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The Def Leppard Cruise... Didn't Go As Planned I Guess

The Def Leppard Cruise, dubbed Hysteria on the High Seas was this past weekend. Apparently things didn't really go as planned. First off, and most horrific, is that Jimmy Bain of Last In Line and Rainbow and DIO fame actually died on the boat. I saw the reports of his death and didn't put it together that he died while on the cruise. Just terrible.

Then, apparently Joe Elliott got laryngitis - meaning he literally had no voice - and thus couldn't perform during Def Leppard's headline set. Eric Martin and Kip Winger stepped in and performed with Def Leppard. A clip of them singing is below.

Also, if all that wasn't bad enough, the weather was bad and ports were closed.

Thoughts and prayers to the Jimmy Bain family,Today the members of Last In Line said good bye to a legend.... Thank you to all who came to listen and share

Posted by Def Leppard Cruise on Sunday, January 24, 2016

'The Who: 50 Years of My Generation' -- Book Review

I recently reviewed a new book about The Who for The Dayton City Paper. That review is below. Enjoy. 

The Who remain one of the most iconic rock acts in the world. On Nov. 2, journalist Mat Snow released “The Who: 50 Years of My Generation” (Race Point Publishing), a comprehensive coffee table book paying homage to the band’s debut My Generation, now five decades old.

More than just your average coffee table book, “50 Years of My Generation” explains the history of each member and follows the band through changing music trends and superstardom.

Fans of the Who may be pleased to learn that this latest coffee table retrospective takes a deep dive in to each band member’s personal history, looking at their respective upbringings and family life. This is what really sets Snow’s work apart from other books about the Who and therefore makes “50 Years of My Generation” a great starting point for anyone looking to learn more about the British rockers.  

Some of the photos may be new to even the die-hard Who fans, especially those at the beginning of the book, showing Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle and Keith Moon in their formative years. There’s young Pete, looking through his mother’s antique shop while smoking a cigarette. You’ll also find a promo shot of the band when they were known as the High Numbers.

Further on, readers are welcomed to the fifth chapter with a shot of the Who smashing their gear on stage. The caption puts the timeline at 1967. Snow remarks that the British rock scene was “small and accessible.” It’s hard to imagine bands like the Who, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones playing in tiny rooms and literally walking amongst the fans after their gigs.

The opening of Chapter 7 proclaims the 1965 debut “My Generation” an overnight success. The track was raw and edgy: it sounded fresh, new. And Snow writes “…the Who took their rebellion to a whole new level: if you were old, they despised you.”

The book also delves into the band’s other interests, including women and drugs. John’s June 1967 wedding photo featuring his bride Alison Wise shares a spread with a story about Keith trying out the hallucinogenic drug STP, which resulted in an apparently terrifying out-of-body experience and the resolve to never touch that particular drug again.

By the time Tommy rolled around in 1969, the Who were officially rock royalty, but there was apprehension within the band’s camp about reception of the new album. Taking a stand and getting on the road in America before the actual album release, the Who were able to gin up enough excitement for their new album to assure solid sales. Snow takes readers through the amazing realization that the Who could stay on the road for years just on the strength of Tommy alone. For modern music fans or those of the millennial generation, this should come as a shock: musicians today are just not afforded the same luxury to let an album catch on, gaining fans and sales along the way.

Fans of rock music—especially what is now regarded as classic rock—will likely get a kick out of all the concert posters sprinkled throughout “50 Years of My Generation.” There are also classic movie posters from the cinematic release of Tommy, ticket stubs and tour programs to peruse.

Snow shines when addressing the demons that plagued Keith Moon. An addict for years, Snow recounts Keith’s multiple attempts to get off alcohol, pills and cocaine. Keith died at age 32 of a massive overdose. Recounting Keith’s death, Snow writes simply “Pete was in the studio that day when Roger phoned: ‘He’s done it.’ No more needed to be said.” Being a retrospective, there’s naturally a photo of mourners at Keith’s funeral, taken at the Golders Green Crematorium in London.

The 1980s were hard for the Who with waning album sales, depressed creativity, failing marriages, drug abuse and a change in musical tastes. The retrospective does a good job at recounting that dark period in the band’s history without being condescending or too overtly positive. Striking such a balance is tough, but Snow manages nicely.

“50 Years of My Generation” ends with photos of the band “still rocking” 50 years later at the O2 Arena in March 2015.

A true research resource, the book features comprehensive photography credits and index. While it is entirely possible some fans may not learn anything new from the work, it seems doubtful since the book is so meticulously researched and chronicles the near day to day workings of the band, at least in the early years. Coming in at over 230 pages, the hardcover edition is attractive enough to earn a spot in any respectable library.



Bob Daisley, 'For Facts Sake' -- Book Review

This review is brought to us by our friend HIM. 

BOOK REVIEW: Daisley, Bob. For Facts Sake. Thompson Music, 2013. 336 pages. Hardback: $39.00; £18.99p + postage & packing.

Rock autobiographies are a mixed lot. Many suggest too many ghost-chefs in the writing-kitchen. Others strike false notes in a bid to be consistent. Still others are little more than magazine articles, padded with pictures and spacing-filling large fonts. Even then, most have a few stores worth telling, even if we can’t always guarantee the provenance is pure. It is for those reasons that bassist Bob Daisley’s For Facts Sake is so special. It isn’t padded. It isn’t ghost-written. It is loaded with pictures that complement the story being told. And it is a story that spares no details even as it tries to provide an honest account of a gifted musician and his amazing life.

If only for the music, the story the book tells would be amazing. His early years in bands like Chicken Shack, Kahvas Jute, Mungo Jerry, and Widowmaker. Seeing The Beatles, The Who, and The Rolling Stones in all their primal, early, glory. Being a member of Rainbow and Uriah Heep, no less a band member supporting the likes of Gary Moore and a contributor to the Ray Gillen sessions that became Black Sabbath’s The Eternal Idol. Hanging out backstage with Led Zeppelin. Driving down the Autobahn with Cozy Powell behind the wheel. Hanging out at Dio’s wedding. Having tea with Bon Scott. Let me repeat that: tea with Bon Scott!!

Before returning to the music, I want to argue that the real strength of the book lies elsewhere for me. This is a book that pays tribute to friends, family, and his own fortitude. Daisley lovingly captures moments that are often lost in other works of this sort. The support of his mom. The long path that he took with the love of his life, Vicki. The hard fought, but ultimately successful, battle with mental illness. His interest in spiritualism. His long-time involvement in Buddhist meditation. Granted, these issues and interests worked their way into his music.  But there’s more. At points where it would be so easy to gloss over a kind word or a generous act, Daisley makes sure to give credit—and love—where it is due. He also paints a vivid picture of the music scene, connecting places and faces, and showing how so many artists were working towards a dream and helping others do the same. Bands fade in and out of fashion and formation. But the attachments—the friendships—last long after most of the musicians have moved on to other things. Ever here, he doesn’t spare a randy take on a wild night out, a practical joke that went a bit too far, or a moment that captures the mood. Daisley doesn’t work to place himself in the mix. He doesn’t have to. In a career that seems so clearly tied to the connections he forged with others, Daisley acts as a narrator with a fine sense of detail and even finer sense of humility.

I have obviously neglected the paradox of Daisley’s career: arguably the high point, but also the one part that has been most misunderstood. Luckily, Daisley sets the record straight regarding his time in The Blizzard of Ozz (alternately, and hilariously, referred to as the Lizzard of Ozz and the Wizard of Oz in two other instances). We catch rare glimpses of Ozzy’s time with his first wife Thelma and their young family, the burgeoning dalliances with Sharon Arden, and the crippling bouts of doubt that led Ozzy—perhaps—to swap the former for the latter and/or drink himself under numerous tables regardless the time of day (or night). We are treated to the alternative history and meaning of songs like “Suicide Solution,” as well as Ozzy’s—and Daisley is no slouch in the suggestive word and phrase department—ability to utilize magical terms like “bodge” and “flaps.” We get the sense of how Rhoads, a talented player at so young an age, worked to slough off the naiveté of youth . . . all while hunting the countryside for wild “haggis.” We grieve alongside Daisley as he recounts the details of the young guitarist’s death.

By this point, most people who care about Ozzy’s music know that the madman himself—whether sequined and squat or dark and drawn—was the necessary force and face of the band. But Ozzy, solo or as part of Sabbath prior and post, was an instrument for the substantial talents of people like Daisley and Rhoads. Daisley pulls no punches here. At the same time, he displays a remarkable degree of restraint and nuance. His loyalty to the last piece of the Blizzard puzzle, drummer Lee Kerslake, is touching. So, too, is his acknowledgement that Kerslake’s eventual replacement, Tommy Aldridge, was also a stellar player. In a choice between relatively equal drummers, loyalty trumped the machinations of Ozzy and Sharon to close ranks on the rest of the band. All of which makes it even sadder to see how Daisley and others have been treated. In many cases, this was after they showed loyalty and dedication to the Osbournes. In others, it was when they simply did the yeoman’s work necessary to cash a check while bringing a later Ozzy project to completion; work, it should be stressed, that was beyond Ozzy’s capabilities (but more on that a bit later).

Daisley and Kerslake settled a suit with Don Arden out of court in 1986; they lost their suit against Ozzy, Inc., in 2003. However, taking the wider view, I think that they won the qualified argument in both cases. It also helps to contextualize this chapter in his life as against the varied experiences covered in the rest of the book. The truly creative period involving Osbourne, Rhodes, Kerslake, and Daisley—the creation of Blizzard of Ozz (1980), subsequent tour, production of Diary of a Madman (1981), and brusque dismissal—takes up little more than forty pages and two chapters (Nine and Ten, respectively). While it might be the period of time that fans know most—even if many fans need to know more about those and subsequent years—it hardly qualifies as the only significant period in Daisley’s career.

Don’t get me wrong.  Those two albums are a significant part of the 80’s history of rock and metal, and arguably the best thing that Ozzy ever did outside of Sabbath. As drummer (and guitarist) Brian Tichy recently stated in an interview with Jeb Wright on Classic Rock Revisited:

“. . . those are classic sounding records.  I can go on and on about Kerslake.  I love that there are no click tracks on those records.  It is floating time, meaning that it is solid and tight.  Bob Daisley kept all of the groove between Randy’s guitar and Kerslake drums.  I love that it pushes and pulls.”

There are, of course, some quibbles. One wonders why, for instance, the facts in the title don’t possess the sake. There are also many sentences that seem to wander around a bit, with commas separating phrases a bit like lines in lyrical verse. Then there is the cover. My, oh my, the cover. It proudly lists most (but not all) of the important bands to which Daisley has contributed. But it is a garish mess of colors, made all the more obvious given the impressive heft of the tome he has written. There are also two instances where Daisley indulges in flights of fancy that go a bit too far: giving credence to Scientology’s purification rundown (a debunked detoxification program that relies on sauna treatments and large doses of niacin), and lending a sympathetic ear to conspiracy theories relating to Sept. 11th (specifically, the idea that pre-planned explosive charges brought down the Twin Towers).

The largest qualm relates to Daisley’s continued involvement in Ozzy, Inc., playing, and writing, and/or touring on Bark at the Moon (1983), The Ultimate Sin (1986), No Rest for the Wicked (1988), and No More Tears (1991). The question: why? The easy answer is the money. And Daisley doesn’t dodge that suggestion, with a family to raise, a house to buy, and a future to look toward. The more difficult answer relates to a strength of his I alluded to earlier: loyalty. I sense, in reading all the details, that Daisley always wanted to believe in the anxious and unsure bloke he met when The Blizzard of Ozz first formed, the one who dedicated his heart to his bandmates. So it was easy to cast the blame on macho and pushy Don Arden at Jet Records. Then it was easy to believe that it was Sharon’s fault. Then it was easy to overlook when Daisley was standing on stage at the “US Festival.” Before you know it, loyalty and trust look downright foolish. Here again, Daisley doesn’t spare himself the criticism even if he softens the blow a bit. And it was a blow felt by numerous others: Kerslake obviously, but also Rhodes, Aldridge, Carmine Appice, Phil Soussan, and Jake E. Lee to name a few! Patterns don’t equal proof. But they lend credence to the argument that Ozzy was/is a captivating performer and good person who has made decision both cruel and calculated, on his own and under the influence of interested others.

The great thing about quibbles is that they recede when over matched by the quality of the story told. Those wandering sentences? Much like my sniff test when watching a foreign film: when I find myself hearing the characters and not seeing the subtitles, I know I am hooked. That cover? It was rarely the thing facing me as I worked my way through such a detailed, animated, and honest tale. Indulging fringe ideas? We all find solace in ideas that suit our dispositions, even if they only confirm what we need (no less, want) to believe. The misguided belief in Ozzy, Inc.? Rock is littered with good intentions, smashed hopes, and the complications related to making a living, making music, and making peace with the business end of things . . .  all while trying to maintain the bonds of friendship. Those parts of the tale are not unique even if this tale is uniquely his.

I mean, for fact’s sake . . . this is Daisley’s story to tell. He can do whatever the hell he pleases!! And he did. Fans of music are better for the journey.

I recommend the book without reservation. Thanks Daisley.



In Honor Of The Blizzard...

Bet you thought I was going to post Ozzy Osbourne or something, right (get it, Blizzard of Ozz?) Nope. Here's a song that reminds me of summer... hopefully it will help all you east coast residents chase away the winter blues. Stay warm! For once, Ohio didn't get hit with this mess! #55DaystoSpring


Steven Tyler, 'Red, White & You' -- New Track

Steven Tyler just released a new track from his upcoming country album. The track is called "Red, White & You." I'm just not a country-music person, so I can't get into this. I don't understand Steven's desire to make country music, but more power to him. It's none of my business to criticize his creative goals... but when you're the frontman of Aerosmith, it's just hard to swallow. What do you think?


Guns n' Roses Tickets On Sale Saturday

Guns n' Roses tickets go on sale Saturday for the band's concerts in Las Vegas on April 8 and 9. Who's in? I'm going. Well, I should say I'm at least going to try for tickets. I'll let you know how it all pans out. If you're coming to one of these shows, post in the comments. I'm trying for the Saturday night show first!


SIXX: A.M. Announce New Drummer

SIXX A.M. have hired a new, permanent drummer. Dustin Steinke got the job. He's also the drummer for BLEEKER RIDGE. Steinke will drum on the new SIXX A.M. album which is due out later this year. I guess we'll see him when the band hits the road this summer too!

SIXX: A.M. Names Permanent Drummer

Posted by (Official) on Wednesday, January 20, 2016