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Glam Fest U.S.A.

Are you hungry for some live glam? L.A. Guns (with vocalist Phil Lewis) will hit the road very soon, playing some shows with Warrant and Firehouse!

Here are the already scheduled dates:

January 17 in Omaha, Nebraska.

January 18 in Mankato, Nebraska

January 20 in Burnsville, Minnesota

March 17 in Bloomington, Illinois

March 23 in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania

March 24 Westfield, Massachusetts

March 25 Clifton Park, New York

L.A. Guns are touring in support of their latest album, Tales from the Strip

Want to know more about L.A. Guns? Guitarist Tracii Guns hooked up with Axl Rose and bassist Ole Beich and drummer Rob Gardner. A few member changes later (including the departure of Axl) and L.A. Guns regrouped, ending up with Phil Lewis on lead vocals. The band released their debut album in 1988, and hit the big time with the 1989 release Cocked and Loaded. That record spawned the major hit The Ballad of Jayne, garnering the band constant rotation on MTV.

The nineties brought more member changes to the lineup and more albums. In 2003, Tracii Guns joined Nikki Sixx to record Here Come the Brides, the first album by the Brides of Destruction.

Want a little update on Warrant?

The band is touring with singer Jamie St. James (formally of Black N' Blue). They continue to promote their 2006 release Born Again. Former Warrant frontman, Jani Lane, is currently on a solo tour. In 2002, he released Back Down to One. Checking sales reports on , Lane's disc is hovering around 73 thousand something in popularity, while Warrant is around 52 thousand something. I'd say this is a wash considering the time difference between both album releases. Interestingly, Cherry Pie is hovering around 25 thousand something in popularity.

Comparing this to other huge glam acts of the era, RATT comes out way on top. RATT & Roll 8191 is 4,004 in sales popularity! Yes, that album really was released in 1991, more than a decade ago. But wait! Poison's Greatest Hits sits at 1,952 in sales popularity! That album was originally released in 1996, a full decade ago! It took me awhile to find a disc that tops both of these in sales, but I did: Def Leppard Vault is 1,395 in sales popularity. Vault was released in 1995, and quickly certified multi-platinum. [The more recent Def Leppard compilation Rock of Ages: The Definitive Collection sits at 849 in sales popularity].

In addition to his solo shows, Jani Lane is also working with a new band known as the Saints of the Underground, featuring and all star cast of players including Bobbie Blotzer (RATT), Robbie Crane (RATT), Kerri Kelli (Alice Cooper band). When the debut album drops, we'll compare sales again!


Power to the Music

You want to know an under appreciated musician? Meet John Corabi. He rocks, really and truly. He’s most famous for singing lead vocals in Motley Crue when Vince Neil left the band in the early 1990s. Corabi
and company released Motley Crue in 1994. Musically, the album is the Crue’s best effort to date. Commercially,the album tanked. Motley Crue is sonically pleasing, and doesn’t sound dated. In fact, the album is so good that it sounds like it was released yesterday.

Other than Motley Crue, Corabi played guitars on Here Come the Brides, the inaugural work by the Brides of Destruction. He’s also performed with Angora, RATT, Union, and The Scream.

He’s also recorded a ton of tracks for various all-star tribute albums for bands like Def Leppard, AC/DC, Bon Jovi, Led Zeppelin and Cheap Trick.

He’s currently working on a solo album, a book, and has a radio show on

Despite all the bands Corabi has played with, I think he’s largely been screwed by the music business. He’s not a household name, he’s had to fight for royaltychecks, and it seems other musicians fail to give him the respect he deserves. A lot of die hard Motley Crue fans appreciate Corabi for his musical abilities, but a lot of casual listeners dismiss both his music and talent.

Want to know more about the Sunset Strip band Angora? John Corabi sang lead vocals, and Jimmy Marchiano played guitar with Frank Scimeca on bass and Robert Iezzi on drums.


Gene Simmons (yes, that Gene) really loved the band. It was pretty common for various members of KISS to show up at Angora shows and encourage the band. Angora never landed a major label deal, but they did record a couple songs that were played on rock radio in L.A. I found the songs online, and they are pretty cool! Very gritty, totally glam. The band probably could have made it. Too band we’ll never know.




Love and Affection

vanhalen.jpgOk, so I mentioned a few days back the possibility that Van Halen could be inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Yesterday, the rumors became fact and the rock hall committee announced that Van Halen had earned a spot in the class of 2007 inductees (along with R.E.M., the Ronettes, Patti Smith, and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five). Of the list, Van Halen is really the only band deserving to be inducted, but I guess you take what you can get.

While I have nothing against Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, I don’t think a rap act deserves to be in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. After all, 20 years from now, Chingy and Snoop Dog will be clamoring for a spot in the hall too, and that just doesn’t seem right.

Now, the reasons why Van Halen (David Lee Roth, Sammy Hagar, Eddie Van Halen, Michael Anthony and Alex Van Halen) so richly deserve a spot in the museum that rock built. And, in a moment, why the house that rock built is a complete load of crap.

First, the good: Van Halen is one of the most successful rock bands of all time. In fact, the band is just one of seven that have had two albums sell more than 10 million copies in America. Led Zeppelin, Eagles, Pink Floyd, Def Leppard and the Beatles are the others. Other than Eddie Van Halen’s impeccable virtuosity on the electric guitar, the band is perhaps best known for tension among members. David Lee Roth helped make Van Halen a household name. He left the band in 1985 and instead of fading into oblivion the remaining band members invited Sammy Hagar to sing lead vocals on the 1986 smash 5150. After Sammy left the band in 1996, things got pretty messy. There are reunions with Roth, reunions with Hagar, and Gary Cherone of Extreme even stood behind the microphone for a hot minute. Then there are marital troubles, health woes, money issues, and everything else that goes along with rock stardom.

Rumors of a reunion tour started swirling a couple months ago. How band members act during the March 12 induction ceremony will be a pretty good indicator of a possible reunion tour. Billboard reporter Gary Graff spoke with Sammy Hagar about the upcoming gala. Hagar is quoted as saying he hopes all the members of Van Halen take the high road. "My hope is that everyone lets everything go and we go there in complete respect of each other and in a loving way, with the attitude that 'I couldn't have done it without you' towards everybody.” [For the complete article, head to].

Now, to the bad: The idea of a museum celebrating the accomplishments of rock is pretty cool. Unfortunately cool in theory and cool in reality are two totally different things. Take, for instance, the odd mix of inductees, ranging from Aerosmith and AC/DC to Patti LaBelle, Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis. In fact, very few hard rock acts enjoy a spot in the hall of fame (Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Queen, and Black Sabbath are also inductees). The majority of inductees are largely blues legends and icons of pop. Music sure, rock no. The constant battle over the location of the induction ceremony (always in New York City, never in Cleveland) and voting politics undermine the importance of the hall in the music industry.

Sidebar: Van Halen holds a special place in my heart. I saw them on the Balance world tour at Riverbend Music Center near Cincinnati. This was my first real concert, and it was a sell out. My parents took me and a friend. I think they were nervous and thought the tickets were too expensive. They were probably right.  


White Lightning

clark.jpgSteve Clark died 16 years ago today. He was the co-lead guitarist for Def Leppard, a tortured soul who drank himself to death at age 30.

Adrenalize was Def Leppard’s first album without Steve. He died midway through production after an accidental overdose of mixing prescription pain killers and liquor. On the album, the remaining four members of DL recorded the track “White Lightning.” Clark’s nickname was “White Lightning” but the term is also used to describe booze and other drugs. While treated as an anthem to their fallen comrade, lyrics to “White Lightning” also include a warning for others riding the addiction train:

“You wanna leave but you can't let go
You wanna stop but you can't say no
(You never laugh about it, you just can't live without it)
You've had enough but you just want more
You never get what you're looking for
(You never laugh about it)”

And later, after the bridge:

“The White Lightning - On a dead end street
White Lightning - Where the deadbeats meet
White Lightning - It's a one way ride
White Lightning - Oh, there's nowhere to hide.”

Instead of replacing Clark during the Adrenalize sessions, the band forged ahead as a quartet, later hiring Vivian Campbell on guitars. On the official website, Steve Clark retains a biography under the band section.

This, beyond any recording or songwriting capabilities, speaks volumes to the talent Clark oozed during his time with the British supergroup. In short, Clark knew the true essence of the 1980s musical zeitgeist and was able to transform that mold into power cords, strong riffs and gigantic album sales.

Personally, I think “White Lightning” is the best track on Adrenalize. The 50 second guitar intro literally makes the song, and the entire track isn’t overproduced like so many DL hits. Interestingly, the song was never released as a single, and I can only assume this was out of respect for Clark. The band didn’t want to look like it was profiting off the death of their famous guitarist. For this reason, “White Lightning” will be our underappreciated song obsession of the week.

For Def Leppard, success is a mixed bag. Personally, I award DL the title of the biggest band of the 1980s. They sold more albums, played more shows and stayed on the charts longer than any other glam band. In the middle of the grunge hey-day, Adrenalize simultaneously debuted at number 1 on the U.S. and U.K. Billboard charts, remaining in the top spot for several weeks. Sales-wise, this was Def Leppard’s last big success, save for the many greatest hits compilations (Rock of Ages: The Definitive Collection was certified platinum in February of 2006). Critics say that when Steve Clark died, so did Def Leppard. I don’t know if I agree with that statement, but I do think the band lost a certain edge that will never be replaced. It’s a certain quality every band loses when an integral musician leaves the fold.

[“White Lightning” lyrics by Def Leppard, for the 1992 Mercury/Universal release Adrenalize]


Live! Tonight! Sold Out!

money.jpg"We’re Not Gonna Take It."

A fierce battle cry from Dee Snider and the rest of Twisted Sister helped the New York glam band reach stardom. Now, more than two decades later, the tune is being used to hock hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Just one more instance of rock bands selling out in a world where nothing is sacred, including the rebellion and anti-establishment attitude of rock.

Rocks biggest whores, the Rolling Stones, have sold out numerous times, and I don’t just mean Madison Square Garden. Think back to 1995, when financial titan Microsoft launched Windows 95 and paid the Stones 10 million bucks for rights to "Start Me Up."  I’m sure all that money went to feed hungry kids in Africa and help illiterate kids here in the U.S. learn to the read.

It gets worse.

My beloved Aerosmith sold their flagship song, “Dream On” to Buick. Buick!?! How can rock icons hock Buicks? In under a month, NASCAR season revs up again, with Aerosmith as the official music act of the world’s largest spectator sport.

Here’s a quote on the “partnership” from guitar legend Joe Perry: “Aerosmith and NASCAR on ESPN and ABC couldn't be more appropriate. 'Go faster' is our middle name. Between the five of us, we probably own 25 or 30 cars and half of those are American muscle cars. In fact, when we're off the road and we can't find Brad [Whitford], he's probably on the infield at a NASCAR race. This is a dream come true for us. See you at the races!"

Good God.

Aerosmith taped a video of (gasp!) “Back in the Saddle” during a recent tour stop in Las Vegas. The video will be used in opening credits for all ESPN/ABC presentations of NASCAR races. No matter how hard I dig, I can't find how much this little partnership is worth. I can only assume a fat dime.

Think about all the travel commercials you see during the summer. Yes, that’s the Iggy Pop tune “Lust for Life” in all those Carnival Cruise Line ads. Makes you want to run to the dock and rock with the family, doesn't it?

The whole point of the tirade is this: if seminal bands like the Rollings Stones, Aerosmith, and scores more are in hot demand by record executives, then the music is still in hot demand by their loyal fans. There’s a reason why Madison Avenue isn’t calling  Diddy or 50 Cent for their next big ad campaign. You can bet Mick Jagger is sitting by the phone, waiting for his next offer.


Another One Bites the Dust...

Poor, macabre Marilyn Manson. He's getting divorced from the seemingly normal burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese.

Here's a shocker: Von Teese filed paperwork for the divorce, citing irreconcilable differences. Tabloids speculate Manson's alcoholism contributed to the marital problems.

The couple married in December 2005.

In related news, it seems guitar legend Eddie Van Halen is getting hitched. At least, that's what it says on his girlfriend's MySpace page. As a non-MySpace user, I don't know what to make of the official "announcement" except that I find it more than coincidental that the day after the posting, Eddie selected a new publicist to handle media requests and the upcoming 2007 "reunion tour."

Ah, the life of rockstars...


Paxl n' Roses

Yes, more news on Axl Rose, loyal glam readers.

A biography on the sometimes crazy, always talented Guns n' Roses frontman. Rock Journalist Mick Wall is putting the finishing touches on a biography of Rose, titled Axl Rose: The Unauthorized Biography. A May 4 release date is planned.

Yes folks, this is the same Mike Wall that wrote the unauthorized biography Guns N Roses: The Most Dangerous Band In The World.

The long awaited Guns n' Roses album Chinese Democracy was recently featured in a lengthy article for the U.K. Mail, written by none other than Mike Wall.

The article talks about the upcoming album, and Wall's book project. He says Rose threatened to kill him if the book went to print.

That has yet to be seen. I'll be sure to keep tabs on this hot developing story.