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Sick as a Dog

kleenex.jpgSince I'm feeling rather lousy today and killing time before a dreaded doctor visit, I got to wondering about all the glam songs that feature the word "sick" in the title. Off the top of my head, there's "Sick Love Song" by Motley Crue and "Sick as a Dog" be Aerosmith. For the rest, I need to dig a little deeper.

He's not glam, but Bob Dylan wrote a pretty famous song called "Love Sick" and rock band Default have a song called "Sick and Tired." I've never even heard it, but I bet I can relate to those lyrics. Field Mob has a song I like called "Sick of Being Lonely."

Glam lyric master Jani Lane has a solo single simply called "Sick" on his album Back Down to One and then there's "Sick Things" by glam shock rockers Alice Cooper. Fountains of Wayne have a song called "Sick Day," which I'm sure we can all relate to at least a little bit.

There are a ton more songs out there with the word "sick" in the title, but during my research I came across an even more interesting phenomenon: band names featuring the word "sick."

Oh, there's Sick Puppies, Sick of It All, Sick and Wrong, Sick, The Motion Sick, and Sick Symphonies.

I'm not sure what all this means other than one of the most basic principles binding human civilization is music and the common bond of feeling lousy and missing a day of work.




Better to Burn Out, Than Fade Away?

leppard.jpgIt's a hallmark of 80s music to have that perpetual fade at the end of a song. Unfortunately, this production fade doesn't mesh well with music videos. I got to thinking about songs that have an abrupt end or long fade, and decided to compare videos, using Def Leppard as my study model.

Two songs that have a long, almost painful fade are "Rock of Ages" and "Love Bites." These are two of the Leps biggest hits, with "Bites" being their only number 1 single. Still, the video for each has a stalled paused, with singer Joe Elliot's face taking up much of the screen. Especially in "Rock of Ages" the slow end is hard to handle, but simply listening to the track I can't image the song with an abrupt ending.

Conversely, the songs "Animal" and "Let's Get Rocked" have an abrupt ending. I like to think of this as the Leppard ending because the British band transformed music production in the 1980s, with over the top effects and expensive studio elements. The no-holds bar tracks of "Animal" and "Let's Get Rocked" encompass what it means to be a great rock band, let alone glam group. In fact, "Animal" is my favorite Leppard video, and I can't imagine such a frenetic song without an abrupt ending. A slow fade would compromise the production, and undermine the ethos of the track. You can find all these Def Leppard songs on Rock of Ages: The Definitive Collection.

So, does the slow fade to abrupt track ending represent an evolution of modern rock music? I am not sure, but I do know that it is more common for current rock artists  to choose an abrupt ending for a track versus the more pop-oriented slow fade.

In fact, rock songs produced more than a decade ago such as Motley Crue's "Primal Scream" began switching to the abrupt ending format. It gives a track a harder edge, a special "in-your-face" punch. Plus, it works better for music video production, a now necessary evil in artist marketing.






Free Bird!

ozzy.jpgIn an announcement meant to shock the rock world, Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne announced yesterday that tickets to Ozzfest 2007 will be free!

The picture to the left was snapped by a great WireImage photographer during the Ozzfest 2007 announcement yesterday.

Now, there are already naysayers, complaining and reminding all of us about the economic mantra "there's no such thing as a free lunch."

While this is probably true, I do believe at least some tickets will be given out for free. While several press releases say to visit for tickets, there isn't a clear way to claim the prize. There is also no information on seating style, although I assume carnival because the festival will be open-air.

This new free format leaves a lot of open questions, including which acts will be part of the Ozzfest line-up. Right now, Ozzfest is set for 25 dates, starting July 7 in Los Angeles. Other cities on the tour include San Diego, San Francisco, Phoenix, Dallas, St. Louis, Chicago, Columbus (Ohio), New York, Boston and more.

Since it's unclear who will play on this "free fest," a lot of music fans are guessing a majority of the bill will be comprised of younger, lesser known bands. Only time will tell, but I'm excited. There's no excuse to complain about a free concert, especially one that you know will feature a legendary headliner.

Yes the beer, hot dogs and swag will cost a fortune, but I've never been to a concert where the t-shirts were less than 30 bucks anyway. Plus, who says you need to spend your entire allowance at the show?







Fast Cars and Freedom

delegancecustom.jpgRock stars love expensive and fast cars, so it's no surprise that Metallica frontman James Hetfield just won an award for restoring an old vehicle.

Hetfield won the "Most Elegant" award at the 2007 San Francisco Rod, Custom and Motorcycle Show for his restored 1953 Buick Skylark.

Now, here's the thing. In a picture taken during the auto show, James receives a check for seven thousand dollars. I certainly hope he donated that seven thousand dollars to a worthy charity, and didn't just slip the cash in his already swollen pockets. I mean, let's be honest: he won the award because he's filthy rich and can afford to do whatever he wants to any car he wants. Plus, if he did the work on the car, he most certainly had help. Still, to the mighty Hetfield I say "congrats!"

In celebration of the win, Metallica's "Sad But True" is our song obsession of the week. "Sad But True" is featured on the band's fifth studio album Metallica, originally released in August of 1991. So far, Metallica has sold more than 14 million copies in the United States.





In Through the Out Door

bangyourhead.jpgDavid Konow's book Bang Your Head: The Rise and Fall of Heavy Metal was originally released in 2002, and published by Three Rivers Press.

When I first saw the book, I was optimistic despite the bad title. After all, where had metal fallen? It's true that you should never judge a book by its cover, so I decided to give the text a shot.

At first glance, it seems Bang Your Head: The Rise and Fall of Heavy Metal would be the authoritative text on metal music. Oh, how I was wrong.

Throughout 386 pages, Konow fails to weave a common theme or even stick with one tense, two hallmarks of basic writing. Furthermore, Konow was a writer for Guitar World magazine, so he should know a thing or two about journalistic principles. The book is full of inaccuracies and half-stories, leaving the reader without an appropriate context in which to understand a key moment in a respective career.

Konow also glosses over some major moments in metal history, dismissing larger bands and spending an inordinate amount of time on artists that arguably didn't do much to further the specific music genre. For example, he spends nearly an entire chapter on Alice  Cooper, but jumps around so much the reader is left with more questions than answers about the shock rocker's placement in music history. Did Cooper ever get sober? Why is he such a golf junkie? What bands did Alice Cooper influence? Konow does a poor job explaining these key questions, paramount to setting up the 1980s metal scene.

Ah, the 1980s.

The music of glam, of Hollywood rock, of sleaze, sex and drugs. I'll give Konow credit in that a large hunk of the book is dedicated to the L.A. scene, but he still fails to capture the urgency of the movement. If you want to explain how everything came together to form a perfect storm, then you need to explain how radio stations switched formats, how magazines dedicated to metal popped-up all over the country, and how merchandising went hand in hand with MTV. Konow tries to accomplish this, but sadly falls short. Maybe if he'd spent more time outlining his work before writing, his history of the genre would be more complete, and less frantic.

I can usually devour a 400 page book in two days. This text took me two weeks to finish, mainly because I grew weary of Konow's poor sentence structure, bad grammar and failure to tell a cohesive story. The end of the book is just as cheesy as the beginning as there is no look to the future of metal music, only a sad look at the past.





Super Trouper

150px-Vince_Lombardi_Trophy.jpgSo, it's finally here: Superbowl Sunday.

While fans of the Colts and Bears are getting ready for the big game, a lot of music fans are looking forward to the halftime entertainment.

I can't help but wonder why.

This year, Prince will enjoy the national spotlight. Since he made a name for himself in the 1980s, his upcoming performance got me thinking about past halftime shows, wondering if glam acts ever enjoyed center stage.

The short answer is no.

In Superbowl XXXV, Aerosmith headlined alongside such acts as Britney Spears and *NSYNC. That show was produced by MTV.

A couple years later, U2 was the sole act, and more recently, The Rolling Stones got their rocks off during the biggest sporting event of the year. prince.jpg

What does this say about rock and mainstream culture? I'm not sure, but I know I could produce an excellent halftime show featuring the biggest glam bands of the 1980s. Moreover, I'm pretty sure a quadruple bill featuring Poison, Warrant, Cinderella and Motley Crue would leave people talking for days.

But that's just my opinion.




Greed's Been Crowned the New King

money.jpgHe's at it again, folks. KISS bassist and general marketing maven Gene Simmons is about to launch another project, set to make the rock star just a little bit richer.

Yesterday, Gene announced his intentions to launch the Moneybag Clothing Line. At least he was humble with the name of his new apparel.

The apparel will feature items like hoodies and leather goods, displaying the Moneybag logo. Remember, in an earlier post I told you that Gene Simmons owns the trademark to the moneybag. He's held that honor for 25 years.

You'll find the logo on his magazines, books, records and other ventures.

But wait! There's more: Gene Simmons - Family Jewels - Season One will follow the shock rocker in his new clothing venture. I bet the kids and Shannon will sport the frocks as well.

Of course, if you want to order some clothes in the KI$$ vain, log on to

It must be en vogue for rock stars to develop clothing lines. Nikki Sixx has one. So does Tommy Lee. Now Gene. Makes me wonder who will be next to jump on the bandwagon.