CD Scavenger Hunt – March 21, 2006

Took a shopping trip to the Newbury Comics in North Attleboro, MA on Tuesday. Tuesday is “new release” day for CDs and DVDs, so I wasn’t passing up on the Edguy CD for $9.99. There weren’t many new releases to pick up (I usually buy them thru online retailers) so I checked out the used bins for some deals…..

…..and there weren’t many…..

Queen – Queen II (1974/1991, Hollywood Records) – $9.99

I’m in the process of filling in some holes in my Queen collection. I have all the albums on cassettes and vinyl so I’ve been holding off on grabbing the CDs. 10 bucks for a used CD is usually too rich for my wallet but the new/sealed copy in the “Queen” section was $16. Save $6? Sure! At least the copy I grabbed was scratch-free and the inserts were pristine.

As I was ravaging the racks, I noticed that some newer Metal releases were already marked “used”: the new Lullacry, Nocturnal Rites, In Flames, and Sepultura. These are new releases from the last month so I asked a clerk what was the deal. I found out that many people will buy the CD at the sale price, upload it to their computer/MP3 player, and then return the CD for a few bucks in store credit or cash. Then they repeat the cycle.

As a collector, this has never crossed my mind. Why go thru the trouble of buying a CD, ripping it and returning it for a third of the purchase price? Now “New Release Tuesday” creates “Used Bin Wednesday”. Next week’s scavenger hunt just got more promising…..

New format?

Just an update on my time-out…..

I was thinking about changing the format a little, making things a bit more structured and following a certain setup. I was going to do a special feature for each day Monday thru Friday:

Moldy Oldie – a classic album finely aged for 20 years or more

Where Are They Now? – not just about bands, could be anything that has disappeared

Tales From The Used Rack – nothing bothers me more than a good album in a used bin, this would be my used bin acquisitions, good & bad.

…..there were a few more ideas but I have decided NOT to do it as daily features.

I was looking at other blogs I frequent and some have order and some don’t. I am a very anal person when it comes to having things a certain way. I’m so bad that I have to have the CD straight inside the jewel case so I can properly read it if I open it. I also don’t like my food to touch and I prefer all the money in my wallet to face the same way. Now that is anal! So if I am that concerned over things so trivial then of course I would scrutinize my own blog for order and function!

The whole point of this is freedom, a personal forum to shout my own thoughts. So I will keep the ideas and use the features randomly, giving some order but leaving it free.

Confused?

Me too…..

UFO – Force It (1975)

UFO – Force It (1975)

1. Let It Roll
2. Shoot Shoot
3. High Flyer
4. Love Lost Love
5. Out In The Street
6. Mother Mary
7. Too Much Of Nothing
8. Dance Your Life Away
9. This Kid’s including Between The Walls

UFO official website
UFO unofficial website by Dave Wood
Strangers In The Night (SITN) by Battty

Another absolute classic that I haven’t listened to in a long time. UFO is one of my favorite bands but I never seem to play their albums lately as much as I used to.

Force It spawns 5 major concert faves: Let It Roll, Shoot Shoot, Out In The Street, Mother Mary, and This Kid’s. All of them showing up on the band’s signature live album, Strangers In The Night. Being the second offering of the Mogg/Way/Schenker/Parker classic lineup, it shows a band finding it’s groove, honing it’s craft. Phil Mogg’s bluesy vocals and Michael Schenker’s fluid guitar assault a perfect match. Personal fave track here is Love Lost Love with Out In The Street a close second.

A note on the album cover: It was banned in many countries due to the explicit (for the time) depiction of the couple. Seems very tame for 2006, doesn’t it? Also, the obvious play on words “Force It” and “faucet”. Kudos to Hipgnosis for the creative design because intelligent people today, in 2006, still don’t get it.

Time-out

I’m calling a time-out for the Vicious blog to go over some ideas I have.

So far, I like the outlet and I’m going to continue but probably with some structure.

Look for some changes this week.

CBS’ Rock Star 2 with Tommy Lee

CBS announced the new season of Rock Star this past week. The format will be similar to last season but we will get an “all-star” band/project instead of an established band like INXS.

Taken from the official press release (via Melodicrock.com):

Press Release / New Lead Singer To Be Chosen From 16 Hopefuls When The Second Edition Of CBS’s Rock Star Returns Summer 2006.
New Album To Be Produced By Butch Walker (Rolling Stone Magazine’s 2005 “Hot Producer Of The Year”)
CBS and Mark Burnett Productions announced today that legendary musicians from some of the biggest American rock bands have joined forces to form a new band, Supernova, and will use CBS’s Rock Star (working title) as the competition to determine the new lead singer.
Supernova will feature drummer Tommy Lee (Motley Crüe), Jason Newsted (Metallica) and Gilby Clarke (Guns N’ Roses). The second edition of CBS’s Rock Star will premiere on the Network this summer.
After the winning singer is selected on CBS’s Rock Star, Supernova will record an original album, to be co-written and produced by Butch Walker (hit songwriter/producer for Avril Lavigne, Pink) that will be released in the fall before the band embarks on a world tour starting in early 2007.

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Comments:
Does anyone really care? Seriously? I’m a major fan of Hard Rock and I’m not the least bit interested in anything Tommy Lee does unless it involves Motley Crue. Same goes for Jason Newsted & Gilby Clarke…..I will not be watching. The only good thing is that Butch Walker gets his name out there a little more, he’s just pure talent.

Queen – Live At Wembley ’86 (1992)

Queen – Live At Wembley ’86 (1992)

Disc 1
1. One Vision
2. Tie Your Mother Down
3. In The Lap Of The Gods
4. Seven Seas Of Rhye
5. Tear It Up
6. A Kind Of Magic
7. Under Pressue
8. Another One Bites The Dust
9. Who Wants To Live Forever
10. I Want To Break Free
11. Impromptu
12. Brighton Rock solo
13. Now I’m Here

Disc 2
1. Love Of My Life
2. Is This The World We Created
3. (You’re So Square) Baby I Don’t Care
4. Hello Mary Lou (Goodbye Heart)
5. Tutti Frutti
6. Gimme Some Lovin’
7. Bohemian Rhapsody
8. Hammer To Fall
9. Crazy Little Thing Called Love
10. Big Spender
11. Radio Ga Ga
12. We Will Rock You
13. Friends Will Be Friends
14. We Are The Champions
15. God Save The Queen

Queen official website
Queenzone.com
QueenPictureHall.com

One of my favorite bands is Queen. Growing up in the 1980s, I was probably the only Queen fan around. None of my friends listenedto the band unless the local radio played them. Even though I was deep into the NWOBHM & L.A. scene, bands like Queen were still important. They were legends, their music timeless. So when I got the opportunity to see the band with Paul Rodgers last week, it was a dream come true.

As I wrote previously, it was an excellent show, but something was missing. Obviously, that “something” was the late charismatic Freddie Mercury. The celebration of Queen’s music, and Freddie’s memory, was a wonderful experience that I haven’t recovered from yet: I have been playing Queen non-stop for a week! This 2 CD set, Live At Wembley ’86, was recorded at Queen’s tour ending stop at Wembley Stadium on the 1986 tour in support of A Kind Of Magic. Finally released in 1992 (and re-released in 2005 to accompany the DVD), this is Queen at their best live. Brian, John, and Roger laying down the wall of sound while Freddie displays his awesome vocal range, all the while whipping the sold-out crowd into a frenzy. Freddie is the quintessential frontman hands down as he takes the crowd on a ride I’m sure none have forgotten.

Unfortunately, this would be Queen’s swan song on the live circuit as Freddie’s health began to decline. This live document is one to behold and enjoy, forever carrying on the memory of what Queen was, and is, to many of us.

The “Why Didn’t I Get A Flu Shot?” playlist

It all started Wednesday the 8th. I started my day at 5am and I had the Motley Crue show that night. No problem. I also had to go into work right after. Again no problem, it’s only 29 hours straight with no sleep. Then I realized the wife was working and I had to stay up after work to watch our youngest till 5pm. Oops! Big mistake, 36 hours straight with no sleep.

So the flu hit me like a sack of bricks, including a nice case of strep throat, on Friday morning. That didn’t stop me from going to Queen that night but it did make things worse. 5 days later and I’m starting to feel better…..at least my head stopped pounding.

So what do you do when you stay in bed with the flu and strep throat? You play good music!

Jaded – s/t (2006)
I happened upon this band while checking out local acts in the RI/MA area. Seems Jaded has been big on the Boston Rock Scene, opening for some big names and taking part in some local festivals. CD was $12 thru their site but it is going on Ebay for $50+. Some people just have too much money and not enough sense to Google the band. Anyway, the CD rocks, the band is beautiful, and I am looking to check out a local show soon.

Queen & Paul Rodgers – Return Of The Champions (2005)
Queen has been one of my favorite bands since I was a young boy. That said, I never got to see Queen live, until last Friday. I had the CD but never bought the DVD. That was a big mistake because I dismissed the CD as nothing special. After seeing the live show in Worceter, MA, I have a new appreciation for this live document. The DVD will be purchased this weekend.

Shark Island – Law Of The Order (1989)
One of those albums from back in the day that I always saw in the used bin and could never understand why people didn’t snatch them up. A fine album from a band that should have been a lot bigger than they were. Timing is everything and Shark Island should have done better. Read the interview Andrew does with Richard Black (vocals), it’s excellent.

AC/DC – Bon Scott era albums only
Before AC/DC fans start coming out of the woodwork…..I like both eras, I just decided to start from the beginning and go thru Highway To Hell because I think Bon Scott is a true genius frontman. Nothing against Brian Johnson because that guy did Back In Black, ’nuff said.

“I have the Flu” Moldy Oldies:
Motley Crue – Too Fast For Love (1982) & Shout At The Devil (1983)

A little more moldy than usual.I have followed Motley since the debut and these 2 albums are how I like to remember the Crue: hungry, loud, shocking. First Crue video I saw on MTV was ‘Live Wire’ and I remember thinking, “Wow, these guys are going to explode to the top.”. I was right! Both albums showcase the bands best material IMO, after that they became rich, glam, and less dangerous. Fave tracks from the debut: ‘Public Enemy #1′, ‘Piece Of Your Action’, ‘Too Fast For Love’, ‘Starry Eyes’. Faves from Shout: ‘Too Young To Fall In Love’, ‘Ten Seconds To Love, ‘Red Hot’, ‘Looks That Kill’.

I need 2 dust these 2 albums off a little more often, good memories and good Hard Rock.

Queen + Paul Rodgers Tour 2005 Worcester, MA, DCU Center

Queen + Paul Rodgers Tour 2005 Worcester, MA, DCU Center
Friday, March 10, 2006

Setlist:

01. Intro: It’s A Beautiful Day
Lose Yourself
02. Reachin’ Out
03. Tie Your Mother Down
04. Fat Bottomed Girls
05. I Want To Break Free
06. Take Love
07. Crazy Little Thing Called Love
08. Love Of My Life
09. Hammer To Fall
10. Feel Like Makin’ Love
11. Let There Be Drums
12. I’m In Love With My Car
13. Guitar solo
14. Last Horizon
15. Bad Company
16. Can’t Get Enough
17. Another One Bites The Dust
18. Dragon Attack
19. These Are The Days Of Our Lives
20. Radio Ga Ga
22. The Show Must Go On
23. Bohemian Rhapsody
24. We Will Rock You
25. All Right Now
26. We Are The Champions
27. God Save The Queen

Probably one of the best shows I have ever seen. Last night at the DCU Center (the old Centrum), Queen and Paul Rodgers took the stage and played not only in tribute to the late Freddie Mercury but in celebration of the music. Words can’t describe how it all felt from my 12th row seat. For me, it was an emotional night. Finally seeing a band I have loved for years but knowing that a special part of that magic was not there. But Freddie was there, he was there in the music and there on the big screen.Brian May, Roger Taylor, and the backing band played all the Queen classics, Bad Company staples, and the Free classic ‘All Right Now’ with fire and passion. A big congratulations on a fine performance. Paul Rodgers turned in a performance for the ages. He took the Queen catalogue and made it his own, staying true to the original feel of the song while giving it his deep soulful vibe. I was skeptical about Paul filling Freddie’s shoes but Paul treats each song with a class and dignity that Queen fans can be proud of. He has the smoothest delivery in Rock, bar none.Hats off to the entire band for a stellar performance. It’s too bad that the show had to end eventually.

More info on the tour can be found at Queen and Paul Rodgers

Or at Queenzone.com

Whatever happened to: The Stereo Store?

When I was a young kid, I dreamed of having a BIG, powerful stereo. I wanted a HUGE rack system: tuner, dual cassette, amp, equalizer, turntable, and big speakers. My friend’s dad had one. Each component was a different brand, the best of the best, the state of the art. It was big, it was loud, it looked cool, and was expensive!

I was 9 and this was 1981. No way my parents were buying a rack system for my birthday no matter how much I begged. Something about my brother and sister & putting food on the table. I had a little boombox that I played my cherished cassettes on but I wanted a STEREO.

Nothing used to piss my dad off than my frequent disappearances to the Electronics Dept. of any store we were in. He also loved those trips to the record store followed by the quick trip to the local stereo store. The local shop was great. If the record store was my temple, the stereo shop was the shrine next door. Big rack systems on display. A turntable wall. A wall of cassette decks. One of tuners and amps. Equalizers, headphones, wires, accessories. Eventually, those new inventions call “CD Players” made their way in. You could touch everything, you could test everything. The dude behind the counter knew you by name and would always show you what was new and what was cool (just like the record store). Even though I never bought any equipment, I always bought blank tapes. I figured that I was at least doing my part, showing the owner that I was going to be a loyal customer when I got older.

My dad finally got so sick of going to the stereo store (he was a geek and had no interest in music, it’s true!) that he paid for half of my first stereo. It cost $180 and it was beautiful. Made by Sharp, it was an “all-in-one” system, a bookshelf system. It had a digital display for the tuner (I thought this was cool as shit), a dual cassette deck, Dolby sound, and a turntable. It was all black, very Metal! A few years later, I got a single tray CD player (another Sharp) for Xmas.

I kept that stereo for 20 years. Slowly it had started to die: each cassette deck died separately, the motor on the turntable went, the tuner only got 1 station. The CD player was fine but it was time. My half, my $90 in 1981, had been well spent. The day it totally died, I cried. My wife thought I was nuts. I did what any man with a shred of dignity would do: I took some pictures with it and of it and then I lovingly boxed it up and put it in storage. How could I throw something so special away?

The search began…..

It started and ended at Best Buy. I picked up a Phillips 3 CD shelf system for my apartment, it had a tape deck and a tuner. I think it was $150 and I got it on sale for $100. I bought it on a whim, on sale, and it fit nicely into a small area so my wife and daughter were happy.

It lasted 3 years of daily use. The CD changer totally died and then the tuner started to go. I have spent the last year searching for a new stereo and using a small boombox and my PC for CDs and sportstalk radio. I found out that stereo stores are gone, washed from the landscape by the tidal wave of “big box” retailers. I did research and found out that most electronics companies had gone the way of mini-systems, micro-systems, and home theater sets. Gone were the rack systems, gone were the huge speakers, gone were the dual cassette decks and turntables.

Gone were the specialty stereo stores!

You can buy components at Circuit City or Best Buy but no one there knows about stereos. I’m 34 and I know what I want, I don’t need some teenager asking me what a turntable is. That’s when you know it’s time to go. The selection sucks as well. Back in the day, the local stereo shop had unlimited variety. If they didn’t have it, they could get it quick. The people working there KNEW their product, the could recommend options, and help you personalize your system. When I was a kid, I dreamed of the day I could walk in a shop and just buy it all. Now I had the money to do it but there is no place to go. You can do it online but that’s no fun. I need to touch, listen, see the lights blinking, put in my own CDs to test it. I need the experience but there is no place to go!

I finally broke down and bought another Phillips shelf system. Again on sale, again fitting the needs of price ($100 on sale from $150) and space (same size as my last Phillips). It was also bought on a whim, this time at Target, and my wife and now 2 kids are glad to hear me stop complaining. I needed something, I needed some sort of system. I figure this can get me through until I can buy components and build my dream system when I find that stereo shop that I know is out there.

Ozzfest 2006 announced

The lineup for Ozzfest 2006 has just been announced:

Main Stage:
Ozzy
System Of A Down
Disturbed
Hatebreed
Lacuna Coil
*** A major Main Stage band is to be announced on May 23.

Second Stage:
Black Label Society
Atreyu
Unearth
Bleeding Through
Norma Jean
A Life Once Lost
Strapping Young Lad
The Red Chord
Full Blown Chaos
Walls Of Jericho
All That Remains
Between The Buried And Me

For more info and tour dates go to Ozzfest.com
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Just a few quick comments/questions on this year’s lineup:

1. All the bands on the Main Stage have been there before EXCEPT Lacuna Coil. Can’t they get some fresh bands? Ones that haven’t been there almost every year?

2. I understand that Zakk Wylde is Ozzy’s main guy but seeing Black Label Society every year gets old. Same goes for System Of A Down.

3. Aside from BLS and Strapping Young Lad…..who are the rest of these bands on the 2nd stage? Can anyone other than the “outcast goth teens” or “hardcore teens” honestly name a song, an album, or a band member from any of these bands?

4. Ozzy is only headlining 10 dates. Ozzfest=Ozzy. No Ozzy kind of destroys the point.

5. The best thing that happened to Ozzfest was the introduction of a co-headliner. We had Judas Priest, then Iron Maiden, now there is a “mystery band”. Unless this band is Metallica, any date without Ozzy is a waste of time.