For their 16th Studio album, Scorpions wanted to shake things up a bit. But before they could do that they needed to get a producer and that seemed like a daunting task. They had hoped to work with Dieter Dierks yet again, but that didn’t work out yet again due to contract issues. They brought a ton of producers to Germany to interview including Roy Thomas Baker, but the band wasn’t exactly pleased with those results. In the end they settled on two producers. They chose James Michael (lead singer of the band Sixx A.M.) and famed songwriter/producer Desmond Child. They each had their own specific expertise that was utilized on the production. James worked on the guitars, drums and bass while Desmond concentrated on the vocals.
So, Rudolf Schenker, Mathias Jabs, Pawel Maciwoda and James Kottak were in one studio with James while Klaus Meine was in another with Desmond. Desmond believes that if a singers vocals are in great shape, you will get a great performance so Desmond had Klaus basically take vocal lessons every day for an hour before they recorded the vocals. They brought in vocal coach to help Klaus warm up his vocals each and every day. The album is full of songwriters from outside the band as well, but the band still is on every song. You get Eric Bazilian (Hooters), Marty Frederiksen, Jason Paige, Russ Irwin, James Michael, Desmond Child and there are even more.
The band started recording in October 2006 and had about 30 songs and by the second recording process they had another 20 songs. The album was going to be a concept album that was developed by Desmond Child and futurist Liam Carl. It was based on a civil war between humans and robot, it is very apocalyptic in nature and at times very dark. Which is why a number of songs were thrown out because they were too dark. The album needed some more upbeat style songs and those were added, but they were all based around this concept and all tied together because the songs were about humanity. The album was called ‘Humanity: Hour 1′ and was released on May 14, 2007 in Europe and August 28, 2007 in the U.S. We were introduced to a very modern sounding Scorpions album, but at the same time, it still sounded like the Scorpions. All I know is that when I heard this album, I was back on board the Scorpions’ train and been riding it since. Sit back and get ready for the best Scorpions album in decades!!
A woman robot welcomes us to Humanity: Hour 1 as “Hour 1” is the start of the war. The earth-shattering drum beats, the Sabbathy guitar riffs and then Klaus comes in and sounds amazing as he introduces the reasons behind our downfall and that humans tried to play God with their machines causing all the problems we are now facing. It is a heavy, intense and rocking opening track. Very modern and very brutal and a solo that will rip your face off as the battle rages on. A killer opening track and one of their most aggressive tracks…ever!! And what is even cooler about this one is that the guest guitarist is none other than the mighty John 5.
Rob Zombie never does anything half-assed especially when it comes to his song titles and album titles. ‘The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy’ is a perfect example of this. The album is Rob’s seventh studio album as a solo artist and might be his opus, his masterpiece, his piece de resistance. The most badass album he has ever made and the fans might agree as it is his first album to reach #1 on the Billboard Top Album Sales Chart after its release on March 12, 2021. I think it is definitely his strongest and most accessible because his past albums usually have some strange shit, but this takes the strangest stuff and packages in a way that has more hooks, more melodies and more of everything that is great about him including more John 5 who is one of my favorite guitarist.
But before we get in to the music, let’s talk about this packaging of the album as it is nothing short of amazing. The back cover is hand-drawn space monster’s in the vein of Planet of the Apes I guess. And check out the names of the songs, nothing simple and straight forward here. The album is also a gatefold with what my one of the coolest pictures of Rob just relaxing with his arms behind his head and probably saying, “Yeah, I’m a cool mother-f’er”…okay he probably would have said the full word.
We are now in to 2006 and Kiss hasn’t put out a studio album in 8 years. 8 YEARS!!! That is insane. I figure Paul was getting a little restless and decided it was time for the follow-up to the 1978 first solo album. Heck, Gene finally did a solo album back a few years, so why not Paul. ‘Live to Win’ was finished and released on October 24, 2006 and yes, I was a release day buyer for this one. Come on, its Paul, why would I not be.
Paul brought in a lot of people to help with this album and the usual suspects are there including his long time collaborator, Desmond Child. We also see Marti Frederiksen, Holly Knight and even John 5 plus a few other writers. I believe there is only one song Paul wrote by himself. As far as musicians on the album, you do get John 5 on a couple and you get Kiss alum Bruce Kulick on bass…wait…what??? Bruce on bass? I’m sorry, Bruce is a bad ass guitar player, why is he mitigated to only the bass. Seems like a waste. And lastly, I noticed Tommy Denander who has played on it seems hundreds of albums. The rest of the musicians I am going to guess are studio guys and all very talented because all studio musicians are amazing.
It is time for another album ranking and this time around we are exploring Diamond Dave himself, David Lee Roth. We will not be doing any Van Halen albums that will come later, we are focusing strictly on the David Lee Roth solo catalog. I am not even going to cover his debut E.P. ‘Crazy From the Heat’ as that is only 4 songs and only covers…boo hiss!
David had a very successful career after leaving Van Halen and then that career faded away. But he came out of the gate a little limp with ‘Crazy From the Heat’ although the album sold well and the video was played a lot for ‘California Girls’, but it was so campy and awful. Then his debut came out and thanks to Steve Vai, David Lee Roth did a better Van Halen album than Van Halen did with Sammy on 5150. That didn’t last forever and Dave kind of fell to the wayside, but so did Van Halen when Sammy left. But that is a story for another time.
Nowadays, He is still as crazy as ever and his mouth still runs amok which is just classic Dave. He has recently toured with Kiss on their Farewell Tour so he has never really fallen far from the spotlight. He’s always there on the cusp waiting for another 15 minutes. So I will give him that as we celebrate the man, the myth, the mouth..David Lee Roth
As usual, we will start with the worst and work are way to the best and save the best for last. I hope you enjoy.
Are you kidding me? How is September already. This year is now flying by. The only thing slowing it down is there are so many damn political ads on TV and the web that it is making me physically ill. Ughh!! At least it is Friday and there are new music releases to help me make it through the day. It is not a huge week, but for me a very solid week of releases. I have 2 I want to hear and they are highlighted in Blue. Let me know what interests you and what I may have missed that came out as I know there are always a bunch. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a wonderful weekend.
Stryper – Even The Devil Believes – (Frontiers Music): Michael Sweet is a machine. Between solo albums, Stryper albums, Sweet & Lynch, the man is non-stop. He and the boys from Stryper have been putting out some of their best music in their 4 decade long career and now going in to their 5th decade (I think that is right…80’s, 90’s. 00’s, 10’s and 20’s…yep that is right). I am really looking forward to cranking this bad boy up.
John 5 & the Creatures – Live Invasion – (60 Cycle Hum Records): John 5 is one of the premiere guitarist in the industry and is so sought after for his writing as well as his playing. When not by Rob Zombie’s side, he has his solo gig and they recorded their last live tour for the album ‘Invasion’ so expect some riff-tastick guitar playing and some super talented musicians.
I can’t believe I have done 1,000 Posts. I never thought I would be able to keep up with the site let alone get this far. It all started on April 17th, 2016 with my very first post which was “Road Rage” Playlist!
And now, 1,304 days later here I am at my 1,000th post. Crazy!!
Since we are looking back, let’s take a look at the Top 5 Posts viewed and the Bottom 5 posts viewed. It is always curious to me which ones do well and which ones don’t. Sometimes I feel like I wrote a great post that was so witty and insightful, yet hardly any one sees it and then others I think I sucked at it and should have never posted and ends up getting a butt load of hits. There is no rhyme or reason for any of it I am sure.
Here are the Top 5 Posts viewed:
5. Top Rock Songs of 2018 – 4,103 views: This one only did well thanks to the one and only Michael Sweet of Stryper. I picked the Stryper song “Take it to the Cross” as the #7 song of the year and he tweeted about it and mentioned it on Facebook (and so did Stryper). As a result, this post took off!! Thanks Michael!!
John 5 and the Creatures are back with their second studio release called ‘Invasion’. Their first album together was their 2017 release, ‘Season of the Witch’, which was a nightmarishly spectacular release. John 5 is currently one of my favorite guitarists in rock today and man is he everywhere. He is always writing for other artists and when he isn’t doing that or playing with the Creatures, he is on tour with Rob Zombie.
And if that isn’t enough, you should check out his Instagram page as he is constantly posting videos of him noodling around with his guitars usually wearing interesting masks and/or costumes and those hairless cats of his walking around. He knows how to keep you coming back.
And he keeps me coming back. When this album came out on July 31st, I am not sure I have stopped playing it since that day. It has been on constant rotation. And I have to say , I might like this one better than ‘Season of the Witch’ which I didn’t think would be possible. John 5 and the creatures, Ian Ross and Logan Miles Nix are nothing short of spectacular.
The album kicks off with a storm brewing as the band readies itself to invade every piece of your body. The ominous bass and hard hitting drums come across with an eeriness that is ready to battle and then John 5 comes blasting in with his killer riffs to lay waste to the land. And the “Invasion” has begun.
For My Sunday Song #130, the final instrumental we will highlight is from John 5 & the Creatures called “Here’s to the Crazy Ones”. The song is off the album ‘Season of the Witch’from 2016 and I love that album.
The song is John 5 on guitar and for the Creatures you have Ian Ross on bass guitar and Rodger Carter on drum and what a heck of a trio you have on your hands. John 5’s guitar work is unbelievable with some killer riffs and one heck of solo. But not to be outshined is that rhythm section. Ian is destroying it with his bass fills and Rodger’s drum work all add to the craziness of the song.
The song has some Satriani-esque moments, it has some funked up jazz moments, it has progressive rock moments and it is just John 5 showing off with his full arsenal of tricks and speedy-ass fingers. Ian and Rodger turn what would be great songs into something even better. The trifecta of musicians make it shine.
For My Sunday Song #107 is going to take us out into a world that is so strange and bizarre you might never want to return. We will explore the world of Rob Zombie and his song “Dead City Radio and the New Gods of Supertown”. The song is off his 2013 album ‘Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor’. The song did chart at #15 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks, but that doesn’t matter for Rob Zombie.
The song is in the normal Rob Zombie industrial style music. It is hard, heavy and slams a fist into your face. The main draw for me is his guitar player, the guitar god himself, John 5. John 5 is a beast of a guitarist. The sounds and his touch are always perfection and with this one there is at times a whole Sabbath vibe with some of his tone.
The song is about the state of rock radio today. What was once a flourishing hot bed of good music is dying off in droves. It changed the way we listened to music, but thanks to the internet and the digital download and streaming, the art of radio is dying off. I have to agree that radio seems to be a dying form. The problem with radio is no variety. They play the same songs and artists over and over and you don’t really discover new music on the radio anymore. That is what Youtube and streaming is for now.
John 5 & the Creatures bring us a new album to start the year off and this time we get their first live album. ‘It’s Alive’ was recorded live off the Season of the Witch Tour in 2017 at the Sellersville Theater in Sellersville, Pennsylvania in April 2017. The band consists of John 5 on lead guitar, Ian Ross on bass and Logan Miles Nix on drums. The amount of music that comes out of these there guys for this album is incredible.
In listening to an interview with John 5 on Talking Metal with Emily Strigl, I learned that album was recorded rather spontaneously. They arrived at the theater the day of the show and someone from the theater asked them if they wanted to record the show as they had a recording booth upstairs. The band joyfully said yes. And a little less than a year later, we have a live album released.
John 5 also stated in the interview that there are no overdubs or any re-recordings. What you hear is what you get. And what you hear is a live album that is near perfection which is also a little of the drawback. The album at times doesn’t sound live as the musicianship is absolutely incredible. There are probably errors, but they are not noticeable (at least to my untrained ears).