HRD RADIO REPORT
The HRD Radio Report showcases the weekly Active Rock Mediabase Charts (compiled by AllAccess.com), and appears every Tuesday on HardRockDaddy.com. The HRD Radio Report digs deeper into the weekly Active Rock charts, providing commentary, reviews, recommendations and predictions. It also features opinion pieces on chart action and the music business in general.
Many of the artists featured on the Active Rock charts have already been reviewed on HardRockDaddy.com.
The following is the Active Rock Mediabase Chart for the week ending 1/7/17. All exclusive HRD content is featured below the chart:
|THIS WEEK||LAST WEEK||THIS WEEK|
|1||1||HIGHLY SUSPECT||“My Name Is Human”||2052|
|3||3||VOLBEAT||“Seal The Deal”||1803|
|5||5||GREEN DAY||“Still Breathing”||1701|
|6||6||AVENGED SEVENFOLD||“The Stage”||1655|
|7||7||SHINEDOWN||“How Did You Love”||1388|
|8||8||RED SUN RISING||“Amnesia”||1240|
|9||9||DISTURBED||“Open Your Eyes”||926|
|10||11||BREAKING BENJAMIN||“Never Again”||912|
|12||13||CHEVELLE||“Door To Door Cannibals”||795|
|13||12||A DAY TO REMEMBER||“Naivety”||767|
|15||17||SIXX:A.M.||“We Will Not Go Quietly”||645|
|16||18||IN FLAMES||“The Truth”||630|
|18||21||POP EVIL||“If Only For Now”||570|
|19||20||KINGS OF LEON||“Waste A Moment”||554|
|20||22||RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS||“Go Robot”||502|
|21||23||METALLICA||“Moth Into Flame”||481|
|22||24||GEMINI SYNDROME||“Remember We Die”||431|
|23||28||PRETTY RECKLESS||“Oh My God”||379|
|24||26||DEVOUR THE DAY||“The Bottom”||334|
|25||27||SICK PUPPIES||“Where Do I Begin”||330|
|27||30||ADELITA’S WAY||“Ready For War (Pray For Peace)”||302|
|28||31||AVATAR||“Night Never Ending”||263|
|30||32||BLINK-182||“She’s Out Of Her Mind”||252|
|31||33||FROM ASHES TO NEW||“Breaking Now”||239|
|32||37||ART OF ANARCHY||“The Madness”||225|
|33||35||GOODBYE JUNE||“Oh No”||217|
|34||36||AMITY AFFLICTION||“All Messed Up”||215|
|37||39||ONE LESS REASON||“Break Me”||163|
|38||42||3 DOORS DOWN||“The Broken”||141|
|40||44||LAMB OF GOD||“The Duke”||114|
|41||47||CROWN THE EMPIRE||“Weight Of The World”||108|
|43||48||THREE DAYS GRACE||“You Don’t Get Me High Anymore”||101|
|44||49||TWENTY ONE PILOTS||“Heavydirtysoul”||98|
|46||52||TWENTY ONE PILOTS||“Stressed Out”||93|
|47||54||K.FLAY||“Blood In The Cut”||92|
|50||57||LIKE A STORM||“Pure Evil”||82|
PUBLISHER’S PICK OF THE WEEK (By Adam Waldman)
HALESTORM – “Still Of The Night”
Halestorm takes some recent trends (hard rock cover songs and a classic rock revival) and knocks it out of the park with their balls-to-the-wall interpretation of Whitesnake’s “Still Of The Night.” There are a lot of powerful female vocalists out these days, but Lzzy Hale is on another level. With a sexiness that rivals Hollywood actresses, a vocal delivery that stands toe-to-toe with the legendary voices of classic rock and an ability to appeal to rock fans across the generations, Hale is a unique talent. Like many bands these days, Halestorm releases EPs so that they always have fresh material and can stay out on the road. However, Halestorm is the only band that has created a recurring series of cover EPs (ReAniMate). “Still Of The Night” is off of the latest installment (3.0). Back in the ’80s, girls wanted to be with David Coverdale and guys wanted to be him. Fast forward three decades, and Hale has reversed that trend (although you have to imagine that she has her fair share of female suitors). As usual, Hale and company have delivered a kickass cover that pays homage to the original while making it their own.
PUBLISHER’S PREDICTIONS (by Adam Waldman)
2017 begins as 2016 ended – with Highly Suspect’s “My Names Is Human” sitting on top once again (despite a moderate decline in spins). Ghost closed the gap with a moderate gain in spins, but even a replication of this week will not be enough to reach the top. At this point, the only prediction that can be made is that radio should get back to work, because it still looks like things are on autopilot. Here’s another prediction far from the top…Twenty One Pilots will see the return of “Stressed Out” fall off the chart once again (where it belongs). There is absolutely no rationale for the song coming back onto the chart again long after it made its run. If you read this column regularly, you know our feelings about the band even being on the chart in the first place.
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.
HALESTORM – “Still Of The Night”
SEASONS AFTER – “Fighter”
SHALLOW SIDE – “Renegade”
ART OF DYING – “Torn Down”
MESSAGE FROM SYLVIA – “Heart Of War”
BLACKLITE DISTRICT – “Broken Souls”
CHRYSALIS – “My Eternity”
MEMPHIS MAY FIRE – “This Light I Hold”
Twenty One Pilots – “Stressed Out”
Twenty One Pilots – “Heavydirtysoul”
K-Flay – “Blood In The Cut”
Head & The Heart – “All We Ever Knew”
Kings Of Leon – “Waste A Moment”
Blink 182 – “She’s Out Of Her Mind”
Metallica – “Hardwired”
Green Day – “Bang Bang”
THE BREAKDOWN by Jon Loveless
KING OF THE HILL
The beat goes on (and on and on) for Highly Suspect on top of the Mediabase Active Rock Airplay chart for an eighth consecutive week. Ghost and Volbeat remain second and third for their sixth straight week in those spots.
NOTABLE CHART MOVEMENT
Breaking Benjamin slips into the Top 10…
The only new entry in the Top 20 is from Pop Evil…
Bleeker makes a big jump into the Top 30, Avatar rises into that tier as well…
Returning to the Top 40 this week is Badflower. Three other songs reach that strata despite having fewer spins than the week before….
There are four songs arriving in the Top 50 this week but the most interesting (and puzzling) case might be the Twenty One Pilots track that returns after nearly a year’s absence, having spent 13 weeks on the chart previously starting as far back as November 2014.
THREE UP & THREE DOWN
Green Day – “Still Breathing”
Pretty Reckless – “Oh My God”
Bleeker – “Highway”
A Day To Remember – “Naivety”
One Less Reason – “Break Me”
Sylar – “Dark Daze”
TRENDS AND OBSERVATIONS
Yes, Active Rock radio has resorted to recycling songs that ran their course over a year ago. It’s reaching the point that I can’t really even try to explain some of the things that happen without the use of very strong language. Since I’m trying to avoid that, I’m uncharacteristically at a loss for words.
That’s all for this week. Tune in to HardRockDaddy.com every Tuesday for the HRD Radio Report. \m/
For several decades, rock bands have featured soulful vocalists singing the blues about broken relationships. However, it’s hard to recall many who took their vocals to the same depths that Ugly Melon’s Tony LaSelva does on the band’s latest single, “Where Did I Go Wrong?”
LaSelva uniquely combines the rich, emotive tone of David Coverdale with the soul-penetrating, tortured vibe that Trent Reznor made famous on songs like “Hurt.” That would be more than enough to make this song incredibly powerful, but the wailing guitar of Lu Cachie (that seems to cry out in pain) gives “Where Did I Go Wrong?” another layer of depth and emotion.
In a Hard Rock Daddy exclusive, LaSelva shared the meaning of “Where Did I Go Wrong?”…
“This is a song about regret where the protagonist faces real loss, having once believed, and now is without any hope. While most listeners will come to the conclusion that the song is about a lost love, the lyrics ‘now you’re gone’ could also be referring to the loss of a family member or close friend. When you lose someone that is important to you, there is a time of reflection where you analyze what you may have contributed to that person leaving.
‘Where Did I Go Wrong?’ is a song is about reflecting, looking deep into your soul and searching for answers within. The only thing worse than having to face your own faults or mistakes is not knowing what they are in the first place.
The pain is the pulse of ‘Where Did I Go Wrong?’ There is no happy ending or revelation. Just sorrow. Because sometimes in life, that’s all there is.”
Check out the premiere of the lyric video below for “Where Did I Go Wrong?”…
For over a year, Hard Rock Music Time Machine has been a part of Hard Rock Daddy’s weekly Music Discovery Monday feature.
Originally intended to showcase songs that hard rock music fans may have missed at the time of release, as a standalone feature, Hard Rock Music Time Machine will expand its reach to include songs that are as much about nostalgia as they are about discovery.
Each Thursday, Hard Rock Music Time Machine will take a journey back in time to feature a variety of songs that date back as far as the ’70s. Of course, there will be plenty of music featured from 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, we will be including interviews from featured artists discussing the inspiration and meaning behind their songs. With this new format, we will also be doing special themes at least once per month.
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)
THE FIRM – “Satisfaction Guaranteed” (1985)
For premiere of Hard Rock Music Time Machine as its own entity, I thought that it made sense to have rock legends as the featured artist. Supergroups litter the hard rock genre today, but once upon a time, they were truly special. The pairing of legends Jimmy Page and Paul Rodgers (two of the greatest at their craft) was unfortunately short-lived, but while it lasted, it was something to behold. The band’s two-album discography definitely leaves you wanting more, but this song (from their debut release) delivers on its title…“Satisfaction Guaranteed.” In fact, the same can be said about the entirety of both albums, and their live performance.
The regret of being too young to see Led Zeppelin in concert before John Bonham’s untimely passing was somewhat alleviated by experiencing the awe-inspiring performance of Page when I saw The Firm back in the mid-‘80s. Rodgers was expectedly brilliant, and the rhythm section of Tony Franklin (bass) and Chris Slade (drums) was one of the best that I’ve ever seen in concert.
COVERDALE / PAGE – “Shake My Tree” (1993)
Jimmy Page’s collaboration with Paul Rodgers isn’t his only memorable one outside of Led Zeppelin. Unlike The Firm, which was a short-lived supergroup, the pairing with David Coverdale was not billed as such, and ended up being a one-off project inspired by John Kalodner. Though the self-titled album and its singles were well-received, sluggish ticket sales caused an American tour to be scrapped in favor of a series of concerts in Japan. It is rumored that Page’s collaboration with Coverdale was done to irk Robert Plant because of his reluctance to reunite with his Led Zeppelin mate. When interviewed at the time, Plant referred to the project as the “David Cover Version.” Despite Plant’s perception of the project, the fact remains that “Shake My Tree” would have been a quality Zeppelin tune. While the vocals are reminiscent of Plant’s, there is enough of Coverdale’s signature sound to make this much more than a “cover version” of anything.
JON LOVELESS – HRD Music Scout
NINE LEFT DEAD – “Put Your Guns Down” (2011)
This Oklahoma band debuted with significant promise based on this track, but has been fairly quiet in the past couple of years. A recent social media posting suggested that new music might be forthcoming which, based on this older track, would be a most welcome (re)addition to the rock scene.
POMPEI NIGHTS – “Midnight Mistress” (2011)
Swedish band that has kind of dropped off the radar. Quality ‘80s-inspired sleaze rock that is worth revisiting, especially if you missed it the first time around.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
ELEMENTS OF FRICTION – “Forever” (2001)
Robin McAuley (MSG, Grand Prix, Survivor) reminded the world why he is one of rock’s greatest vocalists with this soulful ballad in 2001. Here, he is accompanied by an all-star lineup on a far too short-lived project.
ROBIN MCAULEY – “When The Rain Came” (1999)
This powerful ballad comes from Robin McAuley’s solo album, Business As Usual. Packed with great songs, the album was unfortunately missed by many rock fans because it was only released in Japan.
CHRIS HERZEGOVITCH – HRD Music Scout
ELUVEITIE – “A Rose For Epona” (2012)
A killer rhythm supercharges this folk metal tune by Switzerland’s Eluveitie (prononced El-Vey-Ti), a band usually known for Pagan Metal. Chrigel Glanzmann’s enchanting vocals are beautiful cries of the forsaken in heavy, dark times.
MASTERPLAN – “Back For My Life” (2004)
The melodic power metal group Masterplan came to be in 2002 when guitarist Roland Grapow and drummer Uli Kusch were fired from Helloween. They had the tremendous vocals of Jorn Lande with them for the first few albums. This title track (from their 2004 release) showcases their heavy rhythms and catchy refrains.
Hard Rock Daddy presents Music Discovery Monday – 8/24/15.
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 Joel Hoekstra. The Whitesnake guitarist discusses the inspiration and meaning behind “Anymore” – the first single from his upcoming solo project (Joel Hoekstra’s 13).
ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)
JOEL HOEKSTRA’S 13 – “Anymore”
It may seem a bit surprising that Joel Hoekstra has released a solo project after having joined Whitesnake fairly recently, but this album was in the works long before he joined the band. The Whitesnake influence on “Anymore” – the first single to be released from his upcoming album, Dying To Live – offers further proof that Hoekstra was the perfect choice to replace Doug Aldrich in the band. Although it isn’t likely to happen, the song would fit nicely into a Whitesnake set.
On “Anymore,” Hoekstra showcases a songwriting ability that rivals his outstanding guitar work. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have an all-star cast of musicians helping to bring the song to life – vocalist Russell Allen (Symphony X, Adrenaline Mob), bassist Tony Franklin (Whitesnake, The Firm), drummer Vinny Appice (Dio, Black Sabbath) and keyboardist Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Alice Coooper). “Anymore” also features backing vocals by Jeff Scott Soto (who sings lead on some of the other tracks on the album).
Based on the talent and resumes of Hoekstra and the rest of the band, Joel Hoekstra’s 13 is undoubtedly a supergroup. Unlike many modern-day supergroups, there is no talk of turning this into anything more than a side project.
“Anymore” offers a taste of what’s to come when Dying To Live is released. In a recent conversation with Hoekstra, he said that the song falls somewhere in the middle of influences ranging from Foreigner to Dio.
During an exclusive interview with Hard Rock Daddy, Hoekstra shared the meaning and inspiration behind “Anymore”…
“The song is a song about overcoming obstacles in life to arrive where you’re finally meant to be. Everybody’s got their demons and vices that they’re struggling with, and this is just about battling with them and ultimately winning. Like the whole album, ‘Anymore’ is based on the theme of people fighting things in their life to get to where they’re meant to be. I think that It strikes a chord with me. A couple of years ago, I just hit a point where I kind of decided exactly how I wanted to be living. I made a laundry list of things that I wanted to change and the realistic steps that it would take to get to where I wanted to be. I don’t want to be overly dramatic, but I guess it was a turning point of sorts. I think that the theme of the song is something that resonates with everyone.”
WHITESNAKE – “Burn”
In 1974, Deep Purple released Burn, the first of three studio albums that David Coverdale recorded with the band. Born out of a desire to reunite the Mark III lineup of Deep Purple by friend and former bandmate, Jon Lord (before his passing), Coverdale attempted to reach out to Ritchie Blackmore to bring the reunion to fruition. When Coverdale and Blackmore couldn’t find common ground, and with the work on the songs already in progress, Coverdale’s wife suggested that they move forward with the project under the Whitesnake banner. All of the members of Whitesnake were very enthusiastic about the prospect of recording updated versions of the songs that Coverdale wrote in his youth, and it shows in this inspired recreation of “Burn.” If you mixed the colors white and purple, you would end up with a light shade of purple. However, the blending of Whitesnake and Deep Purple is anything but light. Quite the contrary! This mixture offers the best of both worlds…the soulful, bluesy creation of Deep Purple and the energetic, dual-guitar assault of Whitesnake (Joel Hoekstra and Reb Beach). There is an inherent risk with trying to recapture the magic of a classic original, but on “Burn,” Whitesnake has done so with flying colors!
JON LOVELESS – HRD Music Scout
GLOOMBALL – “Blood Red World”
German five-piece that isn’t entirely “new” (having formed back in 2010), but their latest release sees them hit their stride with a heavier step. I’ve liked several previous songs well enough, but this one does an excellent job of breaking through the clutter of releases out there, demanding that you pay attention.
RUBIKON – “Live That Lie”
The lead single from the just-released album, Delta, is probably the most radio-friendly song in the bunch, but that’s meant as a compliment. The ability to mix a wide range of influences into something that’s got this much appeal is a definite talent. There’s bits of ZZ Top in here, no shortage of blues and notable nods to 70s hard rock, yet what comes out is something bigger than any one influence. They managed to come across feeling organic rather than contrived…just a darned good hard rock song.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
POWER THEORY – “Cut And Run”
This week I’ll be focusing on power metal, simply because there are two amazing new tracks out by two amazing bands on the cutting edge of the genre. In 2006, guitarist Bob Ballinger founded Power Theory in Philadelphia. The band has gone through some lineup changes since, and today boasts the driving guitars of the founder and Nygil Hoch, the belligerent bass of Angelo D’Angelo, the unfaltering drums of Nick Bunczk, and the powerhouse (yet soulful) vocals of Jeff Rose. This new single roils with aggression, crashing down hard at every stroke. It promises more great music from their upcoming album, Driven By Fear. The band will be playing in Europe for the first time on Septemebr 5th, at the Hard Summer Festival in Bavaria, Germany, followed by an appearance in support of Belgian metal stars Fireforce. Here in the USA, we’ll be waiting for them to come home and announce some new tour dates.
SEVEN WITCHES – “Better Days”
Loud and grooving with an addictive riff, “Better Days” storms the stage to announce these power metal veterans’ new album, The Way Of The Wicked (due out September 18th). Jack Frost (Savatage, Belladonna, Metalium, Speed) returns, as always, on guitar. Anthony Cross (Livesay, Shadow Image, Fischel’s Beast, Attacker) delivers some thick, smoky vocals. Bassist Ronnie Parkes (Farcry, Tango Down, Reece, Bonfire) and drummer Johnny Kelly (Type O Negative, Danzig, Kill Devil Hill) pound out the rhythm section. They each brandish impressive resumes standing alone; they fire on all cylinders playing here together.
CHRIS HERZEGOVITCH – HRD Music Scout
WAMI – “Wild Woman”
WAMI is an acronym for veteran almost-supergroup members Doggie White, Vinny Appice, Marco Mendoza & Iggy Gwadera. I say almost because Iggy Gwadera is a 16-year old Polish phenom guitarist breaking onto the scene. “Wild Woman” is their first international release. You can hear the rock and metal DNA in the thick and rich rhythm lines, wailing lead and licks and the story-line theme. Iggy sounds like he’s been at this longer than his years.
ARCTURUS – “Crashland”
“Crashland” showcases the epic, large scale sound of Arcturus – an avant-garde metal outfit from Norway. Arcturus was named after the brightest star in the northern hemisphere, a major astronomical body since antiquity. This track, from their March release Arcturian, features a rousing theme of venturing into the unknown. Good and powerful vocals from ICS Vortex (not a typo, that’s what he’s called) and standout drumming from the appropriately nick-named Jan Axel “Hellhammer” Blomberg.
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
RAINBOW – “Lady Of The Lake”
Although Ronnie James Dio is widely considered to be one of the greatest voices in the history of hard rock and heavy metal, and Rainbow is a legendary band, much of the music that they made together is vastly underrated. As far as legendary bands go, Rainbow may very well be the most underrated of all-time. Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll, the final Rainbow studio album with Dio, is nothing short of brilliant, yet, aside from the title track, most of the songs are unknown by the masses. Almost any track off of the album could have been selected for Music Discovery Monday, but “Lady Of The Lake” was chosen because it exemplifies the vivid mystical world that lived inside Dio’s mind. As is customary on many songs featuring RJD, there is a perfect blend of light and dark, intensity and beauty. Ritchie Blackmore’s riffs are powerful and driving, as is the drumming of the late Cozy Powell on “Lady Of The Lake.” If you haven’t delved into the entire Rainbow catalog, you’re missing out on something unique and timeless.
DEEP PURPLE – “Bad Attitude”
While Ritchie Blackmore’s work with Rainbow is underrated, his work with Deep Purple is not (with the exception of the clueless Rock and Roll Hall of Fame voters). Musically, there are few bands that can touch the work that Deep Purple created. Unfortunately, the musical chemistry didn’t carry over to chemistry between the members of the band. After a near-decade hiatus caused by internal strife, the band returned in 1984 for their highly-acclaimed reunion album, Perfect Strangers. The follow-up album, The House of Blue Light, was met with much less fanfare, but still featured some outstanding tracks. “Bad Attitude” is one of the tracks that received some airplay, but not nearly as much as it deserved. Opening with the signature sound of Jon Lord’s Hammond organ, the song launches into an up-tempo, driving rhythm, highlighted by Ian Gillan’s distinct, emotive vocals. Everything that you love about Blackmore’s guitar playing is featured in the song as well. It’s been nearly three decades since the Mark II lineup of Deep Purple last recorded together. Time has flown by since then…Gillan celebrated his 70th birthday this week.
POP EVIL – “Broken And Betrayed” (2011)
The release of a new album actually sent me back to previous work for what could have easily been a fifth hit single from the War Of Angels album. It happens that way sometimes; songs just don’t get the exposure as an album runs through its life cycle, so it’s good to go back and revisit now and then. This one holds up very well, even four years and two albums later.
RATT – “Shame, Shame, Shame” (1990)
It’s been 25 years since Ratt released their last gold album, Detonator. Times were changing so there was only one major hit (“Lovin’ You’s A Dirty Job”) from the record, along with a minor hit for the band’s only ballad, (“Giving Yourself Away”). The best of the rest of the album might well be this track which was released as a promotional single in Japan. Plenty of vintage Ratt sound in this song, from the final album to feature both Robbin Crosby and Juan Croucier.
FIREWIND – “Tomorrow Can Wait” (2002)
Continuing here in the Time Machine section with the power metal theme I adopted because of those great new power metal releases: Greek band Firewind has gone through numerous lead singers, but always seems to find a great one, and always has the virtuoso guitar and songwriting of Gus G to guarantee the highest quality power metal. From their debut album, Between Heaven And Hell, this selection highlights the immense talents of everyone concerned, including the power of original singer Stephen Frederick and the passion and insane technique of Gus G.
TRAIL OF MURDER – “I Know Shadows” (2012)
In contrast to Firewind, which has gone through several lead singers but always found a great one, Urban Breed (ex-Tad Morose, ex-Bloodbound) is one of those talented vocalists who always manages to surround himself with the best musicians. By doing so, he manages to deliver quality power metal year in and year out, no matter where he finds himself. Teaming up with guitarist Daniel Olsson and bassist Pele Akerlind to form Swedish band Trail Of Murder, in 2012 he mesmerized fans with this melancholy, yet pounding track.
REDLINE – “The Edge Of Falling” (2012)
Redline is a hard rock band from Birmingham in the UK. “The Edge of Falling” is great hard rock with infectious, melodic choruses and solid musicianship throughout. Notables are Kez Taylor’s bright and strong vocals, and Ade Yeomans’ lead guitar work.
FRIAR RUSH – “Voiceless Stranger” (2006)
Friar Rush is a power/prog metal group from Sydney, Australia that has been around since 2003. “Voiceless Stranger” comes from their only studio album, Alauda Sonare Suavis. This band has all the elements, which makes you wonder why we haven’t heard more of them. This track features the articulate guitar work of Andrew Najdek and outstanding vocals from Justin Brockbank, kept in time expertly by Alcides “Seed” Stowe on the skins.
This week, Austin Winkler and Hinder – the band that he has fronted since its inception in 2001 – parted ways for reasons that are not entirely clear. The reaction to the announcement was met with disbelief, disappointment, sadness and even anger by diehard Hinder fans. Many fans believe that Winkler’s distinct voice will be impossible to replace, and that the band should change their name if they are going to change singers. Given that I was initially drawn to the band because of Winkler’s vocals, I can see why the general consensus seems to be that Hinder will never be the same again unless the band reunites in the future.
There is an inherent risk to changing singers, particularly for established bands that have built a loyal following. Throughout the course of history, numerous hard rock bands have replaced their original singer with varying degrees of success.
AC/DC’s Bon Scott was beloved, but the band overcame his loss and achieved its greatest success with Brian Johnson fronting the band. Of course, Scott’s death gave fans no choice but to accept a replacement. Most people would agree that the Bruce Dickinson era of Iron Maiden is far superior to the early days with Paul Di’Anno. Johnson and Dickinson proved that bands can reach new heights after replacing a singer, but not every singer can escape the shadow of their predecessor.
Motley Crue was at the top of the hard rock food chain with Vince Neil singing lead, but became something of an afterthought during the John Corabi years. Only after a reunion with Neil did the band reclaim their elite status. Judas Priest was an iconic heavy metal band with Rob Halford at the helm, but many of their fans ignored the work that they did with Ripper Owens. When Halford returned, so did the fans who had abandoned the band.
The movie Rockstar is loosely based on the career of Owens, who got his start in a Judas Priest cover band. And though an example was set by Owens’ stint as a sound-alike replacement singer, it has not stopped other bands from taking the same approach.
Journey replaced the legendary Steve Perry with Arnel Pineda, a close proximity, but not quite Perry. Meanwhile, the legal battle for the Queensryche name has resulted in two current versions of the band, one of which features Todd LaTorre on vocals. LaTorre sounds like a lot like Geoff Tate circa 1984, but diehard fans will notice a difference, no matter how slight.
While there may be a temptation to replace an iconic singer with someone similar, often times the best course of action is to evolve into something new and different, but even that approach does not guarantee success.
When Ian Gillan first parted ways with Deep Purple, he was replaced by David Coverdale. Deep Purple’s musical direction changed with Coverdale, and he did an admirable job, but fans were thrilled nonetheless when the band reunited with Gillan. The second time that Gillan left the band he was replaced by Joe Lynn Turner, but the combination of Turner and Ritchie Blackmore felt more like Rainbow 2.0 than Deep Purple. Both Coverdale and Turner brought something new and different to Deep Purple, but to diehard fans of the band, Gillan is the only singer that ever mattered.
Replacing a singer with a strong identity may be difficult, but it is not impossible.
When Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne parted ways, the idea of the band carrying on without him seemed implausible, but they reinvented themselves with former Rainbow frontman, Ronnie James Dio. Like Black Sabbath, Rainbow also had a very successful run with Dio, but their greatest commercial success occurred when Joe Lynn Turner joined the band. The gap between the Dio and JLT eras of Rainbow was bridged by Graham Bonnet, who recorded one album with the band. Though Rainbow changed singers twice, they never missed a beat, due in large part to Blackmore’s guitar virtuosity and songwriting ability.
However, even guitar virtuoso’s can face fan backlash when choosing the wrong frontman.
Eddie Van Halen, one of the greatest hard rock guitarists of all time, enjoyed tremendous success with David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar singing lead, but the majority of Van Halen fans wanted no part of the Gary Cherone era (or error as the case may be).
For better or worse, hard rock fans largely identify their favorite bands with the singer. Whenever a change is made, bands run the risk of alienating their fanbase if the replacement singer is perceived to be subpar, or at the very least, a poor fit.
In the day and age of social media, bands can get a relatively instant gauge of the fan reaction to a replacement singer. Based on the reaction to the news of Austin Winkler’s departure, the new singer of Hinder will be facing an uphill battle to win over the band’s dedicated fanbase.
Only time will tell if the new singer will keep the band’s momentum going, or “hinder” their ascension in the hard rock community.
It’s no secret to any Deep Purple fan that lineup changes through the years have been plentiful. However, most people don’t realize that that band was born out of a supergroup called Roundabout, which by design, had a revolving door policy.
Ritchie Blackmore was the original Roundabout guitarist, but he quickly grew tired of the band, and set out to create his own band with Ian Paice and Jon Lord. The original incarnation of the band included vocalist, Rod Evans, and bassist, Nick Simper. The Deep Purple moniker was inspired by a song by Blackmore’s grandmother’s favorite crooner, Larry Clinton and his Orchestra.
Deep Purple’s first single, “Hush,” was actually a Joe South cover song that garnered them attention in the United States. The band was recruited to be the opening act on Cream’s farewell tour, but was fired after three shows when the audiences starting turning out to see them instead of the headliner. Shortly thereafter, they were back playing pubs in England.
With a trend afoot towards harder music, Blackmore immediately began making lineup changes to create a heavier, blues rock sound. When Evans and Simper were replaced by Ian Gillan and Roger Glover, Deep Purple Mark II was formed. This version of the band is what most people envision when they think of the classic lineup, but clashing personalities prevented it from having any continuous staying power.
In spite of the heavier makeup of the band, Lord wanted Deep Purple to do something closer to his roots and play with an orchestra. Blackmore agreed, with the caveat that they would focus on becoming heavier if it didn’t take off and allow them conquer America.
Blackmore knew that he wanted the band to follow a different path, but wasn’t exactly sure what direction to take until Led Zeppelin’s debut helped guide them towards a new sound.
A tragic event would help to launch Deep Purple into the mainstream with arguably the most memorable riff in hard rock music history. The band was in Montreux, Switzerland to record what would become “Machine Head.” They had rented a mobile recording studio from the Rolling Stones at the entertainment complex that was part of the Montreux Casino.
The day before they were to begin recording, Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention were playing a concert in the casino’s theater. In the middle of the concert, “some stupid with a flare gun, burned the place to the ground.” The fire destroyed the entire complex and left Deep Purple with no place to record their album.
With an expensive mobile recording studio and no place to play, the band was forced to quickly find another recording space. They ended up at the nearly desolate Montreux Grand Hotel and created a makeshift space. The story of their experience became their biggest hit, “Smoke On The Water,” a phrase that came to Roger Glover in his sleep just days after the fire.
“Machine Head” had success in England, but it wasn’t as well-received initially in the United States. The limited traction that they had built in the United States was lost when the band was forced to cancel several dates because Gillan and Blackmore both came down with Hepatitis.
It wasn’t until “Made In Japan” that Deep Purple finally started to build a large following in the United States. The success of the album also helped boost sales of “Machine Head.” With “Smoke On The Water” climbing up the charts, it seemed that the band had finally arrived, but there was trouble on the horizon.
Blackmore and Gillan brought out the best in each other musically, but personally, the two simply did not get along. Blackmore and Paice had opened discussions with Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott about starting a new three-piece blues band, but ultimately decided to stay with Deep Purple as long as Gillan and Glover left the band.
Deep Purple Mark III featured Glenn Hughes on bass, and an unknown blue collar vocalist named David Coverdale, though Blackmore’s first choice was Paul Rodgers. In a matter of weeks, Coverdale went from the obscure working class to traveling on private planes and performing in front of massive audiences.
One of the first shows with the new lineup took place on April 6, 1974 at California Jam, the west coast’s answer to Woodstock. Hundreds of thousands of fans packed into the Ontario Motor Speedway to see Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and other notable acts.
With the concert running ahead of schedule, the promoters tried to get Deep Purple to go on stage before sunset, but Blackmore wouldn’t cooperate. Because of the planned light show, he refused to go on stage until after sunset, and ended up hiding so that the band couldn’t be forced to take the stage.
During their performance, a cameraman kept prodding Blackmore for a camera shot. What he received was an assault on his camera by one of Blackmore’s classic Fender guitars. But that was only the beginning. Unbeknownst to the rest of the band, Blackmore had planned a pyrotechnic explosion with his guitar tech, but a misfire caused several amps and pieces of equipment to go up in flames. The band ended up helicoptering off of the stage to elude angry fire marshals.
Deep Purple’s performance at California Jam may have angered the powers that be, but when word spread about the show, American audiences were clamoring for their chance to experience the mayhem first-hand.
By 1974, Blackmore had soured on the groovy, melodic direction that the band had taken on their “Stormbringer” release, so he decided to pull the plug on Deep Purple and form Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, a band with one big ego instead of five.
With Blackmore gone, the band decided to move forward with Tommy Bolin on guitar. Lord had planned on leaving the band after Blackmore left, but decided to stay when he heard Bolin play. But the fans weren’t as accepting as Lord. They made life very difficult for Bolin as he tried to replace the guitar legend. He eventually died of a heroin overdose after he had already left the band.
In March of 1976, after a concert in Liverpool, founding members, Lord and Paice, shook hands and agreed that Deep Purple had run its course.
In 1984, the classic Deep Purple lineup reunited after being offered a large sum of money by a record company. “Perfect Strangers” was a commercially successful album that fed off of the tension that never really went away between Blackmore and Gillan. Although the classic lineup was back together, it wasn’t destined to last.
“We weren’t really a band,” states Glover. “We were a dysfunctional outfit. Ritchie was off on his own, and Gillan was drinking again, a little too much.”
Old tensions arose as Gillan wanted to tour extensively, but Blackmore didn’t. In 1989, after an ultimatum forcing the band to choose between the two, Blackmore remained in the band. The departed Gillan was briefly replaced by Joe Lynn Turner (Rainbow).
Turner left the band in 1992, and was replaced once again by Gillan. The band would record one final album with the classic lineup, “The Battle Rages On” (released in 1993). However, the battle didn’t rage on for very long this time around.
While touring in support of the record, in November of 1993, Blackmore walked off the stage in the middle of a concert in Helsinki. It would be his final appearance with the band.
With a tour of Japan about to kick off, the band was left without a guitarist. They approached Japanese fan-favorite, Joe Satriani, who initially declined because he had no interest in trying to replace the legendary Blackmore. Eventually, he gave in, and the tour was a tremendous success. However, Satriani never aspired to become a permanent member of the band.
Satriani was replaced by Steve Morse (Dixie Dregs) in November of 1994. Morse’s arrival created a seventh incarnation of Deep Purple that lasted until 2002, when an aging Lord amicably left the band because he no longer had the energy to continue touring. He was replaced by Don Airey (Rainbow, Ozzy Osbourne) to create Mark VIII of Deep Purple, a lineup that is still intact to this day.
In July of 2012, while Deep Purple was recording their latest album, “Now What?!” – Lord lost his battle with cancer. According to his family, Lord was still composing music in his mind just hours before his passing, playing notes in the air while on his deathbed.
Lord’s passing deeply saddened his former bandmates, who will always consider him a part of the band.
“Souls having touched are forever entwined,” stated Gillan when reflecting on the life of his friend and former bandmate.
Deep Purple’s longevity with numerous lineup changes is something that is unlikely to ever be duplicated again in music. The current lineup has the best chemistry in the history of the band, so there is no telling how much longer the band will go on. When the band finally calls it a day, they will go down in history as one of the bands (along with Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin) that gave the world the spark that ignited the fire of hard rock and heavy metal.