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?
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.
September Mourning Releases Cover Of “Stand By Me” Paying Tribute To The Late Great Ben E. King
The Dark Alternative, Hard Rock Transmedia Project September Mourning have released their cover of of the classic hit “Stand By Me“, paying tribute to the late great Ben E. King who recently passed away. The band is currently on a U.S. tour with stops at AC Boardwalk Con and Rock On The Range. The band will be making their UK debut later this year at Download Festival.
With dramatic dark lyrics that show glimpses of hope and redemption, I couldn’t resist a reinterpretation of this standard. It begged for a dynamic dramaticism that we couldn’t resist bringing to life. – September (September Mourning)
Check out September Mourning’s “Stand By Me” cover below:
September Mourning Tour Dates:
May 05 – Vintage Villains – Danville, Illinois
May 06 – Heating & Cooling Pub – Chicago, Illinois
May 07 – Frankie’s – Toledo, Ohio
May 08 – Diesel Concert Lounge – Detroit, Michigan
May 10 – Slake – New York, New York
May 15 – AC Boardwalk Con – Atlantic City, New Jersey
May 17 – Rock on the Range – Columbus, Ohio
May 21 – Hijynx – Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin
June 14 – Download Festival – United Kingdom
September Mourning has just recorded her debut album. It tells a story in 12 songs, an epic tale of “heartbreak, loss, pain, joy, love, redemption, but most of all, courage…” Produced by Howard Benson (Chris Cornell, My Chemical Romance) and mixed by Chris Lord-Alge, September Mourning revives the concept of rock star meets superhero. If Marilyn Manson and Lady Gaga had a kid, it would be September Mourning, who also cites influences as varied as David Bowie, Freddie Mercury, KISS, Evanescence and My Chemical Romance.
“For me, the project is a story, a theatrical art piece,” September explains. “Music is the backbone, but for this to work, it has to include the imagery and the narrative all symbiotically linked into the whole. Music taps into your innermost being. There’s something very intimate and personal about it.”
The character of September Mourning is a human-reaper hybrid, who feels the need to give some human souls a second chance, and thus toys with Fate. To expound on this narrative, September is working with iconic comic book artist Marc Silvestri, who started out on the original X-Men comics and went on to form Top Cow Productions (Witchblade, The Darkness). Together, they are putting together the story of September Mourning in graphic form, to accompany, and enhance the musical message.
September Mourning carries positive passions into its music, which is often operatic, but also completely rock ‘n’ roll in all its majestic glory. The album is full of themes that run the gamut, from “Skin and Bones,” which takes on people who would judge you on appearances, and “Chariot,” about those who allow themselves to be consumed by somebody else, to “Paper Dolls,” lambasting a guy “who rips people’s hearts out without regret” and “Before The Fall,” a song that accentuates our common humanity. “When we bleed/We bleed the same,” sings September. September describes “Children of Fate” as a “call to arms for her fans, our families,” which she turned into a 6/8 waltz, “but heavy, eerie and strange, to give it this weird feeling.
Having toured with Marilyn Manson, September Mourning has already built up an impressive fan base, which she calls her “Children of Fate,” constantly encouraging them to have “the courage to embrace their passion… to allow yourself to follow your heart and not be a slave to your fears. To know that the only boundaries that exist in our lives are the ones we allow.”
Queen was a band that was always on the cutting edge. I fell in love with their music when I first heard “Now I’m Here” from 1974’s Sheer Heart Attack, I was 10 years old and hooked. I followed and enjoyed their music from then on. 1979 brought the fans a live album that with a good pair of headphones and the proper “mood enhancement” made you feel like you were at an actual live Queen show. The talent and showmanship put forth on this record is nothing short of stellar. The combination and chemistry between Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor, and John Deacon gave us some of the most iconic music ever made.
1. “We Will Rock you (fast version)”
2. “Let Me Entertain You”
3. “Death On Two Legs (Dedicated To…)”
4. “Killer Queen”
5. “Bicycle Race”
6. “I’m In Love With My Car”
7. “Get Down, Make Love”
8. “You’re My Best Friend”
9. “Now I’m Here”
10. “Dreamer’s Ball”
11. “Love Of My Life”
13. “Keep Yourself Alive”
14. “Don’t Stop Me Now”
15. “Spread Your Wings”
16. “Brighton Rock”
17. “Bohemian Rhapsody”
18. “Tie Your Mother Down”
19. “Sheer Heart Attack”
20. “We Will Rock You”
21. “We Are The Champions”
22. “God Save The Queen”
These are the tracks that make up this jewel of an album. This is an album I will always cherish. If, after all of these years, you are new to Queen this is the album for you to get your feet wet. Check out the live version of “Don’t Stop Me Know” and feel the power of Queen.
We lost Freddie Mercury in 1991 and the world got a little dimmer and sadder. You will always live on in my heart and ears Freddie, thank you for all you have given us.
How many times have you heard “This band sold out” or “That band went mainstream”? I have heard this about several bands throughout the years. Let;s take a look at several bands that have “changed direction” , or have stayed the same and if that has worked for them.
QUEEN 1971 – 1991 the Freddie Mercury years
Queen remains one of my favorite bands of all times. The band was constantly evolving and changing throughout their career. They explored many styles of music during their recording career. They were never afraid to branch out and explore their creativity. Here are two songs that show their diversity. The world lost a beautiful soul when Freddie Mercury passed away in 1991, we will forever miss and love you Freddie, thank you for your music. Queen pulled off, to great success, changing directions.
“Keep Yourself Alive” from QUEEN – 1973
“These Are The Days Of Our Lives” from INNUENDO – 1991
MEGADETH1983 to present
Megadeth is a band who has stayed true to their original vision. Their style of speed/thrash metal has pretty much been a constant throughout their career. While some will say it has hurt their career, their fans remain loyal, and their record sales constant. I say cheers to Dave and crew (though they have changed over the years) keep it going! Staying true to their direction has worked for Megadeth.
“Peace Sells” from Peace Sells…but Who’s Buying? – 1986
“Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)” from Th1rt3en – 2011
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS 1983 to present
This band has always been in a special place in my heart. Never afraid to be who they are, always giving their all to their fans. Their members and styles have changed throughout the years but they have always managed to pull it off. Playing what they want to and disregarding the critics their music reflects the colorful personalities that infuse this band. Many people have tried to pigeonhole this band to a certain genre, to no avail. I call them a Rock N’ Roll band PERIOD. Thank you RHCP, you have given my soul much joy. Keep growing and evolving and stay true to your passions.
“True Men Don’t Kill Coyotes” from TheRed Hot Chili Peppers – 1984
“The Adventures Of Rain Dance Maggie” – from I’m With You – 2011
METALLICA – 1981 to present
Ahhh Metallica, the source of great contention amongst metal heads. Some say they sold out with the “Black” album, some say they didn’t. I think they have made some questionable choices in the past years, but they remain strong as one of the driving forces in metal music. As part of being human we are constantly changing and growing (well, some of us do) as the events surrounding us dictate. The guys in Metallica are not immune. Growing older, gaining families, becoming financially stable HAS to affect them, and their music. I, for one, appreciate that fact and despite their making some music that does not always appeal to me I stand by this band and remain a fan. R.I.P. Cliff Burton, miss you!
“No Remorse” from Kill ‘Em All – 1983
“All Nightmare Long” from Death Magnetic – 2008
GUNS N’ ROSES 1985 to present???
GNR WHAT HAPPENED?!?!?!? They were poised to take over the world and instead they burned it down. The energy of the the five original members was the perfect combination. Then the backup singers, the keyboard players, the horn section, etc… etc… sigh. I know this band has been the topic of great controversy, and probably will remain so for a long, long time. I will always remain in love with early GNR and the music they made and I am grateful for that, post original five, not so much. I personally believe the direction that the band took killed them (this is my humble opinion). Oh well we have our memories…. if we could only find our way back to the jungle.
“Welcome To The Jungle” from Appetite For Destruction – 1987
“This I Love” from Chinese Democracy – 2008
BLACK LABEL SOCIETY 1998 to present
Ahhh BLS, now here’s a band that I totally get. Members have come and gone and yet this band gets stronger and stronger. Great music year after year, record after record and a loyal fan base that unifies together as one big BLS family. Zakk Wylde never shies away from playing whatever he wants, piano based ballads, acoustic songs, full out electric, it matters not to Zakk. With BLS it never grows stagnant and you will never be bored! GI/FD!!!
“Born To Lose” from Sonic Brew – 1999
“Overlord” from Order Of The Black – 2010
These are just my opinions on bands that have (or have not) changed direction, please feel free to comment or message me with your ideas or thoughts and I will post them here.