Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Things Goin' On

It's been awhile.... No, I haven't fallen off the face of the Earth, nor abducted by aliens. I've been around, still reading each and everyone of your blogs. That I do each day. Writing is another thing, though. I'd have a brainstorm of thoughts in the morning while working, by the time I get home and comfortable in the chair, my mind draws a blank...

I haven't been exactly idle though. I've working on a new blog. That's right, a new blog! It's another music blog, this time it's about my music collection. I'm kinda hyped about this one! You should see the header I picked for this one...It's real bad ass! I know what you're thinking, I already have a blog about my album collection. DrewTube is great, I just needed a better vehicle to showcase my collection quicker. Posting one title a day on an estimated 4000 albums, it'll take several years at least to finish. You want to wait that long?

Right now, I have a template and a header up. I'm still working on the designs, tweaking it. It should be ready soon...

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Iron Maiden comes to Summerfest!

Just announced yesterday morning through the Summerfest site-Iron Maiden with special guest Alice Cooper are going to headline at the Marcus Ampitheatre on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.

The bands' line-up is singer extraordinaire Bruce Dickinson, bassist Steve Harris, Drummer Nicko McBrain, and the triple axe threat of David Murray, Adrian Smith and Janick Gers. Yeah, that's pretty much the classic Maiden we all know and love. What's even more cool is they are going back in time to revisit some of their older tunes, this time culling mostly from their 1988 release Seventh Son of a Seventh Son.

An excerpt from the e-mail that was sent to me....

Comments vocalist Bruce Dickinson, "We have great fun playing the History of Maiden Tours because it gives us an opportunity between new albums to go out and play songs from our earlier catalogue. It's always fantastic seeing the crowd reaction from a new generation of fans who have never experienced some of these tracks performed live before, and of course we know our longstanding fans will enjoy seeing the original Seventh Son Tour re-visited - with many other surprises! Our intention is to play about two thirds of the original track list of Maiden England (shown below*), including some songs we have not played live in a very, very long time, plus other favorites we just know the fans are going to want to hear! We always try to give our fans a great show musically, but we have always tried to make it as entertaining and memorable an experience as we can visually. And we all feel this show is going to do that splendidly! In the 1980's we played Summerfest two or even three times maybe, on the waterfront if I remember correctly. Great times! It will be fantastic to return to Milwaukee again after all this time and we look forward to seeing our fans there, and drinking all your beer!"

And the possible setlist...

1. Moonchild
2. The Evil That Men Do
3. The Prisoner
4. Still Life
5. Die With Your Boots On
6. Infinite Dreams
7. Killers
8. Can I Play With Madness
9. Heaven Can Wait
10. Wasted Years
11. The Clairvoyant
12. Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son
13. The Number Of The Beast
14. Hallowed Be Thy Name
15. Iron Maiden

I may go to this one...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thrift Store Shoppin'

Haven't been to the library so much lately. Thrift store shopping seems the thing to do in the winter. At the moment, we're shopping for a dresser for Kimmy. Haven't found anything suitable, yet. However, I've found some albums, some of them may be collectables...

Alabama: Greatest Hits
Alabama: Christmas
Alabama: Just Us
Ass Ponys: Electric Rock Music
Bay City Rollers: Rock n' Roll Love Letter
Beach Boys: Surfin' Safari (Capitol)
Beach Boys: (s/t) (Pickwick)
Beach Boys: Wow! A Great Concert! (Pickwick)
Beach Boys: Best of the Beach Boys Vol.2 (Capitol)
Beach Boys: Good Vibrations (Pickwick)
Chuck Berry: Johnny B. Goode (Pickwick)
Chuck Berry: Flashback (Pickwick)
Pat Benetar: Precious Time
Pat Benetar: Get Nervous
Chicago: O Christmas Three
Jim Croce: Photographs & Memories
Jim Croce: Time in a Bottle
Daughtry: (s/t)
Charlie Daniels: The Door
Charlie Daniels: Steel Witness
Def Leppard: Mirrorball Live & More!
Emerson, Lake & Palmer: The Best of Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Glen Frey: Live
Grand Funk: All the Girls in the World, Beware!
Grassroots: Temptation Eyes
Great White: Psycho City
Guess Who: American Woman
Guess Who: The Best of the Guess Who
Bill Haley & the Comets: Rock & Roll
Sophie B. Hawkins: Whaler
Indigo Girls: (s/t)
Indigo Girls: Rites of Passage
Jars of Clay: Furthermore: From the Studio/From the Stage
Billy Joel: Piano Man
Billy Joel: The Stranger
Billy Joel: The Nylon Curtain
Billy Joel: River of Dreams
Journey: Eclipse
Kinks: Greatest Hits
Huey Lewis and the News: Small World
Little Feat: Feats Don't Fail Me Now
Little Feat: Time Loves a Hero
Lovin' Spoonful: The Greatest Hits
Petra: Wake-Up Call
Phish: A Live One
Poco: Deliverin'
Rush: Time Machine 2011: Live in Cleveland
Rusted Root: When I Woke
Sonny and Cher: Mama was A Rock and Roll Singer, Papa Used to Write all Her Songs
Ringo Starr: Y Not
Rod Stewart: Smilin'
Styx: Edge of the Century
Tears for Fears: Raoul and the Kings of Spain
Derek Trucks Band: Joyful Noise
Van Halen; A Different Kind of Truth
Velvet Underground: The Best of Velvet Underground-The Words and Music of Lou Reed
White Lion: Mane Attraction
Wilson Phillips: (s/t)
Neil Young: Journey Through the Past
ZZ Top: Live From Texas

Remember the Bay City Rollers? How about Sonny and Cher? My girlfriend picked them out, along with the Alabama and some Kenny Rodgers. Not exactly a huge fan. Given the rarity of these records, I figured why not? The Rush, Van Halen, Journey and ZZ Top are new releases.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Mitchell Domes

On vacation in the middle of winter here in Wisconsin...there isn't much to do, except go to someplace warm like the Mitchell Domes Horticultural Conservatory. Located in the heart of downtown Milwaukee, the Mitchell Domes are basically biosphere like greenhouses that literately holds thousands of different species of plants from different regions of the globe in three diverse domes.

Over a thousand plant species are on display in the Tropical Dome. Many of these are economically important fruit bearing trees such as banana, papaya, ackee, avacado, cocoa and guava. Hardwoods include big-leaf, little-leaf, and African mahoganies, ebony and lignum vitae. The center of the Tropical Dome is dominated by a large kapok tree. It is one of the tallest trees under glass growing up to 95 feet. Amazing as it was, when we exited the Tropical Dome was we sweating from the humidity in there.

Expecting to especially hot in the Desert Dome, we found it be surprisingly cool and quite comfortable. A large number of plants, mostly from the Americas and Africa are on display here. Most these are native to the Sororan Desert in Arizona. Among them are species of shrubs, trees, annuals, bulbs as well as familiar cacti. The African section has aloes, crassulas, euphorbias and the unusual Welwitschia plant which has only two continuously growing leaves and may live for over a thousand years. From Madagascar, come the succulent flora of Euphorbia, Pachypdium, Adenia, Didierea, Alluaudic and Operculicatya.

The Show Doom was kind of cool... It hosts four seasonal shows and one holiday exhibit held annually in December for visitors to enjoy. Each show has a theme chosen based on cultural ( German, Japanese and French) literary as well as historical. In most recent years, the Winter Show has featured an extensive killer garden railroad display that will surely please kids and adults like me. It has become one of the most popular displays during the year and is one of the largest indoor Garden Railroad displays in the Midwest.

For $6.50 per adult to get in, I couldn't complain. It was a sure fire way to getaway for a winter afternoon. After that, we had dinner at TGIF's at Miller Park. Talk about a succulent meal...

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Different Kind of Truth

I'll admit it, when I first heard the lead off single, "Tattoo" I wasn't so impressed with it. I blew it off as a cheap knockoff from the Diver Down album. A rather bland and short album filled with with covers from the Kinks and Roy Orbison. Yeah, their worst album. A time when the band was running high on the charts and running out of steam.

After Gary Cherone had left the band back in 1999, Van Halen has been surrounded by a wall of controversy and hiatuses-all which borderline ridiculous. Singers David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar both came and went, seemly like revolving door. Original bassist Micheal Anthony was cast out, leaving Eddie's golden son, Wolfgang to fill the void. Cancer, divorce, drunkenness and occasional tours between the quiet times filled the headlines. For 14 years, except for a couple of tracks, no new music has been released from the Van Halen Brothers.

So OK, David Lee Roth rejoins. So what is new? Another publicity stunt? Micheal Anthony is gone. Promises, promises. "Tattoo" alone wasn't gonna cut it. A new album and tour? Many classic bands have tried to make a comeback and failed to live up to expectations of their heyday, often tarnishing their legacy. Sometimes it's best to just "Let It Be".

I was WRONG....

Inspired by favorable reviews on Sean Coleman's post on pod and other blogs, I set out to get this album. My girlfriend beat me to the punchline by strapping a balloon to a CD she bought me for an early Valentine's gift. The plan was to listen to it on the return trip home from Appleton yesterday.

Skipping over the the lead off track "Tattoo" heading into the fire of "She's the Woman", Van Halen takes no prisoners. Jumping for my throat and tearing out the jugular, Eddie's guitar shreds and burns-classic Van Halen... It just doesn't stop there... Eddie scorches into China Town with frets ablaze reminiscent to "Eruption". Diamond Dave raps and rants his way through out each track, taking me back to their glory days. By the time "Bullethead" comes around, I'm bleeding profusely through the jugular, begging for mercy. STILL Van Halen never lets up!

It's the real deal, folks..no synth glop, no ballads, no bullshit. 50 minutes, 13 tracks of sheer intensity. The tempos are atomic-punk fast, letting Alex Van Halen rock out on the drums for the first time since his flaming-gong days. Micheal Anthony may be missed for his bottom end and even more his kicked in the nada harmonies. The apple of Eddie's eyes son, Wolfgang, fills the bass slot seamlessly.What was that line? "Have you seen Junior's grades?" A+.

Diamond Dave may have lost a pitch or two out of his voice, but his charismatic rock god stature still has his staying power, belting out innuendos about "stone cold sister soccer moms" like a seasoned veteran. Maybe it was Roth's supersized ego's presence, Eddie sure hasn't lost his touch. His assault on the guitar is relentless, wrecking havoc on the cerebellum, mind fucking it in the process..

The roots of A Different of Truth predates the bands' early days, with several songs originating from demo tapes that Van Halen made before their debut, and the rest consciously written in that style. A risky move, but a wise and savvy one, it captures the spirit of Van Halen's first five records.

The only time the band comes up for air is "Stay Frosty" with its acoustic intro deliberately evoking memories of “Ice Cream Man" before slamming into a metallic bombast as Eddie's fingers and Roth's lips takes turns showing off. It's obnoxious. It's insane. It's ridiculous. It's Van Halen...

"As Is" swings through neck twisting time changes. "Honeybabysweetdoll" is a curious tune. "Big River" trades between guitar heroics and killer vocal harmonics. I was bobbing my head like a deranged headbanger on"Outta Space" About this time my girlfriend thought I have gone completely insane. I was.... So did the other motorists along Hwy 41.


Monday, February 6, 2012

Super Bowl XLVI

The New York Giants beat the New England Patriots 21-17 at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana last night.

Here are my thoughts of the game...

Early on in the game it appeared in would be the Giant's ball game. Giants' Eli Manning proved the he truly among the elite quarterbacks scoring a touchdown to WR Victor Cruz.

During the second quarter the Patriots got fired up, sacked Eli Manning twice and scored a touchdown from a pass from QB Tom Brady to WR Danny Woodhead. Halftime score was 10-9

Halftime show featured Madonna. I don't care for her music, but I'll admit for a 53 year old woman, she still can put on some nice dance moves. Then the controversy over M.I.A.'s giving the bird during the show is quite ludicrous. C'mon now, do we have to go through another wardrobe malfunction fiasco like we did in 2004? This a family show folks, leave the obscenities a real concert. No wonder why the NFL hires classic rock bands for the halftime entertainment. It would suit me just fine anyways...

Second half of the game the Patriots started strong with a 12 yard touchdown from Brady to Aaron Hernandez. A pair of field goals from the Giants kept the score close.

The final score of the game came at less than two minutes left. New York's RB Ahmad Bradshaw ran in a 6 yard touchdown.

Try as he might, with 57 seconds left to play, Tom Brady just couldn't win the game for New England. The final score-21-17.

Oh yeah, I thought the best commercials were the Coke Cola polar bears...

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Remembering the Blizzard...

It has been a mild winter so far... Today was a balmy 38 degrees outside with no snow on the ground. The sun was shining making the day a springtime like wonderland while the sleepless squirrels were out digging for their hidden treasures of walnuts. Kinda nice not having to worry about traveling through the perilous streets covered with snow.

A year ago, this was a different picture. A snowy landscape with canyons carved into waist deep snowdrifts. Temperatures had plummeted into the teens. Winds howled at hurricane force. The aftermath of the storm revealed cars buried deep in blankets of snow.

We were warned.... It was on the news, the local weather forecasters told tales of an apocalyptic storm on its way. The one for the record books. The one that may beat the Blizzard of ''78. Like any normal Wisconsinite, we were prepared. Stocked the fridge enough food to feed an army. Rented movies. My work actually called off work and told us to stay home. Other words, once the storm hit , there was no going out...

The snow began to fall about 6 AM, Monday January 31st showing off of what was yet to come.... After a few inches, it stopped as if the calm before the storm, quite literally. During the break, my girlfriend and I took off to the lighthouse to snap a few pics of the lake. The storm was just hitting as I taking pics, taking the breath out of my lungs. The wind was biting my skin under many layers of clothes. This wasn't just an ordinary storm.

The second wave was at full force by Tuesday evening. Winds howled outside at near hurricane force bringing complete white out conditions. My back door rattled noisily, had to keep a rolled up beach towel under the door to keep cold air from blowing in. We kept peeking out of the window, watching the snow build up higher and higher. That was all we really could see; for the white out conditions prevented us from seeing anything further than the back yard. Of course, Harley needed to go out. In the short moments when she had to go out, her reddish gold hair turned completely white by the time she came in.

Through out the night we stayed tuned in to the weather via television and internet. Reports of stranded vehicles and road closings filtered in. By 12:30 AM Wednesday morning, a civil danger warning came in, warning ALL vehicles off the road. Emergency vehicles, police cars and snow plows were getting stuck. The National Guard was called to help stranded motorists. The storm was getting really bad.... Thank God, the power never went out.

By noon Wednesday, the rays shone through the clouds revealing a snowy wasteland. As I peered out the door, all I could see was the tops of cars in the desolate parking lot. It took me two hours to my old Caprice out. Afterwords, we decided to take a drive to "survey the damage". A short loop around the area exposed us to new sights. The roads to the lighthouse and my work were still impassible. Instead a double lane road, Hwy 32 became a single lane. Abandoned cars, including a snowplow, littered the sides of the road. The next day, I made it to work through the snow walled canyons of Four Mile Road..

Racine and Kenosha got hit the hardest. Some spots received more than 28' of snow. Sustained winds of more than 55 MPH were reported. Airports in Milwaukee and Chicago were shut down. Interstate 94 was closed from Milwaukee to Chicago was closed, making this the worst storm since the Blizzard of '78. I don't want to another anytime soon....

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Bryson Andres

I picked this off my other blog. the JT Irregulars. Posted by my friend OrbsCorbs. I thought this guy was just amazing... Here's my comment I left over there.

This guy is awesome....

My first thought was of the talented French jazz fusion violinist Jean-Luc Ponty, an incredible musician whom has played for Frank Zappa and Mahavishnu Orchestra.

What I see and hear is this guy, Bryson Andres, playing an electric violin through an amplifier using foot pedals for effects. Incredibly talented he is...playing with heartfelt soul and integrity unlike many so called corporate sponsored musicians out there.

Talent, soul, expression and integrity are some of ingredients I look for in music. I could sit on the curb for hours listening to this guy. That's more than I could say the likes of Justin Beiber and such...