Quick post/moving/short hiatus

Just wanted to let everyone know that my family and I moved successfully to our new house. Of course I had to move the day it poured with 60 MPH winds!

Right now I am typing amongst the boxes. The good people at Cox Communications got the cable, phone, and computer up and running in no time. Unfortunately, I’m going to take the rest of the week off from posting. I will be checking in and responding to the comments. I have to help unpack because……I CAN’T FIND ANYTHING!!!

I know where my CD collection is because I’m staring at the boxes right now. Once my wife and I get the house put together (sort of) I will resume with the long-awaited posts on the Tony Martin-era Black Sabbath….first I have to find the stereo!

Be back soon.

Van Halen to tour with David Lee Roth in 2007

From Melodicrock.com:

No more teasing. Never tease where Van Halen is concerned… I have information from a highly placed source that Van Halen will likely tour in 2007 with David Lee Roth as frontman.

Negotiations are currently underway to re-unite Van Halen with their original frontman for a tour in 2007 that will take in America and possibly other territories. While nothing in the world of Van Halen is set until the band walk out on stage, I can confirm that negotiations between all parties have been underway for some time, trying to put together a big 2007 reunion tour.

One would presume the tour will feature classic VH era songs only. What I do not yet know is whether this plan includes exiled bass player Michael Anthony. Perhaps Wolfgang will play bass? I’m told these questions will be answered shortly.

Van Halen last toured in 2004 with Sammy Hagar, but the tour ended on a sour note and Hagar has not talked to Eddie Van Halen since.

What I also know is that there will be no new Van Halen release to go with the tour, such as The Best Of Both World’s in 2004. There is no plans for a new compilation or a new studio album – just the tour.

More details when available.

— When it comes to Van Halen, Andrew at Melodicrock.com is very well connected and always seems to be dead on concerning any and all rumors on the band. We’ll have to wait and see again on this one but it should have happened in 1996/97. If Michael Anthony isn’t involved, that would be a shame.

Paul Stanley – Live To Win (2006)

Paul Stanley - Live To Win album Cover

Paul Stanley – Live To Win (2006, Universal/New Door Records)

  1. Live To Win
  2. Lift
  3. Wake Up Screaming
  4. Everytime I See You Around
  5. Bulletproof
  6. All About You
  7. Second To None
  8. It’s Not Me
  9. Loving You Without You Now
  10. Where Angels Dare

Featured Musicians:
Paul Stanley – Lead Vocals, Background Vocals, Guitars

Corky James – Guitars, Bass
Brad Fernquist – Guitars
Harry Sommerdahl – Keyboards, Programming
Victor Indrizzo – Drums
Sean Hurley – Bass
Bruce Kulick – Bass
Russ Irwin – Keyboards
Greg Kurstin – Piano
Andreas Carlsson – Guitars, Background Vocals
John 5 – Guitars
Zac Rae – Piano
C.C. White – Background Vocals
John Shanks – Background Vocals

Total Time – 33:34

Paul Stanley official website
KISS official website

KISS has been my favorite band since I was five years old, that’s 29 years of diehard fandom. When I was a kid, all I wanted was to catch a glimpse of the band or buy their toys, etc. As a teenager and adult, I clamored for the music. KISS hasn’t released anything new since 1998’s PSYCHO CIRCUS, the album reuniting all four original members. Gene Simmons released a solo album, ASSHOLE, and it sucked! When the announcement came that Paul Stanley was working on his own solo album, I was excited to say the least.

My formative teenage years were during the 1980’s so the KISS I grew up with was the non-makeup KISS. This version of the band was basically controlled by Paul, his partner in greasepaint (Mr. $immons) off doing movies, producing bands, etc. The material that Paul created during this time was far better than his partner’s contributions as evidenced by sales, singles, and videos. This success, and the belief by many fans that Paul Stanley is/was the musical “soul” of KISS, has made the anticipation of LIVE TO WIN all the more higher.

On LIVE TO WIN, Paul has surrounded himself with a variety of accomplished musicians and songwriters in an effort to explore different styles and avenues of music. This a Rock album, bottom line. At times, some of the songs sound straight from the KISS Katalog (‘Bulletproof’, ‘Live To Win’, ‘Second To None’). Others have a modern contemporary vibe, reflecting current trends in the Pop Rock arena (‘Lift’, ‘Wake Up Screaming’, ‘It’s Not Me’). Paul’s songwriting for this album is different than his writing for KISS. Party anthems and sexual innuendo are replaced by life experience, relationships, and personal introspection. Writing an album of KISS-like material would have been the easy thing to do but Paul has created an album of emotion and feeling, using more modern arrangements. It’s a fresh look inside the mind of a true Rock icon, a glimpse of where the Starchild is in his early 50s sans the glitz and glamour. The songs are a look into his personal side and influences. Songwriter extraordinaire, Desmond Child, collaborates with Paul on more than half the album and it’s a great match. Child’s track record speaks for itself, look inside the ’80s KISS Katalog and you’ll find the Stanley/Child team at the helm of many a successful song. The songs are catchy as hell and I found myself singing right along after a few spins.

What is probably the strongest point of the album, aside from the songwriting, is the vocals. Paul sounds stronger now than he has since the Farewell Tour. I’ve seen every KISS tour multiple times since REVENGE (1992), and this is the strongest I’ve heard Paul since around 1996-1997. It’s not the same style, although the voice is totally recognizable. He has taken his trademark vocal style and has given a slightly more contemporary feel. More emotion less party, maybe Paul’s vocal training for his Canadian run of Phantom Of The Opera a few years back has made his voice richer.

I have played this album non-stop since 10:05am Tuesday, over twenty listens, and I’ve got to say that I really enjoy it. It’s very different from a KISS record but it sounds like one because of his distinct voice. Paul Stanley is a songwriter and a musician, he doesn’t pretend to be anything else. LIVE TO WIN is an expression of where he has been in life and where he is heading. An album filled with emotion and heart. This may not be a new KISS album but if this is the kind of music Paul Stanley continues to make than I am a very happy fan!

New Release Tuesday – 10/24/06 – The Paul Stanley edition

Nothing is better than a Tuesday…..especially when one of your favorite singers, one of your favorite Rock heroes, releases a new album. Today is Paul Stanley Day in my house. I am a HUGE KISS fan and Paul’s new solo album, LIVE TO WIN, is the closest thing to a full blown KISS album I think fans will get.

I was at the door of Newbury Comics in North Attleboro, MA at 9:30am. No line like back in the day but I was first in “line” for the doors at 10am. They know me at this record store, the employees see me a few times a week, so it was no surprise to them that I beat them there this morning. There were six other customers in the parking lot, a couple I recognized from previous Tuesdays that are Metal fans. The early bird catches the first copies, so I knew I had to grab Paul’s solo and get the rest on my list quick. My copy was at the register so I was all set but there was so much more to buy!

  • Paul Stanley – Live To Win — $11.88
  • Krokus – Hellraiser — $10.88 : Couldn’t pass this one up for the price or the band. Online shops have had this for about a month for $20+ so I stayed away. Kudos to Locomotive Records for releasing this in the States. Only one copy to be spared this day so I snagged it right away.
  • Trouble – Psalm 9  & The Skull reissues — $9.99 each : I called the night before when the store got their shipment so I knew they one copy each of these classy reissues. Trouble is one of those great Doom bands that I can’t get enough of. Each package includes a bonus DVD with live performances. A great CD and a DVD for ten bucks! If more labels put this kind of package together for great bands, I’d go bankrupt!
  • Angra – Aurora Consurgens — $10.88 : I got into Angra in 1998 with their excellent album, FIREWORKS. An awesome Power/Progressive Metal band from Brazil that I consider one of the truly great bands outside the U.S. and Europe. The band changed singers after FIREWORKS and the band hasn’t lost a step. They have now released four albums, an E.P., and a live DVD since 2001.

Some observations:

I was a little disappointed that there was only one copy of the new Krokus, I’d like them to tour here again so I can catch them live. They won’t do it unless they see the can make some cash, selling a couple of CDs would help. I was also disappointed, and so was the Metal dude I beat in the store, that only one copy each of the Trouble reissues was stocked. I got’em, so I’m a happy guy. I was going to pick up the Def Leppard – Hysteria Deluxe Edition (2 CD set with B-sides, live tracks, etc.) but it was $25.99.  Make it $18 and it’s a deal!

Nice to see 20 copies of Paul’s solo displayed and more in the rack under KISS. Angra also had a decent showing with about a dozen copies displayed, two of which were bought by a couple of guys ahead of me at the register. Nice to see there are Metal fans out there! Skid Row also released their new album today and were well-stocked and on sale. I still passed, I’m sure I’ll get a used copy in a couple of months under nine bucks.

Next Week – KISSology box set

UFO – The Monkey Puzzle (2006)

UFO - The Monkey Puzzle

UFO – The Monkey Puzzle (2006, SPV/Steamhammer)

  1. Hard Being Me
  2. Heavenly Body
  3. Some Other Guy
  4. Who’s Fooling Who
  5. Black And Blue
  6. Drink Too Much
  7. World Cruise
  8. Down By The River
  9. Good Bye You
  10. Rolling Man
  11. Kingston Town

Band Lineup:
Phil Mogg – Vocals
Pete Way – Bass
Vinnie Moore – Guitars
Paul Raymond – Keyboards & Guitars
Andy Parker – Drums

Total Time – 46:17

UFO official website

The (almost) classic lineup of UFO returns once again to deliver a new album, a new tour, and another lease on life. If you’ve followed UFO over the years, more like decades, then you know all too well the revolving door of band members, the internal strife, and the chaos that often times plagues this great band. It’s a wonder how they actually manage to release new material! And good material at that! Drummer Jason Bonham has left the band for the gig with Foreigner but long time skinsman, Andy Parker, returns to the kit and almost completes the classic UFO lineup of Mogg/Way/Parker/Raymond/Michael Schenker. Of course Schenker has been out for a number of years (again), but guitar god Vinnie Moore continues to occupy the chair that Schenker vacated before 2004’s YOU ARE HERE. Get all that? Are we clear on who’s who? Who’s in, who’s out? That’s always the story with UFO. On to the music…..

THE MONKEY PUZZLE is exactly what you expect from the band: basic Hard Rock that tells a story and assaults the ears with top musicianship. UFO being elder statesmen in the business, 35 years in, they still deliver memorable songs that touch the listener. Mogg’s tales of love, life, and loss takes the listener on a journey everyone seems to travel once or twice in their lifetime. Moore’s guitar weaves in and out providing the extra kick to the solid backline. Moore can duel with the best of guitar virtuosos but he continues his blues-based, ballsy Hard Rock vibe…..keeping within the band rather than playing above it. Come solo time, the man lets loose.

Eleven songs with memorable melodies and hooks, definitely a sing-a-long kind of album. After the first couple of listens, I found myself singing right along with Mogg word for word. The songs are that good, they stay with you, they grow with you. It’s UFO’s working class/common man approach and life topics that people relate to, it just works. Favorite song on the album is ‘Good Bye You’, I always go back after the album finishes and listen to that song one more time. It’s mid-tempo and Mogg tells his sorrowful tale but it’s Vinnie Moore’s intro that just sets the tone. Simple chorus, excellent solo, it’s got that special hook that stands out. A few other personal highlights on an excellent album: ‘Hard Being Me’, ‘Drink Too Much’, ‘Some Other Guy’.

I’ve been listening to THE MONKEY PUZZLE multiple times a day since it’s release a few weeks ago, it will definitely make my Top 5 of 2006. A very strong album from a band that people dismiss due to the personnel struggles. UFO have proven with the last two albums that they are still a vital force in the Classic Hard Rock. This album is highly recommended!

Twisted Sister – A Twisted Christmas (2006)

Twisted Sister - A Twisted Christmas

Twisted Sister – A Twisted Christmas (2006, Razor & Tie)

  1. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
  2. Oh Come All Ye Faithful
  3. White Christmas
  4. I’ll Be Home For Christmas (featuring Lita Ford)
  5. Silver Bells
  6. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
  7. Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow
  8. Deck The Halls
  9. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)
  10. Heavy Metal Christmas (The Twelve Days Of Christmas)
  11. We Wish You A Twisted Christmas (unlisted track)

Band Lineup:
Dee Snider – Vocals
Jay Jay French – Guitars
Eddie Ojeda – Guitars
Mark “The Animal” Mendoza – Bass
A.J. Pero – Drums/Percussion

Featured Musicians:
Lita Ford – Vocals and Guitar
Jim Gillette – Background Vocals
Brian Bunce – Trumpet

Total Time – 41:52

Twisted Sister official website
Twisted Sister on MySpace

If you go to Metal-Mixtape, you’ll read a post about this album. I added my comments on how this release was a sham, a sell-out, a disgrace and that I don’t think it’s the right move for Twisted Sister. Of course, I also mentioned that I would buy it if the price was right or I would get someone to buy it for me.

Last night, my wife and I stopped by the local record store and there it was for 10 bucks: A TWISTED CHRISTMAS. I refused to buy it, my Metal pride bursting through my Judas Priest tour shirt. So the wife did what I couldn’t bring myself to do…..she added it to our pile of plunder and took it to the register. At least I didn’t have to actually buy it myself but the clerk behind the counter (who I know well) did bust my chops for it.

This isn’t the most original project in the Music world, it seems that everyone puts out a Christmas album eventually (I’m sure Gene Simmons is pissed that TS beat him to the punch!). I will give TS some credit, they made it interesting for a couple of listens. Lita Ford guests on ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’ and that got my attention, is this really Lita’s first new recording since 1994’s BLACK?

Basically, the band took some old Christmas standards, added musical nods to the likes of The Ramones, AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, Iron Maiden, and Judas Priest, and made a new type of Christmas album. It’s easy to spot The Ramones in the opener and ‘Silver Bells’ gets the AC/DC treatment. What I found interesting was ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ done to the music of Twisted Sister’s big hit, ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’. Almost identical!

My two highlights on this album are “I’ll Be Home For Christmas’ with Lita and ‘Heavy Metal Christmas’. It was good to hear Lita again, I’d forgotten how much I really enjoyed her solo work. I thought the guys came up with a good rendition of ‘The Twelve Days Of Christmas’ adding some “Metal” to each day:

  • A tattoo Of Ozzy
  • 2 pairs of spandex pants
  • 3 studded belts
  • 4 quarts of Jack
  • 5 skullhead rings
  • 6 cans of hairspray
  • 7 leather jackets
  • 8 pentagrams
  • 9 tatterred t-shirts
  • 10 pairs of platforms
  • 11 black mascaras
  • 12 silver crosses

The band is touring this Fall to promote the album which, from what interviews I’ve read, is TS’s last. Seems that Dee wants to stop and “go out on top” but has left the door open to spot touring in the future. My biggest problem is that Twisted Sister is a good band that could have made a decent album of originals but they have gone with the “KISS-formula” of touring and releasing nothing new…..except this novelty record. I hope that this isn’t the actual end of Twisted Sister but, according to Dee, he doesn’t want to make a new album and he wants to focus on other projects.

As far as A TWISTED CHRISTMAS, well I guess this is the last gasp. It’s a novelty record that I will play a couple of times around the holidays but that’s it.


UPDATE 12/12/06 
After repeated listens, and seeing the video for ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ in heavy VH1 Classic rotation, I am starting to get into this record. For a holiday album, it’s pretty damn good. I guess I was looking at it as I would a TS studio album and not the actual vision. It’s still only a play at the holidays.


UPDATE 12/12/07
I have to say that my initial review is wrong. If I had to do it all over again, I would give this a highly positive review. I have given this album a listen regularly for the last year and I’ve come to love it. It’s an instant holiday classic and a staple for my Christmas season. I’m keeping the original review up but I hope eveyone reads the updates.

State of the blog update

With all the blogs/websites going on hiatus lately, and the posts here getting slimmer, I thought I would take the time and give my loyal readers out there a quick update on what been going on.

I am still actively listening, shopping, and reviewing albums. I am still keeping track of the latest in Metal news and industry happenings. Problem is that I am running low on time!

As some of you know, my wife and I just bought a house and we move on Halloween. As great as it is, the packing and living among boxes is taking it’s toll. If you could see my apartment, you would gaze upon a sea of boxes and a landscape devoid of personal flair. We have packed all non-essential items and trashed/donated all unnecessary belongings. We are down to the bare minimum right now except for the kids, who still have toys to play with and DVDs to watch. My CD/DVD collection is packed up in banana boxes so it’s a little harder to reference them or pull them out to play. I still have the more recent purchases (about 100 CDs) and my KISS kollection within reach so I don’t go insane! The packing has taken up a ton of free time and I expect the unpacking will as well when we finally move to the new house.

Some of you also know I have been a 3rd shifter for the last 10 years. Well, the powers that be have decided to move my shift from 12am-8am to the more annoying 6pm-2am. Yes, it sucks. Yes, my days of listening to six CDs a night are gone. Yes, I am stressed out beyond belief. Nothing is worse than being in a routine and planning your life accordingly and then having the proverbial rug pulled out from under you. It could always be worse, I could have been put on 1st shift and I would have no one to watch my kids during the day.

Add in my daughter’s soccer games, dance recitals, my New England Patriots season tickets, the NFL on TV, and fantasy football…..the barrel is starting to overflow!

With that said, I am going to try and keep to a schedule of posting a few times a week rather then everyday until things start to fall into place with the new house, work, and the extracurricular activities. My vacation is right after Halloween, the first full week of November, so I expect to resume daily posts then. In the meantime, I hope you stay tuned to this channel. Two of the posts I am working on right now is one about the Tony Martin-era of Black Sabbath and a review of the new UFO album, THE MONKEY PUZZLE.

In the meantime, I will still be responding to all comments and any emails that come my way. Thanks for all the feedback and thanks for stopping by.

New Christine 16 website now online/new band picture

Christine Sixteen 1 and 2 : A High School Tribute to KISS

The Christine 16 website is now updated for the upcoming Christine Sixteen 2 tribute CD. The new band photo is below.

The new Christine Sixteen 2 band

I expect this project to be as good as the first, if not better. The latest tracklist for the new tribute album is as follows:

  1. Creatures Of The Night (Cassandra Goudreau)
  2. Baby Driver (Jessica Scalabrini)
  3. Charisma (Jessica Dionne)
  4. Master & Slave (Jessika Groleau)
  5. Got Love For Sale (Cassandra Markey)
  6. War Machine (Jessica Scalabrini)(Featuring Angelo Coppola on drums)
  7. Shock Me (Carolyne Bédard)(Featuring Angelo Coppola on drums)
  8. Deuce (Nadia Goudreau)
  9. God Of Thunder (J. Scalabrini et C. Goudreau)
  10. Watchin’ You (Jessica Dionne)
  11. Jungle (Cassandra Goudreau)
  12. Larger Than Life (Carolyne Bédard)
  13. 100,000 Years (Cassandra Markey)
  14. Dirty Livin’ (Jessica Scalabrini)
  15. Into The Night (Nicolas Maurais)
  16. Black Diamond (Cassandra Goudreau)
  17. Kissin’ Time (With special guests KISS ARMY)

Please visit the website and the Christine Sixteen MySpace page for more info.

Blog Love – Lefsetz Letter

One of my favorite blogs is the Lefsetz Letter. Author Bob Lefsetz has been publishing his newsletter for the last 20 years in various formats and has moved to blog form. As an industry insider for years, Bob is able to give us some interesting insight into the dynamics of the music industry past, present, and future. Some of the current topics have included: downloading, media prices, label politics, and Tower Records. A wide range of music and eras is discussed and reader feedback is always provided.

What I really find interesting is that there are so many people from the industry that read the Lefsetz Letter and respond: Al Kooper, Eddie Kramer, Bob Ezrin, Rick Nielsen (Cheap Trick), and a host of people from label executives to band managers to record store clerks to roadies.

Follow the link above and subscribe at the website for up-to-date posts. There is usually one email a day but I have received up to five daily posts in my inbox. It’s a great read.

W.A.S.P. – The Last Command (1985)

W.A.S.P. - The Last Command

W.A.S.P. – The Last Command (1985, Capitol)

  1. Wild Child
  2. Ballcrusher
  3. Fistful Of Diamonds
  4. Jack Action
  5. Widowmaker
  6. Blind In Texas
  7. Cries In The Night
  8. The Last Command
  9. Running Wild In The Streets
  10. Sex Drive

Band Lineup:
Blackie Lawless – Vocals/Bass
Chris Holmes – Guitars
Randy Piper – Guitars
Steve Riley – Drums

Total Time – 41:14

W.A.S.P. official website

My first W.A.S.P. experience was an advertisement in Circus Magazine. It was an ad for a record store that had tons of import records, especially KISS, so it immeadiately caught my eye. In the bottom corner was a picture of W.A.S.P. and price information for an import copy of the ANIMAL (FUCK LIKE A BEAST) E.P. In 1984, at age twelve, anything that has the word “fuck” in it was interesting. One look at the album cover for the E.P. and I had to know what this band was about. I never got around to buying said E.P., or their 1984 self-titled debut LP, but I ate up any information on the band that had become one of the most dangerous in the Rock world. The stories of their live shows increased the intensity: “sacrificing” a chained woman, the electric codpiece, throwing raw meat into the crowd. It was shocking, it was crazy, it was everything  to an impressionable youth.

I finally got around to buying THE LAST COMMAND on a trip to New Hampshire with my family. My favorite record store was Good Vibrations and there happened to be one near our hotel so I scraped all of my allowance money and bought the cassette. What could be better than a cassette from the most notorious band out there? Add the WARNING! sticker that stated, “Lyrics May Be Considered Offensive By Some Audiences”. I carefully peeled that sticker off and put it on the back of the case (it was still there when I sold it a few years ago!). The headphones didn’t come off the rest of the trip!

The first five songs comprised Side One: ‘Wild Child’, ‘Ballcrusher’, and ‘Jack Action’ were fast and furious and full of sexual themes. C’mon….. Ballcrusher? Jack Action? I knew what they meant! ‘Widowmaker’ is a slow power ballad that I always thought was a poor man’s ‘God Of Thunder’ (KISS).  It’s good but I could see that Blackie Lawless was imitating Gene Simmons and that was an insult to my fandom! My favorite off Side One was ‘Fistful Of Diamonds’, a song about money, fortune, and greed. The opening is pretty cool with a tickertape running in the background while a financial news report states the current market trends…..it fades…..in come the guitars!

‘Money makes me crazy
Money drives me insane
Diamonds, silver, gold and
Precious steel
I want it all – it’s mine to claim
I hold my hand out, I take it all’

‘I want a fisful, fistful of diamonds
The millions are calling my name…..’

Side Two opens with ‘Blind In Texas’, the ode to drinking excess in the Lone Star State. The first single and video for the album, it’s a good song but overplayed over the years. ‘Blind In Texas’ is the W.A.S.P. song that usually gets put on the ’80s compilations, it gets old quick. The video is a bit cheesy as well. My favorite part is when the band is playing onstage in the rocky desert and Blackie does his best Paul Stanley dance. Man did this guy just rip KISS (and Alice Cooper) off!

Power Ballad #2, ‘Cries In The Night’ is one of the under-rated songs on the album and another personal favorite. I really enjoy the guitar work of Holmes/Piper on this track and Blackie uses his painful wail. No sex, no innuendo, no excess…..this song is about loss,  a different topic for a band hell bent on complete shock. ‘The Last Command’ and ‘Running Wild In The Streets’ are catchy “sing-a-long” rally anthems, the two weakest tracks by far. ‘Sex Drive’ ends the party with a no holds barred romp.

‘Like a dog in heat
All dirty love is a treat
And ya know it’s just too good to believe
That feeling second to none
You pull the trigger on your gun baby
Gotta get some relief’

Very Gene Simmons……

This is my favorite W.A.S.P. album with THE HEADLESS CHILDREN (1989) coming in a close second. This album reminds me of Summer, I remember taking my boombox out on the patio and blasting this tape over and over while Mom was at work. If she ever heard the words to some of those songs….. This was a staple in my Walkman also, especially when I took my bike over to my friends’ houses a couple miles away. Good times, good album.

[NOTE -The 1998 reissue of The Last Command adds seven songs: ‘Mississippi Queen’ (B-side), ‘Savage’ (B-side), ‘On Your Knees’ (Live 1984), ‘Hellion’ (Live 1984), ‘Sleeping In The Fire’ (Live 1984), ‘Animal (Fuck Like A Beast)’ (Live 1984), ‘I Wanna Be Somebody’ (Live 1984).]