Sunday, November 29, 2015

Vandenberg a looked over Guitar god

One of  favorite guitarist  is Adrian Vandenberg.  The first reaction from most people is "Who?"  My reply is normally the blond guitar player in the Whitesnake videos.  Most of the time that works.  The fact that he is known as the 2nd best guitar player in someone else's band is a shame because he is so much more.

The 80's were the time to be a lead guitarist.  They were the gods of the age.  There were many of the gods on  MTV and shredding the stages with their mighty axes.  Unfortunately with so many gods on the scene some really notable guitarists got lost.

Okay the fact that I knew of  Vandenberg before Whitesnake was thanks to Mark "Blender" Benson. Mark was just able to find some real gems and the band Vandenberg was an outstanding discovery. The band had three albums in the early 80's and unfortunately other than Mark they never found a large audience.  I only own the Greatest Hits CD but I have listened to every album from many road trips with Mark.

What I find great about Adrian Vandenberg's style of guitar play is that unlike many other guitar gods of that time, is that guitar playing fits with the song instead of please suffer through this until my guitar solo comes in.  On the track Different Worlds he switches from classical guitar to electric naturally and it fits within the frame of the song.  The rest of their greatest hits CD is an perfect example of  early 80's hard rock.

I saw Whitesnake on tour where Adrian Vandenberg and Steve Vai were both playing guitar.  This is where my admiration for Vandenberg's guitar playing was cemented.  I am not taking anything away from Steve Vai, He is a technical genius on the guitar, but compared to Vandenberg he seemed like a little boy trying to show off.  In Vai's defense this was the style of the age and maybe this is why Vandenberg got lost in the mix.  When Adrian came to play his solo it was more like a master working on his art.  There was a passion and soul built into his playing along with the technical brilliance.   All I can say is that my date at the time swooned when he played.

This was the highest point of Adrian Vandenberg's career.  He faded away with the guitar gods of the age.  If you are looking for the best of early 80's hard rock I would give them a listen.

Til next time: listen to the best - your ears deserve it.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Redefining Roles In This Moment

My wife recently noticed that my blogs start with "In High School" quite often.  So I am doing this blog talking about a new band, yes from this century, but the obstacles they face have been around for awhile.

This blog will will have me talking about Octane Channel on Sirius/XM.  Hard Rock and Metal have for many years been a tough place for women.  In the art form Women have either been objects of Lust, Distain, or on very rare occasion adoration.  The great thing about this generation is the evolution on the sound.  Young woman have really started to come into their own as artists.  I have already talked about Halestorm a great Hard Rock band fronted by a female rocker. The newest band that has caught my attention is In This Moment.

I am not reviewing a CD but the band.  What I find really interesting about In This Moment is that they are carrying on the Shock Rock started by Alice Cooper.  Now I don't like all of their music. Some of it is just too edgy and rough, but I do respect what they are doing.  As I said earlier, women have not had an easy time in music in general but Hard Rock and Metal has been really tough to break into.  In This Moment has found their share of unfair criticism.  The lead singer Maria Brink is an attractive blond young woman, who sings about sex and edgy subjects.  The criticism is that a woman can not willfully want to discuss such subjects, there must be a man behind her forcing her to sing about such things so all us guys get aroused.  What utter Cave Man crap!  Maria Brink and the band are facing what Madonna did last century with  Pop and Dance  The band even released a song to answer their critics Sex Metal Barbie.  Now the song isn't my cup of tea but the message is right on.

Octane is where I found their music, some of I really enjoy, but finding their video channel on YouTube has taken it to a whole other level.  I am going sound really old here but I have missed out on the music videos on You Tube.  The discovery has made me thrilled and opened up a new way for me to enjoy music.  In This Moment's video channel is what made me appreciate the band even more.Their videos are testaments to Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson.

I have mentioned several times that I don't get all of In This Moment, so I want to mention several songs I really dig.  Big Bad Wolf is one of their newer releases and it is the jam! Adrenalize is another great song and finally The Gun Show is very tasty and fun.

If you want to hear where Shock and NuMetal is going in the future led by a great female lead singer, In This Moment is a great place to start.

Til the next time' only listen to the best: your ears deserve it.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Metallica's Black day for purist

I remember Metallica from high school. All of the burn outs wore the t shirts from the early tours. For those of you who don't remember or don't know what a burn out was, they were the kids really into Metal music and drugs. I never was fully in their group I really liked hard rock I didn't have the application for Metal at the time, and I didn't do drugs. So I spent high school around the music of Metallica. I even remember the disappointment and heartache when the original bassist Cliff Burton died way too early. I guess the closest to early Metallica I got into was the video for the song One. 

When Metallica first came on the market they, like most Metal bands, weren't on the radio and they definitely weren't on MTV. Metal finally got a toe hold in the mass media with The Head Bangers Ball. I remember that show, 120 Minutes for alternative music and finally the great Ed Lover show for Rap was a way MTV gave a small voice to videos that weren't pop. 

In 1991 I was in college and Metallica released the Black album. I finally heard the band on radio and saw videos on MTV. I enjoyed what I heard and saw, but Metal purists were none too happy. Before I get to my review of the album I want to look at the Metal fans reaction and what is truly Selling Out. 

The problem with the Black Album is that it crossed over. This means Industry smucks realized that could make big money off of Metal music, or at least a formula of it. I think that after many times listening to New Metallica, and the fact that the band has lasted ,it must have meant that the band wanted a change. The great bands that last change. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Rush, and heaven knows Queen all changed and tried different styles over their careers. I think the reason Metallica lasted is that they wanted to change. Unfortunately, there were many Metal bands that listened to the music industry smucks and changed for the money. Fans know when it is real and when it is a formula. Hey there are many Metal bands that didn't give into the Industry and they are still around. So is it truly Selling Out if you want to change your music and it becomes popular?  Let's be honest the Black Album could have bombed. 

On the album, The first change I noticed is that the songs are much shorter. It kind of reminds me of the change Rush did after their first few albums. It's like the band felt we know we can write epics ; can we get the point across in a shorter time. The other change is there is a heavier bass line. I sometimes wonder if this change plus the cross over of Rap lead to the Metal of the 21 century?  The songs are still very dark Enter Sandman, The Unforgiven, The God That Failed are all on the unpleasant side of life. I love Sad But True the grove just diggs in and grabs you. Finally, yes there is sort of a ballad on the album, Nothing Else Matters. I know that was probably the biggest sticking point for Metal purists. I have to admit I sort of side with the purists on this one. Now Hair Metal had already fallen into this Industry trap of releasing the heavy track and then the ballad ; so too did a lot of Metal bands who would never willing write more less release a ballad. So Metal went the way of Hair bands, Fans know a formula and will also look for the Pure Art

So I like the Black album, and to be frank to anytime there is a change haters be out in full force. But if it a change cause the musicians want it they will last. Give it a listen. it is a great Album. 

Till next time, listen to the best your ears deserve it. s