Thursday, July 16, 2015

Rock Recap: Keith Richards, David Gilmour, Paul McCartney and W.A.S.P.

Several different albums have been announced recently. Some of them have been known of for a while but the dates are now official for all of these. Below are all the detail on the four artists mentioned above. 

Keith Richards
Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards has announced the release of a new solo album. The album, Crosseyed Heart, is Richards' third album and his first since 1992's Main Offender. The album's first single, "Trouble," was released today. The album will be released on September 18. 



David Gilmour
Former Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour has revealed more details on his upcoming solo album, Rattle That Lock. This will be Gilmour's first solo album since 2006's On an Island. Gilmour plans to tour for the album, although he won't be coming to North America until next year. The title track will be released tomorrow on July 17 while the album itself will be released on September 18. The tracking list is as follows:

1. 5 AM
2. Rattle That Lock
3. Faces of Stone
4. A Boat Lies Waiting
5. Dancing Right In Front of Me
6. In Any Tongue
7. Beauty 
8. The Girl In The Yellow Dress
9. Today
10. And Then...

Paul McCartney
The Paul McCartney Archive Collection will continue on September 18 with the reissues of 1982's Tug of War and 1983's Pipes of Peace. The two album will follow last year's reissues of Venus and Mars and Wings At The Speed of Sound. As with the other releases in the collection, the two albums are expected to have a standard 2 CD version, a vinyl version and a box set version. 

W.A.S.P.
Heavy metal band W.A.S.P. have finally announce the release date for their next studio album, Golgotha. This will be the band's first album since 2009's Babylon. Earlier this week, it was announced that drummer Mike Dupke had parted ways with the band. It is assumed that Dupke played on the new album before leaving.  A new drummer has yet to be announced. The tracking list is as follows:

1. Scream
2. Last Runaway
3. Shotgun
4. Miss You
5. Fallen Under
6. Slaves of the New World Order
7. Eyes of My Maker
8. Hero of the World
9. Golgotha

Golgotha will be released on October 2. 


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Phil Rudd sentenced 8 months home detention

Former AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd has been sentenced to eight months of home detention. Rudd, 61, was sentenced on Thursday July 9 at Tauranga District Court after pleading guilty to threatening to kill and drug possession charges. Late last he timyear, Rudd had called an associate and order for his personal assistant to be "taken out." At the time of his arrest, AC/DC were in the middle of preparing for the release of their latest album Rock Or Bust. Back in February of this year, the band announced that former drummer Chris Slade would be replacing Rudd for the album's tour. The band are currently touring now, their first without co-founding member Malcolm Young, who was forced to retire on the account of his dementia. Nephew Stevie Young has taken his place.

I can't say I'm surprised about Phil's sentence. I think it's also safe to say that Rudd will probably not be in AC/DC again.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Chris Squire dead at 67

Christopher Russell Edward Squire
March 4, 1948 - June 28, 2015

Chris Squire, bassist and co-founding member of legendary progressive rock band Yes, passed away last night in Phoenix, Arizona after a short battle with acute erythroid leukemia- a rare form of leukemia. Squire was 67. Squire had announced his diagnosis on May 19 of this year and planned to take a break from performing while he underwent treatment. At the time of his passing, Squire was the only constant member in Yes- playing on all 21 of their studio albums. 

Squire was born in London, England in the suburb of Kingsbury. Even in his youth. Squire already had his future set on music as he sang in one or two boys' choirs. When it came to picking up the bass, Squire cited the Beatles and Paul McCartney as his inspiration. Sometime in the late 1960s, Squire met singer Jon Anderson. The two made a connection in their love for rock music, as well as vocal groups. In 1968, Yes was formed by Anderson and Squire, along with guitarist Peter Banks, drummer Bill Bruford and keyboardist Tony Kaye. Although Banks and Kaye would leave shortly into the beginning of the 1970s, the band went on with Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman. The band were at their peak in the early 1970s with progressive rock classics such as Fragile and Close to the Edge. The band even scored a few hit singles with "Roundabout," "Long Distance Runaround," "I've Seen All Good People" and later in the 1980s- "Owner of a Lonely Heart." Throughout their near five decade career, Squire was the only member in Yes who had never left. Aside from Yes, Squire released one solo album- 1975's Fish Out of Water

It's sad to hear of Chris' passing. I can't say I'm too surprised, given how his peers who were diagnosed at his age didn't survive. What frustrates me the most about Chris' passing is that the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame have still NOT inducted Yes. They've been nominated a few times in the last few years but nope: they had to induct the young and healthy members of Green Day and Nirvana first. Chris is just one of several dozen musicians who've been screwed and didn't get to see themselves inducted. However, maybe it doesn't really matter: Chris stayed with his band till the very end. That's something to be proud of. 

Rest in peace, Chris. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Iron Maiden to release The Book of Souls in September

Heavy metal legends Iron Maiden have announced the release of their next studio album. The album, The Book of Souls, wil be Iron Madien's sixteenth studio album. Not only is it the band's first album since 2010's The Final Frontier but it's also the band's first ever double studio album. Consisting of 11 songs and clocking in at 92 minutes, it's the longest album Maiden have ever made. The album is slated for release on September 4.

It's good to hear that Maiden are releasing a new album. I really wanted to like The Final Frontier but it was difficult. It was okay but it was the production that made it hard to listen to. I've said it many times before: it wasn't because of any "loudness war." This was weird: the music sounded like it kept changing the volume manually. So this makes not want to get Maiden's new album However, there's been nothing else to listen to from this year so I will consider getting it or listen to it streaming.

The tracking list is as follows...

Disc 1
1. If Eternity Should Fail
2. Speed of Light
3. The Great Unknown
4. The Red and the Black
5. When the River Runs Deep
6. The Book Of Souls

Disc 2
7. Death or Glory
8. Shadows of the Valley
9. Tears of a Clown
10. The Man of Sorrows
11. Empire of the Clouds



Thursday, June 11, 2015

Rock Recap: The Doors and David Gilmour

Post Jim Morrison albums to be reissued 

After years of being out of print, Elektra Records will finally be releasing the Doors' two post Jim Morrison albums- Other Voices and Full Circle- on CD. The albums will be released together as a two-CD pack. In terms of the sound, the albums have been newly remastered by Doors engineer Bruce Botnick. Along with the two albums will be one bonus track called "Treetrunk," a single-only release that was the B-side to "Get Up And Dance" from Full Circle. No word on if there'll be any new liner notes but it is known that albums will receive vinyl reissues. The vinyl reissue of Full Circle will included the original foldout zoetrope  packaging. The two-pack set is set for release on September 4.

David Gilmour announces new solo album

Former Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour has officially announced the release of a new studio album. The album, Rattle That Lock, will be released in September of this year. It will be Gilmour's first studio album since 2006's On An Island. Overall, this is Gilmour's fourth solo album. With the release of the new album, Gilmour plans to tour starting in September. However, Gilmour doesn't plan to come to North America until 2016.  


Note: I'm aware I've been inactive on my blog for a month now. That's because of two reasons: one is that I've been focusing on selling records, as well as trying to deal with a lousy job at CVS. The other reason is that there really hasn't been any news lately on classic rockers that's worth posting here. Every day, I have the habit of checking Rolling Stone and Ultimate Classic Rock for news. In these last few months, there hasn't been anything.  For the last few months, there's been little to no news. Okay, so the Zeppelin reissues are still going but I usually post about things only if I'm going to buy them. I know that sounds stupid but in my defense, a lot has been written about the Zeppelin remasters- and even as a Zeppelin fan- I'm just not interested in spending money on something I already have. I've heard the remasters and I just don't hear any difference. The same goes for the Sticky Fingers remaster: I'm quite happy with the 1994 remaster and there's nothing incredible on the second disc.  For the last few months,   I have not forgotten about this blog and I will try my best to keep posting, for those who even read it.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Ringo Starr- Postcards from Paradise album review

 Ringo Starr - Postcards From Paradise
Ring Starr
Postcards from Paradise
Rating: *** 1/2

Believe it or not, Ringo Starr will be inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame this year for his solo career. Since the announcement, people have been asking one question: why? In Ringo’s defense, he is not being inducted as a performer but rather for “musical excellence.” While he didn’t have the strongest solo career, Ringo has never stopped working since the break-up of the Beatles. Whether he’s with his All Starr Band, on his solo albums or someone else’s album, Ringo is indeed a trailblazer. Ringo’s latest album, Postcards from Paradise, proves this point: it’s Starr’s 18th studio album, his first since 2012’s Ringo 2012. Compared to Ringo 2012, Postcards from Paradise is an improvement as the album is longer and doesn’t feel rushed (Ringo 2012 was less than half an hour). Still, the album is certainly not an instant classic. If anything, Ringo makes his albums for fun. With that being said, Postcards from Paradise is a fun album to listen to.

            When looking at the tracking list for the album, I was impressed to see that there wasn’t a song with “Liverpool” in the title. The opening track, “Rory and the Hurricanes,” might’ve mostly taken place in Liverpool. The song is a sweet autobiographical 50s rock n roll number about Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, the band Ringo was in prior to joining the Beatles. While it might be seen as corny, I personally enjoy the song and love how Ringo is paying tribute to the band that gave him his start. The psychedelic reggae “You Bring the Party Down” is an interesting track: while this is Ringo’s song, it reminds me of a John Lennon solo track. During the chorus, I can easily imagine Lennon giving a hearty vocal performance (“I Found Out” comes to mind). If Lennon was an influence on the track, I would not be surprised.

            The next few tracks are, in my opinion, fall on the weak side. “Bridges” has a strong vocal performance from Ringo but nothing more while “Right Side of the Road” just doesn’t go anywhere. The title track, which is the album’s lead single, might be cringe-worthy for some listeners. The song is written in the form of a letter, with Ringo referencing Beatles songs Gene Shalit style. It’s not a bad song, mind you. In fact, it’s kind of cute in a way. The second half of the album is stronger. “Not Looking Back” is a beautiful slow ballad with solid lyrics while the guitar and keyboard led “Touch and Go” is simply catchy. The festive “Bamboula” features some impressive drumming, celebrating all things New Orleans. The reggae influence is strong on this album and can be heard throughout most of the album. This is certainly the case for “Island in the Sun,” as it features island steel drums and rousing saxophone playing.

            Overall, Postcards from Paradise is a fun album from Ringo Starr. When it comes to Ringo’s solo career, his work has always paled in contrast to the albums John, Paul and George have released. In terms of consistency, I’d say this is probably Ringo’s most solid album since 2008’s Liverpool 8. Whether you’re a Beatles and/or Ringo fan, you’ll enjoy this album.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Cynthia Lennon dead at 75

Cynthia Powell Lennon
September 10, 1939-April 1, 2015

Cynthia Lennon, first wife of John Lennon, died on Wednesday April 1 after a battle with cancer. Lennon was 75. According to sources, Ms. Lennon died in her house in Spain with her son, Julian, by her side. 

Born Cynthia Powell, Ms. Lennon was the youngest of three children. At a young age, Cynthia was a promising young artist. When she was 17, her father passed away from lung cancer. A year later, Cynthia enrolled at the Liverpool College for Art in 1957. It was there where she met John Lennon. The two were friends at first, given Cynthia was engaged. When her engagement didn't work out, she and John started to date on and off in the next few year. John would later go on to be one of the founding members of the Beatles. Already, John had dropped out of college and set out to become a musician. While the band toured in Hamburg, John would stay in contact with Cynthia. By 1962, the Beatles had a record deal and were managed by Brian Epstein. However in August 1962, Cytnhia discovered she was pregnant with John's child. As the story goes, John immediately insisted they had to get married- which they did on August 23 of that year. Their child, John Charles Julian Lennon, was born on April 8, 1963.

At the time of Julian's birth, Beatlemania was just beginning to take over the world. As a result, John was not at home with his family as much. Sometimes, Cynthia would join her husband on tour but Epstein tried to keep the marriage on the down low. Cynthia would stay married to John until 1968 when the couple divorced, after John admitted to having an affair with Japanesse artist Yoko Ono as well as Cynthia admitting to having an affair with their friend, Magic Alex. John and Cynthia's divorce would go on to inspire Paul McCartney to pen the Beatles hit "Hey Jude," a song written as a message to Julian as a way to cope with the divorce of his parents. After her divorce from John, 
Cynthia would wed another three times: Roberto Bassanini (1970-1973), John Twist (1976-1983) and Noel Charles (2002-2013, when Charles passed). 

Even though she divorced from Lennon, she would briefly reconnected with him sometime during 1973-74 during Lennon's "Lost Weekend," when he was separated from Ono for 18 months. Lennon's partner, May Pang, encouraged Lennon to spend more time with Julian. As a result, Cynthia was sometimes present.  Cynthia would go on to write two books about Lennon: A Twist in Lennon in 1978 (a book that Lennon himself tried to stop from being published) and John in 2005. She also continued to raise Julian, as she attained full custody of him (Like his father, Julian went on to become a musician himself, releasing his debut Valotte in 1984).

Aside from writing two books on her life with Lennon, Cynthia would continue to be an active person in the world of the Beatles- making appearances in documentaries and turning up every now and then. In 1995, she released a single- covering Mary Hopkin's 1968 hit "Those Were The Days." (which Paul McCartney had written and produced). On October 9, 2010, she and Julian unveiled the John Lennon Peace Monument in Liverpool in honor of what would've been Lennon's 70th birthday. The night before, Cynthia attended Julian's photo exhibition. Also in attendance was Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon, John and Yoko's son. For one night, the Lennon clan were together in peace.

It is sad to hear of Cynthia's passing. From what I've read and heard over the years, she seemed like a well-spoken and intelligent woman. As Paul and Yoko have said, she raised Julian wonderfully, who is now a talented musician and photographer. With Cynthia's passing, she is the third Beatle wife to have passed away- the first two being Maureen Starkey in 1994 to leukemia and Linda McCartney in 1998 to breast cancer.

Rest in peace, Cynthia.