• Album Reviews,  Blog

    Scott Stapp Higher Power Album Review

    Scott Stapp, the singer of Creed, released his 4th solo album, Higher Power, on March 15 of 2024.

    I received it in the mail on March 17 and have listened to it 3 times already.

    I really like this album a lot.

    Lots of rocking songs, but also some very heartfelt and emotionally uplifting songs.

    These songs really speak to me.

    The song, If These Walls Could Talk (Featuring Dorothy singing with Scott) is PHENOMENAL and should be a HUGE hit single.

    If you are only aware of Scott’s work with Creed, you should check out his solo albums.

    This one, again called Higher Power, The Great Divide, Proof of Life, and The Space Between the Shadows.

    All very good albums.

  • Album Reviews,  Blog

    Judas Priest Invincible Shield Album Review

    The classic Heavy Metal band Judas Priest released their 19th studio album March 8 of 2024 called Invincible Shield.

    Priest have been a favorite of mine since I was 15 or 16.

    I consider them the second ever Heavy Metal Band after Black Sabbath.

    The band still consists of classic members Rob Halford (Vocals), Glenn Tipton (Guitar), and Ian Hill (Bass), along with Scott Travis (Drums-who has been there since 1990), and Richie Faulkner (Guitar-replacing KK Downing in 2011).

    This album, in a word, is PHENOMENAL!!

    All 14 songs are amazing.

    You have to hear the whole album.

    No song is worth skipping.

    It has everything you want in a Priest album.

    Phenomenal vocals, phenomenal musicianship, great production/mix.

    It’s got it all.

    I cannot recommend this album enough.

    Thank you guys for making another Heavy Metal masterpiece!!

    Rock on!!

  • Blog,  Concerts

    KK’s Priest/L.A. Guns/Burning Witches Concert Review

    For the first time in 15 years, I saw K.K. Downing in concert!!

    K.K. is the former co-guitarist/co-songwriter/classic member of the super influential Heavy Metal band and now Rock And Roll Hall of Famers Judas Priest.

    K.K. left Priest in 2011 and aside from playing some guitar on Queensryche’s Frequency Unknown album in 2013, produced a few bands, started a metal news website and eventually a club called KK’s Steel Mill, and got into the golf course business and other things, he quit music until roughly 2020 when he formed KK’s Priest.

    Along with former Judas Priest singer Tim “Ripper” Owens (who replaced classic singer Rob Halford from 1996-2003), co-guitarist A.J. Mills, bassist Tony Newton, and drummer Sean Elg, KK’s Priest have made two solid classic sounding Heavy Metal albums, Sermons of The Sinner in 2021 and The Sinner Rides Again in 2023 (mostly written by K.K.), and are now as of this writing, finally touring the United States.

    I got to see them at The King of Clubs in Columbus, OH.

    Like I said, this was the first time I saw K.K. in 15 years.  I had last seen him in Judas Priest in 2009 in Cincinnati, OH.  See review here.

    And actually, this is the first time I saw Tim since 2002 when I saw him with K.K. and the rest of Judas Priest for the first time, also in Columbus, OH.  See review here.

    I have complained a lot about what K.K. has said about leaving Judas Priest and about some things he said in his book, but at the end of the day, I love him, he’s still a great player, and I’m super glad he’s playing again and making albums.  And I’m really glad he’s working with Tim again and has a very good band.

    They played great, playing a set of half their own material and half Judas Priest classics, and both they and the fans, including myself, had a great time.

    Thank you guys for such a great time.  I really needed it because this has been a terrible year for me, health wise.  But enough about me.

    L.A. Guns also played!!

    This was the third time I saw this version of the band, featuring classic singer Phil Lewis and founding member/part namesake guitarist Tracii Guns.

    Their lineup is filled out with guitarist Ace Von Johnson (who I actually met briefly later on, great guy!), bassist Johnny Martin, and drummer Shawn Duncan.

    They are always amazing and have really been on a roll since 2017, releasing 4 great albums (The Missing Peace, The Devil You Know, Checkered Past, and Black Diamonds), and have another one coming later this year.  I cannot wait to buy it!!

    I love this band.  Phil is one of the best singers.  He said he was having voice issues during this show, but I could not tell because he sounded amazing as always.

    Tracii is one of the great guitar players and needs to be more known than he is.  I consider him a guitar genius.

    The whole band is solid as a rock and I can’t say enough great things about them.

    Check them out!!

    And opening the show was an all female Swiss Metal band called Burning Witches.

    It consists of singer Laura Guldemond, guitarist Larissa Ernst, guitarist Romana Kalkuhl, bassist Jeanine Grob, and drummer Lala Frischknecht.

    I was semi aware of them, but this was definitely the first time I ever saw and heard them.

    They’re very heavy and very good.

    Great singing and musicianship.

    This was a great show, all around.

    Again, I really needed this one.

    Thanks to all the bands for such a great time.

    Rock on!!

    KK's Priest Set List:

    1. Intro/Hellfire Thunderbolt
    2. One More Shot At Glory
    3. The Ripper (Judas Priest song)
    4. Reap The Whirlwind
    5. Night Crawler (Judas Priest song)
    6. Burn In Hell (Judas Priest song)
    7. Beyond The Realms of Death (Judas Priest song)
    8. Hell Patrol (Judas Priest song)
    9. Brothers of the Road
    10. The Green Manalishi (With the Two-Prong Crown-Fleetwood Mac song covered by Judas Priest)
    11. Breaking The Law (Judas Priest song)
    12. Victim of Changes (Judas Priest song)
    13. Encore:  Strike of the Viper
    14. Raise Your Fists

    L.A. Guns Set List:

    1. Intro-Tracii playing guitar along to Ozzy Osbourne’s Diary of a Madman song
    2. Cannonball
    3. Electric Gypsy
    4. Over The Edge
    5. Like A Drug
    6. Sex Action
    7. Speed
    8. Hell’s Bells (AC/DC song) Intro/Never Enough
    9. The Ballad of Jayne
    10. Rip and Tear

    Burning Witches Set List:

    1. Unleash The Beast
    2. Wings of Steel
    3. Hexenhammer
    4. Lucid Nightmare
    5. The Dark Tower
    6. Burning Witches

    Photo Gallery (click on thumbnail to view larger image)

    Video Gallery (click on thumbnail to play video)

  • Blog,  Movie Reviews

    My Ranking of the Works of Filmmaker John Carpenter

    John Carpenter is one of my favorite filmmakers.

    He is a great director, producer, writer, musician, and an awesome person.

    His body of work speaks for itself, I think.

    I am here to rank his work, on how I feel about it.

    This is tough because I love most of it, and I don’t hate any of it.

    But I’m going to give it a try.

    So here it goes:

    1. Escape From New York-This is tough, but I’ll say this is my favorite movie he has made.  Great action movie set in the future.  Kurt Russell is great as a Clint Eastwood type anti-hero named Snake Plissken.  Kurt said for many years that this was his favorite character.  Great supporting cast with Lee Van Cleef, Donald Pleasence, Ernest Borgnine, Adrienne Barbeau, Harry Dean Stanton, and more.  Phenomenal music by Carpenter.  Classic movie I think.
    2. Escape From LA-The sequel to Escape From New York.  Many people hate this movie and love to trash it.  But I’ve always loved it.  My Dad took me to the theater to see it.  I loved it then and now.  It’s very similar to Escape From New York, but it’s also different too. But like the first movie, it’s just a great, fun action movie with a great cast and music.  Kurt plays Snake Plissken again perfectly.  I love this movie.  No apologies.
    3. Halloween-A horror/thriller masterpiece.  This really put Carpenter on the map.  Masterfully shot.  Great cast.  Phenomenal music by Carpenter.  Even if you’re not a fan of horror movies, check this one out if you haven’t.  There’s really not even much blood in it.  It’s really well done.
    4. The Thing-A remake of The Thing From Another World, although quite different from the original.  This version is based on the short story called Who Goes There.  Kurt Russell stars again, along with another great cast.  Great special effects that still hold up today.  This movie was released three weeks after E.T. was released, and was hurt, box office wise by that.  But I dare to say that it holds up arguably better than E.T. does (and I like E.T.).  Some of it I still find quite chilling.  Great movie.
    5. The Fog-A phenomenal ghost story/horror/ thriller.  Really more of a ghost story, but a great one.  Again, great cast, well shot (although according to Carpenter, it was a hard movie to make), great effects.  I love this movie.
    6. Big Trouble In Little China-A masterpiece  action/comedy.  Kurt Russell again stars.  Earlier movie for future Sex And The City co-star Kim Cattrall, who is great in this.  Lots of action, but also extremely funny.  You have to watch it.
    7. Christine-Based on a Stephen King novel about a car that is alive and can manipulate and even kill people.  I love this movie.  Check it out.  
    8. Assault On Precinct 13-Carpenter’s first true theatrical movie (Dark Star did play in theaters, but it was really more of a student film.).  Kind of a modern day version of  a classic western called Rio Bravo.  Carpenter even used the lead character name of that movie, John T. Chance, as his surname editor credit.  Assault was remade many years later, but I’m talking about the original.  Very well done movie.  
    9. In The Mouth Of Madness-Great movie starring Sam Neill, in which he plays an insurance investigator trying to solve the disappearance of a horror novelist, but yet also ultimately loses his mind when crazy things start happening.  Charlton Heston also stars.
    10. They Live-Wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper is the star of this awesome action/science fiction film.  A lot of fun.
    11. Prince Of Darkness-A science fiction/horror/zombie movie starring Donald Pleasence.  Alice Cooper even has a brief part in it. Very good movie.
    12. Starman-Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen star in this story about an alien who ends up taking the shape of the husband of a widower, how their relationship develops, and about the alien trying to get back home.  Very heartfelt science fiction movie.
    13. Ghosts of Mars-Maybe an under the radar movie, but I really like it.  Natasha Henstridge and Ice Cube star in this action/science fiction movie set on Mars.  Earlier movie for Jason Statham too.
    14. Someone’s Watching Me-A TV movie starring Lauren Hutton.  She plays a TV newscast director who is being stalked by a man.  Very good movie, and sadly, a still true to life movie about stalking.
    15. Body Bags-A three story feature that was made for Showtime.  I see it as Showtime’s attempt at wanting their version of HBO’s Tales From The Crypt.  Carpenter plays this dead coroner doing the intros/outros of the stories.  Star studded cast in all three stories.  Some include Robert Carradine, Stacy Keach, and Mark Hamill.  A lot of fun.  Carpenter directed two of the stories.  Tobe Hooper directed the third one.
    16. Vampires-A pretty good vampire movie.  James Woods and Daniel Baldwin play vampire hunters, paid by the Vatican, who are after a vampire master.  Kind of a modern day western, but set within a vampire story.
    17. Memoirs Of An Invisible Man-Chevy Chase, Darryl Hannah, and Sam Neill star in this story about a man who ultimately becomes invisible and the government is after him.  Carpenter has said that he hated working with Chase and Hannah, but ultimately, I think he/they came out with a good movie.
    18. The Ward-Very good movie, starring Amber Heard, about schizophrenia.
    19. Masters of Horror-This was a series of shows made by famous horror directors.  Carpenter made two of them (Cigarette Burns and Pro-Life).
    20. Village Of The Damned-Another remake starring Christopher Reeve, Kirstie Alley, Linda Kozlowski, and Mark Hamill, about a group of kids/aliens that take over a small town.
    21. Dark Star-More of a student film, but ultimately did turn into a theatrical movie.  Very bizarre space comedy.  The villain is literally a beach ball.
    22. Halloween 2-Carpenter was more the producer/writer/film composer/musician, but did direct a few of the scenes.  A good follow up to a movie classic.
    23. Halloween 3-Carpenter was a co-producer/film composer/musician, and wrote a draft of the script.  This movie has nothing to do with the Halloween franchise, except for the name.  But as a stand alone horror movie, it is excellent.  
    24. Black Moon Rising-A pretty good action movie/thriller starring Tommy Lee Jones, Linda Hamilton, and Robert Vaughn.  Carpenter wrote this.
    25. Vampires:  Los Muertos-Carpenter was an executive producer of this.  Not a direct sequel to Vampires, but a similar story where Jon Bon Jovi (yes the singer/songwriter) plays a vampire hunter who assembles a team to go after a vampire master.  Not bad.
    26. Suburban Screams-Carpenter’s latest project in which he was a producer and does the intro to each show.  An anthology series chronicling six true stories.  Various topics are paranormal, an escaped killer, a “Bunny Man” killer, and more.  Actually quite scary at times.  Available to watch on Peacock.

    Well that’s it for now.

    He’s actually made a lot of music for his movies, other people’s movies, and actual original albums too.

    Maybe I’ll post about them in a separate review.

    Either way, I love John Carpenter.

    Amazing talent.  Even better person.

  • Blog,  Concerts

    Mammoth WVH/Nita Strauss Concert Review

    My girlfriend Mariah Startzman and I went to see Mammoth WVH (Wolfgang Van Halen) and Nita Strauss in concert.

    I had seen Mammoth before and Nita playing guitar for Alice Cooper many times, but Mariah had not seen either, and I had not seen Nita solo.

    Nita and her band opened the show with a tight, heavy set.

    Half of the set was instrumental and the other half featured vocals by the singer of Deadlands Kasey Karlsen.

    Nita is a great guitar player, lots of stage presence, and has a great solo band.  While not doing this, she plays guitar for Alice Cooper.

    Check out her music and go see her live.  She rocks!!

    Then Mammoth WVH took the stage.

    This is Wolfgang Van Halen’s band.  In the studio, he has done everything on the first two albums, but live, he needs a band.

    I first saw them when Wolfgang started doing headline shows in 2021.  It was his third ever headline show.

    It was a very special show, but after seeing him and the band this time, I can tell he is a lot more confident on stage and has a lot more seasoning.

    Like in 2021, though, the band rocked.

    Wolfgang is a very talented, special singer/songwriter/musician.

    He has it all and is great at all.

    As great a musician as he is, I’m most impressed with his singing and songwriting capabilities.

    He has a great future in music I think.

    Only two albums so far, but I’m sure there will be many more to come.  I certainly hope so.

    Check out Mammoth WVH.

    He/they are awesome.

    Great show.  Mariah and I had a great time.

    Mammoth WVH Set List:

    1. I’m Alright
    2. Right?
    3. Epiphany
    4. Miles Above Me
    5. Like A Pastime
    6. Horribly Right
    7. Optimist
    8. Stone
    9. Distance (Acoustic-Wolfgang does this by himself.)
    10. Think It Over (His Dad Edward Van Halen’s favorite song)
    11. Mammoth
    12. You’re To Blame
    13. Take A Bow
    14. Encore:  Another Celebration At The End Of The World
    15. Don’t Back Down

    Nita Strauss Set List:

    1. Summer Storm
    2. Our Most Desperate Hour
    3. Mariana Trench
    4. Alegria
    5. The Quest/Drum Solo
    6. The Wolf You Feed
    7. Through The Noise
    8. Dead Inside
    9. Victorious

    Photo Gallery (click on thumbnail to view larger image)

    Video Gallery (click on thumbnail to play video)

  • Album Reviews,  Blog

    Foghat Sonic Mojo Album Review

    The classic rock band Foghat released their latest album, Sonic Mojo, on November 10 of 2023.

    I had heard a few of the songs, via their videos they made of some singles, and really liked them, so I bought the album.

    I really like this album.

    Lots of rock, blues, and even a little punk rock actually on one song.

    Drummer Roger Earl is the only original member left in the band, but he has a great group around him that includes Scott Holt (Vocals and Guitar), Bryan Bassett (Lead Guitar/Slide Guitar/Vocals/Engineering/Mixing/Production/Mastering), Rodney O’Quinn (Bass/Vocals), and Eddie Lefebvre (Percussion).

    Check out this album.

    It rocks!!

  • Album Reviews,  Blog

    Mick Mars The Other Side of Mars Album Review

    Mick Mars, guitarist of Motley Crue, FINALLY released his first solo album, The Other Side Of Mars, on February 23 of 2024.

    Mick had worked on this album for many years, but had never put out a solo album before because he was totally committed to Motley Crue.

    He unfortunately had a very bad falling out with the band in 2023.

    Now, he has released this album, and like a solo album should be, it does not sound like his work with Motley Crue.

    It’s actually much heavier and darker.

    He has Paul Taylor of Winger/Alice Cooper fame on keyboards and additional guitar and Paul co-wrote a lot of the songs (especially the lyrics).  He has two singers on this album (Jacob Bunton on eight songs, who also did the string parts, and Brion Gamboa on two songs) and has KORN drummer Ray Luzier on all songs.  Chris Collier plays bass and did the mixing and mastering of the album.

    Again, quite a heavy, dark, and moody album.

    I like this album for sure, but I think you may need to be in a certain mood to listen to it.

    But if you’re a Mick fan and a fan of hard rock and metal, you need to check it out.

    I’m happy Mick has finally released this album because it has been a long time coming.

    Oh and when I preordered it, Mick signed it too.

    Thank you Mick!!  Rock on!!

  • Album Reviews,  Blog

    Ace Frehley 10,000 Volts Album Review

    I have been a fan of Ace Frehley, original guitarist and co-singer/co-songwriter of KISS, since 1998.

    I love all of his solo albums and everything he did with KISS, so I figured I would love 10,000 Volts, Ace’s latest solo album released on February 23 of 2024.

    I preordered it and received it on release day.

    I’ve listened to it several times and even though it’s definitely not my favorite of his, I do really like it a lot.

    It’s classic Ace.

    Lots of rocking tunes, lots of melody, and lots of guitars.

    I think this is definitely Ace’s most catchy solo album.

    I really like every song.

    I’ve read a lot of different reviews of this album and some people really love it and some really hate it.

    But that’s with anything really.

    I think if you are an Ace Frehley fan, you will enjoy this album.

    Many have said this is his best solo album since his first one, released in 1978.

    While I don’t agree with that, I do really like it, more with each listen, and I think Ace has done a great job with this album.

    Well produced and mixed, and the songs rock but yet again are catchy at the same time.

    Rock on Ace!!

  • Blog,  Movie Reviews

    Lisa Frankenstein Movie Review

    My girlfriend Mariah Startzman and I recently saw a movie in theaters called Lisa Frankenstein.

    It was released on February 9 of 2024.

    OK SPOILER ALERT:  I’m going to talk about a lot of things about this movie, so read ahead if you wish.  If not, either way, I recommend this movie because it’s a fun reinterpretation of Frankenstein, hence the title.  OK onward.

    The movie is about a teenage girl (Lisa Swallows, played by Kathryn Newton), who is living in a foster home, and is very much a loner and does not fit in any way at all.

    Lisa’s stepmother does not like her at all, her father is indifferent, and her stepsister tries to be her friend and include her in things, but again, Lisa is very much a loner.

    Lisa likes to go to a cemetery and she becomes quite enamored with one grave in particular.  This grave is of a man (listed only as “The Creature in the credits, played by Cole Sprouse) who died in 1837 (this movie is set in 1989) of a lightning strike.

    Well, as it turns out, a bolt of lightning ends up bringing him back to life and he goes to Lisa’s house.  

    Lisa is spooked at first, but ultimately, takes him in, gives him clothes, and becomes friends with him.

    The Creature is missing his left ear and right hand, and with Lisa’s help, they both kill her stepmother so that he can get a new left ear.

    Also, they kill a male teenager, who earlier in the movie sexually assaulted her when she was under the influence of a drink, and they take his right hand to put on The Creature.

    Lisa and The Creature’s friendship ultimately leads to love, at least on his part, but at this moment, she is obsessed with another teenager.

    Although she finds out that this teenager is having a relationship with her sister.

    The Creature found out about this before Lisa but since he can’t speak, he was not able to tell her.

    The Creature and Lisa kill the teenager too but they let Lisa’s sister go.

    Ultimately, Lisa ends up killing herself in a tanning bed (which electrocuted her earlier in the movie and also enabled The Creature to have his new body parts put onto him) and her and The Creature ultimately live happily ever after.

    Mariah really wanted to see this movie, and I’m glad that we did because we both agree that it’s a lot of fun.

    As I said earlier, it’s a fun reinterpretation of Frankenstein.

    I highly recommend seeing it.

    Oh and as a REO Speedwagon fan, there is a cool moment in the movie where one of their songs is used.

  • Blog,  Concerts

    Mr. Big Concert Review

    My girlfriend Mariah Startzman wanted to see the band Mr. Big on her birthday (February 20).

    So we did.

    We’ve both been wanting to see the band since we saw Mr. Big singer Eric Martin do a solo set a few years ago.

    And it just so happened that Mr. Big reunited last year for a “farewell tour” and are making a new album.

    So this was our chance to finally see the band.

    It includes not only original member Eric Martin on vocals, but also original members Paul Gilbert on Guitar/Additional Vocals and Billy Sheehan on Bass/Additional Vocals.

    The band is filled out by Drummer Nick D’Virgilio (original Drummer Pat Torpey sadly passed away in 2018).

    No one but The Ramones has truly done a farewell tour, but IF this is Mr. Big’s farewell tour, then they are going out on top.

    They still kick butt.

    Great singing.  Phenomenal musicianship.  And great songs.

    On this tour, they are playing their entire second album “Lean Into It”, as well as other songs from their career, and some cover songs.

    They even switch instruments during one of the cover songs (Good Lovin’).

    Really fun and rocking show.

    Mariah and I had a lot of fun.

    Thank you Eric, Paul, Billy, Nick, and Pat in passing for the great music and shows.

    You guys always rock and always will.

    Thank you!!

    Set List:

    1. Addicted To That Rush
    2. Take Cover
    3. Price You Gotta Pay
    4. Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy (The Electric Drill Song)
    5. Alive And Kickin’
    6. Green-Tinted Sixties Mind
    7. CDFF-Lucky This Time (Jeff Paris Cover)
    8. Voodoo Kiss
    9. Never Say Never
    10. Just Take My Heart
    11. My Kinda Woman
    12. A Little Too Loose
    13. Road To Ruin
    14. To Be With You
    15. Wild World (Cat Stevens Cover)
    16. Guitar Solo
    17. Colorado Bulldog
    18. Bass Solo
    19. Shy Boy (Talas Cover.  Talas is also a band Billy Sheehan is in and he sings this one.)
    20. 30 Days In The Hole (Humble Pie Cover)
    21. Good Lovin’ (The Olympics Cover)
    22. Baba O’ Riley (The Who Cover)

    Photo Gallery (click on thumbnail to view larger image)

    Video Gallery (click on thumbnail to play video)