CD Scavenger Hunt (June update)

It’s been a slow year so far for buying CDs and collecting but I made up for the last few months with a quality buying spree in June. There were a bunch of new releases on sale, a few hidden bargains in the used CD racks, trips to a few different record stores and the discovery of my childhood record store re-opening in the local flea market! June was definitely a good month for the Hunt…..

Luke’s Record Exchange (@ The Big Flea Market in Cumberland, RI)

Luke’s Record Exchange was my childhood record store that got me started as a record store regular and a CD scavenger hunt expert. Unfortunately, the long time Pawtucket, RI location closed a few months ago for good but a chance trip to The Big Flea Market in a neighboring town provided a link to my record store past…..Luke’s re-opened as a large booth. Prices were pretty good: 50% off the stickered price on all CDs! My oldest daughter loves music and has the record store addiction like her dad and she absolutely loved searching the racks and dark corners that the original Luke’s store had. I’ve tried to teach my oldest daughter as much about Metal and collecting as possible, now it’s up to her to decide what direction to go in.

Hair Of The Dog – Rise (2000) – $7: I started scouring the racks of CDs Luke’s had and I found plenty that used to be at their store and plenty that I already owned but with 50% off you have to buy something. I saw this Hair Of The Dog CD and remembered the name from the late ’90s editions of Metal Edge magazine so I snatched this up to try the band out. When I got home I realized I mixed up Hair Of The Dog with another band, American Dog, but a quick check of my back issues and this purchase was worth making. I’ve read some positive reviews online on Hair Of The Dog, and the band was signed to Spitfire Records back in 2000 (a label with plenty of Hard Rock bands and reissues) so I will definitely check them out when I get around ripping the cellophane off the case! Regular stickered price was $14 so it was really $7 for a brand new sealed copy of RISE. Saved $7.

Vince Neil – Live At The Whiskey: One Night Only (2003) – $6: I always meant to buy this live album when it came out but I had read some bad reviews and I decided against it back then. I did keep it on the want list just in case I came across a used copy somewhere. Over the years I’ve seen this album still at regular price anywhere from $12 to $15 and I’ve passed each time. I’ve seen Vince Neil in concert twice with his solo band and he’s been just OK performance wise and the set is always dominated by the big Motley Crue hits so it’s no surprise to only get one Vince solo song (‘Look In Her Eyes’) on this live record. maybe if there was more from EXPOSED (1993) or CARVED IN STONE (1995) then this would have been a more essential buy. Like I said, you can’t beat 50% off so I finally filled a hole in the Vince Neil solo collection. Another brand new sealed copy stickered at $12, the 50% off making it $6. Saved $6.

Wal-Mart

Def Leppard – Mirror Ball (Live & More) (2011) – $10: I hate going to Wal-Mart! In my life there is no reason to ever set foot in one but some of my favorite bands like KISS, AC/DC, Journey and now Def Leppard have forced me to enter the worst shopping place on earth to buy their exclusive releases! Sure, I could have someone else go in and buy it for me, or maybe buy it online, but sometimes we must sacrifice for the thrill of the Hunt! Definitely an old school move by the Leps with the old bulky multi-disc packaging for their double disc live record with the bonus DVD included. I’ve seen Def Lep on every tour since the 1999 EUPHORIA Tour and I saw them back in the day on the HYSTERIA Tour in 1988 so I know how good these guys are live. It’s a little surprising that it’s taken 31 years to finally get an official live album from Def Leppard but it looks like the band’s last few successful tours have finally given it to us. This was more about the new songs for me and their are three of them on Disc 2. The only positive thing I can say about the Wal-Mart experience is that the price can’t be beat…..$10 is a small price to pay for 21 live tracks, 3 new studio songs and a DVD.

Newbury Comics

Twisted Sister – Under The Blade (Special Edition) (2011) – $12: I already own UNDER THE BLADE on CD and on vinyl but I had to pick this up because of all the bonuses included. First, this is the original mix of UNDER THE BLADE as heard on the original Secret Records pressing (the 1985 reissue is remixed) so that saves the vinyl. Second, the RUFF CUTTS E.P. (1982) is the bonus on the CD. The RUFF CUTTS vinyl is easy to find but high in price for a mint copy, it’s nice getting the music on CD. Finally, the bonus DVD is the band’s performance at th 1982 Reading Festival. This is how you do a reissue! Unfortunately, some of the other Twisted Sister reissues on Armoury Records leave a lot to be desired as far as bonus material but this reissue was worth getting even at the regular price of $16. I bought this the day it was released so I got the $12 sale price saving $4.

Black Stone Cherry – Between The Devil & The Deep Blue Sea (2011) – $10: Black Stone Cherry is one of those newer bands that I’ve followed from their first album to present but I haven’t really gotten totally into them. I have the band’s first two albums, and I enjoy them, but the band hasn’t had the staying power for me to keep coming back. I’m hoping that BETWEEN THE DEVIL & THE DEEP BLUE SEA breaks that cycle and also forces me to revisit the band’s first two records for a fresh listen. Good band and good music but I’m just not completely hooked. This was another day of release purchase to get the sale price of $10 and save $4 but even the $14 regular price seems reasonable. Of course, the day I purchased the album, I get home from the record store and check my email and find a link from Roadrunner Records PR dept for a download of the album so i could review it! I would have bought the album anyway.

Warrant – Rockaholic (2011) – $13: Frontiers Records was kind enough to send me a download of the album for review so I have been enjoying ROCKAHOLIC for a few months prior to it’s U.S. release. In most cases when I receive a promo download for review, I buy the album for my collection if I enjoy it so I caved on buying the new Warrant. For me Warrant has a stigma…..the Jani Lane stigma. Back in the ’80s, I liked Warrant like most Hard Rock fans tuned in to FM radio and MTV but I started to really dislike the band after I got the internet in 1998 and started reading about all the dumb ass things Jani Lane used to do (cancel concert, quit and rejoin, go onstage drunk, etc). Anyway, after seeing the band reunite on the Poison summer tour a few years ago, I had hope but Jani screwed it up again and again. I thought the band’s move to replace Jani with Jaime St. James from Black ‘N Blue for BORN AGAIN (2006) was a great move resulting in a solid record. This time around it’s Robert Mason (formerly of Lynch Mob) replacing Jani (again!) and Jaime (who has a reformed Black ‘N Blue) at the mic and it’s a solid album that actually charted on Billboard’s Top Hard rock Albums Chart at #22! It’s such a good record that I would have easily paid the $17 import price but I saved $4 by waiting for the U.S. release.

Whitesnake – Live At Donington 1990 (Special Edition Box Set 2CD/DVD) (2011) – $16: Again, thanks to Frontiers Records, I was able to preview the CD portion of LIVE AT DONINGTON 1990 for a few weeks before it was released but this special edition wasn’t one I was going to miss adding to my collection. Recorded on 8/18/1990 at the Monsters of Rock Festival at Donington Park, this is Whitesnake at it’s chart-topping best: a live album with mostly all the big hits from 1984 to 1990 and a DVD of the exact performance all packaged it a double gatefold CD digipak with full color graphics and booklet. Remember how big Whitesnake was back then? Well their bands before them were The Quireboys, Thunder, Poison and Aerosmith! Import prices online were around $25 plus shipping at most shops but the U.S. release was a regular $20…..I bought it day of release so I saved $4.

Hammerfall – Infected (2011) – $10: I had no idea that Hammerfall was releasing a new album until about a week before the release date…..and I have been following the band since 1998! It’s no secret that I’m a big Power Metal guy and Hammerfall has been one of my favorites since the Power Metal resurgence of the late ’90s so this was a no-brainer purchase for me. “No-brainer”…..that’s a funny way of putting it because the concept here seems to be zombies and being infected as one. It’s a different direction for Hammerfall but one I’m hoping to enjoy as much as their last few records. I’m a little puzzled by the lack of vibrant graphics and no sign of Hector, the band’s knight mascot that has been on every album cover, but if it’s something different then why not try it? Regular price was $16 so I saved $6 buying the album the day of release but I was lucky to get a copy because there were only two copies available when I hit the new release rack at the shop.

U.D.O. – Rev-Raptor (2011) – $12: Here’s another album that I received a promtional download for so I could review it but I added it to my want list. I’ve been an U.D.O. fan since he formed the band after his time in Accept so I’m going to buy every album that comes out but I really wanted to get the European limited edition with the bonus tracks but the online shops sold out quick and I didn’t really want to drop around $25 for a couple extra songs and a couple videos. I’ll give Udo Dirkschneider credit, he knows how to do it Gene Simmons style because there were four pressings of REV-RAPTOR: the regular jewel case, the limited edition European with 2 bonus tracks & videos, the Japanese with different bonus tracks and the special box set with a t-shirt and other souvenirs. I wish there was an easier way to get all the bonus material instead of having to buy to high price imports but I’m happy with my U.S. version. Regular price was $16, sale price was $12, saved $4.

Arch Enemy – Khaos Legions (2 CD Limited Edition) (2011) – $14: It’s only been recently that I’ve really gotten into Arch Enemy so this new album is kind of a new start for me. There’s been a lot of press on KHAOS LEGIONS so I’m hoping that it’s as good as the older material I’ve been listening to. What makes this release interesting is that there are 2 versions: the regular jewel case or the limited edition with a 4 track bonus disc and a code for a free t-shirt. I was grabbing the double disc version but what astounded me was the regular prices: $16 for the single, $25 for the double! Good thing I buy the new releases the day they come out because I save a lot of money…..in this case, the single disce was on sale for $11 and the limited edition for $14. How could I not buy the limited edition and save $11? Add in the free t-shirt and it’s a great buy even if I have to pay the shipping for the shirt and then give it to my daughter because I can’t fit in an XL!

Pagan’s Mind – Heavenly Ecstacy (2011) – $12: I got into Pagan’s Mind with 2007’s GOD EQUATION but I really haven’t gone back and tried to acquire the band’s previous releases. I like the band and I’m a fan of Progressive Metal but Pagan’s Mind just hasn’t taken hold in my listening rotation, hopefully that will change with this new album. This is another band that I didn’t know was releasing a new album but I was pleasantly surprised to find out in the Newbury Comics weekly newsletter. There are two versions of this album too: the single disc or the limited edition with 2 bonus tracks. When I went to the record store the day of release they only had the limited edition (the version I was buying anyway!) and they had plenty of copies. Regular price was a high $17 for the two extra songs but the sale price was only $12 for a savings of $5. I have been to the record store since I purchased this in the middle of June and I still haven’t seen the standard version but I assume that it’s without the bonus tracks and priced around $15 regular price.

Black Country Communion – 2 (2011) – $13: Black Country Communion is Glenn Hughes, Joe Bonamassa, Derek Sherinian and Jason Bonham…..now that’s a supergroup! The debut BCC album was awesome and made my list of the Top 30 Albums of 2010 at #5 so I was surprised when I read that the band had a new record ready to go. I waited on buying the first BCC album and ended up paying full price, the sting of that purchase was easier to take because the album was so good, but I wasn’t waiting around this time. Day of release and on sale for $13, I pulled the trigger. I like the old school stadium rock sound BCC has and Glenn Hughes keeps sounding better as he gets older while I am totally into Bonamassa’s guitar sound and now checking out his solo material…..good to see this album get on the U.S. Hot 100 chart with it’s debut. Regular price was an expensive $17 so I was glad to get the sale price and save $4.

Alestorm – Back Through Time (2011) – $13: Alestorm is another band I’ve followed from the beginning and I’ve grown to enjoy their Pirate Metal that’s a continuation of what Running Wild was doing a decade plus before. The thing is that the pirate themes and concepts are going to wear thin on the ultra serious metal fans but it’s all done well and in good fun so I don’t mind dropping a few bucks for good pirate party. I ended up buying the special edition of this album too with the hardbound book packaging and the two bonus tracks that are included. I didn’t see a regular jewel case edition at the record store but I read only that it exists. I actually almost pre-ordered this online through Napalm Records with the free t-shirt but they didn’t have the 2XL I need, the price on that package was $25 with shipping. Regular price for the special edition was $17 at the shop but I bought this on sale for $13 saving myself $4.

AC/DC – Live At River Plate DVD (2011) – $12: I’ve had my eye on this concert DVD for a few weeks but I never picked it up because the local shop had a ton of copies for weeks and the sale price kept going. Usually they take off the sale price after a couple week but they had so many copies of this DVD that the sale price was still there about a month after release. I had a little extra money to burn so I went to go pick up a copy but there was only two left this time! I’m not sure if the shop had a run on them all of a sudden or maybe transferred some to other locations but where there were many stood only two and one copy was regular price $15. Lucky for me the other copy still had the sale sticker on it so I knew that I’d be getting the price I wanted. Sure enough, when I got to the register, the DVD rang regular price but they price adjusted to the $12 sale price and I saved $3. I saw the Black Ice Tour in Foxboro, MA so LIVE AT THE RIVER PLATE will be a nice tour souvenir.

Night Ranger – Somewhere In California (2011) – $14: This is another album that I’ve had the promotional download for through Frontiers Records but I decided to pick the album up for the collection. I remember when DAWN PATROL came out back in 1982 and I was a fan of the band straight through to the break-up and reformation in the late ’90s…..this is another no-brainer purchase for me. I didn’t really get into the band’s last album, HOLE IN THE SUN (2008), right away because of the more modern sound the band used but it was still Night Ranger and it grew on me. From what I’ve read and my initial spin, SOMEWHERE IN CALIFORNIA sounds like classic ’80s Night Ranger. I caught the band’s tour last year in Connecticut and it was a high energy show and the band sounded great, maybe taking that energy into the studio proved successful? Regular price here was $17 because it’s technically an import but I got it on sale for $14 and saved $3.

Symphony X – Iconoclast (2 CD Special Edition) (2011) – $13: I haven’t really listened to Symphony X since 2002’s THE ODYSSEY and I had no idea that they were releasing a new album (I’ve got to keep up on my Metal news!) so I was a little hesitant when i saw this album in the new release rack at the record store. Do I take a chance on a band that has released only two records since 2002? I noticed that there were two versions of this CD also (a trend for June I think!): the single disc and the special edition digipak that’s two CDs and has extra songs. I’m a sucker for bonus tracks and the sale price for this version was only $2 more than the regular so I snatched it up! I also noticed that there were a lot of copies of both versions of the album, a lot of which are still unsold and still onsale in mid-July. Regular price for the special edition was $19 so I saved $6 on the day of release. I’m hoping ICONOCLAST is a surprise record for me this year.

Queensryche – Dedicated To Chaos (Deluxe Edition) (2011) – $16: Another deluxe/special/limited edition for June’s hunt! Things with Queensryche have been hit or miss since 1994’s PROMISED LAND but I really enjoyed AMERICAN SOLDIER (2009) and I’m hoping that DEDICATED TO CHAOS is a continuation of the quality material I know the band is capable of. The wild card here is Geoff Tate and the direction his writing and leadership takes the band, one look at the back cover and seeing a bald Tate could either be a bad sign of he’s channelling his friend Rob Halford. Either way, I’ve been a fan of the band since the QUEENSRYCHE E.P. (1982) and THE WARNING (1984) so I’m always going to support the band. I bought the deluxe version for the three extra songs for only $3 more than the standard version. If you’re going to spend $13, why not just spend the $16 and get the whole package? Regular price for the deluxe version was a scary $22 so there was no way I was going to let a sale price pass me by with an opportunity to save $6 on an album I would easily buy.

Zebra – No Tellin’ Lies (1984) – $6 used: This was easily my bargain of the month and well worth the time spent digging through the used sections. I had gone to a different Newbury Comics location that had better selection than my usual store with my daughter and niece so I gave them each some money to shop so I could dive into the used bins. Unfortunately, I own most of the discs I found but NO TELLIN’ LIES, Zebra’s second album, was sitting there at a perfect price at $6 used! I’m not passing that up especially since all the Zebra records are on my want list so I can replace my cassettes. I was particularly psyched about finding a Zebra album because they had just played a local club in Massachusetts back in May (that I missed!) and the band’s hit from the first album, ‘Tell Me What You Want’, has been all over the local rock stations. My online research tells me that an original Atlantic Records pressing of this CD retails at about $15 if you can find it and the double disc reissue with the band’s third album, 3.V (1986), goes for around the same price and is easier to find. My digging saved me about $9.

Zebra – 3.V (1986) – $10 used: When out on a CD hunt always be mindful that where there’s one Zebra CD, there could be another! Zebras travels in herds don’t they? Seeing that I had good luck finding NO TELLIN’ LIES in the used bins, I decided to take the hunt over to the “Misc. Z” section of the Rock/Pop bins and there it was…..bargain #2 of June…..Zebra’s thierd album, 3.V from 1986! Here’s another pristine original pressing that goes for the same $15 alone or in the latest reissue with NO TELLIN’ LIES so I wasn’t about to pass it up! I haven’t seen original pressings of these Zebra albums in local record stores in at least ten years so I’m hoping that the recent concert at Showcase Live made some people clean out their collections. I’m not saying Zebra is a bad band, quite the contrary, but you would be surprised how many people dump their collections after a concert comes through town or the extra used stock the stores have in back makes it to the sales floor. Either way, it pads my collection and gets the want list a little shorter. Spending $10 for a used CD is a little high but I was sure I wouldn’t see it again and I still saved $5 off what would be a $15 regular price.

Helix – Walkin’ The Razor’s Edge (1984/2009 reissue) – $20: Now this was a big purchase but a necessary one. Ever since I rediscovered Helix back in 2005 when I bought lead singer Brian Vollmer’s autobiography Gimme An R!, I have been snapping up a lot of their back catalogue. Rock Candy Records in the U.K. are a great reissue label that takes great care in releasing high quality reissues of classic albums by working alongside the artist in getting the album back in the stores. In the case of WALKIN’ THE RAZOR’S EDGE, I do have a cassette that is well worn and I have the single ‘Rock You’ on an ’80s Metal compilation CD so I’ve been content to wait out the last couple years and get this reissue at a good price. Depending where you look online, you can get this reissue anywhere between $15 and $25 plus shipping charges, that’s too high. When I saw the record store actually stocked the album, I jumped on it despite the price. I figured I’d pay at least $20 on the low end of the online price so I decided to buy it now instead of having to wait a week or two because of the mail services.

Total = $239

Total (year) = $559

Average Price (per item) = $10.75

Total Savings (month) = $97

Total Savings (year) = $336

Total CDs (year) = 49

Total DVDs (year) = 2

Total Box Sets (year) = 0

Total LPs (year) = 1

 

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?

Vince Neil – Tattoos & Tequila (2010)

Vince Neil – Tattoos & Tequila (2010, Eleven Seven Music)

  1. Tattoos And Tequila *
  2. He’s A Whore
  3. AC/DC
  4. Nobody’s Fault
  5. Another Bad Day *
  6. No Feelings
  7. Long Cool Woman
  8. Another Piece Of Meat
  9. Who’ll Stop The Rain
  10. Viva Las Vegas
  11. Bitch Is Back

(* new studio track)

Band Lineup:
Vince Neil – Vocals
Dana Strum – Bass
Jeff Blando – Guitars & Background Vocals
Zoltan Chaney – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Brad Gillis – guitar solo (8)
Marti Frederiksen – bass, drums, keyboards, percussion and background vocals (1,5)
Will Evankovich – acoustic guitar (9)
Anthony Focx – drums (5)
Christian Matthew Cullen – keyboards (11)
Jack Blades – background vocals
Mollie Solow – background vocals (4,8,11)

Executive Producer: Vince Neil
Producers: Jack Blades & Marti Frederiksen

Total Time = 38:27

Vince Neil
Vince Neil MySpace page
Motley Crue
Eleven Seven Music

Just in time for Motley Crue’s co-headlining summer run at Ozzfest 2010, frontman Vince Neil has released his third solo album. Huh?

When I heard that Vince was putting out a new album I was pretty excited because I am a fan of his two solo albums post-Crue, EXPOSED (1993) and CARVED IN STONE (1995). I’m also a big Motley Crue fan and I figured that a new Vince solo record would sound similar to a new Crue album. Vince may not be the best singer in Rock but his voice is so distinctive that you can’t help but identify the vocals with Motley Crue. So here I am waiting for more information on this new album and I find out that only 2 out of 11 songs are originals! (Those buying the European pressing get a 12th track, a cover of ZZ Top’s ‘Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers’.) Only two new songs? I could see if Vince was releasing some unreleased material, or a greatest hits collection and then added the two new songs but this is basically a covers album. That screams laziness to me especially when Vince didn’t even co-write anything on the two new songs. Why bother releasing an album then?

So here’s how the new album runs: new song, Cheap Trick cover, The Sweet cover, Aerosmith cover, new song, Sex Pistols cover, The Hollies cover, Scorpions cover, Creedence Clearwater Revival cover, Elvis cover, and an Elton John cover. Impressive…..right?

The two new songs are pretty good and they sound very much like Motley Crue. The title song, written by song guru Marti Frederiksen is pretty good, it catchy chorus with a modern sounding arrangement mixed with that Motley sleaze. If you could find an autobiographical song for Vince, this would be it…..actually, this album is supposed to be the soundtrack to an upcoming book Vince is writing on his life. Kind of like Nikki Sixx’s Sixx AM band and THE HEROIN DIARIES book and album. The second new track is ‘Another Bad Day’, a song co-written by Nikki Sixx, Tracii Guns, James Michael (Sixx AM) and Grammy award winning songwriter Kevin Kadish. I’m not sure about the original writing session for the song but James Michael helped write on Motley Crue’s NEW TATTOO (2000) and SAINTS OF LOS ANGELES (2008) and also on Nikki’s side project Brides Of Destruction. Tracii Guns was a member of the Brides and Kevin Kadish helped write on that project as well. So it’s safe to say that Nikki had this song in the can between 2000 and 2008. ‘Another Bad Day’ is a melodic mid-tempo ballad and it’s actually pretty good, basically a Motley Crue style track.

 As far as the covers go, there are some that aren’t that bad and they are pretty much straightforward performances. I like his cover of Aerosmith’s ‘Nobody’s Fault’, the Scorpions’ ‘Another Piece Of Meat’, CCR’s ‘Who’ll Stop The Rain’ and The Hollies’ ‘Long Cool Woman’. The other cover songs are OK at best with the cover of Elvis’ ‘Viva Las Vegas’ being the worst, maybe we could add the Sex Pistols’ ‘No Feelings’ in there too. What Vince has going for him here is excellent production from Frederiksen and Night Ranger mainman Jack Blades and a superb band that includes Slaughter members Dana Strum & Jeff Blando and drummer Zoltan Chaney who has been rumored to hold the drum stool in the Crue everytime Tommy Lee decides it’s time to leave again. The band sounds perfect, Strum and Blando are seasoned veterans and Chaney has a huge drum sound…..even Vince sounds in decent voice.

Bottom Line:
If you’ve been a reader of this site for the last 4+ years, then you know my opinions regarding cover songs so it’s almost expected that I am going to crucify this album but I am going to try and be kind. I like the two new songs that are basically Motley leftovers and I like half the covers, not just because of song choice but also performance. I’m still disappointed though. When you advertise a “new album” and you hype it up, let it be a true new album. Releasing nine or ten covers with two new tracks that you had no hand in writing screams laziness to me. It’s not like Vince is the main songwriting force behind the Crue but he can write and has contributed in the past, at least contribute something! This album gives off the same empty feeling that all those late ’90s tribute albums with all-star lineups did, something Vince did a few times. You’ve got a good backing band, good producers and a label headed by your Crue bandmate, why not put some effort in and throw in more originals? If this were an album of ten originals and two covers then I would rate this higher but it isn’t and I can’t. I bought this for the curiosity and completist factors but it was $10 wasted. This is a trend that is happening way too much in today’s Rock world.

Favorite Songs:
I like the two new tracks ‘Tattoos & Tequila’ and ‘Another Bad Day’. As for the covers, give me the Scorpions, The Hollies and CCR as the best of the bunch.

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

Motley Crue – Saints Of Los Angeles (2008)

Motley Crue – Saints Of Los Angeles (2008, Motley Records/Eleven Seven Music)

  1. L.A.M.F.
  2. Face Down In The Dirt
  3. What’s It Gonna Take
  4. Down At The Whiskey
  5. Saints Of Los Angeles
  6. Muther Fucker Of The Year
  7. The Animal In Me
  8. Welcome To The Machine
  9. Just Another Psycho
  10. Chicks = Trouble
  11. This Ain’t A Love Song
  12. White Trash Circus
  13. Goin’ Out Swingin’

Band Lineup:
Vince Neil – Lead Vocals
Nikki Sixx – Bass
Mick Mars – Guitars
Tommy Lee – Drums

Produced by: James Michael, Nikki Sixx, DJ Ashba

Total Time = 44:10

Motley Crue official website
Motley Crue MySpace page

It’s been just over 10 years since the original lineup of Motley Crue released a new album of original material.  Has it really been that long since GENERATION SWINE (1997) and the reunion? It seems like the Crue has been very busy in the last decade or so: tours, live CDs & DVDs, a tell-all book (The Dirt) by the band themselves, box sets, greatest hits albums, solo careers and the band even managed to release an album of new material, NEW TATTOO (2000) with the late Randy Castillo on drums instead of Tommy Lee. Get all that? It’s hard to believe that SAINTS OF LOS ANGELES didn’t come sooner, the question is…..was it worth the wait?

I’ve been a Motley Crue fan since around ’82 when I discovered TOO FAST FOR LOVE at a local record store. I have been excited for every new record, every tour, and every move the band has made for the last 26 years. Hell, I even hated the Crue back in ’83 & ’84 when everyone was jumping on the bandwagon because they were the hot new thing…..secretly, and unknown to my friends, I was listening to TOO FAST FOR LOVE and SHOUT AT THE DEVIL at high volume in my bedroom, LOL! These guys were the baddest band in the land when I was growing up and every Hard Rock band was chasing them in terms of success and excess. So I was definitely psyched to hear new music coming from the Motley camp but I wasn’t sure about the concept: an album loosely based on their collective autobiography The Dirt. The book came out in 2001 and that seems like a long time to release an album based on it. Granted there were personal issues between the original band members but these guys have been back together since the Fall of 2004.

Like most Motley Crue albums after SHOUT AT THE DEVIL (1983), SAINTS OF LOS ANGELES has some really good songs and some filler but the good definitely outweighs the bad. ‘L.A.M.F.’ starts the album off and it’s a spoken word intro by Vince Neil akin to ‘In The Beginning’ from SHOUT. I’m not sure if this intro is really needed and I find it rather annoying so I hit the skip button. ‘Face Down In The Dirt’ is pretty cool and has that trashy vibe to start things off on a high note while ‘What’s It Gonna Take’ slows down slightly and hits a nice groove. My favorite song is ‘Down At The Whiskey’, it has that sound that screams vintage melodic Motley and it has an infectious chorus. What I hear most in this song is Tommy Lee’s inspired drumming (listen to those cymbals crash!) and Mick Mars’ guitar playing, I think that Mick turns in the best performance of all the members on the whole album. More inspired playing from Mr. Mars on the lead single ‘Saints Of Los Angeles’…..sounds a little like ‘Wild Side’ & ‘Dr. Feelgood’ doesn’t it? Comparisons aside, this is probably the best track on the album despite my favorite being ‘Down At The Whiskey’. Motley Crue has always put their best songs forward as singles and videos and ‘Saints’ is no exception…..it has that big sounding chorus thanks to the guest singers (and labelmates/touring partners) and Mick turns in one hell of a performance. I watched the press conference live on TV and when they played ‘Saints’ live, Mick went from basically a cripple to fluid motion almost instantly. Great song, I bet it comes off well in concert.

‘Muther Fucker Of The Year’ starts off the filler. It’s an annoying song with juvenile lyrics, it just seems so unnecessary to have the profanity but this is the Crue so they do it. The first ballad is ‘The Animal In Me’ and is has that whiney Vince vocal that just sounds depressed. It kind of reminds me of ‘If I Die Tomorrow’ from the hits package RED, WHITE, & CRUE (2005), it has that sad vibe but it’s good. One glance at the tracklisting and I was afraid that the band added a Pink Floyd cover to the record with ‘Welcome To The Machine’ but it’s thankfully a gritty, punky original that rocks up like some of the songs did on TOO FAST FOR LOVE. The guitar solo on this song is particularly good and it just makes me respect Mick Mars that much more. Another cool tune is ‘Just Another Psycho’ that has the catchy hook to get me singing along with Vince and there’s a cool bass line from Nikki Sixx that just follows along with the drums to provide the groove. I could do without ‘Chicks = Trouble’, another filler tune for me. Think they’re talking from Tommy Lee’s perspective on this one? Or Vince’s? Or Nikki’s?

A little drum intro starts ‘This Ain’t A Love Song’ and it sounds similar to ‘Primal Scream’ (from DECADE OF DECADENCE) at times, it’s an OK song. ‘White Trash Circus’ has some decent drum beats but the song bores me with it’s chanty singing and dumb lyrics, just awful! ‘Goin’ Out Swingin’ was added to the album late in the game, I think right after the press conference, to add a little punch (forgive the pun) to end the album. The song is uptempo and has some decent guitar lines but it’s repetitve with the title in the lyrics…..I have to give it a “thumbs up” though after the last three duds.

Just a few words here about the package, concept, production and performance….. I like the black and white concept the band is using, it’s basic and gives the band that street look. I’m not cracking on the guy’s medical condition but Mick Mars just looks like one scary bastard! All the promo shots I’ve seen depict Mick as this mysterious, leather-clad, grim reaper type…..very cool. The songwriting tells the sleazy story of the sex, the drugs, the triumph and tragedy of being in one of the most notorious bands in Rock. I can remember different chapters of Motley history on each song…..Nikki is normally the main songwriter and he had a long history to draw inspiration from, I’ll bet everyone contributed much like they did on the book. Production is 2008 modern but you can hear some old school Crue in some of the songs but also some Sixx AM in there too. Obviously, the production assistance Nikki and the band had from James Michael & DJ Ashba (Nikki’s Sixx AM bandmates) had some influence on the sound, it’s sounds great though and is crystal clear. Performance of the album goes to Mick Mars for his inspired guitar playing despite the Ankylosing spondylitis that is ravaging his body. Second place goes to Vince Neil who sounds pretty good on the mic.

Bottom Line:
I’ve been playing this non-stop since I bought the album and I think it’s a pretty solid record. Like I said before, all Crue albums after the first two have filler but the good songs outweigh the bad. It may not be the next SHOUT AT THE DEVIL or DR. FEELGOOD but I would say that the band has come back with a good album with some great songs and a lot of attitude. Let’s just hope that the Crue won’t wait another 10 years to release a follow-up!

Favorite Songs: ‘Down At The Whiskey’, ‘Saints Of Los Angeles’, ‘The Animal In Me’, ‘Welcome To The Machine’

Supergroup Metal Mixtape – 4/23/08

Saints Of The Underground (featuring Jani Lane, Bobby Blotzer, Keri Kelli, & Robbie Crane) released their debut album, LOVE THE SIN, HATE THE SINNER, this week and they are being hailed as a “supergroup”.

Ratt drummer Bobby Blotzer was involved in a similar “supergroup” back in 1991 when he teamed with Michael Schenker, Share Pedersen (Vixen), Richard Black (Shark Island), and Tracii Guns (L.A. Guns) for the Contraband project. This installment of Metal Mixtape will celebrate these two projects and all their members by playing one song involving each member…..Bobby Blotzer gets two because he was involved in both! Saints members 1st, Contraband members 2nd…..and, yes, I own all of these albums!

Warrant – ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ (1988): Probably the best Warrant song I’ve ever heard. I hate the band now but back in the mid-’80s they were everywhere and I liked the tunes. ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ is a great tune, better than ‘Cherry Pie’.

Ratt – ‘Slip Of The Lip’ (1986): I liked DANCING UNDERCOVER but it gets a bad rep for the first single ‘Dance’. This song has a sleazy groove to it and it should have been the first single.

Big Bang Babies – ‘Everybody Needs A Hero’ (1992): Glam, glam, glam! Keri Kelli played guitar in the Big Bang Babies way back when and this is the opening song of their self-titled album. I don’t think I’ve played this whole record in a long time…..maybe it will make the weekend’s playlist.

Vince Neil – ‘Sister Of Pain’ (1993): Robbie Crane played bass on Vince’s two solo albums when he left/was fired from Motley Crue. I liked this single better than ‘You’re Invited (But Your Friend Can’t Come)’ and the album was the Motley Crue record we all missed out on.

Ratt – ‘Wanted Man’ (1984): Like I said, Blotzer gets two songs and this is the best song from OUT OF THE CELLAR.

MSG – ‘Samurai’ (1982): Michael Schenker is a guitar god despite his demons. His career has been noted more for his odd behaviors and addictions rather then his music. ‘Samurai’ is one smoking track off of ASSAULT ATTACK with Graham Bonnet on vocals.

Vixen – ‘Cryin’ (1988): Single #2 for Vixen off their first album, I like this one better than ‘Edge Of A Broken Heart’.

Shark Island – ‘Paris Calling’ (1989): I thought Shark Island was going to be huge back in the day and LAW OF THE ORDER has been one of those forgotten gems that I pull out once in awhile. ‘Paris Calling’ was the first single off this record.

L.A. Guns – ‘Sex Action’ (1988): Back in the day we used to play the first L.A. Guns album to death! ‘Sex Action’ was a favorite at the parking lot parties we used to have.