Here’s what’s up with Justin Manning

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Had the chance to chat with Justin Manning about some stuff…so check it out:

     -the Hellion

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The Genius of DEVO

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A very long time ago a friend of mine who was always on the cutting edge of music played a for me called “Jocko Homo”. I asked him “what the hell did I just listen to?” He said, “it’s a band called DEVO, take the record and really listen to it.”

I listened to the record which was Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! And I grew to love it and appreciate it. Keep in mind this album came out in 1978 and songs like “Jocko Homo”, “Uncontrollable Urge”, “Gut Feeling”/ “(Slap Your Mammy)” and their cover of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” were so off the normal track.

I kept listening and watching the “evolution” of DEVO throughout the years maintaining a constant affair with them. It was kind of like a guilty pleasure for me. My then current flock of metal heads would have revoked my metal card at that time.

Eventually the love of music outweighed being “cool” or “accepted” and I learned to just embrace the music I loved and throw away the genres.

DEVO continued to deliver eclectic music and imagery that attracted me. The music was complex and interesting in its composure. Electronic, analog, all mixed together with often times frantic vocals, it was all in there.  The world caught up with DEVO with the success of “Whip It” and other tracks like “Freedom of Choice”, “Beautiful World”. I continued to listen and appreciate their diversity. And then they fell off of my radar. There was no reason they had just got away from me.

I found myself a parent for the first time in 1990 when my son was born. One of the first television shows I watched with him was the Rugrats. I was completely surprised to see that Mark Mothersbaugh from DEVO was involved with the music of Rugrats. I then realized the genius of Mark and DEVO.

I went on a musical history trip through the halls of DEVO and fully came to appreciate their creativity and tongue-in-cheek and yet somehow, not, humor. There were messages woven into the tapestry of their songs that you could pick up on if you were really paying attention. There are a lot of bands out there whose music just doesn’t stand up over time and grows old and tiresome to me, DEVO is not one of those bands. I still find new things to enjoy from their rich musical history.

Never be ashamed of the music you like, period.

“He’s a man with a plan

His finger is pointed at Devo

Now we must sacrifice ourselves

That many others may live

Okay we’ve got a lot to give” …DEVO

-the Hellion

Black Sabbath

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Summer of 1977…

I had just met the neighbor kid in the apartment complex we had just moved into. He invited me over to hang out and listen to music one afternoon. He asked me if I liked Black Sabbath and I told him that “Iron Man” was a cool song but that was about all I knew. He then proceeded to play Master of Reality. The music was like an adrenaline shot to my senses. I was hooked immediately and had to have more and find out all I could about Black Sabbath.

Over time I managed to collect their music and it became a part of my regular listening schedule. I couldn’t explain it but the music reached me on many levels. And then, as quickly as I had found them, there was news of a band split.

Back then (before up to the minute news from the internet) rumors began circulating of Ozzy leaving the band. This unfortunately became truth.

It came to pass that Black Sabbath had hired Ronnie James Dio to sing and Ozzy launched a solo career. I was a long time Rainbow fan and was curious to see what Dio would bring. I was positive that Ozzy would have some cool stuff as well.

Let’s talk Black Sabbath first. With the addition of Dio they brought us Heaven and Hell. I like this record but it brought about a sense of change to the Black Sabbath style. I always felt that this record took them in a more pop rock oriented style. It wasn’t bad but it just wasn’t MY Black Sabbath that I’d grown to love. It proved to be the same with the Mob Rules. They had just failed to reach as had been done with their previous work. I like both records and still listen to them today but not nearly as much as the earlier work. And then Dio was gone.

To be honest I left them at that point not even bothering to listen or seek out their music. Black Sabbath was lost to me at that time.

Ozzy went on to great success as a solo artist. He surrounded himself with stellar musicians and made some good records. Like Dio era Sabbath it was different. Ozzy tried to cultivate the Prince Of Darkness image but it failed to reach me. The music while great again, in my opinion, leaned a little more towards the pop rock side.

I know, I know, I can just see some of you rolling your eyes at this. Change is ok and sometimes can be good. It was good for Ozzy’s career and not so much with Black Sabbath. Sabbath eventually reunited with Dio for Dehumanizer before parting ways again.

Eventually Ozzy and Sabbath got over the past and reunited for 13 (without Bill Ward), but, for me, the magic just wasn’t there anymore.

Over time we lost Dio to cancer, Ozzy’s solo career kind of came to a slow down, and Sabbath again had some infighting leading to a permanent split with Bill Ward. But, as I have said in other conversations, that is band business of which we as fans have no part.

All in all, it’s been a good ride with Sabbath and Ozzy. I will always have and cherish the early music they made. Black Sabbath, Paranoid, Master of Reality, Vol. 4, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Sabotage, Technical Ecstasy, and Never Say Die! will ALWAYS be the definitive Sabbath albums for me. I will still continue to support anything Sabbath or Ozzy does because that’s what we as music fans do. I don’t have to love it but without that support it will go away. The bands that were influenced by Black Sabbath are countless.

Thank you Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Bill Ward for the hours upon hours of enjoyment you have given to me over the years. You four will forever be Black Sabbath in my heart and mind. To all of the others who have had a hand in the Sabbath legacy: Geoff Nicholls, Craig Gruber, Vinny Appice, Ian Gillen, Bev Bevan, Ron Keel, David Donato, Eric Singer, Dave Spitz, Glenn Hughes, Ray Gillen, Bob Daisley, Tony Martin, Cozy Powell, Laurence Cottle, Neil Murray, Bobby Rondinelli, Mike Bordin, Adam Wakeman, Tommy Clufetos, Rick Wakeman, Gerald Woodroffe, Don Airey, Brad Wilk thank you for being a part of such legends. Zakk Wylde, ZAKK SABBATH?!?!?! That’s what I’m talking about!

Dio, you just rule, period.

 

It’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s mother#$%*ing SABBATH!!!

-the Hellion

 

ABBA to ZZ Top – Appreciating Diversity

 

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My mom introduced me to music at a very young age. There was always some kind of music playing somewhere in the house. One of my earliest musical memories is running around with my cousins screaming in our tiny off key voices “Yellow Submarine” by the Beatles.

The music my mom listened to was across the map, but mostly rock oriented. My stepfather, however, was a country man and there was no alternative. I learned to appreciate the sounds I was hearing from songs that they both listened to. I felt the stories they were telling, and that was how I interpreted them, as stories. These “stories” would end up becoming my best friends as my childhood took some nasty turns. They were always there and wouldn’t ever let me down. I ultimately developed an affinity for rock and that became my preferred style of music. I never did lose my appreciation for classic country music though.

The 70’s were a great time for music on the radio. I could hear a broad spectrum of artists on one rock station from ABBA to ZZ Top. I LISTENED and devoured all of the music that I could, often staying up until the wee hours with a small radio under my pillow. I remember a conversation with my mom once where I asked her why she liked music so much her reply was “Because the songs take me away to different places.” I got it, and found myself taking the same journeys. The music was fresh and entertaining and never ever seemed to go stale for me. There was no sub, sub, sub genres, just good music.

This was a time when it was cool to one day wear a Bee Gees shirt and a KISS one the next. We just loved the music. We were clueless and we loved it. We used our imaginations to think about what our favorite musicians were doing and what they would do next, there was bliss in our ignorance.

 

…it was just music and we simply loved it.

-the Hellion

The Troubadour of Testosterone, Zakk Wylde, releases Book Of Shadows II

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I have been listening to the new Zakk Wylde release for several days now and want to share my reflections on it with you.

When I received my pre-order in the mail I was excited to hear some new music from Father Zakk. I unwrapped the CD, and quickly threw it in my truck’s player and settled in for a listen…..

Playing this album it felt like i had put on a pair of comfortable slippers, and settled in to my favorite easy chair. While the songs were new, they felt familiar and comfortable like old friends and yet at the same time, not stale and boring. I tried to pick out some standout tracks but was unable to as the flow of the record, for me, needs to be taken as a whole.

So why would Zakk need to make a solo record? Why not another Black Label Society record? Here are my thoughts.

We all know Zakk can grab his fiddle and choke some fantastic music from it that will crush our collective chests like so many packs of cigarettes, and we know he has some tender moments that give us some memorable ballads. With Book of Shadows II, Zakk gives us some reflective music. This CD is full of music that truly comes from a mans thoughts and life experiences and listening to it will transport you into a thoughtful place. I am taken back to the music of James Taylor, Jim Croce, and Don McLean. These guys created art with their words and guitars.

Why then would hardcore, badass, metalhead, rockers, like this record? Because it shows craftsmanship, and talent…lots and lots of talent. The skill set Zakk shows us on Book of Shadows II shows us why he remains so relevant in the vast world of guitarists.

Bottom line, Book of Shadows II feels like a record that I have had in my collection for years and years and yet puts a smile on my face whenever I play it.

While all of the songs stand out to me as a whole Zakk has released a video for “Sleeping Dogs” and you can check it out here:

     Whether you are a Zakk Wylde/BLS fan or not you should run out today and pick Book of Shadows II to up, pop it in your player, roll the windows down, and go for a 60 minute drive and just let finely crafted music flow through you and take to a reflective place.

     it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s Rock N’ Roll!!!

     -the Hellion

 

 

“Take It Easy” Glenn Frey

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Well, I received the new earlier this afternoon that Glenn Frey had passed away. Glenn and the Eagles have been a part of my life for s long as I can remember. My mom turned me on to the Eagles when I was young and I am grateful for that. The Eagles wrote songs that we could all relate to and they became part of the soundtrack to our lives. I am sorry to hear of your passing Glenn, “Take It Easy” my friend.

-the Hellion

 

Good bye David Bowie

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I woke up to some tragic news this morning, David Bowie had passed away. Yet another iconic rock star has left us for the great beyond. I remember Bowie very very well. I grew up listening to his music and enjoying his myriad of personalities. I had always respected David for daring to be who he wanted and not afraid to express himself artistically. Throughout the years I have listened, and not always liked, to his music but continued to respect him and his work. And now, I am forced to say goodbye to the Thin White Duke. I will forever play his music and try to tell others about the legend of Ziggy Stardust.

     Good bye Alladin Sane…

     the Hellion