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

Guns N’ Roses…you know where you are???

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So, I have been sitting some info for a while. As most of have heard, some form of Guns N’ Roses will be performing at Coachella and a possible tour. Keep in mind this is some form of a reunited GNR. Stay tuned right here for more information to come….

You know where you are?

-the Hellion

they journeyed down the Highway To Hell and came Back In Black

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how can a band have back to back swansongs? Leave it to AC/DC. I was watching a documentary on the band and it got me thinking about their career. Keep in mind these are just my opinions and mine alone.

AC/DC has been hanging out in my ears since “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” caught my attention in late 1976. I was hooked from the get go. I really identified with the rebellious dirty sound of these guys. AC/DC was a band full of guys that were the type your parents warned you to stay away from and yet you couldn’t. I felt an affinity towards these guys and made it my mission to collect their music and adopt their attitude.

I earned money to buy High Voltage, T.N.T, Dirty Deeds, Let There Be Rock, and Powerage. I did my best to wear them out as they remained in constant rotation on my turntable. There was just SOMETHING about the vibe of the music.

The summer of 1979 AC/DC delivered unto the world their best work to date, Highway to Hell. This record was perfection start to finish. The songs were flawless, and the cover was every parents nightmare back then. Devil horns, pentagrams, sullen hooligans…heroes to us rebellious youths.

Then a short seven months later my hero Bon was found dead in a car, death by misadventure, taken out like he lived.

In my mind I think that AC/DC made the best album they could ever make and the pressure to top it was weighing heavy on Bon. I think it was Bon Scott era AC/DC’s swansong.

My mind was blown when in the summer of 1980 a new AC/DC record hit the stores, Back In Black. Wait, what?!?!? They had replaced Bon Scott?!?!? Turns out that yes they had.

I bought it and raced home to hear what my beloved AC/DC had done. It wasn’t bad, in fact the record kicked ass. Brian Johnson wasn’t Bon and he wasn’t trying to be, and I was ok with that. It was AC/DC and yet….not. I felt that the new stuff was good but was missing a bit of their street tough element. To me this was Brian Johnson era AC/DC’s swansong.

And that was that, the following records really did nothing for me and I felt that my beloved AC/DC had crossed into the realm of hard-pop music and even though I have consistently purchased every release the love affair  was long over.

That is how to me AC/DC made back to back swansong records. They jumped the shark twice, and to me that’s ok.

AC/DC soldiers on to this day and yes I still support them and always will, but that special connection, that spark, that nod from one street tough to another is long gone…

Thanks for the history guys, I still have the denim vest, and can still smell cigarette smoke and feel the whiskey flask in my pocket, and probably always will.

it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s AC/DC!!!

the Hellion

Talking to Michael Sweet of Stryper about the new record ‘FALLEN’


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It’s always a good day to talk with Michael Sweet from Stryper. I had the chance yesterday to speak with Michael a bit about the new record and some other things. It was a heartfelt conversation and left me feeling good. Thanks again Michael, and Kevin for making it happen. Enjoy our conversation right here:

     Do yourselves a favor and pick up the new Stryper release out on Frontier Records Friday, October 16th, I give it a 15 out of 10 stars!!!

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     Check out Stryper online:

www.facebook.com/Stryper

www.stryper.com

www.frontiers.it

     it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s ROCK N’ ROLL!!!

     -the Hellion

Wait, they made a new record?

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A recent conversation I overheard: “I’m going to see Def Leppard this weekend, are you?” “No I don’t like him.” I interjected “You know, Def Leppard has a new record coming out.”  To which the response was “I only like that one song, you know, the “Sugar” song.”

After banging my head repeatedly into the wall I began to think about veteran bands and their new music.

I can recall going to several recent shows where the bands were touring on new music and yet the fans were only interested in hearing the “hits” from the past. It is this that bothers me. Why make a new album then if no one cares to hear the new stuff? I get why there are so many frustrated musicians in the world these days.

I, for one, love to hear the new music, I actually prefer it. I blame this on corporate radio (yet again, the bane of my existence). Oh yes they will play the “new” track from the more popular artists for a bit but then often times it fades away to be replaced with the classic “hit” songs.

What does this really do to the artists? I feel that it makes some of them only go through the motions when writing a new record. They put it out only because they have to contractually. It’s the “nobody cares to listen to our new music, so why bother” syndrome. I am not saying it’s always like that but I get that vibe from some.

So what is the fix? I don’t really think there is a general fix for the problem. It is up to us stalwart music lovers who go out and buy the new releases from veteran artists to turn others on to said new music. I have said in the past that Rock N’ Roll was spread by word of mouth in its beginning and it has come full circle to that today.

I am tired of seeing people at Iron Maiden, KISS, Def Leppard, Motley Crue, etc., etc., shows looking bored and distracted when they play new material. I get it, you love “that one song”, but why not give the new stuff a chance, and you might just find another song or two to love.

 

It’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s ROCK N’ ROLL!!!

-the Hellion

Van Halen….again

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1978- Who doesn’t remember when you first heard “Eruption”? Myself and my local group of ne’er do wells were stopped dead in our tracks when we did. It was a sonic assault unlike any we had heard before. How could this be a guitar? Who could be behind this? And when it lead into “You Really Got Me” (being a Kinks fan I knew the track very well.) their rendition blew me away. I finally got my hands on a copy of this tasty piece of vinyl and proceeded to wear it the hell out. The raw power and swagger of this band was unbelievable. I found my self lost in the music and fancied myself a DLR clone. I mustered up as much swagger as I could and failed miserably, there was only one David Lee Roth.

Throughout the years I caught them every chance I could (Van Halen today remains the band I have seen live the most) and was never disappointed. The albums changed and the music evolved as did the members of Van Halen.

Things started going south for me with the 1982 release of Diver Down. Some of the tracks were incredibly awesome, and others left me scratching my head in bewilderment. What was going on here? I sucked it up however, and remained a loyal fan.

1984- WTF?!?!? What happened to my band of badasses? “Jump” really? As much as I tried to like this record it never really happened for me. And then, the king of swagger was gone David Lee Roth was no longer a part of the mighty Van Halen.

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I had been a fan of Sammy Hagar for quite a while when I heard the news of his replacing DLR. I thought to myself “this should be interesting with Sammy being quite an accomplished songwriter and guitarist. I waited in anticipation for the results.

When 5150 hit the stores I snapped it up eager to see what direction they were taking. While not the dangerous “you’re gonna go to jail if you hang out with those guys” band they used to be, it was good. Different but good. Van Halen had become a more mainstream act and it seemed stronger song writers. I found myself at that point in my life more mature as well, and I enjoyed the music. The four studio albums with Sammy gave some great songs and the memories that went a long with them .

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And then, like a bad dream, Sammy was out and Gary Cherone (really guys, I thought to myself) from Extreme was in. it was 1998 and was a 34 year old family man now but still a loyal rocker. I put aside my misgivings and entered Van Halen III with an open mind. I actually found this record quite good, a departure from the VH sound but good. And then, again, Gary was out and so was Michael Anthony.

Van Halen then kind of faded away in the eyes and ears of most people. They remained ever present in the rotation of music that I played, never far from my ears. Rumors and stories abounded but never came to fruition.

A couple of Reunions with Hagar and Roth came and went and rumors of new album with Roth began. In 2012 we finally got A Different Kind Of Truth and learned that Wolfgang Van Halen was now the bassist for Van Halen. It was through this record I realized my precious Van Halen was no more.

I had been there though it all: Van Halen, Van Hagar, Extreme Van Halen, and now Van Halen3 plus Dave.

In the past few days Van Halen has been asplash on the internet with their appearance on Jimmy Kimmel. I watched with baited breath hoping to catch a glimpse of my heroes of old. Alas, I was disappointed and a little embarrassed for them. While Eddie as usual had killer tone and chops, and Alex still brought the thunder, Young Wolfgang was no Michael Anthony, and David Lee Roth, well, let’s just say sometimes it’s better to leave on a high note. I will not speak of the current Sammy project because this was about me and Van Halen and I want to keep it that way.

I will always love and respect the music Van Halen has given me throughout the years and yes I will buy any and everything they release, I just feel that it’s time to move on for them….

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Van Halen I love you guys (all of you) now and forever

-the Hellion

 

 

American Metal Legends TESTAMENT Announce “Dark Roots of Thrash II” Tour, Coming April 2015

TESTAMENT to Perform an Exclusive New Set List, Including The Legacy and The New Order in Their Entirety + Select Practice What You Preach Album Cuts
Re-Introducing Bassist STEVE DIGIORGIO
Support from Thrash Leaders EXODUS + Texas Metal Assailants SHATTERED SUN
TESTAMENT and EXODUS Combined VIP Meet & Greet Experience Available via www.SLOTIX.com
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     Pioneers of the classic American metal scene, TESTAMENT, are announcing what will undoubtedly be the most crushing heavy metal tour to hit North America this spring – the Dark Roots of Thrash II tour! The Dark Roots of Thrash II tour will conquer North America for five weeks, beginning April 1st in San Francisco, and will include select TESTAMENT and EXODUS festival performances. Select cities are on sale now, and more dates will be announced soon. 
Adding to TESTAMENT’s live onslaught, fans will receive a guaranteed pummelling from the Dark Roots of Thrash II tour’s revered support: fellow Bay Area-thrashers EXODUS and Texas melodic metal assailants SHATTERED SUN.
TESTAMENT, EXODUS and SHATTERED SUN “Dark Roots of Thrash II” Dates:
04/01/15   Regency Ballroom – San Francisco, CA
04/02/15   House Of Blues – Hollywood, CA
04/03/15   Livewire – Scottsdale, AZ
04/04/15   Sunshine Theater – Albuquerque, NM
04/06/15   Aztec Theater – San Antonio, TX
04/07/15   House Of Blues – Houston, TX
04/08/15   House Of Blues – Dallas, TX
04/10/15   Pop’s – Sauget, IL
04/11/15   Mojoes – Joliet, IL
04/12/15   Harpo’s – Detroit, MI
04/13/15   The Intersection – Grand Rapids, MI
04/15/15   Phoenix Concert Theatre – Toronto, ON – CANADA
04/16/15   Rapids Theatre – Niagara Falls, NY
04/17/15   Starland Ballroom – Sayreville, NJ
04/18/15   The Palladium – Worcester, MA, New England Metal & Hardcore Festival
04/19/15   The Paramount – Huntington, NY
04/21/15   Mercury Ballroom – Louisville, KY
04/22/15   Cannery Ballroom – Nashville, TN
04/23/15   Masquerade – Atlanta, GA
     it’s gonna get LOUD!!!
     -the Hellion