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Tuesday
Apr032007

Wild Boys

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While Los Angeles will always be the fertile crescent of glam metal,  Sweden is quickly becoming a breeding ground for hot, new artists.

Today, part three of our roots series, focusing on the goodness that is Hardcore Superstar. The band was formed back in 1997 in Gotenburg, Sweden. They've enjoyed chart success and a major label album deal.

If you're not familiar with Hardcore Superstar, the band members are:

Joakim Berg - vocals
Thomas Silver - guitar
Martin Sandvick - bass
Magnus Andreasson - drums

The band's first album It's Only Rock n Roll, was released in 1997. Since that time, the sleazy boys have released four more albums, including the most recent Hardcore Superstar.

Critics have described Hardcore Superstar like Hanoi Rocks, Faster Pussycat, Motley Crue (!)  and the New York Dolls. The boys have also toured both America and Europe, in support of their 2003 release No Regrets. You can check out their sound at www.hardcoresuperstar.com  or www.myspace.com/hcssgbg.

In true glam fashion, these boys are very attractive as evidenced in this video for "We Don't Celebrate Sundays." Check it out...if your heart is strong enough!

 

 

 

Monday
Apr022007

Still Hungry

twistedsister.gifContinuing our special series on "roots," today we take a look at the beginnings of Twisted Sister.

This glam quintet started in New York City unlike many of their Sunset Strip counterparts. The boys in Twisted Sister didn't really get famous until Stay Hungry hit stores in 1984. The album enjoyed strong sales, thanks in large part to over-the-top videos for "We're Not Gonna Take It" and "I Wanna Rock."

Back in 1973, guitarist Jay Jay French formed the band Silverstar, which later became the basis of Twisted Sister. This line-up included:

Michael O'Neill - vocals
Billy Stiger - guitars
Jay Jay French - guitars
Kenny Neill - bass
Mell Anderson - drums

Years later, he teamed up with singer Dee Snider, Eddie Ojeda (guitars), Mark Mendoza (bassist) and A.J. Pero (drums).

There's so much more to Twisted Sister besides Dee's huge pink stage costume. When the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) threatened to censor rock artists for their "depraved behavior," Snider headed to Capitol Hill and argued the case of famous musicians right before the Senate.

Before Stay Hungry, Twisted Sister released Ruff Cuts (EP) and the magnificent Under the Blade. A few years later, the band's popularity waned and Snider left for other projects.

Fast forward to 2001 and a reunited Twisted Sister. A few months ago the glam boys released Twisted Christmas, which turned out to be a surprise hit.

Over the weekend, I learned of a new Twisted Sister DVD compilation. Rhino records plans to release Twisted Sister: The Video Years including "We're Not Gonna Take It," "Can't Stop Rock n' Roll," "I Wanna Rock," "Be Chrool to Your Scuel," and even live performances from a 1984 concert in support of Stay Hungry. A May 22 release date is planned.

Last night I was flipping channels and happened to catch Dee Snider walking around on MTV Cribs. Let me just say, glam rock has been very kind to dear old Dee. His seemingly normal family enjoy a rock star lifestyle in a mansion, complete with about nine cars and a fleet of motorcycles.

Ah, the kids are back.

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday
Apr012007

End of the Beginning

hollywoodrose.jpgToday, we start a special, multi-part series on the “roots” of glam metal.

The lovely Hairball John was kind enough to ship me a package full of CDs and more. In that package was Hollywood RoseThe Roots of Guns N' Roses.

 This is a great little album for any diehard GnR fan.

The album includes five previously unheard tracks, three ways. First, there’s the original demo version, then the same songs are remixed by Gilby Clarke. These same five demos are also remixed by Fred Coury, so the album includes 15 tracks in all.

People, this album is raw and you can really hear the basis for Appetite for Destruction. What’s even cooler is that the Gilby Clark remixes of “Reckless Life” and "Shadow of Your Love" include a guitar overdub by none other than Tracii Guns. It’s important to note that all tracks on The Roots of Guns n’ Roses are performed by Axl Rose, Chris Weber, Izzy Stradlin and Johnny Kreis.

If you’re not familiar with the roots of Guns n’ Roses, let me take you back to the beginning.

The band was formed in Los Angeles around the dawn of 1985 by Axl Rose and guitarist Tracii Guns, merging the bands Hollywood Rose and L.A. Guns. Hollywood Rose played several club gigs around Los Angeles earning quite a following of devoted fans. When it was time to get more exposure, Axl helped organize a shoestring budget tour in Seattle that would eventually change the line-up of the band and create rock n’ roll history. When Tracii Guns and Rob Gardner couldn’t travel to Seattle to perform, Axl asked guitarist Slash and drummer Steven Adler to fill the vacant spots. Soon thereafter the lineup was set with Axl, Slash, Adler, rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin and bassist Duff McKagan.

Before Appetite for Destruction there was Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide and manager Vicky Hamilton. She was very young and inexperienced but she pulled off management deals with GnR, Poison, Faster Pussycat and Stryper. Hamilton would work magic, securing club gigs for her boys, an income, and typically money to support “recreational” habits. Of course, Vicky didn’t just wake-up one morning and decide she was going to manage some of the biggest bands in the world. My dear Nikki Sixx actually helped Vicky land her first job, working under Motley Crue’s original management team. While she was with Motley’s first managers, she helped promote Too Fast for Love. Hamilton helped Guns n’ Roses land their deal with Geffen Records, allowing the boys the ability to produce the magnificent Appetite for Destruction. Hamilton writes the liner notes for The Roots of Guns n’ Roses and it’s an interesting read, chronicling her Hollywood story and how it intersects with so many famed musicians we love today.

Now, you might be wondering why drummer Fred Coury remixed some of the tracks on The Roots of Guns n Roses. Dear glam readers, the webs we weave in life are often confusing. You might recall a few months back I wrote about the band London (which also featured a young Nikki Sixx). Fred Coury played drums for London (please see article “London Bridge is Falling Down”) and substituted for Gn’R stickman Steven Adler back in 1988. Coury also played in Stephen Pearcy’s post-RATT project Arcade (please see article “Arcade Fire”). Of course, he's most famous for playing with Cinderella.

Fast forward to 2007, and we’re still waiting on Chinese Democracy. Axl Rose is the only original member of Guns n’ Roses and there’s been way too many member changes for me to name here without giving myself yet another headache. If you’re sick of waiting on Chinese Democracy and want some new, raw, GnR material, maybe you should check out The Roots of Guns n Roses, just don’t expect to hear anything even resembling “November Rain.”

Hollywood Rose The Roots of Guns n’ Roses track listing:

  1. Killing Time (demo)
  2. Anything Goes (demo)
  3. Rocker (demo)
  4. Shadow of Your Love (demo)
  5. Reckless Life (demo)

Plus remixed versions of the above tracks by Gilby Clarke and Fred Coury.

Saturday
Mar312007

Emperor's New Clothes

kotzen.jpgThe good folks over at www.glammetal.com have just posted the latest guitar star of the month: Richie Kotzen.

I'm not sure if Kotzen is a household name, but he's probably most famous for replacing C.C. DeVille in Poison. With the Pennsylvania glam-band, Kotzen released the greatly underrated Native Tongue. Kotzen was kicked out of Poison and eventually DeVille rejoined the band.

Kotzen also played in Mr. Big for awhile, performing on the Get Over It and Actual Size albums. Today, Kotzen is working to support a new solo disc, Into the Black. You can preview some of the tracks on richiekotzen.com.

All this talk of Kotzen has me thinking of Poison. A few days ago I picked up the DVD Poison: Video Hits for less than six bucks. We're talking low-budget, and not every video the band made is included on this collection. The DVD contains videos for:

1. "Cry Tough"
2. "I Want Action"
3. "Nothin' But A Good Time"
4. "Fallen Angel"
5. "Every Rose Has It's Thorn"
6. "Unskinny Bop"

I grabbed the DVD as an impulse buy because of the dirt cheap price. There are zero extras meaning no book, no interviews, no live performances.

As you can see by the clip listing, this collection only includes the band's biggest hit singles. Poison: Greatest Video Hits is a comprehensive DVD, including every video the band has produced along with concert clips and an interview or two.

A couple weeks ago I broke news of a massive summer tour including Poison, RATT and Great White. Now, it seems Great White's participation in the tour is in question and Poison has yet to announce concert dates. I guess only time will tell, glam fans.

Side note: Tomorrow, look for a special article dealing with the roots of music...something I've been working on for awhile, and hoped to post today. Too bad a migraine got in the way.

 

 

 

 

 

Friday
Mar302007

The King and I

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Late last night, reports of a sick Michael Jackson started crossing the newswires.

Immediately, questions started circulating about the King of Pop. Is MJ in the hospital? Does he have pneumonia?

Can you imagine the media frenzy if old Michael drops dead? I mean, what would happen to Blanket and those other almost legitimate children?

Despite reports that Jackson is broke he’s still really, really, really rich, and all that money can buy a lot of lawyers.

Back when Jackson was still a productive member of music society, he collaborated with some of rock’s best guitarists. A brilliant Eddie Van Halen contributed a solo to “Beat It” off the Thriller album.

Eddie did that solo in secret, for fear David Lee Roth would think he was turning his back on the band that bears his surname. Ah, the irony.

A few years later, Slash performed solos on “Black or White” and “Give it to Me.” Both these tracks appear on Dangerous. At one time I owned that release on cassette.

Guitarist Steve Stevens is best known for his work with Billy Idol and Vince Neil. What many don’t know is that Stevens is playing the solo on “Smooth Criminal,” included on the Bad album. 

Michael is reportedly working on a new album, set for release by the end of this year. Right now, it’s not clear if any famous glam guitarists will collaborate with the once great musical mind.

Here's a video of Slash and Michael Jackson performing together in 1995. As you can see, Slash steals center stage.

 

 

Thursday
Mar292007

Breakin the Chainz

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Good news for CrashDiet fans.

The Swedish glam rockers are back in the studio, working on a new album.

This new album will be the first with singer H. Olliver Twisted (Twisted also fronts Reckless Love).

As an avid blogger I think it's really cool that the hot Swedes are tracking their recording process with a daily blog (www.crashdiet.org/blog). In the first entry, bassist Peter London bemoans meat on a vegetarian pizza AND says Yngwie Malmsteen gave him a headache. Classic!

I wish the boys much luck with this new recording. Former singer Dave Lepard had a really unique voice and great song writing ability, so I hope Twisted is able to keep the sleaze alive.

If you haven't listened to CrashDiet, no more excuses. Here's a video for "Riot in Everyone" from their debut album Rest in Sleaze.

 



 

Wednesday
Mar282007

Forlorn Legacy

beatles.jpgIn the end, we all will leave a lasting legacy of some sort.

For many of us, this simply means a legacy tied to our families and maybe careers if we’re smart enough to invent a product on idea that makes the world a little better.

For musicians, the coveted “legacy” begins early on, with practicing and club gigs. Fans start to form an "opinionated legacy" after a first studio recording and it often takes decades for scholars to firmly place an individual musician or band in their proper place in history.

For some bands, like Van Halen, a once clearly defined legacy is now in question. Will the cultural anthropologists of tomorrow look back to the end of the seventies and understand the new breed of music that Van Halen was about to create? Will Eddie Van Halen go down as one of the best guitarists of his generation, or will his talents become a footnote edged out by erratic behavior, mood swings and drug dependency?

Some bands like KISS and Alice Cooper have influenced tons of musicians, have rabid followings, and enjoy constant commercial success yet are annually ignored by the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame and are typically panned in the press. Today, KISS is still able to hock logo merchandise and host annual conventions. For all their fans, there are just as many detractors that create questions about legacy. Will Gene Simmons be remembered as the bass playing demon, or the middle aged TV dad thanks to his hit reality show? Will Alice Cooper be remembered for making shock rock acceptable, or for playing 18 holes of golf every tour stop?

It seems like the critics really love to hate Motley Crue. Again, I ask, what will be their legacy? Will it consist of women, drugs and arrests, or of music that changed a generation and turned the Sunset Strip scene upside down? To date, the Motley men have sold more than 40 million records worldwide. They’ve toured the world over, and created some of the best party anthems of all time. Still, to most people, Motley Crue is nothing more than “that band whose drummer was married to Pam Anderson.”

Let’s get controversial.

What is the legacy of the Beatles? Are they the greatest rock band of all time? Yes. Are the Beatles the most overrated rock band of all time? Again, the answer is yes. The Beatles were an eccentric band of chaps who shared more talent that is even humanly conceivable. Still, a painful break-up, odd marriage, and drug use all started to taint the image of the loveable Brits. Then, Lennon was murdered and his legacy forever established as the best songwriter of all time. What impact will Sir Paul McCartney’s current nasty divorce have on his legacy? When Linda McCartney died, fans revered Paul as a loveable and grieving widower. Now, Heather Mills McCartney says Paul abused her and Linda. I wonder how this is going over in the Beatlemania camp?

What about Guns n' Roses? Appetite for Destruction is regarded as the most successful debut album in rock history. After Appetite for Destruction, Axl Rose and the rest of his sleazy boys released Lies, Use Your Illusion 1 and 2 and the Spaghetti Incident. Of course, Axl went nuts, fired the rest of the band and became a recluse working on the mystic Chinese Democracy. Will more than a decade of silence hurt the legacy that is Guns n' Roses, or will people still be talking about the amazing tracks on Appetite for Destruction 20 years from now?

Less famous bands like Twisted Sister, Hanoi Rocks, W.A.S.P., and even Cinderella all made their mark on the 80s metal scene. Some of those bands like Cinderella and Hanoi Rocks never really earned the credit they so richly deserved. Will history right this wrong, or will Cinderella stay lumped in a category of less talented musicians?

I guess only time will tell.