Monthly Archives: April 2016

Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown – Week of 4-30-16

Octane Logo

Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown for the week of 4-30-16.

The 4-30-16 Big ‘Uns Countdown playlist can also be found on (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 – “Aggressive” – BEARTOOTH

#14 –  “Dust” – TREMONTI

#13 – “Colourblind” – HANDS LIKE HOUSES


#11 –  “Asking For It” – SHINEDOWN

#10 –  “In Chains” – SHAMAN’S HARVEST

#9 –    “The Sound Of Silence” – DISTURBED

# 8 –   “Mayhem” – HALESTORM

# 7 –   “Falling Apart” – PAPA ROACH

# 6 –   “If I Were” – NOTHING MORE

# 5 –   “The Devil’s Bleeding Crown” – VOLBEAT

# 4 –   “Human” – HELLYEAH

# 3 –   “Hate By Design” – KILLSWITCH ENGAGE 

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

# 1 –   “Emotionless” – RED SUN RISING



2016 Active Rock Radio / Octane Quarterly Report: Q1

Top 30 Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown Songs of 2015

Top 135 Hard Rock 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

Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 4/28/16: Hard Rock Cover Songs

Hard Rock Music time Machine - Ace Frehley - Hard Rock Cover Songs

Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 4/28/16 – HARD ROCK COVER SONGS

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.

Today’s Hard Rock Cover Songs theme may surprise you a bit when you learn that songs that you may have thought of as originals are actually covers.

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)

ACE FREHLEY – “New York Groove”  (1978)

In 1978, the self-proclaimed “hottest band in the world” (KISS), made history by simultaneously releasing solo albums by each of the four members on the same day.  You’d be hard-pressed to find people who don’t think that Ace Frehley’s album was the best of the bunch.  Nearly four decades after its release, “New York Groove” (the most popular song on the album) still gets airplay.

Up until a few years ago, I thought that the song was written by Ace, but I was wrong.  Written by famed English singer/songwriter Russ Ballard, this song was originally recorded by a British glam band named Hello in 1975.

The best cover songs are the ones where the artist not only makes it their own, but makes you forget about the original.  “New York Groove” may be a cover, but from the music to the lyrics, it is quintessential Ace.  You’d never know that the song wasn’t written by the native New Yorker.

KISS – “God Gave Rock And Roll To You II” (1991)

Russ Ballard is known mostly for his songwriting in the rock world, but he was also the lead singer of British band Argent back in the day.  The original version of “God Gave Rock and Roll to You” was written by Ballard in 1971, but did not appear on an Argent album until 1973.  In 1977, the song (with modified lyrics) was covered by Petra (a Christian rock band).  In 1991, KISS added their own slight alteration to Petra’s version and made the title a bit more unique by adding “II” to the end of it.  The KISS version appeared in the movie Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (a sequel to Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure).

The song has been covered since, but the only version that most people know is the one that KISS made their own in 1991.  It’s somewhat ironic that the words that they sang so passionately 25 years ago seem to no longer apply (at least in the case of Gene Simmons, who has infamously declared the death of rock and roll).  Either way, KISS deserves credit for taking Ballard’s song and turning it into a cover song for the ages.



 ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout

MACHINE HEAD “Hallowed Be Thy Name” (2007)

One of the best cover songs in modern metal is Machine Head’s “Hallowed Be Thy Name,” which as we all know, was originally written and performed by the almighty Iron Maiden on their 1982 album, The Number of The Beast.  Machine Head’s version of this song appears as a bonus track on their 2007 album, The Blackening.  Disregarding the vocal style of Bruce Dickinson, Rob Flynn does the song’s vocals justice with his own brand of signature singing, while at the same time, honoring the integrity of the song.  Great guitar work and a strong rhythm section rounds out the musical talent behind this band as they take a classic metal song and transform it into a thrashy, heavier version of itself.


SOCIAL DISTORTION “Ring Of Fire” (1990)

Being a huge fan of punk rock and old school hardcore, I cannot forget one of the best covers by a band in this genre.  Social Distortion covers this Johnny Cash classic on their 1990 eponymous album.  A main staple in their live shows, Mike Ness and the guys in Social D capture the feel and intensity of Cash’s classic love song.  Social Distortion has evolved over the years from its original Orange County California punk rock sound and attitude to a more mature, refined, rockabilly/country rock feel (with a little punk rock thrown in for the sake of nostalgia).  Their cover of “Ring of Fire” exemplifies the transition that this band has made over the years.  I won’t lie; whenever they play this song live, it makes me want to jump back into the pit for old time’s sake.




AT VANCE – “Logical Song” (2000)

German power metal band At Vance closed out their sophomore album, Heart Of Steel, with this driving, neoclassical cover of a Supertramp classic.  Oliver Hartmann’s soaring vocals and Olaf Lenk’s crushing riffs bring a welcome new dimension to an old favorite.  Also check out their crushing, yet still yearnful, version of ABBA’s “SOS” from the same album, and their cover of ABBA’s “The Winner Takes It All” from their follow-up album, Dragonchaser.


AXEL RUDI PELL – “Fool’s Game” (2007)

German power metal veterans Axel Rudi Pell released this pounding version of Michael Bolton’s song on their 2007 album, Diamonds Unlocked.  The whole point of the album was to cover non-metal artists with the band’s signature sound, and they really delivered.  From the same album, be sure to also check out covers of U-2’s “Beautiful Day” and Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight.”




LEO MORACCHIOLI – “Black Knight” (2014)

Deep Purple’s legendary “Black Knight” gets supercharged in a cover by Leo Moracchioli, a one-man show from Norway who records, mixes, masters, films and edits the covers and videos.  This tribute is a high quality update that is true to the original.


REDEPMTION – “Edge Of The Blade” (2011)

“Edge of the Blade” is the one of the few Journey tracks that would be considered heavy enough to earn a label of “hard rock.”  Prog metal masters Redemption inject horsepower and grit, vaulting this tune into the heavy metal sphere.  The cover is technically excellent, and respectful to the original, especially the work by Bernie Versailles on guitars and Chris Quirarte on the drums (covering Neil Schon and Steve Smith).  This track is from their 2011 album This Mortal Coil, on a bonus disc featuring covers of the band’s favorites.

Billboard Top 15 Hard Rock Albums – 5/7/16

Billboard Top 15 Hard Rock Albums

Billboard Hard Rock Albums Chart for the week ending 5/7/16.  Top 15 albums ranked by sales data and compiled by Nielsen SoundScan.


      1. ACE FREHLEY – Origins Vol. 1
      2. DEFTONES – Gore
      3. DISTURBED – Immortalized
      4. OTEP – Generation Doom
      5. FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH – Got Your Six
      6. AMON AMARTH – Jomsviking
      7. METALLICA – Liberte Fgalite Fraternite Metallica!: Live At Le Bataclan Paris France
      8. BABYMETAL – Metal Resistance
      9. SHINEDOWN – Threat To Survival
      10. ASKING ALEXANDRIA – The Black
      11. MEGADETH – Dystopia
      12. KILLSWITCH ENGAGE – Incarnate
      13. 3 DOORS DOWN – Us And The Night
      14. BLACK STONE CHERRY – Kentucky
      15. LITA FORD – Time Capsule


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 4/23/16

HRD Radio Report - Chris Cornell


The HRD Radio Report showcases the weekly Active Rock Mediabase Charts (compiled by, and appears every Tuesday on  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

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

 2016 Active Rock Radio / Octane Quarterly Report: Q1

The following is the Active Rock Mediabase Chart for the week ending 4/23/16.  All exclusive HRD content is featured below the chart:

1 2 RED SUN RISING “Emotionless” 1776
2 1 DISTURBED “The Sound Of Silence” 1718
3 5 BRING ME THE HORIZON “Happy Song” 1643
4 6 FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH “My Nemesis” 1506
5 11 VOLBEAT “The Devil’s Bleeding Crown” 1410
6 7 SIXX: A.M. “Rise” 1396
7 4 MUSE “Reapers” 1396
8 3 3 DOORS DOWN “In The Dark” 1342
9 9 PAPA ROACH “Falling Apart” 1181
10 10 DEFTONES “Prayers/Triangles” 1146
11 13 HALESTORM “Mayhem” 811
12 15 GHOST “From The Pinnacle To The Pit” 795
13 14 ADELITA’S WAY “Bad Reputation” 762
14 16 HELLYEAH “Human” 683
15 18 A DAY TO REMEMBER “Paranoia” 577
16 19 FOALS “Mountain At My Gates” 539
17 22 ASKING ALEXANDRIA “Here I Am” 505
18 20 DEVOUR THE DAY “Lightning In The Sky” 461
19 27 SICK PUPPIES “Stick To Your Guns” 414
20 24 KILLSWITCH ENGAGE “Hate By Design” 412
21 28 KALEO “No Good” 318
22 25 CHEAP TRICK “When I Wake Up” 316
23 30 MONSTER TRUCK “Don’t Tell Me How To Live” 287
24 26 BLACK STONE CHERRY “In Our Dreams” 285
25 48 SHINEDOWN “Asking For It” 269
26 35 AVATAR “The Eagle Has Landed” 264
27 29 THOUSAND FOOT KRUTCH “Running With Giants” 251
28 44 ROB ZOMBIE “Get High” 240
29 31 BARONESS “Shock Me” 239
30 32 THROUGH FIRE “Stronger” 223
31 33 CANDLEBOX “Vexatious” 210
32 34 ANTHRAX “Breathing Lightning” 204
33 37 SEVENDUST “Death Dance” 187
34 42 HOLY WHITE HOUNDS “Switchblade” 172
35 38 SMASHING SATELLITES “Gamblin’ Man” 167
36 39 CILVER “I’m America” 164
37 40 LIKE A STORM “Break Free” 161
38 41 TWENTY ONE PILOTS “Ride” 154
39 43 ONE LESS REASON “Where Were You?” 131
40 46 SUNFLOWER DEAD “It’s Time To Get Weird” 118
41 52 TRIVIUM “Dead And Gone” 110
42 50 RIVAL CITY HEIGHTS “Take It Back” 102
43 49 HANDS LIKE HOUSES “Colourblind” 101
44 47 TREMONTI “Dust” 93
45 55 OTEP “In Cold Blood” 79
46 45 FILTER “Take Me To Heaven” 78
47 51 BOBAFLEX “A Spider In The Dark” 73
48 58 ARANDA “Stay” 72
49 56 COLD WAR KIDS “First” 65
50 0 CHRIS CORNELL “Nothing Compares 2 U” 64

NOTE:  Last week, we noted that the actual #50 song did not appear on the published chart. For the purposes of the HRD Radio Report, RIVAL CITY HEIGHTS is considered a debut this week (even though the chart shows them in the #50 position last week).




CHRIS CORNELL – “Nothing Compares 2 U”

Ever since Prince’s untimely passing earlier this week, there has been an outpouring of emotion and tributes done by a number of artists, including Active Rock heavyweights like Corey Taylor and Lzzy Hale.  Last year, while appearing on SiriusXM, Chris Cornell delivered an incredible version of Prince’s song, “Nothing Compares 2 U.”  Younger readers of the HRD Radio Report may not be very familiar with Prince’s work, and much less likely to be familiar with the Sinead O’Connor version of this song that was a pop hit in the early ’90s.  Cornell’s interpretation is so powerful and emotional, that you would think that it was done after learning of Prince’s passing (rather than months before).  Whenever an artist dies, their work comes to the forefront of society as a way of simultaneously mourning and celebrating a life.  With all due respect to the other tributes that have come since Prince’s passing, the one that has had the most impact is Cornell’s “Nothing Compares 2 U.”  The song entered the Top 50 this week, but its stay will most likely be short-lived as the shock of Prince’s passing settles in.

CLICK HERE to read the Prince tribute that was featured on Hard Rock Daddy this week.



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.



UGLY MELON“Dead Or Alive”





FIRST DECREE“Here We Go Again”



Cold War Kids“First”

Holy White Hounds“Switchblade”

Foals“Mountain At My Gates”

Twenty One Pilots – “Ride”

Adelita’s Way“Bad Reputation”





THE BREAKDOWN by Jon Loveless


Two songs headed in opposite directions over the weekend, giving the Mediabase Active Rock Airplay Chart a new #1.  Red Sun Rising rises with “Emotionless” to end the extended run by Disturbed, and earn their second straight chart-topping single.  Bring Me The Horizon is a close third, with Five Finger Death Punch gaining ground at #4.




New to the Top 10 this week is the biggest gainer on the chart – “The Devil’s Bleeding Crown” – the lead single from the forthcoming Volbeat album, which is due to arrive in June …

Three Top 20 debuts this week, including a strong performing song from Sick Puppies

The Top 30 features five new entries led by the latest singles by Shinedown and Rob Zombie

The Top 40 is also busy, with four new arrivals this week, including recent Music Discovery Monday featured artist Sunflower Dead

Five songs also earn their chart debut in the Top 50, paced by Trivium’s “Dead And Gone.”





Five Finger Death Punch – “My Nemesis”

Volbeat – “The Devil’s Bleeding Crown”

Shinedown – “Asking For It”



Disturbed“The Sound Of Silence”

3 Doors Down – “In The Dark”

Muse – “Reapers”




There was a lot of movement across most tiers of the chart this week, made possible by the departure of nearly a half dozen songs that had enjoyed significant success, extended runs, or both.  No song climbing at the moment is having a more impressive start than Volbeat’s “The Devil’s Bleeding Crown,”  already reaching #5 in just it’s third week since release.  That has to bode well for the eventual chart peak for the song, since the past nine #1 singles have needed an average of ten weeks to reach the top five.



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

Music Discovery Monday – 4/25/16

Music Discovery Monday - Nelson

Hard Rock Daddy presents Music Discovery Monday – 4/25/16.

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.

This week, Music Discovery Monday features an exclusive interview with Nelson’s Matthew Nelson, who discusses the meaning and inspiration behind two of their most recent songs, “Back In The Day” and “Rockstar.”

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)

NELSON – “Back In The Day”

Back in 1990, when Nelson (featuring brothers, Matthew and Gunnar) broke onto the scene, many were quick to judge them based on their looks, rather than their talent.  Despite having four hit singles on their debut album – After The Rain, aided by MTV (which actually played music in those days), Nelson’s career seemed to peak just as it got started.  As the saying goes, “timing is everything.”

Once the grunge movement began, two brothers with long blonde hair and colorful clothing singing upbeat melodies with brilliant vocal harmonies fell out of favor quickly.  With totally unwarranted criticism from the media, and music fans who thought that it was cool to hate the band, Nelson never really had a chance at mainstream longevity.  However, that didn’t stop them from continuing on, albeit with less fanfare.  To their credit, they soldiered on, formed their own record label, and built a career that wasn’t reliant upon current trends, radio airplay or media acceptance.

You might expect “Back In The Day” to be a musical journey that waxes nostalgic about the band’s short-lived glory days, but it is actually a refreshing, tongue-in-cheek look at a time period that many of us remember fondly.  It features the feel-good, upbeat vibe and vocal harmonies that made the band so enjoyable to listen to…“back in the day.”



NELSON – “Rockstar”

Much like “Back In The Day,” Nelson’s “Rockstar” (from their most recent album, Peace Out) has a Bon Jovi vibe, which isn’t a big surprise given that they fall into a similar category of rock.  What is surprising is the Ian Gillan-esque vocal melody in the verse, which is reminiscent of Deep Purple’s 1987 hit, “Bad Attitude.”

Though Nelson is arguably the most unfairly maligned band of the past quarter century, they were undeniable rock stars when they made their debut in 1990.  But unlike many rock stars of that era, they were also incredibly humble, something that I can speak of from a first-hand experience.

Shortly after their album made its debut, the band performed an acoustic show on Long Island at Bob Buchmann’s Jukebox Café (which was owned by one of the most influential DJs on WBAB).  At the time, I was working for a company that recorded live music.  Knowing that Nelson’s music was all over MTV and the radio, I thought that there was a chance that they would give me the rock star treatment, but that was not the case at all.  Both brothers (along with guitarist/high school friend Joey Cathcart) couldn’t have been friendlier, and the chemistry between the three of them was incredible.

I’ve maintained since that performance that Nelson detractors would become fans if they got the chance to experience the band in a live setting.  The vocal harmonies were some of the best that I’ve ever heard to this day.  To the people who judged Nelson “back in the day,” I encourage you to listen to both of the songs featured this week with an open mind.


In a exclusive interview with Hard Rock Daddy, Matthew Nelson discussed the inspiration and meaning behind “Back In The Day” and “Rockstar”

Both of these songs were written by my brother, Gunnar, and I put a polish on them.  They come from an album that was kind of an assignment from a label that we work with called Frontiers.


On “Rockstar”

“We’ve seen things come and go for the last 30 years or so, especially Gunnar.  The song has to do with what people deem as being cool or hip; it’s very ‘clique-ish.’  It’s kind of like music being a big high school.  I hated high school, and so did Gunnar.  We were never really the popular kids in school, and that’s kind of what this was for us.  ‘Rockstar’ is a subtle “F.U.” to all of those people who just took it a little bit too seriously.  Sometimes you just gotta to say… ‘what the F.’  Wouldn’t it be great if you could just live like those cartoon character rock stars? That’s basically a tongue-in-cheek look at what the whole song is about.”


On “Back In The Day”

“Everybody in their lives has one of those points in time where they feel like they were kind of in their ‘power zone.’  I think that ‘Back In The Day’ is a statement about two brothers.  There have been a lot of times where we thought that we came into this world as a duo for a reason.  When one of us is down, the other one picks the other one up, and we move forward.  ‘Back In The Day’ is a tongue-in-cheek reflection on the heyday of After The Rain.  Clearly, we’re not in 1990 anymore.  It’s a whole different era, and different time.  We’re grown up, have families, and I believe that we’ve definitely gotten better in our craft after seeing the world.

Both of these songs, and the whole album in general (even the title), is a sort of irreverent toss at people.  I think that what’s kind of neat is that the people who understand that, understand us.  They’re in on our joke a little bit.”




 ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout

LAMB OF GOD – “Still Echoes”

It has been three long years between Lamb Of God albums, but for fans of the “new wave of American metal” genre, it was well worth the wait, as the band returns with their seventh studio album, VII: Sturm und Drang.  Still Echoes” takes the Lamb of God sound and condenses every aspect of this band into a four and a half minute assault on your auditory senses.  The lyrical proficiency and screams of Randy Blythe, Chris Adler’s thunderous signature drum beats, Willie Adler and Mark Morton’s brilliant riffage and John Campbell’s pounding bass lines brings the Richmond, Virginia boys back into the spotlight with an outstanding, thought-provoking, well-written album.  Fans of this genre, give the brutality of Lamb of God a listen.  You won’t regret it!


DEVIL YOU KNOW  “Consume The Damned”

If you’re a metalcore genre fan, you probably know that Howard Jones is currently screaming in his new band, Devil You Know.  For those of you who don’t know who Howard Jones is, he used to sing in Killswitch Engage and did a very fine job at it until his departure in 2012.  “Consume the Damned” is off of the band’s sophomore release, They Bleed Red.  This song is classic metalcore, with heavy chunky guitars, breakdowns, double-bass drumming and Howard Jones signature screams.  If you are looking for aggression and slick heavy grooves, you’ve found it in Devil You Know.




CHRIS OUSEY – “Another Runaway”

I’ve covered vocalist Chris Ousey on Music Discovery Monday with brand new music from Ozone, from ten years ago with Heartland, and way back to the ‘80s with Virginia Wolf.  Here, the melodic rock veteran strikes out on his own.  “Another Runaway” is from his second solo album, Dream Machine, where he delivers more solid writing with soulful execution.


CHRIS CORNELL – “Stay With Me Baby”

The music is perfect, but still, it’s all about that voice. Chris Cornell amazes yet again with this stunning vocal tour de force on a new song made special for an HBO series about some old times, Vinyl.




VOODOO CIRCLE – “Trapped In Paradise”

“Trapped In Paradise” is a vibrant, powerful force of a song that has it all.  Fantastic organ work by Alessandro Del Vecchio, excellent lead guitar by Alex Beyrodt (Primal Fear) and the booming voice of David Readman (Pink Cream 69, Almanac).  This song was the lead track off of 2015’s Whiskey Fingers.  You’ll hear it once, then play it twice.


IN THIS GREY – “Empty Letter”

“Empty Letter” is an excellent, introspective, power ballad fraught with emotion.  Exceptional bass and rhythm line gives this track the gravity that it requires.  Very good, clear vocals from Tommy Eliasson lead this young melodic metal group from Sweden, who include Dio, Helloween and Dream Theater among their influences.



To be considered for Music Discovery Monday, please e-mail a link to the song being submitted on YouTube and an artist bio to –


Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown – Week of 4-23-16

Octane Logo

Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown for the week of 4-23-16.

The 4-23-16 Big ‘Uns Countdown playlist can also be found on (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 – “Prayers/Triangles” – DEFTONES

#14 –  “Rise” – SIXX: A.M.

#13 – “Paranoia” – A DAY TO REMEMBER

#12 – “Colourblind” – HANDS LIKE HOUSES

#11 –  “Stick To Your Guns” – SICK PUPPIES

#10 –  “If I Were” – NOTHING MORE

#9 –    “Hate By Design” – KILLSWITCH ENGAGE

# 8 –   “Falling Apart” – PAPA ROACH

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

# 6 –   “Asking For It” – SHINEDOWN

# 5 –   “The Sound Of Silence” – DISTURBED

# 4 –   “The Devil’s Bleeding Crown” – VOLBEAT

# 3 –   “Human” – HELLYEAH 

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

# 1 –   “Emotionless” – RED SUN RISING



2016 Active Rock Radio / Octane Quarterly Report: Q1

Top 30 Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown Songs of 2015

Top 135 Hard Rock 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

When Doves Cry Purple Rain:  Memories of Prince

RIP Prince - 1958-2016

By Adam Waldman

You never know how much someone is truly loved and admired until they pass away.  It is the sad reality that everyone deals with to some degree, but even more so for once-in-a-lifetime, transcendent talents like Prince, who touched the lives of people of all walks of life.  We saw a massive outpouring of emotions like this when David Bowie passed away earlier this year.  At the time, it felt like there would never be a reaction like that for anyone else, but Prince’s untimely passing has evoked an even more pronounced response.

Like Bowie, Prince’s music and fan base could not be pigeon-holed into a narrow category.  His music touched the lives of a generation that grew up watching him on MTV.  The pinnacle of Bowie’s career took place before MTV, so it’s understandable why the reaction to Prince’s passing has been even more overwhelming.

You would expect fans of pop, R&B and funk music to feel the huge impact of losing Prince, but the outpouring of emotions from numerous hard rock and metal artists was somewhat unexpected.  In an interview with Larry King on CNN that was being replayed on the day of Prince’s passing, when asked to describe his style of music, he simply replied…“inspirational.”  From others, that response may sound a bit self-serving, but from Prince, it came across as a truly genuine and accurate assessment of his music and its place in the world.

Hard rock and metal acts typically don’t cite Prince as an influence, but since his passing, it is clear that his music was not only inspirational to fans, but to fellow musicians as well, most of whom marveled at his immense talent.  There’s a saying that goes… “jack-of-all-trades, master of none.”  It may be cliché, but it is also true for most people.  Prince was the exception to the rule.  He was, quite simply, a master of all trades: singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist.  Most of all, he was a master performer.

The year was 1999, a number that is more synonymous with Prince than Y2K.  I was attending a music industry conference.  For those who have ever worked in the industry, it is common knowledge that “industry crowds” are not favored by most artists.  They can be jaded, and rarely show the type of enthusiasm as an audience filled with exuberant fans.  However, sometimes an artist can deliver such an amazing performance that an “industry crowd” becomes indecipherable from a crowd filled with die-hard fans.

The one chance that I got to see Prince in a live setting was just such an occasion.  His performance on that night was jaw-droppingly brilliant.  Prince was the ultimate showman, who seemed to effortlessly bounce all over the stage while singing perfectly and shredding on the guitar like few others that I’ve ever seen in my decades of concert-going.  He was magical.  He was electrifying, and you couldn’t help but feed off of his energy.

Prince touched people with his music, and made people care about lyrics in a way that few others could.  From the poetry of “When Doves Cry” to the haunting insight foreshadowing what “1999” would be like long before Y2K was even a concept, Prince made you think…he made you feel…he made you celebrate life.  Perhaps the greatest example of his impact is found in the opening lyrics to “Let’s Go Crazy”…

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life.  Electric word, life.  It means forever, and that’s a mighty long time.  But, I’m here to tell you, there’s something else…the afterworld…a world of never-ending happiness.  You can always see the sun…day or night.”

These lyrics are especially poignant today as generations of people reflect back on the life of another icon that left us way too soon.  For all of the happiness that he gave to so many, we can only hope that Prince finds never-ending happiness in the afterworld.

Thank you for the music and memories, Prince.  RIP!

Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 4/21/16

Hard Rock Music Time Machine - Meat Loaf - Rocky Horror Picture Show

Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 4/21/16

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)

MEAT LOAF – “Hot Patootie – Bless My Soul” (1975)

When Meat Loaf burst onto the scene in 1977 with Bat Out Of Hell, a theatrical rock collaboration with Jim Steinman, he became a household name virtually overnight.  However, fans of the cult classic Rocky Horror Picture Show got to know this larger-than-life personality when he portrayed Eddie (an ex-delivery boy and partial brain donor to Rocky).  During one of the most memorable scenes in the movie, a maniacal Meat Loaf performed this week’s featured song – “Hot Patootie – Bless My Soul” – with an intensity that foreshadowed what was to come from one of the most animated singers in rock and roll history.  Although the song was written by Richard O’Brien, it is Steinman-esque… theatrical, storytelling lyrics brought to life by energetic, over-the-top musical performances.


FIRE INC. – “Nowhere Fast” (1984)

When you think of Jim Steinman, you can’t help but to think of Meat Loaf.  This duo has done their best work together, but they have also had memorable moments on their own (see above).  “Nowhere Fast,” was featured in 1984’s Streets Of Fire, a movie that was billed as a “rock and roll fable.”  No one writes theatrical rock better than Steinman, and this song may very well have been the highlight of the movie.  Although it featured some big name actors, Streets Of Fire was widely panned by critics.  It is something of a cult classic, but not nearly as popular as Rocky Horror Picture Show, which still conjures up nostalgia to this day.  “Nowhere Fast” features Laurie Sargent delivering a powerful performance with her lead vocals.  This song easily could have fit in with the rest of Bat Out Of Hell.  Meat Loaf actually recorded a version of the song, but the movie version is the one that left the most lasting impression.



 ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout

BAD RELIGION – “American Jesus” (1993)

Bad Religion is a band that was way ahead of its time.  For a genre of music that preached anarchistic behavior, rebellion, anti-authority and basically a “don’t-give-a-shit attitude,” Bad Religion took all of those aspects of punk rock and wrote some of the most intelligent, sharp, and ingenious songs ever.  “American Jesus” – off of the band’s 1993 release, Recipe For Hate – is one of those.  Led by Dr. Greg Gaffin on vocals (yes, he is an actual Doctor; he obtained his PhD at Cornell Univeristy) and a vast array of past members, Bad Religion has released 16 albums to date.  This song is one of many that stood out due to its political messages regarding nationalism and religion.  Plus, it brings me back to my old school punk rock days of being in the pit.  Those days are long gone, but this song (and this band) remains one of my favorites.


CORROSION OF CONFORMITY “Vote With A Bullet” (1991)

If you want to hear one of the heaviest intros to a song, look no further than Corrosion of Conformity’s “Vote with a Bullet” (from their 3rd studio album, Blind).  With our current state of politics being the way that it is, this song might mean a little more now than any other time in recent history.  This is the epitome of a well-written metal song.  The guitars are heavy and crunchy, bass lines and drums accent odd time signatures, and the screams of Pepper Keenan all give way to a head-banging, pissed-off take on the band’s political views.  Listen to the main riff.  I dare you not to bang your head when you hear this!





AXXIS  “I Hear You Cry” (2007)

This power metal band lays claim to the best-selling debut album in Germany’s hard rock history, with 1988’s Kingdom Of The Night.  This favorite, from 2007’s Doom Of Destiny, though nearly 20 years later, instantly reminded the world why the band is so loved among metal enthusiasts.  Vocalist Bernhard Weiss positively soars, playing off beautifully against returning guest vocalist Kerstin Bischof (a.k.a. Lakonia.).


HAMMERFALL – “Bloodbound” (2005)

Sweden’s Hammerfall has been producing top-quality power metal since they were founded by guitarist Oscar Dronjak in 1993.  This power ballad comes from their defiantly named fifth album, Chapter V: Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken.




WHITESNAKE – “Guity Of Love” (1983)

Whitesnake is fast-approaching 40 years together. “Guilty of Love” is a great track off of one of their best albums, 1984’s Slide It In.  Excellent vocals by David Coverdale, memorable lyrics and outstanding twin-guitar leads stand out the most.  This song was actually released a year ahead of the album as a promotional preview during 1983’s Monsters of Rock tour.


POWER GLOVE – “Storm Eagle”  (2012)

Power Glove is an American, all-instrumental band that is known for playing metal cover versions of classic video game themes.  “Storm Eagle” is a skillfully executed combination of a variety of metal styles.  Make no mistake, this is not your kid’s PacMan or Mario Brothers – it is true metal, also known as “TV-Game Metal” and “Nintendocore.”  This theme is from the game Mega Man X.


Billboard Top 15 Hard Rock Albums – 4/30/16

Billboard Top 15 Hard Rock Albums

Billboard Hard Rock Albums Chart for the week ending 4/30/16.  Top 15 albums ranked by sales data and compiled by Nielsen SoundScan.


      1. DEFTONES – Gore
      2. DISTURBED – Immortalized
      3. ERRA – Drift
      4. FILTER – Crazy Eyes
      5. BABYMETAL – Metal Resistance
      6. HALESTORM – Into The Wild Life
      7. AMON AMARTH – Jomsviking
      8. BLACK STONE CHERRY – Kentucky
      9. ASKING ALEXANDRIA – The Black
      10. FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH – Got Your Six
      11. SHINEDOWN – Threat To Survival
      12. 3 DOORS DOWN – Us And The Night
      13. IN THIS MOMENT – Black Widow
      14. MEGADETH – Dystopia
      15. KILLSWITCH ENGAGE – Incarnate


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

Why AC/DC Made a Big Mistake in Choosing Axl Rose:  These 5 Singers Would Have Been Infinitely Better Choices to Replace Brian Johnson

AC DC Five Singers Better Than Axl Rose

By Adam Waldman

Brian Johnson has finally spoken, and it seems as though the dust has settled a bit on one of the more bizarre parting of the ways in recent rock history.  For 36 years, Johnson was the voice of one of the greatest bands in hard rock.  Not only did he rise to the challenge of replacing iconic frontman Bon Scott, he actually helped bring AC/DC to new heights.  Johnson’s departure from the band that he has fronted for decades was due to the risk of losing his hearing, although there are rumors that this move was made because Angus Young had an issue with Johnson’s touring availability.  Regardless of how it actually went down, Young and AC/DC made a big mistake in tabbing the enigmatic Axl Rose to replace Johnson (even if it is just for the remaining scheduled tour dates).

Although the stage certainly won’t be too big for Rose, this choice makes no sense for a number of reasons.  With Rose fronting the band, it isn’t going to sound like AC/DC.  More than likely, it will sound like Guns N’ Roses doing AC/DC covers, but that is only part of the problem.  Unless Young has been living under a rock since the late ‘80s, he has to realize that his chosen replacement is all about himself.  His arrogance of leaving fans waiting for hours on end is purely ego-driven.  Whereas Johnson was all about carrying the rock and roll torch and embracing the party aspect of the genre, Rose is filled with piss and vinegar.  This would have been a bad fit anyway, but it comes in the midst of a GNR reunion that has been decades in the making.

If Young was actually interested in delivering an AC/DC experience to the fans, there are a number of directions that he could have gone to find a replacement for Johnson.  Here are five singers that would have been a much better fit than Rose…


MARC STORACE (Krokus) – If ever there was a singer who was tailor-made for this situation, it is Marc Storace.  Not only does his career with Krokus mirror the Brian Johnson era, but the band’s sound is heavily influenced AC/DC.  Take a listen to 2013’s Dirty Dynamite (Krokus’ most recent release).  If you didn’t know any better, you might think that you were listening to an AC/DC album.




JOEL O’KEEFFE (Airbourne) – Often times, when a long-term singer departs, bands take the opportunity to reinvent themselves with an energetic young singer.  AC/DC has one right in their backyard Down Under in Airbourne frontman, Joel O’Keeffe.  Throughout their illustrious history, AC/DC has influenced bands all over the world.  Airbourne is clearly influenced by the band that put Australia on the rock and roll map.  If they were looking for a long-term replacement (assuming that the parting with Johnson is permanent), O’Keeffe seems like an obvious choice.




GEORG DOLIVO (Rhino Bucket) – This isn’t a name that will probably come to mind for most, because Rhino Bucket is a band that is somewhat under-the-radar (despite a history that dates back to the late-‘80s).  Georg Dolivo actually does have an indirect AC/DC connection, having played with drummer Simon Wright (who has played with both bands).  Like Krokus and Airbourne, Rhino Bucket is an AC/DC-influenced band that didn’t get the recognition that they deserve.  Dolivo certainly could have used this opportunity more than Rose.  His vocal style works better with AC/DC, and it would be about the band, not the singer, which is what is going to happen with Rose at the helm.




JESSE JAMES DUPREE (Jackyl) – If AC/DC was going to go the route of having a big personality front the band, Jesse James Dupree would have been the perfect choice.  While his vocal style as distinct as his personality, it is at least in the same wheelhouse as AC/DC.  It’s been a few years since Jackyl released their last album (2012).  His focus these days takes him beyond the stage for a number of business ventures, but the Jackyl show is always one of the highlights of the annual Sturgis bike rally.  He probably wouldn’t have the time to be a full-time replacement, but he certainly could have delivered home run performances for the remaining dates on the tour.




JOEY BELLADONNA (Anthrax) – Joey Belladonna is listed last for a few reasons.  First of all, Anthrax has just released what many are calling the best album of their career, so he may not even have the time to pull double-duty with AC/DC.  Like Rose, he isn’t a natural fit stylistically, but he proved his ability to tackle a variety of styles when Anthrax released Anthems (an EP of cover songs) in 2013.  Among the cover songs was the AC/DC classic – “T.N.T.”  Belladonna was included in this group to show that the range of possibilities that is better than Axl Rose is fairly substantial.  Belladonna’s vocals have never been better, and he could certainly shine with AC/DC, but his focus is undoubtedly on Anthrax at the moment.