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Sunday
Dec102006

Meanwhile, at the Hard Rock Cafe...

On a little weekend getaway, I ate at the Hard Rock Cafe. It's touristy, cliche, and my husband and I enjoy the food and the loud music.

During this particular visit; however, I was more than dismayed when I heard the unmistakable hook to Will Smith's hit single "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It." Since when did this chain, known for playing ROCK music, start opening the doors to all things pop, rap and country?

I was even more annoyed to hear a Seal song. To make matters worse, the song was accompanied by a video of the star performing during "Hard Rock Live" concert.  For goodness sake, what is rock about Seal? Just because he's rich and married to a supermodel doesn't mean he can plug into a Marshall stack.

Once again, this convergence of popular culture brings up two never-ending questions:  "what is rock; what is metal?"

I'm not sure I know the answer to either, but I'm pretty sure rock has nothing to do with songs that include the word "jiggy" in the title.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday
Dec072006

Let's play six degrees...

Six degrees of guitarist Vivian Campbell:

For more than a decade, Campbell has rocked with Def Leppard. He joined the band in 1992 after Steve Clark died of an accidental overdose.

Before the Leps came knocking, Campbell was already established as a famous glam guitar god.

His first big break was for Irish glam band Sweet Savage. They were very big with fans of the Cathouse Club, a Sunset Strip mainstay of the 80s. The club was owned by Taime Down, lead singer of glam band "Faster Pussycat."

Campbell was just 15 when he joined Sweet Savage (drummer Rick Allen was also 15 when he joined Def Leppard).

Then next stop for Campbell was the British band Dio. That band is an off-shoot of Black Sabbath. Campbell performed at the Monsters of Rock show with Dio. Def Leppard was also on the bill.

Band tensions meant a job search, and Campbell found himself working  with Whitesnake (!). After the band's massive 1988 arena tour,  lead singer David Coverdale canned Campbell.

1988 was a huge year for Def Leppard. The band toured more than a year in support of the multi-platinum "Hysteria."

While waiting for his next job, Campbell played guitars for Lou Gramm.

Gramm was lead singer of a little band known as Foreigner.

And we're not done yet, kids.

Currently, Campbell has two side projects, Riverdogs and Clock. Riverdogs features former Journey band members.  Clock features a vocalist who performed on Def Leppard's "Retro Active" album. The vocalist is P.J. Smith. The song is a cover of "Action" by 70s British glam super group Sweet. One of the band members of Sweet left for Deep Purple. As we all know, David Coverdale eventually became lead singer for Deep Purple.

So, we've made our connection.

And now I have a headache.

 

 

 

 

Thursday
Dec072006

Misunderstood.

That's how I feel about Winger. I don't understand why the band was so mocked, especially when their lyrics and musical arrangements were typically better than other glam bands of the 80s era.

Was it the band members good looks, or their catchy lyrics that make you want to dance?

Was it because Kip Winger formed the band in New York City, and not in the warmth of the sunset strip? Let's cut the guy some slack. He was back-up guitars for Alice Cooper. Alice Cooper is the godfather of glam.

If you enjoy Winger, there's some good news. Kip is currently on tour, and he's making a stop in the Buckeye State.

He'll play the Alrosa Villa in Columbus on February 16. Show starts at 8.

Side note: Happy Anniversary, Eric.

Wednesday
Dec062006

A 2 Entry Day

It's a 2 entry day because work was lousy, and I was reminded of some uplifting song lyrics:


"I'm working hard, you're working too
We do it every day
For every minute I have to work
I need a minute of play
Day in day out all week long
Things go better with rock
The only time I turn it down
Is when I'm sleepin it off

Turn up the radio
I need the music, gimmie some more
Turn up the radio
I wanna feel it got to gimmie some more."

 -- Autograph's  "Turn Up The Radio" off their debut album "Sign In Please."

The 1984 tune is the band's only hit.  

And you know what? Things REALLY do go better with rock. So the next time you fee like all you do is work, pop in a little glam. I guarantee the melodic metal will cheer you up. Or at least make you feel a little less homicidal.

(Lyrics by Plunkett/Rand/Isham/Lynch/Richards)



 

Wednesday
Dec062006

I hate Christmas Music

It's true. I don't like Christmas tunes because I don't like the holiday (among other religious events). I find holiday tunes intolerable, much like hearing nails on a chalkboard. Enter Twisted Sister. Yes, Dee Snider and his gang of motley men. They recorded a Christmas album featuring traditional holiday songs.

The band even made a music video for "Come All Ye Faithful." That tune has excerpts of the bands biggest hit "We're Not Gonna Take It." Now, I still don't like Christmas music, but this is slightly more bearable than the crap you hear at Macy's this time of year.

Plus, on "The 12 Days of Christmas," the band talks about stuff relating to glam (what else?!). Cans of hairspray, fishnets, etc.

Right now, Amazon.com sales rank for the album is #167. That's actually pretty impressive. You can look the album up on amazon and find similar comments to these. Seems like most Twisted fans enjoy the album.

I still won't buy it (because, as I mentioned, I hate Christmas music) but I won't turn the radio dial if one of the songs hits the airwaves.

 

 

Tuesday
Dec052006

Name the Riff

So, one of my hair metal tunes of the moment is Whitesnake's "Still of the Night."

The thing that drives me crazy is the song's baseline.

 I know it's Led Zeppelin inspired.

It's well documented that David Coverdale is obsessed with Zepplelin.

The question remains...did Coverdale steal the famous guitar parts from the eclectic (and fabulous!) "Kashmir?"

It's the question of the day...and our first installment of "Name that Riff."

 

 

 

 

Monday
Dec042006

Political Ramifications of Glam

Yes, there are many over-arching political ramifications of the glam movement.

In particular, Def Leppard's "Gods of War" was way ahead of its time, both musically and politically.

At the end of the track, the band uses snippets of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher talking about terrorism.

"They counted on America to be passive. They counted wrong. "

Years later, President Bush uttered nearly the same statements after 9/11. Only this time, musicians didn't jump to criticize the acts of statements of world leaders. They jumped on the political bandwagon, praising America's involvement in the so-called "War on Terror. "

This is clear in all the immediate, post 9/11 patriotic releases and music specials. And good for them. Except, where's the criticism?

For all it's in your face self-indulgence, ever once in a while, glam acts had the wherewithal to address social issues in a way that a younger demographic would both understand and appreciate.

Now, to the music bit of the discussion.

"Gods of War" was never released as a single off the "Hysteria" album. This fact doesn't mean the track isn't appreciated on well-known. In fact, quite the opposite is true.

The song is a true testament to late Leppard guitarist Steve Clark and his musicianship.

His intro makes the song, and adds, (again) to the richness of the political meaning of the track.

More political discussion later.