Written by Joey “Chicago” Walser (Devour The Day)
“The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.” – Hunter S. Thompson
Genesis (???) – Here are two stories about a beginning…
So, here we go…I am unsure what going back in time will actually bring up, what it will allow to swell and bubble to the surface. Slowly (turning the grinder like I was winding a clock back in time), I prepare myself to visit the history before my present reality. I’m like a blind man being asked to recant the years before he lost his sight. However accustomed I have become to the logistics of being an adult artist, it is bittersweet and difficult to transport myself to a time before innocence lost. Ignorance is bliss (Put me back in the Matrix. Blue pill please). That being said, I wouldn’t trade my journey with anyone else living or dead (well maybe, Phil Knight, “Just Do It”…billion dollars…boom…swoosh).
(Sorry, I’ll chill out with “side thought” parentheses)
I can still feel the carpet on my face — the coarse hairs of a living room floor, well-weathered by the traffic of a young, blue-collar family. I know that perfectly average beige color and its tiny curls as if there were Polaroids laid out before me now. I can feel the weight of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comforter over my head and the density of the air below it. The last collection of the night’s darkness still captured beneath in my blanket tent. I can still hear the muffled combination of my father’s voice belting out the Saturday chores (terrifying and amazing), and the mysterious floating melodies of a sound I was unsure of…
I woke up that morning physically and mentally, but also consciously. My young body strained not to let the light in, but my curiosity begged to decipher the noise coming through my father’s 1980’s home stereo. Yeah, I’m an ’80s kid. I lifted the blanket. Light and sound flooded in, and the muffled noise became clear. A voice, a lyric, and a perfect equation had drifted into my ears. I understood in a way I had never felt before. This was a story. This was a simple story about a boy falling for a girl. He saw her standing there. He was just 17. The feeling that came over me was warm, powerful, raw, and–complete. I had no idea I had just met my best friend around the age of 7.
This was my first beginning. Innocent…
Life pushes forward. In my head, I see a montage of a kid version of me moving from Florida to Chicago in the 5th grade. It’s really hard on the kid. He’s a fat kid. He’s a “get picked last” kind of kid. He’s a “hang out with his little brother” type of kid. He’s a “wet the bed” type of kid. It’s ok…laugh. I’d laugh, too.
The montage ends as the kid version of me walks up to his brand new middle school. 6th grade. Rebellion. Fire. Girls.
This is the second beginning…
The year is 1993 and I’m 11 years old. There is a “cool” table in the lunchroom, but I never sit there… ever. I’m awkward. My dad calls me a “tweenager.”
It’s fall in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago. Have you seen Suburbia? It’s exactly like that, even though at that point, I’m obviously too young to realize that. Something perfectly ironic happens that changes my life forever.
My parents had decided that year to make a big deal about pumpkin-carving. It was our first real holiday since the family had gotten a full grip on being a “well-adjusted” Chicago-style family; we even had Blackhawks and Bulls STARTER jackets. We had gone out and each of the kids in the family and both parents had picked their own round orange canvas. We went home and each of us labored away on our carving. My sister was so little, and she was so proud of those pumpkins. To her, they were like trophies out in front of our house. A few nights later, somebody destroyed those pumpkins. They laid in pieces all over the front yard. I remember my little sister cried so hard; she was devastated. I tell you this because it ends up being that moment that leads me to my awakening, my musical enlightenment, and my salvation.
Tower Records record stores were so fucking awesome! They were huge, and had multiple floors — levels upon levels of dreams coming true. They had everything that had to do with every kind of music and it was all over the place. They had listening rooms and giant posters on the walls. They had rows and rows of music. Genres and genres, and on further into sub-genres, all out on display. Flashing lights and sounds coming from every direction. It was beautiful. I was Charlie in the chocolate factory every time I was in there.
I moved quickly through the aisles, mumbling each marker as I passed the corresponding section underneath. “Rock,” “Jazz,” “Rap.” I remember one of the sections had a hand drawn label above it. “Local Bands,” it said. If you were in a band at all, you were already living my dream. But I thought, ‘these guys, in these bands, were from around MY hometown!’ These bands were tangible. My eyes scanned the shelving, desperate for something to stand out. Four rows down, in the center, staring right back at me was a record that would change my life. I slowly picked it up. I felt wrong for holding it, after everything that had happened only nights before. Maybe it was destiny that something so bad could lead me to something so good. Maybe what had happened that Halloween was meant to be? I read the band name out loud as if I were the only kid in the store…
“The Smashing Pumpkins,” I said to myself, followed immediately by a thought that I would have many, many times afterwards…‘My mom is going to hate this!’
This was the beginning of “My Rock and Roll Journey.” Stay tuned for Chapter 2 to see how the story unfolds from here…
Billboard Hard Rock Albums Chart for the week ending 9/3/16. Top 15 albums ranked by sales data and compiled by Nielsen SoundScan.
THIS WEEK’S TOP 15:
- THE AMITY AFFLICTION – This Could Be Heartbreak
- SKILLET – Unleashed
- DISTURBED – Immortalized
- THY ART IS MURDER / THE ACACIA STAIN / FIT FOR AN AUTOPSY – The Depression Sessions (EP)
- FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH – Got Your Six
- DEFTONES – Gore
- VOLBEAT – Seal The Deal & Let’s Boogie
- BREAKING BENJAMIN – Dark Before Dawn
- THEE OH SEES – A Weird Exits
- VARIOUS ARTISTS – 2016 Warped Tour Compilation
- CHEVELLE – The North Corridor
- SHINEDOWN – Threat To Survival
- CROWN THE EMPIRE – Retrograde
- JACKYL – Rowyco
- PIERCE THE VEIL – Circles
HRD RADIO REPORT
The HRD Radio Report showcases the weekly Active Rock Mediabase Charts (compiled by AllAccess.com), and appears every Tuesday on HardRockDaddy.com. The HRD Radio Report digs deeper into the weekly Active Rock charts, providing commentary, reviews, recommendations and predictions. It also features opinion pieces on chart action and the music business in general.
Many of the artists featured on the Active Rock charts have already been reviewed on HardRockDaddy.com.
The following is the Active Rock Mediabase Chart for the week ending 8/20/16. All exclusive HRD content is featured below the chart:
|THIS WEEK||LAST WEEK||THIS WEEK|
|2||2||RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS||“Dark Necessities”||1613|
|3||5||PRETTY RECKLESS||“Take Me Down”||1536|
|4||4||POP EVIL||“Take It All”||1502|
|5||6||BLINK-182||“Bored To Death”||1338|
|6||22||GREEN DAY||“Bang Bang”||1316|
|7||3||SHINEDOWN||“Asking For It”||1206|
|8||8||3 DOORS DOWN||“Still Alive”||1204|
|9||10||PROPHETS OF RAGE||“Prophets Of Rage”||1155|
|10||7||VOLBEAT||“The Devil’s Bleeding Crown”||1152|
|11||11||KORN||“Rotting In Vain”||1046|
|12||12||HOLY WHITE HOUNDS||“Switchblade”||906|
|15||17||DISTURBED||“Open Your Eyes”||795|
|16||16||HELLYEAH||“I Don’t Care Anymore”||753|
|17||14||ROB ZOMBIE||“Get High”||715|
|20||18||AVATAR||“The Eagle Has Landed”||636|
|21||23||ZAKK WYLDE (f. COREY TAYLOR)||“Sleeping Dogs”||550|
|22||20||BREAKING BENJAMIN||“Ashes Of Eden”||507|
|23||24||TWENTY ONE PILOTS||“Heathens”||452|
|24||25||SIXX: A.M.||“Prayers For The Damned”||430|
|25||28||KALEO||“Way Down We Go”||423|
|26||32||FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH||“I Apologize”||414|
|27||26||FROM ASHES TO NEW||“Lost And Alone”||346|
|28||29||CITIZEN ZERO||“Go (Let Me Save You)”||345|
|29||27||STITCHED UP HEART||“Monster”||265|
|31||35||ALTER BRIDGE||“Show Me A Leader”||253|
|32||43||RED SUN RISING||“Amnesia”||205|
|33||34||THE RECORD COMPANY||“Off The Ground”||188|
|34||48||THOUSHAND FOOT KRUTCH||“Push”||177|
|36||42||SEPTEMBER MOURNING||“Eye Of The Storm”||169|
|38||47||GEMINI SYNDROME||“Remember We Die”||161|
|39||31||TRIVIUM||“Dead And Gone”||160|
|40||41||FOALS||“What Went Down”||156|
|41||38||MACHINE HEAD||“Is There Anybody Out There?”||148|
|42||46||LETTERS FROM THE FIRE||“Give In To Me”||145|
|43||45||BRING ME THE HORIZON||“Avalanche”||144|
|44||36||FAILURE ANTHEM||“First World Problems”||144|
|45||50||PARKWAY DRIVE||“Devil’s Calling”||134|
|46||52||SHAMAN’S HARVEST||“Here It Comes”||133|
|47||49||PIERCE THE VEIL||“Circles”||131|
|48||54||BRIDGE TO GRACE||“Left Inside”||123|
|50||58||RIVAL SONS||“Thundering Voices”||102|
GEMINI SYNDROME – “Remember We Die”
These days, the average rock music fan’s taste is narrower than those who grew up in the ’70s and ’80s. That may be the only thing that keeps Gemini Syndrome’s latest single, “Remember We Die,” from being a song that touches an entire generation of fans.
Two classic songs from the ’70s – “Dust In The Wind” (Kansas) and “Time” (Pink Floyd) – continue to serve as a stark reminder to this day that life is nothing more than a fleeting moment in the scheme of things. In the late ’80s, the phrase “carpe diem” was introduced to the masses by Robin Williams in his unforgettable role in Dead Poet’s Society. The phrase translates in English to “seize the day.” A decade ago, this concept was brought to life once again in a powerfully thought-provoking song by Avenged Sevenfold, aptly titled, “Seize The Day.”
Like A7X, Gemini Syndrome has a way of making you feel things in a visceral way, with haunting melodies that stay with you long after the song has ended. “Remember We Die” is just as deep and inspirational as all of the aforementioned songs. In a world that grows busier by the day as attention spans continue to recede, this song should serve as a wake-up call to those who reminisce about yesterdays and/or dream of tomorrows. None of us knows when our time on earth will end, but as Gemini Syndrome poignantly points out, we should all be squeezing every ounce of life out of today (while we’re here). The future is about the other side.
The term “thinking man’s metal” is not bandied about these days as often as it once was, but it should be when it comes to Gemini Syndrome. This song deserves to make a strong run up the Active Rock charts.
PUBLISHER’S PREDICTIONS (by Adam Waldman)
On the 7/30/16 HRD Radio Report, I predicted that Pretty Reckless would ascend to the top of the chart with their latest single, “Take Me Down.” There is a 90% chance that it happens next week. I’m leaving a 10% opening for the x-factor that is “Bang Bang” – the latest single by Green Day that is flying up the charts, but was not yet released when the prediction was initially made. Unless there is a change in the trend, Pretty Reckless will only have a one-week stay at #1 before being overtaken by Green Day. As the saying goes, timing is everything. Green Day shouldn’t get too comfortable though. Metallica’s latest single – “Hardwired” – has taken the rock world by storm, with a throwback sound that is reminscent of their early thrash days. Their debut at #19 this week makes them a virtual lock to rise to #1 sooner, rather than later.
HRD SPIN CONTROL (by Adam Waldman and Jon Loveless)
Each week, we will share the songs that we think should be added to rotations, alongside the songs that we feel should be dropped from rotations, either because they are a bad fit for the format, or because they have run their course and it’s time for a new single from the artist.
SHALLOW SIDE – “Rebel”
ONE LESS REASON – “Break Me”
SCATTERED HAMLET – “Swamp Rebel Machine”
CROBOT – “Not For Sale”
LOLA BLACK – “Sorrow And Sin”
I PREVAIL – “Stuck In Your Head”
YOUNG GUNS – “Bulletproof”
SILVERTUNG – “Devil’s Advocate”
Kaleo – “Way Down We Go”
Dinosaur Pile-Up – “11:11”
Holy White Hounds – “Switchblade”
Twenty One Pilots – “Heathens”
Foals – “What Went Down”
Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Dark Necessities”
Deftones – “Phantom Bride”
Blink 182 – “Bored To Death”
THE BREAKDOWN by Jon Loveless
KING OF THE HILL
Despite suffering a noticeable drop in airplay, Chevelle easily remained at the top of the Mediabase Active Rock Airplay chart for another week. A decline of around 15% wasn’t really an obstacle, as the former #1 (Red Hot Chili Peppers) also slipped a bit and Pretty Reckless had far too much ground to make up in a single week to be a real threat. That will change, possibly as soon as next week.
NOTABLE CHART MOVEMENT
Green Day roars into the Top 10 in only the second week on the chart with a nearly 150% increase in spins over their debut…
The most talked about song in quite a while makes a strong debut, as Metallica’s “Hardwired” as the only Top 20 newcomer…
Five Finger Death Punch shows a more modest improvement, but makes the jump into the Top 30…
A major shakeup takes place in the 30-40 segment of the chart, with seven songs moving into the tier, led by Red Sun Rising and Thousand Foot Krutch…
Two songs make their Top 50 debut in the final ten spots, including Bridge To Grace, who finally breaks through with a song that first showed signs of airplay back in mid-April.
THREE UP & THREE DOWN
Pretty Reckless – “Take Me Down”
Green Day – “Bang Bang”
Metallica – “Hardwired”
Chevelle – “Joyride”
Shinedown – “Asking For It”
Volbeat – “The Devil’s Bleeding Crown”
TRENDS AND OBSERVATIONS
Go big or go home continues as the major theme of the year, with more smashing debuts and more rapid ascensions. At some point, you almost have to wonder whether there will be a break in the trend, or if rock radio is content to be a steadily increasing domain of haves and have-nots.
That’s all for this week. Tune in to HardRockDaddy.com every Tuesday for the HRD Radio Report. \m/
Music Discovery Monday – 8/22/16
Music Discovery Monday shines a light on artists that are not getting the radio attention that they deserve, while also showcasing new singles by established bands that are likely to get airplay in the future.
In addition to appearing on the embedded YouTube playlist below, all songs featured on Music Discovery Monday can be listened to individually by clicking on the hyper-linked song titles above each review.
ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)
THE DEAD DAISIES – “Last Time I Saw The Sun”
First there was Aerosmith. Then came Guns N’ Roses. And now, we have The Dead Daisies, the latest chapter in the book that is gritty, timeless rock and roll. If you love the two aforementioned bands, you have no choice but to be a fan of The Dead Daisies. Unlike Aerosmith and GNR, this is not a band that paid their dues and came up together. According to the band’s bio, this is “a music collective created by a rotating lineup that has individually and collectively left their mark on the high-class brand of rock and roll that the band is known for.”
The current incarnation of the band features Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake, Dio), John Corabi (Motley Crue, The Scream), Marco Mendoza (Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake), Brian Tichy (Ozzy, Foreigner) and David Lowy (Red Phoenix, Mink). Unlike many modern supergroups that record an album, but rarely tour, The Dead Daisies are road warriors who have toured extensively, going all around the world as the opening act for Kiss.
“Last Time I Saw The Sun” is everything that you love about Aerosmith and GNR (and more)…powerful vocals, bluesy riffs and huge melodic hooks with anthemic choruses. They may be relatively new, but with a foundation that harkens back to the ‘70s and ‘80s, The Dead Daisies are a band whose sound is tailor-made for the arena shows of yesteryear.
DISTURBED (f. MYLES KENNEDY) – “The Sound Of Silence” (LIVE)
With the success of Disturbed’s cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s classic, “The Sound Of Silence,” it may seem like an odd fit for Music Discovery Monday. However, this live version of the song (which features the extraordinary guest vocals of Myles Kennedy), is something that many may have missed. Disturbed’s studio version of the song is hauntingly foreboding because of David Draiman’s distinct vocal delivery. That feeling still exists, but Kennedy’s vocals add a beautiful light to the darkness in this stirring interpretation.
ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout
KINGCROW – “The Moth”
A newer progressive metal band that I’ve been listening to a lot is Kingcrow from Rome, Italy. Their influences are pretty vast, but this song has elements of Opeth, Dream Theater and Katatonia. If you’re a fan of this genre of progressive metal, definitely give this band a listen. Off their latest album, Eidos, “The Moth” is an excellent, well-written tune with a memorable riff and chorus.
ACT OF DEFIANCE – “Throwback”
Ever wonder what happened to guitarist Chris Broderick and drummer Shawn Drover from the last Megadeth line-up? Wonder no more. They formed a thrash/death metal band called Act of Defiance. Rounding out the lineup is Matt Bachand of Shadows Fall and Henry Derek of Scar the Martyr. Act of Defiance is heavy, fast and aggressive, the way thrash metal should be played. It’s refreshing to see Chris Broderick shred on guitar, instead of the way Dave Mustaine wanted him to play it in Megadeth. Their first album, Birth and the Burial, is a good start for the band. Let’s hope future albums will show these musicians shine.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
IVORY – “Vanitas Vanitatum”
Formed in 2008 as a progressive rock band, Ivory has made a gradual transition to symphonic power metal. The Russian group’s debut album, Southern Cross, is a concept album about explorer Robert Scott’s ill-fated second expedition to the South Pole, a hundred years ago.
CRUZH – “Aim For The Head”
From the ashes of a glam band called TrashQueen, rises this melodic rock band out of Sweden. Layered harmonies and touches of groove swirl around an infectious melody in this second release from their debut album (due out later this week).
CHRIS HERZEGOVITCH – HRD Music Scout
EMERALD SUN – “Freedom Call”
Metal Dome is the fourth full-length album from Emerald Sun, a power metal outfit from Greece. “Freedom Call” is a change-of-pace track with a tranquil acoustic opening, giving way to traditional heavy metal rhythms and bright melodic choruses that support the song’s inspirational theme. Guitar work from Paul Georgiadis and Johnnie Athanasiadi are the key performances on the song, with impressive vocals from Stelios “Theo” Tsakirides.
SPLIT HEAVEN – “To The Fallen”
Mexico’s Split Heaven just released Death Rider, the band’s fourth full-length album. “To The Fallen” is a gritty, galloping track with a classic, raw metal sound reminiscent of early Judas Priest. Excellent guitar work from Armand Ramos / Carlo Hernandez and Tomas Roitman’s drumming are the highlights in this driving, battle-themed track. The tone of Jason Conde-Houston’s vocals completes the package.
To be considered for Music Discovery Monday, please e-mail a link to the song being submitted on YouTube and an artist bio to – submissions@MusicDiscoveryMonday.com
Written by Sal Costa (Smashing Satellites)
Music was a part of my life since the day I was born. My mother was a young poet. My eldest sister, Cathy, was a classical pianist, and my middle sister, Monique, was a ‘90s “grunge girl” with a ridiculous record collection and an eclectic group of friends to match. My father, although not musical, was extremely creative with his hands. He would make me toys, robots and all kinds of stuff. Music, passion and creative energy is in my family’s blood, and was passed through to me. Even before I started playing an instrument, I just knew in my bones that I was supposed to be on stage performing. I didn’t know what at the time, but I just knew that I was meant to be on stage. I felt that I needed to help people through life and music to be understood.
“My Rock and Roll Journey” is all about helping people to feel understood. We all just want to feel like we have a place. Even those of us who are hippies and free spirits at heart all want to feel like there is someone out there who understands us. We all go through the same things in life, so I felt like my journey was to write about it and share it with the world. A lot of the time, the struggles that we go through are struggles that we don’t always feel like we can talk about because of stereotypes and judgment. I wanted to put all of these subjects on the table so that no one ever feels alone.
I started off playing the piano when I was about 3 or 4 years old because I admired Cathy so much. I wanted to be just like her. She had elegance and class in her playing, and she could play anything that you put in front of her. However, when I started playing piano, I realized that my gift and talent was different than hers. I could not sight read music very well; it was a real struggle for me. My gift was being able to listen to music in my head and playing it.
I began writing my own melodies and songs, and stopped taking lessons because I felt that, in my heart, what I needed to learn was going to be learned through experience and life. A few years later, Monique bought me my first acoustic guitar (I still have it and use it to this day), and I was off to the races. All I wanted was to be the BEST guitar player I could be, so I started taking guitar lessons.
I am very fortunate that my parents found my guitar teacher, Frank Cosentino. He taught at KAOS Music in Toronto, Ontario. Frank got me. At a young age, he was able to identify that my skill was not going to be learning other peoples’ songs and tricks, but rather digging deep and finding my own. Since day one, I was never good at being (or trying to be) like anyone else, so rather than teach me, Frank guided me into finding my voice through the guitar. We would put on instrumental backing tracks and just freeform jam the whole lesson. Through all of this jamming, I learned how to play the guitar using my own expression.
MANY times, I would come home and my mom would be concerned. She would ask questions like…“Are you not learning notes? How come you never use your music book? What the heck is Frank teaching you?” Nonetheless, my mom saw that I was happy, and she kept sending me to Frank for lessons. Years later, she would understand what he taught me. He was more than a guitar teacher. He was a mentor. He threw gasoline on the fire, and we started burning down the woods.
Although Frank had me focused on finding my own sound early on, there are a number of artists from various genres that were a big influence on me. In the next chapter of “My Rock and Roll Journey,” I will be discussing these artists, and the defining moment that changed everything for me after seeing one particular video on MTV when I was 8-years old.
Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown for the week of 8-20-16.
The 8-20-16 Big ‘Uns Countdown playlist can also be found on www.HardRockDaddyNetwork.com (the HRD YouTube channel), in addition to archived playlists dating back to 2013. Links to reviews of songs from the countdown are featured at the bottom of the page.
#15 – “Weight Of The World” – CROWN THE EMPIRE
#14 – “Real” – OF MICE & MEN
#13 – “Stuck In Your Head” – I PREVAIL
#12 – “Show Me A Leader” – ALTER BRIDGE
#11 – “I Don’t Care Anymore” – HELLYEAH
#10 – “Take Me Down” – THE PRETTY RECKLESS
# 9 – “Is There Anybody Out There?” – MACHINE HEAD
# 8 – “Paranoia” – A DAY TO REMEMBER
# 7 – “I Apologize” – FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH
# 6 – “Open Your Eyes” – DISTURBED
# 5 – “Rotting In Vain” – KORN
# 4 – “Take It All” – POP EVIL
# 3 – “Black Honey” – THRICE
# 2 – “Stronger” – THROUGH FIRE
# 1 – “Feel Invincible” – SKILLET
Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 8/18/16
Each Thursday, Hard Rock Music Time Machine takes a journey back in time to feature a variety of songs that date back as far as the ’70s, the ’80s (the glory days of hard rock), hidden gems of the ’90s and hard rock/metal songs of the new millennium (as recent as a few years ago).
Whenever possible, it will also contain interviews from featured artists discussing the inspiration and meaning behind their songs. On the last Thursday of each month, we will be doing special themes that feature songs based on specific categories or years.
In addition to appearing on the embedded YouTube playlist below, all songs featured on Hard Rock Music Time Machine can be listened to individually by clicking on the hyper-linked song titles above each review.
ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)
ALICE IN CHAINS – “Black Gives Way To Blue” (2009)
Alice In Chains is a band that feels like they’ve been around forever. Although they rose to fame during the grunge movement of the early ‘90s, the band actually formed in the late ‘80s. Because they’ve been around for so long, and have released albums in recent times, some may find it surprising to know that they have only released five studio albums in their history.
2009’s Black Gives Way To Blue was the first studio album that the band released since 1995’s eponymous album (the last one with Layne Staley fronting the band). It was Staley’s overwhelming struggles with substance abuse that left the band on extended hiatus from 1996 until a reunion in 2005 (three years after his death). They performed a live benefit show with a number of guest vocalists, before touring with William DuVall in 2006 after he became the permanent replacement for Staley.
Although the band started writing new material in 2006, they didn’t release their first album without Staley until 2009. I’m not sure whether it was serendipity or by design, but the recording of Black Gives Way To Blue was completed on March 18, 2009 (Staley’s birthday).
The title track off of the band’s fourth album was written as a dedication to Staley. DuVall’s vocals, which are reminiscent of Staley’s, gives the band a through line that bridges the extended time between releases. As you would expect (give the subject matter), the song has a melancholic vibe, but it is not nearly as dark as some of Alice In Chains’ early work. Perhaps the light that shines through on this slow-tempo, acoustic track can be attributed to the guest appearance of Elton John.
HUMBLE PIE – “30 Days In The Hole” (1972)
“30 Days In The Hole” has an interesting back story. The song – which is clearly about a variety of drugs and the time that you get in jail for getting busted with them – only received moderate airplay and never charted back in the day. It wasn’t until years later, when AOR and Classic Rock stations started playing the song that it became most well-known. Like the Rolling Stones’ classic “Brown Sugar,” this song takes a serious subject and makes it come to life with danceable rhythms and a joyful vibe that doesn’t exactly coincide with the meaning of the lyrics. It is a distinctly ‘70s song that has the power to make you nostalgic for the time period even if you never experienced it firsthand.
ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout
CLUTCH – “Pure Rock Fury” (2001)
Still considered one of the best hard rock bands around, “Pure Rock Fury” is the perfect description of Clutch. The title track from the band’s fifth studio album rocks in every way. Whether it’s Neil Fallon belting and growling of the lyrics to the song, Tim Sult’s swanky guitar playing, or the pounding rhythm section of Dan Maines and Jean-Paul Gaster, Clutch puts on a great show every time. For those of you that have never seen Clutch live, make it a priority to see them next time they come to town!
DANZIG – “How The Gods Kill” (1992)
From the ashes of the Misfits, Glenn Danzig started Danzig in 1988. “How The Gods Kill” is from the band’s third studio album, Danzig III: How the Gods Kill (one of his best albums in my opinion). The album is chock full of gothic themes, and is a lot doomier than its predecessors. The band’s use of quiet interludes throughout the song creates an eerie feeling. Still going strong, Danzig continues to wave the goth/doom metal banner to this day. He recently released an album of cover songs, and rumor has it he will be touring with the Misfits again for a reunion show.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
MAGNUM – “You’ll Never Sleep” (2007)
English rockers Magnum formed in the early ‘70s as the house band at Birmingham’s famous Rum Runner nightclub. They met with commercial success in the early ‘80s and have been faithfully putting out quality melodic rock ever since. They’ve undergone some lineup changes over the decades, but vocalist Bob Catley and guitarist Tony Clarkin have been there through it all. Both are in top form in this number from their 2007 album, Princess Alice and the Broken Arrow. They have a new album coming out this year.
JADED HEART – “Trust” (2004)
Few groups have perfected melodic hard rock like German mainstays Jaded Heart. They’ve shuffled lead singers over the years, but they always seem to find a monster talent to front for them. They have no choice, given the lofty expectations inspired by their original singer, Michael Bormann. He stands out here, against a backdrop of soaring harmonies.
CHRIS HERZEGOVITCH – HRD Music Scout
FIREHOUSE – “Reach For The Sky” (1992)
Like many glam metal bands from the ‘90s, Firehouse gave us good-time music, with solid musicianship and lyrics that were a sign of the times. “Reach for the Sky” was the first single off their second album, Hold Your Fire. Uncomplicated, driving and melodic, this track has a great acoustic lead-in and solo work that will take you back.
GEORGE LYNCH (f. RAY GILLEN) – “Flesh And Blood” (1993)
In the last years of Lynch Mob, George Lynch released his first solo album, Sacred Groove. He used several well-known singers for the effort, but the most notable of the lot was Ray Gillen on “Flesh and Blood” (Gillen tragically died later that year of AIDS). This track has Lynch’s signature locomotive rhythms and wailing solos, but the addition of Gillen’s excellent, soulful voice really puts it over the top.