Wednesday, September 28, 2011

2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees

Just the other day the Rock and Roll of Hall of Fame announced their nominees for their 2012 class. Not a bad selection, but it can be better.....

The nominees are..

Beastie Boys-No, I don't think so...if there were a Hip Hop Hall of Fame elsewhere, by all means go for it...

The Cure-Not a fan of these guys, I guess I can see the gothic new wave influences. It it really enough for these guys the make it in?

Donovan-I recently picked an album, Barajabal, from him and I thought it was pretty good. I can see the folkish influences.

Eric B.and Rakim- Never heard of them.

Guns n' Roses-Most definitely! Appetite for Destruction is a classic... Guns n' Roses brought back the raunchy bad boy image of Aerosmith and the Rolling Stones and blended it with heavy metal with a middle finger to the world.

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts- Hmmmm. I think the Runaways would be a better idea for R&RHoF.

Heart-Definitely! Forging the way for women in hard rock without sounding like crap.

Freddy King-Any blues great guitar player has my nod for the Hall of Fame.

Laura Nyro-Heard of her by name only, so therefore, I don't have an opinion on her.

Red Hot Chili Peppers-OK...I'm not a big fan of these guys either. I'll admit they are a bit different than many bands out there. Something tells me they'll make it in weather they deserve if or not.

Rufus and Chaka Khan-Is there a Disco Hall of Fame anywhere?

The Small Faces/Faces-Personally I think A Nod is Good as a Wink to a Blind Horse is a classic album. The Faces are largely responsible for bringing straight forward raunchy bar blues rock to the table.

The Spinners-Motown sound from the 60's and 70's. Very respectable...

Donna Summer-Now where was the Disco Hall of Fame?

War-OK, "Low Rider" was a hit for them and Eric Burden from the Animals was their singer. Do they have what it takes to make it in?

My picks would be Guns n'Roses, Heart, Donovan, Freddie King, The Small Faces/Faces

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Packers Week #3

My beloved Green Bay Packers won against conference rivals 27-17 at Soldier Field today.

Here are my thoughts of the game.

1) The Packers seemed to dominate the the first quarter by holding them down to one first down.

2) The Bears started to come alive in the second quarter.

3) There a lot of dropped passes from the Chicago receivers.

4) By the forth quarter things were getting ugly, turnovers by both teams. Chicago looked as if were ready to catch up.

5) The Packers are 3-0 now.

More on the game here.

Friday, September 23, 2011

How Does the Cheese Eat a Bear?

How does the cheese eat a Bear? Yep, you read the title right. This is an actual conversation by my Chicago Bear loving girlfriend and me.

HER: Babe, I know that you are a Packer fan and all, but I want to know a cheese can eat a bear.
ME: Well, do you know what packers are? They work in meat..(I was trying to explain the history of the Packer name when she interrupted me)
HER: I know all that! If a bear can eat cheese, what I want to know is if CHEESE can eat bear.
ME: Yes...
HER: OK, how?
ME: Simple-Voodoo magic.
HER: Voodoo?
ME: Yeah-some guy with a wand in one hand and a chicken in the other hand ZAPS a gourd of cheese. This gourd of cheese grows bigger and bigger-chases down the bear like a PAC-man and CHOMPS down on the bear and eats him. And that Sweetie, is how the cheese ate the bear!
HER: So who's the guy with the magic wand?
ME: Harry Potter.
HER: That explains everything...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

REM 'Calls It a Day"

Alternative rockers from Athens, Georgia, REM has decided to call it quits according to a statement released by the band's website. This is the statement....

"To our Fans and Friends: As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band. We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening." R.E.M.

In a statement by bassist Mike Mills: "We have always been a band in the truest sense of the word. Brothers who truly love and respect each other. We feel kind of like pioneers in this -- there's no disharmony here, no falling-outs, no lawyers squaring off. We've made this decision together, amicably and with each other's best interests at heart."

My hat's off the band and I wish them luck in whatever they do....

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Packers Week #2

The Packers won 30-23 over the Carolina Panthers at the Back of America Stadium in Charlotte bringing the Pack 2-0

Here are my thoughts of the game...

The Packers were non existent in the first quarter with only one possession.

Carolina actually looked good in the first half.

The Packers roared back to life in the second half dominating the Panthers.

Panthers rookie quarterback Cam Newton certainly has potential to a great quarterback.

Carolina turned the ball over four times during the game.

More on the game here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Sky is Crying

There are many music lovers out there at that would claim Jimi Hendrix as THE guitar god. That may be case, yet blues legend Stevie Ray Vaughan sits on his right hand as a faithful disciple of Hendrix. Hendrix may have opened the door for generations of guitar players exploring the boundaries of the instrument, yet Stevie Ray sent it the the limitless heights of the stratosphere.

Note for note, each sound Stevie Ray creates on his beat up Stratocaster is worth it weight in gold. Always playing with unbridled passion and emotion, Stevie Ray somehow reaches into the heart and soul of the listener-whether it is playing at blinding speed or the slow down steady blues. Not bad at all from guy who sneaked into his older brother's room just to self teach himself on the guitar.

On the 1991 release of The Sky is Crying illustrates all that and more. The posthumously assembled ten-track outtakes collection actually proves to be one of Stevie Ray's most consistent albums, rivaling to 1989's In Step as the best. Compiled by his older brother, Jimmie Vaughan (of the Fabulous Thunderbirds), these songs were recorded in sessions spanning from 1984's Couldn't Stand the Weather to his last album, In Step and were left off of the albums for whatever reason (or, in the case of Soul to Soul's "Empty Arms," a different version was used).

What makes the record work is its eclectic diversity --Vaughan plays the slide guitar on "Boot Hill" while "Life by the Drop" was done on the acoustic. He smokes on the slow blues of "May I Have a Talk With You" and the title track just as much as on the up-tempo Lonnie Mack cover, "Wham" Holy Cow! Talk about blistering guitar work there! Then he shows the jazzy side of his playing on and Kenny Burrell's "Chitlins Con Carne. The buzz on the amp on Hendrix's "Little Wing" intro slowly crawls in a wailing guitar solo that is literally mind blowing!

But it's not just musical diversity that makes the record work, it's also Vaughan's emotional range. From the morbidly dark "Boot Hill" to the lilting "Little Wing" to the exuberant tributes to his influences -- Lonnie Mack on "Wham" and Albert King on "The Sky Is Crying". Stevie Ray makes the material resonate, and in light of his death, "The Sky Is Crying" and the touching survivor-story ballad "Life by the Drop" are two of the most moving moments in Stevie Ray Vaughan's oeuvre.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Never Forget....

I was at work when this all happened.....

Somebody at work had called in sick, so had to work on another press than I normally do. The day itself seemed to peaceful and calm. Nothing would prepare me for what was to come.

I was in the scheduling office picking up paperwork shortly after the first plane hit. The radio in the office been blaring news. My first impression was an aircraft controller had somehow had messed up and directed the plane at lower altitude causing the crash. Never in my mind was this an attack of terrorism until I was getting ready to walk out of the office when the second plane hit.

I remember the feeling of dread afterwards. News and rumors spread like wildfire across the plant. We had limited access to the outside world. By lunchtime television sets were set up in the conference room across the hall from the break room. These were the first images of terror at the World Trade Center I saw. I was horrified...

I remember the fear growing inside of me as the day went on. Little did I know what was really going outside the concrete walls of the building I was working in. Was a there a full scale war going on? Will I be gunned down as I walk out of the building? Maybe my imagination was running wild with me...

It wasn't until I got home I that realized the full scale of what happened. The repeated images on the TV told me everything. By then, the Pentagon had been hit. Flight 93 had crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. The towers had collapsed-killing thousands of civilians, firefighters and police alike. I was mortified...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Packers Week #1

My beloved team-the defending Super Bowl champs Green Bay Packers defeated the New Orleans Saints in this explosive season opener 42-34 at Lambeau Field. What a game! The Pack looked to have the game wrapped up in the first quarter before the Saints came alive with Drew Brees' quickfire passes.

Here are my thoughts of the game:

1) The Packers are clearly still a HOT team! Aaron Rodgers passes are like lightning!

2) Make no doubt, New Orleans is a GREAT team. The do have a lot of weapons in their arsenal.

3) Packer seemed to have a running game going (finally) with two good running backs at their disposal.

4) Special teams on both sides of the field have stepped up. Their were two kick off returns in the game.

5) Neither quarterbacks made an interception.

All in all it was an awesome game, a great way to start the season!

More on the game here.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Didn't Go...

Last night, I was supposed to go see the Doobie Brothers at the Walworth County Fair in Elkhorn. Well, didn't go. My girlfriend and I were called away to Shawano Saturday afternoon to witness the birth of her first grandchild. We didn't get home until Sunday evening about 45 minutes prior to the show. With the weather being drizzling, cold and icky and the possibility of getting caught in the traffic situations dealing with Pearl Jam's show at nearby Alpine Valley were deciding factors in not going. Would of been nice though. The Doobie Brothers latest album, World Gone Crazy is their best piece of work since their 70's heyday of Takin' it to the Streets and Minute by Minute. Their recent setlists included classic tunes like "Black Water", "China Groove", "Listen to the Music" and "Rockin' Down the Highway" as well tunes from their recent album.

I've must of been in a dark closet during the last couple of months. About four days ago, I just learned that one of my favorite bands, Pearl Jam was kicking off a leg of their PJ20 Tour at nearby Alpine Valley last night and the night before. This is one band I've always wanted to see live! Their energetic shows and ever changing setlists are the some the reasons I want to go. To make these shows more for worth craving for were the appearances of Chris Cornell from Soundgarden, Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age along with members of Mudhoney and the Strokes. Just to hear Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder jam together doing Temple of the Dog classics would definitely have been a treat! Top top it all...$50 lawn seats!

Was it worth it not going? Yes! My girlfriend's first grandchild was born 1:35 Sunday morning. A girl. 7 pounds 4 ounces. A real cutie pie....

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hair of the Dog

Nazareth. Yes, Nazareth. Remember that long forgotten name that was buried under the weight of the popular 70's riff crunching powerhouse bands like Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith and Black Sabbath? I do. It seems like a vague memory for some. It's kind of easy to see why...These Scottish rockers never stood out above the crowd, instead they blended into the rock and roll scenery like a chameleon on a branch. It wasn't just they sucked. They might not have quite the talent like Zeppelin, nor the flamboyancy like Queen and Aerosmith, yet they certainly had some moments of glory. Among them was their sixth studio effort, Hair of the Dog, released in 1975.

Hair of the Dog was the first album I ever picked from Nazareth. As a young teenager, I got excited of hearing the boisterous title track, marveling at the uncensored chorus of "Now you're messing with a son of a bitch, Now you're messing with a son of a bitch" over the loud relentless guitars combined with a smoking bass solo on the radio. Then there was the beautiful Everly Brothers cover of "Love Hurts". Singer Dan McCafferty's trance like singing of this wholesome ballad was repeatedly requested on the radio by love struck girls requesting it for their boyfriends to the point that I wanted to beat my head against the wall like a schizophrenic having delusions. Nevertheless, it is a great tune taken in moderation.

The rest of the album should not be ignored, for it divides its time between similarly pulverizing hard rock fare and some intriguing experiments with the group's sound. Notable tracks include "Miss Misery," a bad romance lament driven by a doomy riff worthy of Black Sabbath and my personal favorite, "Changin' Times", a throbbing hard rock tune driven by a hypnotic, circular-sounding guitar riff ending with a monstrous solo by Manny Charlton. A big big highlight is "Please Don't Judas Me," an epic tune about paranoia that trades heavy metal riffs for a spooky, synthesizer-dominated atmosphere that is further enhanced by some light, Pink Floyd -styled slide guitar work.

Some may argue to what is the best Nazareth album. Razamanaz, Expect No Mercy and No Mean City are all fine albums, but Hair of the Dog remains the most popular. It has sold two million copies worldwide. To top it all, it is a necessity for Nazareth fans and anyone who loves 1970s hard rock.