Thursday, October 23, 2014



It's refreshing to get an album these days that's not overrun with the usual 13 or 14 tracks, and a glut of substandard bonus tracks.  So I was pleasantly surprised when Black State Highway's self titled debut album arrived at my door, containing just 8 tracks.  The saying quality over quantity without doubt applies here.

The Brighton based band introduce themselves with a riff happy blend of blues rock with a distinctive metal influence.  Lead vocalist Liva Steinberga immediately makes you sit up and take notice on opener Conclusion.  Her impressive range is more than a match for the Zeppelin-esque guitar on this groove laden rocker.  Lead off single, Ain't Got No, is more of the same and showcases  some impeccable drumming from Harry Bland.

On the atmospheric Broken, you get more than a hint of early Sabbath, with Steinberga once again excelling, especially on the chorus.  It's no coincidence that this band met at the Brighton Institute Of Modern Music, because their musical intelligence is blatantly evident here.  Guitarists Olie Trethwey and Yonnis Crampton make next track, Free, their own.  With a riff containing a healthy slice of Deep Purple's Black Night, but the distorted guitars puts their own stamp on it.

It's not just your 70's classic blues rock that's the chief influence on the album..Sacrifice leans a lot in the grunge direction, but is delivered with a hell of a lot more slickness and precision.  The raunchy Tekkers has a delicious meaty groove that is incessant throughout.  Gordon Duncan's brilliant bass line knits the whole song together perfectly.  Penultimate track, Common Man, more than tips it's hat to Southern rock with a relentless grinding riff.

Closer, Trouble, once again has Steinberga's voice dominating, which in truth is my only real criticism of this very impressive debut.  But this band are only going to get better.  Debut albums aren't meant to be perfect, but if this is just a taste of Black State Highway's talents, then I intend on tasting a lot more.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Albums Unleashed Motley Crue with John Corabi Part1 - Ep159

We're back with the second installment of our Albums Unleashed series and it's been a long time coming but we truly believe it's been worth the wait.

John Corabi joins Aaron and Chris this week to discuss what is arguably one of the most underrated albums of all-time; Motley Crue's self-titled album from 1994. In part one of this discussion, John helps us lay the groundwork into the story of the album with stories of his audition process, pre-production for the album, and the maddening-yet-rewarding experience of working with legendary producer Bob Rock.

John also shares revelations into the decision-making process of Motley Crue at that time; choosing to abandon the previously-blazed path of lyrics about rock and roll decadence and focus on delivering an album that's powerful not only musically but thought-provoking in its exploration of dark social commenatary. Tracks discussed in part one of this discussion include 'Hammered,' 'Power to the Music,' 'Uncle Jack,' and 'Hooligan's Holiday.' Also covered in this episode is information on John's current plans to perform the Motley album in-full at select upcoming dates with his band that includes guitarists Jeremy Asbrock, Josh Dutoit, bassist Topher Nolen and John's son Ian Corabi.

Next week we return to the track by track of the remainder of the album and it promises not to disappoint as John is very forthcoming in sharing the impetus for each song, it's process of creation, and his thoughts on them in hindsight.

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Motley Crue

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Louder Than Life Festival photos


The first ever Louder Than Life festival made its debut in Louisville, Ky. on Oct.4th and 5th 2014. While huge music festivals are no stranger to this city, Louder Than Life was a first of it's kind....a "Music, Whisky and Gourmet Man Food Festival." Louisville, has always been the home to the successful Forecastle hipster festival (insert puke noises here), so to hear that a hard rock/heavy metal festival was coming to town almost seemed to good to be true. The festival was success with a reported 37,000 people from all over country (and world for that matter) attending the 2 day party. We had a blast at Louder Than Life and can't wait for it to return next year. I could spend a few hours at this keyboard telling you everything about this festival BUT, I'm not going to. I think we will just share some of the best shots that we took over the weekend.

Kind of just tell a story through pictures I guess. We did not get a chance to get pictures of every band because we were too busy eating great food, drinking LOTS of beer and watching some badass sets by some badass bands!  Anyways, you get the point. In the interest of keeping this short and sweet I'll just leave you with my pictures. Thanks to Ashton-Magnuson Media for the hospitality. Enjoy!.....


Paul Stanley Is Wrong, And He Know's It.


Paul Thinks Catman Is No. 1
At a certain point we all get to see behind the curtain and find what we thought was a mystical or divine entity is nothing but a little old man and a projector.  Much to the chagrin of Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, we’ve all seen behind the curtain of KISS.  We’ve seen the cracks in the mirrored guitar and the wrinkles in the makeup.  As much as they have to be aware of this, Gene and Paul go forth as if we don’t know what they look like without makeup.
One of the more recent examples of outward delusion has been Paul’s insistence that if he could do it over he would’ve had Eric Carr wear Peter’s Criss’ makeup and Vinnie Vincent would’ve worn Ace Frehley’s.  Well that's just stupid.  And he knows it.  Yet he still says it.  Why?  Well he does this for one of two reasons. 

1)   Like many rock stars whose days of relevance is over a decade behind him, he truly is so immersed in the bullshit his hangers on feed him that he can’t see the reality that his days of being looked to for more than nostalgia are over.


2)   It helps justify the decision to do that with current Ace and Peter understudies Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer. 


I Think You Mean "Starchild" (KISS)
His basic argument is based on the premise that it’s working now and the opposite didn’t work then.  To that I say:  Post Hoc Ergo Proctor Hoc!  It's revisionist bullshit that fits the current storyline.  And he knows it.  KISS was a sinking ship in 1980.  And it wasn’t because Eric Carr was a Fox and not a Cat.  Dressing Eric as Peter would’ve only turned off even more fans.  And Paul knows it.  He knew it so much that I doubt it even crossed his mind at the time.  By 1979 KISS’ peak was behind them.  I doubt the teenagers who got stoned listening to KISS Alive! were enamored with KISS bed sheets and garbage cans.  Dynasty simultaneously sold well while also starting the decline of KISS.  Unmasked was pretty much ignored and to follow that up with a serious concept album by men in greasepaint?  Did they really think cutting their hair and switching from platform boots to standard high heels would make people respect them more? 
As much as their career seemed to be tanking, there was still reason to believe it could be turned around.  They weren’t even at the 8 year mark of being a band when the Elder came out.   They were replacing a member of the band not an actor in a play.  KISS’ popularity was waning because of many things.  Punk, disco, new wave were all hitting during this time.  The economy was in the tank.  I really doubt having Eric Carr in Peter’s cat makeup would’ve made Creatures sell better any more than pretending Ace was still in the band did.  And imagine the reaction the few fans they had left in 1982 would have reacted to Vinnie Vincent dressed in Ace’s costume and makeup.  It would’ve made an already dire time worse.  Again.  Paul knows it. 

Hey.  Who are those guys?

Paul also talks of how each character is internationally recognized.  While he is right, the bulk of the people he’s talking about can’t name a song and wouldn’t be able to pick the original 4 out of a picture of all six characters KISS has had.  In other words, the people who would know, would prefer Tommy and Eric had their own make up.  And the people who don’t know would have no idea they were new anyways.  While I doubt he’s lost much sleep thinking about my thoughts on the situation I can say I find it a bit offensive both he and Gene seem more concerned with what the Diane Sawyer's of the world think than what I think.
He can pretend it’s about 4 characters all he wants, but the truth is when they reunited in 1996 it wasn’t Demon and Starchild getting back together with Spaceman and Catman.  It was Gene, Peter, Ace and Paul.  There is plenty of evidence to back that up.  Again.  Paul knows it.  Unlike 1980, KISS is very much a nostalgia act now.  This next generation of fans they like to brag about are largely children of fans of the band who have grown up and insist that their kids see KISS.  And why wouldn’t a kid want to?  KISS is fun.  Make up and costumes and fire.  Fuck yeah.  But they will never have the same passion.  So while I don’t like what they are doing I do understand it and have come to accept it.  But it’s time Paul stopped talking like we’re all stupid.  He talks of a time when he and Gene are replaced.  Paul.  That time is now.  There are KISS tribute bands all over the world.  Some of them pretty advanced.  And none of them are selling out arena’s at 60 bucks a pop.  Paul knows it. 
They can dress up Eric and Tommy as Ace and Peter now and get away with it for one reason.  People don’t care as much as they once did.  I’m in the group that is against it.  But even I have to admit when I first heard they were doing, it didn’t register much more than an eye roll.  My reaction would’ve been much stronger when Eric Carr joined or when Vinnie Vincent suddenly appeared.  So if someone who actually gives a shit doesn’t care that much, there will be plenty of people afraid to let go that will drink the blood colored Kool-Aid you are serving when you make these stupid remarks.  That’s right.  Paul knows it.
He’s not an idiot.  He is very aware of what he’s doing.  Politicians call it spin.  I call it bullshit.  And I have a personal message for Paul.
Paul.  Baby.  It’s me.  Bakko.  We met in 1995 at the Bloomington KISS Konvention.  Well maybe you don’t remember but it was a pretty big deal to me.  But I digress.  By your own admission and volition you have been in therapy most of your life.  I don’t think it’s working.  You have gotten everything you’ve ever wanted.  You've achieved everything you ever dreamed of.  You pretty much run KISS.  You basically built your own cash machine.  You seem to have a wonderful family.  Your kids get to be the entitled pieces of shit you resented growing up.  You’re in the Rock n Roll Hall Of Fame man.  Yet you will minimize yourself just for the chance to kick Ace and Peter.  That’s fucking crazy man.  At the end of the day is it your intention to come off as petty and bitter?  Fuck sakes man, you’re in your 60’s.  Let it go.    
KISS has in many ways defined me for the last 37 years.  You don’t owe me anything.  I can honestly say my life is better because of KISS.  And the influence you personally have had on my life is immeasurable.  But I know what you’re doing and I know why.  And you should know that.    
Love, Bakko
Bakko and Paul St.. I mean, Starchild

Thursday, October 16, 2014



No matter what form of metal or rock that you are a fan of, you can't deny the 80's was a momentous time. To be transported back to that era, would be a trip, I think most nostalgic rockers would happily take.  For myself growing up, rock music was a daily part of my diet, it was fully immersed in my bloodstream. AC/DCWhitesnakeDeep PurpleDef Leppard and UFO were regularly blasted in my parents dining room.  Nothing else mattered, except standing in front of the mirror with the air guitar hung low.

When American glam metal started emerging with bands like Motley CrueRatt and Quiet RiotMTV took notice, and the whole scene went into overdrive.  Sunset Strip, Los Angeles, became a mecca for up and coming bands dreaming of the big time.  It became a decade of pure debauchery and extreme decadence, too much was never enough.  Sales of hairspray and spandex went through the roof.  In fact hair was so big it needed planning permission, while cucumber smuggling almost became a national sport.

But it wasn't all about the glam, established metal acts like Iron MaidenJudas Priest and Scorpians continued to pack arenas out across the states. Thrash metal was also on the up, with heavyweights like MetallicaAnthrax and Slayer.
But not everybody was a fan.  Former second lady, Tipper Gore, formed a committee in 1985 called the Parents Music Resource Centre (PMRC).  It's main goal was to increase parental control over access to music which was seen to glorify drug abuse, sexual violence and anarchy.  They even published the famous Filthy Fifteen, a list of songs deemed to have inappropriate content.  Needless to say over fifty per cent were rock bands.
W.A.S.P....not on Tipper Gore's Christmas card list.
Those included were Twisted Sister We're Not Gonna Take ItJudas Priest Eat Me AliveMotley Crue Bastard and W.A.S.P ANIMAL(FUCK LIKE A BEAST).  They also succeeded in having record companies put "Parental Guidance: Explict Lyrics" labels on albums, which became known as the Tipper Sticker. However this only had a positive impact on the metal market, record sales shot up.  Towards the end of the 80's rock was never bigger.  Guns N' Roses were ripping it up with their iconic debut, Appetite For DestructionDef  Leppard were shifting truckloads of their comeback album Hysteria and David Coverdale's Whitesnake were reborn with 1987.

Guns N' Roses 1987
But by the early 90's the golden era of rock was nearing an end and a new movement was emerging.  Yes folks, good old Grunge, the complete antithesis of 80's rock.  It arrived like the Grim Reaper in a flannel shirt, scythe in hand, and more or less massacred any rock band with a hint of melody.
NirvanaSoundgardenPearl Jam and Alice In Chains led the movement, while the rest were just poor imitations who looked twice as miserable and hated their mother more.  I approached Grunge with a open mind and bought Pearl Jam's Ten album.  The whole thing left me cold.  I felt no urge to throw a few shapes and release the dandruff.  Instead I found myself staring at the wall, wondering whether to smash my head against it.

Last year my wife won tickets to Soundgarden in Dublin, and seeing as I was older and a little bit wiser I went along, once again open minded.  There was no big sounding opener, instead we were greeted with something that probably gave the Grunge faithful a joyous feeling of impending doom.  My friend, who I dragged along, was ready to bottle them after the second song.  And to top it off, their massive hit, Black Hole Sun, wasn't played - even as an encore.  No instead we got ten minutes of mind bending misery, with bassist Ben Shepherd and guitarist Kim Thayall giving us a crash course in distortion.  But all bad things must come to an end and by the late 90's the movement was more or less over.
Poison 2014
Thankfully the same cannot be said for rock.  Their flame may have been dimly lit, but it has never been put out.  Because unlike Grunge, rock music is not a fad, it's a way of life, it's a tradition.  Plus us rock fans are loyal.  We have got married, bald, fat and pregnant with our bands, and have never missed the chance to devil horn the night away.  Bands like PoisonWarrant and Stryper, who suffered badly in the 90's, are back and loving it.  Rock royalty like AC/DCIron Maiden and Metallica are bigger than ever.  Kiss and Def Leppard have joined forces this summer for a North American tour.  Motley Crue are on what could be a 5 year farewell tour, and Judas Priest released the metal album of the year with Redeemer Of Souls.
Kiss and Def Leppard announce summer tour.
Although metal, trash and glam have always been the enemy of the critics, it still remains the most loved and revered form of music ever.  Where else would you get anthems as memorable Here I Go Again, Photograph, Run To The Hills, Master Of Puppets, Back In Black, Crazy Crazy Nights, Shot In The Dark, Shout At The Devil, Raining Blood, Wanted Dead Or Alive - the list is endless.  I remember hearing these songs for the first time and being totally seduced by their power, melody and downright brashness.  We probably won't see the likes of these bands again, but they've left a permanent imprint on a lot of peoples lives, mine included.  I wanna go back.  Are you ready.......everybody in the hot tub.

Revin' It Up in Toronto!

In continuing a what has become a well-established tradition, Toronto’s Rockpile Clubs have
succeeded in outdoing themselves once again.  I've had comments from the US and around the world saying how much they wish they had a Rockpile in their own town because of all the great shows they present.  Joining the long listed ranks of incredible rock acts such as UFO, Stryper, Tom Keifer and more that have graced the stages at one or both of Toronto’s two Rockpile locations is now the all female membership of Vixen.  Thanksgiving weekend here in the Great White North, Vixen appeared on back to back nights (Friday and Saturday) once at each Rockpile location (West & East).  Vixen’s shows had been originally scheduled for May but suffering the effects of a severe allergic reaction to a medication mimicking that of food allergy, vocalist Janet Gardner was unable to perform and they were forced to postpone the trip up here.

Vixen were sensations in the late 80’s, the only all female hard rock band of the era to produce six #1 MTV videos, have four songs in "Billboard's Top 100" and sell more than a million albums.  In many circles the ladies, bassist Share Pedersen (now Ross), drummer Roxy Petrucci, vocalist Janet Gardner and guitarist Jan Kuehnemund were dubbed the "female Bon Jovi" and issuing two albums, Vixen 1988 and Rev It Up 1990 before disbanding.  In 2012 a reunion of the classic line-up was decided and planned but before the announcement Jan was stricken with cancer.  Following a nine month battle she succumbed to the illness and we lost her on October 10, 2013.  The surviving members, along with guitarist Gina Stile, are now continuing under the Vixen moniker in honor of their founding member and friend Jan Kuehnemund.

The Friday October 10, 2014 show at Rockpile West was nothing short of pure magic.  That's the only way to describe it!  My Facebook status after the show read: "I have seen many bands so far this year from all over the world. I've traveled to Sweden Rock Festival, Monsters of Rock Cruise and M3 Festival. There have been many contenders for concert of the year, but I have to say that Vixen tonight at Rockpile West is definitely in the top 5, and the top half of that even! Roxy Petrucci, Share Ross, Gina Stile and Janet Gardner are incredible together on stage........if you can make sure you catch their second Toronto show Saturday at Rockpile East!".  I had seen these ladies previously as they were performing at the pre-party for 2013’s Monsters of Rock Cruise under the moniker JSRG (Janet/Share/Roxy/Gina) at the time.  I had the CD’s, I knew the songs, but I must admit that I was by no means a rabid fan, probably only catching their show as I attended the party mainly to mingle with friends, fellow cruisers and artists the night prior to sailing.  It was that very performance that made me a fan!  I had obviously done these four ladies an injustice with my pre-disposed notion of what they were like.  They absolutely blew me away and thoroughly rocked the whole place.  Their show aboard the ship was exactly the same as were their performances during 2014’s excursion.  There was no way I would be missing either Toronto experience! 

Gina Stile at Rockpile West, October 2014-by Brian Ronald
With my position secured at stage front on Gina Stile’s side and Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady” on the P.A. (co-incidence?) the ladies charged into “Rev It Up!”, my fist in the air and singing in all my totally tone deaf glory!  Always one of my favorite songs, “Rev It Up!” was a perfect opener and the whole band sounded so tight and near flawless, see below for a video of “Rev It Up!” that I took during the following night’s event.  Next on the roster was “How Much Love”, another video hit for which Janet Gardner continued submitting the rhythm guitar as she had for the opener.  Janet regaled us with a comedic little story about driving up last night and crossing the border into Canada before the girls served up "Cruisin'".  During “Bad Reputation” Roxy stood from behind the kit, pointed at me with both barrels/sticks, perhaps recognizing me from my Facebook profile pic taken 
Roxy Petrucci at Rockpile West, Oct 2014-by Brian Ronald
on the 2014 Cruise by Decibel Geek photographer Brian Ronald of her and I.  Or perhaps simply acknowledging me for rockin’ out and singing to every song, but I like to think the former.  I pointed back at her with both arms fully outstretched and she easily tossed/floated me one of her drumsticks, what an absolute thrill for a fan, something I never get tired of!  I’m sure even a toddler could have caught the stick, but unfortunately not dumbass ole me!  It bounced off my hand, off Brian Ronald, off another friend and to her friend standing behind her, idiot I am!  Every once in awhile between songs we were treated to some of the Share Ross comedy routine as she told some jokes.  This was a new segment than I’d not seen previously and although I did laugh along with the extremely corny punchlines I shan’t be purchasing tickets if she goes out on a standup tour,
Janet Gardner @ Rockpile West Oct 2014
sorry Share!  What did also make me smile and chuckle with laughter was the gentleman on the other side of the stage and the large bouquet of flowers that he wanted to present to the band, a grand gesture indeed.  ”I Want You to Rock Me” contained a little crowd participation in the middle as Janet would sing a line from some big 80’s songs and we were to follow up with the next line.  Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, Slaughter’s “Up All Night”, Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock n Roll” and Poison’s “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” were all included as we enthusiastically responded.  "Not a Minute Too Soon" and "Streets in Paradise" kept the momentum rolling and the fists high in the air.  We got some more Share bad but good comedy before Janet handed over the mike to her and her vocal stylings for a cover of Neil Young’s “Keep On Rockin’ In The Free World” at which she did an excellent job.  An emotional Janet then introduced “Love Is A Killer” with a few words for founding guitarist Jan Kuehnemund, saying thanks to her for giving them Vixen.  Tonight was the very one year anniversary of Kuehnemund’s passing and Janet visibly struggled to get through the song, choking up myself and several in the crowd as well.  Admitting afterwards how difficult that had been for her they barged right through into “Hell Raisers”.  Throughout the show I couldn’t help but marvel at the guitar prowess of Gina Stile, thinking that she has to be one of the
Share Ross @ Rockpile West Oct 2014
most underrated guitarists.  Stile simply, absolutely wails and the rest of the band is not short on talent either!  Roxy Petrucci’s thunderous drums resonated around the club as she hit hard with every note.  Share Ross’ thumping bass lines and Janet Gardner’s amazingly strong voice all meshed together in a perfect sound mix, something that The Rockpile West is also known for thanks to resident soundman Jake Disman.  Janet attempted to cut Share off as punchlines for more jokes were poised for delivery, but there was no stopping her.  "Love Made Me" followed before “Wrecking Ball” began with a short pounding solo from Roxy and closed down the regular set.  Considering that the crowd was not super full, given that this is our thanksgiving weekend, we sure were a loud bunch and Vixen was soon back on stage to serve us the Richard Marx penned “Edge of A Broken Heart” to wrap up the evening.  The ladies quickly went back stage to freshen up before coming out to their merchandise table to meet fans, sign autographs and take photos. Even though I had to run quickly to catch my bus home (or force being stranded sleeping at the airport) and couldn’t chat with them I’ve met these ladies before (on the cruise) and I can say they are very down to earth, friendly, humble, open and generally some of the nicest rockstars I’ve ever met!

Saturday’s show was held at The Rockpile East and went much as the Friday version, but I was again front row singing in all my tone deaf glory, fist high in the air.  I could see a Vixen show every day and it would never get old!  I was able to quickly join the line of fans waiting to meet the ladies, getting my Friday night edition setlist autographed and some album covers signed including Contraband on which Share Ross appeared.  I was so tired from working Friday, rocking Friday night sleeping for just two hours, working Saturday and then rocking Saturday night that I was only able to mumble some quick short incoherency at them!  I wish I’d had the foresight to print the pics below and bring them for autographs.  Thank-you so very much for coming to Toronto ladies, I can’t wait to see you again whenever or wherever that may be, but speaking on behalf of Toronto, please come back asap!
The Meister & Roxy-MORC 2014-by Brian Ronald
Share Ross-MORC 2013-by The Meister
Vixen & Meister-MORC 2014

The Meister

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(Vixen Website) (Vixen Facebook)

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Monday, October 13, 2014


I've witnessed Def Leppard in some strange concert situations over the years.  The first one was in 1986, while on holidays in a seaside resort called Ballybunion,on the south west coast of Ireland. The Leps were doing a live rehearsal tour of the country in preparation for a series of Monsters Of Rock shows.  And also to get drummer, Rick Allen, back up to speed after his horrific car accident.  They played the local hotel, a run down little dump called the The Atlantic.  This place was a complete throwback to the 70's, with a nicotine stained glitter ball swinging precariously from the roof.  The second was a year later, on the opening night of the Hysteria world tour.  This time the venue was a local bingo hall on the north side of Dublin, called the SFX.  Nothing special, just four beer and piss stained walls and a gaping hole in the roof.

Fast forward five years, it's Wednesday and I'm in work getting lacerated with paper cuts.  I get a phone call around noon, it's my buddy.  Guess what, he says, Def Leppard are playing McGonagles tonight, fuck off I say.  Tickets just went on sale,he continues, we haven't a fuckin hope, I say, defeated.  The 400 tickets sold out in point 4 of a second.  The band were doing a warm up show for The 7 Day Weekend Tour, in support of their latest album Adrenalize.  It was also Vivian Campbell's first gig with the band.  He was replacing long time guitarist Steve Clark, who sadly passed away the previous year.  He was to be presented to the world the following week, at Freddie Mercury concert, in Wembley Stadium.  Despite not having tickets, we meet that evening anyway and make our way to the venue, with the faint hope of scoring tickets outside.

Let me describe McGonagles for you, it's a legendary club on South Anne Street, just off the very posh Grafton Street, on the south side of Dublin.  It had hosted bands like Nirvana and U2 in their infancy, and was a well known venue for up and coming thrash metal bands.  And the interior, well, it was like a large toilet, with a hole in the wall for a bar, and box for a stage.  It smelled of damp leather and Spanish onions. Two hours to doors and we get approached by a suspicious looking character.  But, he was a suspicious looking character, with tickets.  This guy had a massive scar from his neck to his cheek with one eye facing north and the other facing west.  His breath smelt like he'd been French kissing a chain smoking camel.

With tickets at £8 face value, we offer £15 each.  Ah will ya fuck off lads, dirty, dirty (he meant thirty), was his response.  After about a half hour of this, we eventually agree on £50  for two tickets.  And he even had the good grace to escort us to the ATM.  The word "forgery" crossed my mind as we approached the door.  I nervously hand over my ticket, and just as I was preparing myself for the worst, there it was, stub ripped off, I was in.  Everything looked normal, drums, amps, lights, but I still had a nagging suspicion we had been, monumentally had.  That was until Leps manager, Peter Mensch, walked in my direction.  I greeted him like a long lost friend - he looked at me like I had Bubonic plague.  Despite my embarrassment it confirmed to me that this was no hoax, this was very real.  Def Leppard, one of the biggest bands on the planet, were playing this shit hole.

And on they came, I said welcome to my show, Joe Elliot screams, as they launch into a hair raising Stagefright.  They don't let the crowd up for air as Rock! Rock! (till you drop) keeps the place shaking.  The mid tempo thud of Women lets us draw breath a little.  Just two songs off the new album, Adrenalize were played, lead off single Let's Get Rocked and the reworked Tear It Down.  The main bulk of the set consisted of the Pyromania and Hysteria albums.  The last hour of the show was the most memorable for me.  With classics like Foolin'Rock Of Ages and Armageddon It, all following each other.  I was in hard rock heaven.  1987's comeback single Animal, was followed by a blistering version of Queen's, Now I'm Here, due to be performed with Brian May at Wembley Stadium the following Monday.

New guy Vivian Campbell, on home soil, fitted effortlessly into the band.  He traded licks with Phil Collen like he'd been in the band 20 years.  Joe Elliot gave him a "welcome to the family" introduction much to the delight of the sweat soaked crowd.  After the encore of Photograph and Tear It Down, the band exited and the "house light" came on.  And that was it.  Bar witnessing the birth of my two children, this was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life.  I have yet to be at a gig that had as much energy and intensity.  I actually saw Ozzy at the same venue a couple of years later, great gig, but not a patch on Leppard.  Sadly, McGonagles has since been demolished,  I like to think that the wrecking ball that was Def Leppard,on that Wednesday in April, cast the first blow.

Get well soon Vivian.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Radio Sucks Radio Show vol19 - Ep158

After a week focused on Germany to celebrate Rocktoberfest, we're back to being all over the map this week.

This week Aaron and Chris return with volume 19 of the Radio Sucks Radio Show series. No theme, no plan; just tunes that the guys have been listening to and think you might like. All eras celebrated with artists old and new including Britny Fox, Cinderella, Crobot, Faith No More, Winger, Unisonic, and a bunch more!

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John Corabi
Britny Fox
Faith No More
Gilby Clarke
Fit for Rivals

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Rocktoberfest (Celebrating Some Awesome German Bands)

In conjunction with last week’s Decibel Geek podcast episode #157, Rocktoberfest, in which Aaron & Chris celebrate some excellent bands from Germany, I decided to add a few more to the list.  A veritable hotbed of Power Metal, I decided to focus/concentrate mainly in that genre with a few strays along the way.  As the boys discussed many German players tie in to other bands and have been or are still involved in multiple groups.  Here's another seven (in no particular order) German bands (all with recent releases) that you should hear as well as all the greats played during last week's episode.

I was introduced to Iron Savior via Decibel Geek photographer Brian Ronald and must admit have become quite addicted to the 2011 album, The Landing.  The song “Heavy Metal Never Dies” from that release is a complete power metal classic that never gets old, as evidenced by its constant appearances in my playlists.  As for the band, they formed in 1996 in Hamburg with Piet Sielck handling vocals and guitars, Kai Hansen (Helloween/Gamma Ray) vocals/guitar, and drummer Thomen Stauch (Blind Guardian).  They started out with a concept of blending power metal with a story about a space ship christened Iron Savior.  Today we find guitarist Joachim Kustner, bassist Jan-Soren Eckert, and drummer Thomas Nack joining sole original member Piet Sielck.  Give a listen to "Burning Heart" from the band's latest output, 2014's Rise of the HeroIron Savior Website

Primal Fear was given life by vocalist Ralf Scheepers (Gamma Ray) and Mat Sinner (Sinner) in 1997.  2014's Delivering The Black is the tenth in the library that has also seen a few member changes throughout the years.  Currently we find guitarist Alex Beyrodt (Voodoo Circle/Sinner/Silent Force), guitarist Magnus Karlsson (Allen-Lande/Place Vendome), and drummer Aquiles Priester (who replaces recently departed Canuck drummer Randy Black) along side the Scheepers/Sinner duo.  Original guitarist Tom Naumann who was forced to depart due to medical reasons is currently assisting with live performances and tours. Here's my review of Primal Fear's Delivering the Black album and concert in Toronto earlier this year (Delivering the Black Album Review) and (Primal Fear Invades Toronto). Try my favorite of the album "Alive & On Fire" for a sample.  Primal Fear Website

Cologne, Germany was the scene for the formation of Gun Barrel back in 1998.  After issuing an EP that garnered some record label attention Gun Barrel has produced four studio and one live album behind 2014's Damage Dancer.  My foray into the Gun Barrel world began when the record company sent me a download to review Damage Dancer and I have since added 2008's Outlaw Invasion and 2012's Brace For Impact to my personal library.  The band currently consists of guitarist and only original member Rolf Tanzius, vocalist Patrick Suhl, bassist Tomcat Kintgen, and drummer Toni Pinciroli.  Read my review of the album here: (Staring Down a Gun Barrel) and check out the title track, "Damage Dancer", for a preview.   Gun Barrel Website

Lars Ramcke is the sole remaining original member from Stormwarrior's beginnings in Hamburg in 1998.  Ramcke handles vocals and guitar and is joined by Alex Guth (guitar), Yenz Leonhardt (bass), and Jorg Uken (drums) in Thunder & Steele released in January of this year.  Thunder & Steele, Stormwarrior's fifth album, was produced by Piet Sielck (Iron Savior) and in the past they've worked with Tommy Hansen and Kai Hansen (Helloween/Gamma Ray) who also contributed vocal and guitar work on some tracks.  With a lot of their lyrics often surrounding viking themes Thunder & Steele is a delicious slice of power/speed metal.  Have a listen to "Steelcrusader", a favorite of mine from Thunder & SteeleStormwarrior Website (leads to Facebook)

 I found Axxis when their name surfaced on the bill for 2013's Sweden Rock Festival that I was to be attending for the first time.  I missed their set at SRF but look forward to seeing them at Firefest in a few weeks.  They harken back to Dortmund in the late 80's with their debut release, Kingdom of the Night in 1989.  The band's latest album celebrating the 25th anniversary of the debut is Kingdom of the Night IIKingdom of the Night II is actually two different CD's available separately, the Black containing the heavier, darker material while the White consists of more melodic material and ballads.  Over all a very 80's style with elements of hard rock and power metal throughout check out the video for "Venom" from the BlackAxxis Website

When guitarist Roland Grapow and drummer Uli Kusch's side project caused their untimely departure from Helloween in 2001 Masterplan was born.  They recruited singer Jorn Lande and issued the debut, Masterplan, produced by Andy Sneap in 2003.  While there was some studio bass work on the album, Grapow served as the main bassist and Jan-Soren Eckert (Iron Savior) was later hired for touring and the following albums.  For 2013's Novum Initium Grapow had an almost totally new line up beside him with Rick Altzi on vocals, Jari Kainulainen on bass, Martin Skaroupka on drums and Alex Mackenrott on keys.  I also was fortunate enough to catch a portion of Masterplan's set at Sweden Rock Festival 2014: (Dismal Skies on Day #2 of SRF 2014).  Here's "Keep Your Dream Alive" for you to check out.  Masterplan Website

Axel Rudi Pell started out in 1984 with German band Steeler (not to be confused with Steeler featuring Ron Keel and Yngwie Malmsteen).  Four albums later, in 1989, he embarked on a successful solo career resulting in no less than fifteen releases.  Into the Storm is the latest effort and my starting point.  Since 1997 Johnny Gioeli (Hardline) has been handling the vocal duties for Pell's albums and Ferdy Doernberg the keys.  Bassist Volker Krawczak has been with Pekk since '89 and drummer Bobby Rondinelli replaced Mike Terrana last year.  My review of Axel Rudi Pell-Into the Storm from back in March and the video for: "Long Way To Go"Axel Rudi Pell Website

There are so many great German bands and these are but a few.  Raise your glass for "Rocktoberfest" and some awesome German music.

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