Should keyboards be used in metal?


Ahhh keyboards in rock music. I have always been a fan of keyboards in rock n’ roll, I mean John Paul Jones in Led Zeppelin, John Lord in Deep Purple, Rick Wakeman in Yes, Freddie Mercury in Queen, the list goes on and on. And then on December 21st 1983, a day that lives on in infamy to me,  Van Halen released the single “Jump”, wait…what just happened? My hard rock driven guitar band released a song with a sickly poppy sounding keyboard in it? If you can’t tell I was sorely disappointed in the boys. People were labeling the song as “pop rock” or “synthrock”, I was aghast a this. I eventually overcame my lament and forgave Van Halen for this travesty (again this is my opinion).

Today on my commute home I heard “Jump” on the radio (no I still don’t like it) and thought to myself I wonder what others think about keyboards in hard rock and heavy metal. I know bands like Sonata Artica, Kamelot, and Nightwish use them, but what are your thoughts?


it’s loud, it’s dirty, i might as well JUMP!!!

-the Hellion

UDR Music Announces TOMMY BOLIN “TEASER” 40th Anniversary Vinyl Edition Box Set – Out May 19, 2015 in North America‏

UDR Music Announces TOMMY BOLIN “TEASER” 40th Anniversary Vinyl Edition Box Set – Out May 19, 2015 in North America


TOMMY BOLIN (The James Gang, Deep Purple) – The Legend Lives On


Pre-Order Details Coming Soon

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UDR Music celebrates the 40th anniversary of guitar god TOMMY BOLIN’s classic solo album Teaser with a deluxe triple-vinyl set – the TEASER 40th Anniversary Vinyl Edition Box Set!


TOMMY BOLIN – recognized for his work with groups such as Zephyr, The James Gang, and Deep Purple – was a bright, young American guitar god who created a whirlwind with his loud, stylish, free-form fusion performances before his untimely death at the age of 25 in 1976. Released in 1975 during his time with Deep Purple, Teaser was the solo masterpiece and eventual cult-classic that Bolin never got the chance to properly promote.

Now, 40 years after the album was originally released and unfortunately buried with time, Teaser is finally getting its time to shine.

On May 19, 2015, UDR Music will release the official TEASER 40th Anniversary Vinyl Edition Box Set, a three-album deluxe vinyl box-set supplemented with two live CDs, celebrating the 40th anniversary of this legendary release. Featuring long-lost outtakes and alternative mixes from the original Teaser studio sessions, plus two live CDs comprising performances from Ebbets Field, The Northern Lights, My Father’s Place and Albany, the TEASER 40th Anniversary Vinyl Edition Box Set is set to satiate the appetites of Bolin fans worldwide.

Track list LP’s:

LP 1 – side A:

1.      Teaser

2.      Flying Fingers

LP 1 – side B:

3.      Wild Dogs

4.      Cookoo

LP 2 – side C:

5.      Chameleon

6.      Lotus

LP 2 – side D:

7.      The Grind

8.      Crazed Fandango

LP 3 – side F:

9.      People People

10.   Smooth Fandango

11.   Marching Powder

LP 3 – side E:

12.   Homeward Strut

13.   Dreamer

14.   Savanah Woman

15.   Oriental Sky

Track List Live CD’s:

CD 1:

1.     Teaser – My Father’s Place

2.     People People – My Father’s Place

3.     The Grind – My Father’s Place

4.     Wild Dogs – Live at The Northern Lights

5.     You Told Me That You Loved Me – Live in Albany

6.     Stratus – Live at Ebbets Field

7.     Post Toastee – Line in Albany

8.     Hoka-Hay – Energy KBPI Broadcast

9.     Homeward Strut – Live at Ebbets Field

CD 2:

10.  Shake The Devil – Live at The Northern Lights

11.  Marching Powder – My Father’s Place

12.  Lotus – My Father’s Place

13.  Homeward Strut – Live at The Northern Lights

14.  You Know, You Know – Live at Ebbets Field

15.  Crazed Fandango – Live at Ebbets Field

16.  Post Toastee – Live at The Northern Lights

17. Walk In My Shadow – Live at Ebbets Field


TOMMY BOLIN was a shooting star, a fiercely bright, ferociously driven and a guitarist whose soul spoke through his fingers and fretboard. Bolin was an American axeman of the caliber rarely seen or heard before (or since) his untimely death at the age of 25 on December 4th 1976. Bolin allowed the power of funk and the fury of rock to find such finite expression through his inspiration. His expression never sounded more fluent than on his 1975 solo album debut Teaser. The album embraced a tour de force of styles from jazz to hard rock to Latin music, all of which were expressed in a glorious musical stew.

At the age of 17, Bolin formed Zephyr, whose blues rock was coated in psychedelic tendencies. Despite opening for the likes of Led Zeppelinand growing a strong fan-base, Bolin left the group in 1971 to form Energy (a jazz-rock project) before Joe Walsh recommended him to The James Gang, where he recorded the Bang! and Miami albums in 1973 and ’74 respectively. Bolin also appeared on legendary drummer Billy Cobham’s Spectrum solo album, and his ability to enjoy (and make the grade with!) such improvisational jamming style sounds left Bolin as that rare bird. A man who could be a rock star or a man who could be a musician’s musician at cafes across America.

Bolin moved to LA seeking confirmation of the stardom his enormous talents promised, and the foundations for the legendary Teaser album were laid. Featuring session musicians such as Glenn Hughes, David Sanborn, Jan Hammer, Stanley Sheldon and Phil Collins, Teaser represents the fulcrum point of Tommy’s solo-artist work. As he completed work on it, Deep Purple’s Ritchie Blackmore quit the band, and Bolin was invited to join Purple by singer David Coverdale. Come Taste The Band came out towards the end of 1975, before Purple disbanded and left Bolin free to do his second album Private Eyes. Opening for Peter Frampton and Jeff Beck, Bolin was just starting to enjoy the sort of attention and recognition that would surly have seen him rise to the next level of revered guitar God. Sadly, Bolin’s addiction issues would not allow it, and in 1976, he died at the tragically young age of 25.

Bolin’s legacy is superbly reflected in TEASER 40th Anniversary Vinyl Edition Box Set – get your copy while they last!

Learn more about TOMMY BOLIN via


This is a great album, one that should be in your collection.

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

the Hellion Rocks

Covers! Covers! Covers!


Ahhh the old cover issue again. I have been asked to revisit covers so here it is. I have stated in the pas that there are good, and there are bad, very bad. As I am writing this I am reminded of classic rock songs that are ruined by rap/hip hop artists. I am of the opinion that some artists cannot come up with something of their own so they cover an already successful song and others choose to pay homage to the artists which inspired them.

There are songs out there that achieved little or no attention by the original artists for example:

“I Love Rock ‘N Roll” which was written and recorded in 1975 by Alan Merrill and Jake Hooker of Arrows.

     And then there is the Joan Jett cover from 1982 which the world knows and loves.


     I am probably one of the few people who actually prefers the original but Joan stayed true to the original vibe of the song.

     “New York Groove” was written by Russ Ballard and first recorded by Hello in 1975.

     Then the world famous version by Ace Frehley of KISS in 1978.

     Ace stayed true to the original as well and, in this case, I prefer the Ace version.

     “Space Truckin'” by Deep Purple is one of my favorite songs in the world and was written in 1972.

     Tesla decided to take  on this hard charging track on their ambitious Real To Reel release in 2007.

     Tesla crushed this cover and kept to the original Deep purple vibe, but I still prefer the original.

     Now to the covers which leave me less enthusiastic. I have heard some people talking about these songs as if the covers were the original tracks which makes me nuts.

     Let’s go back to 1934 where Clarence “Tom” Ashley and Gwen Foster recorded an old folk song called “House Of The Rising Sun”


     This song was made popular by the Animals in 1964 and is probably the best known version of the track.

     which has led to the version Five Finger Death Punch recorded in 2013.

     While I happen to dig the vibe of the earlier versions I think the FFDP version is an abomination and shows no respect to the original song. I am embarrassed for the band and their version of it.

     “Good Times Bad Times” by Led Zeppelin was recorded in 1968 and was a blast to the ears and mind.

     While I was an early Godsmack fan their 2007 version was a miss for me.


     I think it’s obvious that the Led Zeppelin version wins out for me.

     Ok, so all of this is just a matter of opinion for me and I mean no disrespect to anyone. Please share your opinions with me and the readers as we would love to hear them.

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

     -the Hellion

Avantasia “The Mystery of Time” out now on Nuclear Blast‏

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New masterpiece from Tobias Sammet available on Nuclear Blast

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GERMANY – The Mystery of Time, the latest release from German composer and vocalist Tobias Sammet’s, Avantasia, is out now in North America on Nuclear Blast Records. Featuring a 60-piece-symphonic-orchestra, the German Filmorchestra Babelsberg (Rammstein, Celine Dion, Bryan Adams) and guest appearances by Biff Byford (Saxon), Michael Kiske (Unisonic, ex-Helloween), Joe Lynn Turner (ex-Rainbow, ex-Deep Purple), Eric Martin (Mr. Big), Ronnie Atkins (Pretty Maids), Bruce Kulick (ex-Kiss, ex-Meat Loaf), Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon), Bob Catley (Magnum), Russell Gilbrook (Uriah Heep) and more, The Mystery of Time can be purchased online through the Nuclear Blast web-store: and, or digitally via iTunes:


While Sammet has sold more than 3 million discs worldwide, The Mystery of Time easily set Avantasia sales records when it released in Germany earlier this month; it sold more than twice as many copies as any previous Avantasia album in the first week of its release, while rocketing straight to #2 on the official German Mediacontrol album charts. The record also cracked the Top 10 in Finland, Sweden and England.

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1.) Spectres

2.) The Watchmakers’ Dream

3.) Black Orchid

4.) Where Clock Hands Freeze

5.) Sleepwalking

6.) Savior in the Clockwork

7.) Invoke the Machine

8.) What’s Left of Me

9.) Dweller in a Dream

10.) The Great Mystery


Check out the music video for “Sleepwalking” on YouTube at:, as well as a lyric video for “Invoke the Machine” at:


Stay tuned for more information on Avantasia and The Mystery of Time.

Avantasia online…



Additional Avantasia multimedia…


The Mystery of Time Album Trailer:

The Mystery of Time Studio Reports:

“Invoke the Machine” Lyric Video:


Tobias Sammet talks about his guests:




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 :





 “Bad Company”

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:

Bad Co.
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

Bad Co.
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





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.





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:





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.


the Hellion



PART ONE: Guitarists that we have lost, and what do you think could have happened?


We have lost far too many Rockers before their time due to various reasons. It is my intent to talk about their contributions to and what they might have contributed had they lived. Because there are so many, we will focus on four guitarists tonight.



James Marshall “Jimi” Hendrix (born Johnny Allen Hendrix; November 27, 1942 – September 18, 1970) was ahead of his time. He took playing to an all new level and combined great stage presence. He was also an innovator in the studio as well, I remember talking to a studio engineer once who told me that one thing the did in the studio for Jimi was to lower his amplifier down an elevator shaft  and then suspended a microphone above it to capture a unique sound. I often wonder what direction Jimi would have taken had he lived, and what modern guitarists would sound like. Here are my two favorite Jimi Hendrix tracks:

“Waterfall (May This Be Love)”:

“Stone Free”:



Thomas Richard “Tommy” Bolin (August 1, 1951 – December 4, 1976) remains one of my favorite guitarists to this day. Tommy, in my opinion, is so underrated as a player. How many other guitarists do you know that have replaced both Joe Walsh AND Ritchie Blackmore? Tommy did both, he replaced Joe in the James Gang from 1973 to 1974, and Ritchie in Deep Purple from 1975 to 1976. My favorite remains his solo work. Tommy, like Jimi before him, was ahead of his time in playing style, effects usage, hairstyles, and fashion.  There is always the thought in my mind as to what greatness Tommy could have progressed into. Do yourself a favor and check out Tommy’s stuff!


“Post Toastee”


Randall William Rhoads (December 6, 1956 – March 19, 1982) I was fortunate to have seen Randy in concert with Ozzy a few months before his tragic passing. It was awesome to say the least. Randy was so fluid on stage, and his playing, flawless. The style with which he played showed his classical skill. His passing during his stellar rise shocked us all. The influence Randy had on today’s guitarists can still be heard. What more could he have given us? Where would rock guitar be if he was still with us?

Randy Solos:

“Lost solo”:


Darrell Lance Abbott (August 20, 1966 – December 8, 2004), also known as Diamond Darrell and Dimebag Darrell. When Dime hit the scene EVERYONE noticed. Here was another young guitar player with AWESOME chops. Together with Pantera, his in your face style of playing gave hope to ROCK N’ Rollers everywhere. The onstage murder of Dime shocked the world and left us in awe and disbelief. Although Pantera seemed on the outs, Dime and Damageplan were poised to take over. I know the world will always wonder how much more there was in Dime’s bag of tricks. I feel that as a player he would have continued to grow and influence others.  Let’s listen to a couple of tracks from Dime that are not normally heard:

“Fractured Mirror”:

Rebel Meets Rebel “Nothin’ to Lose”

Four guitarists we lost far too soon!! Listen to them and gain influence from them. We will never let them fade away!

Happy Birthday Brother Dime! We love you now, and always!