Monte Pittman releases Inverted Grasp Of Balance

 

 DSC_2517

    I recently received the new Monte Pittman record Inverted Grasp Of Balance for review. Little did I know that it would cause me to have a profound revelation to a question I have been seeking an answer to.  Over the years of recorded music people have been trying to answer the question: What makes a record good? There has been a myriad of answers that run the gamut of the music industry. The problem is most of the answers that have been provided are subjective to the answerer and biased to their own opinions. For me, at least, I feel that I have finally answered said question. A good record is one that when you put it on you find yourself turning it up, tapping your foot or nodding your head to the beat, and when it’s over you find yourself feeling as if you just got back from…somewhere.

     I was excited to review this record as I have spoken with Monte before and have enjoyed his previous work. I didn’t realize that I would spend the rest of the day and the next listening to it on repeat and still humming the songs long after. There is a level of craftsmanship to this record that is hard to find these days (one other is the work of Jeff Sandoval and Mike Araiza). There is no doubt that music flows through the soul of Monte Pittman and I hear nods to so many musicians in his playing and writing.  When a record is made for the purpose of sharing what one feels in their minds ear, it is profound and beautiful.

      Inverted Grasp Of Balance  features Monte on guitars and vocals, Richard Christy (Charred Walls Of The Damned, Iced Earth, Death) on drums, and…..wait for it….Billy Sheehan, yes I said Billy Sheehan (David Lee Roth, Mr. Big, Winery Dogs, just to name a few) on bass. Jay Ruston (Anthrax, Steel Panther) handled the production duties and the record sounds clean and crisp. I read somewhere that Monte recorded his guitar parts while on the road, but this record feels so organic to me and it feels like someone turned on a mic in a jam room and captured some live magic.

     Inverted Grasp Of Balance gives us twelve tracks which flow together beautifully and I guarantee you will NOT find yourself reaching for the skip button, in fact you WILL find yourself reaching for the repeat button.

     If you have to pin me down for stand out tracks I would have to say “Skeleton Key” just reaches out to me the most. This track, in my opinion should be on every radio station across the planet, period. It’s just good rock n’ roll that gets in your head.I find myself just humming throughout the day.  “California” opens with bass that just drips with cool and is pure Billy Sheehan and then paints a picture in your mind of being on a cool road trip with the radio blasting, the wind in your hair, and your best friends at your side.  “New Blood Keeps Us Alive” is an epic track that, again, I feel should be blasting out of every speaker across the world. It begins with some wonderfully beautiful acoustic work that grows to some powerful rock n’ roll worthy of note. This song opens up the mind and makes you reflect on life.

      Monte’s guitar work is across the map on Inverted Grasp Of Balance, taking from gentle acoustic to balls out shredding, and it all works in connection with each other. Not only is there stellar guitar work here Monte’s vocal work is strong and epic as well. The songwriting on  Inverted Grasp Of Balance is something else. Monte has reached deep within and written some deep compositions that I believe were truly from the point of artistry.  Combine all of that with great drumming and legendary bass playing this is a music lovers wet-dream.

          Inverted Grasp Of Balance drops on Sept 23 on Metal Blade Records make sure you do NOT miss out on this record.

     Monte_Pittman_-_Inverted_Grasp_of_Balance

 Inverted Grasp Of Balance track-listing
1. Panic Attack
2. Arisen in Broad Daylight
3. Guilty Pleasure
4. The Times Are Changing
5. Double Edged Sword
6. Cadabra
7. Pride Comes Before the Fall
8. California
9. Be Very Afraid
10. Obliterated
11. Skeleton Key
12. New Blood Keeps Us Alive

Pre-order “Inverted Grasp of Balance” at metalblade.com/montepittman/

Monte Pittman online:
http://www.montepittman.com
https://www.facebook.com/MontePittman
http://www.youtube.com/MontePittmanMusic
https://soundcloud.com/montepittman
http://twitter.com/montepittman
http://www.instagram.com/montepittman
https://montepittman.bandpage.com
https://myspace.com/montepittman

     it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s Monte Pittman

     -the Hellion

Let’s talk Van Halen….again

54f106eb6c9cf_284638b

In a land before time…there were record stores, racks of magazines, radio stations that played real music, and rockstars who were like gods to us. Gods shining bright from Olympus, inaccessible to us mere mortals.

Like a tornado raging across the plains Van Halen took their place on high.

I was instantly floored and in love with their music, and style. I fancied myself in the same ilk as David Lee Roth. I had the long blond hair, I wore bandannas like him, and I was loud and boisterous like him. It wasn’t a party without me and when I entered a room, everyone there knew it.

David Lee Roth to me was the end all to be all. The force of David Lee Roth, Michael Anthony, Eddie and Alex Van Halen was out of this world.

I look back now and have to ask myself “What the hell was I thinking?” I can now say David Lee Roth was not the great vocalist I thought. But, at that time, he was the vocalist we all wanted.

Now we find ourselves older and wiser, well some of us any way, and Van Halen is once again on the minds of everyone.  Van Halen 2015 is, to me, an eight cylinder engine running on only six. Sure the music still sounds good but we are missing those outstanding backing vocals and the stellar stage presence of Michael Anthony. And David Lee Roth has become a parody of himself.

I have such a hard listening to the new live stuff coming out now. I cringe with embarrassment at the attempts to reclaim their status in the rock world. I will always love Van Halen now and forever, but it’s time to retire their jerseys….

 

P.S. STOP FIGHTING AND NAME BASHING EACH OTHER AND PASS THE TORCH ON!!! LET THE VAN HALEN LEGACY GO OUT ON A GOOD NOTE!!!

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

-the Hellion

My top 10 Rock songs that never get old for me

rockstar2

There are songs that you have heard a million times and you can’t take them anymore (Post about those songs another time), and those that remain eternally epic. This is my list of those songs I consider most epic.

10. “Tombs Ov Oblivion” – Crowned By Fire

     9. “Back In The Saddle” – Aerosmith

     8. “Breakin’ Down” – Skid Row

     7. “More Than A Feeling” – Boston

     6. “Now I’m Here” – Queen

     5. “Dance The Night Away” – Van Halen

     4. “River Of Deceit” – Mad Season

     3. “No Quarter” – Led Zeppelin

     2. “Love To Love” – UFO

     1. “Spirits In The Night” – Manfred Mann’s Earth Band

     These are the ten top songs which I could listen to over and over without them wearing out on me. I guess of I were to make a Hellion Rocks greatest hits CD these would be the ten songs that would make the cut for me. Why these ten songs? They each represent to me musical craft at its best. I can listen to these and be carried away on musical adventures in faraway lands. I encourage your feedback and responses with your own definitive top ten list.

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

     -the Hellion

 

Bleach Bangs Radio discusses Motley Crue, AC/DC, and Van Halen and should they hang it up?

bb hangups

Well, like that irritating rash, WE’RE BACK!!! We at Bleach Bangs Radio are exploring out options to infiltrate your ear holes and burrow into your brains. This time we decided to discuss some bands and their lifespans. Should they pull the plug? Should the defibrillators be hooked up to them? Check out the show right here:

     Afterwards let us know your thoughts. Pay attention as well because you just might have your chance to participate in an upcoming Bleach Bangs show yourself!!!

     -Bleach Bangs crew

Van Halen….again

Van_Halen_album

 

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.

VanHalen_5150_fcover

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 .

Van_Halen_-_Van_Halen_III

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….

Van_Halen_logo

 

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

-the Hellion

 

 

Jason Becker Perpetual Burn Humbucker‏ from Seymour Duncan

ImageProxy (1)

Introducing The Jason Becker Perpetual Burn

The story of the Jason Becker pickup starts decades ago when Jason was catapulted to the top of the guitarist world from his work with Cacophony, as a solo artist and with David Lee Roth. As Jason explains, “I remember Bob Rock bringing in a Les Paul with a Duncan JB in it while I was recording the David Lee Roth song “A Little Ain’t Enough” and I absolutely loved it. After playing with Bob Rock’s guitar, I contacted Seymour Duncan to potentially work on a Becker pickup. We talked about what I wanted and over the course of a few months, they sent about six test pickups.” Jason wanted enough gain for singing leads and the dynamic response for complex chording and ringing clean tones. As the pickup was nearing completion his ALS was making things increasingly hard and the pickup was never released.

As to how Jason came back to completing the pickup, he writes: “A couple years ago, my buddy Michael Lee Firkins came over to test a possible Becker signature amp. We tried tons of guitars, but didn’t find any that sounded very good, or at least that sounded like me. We finally plugged in the guitar with one of my test Duncans in it, and we were all floored! It was like magic. We decided to finalize the pickup and I would say the final tone sounds like me, only way better! It has the thick beef and balls that we metal players and old Van Halen fans like, plus a sweet, clear and crisp, yet warm lead tone.”

The Perpetual Burn HumBecker has an Alnico 5 bar magnet and a 12.11k DC resistance. It has the clarity and punch for Jason’s brand of high-octane shred but is a great choice for rock, blues, and fusion as well. It’s a drop-in replacement for any humbucker-equipped guitar and requires no modification to the instrument. It’s available in black, white, zebra and can be ordered in an assortment of colors as a shop floor custom.

ImageProxy (2)

 

 

John 5 Signs with Dean Markley USA‏

jpeg

 

Dean Markley USA Welcomes John 5 to the Family

jpeg (1)

SANTA CLARA, CA March 19, 2013–– Dean Markley announces the latest addition to their artist roster, John 5.  As one of today’s influential guitarists, Dean Markley USA looks to John 5 to help further expand the company’s market share and help raise John’s visibility in the world of guitar and entertainment.
John 5 is playing Dean Markley’s Nickel Steel Signature Series strings. The Nickel Steels are hand crafted in the USA with a unique core that adds more mass for greater sustain and has a core to wrap ratio that creates the playing, tone and durability preferred by professional guitarists. This best-selling design and commitment to quality has consistently generated accolades year after year, all around the world by dealers and distributors.
The career of John 5 began to achieve acknowledgements with Marilyn Manson in 1998 but not without paying his dues first.  Before landing the Manson gig, John 5 had been performing with Lita Ford, K.D. Lang , Rob Halford, David Lee Roth, and a string of local bands before making his trek to Los Angeles.  Throughout his time with Marilyn Manson, he continued working as a session guitarist on several albums to continue building his resume.  By 2003, John had teamed up with Fender Musical Instrument Corporation to launch his very own signature model guitar.
2004 marked the beginning of his solo career that now includes six studio albums (Vertigo, Songs for Sanity, The Devil Knows My Name, Requiem, The Art of Malice, and God Told Me To) complimented by a remix album of previous works entitled, Remixploitation.
Come 2006, John found himself teaming up with another iconic artist, Rob Zombie.  What started as a planned short stint of gigs has turned into a long standing relationship that now spans over seven years and includes international tours, studio albums and even scoring the Rob Zombie film, The Lords of Salem.
John 5 continues to branch out in his solo and collaborative careers while striving to break new ground with each new effort. While pushing the envelope, he has worked with other luminaries such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ricky Martin, Rod Stewart and Sebastian Bach.
For more information on Dean Markley strings, please visit www.deanmarkley.com
To learn more about John 5, please visit www.john-5.com
About Dean Markley USA
Established in 1972, Dean Markley USA is recognized as an innovator and leader in the world of musical instrument strings. Over the years, the company has expanded its product line to include pickups and accessories. Celebrated by retailers for their sales performance and endorsed by an elite caliber of musicians, Dean Markley USA products are the smart choice. www.DeanMarkley.com