Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!
Remembering Death Metal Pioneer Chuck Schuldiner
19 ago this week, Schuldiner died after a two-year battle with brain cancer.
Death was one of the first ever death metal bands in the United States. They started in 1983 under the name Mantas and then the name was changed to Death in 1984. Chuck was only 16 years old.
Charles Michael “Chuck” Schuldiner was an American singer, songwriter, and guitarist. He founded the band Death in 1983 and was their lead vocalist until his death in 2001
Death is no longer a band since Chuck Schuldiner died on December 13, 2001. He was 34 years old. He had brain cancer and the medication he was on to beat the cancer made him weak. He died of pneumonia. He had another band project called Control Denied during the 3 years before he died.
The UK’s 2002 issue of Kerrang! magazine said that “Chuck Schuldiner was one of the most significant figures in the history of metal.”
Original members were Schuldiner (guitar), Rick Rozz (guitar) and Kam Lee(drums and vocals). In January 1986, Schuldiner moved to Toronto and temporarily joined the Canadian band Slaughter. However, he quickly returned to continue the formation of Death.
[Chuck Schuldiner] showed the foresight and courage to not only help create the rules of death metal, but to demonstrate how to break them. — Arthur von Nagel (Cormorant)
There’s something to be said for the visionary who dismantles the very movement he’s created or pioneered. John Coltrane left behind hard bop to scatter sheets of sound, always knowing there was something more to explore. After joining the Communist Party, composer Cornelius Cardew rejected his prominent role in the English Avant-Garde to protect populist folk music. For a humble guitarist from Florida named Chuck Schuldiner, his metal band Death (not to be confused with the proto-punk band of the same name) was a mere instrument. Along with the Bay Area’s Possessed, Death not only helped spawn an entire extreme genre around gore and technical guitar wizardry, but like horror movies sometimes do, Death also challenged our notions of life.
From the 1983 Death by Metal demo by a pre-Death band called Mantas to the hollering banshee wail of Scream Bloody Gore to the early jazz-metal fusions of Human to the glorious 1998 swansong, The Sound of Perseverance, Schuldiner lived the Leonardo da Vinci creed: “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” Not one Death album was the same, but they were very much all connected; the non-linear narrative continued through Schuldiner’s formation of the scream-less progressive heavy metal band Control Denied.
Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!
Five months ago was the 50th anniversary of the 1970 debut self-titled album from Black Sabbath. The iconic record bore an equally iconic cover-art, which would go onto inspire the tropes of metal imagery for decades to come.
50 years on, photographer Keith “Keef” Macmillan goes behind the scenes of the iconic first Black Sabbath album cover, revealing the identity of the mysterious woman.
The woman featured on the cover of Black Sabbath is Louisa Livingstone. Livingstone was about 18 at the time and working as a model.
“She was a fantastic model,” Macmillan describes. “She was quite petite, very, very cooperative. I wanted someone petite because it just gave the landscape a bit more grandeur. It made everything else look big.”
For the location, Macmillan picked a 15th-century Mapledurham Watermill in Oxfordshire, about an 80-minute drive from London. In the final image, Livingstone is depicted as a witch-like figure dressed in all black, standing amongst trees in front of an eerie white building.
“Nowadays it’s very much more modernized, beautified, and touristed,” Macmillan describes. “Then, it was quite a run-down and quite spooky place. The undergrowth was quite thick and quite tangled, and it just had a kind of eerie feel to it.”
Macmillan decided to use Kodak infrared aerochrome film, usually used for aerial photography. In order to capture infrared light, they started the shoot as early as possible. Macmillan then did “a little bit of tweaking in the chemistry to get that slightly dark, surrealistic, evil kind of feeling to it.” He would then boil and freeze the film to make it grainy and undefined.
Now the artist behind the work, Keith “Keef”Macmillan, has spoken about the photo, finally revealing the identity of the woman in the image.
Incredibly, Livingstone herself was recently tracked down. Speaking on the image she recalled: “I had to get up at about four o’clock in the morning, or something as ridiculously early as that.”
“It was absolutely freezing,” she continued. “I remember Keith rushing around with dry ice, throwing that into the pond nearby, and that didn’t seem to be working very well, so he was using a smoke machine. But it was just one of those very cold English mornings.”
Apparently Macmillan brought along a taxidermy crow and a real black cat. Macmillan says that Livingstone is holding the cat in the final shot, although Livingstone herself has no memory of the cat.
“When I saw the cover, I thought it was quite interesting, but I thought, ‘Well, that could be anybody,’ so it’s not like I got any kind of ego buzz out of it,” described Livingstone.
Cristina Scabbia of Italian heavy rockers LACUNA COIL says that she and her bandmates are “doing well” and are continuing to live their lives despite the fact that their country has reported the most deaths from the new coronavirus outside of China, where the virus emerged in December.
On Thursday, Scabbia took to her Instagram to write: “I am getting lots of concerned messages about our health and I feel blessed knowing we are so loved.
“I really, really want to take a minute to THANK YOU all.
“Despite news spreading fear (sometimes panic) around the world , Italy has not become like in Resident Eviland not ‘every single italian is close to death’ as some articles want you to believe, even if of course we are very active and attentive in preventing any case without hiding our heads under the sand.
We, in the band, are doing well and we keep on living our lives, knowing that even if coronavirus does NOT automatically = death, it is still important to protect whoever is more exposed or is more frail against viruses (especially elders with pathologies and anyone with preconditions) and to prevent any kind of spreading for the world’s good.
“I am confident that the moment will pass for us all soon, and I have faith in our health system that WANTS to search for ill people IN ORDER TO HELP AND CURE , being very transparent and not hiding results for the rest of the world, because in case you didn’t notice, the whole world is involved and we didn’t create this virus, we are fighting it.
“We love you all, see you around the world (hopefully) soon, in the meantime, I will keep on enjoying my beautiful country I love so much and its amazing (and healthy) food”
Earlier in the week, LACUNA COIL canceled its previously scheduled shows in Australia and Southeast Asia due to mounting concerns of the coronavirus.
Nearly 200 people in Italy have died from the coronavirus, including 49 during the most recent 24-hour period. More than 4,600 cases have been reported in total.
The bulk of the cases are in the northern region of Lombardy, whose capital is Milan, which is where LACUNA COIL is based.
In Italy, which has one of the world’s oldest populations, 4.25% of individuals confirmed to have the coronavirus have died, the highest rate on the planet.
Around 100,000 people worldwide have contracted the coronavirus and more than 3,000 people have died — the majority in China.
“Candy apples and razor blades, little dead are soon in graves / I remember Halloween / This day anything goes, burning bodies hanging from poles / I remember Halloween!”
Thus cried Glenn Danzig in the classic Misfits song named for today’s hellacious, hallowed holiday, recasting Halloween as a day of purest evil instead of the plastic-pumpkin candy-grab it really is. The song itself is a gory little gem — a great song from a collection of accidentally brilliant songs — but it’s not good enough to make this list. Fuck it — Halloween is here! What better way to celebrate than a collection of the absolute best graveyard classics from the masters of unintentional comedy and gore-spattered punk ‘n’ roll? You know the Misfits, and you love the Misfits because they’re the fucking Misfits. You can’t hate them without hating fun itself.
For the uninitiated (for shame!), the Misfits crawled out of New Jersey way back in 1977 with a new take on punk rock: They took boring, comparatively straitlaced New York punk for a hell-ride, fashioning themselves after undead greasers with corpsepaint and trademark devilocks. The songs were sped-up ’50s rock played terribly with an evil-Elvis impersonation on top that almost masked the genius of the vocal hooks Danzig was able to pull from god knows where. For a band that could barely play their instruments, these guys could crank out the hits like no other. Lyrics fell between horror-fueled fantasies of violence and nonsensically sexualized celebrity obsessions, but they came off like alternate-dimension radio classics — Danzig’s croon easily sold lines about killing babies, inseminating little girls, and being, uh, 138.
Sadly, the Misfits came to an unfortunate end in 1983, due to the usual shitty reasons that cause young punk bands to break up. Glenn Danzig immediately moved on to heavier, less-punk sounds with his next band, Samhain, which would eventually morph into Danzig (the band). The remaining members, led by bassist Jerry Only, eventually (and unfortunately) won the rights to use the Misfits name and hired one Michale Graves to replace their irreplaceable singer. Several tours happened, countless T-shirts were sold, and a few terrible records were released before Graves split to leave the frustratingly persistent Jerry Only to front the band. No late-period Misfits will appear in this list, rest assured.
Which leads me to the task at hand: I will do the impossible here by attempting to select a measly 10 Misfits tracks to help us celebrate this most haunted holiday and most excellent band. One production note: The Misfits’ catalog gets messy as all hell — songs were re-released and re-recorded, repurposed from live recordings, and sometimes unceremoniously overdubbed by an angry Danzig (see: all of Legacy Of Brutality) — so we’re not including original release dates this time around. Suffice to say, all these songs (and many more great ones!) can be found in varying shapes on The Misfits (also called “Collection I”), Collection II, Walk Among Us, Static Age, and Legacy Of Brutality, as well as the four-disc box set that collects all relevant Misfits goodness from the Danzig era. With a catalog full of classics, it’s inevitable many favorites will be overlooked. Trust me, I love them all — I just love these more. Feel free to unleash the hounds in the comments section and tell me exactly why “Rat Fink” should be on here.
10. “Mommy Can I Go Out And Kill Tonight?”
For all the talk of hooks and ’50s crooning, the Misfits also made for a hell of a hardcore band. They’d dive deeper into hardcore with the Earth A.D./Wolfs Blood album, but they’d never outdo the filth and fury of “Mommy, Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight?” Released smack dab in the middle of studio album Walk Among Us, “Mommy” is a live track that kicks ass by simply kicking ass. Your typical deranged Danzig rant leads into one of the best Misfits moments ever when the song lurches to a sudden stop. Everything hangs for a second before Danzig screams the title — “Mommy? Can I go out and … kill tonight?” — and we bash our way through the song in double-time. For a song about a bullied kid murdering the world, they nail the tone. As a teenager, this was the soundtrack for head-banging and trashing my room.
9. “Horror Business”
The Misfits’ third single, released in 1978, “Horror Business” is a perfect case of the absurd legends that arise from vague, violent lyrics. With lines like “You don’t go in the bathroom with me” and “I’m warning you, I’ll put a knife right in you”, folks have long theorized it was about Sid and Nancy (she was stabbed to death in a bathroom, quite possibly by Sid), or that it’s a warning to gay fans not to follow Glenn into the shitter. In reality, it’s a clear reference to the movie Psycho, with the line “Psycho ’78” meant to transpose the timeframe of the original story to the year they recorded the song. As we all know, Norman Bates, the titular pyscho, stabbed Janet Leigh in the bathroom in Hitchcock’s classic. Misfits lyrics are rarely deep, just awesome. Also of historical note: the “Horror Business” single marked the first appearance of the impossibly cool Misfits mascot, the Crimson Ghost.
8. “Astro Zombies”
One of Danzig’s best tricks is his ability to sing a line about the extinction of the human race like he’s belting it out to his girlfriend, Betty Sue, as she drives off into the distance, leaving sad Glenn to weep mascara into his devilock. He imbues so much charisma and heart into every single line, you’d be forgiven for thinking he’s singing about something real — and that’s what makes it so magical. All that feeling paired with this melody, and you’ve got a classic Misfits banger fit for the end of the world.
“Like a dry desert soaking up rain, soaking up sun.” It sounds like a nice enough line out of context. In this case, Danzig is singing about Jackie O licking up … semen. Barf as you see fit. “Bullet” retells the story of the assassination of JFK by fixating on nauseating details: the president’s bullet-ridden body in the street, his shattered head hitting concrete, and most curiously, the mental state of his wife. After shouting about JFK for half the song, Danzig shifts gears and suddenly belts “You gotta suck, suck, Jackie suck.” The rest of the song becomes a singular, morbid vision of Jackie O masturbating the dead president for his vital fluids with which to (presumably) sustain her gold-digging lifestyle. Naturally.
6. “Hybrid Moments”
“If you’re gonna scream, scream with me / moments like this never last.” That’s the opening line to “Hybrid Moments,” a song about creatures raping faces and crying girls and other nonsense, but Danzig might as well be singing about the song itself. Misfits songs are short — painfully short. Brief little bursts of gore and joy that rock so hard you bang your fist and scream along straight through till the end, which usually hits after 90 seconds of ecstatic bliss. “Hybrid Moments” roars in like a banshee and tears out of there before you know what hit you — it’s a roller coaster of melody that stops short and leaves you hanging, hungry for more.
5. “Where Eagles Dare”
How can a perfect song be such a lyrical mess? Only Danzig knows. With a rumbling bass from hell holding down the bottom, we get batshit lines like, “An omelet of disease awaits your noontime meal / her mouth of germicide seducing all your glands” before the chorus drops the classic hook: “I ain’t no goddamn son of a bitch!” Reading through the theories at songmeanings.net reveals that (A) this has nothing to do with the classic World War II movie of the same name and (B) most folks think it’s a song about prostitutes. In which case “an omelet of disease” is suddenly twice as gross. But there’s no question the song is gold, to the point where the phrase “goddamn son of a bitch” has become indelibly linked with the band. When metal/hardcore/whatever band Trap Them snuck the line into a song last year, there was no question from whence it came.
4. “London Dungeon”
For a band mostly known for whoa-oh vocals and huge choruses, it’s refreshing to hear a song with such a delicious riff. The band as a whole finally deliver at the same level as Danzig, which is a rare occurrence in the Misfits canon. The stuttering snare, the ominous bass, and that infectious, near-metal, goth-baiting guitar — every piece setting the stage for the perfect chorus. Despite their origins and the roughshod execution of most of the songs, the Misfits were capable of serious songcraft, as proven here. For once the song’s lyrics are no mystery: Upon visiting the UK for an ill-fated tour with the Damned, Danzig and then-guitarist Bobby Steele attempted to do battle with skinheads and wound up in jail for a few nights. Danzig, sassy bitch that he is, turned a feather-ruffling experience into one of the best punk songs ever written.
Ask me my favorite Misfits song, go ahead. It’s “Skulls”! It’s hard to quantify exactly how and why “Skulls” rips so fucking hard, but I suppose we’d better try. The song itself is simple four-chord punk, nothing fancy. Lyrics? Practically retarded. But when the chorus hits, all I want are skulls. It’s all in the delivery: When Danzig sings that he wants your skull, it’s like he’s never wanted anything so badly. Yet there’s something tugging at the back of his heart, something in the way he holds back during the verse: He almost feels bad about it. Not so bad as to NOT sever your head and mount your skull on the wall, leaving your body to seep out its precious blood like devil’s rain (his words), but still: Danzig feels some modicum of sorrow for his insatiable need. It’s essentially a wistful, yearning love song for your severed head. Complex shit. This is my favorite Misfits tune without question, though it’s hard to call it their “best” when the next two are pretty much untouchable ….
2. “Last Caress”
It’s the big one — the one everyone knows. The one with the nastiest lyrics ever set to an anthem meant for fist-pumping sing-alongs. Metallica covered it and made it legitimately famous without even touching on the quality of the original. AFI covered it and we’re better off forgetting they tried. By this point, “Last Caress” is practically played out, but the song still stands as one of the best the Misfits would ever produce. Heck, it’s one of the best songs ever produced by the punk genre. “Sweet lovely death, I’m waiting for your breath ….” Danzig’s final, “One … last … caress!” is as timeless and classic as anything to come out of the ’50s, just as melodic, and a million times deadlier. Which is why it’s almost the best thing they’d ever do
1. “Die, Die My Darling”
This — the sixth and final Misfits single ever released before the painful-to-watch, even-worse-to-hear Michale Graves/Jerry Only period — is about as good as it gets. The band had broken up by the time it came out in 1984, though “Die, Die My Darling” was actually recorded in 1981 for the Walk Among Ussessions, and — somehow, amazingly — left off that album. By Misfits standards, the 3:11 running time is an eternity — but that’s part of the magic. Never once does the energy flag. The stomp that launches the song out the gate carries through the entire running time, building up to stomp even harder before crumbling to chaos at the end. An insistent single-note guitar lead ratchets the tension as high as it can go while Danzig howls his way through a song about killing his unnamed darling. It’s single-minded and nasty, pissed as fuck and perfect. “I’ll be seeing you in hell.” Released when it was, it’s easy to picture Danzig aiming the sentiment at his former bandmates, or even the band itself. Then again, Misfits lyrics are rarely deep. Either way, it was the perfect sendoff for one of the best punk bands of all time.
Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore psychedelic tunes from the 60’s to now. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!
Guerrilla Toss Album GT Ultra 2017
is no mistake the album is wrapped in vintage blotter acid, created by legendary LSD archivist and artist Mark McCloud and The Institute of Illegal Images, based out of San Francisco. Inner sleeve art by Keith Rankin.
“Skull Pop” is a kaleidoscopic, energetic one that retains some of the epic sprawl that was present on earlier G-Toss material, but it’s just as hard-hitting as their first two singles. “Will there be a warning? When the clock stops moving?” Carlson asks on it, and the track’s careening groove sounds like the persistent doomsday countdown that hangs over our everyday existence. Fun stuff to think about! Listen to it below.
Written By Braddon S. Williams aka “The Concert Critic”
On this date in history, 11/25/2019, I attended my second Alice Cooper show of the year, titled “An Evening With Alice Cooper”, at the prestigious Old National Centre’s Murat Theatre. In a weird way this concert felt extremely reassuring and satisfying. This requires a bit of explanation, because I have never seen a bad Alice Cooper show. However, some have been more awesome and awe-inspiring than others, and the previous show (July 11 at the Honeywell Center in Wabash, IN) just seemed to be lacking that extra spark. As a matter of fact, the show I caught at the Murat Theatre last year was similar, in that I felt like Alice might have been either a little tired or possibly not feeling 100%.
Whatever the case may be, Alice was totally in command on this night, fully energized and singing like a much younger version of himself. Of course, the band have all become rock stars in their own right, and the entire production is seamless and dazzling in every possible way.
Song wise, the show was virtually identical to the Honeywell performance with the one change being the addition of He’s Back (The Man Behind The Mask), complete with Jason Voorhees murdering a pair of young people trying to take an onstage selfie. When Jason made a menacing move on Nita Strauss, Alice stepped in and stopped the horror icon from claiming another victim!
Strauss, Ryan Roxie, and Tommy Henriksen all shared lead guitar duties and executed all facets of Cooper’s historic catalog with gusto. The phenomenal Glen Sobel once again dropped an incredible drum solo, and Chuck Garric held down the bottom end in style (and bared his impressive abs…who could blame him?).
I don’t even need to re-state my love of Alice’s music, but Roses On White Lace, Escape, Steven, Muscle Of Love, Devil’s Food, and the band showcase on The Black Widow were all insanely fun for this lifelong Alice Cooper fanatic. Now I need to find a way to see a Hollywood Vampires show to make my Alice experience complete.
Warm Up This Winter With “Unsought Salvation” From Edmonton Prog TYLOR DORY TRIO
New Music Video “East of Eden”
Tylor Dory Trio from Edmonton, Canada are putting out a new record and it’s exactly the warm proggy hug you need this winter. “Unsought Salvation” is full to the brim with warm riffs and spicy drumming, topped with delectable vocals that will comfort you as the nights grow longer.
TDT explains the connection between the new album and their 2015 debut EP “Carried Away”:
“The album should serve as a valid continuation from ‘Carried Away’ alongside spiritual ties to the first EP. ‘Carried Away’ was tonally quite dark, we feel that ‘Unsought Salvation’ is a more balanced presentation featuring some upbeat tracks alongside darker and heavier tracks that you may have come to expect from listening to ‘Carried Away’.”
For the first single off the album, ‘East of Eden’, the trio have put together a video featuring their adventures in Norway where the full length’s bass, drums, and guitars were recorded with Christer Cederberg at Cederberg Studios in Kristiansand in 2017. Vocals and synth were recorded in their hometown of Edmonton at The Laboradory.
When asked about the themes present in ‘East of Eden’, TDT explains:
“It’s’ our leading single and one of the most accessible and hooky songs on the album. I love how the chorus evolves in this song, getting bigger and bolder each time. A song about betrayal, we feel that East of Eden matches the fire of the lyrics while staying refined musically. Also, the only song, other than the acoustic tracks, recorded on six-string guitars as opposed to eights.”
Track Listing: 1. The Righteous and the Rest (6:16) 2. Comatose (5:15) 3. The Fallen Man (5:45) 4. Dying Light (5:08) 5. The Spaces In Between (5:06) 6. East of Eden (5:49) 7. Glass Menagerie (5:28) 8. Marionettes (of Distant Masters) (4:37) 9. Into The Maelstrom (4:40) 10. Cenotaph (13:42) Album Length: 1:01:52
Tylor Dory Trio was conceived in late 2012 by guitarist/vocalist Tylor Dory and drummer Jonathan Webster. Wanting to step aside from playing in extreme metal bands, Dory and Webster decided to form the duo to explore the music close to their hearts – proggy weird stuff. The trio was completed in late 2013 after the addition of their bassist Slava Fedossenko.
Bringing together influences like Opeth, Alice In Chains, and Rush; TDT is characterized by proficient musicianship, tight songwriting, and powerful hooks. It’s progressive metal that isn’t pretentious. TDT loves pushing the boundaries of what a power trio can accomplish, but above all else, it’s about the songs.
Musically, they take their fans on a journey through light and dark tonalities, crushing heaviness to ethereal cleanliness, through peaks and valleys that end up coming full circle.
Their latest full length “Unsought Salvation” was recorded with the prolific Christer-Andre Cederberg at his studio in Kristiansand, Norway in February 2017, to be released December 20, 2019, to follow their 2015 EP “Carried Away”
Written By Braddon S. Williams aka “ The Concert Critic”
On this date in history, 11/2/2019, Reggie’s Rock Club in Chicago hosted a superb triple bill show featuring John 5 And The Creatures, Jared James Nichols, and Reverend Jack. The Invasion Tour 2019 was packed with amazing performances and featured one big time surprise guest artist.
First things first…Reggie’s Rock Club is a really small, intimate and nicely set up place to witness live music, complete with top notch sound and lights. The visibility was excellent and contributed to the entire crowd being treated to that wonderful feeling of energy exchanged between performers and audience.
Reverend Jack started the night with an absolutely KILLER set of original bluesy Southern hard rock. These guys have so much potential to really break big. They are young, have great songs and energized stage presence, but most of all they have this singer named Eric Harmon, and he has one of the best set of pure rock vocal pipes I have heard in years. I knew before the first song was over that this guy has a special gift, and the fact that the lead guitarist and bassist add strong harmony vocal support just adds to the magic.
Near the end of their set, they played a cover of Midnight Rider by The Allman Brothers Band and made it a streamlined muscular slab of modern rock, complete with 3 part harmony a capella vocal intro…Bravo, guys! I expect them to do big things for a long time to come.
Next up was Jared James Nichols and his fiery blues based hard rock. Performing as a power trio, Nichols and company wasted no time in keeping the momentum going with tight playing and Nichols’ passionate vocals. His voice was a pleasant surprise for me, because I had only heard his guitar work prior to this show. I follow him on Instagram and knew he was a blazing lead guitar player, but his voice fit perfectly with his larger than life soloing. Nichols is a tall guy with a great head of hair that brings to mind the lion’s mane of Robert Plant in Zeppelin’s heyday, and between the hair and the animated faces he makes when he is soloing makes him super entertaining to watch.
At the midpoint of his set, Nichols brought out a young man named Peter to play a song and it was a beautiful thing to see the joy radiating from Peter’s face. He proved to be a pretty good player, too, trading leads with Jared James and receiving a thunderous ovation from the appreciative crowd. This simple gesture of kindness, coupled with his obvious talents gained Jared James Nichols a big fan (me), or possibly a whole room of them.
John 5 And The Creatures finished the night with a jaw dropping display of musical muscle, navigating through a dizzying myriad of styles including metal, country, bluegrass, funk, and even a little jazz.
John 5’s playing is breathtaking, full of precision, flash, and passion…and always emanating the man’s obvious love of the guitar featuring lots of Halloween themed stage props and a properly sinister light show.
The insanely tight trio kept the pace moving at a breakneck pace. Midway through their show John spoke to us in several humorous song introductions and proved himself to be the humble and likeable person that could give Dave Grohl a run for his money in the Nicest Guy In Rock Music Category.
To our delight, Charle Benante, the supernaturally gifted drummer from Anthrax was at the show and joined the guys on stage for a crusher of an improvised jam session.
John 5 delivered a fun filled medley of classic song intros featuring songs by Rush, Van Halen, Rage Against The Machine, Metallica, Kiss, Megadeth, White Zombie, Marilyn Manson, Motley Crue, Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Queen, The Police, PanterA, and even The Knack (remember My Sharona? lol).
The band came out for an encore, and apparently had run out of songs, resorting to having to do one they hadn’t rehearsed (of course they nailed it!). I love shows like this one, with new discoveries and new venues.
I first saw John 5 back in 1999 when he was with Marilyn Manson, and have seen him many times with Rob Zombie, but it was incredibly satisfying to see him stretching his wings and demonstrating his full potential as a guitarist and band leader. I will definitely be back for more of all three of these bands if I get the chance.
Written By Braddon S. Williams aka “The Concert Critic”
On this date in history, 10/24/2019, I finally got to see UFO again! It had been 41 years since I saw the venerable English hard rock stalwarts open for Rush back in 1978, at the old Market Square Arena in downtown Indianapolis.
This time around, they played a fantastic show at the Honeywell Center in Wabash, IN. Opening the show was Last In Line, featuring songs from the late Ronnie James Dio, as well as originals from the band’s 2 albums.
Last In Line is comprised of Vinnie Appice on drums, Phil Soussan on bass, Vivian Campbell on guitar, and Andrew Freeman on vocals.
I was impressed with the songs that they composed together, and blown away by the Dio songs, particularly Holy Diver, We Rock, Rainbow In The Dark, and the song the band got their name from, The Last In Line. One minor criticism; I felt that Freeman spent too much time getting the audience to sing the songs, especially considering the fact that the guy has a really strong voice that does ample justice to the legacy of the great Ronnie James Dio.
All three of the musicians delivered outstanding contributions; Campbell’s lead guitar work was blazing, Appice’s drum sound was huge and his playing was right in the pocket, and Soussan sang some nice backing vocals in addition to his solid bass guitar style. All in all, I was thrilled to have such a great opening band for UFO’s final tour.
As I mentioned before, it has been a long time since my 16 year old self saw UFO from the 10th row at what was only my 9th concert ever, and I was curious to see if they still had that magic I remembered so fondly. It took mere seconds to confirm that they did indeed retain that signature sound that made me an instant fan upon release of their magnificent live album, Strangers In The Night. Over the course of their set on this most satisfying night of music, UFO served up song after song of powerful riffs, tantalizing melodic hooks, singalong choruses that get stuck in the listener’s head for days, absolutely glorious guitar solos, and the charming presence and still fantastic voice (at 71 years old) of Mr. Phil Mogg, who has fronted the band since its formation in 1968. Pretty much all of my favorite songs were on display…Too Hot To Handle, Cherry, Hot ‘n Ready, Mother Mary, Only You Can Rock Me, and Rock Bottom (complete with Vinnie Moore’s display of guitar wizardry). UFO returned for an encore of Doctor, Doctor and Shoot Shoot and wished us a Happy Halloween and Merry Christmas, never making a big deal of this being their final tour, but for me and many others it is definitely a major event.
As I told my friend on the way out, “They just don’t make bands like that anymore!” Thanks for the music UFO…you were great when I was 16, and you’re still amazing to me at 57. Respect!
Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore psychedelic tunes from the 60’s and 70’s. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!
Grand Funk Railroad, Im Your Captain/Closer To Home
Grand Funk guitarist Mark Farner wrote this and sang lead. Literally, the song is about the captain of a ship who is sick and fears he is going to lose his vessel. The song has much more metaphoric significance, however.
Farner explained to Nightwatcher’s House of Rock: “I had gone to bed and prayed. Our mother had taught us kids to pray the ‘Now I lay me down to sleep,’ so I finished that part of the prayer, and put a P.S. at the end of it, and I asked the Creator to give me a song which would reach and touch the hearts of people that he wanted to touch. With love, because I just felt the love. I just felt for my good friends, my high school buddies who had died in Vietnam. I saw their parents, and I saw their families, and I think that’s what inspired it.
It came in the middle of night to me as words, and I didn’t even realize it was a song, because I write words all the time. In fact, my wife has a file that she has where she’s picked up napkins and notes here and there that have all these words that come out. At least we have a place to start putting them together, like a puzzle. But I grabbed those words in the morning, because I was playing my guitar in the kitchen of the farm. I was sipping on my coffee, had my feet kicked up in the chair, and I had my flattop guitar. As I was strumming the intro chords to ‘I’m Your Captain,’ I went, ‘Hey man, maybe this is a song.’ So I went and got the words, and started constructing the song out of it. I took it to rehearsal that day and the guys said, ‘Man, this song’s a hit.’ And, lo and behold they were right.”
One of the band’s biggest hits, this got extensive radio play even though it was almost 10-minutes long. On the album, this was labeled as “I’m Your Captain,” and was sometimes considered two songs: “I’m Your Captain/Closer To Home.” Some stations played an edited version that was cut to about 5 minutes, eliminating most of the fadeout.
Grand Funk drummer Don Brewer tous: “We used to rehearse at a place called The Musicians Union Hall in Flint, Michigan. We used to work all of our stuff out there. Mark came in one day with basically the beginning of the song, the ‘I’m your captain part.’ We always worked out everything with a jam – he would have an idea, somebody would have an idea for a bass part of whatever, and we’d just kind of work on these things and jam out. For a day or two we worked on this song and it just didn’t go any place, that was about as far as we could get with it.
One day, coming out of a jam that we were working on, we fell into that half time part, and that’s when Mark came up with the lyrics, ‘I’m getting closer to…’ So we had that, and we all felt, ‘Oh man, that’s great, we’ll put that piece together with that, and that’s going to work,’ then we said, ‘What are we going to do from there?’ So we got into the guitar part where it breaks into full time again. Then we had a brainstorming session, ‘What are we going to do for the rest of the song?’
At the time, rock bands had experimented with orchestras, and we said, ‘Let’s put an orchestra on this thing, we’ll just play endlessly, and we’ll get Tommy Baker, our friend down in Cleveland, to write the score for it, and we’ll put an orchestra on it. It was a new thing for us, kind of new for the day – there hadn’t been too many bands using orchestras. When we recorded the song in Cleveland, we didn’t have the orchestra there, we didn’t know what the final outcome was going to be, we hadn’t even recorded the string arrangements, we just recorded the end of the song on and on and on over and over, knowing they were going to come in and put an orchestra on it later. When we finally heard the song about two weeks later, it just blew us all away. It was a religious experience.”
Brewer: “We weren’t concerned with FM radio, we knew FM radio could play 7 or 8-minute songs. It wasn’t a matter of being confined to anything, so we knew it could get airplay – that wasn’t a restriction. Capitol wanted to cut it and do an edited version for a single, and we said, ‘No, you can’t edit that song, just leave it alone.'”When this was released, their record company bought a billboard advertisement in New York City’s Time Square promoting the album. This resulted in lots of publicity and helped get the song a lot of airplay.