Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Runaways Movie Review

The Runaways
Rating: *** or *** 1/2
Starring: Kirsten Stewart and Dakota Fanning

There are some stories in rock n roll that get the movie treatment. Sometimes, it's good and other times it can be bad. When it comes to The Runaways, this movie should be on the list of good rock biopics. The movie is based on the story of the all girl rock n roll group who made rock history for the later part of the 1970's. The story of the Runaways has been told before in the documentary Edgeplay. This time, director Floria Sigismondi used an autobiography written by singer Cherie Curry as the script for the movie. The basic story of this movie is the friendship between Cherie and Joan Jett and how their lives are changed by rock n roll. The story is somewhat accurate. One minor flaw is the members of the band. Sure you got Cherie (Dakota Fanning), Joan (Kirsten Stewart), Lita Ford (Scout Taylor-Compton), and Sandy West (Stella Maeve) but with ever-changing bassists, the movie creates a fictional bassist named Robin. Another flaw in the movie is that because the movie is using the Cherie Curry book, this movie only covers what the Runaways were like when Cherie was in the band. Still, the movie is strong. There are a few funny scenes, notable involving Kim Fowley (Michael Shannon). Shannon does a great job playing the bully that bossed the band around. Also, the music rocks. I mean, who doesn't love "Cherry Bomb"? Fanning and Stewart actually sing and play their instruments. The soundtrack also features songs by the Stooges and David Bowie. From what I'm hearing, both Cherie Curry and Joan Jett themselves helped with the making of this movie. Fans of the Twlight movie saga will probably be shocked over a scene where Fanning and Stewart share a kiss or two. This is done all very innocently and should cause no controversy. If you want to see a good rock n roll movie, go and see this movie.

The Runaways is playing in limited theaters until April 9 when it has a wide release.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Deep Bands- Captain Beefheart


WHO?: Captain Beefheart

WHERE?: California

WHEN?: 1966 to 1983

WHAT?: Experimental rock, blues, avant garde

WHY?: Don Van Vliet, aka Captain Beefheart, is one of the most iconic musicians of his time. Much like his friend Frank Zappa, his music attracts a varied crowd. His bluesy voice helped him form his Magic Band in 1966 and release their debut album Safe as Milk a year later. The highlight of Vliet’s career might me his double third album Trout Mask Replica, which was released in 1969 and produced by Frank Zappa. In the 1970’s, Vliet decided to return to straight-forward blues music. He had a comeback around 1978 but it was in 1983 when Vliet decided he should retire. Today, Vliet is a retired recluse who enjoys painting. He’s been terminally ill for years now but his music hasn’t left us.

THE MUSIC

Safe as Milk (1967)- Captain Beefheart is truly an overlooked genius. Safe As Milk has to be one of the most interesting debut albums I've ever heard. The album's sound is raw and fills your speakers up. The Captain's Magic Band back him up on these twelve songs. "Sure Nuff n Yes I Do" is a great little blues song while "Zig Zag Wanderer" might be the better album opener. "Electricity" is easily one of Beefheart's best. How can you not love the way he just snarls "ELEC-TRIC-ATEE!". "Abba Zaba" is neat while "Autumn's Child" showcases Beefhearts raspy vocals. Overall, you got a great debut album (taken from my RateYourMusic review, January 2010).

Trout Mask Replica (1969)- It's one of those albums you either love or hate. If you hated it at first, it may have grown on you. After a first listen, I thought Trout Mask Replica was a great album. There are some parts of me that likes it more than Safe As Milk when it comes to artistic freedom. Captain Beefhart had plenty of that with songs like "Frownland", "Hair Pie", "Neon Meat Dream of a Octofish", and "Old Fart at Play". The album is musically great like Safe As Milk. Songs such as "Ella Guru", "Moonlight on Vermont", "Pachuco Cadaver", and "Hobo Chang Ba" are a few examples. Also, you got Frank Zappa himself producing this. However, the album is 78 minutes (which can luckily fit onto one CD). The listener could grow tired of it as to Safe As Milk, it was a good half-hour deal. Still when you look at it all together, Trout Mask Replica is a fantastic album. There'll probably never be another album like it again (taken from my RateYourMusic review, January 2010).

LINKS

-1997 BBC Documentary URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4M5YE_a4B1U

Friday, March 19, 2010

Deep Bands- Riot

Riot - Fire Down Under


For this entry in Deep Bands, I will be using a different formula for bands I know less about. This new formula may allow me to make Deep Bands a reoccuring thing rather than a monthly thing.

WHO?: Riot

WHERE?: New York

WHEN?: 1975 to present (with a brief hiatus from 1984 to 1986)

WHAT?: Hard rock, heavy metal, speed metal, power metal

WHY?: Formed in 1975 by Mark Reale, Riot are a terribly underrated band. For most of the band’s career, they were confused for Quiet Riot. For the first half of their career, the band were a basic hard rock band. In the late 1980’s, the band switched to power metal. While they are popular in Japan, Riot has a cult following here in the US.

THE MUSIC

What to get

Fire Down Under (1981)- New York hard rock band, Riot, had already released two album that did barely nothing. However their third album, Fire Down Under, would get some attention. Today, listeners consider this to be the band's strongest. From start to finish, Fire Down Under is simple kick-ass hard rock. "Swords and Tequila" is a great opener while the self titled track could be considered speed metal. "Outlaw" is a great rocking song about gambling and "Don't Bring Me Down" has this oh-so-catchy hook and feeling to it. "Altar of the King" is somewhat Thin Lizzy-like while the closer, "Flashbacks" , is great solo from Mark Reale. Fire Down Under is a very overlooked album but remains a classic amongst metal fans (taken from my RateYourMusic review, December 2009).

Thundersteel (1988)- After a two year hiatus, Riot came back screaming with in 1988 with Thundsteel. The line-up was all new except guitarist Mark Reale, who still remains the only original member left in the band. With singer Tony Moore, bassist Don Van Stavern, and drummer Mark Edward (who left before the album was released and replaced by Bobby Jarzombek), the new Riot made a very Judas Priest- sounding album. The album has been strongly connected with the sub-genres of power metal and speed metal. The breakneck speed of the self-titled track is a perfect opener while "Fight or Fall" has a nice structure to it. Moore's vocals resemble to that of Rob Halford's. "On Wings of Eagles" is a great example. The melodic rocker, "Bloodstreets", is perhaps the best remembered song off the album. The album ends fittingly with "Buried Alive". Overall, Thundsteel is a kick-ass power metal album (taken from my RateYourMusic review, December 2009).

LINE-UPS (source: Wikipedia, written by me)

Riot I (1975)

Guy Speranza- vocals

Mark Reale- guitar

Phil Fiet- bass

Peter Bitelli- drums

Steve Costello- keyboards

Riot II (1977-1979)

Guy Speranza- vocals

Mark Reale- guitar

Louie Kouvaris- guitar

Jimmy Iommi- bass

Peter Bitelli- drums

Albums

Rock City (1977)

Riot III (1979-1982)

Guy Speranza- vocals

Mark Reale- guitar

Rick Ventura- guitar

Jimmy Iommi- bass

Peter Bitelli- drums

Albums

Narita (1979)

Riot IV (1981-1982)

Guy Speranza- vocals

Mark Reale- guitar

Rick Ventura- guitar

Kip Leming- bass

Sandy Slavin- drums

Albums

Fire Down Under (1981)

Riot V (1982-1984)

Rhett Forrester- vocals

Mark Reale- guitar

Rick Ventura- guitar

Kip Leming- bass

Sandy Slavin- drums

Albums

Restless Breed (1982)

Born in America (1983)

Break up/ Hiatus: 1984-1986

Riot V (1986-1988)

Tony Moore- vocals

Mark Reale- guitar

Don Van Stavern- bass

Mark Edwards- drums

Riot VI (1988)

Tony Moore- vocals

Mark Reale- guitar

Don Van Stavern- bass

Bobby Jarzombek- drums

Albums

Thundersteel (1988)

Riot VII (1988-1990)

Tony Moore- vocals

Mark Reale- guitar

Mike Flyntz- guitar

Don Van Stavern- bass

Bobby Jarzombek- drums

Albums

The Privilege of Power (1990)

Riot VIII (1990-1992)

Tony Moore- vocals

Mark Reale- guitar

Mike Flyntz- guitar

Pete Perez- bass

Bobby Jarzombek- drums

Riot IX (1992-1999)

Mike DiMeo- vocals

Mark Reale- guitar

Mike Flyntz- guitar

Pete Perez- bass

Bobby Jarzombek- drums (briefly John Macaluso in 1996)

Albums

Nightbreaker (1993)

Brethren of the Long House (1996)

Inishmore (1998)

Shine On (live, 1998)

Sons of Society (1999)

Riot X (1999-2000?)

Mike DiMeo- vocals

Mark Reale- guitar

Mike Flyntz- guitar

Pete Perez- bass

Pat McGrath- drums

Riot XI (2000-2006)

Mike DiMeo- vocals

Mark Reale- guitar

Mike Flyntz- guitar

Pete Perez- bass

Bobby Rondinelli- drums

Albums

Through the Storm (2002)

Riot XII (2006)

Mike DiMeo- vocals

Mark Reale- guitar

Mike Flyntz- guitar

Pete Perez- bass

Frank Gilchriest- drums

Albums

Army of One (2006)

Riot XIII (2006-2008)

Mike Tirelli- vocals

Mark Reale- guitar

Mike Flyntz- guitar

Pete Perez- bass

Frank Gilchriest- drums

Riot VIIa (2008-2009)

Tony Moore- vocals

Mark Reale- guitar

Mike Flyntz- guitar

Don Van Stavern- bass

Bobby Jarzombek- drums

Riot XIV (2009-present)

Mark Reale- guitar

Mike Flyntz- guitar

Don Van Stavern- bass

Bobby Jarzombek- drums

Rest In Peace

Rhett Forrester- shot and killed in 1994 at 37. During an attempted carjacking, he refused to give up his vehicle. His murder remains unsolved.

Guy Speranza- died from pancreatic cancer in 2003 at 47.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sony strikes a deal with the Michael Jackson estate

A seven year , ten project deal was made recently by Sony for $250 million to release Michael Jackson's music. According to RollingStone.com, this deal could mean reissues of the King of Pop's albums, new compilations, and possibly a Cirque du Soleil show featuring Jackson's music. Other possible projects could, of course, include releases of Jackson's unreleased material. According to the article on Rolling Stone, there are over 100 songs Jackson left on his hard drive. This includes, according to manager Frank DiLeo, collaborations with Akon, Will.i.am and Ne-Yo. According to DiLeo, there are many songs from the 1987 Bad album that haven't been released. The new deal could also mean a remix album and a DVD collection of Jackson's iconic music videos.

This is pretty big news for Jackson fans and music itself. I've been reading for years that Michael was working on a new album before he passed away. From what I read, something like this could come out during November or December. The only official posthumous release so far is the "This Is It" song. Only two songs that have been leaked, which include "Another Day" and "A Place with No Name". Also, I'm most interested in seeing a complete collection of Jackson's music videos. Currently, there are the two HIStory DVDs that have most of his music videos. Michael has a total of almost 30 videos and a little over half are on those two DVDs. I'd also like to see the long lost Moonwalker movie released.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

W.A.S.P. Concert Review


Last night in Sayreville, New Jersey, W.A.S.P. rocked the stage at the Starland Ballroom. Guitarist and singer Black Lawless, with guitarist Doug Blair, bassist Mike Duda, and drummer Mike Dupke were the line-up. Before the band hit the stage, a intro tape of "Mephisto Waltz" played. The band hit the stage with both "On Your Knees" and "The Real Me". Blackie then said hello to the crowd and told the crowd that he'll need his..."LOVE Machine". What was impressive is that while the band played, a projector showed music videos to the songs at the exact speed the band was playing. Next the band went into two songs from last year's Babylon called "Crazy" and "Babylon's Burning". Next was "Wild Child" followed by a suite that consisted of "Hellion", "I Don't Need No Doctor", and "Scream Until You Like It". The band then went into three songs from 1992's The Crimson Idol, which included "Arena of Pleasure", "Chainsaw Charlie", and "The Idol". The last time W.A.S.P. toured, they performed The Crimson Idol in its entirety. At one point Blackie told a story about a place charging $50 for a meet and greet with the band.

"W.A.S.P. has never charged for an autograph" said Blackie, to which the crowd roared over.

"Take Me Up" from 2007's Dominator was next before the band got the crowd singing to the anthem of "I Wanna Be Somebody". The band left the stage for about five minutes before they hit the stage again to play "Blind in Texas".

"Good night, New Jersey. See you next time!" said Blackie.


Monday, March 1, 2010

Deep Bands- The Stooges

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Iggy_Pop_@_South_by_Southwest_2007_shot_by_Kris_Krug.jpg

The Stooges are widely considered to be founders of punk rock. Although they weren't around for long, their influence on punk and grunge is huge. The band also saw the start of the career of Iggy Pop.

Iggy Pop was born Jimmy Osterberg on April 21, 1947. In the early 1960's, Osterberg was known as Iggy Iguana as he was in a band called Iggy and the Iguanas. The Stooges formed in Michigan in 1967. Iggy was the singer, brothers Ron and Scott Asheton (guitar and drums) and bassist Dave Alexander made up the band's line up. By this time, Osterberg had changed his name to Iggy Pop. Pop and the Stooges were notorious for their live performance, mostly thanks to Pop. Pop would move around the stage shirtless and often self-mutilate and also stage dive. In 1968, the Stooges were signed to Elekra Records. Elekra was home to the Doors, a band that the Stooges admired deeply. Producing their debut album was former Velvet Underground member John Cale. When Jack Holtzman of Elektra saw they didn't have an album worth of material, he put them in a hotel room and told them to stay there until they had an album. Once they did, the band started recording. Sometimes, Cale's old Velvet Underground friend Nico would stop by. Pop, who had an affair with Nico during this time, remembers Nico knitting in the control room. The Stooges was released in August 1969. The album had the simple "1969" and "No Fun" and the rocker "I Wanna Be Your Dog". Despite what people think of the album today, it was a failure at the time.

In 1970, Fun House was released. For the album, the band was teamed up with saxophonist Steve Mackay. The studio was set up as if it were a stage. The album had the sinister "Down on the Street" and "Loose" and the loud and proud "T.V. Eye". Like the debut album, Fun House did nothing. It is, however, considered by most listeners as the better album as it captured the energy of their live performances. The band finally made it on June 13 that year when they performed at the Cincinnati Pop Festival. Pop had the crowd going nuts and during "T.V. Eye", the audience was carrying Iggy. There in the crowd, someone handed Iggy a jar of peanut butter. Iggy proceeded to smear the peanut butter on his chest and then threw some at the audience. Today, it's considered one of the most iconic moments in punk rock history. In August, Dave Alexander was fired after seeing he was too drunk to perform (Alexander later died from pulmonary edema in 1975). Zeke Zettner then the following year, James Recca, replaced Alexander. When the band had Zettner, the band added a second guitarist named Billy Chetham. Guitarist James Williamson soon replaced him. The band was still going nowhere and drugs were in the mix. The band was known for being heroin users. Iggy was so messed up that he could barely stand up during performances. As a result, Elektra dropped the band. This sent the band on hiatus for a few months.

In September 1971, Iggy Pop met David Bowie. Bowie was a fan of the Stooges and offered to help Pop. Bowie took Pop and James Williamson to the UK and got them signed to Columbia Records. After failing to find any local musicians, Pop invited the Asheton brothers except this time; Ron Asheton was demoted to bass player. The band started to perform again and record a third album. That album, Raw Power, was released in 1973. The album failed to do anything but it would become a massive influence on many. David Bowie produced the record but not to Pop's satisfaction. Pop would later remix the album in 1997 to mixed critical reaction. After adding keyboardist Bob Sheff (then quickly replacing him Scott Thurston), the band rehearsed material for a possible fourth album. This never happened as Columbia dropped the band after the failure of Raw Power. The band kept performing until February 1974 when they broke up. The band's last performance (along with one other performance) is documented on 1976's Metallic K.O..

David Bowie didn't give up on Iggy Pop. In 1977, Pop released two hit albums called The Idiot and Lust for Life. In 1979, he released New Values with James Williamson producing. Pop's solo career was successful but in the early 1980's, Pop was unable to record after one too many bad selling albums. Bowie helped by covering some of the songs he wrote with Iggy such as "China Girl" and "Tonight". This got Iggy performing again. In 2003, Pop and the Asheton brothers reformed the Stooges with Mike Watt on the bass and Steve Mackay back on the saxophone. In 2007, a new Stooges album called The Weirdness was released to mixed reviews. In January 2009, Ron Asheton was found dead in his hotel room. It wasn't until May when Iggy announced James Williamson would be returning on guitar. The band is now touring and will be inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame in March 2010.

Recommended albums: The Stooges, Fun House, and Raw Power

Personal thoughts on the albums: That’s right: get them all. If you must know my favorite, I’ll have to say Fun House. Also, there’ll be people telling you which version of Raw Power you should get. Just get the one you see, which will probably be the 1997 remix. Some people think this is the better mix and is the way the album should be. If you want the David Bowie mix, that’ll be coming out in a three disc box set in April.

Recommended songs: 1969, I Wanna Be Your Dog, No Fun, We Will Fall, Down on the Street, Loose, T.V. Eye, 1970, Dirt, Search and Destory, Gimme Danger, Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell, Raw Power, Shake Appeal

Recommended complitations: There are none! However, there are compilations out with Stooges material on it along with Iggy Pop’s solo material.