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End of the Beginning

hollywoodrose.jpgToday, we start a special, multi-part series on the “roots” of glam metal.

The lovely Hairball John was kind enough to ship me a package full of CDs and more. In that package was Hollywood RoseThe Roots of Guns N' Roses.

 This is a great little album for any diehard GnR fan.

The album includes five previously unheard tracks, three ways. First, there’s the original demo version, then the same songs are remixed by Gilby Clarke. These same five demos are also remixed by Fred Coury, so the album includes 15 tracks in all.

People, this album is raw and you can really hear the basis for Appetite for Destruction. What’s even cooler is that the Gilby Clark remixes of “Reckless Life” and "Shadow of Your Love" include a guitar overdub by none other than Tracii Guns. It’s important to note that all tracks on The Roots of Guns n’ Roses are performed by Axl Rose, Chris Weber, Izzy Stradlin and Johnny Kreis.

If you’re not familiar with the roots of Guns n’ Roses, let me take you back to the beginning.

The band was formed in Los Angeles around the dawn of 1985 by Axl Rose and guitarist Tracii Guns, merging the bands Hollywood Rose and L.A. Guns. Hollywood Rose played several club gigs around Los Angeles earning quite a following of devoted fans. When it was time to get more exposure, Axl helped organize a shoestring budget tour in Seattle that would eventually change the line-up of the band and create rock n’ roll history. When Tracii Guns and Rob Gardner couldn’t travel to Seattle to perform, Axl asked guitarist Slash and drummer Steven Adler to fill the vacant spots. Soon thereafter the lineup was set with Axl, Slash, Adler, rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin and bassist Duff McKagan.

Before Appetite for Destruction there was Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide and manager Vicky Hamilton. She was very young and inexperienced but she pulled off management deals with GnR, Poison, Faster Pussycat and Stryper. Hamilton would work magic, securing club gigs for her boys, an income, and typically money to support “recreational” habits. Of course, Vicky didn’t just wake-up one morning and decide she was going to manage some of the biggest bands in the world. My dear Nikki Sixx actually helped Vicky land her first job, working under Motley Crue’s original management team. While she was with Motley’s first managers, she helped promote Too Fast for Love. Hamilton helped Guns n’ Roses land their deal with Geffen Records, allowing the boys the ability to produce the magnificent Appetite for Destruction. Hamilton writes the liner notes for The Roots of Guns n’ Roses and it’s an interesting read, chronicling her Hollywood story and how it intersects with so many famed musicians we love today.

Now, you might be wondering why drummer Fred Coury remixed some of the tracks on The Roots of Guns n Roses. Dear glam readers, the webs we weave in life are often confusing. You might recall a few months back I wrote about the band London (which also featured a young Nikki Sixx). Fred Coury played drums for London (please see article “London Bridge is Falling Down”) and substituted for Gn’R stickman Steven Adler back in 1988. Coury also played in Stephen Pearcy’s post-RATT project Arcade (please see article “Arcade Fire”). Of course, he's most famous for playing with Cinderella.

Fast forward to 2007, and we’re still waiting on Chinese Democracy. Axl Rose is the only original member of Guns n’ Roses and there’s been way too many member changes for me to name here without giving myself yet another headache. If you’re sick of waiting on Chinese Democracy and want some new, raw, GnR material, maybe you should check out The Roots of Guns n Roses, just don’t expect to hear anything even resembling “November Rain.”

Hollywood Rose The Roots of Guns n’ Roses track listing:

  1. Killing Time (demo)
  2. Anything Goes (demo)
  3. Rocker (demo)
  4. Shadow of Your Love (demo)
  5. Reckless Life (demo)

Plus remixed versions of the above tracks by Gilby Clarke and Fred Coury.


Emperor's New Clothes

kotzen.jpgThe good folks over at have just posted the latest guitar star of the month: Richie Kotzen.

I'm not sure if Kotzen is a household name, but he's probably most famous for replacing C.C. DeVille in Poison. With the Pennsylvania glam-band, Kotzen released the greatly underrated Native Tongue. Kotzen was kicked out of Poison and eventually DeVille rejoined the band.

Kotzen also played in Mr. Big for awhile, performing on the Get Over It and Actual Size albums. Today, Kotzen is working to support a new solo disc, Into the Black. You can preview some of the tracks on

All this talk of Kotzen has me thinking of Poison. A few days ago I picked up the DVD Poison: Video Hits for less than six bucks. We're talking low-budget, and not every video the band made is included on this collection. The DVD contains videos for:

1. "Cry Tough"
2. "I Want Action"
3. "Nothin' But A Good Time"
4. "Fallen Angel"
5. "Every Rose Has It's Thorn"
6. "Unskinny Bop"

I grabbed the DVD as an impulse buy because of the dirt cheap price. There are zero extras meaning no book, no interviews, no live performances.

As you can see by the clip listing, this collection only includes the band's biggest hit singles. Poison: Greatest Video Hits is a comprehensive DVD, including every video the band has produced along with concert clips and an interview or two.

A couple weeks ago I broke news of a massive summer tour including Poison, RATT and Great White. Now, it seems Great White's participation in the tour is in question and Poison has yet to announce concert dates. I guess only time will tell, glam fans.

Side note: Tomorrow, look for a special article dealing with the roots of music...something I've been working on for awhile, and hoped to post today. Too bad a migraine got in the way.







The King and I


Late last night, reports of a sick Michael Jackson started crossing the newswires.

Immediately, questions started circulating about the King of Pop. Is MJ in the hospital? Does he have pneumonia?

Can you imagine the media frenzy if old Michael drops dead? I mean, what would happen to Blanket and those other almost legitimate children?

Despite reports that Jackson is broke he’s still really, really, really rich, and all that money can buy a lot of lawyers.

Back when Jackson was still a productive member of music society, he collaborated with some of rock’s best guitarists. A brilliant Eddie Van Halen contributed a solo to “Beat It” off the Thriller album.

Eddie did that solo in secret, for fear David Lee Roth would think he was turning his back on the band that bears his surname. Ah, the irony.

A few years later, Slash performed solos on “Black or White” and “Give it to Me.” Both these tracks appear on Dangerous. At one time I owned that release on cassette.

Guitarist Steve Stevens is best known for his work with Billy Idol and Vince Neil. What many don’t know is that Stevens is playing the solo on “Smooth Criminal,” included on the Bad album. 

Michael is reportedly working on a new album, set for release by the end of this year. Right now, it’s not clear if any famous glam guitarists will collaborate with the once great musical mind.

Here's a video of Slash and Michael Jackson performing together in 1995. As you can see, Slash steals center stage.




Breakin the Chainz


Good news for CrashDiet fans.

The Swedish glam rockers are back in the studio, working on a new album.

This new album will be the first with singer H. Olliver Twisted (Twisted also fronts Reckless Love).

As an avid blogger I think it's really cool that the hot Swedes are tracking their recording process with a daily blog ( In the first entry, bassist Peter London bemoans meat on a vegetarian pizza AND says Yngwie Malmsteen gave him a headache. Classic!

I wish the boys much luck with this new recording. Former singer Dave Lepard had a really unique voice and great song writing ability, so I hope Twisted is able to keep the sleaze alive.

If you haven't listened to CrashDiet, no more excuses. Here's a video for "Riot in Everyone" from their debut album Rest in Sleaze.




Forlorn Legacy

beatles.jpgIn the end, we all will leave a lasting legacy of some sort.

For many of us, this simply means a legacy tied to our families and maybe careers if we’re smart enough to invent a product on idea that makes the world a little better.

For musicians, the coveted “legacy” begins early on, with practicing and club gigs. Fans start to form an "opinionated legacy" after a first studio recording and it often takes decades for scholars to firmly place an individual musician or band in their proper place in history.

For some bands, like Van Halen, a once clearly defined legacy is now in question. Will the cultural anthropologists of tomorrow look back to the end of the seventies and understand the new breed of music that Van Halen was about to create? Will Eddie Van Halen go down as one of the best guitarists of his generation, or will his talents become a footnote edged out by erratic behavior, mood swings and drug dependency?

Some bands like KISS and Alice Cooper have influenced tons of musicians, have rabid followings, and enjoy constant commercial success yet are annually ignored by the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame and are typically panned in the press. Today, KISS is still able to hock logo merchandise and host annual conventions. For all their fans, there are just as many detractors that create questions about legacy. Will Gene Simmons be remembered as the bass playing demon, or the middle aged TV dad thanks to his hit reality show? Will Alice Cooper be remembered for making shock rock acceptable, or for playing 18 holes of golf every tour stop?

It seems like the critics really love to hate Motley Crue. Again, I ask, what will be their legacy? Will it consist of women, drugs and arrests, or of music that changed a generation and turned the Sunset Strip scene upside down? To date, the Motley men have sold more than 40 million records worldwide. They’ve toured the world over, and created some of the best party anthems of all time. Still, to most people, Motley Crue is nothing more than “that band whose drummer was married to Pam Anderson.”

Let’s get controversial.

What is the legacy of the Beatles? Are they the greatest rock band of all time? Yes. Are the Beatles the most overrated rock band of all time? Again, the answer is yes. The Beatles were an eccentric band of chaps who shared more talent that is even humanly conceivable. Still, a painful break-up, odd marriage, and drug use all started to taint the image of the loveable Brits. Then, Lennon was murdered and his legacy forever established as the best songwriter of all time. What impact will Sir Paul McCartney’s current nasty divorce have on his legacy? When Linda McCartney died, fans revered Paul as a loveable and grieving widower. Now, Heather Mills McCartney says Paul abused her and Linda. I wonder how this is going over in the Beatlemania camp?

What about Guns n' Roses? Appetite for Destruction is regarded as the most successful debut album in rock history. After Appetite for Destruction, Axl Rose and the rest of his sleazy boys released Lies, Use Your Illusion 1 and 2 and the Spaghetti Incident. Of course, Axl went nuts, fired the rest of the band and became a recluse working on the mystic Chinese Democracy. Will more than a decade of silence hurt the legacy that is Guns n' Roses, or will people still be talking about the amazing tracks on Appetite for Destruction 20 years from now?

Less famous bands like Twisted Sister, Hanoi Rocks, W.A.S.P., and even Cinderella all made their mark on the 80s metal scene. Some of those bands like Cinderella and Hanoi Rocks never really earned the credit they so richly deserved. Will history right this wrong, or will Cinderella stay lumped in a category of less talented musicians?

I guess only time will tell.







Who Says You Can't Go Home?

bon-jovi.jpgThe American Broadcasting Company (ABC) is on board with the movement.

The powers that be over at ABC understand glam and realize that adding a familiar tune here and there will add panache to a particular scene or show.

Last night was the season finale of What About Brian. This is one of my favorite shows on television and I feel it's greatly underrated.

During the opening scene, the male characters are playing a friendly game of basketball. Suddenly, the loveable protagonist (Brian) is reminded that his best friend had intimate relations with his sister. You see, Brian's sister is a big time music hot shot, supposedly even having a romantic relationship with Richie Sambora.

Immediately, "It's My Life" starts blaring in the background, Jon Bon Jovi's voice clear as day. I thought this was an interesting - if appropriate - song choice for the circumstance at hand.

I did a little research on "It's My Life" this morning. I had no idea the song won Video of the Year at the VH1 Awards. It was also nominated for a Grammy.

"It's My Life" is the first single from the 2000 studio release Crush. According to the Recording Industry Association of America, the album went two times platinum on April 24, 2001. New Jersey's favorite sons also released a DVD of the Crush tour. Sales of the longform video were certified platinum in June of 2005.

While I don't watch the new ABC drama October Road, I'm told last week's episode featured Poison's most famous song "Every Rose Has Its Thorn."

Have you noticed your favorite songs used in recent television programs?






Night Songs

cinderella.jpgLately, I've been picking up compilation albums by my favorite bands. Friday, I purchased Cinderella's 2005 release Rocked, Wired & Bluesed: The Greatest Hits. Let me just say I love this album. True, the disc is only the best known hits, but I am digging the re-mastered sound and the booklet that accompanies the album is top notch.

The track line-up looks like this:

1. Night Songs
2. Shake Me
3. Nobody's Fool
4. Somebody Save Me
5. Bad Seamstress Blues/Fallin' Apart At The Seams
6. Gypsy Road
7. Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone)
8. The Last Mile
9. Long Cold Winter
10. If You Don't Like It
11. Coming Home
12. The More Things Change
13. Shelter Me
14. Heartbreak Station
15. Winds Of Change
16. Blood From A Stone
17. Hot And Bothered

Now, I've said it before and I'll say it again: "Nobody's Fool" is the best power ballad of the genre as Cinderella stands head and shoulders above many of their contemporaries. While "Nobody's Fool" is their calling card, the band's greatest song is probably "Night Songs," not coincidentally the debut track to this compilation.

While this may be the best compilation album I own, save for Motley Crue's Red, White and Crue, I can see how some casual fans wouldn't see the need for such a disc. A lot of Cinderella fans already own the 1997 release Once Upon A... and Rocked, Wired and Bluesed: The Greatest Hits doesn't offer much variation in tracks. Also, there's no previously unreleased songs or other hidden gems. Still, if you're a collector like me, you try to purchase a band's entire discography.

A major part of this compilation is the lovely book, filled with personal reflections and photos from the band. An added bonus is an iron-on transfer of the cover of Long Cold Winter. I've never seen a studio release come with an iron-on logo, but the very concept just oozes glam.

This new acquisition to my collection leaves me coveting Cinderella - Rocked, Wired & Bluesed - The Greatest Video Hits. This DVD collection includes the videos for:

1.Shake Me
2.Nobody's Fool
3.Somebody Save Me
4.Gypsy Road
5.Don't Know What
6.You Got (Till It's Gone)
7.The Last Mile
8.Coming Home
9.The More Things Change
11.Shelter Me
12.Heartbreak Station

This, I think, looks like a great way to blow a Saturday afternoon.

So, do you have a favorite compilation album?