

  • Blog,  Movie Reviews

    Scream Queen: My Nightmare On Elm Street Review

    Scream Queen:  My Nightmare On Elm Street is a documentary about actor Mark Patton, who is most known as the star of Nightmare On Elm Street 2:  Freddy’s Revenge.

    Yes this documentary talks about Mark’s experience working on that movie (one of my favorite horror movies), but this documentary is really his life story.

    He talks about his upbringing, about figuring out his sexuality, getting into acting and why he left acting (really off the grid period for many years), and about just surviving all the obstacles that have come his way.

    This documentary also shows him going on the road for conventions/fan expos/Comic Cons meeting fans and reuniting with some of his Nightmare On Elm Street 2 cast and crew.  And trying to find some peace with the writer of the movie, who he had major issues with.

    Mark has really lived, nearly died, and is still going strong.

    His story is extremely compelling and inspiring.

    You may even cry a little because there is some heavy stuff in this.  But it is stuff you should know about.  Not just about him, but about humanity in general.  Both good and bad.

    I want to wish Mark all the best in the world.

    This is a PHENOMENAL documentary.

    I HIGHLY recommend seeking out this documentary.

    You do not have to be a horror fan or Nightmare On Elm Street fan to watch or enjoy this.

    This is a human story.  And one I think everyone should see.

    Thank you Mark for this.

  • Album Reviews,  Blog

    Blue Oyster Cult Ghost Stories Album Review

    Rock legends Blue Oyster Cult released their 16th studio album, Ghost Stories, on April 12 of 2024.

    This album consists of songs that were recorded between 1978-1983 and one in 2016, but were never released or not completely done at the time.

    Some parts were added, but the parts that were recorded at the time were not changed, but just spruced up, if you will.

    This album is very good.  Sounds like classic BOC.

    Classic members Eric Bloom (Vocals/Guitar/Keyboards) and Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser (Vocals/Guitar) are still going strong.

    If you are a fan, or have not checked them out and want to, I recommend this one and all their huge discography.

    Rock out!!

  • Album Reviews,  Blog

    Saxon Hell, Fire And Damnation Album Review

    New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) legends Saxon released their 26th (counting two cover albums) studio album Hell, Fire And Damnation on January 19 of 2024.

    Saxon, consisting of singer Biff Byford, guitarists Doug Scarratt and Brian Tatler (Brian replacing long time guitarist Paul Quinn, who also plays on two songs on this album), bassist Nibbs Carter, and drummer Nigel Glockler, have been quite consistent over the decades with album releases and tours.

    They put out an album every few years and most of them, I think, are very good.

    They have their style of hard driving, hard rocking, heavy songs, but also incorporate melody and anthemic lyrics.

    This album sounds modern and fresh, but also like classic Saxon to me.

    Lots of great rocking, heavy riffs with Biff’s great vocals, but also some really good melody too.  In fact, more melody than I remember from most recent Saxon albums.

    This band is really good on album and really good in concert.

    I’m seeing them for the 3rd time, May 17, in Cincinnati, OH, co-headlining with the legendary band Uriah Heep, and I cannot wait.

    Keep on rocking Saxon!!!!!

  • Blog,  Book Reviews

    The First 21: How I Became Nikki Sixx By Nikki Sixx Book Review

    I’m a huge Motley Crue fan, but I was late reading Motley bassist/songwriter/founder Nikki Sixx’s most recent book.

    The First 21:  How I Became Nikki Sixx, was released in 2021, and as the title suggests, covers Nikki’s first 21 years of life leading up to the formation of Motley Crue.

    The book actually starts more in the present about Motley getting back together (a few years after their “Final Tour”) to do a stadium tour.

    Once Nikki talks about that, he goes back in time to the early years of his family, him being born, and a lot of things that happened in his first 21 years of life.

    This is not a long read, but it is a fantastic read.

    I highly enjoyed this book.

    Yes I’m a fan, but I would have loved it anyways because I am such a music fan and a fan of autobiographies. 

    Autobiographies are my favorite type of book and even though Nikki has put out other books (The Dirt, The Heroin Diaries, This Is Gonna Hurt) he still has a lot to say, and he went into much more detail about his early years in this book.

    Again, not a long read, but such a great book, though.

    Check it out.

  • Blog,  Book Reviews

    Heaven And Hell: My Life In The Eagles (1974-2001) by Don Felder With Wendy Holden Book Review

    I was super late to this, but I finally read Don Felder (ex lead guitarist of The Eagles) book earlier this year.

    This book, called Heaven And Hell:  My Life In The Eagles (1974-2001), was released in the late 2000s.

    Don collaborated with author Wendy Holden on this book.

    As the title suggests, this book chronicles Don’s time in the hugely successful band The Eagles.  It also talks about his life leading up to being in the band and afterwards.

    In short, it’s Don’s autobiography, and if you are a fan, I highly recommend reading this book.

    Lots of stories.  Lots of details.

    As a side note, I also highly recommend seeing Don in concert.  You will not be disappointed. 

    Don is an extremely talented guitar player and actually is a very good singer too. 

    He sings/plays The Eagles songs in concert and does a great job.  He also has a few really good solo albums too.  Check them out.

    And check out this book.

    Even if you are not a fan of The Eagles but just are a fan of music and bands in general, then this is quite the book to read about music and the music business.

    Very good read.

  • Blog,  Concerts

    Donnie Iris & The Cruisers/The Vindys Concert Review

    My girlfriend Mariah and I went to see Donnie Iris & The Cruisers, at The Bluestone in Columbus, OH Saturday of April 6.

    Opening the show was a band called The Vindys, from Youngstown, OH.

    Such a great band.  Everyone kicked serious butt.

    The singer, Jackie Popovec, is PHENOMENAL.  She can sing anything and it will sound great.

    The band, along with Popevec, includes guitarists John Anthony and Rick Deak, bassist Brendan Burke, drummer Owen Davis, keyboardist Nathan Anthony, trumpet player Kyle O’Donnell, saxophone player Garrett Kuchmaner, and trombone player Brian Mayle.

    They have been around for 10 years and I must say I am very impressed with this band.  

    They played a mix of originals and covers, including a great version of the Black Sabbath classic “War Pigs”.  

    Great stuff.

    OK to the headliner:  Donnie Iris & The Cruisers.

    Admittedly, I was initially going to this show because my girlfriend really likes this band and wanted me to go too.  I was fine with going, but I was not super familiar with their music, I’m sad to say.  But I did my homework and listened to some of their albums and now I love them.  So then I was more excited and now I’m glad I went.

    Donnie Iris is 81 years old, just got over cancer (on stage he called this the “Fuck cancer tour”), and he has more energy than I may ever have. 

    He really gets into it.  Occasionally he sat on a stool, but I don’t blame him because the energy he was giving was a lot. 

    And vocally, he is as great as he was over 40 years ago.  He gives it his all on stage.

    Before The Cruisers, he was in Wild Cherry, who had the big hit “Play That Funky Music”.  He was also in a band called The Jaggerz, who had a hit with the song “The Rapper”.

    The Cruisers played both of these songs at this show, but mostly, it was their songs they played.  Such a great set of songs, including their hits “Ah! Leah!” and “Love Is Like A Rock”.

    The band, with Donnie on vocals and some guitar, includes multi-instrumentalist Mark Avsec (who was also in Wild Cherry with Donnie), lead guitarist Marty Lee Hoenes, bassist Paul Goll, and drummer Kevin Valentine.

    Being the KISS fan I am, I know of Kevin’s drumming on their album Psycho Circus (he played drums on all songs but 1 on the album) and Revenge (he played drums on one song on that album).

    Great great band fronted by an amazing singer/frontman.

    Stay cancer free Donnie!!!!!  And keep on rocking!!!!!!!

    Donnie Iris & The Cruisers Set List:

    1. Agnes
    2. That’s The Way Love Ought To Be
    3. Do You Compute?
    4. Tough World
    5. Sweet Merilee
    6. Pretender
    7. This Time It Must Be Love/Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)/Another One Bites The Dust (Queen cover)
    8. Play That Funky Music (Wild Cherry cover)
    9. Minnie The Moocher (The Ho De Ho Song)-Cab Calloway cover
    10. Ridin’ Thunder
    11. Ei Ei Ei O Polka (Frankie Yankovic cover)
    12. Love Is Like A Rock
    13. Ah! Leah!
    14. The Rapper (The Jaggerz cover)/Hush (Joe South cover, although they covered Deep Purple’s version of it)
    15. With A Little Help From My Friends (The Beatles cover, although they covered Joe Cocker’s version of it)

    The Vindys Set List:

    1. Intro/Bugs
    2. Don’t Tell Me Just Love Me
    3. Save Me
    4. Misery
    5. Morning Light
    6. Bang
    7. Chasin/War Pigs (Black Sabbath cover)
    8. If I Want

    Photo Gallery (click on thumbnail to view larger image)

    Video Gallery (click on thumbnail to play video)

  • Blog,  Concerts

    A Dream I Never Thought Would Come True Finally Did: My Big Ears Festival Experience Seeing John Paul Jones 3 Times and Herbie Hancock!!!!

    In late 2019, I bought a wristband (you wear a wristband instead of having a ticket) for a festival in March of 2020, which is called Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, Tennessee.

    It has been going strong for 15 years, and it encompasses a lot of artists of various types of music, as well as other arts.  It also occurs at many different venues throughout Knoxville.

    I bought a wristband for this because one of my favorite musicians, John Paul Jones, was scheduled to play.

    As of this writing, he does not tour anymore, but he still does play live from time to time with various different musicians.

    He was booked to play twice at this event.  One as a solo act, the other with his duo group Sons of Chipotle (w/Anssi Karttunen).

    I was sooooo excited.

    However, about two weeks before the festival was to happen, this thing called COVID reared it’s ugly head and shut down the world.

    So, Big Ears Festival did not happen in 2020 and  I did not get to see John Paul Jones.

    I was heartbroken.  I don’t blame anyone for canceling everything because that needed to happen to try to protect people.  But still, I was heartbroken.

    Fast forward to September 2023, I find out that Big Ears Festival has once again announced John Paul Jones as a solo act and as part of Sons Of Chipotle (also later announced to play with Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth too) in March of 2024.

    I was so happy I was getting another chance to see who I think is one of the greatest musicians ever.

    And if that wasn’t enough, Jazz legend Herbie Hancock was announced to play at Big Ears Festival too!!

    I bought a wristband very quickly, booked a hotel room in Knoxville near the venues I was going to, and then waited for March to get here.

    Well, it finally did.

    I went to Knoxville and saw John Paul Jones 3 times!!!  Once on Friday, March 22.  Once on Saturday, March 23.  And once on Sunday, March 24.  All 3 shows completely different too.  And I saw Herbie Hancock a few hours after the second John  Paul Jones show!!

    I’ll start with the first John Paul Jones show.

    Oh for those of you who don’t know who John Paul Jones is, let me give you a little history.  Born John Baldwin, he became a sought after session musician in the 1960s, as well as becoming a music arranger.

    Through his session work, he met Jimmy Page, and when John found out that Jimmy was forming a new group, he called Jimmy and asked if he could be the bass player.  This group ultimately became Led Zeppelin.  One of the biggest bands ever.

    After Zeppelin, John went back to arranging and producing different artists and playing with many different musicians.

    He even made a few albums of his own, including the Scream For Help movie soundtrack, and the solo albums Zooma and The Thunderthief.

    He also was in a band called Them Crooked Vultures, with Josh Homme of Queens Of The Stone Age and Eagles Of Death Metal, and Dave Grohl of Nirvana and Foo Fighters.

    And he reunited with Zeppelin a few times for some one off shows.  The best one being what is now a live album/DVD/Blu-ray called Celebration Day.  Phenomenal show from 2007.

    If you dig into his discography, John is soooooo diverse, musically.  He’s worked with everyone from The Rolling Stones, Donovan, Dusty Springfield, Lulu, Madeline Bell, Jeff Beck, Paul McCartney, Ben E. King, The Mission, Cinderella, R.E.M., Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel, Diamonda Galas, Heart, just to name a few.  Go to johnpauljones.com and check out his discography.

    OK on to the shows.

    The first John Paul Jones show was just him.  No band or any other musicians at all.

    He told the crowd he had never done a show like this.

    He started the show by coming up from inside the floor playing a big organ.  He was playing the Led Zeppelin song “Your Time Is Gonna Come”.

    Throughout this first show, John mostly played instrumental versions of Zeppelin songs as a well as a few other things.  Including an awesome instrumental of “Down To The River To Pray”, which he covers on his album The Thunderthief.

    And he did all of this on many different instruments.  Organ, Bass, 3-String Acoustic/Mandolin/Bass, Collapsible Lap Steel Guitar, and Piano with various electronics on pads.

    If you are a Zeppelin fan, this was DEFINITELY the show to see.

    As legendary as Zeppelin are, John always seems to be the least talked about of all the band members.  It’s so odd because trust me, he is one of the best musicians of all time.

    And I saw it in spades. Monster player.

    Throughout the show, John also spoke to the audience.  He has a very good sense of humor.  Even when he had a few brief technical difficulties with some of his technology, he even joked about that too. 

    When introducing the Zeppelin song “Ramble On”, he talked about how people put “Isolated Bass” tracks out for people to listen to on the Internet.  He said that at least when you listen to his “Isolated Bass” tracks that you know he didn’t suck as a player.  

    I can’t say enough about this show.  He played for roughly an hour and it was sooooo much fun.

    And me and a few fans almost got to meet him when he was leaving the theatre after the show, but his security rushed him out.  But that’s OK.  I at least have his autograph, via online, and a few fellow fans told me it is legit, and I believe them.  All good.

    The second John Paul Jones show was the next day, and it was his group with Anssii Karttunen called Sons Of Chipotle.

    It has nothing to do with the food chain, according to John.

    In this group, which this was their US debut (they had only played overseas a few times), John played piano, electronics, and mandolin while Anssii played Cello and electronics.

    The best way I can describe their music is to say it is avant-garde electronic Jazz music.

    Very dark and moody.

    It reminds me of the theme music for Rod Serling’s Night Gallery, or music from a horror movie from the 1960s or 70s.

    Which is not a bad thing, but a lot of people I think probably thought it was too weird for them.  Their loss because I enjoyed it. 

    It’s very different, but that’s what’s so great about Big Ears Festival is that it’s so musically and artistically diverse.

    So having Sons Of Chipotle play at this festival was perfect.

    Thank you guys!!

    Oh and both of these shows were at the Tennessee Theatre, which is a great venue.

    And actually, it was a perfect lead-in to my next concert later in the evening:  Jazz legend Herbie Hancock!!!

    Having played with Miles Davis, Herbie then went on his own, making a lot of albums over the decades.  Even a few soundtracks, like the one to the first Death Wish movie, which I love.

    Herbie and his band, which includes himself on Piano/Keyboards/Vocoder/Keytar, Terence Blanchard on Trumpet, Devin Daniels on Saxophone, James Genus on Bass, Trevor Lawrence Jr. on Drums, and Lionel Loueke on Guitar, played a PHENOMENAL almost 2 hour set of tunes that just blew me away.

    All of these guys are MASTERS at their craft. 

    Just go see them.  You will not be disappointed.

    Then the next day, I saw the third John Paul Jones show.  This time he played Bass/Electronics/Piano with Thurston Moore, Guitarist of the band Sonic Youth.

    They had played before a few years ago.

    Like Sons Of Chipotle, this show was pretty avant garde.  At least the first half was.  The second part may have been more musical for some people’s ears, but still very adventurous.

    This was definitely the loudest show I had seen during this festival, which was fine with me.  

    The two of them played like they were mad scientists, which I mean in a good way.

    John is phenomenal on the Bass, but he is also out of this world on Piano.  His playing was a sight to behold.  And Thurston made a lot of sound with his Guitar.  Really cool stuff.

    This show was at a club called The Mill And Mine.  A very nice club.

    I am sooooooooo glad I got to go to Big Ears Festival in 2024.  Thank you for being such a great organization with great staff, and for booking all of these great talents.

    I only saw these shows, but trust me, there were a TON of great artists there giving fans more than their money’s worth.

    And thank you to Anssii Karttunen, Herbie Hancock and his amazing band, and Thurston Moore for all of the awesome shows I saw during this festival.

    But most thanks I’m giving to John Paul Jones, just because I have been wanting to see him in concert for years, but sadly, just missed him before or didn’t get the chance.  Until this festival.  Thank you for everything.  One of my favorite musicians ever and always.

    Dream come true for me.  I’m glad it did come true.

    I’m only putting two of the set lists here because the other two were really more improv stuff.  Still great of course.

    And one more thing:  I was able to stay at a very nice hotel, eat at some good restaurants, went to some cool music stores, and even went to see a movie.

    Great weekend.

    John Paul Jones Set List:

    1. Your Time Is Gonna Come (on Wurlitzer Pipe Organ)
    2. No Quarter (on Piano)
    3. Down To The River To Pray (on 3-String Acoustic/Mandolin/Bass)
    4. Ramble On (on Bass)
    5. When The Levee Breaks (on Collapsible Lap Steel Guitar)
    6. Since I’ve Been Loving You (on Piano)
    7. Piano Solo
    8. Going To California (on Mandolin)
    9. Bass/Piano Improv.  Actually on this and Down To The River To Pray, he did multi track parts, which means he plays one part, records it, then plays another part while the recording is playing too.  He did that a lot during the shows he played.  He also played a little more of No Quarter at the end of this show.

    Herbie Hancock Set List;

    1. Overture (included Dark Ligtning and parts of Rockit by Herbie’s Guitarist Lionel Loueke) and then Band Introductions
    2. Footprints (Wayne Shorter cover, arranged by Herbie’s Trumpet player Terence Blanchard)
    3. Actual Proof
    4. Come Running To Me (in which Herbie used a Vocoder.  He said he may have been the first to use the Vocoder.  Really cool stuff.)
    5. Secret Sauce
    6. Chamelion (featuring Herbie on the Keytar and Trumpet player Terence Blanchard playing Keyboards)

    Photo Gallery (click on thumbnail to view larger image)

    Video Gallery (click on thumbnail to play video)