Bob Ezrin – Producer Extraordinaire #5

We are finally on our 5th Producer in the “Producer Extraordinaire” series after a very long break.  This time we are focusing on Bob Ezrin as he has produced some very influential albums and albums that have impacted my life like all the producers in this series have.  The other producers have been as follows:

Bob_EzrinBob Ezrin hails from Toronto, Canada (and I think 2 of the other producers in this series hail from Canada) and has been producing for over 40 years.  He has spanned many genres, but it his rock productions that have become the most famous and most notable.  He is a member of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and has actually never won a Grammy award although he has been nominated once.  Let’s discuss his work…

ALICE COOPER:

Bob Ezrin has worked with Alice Cooper more times than I can count.  He might as well be considered a member of the band.  He pretty much did all the big albums in the 70’s and even a couple big ones in the 2000’s.  I believe it is a total of at least 13 albums (oh, I guess I can count).  Insane.  I guess he as much a part of their sound as anyone.

To be a part of such huge albums as “Welcome to My Nightmare”, “School’s Out”, “Billion Dollar Babies” and even Alice’s latest masterpiece, “Paranormal” goes to show the magic that Bob can pull out of an artist.  It also makes you wonder would Alice have been Alice without Bob behind the boards…probably, but who knows.

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Classic Rock is Dying!

I am starting to feel old.  Why you might ask?  Well, I will tell you and it is not that I turned 50 last year.  It is not that my kids are growing up too fast.  Okay, that is part of it.  The main reason is that all the musicians I grew up listening to are now starting to die.  Not by drug addiction or overdosing. Nope, those are generally younger rockers and although sad, it doesn’t make me feel old.  The musicians are now dying of natural causes due in part to old age.  They are getting cancer or having heart attacks…you know…normal things that tend to happen when you are older.

Recently, we have seen the deaths of Eddie Money and Ric Ocasek who were both in their 70’s when they passed.  Let that sink in.  They were in their 70’s.  When I listened to them growing up, their music was mainstream.  Not today.  They fall under the Classic Rock category.  I loved both Eddie Money’s and The Cars’ music.  I remember sitting in my basement watching MTV and seeing Eddie scream out “Take Me Home Tonight” and The Cars “You Might Think” video which is one of the most innovative music videos ever done (at least at the time).

Their deaths brought to light a real issue that the world is facing.  The heroes of the classic rock era of the late 60’s, the 70’s & the 80’s are getting a lot older and won’t be around much longer.  Soon, we won’t be catching these acts on tour or won’t even have any new material be released.  The iconic music makers will be dying and the music of generations will start to fade away.  When that happens, how many radio stations will play Classic Rock anymore?  Think about it…there are no stations specific to the 40’s, the 50’s or even the 60’s music (ok, maybe unless you have Satellite Radio).  Some of the 60’s will fall under Classic Rock, but not the early 60’s music.  Gone.  Classic Rock’s days are numbered.

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Friday New Releases – September 13th

Welcome to Friday new releases on this Friday the 13th.  And let me tell you this is a lucky Friday…no bad news here.  There are an abundance of releases this week that I am excited about and it might be the best week in quite a long time or even all year.  There are over 25 on this list and maybe 1/2 I am interested in at listening to once. How long is that going to take…it could be next September.  My choices will be highlighted in Blue.  Let me know what you see that you like and what I might be missing (could there be anything???).  Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!

The most important…

  • 717mqiZN3dL._SX522_  The Defiants – Zokusho – (Frontiers Records):  Man, I am super excited about this one.  Paul Laine and the Danger Danger boys are back with their second release and if it is half as good as the debut, then we are in for a treat.  The first 3 songs they have previewed are sensational!!  So expectations are HIGH!!  I don’t usually listen to songs that are previewed on albums I am anxious about, but I could wait.  If you like 80’s brand rock with modern productions, you will be in for a treat.

  • A1EaP+943DL._SX522_.jpg  Tom Keifer – Rise – (Cleopatra Music): The voice of Cinderella is back with his 2nd solo album.  His first was fantastic and nothing less is expected on this one.  His blues rock and the gravely voice is just what the doctor ordered so grab a copy and crank it up.  A great weekend is ahead.

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Nita Strauss – ‘Controlled Chaos’ (2018) – Album Review

I am a little behind on reviews, so excuse the lateness of this one.  I almost passed it over due to the lateness, but I felt this one needed to be done.  Nita Strauss’ ‘Controlled Chaos’ is nothing short of spectacular so I had to talk about it.

Instrumental albums are hard for me to write-up as I am not a guitarist (although learning) or a musician.  I mean how many times and how many ways can I say the guitar work is sensational.  Well, I will say it at least a few times.  Nita’s guitar work is sensational…she is a beast…she is one of the most exciting guitarists out there today.  Plus, you know she is one of the best if Alice Cooper has her in his band.  I saw them tour last year and she was quite phenomenal!

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And another way I can tell you it is great is the fact I actually bought a physical CD.  I normally stream new music and buy used vinyl and special edition box sets.  New releases only get bought, if they are beyond exceptional and well, this is just that.  So, I showed my support by actually spending my hard in dollars on her album.  People should do way more of that.

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Alice Cooper – Concert Review (Charlotte, NC 10-9-2018)

Ok, I am in no means an Alice Cooper aficionado, I am a casual fan at best.  However, I have always wanted to see Alice live, but never actually went.  Well, as I am getting older and so is Alice, I realized that we won’t be around much longer and I better go see him while I am still around and so is he.  So after my pal Deke went and wrote about it at Thunder Bay Arena Rock, he convinced me to finally do it.  And let me tell you, I am so glad I did.

Now, if you want better pictures go to Deke’s blog as he had front row I believe.  I wasn’t so lucky and I am too cheap!  But I did get pictures and they suck because my phone sucks.  So I apologize up front for that.

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My wife decided to join me on this concert experience and I am glad she did as it made the night that much more special that she was with me.  Plus, it is nice any time we get a date night.  No kids!!!

Now my wife is a little height challenged so she had trouble seeing. Me, I am 6’2″ so I had only minor issues as the guy in front of me was a little taller than me.  But that is okay, I got to see most everything.  Okay enough about that, let’s get to the show.

The show opened with Alice’s voice welcomes you to the nightmare and the band comes exploding out with “Brutal Planet” which was such a great opening song and there was no holding back.  Alice comes strolling out with this coat and cane and never has a 70 year old man looked so cool!!  He owns the stage and has such presence that you are completely drawn to him.  And the way he swings that cane around, those band members better not be standing close or they will get knocked on their ass.  Hell, Alice swung the cane so hard against a speaker that the damn cane broke.

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Friday New Releases – August 31st

The last Friday of August and we go out with a little bang.  Not a huge bang.  September is going to be huge so get ready for the ton of new releases coming your way.  There are a handful I am interested in this week and those will be highlighted in Blue as usual.  Let me know what you want to hear or you are going to get.  Leave me a comment because I always miss some good releases.  I hope you have a great weekend and Happy Listening!!!

  • download-3  The Veer Union – Decade II: Rock & Acoustic – (Rock Shop Entertainment):  This is a greatest hits package with a heavy side and a softer, acoustic side.  I have enjoyed Crispin Earl’s vocals (and only original member) so I will give this one spin.  I was hoping for new music, but this will do for now.  I will admit, I do like the cover of “Numb” by Linkin Park.  That might be worth it all by itself.

  • 814FHRdGWaL._SX522_  Alice Cooper – A Paranormal Evening at the Olympia Paris (Live) – (earMusic):  I am hoping to see Alice here in Charlotte in October and this will be a great way to prep for his live show.  Alice’s last studio album ‘Paranormal” was absolutely FANTASTIC!!  His band is also awesome and live, it is one helluva a show.  Can’t wait!!

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RSO (Richie Sambora & Orianthi) – ‘Radio Free America’ – Album Review

Back in 2013, Richie Sambora met Orianthi and sparks flew, apparently.  The two are an item and now they are putting out music for the masses and it is about time. I love Richie’s vocals and his bluesy, rock style plus he can play the guitar (have you heard of Bon Jovi?).  Orianthi is also one helluva a guitar player herself and she can sing with the best of them.  She has played for Michael Jackson and for Alice Cooper as well as her own solo work.  The two together, I was expecting a bluesy rock album with some amazing guitar work.  Did I get that…well…we will see.

After releasing two E.P.’s in 2017 and a couple singles including one double single, we finally get a full album called ‘Radio Free America’ from RSO (it’s there initials, get it!).  Now here is the problem with that…the full album is all 13 songs previously released with those E.P.’s and singles and only 2 new songs.  That is right, only 2 and one is a cover.  So, if you bought the E.P.’s, you aren’t getting much more.  And to make it worse, it is an album of 15 songs in length (over an hour and 7 minutes).  That is pretty long for an album and you know there will be filler…and trust me there is filler.  I heard they recorded 25 songs, I would like to know where those other 10 songs are.

I have reviewed all the E.P.’s and 2 of the singles previously, but we will compile them here again and make it a full length review adding in the singles I haven’t discussed prior.  We might as well jump in and away we go…

With the opening and title track “Making History” Richie & Orianthi are doing what we wanted them to do.  They are rocking out.  The guitars on this one are exceptional with an almost Def Leppardesque sound from around the “Euphoria” era at times (maybe).  The guitar solo is freaking sensational and it is all I ask from these two.  Of course I have one minor negative on the song.  The vocals are missing something whether it is the chemistry or the mix.  Bob Rock is the producer and he does great work, but I am not a fan of them singing simultaneously.  I prefer them to trade back and forth.

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Tuesday’s Memes – Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper!  Is there anything more that needs to be said.  I don’t think so.  It is now time to honor Mr. Cooper and the greatness that he is.  There are not too many rock stars out there as cool as he is.  Heck his last album was incredible so there aren’t many people out there still relevant after over 40 years of music (or is it 50 now).  Sit back and enjoy Alice Cooper.

The Songs…

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Friday New Releases – February 23rd

Welcome to the last Friday of February for new releases.  There isn’t a whole lot of new ones that are peaking my interest.  There are a few I will listen to and as usual, they are highlighted in Blue.  Let me know if there is something that tickles your fancy or if there was anything that I don’t have on my list.  Thanks and have a great weekend.

  • 510qrK6DCuL._AC_US436_QL65_  Alice Cooper – The Sound of A E.P. – (Edel Germany):  Alice Cooper’s latest album ‘Paranormal’ is absolutely stellar.  This is really just a single release of “The Sound of A” from that album, but what makes it special is the 4 B-Sides you get as well including Live versions of “The Black Widow”, “Public Animal #9”, “Is It My Body” and “Cold Ethyl”.  That makes it worth it!!

  • 715ygsnBa6L._SX522_.jpg  CoreLeoni – The Greatest Hits Part 1 – (Frontiers Records):  Leo Leoni, guitarist from the band Gotthard, releases this on the 25th Anniversary of Gotthard to celebrate rock and bring back some songs that Gotthard has left behind.  With singer Ronnie Romero taking on the vocals this could be a very interesting project.  Worth at least a listen.

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Hired Gun – Documentary Review

I have been wanting to see Hired Gun since it was announced as a documentary in the Summer of 2017.  Thanks to Netflix, I finally got that chance.  If you don’t know what it is, I will tell you.

‘Hired Gun’ is a documentary about those musicians singers and bands hire to be in the band whether to help make an album or to do a tour.  They are the “hired guns” and they aren’t actual members of the band.  For me, that sounded like a very interesting story to be told.  What do these musicians/artists go through to get the gig and to actually keep that gig.

The people they interview are incredible musicians.  You might not know them all by name, but you would probably recognize a lot their work.  They are as follows:

  • Liberty Devito (Billy Joel)
  • Jason Hook (Five Finger Death Punch)
  • Phil X (Bon Jovi)
  • Eric Singer (Kiss)
  • Ray Parker, Jr. (Ghostbusters)
  • Justin Derrico (P!nk)
  • Rudy Sarzo (Ozzy Osbourne)
  • Steve Lukather (Michael Jackson)
  • Kenny Arnoff (John Mellencamp)
  • Jason Newsted (Metallica)

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