Friday, June 29, 2012

The Sex Pistols' Never Mind The Bollocks Here’s The Sex Pistols - Super Deluxe Edition Box Set available for preorder

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In the past 26 years, I've purchased and re-purchased this album more times than any other album BY FAR. And if I had £99.99 burning a hole in my pocket, I'd purchase this box set in a heartbeat.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Episode 39 - Bizzaro Covers II

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Without question, one of the more popular theme shows the Decibel Geek podcast has ever produced was our Bizzaro Covers episode which featured hard rock and metal bands performing non-hard rock and metal songs.

While original material is always a joy to listen to (unless it's being produced by Nickelback), a good cover song that puts a new spin or perspective on a song provokes emotion and can trigger the listener into liking something they normally wouldn't even care about.

Before we dive right in to the music, there are a few things we need to pimp. Our Canadian correspondent Wally Norton recently scored a great interview with Coney Hatch singer Carl Dixon that was picked up by a few other web media outlets.

Also discussed are some wonderful comments from this week's Geek of the Week. To be qualify for Geek of the Week simply head over to our facebook fan page and click LIKE; simple as that.

Of course, if you want to go one step beyond and tell a friend or write a review in iTunes, your chances go up exponentially (who said payola is dead?).

To round off the news, we discuss a commentary that Decibel Geek podcast host Chris Czynszak wrote in response to the recent reveal of the price of KISS' new Monster book and the harsh reaction that has been echoed by about 99% of the KISS Army. Consider a second mortgage.

We dug deep this week to bring you some gems that you may have not heard before. While there are a number of bands you've heard of, there's a couple oddball choices as well. All of the songs are certainly not what we typically play but we think you'll agree that they all benefit from a harder production. As the cheesy Autograph tune used to say, "Things go better with rock."

Artists Included:

Dungeon
HIM
W.A.S.P.
Anthrax
Metallica
Vince Neil
Cake
Wednesday 13
L.A. Guns
Foo Fighters

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The America Rocks Tour...

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There's a whole lotta metal out on the road this summer, entitled the "America Rocks Tour". Jack Russell's Great White has hit the road along with Faster Pussycat, the Bullet Boys, Lillian Axe and for the Toronto show added a couple of local acts R.E.D. (Raised Emotionally Dead) and Diemonds. A total dream come true for any self respecting eighties metalhead.

The show got underway just after 7pm with local act Diemonds taking the stage first. Toronto based Diemonds are living proof that there is hope for a new generation of rockers who want to hear loud, aggressive melodic metal. A high energy, take no prisoners attitude this band can share the stage with the big boys any day of the week.



R.E.D. (Raised Emotionally Dead) are a band that needs to be seen live. The uniform look of the black/red gives this band calling card to be remembered but the real deal is the music they create. Heavy as hell with some great hooks, these guys are a blast to watch live. A blown amp head couldn't even slow them down as a replacement Marshall was added mid-song as the band played on. Check them out

Lillian Axe, to be honest was a band that I kinda missed out on during the eighties. I am really not sure why they didn't hit my radar but I don't remember much about them in the eighties. Wow did I miss the boat! These guys came out like they were on a mission. A totally entertaining set, the guitar duo of Steve Blaze and Sam Poitevent led a metal assault of epic proportions. I will be heading home to add some Lillian Axe to my music collection.

Next up, the Bullet Boys took to the stage and delivered a rocking little set including such hits as "For the Love of Money", "Kissin Kitty", "Hard as Rock" and of course "Smooth Up in Ya". Marq Torien sounds as sharp as ever and the guy knows his way around a fretboard as well. A band I never got to see live back in the day, but they were worth the wait.




Faster Pussycat could almost become the houseband at the Rockpile, having played here three times in under a year. In fact Taime quoted "I see you guys more than I see my mama". Always a crowd pleaser they ripped through "Slip of the Tongue", "Cathouse", the Betty Blowtorth cover of "Shut up and Fuck", a really cool version of "House of Pain", and the classic "Bathroom Wall" which led into bassist Danny Nordahl taking over the mic for "Pretty Fucked Up". All in all, Faster Pussycat delivered the goods on a hot night in Toronto.


Photos by Wally Norton

Finally after five hours of metal came the man of the hour, the legendary Captain Jack Russell and his Great White hit the stage just after midnight. Now Jack Russell has certainly had his share of ups and downs but tonight he proved to all that he is back. The band he brought along have everything under control. Jack's new crew consists of Guitarist Robby Lochner, Guitarist Matthew Johnson, Bassist Dario Seixas and Drummer Derrick Pontier and these guys are ready to sail the high seas with their Captain. "Rock Me", "Save Your Love", "Shake It" and a beautiful "Dessert Moon" all never sounded so good. Jack announced a romantic love ballad as they kicked into "On Your Knees" and the not to be forgotten "Once Bitten Twice Shy" was a killer sing-along finale. Jack's vocals were as strong as ever.

Be sure to check out the America Rocks Tour if they sail into port near you.

AUTOMAN.CA show review

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Photos by Wally Norton

Automan.ca rolled into Toronto Friday night (June 22) delivering up a helping of some southern deep fried Rock n Roll Canadian style. Kicking off a summer jaunt in support of the new "Backseat Surprise" album, Darrell "Dwarf" Millar announced that we were all in for one hell of a show as they launched into Bona Fide from the aforementioned album.

If you are unaware of this band, "Automan.ca" is a Canadian rock band fronted by Darrell "Dwarf" Millar (former drummer for the Killer Dwarfs). Rounding out the line up is Carleton Lockhart (guitar), John Fenton (bass) and Adrian Cavan (drums). A high energy rock and roll band, I would describe their sound as 1 part ZZ Top, 1 part Bon Scott era AC DC, 1 part Molson Canadian.


Darrell makes the jump from drummer to hard rock frontman with ease and style. He is truly a born entertainer and has a really solid set of pipes to boot. Mixing up songs from all three releases, the band faithfully recreate the sound of their records.

A while back, I wrote about  "3 guitarists to see before you die". Now after watching Carleton Lockhart tear up the fretboard, I think I will have to add in a 4th guitarist to this list. Carleton's
unique style brings out a tone from his guitar that quite honestly I have never, ever heard. Very warm and funky yet it fits with the band.


Apparantly as a child he picked up a family members guitar and started to play. He was a lefty so was holding the guitar upside down. Unlike other lefty's who reversed the strings, Carleton still plays with his strings reversed and without a pick. It is both unique and quite mesmerizing to watch his fingers dance along the fretboard.

This band is tight without being rigid and they seem to truly enjoy being onstage. From the rockin "45", the bluesy "Milldog Blues" to the crunchy "Back in the Sun" the band played a really solid set.
 If your looking for a good time this summer, I suggest grab some Automan.ca tickets as Darrell announced at the start, they gave us one hell of a show!

Bruce Kulick Reflects on AudioDog

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Bruce Kulick has been posting some seriously cool stuff on his website and we want to help draw our fellow Decibel Geeks' attention to it.

Recently, Bruce posted a huge look back at the Revenge recording sessions to help celebrate the album's 20th anniversary and now he's back with another cool commentary.

Today, Bruce released his track by track take on his first solo album, Audiodog. If you haven't checked this album out, you owe it to yourself to purchase it. Recorded on a 16 track analogue recorder, Audiodog has a very personal connection to Bruce outside of it being his first foray into the solo world. 

The album was recorded at Bruce's home studio with his best friend and pet, Joe, by his side for the recording of the album. When Bruce was trying to think of a title for the album, Audiodog popped into his imagination and helped him realize his connection with Joe. The new extended version of Audiodog is being released in Joe's honor and Bruce gets you primed with his in-depth commentary on each track.

Bruce will be in our neck of the woods (Nashville) in September with Grand Funk Railroad and we are hoping to get a chance to talk to him while he's in town. Fingers crossed...

In the meantime, check out the commentary!


- Chris Czynszak

Friday, June 22, 2012

FRANK’S BACK!

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From Zappa.com:

TIME TO FREAK OUT… FRANK’S BACK!

ZAPPA FAMILY TRUST REGAINS CONTROL OF ICONIC MUSICIAN’S EXTENSIVE CATALOG

GLOBAL LICENSE/DISTRIBUTION DEAL SIGNED WITH UNIVERSAL MUSIC ENTERPRISES 

CATALOG OF 60 RECORDINGS TO BE LAUNCHED WITH JULY 31 RELEASE OF 12 TITLES 

Back home where it belongs, the music of FRANK ZAPPA is now back in the hands of the ZAPPA FAMILY TRUST.

To celebrate this, the estate has signed a global license and distribution deal with UNIVERSAL MUSIC ENTERPRISES to release 60 of the iconic composer’s recordings. The roll-out kicks off July 31 with 12 recordings, with another dozen recordings to be released monthly through the end of 2012.

“The ink is not yet dry on The Zappa Family Trust's worldwide deal with Universal Music Enterprises,” says Gail Zappa. “They made us the offer we couldn't refuse--for all the right reasons. It is a win-win for all of us, but mostly for Frank Zappa. Long may his baton wave. We are so ready to go.”

“The artist and composer, Frank Zappa, is one of the most important and influential artists in music history with his prolific body of work, including his breakthrough rock ‘n roll concept albums. We are honored that Gail Zappa and the Zappa Family Trust have entrusted us with his legacy. We intend to honor him and bring high quality releases, digital and physical, for his new and longtime fans,” said Bruce Resnikoff, President/CEO, Universal Music Enterprises (UMe).

Now fully back in hands of the Zappa Family Trust--headed by Zappa’s widow Gail Zappa--the releases will honor the iconic legacy of the composer, musician, bandleader and filmmaker. ZAPPA was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997 (although the family would like to know where it is).The official biography: Frank Zappa, American composer, 1940-1993.

The UME deal is for the entire Zappa Catalog as it appeared on Frank Zappa's own independent label, Barking Pumpkin Records. Many of the original analog masters have been re-mastered for this occasion. Yes that's right, you heard right. The entire Catalog, in all its spiffnificent glory will launch July 31, just in time for Frank Zappa’s daughter DIVA’s birthday-- an occasion that will be celebrated along with GAIL, sister MOON UNIT and brothers DWEEZIL and AHMET.

For more information, go to www.zappa.com.

The initial 12 FRANK ZAPPA releases included in the ZAPPA/UNIVERSAL deal set for July 31 are as follows. **Date signifies original year of release.

1. Freak Out! (1966)
2. Absolutely Free (1967)
3. Lumpy Gravy (1968)
4. We're Only In It For The Money (1968)
5. Cruising With Ruben & The Jets (1968)
6. Uncle Meat (1969)
7. Hot Rats (1969)
8. Burnt Weeny Sandwich (1970)
9. Weasels Ripped My Flesh (1970)
10. Chunga's Revenge (1970)
11. Fillmore East, June 1971 (1971)
12. Just Another Band From L.A. (1972)

For more information, contact:

ZAPPA FAMILY TRUST
MSO
818-380-0400
Marcee Rondan/Mitch Schneider/Todd Brodginski
marcee@msopr.com, mschneider@msopr.com, toddb@msopr.com

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Monstrous Response

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For the past 24 hours there’s been a firestorm of emotion amongst the ranks of the KISS Army. Fans are ‘Shouting Out Loud’ and taking to facebook, twitter, and various message boards to express themselves.

Unfortunately, this is not the KISS Army you are used to. Yes, the ragtag group of fans (myself included) that have stood by and defended Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and company have truly had it ‘up to here’ with the greasepainted superheroes due to the recent announcement of the pricing for their newest piece of merchandise, the Monster photo book.

KISS has been teasing this book for the past couple of months by showing photos of some of the pages being reviewed for approval. It was clear that this book was going to be of mammoth proportions but no one could have predicted that the price would surpass it.


Speculation abounded on KISS fan message boards and facebook groups about what the price of this monstrosity would be as well as what practical purpose it served. Speaking as a KISS nerd myself, I love books about KISS and the band’s visual appeal is a no-brainer for a cool photo book but the reality among many KISS fans is that we would much rather have a book that includes more talk and less visual sizzle. I, personally, had been much more excited for the release of  Nothin’ to Lose; a book that veteran KISS biographer Ken Sharp had been putting together with the band but that book appears to have been shelved as it now has a release date on Amazon of July 14th…..2014. So, Monster is what we get.

And what do we get with Monster? According to the official website (www.kissmonsterbook.com) , you get a book that is three feet tall and two and half feet wide. The book has been rumored to weigh in the neighborhood of 50-70 pounds but I can’t seem to find anything set in stone but suffice it to say, if your wife doesn’t kill you for purchasing this product, you’ll certainly get a hernia from trying to lift it.

I’ve purposely avoided mentioning what the price is for this forest-killer in order to give you a few minutes to laugh before going into cardiac arrest. Go ahead, get your affairs in order and tell your wife and kids goodbye because you’re about to go ‘one step beyond’ when I tell you what KISS expects you to pay for a love seat-sized book of concert photographs………..$4299.00!

No, I did not misplace a decimal. Gene, Paul (and their accountants) want you to get out the proverbial KY Jelly and grease up for a Demon/Starchild fleecing. But wait! There’s a special Pre-Launch price of $3499.00. And did I mention Free Shipping? That should make all the difference right? Wrong.

If you’re still alive to read this, I want to tell you that us KISS fans are a forgiving bunch. We will be willing to let KISS be KISS in the marketing world as they trot out one ridiculous trademarked piece of merchandise after another and vote with our wallets to not support such things. In fact, the vast majority of the stuff that KISS put out is not anything that I would personally buy but I (and many others) have no problem with them fulfilling the wishes of the fans that DO enjoy that stuff.  But who wished for this book?

Here’s my conspiracy theory *puts on Jesse Ventura mask*. A few years ago Gene Simmons started showing up on talk shows and in newspapers hawking the newest piece of Kissobilia; the KISS Kasket. This bed for the dead was emblazoned with KISS logo and photos of the group in makeup. Simmons harped on about how it was not a morbid purchase as it was water-tight and could be used as a KISS Kooler to keep your beverages cold while you are still above ground.

This had all the trappings of a classic publicity stunt and, while it was a real item (the band released an updated version last year and Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell was buried in one of the originals), I don’t think KISS actually expected any wide-raging sales from the item. It boiled down to a convenient way for KISS to get their name out there during a time when a new album was years away and they were in the middle of a ho-hum (in the media’s eyes; not mine) touring cycle that saw them running purely off of nostalgia.

Is history repeating itself? Could Gene, Paul, and the rest of the gang be banking on this massive book getting enough media attention to help draw more eyes and ears to their upcoming tour with Motley Crue and, later in the year, the Monster album release? Well, if that’s the case they have finally bitten off more than they can chew with the fans.

KISS fans no doubt were embarrassed by the whole Kasket ordeal but we laughed it off as a gimmick and, really, how many of us ever seriously considered buying one of those things?

But the Monster book is a different beast altogether. This is a KISS product that is directly related to what they do best; provide the most amazing stage show in all of rock and roll (at least they used to). A giant book filled with tons of photos of the bands full career certainly piqued the interest of many of us and it has nothing to do with any tie-ins to Family Guy or Hello Kitty. But what about the price?

Fans have been speculating for the past few weeks about what this cool new book was going to cost. A poll was even set up on popular KISS fan site KISSFAQ.com. Among the hundreds of votes, the most popular guess seemed to be in the $500-600 neighborhood; an astounding price for a photo book but nothing too shocking for a KISS fan.  But $4299.00?

I almost forgot to mention that KISS is also offering ten different versions of the book featuring flags of ten different countries. While this seems like a nod to some of the bands biggest supporters from around the globe, it reeks to this writer of some very rich and famous opportunists targeting the completist collectors that have to have everything. It feels like the equivalent of a crack dealer offering different variants of dope to a junkie.

Since the price of this product has been released, KISS fans have spoken loud and clear and it appears that the feedback is negative across the board. The devoted soldiers in the KISS Army, for the most part, are truly outraged at what they feel is a slap in the face to their fandom.

One KISS fan on the KISSFAQ board responded sarcastically by asking “Should I buy the plain cover, the American cover, punch myself in the abdomen, or buy the UK cover?”

Another die-hard on the KISSFAQ board eloquently stated, “I’m a rose colored glasses-wearin(g) sheep but that’s frickin insane. The first 3 cars I owned didn’t cost me that much. I think I’ll pass.”

A fellow KISS fan friend of mine on facebook stated in a status update, "KISS says..."We hear and we obey"...Finally they have listened...I have been wanting a 7 foot book that weighs 300 pounds and costs as much as 17 payments on my Kia. KISS nailed it exactly!" While there is some exaggeration going on there, you get the point.

Having the media poke fun at you but still giving you enough press to sell a few extra tickets to casual rock fans may be an acceptable practice in the world of KISS Inc. Scaling the heights of ridiculousness like they have this week may have done some long-term damage with their diehards though.

As I said before, many hardcore fans (myself included) can look the other way while our costumed crusaders pad their bank account as long as we get some great music and fun concerts in exchange. That's really all that they owe us. But, in truth, I wonder if they care much at all about those of us that have been supportive of the band through different eras, different members, and drastically changing circumstances (including death). Or, are we just wallets with a pulse?

I can only hope that the upcoming Monster album release will take away some of the cynicism. Until then, don't forget to balance your checkbook guys.

- Chris Czynszak


Kiss Monster Book Promo from flawless media on Vimeo.

unbelievably good albums with unbelievably bad album covers: DLR (David Lee Roth) Band - self-titled

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Andrew Jacobs here,

I've decided to introduce a new post series to the Decibel Geek website - unbelievably good albums with unbelievably bad album covers.  This series will focus on, well, unbelievably good albums with unbelievably bad album covers (and there's certainly no shortage of those).

To kick things off, I give you 1998's DLR (David Lee Roth) Band - self-titled.

This is, pound for pound, my favorite Roth solo album. The only other solo album of his that even comes close for me is Skyscraper (and before you ask, YES, I like Skyscraper better than Eat 'Em And Smile). From start to finish, the DLR Band album kicks the crap out of all things Van Hagar. Now, before both of you Sammy fans flood the site with hate email, will you at least consider listening to the DLR Band album first? Just click here.  PLEASE.

Had this been released as a Van Halen album around the time of their first reunion with Roth in the mid 1990s, it would've EASILY sold 3 million.  As it stands however, it probably hasn't even sold 3 thousand.

But then again, that godawful album cover certainly didn't help matters.  Yuck.  Looks more Romney than Roth to me.

Episode 38 - 1969 Year in Review Part 2

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With so much going on in 1969 there was no way we were going to be able to squeeze all of it in to one episode and we're back this week to give you a second dose of the news, the music, and the personalities of the year of the rooster.


We begin things on a dark note as we discuss the Manson family murders including murder of actress Sharon Tate and Charles Manson's obsession with the Beatles song Helter Skelter and his morbid perception of the lyrics. This leads into a taste of one of the standout tracks from the Yellow Submarine album.

With the Beatles on their way out, a successor was on the rise in Led Zeppelin as Robert Plant and company  released I and II in 1969. We spin one of Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and segue into Jimmy Page's least favorite Zeppelin song but we dig it.

1969 saw the second and final album by the Jeff Beck Group released as Beck-Ola climbed to #15 on the charts on the strength of Jeff Beck's guitar playing and the growly pre-AOR vocals of a young Rod Stewart. Aaron picks his favorite track off the album and we give you a sample of that.

As we discussed in Part 1 of our 1969 Year in Review, Detroit was a hotbed of activity in the rock and roll world that year and it's arguably the birthplace of punk and alternative music due to the emergence of The Stooges. Fronted by Iggy Pop, The Stooges were a stripped down noise machine that perfectly encompassed the alienation of youth in the blue-collar Midwest.

While not a big seller (peaking at 106 on the Billboard charts), The Stooges debut album is widely considered the foundation for a slew of punk and garage bands the world over in the years following it. We take a listen to Iggy's ballad of submission.

We return from the break to discuss an intimate little affair that included 350,000 people hanging out on a farm while musical legends entertained and promoters warned people to check the color of their acid. Woodstock was a three day history maker; with performances by Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Janis Joplin, CCR, and Santana among many others. Considered by many as the greatest musical festival of all time, it's a true snapshot of America in 1969 as it had ties to music, pop culture, and the ongoing conflict in Vietnam.

Also in 1969 a group led by a couple of friends from Lincoln, Nebraska released a song that was quite prophetic that warned of the dangers of future advances in electronic and medical technology and how society would be affected in a negative way.

While we love where technology is these days (we wouldn't be able to provide you with this podcast if it weren't), there are signposts out there that do make you wonder if these guys were onto something. You'll get to hear these thought provoking lyrics as we feature the majority of this interesting track.

We started this episode off on a grim note with the Manson murders and we end it on one as well as we discuss the tragic events that occurred at the Altamont Speedway Free Festival. Billed by many as 'Woodstock West', the show was doomed before it even started with the Hell's Angels biker club being hired as security.

With rampant drug use and a chaotic atmosphere, things spun out of control throughout the day; even causing the Grateful Dead (prime organizers of the festival) to decline to play their scheduled time slot. Things hit a boiling point while the Rolling Stones were onstage and you'll hear a clip of Mick Jagger trying to get the audience to relax. We play out on a hopeful note with a song from the Stones album Let it Bleed that tries to instill some hope in a crazy society.

1969 was not a year for the weak willed and it's certainly not one that will be easily forgotten. We hope these 2 episodes gave you a good perspective on it.

See you next week!

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

In Photos - Gene Simmons '78 Pinocchio Re-Release Party

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On September 18, 1978 KISS did the unthinkable by releasing four solo albums simultaneously. For fans of the greasepainted superheroes, it's common knowledge that while the albums sold respectably they were marred by the overreaching of Casablanca president Neil Bogart's decision to ship a million units of each record. This resulted in the albums being returned in huge numbers. But that's not the point of this gallery.

On December 12, 1978 a party (See UPDATE below) was held to  at Fiorucci's in Beverly Hills. Founded by Italian fashion designer Elio Fiorucci, the store was a popular chain throughout the United States and the Beverly Hills location can bee seen in this clip of Electric Light Orchestra performing the song All Over the World in the film Xanadu.

Of note in the photos is Gene's "solo" costume that was a variation of his Love Gun costume featuring two skulls used to tie together a bulky red cape. This period is when KISS really started incorporating their "power" colors with Gene's naturally being red.

UPDATE: We originally uploaded/promoted this gallery as the Release Party for Gene Simmons' 1978 solo album. We were mistaken and recently found out that this was, in actuality, the screening party for the re-release of Pinocchio. We regret this error and thank the source of the new information.

Special guests at this party included Brooke Shields, Jon "Bowzer" Bauman from the group Sha Na Na and Pinocchio, the star of the show. There's no mystery that Gene Simmons counts Pinnochio as a pivotal movie in his life as is obvious by the inclusion of his teary-eyed rendition of When You Wish Upon a Star that closes the album.


UPDATE: We originally uploaded/promoted this gallery as the Release Party for Gene Simmons' 1978 solo album. We were mistaken and recently found out that this was, in actuality, the screening party for the re-release of Pinocchio. We regret this error and thank the source of the new information.




For full photographer/contributor credit for all of our In Photos posts, click here.



Special thanks to God of Thunder Page for supplying the photos.
For full photographer/contributor credit for all of our In Photos posts, click HERE.

The Hatch is Back! My Interview with Carl Dixon

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The Hatch is Back! Coney Hatch, a staple of the Canadian rock scene throughout the 80's recently rolled into Toronto for a show at the "Rockpile". Earlier in the day I met up with singer/guitarist Carl Dixon and we headed out in search of some new guitar strings. Carl took me through his musical career and got me up to speed on the current state of Coney Hatch.

Wally:    Well I suppose we’ll start at the beginning. I became a Coney Hatch fan when I first saw the Devil’s Deck video back in 1982. (as much as a twelve year old can become a fan anyways) So how did Coney Hatch come to be?


Carl:       The beginning stage of the band had Andy Curran and Dave Ketchum on bass and drums. Dave had been in some other bands but it was Andy’s first band pretty much and I think they were a trio to start off with or maybe they were a four piece but they had two different guys on guitar. They found themselves needing new players and placed an add in the Toronto Star classified and found Steve Shelski on lead guitar. Then the singer before me was a huge ACDC fiend so they played a lot of AC DC songs back in the early days, he got tired of travelling and decided to go back to school and be a sensible lad. So they put out another ad and that’s how I found them.


Wally:    You guys released three “classic” albums throughout the eighties, which was your favorite to make?

Carl:       Ahhhhhh favorite to make?  It’s hard to choose between the first (Coney Hatch) and the third one (Friction) the second one was more difficult for a few reasons. The first one was such a huge excitement and learning curve for us.  The process of Kim Mitchel coming along, and discovering us, developing the material, and then producing the album with us. That was very, very exciting and we learned a ton out of that experience because we really didn’t know much.

Now the third album “Friction” was also a huge amount of learning. We had changed drummers at this point and we were trying to shift the sound of our music a little. It was extremely hard work to change what we would just do automatically and think about it a little more. You know “thinking” is punishment in of itself. (laughing) Who want’s t think too much?, but we spent a lot of time on that album and really learned a lot about not only the craft of song writing but also on making a record and I have carried those lessons for all these years on all my subsequent recording projects.

Wally:    Seeing as I was a little too young to get to see you guys in the early days of the band, who were some of the bands you got to tour with and were there any bands that stand out as “great” tourmates?

Carl:       We had a major tour to go with tour to go with each of our first two albums. In the year of our first album we had about 25 shows with Judas Priest on their Screaming for Vengence tour.  They were top of the pops at that point with You Got Another Thing Comin all over the radio and video. So that was another amazing learning experience for us, that was like going to university for us to learn how to put on a proper big rock show. Then for the second year we toured with Iron Maiden for almost 40 dates I think when they had Piece of Mind out. They were really nice to us, good guys around the same age as us, maybe a year older or so but they really shot to top very quickly with their sound. Especially once they got Bruce Dickenson in the band that was big milestone for them in terms of gaining acceptance. So they were just good guys and we ended up hanging with them more and there’s a relationship to this day with those guys.

Wally:    So after Coney Hatch you want on to a great solo career, adding some interesting gigs to your resume. You spent some time in April Wine, how did that happen?

Carl:       That was an unexpected turn of events  certainly, I had played a few shows opening with my solo band for April Wine in a few places. The fellow that was their tour manager knew me and I had known Brian Greenway a little bit from when I lived in Montreal. I was in a band called Firefly there for a couple years so I got to know him a little bit. Anyway, they were just completing their comeback album sort of speak called Back to the Mansion and they had decided they needed a fifth member onstage to recreate the sounds of the new album to best effect. The keyboards that they couldn’t cover themselves, the extra guitars and such so their tour manager Kenny Schulz had been keeping track of me over the years, knew who I was and what I could do. So he suggested Carl’s a guy who can give us the guitar, the harmony voice, the keyboards and even the percussion that we need. So I ended up doing all four of those jobs while I was there. It was a really nice experience because they have such a great catalogue of music and they treated me real well during the four years I was with the band.

Wally: From there you spent some time filling some really big shoes when you joined the Guess Who. From the you tube stuff I have seen you filled those shoes very well. Tell us about that?

Carl: In fact my time with the Guess Who came before and after my time with April Wine. I had a couple of years with them before the Guess Who reunion happened and then Burton (Cummings) wanted his job back. So they had the original guys back for a while, it was during that time I recorded my second solo album Into the Future and that’s when the April Wine guys called. So that lasted four years  and during that time the Guess Who reunion fell apart and the two guys that were keeping it going Jim Cale and Gerry Peterson they called me and asked me to come back in 2004 and that was a great time to come back as the reunion had pushed the band to new prominence. I enjoyed playing that music, I grew up with it and Burton was a huge influence on me as I was learning to be a singer.

Writer's Note: In April 2008, while Carl was down in Australia supporting his daughter's acting career, Carl was involved in a horrific car accident. Looking at what was left of the car, it's amazing that Carl is still with us, let alone back up on stage.

Wally:    That will bring us to your time in Australia. If I may ask, what happened?

Carl: Ahhhh let’s see, Australia was an experience that was hugely educational and informative for me. The biggest thing I learned was that I will never forget that they drive on the other side of the road. In the blink of an eye, on the way home from a studio that I was working, my daughter was working on a TV show there and they needed some music for the show, and I was coming home from work at about 7:30 at night. I had been successfully driving all around the country but that one night I was running late, feeling over emotional and I was heading back to my family for dinner before I to return to North America and I guess I was sort of beating myself up a bit. That’s what happened.

Writer's Note: On October 30th 2008. The Pheonix concert theatre in Toronto played host to an incredible night of music in benefit of Carl Dixon. Helix, Andy Curran, Russ Dwarf and Brighton Rock all rocked the house. A still healing Carl got up to say a few words of gratitude and inspiration and played some music as well. This night was truly a dream come true for any rocker who was around in the 80's and will be a night I will never forget.


Wally:    Well the first time I heard about you being in Australia was when the benefit show was put together at the Pheonix. That was an incredible night, who put that together?

Carl:       Andy drove that. He was very concerned that my family was having a difficult time because when I had the crash I was supposed to get on a plane the next day to join up with the Guess Who again in Mississippi to resume touring. Instead my income was gone like that, so that’s tough on anyone’s family. So Andy put himself out enormously to make all that happen. I was pretty proud of everyone and very grateful.

Wally:    Ok so I asked you how Coney Hatch came to be, now the question is how you got back together?

Carl:       Yes, it was I guess an inevitable outcome of all the great feelings of that night at the Pheonix. I think everyone kind of a wakeup call from my accident. Life is precious, life is short, let’s do the things that make us happy, let’s be with our friends, let’s keep doing good things that have worked in the past. Coney Hatch was always one of those great things that we were all a part of. So the original four of us, we hadn’t played together for over fifteen years and to put it together was really just us reconnecting and further reconnecting with our audience once we made the decision. When you’re inside a band like that and everybody moves on and gets on with their own lives you kind of forget that there are a lot of people out there that really care about the music and the band. So it’s been astounding to me to see the response of people being so excited and happy that we’re playing again.

Wally:    So I have heard that you have a new album in the works.

Carl:       Yes, we have had actually a couple of offers on the table from Europe and one from Canada so we have started recording and will decide which offer will work out best for us but we have begun the recording process. We are going to peck away at it and get it ready for hopefully September.

Wally:    Ok Carl my last question for you. What is the one song you wish you had wrote?

Carl:       Hmmmm? Let it Be. Thank You Wally




After some very solid opening bands, 40 Sons and Three Quarter Stone, Coney Hatch took to the stage around 11:20pm. Opening with We Got the Night from their debut album, Hatch took us through a time machine playing tune after tune from all three of their albums.

Soundwise this band has lost nothing. Unlike a lot of bands from the era, both Carl and Andy's vocals are as strong as ever and Mr. Shelski was absolutely ripping on his signature telecaster and Andy "Thumper" Ketchum was a sea of hair behind his kit.

Standout tracks included Hey Operator, Stand Up, Monkey Bars, Devils Deck and Feel the Feeling Again. They unleashed a new track called Blown Away that was right in line as a new classic Hatch tune. An encore of No Sleep Tonight and the AC DC classic Sin City closed out the set. All in all the boys put on an amazing show for the sweaty, packed Rockpile crowd. If you ever get the chance to catch the Hatch Live, don't miss out and I eagerly wait for a new disc to spin soon.               








Friday, June 15, 2012

Diggin in the Vaults TOP 5 (er 6!) Bass Players.

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Recently I went back into the vaults (well actually my hard drive) and listened to a few of the older episodes of the Decibel Geek podcast. One episode in particular get me all "agitated" for lack of a better word.

Episode 18 of the Decibel Geek Podcast featured Chris and AAron discussing their top 5 (well actually 6!) "Favorite" Bass Players in Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. Now what got me rilled is that I wasn't there to chime in and throw my 25 cents into this all important topic of conversation.You see, way back on episode 18, I was not yet  a member of this crazy team.

As a bass player myself (although some may argue that, mostly real musicians) I feel it is my duty to impart MY OWN Top 5 (make that 6 Chris!) favorite Bass Players and also to agree, disagree or crap all over Chris and AAron's picks.

For those following at home I will list Chris and AAron's picks along with the "expert" bass players pick. The "expert" being me (oh I can't believe I said that with a straight face)

NUMBER 5 (add show sound effect here!)
AAron - Lemmy
Chris - Frank Bello

Wally - Nikki Sixx, Ok Sixx is admittedly by far not the greatest bass player in the world. That said, Motley Crue was my first ever concert. This was the Shout at the Devil Tour 1984 and I was all of 14 years old. To a pre-pubescent teenager there was nothing cooler than seeing a leather studded, Sixx beating on a BC Rich warlock. He was the embodiment of COOL, the consummate ROCK STAR and I knew at that moment that I wanted to play the bass. So Sixx may be the sentimental choice but he is definitely on my list because he is the reason I own a bass.

Number 4.
AAron - Steve Harris
Chris - Doug Pinnick

Wally - Andy Curran - Andy is the bass player for Coney Hatch as well as his solo stuff and his band Soho 69. Most of my favorite bass players lay down cool grooves that fit with the song. Andy is no exception, he isn't flying all over the place (see Billy Sheehan) but you can hear his fills through the mix and he handles the vocals. Not to mention he plays one bad ass BC RIch Mockingbird that I would kill for.

Number 3.
Chris - John Deacon
AAron - Duff McKagen
Now before I get to my number three I gotta reach down and give AAron a shake. Chris hits the nail on the head here. Queen rocks and Deacon can grove like a mofo. This was a great pick and Chris you do need to slip some Queen into AAron's Ipod pronto.

Wally - Duff McKagen. I agree with AAron here. Like AAron said, you erase all the instruments off Appetite for Destruction except the bass and you still have a kick ass record. Duff's bass grooves are so deep you could fall into them.



Number 2.
Chris - Billy Sheehan - Nice pick, saw this guy with Roth and Mr. Big. Right up there with Geddy Lee as far as monsters on the bass.
AAron - Robert Trujillo


Wally - Geddy Lee - Cmon this guy plays some of the most challenging bass lines out there. I look at his sheet music and just shake my head and on top of that he SINGs! If that isn't enough he sometimes adds in some foot pedals just to fill out the sound! A freaking genius on the bass, nothing more to say on that.

Chris's Other number 2 lol - Cliff Burton Ok Chris, good pick on that one!
Aaron (bonus pick) - Peter Steele - Huh? Really? Lost me here AAron!


Wally (bonus pick) - hmmm? I am going to say Daryl Gray the bass player for Helix. There was not a band any tighter than Helix was in the 80's and Daryl was manning the bass station. He is one of the most taste full bass players I have ever seen. He plays true to the song, writes melodic lines, stays in the pocket and sings incredible background harmonies. The best part about Daryl is his stage presence, he really seems to enjoy being up there hamming it up for the crowd. Helix doesn't have one focal point, they have 5!

Number 1.

AAron - Geezer Butler
Chris - John Paul Jones

Wally - Geezer Butler - Geezer is the man! Especially his work during the DIO years. Always melodic, his bass lines are really creative and meaty. AAron gets the nod here. Geezer gets my top spot on this list.

Ok, if you have been keeping score at home, AAron and I agreed on both our number 3 and number one picks! However AAron, you loose some serious points for dissing on John Deacon...Queen Rock! Now both you knuckleheads didn't include Geddy Lee but I guess your off the hook by disclaiming that these were your "favourite" bass players.

It wasn't until I completed my list that I realized that 3 of my 6 picks were Canadian. Oh well, what else would you expect from your heavy metal hosehead on staff?

NEVER, EVER listen to rock/metal records for the first time on an iPhone

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I did that (and with Van Halen's A Different Kind Of Truth, my favorite album of 2012, most likely my favorite rock album of the entire decade and quite possibly my favorite rock album of the entire 21st century).

I wish I had not done that.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Episode 37 - 1969 Year in Review Part 1

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After a week exploring the titans of thrash metal, we're ready to take another trip back in time to a time of hippies, war, and some amazing rock music. First though, some new business.

It's been almost a full year since the Decibel Geek podcast received a large amount of attention on the web when we put out parts 1 & 2 of the Vinnie Vincent Special which featured commentary and discussion with some notable people that had worked with/for the former KISS guitarist. The episodes had downloads well into the thousands no doubt due to the massive amount of media exposure given to Vincent when he was arrested for alleged domestic violence against his wife.

Since parts 1 & 2, we've had numerous requests for a new Vinnie Vincent special. For a long time, we had no intention of doing another special on the troubled guitarist but over the past few months have had the opportunity to speak with a few people that have also worked with Vincent and the conversations were rather enjoyable and we think the fans deserve to hear what these people have to say.
Coming in July

With no communication coming from Vinnie, we are hoping to satiate the curiosity of his fans as best we can. While there are always lots of stories (good and bad) with Vinnie, you can't deny that his mastery of guitar playing and songwriting. Our next Vinnie special, which will be available in July, will include stories (good and bad) from someone that worked very closely with Vincent and wanted to share his experiences with us. More on that in the future so stay tuned.

We head back in time this week to 1969 in the fourth installment of our Year in Review series. When researching this episode, Aaron and Chris realized that an absolute TON of music/news/events took place in 1969 and it became apparent while recording that this episode would have to be broken into two parts. Part 1 this week features discussion about many landmark events, albums, and concerts that took place in 1969.

In March, Jim Morrison of The Doors was arrested after allegedly exposing himself at Miami's Dinner Key Auditorium and also charged with attempting to start a riot after lashing out at the audience. This leads us into a track from The Doors' 1969 album The Soft Parade that could possibly be considered autobiographical of Morrison.

What does Judas Priest have to do with an episode discussing 1969? Listen and find out.

Chris shares a story about his mother, who had actually married Chris' father in 1969, seeing an unknown group in Florida playing a bar. The group was then called The Allmon Joys. They'd later go on to be a little more well-known and we spin a track off of their debut album that will leave you feeling pretty whipped.

Aaron spins a Neil Young & Crazy Horse tune that was actually written about Paul McCartney's touring guitar player. What flavor is she?

1969 was the year that we landed on the moon and David Bowie communicated with Ground Control. We discuss the cultural impact of a billion people watching us go one step beyond before segueing into some noisy, gritty hard rock from a Detroit band that was probably too anti-establishment for their own good.

One band from San Francisco, CA ruled the year of 1969 with 3 albums hitting the Top 10 with their unique brand of swamp rock that later influenced The Dude in all of us.

Before becoming the living cliche that would ultimately cause his demise, Elvis Presley had a momentous 1969 with the launch of his longstanding residency in Las Vegas and charting highly with Suspicious Minds and In the Ghetto. We discuss the year of the King of Rock.

One curve ball thrown in 1969 was from the Beach Boys who released the 20/20 album to a confused public. With Brian Wilson slipping more out of the picture due to mental distress, the brothers Carl & Dennis Wilson took on a more hands on approach and the results definitely reflect that. Aaron spins a track that you would definitely never guess was produced by the Beach Boys. This one needs to be heard to be believed.

There's tons more in store for next week with Part 2 including some massive festivals, war, murder, and plenty of great tunes for your listening pleasure.

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