Monday, January 31, 2011

Captain Beefheart's original Bat Chain Puller album to be released soon

I've heard this before from two sources. While on Frank Zappa's site, I saw that Gail Zappa (Frank's widow) was going to answer questions if they were sent to an email address. Much to my surprise, she replied! The paragraph below is what I've learned:

Though Don Van Vliet might be dead, there seems to be a demand now for his music. Just a few weeks ago, the long lost Lick My Decals Off, Baby was released on iTunes, Amazon's MP3 Store, and other digital music services. Beefheart fans, prepare for more: According to Gail Zappa, the original Bat Chain Puller album will be released at some point this year. Some of you might be curious as to why I asked Gail. It turns out Frank Zappa, Beefheart's long-time buddy, was going to release the album on Zappa and Herb Cohen (Zappa's manager)'s  DiscReet Records label in 1976. The album was recorded in 1976 and almost complete. However, the album was shelved when Beefheart's current label, Mercury, came into play (in short: being signed to two record labels at the same time equals conflict). When Beefheart was signed to Warner Bros. in 1978, the album was re-recorded with Beefheart's new Magic Band. That album was released in 1978 under the new title Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller). The original unreleased album has been leaked via bootlegs over the years but after asking Gail Zappa whether the original would be released, she said yes. She also said that Frank did not produce the original album (which I always thought). Gail also said in the e-mail that the liner notes are "fabulous and filled with stories about the magical Captain".

Well, this is pretty cool news! It's even cooler when you hear it from Gail Zappa herself! I'm definitely getting this when it comes out. You can expect a review up here when it comes out. Stay tuned!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Judas Priest are writing new material

Veteran heavy metal band, Judas Priest, are reportedly working on new material. On the band's official web site, the site reads that the band is working together and that "all is going really well". The site also said there'll be more details later. Guitarist Glenn Tipton said on his website that the band is planning on their last world tour. Tipton says for fans not to worry about this farewell tour, that was announced in December last year, as this tour does not mean the band is ending. Tipton confirmed that the band is writing new material. If released, this'll be the band's first album since 2008's epic concept album Nostradamus.

This is great to hear that Priest are going to make another album. I never got to pick up Nostradamus but I hear the album was way too over the top. I mean, there are two discs! This isn't like Priest! Also, I'm confused by Glenn's statement. The band are on their farewell tour but they aren't breaking up? I thought Priest was ending for sure. Are you telling the truth, Glenn? I'm having a heart attack here! This isn't too strange: I think Queen went on a farewell tour and just stopped performing around 1986 but they made two more studio albums until Freddie passed. I'm not sure. Whatever the case may be, it's good to hear that the Metal Gods are in the studio!

Deep Bands: New York Dolls


It's been a while since I wrote an entry for Deep Bands. I wanted to write on these guys for a long time. The time seems right with their new album coming out soon. Before its release, learn about the band's history...mostly!

The genre of punk rock may’ve not been created by anybody. Personally, I think the four bands who brought the genre to its existence would be The Velvet Underground, MC5, the Stooges, and the New York Dolls. While they may not sound familiar, the New York Dolls set an example for the other punk bands that were also from New York. They even had an impact on hard rock and glam rock, as they were known for performing in lipstick and fishnets. The band also showed that it was okay if the members in your band had minimal musicianship, which is what made the New York Dolls fun.
            It was around the mid-1960s when guitarist Sylvain Sylvain and drummer Billy Murcia met each other at school. Both were good friends throughout middle and high school and in 1967, they formed a band. At some point, a guy named Johnny Thunders joined on bass.  Sylvain left at the beginning of the 1970’s and went to London. When Murica left, Thunders formed another band. Thunders took on the role of guitarist and with him at first was guitarist Rick Rivets and bassist Arthur “Killer” Kane. Murica later joined as the drummer. Thunders tried being the lead singer but when he got tired of it, singer David Johansen joined the band. Rivets left in 1971 and was replaced by Sylvain. With Johansen, Thunders, Sylvain, Kane, and Murica the New York Dolls were born. The band got their name from Sylvain and Murica. While Sylvain and Murcia used to work at a clothing store called Truth and Soul, there was a place across the street called the New York Doll Hospital. The band played their first gig on Christmas Eve 1971. The band was influenced by R&B group but mostly the female ones. They also liked the earlier material by the Rolling Stones and liked the MC5 and the Stooges. Their glam attire was mostly inspired by Marc Bolan from T. Rex.  Within months, the New York Dolls had made it far. In 1972, they were offered to tour with either the Faces or Rod Stewart (one source says the Faces but another said it was Stewart, who was the singer for the Faces). Shortly into the tour on November 6, 1972 Murica died under somewhat mysterious circumstances. Murica was said to have passed out or died from a mix of alcohol and drugs. It has also been said that when his Murica’s girlfriend saw him, she put him in a bath tub and force-fed him some black coffee. No one is quite sure what happened next. So, Murica apparently died from drowning in the bath tub or even one book suggests, the coffee.
             It didn’t take long for the band to try and find another drummer. Murica was replaced by drummer Jerry Nolan. Before the band hired Nolan, they had been signed to Mercury Records. With that, the band began recording what would become their legendary debut album. Released in 1973, New York Dolls was produced by Todd Rundgren (although Rundgren later said that he barely touched the recording). The band had some love in America and played mostly around New York. In fact, Creem magazine had them as the best and the worst band of 1973. The band also toured Europe and made an appearance on the Old Grey Whistle Test. Host Bob Harris compared them negatively to the Rolling Stones. In 1974, the band began work on their second album. In the producer’s seat this time was George “Shadow” Morton, best known for producing the Shangri-Las (one of the band’s favorite groups). The album, Too Much Too Soon, was released in 1974. Sales for the album, as well as the debut, were terrible. As a result, Mercury dropped the band. Drugs were in the mix also. The band was able to get around and toured for a while. For some time, the band performed in new attire: red patent leather, for the faux red communism theme going at the venue. No one liked it. In 1975, both Thunders and Nolan left the band during their Florida tour. Future W.A.S.P. frontman Blackie Lawless replaced Thunders for the rest of the tour (which meant Lawless was in the band for only two weeks). Kane also left and was replaced by Peter Jordan. Johansen, Sylvain, and Jordan went on tour for a while joined with drummer Tony Machine and keyboardist Chris Robinson. In 1976, the band played their last 28 shows (with Robinson replaced by Bobby Blaine). By 1976, the New York Dolls were over.
            Each of the five members of the Dolls went on to do something else. Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan both formed The Heartbreakers. The band released on album before breaking up around 1978. Johnny Thunders went on to have a solo career and tour frequently. Sylvain Sylvain continued to play and David Johansen had a solo career. Johansen, however, had an unexpected hit but not as David Johansen. Under the name and alter ego Buster Poindexter, he had a hit single in 1987 with the dance hit “Hot, Hot, Hot”. Johansen even got some acting gigs here and there.  As for Arthur Kane, he went a different path.  He stayed away from music and became an alcoholic. One night while at home, Kane watched the movie Scrooged. When Kane saw the scene with Johansen in it, he became depressed and jumped out of a three story window. Kane survived since a door cover saved him. The impact, however, caused some damage and it affected his speech. In 1989, Kane shocked all of his friends when he joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and became a Mormon. On April 23, 1991, Johnny Thunders died under mysterious circumstances. Some believe that Thunders overdosed. While that is true in part, Thunders also had advanced leukemia according to the autopsy. Thunders had plans to reunite with Jerry Nolan. Then almost a year later on January 14, 1992, Jerry Nolan died after being in a coma as a result of a stroke. Nolan was also very sick as he was being treated for both bacterial meningitis and bacterial pneumonia.
            Despite the deaths of Thunders and Nolan, the New York Dolls’ legacy lived on with the release of several archival albums and compilations. The band had also influenced many over years including Kiss, Guns N Roses, Hanoi Rocks, Motley Crue, Faster Pussycat, and the Smiths just to name a few. Speaking of the Smiths, Morrissey asked Johansen, Sylvain, and Kane if they’d liked to play at the Meltdown Festival in 2004. They agreed to do it. Replacing Thunders and Nolan were Steve Conte and Gary Powell, retrospectively. The show was a great success. The band had plans to tour and release a live album of the 2004 show. Those plans were halted on July 13, 2004 when Arthur Kane passed away from leukemia. In 2005, Johansen and Sylvain announced that they would go on tour with a new line-up and even release a new album. The new band included Johansen, Sylvain, guitarist Steve Conte, former Hanoi Rocks bassist Sami Yaffa, drummer Brian Delaney, and keyboarist Brian Koonin. In 2006, One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This was released. While some were against the idea of the Dolls reuniting with most of the members dead, the album received positive reviews and it got the band back on the music scene. In 2009, the band released Cause I Sez So. The album saw the band reunited with Todd Rundgren, who had produced the first album. As of 2011, the New York Dolls are planning yet another tour and another album. The current line-up is David Johansen, Sylvain Sylvain, Brian Delaney, former Blondie guitarist Frank Infante, and bassist Jason Hill. The band’s fifth album, Dancing Backward in High Heels, will be released on March 15, 2011.


Recommended albums: New York Dolls and Too Much Too Soon

Personal Thoughts: For the longest time until 2006, the Dolls only had two studio albums. Both of them are great. I personally prefer the debut over Too Much Too Soon (like many others). If you really like both of those albums, consider on getting the reunion albums: One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This and Cause I Sez So. Both are great albums.

Recommended songs: Personality Crisis, Looking for A Kiss, Trash, Jet Boy, Pills, Stranded in the Jungle, Babylon, Human Being, Chatterbox, Who Are The Mystery Girls?, We’re All In Love, Dance Like A Monkey, Cause I Sez So

Recommended compilations: There aren’t too many. There are two that I know of. One is the 20th Century Masters one, which has covered many artists. The problem with that series is that their song selection is too short. Personally, I’d get Rock N Roll which is a compilation that contains the best of the first two albums and even throws in some unreleased studio material. But seriously, I would get the first two studio albums. You can decide for yourself which songs are the best. 


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Kiss to hit the studio in March- new album due later this year

As mentioned in one of the posts before, Kiss are indeed going to begin recording their next studio album. This was confirmed by guitarist Tommy Thayer recently. According to Thayer, the band should be in the studio sometime in March (some sites say March 20). Thayer also says that the band are writing new material already and he says that the next album will "kick butt". As for producer, Thayer says guitarist/frontman Paul Stanley will produce the album. This will be Kiss' 20th album (not including the four solo albums the band released in 1978). Kiss' last album, Sonic Boom, was released October of 2009. Sonic Boom was the band's first album in eleven years since 1998's Psycho Circus. Sonic Boom has become the highest charting album for Kiss, as it reached up to #2.

I'm extremely happy that the guys are going back in the studio. It really surprises me that the next album is coming out only two years after Sonic Boom did. I loved Sonic Boom and I hope this next album kicks some serious ass. Obviously, this line-up is getting along. Gene, Paul, Tommy, and Eric are all great guys and are really good musicians. I'm also fine with Paul being producer cause he's awesome. The album should be out before the year is done so I'll be waiting!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Van Halen in the studio- recording a new album

Although not completely confirmed, it has been reported by various sites and even the producer that Van Halen are in the studio recording a new studio album. The current line-up of Van Halen is David Lee Roth on vocals, Eddie Van Halen on guitar, Alex Van Halen on drums, and Eddie's 19 year old son Wolfgang Van Halen (aka Wolfie) on bass. If this album is complete, it'll be the first Van Halen album to feature singer David Lee Roth since the 1984 album from uh...1984. However their producer is a curious choice as pointed out by radio DJ and host of That Metal Show on VH1 Classic, Eddie Trunk. The producer for Van Halen's new album will be John Shanks, who confirmed in a tweet on Twitter that he was indeed producing the band's next album. Shanks does have some rock credibility, having produced Bon Jovi's last couple of albums. Shanks has also produced albums for Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac, and Jane's Addiction but his rock credits end there. According to Wikipedia Shanks has produced albums by Kelly Clarkson, Diana DeGarmo, Bo Bice (all former American Idol finalists), Lindsay Lohan, Hillary Duff, Sheryl Crow, Miley Cyrus, and other lame-ass artists.

This is both good and bad. It's good because it's been a long time since Van Halen have released an album. Their last album was 1998 dud Van Halen III which was the only Van Halen album to feature Extreme singer Gary Cherone (note that I don't own the album. I got every Van Halen album except Balance and Van Halen III. I just hear it sucks). Van Halen have been reunited with Diamond Dave since 2007. What bothers me about the new Van Halen is that original bassist, Michael Anthony, was kicked out for ridiculous reasons. So who's hired to replace him? Eddie's teenage son, Wolfie. I'm not saying that Wolfie is a bad person or musician. I went to see this line-up during that 2007 tour and they were great. What bothers me is that we were so close to having the original line-up back together. Also, Wolfie is only a few months older than me which isn't right. You don't put a kid in Van Halen. It looks like Wolfie is there to stay so I've lived with this. The choice in producer for the album is very weird. This Shanks guy may've produced Bon Jovi but it's their newer material he's produced, which isn't liked much by fans who like the albums Slippery When Wet and New Jersey. In short, Shanks seems like the producers who over-polishes rock albums.

Still, I'll definetely get the new album and be judge the album when it's actually out. Hopefully, Van Halen got a kick-ass album up their sleeves!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Lick My Decals Off Baby and other Captain Beefheart albums: now on iTunes

Today, I got a Beefheart DVD in the mail called In Performance. I was surprised by how many performances with the so-called "Tragic Band" were on the DVD. While looking on Beefheart websites on more info or other DVDs, I found out some exciting news on the Radar Station's Twitter page: Lick My Decals Off, Baby along with other titles by Beefheart, are all on iTunes and Amazon's MP3 store (since last week, apparently). Why is this a big deal, you ask? Read.

Lick My Decals Off, Baby was originally released in 1970 as the follow-up to 1969's Trout Mask Replica. The album, surprisingly, went to #20 in the UK charts! This album follows in the same vein as Trout Mask Replica but the album is much shorter than Trout and has a dark element added. Like many albums, Beefheart's albums soon made their way to compact disc. Decals did but it went out of print very quickly. If you were to try and find a copy of the album on CD, it would cost you $50 more or less. You can, however, buy the album on vinyl which was reissued in 2000. A year ago, I was forced to this one and transfered it with my USB turntable. I've listened to the album about a dozen times (it takes a while to get into it) and now, it's much easier to get the album.

You can buy Lick My Decals Off, Baby on iTunes for $10.99 and on Amazon's MP3 store for $10.49. For those of you who aren't into buying music digitally, I suggest you try. The good thing is that it's legal and you can burn the album onto a CD-R, which can be your hard copy. Online music stores have been a miracle for me when it comes to finding obscure albums by obscure artists. I still think nothing beats going out to the record stores and looking through all those CDs and vinyls but the prices are cheaper and its basically the same thing (to me at least. If you're worried about sound quality, look elsewhere). Along with Decals, you can also find The Spotlight Kid and Clear Spot both for $9.90 and $9.99. I recommend getting those albums on CD because currently in print, both albums have been put onto one disc. Other Beefheart albums like Safe As Milk, Mirror Man (under The Mirror Man Sessions), Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller), Doc at the Radar Station, and Ice Cream for Crow can all be found on iTunes and Amazon's MP3 store (minus Shiny Beast).

For Decals, here are the links to purchase them:

iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/lick-my-decals-off-baby/id415007099
Amazon MP3: http://www.amazon.com/Lick-My-Decals-Off-Baby/dp/B004JAWD20/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&s=dmusic&qid=1295886818&sr=1-11

For Amazon, make sure you install the software and have some kind of media player to listen to the music on.

As for those of you who want The Spotlight Kid and/or Clear Spot:
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-spotlight-kid/id415006591
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/clear-spot/id415005561

Sunday, January 23, 2011

David Bowie's Station to Station is 35

 David Bowie - Station to Station
David Bowie
Station to Station
1976
Rating: ****

David Bowie had undergone a few transformations in his career by 1976. He started out as a pop singer, evolved into a glam rock superstar, and then a blue-eyed soul singer. His 1976 release, Station to Station, is considered by many to be one of Bowie's finest. This was the album that followed up the soulful Young Americans and was the album before 1977's Low, the first in the so-called "Berlin Trilogy", in which Bowie experimented with Kautrock and Ambient music. 
The album opens up with the self-titled track, which sets the futuristic tone of the entire album. The song starts off with this keyboard and snyth based intro. Bowie mentions in the lyrics the "turn of the Thin White Duke", which introduces listeners to another one of Bowie's alter-egos. However, the Duke had already been introduced during the promotions for Young Americans.  A little after five minutes into the song, the song picks up pace and turns into another song. "Golden Years" is the hit single off the album. The track sees Bowie dabbing into funk and soul again. Legend has it that Bowie wanted Elvis Presley to record the song. It never happened. Of the six songs on the album, this one is my favorite. It's really catchy. "Word on a Wing" is a nice slow song while "TVC 15" is back to funk soul. Bowie showcases some nice vocals on "Stay", making it easily a highlight on the album. The mighty "Wild is the Wind" closes the album wonderfully. 
Currently, Station to Station isn't in my top albums list of the 200 album on my list. I'm working on getting it into my list. In all honesty, I'm not crazy over Station to Station like some people are. Still, the songs are great and the musicianship is amazing. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Music producer and publisher Don Kirshner dies (1934-2011)

Don Kirshner, the man behind the Monkees and the Archies, passed away yesterday in Boca Raton, Florida. He was 76 years old. Kirshner was the producer for the the Monkees, who had their own TV show for two seasons. Kirshner, however, wanted the Monkees to be more of a fictional band although the guys in the band wanted to play their own instruments and be a real band. Kirshner left the Monkees around 1968 and went on to produce the Archies, a fictional band based on the popular Archie comics. The "band" scored a hit with "Sugar, Sugar". In 1973, Kirshner started his own music variety show called Don Kirshner's Rock Concert. The show's first band to perform was the Rolling Stones. The show lasted up until 1981.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Steven Tyler: "Idol" gig will not stop Aerosmith making a new album

Aerosmith lead singer and new American Idol judge Steven Tyler has recently stated that his gig on Idol will not stop Aerosmith from making a new album. Tyler, who was recently on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno with Idol judges Randy Jackson and Jennifer Lopez and host Ryan Seacrest, stated this recently. According to Tyler, the band will meet up at the end of January to start working on the new album. However in an interview with Rolling Stone, Tyler says that he has one problem: he doesn't know where Joe Perry is. If the album is released, it'll be Aerosmith's first album since 2004's Honkin' On a Bobo. However, Bobo was a blues album filled with covers of old blues songs. Therefore, it'll be the first album consisting of original material since 2001's Just Push Play.

I'm glad to hear the guys are actually going to record an album. Hopefully, this album can be a comeback for the band. Personally, I hope the album is in the vein of old Aerosmith (ala Toys in the Attic and Rocks). Don't get me wrong about Aerosmith but their recent work is a little to pop for me and thousands of other fans. Some of you might be curious as to why I haven't been writing a lot about Aerosmith. Personally, I'm sick and tired of this soap opera that has been going on since the summer of 2009. During the band's 2009 tour, most of the members Tom Hamilton and then Brad Whitford had to undergo surgery for different reasons. The tour was canceled after Tyler fell off the stage during a performance in August on 2009. Months later, Perry said that Tyler had left the band. However, Tyler claimed he hadn't. After this, I gave up writing on Aerosmith. Since this news was somewhat positive, I decided to write something up. Here's hoping that the bull in Aerosmith ends soon.

Alice Cooper's Love It To Death is 40

 Alice Cooper - Love It to Death
Alice Cooper
Love It To Death
1971
Rating: **** or **** 1/2


In 1971, the Alice Cooper band were just your average rock band trying to make it big. However, the band were doing something that people hadn't seen before or not enough of: theatrics in rock. Althoguh the Alice Cooper band were doing something that had been done previously by Screamin' Jay Hawkins and Arthur Brown, Alice and the gang were unpredictable. The band's third album, Love It To Death, is sometimes referred to as Alice's (and/or the band's) first great album. The album isn't just an important album to the heavy metal genre but probably music itself. Love It To Death catapulted Alice and the guys to rock super-stardom.

The Alice Cooper band originally formed a little before 1968 but had come up with the name Alice Cooper until that year. The band consisted of singer Alice Cooper (born as Vincent Furnier. Alice quickly earned his stage name due to the band's name. Around 1974, he legally changed it to Alice Cooper), guitarists Michael Bruce and Glen Buxton, bassist Dennis Dunaway, and drummer Neal Smith. The band tried and write scary music while in shocking attire. In their early gigs, the band scared most of the audience away. This caught the interest of Frank Zappa, who signed the band to his Straight Records label in 1969. The band's first album, Pretties for You, wasn't well received then and still isn't today. The album was filled with trippy songs about nothing. The band tried again with 1970's Easy Action. Although the album was a slight improvement over the debut, it still wasn't good enough. In 1971, Straight Records was swallowed whole by Warner Brothers and signed the band as a result. In 1971, the band released Love It To Death.

"Caught In a Dream" starts off this classic album. The theme of the song is about fame and glory, although the Alice Cooper band may've not been experiencing this at this part in their career.  Perhaps that's where the lyric of "I'm right in between so I'll/ Just stick along with you" comes in. Still, it's ironic how most of this would happen with the success of this album."I'm Eighteen" is, of course, the hit single off the album. It's a song of rebellion and is one of those songs that a teenager can relate to and say "Yes! That's exactly how I feel!" "I'm Eighteen" is a anthem, in the same way the Who had in 1965 with "My Generation". "Long Way to Go" is an example of a great classic rock album track. Alice speaks highly of the song today and frequently plays it on his radio show. This is the song where the album gets its title from ("I guess I love it/Love it to death!"). "Black Juju" is the longest song on the album, clocking in at nine minutes. It's also one of Alice's creepiest songs. When the band plays this live, Alice usually does his hypnotizing act which is also done on the album. By the time your "asleep", Alice gives you a rude awakening when he yells "Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!" "Is It My Body" questions one's attraction to Alice. There is a hint of humor in the song: a woman liking a man for his looks, rather than his personality. "Hallowed Be My Name" is another creepy song dealing with "cursing their lovers" and "cursing the bible". Judging by the title, the song has religion written all over it. "Second Coming" is, for me, my least favorite song off the album. Still, the song has great lyrics and has a very dark feeling. The next song, "Ballad of Dwight Fry", is my favorite song off the album. Dwight Frye was, of course, an actor that was in classic horror movies such as Dracula and Frankenstein. The song is being told by a character that Frye would've probably played. My favorite bit: Alice's rambling of "I want to get out of here". Picture that with him in a straight jacket. The album closes with the surprising melodic "Sun Arise". What a mellow way to end such a dark album.

Love It To Death is definitely in my top 200. Currently, it stays at #68. Love It To Death frequently appears on lists of the greatest albums ever. Without this album, there probably wouldn't have been no more Alice Cooper after two albums. With Love It To Death, the Alice Cooper band and the man known as Alice Cooper could continue their career. Without a doubt, Love It To Death is an essential album to the hard rock and heavy metal genres...and of course the sub genre known as shock rock.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Y&T bassist Phil Kennemore dies at 57

Phil Kennemore, bassist for the hard rock band Y&T, died yesterday after his battle with lung cancer. He was 57 years old. Kennemore was one of the founding members of Y&T along with guitarist/singer Dave Meniketti, guitarist Joey Alves, and drummer Leonard Haze. The band formed in 1972 originally under the name Yesterday and Today, taking their name from American release by the Beatles of the same name. In 1980, the band shortened their name to Y&T. The band were sort of popular around the California area. They found their most sucess in the 1980's with songs such as "Lipstick and Leather" and "Summertime Girls". The band broke up in 1991 but reunited in 1995 sporadically until reuniting for good in 2001. Kennemore and singer Dave Meniketti were the only original members to not leave the band. In 2010, the band released a new studio album called Facemelter.

It's sad to hear of Phil's passing. I had read about Phil's illness. In all honesty, I'm not in anyway a fan of Y&T but I first heard of them around 2002 or 2003 when I saw both the videos for "Lipstick and Leather" and "Summertime Girls" on VH1 Classic and thought they were a good band. My thoughts and prayers go out to Phil's family and all of his friends, including the guys in Y&T. I'm going to have to get an album of theirs now...in Phil's memory.

Rest in peace, Phil.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Phil Lynott (1949-1986)- 25 years later

Philip Parris Lynott
August 20, 1949- January 4, 1986

Twenty-five years ago today, rock music lost one of it's best. His name was Phil Lynott, bassist and lead singer for the hard rock group Thin Lizzy. Phil Lynott was born in the UK to a 17 year old Philomena Lynott. Lynott's father had  already left and abandoned Philomena. His name was Cecil Parris and was known to have been Afro-South American or Brazilian. Therefore, Phil stuck out for the rest of his life as a black person. Lynott formed Thin Lizzy in 1969 with childhood friend and drummer Brian Downey and guitarist Eric Bell. The trio made three albums that barely did anything. The band did, however, have a hit with their cover of the traditional Irish song "Whiskey in the Jar". Bell left in late 1973, which left Lynott and Downey without a guitarist. They hired both guitarists Brian "Robo" Robertson and Scott Gorham. Both Robertson and Gorham were lead guitarists, a sound that would make the band famous. The band hit it big in 1976 with the release of Jailbreak. The album include some of the band's best known songs, including "The Boys Are Back In Town". Thin Lizzy continued to record and tour, with some line-up changes along the way. In 1983, Thin Lizzy embarked on their farewell tour. After Lizzy's split, Lynott formed a new band called Grand Slam. The band lasted for less than a year. In his last year, Lynott increased his drug using. In late 1985, Lynott had tried stopping and was well enough to attend a Christmas part on Christmas day in 1985. Supposedly, Lynott was given a "present" in an envelope of which he opened and used at home. Lynott's mother discovered her son passed out on the floor that night and quickly got her son to a hospital. Philomena was upset to discover holes in her son's skin (including his foot) from years of drug use. On January 4 1986, Lynott passed away from complications of pneumonia, although people believe it came from Lynott's drug use especially heroin. Lynott was just 36 years old.

Lynott's memory, legacy, and music still live on to this day. In the mid 1990's, Thin Lizzy reunited. As of 2011 guitarist Scott Gorham, drummer Brian Downey, and keyboardist Darren Wharton are the only three of the six members in the reunited Thin Lizzy that played with Lynott in the original band. This band will tour throughout Europe for January and February, paying tribute to Lynott and his music. Lynott's legacy also lives in his children. Lynott had two daughters, Sarah and Cathleen, with his wife Caroline Crowther. In July of 2010, it was confirmed by Philomena Lynott that artist Macdaragh Lambe is the biological son Phil had with a girlfriend in 1968.  Lynott's grave is visited by many and in 2005, a bronze statue of him was unveiled in Dublin, Ireland on Harry Street. 

As a songwriter, Lynott was pretty much overlooked by major critics. Lynott's songs with Thin Lizzy and by himself are some of the most underappreciated songs in hard rock and heavy metal. Lynott wrote about partying in songs like "The Boys Are Back In Town" and "The Rocker". He also wrote about life including his own. Examples include songs like "Philomena" (for his mother) and "My Sarah" (for his first child). Lynott also had a fascination in history. Songs like "Massacre" and "Emerald" are great examples. Aside from Lynott's music with Lizzy, he released two solo albums (Solo in Soho and The Philip Lynott Album) and some poetry books. 

Below are two old blog posts from last year...

Deep Bands: Thin Lizzy- A short biography that summarizes Lizzy's entire career.

Phil Lynott's family accept man as rocker's son- Article from July about Phil's son, Macdaragh Lambe.

Rest in peace, Phil. Twenty-five years later, we still miss you. God bless.