Today's blog comes to us from the regular poster HIM.
Internet reading isn’t continuous. You pick one topic, swerve to another, and then leap to the next. So reading about Deep Purple’s California Jam (1974) reissue led me . . . to this. In a certain sense, it is so time-locked in amber as to be cringe-worthy. The mustache-less Iommi. The fat-faced Osborne looking more like Kelly than John (nee Ozzy). The pants-so-tight-it-looks-like-a-thong Butler. The thunder pounding Ward. This was Sabbath. No, it isn’t Glam. But it was Sabbath. Ward is gone, furloughed in a purgatory of potential albums and wand-waving artistic displays. Butler still keeps the doom-laden beat. Iommi, fighting the good fight against cancer, still traces riffs across the board like a mystic. Ozzy? He is there. Sounding better than he should on the latest release and sounding hit-or-miss (charitably) on their latest outing. Actually, that is a lie. He sounds as shopworn, as depleted, as confused as he ever has. His best days are behind him. No buckets of water, or "God Bless You All," or prescription Lennon glasses can hide that fact.
Like Diamond Dave, people forgive Ozzy a host of sins. But there is a difference. As the California Jam shows, the young Ozzy was the Ozzy of his albums—rough and hoarse, yet paradoxically tuneful and powerful; a singer capable of replicating the songs live. He was a spark that moved Sabbath forward. Notice, for instance, the purely spontaneous moment—the smile that crosses Iommi’s face—that Ozzy shares with his guitarist. Even when he strained to hit the high (and they are pretty low) notes, Ozzy was in the pocket.
That Sabbath, like Ward, is gone. Still, 13 stands as one of the best returns to form of recent years. But the form is slower, slower than even the Sabbath of old would like to admit (no odd “Am I Going Insane?” or plaintive “Junior’s Eyes” or gritty “Dirty Women”). The point is important. The new album--or CD, or e-release--recycles tended hedgerows, reminding us of the past. Where a Different Kind of Truth made us feel young, 13 reminds us that we aren’t. Perhaps that is the perfect coda to a band that made doom and gloom feel so alive: their energy and spirit, forty years past, still provides a jolt when we need it.
Whatever you think about the guys in KISS or Def Leppard, this is a pretty classy move. I received this press release yeserday from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
NEW YORK, NY—Rock bands KISS and Def Leppard today announced their commitment to hire two veterans as roadies for their 2014 summer tour as part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and Capital One’s Hiring 500,000 Heroes campaign. The bands made their hiring announcement live on the NBC Today Show in New York after deciding jointly to dedicate their upcoming summer tour to the military community. Following a nationwide search, two veterans will be chosen to support the bands’ production team on the 42-city North American tour.
Steel Panther just released a video for their song "Gloryhole" from the album All You Can Eat. Not much offends me, but this clip is pretty over-the-top, even for Steel Panther. It's definitely not safe for work. Watch at your own peril.
Aerosmith is touring with Slash this summer. Yesterday, Aerosmith played a special gig at the Whisky A Go-Go to make the announcement "official." Video of that performance is below.
Here are the tour dates. You'll find me in the crowd at Riverbend in Cincinnati. Looks like top tier tickets are around $200 a head, which definitely ain't cheap but I guess that's the going rate these days.
July 10 - Nikon at Jones Beach Theatre - Wantagh, NY
July 13 - McLennan Park - Kitchener, ON
July 16 - Xfinity Center - Mansfield, MA
July 19 - Rock Fest - Cadott, WI
July 22 - Riverbend Music Center - Cincinnati, OH
July 25 - First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre - Tinley Park, IL
July 30 - The Forum - Inglewood, CA
Aug. 02 - MGM Grand Garden Arena - Las Vegas, NV
Aug. 08 - Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena At Harveys - Stateline, NV
Aug. 13 - Sleep Train Pavilion - Concord, CA
Aug. 16 - The Gorge Amphitheatre - George, WA
Aug. 19 - Pepsi Center - Denver, CO
Aug. 22 - American Airlines Center - Dallas, TX
Aug. 25 - The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion - Woodlands, TX
Aug. 28 - Phillips Arena - Atlanta, GA
Aug. 31 - Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall - Atlantic City, NJ
Sep. 03 - Prudential Center - Newark, NJ
Sep. 06 - Jiffy Lube Live - Bristow, VA
Sep. 09 - DTE Energy Music Theatre - Clarkston, MI
Sep. 12 - Open Hearth Park - Sydney, NS
Jake E. Lee brought his Red Dragon Cartel to the Stafford Palace Theater in Stafford, CT this past Saturday night, and I was lucky enough to be in attendance. By now, everyone has seen and discussed the disastrous first show, where RDC singer Darren Smith performed after a few too many pre-show drinks. He owned up to his mistake and has been working to prove the doubters wrong since that first show. Would he do it in Stafford?
First off, credit must be given where credit is due… the Stafford Palace Theater is the best venue in central Connecticut to see a show. A nice big stage, great lights and sound, clean bathrooms, and the friendliest staff around. They just do it right there every time. Local Connecticut band Vengeance opened the show. They played a solid set that was well received by the crowd. The guitar player is clearly the standout in the band, and the guy can shred.Demon’s Alley, from Worcester, MA, were next, and they put on a show stealing set. Fans of L.A. Guns, Faster Pussycat and Hanoi Rocks will get this band. A great mix of sleaze, punk, rock and metal with swagger and attitude and the chops to back it all up. They powered though a great set and won me over as a fan before the first song, Dope City, was over. A high energy cover of KISS’ Rocket Ride didn’t hurt either.
Red Dragon Cartel was the next to take the stage, and Darren quickly put all doubters to shame, as he proved right out of the gate that the guy has the chops to front Jake’s band. Jake himself, was in top form this night, and played like a monster. As expected, Jake’s legacy preceded him, and the front of the stage was packed with fellow guitarists who could not wait to see Jake play, and they got their money’s worth this night. Drummer Jonas Fairley and bassist Ronnie Mancuso held down a nice, solid groove all night, and the rest of the band knew to let Jake’s talent shine. The band played a mix of new RDC songs, and classic Ozzy and Badlands songs (though I was hoping to hear ‘Dreams in the Dark’, which was not present in the set). They closed with a great version of ‘Bark at the Moon’ and crowd erupted with a “Jake, Jake, Jake” chant.
I was lucky enough to make my way backstage and talked with all of the guys in the band, and they are all really nice guys who are just having a great time touring and playing. Jake did appease the crowd by making his way to the merch table and signed autographs for the LONG line of fans who have been waiting years for this opportunity to arise. On a side note, there were a couple of other well-known musicians in the audience that night, who were just there to see Jake, and were not necessarily trying to be recognized. Specifically, Oni Herbert from All That Remains and Frank Novinec from Hatebreed were both in attendance. I was standing near them during the RDC set and again, credit where credit is due, both guys were super friendly and welcoming to the fans that recognized them, and they were taking pictures all night long. I’m not overly familiar with either band, but it is always good to see when band members are actually cool to their fans.
Awesome videos from the recent Monsters of Rock cruise are popping up online now. I especially like the clip below, which shows Vixen doing 'Cryin' acoustic style. Sure looks like a fun show!