Archive for December, 2007

From the Associated Press:

Quiet Riot Singer Died Of Overdose

Kevin Dubrow

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The death last month of Kevin Dubrow, lead singer for the 1980s heavy metal band Quiet Riot, has been ruled an accidental cocaine overdose. Clark County coroner spokeswoman Samantha Charles confirmed the cause Monday after toxicology results were received Monday.

Dubrow was found dead Nov. 25 at his Las Vegas home. He was 52.

Quiet Riot was perhaps best known for its 1983 cover of “Cum on Feel the Noize.” The song, featuring Dubrow’s powerful, gravelly voice, appeared on the band’s album “Metal Health” – which was the first by a metal band to reach No. 1 on the Billboard chart.

DuBrow recorded a solo album in 2004, “In for the Kill,” and the band’s last studio CD, “Rehab,” came out in October 2006.

About.com: Heavy Metal has been kind enough to feature this website in a new article: “Heavy Metal Blogs You Don’t Want To Miss.”

It’s very cool to see my site listed alongside heavyweights like Blabbermouth, Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles, Headbanger’s Ball, and The Deciblog. It’s also nice to be listed among blogs that I read daily that I think are some of the best: All Metal Resource, The Metal Minute,  and Metal Sucks.

My thanks to Chad Bowar at Heavy Metal About for including Heavy Metal Addiction…..go over and check his site out! Check the sidebar for links to these websites and more.

About Heavy Metal is a long time Metal site that has a ton of content: reviews, news, interviews, concert listings…..basically what you need. Check the archives for interesting topics and articles by mainman Chad Bowar, a man who knows his Metal.

I promised myself that I would cut down on the spending with the holidays getting closer but I keep going. The deals are really good, especially on Ebay, and the new CDs & DVDs are still coming.

Saxon – To Hell And Back Again (2007) (2 DVD) – $19: I’ve been looking forward to this since the Summer. Saxon is one of my favorite bands, and if this is half as good as the Chronicles DVD set was, I’ll be a happy metalhead. The sale price was $10 off and there were three copies and I knew that there wouldn’t be any past the weekend.

Sebastian Bach – Angel Down (2007) – $9.60: How can you beat that price?! One of my favorite sellers had five copies up for grabs, all starting at $4.99. I won mine at $5.60 + $4 shipping. Better than the sale price at the store!

Motorhead – Better Live Than Dead: Live At Hammersmith 2005 (2 CD) (2007) – $8.99: Again, how can you beat that price?! When this came out a few weeks ago, the record store had this on sale for $13.88, it’s regular price is $17.99. Same seller as Sebastian Bach, same starting price at $4.99 and the guy had two copies. It comes out to a 2 disc set for half the regular price. Too bad this guy doesn’t combine shipping but it’s a minor complaint.

Total = $33.59

JOURNEY WELCOMES ARNEL PINEDA WITH “OPEN ARMS” TO THEIR FAMILY AS THE BAND’S NEW LEAD SINGER

December 5, 2007

After much speculation, the wait is finally over.

JOURNEY–Neal Schon (guitar), Jonathan Cain (keyboards), Ross Valory (bass), Deen Castronovo (drums)–is proud to introduce fans all over the world to their new lead singer, Arnel Pineda (“pin-eh-da”). He replaces Jeff Scott Soto, who parted ways with the band earlier this year after stepping in for Steve Augeri, who had to leave the band in 2006 for medical reasons.

Arnel hails from Quezon City in the Philippines and has been singing Journey songs–in addition to original material–with his band, The Zoo, for the past couple of years in clubs all over his homeland. Joining the legendary band is a dream come true for him.

“It’s so exciting to sing with one of the best bands in the world. It’ll be a lot of hard work on my part and I’m actually looking forward to the scrutiny I’ll get from the hardcore JOURNEY fans. I know they’ll expect me to sound exactly like ‘the voice’ (Steve Perry), but that will never happen. I know there’s only one Steve Perry in this world.”

When it was time for JOURNEY to look for a new lead singer, the internet came to their rescue. Guitarist Neal Schon wanted someone new to the music business, so he turned to YouTube. After finding Arnel singing “Faithfully,” he knew he had found the perfect frontman.

“I was frustrated about not having a singer,” explains guitarist Neal Schon, “so I went on YouTube for a couple of days and just sat on it for hours. I was starting to think I was never going to find anybody. But then I found The Zoo and I watched a bunch of different video clips that they had posted. After watching the videos over and over again, I had to walk away from the computer and let what I heard sink in because it sounded too good to be true. I thought, ‘he can’t be that good.’ But he is that good, he’s the real deal and so tremendously talented. Arnel doesn’t sound synthetic and he’s not emulating anyone. I tried to get a hold of him through YouTube and I finally heard from him that night, but it took some convincing to get him to believe that it really was me and not an imposter.”

Arnel Pineda picks up the story: “My friend Noel picked up the message on YouTube and told me it was from Neal. I thought it was a hoax so I ignored it. Noel said, ‘what if it really was Neal and he wanted to offer you the chance of a lifetime?’ So I e-mailed Neal back and the rest is history.”

“Arnel brings a soulful and passionate voice to JOURNEY,” continues keyboardist Jonathan Cain. “His personality is very well-suited to our music. He’s a sincere, authentic person with a great smile and a big heart. I think fans are really going to love him. With Arnel’s soaring tenor, Journey returns to our heritage sound.”

Schon agrees, “We feel reborn. I think there’s a lot of chemistry between the five of us. At first we were going to go into the studio and just write 4 songs, but now it’s escalated to a lot of great new and diverse material. The stuff sounds tremendous. Everyone’s so stoked about it. We feel very fortunate to have found Arnel.”

JOURNEY is currently working on a new album with legendary producer Kevin Shirley, which they hope to release by spring/summer 2008. Details will be announced early next year.

www.journeymusic.com

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Now it’s official…..seems Andrew at Melodicrock.com was right again, as usual. If it were up to me, I would have kept Jeff Scott Soto…..only time will tell if this works out with Pineda.

— Steve

From Andrew at Melodicrock:

NEW SINGER AND NEW MATERIAL FOR JOURNEY IN 2008:
2007 has been a long year for curious Journey fans and followers, patiently waiting to hear what the next move from the band would be following the decision to part with vocalist Jeff Scott Soto. And the demand for information from readers has been constant, so without further delay – it is finally time for a Journey update.

The band has a new singer. An official announcement and press release will come in due course, but I can confirm today that the brand new vocalist for Journey is Arnel Pineda. Arnel is the frontman for Philippines rock band Zoo, who earlier in 2007 released their debut album Zoology. Arnel is no stranger to performing, having been in various Asian bands since the 80s and has previously released a solo album back in 1999. But it is Zoo that has captured people’s attention – the band are extremely popular on the club circuit in the Philippines, and to a worldwide audience via a number of clips posted to YouTube. The band is known not only for their originals but for their performances of an array melodic rock covers. The band’s most popular covers have been that of Journey’s classics and it is these YouTube performances that caught the eye and ear of guitarist Neal Schon.

Check out Arnel Pineda in action, covering: ‘Faithfully’, ‘Open Arms’, and ‘Separate Ways’.

Neal Schon, Jonathan Cain and Journey management were so impressed they flew Arnel to San Francisco for an official audition. Now the band are eyeing off future moves, with a big 2008 on the horizon. A major US tour with possibly 2 other bands in tow has been planned and what’s even more interesting is news that the band has already been recording in San Francisco under the watchful eye of producer Kevin Shirley (responsible for the Trial By Fire and Arrival records with the band). Kevin Shirley has recently commented on his Web Diary that he was working with some “old friends from the Bay Area”. Then this comment a week or two later:

“Gosh, is it still 1980? Finished a wonderful, successful, stupidly creative stint in the Bay Area and then drove back home last night, feeling chuffed as only those rare, monster sessions leave you. Sometimes you just know when there’s history in the making…”

I contacted Kevin for a comment, but it was another contact that touched base first. I have been given the ok to print those comments from Kevin here:

“Neal and Jon called me and asked me in November to check out a couple of new songs, for an upcoming and possible project with Journey. I went to San Francisco to assess the new Journey and check out the material. I am so swamped, have a new baby and I did not want to be involved if it wasn’t focused and great. I thought I’d be there for 2 days. First, I was stunned at Arnel, who is a monster vocalist. He is the real deal. Just phenomenal. Its true Neal found him on YouTube. Next I heard the songs. I am always in awe of Jonathan Cain as songwriter/producer and together with Neal Schon, who adds the rock element, they are one of the great songwriting partnerships. Its true they don’t always see eye to eye musically, but the combination is magic. We spent a while talking and seeing where they were at. I have been brutally honest with them, and was not interested in being any part of them being a nostalgia/tribute band, which could happen if their focus got lost. Some of the songs were lacking direction which I, as an outspoken and brutal outsider, immediately pointed out and set about repairing. So I cut a couple of tracks and with all the shit out of the way, you have to hear them ignore their egos and me, and just play as Journey. All together in the studio. What a privilege to see all 5 of them playing together. They are fantastic. I am always cogniscent of the space Perry and Smith occupy in the sound and legacy, and won’t let that be underplayed, and Deen and Arnel are brilliant musicians, and with a little focus the entire band has found their place again. This is stronger than Trial By Fire and sounds like Journey, but state-of-the-art. People always talk up upcoming material, but just wait. Its unbelievable. There’s a full album of new material coming, but much more, too. Don’t believe all you read – there is no one else but the band in the studio to hear the music (although we do have a Make-A-Wish kid coming in soon). And that’s the dirt from Las Vegas, where I am mixing seven new original songs. I head back to San Francisco after a quick visit to London, to see the Led Zep reunion, to finish off where we began. I can’t wait, and you are going to love it!”

There has been talk of the band working on other recordings in the studio, but I’ll leave that for another update. What I can tell you is that an album of all new studio material is being worked on and is due for release in the American summer of 2008.
Journey’s first two shows of 2008 will be in South America – February 21th at Festival of Viña del Mar, at Quinta Vergara Arena and February 23 at Estadio San Carlos de Apoquindo in Santiago.

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Andrew is usually on the money when it comes to things like this and he is very close to the journey camp. This has been in the works for a long time so I expect to see an official press release soon. Stay tuned!

— Steve

Just so everyone can get a sample of Airbourne’s blend of Hard Rock, here’s the videos for the first three singles from RUNNIN’ WILD: ‘Runnin’ Wild’, ‘Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast’, and ‘Diamond In The Rough’.

‘Runnin’ Wild’

‘Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast’

‘Diamond In The Rough’

Airbourne - Runnin’ Wild (2007)

Airbourne – Runnin’ Wild (2007, EMI/Capitol)

  1. Stand Up For Rock ‘N’ Roll
  2. Runnin’ Wild
  3. Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast
  4. Diamond In The Rough
  5. Fat City
  6. Blackjack
  7. What’s Eatin’ You
  8. Girls In Black
  9. Cheap Wine & Cheaper Women
  10. Heartbreaker
  11. Let’s Ride

 Airbourne

Band Lineup:
Joel O’Keeffe – Lead Vocals & Guitars
Ryan O’Keeffe – Drums
David Roads – Guitars & Backing Vocals
Justin Street – Bass & Backing Vocals

Producer: Bob Marlette

Total Time – 37:52

Airbourne official website
Airbourne MySpace page

Airbourne

I’ve been waiting a long time to finally acquire RUNNIN’ WILD from Australia’s newest pub rockers, Airbourne, and it’s been worth the wait. The music is basically AC/DC, The Angels, and Rose Tattoo inspired, party-time guitar Rock. Obviously, we’re not talking about the technical prowess of Dream Theater or the grand atmospheric splendor of Nightwish, this is bare bones guitar, bass, drums, and a whole lot of attitude.

What sets a band like Airbourne apart, like AC/DC, is their minimalist approach. In the Hard Rock/Heavy Metal world right now, there are so many different genres, so many different styles, that bands can get lost in the shuffle of being too different or too technical. Basic blues-based Rock ‘n’ Roll is what Classic Rock legends like AC/DC thrives on to this day. Take a listen to late ’70s and early ’80s Rock and tell me if Airbourne fits right in. Take tons of basic riffs, add lyrics about booze, chicks, and sex, and add a solid backline…..it’s a formula Airbourne has taken from some of the masters and brought it to a new generation.

Airbourne has decided to go straight for the jugular and come out blazing with new anthems like ‘Stand Up For Rock ‘N’ Roll’ and ‘Runnin’ Wild’ (first single). Both guitar driven songs with shouty lyrics and big background vocals. The pace and style doesn’t stop as the record continues on to ‘Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast’, ‘Diamond In The Rough’, and ‘Fat City’. Actually, ‘Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast’ and ‘Fat City’ fall into a groove slightly above mid-pace, still hard and still good.

Listening to fast rocker ‘Blackjack’ and you swear that mainman Joel O’Keefe is the bastard child of Bon Scott and Brian Johnson combined. Joel just screeches his vocals with a power that these two greats trademarked long ago. ‘What’s Eatin’ You’ sounds like it came right out of the bar, toe-tapping and fist-pumping all the way to the arena. Same thing with the rest of the disc: if the formula isn’t broke, don’t fix it.

What’s so striking is the guitar playing, it’s right out of the Young brothers’ songwriting books. Simple and basic, it doesn’t have to be overplayed, or have layer upon layer, it’s a basic rhythm track with the lead over the top and a solo. It’s just works.

Bottom Line:
I like AC/DC and this is just like AC/DC but more aggressive and fast. I use the AC/DC comparison as a compliment because the music is that good. RUNNIN’ WILD is fast and has a groove…..it gets your toe tapping, and your head banging. Because the album is so straight forward, it goes by fast, clocking in close to 38 minutes. That’s almost an E.P. for some bands! It may be short but it’s long on quality Rock anthems. I see lots of success for Airbourne if they stay the course and keep churning out albums like this. Millions of people love this kind of Rock and Airbourne delivers. Favorite songs: ‘Runnin’ Wild’, ‘What’s Eatin’ You’, ‘Fat City’, ‘Diamond In The Rough’…..hell, I like the whole damn thing!

Blackmore’s Night - Paris Moon CD/DVD (2007)

Blackmore’s Night – Paris Moon (CD/DVD) (2007, SPV USA/Steamhammer)

DVD tracklist:

  1. Introduction
  2. Past Times With Good Company
  3. Rainbow Blues
  4. Play Minstrel Play
  5. World Of Stone
  6. Under A Violet Moon
  7. Soldier Of Fortune
  8. Durch Dem Wold Zum Bach Haus
  9. Diamonds & Rust
  10. Minstrel Hall
  11. Home Again
  12. Streets Of London
  13. Renaissance Faire
  14. Keyboard solo
  15. Ariel
  16. Loreley
  17. The Clock Ticks On
  18. Fires At Midnight
  19. Saint Teresa
  20. The Village Lanterne

Bonus Features: Documentary & Photo Gallery

CD tracklist:

  1. Past Times With Good Company/Rainbow Blues
  2. Play Minstrel Play
  3. World Of Stone
  4. Under A Violet Moon
  5. Minstrel Hall
  6. Home Again
  7. Ariel
  8. The Clock Ticks On
  9. Fires At Midnight
  10. The Village Lanterne (studio version)
  11. All Because Of You (radio edit)

Musicians:
Ritchie Blackmore – Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Mandolin, Mandola, Hurdy-Gurdy
Candice Night – Lead Vocals, Renaissance Woodwinds, Pennywhistles, Tambourine
Sir Robert of Normandie – Bass, Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
Bard David of Larchmont – Keyboards & Vocals
Squire Malcolm of Lumley – Drums & Percussion
Lady Madeline & Lady Nancy – Backing Vocals

(Region 1, NTSC, DVD Running Time = 128 minutes)

Blackmore’s Night official website
Blackmore’s Night MySpace page
Candice Night official website
SPV USA

I have been a Deep Purple/Rainbow fan for a long time so I take an interest in what Ritchie Blackmore does. I discovered Blackmore’s Night in 1998 when the band released their first album, SHADOW OF THE MOON. What I was hoping for was a continuation of Rainbow under a new band name but I knew about the concept but still hoped for the best. For a change of pace, SHADOW OF THE MOON, and the sophomore effort, UNDER A VIOLET MOON (1999), were pretty good. I found it interesting and enjoyed it even though it wasn’t Metal. Eight years later, I’ve lost touch of Blackmore’s Night.

PARIS MOON is the band’s live show during their 10th anniversary celebration. The bulk of the set is from the Blackmore’s Night catalogue and includes a good rendition of the Purple track ‘Soldier Of Fortune’ (listen for the audience reaction) and a cover of Joan Baez’s ‘Diamonds & Rust’. These two songs are the only break from the medieval stylings of Blackmore and company and even these are given the Blackmore’s Night treatment.

For fans of the band, the setlist is a good overview of all the albums. I like the first two, and I own the third album, FIRES AT MIDNIGHT (2001), and 2006′s THE VILLAGE LANTERNE,  so I knew a lot of the songs. To the uninitiated, it could seem that all the songs sound the same but there is enough to separate them. I enjoyed ‘Under A Violet Moon’, ‘Play Minstrel Play, and ‘Renaissance Faire’ but the rest of the set was kind of boring. I say that as a Heavy Metal fan who is used to a high-powered assault sonically and visually. The actual performance is top-notch: the band is tight and diverse, Candice Night has an excellent singing voice for this type of music, and then there is Mr. Ritchie Blackmore…..a musical legend. There is a lot of passion and enjoyment from the band (except Ritchie, he’s as stoic as ever!) during the performance and that translates to the audience. Best part of the performance is when Mr. Blackmore plugs in his Fender Strat, the audience goes wild! Granted, he doesn’t bang out the main riff to ‘Smoke On The Water’ but it’s seeing the instrument in his hands that fans are longing for.

The only real criticism I have is with Candice Night’s stage presence and Ritchie’s lack of emotion. Candice on stage reminds me of a Stevie Nicks clone costume wise and a deer caught in the headlights when she has to interact with the crowd. Not only are her words to the crowd unintelligible, they are also confusing. At times, I couldn’t tell if she was talking to herself, Ritchie, or the crowd. She enjoys herself and gives a solid performance but you can just tell that she lives and breathes Renaissance style. As far as Ritchie, well he never was one to interact with the audience. He rarely acknowledges the crowd and keeps focused on the instrument at hand. Talented as hell but not Mr. Personality.

The packaging is nicely done: the slipcase looks like an old book, full color booklet, and there is a CD of highlights from the concert as a bonus. On the DVD, there is options for sound (5.1 Surround, etc) and a documentary that is really an interview with Candice and Ritchie.

Bottom Line:
Great musicianship, solid performance of the material, but a lack of stage presence from the two primary band members. Filmed with many cameras, the visuals are done extremely well and everything sounds rich and vibrant. Favorite songs here: ‘Soldier Of Fortune’, ‘Under A Violet Moon’, ‘Renaissance Faire’, ‘Fires At Midnight’, ‘Play Minstrel Play’. If you like Blackmore’s Night and/or Renaissance music, this is a nice package to have. If you’re looking to rock out, this is not the DVD for you

Thanks to all that responded to the Neurosonic CD Giveaway. I’m a little late in announcing the winner, that was supposed to be announced Saturday, 12/1, I had some computer problems.

Anyway, the good news is there is a winner!

Jeff from Salt Lake City, Utah…..you won!

The CD is in the mail and I hope you enjoy it.

–Steve

Holy smoke! Where the hell have I been? Normally I’m right on when it comes to the concert scene in the New England area but I had no idea that GWAR was headlining Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel in Providence, RI this coming Friday. The opener is 3 Inches Of Blood! I just got into 3 Inches Of Blood and they are damn good.

Tickets are $20…..I have one Sick Day left at work…..and I haven’t been to a live show since the Summer…..guess where I’m going Friday night!