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.
I find myself again in the position of commenting on a band who has made multiple vocalist changes. The first time I heard Skid Row was when I heard “Youth Gone Wild” from their self titled release in 1989. I, like so many others, was blown away by the powerhouse vocals of Sebastian Bach. Upon further listening I came to realize the talent that the entire band held as song writers and musicians. The three studio releases with Sebastian: Skid Row, Slave To The Grind, and Subhuman Race were all fantastic and still get their fair share of play from me.
It saddened me when I heard Skid Row had parted ways with Sebastian in 1996. There was a brief stint where Sean McCabe (Shawn Mars) picked vocal duties before they settled on Johnny Solinger.
Johnny and Skid row released Thickskin, Revolutions Per Minute, United World Rebellion: Chapter One, and Rise of the Damnation Army – United World Rebellion: Chapter Two. I had managed to catch them a couple of times with Johnny and felt he did a bang up job and was a good fit with the band. I even managed to squeeze in an interview with guitarist Dave “the Snake” Sabo with my cohort Charlie Owens. Things were good within the Skid Row camp, or so we thought.
On April 6th the news was released that Skid Row had parted ways with Johnny Solinger and had picked up Tony Harnell as their new vocalist.
I am very familiar with the vocal stylings of Tony Harnell and TNT. I have always liked Tony and his voice is powerful and great for Rock N’ Roll music. Would he fit the mighty Skid Row? We would see….
April 13th 2015- I was forwarded a newly recorded version of “18 And Life” with new vocalist Tony and……was not blown away. While the elements for this formula were all stellar, something about it just fell flat for me. I haven’t counted them out yet as I will wait to see what their NEW work will sound like. I just don’t understand why they had to revisit that classic song.
So far Skid Row has had five, yes five vocalists:
Matt Fallon (1986-1987)
Sebastian Bach (1987 – 1996)
Sean McCabe (Shawn Mars) (1997–1998)
Johnny Solinger (1999 – 2015)
Tony Harnell (2015 –
Only time will tell if Skid Row has made the right decision with this move. I will always remain hopeful of a Sebastian Bach reunion although I think it will only remain on my wish list.
Skid Row, or Skid No, what is your take on the matter?
Having been a long time UFO fan, I jumped at the chance to sit down with bassist Rob De Luca. I have had Rob on my radar for a few years now and was excited to learn of his addition to the UFO lineup. We had a great conversation and are sharing it with you here:
Thanks to Rob, UFO, and Jon Freeman for making this happen. Be sure to check out the new UFO release “A Conspiracy Of Stars”.
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.
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
OF EARTH: New Project Featuring Rob De Luca (UFO, Sebastian Bach) to Release New Album ‘The Monarch’ this Spring
New Single ‘Prototype’ Available Now for FREE at CDBaby.com
OF EARTH, a musical endeavor featuring Rob De Luca (UFO, Sebastian Bach) is releasing a second album, entitled The Monarch, this spring. The album will be released via Lovember Records and was co-engineered by “Album Of The Year” Grammy winner Tom Camuso and mastered by Howie Weinberg. In addition to singing and playing bass on The Monarch, Rob De Luca produced and mixed the album as well.
The first single from The Monarch, entitled ‘Prototype’, is out now and available this week for FREE on CD Baby. Head towww.cdbaby.com/cd/ofearth2 to download the track!
Rob De Luca will be heading back out on the road, playing bass with legendary British rockers UFO in the UK and Europe:
2/21/13- Bath, England @ Komedia
2/22/13- Bournemouth, England @ O2 Academy
2/23/13- Portsmouth, England @ Pyramid Centre
2/24/13- Oxford, England @ O2 Academy
2/26/13- Cardiff, Wales @ Coal Exchange
2/28/13- West Yorkshire, England @ Holmfirth Picturedrome
3/1/13- Glasgow, Scotland @ ABC 1/2
3/2/13- Preston, England @ 53 Degrees
3/3/13- Birmingham, England @ HMV Institute
3/5/13- London, England @ HMV Forum
3/6/13- Caen, France @ Le Cargo
3/8/13- Madrid, Spain @ Caracol
3/9/13- Bilbao, Spain @ Rock Star Live
3/10/13- Barcelona, Spain @ Razzmatazz 2
3/12/13- Bordeaux, France @ Theatre Barbey
3/14/13- Nurnberg, Germany @ Rockfabrik
3/15/13- Mannheim, Germany @ Alte Seilerei
3/16/13- Wilhelmshaven, Germany @ Pumpwerk
3/17/13- Wuppertal, Germany @ Die Börse
3/20/13- Hannover, Germany @ Capitol
3/21/13- Berlin, Germany @ K17
3/22/13- Affalter, Germany @ Zur Linde
6/6/13- Lubeck, Germany @ Werkhof
6/7/13- Solvesborg, Sweden @ Sweden Rock Festival
6/9/13- Rostock, Germany @ Alte Zuckerfabrik
6/11/13- Darmstadt, Germany @ Steinbruchtheater
6/12/13- Verviers, Belgium @ Spirit Of 66
6/13/13- Siegburg, Germany @ Kubana
6/15/13- Derby, England @ Donnington Download Festival
Rob De Luca is available for touring, recording and press, regardless of location.
Babyjane – Australia’s rawest and explosive hard rock act – have come out of the rusty gate with all guns blazing…
Andy Smith (no singer comes closer to the swagger of Jagger and the presence of Plant than THIS one); John Gerasolo (rock’s next guitar hero — forget the Top Hat); Paul Judge (a snarling Sid Vicious who can really play the bass) and Nik ‘Animal’ Kats (the bombast of John Bonham meets the terror of Tommy Lee) unleashed their debut scorcher Are You Listening in 2011. Mixed by famed American producer Michael Wagener (Metallica/Janet Jackson/Ozzy Osbourne/Extreme) it features 11 tracks of hard rock at its absolute best (including ‘can’t stop singing it’ classic Can You Keep a Secret?)
A rousing support gig with Skid Row’s Sebastian Bach in Perth (2008) left the word on everyone’s lips that ‘Babyjane are the band to watch’. Recently, they have gone from strength to strength – securing airplay on American radio, global release of the album, a week-long prime-time spot on WA’s number one radio station 96FM and over 5000 Youtube views of their video single (Are You Listening).
Now, Babyjane have stepped it up a notch. 11 track second album, Make It Sick, was recorded in Nashville, 2012 with Michael Wagener handling production duties from start to finish – the end result is what one industry-insider has described as “the most balls-to-the-wall rock album since Guns n’ Roses Appetite For Destruction”… with one-time Motley Crue/Union singer John Corabi making a rousing appearance on the title track.
Corabis’ appearance alone reached first-page news on rock website Blabbermouth.com and unprecedented attention on Google.com in June. Featuring a sound only a world-class producer can muster, hugely commercial tracks like Bad Woman and She’s Just A Liar, and a well-oiled 4-piece band behind it, Babyjane are ready to step into the big league.
Road-tested and set for world domination, Babyjane are just gathering steam. Are you listening? You soon will be…
Here’s the video for the new single “She’s a Liar”:
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.
We got ROCK LEGEND Phil Soussan to get with us on some questions. You know him from his stellar bass playing and songwriting with the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol, Vince Neil, Johnny Hallyday and John Waite, as well as a membership in Beggars & Thieves. Soussan has also played in bands featuring Jimmy Page, Steve Lukather, Edgar Winter and Richie Kotzen. Let’s check out his interview:
I am thankful to my mother for being instrumental in exposing me to various forms of music. Was there someone who opened your ears to music?
Phil: Yes, my Mom used to play the radio all day and sing along to songs. I was bought a kid record player at about 4 years old, and I used to sit in front of it changing records and singing along. About that time, my Mom’s musical cousins – two brothers who played just about every instrument, bought me a real 1/4 size acoustic guitar. The rest is history!
When was it that you decided to learn music? Were you formally educated or self-taught?
Phil: Both. I was self-taught on the guitar, melodicas, recorders – anything that made a sound! At about 8 I started taking proper recorder lessons and at 11 began classical violin and music theory studies.
I think all of us at one time cranked up some music and played air guitar to our heroes music, what were some of the bands you jumped around in your bedroom to?
Phil: The Carpenters… NOT!! David Bowie, T-Rex, Sweet, Slade, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, The Move, Wizzard, the Yardbirds, the Stones and of course the Beatles – all of these the first time round!
What were some of your early bands experiences? Did you take any lessons learned from those experiences and they are still relevant to you today?
Phil: I had a lot of American friends growing up in London and they placed a lot of importance on the quality of sound and their technique, compared to UK musicians that were not very polished. I started to practise a lot by watching in the mirror and I was able to see my technical faults better. I knew how it should look. I still do this today.
I’ve talked to a lot of musicians who have been “starstruck” by other musicians, has that ever happened to you?
Phil: Very few times… when I first had a chance to meet Jimmy Page, once I got to know him the familiarity kicked in and we became friends.
If there was any performer alive or not you could work with who would that be?
Phil: Elvis during the Sun Sessions era, Hendrix, Zeppelin during the LZ III years.
I love the idea of one-off “supergroup” projects, what would your ideal project be?
Phil: Big Noize with Sebastian Bach!
Is there a singular moment in your musical career that you are most proud of?
Phil: Walking on to the Stage at Wichita for my first US gig with Ozzy, and at Donnington in 1986.
I love your solo work and have a copy of “NO PROTECTION” can you tell us about the CD?
Phil: Thank you! I played and recorded virtually all the instruments on the record. I wanted to do a record where I performed and arranged the entire record. I first heard McCartney do it with “Maybe I’m Amazed” and I wanted to try the challenge of doing it myself. It was tough but I learned so much about imagining arrangements in my head. Some people think it’s because you want to be able to control everything, but it’s not. I think I wanted to do it is because I wanted to really get inside of music, from every perspective. And it was very difficult to do. But when you come through it, you are a better musician for it: you understand arrangements better, you understand all the instruments better. It takes four times as long to change one part, and I don’t have three other guys to say, “Hey, let’s change this”. I had to change it, record it, change that, record this, and then listen and realize, “No, it’s not working. I think I’ll do something else”. But what I got out of it was a sense in my head that, when I hear an idea now, I can imagine exactly how it should be arranged. And that’s something that I was not doing very well before. So it’s an amazing exercise. My last album “Vibrate” was fun to do but it was what I would call a compilation, a compilation meaning songs one written there, one written here, one written there, and every song put together into a collection written over a long period of time. This album was written at one time from beginning to end, all songs written around the same time, and there’s a thread of continuity that goes through it. As I started recording it, I was in my studio and I started coming up with arrangements.The record itself is really a snapshot of my life at the moment, at a point where I had to go through a lot of realizations and changes in the you cannot stop life from taking its course.
Here is “Free My Soul” from NO PROTECTION:
Are you still involved with the Grammy’s and how did that come about?
Phil: Yes, I am Vice President. I have been a member for many years and about 6 years ago a put myself on the ballot to run as a Governor, which I did. I wanted to find a way to give back to the musical community and the Grammys was the best way. I became involved in advocacy issues, fund-raisers for MusiCares and education issues. I wanted to do something for MusiCares as they were the entity that did so much for by best friend Randy Castillo when he became so ill.
What does the future hold for you? New recordings, touring, etc….?
Phil: All of the above, We just got back from doing a festival in Bulgaria with Big Noize and we had a change of singer from Joe Lynn Turner to Sebastian Bach; it was awesome and we are now looking to book more shows with this line up. I really want to do more shows out of the Los Angeles area with my solo band doing material from this new album and some of my other hits written for other artists, but it is proving difficult to tie down local promoters as most of the agents are closed off to new projects. Maybe I shall try to approach local venues myself.
If you were asked to give a lecture to musicians looking to start their careers, what advice would you have for them?
Phil: Ask yourself if this is really what you want to do and if it is then go for it, never say die and never give up.
What era appeals to you the most and why is that?
Phil: The era before digital music – I loved making records and selling records was the way in which we made our money. Today everyone feels that music should be free and it has become such a s challenge to be able to pay your bills and continue making music for people with no income. It is not as if recording equipment manufacturers give you free equipment!
Being a veteran of the music industry what are your thoughts of the sate of things today?
Phil: We are getting back in to the T-Shirt business. We use music to invite people to a gig and if you sell them merchandise then you walk away from the deal with some income. If not then you come up zero.
If we were hanging out and I plugged your MP3 player into my stereo would I be surprised at what was on it?
Phil: Just a varied assortment of music.
This last one is open, tell us anything you want to:
Phil: Listen to my record, enjoy the songs and if you like them please join my mailing list at www.philsoussan.com and write! I try to reply to everyone as much as I can. Please follow me on Twitter at @philsoussan and although I have a Facebook “page” I am not on Facebook anymore – I hate Facebook as I don’t know anyone on it who is not made miserable/ jealous or had their friendships and relationships compromised… and I want to make people feel good – My music makes people feel good!
Thanks so much for considering this. I know there are some questions you have answered a million times over the years, I’m just hoping to bring them to a new audience!
Phil: You’re welcome! Rock on!
Let me know if you are tied in to any local promoters or radio stations and perhaps I can arrange to come out to NM and do some shows!
I am gonna leave you with Phil’s version of the classic “Shot In The Dark”:
One of the questions I see the most is “What would your dream band lineup alive or dead be?” I have pondered this question many times and I come up with different answers each time. So I decided to write about it and come up with three bands. One with band members who are no longer with us, one with all living band members, and comprised with both. I will try to give reasons why and even try to give my fantasy bands an appropriate name.
From the other side,
Bon Scott, AC/DC (deceased 19 February 1980) – vocals
Randy Castillo, Lita Ford/Ozzy/Motley Crue (deceased March 26, 2002) – drums
John Entwistle, The Who (deceased 27 June 2002) – bass
I can only imagine what a jam session with these guys would sound like. I hope that they are hanging out on the other side. I think the combination of these “gentlemen” would make for a unique sound. I chose the name “Sophisticated Hooligans” for them because the oxymoron just suits the attitude I imagine they would have.
Still with us,
Sebastian Bach, Skid Row/Solo – vocals
Zakk Wylde, Ozzy/Pride & Glory/Black Label Society – guitars
Justin Manning, Crowned By Fire – guitars
Geezer Butler, Black Sabbath – bass
Mike Portnoy, Dream Theater/Adrenaline Mob/Flying colors – drums
I shudder to think of the destructive power this band would have, hence the name “Cosmic Destruction”. There would have to be a warning label on the CDs and at the live performances. All of these players have that explosive power that would give this band the ability to crush your chest and have you thank them for it.
Some still with us and some not
Paul Rodgers, Free/Bad Company – vocals
Randy Rhoads, Quiet Riot/Ozzy (deceased March 19, 1982) – guitars
Flea, Red Hot Chili Peppers – bass
John Bonham. Led Zeppelin (deceased 25 September 1980) – drums
The mixture of Paul Rodgers beautiful voice combined with Randy Rhoads melodic playing style would compliment each other so well. Combine that with Flea holding down the bottom end and John Bonham keeping the beat and WOW! I know this lineup seems kind of weird but I think it could work. As for calling the band “Retrograde”, I think it just sounds cool.
There you have it those are just my thoughts, please share yours!!!