Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Rock N Roll Hall of Fame 2017 Nominees- My Thoughts

Although revealed later compared to previous years, the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame has announced the nominees up for induction in 2017. This year, a total of 19 artists have been nominated. There are some surprises and some painfully bad choices. I'll share my thoughts on all of the acts nominated into several categories.

Put them in: My ballot
Electric Light Orchestra
Joan Baez
The Zombies

The Hall seems to have gotten the memo from Steve Miller's rants last year and have nominated some women this year. It is an absolute joke that Joan Baez is not in there yet and she should be in there immediately. The same goes for the Zombies. While they weren't together for a long time in their original run, they should've been in there years ago. MC5 comes as a pleasant surprise, as they haven't been nominated in 13 years. I think Tom Morello has tried his hardest to get them on the list and they better get in there. While both progressive rock in some way, ELO and Yes should be in there.

Sure, why not?
Bad Brains
The Cars
Depeche Mode
Jane's Addiction
Janet Jackson
Pearl Jam

If any of these artists got in, I wouldn't mind it. The Cars and Kraftwerk have been trying to get in for years now. While "newer", Jane's Addition and Pearl Jam are okay by me- although I would rather see the artists before their formation to get in first. I think of those two, Pearl Jam are a shoe-in. Bad Brains and Depeche Mode seem to hint that the Hall might look into other sub genres. With the Bad Brains, this could open the door for bands like Black Flag and X. As for Janet Jackson, the Hall is lacking in women. If Baez doesn't get in, let it be her.

J. Geils Band

This is the J. Geils Band's fourth nomination. As a non-fan, I can say their music is pretty good but are they really that worthy of being nominated so many times? Aside from "Born to Be Wild" and "Magic Carpet Ride," what else were Steppenwolf known for? With Journey, I just don't like them. I find them to be overplayed on classic rock radio stations. Now are they worthy of getting in- regardless of me not liking them? Yeah, maybe some day.

Wasted Spots
Chaka Khan
Joe Tex

Okay, so maybe Chaka Khan isn't that much of a wasted spot. Joe Tex had five chances to get in, but I'll cut him a break since this hasn't been too consecutive. As with Chic, it's been annoyingly ridiculous: this is their ELEVENTH TIME being nominated and their FIFTH CONSECUTIVE TIME being nominated. Why can't they just give Nile Rodgers an award for his excellence or something?

PISS OFF (but is probably going to get in anyway)

As predicted by many, Tupac Shakur is one of the 19 acts that has been nominated. It's already known that the Hall is a joke, as many rap artists have been able to get in before long-time snubs. Are they doing this to piss people off?

It shouldn't have to matter but I like to put a positive spin on all of this. Since Metallica's induction, their involvement in getting their influences inducted has paid off. Also, the artists have been an eclectic mix of artists- with some artists getting nominated for the first time. This is still the case for this year but c'mon: the public should have a say in who gets nominated. The fan vote really doesn't mean anything: while it tries to get people involved, our vote are counted as one whole ballot in the end. If the fan vote has any impact, the person who leads the poll has always been inducted.

I'm starting to ramble now so I'm going to shut up and just leave this as it is.   

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Rolling Stones to release Blue & Lonesome in December

Afters months of speculation and hints, it has been announced that the Rolling Stones will release a new studio album. The album, Blue & Lonesome, will be the band's first studio album since 2005's A Bigger Bang. As the early articles reported, Blue & Lonesome will be an album consisting of covers of blues songs. The album was recorded earlier this year. In just three days, the band were able to churn out 12 songs for a new album. As reported before, Eric Clapton is to appear on the album.

Blue & Lonesome will be released on December 2. The tracking list is as follows, with the original artist and/or writer/s in parentheses...

1. Just Your Fool (Little Walter)
2. Commit a Crime (Howlin' Wolf)
3. Blue & Lonesome (Little Walter)
4. All of Your Love (Magic Sam)
5. I Gotta Go (Little Walter)
6. Everybody Knows About My Good Thing (Little Johnny Taylor, written by Miles Grayson and Lermon Horton)
7. Ride 'Em On Down (Eddie Taylor)
8. Hate To See You Go (Little Walter)
9. Hoo Doo Blues (Lighnin' Slim, written by Otis Hicks & Jerry West)
10. Little Rain (Jimmy Reed, written by Ewart G Abner and Jimmy Reed)
11. Just Like I Treat You (Howlin' Wolf, written by Willie Dixon)
12. I Can't Quit You Baby (Otis Rush, written by Willie Dixon)

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Yoko Ono to reissue her albums, starting in November

Record label Secretly Canadian have teamed up with artist Yoko Ono to reissue her discography from 1968 to 1985. The albums will be released on CD, vinyl and MP3 format. Ono's albums were last reissued on the Rykodisc label sometime in the 1990s (which are now out of print and sell for high prices) while this will be the first time these albums see a digital retail release. In total, there will be 11 albums reissued- all newly remastered.

The campaign will begin on November 11th, with the albums being released in sets. The first three albums to be reissued will be Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins (1968), Unfinished Music No. 2: Life With the Lions (1969) and Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band (1970). In terms of bonus tracks, they are as follows...

Two Virgins will contain the non-album track "Remember Love"
Life With the Lions will have "Song For John" and "Mulberry"
Plastic Ono Band will have an extended version of "Why," "Open Your Box," "Something More Abstract" and "The South Wind."

As for the remaining eight albums, they are supposed to be released over the next few years. Those albums are (in the order RollingStone.com has them in)...

Fly (1971)
Approximately Infinite Universe (1973)
Feeling the Space (1973)
A Story (recorded 1974, released 1992 and 1997)
Season of Glass (1981)
It's Alright (I See Rainbows) (1982)
Starpeace (1985)
Unfinished Music No. 3: Wedding Album (1969)

I'm happy to see that Yoko's albums will soon be re-released. I was able to get most of those earlier albums on CD some eight years ago and I'm glad I have them since they now go for $30 to $40! I don't know if I like that the albums being released over the next few years. On one hand, I would like to see them out as soon as possible. On the other, releasing them in sets would be easier on the wallet. Then again, I have the albums already so why am I complaining? I don't think I'll be getting the first three in the reissues. I've tried listening to Two Virgins and Life With the Lions and I gave up after a few seconds. I might get Plastic Ono Band, that is if there's any difference in the remastering. I'll just have to wait and see.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Metallica to release Hardwired...to Self Destruct on November 18th

After two years of speculation, legendary heavy metal band Metallica have finally announced the release of their next studio album. The album, Hardwired...to Self-Destruct, is not only the band's eleventh studio album but also their first studio album since 2008's Death Magnetic. The album is scheduled to be released on November 18 on a variety of formats including CD, vinyl and deluxe editions galore. Producing the album is Greg Fidelman, who has previously worked with the band as a engineer and mixer. Fidelman also produced Lulu, the controversial collaboration Metallica released in 2011 with the late Lou Reed.  Hardwired will also be a double album, consisting of 12 new tracks.

The song's title track is the album's first single, which the band have released a music video for- which is located below this article.

The tracking list is as follows...

Disc 1
1. Hardwired
2. Atlas, Rise!
3. Now That We're Dead
4. Moth Into the Flame
5. Am I Savage?
6. Halo on Fire

Disc 2
1. Confession
2. Dream No More
3. ManUNkind
4. Here Comes Revenge
5. Murder One
6. Spit Out the Bone

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Cliff Williams to retire after AC/DC's 2016 tour

AC/DC bassist Cliff Williams announced today that AC/DC's current Rock or Bust tour will be his last, retiring from the band after 38 years in the band. Williams, 66, has cited that the changes in the band's line-up has now made the band "a different animal" and that he feels it's the right thing to do, according to an article posted by Gulfshore Life. Williams joined AC/DC in 1978, replacing bassist Mark Evans. Williams' first album with the band was 1978's Powerage.

Since 2014, AC/DC have been seemingly cursed with bad luck- starting with the retirement of founding member Malcolm Young due to his dementia. Stevie Young, Malcolm and Angus' nephew, replaced him. Stevie was no stranger to AC/DC, having filled in for Malcolm during a 1988 tour while Malcolm was in rehab. In late 2014, drummer Phil Rudd was arrested for attempting to arrange a hit on someone. With that and other charges against him, Rudd was unable to tour with the band. In early 2015, Razor's Edge drummer Chris Slade rejoined the group just in time for the tour to promote AC/DC's 2014 studio album Rock or Bust. Earlier this year, the band postponed several tour dates- citing that singer Brian Johnson's hearing was at risk. After weeks of speculation, it was announced that Guns N Roses frontman Axl Rose would fill in as the guest lead singer for the rest of the tour. During those weeks, comedian Jim Bruer reported that Johnson was being left in the dark and wasn't aware of what the band was up to. In a way, it seems as if Johnson was unceremoniously fired from AC/DC after 36 years in the band.

This is crazy. While I respect Cliff's choice to retire, I'm afraid that Angus is going to keep AC/DC going with Stevie and Chris. Axl is only meant to be a guest singer, but I remember reading one report that said Angus was thinking long-term with Axl. I highly doubt it because Axl already has Guns N Roses. There's also a small chance of Brian coming back. Shortly after it was announced Axl would be the guest singer, a doctor posted an open video letter to Brian Johnson- showing that he has a device that might restore Brian's hearing. It has been reported that Brian and his wife invited the doctor over for dinner but I haven't heard anything since. Even if Brian were able to perform again, something tells me that Angus wouldn't be interested in having Brian come back. Again, I think it's time for AC/DC to call it a day. I mentioned before about my idea of a one-off farewell show but I don't think that's going to happen.

We'll have to wait and see.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Henry McCullough dead at 72

Henry Campbell Liken McCullough
July 21, 1943 - June 14, 2016

Guitarist Henry McCullough passed away this morning. According to a Twitter post from Maurice Jay, McCullough died at home with his wife Josie by his side. The cause of death is unknown at this time, although McCullough did suffer from a heart attack in November 2012- leaving him in critical condition for some time and with severe brain damage. 

McCullough is probably best known for his time as a member of Paul McCartney and Wings. Prior to joining Wings, the Ireland-born guitarist was in several bands throughout the 1960s. By 1969, McCullough had joined singer Joe Cocker's backing band- the Grease Band. With Cocker and the Grease Band, McCullough performed at the Woodstock Festival. McCullough was also a session musician. One of his credits is playing on the original cast recording of Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice's Jesus Christ Superstar. He was also one of the voices on Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon album. At the end of "Money," a montage of responses to the question "Were you in the right (the last time you were in a fight)?" can be heard. McCullough answered the question by saying "I don't know. I was really drunk at the time."

In 1972, McCullough joined Wings as a fifth member. Wings had originally formed in 1971. The band consisted of McCartney, his wife Linda on keyboards, former Moody Blues guitarist Denny Laine and drummer Denny Seiwell. The band already had one album under their belts with Wild Life- released in late 1971. With McCullough, the band were able to go on tour and release several singles- including the controversial "Give Ireland Back to the Irish," a cover of "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and the banned drug themed rocker "Hi Hi Hi." In 1973, the band release their sophomore effort- Red Rose Speedway. The album included the hit single "My Love." In later years, McCartney gave credit to McCullough for coming up with the soaring guitar solo on the track. McCullough left the band only a few months after the album was released. According to McCartney, the band had set plans to record their next album (Band on the Run) in Lagos. McCullough and Seiwell had called the night before, saying they didn't want to go and were leaving the band. According to other sources, both McCullough and Seiwell had left the band for different reasons. With McCullough, he supposedly had an argument with McCartney so heated that McCullough left the recording studio- leaving the band the next day. Either way, McCullough was no longer in Wings by 1973.

After leaving Wings, McCullough went on with a solo career. His debut album, Mind Your Own Business, was released in 1975 on George Harrison's Dark Horse label. He also continued serving as a session musician on and off and continued to tour until his heart attack in 2012. He is also the third former Wings to pass away. He is predeceased by his replacement Jimmy McCulloch and Linda McCartney. McCulloch died in 1979 from a drug overdose at the age of 26 while Linda died in 1998 after a brave battle with breast cancer. 

It's very sad to hear of Henry McCullough's passing. He was a great guitarist. Even though his time in Wings was short, I still enjoy listening to his work with the band. 

Rest in peace, Henry. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Misfits to reunite with Glenn Danzig this fall

33 years after their last show together, the Misfits and Glenn Danzig will reunite in the fall. The reunion will take place at two different Riot Fests. The first- Riot Fest and Rodeo- will take place on September 2nd and 4th in Denver. The second- Riot Fest and Carnival- will take place in September 16th and 18th in Chicago. The gigs, billed as "the Original Misfits," will feature Danzig, bassist Jerry Only and his brother guitarist Doyle. No drummer has been announced. With this news comes the promotion of a new four-track EP Friday the 13th- which is fittingly due to be released tomorrow.

Formed in Lodi, NJ, the Misfits were originally formed by Danzig. About a month after their formation, Only joined the band. From 1977 to 1983, the Misfits would perform and record music- gaining a cult following amongst the punk rock crowd with their many EPs and singles. With the exception of Doyle joining the band in 1980, Danzig and Only stuck with the group through various different line-ups and members. The band broke up after their last show on October 29, 1983. Danzig went on to form Samhain and later on his namesake band- which leaned more towards a hard rock/heavy metal sound. In the 1990s, Danzig and Only found themselves in legal battles over use of the band's name. In 1995, an agreement was made- allowing Only and Doyle to reform the Misfits, with new lead singer Michael Graves. Although Graves and Doyle left at the beginning of the 2000s, Only has kept the band going through touring and merchandise. The latter was been a subject of controversy amongst fans- claiming Only sold out. Since 2006, Doyle has occasionally guested on guitar at the Danzig band's shows. As for Danzig and Only, the pair have not shared a stage since 1983. 

I'm pleasantly surprised to hear about this news. When I started listening to the Misfits some six to seven years ago, I tried to stay away from the newer stuff. For me, the Misfits has always been that small time span- a time span so influential that even the guys in Guns N Roses and Metallica praise them. Much like Axl and Slash reuniting, seeing Glenn and Jerry sharing a stage was something no one really saw coming. I would love to see something long term come out of this but we should be grateful for these shows are happening.