I’m sitting here trying to figure out what to write as how do you say goodbye to one of the greatest, most influential guitarists to ever grace us with his presence. I’m actually gutted right now. I know this news is no surprise, but it is still a shock and gut wrenching loss. Eddie Van Halen finally lost his battle with cancer on October 7, 2020 and in a year that has sucked enough already, this news makes the year that much worse. And what is even worse he was only 65 years old. Gone way too soon.
I remember when I heard the Van Halen debut album back in 1978, I don’t think I had heard anything like that before. The song “Eruption” is one of his best solos and put him in a class by himself. That album is still one of my all time favorite records and could quite possibly be argued as one of the best debut albums of all time. Van Halen had 12 albums together and a handful of live albums and he guested on so many songs including Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”.
We always held out hope that we would see Van Halen play one more time on the road, but now I guess it has been decided that there will not be a next time. I don’t know if I could truly express what his music has meant to me over the years, so I will leave you here with “Eruption” and thankfully we have his music to live on forwever.
I know…you are probably sick of Kiss related posts at the same time I am doing the Kiss Review Series and I am sorry. I am in a Kiss Zone right now and everything is KISS, KISS, KISS!!! And on my continuous Kiss hunt, I found another book that was all about Kiss that I want to discuss.
This is a book right up my alley and education level. It is a picture book with very few words…YEAH ME!!! It is Kiss: 1977-1980 by Lynn Goldsmith. Lynn is a celebrity portrait photographer and was one of the very first female Rock Photographers. Lynn has been asked numerous times to photograph Kiss and this book encompasses all of those meetings and pictures from all of the sessions she had with the band. Those sessions were only from 1977-1980 which was a very interesting and transforming time for the band. It was coming out of Alive II, the solo albums, in to Dynasty and Unmasked where the music changed and Peter left. It goes up to where Eric Carr joins the band and has his first photo shoot with the band.
As you know if you visit my site, one of my favorite bands is Needtobreathe. I have everything they have put out on vinyl and now I am going after everything they have released on CD (that they don’t have on vinyl). And the CDs I want the most are the exclusive fan club CDs they release each year.
If you join the Needtobreathe Insiders fan club (for $70 a year), you get a Live CD of tracks collected from the band’s live performances. (among other things such as a Needtobreathe Mug, a key chain and a free live track download ever month – that is 12 more songs or maybe the same tracks that will be on the CD, not sure yet on that). Needtobreathe actually records every show they put on so they have a ton of tunes to choose from. They have released 6 volumes and number 7 will be coming in December which I will get as I have now joined the club. I had never joined prior so getting my hands on these has not been easy as it is not cheap. I am looking for the right price and most of the time it is too high. I finally grabbed my first one at a price less than the membership fee which was Insiders LP Vol. 2 and now I got one even cheaper which is this release Vol. 5. Sorry we aren’t going in order, but we are going in order of when I receive them.
For My Sunday Song #216, we are going to explore the song “Room at the End of the World” by Matt Nathanson. The song is off his stellar 2011 album, ‘Modern Love’ and it was the 2nd single off the album. Although I don’t think the song charted, the album did debut at #17 on the Billboard charts. The fact that it didn’t chart is no surprise as Matt has never been a darling of public radio. His songs are way too good for radio as they are well crafted masterpieces and lyrical poems about life and he is pure talent unlike the bozos on radio. No, I am not biased…okay…yes I am. You got me!
I think the song is talking about being with the one you love and nothing to take away that fact. Even if the world was ending, you two would get a room and make the best of what was to come. I love how the song talks about how he was lost and had given up on love until he found “The One”. The One that makes him whole, The One that he will be with until the end of time, The One true love. There is line that says “one heart is never enough alone” and I don’t think it is saying you have to be someone to be whole, I think it is saying that he never felt complete until he found her (or him). His lyrical phrasing is always so eloquent and so beautiful. He doesn’t sing a love song in the same cliched way other songs do.
Musically, the song is an upbeat, feel-good song that dances along with its ups and downs the same way we go through life. The drum beats towards the end are your heart beating as the love builds and the song keeps promising to deliver more and does just that as the final choruses are sung with all his heart and the music is full of life and love.
Welcome to October and this month starts off with a BANG!! There are so many releases this week and a ton I am interested in at the very least, hearing. October has a lot coming so this is only the beginning. Everyone that has been holding off due to Covid is finally being released. This week, I am sure there is something you will find that you like. I am going to highlight my choices in Blue. I want you to let me know what you want to hear and what I may have missed that is coming out. Thank you so much for stopping by and I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
Queen & Adam Lambert – Live Around the World – (Hollywood Records): This one is on order and I hope it will arrive sometime today as I am dying to hear this one. I took my daughter to see them on their most recent tour and since Adam sounded amazing, it will be nice to have an album with him on vocals.
Bon Jovi – 2020 – (Captain Kidd / Island Records): Am I excited about this one or what?? Actually, it is or what! I am not excited at all and do not have this on order. I am only interested in hearing it to confirm to myself that Bon Jovi is still not worth a damn anymore. Now, if I find the vinyl in the used section of my local store and less than $10…I might pick it up as the completist in me feels the need to do. I haven’t liked what I’ve heard so far so my hopes aren’t very high.
By the end of they Dynasty Tour, the Kiss Empire was eroding quickly. Between Ace’s and Peter’s drinking problems (among other things), the band was at an all time low. During an interview on October 31, 1979 on the Tom Snyder Show, Ace was totally hammered and you could see the faces of Gene and Paul and they did not look altogether happy. Pissed is a probably a good word for it. And let us not forget Peter during the Tour. By the end, he would make so many screw-ups and some times would simply stop playing. Gene and Paul had had enough and so had Peter.
When 1980 rolls around, the band have to make a new album and this would become the first album without all four members of the band. Peter did not play on the album at all and there are no Peter sung songs, but he was credited to play and he was on the cover as Kiss wanted to keep the illusion going the band was fine for as long as they could. Who handled the drumming, well that would’ve been Anton Fig.
Now Ace, well, he was on the album, however, he only shows up on probably 5 of the 11 songs with the rest of the guitar parts being handled by Paul, Gene or Bob Kulick. It was becoming more and more obvious that the end was near for Ace as well although it wouldn’t be for another year or two. He somehow managed to hang in there for a little while longer.
Welcome to my monthly wrap-up of all my purchases for the month. Now I am cheating as there are a number of items that came in at the end of August after I had already done my August post and I wasn’t about to go update that and have to change a few pictures so they will start out our September update.
First up is an brand new album from one of my favorite bands, Needtobreathe. Their new album came out on Friday, August 28th and luckily I got release day delivery and it came with a CD. I have already done a review (Click Here) and an update to their Album Rankings will be coming shortly.
August 29th was the first 3 of RSD days for 2020. As you know, due to Covid the April Record Store Day was delayed until June and then split in to 3 days in hopes of decreasing the # of people showing up on the day of release. The first one of these 3 days was August 29th and there will be one in September and October and if I am not mistaken, November will still see the normal Black Friday RSD. I tried to keep this one simple and I only bought 4 albums, one of which was for my daughter. I bought an Ace Frehley album, Collective Soul and a Def Leppard one. The album for my daughter was a live album by Billie Eilish (I will probably listen to it as well as she is quite interesting.
And I guess it wasn’t the only thing I bought as it was raining and he let everyone come in early, but he couldn’t actually ring us up until 8 and it was around 7:30. So after we got to pick out or RSD items, I had time to walk around the store and see if there was anything else. I wasn’t going to actually buy anything else as I spent enough on the above. If you follow the site you know I have started collecting Kiss Tour Books. I picked up a Bon Jovi one when I was out and I wasn’t looking to do anyone else other than Kiss. Well, Repo Records had a Bon Jovi Tour Book from 2011. And you guessed it. I bought it. I will do a full review of this soon.
Normally on Record Store Day, Repo Records gives us a goody bag. This year he didn’t have a goody bag (Sad face)…No, he had a goody album cover…WTF? He had old useless album covers and inside he had a Record Mat for your turntable, a sticker, an RSD guitar pick and a button of someone but I have no idea. And that was it…wasn’t much.
And that was it for RSD, but on the same day I had delivered another item from Needtobreathe. I was on eBay only about 3 days earlier and checking to see if any of their rare Fan Club Insider CDs were for sale. You can only purchase these if you sign up for their fan club and pay the annual premium of like $60. I hadn’t done that up until this year so the new one will come in December, but I have been trying to find these on eBay or Discogs at reasonable prices (something less than $60…and I did). I got my second one, Volume 5, for $25…yeah me!! And within a week, I found another one for $27 after eBay was kind enough to give me a $25 Off coupon for being a member since the beginning of eBay. That is two for less than a year membership for one. Not bad!!!
Next up was an album I ordered back in June or so and when it was released in August, Amazon apparently ran out so I had to wait and wait to finally get it. My local record store had it but sold out so I kept waiting, plus Amazon’s price was only $16 so I was willing to wait. It is the self-titled album from Collective Soul that was finally issued on vinyl to celebrate its 25th Anniversary.
I forget what day, but the kids wanted to get out of the house and so we took a ride over to 2nd & Charles, the whole family, and we all searched for books or music or movies or whatever floated our boat. I found one item that I needed for my collection and at $8, it was a steal. Peter Criss’ book ‘Makeup to Breakup’ another book in my long list of Kiss books I have to get through.
Next up is an autographed copy of the Storm Force album ‘Age of Fear’. My fellow bloggers Deke and LeBrain have raved about this album and then during LeBrain’s live stream on Facebook, the boys from the band joined him and Deke and talked for an hour on a fun-filled Friday night. I thought that was really cool of the guys so I supported them by buying this. You should do the same.
And then something else popped up. I was on Amazon and I saw Art Alexakis’ solo album for only $8 and free shipping so since I am fan of Everclear, I jumped on it. It came quick and is below…
And finally we get to the 2nd Record Store Day and this was just this past Saturday on Sept. 25th. I picked up three things including The Alarm’s Celtic Folklore Live, a Mott the Hoople compilation called The Golden Age of Rock and Roll and then a live album from Hootie & the Blowfish. That one wasn’t on my list, but when I saw it and that it was from 1995, their heyday.
And like last time at Repo, they let us in before they could check us out and it gave us time to look around and shop. Let me tell you that is never a good thing. The first thing I found was a 7″ Kiss single for Beth and Detroit Rock City and then it was a bootleg from Van Halen for the Women And Children First Sessions full of the demos. I’m a sucker for that stuff….
And Repo gave out his typical swag….at least the mat was a different color this time…
And that is everything…yes, that was plenty. Here it all is in one big picture…
Thanks for stopping by. I already have a few things coming for October and there is another Record Store Day so shaping up to be another big month.
As a Bonus Edition to The Kiss Review Series, we are going to look at a couple singles I have for the Song “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” off the band’s 1979 album, ‘Dynasty’. The song was a commercial success for the band reaching all the way to the #11 slot on the Billboard Hot 100 and one of only a handful of times they have broke the Top 40.
The music, however, was quite a departure for the band. The song was labeled as Disco and if you listen to it, it really was. The song was written by Paul Stanley, Vini Poncia and the great Desmond Child makes his first of many appears with the band (only one on this album). The story goes that Disco was really big at the time and the record company wanted the band to be a little more commercial. Paul thought any idiot could write a disco song and a bet was made and a few hours later, the song was written and the Paul proved his point. This song did have every trapping of a disco song, the tempo, the beat, the pop sound, the disco sound effects…I mean it was disco…but it was good and it was catchy and they still play it live today. Now on a side note, this is Gene’s least favorite song (and Peter and Ace hate it too).
I have two versions of the Single. I have the Radio Edit 45 Single with “Hard Times” as the B-Side and I have the 12″ Dance Mix with “Charisma as the B-Side. First we will talk about the 7” Single, which might be the Radio edit.
I know what you are thinking, all their albums should be labeled the Worst. However, that is not the case. I am not a huge fan of the band by any means, I am trying to shake things up a little and try different things with my posts and I thought why not really stretch it and tackle Limp Bizkit. I will admit to liking a few songs, but I don’t actually own anything by them so thanks to Apple Music for giving me the means to do a fair assessment without spending any more money that my monthly Apple Membership fee.
Nowdays, a person wearing a “Red” hat is labeled a racist, Trump supporting pig. That is right, the MAGA Hats. Well back in the late 90’s, there was another reason to hate the “Red” hat and that was because people loved to hate the backwards “red” hat wearing lead singer of Limp Bizkit, Fred Durst. Man, people loved to hate this guy.
The band was labeled as Nu-Metal and they brought in elements of hip hop, rap, metal, funk and rock. A whole smorgasbord of sounds. They were all over MTV and a massive success, but that success turned to hate really fast thanks to the controversial Fred. It was worse hate than poor Nickelback get for their success. Anyway, we are going to tackle their studio albums and I will try to let you know which ones I think are the best and in the order I rank them. I am not judging the band or its members, just focusing on the music or whatever you want to call it.
For My Sunday Song #215, we are going to discuss “Suspended” by Matt Nathanson off his 2003 album ‘Beneath the Fireworks’. The album was one of the first I heard by Matt and helped me get on board to become a full-fledged fan. “Suspended” was a single off the album but failed to chart. His first charted single didn’t come until his next album, ‘Some Mad Hope’ in 2007.
The song seems to be about being with someone that that you think is pretending you are the one. You are scared. You are feeling things that you haven’t felt before. You are alive, no longer numb. You feel she might actually be the one, but you are scared that she is. You freak out a little, but you finally suspend disbelief and except her for what this is and it could be beautiful. For me, it is a song about hope in finding your true love. I find it it to be a beautiful and the way he captures the emotions in the lyrics is amazing.
Musically, it is a pop song, plain and simple. Nice beats, good grove, great vocal delivery. There is nothing special about it, no outstanding moment. It perfectly captures the tone of the lyrics and it is catchy, fun and pleasant. Sometimes, the beauty is in the simplicity.