Rock Star: Music From the Motion Picture – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)

Who would have thought that in 1991 while doing backing vocals for Stryper’s album ‘Against the Law’, that would lead to Jeff Scott Soto doing the singing vocals for a movie in 2001 called ‘Rock Star’ starring Mark Wahlberg That is what happened. The producer on the Stryper album was Tom Werman and Tom brought Jeff in for a ton of albums he worked on after Stryper’s album and when ‘Rock Star’ came up, he had Jeff come in and audition.

He originally auditioned for the singing voice of Mark Wahlberg’s character, but the producers of the movie thought his voice was too good actually. They wanted a less seasoned voice, but one that could rip in those 80’s styles so they brought in Miljenko ‘Mike’ Matijevic another Tom vocal favorite. Mike is the lead singer of the band Steelheart and man does he have some pipes as well. Jeff actually did backing vocals on Steelheart’s debut album as well.

The movie ‘Rock Star’ was inspired by what went on with Judas Priest after Rob Halford left the band. They brought in a Judas Priest Tribute band singer by the name of Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens. Mark Wahlberg’s character, Chris Cole, is a massive Steel Dragon fan and was in a tribute band called ‘Blood Pollution’. When the lead singer of Steel Dragon, Bobby Beers, quit (sung by Jeff Scott Soto), Chris Cole was hired (sung by Ike Matijevic) and then the movie chronicles the ups and downs of Chris Cole’s life as a result of this move.

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“Nothin’ But A Good Time: The Uncensored History of the ’80’s Hard Rock Explosion” by Tom Beaujour & Richard Bienstock – Book Review

It took me a long time to finally get to this book as I’ve had it a long while, but life kept getting in the way. When I was on vacation a few weeks back, I was bound and determined to finish this book and man was it a great read. The 80’s Hard Rock Explosion is the music scene I grew up with and is what I am most passionate about so this book was a no-brainer for me. This book was written by journalists Tom Beaujour who was co-founder of Revolver magazine and Richard Bienstock who was a senior editor for Guitar World magazine plus he has been published in Rolling Stone and New York Times. Both very accomplished writers.

These guys go back to the beginning even before the Sunset Strip music scene and we find out what was really happening and how things got started. The craziness, the sex, the drugs, the rock & roll all here in full uncensored glory. There are so many fascinating stories and I loved learning about the musical chairs between band members in the early days with Jake E. Lee jumping from one band to another, Warren DeMartini possibly playing with a band other than Ratt and just who was in Guns N Roses first and who wasn’t….it was so much to keep up with and a blast to read about. There are a cast of characters chapter showing all the people that were interviewed and quoted and it was 7 pages long. If they were part of the scene, they are in here from Steven Adler to Zakk Wylde and everything in between.

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January 2022 Purchases – Vinyl & Cds

Welcome to the first round of purchases for 2022. Yes, I know, it never seems to end…my wife and wallet keep telling me that, but I don’t listen…obviously. And this week was another stellar month and a few really good deals as well…at least I think so. The first set of purchases were from gift cards left over from Christmas that I hadn’t spent and it was tough to decide. First I went with a vinyl I had been wanting for awhile and finding an original vinyl pressing was going to be expense so I went withe re-issue from Music on Vinyl for Extreme!!

The other items I picked up on those gift cards were the studio albums I was missing for Robbie Williams…I figured no time better than to complete that collection so I did. There were four left and here they are… Now I just need to the rare stuff that I am missing…challenge accepted!!

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The Spectacular Rise, Fall and Rebirth of Hair Metal by Christopher Hilton – Book Review

My favorite era of music is the so called, 80’s Hair Metal scene. Of course, back then it was just rock and didn’t yet have a label, but that was the music for me. I know a lot about that era and the bands so any time I can get my hands on a book about that time, I am all over it. I took a chance on this one called ‘The Spectacular Rise, Fall and Rebirth of Hair Metal by Christopher Hilton. The book had a 4.4 rating so I thought I would give it a shot.

The book goes chronologically through each year of the scene and goes all the way up to 2019/20. When it gets to the 90’s and 2000’s, the chapters start to cover more than one year as it would be too much. I was expecting some great stories and maybe interviews from people of that era and from those involved in the scene, but that is not what I got at all. The author went through and talked mostly about the biggest bands of the era including Motley Crue, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Poison, L.A. Guns, Faster Pussycat and the like and he went through each album and the best songs on the album. At the end of each year he ranked the best album. Honestly, it felt like I was either reading wikipedia or maybe even something I would have written with my limited knowledge of these bands. It was rather pedestrian.

The stories about the bands were the same old stories we’ve heard all the time, there was really nothing new at all. No interviews, no real thought provoking insight, no real meat at all. He always focused on the biggest bands and seldom if ever brought up bands that were lesser known that were completely overlooked. The only good thing is he did follow the music in to the 90’s (and he mentioned Paul Laine of Danger Danger) and how the bands changed their sound and style and then went in to the 2000’s where the 80’s Rock scene saw a major resurgence. He even went as far a talking about the new bands in the 21st Century that have taken up the 80’s glam scene and how a lot of them come from Europe, especially Scandinavia. A good list of bands to check out. Most of them I already knew about, but for newbie’s that part is worth checking out.

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The Original vs. The Cover – “Smokin’ In the Boy’s Room”

For this episdoe of The Original vs. The Cover, we are going to discuss the anthem for the outcast, “Smokin’ in the Boy’s Room. The Original is by the band Brownsville Station who were a regional band out of Michigan and this was probably their biggest hit and was off their 1973 album ‘Yeah!’ (I wonder if this title inspired the title to Def Leppard’s Cover’s album. Hmmm). It reached #3 on the Billboard Charts. The Cover as done by Motley Crue was off their album ‘Theatre of Pain’ from 1985. Crue only took the song to #16 on the Billboard Chart, but MTV played the crap out of this song.

The song was written by Michael “Cub” Koda along with Michael Lutz and is about a bunch of outcast school kids who would hideout in the bathroom to not get caught by the principal for smokin’. They get caught and the principal tells them “Smokin’ Ain’t Allowed in School”. The song was inspired by Cub’s experiences as a young pup sneaking smokes that he stole from his parents at the movie theatre.

Whose version is better you might ask yourself so let us explore each song and find out which version is best.

BROWNSVILLE STATION

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My Top 10 Concerts of All Time

It has been over a year now since I have seen a live show and it could be another year before I get to see another one. I started thinking back on all the shows I have seen and the memories came flooding back. Now back some time last year, the LeBrain Train: 2000 Words or Less did a live stream on the Nigel Tufnel Top 10 Favorite Live Shows of all time. Each guests gave a list of their 11 favorite shows and I had a list for the show. I thought why not spell it out here for everyone to read in all its glory and add some pictures and extra information, if I have any. I hope you enjoy.

11. Motley Crue – Girls, Girls, Girls Tour (1987):

November 22, 1987 at the Omni in Atlanta, GA.  The opening act was Guns N Roses.  The lineup alone makes it a favorite but what happened at the show is why it is on the list. It was not a good show at all which is why it is down at 11.  It is only on the list for what happened at the show. During GNR’s set, Axl jumps off stage at about the 2nd song to grab a security guard who pushed his friend.  Axl is held backstage while the band plays a couple songs (“Communication Breakdown” and “Honky Tonk Women”) with one of their roadies and that was all got from them.  Motley delayed coming on and then put in a half-ass show and left early in protest of Axl’s arrest (at least this is the rumor we heard).  It pissed me off so much I stopped listening to both bands for awhile. Ticket prices at the time were only $17.50.

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My Sunday Song – “Shout at the Devil” by Motley Crue

For My Sunday Song #190, we are ending the 10 song Motley Crue set with the band’s most controversial song “Shout at the Devil” of the album of the same name.  The song and album came out in 1983 and let me tell you, it upset a lot of people.  Not us kids at the time, but the parents.  The controversy only helped the band and the song.  The song didn’t do great on the radio, but the album went onto hit #17 on the Billboard album chart and sold over 4 million copies in the U.S. alone.

The song and album were originally going to be “Shout With The Devil”, but Tom Zutaut who signed the band to Elektra was not having it.  He was having a hard time selling the idea to the label.  The fear of satanism and the uproar it could cause was not going to fly.  However, during a drug filled evening, something freaky happened to Tom and Nikki when a knife and fork rose from the table and they stuck in the ceiling.  I am sure it was the drugs talking and probably Tommy throwing up there, but whatever. They decided that it was not Shout With the Devil, but Shout At the Devil instead as they feared that shouting with the devil was going to get Nikki killed.

The album opens with the a spoken track called “In the Beginning” that was so freaking evil sounding that it was the perfect segue in to the song.  The song is so heavy and bombastic that it oozes evil.  Vince sings at such high notes that only the Devil’s Dogs can hear them.  Mick Mars on guitar is nothing short of evil personified and rips through the strings like the devil’s pitchfork rips through your heart.  As I kid, I was never concerned with it being a satanic song, I thought it was cool and guess what, I didn’t turn out evil and kill a lot of people…some maybe, but not a lot!!!

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My Sunday Song – “Dr. Feelgood” by Motley Crue

For My Sunday Song #189, we are tackling one of the band’s signature songs, “Dr. Feelgood”.  The song is the title track of the 1989 album and the band’s first album sober!!  The band had some radio success as this hit #20 on Billboard’s Hot Rock Songs and it did go to #6 on the Billboard Hot 100, but their success was really MTV and those videos.  This one was played all the time!

Being newly sober, it was funny how many songs on the album were about drugs and OD’ing, but I guess that was still all Nikki and company knew.  This song is no different. It is about drug dealers…not one drug dealer all of them as Nikki has been quoted as saying that “every good drug addict always has more than one.”  The drug dealers gave Nikki his fix and they also gave him and Motley Crue a song to be remembered.

The song comes slamming in with Tommy’s drum beat that grabs hold and pulls you right in just like a good fix will do.  Mick lays down a nasty guitar riff that is instantly recognizable.  Already the addiction to the song is in full swing.  The lyrics written by Nikki and delivered by Vince who captures the essence of the song and he sounds fantastic hitting notes he only now wishes he could still hit.  Then Mick’s guitar solo comes in slow and dirty before he shreds the strings like the needles shred your arm.  It is junky filled rush of a song.

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My Sunday Song – “Home Sweet Home” by Motley Crue

For My Sunday Song #188, we are going to pontificate on the greatness of Motley Crue’s song “Home Sweet Home”.  How great is it you ask?  So great that it got overplayed to death and now I am sick of it.  However, that doesn’t make it any less great.  The song is off the horrible album ‘Theatre of Pain’ which was released in 1985.  The song was released as a single and did nothing on the radio. On MTV, that is a different story.

The song is a ballad and is about the band’s life on the road.  After being out on the road for 18 months touring on the album ‘Shout at the Devil’, the band couldn’t wait to get home.  When they got home, they were so bored they started getting in to a lot of trouble, but they did write this song.  It was a song the record company didn’t want to release, but the band stuck to their guns and financed the video themselves.  The video showed the band on and off stage from several concerts and the less happy life of road life.  That video blew up on MTV, but the record company didn’t promote it on the radio so it flopped there and was never officially a hit.  This song helped prove that all metal bands at the time, better have a freaking ballad on their album if they want to succeed.

The song opens with Tommy Lee on piano and like every ballad has its slow moments and those power moments that picked up the volume and tempo.  It even includes a brilliant guitar solo by Mick Mars where he shreds the crap out of that guitar.  The song then ends as it began with Tommy on the piano and then Vince humming the song before fading out.  It was so popular for the band, that the last song they ever played when the broke up as band was “Home Sweet Home”.  Now, we know that it actually won’t be the last song they played live as they are back and about to Tour…again.

motley_crue_theatre_of_pain_41e032df

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My Sunday Song – “Wild Side” by Motley Crue

For My Sunday Song #187, we are going a little nuts with the song “The Wild Side” by Motley Crue. The song is off the band’s 1987 album ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’ which went to #2 on the Billboard charts and saw three singles including this one. It sold well over 4 million albums in the U.S. alone and saw the band reach another level of success.

The song “Wild Side” is very similar to the song we did last week, “Saints of Los Angeles”.  They both talk about their lives on the Sunset Strip and both reference the Lord’s Prayer.  “SOLA” opened with Vince speaking it and “WildSide” was inspired by a school girl who Nikki asked to recite the Lord’s Prayer and then he incorporated some of the prayer in to the lyrics like below…

“Our father
Who ain’t in heaven
Be thy name on the wild side”

The song is about the dirty side of the Strip with all the drugs, pimping, and many other abuses going on at that time in their lives.  Heck, even Nikki wrote when he was severely hooked on Heroin.

Musically, it belts at as a rocker with a mean guitar riff by Mick Mars. The pace goes from fast to slow with tempos reaching 118 beats per minute at one time.  There is actually no guitar solo in the song only many instances of Mick belting out some cool riffs and guitar parts.  Tommy pounds away and you can tell it is him on those drums. Vince sounds great and still so young.  And Nikki is always doing his thing.  There is a blues sound to the song as well and ends with sirens, breaking glass, gunfire and lots of mayhem.

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