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Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 12/29/16: RIP 2016 – A Tribute to Artists Lost

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Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 12/29/16

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.

The final theme of the year is, unfortunately, very fitting – RIP 2016…A Tribute To Artists Lost This Year.

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)

EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER – “Lucky Man” (1970)

And so it goes.  We end 2016 the same way that it began, and for that matter, carried throughout the year.  Another rock legend gone too soon.  This time, we say goodbye to ELP singer/bassist/producer Greg Lake, who passed away recently at the age of 69.  To fully acknowledge Lake’s brilliance, “Lucky Man” was chosen as the ELP song to feature to honor him.  Not only is it one of the most popular songs from this virtuoso progressive trio, it goes all the way back in time to the band’s debut album (although the song was written many years before the band’s formation).

Lake started playing guitar at the age of 12.  Using the first chords that he learned, he wrote an acoustic version of “Lucky Man” that same year.  Using improvised arrangements by the band, this signature song has more than stood the test of time.

Some of the most well-known/popular songs have been late additions to an album, “Lucky Man” included.  The rest of the band didn’t like the childhood version of the song, and it was only worked on with Carl Palmer when another track was needed for ELP’s debut album.  The lyrics of the song tell a story of a man who had everything, went to war, and then died…pretty deep for a 12-year old.

Having lost Keith Emerson earlier this year, Palmer is the lone living member of this legendary band.  After learning of the passing of Lake, Palmer stated…

“It is with great sadness that I must now say goodbye to my friend and fellow band-mate, Greg Lake.  Greg’s soaring voice and skill as a musician will be remembered by all who knew his music and recordings he made with ELP and King Crimson.  I have fond memories of those great years we had in the 1970s and many memorable shows we performed together.  Having lost Keith this year as well, has made this particularly hard for all of us.”
 

 
KING CRIMSON – “The Court Of The Crimson King” (1969)

A year before forming ELP, Greg Lake was a part of the original incarnation of King Crimson, one of the most influential bands in progressive rock history.  The band’s debut album, In The Court Of The Crimson King, incorporated elements of jazz, classical and symphonic music, a departure from the blues-based influence of most other rock bands at the time.  Although Lake didn’t compose this song, his haunting, charismatic vocals made it incredibly powerful and moving.  The mood of the song was always tinged with sadness.  That feeling is greatly magnified when you listen to it today knowing that Lake is no longer with us.
 

 

 

 ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout

THE BUSINESS “Blind Justice” (1983)

Thrash metal, speed metal and a lot of metal genres would have sounded very different if it weren’t for the influences of punk rock and hardcore.  One of the pioneers of Oi! (a subgenre of the punk movement) was a band formed in 1979 in London.  The Business was fronted by Micky Fitz.  Their songs were loud, political and chaotic.  Throughout the years, the band continued to record and tour until the death of Fitz on December 1, 2016.  The punk, hardcore, and Oi! movement has lost an innovator and a pioneer in the genre.

 

MEGADETH “Hangar 18” (1990)

Another great musician we lost in 2016 was Megadeth’s Nick Menza.  As a member of the band from 1990 to 1997, Menza recorded four albums with Megadeth, and was one of the best drummers in the band’s history.  His unique playing style helped to shape and complement Dave Mustaine’s songwriting.  He hit hard, was technical when he needed to be, and in a way, formed the image of a thrash metal drummer.  I have played along with Menza’s drum tracks for 26 years; he was a big influence in my own drumming.  The world will miss one of the best metal drummers in history.
 

 

 

ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout

Y&T – “Mean Streak” (1985)

Leonard Haze was the original drummer for Y&T, from 1972-86, and again from 2002-2006. He also contributed vocals (both lead and backing) on some songs, and co-wrote some of the band’s biggest hits.  He suffered in his later years from COPD.  Still, he managed to stay active on the live music scene with his band Hazel Experience.  Haze took the stage with his old bandmates in Y&T in both 2015 and 2016 when their tour passed through San Francisco.  Hazel Experience had actually been scheduled to open for Y&T when he died.

This talented man co-wrote and performed on “Black Tiger,” “Hurricane,” “Forever,” “Rescue Me,” “Dirty Girl,” and perhaps the band’s biggest hit, this one – the title track from their fifth studio album.

 

BLUE OYSTER CULT – “Flaming Telepaths” (1974)

Rock producer Sandy Pearlman helped to found the band Blue Oyster Cult, and contributed heavily to many of their albums with both production and lyrics.  He also worked with The Clash and many other bands, garnering 17 platinum and gold records.  He was a poet, and on this song, as well as several others from Blue Oyster Cult’s third studio album, Secret Treaties, verses come to life from his 1967 collection of poems, “The Soft Doctrine of the Immaginos.”

 

Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 9/29/16: The Year – 1976

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Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 9/29/16 – The Year – 1976

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 theme is The Year – 1976.

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)

STYX “Crystal Ball” (1976)

It’s hard to say what the evolution of Styx would have looked like if not for the key addition of Tommy Shaw in 1976.  While the band had enjoyed success before Shaw joined the band, its pinnacle inarguably came in the years following his arrival.  Shaw replaced original guitarist John Curulewski, who decided to leave the band to spend more time with his family, rather than embark upon a major tour.  (In 1988, Curulewski tragically died of a brain aneurysm at the age of 37).

I was in grade school in 1976, just starting to form my rock roots.  Styx would eventually become a big part of my life, but not until 1977 when I was mesmerized by the band’s classic album, The Grand Illusion.  It wasn’t until several years later that I discovered the title track from the band’s 1976 release, Crystal Ball.

Although Crystal Ball was Shaw’s first album with Styx, you can tell that he instantly put his stamp on the band with this title track.  The song is a perfect blend of Shaw’s melodic signature style and Styx’s arena rock sound, complete with huge hooks and vocal harmonies.  It was an outstanding introduction to a duo (with Dennis DeYoung) that would reach incredible heights.

Knowing now that DeYoung was steadfast in his desire to be the leader of the band, it’s somewhat surprising (in retrospect) to see that he allowed a newcomer to write and sing the title track.  “Crystal Ball” still stands the test of time (nearly 40 years to the day of its release).
 

 
RAINBOW“Tarot Woman” (1976)

Rainbow instantly became my favorite band when I was introduced to them by a friend in the summer of 1981.  However, by the time that I discovered them, they were already on their third singer (Joe Lynn Turner), something that I found out when I purchased the entire back catalog on vinyl.  Only then did I discover the brilliance of Ronnie James Dio, who would instantly become one of my favorite singers (and is to this day).

Unlike the more mainstream hard rock sound that is featured on 1981’s Difficult To Cure, 1976’s Rising is much more mystical.  Aside from the album cover (which remains my all-time favorite), there is something about Rising that is different than any other album that I’ve ever heard.  With only six songs, it’s surprising that it wasn’t classified as an EP.  I guess the fact that two of the songs were over eight minutes long pushed it over the top.

Setting the stage for the experience that is Rainbow Rising, is “Tarot Woman.”  The song opens with a haunting (almost psychedelic) keyboard intro, the kind that instantly identifies a song as ‘70s rock.  Bolstered by the powerful rhythm section of Cozy Powell (drums) and Jimmy Bain (bass), the nuanced keyboards of Toney Carey and Ritchie Blackmore’s unique guitar sound, RJD takes you on a journey of mystique and intrigue.
 

 

 

 ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout

JUDAS PRIEST – “Victim of Changes” (1976)

I discovered the album Sad Wings of Destiny one fateful afternoon at the back of a school bus in 5th grade.  An older kid was blasting “Victim of Changes” through his boombox as I sat there mesmerized by the screams of Rob Halford, and the guitar work of KK Downing and Glenn Tipton chugging their heavy riffs.  I Immediately went home, smashed my piggy bank and begged my father to drive me to the record store to buy this cassette tape.  Sad Wings of Destiny is easily one of my favorite Judas Priest albums of all-time.  Although I was only four-years old in 1976, and didn’t discover this album until 10 years later, this song and album made me a Judas Priest fan for life!

 

BLACK SABBATH – “Rock and Roll Doctor” (1976)

One of the most underrated Black Sabbath albums is 1976’s Technical Ecstasy.  It was not the typical gloom and doom written in previous albums.  It sounded a lot more like hard rock in the vein of Deep Purple and AC/DC, but this album provided many great songs like “Rock and Roll Doctor.”  In fact, there are songs on this album that clearly showed the band’s influence by the Beatles and other hard rock bands around at the time.  It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but a lot of fans didn’t care for this “newer” Sabbath sound.  It wasn’t until years later that fans appreciated the musical direction the band took with Technical Ecstasy.  It is now a part of the Black Sabbath history.  If you were lucky enough to see them live on their last tour, you got to see them play “Dirty Women” (another great song from the album).
 

 

 

ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout

BLUE OYSTER CULT – “Don’t Fear The Reaper” (1976)

Singer Buck Dharma wrote this classic tune for the Long Island rock band Blue Oyster Cult while imagining the possibility of an early death for himself.  It generated a good deal of controversy when early listeners misinterpreted the lyrics as a sort of murder/suicide pact, instead of a love song that doesn’t long for, but rather accepts, the inevitability of death.  From the opening, recurring guitar riff to the now infamous (thanks to a 2000 SNL sketch) overdubbed cowbell, the song captures a brilliant and unique sound.

 

URIAH HEEP – “Weep In Silence” (1976)

From Uriah Heep’s ninth studio album, High And Mighty, comes this compelling song of failure and lament.  This would be the final album with singer David Byron and bassist John Wetton (Asia), but the band, with just a few lapses, would continue to release great music and continue touring right up to present day.
 

 

 

   CHRIS HERZEGOVITCH – HRD Music Scout

LED ZEPPELIN – “Achilles Last Stand” (1976)

Epic as an ancient ode chronicling battles from days of yore, “Achilles Last Stand” is a masterpiece from Led Zeppelin (off their 7th studio album, Presence – released in ’76).  Jimmy Page described the album as their most important work.  It came at a tumultuous time for the band following Robert Plant’s serious injuries from a car accident in Greece the year before.  It has been suggested that the title of this song is a direct reference to Plant’s recuperation from a broken ankle that he feared would never allow him to walk again.  “Achilles Last Stand” is fantastic in every aspect, and one of Zeppelin’s best songs ever.

 

SCORPIONS – “Pictured Life” (1976) 

“Pictured Life” is the lead track from the Scorpion’s 1976 release, Virgin Killer.  Much maligned for it’s controversial nude cover art, it forced a re-issue in with an alternate cover in some countries.  Interviews with the band assign the responsibility to their record company, RCA.  Perhaps due to this, it was the first album that garnered attention for the band outside of Europe.  Uli Jon Roth handled the lead guitar work back then.  It is one of the highlights of this retrospective tune, along with Klaus Meine’s excellent vocals.

 

Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 6/9/16

Hard Rock Music Time Machine - Van Halen - Blue Angels

Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 6/9/16

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)

NOTE:  Both of my selections this week were chosen because of their association with the Blue Angels (the Navy’s flight demonstration squadron).  These songs were chosen to honor the memory of Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss, who was tragically killed while practicing for a Blue Angels Airshow on June 2nd in Tennessee.

The Blue Angels have become a part of my family’s summer tradition.  We didn’t know it at the time, but on Memorial Day weekend, we watched Capt. Kuss perform in his last show before his untimely death.  This is a news story that deserved a lot more attention than it received, especially given the circumstances of the crash.

Capt. Kuss is an American hero who sacrificed his life to protect the lives of innocent people.  He had the opportunity to eject from the F/A-18 fighter jet that he was flying, but chose to not to because it would have endangered lives on the ground.  This decorated pilot, who served in Afghanistan, put the lives of others before his own.

RIP Capt. Kuss.  Thank you for your service!

 

VAN HALEN – “Dreams” (1986)

If there is one song that is universally associated with the Blue Angels, it is Van Halen’s “Dreams.”  The second single off of 5150 (the debut album with Sammy Hagar fronting the band) is said to be one of Hagar’s favorites.  This was an album that saw a transition in the Van Halen sound, largely due to Hagar’s contributions.  Hearing this song playing as the Blue Angels flew overhead over Memorial Day weekend is one of those moments in life that sends chills down your spine.

The uplifting feel of the song is the perfect complement to the precision, jaw-dropping, aerial maneuvers that the Blue Angels perform.  The message of the song goes hand-in-hand with the feelings that Capt. Kuss had about flying.  After his passing, his grandfather was quoted as saying…“It’s hard to put into words right now, but it’s beautiful that a person can live and die engaged in their life’s pursuits.  This was his dream since he was a child, to be an aviator, a flier.”

To get a better understanding of how “Dreams” is the defining song of the Blue Angels, please watch the video as you listen.
 

 
AUDIOSLAVE – “Cochise” (2002)

Throughout the Blue Angels performance, there are a number of songs played, many of which were hard rock.  It’s hard to recall them all, but one that sticks out (aside from “Dreams”), was Audioslave’s “Cochise,” the opening track on the band’s self-titled debut album.  Originally titled “Save Yourself” (a line in the chorus), “Cochise” was named after an Apache Indian chief, who declared war on the Southeast and drove out thousands of settlers.

Speaking about the song, guitarist Tom Morrello stated…“Cochise the Avenger, fearless and resolute, attacked everything in his path with an unbridled fury…the song kind of sounds like that.”   This description is also fitting of Capt. Kuss.
 

 

 

 ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout

MEGADETH “Holy Wars…The Punishment Due” (1990)

With the recent passing of one of my most inspiring drummers of all-time, I thought that it would be fitting to showcase one of my favorite Megadeth songs from the album Rust in Peace.  “Holy Wars…The Punishment Due” is one of those metal songs that kicks you in the face from its opening riff to the last note of the ending solo.  What ties it all together is not just the “shredfest” of Dave Mustaine and Marty Friedman, but the rhythm section of Dave Ellefson and the late Nick Menza.

What made Menza such a great drummer?  Listen to the beginning of this song; hear how precise his drum fills follow Mustaine’s guitar notes, as well as the syncopated tom fills on the second part of the main riff.  His playing of the up notes and down notes in conjunction with the main guitar riff was also what set him apart from other bands in the same genre.  I had the pleasure of watching him perform live, and can honestly say that his live playing is just as polished and brutal as his recordings.  My memories of this song include my teenage self, sitting in my room and learning every beat, fill and time change to every song on this classic album.  “Rust in Peace” Nick Menza…you were an inspiration to many…myself included!
 

 
SHADOWS FALL – “The Power Of I And I” (2004)

Metal music was at a strange time in the early 2000s.  A slew of Nu Metal bands arrived on the scene, and good metal was slowly pushed to the wayside.  This time period also saw a resurgence of the “New Wave of American Metal.”  Shadows Fall was one of those bands that made its way to the forefront of this resurgence (along with other bands like Lamb of God and God Forbid).  Listen to the beginning of this song, and you’ll understand how fans of metal would be ecstatic that metal was alive and well in 2004.  From their fourth album, The War Within, “The Power of I and I” is a true tribute to the classic thrash metal sound and attitude.

Listen to Jason Bittner’s drumming on this track; solid double-bass and lots of power.  Add in Brian Fair’s screams, Jonathon Donais and Matt Bachand’s flashy guitar work, and Paul Romanko’s pounding bass lines, and you have the perfect recipe for a classic thrash metal band.  I dare you to listen to this and not want to move!
 

 

 

ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout

BLUE OYSTER CULT – “Astronomy” (1974)

“The clock strikes twelve and moondrops burst out at you from their hiding place”

The lyrics are other-worldly, the composition sublime.  Metallica’s 1998 cover did much to re-popularize this song, but nothing compares to Blue Oyster Cult’s 1974 original from Secret Treaties.  The words and images for “Astronomy” are borrowed from producer Sandy Pearlman’s poem, “The Soft Doctrines of Imaginos.”  BOC would release the song two more times: first as a live version on Some Enchanted Evening (1978), and then as a retooled version for the fittingly named Imaginos (1988).

 

SHAW BLADES – “Come To Be My Friend” (1995)

Tommy Shaw of Styx and Jack Blades of Night Ranger made for a winning combination on 1995’s Hallucination.  The two had previously teamed up to much acclaim in the supergroup Damn Yankees, and they quickly found all the harmony and synergy together again on this collaboration.
 

 

 

   CHRIS HERZEGOVITCH – HRD Music Scout

OHM – “System Of A Clown” (2008)

In tribute to the recently departed Nick Menza (Megadeth), here’s a great track from his work with OHM, the jazz-fusion rock trio that he was playing with when he passed away.  Aside from a showcase of Menza’s technical skill and pure talent, “System of a Clown” is a terrific jam with Chris Poland (Megadeth) on guitar and Robert Pagliari on bass.  Enjoy these really great musicians.  RIP Nick!

 

EUROPE  “The Loner” (2011)

Europe salutes the great Gary Moore by covering one of his magnificent songs, “The Loner” (1987).  This amazing rendition was recorded live at Sherpherd’s Bush in London.  No vocals necessary, as the guitar sings better than anyone could.

That Metal Show: Season 12 Finale

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That Metal Show (Season 12 Finale)

The following is a recap of this week’s show…

MUSICAL GUEST:  Jake E. Lee

 

IN-STUDIO GUESTS

Buck Dharma (Blue Oyster Cult)

Blue Oyster Cult still does 70-80 shows each year.  The band has a new box set called The Complete Columbia Albums Collection, which features 16 CDs and a DVD.  It includes a CD of rarities, a live album and codes to download a number of concerts.  The band, originally called Soft White Underbelly, was influenced by the psychedelic scene in California.  When they became Blue Oyster Cult, they adopted a heavier sound.  Dharma discussed the famous 1981 Black & Blue Tour (a co-headlining tour with Blue Oyster Cult and Black Sabbath featuring Ronnie James Dio). Dharma revealed that the decision of which band would headline on any given night was determined by the band that had the bigger following in the city in which the concert took place.  Blue Oyster Cult is going to be doing an acoustic album of their songs, and possibly touring to support it.

 

Steve Whiteman, Brian Forsythe (KIX)

The Kix reunion started as a handful of regional shows, but eventually became something big.  The band never thought that they broke big enough to warrant a reunion, but the audience loved them at Rocklahoma.  Whiteman discussed the band’s early videos and said that they were “God-awful” and “sucked.”  He also said that the label sucked also for encouraging them to do it.  The band members are all involved in various projects, so there is no set timetable for recording a new album, but it is something that is being discussed.  The band’s latest album/DVD is called Live in Baltimore, which Whiteman said was shot by his mom.  They are enjoying playing more nowadays than they did back in the 80’s because the pressure is gone.

 

 

PUT IT ON THE TABLE:

If you could play in any other band…

BD – Grateful Dead

SW – The Archies

BF – Rolling Stones

 

Song you wish you wrote…

BD“Boys Of Summer” – Don Henley

SW“Bohemian Rhapsody” – Queen

BF“Tumblin’ Dice” – Rolling Stones

 

Your one vice…

BD – Single Malt Scotch

SW – Farting

BF – Cookies

 

Best concert ever attended

BD – Jimi Hendrix & The Experience at Stony Brook University in 1968.

SW – A band called “fun” with his kids at the 930 club in DC.

BF – Steve Miller Band in 1974.

 

First album ever purchased with your own money…

BD“Walk, Don’t Run” – The Ventures

SW“Meet The Beatles” – The Beatles

BF“Eat A Peach” – The Allman Brothers

 

First rock or metal song you learned to play…

BD“Pipeline” – The Chantays

SW“Rock and Roll All Night” – KISS

BF“Smoke On The Water” – Deep Purple

 

Weirdest rumor about you…

KIX – That we’re gay lovers

BD – That we’re satanists

 

Favorite new band…

BD – Foster The People

SW – Halestorm (Lzzy Hale was a student of his)

BF – The Black Keys

 

 

METAL MODEM:  Joe Satriani

His new album “Unstoppable Momentum” has a lot of energy and crazy arrangements.  He’s using a new band this time around.  Neil Schon playing with Chickenfoot while Satriani is unavailable.  Schon was the original member of Planet Us, which eventually became Chickenfoot (who will be recording and do a full tour next year).

 

 

TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT:  The viability of CD’s in current times.

Eddie Trunk – Take it.  “I love it.  It’s still my favorite format of music.”

Jim Florentine – Take it.  He thinks they’ll be around for a while, but admits that they are becoming increasingly difficult to find.

Don Jamieson – Take it.  “There’s enough old bastards like us that like the physical product.”

 

 

THE RANT:  Eddie Trunk on 80’s Hard Rock being called “Hair Bands”

Hardly any band from the MTV era wants to be called a hair band because of its derogatory implication, though the people who are using it today mean it as a compliment.  Hair band is a term that thrash bands, grunge bands and journalists came up with to disparage this type of music as style over substance when Nirvana burst onto the scene.  It is the only genre ever described for its fashion rather than its sound.

“Let’s not use the term that was coined by detractors to diminish what these talented bands had to offer.  How about celebrating these bands by simply calling them – 80’s hard rock?”

 

 

ORIGINS:  Eddie Trunk

Born in Summit, NJ in 1964.  First song he loved on the radio was “Go All The Way” by The Raspberries.  He was about 12 years old when he got KISS “Destroyer.”  From that point on, his whole life was about KISS.  His entire room was covered in KISS posters.  Trunk eventually started getting into other bands.  Three favorite bands of all-time are:  KISS, Aerosmith and Black Sabbath.  He got a job working for Megaforce Records as a result of being the only one on radio giving support to Metallica and Anthrax when they first came on the scene.

 

 

ON THE SHELF:

Eddie – Black Star Riders “All Hell Breaks Loose” (Former members of Thin Lizzy with a new singer)

Jim –  Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats “Mind Control” (From England…if early 70’s Black Sabbath was a garage band)

Don – A Pale Horse Named Death “Lay My Soul To Waste” (a cross between Type-O Negative and Alice In Chains).