Billy Idol – ‘Cyberpunk’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

After ‘Charmed Life’, Billy wanted to do something different.  He didn’t want to keep repeating his previous work over and over again.  Let me tell you he completely succeeded.  The album is nothing like his previous work and I think was way ahead of its time. ‘Cyberpunk’ delivered Billy’s most experimental and most controversial album.

Billy became fascinated with technology and the cyberpunk movement of the early 90’s.  He saw how the advancement could be used to make music and in fact, this was one of the first albums to use ProTools for almost the entire recording of the album. He felt the use of the computers allowed him to do things faster and he felt it gave the whole feel of a garage band.  I don’t know about that last part, but it was the very early stages of how albums and music would be recorded down the road.

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When he released the single for “Shock to the System” he released it with a 3 1/2″ Floppy Disc.  MP’s eat your heart out.  The disc housed pictures, bios and all the things you now see issued in todays electronic press kits (EPK).  He was also was one of the first albums to actually have an email address in the booklet that came with the album (don’t try it, it no longer works).

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Tuesday’s Memes – David Lee Roth

Welcome to yet another edition of Tuesday’s Memes.  When will the misery end.  This week we will focus on the David Lee Roth memes floating around the interwebnetthingamabob.  Yes, I am making up words.  Well, Dave is a basically a real life meme as he is one hell of a character.  Here is what I found and I hope you like.

2019 New Year’s Resolutions….

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Political…

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Bryan Adams – Shine A Light Tour (Charlotte, NC 5-4-19) – Concert Review

Bryan Adams kicked off his North American Shine A Light tour in Charlotte, NC on May 4th, 2019 at the Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre.  I am excited to say, I was there and witnessed a spectacular show and loved every minute of this 2 hour show and 28 song set.  At the tender age of 59, Bryan still rocks like he is 18 and I guess he will til he dies!!!

The night started out a little rough.  Thunderstorms and rain were pushing through Charlotte and I was wondering how wet I was going to get.  I arrived with only about 20 minutes to spare before the show started and had my poncho ready.  Just as Bryan took the stage some rain started to fall and the poncho went on (just like about 1/2 the crowd did as well).  By the end of the song, no rain…not one drop the rest of the evening.  Someone up above was looking out for us and for Bryan and his band.

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Let’s talk about the show.  The opening act was none other than NO ONE!!  Bryan doesn’t need no stinking opening act.  Nope!  This was an evening with Bryan Adams and only Bryan (well, his band was there including the amazing Keith Scott, but more on him later).  The stage set-up was really simple. A big Video Screen that covered the entire back of the stage, a drum set on a small riser, a baby grand piano and keyboards and few guitar stands around the stage.  Add a small lighting set-up that was quite simple and that was it.

Bryan came to play music and have a good time and that is exactly what he did and a good time was had by all.  Now, do you want to see this monster setlist??  I am sure you do so here we go…

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My Sunday Song – “Once” by Van Halen

For My Sunday Song #142, we are going with a song by underrated Van Halen singer Gary Cherone.  The song is “Once” off the album Van Halen III.  The song wasn’t a single and the album wasn’t a hit, but it had some great songs and Gary Cherone (singer for Extreme) never got the recognition he deserved for this album.  So we will give it here.

“Once” is an epic song at over 7 minutes long.  It opens with the piano and is a much slower tempo song.  There is a mystical and yet eerie feel to the song.  And even a sadness as it seems to be about love loss.  It is filled with so many layers and textures that you hear something different each time you give it a listen.  It has an almost early Genesis feel to it.

The song focuses on the groove with the piano and Gary’s voice which is actually also understated in the song.  but Eddie’s guitar work is also sensational.  He dances in and out of the song and during the long instrumental break of the song, he is trying all sorts of things.  It seems to be a very experimental song for them and I thought it worked as it was so different than everything else Van Halen had done.

Interesting on the song is that bass is played by Eddie and not Michael Anthony.  In fact, on Van Halen III, Michael only played bass on 3 tracks.  His time was numbered with the band by this point for sure.

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Friday New Releases – May 3rd

Welcome to May and a very dismal week of releases…at least for me.  There isn’t much I am interested in this week which will hopefully help me catch up on what I missed while on vacation.  There is one I am interest in and another I might check out, but that is all.  My choices are highlighted in Blue.  Let me know what interests you or if I missed anything. Or just stop by and say hi!  Whatever floats your boat.  Have a great weekend!!!

  • a1+ap30xvvl._sx522_  Joy Williams – Front Porch – (Sensibility Records):  Is she the better half of the band The Civil Wars that were together from about 2009-2014?  I don’t know.  I guess that depends if you liked her voice or John Paul White’s voice better.  I love her voice and enjoyed her first solo album after the breakup, so I am looking forward to hear what new she has to offer.  The band was more American folk and I can you classify her that still.  Whatever you want to definite it, it is some great songwriting.

  • A1W3vvhDtmL._SS500_  New Found Glory – From the Screen to Your Stereo 3 – (Hopeless Records):  NFG has been hit or miss over the years.  I am not sure I will enjoy this at it their 3rd covers album, but you never know what you will get so I might give it a shot.  Just glad to see a band from the 90’s still going at it as it seems a lot of bands from that decade aren’t around anymore.

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Turntables & Vinyl #20 – The Paris Adventure

For Spring Break this year, we had the pleasure of visiting a quaint little town in this little country.  The country was France and the little town was Paris.  It was a dream trip come true.  I had hoped to have a little time to have a little rock & roll adventure while I was there, but there was so much to see and so little time to do it.

I did hit a couple record stores, but didn’t get to as many as I had hoped.  I didn’t get to see Jim Morrison’s grave or visit the Place Vendome to see where the band got its name.  But we did do so much that I thought I would share a little of it with you.  Oh yeah, this a music site so we will get to what I bought by the end.

Now, we skipped the whole Hotel thing and rented an apartment for the family and an awesome neighborhood with lots of cafes and lots of pastries.  Below is the door to the courtyard.  It was a beautiful blue door and made it easy to find.

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There was so much room in the apartment which is surprising for Paris.  It was absolutely stunning. These were our windows right above that blue door.

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And the view down our street was awesome as well. The architecture was always amazing. The streets were so cute. This one was a one way with real small sidewalks and we loved being in that area.  Everyone was so nice and helpful.

We of course visited all the museums and the typical Paris sites, but nothing is better than the Eiffel Tower.  Every time we saw it, I had to stop and just admire.  It is breathtaking.  There is just something about it that is so special and I don’t know what it is.  Here are a couple of my favorites…

Oh!  And at night!!  She is even more beautiful…

Now, a week before we arrived, there was devastating news that Notre Dame Cathedral caught on fire.  That bothered me a lot as that was one of the top places I wanted to see while we were there. Now, we weren’t able to get inside, but we did go on Easter Sunday and take a look.  This was as close as we could get.  We weren’t the only ones that had that idea as the area was slammed with people.  I am glad I got to see her.

I have no real exciting stories to tell on this trip.  It went off without a hitch and we got to see so much. Nothing unusual or strange happened, the weather was beautiful and all was right with the world so I apologize for no real adventure.  Just a lot of beautiful places visited, memories had and unforgettable times with family.

Here are a few more things we saw…

We saw the Louvre which houses the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo statue among many, many other things.  The Mona Lisa was tiny. She isn’t this grand painting and at times hard to imagine why this painting is so famous, but it is and we saw it.  The picture I took does it no justice so I am hoping my daughter with the good camera got some good pictures.

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We also went to the many churches and cathedrals and all were amazing.

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And the museums were boundless and if I never step into another one for rest of my life I am okay with that…just kidding.

And let’s not forget Versailles.  Wow!  What a place that small, tiny palace is.  I think they liked Gold…A LOT OF GOLD!!!

And the fountains were amazing at the palace as well…

Everywhere you went in the city there were statues and fountains as well.  I mean it, every time you came out on a new street, you had to stop and soak it all in.  There is nothing like that where I come from.

And of course the Arc de Triomphe…

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Okay, Okay…I have bored you enough with the pictures.  Let us get to the music.  The goal on the trip was to hit as many record stores as I could find and only buy things I couldn’t find here in the States.  It didn’t always follow that rule, but I stuck to it pretty hard.  The first store I went was a bust.  Nothing.  The rock section was weak.  The next store, which happened to be a block from our apartment was NEVER OPEN!! I think they went out of business.

I was getting worried.  We were traveling around so much, hitting museum after museum and walking mile after mile (we averaged around 8 miles a day walking) that there was little time to record shop.  I finally got out one afternoon and walked to a place called Betinos Record Shop.

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It was a great little store, but I didn’t find a lot.  I did find the UK pressing of Billy Idol’s Vital Idol with the different cover and one less track than the US version I have.  I was pretty excited about that.

I also found a 12″ Single of Billy Idol’s “To Be A Lover” from Whiplash Smile which I  could probably found in the states, but this was the French Edition.

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And the last thing at this store was a 12″ Single of Whitesnake’s Give Me More Time from the album Slide It In.  The B-Side was the song Need Your Love So Bad which was the bonus track on the Cassette.

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And that was it…only 17 Euros spent.  Not too bad.  After this stop, I continued over to Born to Be Bad Records and guess what, they were closed.  The website showed as open, but the site was wrong.  At this point, it was late and I headed back to the apartment so we could all go to dinner.

The next day, I was able to squeeze in a little time at the best record store I could find…Rock’n’Roll Voltage.  The specialize in Hard Rock, Thrash, Glam, Death, Doom and Black Metal…Heavy Metal Overload (HMO) would feel right at home in this store.

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I found a lot here!!  A LOT!!!  If I wanted to spend $1,000’s on 12″ Singles for Def Leppard, Kiss, Bon Jovi, Motley Crue, etc…I could have gone broke.  I needed unlimited funds in this store which I didn’t have.  I walked out with two Non-Kiss items at this store.  The first was this beauty…

A 12″ Picture Disc of the Coverdale * Page song “Take Me For A Little While”.  It gives you two versions of that song (LP and Acoustic) as well as “Shake My Tree” (The Guitar Crunch Mix) and “Easy Does It”.

And to top it off, I found a 12″ of David Coverdale’s “The Last Note of Freedom” from the Days of Thunder Soundtrack.  This will work great in the David Coverdale series that will be starting soon on the site.

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Then I hit the mother lode of Bootlegs for Kiss.  The guy specializes in Bootlegs and he showed me all the bootlegs he had and he had tons!!!  We stayed focused with Kiss and I ended up buying 7 different Kiss concerts from his selection.  I am telling you, I needed unlimited funds and I would have enough material to write for years on this blog and never have to buy another thing.

Anyway, here are the shows I bought…

Kiss – The Summer of Satan: The Devils Ride Out! (Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City, NJ – July 10, 1976):

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Kiss – North Hampton, PA – March 19, 1975 (Roxy Theatre):

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Kiss – With Fire & Thunder (He Victory Burlesque, Toronto, ON, Canada – September 14th, 1974):

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Kiss – Return to Capital Center (Largo, MD – July 8, 1979):

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Kiss – Look Wot You Dun To Me: Kiss On Japan Tour 1988 (The Castle Hall, Osaka, Japan – April 18, 1988):

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Kiss – The Hottest Show On Earth (Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, CA – September 2010):

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Kiss – Accept No Imitations (T. H. Barton Coliseum, Little Rock, AK – November 29, 1985):

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And that was my haul.  Getting them back to the U.S. was a pain.  I had to borrow my daughters Paris bag she bought as it was the only bag that fit the albums and let me tell you, she wasn’t happy about that.  I had to carry them under my arm the whole way (except overhead bin when on the plane).  They weren’t light by any means, but no complaints from me.  All these Kiss Bootlegs will get reviewed for A Kiss Bootleg Series I will now do as a result.

There you have it. The Paris trip in a nutshell.  Thanks for taking the journey with me and I hope you enjoyed it.  It was the trip of a lifetime for us and memories the kids will have forever.  We did New York City last year, Paris this year…what will next Spring Break hold??? We will have to wait and see (I am thinking Hawaii or London; the kids are thinking LA/San Francisco)

Def Leppard – ‘The Story So Far…The Best of Volume 2’ – Album Review (#RSD – 2019)

I bought ‘The Story So Far…The Best of’ back in 2018 and at the time not realizing it was only Volume 1.  I also bought the CD Deluxe to get all the music as the vinyl didn’t have everything.  Well, now it does.  For Record Store Day 2019, Def Leppard released Volume 2 for those suckers, like me, who will buy everything they put out.

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Now Volume 1 has all the songs from their 3 biggest albums (Pyromania, Hysteria and Adrenalice).  Volume 2 covers pretty much everything else.  And for that, it has a much better selection of songs than Volume 1 for me.  It covers the band’s history better and is a lot more diverse and entertaining.

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But before we get on about the set list, let’s talk the album cover.  It is styled the same as volume 1 with some alterations to color.  The biggest pet peeve for me is the picture when you open up the gatefold (oh yeah, 2 LP set with gatefold).  It is the same DAMN concert picture as the first!!  Really, you couldn’t come up with a different picture. At least the pictures of the individual band members are different.

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Tuesday’s Memes – Ghost (Part 2)

Okay, I know I did a post of Memes on them last week, but there were so many good ones or just so many depending on your point of view.  I have enjoyed going through these myself, so I hope you like them too…let’s get to it.

Part One – Click HERE

Part Two begins now…RATS!!!

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I Prevail – ‘Trauma’ – Album Review

I Prevail is back after a potential career ending vocal cord injury for singer, Brian Burkheiser.  Brian wasn’t sure if he would be able to continue, but with a successful surgery, that ‘trauma’ has led to the band returning with their sophomore album, ‘Trauma’.  And let me tell you the band is not suffering from any sophomore slump or suffering any side effects from that surgery.  This is a band that has found who they are and delivered one of the most impressive albums of the year.

I Prevail is a metalcore band and as I am not overly familiar with that genre, all I can say is if it sounds like this, I will be getting to know more of this band and this genre.  All I do know is I hear sounds of Linkin Park and Hollywood Undead in their music and since I like both those bands, then this is something for me.  It is at times brutal and other times beautiful.

The unclean vocals, Eric Vanlerberghe, don’t distract from the songs as it is not excessive.  It only enhances the performances and gives it an edge and attitude that fits perfectly with the music.  The clean vocals, Brian Burkheiser, are smooth and so melodic and he has this great rock voice that is quickly becoming a favorite of mine.

The opening track, “Bow Down”, is an assault on the senses.  It comes at you with such power and force that you are immediately engulfed in the shockwave and blown back in your seat.  Then we go into the song “Paranoid” which is so different than the opener. It includes a little rap and Brian’s clean vocals sound great.  It slowly builds up and then drops back slower.

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My Sunday Song – “Unchained” by Van Halen

For My Sunday Song #141, we are now going to tackle 10 songs from Van Halen.  They could be with David Lee Roth, Sammy Hager or even Gary Cherone on lead vocals.  We will cover all the bases.  First up will be “Unchained” off the band’s fourth album, ‘Fair Warning’.  ‘Fair Warning’ came out in April 1981 and “Unchained” was the second single off the album released in July 1981, but I had also heard no singles were ever officially released so not sure what to believe.  Either way, the song reached #13 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart.

The album suffered from poor sales, but the album was received very well by the critics.  In fact, “Unchained” is often named as one of the best Van Halen songs of all time.  I can’t say I disagree with that.

The song is noted for its use of the MXR M-117 Flanger which for us non-guitar people is a pedal used that can change the sound of the guitar.  For the guitar people, It uses a Drop Db tuning with suspended fourth chords interspersed (thanks Wikipedia).  Eddie made this effect very popular and helped increase the sales of such equipment. (Picture not actual EVH pedal).

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The song also features producer Ted Templeman on vocals.  During a point in the song, Dave is pontificating on and on and Ted jumps in and says “Come On Dave, Give Me a Break” and Dave replies, “Hey, hey, hey, hey, one break coming up!”.  It is an awesome moment in the song.

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