ABBA to ZZ Top – Appreciating Diversity

 

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My mom introduced me to music at a very young age. There was always some kind of music playing somewhere in the house. One of my earliest musical memories is running around with my cousins screaming in our tiny off key voices “Yellow Submarine” by the Beatles.

The music my mom listened to was across the map, but mostly rock oriented. My stepfather, however, was a country man and there was no alternative. I learned to appreciate the sounds I was hearing from songs that they both listened to. I felt the stories they were telling, and that was how I interpreted them, as stories. These “stories” would end up becoming my best friends as my childhood took some nasty turns. They were always there and wouldn’t ever let me down. I ultimately developed an affinity for rock and that became my preferred style of music. I never did lose my appreciation for classic country music though.

The 70’s were a great time for music on the radio. I could hear a broad spectrum of artists on one rock station from ABBA to ZZ Top. I LISTENED and devoured all of the music that I could, often staying up until the wee hours with a small radio under my pillow. I remember a conversation with my mom once where I asked her why she liked music so much her reply was “Because the songs take me away to different places.” I got it, and found myself taking the same journeys. The music was fresh and entertaining and never ever seemed to go stale for me. There was no sub, sub, sub genres, just good music.

This was a time when it was cool to one day wear a Bee Gees shirt and a KISS one the next. We just loved the music. We were clueless and we loved it. We used our imaginations to think about what our favorite musicians were doing and what they would do next, there was bliss in our ignorance.

 

…it was just music and we simply loved it.

-the Hellion

Sandoval/Araiza: Project Playlist

If I were to have to give a quote about the music Jeff Sandoval and Mike Araiza make, it would be this: “This is music as it should be, no preconceived formula here. These guys write and play what they “feel” and that, my friends, is the true spirit of music.”

I’ve known these two guys for a while now and it had been my great fortune to have been at the birth of most of their work. Of The Earth, Frank Hannon Band and now as Jeff and Mike.

That being said, let’s talk about their latest effort  Project Playlist. I cannot tell you how many times I received a text or an excited phone call from Mike telling me to “check out this riff” or “what do you think about this?” there was passion in those messages and that fervor and passion found its way to the record untarnished. Jeff, on the other hand, is like a Zen Master, calm, cool, and collected. His lyrics and powerful yet smooth vocals carry weight and presence that in my opinion border on legendary. Let’s get into the tracks and stroll around a bit.

Project Playlist opens with “The Good Fight” (which happens to be my go to track on this record). Have you ever heard a song that just stays with you? I mean one that you find yourself hitting repeat over and over again? One that you manage to find something new with each listen? You find yourself absent-mindedly humming or tapping the beat throughout the day? “The Good Fight” just happens to be a song like that. Even cooler is that a couple of my close friends wrote it. I tried to put that aside and came to the conclusion that the fact that they were my friends was irrelevant, this is a damn good song, period. As I continued to listen to “The Good Fight” I compared it side by side with other songs and artists I consider in the same vein. This comparison led me to the conclusion that this track by a couple of guys that live in my town and I know personally can go toe to toe with artists like SIXX A.M., Pop Evil, STP, etc., etc. This track features studio wizard Chris Collier on drums and bass as well as production.

“So Long”, featuring Will Hunt on Drums, has a fresh , yet  familiar feeling and yet stays unique. Powerful and yet not abrasive in away this is a song that one could use to set the pace of their impending day. Feeling good and energetic is what this track brings to me.

“It’s All I need” features Kurt Arft on bass and Chris Collier on drums and really packs a punch. Deep lyrics and Jeff’s powerful vocals give this song some weight. This is a heavy song but not overbearing if you get my meaning. Their craftsmanship shines through here.

“Beggars And Thieves” features Kurt Arft again on bass and Will Hunt on drums. This track is probably the “grooviest” one on the record and will have your head bobbing and foot tapping as soon as you start listening to it. There’s a couple of twin guitar parts that Mike just kills with.

Project Playlist closes out with “No Answer” which features Frank Hannon has that 70’s vibe that just goes so well with this song. I love the guitar wok in this track. Nice way to close out the record with some quality music and friends.

What do we ultimately get with Project Playlist? A Rock and Roll record that stands up in this turbulent time in the music industry. Jeff and Mike said “Damn the norm, we’re gonna make the music that we feel inside” and it works, on so many levels. Music at its purest level is what we have here folks.

I must also give shout outs to Kurt Arft, Will Hunt, and Frank Hannon for stepping up and going toe to toe with Jeff and Mike. Their performances are outstanding on this record. I didn’t forget Chris Collier, not only did he deliver some killer bass and drums, like a mad scientist he grafted it all together to deliver a superior recording. I think that in today’s DIY music industry production quality has suffered at the hands of inexperience in record production. Jeff and Mike know the value of a properly produced record and have developed a relationship with Chris that works.

So, after all of that why should you get a copy of Project Playlist? I could say because they are my friends and it would be cool to help them out, but I’m not. You should get this record because it’s great music, that’s it in a nutshell.

Now, you only have until Friday 08/12/16 to get your order in at https://squareup.com/store/JeffAndMike  after that you will only be able to pick it up at live performances. Good news is new music is already being made so stay tuned.

Thanks Jeff and Mike for keeping music alive. – the Hellion

Was Chris DeGarmo Queensrÿche?

Tri-Ryche

I remember now…

This writing will probably piss off and alienate some of my friends and readers, but it is my thoughts and feelings and I will not apologize for that.

In the early 80’s a track caught my ear one day and wormed its way into my brain, “Queen of the Reich”. It was Iron Maiden meets Judas Priest and yet somehow…not. I didn’t catch the band name but a quick phone call to the DJ, yes I said DJ, and found it was a band named Queensrÿche and I was hooked.

Album after album came out and my love for the band and appreciation for their music grew and grew. In the midst of all of this I met and married my wife and she, in turn, grew to like  Queensrÿche as well.

The years gave us great albums and music to share. We were fortunate to catch them on the Hear in the Now Frontier tour and then Chris DeGarmo left the band.

I thought to myself surely the departure of Chris wouldn’t be the end of  Queensrÿche and I stood by patiently to see the results. Q2K was released and it was ok, but something seemed lacking in the song structure. I then heard some rumors that Chris was working with  Queensrÿche again on a new record. Tribe was released in 2003 and it gave me the magic I felt before from open to close. The “reunion”, however, was short-lived. Chris faded away again.

2006 to 2011 brought us Operation: Mindcrime II, Take Cover, American Soldier, and Dedicated to Chaos, all decent efforts but still lacking that je ne sais quoi. Then, the Taterÿche Wars (as I like to refer to them) began.

While I refuse to take sides in the whole fiasco (I am not nor will I ever be a part of their internal business matters, and was not included in any discussions so everything we read or hear is hearsay.) I kept an open mind as to the outcome.

I then heard that Geoff Tate and the band had split. Rumors of a new band called Rising West featuring Todd La Torre surfaced and I was impressed and glad they had decided to move on. As for Geoff I was hoping that he would pursue a solo career and Queensrÿche would be put to rest in an honorable way.

Needless to say that did not happen. Like a bad political campaign there was name calling and mudslinging galore. Eventually it settled, Geoff gave up the name Queensrÿche and named his new endeavor Operation: Mindcrime.

Both camps have continued to make new music and yet have failed to reach me on the level that Queensrÿche once did. Don’t get me wrong, Michael Wilton, Scott Rockenfield, and Eddie Jackson, are all stellar musicians and were critical to the Queensrÿche sound. Parker Lundgren and Todd La Torre are great additions as well, I just wish they would have stuck to the Rising West name and let Queensrÿche die an honorable death. Todd is a phenomenal vocalist and front man but he’s no Geoff Tate and neither should he be.   Was Chris DeGarmo Queensrÿche? Maybe not but he certainly was a big part to me.

-the Hellion

 

 

Clutch Frontman, Ex Black Sabbath Drummer Join Forces In Dunsmuir

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Remember those great concept albums like The Wall, Tommy, 2112, Operation Mindcrime…you get my drift. Well Dunsmuir has a brought a new one into the mix with their upcoming release Dunsmuir.

In case you’ve been leading a sheltered life in a bomb shelter, here’s the lowdown on Dunsmuir: Neil Fallon (Clutch) on vocals, Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath, Heaven And Hell) on drums, Brad Davis (Fu Manchu) on bass, and Dave Bone (The Company Band)on guitar, have put their various talents together to form Dunsmuir, and the result is FANTASTIC to say the least.

Dunsmuir tells the tale of the various fates met by the survivors of a 19th century ship wreck.  What had been intended as a voyage of scientific discovery, quickly devolves into a struggle to survive the natural world, and the supernatural. This tale is successfully told by the mood and tempo of the 10 tracks on this album:

1. Hung On the Rocks
2. Our Only Master
3. The Bats (Are Hungry Tonight)
4. What Manner of Bliss
5. Deceiver
6. …and Madness
7. Orb of Empire
8. Church of the Tooth
9. The Gate
10. Crawling Chaos

     The album has a straightforward no bullshit Rock N’ Roll feel to it. Great mix of vocals, guitar,  bass, and drums with one not overshadowing the other. The mix is stellar and you don’t lose anything when you crank it to outrageous volume. The flow is great as the story is told. The lyrics do a great job of placing you within the story of the brave adventurers of the tale and it translates well. This is an album that is worthy of a road trip with the volume and the windows down AND an evening at home with your favorite beverage and a great pair of headphones. While meant to be taken as a whole, there are a few tracks that call out to me: “Hung On the Rocks” with its catchy licks and chorus reaches out and tickles my ears. “Crawling Chaos” embodies chaos in your ears and yet somehow makes sense. “Church of the Tooth” carries with it an ominous doomy sound which I thoroughly enjoy.

     Dunsmuir delivers some solid Rock N’ Roll in a time when others have given Rock its death sentence. This album gives the middle finger to the naysayers and does its part in proving them wrong.

     Their self titled full length album is set to be released July 22nd via Hall Of Records with presale to begin on July 8th.   The album will be released digitally via iTunes only and the LP will only have a pressing of 1,000 copies with a signed lithograph poster of the album cover and available only at:  http://www.indiemerch.com/Dunsmuir

    Facebook:  www.facebook.com/DunsmuirBand
Instagram:  http://www.instagram.com/dunsmuirband
Twitter:        http://www.twitter.com/DunsmuirBand
Official:        http://www.dunsmuirband.com
YouTube:    http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCav_GlS4rhekNZsOZTp3SzA

          You DON’T WANT TO MISS THIS ONE!!!

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

     -the Hellion

 

 

CLUTCH ANNOUNCE 2016 U.S. TOUR WITH ZAKK SABBATH & KYNG

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June 15th, 2016 – Clutch continues their Psychic Warfare World Tour 2016.  Headline tour dates for September-October are in.  The group will be heading back on the road this Fall headlining another leg of their US tour. Supporting the tour will be Zakk Sabbath and Los Angeles based metal band Kyng. Including 2 festival appearances, the trek will begin in Buffalo, NY at the The Town Ballroom on September 28th and conclude in Worcester, MA at The Palladium on October 30th.
 
Clutch lead vocalist Neil Fallon commented “We are pleased to announce that this Fall Clutch will be hitting the road again in the U.S..  This time with Zakk Sabbath and KyngClutch toured with Black Label Society a few years back and it was a blast –  and no doubt, this one will be a blast as well.  We hope to see you all there!”
 
Psychic Warfare is the latest and eleventh studio effort from Clutch.  The disc debuted at No. 11 on the Billboard 200, No. 2 on the Billboard Independent,  No. 1 on the Billboard Hard Rock and Billboard Rock charts.  On Record Store Day this past April 16th Clutch released a limited edition numbered etched vinyl 12 inch that included two previously unreleased tracks from the Psychic Warfare sessions:  “Mad Sidewinder” and “Outland Special Clearance“.   Psychic Warfare was produced by longtime producer Machine (Lamb Of God, Every Time I Die).   
 
Zakk Sabbath, bring their take on Black Sabbath songs on the road for the first time ever The band features  guitarist/vocalist Zakk Wylde (Black Label SocietyOzzy Osbourne), bassist Rob “Blasko” Nicholson (Ozzy OsbourneRob Zombie) and drummer Joey Castillo (DanzigQueens Of The Stone Age).   Kyng, the Los Angeles based metal trio, will be supporting their 3rd release and follow up to 2014’s Burn The Serum.
 
Pre-sale tickets will be on sale today (June 15th) at 12PM local time with public on sale beginning Friday, June  17 at 10AM local time.  Pre-sale tickets are available here: Tickets.artistarena.com/clutch 
For all other information, visit the Clutch website (www.pro-rock.com).
 
Clutch, Zakk Sabbath, Kyng 2016 Tour Dates
 
09/28 – Buffalo, NY @ The Town Ballroom
09/30 – Lakewood, NJ @ First Energy Park – Rock Carnival *
10/01 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE
10/02 – Louisville, KY @ Champions Park – Louder Than Life *
10/04 – Lake Buena Vista, FL @ House of Blues
10/05 – Atlanta, GA @ The Buckhead Theatre
10/07 – Raleigh, NC @ Lincoln Theatre Street Stage
10/08 – Columbus, OH @ Express Live
10/10 – Little Rock, AR @ Metroplex
10/11 – Oklahoma City, OK @ Diamond Ballroom
10/12 – Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theater
10/14 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Novo
10/15 – Las Vegas, NV @ Brooklyn Bowl
10/16 – San Francisco, CA @ The Regency Ballroom
10/18 – Boulder, CO @ Boulder Theater
10/20 – Kansas City, MO @ Uptown Theater
10/21 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
10/22 – Sioux City, IA @ Anthem at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
10/24 – Columbia, MO @ The Blue Note ** NO Zakk Sabbath
10/25 – Chicago, IL @ House of Blues
10/27 – Madison, WI @ Orpheum Theater
10/28 – Detroit, MI @ The Fillmore
10/29 – Clifton Park, NY @Upstate Concert Hall
10/30 – Worcester, MA @ The Palladium
 
* festival appearance 
 
CLUTCH:
Neil Fallon – Vocals/Guitar
Tim Sult – Guitar
Dan Maines – Bass
Jean-Paul Gaster – Drums/Percussion

                                                  

 
For more  information, check out the band’s website:
 
Official: www.pro-rock.com
 
You know I’ll be there!!! – the Hellion

Stacey Blades unveils Angels In Vein

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I recently had the chance to talk to my friend Stacey Blades about the exciting new project he’s been working on, Angels In Vein. Check out the conversation right here:

 

     Be sure to visit http://www.angelsinvein.com for all the Latest! Thanks to Rock-n-Roll GangStar for the badass merch on their site!!!

     it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s ANGELS IN VEIN!!!

     -the Hellion

the Hellion Rocks talks to Jeff Sandoval and Mike Araiza about their new release Project Playlist

If any of you are like me, you constantly crave new music. Not just new music but quality music. Jeff Sandoval and Mike Araiza deliver, in spades, with Project Playlist. Jeff and Mike have taken many musical journeys together and have included me along the way. Check out this heartfelt discussion we had about how they got to where they are today. When you’re done watching I HIGHLY recommend you click on the picture below and order Project Playlist . There will be a detailed song by song review up this Saturday so stay tuned. Project Playlist is currently the front-runner for CD of the year on the Hellion Rocks and that’s no joke.  Order yours today!!!

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

-the Hellion

YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO WATCH IT!

CD Cover

     CLICK THE PICTURE TO ORDER NOW!