Can you believe another month has passed? At least Spring is here and temperatures are starting to warm and trees are pushing out pollen and blanketing the world in some sort of yellow dust that is making by white car look pretty dirty. Thanks for that Mother Nature. At least one bright spot is all the purchases made during the month. Let’s get started.
First up my kids and I went to Lunchbox Records as we hadn’t been in a long time. They each bought something and so did I. I picked up a 2021 bootleg of Wicked Lester’s first album or what was supposed to be their first album. Wicked Lester is Gene and Paul’s band before Kiss. I already have a Wicked Lester bootleg but this had a couple songs I didn’t have and now I do. Yes, a review is coming.
And then shortly after, I received a delivery from Japan. It is the Japanese Edition of the Danger Danger Album “Screw It” with bonus tracks and the prized OBI Strip. Now to get the Japanese debut album for a decent price as this one was cheap.
Come join us tonight as I join Superdekes on his live stream ‘Scotch on the Rocks’. This is what Deke has to say about it…
Mr. John T Snow returns tonight and we will spend the hour chatting about those good old boys known as Whitesnake specifically those years from ’84-90 when Coverdale was firing, hiring, selling records, and concert tickets and making those videos!
Oh yeah those three albums as well. “Slide It In”- “87 Album” and “Slip of the Tongue”!
Tonight at 7pm live on YouTube at the Official Scotch On The Rocks page. Or click below…
Back in 1991, Aerosmith actually signed a new recording contract with their old label Columbia Records. The problem was they hadn’t completed their obligation to Geffen. They had a 6 album deal with Geffen and only 5 albums had been released. There appears to have been a deal that they would release a live album under Geffen, but first they were going to record their first album for Columbia Records un der their deal.
The recordings started in Miami at Criteria Studios with Glen Ballard as producer. He also co-wrote several songs on the album. Desmond Child and Taylor Rhodes both came back to the fold to also co-write songs for the album. Right before rehearsals started, the first signs of trouble reared its ugly head. Joey Kramer was suffering from depression and wasn’t able to play at that time so Steve Ferrone was brought in to hit the skins. As a result, rumors were flying around that the band was in trouble. If that wasn’t enough, when they delivered their album, Columbia was not real happy with what they received. They decided to replace Glen Ballard and brought in Kevin Shirley in to produce and re-work the album.
In September 1996, the band went back to the studio, this time in New York City at the Boneyard. John Kalodner was also brought in to help supervise and the band and due to the delay, Joey Kramer was able to play on the album. They recorded all the songs they had previously done with Ballard so Joey could play on them. Kalodner helped the band reduce their over 20 tracks recorded for the album down to the 13 that were actually released on the album. This also gave them a ton of tracks to use as bonus tracks for the Japanese edition and any other international release. The album saw the light of day finally on March 18, 1997. They released 5 singles, the album went to #1, they won a Grammy and the album sold over 2 million copies. Not as good as their last album, but still pretty damn good.
The artwork for the album caused a lot of controversy in the Hindu community. The original cover had been inspired by a painting in a book by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, featured Lord Krishna (with a cat’s head and female breasts) dancing on the head of the snake demon, Kāliyā. The band had no idea it was offensive and quickly removed it and used a new picture of a cat tied to a circus knife-thrower’s wheel. The booklet for the album was some really cool artwork in and of itself. There are 12 pieces of art and each picture has a picture of the previous page’s artwork building on itself meaning that 12th picture includes all 12 pictures and the first picture includes the 12th so it just keeps going round and round and round. It is pretty cool…maybe the coolest thing about the album (oops did that give the review away a little).
Musically, the album isn’t much different than the prior three albums as you can hear those elements for sure on numerous songs. However, at times it is heavier and way more experimental with some of it working and some of it not. It all starts with a a guitar note and then the wailing of a cat and then they jump in to the title track “Nine Lives” co-written with the great Marti Frederiksen. I believe that cat scream was used on “Rock And a Hard Place (Chesire Cat)” off ‘Rock and a Hard Place’. The song is a ball of energy with Joey pounding on the drums and Tom slamming a bass groove. The guitar work of Brad and Joe is exceptional as every and it is classic Steven on vocals. However, not my favorite opening track of theirs albeit still a good song.
Then we get the cheesy and tongue-in-cheek “Falling in Love (Is Hard on the Knees)” co-written with Glen Ballard who produced the first recording session for the album. It has a little bluesy tinge to it and some well-used horns, but it is nothing new or original and sounds like it could’ve been on any of the previous three albums which is why it made a perfect single and became a hit because the radio world likes the same old song and dance.
“Hole in My Soul” is a ballad co-written with their old pal Desmond Child and he can still help create a great ballad even though in 1997 no one was really doing ballads and having hits except Aerosmith. Steven Tyler’s speaking verses and sung choruses were brilliant and what I loved most about the song. It just worked. The funny thing this could’ve been on any of their albums and this time it doesn’t bother me at all because I feel it is such a strong song.
Then the band goes all experimental with “Taste of India” which is another Ballard co-write. This is one example of experimenting and it working better than expected. With “India” in the title you would expect the song to have that Indian feel and it does with some excellent playing of the sarangi by Ramesh Mishra. It also feels very 60’s with a hole psychedelic vibe to it which I love. Joe and Brad whip out their Stratocasters for this one and really shine adding some great textures. Kramer’s drum sound is immense and Hamilton’s bass groove lays the foundation. Tyler’s vocals blend well with the sarangi and it is all just a little magical. It sounds like nothing else they’ve done and amen to that fact.
Then we get “Full Circle” which has a country-vibe to it and leaves you thinking WTF! It is slowed down a little tempo wise and sounds like something you sing in a bar or on New Year’s Eve as it has this “Auld Lang Syne” feel to it which isn’t necessarily a good thing. It is co-written by Taylor Rhodes which is his only co-write on the album.
“Somethings Gotta Give” picks the energy back up. Another Marti Frederiksen co-write and you begin to see why people want him on their albums. This one is a balls-to-wall rocker. It’s blues influences are immense as it has some massive harmonica solo pieces from Tyler that are some of the best he has ever done. It is smokin’ hot!!
Desmond’s back with another ballad called “Ain’t That a Bitch”. It has a very dramatic opening with some movie-style horns and then explodes in to a blues-filled groove that sees Tyler screaming in that classic style. I don’t think it is as good as the previous ballad because it really is borderline a ballad, but either way still not a bad track.
The next track, “The Farm”, has co-writes by Steve Dudas and Mark Hudson along with Perry & Tyler as usual. This is another experimental track that opens with Steven doing his best Dorothy and Wizard of Oz impression (which sucks) then he screams in classic style and the song kicks in. It is rocker and has so many cool elements and then some that leave me cold. Cut out the movie-type dialogue and it improves the song a ton but drowns a little under the weight of those stupid pieces. It’s use of horns helps make it a little more dramatic and impactful but not sure it is enough.
“Crash” comes out of you like a bat out of hell. It has punk’s breakneck speed and careless attitude. Tyler is up for the challenge and goes toe-to-toe with Kramer pounding drums and Perry’s speedy ass guitar playing. It will appease the rockers in the audience. Co-written by Mark Hudson and Dominic Miller.
Now we are getting to where the album gets a little tiresome. “Kiss Your Past Good-bye” which is another Hudson co-write. The chorus comes out of no-where and is very hooky or memorable. The verses are dull and seems like filler…enough said.
The big exception to the tiresome part is the classic song “Pink” co-written by their pal Richard Supa. It is a blues-filled masterpiece with Tyler strutting through the lyrics. It has a little something for everyone and will appeal to a lot of people. I like the groove and the pacing as it shows a confidence of a band that has been doing this for awhile.
“Attitude Adjustment” is our last Marti co-write. By this time we are pretty tired as there are way too many songs. I am a little bored with it as it is missing a little something extra to put it over the top. More filler for me. Next…
Talk about bloated, “Fallen Angels” is over 8 minutes long. Whew. Co-written with Supa, the song has a dramatic opening with a whole lot of sounds going on and Tyler making some strange noises. It is a slower tempo and I guess you could say a ballad, but for me it is too long and a little boring in that there is nothing I haven’t heard before. It is uninspiring and I am too tired to care anymore at this point.
Nine Lives – Keeper
Falling in Love (Is Hard on the Knees) – Keeper(1/2 Point)
Hole in My Soul – Keeper
Taste of India – Keeper
Full Circle – Delete
Something’s Gotta Give – Keeper
Ain’t That A Bitch – Keeper
The Farm – Keeper(1/2 Point)
Crash – Keeper
Kiss Your Past Good-bye – Delete
Pink – Keeper
Attitude Adjustment – Delete
Fallen Angels – Delete
The Track Score is 8 out of 13 or 61%. Way too many songs. This album is so over-bloated and just because your CD can hold 62 minutes doesn’t mean it should and this is a prime example. The whole production process was a mess with 2 different producers and 2 totally separate recording processes was not what they needed. It is unfocused at times and all over the place at others. While it does have some great moments, I won’t deny that, I am still lukewarm on the whole thing. The first half is way stronger than the second and a couple songs on here I would call some of their best, but in the end it isn’t their best work. My Overall Score is a 3.5 out of 5.0 Stars as it still is a good album even if it has too many songs and some of those way too long. Cut this down to 9-10 songs and this is a totally different conversation.
After three labels on three different albums, things weren’t going great for Cheap Trick. Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen, Tom Petersson and Bun E. Carlos needed to rebuild and find themselves again. One way they did this was by Epic Records re-releasing their stellar live album ‘At Budokan’, but this time they did a 2 CD release of the entire concert. All 19 tracks in order just as one done in the concert the show was from back in 1978. It was the 20th Anniversary of the original album and time to show the fans what all the fuss was about once again but in glorious full setlist detail.
The album came out on April 8, 1998 which was only 20 short days from the release of the official album which makes me wonder why they didn’t just wait a few more weeks. But what do I know. The concert was completely remastered and fully restored with all the tracks. And since we’ve already been through the original album track by track, we will focus on only the songs that were not included on the original.
That means we will kick things off with “ELO Kiddies” from their 1977 debut album. Live the song has even more of the band’s early punk aggression. It sounds rich and full and ready to rock your face off. They go straight in to the Terry Reid cover of “Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace” also from their first album. Tom Petersson starts it off on bass and he gives us a little solo rather than the normal blues guitar opening. We get a two minute instrumental instrumental before the song really gets going. The song rocks more than before and Robin sounds as great as ever.
During 1991, Axel Rudi Pell wanted to go out and do some live shows for his most recent album, ‘Nasty Reputation’. There was only one problem. His lead singer, Rob Rock, left the band. That does cause a problem not having a singer. Axel started searching and one name was thrown out to him and that was Jeff Scott Soto. When Jeff found out that he could sing with a former guitar player from the band Steeler, he thought he was having de ja vu! Didn’t he just sing in a band with former Steeler guitar player…oh yeah…Yngwie Malmsteen. Soto couldn’t pass that up so he did it. He also couldn’t pass it up because his band, Slam, he was working with at the time hadn’t completely got off the ground so off he went.
After the tour, Jeff went on his way back to the Slam. That was until a short time later, Jeff got another call from Axel Rudi Pell. Axel was so impressed with Live Singer Jeff, why not have Jeff sing on his new album. Since Jeff really enjoyed working with Axel, why not and off he went. The result of that collaboration was the album ‘Eternal Prisoner’. Soto did more than just sing for Pell, he also co-wrote 6 of the 9 songs on the album. Along with Kai Raglewski on Keyboards, Volker Krawczak on Bass and Jorg Michael on Drums, the album was recorded at RA.SH Studio in Germany from June to September 1992. After a quick turnaround, the album saw the light of day on October 1, 1992.
We might be in the year 1992, but musically the music is still drenched in the 80’s rock and metal sound. If you like Black Sabbath, maybe some Deep Purple with a dash of Aerosmith and AC/DC there is going to be something on here you like. Axel is also a huge fan of Dio and Richie Blackmore and that influence is seeping from all corners of this album. Throw in the powerhouse vocals of Jeff Scott Soto and you have the making a damn fine album…but is it? That is what we are here to find out so turn it on, turn it up and I can’t think of of another turn it statement…oh well…on to the music.
For My Sunday Song #291, we are going to go down on the song “Eat Me Alive” by Judas Priest. The song is off their 1984 smash album ‘Defenders of Faith. The song was not a single, but it did make some major news and caused the band a few headaches and probably increased sales as a result.
The most controversial song on the album, “Eat Me Alive”, caught the ear of the PMRC movement. The Parents Music Resource Group, that was started by Tipper Gore, had this song as #3 on their 15 song list that they objected to and felt was offensive. I can’t imagine why as it was only about a guy giving another guy a blow job. Actually, the PMRC thought the song was a snuff song and about killing…boy what were they thinking. Priest weren’t really trying to be corruptive or controversial for that matter, they were just doing a song that was a little tongue-in-cheek and Rob was being Rob with his lyrics plus he was so drunk when he wrote it. Rob as we know now is gay, but back then no one really knew and this was his idea of funny that for some reason no one picked up on.
Anyway, the song is great and rocks out. It is extremely catchy and has a great grove that moves the song forward at a blistering tempo. You can’t help but be “sucked” in by it…sorry…had to go there. For such an interesting topic, the band sounds fierce, menacing and attacks the song with a lot of gusto. They make the song feel terrifying like someone is actually going to get eaten alive, but that isn’t really happening is it.
Can you imagine someone spending the precious time to write a book about 8-Tracks? 10 or more years ago and I would’ve said you would have to be nuts. As my love for music has grown and my appreciation for all formats of music, now I say…It is about Damn Time someone wrote a book about 8-Tracks. I have secretly been hunting 8-Tracks every time I go to a record store, an antique mall or even a yard sale, but have not found hardly any of bands I would remotely be interested in obtaining. I do have 6 Kiss 8-Tracks, but that is the extent of my collection currently. However, this book has sparked more interest in finding the ones for the bands I love.
The book is “Unspooled” An Adventure in 8-Tracks” and it was written by Tim Durling. When my buddy Mike Ladano told me about this book (he is actually featured in the book as well), I was actually excited and I went and bought a copy as soon as I went to Kickstarter and checked it out. I remember my brother having a bunch of 8-Tracks. He had Kiss and there was one by a band named Shark that I remember vividly. I remember how sometimes the song would fade out, you’d hear a click and the song would fade back in and finish. Some songs you would hear so much on the 8-Track that you expected the fade out, click, fade back in on vinyl, cassette or radio and I couldn’t comprehend why it didn’t. Enough about my experience with them, let us talk about the book.
Tim has given us a book that is both Entertaining and Educational. Wait…those two words do NOT go together! But they do for this book. It is made up of Tim’s personal stories, interviews of 8-Track Experts (there are some…really I promise) and interviews of collectors. The book is niche being about 8-Tracks but it is super niche in that it is about a certain aspect of 8-Tracks that most might not be aware and that is 8-Tracks from the 80’s and more specifically, 8-Tracks that are exclusive to Record Clubs. You know, like Columbia House where you could get like a million for 1 penny!
Sit back, grab some coffee as it will take you awhile to get through this list. We have around 75 releases for you this week so there is bound to be something for you to listen to this week. Maybe more than one thing. For me, my choices are highlighted in Blue. Let me know what you want to hear this week and what we may have missed. Thanks for stopping by and let’s get to the releases…
Michael Bublé – Higher – (Reprise Records): What can I say, I like Buble!! That voice is incredible and I like that whole Crooner thing as well.
Hardcore Superstar – Abrakadabra – (Golden Robot Records): If you like Modern Glam Rock then you know Sweden delivers some of the best. Hardcore Superstar is a band worth checking out and I will be doing that today!!
After the massive success of their previous album, ‘Pump’, the band took a little break in 1992. They started recording the next album in January & February, but stopped for some rest and didn’t return until September of that year to finish up the album. The music environment had significantly changed since 1989’s ‘Pump’ so I believe everyone was curious as to what they would do. And it turns out, they would keep doing what they do best and didn’t change a thing. When most bands faded away around this time, Aerosmith ended up flourishing even more. How did they do it?
First thing was they brought back Bruce Fairbairn as their producer as he has been creating gold with everything they had done…or should I say Platinum since the last album went 7 x’s Platinum. Second, they brought in some friends to help out such as Don Henley and Lenny Kravitz. Third, the record company wanted them to continue using outside writers to help so back was Desmond Child, Jim Vallance, Jack Blades, Tommy Shaw, Richard Supa, Mark Hudson and Taylor Rhodes. Damn, that is a lot of help!!
The line-up was still unchanged with Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton and Joey Kramer. The Boston Boys we ready to take on the world again. The album was released on April 23, 1993 and became the band’s first album to debut at #1 on the Charts. They released 7 singles on the album and selling over 7 million copies again in the U.S. It was the band’s third straight album of over 5 million in sales. If that wasn’t enough, the album won two Grammy’s for Best Rock Vocal Performance for a Duo or Group in both 1993 and 1994. The band was on fire still and the fans were eating it up.
Let’s see if I get this right. Two albums earlier with ‘Busted’, Cheap Trick leaves their label Epic Records. They then get signed with Warner Brothers and release “Woke Up With A Monster” and then the label drops them. The band finds an indie label called Red Ant Records to release their new album on April 29, 1997, the self titled, ‘Cheap Trick’, only to be label-less again after Red Ant goes bankrupt a mere 3 weeks after the release causing it to only go to #99 with the lack of promotion. The poor guys are having some major issues.
Now, that doesn’t mean the new album is not any good. It just didn’t get the full promotion it deserved from a financially strapped label. The album, ‘Cheap Trick’, was a fresh start. A starting over. A time to re-introduce the band to a brand new generation of kids, thus having the album self-titled like they did with their debut album. This was a band getting back to their roots and remembering who Cheap Trick were. This was the beginning all over again.
What I love about the cover is a play on what the band had done with most of their covers over the years. Their older albums always had Robin Zander and Tom Petersson on the front and Rick Nielsen and Bun E. Carlos would be relegated to the back cover. This time around, Rick & Bun are on the front and Robin and Tom are on the back. However, to switch up, it is the instruments. Well done boys, well done.