Monday, July 16, 2012

Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord dead at 71

Jonathan Douglas Lord
June 9, 1941- July 16, 2012

Jon Lord, keyboardist and one of the founding members of rock band Deep Purple, has died. Lord had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer since August of last year and had been receiving treatment. Lord was 71 years old. According to his publicist, Lord died today at the London Clinic surrounded by his family.

Lord was one of the five members in the original line-up of Deep Purple. The band was formed in 1968 by Lord, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, drummer Ian Paice, bassist Nick Simper, and singer Rod Evans. The band had a hit single with their cover of "Hush". However, Evans and Simper were ejected from the band towards the end of the decade and were replaced by singer Ian Gillian and bassist Roger Glover. For many fans, this line-up is seen as the classic line-up of the band. Some affectionately call this line the "Mark II line-up". Deep Purple would go on to become one of the most successful rock bands of the 1970's with albums such as Deep Purple In Rock, Fireball, Machine Head and songs such as "Child In Time", Highway Star", and of course "Smoke on the Water". The Mark II line-up ended in 1973 when Gillian and Glover were fired. Deep Purple would go on until 1976 and then reunite in 1984 with the Mark II line-up in place. Throughout the band's history, Lord and Paice were the two stable members of the band. This changed in 2002 when Lord announced his retirement from the band in order to do other projects. Lord was also a member of Whitesnake for a period of time.

I'm very saddened to hear about Jon's passing. In all honesty, we all knew about Jon's cancer since last year. So in some way, this isn't too much of a shock. Still, Jon's passing has a pretty big impact on the world of rock music. He was without a doubt one of the greatest keyboardists in rock music. He will be missed.

Rest in peace, Jon.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Steven Tyler leaves American Idol

Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler has announced today that he will not be returning to be a judge for American Idol for a third season. In a statement given to the press today, Tyler has cited that he will be focusing more on Aerosmith. Tyler joined the hit Fox reality show in 2011 for the show's tenth season along with second new judge Jennifer Lopez. Tyler's switch to Idol met with negative criticism, especially from Tyler's bandmate Joe Perry.

No offense to Idol fan who are reading this (if possible), but I'm elated that he has left. I will admit that at one time Idol was a guilty pleasure of mine before he joined the show but him deciding to be on such a popular show would've interfered with what was going on in Aerosmith. Also when he joined Idol, it just more salt in the wounds of Aerosmith fans because there were still tensions between Steven and Joe. I'm glad that Steven will now be more devoted to Aerosmith. In my opinion, American Idol is just not cool. Sure it has discovered some talent but it really shows what's wrong with the music industry today: it's a vicious machine that attempts to make an assembly line of polished pop singers. If the show did anything good for Steven, it did make him happy and maybe it was an escape from the tensions with Joe for him. For me, this is great news.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Rolling Stones' Tokyo Dome review

 The Rolling Stones - Live at the Tokyo Dome (Tokyo 1990)

The Rolling Stones
Tokyo Dome (Live, 1990)
Rating: ****

Believe it or not, the Rolling Stones are officially turning 50 years old this week on July 12. To continue the celebration, Google Play have released the fourth entry in the Rolling Stones Bootleg Series. Tokyo Dome is yet another fascinating show. Like the three previous entries in the series, the show has some history behind it. For one thing, the band were performing in Japan for the first time during their 1989-1990 tour for their then-latest album, Steel Wheels. The date of this performance was on February 24, 1990. 

As with the other live albums from the Stones, you get the live favorites such as "Jumpin' Jack Flash", "Start Me Up", "Brown Sugar", "Satisfaction", and various others. As this tour was in support for the Steel Wheels album, the band plays a couple of songs from it such as the "Mixed Emotions", "Sad Sad Sad", "Almost Hear You Sigh", and few others. When it comes to the actual performances, there are a few that stand out. The band plays a wonderful rendition of "Ruby Tuesday" and a very trippy version of "Paint It Black". As always, songs like "Gimme Shelter" and "Sympathy for the Devil" are always great. This was one of the first tours where the band was accompanied by a full band: saxophones, trumpets, back-up singers. So these songs sound very "full". Some people criticize the band for having a backing band and I can see why. Still, I find it interesting. The big treat on in this show, for me, is hearing the band perform "2000 Light Years From Home". It's kind of funny that the band dug that deep into their catalog. Another thing that I got a kick out of was Mick. Much like The Brussels Affair where Mick spoke French to the audience, Mick speaks Japanese during this show (and he's pretty good at it!). 

Of the four bootlegs that have been released, I think Tokyo Dome would have to be at the bottom. Still, this doesn't stop the show from being great. If you're a Stones fan like I am, this is worth getting. As always, Google Play is selling the album for $4.99.