Stone Temple Pilots – Core 25th Anniversary Edition – Album Review

On September 29, 1992, the debut album ‘Core’ by the band Stone Temple Pilots was released to great fanfare.  The album kicked off the career of what would become one of the best bands to come out of the 90’s.  Well, on September 29, 2017, Stone Temple Pilots commemorated the 25th Anniversary of their stellar debut with a spectacular re-release of their debut album. I love how they were able to release on the same day as the original.  And yes, I already had a copy, but now I have it again, but this time there is so much more.

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What all do you get?  Well, I am glad you asked.  The set I bought was the Deluxe Edition.  You can get a Super Deluxe Edition which had a T-Shirt and 16″x20″ Litograph, but I didn’t see that offered on Amazon as that might have been a STP website only purchase.  The Deluxe had everything you see above which is as follows:

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The Debut: Maroon 5 ‘Songs About Jane’

Welcome to another edition of The Debut.  This month is the debut album for Maroon 5 called ‘Songs About Jane’.  Maroon 5’s debut album came out on June 25, 2002 and went as high as #6 on the Billboard charts.  The album also has gone on to sell more than 10 million copies worldwide.

When the album came out, there wasn’t a lot of good pop music and there wasn’t a lot of uniqueness or original sounding music.  Then along came Maroon 5.  With Adam’s tenor vocals, a killer falsetto and that funked up rock sound, Maroon 5 offered up something different, unique and oh so memorable.

Who is in the band you ask?  Well, it consisted of the following members:

  • Adam Levine – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
  • James Valentine – lead guitar, backing vocals
  • Jesse Carmichael – keyboards, backing vocals
  • Mickey Madden – bass guitar
  • Ryan Dusick – drums, percussion, backing vocals

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Living Colour – Shade – Album Review

The band that brought us “Cult of Personality” back in 1988 is back after an 8 year hiatus from their last album.  Living Colour released their new album, ‘Shade’ on September 8th 2017 and it sounds like this band has a lot to say.  Their social commentary on today’s society is definitely worth listening to and not only will it open your eyes to life today, it will open your ears to some damn fine music.

The title of the album, ‘Shade’, has many different meanings for this album.  It could be referring to the many shades of color the album brings in its different styles and sounds.  Or is the band throwing ‘Shade’ at America and all that has been happening over the years.  I think it is both, but you should listen and decide for yourself.

What I really love about this album is the variety of the songs.  You, of course, get some hard rock, some funk, some blues and some hip hop and when they mix them up together in the song it gets even better.  Corey Glover sounds amazing throughout as does Vernon Reid with his kick ass solos, Doug Wimbash’s bass thumping and Will Calhoun’s drum keep the timing set perfectly.

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Jonny Lang – Signs – Album Review

Grammy Award winning artist, Jonny Lang, is back with his new album, ‘Signs’.  If you aren’t familiar with Jonny, you are definitely missing out.  He is a Blues, Gospel and rock guitarist, songwriter and singer.  There is nothing this man can’t do.  He brings in so many influences and crafts them into heartfelt and moving songs that are either blues or straight up rock & roll and when he mixes the two together, watch out!!

I remember when his first album came out in 1997, ‘Lie to Me’, and he was only 16 years old.  I heard that album and couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  No 16 year old should be able to pull off what this kid could do.  Years went by and he struggled with substance abuse and in 2000 came clean.  He found Christianity after shunning it for so long and it changed his perspective on everything.  His writing, playing and vocals started hitting on all cylinders.  He won a Grammy in 2006 for his album ‘Turn Around’ and he kept putting out incredible music.

Now in 2017, can he still produce albums that strike a chord with you after 20 years in the business?  Oh yes he can.  Jonny Lang has released what could possibly be the album of the year for me.  His vocals, songwriting and guitar playing (damn can he play a guitar) are nothing short of awe-inspiring.  Sit back and let me walk you through this masterpiece.

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“My First Time” with White Lion’s ‘Pride’

I recently read an article on Mike Tramp that said he was releasing a limited edition box set called “This and That” which would contain 5 CDs and 1 DVD of previously unreleased material as well as some new tracks.  It sounds interesting and got me to thinking about his old band White Lion.  And I immediately remembered ‘Pride’.

Little did I know at the time that ‘Pride’ was not their debut album.  They actually had an album prior called ‘Fight to Survive’ that never amounted to anything.  Since “My First Time” is supposed to be the first time I discover a band and it is not on their debut album, then ‘Pride’ worked.

‘Pride’ came out in 1987 slap dab in the middle of the Hair Band explosion.  That means BIG HAIR!!  Did White Lion have it…uh…YES…

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Nickelback – ‘Feed the Machine’ – Album Review

I know what you are asking…Why on Earth am I doing a Nickelback review???  I have asked myself that same question over and over again.  But I do have a reason.  I wanted to see if I could objectively review an album despite any prior biases I might have with the band.  It was more of an experiment…a challenge.

Let me give you some history.  I started out as a fan of Nickelback…I mean who didn’t back in the day.  They wrote really catchy songs that got stuck in your head.  Over time, that like became boredom as everything they ever did was the same old shit.  No growth, no diversity.  Then further on, they became a joke, a caricature of themselves.

Then they became down right irritating with stupid, worthless feuds such as the recent spat with Stone Sour’s Corey Taylor.  Now I can’t even listen to Stone Sour’s album as a result.  They both had albums coming out around the same time so the spat was probably planned for publicity that neither band really needed.  It was so fucking stupid (excuse my language but it was).

That got me thinking even more (which is dangerous).  Do I not like them anymore because of all the negativity that I have heard over the years or is it because they really aren’t that good.  That thought intrigued me.  So, I forced myself to try and wipe all that out of my head and do a solid review on this album as if it wasn’t Nickelback.  As if I hadn’t heard of this band or had no idea who did the album.  Did it work???

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The Winery Dogs – Dog Years: Live in Santiago & Beyond 2013-2016 – Album Review

The same day I received Def Leppard’s Hysteria 30th Anniversary Box Set, I also received this gem, The Winery Dogs ‘Dog Years: Live in Santiago & Beyond 2013-2016’.  The Special Edition set includes the Live concert filmed in Santiago, Chile on both Blue-Ray and DVD as well as the concert on 2 CDs.  Lastly, you get a bonus EP of Dog Years.  I will go through each for you, but I won’t go song-by-song as there are 30 songs in total and I can’t write that much and you would get bored with me repeating how great each song is…mostly.

To avoid typing out all the songs, I will get lazy and show you the back cover of the CD with the song listings.

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“My First Time” with Stone Temple Pilots – “Purple”

When Grunge came on the scene, I refused to listen.  I was still a hard rock enthusiast and didn’t quite get this new style of music.  I will admit that I never got the fascination with Nirvana, even to this day I don’t get it and I don’t think I ever will. I am sure I am in the minority. I didn’t care for Soundgarden or Pearl Jam either at the time, but have since found them both to be outstanding with Soundgarden now my favorite of the two.  But there was one band out of the Big Four, that I found to be incredible.  They were Stone Temple Pilots.

I didn’t jump on board with the first album although it started me leaning in their direction.  It was ‘Purple’ that was “My First Time” experience with Stone Temple Pilots.  When I heard the song “Vasoline”, I was hooked and there was no looking back.  The late, great Scott Weiland was one of the greatest frontmen in Rock and the swagger and charisma he brought to the stage is unmatched by most singers.

The band might have been considered, Grunge, but to me it was more like the rock & roll I grew up loving.  Yes, they had the Grunge elements, but the way these guys played just screamed Rock and that is probably why I connected with them more than the others.  The band consisted of the following members:

  • Scott Weiland – lead vocals
  • Dean DeLeo – guitar
  • Robert DeLeo – bass, backing vocals
  • Eric Kretz – drums

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Def Leppard – ‘Hysteria’ 30th Anniversary (Deluxe Edition) – Album Review

Thirty years ago on August 3rd, 1987, Def Leppard released their fourth studio album, ‘Hysteria’.  Little did they know this ground breaking album would go on to sell over 25 million records, produce 7 hit singles and go to #1 on the Billboard Charts.  The album was a labor of love for the band as it took several years to record and they struggled so much during this time.

There were so many setbacks during the recording of the album.  First, Robert John “Mutt” Lange turned down the producing job for the record after he had recorded “High & Dry” (my personal favorite) and “Pyromania” although he did help in the initial song writing for the record.  The band went through several producers during the recording including working with Jim Steinman of ‘Bat Out of Hell’ fame.  Their relationship did not go smoothly and he was later fired (they paid him a lot of money to get out of the contract so it must have gone badly). Later in the process, “Mutt” did come back and produce the final product and then history was made.

The second big obstacle was Rick Allen’s car accident that severed his arm.  Yes, the drummer of the band lost an arm.  With all respect to the band, they did not abandon Rick.  They stood by him and supported him until he was capable of playing the drums with one arm using an electronic drum set and a set of foot pedals to compensate for the lost arm.  It definitely was a trying time.  I won’t go into much more as you can watch the documentary included to learn more.

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Quiet Riot – ‘Road Rage’ – Album Review

Quiet Riot isn’t really Quiet Riot as there are absolutely ZERO original members in the band.  The closest thing they have is Frankie Banali who was in the band during their 80’s heyday. For starters, this is not a good thing.  Next, the album was supposed to be released back on April 21st with then lead singer Seann Nichols, however, Seann left the band (or fired) in March prior to its release.

So Quiet Riot needed a new lead singer.  They quickly added former American Idol alum, Jason Durbin to be the new singer.  They smartly decided to delay the album release and re-record it with their new lead singer.  All that is fine as James has released a couple good solo albums; however, his last one was a little subpar.  Despite that, I had a little bit of hope as I do like James Durbin.

Now here is something weird.  They went back in an actually re-wrote all the songs, but kept the same song titles probably because the artwork and design of the album was already done and Frontier Records didn’t want to spend anymore money.  My first question is how bad were the original songs that you had to completely re-write them. That definitely doesn’t bode well.

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