There’s no doubt that many of us old-time headbangers can relate to a title like GrandpaMetal, the latest release from comedian Brian Posehn. But although the humorous subject matter may be centered around seniors, most of the lyrics are just your typical, juvenile fare far better aimed at the likes of my 13-year-old kid.
That’s not to say the album’s a total waste; Posehn actually assembled a host of impressive metal royalty to guest on Grandpa…, including Scott Ian (Anthrax/S.O.D.), Kim Thayil (Soundgarden), Steve Souza (Exodus), Chuck Billy (Testament), Michael Starr (Steel Panther), Corey Taylor (Slipknot/Stone Sour), and the late Jill Janus from Huntress, who all add to the overall fun of such songs as “New Music Sucks,” “One Quarter Viking, Three Quarters Pussy,” and the title track. Even Weird Al makes a brief yet amusing appearance at one point. There’s also a few surprisingly inventive covers that work in the form of “The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?),” as well as a fairly epic rendition of Ah-Ha’s “Take on Me” that’s definitely worth checking out.
Sorry to say that some tracks do just fall flat (“Monster Mosh” and “Big Fat Rock” are actually kind of embarrassing), and Posehn’s voice isn’t always enough to carry many of the songs. If you’re not looking for anything too serious that’s up the same alley as Ian’s less-than-serious S.O.D., give it a try; just don’t expect to be blown away.
One of the most intriguing eras in the nearly five-decade history of KISS for many has always been that moment in time the band went without their trademark makeup from 1983 to 1996. Though a slightly awkward, yet indeed underrated period for the band, it’s finally brought back to the forefront thanks to the meticulous detail author Greg Prato has put into researching said time frame.
Starting things off with a forward by Fozzy front man Chris Jerhico, Prato covers everything from the early stages of the band’s non-makeup period with guitarist Vinnie Vincent, to the band’s eventual reunion of the original lineup in the mid-’90s. Various musicians, songwriters, producers, and others close to the band during this era, help tell the tale of one of the most storied periods of the band’s career. Even Mark St. John’s (extremely) brief stint with the band in 1984, is covered here like never before, and Prato also enlists the help of such KISS alumni as former guitarist Bruce Kulick (who replaced St. John) to help complete the story.
As an avid KISS fan, this one’s a no brain-er; most die hard fans of the band should find it easy enough to agree, while newcomers should find it enlightening.
It may have taken him some time, but the Godfather of Metal himself, Ozzy Osbourne, has finally unleashed his twelfth studio album. To say it was worth the wait would be an understatement.
It was apparent last November when the world received first listen to the album via the cryptic “Under the Graveyard,” that old Ozzy had put something truly special together here. Granted, most of the singles released since haven’t been as impressive; “Straight to Hell” is somewhat generic, the ballad “Ordinary Man” (featuring Elton John) a tad predictable, and “It’s a Raid” (with Post Malone) somewhat of a strain itself.
But it’s the non-single tracks that pack the heaviest punches (isn’t that usually the way though?) – “Scary Little Green Men,” “All My Life,” and “Holy For Tonight” all echo the epic levels of forgotten classics in Ozzy’s catalog such as “Devil’s Daughter (Holy Wars)” or “No Bone Movies.”
Although longtime guitarist Zakk Wylde might be missing in action here, there’s plenty of other rock icons that more than make up for his absence; Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Duff McKagan and Slash of Guns N’ Roses (among others) all make appearances throughout.
I don’t mean to get too sappy, but for as long as I can remember, Ozzy has been there almost like a second father of sorts to me; the first riff I ever learned to play on bass was “Crazy Train,” and the second concert I ever attended was Ozzy, both doing a solo set, and performing with a reformed Black Sabbath, in 1997. I can’t remember a time when his music was not deeply ingrained in my mind, and I’m glad he’s still making music comparable to his most classic of material.
At first glance to the cringe-worthy cover of this latest effort from everyone’s favorite Canadian metalheads Anvil (their eighteenth overall), one might not expect much. But these canucks have actually compiled another catchy, straight-forward collection of crowd-stompers.
Most of the tracks here are short but effective. The title number/lead off single kicks things off appropriately, giving listeners a fair representation of just what they’re in for. “Nabbed in Nebraska,” “Bottom Line,” and “Said and Done” are all also worthy anthems in their own respective rights.
Doubtful it’ll win any album of the year awards, but compared to their last two releases, it’s a definite step up. Worth cranking it if you’re looking for some good old-fashioned, head-banging escapism.
The 1980’s might be long gone, but there’s no doubt that the spirit of that decade lives on via the music it gave us, as well as both the bands – and fans – who continue to keep it alive. This was evident last Saturday night, January 25, when the House of Blues in Orlando hosted the Totally ’80s Live Tour, which featured a trio of acts who each made their own respective marks on the era at the time.
When In Rome II originally spawned from England in the late ’80s, and are best remembered for their 1988 synth pop hit “The Promise.” This version of the band (another version still occasionally performs, hence the “II” in this one’s name) is led by original keyboardist Michael Floreale, and has been going strong for over a decade now. The band recently added former Ultravox singer (and ex-Enuff Z’Nuff guitarist) Tony Fennall to their lineup. Rather than focus only on their older material, the group actually included a heavy mix of recent and semi-recent numbers in their set, including “Metropolis,” “Kings and Queens,” “Don’t Tell Me,” “All Stood Still,” and “Haunted” before of course closing things out with “The Promise.”
Shortly after their set, I briefly interviewed Floreale in the band’s backstage area, where he told me how “surprised” he was regarding the crowd reaction the band has been receiving when performing said newer tracks so far on this tour. Be on the lookout for the full interview to post shortly on all of Rewind It Magazine’s social media accounts, as well as YouTube.
Another underrated band from the ’80s time frame, Bow Wow Wow, were next on the bill. Much like When In Rome II, the band is held together by one sole original member, bassist Leigh Gorman, yet are still as tight as ever. Energetic newcomer Kristen Dinsmore does a more than admirable job filing the shoes of beloved former front woman Annabella Lwin, and current guitarist Erik Ferentinos keeps the post-punk spark that influenced the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers back in the day alive and well. Fan favorites such as “Aphrodisiac,” “Do You Wanna Hold Me,” “Baby, Oh No,” and “Louis Quatorze” all made their way in the band’s set list before closing out strong with their rendition of “I Want Candy.”
And finally, The Motels took the stage to great applause. At 68, it’s no small feat for band leader Martha Davis to still perform as well as she does. Slightly reserved at first, things picked up quickly once she took off her hat and truly let her hair down (or in this case, up!). Classics both old and new graced their set, with “Suddenly Last Summer,” “Total Control,” “Careful,” “Cry Baby,” “Punchline,” and “Only the Lonely” being among the highlights.
Without a doubt everyone who was at the House of Blues in Orlando was taken on a trip down memory lane they won’t soon forget. Be sure to catch the tour when it comes to your town, and don’t forget to keep an eye out for our exclusive interview with When In Rome II keyboardist Michael Floreale!
Blue Oyster Cult have always been terribly underrated in my book, and I tend to forget just how much I actually like them until I go back and give their music another listen. I was fortunate enough to catch the band live once a few years before this album was recorded, and I was reminded just how good they are live after listening to this.
Although somewhat puzzling why they chose to wait six years to release the audio for this live effort, the quality here is top notch. All of the expected hits are of course here, including “Burnin’ For You,” “Godzilla,” and “Don’t Fear the Reaper.” But aside from the usual suspects, the tracks that stick out most are the ones you’re not likely to hear on the radio anytime soon; “The Red and the Black,” “Shooting Shark,” and a 10-minute rendition of “Then Came the Last Days of May” are all stellar. But hands down the track that sticks out the most goes to the epic “I Love the Night.”
I would have liked to have seen a few more of my personal favorites make their way in here as well, including somewhat forgotten classic “Joan Crawford,” and the slightly more modern “See You in Black.” Still, there’s seventeen nearly flawless tracks found here, and very little to complain about.
It’s been a minute or two since the last time I made it to a really good (or “rad”), old school punk show, especially one that represented as many sub-genres as the recent Radolescents show I caught at the Shovelhead Lounge this past Friday, January 3.
For those who don’t already know, The Radolescents are made up of former members of classic Orange County, CA punk outfit The Adolescents (who are still active to this day as well), centering around core members Rikk Agnew (guitar), and Casey Royer (drums), who also shared time together in such legendary punk acts as D.I. and Social Distortion. The two have also enlisted Agnew’s nephew, Frank Agnew, Jr. (also the son of former Adolescents guitarist, Frank) on vocals, and original Adolescents guitarist John O’Donovan (who was briefly a member of the band during their inaugural period back in 1980). But before I get to their set, there was a host of other bands who played beforehand in support.
Orlando’s own Grave Return opened the show with much enthusiasm. Their slightly-snotty sound was reminiscent of early punk acts such as The Dead Boys, noticeable on tracks like “Night Visions.” It’s clear these guys should be around for awhile.
Tommy Frenzy’s Hard Drive were next up in line. Originally hailing from the New York punk scene of the mid/late ’70s, Frenzy’s set list consisted of classics from his time fronting the Tuff Darts, as well as brand new numbers off his latest release on Violent Breed Records, You YeahYou. Backed by the husband and wife rhythm section of Roger (bass) and Suzy Lamoureux (drums), Tommy & co. ripped through a set of tracks that included “”That Girl is Stupid,” “Hottest Thing,” “Don’t Play Shy,” “She’s Dead,” “Phone Booth Man,” “Businessman,” and “Here Comes Trouble” (among others).
Hard Drive bassist Roger then pulled double-duty, performing next with the more hardcore-influenced local act Swift Knuckle Solution. Aside from regular members Tony Marks (drums/vocals), and Lance White (guitar), Roger was also joined by guitarist and former Suburban Lockdown band mate Mike Roberts. The guys plowed relentlessly through tracks like “Spinning Sides,” “Loss of Control,” and “One Wrong Step” before making way for Radolescents tour mates The Hajj.
I must admit, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from The Hajj. But as soon as they started their set, I totally got it. This two piece act, lead by brothers Freddie and Phil Al-Hajj, played more laid back, ska-influenced jams. It was clear by the time they finished their set they had left an undeniable impression on the central, FL crowd.
And finally, The Radolescents finished off the night, running through their 1981 self-titled debut album (a.k.a. the “blue” album) in its entirety. From the album’s lead off track “I Hate Children” to album closer “Creatures,” every track got its due, with classics such as “Who is Who,” “Kids of the Black Hole,” “No Way,” and “Amoeba” of course receiving the highest praise. The band then played the first two tracks from the Welcome to Realty EP, including the title track and “Losing Battle,” before rather unceremoniously ending their set.
Still, the band sounded as spot on as can be, and every note played felt like it was right off the records themselves. I’ve actually seen the “other” version of The Adolescents live before (back in 2013), then-consisting of vocalist Tony Reflex and bassist Steve Soto (rest in peace). But I think this version of the band not only sounded tighter than that one, it somehow felt even more authentic (especially now without Soto remaining in that band). Those in attendance last Friday night were lucky enough to witness a night of some epic, old school punk. Truly a trip down memory lane that I’m glad I took.
What a time it is to be a KISS fan; the band is currently embarking on their End of the Road tour well through 2021, and, a new book about the band’s non-makeup years titled Take it Off: KISS Truly Unmasked by Greg Prato was recently released by Jawbone Press.
Recently I was able to talk with former KISS (and current Grand Funk Railroad) guitarist Bruce Kulick, who spent 12 years with the former during said “unmasked” era from 1984-1996. The first thing I wanted to know was what his thoughts were on Prato’s new book, to which he said, “It’s very in-depth and informative. There’s a lot of interest in my era (with the band) lately, so it’s great timing for Mr. Prato.”
I also asked Bruce how it was recently playing the KISS Kruise IX, and he says; “It’s always a perfect fit, KISS fans that know I will serve up a huge buffet of my era with the band. The guys in my band are total pros, and amazing to work with. And doing the Animalize medley was so much fun…the press really jumped on it!”
I had to know what Bruce’s favorite KISS albums – both with and without him – were. He informed me; “I think Destroyer was my favorite. It has so many good songs on it. And although I do have highlights from each LP I did with the band, I do feel Revenge is a great album.”
I was also curious if Kulick ever felt left out at all being one of only two members of KISS to never don their famous makeup (the other being former guitarist Mark St. John, R.I.P.), to which he replied, “Not a big deal to me at all. It was the way it was meant to be.”
Some might not realize that in addition to guitar, Bruce is also a talented keyboard player. I asked him if he was self-taught, and he tells me, “I did take keyboard lessons in my late teenage years, and it is a great instrument. I should play it more!”
Of course I asked how things were with his current band, Grand Funk Railroad, as well. Bruce says, “Pretty amazing. The band in its current version is going on 20 years. Great players, and we all get along, so that helps! We know how fortunate we are to be performing in the “September” of our years (laughs)!”
With the final days of KISS also coming to a close, I asked Bruce how he felt about the band retiring, and if he had any plans to possibly join them at some point on their farewell tour. Bruce tells me, “I am happy for them to go out big. No firm plans are actually made yet for me sitting in, but I think it’s a strong possibility, especially for their last show.”
And finally, Bruce informed me what else might be in store for him in 2020; “I did recently discuss with ESP Guitars doing more guitar clinics, and I hope to record with my KISS Kruise band this year, I think fans would love that.” Visit Bruce’s site at http://www.BruceKulick.com to keep up to date with everything Bruce is up to.
Star Wars has been interwoven in our culture for more than four decades now, and after nine films in the Skywalker saga, the series’ inevitable conclusion has finally arrived. The film has already received its fair share of negative feedback, with some critics citing it as too predictable or even pandering to die hard fans. But here’s the thing; so was Return of theJedi, and today that film is now regarded as a classic.
Sure, The Rise of Skywalker might not be flawless, but it does bring back that same sense of excitement I felt when watching the original trilogy as a kid. Director J.J. Abrams has done wonders redeeming the entire series with this sequel trilogy that began with The Force Awakens in 2015.
In this chapter (without giving too much away), we learn that the evil emperor Palpatine, again played by Ian McDiarmid, is back (no doubt a bit of a hokey concept) and planning on a destructive up rising of the entire galaxy. Of course Rey (Daisy Ridley) and the rebel alliance must overcome obstacles (and inner demons) to stop this from happening in the most good vs. evil sort of way.
For all the logic it might ask you to put aside, it makes up for with heart tenfold. I was completely brought back to when watching the “new” Star Wars movie was an event with the entire family in my household growing up. And I’m not ashamed to admit I was fully in tears by the end of Skywalker. If you’re able to just put aside that “I’m too cool for this” mentality adopted by all the negative keyboard warriors out there, you might be able to enjoy this for what it actually is; an overall pretty great film.
They say that all good things must finally come to an end. After roughly 25 years together, Creedence Clearwater Revisited – which features original Creedence Clearwater Revival members Stu Cook (bass) and Doug Clifford (drums) – are finally hanging up the towel on their Final Revival Tour. Normally we here at Rewind It Magazine stick to Orlando/Daytona-based events, but knowing that this would be the last chance ever to catch these legends live, we made the trip to see them.
Although I had some of the same reservations as many regarding a John Fogerty-less CCR, I went in with as open a mind as possible, and was instantly glad I did. The band skipped the usual opening act (a welcomed addition when you’ve traveled a couple of hours just to see a certain group) and got right down to business, opening their set with a handful of hits in the form of “Born on the Bayou,” “Green River,” “Lodi,” “Who’ll Stop the Rain,” and, my personal favorite, “Hey Tonight.” It was quickly apparent that current front man Dan McGuinness was more than suitable in Fogerty’s original place. Lead guitarist Kurt Griffey and keyboardist Steve “The Captain” Gunner also did more than admirable jobs rounding out the lineup.
The band then slowed things down a bit with the tearjerker “Long As I Can See the Light” before ripping into more classic numbers like “I Put a Spell on You,” “Down on the Corner,” “Lookin’ Out my Back Door,” and a vicious version of “I Heard it Through the Grapevine,” which featured not only guitar and bass solos, but an all-out jam session from the entire band as well.
More classics quickly followed in the form of “Midnight Special,” “Bad Moon Rising,” and “Proud Mary” before the band brought the entire audience to their feet for “Fortunate Son.” The guys slowed things down once more for “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” before going into “Cotton Fields.” Cook then took the time to address the audience and show his appreciation to them before finally closing out the night with a righteous rendition of “Up Around the Bend.” Like The Beatles, the music of CCR has been ingrained in me as it has been for so many others before me…by my parents. Hearing these songs finally played live after a lifetime of listening to them was nothing short of magical, bringing this amazing journey through music of mine one step closer to full circle.