Monthly Archives: September 2014

Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators-World On Fire

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You have to give Slash a lot of credit. Out of all the members of Guns N Roses he has had the most success. From Snakepit to Velvet Revolver to this new band. I really do like them but I really hate the name. The quartet is billed as Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators. So out of the four guys, two get mentioned. The Conspirators must feel like Andrew Ridgley when Wham started getting referred to as Wham featuring George Michael.

World On Fire is their second album they has made. If you’ve never heard Myles Kennedy sing before, The Alter Bridge singer is a nice fit and has a very unique high pitched style similar to Axl but with a bit more modern feel. The Conspirators are the rhythm section of Todd Kearns on bass and drummer Brent Fitz behind the throne. Brent was in Union the tragically overlooked band that also had John Corabi and Bruce Kulick in it.

 

There’s a lot to like on this album. It kicks off amazingly with the title track, a perfect mix of classic and modern hard rock. I think the band is at its’ best when it does that. At times it does feel like it is at odds with itself. You start off with the aforementioned track then it’s followed by “Shadow Life”a decent rocker but very dour. It seems that they wanted to show how modern they were right upfront. Being diverse is great but that song placement is not. Especially since it’s followed by another great rockin’ track in “Automatic Overdrive”. I think that song along with others like “Wicked Stone” are a nice representation of the melding of Slash’s and Myles hard rock backgrounds.

 

One of my favorites is “Bent To Fly” which is best described as an upbeat power ballad. It has a lot of beef to it but enough sensitivity and slowness for the ladies. Just like the ad for Monster Ballads said “Every bad boy has a soft side.”

 

If you look at the liner notes you can see that all the songs I mentioned are at the very beginning. You will also see that there are 17 tracks on World On Fire. 17!! SEVENTEEN!! That is a lot for a single disc, actually it’s too much. I think an album is best with 10-12 songs. So World on Fire has 5 to 7 too many tracks. That excess is obvious as the songs are not necessarily bad but just blah. If the album ended with “Dirty Girl” it would have been great. The back half has two songs over 6 minutes a piece. Ugh. I hate to criticize an artist for giving the fans too much but if they would have whittled the album down a bit it would have been a much better experience.

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…
$14.99-Regularly Priced CD
$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon
$5.00-but it as a used CD
$1.00-streaming it on Spotify
$0-Not worth the drive space

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Sharon Osbourne is miserable cunt that should go away

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Last week with the unveiling of the new iPhones, Apple also announced that they had given all customers free copies of a new and unannounced U2 album. Soon afterwards the internet shit their pants. Not because this was a free album by an iconic band. Nor was it because this is another volley in the changing of the music business landscape. No, the internet freaked out because this was another way to kick dirt on U2. Now I am not a U2 fan. I think I’ve owned one album from the group. But the backlash they received was mind boggling because U2 is not the first act to pull this. Jay Z did it with Samsung and his old lady Beyonce followed suit. Now they did get a little flack but not near the level Bono and boys have. One of those critics is the reason I am writing this. Music mogul, manager, and camera whore, Sharon Osbourne offered up her opinion.

“U2 you are business moguls not musicians anymore. No wonder you have to give your mediocre music away for free cause no one wants to buy it.”

Now anyone that knows who she is should find this statement laughable on many levels. She took her husband Ozzy Osbourne, and transformed him from a bat biting, Alamo pissing on, Devil worshiping Heavy Metal singer to a clumsy lovable Dad via reality TV makeover. With that makeover came a truck load of bobble heads, T-shrts, lunchboxes, and other kitschy crap that kept Hot Topic and Spencer Gifts in the black. None of this was done for the sake of music it was to expand his profile and business. It created new revenue streams because, let’s be honest, he hasn’t released a good album in about two decades. Sharon in her incredible foresight saw the changing record industry and broke him away from the metal genre turning him into a pop culture icon. She created Ozzfest as a touring festival so he could get the rub from the upcoming metal acts while at the same time positioning him as a musical deity when years before he could not fill most arenas. Then all the TV shows, don’t forget the variety show she had so her talent less kids could get more undeserved airtime. Again, she had turned him into a brand. Music was just a branch of a growing music business tree.
And kudos to her.
She learned just like The Beatles and Elvis and KISS did, make that money while you can. However, she went from being a shrewd business manager to an egomaniac cunt. From the show she made herself a star and it all went downhill. She has picked fights with almost 90% of the music business and never looked good doing it. From not giving Bob Daisley or Lee Kerslake proper credit. To stealing all writing credits from Jake E Lee for Bark At The Moon. To suing Tony Iommi for 50% of the rights to Black Sabbath. She did this to insure that all 4 original members would share equally from the name.

That is the definition of fuzzy math.

It then came as a surprise that leading up to the Sabbath reunion drummer Bill Ward said he was not participating because he was not getting a fair offer. Her lawsuit to get everyone 25% each quickly turned into Bill getting a reported 4%. As disgusting as that was, and it was, she made a business decision because she knew musically Ozzy doesn’t have it anymore.
So her remarks about the U2-Apple deal were puzzling. Yes, U2 are business moguls just as she is. They cut a great deal with Apple for this album plus I’m sure there is another deal to use U2 music in future ads for a certain amount of time. When they release the physical copies of the album in a couple months they’ll get more talk from this Apple deal. Again, get that money. Even more puzzling about her remarks is many bands of the Metal genre have done something similar. The Melvins, among others, have released free EP’s through a relationship with auto manufacturer Scion. Converse sneakers have offered similar arrangements.
I’m starting to think that the reason she is mad is because she wasn’t able to pull this off. For all of her work in making Ozzy bigger than the genre but to corporate America he is still the vile guy that killed a dove. So since she couldn’t make it happen she’s criticizing those that did. I still bet that in a couple years will see a deal with Ozzy and Burger King and she’ll sing a different tune.

Just like Ozzy’s it will probably suck.

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Jeff LaBar-One For The Road

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I guess it’s fitting that Cinderella’s guitarist Jeff Labar has released a solo album since his band mate Tom Keiffer put one out last year. Now it’s common knowledge that Tom was the main man and songwriter and his album highlighted that. So expectations could reasonably be low for Jeff’s solo debut One For The Road. After a couple listens a couple things pop out. One, Jeff is a big Led Zeppelin fan and has no qualms with paying homage. Two, there is no way I would let him date my sister.
The Zeppelin thing first. There is no mistake that Jimmy Page played a major influence in Jeff’s musical awakening. The instrumental “Ode To Page” is a clear nod in both music and title. The piece evokes the acoustic openings of several Zep classics. “Muse” also has that same fell but more of the meat of the song. “Hello or Goodbye” is a terrific power ballad that reminds me of John Corabi. The rest of the album is made up of solid but uneventful hard rock songs. They’re the kinds of songs that you don’t seek out but don’t fast forward when the pop up on iTunes. Jeff does not have the strongest of voices but he does a good job in knowing what he can do.
Now onto why I said I wouldn’t let Jeff date my sister. Using real life experiences as lyrical material is nothing new. Jeff used his marriage and subsequent divorce as the inspiration for “No Strings”. Fine. Where my worry comes from is “Asking For A Beating”. The song is clearly about a crappy relationship with a woman. It’s a really good catchy song but when you have a chorus of “you’re asking for a beating” your ears kind of perk up. Maybe it’s because we had the Ray Rice incident in the news recently but this did not seem like the wisest song title or lyric choice. I do realize that he’s not referencing beating a woman but just the trials and tribulations of dating. Like I said it’s a really good song but someone should have said “how about we try a different phrase?”
One For The Road is only 7 songs long so it’s more a mini-LP than EP. As a whole it shows a lot of promise from Jeff. It has done real well on its’ first week so hopefully this will spur Jeff to do more music. Since it has been nearly two decades from the last release of new material from Cinderella he should have lots of ideas stored up.

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…
$14.99-Regularly Priced CD
$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon
$5.00-buy it as a used CD
$1.00-streaming it on Spotify
$0-Not worth the drive space

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