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Top Live Performances of 2016

Joe Lynn Turner - Revolution - Amityville, NY - 2-27-16 - Hard Rock Daddy

By Adam Waldman

The calendar has finally flipped to 2017, but the scars of 2016 remain.  2016 may be remembered for the deaths of several musical icons, but there were some truly memorable live performances that proved that rock and roll is very much alive and well, most notably, Joe Lynn Turner’s stellar solo show.

As rumors swirled that Ritchie Blackmore was ready to step back into the rock arena for a “Rainbow reunion,” JLT seemed like a slam dunk to take center stage once again.  Not only was he the frontman featured on some of the band’s biggest hits, but he also is the only singer to have also fronted Deep Purple.  If Blackmore was ready to rock again, the first call should have gone to JLT.  Inexplicably, it didn’t.

JLT didn’t let Blackmore’s misguided decision stop him from giving the people what they wanted.  His show at Revolution on Long Island is everything that you could have asked for in a Rainbow show (even without the enigmatic guitarist present).  Not only did JLT deliver brilliant performances of the songs that he made famous with Rainbow, he also did so with the songs that pre-dated him joining the band (while throwing in Deep Purple and Yngwie Malmsteen classics for good measure).

JLT didn’t get nearly the hype that Blackmore got for his Rainbow/Deep Purple live performances, but he deserved it.  Amazingly, JLT’s vocals are as strong today as they were over three decades ago when he rose to fame.

CLICK HERE to read the full concert review.




Jeff Scott Soto has a tremendous resume, but he still manages to fly under the radar.  In an intimate show on a cold winter night, JSS and his band SOTO delivered an inspired performance, showcasing chemistry that you usually find in bands that have been together for decades.

CLICK HERE to read the full concert review.



The first time that I heard “Baptized In The Rio Grande” on SiriusXM’s Octane, I was instantly hooked.  With a seasoned sound that goes well beyond their years, the boys from a small Texas town near the Mexican border live up to the saying…“everything’s bigger in Texas.”  One of the best newcomers onto the hard rock music scene, Sons Of Texas showed that they are going to be a force to be reckoned with for many years to come.

CLICK HERE to read the full concert review.



Anthrax’s inclusion on this list comes with an asterisk because it wasn’t actually a concert, rather a four-song, show-stealing performance at the recent Epiphone Revolver Music Awards.  It’s a testament to the band’s greatness that the crowd was as enthusiastic about the two new songs (“Breathing Lightning” and “Monster At The End”) as they were about the classics (“Caught In The Mosh” and “Indians”).

CLICK HERE to read a full recap of the event.



Top Live Performances of 2015

Top Live Performances of 2014

Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 9/15/16


Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 9/15/16

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)

AVANTASIA (f. JOE LYNN TURNER) – “The Watchmaker’s Dream” (2013)

Avantasia – a supergroup rock opera – is the brainchild of Edguy vocalist Tobias Sammet, who plays bass with the group (in addition to being the primary songwriter and vocalist).  The first five studio albums featured mainly European power metal guest vocalists.  However, on 2013’s The Mystery Of Time, Joe Lynn Turner appears on a number of tracks, adding an interesting mainstream rock element to the intricate musical composition.  The song also showcases a theatrical side of JLT that might surprise fans of Rainbow, Deep Purple and Yngwie Malmsteen.

Most classic rock fans would think of The Who’s Tommy upon hearing the term “rock opera,” but Avantasia takes the concept to an entirely different level.  “The Watchmaker’s Dream” blends the bombast of Jim Steinman’s writing style with prog-infused power metal, and the theatricality of Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

The challenge for projects like Avantasia is exposing the music to the masses.  Because there is no natural radio fit, this is best achieved when artists share the music directly with their fans.  Although I am a lifelong fan of JLT, I only discovered this brilliant track when he shared it on Facebook on a recent “flashback Friday” post.

KANSAS – “Play The Game Tonight” (1982)

In early 1982, after parting ways with Steve Walsh due to creative differences in lyrical direction, Kansas chose John Elefante to replace their original vocalist.  Elefante, who landed the gig over the likes of Sammy Hagar and Doug Pinnick (King’s X), took the band in a more Christian rock direction with his lyrics.  Ironically, though the majority 1982’s Vinyl Confessions featured Christian lyrics that appealed to founder Kerry Livgren, “Play The Game Tonight” was not one of those songs.  It ended up being the biggest hit on the album, and the third biggest hit in the band’s history behind “Carry On Wayward Son” and “Dust In The Wind.”  Elefante’s time with the band only lasted for two albums – Walsh would return a few years later with a different lineup – but while he was there, he left a big mark with “Play The Game Tonight.”



 ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout

STONE SOUR “Get Inside” (2002)

Metal musicians love side projects.  It allows them to explore, and write music that they normally are not associated with.  In the realm of side projects, Stone Sour made an impressionable mark mainly due to Corey Taylor’s job screaming and growling for his main band, Slipknot.  Stone Sour is a far cry from Slipknot.  The band features a lot more melodies and harmonies.  Despite the difference in styles, Stone Sour has done well over the years with their stripped down modern rock/metal sound.  “Get Inside,” from the band’s self-titled debut album, is probably one of their heavier tunes, although not as heavy as the likes of Slipknot.


DAMAGEPLAN “Breathing New Life” (2004)

Founded by two of the greatest musicians of all-time, Vinnie Paul and Dimebag Darrell Abbott, Damageplan was a powerhouse metal band in 2004.  “Breathing New Life” was probably one of the best songs from their only album, New Found Power.  It was heavy, it was angry, and it showcased Dimebag’s phenomenal guitar playing.  One of the saddest days in metal history took place on December 8, 2004, when Dimebag was murdered on stage during a Damageplan show.  The world lost one of the best guitarists, and kindest, most genuine people in metal that day.  His legacy lives on in his recordings.




CROWN OF GLORY – “Inspiration” (2008)

Swiss melodic metal band Crown of Glory crafted a complex piece of power metal with progressive influences on this song from their 2008 album, A Deep Breath Of Life. Complementing the yearning vocals and staunch guitar riffs are subtle orchestrations, hints of the Middle East, and delicate piano interludes that explode into guitar fury.


LORD – “New Horizons” (2009)

This lamenting power ballad was the closer on Australian band Lord’s 2009 album, Set In Stone.  The band began in 2003 as a side project for singer/guitarist “Lord” Tim Grose.  It gave him an outlet to share some amazing music that he wrote, but had been saving because it was unsuitable for his main band, Dungeon.  When Dungeon broke up a couple years later, LORD became his full-time endeavor.  Pete Lesperance of Harem Scarem contributes a guest guitar solo on this track.




SPLIT HEAVEN – “Iron Witch” (2008)

Split Heaven has a terrific throwback, heavy metal sound that is enhanced by quality production.  “Iron Witch” – from the band’s 2008 release, Psycho Samurai – showcases this style.  The standouts on this track are the excellent drum work of Tommy Roitman, and the terrific guitar work from Armand Ramos and Pedro Zelbohr.


LEIDER – “Dream Of Dragon” (2012)

Killer heavy metal from Mexican band, Leider.  Tremendous vocals from Diego Trejo lead the way on this kickass track from their 2012 album, Seven.  Julio Romo and Japo Lopomontiel drive the relentless, menacing rhythm while, Sergio Trejo and Jhovany Lara complete the track with great wailing guitars.


Music Discovery Monday – 7/18/16

Music Discovery Monday - Joe Lynn Turner - Sunstorm

Music Discovery Monday – 7/18/16

Music Discovery Monday shines a light on artists that are not getting the radio attention that they deserve, while also showcasing new singles by established bands that are likely to get airplay in the future.

In addition to appearing on the embedded YouTube playlist below, all songs featured on Music Discovery Monday can be listened to individually by clicking on the hyper-linked song titles above each review.



 ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)

JOE LYNN TURNER – “Stargazer” (Live from Wacken 2015)

Ritchie Blackmore’s version of “Rainbow” has been in the news as of late, but the reality is that it isn’t Rainbow at all.  When rumors started swirling that Blackmore wanted to play rock music again (Rainbow and Deep Purple), there was only one vocalist that came to mind…JOE LYNN TURNER!  He is the only singer to have fronted both bands, and his voice is as strong today as it ever was. Not many singers who have been around for decades can make the same claim.

Technology can make many singers sound good in the studio these days, but truly great singers are just as impressive in a live setting.  Recorded at the Wacken Open Air Festival in 2015, JLT absolutely nails “Stargazer” (a song that was made famous by his predecessor, Ronnie James Dio).  RJD would have turned 74 last week if cancer hadn’t taken him from us so soon. More often than not, replacement singers are competitive to some degree, but JLT and RJD were friends, something that comes through loud and clear as JLT pays tribute to his departed friend before launching into the song.

As you listen to JLT perform “Stargazer” to an enthusiastic stadium crowd, you can’t help but think how incredible a true Rainbow reunion would have been, rather than the current incarnation, which is more like a Blackmore solo project.

SUNSTORM (f. JOE LYNN TURNER) – “Edge Of Tomorrow”

Joe Lynn Turner may not have gotten the respect that he deserves from Ritchie Blackmore when it came to the “Rainbow reunion,” but he is still making outstanding music.  JLT’s most recent release is Sunstorm’s Edge Of Tomorrow, the fourth studio album that he has done with a band that also features members of Pink Cream 69. The title track off of the band’s latest release is the epitome of feel-good AOR rock, highlighted by JLT’s brilliant, melodic vocals and guitar work of Simone Mularoni.  If you long for the days of passionate, message-driven melodic rock, make sure to check out “Edge Of Tomorrow” (the song and the entire album).



 ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout

VOIVOD “Post Society”

Voivod, the founders of futuristic progressive metal, are back with a new EP, Post Society, and I could not be any more impressed.  Being a Voivod fan since back in the ‘80s – way before even Jason Newsted played bass for them and the death of Piggy – I have always loved their heavy, progressive sound.  “Post Society” is a reflection of how the band has stayed true to their roots all these years…progressive, thrashy and heavy, with clean vocals reminiscent of Testament.



A relatively new band from New Jersey, Toothgrinder’s first single, “Blue,” from their first full-length album, Nocturnal Masquerade, is a thrash metal fan’s dream.  Both the song and album as are well written.  The vocals are typically screams, with melodic intervals reminiscent of metalcore, but there are so many vocal styles on this album, it is difficult to categorize them overall.  The guitars and rhythm section are typical progressive thrash, with elements of hard rock (and even jazz), but their talent allows them to play beyond the boundaries of the genre.  As far as new bands go, this is one band to watch out for.




EDEN’S CURSE – “Sell Your Soul”

Eden’s Curse returns with this upbeat melodic metal release, a first and very promising glimpse into their upcoming fifth album, Cardinal.  The band is multi-national, but based out of the UK (where they will kick off their next tour in November).


THROUGH FIRE – “Breathe”

This Omaha band came together only last year (at least under this moniker.  The band was formerly known as Emphatic).  They just released their debut album, Breathe.  The title track nicely showcases the new direction and great sound of the band.




NAUFRAGANT – “The Black Corsair”

“The Black Corsair” is a recent release from Naugragant – an Argentinian power metal band who engages in “Metal Swashbuckling Storytelling.”  This epic track is based on a classic pirate novel by Emilio Salgari.  The music and vocals (led by Franco Tempesta) are both top-notch and well produced.  A forceful intro gives way to a terrific rhythm and main theme, accentuated by Alan Puyol’s orchestrations – which creates the dramatic backdrop for the song.  Excellent guitar work from Tomás Vega and thunderous, precise percussion from Fërin on the drums. Some may snicker at the niche, but this is really well done.


INNERWISH – “Modern Babylon”

Innerwish hails from Athens, Greece.  “Modern Babylon” is from their recent, self-titled album (which is their 5th full-length release).  This track is powered by great locomotion, which takes the lead along with George Eikosipentakis’ vocals.  Manolis Tsigos and Thimios Krikos display their talents on guitars with licks throughout and a dueling solo.  A hard and heavy beat keeps time by Antonis Mazarakis on drums.



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

Joe Lynn Turner Live – A Rainbow “Revolution”

Joe Lynn Turner - Revolution - Amityville, NY - 2-27-16 - Hard Rock Daddy

By Adam Waldman

Life is filled with missed opportunities that end up in regret.  I’ve missed out on a number of concert opportunities through the years, but the one that has haunted me most was not seeing Rainbow on June 19, 1982 at Madison Square Garden.  As a parent, I can understand why my parents didn’t let me travel into New York City from Long Island to attend the concert.  However, it ended up being one of the greatest disappointments of my teenage years.  Although I got the chance to see Joe Lynn Turner fronting Deep Purple, it wasn’t the same as seeing Rainbow.

When Ritchie Blackmore started dropping hints that he was thinking about playing rock music again, I had no doubt that he would do so with Turner (the only singer to front both Rainbow and Deep Purple).  Like the rest of the rock world, I was shocked when Blackmore announced the members of the band that he put together as a “Rainbow reunion.”

All hope that I had of finally seeing one of my favorite all-time bands seemed to have been lost.  But on February 27, 2016, at Revolution (a Long Island rock club), I finally got the opportunity to see the show that I had missed out on nearly 34 years ago.

Although this was not a Rainbow reunion per se, seeing JLT perform a number of classic Rainbow songs in an intimate setting might have been even better (in some respects) than seeing a full-blown reunion in a large venue.

Steve Brown (Trixter) didn’t try to copy Blackmore’s signature guitar sound, but he nailed every song, and showcased an entertaining stage presence.  “Nailed” would also be an accurate description of Charlie Zeleny’s thunderous drumming, which helped to set the tone for a high octane version of Rainbow.  Rob Demartino’s bass playing provided a heavy bottom, and Paul Morris’ keyboards added another layer of depth to the overall sound.

Of course, the star of the show was JLT himself, who is every bit as good today as he was back in 1982 (when I missed out on seeing Rainbow), and in 1991 (when I saw him fronting Deep Purple).  From the stellar vocals to the engaging showmanship to the deep connection with the fans in attendance, JLT proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that age is nothing more than a number.  He is a true rock star in every sense of the word.  For his sake, I wish that Blackmore’s decision-making wasn’t so misguided, but selfishly speaking, I couldn’t have asked for a better Rainbow concert experience.

Even though the performance took place in a modest sized rock club, this truly was the type of show that made you feel like you were watching an arena concert from the glory days of hard rock.  Had this been an actual arena show, the experience would have been much different.  I certainly wouldn’t have been close enough to get hit with any droplets of spit as JLT belted out a setlist comprised of numerous personal favorites.  But there I stood, dead-center, bellied-up against the stage, singing along with the rest of the frenzied crowd to the collective soundtrack of our youth with JLT only inches away from me.

To my right, was a girl who was noticeably swooning in the presence of one of her rock heroes.  In between songs, we shared our enthusiasm for the show, and she told me that “it was like having an outer body experience.”  Words can’t accurately portray the glow on her face when JLT handed her a copy of the setlist as a souvenir.  I would come to find out later that her husband and 13-year old daughter were standing right behind her.  It’s hard to think of a better family night out than seeing JLT up-close-and-personal.  She too was forbidden by her parents to attend the Rainbow concert in June of 1982.  Imagine, two strangers sharing an incredible bond over the music that we love, and the disappointment of missing out on seeing the same Rainbow concert at Madison Square Garden.

It would be impossible to highlight the best moments of the show because there was never a dull moment.  However, a few moments stood out for me on a personal level.  The first was when JLT talked about all of the recent rock star deaths, and then paid a heartfelt tribute to his friend (and fellow Rainbow alum) Ronnie James Dio, before launching into an energetic version of “Man On The Silver Mountain.”  Having had the opportunity to have lengthy conversations with both RJD and JLT, I found this tribute to be particularly poignant.  After JLT bowed his head and then looked up to salute RJD, he gave me a fist bump.  It was as if he felt the meaning that the song had to me.

One of the things that you have to love about JLT is his willingness to be outspoken about the problems of the world.  Now, more than ever, his introduction to “Can’t Happen Here” really hit home, as our country is in a state of turmoil.  It also happens to be the song that started me on my Rainbow journey, so it had special meaning for me that goes beyond the troubled world of politics.  It was serendipitous that he was introducing this song in a club called Revolution (a point that he made to the crowd).

The show, affectionately dubbed “Boys Night Out” by JLT (to describe playing with the band), not only featured a collection of Rainbow hits, but also some classic Deep Purple songs and a powerful version of “Rising Force” (Yngwie Malmsteen).

Although I had hoped that I would get to see a true Rainbow reunion, it wasn’t in the cards because of Blackmore’s decision to form an entirely new band.  The disappointment of that decision, and the missed opportunity to see Rainbow in 1982, have both been alleviated by seeing JLT deliver a performance that will be remembered for many years to come.  If you’re a true Rainbow fan, do whatever it takes to see this show.

Music Discovery Monday – 10/19/15

Music Discovery Monday - Joe Lynn Turner - Magnus Karlsson's Free Fall

Hard Rock Daddy presents Music Discovery Monday – 10/19/15.

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 legendary vocalist Joe Lynn Turner, who discusses his song on Magnus Karlsson’s upcoming Free Fall album and a song from 2009’s Sunstorm album.



 ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)

MAGNUS KARLSSON’S FREE FALL (f. Joe Lynn Turner) – “No Control”

Swedish guitarist/songwriter/producer Magnus Karlsson – whose work includes: Primal Fear, Allen/Lande, Kiske/Somerville, Last Tribe and Starbreaker – is about to drop his second solo album under the Free Fall moniker.  Once again, Karlsson has enlisted a who’s who of hard rock singers to help bring his songs to life.

“No Control” is melodic hard rock at its best.  If this song had come out during the ‘80s (the decade of music that heavily influenced Karlsson), there is no doubt that this song would have been a huge commercial hit.  Featuring the always-stellar vocals of Joe Lynn Turner (Rainbow, Yngwie Malmsteen, Deep Purple), “No Control” takes you on a journey back in time.  The melody and harmonies are infectious, and Karlsson makes the guitar sing with shredding that makes you long for days gone by.  This song is tailor-made for JLT’s voice and distinct style, featuring a nice blend of Rainbow and Yngwie elements.


In a Hard Rock Daddy exclusive interview with legendary vocalist Joe Lynn Turner, he discussed how he came to work with Magnus Karlsson on “No Control”

“Magnus Karlsson is an amazing songwriter and guitarist. He asked me to sing on a song that he wrote called ‘No Control.’ I thought that it was a very commercial song, and I’m not opposed to doing that kind of stuff. I thought that he had a really good one here. I went into the studio and nailed it, and was very pleased with the mix. I let him know that he really did a nice job with it after hearing the finished product. The values are all proper; the voice is sitting on top of the track where it should be, and it’s just clean and beautiful. I was happy to do it for him.

The song itself has kind of a pissed-off, bad boy lyric. It’s just like being on the run that night, on the loose. We’ve all been there before. When I wrote ‘On The Run’ on my first solo album, it was basically the same idea; it’s just about having a good time.”


MAGNUSS KARLSSON’S FREE FALL (f. Jorn Lande) – “Kingdom Of Rock”

Whereas “No Control” is a straight-forward, melodic hard rock track, “Kingdom Of Rock” is power metal track that is a little more intense, edgy and bombastic.  Once again, shades of Yngwie Malmsteen shine through in Karlsson’s guitar work.  This song has a definite theatrical feel, especially the backing vocals, which perfectly complement Jorn Lande’s charismatic lead vocals.

Although Lande is not as well-known to mainstream audiences as Joe Lynn Turner, the Norwegian frontman is at the top of the food chain when it comes to the current generation of European power vocalists.  Lande’s work dates back to the mid-‘90s, a time when metal fell out of favor in the United States.  If he had arrived on the scene a decade earlier, you have to believe that he would be a household name.

If “Kingdom Of Rock” – the title track off of the forthcoming Free Fall album – and “No Control” are any indication of what’s to come, this album promises to be something special.






From Toronto comes yet another band fronted by a talented female vocalist.  What stands out most to me here is the emotion that Ashley Curtis can pack into a song; she displays an ability to make the listener believe the lyrics.  Sounds simple enough… except for the fact that not everyone can do it.  It’s a gift that helps make this trio a worthy addition to the scene.



California-based duo with an above average range of sound thanks to the heavier and harsher voice of Ralf Dietel, and the higher melodic vocals from Nicole Skistimas.  This first song – unveiled from their forthcoming album due later this month –  goes to the heavier side, and while there’s bits of European/industrial influence here (at least to my ear), it works as a hard rock song quite well, with enough energy and melody to fit Active Rock as well.





RIOT ON MARS – “Carry On”

Riot On Mars reunites two friends with huge musical resumes: bassist Barry Sparks (Yngwie Malmsteen, Uli Jon Roth, Michael Schenker Group, U.F.O., Dokken) and vocalist Michael Vescera (Yngwie Malmsteen, Loudness, Obsession).  The songs on their independently released debut album smoothly blend elements of ‘70s hard rock and ‘80s hair metal.



Out of Clarkston, Washington, Homewreckr delivers modern hard rock complete with gravelly vocals and intense, addictive guitar riffs.  From their debut album, The Wreckning, released earlier this year, comes the single, “Like You.”  It blends punchy instruments with brash lyrics into an upbeat appeal that simply drips with groove and attitude.





WAKEN EYES  “Back To Life”

Brand new all-star band Waken Eyes features the pro talents of Henrik Båth (Darkwater) on vocals, Mike Lepond (Symphony X) on bass, Tom Frelek’s guitar/keyboards/orchestration, and Marco Minnemann (Joe Satriani, The Aristocracts, Steven Wilson) on drums.  This powerful song about resilience, with top-notch musicianship, is from the band’s debut album, Exodus (which comes out this month).


BARQUE OF DANTE – “Twinfinity”

It’s unusual to get symphonic power metal from Barque Of Dante’s native China.  The title track of their recently released EP, “Twinfinity,” features a good mix of power metal rhythm lines, melodic vocals and guitar work.  Vocalist Rob Lundgen is new to the band on this release.


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@MusicDiscoveryMo





SUNSTORM (f. Joe Lynn Turner) – “Forever Now” (2009)

Joe Lynn Turner may be known to the masses for his work with Rainbow, Yngwie Malmsteen and Deep Purple, but his vast catalog goes much deeper than that.  JLT is about to go into the studio to record his fourth studio album with Sunstorm, a band that also features Pink Cream 69 members Dennis Ward (bass), Uwe Reitenauer (guitar) and Chris Schmidt (drums).

One of the more memorable tracks from the band’s 2009 release, House Of Dreams, is “Forever Now,” a song that JLT co-wrote with Bob Held.  Classic melodic hard rock, with huge hooks featuring JLT’s distinct, timeless vocals, and music that is reminiscent of Survivor’s radio hits.


In a Hard Rock Daddy exclusive interview, JLT discussed the writing of “Forever Now”
“We were holed up in a basement and started writing like crazy. In fact, I still have some unrecorded songs from those days. We had an 8-track recorder, and I’ve still got the demo cassettes of them. I might have to pop out some of those songs and re-work them because they’re very good. It was a very creative period for all of us. I was with a bunch of friends and it was so much fun. You know, you just get in the room with all these great musicians and all this talent, and everybody just contributes.

The song itself is a consummate love song for anyone and everyone. I can’t really say that it was attached to any one girl. I’ve heard about some people using it at their weddings, sort of like ‘Endlessly.’ Lyrics are really just poetry. Sometimes they are about someone specific, like ‘Street Of Dreams,’ for example, but this one wasn’t.”


PINK CREAM 69 – “Wasted Years” (2013)

Pink Cream 69’s history dates back to 1987.  This German heavy metal outfit has released 11 studio albums, and yet, still flies largely under the radar (at least in the United States).  Off of their 2013 release, Ceremonial, “Wasted Years” is powerful, melodic hard rock track that serves as a reminder to live each day to the fullest as wasted minutes eventually add up to years being wasted.  While the message of the song provides a harsh dose of reality, it does so in such an uplifting way that it inspires without judging.





PATTY SMYTH & SCANDAL – “Warrior” (1984)

The first of two songs this week (with a connection that I suspect many won’t realize) features one of the most promising ‘80s female voices in rock.  Scandal was unable to fully capitalize on the success of hit singles as the band began going their separate ways almost immediately.  Still, a notable song from the era.


KIX – “Body Talk” (1983)

Several years before the success of their third album (Blow My Fuse) helped this Maryland band reach their peak, there was a somewhat lighter release that garnered some attention.  While it’s a departure from the sound that they would become known for, it stands out as an example of how “rock” would evolve over the next several years.

NOTE:  The connection between these two songs (other than videos with questionable style choices) is the songwriter.  Both tracks were penned by Nick Gilder, best known for his late ‘70s smash “Hot Child In the City.”





DARREN SMITH BAND – “It All Comes Back” (2005)

Darren Smith is probably best known as the former drummer and occasional vocalist for Harem Scarem. He took a break from them for the first decade of the new century.  In 2005, he put out a fantastic hard rock album with some other veteran musicians as the Darren Smith Band. For that project, he relinquished the drums and took up the vocals.  The sound stays true to Harem Scarem, but finds its own modern rock flavor.  The album was produced by Harem Scarem frontman, Harry Hess, and the album was recorded in the band’s studio.  Smith rejoined Harem Scarem briefly, and remains affiliated with them, but is now the frontman for Jake E. Lee’s Red Dragon Cartel.


DIRE STRAITS – “Hand In Hand” (1980)

Most listeners are familiar with Mark Knopfler’s bigger hits as the frontman and lead guitarist for Dire Straits.  “Hand In Hand” is a lesser-known masterpiece from the band’s 1980 signature album, Making Movies.  It takes a studied nuance to capture a yearning this wistful in music.  This is one song that he surely won’t be playing when I catch him tomorrow night on his solo tour.





TRIDDANA “The Reaper’s Lullaby” (2012)

Scottish Folk metal… from Argentina.  Electronomicom’s Diego Valdez lends his tremendous vocals to this unusual genre of metal.  The band name comes from the Irish word “troideanna,” which means “struggle”…the underlying theme of the tracks on Ripe For Rebellion.  Hard, driving and rhythmic with a rousing bag-piped refrain that makes you want to take up arms alongside William Wallace and cry “FREEDOM!”  Terrific guitar as well from Juan José Fornés.


KOTIPELTO – “Sleep Well” (2007)

Timo Kotipelto’s (Stratovarius) solo work from his 2007 album, Serenity.  Melodic power-metal featuring his unique vocals and signature sound, plus excellent guitar work from Tuomas Wäinölä.

Music Discovery Monday – 9/28/15

Music Discovery Monday Chris Cornell

Hard Rock Daddy presents Music Discovery Monday – 9/28/15.

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.



 ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)

CHRIS CORNELL – “Nothing Compares 2 U” (Live SiriusXM)

In the 1980s, Prince made a huge impact with his eclectic sound and unique style.  While the entire MTV generation was familiar with his hit songs, not every song made it into the mainstream.  In 1985, he wrote “Nothing Compares 2 U” for a side project called The Family.  It wasn’t until 1990 that the song became a hit when it was released as a single by Irish singer-songwriter, Sinead O’Connor.

The best (and most memorable) cover songs are the ones where an artist makes it their own.  A quarter century ago, O’Connor made “Nothing Compares 2 U” her own, so much so that many people didn’t realize that it was actually written by Prince.  She had a great run with the song, but as the saying goes…“all good things must come to an end.”  Building upon what O’Connor did with the song in 1990, Cornell has taken it to another level in 2015.

Cornell’s truly inspired version of “Nothing Compares 2 U” has reverberated through the rock world since he performed it acoustically during a visit to SiriusXM last week.  Unlike O’Connor, who built her career upon the success of the song, Cornell didn’t even include it on his most recent release, Higher Truth.  To be able to capture this kind of magic in a live setting speaks volumes about Cornell’s talent.

This isn’t the first time that Cornell has done a brilliant acoustic interpretation of a popular song.  See which classic song he made his own in the Hard Rock Music Time Machine segment of Music Discovery Monday.


JOE LYNN TURNER – “Love Conquers All” (Live from Glasgow)

Like fine wine, the great ones seem to just keep getting better with age.  In recent weeks, an acoustic version of the 1990 Deep Purple classic, “Love Conquers All” was shared by Joe Lynn Turner.  The performance, which was recorded in in Glasgow, Scotland, showcases the immense talent of JLT.

Just as Chris Cornell put a current spin on a song that captured the public’s attention in 1990, JLT has done the same.  And though it may seem as though he has the advantage of being the original singer on the song, it can be argued that this was an even more impressive feat because he is being compared to his younger self.

The changing music climate in America has led JLT to spending more time performing overseas.  Listening to this incredible live performance makes you wonder when the turning point for rock occurred in America.  Talents like JLT should be revered regardless of current trends.  We’re missing out here, but thankfully, there is still an appreciative audience to be found for this rock legend.





10 YEARS – “From Birth To Burial”

The latest single from this Knoxville, TN band is finally starting to work its way up the radio charts, but depending upon your station(s) of choice, it is one that might not have caught your ear yet unless you’re an existing fan of the band.  The lyrics – depending upon your interpretation, I suppose – are a somewhat haunting indictment of the music business, delivered (almost ironically) in a very listenable fashion.


CROBOT – “Legend Of The Spaceborne Killer”

Even if it might tempt listeners to spontaneously use words like “groovy,” the recent single from these Pennsylvania rockers is perhaps among their most accessible, and flows better in a more Active Rock-oriented playlist than you might expect.  If you haven’t given it a listen yet, it’s well worth checking out.




CIRCLE II CIRCLE –  “Victim Of The Night”

Vocalist Zak Stevens (Trans-Siberian Orchestra, ex-Savatage) returns with his band Circle II Circle, and their newest album, Reign Of Darkness (due out October 16th).  Out of Tampa, Florida, they play progressive metal with a power edge.  This single opens with gripping keyboards that are quickly joined by bass and drums, leaving no misimpression early on about the drive of the piece.  Listen, also, for an intense guitar solo and some great harmonies.


BURNING POINT – “In The Shadows”

Finland’s Burning Point have a new lead singer, Nitte Valo (ex-Battle Beast).  She belts out some high and powerful notes on their newest album, which remakes six of the band’s best songs and adds four newly written ones.  The remakes sound terrific and the new songs work well, too.  “In The Shadows” is easily the heaviest of the new selections and really highlights Valo’s talent.





KYLESA – “Shaping The Southern Sky”

Dubbed “sludge metal,” Kylesa is a Georgia power trio that has been around since 2001.  “Shaping the Southern Sky” has that sludgy, murky quality to it, along with a terrific, heavy, southern metal rhythm – the song’s best feature.  This track is from the upcoming Exhausting Fire, Kylesa’s 7th full-length album.


SLEAZY WAY OUT – “Wasted Chance”

The band and track name make no secret of what this song is about.  The greatness of the song is in its simplicity and straightforwardness.  Self-billed as being on the forefront of the Sleaze Rock movement, these Montreal rockers want you to know that they “are here to kick ass” – and they do a thorough job of it.  You’ll pick up on the similarities to Jackyl and others.


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





LED ZEPPELIN – “Moby Dick” (Live from Royal Albert Hall) (1970)

Drums are the engine that drives the machine when it comes to hard rock.  And though many fans have an appreciation for drummers, they don’t necessarily look forward to hearing drum solos in a live setting.  However, there are exceptions to every rule, and in the case of “Moby Dick,” John Bonham is certainly one of them.  But then again, Bonham wasn’t just any drummer.  He was such a big part of Led Zeppelin’s sound that his untimely passing brought an end to one of the greatest bands in the history of rock…

“We wish it to be known that the loss of our dear friend, and the deep sense of undivided harmony felt by ourselves and our manager, have led us to decide that we could not continue as we were.”  The statement was signed simply “Led Zeppelin.”

This past week was the 35th anniversary of Bonham’s passing.  To commemorate the passing of this drumming legend, I decided to include a live version of “Moby Dick,” which features an extended drum solo.  Although Bonham’s contribution to the overall sound of Led Zeppelin cannot be understated, this song and solo capture the essence of what made him irreplaceable to the rest of the band.


CHRIS CORNELL – “Thank You” (Live From Royal Theatre – Victoria, BC) (2011)

As mentioned above, Chris Cornell has a way of making cover songs his own.  It takes a lot of guts and talent to cover any Led Zeppelin song and make it your own, much less one that is considered to be a classic.  What makes this song stand out in the Zeppelin catalog is the beautiful poetry of the lyrics.  While many of the band’s lyrics are cryptic, “Thank You” is, quite simply, one of the best love songs ever written.  Its distinct emotional vibe and mystique could easily be lost in translation, but Cornell captures it with nothing more than an acoustic guitar and a microphone.  There are moments that are a bit more melancholic than the original, but those moments only serve to make the emotive, higher register vocals even more moving.




ADRENALINE MOB – “Psychosane” (2012)

Raw, aggressive, downright irritable.  That summarizes what remains my favorite song from this supergroup to date.




STAR ONE – “Digital Rain” (2010)

Progressive metal meets space rock in Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s supergroup Star One.  Their 2010 album Victims Of The Modern Age borrows its name from the movie A Clockwork Orange, and the tracks, while varied, are fitfully bound together by a science fiction theme in a dystopian future.  On “Digital Rain,” dueling vocals are contributed by Russell Allen (Symphony X, Adrenaline Mob) and Damian Wilson (Threshold, Headspace).


LIONVILLE – “Another Day” (2012)

Melodic rock band Lionville produced this catchy number for their second album in 2012.  The Italian band brings together the golden voice of Lars Safsund with the soaring guitar of Stefano Lionetti for AOR with a west coast influence.




TESLA – “Cry” (1994)

With the number of Tesla’s popular hits, great songs like “Cry” usually get overlooked.  This tune, and several off of Bust A Nut, shows the heavier side of the band.  The album was rated a Top 10 by Guitar World in 1994.  Give it a listen.


LEMUR VOICE – “More Of Nothing” (1996)

Once called Aura, Lemur Voice was a Prog Metal band from the Netherlands.  They only put out two albums, which is a shame, given the quality of “More of Nothing” and the all-around talent of the band.  Great vocals from Gregoor van der Loo and guitar work from Marcel Coenen are the standout performances on this track.

25 Years Later – Joe Lynn Turner Conquers All

Joe Lynn Turner - Love Conquers All - Acoustic Performance - Glasgow

For nearly four decades, Joe Lynn Turner has been delivering inspiring vocal performances.  Although he is most widely known for his time with Rainbow, he also enjoyed a successful run with Yngwie Malmsteen and an abbreviated stint with Deep Purple where he recorded one studio album (Slaves And Masters).  The album (released in 1990) features one of the best power ballads of that era, “Love Conquers All.”

A quarter of a century has passed since the release of the “Love Conquers All,” but it is still as powerful today as it was in 1990, as evidenced by the acoustic version of the song recorded recently in Glasgow, Scotland.  These days, the legendary frontman spends much of his time performing overseas, no longer grabbing the spotlight that he once did in the United States.

Aside from being moved by this inspiring performance, the other emotions that come to mind when listening to this version of “Love Conquers All” (several times over) are jealousy of overseas audiences and sadness that America has dropped the ball when it comes to supporting transcendent talents like JLT.

We have become a country that celebrates mediocre singers who rely upon technology like Auto-Tune just to stay in key in the studio, and then lip sync their “performances” of songs that are average at best.  Even more disheartening is our reliance upon reality television to discover new “talent.”  Meanwhile, overseas audiences embrace true talents like JLT.

The vocal performance on the acoustic rendition of “Love Conquers All” is nothing short of brilliant.  There is no need to rely upon technology to enhance the vocals because, even as he approaches his mid-60s, Turner is still as great as he ever was in his heyday.

We can only hope that Ritchie Blackmore’s recent overtures about playing rock music again will come to fruition in the form of a Rainbow reunion with Turner at the helm.  Maybe then, JLT will get the attention that he so richly deserves here in America.  Until then, enjoy the incredible moment that was captured in Glasgow, Scotland recently…

Music Discovery Monday – 11/24/14

Hard Rock Daddy Music Discovery Monday

Hard Rock Daddy presents Music Discovery Monday – 11/24/14.

Each week, the HRD team will be sharing songs that fly below radio’s radar, ranging from lesser-known artists to deeper cuts from 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 will also feature a segment called “Hard Rock Music Time Machine” for older songs (from the 70s to today) that flew under the radar and never got their just due.

All of the songs featured on Music Discovery Monday can be heard on the embedded YouTube playlists beneath each section.

This week, Music Discovery Monday features an interview with legendary vocalist, Joe Lynn Turner (Rainbow, Deep Purple, Yngwie Malmsteen) discussing his new band, Rated X, and a duet that he did with unheralded vocalist, George Gakis.


**Click on any hyperlinked song titles to read extended Hard Rock Daddy reviews.**


ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)

RATED X – “Fire And Ice”

The debut single from a “supergroup” that promises to be a band to be reckoned with, and not just another in a long line of “side projects.”  Featuring the age-defying, stellar vocals of Joe Lynn Turner, hard rock drumming legend, Carmine Appice, his Blue Murder rhythm section mate, Tony Franklin (bass) and Karl Cochran (JLT’s longtime guitarist), Rated X’s music needs only one word to describe it – TIMELESS!  “Fire And Ice” was chosen because it is the first single, but literally, any other track could have justifiably been selected for Music Discovery Monday.

Joe Lynn Turner discussed “Fire And Ice” in our recent interview (which will be published soon in its entirety on…

“I love the lyrical content of the song.  I think that this whole world is facing an apocalyptic future.  You’ve got constant wars with people fighting and killing each other, and it’s really dangerous.  Nobody seems to want to put their hands up, and just say ‘enough…stop!’ 

The song is saying that after all of the bombs have been dropped, in a post-apocalyptic world, all that is left on this earth is ‘fire and ice.’  It’s kind of like the movie Book Of Eli or Road Warrior.

The song has a classic, metal type of riff.  It’s beautiful, it’s deep, it’s sensitive and it’s got a message, like a lot of the songs on the album.  Even though they’re catchy, we’re trying to say something.”


JOE LYNN TURNER & GEORGE GAKIS – “Street Of Broken Dreams”

Today may be the first time that you’ve learned about Rated X, but if you are a hard rock fan, you are undoubtedly familiar with much of Joe Lynn Turner’s work.  The same cannot be said for George Gakis, who considers JLT his close friend and mentor.  Exposing Hard Rock Daddy readers to talented musicians like Gakis is exactly why Music Discovery Monday was launched.

With Gakis’ rich, soulful voice (reminiscent of classic David Coverdale), he and JLT have teamed up to create a duet for the ages with “Street Of Broken Dreams.”  Is it hyperbolic to say that this is the best hard rock duet that you’ve probably never heard?  Listen to the song and decide for yourself…

The story behind the meaning of “Street Of Broken Dreams” and the process in which it was recorded is a fascinating one.  Joe Lynn Turner explains…

“George is a close friend, a great guy and a real, true musician, artist, writer and singer.  One day, he called me and said that he had written a song inspired by ‘Street Of Dreams’ called ‘Street Of Broken Dreams.’  Whereas ‘Street Of Dreams’ is about a kind of reincarnated love that works out in the end, ‘Street Of Broken Dreams’ takes the opposite approach; it’s about the moment that things fall apart in a relationship.

George asked me if I would do the song as a duet with him, and I was all for it, because I thought that it was such a cool idea.  To record the duet, I sang the entire song here in the states, and then George edited it so there was a back and forth.

We recently performed the song live in his hometown of Ioannina (in north-western Greece) at a big festival.  Like ‘Street Of Broken Dreams,’ George’s entire album is a piece of classic rock that deserves to be heard!”




SANTA CRUZ“Relentless Renegades”

Finnish outfit with one full-length album (Screaming For Adrenaline) under their belt thus far, Santa Cruz’s debut single (“Relentless Renegades”) showed promise of things to come.  The band currently falls into the glam/sleaze niche of the hard rock genre.  With another album due to arrive in 2015, there’s a chance that we could see them expand their range, or perhaps, the rock world will once again start to embrace more young talent like this Finnish foursome.


RED CANNONS – “Underneath The Floorboards”

Three brothers from Alberta, and a long-time friend from the next town over, combine to make up one of the more promising young bands in Canada.  Their Edgar Allen Poe-inspired debut single got some airplay in their home country, but it’s their ability to channel blues rock influences into a contemporary hard rock sound that makes them a band to keep an eye on for broader success in the future.





Bassist, Mike Lepond (Symphony X), has crafted a hard-hitting solo album with the eponymous Mike Lepond’s Silent Assassins (2014), featuring a diverse collection of power metal pieces. “The Quest” opens with a harpsichord, and moves into acoustic guitars and strings before taking off with the thrashy, melodic vocals of Alan Tecchio (Hades, Seven Witches, Watchtower).  As expected, the bass playing is flawless in this folky, epic track.


JESSE DAMON – “Garden Of Eve”

“Garden of Eve” is a catchy, mid-tempo tune by vocalist, Jesse Damon (ex-Silent Rage) off of his 2013 release, Temptation in the Garden of Eve.  Heavier than his earlier solo work, this collaboration with bassist/producer, Paul Sabu, really hits the mark a strong Whitesnake feel.


RAGE OF ANGELS – “The Beating Of Your Heart”

“The Beating of Your Heart” is a bluesy, power ballad from Rage of Angels’ 2013 release, Dreamwork.  The album is a collaborative effort between a host of fine musicians, featuring different vocalists and guest parts on each track.  While less famous than some of the others, the vocalist on this track, David Lee Watson, delivers a soaring performance.  He is balanced out perfectly by the soulful accompaniment of guest guitarist, Tommy Denander.




W.E.T – “Still Unbroken”

Jeff Scott Soto…where ya been? Apparently Sweden, where he hooked up with the rest of the band in W.E.T. to create some quality melodic metal with their 2013 release, Rise Up. “Still Unbroken” (the best track off the album) is a positive tune that features really good, polished vocals and a clear, powerful sound that is reminiscent of one of Joe Lynn Turner’s projects.


HELLOWEEN – “Waiting For The Thunder”

“Waiting For The Thunder” features a terrific, change-of-pace intro with a message that is summed up in one line…“A man as I am, I don’t give a damn!”  Combine that with their unmistakable signature sound, and this one will get your blood pumping.  After 30 years, Helloween is still kicking ass!


SLOUGH FEG – “Digital Resistance”

This heavy metal band from Pennsylvania shows influence from the early years of both Iron Maiden and Rush.  Highlighted by the talented drumming of Harry Cantwell, this astutely executed track features precise tempo changes.  A thick, low-tech sound gives it that raw flavor (similar to Maiden’s Piece of Mind), and Michael Scalzi has got a little Rik Emmett goin’ in the vocals.




AXE – “Rock N Roll Party In The Streets” (1982)

By 1982, Rainbow (featuring Joe Lynn Turner – see above) had quickly become my favorite band.  That same year, Axe released the incredibly melodic anthem, “Rock And Roll Party In The Streets.”  The Texas rockers landed opening gigs with some of the biggest names in metal (Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Scorpions and Motley Crue), before their career was derailed by a horrific car crash that killed one member and seriously injured another.  Only one big hit came out of the band’s brief career, but it’s a great one!


VAIN – “Beat The Bullet” (1989)

Another band whose career is largely defined by one album (No Respect – 1989).   However, Vain (featuring Davy Vain) has released six studio albums through the years (the most recent was 2011).  “Beat The Bullet” is a cool rocker in the “vain” of Motley Crue and Ratt.  Unfortunately, lineup changes, a brief name change when Steven Adler (GNR) was in the band, and the arrival of the grunge movement all played a role in Vain’s relative obscurity.




Y&T – “Black Tiger” (1982)

After nearly a decade on the scene, rock radio and MTV finally took notice of these California rockers in the mid-80s.  Dedicated hard rock fans were ahead of the media curve, having already become fans of the band’s 1981 album Earthshaker, and the underrated title track from their 1982 release, Black Tiger.  A driving, hard rock song with a little more edge than some of the better known hits that would eventually follow from Y&T.


LANSDOWNE – “Watch Me Burn” (2011)

Described as “one of the best unsigned bands in America” for too long, these Boston natives seem to be the total package as far as Active Rock acts go, yet somehow, they remain almost criminally underappreciated.   If hard work, talent and personality weren’t enough, you’d think that their ability to craft catchy, hook-laden songs would land them among the elite Active Rock bands, but it hasn’t happened…yet.




THE CODEX – “Bring Down The Moon” (2007)

“Bring Down the Moon” pairs the majestic vocals of Mark Boals (Yngwie Malmsteen) with the guitar work and production of Magnus Karlsson. This is one of many amazing tunes from The Codex’s 2007 self-titled album. Solid melodic metal that you won’t want to miss!


CONSTANCIA – “Dying By Your Flames” (2009)

“Dying By Your Flames” is a power ballad packed with harmonies and emotion. From the band’s 2009 release, Lost and Gone, it features the keyboards of founder, Mikael Rosengren, and the awesome vocals of David Frenenberg.




HALFORD – “Heart Of A Lion” (2001)

Ripper Owens had already been Rob Halford’s replacement in Judas Priest for a number of years when I heard “Heart Of A Lion.”  I remember wondering if Halford had re-joined Priest when I heard it the first time.  This classic track is one of Halford’s best between his departure and eventual return to Priest.


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

Hinder Parts Ways with Austin Winkler: Can the Band Survive His Departure?

Austin Winkler

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.

Behind The Music Remastered: Deep Purple

Deep Purple

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.