WANTED: Bret Michaels – Ballads, Blues & Stories (2001)

WANTED

Bret Michaels – Ballads, Blues & Stories (2001)

You might be wondering why I would put a Bret Michaels CD into this installment of WANTED! because I have crucified his last couple of records as being the repackaged shams they are instead of the true new studio albums they should be and were billed as. So why do I want BALLADS, BLUES & STORIES? Simple…..it’s rare, out of print and hard to find. Plus, it will complete my Bret solo discography and I am all about owning band’s entire catalog…..it’s a collector thing! There are ten songs on the album (1 new and 9 previously released on other Bret solo albums) but there’s an interview track before each song where Bret explains the songwriting process and the stories to go with the tunes. Basically, this CD is the same deal as the last two albums Bret released…..compilations of previously released material. I know, I know…..I’m falling into the trap again but it’s definitely cool to have a rare CD and one that no one I know actually has. I’ve never seen a physical copy in a record store but I have seen a few floating around on Ebay for the general price of about $20. This Bret disc isn’t at the top of the want list but I added it in to watch for if I find it on the cheap!

CD Scavenger Hunt (January update) – The first hunt of 2011!

Better late than never! I realize it’s the middle of February and I’m a couple of weeks late but the hunt is always going!

Taking a quick look back at last year…..I bought 178 different music items totalling $1820, that’s only about $35 a week and I’ve been known to spend a LOT more than that. I’m a little more budget concious now and I’ve come to the realization that I can’t buy everything so this year’s purchases are going to be a little more thought out and a little more of the less expensive side. I may equal or surpass last year’s dollar amount but I want to add more items to my collection. What’s the old saying? “Less is more”? Not in my collecting world…..MORE is more! Xmas came and Santa brought me $100 dollars in Newbury Comics gift cards so I was armed and ready when I walked into the Warwick, RI location…..

One thing to check out…..I’m adding Total Savings per trip and for the year into the stats at the end of the hunt so you can compare what I would have paid had I paid regular prices.

Newbury Comics

Black Sabbath – Mob Rules (2010 Deluxe Edition) – $35 (free with gift card): The top album on my Want List was the deluxe edition of Sabbath’s Mob Rules for one reason and one reason only…..the bonus CD of the Rhino Handmade release of LIVE AT HAMMERSMITH ODEON. Back in May 2007, Rhino Records’ custom division released the limited edition numbered CD of LIVE AT HAMMERSMITH ODEON for a meager $20 and the 5000 copies sold out immeadiately. There was a pre-order but I never bought in because money was tight at the time. I’ve been kicking myself ever since because that custom CD became a hot collector’s item not only for the music but for the exclusivity of having 1 of 5000 copies. In the years since, this has been one of the hottest bootlegged CDs on the secondary market. I was going to pick up all the Dio-era Sabbath deluxe editions anyway but once I heard what the extra disc was, I had to have it! Unfortunately, the Newbury Comics closer to my house in North Attleboro stocked only one copy and it sold right away. I kept my eye out and, when I saw it in the Warwick location, it was a done deal! There are also two bonus tracks that accompany the album proper: a live version of ‘Die Young’ and the original version of ‘The Mob Rules’ from the Heavy Metal movie soundtrack. Saved $35.

Black Sabbath – Seventh Star (2010 Deluxe Edition) – $35 (free with gift card): I was going to pick up the HEAVEN & HELL Deluxe Edition but there were two copies of it at the store while there was only one copy of the SEVENTH STAR Deluxe Edition. My paranoia that I would miss out on SEVENTH STAR forced my hand! I am a huge fan of all post-Ozzy eras of Black Sabbath and I bought this album back in 1986 when it first came out on cassette. Actually, I almost went to the concert at the Providence Civic Center that tour but my parents wouldn’t let me go, concerts were a new thing for me and them back in 1985/1986. Anyway, the extras here are a remixed version of ‘No Stranger To Love’ on the album CD and the bonus disc is a live recording with Ray Gillen at Hammersmith Odeon 6/2/1986. For the sake of history, the Providence, RI gig was 3/25/1986 and was the next to last show with SEVENTH STAR vocalist Glenn Hughes fronting the band. Saved $35.

The Rolling Stones – Hot Rocks (1964-1971) (2002 remaster) – $30 (free with gift card): When I started to get into music in the early ’80s, The Rolling Stones were billed as “the ultimate Rock ‘n’ Roll band” and they were always on local FM radio. I grew up listening to the radio and I grew up listening to the band’s songs. When I started heading out to record stores, I wanted a Rolling Stones greatest hits cassette…..enter HOT ROCKS. I bought my cassette copy at the old Good Vibrations chain and I remember it was so expensive (probably around $15) because it was considered a double album…..I still have the cassette today. I had $30 left in gift cards and I wanted something special and that’s when I thought of HOT ROCKS. The price has doubled for the remastered single CD compared to my cassette from back in the day but I figured I would never spend the $30 on my own so I decided that it was now or never and I burned the last gift card. Saved $30.

Holy Grail – Crisis In Utopia (2010) – $12: Holy Grail is a spin-off band from one of my favorite new bands White Wizzard. I’m not really sure who left to form what band but now I know that there are two solid U.S. Power metal bands out there! I had read a lot of reviews on Holy Grail in Decibel and Revolver magazines, as well as, online so I kept the band and album in mind but I had totally forgotten as I was burning all my gift cards. As I was walking to the checkout counter with my three albums, I saw CRISIS IN UTOPIA sitting in a display so I snatched it up right away. I figured that I wasn’t paying for the three other deluxe CDs so I could spend some of my own money and buy this album. Good thing I grabbed the CD on display because a quick look in the Metal section under ‘H’ and I found another copy at the regular $15.99 price! I’ll take a sale CD anyday! Saved $4.

Electric Wizard – Black Masses (2011) – $10: One of the hardest things about being an obsessive collector is that you want to hear and buy everything but everything is not always available. I had Electric Wizard’s latest, BLACK MASSES, on my list all year long but I wasn’t about to pay the high import prices. I don’t own any Electric Wizard albums but, after reading so many great reviews, I decided to start with the new album. Unfortunately, there was no U.S. release date set! So I waited and then the 2010 year end best of lists started coming out online and in print. Gues what album always seemed to be at or near the top? A couple weeks after my gift card shopping trip, I decided to drop in quickly to the local Newbury Comics closer to home and there’s BLACK MASSES in the new release section for a cool $10…..about $15 less than the import price + shipping! A no-brainer to pick up…..saved $4 off the regular price. Just a note here…..this is the North American release and it’s dated 2011 on the CD even though it was released everywhere else in 2010.

Bret Michaels – Songs Of Life (2003) – $4 used: If you’re going to pop in the local record store quick and immeadiately find an album you want on the new release rack in front of the entrance, then it’s your duty as a collector to make sure that there are no other treasures hiding in plain sight. I took a quick lap through the entire store and guess what album I find staring at my from the Poison section? I know I’ve crucified Bret the last few years for releasing “new” albums that are really repackage deals of his previous solo work but I’ve made it a personal mission to acquire all the Bret solo albums that were released in the mid-2000s on his own label, Poor Boy Records. Slowly but surely, I started to find all the Bret albums but SONGS OF LIFE had eluded me at a fair price, it was going for $25+ on Ebay! I saw the CD and grabbed it right away, then I saw the $4 price tag…..that’s a huge deal! I estimate that this originally went for $15 when it was released so I saved about $11.

W.A.S.P. – The Last Command (1985) – $7 used: This was a great find for very personal reasons. About 8 years ago, when my wife and I were expecting our second child, money was a little tight. My wife wasn’t working and my work schedule wasn’t flexible enough for me to get a second job. I turned to my CD collecting hobby for additional income. I started selling used CDs that I found in the record stores on ebay and I started to make a couple extra bucks. When we needed even more extra cash, I turned to my own collection for CDs to sell. One of my big sales was all the original pressings of every W.A.S.P. album from the first to THE CRIMSON IDOL (1992)…..6 CDs and I netted $100! That was a huge help back then and I justified it not only by the situation but by the fact that I had bought the W.A.S.P. remasters back in 1999. Years later, I’m unhappy with the sound on the remasters and I’ve been searching for the original pressings again. W.A.S.P. has always been one of my favorite bands and I was there from before the debut album so these records are special, THE LAST COMMAND being my favorite. An obvious purchase and a great find at what I estimate as half off regular price. Saved $8.

Hardcore Superstar – No Regrets (2003) – $4 used: I found this CD in a bargain bin and I recognized the name but I wasn’t sure what kind of music they played. I remembered seeing reviews on one of the websites I frequent but I had never heard one song from Hardcore Superstar. Thank god for smartphones! First, I checked my collection to see if I already owned it (I’ve seen more than a few copies at a low used price). Second, I got online and looked the band up. Once I found the reviews at some of my favorite websites, I decided to take the $4 risk. Third, I checked Ebay to see what the CD was going for because there was a second copy of NO REGRETS at the same price. It wasn’t selling at auction so I figured I’d leave it for someone else to discover. I’m going to use this as a jumping off point to check out the band because it’s their fourth out of eight albums and, if I like their brand of Sleaze Rock, I will try and get the rest as cheap as possible. I estimate the regular price at $15 when researching online and taking into account Newbury Comics’ prices, so I saved $11.

Damageplan – New Found Power (2004) – $3 used: I found this in the same bargain bin that I found the Hardcore Superstar disc in and I used my smartphone again to make sure I didn’t have it in my collection. I have always been a Pantera fan, maybe not as big as others, but I have all their records in my collection, including the independent ones before COWBOYS FROM HELL. I never bothered to collect all the spin-off bands until I bought both HellYeah albums last year. I had every intention of checking out Damageplan after the untimely death of Dimebag Darrell but I just never got around to it. In fact, I’ve passed on more than a few used copies over the years but none at this price. To make sure I was getting the best deal (and how could $3 not be a great deal!), I went over to the ‘D’ section and noticed that regular price on this disc was $15.99 and the other used price was $7.99. I saved $13 off the regular price.

Rhapsody Of Fire – The Cold Embrace Of Fear E.P. (2010) – $7: As I was picking up the W.A.S.P., Hardcore Superstar and Damageplan CDs on my third trip of the year to the record store, I noticed this new release by Rhapsody Of Fire in the new release rack. I wasn’t really sure what this release was, and Rhapsody does have a pattern of releasing E.P.s and multi-track CD singles between albums, so I got online with my phone for quick research…..my Android phone is my new best tool while on the hunt! Turns out this E.P. was released in Europe in October 2010 and it’s one 35 minute song broken into seven acts. I’m skeptical about these type of releases because what does a 35 minute song sound like? And am I going to get bored? I have almost every Rhapsody release so the completist in me had to have it and, at $7, it wasn’t too much to risk. Saved $3 off regular price.

Online

King Lizard – Viva La Decadence (2010) – $20: I happened to find out about King Lizard through a podcast I listen to and I liked the song so much that I went to their website to buy the album. Of course, I was too late because they were sold out of the first pressing with the uncensored artwork! I didn’t want to wait for a second pressing to become available so I emailed the band direct and inquired on the availability. The band responded and I bought the LAST copy they had with the uncensored artwork AND they autographed it for me! Not a bad deal at all! Sometimes all you have to do is ask and you definitely shall receive, as long as you have a genuine interest and still pay for the item! Thanks to King Lizard for hooking me up so watch for an album review here soon. More info on the band can be found at their official website: http://www.kinglizard.co.uk/

Total = $67

Total (year) = $67 

Average Price (per item) = $6.09

Total Savings (month) = $154

Total Savings (year) = $154

Total CDs (year) = 11

Total DVDs (year) = 0

Total Box Sets (year) = 0

Total LPs (year) = 0

The 5 Worst Albums of 2010

2010 was another great year for new albums. Bands from all different genres of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal released good albums this year and I was on the frontlines buying them up as they were released. Of course there were some bad albums too. I bought more new releases, and had more new albums submitted for review, in 2010 than I have any other year that Heavy Metal Addiction has been active so there were bound to be some bad ones in the pile. In previous years, I’ve received a lot of email about my decision to call this the “Worst” albums of the year, some people have thought that it is too negative. My feeling is that no matter if the album is a major disappointment because you were looking forward to it so much, or the album is just plain awful from the packaging, to the production to the performance, then it qualifies under the heading of “Worst”. Of all the albums I picked up some releases were just plain bad, some were huge disappointments, some I just couldn’t stand…..so here is my list of The 5 Worst Albums of 2010:

#1

Methods Of Mayhem – A Public Disservice Announcement (2010): Without a doubt, this is the WORST album I heard in 2010. I tried, I really did, but it was so hard to try and sit through the entire album and I tried at least a half dozen times. I’m all for solo projects, I’m all for experimenting with different styles but when you advertise and market a new album in Hard Rock and Heavy Metal circles then it better have some Hard Rock or Heavy Metal in it! This is Alternative, Nu-Metal and Rap beats all thrown together, with outside contributions from guest musicians and fans, to create a wall of sound that is so just a bunch of noise. This album is 10 years too late and even then that’s a stretch. I never bought this album and I am so glad I didn’t waste my $13, I just feel bad for the guy I borrowed this from because there’s no way this album was worth 13 cents rather than $13. I would even go as far as saying that this album might even be worse than last year’s Worst Album of the Year.

#2

Bret Michaels – Custom Built (2010): Big bad Bret is no stranger to the Worst of the Year list because he made the list in 2008 with his last “new album” ROCK MY WORLD (2008). The problem the last time was that Bret advertised ROCK MY WORLD as a “new studio album” and only three songs were actually new with the rest coming from previous Bret solo records. Fast forward two years and Bret is at it again with CUSTOM BUILT! He advertised this album as a “new studio album” but only four songs were actually new with the balance coming from the out of print FREEDOM OF SOUND (2005) and LETTERS FROM DEATH ROW (1998). Add in a cover and a couple alternate mixes/demos and you’ve got a 1/3 of a new album. Is it right to rip-off fans like this? Why not re-release the three real studio albums Bret has done outside of Poison? I understand you want to promote your reality television career but what about the fans? If it wasn’t for Tommy Lee, Bret Michaels would take the top honors this year.

#3

Dark Age – Acedia (2010): This is one of those albums that got released everywhere else in the world in late 2009 but got a North American release in early 2010. Dark Age is a Melodic Death Metal from Germany and one of my goals this year was to open myself up to more of the extreme forms of Metal. The problem with ACEDIA is that it’s very light on the Death Metal and very heavy on the Nu-Metal and Alternative Metal. The comparison I made in my review was Linkin Park…..I’m not and never have been a fan of Linkin Park and their style of whining Rap infused music. This album is ten or eleven years too late to the party, I’m not sure if Dark Age’s previous albums were a lot heavier and more Death Metal but there really isn’t a lot of Metal here to enjoy. I may not be an expert in the Death Metal, or Melodic Death Metal, scenes but I’ve heard enough to know that there is still Heavy Metal in it!

#4

Slash – s/t (2010): This new album from Slash was highly anticipated and highly disappointing, making it a leader for “Worst Album of 2010″ since it’s release. There’s no doubt that Slash is a guitar icon and that he has had a hand in some excellent Hard Rock & Heavy Metal albums with Guns ‘N Roses, Velvet Revolver and Slash’s Snakepit but not everything can turn to gold or platinum. There’s an all-star cast on this album and some of the names are well known in Metal circles: Lemmy, Ozzy, Duff, Izzy and Dave Grohl. Then there are the names well known in Pop circles: Adam Levine from Maroon 5, Kid Rock and Fergie. Fergie? Are you serious? I’m all for Slash experimenting with different musicians and different styles but, when you advertise an new album heavily in Metal magazines and Metal television shows, shouldn’t you put some extra Metal in it? I really wanted to like this album because I really like Slash, especially in GNR and Snakepit, but Fergie? The guy from Maroon 5? I would have rathered Slash make an entire rock record with one singer handling most of the album and adding in the Lemmy, Ozzy and Ian Astbury tunes, I’m sure Myles Kennedy could have done some Rock songs instead of the mid-tempo/ballad types he did here. But Fergie? Really?

#5

Vince Neil – Tattoos & Tequila (2010): I really debated adding this album in because I did hear some other albums that could have qualified but TATTOOS & TEQUILA was a major disappointment. Vince had all the cards lined up: a summer tour coming with Motley Crue on Ozzfest, the album was being released on Nikki Sixx’s label, solid producers and a great backing band. This had the potential to be a really good album on par with the latest albums from Vince’s main band Motley Crue. The problem is that there was no effort. Vince has “Bret Michaels Syndrome” (BMS): let’s hype a new record as a “new studio album” and then give the fans only a couple new originals. Granted, Vince didn’t re-release previously recorded material like big Bret but how hard is it to go in and sing some well known cover tunes? I read all the press and hype and it went from “a brand new studio album” to “an album of songs that influenced me”…..let’s call it what it is, a quick cash grab! I bought it, I listened to it, I was fully disappointed especially when the two originals were really good. Then again, Vince didn’t have a hand in the writing so where’s the effort?

CD Scavenger Hunt (December update) – The final update of 2010

2010 is almost over and it’s been a good year for buying music. There have been so many new albums, so many reissues and so many discovered treasures that it’s been hard to keep up! Actually, I didn’t keep up…..I have literally hundreds of albums  on my desk and in boxes next to it that I either bought or were sent in by bands. There is just no possible way that I can listen to every album that crosses my desk but I do make a point to give every CD I buy a listen. I’ve bought a lot this year through online stores, band websites, Ebay, private sales and…..my favorite…..the record stores! Record stores are a dying breed, more and more are closing every year, especially the mom & pop stores that cared about the music and the customer, go out and support them!

December is always my slowest month of the year because the holidays are right around the corner and the hard earned cash has to be spent on more important things…..like presents and holiday dinners and, well, more presents! This is also the time of year when not much comes out because most of the new albums have already been released and it’s time for labels and stores to focus on greatest hits packages. The problem is that there are ALWAYS great sales this time of year, especially around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and I can’t pass things up sometimes.

So here it is, the final update of 2010…..make sure you check out my final totals and analysis at the bottom…..

Online

Lana Lane – Gemini (2006), Garden Of The Moon Special Edition (2002), 10th Anniversary Concert CD/DVD (2005) & Rocket Scientists – Revolution Road (2006) – $20: I was going through my CD collection making lists of things I was missing the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I decided to head over to Think Tank Media to see how much the Lana Lane CDs were because there are some glaring holes in the collection even after I picked up a few on Ebay this year. When I got to the website, they were having a $5 sale with free shipping on select inventory…..how could I pass up this sale? So I started going through the list and I picked up three Lana Lane releases I needed and I decided to try a Rocket Scientists album, the band that Lana’s husband, Erik Norlander founded. What a great deal! GEMINI is a covers record so I never bought it when it came out, the GARDEN OF THE MOON Special Edition is a 2 CD set, the 10 ANNIVERSARY CONCERT is a CD & DVD set and the Rocket Scientists album is a 2 CD set also. That’s like getting 6 CDs and a DVD! Plus free shipping? SOLD!

Ebay

Bret Michaels – Freedon Of Sound (Vol. 1): A Collection Of Songs Past & Present (2005) – $15: I have been on the search for all the Bret Michaels solo albums because, if Bret’s going to repackage everything with a couple extra new songs and new artwork and call it a new album, I’d rather get the out of print original. This album is interesting because it has a lot of new songs for 2005 but it also has the start of the repackaging of older material with two songs each from the two previous Bret solo albums, A LETTER FROM DEATH ROW (1998) and SONGS OF LIFE (2003). Most of these songs are out there on Bret’s newer albums ROCK MY WORLD (2008) and CUSTOM BUILT (2010) so you can definitely hear them but, if you want the originals on Bret’s label, you’re out of luck…..out of print! I have been scouring used bins and Ebay for a while and I came across this CD on Ebay as a BUY IT NOW with free shipping…..I pulled the trigger immeadiately!

Helix – Half-Alive (1998), Jackal – Vague Visions (1993), Jaded Heart – Slaves And Masters (1996), Letter X – Time Of The Gathering (1991), Mercyful Fate – In The Shadows (1993), Rattlebone – s/t (1992), Samson – Refugee (1990), Tokyo Blade – Mr. Ice (1998), Tyketto – Strength In Numbers (1994) – $27 used ($3 each): I found this lot on Ebay when I was cross-referencing a different Helix album, so I saved it and kept my eyes on it. I don’t own any of these CDs and the price was right to add all of them at once to my collection. How can you pass up 9 CDs at $3 each? I have been trying to pick up all the Helix CDs I’m missing so getting HALF-ALIVE is a big deal seeing that I’ve seen just that CD go for $20+…..the rest of the bands I’ve heard of, some like Tyketto, Samson and Jaded Heart I already own other records but this lot is more like a cool grab bag for me. It adds so bulk to the collection and maybe a hidden gem or two.

Final Stats for 2010

Total (December) = $62

Total (year) = $1820

Average Price (per item) = $10.23

Total CDs (year) = 162

Total DVDs (year) = 7

Total Box Sets (year) = 7

Total LPs (year) = 2

Bret Michaels – Custom Built (2010)

Bret Michaels – Custom Built (2010, Poor Boy Records)

  1. Riding Against the Wind
  2. Lie To Me
  3. Nothing To Lose (featuring Miley Cyrus)
  4. Wasted Time
  5. What I Got
  6. Every Rose Has It’s Thorn (Country version)*
  7. Go That Far (Club Mix)**
  8. Driven (Rock Mix)
  9. Open Road
  10. Rock’n My Country
  11. Nothing To Lose (Bret only demo)
  12. I’d Die For You

*(featuring Brad Arnold of 3 Doors Down, Chris Cagle, Mark Wills)
**(by Jason Miller of Godhead)

Full album credits located at http://www.bretmichaels.com/2010/music_files/custombuilt.html

Producers: Bret Michaels & Pete Evick

Total Time = 42:45

Bret Michaels
Bret Michaels MySpace page

Here we go again! This is Round #2 of Bret Michaels’ reality television career and recording career combining to produce a new album!

Back in 2008, hot on the heels of the successful VH-1 reality series Rock Of Love, Bret Michaels released a “new” album titled ROCK MY WORLD. Unfortunately, ROCK MY WORLD wasn’t a new album but rather a collection of three new songs and nine previously released tracks from previous solo records. The album was advertised as a brand new album and it actually was, the problem was that the casual fan and buying public didn’t actually know that most of the songs were released three or five years previous. I was lucky to get an advance copy so I didn’t have to spend my hard earned cash but what about all the people who did? What about the diehard fans who already had Bret’s previous solo albums SONGS OF LIFE (2003) and FREEDOM OF SOUND (2005)? Now it’s two years later and Bret is about to debut a new VH-1 reality show, Bret Michaels: Life As I Know It, in the Fall and we get a new album, CUSTOM BUILT. Again we are told this is a brand new album but is it? Is it a new set of songs or is this album “custom built” like ROCK MY WORLD? The bad news is that Bret has followed the previous formula and released another CD just like ROCK MY WORLD but this time around we get four new songs, a cover song and only seven previously released songs but three of those previously released songs are actually different mixes! Get all that? Four new songs!

Let’s run down the tracklisting:

  • ‘Riding Against The Wind’ — This is the new theme song to Bret Michaels: Life As I Know It. Overall, it’s not a bad tune, it’s an upbeat Rock song that has a touch of the lighter side of Poison.
  • ‘Lie To Me’ — Another pretty good Rock song that is very gritty sounding and retains the trademark Poison sexual theme. I really like the guitar tone here, it makes the song heavier than it really is.
  • ‘Nothing To Lose’ — This is the much hyped duet with Disney Channel’s Miley Cyrus, better known as Hannah Montana. I went into this song with a ton of dread but it’s actually one of the best songs on the album! Cyrus’ contribution is basically background vocals and harmonies on this Country sounding ballad and, even though her singing is a little distracting, she actually adds something to the song. Bret does Country well, you can hear it in his Poison ballads from years past, so I don’t mind this song at all. I actually like it a lot!
  • ‘Wasted Time’ — Second ballad in a row and another trademark Bret Michaels ballad that sounds like Poison but with that Country tinge. I think it’s safe to say that Bret can write great ballads and both new ballads on CUSTOM BUILT outshine the two new Rock songs.

OK, those are the the new songs and so far the album is pretty good but let’s continue…..

  • ‘What I Got’ — A cover of the Sublime song from their 1996 self-titled third album. I actually like this song, at least I like the Sublime original, because it’s catchy. Bret’s version is a bit more Rocker than the Alternative/Ska/Pop mainstream hit. It’s a cover though and I could forgive it if the rest of the album was original material.
  • ‘Every Rose Has It’s Thorn’ (Country version) — It’s the Poison hit Country-fried…..which actually isn’t too far from the original. What’s most important here is that it was previously released on FREEDOM OF SOUND (2005)
  • ‘Go That Far’ (Club mix) — This is the Rock Of Love theme that was the lead song from ROCK MY WORLD…..the difference here is that this is a dance club mix. It’s terrible. I’ve only made it through the song once and I barely made it. Use the skip button for this one.
  • ‘Driven’ (Rock mix) – Originally released on FREEDOM OF SOUND (2005) and re-released on ROCK MY WORLD (2008) but this is the “Rock mix”…..unnecessary. The original is good though.
  • ‘Open Road’ — Great mid-tempo Country song from Bret but it’s already been released on FREEDOM OF SOUND (2005)…..if I ever get my hands on this album, ‘Open Road’ will be one of the top songs.
  • ‘Rock’n My Country’ — Another FREEDOM OF SOUND track. If Bret likes FREEDOM OF SOUND so much, why not keep it in print and get us to buy it? For the interested…..an uptempo Country Rock hybrid.
  • ‘Nothing To Lose’ (Bret demo) — This is the same exact song as before but without Miley Cyrus, still a solid song though. Why not make this a bonus track at the end and give us a legit original?
  • ‘I’d Die For You’ — Bret really reaches deep down to re-release a song from his debut solo album, A LETTER FROM DEATH ROW (1998). I have that album, I bought into the hype of Bret’s solo debut, movie debut and directorial debut…..oh yeah, there’s a film of the same name starring Bret and this is the soundtrack.

Bottom Line:
Tale of the Tape = 4 new songs, a cover tune, an alternate version of one of the originals, 4 songs from FREEDOM OF SOUND and 1 song from A LETTER FROM DEATH ROW. Can anyone say rip-off #2?

“Burn me once, shame on you. Burn me twice, shame on me.”

That’s exactly what Bret Michaels had done two albums in a row: let’s take a few new originals and re-release a lot of songs from previous albums. This time around Bret sees fit to shake it up and give us a cover and a couple different mixes of previous tunes. This was obviously carbon copy of ROCK MY WORLD, an album to promote a reality TV series catering to the casual fan and Poison diehards who need everything. How do people get away with this? This time around, I paid the hard-earned cash only to be duped…..imagine my disappointment finding out I paid for only four new songs out of twelve. Even the booklet is bad…..there is no booklet! If it wasn’t for a really awful album by another band in 2008, ROCK MY WORLD would have been my Worst Album of 2008…..so far CUSTOM BUILT is the leading candidate for 2010. Even the four good originals can’t hide my disappointment!

Favorite Songs:
I really like the first four brand new songs. The best of the four are the two ballads: ‘Nothing To Lose’ (with or without Miley Cyrus) and ‘Wasted Time’.

CD Scavenger Hunt – A month’s worth of purchases! (Part 2)

OK, so what was a month of purchases has taken me extra time to post because I’m lazy! So here is Part 2 of this installment of CD Scavenger Hunt, the first part will be the post before this one! All of these CDs come from my local record store, Newbury Comics, except for the last CD that came from Best Buy.

Newbury Comics

Ozzy Osbourne – Scream (2010) - $9: This was a definite purchase because I have been an Ozzy fan since the first album and this was either going to be a solid record or a complete train wreck! After the TV show and the last 2 studio albums, I’ve had no faith in Ozzy but my loyalty keeps me coming back over and over. I was going to pick this up at Best Buy because it was featured for $8 but I decided that my loyalty lies with the independent store so I paid the extra buck at Newbury Comics, regular price at both stores was $15 so I saved $6. I installed SCREAM as my July 2010 Album Of The Month so click the link above to read the review.

Halford – Live In Anaheim (2010) – $12: I don’t miss a new Halford release and this double disc live set was on my list since the Metal God announced it months ago. This live album is a 2 disc set that is billed as an “original soundtrack”, that’s because the live DVD of this show is coming in August. I was a little disappointed that the DVD set wasn’t released at the same time but I will take the 19 song live show plus the 4 live bonus tracks from Japan. Regular price was $20 so I saved $8 buying it the day of release!

Sister Sin – True Sound Of The Underground (2010) – $10: I’ve been keeping an eye on Sister Sin since 2008 when they released their first record SWITCHBLADE SERENADE but I never got around to buying that album. When it first came out, I wasn’t sure because they were a new band that I hadn’t heard about. By the time I checked them out, I missed the sale price and couldn’t find the record in the stores! I’ve heard a few songs and read a lot of good reviews on the band so I didn’t want to make the same mistake twice. Regular price was $14, saved $4.

Primal Fear – Live In The USA/16.6 All Over The World (2010 Special Edition) – $0: As you all know, I’m a huge Power Metal fan and a huge Primal Fear fan so this new live CD & DVD set was a must have. I knew that this was going to be a high priced purchase because all the online stores listed this set between $25 – $40 plus shipping and the Newbury Comics website listed the $25 regular price. Of course there was always the option of buying each separately but what is the sense of that? It becomes MORE expensive! I got to the store and found a sale sticker for $20, I will save $5 any way I can, especially when it’s for a great package! Here’s the kicker, I had a $20 gift card from Father’s Day that my daughters gave me so this actually cost me nothing! Saved $20.

Vince Neil – Tattoos & Tequila (2010) – $10: When I heard Vince Neil was releasing a new solo album, I was all for it because I am a big fan of both EXPOSED (1993) & CARVED IN STONE (1995)…..I had no idea that this was mostly a covers album. I actually waited to buy this because I was on the fence about all the covers and there are 2 versions of the album: the 11 song U.S. release and the 12 song European that includes a cover of ZZ Top’s ‘Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers’. The price difference between the 2 versions was $5 and I wasn’t dropping the extra five bucks for another cover song so I settled for the U.S. pressing. Good thing I didn’t miss the sale price because I would have been pissed to pay the regular price of $15….saved $5.

Dokken – Greatest Hits (2010) – $13: Watch out if you go to pick up this latest greatest hits collection from Dokken because there’s more than meets the eye here. The first 10 songs are re-recorded classics featuring the current Dokken lineup of Don Dokken, Mick Brown, Jon Levin and Sean McNabb followed by two brand new songs – ‘Almost Over’ and ‘Magic Man’. There was no sticker on the front indicating the contents of the album and the Deadline/Cleopatra label has a habit of recycling a lot of previously released material. I wasn’t sure what I had in my hands so I called home and had my daughter look it up on the Net (I don’t have a smartphone!). Once I knew that these were different versions with 2 new songs, I snatched it up. I’ve been a Dokken fan since BREAKING THE CHAINS (1983) so I always support the band. Honestly, there’s not much difference between this album and Vince Neil’s because Dokken is essentially covering themselves but at least it’s their own material. Saved $3.

Sabaton – Coat Of Arms (2010) – $10: When I saw that Sabaton was releasing a new album, I checked my collection to see if I owned any of the band’s albums. It turns out that I own a couple of them so I gave them a quick listen and decided that I would pick up COAT OF ARMS the day it came out at the sale price. It’s Power Metal and I’m a fan of the genre so there had to be something worth checking out on this album. Regular price was $16 so I saved $6 and there were two bonus instrumentals included so it’s a 12 song disc instead of 10 songs. This was a reach for me, and I still haven’t listened to it, so I have my fingers crossed.

Rhapsody Of Fire – The Frozen Tears Of Angels (2010) – $10: Unlike Sabaton, I knew what I was buying when I picked up the new Rhapsody Of Fire. I have been a fan since the Power Metal resurgence in 1997 when the band was known simply as Rhapsody and they released LEGENDARY TALES. I have almost every Rhapsody album (I’m missing 2006’s TRIUMPH OR AGONY) so I figured I’d grab this at the sale price (saved $6) and I was pleasantly surprised to see the 2 bonus tracks from the European digipak release included on the U.S. pressing. By the way, I hate the new name! I know that there was some legal issues with another band named Rhapsody but the “Of Fire” part really doesn’t fit.

Witchery – Witchkrieg (2010) – $10: Here’s another album that I was on the fence about picking up even though I own a few Witchery albums. Maybe it was the switch in vocalists, maybe it was that it’s been four years since DON’T FEAR THE REAPER (2006) but I was going to pass on it. I got to the register with this set of purchases and I asked my Metal friend at the counter if he had heard it. We got to talking, he recommended it, he hasn’t steered me wrong before so I went back and grabbed a copy. Saved $6.

Y&T – Facemelter (2010) – $18: I had meaning to buy the new Y&T for a few weeks but the import prices with shipping were out of control and my local Newbury Comics hadn’t stocked it yet. I bought this on my last vacation 4th of July week at the Newbury Comics in Norwood, MA (the chain’s superstore). My wife, the kids and I got in the car for a drive and we happened to pass by the superstore (I planned it that way!) so we stopped on the way back. I had to pay full price at the store but that was still better than the online prices that were around $20 – $25 plus shipping. I’ve been looking forward to this album because I’ve been a Y&T fan since I heard ‘Don’t Stop Runnin’ on the radio back in 1984.

Anthrax – Fistful Of Metal (1984) – $10 used: Nothing pisses me off more than not being able to find a CD for years. I have had a cassette of this album for two decades and I have never been able to replace it! I’ve had the chance a few times but that was close to 10 years ago just before my favorite mom & pop record store closed it’s doors. I have had FISTFUL OF METAL on my short list of wanted CDs and neither Ebay or record stores have been able to turn up a copy. I once found a copy at a pawn shop for $5 but it had the biggest scratch on the CD so I passed, even that CD was found 5 years ago! This is the original Megaforce CD pressing in perfect condition so I didn’t mind spending a couple extra bucks for a used CD. I estimate that this would be a regular price of $15 so I assume I saved $5. I bought this with the new Y&T in Norwood, MA.

Best Buy

Bret Michaels – Custom Built (2010) – $8: I have no idea why I bought this because, even though I like Poison, Bret’s solo career has been a waste of money. Bret’s last album, ROCK MY WORLD (2008), was one of my Worst Albums of 2008 and I vowed not to get sucked in again by an album advertised as a new album but it’s really recycled material from previous records. Maybe it was the Best Buy exclusive sale price? Maybe it was like with the new Ozzy record? I was curious to hear if there is anything good or if it’s a train wreck. Things aren’t looking good when Miley Cyrus (yes, Hannah Montana!) is featured on the thrid track on the record. I’ll review this eventually but I’m not in any hurry…..at least I saved $7 because this was going to be $15 regular price after the initial promotion.

Total = $120

Total (year) = $933

Average price (per item) = $10.03

Total CDs (year) = 85

Total DVDs (year) = 2

Total Box Sets (year) = 5

Total LPs (year) = 1

The 5 Worst Albums of 2008

2008 was another banner year for new albums, bands from all different genres of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal released good albums this year and I was on the frontlines buying them up as they came out. There were definitely some bad ones too and I picked up a few of them over the course of the year also. Some releases were just plain bad, some were huge disappointments, some I just couldn’t stand…..so here is my list of The 5 Worst Albums of 2008:

#1

engelabsolutedesignEngel – Absolute Design

An easy choice for 2008’s worst album. This was supposed to be a combination of Industrial and Melodic Death Metal and all that came out of it was a Nu-Metal sound. Once I heard the trendy down-tuned guitars, the synth and the samples I knew I wouldn’t like it. Think Ozzfest bands like Linkin Park, Papa Roach & Korn minus the raps…..plain awful!

#2

bretmichaelsrockmyworldBret Michaels – Rock My World

This is not a “real” new album. Of the 12 tracks, only three were brand new songs, the rest came from previous Bret solo records. So why does it get inclusion here if it’s not a “real” album? That’s how it was advertised to the fans: a brand new album of new material! I’ll go officially on record saying that I like Poison, and I like Bret Michaels as a frontman, but to fleece the fans with false advertising can’t be forgiven. At least Gene Simmons tells us that he’s fleecing us! Musically, I can only take so much sad sack ‘Something To Believe In’ and ‘Unskinny Bop’ rehashing. If Bret went straight up Country he would be more credible.

#3

Don Dokken - Solitary (2008)Don Dokken – Solitary

The last time Don Dokken released a solo album we got the very good UP FROM THE ASHES (1990). On the eve of a new album by his main band, Dokken, Don decided to release this new solo record at his live solo shows and through his personal website. When you see the name Don Dokken on a CD, you know to expect melodic Hard Rock, this time around a nine song acoustic album that follows the “lost love” and “personal pain” themes. In all honesty, it’s a decent acoustic album. I placed it here for the sheer disappointment with the entire project, definitely not Don Dokken’s best work.

#4

Asia - Phoenix (2008)Asia – Phoenix

The Asia of the early ’80s had big hits with ‘Heat Of The Moment’, ‘Don’t Cry’ and ‘Only Time Will Tell’ because of their uptempo melodic hooks that made each song infectious. The opening track ‘Never Enough’ follows the same path but the band must have thought that was enough because every other song is either a ballad, mid-tempo, or a lengthy progressive number. The musicianship is great but there is no guitar…..well, it’s there somewhere. What could have been a huge Melodic Rock record ended up being a bore.

#5

queen_the_cosmos_rocks_album_coverQueen + Paul Rodgers – The Cosmos Rocks 

This is the first Queen album WITHOUT Freddie Mercury (R.I.P.). That should say it all. I understand that musicians need to play live and stay creative but sometimes releasing an album of new material isn’t the way to go. I saw the Queen + Paul Rodgers tour, it was phenomenal! Rodgers did his best to interpret and celebrate the Queen catalog and it worked…..live. The music on THE COSMOS ROCKS sounds forced, as if Roger Taylor and Brian May tried too hard to create the Queen sound. Or maybe they don’t know any better! An album that shouldn’t have been released, leave the Queen legacy alone. The only winner here was John Deacon.

Joe Elliot (Def Leppard) vs. Bret Michaels (Poison) – Battle of the Sweden Rocks Festival 2008 press conferences, video available

If you’ve been living under a rock, the Sweden Rock Festival 2008 took place this past June 4th through June 7th. The annual festival, in it’s 17th year, had an awesome lineup with many Hard Rock and Heavy Metal heavyweights. Two of the bigger name bands, Def Leppard and Poison, have stirred up a little controversy. Joe Elliott and Phil Collen had their press conference where Joe elaborated on the difference between ’70s British glam acts, Def Leppard and L.A. Glam bands Motley Crue & Poison. Basically, Joe stated that the L.A. bands cared more about their image than the music and didn’t compare to Def Leppard…..Phil kept quiet.

Of course, the next day at his presser, a reporter asked Bret Michaels to comment on Joe Elliot’s comments the previous day. Watch the video…..

‘Sweden Rocks Festival 2008 – Joe Elliot press conference & Bret Michaels answer’

Round 1 to Bret Michaels!

Bret Michaels – Rock My World (2008)

Bret Michaels – Rock My World (2008, VH-1 Classic Records)

  1. Go That Far
  2. Driven
  3. Fallen
  4. Raine
  5. Bittersweet
  6. Start Again
  7. Songs Of Life
  8. Strange Sensation
  9. All I Ever Needed
  10. Menace To Society
  11. Right Now, Right Here
  12. It’s My Party (2008 mix)

Featured Musicians: Bret Michaels and studio musicians (see booklet for details, there are a ton!)

Producer: Bret Michaels

Total Time = 39:07

Bret Michaels official website
Bret Michaels MySpace page
VH-1 Classic

So what’s that old saying? “Strike while the iron is hot.”

That’s exactly what Poison frontman Bret Michaels has done. Hot on the heels of his successful television career with VH-1’s Rock Of Love & Rock Of Love 2, Bret has released a new solo album…..ROCK MY WORLD. My first impression of ROCK MY WORLD was that it would be a record full of new material but that’s not the case. In a move that screams “cashing in”, Bret has released an album of three new songs and nine previously released songs from previously released albums. Did everyone get that? Three songs are new, that’s it!

Let me run down that tracklisting:

  • ‘Go That Far’ – new song that sounds like a cheap attempt to publicize his TV shows with childish lyrics.
  • ‘Driven’ – originally released on FREEDOM OF SOUND (2005), this is a song about Bret sexing up a chick with more juvenile lyrics.
  • ‘Fallen’ – ballad about looking for love with acoustic guitars and piano
  • ‘Raine’ – song inspired by his daughter of same name, originally released on SONGS OF LIFE (2003), not a bad song.
  • ‘Bittersweet’ – another off SONGS OF LIFE and has to be the worst song Bret has ever released, or at least in a tie with ‘Unskinny Bop’. Sounds like bad Blink 182 or Bowling For Soup with a terrible lyric about how his chick “sucked in the sack”.
  • ‘Start Again’ – new song that was on a Rock Of Love 2 episode. It sounds like a good Poison ballad.
  • ‘Songs Of Life’ – guess which album this came from! Sounds like a Poison outtake from FLESH & BLOOD (1990), he uses a couple song titles from the album in the lyrics.
  • ‘Strange Sensation’ – another one from SONGS OF LIFE that’s trying too hard to be contemporary with the muddy sound and terrible vocals. Only thing going for it is the drum sound.
  • ‘All I Ever Needed’ – Bret doing Country music with Jessica Andrews on vocals. It’s actually not that bad but it was released 3 years ago on FREEDOM OF SOUND so it’s not an original.
  • ‘Menace To Society’ – 5th song from SONGS OF LIFE! It’s a rocker but not a good one! Another attempt at being modern and rebellious.
  • ‘Right Now, Right Here’ – a heavier tune with decent guitar but it’s too little too late. Very late actually because this is from FREEDOM OF SOUND
  • ‘It’s My Party’ (2008 mix) – OK, so this is a new recording of a song from SONGS OF LIFE so maybe it counts as a new track? Nope, because it doesn’t stray too much from the original.

Bottom Line:
Tale of the Tape = 3 new songs, 3 songs off FREEDOM OF SOUND, 6 songs from SONGS OF LIFE…..can anyone say “Rip-off”?

I pride myself on the fact that I have never actually seen any episodes of either season of Rock Of Love. I actually feel bad for the people who think it’s good television, how does crap like that get on television anyway? The question could also be asked of ROCK MY WORLD. Bret should be ashamed of himself for releasing what is basically a collection of previously material with three new nuggets for fans to chew on. It’s obvious that this was released to cater to the casual fan, fans of the Rock Of Love series, or Poison diehards that need the three new songs. For me, this was a waste of time.

Favorite songs: Of the three new songs, I liked ‘Start Again’ but I wouldn’t call it a favorite.