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Fleetwood Slack? Back? Wack?

Our guest posts from HIM continue today with this one - happy Monday!

You tell me what you think:

I mean, I think Fleetwood Mac are one of the best of that era (the post-Peter Green era, though I give him props for being the impetus for Judas Priest covering his song, "The Green Manalishi [With the Two Prong Crown]").

And the band is a carnival mirror of shifts and shades, regrets and reunions. All of them led by the odd fellow behind the kit, Mick Fleetwood. He strikes me as a genius and an odd duck. I think John McVie sticks around because he isn’t sure where else to go, or because he fears that Mick will hurl those darn balls at him.

I got to see them when they reunited for The Dance in the mid-90s. Great concert. Awesome vibe. The only thing I really noticed was this: Lindsey Buckingham sounded like a drowned cat, after spending some time in a Pet Cemetery. But it was cool seeing him up there, doing his thing, sorta.’

Fast forward to today: Fleetwood Mac remains a band. McVie (both of them) and Nicks are front and center. Fleetwood is back there, looking as odd as ever. And we have Neil Finn (Crowded House) and Mike Campbell (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) filling in.

I think Finn sounds better than Buckingham has in a long, long time. But he has no high notes. Then again, when Buckingham tried to recapture a little bit of faded glory in recent years, it sounded like a FIAT had a flat tire. Campbell? I suspect he is happy to be high . . . on being in this band. It is great to see Nicks and McVie (the female one) on stage together. In particular, I have always thought that the latter was a seductive siren who unfavorably lost some glow in the shadow of Nicks. What?!?!? Yeah. What I just said.

But this sounds slow. It sounds as if the air was sucked out of it and then put back into it, only to be replaced by other air. It sounds, in short, like a band on life support.

Again, I love me some-non-original-members-Fleetwood Mac. They were easy listening that was anything but (a more interesting Eagles that crashed and burned on the basis of the band’s dynamics at any given point in time). This though? It seems like they want to take a nap. And perhaps that is for the best. You can never break the chains if you already dreamed that you did, decades ago.

Again, what do you think?


Book Review: 'Babysitting A Band On The Rocks'

Another one from our good friend HIM! Enjoy your football Sunday.

Review: Gregg Douglas Praetorius, Babysitting A Band On The Rocks. Looney Tunes, 2017. Paperback $19.99.

From 1976-1982, G.D. Praetorius was involved in producing nearly 200 concerts featuring bands you know and love: The Kinks, Aerosmith, Rainbow, Scorpions, Twisted Sister, AC/DC, Van Halen . . . and Ambrosia. He produced these at venues large and small, some of which are discussed on this very site: Hofstra Fieldhouse (where he got his start and met his wife), Hammerheads, Club Detroit, Syracuse War Memorial, Nassau Coliseum, Malibu Beach Club, Providence Civic Center. He produced bands on the up, on the down, and those never big enough to go either direction. Praetorius was a small cog on some occasions and a leader in other instances. A man who loved music, but learned early on that he couldn’t play it himself, Praetorius’s tale is an amazing one to read.

The title points to the core of this book. Namely, Praetorius’s role in hand-holding Aerosmith (sans Perry) through the disastrous period when they released Night in the Ruts (1979) and hit the road on The Aerosmith Mystery Club Tour the following year. We get to witness a band, and a singer, truly on the rocks (several puns intended). We get to watch Praetorius do the heavy-lifting, sometimes literally, when Tyler couldn’t perform. He produces these concerts, but does double-duty when the people backing the band hand them off to lesser mortals, only hoping to recoup the dollars they are losing on the once great (and soon to be great again) Aerosmith. Praetorius pulls no punches. He reminds readers of what Tyler seems to have forgotten, or glossed over, in recent years. But it isn’t a mean-spirited takedown. No, he remains a fan who, first and foremost, knew the show had to go on if at all possible.

The books is also about so much more than Aerosmith. There is a section where he discusses the intricacies of load-in and load-out at a major concert. The details, and his attention to them (self-described as having OCD, which Praetorius sees it as an asset when producing concerts), provide a rare look at an often not understood, or discussed, feature of the concerts we all know and love. You start to appreciate how many interlocking parts are involved in providing us, the fans, with a good show . . . at a club, auditorium, or amphitheater. That people like Praetorius avoid disaster with a mix of duct tape and dedication is something we don't consider. And that’s the point. This is a different peek, behind a different curtain. It is also, alas, a different era, one before corporate consolidations robbed different regions of their colorful character (and characters).

There are also numerous “you had to be there moments.” Interested in the story behind Richtie Blackmore’s Stratocasters and his destruction of them on stage? Praetorius provides an insider’s view. Interested in another take on Van Halen and the “Brown M&Ms” saga. He provides the more business-minded reason behind the rider request (though one that others have told). Want to hear a hilarious tale of his friend driving around Pink Floyd in a beat up Buick La Sabre [sic] for a week? Praetorius provides it. Ever curious to know about the weight of AC/DC’s famous (and original) Hell’s Bell? Praetorius knows. And how about the mystery of an odd fellow name Dick and a piano that he needs to move? Praetorius tells the tale. And he tells all of these stories with a mixture of humility and enthusiasm. He has an eye for details that others might overlook, a gentle sense of humor, and a decidedly reasonable approach to musical heroes who do, and don’t, live up to expectations.

A few small quibbles though. Whoever does the production of the actual book might want to take a look at how they align their parent sheets. Page text starts to tilt a quarter of the way through. Given that this is a perfect bound book, the problem only increases as the book goes along. So, when trying to hold the book open at certain points, the ends of lines disappear into the gutter. You work through it though. Another, and slightly comical, issue involves the blurbs on the back cover. Reading them, I was sorta’ confused about who these people were (Dee Snider’s blurb, after all, appears on the Looney Tunes website). Then, when reading the dedications at the start of the book and the acknowledgements at the end, I find out that these are people Praetorius met during the process of writing the book. I get that they inspired him. He owes them a debt. I just think that Praetorius could have lured in a couple of other “known” people to write blurbs for a book this engaging. The book is also organized thematically instead of chronologically. Which is fine. But some of the material, particularly at the end, could have been put in an Appendix and it would have lost none of its punch. Finally, where is the index? Yes, the listing of the concerts he produced and attended is appreciated (and amazing to read through). And, yes, the listing of photo credits (or lack thereof) is somewhat useful. But an index would have been appreciated.

Again, quibbles. Praetorius has written a book that deserves to be read by any fan of rock. He neither over- or under-sells his importance. He treats his subjects with respect, though he is no doe-eyed cataloger of rock gods. If you want the icky, back of the room, stories, look elsewhere. If you want to hear about a guy who got lucky, who worked hard, and who experienced an amazing ride as a producer of concerts, this is a book for you. This is his story to tell and he tells it well. Can't recommend it enough.

If you are interested in buying the book, go to Looney Tunes.


The Lazys 'Little Miss Crazy' - More Of The Simple/Good Stuff

HIM is on a roll right now. He provides another guest submission for us:

This is probably my favorite track off the recent Tropical Hazards. So imagine my surprise when they release another tongue-in-cheek video to celebrate it. Again, as with my last post, I thought I was finding something. Nah. Others picked up on this video right quick.

And, yeah, the slide guitar amps this one up a touch. It isn’t complicated. It isn’t groundbreaking. But it is good fun. When music makes you smile, music does what it is supposed to do.


Is Mick Mars Great? Is Water Wet?

Happy Friday! Today's post is from our friend HIM. 
This is one of two posts where I thought I had discovered something, only to find other sources were already chomping on it.
But what a topic:


Mars rode the Crue for all it was worth. He (must have) put up with a lot. He deals with the pains of older age (he is 63 or 67, depending on the source) and ankylosing spondylitis (a person close to me also has this disease) with pluck and charm.
When you hear him, you know it is him. I am no musician, but you know. So the idea that he will be putting together something soon is awesome. He won’t lose this fan. I hope he keeps all of them and gains a few more.
Metal needs people like Robert Alan Deal. Long live Mick Mars!

Questions For James Kottak?

I'm interviewing James Kottak tomorrow for the Dayton City Paper. Kingdom Come will preform in my area soon and I'm advancing the show.

Kingdom Come is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the band's debut album with a tour. It's pretty cool because Autograph and Killer Dwarfs will be at my show too.

You might recall Kottak played on Kingdom Come's first two albums.

So let me have your questions!


Steve Perry Releases Video For 'No More Cryin'

Another new Steve Perry track! Today we get the new video for "No More Cryin'" from the upcoming album Traces. That new record will be out October 5 and you can already pre-order it - click the link below to support the site! I think I like this track a little better than the first one Perry dropped from this album. 

Steve Perry - Traces


Dave Ellefson Inducted Into Iowa Rock Hall of Fame 

Boy the last thing I want to do today is to go back to work. Enjoy this tidbit from my inbox and ease back into your schedules this week! 


Grammy Award winning Megadeth bassist David Ellefson was inducted into the IOWA ROCK N’ ROLL HALL OF FAME over the weekend, in a ceremony Sunday in Okoboji, IA, presented by the Iowa Rock N’ Roll Music Association. David, a native of nearby Jackson, MN, spent his formative years, pre-Megadeth, performing on the club circuit in Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota. Ellefson was inducted in the “individual artist” category, for his achievements both as a recording artist and performer, and as a producer, writer, and entrepreneur, including his work with EMP LABEL GROUP, ELLEFSON COFFEE CO, ETA - Ellefson Touring Agency, and the recently relaunched COMBAT RECORDS.

“Growing up in Jackson, which is right on the border with Iowa, I spent as much time in Iowa, as I did in Minnesota. My mom was from Iowa, and really, so much of my life growing up was here. The Iowa circuit is where I really cut my teeth as a musician, before moving to LA and joining Megadeth, and it’s such an amazing honor to be recognized with the Iowa RNRHOF Class of 2018. After the Grammy win for Dystopia, it was really a cherry on top, to be recognized by my peers, and the great people back home, and to get to come back and participate in this amazing weekend” says David.

The induction came with a permanent Ellefson exhibit on display in the Iowa Rock N’ Roll Hall Of Fame Museum, in Arnold’s Park, IA, featuring one of Ellefson’s personal Jackson KELLY BIRDsignature basses, which kicked off the weekend with Ellefson performing an intimate BASSTORYmasterclass on Saturday morning, and, with partner Thom Hazaert, judging the finals of the statewide IOWA ROCKS Battle of the Bands competition.

The induction weekend closed out with an All-Star Jam Sunday night, with Ellefson participating along with the rest of the 2018 inductees.



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