2013 was great year for us here at the Hellion Rocks. Killer interviews, great shows and hanging with even cooler people. It’s very cool when you get to talk to artists you have grown to admire. It’s even cooler when they message you and stay in contact with you. It’s a great feeling when you also help to spread the word of a new up-and-coming band as well. In the past year I have learned how small the music community really is. It is amazing the connections that lead to other connections and how the music brings us all together.
I have to give thanks to my cohorts at Bleach Bangs Radio, Charlie Owens and Randy Norris. These guys are my brothers plain and simple. They are the embodiment of awesome and I am proud to work with them.
Eddie’s Mates holds a special place in my heart as well. Sandy and Sean have not only helped us with Bleach Bangs Radio they also made the logo for the Hellion Rocks! Thanks EM!!!
I have to thank my wife Dani for giving me the courage and strength to reach out and chase this crazy dream. She is ALWAYS there for me.
There are so many people who mean the world to me as well: Mike Araiza, Jeff Sandoval, Adam Joad, Jake Delling LeBas, Redd Yoachum and the rest from Scattered Hamlet, Craw Cajun and Kat Ford, Death Alley Motor Cult, Kurt Arft, Wornstar Clothing, Justin Manning and Crowned By Fire, and Dellacoma Rio and the Sunset Riot guys, Steve Helmer, Dave Gold, and Bobby Siekkinen . Those are just a few from an incredible list.
Thank you to all of the publicists that have worked with me this year as well. Here’s looking towards a productive 2014!!!
Thanks to Blabbermouth.net and Circus Magazine for picking up some of my interviews! I am honored and humbled.
Lastly but far from least I wish I could personally thank each and every one of the 60,000 people from the 140 countries around the world who dropped in on this site last year. I hope you enjoyed it and let me know what you want to see here in the future.
Well it’s rapidly approaching the end of 2013 and time for my top releases of the year. While there were so many fantastic records from both new and established artists, there are a few that just burrowed into my brain and I couldn’t shake them. There are 16 that I am going to mention here and they are in no particular order as they are all incredible in my book. To those bands who aren’t listed here, relax I have another post planned to address you.
When you have a CD from a band that has members like Vinny Appice, Rex Brown, Mark Zavon, and Dewey Bragg you know your’re in for a treat. This CD kicks ass on so many levels. The music of KDH sounds familiar and distinctly unique, giving you a feeling that this band has been around for years but yet remaining fresh. Do NOT miss out on this CD, here’s a taste:
My boys in Scattered Hamlet deliver on their full length release and then some. Remember when music made you feel something? Skeleton Dixie gets right in and touches your musical soul. Throughout the years these guys have become family to me and I have the great fortune of being mentioned in this CD as well. You WILL love it! Get some:
When Billy Sheehan, Mike Portnoy, and Richie Kotzen get together you know you’re gonna get something great. There was a lot of buzz around this project and when it came to fruition it delivered in spades. Great straight up rock n’ roll, there needs to me more records like this one. Check it:
Tom Keifer has always been one of my favorite vocalists. The gritty soulfulness of his voice is iconic. It has been quite a while since we have had new music from Tom and it has been worth the wait. Bluesy with a razors edge is what you find on this record. Take a listen:
I find it funny that I have included Stryper on this list. I’ll admit that I was not really the biggest Stryper fan back in the day, I have found a new respect for them in this record. They have a tenacity that will not quit. Strong in their beliefs, and strong in their musical passion is what landed them here. (On a side note, I recently interviewed Michael Sweet and have one coming up with Oz Fox). Here’s the title track:
Black Water Rising has been honing this record for a few years, and it shows. These guys have been in my ears for a few years now and I finally got to see them live and hear some of these songs live. BWR brings powerful rock n’ roll and here is some for ya :
Adrian Galysh is one of hidden talents that the world has yet to discover. I received this CD for review and was completely amazed by it, and I believe you will be too. listen to this CD and hear a mans passion transferred to his music.
Korn has welcomed Head back into its fold and released one of their best CDs to date. I believe that their life experiences has caused this band to grow and mature and that growth is reflected in The Paradigm shift. “Never Never” has become one of my favorite tracks. Check out the video and see why:
Death Alley Motor Cult is one of those bands that you want to hang out with but you remember what your mom said to you about the company you keep. Their music is like that too, when you listen to it you feel dirty, dangerous, and cool, very very cool. The Outlaw Chronicles needs to be played at 11 and in a conspicuous place so you can “enlighten” those in need of a visceral experience.
Sometimes I catch grief for listening to A7X, but this band gives me hope for newer music. upon the heels of suffering the loss of their founding drummer “The Rev” they have come back with strong music that has shaken up the pop laden music charts. Hail To The King pays homage to the bands that inspired these guys. Hail To The King:
Clutch is one of those bands that will always remain just under the radar. Earth Rocker is a great album that unfortunately many people will not get to hear. Clutch is a band that gets ignored by the mainstream and yet I think they are happy with that. Great band, great show, great record. Do yourself a favor and listen to Earth Rocker and then dig into the music of Clutch. Here’s “Crucial Velocity”:
Adrenaline Mob put out this CD of covers that is just incredibly awesome. They cover Van Halen’s “Romeo Delight” with the power and aggression that I think it deserved from the beginning. I usually do not put cover albums on my list, but this one has a place. Check this out:
Last Patrol takes you on a psychedelic journey into the mind of Dave Wyndorf. Monster Magnet is back on their game with their latest release. Just caught these guys on tour in support of Last Patrol and the songs kick ass live!
Mindcage came out of left field and socked me in the head with this one. Our Own Devices creates a magical world with their powerful music. I have said that is transports you away from the mundane and I stand by that statement. Here you go:
Those of you who know me knew this one would end up on here. Zakk and co. have always and will always be one of my favorites. Unblackened gives new life to some of the most iconic BLS tracks. While the members may change, Black Label Society will remain STRONGER THAN DEATH.
Of all of the great and wonderful 2013 releases on my list, this is most magical for me. Having considered Tracii Guns one of my favorite guitarists for years and years I was supremely stoked when I caught wind of this project. When I finally had it in my hands it was all that I expected and then some. Trippy , ethereal and full of passion, and soul the music found on here is the kind we grew up listening to. Thank you Tracii!
There are so many polls, questions, battles, etc., etc., on who’s the best guitarist. I feel that this is a question that can never be truly asked or answered. In my opinion each and every guitarist that I listen to is distinctly different. I often wonder what Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Zakk Wylde, Tony Iommi, Dimebag, Randy Rhoads, and many more, would think (or would have thought) of all of these comparisons. For me, there is such joy in the diversity of styles in rock n’ roll. If everyone tried to sound like each other what would be the point? I say enjoy the bad ass guitarists that are out there and do yourself a favor and seek out the new crop of players that are trying their hardest to be heard. I just had to put this out there after seeing all of the recent polls and battles out there. Now, let’s talk about some axe slingers you should be listening to.
Justin is the guitarist for the band Crowned By Fire. Incredible riffs, blinding speed, and a certain uniqueness in style make Justin a player to watch. check Justin and Crowned By Fire in the video for “Witch In The Window” :
Redd is the lead guitarist for Scattered Hamlet. Redd plays with an old soul. He makes you feel the music that he plays, his passion fills your ears with sonic joy. I feel the guitar heroes who have passed on are smiling down on Redd. Here is the live version of “Skeleton Dixie”:
Craw is the guitarist for All Hail The Yeti. Craw is another one of those guitarists that when they play it gets right into your soul. All Hail The Yeti’s self titled release was my top CD for 2012. This is a band on the move and Craw is a player headed for legendary status. Check out Craw’s playing in “The Art Of Mourning” :
These are but three of my favorite guitarists that I feel should be getting more attention in the world. If you have any by all means bring to my attention! You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/theHellionRocks
I met Randy a few years back and was amazed by his playing and his style. I stayed in sort of a disjointed contact with him through the internet throughout that time. I found out in passing that we shared some common friends in the music world. Randy even played on my good friends Scattered Hamlets’ new release Skeleton Dixie. Randy and I finally caught up and had a great conversation about the events in his life. Enjoy and leave some feedback!
What makes a great guitarist? That’s a hard question to answer. I can tell you in my opinion that it’s not just speed, or technical skill, it’s if the player feels what he’s playing and is able to convey that feeling to the listeners. Redd does just that for me. From the first time I saw him perform with Scattered Hamlet I knew there was something special about him. It’s as if the ghosts of guitar legends past are watching over and infusing Redd with their powers. Check out his skills on “Outlaw Anthem”:
Redd, in my opinion, will only continue to grow as a player and I cannot even imagine the level of greatness he will achieve. From straight up Blues based Rock N’ Roll, to in your face crunchy, tasty metal, Redd has it covered. He whips around the stage like a whirling dervish, never missing a lick while doing so. With Adam Joad on vocals/guitar, Jake Delling Le Bas on drums, Richard Erwin on bass/vocals, and Adam Newell on guitars/vocals, Redd and Scattered Hamlet are a musical force to be reckoned with!
Yup, Redd’s got skills, and one day I hope to see Redd gracing the cover of the guitar magazines. Redd is but one of a crop of new guitarists that should be recognized among their peers, I will focus on these players as well in upcoming posts.
Do yourself a favor and check out Scattered Hamlet and pick up their music at the Scattered Hamlet General Store! Scattered Hamlet has just released their first full length CD Skeleton Dixie to the world, your ears are missing out if you haven’t heard it.
Thank you Redd for giving me faith in the next generation of players.
I was recently given the opportunity to give shout out to some of my favorite bands in the pages of Revolver Magazine! It was an honor to be able to mention Black Label Society, Corrosion Of conformity, Down, Clutch, Crowned By Fire, All Hail The Yeti, Gypsyhawk, and my Brothers in Scattered Hamlet. These are bands that are close to my heart and in my ears daily. Check out these Awesome bands:
I was also given the chance to give a shout out to the late great Randy Rhoads and how lucky I was to have seen him play before his tragic passing. Thanks Revolver Magazine, thanks from the bottom of my heart!!
6. Falling Off The Wagon (Featuring Randy “The Arsonist” Cooper)
7. Guilty Plea
8. Mississippi Queen
9. Powder Kegs and Gasoline
10. Family Tree
11. Skeleton Dixie
I have anxiously awaited this CD for a while now. Now that I’ve had the chance to listen to it several times, it was worth the wait. This CD restores my faith in good old-fashioned guitar driven Rock N’ Roll. With nods to their various influences the members of Scattered Hamlet infuse this CD with the sound that makes Scattered Hamlet unique. This ain’t no pretty record, it’s loud, it’s dirty, and G-d bless it it’s ROCK N’ ROLL!!! These new songs coupled with their live performance makes Scattered Hamlet a band not miss when they invade a town near you. There is an outstanding guest on the track “Falling Off The Wagon” guitar great Randy “The Arsonist” Cooper. Randy’s guitar work in the track shows off his amazing playing skills. One of the earmarks for a great CD for me is that when I listen to it there is no need to skip tracks, there is no filler or throw away tracks on this. I cannot pick a favorite track because they are all worthy of that praise, I can, however, point out a couple of standout tracks: “Warning”, “Shelter”, “Powder Kegs and Gasoline”, and “Skeleton Dixie”. If you want a good time, feel good, driving down the road with the windows open, drinking beer with your buds, CD this is the one for 2013, look no further. Scattered Hamlet……HELL YES!!!! Pick it up here: http://scatteredhamletgeneralstore.bigcartel.com/
Whet your whistle on this track and get your “Outlaw Anthem” on:
HERE IT IS!!! Track 2 off of the eagerly anticipated Scattered Hamlet release SKELETON DIXIE!!! I have to say this, THIS ALBUM WILL MAKE A HELL RIDER OUT OF YOU!!!! Be sure to like the Scattered Hamlet FB page: https://www.facebook.com/ScatteredHamlet?fref=ts if you want to join the Hell Rider Nation there are chapter page on FB. Want to start an official chapter in your area? Hit me up on FB @ https://www.facebook.com/rockinink now, here’s the link to “OUTLAW ANTHEM” :
Coming up on March 1st here in Albuquerque NM there is going to be a stellar alignment of Rock N’ Roll. Three of Rocks greatest newcomers will be playing a show like no other. Rusty Tramp, Scattered Hamlet, and Scars Blue!!!