Series Review: The Mandalorian Season 2 (Disney+)

By: Jesse Striewski

Last year, series creator Jon Favreau surprised the world over with hands down one of the most imaginative additions to the Star Wars universe in recent memory, The Mandalorian. Favreau has opened up all new worlds, ripe with possibilities for the franchise, and it’s no surprise the show has taken off the way it has.

In the first season we met Din Djarin, or “Mando” (played by Pedro Pascal), a bounty hunter who is assigned a bounty known only as “The Child” (now of course known to fans as “Baby Yoda”), but rather than turning him over, ends up going rogue and protecting him in a very father-like role. Carl Weathers and Gina Carano helped round out that season.

Without giving too much away, season 2 expands on that same premise, and brings back a number of the same cast as the first season, and each episode still plays out like it’s own, separate mini movie. But what really moves The Mandalorian along is it’s use of drama, and the addition of such beloved characters from the franchise as Boba Fett, and even the one and only Luke Skywalker, that has propelled season 2 to new heights.

The response and momentum caused from this season undeniably infectious; at least three more spin offs like it have already been announced (The Book of Boba Fett, Rangers of the New Republic, and Ahsoka). From the looks of things, The Mandalorian was only the beginning. This is the way indeed.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Interview with Musician/Songwriter Diana Rein By Jesse Striewski

Diana Rein is truly one of those rare, multi-talented threats worth taking note of; not only is she an accomplished singer, songwriter, and guitarist, she’s also a former child actress who you might just remember as Kevin McCallister’s older cousin, Sondra, in 1990’s Home Alone, and it’s 1992 follow up, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.

But more on that later. Rein’s main focus these days is without a doubt her music (her last professional acting credit was actually in 2011), and when I spoke to her via phone this past week, it was apparent that’s where her passion truly lies.

Of course being a musician in 2020 is no easy feat, so one of the first things I wanted to know was how she’s handled being a musician throughout the pandemic. Rein tells me; “I think I was actually in Virginia when I decided to cancel the rest of my first tour when things started getting really bad earlier this year. Before I went on the tour, my life was at home with my 8-year-old, doing music, social media, and recording from home. So I’m kind of back to doing that again, and that’s okay for me. I can still feel like I can create a reach where not being on tour isn’t like a total detriment though, so that’s nice.”

Rein’s third solo album, Queen of my Castle, has been out since last year. I inquired how she felt it held up compared to her previous work, to which she replied; “It was my first album with the label Gulf Coast Records, who were just starting out, so that kind of gave it a nice little push. A lot of people seem to still love it, but I’m also in a different mind space now because of all that’s happened since then, and I’m writing new music right now, too. It was going so well on my first tour, getting such a good response, so it’s just such an absolute shame that I got cut short of that experience.”

However, Rein does inform me she has been working on new material since then; “I came back and was learning more of the technical stuff of creating music from home for a couple of months. Then I took out my acoustic guitar and starting writing for about two weeks before I took about another week and wrote lyrics to all them (around twenty total). Then I went into the process of recording, mixing, and mastering all of them from beginning to end. So we’ll see what happens with them, maybe they’ll be released as singles, or another album next year.”

I was also curious what some of Rein’s favorite go-to songs were while playing live, and her response was; “Well, there’s two that really come to mind; “Heat” from Queen of my Castle has got a really amazing riff that I love playing, and when the solo comes around its super fun. And my song “Midnight Line” has a really awesome beat, and whenever I see that coming up on my set list I get so excited! A couple of songs that aren’t my own though both happen to be Hendrix songs; “Little Wing,” which I completely get lost in more than any other song. And then “All Along the Watchtower” I usually end my shows with. Something about Hendrix, just the way he wrote, out of all of them, those two just take me to a different place. And he was probably writing from a different realm, too (laughs)!”

As far as when you might be able to catch her live for yourself, Rein explains; “There were actually some shows from this year that got phased into 2021. I think there’s some dates right now for California, Arizona, and Colorado, so there should definitely be a few if things start looking up. I don’t think it’s going to be that busy of a year for me live, but you never know! But I do think I’m going to try to stay more regional next year since things are still not yet certain.”

Of course, I had to ask Diana about her involvement in one of the biggest holiday films of all time, the previously mentioned Home Alone (and it’s first sequel). She tells me; “I cannot believe it’s been thirty years, but it just feels like it’s stood the test of time! I’m on TikTok now, and just did a recent video on there that talked about it being thirty, and showed my scene in the beginning of the first film where I say my lines to Joe Peschi (which are, “Hi,” “Yeah,” and “No!”). The response I’ve been getting has been overwhelming! There’s so many people who watch it multiple times, every year! It’s like their holiday tradition, and that makes me feel SO good that it’s still around like it is! And I didn’t know when I was eleven that it was going to be this, kind of cult-following type of film someday! John Hughes was such an amazing writer and producer (Hughes gave directorial duties at the time to newcomer, Chris Columbus), and I’m just SO grateful to have had a small part in his history.”

And with Christmas being just next week, I wondered what some of Rein’s own traditions might be. She tells me; “Well, I was never one for traditions, but I’m starting a new one this year. My dog Roxy just passed away on November 30, and I’m getting little personalized oranaments made for him, our other dog and cat, and ones for my husband and son. So I’m just going to do new ones that we can add to our tree every year from now on.”

You can keep up with all of Rein’s endeavors at dianarein.com, as well as follow her on all the major social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. And be sure to keep an eye out for our upcoming, thirty-year anniversary piece on Home Alone; expect it to drop early this week!

Album Review: Paul McCartney – McCartney III (Capitol Records)

By: Jesse Striewski

For just the third time in his career (and first time since 1980’s McCartney II), legendary Beatles singer/bassist/songwritter Paul McCartney has written and recorded an album full of compositions penned and performed entirely by him. And for someone pushing eighty years old, he’s still got it.

The album starts off with a near-jam piece in the form of “Long Tailed Winter Bird,” by far one of the strongest tracks found here. Unfortunately, it’s followed by a number of mediocre tunes before finally picking back up again. Luckily, things are redeemed by the edition of “Lavatory Lil” and “Slidin’,” which sound as though they would’ve both been able to fit in the White Album-era Beatles catolog.

Even if you were drawn more towards Lennon’s work in The Beatles (as I personally was), there’s no denying McCartney’s influence in the rock and pop worlds. We should all be thankful he’s still here and producing new, positive music at a time when the world truly needs it the most.

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Book Review: Confess: The Autobiography By Rob Halford with Ian Gittins (Hachette Books)

By: Jesse Striewski

The metal god himself, Rob Halford, leaves no stone unturned in this tell-all memoir, detailing his life as frontman for one of the biggest heavy metal bands on the planet, Judas Priest. And with Christmas just around the corner, it’s the perfect stocking-stuffer for your favorite headbanger.

From his bleak upbringing in post-war England, struggling with his own sexualty, to joining Priest in the early ’70s (and everything in between), Halford bares it all from start to finish (it’s not called Confess for nothing!). Fans should no doubt delight in many a story here (the early Priest stories are by far the most captivating).

When I saw Priest on the same bill as a re-united Black Sabbath back in 2004, I knew I was witnessing something truly special. These are the guys who laid the groundwork for heavy metal (still the best music genre ever created, for my money), and their tales deserve to be heard. Do yourself a favor, and take the trip down memory lane with Halford.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Book Review: So Much For the 30 Year Plan: Therapy? The Authorized Biography By Simon Young (Jawbone Press)

By: Jesse Striewski

Believe it or not, when asked who my personal favorite band is (as if it’s even that simple to narrow it down to just one in the first place), my mind usually wanders to little-known (in the States, anyway) Irish rockers Therapy?. Ever since the day a middle school friend/bandmate of mine slid me a copy of the band’s then-new album at the time, Infernal Love, I’ve been hooked. There’s just something so engrossing about them that I found so much more relatable than any other band before or since, and still do to this day.

So when I heard there was a biography dropping about them, of course I had to get my hands on it right away. And while as a writer myself, I’m envious of Simon Young for beareing the task, it makes perfect sense for someone with as much firsthand knowledge and experience as him to pen their story. Young does a a fine job meticulously detailing the band’s entire career, beginning with their early, humble D.I.Y. foundations, all the way up until present day.

However being on the more obscure side, I could see how someone not familiar with the band might get lost in the plethora of information here. While I might personally find stories like how the group landed their first record deal fascinating, I can understand why a newcomer might be somewhat turned off. But even if you are completely new to Therapy?, you might be able to still enjoy the read if you go in with an open mind.

It might sound somewhat strange, but reading So Much For the 30 Year Plan gave me an odd feeling of familiarity that brought me back to my own days of covering such songs as theirs as “Screamager” and “Die Laughing” in my very first garage band so long ago. The fact that a band oversees, whom I’ve never even seen live (though I did once write a letter addressed to the band which frontman Andy Cairns promptly replied to, which I still have framed to this day) can have such a profound impact on my own life, has got to say something about them. Even if this article is your first introduction to Therapy?, do yourself a favor, and look them up a.s.a.p., you might just be glad you did.

Come to think of it, I don’t believe I ever did thank Andy for taking the time to write me back all those years ago. Thanks man, you have no idea how much that meant to me.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Film Review: The Last Blockbuster (Popmotion Pictures)

By: Jesse Striewski

In all seriousness, how could a publication with a name like Rewind It Magazine not be there to review a film dedicated to the people who literally gave us the phrase “be kind, rewind?!” Indeed, it’s almost as if The Last Blockbuster was made by the social outcasts of the world, specifically for them.

As it’s title suggests, this documentary – directed by Taylor Morden – focuses on the last remaining Blockbuster Video standing in the world in Bend, Oregon. Following the store’s GM Sandi Harding, viewers are given insight into what a day in the life is truly like to work at an actual, standing relic. Interviews with celebrities sharing their stories of love (and in some cases, even hate) of the beloved franchise range from Kevin Smith, Adam Brody, Samm Levine, and Lloyd Kaufman (among many others). Everything from the historic company’s rise, to its eventual fall, is covered in great detail along the way.

I couldn’t help but reflect on my own Blockbuster experiences while growing up. Although I may have never worked there myself, it was my first real taste of freedom; after originally obtaining my driver’s license as a teenager, Blockbuster was one of my main usual stops on a regular basis. Those longing for simpler times of a now-bygone era should relish in this bittersweet film as much as I did. From start to finish, The Last Blockbuster is a completely harmless, flawless journey worth every single minute of the ride.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

In Memoriam: John Lennon (1940-1980)

By: Jesse Striewski

December 8, 1980; former Beatle John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono, were returning to their New York City apartment at the Dakota after a long day at the recording studio, approximately 10:50 p.m. Obsessed fan Mark David Chapman, who had even met Lennon earlier that afternoon when he approached him for an autograph, pulled out a .38 special revolver, and struck Lennon at close range with four out of five of the shots he fired. After being rushed to Roosevelt Hospital, Lennon was pronounced dead on arrival at 11:00 p.m., and the world was never the same again.

These events transpired just three months before I ever even entered this world, but they still strike a nerve each and every time I think about them.

Lennon’s mark changed the face of music forever, first as a member of The Beatles in the 1960’s, where he and bassist Paul McCartney penned some of the greatest songs ever written. Then in the ’70s, where his fights and contributions to societal change were just as great as his solo work. By 1980, with the release of the Double Fantasy album, Lennon was on the verge of a comeback that we will never know just how far it could have taken him.

I grew up in a world that was both without John Lennon, while at the same time, completely influenced by him. Along with the likes of Elvis Presely and The Beach Boys, the music of The Beatles, like so many others, was one of my first introductions to music ever, and made the biggest impression on me more than any of the other previously mentioned acts. Even at a young age, I gravitated naturally to John, who was always the “rebel” of the group. And now, being nearly the same age as him at the time of his death, and a father, I relate to him now more than ever.

Forty years after his senseless death, John Lennon remains as influential and vital as ever. They say true legends never die, and Lennon was no exception to this. Every time an aspiring young musician picks up a guitar for the first time and plays that first chord, Lennon’s presence is still there. No matter how much time may pass, John will always be with us.

Album Review: My Dying Bride – Macabre Cabaret (Nuclear Blast)

By: Jesse Striewski

This short, four track EP from U.K. doom masters My Dying Bride serves as a fitting compliment to the band’s recently-released full length effort, The Ghost of Orion. Here the band expands on some of the very same themes from said album.

The opening/title track is an epic, ten minute long opus, with a detailed music video to accompany it. Other tracks like “A Secret Kiss” are far more stronger then it’s title might suggest, while “Orchestral Shores (Buiksloterkerk Cathedral Mix)” is as effective as it’s original version, “Your Broken Shore.” The weakest link by far though is “A Purse of Gold and Stars;” although it’s threaded together well sonically, lyrically it falls a tad short.

Although I tend to forget about them these days, there was a minute when I was still in high school that doom/goth metal acts like My Dying Bride, along with the likes of Paradise Lost and Moonspell (among others) were much more at the forefront for me. But I’m always glad when bands like them come back on my radar; it’s rare that I ever regret re-visiting their older material, and discovering their new music.

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Film Review: Belushi (Showtime Networks/Passion Pictures)

By: Jesse Striewski

This endearing film profiling the life and career of beloved late comedian/actor/musician John Belushi is as much a heartfelt tribute as it is an insightful documentary on the late creative genius. From his rise with Second City and National Lampoon in his pre-SNL/film days, to his grim early demise, every detail is handled with the utmost care.

Using archival footage, interviews with former friends and colleagues, and even a touch of animation to convey things along, it’s a completely fresh new way to tell the story of a man we often forget all too easily. John’s brother Jim, former wife Judith Belushi-Pisano, and numerous other celebrities including everyone from Chevy Chase to Dan Aykroyd, reflect on Belushi’s life and eventual death.

It’s nearly impossible to make it through Belushi without a flood of memories and emotions pouring in. If there’s any “complaint” to be found here, it’s perhaps the omitting of some details, and the abruptness of it’s ending. Putting these minor pet peeves aside, it’s nearly a flawless ride, that even the slightest Belushi fans should appreciate.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

The Beautiful Bastards at The Alley in Sanford, FL on 11/28/20 Words By Jesse Striewski/Photos By Brooke Striewski

The third and final show Rewind It Magazine made an appearance for this past Saturday, November 28, was none other than local cover act, The Beautiful Bastards. It was the only fitting ending to an already epic evening in Sanford that began with a Tiffany show at Buster’s Bistro in downtown, was bridged by an outdoor concert from The Original Wailers at Executive Cigar, before finally finishing things up at The Alley.

As some of you may recall, we have covered shows from The Beautiful Bastards in the past, as well as even interviewed drummer Timothy DiDuro (formerly of Skid Row/Slaughter/the Vince Neil band) earlier this year. On this particular night, the band – which is of course rounded out by the talents of vocalist/bassist Rick Navarro (formerly of the Pat Travers Band) and guitarist Dean Aicher (formerly of ex-Bad Company singer Brian Howe’s solo band), were once again firing on all cylinders.

Upon arrival, the boys were just closing out their first set with a cover of the Queens of Stone Ages’ “No One Knows” before taking a breather. We were able to briefly catch up with a couple of the guys (Tim and Rick) from the band during the intermission, and they both seemed as pumped up as ever to be out playing live again during these strange times. But the absolute icing on the cake came just minutes after when, my wife/photographer, Brooke, pointed out that none other than Tiffany herself was in the bar as well – and seated right behind us! It was an absolute thrill to finally meet her, and for the night to come full circle in such a way.

After the excitement, the band returned to the stage with a mammoth version of Led Zepplin’s “Whole Lotta Love,” before launching into a fury of classic rock numbers that also included Pink Floyd’s “Have a Cigar,” The Who’s Behind Blue Eyes,” Alice in Chains’ “Nutshell,” The Beatles’ “Helter Skeltor,” “I Saw Her Standing There,” and “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” The Monkees’ “I’m a Believer,” The Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go,” and Violent Femmes’ “Blister in the Sun,” before finally ending things with a raucous version of Wild Cherry’s “Play That Funky Music.”

After eight months since last covering a live event (Overkill at the House of Blues in Orlando last March), Saturday’s trio of shows was a much-needed jolt back into the music scene that was without a doubt one for the books. And if you haven’t already caught the ‘Bastards live for yourselves, be sure to check the band’s FB/social media sites for show dates near you!