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

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

 

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

 

 

Ok, ok, I get it!!!

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So, people are calling me out on my Facebook statement from earlier today. After hearing about the Metallica/Budweiser beer thing. I posted: “Drink some beer with our name on it so you don’t care if our next record is terrible…” I then commented on my own post: “What’s next Megabeer, Five Finger Hard Punch?”

It was all in fun people, but I get it. I’m close enough to people in the industry to understand the struggle. Being a musician in today’s world is harder than ever. That is why many of them have chosen to diversify their interests. That is why we have seen so many hot sauces, coffees, restaurants, clothing lines, guitars and gear, etc., etc. from artists these days. The problem that can arise from this, in my opinion, is that I feel the music gets lost in all of the hustle and bustle.

So, in conclusion, pay more attention to the music instead of the “stuff”! Now go buy some music and band merch, and hit up a show or two!!!

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

-the Hellion

it’s all you

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With all of the news of racial/social/political unrest as of late it has caused me to reflect on things, and I have come to the conclusion it is all because of you.

You have the choice to not hit your child or your spouse. Sure you might have grown up in a home where domestic violence was the norm (I myself witnessed my mother beaten by my stepfather and I was at the end of a few myself), and yet I choose to respect my wife and children. I choose to not follow that path.

You have the choice not to sexually abuse others. Again, I knew  people who were abused by people they trusted and yet they grew up and made choices to help others that were being abused.

You have the choice to not abuse alcohol. Again I have firsthand experience with alcoholism in the home. This is a devastating problem int he country today. I have again made the choice to stay away from that lifestyle.

You have the choice to not abuse drugs. Once more, I have experienced this in my home as a child. This is another choice I am proud to have made in staying away.

You have the choice to obey the law and not run from the police. I am saddened to see all of the death and destruction in the news today regarding this issue. Think of how many would still be alive if they had just obeyed the law and the police. I say again, you have the ability to choose the right thing.

There is only one race, the human race. We are all brethren and should not be afraid to embrace each other publicly and claim our love for one another. We could achieve miracles then.

Choose wisely my friends

-the Hellion

Go home iHeartRadio, you’re drunk

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I used to enjoy listening to the radio. Now it’s just a jukebox with the selector buttons broken so we hear the same songs over and over. While I enjoy all forms of music, I predominantly listen to Rock N’ Roll. Recently one of my favorite long time radio stations, KZRR 94 Rock, was assimilated by the collective known as  iHeartRadio. This assimilation has brought with it inane commercials for  iHeartRadio advertising artists and events that have NOTHING TO DO WITH THE GENRE OF ROCK N’ ROLL!!! I also tried out their streaming of 94 Rock while I was out of state for three months. With their streaming they have something called “Fast Tracks” which turn out to be an abbreviated version of a song…wait, WHAT? PLAY THE WHOLE SONG!!!! Here’s another idea for iHeartRadio, how about playing some of the new artists trying to break through? I mean as much as I love the artists that do get play, there are many others out there.

I get the feeling that iHeartRadio is actually trying to kill off live radio and music as well. Just the other day another station that I listened to, 104.1 The Edge, dismissed its long running morning show personalities. This dismissal has led to an out-crying of support for said personalities. The reason was given as “restructuring” of the radio station…sigh.

I think we need REAL radio stations back with REAL DJ’s who played the music that they loved and had some control over it. I mean think about how many bands you were turned on to by a DJ.

I say now go home iHeartRadio you are not welcome anymore.

-the Hellion.

Immortal Randy Rhoads – The Ultimate Tribute – DVD thoughts and review

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September 27 1980- My friend Brett came over to my apartment to hang out with me on my 16th birthday. He smiled as he handed me a wrapped package. I eagerly tore the wrapping off to discover the Blizzard Of Ozz record. “I knew you loved Sabbath so I saw this and figured you would enjoy it.” We raced to my room and found ourselves entranced by the music. I was most impressed by the guitar playing album on this record. The passion and power of the guitar playing on it was enough to make me weep. Brett and I instantly became Randy Rhoads fanatics. A lot of our friends were Eddie Van Halen nuts through and through, but there was something a bit more magical about Randy Rhoads for me. We read everything we could find and tried our best to wear out my copy of Blizzard Of Ozz.

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When Diary Of A Madman came out in late 1981 I was there at the record store and raced home to hear what Randy had come up with to blow our minds, I was not disappointed in the least. This record too found itself being quickly worn out on my turntable. Again, I read every bit of press, had the posters, t-shirts, and all of the necessary accessories. Brett and I even figured out the secret codes on the album. Then, miracle of miracles, Ozzy was coming to our town!!! I did odd jobs to earn my $8.50 for my ticket. We went and positioned ourselves in front of Randy and witnessed a show that has yet to be repeated. The way Randy commanded the stage was sheer magic, and the way he played the songs live was utter brilliance. We left the show elated and sold that Randy was the greatest guitar player ever. Then, three months later he was gone, and I openly wept.

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         Now in March of 2015 I find myself watching a DVD about people who were influenced by Randy and his music. Kelle Rhoads let us into the world that he and his brother developed their musical skills in by walking us through the legendary Musonia Music School. Kelle told us of  how his mother, Delores, influenced Randy to audition for Ozzy. He also shared some moments of the younger Randy and himself performing is the school. I really felt the emotional bond and the sense of loss Kelle has for Randy when he showed the room where Randy taught guitar. It was stated that the room has been restored to the way it was when Randy packed up and left for his gig with Ozzy. It is truly a room frozen in time.

     The legendary Bob Kulick hosts Bob’s interaction with Kelle was enlightening and I learned new things about Randy. Bob spoke with drummer Frankie Banali and I learned things about the formation of the Ozzy solo band that I never knew. Dana Strum? Frankie’s involvement? You have to watch it and see. Hearing the stage stories from my friend Rudy Sarzo was amazing as well. Bob talks on with George Lynch, Doug Aldrich, Dweezil Zappa, Joel Hoekstra, George Lynch. Bruce Kulick, and Jon Donias. They all tell how Randy affected them musically.

     This DVD has led me to appreciate Randy “the person” more than I previously had. It is quite obvious how much his peers loved and respected him.  I am glad that the time was taken to produce this in tribute to the great Randy Rhoads who continues to live on inside me and others who listen and truly appreciate his musical legacy.  Please be sure to pick this up and allocate an hour and a half to learn about and share the life of this great musician and human being, you will NOT be disappointed. Randy truly is immortal.

     it’s loud, it’s beautiful, it’s Randy Rhoads

     -the Hellion