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Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: A Punkish And Polite Reunion That Rocked

Today's post is from our friend HIM. The Guns n' Roses reunion show review will post tomorrow. 

None of us (save Ace!) know where the bodies are buried. We don’t know the dirt, even if we take stabs at figuring out the skinny.
So let me be clear: I hate the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I think it represents the nadir of expectations. It is a craven and shameless corporate glad-fest, populated by self-important denizens who can only feign credibility after years of spitting out corporate rock platitudes that they now choke on.
But still, I am a poseur. I watched all of the videos. And I wanted to not like what happened because I loathe where it happened. I couldn’t do that. Ulrich did Deep Purple a service. Purple showed up (Blackmore-less) and proved why they still count. Steve Miller, again, reminded people why he deserves to be worshiped, not only in playing but in targeting the RaRHoF for its flaccid hold on what it suggests it stands for. Chicago played, if Cetera-less, and made a reasonable claim for their value. N.W.A. managed to poke the bear that is Simmons while still reminding people that they belong, if not in the RaRHoF, then in the pantheon of bands who made music feel dangerous and alive.
Cheap Trick did one better. They played nice. And that isn’t very rocking. But it counts in a façade. Their speeches were the epitome of grace and humility:

And their performance was a rousing show of what the RaRHoF so casually monetizes. In a world of Sabbaths without Ward, Roses without Stradlin (not to mention Whites without Russell and Ryches without Tate), Cheap Trick put it all aside and did what needed to be done . . . with Carlos doing what the fans who care wanted all along:

Even Kid Rock’s introduction suggests that his calculated swagger is, at heart, a tribute to bands that rocked his world when he was but a youth:

The RaRHoF is, at best, a museum that deserves a visit. The RaRHoF is, at worst, a horrid example of why the music we love doesn’t garner the support it so clearly deserves. But to see Cheap Trick accepting their awards so graciously, and then seeing them playing so wonderfully, reminds me of an important truth: music that counts is made for the fans even if it is made by artists. Cheap Trick are both: fans and artists. Long live music.



In A Mellow Mood... With Zakk Wylde?!?

Today's post is from our friend HIM.

Things at BBG! have been fairly GnR recently. How is Adler’s back? Does Stradlin’s man cave have surround sound? Who is sexier: Slash or Phil Collen? Is “Pretty Tied Up” actually a post-feminist love song? So I wanted to dim the lights and just sit back and listen to the soothing Southern sounds of Zakk Wylde.

Wait? What?   Wylde just released Book of Shadows II, a follow-up to the 1996 solo album of the same name, minus the digits. The first single, “Sleeping Dogs” (I’d listen to this with the video off!), gives you a sense of the headspace this project operates in:

Think shameless and unabashed retro music that recalls Skynyrd, the Allmans (more Gregg than Duane), and the less pharmaceutical musings of latter day down-home stylists like the Crowes.   This isn’t the pretty young girl who took the place of Lee in Ozzy’s band. Nor is it Pride & Glory, even if that project is closest in sound to this one. It most certainly isn’t his divisive Black Label Society, all faux Sons of Anarchy posturing. 

Thing is, I have liked all those iterations of Wylde’s career. He kept a bit of fun in Ozzy’s corporate caravan. Pride & Glory suggested Wylde’s true influences. And Black Label Society is good clean fun dressed up like a scruffy biker, topped with skulls.   Some might call that a poseur in search of a “theme.” I tend to think of it as a performer who has varied tastes, and knows how to cater to his fans, whoever they might be at the time. Wylde also strikes me as someone who truly enjoys making music, who appreciates his fans and the opportunities he has been given, and has worked hard to carve out a career and cancel out his demons while doing so. It is hard for me not to root for an artist like that.  

Book of Shadows II is, to my ear, his most consistent offering to date. It doesn’t plead to be heard. It doesn’t sound rehearsed even as it settles into the well-worn grooves that came before. In fact, if there is a fault in said consistency, it is this: it floats along in the same key and forces you to note the minor deviations. I’m fine with that. This is to Southern Rock what Dazed and Confused was to movie making. And that is “alright, alright, alright” with me.  

Another highlight: you can still get the CD, and a (stupid looking) limited-edition poster, for less than $10.


Favorite Guns n' Roses Videos - #1

Now, for the best Guns n' Roses video of all time: the live performance of the band at The Ritz back in 1988. You'll know this video from Guns N' Roses: Live at The Ritz, a concert filmed for MTV. This is truly magical stuff.


Favorite Guns n' Roses Videos - #2

The day has finally come! It's my turn to see the Guns n' Roses reunion, live in Las Vegas. Don't fret, I'll have a whole review of the show up online as soon as possible. I'm sure Christian, Brian, Kari and the rest will give their opinions too!

For now, it's time for my second-favorite Guns n' Roses clip of all time. The second spot goes to "Paradise City." I love the video because it's not over-produced. It's just the band playing a live show (opening for Aerosmith!) and some black and white cuts injected for effect. The guys in the band didn't hate each other yet and the video clip just marks a very special time in music history.


Favorite Guns n' Roses Videos - #3

Picture it: St. Louis. 1991. Guns n' Roses blow through town and cause a literal riot. The song is "Rocket Queen." Axl Rose dives into the crowd, security freaks, Axl freaks, the show ends, the crowd freaks. Scroll to the end of this concert footage for Axl's blowup.

I add this clip not really for the music but because it paints an interesting picture of GnR in their heyday. Axl is so moody and Slash is, well, sloshed. A piece of American history, right at your disposal:

Here's footage of the riot after the band walked out.


Favorite Guns n' Roses Videos - #4

We're continuing the countdown of my top 5 favorite Guns n' Roses video clips. Today, the video for "Patience." If "Estranged" is my favorite GnR track, "Patience" is a close second.


Favorite Guns n' Roses Videos - #5

Starting today, I'm putting BBG! on autopilot for the duration of my Las Vegas trip to see Guns n' Roses! In celebration of the big reunion, I thought it would be fun to countdown my top 5 GnR videos of all time - and I don't just mean promo videos. I'm talking all classic recorded clips.

Today, my favorite video #5 - "Estranged." This is also my favorite GnR tune and I can't wait to see Slash play this solo!

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