Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Thinking / Big Head Todd & the Monsters

There is a lot on my mind lately, thinking about things. Thinking about relationships, my family and my son. Wondering if I should take some steps forward or take a step back and wait things out. I'm being optimistic about things, yet looking at the reality of it all. I want the right decisions made before anyone close to me gets hurt. Guess I'm waiting on a sign somewhere, but not sure where. I know that I might much sense now, I can't reveal too much online. Just pray that things work out somehow for the better...

What I can reveal is, that I've been listening to Big Head Todd & the Monsters lately. Some of you folks out there may have never heard of this band before. This trio out from Colorado enjoyed moderate success in the '90's with "Bittersweet" Great tune! Here's one of my favorite tunes from them called "Circle"


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Happy Birthday, Eric!

The man behind the guitar in legendary bands of the Yardbirds, Cream and Derek & the Dominoes turns 65 today! Yep, Eric Clapton! This guitar legend, whose career has spanned over four decades, is certainly worth the title-GOD. The news doesn't get any sweeter than this...He is coming to headline at Summerfest this year!!! With special guest, The Who's vocalist Roger Daltry, he will be appearing the Marcus Ampitheater on July 28, 2010. This guy is on my bucket list to see in concert...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

My Top 25 Albums 1978-1983

It was in 1978, when I bought one of first albums KISS "Double Platinum", my mother said to me, " Now that you got the greatest hits from KISS, there is no need for you to go get the other records." I just gave her the look as to say "Yeah....right...." I only had a handful of albums back then, needless to say, I went on the rampage and got more. This led my album collection to be a monstrocity of what it is today.

The music scene was different then than is it now. I may be a young puppy, but I'm old enough to have endured a tough time for rock music. Back then, disco and punk invaded the scene with their mindless crap. I witnessed the break up iconic superbands like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and The Who. Saw the murder and deaths of greats like John Lennon and John Bonham. Overjoyed at the death of disco. Saw the rise of videos and the MTV generation. It wasn't pretty. Underneath of it all, there was some great music.

Back then, there were basically two radio stations to choose from. WRKR in Racine and WLPX in Milwaukee. WRKR was the pop flavored, disco oriented station that 14 year old girls dedicated songs to their boyfriends. WLPX was a ROCK station that played AOR rock to the masses. Of course, I listened to the later. There was no other station like that till I heard KSWD The Sound out of Los Angeles recently.

So why am I telling you this? What's my point? I read a friend of mine's blog about his top 25 classic albums. Because of the size of my collection, there is NO WAY I could come up with a list like that. I had to narrow it down. Taking a cue, I decided to limit it to my teenage years from 12 to 17. This simple idea became a project. I wanted to describe the what it was like back then as I was listing them out. Enough my chatter and on with the list....

Led Zeppelin In Through the Out Door-1979-The last studio album from Zeppelin. It may not be their finest moment, but this experimental album has shown the band's new direction. If John Bonham hadn't died, who knows what they'll be doing now. It is still a lot better than many albums out there.

Pink Floyd The Wall-1979-The last album to fully feature the whole band. I remember the hype that went into this concept album. EVERY station was playing "Another Brick in the Wall (part 2)" over and over. My best memories were sneaking out of the house to watch the midnight specials of the movie.

Rush Moving Pictures-1981-By then, I was a huge Rush fan. I remember getting this the day it came out. I rocked out to "Tom Sawyer" , "Red Barchetta" , "YYZ" and their ten minute epic "The Camera Eye" endlessly.

The Eagles The Long Run-1979- My first Eagles album I bought. I've always liked the harder edged stuff from them. Joe Walsh was spectacular on this album! Sad to say, it was their last...for awhile.

Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble Texas Food-1983- I didn't get into SRV till MUCH later. Wish I had much sooner. This debut album is definitely worthy of anyone's album collection! This guitar player and his band redefined the impact of the blues into rock. "Pride and Joy" is a perfect example of this.

Supertramp Breakfast in America-1979-Not only this album is special to me for sentimental reasons, it marked my way away from the typical hard rock I was getting into at the time.

ZZ Top Eliminator-1983- Who made MTV famous or who MTV made famous, the world may never know. C' mon now, who can forget their videos? The fuzzy guitars, the cars, the women and the beards! Classic...

Ozzy Osbourne Blizzard of Ozz-1981-Who ever thought that Ozzy couldn't survive without Black Sabbath? Bringing in an unknown guitar phenomenon certainly helps.

The Police Synchronicity-1983-The band kept getting better and better! I remember EVERY radio station playing the latest hit off of the album. Why is it when bands hit their most creative peaks they break up?

Neil Young & Crazy Horse Rust Never Sleeps-1979-Acoustic
on one side, electric on the other. Brilliant idea at the time! Neil was just on the roll at this timeframe.

Journey Escape-1981-The band's most commercial and successful excursion to date. I loved everything off of this album! Steve Perry's soulful ballads and Neil Schoan's blazing guitar work.

U2 War-1983- These guys keep reinventing themselves! True musicians in their own right. Although I listen to The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby more often, this album is easily among their best!

Van Halen (s/t)-1978- This album is probably what killed disco...YAY! Eddie Van Halen's explosive finger tapping guitar solo on "Eruption" just blew everyone away!

Bad Company Desolation Angels-1979-It's still one my favorite albums out there. Although "Rock and Roll Fantasy" was a hit. Tunes like "Crazy Circles" and "Evil Wind" remained my favorites.

Rush Hemispheres-1978-I know, two entries from the same band. I just can't blow off Hemispheres. The instumentation on this album is fabulous! Everytime I'm listen to this album, I'm hearing something new, especially the 20 minute title track.

Def Leppard Pyromania-1983-Heavy metal just couldn't get any catchier than this. The constant MTV rotation of their hits made these guys a household name.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Damn the Torpedoes-1979- I was blown away by the creativity of this band! These guys were straight foward and just played like it is...No frills or gimmicks...just rock and roll...

Black Sabbath Heaven and Hell-1980-Thought Black Sabbath couldn't survive without Ozzy? Think again! The band got reenergized by the arrival of Ronnie James Dio and made a hell of a good album!

Iron Maiden The Number of the Beast-1982-I love the fierceness and the drive of this record. This controversial album went for the throat! The twin guitar crunch and Bruce Dickinson's vocals left me head bangin' for years!

Rolling Stones Tattoo You-1981-Suprisingly, an album of outakes from previous studio efferts. The Stones approached the '8o's with the '70's touch- with great results! MTV certainly helped in the success of this record.

Bruce Springsteen Darkness on the Edge of Town-1978- I never was a huge Springsteen fan until recently. I've always respected his integrity as a rocker. I picked up this disc a month ago for sentimental reasons and it's the fastest rising album in my collection. I just love the lyrics and the straight forwardness of this record.

Asia (s/t) - 1982- I admit that I didn't like this album when I first heard it. I was so used to hearing the long jams the prevealed on the earlier ELP and the classic Yes albums. After reading an article about not putting anyone in the spotlight, shed a new light on this record. I've been loving it ever since!

Yes 90125-1983- Although this album doesn't get close to measuring up to the standards of the classic Yes albums, it stands up upon its own. It is the biggest selling album from this band, fueled by their hit "Owner of a Lonely Heart" A new name perhaps?

Bob Segar & the Silver Bullet Band Against the Wind-1980-I just love Bob Segar's voice! This album is where they all got all together seemlessly...

Scorpions Lovedrive-1979- Perhaps the most consistent Scorps album. Every track is good...

Hope you enjoyed my list! What's yours from your teenage years?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Some Lyrics Going Through My Head....

Well, I'm in the process of writing a blog that is turning out to be a bit of a project. Silly me, I take a simple idea and I go nuts with it... I hope to have it finished over the weekend. In the meantime, here some lyrics to some songs that has been in my head the past few days.

We sailed away
We walked 2 thousand miles
and then we slipped away
We looked so hard
But couldn't seem to find just what
the world was for
Now we know
Just what the journey's for


The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part


Well we drank champagne and danced all night
Under electric candlelight
She picked me up and sat me on her knee
And said dear boy won't you come home with me
Well I'm not the world's most passionate guy
But when I looked in her eyes well I almost fell for my Lola

Can anybody guess these songs?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Winds of Change

Today, I'm feeling the winds of change coming my way. A good wind that will bring change. One that is filled with anticipation and hope. I'm feeling some major changes down the road that in the long run that could make me happy....I not sure what it is, but I think I like it....

Monday, March 22, 2010

Dog Hero

Every now and then, I come across a video that touches me. This is one of them. This video proves to me that animals have compassion. Warning: this video is not for the timid...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Shake Your Money Maker

It was in the late '8o's. I was getting really bored with all leather clad and make-up wearing metal bands. Fed up with imagine consciousness of the MTV generation. Tired of plastic feeling of many of the artists in the '80's. I had a desire to sink my teeth into some REAL rock and roll! Along came one night on the David Letterman Show, I saw the Black Crowes.

Here's the band I was looking for! Rock and roll without the schlock! No make-up, no gimmicks and no frills! Just straight forward rock and roll! These guys sounded like purists from the '7o's-a time when rock sounded the best. They sounded like Led Zeppelin, The Faces, and the Stones all mixed up in a melting pot without sounding retro. It was all in that tune, "Jealous Again" that made me RUN to the record store and get this album! Since then, I've been a die hard follower.

As I listened to the album, the surprises kept coming! There wasn't a wasted note on the record. Recorded solely on analog equipment, the album retained that '70's feel. Singer Chris Robinson has got a voice that is a cross between Rod Stewart and Robert Plant. The guitar crunch of Rich Robinson and Jeff Cease blew me away, especially on tunes like "Stare it Cold" and "Hard to Handle" Drummer Steve Gorman, yes, he reminds me of the late and great John Bonham-hitting those drums heavy! Bassist Johnny Colt, well-he fits it the mold somewhere. Unfortunately, this line-up didn't last. Marc Ford replaced Jeff Cease for the following album. That was the beginning the revolving door of musicians that plagued the band till this day.

A few months later, I saw these guys in concert, opening up for Aerosmith. Seventh row center seats. Great show! Back then, NOBODY have seem to have heard of these guys. To top it all, they were filming the "Hard to Handle" video that very show!

Sorry, that I could not track that video down, but I hope everybody can settle for this one :)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Compassion...Is that an Lost Art?

The other day is I was walking into work, I was greeted by some laughing co-workers. What were they laughing about? Apparently, some co-worker thought it would be a great idea to take another co-worker's picture, photoshop it with a derogatory message about his manhood, and then mass texted it to other co-workers. No, I did not receive the message. When I saw it on another co-worker's phone, I was outraged and offended! I admit the victim is a little "slow" and can be a little difficult to work with because of his handicaps. Is that a reason to treat him this way? I don't think so!

I'm aware that some teasing and practical jokes go on in the place, but this was downright malicious! A workplace is a place where professionalism and courtesy take priority. Everybody's got a right to a peaceful working environment. After seeing the victim walking around looking downtrodden and beaten like a dog, I decided to say something. I mentioned the incident to the supervisor. He mentioned that there was little that he could do about the cell phones, but he will look into all teasing and that goes on and take action. After all, workplaces can be sued for incidents like these....

Just last night, my son and I were having dinner at a local restaurant. We noticed that a noticed a handicapped lady with a walker was having a hard time pushing open a door. Someone threw fries at her! WTF! I was disgusted! My son then got up and opened the door for her. That's my boy! He has a kind heart where others do not.

All these incidents has got me thinking. Where has the compassion gone is this world? Is being mean to other people really that funny? Has this generation gone to crap? I guess I was raised differently. I was taught to be compassionate towards others less unfortunate than I am.....

Thursday, March 18, 2010

It is the Springtime...

With the temperatures climbing up to 65 degrees today, I decided it would be a fine day to take Harley for a walk and cook on the grill. With all that cabin fever inside of me, I just couldn't wait to get outside and do something! It was so nice to go outside without a jacket and hear kids playing. I'm so ready for the summer... Anyways, it's supposed to snow this weekend. Bummer...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Gettin' the Car Fixed

Spent much of my evening getting my car fixed. Yuck! That's the one thing I can't stand doing putting money into this clunker. Yeah, I blogged about this car before. I shouldn't complain about it, after all, I got it for free! Thanks Mom, Dad, and Frank! My last car, a 1993 Dodge Aries station wagon was stolen from this same spot as the picture posted. it was another clunker I had, but I loved it. The car ran like a champ!

So, what was wrong with this car? I had issues about the steering wheel vibrating while I was driving. Took it in and got new tires and the wheels balanced. Cool! More work needs to be done- I have to get a wheel alignment, new belts, shocks, etc, etc.

Think I need a new car...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Pearl Jam Atlanta, GA 4/3/1994

It's been awhile since I have written about a bootleg...So here goes.

Pearl Jam is one of the most explosive and intense bands to hear live to concert. Their energy and raw power is unparalleled except by a few bands. They are known to improvise their songs, often changing lyrics. To top it all, no one really knows what they are going play from night to night. They also change their set lists nightly. To see them in concert ought to be great!

This bootlegged show I have is no exception. I recorded this live on a national radio broadcast. A deal here! The show starts off slowly with the baritone voice of Eddie Vedder soulfully building up in "Release" before the band kicks it to high gear with "Rearviewmirror". The next number was "Whipping" a track off then yet unreleased third album "Vitalogy". The band assaulted the audience sences with the classics like "Evenflow", "Alive", and "Animal" Micheal McCready literally wails on his guitar to "Why Go." I just could imagine bassist Jeff Ament just bouncing around on stage. Stone Gossard kept a great rhythm on his guitar through out the night. Towards the end of the show, the band played even more "unreleased' songs like "Better Man", "Satan's Bed" and "Sonic Reduser" Unfortunately, this one of that last shows to feature drummer David Abbruzzese, who left the band after the tour.

This is a far cry from the best show I've heard from Pearl Jam. Some of their live albums are very good. I recommend Verona, Italy 6/20/2000 and Live at the Gorge 05/06 if you can track them down.

The set list;
Why Go
Glorified G
Daughter>Another Brick in the Wall
State of Love and Trust
Better Man
Elderly Woman
Satan's Bed
Sonic Reduser

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Some Spring Pictures

Today with temperatures rising up in the '50's. I decided to take to a ride and get a few pictures around town.

The Wind Point Lighthouse

Lake Michigan

Racine harbor

A rare find in Racine-a lesser scaup


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Saturday Morning Cartoons

I remember waking up Saturday mornings when I was a kid. Yep, those Saturday morning cartoons! Does anybody remember the classic ones like Bugs Bunny, Tom And Jerry, and Scooby Doo? I do!

To this day I still watch cartoons. I mostly watch the super hero ones and occasionally SpongeBob. Guess I'm still a kid in the heart...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Heartbreak Station

Back in the 8o's I was into a lot of heavy metal. There was literally hundreds of these bands out there at the time. Yet, I was picky about the bands that I got into. I did not like the glam metal, the death metal, the speed metal, the Zep clones, or any metal band that was too repetitious. I didn't like Poison, Warrant, Slayer, Kingdom Come, Winger, Twisted Sister, Megadeth, Kix, Trixter, etc. What did I like? I liked any metal band that thought outside of the box-lyrically and instrumentally. The ones that showed potential to grow and evolve. Cinderella was one of them.

Cinderella's debut album, "Night Songs" to me was nothing more than a glam rock act. Although a couple of tracks like "Shake Me" and the title cut were OK, I thought the rest of the album was junk. Their second album, "Long Cold Winter" really picked up my ears. That album marked the shift away from the glam rock scene into the blues. Gone were the usual lyrics about partying and loose bimbos. Gone were usual song structure that plagued the other metal acts. These guys were showing the signs of life! By the time their third album, "Heartbreak Station" came out they dropped the glam metal act completely and focused on creating new boundaries to grow upon.

This album sounded more bluesy and more Southern. Tommy Keifer's Joplin like vocals never sounded better. Gone were the coventional usuage of the guitar. The band pulled out the dobro, played the slide, and other instruments came into the scene like the piano and the sax. This band was growing! Tunes like "Shelter Me" you could dance to. "Heartbreak Station" was a ballad that didn't sound so wimpy and whiney. "The More Things Change" was was a pleaser.

Unfortunately, their forth album, "Still Climbing" was a couple of steps back. Due to the loss of interest in heavy metal and Tommy Keifer's vocal issues, the band faded into obscurity. They still tour and haven't released any new material for quite some time. One can only hope that they come with something new and interesting...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I've got to get me one of these!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Nigerian Slaughter

I just read an article that really got my blood boiling! It was about the slaughter of hundreds of Nigerians being massacred including babies and toddlers! Many of the chopped down with machetes! All in the name of what? Religion! It seems that the Muslims and the Christians have been going at since January. It keeps getting worse. It sickens me!

Here's an excerpt from the article I was reading that made my stomach churn:

An Associated Press reporter counted 61 corpses, 32 of them children, being buried in the mass grave in the village of Dogo Nahawa on Monday. Other victims would be buried elsewhere. At a local morgue the bodies of children, including a diaper-clad toddler, were tangled together. One appeared to have been scalped. Others had severed hands and feet.

WHY! I mean who's religion is better? Yours or mine? Who cares? Is that justification for killing innocent children? I don't think so!

My point being is if your are happy with your religion, that is fine with me. After all we are human beings living on the same planet. We all bleed the same color. I couldn't give a rat's ass to whom you pray for. I have my own religion, you have yours. I'd be happy to listen to your point of view, if your are willing to listen to mine.

Sorry, for my rant...had to let it out...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Benefit

Last night I attended the Thoughts for Food Benefit in downtown Racine. For a great cause, I had a good time. The first band I saw was Lydon Moon. at the Michigan Pub. This instrumental trio pulls off an uncanny resemblance to Joe Satriani. Guitarist Lydon Moon played very fluid and precise throughout the set, pulling off tricks like finger tapping and whammy bar techniques like breathing. This guy is a guitar god in his own right.

The rest of the band shouldn't go unnoticed. Bassist Joel Thierfelder bounced around stage keeping an excellent and complicated rhythm. The drummer, Dan Jung, played the skins like a demon possessed! These guys are the perfect fit for Moon's style of playing!

Next, I went to see a local favorite band, Mean Jake, at Chartroom Charlie's. I tell you, this place was PACKED with fans coming to see them! Standing room only! I did manage to find a place to sit down in the back. Listening to this band is always a treat. This blues based quartet never fails to deliver a foot stomping show! Their hard edged versions of classic tunes like "Ring of Fire", "Gloria", "Who Be the Next in Line", "Suzi Q", and "Sympathy for the Devil" always seem to get the crowd up and dancing to their music. I can't wait to see these guys again at the beach this summer!

Not knowing whom I was going to see next, I settled for the Feet of Clay at the downstairs stage at the Eagles Club. I've heard of this band before, but never saw them until last night. They are pretty good! They play to the likes of a hard edged version of the California psychedelic electric folk style of music. Bands like Wilco and the Jayhawks came into my mind while listening to them. Hopefully I'll see these guys again!

I had promised my good friend Aaron, formerly of the Radioactive Sguirrels to see his new band, Full Flavor, at the Michigan Pub. This is the first time I saw these guys play! They ran though classic numbers from the Doors and Cheap Trick. Aaron was all over the stage with his guitar playing antics! This dude can PLAY! Unfortunately, I left the show early. The tavern was WAY to crowded for my liking. I was getting a little claustrophobic in there. Hopefully I'll see more of these guys over the summer. Perhaps at the beach.

All in all, I had a good time! Can't wait for next year's benefit!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Thoughts for Food

The 18th Annual Thoughts for Food Benefit is tomorrow night. The ticket prices are ten bucks a piece and a donation of some non perishable food items. Proceeds of this show goes the Racine County Food Bank. It's a great cause!

I plan on going again this year. ( I have going to this event for the last few years) Many of the great local bands are going play. I'm really keen on seeing Mean Jake and Lydon Moon. I may bring my camera and blog about this. Should be a great time!

Thoughts for Food

Thursday, March 4, 2010


One may argue about Styx's finest moment. Even though their heyday was in the early '80's, I prefer their stuff from the '70's. This album here was the turning point for the band. This album marks the the first one they did for A&M Records, breaking away from the indie label, Wooden Nickel. Also this album marks the last with founding guitarist, John Cululewski. Tommy Shaw replaced him in time for tour.

Being the turning point, this album was more polished down and better produced than the previous four. And more progressive too. So band sounded more eager to explore and found a way to capture a wider audience. This was their break through they needed.

My highlights of the album were the catchy "Lorilei", a great song that you can sing about girlfriend. Great harmonics in there from vocalist Dennis DeYoung and the rest of the band. "Light Up"-wonder was that song about? That song would have made a great show opener. I love the bass riffs on "Born for Adventure" Kudos to bassist Chuck Panozzo! The heart of the album lies in their epic "Suite Madam Blue". Still today, that song remains a fan favorite.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Breaking News

Former Racine Mayor Gary "Slimeball" Becker was sentenced today by Judge Stephan Simanek for three years in prison and five years probation. Becker pleaded guilty to attempted sexual assault of a child and child enticement.

Judge Simanek said he was prepared to give Becker a probation-only offense until last-minute information about Becker's Feb. 16 purchase of bras and panties from Boston Store.

Smart move Becker, hope you make new friends in prison...

More on the story here.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Mural, Mural on the Wall

My son, who has a talent for art, has been staying after school three days a week to work on a mural. Here he is combining his efforts with other classmates. They are doing a fantasy theme combining stories like "The Lord of the Rings" and Jack and the Beanstalk". They hope have it finished by the end of the school year for permanent display on the wall...

This is just the bare beginnings of the project, my son's work is on the left side...

As I was walking down the hallways of his school, I noticed many murals already up for display. This one above caught my eye. Anyone want to take a guess who are these famous people are?

Monday, March 1, 2010

She's in the Hospital...

With so many issues going on lately it's hard to keep focused on putting up blog posts. One thing I can say is younger sister is back in the hospital. She is having complications from a surgery she had last week. My mom called me Saturday afternoon to tell me of the news.

She went in last week to get a mass removed from her abdomen. The surgery went well. Thank God it wasn't cancerous. Kinda freaked me out, my sister always took better of herself better than me and I'm older!

Now she's back in because her bowels stopped working. She is now on a 48 hour observation. If things don't start working the doctors may have to operate again. Damn...

I wish I was there for her. Living so far away doesn't help anything. I just can't take off from work and drive up there. Thank God her husband is there by her side and never left her side. He is such a good man for her. (Wish I had a relationship like that) I pray that everything goes well for her. Sis, if you are reading this, please get better, I love you!