Five Finger Death Punch: A garden rake and a supermodel

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Hailing from Las Vegas , Nevada Five Finger Death Punch formed in 2005.  Their rise to the upper echelons of Metal have been incredibly rapid.  I first heard them back in 2007 when they released  their debut album The Way of the Fist.  It was a seriously great album and  shifted 500 000 copies which, for an unheard of band, is pretty exceptional.  Album number two, War Is The Answer, went platinum and they were up and running.  By 2011 and the release of the third album American Capitalist they were well established and pretty much regulars near the top of the line-up for all the big US and European Festivals.

Of late Five Finger Death Punch have kind of let themselves down and lost a bit of momentum scoring a few own goals.  The erratic behaviour of vocalist Ivan Moody and his battles with substance abuse have led to a lot of uncertainty about the future of the band.  There were a number of on stage incidents and problems with getting Ivan on stage in time  which culminated famously in him announcing that this was his last gig in FFDP and that he was done.  The tour continued until Ivan checked into a rehab centre.  The release of And Justice For None in 2018 point to everything going well in the FFDP camp and in interviews I have read lately the band appear to be tight and together.  It would be remiss of me not to point out that Zoltan Bathory and Jason Hook are two exceptionally fine guitarists.  Zoltan in particular is great in interviews and comes across as an incredibly driven, disciplined and level headed guy, so the polar opposite of his vocalist really 🙂

FFDP have gained a lot of popularity in the USA due to their support of US troops in Iraq.  In 2010 they played a number of gigs to US troops in Iraq and the video’s and song subject matter reflect these experiences.  The title of the fifth album Got Your Six is also a military reference.  A few of the clips here reflect those visits to Iraq and their support for US war vets.  Jeremy Spencer, a founding member and who had to quit the band in 2018 due to medical complications after back surgery and the amount of wear and tear he was taking described the band as  “kind of like stepping on a garden rake while looking at a supermodel” take a listen it is a good description \m/ .

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The Roadkill Ghost Choir: Beggars Guild, this is very special

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Every now and then you get a song that just lifts you up.  Beggars Guild by The Roadkill Ghost Choir is one such song.  I played it on TSORR Radio Show and it’s one of those that just leaps out at you.  I was introduced to this track by a good friend when I was on a guitar retreat in Clarans under the tutelage of guitarist extraordinaire Dan Patlansky.  This was one of the many tracks that myself and fellow members of The Bunk Girls Motor Cycle Club spent time listening to that weekend.  You may be someone who says ”I don’t dig banjo’s” well think again because after this you will dig banjo’s

 

Here are a couple of reasons to check this out: I love Andrew Shepard’s voice and that bit at 2:50 where he belts it is goose bump stuff.  It’s also in the lyric as it is with all good songs, the bit where he sings “with the bottle in my hand I take the devils side” is excellent.  I mean ain’t that the truth, how many times has that happened, a bit too much to drink and you take the Devil’s side.  Awareness of that line alone can stop a lot of stupid arguments and fights.  Roadkill Ghost Choir is an excellent name for a band, they deserve a listen for the name alone.   Finally watching the live video you may think that it would only appeal to ‘nerds, misfits and mutants’ (thanks Nerd Fitness for creating that cohort) but I get the feeling that Lemmy would love this.

 

Anyway check it out, it’s a lot of fun.

 

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Kid Rock: So much more than rapping

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Here’s a bit of an inside view of the life of Kid Rock.  If you don’t dig it then that’s cool, just move on.  I know the guy probably has more haters than almost anyone but I dig him and he has put out some really great rock and roll.  It’s easy to slate him and hate on the whole rap thing but there is so much more to him than that.  Other than the music he’s a really great guy who does a lot of good.  The US soldiers stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan love him because he takes the trouble to go there and plays to them.  He writes stuff they can identify with like Let’s Ride ( elsewhere on this site, check it out).  He stands up for freedom of speech, he calls it the way he sees it and he doesn’t do politically correct bullshit, there are a lot of reasons to like this guy.    In case you need convincing I have included the video clip of him spending Christmas in Iraq and one of this special needs dude  having his 30th at a diner and someone has arranged for KR to arrive and surprise him.  The guy is Kid Rock’s No 1 fan and you gotta see the look on his face, it’s priceless.  It’s things like this that really make a difference in people’s lives.

 

Back in the Cape Town days we had a lot of fun with Kid Rock’s music, it was always the sound track to good times and many laughs.  That is what Rock ‘n’ Roll is about, it’s fun, it makes life great.  Apart from having a great voice Kid Rock is also a multi-instrumentalist and produced most of his own albums.  The interesting thing is that although he is slated for the earlier rap albums it’s only his very early stuff that was rappy and then he moved on and his last 6 albums have all been rock moving towards country.  I have put in a clip of him doing the Country & Western Thing with Sheryl Crow, The rock thing in front of a huge crowd as well as  him joining Aerosmith at a Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame dinner.

 

Here is what Kid Rock had to say about rap in a fairly recent interview in The Guardian, “Rap-rock was what people wanted at the time, and they still love those songs at shows. But it turned into a lot of bullshit and it turned out to be pretty gay… If someone says you can’t say “gay” like that you tell them to go fuck themselves. You’re not going to get anything politically correct out of me.”  How can you not love Kid Rock J

 

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Rush: A truly magnificent career, everything done right

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Rush have to be one of the best loved bands ever, Rush fans are obsessed with the band and typically they are fans for life. Rush are totally unique, there appears to be an amazing chemistry between Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart. To get that level of friendship with that level of musicianship is a truly wonderful thing. Geddy and Alex met in high school and they have been friends ever since. Early Rush albums were amazing and absolutely set them apart from other rock and metal bands. 2112 particularly was a masterpiece. They went through an interesting phase in the 80’s where they seemed to be losing their rocker edge and moving deeper into the keyboard type sound that was prevalent in the new wave bands of the time. Personally it wasn’t a great time for Rush fans like myself but many great bands lost their way at that particular time, Rush were not alone.

As a three piece they had an incredible power which has seldom been heard anywhere else, its almost like Rush can get the level of musicianship prevalent in Iron Maiden with the same number of people in Motorhead. As a guitarist Alex Lifeson has the most amazing style, very different, its like constant lead guitar throughout without ever seeming like it is. Geddy’s vocals are another thing that set them apart, how he sings and plays those complex bass runs at the same time is a mystery. You won’t find many a drummer who doesn’t cite Neil Peart as a huge influence. If you are new to Rush you best place to start is the Rush Chronicles double album. It pretty much takes you through their whole early to mid career. Live in Rio, the triple disc, and their final album Clockwork Angels really just put the cherry on the top of a wonderful career.

It will be really interesting to see what happens now that they will no longer tour as Rush due to drummer Neil parts health issues. I suspect that Geddy and Alex will still give us something in the future, fuck I hope so. Rush is one of those bands where the music does the talking.

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Dave Grohl: Learning to fly? Done and dusted

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Here’s a bit of fun because at the end of it all it seems to me that that is mostly what Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters are about. I get the feeling that Dave just loves life and is absolutely passionate about making & playing music for as many people as possible.

I don’t really understand why there are as many haters as there are when it comes to the Foo Fighters. The music is great, some of these songs have become rock classics, Monkey Wrench, The Pretender, Learning To Fly, Everlong, the Best Of You, that’s just the tip of the ice berg. How many people can be the drummer in one of the most influential bands ever and then when that band folds instead of disappearing into obsurity they go on and become the vocalist and guitarist for a band that can go on to sell out Wembley, Hyde Park and Headline Glastonbury? How many people can get Jimmy Page, Lemmy, Brian May and Roger Taylor to join them on stage? Lets face it The Foo Fighters are big league players, one of the most popular bands right now and their work ethic is second to none. They are averaging a new album every 2.55 years which is prolific by modern day standards. They also never just dial an album in and they never stand still. Their shows are, on average, 3 to 4 hours long and everything is about the fans.  If you want to understand the success of the Foo Fighters and sustained effort then consider that Dave’s net worth is currently 5.6 x that of Kris Novaselic.

In celebration of Dave and his band here are a few things to sink your teeth into. The video for ‘These Days’ is just great, it shows a normal guy and his family who also just happens to be one of the biggest rock stars on the planet. I added the interview with Lars Ulrich because it gives such a great insight into how much energy and charisma Dave Grohl has and in that interview there is a very funny bit where he talks about Taylor Hawkins’s EP that Taylor released in 2016 and the song ‘Range Rover Bitch’. Its a great story, especially the bit when Liam Gallagher comes back stage to visit and knows all the words to ‘Range Rover Bitch’. Taylor set out to make the most retro, 80’s kitschy video ever and I thought I’d dump it here for you to see. The EP is titled Kota and apparently according to Taylor it’s all about ”being a rock star trapped in the suburbs”. Check it out, its a lot of fun. So in summary the Foo Fighters are a lot of fun and we should be very happy they are around to brighten up our lives. In the end isn’t that what Rock ‘n’ Roll is for?

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The Rolling Stones: The Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the world

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The band that probably had more influence on Rock bands than any other in the world barring maybe Led Zep, take a look at the amazing Rolling Stones. This was recorded back in 2006 when they were in their mid 60’s but they are still on tour 12 years later.  Check the trailer and a fan clip of the 2018 Tour attached and you’ll see the energy is all there. Many people just don’t seem to be able to get past how old they look. They make jokes about their age and can’t see the Stones for what they really are: the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band the world has ever known. Remember there are politicians in their 70 running countries and making decisions that affect the livelihoods of millions of people but when it comes to The Stones still touring and playing music people freak out because they are getting on a bit. Looking at this video they look healthier than half the people I work with.

Rejoice in the fact that the world still has the Rolling Stones, they are pretty much the last band standing. Why are The Stones so important? Because they are everything that’s wonderful about rock and roll, they have done it all, they don’t give a fuck what you think. They have never pandered, they just do what they want and everyone loves them for it. There may be bands better at certain things than the Stones but none of them are as consistently good at everything in the way that the Stones are. Lets raise a glass to a band that changed the world, to the greatest rock and roll band the world has ever seen.

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Gary Moore: Going back to go forward

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Gary Moore is without doubt one of the truly great guitarists. He was a huge influence on many players, including Joe Bonamassa, who cites Gary Moore as one of the reasons he started playing. Gary Moore died in a hotel room in Feb 2011, according to reports he died in his sleep and the official cause of death was a heart attack. Gary was a heavy drinker and the verdict was pretty much that the booze had killed him, the coroner reported that his blood alcohol level was 5 times the legal limit. Despite this, his death was unexpected, and it came as a shock to music lovers world-over who mourned the loss of this Guitar Titan.

I recently listened to his comeback album, Still Got The Blues, having not listened to it for many years. I was inspired to do so after reading an article in Classic Rock which explained how that album came about. A bit like Jeff Beck, Gary was largely seen as the guitarists guitarist. He was well known for his brief time in Thin Lizzy and then for the commercial solo albums such Wild Frontier and After The War. In Colosseum II he played progressive rock, in G-Force it was straight up metal, he was in and out of Thin Lizzy and his solo career tapped the Celtic Rock vein, what he hadn’t tackled was his first love, the blues. Without a guitar Gary could be moody and difficult.  Classic Rock pointed out that he was ‘not exactly the life and soul of anybody’s party. Gary became disillusioned with everything he had been playing. He told Classic Rock that he had been playing a few tracks off various of his old albums and that it was ”utter shite”. He said that he felt he had to do something, he didn’t know what but it soon became clear after picking up an acoustic guitar and just letting the music flow that the ‘something’ was to go back to the blues. Brian Downey, a founder member of Thin Lizzy and the drummer on the Still Got The Blues album said Gary could pay anything but that when they first met when Gary was 15 it was the blues that drove him. He loved Peter Green and even owned his ’59 Les Paul. That wasn’t something he bought later as a successful rock star but something that he had been given by Green when Moore was just starting out as a guitar journeyman. It wasn’t technically a ‘give’ though, Green needed money and Gary didn’t have any but they agreed that Gary would sell his Gibson SG which was his workhorse guitar and give the money to Green who would then give him the Les Paul. That guitar today belongs to Kirk Hammett. After deciding that all his old stuff was shite and realising that it was time to go back to the blues Gary called up Eric Bell the original Thin Lizzy guitarist. He asked him if could remember the names of any of the old blues standards they used to do when they played the Belfast pub circuit around 1970. Bell told him the names of a few Albert King, Freddie King and Albert Collins tracks and the next time he saw Gary it was on a huge poster dressed in a smart blue suit promoting his new album Still Got The Blues. Bell remembered thinking ” Fuck me he’s gone and done it”. The album went on to sell way more than his other albums and had luminaries such as Don Airy, Bob Daisley, Brian Downey, Albert Collins, Albert King and George Harrison playing on it. Its a fantastically fiery blues album and you’ll get the idea listening to Gary doing the title track live in this clip. Just for good measure I’ve added Gary tackling the old Thin Lizzy classic The Cowboy Song. What an amazing guitarist, what a loss, RIP Gary you are still missed 7 years later.

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Led Zeppelin: When Gods walked the earth, never forget

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There is no doubt that Led Zeppelin are one of the greatest rock bands the world has ever seen. By any measure, record sales, concert takings, billboard charts, fan adulation they are up there with only Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, AC/DC, The Rolling Stones with maybe a few others being in the same category. The thing that Zeppelin had that many others didn’t was sheer charisma. They really were like Golden Gods.

If you watch The Song Remains The Same it almost feels otherworldly, Plant and Page especially are incredible. Zeppelin were heavy, they were loud, they were bluesy, they could be folky and they were top class musicians. They became the standard by which all who followed would be measured. They had the look that everyone copied. In the 70’s there were posters of Zeppelin on millions of bedroom walls. Led Zep were dark and light and everything in between. They were white hot & uber cool, they were special and they strode the world like giants. Its hard to imagine it in todays world of sanitised pop. Today in Rock and Roll there only danger at the fringes but Led Zeppelin bought it to the masses. They were special and always will be.

Sadly the centre couldn’t hold and the death of John Bonham, probably the greatest and most influential drummer ever, signalled the end of the band. The Beatles did about 12 albums in 9 years and Zeppelin did 9 albums in 12 years and in both cases suddenly one day it was done, it was over, it was the end. It’s not all bad though, sometimes its better that there is an end, less is more. Zeppelin could be very bombastic and the 12 min extended solos could become tiring. Near the end there was a danger of them becoming the cliché. Having said that it is easy to forget what the fuss was about and that is why video’s like this are so important. Take a look and be transported back to a time when Led Zeppelin strode the earth like gods. They were magnificent and they were very, very special. Never forget.

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Cold Chisel: Sometimes we miss the best things

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I am reading Jimmy Barnes’s book Working Class Man which has driven me to a massive Cold Chisel resurgence, the book reminds you how good they were. This post is for those of you who are fans so you can get a fresh dose of Cold Chisel or for those of you who don’t know them so you can check it out. The thing that really stands out in Jimmy’s story is that if you haven’t heard Cold Chisel live then you haven’t really heard them. Jimmy released a book called Working Class Boy about two years ago, I was over the moon with excitement until I read that it was his childhood years living in Scotland, parents fighting, step-fathers, siblings, Scottish weather, emigrating to Aussie, school & dysfunction, dysfunction, dysfuncion. It stops before he gets into a band. No disrespect to Jim but I didn’t need that background and was happy to give it a skip. He has now released the second part and this is exactly what I wanted, the whole warts and all story of Jimmy Barnes during the years when he made a difference in my life.

As I mentioned Jimmy hits the nail on the head very early in the book, i.e. the records did not do the band justice at all. Chisel were a live band, they were forged in the fire of relentless gigging. When they started they were doing two to three and sometimes even five shows in a day, all over Australia in the mid to late 70’s. This was the time that ACDC, Rose Tattoo, The Angels and a few other hard charging Aussie bands were doing the same. The parallels between this and what was happening in SA at the same time are obvious; isolated, suburban and / or city kids are heavily influenced by what is happening in the USA and the UK. Because they are so far removed from it they have to form their own bands and create their own scene. Sydney and all the other Aussie towns and cities seem to be just like Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town and all the rough and tough places like Brakpan, Benoni, Springs where many a decent band started in the local hotel. Record contracts were hard to come by, exploitation was rife and there was a lot of fighting & drinking.

What I also discovered was that there is another Cold Chisel album released in 2015 which I wasn’t aware of and most incredibly there are 3 albums called The Live Tapes Vol 1,2, & 3. If you own these 3 discs you will pretty much have everything Cold Chisel ever did, you will know just how good they were musically, especially Ian Moss and Don Walker.  You will experience exactly what Jimmy talks about, i.e his relentless drive to make the band harder, louder and heavier and you will understand what all the fuss was about. Cold Chisel are without a shadow of a doubt one of the greatest Aussie bands ever. These video’s are OK but to really get it you need those Live Tapes Volumes, trust me. They are available on iTunes.

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Steve Stevens: Lest we forget how good some of these guys are

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I figured it was time to have a bit of a reminisce over some of the guitarists we sort of forget every now and again. A prime candidate is Steve Stevens, mostly famous for being Billy Idols wing man. Steve Stevens absolutely had a massive part to play in the success of Billy Idol. The two of them together just had that perfect front man, guitar hero thing going that you see with Jagger and Richards, Tyler and Perry, Eddie & Dave, Slash & Axl, Page & Plant. The first video comes from a series I highly recommend called VH1 Storytellers series where they feature Billy Idol. You get a really good idea of just how great Steve Stevens is when you watch that DVD, the guy plays an acoustic guitar at the kind of speeds you expect out of his electric stuff. I have included a clip from that series, check out the solo. Steve and Billy have such good energy together, it shines through and he has a co-write on all Billy’s greatest hits.

This second video is from a bit of his solo career, when he put together his outfit called the Atomic Playboys. The Atomic Playboys album was released back in 1989, it had the great album cover done by the legendary H.R. Giger cover of Alien fame. Steve did some of the vocals and a guy called Perry McCarty was also credited with vocals. He also has South African Anton Fig on drums. Born in Cape Town in 1952 the list of top guys Anton Fig has played for is a long as your arm. Check out these video’s and enjoy the talent that is Steve Stevens. Love the hair, that was how things used to roll in the 80’s.

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Joe Bonamassa: How one man beat the record industry

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Joe Bonamassa nowadays needs no introduction. When I first heard him back in about 2003, out of everyone I knew I was the only one who had heard of him. You can read all about that in The Story Of Rock And Roll so I am not going through it in the blog. The point is that Joe B now is almost a household name. Not in every house obviously but in a household that knows rock and roll he will be known. I don’t have to explain about him as a guitar player anymore so let me discuss a little bit as to what it is that has made Joe Bonamassa probably the best known blues player in the world.

The amount of talent he has as a guitarist is a given, very few people can play like he plays but he would not have done what he has done if that was all there was to it. Jeff Beck can play a guitar, Rory Gallagher could play a guitar, the old blues guys could play but none of them made the type of money Joe has made or had the type of success or got the recognition he has. The secret is his work ethic, his absolute commitment to his craft, his drive and most importantly the ability to form and work in a team. If you want to see how succeeding in the music business in the 21st century works then watch the documentary that I have attached. This is how its done, this is what you have to do to succeed these days. You have to have a team you trust who compliment each other and you have to have complete control of your brand and your art. The documentary How One Man Beat The Music Business is basically the business manual, check out the link.

If you don’t have the time for the documentary or you just want to hear some music check out the video clip of ‘Cradle Rock’ because its a special one. Its special because Joe got to play Rory Gallagher’s iconic 61 Strat, the one that Rory played his entire life, the one he paid GBP 100 for when he was 15 (about R 32 000 today), the one that was stolen and ended up in a ditch, the one on the cover of Deuce and basically the one you most see Rory playing. Rory’s brother Donal, who has pretty must rescued Rory’s legacy and given him the posthumous recognition that he truly deserves, is the custodian of Rory’s favourite guitar. At a point in time Donal retired the guitar and no-one could get to see it let alone play it. Thanks to Joe’s girlfriend who knew the Gallaghers Donal agreed to let Joe play it on the first of his two sold out London Apollo gigs in 2011. Check out Joe doing Rory’s classic song Cradle Rock.

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Myles Kennedy: Pretty much the perfect rock star

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I had the absolute pleasure of being able to see Myles Kennedy kick off his Year of the Tiger tour in South Africa of all places.  It was purely an acoustic set, no drums, no bass just Myles alone with an acoustic guitar. To say I was blown away would be the understatement of the century. It was without a doubt one of the most enjoyable shows I have ever attended.

As amazing as the whole show was I have to say that the highlight for me was discovering his first band called The Mayfield Four. I am not ashamed to say I had never heard them, it is a pleasure to find something you missed and to get a couple of back catalogue albums like that. Check out the track here and get a copy of the two Mayfield Four albums, they are classics. I have included the title track off his  solo album called the Year Of the Tiger as well.

Its just incredible that this guy can start as a guitarist and reluctant vocalist and play for Slash,  Alter Bridge and do his own solo stuff as well as Kings Of Chaos and still stay so humble.  Myles Kennedy is very special indeed.

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The Cult: (Edie Ciao baby)

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Here’s The Cult, for no particular reason other than I played them the other night on The Story Of Rock And Roll Radio Show and I said I’d post the video.  Edie (Ciao Baby) was written about Edie Sedgewick a socialite who was famous for hanging out with Andy Warhol.  In my world Edie was the most beautiful black Alsation Labrabor and she was named after this song.

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Falling Mirror: We have had some great SA bands over the years, here’s one of them

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Falling Mirror were a really great band, ‘If I Was James Dean’ is one of my favorite songs ever.  Its quite hard to get any decent material on them but my Friend Ernesto has done some digging and found us some good video to celebrate this band with.  Before I turn you over to Ernie let me just say make sure you have a look at the bottom clip with the KFM interview by Ian Bredenkamp, its heart wrenching, the music busines is hard people, even harder in South Africa and its cruel to wonderful bands like this.  Here’s Ernie:

Falling Mirror are one of South Africa’s greatest rock bands and they have stood the test of time. Formed in Cape Town in 1978 by 2 cousins, Allan Faull and Nielen Marais (Faull and Marais… Falling Mirror) the band has released 4 official albums, 2 official compilations and a few download albums and they are all highly sought after. People may remember their huge hits Johnny Calls the Chemist (1986), Neutron Bop (1980) and a few others which received regular airplay on the SABC. Falling Mirror were not really a live band though they got together to do a few gigs in 2012 and were busy recording a new album when Alan Faull passed away from a heart attack in September 2013. Bravely the band carried on and played a few more live gigs but called it a day in 2016. – Ernie Pap

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Slipknot: Snuff

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Slipknot appear elsewhere on this website, you will find them on the main Timeline where the video for Duality resides. Duality represents the Slipknot that the world really knows, this song, Snuff, is very different for Slipknot. Its probably their only ballad and it is superb. The video features Malcolm McDowell, the guy who played Alex in Stanley Kubricks A Clockwork Orange back in 1971. What exactly the video is about your guess is as good as mine, but its great. There is no need to make a whole story about it, I played the song on the radio and promised to add the video to the website, enjoy.

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Last In Line: The crown is heavy but they manage it with ease.

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I picked up this album at the tail end of 2016 and it ended up being my No 1 album of 2016. After Ronnie James Dio died the original members of his band, the band that recorded the Dio classics Holy Diver and The Last In Line, got together to do some Dio tribute gigs. It needs to be remembered that at the time Vivienne Campbell joined Dio he was only 21 years old, there is a lot of water under the bridge after 26 years with Def Leppard. The story goes that the original 4 guys Campbell, drummer Vinnie Appice who was with Dio in Sabbath, bass god Jimmy Bain, who was with Dio in Rainbow and keyboardist Claude Schnell who became part of the Dio band once they started playing Holy Diver live enjoyed the gigs so much they ended up writing new material. That new material is this album called Heavy Crown.

The elephant in the room is always going to be vocals. How does anyone step into Ronnie James’s shoes? The answer is that Andrew Freeman is actually excellent. He is so good he can do all the Dio stuff but doesn’t sound like he is trying to rip Ronnie off, he’s got the range and the power but on the Last In Line originals he still sounds like his own man. I think Andrew Freeman is great, he looks cool as well. Here are the two official video’s off the album, they are well worth checking out.  There is quite a lot of club footage on YouTube where they are playing the Dio songs as well. The sound isn’t great so I haven’t included them here but worth checking out to hear how they sound if you are interested.

The other thing I find really interesting here is how Vivienne Campbell plays exactly like he did on Holy Diver.  The solos are aggressive and in your face like they were when he was in Dio.  In Def Leppard I just don’t hear that, its almost like he is a completely different guitarist.  I would like to tell him ”Welcome back Viv, you sound awesome ”

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Judas Priest: A short reminder of the brilliance of the Metal God

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World’s shortest blog:

I don’t have to say much about this really. Its Judas Priest and its incredible. I found it by accident, its from the VH1 It’s a mini 20 min documentary on Rob Halford and takes you right back to the start and it’s a really good. Its easy to forget just how powerful Halford was and how outstanding Priest were in their heyday. Maybe the dooses running The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame should have a look at this.

If you don’t have the 21 minutes to watch the documentry then at least catch this live recording of Grinder \m/

 

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Airbourne: Flying the high volume, booze soaked, bad boy boogie flag

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Here’s another blog based on promises made on The Story Of Rock and Roll Radio Show. I am amazed how few people know about Airbourne. They are clearly and obviously an ACDC clone so lets get that out the way. As I said on air on the show, I am cool with that. If you love ACDC you know they are unique and that no-one can replace them. If you dig that kind of music then you should be grateful that we have bands like Airbourne to fly the high volume, booze soaked, bad boy boogie flag.

Vocalist Joel O’Keefe is quite a character in his own right, becoming famous for smashing beer tins open with his head. It’s a great party trick I am not sure if it’s a reflection of how tough his head is or how feeble Aussie beer cans are but it looks pretty cool. One thing needs to be said about the whole ”they sound like ACDC” thing, Aussie has a rich tradition of bands like this and as much as Airbourne sound like ACDC they also sound like The Angels and Rose Tattoo. So you could say that Airbourne just sound Australian and that that sound is an amazing thing.

They formed in 2003 and got their first album out in 2010 so they haven’t been around long in the big scheme of things. I reckon Airbourne will be a big success for two reasons, firstly they are playing a brand of Rock n’ Roll that is timeless and secondly they are touring relentlessly and are a great live act constantly on the road. They have mastered the tried and tested formula for success:, tour, album, repeat. Its also another one of those bands that has brothers in it, Joel O’Keefe on Guitar & vocals and little brother Ryan on drums. Sometimes it doesn’t work and brothers do end up hating each other and fighting, example Ray and Dave Davies, Liam and Noel Gallagher. More often though, it makes the band more solid because blood is thicker than water, look at Angus and Malcolm Young, Eddie and Alex Van Halen, Darryl and Vinnie Abbot. Airbourne will go onward and upward, Airbourne were Airborne pretty much out of the blocks and I don’t see them coming down for a long time.

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Seasick Steve: When you find an edge you gotta milk it

SS Steve1

On 27 Oct 2017 I was interviewed by Leon Economides on Mix93.8 FM on his Rockit Scientist show. We were there to discuss The Story Of Rock and Roll, what the book was about and how it came about. The interview was great and it lead to me getting my own show on Mix 93.8. The first version of TSO3RS The Story Of Rock and Roll Radio Show took place on 21 Dec 2017. It was a significant date 2112, significant for Rush, significant for the show and significant because I gave up smoking that night. The point here is that the start of the radio show led to a slight change in the TSORR website. The website would now evolve in tandem with the radio show and should be seen as a companion to the show. The web site allows me to post stuff that I play on the Radio Show and gives you more insight than what I could do just with either medium alone.

On TSO3RS # 4 I played Seasick Steve and the track Thunderbird. I mentioned that there was more to the story behind Seasick Steve but that I didn’t want to spoil it as the story we hear is very cool i.e. the story is that Steve was a hobo who found his way onto Jools Holland’s 2006 New Year’s eve show, played a song and made a huge impression and basically” got discovered” He ended up winning a MOJO award for best new artist in 2007 and he has pretty much been touring and playing festivals ever since. This is great and I could not be happier because he plays good music and everybody deserves a break.

In the music business you have to have an edge, something that makes you stand out. Being basically a homeless person certainly worked out for Seasick Steve. So that was pretty cool and a nice feel good story, except it isn’t quite like that. According to a guy called Matthew Wright who was working on a biography about the singer, Seasick Steve turns out to be Session Man Steve. I have no problem with this whatsoever. Gene Simmons is not really a Demon, the guy in the Village People was not really a red Indian, Dani Filth isn’t a devil worshipper, Alice Cooper is a normal guy. Rock and roll has hundreds of examples of people who had to invent or reinvent themselves to get to the top. It’s a business built on image and larger than life personalities. The fact that a talented session man who was making a living in the age of disco needed to drop out and come back as a ”66” year old blues bum is just fine with me. Here is the article as it appeared in the Guardian.

https://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2016/sep/29/seasick-steve-session-musician-ramblin-man-book

 

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Rage Against The Machine: The real deal, you can’t fake this anger.

Ratm5
Ratm4

Rage against The Machine were pretty phenomenal and even more so with the benefit of hindsight. When they formed in 1991 it didn’t take long for them to get recognised as a pure force of anger and aggression. It was like watching Punk Rock explode in 1977. The truth was that Zach de la Roche’s politics scared a lot of people. Tom Morello has never lost his extreme left leaning views but it’s not the same as seeing the anger and venom in Zach’s eye. This was a band that governments and those running the system were genuinely scared of. It is the first time I have seen this video so I put it up so that we can remember just how original and how influential Rage Against The Machine were.

It’s probably the shortest blog I’ve done.  There are two reasons, one I don’t think anyone is reading them, so I don’t expect anyone to mind 🙂 and two this really doesn’t need to be explained, if you were at this gig you probably still talk about it today.

I shoved in the ‘Sleeping In The Fire’ clip as well because they really took on Wall Street in a big way and its interesting because this is 17 years ago and it was before the Crash in 2008.  Given the current wave of AntiFa protests and the general vocalisation of unhappiness in the US around corporate profits going up while jobs are being cut, the focus on the 1% and Black Lives Matter Zach de la Roche would be right at home in RATM today.  Yeah I know that Profits of Rage are out there and it’s 75 % of RATM but fuck it man, just watch the video, Zach was the real deal.

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