Thursday, March 29, 2012

KISS Looking For A Hero

Not a guitar hero- a roadie. Want to sign on for long hours at all hours to be part of the Kiss / Motley Crue tour? Here's your chance! Here's the catch, and it's a very cool one:

They're participating in Hiring our Heroes to give a job to a touring set carpenter who will travel with the band from July 14 through Sept. 25.

The lucky veteran who gets the gig will be part of the team that assembles the KISS stage set, helps run effects during the show and takes down the set afterwards. Applicants do not need to be a trained carpenter, but will work long hours.

To apply for this job, send an email to with your resume and contact details.

Being part of the road show would be an experience of a lifetime. Offering that experience to someone who served is a fantastic gesture. Kudos to KISS!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Shotgun Stories
Blurry remembrances of a musically misspent youth

I’m a shaggy and unkempt 17-year old part-time shoe salesman who spent my days pushing Two-Shot rubberized cushion soles and my evenings doing the dating thing with my first girlfriend. Life was simple then and I really don’t remember wanting for much more. I had just attended my first keg party via my girlfriend’s older brothers (and more importantly, her out-of-town parents), I was driving cars instead of pedaling 10-speeds and I had more dispensable income than I had materialistic wants.

All that was about to be flopped on its ear that summer day in which two musical acquaintances walked into my shoe shop.

I had played drums since 4th grade, taking the traditional path of pounding out rudiments on a rubberized practice pad, evolving into mastering drum rolls on a shiny silver snare drum, then finally graduating to the 4-piece “gently used” drum set. But on my 16th birthday, my parents saw fit to finally up the ante to a big boy drum kit. Since I had been so dogged in my drumming interests, they saw this as an investment to get me to the next level...whatever that level may be. So instead of releasing my teen angst on a small set of crummy Ludwigs, I was now keeping the neighbors awake with a pristine and polished set of Pearls. And not just 4 drums...we’re talking SEVEN! I made good use of that new drum set, playing healthy amounts of Triumph, Dio and KISS...any band who’s music allotted for long, flowing, extended drum fills around copious amounts of tom toms.

That summer, a local nightclub was getting ready to host a Battle of the Bands. This 200 person capacity nightclub was THE venue to see any of the up and coming glam/hard rock bands that were all over MTV at the time. Keel played there. White Lion played there. Helix played there. Black N’ Blue played there. Not household names, but bands that could easily have been supporting legit headliners on arena tours.

Unbeknownst to me the two friends that entered my place of business were busy putting together a group to vie for first place honors in that contest. They were among the elite players in our local high school. One a monster drummer with an enormous, if relatively beat up set of drums and cymbals. What he lacked in gear he more than made up for in loudness and ability. Plus, he was a legitimate vocalist. The other was a guitarist I used to practice with on and off and I felt was head and shoulders above where any of the local players were at at that time. Combining those two talents right there was a great foundation for any hard rock band and I’m sure that’s exactly what they were counting on.

What they weren’t counting on was the drummer slipping at his restaurant cook job and severely spraining his wrist.

Which brings me.

(to be continued)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Slash = Sandra Bullock

You know Slash...the stove pipe hat-wearing, perpetually shirtless, formerly Black Death Vodka swilling blues rock guitar hero who helped form Guns N’ Roses and after that “quietly fizzled” ubiquitously played with everyone from Michael Jackson to Velvet Revolver to The Black Eyed Peas. Yeah, THAT Slash!

So Slash is getting ready to drop another full length LP on the hard rocking devoted of the world, which begs one question:


This isn’t a slam on Slash as a guitarist. In fact, in his realm of Big Muffed Les Paul’s blaring out of Marshall full stacks in front of throngs of adoring metal horn throwing fist pumpers, it’s hard to do better than he. In a genre not know for subtlety, Slash is a tasteful phraser, thoughtful soloist and as road dog as they come.

But as a lead-name on a project pushing, well, maybe not so much.

We love when you pop-up Super Bowl halftime show to play a 30-second snippet of “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” Daughtrey’s horribly over-produced debut disc is only saved, if briefly, by your heavy lean noodling on “What I Want.” Sit in and get situational with anyone from Gaga to Gershwin and you’ll still be top-of-mind when it comes to the Pantheon of rock guitarists.

But when it’s you with Fergie or or you and your Snakepit and well...that’s not awesome. When all the ever-loving metal world wants you to do is to reunite with either Gn’R or Velvet Revolver and tour and blow our minds and the response is to put out tepid works with musical middlings ala Myles Kennedy (talented, but I’m not plopping down $50+ bucks to see ya when I can YouTube you for gratis)...well, I think you see where I’m going with this.

Now, Sandra Bullock...there’s a talent. Oscar winner for her turn in “The Blind Side” her stock is probably on the rise, though this could be a coin flip. Some might say that “The Blind Side” was her “Appetite For Destruction.” The culmination of a life’s work.

Unfortunately, here’s the 6 movies Sandra Squirrel made prior to finding her nut:

1.) All About Steve

2.) The Proposal

3.) Premonition

4.) Infamous

5.) The Lake House

6.) Miss Congeniality 2

So the question I’ve been asking about Bullock since 1995’s “The Net” is WHY do they keep green-lighting Sandra Bullock-fronted movies!?! They are largely box office bombs, but yet, there is always another script, another day, another role. She was great as the female lead in “Speed” or even in “Demolition Man” or “A Time To Kill.” She’s great in an ensemble...not as the above the title lead.

Which brings me back to Mr. Saul Hudson. Fronting a project with “less-than” lead singers and support, well, this smacks of you putting on the Speed 2: Cruise Control. Plowing earthen rows with the old six-string as part of a band...a real band with vocalists your musical equal...this is what makes our hope float.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Instant Band, Just Add Van

So, you're looking to get your touring band into some wheels and on the road. What could give you a greater opportunity for skull crushing heaviness-by-osmosis and instant cool in a more sure fire way than becoming the proud owner of the Melvins old 1972 Dodge Sportsman? It's on Ebay right now!
1972 Dodge Sportsman Royal Van, better known as the "MELVAN" Featured in many books, Cobain Unseen, Come As You Are ETC. & Many NIRVANA documentary films. This is a very unique piece of MEVINS/NIRVANA history & truly one of a kind. The KISS Mural on the side was hand drawn by Kurt Cobain using sharpie markers shoplifted from the Thriftway grocery store in Montesano Washington. (former employer of King Buzzo) This was one of the first MELVINS tour vans & was used on at least one U.S. tour. Kurt himself was often times known to drive this van to local shows, also included are two former registration's, one signed by Roger Osborne (King Buzzo) & the second signed by former MELVINS bass player Matt Lukin ! Bid High & Bid Often ,this will probably be your one & only chance to own this unique piece of music history !

Non refundable down payment of $10,000 due within 72 hours of auction end, balance due at, or before vehicle pickup (Must be picked up within 30 days of end of auction) All Sales Final
Flat tire included, free of charge!

Ok, it probably doesn't even run anymore, and probably should be preserved in a venue like the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. Man, if I had an extra 100 G's laying around...

Sunday, February 19, 2012

CD Review: Van Halen - A Different Kind of Truth

What better way to get this Bitchin' Camaro started than by sharing my review of the new Van Halen CD, A Different Kind of Truth...their first CD since 1998 and their first full CD with David Lee Roth since 1984!

Overall, I’m very surprised this CD is as good as it is.  I should say though that I had very low expectations, especially after hearing their first single, Tattoo.  It’s much heavier than I would have thought (in a good way) and Eddie is playing like he has something to prove.  He sounds great on the song riffs and rhythm.  However, his solos are his same old thing.  I’ll argue that if you’ve heard one EVH solo, you’ve heard them all as he repeats himself a lot.  Nothing new or ground breaking...maybe a few new effects that don’t add much, especially his intro to China Town that sounds like every 15 year old kid at Guitar Center.

DLR’s performance is only so-so for me.  We all know he’s never been a great singer, but I think he’s trying way too hard to show he can sing and to bring back his personality on the band. It works on some songs, but not on others. He breaks into his Barry White, low register voice in a few spots that does nothing but distract from what Eddie is playing.  Overall, he seems to just sing on top of what every Eddie is doing, instead of actually singing with the song. He's having fun though and that does come across.

Alex Van Halen gets a chance to shine on some of the faster, heavier songs, most notably China Town.  It’s good to hear he still has some life in those drums.

Wolfgang Van Halen...I’m not sure if they purposely turned down the bass in the mix, but he doesn’t get heard much on this CD. There's rumors that Eddie played the bass on the CD. Whoever played it, probably the only songs you can hear a strong bass is She’s The Woman and Beats Workin’. 

The biggest thing missing here is Michael Anthony.  This “new” version of Van Halen is NOT a reunion for the simple fact that Michael Anthony is not incredibly stupid decision on the part of Eddie and company. And on this new CD, it truly comes back to bite them in the ass.  His backing vocals would have added some depth to their sound and helped to reign in DLR from over extending on most of the songs.    

While this CD is better than I expected, there aren’t any instant VH classics here or any that I’m dying to hear them play live. Keep in mind that all of these songs are made by old riffs, most of which are really good on their own.  But, some of the overall songs just don’t work, which is probably why these songs were never completed.  If I had to give it a grade, I’ve probably got to give it a C+...average.  It's definitely worth checking out, but not much staying power.

Highlights:  She’s The Woman, Blood and Fire, Big River, Beats Workin’
Lowlights: TattooChina Town, Bullethead, Honeybabysweetiedoll, Stay Frosty (lame attempt to recreate Ice Cream Man)

Thanks for reading and let me know your thoughts.  You can read more from me at my blog, Taking It Back at