Randy Rhoads

A fitting way to kick off the blog on GuitarGuys.com with a tribute to guitar legend Randy Rhoads. Today marks 32 years side he was killed in a plane crash. Impossible not to wonder what music he would have offered up. With only two huge releases as Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist there was not a lot of material. However, what an impact he had on all the guitarists of my generation and those who have followed.

RIP RR

Randy-Rhoads(1)

Run Playlist 2/14/14, 2/17/14 Michael Schenker, Bridge the Gap Edition

Anyone who works out with their headphones knows how awesome it is when you get a big lift from your favorite song. Or hearing a cool tune you would have never picked shuffle through on your picturesque jog… With 1000s of songs on my iPod I almost always shuffle.

I’ve always thought it would be cool, interesting, perhaps even motivating to write about each playlist and the music’s effect on myself and the workout. Then I thought that might be kind of boring. Then I thought, “Yeah,” I was right…on both counts. ;)

Really just another chance to talk about music!

Feb. 14 & 17

3 mile runs

Michael Schenker’s, “Bridge the Gap.”

“Neptune Rising”

“Where the Wild Winds Blow”

“Horizons”

“Lord of the Lost and Lonely”

“Rock N Roll Symphony”

“To Live For the King”

“Land of Thunder”

“Temple of the Holy”

“Shine On”

“Bridges We Have Burned”

“Because You Lied”

“Black Moon Rising”

“Dance for the Piper”

“Faith” w Don Dokken, vocals

If you have read any of my previous “Run Playlist,” entries you know I shuffle through my workouts…almost exclusively! I rarely listen to one album straight through.

Another thing I hardly ever do any more is buy CDs. Sure songs here and there, but, not many full CDs anymore. However, I recently received in the mail Michael Schenker’s, “Bridge the Gap.”

With the new piece of ear candy in tow I turned off the shuffle feature and went to town dissecting my new sonorous treasure. My last two runs in fact were entirely devoted to the German guitarist’s newest release.

I won’t give the album a full review here cause it is just too early. I will share my first impressions, however.

GREAT!

Great production, great sound, heavy well composed songs, great vocals(not always a trademark of MSG music) and of course great guitar work. In fact Michael has never sounded better. Part of it is the production of the music. I also think part if it is Schenker seems to be enjoying life as much as ever. Props!!

A couple other quick hits…

-The keyboards(Wayne Findlay) are integrated really well on this disc. Perhaps even a sonic tribute to the recently passed Jon Lord of Deep Purple?

– Doogie White easily slides to the top of the class regarding Schenker vocalists over the years. Then immediately has to kind of battle it out to hold serve with Don Dokken who also sounds great on the bonus track, “Faith.” Major Kudos to Doogie on this disc and recent tours, sounds great!

-Dokken may be one of the top vocalists to work with Schenker. On the flip side Michael easily becomes the best guitarist to work with Dokken. Sorry to George Lynch fans. He’s a good dude and pretty good player just not even close to the same league as Schenker.

– The song format of this disc may lead to a better response from the average fan as some of Schenker’s recent music has been sort of through composed super-works. Most music fans are accustomed to block songs for easy digesting. Personally I liked when he stepped out of the box a bit. Even naming the songs on his MS 2000 disc the by the spelling of the CD title, “Dreams & Expressions.”

1 DMS 2000_ Dreams & Expressions

2 R

3 E

4 A

5 M

6 S

7 A

8 N

9 D

10 E

11 X

12 P

13 R

14 E

15 S

16 S

17 I

18 O

19 N

20 S

Bottom line- check out, “Bridge the Gap,” if you are a fan you won’t regret it!

Check out previous Run Playlist Posts.

Music to Relax, Queensryche, “I Will Remember”

It has been a while since I’ve done a “Music to Relax,” post. But the time has come and Happy 2014 to those of you who’ve been holding your collective breaths waiting for the next piece of music to slow your heart rate and send you into musical Nirvana.

After a 3 mile run and while walking back to the house, Queensryche’s, “I Will Remember,” shuffled through my iPod. What a great song to regulate the body and bring my heartbeat back to a resting rate.

Queensryche was once a noted heavy metal band of the 80’s, unfortunately, now known more for fighting like little babies over use of the band’s name, etc. Much like Styx and their ex-band mates have gone through.

Although they were  a metal band this is such a peaceful tune. The song employed a unique sound, a little dark with a melodic, harmonized guitar solo. Vocalist Geoff Tate’s usual over the top operatic runs gave way to some extremely controlled phrasing, without relinquishing his powerful voice. Some of his best work in my opinion.

Take a trip back to the 80’s, relax and Enjoy!

View previous ‘Music to Relax’ posts.

Run Playlist 1/26/14

Anyone who works out with their headphones knows how awesome it is when you get a big lift from your favorite song. Or hearing a cool tune you would have never picked shuffle through on your picturesque jog… With 1000s of songs on my iPod I almost always shuffle.

I’ve always thought it would be cool, interesting, perhaps even motivating to write about each playlist and the music’s effect on myself and the workout. Then I thought that might be kind of boring. Then I thought, “Yeah,” I was right…on both counts. ;)

Really just another chance to talk about music!

January 26, 2014

5 Mile Run

“China Girl,” David Bowie

“I’ll Be Waiting,” -Adele

“Angel of Avalon,” -Michael Schenker

“Harp Partita, BWV 1006A Preludium,” -JS Bach, perf.  Julian Bream

“Somebody Stole My Guitar,” -Deep Purple

“Heathens From the North,” -Yngwie J. Malmsteen

“Night of the Long Knives,” -AC/DC

“Early Morning Rain,”  Gordon Lightfoot

“Harp Partita, BWV 1006A Gavotte En Rondeau,” -JS Bach, perf.  Julian Bream

“Say What You Will,” -Fastway

“Carnies,” -Rush

“Prelude,” – Judas Priest

“Espiritu,” Pace De Lucia,  John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola

“Humans Being,” -Van Halen

“Still in Love,” -Boston

The highlight of this run playlist without doubt was, “Humans Being,” by Van Halen. It came on right at the end of the 5 miles and I still had energy to burn and this song fanned the flames! It is one of the bands heavier songs, certainly, from the Hagar era and one of Eddie’s great solos.

The tune was written for the soundtrack from the movie, “Twister.” In the solo I’ve read, Eddie wanted to emulate a ‘twister’. He uses an extended ascending line coupled with a driving rhythm to bring it home. It is also one of the first truly soulful solos Eddie put to tape, before the ‘tornado’ the calm before the storm. Adding another element to his already legendary guitar style.

The two Bach guitar works also provide a great soundscape for running. Maybe too mellow for most during a workout,  but, perfect for me. I’ve worked on these pieces and understand the Herculean task and effort it takes to perfect them. Much like the efforts of a long distance runner…very motivating! If you’re wondering why the ‘harp’ pieces are performed by a guitarist…the guitar didn’t become a legit instrument until the 19th century. So guitarist have had to transcribe the great works of Bach and others…essentially stealing them for the guitar from harp, lute, cello harpsichord, etc.

Other highlights; John Lord’s keyboards on the DP tune, AC/DC from “For Those About to Rock”(an underrated album in my opinion,) “Carnies,” from the latest Rush release , Fastway and “Espiritu,” from the guitar trio.

Gordon Lightfoot…I have to say I grew up not knowing much about his music. It is mellow and would have punched a hole in my Heavy Metal adolescent teenage musical psyche(is that really even English?) Have to say though Lightfoot has “IT”. Whatever, “IT,” is in music…the guy has it. AMAZING musicianship, its been cool to familiarize myself with his music recently. Also proud to say listening has not damaged my aforementioned psyche.

Check out previous Run Playlist Posts.

Proud Dad Moment!

It’s a proud moment!

My 5 year old daughter, totally unprompted I might add, just belted out “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.” 🙂

The Mighty Zep!

Zeppelin 1Did you catch it?

No not a lot of hype but it must be mentioned!

Led Zeppelin’s self titled debut album was released 45 years ago this month…thats 1969 for those slower in math and those struggling to get into their Monday groove.

Yes the Led Zeppelin era is middle-aged and unbelievably, Jimmy Page, the bands patriarch turned 70 earlier this month.

The 60’s belonged to the Beatles, but, the 70s were about Zeppelin right up to drummer John Bonham’s untimely death in 1980. Bonzo along with Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones took rock n roll to new heights throughout the decade.

Much like the aforementioned Beatles, Zeppelin’s stronghold on fans was achieved utilizing a variety of musical styles beyond just rock n roll. Zeppelin’s repertoire features among others; blues, country, psychedelia, classical, Indian, Reggae, Latin and mystical influences.

Personally, I have been through many Zeppelin phases, from constantly listening  to not listening much. Either way I can’t imagine a world without Zeppelin. Certainly, the quartet and most notably Jimmy Page’s guitar and compositional prowess have had a significant impact on my own music development. Not to mention all the good times with friends over the years featuring Zeppelin as part of the soundtrack!

I was barely born when Zep debuted. Most my students today weren’t even born before they disbanded. Not to mention many of them were not even born in the same millennium Zeppelin prevailed. However, Led Zeppelin is still influencing young musicians today in 2014. Just taught a kid, “Heartbreaker,” this weekend. “Stairway to Heaven,” “Kashmir,” and “Over the Hills and Far Away,” are still staples of the guitar’s ‘must know’ landscape. When I am out performing, “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You,” always gets one of the biggest crowd responses.

I always wonder what the shelf life of rock music will be. Technology and global media seem to have added to the life of the rock n roll era. Keeping it out of the dinosaur ‘symphony halls’ for now. As much as I want rock n roll to be around forever, I’d love to see what future generations/incarnations of popular music will hold?