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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.




London Bridge is Falling Down...

london1.jpgOur final band that didn't make it big: London.

This band was huge on the Sunset Strip, featuring Nikki Sixx on bass, Lizzie Grey on guitars, Dane Rage on drums, and Jon St. John on keyboards. Nigel Benjamin fronted the group, with screeching vocals. If that name seems familiar, it's because Benjamin sang vocals in Mott the Hopple.

Before Nikki Sixx became famous for starting Motley Crue, he and Lizzie Grey performed together in the band Sister, fronted by Blackie Lawless. Yes, that Blackie Lawless. The would-be W.A.S.P. frontman kicked both Sixx and Grey out of his band, forming the foundation that would be London.

(Music journalists say Sixx got the idea to light himself on fire from Blackie Lawless. The early Crue pentagram was also a trademark of the Sister look).

Sixx and Benjamin didn't get along and soon the singer was out of the band. It didn't take long for Sixx to get the itch, and he left soon after to form Motley Crue.

This wasn't the complete end of London, though. Grey reformed the band with vocalist Nadir D'Priest and Brian West on Bass. Drummer Fred Coury and keyboardist Peter Szucs were also in the new lineup. Together, they recorded Non-Stop Rock. The album was a complete commercial failure.

Of course, this wasn't it for Fred Coury. He soon departed the group to join a little band known as Cinderella. 

That was when London bridge literally fell down.





They Want a Piece of Mine

bonham1.jpgFor a short time, Bonham was set to take over the charts and the country. With a rock n' roll pedigree not to be ignored, Jason Bonham formed his band infused with the same Led Zeppelin melodies encased in his DNA.

Daniel MacMaster sang lead vocals in Bonham, and the very photogenic Ian Hatton played guitar while John Smithson played bass. There was no doubt that Jason Bonham would grow up to be an accomplished drummer. When your dad is John Bonham, expectations are high.

The band had a major label debut with The Disregard of Timekeeping, and a hit single with "Wait for You." That single had a big budget video that played in constant rotation. It had all the trappings of a classic 80s video: big hair, fire, and it was a shot on a back lot that resembled a junk yard.

 The Disregard of Timekeeping hit store shelves in 1989, just one year after the young Bonham formed his band.

The "Wait for You" video is now a staple of VH1 Classic. I guarantee if you watch two episodes of Metal Mania, you'll see "Wait for You" in all its glory.

The band toured relentlessly, perhaps because Bonham learned from watching his father that legions of fans are made on the road. During the making of 1992s Mad Hatter, things began to fall apart for the band.

The group disbanded shortly thereafter.