I was recently asked my opinion on several new cover songs. So I thought I would talk about a few here. I’m not gonna bash any artists here, but there are some covers that I don’t like. I like the bands that did them but not their covers.
“Whiskey In The Jar”
A cover of a cover. Yes this is a traditional Irish folk song originally that was transformed into a modern rock version by Thin Lizzy. Metallica then covered Thin Lizzy’s cover. Now these are the most noted versions of this song. Many , many others have covered this song in many forms. I am still partial to the groove of the Thin Lizzy version. Let’s check out a traditional version, Thin Lizzy’s, and then Metallica’s :
This is one of my favorite songs of all times. It is one of those magical songs that takes me to a different place and time. I can readily imagine living as an outlaw in the old west. Bad company really captured magic with this song. Five Finger Death Punch covered this song recently. I like Five Finger Death Punch but their cover, not so much. I just feel that they changed the entire vibe of the song. They made it heavier, and changed some of the lyrics in a way that doesn’t sit right with me. For example:
Oh I was born 6-gun in my hand
Behind a gun I’ll make my final stand
I was born A shotgun in my hands
Behind the gun I’ll make my final stand
Now these town They all know our name 6-gun sound is our claim to fame
Now these towns they all know our names The death punch sound is our claim to fame
FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH
“SEASONS OF WITHER”
I always preferred the songs that weren’t hits over the ones that were by Aerosmith. I think of all this would be my favorite Aerosmith song of all. I love the haunting progression of this song, it is pure magic for me. Tesla did a cover of this and stayed true to the song and did it justice in doing so.
“SMOKE ON THE WATER”
This iconic song and it’s signature riff has been covered over and over. Again we shall look at only three of them. Deep Purple’s original, Loud House’s cover, and Vains Of Jenna’s cover. Of course I love the original in all of its anthemic glory. Loud House covered it and changed it up so much that I feel the song got lost and never found its way home. Vains Of Jenna took a bold move and took out the signature riff of the song and made it work. Let’s listen:
VAINS OF JENNA
There’s my take on some covers. No disrespect intended to any of the bands who have covered songs. As everything is open to interpretation and music means different things to different people. These are just my opinions. If you want, please share your thoughts on here on these or any other covers.
Now and again you meet people who you connect with on multiple levels. Robert is one of these people for me, we are on the same wavelength on so many things, from musical tastes to life experiences. Robert and his band VOICE OF DECEMBER are currently perfecting their craft and working on new music. Robert has also been busy recording other artists, side projects, and various other duties in the music industry. I cornered him for a few and got him to talk a bit.
I have heard rumors that you have dark and mysterious origins which lead to your unique musical style. Are these rumors true?
The dark origins…..hmmmm I really don’t know how to answer that other than I was born in Roswell shortly after the UFO crash…..
Ha ha, right on, when did music become a part of your life?
At a very young age, my mother was a folk singer/guitarist so I have always been exposed to some form of music.
What was your inspiration to start playing music?
KISS Alive One nuff said….
What some of your first band experiences?
I started as a Bass Player because I share a birthday with Gene Simmons but soon moved to guitar because it was easier to express myself.
How did you get to Voice Of December?
VOD happened after a series of events in my prior band (they kicked me out lol) and around the same time my long time partner in crime Traci had moved back to Albuquerque. Voice of December was up and running 4 days later, I hate idle time.
what inspired the imagery for Voice Of December?
That would come from Traci and our Artist Kreig, who creates the look based on Traci’s lyrics, which are inspired by the band’s music, so in a small way, we all contribute to the imagery.
Are you currently working on any side projects?
I am involved with another band which also includes VOD drummer Mikey Kimura called Darken the Day. The band also includes Rusty Tramps Tommy Brown and Mike “Gutter” Garcia as well as Ace Armstrong from Green Street Elite. I also work with Polyram/Mysteria in various capacities.
What would your dream band lineup be?
Lol, it wouldn’t include me…. Geoff Tate on vocals, Chris Degarmo and Frank Aresti on guitars, Dug Pinnik on bass/vocals Neil Peart on Drum/Lyrics
What do you think of the goings on in the music world today?
It is very disappointing right now, the ability for anyone to record/distribute is a double-edged sword, yes anyone can be heard but that in itself makes it harder for quality to shine through. That and downloading killing the record companies has really made it harder to make a living in music. That being said, there is some amazing stuff out there.
What advice would you pass on to young musicians?
Be true to your self, be stubborn but open to suggestion, never be satisfied with where you are, always strive to be better and remember, those who support your music, allow you to do what you do, so do it for them as well.
There you have it, a little peek into the head of guitarist Robert Smith. Check out some Voice Of December here:
I have seen this band through several changes and plenty of growth. They have been through the mill with changing members and the associated drama that comes with it. They are a three piece band now and yet they seem stronger, faster, and louder. This is a band on the move and I expect great things from them, they play “EPIC METAL” (a nod to the guys). Here is a link to one of my favorite tracks:
My Bleach Bangs Radio co-host and good friend Charlie Owens turned me on to this band. I got the chance to interview them on our radio show and found them to be a fun band to talk with. I was lucky enough to catch them at a live show and they were very personable and interesting to hang out with. Their live performance was top-notch as well. Bringing a show rather than just stand on stage and play. Krash Karma is a band to appreciate. Here’s a track:
This Canadian band is bringing metal music that emphasizes melody mixed with a powerful delivery. When you talk with these guys you better be on your game because if you are not you’re gonna get run over with their enthusiasm. Oh yeah, you like LOUD? Killinger is your band! Check ’em out:
I don’t know what is going on in Australia but I like it! Here is another band that hails from “Down Under” bringing some goodness to our ears here in the USA. Catchy hooks, solid playing, good vocals, these guys figured out the formula for success. Make sure you look into this band. Check out this video:
During our last Bleach Bangs Radio show we had a caller tell us to check out Devil By Design. I am always looking for new bands to listen to and talk about so I promptly checked them out and it was good. Good image, good sound, good song structure, total package. It was cool as heel to see a talk box being used by a young band. Devil By design in on my radar and should on yours as well. Check out this slick video:
I first heard of TLV in 2009 when they beat out 8,000 other bands and won a record contract deal. They bring elements of glam rock, heavy metal, and punk rock mixed in with their own special swagger. Pulling influences from such greats as Aerosmith, Guns N’ Roses, Mötley Crüe, Cheap Trick, and Skid Row these guys are on the rise! Here’s their latest:
Looking for some anthemic rock? Check out Ball N Chain. A great bunch of guys who really care about the fans nd try to bring them what they ask for. Their music takes you back to feeling good, let’s party times. Songs that are easy to get into and sing along with the band and they make you smile. Check out the cars in this video!:
SNEW are the illegitimate stepchildren of Alice Cooper and the Ramones, home schooled by Motorhead. Yup I can buy that, I first heard of these guys when someone sent me a link to their page and said I just HAD to check them out. They were right, kicked my ass upon listening. I hope I can catch them live soon. Check out what’Snew:
Feeling sleazy? Long for the days of theRamones, Hanoi Rocks, Dogs D’ Amour, NY Dolls, GNR, GBH, Stooges, Deadboys? Here ya go, The Lost Prophets are carrying on the tradition of those and many other bands of that style. They are new to me but I am diggin’ on them and thought you might like to check them out as well. :
I have liked Bobaflex for quite a while now. Lucky me they are gonna playing near me really soon. This is another band that should be getting radio play but for some reason doesn’t. Bobaflex was established in 1998 by the McCoys. The brothers are no strangers to the press, having ancestral ties to the most infamous family feud in American history, between the Hatfields and the McCoys which almost caused a war between the states of West Virginia and Kentucky in the 1880s. Yup check ’em out!
“Bury Me With My Guns On”
There you go, round three of bands I think you should be checking out. Like them or not, I feel that they should be getting some attention and radio play.
The first two Boston records have remained favorites of mine since they were released. I know there were other releases and other lineups, but the first two original Boston records are my focus of this writing.
1. “More Than a Feeling” Tom Scholz 4:44
2. “Peace of Mind” Tom Scholz 5:02
3. “Foreplay/Long Time” Tom Scholz 7:47
4. “Rock and Roll Band” Tom Scholz 2:59
5. “Smokin'” Tom Scholz, Brad Delp 4:22
6. “Hitch a Ride” Tom Scholz 4:12
7. “Something About You” Tom Scholz 3:48
8. “Let Me Take You Home Tonight” Brad Delp 4:44
I remember the first time I heard “More Than A Feeling” in 1976, I was completely blown away. “I looked out this morning and the sun was gone, Turned on some music to start my day, I lost myself in a familiar song, I closed my eyes and I slipped away” those lyrics spoke to me directly. It was if those lyrics were written especially for me. I saved up enough money to go and buy the record and fell in love with Boston. Every song on it was amazing and full of wonder to me. I used to listen to it over and over through my headphones and just get completely lost in the vocals, the guitar work and the complexity of the songs. I couldn’t believe music such as this was possible.
1. “Don’t Look Back” Tom Scholz 5:57
2. “The Journey (instrumental)” Scholz 1:46
3. “It’s Easy” Scholz 4:26
4. “A Man I’ll Never Be” Scholz 6:37
5. “Feelin’ Satisfied” Scholz 4:11
6. “Party” Scholz, Brad Delp 4:07
7. “Used to Bad News” Delp 2:56
8. “Don’t Be Afraid” Scholz 3:48
I was sure that they could NEVER top that record, but in 1978 I was proven wrong. “Don’t Look Back” was equally amazing to me. “Don’t look back, A new day is breakin’, It’s been too long since I felt this way I don’t mind where I get taken, The road is callin’, Today is the day” again, those lyrics touched me. Again, I saved up and bought this record and escaped into the music of Boston.
These two records gave me a place to retreat to in my troubled youth. The music made everything go away at least for a little while. I know Boston continued on with changing members, legal troubles, and on, and on, but they will always remain in my mind the band that made those two records. I could talk about all the technical stuff that these records entailed but that is not the point of this. I just wanted to share some records that impacted me on a spiritual level.
Sadly in 2007 the voice that I so loved left us. He took his own life leaving a note that said: “Mr. Brad Delp. “J’ai une ame solitaire”. I am a lonely soul.” When I read about this it brought me to tears as Brad’s voice had befriended my lonely soul. I will always carry his voice in me. Rest In Peace Brad I hope you have found solace.
Here are a couple of my most cherished Boston songs:
“Rock And Roll Band”
Listen to the lyrics in “Feelin’ Satisfied” and you’ll understand me.
I have been fortunate enough to have known Adam Joad for a while and we have become as brothers in this crazy world. I recently caught up with him and got him to answer a few questions for us. So kick off your boots, grab a cold one, turn up the music and chill with us for a bit.
So, tell us the story of where you come from.
I grew up in Southwestern PA close enough to the Mason Dixon line that I could probably shoot it with a rifle…. Maybe some of my friends and family could, I can’t, I’m not that good of a shot. It’s typical small town Appalachia. I live back this way when I’m not touring now too. It’s a much better fit for me than LA. The meth heads in SoCal were surprised when I pulled my Turkey gun on them when they came banging on my window at 3 AM. LA is a different place, around here when people say something they mean it. If someone tells you they are going to crack you in the head, you better duck, leave or swing first. In Hollywood a dude would threaten you and then go fix their eyeliner in the bathroom while some hipsters in skinny jeans talk about how ironic the situation was. I’m not saying one is better than the other, it’s just different and one is a better fit for me.
I grew up around music of all kinds from old school country to rock n’ roll. What about young Adam? What were some of your early music experiences that lit your musical fire?
I came from a musical family. My mom was into theater, my dad like surf rock, classic country and classic mo-town. You could go into different rooms in my house when I was growing up and hear different music. It was my brother though. I got a slick Mickey Mouse turntable when I was 3 or 4 and he let me pick any record from his collection and I picked Kiss Alive II. The images were awesome, the music was raw and there was this energy about the album. I had all the words to Dr. Love memorized in a few weeks. By the time I was 5 he taught me the words to “Gimme Three Steps” and I would walk around the house singing it while I played with my Gi-Joes.
What caused you to go from just listening to great music to making great music of your own? Not everybody makes the choice to start playing music.
I started probably later than a lot of people. I was a music fan first and foremost, I still am. I went to shows and watched videos constantly, I’d carry amps for people and all that. I went to college so I could play football. When that was done I had a friend encourage me to do some yelling and jamming with him. After that I ended up in a local punk band. I started singing for them, we went on some epic DIY tours playing places like CBGB and I eventually learned to play the guitar well enough to do rhythms and write music. Once I had the bug it was on. To play and do the stuff I wanted though I had to learn a lot more than I could in punk music so I headed to LA and followed around talented people taking notes and working on my craft. I haven’t had a real job in years.
Making the choice to start a band comes with some interesting stories of early band experiences. Care to share any?
I remember cutting my drummer with my gerber knife on a punk rock tour when were outside the Holland tunnels in New York. I was trying to sleep and I told him if he touched me again I would cut him. I always have a good sharpened USA made knife on me. I think every man should. Anyway, he touched me again and I drew first blood. He flipped shit but the other guys in the band agreed that it was justified since I made it clear what was going to happen if he touched me again. Those were good times. We’re actually close friends still. Sometimes when I get drunk and start waving my knife around in the SH mobile Redd will take it from me and stick it in the ground and make it all dull. It takes me a few days and some sobriety to the edge back on it. Texans know how to handle such situations.
How did your journeys on the twisty, turny musical highways get you to form Scattered Hamlet?
It’s funny I was just discussing this last night with my friends on the Otep Tour. I had quit music and was done with the whole thing and my buddy Ari from Destrophy and Otep told me to bring some ideas and riffs I had to Iowa and he’d show me what I should be doing. He taught me my zone and how to go with my redneckness rather than resist it to fit into some trendy mold. We recorded the three original demos for the band, Shelter, Warning and Shotgun Symphony. We’ve released a new version of Shotgun but the others will probably be on the next album. After that I went back to LA to see if I could find people like me who wanted to take the journey.
What can you tell us about the Hell Riders chapters that support Scattered Hamlet?
Hell Riders are not a motorcycle club. I want to make that clear. They are not 1% er’s and should respect any club’s area when they are out. We have a lot of Biker fans. We don’t represent anyone or anything but ourselves and our music. Hell Rider is a song off our “Hillbilly Harmony” EP which you should buy if you haven’t so I can get McDouble later. Anyway, our fans started calling themselves Hell Riders and started setting up Chapters around the world. They help us spread the message and do guerrilla promotion. It’s pretty flattering and awesome. I started making music to entertain people and to write/record songs that move them the way music has been the sound track to my life. If an SH song becomes the soundtrack of someone’s life, we’re doing something right. So when we see people representing the Hell Riders, getting tattoos with our logo and supporting us, it means a lot to us. Anyone in SH that didn’t think that was special is no longer with us.
I’ve had a few people that have seen Scattered Hamlet live and heard you call yourself the “Appalachian Apostle” and they want to know the story behind that.
One of my friends actually coined that on the “uncountry tour” we did with Jason Charles Miller back in February. We all have nicknames. Like Redd is “The Texan,” Rich is the “Kentucky Assassin” and Jake is the “Irish Thunder.” I’m the apostle of what I know, where my family has been and of our style of hard rock/metal or whatever you call it. If you pay pal me 19.95 I will deliver you some salvation as well and for an additional 19.95 I can solve 99% of non health related problems you may have in your life.
We all know how hard it is to enter the musical world. What advice would you give to young musicians trying to break in the business?
I’m going to cite Erik Kluiber of Gypsyhawk (Metalblade), he also plays with us a lot and we regard him as our extra member and family, anyway, DON’T BE A CIVILIAN. If you are going to make it in music or even do it, you can’t sit in your parents basement and become a shred wizard hoping someone will find you. You can’t play 3 shows in your hometown, sell some tickets to open for a national and then wait around for some guy in a cigar to give you a private jet and a multimillion dollar contract. Good things come to those who work hard. You get what you put in. If you are a weekend warrior, there’s nothing wrong with that but understand you will only get what you put in. If someone else puts in 7 days of week and sets up there life to make it work, they will get further than the folks who play in their home town on Friday and Saturday once a month. We have this fucked up instant gratification society where people think they learn a few chords, start a band, buy some decent gear, make a facebook page and then they get signed and become Metallica. It’s not just about talent or just about the music, it’s about EVERYTHING and most importantly hard work. This lifestyle is uncomfortable. We gave up stability to make it work, if you are keeping stable and just testing the waters, you’re not all in so don’t expect the spoils of what happens when you go all in.
Given all of the hooplah about the death of the music industry What’s your opinion?
I have no opinions on it. It is what it is. It’s not the same as it used to be. People can cry about the good old days or whine that musicians can’t make money and that it’s hard and all that crap. That’s fine, I wish the non believers would get out of the way of the believers. It’s like the Dylan line, “Get out of the new one if you can’t lend a hand” – instead of worrying about what’s it’s not, work with what it is. If you don’t want to, find another industry to be a part of and stop bringing other people down. If I listened to everyone who told me I couldn’t do something I’d be nowhere. Far more people are there to put you down than to help. Find good people, work with good people and help good people and good things will happen. There are malignant people in your life, cut them out and get away from them. Surround yourself with positivity.
A lot of people give me shit for some of my musical choices but I stand by what I listen to. What would we find if we looked in your iPod?
There’s a lot of stuff on there that would throw people. Good music comes in all forms. I have the complete Wham and George Michael discography on my iPod, I have Neil Diamond’s box set. I was rocking Cher’s Gypsy Tramps and Thieves on vinyl the other day. I only listen to vinyl at home. I’ve been playing a lot of Kenny Rogers. My favorite “newer” band though is Ghost. It’s Blue Oyster Cult meets Merciful Fate with all the theatrics. I’ll love it. Top notch song writing and performance. Those guys know evil music doesn’t have to be sung like cookie monster. I always tell the metal kids that, evil music is slow and clear. Check out Black Sabbath if you don’t believe me. Oh yeah, screaming a verse and then emoing a whiny melodic chorus while wearing neon shirts and pants that fit like a flood is coming is never metal, that’s a scientifically proven fact. I’m sure Stephen Hawking has an algorithm for it.
I know being on the road has some interesting tales, tell us a story about the road Appalachian Apostle.
I’ll be honest, some aren’t fit for publishing. I will say that many venues that used to give SH and open tab at the bar have stopped doing that when we come through. This may not be the “coolest” road story but the road is a way of life. We meet many amazing people and bands. We’ve been fortunate to have very loyal people watch our shows and we’ve been fortunate to have people in bigger bands really help us out and treat us well. Guys like Texas Hippie Coalition have treated us like family. 12 Stones were great to us this last run – Tenfaly Viper and Mushroomhead have been amazing to us. Tracii Guns was really nice to us. The real folks that are confident in what they do know that we are a small tribe. What you do people will hear about and we all know each other. There have been some bigger bands who have been dicks to us, that’s fine, fuck them. We treat all with respect that treat us with respect. We are what we are and we know what we are. We claim to be nothing else. If people don’t get it, that’s fine. There’s plenty of stuff I don’t get either. What we will always do is put on the same show for 2 people that we do for 2000 or more. Everyone pays the same to get in the door and they deserve the same treatment regardless of how many of them showed up.
There you have it, an insight into the mind of the “Appalachian Apostle” Adam Joad. I love him like a brother and plan to for a long long time. Scattered Hamlet is definitely a band to get to know and enjoy. They treat their fans with respect and take the time to talk with them. Their music is completely enjoyable. Check out a couple of their tracks here:
Thanks Adam we appreciate the time you spent with us in this interview.
I first became aware of Mastodon when I saw the artwork on Remission their first release. I have been a fan ever since, enjoying each release more and more. I was asked to review Crack The Skye by my friend Josh Reece, so here goes!
Crack The Skye is the fourth studio release by Mastodon. It was released on March 24, 2009. According to the band this album represents the element of aether, which is represented by the souls and spirits of all things, a theme closely related to the context of the album. Because the elements of fire, water and earth have already represented by the band’s first three albums Remission, Leviathan and Blood Mountain, respectively, the element of air is the only classical element which has yet to be represented by a Mastodon album.
4. “The Czar”
5. “Ghost of Karelia”
6. “Crack the Skye” (featuring Scott Kelly)
7. “The Last Baron”
“Oblivion” opens the CD an ominous sounding guitar intro and progresses into a fast paced yet groove laden track that is easy to listen to and truly enjoyable. “Divinations” starts rather eerily to me and kind of makes me feel on edge. This edgy feeling stays with me through the song. While not unenjoyable it kind of reminds me of when the Joker appears on screen in the Dark Knight film. “Quintessence” is easily my favorite track on this record. I enjoy the progression of this track and the vocal track which is not quite in your face. This song kind of lulls me into a kind of altered state, which is the sign of a great song in my opinion. “The Czar” in its entirety (all five parts) is reminiscent of one of the many epic Rush songs that I so love. I can listen to this in its entirety time and time again. “Ghost Of Karelia” has a kind of whirling effect that is greatly enhanced by listening to it with good pair of headphones. “Crack The Sky” features Scott Kelly from the band Neurosis on vocals. I enjoy this track as it is a bit harder and gets your blood pumping. A good track to put in your CD player in your vehicle, roll down the windows, and hit the gas. “The Last Baron” a 13 minute opus closes this masterpiece of a CD with an all out audio assault. I was reading about the themes of this CD and came across where Brann Dailor said, “There is a paraplegic and the only way that he can go anywhere is if he astral travels. He goes out of his body, into outer space and a bit like Icarus, he goes too close to the sun, burning off the golden umbilical cord that is attached to his solar plexus. So he is in outer space and he is lost, he gets sucked into a wormhole, he ends up in the spirit realm and he talks to spirits telling them that he is not really dead. So they send him to the Russian cult, they use him in a divination and they find out his problem. They decide they are going to help him. They put his soul inside Rasputin’s body. Rasputin goes to usurp the czar and he is murdered. The two souls fly out of Rasputin’s body through the crack in the sky(e) and Rasputin is the wise man that is trying to lead the child home to his body because his parents have discovered him by now and think that he is dead. Rasputin needs to get him back into his body before it’s too late. But they end up running into the Devil along the way and the Devil tries to steal their souls and bring them down…there are some obstacles along the way.” He also said, “My sister passed away when I was a teenager and it was awful, and there’s no better way to pay tribute to a lost loved one than having an opportunity to be in a group with my friends and we make art together. Her name was Skye, so Crack the Skye means a lot of different things. For me personally, it means the moment of being told you lost someone dear to you, [that moment] is enough to crack the sky.” A deep and meaningful CD for sure. Like I said put on a good pair of headphones, or crank it up in your vehicle and be transported to a different plane of existence.
Thanks again to Josh Reece for reminding me that this excellent record was in my collection. I have been enjoying it as of recent.
We all know the story a band member or members are kicked out/left on their own and now there are two bands claiming rights to the name. Great White, LA Guns, Faster Pussycat, Creedence Clearwater Revival/Revisited, Queensryche, are just a few bands that have run into this situation.
I have a few opinions on this. I feel that if the band has an iconic vocalist who has a distinct voice it becomes hard to carry on as a band when said vocalist is fired or leaves. On the other hand if a guitarist defines the sound of a band people seem to buy into a replacement vocalist.
So what should be done? Should both bands abandon the name? Should they both use the name and tour causing confusion? I know a lot has to do with the business end of things so there’s that. There’s no easy answer to this one.
During the process of doing interviews for Music U-Night I was given an interview with Charlie Owens from Bleach Bangs Radio. I always like to spend some time before the interview getting to know my subject on a personal level. For me it helps to make the interview process flow easier and seem more natural. In getting to know Charlie it was if we were long lost brothers. We have so many common interests and likes, it was fate.
Charlie Owens from Bleach Bangs Radio on Music U-Night:
A little bit later I was asked to be interviewed on Bleach Bangs Radio. The on air chemistry continued and I was able to “meet” Randy Norris, and john Hennis, Charlie’s co-hosts on the show. It was a great experience.