Written By Braddon S. Williams

James Taylor: Sweet Baby James

I’m not here to claim James Taylor as an influence, but he certainly has filled my ear holes with interesting sounds.

He has lived a life filled with extreme highs and lows, so in that sense I guess he has inspired me as someone who doesn’t quit. I like that.

I like his Sweet Baby James album, too. Released in 1970, Sweet Baby James was recorded when Taylor was essentially homeless. Things got better from there, but when they got better, he became a junkie. Then he got clean. Along the way he racked up awards, huge sales, adoring fans, and a supremely impressive portfolio of songs.

I think a lot of what contributes to James Taylor’s success (aside from his obvious talent) is his inherent likability. Music fans want to be moved by people with kindness and wisdom. I think that is a lot of what draws me to the man’s music. I can’t really think of him as an underdog, but he has worked steadily at his craft and he has faced his demons, and these things are important to me.

Sweet Baby James has Fire And Rain, Steamroller Blues, Country Road, and that fabulous title song…and it has James Taylor picking magic on his acoustic guitar and singing in that voice that makes everything seem like it’s going to be okay.


Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Jim Croce: You Don’t Mess Around With Jim

Just thinking about Jim Croce brings back tons of memories of my childhood and my formative years of learning to play guitar.

Jim Croce released You Don’t Mess Around With Jim in 1972, so I would have been 10 years old at the time. I remember being fascinated with the title track, hearing it constantly on AM radio and buying the single. The tale of the pool hall hustler and the revenge of the man named Slim who was wronged just painted this vivid picture in my adolescent mind; very cinematic.

This was a trait of country music, but Jim Croce’s stuff was a hybrid of rock, folk, blues, and country and it was simply “feel good” music.

When I was learning to play guitar I had a teacher who had me pick up a songbook of Croce’s stuff and taught me to finger pick. This gave me an inside look at how these songs were composed and performed, and it carries a lot of wistful nostalgia with the memory.

This album contained so many great songs, like Operator (That’s Not The Way It Feels), Rapid Roy (The Stock Car Boy), New York’s Not My Home, Photographs And Memories, Hard Time Losin’ Man, and the incredibly moving Time In A Bottle.

If you don’t like Jim Croce, I don’t know if we can even have a legitimate friendship!

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Tori Amos: Little Earthquakes

I dearly love Tori Amos. She is a fearless artist who stands up for her beliefs and follows her vision no matter what the current musical climate dictates.

In 1992 Tori released her solo debut, Little Earthquakes, a treasure chest of great songwriting. Due to the unique quality of her vocals, acoustic piano based songs, and overall originality of her writing, Little Earthquakes sounds as fresh now as it did then…the mark of a true artistic statement.

The emotions and reactions that all these songs provoke have given them deep meaning to the listeners who have followed Amos with cult-like intensity throughout her career, whether they identify as outsiders, abused, misunderstood, angry, or simply as human beings with intelligence and hearts.

Some of my favorite Tori Amos songs are on this album; Silent All These Years, Leather, Precious Things, Crucify, Girl, Little Earthquakes, Winter, Tear In Your Hand, and China. A friend once said of Tori that she is probably the closest thing that humans have in actually hearing an angel sing.

He has passed over and I hope he can still hear Tori sing. R.I.P. “Cosmic” Harvey Hevenor.

Influences And Recollections of A Musical Mind


Rob Zombie (born Robert Bartleh Cummings; January 12, 1965) is an American musician and filmmaker. He is a founding member of the heavy metal band White Zombie, releasing four studio albums with the band.

He is the older brother of Spider One, lead vocalist for American rock band Powerman 5000.

Zombie’s first solo effort was a song titled “Hands of Death (Burn Baby Burn)” (1996) with Alice Cooper, which went on to receive a nomination for Best Metal Performance at the 39th Annual Grammy Awards.

In 1997, he began working on his debut solo studio album, Hellbilly Deluxe, which was released in August 1998. A month later, Zombie officially disbanded White Zombie. Hellbilly Deluxe went on to sell over three million copies worldwide and spawned three singles. He released a remix album, American Made Music to Strip By, the following year that contained songs from Hellbilly Deluxe. Zombie directed the horror film House of 1000 Corpses in 2000, though the controversial project was not released until 2003.

His second studio album, The Sinister Urge (2001), became his second platinum album in the United States. In 2003, Zombie released the compilation album Past, Present, & Future.

Zombie directed The Devil’s Rejects (2005), a direct sequel to his prior film House of 1000 Corpses. The project received a more positive reception than its predecessor.

His third studio album, Educated Horses (2006), was a departure from his earlier recordings. The album became his third to enter the top ten of the Billboard 200, though saw a decrease in sales when compared to his previous releases.

Deciding to focus on his directing career, Zombie directed the horror film Halloween (2007), a remake of the 1978 horror classic of the same name. The film became Zombie’s highest-grossing film to date, though was met with a lukewarm critical reception. He later directed Halloween II (2009), which failed to match the success of its predecessor.

He released the animated film The Haunted World of El Superbeasto that same year. Zombie returned to music with the release of his fourth studio album, Hellbilly Deluxe 2 (2010). The album peaked at number eight in the United States and sold over 200,000 copies in the country.

In 2012, Zombie released a second remix album and directed the horror film The Lords of Salem, which was released the following year. He released his fifth studio album Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor the following year (2013).

He directed the horror film 31 and has purchased the rights to a film about the NHL team Philadelphia Flyers, titled The Broad Street Bullies; no release date for the film has been announced. Since the beginning of his music career, Zombie’s music and lyrics have featured notable horror and sci-fi themes.

His live shows have been praised for their elaborate shock rock theatricality. Since beginning his solo career, Zombie has sold an estimated fifteen million albums worldwide.

Written By Vinyl Lair

Happy Birthday Rob Zombie!

Written By Alan Cross

When Jimmy Page formed Led Zeppelin (originally known as The New Yardbirds) in mid-1968, no one could have foreseen the monster this thing would become. 

After playing a series of gigs through the rest of the year, the band recorded their debut album in a blur of sessions (a total of 36 hours spread over ten days) at Olympic Studios in London beginning September 25 and ending in mid-October. Having honed all the arrangements and performances through playing live, the band made short work of the recording with engineer Glyn Johns. It also helped that Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones were two of the most-respected session players in all the UK. They were accustomed to working fast.

The self-titled result was released on January 12, 1969. It’s now a rock classic and sounds as fresh as it did fifty years ago.

What people tend to forget is that people HATED the record.

Rolling Stone said this: “The album offers little that its twin, The Jeff Beck Group, didn’t say as well or better than three months ago…To fill the void created by the devise of Cream, they will have to find a producer, editor, and some material worthy of their collective talents.”

When manager Peter Grant played it for Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Mick Jagger, and Eric Clapton, they were all very unimpressed. None of them got what Zeppelin was trying to do. Jagger was apparently extra dismissive.

But the person most offended was Countess Eva von Zeppelin, the granddaughter of Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, the creator of the original hydrogen-filled airship. Her problem was with the artwork and the very name of the band.

What we see is a treated black-and-white image of the Hindenburg disaster on May 6, 1937, when this Zeppelin-class airship caught fire while attempting to dock in Lakehurst, New Jersey. Thirty-six people died. The artwork is based on a picture taken by Sam Shere.

Here’s newsreel footage of the disaster.

little context is required at this point. When Page floated the idea of forming a new band to his friends John Entwhistle and Keith Moon of The Who, it’s claimed that Moon said the new project would go over worse than a lead balloon. “It’ll be a lead Zeppelin!” he said.

Peter Grant liked the concept but was worried about how people might pronounce “lead.” Dropping the “a,” he showed it to Page. Led Zeppelin it was.

Back to the countess. She was annoyed that the band was trading on her family name. In 1970 during a trip to Denmark, Grant arranged for the band to meet the countess backstage. Despite all his charms, she denounced the group as “a bunch of shrieking monkeys” and threatened to sue if they continued besmirching the good name of Zeppelin.

That night, Zep played another the name “The Nobs,” just in case. It turns out that the countess was all talk, too. No legal action was ever filed.

So how did artwork designer George Hardie get away with using this famous photograph without paying any royalties or rights? By altering the photo into an illustration using something called a “Radiograph pen,” he essentially created a new work, putting it outside the realm of the original copyright.

By the way, Hardie was paid $76 for his trouble.

The era of Led Zeppelin began 50 years ago today with the release of their debut album

RIGOR MORTIS and WARBEAST vocalist Bruce Corbitt is receiving hospice care after his esophageal cancer has spread throughout his body.

Hospice care is a special way of caring for people who are terminally ill. It does not focus on a cure but rather on lessening the burdens associated with a terminal illness. 

The singer offered an update on his condition earlier today (Friday, January 11) in a 10-minute Facebook Live video.

“Here I am, man — still fighting, fighting, fighting, fighting,” he said. “I’m never gonna stop fighting. You all know that about me. It’s just tough to even use those words: hospice. I never thought I would get to that point.”

Corbitt began his fight against esophageal cancer in May 2017. He went through extreme radiation and chemotherapy treatment before they could attempt surgery. Just when everyone thought Bruce would surely be out of the woods, his first doctor’s visit in 2018 brought him the horrible news that the cancer was still there and that it was at Stage 4. He was given two months to two years to live but was told that he would be lucky to make it a year. Due to issues with insurance companies not wanting to approve a second opinion at MD Anderson in Houston, Bruce was forced to use a second opinion in Dallas. His hopes were raised when he was told there was a trial that he could be part of and that there were great results from this trial. A week after signing all the paperwork for the trial treatment, Brucereceived a phone call advising him that, unfortunately, his cancer was one that was not treatable with the trial treatment. Bruce was upset, but he didn’t let that stop him from fighting.

Bruce‘s wife, Jeanna Corbitt, said last March: “I can’t even imagine my world without my husband in it. We both feel so cheated out of our future together at this point. We try to make the best of every moment we have together, even when he feels terrible. He’s such a brave and tough man… MY Superhero!”

The 56-year-old thrash Corbitt, who has survived a stabbing and a heart attack, told Billboard last August that he had “a 2.8 percent chance of living five years. So what am I going to do, sit around and cry about it or be that 2.8 percent?” he asked rhetorically.

Bruce‘s medical bills from 2017 alone totaled over $1 million in charges. 

All three of WARBEAST‘s albums were released through Philip Anselmo‘s label, Housecore Records. The PANTERA frontman was even the best man at Corbitt‘s wedding when he and Jeanna were married in 2012. “I’ve seen his world crash down around him when he was young. I’ve always felt there is no fucking way I could let him down as a friend and business partner,” Anselmotold Billboard. “Bruce is my big brother, and that’s how we roll. His family is my family, and vice versa, yet again.”


Written By Patrick Doyle For Rolling Stone

Watts traces his musical roots in unusually candid sit-down


For many Rolling Stones fans, Charlie Watts is the band’s most mysterious and intriguing member. He’s a guy who prefers jazz to rock, yet has spent nearly 60 years playing in the world’s greatest rock & roll band. (When the Stones played Glastonbury in 2013, he said, “I don’t want to do it. Everyone else does. I don’t like playing outdoors, and I certainly don’t like festivals.”) A well-dressed eccentric, he is known to draw a sketch of every single hotel room he stays in and owns cars despite being unable to drive. “He’s a very secretive man,” Keith Richards recently told Rolling Stone, asked to explain how Watts is still able to carry a two-plus hour show at his age. “I think it’s just him. I don’t think he does anything particularly. That is just Charlie. That’s what’s so amazing about the man. It’s my privilege to play with Charlie Watts.”

Watts doesn’t do a lot of interviews, but he recently did grant one to Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers for the site DrumChannel.com, as part of Smith’s regular series. While Watts usually comes across as quiet or extremely dry in interviews, here he’s relaxed, funny and ready to open up. In part one of the interview (the only portion available for free), Watts traces his musical evolution, from hearing Gerry Mulligan’s “Walkin’ Shoes” to his early teen years watching dance bands. He remembers hearing Charlie Parker when he was 14. “I suppose it’s like kids hearing Jimi Hendrix. You suddenly think, ‘What the hell is he playing?’ I heard Bird and I thought, ‘That’s fantastic. I want to do that in a club in New York.’”

But he also reveals that he isn’t a purist. While some have suggested Watts flat-out doesn’t like rock & roll, he brings up Elvis drummer D.J. Fontana as a key influence, and draws a line from early jazz to Louis Prima’s jump-blues to rock & roll. “It was all one thing. In those days you and to learn rhumba for the dance and then cha-cha-cha. Brian and Keith used to play Jimmy Reed all day. It was the same as playing jazz to me. It was another drum thing.”

Watts mentions he’s never taken formal lessons “much to my regret.”  “I learned to play from watching people,” Watts tells Smith. “If you were playing up there, I would be watching you.”

Rolling Stones’ Charlie Watts Opens Up to Chad Smith in Rare Interview