Monday, December 31, 2007

True Blizzard of Oz

So this joke is simply to easy to be made up.

Seems Ozzy Osbourne, the Prince of F#$^%&* Darkness himself has been tapped to pen an autobiography. But there's just one hiccup. Seems the metal maven's got a case of a drug and alcohol induced amnesia.

Can't imagine why ...

The Black Sabbath rocker signed a 1 million pound book deal with publishers Little Brown early last year, but so far he has not written any of it.

A source revealed: "I cannot imagine the book being ready in five months, because so far Ozzy hasn't written anything - he hasn't even got a ghostwriter yet. So it is going to be some time before the book actually appears, if it ever does."

"My memory isn't what it used to be because of the drugs and alcohol I've been living on for the best part of my adult life," Ozzy told a British tabloid. "I often get asked, 'Is it true you snorted a line of ants?' Knowing me, there's a very good possibility. But do I remember it? No way."

Since Ozzy signed the deal his wife Sharon has written and published two books of her own.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

New Year's Radiohead, STS9 Web casts


Radiohead's Thom Yorke

Radiohead are to broadcast a performance of their latest album on television and online on New Year's Eve — the same day In Rainbows is released on CD and on vinyl.

Radiohead to release a pre-recorded set to coincide with the release of In Rainbows on vinyl and CD.

The pre-recorded set will go out on the cable and satellite channel Current TV, and online on Current.com and Radiohead.tv.

"This is a wee celebration of the release of the physical manifestation of In Rainbows," lead singer Thom Yorke wrote on the band's Web site.

Full article >>



Also, Soundtribe Sector 9 will be Web casting their New Year's run.

According to their Web site: Our friends at iClips.net will be joining us in Atlanta for ALL FOUR nights to bring you all the sights and sounds, as they happen, via the Web and a 5 camera shoot! Sign up now at iClips.net and get ready to “join us” at The Tabernacle from the comfort of your own home … free of charge.

Vote in The Star's music poll -- It's free, too!

Hey, the new Anniston Star music poll is loaded and ready to go.

So vote. Today. Multiple times. It's right there to the right of this blog entry, at the top of the page.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

applause for "Sweeney Todd"

Not since the Rob Zombie version of "Halloween" have I been so excited about a movie. And yet it was a musical, which is generally hate on principal.

But I would have to say the "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" was ghoulish, garish, grisly and great. Now, I'm no movie critic, but I know what I like (keeping in mind that I consider "Saw" the work of a cinematic visionary, and with that said, this movie was a winner.

The story was entertaining but better yet the music was morbidly fascinating. What I so often find excruciating about musicals is that the actors feel this silly need to sing when they could simply speak. I mean why turn a conversation about needing to buy more Cheez-Itz into an operatic number ... It's pure overkill.

But with Sweeney Todd the music serves to simply set the scene and flavor the mood. It's a dark, brooding piece about revenge but the music compliments everything. Plus there's dialogue and the songs last for only a few bars, thus avoiding the manotony that often plagues musicals.

Oh ... and yes ... there will be blood. Lots and lots of blood. So it's certainly not for the squeamish - either in sight or sound.

We wish you a merry Kiss-mas

All I wanted for Christmas was Kissology. For those of you who don't know (and more still who don't care), Kiss - those masked men who never met a marketing opportunity they didn't like - have been putting out a series of boxed sets compiling a chronology of the band from the lean years to the bloated years all they way through to the "he let's get back together and make more money" years.

So for Christmas this year, I got the second installment, which I like to call "the awkward years." This is the real goofy stuff that true fans and those that like to poke fun and the Kiss juggernaut will appreciate.

Kissology Vol. II features the strange lineup changes of Eric Carr, replacing original drummer Peter Criss, with The Fox persona and Vinnie Vincent, replacing Ace Frehley, with the persona of The Egyptian (or so I'm guessing. To be honest, I don't know what the heck he was.

But the best part is the non-make-up phase, where the guys try and keep up with the hair metal movement - terrible outfits, terrible guitars and terrible songs and albums - and yet all wonderfully odd and awkward.

Though there are the few gems ... take for example the "international" version of "Kiss Meets the Phantom of The Park" a made-for-TV event in the states was an actual theatrical release in Japan and abroad. It's funny in the way that "Urban Cowboy" and "Grease 2" are funny, which is to say by accident.

It's truly a gift that keeps on giving.

Great (I mean terrible) Christmas performances

Aside from all the joy of giving and holiday spirit that fills the air this time of year, one of the best parts of Christmas is all the hilariously horrible songs, parodies and otherwise bizarre stuff that bounces all around.

Personally, Dokken covering Silent Night.

But here's a list of the truly weird - from Ozzy Osbourne and Jessica Simpson singing "Winter Wonderland" to the long rumored lost (which it should have not only been lost but burned and its ashes scattered) Star Wars Christmas special featuring Bea Arthur, this are truly some horrifying holiday moments.

This link will make you say, thank heavens for You Tube http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22361031/page/2/.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Music to send out into the cosmos

The completely awesome public radio program Radio Lab recently featured a show on sending to outer space a record of life on earth that would best explain our home to faraway space aliens.

As the show's promo noted:
How would you describe life on Earth to an alien?
In 1977, the Voyager spacecraft launched into space. And with it, went the Golden Record-- a sort time capsule, a collection of sounds and images that would describe life on Earth to whomever or whatever might find it.
Imagine trying to sum up existence on Earth into one little record... for an alien or humans of the far-off future. What sounds would you use? What music? What images? We put this charge to a bunch of artists, and asked what they would put into a space capsule.


You can check out the show here.

The Radio Lab guests tossed out interesting sounds and lots of music. Which raises my question: If you were sending out a Golden Record to space, what music would you put on it?

I'm still contemplating my list.

Sinatra? Probably.
Beethoven's Ode to Joy? Absolutely!
The Beatles? Most likely.
Lucinda Williams' Jackson? You betcha.

What would you send to space?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Let's go to Cleveland

Hey, good news ... if you live in Cleveland.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is in that Ohio city, and now the induction ceremony is headed back there, too.

If you care, read about it here.

(By the way I've been to the Hall, and it's a rockin' good deal. You gotta go once.)

VH1 Classic's rock series is the bomb


I gotta admit I'm about hooked on VH1 Classic's series, the Seven Ages of Rock, that's dominating my evenings this week. And here's why:

Normally, these music history series on cable TV are nothing more than boilerplate mantra, stuff everyone knows. The Stones liked the blues, so did Clapton, Hendrix was influential, punks were mad at the world, disco was fueled by drug use, Birmingham, England, spawned all good heavy metal, etc., etc., etc.

Tell me something I don't know.

Well, this series is. Last night's episode on "art rock" was great. It featured Pink Floyd -- real Floyd, with Syd Barrett in all of his LSD-enduced greatness -- and the Velvet Underground of Lou Reed. There also was David Bowie, Ziggy Stardust, Bryan Ferry (did I spell that right?) and Roxy Music. You get the drift ...

I highly recommend checking this show out. Tonight's episode is on punk rock, so everyone channel the Sex Pistols, get real mad at the world and tune in.

Click here to see what it's all about.

More CDs of the year

If you like seeing varying writers' compilations of the CDs of the year, here's one from noted Chicago Tribune music critic Greg Kot. I've included his No. 1 pick of 2007. (And no, I don't know how to turn the italics off. I'm dumb on that.)

1. Mavis Staples: "We'll Never Turn Back" (Anti)


What a voice — and producer Ry Cooder gives it exactly what it needs. The Chicago soul great brings post-Katrina relevance and urgency to freedom songs she sang in the '60s civil rights era.

•Track to download: "Turn Me Around"

Click here to see his entire list.

Nope, I'm not gonna do it. Not for that amount of money

It's official now.

I'm not going to see Van Halen when the boys descend on Atlanta early next year.

I know, I'm gonna get tagged as an aging, wanna-be rocker who talks a big game but won't put up the big bucks when the time comes. That's fine.

I just can't muster the effort to spend what it'll take to get good seats to see Dave and Eddie up close. I mean, 200 bucks a pop? And I'd need 2? (Oh, the wife's gonna be mad.) Plus, I saw them in the 80s when they were relevant, and I saw Van Hagar in the late 80s, so it's not like I'm a Halen virgin.

I'll just have to wait for the live concert DVD.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

'Spice' of life in London

I confess that I went to The Guardian's Web site and read some reviews of The Spice Girls concert in London. I admit to being oddly fascinated by Victoria Beckham. Click here.
Apparently the show was pretty much what people expected. The fans, many of whom were barely out of the schoolroom when Girl Power hit the world stage, didn't mind that they couldn't dance anymore, or that Beckham didn't sing. They cheered. They hollered. When Beckham strutted her coatrack-thin frame down the stage, they cheered as much as if she'd belted out an aria at The Met.

And the British say we have no class.

Christmas songs and such

Overheard in a bank today from a teller: "God, I am so sick of Christmas songs."

Lovely music was filtering through the lobby as she muttered this. I felt for her, as did a few other folks in line, who chuckled at her good-natured grimace.

I love Christmas songs and carols, but I honestly can't imagine being in a workplace in which they're piped from Thanksgiving onward. Perhaps there should be some sort of aural remedy for people who work in offices and retail shops that employ Christmas music.

No matter how much you might love the genre of music, it's got to be wearing thin if you have to listen to it eight hours a day.

Monday, December 17, 2007

CNN NYE music spots

From CNN: Anderson Cooper brings the party to you. Anderson will be at his usual New Year's Eve post in Times Square along with Erica Hill and American Morning's Kiran Chetry. And we are excited that special guest Kathy Griffin will be there too.

You are a big part of the show. Anderson wants to hear your New Year's message.

Go to cnn.com/iparty for details.

Musical guests include: Earth, Wind & Fire from Las Vegas, Grammy Nominee Miranda Lambert, just nominated in the Female Country Vocal Performance category, and Widespread Panic from Atlanta.

Rock on! I heard that Panic's part will be at 11:25 p.m. EST on CNN, do the final song, and then come back for the countdown/NYE tune and I'm not going to be there (sniffle).

Another rocker dies


Everyone's probably heard by now, but Dan Fogelberg has died at the age of 56 due to prostate cancer.

Here's the coverage:

From Britain.

From Rolling Stone.

From the NY Times.

I was a never huge fan of his music, though I did particularly like Jackson Browne's work, who my brother turned me onto in the last '70s and early '80s. Nevertheless, Fogelberg had an intense following and was influential on a great number of the singer-songwriters of the era.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Zeppelin reunion show audio

Led Zeppelin — 12.10.07 — O2 Arena, London, England

stream [LINK] backup [LINK] mp3s [LINK] torrents [LINK] & [LINK]

The sound quality isn't great on any of the sources, but on the other hand the 02 Arena isn't known for its sound. Anyway, enjoy!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Madonna's back in the news


Hey, the Material Girl is gonna be a hall of famer.

Really. She is.

So says Rolling Stone.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Is this on your iPod?

This snippet from our friendly folks from AP about the hot sellers for 2007 om iTunes.

No, Led Zeppelin wasn't on the list, so quit complaining that we're blogging too much about Plant and Page. It's been 30 years, for cryin' out loud.

OK, back to the real story:
Maroon 5 and Fergie hold the top spots on iTunes’ year-end sales roundup. The online music store released its top-selling albums and singles Tuesday, though it declined to release actual sales figures.

Maroon 5’s sophomore album, “It Won’t Be Soon Before Long,” was the No. 1 seller on the site, followed by Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black” and Kanye West’s “Graduation.” Winehouse and West are also leaders heading into the 50th annual Grammy Awards — he has eight nominations, she has six.

Rounding out the top five best-selling albums were “American Idol” alum Chris Daughtry’s band’s self-titled debut, “Daughtry,” and “Coco” by newcomer Colbie Caillat, who has the hit “Bubbly.”
There's more to this story all over the Web, including on iTunes' Web site, and here too.

An ogre or a rock icon?


In case you haven't heard, Ike Turner has died at the age of 76.

Which lead to an interesting conversation in The Star's newsroom this afternoon -- that incredibly influential rock and Motown musicians like Turner and Rick James and many others, some dead, some not, are so often remembered for their indiscretions rather than their musical contributions.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

He hath banged his head for the last time

In sad and yet not-so-shocking news, it has been revealed that yet another rock star has fallen to the deadly trappings of the lifestyle.
Joining the ranks of everyone from Bon Scott to Steve Clark, Shannon Hoon to Jimi Hendrix is Quiet Riot singer Kevin Dubrow, whose recent death was ruled an accidental death by Las Vegas medical examiner.

Sad ... but not in the least bit shocking.

Live music in Jacksonville

For just a moment, I''m gonna stop pondering the possibilities of a Led Zeppelin reunion tour and take a look at Brother's lineup for the next few weeks. Check out the Web site.

Her 'tis:

DECEMBER

13 - JEFFERSON BROTHERS BAND $5

14 - THE PROBUS PROJECT $5

15 - BALLYHOO $5

20 - KEYS OF APPOLLO $5

21 - BUCK & DUKE $5

*Food Bank Benefit*
22 - MCPHERSON STRUT / THE SCARLETTS $5

31 - KNECKDOWN / ROUND 21 $12/15

JANUARY

10 - RECKLESS $5

11 - SELF SERVE $5

12 - JEFFERSON BROTHERS BAND $5

17 - MISSUSED $5

18 - A FIFTH LATER $5

19 - MOTEL MATCHES $5

24 - FLY BY RADIO $10/12

25 - NO JABOINGA $5

26 - ROUND 21 $5

31 - MARSH ELDER $5

FEBRUARY

7 - TROTLINE $8/10

8 - CAPTAIN SOULARCAT $5


Led Zeppelin -- the reviews




OK, the show's over. Apparently, it was pretty good.

The reviews are pouring in.

Rave reviews here.

Zeppelin feels whole lotta love.

Naomi Campbell mugged at show.

Audience reviews from the Guardian.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Albums of the year, or so says the AP

While we're all caught up in Led Zeppelin frenzy around here, the Associated Press has released its albums of the year list for 2007. Page, Plant and Jones didn't make it, by the way.

But Wilco, Radiohead and a bunch of others that I'm hardly an expert on did.

Read more here.

Led Zeppelin returns to the stage

The day has finally arrived.



Led Zeppelin returns to the stage
Video of Good Times, Bad Times
Video of Stairway to Heaven
Video of Kashmir
Video of Rock & Roll

Setlist:
'Good Times Bad Times'
"The set started with a clip from 'The Song Remains The Same' DVD with an American news clip telling of they broke The Beatles' attendance record for a gig in 1973 in California. Simple stage set, video screen behind the band."
'Ramble On'
"'Ramble On' done in extremely slow, bluesy manner, with shards of electric guitar from Jimmy Page."
'Black Dog'
"Page wearing dark shades, quite muddy sound. Crowd singing the 'ah-ah' bits back at Plant."
'In My Time Of Dying'
"Page is playing bottleneck guitar. Plant spoke for the first time before song, saying 'Good evening'."
'Your Life'
"That's not something you get to hear often these days, Led Zeppelin giving a song its live debut."
'Trampled Under Foot'
"Before starting Plant told the crowd it was the band's attempt to sound like Robert Johnson's 'Terraplane Blues'."
'Nobody's Fault But Mine'
"There are huge screen's dominating the O2 Arena, they split into four sometimes, goes monochrome, colour etc...quite spectacular."
'No Quarter'
"Following the song Plant paid tribute to John Paul Jones, who played keyboards and bass on the track."
'Since I've Been Loving You'
"A bit of a style guide for you, all the band are dressed in black bar Page's who is rocking a white shirt. As for the song they gone for the epic version ... very bluesy."
'Dazed And Confused'
"At the end of it of the song Plant told the audience 'On guitar Jimmy Page, just as he did on 'The Song Remains The Same' DVD which was filmed in Madison Square Garden in the 70s."
'Stairway To Heaven'
"What do you think happened? Right! From the moment those opening notes rang out the whole audience went absolutely crazy. The atmosphere is electric. Afterwards Plant said "Ahmet, we did it!"
'The Song Remains The Same'
"A fairly straight version of the classic."
'Misty Mountain Hop'
"Plant kicked this one off by praising the job drummer Jason Bonham has been doing, stepping into his late father's shoes tonight."
'Kashmir'
"Yet another epic, as this song cracks the ten minute mark. Plant introduced this one declaring 'We've got people from 50 countries here and this is the 51st'. Afterwards they left the stage to loud applause. Will they do an encore? What do you reckon?"

Encore:
'Whole Lotta Love'
"Of course they come back to deafening applause. And it's an extended version of the old 'Top Of The Pops' theme. Then once more the band leave the stage with a visibly emotional Plant declaring: 'Thanks to everybody. Thanks Ahmet Ertegun, this one for is Ahmet Ertegun as we remember the days when Atlantic Records was the best label on the planet!'"
'Rock And Roll'
"Just time for one more, as after two hours the night reaches its climax, and what a stomper to go out on."

They soundchecked the following:
Good Times Bad Times
Ramble On
In My Time Of Dying
No Quarter
Nobody's Fault But Mine
D'yer Mak'er
Communication Breakdown


More info >>

Photos from the band's rehearsal: 1, 2, 3, 4.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Hey, hey, it's the Grammys!

The Grammys don't mean as much as they used to -- or at least that's what music gurus try to tell us these days -- but we might as well pay attention to them when the nominations come out.

So, a question:

Who's this Winehouse person, and why should we care? (Not fair, I know who she is, but is she really worth a nomination? She's more pub than cred, to me.)

Story here.

Hey, let's make a Youtube video and get discovered by the Stones, man

OK, admit it: When's the last time you intentionally listened to a Journey song. 1987? 1981? Ever...How many times can you hear 'Faithfully' and not puke?

Well ... I like Journey -- old Journey, that is, stuff with Greg Rollie singing, jam-band stuff from their Bay Area days -- and I've been intrigued with how they've changed singers like most folks do socks the last few years.

Steve Perry? Gone, back, gone again.
Steve Augeri? Gone, for good.
Jeff Scott Soto? Gone, for good.
And now?

They've got some dude from the Philippines -- yes, that place -- named Arnel Pineda who they saw on Youtube singing their songs in a bar band. Flew him out for a tryout and signed him up.

There's still hope for all of us closet rock stars, apparently.

I'm not making this stuff up.

Go here to see and hear.

Or go here to read it for yourself.

Or go here to see it for yourself on Youtube.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Running with the devil, all the way to Atlanta

Great news!....Well, only great if you're a Van Halen (not Hagar) fan. I am, so yipee!!!

The (old) boys have added an Atlanta date. It's Feb. 10. And tickets go on sale Saturday.

Hope I can get two relatively cheap.

Apparently, there's no use in holding out hope for Van Halen to add a Noble Street date.

Atlanta it is, then.

Talk about an expensive ticket

For what it's worth, here's what you'll have to pay if you want to jet off to London for Monday's Led Zeppelin show.

Wow.

The 'lost' Woody Guthrie album found

Surely I'm not the only Woody Guthrie fan around here.

By JOHN ROGERS, Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES — He wrote more than a thousand songs, ranging from his "Dust Bowl" ballads to patriotic incantations like "Pastures of Plenty" to the American classic "This Land is Your Land."

He performed them everywhere he went, from community centers to Broadway theaters to California fields filled with migrant workers. He also recorded dozens on records.

But one thing Woody Guthrie never got around to doing was recording any of his songs in front of a live audience — or so Guthrie's family thought.

Until an odd-looking package with reels of wires showed up unsolicited in the mail one day at the Woody Guthrie Archives.

Once she had assured herself it wasn't a bomb, Nora Guthrie was delighted at what she was holding.

"Basically, it's an early bootleg," says Guthrie, youngest surviving child of the legendary folk-music balladeer.

Read the article >>

Led Zeppelin, all the time

Since the anticipated Led Zeppelin show is Monday, and since we're now apparently all Zep, all the time, I've included some Zep Web sites to get everyone ready for the big day -- since none of us have tickets to London, of course.

Here's a link to a cool story on Monday's concert.

Here's a Rolling Stone magazine story.

Apparently, Zeppelin is going to play at least one new song.

A very cool photo essay on Zeppelin history by Time mag.

More Zep news

Led Zeppelin's time has come again

By CHRIS LEHOURITES, Associated Press Writer

LONDON — Led Zeppelin's time is coming again.

When the diviners of rock 'n' roll classics "Stairway to Heaven," "Whole Lotta Love" and "You're Time is Gonna Come" reunite for their first full concert in almost three decades, the question on everyone's mind is sure to be: How many more times?

Monday's reunion in London has quickly become one of the most anticipated concerts of all time. Whether a larger tour will follow could depend on how well Zeppelin's members — singer Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page, bassist-keyboardist John Paul Jones and the late drummer John Bonham's son Jason — perform in front of a frenzied audience.

"I've got to go through it, see how I feel," Jones told Rolling Stone magazine in its December issue.

If the result of the band's early rehearsals is any indication, Zeppelin fans have reason to be hopeful. Bonham told Rolling Stone that the band clicked immediately, right from the opening notes of the first song they tried: the haunting dirge "No Quarter."

Read the article >>

Thursday, December 6, 2007

It's just not right

The Redhead is all in a tizzy that Led Zeppelin is getting back together. Like I do with everything else she wants, I'll try my best to make sure she gets what she wants (as long as the tickets aren't front row).

However, I don't know if I'll really want to go. Why? Well, seems that they might not do "Stairway to Heaven." According to Slate: click here.

As someone on Fark.com put it, "That's like going to a Devo concert and they won't play 'Whip It'."

And for you viewing/listening pleasure, my favorite Zeppelin song: Over the Hills and Far Away.



And the Redhead's favorite: Fool in the Rain.



What's yours?

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Top albums of 2007

I was in college once -- twice, actually -- and I vaguely remember what college radio was like. I'm not totally oblivious.

But I've been intrigued this week by the release of the top albums list of 2007 as compiled by The Chanticleer, the student newspaper at Jacksonville State. It's online, so check out the list here.

Here's the top five of the JSU list, offered in reverse order for a really cool suspense. You'll have to click over to the newspaper's Web site to get the pithy comments.

5. Liars - Liars
4. Rilo Kiley - Under the Black Light
3.Wilco - Sky Blue Sky
2. Radiohead - In Rainbows
1. Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?

Forty-year-olds often are seen as out-of-touch by college folks, especially when it comes to music. I guess it's true; we speak a different musical language, or at least some of us do. But I may just have to check out some of these CDs. Never know, I could be pleasantly surprised.

Trust me, this is worth it


I get labeled as a stuck-in-the-70s-and-80s rock guy, and it's probably true. Doesn't bother me much.
But one of my favorite guitarists is a guy named Ed Gerhard, an acoustic virtuouso from New Hampshire who's played in Anniston a few times. He's awsome and inspiring at the same time.
Anyway, Lisa Davis -- the wife of this dude named Bob who works at The Star -- asked this week about Christmas music. So I'll offer this:
Ed Gerhard has a CD of his own version of acoustic Christmas music, and it's the best stuff I've ever heard -- other than the originals, of course. He's incredibly talented, uses a whole array of different sounding guitars and can certainly set an aural mood. Great guy, too.
Try out his Web site here. I think I'll break out his Christmas CD for our holiday party next month. Probably go over better with egg nog than my Metallica and Maiden collection, anyway.

Friday, November 30, 2007

iPod music to run by

A few people at The Star know that I like to run. Lots of folks here do. And most run faster and more competitively than I do. Carl Lewis, I'm not.

When I run, my iPod is more important than my New Balances. I could run barefoot for a while, but I couldn't run around the block without a drummer in 4/4 time banging in my ears. Loudly.

So this week I've started a new project: Creating a playlist specifically for running, something most serious runners did long ago. I'm late, as usual. Beforehand, I had simply been picking CDs and running to whatever floated my boat that day.

What I've noticed is that my performance -- if you can call it that -- seriously declined if I had anything mellow on my iPod. As songs changed, my time and gait would either speed up or slow down, depending on the music. I'm a Pavlovian runner. Old Priest, original lineup Maiden, Megadeth, pre-black album Metallica -- think "Creeping Death" while you're struggling through your sixth mile -- and Sabbath made me run fast. Old Van Halen sometimes worked. Rush, especially 80s and 90s Rush, made me slow down. I dig the heck out of Dream Theater, but their music is so dense and complex that often it doesn't work well for running. And all those CDs of acoustic guitarists that I love? I couldn't crawl with them in my iPod.

So I'm going for the hard stuff, fast beats, loud guitars and no ballads, pianos, synths, acoustic guitars.

I'm gonna be deaf, but I'm gonna get my 10K time down, one way or another.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

New Widespread Panic song streaming; new album info

New-esque might be the better term. "Flicker" has
been played live before. It's the second song to be
released for streaming that is on the "Free Somehow"
album that is rumored to hit stores in late January 2008.



From widespreadpanic.com:

November 29, 2007
New CD hits the streets early 2008

The band is excited to announce their new CD "Free Somehow"
will be available online and in stores early 2008.
The CD was recorded at the Compass Point Studios by
Terry Manning. Most of the songs on this CD have not
been performed live yet. Here's a peek at the track
listing and a streaming studio version of "Flicker,"
which was performed live on tour in 2007, on the audio player.

Track listing:
Boom Boom Boom
Walk On The Flood
Angels On High
Three Candles
Tickle The Truth
Free Somehow
Flicker Take a listen
Dark Day Program
Her Dance Needs No Body
Already Fried
Up All Night Free download

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

News and notes from the jam world

The Black Crowes Warpaint w/ Luther Dickinson

From the beginning, The Black Crowes have done things their own way. And it's good to know that some things don't change. Warpaint — the band's first album of all-new studio material in seven years, due out March 4 worldwide — will be independently released on the band's own newly formed Silver Arrow Records and distributed through Megaforce/Sony Red BMG. It's their first studio release since the acclaimed Lions album in 2001 (on V2).

Warpaint marks the recording debut of two new band members - guitarist Luther Dickinson and keyboardist Adam MacDougall - who join Chris, Rich, drummer Steve Gorman and bassist Sven Pipien. Dickinson, of North Mississippi Allstars, officially steps in to replace producer/guitarist Paul Stacey, whose position with the band was always intended to be temporary. The Black Crowes are deeply appreciative that Stacey committed his genuine talent and time to the band and their performances for most of 2007.

More info >>

Widespread Panic's Tunes For Tots Gig at the Roxy

For the third consecutive year, Widespread Panic will precede its two night New Year's Eve stand at the Philips Arena, with a club gig in Atlanta at the Roxy. The Tunes for Tots charity event will take place on December 29, with all proceeds to benefit music departments in Georgia area public schools. Widespread Panic founded Tunes for Tots "to support their belief that art education, and in particular music education, is integral in the overall education and advancement of children Art allows for personal expression, appreciation of ideas, celebration of cultural awareness, sharing emotions, and gives purpose to life." Tickets go on sale on Friday at 10 a.m. and cost $125, with a limited number of $500 VIP tickets also available, which include a pre-show cocktail party with the group.

More info >>

Hannah's Buddies Charity a go again

We are pleased to announce that registration is open for the 2008 Hannah's Buddies Charity Classic and tickets for the JB and Friends concert at House of Blues are available. John Bell is lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist for Widespread Panic.

More info >>

Monday, November 26, 2007

The band that simply cannot live up to its name

Extreme's getting back together! Extreme's getting back together again!

That's right metal fans, time to break out your acoustic guitars (talk about two terms that simply don't go together) the band that gave the world arguably the most obnoxious song in the annals of rock - "More than Words" in case you'd able to extract it from your mental play list - is coming to a terribly small club/bar next to you.

That's right, the gang's all here - Nuno Bettencourt, frontman Gary Cherone and bassist Pat Badger and a drummer to be named later. Seems as though Cherone realized he wasn't getting a callback from Van Halen and has moved back in with the old bandmates.

Snarky though I may be, I must also acknowledge the fret mastery that was Nuno Bettencourt. He's a guitar god wasting his talents in Extreme - a band that was anything but.

But wait ... there's more. They're also releasing a new album. Goody-Goody.

Now this reunion I'd like to see

So it would appear that Ian Ashbury, lead singer of The Cult, had a little secret that he felt the need to share with a couple thousand fans recently.

During a gig at Bogart's nightclub in Cincinatti, Ashbury told the crowd that his band - themselves recently reunited - had been pegged as the opening act for a Led Zepplin tour.

Hmmm...

Now the surviving members of arguably the greatest hard rock band in history - Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones - have set the stage with a planned "one-off" concert for charity in the next month have been fighting off reunion talks for decades. But with the recent release of yet another "best of" package, their entire catalogue availble for digital download and the remastered release of "The Song Remains the Same" (not to mention everyone still being alive), the time just might be right for an actual reunion tour. But as much as I appreciate the gesture, even though Jason is his son, John Bonham simply cannot be matched and therefore a Led Zepplin reunion will ultimately fall short.

'Course the real question ... Seriously is The Cult the best they could get?

read all about it.http://www.sleazeroxx.com/news07/1120led.shtml

Wikipedia says Quiet Riot vocalist dead at 52

From Wikipedia (link):

Kevin DuBrow (October 29, 1955 – November 25, 2007) was an American rock vocalist, best known as the lead singer of the heavy metal band Quiet Riot. He was known to be the driving force behind Quiet Riot, and for his motormouth and cartoonish stage antics.

Click here to read an article about his death.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Red Hot Chili Peppers sue Showtime

When Showtime began Californication I wondered about the legality of the series name. If Showtime thought they could use that name and not get permission then they don't know a lot about copyright infringement. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Tue Nov 20, 7:35 AM ET

LOS ANGELES — The Red Hot Chili Peppers on Monday sued Showtime Networks over the name of the television series "Californication," which is also the name of the band's 1999 album and a single on it.

The lawsuit alleges unfair competition, dilution of the value of the name and unjust enrichment, claiming the title is "inherently distinctive, famous ... and immediately associated in the mind of the consumer" with the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Read the article

Who knew ... a cool story from Neil Diamond

Seems ol' Neil Diamond found inspiration for his hit "Sweet Caroline," from a photo he saw of Caroline Kennedy way back when the bejeweled singer was a struggling songwriter.

It's an anecdote he vowed never to reveal until he could tell the little lady herself, which he recently did via satellite ... how sweet.

Read the whole story here ...http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21898988/

Monday, November 19, 2007

no Van Halen

For those of you waiting to see the recently reunited Van Halen, the wait will continue. Though the band has recently added legs to its sold-out tour, there are still no stops anywhere near hear - unless Ft. Lauderdale counts.

More music nobody wants

Once upon a time, Kiss was innovative, dangerous, decent.

But no more - and not in a really, really long time. Sure, they're still out there - Gene with his books and TV show, Paul with his art and solo record, Ace and Peter ... well, they are still alive.

Anyway, with a series of TV box sets already on the shelves (both of which truly are awesome. The first because it captures the might and majesty of KISS as rock icons, and the second just for plain niche value - Phantom of the Park is one of the unintentionally funniest movies ever made), one would think they'd be happy to ride off into the proverbial sunset.

Nope. In a recent Billboard interview, Gene Simmons complained at length about how the college kids "killed music" because of all their free downloads, and how he has "no desire" to make new music with Kiss or anyone else for fear it would just be "stolen."

One reason to be thankful for music downloads. I'll be content to go home crank up Destroyer or even Dynasty (actually, I still like Music From the Elder) and reminisce about the good ol' days.

But Gene's not done. Plans are already in the works for the long-tongued one to drop "Monster" - a collection of never-before-released solo material.

Dear God, Why? As with such music, my boss has a saying that always rings true ... music that's been 'previously unreleased' hasn't been released for good reason, 'cause if it was good, somebody would've released it.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Star's music poll

We're uploaded this week's music poll. It's there on the right on the top of the page.

Vote now!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

someone make him stop

It's time for the Gene Simmons Money Making Juggernaut to pull over to a rest stop.

OK, glad the long-tongued bassist for Kiss managed to resurrect the band and the makeup for one last reunion tour ... that's lasted 10 years and counting. And I truly enjoyed the reality show. His son, Nick, is a star in the making. Heck, it's even cool that I can buy everything from Kiss condoms to breath mints at Spencer's.

But as much as I enjoy watching Gene and his Kiss cohorts, I don't want to read about his philosophies on making money and I certainly don't want to read about his advice for snagging chicks. Granted he's got Polaroid proof of certain backstage conquests, let's stop on the proverbial horn tootin'.

Here's a thought ... Let's record another KISS record! Granted, the world won't take a whole lotta notice, but at least that's what you're good at.

For the whole story, check out http://www.sleazeroxx.com/news07/1112sim.shtml

Tommy Lee no more

And the entire Metal World mourns ... then cheers ... then mourns ... then cheers.

Seems as the on-again, off-again courtship between Motley Crue and original drummer Tommy Lee is again on the skids. Bassist Nikki Sixx, off tearing up tiny stages with his side project Sixx AM, officially accepted the faxed resignation of metal's most famous skins man (get it ... "skins man 'cause of the whole Pam and Tommy tape thing, Oh, never mind) and thus ending the gutter-glam band's lucrative reunion tour.

But have no fear. The band will endure long as Mick Mars is still alive (that or they'll just prop him up). According to Vince Neil, who's been doing the fairground circuit during Crue's down time, says future tours and even CDs of new material are in the works.

Read it all here... http://www.sleazeroxx.com/news07/1112mot.shtml

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Panic brings down the house



11/09/07 BJCC Arena, Birmingham, AL

1: Holden Oversoul > One Arm Steve > Conrad, Heroes, Old Joe, A of D > B of D > Barstools and Dreamers > Ribs And Whiskey > Climb To Safety

2: Surprise Valley > Protein Drink > Sewing Machine, Airplane > Arleen > Mercy > Bust It Big > Pigeons > Mr. Soul

E: Pilgrims

Review | Stream

11/10/07 BJCC Arena, Birmingham, AL

1: Postcard > Coconut, Goodpeople, Tickle the Truth, Fixin' To Die, C. Brown*, Time Zones*, Chest Fever**, Tall Boy

2: Disco > You Should Be Glad**, Bowlegged Woman > Impossible > Jack > Chilly Water > Drums > Jam > Maggot Brain > Chilly Water

E: City of Dreams > Last Dance

* with John Keane on pedal steel
** with John Keane on guitar

Review
| Stream

Monday, November 12, 2007

ZepTunes

On Tuesday (as in tomorrow), Led Zeppelin's entire catalog will be available on iTunes for the first time. In terms of supergroups, that leaves only the Beatles who've not drunk the iTunes Kool-Aid, but they've sipped it because they're in negotiations now for their catalog to be made available in the future.

So what's your favorite Led Zep song? Robert Plant says he thinks "Kashmir" is the song that best encapsulates what the band was all about, but I can't stand "Kashmir." It's a droning dirge.

For me, the song that never really gets old for me is "Bring It On Home" from Led Zep II. In fact, that entire album never really gets old to me, unlike, say Led Zep IV, which I can only listen to every now and then, probably because almost all the songs on it have been played to death on classic rock radio.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Widespread Panic returns to Birmingham



The Southern jam masters Widespread Panic comes back to the BJCC in Birmingham Nov. 9-10. It's looking like these shows will sell out so get your tickets fast if you plan on going.

I'll review this weekend's shows next week.

Click here to stream the Nov. 3 show from Charleston, S.C.

Widespread Panic Web site

Monday, November 5, 2007

This week's OTR poll ... Vote now!

It's ready. Right there. On the right-hand side of the page.

Vote today!

Eagles music? It's the classics, man

Voters in The Star's weekly poll have spoken. If you're gonna listen to the Eagles, you wanna hear the classics.

Last week, our poll asked a simple question: Do music fans want to listen to the Eagles new CD or their old stuff? The results:

7 votes - the classics.
3 votes - aaahhgg! Eagles music is fingernails on a blackboard
1 vote - the new CD.

Bob Davis updates: As the lefty blog ThinkProgess notes, not everyone is happy about the Eagles latest. ThinkProgress writes about a conservative Web site's review of the album:
In a 1731-word diatribe, Newsbusters’ Warner Todd Huston lays into the new album from The Eagles, which is "just one long, sustained attack on the integrity of the United States."

Some Eagles critics probably feel the same way about their entire discography.

Friday, November 2, 2007

She's been done wrong


I'm now in my third week of listening to Lucinda Williams' latest CD, West. (It came out in February, which should tell you how far behind the times I am.)

It's clear after one listen that she's been visited by bad fortune in the recent past. She's been jilted by a lover. (See Wrap My Head Around That.) Her mother has passed away. Those two themes haunt West.

My favorite, Mama You Sweet:
With an ocean in my spirit
And cracks on my lips
And scars in my heart
And this burden on my hips

Ocean becomes heavy and tries
To push its way out
Through these ancient eyes
And the memories in my mouth

The song remains ... on pause

Seems that karma returning the favor to Jimmy Page. The former (and kinda/sorta current) Led Zeppelin guitarist once rumored to dabble a bit in black magic broke his finger, forcing the postponement of the band's one-off reunion concert (sans original drummer John Bonham).

But have no fear, the grizzled rock vets will still perform the show, which was organized in tribute to Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun, who died last year.

The gig has been rescheduled for December.

A great mystery revealed

Finally ...

After so many years of wondering, we've been given the answer to one of life's resounding mysteries - How top-hatted former Guns 'n' Roses guitarist Slash got his nickname.

Not that Saul Hudson, his real name, wasn't cool enough.

Seems that Saul was a friend of the son of character actor Seymour Cassel, who called the then-teenage, wannabe musician Slash - because he was so struck by the scheming youngster.

"It was a nickname that Seymour Cassel used to call me," Slash said recently. "I used to be (and) I'm still good friends with his son, Matt, so I used to hang out over at their house and he always used to call me Slash.

"Basically, he says it was because I was always in a hurry and I was always scheming, I was always hustling, this and that. He always saw me on the go, on the fly. So he used to call me Slash and it just stuck. My friends started calling me that and it just became a permanent nickname."

And now we can all sleep at night.

Poor, poor Ozzy

Now I guess he's the whining Prince of %$#@%&$ Darkness,

Pigeons and bats beware ... seems that ol' Ozzy Osbourne is a bit miffed, contending that music downloads are taking a bite out of his royalties and blames Internet piracy for the terrible sales of his latest effort "Black Rain."

That or the fact that nobody really cares anymore. Truth is Ozzy's legacy as a metal madman is secure (despite the knock his reality show did for his presumed evil nature), but nobody's really interested in new music. Just enjoy the royalties from "Tribute," "Diary of a Madman" and so on.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The next Knox Series show

Don't forget, the Knox Concert Series' next show is Tuesday night. Australia's Ten Tenors are performing. Tickets are $60 for the show at the Anniston Performing Arts Center at Anniston High.

Here's a taste of Entertainment Editor Shawn Ryan's story from today's Star on the Ten Tenors.
The tenors — Craig, David, Dion, Dom, Drew, Jason, Liam, Shannon, Steven, Stewart — met in 1995 as college students, all pursuing careers in opera. The group performed its first professional show in 1998 and began by touring in out-of-the-way towns in Australia's outback, figuring if they could entertain those rough-hewn folks, they could entertain anyone.
Read the whole story here.

82 bucks for a Timberlake ticket

Here's this week's top 20 concert tour listing, courtesy of Pollstar. Wanna get mad? Look at those average ticket prices. Good gosh ...

The Top 20 Concert Tours ranks artists by average box office gross per city and includes the average ticket price for shows in North America. The previous week’s ranking is in parentheses.
1. (1) Justin Timberlake; $1,724,905; $82.64.
2. (2) Kenny Chesney; $1,583,354; $61.27.
3. (3) Dave Matthews Band; $1,321,558; $47.89.
4. (New) Mana; $1,221,236; $73.73.
5. (4) Tim McGraw / Faith Hill; $1,104,803; $87.75.
6. (6) Beyonce; $849,016; $93.33.
7. (5) Rascal Flatts; $826,560; $54.67.
8. (New) Toby Keith; $677,644; $50.68.
9. (8) Josh Groban; $665,622; $78.63.
10. (7) Nickelback; $664,581; $44.90.
11. (11) Michael Buble; $629,661; $81.09.
12. (9) Rush; $620,432; $56.88.
13. (11) “Projekt Revolution” Linkin Park; $542,426; $39.91.
14. (12) Def Leppard; $518,865; $46.19.
15. (13) John Mayer; $499,575; $43.98.
16. (14) American Idols Live; $453,562; $59.30.
17. (15) Brad Paisley; $442,401; $38.38.
18. (17) Stevie Wonder; $404,671; $73.11.
19. (16) “Vans Warped Tour” $402,342; $27.04.
20. (19) Bob Dylan; $285,612; $55.16.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

New releases ... who cares

I check Billboard.com compulsively every Tuesday just to see what's being released or at least remastered. And I can't remember the last time this many big name artists released this many albums on the same day ... or when I could have possibly cared less.

Fresh off the presses today:
Britney Spears (maybe now she'll have a reason to be photographed half-nekked ... it's called performing)

Carrie Underwood (the second-best thing to happen to American Idol since Kelly Clarkson)

The Eagles (what with the Reunion Tour that only members of the band could afford to by tickets for it's at least a kind act of mercy that their first new CD in 235 years is available strictly at Wal-Mart.

Backstreet Boys (make Britney Spears still seem relevant) And yet I find myself rooting for these guys ... I don't want to listen to 'em mind you, but rooting for them just the same.

And as a side not Rick Springfield (yep ... THAT guy) just reissued his entire catalogue with bonus tracks. No punchline needed. It's actually happened. You too can own "Living in OZ."

Monday, October 29, 2007

Silent Night no more

And who wouldn't want to hear Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer sung by Dokken? Or Frosty the Snowman by Twisted Sister?

Well that's just what Monster Ballads Xmas promises. All your favorite Christmas carols sung by Hair Metal royalty such as Winger, Night Ranger and Warrant.

Read it hear http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21519474/

Friday, October 26, 2007

Voodoo Fest Live Stream



Click here to stream and to see the schedule.

TODAY'S SCHEDULE

Friday, Oct. 26
Time (CST)

Galactic
(2:35 - 3:55)
Jason Isbell
(3:55 - 4:55)
BRMC
(4:55 - 5:55)
Porcupine Tree
(5:55 - 6:55)
Bonerama
(6:55 - 8:05)
M.I.A.
(8:05 - 9:10)
JJ Grey & MOFRO
(9:10 - 11:25)
Toots & the Maytals
(11:25 - 1:00)

The jury's in on Springsteen

For the record, I'm not a big fan of CD reviews.

Mainly because most "critics" are on deadline to get the review out before the general public can buy it. So they listen to it a few times and go with first impressions. But the truth is, it's the rare album that sounds great instantly. Most need some time to stew, to be heard, to find their place.

Such is the case with Magic - the latest offering by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

Springsteen, like Bob Dylan, has reached an envious level in his career where, at least in the eyes of the critics, he can do no wrong. Merely putting out an original record means at least a four-star review. We should be thankful they're not endlessly issuing and reissuing Greatest Hits/Live/remastered collections of the back catalogue.

So there's little objectivity. And, again for the record, I just didn't like "Modern Times."

With "Magic," the reviews were in before the record had even hit stores. Rolling Stone gave it 5 stars - "Classic." I wasn't so sure. I'm a huge, huge Springsteen fan. But the man's made some bad records (Not as many as Dylan, but that's another column) - Tunnel of Love and the Peete Seeger Sessions come to mind.

But "Magic" is as good as advertised. This is vintage Springsteen. Straight up, working class rock. The opening track "Radio Nowhere" is easily the best single since Born in the USA. And the album succeeds not solely on Springsteen's lyrical gifts. The E Street Band are the real heroes on the record. Handcuffed by the genre-jumping on "The Rising," the band, especially Max Weinberg and Little Steven.

there are a few stumbling blocks (Girls in their Summer Clothes falls flat). But tracks like "Magic," "Long Walk Home," "Livin' in the Future" shine with the romantic sentiments, desperation and hope that will all this album to fit comfortably right alongside "The River" and "Born To Run" as Springsteen's best.

It's a masterpiece ... and I've taken the time to actually listen.

The brilliant oddity that is Tom Waits

Had a fascinating conversation with a coworker the other day ... and in said chat found a fell enlightened soul.

"You mean you like Tom Waits!" Love the mad genius in fact. But most music fans fall into one of three categories when it comes to the "poet at the crack of dawn." Either they've never heard of him, hate him or are obsessed with him.

I fall into the latter category - most days. Got to be in a mood for the gravely voiced singer who uses his own abrasive voice as an instrument. Waits has two essential phases - broken-hearted, whiskey-soaked balladeer and just-plain-weird, must-be-heard-to-be-believed.

But no matter the phase, Waits is arguably one of the best songwriters out there.

So without further ado ... Here's a brief beginner's guide to Tom Waits tracks:

Hope I don't fall in love with you
Ol' 55
Jersey Girl
Waltzing Matilda (Tom Traubert's Blues)
Time
Singapore
On the Road to Peace
I Don't Want to Grow Up
Martha
Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis
Alice
Innocent when you dream
House where nobody lives
Earth Died Screaming
What's he building in there
Picking up after you

More Pink than you can shake a cigar at

Though they haven't put out a new disc in decades, Pink Floyd continue to make a killing on their back catalogue including a monster repacked box set of their entire recording history (most of which should be ignored), though a revisiting of the sad genius of Syd Barrett is a must for even the casual Floyd fan

Get the whole story here http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003663687

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Acoustic music




I managed to get a good sampling of acoustic music across the spectrum. Note to purists: You may find some electric elements in some of these songs ... please don't hold it against me.

Must be all the tequila

Red rocker, and former Van Halen lead singer, celebrated his 60th birthday. And, despite owning his own tequilla distillary, still manages to look better that fret-master (and former bandmate) Eddie Van Halen.

Read all about Mr. I Can't Drive 55's birthday bash and unabashed plans for the future. http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003663435

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Unknown Hinson in B'ham

... Sometimes being scared can be fun

Psychobilly badboy Unknown Hinson will bring his unique view of the world to Zydeco in Birmingham on Oct. 26.

I first came across Unknown by watching the animated series "Squidbillies" where he is the voice of Early Cuyler, the patriarch of the redneck family of squids. Aside from the show being funny, Unknown brings the same irreverance to his music.

The 2004 album, The Future Is Unknown, had me in stitches and the music is very well played. Don't be mislead by his self-described Country/Western Troubadour persona, the band can flat out rock as well.

According to zydecobirmingham.com the show will also have a "Big Costume Party/Contest." They will be giving away door prizes and tickets for Hank Williams III & Keller Williams, as well as Squidbillies swag and drink specials all night.

$10 ticket and a freaky good time!

Did I mention he's purported to be a 400-year-old vampire?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Guitars for beginners

A reader has emailed and wants to know what kind of guitar to buy her 10-year-old boy. He wants to learn to play guitar, but she's clueless. (No comments there, please.)

Ergo, the question: What kind of guitar would be good enough to give a good start, but not so good that it would be a waste of money if the boy decides he ISN'T destined to be the next Randy Rhoads?

The only musical instrument I've ever had custody of was a loaner alto sax in band and a loaner French horn. We have a guitar or two in our house, but ....

Vegoose Music Festival Web cast this weekend

Click here to go to AT&T's Blue Room that will be streaming video of various artists on October 27 and 28.

This has been a great festival the past several years and this year's looks like a winner as well.

Vegoose.com

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

LeAnn Rimes -- remember her, Anniston? -- apparently has a hit record

When LeAnn Rimes played the Knox Concert series recently, little did we know her next record -- her 14th studio work -- would be so good. Well, little did I know.

Anyway, it's getting rave reviews. Read one here.

Clapton's book

Has anyone read Eric Clapton's autobiography yet?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Pick your Zep song



Our OTR poll for this week is up. It's right there on the right ... So vote — now!

This week's poll results

OK, you've spoken.

The Knox Concert Series needs more ROCK!

Last week's Anniston Off The Record poll sought your input about the Knox Series' lineup -- what did it need, if anything? How could it be improved? Did it need improving?

Six respondents said the series needs more rock shows. One voter said the Knox is fine the way it is. And no one voted for adding more country acts to the lineup. Sorry, LeAnn Rimes fans.

welcome to the ... bestseller list?

For those of you desperate for the dish on the once fabled miscreants of Guns 'n' Roses, The Top-Hatted One, best known as Slash, has penned a new autobiography.

Though it couldn't possibly be a better read than Motley Crue's, "The Dirt," or even Nikki Sixx's harrowing, "The Heroin Diaries," I'd just be fascinated to learn that Slash could string sentences together.

I love listening to G'n'R, but not so sure I wanna read about G'n'R.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Echo Project video



This site requires membership, but it's free and quick to sign up.

There's archived live music videos as well.

Friday, October 12, 2007

New Widespread Panic song

Widespread Panic released the new single off their upcoming album today.

Click here to listen or click here to download.

The song is "Up All Night." It originated from John Herman (keys), and then received further band input. Background vocals are sung by the same three-person group that backed Al Green on all of his great soul hits, and a horn section (part of which played on the Wilson Pickett classics) honks throughout.

— Terry Manning, Music Producer/Engineer


I personally like the song and it seems Panic took a different direction with this one. I had heard the song played by John Hermann solo before hearing this one. You can tell it has been added upon significantly and polished since it was first played. It has a Motown feel to it. Panic has been down that road before and it doesn't seem that they will shy away from that type sound anytime soon. I'm eager to hear the entire album. This may be the only song on there that has seen the light of day. It is supposed to be all new material, not road tested. The album should be in stores some time in November.


John Bell, vocals/guitar/and apparently the jug/, in the studio working on the new album.

Holy heavy metal

Christmas came early for Metal fans around the world with the recent release by Rhino Records. The Heavy Metal Box Set (original name) features all the excellent stuff one would come to expect from Rhino, including unique packaging - this time in the form of a classic Marshall Amp - and tons (literally) of cool photos, stories and liner notes.

But what truly makes this box special is the all-encompassing set list. From metal's early days of Steppenwolf and Uriah Heep to the speed metal of Megadeth and even a little hair metal tossed in for good measure.

Though overdosed with the predictable tracks, what's interesting are the less-than-famous songs by such metal masters as Iron Maiden, "Phantom of the Opera"; Angel Witch, "White Witch"; Mercyful Fate's "Black Funeral" and cool tracks by Loudness, Raven, Helloween and Sepultura.

And while it essentially ends around the early 90s with no mention of Nu-Metal Masters like Korn, System of a Down, Rage Against the Machine or Limp Bizkit (thank god for small favors), this is still a pretty nasty set.

And all that metal ... only $60.

See it for yourself ... http://www.rhino.com/store/ProductDetail.lasso?Number=187388

Love music and hate nuclear power?

Then this link might be for you:

www.nukefree.org

Quite the list of famous musicians.

The video on the site was seemed pretty slow so here's a link to it on youtube.

Joni Mitchell is back

Click here to watch an audio/video slideshow about her new album, art exhibit and ballet.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Acid Jazz




Acid jazz is one of the many genres of jazz and one of the hardest to define. Click here to learn more. Enjoy the tunes!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Essential Music and Audio Web sites

Click here for a list of Web-based Internet radio, music discovery tools, music search engines, music-related social networks, music sharing applications and widgets, online jamming, remixing, music charts, artist and lyrics databases and audio conversion tools. Basically this Web page has it all when it comes to online music. Have fun!

Enough already

I'm all for these dinosaur acts making every single buck possible, but some take the concept just a bit too far. I mean, how many different versions of "Free Bird" does one man need.

I'm a sucker for the "reissued with bonus tracks" approach to classic records. Heck, Elvis Costello has practically reinvented the wheel using this very same idea. He's expanded every single record into a double album thanks to all the outtakes and B-side additions. Some of which are worthy ... most are best left in the scrap heap.

But at least that's relatively "new" material, or at worst it's "unheard" material. What's truly annoying are these classic rock outfits endless putting out "Best Of ..." compilations, especially when they haven't put out a new album in a decade.

So here's an Off-the-top-of-my-head list of bands with the most Greatest Hits Records:
Queen -
Aerosmith
Eric Clapton
Lynyrd Skynyrd
Kiss
Poison
Great White
Megadeth

Feel free to add some of your own.

Straight outta ... retirement

Hard to believe, but that seminal Gangsta rap record, NWA's "Straight outta Compton" is about to turn 20. I remeber talking my Dad into buying this tape for me ... back when records with those parental warning stickers were held under glass and ID was required for purchase.

It scared the crap out of me. In a good way. And it, along with mayby "Appetite for Destruction" sounds just as angry and alienated as it did the day it "dropped."

That and it reminds me of the days before Ice Cube sold out to make family movies and people were embarrassed to wear Raiders gear.

So in honor of this anniversary, yet another reissue is coming, this time it'll be - Straight outta Wal-Mart
http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003655771

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Bravery at its best?


Jennifer Lopez's new CD is out. It's titled "Brave," but does that mean you have to be brave to listen to it?

Review here.

And here.

And here.

Worst songwriter ever

Blender magazine has released its list of worst lyricist in the world. Who's at the top fo the list.

Sting.

Yep, he's slapped around for words of “mountainous pomposity (and) cloying spirituality."

The list continues with: Rush drummer Neil Peart at No. 2, Creed front man Scott Stapp at No. 3, Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher at No. 4, and soft-rocker Dan Fogelberg at No. 5.

Well, heck, they don't even scratch the surface. How about Ronnie James Dio, who never met a dragon or rainbow or witch or medieval piece of imagery that he couldn't cram into a song lyric?

Or Lionel Richie. "I had a dream, an awesome dream, people playing in the park, after dark" ... "building an ark, making their mark, looking for quarks"? I still believe that his song "Truly" is a joke; he wrote it in an attempt to stuff as many sad, tired, cliched lyrics about love that he could come up with.

Or AC/DC? I want a "Mistress for Christmas"? They may get a lifetime pass, though. for penning one of the great all-time lyrics on "You Shook Me (All Night Long)" -- "She told me to come but I was already there." Genius.

Monday, October 8, 2007

I'm not alone

Like an AA meeting where everyone is greeted with "Hello, Your Name Here," this little story allowed me to shed my shame, realzing that I'm not alone - others have also discovered the guilty pleasure that is Rock of Love.

Granted I grew up on Poison, this pretty much just reinforced the notion that Bret Michaels ain't all that bright. And while this season was fun, what it really needs to make us tune-in again is Rock of Love - the C.C. Deville Show ... or maybe Ronnie James Dio (Love among midgets). Or better yet, Lemmy from Motorhead (My mole's bigger than yours.), or Danzig (Will you be my spawn of Satan).

Still ... five million? That's like 4,999,750 more people than bought Poison's last album.

Read 'em and weep. http://www.sleazeroxx.com/news07/1002mic.shtml

This is too surreal for words

When we think of great minds aspiring to bring peace to the Middle East such names as Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandel and maybe even Maya Angelou.

But how 'bout Brian "Cuts Like a knife" Adams. Everybody's favorite Canadian rocker appears poised to through he hat into the ring. Strange but true. Get the full story here http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003655258

Old blog, new poll

It's time to vote.

The schemers here at Off The Record have added a new weekly feature -- the official AnnistonOTR poll. It's there to the right of this post, easy to find even for people not yet caffeniated enough for a Monday morning.

So vote. And comment.

We want to know what you think.

(Oh, and suggest poll questions, too.)

Gettin' my groove to AOL

AOL is old school for lots of people, and I understand why. It's pricey, and its features aren't must-haves. I've often thought about dropping it and getting plain, old Internet access somewhere else for half the price.

But I'm loyal to AOL.

And I'm glad I am. I really dig the Radio@AOL feature that allows you to stream music into your speakers while you're online. It's really good for me because I'm so old-school I still have turtle-slow, dial-up service that can't stream anything without locking up the ol' Dell.

So while I'm surfing around, I can listen to a bunch of XM stations, stations themed by musical genre, talk radio of news (NPR) or sports (Sporting News) or almost anything else. Got hooked this morning on the international stations, which I'd never messed with before.

There are cheaper, and possibly better, service providers out there. But my ears are glad I'm still stuck on AOL.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Hey, George, how 'bout something down this way?

While we're speaking about tour dates, country megastar George Strait's announced some of his shows for early 2008. No word yet about Atlanta or B'ham. (Or Ohatchee, either, but there's still hope.)

Read about it here.

Rev up the R. Kelly tour bus

R. Kelly's hitting the road, and it looks like we'll have two chances to see him this fall.

Check out his tour dates here.

STOP THE PRESSES! HANSON BROTHER HAS SURGERY

Umm-bop, or however it goes ...

One of the Hanson brothers -- drats, I have no idea which one -- had emergency surgery somewhere for some ailment that I don't recall.

Story here.

Another one here.

Give blood, talk music

Some lively conversation today at The Star's blood drive. A song playing over the loudspeaker ended, and two of us mistakenly said, "We were liking that Prince song."

Immediately, we were corrected by Charles, a blood collections specialist, that "Oh, Shelia" was sung by Ready for the World -- not Prince.

(I'm now informed that Ready for the World's best song is "Let Me Love You Down." Never heard it, but there it is.)

(Back to the bloodmobile): The discussion moved from Prince to his albums. Best: Purple Rain, hands down. Finally, we morphed into general music trivia such as:

Bands named for cities: Bay City Rollers, Chicago, Atlanta Rhythm Section, etc.,

Bands named for states: Kansas, et al.

So, completing our Prince tie-in, what are bands fronted by incredibly short, spunky people?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

A song I've never understood

I listen to a classic -- or 'oldies' depending on your point of view -- station from Birmingham that hits the '70s, '80s era, or roughly thereabouts. They've in love with a Gary Glitter song, Rock n Roll Anthem Part 2.

What the heck is up with that song, and why would any station put it on a playlist that remotely holds itself as "classic" rock? It's annoying, drones endlessly, and wasn't he arrested in Asia for propositioning a minor? Shouldn't those three elements -- ignoring the fact that it's a shoddy representation of an instrumental -- eliminate this song from anyone's music library?

And what was that guy's real name? Was there a part 1?

Area musicians




Here's a playlist of area musicians ... at least ones with mp3s I could find online. I use the term "area" a tad loosely since the band The Strange is out of Rome, Ga.

If you're an area musician/band send us an mp3 and I'll gladly add it to the playlist.

As for our readers, if there is a local band that has mp3s online please send me a link.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

LeAnn Rimes -- LIVE!




A few images, courtesy of photographer Kevin Qualls, from Tuesday's LeAnn Rimes show at Anniston High School. If you went to the show, tell us what you think.

Help us review the LeAnn Rimes concert

LeAnn Rimes kicked off this year's Knox Concert Series with a show Tuesday night in Anniston. That's big news for these parts. Having The Star tell you about the show can be routine and run-of-the-mill. But having Knox attendees review the show certainly is better.

So add your comments to this post. Tell us about Rimes' performance, the crowd, and if you thought it appropriate for a country singer to be included in the Knox lineup. We'd love to know what you think. I bet fellow readers would want to know, too.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Radiohead for free?

Radiohead, very vocal about how they hate the music industry, has decided to release its new record, In Rainbows, on Oct. 10. But you can only get it on the band's Web site. No record labels involved. And the kicker? Pay whatever you want for it, according to the band.

Yeah, that'll work. This is a generation that doesn't want to pay for anything. In fact, most folks who go on the Web are looking for freebies. Remember when Stephen King released "Riding the Bullet" on the Web for $10? It was on the honor system, click the button, agree to pay later, get the book. Well, about half the people who got the book never paid.

Then again, only bands that sell more than 1 million copies of their records actually make any money off record sales (the labels gobble up all the profits first, saying they've "loaned" the band money to make the record, film the video, etc. etc.). Most bands earn their living through touring and merchandise sales. So Radiohead stands to actually make money from its own record. What a concept.

This time, K-Fed wins

Surely you've heard by now.

Britney's in trouble. She's lost her kids. Judge says so.

It's the train-wreck story that won't end.

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Echo Project

When it comes to music festivals, The Echo Project is setting a great example that other festivals should follow. All the proceeds go to cleaning up the Chattahoochee River in Georgia, and all of the flyers were printed on recycled paper with soy ink.

The festival runs from Oct. 12-14 just outside of Atlanta and will feature The Killers, Phil Lesh and Friends and The Flaming Lips with around 25 bands per day. The full line-up can be found on The Echo Project's Web site.

Scorpions got depth

The new Scopions record -Humanity Hour 1 is remarkable. And while the record itself is tremendous and has all those classic elements rock fans have come to know and love the German stalwarts - Klaus Mein's screeching vocals and the dualing guitar virtuosity of Matthias Jabs and Rudolf Shenker.

But what's truly remarkable is the lyrical and emotional depth of the album, a "loose" concept based on humanity on the brink of disaster. Though dark and melacholy, "Humanity" also exudes a certain hope.

Seems that the band that famously brought us such albums as "Love at First Sting," "Taken by Force" and "Virgin Killer" seem to have grown up a bit.

If this album's any indication, it's been well worth the wait.

'welcom to ... oblivion

We've had an Axl Rose sighting ... sonically speaking.

The corn-rowed singer and leader of some strange malformation of the formerly great Guns 'n' Roses has taken a respite from recording the 10-plus-years-in-the-making, Dear-Jesus-could someone-please-release-album-already project (better known as Chinese Democracy") to lend guest vocals to Sebastian Bach's upcoming solo record ...

In other news, perhaps even more unlikely news, this will Bach's third effort. Yep, THIRD.

It seems as though Rose was paying Bach back as the former Skid Row frontman, who's now More Youth Gone ... middle age, played guest vocalist on Chinese Democracy - assuming that record actually exists.

For the whole story check out http://www.sleazeroxx.com/news07/0930axl.shtml

Callin' Charlie Parker

Went to Kansas City last week, learned a few things that will help me do my job better, ate substandard chow and flew in planes piloted by Southwest's flying cowboys. (Good thing I had a seat belt on.)

Anyway, spent a few hours at the American Jazz Museum in K.C., which was really cool. Worth the price of admission. Charlie Parker and the whole gang's there.

Here's something to look at.

And something else.

And something else.

And something else.

That's all.

A Top 50 that you can argue with

Pollstar, the Web site dedicated to music tour info -- rap, rock, country, everything but the folks who play in Anniston, sadly -- has a pretty cool Top 50 list of tours. It's updated each Friday.

Bruce would like it.

Which Bruce? Oh, come on...

Got any tickets?

Guess there's some peeved fans without tickets to what's apparently the hottest tour of the fall.

Van Halen?

No.

Kenny Chesney?

No.

The Police?

No.

This.