Written By Braddon S. Williams aka “The Concert Critic”

On this date in history, 7/11/2019, I saw Alice Cooper for the 10th time. The show took place at the prestigious Honeywell Center in Wabash, IN.

It is challenging to do these reviews after seeing some of my favorite artists so many times. Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne, and Slayer are all similar situations. On the one hand, I keep going back because these artists are ingrained in my musical consciousness and I have absolute passion for everything they do and all they stand for. A simpler reason is that they continue to play incredible shows.

Alice Cooper hit the stage with a brand new set (a haunted castle…quite amazing to behold) and dug deep into his treasure chest of songs and pulled out some gems I had never heard him perform before. The song My Stars from 1972’s School’s Out album was terrific, as was the title track from 1973’s Muscle Of Love. Not only did these songs bring some new energy to the show, they provided some exciting riffs for Alice’s all-star band to add their magical touches to.

Another deep cut that got a particularly hard rocking makeover was Roses On White Lace from 1987’s Raise Your Fist And Yell, providing a fast metallic riff for the shredding of Nita Strauss, one third of Alice’s assassination squad of lead guitar aces. Each of these three got plenty of space to shine, and each have their own distinctive style that suits different facets of Cooper’s career.

During one early song, Cooper displayed some tasty blues harmonica, accompanied by Wabash native Tommy Henriksen, who played some back and forth lead guitar with the bosses harp licks.

Ryan Roxie, the longest tenured of the trio, played lots of melodic and soaring lead lines from some of the most classic songs.

Once again, drummer Glen Sobel delivered an absolutely jaw dropping drum solo on the capacity crowd, accompanied by bass playing muscle man, Chuck Garric (who has been a mainstay since 2002).

As admittedly superb as the musicians are (and they are the top of the line, each and every one), no Cooper show is based solely on music, and this was no exception. The theatrics were all in place, from the giant Frankenstein monster who made a brief appearance during the opening Feed My Frankenstein, and a full rampage later on Teenage Frankenstein, to a truly spectacular larger than life evil baby (looking a bit like the Stay Puffed Marshmallow Man with Alice Cooper makeup!). This baby took place in the onstage “execution” of Alice by guillotine. Although the guillotine had a malfunction, the old gag still provides a great bit of suspense and entertainment. Alice did his straitjacket appearance while singing Steven from the magnificent Welcome To My Nightmare album (1975), and segued into Dead Babies from Killer (1971).

Cooper’s wife Sheryl played the part of the evil nurse with sadistic glee. So, this was the 10th time for me, but I’m not done yet! Going back for more in November, when Alice brings the show back to the Murat Theatre at The Old National Centre…to be continued!

On This Date in History

Letting The Sun Shine In On The Late ’60s

THE 23RD ANNUAL TONY AWARDS: BROADWAY ’69 — Pictured: (l-r) Best Musicial Nominee for ‘Hair’ actor Erroll Booker, producer Alexander H. Cohen, actress Martha Velez as Sheila — (Photo by: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

The rock musical Hair, which was first performed in 1967 and opened on Broadway in 1968, almost serves as a time capsule for the culture of the late 60s. Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical (to use its full title) was incredibly controversial due to its music, references to sex and drugs, and moral introspection regarding draft dodging. Because of these artistic choices, Hair seemed to divide the audience when they saw it, but their choice to add a scene with the cast completely nude on stage became a driving force for free publicity as well as outrage.

‘Hair’ Characters Were Inspired By Real People

https://youtu.be/EhbxI5eVnM4

Gerome Ragni and James Rado, who wrote the book and lyrics for Hair, mentioned that this play was inspired by “some characters we met in the streets, people we knew and our own imaginations. We knew this group of kids in the East Village who were dropping out and dodging the draft, and there were also lots of articles in the press about how kids were being kicked out of school for growing their hair long.”

‘Hair’ Was Not An Immediate Hit — With Critics

‘Hair’s Original Ending Was Changed

Now that the public loved Hair, a full Broadway production was in the works. This was no small endeavor, the performance needed a massive revision to better suit mainstream audience tastes. The off-Broadway performance originally featured Claude, one of the leads, as an alien from outer space. This was deemed too eccentric and Claude was changed to be human, like the rest of the cast. The ending of the musical was also changed to lighten up the mood, and an entire 13 new songs were written. Despite all these changes Hair held true to itself, and broke many Broadway traditions.

The musical’s many breaks from longstanding tradition fanned the flames. Audiences loved the unconventional performance and Hair became both a cultural phenomenon and a smash-hit. The cast’s original recording sold over a million copies and they also got their songs at the top of the pop charts. Charles Isherwood, a writer for the New York Times had this to say about the music, “For darker, knottier and more richly textured sonic experiences of the times, you turn to the Doors or Bob Dylan or Joni Mitchell or Jimi Hendrix or Janis Joplin. Or all of them. For an escapist dose of the sweet sound of youth brimming with hope that the world is going to change tomorrow, you listen to Hair and let the sunshine in.”

The entire musical theater community has much to thank Hair for. Whether it be Hair’s success paving the way for more rock musicals to find their way on Broadway, or normalized the potential for off-Broadway shows to come onto Broadway, Hair served as a progressive artistic piece that is still beloved today.

HAIR: A Time Capsule Of The Late 1960’s Groovy History

Yes, you read that right—previously unseen color film of the Velvet Underground has been discovered! Left sitting on a shelf for who knows how long, the footage was recently found amongst hundreds of unmarked, unidentified, or damaged reels in the holdings of the G. William Jones Film & Video Collection, an archive at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Thanks to their digitization work, we can all view this forgotten footage of the great VU.

Dallas Peace Day, a protest against the Vietnam War, was held on October 15th, 1969. The event was held on the grounds of the historic Winfrey Point building, which overlooks White Rock Lake. Estimates vary, but there were likely between 600 and 3,000 people in attendance. The Velvet Underground were among the bands that played.

The VU were in town for a week of shows at a Dallas club, which began on the 14th. These were the first concerts they ever played in the south. It’s unknown how the group became involved with Dallas Peace Day, and their appearance was largely lost to the ages. The newly unearthed footage from the gathering was uncovered only by chance, and the archive doesn’t know the original motives for recording it, or even how they came to obtain the film.

The G. William Jones Film & Video Collection has uploaded a couple of Dallas Peace Day clips to their YouTube page. In the first one, the Velvet Underground can be seen and heard playing three songs on the porch of Winfrey Point: “I’m Waiting for the Man,” “Beginning to See the Light,” and “I’m Set Free.” The first sign of anything VU related is an interview with Sterling Morrison, so we’ve cued up the video to that point. The Velvets segment ends at the 6:40 mark. 

The archive has also made available silent B-roll from the day. Again, the video will start with the initial VU sighting. As it comes to an end, we see what appears to be an interview being conducted with bassist Doug Yule and frontman Lou Reed, ending with a close shot of the group in action.

A brief silent home movie clip of the Velvet Underground at Dallas Peace Day is also online:

COLOR FOOTAGE OF THE VELVET UNDERGROUND PERFORMING IN 1969 UNEARTHED!

Written By Braddon S. Williams AKA “The Concert Critic”

On this date in history, 6/11/2019, I ended a 40 year ban and saw REO Speedwagon for the first time since 1979! This happened because a wonderful new friend won free tickets and invited me.

The concert took place at The Lawn in White River State Park in downtown Indianapolis. I had never been to this venue before and I was quite impressed with the sound and visibility of the stage area.

Sister Hazel opened the show, but I must confess that they basically served as background music for a really interesting conversation my friend and I were having. To their credit, Sister Hazel sounded quite good.

When REO hit the stage, we moved up much closer to the stage and I must say the venerable classic rockers played all their biggest hits and managed to breathe some new life into some older deep cuts as well.

Lead singer Kevin Cronin did a lot of talking between songs, but his speeches served a purpose, such as his introduction of the band, particularly describing lead guitar player Dave Amato as the “new guy”, even though he joined the band in 1989. Cronin also talked about the songwriting process before performing Golden Country on solo acoustic guitar. That is one of my favorite REO songs, and the intimacy of just voice and guitar was a nice little change of pace.

Another speech involved the song 157 Riverside Ave., which was featured on their first live album. Cronin reminded us that the live version on that album was recorded in Indianapolis at the Convention Center.

Since REO hails from Illinois, Cronin played up the neighborly aspect of the band’s relationship with Indiana.

All in all there was a good balance between the big power ballads and grittier rockers like Back On The Road Again, Keep Pushin’ and Ridin’ The Storm Out. The crowd was singing along and swaying to the hits for the duration of the show. I’m glad I lifted the ban, because this time around was way more fun than the show I saw 40 years ago!

On This Date in History

June 9th 1992 #Deicide released the album “Legion” #InHellIBurn #HolyDeception #RepentToDie #DeadButDreaming #Trifixion #DeathMetal

Did you know…

The album was produced by legendary death metal producer Scott Burns.

June 9th 2017 #Suffocation released the album “…Of The Dark Light” #YourLastBreaths #ReturnToTheAbyss #TheViolation #TechnicalDeathMetal

Did you know…

It was their last album to feature vocalist Frank Mullen before his retirement in 2018.

June 9th 2008 #Venom released the album “Hell” #HandOfGod #EvilPerfection #KillTheMusic #BloodSky #EvilutionDevilution #ThrashMetal

Did you know…

It was their last album to feature Anthony Lant on drums.

June 9th 1997 #Testament released the album “Demonic” #MurkyWaters #TogetherAsOne #DistortedLives #TenThousandThrones #ThrashMetal

Did you know..

The album cover art for Demonic was done by Dave McKean who also did the cover art for the prior Testament studio album, Low.

June 9th 1992 #Tankard released the album “Stone Cold Sober” #BrokenImage #BehindTheBack #Mindwild #UglyBeauty #ThrashMetal

Did you know…

The band did a cover of the J. Geils Band song “Centerfold” on this album.

June 9th 1992 #TheGathering released their debut album “Always” #KingForADay #Subzero #Stonegarden #SecondSunrise #GothicMetal

Did you know..

The band was founded in 1989 by brothers Hans and René Rutten and vocalist Bart Smits in Oss, North Brabant.

June 9th 1998 #MercyfulFate released the album “Dead Again” #TheNight #SinceForever #SuckingYourBlood #Banshee #HeavyMetal

Did you know…

It marked the first album from Mercyful Fate that Michael Denner is not present on.

June 10th 1983 #Pantera released their debut album “Metal Magic” #RockOut #BiggestPartOfMe #RideMyRocket #TellMeIfYouWantIt #HeavyMetal

Did you know…

The album was produced by Jerry Abbott.

June 10th 2013 #BlackSabbath released the album “13” #GodIsDead #EndOfTheBeginning #LiveForever #AgeOfReason #DamagedSoul #HeavyMetal

Did you know..

It was the only studio album released by Black Sabbath since Forbidden (1995).

The album reached number 1 on the #Billboard chart.

June 10th 1999 #PrimalFear released the album “Jaws Of Death” #IntoTheFuture #ChurchOfBlood #PlayToKill #UnderYourSpell #PowerMetal

Did you know..

The band did a cover of the Rainbow song “Kill The King” on this album.

June 10th 1996 #Carcass released the album “Swansong” #BlackStar #FirmHand #Polarized #GoToHell #ExtremeMetal

Did you know…

It was their only album to feature guitarist Carlo Regadas.

The album peaked at number 46 on the #Billboard heatseekers chart.

June 10th 1983 #Tank released the album “This Means War” #LaughingInTheFaceOfDeath #EchoesOfADistantBattle #HeavyMetal

Did you know..

On this album, the band expanded to a four-piece, with addition of second guitarist Mick Tucker, former member of the #NWOBHM band White Spirit.

June 10th 1992 #Loudness released the album “Loudness” #PrayForTheDead #BlackWidow #WakingTheDead #HeavyMetal

Did you know..

Original bass player Masayoshi Yamashita was replaced with Taiji Sawada and the American vocalist Mike Vescera with former Ezo singer Masaki Yamada.

June 10th 2016 #Rage released the album “The Devil Strikes Again” #MyWay #TheFinalCurtain #War #SpiritsOfTheNight #HeavyMetal

Did you know…

The band formed in 1984 by Peter “Peavy” Wagner.

June 10th 2014 #Hellyeah released the album “Blood For Blood” #DemonsInTheDirt #SayWhen #Moth #Hush #HeavyMetal

Did you know…

Producer Kevin Churko handles the bass duties in the studio due to the departure of Bob Zilla.

The album reached number 18 on the @billboard chart.

June 10th 2014 #ArchEnemy released the album “War Eternal” #AsThePagesBurn #OnAndOn #YouWillKnowMyName #Avalanche #MelodicDeathMetal

Did you know…

This was their first album with Alissa White-Gluz on vocals.

The album reached number 44 on the #Billboard chart.

June 10th 1986 #Candlemass released debut album “Epicus Doomicus Metallicus” #Bewitched #CrystalBall #ASorcerersPledge #DoomMetal

Did you know…

This was the only Candlemass album to feature vocalist Johan Längqvist until he joined the band, officially, in 2018.

June 10th 1982 #Rainbow released the album “Straight Between The Eyes” #StoneCold #DeathAlleyDriver #RockFever #Power #EyesOfFire #HardRock

Did you know..

The album title allegedly came from a phrase from Jeff Beck, describing Jimi Hendrix to Blackmore.

June 11th 1991 #SkidRow released the GREAT album “Slave To The Grind” #WastedTime #RiotAct #MonkeyBusiness #TheThreat #HeavyMetal

Did you know..

The album debuted at number 1 on the #Billboard chart.

June 11th 2010 #OzzyOsbourne released the album “Scream” #LetItDie #LifeWontWait #LetMeHearYouScream #Fearless #Crucify #HeavyMetal

Did you know…

The album reached number 4 on the #Billboard chart.

The album is the only one to feature guitarist Gus G.

June 11th 2002 #WASP released the album “Dying For The World” #HallowedGround #MyWickedHeart #TrailOfTears #HeavyMetal

Did you know…

The album was dedication to all those who perished in the attacks of the 9/11 events, especially heard on the ‘Hallowed Ground’ track.

June 11th 2013 #TheBlackDahliaMurder released the album “Everblack” #GoatOfDeparture #IntoTheEverblack #MelodicDeathMetal

Did you know..

It was the first release by the band to feature drummer Alan Cassidy and bassist Max Lavelle.

The album debuted at number 32 on the #Billboard chart.

‪June 12th 1985 #Megadeth released their debut album “Killing Is My Business.. And Business Is Good” #Mechanix #Rattlehead #ChosenOnes #ThrashMetal‬

‪Did you know…‬

‪It has a version of Nancy Sinatra’s classic “These Boots Are Made for Walkin'”, with lyrics altered by Mustaine.‬

June 12th 1995 #ParadiseLost released the album “Draconian Times” #TheLastTime #ForeverFailure #Shadowkings #HallowedLand #GothicMetal

Did you know…

The album reached number 16 on the #OfficialCharts

June 12th 1989 #Lion released their last studio album “Trouble In Angel City” #ComeOn #LoveIsALie #StrangerInTheCity #HungryForLove #HardRock #GlamMetal

Did you know…

The band did a cover of the Slade song “Lock Up Your Daughters” on this album.

June 12th 2015 #Stormhammer released the album “Echoes of a Lost Paradise” #FastLife #Leaving #HolyWar #TheOcean #PowerMetal

Did you know..

The band was originally called Lizard.

June 12th 1999 #SixFeetUnder released the album “Maximum Violence” #ShortCutToHell #Brainwashed #MassMurderRampage #Bonesaw #DeathMetal

Did you know…

It was the first Six Feet Under album to feature Steve Swanson on guitars.

June 12th 2001 #AsILayDying released their debut album “Beneath The Encasing Of Ashes” #WhenThisWorldFades #ForcedToDie #TheInnocenceSpilled #Metalcore

Did you know..

The band was founded in 2000 by vocalist Tim Lambesis.

June 12th 1988 #BoltThrower released their debut album “In Battle There Is No Law!” #ForgottenExistence #NuclearAnnihilation #DeathMetal

Did you know…

German melodic death metal act Heaven Shall Burn used the same album title for their debut EP as a homage to Bolt Thrower.

June 12th 2018 #FleshConsumed released the album “Hymn for the Leeches” #BowBeforeMe #SerpentAmongstMice #AlphaOmega #TechnicalBrutalDeathMetal

Did you know..

The band is from Santa Cruz, California and formed in 2003.

June 13th 1985 #Ratt released the GREAT album “Invasion Of Your Privacy” #LayItDown #YoureInLove #GiveItAll #HardRock

Did you know…

The album reached number 7 on the #Billboard chart.

The album was produced by Beau Hill.

June 13th 1988 #NuclearAssault released the album “Survive” #FightToBeFree #RiseFromTheAshes #GreatDepression #ThrashMetal

Did you know..

The band did a cover of the Led Zeppelin song “Good Times Bad Times” on this album.

It peaked at number 145 on the #BillboardCharts

June 13th 1995 #FearFactory released the album “Demanufacture” #ZeroSignal #Replica #BodyHammer #ATherapyForPain #Flashpoint #HeavyMetal

Did you know..:

Many regard it as the band’s best album and a heavy metal classic.

June 14th 2019 #Helix release NEW album “Old School” #Closer #Cheers #SouthernComfort #TieMeDown #HardRock

Did you know…

Three of the tracks were recorded for the Back for Another Taste album but never released and have Paul Hackman playing guitar on them.

http://www.planethelix.com

June 14th 1982 #MetalMassacre album is released from #MetalBlade

Did you know…

The first pressing featured a version with guitar solos by Lloyd Grant and Dave Mustaine.

The second pressing featured Dave Mustaine on lead guitar and Ron McGovney on bass.

June 14th 1956 Legendary #KingdDamond was born!!! #HappyBirthday #HeavyMetal

Did you know…

On stage, King Diamond uses a microphone handle consisting of a femur bone and a tibia bone in the shape of a cross.

June 15th 1981 #IronMaiden released the single “Purgatory” and would be their last with singer Paul Di’Anno. #HeavyMetal

Did you know…

The track is a remake of one of the band’s earlier songs, entitled “Floating”, of which “Purgatory” is a faster re-arrangement.

June 15th 1999 #MercyfulFate released their final studio album “9” #BurnInHell #HouseOnTheHill #TheGrave #Insane #KissTheDemon #HeavyMetal

Did you know…

The band formed in 1981 by vocalist King Diamond and guitarist Hank Shermann.

June 15th 1993 #Sacrifice released the album “Apocalypse Inside” #Flesh #Salvation #TheLost #Incarcerated #ThrashMetal

Did you know…

The album was produced by Razor guitarist Dave Carlo.

June 15th 2009 #Artillery released the album “When Death Comes” #RiseAboveItAll #SandboxPhilosophy #TheEnd #DamnedReligion #ThrashMetal

Did you know…

It was their first recording since their second breakup from 2000 to 2007.

June 15th 1996 #GatesOfIshtar released their debut album “A Bloodred Path” #TheSilence #Tears #TheDreamingGlade #IntoSeasonsOfFrost #MelodicDeathMetal

Did you know…

The band is from Sweden and formed in 1992.

June 15th 2018 #LizzyBorden released the album “My Midnight Things” #LongMayTheyHauntUs #RunAwayWithMe #ThePerfectPoison #ObsessedWithYou #HeavyMetal

Did you know…

It was the first album from Lizzy in over 11 years, since “Appointment with Death”.

June 15th 1997 #PaulDiAnno released the album “As Hard As Iron” #RockTheBoat #DangerLines #SearchingForYou #SheGoesDown #HeavyMetal

Did you know..

The album also featured ex Iron Maiden guitarist Dennis Stratton.

June 15th 2011 #InFlames released the album “Sounds Of A Playground Fading” #AllForMe #ThePuzzle #DarkerTimes #TheAttic #Liberation #HeavyMetal

Did you know…

This was the first album recorded by In Flames without founding guitarist Jesper Strömblad.

June 15th 2018 #TadMorose released the album “Chapter X” #Nemesis #Liar #LeviathanRise #TurnToDust #Apocalypse #HeavyMetal

Did you know…

Their style has been described as “a power/classic heavy metal hybrid with slight progressive tendencies”.

Nov 15th 2011 #WhiteWizzard released the album “Flying Tigers” #Starchild #FightToTheDeath #FallOfAtlantis #WarOfTheWorlds #HeavyMetal

Did you know….

It is the last album to feature Wyatt Anderson on vocals, released after his departure from the band in June 2011.

June 16th 1991 #TypeONegative released their debut album “Slow, Deep And Hard” #PreludeToAgony #XeroTolerance #GothicMetal

Did you know..

The album was originally titled “None More Negative” and released in 1990 under the group’s former name Repulsion.

This Week in Rock & Metal

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Pink Floyd: Dark Side Of The Moon

Shortly after I began this marathon project last year it occurred to me that my start date was 4/21, meaning my final review would fall on 4/20. From that point it became clear that there was only one possible outcome for the last album in the series…Ladies and Gentlemen, I give to you Dark Side Of The Moon (1973) by Pink Floyd! Everything about this album is classic, iconic, and larger than life.

It spent an unfathomable amount of time in the charts (over 900 to date), sold a staggering 45 million units (and counting!), has one of the most recognizable covers in all of rock music (with no title or band name listed), and continues to be a staple of rock radio all these many years later.

Dark Side Of The Moon explores timeless topics like death, greed, mental illness, and time itself.

The music was impeccably recorded and engineered, appealing to audiophiles and casual listeners alike. Dark Side was also a more collaborative effort from the band, recorded in a time before Roger Waters became the primary songwriter.

Of course, the songs themselves have become beloved to generations of Floyd fans; Money, Us And Them, Brain Damage, Time, Breathe, Eclipse, and The Great Gig In The Sky.

David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Rick Wright, and Nick Mason created something epic and cosmic and ultimately relatable to countless people across the globe and across a significant span of time.

Music is indeed the universal language, and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon speaks to the universe.

https://youtu.be/JwYX52BP2Sk

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Written By Braddon S. Williams

The Beatles: Abbey Road

“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make” – Paul McCartney

As I near the end of this most satisfying journey into my musical inspirations and taste, I think it is appropriate to discuss Abbey Road (1969), the final time The Beatles were all in a recording studio together.

Abbey Road featured all the things that made The Beatles so wonderful: the melodies, the harmonies, the creativity, the usage of the studio as a component of their compositions…and the one-of-a-kind chemistry the Fab Four generated.

Lennon & McCartney were now challenged by George Harrison as a writer equal to their immense talents. Harrison contributed Here Comes The Sun, and the incomparable Something, proving he had established his own voice as a composer.

John and Paul had their own triumphs, adding to their own legacy, with Come Together, Golden Slumbers, I Want You (She’s So Heavy), and Carry That Weight.

Ringo Starr even got a fun entry with the whimsical Octopus’s Garden.

The suite of song fragments on Side Two of the original vinyl release was a brilliant display of The Beatles acting as their own editors; making something timeless and thrilling out of songs that might never have been completed otherwise. On The End, the boys had some fun flexing their musical muscles, with the roundabout of lead guitar trade offs from Paul, George, and John, and even a quick drum solo from Ringo.

The album cover generated a lot of speculation, conspiracy theories, and controversy on its own…and though it didn’t include the name of the record or even the band’s name…it wasn’t necessary, because everyone in the world knew The Beatles. They were a phenomenon, and Abbey Road is a phenomenal album.

https://youtu.be/hL0tnrl2L_U

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind