Posts Tagged ‘Van Halen’

2012 is over so that means it’s time for my year end awards! It’s been another awesome year for Hard Rock and Heavy Metal with so many releases on CD, DVD, Vinyl and Digital formats, not just new studio albums but also live records, reissues and special edition releases. I have had more albums submitted for review this year from bands, labels and PR agents as digital promos have taken over as the easiest way to get the word out as quickly as possible and I have done my part as a consumer and purchased plenty of new and old albums & DVDs from record stores, Ebay, online vendors and direct from bands and labels. The only problem has been finding the time to do through everything!

With all this music it’s been every hard to keep up so this has been the worst year for posting but I have made a serious push in November and December to listen to as many CDs, and watch as many DVDs, as possible to prepare for my year end lists. I said the same thing at the end of 2010 & 2011 but 2012 was in fact the worst year for posting at Heavy Metal Addiction…..I only managed to post 19 times! I couldn’t even break 20 posts on a blog I started 7 years ago as an extension of my hobby! Pathetic! Obviously sitting in front of a computer writing wasn’t something that interested me again this year.

I did listen to a lot of albums this year but I stayed mainly with albums in my collection even though I have piles on my desk, and in boxes right next it, chock full of CDs and DVDs released in 2011 and 2012. I bought a ton of new releases as they came out and I’ve spent some time listening to them, I just didn’t get around to writing about them. I haven’t completely abandoned this website as I plan to continue it because there’s a lot to write about and I will try and catch up on as many reviews as I can but the reality is that there’s no way to “catch up”. I think it’s best to try and concentrate on 2013 and add in what I can from previous years.

I have been re-listening to as many 2012 albums that I can since November so I can post my year end awards. Usually I break this up into a week’s worth of posts but I decided to take advantage of a couple new WordPress features and do it all as one big article. I’m pairing down my lists a bit to give you the absolute cream of the crop in each category and I’ve also decided to re-define a couple categories. This year the Best DVD category will include DVDs that came with CD releases, because that seems to be the current trend,  and the Worst Album category will get a name change to Most Disappointing Album so I can try and maintain some positive spin…..but if an album makes it into this category, then I thought it sucked! Last is the Miscellaneous Release category, that stays the same but there could be some crossover between this and the Best DVD category with all the multiple CD and DVD or Blu-Ray combo releases coming out. I tried to limit the crossovers but the best package is going to get on both lists.

That’s all I’ve got for changes so I hope you enjoy the 2012 awards, please leave comments and give me your thoughts on what was the best & worst of the past year. I’ve got my sights set on 2013 and I expect and even bigger year in Hard Rock and Heavy Metal as I keep checking out new releases and catching up on things I missed from the last couple of years.

The Top 15 Albums of 2012

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  1. Van Halen – A Different Kind Of Truth
  2. UFO – Seven Deadly
  3. 3 Inches Of Blood – Long Live Heavy Metal
  4. KISS – Monster
  5. Accept – Stalingrad
  6. Nightwish – Imaginaerum
  7. The Darkness – Hot Cakes
  8. Kamelot – Silverthorn
  9. Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage
  10. Testament – Dark Roots Of Earth
  11. Rush – Clockwork Angels
  12. Lynyrd Skynyrd – Last Of A Dyin’ Breed
  13. Lita Ford – Living Like A Runaway
  14. L.A. Guns – Hollywood Forever
  15. Lamb Of God – Resolution

There were a ton a great albums in 2012 but only one album can earn the top honor of being the best of the year and that is reserved for A Different Kind Of Truth from the “reunited” Van Halen. By reuniting with David Lee Roth a few years ago, the only thing the Van Halen brothers had to do was release a new album with Diamond Dave on lead vocals. Let’s call it like it truly is: this isn’t a TRUE Van Halen reunion because Michael Anthony is out of the band and replaced by Eddie’s son Wolfgang. The good news is that A Different Kind Of Truth is a great album! Forget the fact that Eddie and Alex went through the Van Halen tape vault for ideas because EVERY band does it…..hasn’t the father of Heavy Metal, Tony Iommi, stated often that he has tapes of riffs for miles? Every band looks for ideas and revisits demos and music they created years before, it’s the updating that counts. This album has that unmistakable classic Diamond Dave/Van Halen sound circa the late ’70s and early ’80s and, even though he’s a bit older, Dave does a great job on the mic. The first single, ‘Tattoo’, wasn’t the best song on the album and might have been better suited to a follow-up single but everything after is classic Van Halen. ‘She’s The Woman’ is a re-worked demo from the ’70s that is clearly the best song on the album for me and it definitely fits that 1984 album era well. ‘China Town’, ‘Blood And Fire’, ‘Stay Frosty’, ‘Big River’…..all new Van Halen classics that sit right up against anything in their back catalog. A Different Kind Of Truth is the true follow-up to 1984, unfortunately 28 years after the fact, and it’s my top album of 2012.

Taking a look at the rest of the Top 5…..UFO released Seven Deadly and earned the 2nd spot with another excellent album of bluesy Hard Rock. UFO has done much wrong since they came back in 1995 and I can’t find a weak track on the album. Phil Mogg’s lyrics are modern poetry and there is no slack in the guitar department because Vinnie Moore has more than a few albums under his belt with the band. Hard to pick a favorite track here but ‘The Last Stone Rider’ is my favorite this week! Had Van Halen not released their new record, UFO would easily be #1. The third best goes to 3 Inches of Blood with Long Live Heavy Metal, probably the best pure and traditional Heavy Metal record of the year. Take one listen to the opener ‘Metal Woman’ or the Judas Priest influenced ‘Leather Lord’ and that’s a great example of not only this record but the band’s career. Of all the Metal albums I heard this year, 3 Inches of Blood got the most rotation on my stereo and iPod. My favorite band KISS comes up a bit short of the top spot but still maintains the #4 album with Monster. When it comes to KISS, I’m extremely critical because they are my favorite band and they have barely released anything since new in 15 years. We got Sonic Boom in 2009 and it took the top spot that year and Monster is just as good but I had a harder time getting into it like I did with Sonic Boom. Maybe it was the anticipation of the previous album, or the travelling circus atmosphere that KISS creates with everything they do, but after repeated listens the album is just as good if not better. Anyone worrying about Dave, Eddie and Alex recycling should give Gene Simmons grief too because it’s obvious he does it but his songs are the better ones on the album. Paul Stanley has great moments too but I worried about his vocal issues going in and Gene hasn’t lost a step vocally. a lot of good songs here: ‘Wall Of Sound’, ‘Back To The Stone Age’, ‘Shout Mercy’ and ‘Eat Your Heart Out’…..here’s hoping they give us another one! Rounding out the Top 5 is Accept’s Stalingrad, the second record to feature new vocalist Mark Tornillo (formerly of TT Quick). The last Accept album with Mark debuting on vocals, Blood Of The Nations, was a superb record and Stalingrad is a great follow-up and it might be more powerful. I think Accept shares the same fate as KISS here, the anticipation for the first new album was so high on my part that a second release suffers just a little. Don’t get me wrong, ‘Hung, Drawn and Quartered’, the title track, and ‘Shadow Soldiers’ are awesome tunes but can anyone explain the meaning behind ‘Flash To Bang Time’?

Rounding out the Top 15…..Nightwish’s Imaginaerum was very close to the Top 5 but came up short because they first 5 albums were so good. I expected nothing from The Darkness but I bought Hot Cakes when it came out and I loved it immeadiately, same thing with Silverthorn from Kamelot despite the change at singer. Gojira was a surprise of the year because I’d never bought an album from them before and L’Enfant Sauvage kicked major ass, so did the new Testament album at #10 and the new Lamb of God at #15, giving the more extreme side of Metal a presence. Rush picked up #11 with Clockwork Angels but I expected a great album so their was no surprise there but Lynyrd Skynyrd surprised with their latest album proving that good music always prevails despite the genre, time or legacy. Lita Ford had a great comeback with Living Like A Runaway, a very introspective Hard Rock record, especially after the debacle of Wicked Wonderland and L.A. Guns proved that they still write great songs and that usually the lead singer’s version of the band will always out do the founding guitarist’s version because the singing voice is the most identifiable thing to most fans.

The 5 Most Disappointing Albums of 2012

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  1. Aerosmith – Music From Another Dimension
  2. Steve Harris – British Lion
  3. Geoff Tate – Kings & Thieves
  4. Slash – Apocalyptic Love
  5. Great White – Elation

Usually I call this “the worst albums” of whatever year it is but I wanted to keep a positive spin on this category because who am I to say an album sucks? I have no musical talent, I don’t write songs or play an instrument. I could change it back next year if a bunch of albums do indeed suck but, for 2012, these are the most disappointing records of the year. I heard the first two singles from the new Aerosmith album and I was hooked right away, especially with ‘Lover A Lot’, but the bulk of Music From Another Dimension sounded formulaic and forced. Too many outside writers, too many ballads, too many predictable songs. Do we need another Diane Warren ballad? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it and the ballad is what gave the band ultra-success from the Pump record straight through Nine Lives. I was really looking forward to a reunited Aerosmith and a bunch of rocking songs but there’s too much filler. Take a page from KISS…..lock the band in the studio and do it mostly yourself.

There was a lot of surprise when it was announced Iron Maiden’s founding bass player, Steve harris, was releasing a solo album that he had been working on for a long time. With Maiden’s hectic schedule, who knew? Apparently Steve did and he enlisted musicians from a band he had been producing called British Lions, to create the British Lion record. It’s supposed to be a throwback album to the days of classic Thin Lizzy and UFO that had a big impact on a young Harris but, aside from the hard Rock style, I didn’t hear much of the influences. Let’s call it like it is: anything Steve Harris does outside of Iron Maiden will always be compared to Iron Maiden. There’s a different style to the music on this album compared to Maiden but I expected the same excellent quality from Steve. The songwriting seems too pedestrian, too simplistic……then again, we are used to epic lyrics on Maiden albums. The band can play well but Steve seems pushed back purposely in the mix (probably due to the Hard Rock style) and the singer has no range…..then again, we are spoiled with Bruce Dickinson in Iron Maiden. There’s no helping the comparisons to Iron Maiden but the quality of the material just lacks on this solo album from Steve Harris.

Rounding out the Top 5 here…..Geoff Tate’s new solo album comes on the heels of his split with the Queensryche camp, who are no strangers to this category! In the back of my mind, I knew this wouldn’t be good but I had hope but Kings And Thieves was just plain boring. Same thing with Apocalyptic Love from Slash. Slash is an iconic guitarist and hopes were high for this album with lead singer Miles Kennedy (Alter Bridge) but it was just boring. remember that Izzy Stradlin and Axl Rose were the creative forces in Guns ‘N Roses, not to say Slash didn’t contribute, but anything he does will always come back to Guns…..and even then, Guns only had two albums of classic material with Appetite For Destruction and if you cherry pick off the Use Your Illusion albums. Last album in this category is Elation from Great White, featuring former XYZ singer Terry Ilous on vocals replacing the fired Jack Russell. I’ve read a lot of mixed reviews on this album but, for me personally, it comes down to the voice and Jack Russell’s fits the bluesy Hard Rock of Great White’s music better than Terry Ilous. It’s by no means a bad album and, considering the vocalist change, it a solid effort. I just couldn’t get into it and I expected a bit more after the last two records, Back To The Rhythm and Rising.

The Top 5 DVDs of 2012

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  1. Scorpions – Live In 3D: Get Your Sting & Blackout
  2. Iron Maiden – En Vivo!
  3. Saxon – Heavy Metal Thunder Live: Eagles Over Wacken 2009
  4. Queen – Days Of Our Lives
  5. Ozzy Osbourne – Speak Of The Devil: Live At Irvine Meadows ’82

This year I decided to included DVDs and/or Blu-rays that came with CD releases or box sets because this seems to be the way bands and labels are adding something extra for fans. My favorite DVD of the year is also the first Blu-ray release I ever bought…..Scorpions – Live In 3D: get Your Sting & Blackout. An excellently produced concert film with plenty of extras, this got the top spot because I saw this tour live over the summer and that put Live In 3D over the top. The Scorpions needed that emotional attachment because iron Maiden delivered another excellent DVD in a long line of excellent DVDs with En Vivo! Does Iron Maiden ever do anything wrong went it comes to video releases? Plenty of awesome concert footage from Santiago, Chile and plenty of documentary film as well the only thing I could complain about is to package the DVD or Blu-ray with the double CD live album for a special package (that’s the next category). The new Saxon DVD is solid and part of the Heavy Metal Thunder Live: Eagles Over Wacken 2009 release, the DVD incorporates the band’s best performances from the Wacken Open Air Festival in Germany for 2004, 2007 and 2009…..that’s 31 songs! and some behind the scenes footage and you’ve got a Saxon fan’s dream DVD, only bettered by the super limited edition box set of this release that included separate DVDs of the full concerts. Had I been able to get one of those, Saxon would own the top spot easily. Rounding out the Top 5 is the Queen documentary, Days of Our Lives, finally getting a proper DVD release and the famous often duplicted, VHS only Ozzy Osbourne concert Speak Of The Devil: Live At Irvine Meadows ’82.

The Top 10 Miscellaneous Releases of 2012

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  1. Saxon – Heavy Metal Thunder Live: Eagles Over Wacken 2009
  2. UFO – The Chrysalis Years (1980 – 1986)
  3. Motorhead – The World Is Ours Vol.2: Anyplace Crazy As Anywhere Else
  4. Motorhead – The world Is Ours Vol.1: Everywhere Further Than Everywhere Else
  5. U.D.O. – Celebrator
  6. Judas Priest – Screaming For Vengeance (30th Anniversary Edition)
  7. KISS – Destroyer Resurrected
  8. U.D.O. – Live In Sofia
  9. Dio – The Very Beast Of Dio Vol.2
  10. Quiet Riot – Live At The US Festival ’83

I never like to put these kind of releases into my top albums category because I like to reserve that for albums of new material but there are always other great new releases aside from new studio albums and 2012 was no exception.

The #1 spot goes to the 2CD/DVD release from Saxon – Heavy Metal Thunder Live: Eagles Over Wacken 2009 because that was my favorite release with the DVD of the best of the band’s last 3 appearances at Wacken Open Air and the double audio CD from Glascow on the Call To Arms Tour in 2011. My only regret is not knowing about the preorder for the limited edition that came with extra DVDs and CDs but it was also a couple hundred bucks. The second slot goes to the second volume of the UFO back catalog on Chrysalis Records from 1980 thru 1986. You get 5 CDs that include the 5 post Michael Schenker albums (No Place To Run, The Wild, The Willing And The Innocent, Mechanix, Making Contact, & Misdemeanor) all with bonus tracks, plus a full BBC In Concert from February 1980 and the live tracks from the Headstone compilation from Hammersmith 1983. I was lucky to have the label send me a copy but to get all this at retail for around $50 is a steal! I already have all the UFO albums on Japanese import with bonus tracks but this is another great compilation for a great band.

The #3 and #4 spots belong to Motorhead with The World is Ours Vols 1 & 2. I couldn’t decide which was better so I put the second volume first because it was fresher in the memory. Both sets have 2CD live sets and a live DVD in great packaging just like the Saxon set. Their label UDR is really putting out great stuff! U.D.O. also gets 2 slots in this Top 10 with the Celebrator two disc compilation of rare tracks and the Live In Sofia 2CD/DVD set. I put Live In Sofia at #8 but it’s a solid live package, AFM Records doing what UDR is doing and, for $14 on sale, it was a no brainer. The Celebrator album is really great because it collects all those hard to find Japanese bonus tracks remixed, some previously unreleased songs and a few songs from various tribute albums. I could have done with out the remix treatment and had the originals but I’m sure that was done to get thru legal label red tape. Its a great compilation of 25 songs on two discs with a great full color booklet. I put the Judas Priest Screaming For Vengeance 30th Anniversary Edition in at #6 more for the DVD from the US Festival ’83 than anything else, same with Quiet Riot at #10…..now that makes three bands that have released live DVDs of their US Festival performances (Triumph did it a few years ago). KISS released Destroyer Resurrected and it made #7, basically it was a 36 year celebration release restoring all the original artwork and having producer Bob Ezrin remix the album. It’s a nice novelty to have especially for the original guitar solo on ‘Sweet Pain’ as a bonus track but I will admit that my KISS fanaticism pushed this higher. Last to mention is The Very Beast of Dio Vol. 2 covering the best of the Dio band’s work from the ’90s up until Ronnie’s death, the track here to have is ‘Electra’ the first completed song from what would have been from the Magica II album that the band was working on when Ronnie James Dio passed away.

3 Releases I Missed In 2011

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  1. Royal Hunt – Future Coming From The Past DVD
  2. Benedictum – Dominion
  3. Skeletonwitch – Forever Abomination

Just a quick note on a couple releases I missed out on in 2011…..the Royal Hunt DVD is a formal worldwide release of the Japan only video release of Live 1996 and, even though it’s all over Youtube, it’s a welcome addition to my collection. Benedictum keeps churning out great albums and their third, Dominion, is awesome as is Forever Abomination from Skeltonwitch, a band I finally got around to checking out in 2012.

Here’s what’s been assaulting my ears this weekend!

KISS – ‘Hell Or Hallelujah’ single (2012): I finally broke down and purchased a song from iTunes for the very first time because I just couldn’t wait for the new KISS album, Monster, to hear this new single. I paid my $1+ and downloaded the tune and it’s been non-stop because it’s a great song! This is the KISS I like: heavy, fast, blazing guitars and Paul sounding great. If this is any indication of how the rest of Monster will sound, then it’s going to be a great record.

Motley Crue – ‘Sex’ single (2012): Thanks to the Crue for letting the fans download the track for free on the day of release. Just like the new KISS single, I’m playing this nonstop to get a handle on how the new album will sound. Seeing that both bands are touring together this summer it’s no surprise that both bands threw a teaser track out there to promote while on tour. ‘Sex’ isn’t bad (is it ever?), it’s a good song more along the lines of the Saints Of Los Angeles album from 2008. It’s hard to believe that album is 4 years old! ‘Sex’ didn’t impress me at first but it’s growing on me kind of like Van Halen’s ‘New Tattoo’ did.

Van Halen – A Different Kind Of Truth (2012): There’s just no getting over it…..this is one of the best albums of 2012! Say what you want about it not being a full Van Halen reunion, the recycled demos from the early years or David Lee Roth’s merits as a singer, this sounds like the album that would have come after the landmark 1984! I can’t stop playing it and I won’t miss their next stop in the New England area when they continue the tour.

UFO – Seven Deadly (2012): This new UFO record has been cemented into the stereo from Day #1! This is another awesome album from the band and it proves that good bands never age. Right now, this is a Top 5 album for me this year.

Lita Ford – Living Like A Runaway (2012): I’m missing the Def Leppard/Poison/Lita Ford concert on August 18 because that’s the day of my 40th birthday party but Lita is doing a signing and performance the next day at the Newbury Comics record store in Norwood, MA. My daughter and I are definitely there so I’m listening up on the new album…..it’s pretty good, very introspective and reflects Lita’s current personal life. Without a doubt, this is a far better album than Wicked Wonderland…..that was a pitiful record!

Lita Ford – Lita (1988): This was Lita’s big platinum seller back in the ’80s and the bulk of those sales came off the high MTV rotation of lead single ‘Kiss Me Deadly’ and her duet with Ozzy Osbourne ‘Close My Eyes Forever’. I figured that I’d re-listen to the hit record prior to the meet & greet at Newbury Comics and I just realized that it’s really a mediocre album. Is it the better wisdom of 24 years gone by or does the album have a staying power? I’m still listening and trying to decide.

Black ‘n Blue – Nasty, Nasty (1986): I had my iPod on shuffle the other day and the title track came on, I forgot that this was a Gene Simmons produced record and that gene used the main riff from this song for ‘Domino’ from Revenge (1992). I went back and gave all the Black ‘n Blue a fresh listen but Nasty, Nasty has stayed in my rotation…..what a great band they were, they should have been bigger.

Big Time Rush – (various songs): Yes, I’m talking about the boy band from Nickelodeon. I have two daughters and these guys are the biggest deal right now so we went to the concert yesterday (Sunday) at the Comcast Center in Mansfield, MA. I already know most of the songs from my kids’ iPods & CDs and the TV show but I got in a few more songs so I knew the tunes for the concert. My wife & I are cool parents and we shelled out the bucks for our kids to have a great time. I kept it Metal in the parking lot as we tailgated…..

I’ve been catching up on my podcasts as well…..definitely check these out on iTunes or head to their websites…..

Iron City Rocks — http://www.ironcityrocks.com/
Focus On Metal — http://www.focusonmetal.net/
Radioactive Metal — http://www.facebook.com/radmetal
Decibel Geek Podcast — http://dbgeekshow.blogspot.com/
Metalcast — http://www.metalcastshow.com/
Talking Metal — http://www.talkingmetal.com/2011/

I’m back on the attack! Maybe I’ll post a little more now that music has just re-energized me completely! I’ve been listening to a ton of albums the last couple of weeks, old and new, and it just feels great. I’m not going to list every album I’ve played, just a few notable highlights and a couple podcasts so here’s what I’ve been listening to recently…..

Van Halen – A Different Kind Of Truth (2012): Say what you want about this reunion album being 16 years late (should have happened in 1996!) and say what you want about the material being old (they went through the VH archives like other bands do in theirs!) but this is one smokin’ record! Like everyone else, I was skeptical and I didn’t get into ‘Tattoo’ right away but I didn’t hate the tune. After hearing ‘She’s The Woman’ and the rest of the record, it’s one of the best of the year and I haven’t stopped playing it.

UFO – Seven Deadly (2012): UFO just keeps putting out solid records every couple of years and it’s always great to hear one of your favorite bands stay creative and vital, I marvel at singer Phil Mogg’s songwriting. Here’s another CD that I just can’t get enough of, I play it at least once everyday since it’s release earlier in the year.

Accept – Stalingrad (2012): After hearing Accept’s 2010 comeback record, BLOOD OF THE NATIONS, I knew that it would be a tough album to follow but, after a couple of spins, STALINGRAD could actually overtake it! Founding guitarist Wolf Hoffman hadn’t really been doing Metal until the Accept reunion shows with Udo Dirkschneider in the late 2000s so the fact that he’s churning out awesome Metal riffs is legend. Add Mark Tornillo again at the mic doing his best Udo and you’ve got another top record this year!

Iron Maiden – En Vivo! (2012): Iron Maiden live albums are always great and I always buy them. Granted, LIVE AFTER DEATH is the benchmark by which all others will be compared but the energy and sound of the band 27 years after is still there and they are, dare I say, better! Maiden is THE Heavy Metal band of all-time, forget Metallica. Maiden has never sold out and their fans are rabid all over the globe. Listen to this crowd from Chile…..amazing! I’ll be seeing this summer’s tour.

Saxon – Call To Arms (2011): Just like UFO, Saxon is one of my favorite bands and they have been releasing consistently excellent albums for the last 19 years. There was a little lull in the late ’80s & early ’90s but since 1997 Saxon has released a prolific string of studio and live albums that have made the second half of their career. I got CALL TO ARMS when it came out in 2011 but I didn’t give it a lot of time on the stereo or iPod so I’ve been really enjoying a fresh listen the last couple of weeks.

Ghost – Opus Eponymous (2011): I just can’t get enough of Ghost! A mix of NWOBHM, Mercyful Fate, King Diamond, Black Sabbath and old church music. What a haunting sound and the gimmick is awesome. http://ghost-official.com/

I’ve also been listening to a couple of sampler CDs I received with Metal Hammer and Classic Rock presents AOR #6. The Metal Hammer CD came with the latest issue with James Hetfield on the cover and it’s titled BONESNAPPERS. New tracks from Soulfly, Dragonforce, Meshuggah, Moonspell and Overkill are on there but the jewel of the CD is a track by Huntress called ‘Spell Eater’. On the AOR CD (titled SILK & STEEL) there’s a new UFO track off SEVEN DEADLY, the new Beggars & Thieves, Sunstorm (featuring Joe Lynn Turner), and Donnie Vie from Enuff Z’nuff but the tune I wanted to hear the most was from De La Cruz – ‘Lust Fame Money’.

Check out Huntress — http://huntresskills.com/
Check out De La Cruz — http://www.facebook.com/DeLaCruzAustralia

I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts recently…..well, trying to catch up on all the podcasts I subscribe to. I’m going to list a few of the ones I subscribe to and you should check them out either by the website of getting them for free through iTunes. The following podcasts are part of a website that links them all together called The Cast Iron Ring and there are 8 podcasts there but I’ve only been through three so far. I’m listing the podcasts’ websites but you want to go to The Cast Iron Ring because it’s just easier…..one stop shopping!

Iron City Rocks — http://www.ironcityrocks.com/
Focus On Metal — http://www.focusonmetal.net/
Radioactive Metal — http://www.facebook.com/radmetal

I’m late again posting the CD Scavenger Hunt updates! If you’re reading this, I’m actually writing this in mid-April but I’m back dating it for the end of February. It’s not that I don’t want to share my hunting, but I just can’t seem to get motivatd to write. Just a quick note: I’m taking out the savings totals because they are irrelevant considering I buy everything either on sale or used…..when I feel the need to express my keen bargain hunting savings strategies, I will mention it in the summary. I did a lot of shopping again so here’s the treasures for February 2012…..

Newbury Comics

Van Halen – A Different Kind Of Truth (2012)- $14
Metallica – Beyond Magnetic E.P. (2012) – $6
Lillian Axe – XI: The Days Before Tomorrow (2012) – $10
Treat – Coup De Grace (2010) – $6 used
Sunstorm – Emotional Fire (2012) – $16
UFO – Seven Deadly (2012) – $10
Scorpions – Live In 3D: Get Your Sting & Blackout Blu-Ray (2012) – $20
Queen – Days Of Our Lives DVD (2012) – $12

I made three separate shopping trips to my local Newbury Comics in February for all the new releases at sale prices. Tops on my want list this month were the new Van Halen album (which I sprung for the special edition with the bonus DVD) and the new UFO album, SEVEN DEADLY, that came in a digipak with two bonus tracks. I also bought the new Lillian Axe album, the Queen documentary DVD and my first ever Blu-Ray Disc with the Scorpions – Live In 3D…..all on sale. I grabbed the Metallica E.P. because it was a cheap six bucks and I’m hoping it helps me recover from LULU and I found a used copy of Treat’s COUP DE GRACE album from 2010 for another six bucks. Unfortunately I had to bite the bullet and pay the full import price for the new Sunstorm record but being able to hear the smoothest voice in Hard Rock, Joe Lynn Turner, is worth the price paid.

Wal-Mart

Jon Bon Jovi – Blaze Of Glory: Young Guns II Soundtrack (1990) – $5
Ozzy Osbourne – Live At Budokan (2002) - $5

I hate shopping at Wal-Mart! Nothing is worse than being in a Wal-Mart on a rainy day at 2pm when it’s crowded! Wal-Mart is one of the true evils of U.S. retail but I’m not going to get into all that right now. I was with the family and we had to go into Wal-Mart for some reason (I can’t remember why!) but I found the silver lining to the worst shopping experience — the CD bins! Now Wal-Mart has no selection as far as CDs & DVDs go, they basically cater to the new releases and greatest hits in order to get “Mr. & Mrs. John Q. Public” to make an impulse buy. In front of the “music dept”, were two large round plastic bins and they were filled with CDs so I went bin diving and came up with two CDs I didn’t own: the Jon Bon Jovi solo album for the Young Guns II movie and Ozzy’s live album from the Budokan in Japan. Both were brand new, both were $5!

Think Tank Media

Lana Lane – El Dorado Hotel (2012) – $15
Lana Lane – Curious Goods Special Edition (2002) – $5

Think Tank Media is the record label and distributor of all the Lana Lane albums…..it’s run by her husband Erik Norlander who plays on her albums and is in the band Rocket Scientists. I read about the new Lana Lane album, EL DORADO HOTEL, so I surfed over to the website and found a sale! A ton of back catalog titles from Lana Lane, Erik Norlander solo amd Rocket Scientists were all priced around $5! Unfortunately, I have almost all the Lana Lane albums but I was able to grab the new album for a reasonable $15 and the double CD special edition of Lana’s 1996 album CURIOUS GOODS. The special edition includes the original CURIOUS GOODS album from 1996 (that’s way out of print!) with the cover of Steely Dan’s ‘Do It Again’ on the first disc and the 2002 reissue of CURIOUS GOODS (also out of print!) that replaces the Steely Dan cover with a cover of the classic James Bond theme ‘You Only Live Twice’.

Ebay

Zebra – s/t (1983) – $11 used
Mass – Sea Of Black (2010) – $4
Sister – Hated (2011) – $6
Vollmer – When Pigs Fly (1999) – $5 used
Helix – White Lace & Black Leather (1981) – $5 used

Ebay had some great bargains this month! I finally found the first Zebra album and finished off my Zebra collection…..’Tell Me What You Want’ is a great old tune! I got both the Mass and Sister albums from the same seller but different auctions. Both CDs were sealed and brand new and I got them for peanuts, the seller was kind enough to combine shipping and send them together so both discs and shipping totalled $10! I finally get to hear what Sister sounds like because I couldn’t bring myself to pay the $15 at the record store and I was able to replace the CDR of SEA OF BLACK that I made from the promotional download I was sent before Mass released the album. I also got closer to completing my Helix collection by winning an auction that included mainman Brian Vollmer’s solo album from 1999 and Helix’s second album WHITE LACE & BLACK LEATHER (rare to find on CD!). Both CDs were used but in mint condition and the total price of $10 for both CDs included shipping costs.

Total = $155

Total (year) = $411

Average Price (per item) = $8.75

Total CDs (year) = 47

Total DVDs (year) = 2

Total Blu-Rays (year) = 1

Red – My Uncensored Life In Rock (2011, HarperCollins Publishing)

Author: Sammy Hagar with Joel Selvin

Pages: 238

Style: Hardcover

Sammy Hagar

Now here’s a book I’ve been looking forward to! Red – My Uncensored Life In Rock by Sammy Hagar is definitely a must read for most Rock fans for only one reason: the inside story of what went on in Van Halen from Sammy himself! Red is a quick read at only 238 pages but I like to take my time with a book, especially an artist/band biography. My enjoyment isn’t from just reading the book, I like to dive into the music at the same time. Like most other rock biographies, stories about making the music, writing the songs and hitting the studio are crucial to the overall band history so I like to go back and re-listen to the records as I’m reading. This pattern lets me understand the creative process while enjoying the book. Anyway, I should have finished this book in a couple hours but I stretched it a full week around work, family and as many Montrose, Sammy solo and Van Halen albums I own. Red follows Sammy from his childhood days and family life growing up in Fontana, California, to his club days with local bands, Montrose, his solo career, HSAS, Van Halen, solo again and Chickenfoot. That’s a lot of information to pack into only 238 pages! The whole point of my buying this book is because I wanted to know, from Sammy’s perspective, what went down with the break-up of Van Halen in 1996 and the ill-fated reunion tour of 2004.

Now I’m not going to lie, I’m a David Lee Roth guy. Back when I was growing up and getting into Hard Rock, Van Halen had Diamond Dave on the mic. My first exposure to Van Halen was DIVER DOWN (1982) followed quickly by VAN HALEN (1978) and that was just before the band hit big on MTV with the 1984 album. Once 1984 hit, I was a huge Van Halen and David Lee Roth fan. To this day, I prefer the Roth era of Van Halen but, like AC/DC, the band has an equally good and successful era with a new singer (Sammy Hagar). My love of original Van Halen and DLR solo aside, I also grew up with the beginning of the Sammy era of Van Halen. I was watching MTV news for the official announcement of Sammy joining Van Halen, I bought 5150 the day it came out in 1986 and I saw the band play live on the 5150 tour in Providence, RI. Over the years, with every new Van Halen album, I have come to be a fan of both Van Halen lineups equally. Sammy’s addition to the Van Halen lineup also pushed me to discover his solo career and I found that there was more to the Red Rocker than ‘I Can’t Drive 55′ and ‘Only One Way To Rock’…..FM radio staples during the ’80s. Since the band parted ways in 1996, I have followed Sammy’s career closely by purchasing all his solo albums since, seeing him multiple times in concert and even enjoying some Cabo Wabo Tequila…..some of the finest tequila you can get! I have become a huge Sammy Hagar fan.

Back to the book…..

Like I said, the whole point of the book is to get the scoop from Sammy himself on what caused the Van Halen break-up in 1996 and the whole reunion tour fiasco of 2004. I’m not going to ruin the book by telling you all the dirt but let’s just put it this way: if you read David Lee Roth’s 1997 book, Crazy From The Heat, and read a lot of interviews from both Sam & Dave regarding their respective terminations from Van Halen, then you kind of find the same kind of scenarios and situations that point the break-ups in the direction of two very talented brothers. Now Red goes into a little more detail about Sammy’s time in the band, and he also chronciles the success and fun, but that gives you a taste. Aside from the Van Halen story, I liked reading about Sammy’s time as a solo artist before and after Van Halen and his non-musical businesses like the Cabo Wabo cantina in Mexico and the tequila company. Over the years, Sammy has had the benefit of good business sense and a good manager so he’s had a solid string of successful businesses and opportunities that have made him very rich and successful, making his music career more of a fun thing rather than an actual “career”. I also enjoyed reading about Sammy’s childhood and family life because I like finding out where a musician comes from, how the got there and what they are like off-stage.

The only drawback to Red is that it’s way too short. Sammy Hagar has a career that spans 40 years and 238 pages is just not enough to really dive deep into each part. The book is too brief chronicling Sammy’s time in Montrose and the supergroups of HSAS and Chickenfoot. I would have loved to get a little more detail into the creating of the albums and the touring war stories of those three bands. Don’t get me wrong, Sammy talks about each band (Montrose gets it’s own chapter) but I felt there was more to each band’s story. Maybe Sam doesn’t remember? Maybe Sam doesn’t want to get into it? At least Chickenfoot is an ongoing story! I also wanted to hear more about the ill-fated Sam & Dave tour in the Summer of 2002 because I saw the show in Mansfield, MA and Sammy blew Dave off the stage! Roth headlined that night and was in fine form as his set progressed but Sammy was the life of the party bringing on Michael Anthony for some songs and then Gary Cherone for ‘When It’s Love’. All three Van Halen singers at one show! Too bad there wasn’t some sort of song with the three of them. I think one of the reasons why the book is short, and some of the dirt is held back, is because Sammy seems like an all around nice guy. I think he wanted to get his thoughts and opinions out there and then move on and continue living life and making music. I can’t fault him for that.

Bottom Line:
If you’re a Sammy Hagar fan or a Van Halen fan, this is a must read. If you want all the dirt on Van Halen from Sam’s perspective, and get into the rest of his career before and after VH, read this book. Like I mentioned, it’s a little short and I would have liked some further details about certain bands, albums and tours but I really enjoyed Red. The book was a fun read that made me appreciate Sammy Hagar’s career that much more…..I recommend checking it out.

Tale of the Tape
Ipod 120
8370 songs (725 albums)

I usually work a double shift Saturday night into Sunday morning so good Metal music is a must on the overnight. I usually listen to a lot of new albums but I have to start the overnight (the 2nd part of my long shift) with some familiar tracks to get the blood pumping. Here’s the first 20 songs (band-song-album-year):

  1. Dio – ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Children’ – Sacred Heart (1985)
  2. Dio – ‘I Could Have Been A Dreamer’ – Dream Evil (1987)
  3. Ozzy Osbourne – ‘I Just Want You’ – Ozzmosis (1995)
  4. Great White – ‘Rock Me’ – Once Bitten (1987)
  5. Guns ‘N Roses – ‘Anything Goes’ – Appetite For Destruction (1987)
  6. Van Halen – ‘I’ll Wait’ – 1984 (1984)
  7. Def Leppard – ‘Armageddon It’ – Hysteria (1987)
  8. Whitesnake – ‘Fool For Your Loving’ – Ready An’ Willing (1980)
  9. Scheepers – ‘Cyberfreak’ – Scheepers (2011)
  10. Quiet Riot – The Wild And The Young’ – QR III (1986)
  11. Scorpions – ‘The Zoo’ – Animal Magnetism (1980)
  12. Firewind – ‘The Ark Of Lies’ – Days Of Defiance (2010)
  13. Helix – ‘Best Mistake I Never Made’ – Vagabond Bones (2009)
  14. Accept – ‘Flash Rockin’ Man’ – Restless & Wild (1982)
  15. Metallica – ‘Holier Than Thou’ – The Black Album (1991)
  16. Cinderella – ‘Winds Of Change’ – Heartbreak Station (1990)
  17. Crazy Lixx – ‘Road To Babylon’ – New Religion (2010)
  18. Yngwie Malmsteen – ‘Death Dealer’ – Perpetual Flame (2008)
  19. Diamond Head – ‘It’s Electric’ – Lightning To The Nations (1980)
  20. Primal Fear – ‘Black Sun’ – Black Sun (2002)

Bonus Track: AC/DC – ‘War Machine’ – Black Ice (2008)

From Andrew at Melodicrock.com:

It seems the Van Halen tour rolls on…albeit with some rescheduling.

Here’s an update to the update about the update. I’m getting feedback from all over the place. Like sands through the hour glass….

Yes, the Van Halen tour is back on. Why am I saying back on? Well, because I am standing by my report of yesterday stating that the tour was off. But that was yesterday! My information yesterday actually came from someone directly involved in the tour – a long time source who has been 100% accurate in all previous dealings. A completely trusted source! It seems my initial hunch this morning was correct and I’m hearing that a massive amount of maneuvering behind the scenes has been taking place to keep this show on the road for the remaining scheduled dates. In the words of one source: “Azoff and company supposedly salvaged a total cancellation. Seems they bought a week of down time…Too much $$$ at stake.”

I wouldn’t expect any further dates to be added to the currently announced set and I’m yet to hear anything back from my best source, so expect more updates…

Clearly something is up from the statement issued by Van Halen:
“The Van Halen concerts in Dallas, Cincinnati, Raleigh, and Baltimore have been postponed. According to Eddie Van Halen’s physician, he is undergoing a battery of comprehensive medical tests to determine a defined diagnosis and recommended medical procedures. The March 3rd Dallas concert at American Airlines Center has been rescheduled for Thursday, April 24, 2008; Cincinnati’s March 5th concert at U.S. Bank Arena has been rescheduled for Tuesday, April 22nd; Raleigh’s March 7th concert at RBC Center has been rescheduled for Sunday, April 13th; and Baltimore’s March 9th concert at 1st Mariner Arena has been rescheduled for Tuesday, April 15th. Fans should retain their tickets as they will be honored at the rescheduled concerts or ticket refunds will be issued at the original point of purchase.”

And Billboard weighs in -
Ray Waddell, Nashville / Despite reports to the contrary, sources with Van Halen tell Billboard the band’s tour is not being canceled, though tonight’s (March 3) scheduled show at the American Airlines Center in Dallas has been postponed and rescheduled for April 24. Three other dates have been postponed for undisclosed reasons. The source says the outing picks up on March 11 in Charlottesville, W.V., and a press release regarding the tour’s status will be coming within 24 hours. Van Halen returned to the road last fall with original lead singer David Lee Roth for the first time in 20-plus years. The tour, which features Eddie Van Halen’s teenage son Wolfgang on bass, has routinely sold out North American arenas. The current schedule has shows booked through April 25 in Sacramento, Calif. Van Halen is also slated to perform six days earlier at Tiger Woods’ Tiger Jam in Las Vegas.
WebLink: www.billboard.com/bbcom/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003718728

Well, that’s the update and you can read the spin….something still stinks here and I’ll get to the bottom of it eventually. Dare I say check local listings for all future VH concerts for possible updated or changes?? Right now I’m going back to resume banging my head against the wall.

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Andrew is usually dead on and if there is anything else to this VH tour, he will have the info quick. Stay tuned…..

— Steve

UPDATE - 4:00 pm, 3/3/08: The Dallas show tonight at the American Airlines Center has been postponed. The venue’s website and automated phone systems were down for most of the day, I tried both to get information. More as it happens!

 Eddie Van Halen & Diamond Dave 2008

From Bravewords:

Sources tell TMZ the VAN HALEN tour has just been canceled. The report reads as follows: “We’re told arrangements are being made right now to cancel hotel stays for the tour — which was scheduled to continue through April 19th. Sources tell us the reason for the cancellation is Eddie — that he is having ‘issues.’ The last three shows had already been canceled. There have been reports that Eddie was out of it during concerts — and video of recent performances in which his guitar playing was atrocious. Reps could not be reached for comment.”

From Melodicrock.com:

VAN HALEN TOUR CANCELLED:

Gossip website TMZ.com is reporting all remaining 2008 Van Halen tour dates have been cancelled.

“I can confirm, 100% that this is absolutely correct and there will be no further live shows at this time. We can get to the reasons behind this decision in a later update – but right now I can confirm that the tour is off, but I’m told that there is still some hope that dates might be rescheduled at a later date (to be determined at some other point in time…). I can add that any possible issues with vocalist David Lee Roth are not behind the tour cancellation.” — Andrew McNeice (Melodicrock.com)

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If anyone would be able to confirm this it’s Andrew. I’m usually skeptical when TMZ reports something but Andrew is a top flight music reporter and he has inside connections in the Van Halen camp. If he can confirm it, I’d bet it’s true.

Thank god I didn’t buy a ticket! They were going for $100 for a good seat in Providence, RI.

— Steve