Monthly Archives: February 2016

Music Discovery Monday – 2/29/16

Music Discovery Monday - Jesse Blaze Snider

Hard Rock Daddy presents Music Discovery Monday – 2/29/16.

Each week, the HRD team shares songs that fly below radio’s radar, ranging from lesser-known artists to deeper cuts from both up-and-coming and established artists.

In addition to exposing the Hard Rock Daddy audience to new music that isn’t getting the attention that it deserves from radio, Music Discovery Monday also features a segment called “Hard Rock Music Time Machine,” which showcases older songs (from the ’70s to today) that hard rock music fans may have missed at the time of release.

In addition to appearing on the embedded YouTube playlists beneath each section, all songs featured on Music Discovery Monday can be listened to by clicking on the hyper-linked song titles.

This week, Music Discovery Monday features an exclusive interview Jesse Blaze Snider. The son of legendary rocker Dee Snider discusses two of his recent singles.  Also featured in the Hard Rock Music Time Machine segment are two songs by Desperado, a Dee Snider side project with an unusual story.

 

 

 ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)

JESSE BLAZE SNIDER – “Credits Roll”

Knowing that Jesse Blaze Snider is the son of legendary rocker Dee Snider, I had a certain expectation when I first listened to Jesse’s latest single, “Credits Roll.”  Although my first exposure to his music didn’t adhere to my pre-conceived notions, in some ways, I think that it exceeded it.

Growing up as a rock and metal fan in the ‘80s on Long Island, it was almost mandatory that you be a fan of Twisted Sister, and I was.  In fact, purchasing Stay Hungry is one of the few purchases that I remember so vividly (probably because it took place during the greatest summer of my youth…the summer of ’84).

While the connection to Dee is what initially intrigued me enough to check out Jesse’s music, it is the music itself that really made the biggest impression.  While “Credits Roll” doesn’t sound remotely like Twisted Sister, there is a connection to be made in that it has a theatrical quality to it, albeit in a much less overt way.  Whereas Twisted Sister made an impact with over-the-top videos for anthemic songs, Jesse’s music is written for placement in movies, television, etc.

Musically speaking, “Credits Roll” begins with an intro that has the same vibe as Buckcherry’s “Sorry,” and eventually transitions into verses that would appeal to fans of Bon Jovi before launching into an incredibly melodic hook that you’ll end up singing in your head all day long.  It has an upbeat feel, with lyrics that are a bit more pensive than the melody.

 

In an exclusive interview with Hard Rock Daddy, Jesse sheds some light on the inspiration for “Credits Roll”

 

“To be perfectly honest about ‘Credits Roll,’ it was written for a music placement.  In fact, most of what I post online are songs that were written for some specific placement.  Music placements are something that someone is looking for in a certain style.  I don’t remember exactly what ‘Credits Roll’ was, but it was an alternative sort of reference.  We just kind of started building this song that was supposed to be for the credits at the end of a movie.

The song is actually fundamentally weird for me as a songwriter because it’s celebrating defeat.  I think that it’s probably the only song that I’ve ever written like that.  A friend of mine pointed out that there was no hopeful message, and to my friends, I’m the king of the hopeful message.

I suppose that the song is kind of about not being on the right path, or doing things for the right reasons.  Sometimes, you realize that something just isn’t for you.  I’ve had a lot of different realizations of paths that I’ve been on that were wrong, or weren’t working for me.  That’s why I have a Phoenix tattooed on my arm.  You know, you’ve got to rise again.  The song is kind of tragic in that sense, but in reality, it wasn’t tragic because it’s being narrated by somebody who loves her.  It’s about a guy supporting a woman no matter what she does, whether she’s an actress or goes back home and everybody thinks that she’s too good for him.

I’m a storyteller.  I write comic books, and have written for Marvel and DC.  A few years ago, I dedicated all of my songwriting to become more like my storytelling, where I would focus on a narrative.  So, ‘Credits Roll’ is definitely a product of trying to tell a compelling story.  What I will say about it, which is interesting, is that it’s kind of about my dad.

You know, you’ve got to draw your real life connections where you can, so that it’s not like a complete fabrication.  My father, who for those who don’t know is the lead singer of Twisted Sister, was doing very well for a time, and then things really came crashing down.  He wasn’t so good with his money, and the money that you make is really relative, and it can disappear pretty fast.  He recounted a story in his book where he was having to put flyers on peoples’ windshields in a parking lot in the dead of winter, trying to help my mom make the family money to provide for us.  It was a really humbling experience when somebody recognized him, and asked if he was Dee Snider.  The whole second verse of the song is all about that…

 

‘There she goes crawling back to the place she left behind…she’ll feel them on her neck as she gets back to the grind…a penny for the sideways glance, she sinks back in their lives…a nickel for the callous stares that’s pierced her like their knives…’

 

I think that a lot of it is kind of imagined, but some of it is real.  You know, some people kind of aren’t thrilled that you’re going to go off and do something special, and then you’ve got to come back to that…the real world.  Some people really like to see people who were in a high position come back down.  So, the song is about that experience, and a combination of other things because it was a story that we were writing.”

 

 

JESSE BLAZE SNIDER – “Promised Land”

Knowing that Jesse’s music is written with the purpose of music placement, and from the perspective of a storyteller, I wasn’t surprised to have the song instantly take me back to the days of The Sopranos. Ironically, it’s Jesse’s deeper register that conjured up the memory of the theme song to one of the greatest shows in the history of television.

One thing that makes Jesse’s vocals so intriguing is his ability to hit the both high notes and the low notes so naturally. Another impressive aspect to his songwriting is the ability to mix styles depending on the potential usage of the song.

“Promised Land” has a bigger sound than “Credits Roll,” but has a similarly catchy hook that works very well. Though his songs are written for a specific purpose, his lyrics still maintain a personal touch within the storyteller approach.

 

Jesse shared a deeply personal story about the inspiration and meaning behind “Promised Land” in an exclusive Hard Rock Daddy interview…

 

“Again, this song was initially for a song placement. This song (and ‘Credits Roll’) were both co-written and produced by my friend, Freddy Scott (who is super talented). Make sure to check out his song called ‘This Is A Trent Reznor Song.’ It’s fuckin’ hysterical. It is just a perfectly styled parody of Trent Reznor.

Freddy brought me in to work on the song, because what they were looking for was totally up my alley…big hook, something really uplifting, ‘70s-inspired rock. My shit that I’m trying to do is like a combo of big rock from the ‘70s with really big hooks and the roots of blues, which is the ability to go really low and high, and I’ve got a really dynamic range.

I had written some songs in the vein of ‘Promised Land,’ but hadn’t really recorded anything like it. It ended up being the simplest writing experience of all-time, and we finished it very quickly.

The song has already been placed on NFL’s Monday Night Football, on the Smithsonian Channel for a show called Boomtowners, and also by NASCAR. I think that we’re going to get more placements for it this year.

‘Promised Land’ is a really a personal song. I had gone through a spiritual awakening recently, and it was just the right time to talk about it. I was an Athiest, and didn’t believe in anything. I think that it’s really easy to become an Athiest when you trust the government and trust science…everything seems to be figured out. Unfortunately, the reality is…we don’t know shit. It was a combination of things that helped me to get out of it.

I had an anxiety-prone personality. At 28, I started socially drinking because not drinking was holding me back from getting work in the comic book community. I was straightedge my whole life, but started drinking just to relax people. It relaxed me a little bit as well. I also started smoking weed, which had been recommended to me by my drummer, literally a few hours before he died. My brother Cody also recommended it to me eight years later, and I was receptive when he convinced me to give it a try.

I realized immediately that I had massive anxiety all my life, and that I didn’t have to feel that way anymore. Eventually, from relaxing myself, and opening myself up to new things and new experiences, I’d decided that I wanted to try some sort of psychedelic. Steve Jobs had credited the creation of Apple computers to them. I’m not a fan of Apple as it stands today, but there was a time when I was very impressed by them.

I had pledged to myself that I would give it a try once I had the balls to, and it ended up being the single greatest experience of my life. It really relaxed me. I’m mad that it’s been kept illegal and out of peoples’ reach and portrayed as this terrible thing. I mean, it’s something that you have to go into very responsibly. But, any responsible adult (who is not particularly fearful) should have the experience. It connects you with the world and the universe. It makes you get a lot of things, especially that you’re not so small in the scheme of things. We all feel very small, but we’re really not. Everything is connected. The way that people like to talk about God is very easy to dismiss, but there is something…there is a connection. That is what I woke up to from the experience.

I like the Christian metaphors that you hear in old soul music. It just rings really nice to my ear. What I was kind of brought up in, you know, Jesus Christ hanging on a cross with the fuckin’ crown of thorns around his head…that really did not do it for me, and turned me off to religion for a while. I’ve kind of come back to it now. I was always intrigued by gospel singers, who seemed to be having such a great time with religion. I was an Athiest for a very long time, and then, I just woke up to something kind of larger. It was sort of my pledge to do good and to help others, and to not let people who don’t understand this get in the way.

I had some mushrooms with my best friend, who is a little older than me, and more set in his ways when I was starting to come around to a couple of things. The day after I had the experience, I called him up and told him that I had just had the greatest experience of my life. I asked him to come out to visit me, because I had some left and wanted to do it again. I told him that I thought that he would get everything that I got from the experience, so he agreed to try it.

The day after we experienced mushrooms together, I asked him what his thoughts were and how he liked it. At the end of a trip, it gets kind of intense, and you start to realize that you need to put away the childish things that are no longer serving you. That can be a little frustrating as you’re faced with things that you’re no longer going to tolerate or agree with anymore. That gets a little heavy in the end. He told me that he wanted to hate it, but because he trusted me, he agreed to try it. He told me that it was a life-changing experience, and that he was so glad that he did it.

Ultimately, ‘Promised Land’ is about the severe body pain that I had my whole life that I was not acknowledging. It started as a kid. I used to have chronic ear infections from the time that I was a baby until around the age of four, but I never said a word to my parents. I went deaf in one ear, and was almost deaf in the other ear. I was hit by a car when I was 12, and then I started playing football at 13 and played for most of my life (amongst other sports). I received tons of head injuries and other injuries that I never acknowledged because I didn’t want to miss a game. I figured that it would go away eventually, and it eventually did.

I literally, in the past 8 months to a year, have had a doctor slowly putting my bones back into position, moving my muscles back into place, moving my spine back into position from the scoliosis that I have. It was the ‘artist’s journey’…as I like to call it. If I didn’t suffer through all this doubt and these situations where I couldn’t get my shit together despite having ability and having opportunity, I would be useless to humanity as a songwriter. But thankfully, I’ve suffered, and suffering breeds brilliant fuckin’ art!”

 

 

 

 JON LOVELESS – HRD Music Scout

STONE BROKEN – “Stay All Night”

I debated which song to feature from these U.K. newcomers, but eventually opted for the one that provided my own introduction to them.  Simply one of the more encouraging finds that I’ve made in a while, with a sound that’s right in the heart of “active rock” (or at least what it’s supposed to be).   One of the easiest recommendations that I’ve made in a while.  Looking forward to hearing more from Stone Broken.

 

HUDSON“Cast Out”

Of the hundreds upon hundreds of rock videos that are made each year, I find relatively few that actually add value to the song.  This is one of those fairly rare cases, so I’ll include a “watch, don’t just listen” comment from the outset.  It’s not as though the song needs the help (it fares quite nicely on its own merit), but this Los Angeles band deserves credit for a well-conceived, shot and packaged video.  Definitely worth a listen, as well as a watch.  The right song and the right circumstances could easily vault this band to another level pretty quickly.  Also, while not relevant to anything as far as I’m concerned, if I’ve pieced the internet info together correctly, lead singer David Hudson is the brother of pop superstar Katy Perry…but I’m not holding that against him.

 

 

 

ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout

JULY REIGN – “Rage Of Pain”

Carsten “Lizard” Schulz (Domain, Evidence One, Dead End Heroes), one of the busiest vocalists in rock, teams up with guitarist Sheldon Scrivner and drummer Mark Duran to form July Reign. These melodic rockers will release their debut album, Here Comes The Flood, on March 23rd. In the meantime, here’s a taste of things to come with one of their hard-hitting early singles, packed with attitude and some great guitar licks.

 

MYRATH – “Believer”

Myrath has come a long way from their teenage days as a death metal cover band.  Gone are the guttural growls in favor of clean lead vocals with layered backing vocals, supported by progressive and symphonic metal arrangements.  Here, there Tunisian roots come through with some decidedly eastern influences in a complex, yet very accessible, composition.

 

 

 

   CHRIS HERZEGOVITCH – HRD Music Scout

MIDNIGHT PRIEST – “Into The Nightmare”

Portugal’s Midnight Priest brings a blend of old-style heavy metal with an updated, polished production sound highlighted by the great guitar work of Iron Fist and Tiago Steelbringer, and the vocals of Lex Thunder (all stage names).  “Into the Nightmare” is off their most recent album, Midnight Steel, their second full-length album since they formed in 2008.

 

TRIDANNA – “Shouting Aloud”

“Shouting Aloud” kicks off the latest album from Tridana in a big way.  Bold, driving and defiant, the Scottish power/folk metal group from Buenos Aires is true to their name (which translates to “struggle”).  Guitarist Juan José Fornés takes on a double-duty role, handling the lead vocals after the departure of Diego Valdez (Electronomicom), and does a great job.
 

 

SUBMISSIONS

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

 

 

HARD ROCK MUSIC TIME MACHINE

 ADAM WALDMAN

 

 

DESPERADO – “Calling For You” (1996)

Every once in a while, you hear about a band that never gets out of the starting gate because of a disagreement with their record label.  Of course, those tend to be bands that don’t have much in the way of leverage, which is why Desperado’s troubles were very surprising.  Featuring Dee Snider (who was not too far removed from his enormous success with Twisted Sister) and Clive Burr (ex-Iron Maiden), it’s reasonable to expect that a label would jump at the chance to release the band’s material.  The battle between the band and the label resulted in the album being shelved for a number of years (although it was out there to some degree in bootleg form).

When you add guitarist Bernie Tormé (Ozzy, Gillan) into the mix, the expectation is that you would get a fairly heavy sound.  However, Desperado is more melodic than heavy.  Still, Snider’s distinct vocals shine, even when featured on power ballads like “Calling For You.”  There’s a lot to like about this band that never really came to fruition, resulting in Snider turning his attention towards Widowmaker (before Twisted Sister reunited).

 

DESPERADO – “The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter” (1996)

Like “Calling For You,” “The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter” is also from Desperado’s Bloodied, But Unbowed release.  The album, which was recorded in 1988, wasn’t officially released until 1996.  A decade later, it was reissued in the UK with a different title (Ace).  The UK version featured on less song, but did include interviews with Dee Snider and Bernie Tormé.  By the time that the album was released in America, this style of music was well past its prime.  However, when you listen to power ballads like “The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter” today, you can appreciate it much more.  It’s as if you’re discovering a lost track from the late ‘80s (which is essentially true).

 

 

 

JON LOVELESS

12 STONES – “Bulletproof” (2011)

This Christian post-grunge band from Louisiana enters its sixteenth year as a band, with talk of new music forthcoming (after being relatively quiet since 2012).  Their return to the scene could benefit from the combination of experience, a history of generating mainstream exposure (their songs have been used by the WWE and by mainstream films, including Pirates Of The Caribbean and Daredevil) and the additional awareness of vocalist Paul McCoy (who had a Grammy-winning guest appearance on the Evanescence hit “Bring Me To Life”).  In the meantime, enjoy revisiting the lead single from their most recent studio album.

 

GREAT WHITE “Lady Red Light” (1987)

Not as successful as the other two singles (“Rock Me” and “Save Your Love” ) from the same Once Bitten album, this song still stands out as a personal favorite from the classic ‘80s band.

 

 

 

  ROB DELL’AQUILA

NATIVE WINDOW – “Money” (2009)

Native Window was basically Kansas without Steve Walsh and Kerry Livgren.  After Kansas failed to chart with their 2000 reunion album, a decision was made to stop writing new material and concentrate on touring with the classics.  But several members who wanted to continue doing both, splintered off in 2008 to form a group that continued to write new progressive rock pieces.  The instrumentation and style of this rebuke against greed and power neatly captures the Kansas sound.

 

SHADOWMAN – “Those Days Are Gone” (2004)

Vocalist and songwriter Steve Overland (FM, The Ladder, Overland) put out four melodic rock albums with the group Shadowman.  This plaintive rocker was the first song from their debut album.  Since then, Overland has gone on to form the band Ozone (which I reviewed on Music Discovery Monday this past October).

 

 

 

 CHRIS HERZEGOVITCH

ENGINE – “Fascination Street” (2002)

Engine’s brand of prog metal was dark, very heavy and aggressive, but with constant thick groove.  “Fascination Street” applies this signature sound to a popular Cure song from the late ‘80s.  Standout bass work from veteran Joey Vera and vocals from Ray Alder.

 

ASKA – “Dead Again” (2013)

Aska, Swedish for “ashes” is a heavy metal band out of Dallas, Texas formed back in 1990.  “Dead Again” – from the band’s 2013 release, Fire Eater – features a great, driving rhythm, dueling guitars and demonstrates George Call’s outstanding vocal range.
 

Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown – Week of 2-27-16

Octane Logo

Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown for the week of 2-27-16.

The 2-27-16 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.

**Many of these artists were featured on Hard Rock Daddy’s Top 135 Hard Rock Songs of 2015

#15 – “Bad Reputation” – ADELITA’S WAY

#14 –  “Finally Free” – STITCHED UP HEART

#13 –  “The Sound Of Silence” – DISTURBED

#12 –  “Hate By Design” – KILLSWITCH ENGAGE

#11 –  “Ways To Get High” – POP EVIL

#10 –  “Mayhem” – HALESTORM

#9 –    “My Nemesis” – FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH

# 8 –   “Impossible” – LACEY STURM

# 7 –   “Let Me Live My Life” – SAINT ASONIA

# 6 –   “Tear Down The Wall” – ART OF DYING

# 5 –   “In Chains” – SHAMAN’S HARVEST

# 4 –   “Emotionless” – RED SUN RISING

# 3 –   “Happy Song” – BRING ME THE HORIZON

# 2 –   “Until The World Goes Cold” – TRIVIUM

# 1 –   “Through It All” – FROM ASHES TO NEW

 

RELATED ARTICLES:

Top 30 Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown Songs of 2015

2015 Mid-Year Recap: HRD Radio Report Active Rock and Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown

Top 30 Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown Songs of 2014

Top 100 Hard Rock Songs of 2014

Top 15 Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown Songs: January 2014 – June 2014

Top 30 Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown Songs of 2013

Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown Archives

Billboard Top 15 Hard Rock Albums – 3/5/16

Billboard Top 15 Hard Rock Albums

Billboard Hard Rock Albums Chart for the week ending 3/5/16.  Top 15 albums ranked by sales data and compiled by Nielsen SoundScan. ***Click on the hyperlinked titles to read full album reviews***

THIS WEEK’S TOP 15:

      1. LACEY STURM – Life Screams
      2. DISTURBED – Immortalized
      3. VARIOUS ARTISTS – NOW That’s What I Call Power Ballads Hits
      4. MEGADETH – Dystopia
      5. FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH – Got Your Six
      6. DREAM THEATER – The Astonishing
      7. SHINEDOWN – Threat To Survival
      8. VARIOUS ARTISTS – NOW That’s What I Call Rock
      9. RED – Of Beauty And Rage
      10. BREAKING BENJAMIN – Dark Before Dawn
      11. HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES – Hollywood Vampires
      12. BRING ME THE HORIZON – That’s The Spirit
      13. GHOST – Meloria
      14. HOLY GRAIL – Times Of Peril And Pride
      15. DROWNING POOL – Hellelujah

RELATED ARTICLES:

Top 135 Hard Rock Songs of 2015

Billboard Top 50 Hard Rock Albums of 2015

Billboard Top 50 Hard Rock Albums of 2014

Billboard Top 50 Hard Rock Albums of 2013

Billboard Top 15 Hard Rock Albums Archives

HRD Radio Report – Week Ending 2/20/16

HRD Radio Report - Hands Like Houses

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.

Click on the hyperlinked song titles to read song reviews, and the hyperlinked artist names to read album reviews.

The following is the Active Rock Mediabase Chart for the week ending 2/20/16.  All exclusive HRD content is featured below the chart:

TOP 135 HARD ROCK SONGS 2015

TOP 50 ACTIVE ROCK SONGS (by spins) OF 2015

TOP 30 OCTANE BIG ‘UNS COUNTDOWN SONGS OF 2015

CHART CHART ARTIST SONG TITLE RADIO
POSITION POSITION SPINS
THIS WEEK LAST WEEK THIS WEEK
1 1 SHINEDOWN “State Of My Head” 1996
2 2 POP EVIL “Ways To Get High” 1847
3 3 FOO FIGHTERS “Saint Cecilia” 1631
4 4 NOTHING MORE “Here’s To The Heartache” 1401
5 8 DISTURBED “The Sound Of Silence” 1382
6 7 3 DOORS DOWN “In The Dark” 1324
7 5 HIGHLY SUSPECT “Bloodfeather” 1270
8 6 MUSE “Reapers” 1257
9 13 BRING ME THE HORIZON “Happy Song” 981
10 12 TRIVIUM “Until The World Goes Cold” 972
11 11 CAGE THE ELEPHANT “Mess Around” 888
12 15 SAINT ASONIA “Let Me Live My Life” 880
13 16 RED SUN RISING “Emotionless” 874
14 17 FROM ASHES TO NEW “Through It All” 743
15 18 PAPA ROACH “Falling Apart” 729
16 19 SHAMAN’S HARVEST “In Chains” 640
17 28 DEFTONES “Prayers/Triangles” 540
18 21 ADELITA’S WAY “Bad Reputation” 500
19 33 FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH “My Nemesis” 479
20 22 THE STRUTS “Kiss This” 421
21 25 ROB ZOMBIE “Well, Everybody’s…in a UFO” 398
22 24 SLIPKNOT “Goodbye” 396
23 23 ESCAPE THE FATE “Alive” 365
24 26 STITCHED UP HEART “Finally Free” 359
25 20 PARKWAY DRIVE “Vice Grip” 328
26 29 FAILURE ANTHEM “Paralyzed” 309
27 34 LACEY STURM “Impossible” 292
28 31 WOLFMOTHER “Victorious” 292
29 32 MEGADETH “Dystopia” 289
30 37 DEVOUR THE DAY “Lightning In The Sky” 281
31 35 DROWNING POOL “By The Blood” 228
32 38 ANDREW WATT “Ghost In My Head” 215
33 39 PUSCIFIER “The Remedy” 198
34 27 ARANDA “We Are The Enemy” 194
35 41 FOALS “Mountain At My Gates” 169
36 40 KILLSWITCH ENGAGE “Hate By Design” 163
37 36 ALL THAT REMAINS “Victory Lap” 145
38 50 GHOST “From The Pinnacle To The Pit” 140
39 43 BLACK STONE CHERRY “In Our Dreams” 136
40 42 ANTHRAX “Breathing Lightning” 131
41 48 MONSTER TRUCK “Don’t Tell Me How To Live” 130
42 44 THROUGH FIRE “Stronger” 128
43 46 CILVER “I’m America” 121
44 62 HALESTORM “Mayhem” 117
45 58 FILTER “Take Me To Heaven” 111
46 47 WAYLAND “Bloody Sunrise” 96
47 45 BARONESS “Shock Me” 93
48 49 SMASHING SATELLITES “Gamblin’ Man” 85
49 56 AWOLNATION “Woman Woman” 61
50 54 STONE SOUR (f. LZZY HALE) “Gimme Shelter” 59



PUBLISHER’S PICK OF THE WEEK (by Adam Waldman)

HANDS LIKE HOUSES – “Colourblind”

In the immortal words of Tom Petty…“the waiting is the hardest part.”  Of course, Tom Petty fans never had to wait nearly a year for an album to be released after the lead single dropped. But that it exactly the case for fans of Aussie rockers Hands Like Houses, whose third studio album (Dissonants) will be released this week.  “Colourblind” is actually the third single from the 12-song album.  Sandwiched between this single and the first single (“I Am”) was “New Romantics,” a track that never gained significant traction, but has been featured regularly in the “Spin-It” section of the HRD Radio Report.  There’s no telling why the second single didn’t garner the same response as the lead single, but hopefully, Active Rock radio will embrace “Colourblind” and give it the attention that it deserves.

“Colourblind” opens with a subdued, atmospheric intro before bursting into a melodic anthem, highlighted by the powerfully bright upper register of frontman Trenton Todd Woodley, who also has the ability to tap into darker, more angst-ridden moments for emphasis.  Much like Nothing More’s smash hit “Jenny,” “Colourblind” takes you on a dynamic musical roller coaster ride throughout.  If Active Rock radio embraces these Aussie rockers in the same manner that they have Nothing More, there is realistic potential for “Colourblind” to be one of the most popular songs of the year.

 

 

 

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.

SPIN IT…

HANDS LIKE HOUSES“Colourblind”

SOTO“FreakShow”

BOBAFLEX“A Spider In The Dark”

EVANS BLUE“iGod”

UGLY KID JOE“Bad Seed”

VEER UNION“Defying Gravity”

ART OF DYING“Tear Down The Wall”

 

DROP IT…

AWOLNATION – “Woman Woman”

Foals“Mountain At My Gates”

Cage The Elephant“Mess Around”

The Struts“Kiss This”

Pucifier“The Remedy”

Theory Of A Deadman“Blow”

Parkway Drive“Vice Grip”

 

 

THE BREAKDOWN by Jon Loveless

KING OF THE HILL

Shinedown reaches a month at #1 on the Mediabase Active Rock airplay chart, holding off runner-up Pop Evil by a relatively comfortable margin.  A change is forthcoming, but probably remains at least a few weeks away.  Foo Fighters remain at #3 with “Saint Cecilia.”

 

 

NOTABLE CHART MOVEMENT

Disturbed’s “The Sound Of Silence” continues to ascend rapidly, joined in the Top 10 this week by both Bring Me The Horizon and Trivium

Five Finger Death Punch nearly doubles their airplay from the previous week with their latest single, “My Nemesis,” breaking into the Top 20 along with Deftones and The Struts

Four songs reach the Top 30, led by “Impossible,” a resurgent single by Lacey Sturm

Four songs achieve Top 40 status, truly highlighting the schizophrenic nature of “Active Rock” at the moment, ranging from The Foals to Anthrax

Three newly charted songs, led by “Mayhem,” (the next single from Halestorm), debuting in the Top 50 this week, joined by the return of the Stone Sour/Lzzy Hale cover of the Rolling Stones classic, “Gimme Shelter.”

 

 

THREE UP & THREE DOWN

MOVING UP

Disturbed“The Sound Of Silence”

Deftones – “Prayers/Triangles”

Five Finger Death Punch“My Nemesis”

 

DROPPING DOWN

Shinedown – “State Of My Head”

Parkway Drive – “Vice Grip”

Aranda – “We Are The Enemy”

 

 

TRENDS AND OBSERVATIONS

If you look at this week’s chart from top to bottom, you’ll see one of the better examples of the incredibly … well let’s call it “diverse” nature of the active rock format.  The gap from metal icons Megadeth and Anthrax to around a half dozen alternative artists seems to be incredibly large, but illustrates one of at least two possibilities.  Either the format is in the midst of a full-blown transitional phase, effectively en route to becoming what was once called “mainstream rock,” or there’s essentially a war underway to define the format.  A third possibility also comes to mind…the need for a thorough evaluation of every station that is included in the chart.  If you dig into the station-by-station playlists (with the weekly spin counts included), there are some stations included that are playing nothing remotely identifiable as “active rock,” while others appear to play less than one current song per hour.    Any format chart is eventually defined by which stations are included, and to me, it seems glaringly obvious that the current composition (one way or another) is in urgent need of an overhaul.

 

WRAP-UP

That’s all for this week.  Tune in to HardRockDaddy.com every Tuesday for the HRD Radio Report. \m/

 

Music Discovery Monday – 2/22/16

Music Discovery Monday - Leslie West

Hard Rock Daddy presents Music Discovery Monday – 2/22/16.

Each week, the HRD team shares songs that fly below radio’s radar, ranging from lesser-known artists to deeper cuts from both up-and-coming and established artists.

In addition to exposing the Hard Rock Daddy audience to new music that isn’t getting the attention that it deserves from radio, Music Discovery Monday also features a segment called “Hard Rock Music Time Machine,” which showcases older songs (from the ’70s to today) that hard rock music fans may have missed at the time of release.

In addition to appearing on the embedded YouTube playlists beneath each section, all songs featured on Music Discovery Monday can be listened to by clicking on the hyper-linked song titles.

This week, Music Discovery Monday features an exclusive interview legendary guitarist Leslie West.  In addition to discussing an interesting story about a classic Mountain song, West also shares the backstories behind collaborations with Ozzy Osbourne, Dee Snider, Peter Frampton and Mark Tremonti.

 

 

 ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)

Leslie West’s incredible version of “You Are My Sunshine” was featured on Hard Rock Daddy’s “Top 135 Hard Rock Songs of 2015”.  Below is the review as it was featured on the list, followed by an interesting story from West himself about the recording of the song…

 

LESLIE WEST (f. PETER FRAMPTON) – “You Are My Sunshine”

Legendary Mountain guitarist returns with his latest solo release, Soundcheck, an album that features some high profile guest musicians (including the late Jack Bruce) and a mixture of original songs and covers.  As expected, there is a great deal of impressive guitar work on the album, but the song that stood out most for me is Leslie West’s haunting interpretation of the classic, “You Are My Sunshine.”  The song (which was first recorded in 1939) has been covered numerous times, but never like this.  With bluesy guitar parts that are simultaneously beautiful and forlorn, and West’s soulful vocals, this version of “You Are My Sunshine” (featuring Peter Frampton) would have been ideally suited for a dramatic scene in Sons Of Anarchy if it were still on television.

 

In a Hard Rock Daddy exclusive, Leslie West shares the inspiration for covering “You Are My Sunshine”

 

“I was watching the television show Sons Of Anarchy.  All of a sudden, I hear in the background an acoustic guitar playing ‘You Are My Sunshine,’ except that it wasn’t the happy-go-lucky, major key that we’re so used to; it sounded dark.  I knew that Peter Frampton was going to play on the album, and I said…‘let me do this arrangement, I’ll send it to Peter and see what he thinks.’  So I sang it, did my guitar parts and sent it to him, and he flipped.  He wrote me back right away and said that he couldn’t believe how good it sounded changing the song to a minor key.  I played slide guitar, and Peter played regular guitar.  We’ve known each other for over 40 years and had toured together, but had never recorded together before this song.  Peter and I weren’t even together when we recorded the song, which ended up being my favorite cut on the album.

I wanted this version to sound totally unique, because I see no sense in doing songs that sound like the original.  I don’t really call doing songs like these covers.  It’s like if you took a recipe from a chef and tried to make the dish yourself, it’s not going to come out the same.  Or, if I gave you Reggie Jackson’s bat and uniform, you’re not going to hit like him.  To be honest, I don’t even know who wrote the original version of this song.

The way that I worked it out with Peter is that we alternated solos, and then played one line together in harmony (which was Peter’s idea).  I had never done anything like that before.  It was great to finally be able to record with him.  I couldn’t be more proud of this song.”

 

 

LESLIE WEST (f. MARK TREMONTI) – “Dyin’ Since The Day I Was Born”

Leslie West is one of the most influential, yet underrated, guitarists of all-time.  He has had many rock legends appear as guests on his albums.  One of the more interesting collaborations came when he joined forces with one of the most talented (yet also underrated) guitarists of this generation, Mark Tremonti (Alter Bridge, Tremonti).  The duo brings something exciting to the table as they feed off of each other’s energy.  As you would expect, the guitar work is impressive throughout, mixing gritty riffs and bluesy leads.  Just as impressive as the guitar work are the soulful, southern vocals of West.  The concept of this song is something that really hit home for me on a personal level as a constant barrage of rock star deaths has shined a light upon the fleeting nature of life.  Ultimately, everyone is dying; it’s just more tragic and sobering when it happens to someone way before their time.

 

Leslie West on how he came to work with Mark Tremonti and what helped to inspire “Dyin’ Since The Day I Was Born”

 

“Mark Tremonti’s brother (Dan) produced my DVD (The Sound and the Story).    I met Mark through Dan at one of the Dean Guitars parties in Tampa.  He was perfect for that song, the way that he plays…very fast and melodic.  I think that everybody is dying since the day that they were born.  As soon as you’re born, the clock starts ticking.  It’s like when you get a new car, and drive it off of the lot, it depreciates right away.  Part of the inspiration was when I lost my leg after Unusual Suspects came out.  I was pretty miserable for a while.  I’ve gotten used to it now, but I still can’t play on stage standing with a prosthetic, so I have a special seat that I use.”

 

 

LESLIE WEST (f. DEE SNIDER) – “Feelin’ Good”

“Feelin’ Good” has been recorded many times since it was published in 1964, but for my money, never as well as this collaboration between Leslie West and Dee Snider.  Unlike “Dyin’ Since The Day I Was Born,” where you naturally focus on the guitar work because of the collaboration, this track shifts your focus to the unlikely (but incredibly powerful) vocal duet of two dynamic singers.  Prior to hearing this song, the only connection that I would have made between these two rock icons is their longtime standing as guests (and friends) on the Howard Stern Show.  This song showcases another side of Snider that most wouldn’t expect based on his work with Twisted Sister.  One of the highlights of the song (and an unexpected twist) is when the duo trades acapella lines in the middle.  The other highlight is West’s emotive, bluesy guitar which adds another layer of emotion to the song.

 

Leslie West on why he chose to collaborate with Dee Snider on “Feelin’ Good”

 

“I’ve known Dee Snider for a long time.  People think of him as just a heavy metal guy, but he can sing pretty well, so I wanted to do this as a duet with him.  This song is nothing like what you would expect from Dee.  I chose this song because it’s got some nice changes and it allowed us to go back and forth vocally.”

 

 

 

 JON LOVELESS – HRD Music Scout

GHOST –  “From The Pinnacle To The Pit”

It’s difficult (if not outright impossible) to discuss this Swedish metal band without acknowledging their controversial image.  They are most certainly not for everyone and, frankly, I’m not always entirely comfortable with them myself.  That being said, I’m impressed by the artistic growth that they’ve shown with their third album, particularly their recently released second single, “From The Pinnacle To The Pit.”  Radio-friendly with solid underpinnings and an almost eerie ear-worm quality, it’s a song that is definitely worth a listen if you aren’t put off by their image.

 

DAVID BRAZIL – “Steal My Thunder”

This Tupelo, Mississippi guitar virtuoso looks to expand his audience with the first single off of his debut album.  The project features artists with strong musical connections (current/former members of Hinder, Dark New Day, Creed, Alter Bridge, Evanescence, and Fuel just to name a few) and has the potential for multiple highlights.  David Brazil is currently on the road with a similarly pedigreed lineup for what could be the start of a breakout 2016.

 

 

 

ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout

RAGE OF ANGELS – “All Your Own Way”

One of my earliest reviews for Music Discovery Monday came from this band’s debut album. They are following up that compilation of high-end melodic rock with another promising effort, The Devil’s New Tricks, and I am very excited by what I’ve heard so far.  Founded by former Ten keyboard player Ged Rylands, the band has settled on the smooth vocals of Rob Moratti (Final Frontiers, ex-Saga), abundantly supported by three lead guitars and Rylands himself on rhythm guitar.

 

AXEVYPER – “Brothers Of The Black Sword”

Italian power metal band Axevyper will release their third album, Into the Serpent’s Den, later this week.  This first single gallops out at the listener with speed and fury, showcasing some compelling guitar work and a great bass solo to boot.

 

 

 

   CHRIS HERZEGOVITCH – HRD Music Scout

BEORN  “Star Ocean”

Beorn is a symphonic power metal band from Russia. “Star Ocean” is a relentless, upbeat, inspirational track that implores you to “keep your dream.”  Solid, driving metal chords and a trace of tech-funk thrown in.  The melodic chorus of this song really stands out, punctuated by Gregory Kryukov’s unbelievably high vocal register.

 

KOBRA AND THE LOTUS  “Sign Of The Gypsy Queen”

Kobra Paige fronts Canadian metal band Kobra And The Lotus on an EP of covers that they grew up on.  “Sign of the Gypsy Queen” (originally recorded by April Wine) is updated nicely with a strong metal undertone, solid vocals from Kobra, and really good guitar work from Jasio Kulakowski and Jurekk James.
 

 

SUBMISSIONS

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

 

 

HARD ROCK MUSIC TIME MACHINE

 ADAM WALDMAN

LESLIE WEST (f. OZZY OSBOURNE) – “Masters Of War” (2007)

The more that you listen to Leslie West collaborations, the more you are left to wonder how the majority of his work isn’t instantly recognizable to legions of rock fans spanning the generations.  Not since Jimi Hendrix turned “All Along The Watchtower” into one of his signature songs has another artist taken the writing of Bob Dylan and turned it into something so memorable.  West and Ozzy go back almost as far as Mountain’s performance at Woodstock.  Before Black Sabbath was looked at as one of the greatest hard rock/heavy metal bands of all-time, they were the opening act for Mountain, a band that never got the recognition that they deserved (at least in the mainstream). On this inspired Dylan cover, West displays an uncanny ability to make you feel the lyrics with his vocals and the emotion of the song with his guitar work.  West gives the song a theatrical, Quentin Tarantino-esque Western vibe, while Ozzy’s signature vocals provide a potent change-of-pace.

 

Leslie West talks about his relationship with Ozzy, and how this collaboration came to be…

 

“I’ve known Ozzy since around 1970 when Black Sabbath opened for Mountain.  The album Masters Of War was all Bob Dylan songs, but I arranged them to sound like Mountain songs.  A couple of years before that song was recorded, Ozzy covered ‘Mississippi Queen.’  He asked me to come out to his house to record it with him.  Since ‘Mississippi Queen’ has been done so many times, I felt funny doing it by myself again, so we changed it a little bit.  There’s a new riff in there and some background singers.  I thought that Ozzy did a really good job with it.

When the time came to record Masters Of War, I thought that it was the perfect song for him.  The problem was that (at the time) we were on the same stupid label, and Ozzy had just done an album of cover songs.  They didn’t want him to do anymore covers, but I think that Sharon (Osbourne) was a big help in getting it done.  When Ozzy sings ‘Masters Of War,’ I believe the words even more than when Dylan did it.

Funny story about Ozzy…

When I lost my leg, I was in the hospital in Biloxi, MS (of all the fuckin’ places).  It was supposed to be the last concert that Mountain would ever do at the Hard Rock Casino.  I’m in the hospital and it was two days after I lost my leg, and Ozzy calls me and says…‘What happened?  You fuckin’ lost your leg man!’  I told him that I knew (laughs), and that it was in the Mississippi River.

So, I come back home to New Jersey a few days later, and went to a famous rehab place (Kessler) where Christopher Reeve went.  All of a sudden, the phone rings in my room.  It was Ozzy on the phone, and he says… ‘What fuckin’ happened man?’  I said, ‘What do you mean?’  Ozzy says, ‘You lost your leg!’  I said, ‘Ozzy, do you remember calling me in Mississippi a couple of days ago to talk about this?’  He says, ‘I did?’  That guy is so fuckin’ funny, man.  He was a great, bright spot during a difficult time.”

 

 

MOUNTAIN – “Nantucket Sleighride” (1971)

Most rock fans think of “Mississippi Queen” when they think of Leslie West and Mountain.  While that song is a timeless classic that is known to the masses, Mountain is far from a one-hit wonder.  Another one of their classics is 1971’s “Nantucket Sleighride,” which has a sound that marks a moment in time, but is still timeless to those who have an appreciation for music history.  Unlike “Mississippi Queen,” which has West front and center, his contributions on this track are more subtle for the most part.  That being said, his guitar playing in the middle of the song gives it an added dimension and intensity.

 

Leslie West on how he found out that “Nantucket Sleighride” was even more popular in Europe than “Mississppi Queen”

 

“I really hated this song in the beginning.  It was so complicated.  I wrote some a nice riff in the middle of it; Felix (Pappalardi) wrote all of the other soft stuff.  Most people think of Mountain, and think ‘Mississippi Queen’ or ‘Theme From An Imaginary Western.’  When we played this open-air festival in Knebworth (England), and we started doing ‘Nantucket Sleighride,’ everybody started screaming a clapping.  I was wondering…‘how the fuck do these people even know this song?’  It turns out that there was a TV show that was on in England for about 20 years called Weekend World.  The show just so happened to have used ‘Nantucket Sleighride’ as the theme song, and as the bumper for every commercial.  Weekend World was like a four-hour show.  When I met Ringo Starr’s son (Zak Starkey), he said…‘me and me dad used to watch the show just to hear your song, mate.’  So, over in Europe, they knew this song even more than they knew ‘Mississippi Queen.’  You never know when you write songs, who is going to use it for what.”

 

 

 

JON LOVELESS

BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION – “Man In The Middle” (2011)

“Man In The Middle” is a showcase of the potential that was left unfulfilled by the breakup of this relatively short-lived supergroup.  While it may have ultimately been simply “one of those things” where the details didn’t work out, it’s difficult to listen to this and not wonder sadly “what might have been.”

 

ROYAL BLISS – “Cry Sister” (2013)

While the band appears to be repositioning themselves in a more country direction for the future, I’ll likely always remember this track (along with “Turn Me On” and “Crazy”) as a highlight of their catalog.  Nothing short of a disgrace that rock radio didn’t embrace them (and this song) more fully.

 

 

 

  ROB DELL’AQUILA

ERIK GRONWALL – “Take Me On” (2010)

In 2009, when vocalist Erik Gronwall won Sweden’s version of American Idol, a record deal was quickly in the works.  His debut album that year was half covers, all of which were done stunningly well.  This original is from his sophomore effort the following year, Somewhere Between A Rock And A Hard Place.  Since then, he has gone on to further acclaim as the lead singer of the melodic rock band H.E.A.T.

 

PRIDE OF LIONS – “Interrupted Melody” (2003)

When Survivor’s Jim Peterik (guitar, keyboards) discovered and teamed up with vocalist Toby Hitchcock, they hit on something very special.  This plaintive tune from their self-titled debut captures the magic that they brought together.
 

 

 

 CHRIS HERZEGOVITCH

ENDLESS  “The Playwright” (2006)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is home to the melodic heavy metal band, Endless.  “The Playwright” boasts a great rhythm line and deft guitar work in support of Vitor Veiga’s powerful vocals.

 

STRATOVARIUS  “S.O.S.” (1997)

Power-metal greats Stratovarius released “S.O.S.” (Save Our Souls), 18 years ago.  This track has great tempo with a grittier, less technical production sound than recent releases.  Top-notch performances all around.  Today, only Timo Kotipelto and Jens Johansson remain from one of their best lineups that featured Timo Tolkki on guitar, Jari Kainulainen on bass and Jörg Michael on drums.
 

Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown – Week of 2-20-16

Octane Logo

Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown for the week of 2-20-16.

The 2-20-16 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.

**Many of these artists were featured on Hard Rock Daddy’s Top 135 Hard Rock Songs of 2015

#15 – “Prayers/Triangles” – DEFTONES

#14 –  “Dystopia” – MEGADETH

#13 –  “Hate By Design” – KILLSWITCH ENGAGE

#12 –  “Falling Apart” – PAPA ROACH

#11 –  “Mayhem” – HALESTORM

#10 –  “Ways To Get High” – POP EVIL

#9 –    “In Chains” – SHAMAN’S HARVEST

# 8 –   “Tear Down The Wall” – ART OF DYING

# 7 –   “Emotionless” – RED SUN RISING

# 6 –   “My Nemesis” – FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH

# 5 –   “Until The World Goes Cold” – TRIVIUM

# 4 –   “Happy Song” – BRING ME THE HORIZON

# 3 –   “Let Me Live My Life” – SAINT ASONIA

# 2 –   “Impossible” – LACEY STURM

# 1 –   “Through It All” – FROM ASHES TO NEW

 

RELATED ARTICLES:

Top 30 Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown Songs of 2015

2015 Mid-Year Recap: HRD Radio Report Active Rock and Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown

NOTHING MORE ALBUM REVIEW

Top 30 Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown Songs of 2014

Top 100 Hard Rock Songs of 2014

Top 15 Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown Songs: January 2014 – June 2014

Top 30 Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown Songs of 2013

Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown Archives

Top 10 Reasons Why You MUST Go See SOTO Live

SOTO Poughkeepsie NY 2-13-16

By Adam Waldman

Jeff Scott Soto is one of the most talented singers in hard rock, and has been for some time.  Yet somehow, he still flies under the radar of many.  If there is any justice, his latest project will open the eyes (and ears) of the masses.  Like Van Halen, DIO and Dokken, SOTO is a band that bears the name of its founder.  What makes SOTO so special is the talent that JSS has surrounded himself with at this point in his career.

Although JSS is far from a household name, his resume alone would lead you to believe that he would have some semblance of a road crew on his current tour.  However, the man that owns the stage and the crowd once the lights go down, works tirelessly to keep the show on the road (so to speak) during his “off hours.”

JSS and I have gotten to know each other through the features that I’ve done on Hard Rock Daddy, but never got the chance to meet face-to-face until this past week when SOTO rolled through town.  To say that the night of the concert was frigid would be an understatement.  It was the type of bitter cold winter night where many choose to stay home rather than braving the elements, but for SOTO, the show must go on.

In speaking to JSS before the show, I asked if the setlist was going to exclusively feature songs from the two SOTO albums, to which he replied (with a smile on his face)…“I can’t tell you that…you would lose the element of surprise.”  He was right.  I was guilty of exhibiting the instant gratification mentality that has become all too common these days.  It is that same mindset that will cause some of you to skim this article looking for the Top 10 Reasons Why You MUST Go See SOTO Live.

So, here goes…

  1. Divak
  2. Brooklyn
  3. Inside The Vertigo
  4. Brazil / Spain
  5. W.E.T.
  6. Steel Dragon
  7. Talisman
  8. 5-Part Vocal Harmonies
  9. Musicianship/Chemistry
  10. Steel Panther

The above list is cryptic by design.  If I learned anything from my conversation with JSS, it is that it is better to forgo instant gratification and embrace the element of surprise.  Those who are truly interested in the journey (and not just the destination) should read on to find out why you MUST go see SOTO in a live setting.

One of the true signs of a professional is playing with the same passion and intensity for a club crowd as you would for an arena or stadium show.  It didn’t take long to see that SOTO is a band of true professionals.  From the first song to the last, SOTO delivered a night of pure entertainment, despite the fact that they were playing on a tight stage with limited lighting and no soundcheck prior to performing.

While many frontmen with JSS’s resume would have felt slighted, he owned the moment by joking about the situation to the intimate (but passionate) crowd.  Though the setting was the equivalent of being part of a group of friends watching a private show, the brilliant performance was the stuff that legends are made of.

The entire performance was as diverse as the career of JSS, ranging from heavy rockers to melodic ballads to cool grooves to acapella.  All of the songs and styles worked equally well, which is a true testament to the players that JSS has assembled around him from different parts of the world.

As you watch the lead guitar work of Spain’s Jorge Salán, you can’t help but wonder how he (like JSS) has managed to fly below the radar of the masses.  With Salán, it goes well beyond shredding (which he can do with the best of them).  It’s the Slash-like musicality that really sets him apart from many others.

Although JSS calls California his home now, he is originally from Brooklyn, which happens to be the hometown of bassist David Z.  Often times, bass players don’t get much of the glory, but because Z. is such a showman, he shared the spotlight with JSS and Salán.  This was no easy feat given the cramped quarters on a stage with a limited spotlight.  You can see why JSS tapped Z. for this band.  The duo’s personalities play off of each other perfectly, and his incredible 6-string bass playing adds another layer to an already deep band.

Out of the spotlight (both figuratively and literally) were the Brazilian duo of BJ (keys/guitars) and Edu Cominato (drums).  Like the rest of SOTO, this duo not only added to the incredible chemistry of the band musically, but vocally as well.  In fact, it’s hard to recall seeing another band with five singers as talented as the members of SOTO.

If you took a time machine back to Sunset Strip in the mid-‘80s to see SOTO perform in a club, you would swear that you were witnessing a band about to break out to the next level to do arena shows.  In 2016, arena shows barely exist in the hard rock and metal genres, but if you are lucky enough to catch SOTO perform live, you will be treated to an arena-like concert in an intimate setting.

Because JSS was right about the element of surprise being something that you should look forward to, I will not share the setlist here.  The truth of the matter is that you don’t need to know one song to enjoy SOTO live.  All you need is an appreciation for outstanding musicianship.  Suffice it to say that the band performs a wide variety of songs and styles from different time periods of JSS’s career, all of which are equally entertaining.  Simply stated, this is one of the best club shows that I’ve seen in many years.  When you get the chance to experience this kind of band in an intimate setting, grab it!  You will NOT be disappointed!

CLICK HERE for SOTO tour dates.

 

Billboard Top 15 Hard Rock Albums – 2/27/16

Billboard Top 15 Hard Rock Albums

Billboard Hard Rock Albums Chart for the week ending 2/27/16.  Top 15 albums ranked by sales data and compiled by Nielsen SoundScan. ***Click on the hyperlinked titles to read full album reviews***

THIS WEEK’S TOP 15:

      1. VARIOUS ARTISTS – NOW That’s What I Call Power Ballads Hits
      2. MEGADETH – Dystopia
      3. DISTURBED – Immortalized
      4. DREAM THEATER – The Astonishing
      5. FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH – Got Your Six
      6. DROWNING POOL – Hellelujah
      7. VARIOUS ARTISTS – NOW That’s What I Call Rock
      8. SHINEDOWN – Threat To Survival
      9. FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE – King
      10. BREAKING BENJAMIN – Dark Before Dawn
      11. RED – Of Beauty And Rage
      12. OBSCURA – Akroasis
      13. BRING ME THE HORIZON – That’s The Spirit
      14. PRONG – X: No Absolutes
      15. IRON MAIDEN – The Book Of Souls

RELATED ARTICLES:

Top 135 Hard Rock Songs of 2015

Billboard Top 50 Hard Rock Albums of 2015

Billboard Top 50 Hard Rock Albums of 2014

Billboard Top 50 Hard Rock Albums of 2013

Billboard Top 15 Hard Rock Albums Archives

HRD Radio Report – Week Ending 2/13/16

HRD Radio Report - Anthrax

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.

Click on the hyperlinked song titles to read song reviews, and the hyperlinked artist names to read album reviews.

The following is the Active Rock Mediabase Chart for the week ending 2/13/16.  All exclusive HRD content is featured below the chart:

TOP 135 HARD ROCK SONGS 2015

TOP 50 ACTIVE ROCK SONGS (by spins) OF 2015

TOP 30 OCTANE BIG ‘UNS COUNTDOWN SONGS OF 2015

CHART CHART ARTIST SONG TITLE RADIO
POSITION POSITION SPINS
THIS WEEK LAST WEEK THIS WEEK
1 1 SHINEDOWN “State Of My Head” 2122
2 2 POP EVIL “Ways To Get High” 1781
3 3 FOO FIGHTERS “Saint Cecilia” 1543
4 6 NOTHING MORE “Here’s To The Heartache” 1374
5 7 HIGHLY SUSPECT “Bloodfeather” 1270
6 9 MUSE “Reapers” 1208
7 10 3 DOORS DOWN “In The Dark” 1203
8 13 DISTURBED “The Sound Of Silence” 1159
9 5 SEETHER “Save Today” 1081
10 4 FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH “Wash It Away” 1038
11 11 CAGE THE ELEPHANT “Mess Around” 1001
12 12 TRIVIUM “Until The World Goes Cold” 943
13 14 BRING ME THE HORIZON “Happy Song” 888
14 8 DISTURBED “The Light” 851
15 15 SAINT ASONIA “Let Me Live My Life” 808
16 20 RED SUN RISING “Emotionless” 687
17 16 FROM ASHES TO NEW “Through It All” 685
18 17 PAPA ROACH “Falling Apart” 678
19 19 SHAMAN’S HARVEST “In Chains” 601
20 18 PARKWAY DRIVE “Vice Grip” 465
21 23 ADELITA’S WAY “Bad Reputation” 463
22 25 THE STRUTS “Kiss This” 386
23 26 ESCAPE THE FATE “Alive” 380
24 27 SLIPKNOT “Goodbye” 361
25 35 ROB ZOMBIE “Well, Everybody’s…in a UFO” 357
26 28 STITCHED UP HEART “Finally Free” 342
27 21 ARANDA “We Are The Enemy” 338
28 49 DEFTONES “Prayers/Triangles” 325
29 29 FAILURE ANTHEM “Paralyzed” 313
30 22 THEORY OF A DEADMAN “Blow” 303
31 34 WOLFMOTHER “Victorious” 285
32 33 MEGADETH “Dystopia” 275
33 50 FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH “My Nemesis” 272
34 30 LACEY STURM “Impossible” 264
35 31 DROWNING POOL “By The Blood” 251
36 24 ALL THAT REMAINS “Victory Lap” 247
37 36 DEVOUR THE DAY “Lightning In The Sky” 227
38 32 ANDREW WATT “Ghost In My Head” 222
39 40 PUSCIFIER “The Remedy” 186
40 43 KILLSWITCH ENGAGE “Hate By Design” 146
41 41 FOALS “Mountain At My Gates” 145
42 45 ANTHRAX “Breathing Lightning” 126
43 47 BLACK STONE CHERRY “In Our Dreams” 116
44 46 THROUGH FIRE “Stronger” 113
45 44 BARONESS “Shock Me” 100
46 48 CILVER “I’m America” 97
47 42 WAYLAND “Bloody Sunrise” 94
48 51 MONSTER TRUCK “Don’t Tell Me How To Live” 89
49 53 SMASHING SATELLITES “Gamblin’ Man” 75
50 61 GHOST “From The Pinnacle To The Pit” 66



PUBLISHER’S PICK OF THE WEEK (by Adam Waldman)

ANTHRAX – “Breathing Lightning”

Since the turn of the millennium, Anthrax’s studio releases have been fewer and further between than the time period between 1984-1998.  There has been an undeniable shift in the hard rock and metal genres in recent years, but Anthrax’s music has always had a timeless quality to it.  If they chose to continue creating new music with their signature sound, they would have no trouble connecting with fans.  Getting radio attention, on the other hand, would not necessarily be so easy in the current climate.  “Breathing Lightning” features enough of the band’s signature sound to appeal to longtime fans, but it is the infusion of huge melodic hooks that is likely to bring in new fans from younger generations that didn’t grow up with their music. While “Breathing Lightning” wasn’t written to be “radio-friendly,” the end result is a song that has huge radio potential.  With a vast catalog of timeless thrash songs, would it be sacrilege to say that the band’s most memorable chorus has arrived in 2016 (over 30 years after their debut)? Perhaps, but it doesn’t make it any less true.  The melodic refrain of the song (which conjures up memories of Led Zeppelin’s “The Song Remains The Same”) sets the stage with a theatrical intro, and is intertwined around customary in-your-face Anthrax riffs throughout.  Although it doesn’t appear on the radio-edit, the full-length version of the song ends with a beautifully melodic, haunting fade out.  When all is said and done, “Breathing Lightning” is a good bet to be one of the top songs of 2016.
 

 

 

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.

SPIN IT…

SOTO“FreakShow”

BOBAFLEX“A Spider In The Dark”

EVANS BLUE“iGod”

UGLY KID JOE“Bad Seed”

VEER UNION“Defying Gravity”

HANDS LIKE HOUSES“New Romantics”

 

DROP IT…

Foals“Mountain At My Gates”

Cage The Elephant“Mess Around”

The Struts“Kiss This”

Pucifier“The Remedy”

Theory Of A Deadman“Blow”

Parkway Drive“Vice Grip”

 

 

THE BREAKDOWN by Jon Loveless

KING OF THE HILL

Shinedown notches a third straight week at #1 on the Mediabase Active Rock airplay chart, giving up little ground to #2 Pop Evil.  A change is forthcoming, but probably not for another week (or more).  Foo Fighters’ “Saint Cecilia” once again gained more ground from the #3 spot than the current runner-up.

 

 

NOTABLE CHART MOVEMENT

Disturbed turned out to be the only new arrival to the Top 10, replacing their previous single (“The Light”) with their current one (“The Sound Of Silence”)…

Nary a change in the Top 20 songs aside from some shuffling of their order on the chart…

Charging into the Top 30 this week are the latest singles from both Rob Zombie and Deftones

New to the Top 40 this week is “My Nemesis,” the latest single from Five Finger Death Punch, and last week’s highest debuting single from Killswitch Engage

A trio of new arrivals takes up the bottom three spots in the Top 50 this week.  The highest debuting song comes from Monster Truck, with a track that has been in the Canadian Active Rock Top 5 for the past three months.  Also cracking the Top 50 is the debut single from Smashing Satellites (“Gamblin’ Man”), and the latest single from the Grammy-winning Ghost.

 

 

THREE UP & THREE DOWN

MOVING UP

3 Doors Down – “In The Dark”

Disturbed“The Sound Of Silence”

Deftones – “Prayers/Triangles”

 

DROPPING DOWN

Seether – “Save Today”

Five Finger Death Punch“Wash It All Away”

Disturbed“The Light”

 

 

TRENDS AND OBSERVATIONS

I’m pleased to see more crossover of songs that have been successful in Canada gaining traction on the U.S. chart.  There’s no shortage of common titles on the two charts, but frequently, it seems that songs that fare exceptionally well north of the border end up getting overlooked by U.S. radio.  In addition to the Monster Truck title that debuted this week, the current single from Wolfmother also broke more quickly on Canadian stations than on their U.S. counterparts.  It’s a small trend that I’d like to see continue, as there have been a number of airplay-worthy songs that failed to see significant breakthroughs in the larger market over the past several years.  Glorious Sons, I Mother Earth, The Wild, and The Lazys are all recent prime examples of band that had songs worthy of U.S. airplay.

 

WRAP-UP

That’s all for this week.  Tune in to HardRockDaddy.com every Tuesday for the HRD Radio Report. \m/

 

Music Discovery Monday – 2/15/16

Music Discovery Monday - Mike LePond's Silent Assassins

Hard Rock Daddy presents Music Discovery Monday – 2/15/16.

Each week, the HRD team shares songs that fly below radio’s radar, ranging from lesser-known artists to deeper cuts from both up-and-coming and established artists.

In addition to exposing the Hard Rock Daddy audience to new music that isn’t getting the attention that it deserves from radio, Music Discovery Monday also features a segment called “Hard Rock Music Time Machine,” which showcases older songs (from the ’70s to today) that hard rock music fans may have missed at the time of release.

In addition to appearing on the embedded YouTube playlists beneath each section, all songs featured on Music Discovery Monday can be listened to by clicking on the hyper-linked song titles.

This week, Music Discovery Monday features an exclusive interview with Mike LePond (Mike LePond’s Silent Assassins, Symphony X), who discusses a powerful tune off of his debut solo album and the health issues that he has dealt with that made playing slower songs with Symphony X in concert very difficult.

 

 

 ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)

Mike LePond had two songs featured on Hard Rock Daddy’s Top 135 Hard Rock Songs of 2015.  Both of the reviews from that list are featured below, giving readers a chance to discover these songs in a more meaningful way.  In addition to the reviews, LePond shared some of his insight about the songs in a recent exclusive interview with Hard Rock Daddy…

 

MIKE LE POND’S SILENT ASSASSINS – “Apocalypse Rider”

Symphony X bassist Mike LePond dials it up a notch on “Apocalypse Rider” (from his debut eponymous solo project), a song that has the same pulse-racing feel as Metallica’s“Motorbreath.”  The band features fellow Symphony X member Michael Romeo (guitar), in addition to vocalist Alan Tecchio (Watchtower, Hades, Non-Fiction) and guitarist Metal Mike (Halford, Testament).  Though much more straight-forward metal than his work with Symphony X, the band manages to weave some melodic vocal harmonies into “Apocalypse Rider” without ever slowing the freight train momentum that starts with the first note.  This is pure, timeless heavy metal.

 

Mike LePond on the meaning and inspiration behind “Apocalypse Rider”

“I always wanted to put out a record in the classic heavy metal vein.  My guitar player from Symphony X, Michael Romeo, really helped with Silent Assassins in a number of ways.  I got a couple of really good guys from New Jersey to help record the album (Alan Tecchio, ‘Metal’ Mike Chlasciak).  Things turned out great with all of the local guys.

My favorite music in the world is raw, in-your-face, no frills heavy metal.  I wanted to write a song that made the younger generation of today feel like I did when I listened to Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All album, or like when I first listened to Judas Priest, you know, that punch in the face that you get.  I think that a lot of metal bands today don’t give you that heavy riff right in your face, so I wanted to put that out there.

I came up with this riff that’s kind of a combination of Motorhead and Exciter.  The lyrics are about Attila the Hun riding into battle.  I wanted to make it like Attila the Hun, but also, if you ride a motorcycle,  you can get into it too.  I thought that it was cool to start off the record because it’s full-on, in-your-face, raw metal.”

 

 
SYMPHONY X – “Without You”

You have to wonder where Symphony X would be if the band had launched in the mid-‘80s instead of the mid-‘90s.  Other than timing (and maybe luck), there is very little separating them from the hard rock and heavy metal bands that rose to stardom and carried that momentum forward when the grunge movement began.  If their timing was better, it’s easy to imagine them being mentioned in the same breath has Queensryche and Dream Theater.  Vocalist extraordinaire, Russell Allen, gets his fair share of attention from other artists and fans in the know, but it’s fair to say that his talent exceeds his fame by leaps and bounds.  The same can be said for founder/guitarist Michael Romeo, bassist Mike LePond, keyboardist Michael Pinnella and drummer Jason Rullo.  ‘Without You’ showcases the immense talent and chemistry of this powerhouse quintet.  From the outstanding vocals and vocal harmonies to the subtle nuances that are best heard though headphones and the interesting arrangement, ‘Without You’ is everything that you want in a song from this genre.  Sadly, this American band has a sound that is appreciated much more by overseas audiences than right here at home.

 

Mike LePond shares an interesting story about the health challenges that he had to deal with when playing “Without You” live…

“I think that touring is a thing that you either love or hate, and I love it.  I could do it all day long.  I think that I’m just made for it.  If someone would have told me in the early ‘90s (when I was working a desk job) that I’d be touring the world, I would have told them that they were insane.  I always feel blessed and lucky to be doing something that I dreamed of doing as a kid.

I’ve had to deal with some health issues, but I’ve been doing really well since 2013.  I had Crohn’s Disease (which is a really bad stomach issue) for about 20 years.  I had surgery in 2013, and things have been good since then.  I’ve gained all my weight back, so hopefully things will continue like this.

One of the biggest nightmares was dealing with the disease on tour, where often times, you end up eating whatever is around.  I’ve played some shows in unbelievable pain.  I don’t even know how I got through them.  It must have been adrenaline.  It would be a situation where I’d be laying down with a heating pad all day long in pain, but then, five minutes before the show, I’d force myself to get dressed and go on stage.  Once the adrenaline kicked in, I’d be ok.

The funny thing is, when we would break into a ballad like ‘Without You,’ the pain would come rushing back.  So, I used to dread the slower songs.  If there were any songs like that where there was no bass, and just a piano section or something like that, I would go behind the amplifiers and just sit down and rest.  I’m all good now, so I can play ‘Without You’ now without any fear.”

 

 

 

 JON LOVELESS – HRD Music Scout

HOLY GRAIL – “Descent Into The Maelstrom”

“Descent Into The Maelstrom” is the first track that I’ve heard from Holy Grail’s new studio album (the third from this California-based band that formed back in 2008).  Although this is not my first exposure to the band, this song does mark the first time that I’ve ever consciously noticed a vocal resemblance between James Paul Luna and M. Shadows from Avenged Sevenfold.  Going back through their catalog, I do hear the resemblance in earlier work, but this song brings it out more to me.  This track has a more modern sound than some of their previous, (more traditional) metal sounds.  It’s a promising direction.

 

VANILLA WOMEN – “Shakin’ My Cage”

There’s a line – somewhere – between “supergroup” and “new configuration of familiar artists.”  I won’t begin to attempt to define that line here.  What I will say, however, is that this new outfit (which includes former members of Puddle Of Mudd, Shinedown/Fuel and Mofro/Cold) stands up very well compared to some more heavily-hyped rosters.  Musically, it’s definitely a first taste that has me interested in hearing more.

 

 

 

ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout

INTUITIVE – “Start The Show”

Guitarist/songwriter Rui Martins (ex-Faithfull) put together this melodic hard rock band, set to release their debut album (Reset) at the end of this month. The Portugese quartet strikes up a nice groove on this early release.

 

THE PHOENIX – “My Turn To Deal”

The Phoenix is a brand new, all-female Italian band exporting hard rock with an attitude. Their first album has only four songs, but there’s some addictive headbanging going on here.  Great vocals, driving riffs, and an in-your-face delivery, makes for a great combination.

 

 

 

   CHRIS HERZEGOVITCH – HRD Music Scout

WAKEN EYES – “Palisades”

“Palisades” is a stellar track from Waken Eyes’ debut album, Exodus.  This intricate song delivers on all fronts, starting with a brilliant staggered entrance.  The vocals are excellent, as is the lead guitar and solo.  Listen to the top-notch coordination and articulation of the bass and drums.

 

JEFF HUGHELL – “The Crook Won’t Cool It Down”

Virtuoso bassist Jeff Hughell takes you on a great ride through a fusion of different genres and styles in this track from his new album, Trinidad Scorpion Hallucinations.  A departure from the death metal that he is known for (Six Feet Under, Assylym, Vile), this jam and album features only Hughell using a 7-string bass and Marco Pitruzzella on drums.
 

 

SUBMISSIONS

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

 

 

HARD ROCK MUSIC TIME MACHINE

 ADAM WALDMAN

SKID ROW – “Get The Fuck Out” (1991)

Skid Row has been in the news once again this week as rumors persist that the band has found their replacement for Tony Harnell, whose tenure with the band was much briefer than expected.  While no official announcement has been made, it looks like there will not be a reunion with Sebastian Bach, something that fans wanted, and thought possible in light of the GNR reunion.  The two bands played together in their heyday, so the hopeful speculation was understandable.  As of now, it looks like the band will move forward with ZP Theart (Dragonforce).  No matter how good of a fit that Theart may be with the band, the clamoring for a Baz reunion will never subside.  Even if you could find someone to match the vocal talent, it’s the personality of the charismatic frontman that is impossible to replace.  It is that personality that made songs like “Get The Fuck Out” so powerful.  Bach has a way of infusing humor into rage, as is the case with this song, which does NOT appear on the “clean” version of the band’s classic album, Slave To The Grind.

 

MONSTER MAGNET – “Space Lord” (1998)

Spinefarm Records has just released newly remastered versions of Monster Magnet’s classic albums from their A&M days (Superjudge, Dopes To Infinity, Powertrip and God Says No). One of the most notable songs from those releases was 1998’s “Space Lord.”  Like fellow New Jersey rockers Skid Row (above), salty language forced this psychedelic rock band to censor themselves…replacing the line “Space Lord, motherfucker” with “Space Lord, mother, mother” so that it could be played on Mainstream radio.  Thankfully, the change was seamless, keeping the integrity of the vocal melody intact.  Either way, “Space Lord” is one of the better songs of the late ‘90s, coming at a time when the hard rock genre was emerging from the doldrums (at least in the mainstream).

 

 

 

JON LOVELESS

HOLY GRAIL – “Dark Passenger” (2013)

“Dark Passenger” is a track from the band’s second album, which I think of as being more their typical style.  A more traditional metal sound (to my ear at least) than the latest release, but it really shows that they’re quite capable in more than one specific style.

 

JOE WALSH – “Analog Man” (2012)

Title track from a very fine album that did well (in spite of relatively limited airplay).  The guitar sounds are classic Walsh, with strong production provided by Jeff Lynne.  It’s a less aggressive form of rock than my tastes frequently run, but it’s really a treat of a song and an album.

 

 

 

  ROB DELL’AQUILA

CHRIS LANEY – “B4 It Is Too Late” (2010)

With extensive production and engineering credits on the hard rock and glam scene (Crazy Lixx, Zan Clan, etc.), in 2009 and 2010 Chris Laney put out two solo albums.  On those albums he sings, plays both guitar and bass, and is accompanied by an impressive array of other musicians and background singers.  This favorite comes from his sophomore effort, easing in with piano and his yearning vocals, before exploding with guitars and layers of background vocals.  He has spent the last few years developing a new band (Laney’s Legion) that is busy writing new songs.

 

CORNERSTONE – “Wicked” (2007)

Lead singer Doogie White was the voice of Rainbow during their brief revival in the ‘90s, so it’s no surprise that his work with Cornerstone builds on that classic sound.  This wonderful piece is beautifully representative of how they were able to adapt that fine tradition to the new millennium.
 

 

 

 CHRIS HERZEGOVITCH

CRYSTALLION – “Burning Bridges” (2006)

Bavaria’s Crystallion plays fantasy-themed heavy metal that is straight-forward and uncomplicated. “Burning Bridges” showcases Thomas Strübler’s very good, very clear voice that brings solid melody to traditional metal power chords with some up-tempo/speed metal percussion.

 

SAINT DEAMON  “My Judas” (2008)

Swedish power metal outfit Saint Deamon has been around since 2006.  “My Judas” is from their debut album, In Shadows Lost From The Brave.  Jan Thore Grefstad’s tremendous voice underscores the anguish and resentment of the song’s unmistakable theme.  Although this fine band is still active,  they’ve been relatively quiet, with no new recordings since 2009.