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Strange Bedfellows

Metal music is making a lot of bizarre headlines today. I was prepared to write about Stephen Pearcy's new deal with an L.A. management company which is promising  help developing a record label. The ex-RATT frontman started Top Fuel Records a short time ago and also plans on releasing a box set of his classic material.

Now to the headlines:

First, isn't music supposed to bring us closer together? A man was killed after an argument over Metallica! The man was fighting with a group of teens while riding on a Canadian bus and things got heated. As the motley group continued to fight, the teens got more and more agitated and allegedly beat the man to death. The three teens now face charges of manslaughter.

And this morning, a Washington Post report finds that detainees at Guantanamo Bay were forced to listen to metal music. First, is this punishment? Second, why is this considered punishment? And is it wrong that I take offense to this? The article goes on to explain some actual torture techniques that our fine government paid for and instituted. Actually, I'm too disgusted now to continue. Just plain disgusted.

Check out the entire article on 
You'll be disgusted too.

This people, is NOT glam.









Friends in High Places

planetrock.jpgBack in the 1980s and early 1990s, Lonn Friend was a big time music player. He started at Hustler magazine and worked his way up to editor of RIP magazine , largely lauded as the heaviest magazine in rock. After the magazine went out of publication, Friend became an A&R rep for Arista records, and later a consultant for several major rock acts.

Friend was on the outside looking in, looking back out. He had privilege and access few only dream of (myself included). After a near mental breakdown, failed marriage, and money problems, Friend returned to the fold to write a book about his life in music, aptly called Life on Planet Rock. The book is a music biography like no other, filled with behind the scenes details and testimony to Friend's power in the very fickle industry. Left with only his pen and memories, Friend is able to transport his readers backstage at the Monsters of Rock Festival or to the dinner table with heavy hitters like record executive David Geffen.

What also makes this book a great read is that Friend is first and foremost a journalist. As a member of the press, it's nice to know that not every celebrity hates the journalists that make them famous and keep them in the public eye.

As the rock scene changed in the late 1980s, Friend's demeanor and authorial voice also changes. From 80s decadence to 90s self-awareness, Friend reflects on his life and his (sometimes) failed career moves. As someone who dreams of working for a music magazine, this book proves an invaluable resource.





Happy New Year

Here's looking to a bright 2007 filled with much more glam than 2006.
As you nurse hangovers and lament heading back to work after the holidays, consider this: concert announcements, reunion tours and album releases all proliferate during the long, cold winter doldrums. This thought alone may help you make it through the day.

Now,  the song obsession of the week:

"Hole Hearted" by Extreme. I love this song because it has perhaps the most glam lyric of all time:

"Rivers flow into the sea
Yet even the sea is not so full of me
If I'm not blind why cant I see
That a circle cant fit
Where a square should be

Extreme formed in the early 80s like all good glam bands (but in Boston, not on the Sunset Strip). Members cite Queen and Van Halen as major influences. Bostonians Gary Cherone (vocals), Paul Geary (drums), Nuno Bettencourt (guitar), and Pat Badger (bassist) were signed to A&M Records in 1988.

The group disbanded in 1996 and Cherone joined Van Halen, performed on Van Halen 3, leaving the legendary rockers in 1999. Extreme reunited for a brief tour in 2004.


--Song lyrics by Nuno Bettencourt, featured on the 1990 release Extreme II: Pornograffitti


Time of the Season

The final day of 2006 begs for a discussion of the year's best music: there wasn't any.
That's right, everything released in 2006 turned out to be crap. If you don't believe me, consider this:

Music website asked readers about the best albums of 2006.
Pearl  Jam came out on top with their album of the same name. Rounding out the top five are My Chemical Romance (The Black Parade), Evanescence (The Open Door), AFI (Decemberunderground), and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (Show Your Bones).

The site also asks readers to cast ballots for the rock n' roll hall of fame. Right now, Pearl Jam is leading the pack AHEAD OF LED ZEPPELIN! Don't worry: Green Day, Nirvana and the Foo Fighters are way ahead of AC/DC, Pink Floyd, Aerosmith and the Rolling Stones. At the very bottom of the list is Black Sabbath, with zero percent of the votes! I can only assume the people who frequent (and write) this website are too young to realize that without Black Sabbath there would be no Nirvana or, dare I say, Panic! At the Disco.

According to the luminaries at Rolling Stone, 2006 spewed forth some of the best music ever to grace our ears. What did the world's most respected music magazine pick as the number one single of the year? "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley. The rest of the top ten is a hodge podge of crap that I won't even spend my time writing about. It's the same pseudo pop dribble, mass produced for young audiences and shoved down the throat of every American consumer. 

The editors at Rolling Stone picked Bob Dylan's Modern Times as the best album of the year, followed by the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Stadium Arcadium and Rather Ripped by Sonic Youth. At least the magazine founded on rock returned to the fold on this one!

I can only hope 2007 brings better music than 2006. Rock is skipping a generation.





Is it 1986 again?

vains.jpgFellow glammers, they exist. "They" being a brand new band that sounds like a 1986 transport!

I'm talking about Swedish rockers Vains of Jenna. I've known about these guys for awhile now, but kept resisting the urge to listen to them for fear they wouldn't sound as promised.
Vains of Jenna really does have an early Motley Crue sound, while keeping a modern tone to their lyrics. The band even relocated from Sweden to Los Angeles, via the Sunset Strip! They've already played at the historic Whisky A Go-Go and are working on a larger tour in the coming months.

Their debut album "Lit Up/Let Down" features 10 songs, including the title track which is my favorite. The album dropped at the end of October, and music types started buzzing. That's when I balked. This week I caved, gave it a listen, and enjoyed what I heard.

The album was produced by former Guns N' Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke, which gives the album a bit of immediate credibility.

The sleaze glammers formed their band just a year ago, and they are young. We're talking about 18 years old people. That has to be a good sign, don't you think?




Reunited...And It Feels So Good! (?)

Van Halen attention.

A VH reunion is in the works, but the lineup might surprise you. Instead of Michael Anthony on bass, Eddie Van Halen's 15 year old son is said to fill the spot on a upcoming tour.

And still, no singer.

Eddie Van Halen wants David Lee Roth, but I don't think Roth wants Van Halen.

In a recent interview, Diamond Dave likened the Van Halen reunion to NASCAR...asking if fans just want to see the winner, or the crash.

Just this morning, Sammy Hagar (who initially replaced Roth) said he thinks an original Van Halen lineup reunion is a bad idea. Van Halen is nominated for a spot in the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame, and Hagar doesn't think the feuding bandmates can even make it through the televised ceremony without throwing punches. Get our your score cards kids, this could be the big one!

Are rock egos so big that musicians can't put aside their differences and get along for a 2 hour show? I mean, give me a break. Every day, millions of people get up and go to work with people they don't like!

Here's some other famous feuding glammers:

Motley Crue (but the "Route of All Evils" tour was a big success)
RATT (the entire band hates Stephen Pearcy, conversely, he hates all of them. The lawsuit says so!)
Skid Row (Sebastian Bach went nuts)
Warrant (Jani Lane went nuts. Warrant minus Jani Lane is NOT Warrant)

Sight. Can't we all just get along?

The Rock Hall induction ceremony is slated for March 12, 2007 in New York City. The five official inductees will be announced next month via press conference. Sources close to voting members of the Rock Hall say Van Halen took the majority of the votes. Score one for the Glammers!





You Think Your Tough?

So, I was planning on a different article today, but that was before I spent three hours last night, killing my brain with a music related quiz. This is not your father's quiz, friends. We're not talking about questions here, more like album art. That's right, you get a snippet of an album cover, you name the artist and album title.

Think that sounds easy? You're wrong. The quiz has 54 covers; right now I'm up to 30 correct.

So, give it a try. Here's the link:

More later...I have to get back to my quiz!